Monday, August 31, 2009

Five Fantasy Questions for 101 Fantasy Books Meme

I found this over on Celia's blog, Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia. This is a 5 question meme that goes along with 101 Best Fantasy Books, which is an event asking everyone to nominate then vote on the best 101 fantasy book of all time.

Since I nominated about a gazillion books I should be answering the questions as well. So here goes nothing.

1. What is your favourite favourite fantasy series?

Wow, I'm not sure I can answer this with just one series. So I think I'm going to go with 7 (if that's OK). In my defense though there are two groups of two series that go together, both groups by the same author (if that made any sense). So I go with:

The Wheel of Time series by Robert Jordan and finished by Brandon Sanderson

The Shannara Trilogy by Terry Brooks

The Belgariad/The Malloreon series by David Eddings

The Elenium/The Tamuli series by David Eddings

The Valdemar books by Mercedes Lackey

2. What is your favourite fantasy character?

A little easier to answer since Vanyel Ashkevron from Mercedes Lackey's Last Herald Mage trilogy would definitely be number one. Though Belgarion and Sparhawk from David Eddings, Rand al'Thor and Moraine Damodred from Robert Jordan, Elena Michaels from Kelley Armstrong, Brin Ohmsford from Terry Brooks, and the entire cast of the still unfinished Exiles Trilogy by Melanie Rawn would be close seconds.

3. What is your favourite fantasy creature?

I'm a big fan of the nonhuman creatures in Mercedes Lackeys books. The Companions, Kyree, Hertasi, Gryphons, Firecats, Dyheli, and Tervardi. These are all sentient races equal to humans.

Other than that I am fascinated with dragons, banshees, vampires, werewolves, and just about everything else.

4. What is your favourite fantasy world?

Mercedes Lackey's Velgarth, J R R Tolkien's Middle Earth, Terry Brooks' The Four Lands, and almost every other land I get to escape into.

5. What is your favourite fantasy “magic” (i.e. The Will and the Word in David Eddings’ Belgariad series)?

The True Source as divided into the female half saidar and the male half saidan, Robert Jordan's Wheel of Time series.

The Return of the Zombie Chickens: Eyes Pecked Out Edition

I got this wonderfully titled award from Grace at Books Like Breathing. I want to thank her for bringing these scary, delightful chickens back into my life. If you have not visited her blog, please do so. She has some wonderful giveaways and reviews for you to peruse.

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I chose to pass this along to the following blogs:

Peter at KyusiReader

Nikola at Nikola's Book Blog

Melissa at Melissa's Bookshelf

Melissa at Scuffed Slippers and Wormy Books

Carol at Carol's Notebook

Alexia at Alexia's Books and Such

Please take the time to visit these fantastic blogs.

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Finally a YA book that burned the images of Bella and Edward out of my mind. Hush, Hush was what I wanted Twilight to be and never was. I couldn't get halfway through Twilight but I read Hush, Hush from cover to cover in record time.

There are going to be obvious comparisons between the two books. Girl meets mysterious boy in science class, girl and boy can't help but be attracted to each other, girl discovers boy's secret and is put in danger, and then finally girl and boy accept the inevitable and hookup in a strained platonic way (though the innuendos are flying).

That is were the similarities end. Thankfully Nora is not Bella. She is strong, loud, and doesn't mope around town because she is chronically depressed. Patch is darker and edgier than Edward and seems to be a lot more dangerous. There are no vampires but instead Nephilim and Fallen Angels. Which quite honestly was refreshing. I'm a big vampire fan but there seems to be a over saturation in the marketplace right now, so something a little different was refreshing.

I haven't read a lot of YA in the past but if books like this keep coming out I may be a new convert to the cause.

Synopsis From Back Cover:

Nora Grey is responsible and smart and not inclined to be reckless. Her first mistake was falling for Patch. Patch has a past that could be called anything but harmless. The best thing he ever did was fall for Nora.

After getting paired with Patch in biology, all Nora wants to do is stay away from him, but he always seems to be two steps ahead of her. She can feel his eyes on her even when he is nowhere around. She feels him nearby even when she is alone in her bedroom. And when her attraction can be denied no longer, she learns the secret about who Patch is and what led him to her. Despite all the questions she has about his past, in the end, there may be only one question they can ask each other: How far are you willing to fall?

Sunday, August 30, 2009

The Let's Be Friends Award

I received this award from Nikola at Nikola's Book Blog. I am honored and thrilled by this and I would like to thank him for even thinking of me. He has a great blog and I order every single one of you to go right now and pay him a visit.

"Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

I would like to pass this to:

Deb at Bookmagic

Beth at Beth's Book Review Blog

Krista at Life or Something Like It

Michelle at The Book Addict

Friday, August 28, 2009

The Agatha Christie Challenge --- The Murder on the Links

This was my third book in the challenge and not one I had read before. I must say it's not my favorite. I don't know if I could really even explain why I didn't love it. The writing was good the storyline was believable and the characters were well written. I may be that I haven't been feeling well the last few days and that got in the way of my enjoyment of this mystery.

Now I can't say I hated it either. I think I'm more neutral on it than anything else. I was glad that the third book brought Hercule Poirot back into my life. His methods are always a joy to read.

The highlight for me was Hastings meeting his future wife. It is a relationship that is talked about in future books but it wasn't a relationship I had seen from the beginning. For that reason alone I'm glad I read this book. Dulcie "Cinderella" Duveen was a fascinating character and I'm honored to meet her after all these years.

