Thursday, April 25, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday - Wife 22 by Melanie Gideon

This is one of our pick for our May book club.  This was just one of those books I happened to see while browsing the shelves and I'm hoping it turns out to be a good pick.

Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Shakespeare Day

Today is the anniversary of William Shakespeare's birth and death.

I got to visit Straford-Upon-Avon five years ago and we toured the house where Shakespeare was born.

I'm really not a fan of Shakespeare's Sonnets but there are some speeches in his play I just love.  One being the St. Crispin's Day Speech from Henry V.  I first heard this speech in the movie Renaissance Man and then went on to read the play and it might just be one of my favorite histories. 

St. Crispin’s Day speech

from Henry V (1599) by William Shakespeare

O that we now had here
But one ten thousand of those men in England
That do no work to-day!

What’s he that wishes so?
My cousin Westmoreland? No, my fair cousin;
If we are mark’d to die, we are enow
To do our country loss; and if to live,
The fewer men, the greater share of honour.
God’s will! I pray thee, wish not one man more.
By Jove, I am not covetous for gold,
Nor care I who doth feed upon my cost;
It yearns me not if men my garments wear;
Such outward things dwell not in my desires.
But if it be a sin to covet honour,
I am the most offending soul alive.
No, faith, my coz, wish not a man from England.
God’s peace! I would not lose so great an honour
As one man more methinks would share from me
For the best hope I have. O, do not wish one more!
Rather proclaim it, Westmoreland, through my host,
That he which hath no stomach to this fight,
Let him depart; his passport shall be made,
And crowns for convoy put into his purse;
We would not die in that man’s company
That fears his fellowship to die with us.
This day is call’d the feast of Crispian.
He that outlives this day, and comes safe home,
Will stand a tip-toe when this day is nam’d,
And rouse him at the name of Crispian.
He that shall live this day, and see old age,
Will yearly on the vigil feast his neighbours,
And say “To-morrow is Saint Crispian.”
Then will he strip his sleeve and show his scars,
And say “These wounds I had on Crispian’s day.”
Old men forget; yet all shall be forgot,
But he’ll remember, with advantages,
What feats he did that day. Then shall our names,
Familiar in his mouth as household words-
Harry the King, Bedford and Exeter,
Warwick and Talbot, Salisbury and Gloucester-
Be in their flowing cups freshly rememb’red.
This story shall the good man teach his son;
And Crispin Crispian shall ne’er go by,
From this day to the ending of the world,
But we in it shall be remembered-
We few, we happy few, we band of brothers;
For he to-day that sheds his blood with me
Shall be my brother; be he ne’er so vile,
This day shall gentle his condition;
And gentlemen in England now-a-bed
Shall think themselves accurs’d they were not here,
And hold their manhoods cheap whiles any speaks
That fought with us upon Saint Crispin’s day.

TBR Challenge - DNF - How to Be Single

How to Be SingleHow to Be Single by Liz Tuccillo

This sadly has been labeled as Did Not Finish.

I made it as far as the third chapter and was really forcing myself. I just couldn't get myself interested, which is really sad because this has been sitting on my TBR Pile for awhile now.  I thought the concept was really interesting and reminded me a bit about Eat, Pray, Love, but it just didn't capture my attention.

I've said this in other reviews and I'll repeat it here, a character needs to make me want to read their story.  I didn't really care that much about Julie. If this had been a non-fiction book, I may have been more interested in what the author found out about the single life around the world.  As a fiction book, it wasn't enough to keep me reading.

*Spoiler Alert*

I skimmed ahead in the book to see if anything later on would catch my attention.  Nothing did, and what I did skim, I didn't like.  Julie has an affair with a married man.  I know it's a was done with a sense of realism, but I don't like reading about affairs.  If I had read further in the book I would have probably stopped at the point where she starts the affair.

View all my reviews

Thursday, April 18, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday - DATA, A Love Story

How did I miss this one?! I put it on hold before the book trailer was even done. I can't wait to read it!

Data, A Love Story by Amy Webb

Published on Jan 4, 2013This is the video trailer for the book by Amy Webb. DATA, A LOVE STORY is a lively, thought-provoking memoir about how one woman "gamed" online dating sites like JDate, OKCupid, and eHarmony -- and met her eventual husband.

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

Black Leather and Lace - April Mini Reviews

For April we made a change in our meeting day and time. We are now meeting for brunch on the weekends, this adds a whole new level to our group as pointed out by one of our members. We are all happy! No more group of grumpy women who have just went through long days at work. We were a smiling bunch as we sat down to discuss our books.

