Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Wordless Wednesday A Kitten Named Lola


Last Wednesday I posted pictures of the kittens born in March: Frankie, Percy, Wally & Lola. (here in case you missed that post!). The three sweet male kittens were adopted to terrific homes. But it was really difficult to give up any/all of the kittens, they were so playful, cuddly, just unbelievably adorable! So, Lola, the lone female kitten, a beautiful black cat with a small tuft of white on her chest and on her tummy became a part of my cat family.

Lola was quieter than her brothers and didn't run around like crazy as much as they did when they were together. But when she was the only kitten left, her personality blossomed! She became more sweet & cuddly with a tremendous, beautiful purr. And suddenly she was crazy nuts when she wanted to play - running everywhere as fast as she could, playing with string, a ball or piece of paper that moved! It was great. And Lola loves all the other cats & wants to play with all them. It's fantastic & really cute. Today I'm posting pictures of sweet Lola to introduce her to everyone. Next week I'll show you whacky, fun-loving, playful Lola!

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Book Review: Cowboy and Wills by Monica Holloway

Cowboy & Wills
Author: Monica Holloway
Date Published: October 6, 2009
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment
Pages: 288 pages
ISBN: 978-1416595038
Genre: Non-fiction Memoir
Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Summary: The day Monica Holloway learns that her lovable, brilliant three-year-old son has autism spectrum disorder, she takes him to buy an aquarium. But what Wills really wants is a puppy, and from the moment Cowboy Carol Lawrence, an overeager and affectionate golden retriever, joins the family, Monica watches as her cautious son steps a little farther into the world.

With his new "sister" Cowboy by his side, Wills finds the courage to invite kids over for play dates, conquer his debilitating fear of water, and finally sleep in his own bed with the puppy's paws draped across his small chest. And when Cowboy turns out to need her new family as much as they need her, they discover just how much she has taught them about devotion, loyalty, and never giving up.

Sometimes it's what you don't know to hope for that saves you. For Monica and Wills, salvation came in the form of a puppy with pale blond fur, chocolate brown eyes, a fondness for chewing the crotch out of underpants, and a limitless capacity for love.

My Thoughts: Cowboy & Wills is Monica Holloway's heart-warming, poignant and funny story about her amazing son, Wills and his best friend, a golden retriever puppy named Cowboy Carol Lawrence (yes, that's the dog's "full name"!). Wills, diagnosed with autism before he is 2 years-old, is fortunate to have parents, particularly a mother, willing to do whatever it takes to help him including opening her home to a menagerie of pets. Wills has always responded to animals much better than people, but none quite like the golden retriever puppy who helps Wills conquer his anxieties, embrace the world around him and become a happy, popular young boy. Wills sees several therapists regularly and is assisted by an aide in school but nobody helps him through the days like Cowboy. Wills' connection with Cowboy is remarkable. She provides Wills with the safety and comfort he needs to calm his fears and learn to communicate. In a very short time, with Cowboy by his side and his parents' love and support, Wills becomes an independent, personable, and enthusiastic boy who, rather than cower and hide, welcomes new experiences and seeks out friendships.

Author Monica Holloway tells the story about learning her small son is autistic and the extent she and her husband go: physically, mentally, emotionally and financially to get Wills the help he needs with honesty and a refreshing openness. Holloway doesn't pull any punches when relating the range of emotions she experiences watching her son deal with the social anxieties and fears that assail him daily. She shares what a confusing, overwhelming situation it can be because Wills is extremely bright in many areas but can only communicate with a very small number of people. Holloway displays a remarkable energy and drive to get Wills any available help that will provide him the tools he needs to be able to interact with children his age.

Holloway obviously adores her son and writes graphically about the extremes Wills experiences. There are difficult episodes, such as Will experiencing extreme sensory overload during a birthday party causing him to run screaming from the house. But then there are inspiring instances: while driving home from the same birthday party, Wills exclaims "That was a fun party!".

Wills, despite his anxiety, shows a desire to be a part of activities. During Wills' first year of preschool there is a sing-along in the park. This is essentially a nightmare for Wills but Holloway takes him because isolating him is not the answer. Wills starts out screaming and refuses to let go of Holloway but as the sing-along progresses, Wills stops covering his ears and he starts humming the songs! Holloway writes that Wills often surprises them behaving in unexpected ways, fighting against the fears and anxieties that threaten to overwhelm him. But nothing prepares Holloway and her husband for the impact a small golden retriever puppy will have.

Wills has always responded well to animals and Holloway makes a habit of visiting the pet store if her son has a difficult day or a doctor's visit is disappointing. In a few years their family has included several hermit crabs, turtles, many different fish, three jumping frogs, a number of hamsters and a large rabbit named Ruby. But Wills has wanted a puppy for quite a while. Specifically, a golden retriever puppy. Cowboy Carol Lawrence, as named by Wills, joins the family on December 21st in Wills sixth year .

Monica, Michael and Wills are in love. Understandably as Cowboy is adorable, full of energy, and chewing anything in sight! In only a matter of days Wills begins to assert himself like never before. For example, on the first day back at school after Christmas, , Wills teacher asks if anyone has anything they'd like to share. He is the first to volunteer. Wills, never having participated in any kind of sharing with the class before now, has a picture of Cowboy in his hand and shows it to each classmate and then tells all about Cowboy.