Synopsis From The Back Cover:

"For God's sake, come!" Unfortunately, by the time Hercule Poirot received Monsieur Renauld's urgent plea, the millionaire was already dead--stabbed in the back, lying in a freshly dug grave on the golf course of his adjoining Merlinville estate. There's no lack of suspects: his wife, whose dagger serves as the weapon; his embittered son, who would have killed for independence; and his mistress, who refused to be ignored--and each felt deserving of the dead man's fortune. The police think they've found the culprit. Poirot has his doubts. A second murder proves him right.

Friday Fill-Ins #139

Friday Fill-Ins is a weekly event hosted by Friday_Fill-Ins.

1. He was a blessing that came into my life (my son).

2. The weather starting to cool down is what I look forward to most this time of year.

3. My best friend is someone I could not do without.

4. I have to say I'm a little cranky this morning, to be honest with you.

5. Appearances can be be everything in Hollywood and mean very little in my life.

6. The last person I gave a hug to was my son as I dropped him off at school.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to going into work earlier than expected, tomorrow my plans include spending my time at the mall (where I work) and Sunday, I want to fly to Italy for dinner!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

The Monster Squad

1987 was my latest stop in my Movies of the 1980s journey. Now I just made the journey part up, but hey it sounds good and since I'm in a 80s type of mood lately, I figure it will work.

I was about 11 years old when this movie came out and I loved every moment of it then and I still love it now. From the opening screen roll (think Star Wars) we know that this movie is going to be both horror as well as comedy.

One Hundred Years Before this Story Begins...It Was A Time Of Darkness In Transylvania...A Time When Dr. Abraham Van Helsing...And A Small Band Of Freedom Fighters...Conspired To Rid The World Of Vampires and Monsters...And To Save Mankind From The Forces of Evil...They Blew It

Of course I don't know what else you would expect from writer/director Fred Dekker. For those of you who have never heard of him, he is also the mastermind behind House, the cult horror movie from the 80s not the obnoxious TV show that's on now.

The basic plot of the movie (I will give the DVD synopsis at the end of this post) is this. Take 4 twelve year old boys, one cigarette smoking junior high kid, and one younger sister and pit them against the monsters of Universal Studios. Make the cigarette smoking, leather jacket wearing junior high kid Ryan Lambert (Kids Incorporated) and you got a hit movie on your hands. Well at least Fred Dekker was hoping for that. The movie didn't do very well at the time but has now become a cult hit world wide with an ever growing audience.

I never knew what there wasn't to like. You have all the classic monsters headed up by Dracula himself. His henchman are non other than The Mummy, The Wolfman, Frankenstein's Monster, The Creature From The Black Lagoon, and of course his Three Brides. Of course, it may not have helped that Universal didn't want anything to do with this movie and did not allow the creators to specifically say that these in fact were those legends of scariness.

Now you may ask how the kids happen to get involved. Well this is what happens. Dracula is looking for an amulet that is a repository for pure good. If he is able to destroy that amulet then the powers of evil will be able to take over the world. One of our young heroes, namely Sean, comes into possession of a diary written by Dr. Van Helsing himself that gives an account of how to turn the amulet into a gate opening up into Limbo. If that gate can be opened by a virgin (of course) then the creature of the night will be sucked in and the day will be saved. You may be thinking to yourself why would a 12 year old even be interested in such a book, especially since it's written in German. Well the simple answer to that is because him and his friends belong to a monster club and have a rather healthy fascination with all things monster. So Sean's mother brings it home to him and the fun wackiness ensues.

Now obviously Dracula can not allow such a thing to happen so he sends Frankenstein to get the book away from the kids. On the way to carry out his mission Frankenstein meets Phoebe (Sean's younger sister) in the exact same manner that he does in the classic Universal movie. Only this time the little girl is spared the dunking in the pond and the two become buddies. If you haven't already guessed Frankenstein helps the kids save the day.

The ensuing battle produces one of the best scenes in the history of movies. This may be a testament to the fact I'm a guy and that I was a kid when I first saw the movie, but this line still cracks me up today. To set it up for you Sean, Horace (another one of the 12 year old that is nicknamed "Fat Kid" even by his friends), and Frankenstein take a field trip to the decrepit old mansion that Dracula is hold up in. You may be thinking to yourself what a stupid idea, which it may have been but how else were they supposed to steal the amulet from Dracula?

Anyway, back to the story, at one point in the mansion they are discovered and set upon by the Wolfman. This is a little of the dialogue that happens between Sean and Horace. If you don't find it as funny as I do blame it on the fact I'm a guy and that it is much funnier in the movie.

Sean: "Kick him in the nards! Kick him in the Nards!"

Horace: "He doesn't have Nards!"

Sean: "Do it! Do it!"

Then we see Horace actually kick him in the aforementioned area and the Wolfman goes to the floor. The look on Horace's face is what makes the next line as funny as it is.

Horace: "Wolfmans got nards."

Sorry, but I can't talk about this movie without that scene. Needless to say in the chaos that takes place next the good guys end up winning and the Monsters lose. You have to hand it to Rudy though. He takes out The Mummy, all three Brides, and the Wolfman. I guess leather jackets really do make you tough.

Here is the synopsis from the back cover of the DVD:

You know who to call when you have ghosts, but who do you call about monsters? Whether it's a bat in your belfry or a mummy in your microwave, THE MONSTER SQUAD ain't afraid of no ghouls!

Count Dracula has until midnight to retrieve an ancient amulet that will give him final control over the delicate balance between good and evil in the world. To help him, the creepy Count calls on some old friends: the weird Wolfman, the grotesque Gill_Man, mildewed Mummy and freaky Frankenstein. as the ghoulish group gets closer to the amulet, it's up to THE MONSTER SQUAD, headquartered in the local tree house, to pool its questionable resources and stop the monster mayhem!

