Thursday, December 31, 2009

A Look Back at 2009!

Just want to look back at what I've accomplished this last year on the blogging front...a trip down memory lane sort to speak.

I started this blog, I think, in April and have been floored by all the wonderful people, books, experiences, etc during these last nine months. A big thanks to all who have read my little blog and have let me into your lives just a little!

Let's see....

Books read: 69

Challenges I joined: The Everything Austen Challenge was my first and how I met so many wonderful bloggers who are now my blomies! RIP challenge, Helluva Halloween Challenge, 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge, Women Unbound Challenge, and the Fear Itself Challenge. And the only one I didn't complete was the Fear Itself Challenge, which required me to read genres/authors I've never tried...

Books Won: 17

Awards Received: 20, but a few are repeats!

Followers: 77!

Giveaways: 2. I hosted one for my pirate week back in September and one for my first fifty followers!

I also participated in a book blog tour for Only Milo thanks to Nicole! And I participated in Velvet's virtual Pemberley Ball which was just delightful!

Blogging has renewed my interest in books and knowledge! Thanks to everyone for making my year one to remember!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

I was expecting some good things from this book and I was not disappointed. It's full of action, thoughtfulness, love and romance, and zombies. All things I love in a novel. Though, the ending was a bit disappointing. I'm hoping that the ending means their are more books to come in this world of the Unconsecrated. I am informed that yes, there is a sequel The Dead-tossed Waves due out in March, I think.

We see the world from the perspective of Mary. She lives in a small village in the middle of a forest that is infested with zombies. They are the last remnants of the human race uninfected or so the Sisterhood tells everyone. But soon the village is finally overrun by the zombies and her, her brother, her friend, and the two men she loves escape with her into the forest. Her mother has told her stories of the world before the zombies came into it and she sets out to find the ocean and this world that may be free from the zombies.

There are a few things not patched up for me and a few plot twists that I didn't like, but I feel that it is another great zombie classic and am looking forward to its sequel!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Fear Itself Challenge Wrap-up

This should've been a wonderful challenge for me...but, too many other things came up and I didn't do so well on this one. This is my first reading challenge that I thoroughly botched big time. I was to read Oliver Twist by Charles Dickens, an essay by Ralph Waldo Emerson, and a poem by someone. I made it to page 70ish in Oliver Twist, page 10 in Emerson's Nature essay, and didn't even get to a poem, though many were in easy access. I'm horrible. I just couldn't do it...too many other books calling my attention so I guess my heart was not in it. So if Donna @ Bites does it again I will have to give it another go this next year with my heart fully in it!

Monday, December 28, 2009

The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

Summary: Ani is born with the ability to learn animal languages and her aunt helps her through her young years, but her mother the queen finds this animal-speaking abhorrent and ends up giving her daughter to another kingdom for marriage when she turns sixteen. Along the way her lady-in-waiting and her cronies mutiny so Selena can take Ani's place and become queen in Bayern. But Ani escapes and learns to survive by becoming the king's goose girl and befriending others.

The Good: It's a cute story, clean, and has morals to teach, such as finding who you are. Ani is a strong character and so are the others that we meet. Shannon Hale writes this story well.

The Bad: This just wasn't my style. I enjoy a good fantasy novel, but this one didn't hold my interest. But I can see why so many people like it. I just haven't found a Hale novel that I've really enjoyed yet.

Friday, December 25, 2009

The Christmas Clock by Kat Martin

I won this delightful book from Margot @Joyfully Retired. It was a great holiday Christmas read. The book introduces us to the little town of Dreyerville and its various residents. They all have their secrets, their disappoints, and their hopes and dreams and it centers around little 8-year-old Teddy and his desire to give his grandmother something special, the Christmas clock in the window.

It's a very touching story and a very quick read so you can enjoy it in one sitting. I highly recommend it!

*part of the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Relentless by Dean Koontz (audio CD)

My friend recommended this one to me since she's a big Dean Koontz fan and I'm not. She said this was Koontz at his best. So I figured I give it a try through an audio CD. This was my first audio book and I was not disappointed. I listened through in just a few days and even my hubby was anxious for the ending.

