Tuesday, May 31, 2011

The Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

The Book of FateThe Book of Fate by Brad Meltzer

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Sometimes it takes a poorly written book to appreciate just how hard it is to write a particular genre. I have never thought of Grisham, Brown, or Baldacci as "great writers" more "great storytellers." Meltzer's "Book of Fate" helped me understand just how difficult it is to write a compelling thriller.

Book of Fate is a "B" book (ala B movies.) It just isn't as good as the real thing. There are lots of things to overlook but that doesn't mean it wasn't kind of fun. I really liked some of the characters and the plot was interesting. I also was grateful that this book was mostly clean (barring some sporadic strong language.) Overall, the book had some big flaws but I kept reading.

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Thursday, May 26, 2011

Keri Russell's Home

I fell in love with the spread on Keri Russell's home in Elle Decor magazine. I think we might be style twins. (It's probably because we are name twins.)

I wouldn't change a thing. I love it all.

My husband was sweet enough to pick a copy up for me on Mother's Day after hearing me rave about the pictures I saw online. Such a great idea . . . except Keri's story is in June's issue and on Mother's Day only May's issue was on the newsstands. So now I own both the May and June, not a bad thing.

P.S. Did anyone else watch Felicity? It was a favorite of mine, especially Season 1. (Way better than any of the lame teenage dramas on tv they have these days.)

Thursday, May 19, 2011

Hello again. Remember these shirts? Jenni asked for a review.

Here they are on my person. These are a XS. I would say they run big (but I think Old Navy tops always run big.) They are a good length and not see-through. I also tried on the S. It fit well too, but was a little too baggy through my chest which made me look like I had no curves at all, which incidentally is not hard to do.

Can you tell it's turquoise and a really light grey?

You can see that I layered a shirt under, it does go pretty low. (I wore the Shade Demi Cap Sleeve. I've raved about it before. I love not having 2 shirts around my waist.)

Please ignore the pile on the floor by my nightstand.

Here is the pink:

The stripes are a really light tan and pink/orange.

I'm watching the tv. That's why my head it turned. Not trying to pose. Just in case you were wondering.

Paper Towns by John Green

Paper TownsPaper Towns by John Green

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I should start by saying that I don't recommend this book. Tons of language and crass humor. It has innuendo, as well as uendo. (not a real word but you completely know what I'm trying to say, don't you?) The narrator is a teenage boy, need I say more?

Second, I should also tell you that along with the crass humor was also oodles of HILARIOUSNESS that kept me laughing out loud. I have never laughed (out loud) while reading as much as I did while reading Paper Towns. John Green = SUPER funny when he's not being crass.

Third, even though this book was funny, it was also serious. And that was kind of weird. I don't think it blended well.

Fourth, you know how I feel about character growth, it must happen for the novel to be good. Q changed/realized/became. Love that. Lacey changed. I liked that. Ben and Radar were developed through the story. I liked that as well. Margo, nothing. Which was kind of key for the whole book to make sense.

Next for your reading pleasure, I will break down Paper Towns into 4 sections:

1. Introduction to Q's friends/Margo and Q's Ninja adventure: Hilarious and oh so entertaining.
2. Margo's disappears/Looking for Margo: This section of the book was slow for me. Characters did things that didn't make sense to me. Motivations were flimsy at best. (Hey, maybe we should go hang out in abandoned buildings. Hey, maybe walk through never built subdivisions based on nothing more than a hunch. Hey, let's read Walt Whitman 400 more times.) Plus, I had a hard time wanting to look for Margo. I was happy hanging out with Q, Ben, and Radar. I did like the after Prom party and the party at Radar's house. (best quote ever: "Please stop, you're upsetting the black Santas.) I also liked how Q put himself out there: taking on the popular kids and the such.
3. Road Trip: LOVED the road trip. Hilarious. Probably laughed out loud 50 times.
4. Ending: Meh.

Spoilerish: (but you're not going to read it anyway, so who cares?) In end Margo should have realized, like Q learned throughout the novel, that you have work hard to really get to know people, that we see people through our eyes and not through theirs. She should have learned that the problem was not WHERE she was but WHO she was. So the solution is not to run away but to stay and change herself. And possibly get some medication.

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Did you hear that neon is back in? As a child of the 80's, I have a great abhorrence for neon, acid wash, paint splatters, and those hideous flashdance shirts (that everyone is wearing again!) Or maybe I should say as someone who is decidedly not trendy, hip or cool, I have no need in my life for passing fads that I can only wear one season. Give me Audrey Hepburn and Jackie O over trends and fads any day.

Enter Old Navy. Where I found THESE SHIRTS. (Even brighter in person.)

And suddenly, I'm a fan. Well, a fan of the shirts. Not really of neon.

