Monday, October 31, 2011

Thursday, September 29, 2011

The Hunger Games Trilogy A Re-Review and The DaVinci Code

I've been in re-read mood. I just finished re-reading the Hunger Games Trilogy. Almost exactly a year since I read them the first time around. I love them. It feels like they were written as one book. I mean it feels the author, Suzanne Collins, wrote them all at once and then published as separate for the obvious reason of the book being way too big to hold. Although with digital books on rise there should be no reason to pay 3 times for one story.
Okay back to the story. I love Katniss, I love the fact that she's real. She's not some dopey girl who is madly in love with anyone. She's sensible when it comes to feelings of the heart and about life in general. She's imperfect in real ways, not superficial ways *coughstupidbellacoughcough* The love triangle is more real because sometimes you love someone who just isn't right for you. You choose the one who completes you, not the one you love more.
Going away from the love story the whole scary government thing is great too. No, Suzanne Collins isn't the first one to use children as pawns in some sick twisted way for the government to control it's people, Battle Royale and Running Man.... but her story is her story and it's very well written and organized. I can't fault it really. It also shows how wars and governments don't change over night. That leaders in these sorts of causes aren't always the good guy but a lesser of two evils.
If you still haven't read these please do so before it's ruined with the movie due to come out in March. Any true fan of literature cannot like any of the movies made from their favorite most beloved books. I hated the Harry Potter movies, the Circle of Friends movie, The Notebook, the Percy Jackson movie wasn't too bad, but it was nothing like the book at all! Even though I may be curious to see how the movie for the Hunger Games turns out I'm not going to see it. I'm just to worried they will have messed it up completely. I have my Katniss, Peeta, Prim, Haymitch, Gale all in my head I don't need Hollywood telling me how these characters should look. That's one of the best parts of reading....using your imagination.

I didn't mean for my "review" to turn into a rant about books being turned into movies, but it does annoy me. And it leads me into the second book (4th book) I've re-read recently The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown. It's fast paced and very entertaining. Movie was only so/so.

I have yet to read the prequel or the newer sequel, but I really loved this book. I've always been one to question things so it's a fun alternative to some things that have been thought of as fact. It's based on some facts, but it is fiction. For everyone who may have been offended by this book it is fiction.

I'll try to be on here more often! Let us know what your reading! I'm always looking for new books to read!!

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

What I Read this Summer!!

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor
It was good! A bit rushed it took place over 13 years.
It is, surprise surprise, the first in a trilogy.
Definintly an insightful look into Wonderland.

One Day by David Nicholls
I really enjoyed this book.
I can completely understand why it's such a hit.
As a women who hasn't had some type of Dexter?
As a man who hasn't had an Emma?
A book that shows life over a period of time, that is so very like real life.

The Help By Kathryn Stockett
A very insightful story!
I really enjoyed this book.
It tugged at my heartstrings.
I'm not surprised by the popularity of this book.
Will be seeing the movie when it comes out in October! (UK)

Charlie and the Chocolate Factory by Roald Dahl I'm not sure how I made it through my childhood without reading this.
It is a must.
It's a fun entertaining read, better then both the movies!!

I also did a little re-reading:
Meet Me at the Cupcake Cafe by Jenny Colgan
Just as sweet as the first time I read it.
I'd love to bake for people so this book appeals to me!
Will probably be re-read again and again!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
(never again)
I thought the first book was ok.
I now know the rest of the series is dumb.
So, I shouldn't have ruined the first book by re-reading it.
Too late.

Souless by Gail Carrigner I liked it enough to read it again.
Not sure if I will continue with the series though.
Time will tell!

If you want an update on all my cookery/bakery books check out my new blog!
What has everyone else been reading??
Leave a comment or let us know on facebook!
We've got a group page, you're welcome to join!!

Sorry it's been so long since we've had activity on here! With winter coming up I hope to have a bit more time to read! Lots of days in due to rain and cold weather!
x Lisa

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Marianne Dashwood wears her heart on her sleeve, and when she falls in love with the dashing but unsuitable John Willoughby she ignores her sister Elinor's warning that her impulsive behaviour leaves her open to gossip and innuendo. Meanwhile Elinor, always sensitive to social convention, is struggling to conceal her own romantic disappointment, even from those closest to her. Through their parallel experience of love - and its threatened loss - the sisters learn that sense must mix with sensibility if they are to find personal happiness in a society where status and money govern the rules of love.
I think after it's third reading this surpasses Pride and Prejudice as my favorite Austen novel. In the past I would have listed them P&P first, Emma second, S&S third and the last 3 are just sorta bunched up together (I do like them, but not like I like these 3) but now I actually think Sense and Sensibility jumps to number 1. These characters feel real, they would have no problem stepping out of the book into the real world. They would fit right in. It's full of betrayal, love children, affairs, second marriages, etc.... It has everything that we love to gossip about now! I am writing as though everyone knows this story already. If you don't you
should!! It's very good!!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Chocolat by Joanne Harris A Book Review

