It's the last Tuesday in February which means Spring is on its way!! There are a lot of great reads this week to tide you over while you wait for the frost to finally wane.
First up, love is in the air as there are more Romance releases than I can mention here. Some of the highlights include "Edge of Dawn," by Lara Adrian, "Illicit," by Opal Carew, "A Bride by Moonlight," by Liz Carlyle, or "Immortal Ever After," by Lynsay Sands.
Over in Mystery, you'll uncover "Red Velvet Cupcake Murder," by Joanne Fluke, "Bad Blood," by Stephen Talty, and "Bad Blood," by Dana Stabenow.
Swing by the Science Fiction/Fantasy section for "Dreams and Shadows," by C. Robert Cargill, "Hell to Pay," by Matthew Hughes, or "Night Resurrected," by Joss Ware.
If you like all of the above genres, you may want to check out "Calculated in Death," the latest Eve Dallas novel by Nora Roberts' alter ego, J.D. Robb.
Over yonder in the Young Adult section, you can pick up "Pulse," by Patrick Carman, "Dualed," by Elsie Chapman, "Scandal," the latest "Ivy," novel by Lauren Kunze and "Fragments," by Dan Wells.
Tuesday, February 26, 2013
Friday, February 22, 2013
The Hills are Alive With the Sound of Julie Andrews
I have loved Julie Andrews ever since I can remember. The first time I heard something she sang was when I was about 5 and we were rehearsing a number for my dance recital...the song Do-Re-Mi from the Sound of Music. As I grew older I learned all of the songs from The Sound of Music, thanks to my grandmother, who loved the movie. My sister can also confirm that The Sound of Music soundtrack was one of the few tapes we were allowed to play in their car when we took vacations. Although I cannot quite understand why it took me so long to actually see the movie in full. Usually when we watched it I was only allowed to see up to "So Long Farewell" and then it was off to bed with me like the rest of the VonTrapp Children.
As I grew older I of course finally saw the end of The Sound of Music, and also Mary Poppins. When the Princess Diaries I was more excited to see Julie Andrews as Queen Clarisse than the actual storyline. It still is one of my favorite movies that I can just put on and lose myself in.
So that brings me to last month. I follow a few former Borders Managers and Asst Managers. Some of which have gotten other jobs with in the book industry. Imagine my reaction when one of them posted that Julie Andrews would be doing a book signing at Fairfield University Bookstore in Fairfield, CT. I didn't know what to do! I posted on facebook asking my friends if I should even consider going. I mean it's an hour and a half away from me, and I didn't even have details yet. The answer was a resounding YES!
So a couple days after the announcement the details came through. Tickets would be available if you purchased one of her children's books. They would start giving out tickets February 1st at opening. So I questioned myself again...did I really want to drive to Fairfield twice in 1 week. I decided to leave it up to fate. If I ended up with a closing shift or off on February 1st I would do it. As luck had it, I didn't have to work until 2 on Feb 1st so my mom and I took the trek (so that we could get a book and line ticket for my sister as well). Apparently all the tickets were taken within 2 hours of the store being open!
So today was the day! My sister Jennifer and I arrived at the bookstore around 1:45, an hour prior to lineup. We had our tickets and because we were early ended up being placed 20 and 21st in line. Around 2:30 they started queuing us up. Honestly the only complaint we had was that we were queued too early. The signing started later than scheduled and because we were queued in a tight space (and not really moving) our backs started to hurt.
An impromptu sing-a-long took place while we were waiting to go to the signing area. Imagine a whole bunch of strangers belting out Do-Re-Mi for Julie Andrews (who was already in place) to hear. Amazing and fun! Around 3:15 or so the first 25 people were brought up to the signing area. The girls in front of Jennifer and I posed an interesting question, "What do you say to Julie Andrews." I pondered it the entire time we were queued and upstairs. The line moved rather quickly and soon I was waiting to actually meet her, I heard her say "hello" to the girls ahead of me and I really couldn't believe it. She seriously sounds the way you hear her in movies.
Finally it was my turn. I went up to her table and just stared at her, she really is a beautiful woman. She asked how I was and I said "Good." I then blurted out "I have loved you since I was 5 years old" She replied "Oh how nice!" She then asked if the book I had was for me and I said "No it's for my 10 month old daughter." She then said "I hope she grows to love it." I told her "I will ensure that she does."
Then it was time for me to go. Yes there were no photographs, or any personalization, but it was because her schedule was so tight. I am so very blessed that I got to see someone who I have idolized for a very long time, that I truly didn't care about it!
