Saturday, December 26, 2009

The Lovely Bones

Pin It

Though the subject manner of this book is hard to choke down, I thoroughly enjoyed The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold.  I had seen this book floating around the Book Review Blogs and message boards for a while but for some reason I had no preconceived notions about what this book was about or what to expect.  I happened upon it one day when I was at the Goodwill (a great place to beef up your books shelf, with 50 cent books... But I digress), and so I snatched it up and started reading it feverishly for the next few hours.  With in the first few pages I the flood gates of emotions opened and I was happy, humored, sad, furious, and nauseated all at the same time.

So here is the plot.  Susie Salmon (like the fish) is walking home from school one day when she is brutally raped and then violently murdered.  After her horrible demise she tells her story while she is looking down at her family and murderer from heaven and watching how they all deal with the aftermath of her death.  Her sister is heart broken, her father sets off on a mission to find the man who did this to her, her crush at school is accused, the murder starts thinking about who his next victim will be, and the school loner sees Susie's ghost every so often.  All the while Susie is getting used to her new home in heaven.  She meets a new friend and starts to figure out how heaven works and what she can and can't do up there.

I thought that even though the subject matter is VERY heavy, the story is told with a touch of humor and is quite easy to digest.  Usually something very violent would turn me off but the story felt complete and right when Susie finished telling her story.  There is a little bit of a fantasy/paranormal plot line twist on the end that I thought was strange and didn't flow well with the story but I kind of enjoyed that part as well.  I was glad that Susie had the chance to do what she did on the end.  All in all I really enjoyed this book and would recommend it to anyone really that can stomach the first few chapters (it really isn't for everyone).

Book vs. Movie:  Well I am eagerly awaiting The Lovely Bones movie that comes out January 15th.  I hope they do the book justice though I won't hold my breath as I am ALWAYS disappointed in movies made from books.  Here is the trailer.  Enjoy!

The Lovely Bones
by Alice Sebold

If you liked this book then read: Peony in Love by Lisa See

Friday, December 25, 2009

Merry Christmas!

Pin It

I just wanted to wish all my readers a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!! I must have been a very good girl this year because I received some great books that were on my TBR list!!! Hush, Hush; Tomorrow When the War Began; The Host; and Her Fearful Symmetry! I am looking forward to some good reading over the next few weeks.  WooHoo!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Monsters of Templeton

Pin It

I had been on such a good roll!  I had been reading some really amazing stories, one right after another, but I guess it had to end somewhere, and so it came to a screeching halt with The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff.  Wow...  I mean just wow... This book rambled on and on and was just so bizarre that I had to keep reading to see what other crazy thing was going to happen. 

So anyway lets cut to the chase...  Here is the plot line...  When the story opens we are in a picturesque little town in upstate New York called Templeton (based loosely on the authors home town of Cooperstown NY).  It is one of those places with a lot of history (apparently the birth place of baseball), where everyone knows everyone else's business, and most people don't ever leave.  In the town there is a HUGE glacial lake called Lake Glimmerglass. On this particular morning on the lake a rower finds the legendary lake monster Glimmey floating belly up.  On this same morning Willie Upton comes home from her life in Stanford University, pregnant with her professors baby and feeling like it is the end of her world.  While she is home her mother, an aging hippie turned evangelis, Vi, sets Willie working on a project that will keep her mind off all her troubles.  Vi tells Willie that her father is an upstanding man from Templeton (not just a past fling from her Hippie days), but the kick is that Vi isn't telling who.  The only clue that Willie has is that her father is in a very round about illegitimate way related to the Temples that founded this little town, while Willie is a direct descendant of the founding father Marmaduke Temple. To solve the mystery Willie has to dive deep into her family history that stretches back across 2 centuries to the first citizens of Templeton.

The story wasn't all bad it was just weird and I though the plot was flimsy.  The characters weren't all that fleshed out and the only real interesting thing to me was the lake monster but as unique of an angle as that could have been there wasn't much going on with poor dead Glimmey.  I did like that the chapters were all in different voices, some times in Willies, sometimes in Willies relatives that span across 2 centuries.  And I did like that they gave a little tiny shout out to my home town Louisville Kentucky (small mention of the Louisville Bats)!!  All and all it isn't one that will leave a lasting impression on me that is for sure.

Annoying Book Moment:  Lauren Groff was a bit obsessed with the "he said", "she said" bit.  During a conversation between characters it was getting a bit redundent when the page read like this:
"Bla diddy blah blah" She said
"Blah Blah Blah" He said
"Yadda Yadda Yadda Blah" She said
"Smakety smakety yadda bla" He said.
"Bla Ba diddy yadda bla" She said.
"blah blah blah" He said.
It was down right maddening with all the "said said said" on every other page.