So the moral of this story is threefold. First don't mess with The Monster Squad. Second, there is only one way to kill the Wolfman since dynamite won't work. Third, watch this movie as soon as you can.

The Lemonade Award

I'm so honored that I got this award for the third time this month. I'm feeling really loved right now and since I'm a little under the weather right now this made me feel quite a bit better. Alyssa/Jake/Gregory/Anna over at Teens Read and Write gave me this award and I thank them so much for it. If you have not taken the time to visit their blog, please do so. They have a fresh and new take on all things "books" and their posts are always a joy to read. I also receieved this award from Krista at Life of Something Like it. She has a fascinating blog and is a great artist and writer. Please stop by and check her blog out as well.

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude.

The first blog I'm going to give this to is Cecelia at Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia. Her blog is always a good time and I learn so much about books I've never heard of before.

The second blog I want to pass this award to is Carolyn at Book Chick City. This blog is a blast to read and she is one of the nicest bloggers I have come across.

Please take the time to visit these blogs if you have not. They are a wonderful experience.

Word Verification Balderdash

Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

Here is what you do. You write down all the word verifications you come across as you are posting comments on other peoples blogs. You then play Balderdash with them. Now for those of you who don't know how to play, you take a made up word and come up with a authentic sounding definition for it. Do this for a week and then post your best ones every Thursday.

Here are mine for this week.

Alikisca: Large breed of dog used by shepherds in the Kisca Mountains.

Unter: The sound you make when clearing your throat.

Blenit: Coarse fabric made from knitting together minuscule strips of old, blue denim.

Weadwee: Small, spiny plants that are so invasive that they keep coming back no matter how many times you use a weed whacker on them.

Ovessess: The brief period of time that takes place after you stop obsessing over something and right before you start that crazy obsession all over again.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Extravagant Bookcase/Book Giveaway

--BOOKIN' WITH BINGO is having an EXTRAVAGANT BINGO BOOKCASE GIVEAWAY sponsored by CSN STORES who sell everything from fireplaces to office furniture. Stop by and enter by 6 PM, EST, on September 26th.

Favorite Fictional Characters --- Doctor Strange

This is going to be the shortest Favorite Fictional Character post I do. Not because I have nothing to say but because Doctor Stephen Strange is simply the coolest super hero ever, enough said! I mean after all I use his image as my avatar on Blogger, Google Friend Connect, and on Twitter.

Whether he's kicking demonic butt in the comic books, fighting off evil sorcerers in the animated movie, or saving lives is the cheesy 1978 made for TV movie, he is simply the Sorcerer Supreme.

For those of you who don't know the Sorcerer Supreme is the one mystical powerhouse who defends our realm from demonic forces and those who want to wreak havoc with our reality.

I was a comic book junkie as a kid and always found myself fascinated by this character who is arrogant and kind at the same time. I would get lost for hours in his stories. His struggles against demons like Dormammu and The Nameless One would hold me spellbound for what seemed like an eternity. He still remains my favorite super hero of all time and I'm dying for them to make a "good" movie out of this character.

I encourage anyone who is even a little curious to visit biography and read about the most powerful sorcerer in the world.

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Homer's Odyssey by Gwen Cooper

OK, this is not a book review for the simple fact I've not read the book. Actually I hadn't even heard of it until this morning. I was in the car on my way to the DMV and I was listening to NPR which is normal for me. The Diane_Rehm Show had just started and the first hour was all about this book.

Now I'm not a cat person. I would never go out and adopt a cat but at the same time if one showed up on my doorstep I wouldn't turn it away either. So with that being said I'm seriously thinking about reading this book. If it was about blind puppy I would have been in tears and at the store today buying the book. As it was I was smiling the whole time I was listening to the story.

What I did want to do was post about the book here because I know there are a lot of cat lovers out there that would love to read this book. I will paste the synopsis of the book from the publishers website at the end of this post. If and when you do read the book please come back and let me know what you thought. I have a feeling everyone will love it and that I will end up reading along with all of you.

From the Publisher's Website:

The last thing Gwen Cooper wanted was another cat. She already had two, not to mention a phenomenally underpaying job and a recently broken heart. Then Gwen’s veterinarian called with a story about a three-week-old eyeless kitten who’d been abandoned. It was love at first sight.

Everyone warned that Homer would always be an “underachiever,” never as playful or independent as other cats. But the kitten nobody believed in quickly grew into a three-pound dynamo, a tiny daredevil with a giant heart who eagerly made friends with every human who crossed his path. Homer scaled seven-foot bookcases with ease and leapt five feet into the air to catch flies in mid-buzz. He survived being trapped alone for days after 9/11 in an apartment near the World Trade Center, and even saved Gwen’s life when he chased off an intruder who broke into their home in the middle of the night.

But it was Homer’s unswerving loyalty, his infinite capacity for love, and his joy in the face of all obstacles that inspired Gwen daily and transformed her life. And by the time she met the man she would marry, she realized Homer had taught her the most important lesson of all: Love isn’t something you see with your eyes.

Homer’s Odyssey is the once-in-a-lifetime story of an extraordinary cat and his human companion. It celebrates the refusal to accept limits—on love, ability, or hope against overwhelming odds. By turns jubilant and moving, it’s a memoir for anybody who’s ever fallen completely and helplessly in love with a pet.

Monday, August 24, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here is how it works.

Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
Open the book to any random page.
Share 2 "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.
Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!
(Don't Give Too Much Away) Just enough to pique our interest.
List the book and author so other participants can get their hand on it if they choose to read it as well.

For This Week:

A little gasping sound escaped from the girl's lips, and I turned and looked at her. There was horror on her face now, and those debonair high spirits of hers were quenched utterly.