I do have to give kudos to the staff at Fairfield University Bookstore, who put on a great event. They had their cafe staff running back and forth to the queue to get people drinks if they wanted them. Their bookstore staff were very personable and friendly to all the people who showed up!
A big thanks to Craig Kennedy whom without I would have NEVER found out about the event!!!!
By the way it is quite surreal going to this bookstore, it was fomerly a Borders so all the fixtures, sign holders, shelf talkers etc. are Borders things. It made me sad in a way.....
Here I am in line with my book (and post-it with my place number)
Here is the autograph!
Wednesday, February 20, 2013
10 Things I Love About ... Cinder
- Cinderella with a twist - So anyone who's been around this blog for longer than a week understands I'm a sucker for good fairy tale retellings. I know there are a million of them out there, but I think that makes it even more impressive when someone like Marissa Meyer is able to take a story that is so familiar and has been almost overdone and make it fresh and new and completely recognizable and completely different at the same time. I pretty much knew how most of the story threads were going to end up (and I was right across the board) BUT I didn't know how we were going to get there and in this book the journey is absolutely everything.
- The Eastern Commonwealth - It was very refreshing to read a book that wasn't set in North America. I have nothing against books set there, whether dystopia, post-apocalyptic, or otherwise. However, it is nice to see someone think in a different direction. I think it also helped to set this story apart in a good way.
- Letumosis - Okay, I know that sounds really really weird. Like I shouldn't be liking the horrible disease ravaging the population, leading to painful deaths. But I appreciate the background details like this. Letumosis raises the stakes. It gives the characters something ELSE to fight against - not just the people - and it makes the world more fully developed.
- Iko - Oh my goodness Iko. Everyone should have their own little robot to share secrets with and talk about everything. And she's pretty handy to have around the house or workshop too. I adored her crush on Kai.
- Peony - How much do I love that one of Cinder's sisters actually liked her and got along with her. Their friendship is so sweet.
- Dr. Erland - At first I did not like him at all, but he grew on me until at the end I was totally rooting for him. And that is all I am going to say on that point because I do not want to give away any spoilers.
- The ending - I knew going into it that this was a series. But I wasn't expecting that much of a cliffhanger! I didn't mind because Scarlet just came out, but if I'd had to wait a year it would have been so much harder. Still the ending is great to leave all kinds of things open so many more delicious books can come out!
- The larger political picture - this ties in with Letumosis and the Eastern Commonwealth. I just really really really really appreciated that Meyer took the whole world into account. I think the meeting of the leaders of the world was one of my favorite scenes - not because of what happened or anything, but simply because it was THERE. This acknowledgement that there is a whole world that will be affected and is being affected by the things that take place in this one part of it.
- Cinder - But of course! I am loving the heroines in these YA books recently. I have read so many great books with really strong female leads who are developed as PEOPLE first and it is fantastic. I love Cinder's determination, her grit, her talent. I love that she is a genius at fixing things and not just because she's a cyborg. I love her flaws and that she chooses to do the right thing despite and in spite of those flaws. I love that she struggled. I love that she persevered. I love that I get to read more about her in Scarlet.
- Kai - I am really not one to crush on fictional characters a lot, but I've had a plethora of options in recent YA fiction as well. Kai is wonderful. I love the relationship that organically develops between him and Cinder and I love how seriously he takes his responsibilities while still being his own person (with a great sense of humor I might add).
So there you have it. Did I miss anything you liked? Do tell. I kept away from spoilers here, but feel free to spoil away in the comments!
Tuesday, February 19, 2013
Did everyone enjoy their 3 day weekend? Or did you have to work on President's Day? If you didn't have a long weekend I hope, you'll find some time to unwind with a good book, such as one of this week's new releases.
A lot of Valentine's must've gone awry last week as there are no new releases in the genre today.
Meanwhile, over in Mystery, you'll find "Dogstar Rising: A Makana Mystery," by Parker Bilal, "A Good Death," by Christopher R. Cox, "Perfect Hatred," by Leighton Gage, and "Border Run," by Simon Lewis.
Skip over to Sci-Fi/Fantasy and you'll see "Trinity Rising," by Elspeth Cooper, "The Arena Man," by Steve Englehart, "Blood's Pride," by Even Manieri, "Firebrand," by Gillian Phillip, and "Elsewhens," by Melanie Rawn.
If you prefer Young Adult, you may want to check out "Mind Games," by Kiersten White or "Neferet's Curse," a "House of Night," novella by PC Cast.
Monday, February 18, 2013
Fairy Interesting: OUAT - Manhattan
But it was totally worth it. Joss Whedon is a genius and I wish there were so many more episodes of Firefly.
