Saturday, December 25, 2010

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Such A Pretty Face

Such A Pretty Face

From Goodreads:
In this warm, funny, thoroughly candid novel, acclaimed author Cathy Lamb introduces an unforgettable heroine who's half the woman she used to be, and about to find herself for the first time-Two years and 170 pounds ago, Stevie Barrett was wheeled into an operating room for surgery that most likely saved her life. Since that day, a new Stevie has emerged, one who walks without wheezing, plants a garden for self-therapy, and builds and paints fantastical wooden chairs. At thirty-five, Stevie is the one thing she never thought she'd be: thin. But for everything that's changed, some things remain the same. Stevie's shyness refuses to melt away. She still can't look her neighbors' gorgeous great-nephew in the eye. The Portland law office where she works remains utterly dysfunctional, as does her family-the aunt, uncle, and cousins who took her in when she was a child. To top it off, her once supportive best friend clearly resents her weight loss. By far the biggest challenge in Stevie's new life lies in figuring out how to define her new self. Collaborating with her cousins to plan her aunt and uncle's problematic fortieth anniversary party, Stevie starts to find some surprising answers-about who she is, who she wants to be, and how the old Stevie evolved in the first place. And with each revelation, she realizes the most important part of her transformation may not be what she's lost, but the courage and confidence she's gathering, day by day. As achingly honest as it is witty, Such A Pretty Face is a richly insightful novel of one woman's search for love, family, and acceptance, of the pain we all carry-and the wonders that can happen when we let it go at last.

My take:

OMG, this book made me cry. Stevie's journey, from her traumatic childhood  to the life she's rebuilding as the book progresses, is amazing. Her childhood is cut short by the deaths of her schizophrenic mother, baby sister, and beloved grandparents. She's taken in by her aunt and her control-freak husband, Herbert. Her cousins Polly & Lance try to help her feel normal, but they wind up battling their own issues. As her life spirals out of control, Stevie eats for comfort and eventually reaches 350 lbs. (Polly becomes an anorexic and Lance is just zany & neurotic)  After a heart attack at 32, she undergoes gastric bypass surgery and starts her life over again. At half her former weight, she's amazed at how different that life is.

In her quest for a new beginning, Stevie is forced to confront the demons of her past. She also finds a new love, loses an old friend who turns out not to be such a good one, helps a family cope with the loss of a child, joins a roller derby term (!!!), and watches as her family turns on the man who has made them all miserable for so many years in a quest to earn their own happy endings too. I was rooting for Stevie and all of her friends/family and cheered as those who needed it got their comeuppance.

Monday, December 20, 2010

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float- Classic Lit Signs On To Facebook

Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float: Classic Lit Signs on to Facebook

from Goodreads:
This hilarious book is the first to bring more than fifty authors and stories from classic literature back to life and online. Schmelling uses the conventions of social networking- profile pages, status updates, news feeds, and applications-to retell everything from The Odyssey to The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn to Lolita. At last, your favorite characters and authors from classic literature have caved to the pressure and joined a social network. William Shakespeare, with a little help from author Sarah Schmelling, recruits everyone from Jane Austen to Oedipus Rex to James Joyce to his online booke club group. Of course, mayhem soon ensues: -Mark Twain infiltrates Oscar Wilde's profile page and challenges him to a "quip off." -Jane Eyre listens to "Hard Knock Life" on repeat. -Hamlet becomes a fan of Daggers. -Dracula wonders why this "Edward" and "Bella" are people he may know. A loving spoof of the most-trafficked social networking website in the world and a playful game of literary who's who, Ophelia Joined the Group Maidens Who Don't Float will have book lovers and Facebook addicts alike twittering with joy.

My 2 cents:
I got this from a bargain bin at Jospeh-Beth Booksellers in Lexington KY and it may be the best $2 I spent this year! This was a hoot! Classic literature as if seen on Facebook- much better than a similar type book I read that was based on Twitter. I think the Hamlet may have been my favorite.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Half-Assed: A Weight Loss Memoir

Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir

from Goodreads:
After undergoing gall bladder surgery at age twenty-three, Jennette Fulda decided it was time to lose some weight. Actually, more like half her weight. At the time, Jennette weighed 372 pounds.

Jennette was not born fat. But, by fifth grade, her response to a school questionnaire asking “what would you change about your appearance” was “I would be thinner.” Sound familiar?

