Saturday, January 17, 2015

Death of an author: Zilpha Keatley Snyder

I've been meaning to write this post for several months. Back in October 2014, I received an email that informed me that one of my favorite authors had died: Zilpha Keatley Snyder. She was 87 and died of a stroke. She wrote one of my all time favorite books from childhood: The Velvet Room. I absolutely adore this story. It transported me into a mystical, magical world that sent my imagination soaring. Here's the description on the back of the book:

Why does everyone warn Robin to stay away from the old house? "Something bad lives there," the women in the village tell her. "It's the Ghost of the Palms!" But Robin has found a beautiful and secret hiding place in the deserted mansion. And nothing--not even a wailing ghost--is going to frighten her away from the Velvet Room.

I was just fascinated with the description of this room. It was circular and when Robin pulled the curtains shut, she was engulfed in pink velvet. She also found antique treasures in the room and...oooh...I get shivers just thinking about it now...lol...I mean, let's face it. How many circular rooms have you hid out in? I don't know if I've ever seen one. I imagined myself ensconced within this mystical hideaway along with Robin. I experienced the highs and lows of her life as the daughter of a migrant worker and then her magical transformation each time she snuck away and entered The Velvet Room.

Several years ago, I found an old copy in a school and snatched it up! And it was only 75 cents!! You can't even buy a pack of chips for that now. It's so old it's in danger of falling apart, so I have it carefully situated in a place of honor on my book shelf. I need to read it again because I've forgotten so many of the details, but I'm afraid the book will disintegrate if I handle it too much! I think I'll try to track down another copy so I can read it! Lol...

I think it's so cool that Ms. Snyder was still writing kids books practically till the time she passed away as her last book was published in 2011 and The Velvet Room first came out in 1965.

Do you have any treasured childhood books that have stayed with you over the years?

Toodles!

Zilpha Keatley Snyder
(Even her name has a magical lilt!)

Friday, January 2, 2015

Cover Love: The School for Good and Evil by Soman Chainani

Book One
The School for Good and Evil is the first book in series that came out in 2013, so I'm definitely late to the party. I've only heard of it recently when Nook offered it for download at a discounted price. I was just fascinated by the cover art. I love it! It just looks so fantastical and mystical. Check out the description of the story:

A dark and enchanting fantasy adventure perfect for girls who prefer their fairytales with a twist.

Every four years, two girls are kidnapped from the village of Gavaldon. Legend has it these lost children are sent to the School for Good and Evil, the fabled institution where they become fairytale heroes or villains.

Sophie, the most beautiful girl in town, has always dreamed of her place at the School for Good while her friend Agatha, with her dark disposition seems destined for the School for Evil. But when the two are kidnapped they find their fortunes reversed...


I haven't decided if I'll get it yet as I have so many books waiting to be read, but it sounds interesting. The second book in the series is out now and as you can see below, the characters look like they've grown up...plus there's a handsome young man between the two girls...will a fantasy cat fight over him, ensue...lol...If anyone's read this series, let me know what you think of it.


I think I like the cover of book one the best. What about you?

Toodles!
Book Two

Sunday, November 23, 2014



Becca Fitzpatrick made a name for herself with her successful paranormal romance series, Hush Hush. She’s left the paranormal behind but romance is still on the agenda as she plunges headlong into a realistic, romantic thriller.

Eighteen year old Britt Pfeiffer is confused. She’s not sure if she should reconcile with her first and only love, Calvin, or maybe she should just put him out of her mind for good. That second option becomes a lot harder when Calvin ends up chaperoning Britt and his sister during a backpacking trip in the wilds of Wyoming, the Teton Range.

Things get out of hand fast, but not in the way one may expect. A vicious storm puts Britt in the path of two fugitives and possible murderers before she and Calvin can even meet up at his family’s cabin. Now Britt has to use her wits to stay alive and hope Calvin can reach her in time. One of the kidnappers is burdened with a terrible secret and Britt can’t be sure if he’ll turn out to be a help or her biggest hindrance. This is a story in which nothing is as it seems!

I think Fitzpatrick's writing has improved a lot since her Hush Hush days. I read the first book in the series and thought it was okay. I have the entire series, but haven't gotten around to reading any of the other ones yet. Black Ice is well done and guaranteed to keep readers on the edge of their seats. The descriptions are so vivid, one can feel every sliver of ice and every frozen, frosty flake, alighting on their person, as the reader becomes part of the journey to survive.

