Thursday, March 31, 2011

Friday Memes: April Fools and More Silly Facts


Book Blogger Hop
Blogger Hop Question of the Week:

What is the best prank you have ever played on someone OR the best prank that has been played on you?

I don't play pranks on people because I hate them played on me.  I think the best prank played on me was done by Google.  I don't remember the details but it was something about sending emails in the mail.  I was really believed they were going to do that.  I thought it was stupid but since I don't prank people, I never think about them pranking me.

Follow Friday Question of the Week:
New Question: What is the book that you really don't want to admit to loving.

I guess I would say The Rawhide Man by Diana Palmer.  I keep it on my nightstand.  I read this book over and over again and I really don't do that with many books.  I don't like to admit that I love this book because these aren't the types of books you are supposed to fall in love with right?  I man it has a great story and a lovely romance.  And do you see that cover?  It is old! Haha!  But I really do find myself loving this book because of particular lines.  I feel as if it is perfectly written.  I couldn't do it any better (I'm constantly rewriting endings in my head).  But shhh... one of my all-time favorite books is a Silhouette Desire book :)
Original Question: Five book related silly facts...

Hmmm... I seem to remember answering this question last week.  Let's see if I can come up with some new ones.

  1. I worry about people judging the books I read.  It is one reason why I love my Ereader.
  2. I wrote an essay called "How the Library Changed My Life" in the second grade.  I won the a nationwide contest and got to speak at various American Library Association speaking events and traveled to Washington D.C. to meet President Clinton.  The sad part is that I was upset about going because I was going to miss my third grade pizza party because of the trip.
  3. I have a very difficult time turning in library books on time.  I incur outrageous fines.
  4. I don't read books that center around the devil or discusses the devil as a significant part of the plot.  I always feel like my mom won't approve.
  5. When I was younger, I would "borrow" my mom's library books.  I didn't want to ask to read them because I was afraid she would say no.  I always tried to put them back EXACTLY where I found them.  But sometimes she would finish and return them before I finished and I still try to remember and find those books to this date (I hate not finishing books).
WhooHooo!  It's (almost) Friday.  I have lots of work to do this weekend, but I will still be hopping.

Don't forget to check out my post about libraries and my current giveaway!

Also I created a new feature this week: Why I love...

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Why I Love Wednesdays...Historical Fiction

Wednesdays are often the time of the week where I have a sudden realization that the week is almost over.  I'm always so thankful for this point.  That's why I have created a weekly feature where I will highlight something I love that is book related. This feature is called Why I Love Wednesdays...  

If you want to play along, feel free to grab the image and link your post in the comments.
The first Why I Love will focus on a genre... and I chose historical fiction.  So here goes...

Why I love...Historical Fiction!
I'm still new to the book blogging world (or I still feel new) and I noticed many blogs focused on YA or paranormal or the like.  I'm willing to try it all and am always curious but I LOVE historical fiction.  I'm not a history buff I don't think. I majored in marketing in undergrad and didn't like history in school, but there is something about a personal story set during an interesting historical period.

With historical fiction I feel like I am having fun and learning at the same time.  Recently I learned about the circus in Water for Elephants and was enthralled.  Do I like lions, tigers, and bears? Oh no!  But seeing people in that world opens my world.  So much of history that is taught in schools pick a side.  There are the good guys and the bad guys but history is not so clear-cut, so off to the history novels I go...both Little Women by Louisa May Alcott and Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell are set during the U.S.  Civil War and they both show different struggles, different insights about the region, and introduce different problems.

But my love for historical fiction doesn't end there.  There's so much more!  Today's society (in my opinion) can sometimes stress how the times are so different or how morals are depreciating but you can look through history and point to similar struggles.  In Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett, I read about religious struggles during the sixteenth century.  And I'm sure everyone has become aware of Henry VIII's love affairs and the lengths one may go through to achieve a desired result despite religious and societal norms.  Oh how it wasn't sooooo great back in the day.

I feel I must draw to a close because my inner nerd is showing through.  But I can't end without mentioning my last two reasons (and the best reasons) for reading historical fiction.  

