Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Simply Enchanting

On a high school trip a long long long time ago I ran out of books to read, anybody who has been anywhere near me without some sort of reading material knows that this is just a disaster in the making.  So a huge search was sent out for a literary distraction resulting in a book that would become one of my all time favorites, Ella Enchanted by Gail Carson Levine

This book was my first full blown introduction to world of retold fairytales and it was wonderful! 
The story keeps all of the elements of the beloved Cinderella story, the dead beloved mother, fairy godmother, glass slippers, wicked stepmother, evil stepsisters, a midnight spell and of course the glass slippers.  While keeping all of the elements Ms. Levine completely recreates the world, situations, and characters in the book.  Ella (the main character) and Prince Char actually meet, know each other and fall in love through out the whole book, giving some actual plausibility to there happy ending which is always a sticking point in the old fairy tales (True lasting love at first sight...really?!?)  Ella's fairy godmother is also with her the whole time, making the reasoning behind the magical help also more realistic (at least as realistic as a magic fairy godmother gets).  This re-telling also involves ogres, giants, elves and an exceptionally bossy parrot.  The element that really ties it all together for me is the curse our heroine has been put under.  When she was born another fairy
heard her crying and gave her the "gift" of obedience and immediately ordered her to stop crying.  This "gift" had the effect of forcing Ella to obey any order or command given to her.  This leads to some very hilarious and tragic consequences and again goes a long way in making our feisty protagonist plausible (I'm using that word a lot, sorry to lazy to pull out my thesaurus)  I really like it when an author at least makes an attempt to explain some of the more bizarre aspects that are usually needed to get a story moving.  In the end Ella has her happily ever after, which is how it should be.  I really loved this book and have read it many many many times, in fact I've gone through about three copies of it :-)  If you like traditional fairytales, humor, retellings, or just a nice light read then go get this book!  There is a movie which I was very excited about 'cause I think this is a very filmable book and the cast was amazing (Hello Cary Elwes!) but I have to say I hated the movie, in fact if they hadn't called it Ella Enchanted I wouldn't have even known that is what it was supposed to be BLECH!  Anyways I give this book 10 out of 10 pieces of Godiva chocolate.

Do you think this book did a good job retelling Cinderella?  Was the movie as awful as I think it was?  Does my mixing of tenses mean I should go back to grade school English?

Monday, January 30, 2012

The Upside to Sick Days

This weekend I was pretty sick blech, every time I moved I would cough for like 20 minutes, as you can probably imagine my ribs are pretty sore now. 

The plus side though is I got to spend hours finding activities that required no movement (seriously it was so bad on Friday I even going to the bathroom left me in spasms for a good long while!)  So I figured I could do all my "quiet time" stuff without feeling guilty.
First I finished the whole first Downton Abby series (woohoo I love me some British television) I seriously love this show and wish it were books :-) (note to self, write post on movies/shows I would like to see made into books)
So after that I decided what could make a poor little sick girl like me feel better then a good couple of hours with a good book.  Anybody following my reading list knows that I have plenty of books started, but did I pick one of those up and finish it like a good little girl...nope, I decided to start a whole other book
Dragongirl by Todd McCaffery.
 Not sure why I picked it up, I may have been in a little bit of nostalgia mode and anything set in the world of Pern almost always makes me feel better.  I will say this book is definitely the most, um, different of the dragonrider books I've read and it is more on the tragic side, but hopefully it will end ok.  Anyways I'm starting to feel much better, and glad to have had an excuse to do nothing but read for the weekend as the next couple weeks will be incredibly busy.

What do you like to do when your confined to the couch/bed?  Do you have a favorite book/series/author that you go to when your no feeling good?  Do I make more or less sense when the oxygen flow to my brain is restricted?

Thursday, January 26, 2012

Please Don't Hurt Me!

Please keep in mind as you browse today's post, I am a self declared super geek.  I love most of the books that are being made fun of.  I just really like to find the humor in everything :-)

Lord of The Rings

Harry Potter


Game of Thrones

And just because it combines all my favorite Geektasticness

What do you think, am I horrible for making fun of these literary gems?  What are your favorite humorous books?  Did I irrevocably paint myself into a geeky corner?

