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Teaser Tuesday

April 21, 2009

teasertuesdays2 Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! ;)

My teaser today is from The Bean Trees by Barbara Kingsolver:

“It’s probably a good thing. I was so tired, and of course I was not in the habit anyway of remembering every minute where I had put down a child, and I think if it had not been stuck to me I might have lost it while I was messing with the car and moving stuff into the little end room of the Broken Arrow.” p. 22

Happy Tuesday everyone!

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The Other Queen review

April 20, 2009

From the Publisher:26708836

Two women competing for a man’s heart
Two queens fighting to the death for dominance
The untold story of Mary, Queen of Scots

This dazzling novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history’s most intriguing, romantic, and maddening heroines. Biographers often neglect the captive years of Mary, Queen of Scots, who trusted Queen Elizabeth’s promise of sanctuary when she fled from rebels in Scotland and then found herself imprisoned as the “guest” of George Talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick.

The newly married couple welcome the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving as her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Elizabethan court. To their horror, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against Elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

Philippa Gregory uses new research and her passion for historical accuracy to place a well-known heroine in a completely new tale full of suspense, passion, and political intrigue. For years, readers have clamored for Gregory to tell Mary’s story, and The Other Queen is the result of her determination to present a novel worthy of this extraordinary heroine.

Review and Grade: C

I wasn’t all that disappointed by this book, mostly because my expectations were not too too high. I enjoyed The Other Boleyn Girl but I didn’t love it the way most people seemed to. Even so, I couldn’t even manage to really enjoy The Other Queen like I wanted to. I felt like nothing was propelling the story forward. I was not particularly attached to any of the characters, the plot itself just wound in circles without clearly going anywhere and then instead of climaxing, it stopped abruptly. I wasn’t sucked into their world the way I was with The Other Boleyn Girl, which is incredibly important when writing historical fiction about famous people: we already know how it ends.
The great part of the book is that she gives a new perspective on these well-known historic characters, but I didn’t remember enough about Queen Mary and I knew nothing about Bess, so it didn’t have the same power for me. Philippa Gregory is a character author even more than she is a historical writer. The detail is incredible and it is evident she did her research. I even got the feeling that she enjoyed researching and writing this book, however, she didn’t manage to suck me in.
Even so, it was an easy read as long as I made myself keep going back to it. I could have finished it so much sooner if I hadn’t put it down because I didn’t go back once I did.
My advice is not to skip this book, but to review what history has said about Queen Mary, and even Bess, and I have a feeling that then the characters will really come to life.

Frugal Squoo Fridays

April 10, 2009

I’ve been struggling to find something I can talk about other than books. Certainly I have other interests and pasions, but not that I felt the desire to share on a weekly basis. I admit that my blogging has fallen to the wayside as I juggle the rest of my life, and guilt over not having read anything since my last post hasn’t helped motivate me. Today I realized that I have been reading of course, just different material. I’ve been reading about money, the economy, finances and budgeting. Thus Frugal Squoo Fridays was born. Every other Friday, I will post some of my favorite ways to save some money.

Now you may ask, what on earth is a squoo?? Squoo is a variant on the verb squeeze. My boyfriend (Big Ole Squoo) and I use squeeze to refer to a strong hug or a hand squeeze, etc. Any kind of affectionate grasp is a squeeze. A person who gives or receives such a squeeze, or squee as we ususally call it, is a squoo. Just saying the word is stress relieving. The more you sound like a five year old, the more effective it is. Try it, seriously. I’ve mentioned a bit about my own stresses and struggles, and Big Ole Squoo faces different but similar stresses. We do whatever we can to keep laughing and calling each other squoo and giving squees is one way to do that.

The first thing I’d like to share for Frugal Squoo Fridays is a wonderful place called Pad Mapper. Their slogan is “making apartment hunting suck less.” Pad Mapper takes all of the listings for apartments and houses on Craigslist.com and puts them into a map. You can search by place, size, and price and then see a visual representation of where each apartment is located.  For anyone looking for a place to live, this is an incredible tool. I love craigslist because it takes out the need for a middle man who gets a cut but it’s pure misery trying to sort through all of those listings. Pad Mapper takes out all of that misery and makes it so incredibly easy. I found seven apartments I had missed searching on my own, one that I’m going to see tonight.

Other craigslist search tools I’ve found are Search Tempest, and Housing Maps also let you search craiglist more efficiently than the site itself, but Pad Mapper gives you advanced search options that neither of these sites provide.

If you or anyone you know ever plan on moving, keep this site saved.

Old Maid?