Half-Assed is the captivating and incredibly honest story of Jennette’s journey to get in shape, lose weight, and change her life. From the beginning—dusting off her never-used treadmill and steering clear of the donut shop—to the end with her goal weight in sight, Jennette wows readers with her determined persistence to shed pounds and the ability to maintain her ever-present sense of self.
My 2 cents:
This wasn't a touchy-feely "oh it's so easy to lose weight" book. The author is very honest about her struggle and makes it clear that it took modifying her eating habits and exercising to accomplish her goal. Now I just need to follow in her footsteps!

Saturday, December 18, 2010

The Special Blankie

The Special Blankie

This was a cute little story. Little Hedgehog agrees to take care of Baby Hedgehog. His friends aren't so thrilled about having Baby and his blankie tag along, but when one of them gets into trouble, it's Baby & the blankie who save the day! Not only is this a good book to teach little ones that EVERYONE is important, it has a fuzzy blankie that they can pat on the pages.

Friday, December 17, 2010

It All Changed In An Instant- More Six Word Memoirs

It All Changed in an Instant: More Six-Word Memoirs by Writers Famous & Obscure

From Goodreads:
Thousands of people around the world responded to SMITH Magazine's call for six-word memoirs. Following up on the smashing success of the New York Times bestseller Not Quite What I Was Planning, here are more memoirs from Sarah Silverman, Junot Diaz, Neil Patrick Harris, Suze Orman, Gay Talese, Tony Hawk, Amy Tan—and hundreds of never-before-published writers. Funny and bittersweet, witty and wild, or downright tragic, these addictive life stories are both monumental and miniscule. Six-word memoirs have become a globalphenomenon, offering anyone and everyone a telling peek at humanity and a chance to find the writer within. "Father: ‘Anything but journalism.' I rebelled." —Malcolm Gladwell"Live man's life in woman's body!" —Diane von Furstenberg"Met wife at her bachelorette party." —Eddie Matz"The miserable childhood leads to royalties." —Frank McCourt"I never checked my lottery ticket." —Casey Burra"Shiny head. Hippie hair. Shiny head." —Wally Lamb"Bipolar, no two ways about it." —Jason Owen"So would you believe me anyway?" —James Frey"Can't look at heart donor's picture." —Tonia Hall"Healed with steel, then got real." —Dr. Mehmet Oz"I still practice my Oscar speech." —Jennifer Labbienti"I've done it all except hear." —Marlee Matlin

My 2 cents:
LOVE LOVE LOVE this series! They give you a website where you can submit your own. ( I, of course, had to try my hand at it and have finally narrowed mine down to 4 choices:

1. My life: cats, caffeine, books, job

2. Confused, bitter Amazon seeks similar male

3. Sometimes too much, yet never enough

4. Can’t forget, won’t forgive, HATE him.

Is It Just Me? Or Is It Nuts Out There?

Is It Just Me?: Or is it nuts out there?

Given how much I've enjoyed Whoopi's humor over the years, I thought that this would be a laugh riot. More like a genteel snicker or two. I think Ms Goldberg has been drinking the Kool-aid at the View and has both dumbed down and tamed her sense of humor for the masses. Worth reading, but I wouldn't recommend paying hardback prices for it. Get it from your library or wait for the paperback.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

The Pioneer Woman Cooks

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Recipes from an Accidental Country Girl

I love Ree's website and this book has the same familiar feel. The way she includes step-by-step photographs with the instructions for the recipes makes it very easy to follow along if you're a novice cook. The stories she tells and the gorgeous photgraphs of her family, friends, and scenery around her ranch make you feel like you're there.

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

Ransom My Heart

Ransom My Heart

From the book:

He's a tall, handsome knight with a secret. She's an adventurous beauty with more than a few secrets of her own. Finnula needs money for her sister's dowry, and fast. Hugo Fitzstephen, returning home to England from the Crusades with saddlebags of jewels, has money, and lots of it. What could be simpler than to kidnap him and hold him for ransom?

Well, for starters, Finnula could make the terrible mistake of falling in love with her hostage.

My review:

I was afraid that this was going to be horrible- it's a one off from the Princess Mia books. The premise is that Mia has written this historical romance. But despite a few moments that DO come across as written by a clueless teen, this is actually an entertaining story! I would honestly recommend it to some die-hard romance reading friends of mine or anyone who wants a light-but-fun read.