Cubby, his wife Pennie, and their prodigy son Milo, and their magical dog Lassie are running for their lives when a psychotic book critic threatens their lives. But the conspiracy seems to go even farther up the chain than first realized and they are determined to put an end to it one way or another.

The storyline is a bit unbelievable with government conspiracies, magical dogs, and a too-genius son. But it's fun and entertaining. But not enough to make me a huge Dean Koontz fan.

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Merry Christmas!!!!

I'm taking a bit of a break for the holidays coming no TV Thursday meme this week and possibly next, but I'll decide that one later!, though, I have a few book reviews scheduled over the next couple of days. So I hope everyone has a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!!!!!

Violet Wings by Victoria Hanley

Victoria Hanley introduces a wonderful set of characters in a wonderful and magical world. We have fairies that have magic and use wands and keep themselves hidden from the humans. The premise does have overtones of Harry Potter, but it can stand on its own.

Zaria is fourteen and ready to become an adult fairy, to gain her wand, and learn how to use magic. She's also wondering what has happened to her parents and her brother that disappeared five years before. Once she gains her wand she realizes she is a Violet fairy meaning one of the most powerful fairies in all the world. She must go up against her mentor Lily Morganite who has ulterior motives as well. She and her friends must save her world and that of the humans as well.

I wanted more. An excellent setup and story, but it failed to deliver for me. It was too simple. The end is left open for a sequel so maybe Hanley will give more detail in the sequel. Great setup, just too simple.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays- Goose Girl

teasertuesdays31 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • 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!
My Teaser: p. 64 "There is no such thing as as royal blood. I believe we are what we make ourselves."

From The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale

The Circle of Friends Award!!!!!!!!!!

A big thanks to Renee @ Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot for nominating me for this honored award! But before I pass this on to five more of my blogger friends I must mention five things that I love to do!

1. Eat!
2. Read!!!!!
3. Watch movies and TV
4. Hang out with my hubby and little boy and laugh, play games, talk, etc...
5. Play sports (my faves are basketball and volleyball)!!!!

I am passing this one onto five more of my blogging friends!

1. alita.reads
2. Word Trix
3. Vintage Joy
4. the road goes ever ever on 
5. The Little Bookworm 

Monday, December 21, 2009

Weekly Movie Wrapup

Here are the movies I watched this last week in five words!

1. The Blind Side (2009): Superb! I cried, I laughed.

2. A Christmas Story (1983): "Fraaaa-giiii-leeee. It must be Italian."

3. The Muppet Christmas Carol (1992): My favorite adaptation of novel!

4. Eli Stone season two (2008-2009): All's well that ends well.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Happy December 19th!!!!!!!!!!

Yes, I have really fallen behind in my Christmas facts posts. I didn't think it would be so hard! So I've just been getting them in where I can!


This guy is the assistant to St. Nicholas in Austria. December 6th is their day to visit all the good and bad children! This grotesque demon carries a rod or a whip for all the badly behaved children! But thank goodness St. Nicholas intercedes and allows the bad kids to promise to be better and no rod or whip! I'll definitely hold off on my naughty tendencies to avoid the Krampus!

Friday, December 18, 2009

Things i LOVE Friday!

Hosted by Midnight Cowgirl @The Fashion Planner

only one week til Christmas!

My little boy sucking on his pjs and soaking everything around him!

peanut butter and chocolate

Christmas goodies

Christmas books


celebrating another anniversary!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Soulless by Gail Carriger

 Summary: Alexia Tarabotti is laboring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette.

Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire -- and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate.

With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart?

SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

This was a perfect blend of mystery, romance, steampunk, and the supernatural! Alexia Tabarotti is sensational; she's a wonderfully strong female character! Gail Carriger opens up a whole new world of the Victorian era of England. What would life be like if the natural and supernatural worked in league together?

Alexia just happens to be a preternatural, one who neutralizes the powers and characteristics of those who are supernatural...and thus they call her the soulless one.

There are a lot of Jane Austen homages in this book as well...the dress, the decorum, Alexia's family! Her mother is Mrs. Bennet and her two sisters are Lydia and Kitty. And her Lord Maccon is Austen's Mr. Darcy! Just lovely.

TV Thursday

My weekly TV meme that's all about...TV!