 The author did an excellent job with character development. There are no cookie cutter archetypes here. The characters may be young adults, but Fitzpatrick imbued them with a rich depth and complexity. They face deep and serous choices---ones the reader may or may not agree with, but will be forced to ponder and draw their own conclusions as to what they would do in similar circumstances.

Black Ice may be targeted to the young adult market, but more mature audiences will not be disappointed in the least, by this exciting and super suspenseful novel.

Tuesday, July 8, 2014

Movie Review: TRANSFORMERS: Age of Extinction




I saw a lot of mixed reviews about this movie and truthfully, the majority of them sucked. I never saw the three prior Transformer movies nor had any interest in doing so, but the previews for this 4th one looked pretty interesting, so sucky reviews be damned, I decided to check it out. I was influenced by the reviews though, and vacillated back and forth before finally giving in. The almost 3 hr film time made me nervous. If the film really was terrible, I didn't want to be trapped for such a long time.


I took the plunge...

And I frickin' loved it! The film lasted 2 hrs and 45 mins to be exact and I was shocked not to feel a moment of it. I never saw the time fly by so fast. I'm sure this was due to the action and believe me, there was plenty of it! Even if you haven't seen the prior movies, this was a good stand alone. I did read up on the franchise before going and this helped too. It made me interested in back tracking and seeing the other three films. As luck would have it, when I got home, there was a Transformers marathon on TV! Yippee! Now I'm all caught up. I'm now a Transformer fan and looking forward to the next installment.

Bring. It. On. Lol... :-)

Toodles, y'all...

Tuesday, June 10, 2014

And the winners of Ember Island are...




Thanks for stopping by guys. I enjoyed your comments. Now for the good part!

The winners are...

CC Riley
Rodney Mercer
PaTucker

I'll be emailing you for your addresses. Until the next time...

Toodles!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: EMBER ISLAND by Kimberley Freeman. Three winners possible!




EMBER ISLAND is the second "grownup" book I've read in a long time and boy am I glad I did. I'm going to have to do this more often! It's told from the perspective of three people: One in the present and two from the past. I thought I may not like this or get confused, but with careful reading from the beginning to make sure you've got the three characters straight in your head, it's a tour de force! Each segment ends on a major point, a cliffhanger, so you have to find out what happens with each of the women...well, one is a pretty feisty young girl, but she's a trip! Check out the description of EMBER ISLAND...

In a compelling, complex story from the bestselling author of Wildflower Hill and Lighthouse Bay, two women separated by a century discover long-buried secrets in an Australian manor house.In 1876, Tilly, a recently married young English woman, is reeling with shock and guilt after her tempestuous marriage ends in horrific circumstances on the remote Channel Islands. Determined to get as far from England as she can, she takes on a new identity and a job on Ember Island in Moreton Bay, Australia, where she becomes the governess to a prison superintendent's young daughter, Nell. Tilly fights her attraction to the superintendent, Sterling Holt, and befriends one the few female inmates, Hettie Thorpe, and a dangerous relationship develops. She doesn't know that Nell is watching her every move and writing it all down, hiding tiny journals all over Starwater, her rambling manor home.

More than 100 years later, bestselling novelist Nina Jones is struggling with writer's block and her disappointing personal life. Her poet boyfriend has recently broken up with her, and a reporter who is digging into her past insists on speaking to Nina about her great-grandmother, Nell. There are some secrets Nina may no longer be able to hide. Retreating to Starwater, she discovers Nell's diary pages hidden in the old walls and becomes determined to solve the mystery. Though Tilly and Nina are separated by many years, Starwater House will change both their lives.

Deeply affecting and beautifully written, Ember Island is a sweeping novel of secrets, second chances, and learning to trust your heart.

I couldn't describe the book better myself. You can't put it down because there are too many questions to be answered and you have to know! If there are three of you that want a chance to see for yourself, just leave a comment with your email address. Please DON'T FORGET YOUR EMAIL! That's the only to contact you if you win.

My sincere thanks to Maria from Simon & Schuster for making such a generous giveaway possible.

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.

EMBER ISLAND released April 18, 2014 by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster





Sunday, May 18, 2014

The Winners are...