Try me...Test me...Taste me.When an exotic stranger, Vianne Rocher, arrives in the French village of Lansquenet and opens a chocolate boutique directly opposite the church, Father Reynaud identifies her as a serious danger to his flock – especially as it is the beginning of Lent, the traditional season of self-denial. War is declared as the priest denounces the newcomer’s wares as instruments of murder.Suddenly Vianne’s shop-cum-cafe means that there is somewhere for secrets to be whispered, grievances to be aired, dreams to be tested. But Vianne’s plans for an Easter Chocolate Festival divide the whole community in a conflict that escalates into a ‘Church not Chocolate’ battle. As mouths water in anticipation, can the solemnity of the Church compare with the pagan passion of a chocolate éclair?For the first time here is a novel in which chocolate enjoys its true importance, emerging as a moral issue, as an agent of transformation – as well as a pleasure bordering on obsession. Rich, clever and mischievous, this is a triumphant read.

I have been wanting to read this for a while, but hadn't gotten around to it. It's a quick easy summer read; full of magic and life lessons.
The mother and daughter come to a small town and open a chocolate store during Lent and the priest is not happy. One might want to say it was about good and evil, but really it's about the gray area between the two.
A very enjoyable read. I have seen parts of the movie so can't comment on a comparison. Although it has Johnny Depp in it so really it can't be too bad right?
Would recommend it!! If anyone else has read it I would love to hear your thoughts on it!! Please leave a comment!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Harry Potter 7 part 2

I just booked tickets for a friend and me to go Friday night!
Are you tickets booked??
When will you see it??

Monday, July 11, 2011

new blog....

For those of you who love cook books as much as me check out my new blog An American Baker in England!  
I decided I wanted a separate space to share cook book reviews and pictures of the food cooked from those books. I generally want to share what I've baked more then what I made my family for dinner, hence the name of the blog. So, please check it out and follow along if you'd like to see what I bake next!
xXx Lisa

Thursday, June 16, 2011

JK's new project.....
The link is to what will be a new website.... Pottermore!
Very excited to learn more in 6 days time!
Check out Mugglenet for more info!!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

White Cat by Holly Black

Cassel is cursed. Cursed by the memory of the fourteen year old girl he murdered. Life at school is a constant trial. Life at home even worse. No-one at home is ever going to forget that Cassel is a killer. No-one at home is ever going to forget that he isn't a magic worker. Cassel's family are one of the big five crime families in America. Ever since magic was prohibited in 1929 magic workers have been driven underground and into crime. And while people still need their touch, their curses, their magical killings, their transformations, times have been hard. His granddad has been driven to drink, his mother is in prison and his brothers detest him as the only one of their family who can't do magic. But there is a secret at the centre of Cassel's family and he's about to inherit it. It's terrifying and that's the truth. The White Cat is a stunning novel of a world changed by magic. In this world only 1% of the population can work magic but they have the power of nightmares.

Holly Black's White Cat was so different from anything I have read recently! I really enjoyed it, but... it's a series!! I have recently read a lot of firsts in series, mostly all young adult novels, and none of them I've wanted to read the second book let alone a third or fourth. This book is no exception. Where I am curious to what is in store for Cassel I'm not prepared to read a handful of more books to find out. If it turns out to be a trilogy then I'd be up for that. I don't regret reading it. I knew it was the first in a series and have only myself to blame for starting it. I also don't feel like I HAVE to read the following book, this was a good story on it's own. If your into young adult-alternative modern day-series then go get this book! Very different and lots of interesting twists and turns!!
~ LiSa

Thursday, June 9, 2011


YouTube is full of all sorts of stuff and people who do video book reviews. This isn't a book review but a song taken from the Hunger Games Trilogy. (Let us know if video book reviews would be something you'd like to see in the future in the comments below) There are different versions on youtube, but this is my favorite and I thought I'd share it with you! For those of you who haven't read this trilogy I highly recommend it!!!