From The Murder on the Links by Agatha Christie

The Humane Award

I am finding myself drawn to this award quite a bit and I want to thank Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books for the honor. She is a wonderful blogger who always has a helping hand or a kind word.

The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers that I feel are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn't for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. I thank them and look forward to our growing friendships through the blog world.

Becke at The Mysterious Garden Muse. She has been a great source of encouragement on my Agatha Christie Challenge and I appreciate everything kind words she has directed my way.

Krista at Life or Something Like It. She is an energetic blogger and commenter and always makes me feel a little bit better when I read her comments or visit her blog.

Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong

I was so excited when I received the ARC for this book a few weeks ago. Now as exciting as ARCs are I normally don't get all giddy over them. What made this one so cool to receive, other than I love Kelley Armstrong, was the fact that I won it from the author herself. She was holding a Twitter contest and I was one of five winners of a signed ARC of her new novel.

Here is the synopsis of the book:

The Alaskan wilderness is a harsh landscape in the best of conditions, but with a pack of rogue werewolves on the loose, it’s downright deadly. Elena Michaels, the Pack’s chief enforcer, knows all too well the havoc “mutts” can wreak. When word comes of a series of humans apparently killed by wolves near Anchorage, Elena and Clay are sent to check things out. But they find more than they bargained for among the snow and trees of the savage Alaskan wilderness.

Of all of Kelley Armstrong's characters Elena Michaels has to be my favorite so I tend to enjoy her books all the more. This book was no exception. It had everything I love and quite a bit more.

The interaction between Elena and Clay and that way it has progressed throughout the series of books has been a joy to read. Their relationship in this books seems stronger and more adult (if that is the right word). They seem to have matured as individuals and as a couple. Maybe that's what having kids does for you, it has for me at least.

I won't get into the plot specifics, because I want you to experience them for yourself, but I will say you will meet a new race of Others as well as potential new pack mates.

If you are a fan of her work this new novel by Kelley Armstrong will not disappoint. If you are new to her books this is a good sample of her skill as a writer.

Sunday, August 23, 2009

The Lemonade Award

I'm so happy, I got this award for the second time and I must admit it that the really happy feeling I got the first time is still there. Michelle over at The Book Addict bestowed this honor on me and I am most grateful to her for it. If you have not taken the time to visit her blog, please do so. She is a wonderful writer with interesting perspectives. Also, she hosts a Tuesday night discussion on Twitter called Tuesday Night Book Talk. Please stop by some time and join in!

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude.

The first blogger I want to give this to is Beth at Beth's Book Review. Her blog is one of the best I've read and I always learn something new every time I stop by (which is daily).

The second blogger I want to give this to is Peter at KyusiReader. I add books to my TBR pile every time I visit his blog.

Please stop by both these excellent blogs.

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Super Comments Award

I received this award from two great bloggers, Krista at Life or Something Like It and Cecelia at Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia, within the last few days. So I wanted to thank them and pass this on to others who are more than deserving. It was hard to actually name 5 individuals since I really wanted to give this award to everyone who comments on my blog, so I thank everyone who takes the time and leaves comments. I appreciate every single one of you.

Carolyn at Book Chick City

Deb at Bookmagic

Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books

Melissa at My World

Michelle at The Book Addict

Friday, August 21, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #138

Friday Fill-Ins is a weekly event hosted by Friday_Fill-Ins. I'm a little later than normal but it's still Friday (Barely).

1. I remember, I remember to wash behind my ears everyday.

2. Dear Santa Claus I want you to know that I want the Library of Congress for Christmas.

3. Is that my hair sticking out in the back reminding me I need a haircut (really, really bad)!!???

4. I'm trying to resist the temptation of mint chocolate chip ice cream with extra chocolate sauce.

5. I'm saving a big hello and a hug just for you!

6. If I made a birthday list a night out with friends would definitely be on it!!!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to catching up on my blog, tomorrow my plans include working (when don't they?) and Sunday, I want to play board games with my son!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BBAW Nomination!

I'm still a little in shock but I was nominated for Best New Blog for Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Needless to say I'm grateful to the person who entered my name into the hat. Thank You, Thank You, Thank You.

I've been twittering with some fellow bloggers about what posts I should send in. After many, many tweets I think I have it narrowed down to the ones I want to use. I'm going to think about it overnight and send my email in tomorrow.

If anyone has any suggestions please leave a comment. I would like to hear any and all suggestions.

Word Verification Balderdash

Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

Here is what you do. You write down all the word verifications you come across as you are posting comments on other peoples blogs. You then play Balderdash with them. Now for those of you who don't know how to play, you take a made up word and come up with a authentic sounding definition for it. Do this for a week and then post your best ones every Thursday.

Here are mine for this week.

Outsane: The stage between sane and insane. Just slightly crazed not bonkers.

Carzoli: Small, compact car that runs off of leftover stromboli.

Ovenermi: 18th century Portugese oven that was portable and could always be near.

Sesteris: 1980s Atari game. The object of the game was to shoot asteroids with a b.b. gun.

Fluxe: The region of Wordsmithonia that Aeon Flux was born in.

B-I-N-G-O Award

I got his award from two great book bloggers. Nikola over at Nikola's Book Blog and
Melissa at My World both gave me this award on the same day. Thank you guys so much! If you have never visited there blogs please do so.

This award means that this blog is:

B: Beautiful
I: Informative
N: Neighborly
G: Gorgeous
O: Outstanding

I know how to pick five blogs that fit this criteria: (I'm trying to spread the love this time)

B: Beautiful With_Extra_Pulp

N: Neighborly Melissa's_Bookshelf

G: Gorgeous Devourer_of_Books

O: Outstanding Bookishgal

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Favorite Fictional Characters --- Nick & Nora Charles

With it's witty and daring couple, The Secret Adversary by Agatha Christie, brought to mind my favorite sleuthing couple of all time. Nick and Nora Charles the star of 6 Thin Man movies and one book by Dashiell Hammett.