They'll be two winners for A Single Breath by Lucy Clarke. In addition to the one coming from the publisher, I've decided to give away my own copy as well. The winners are...

Marjorie and Nichole

I don't think either of you girls will be disappointed. I'll be emailing you to get your mailing addresses.

Stay tuned for the next giveaway!

Toodles, y'all...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, May 9, 2014

Book Review and Giveaway: A SINGLE BREATH by Lucy Clarke




I read a lot of YA, so when I was offered the opportunity to read a more "grown up" book, I leaped at the chance, especially one that sounded as intriguing as this. Check out the description of A SINGLE BREATH by Lucy Clarke...

Eva has only been married for eight months when her husband, Jackson, is swept to his death while fishing. Weighed down by confusion and sorrow, Eva decides to take leave of her midwifery practice in London and visit Jackson's estranged family in Tasmania with the hope of grieving together.

Instead, she discovers that the man she loved so deeply is not the man she thought she knew. Jackson's father and brother reveal a dark past, exposing the lies her marriage was built upon. As Eva struggles to come to terms with the depth of Jackson's deception, she must also confront her growing attraction to Jackson's brother, Saul, who offers her intimacy, passion, and answers to her most troubling questions.

Will Eva be able to move forward in life, or will she be caught up in a romance with Saul, haunted by her husband's past? Threading together beautiful, wild settings and suspenseful twists, A Single Breath is a gripping tale of secrets, betrayal, and new beginnings.

I am a romance junkie. Love stories that incorporate a thread of forbidden love, capture my attention. A SINGLE BREATH did not disappoint, but oh, it was so much more! I've never considered myself a fan of suspense stories, but this tale pulls you along and won't let you go! There are so many questions to be answered and I had to know! A SINGLE BREATH is not the kind of story you can put down for long. When I had to stop reading to do other things, I couldn't wait to get back to it.

As someone who has indulged in writing stories myself, I really appreciate when I'm in the hands of a skilled author, and that is certainly what Lucy Clarke is. I couldn't help putting my "writer" cap on and critiquing as I read. I was fascinated by her ability to conceive and plot a rather complex tale, yet thread it together so intricately. Bravo, my girl!

When I get the opportunity to get a book in the hands of readers, I like to seize it. My sincere thanks to Courtney of Simon & Schuster for graciously agreeing to send a copy of A SINGLE BREATH to one of my blog visitors.

If you'd like the chance to be that winner, just leave a comment that includes your email, so you can be contacted. That's it. A winner will be selected randomly. Good luck!

The giveaway is open to residents of the US and Canada.

A SINGLE BREATH released April 8, 2014 by Touchstone/Simon & Schuster.

Toodle's y'all!

Sunday, April 27, 2014

Movie Review: Brick Mansions




When I saw a trailer of this movie, I was shocked to see the late Paul Walker of Fast and Furious fame. I thought the movie named Hours, was his last movie aside from Fast and Furious 7 due to release next year. I hadn't heard about Brick Mansions and only read a few reviews, which were mixed. One review said Walker was good, but the movie wasn't so hot. Being a Paul Walker fan, I wanted to honor him by seeing one of his last movies, so off I went yesterday. Check out this description:

In the criminal underworld of a dystopian Detroit, the streets are overrun with violence and drugs and the hand of corruption reaches into the lives of everyone; well almost everyone. For Lino (David Belle) every day is a fight to live an honest life. But when a drug lord kidnaps his girlfriend, Lino is forced to team up with Damien Collier (Paul Walker), an undercover cop who’s been tracking this king pin’s involvement in something even more sinister — a plot to devastate the entire city. Together they uncover a trail of corruption that leads all the way to the top.

Ok. Here are my thoughts...The movie was full of action. Some of the stunts were a tad too perfect and bordered on being a bit cartoonish. That being said...The film was totally entertaining!! I really enjoyed myself! It was cute to see Walker doing what he is known for most: the good-hearted undercover cop. I think some of the reviews are being too hard on the movie. Look, this isn't a film that's going to win an Academy Award, but it wasn't made with that in mind. It's for action junkies and Paul Walker fans. I'm not really an action junkie, but I can appreciate it.