This week is all about series finales. USA's show Monk (2002-2009) just aired its final episode this week. I thought it was a great wrap-up to this incredibly smart and funny show. We finally learn who killed Trudy and why and its healing effect upon Mr. Monk. So it was a fantabulous series finale; it neatly tied up loose ends and made you feel all warm and fuzzy my thoughts are what TV shows ended really lame? What ones ended fantabulously like Monk?

For me? I hated how Quantum Leap (1989-1993) wrapped things up but in a very confusing and annoying way. Veronica Mars (2004-2007) had a great season finale episode! But a horrible end to the got canceled and the creator Rob Thomas was hoping a season finale episode would persuade the bigwigs at top to renew the show for one more season...didn't happen. It's the most frustrating thing ever!!!!!

Most people probably won't agree with me, but I thought the series finale to Seinfeld (1990-1998) was superb! The selfish and whiny peeps finally got their just desserts! Though, it was a sad ending to a wonderful comedy era...

For some reason the series' that I love just haven't gotten their great final hurrahs. Oh well! I keep watching and hoping...

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

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. If you want to play along, grab the button, and join the fun! (Don’t forget to leave a link in your comment if you’re participating).

My words come from Soulless by Gail Carriger.

1. p.93 "Hundreds of years of experience colored every new occurrence with predictability and ennui."
ENNUI: a feeling of utter weariness and discontent resulting from satiety or lack of interest; boredom.
ORIGIN: 1660–70; from French and Old French.

2. p.227 "Lord Ambrose you can disregard; he is her pet favorite but hasn't the brains of a peahen, I am afraid, for all his pulchritude."
 PEAHEN: A female pea fowl.

PULCHRITUDE: Great physical beauty and appeal.

ORIGIN: 1350–1400; From Middle English pulcritude, from Latin pulchritūdō, from pulcher, pulchr-, beautiful.

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

From Goodreads: Laura comes from a world similar to our own except for one difference: It is next to the Place, an unfathomable land that fosters dreams of every kind and is inaccessible to all but a select few, the dreamhunters. These are individuals with the ability to catch larger-than-life dreams and relay them to audiences in the magnificent dream palace. People travel from all around to experience the benefits of the hunters’ unique visions.
     Now, fifteen-year-old Laura and her cousin Rose, daughters of dreamhunters, are old enough to find out if they qualify to enter the Place. But nothing can prepare them for what they are about to discover. In the midst of a fascinating landscape, Laura’s dreamy childhood is ending, and a nightmare is beginning.

I had a feeling I was going to love this book when it was suggested for my book club. I'm a big fantasy and YA junkie so this seemed like the perfect fit for me. This is unlike any book I've ever read before. I was drawn into Laura's world of the dreamhunters. This takes place in the early twentieth century and has a steampunk feel; an alternate history since the dreamhunters entered the world. I enjoyed the struggle Laura felt as she has to grow up once she realizes she is also a dreamhunter like her father. Her cousin is not and she has to do things on her own in order to find out why her father disappeared and what The Place actually is.

The relationship between Laura and her cousin is beautiful. Even though Rose couldn't go with Laura into The Place she was still there for Laura. Their relationship is one I wish I could have with my own sisters.

It's a unique and interesting story; I loved it! January I start reading its sequel, Dreamquake!

My 2009 Holiday Blogger Book Swap Gift!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

It has finally arrived! My Secret Santa was Monica over at The Bibliophilic Book Blog! So a big thanks to her for my wonderful gift! The Ruben Toledo cover of Wuthering Heights by Charlotte Bronte. He has also done covers for Pride and Prejudice and The Scarlet Letter; they're really pretty so check them out too. This was such a great idea and am so glad I was able to participate. I think next year I will go global with the book swap! So check out all the goodies the participants have received here!

Teaser Tuesdays-Soulless

teasertuesdays31 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • 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!

My Teaser:

p. 134 "Finally Lord Maccon looked up. 'Grovel, you say?'
            Lyall did not glance away from the latest vampire report he was perusing. 'Grovel, my lord.'"

From Soulless by Gail Carriger

Monday, December 14, 2009

Monday Movie Meme & Weekly Movie Wrap-up

Feature Presentation...