I have never read the book so I can't say how much Nora is in it but without her the movies would not have been the same. (There was also a TV show in the 1950s that I'm not familiar with either).

The premise behind the movies is that a detective marries a rich socialite, then tries to retire from the business. Now if this is all that happens we would not have 6 glorious movies to watch. It seems that everywhere they go someone seems to find themselves dead. It is then up to Nick to solve the crime, well almost up to Nick that is. It seems that no matter how hard Nick tries to keep Nora out of it, she always puts herself in the thick of things and in my opinion ends up doing or saying something that helps Nick solve the case.

Now these characters, as played by William Powell and Myrna Loy, are as well rounded as movie characters can get. On the surface you see two people whose constant banter and love of cocktails seems to be all they have in common. Once you get to know them though you are able to witness a strong marriage built on love, respect, and friendship. This was the type of relationship I have always wanted and never seem to be able to find. Watching them together is a joy and I wish they would have made many more Thin Man movies to enjoy. I will say that if these characters were played by two different actors I'm not sure I would have enjoyed the movies as much. William Powell and Myrna Loy have such great chemistry together, they went on and starred in 14 movies together.

As the movies progress something happens that made the characters fuller and richer. At the end of the second movie we learn that Nora is pregnant. The third movie introduces us to little Nicky, Jr. Being able to see how they adapt their lifestyle to this development is hilarious at times. In one of the movies Nicky, Jr. insists that Nick drink milk at the dinner table. Now I'm pretty sure Nick hasn't drunk anything non-alcoholic in years and watching his face as he takes a drink of milk is hilarious.

Now Nick and Nora would not be complete without Asta, their wired-hair terrier, that was their constant companion. Asta is hilarious and acts the coward at all the right times. The obvious affection they hold Asta in, as a dog lover, is wonderful to watch. They even go to the extreme of riding in the baggage car of a train in order to keep Asta with them.

For anyone who has not had the pleasure of watching these movies, I more than strongly suggest them. I implore you, no I beg you to do so. Please take the time and familiarize yourself with two of the best detectives in the biz.

The Movies In Order Are:

The Thin Man
After the Thin Man
Another Thin Man
Shadow of the Thin Man
The Thin Man Goes Home
Song of the Thin Man

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here is how it works.
Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
Open the book to any random page.
Share 2 "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.
Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!
(Don't Give Too Much Away)Just enough to pique our interest.
List the book and author so other participants can get their hand on it if they choose to read it as well.

For This Week:

Leopold stepped forward again and bent down a bit. Methodically, as the Toreador savored each moment, he pressed his lips firmly against the clay of the bust and held the kiss as he diligently worked his tongue into the clay of Victoria's open and smiling mouth.

From Clan Novel: Toreador by Stewart Wieck

Monday, August 17, 2009

Giveaway of The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales

I have a new hardback copy of The Coyote Road: Trickster Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling to give out to one lucky winner.

This is a fantastic anthology that asked 26 authors to explore the myth of the trickster.

Here is the synopsis for the book:

Coyote. Ansani. Brer Rabbit. Trickster character have long been a staple of folk literature-and are a natural choice for the overarching subject of acclaimed editors Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling's third mythic anthology. The Coyote Road features a remarkable range of authors, each with his or her fictional look at a trickster character.

These authors, including Holly Black (The Spiderwick Chronicles), Charles de Lint (The Blue Girl), Ellen Klages (The Green Glass Sea), Kelly Link (Magic for Beginners), Patricia A. McKillip (Ombria in Shadow), and Jane Yolen, have crafted stories and poems drawing from cultures and traditions all over the world-each surprising, engrossing, and though-provoking. Terri Windling provides a comprehensive introduction to the trickster myths of the world, and the entire book is highlighted by the remarkable decorations of Charles Vess.

Contest Rules:

1. Leave a comment telling me about your favorite "trickster" character along with your email address.

2. Earn an extra entry for twittering about this contest, with a link to the tweet. Leave a separate comment.

3. Earn an extra entry for either blogging about this giveaway or by listing it on your sidebar. Leave a link to your blog entry. Leave a separate comment.

The giveaway will run through 11:59 p.m. CST on 8/31/2009. Winner will be picked by I will email the winner as well as post the winners name. The winner will have 48 hours to contact me with their shipping information or a runner up will be picked. Good luck!

The Agatha Christie Challenge -- The Secret Adversary

I finally finished reading the second book of my Agatha Christie self challenge. I picked it up shortly after finishing The Mysterious Affair at Styles but wasn't able to really get into it the way I wanted to, not because of the book though, but because of outside influences. Then when I went to pick it up again, I couldn't find the blasted thing. I looked everywhere for it and not one speck of it's lovely brown cover was to be seen. So I had to go buy the book again and now here I am a few days later giving my short review of it.

Here is the synopsis from the back cover:

Two bright young characters of the Jazz Age start out looking for adventures and wind us saving England in Agatha Christie's The Secret Adversary. Childhood friends Tommy Beresford and Prudence "Tuppence" Crowley have hit hard times. It's 1920, and the Great War is blessedly over. But the peace has left staid old England in the upheaval and the young veteran and the pretty former nurse flat broke. In the free spirit of the age, the two advertise themselves as "Young Adventurers," hoping for enjoyable as well as profitable employment. Their first client, a British Army Intelligence officer, promises both when he hires them to find a missing woman, and the charming duo are soon involved in a case of international intrigue, mistaken identities, and ultimately romance.