Thursday, May 26, 2011

The Suspicions of Mr Whicher by Kate Summerscale

It is a summer's night in 1860. In an elegant detached Georgian house in the village of Road, Wiltshire, all is quiet. Behind shuttered windows the Kent family lies sound asleep. At some point after midnight a dog barks.The family wakes the next morning to a horrific discovery: an unimaginably gruesome murder has taken place in their home. The household reverberates with shock, not least because the guilty party is surely still among them. Jack Whicher of Scotland Yard, the most celebrated detective of his day, reaches Road Hill House a fortnight later. He faces an unenviable task: to solve a case in which the grieving family are the suspects. The murder provokes national hysteria. The thought of what might be festering behind the closed doors of respectable middle-class homes - scheming servants, rebellious children, insanity, jealousy, loneliness and loathing - arouses fear and a kind of excitement. But when Whicher reaches his shocking conclusion there is uproar and bewilderment.A true story that inspired a generation of writers such as Wilkie Collins, Charles Dickens and Arthur Conan Doyle, this has all the hallmarks of the classic murder mystery - a body; a detective; a country house steeped in secrets. In The Suspicions of Mr Whicher Kate Summerscale untangles the facts behind this notorious case, bringing it back to vivid, extraordinary life.

I've read this for my book club at Waterstone's in Reading on Broad St for anyone who wants to come along it's at 7 after closing the last Thursday of ever month!
It's a very interesting read because it reads like fiction but is a very true account of what happened. The author did a great job and really making you feel as if you were there.
If you enjoy murder mysteries and true stories this is for you! Also have a look it was made into a TV series!
I was meant to discuss this with my fellow book clubers tonight, but due to my husbands work I was unable to attend the monthly meeting. Ah well next month.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

summer read suggestion!

Ever dreamed of starting over? Issy Randall can bake. No, more than that - Issy can create stunning, mouth-wateringly divine cakes. After a childhood spent in her beloved Grampa Joe’s bakery she has undoubtedly inherited his talent. So when she’s made redundant from her safe but dull City job, Issy decides to seize the moment and open up her own café. It should be a piece of cake, right? Wrong. As her friends point out, she has trouble remembering where she left her house keys, let alone trying to run her own business. But Issy is determined. Armed with recipes posted to her from Grampa, and with her local bank manager fighting her corner, Issy attempts to prove everyone wrong. Following your dreams is never easy and this is no exception. Can Issy do it?

A chic-lit but entertaining! If your looking for a summer read I would suggest this one. It also has recipes for cupcakes and other baked goodies!

Monday, May 9, 2011

Toxic Childhood by Sue Palmer ~ A Book Review

Children throughout the developed world are suffering: instances of obesity, dyslexia, ADHD, bad behaviour and so on are all on the rise. And it's not simply that our willingness to diagnose has increased; there are very real and growing problems. Sue Palmer, a former head teacher and literacy expert, has researched a whole range of problem areas, from poor diet, lack of exercise and sleep deprivation to a range of modern difficulties that are having a major effect: television, computer games, mobile phones. This combination of factors, added to the increasingly busy and stressed life of parents, means that we are developing a toxic new generation. TOXIC CHILDHOOD illustrates the latest research from around the world and provides answers for worried parents as to how they can protect their families from the problems of the modern world and help ensure that their children emerge as healthy, intelligent and pleasant adults.

I've read this book in bits and pieces, but have read all of it. It is informative and shocking at times, but the parents who would benefit from this book the most are more likely not to read it. In another way the book doesn't say anything most of us don't already know. Surprisingly this book didn't make me feel like the worst parent in the world. It just made me more aware of some of the decisions I've made and will probably affect some of the decisions I've yet to make. If you read stuff like this on the Internet there is no need to buy this book. If your curious about how the modern world is affecting our children and want it in a clear manageable format go ahead and borrow this from the library.

Wednesday, May 4, 2011

The Gruffalo by Julia Donaldson ~a recommendation

A mouse is taking a stroll through the deep, dark wood when along comes a hungry fox, then an owl, and then a snake. The mouse is good enough to eat but smart enough to know this, so he invents . . . the gruffalo! As Mouse explains, the gruffalo is a creature with terrible claws, and terrible tusks in its terrible jaws, and knobbly knees and turned-out toes, and a poisonous wart at the end of its nose. But Mouse has no worry to show. After all, there’s no such thing as a gruffalo. . . .

My daughters favorite book to date! It's one that I never tire of reading and re-reading to her! If you haven't read this book you must!
Five stars!!

Norwegian Wood by Haruki Murakami ~ A Book Recommendation

movie tie in cover
When he hears her favourite Beatles song, Toru Watanabe recalls his first love Naoko, the girlfriend of his best friend Kizuki. Immediately he is transported back almost twenty years to his student days in Tokyo, adrift in a world of uneasy friendships, casual sex, passion, loss and desire - to a time when an impetuous young woman called Midori marches into his life and he has to choose between the future and the past.