Monday, December 13, 2010

Living Oprah

Living Oprah: My One-Year Experiment to Walk the Walk of the Queen of Talk

From Goodreads:
What happens when a thirty-five-year-old average American woman spends one year following every piece of Oprah Winfrey's advice on how to "live your best life"? Robyn Okrant devoted 2008 to adhering to all of Oprah's suggestions and guidance delivered via her television show, her Web site, and her magazine. LIVING OPRAH is a month-by-month account of that year.

Some of the challenges included enrollment in Oprah's Best Life Challenge for physical fitness and weight control, living vegan, and participating in Oprah's Book Club. After 365 days of LIVING OPRAH, Okrant reflects on the rewards won and lessons learned as well as the tolls exacted by the experiment.

My Opinion:
My biggest gripe with this book is that while the author kept mentioning her money issues, she continued to buy the books that Oprah featured. I understand that she was performing an experiment and why she bought the other stuff mentioned throughout the book (even if I disagree with the idea), but she could have saved herself some money by obtaining books from her local public library. In most cases, from what I understood, Oprah said READ these books, not necessarily buy them. (and this is coming from a compulsive book buyer!)

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Very Best of British

The Very Best of British
From Amazon:
A fun look at the differences between British and American English. Written by the British bloke who moved to Tossa Lane, Austin, Texas. This humourous and informative book is a must for anyone who wants to speak British!! Illustrated throughout with 22 original cartoons, this book contains over 1000 words and expressions you thought meant the same on both sides of the Atlantic!

My view:

The cartoons are cute, and some of the definitions are amusing. However, I own so many other books like this that were done better, that this was a bit of a let down. Books like Brit-Think, Ameri-Think: A Transatlantic Survival Guide, Revised Edition by Jane Walmsley are more my type. Not bad though if you just want a very basic dictionary of British terms.

Silly Sunday: 5-10-15 Meme

I love memes! I find them on other blogs and sometimes steal them for my own. I thought I'd take a stab at creating one and see how it turns out. Feel free to play along- Really! The base premise for this one is easy: 3 lists- 1 of 5 items, 1 of 10, etc. Ready?

5 Christmas Songs That I Can Still Stand:

Blue Christmas- Seymour Swine

10 Pains of Christmas- Bob Rivers

Christmas (Baby Please Come Home)- U2 version only

Do They Know It’s Christmas?- Band Aid (original only please)

Last Christmas- Wham

10 Movies That I Have Watched Way Too Many Times

Princess Bride

Rocky Horror Picture Show

Disney’s Robin Hood

The Birdcage

16 Candles

The Breakfast Club


Star Trek IV- The Voyage Home (all of them really)

Star Wars- New Hope

Raiders of the Lost Ark

15 Books That I Have Almost Memorized

The Eight- Katherine Neville

Moonheart- Charles De Lint

Gone With the Wind- Margaret Mitchell

Coffee Tea or Me- Trudy Baker & Rachel Jones

Never Hit a Jellyfish With a Spade- Guy Browning

Madeline- Ludwig Bemelmans

Green Eggs & Ham- Dr Seuss

Where the Sidewalk Ends- Shel Silverstein

If Life Is a Bowl of Cherries, What Am I Doing in the Pits?- Erma Bombeck

Once & Future King- T H White

The Woods Were Full of Men- Irma Lee Emerson

Get Away From Me With Those Christmas Gifts- Sylvia Wright

Little House in The Big Woods- Laura Ingalls Wilder

Bless Your Heart, Tramp- Celia Rivenbark

Murder At The Cat Show- Marian Babson

Saturday, December 11, 2010

The English Rose Resturant Cookbook

The English Rose Restaurant Cookbook

From Goodreads:
From basics such as Shepherd's Pie to artfully created recipes like Glazed Carrots and Parsnips, this homey cookbook captures the rich flavors of the British countryside. Recipes from the menu of the popular Bay Area restaurant feature entrees, soups, salads, light lunches, breads and scones, and desserts.

My opinion:
Well, being something of an avowed Anglophile and loving to eat, I had high hopes for this cookbook. My friends and I are planning an all day bash for Kate & William's wedding next spring and I was hoping to find a useful tidbit or two. No such luck. While I am not such a food snob that I refuse to use ready made foods in recipes, I do find it disheartening to find them in a cookbook of recipes allegedly served in a restaurant. I counted at least 6 in this volume including an apple pie that called for a defrosted 12 oz package of escalloped apples.
At least I bought it used for a low price and won't feel bad about giving it away!

