June 5, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

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! 

I started Nora Roberts’ The Search last night! So far, it’s been pretty fast paced, hopefully it stays that way!

“That made her heart flutter. 
The man incited the oddest reactions in her.
‘I want him,’ Fiona said when Jaws all but swaggered down the slide.
‘You’ve got your pronouns confused. Me. You want me.’

‘I admire your ego, but I meant him.’ “

Check out the original Teaser Tuesday on Should Be Reading!
Happy Tuesday!

Posted June 5, 2012 by Ellen in teaser tuesday, Uncategorized / 6 Comments
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June 5, 2012

Review: One Day by David Nicholls

We all want our own fairy tale. Kids learn fairy tale basics from Disney when they’re young, and as we grow older, we learn all the more. Sometimes it doesn’t work out, sometimes they’re not the right one, the Prince/Princess Charming. Sometimes, instead of the happy fairy tale ending, we are completely blindsided by those we love. One Day incorporates all of these mini-journeys in life, using the POV of the two main characters, Emma Morley and Dexter Mayhew. One Day is the funny and heartbreaking tale of their romance. 

Synopsis (from the cover)
It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day – July 15th – of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself.

I adored Emma. Her awkward and self-conscious nature feels very similar to my own, and it was so easy to slip into her mind, to identify with her thoughts. I liked the odd juxtaposition of her awkwardness and her sudden flashes of self-confidence. Seeing her character through her own eyes, and then reading the observations the other characters make of her (like Ian, Dexter, or even Cigarette Girl) makes the reader realize the depth of her self-consciousness.

When she was with Dexter, though, a whole new side of Emma shined through, especially in the beginning. They brought out the best in each other, despite Emma’s shyness and Dex’s obvious self-assuredness. Actually, he is downright cocky (sorry, I can’t think of another word for it). Girls love guys who are a touch too full of themselves and Dexter is the perfect example of it. His attitude made me love him and hate him all at the same time.

As the story went on, I felt pity for either Dex or Emma, or both. It was impossible to not become emotionally attached to these characters – I feel as though I’ve known them forever, that I was there with them on Arthur’s Step or in Paris. 

Emma and Dexter’s story is our new modern fairy tale. No fairy godmothers, castles, or magic. Instead, there is cigarettes, sex, and drunken phone calls. Nicholls creates an amazing world using only one day a year, July 15th. And those days are, for lack of a better word, magical.

Look it up here on Amazon. Happy Reading!

Posted June 5, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 2 Comments
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June 4, 2012

On My Shelf

I’ve been collecting all sorts of books lately, getting ideas from all the wonderful blogs I’ve been reading! And my library has finally gotten some new books in its collection, so I’ve been checking everything out. These are the books on my to-read shelf (so far!):

(from left to right)
Definitely Not Mr. Darcy by Karen Doornebos
The Search by Nora Roberts (starting this one tonight!)
The Song of Achilles by Madeline Miller
Jane of the Damned by Janet Mullany
The Fellowship of the Ring by J.R.R. Tolkien (I finally found a copy! I’ve wanted to read these for ages…)
Cinder by Marissa Meyer
Twilight of Avalon by Anna Elliot (I’m a huge fan of The Mists of Avalon, so I am excited to try out this novel)
The Biographer’s Tale by A.S. Byatt (amazing author)
Divergent by Veronica Roth (inspired by the enthusiastic reviews)
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner (still really want to read this one!)
The Two Towers by J.R.R. Tolkien
Hollywood is Like High School With Money by Zoey Dean (a random library find)
Deadly Gift by Heather Graham
Making the Corps by Thomas E. Ricks
Plain Speaking: Conversations with Harry S. Truman by Merle Miller
One Day by David Nicholls (almost done with this one!)

Happy Monday 🙂

Posted June 4, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 4, 2012

Review: Abandon by Meg Cabot

Synopsis (from goodreads):
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can’t help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she’s never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.

But now she’s moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.

Only she can’t. Because even here, he finds her. That’s how desperately he wants her back. She knows he’s no guardian angel, and his dark world isn’t exactly heaven, yet she can’t stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.