Cowboy helps usher in many new experiences for Wills, one of the most significant being friendships with other children. With Cowboy the center of attention the focus is off Wills allowing him to ease into a situation and become comfortable with it. Holloway writes with joyful amazement at the many changes in Wills with Cowboy in his life.

I like Holloway very much. She is a kind, funny and personable woman and a terrific. loving mother. She is also quite an animal lover! Her writing is insightful, engaging and filled with heart-wrenching and humorous anecdotes. She can be very self-deprecating at times and suffers a lot of guilt for Wills autism because of her OCD behavior. It's obvious that there is no limit to the love she has for her son which comes through on every page. Holloway makes it clear in Cowboy & Wills that there's no end to the lengths she will go to open doors for Wills and help him cope with his anxieties and fears. I wish every child was fortunate enough to have a parent like Monica Holloway. Holloway has written a very inspiring story about a mother's love for her son and the healing that can come from a relationship with a beloved pet.

I recommend this book for any family coping with autism and any person involved in treating individuals with autism. But this is also a book that would be enjoyed by anyone who loves animals and understands the transforming power of loving one. I will caution anybody who reads this book that there are some very difficult and emotional chapters towards the end of the book but also hopeful and inspiring.

I received a copy of this book this book from the publisher, Simon Spotlight Entertainment.

Monica Holloway will be hosting a live video chat on the Cowboy & Wills facebook page tonight, Tuesday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. EST. Go to Cowboy & Wills

Teaser Tuesday 9.28.10

Teaser Tuesdays is an interesting, book-related meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Be prepared to add several new books to your TBR list! I do every week!

My Teaser:

" What stays with me most are the feelings of loss, unsettlement, unease, and a longing for the past that cannot be relieved. This isn't just because my sister and I are new to this strange and foreign place."

from Shanghai Girls by Lisa See (p.135)

Anyone can play along! If you'd like to participate, Just do the following:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I used 3 this week!)
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their
TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

*And, finally, don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, simply share your "teasers" in a comment.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Monday Movies 9.27.10 Heists & Capers!

Feature Presentation...

Today is all about criminals we cheer for! Think about all of the great heists/robberies/capers that create criminal characters we end up rooting for
Share on your blog your favorite heist & caper movies, linking them back to The Bumbles Blog. If you don't have a blog, list your choices in the comment section of The Bumbles Movie post!

My list realize more on older movies and, aside from one or two, I highly recommend these movies if you haven't seen them!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Sunday Salon 9.25.10

This week has been especially quiet after the craziness of BBAW the week before! I like it both ways but it's nice to be able to relax after BBAW. I'm still trying to figure out how to visit all of the blogs I want to read and still find time to do other things. lol I think I have to accept that it's not possible' especially if I want to get some sleep at night!

It's that time of year, too when the networks roll out their line-ups for the Fall TV season and new shows pop-up every night. I wonder if the developers or producers will ever learn that there are plenty of cop & lawyer shows already! I know some lawyers and cops in real life, but most of my friends and acquaintances aren't one or the other. Anyone not familiar with the USA, except through TV, probably thinks three-quarters of Americans are lawyers or cops! lol It's a rare TV show that keeps my attention in place of a book anymore. There were a few shows I thought I might like such as The Truth, but during the commercials I started reading my book and the next thing I knew, the show was over! Oops! Oh well! The only new TV show that really kept my interest for the entire hour was Blue Bloods...yep, a new cop and lawyer show, a combo plate! But I feel I have to point out that I watched this show after spending the entire afternoon and evening reading, so I needed a break! One TV show I really enjoyed this week was Modern Family, a sitcom I discovered over the summer. It's a pretty hilarious show & I laugh whenever I watch it. Can't beat that!! If you haven't seen it & like to laugh, check it out!

I'm still making my way through Infinite Jest. It's a really fantastic book and I'm enjoying taking my time with it. If I wasn't reading any other books at the same time, I would read it more quickly but I don't care that it's taking me a long time. It's definitely worth the time. One of the things I love best about the book is how funny it is. Many of the passages make me laugh out loud. David Foster Wallace had a wonderful, twisted sense of humor and it really shows through in Infinite Jest.

This week is Banned Books Week, September 25 - October 2. I think it's fantastic that there's a week specifically dedicated to celebrating Banned Books. I don't think I'm going to be able to actually sit down and read any Banned books, although possibly towards the end of the week I can fit one in, but I plan to write a post or two about them. I've read posts on several blogs already about Banned Books and especially about an article written by some numbskull pushing for banning the book Speak by Laurie Halsie Anderson. I haven't read this book yet, it's been on my list to read and I know what it's about. There's no reason, none at all, this book should be banned. Just the opposite. I think it should be read by, at least, every young person in high school and their parents and teachers. But there's no reason any books should be banned. I think the publicity is good, though. It brings attention to books. And publicity is good especially when it starts a discussion about books.

In addition to Infinite Jest, I'm reading Shanghai Girls by Lisa See as part of Crazy-for-Books Book Tour. This is my first book tour book and I'm thrilled to be a part of the tour, not to mention getting the opportunity to read this wonderful book! I am almost finished with Die For You by Lisa Unger and will review it later this week. I will posting my review of Cowboy & Wills by Monica Holloway in a day or two.