Friday, December 10, 2010

Marrying Anita

Marrying Anita

From Goodreads:
You are a single woman in your thirties, fed up with the singles scene. You are tired of singles dinner parties, and exhausted by phone calls, e-profiles, and forced dinner conversation. You fear you will never marry. What do you do? Anita Jain, a New York-based Indian-American journalist, is just such a woman. Even her parents despair of her and have logged her details on to an Indian dating internet site. For years she has trusted the Western way of finding a husband, but maybe there's something in arranged marriages after all. It certainly can't get any worse. So she's travelling to India in search of a perfect husband. Marrying Anita is a refreshingly honest look at the modern search for a mate set against the backdrop of a rapidly modernising New India. Will she find a suitable man? If so, will he please her nosy parents, aunts, uncles and cousins? Is the new urban Indian culture all that different from New York? And is any of this dating worth the effort?

My opinion:
Anita got fed up with the dating scene in NYC and decided to move to India in order to give a more traditional Indian approach to relationships a try. That didn't work too well either, but her journey is an interesting read. Despite our cultural differences, I was able to identify with a great deal of Anita's life. I, however, will NEVER consider letting my parents pick a husband for me! (my mother's idea of the perfect man for me is Howdy-Doody and my father is trying to marry me off to Shaft.)

The Big Read list and how I rank on it

I confess freely that I have cribbed this from Nancy at Bookfoolery & Babble. ( I did change the color coding to suit my taste. I hope she won't mind too terribly as I am a very big fan of her blog.

The Big Read list has been passed around quite a bit, this past week or two, so I thought I'd join in. It's a list of 100 books; the BBC believes most people will have read only 6 or so off this list. They probably have a point. I doubt you'll see anyone outside the book blogging community getting all excited about the list. The average Joe probably has only read what's required or the most popular tripe, right? Anyway, I'm going to alter mine a little.

Black = I have read it

Green = I read part of it but did not finish

Purple = I have read it AND I own a copy
** = A personal favorite from this list

Red =  Not familiar with this one or don't want to read it
Blue = Will eventually read this one

Orange = hated it

And without further ado, here's the list!

1. Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen
2. The Lord of the Rings - J. R. R. Tolkien
3. Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte

4. Harry Potter Series - J. K. Rowling ** (in hardback, no less)
5. To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
6. The Bible

7. Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte

8. 1984 - George Orwell

9. His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman

10. Great Expectations - Charles Dickens
11. Little Women - Louisa May Alcott ** (must confess that I liked Little Men better)

12. Tess of the D'Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy

13. Catch-22 - Joseph Heller

14. Complete Works of Shakespeare ** (I've read a LOT of Shakespeare, but not EVERYTHING)

15. Rebecca - Daphne DuMaurier
16. The Hobbit - J. R. R. Tolkien

17. Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk

18. Catcher in the Rye - J. D. Salinger
19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffenegger

20. Middlemarch - George Elliot

21. Gone With the Wind - Margaret Mitchell**

22. The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald

23. Bleak House - Charles Dickens

24. War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy

25. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams**

26. Brideshead Revisited - Evelyn Waugh
27. Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky

28. The Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck

29. Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll**

30. The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame

31. Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy

32. David Copperfield - Charles Dickens

33. Chronicles of Narnia - C. S. Lewis**

34. Emma - Jane Austen
35. Persuasion - Jane Austen

36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - C. S. Lewis**

37. The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini

38. Captain Corelli's Mandolin - Louis de Bernieres

39. Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (own an autographed copy and still haven't read it)

40. Winnie the Pooh - A. A. Milne**

41. Animal Farm - George Orwell

42. The DaVinci Code - Dan Brown

43. One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

44. A Prayer for Owen Meany - John Irving

45. The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins

46. Anne of Green Gables - L. M. Montgomery

47. Far from the Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy

48. The Handmaid's Tale - Margaret Atwood

49. Lord of the Flies - William Golding

50. Atonement - Ian McEwan

51. Life of Pi - Yann Martel

52. Dune - Frank Herbert

53. Cold Comfort Farm - Stella Gibbons (I don't suppose watching the movie counts?)

54. Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen

55. A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth

56. The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon

57. A Tale of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (you may be noting a trend in my attitude toward Dickens)