Loved this book!! Haruki Murakami is on my top 5 favorite authors at the moment!!
A story of love life and death. A lot of people thought it was semi auto biographical but Murakami denies it. It reads like real life so I can see why the masses would want to think it was the love story of his life.
It's a story of what a person would do for love.
A story of coping with the ups and downs of relationships.
 I'm not sure I want to see the movie that has recently been made.
I really did enjoy Kafka on the Shore and had no idea what was happening in After Dark, but this one was ... dare I say ... beautiful.
It's not usually a word I use to describe a book, but it's the only word that suits it in my opinion.
I give this book 5 stars and would recommend it to anyone and everyone!!

Sunday, May 1, 2011

Michael McIntyre: Life and Laughing ~ a review

Michael McIntyre has become Britain’s biggest comedy star. His debut stand-up DVD was the fastest selling of all time, only to be eclipsed by his second that sold over 1.4 million copies and was the 2009 Christmas number one. He hosts his own BAFTA nominated BBC1 series, Michael McIntyre’s Comedy Roadshow, and won the British Comedy Award for Best Live Stand-up in 2009 following his record breaking fifty-four date Arena tour.
But how did he get there?
Michael reveals all in his remarkably honest and hilarious autobiography Life and Laughing. His showbiz roots, his appalling attempts to attract the opposite sex, his fish-out-of-water move from public to state school and his astonishing journey from selling just one ticket at the Edinburgh Festival to selling half a million tickets on his last tour. Michael’s story is riveting, poignant, romantic and above all very, very funny.

I read this book in about a day! Very funny, moving, and entertaining. He starts out with his birth ending at his big break. He touches on his parents divorce, the awkward teenage years, finding the love of his life and the most important the ups and downs of going after what you really want. In a way it's a motivational story with lots of tears. Tears of laughter and joy and tears of loss and heartache.
If you haven't heard of him check him out on YouTube! Hilarious!
I give this a 4 star!

Sunday, April 17, 2011

The Blind Assassian by Margaret Atwood

Laura Chase's older sister Iris, married at eighteen to a politically prominent industrialist but now poor and eighty-two, is living in Port Ticonderoga, a town dominated by their once-prosperous family before the First War. While coping with her unreliable body, Iris reflects on her far from exemplary life, in particular the events surrounding her sister's tragic death. Chief among these was the publication of The Blind Assassin, a novel which earned the dead Laura Chase not only notoriety but also a devoted cult following. Sexually explicit for its time, The Blind Assassin describes a risky affair in the turbulent thirties between a wealthy young woman and a man on the run. During their secret meetings in rented rooms, the lovers concoct a pulp fantasy set on Planet Zycron. As the invented story twists through love and sacrifice and betrayal, so does the real one; while events in both move closer to war and catastrophe. By turns lyrical, outrageous, formidable, compelling and funny, this is a novel filled with deep humour and dark drama.

I have always meant to pick up a Margaret Atwood title but never got around to it. There are plenty of titles to choose from but I thought I'd start with this one as it won the Booker Prize in 2000. I couldn't put it down. Even though I had guessed the ending and had come to the correct conclusion on certain events I did enjoy this book.
I did have my issues with the relationship between the sisters. Mainly because I feel close to mine and wouldn't have made some of the decisions that Iris had. Despite not liking her decisions, being a middle sister I understand what it's like to be an older and younger sister, therefore I could relate to both sisters and their roles.
I also related to the being helpless in a situation you feel you have no control. If only you were looking at it from the outside you'd see how to regain control. In those instances the solution is never easy and takes a certain amount of risk. Which is why some of Iris's decisions are unforgivable because she was just scared. Although there are times I truly felt like she, Iris, thought her choices were the best possible ones. Sometimes in life people truly try their best and their best just isn't good enough.
I would give this book 4 stars and would recommend it most fellow readers!
~ LiSa

Friday, April 15, 2011

If I knew you were coming I'd have baked a cake!

the hummingbird bakery: cookbook
the hummingbird bakery: Cake Days
Fat Witch Brownies by Patricia Helding

More baking books!! I like to bake and these are some of the best books I've come by to date! The Hummingbird Bakery is in London and they sell American style cakes. It is because of them that I've had the idea to do a bakery tour of London! If I get it underway I'll be sure to post all the details!

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

The Glass Lake by Maeve Binchy ~A Book Review

Kit McMahon lives in the small Irish town of Lough Glass, where everyone knows everyone; children who walk to school together grow up and become sweethearts and marry, people gossip and grumble and dream their lives away. For it is a place where change comes slowly. Until one day, beautiful, mysterious Helen McMahon disappears, presumed drowned in the lake, and then the gossip runs wild. The consequences for Helen's husband, her son, but above all for her daughter, Kit, are unimaginable and will leave not one of their lives unchanged.