Shadow WomanShadow Woman by Linda Howard
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had previously read Shadow Woman when it first came our and suggested it for the group. I thought the whole concept of waking up and not recognizing your own face was a great starting point for a story. Everyone else seemed to think so too. Unfortunately we didn't get to discuss this book in depth since a few members hadn't had a chance to finish it and didn't want the story spoiled. The prologue all captured our attention and those of us who have finished the book have all commented on how the connection to the story surprised us. This bit of information only sparked the interest of those who haven't finished the book.

I enjoyed reading this one.  I am a huge Linda Howard fan and as you can see by my pages I'm trying to read all her work, (not as big an undertaking as the Nora Roberts plan).  Xavier, now has a place near the top of my favorite Linda Howard heroes, he won't be unseating Sam from Mr. Perfect, but he's a great character. Lissette is a great character.  You want to know more about her and you find out as she does.

My only negative point would be that Xavier and Lissette don't spend nearly enough time together.  It isn't until you are almost halfway done the book that they finally meet up and interact.  I didn't mind it terribly, but it just didn't have the same spark as some other Linda Howard Books.

Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)Last Kiss Goodnight by Gena Showalter
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't remember who suggested this book, but it must have been a group decision. We all liked the book, but it wasn't a big hit with the group.  A few of us are willing to keep reading this series and even go back and read the Alien Huntress Series.  This book is the first in 'spin-off' series.

One of the things we all found hard was picturing what Solo looked like.  Even though Gena gives a good description, we all mentioned that we couldn't really see him in our mind.  For some reason I kept picturing Hell Boy.  What we did like was Solo's 'vow power.'  We didn't really discuss Vika all that much.

I personally like Vika, I thought she was a strong female character in a different way than Lissette was a strong character.  Vika, was trying her hardest to survive in her world while trying to find a way out.  She was willing to risk venturing out into the unknown than staying with what she has known her whole life.  I think the interactions between Vika and Solo were great, the added internal struggle that both of them were dealing with really added to their interactions.  (Sorry I'm being vague, I don't want to give too much away).

View all my reviews

Next month we're trying to branch out a bit more from our strictly romance view points.

I was browsing the Fiction section and the title caught my attention with this book first. One of our members just recently started a job that is similar to that in the story and we thought it would be kind of fun to read something related to her new job. Personally, I'm also interested in the format the book was written in, since it kind of mirrors the format I'm currently using in my novel.

This was another group decision. It's a book we all have heard about have had wanted to read. I can't wait to start this one!

Thursday, April 11, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday - The Love Song of Johnny Valentine

This book is on my To Be Read list, it just sounds like a really interesting story.  If it wasn't already on my list I think this trailer would have made me add the book.  This is a cute video that made me chuckle.

The Love Song of Johnny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

Published on Oct 17, 2012Teddy Wayne's The Love Song of Jonny Valentine explores the underbelly of fame in twenty-first century America's celebrity culture, told through the eyes of an unforgettable child. From the award-winning and critically acclaimed author of Kapitoil, this new novel is a literary masterpiece by one of the standout writers of his generation.

Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Medieval Literature!

So my new semester started last week and I'm really excited by our reading material.  I forgot how much I enjoyed Medieval literature.  I's odd but I can't help it!  As proof here's a Build-a-Bear I built while I was at Rutgers.

This is Sir Gwain the Scarlet Knight.  It's a play off of one of my favorite pieces of Medieval literature, Sir Gawain and the Green Knight. We won't be reading that for a few weeks.  This week we start our two week discussion on Beowulf!

Thursday, April 4, 2013

Book Trailer Thursday - T-Rex Trying

I've been slack on catching up with all the info in my Google Reader, some of my newsletters and of course in my posting. I finally have caught up and there were three book trailers shared in my Shelf-Awareness newsletters I just had to share. So the next few weeks I'll at least have one post to share on Thursdays!

This first one caught my eye because I associate T-Rex with my friend Amanda and her husband. I tend to share anything T-Rex/dinosaur related with them.  This book looks so cute and it's based off a Tumblr blog so I'm going to have to follow that as well as get my hands on this book!