58. Brave New World - Alduous Huxley

59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Nighttime- Mark Haddon

60. Love in the Time of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez

61. Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck

62. Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov

63. The Secret History - Donna Tartt

64. The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold

65. The Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas

66. On the Road - Jack Kerouac

67. Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy

68. Bridget Jones' Diary - Helen Fielding

69. Midnight's Children - Salman Rushdie

70. Moby Dick - Herman Melville (an entire chapter on the color white?!? GAH)

71. Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens

72. Dracula - Bram Stoker

73. The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett

74. Notes from a Small Island - Bill Bryson**

75. Ulysses - James Joyce

76. The Inferno - Dante**

77. Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome

78. Germinal - Emile Zola

79. Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackery

80. Possession - A. S. Byatt**

81. A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (the only Dickens I can halfway stand)

82. Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell

83. The Color Purple - Alice Walker

84. The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro
85. Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert

86. A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry

87. Charlotte's Web - E. B. White**

88. The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom (are you freaking kidding me?!?)

89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Arthur Conan Doyle**

90. The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton

91. Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad

92. The Little Prince - Antoine de Saint-Exupery

93. The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks

94. Watership Down - Richard Adams

95. A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy O'Toole

96. A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute

97. The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas
98. Hamlet - William Shakespeare** (not sure why this isn't included w/Complete Works above, but whatever)

99. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl**

100. Les Miserables - Victor Hugo

Well, if you take out the 33 that I haven't read and the 6 that I haven't finished, I don't think i finished too shabbily. 61 out of 100. Anyone else want to weigh in?

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Remarkable Miss Frankenstein

The Remarkable Miss Frankenstein

I love Minda Webber! I almost skipped this book but something made me go back and pick it up. What a hoot! If you like punnish humor, finding old friends in the oddest places, and a goofy romanctic entanglement or two, you'll like this book. I nearly fell out of bed laughing when the heorine and her erstwhile self-appointed protector fell out of a closet at an inopportune moment. Most of the classic horror stereotypes are here- vampires, werewolves, the Frankenstein monster (his name is Frederick and the family has adopted him)as well as a twist on some well known characters. Light reading, but worth it!

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

What the Mouse Found

What the Mouse Found

This is a darling collection of stories that Charles wrote for assorted children in his life, based loosley on dolls & stuffed animals made by his wife. They're all delightful, but the last story nearly made me cry. The end was bittersweet, but over all it's a terrific collection that would be a wonderful way to get your little bookworm hooked on the Magic that is Charles's deLint's work.

And One Last Thing

And One Last Thing ...

From the book: "If Singletree’s only florist didn’t deliver her posies half-drunk, I might still be married to that floor-licking, scum-sucking, receptionist-nailing hack-accountant, Mike Terwilliger."

Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned! Lacey's soon-to-be-ex husband finds this out the hard way as she informs everyone they know (and then some)of his affair via the company newsletter he asks her to write for him. The story goes viral and now Lacey has to hide out while her lawyer tries to get things settled down. As she swears she never wants to look at a man again, she finds herself being intrigued by her new have to read the book to see what happens next!

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Cats In The Belfry

Cats in the Belfry (Doreen Tovey Cat Books)

I loved this book. I've had several friends with Siamese cats and it's hard to believe that this book was written so long ago, because it totally describes them. For that matter, it describes my 3 non-siamese owners. (let's not kid anyone- they own me, not the other way round!)Especially the way the cats voiced their opinions In Capitalized Exclamations and the general behavior when taken anywhere in the car. I can't tell you how many times I've had someone squawk at me. "You're Going To Kill Us All!" or "Why Isn't There Food In My Bowl?!?"

Monday, December 6, 2010



This was a cute light-hearted mystery. A shopping & club addicted London girl gets in trouble and gets sent to her grandparents in the country. There she finds natives both friendly and unfriendly, a possible boyfriend, and more mayhem than she ever expected!

Zen and the Art of Herding Cats

No book review this time, just a view into my world. This particular incident happened back in August:

So, my three cats have a way of demanding attention at inopportune moments. Their favorite time to want petting is when I’m in the bathroom, ensconced on the throne, and not in the mood to be disturbed. I mean, heck, I don’t try to pet them when they’re in the litter box!

Anyway, there I am and of course all 3 come bounding in. (For those who ask why I don’t just close the door, they are good at zipping in before I can get it shut) Nightshade, the little black cat, is going through this phase where she will only drink water from the bathroom sink. She won’t drink from the bowl in the kitchen- I have to fill the sink a couple of times a day for her highness. Since I was in a position to do it, I went ahead and filled it for her.  She perched on the sink on the side by the wall and Felicity jumped up on the bathtub side to get a drink too. Malkin was on the floor between my feet demanding attention.