I have been a fan of Maeve Binchy's ever since I read Circle of Friends (it's in my top 5) but after reading a handful of other titles I sort of went off her work as it was very similar. Which is good because it means you always know what you're going to get when you pick up one of her books. It's bad though if you're looking for something new to enlighten you. However the back cover drew me in and I gave this one a go after a long break from Maeve Binchy titles!
I liked it because it felt like an old familiar jacket or blanket, but I didn't like it because as always it was over ridden with too many characters! I love the depth in which her characters interact, but some characters were just pointless!
Also the back cover description (above) is over dramatic! Spoiler Alert: It is very clear that Helen McMahon did not drown but ran away and we're told that very early on. So, there was no mystery of where she was etc.... Which is what I was expecting.
Not sure where my ramblings are taking me. I give it 3 stars as I don't wish I hadn't read it and it did what I expect all books to do, take me away to another world for a little while! 

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Inkheart by Cornelia Funke ~A Book Review

Meggie lives a quiet life alone with her father, a book-binder. But her father has a deep secret-- he possesses an extraordinary magical power. One day a mysterious stranger arrives who seems linked to her father's past. Who is this sinister character and what does he want? Suddenly Meggie is involved in a breathless game of escape and intrigue as her father's life is put in danger. Will she be able to save him in time?

Another YA (young adult) title! I kept seeing this book in odd places so when I was browsing my local Oxfam (charity shop in the UK) and it was there and I bought it! It was good, but not great.
I think if I was 12 I would have loved it!! Unfortunately I'm not 12 and therefore it was just okay. I don't think I'll continue on with the other two books that complete this trilogy nor will I go out of my way to see the movie starring Brandon Frasier!
I did really enjoy the bringing characters out of books by just reading out loud and the amount of chaos that would ensue. Which is why I picked up the book in the first place. It was full of adventure and intrigue! Therefore, if you are or have a young adult who likes to read I would recommend this book to you!

Saturday, April 2, 2011

So, I'm thinking of re-doing the book of the month. Mainly I can't expect others to read them if I don't even get around to reading them! I still would like to highlight a book every month, but not have it where people discuss it? Anyhow look forward to a new way! :0)

If you managed to get a hold of Making Toast please feel free to let us know what you thought below in the comments. It is a book I will read one day, but I just didn't get around to it this month!

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore

John Smith is not your average teenager. He regularly moves from small town to small town. He changes his name and identity. He does not put down roots. He cannot tell anyone who or what he really is. If he stops moving those who hunt him will find and kill him. But you can’t run forever.

So when he stops in Paradise, Ohio, John decides to try and settle down. To fit in. And for the first time he makes some real friends. People he cares about – and who care about him. Never in John’s short life has there been space for friendship, or even love.But it’s just a matter of time before John’s secret is revealed.

He was once one of nine. Three of them have been killed.

John is Number Four. He knows that he is next . . .

You might be really surprised to see this written, but I think this book would make a better movie. Yes, I know it already is a movie. No, I haven't seen it yet, but I want too. On amazon it's getting so many mixed reviews. I personally enjoyed it. Is it something new...not really it follows along the lines of all teenage fiction these days. Everlasting love and impending doom, with a lecture on how we need to protect our planet. Well, sorta but it's all about how one race destroyed a planet for it's resources and basically earth is next....which is why I think big screen more on this then book.
However I found it really entertaining and unlike other series.... (yes another series!! 6 in total!!) I do want to know what happens I'll most likely be reading all 6! And if I get to the movies I'll be back to post on it!! I'm sorry if that turned out to be mostly ramblings!!

Monday, March 7, 2011

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan ~A Book Review

Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief by Rick RiordanLook, I didn't want to be a half-blood. I never asked to be the son of a Greek god. I was just a normal kid, going to school, playing basketball, skateboarding. The usual. Until I accidentally vaporized my maths teacher. That's when things started really going wrong. Now I spend my time fighting with swords, battling monsters with my friends and generally trying to stay alive.

This is the one where Zeus, God of the Sky, thinks I've stolen his lightning bolt - and making Zeus angry is a very bad idea . . .

It's a good story....the movie is very different, done by the same director of the first two Harry Potter movies. Sorry, this isn't about the movie it's about the book. The book was good. I always liked Greek mythology so it was interesting on that part. I'm not overly excited about the start of this series. Where it's good and adventurous and entertaining there was something missing. I can't put my finger on it.....which maybe I'll find in the following books. I also failed to really fall in love with Percy. His character was missing flare. I'm sure Rick Riordan will tell me where to stick my flare, but the book was good enough for me to want to continue reading. So, look forward to more Percy Jackson and .........
This was recommended to be my by a friend on Facebook if you haven't already join us on Facebook. It's not the most happening place, but it's a great way to let us know what your reading and what you think we should read!! :0)