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

Double Mini-Reviews: Portrait of an Unknown Woman and The Kommandant's Girl

Portrait of an Unknown Woman by Vanora Bennett
Genre: Historical Fiction, 16th century
Pages: 413 (paperback)

He turned to me.  His face inscrutable.  "Thank You," he said quietly.  "You've  set me free.  If I have no duty to king or family, I can follow my own heart at last."  And then he was gone, into the dusk in the street, leaving me alone in the parlor with the husband whose secret I'd betrayed.

The Kommandant's Girl
The Kommandant's Girl by Pam Jenoff

Genre: Historical Fiction, WWII setting
Pages: 393 (paperback)

Urged by the resistance to use  her position with Kommandant Richwalker, a high-ranking Nazi official who hires her to work as his assistant,  to acccess details of the Nazi occupation, Emma must compromise her safety--and her marriage vows--in order to help Jacob's' cause.

My Rating for Both:

My Review:

Monday, March 28, 2011

Reflections: What's Going On With Our Libraries?

I like to go through the little polls that Time Magazine has online.  Each day, they have a new question that the public can vote.  By voting, you  find out the results, but you also get to see the break down on a cool little mappy thingy of how the nation votes. It's broken down by state.  About a year or so ago, when the economy first took a tumble one of the questions asked which public service should be cut to save money.  I was so shocked to find that more than 70% of our nations poll voters (at that time of the day) chose to cut Public Libraries.   I just couldn't believe it.  Like really?  I mean libraries are so educational and so beneficial.

Well fast-forward a couple of years and here we are today and I come across another survey where a majority of the public would vote to CLOSE public libraries to save money.  Hmmm... What are people thinking?  I don't understand this.

"A library is not a luxury but one of the necessities of life."  ~ Henry Ward Beecher

My mom introduced me to libraries when I was very young.  Each week we would go to the library and I would check out 17-20 books.  Libraries were my favorite place ever.  Can you imagine the cost my parents would have to go through to keep up that reading habit?  I can't.  But it wouldn't have happened.  In the end, I wouldn't have been the reader that I am today.

With the advent of so many other means of entertainment, there are fewer new readers.
So many people tell me how they hate to read.  None of my friends are readers (well except my two best friends) and no one understands why I read for fun when I have to read so much for school.  When I was teaching, reading was seen as a punishment and very few of my students even had a library card.  Most of those who had a library card, went to the library to get on the computer.

Is this why people think libraries are unnecessary?  Is it because there are so many non-readers out there?  wouldn't shutting down libraries lead to the inability of people to educate themselves?  What about people who cannot afford to buy books?

"I have said repeatedly that in this country we track library books better than we do sex offenders." ~ Mark Foley

Sunday, March 27, 2011

Review: Bel Canto

Bell Canto by Ann Patchett
Genre: Thriller
Pages: 318 (paperback)

Back Cover:

Somewhere in South America, at the home of the country's vice president, a lavish birthday party is being held in honor of the powerful businessman Mr. Hosokawa.  Roxane Coss, opera's most revered soprano, has mesmerized the international guests with her singing.  It is a perfect evening--until a band of gun-wielding terrorists takes the entire party hostage.  But what begins as a panicked, life-threatening scenario slowly evolves into something quite different, a moment of great beauty, as terrorists and hostages forge unexpected bonds and people from different compatriots, intimate friends,  and lovers.

My Rating:

My Review:

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Memes: Updates, Silly Facts & Me in a Series?

Blogger Hop Question of the Week:
If you could physically put yourself into a book or series...which one would it be and why?

I'm going to say the BabySitters Club Series. As I have previously mentioned here, this series is one of my all-time favorite series that I feel I have outgrown but still miss them horribly. I'm still tempted to buy them when I see them in bookstores. But I would put myself in these books because I never had friends like this growing up. My dad was in the military and we moved around A LOT so never really experienced making a group of close friends.  I would put myself in this series because of the friend factor.

Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Jen @ Crazy-for-Books

Book Blogger Hop
Follow Friday Question of the Week:
Give us five book related silly facts about you...

  1. When I was younger I used to read EVERYWHERE even when I was riding my bike.
  2. When I got in trouble, my parents would take away my books as a punishment because nothing else bothered me.
  3. I read in the bathtub so no one will bother me. People can't ask me to do anything if I'm naked.
  4. I talk my mom into buying books off of my wishlist.  She thinks they are for her but they aren't.
  5. As I previously mentioned in my post on bad reader habits, when a book gets too exciting I read the last couple of the pages of the book to find out what happens. I can't wait to find out :(
Credit: Follow Friday is Hosted by Parajuunkee's View.