Hosted by The Bumbles Blog. This week's theme is movies that are about music, not necessarily musicals. This was all I could think of off the top of my head!

1. That Thing You Do! (1996): Written and directed by Tom Hanks! This one is a gem!
2. August Rush (2007): A musical genius uses his genius to find his musical biological parents. It was sweet.

Weekly Movie Wrap-up in Five Words!

1. Public Enemies (2009): Bank robbers never win...die.
2. Terminator Salvation (2009): Didn't drop the F-bomb once!
3. Julie & Julia (2009): Both Julies cook it up!
4. Harry Potter & The Half-blood Prince (2009): Stupid Malfoy; Dumbledore dies, sad.
5. Because of Winn-Dixie (2005): The cute dog smiles big!
6. Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (2009): First was better; still fun.

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

I saw the previews for this one and I got really excited about it, so I thought I'd head out and buy the book and read it! I'm glad I did. This was a really fast-paced novel and I got through it pretty quickly.

Back jacket description: The year is 1954. U.S. Marshal Teddy Daniels and his new partner, Chuck Aule, have come to Shutter Island, home of Ashecliffe Hospital for the Criminally Insane, to investigate the disappearance of a patient. Multiple murderess Rachel Solando is loose somewhere on this remote and barren island, despite having been kept in a locked cell under constant surveillance. As a killer hurricane bears relentlessly down on them, a strange case takes on even darker, more sinister shades -- with hints of radical experimentation, horrifying surgeries, and lethal countermoves made in the cause of a covert shadow war. No one is going to escape Shutter Island unscathed, because nothing at Ashecliffe Hospital is what it seems. But then neither is Teddy Daniels.
This book has a lot of twists and turns and until the very end I should've clued in but I didn't. Some smarter people will probably get it before it's over, but I enjoyed the psychological ride. But this book is not for the faint of heart. It has language galore, such as the F-bomb and their are some pretty graphic visualizations of crimes, sex, etc. But if you can enjoy a story for its story then check this one out. I won't be seeing the movie since I know that it will contain some pretty graphic violence and language and reading it in a book is one thing, but seeing it on a big screen is quite another! So enjoy!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Three Wise Cats: A Christmas Story by Harold Konstantelos & Terri Jenkins-Brady

This was a great little book to keep the Christmas reading season going! We follow three cats on their journey to find the Messiah; they are following the new star and soon join up with the three wise men along the way. They also meet many other people on their journey and they learn what paths they must take after they find the Son of God. I knew I would really enjoy this book since it has cats as the main characters! The ending was especially touching as they meet the Savior and feel of His love for them. It was a great way to keep Christ in Christmas and remember the reason for the season.

Happy December 13th!!!!!!!!!

Well, now I'm really behind in my twenty-five days of Christmas facts. I don't even remember when I did it last. It's been a crazy week...My hubby and I celebrated our sixth wedding anniversary yesterday and my mother was kind enough to come to my house and babysit my boy for a day and a night while we were out hob knobbin the town! he he. So I've been on kind of mini hiatus. So here are some more fun Christmas facts!

Grandfather Frost

Is what the Communist regime of Russia gave Russians during this time of year. He had no religious affiliation and came on a non-religious holiday, New Year's, to bring gifts. For Christmas they had Father Christmas or Kolyada who came on Christmas Eve and Babouschka came on Epiphany. He is an old man dressed in winter furs and clothes like Santa Claus, or sometimes a bishop's robe like St. Nicholas.

A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens

Dickens actually wrote a poem or carol for Christmas and it was published in his famous Christmas chapter of The Pickwick Papers and later set to the tune of "Old King Carol."

I care not for Spring: on his fickle wing
Let the blossoms and buds be borne;
He woos them amain with this treacherous rain,
And he scatters them ere the morn.
An inconstant elf, he knows not himself,
Nor his own changing mind and hour,
He'll smile in your face, and , with wry grimace,
He'll wither your youngest flower.

Let the Summer sun to his bright home run,
He shall never be sought by me;
when he's dimmed by a cloud I can laugh aloud,
And I care not how sulky he be!
For his darling child is the madness wild
That sports in fierce fever's train;
And when love is too strong, it don't last long,
As many have found to their pain.