Book vs. Movie:  I don't think that this book would make a good screen play.  While the story was somewhat interesting I don't think I could see it on the big screen.  It would be WAY too slow moving for me.

The Monsters of Templeton
by Lauren Groff

If you like this book you should read: Flowers in the Attic by V.C. Andrews

Friday, December 11, 2009

TBR Challenge 2010 - My First Challenge Ever!

Pin It

So I have decided to participate in my first ever book reading challenge, and I am super excited!!!  The challenge I have accepted is the 2010 TBR (To Be Read) Challenge set up by MizB (though, I heard about the challenge over on Babbette's Book Blog).

Here are the Rules:

  • Make a list of books that have been sitting on your TBR shelf for 6 months or longer.
  • Publish the list on your blog before January 1st, 2010.
  • Audio and E-books are allowed.
  • Re-reads are not allowed.
  • Create a Alternate List (a list of other titles) just in case something on your TBR list doesn't tickle your fancy at the time.
  • Read them all before the last day of 2010.
  • You can check out the Yahoo group that MizB has set up for this challenge if you'd like.
  • You can overlap this Challenge with any other you are doing this year!
  • Happy Reading!

My 2010 TBR Challenge List:

  • Four Spirits by Sena Jeter Naslund
  • Oryx and Crake by Margaret Atwood
  • Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
  • Cold Mountain by Charles Frazier
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte (yeah I know I am a bad book a-holic)
  • Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
  • How Evan Broke His Head and Other Secrets by Garth Stein
  • The Host by Stephenie Meyer
  • The Other Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The Montrumologist by Rick Yancy
  • The Book Theif by Markus Zusak
  • Lolita by Valdimir Vladimirovich Nabokov

Alternate List:

  • Sunday's At Tiffany's By James Patterson
  • The Heretics Daughter by Kathleen Kate
  • The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown
  • Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  • The 19th Wife by David Ebershoff
  • The White Queen by Philippa Gregory
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • Autobiography of Henry VIII by Margaret George

Thursday, December 10, 2009

The Time Travlers Wife

Pin It

Okay.  I think it is finally time...  I have been waiting for just the right moment to review my #1 favorite book on my book shelf.  It is the book that changed reading for me forever.  I put books into two categories, before Time Travelers Wife, and after Time Travelers Wife.  Before The Time Travelers Wife I didn't really know how much I could actually LOVE and appreciate a book.  After Time Travelers Wife I have found other books that rival this one in either writing or plot (but never really both).  The reason it has taken me this long to write my review is because I just didn't know how to put my love into words.  I am still not sure I am up to the task but I think I am going to finally give it a whirl.  The first thing I want to say is that when you pick up The Time Travelers Wife you have to clear your mind of any expectations you may have for this story and start completely fresh.  I have read this book multiple times and every time I flip open the cover I have to forget what I already know.  I have to pretend I have never met Clare or Henry before, that I don't know about their unique love story, that I don't know the fate of these two characters, I have to start fresh Every. Single. Time.  And every time I read this brilliant piece of writing by Audrey Niffenegger, I laugh at the funny parts, and I cry at the sad ones, and even though I know all of them by heart, I fall in love again.

Bear with me and try to wrap your head around this creative plot...  When Clare meets Henry for the first time, Clare is a very little girl and Henry is a middle aged man, and Henry at the time of Clare's first meeting is married to Clare in the future.  When Henry meets Clare for the first time, Clare is in her early twenties and Henry is on the brink of thirty, but Clare has known Henry for her entire life and Henry is just meeting her for the first time.  Henry has a genetic disorder that hurls him (unwillingly) back and forth through time so a meeting like this can be possible. We follow Henry and Clare through their unique lives, through both of the first meetings, through their marriage, their family, and life as a Time Traveler.  And there is no way in heck you are going to pry more information out of me about this story.  You will just have to read it yourself to find out more about this amazing love story that takes place in the past, present, and future.

I know the plot sounds complicated but Niffenegger has penned a tale that is so easy to follow yet so intricate in nature that you are instantly drawn into the story.  Every time I read this book I am flabbergasted that someones brain works the way that Audrey Niffenegger's does.  She is a genius to be able to come up with a story line so complicated, and yet so beautifully written that you can follow it so well.  I only wish I could have her brain for an hour or two so I could experience how it works.