Friday, March 4, 2011

Sorcery and Cecelia: Or the Enchanted Chocolate Pot by Patricia C. Wrede and Caroline Stevermer

This was such a fun book! The two authors plotted the book separately by writing each other letters and without speaking about it they had the story come together!! A lot of fun and a must read for people who love Jane Austen and stories that have a little magic!!
Basically one of the young ladies has gone to London to be presented to society and getting into all sorts while the other is at home also getting into trouble! Good read....there are two more that I think will need to be added to my collection!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011

Book for March!!! Making Toast by Roger Rosenblatt

When Roger's daughter, Amy—a gifted doctor, mother, and wife—collapses and dies from an asymptomatic heart condition at age thirty-eight, Roger and his wife, Ginny, leave their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren: six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one-year-old James, known as Bubbies.

Long past the years of diapers, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny—Boppo and Mimi to the kids—quickly re accustom themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, play-dates, nonstop questions, and non sequential thought. Though reeling from Amy's death, they carry on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tenderhearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marvels at the strength of his son-in-law and the tenacity and skill of his wife, Roger attends each day to "the one household duty I have mastered"—preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking.

Monday, February 28, 2011

What did you think of Northanger Abbey??

1.Northanger Abbey is about an ordinary girl who tends to see the world in a rather blinkered light. How is Catherine Morland relevant to women today? Is she different from modern women? Is her outlook familiar in any way? If so, how?

2.Can Northanger Abbey be read as a Gothic novel? If not, in what ways does it allude to this genre of writing?

3.In what ways is Catherine in Northanger Abbey comparable to Elizabeth in Pride and Prejudice? Do they change at all throughout the novels?

4.What is the significance of wealth and property in Northanger Abbey? Does Jane Austen condemn or condone such outlooks?

5.Is Catherine’s response to the General’s behaviour intrusive? Or is she actually showing initiative and perception? Is she a passive heroine, or more of an action figure? Discuss.

6.W Garrod, author of the 1928 book Jane Austen: A Depreciation complained about ‘that ridiculous use of marriage as a finale in Jane Austen’s novels’. Is this a fair comment? Is the brief description of the marriage at the end of the novel anti-climactic or prosaic? Why do you think Austen chose this closure?

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Souless by Gail Carriger

Souless by Gail Carriger: Alexia Tarabotti is labouring under a great many social tribulations. First, she has no soul. Second, she's a spinster whose father is both Italian and dead. Third, she was rudely attacked by a vampire, breaking all standards of social etiquette. Where to go from there? From bad to worse apparently, for Alexia accidentally kills the vampire - and then the appalling Lord Maccon (loud, messy, gorgeous, and werewolf) is sent by Queen Victoria to investigate. With unexpected vampires appearing and expected vampires disappearing, everyone seems to believe Alexia responsible. Can she figure out what is actually happening to London's high society? Or will her soulless ability to negate supernatural powers prove useful or just plain embarrassing? Finally, who is the real enemy, and do they have treacle tart? SOULLESS is a comedy of manners set in Victorian London: full of werewolves, vampires, dirigibles, and tea-drinking.

This book was pure entertainment!! Loved it! Probably will re-read it many times! It's not too long and it has everything I could want in a novel. Mystery, love, fantasy, all set in Victorian England! Although not completely it's a series. I sort of despise series. Sequels or trilogies I can handle; series not so much. It's just that after the first 3 or 4 the story lines start to drop or get repetitive. I like that this book stands on it's on so you can choose to carry on or not.
Definitely give it a go!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Lost Encyclopedia

I received this for Christmas and was pretty excited to read it! Lots of information which brought all the seasons together for me. I hadn't re-watched the earlier seasons since watching the end of the series last year so it was good to get everything together. However there were some serious editing issues. Places were lines were repeated almost like they reworded the sentence and forgot to take out the edited line. I can understand if it happened once maybe twice, but the editors and authors must have rushed this out. Saying that I would say Lost fans would not be disappointed with this encyclopedia.

Note: amazon reviewers were saying some of the info was wrong....I'm a Lost fan, but I wouldn't call myself a Lostie so I didn't notice anything that was flat out wrong.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Georgia Walker's entire life is wrapped up in running her knitting store, Walker and Daughter, and caring for her 12-year-old daughter, Dakota. With the help of Anita, a lively widow in her seventies, Georgia starts the Friday Night Knitting Club, which draws loyal customers and a few oddballs. Darwin Chiu, a feminist grad student, believes knitting is downright old-fashioned, but she's drawn to the club as her young marriage threatens to unravel. Lucie, 42, a television producer, is about to become a mother for the first time--without a man in her life. Brash book editor KC finds her career has stalled unexpectedly, while brilliant Peri works at Walker and Daughter by day and designs handbags at night. Georgia gets her own taste of upheaval when Dakota's father reappears, hoping for a second chance.  ~ Booklist

A knitter myself, I thought this book would be right up my alley.  I found myself turning pages very quickly until the end.  I liked the book and would recommend it for a light read, but I wasn't overly impressed.  I felt that some of the things that happened in the book seemed to be a bit forced in trying to build the characters.  And, save the main character, none of the others were really deep.  I know this is Jacobs' first novel, so I would catch her a break and read the second one because she told a story I was interested in.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

let's eat!