A mild harvest night, by the tranquil light
Of the modest and gentle moon,
Has afar sweeter sheen, for me, I ween,
Than the broad and unblushing noon.
But every leaf awakes my grief,
As it lieth beneath the tree;
So let Autumn air be never so fair,
It by no means agrees with me.

But my song I troll out, for CHRISTMAS stout,
The hearty, the true, and the bold;
A bumper I drain, and with might and main
Give three cheers for this Christmas old!
We'll usher him in with a merry din
That shall gladden his joyous heart,
And we'll keep him up while, there's bite or sup,
And in fellowship good, we'll part.

In his fine honest pride, he scorns to hide
One jot of his hard-weather scars;
They're no disgrace, for there's much the same trace
On the cheeks of our harvest tars.
Then again I sing till the roof doth ring,
And it echoes from wall to wall-
To the stout old wight, fair welcome to-night,
As the King of the Seasons of all!

*Part of the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge
*All information from The Christmas Almanack by Gerard and Patricia Del Re

Thursday, December 10, 2009

TV Thursday

My weekly meme all about TV!

Buffy the Vampire Slayer! Can I just say that show rocked! I finally purchased the final season a month or so ago and am having so much going through them again. What makes Buffy such a wonderful character? Well, first off she's tough. She can take care of herself physically, yeah! Second, she's not perfect. She's still a teenage girl trying to fit in and make sense of everything, so she needs people emotionally to be there for her and that's where her awesome friends come in. I love how, even though the show is fantasy (with vampires and all), there still is realism thrown in. Not everyone in Sunnydale looks like they're models heading to high school every morning/photo shoots...this is the big problem I have with the new Vampire Diaries TV show on right now. Willow's a nerd, too skinny, average-looking girl. Xander is a hottie who doesn't know it, but he's still average guy in high school. Yeah, the ones not as great-looking are of course the Not main character like Buffy, but hey, it's progress!

My favorite episodes that stand out are the ones where everyone loses the ability to speak and these creepy monster guys go around eating children or something...that one was hilarious and scary all at the same time. Then we have the musical episode in the sixth season! I think Giles was the only one who could actually sing really great...but it was just brilliant and fun at the same time.

What's your favorite vampire show and/or movie? I'd love to hear it!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Wondrous Words Wednesday

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. If you want to play along, grab the button, and join the fun! (Don’t forget to leave a link in your comment if you’re participating).

From Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox

1. p. 212 "She wondered whether he was stupid. Slow, obdurate, and earthy."

OBDURATE: Unmoved by persuasion, pity, or tender feelings; stubborn; unyielding.
ORIGIN: 1400–50; From late Middle English obdurat from Latin obdūrātus.

2. p. 307 "Chorley ate and watched pigeons fossick for crumbs among the iron table and chair legs."

To hunt; seek; ferret out.
ORIGIN: 1850–55.

Teaser Tuesdays (a Day Late and a Dollar Short)....

teasertuesdays31 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • 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!
My Teaser:

From Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

p.1 "I haven't laid eyes on the island in several years. The last time was from a friend's boat that ventured into the outer harbor, and I could see it off in the distance, past the inner ring, shrouded in the summer haze, a careless smudge of paint against the sky."

Happy December 9th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

A Christmas Wish
It is my heart-warm and world-embracing Christmas hope and aspiration that all of us, the high, the low, the rich, the poor, the admired, the despised, the loved, the hated, the civilized, the savage (every man had brother of us all though-out the whole earth), may eventually be gathered together in a heaven of everlasting rest and peace and bliss, except the inventor of the telephone.

by Mark Twain

*Taken from the Christmas Almanack by Gerard and Patricia Del Re
*Part of the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Happy December 6, 7, and 8th!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

I can't seem to get them up everyday, my fun little Christmas facts from The Christmas Almanack...oh well....

My favorite Christmas hymns:

Angels We Have Heard on High: Musicologists have determined that this anonymous French tune was created around the eighteenth century. It is often sung in England with the carol words "Angels From the Realms of Glory" by James Montgomery. The English translation of the original French is anonymous.