I wanted to let bloggers and readers know that on Tuesday, September 28th at 7:30 p.m. Monica Holloway will be hosting a Live Video Chat on Cowboy & Wills Facebook page. Monica is looking forward to answering reader's questions and there will be prizes to the first 6 readers who ask questions! Please check out Cowboy & Wills on Facebook & submit any questions you have! Hope to see you there Tuesday night!

Several bloggers are away this weekend at The National Book Festival in Washington D.C. yesterday and The Baltimore Book Festival this weekend! I'm sure they're having a wonderful time. I'm looking forward to reading their posts about the festivals when they return!

I hope you all are having a nice weekend!
Happy Reading!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Book Review: The Heart Is Not A Size by Beth Kephart

The Heart Is Not A Size
by Beth Kephart
ISBN: 978-0-385-34124-0
Pages: 337
Release Date: August 25, 2009
Publisher: Harper Teen
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Rating: 5 out of 5

Publisher: Georgia knows what it means to keep secrets. She knows how to ignore things. She knows that some things are better left unsaid. . . . Or are they?
When Georgia and her best friend, Riley, travel along with nine other suburban Pennsylvania kids to Anapra, a squatters' village in the heat-flattened border city of Juarez, Mexico, secrets seem to percolate and threaten both a friendship and a life. Certainties unravel. Reality changes. And Georgia is left to figure out who she is outside the world she's always known.
Beth Kephart paints a world filled with emotion, longing, and the hot Mexican sun.

My Thoughts: The Heart Is Not A Size is a beautifully written story about one young woman's struggle to be responsible for her life and become the person she wants to be. Georgia, at seventeen, is discovering that growing up is an exciting but confusing and sometimes, frightening process. She wants to do the right thing but she's realizing that sometimes the choice isn't easy to make, especially when it will hurt someone she loves. Riley, one of the most important people in Georgia's life, is her best friend Georgia knows Riley's in trouble and needs help. She wants to be loyal to Riley but also be responsible to herself, to others, and do the right thing..

Georgia struggles to be the perfect daughter, sister, best friend, student: in other words, the perfect human being. Everybody has always been able to trust Georgia to do the right thing and be responsible. Georgia puts more pressure on herself than anyone else ever would which, at times, has adverse effects. Concerns about her brother Kevin, about college and especially about her best friend, Riley, keep her up nights. Did she ask for these responsibilities? Does she want them? What about what she wants and needs?

Georgia's loyalty, in fact, may not be the best thing for Riley right now, but how can she betray her? It's difficult to come to terms with the idea that doing the right things may sometimes mean hurting someone you love. Keeping Riley's secrets and being loyal conflicts with Georgia's sense of right and wrong. How to balance the two troubles her. Figuring things out in this community that knows her so well and expects her to be responsible doesn't feel possible, and as a result, Georgia feels trapped and stymied. She's counting on the journey to Juarez, a very different place from where she's grown up, to help her sort out her thoughts, figure out who she is and wants to be and what she needs to do.

Juarez is a mixture of beauty, sadness, happiness and despair. There, Georgia experiences a harsh, painful reality and realizes that life back home in Pennsylvania is not all there is and things in her life will soon change. Georgia repeats to herself the advice her mother gave her shortly before she left for Juarez "Apply your intelligence to every living thing-to where you go, to how you behave, to the way that you look after Riley because, Georgia, you will have to look after Riley. She's not as good as you are at looking after herself." (p.110). In Juarez, Georgia begins to understand things more clearly as she comes into her own as a person, recognizing that she, too, is a beautiful and talented human being worthy of attention. Georgia allows her mother's voice to guide her as she embraces her responsibility to herself and others and becomes the young woman she's meant to be and always wanted to be.

Beth Kephart created an amazing character in Georgia, narrator of The Heart is Not A Size, and the reason the book works so well. Georgia is insightful, smart, thoughtful, responsible, trustworthy, a worrier and an over-achiever. She's so focused on making sure other people are happy and taken care of that she's forgotten about her own needs. I think many women can see a little bit of themselves in Georgia as she wrestles with her loyalty to Riley versus caring for her and figuring out the right thing to do. I know I do! Georgia is familiar to me but she's more worldly, more aware of the opportunities available to her as well as the value of taking advantage of them. Georgia reminds me of those long-ago days of high school when my small world seemed so important and every decision monumental. I really enjoyed following Georgia on this difficult and beautiful emotional journey as she discovers who she is and wants to be.

The Heart Is Not A Size is the first of Beth Kephart's books I've read but it will not be the last. Since I finished it, I've found myself going back again and again to re-read passages. Kephart's writing is beautiful, the imagery so vivid you can almost see it before you. Her writing is so clear and intuitive, there's an immediate connection and understanding of what Kephart is saying. By way of example:

"I needed stars and moon and night air, so I walked-worrying about women I'd never know; thinking about all that can't be changed or controlled; trying to envision Juarez, this place of complications and contradictions, where perfect, I pretty quickly figured out, wasn't the issue: Survival was. Survival under a hot sun, along a tired river, among factory jobs that paid hardly enough to sustain a family, and also among unsolved murders and loss. (p.23)

"Panic, I'm telling you, begins in the heart. Panic is big buzzard wings banging wretched and trapped against the bones of your ribs, knocking your wind-pipe loose, swiping your logic. Panic makes you stupid when you have to be smart. It makes you stop in your tracks when what you must do right there is run. (p.42)

This is a beautifully written book with a simple but important story to tell about growing up, figuring out who you are, what you want to be and facing and managing the pressures and responsibilities that are linked to the choices we make. I would recommend this book to women of all ages as well as to the parents of young girls and young women. Beth Kephart’s book is invaluable in providing an understanding of the struggles young women experience as they grow into the people they want to and are meant to be.