Don't forget to check out my newest giveaway :)

***Special Note: I finished my very first audiobook today!!  Thank you everyone who helped me a couple of weeks ago with my questions concerning the subject***

I read Wuthering Heights and I enjoyed it.  In the beginning I had to keep restarting the chapters because I would zone out (I was driving) but as I became accustomed to listening for content, I didn't have to listen to the same chapter over and over again.  Thanks again for helping me find a newfound hobby!  Who would have thought listening to books would be fun...not me.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review and Giveaway: Something Borrowed

Something Borrowed by Emily Giffin
Genre: Chick Lit, Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 341 (paperback)

Back cover:
Meet Rachel White, a young attorney living and working in Manhattan.  Rachel has always been the consummate good girl--until her thirtieth birthday, when her best friend Darcy throws her a party.  That night, after too many drinks, Rachel ends up in bed with Darcy's fiancé.  Although she wakes up determined to put the one-night fling behind her, Rachel is horrified to discover that she has genuine feelings for the one guy she should run from.  In her wildest dreams (or worst nightmare?) this is the last thing on earth Rachel could ever have imagined happening.  As the September wedding date nears, Rachel knows she had to make a choice.  In doing so, she discovers that the lines between right and wrong can be blurry, endings aren't always neat, and sometimes you have to risk all to win true happiness.

My Rating:
My Review:
First and foremost, I don't know what made me buy this book but I'm glad I did.  I hardly ever read chick lit or anything contemporary because I tend to get caught up on crazy things like societal norms and various themes and issues that is not relevant to the book.  I get all huffy and end up talking to my husband for hours about how life isn't fair for some reason or other.  On top of that, it is a book about cheating.  So ummm... hear are my morals and feelings about cheaters getting all riled up.  But for some reason I bought and read this book.  ANYWAYS...

I really enjoyed this book.  Rachel and Darcy has been friends forever so I thought I would feel so bad for Darcy but I didn't.  I appreciated Rachel for her morals and for her struggles and Darcy just irritated me.  I know many selfish girls like her.  But this book isn't about mean girls and when certain actions are justified, but it is a book about life and struggles.  It was nothing like I expected.  It was well-written and refreshing.  You pick it up and just can't put it down.

AND... For the Giveaway...

Monday, March 21, 2011

1st Giveaway Results...Whoohoo!!

Results are In!  Jennifer O from Lit Endeavors you have won The Penelopiad by Margaret Atwood and Kimberly M. from Historical Fiction Obsession you have won The Welsh Girl by Peter Ho Davies!

Congratulations!  I will be emailing your email addresses, you have 48 hours to reply.  Thank you everyone for entering my very first Giveaway :)  The winners were selected using Please check back for my next giveaway coming in the next couple of days.  I had a blast!

Sunday, March 20, 2011

Review: Water for Elephants

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Genre: Historical Fiction
Pages: 399 (ereader)

From GoodReads:

Though he may not speak of them, the memories still dwell inside Jacob Jankowski's ninety-something-year-old mind. Memories of himself as a young man, tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. Memories of a world filled with freaks and clowns, with wonder and pain and anger and passion; a world with its own narrow, irrational rules, its own way of life, and its own way of death. The world of the circus: to Jacob it was both salvation and a living hell. 

Jacob was there because his luck had run out - orphaned and penniless, he had no direction until he landed on this locomotive 'ship of fools'. It was the early part of the Great Depression, and everyone in this third-rate circus was lucky to have any job at all. Marlena, the star of the equestrian act, was there because she fell in love with the wrong man, a handsome circus boss with a wide mean streak. And Rosie the elephant was there because she was the great gray hope, the new act that was going to be the salvation of the circus; the only problem was, Rosie didn't have an act - in fact, she couldn't even follow instructions. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and ultimately, it was their only hope for survival

My Rating:

My Review:

Saturday, March 19, 2011

Review: Stranger in My Arms

Stranger in My Arms by Lisa Kleypas
Genre: Romance, Historical Romance
Pages: 360 (Paperback)