April 3, 2009

birthday_candles1I’m not one to toot my own horn, but today is my birthday! I’m a whopping 22 years old. Now many of you will think thats young, but I feel old. I’m about to finish my educational career and start a real one. I’m at that sappy point where you realize that the way your life was set up for the past 16 years (revolving around school and friends) is about to fundamentally change (to revolve around work and family). I know growing up doesn’t happen over night, but graduation is still an exciting and scary time for many of us.

So as a break from the usual bookishness (my favorite word, in case you were wondering), what advice do you have for me as I become a “real person?” What do you wish someone had told you when you were graduating that you either learned the hard way or learned from others later?  What was graduation from college like for you?

Booking Through Thursday: Libraries

April 2, 2009

btt2How often do you use your public library and how do you use it? Has the coffeehouse/bookstore replaced the library? Did you go to the library as a child? Do you have any particular memories of the library? Do you like sleek, modern, active libraries or the older, darker, quiet, cozy libraries?

Sadly, I haven’t been to a library in years (gasp!). My school library is incredibly pathetic for such a grand university (please note the sarcasm) and gets over run during midterms and finals, so I tend to avoid it. Because of my obsessive need to keep books I love, I am mostly a bookstore kind of girl these days. Thank heaven for gift cards!

However, I wasn’t always like this. One of my most vivid childhood memories is of running into the town library during a unbearably muggy summer day. Where I grew up, it would get so hot and humid that you couldn’t tell if the moisture on your skin was sweat or condensation or both, but still most people didn’t have air conditioning. The library did though, so pushing through those double doors was like the doorway from hell into heaven. The library had a summer program each year that gave prizes based on the number of pages read.  Every year there was a different theme and as you reached a landmark, you got a prize and to add something to your little placard (read: index card). I loved the visual display of my reading success and most summers I had multiple entries completed.

My mom’s friendship with an older librarian was as an act of desperation more than amiability. Looking back now, I see myself is a rabid little monster, tearing into every book I could get my hands on with such voracity, no one would get their hands too close or risk getting bitten. The librarian, Mrs. Shoemaker (real name, I couldn’t make that up), took up my mother’s plight to keep fresh books in my grubby little hands and at least once a week, I would come in to find a stack of books waiting for me behind her desk. I would pile them into my arms, tottle over to the check out counter and struggle to push them all up into a counter significantly taller than I was. While the check out librarian was scanning each book in my stack and making small talk with my mother, I would escape and find a few more to add while my mom pretended to fight me on it. When it comes to asking for books, its incredibly hard to say no to a big-eyed, blonde-pigtailed girl and I knew it.

Trouble started when I finished the children’s section, the YA section and the teens section by the time I was 13. Around the same time, Mrs. Shoemaker retired and recommended the local bookstore owner, Patsy, to be my new source of recommendations. The fact that my brother would ONLY read shiny new books and that I had more or less polished off the appropriate books at the library ushered in the era of New Books Only, also known as, Should-Have-Bought-B&N-Stock. I’ve never been quite able to go back, but those library memories will always follow me fondly. I’ve still got that little book monster in me and libraries certainly unleash it.

girlThat being said, I’d like to mention one of  my favorite causes: childhood literacy. Obviously, most of our lives have been shaped by the availability of books, because we wouldn’t be readers without books. Clicking here will donate a book to underprivileged children across the country. That’s all you have to do. Just click and poof! a book is donated!  I make it a habit of clicking at least once daily, so please take the time to click here now. Thanks everyone!

Teaser Tuesdays

March 31, 2009

teasertuesdays2Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers! ;)

My teasers:

“She nods and puts her hand up to caress her pearls. She has a magnificent triple rope of black pearls, thick as a ruff, around her throat.” p. 21

-The Other Queen, Philippa Gregory

Weekly Geeks

March 29, 2009

wg_relaxing_thumb3This weeks Weekly Geek is all about building community, so even though I’m way behind in just about everything, I can’t pass up this chance.  Of course, this includes an assignment for you, my readers. Please take a few minutes to go through my archives, done easily enough using the Book Review link in my category cloud on the right. I’d love it if you would leave a link in the comments of any book you have reviewed on your own blog. I’ll go through and add the link to the body of the post in the coming weeks.

I’ve never made a habit of including other reviews in my own, but its something I’m making a concerted effort to do more of. I love this WG assignment, because its something I really want to be doing anyway, it just gives me more motivation to get going! I feel like a kid in school whose teacher just assigned their favorite book for homework!

So please, take a few minutes to see what reviews we have in common and give me the chance to send some blog love your way!