At $7.50 per, I bought the pink and turquoise. (I really wanted to by the yellow but it made me look like had gangrene.) Does this make me cool? Alas, no. But I think Audrey would agree: good purchase.

Although, on a completely unrelated note: I have GOT TO STOP BUYING SHIRTS WITH STRIPES. In the last few months I have probably purchased 5 to 10 tops and every single one is striped. It's a sickness, but thankfully not gangrene.

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

Secrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

Secrets of EdenSecrets of Eden by Chris Bohjalian

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Bohjalian is a really talented writer. Exceptional. He likes to tell stories with a mystery, twist, or unexpected ending. He likes to challenge conventional notions by infusing his stories with some sort of mysticism or New Age-y-ness. (yes, not a word, but you get what I am saying, right?) This story is no exception. It is the story of an abusive marriage that ends in a murder/homicide as told from the perspective of 4 (unreliable) narrators. Each narrator sheds a differing view and fills in more of the story.

My main complaints with the book are manyfold: The surprise ending wasn't a surprise. The characters were all unlikeable. And one character (Heather Laurent) seemed completely irrelevant. The angel/aura thing was just really weird and did not add to the plot in any way. The story was too graphic (I get why, but still.)

I gave it three stars because he can really write. If you want to check out a good Bohjalian book, read The Double Bind.

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Monday, May 16, 2011

Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's KeySarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I would say 3.5 stars.

Every time I read or study the Holocaust, I find it as shocking and (deeply) disturbing as the first time I learned about it. Time and age have not lessened the blow for me. The horrific brutality surprises me every time.

This book alternates between France WWII and modern day. I was grateful for the modern day narrative to break up Sarah's heartbreaking story. I also enjoyed the very short chapters. The plot lines moved quickly, which made reading about a tough subject a little easier. It was interesting to learn about what happened in France (I had no idea.) I was not as interested in the modern day story, but overall it was a good read.

We will have lots to talk about book club.

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Wednesday, May 11, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

I Am Number Four (Lorien Legacies, #1)I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Not much to say except that this book was entertaining and held my interest. And that is about all I was hoping for.

(P.S. More than your normal amount of language for YA novel. Who knew teenagers swore?)

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Monday, May 9, 2011

Mother's Day

Around here, Mother's Day was a serious love fest. I would go as far as to say that it was the best Mother's Day ever, possibly in the entire world.

I had a favorite new dress to wear to church (with a fun $3 thrifted pair of shoes.) Church was amazing. Fantastic meetings.

My husband (the epitome of the non-cooker) prepared all by his self, one of my favorite dinners: feijoada. With brown rice, spinach salad and sparkling cider. YUM. For dessert? Carrot cake, mi favorito.

My kids gave me homemade cards, poems, and yes, even a PowerPoint presentation. They were so thoughtful and heartfelt. I melted.

We ended the day with a lovely walk. It was the perfect day.

The Spring Dance

It was Spring Dance time around our parts. You may remember our experience for the winter dance, specifically finding the dress. It is difficult to find something adorable AND appropriate. Around these parts we like to keep our shoulders covered and keep the length to the knee. They don't make dresses like this my friends. Especially in our price range and for a middle school activity (this is not prom!)

We found an amazing skirt in California. But in the end we could not find the right shoes and top to go with it.

So, we started over again, and found this lovely little number at Dillards (in the children's section) for under $40.

We got these shoes to pair with it.

I found a similar material and added a bit of a sleeve. I also had to take in the bodice. I could have done a better job at that but seamstress I am not.

We were both pleased with the result.

A good time was had by all.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Thrift Store Finds

I enjoy a good trip to the thrift store. Sure, you have to gear up for the smell and be prepared to dig through the racks but it's always worth it. When I visit California, I love to hit some of the fantastic stores around my sister's house. They always have a few treasures.

Here are some of the items we found this trip. For my oldest daughter:

For me:

I found this purse, it had never been used. In fact, the brand name tag was still on it.

I looked it up on line, turns out it's a pretty nice bag. (In person it's more mustard than lemon.)

I got this top for $1.50.
Recognize this tag? It's from Anthropologie.

My favorite purchases were these two dresses:

(I wore this to church on Sunday and got a quite a few nice compliments.)

Decent haul, wouldn't you agree? I've already worn 4 of my items this week.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Mother's Day Ideas

Rosanna Red Dot Cake Stand.

Mr. Darcy quote

Columba Necklace
Toms Wedge in Ash

JCrew Sandals

Studiopatro Tea Towels.

Don't worry your pretty little head about me. My Mother's Day gift was ordered this morning and is on it's way. Can you guess which one of these lovely items I will be opening come Sunday?

P.S. I purposely didn't post what we are getting for our moms. Didn't want to ruin the surprise.

Monday, May 2, 2011

Well Look-y Here

Finally went on sale last week. Called around to find it in my size. Arrived at my door this morning.

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