Wednesday, January 25, 2012

Now All My Books Will Be Safe

Hubbin bought me the coolest book safe last night
This is what mine looks like
Here what they look like open
Mine has a combination lock, and according to my Hubbin you do not put your books in it to protect them from the sneaky book stealing pixies, which I think is a perfect use for them.  Hubbin say's your supposed to put your valuables in them to trick theives. Soooo I guess my books are going in there after all :-)

What do you think I should put in my new cool book safe?  Do you have problems with those pesky pixies?  Would it be crazy to have life insurance on each of my books?

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

"Peculiar" A Word We Should Use More Often

I am a huge fan of multi-media.  I like it when a more traditional form of such as a book, is given a boost by more modern media such as websites, tie-ins and video.  The thing that actually sold me on this book
Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (besides the awesome title) is a very cool video "trailer" I saw for it.  Yep that's right you heard me they are doing trailers for books now.  Check it out.
The book itself looks a lot scarier then it really is.  It combines a very original story with old photographs to create a Twilight Zone of a book.  The story is about a boy Jacob, who has been told stories accompanied by photos by his grandfather since he was small. These were stories about invisible boys, and floating girls, children with all sorts of special abilities.   Jacob always assumed that these were just exaggerations and that the pictures had been altered in some way.  His grandfather is killed by what Jacob sees as a humanoid monster, and everybody else thinks is wild dogs.  His grandfathers last words send Jacob and his father to an island off the coast of Wales.  Jacob explores the island, looking for the orphanage his grandfather was in until WWII when it was bombed.  He finds it abandoned in the woods, destroyed by an air raid in 1940.  He learns that the head mistress Miss Peregrine and all of the children living there were killed in the attack that destroyed the orphanage.  Jacob pokes around and finds more of the pictures like the ones his grandfather showed him.  Each photograph seems to show a child with a peculiar talent. 
Eventually Jacob stumbles into a cave that and he is greeted by many children whom he recognizes from the photos.  (Spoiler Alert)  Turns out that Miss Peregrine is one of many protectors of these peculiar children.  She and others like her have set up little time bubbles all over the world to keep the children safe.  The side effect of this is that they relieve the day of the bombing over and over, the day restarting just as the bomb falls.  Another effect is that nobody ever ages, so although every child should be in their 70's to 80's they all appear to be the same age as when the time loop started.  Jacob's grandfather was a peculiar child who had the ability to see Hollows, beings that were intent on destroying the children and using their energy for the nefarious experiments that resulted in there current state of being in the first place.  Jacobs Grandfather was out of the area when the bomb went off, and subsequently was not included in the time loop.  It seems Jacob has inherited his grandfathers gift and decides to stay with the other peculiar children to help fight off the Hollows. 
I really enjoyed this book, the pictures added a lot of atmosphere to the story.  I have heard a lot of people say it looked to scary for them, but it really is not a horror story at all.  The ending is a little wishy-washy, it doesn't leave you hanging per se, but you can tell it was left open for a possible sequel.  The only problem I could see with that is the concept for this book was so unique that I don't know if it would translate so well a second time.  Overall this book gets four out of five cups of coffee.  I would definitely recommend it, especially if you are looking for a great mix of unusual and familiar.

What do you think of the use of the photos in the book, did it enhance or detract from the story?  What do you think of the "trailer" for the book?  Would this concept work in a sequel?  Are you confused by my rating system yet?

Monday, January 23, 2012

In Honor of the Ravens

This post is dedicated to my favorite football team the Baltimore Ravens.  One of my favorite poems.
Edgar Allan Poe
Sadly my boys suffered a heartbreaking loss last night which ended there quest for the Super Bowl.  Oh well there is always next year.  On the plus side Rugby starts in February!

Friday, January 20, 2012

Perfect Weekend

Bathing in Books
This so totally what my bathroom is going to look like at the rate I'm going :-)

Thursday, January 19, 2012

Book Art!

Some alternate ideas to you know actually reading books :-)

Octopus Book Sculpture (Shop closed unfortunately)
How cool would this be sitting on a coffee table!

Marko Manriquez
Want Want WANT!!!

Brian Dettmer
Follow link to see how he does this, very very cool
Isaac Salazar
This is just fun, he does this with a ton of words

Su Blackwell
Check you her website she has a ton of these amazing pieces of art!