But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld.

As I said before, I am a huge Meg Cabot fan. Fell in love with The Princess Diaries when I was twelve or so and never looked back. However, I’m not 100% sure about this book.

I read it quickly; easy read, interesting take on the famous Greek myth of Hades and Persephone. Cabot uses the dark nature of the original myth in her setting of a small island off of Florida called Isla Huesos, a beautiful mini paradise. 

I couldn’t get into Pierce’s head. Even though the entire book is in first person, she still remained a mystery. And not a good one. A bit of an annoying one, to be honest with you. As the novel went on, I liked her more. Maybe it’s because so little is revealed at first, and the reader is thrown headfirst into this girl exceptionally drama-filled life. I didn’t understand her obsession with the cemetary – was it because of John or her near-death experience? 

And John…he isn’t Hades (the Greek mythology lord of the underworld) but more of a “death deity” who runs a transportation hub in Isla Huesos for dead people? He didn’t grow on me either; no heart-stopping moments – except in his anger – and I didn’t understand him whatsoever until the final few chapters. Why does he care so much about this girl in comparison to the others under his watch?

The ending was completely unexpected, so props to Cabot for that. It completely blindsided me. I knew the bad guys weren’t human, but I didn’t expect that at all. (Trying not to have any spoilers =] )

I spent too long on the bad. It was honestly an okay book; maybe I’ll read it again when I have time now that I know the plot. My main issue with this book is its attempt at mystery. I did really enjoy the connections to the old mythology, but the way it was presented confused me. 

I want to give this one another chance. I think there is another book in the Abandon series now…maybe that one will help explain this one?

Posted June 4, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 3, 2012

Sunday Afternoon Classics: Jane Eyre

Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte was my very first classic novel that I read. My mom picked it up for me at Barnes and Noble years ago, and I was instantly attracted to it. I loved the cover – the Barnes and Noble Classics one? The expression on her face was so intriguing, I cracked open the thick book and began to read.

Synopsis from goodreads.com:

Orphaned into the household of her Aunt Reed at Gateshead, subject to the cruel regime at Lowood charity school, Jane Eyre nonetheless emerges unbroken in spirit and integrity. She takes up the post of governess at Thornfield, falls in love with Mr. Rochester, and discovers the impediment to their lawful marriage in a story that transcends melodrama to portray a woman’s passionate search for a wider and richer life than Victorian society traditionally allowed. With a heroine full of yearning, the dangerous secrets she encounters, and the choices she finally makes, Charlotte Bronte’s innovative and enduring romantic novel continues to engage and provoke readers.

Meet Jane. Her life kind of sucks. She’s an orphan living with the equivalent of Cinderella’s evil step-family. It was the beginning of the fairy tale that we all know so well. Jane’s misery doesn’t really end – throughout the book she really has the worst luck. Jane constantly keeps a good attitude, if not happy. She doesn’t pity herself and her sad luck, she finds new opportunities. I think this is a lesson every needs to learn.

Now. Mr. Rochester. On my lanta. His mysterious nature and piercing dark eyes…who can resist a man with a dark secret such as him? I loved the party scene when all the lovely ladies come to visit and Jane and Adele are required to pay a visit. The mystery and tension between Rochester and Jane is so thick you could cut it with a knife.

Thornfield is a house straight out of the Gothic era. Looming mansion in the middle of the English countryside, big rooms, mysterious sounds and bumps in the night, and a dark and brooding master. The servants know the secret, but when Jane assumes the role of governess of Adele, she is not a part of the lower class (allowing the servants the comfort of confiding frequently in her) nor the upper class. She is once again, an outcast of sorts. 

But I don’t love Jane because of what happens to her or the pretty mansion. I love Jane because of how she reacts and how she deals with situations that would completely befuddle and stun the everyday man. Few things slow her down, but she keeps going, through the thick and thin.

Try Jane Eyre. You’ll like it : )

Posted June 3, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 1, 2012

Review: The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks

I wasn’t one of the The Notebook people who read this novel when it originally came out. I didn’t even see the movie until recently with my boyfriend. I found the book at the library and thought it was about time I finally read it.