Well, Liss decided that she should be on the side of the sink by the wall and started trying to push Shady out of the way to get there. She managed to lose her balance and fall, sideways, into the sink, thoroughly drenching herself in the process. As soon as she started to slip, Shady leapt up and over her, landing in the tub. Liss shot straight up from the water and burrowed herself into my chest, screeching “What IS This?!? You KNOW I Don’t Get Wet!!! Why Did You Do This To Me?!?” (like I had anything to do with it) Malkin went into panic mode as soon as Liss started screeching and tried to flee the bathroom. He ran headlong into the door- TWICE- before finding his way out. “I swear, I didn’t do any of it, Mom! Really!” Felicity, in the meantime was still screaming “WHY ME, WHY ME?!?” and was climbing over my shoulder, smacking me in the face repeatedly with her wet tail, and avoiding my attempts to wrap her in a towel to get her dried off.  She finally jumped down and ran, still shrieking,  through the house. Nightshade got back up on the sink and gave me a plaintive meow “you KNOW I can’t drink this after SHE took a bath in it!”

I hurriedly finished my business and left Shady still wailing about her water while I hunted Felicity down with a towel. Of course, she had her dripping wet butt on top of one of my bookcases. (no books damaged, thankfully) She saw me coming with the towel, assumed I was going to Do It To Her Again, and took off…for the bathroom. Nightshade saw her coming and literally threw a hissy fit. Malkin had emerged from wherever he had gone to hide and got bowled over by Liss on her way back to the bathroom. (no mean feat there- he’s twice her size) Then I stumbled over him while chasing HER. I finally cornered Liss with the towel and got her dry, refilled the sink to shut Shady up, and picked Malk up for a cuddle to soothe his hurt feelings since we were all Being Mean To Him.

It seemed like forever, but I think the whole episode lasted about 5 minutes. All I can say is, if the cats make me this crazy, I am NEVER having kids.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Native Star

The Native Star

I really enojyed this book. Set in roughly the same time period as Gail Carriger's Parasol Protectorate series, only in the United States, Native Star is the tale of hedge-witch Emily Edwards and the deliciously named wizard Dreadnought Stanton. Emily accidentally winds up with a magic stone embedded in her hand and the story follows her as Stanton tries to take her to the wizard he thinks will best be able to get it out. Along the way they encounter Indians, killer raccoons, evil wizards, flying machines, and many other obstacles. Oh, and there's even a bit of a love triangle. Lots of fun!

Playing With Books

Playing with Books: The Art of Upcycling, Deconstructing, and Reimagining the Book

The semi-puritanical me is HORRIFIED at the idea of desecrating a book. I whimper when I see a book- any book- dropped, mangled, or mutilated. However, if a book MUST be altered from it's normal form, the ideas presented here are fairly good ones! The projects are doable if you have a bit more time and patience than I do, and the art gallery presented at the end is nothing less than amazing.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

A Killer Plot

A Killer Plot (A Books by the Bay Mystery)

This was a fun little mystery. Olivia Limoges is a woman with a tragic past who has returned to her hometown after making her fortune. She keeps to herself, with her best friend being her loyal dog, until a restuaranteur friend convinces her to join a local writer's group. As she finds herself making friends, Olivia begins to feel more comfortable in her old home...until one of her new friends is brutally murdered. Now she & the survivng members of the group are trying to help the local law enforcement solve the case and prevent anyone else from dying.

Ellery Adams manages to introduce quite a few characters in this first book of a new series, but manages to make you feel a connection to most of them. You find out what happened to Olivia as a child, but there is still some mystery as to what went on in her life after she was taken away from the town and raised elsewhere. I'm sure it will be addressed in later book, and can't wait to find out.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Hopeless Romantic

A Hopeless Romantic

More Brit-lit! Girl constantly falls for wrong guy, girl totally screws up her life in the process, girl winds up falling for another guy and tries not to becasue she's learned to fear the consequences. However, love wins out in the end and it's presumed that they live happily ever after.