I won a copy of The Heart Is Not A Size from Nicole at Linus' Blanket.
Visit Beth Kephart's website here.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Wordless Wednesday 9.22.10 Kittens!!

Several months ago, Betsy, one of the stray cats we rescued out of a tree & feed regularly surprised us with kittens! Cute, cuddly, absolutely adorable kittens! All but one have been adopted. Here some pictures of them when they were about a month old. Next week I will show off Lola, the kitten who joined the rest of our gang!

Franklin (Frankie) is the kitten staring at the camera, surrounding him in the tangle of kitten bodies, paws & tails are Percy, Wallace (Wally) & Lola! The 3 boys are all black & white with cute little white paws. For several weeks they were tough to tell apart but they have different markings which helped. Lola, the only female in the litter, is mostly black with a small white patch of fur on her chest & belly.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday 9.21.10

Teaser Tuesdays is a very interesting & fun book-related meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Be prepared to add several new books to your TBR list! I do every week!

My Teaser:

" Then there was screaming, a terrible keening. A horrible, primal wail that connected with every nerve ending in my body, causing me to cry out. "Marc! Marcus!". But the screaming just went on, rocketing through my nervous system, until the line went suddenly dead."

from Die For You by Lisa Unger (p.21)

Anyone can play along! If you'd like to participate, Just do the following:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I used 3 this week!)
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

*And, finally, don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, simply share your "teasers" in a comment.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Monday Movies 9.20.10 Aging & the Elderly

Feature Presentation...

Happy Belated Birthdays to the Bumbles! Welcome to the 40s! Growing older is, definitely, best shared with others. There are some great movies about aging & being elderly, some make it look fun & enjoyable, some make us want to run fast, yelling loudly, in the opposite direction!

Share on your blog the roles you've enjoyed from child actors and link them back to The Bumbles Blog. If you don't have a blog, list your choices in the comment section of The Bumbles Movie post!

Good-bye Mr. Chips (1939)
Where's Poppa? (1970)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Homebodies (1974)
Meaning of Life (1983) This movie isn't about old age so much as it is about aging & the stages of life. It's hilarious! Everybody should see it at least once!
Cocoon (1985)
Waking Ned Divine (1998)
Saving Grace (2000)
Last Orders (2001)
About Schmidt (2002)
Calendar Girls (2003)
Gran Torino (2008)

Giveaway Winners!

I apologize for how late this post is. I completely forgot to post the winners of my Blogfest Giveaway what with all the activity during BBAW.

I decided to give away a second copy of the book, Empire Falls by Richard Russo, because there were a lot of entries for my giveaway!

So better late than never Congratulations!! to my Blogfest Winners:

Lora1967 & KatKlaw777

The winners have been contacted & I will be mailing their copies of Empire Falls this week!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

Sunday Salon 9.19.10

What a Great week! It was really fun & extremely busy in the blogging community with Blogfest 2010 last weekend, BBAW 2010 this past week & Blogomania in the middle of the week. As for those of us in the Brooklyn area of the USA, Thursday night was Tornado night here! Yep, 1 or 2 small tornadoes ripped through the streets, leaving as quickly as they came & also leaving a small path of destruction in their wake! Nobody was seriously hurt, fortunately. There were a lot of downed trees, trashed cars, broken windows....etc. Tornadoes in Brooklyn? Seriously?! It's weird!

I wasn't able to get here on Friday & I wanted to thank Amy of
My Friend Amy for a wonderful BBAW 2010. I thought the theme, A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books & Infinite Blogs was awesome. Each day was a whirlwind of blog visiting, posting, commenting & meeting new bloggers. The week was so much fun! I admit I was worn out, just completely exhausted by Thursday evening. I didn't have the chance to visit all of the blogs I hoped too or read all of the interviews I wanted too but I haven't given up yet & hope to visit some more new blogs this week. It was a great week for bonding with fellow bloggers, learning about new books ad authors & celebrating our wonderful community. Nicole, Jennifer, Melissa, Bella Danielle & Monica. thank you, too, for helping to make BBAW 2010 amazing & totally fun!

I didn't get much reading done this week & reviews? fuggedaboutit! I've been terrible about writing my reviews, anyway, for several moths. I'm like a little kid when I sit down to write a review...any little thing distracts me & drags my attention away from the review. A house filled with cats offers plenty of distractions, especially when one is only 6 months!! I decided to read up on writing reviews & do a little research to focus myself. I have a stack of books to review & great notes. It isn't as if I'm going to be graded on the reviews? Right?! lolol The really perverse thing is once I sit down & start writing them, after a couple of paragraphs I really enjoy it. It's starting the review, choosing a direction that drives me a little crazy. Yep, I'm a real "pita" to myself! lol Of course my plan for this week is to work on & finish several of those reviews I'm dragging out! I'm almost finished reading The Girl Who Played with Fire! I have a few chapters left. Holy Cow! What a book, it's great! I'm going to slow down some of my reading for a bit, I think, so I can focus on Infinite Jest. This is an amazing book! I'd love to sit & just read it for days on end. Unfortunately, that isn't really possible. I'm just about halfway through the book now. I'm going to try to read Infinite Jest as well as books for the R.I.P. Challenge & not much else for the next few weeks & see how it works out. If I can really limit myself like this & be disciplined might be another story, I'll see!