(Small spoilers in the review. I tried to be careful, but it’s hard =] )

Synopsis (from the back of the book):
Every so often a love story so captures our hearts that it becomes more than a story-it becomes an experience to remember forever. The Notebook is such a book. It is a celebration of how passion can be ageless and timeless, a tale that moves us to laughter and tears and makes us believe in true love all over again.

At thirty-one, Noah Calhoun, back in coastal North Carolina after World War II, is haunted by images of the girl he lost more than a decade earlier/ At twenty-nine, socialite Allie Nelson is about to marry a wealthy lawyer, but she cannot stop thinking about the boy who long ago stole her heart. Thus begins the story of a love so enduring and deep it can turn tragedy into triumph, and may even have the power to create a miracle.

To be honest, my expectations weren’t really high for this novel. I had seen the movie, so I knew the basic plot. I didn’t really enjoy the beginning – Allie seemed too flat of a character (but maybe that’s because we view their earlier relationship only in Noah’s memory) and Noah appeared to be borderline obsessed with his lost love. My interest picked up a bit when she returned. I wish it didn’t take so long to glimpse Allie’s personality – I would have been more interested in continuing to read the book if we could have maybe explored the early relationship from her standpoint a little? Anyways.

I loved that she returned. It showed one hell of a backbone and also tastes a little of destiny. Lon, unfortunately, caught the short end of the stick (I wonder what happened to him? Did Sparks think of his history as well?), but the way he handled it made me cry. There aren’t enough gentlemen like the two men of this novel in the world.

Allie’s relationship with her mother spoke to me as well. Again, I wish it hadn’t taken so long to get a glimpse inside her life, but once I did, she became real and I actually began to care if they would make it or not.

Noah’s POV as an older man broke my heart. His constant devotion to her still astounds me. Reading their letters to each other was amazing. If I only read the last few chapters of the novel, I would have been completely satisfied. It is inspiring to see true love created outside of the studios of Walt Disney, a love that we see chartered and are certain it lasts forever.

Posted June 1, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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June 1, 2012

Review: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding

Oh, Bridget.

Synopsis from Amazon.com:

Lurching from the cappuccino bars of Notting Hill to the blissed-out shores of Thailand, everyone’s favorite Singleton Bridget Jones begins her search for The Truth in spite of pathetically unevolved men, insane dating theories, and Smug Married advice. She experiences a zeitgeist-esque Spiritual Epiphany somewhere between the pages ofHow to Find the Love You Want Without Seeking It (can self-help books really help self?), protective custody, and a lightly chilled Chardonnay.

There were a few times in this book I had to shut it, either in uncontrollable laughter or in embarrassment (kind of like in Meet the Parents where the situation is so awkwardly painful you have to cover your face, but you peek through your fingers anyway?…oh, just me? Hmmm). 

Bridget’s constant battle with weight, men, and food are increasingly hilarious, and her battles with the OTHER WOMAN, Rebecca are something I know I can definitely relate to. However, Bridget does what she thinks, whether or not she intended to. 

Eight Reasons You Should Read Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason:
1. learn how not to conduct an interview with Colin Firth
2. Your obsession with Mr. Darcy is nothing compared to hers.
3. How to use your knowledge of Madonna lyrics to make friends
4. Why to not use bridesmaid dresses made of furniture upholstery fabric.
5. Your worst Valentine’s Day suddenly doesn’t look too bad.
6. Why to not speak to a man during a sports game.
7. How to handle the first time at your boyfriend’s house…badly…
8. Your boss can’t be as horrible as hers, can they?

Yes, the first of the series was better, but Bridget Jones cracks me up no matter what. 
Check it out on Amazon here
Or GoodReads

Posted June 1, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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May 30, 2012

Favorite: The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory

We all have books that are our absolute favorites, the ones that make any rainy day better. For me, The Other Boleyn Girl is that novel. I adore this book. It inspired my interest in the Tudor history and really got me into English as a major. I did read this before the movie with Natalie Portman came out and the novel is hands down my favorite version!