Back Cover:
"Lady Hawksworth, your husband is not dead..."
With these words, Lara's life is turned upside down.  Her unhappy, loveless marriage had ended when the Earl of Hawksworth was lost at sea.  But now a man stands before her, virile and powerful, who says he is her missing husband, revealing secrets that only he would know.  While this dark-eyed stranger closely resembles the earl, he is attentive and loving as Hunter was cruel and cold, promising to make Lara his wife once again in every way.  With every beat of her heart, she aches to believe that this remarkable man is who he claims to be.  But is he truly the rake returned and reformed... or is Lara being seduced by a cunning imposter?

My Rating:
My Review:

Thursday, March 17, 2011

Friday Meme: Reading Multiples and Blog Names

Book Blogger HopBlogger Hop Question of the Week:
Do you read only one book at a time, or do you have several going at once?

I usually read one book at a time, but I have a book-in-waiting.  The book-in-waiting comes in when I accidentally let my battery run down on my ereader, forget my current read, or have a change in mood.  I don't really switch back in forth on purpose.  But if I finish my current read without needing my book-in-waiting, my book-in-waiting is my next read and I have to choose a new book-in-waiting. So I guess my official answer is: yes...kind of.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Lists: Books I Have Long Outgrown BUT Still Miss

Sometimes I go to bookstores and I go to the kids section and just walk around looking for the books I read as a young Alexis.  It makes me smile and it brings back so many memories.  I think I look to make sure those books are still on shelves and make sure kids still get to read them.  The covers have changed so...  So here is my short and sweet list:

1.  The Babysitter's Club by Ann M. Martin
This was my all-time favorite series.  I almost bought a couple the other day (true story).  In this series a couple of middle school girls start a club where they essentially start a babysitting business.  The series centers around their babysitting endeavors and the everyday issues that young girls go through.

Looking back:
I didn't think about it at the time, but I think middle school is too early to babysit. Right?

At the beginning of each chapter there are journal entries.  I used to get really excited because towards the back of the book, at least one journal entry would be in cursive and I could read it.  I thought I was something special :)

2.  The Nancy Drew Series by Carolyn Keen
I started reading this series because my mom recommended it to me.  So you already know that this is a pretty old series, but it is still really good.  There aren't any strange views of women or anything like that and the series was revisited in the 80s to get rid of racial stereotypes.  Nancy Drew is a girl detective who stopped at nothing to find the truth.  She often found herself in dangerous situations and enlisted the help of her friends Bess Marvin and George Fayne. I loved how smart she was.

Looking Back:
This was probably my first introduction to a strong intelligent adventurous woman.  Whoohoo!  I also read Nancy Drew Files.

I think it pays to research this series because it was first introduced in the 30s (like really?) but it doesn't read like that.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

Review: Truly, Madly

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber
Genre: Contemporary Fiction, Paranormal, Mystery
Pages: 205 (Ereader)


But I couldn't turn my back on how he felt for Jennifer.  To still lover her after all this time...It was worth a shot.  But first I needed to find her.  See if she was married.  Nothing like a wedding band to put a kink in my plans.  "There's no replacing Jenny, Ms. Valentine.  But she doesn't want me, and I need to move on."  I took a leap of faith.  "How would you feel if I contacted Jennifer, maybe explain what really happened all those years ago, see if she had any interest in meeting with you?"

His eyebrows dipped. "I can't imagine she'd say yes."
Hopeful, he said, "But it might to be the closure I need to move on."

I agreed. Whether the idea panned out or not, a meeting might heal some old wounds for both of them. I collected some information from Michael to help find Jennifer and told him I'd call him as soon as I learned anything.

He stood, held out his hand. "Thanks." I shook it, froze.

Images flashed through my head, like an old-fashioned movie with its real spinning out of control.  Dizzy, I swayed.

"Ms. Valentine? You Okay?"
My Rating:

My Review:

Saturday, March 12, 2011

Mini-Review: Last Dance at Jitterbug Lounge

Last Dance At Jitterbug Lounge

Genre: Contemporary Fiction
Pages: 441 (paperback)

Sometimes the sweet sounds of remembered melodies can reignite the heart...

My Rating:

My Review:
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