If you're paying attention, you'll even recognize a social message about the haves and the have-nots. One review was disappointed that this angle wasn't played up more. It did get kind of swallowed up in all the dramatic action scenes, but hey, this is primarily an action movie--one with a heart of gold. You'll be totally surprised by the ending. There was a tribute to Walker at the end and I left the theater smiling. Honestly, I don't think anyone in the place left disappointed. Check it out. :-)

Toodles, y'all

Monday, April 21, 2014

The Light That Will Never be Extinguished...




Today marks the anniversary of the loss of one of the sweetest girls ever: our girl, Boozie. For over a decade, she filled a loving place in our hearts and she remains near and dear to us still. Today, this post is in keeping a promise made to her many, many times: that she would never be forgotten. Indeed, not a day goes by in which she is not either a thought in the mind or the subject of a prayer of thanks for the pleasure and love she brought to our lives.

We love you, dear girl...now and forever.


Sunday, April 6, 2014

CAPTAIN AMERICA - The Winter Soldier: A Review




I'm ashamed to say I didn't know a thing about Captain America as a character--I thought I did! Really!--But when the movie began, I realized I didn't have a clue. I didn't know what was going on for the first 30 minutes and that may be why I thought the first half an hour was kind of slow and boring. Clearly, this seemed to be a continuation of a story and I was clueless. I didn't see Captain America: The First Avenger or The Avengers which was huge at the box office. The previews for this latest installment looked pretty good, so that's what inspired me to go. After those first 30 minutes, I was all in! :-)

I kind of started to catch on to who Captain America was: some kind of WW2 hero who was turbocharged somehow. There was a lot of heart-pumping action and the graphics were awesome. I just loved all the characters! It was so much fun! It was nice to see Robert Redford out doing his thing again, though he has aged considerably. I don't even think he's that old, but has a lot of sun damage (sunscreen, people, for real!). I remember reading years ago how much time he spent on the slopes and the reflection of the sun off the snow is a killer.

Now, Chris Evans, who plays Capt. America is the complete opposite. That guy is the epitome of a "peaches and cream" complexion. He skin looked so pretty and flawless, that alone added to my watching pleasure...lol...

Anyhoo...I will definitely be catching the next movie, as it ended on a cliffhanger--it had a definite conclusion, mind you--but there is clearly more work for the Captain to do and his "frenemy", The Winter Soldier,was kind of cute too, so I'm looking forward to catching all the boys on the silver screen again soon.

Now I have to see the first two movies...oh, and I did look Captain America (the character) up on Wikipedia! Lol....

Toodles, y'all!


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Friday, March 28, 2014

DIVERGENT, the movie: A review




If you haven't read my prior post before this one, please take a few minutes to do so. I'll wait......back? Good. Because of the mediocre reviews and sucky preview trailers, I wasn't in any hurry to see DIVERGENT, so I skipped opening week. I was pretty skeptical about how it would fair at the box office. It came in second last week, way stronger than some of the recent YA adaptations. Nice! I decided to check it out today.

Let's get right to it. I enjoyed it---a lot! Dare I say, I may have even liked it more than The Hunger Games! Sacrilegious, I know. I'm still trying to decide.

I thought people that hadn't read the book would be confused, but no, the main character, Tris, explained the premise in a voice-over, Bella style, and it was pretty interesting. It's been a couple of years since I read the arc, so I had forgotten some elements, but things came back pretty quickly. DIVERGENT has much more action than I expected, too. It moved at a steady pace and kept you on your toes about what was coming next.

What really surprised me was the romantic element. DIVERGENT did a great job with the romantic tension! The film played the young girls in the audience like a fiddle. I never heard girls swoon, titter and gasp so loud...lol...

I thought it was so cute that Zoe Kravitz and her dad are in competing dystopian films: She in DIVERGENT and he, Lenny Kravitz, in The Hunger Games.

I'm really looking forward to the next installment. The reviews didn't do this film justice. Go see it!

Toodles, y'all!

Wednesday, March 19, 2014

DIVERGENT: Will it hit the sweet spot?





After the cinematic glory that was TWILIGHT and now The Hunger Games, YA books that have hit the movie theater have landed with a heavy thud: Beautiful Creatures, I Am Number Four, Mortal Instruments, The Host, Vampire Academy...there may be more, but that's all I can think of right now.