I hope you all are having a nice weekend!
Happy Reading!

Thursday, September 16, 2010

BBAW Day 4: Forgotten Treasures

Helen Dunmore is an author whose books I have enjoyed for years and I believe her books are treasures worth reading!

I read a few books by Helen Dunmore before I became a book blogger and one book, Talking to the Dead, since I started blogging. An English author, Helen Dunmore is a prolific writer who has published adult fiction, short stories, children's fiction and poetry. Several of her novels are considered psychological thrillers and would be a great choice for the R.I.P. Challenge!

The first novel I read by Helen Dunmore was The Siege (2001).- Short listed for the Whitbread Novel of the Year Award and short listed for the Orange Prize (2002) - I read this book many years ago but it stuck with me for a long time and I've been thinking about reading it again.

The Siege of Leningrad was one of the key events of the twentieth century. In 1941, Hitler’s armies encircled Leningrad, confidently expecting to crush any resistance and enter the city. But Leningrad held out, in spite of almost unbelievable suffering. This novel focuses on the Levin family and their friends, trapped inside the besieged city. It’s a brilliantly imagined novel about war as experienced by ordinary people, and a profoundly moving celebration of love, life and survival.

I was amazed by this novel. A family struggling to survive during the war but most concerned about the youngest among them, 5-year old Kolya and making sure he lives through the war. The family scenes are juxtaposed against scenes from the war and the ravaging of St. Petersburg by the Nazis.
I found a great reviewof The Seige in

Your Blue-Eyed Boy is the second novel I read by Helen Dunmore. This is a psychological thriller that is beautifully-written and intense. I had difficulty putting it down once I started reading!

‘Blackmail doesn’t work the way I always thought it would, if I ever gave it a thought. It doesn’t smash through the clean pane of a life like a stone through a window. It’s always an inside job, the most intimate of crimes.’

Simone is thirty-eight, a district judge whose husband Donald is on the verge of bankruptcy and breakdown. Each morning she leaves him with their two small boys while she drives to court to assess evidence and pass judgment. In her public, professional life she must make sense of things that really don’t make sense at all. In her private life she struggles to control chaos and mounting debt. One morning a letter arrives addressed to Simone and postmarked New York. Someone she has tried to forget has not forgotten her. Simone’s private history is about to collide with her public world.

Your Blue-eyed Boy is a compelling and passionate psychological thriller. Set in a remote marsh landscape that haunts the imagination, it explore the history which shape us no matter how hard we try to conceal it, weaving together crime, judgment, desire and loss.

Talking to the Dead is the most recent of Helen Dunmore's books that I've read and I also reviewed it for my blog(my review). This was my favorite of her books that I've read, so far! I love that this book is about two very different sisters who have a secret from their past but they interpret it in different ways. I preferred one sister to the other...or thought I did! But sometimes nice people can become passionate and obsessive about another person and turn dark and strange. I was fascinated by how Helen Dunmore took this mysterious, suspenseful story and wrote it in beautiful and lyrical prose thereby further heightening the terrifying aspect of the story.

I highly recommend Helen Dunmore's novels and am providing the link for her web site,
Helen Dunmore which includes extensive information about her work. I used her website for much of the information provided here!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday! 9.15.10

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun (please do!) Be sure to leave a link to your post over at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

My first word is from Lush Life by Richard Price:

"One of the few remaining pre-tenement rookeries in the city, 24 East Broadway was squat and rambling, on a block filled with similarly ancient and amorphous buildings, the door to the street at this late hour kept open via a strip of duct tape blocking the lock."

1. Rookery (-ies) -noun
:an over- crowded tenement house often occupied by criminals and prostitutes as well as poor people and characterized by poor construction and little or no sanitation

The following words are from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace:

"It's possibly odd that the leptosomatic Mario I., so damaged he can't even grip a stick, much less flail at a moving ball with one, is the one kid at E. T. A. (Enfield Tennis Academy) whose company Schtitt seeks out, is in fact pretty much the one person with whom Schtitt speaks candidly, lets his pedagogical hair down.".

2. Leptosomatic -adj.
:Having a slender, light or thin body

"Les Assassins' M. Fortier and M. Broullime and some others of his comrades-on-wheels believed Remy Marathe to be eidetic, near-perfect in recall and detail."

3. Eidetic -adj.
:of, pertaining to, or constituting visual imagery vividly experienced and readily reproducible with great accuracy and in great detail; involving extraordinarily accurate and vivid recall

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

BBAW Interview Swap: Moonlight Book Reviews

Today is BBAW Day 2: The Interview Swap! I think it's one of the best days of BBAW and a great way to get to know & learn about fellow book bloggers.
I had the wonderful privilege of interviewing Erika at
Moonlight Book Reviews blog

Erika is 16 years old, lives in a small rural town, is thinking about and planning her next step in life: college and loves to read, of course! Erika is a smart, funny, sweet blogger who I am looking forward to getting to know even better. We have had several awesome, fun conversations and, fortunately, one of us remembered that we met due to BBAW's Interview Swap and were supposed to interview each other! Below is my interview of Erika:

1. Why did you start blogging?
I was in a lull reading wise and had started reading again pretty heavily. I was always online at book sites and looking for upcoming releases. I am sick a lot or looking for things to do so reading and going online was something I did pretty often. I kinda stumbled upon the book blogging world starting with The Story Sirens site! I was in complete awe at how these blogger's expressed their love of books. I thought ,well I could do that, but was a little intimidated tech- wise on setting it up. In April I took the plunge into the blogging world and love it.