The First Noel: The author and composer are anonymous. It is believed to have been written some time before the eighteenth century. The words were first published in Davies Gilbert's Some Ancient Christmas Carols in 1823. The tune was first published by William Sandys in his Christmas Carols, Ancient and Modern in 1833.

How to say Merry Christmas around the world:

Argentina: Felices Pascuas
Belgium/Flemish: Vrolijke Kerstmis
China: Kung Hsi Hsin Nien or Bing Chu Shen Tan
Croatia: Sretan Bozic
Czech Republic: Vesele Vanoce
Denmark: Glaedelig julEsperanto/Gajan Krsinaskon
Estonia: Roomsaid Joulu Puhi
Finland: Hauskaa Joulua
France: Joyeux Noel
Germany: Fohliche Weinachten
Greece: Kala Christouogena
Hawaii: Mele Kalikimaka
India: Shuvo Naba Barsha
Iraq: Idah Saidan Wa Sanah Jadidah
Ireland/Gaelic: Nodlaig Nait Cugat
Italy: Bono Natale
Japan: Meri Kurisumasu
Norway: Gledelig Jul
Philippines: Maligayan Pasko
Romania: Sarbatori Vesele
South Africa/Afrikaans: Een Plesierige Kerfees
Turkey: Noeliniz Ve Yeni Yiliniz Kutlu Olsun

Holiday Scents

To infuse your home with a spicy holiday aroma, all you need to do is simmer the following ingredients in a pot of water:

3 Cinnamon sticks
1 Orange peel
6 tbsp. star anise
4 tbsp. whole cloves
2 tbsp. crushed nutmeg
6 tbsp. juniper berries
2 tbsp. allspice
20 drops of the following essential oils: orange, clove and/or cinnamon

Allow the mixture to simmer throughout the day; add more water as needed!

All taken from The Christmas Almanack by Gerard and Patricia Del Re

Part of the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Monday Movie Meme- Black and White Pictures

Feature Presentation...

A weekly movie meme hosted by The Bumbles Blog. This week is all about your favorite Black and White pictures!

The Bumbles actually chose my first three on their I'll think of some other ones...

1. Rebecca (1940): "I'm asking you to marry me, you little fool."

2. Pride and Prejudice (1940): "An unhappy alternative is before you, Elizabeth. Your mother will never see you again if you do not marry Mr. Collins. And I will never see you again if you do."

3. Arsenic and Old Lace (1944): Elaine Harper: But Mortimer, you're going to love me for my mind, too.
Mortimer Brewster: One thing at a time!

4. Night of the Living Dead (1968): Johnny: [in a creepy voice] They're coming to get you, Barbara!
Barbara: Stop it! You're ignorant!
Johnny: They're coming for you, Barbara!
Barbara: Stop it! You're acting like a child!
Johnny: They're coming for you!

Sunday, December 6, 2009

Happy Holidays Book Blowout Giveaway!!!!!!!!!!

Dark Faerie Tales is hosting a very awesome and bookstacular giveaway this month!!!! Check it out and win up to four free books of your choosing from her list! It ends January 5, 2010.

Movie Weekend Wrap-up

Movies I watched this week...

1. The first season of Eli Stone (2008-2009). This was an excellent TV show and am really disappointed it was canceled after only two seasons. If you get a chance check it out; it is a really heart-warming and uplifting show.

1. Land of the Lost (2009): Not Will's funniest or cleverest.

3. My Sister's Keeper (2009): Better ending than the book.

4. The Bourne Identity (2002): High kick-arse action, woot!

5. New Moon (2009): Joined the team for Jacob!

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Remarkably Jane: Notable Quotations on Jane Austen by Jennifer Adams

Some quotes from the book:

"One of Jane Austen's greatest talents is that she presents sexual tension with such subtlety."

"For all the body's powers and vulnerability, [Austen's:] novels demonstrate that, for her, the real dance of life lies in language and in understanding."

"Each of us has a private Austen."

This was a wonderful collection of quotes on Austen and her works. This book even throws in the criticism and condemnation quotes! Yes, I can't believe they're out there! Great read for Austen fans everywhere!

*Part of the Everything Austen Challenge

Friday, December 4, 2009

Happy December 3rd and Fourth and Fifth!!!!!