Synopsis (from the back of the book)
Two sisters competing for the greatest prize: the love of a king When Mary Boleyn comes to court as an innocent girl of fourteen, she catches the eye of Henry VIII. Dazzled by the king, Mary falls in love with both her golden prince and her growing role as unofficial queen. However, she soon realizes just how much she is a pawn in her family’s ambitious plots as the king’s interest begins to wane and she is forced to step aside for her best friend and rival: her sister, Anne. Then Mary knows that she must defy her family and her king, and take her fate into her own hands. 

A rich and compelling tale of love, sex, ambition, and intrigue, The Other Boleyn Girl introduces a woman of extraordinary determination and desire who lived at the heart of the most exciting and glamorous court in Europe and survived by following her own heart.

Just to be perfectly clear, this is not a biography of Mary Boleyn. It is historical fiction to the bone. Don’t stop reading – a lot of people’s eyes glaze over at the mention of “historical fiction”. (I’m an English major; my friends’ eyes do this unconsciously all the time). I have read reviews of people who hated this novel with a passion because they didn’t take the blinders off and realize this isn’t meant as a historically factual account.

Gregory explores the more sensationalist theories about the rise of Anne Boleyn to marriage to Henry VIII and the crown, as seen through the point of view of her sister, Mary. Mary was Henry’s lover for years and was replaced by her sister when his interest wavered.

I loved all of the drama of the Tudor court and this story inspired me to learn more. Mary Boleyn, while an interesting character in her own right, pales in comparison to the drama of her sister. Anne Boleyn’s character is just so fascinating. As Mary as our narrator, we cannot see directly into Anne’s head all of the time, merely giving us her actions and brief glimpses into her thoughts. 

If you are at all interested in Tudor history or historical fiction in general, pick in up here 🙂
Hope you love it as much as I do! 

Check it out on goodreads too! The Other Boleyn Girl

Posted May 30, 2012 by Ellen in Uncategorized / 0 Comments
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May 30, 2012

WWW Wednesday

To play along, just answer the following three (3) questions…

• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?
Currently Reading: Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding and The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (I’m like the only person left who hasn’t read this =] )
Recently Finished: Overbite by Meg Cabot
Reading Next? One Day by David Nicholls (still haven’t gotten around to it) The Biographer’s Tale by A.S. Byatt (I loved Possession). 

I am soo behind! 
What are you guys reading? 🙂

Check out MizB’s original WWW Wednesdays here 🙂
Happy Wednesday!

Posted May 30, 2012 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized, WWW Wednesday / 6 Comments
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May 29, 2012

Teaser Tuesday

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! 

I love Teaser Tuesdays! Yay! Haha. 
I gave up on Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. It was silly. Like not the funny silly to me, just a bit of a waste of time, especially since I’m working so much now, my reading time is really special. I will probably give it another go sometime, but…i don’t know. It didn’t seem all so amazing to me, 
Anyways : )

Right now I’m reading Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding. I love Bridget. She’s a goofball that makes all the mistakes I worry about making, but she manages somehow or another to fix them. Gotta love a heroine like that!

“I looked at Jude, dumbstruck. She wouldn’t. She wouldn’t expect me to walk down the aisle dressed as a sofa while Mark Darcy sat with Rebecca, would she?”

11:30 am Oh my bloody God and fuck. Sharon and I have just got back to our hut to find our padlock was open and our rucksacks have gone missing. Definitely left it locked but they must have broken in. Fortunately we had our passports and not all the stuff was actually in the bags, but our air tickets and traveler’s checks appear to be no longer there. Shazzer’s card is not working after Bangkok with all the shopping etc. We only have $38 between us and the flight to London from Bangkok is on Tuesday and we are hundreds of miles away on an island.”

Okay, I cheated a bit. : ) It is too long, but I couldn’t help it!
Happy Tuesday!

Posted May 29, 2012 by Ellen in the canon talks, Uncategorized / 4 Comments
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