I found the book as well as the characters, Tommy and Tuppence, to be both intelligent and at times a little spastic. Now you may think that spastic is a bad thing, normally it is, but here it is a wonderful thing. The pace and the dialogue are snappy, quick, and above all else entertaining. The dialogue is simply breathtaking to read. It's quick and punchy. The report between Tommy and Tuppence is simply amazing. This book really showed how well Agatha Christie could write quick, believable dialogue. It is still the one element that is really sticking in my mind after finishing the book last night.

It had been a long time since I had read the book so the fact that this is more of a "espionage" novel rather than a "murder mystery" was not at the top of my mind. I was a little bit dismayed at first because I do enjoy a nice murder. It wasn't long though before I didn't care anymore. The story grabbed me and never let go.

I'm really looking forward to the next Tommy & Tuppence novel but there are a "few" books between now and then. They already feel like old friends that you can't get enough of.

If you like a great read with secret organizations, master-mind criminals posing as someone else, witty dialogue and characters, torpedoed ships, beautiful girls with amnesia, and rich Americans, this book is for you.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

The Zombie Chicken Award

I received this wonderful birthday surprise from Carolyn at Book Chick City. This has to be the funnest award I've received so far. The picture alone is awesome!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I would like to pass this along to 8 blogs ( I couldn't narrow it down to just 5). I was too scared of the Zombie Chickens so I figured the more I nominated the less likely it would be that they would come and eat me!

Beth at Beth's Book Review

Michelle at The Book Addict

Krista at Life of Something Like It

Jaime at For the Love of All That is Written

Cecelia at Adventures of Cecelia Bedelia

Deb at Bookmagic

Melissa at My World

Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books

Friday, August 14, 2009

The Secret of My Success --- Movie Review

I have been on a weird 80s kick lately so I've been watching a lot of the movies I loved from that decade. The latest one to grace my DVD player was "The Secret of My Success" starring Michael J. Fox.

I have owned this movie for years but it's not one I play very often. I think I'm going to have to rethink that because I spent most of the movie laughing out loud, which annoyed my son a little bit. I sometimes forget how funny Michael J. Fox was and how boyishly charming he could be.

The basic premise of the movie is this, I will take it off the back cover.

Can a kid from Kansas come to New York to conquer the business world and maneuver his way from the mailroom to the boardroom in a matter of weeks? Michael J. Fox proves it can be done in this very funny lampoon of corporate business life. Fresh out of college, he's determined to climb New York's corporate ladder in record time by masquerading as an up-and-coming executive, even though he's really the new mail boy. However, Fox's plans begin to go awry when the boss's wife falls in love with him and he falls in love with a junior executive, who also happens to be the boss's mistress.

Now that I've typed this little blurb I can honestly say it in no way does this movie justice. Fox plays Brantley Foster, who moves to New York City with the promise of a job. The first day he shows up he is laid off due to the company being acquired in a hostile takeover. He then goes from company to company and being rejected over and over again. He is either too qualified, under qualified, and finally is told he needs to be a minority woman in order to get the job.

Under duress (lack of money) he goes and asks his "uncle" through marriage for a job. His Uncle Howard Prescott, played by Richard Jordan, runs a multinational corporation and sticks Brantley into the mailroom. The first day he is told to drive a executive's wife, played by the wonderful Margaret Whitton, to her house where he ends up being seduced in the pool room. When the woman's husband shows up he realizes he just slept with his "aunt" Vera Prescott, wife of Howard Prescott.

The rest of the movie revolves around two different story lines. The first is the love quadrangle of Howard, Vera, Brantley, and Christy Wills (played by Helen Slater). Christy is the mistress of Howard and ends up falling for Carlton Whitfield.

Who is Carlton Whitfield you may ask? Well I'll tell you. Carlton is the alter ego of Brantley. Carlton is a young up and coming junior executive who has plans on saving the company from a hostile takeover. This brings us to the second plot line. Brantley living a double life, within the company. One as a mailroom clerk the other as a executive who changes his clothes in elevators and his office way too much for his secretary to understand.

As you can guess the two plot lines bring along plenty of laughs and awkward situations. If you like plenty of laughs and the good guys winning in the end, watch this movie. You won't be disappointed.

Besides how can you not like a movie that includes the song "Walking on Sunshine" from Katrina and the Waves?

Friday Fill-Ins #137

1. When will the weather get cooler?

2. Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong was the last good book I read.

3. Everything has its beauty but Irish Wolfhounds are still the most beautiful dogs.

4. BLTs is what I had for dinner.

5. I'd like your money but since that won't happen I'll be appreciative of the short amount of your time it takes to read this.

6. My big comfy bed is where I want to be right now.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting off work, tomorrow my plans include working on my birthday and Sunday, I want to enjoy my evening with my son!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

The Lemonade Award

I just got the nicest award from Sheila over at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books. It's called The Lemonade Award...

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award that shows great attitude or gratitude.

The first blog I want to give this to is Dawn as She is Too Fond of Books. She has been one of the nicest bloggers I've come across and I always find myself a little happier after I leave her blog.

The second blog I want to give this to is Deb at Bookmagic. Her attitude and and willingness to help has been a great source of comfort and support to me.

Here are the rules for accepting this award:

Put the Lemonade Award logo on your blog or post.

Nominate blogs that show great attitude or gratitude.

Link your nominees within your post.

Let the nominees know they have received this award by commenting on their blog.

Share the love and link to the person from whom you received the award

Nominate & Vote for the 101 Best Fantasy Books

A_Bibliophile's_Bookshelf has a great survey going on through the end up the month. She wants you (the reader) to go and nominate then vote on the 101 Best Fantasy Books of all time. I've already submitted my first round of books. Go and nominate yours. Deadline is August 31st so don't delay. Once the nominations are in the voting will start.