2. Where does your blog name come from or how did you decide on your blog name?
Well I spent a week or so trying to come up with a clever name for my blog and nothing came to me. Finally, I just went with the things I love. I have always been inspired by the moon and stars and am always gazing at them. I find I can act strange on days when there is a full moon. When I was a kid I would dream of living on the moon and what it would be like. I pretty much still have that same dream and thoughts. Working by moonlight is one of the most fun things I think. Some of the greatest times in my life have been spent in the moonlight. So I thought, well I love the moon, so why not call it Moonlight Book Reviews.

3. Do you spend a lot of time visiting other blogs?
Oh yes!! I find myself up late at night reading different blogs and commenting on posts. I love looking at how other people blog and what they have to say. One of my favorite memes is The Friday Blog Hops! They are amazing because you can meet so many new blogs and people through them. I like to leave comments on posts for I know what it is like to wait in anticipation to see what people think about your reviews or posts and never have anyone say anything. Getting comments is fun and I want to comment on other blogs for I know what it feels like to wait for those comments! I set my standard of my blog after others. I know I may never be one of the best bloggers, but I will always strive to do my best!!!

4. Do you have a favorite book or series?
Well this is a difficult question for me, because I love so many books!! I would have to say The Study books by Maria V. Snyder are one of the best book series I have come across in a while. It is one of those series' which has stayed with me. I also really like Rachel Caine's Morganville Vampire series. I love the science and nerdiness mixed with vampires and being who you are. If that makes any sense. OH MY GOSH!! I forgot about my favorite series of ALL TIME!! Julie Kagawa's Iron Fey series is amazing! I would do just about anything to get my hands on The Iron Queen which doesn't come out till next year and is the third book in the series!!

5. Tell me a little bit about the kind of books you like - which paranormal books in particular? What kinds of nonfiction books do you like?
Okay, I used to be in love with historical fiction, but that was all I read for a while so I grew tired of it. Granted I still like reading it, but I have opened my self to new genres. I do like contemporary fiction, but it can't be the shallow kind! You will not find me reading Gossip Girl or anything like that. At the moment I will admit I am a bit addicted to paranormal books. Not necessarily vampires, I like all the creatures of the night. I like the possibility that beings like that could be out there. I like to mix up what I read though too. So I also read a bit of non-fiction. I really like books about famous authors and I like books that talk about a specific issue. The books I read usually have something I relate to or that I like. Also, most books I read are young adult.

6. Does anyone in your immediate family read books for pleasure like you do? (My mom LOVED to read!)
Ha! Well no. My mom isn't really into sitting and reading. My dad doesn't read as much as I do, but I would say he's the closest with the amount he reads. Though Old Antique History books are more of his forte. My sister reads, but really has no time, because she is in college. I really am the only one in my family that is this crazy about books. My parents are learning to deal with it.

7. Do you like to get or give Blog Awards?
I like to give them!! It has always been my way! I love making people happy and giving awards meaningfully is one way to do that. Sure, I am always flattered by awards and welcome them, but I like giving them to others!

8. Do you have a favorite blogging meme?
I really like In My Mailbox, because I get to Vlog, but close favorites are Teaser Tuesday and Blog Hop Fridays! I like them for I get to express myself a bit more through them!

9. Erika, do you have any specific reading habits? Do you have a special spot where you like to read or a time of day when you usually read, such as when you get in to bed at night before sleep? I usually read in my room or the couch upstairs in front of a big window. I usually read on weekends and days off from school. I also read at night if I am not busy. My parents like to keep me busy for they believe I read far too much. So usually in my room hiding:) I usually keep water by me along with a sweater or blanket in case I get cold.

10. Do you eat/snack while reading and, if so, what do you like to have best while reading?
I drink water or zero calorie drinks. If I snack it is on crackers or popcorn. I love popcorn!! Go fiber:)

11.Are there any books banned in your school or books they don't like to teach? Well this is a tricky question. I live in a very religious community so some kids aren't aloud to read books like Harry Potter etc. We have recently gotten a new librarian, that is open to all sorts of books. The mean one though frowns upon paranormal books. it is really annoying. I try not to use my library at school for those reasons. I would much rather drive the 25min to the district library.

12. Do you plan to make any changes, improvements, renovations to your blog in the future? I think you mentioned a blog button?!
I WANT A BLOG BUTTON SO BADLY!!! It is like you went into my head and picked out what I want the most! (Erika mentioned getting a blog button just a few times lol!) I want a really cool one too or something nice! I would also love a blog makeover! Maybe when I save some money I could afford it. I am pretty content with my 3 column layout for I did it myself. It is a huge accomplishment for I am so not tech savvy. I would like to change the look up of my blog though and a button!!!
I think your blog looks fantastic, Erika. I love the picture of the moon in your blog heading. It's striking! Your definitely more tech savvy that I am. I'm going to need your help when I switch my blog to 3 columns!