I happen to have really enjoyed Mortal Instruments, but it was hardly a blockbuster. I wonder if they'll even make part two. I'm a fan of I Am Number Four, too, but since that was out in 2010, I guess they won't be filming the continuation of that saga either! Someone on Twitter was begging people to go see Vampire Academy because she loved both book and movie so much, she wanted it to have a good box office opening. It had terrible reviews.

I plan to go see DIVERGENT because I read and enjoyed the book, but if I had to depend on the movie trailers and previews that have been advertising it, I would not be that drawn to it quite frankly. Based on the marketing I've seen, I wouldn't really understand what the story is about. If people haven't read the book, I question whether they would rush out to see it.

This is the complete opposite of my experience with TWILIGHT. I didn't even know it was a book, initially. I saw the previews in the theater five months before the release date and was immediately intrigued. I thought Edward was some sort of alien or something...lol...I made up my mind right away to see it when it came out. I still didn't know it was a book until I was sitting in the theater on opening night and commented to the girl next to me about how packed the place was. I couldn't understand it! You could barely find a seat. That's when she told me it was a book series and how much she enjoyed them. I ended up leaving the theater that night after the show and headed straight to Barnes & Noble to become part of the TWILIGHT madness...lol...Hey, it was fun while it lasted and I make no apologies. I'll always remember being a part of that pop culture moment fondly. :-)



As for DIVERGENT...will it strike box office gold? I hope I'm wrong, but I kind of doubt it. I understand the studio producing it, which is the same one behind TWILIGHT, I believe, has high expectations. How do you think it will do? We'll all know in two more days....

Toodles, y'all

Thursday, February 20, 2014

Say, what?!




I love watching figure skating and I've been clued to the TV while the Olympics are on. I did a double take yesterday. Did my eyes decieve me? Nope. They did not. Lo and behold, that rarest of rare birds made an appearance on the rink: a black girl! Lol...I must say, I was totally surprised to see Mae Bernice Miete from France. It was only after I saw her that I thought about that age old question...lol...Why are there no black girls in figure skating? I don't recall seeing a black girl compete since Tai Babilonia. Remember her? And she was only half black.



What would really be interesting to see is a black pairs couple. That would really turn some heads! I've never seen a black guy compete in figure skating either, come to think of it. Oh well, dream on...

Toodles, y'all!

Saturday, February 15, 2014

Why? I just want to know why...




If you're a mom with sons, would you pose with them like this? If you're childless and may have sons in the future, would you do it then? What kind of message is this behavior relying to the young men; to society?



This is a 45 year old mother with her two sons, ages 17 and 20. Maybe the rational is that if you're a very hot looking mom, you get a free pass to do things the average looking mom can't do. The pics above were in a leading fashion magazine. Does that make it okay? The shots below are random, candid family shots. Don't you, your friends and family members take fun shots with their kids at the beach like this? Huh?



We're in a world today that promotes perversity; that calls evil, good and good, evil.



Do you know the difference?

Read your bible to get a clue. Start in the book of Romans and check out the first chapter. Who are you going to believe?

Toodles, y'all...


- Posted using BlogPress from my iPad

Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Two Questions.



Remember when Justin looked like this?!

I have two questions when it comes to the pop star, Justin Bieber: One, What happened to this kid and two, where are his parents?

I remember when he was a sweet little kid singing songs in his little baby voice. Since he's gotten older he seems to have turned into someone a lot less desirable. Is this what sudden fame and fortune did to him? Is he feeling extraordinarily empowered and thinking of himself more highly than he ought to?


In his prison jumpsuit being booked.

What does his mama think about all of this? I saw her on the news, I think it was last year, hawking a book she wrote. I think it was about being his mom! His present behavior isn't a great endorsement. And where's his daddy?! I never hear about him and wondered if he knew his dad or if he was deceased. I swear, I was wondering about this to a friend as I was reading the paper and when I looked down, there was a picture of Beiber's dad accompanying an article about Justin's recent DUI and speeding arrest! The article said his dad was in the car with him and witnessed his arrest...Okaaay...In the photo, his dad was wearing a wifebeater, gold chains, tattoos...he looked pretty thugged out. Not what I would have expected.

I know Justin is nineteen, but he seems to need a good spanking and firm, sound advice. Does anyone in his life have the guts to give it to him?! If not the spanking, at least the advice! Lol...

Toodles, y'all