Word Verification Balderdash

Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

Here is what you do. You write down all the word verifications you come across as you are posting comments on other peoples blogs. You then play Balderdash with them. Now for those of you who don't know how to play, you take a made up word and come up with a authentic sounding definition for it. Do this for a week and then post your best ones every Thursday.

Here are mine for this week.

Wifying: 17th Century Norse word for the act of finding a wife.

Butlint: Self explanatory. Please don't make me spell it out for you.

Wingeeti: Pasta shaped liked angel wings.

Sapubb: Specialized slang term that combat sappers use when blowing up a bridge.

Restr: Short 10 minute nap.

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Katherine Neville Giveaway -- The Eight and The Fire

Check Spelling
I just ran across the greatest giveaway ever. Nikola over at Nikola's Book Blog is giving away one copy of The Eight and one copy of The Fire by Katherine Neville.

The Eight is one of my favorite books which I first read in high school. The Fire, which is the sequel, I haven't got a chance to read yet but if it is anything like the first one it will be well worth the time.

I highly encourage everyone to go and enter this giveaway. I promise you won't be disappointed. Deadline is August 28th. So get going.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Favorite Fictional Characters --- Auntie Mame Dennis

I first met and fell in love with Auntie Mame in high school. I was home from school (don't remember why) and happened to turn on A&E. I didn't turn it off for the rest of the day. They were running a movie marathon of "Auntie Mame" starring Rosalind Russell and I was hooked. I must have watched it 3 times that day. My mom by the way thought I was completely crazy but let me do it anyway.

Now this post isn't about the movie or the book. It's about why I loved this character when I first met her and why I still do to this day. It's about the way Auntie Mame connected with a part of me that was craving something I didn't even know I was missing.

This was the mother I always wished I had. I envied little Patrick with a vengeance. Why should he get the perfect (in my view) mother when I didn't get one. I just didn't think it was very fair. Now I didn't give a second thought to the fact that Mame was only getting custody of Patrick because his father (her brother) had just died. Who cared about the reason? I was green with envy.

Mame was the ideal liberal, free thinking woman of her day. She believed in experimental education, couldn't stand snobbery, and was so shockingly outspoken it took your breath away. Even when she lost all her money and lost Patrick to a boarding school all in the same day she rose to the challenge and rebuilt her life anew. She was brazenly resilient and I admired her for it. She never stayed down and never let those around her fall down.

Here was an individual who took control. A woman who wouldn't let someone else dictate to her the way she should live her life. A loving mother who cared for her charge and made sure he grew up to be a man any mother would be proud of. A woman who took in a single, pregnant women in a time when the idea was scandalous.

I could go on and on about parties, fox hunts wearing boots that don't fit, jingle bell bracelets, world travels, and writing books. There was so much to this woman that I still am amazed every time I watch the movie, read the book (Auntie Mame by Patrick Dennis), or even watch the musical with Lucille Ball as Mame.

She has been my inspiration in so many things. In the movie she says "Life is a banquet and most poor suckers are starving to death." I believe that's true and I never want to be one of those "suckers". For that is what Auntie Mame Dennis did. She Lived, Lived, Lived.

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly event sponsored by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here is how it works.

Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)

Open the book to any random page.

Share 2 "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.

Please Make Sure They Are Not Spoilers!

(Don't Give Too Much Away)Just enough to pique our interest.

List the book and author so other participants can get their hand on it if they choose to read it as well.

For this week:

As he concentrated on protecting his valuables, he hunched over, his jaw coming into perfect alignment with my foot. I kicked him, and he fell back hard enough to make the roof twang.

From Frostbitten by Kelley Armstrong

Monday, August 10, 2009

Giveaway of The Calling by David Mack

Doug over at has a new giveaway for what sounds like a fantastic book.

I'm a sucker for covers and this one is very interesting. Enough so that I want everyone to get involved and register to win. Deadline is Monday, Midnight, August 17th.

So get over to his blog and get registered to win.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

From the Publisher:

Spring 1938. After nearly two years in prison for the crime of stealing his own grain. Ukrainian immigrant Teodor Mykolayenko is a free man. While he was gone, his wife, Maria, their five children, and his sister, Anna, struggled to survive on the harsh northern Canadian prairie, but now Teodor-a man who has overcome drought, starvation, and Stalin's purges-is determined to make a better life for them. As he tirelessly clears the untamed land, Teodor begins to heal himself and his children. But the family's hopes and new found happiness are short-lived. Anna's rogue husband, the arrogant and scheming Stefan, unexpectedly returns, stirring up rancor and discord that will end in violence and tragedy.

My Brief Thoughts:

I had this book lying around for a few weeks before I picked it up. Once I did I was ashamed of myself for waiting as long as I did. I found it to be beautifully written. Each word was chosen with care in order to express exactly what it was the author chose for us to know or understand. I could clearly picture in my mind how it would be to live on the Canadian Prairie, how much strength and will one needed to posses to survive.

As far as the story itself I found it to riveting. The family dynamics were well fleshed out and thoroughly developed. Watching a family turn on itself was believable and horrible to witness. The ending horrified me for no matter how bad things got, I never thought it would end in death.

I encourage anyone and everyone to read this piece of art. It will be well worth the time.

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Baby Boom --- Movie Review

I watched this classic from 1987 for the millionth time last night (OK not really, probably more like the 15th time but you get the point) and I found myself laughing just as hard as I did the first time.

For those of you who have never seen this movie I will give you a brief synopsis. Diane Keaton plays J.C. Wiatt a powerful executive, nicknamed "The Tiger Lady", on her way to making partner with a New York consulting firm. She has a comfortable, if maybe passionless, relationship and her life seems to be going great. Then a lat night phone calls changes everything.