Here are some of my new cookbooks! I know I have a problem! I just have a complete obsession!! I want to be a food photographer that would be like my ulitmate dream job!!

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Return by Victoria Hislop ~a book review

The Return by Victoria Hislop: Sonia knows nothing of Granada's shocking past, but ordering a simple cup of coffee in a quiet cafÉ will lead her into the extraordinary tale of a family's fight to survive the horror of the Spanish Civil War.

Seventy years earlier, in the RamÍrez family's cafÉ, Concha and Pablo's children relish an atmosphere of hope. Antonio is a serious young teacher, Ignacio a flamboyant matador, and Emilio a skilled musician. Their sister, Mercedes, is a spirited girl whose sole passion is dancing, until she meets Javier and an obsessive love affair begins. But Spain is a country in turmoil. In the heat of civil war, everyone must take a side and choose whether to submit, to fight, or to attempt escape.

When I first started reading this book it was hard for me to get into. I like stories that take place over time where the past affects the future. The present story was not engaging and hard to get through. However once this novel went to the past I could not put it down! I only new a little about the Spanish civil war because of art history and the art I studied from that time. This narrative puts you right in the middle of the civil war. It's moving and it made me want to learn  more about Spanish history. Some people think if they ignore politics it will go away. But what they do affect us each and every day. It's just scary how much power governments and other parties have over innocent people.
Anyway this is an amazing story and I would say if you get a chance plough through the first part and get to the part that will stay with you for a very long time!
Think I might have to take up salsa!

Monday, January 31, 2011

Little Children by Tom Perroitta

The characters in this intelligent, absorbing tale of suburban angst are constrained and defined by their relationship to children. There's Sarah, an erstwhile bisexual feminist who finds herself an unhappy mother and wife to a branding consultant addicted to Internet porn. There's Todd, a handsome ex-jock and stay-at-home dad known to neighborhood housewives as the Prom King, who finds in house-husbandry and reveries about his teenage glory days a comforting alternative to his wife's demands that he pass the bar and get on with a law career. There's Mary Ann, an uptight supermom who schedules sex with her husband every Tuesday at nine and already has her well-drilled four-year-old on the inside track to Harvard. And there's Ronnie, a pedophile whose return from prison throws the school district into an uproar, and his mother, May, who still harbors hopes that her son will turn out well after all. In the midst of this universe of mild to fulminating family dysfunction, Sarah and Todd drift into an affair that recaptures the passion of adolescence, that fleeting minimal period of freedom and possibility between the dutiful rigidities of childhood and parenthood. ~ Publishers Weekly

I recommend this book, it was not your typical fairytale story.  Maybe not quite like real suburbia, but not that far off either.  You'll like it!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

double post

If you've read Skippy Dies here is the post to tell us all about it!
I didn't get around to reading it this month. I am in a weird reading place where I'm not sure what sort of book I'm in the mood for. Ya know? I will get around to reading it one day. Just not today!
I'm doubling up this post and revealing the book for February: Northanger Abbey by Jane Austen. I thought it was time for a classic and next month (March) we have our first non-fiction title! Might see a bit of  a trend....I actually have the next six months planned out attentively for our monthly reads. I'm a nerd I know. (check out our book of the month tab for past and future reads!) But please feel free to suggest anything you might want to read and/or discuss!! I'm always looking for new books!!!

Northanger Abbey:

During an eventful season at Bath, young, naïve Catherine Morland experiences the joys of fashionable society for the first time. She is delighted with her new acquaintances: flirtatious Isabella, who shares Catherine's love of Gothic romance and horror, and sophisticated Henry and Eleanor Tilney, who invite her to their father's mysterious house, Northanger Abbey. There, her imagination influenced by novels of sensation and intrigue, Catherine imagines terrible crimes committed by General Tilney. With its broad comedy and irrepressible heroine, this is the most youthful and and optimistic of Jane Austen's works.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

How to Train Your Dragon book one by Cressida Cowell

Chronicles the adventures and misadventures of Hiccup Horrendous Haddock III as he tries to pass the important initiation test of his Viking clan, the Tribe of the Hairy Hooligans, by catching and training a dragon.