Book vs. Movie: Sadly (like always) the movie did no justice to this story.  If you have seen this movie please don't judge book.  There is so much information packed into the pages of the novel that it would be nearly impossible to put it into a 2 hour movie.  When we went to see the movie my husband (who has not read the book) leaned over to me and said "this is a great movie".  I turned to him and looked at him like he was crazy.  I was so disappointed.  At least he enjoyed the show but if he ever reads the book (highly unlikely) I am sure he would agree that there is not even the slightest comparison.  

The Time Travelers Wife
by Audrey Niffenegger

If you liked this book read: The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield

Read & Reviewed

Pin It
Books that I have read and reviewed in alphabetical order by title:

Abundance by Sena Jeter Naslund
Ahab's Wife by Sena Jeter Naslund
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
A Soft Place to Land by Susan Rebecca White

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak

Catching Fire by Suzanne Collins
Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister by Gregory Maguire
The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory


Extremely Loud and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson
Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch 
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larsson
The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer & Annie Borrows 

The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Help by Kathryn Stockett
Her Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Immortal by Traci L. Slatton
In Cold Blood by Truman Capote
In The Woods by Tana French



The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diament
Little Bee by Chris Cleave
Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov
The Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold
Lullaby by Chuck Palahniuk

The Memory Keeper's Daughter by Kim Edwards
The Mermaid Chair by Sue Monk Kidd
Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins
The Monsters of Templeton by Lauren Groff


One Second After by William R. Forstchen
One Thousand White Women by Jim Fergus
On Folly Beach by Karen White
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

The Passage by Justin Cronin
Peony in Love by Lisa See
The Plague by Albert Camus


Rococo by Adriana Trigiani
The Road by Cormac McCarthy 
Room by Emma Donoghue

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig
Shanghai Girls by Lisa See
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
Son of a Witch by Gregory Maguire
The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski

The Time Travelers Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper
Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden


The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O'Farrell

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
Why We Suck by Denis Leary
Wicked by Gregory Maguire




Review Policy

Pin It
Reading your book would be my honor, so if you have a novel you think I may like then please send me an email at  If the book looks like something of interest to me {and if I have the time}, I will take it on!  I will read it as soon as I can and I will review it as soon as possible.  I treat all my book reviews the same; if I love the book I will gush, and if I don't like it my readers will know.  I will Tweet about it and Facebook about it too!

The books I typically enjoy the best are Historical Fiction, Chick-Lit, Contemporary Fiction, Horror, Adventure and some Biographies (if the person is of interest to me).  I am open to reviewing other types of work as well so email me and ask!

I look forward to hearing from you and diving into your great work!

Tuesday, December 8, 2009


Pin It

I would expect nothing but the best from Sena Jeter Naslund, and she brought it with Abundance!  I know you are all sick of hearing me say it, but to me it is about a beautifully written piece of work, and Abundance had that as well as a great story of Marie Antoinette.  I was hypnotized by her writing and I was addicted to the story to see what was going to happen to Marie (I mean besides visiting the guillotine and all).  French history is something I didn't know much about so I was also excited to learn some new things about the French Revolution and the royal family.

Abundance starts as Marie Antoinette leaves Austria as a girl of only 14 and enters into France to become the Dauphine and wife of the Dauphin, Louie-Auguste.  The story is told through the eyes of Antoinette and I think it was interesting to see how Naslund made her mature in her voice through out the story.  In the beginning she is self absorbed, and frivolous in her thoughts and speech but then as the story goes on and she grows older she matures and you hear it in the way Naslund writes.  The way Naslund tells the story, Marie Antoinette wanted nothing but good for the people of France, and tabloidish type pamphlets muddied her name and made her an enemy to the people.  The people of France needed someone to blame their condition on and so it was an obvious choice to blame the extreme hunger and poverty on the Queen that had everything.  Naslund created her Marie Antoinette walking a thin line between frivolity and responsibility to her country.  Even at the end, while she was preparing to die to appease the people of France, she loved her country and its people but she was also worried about how her plum colored silk slippers looked.

If you like historical fiction than this is a great book for you to read.  If you don't like historical fiction I feel like you would find this book interesting still, because it reminds me of chick-lit at its best (shopping, pretty things, romance, sex, girl friends, little dogs, etc).  If you are like me and will read a book because the writing is mesmerizing then this is a good book for you too!

Annoying word of Abundance:  Besmirched.  The only compliant I have of Abundance is that Naslund uses the word Besmirched extraordinarily too many times in this book.  I hate when an author repeats a word over and over and over again.  Midway through the book we understood loud and clear that Marie Antoinette didn't want her name, her friends names, her clothes, her reputations, her bedding, to be Besmirched.  Blah.