But enough about that (though if you have not seen the wonder that is Firefly go watch it this week because yes.) you want to hear all about Once Upon a Time. At least I'm assuming you do if you keep coming back to read my snarkiness :)
Tonight is the first episode that takes place almost entirely outside of Storeybrooke, which made for a nice change of scenery. In a totally unexpected twist (and by unexpected I mean I totally called it for sure last week and people have been saying it for a very long time) Neil turns out to be Rumple's son and Henry's father. People stand around and talk. A lot. And Emma gets to return to her roots as a bounty hunter and even do a flying tackle.
In flashback Fairy world we go way back in Rumple's life when his wife was loving and supportive instead of viperish and a cheaterface. However, we also see that her disdain is pretty well founded and we have to wonder why the hay bale she would leave her son with this man.
In a few glimpses of life back in Storeybrooke David Charming and Snow try to sort out the most twisted family tree in all of ever and Greg catches Regina on film magically rifling through Belle's purse. And Regina, for no reason that anyone could possibly really understand, continues to trust Cora and listen to her every whim.
I have a proposal. I think they should change the name of the show, just so everyone knows what is really going on here. So let's call it:
I Will Do Anything for My Child
I don't have a problem with this overarching theme, but I kind of feel like they're starting to beat us over the head with it. I'm pretty sure that phrase (or something incredibly close to it) was stated at least 3 times this episode alone.
When they showed up at the apartment and Neil (and by the way I am calling him that for 2 reasons: 1. That is how Emma knew him and how we first came to love him 2. I am way too lazy to look up how to spell his other name right now.) takes off I literally hit myself in the head and said DER.
Obviously this is why Rumple brought Emma. She is a bounty hunter. He is a cripple. She would be the perfect choice to help him run down (literally) his son who doesn't want anything to do with him.
This week's episode was definitely centered around the idea of cowardice and bravery in both storylines and none of our characters (except Henry) came out very well.
Emma made some epically bad decision in this episode again. Not telling Henry the truth was problematic (obviously), but then lying to Gold and Henry and letting Neil just walk away? No. Very bad idea. She should have listened to her mother and realized that nothing good would come of it and that she was really just trying to protect herself. And of course it blew up in her face.
When Neil asked if anything good came out of their relationship I wanted to slap her for saying nothing. NOTHING. N.O.T.H.I.N.G.?! For real? What about HENRY for pete's sake. Or meeting your parents. Or GAH! Okay. Maybe that was overreacting on my part, but it was just so cold and false and not cool at all.
I was excited that we would finally get to see what was in August's box, but it ended up being a rather lame reveal.
Side note - did you notice the sign on Neil's wall for Cleaners and Hatters! Please let this be an omen of Jefferson's return!
A quick jump over to flashback fairy world before I come back to the end of the Manhattan storyline.
Rumple really should have stayed away from that cage and, of course, he created a self-fulfilling prophecy as usually happens when people try to change their future. I liked this Rumple at the beginning. He's so hopeful and earnest and he dissolves so completely and so quickly. He really did take the coward's way out, but his wife turns on him so fast that I just can't reconcile the woman at the beginning with this one. It's no wonder it took him forever to believe that Belle's love could be at all real!
Also, I hate having Belle without a memory. I miss her!
The makeup and CGI for the seer was incredibly creepy and well-done. However, I would just like to point out that Rumple's ring (the one he is obsessively fiddling with while he waits with Henry) is the same creepy blue as the seer's eyes and I'm pretty sure that's where his future seeing magic is. Though at first I was really afraid he actually had her eye in the ring. Which would have been even creepier.
We also know now how Rumple got his limp and I totally never really realized how spry he is when he's all dark-magicked up. Plus he breaks out in that horrible glitter skin condition. And his voice goes all squeaky.
And now we know why Rumple helped Regina with the curse. He wanted to be reunited with his son. Of course.
Storeybrook almost non-existent in this episode. Just a couple of comments.
1. Snow and David Charming are adorable together as always and the chemistry between them is perfect now that the whole curse thing has been straightened out.
2. Who is Greg talking on the phone with all the time? It has to be someone we know or know of or we wouldn't see him doing it. Maybe August?
3. Hook just cannot catch a break. You'd think he'd have learned his lesson about making deals with women by now.
4. I really really really don't understand why Regina puts up with Cora for even a moment. I know she wants Henry back, but after everything that has happened she has to know that this is the one thing that would drive him completely away from her.
Okay, back to Manhattan and the final moments.
I was cheering Henry on. The only one there willing to face the truth no matter what. And the only one willing to really forgive and give a second chance.