A recommendation! This book is totally cute!! love it!!  I'll be getting the other books in the series and saving them for my daughters! If you have a kid or kids in the age group 9-12 you must get this for them!! ;0)

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Beauty by Robin McKinley

When the family business collapses, Beauty and her two sisters are forced to leave the city and begin a new life in the countryside. However, when their father accepts hospitality from the elusive and magical Beast, he is forced to make a terrible promise - to send one daughter to the Beast's castle, with no guarantee that she will be seen again. Beauty accepts the challenge, and there begins an extraordinary story of magic and love that overcomes all boundaries.

A classic love story. Where you learn once again that love is more then lust and magic and that it usually takes time for love to grow and in some cases fester. I hate shallow love stories and this is sort of shallow. Although it can be taken in a couple of ways. It's the same reason I hate Shrek. A princess can't be in love with an ugly Ogre. The only way they can be together is if she's just as ugly and horrid as he is.
Well, here McKinley has made Beauty plain in appearance. Which in any other story would be okay, but I sort of felt the point is that she is beautiful (hence Beauty and the Beast) and isn't expected to fall in love with a beast. Which is suppose to be a double lesson of the story good looking prince gets bewitched for being an ass and good looking girl figuring out that sometimes there is more then meets the eye (transformers!) So, both characters figure out they aren't as shallow after all.
In this version, after months of spending time in an enchanted castle, she becomes beautiful. Now here is where I'm not sure about stuff, because was she always beautiful just in denial? or Was she was beautiful in the eyes of the Beast therefore beautiful to the reader? or Was she physically transformed like the ugly duckling? The latter would really annoy me. So, if anyone has read or now wants to read this please let me know what you thought!
Okay now that I have that out of my system over all I really did enjoy this book. Because really deep down this story is about falling in love with a person's soul? personality? core? whatever you call it it's about falling in love with your best friend and that's where it gets a spot on my shelf as a keeper!
So, I recommend it to anyone who likes a good classic fantastical love story!

Monday, January 10, 2011

Lovely Bones by Alice Seabold

My name was Salmon, like the fish; first name, Susie. I was fourteen when I was murdered on December 6, 1973. My murderer was a man from our neighborhood. My mother liked his border flowers, and my father talked to him once about fertilizer. This is Susie Salmon. Watching from heaven, Susie sees her happy, suburban family devastated by her death, isolated even from one another as they each try to cope with their terrible loss alone. Over the years, her friends and siblings grow up, fall in love, do all the things she never had the chance to do herself. But life is not quite finished with Susie yet ...

This story is told from the point of view of a murdered girl and it focus's on how her family deals with the unknown and the loss of a daughter and sister. It's can be a little awkward to read as it's one of those things that unless you've experienced it you can never really know what it's like. I also hope it is something I never ever have to experience. Even Susie, the girl who is dead, doesn't know what it's like to deal with it as she's just observing. Susie's loss is something else: of experiences, growing up, and family. Which is why when young people die it seems so much more a tragedy.
I do like the way the book is sort of choppy going over a long period of time. Time is a man made thing so we all like to assume that 'heaven' is timeless. And I think if you're to write a book told by a girl who is in heaven the way it's written fits the story. The only part I didn't like was when she posses her friends body. It was weird. A bonus of this book is it's short and could be read in a day!

Last Note: They made a movie of this about a year ago, I could look up exactly when, but to be honest I'm not bothered by this one. The book is something out of parents worst nightmares and I don't need to torture myself really. The only thing that would make me watch it is to find out how they put it to film because of how it's written.

Friday, January 7, 2011

January's Book of the Month!

Hey! Book for the month is Skippy Dies by Paul Murray
Ruprecht Van Doren is an overweight genius whose hobbies include very difficult maths and the Search for Extra-Terrestrial Intelligence. Daniel ‘Skippy’ Juster is his roommate. In the grand old Dublin institution that is Seabrook College for Boys, nobody pays either of them much attention. But when Skippy falls for Lori, the frisbee-playing Siren from the girls’ school next door, suddenly all kinds of people take an interest – including Carl, part-time drug-dealer and official school psychopath . . . A tragic comedy of epic sweep and dimension, Skippy Dies scours the corners of the human heart and wrings every drop of pathos, humour and hopelessness out of life, love, Robert Graves, mermaids, M-theory, and everything in between.

Hope everyone had a great holiday season and looking forward to reading with everyone this year!
Any books you want to read leave a comment!
Also look ahead in the tab Book of the Month!

Cupcakes at Carrington’s by Alexandra Brown {book review}

Every month a blog I follow hosts a book club, but the books chosen all have to do with food. Particularly baking. It’s very similar to ...