If you haven't visited Erika's blog, Moonlight Book Reviews be sure to. It's a great blog. She does an awesome Vlog for Mailbox Monday!

Monday, September 13, 2010

BBAW - Day One First Treasure

The BBAW 2010 theme this year is: "A Treasure Chest of Infinite Books and Infinite Blogs."

Today, the first day of BBAW 2010, is Tribute day, the day to talk about a great new book blog we discovered since, or because of, BBAW last year and why this blog rocks our socks off and why we keep going back for more.

Choosing one blog to pay tribute to is really tough! The Book Blog community is filled with interesting and amazing blogs run by intelligent, fun, loving, opinionated bloggers whose posts I really enjoy reading. I wasn't able to blog for the first half of this year and had only been blogging for 5-6 months when I left. In that time, this community got under my skin and hooked me because it doesn't take long to realize this is an awesome place! I was thrilled when I was able to get back to my blog and blogging and start getting involved again, visiting blogs, reading posts and comments and so much more. There's a lot to do around here. I find it difficult to walk away from my computer some days and stop reading book sites. blogs etc. and actually read! lol

I want to highlight two blogs:

Lit and Life belongs to Lisa and is filled with reviews of a great variety of interesting books, many of which have ended up on my tbr list. Lisa hosts and participates in read-a-longs, started the Gilmore Girls Reading Challenge this year and is always up for discussing books or other topics like football! She's funny, smart, honest and open in her writing and completely approachable. She's answered a bunch of questions from me and responds to emails quickly. She's a great person with an awesome blog!

Peeking Between the Pages. I know Dar's blog is well known by many bloggers. I have only come to know Dar in the last few months, although I visited her blog a few times last year.. Dar is sweet, kind and helpful. Her blog is filled with many book reviews and giveaways every month. Often Dar's reviews are accompanied by an author's guest post or an interview. I am always amazed by how often Dar posts, she puts a lot of work into her blog and it shows. Some of her best posts are those about Buddy, her adorable dog. Dar posts wonderful, cute photos of him that warm your heart. Buddy hasn't been feeling well for a few months and I hope he's doing okay.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Blogfest 2010 and a Giveaway!

It's time for Blogfest 2010!

Blogfest 2010 is hosted by Cinnamon at A Journey of Books.
Blogfest is an enormous number of giveaways hosted by a terrific group of participating blogs.
Blogfest runs from Friday, September 10th to Sunday, September 12th at 12 p.m. - Midnight. The idea is to hop from blog to blog entering as many giveaways as you want Hopefully you'll find some new blogs you'll want to visit again when Blogfest is over!

Be sure to head on over to A Journey of Books for the full list of over 250 participating Blogfest blogs! Cinnamon also has a great giveaway to tell you about!

As part of Blogfest I am giving away one of my favorite books:

the 2002 Pulitzer Prize for fiction winner by Richard Russo

To enter this giveaway simply:

1. Leave a comment with your email address so that I can reach you

2. You must be a resident of the USA.

This giveaway ends Sunday, September 12 at Midnight. I will email the winner on Monday and ask that the winner contacts me within 48 hours with her/his mailing address.

Good Luck!!

Be sure to hop on over to Mia Ma Miah's Diaries for another giveaway at an awesome blog!

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Wondrous Words Wednesday 9.8.10

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Bermudaonion's Weblog where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun (please do!) Be sure to leave a link to your post over at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

All of my words are from Infinite Jest by David Foster Wallace

"To say nothing of the arresting image of the idolatrous West's most famous and self-congratulating idol, the colossal Libertine Statue, wearing some type of enormous adult-design diaper, a hilariously apposite image popular in the news photos of so many international journals." (p.33)

1. Apposite - adj.
: suitable; well-adapted; pertinent; relevant; apt

"The sideboard is against the wall opposite the room's electronic recliner under a triptych of high-quality Byzantine erotica."." (p.36)

2. Triptych - noun.
: a work of art (usually a panel painting) which is divided into 3 sections or 3 carved panels hinged together and folded - usually the middle panel is the largest flanked by 2 smaller panels. In early Christian art it was a popular form for altar paintings from the Middle Ages; ranged from eastern Byzantine churches to English Celtic churches.

"Shy, iridescent, coltish, pelvically anfractuous, amply busted, given to diffident movements of hand brushing flaxen hair from front of dear creamy forehead, movements which drove Bruce Green up a private tree. " (p.39)

3. Anfractuous -adj.
:characterized by windings and turnings; sinuous; circuitous

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Book Giveaways happening around the Blogosphere!

Here are some Great Book Giveaways!

Many of the blogs below have giveaway other than the ones I listed so be sure to visit these blogs!
If you have a book giveaway on your blog that isn't listed here and you'd like me to list it, please let me know in a comment or send me an email! Same goes if I made a mistake listing any of the giveawaysI will also try to update this list periodically.

Have Fun and Good Luck!