That's prety much a nutshell description, and may not sound like I enjoyed the book, but I actually did. The heroine's relationships with her friends and family reminded me a bit of my own life (including the horror of traveling on vacation with her parents)although I do hope that I'm not quite THAT silly about men. Reading this book was a nice way to spend an evening, especially accompanied by a cup of tea and a few hobnobs.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

The Sleeping Beauty

Product Details

I've always loved Mercedes Lackey. The Tales of the 500 Kingdoms series has been a fun romp through the realm of fairy tales. This volume, to paraphrase a line from Lackey's intro, is a Snow White tale that gets hijacked by Sleeping Beuaty before crashing into the Ring saga. Add 100 princes vying for the hand of the princess, a lisping unicorn, and a magic mirror in love with a fairy godmother, and the results are pure bliss. Princess Rosamund is no shrinking violet, Prince Siegfried is surprisngly gentle and kind, Prince Leopold is a hoot (his reaction to the curse challenge had me in tears, I was laughing so hard), and some of the challenges the princes have to undertake are diabolical. This may be my favorite volume in the series so far.

Chicks Dig TimeLords

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This is a fun look at fandom from a female persepctive. Like several of the essayists in this collection, I was a late convert to the bliss that is Doctor Who. (MANY thanks to my friend Kim who INSISTED that I watch it and then Torchwood) My two favorite essays are by Elizabeth Bear and Carole Barrowman. (big sister of John Barrowman- aka- Captain Jack Yumminess, er, Harkness) The various aspects of fandom (watching, writing, costuming, etc) are well represented in this slim volume and I would recommend it to anyone, male or female, who loves Doctor Who or someone who does.

Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions

Dewey's Nine Lives: The Legacy of the Small-Town Library Cat Who Inspired Millions

Well, this one made me cry. I'm not usually that big a sentimental fool, but reading these stories about beloved cats and their owners really got to me. It didn't help that my three brats were lounging on or near me as I read the book. Although it's suitable for just about anyone, I would NOT recommend this book to someone who just doesn't understand the joy and love and bond that pet lovers have. 

In that vein, here are three stories about my silly kitties, plus a story about one who is no longer with me:

Felicity is my first and oldest cat. She is a stubborn little tortoise-shell and is the delight of my life when she's not trying to be the bane of my existance. There are a million and one stories I could share, but I'll start with this one. I had invited a couple of friends over for dinner. Marcy had met my cats before, but Shawn had not, so I warned him that the princess was a VERY friendly little cat who demanded her due attention from everyone who walked through my door. Even so, NONE of us were prepared for her to fall utterly in love with him. Felicity did everything but hump his leg, she wanted his attention so badly. We were sitting down to eat and she threw herself onto her back with a dramatic yowl. Shawn looked down and she was shimmying on her back, trying to entice him into rubbing her belly. "But, but, but we JUST MET!!!" he sputtered. Marcy and I died laughing.

Greymalkin is my big fat gray lump cat. He has a white spot on his chin, a patch on his belly, and 4 white socks. Malkin is also an attention hound (pardon the phrase) and is very sweet and placid in nature. However, he was a VERY hyper kitten. WE first met when Marcy (the same one from before) came to pick me up for a reading we were attending at the main library. (Donna Jo Napoli- great YA author if you haven't read her, you should) As we went to walk out the door of my apartment, this little gray & white cat tried to walk in. "No, sweetie" I said, scooping him up. "You don't live here." He had a collar, but no tags. I suspected that he belonged to the neighbors 2 apartments down. A few days later, I was lugging a basket of laundry to the car and was stopped by another neighbor. "Is that your cat?" she asked, pointing. I looked and there my little friend was, rolling on his back in a patch of sunshine on the sidewalk, right under a tree where a trapped squirrel was having a fit. "No," I said. "but he thinks he is. He tried to come in the other night." I noticed his collar was gone. My neighbor said that he'd tried to get into her place too and her dog nearly killed him. We talked a few minutes more and decided that he must have belonged to the people I had first assumed, but they'd done a midnight moveout and it looked like they'd left him behind. (GRRR) "We can't leave him out here" said my neighbor. "He'll be killed." (At the time, I was living in a building right off I-65 with my street being a connector for the on/off ramps in either direction and a lot more traffic than I expected when I moved in) I explained that I already had 2 cats (Felicity and her brother Donohue) and it wasn't safe to just take him in without having a vet check him over. She asked how much it would cost to do that- I didn't know, so I went back in and called my regular vet to ask. When I went back out and told her that they'd said it would be $40, she handed me $20 and said "I'll pay half if you'll take him in." Well, I didn't get my laundry done that day, but I did get a 3rd cat!