T-Rex Trying by Hugh Murphy

Published on Nov 8, 2012Poor T-Rex. It's hard to be the Lizard King when you can't even change a light bulb.
Drawn from Hugh Murphy's wildly popular Tumblr feed of the same name, T-Rex Trying depicts the stubby-armed tyrant in a range of hilarious—yet pathos-inducing—activities that we humans take for granted. Murphy's 100 drawings include:
T-Rex Trying to Paint His House
T-Rex Trying to Use a Drive-Through ATM
T-Rex Trying to Apply Sunscreen
T-Rex Trying to Break Into a Vending Machine
T-Rex Trying to Ask for a New Roll of Toilet Paper from the Next Stall
Looks like the ancient beast isn't so tough after all.

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

A Year in the Life - Book Synopsis

A Year in the Life is the book I'm currently trying to write.  For my final project in my class Contexts of Writing: Writing and Publishing, we had to write up a book proposal.  Here is the synopsis I wrote up for that project.  I don't know if my final story will be exactly like this, but it's a close bet.

            Two years ago, Lily Fitzgerald realized that she no longer knew whose life she was living.  It wasn’t the life she had planned on having when she married Ryan ‘Fitz’ Fitzgerald right out of college.  Eighteen months ago, Lily and Fitz decided that a separation would be a good idea.  Fitz thought he’d move to the cabin and Lily would stay in their Seattle apartment.  Lily had other plans; she decided to move back to her hometown in New Jersey. One year ago, Lily took the advice of her best friend and started writing a self-therapy blog. 
Gina, a marriage counselor, gives Lily the same guidelines and advice she does her clients. Start at the beginning. Introduce yourself. Introduce your spouse. Tell us how you met and go from there.  Remember to post at least twice a week and be honest in what you write. Following these guidelines Lily starts to share her story. She writes about meeting Fitz and their instant dislike of each other that somehow grew into a friendship.  That friendship grew into a relationship and a few months after graduating from college they were married.  Fitz was living out in Seattle working for his uncle and Lily gladly followed him out there.  Three years later neither one was happy but she couldn’t figure out how they got to this point.
After her sister’s wedding, Lily decided she had to focus on herself more than her marriage. While Fitz didn’t agree, he didn’t stop her and helped her pack up their apartment.  It was their last night together before she left they ended up in bed together. Thinking she was just stressed about the move and symbolic end to her marriage, Lily went to the doctors and was surprised to find out she was pregnant. Fitz wants her to move back to Seattle, but she’s more determined than ever to stay in New Jersey to figure it all out.   
Lily gives birth to a baby girl in April with Fitz by her side.  Lily doesn’t know how it happened by he’s sleeping on her couch and always around.  He’s slowly working his way back into her life.  During this time Lily sees the man she fell in love with, the version of Fitz she hasn’t seen in years. After he returns to Seattle, Lily is even more confused about the state of her marriage.
The confusion builds over the next few months after she meets a single father in the waiting room of the doctor’s office. Carlos Borges is raising his son alone after his girlfriend split only weeks after giving birth.  Lily and Carlos’s friendship becomes a close one as they help each other navigate the roles of being a single parent.  They share in the joys of the children’s firsts and the frustration of late nights and worries.
In August Lily flies out to Seattle with Daisy to celebrate Fitz’s birthday.  The plan was to stay two weeks and visit with Fitz’s family who haven’t met the baby.  During their first week, Daisy gets an ear infection and Fitz thinks that a road trip would be fun and an easy way to get Daisy home.  While on this trip, Fitz insists on stopping at numerous scenic overlooks and other road side attractions. His camera is out and snapping pictures in order to document Daisy’s first family vacation.  It isn’t until one of their last stops that Lily gets a look at the skill he has with a camera.  This causes her to think about all the time he spent at the cabin and her anger at him because she didn’t understand his passion.
As December starts, Lily receives a letter from her lawyer.  The eighteen months is almost up all that is left is to sign and file the paperwork.  She has a number of long discussions with the people in her life; all of them will be affected in some way by her decision.  They all want her to make the best decision for herself. Her mother asks her when in the past year was she the happiest.  She was the happiest when she was with Daisy and Fitz.

Black Leather and Lace - Life of Pi

Life of PiLife of Pi by Yann Martel
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know it's not our normal theme of book, but we all felt we needed a break from romance. I read the book back when it first came out and really enjoyed it.  We didn't have a full group for our meeting*.  Those that did show didn't really care for the book.  So sad.

For April we are back to romance with Gena Showalter's Last Kiss Goodnight.
Last Kiss Goodnight (Otherworld Assassin, #1)

View all my reviews

*We had to reschedule so not every one came and we didn't really have a book discussion.  We are moving out meeting dates in hopes that we can get everyone together again for a full meeting.