Got a bit busy so I didn't get my posts in the last couple of days so here are three facts in one post to make up for it!!!!

Why do we sometimes abbreviate Christmas as Xmas? Some people feel that it's because we want to take Christ out of Christmas. But the X is actually the Greek letter Chi. And Chi is the first letter of Christ's name written in Greek and has always stood as a symbol for Christ. This usage has been in use since at least the twelfth century.

Yule Log

The ancient Mesopotamians made wooden images of the monsters that fought with the god Marduk to destroy the world. This took place during the winter solstice. The wooden images were burned to help Marduk overcome evil forces. This is only a possible theory to the origins of the yule log...but the light and warmth would be great comforts in the deadness of winter. So bonfires have always been an important part of the northern European winter Jul or Yule festivals.

Celebrating in China

Here Christmas is called Cheng Dan Jieh, the Holy Birth Festival. China has only been exposed to western culture for about four hundred years and less than one percent of the population is Christian. They have adopted the practices of Christmas celebration from the missionaries that brought them the Good News with their Tree of Light, and their gifts are brought by Lam Khoong-Khoong (Nice Old Father) or Dun Che Lao Run (Christmas Old Man). They hang festive paper lanterns and have plenty of fireworks since this is where they were invented!

*Taken from The Christmas Almanack by Gerard and Patricia Del Re
*Part of the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge

Things i LOVE Friday

Things i a weekly meme hosted by Midnight Cowgirl @ The Fashion Planner.


Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

Eli Stone

Spiking my son's hair after a bath

snuggling with my kitties

dark chocolate Reese's Peanut Butter Cup

hot chocolate with lots of whip cream

Turbo Jam

The Colbert Report

Thursday, December 3, 2009

The Trials of the Honorable F. Darcy by Sara Angelini

This does get a bit steamy in parts and there is some language, but overall this was a really fun love story. The author did a wonderful job of modernizing the story of Pride and Prejudice.

The story rests around Lizzy and Darcy, she's a lawyer and he's the judge...sparks soon fly in out of the courtroom. They have a steamy romance in England, but they have to break up once they're back in the they find a way to be together despite the courtroom ethics?

We still have Jane and Bingley, his witchy sister Caroline, and the rest of her family...but the author introduces Lou to us, Lizzy's best friend who is gay. It adds a wonderful dynamic to the story. There is no Wickham in this adaptation. I like that, though, since the story turns into how two people finally realize what true love is (i.e., plot isn't quite as complex).

So read P&P first and then pick up this delightful adaptation!

*Part of the Everything Austen Challenge

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson

I'd heard about this book on and became really interested in reading it. So when I headed to the library last week I saw that it was in stock, I picked it up and carried it home! This was a really fast read; I read it cover to cover in a day.

We see the world through the eyes of Melinda in your ninth grade year, her Freshman year in high school, how she deals with being raped the summer before by an acquaintance from school. It's shocking and horrible, really. Her parents don't seem to notice that there could actually be something wrong with their daughter since she's become withdrawn, sullen, depressed. They just assume she's acting out for some reason to hurt them. All of her former friends have ceased being her friends this year, none of teachers care. Except her art teacher, he seems to notice she has a talent for art and he encourages her talent throughout the year. It's a story of how she's been silenced through this horrible and traumatic experience and how she eventually finds her voice to speak out and to speak up for herself.

It's an amazing novel and can clearly see why it's becoming a modern classic. Everyone should read this in order to gain better understanding not only for rape victims, but those victims of any kind of abuse, those who are depressed. Let's reach out to those in need. Let's be informed and educate and talk about sexual abuse, how it's horrible, how to prevent it.

The author, at the end of her book, talks about how she's gotten a lot of letters from boys that really liked the novel, but don't understand why the character Melinda was so disturbed about being raped!!! She was shocked and appalled as I am. It just goes to show how our society sends the message that sex is no big deal and thus why we have so many sexual assault cases. I'm a mother of a little boy and I want him to grow up knowing why sex IS a huge deal, the impact it can have, I want him to realize that despite what our culture says about women, it's wrong...we're important, we're real, we have feelings. If I can help him learn that essential part of humanity, I'll have accomplished my one true mission on this earth.

*Part of the Women Unbound Challenge