Book Art
Look an Art Book about Book Art :-)

There are a ton of amazing book art pieces out there, I just tried to put a variety up, but go look on your own and send me your favorites!

Do you think these are the coolest things ever?  Do you think it is sacrilege to cut up any book, even for art?  What ideas do you have that you could recycle an old book for? 

Wednesday, January 18, 2012

Ahh I'm Being Invaded By Twilight Aliens!

My baby sis called me last year and said there is this book I HAVE to read called The Host.  She said it was right up my ally, all sci-fi and stuff, hmm she seemed really chipper about it so I knew something was up.  "Whats the catch" I asked, "No catch" she says "you'll really like it I promise I can't wait to discuss it when your done."  Hmmm still a suspicious note in her voice "baby sis" I say "what are you not telling me?"  A pause then in a voice only my baby sis can use she says "Weeellll, it's by Stephenie Meyer", I know I've heard that name before, quick scan over my bookshelves "Wait a minute, you mean that Twilight chic?!?" Not really my cup of tea, way to much blubbering teenage angst (though the basic premise isn't that  bad, but more on that later) "I know I know, it sounds bad, but I promise this book is better then the sparkling vampire stuff, really!"  I'm still not sure, but baby sis and I really do have amazingly similar taste in books, so I decide to give it a try for her. 

A couple of weeks later I'm at the bookstore searching the shelves for this book, finally I find it buried in the adult sci-fi section no where near the young adult fantasy table dedicated solely to Team Glitter and Team Fuzzy.  "Well" I said to myself "I guess there is some hope for this book yet if it is shelved in the adult section...I hope."  I took myself and my new book home and geared myself up for another tale of supernatural angst.  As I got into the book, I actually found myself really enjoying it.  The premise of a race of aliens that travel the galaxy "invading" various planets by attaching themselves to a host of the indigenous dominate species was pretty cool.  Ms. Meyer really got a lot of alien background and the history of the main character Wanderer is really interesting.  The author still uses a first person perspective, which still gets you stuck in a teenage girls head way more then I like, but it is at least tempered by the alien that also lives in her head so it ends up working pretty well.  The "new Earth" that is created for us in this story is pretty amazing, especially because the alien essentially don't change a thing, continuing to live our "human" lives with everything from jobs, to grocery shopping and school.  Having the main alien character be revered for the many different planets she has lived on and the various species she has inhabited was a minor stroke of genius because it gave the author a way to give us very rich and detailed accounts of what life and society is like for the aliens.  In the end it still ends up being a convoluted love
quadrangle story, but with a tad less angst and a lot more alien shoot outs.  I have to give my baby sis a shout out and say I really did enjoy this book.  Since this is already a long winded rambling post I won't go into plot detail, but if are a romance fan, or a Twilight fan, or a sci-fi fan you will probably really like this book, just try not roll your eyes so hard at the overly emotional parts that they get stuck :-)

What did you think of this book?   Did you think the alien story outweighed the overly angsty parts?  Would you ever think to pick up a Stephanie Meyer book?  Would you pick it up because it is a Stephenie Meyer book?

*I actually do like a lot of the Twilight Saga, just not the character of Bella at all!

Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Rainy Day

It is raining here, I love a good rainy day, makes me want to curl up with a cup of coffee and a good book.

Monday, January 16, 2012

Haappy MLK Day!

Besides the long weekend (which I love)  Anybody who stands up for the rights of other human beings should most definitely be recognized.  It is a good chance to remember that all of us can have an impact and to remember that no matter how different we may be, everybody is first and foremost a human being and everything else comes after.

Martin Luther King Jr. by Marshall Frady

Martin Luther King Jr. by Marion Dane Bauer

Martin Luther King Jr.: American Biographies by Stephanie Macceca

Thursday, January 12, 2012


One of my favoritist websites in the wide world of the internets is Cake Wrecks.  I am not sure what it is about this site, but it makes me very happy every time I get on it.  As this is a book blog I am sure you are all thinking...um I'm sure it's a great site, but we are here to read about books, and book related things not cake.  Well that is the best part, she has not one, but TWO books out that are just as funny as the website.