Book vs. Movie:  If you ever saw the 2006 movie Marie Antoinette with Kirsten Dunst you, saw the frivolous side of Abundance.  But if you were to truly make Abundance into a movie I think you would need to do it better than this Sophia Coppola version.  Marie Anoinette only showed one layer of the Queen that Naslund wrote about.  It would be interesting to dive into the other layers of the last Queen of France.

by Sena Jeter Naslund

If you liked this book please read: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

Saturday, December 5, 2009

The Help {Book Club Read}

Pin It

I am on a roll with AMAZING books!  I read this book for our December Book Club and I couldn't put it down!!!  I truthfully wasn't really excited to read the book at first but that's what book clubs are for, branching out your reading list, right?  Anyway, I bought the book, took it home, read the first chapter and it was all over from that point.  I was hooked big time with the writing, again for me, most of the time, it is about OUT OF THIS WORLD writing, and this book has it as well as a wonderful story.  This debut novel by Kathryn Stockett held me captive with the amazing dialect she used with each character.  She really new how to develop her characters and it made the book so enjoyable.  Each chapter of the book was written in one of the characters points of view, and that kept the story fresh and exciting with every turn of the page.

The story takes place in Jackson Mississippi during the 1960s Civil Rights Movement.  The Society ladies run the town of Jackson, and their houses are ran by their "colored" hired help.  The ladies trust the raising of their children to their maids but they don't trust them to polish their silver (a line from the book jacket that has stuck with me).  It is a horrible time of segregation, racism, and cruelty in Jackson and three women take it upon themselves to try and change things.  The story follows these three women Skeeter (a society lady that thinks things need to change), Aibileen (a black lady that works as a maid for one of Skeeters best friends), and Minny (Aibileen's best friend and also a maid for another crazy rich lady in town).  Skeeter is troubled by the way her friends treat their maids and decides that she is going to write a book about the relationships between the maids and the ladies that employ them, from the maids point of view.  This is a dangerous project that could end up getting Aibileen and Minny killed, as severe beatings are common in Jackson at this point in time for people that speak out against segregation and civil rights.  When the book becomes a best seller things get out of control in Jackson as accusations fly, friends ships are broken, and the maids are terrified of loosing their jobs (or their lives).

While I read this book I felt a profound sense of sadness.  I can't believe that there was ever a time of such hatred and cruelty.  And then after that I felt ashamed with the realization that a lot of people still think this way.  I give great applause to Kathryn Stockett for treading a thin line to write this story.  There is a lesson in her words and I am a better person for reading The Help.  I have already started recommending this book to anyone that will listen, so if you haven't go out and buy this book ASAP!!

Book vs. Movie: I would absolutely watch a movie based on The Help.  The writing is so well done that I could actually see this story unfolding before my eyes, so to really see it on the screen would be amazing.  I am sure that a screenplay will be in the works real soon.

The Help
by Kathryn Stockett

If you like this book than read: Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See

Thursday, December 3, 2009

Honest Scrap Award

Pin It

So today I was given my second blog award!  Thank you oh-so-much Jazz at About Book Blog for thinking of me for the Honest Scrap Award, you made my day!  So there is a something you have to do when accepting this award and that is to write 10 Honest Things about yourself (make sure they aren't 10 boring things about yourself), and then pass the award on to 10 honest bloggers!  So here it goes:

1.  I have TONS of unread books on my book shelf but when I finish a book I go out and buy new ones because I just can't seem to find anything else to read.

2.  I am crazy addicted to Farmville on Facebook.

3.  I own my own business, a bridal boutique called The Couture Closet.

4.  I have a dog named Martini and I am kind of annoyingly obsessed with her.  I talk about her like she is my child and I know it's annoying but I can't stop.

5.  When my house is super clean I don't ever want to leave it.

6.  My husband is a firefighter and that makes me so proud.

7.  I was born in sunny California but now I live in Kentucky and I don't ever want to leave.

8.  I HATE skiing.  And this is something I just learned about myself recently when I was on top of a mountain in Colorado and had to ski down.

9.  I am the author of 4 blogs.  Classic Whimsy, Geebs Book Club, The Couture Closet Blog, and Montgomery KY.

10.  I really really really want to be on the Amazing Race.

And the Award goes too.....

A Good Addiction
Coffee Stained Pages
Confessions of a Book Whore
Reading is Sexy
Fiction Fanatic
With a Good Book
Tales of Whimsy
Mindful Musings
The Neverending Shelf