I would like to point out that when Emma took Henry's face in her hands and smoothed his hair it looked eerily Regina like. A nice touch when she's having to face up to the fact that she's lied to him just like Regina did.
Rumple says that he's changed, which he has. However, now that he's lost Belle I'm pretty sure the reformation is not going to last long at all.
And for the final twist? Henry will be Rumple's undoing. Great.
My thought on this: PLEASE do not tell me this will be their way of getting rid of Henry so they can avoid the problem of an actor that will be growing much faster than the character is supposed to. Because... No. Just... No.
Next week it looks like it all hits the fan. so that's exciting :D
Saturday, February 16, 2013
January Book Club: I'm Not Her by Janet Gurtler
With her signature breathtaking honesty, Janet Gurtler takes a storyline that could be considered overdone and breathes heart-wrenching life (and a touch of humor) into the lives of these characters.
Want to buy it?
Barnes & Noble
Books a Million
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Rebecca T. here - I stumbled upon Janet Gurtler by happy accident. She was doing a signing with the Roecker sisters in New York and I picked up Who I Kissed to read before the signing (I like to check out an author's books before I meet them if I can). I devoured the book in a couple of hours and cried the whole time. When I told this to Janet at the signing she got excited and asked if she could hug me. Most YA contemporary doesn't really do it for me, but Janet's books are all raw, real, and beautifully written.
What we thought. While we don't have any major spoilers, we are talking about it as though we've read it:
Eileen - YA books about 'real life' situations rarely catch my attention. This was definitely an exception. Tess felt real. Her emotions and awkward moments while dealing with her sister's cancer along with normal teen issues were well portrayed. The twist at the end made for a different but still satisfying book.
Rebecca T. - I think the thing I loved most about this book was the way the family situation was portrayed. Seeing Tess watch her parents fall apart because of the cancer felt so real. And I especially appreciated the way everything wasn't wrapped up perfectly at the end. There were still major problems that the family would have to deal with. It made everything feel so much more realistic. I think Clark was my favorite character and I loved the humor woven in - the way the rest of Tess' life kept moving and changing even though she was obviously mostly caught up in the situation with her sister.
Have you read I'm Not Her? Is there another teen book about real life issues that you have found particularly compelling? We'd love to hear about it in the comments!
This month we decided to read Beautiful Creatures to go along with the movie release. Our bookclub meeting is also going to be an Oscar watching party. If you check out our Twitter feed on Oscar night we might even have some commentary to share with you.
Tuesday, February 12, 2013
Ironically, there are only two new releases in Romance today, "The Gin Lovers," by Jamie Brenner, and "Daybreak," by Shelley Shepard Gray.
If your love story is out of this world and you favor Sci-Fi/Fantasy instead, check out "Farside," by Ben Bova, "The Daylight War," by Peter Brett, or "The Best of All Possible Worlds," by Karen Lord.
If your crush is a secret and you'd like to keep it mysterious, perhaps you'll want to sweep through the Mystery section. You'll find "A Medal for Murder," by Frances Brody, "Ghostman," by Roger Hobbs, "Guilt," by Jonathan Kellerman, and "Airtight," by David Rosenfelt.
Meanwhile time is running for short for Rhine to find love and her missing brother in "Sever," the conclusion to Lauren DeStefano's "Chemical Garden" trilogy. Other new releases in Young Adult include "Dance of Shadows," by Yelena Black, "The Whole Stupid Way We Are," by N. Griffin, and "Arcadia Burns," by Kai Meyer.
Are any of these books on your "to-read" list? Share with us and also tell us how you will be celebrating Valentine's Day. Remember the day is all about sharing the love, it doesn't have to be with a traditional sweetheart. Take a moment to tell your best friend, co-worker, or favorite blogger that they're terrific! Happy Reading and Happy Valentine's Day.
Sunday, February 10, 2013
Fairy Interesting: OUAT "Tiny"
Yeah! It's back!
So tonight Henry and Emma are off on a quest with Rumple who is having major magic withdrawal symptoms. Seriously jumpy. But Henry's got his cinnabuns, so it's okay that he's off on an airplane with the guy who has repeatedly tried to trick, kill, and destroy the rest of his family. *cough*
Back in Storeybrooke Belle and Ruby start to bond, Belle freaks out, and the dude from the car is creepy as all get out. Meanwhile Snow and David Charming chase Hook, free a giant, almost get squished by a giant, save the same giant, and finish off the night with a coffee and a good laugh. Regina is popping in and out of people's lives being her good old manipulative lying self and is much more the better for it (um, yes, I'm a terrible person who doesn't want to see her redeemed because blech).