Cake Wrecks
Wreck the Halls
These books are awesome!  I love to put them out when I have guests over, you can see them kinda glance at them in curiosity, then pick it up with a confused brow wrinkle, then start flipping through the pages with groans and peals of snorted laughter.  Word of caution, under no circumstances, no matter how excited you are to read them on the way home from the bookstore should you point out the more outlandish cakes to your Hubbin while he is driving in traffic on 495...just saying :-)  Take a look at the website, and if you like what you see get the books, you will not be disappointed I promise.

What do you think of books made from websites?  Do these wrecks make you want to go on a diet, or oddly make you hungry for cake?  Why is it milk chocolate frosting always looks like poo piles?

Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Can I Get a Little "Help"

In the spirit of breaking out of my SciFi/Fantasy/Weird book genre rut I now present to you The Help by Kathryn Stockett. 
The Help is a book I really had no intention of reading, but bought it for my Mamma 'cause it's "her kind of book" (I hear that all the time and not really sure what that means, is it because it's the cover was yellow?  or that it weighed more then a pencil but less then a brick? Or maybe it might have something to do with the content?)  Anyways she finished it while she was out here visiting me and told me I should read it too.  Since I happened to be out of books at that moment (money too :-) ) I went ahead and flipped it open...12 hours later I hadn't put it down, my poor Hubbin kept waking up begging me to go to sleep, but I just couldn't do it until the book was finished.  Here's the thing, I can't really tell you why it was so engrossing.  There wasn't any major mystery (a couple of little ones) but nothing over the top suspenseful, it was just a really good story. 
A word of warning, it is a tough book to get through on occasion, it does not gloss over anything and it can be heartbreaking at times.  The author put down an unrepentant look at Jackson, Mississippi in the early 1960's, in fact I think that is what makes this book while compelling, very difficult and uncomfortable at many points.  While the characters and storyline are technically works of the authors imagination, the feel, attitude and accepted "way things are" are not fiction at all, they are very very real.  I think we sometimes don't want to believe that anywhere could be that discriminatory in recent history, that we want it all to stay in the distant past, before we "knew better", but this book shows us our grandparents, parents, even some of us in a not so accepting light.  The worst part of it for me while reading, is how EVERYBODY just accepted the fact that it had always been like that, and would probably always be like that, the blacks accepted it in their own way just as much as the whites did.
Now that I have depressed everyone, this book does offer several bright and shining ray's of hope.  Mostly in the form of a few women willing to believe that everybody should have a chance to be seen as human. The story is basically a white southern girl from Jackson, returns home from college determined to become a writer.  She eventually settles on the idea to write an anonymous book based on true stories from the hired help.  Through out the process she and the women she interacts with learn what the real relationship between the hired help and the families they work for, between blacks and whites, between economic classes, between men and women, parents and children and between friends both old and new is.  There are fights about the old ways of doing things, struggles against ingrained thought process, trying to keep the balance between what you believe and the loyalty you owe others.  The more I read it, the more it became about more then just the racial differences in the old south and really about a town stuck in the past trying desperately to catch up to the "new world" while retaining it's identity. 
Ok so this post is getting long and disjointed so I will stop here and let you read it for yourself.  I know I did not put in a lot of plot details, but that is because I cannot do it justice here in a couple of pages. There are always going to be some inaccuracies, and you will never be able to focus on all the injustices and stereotyping in a single story, but I think the author did her best to get out a good story.  Also after you have finished reading the book, go watch the movie, it was well done and between the two you get a very full and rich picture of the whole story...um and I can probably never eat chocolate cream pie again :-)

What did you think of the book?  Did you think it brought up some good points, or was it to preachy.  What message did you think the author was trying to get across?  Can you every look at a chocolate cream pie the same way after reading this book?

Tuesday, January 10, 2012

All My Favorites (In Book Form)

I am trying to drop a few pounds and as a result I have had to limit some of my favorite food and drinks, and now all I can do is think about them.  Here are some lower calorie alternatives to a few of my favorites.


French Fries
Ranch Dressing
What are some of your favorite foods?  Are they all as unhealthy as mine?  Have you had better success in eliminating them then I have?
Happy Birthday to my amazing Sister-In-Law "J"  I love you so much!