Passages to the Past
The Susan Holloway Scott Giveaway Extravaganza - 5 Books! 9/13 8/16
The Queen's Captive - Barbara Kyle (2 books) 9/14
The de Lacy Inheritance - Elizabeth Ashworth 9/15
Wolf Hall - Hilary Mantel 9/16

The Black Sheep Dances
Extraordinary Rendition - Andrew Ervin 9/15

Jenn's Bookshelves
Come Monday - Isla Morley 9/8

Books R Us
The Glamour of Grammar 9/9
The Hypnotist - M.J. Rose 9/16

Lit and Life
The Crying Tree - Naseem Rahka 9/10

Find Your Next Book Here
September Giveaway - 1 of 5 Books 9/30

Jo-Jo Loves to Read
Oogy - Larry Levin 9/18

Chocolate & Croissants
$60 Gift Certificate to CSN 9/16

Ah-CHOO! - Jennifer Ackerman 9/10
Katie Up and Down the Hall - Glenn Plaskin 9/23
September 2010 Mystery Box - 3 ARCs 9/30

Diary of an Eccentric
Come Monday - Isla Morley 9/12

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time
The Art of Racing in the Rain - Garth Stein 9/10
Ah-CHOO! - Jennifer Ackerman 9/16

Layers of Thought
Hot House Flower - Margot Berwin 10/3

The Eclectic Reader
September Competition: Choice of 4 Books 9/30

Savvy Verse & Witt
Shadowfever - Karen Marie Moning 9/10
Darkfever - Karen Marie Moning 9/10
Mr. Darcy's Little Sister - C. Allyn Pierson 9/17

At Home with Books
September Bookshelf Cleaning - Choose from 4 Books 9/30

In Which A Girl Reads
A Very Humongous Blogoversary Contest - 3 Winners,
25 Books from which to choose! 9/19

Booking Mama
Come Monday - Isla Morley 9/8
Precious - Sandra Novak 9/14

Luxury Reading
The Jewel of St. Petersburg - Kate Furnivall 9/10
Babushka's Beauty Secrets - Raisa Ruder and Susan Campos 9/20
The Good Daughters - Joyce Maynard 9/20
Testimony - Anita Shreve 9/20
CSN $25 GC Giveaway 9/20
Simply Reading Kindle Giveaway 10/4

Peeking Between the Pages
The Unnamed - Joshua Ferris 9/25
What We Have - Amy Boesky 9/26
Testimony - Anita Shreve 9/26

Bookin' with Bingo
I'd Know You Anywhere - Laura Lippman 9/12
Swan - Frances Mayes 9/16
The Edge of Winter - Luanne Rice 9/18
Russian Winter - Daphne Kalotay 9/19
Testimony - Anita Shreve 9/19
The Good Daughters - Joyce Maynard 9/29

Library Girl Reads
September Giveaway 9/26

Dan's Journal
Up From the Blue - Susan Henderson 9/10
Testimony - Anita Shreve 9/19
Making Room for New Books Giveaway 9/23

Minding Spot
Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method 9/15
Oogy - Larry Levin 9/20
The Taming of Mei Lin - Jeanie Lin 9/23

Teaser Tuesdays 9.7.10

Teaser Tuesdays is a very interesting, fun, book-related meme, hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Be prepared to add several new books to your TBR list! I do every week!

My Teaser:

"The sight of Bjurman aroused no dramatic feelings in Salander, not anger, not hatred, nor fear. As far as she was concerned, the world would assuredly be a better place without him, but he was alive only because she had decided that he would be more useful to her that way.."

from The Girl Who Played With Fire by Stieg Larsson (p.173)

This book is terrific! It's full of mystery, intrigue and suspense, with a good dose of wit and sarcasm. I read The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo and it was great but I think this one is even better!

Anyone can play along! If you'd like to participate, Just do the following:
*Grab your current read
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page. (I used 3 this week!)
*BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

*And, finally, don't forget to link your post to MizB's at Should Be Reading. If you don't have a blog, simply share your "teasers" in a comment.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Horror, Mystery, Suspense: The R.I.P. Challenge

It may be hard to believe, but Fall is just around the corner! In two months it will be Halloween, time for trick or treating, dressing in costumes, bobbing for apples and all that fun stuff! One of the best ways to get in the mood and celebrate these upcoming months is by reading the kind of good books that send chills up our spines, cause the hairs on the back of our necks to stand up and make goose pimples form up and down our arms!

Dark fantasy,

Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings is hosting the R.I.P. Challenge or Readers Imbibing Peril. This is Carl's 5th time hosting this challenge which gets rave reviews across the book blogging community. I'm excited to participate for the first time!

I signed up for several challenges that began in January but due to various family problems and health issues, I haven't made any headway with them and I don't expect I'll finish any of them this year. But I know I don't want to miss this challenge! I can definitely manage, at least, a book or two of the horror, suspense, mystery kind! Carl has made it easy to participate with a variety of different challenge levels whether you feel like reading several books or just a couple or, possibly, short stories or film are more your speed, it's all fine so long as you're Imbibing Peril!! There's room for everybody! And if you don't have a blog, it doesn't matter so check out the R.I.P. Challenge at Carl's blog and sign up!

I have several books I'd like to read but I think I'm going to play it safe and opt for Peril the Second and vow to read at least 2 books!
My list of books to choose from:

1. An Instance of the Fingerpost by Iain Pears
2. In the Woods by Tana French
3. The Likeness by Tana French
4. The Moonstone by Wilkie Collins
5. We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
6. The Grey Woman and Other Stories by Elizabeth Gaskell
7. The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
8. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Stieg Larsson
9. Die for You by Lisa Unger
10. When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
11. Any of several of Laura Lippman's books