In other news, this showed up on my Facebook feed repeatedly this week from the Once Upon a Time fan page and it was too wonderful not to share here:
Can I just say that the invisible ship is pretty freakin' cool.
And, as I have said repeatedly, I love Regina this way. I feel like a horrible person, but seriously. Let's keep her in the evil witch category. Though I do have to say that falling right into Cora's plan after all of the "my mother is evil incarnate and will devour our souls" stuff seems really off. She has the appearing thing down though. When she pops up behind Hook it almost startled me.
Jorge just can't be anyone but Hurley. He's so cute and misunderstood. Also, the CGI was much better in this episode.
You know, when he was walking down the street in Storeybrooke and getting honked at - wasn't anyone there concerned about who this rather large guy is and why he's in their rather ... um ... contained town? Honking as they drive past didn't seem the appropriate response.
I loved the reference to Wonderland again, though I was a little bit terrified that the girl was going to be some twisted Alice. Then when she said her name was Jack I kind of felt like I should have seen that one coming.
And speaking of Jack - she wins for lamest line of the episode: "Take us to the beans." ---Really?
James is a fun guy to have hanging around. Talk about a jerkity jerkface. Yes, I am 12 years old. I was completely torn between hating his guts and loving the chance for Josh Dallas to play another role. I love that they brought that element back in.
Also, Snow's explanation about Emma being gone sounded so ridiculously lame, which was funny because it was actually true. And the conversation about David's name as they were running for their lives was hilarious.
I am also excited by the idea that Antoine could be a reprising character now. And magic beans? Not only does this ramp up the stakes for Cora, but it also means that we might get to see some other realms soon. Though I really hope this doesn't mean that Jefferson is out of the picture, because I need him back on this show soon please.
This is the happiest and most carefree we've seen Snow almost ever. She was just floating at the end of the episode. Snow and David Charming are about the cutest thing ever.
Need a travel tip? Don't ever take Rumple with you. He is pretty much the most anxious traveler ever. His magic shawl is not working so well and I really think he might be losing his mind (also, on a side note, I am more and more convinced that Henry's father is Rumple's son. But we'll see how that goes next week. Talk about craziness. That would mean that Rumple is Henry's grandfather?! Okay. Too weird.)
And finally Belle. Ruby coming in with the picnic basket gave me a little giggle, but when she gave
I am really concerned with the amount of tranquilizers they are pumping into her. That has to be affecting her recovery. It really does. And Greg could not be creepier if he tried. Okay, he probably could, but he really really freaks me out. There is something really weird going on with him.
So next week's episode looks so good. And I'm so happy to be back with my fairy tale characters :D
Tuesday, February 5, 2013
Happy February! It's a new month with lots of great new reads this week.
Roam by the Romance section and pick up "Rush," by Maya Banks or "S.E.C.R.E.T," by L. Marie Adeline.
Move on over to the Mystery section and you'll find "The Golden Scales: A Makana Mystery," by Parker Bilal, "A Cold and Lonely Place," by Sara Henry, or "The Golden Calf," by Helene Tursten.
Swing on though the Science-Fiction/Fantasy Section for "A Natural History of Dragons: A Memoir of Lady Trent," by Marie Brennan, "Dead Space," by Anthony Johnston, or "When the Night Whispers," by Savannah Welles.
Strut on over to the Young Adult section for the fifth "Lying Game," novel, "Cross My Heart, Hope to Die," by Sara Shepard, "Etiquette and Espionage," by Gail Carriger, "Perfect Scoundrels," by Ally Carter and "Unravel Me," by Tahereh Mafi.
What books will make your "to-read" list? Remember to support your local bookstores whenever possible. Happy Reading!
Sunday, February 3, 2013
Melanie also watches the game for the commercials. However, she hasn't watched the game for this purpose since the commercials started appearing on Youtube. She'd rather have a Souper Bowl party and eats lots of soup with us.
I admit the ads are entertaining but that commercial with the talking baby really creeps me out. However, Rebecca and Melanie thought the talking baby was cute.
Melanie and I agreed that the "Ferris Bueller" inspired ad from last year was terrific. To me, it was worth watching the game for the few minutes of joy this commercial provided.
I'm into the TV marathon concept too. I'm going to check out "Downton Abbey." After hearing my love for the new "Dallas," my best friend decided to check it out and encouraged me to check out "Downton Abbey", which is her favorite show. I have watched the Super Bowl in the past and been to a party or two but the only thing I was really interested there was the food.
How will you be celebrating the Super Bowl? Will you be watching the game? Do you understand or enjoy football? What was your favorite big game commercial? Share with us! And watch out for that deer antler spray! :)
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