Nightshade is my sweet little rescue kitty. A little black & white thing- her coloring is almost the exact same placement as Malkin's. One of the police officers I work with found her huddled down on the side of a busy street. She'd been abused and abandoned. Since they already had several pets, his wife wouldn't let him keep her. He sent out a department wide email with a photo asking if anyone was interested in taking her in. I called him at once and said "I want her." The first few weeks were traumatic for all of us. Malkin wanted to play, Liss was furious that I'd brought another cat into HER home, Shady was terrified of everything, and I was off work with a knee injury and in a lot of pain. We've all since recovered/adjusted. Shady & Malk sleep together a lot, play together, and generally enjoy each other. Liss has come to accept her and every now and then the girls team up to terrorize Malkin after he's been mean to one or both of them. She's still very skittish and leery of new people, but has accepted me as HER human and loves to cuddle up and purr to me. One of my favorite moments with her occurred a few weeks after she came to live with us. She was tearing around the house, like cats do for no reason, and as I was walking through the door way from the kitchen to the living room, leapt up and clung to the door frame. Nightshade is a strong little kitty and she'd managed to leap high enough to put her on eye level with me. I stopped, startled, and said "well, hello!" Shady cheerfully chirruped at me and leaned forward to lick my nose before springing down and rampaging through the house again.

Last story: my beloved, late, Donohue kitty. He and Felicity were litter mates and the first cats I'd ever owned. He was solid coal black with dark amber eyes. Donohue was named after my favorite chef-instructor at the culinary school I was attending when I acquired my kittens. Felicity's name came easily, but it took a couple of weeks to name him. Nothing seemed right. One night after I'd come home from work & school, I was in the kitchen making a snack. I realized that my little boy was following everything I did with his eyes, just like the chef had. "Well, aren't you just a little Donohue?" That got his attention. MEOW. I looked at him again. "Should that be your name? Are you Donohue?" MEOW! "Donohue?" MEOW! And that was it.

However, that's not the story I was referring to earlier. This is. 2 days before Christmas 2001, I came home to find that Felicity had been violently ill. When she threw up several more times in the span of 30 minutes, I knew something was wrong. I called my then-boyfriend (hereafter referred to as the Schmuck) and raced out the door to an all-night vet's office. They weren't sure what she'd gotten into (no room for a tree in my small place, so she hadn't swallowed tinsel), but she was dehydrated and listless, so they decided to keep her overnight. The schmuck had arrived and calmed me down enough to drive back to my apartment. (MY BABY! She's so small- what if I never see her again?!?) Well, we walked in without her and Donohue was just crazy. It suddenly hit me- this was the first time since birth that he and Felicity had EVER been separated. They'd even gone to their vet appointments together. He was so freaked out that I broke my rule and let him sleep with us. (Felicity doesn't sleep- she bats my ears, pries my eyes open, sticks her head in my mouth, and makes a general nuisance of herself, so just to keep it fair NONE of the cats sleep with me) He was a little happier about that development. Now, I have to explain that D had never really cared for the schmuck. Liss tolerated him, but D loathed him. (and that's how I learned to trust my cats when it came to boyfriends) Anyway, we crawled into bed, me on the inside against the wall, Schmucko on the outside. Donahue started at out feet, but crawled up and was balanced on my back-at first. I was dimly aware of him burrowing down between us as I drifted off. Then I was rudely awakened by a THUD and a yelp of "WHAT THE HELL?!?" I looked to the other side of the bed and saw the Schmuck sprawled on the floor.  Donahue was lying beside me, snug against my back, with all 4 paws out in front of him and a VERY satisfied look on his furry face. He had apparently managed to PUSH my boyfriend OUT of the bed. The Schmuck got mad when I started laughing hysterically (Donohue was purring quite contentedly) and stormed off to spend the rest of the night asleep in the living room.

So there you have the first of many kitty stories you will encounter on this blog. I hope you enjoyed reading them as much I enjoyed the memories they brought back while typing them!


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

Hungry For Happiness

Hungry for Happiness

This wasn't bad but it could have been better. The heroine is a deep-fried Southern former fat girl and the story picks up after she's had lap-band surgery. She suffers through some strange, bizarre, and sad relationship issues, has countless arguments with her overweight family members who think she's 'putting on airs' now that she's lost weight, yet succeeds with carrying on her life despite all of the obstacles thrown in her path. My biggest gripes are the highly exaggerated Southern accent the author manages to write with, and the fact that he makes Loretta seem like a victim despite her successes.