The phone call is from England informing her that her cousin and his wife died in a automobile accident and that she has inherited something from them. She is all excited thinking it's money when it fact it ends up being their baby. She doesn't know what to do. She can't have a baby, a baby will mess everything up. So she takes care of her for a few days just until she can take her to the adoption agency. Now if that actually worked movie would be over and I wouldn't be here talking about it. Needless to say she can't bring herself to do it once she is there and ends up keeping baby Elizabeth.

Now how is she supposed to juggle being a mom and making partner? Being 1987 is doesn't work out very well. Her boyfriend, played by Harold Ramis, leaves her. Her protegee, cunningly played by James Spader, takes advantage of the fact she is so distracted at work and takes over her biggest account. Her boss, played by Sam Wanamaker, informs her she is being passed over as partner. So what is a strong, independent women to do? She quits, buys a farm house in Vermont with an apple orchard, and attempts to start over.

This is were the movie gets really good so I'm just going to gloss over the plot here. Everything goes wrong for her once her and baby Elizabeth are living in Vermont. Her well drys up, roof needs to be replaced, she has no social life and feels she is becoming an old maid. She eventually, in a fit of desperation, unloads on her handyman then faints.

When she comes to she is in a doctor's exam room and ends up spilling her guts out to Sam Shepard thinking he is a doctor. Which he is, but not for humans, he's a Vet. Needless to say she is humiliated and storms out. In the mean time she had been making apple sauce for Elizabeth from the orchards on her property. One day she brings some into the general store and finds herself selling a few jars to some tourists from The City.

The rest of the movie is about starting over. Starting her own baby food company, Country Baby. Starting a new relationship with Dr. Jeff Cooper. Starting to become involved with the community that she had been living in but not taking part in.

Once she thinks she has everything figured out her old boss tells her that a company wants to buy her out. So does she sell the company and move back to New York? Does she in the end say no, stay in Vermont, and stay with the doctor? Well watch the movie and find out.

This is one of my favorite movies from the 80s and is well worth watching. I think it still accurately portrays the way some women feel that they have to make a choice between career and family. Hopefully this is a rather good example that tells everyone that they can have both and that they don't have to make a choice. So please watch this movie. I promise you won't be disappointed.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Friday Fill-Ins #136

Friday Fill-Ins is a weekly meme sponsered by Friday_Fill-Ins

1. Fresh pasta salad with kalamata olives is my favorite summertime meal.

2. My favorite John Hughes movies is The Breakfast Club.

3. The crisp pages of a new book is something I love to touch.

4. The full moon makes me want to watch scary movies.

5. I am thinking about going to bed right now.

6. When daylight fades my favorite part of the day begins.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching a movie I've never seen before, tomorrow my plans include trying a receipe out of a new cookbook and Sunday, I want to sleep in but it will never happen!

Thursday, August 6, 2009

BBAW: Getting to Know You Questions

Well since I'm brand new at this blogging gig, only been doing it for less than a month, I figured I would jump in head first and get involved with Book Blogger Appreciation Week.

The best way to learn and grow is to get involved so here I am. They posted 3 questions for those experienced paragons of all that is a book blogger and another 3 questions for those of us who are wet behind the ears and don't know quite what we are doing or getting ourselves into.

Since I most definitely fall into that second category I figured I would go ahead and answer the questions. So here are my responses to the getting to know you Q&A.

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

Wow, not even sure where to start. I don't have a lot of time under my belt so this may seem a silly answer to some, but the best part so far is meeting some incredible people and realizing how much is out there. I never even thought about blogging before a Barnes & Noble book club friend started one of her own ( Deb over at Bookmagic) and seemed to be having a lot of fun with it. So I figured I would dip my toes into the proverbial pool and see how warm the water was.

What I discovered was an entire community of people who love books and reading as much as I do. That no matter how different individual lives may be that this group of people come together and celebrate something that means so much to me. I have enjoyed discovering new books and topics that I may have never chanced upon and "meeting" people I never would have had an opportunity to get to know.

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

Obviously Deb at Bookmagic because she was the inspiration behind me getting involved to begin with. I'm really scared to name anyone else because I don't want to hurt anybody feelings (not that I've been doing this long enough to really run that risk). However I think the blogger I've gleamed the most information from (without ever really bugging her with a question) and tend to find myself going back to her blog the most is Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books.

I know there are other sites I've really learned from and gotten great ideas from but I have a massive headache so my thought processes aren't exactly up to their usual high standards. So I apologize now to all you bloggers out there that I've learned from without you even knowing it, for not mentioning you by name. You are all inspirations and role model to those like me who are just starting out.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

You know, this is probably the hardest question to answer. For I don't know what I'm missing out on. I'm not really sure what information I need that I'm missing. I guess all I can say is if anyone feels like taking the time and telling me about last year's event, I'm all ears (and eyes).

In Memorium for Director John Hughes

I was saddened to learn today of the death of Director John Hughes. John Hughes who was only 59 years old had a heart attack while taking a morning walk in Manhattan. He was the genius behind some of my favorite childhood memories and I will always be thankful to him for that.

He was a prolific director and screen writer who gave us some of the most memorable and entertaining movies in the 80s and 90s. Among his unforgettable movies are "Sixteen Candles, "The Breakfast Club", "Pretty in Pink", "Ferris Bueller's Day Off", "Planes, Trains, and Automobiles", and "Curly Sue". Through him, such teenage icons as Molly Ringwald, Ally Sheedy, Anthony Michael Hall, Judd Nelson, and Matthew Broderick became stars.

Pop culture owes a debt of gratitude to John Hughes and he shall be missed.