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Showing posts from 2017

Book Review: A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay (2016)

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Some books got it and some books ain't got it. A Portrait of Emily Price by Katherine Reay is the latter.

It felt like I started reading one novel and ended up finishing a completely different one. There was no cohesive whole, just bits and pieces that never matched up together. I was expecting a story of an art restorer and ended up in a whirlwind romance where the heroine (and you wouldn't believe how easy it is to forget her name is Emily despite the title because of how few characters actually use her name) falls in love with an Italian chef and in two weeks has given up her Americanized life and moved to Tuscany so he can help run his family's restaurant.

This one really disappointed me. I was hoping for something poignant and genuine like in Lizzy & Jane or for something magical and literary like in The Bronte Plot. Instead, I'm following a heroine who magically transforms her art from mediocre to magnificent simply by moving to Italy. None of it matched, an…

Mini Movie - The Perfect Bride (2017)

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Am I a romantic? Sometimes I wonder. I guess there are levels of romanticism in everyone, more in me that in some and less than what some of my friends possess.

But even I have to admit that Hallmark's The Perfect Bride is absolutely, well, perfect.

Especially if you happen to have a mild crush on Kavan Smith and think that Pascale Hutton is just about the cutest thing ever captured on film. Which I do. My friend's husband claims that a Hallmark movie is "good" when it doesn't end with a wedding. Well, this one ends at a wedding, but not necessarily with a wedding, if that makes any sense.

Bridal Bootcamp Instructor Girl meets adorable Wedding Photographer Boy, gets her crush going, has dreams shattered by discovering boy is actually engaged to another girl now attending her Bridal Bootcamp. Ohhhh, that angst.

What I love about Pascale is her ability to make you believe all the feels she's experiencing. Her character is a real sweetheart who refuses to do an…

CCLE - From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler by E. L. Konigsburg (1967)

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And so ends my classic children's books for the month of April. And by far, my top favorite read for this month is From the Mixed-up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler. This is another one of those books that was my sister's childhood favorite, but that I had never read, although I have seen both film versions, one starring Ingrid Bergman from 1973 and the other with Lauren Bacall from 1995.

But the book has a special magic to it. I can relate to a little girl who wants so desperately for her life to change, for her to be different, that she plans the perfect runaway scheme, taking with her only a musical instrument case full of clothes and her little brother who also happens to be the moneybags in the family. I remember a few times where I was so hungry to be understood and appreciated that I tried running away from home too. Although whereas I only made it a few blocks from home, Claudia and Jamie make it all the way into New York City where they proceed to make the Metropo…

CCLE - The Borrowers by Mary Norton (1952)

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The Borrowers by Mary Norton is my 3rd book for the Classic Children's Literature Event.

This one is actually a re-read; my childhood was peppered with a love of the Borrowers and then another group of tiny people called The Littles. But the Borrowers don't have tails like the Littles, so they are slightly different.

The Borrowers are Pod and Homily Clock and their daughter Arrietty and they happen to live underneath the kitchen floor of a rather old house owned by Aunt Sophy and run by Mrs. Driver the housekeeper and Crampfurl their man-of-all-work. The Clock's story is first told to a little girl named Kate by her aunt who happened to be the sister to a Boy who moved into the house unexpectedly. Naturally, any little boy who happens to move into a house with just adults is liable to be curious, and he stumbles quite by accident across the Clock family. Imagine meeting a family of tiny little people while you happen to be reclining in the garden?

There's a good chance…

CCLE - Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle by Betty MacDonald (1947)

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My sister read a ton of children's fiction growing up. She had diverse tastes (still does), and so her books were a little bit of everything, including the Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle series. I was pretty much a Hardy Boys kinda girl, so our tastes almost never crossed, but now that we're both adults, I'm actually trying some of her favorite books when she was a kid. Hence my rather odd choice of Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for this challenge.

I LOVED it. You have this dear older widow woman who befriends pretty much every child in her small town, invites them into her upside-down house (the chandeliers are on the floor, etc.) and just lets them play and be creative. Eventually word gets out that Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle knows children, so whenever children in the town start to rebel, inevitably the parents seek out Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle for her "cures." Like the little boy who doesn't like to clean his room; she just advises them to let the mess get so big that he can't get out o…

CCLE - Mary Poppins Comes Back by P.L. Travers (1935)

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It's that time again! Time for the Classic Children's Literature Event hosted by Amanda at Simpler Pastimes!

My first read of the event is Mary Poppins Comes Back by P. L. Travers, originally published in 1935. I never imagined myself attempting to reconnect with this character since I didn't much care for the first book in the series, not because of the author's writing style, but simply because Mary Poppins is not a likable character.

However, I did pick up Mary Poppins Come Back and did read it faithfully from start to finish. These books are written rather like Milne's Winnie-the-Pooh, in that each chapter is a separate vignette that eventually forms a clearer picture of the characters' lives and personalities. I'm still not entirely sold on the formatting, but it does hold its own form of enchantment for readers, like a collection of short stories all written about the same characters.

As for the book itself, Jane and Michael are the oldest children in th…

Taking a Break with Kong: Skull Island (2017)

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In a fit of the good old adventuresome spirit, I talked my sister into watching Kong: Skull Island with me today. Thank goodness it was still at the theater! I'd been trying to go for a viewing since it hit theaters last month, but life got seriously in the way.

Oh well, it turns out that today was a good day for a trip to the theater. And Kong: Skull Island was a PERFECT movie for my Jurassic Park-loving self.

The Good Bits
Tom Hiddleston - Does this really need explaining? I sure hope not. I even love listening to him swear in his British accent, and for the most part, he really didn't swear all that much. Just helped keep people alive, figured out that Kong might not be a mindless killing machine, and made googoo eyes at the cute Brie Larson. It's like the adorableness of Brendan Fraser making The Mummy movies just that much better!

NOT in the city - Does anybody else get tired of Kong being in the city, crunching buildings, climbing towers, and roaring? I was ready fo…

Classic Children's Literature Event & Other Musings

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Wow. It's been a long time since I've been active on this blog. Reasons? I'm afraid I got bored. Bored with the layouts, bored with reviewing books, just bored of the online blogging life in general, though not bored with my blogging friends, I promise.

A weird side effect of going to a writer's workshop is that I suddenly lost all desire to write. No doubt my lack of inspiration was born out of fear of inadequacy, something I've always struggled with where my writing is concerned, and I let that fear mandate my online life. Not that I was ever all the active on my blog; not when you can look at any number of book blogs and find them posting 4 reviews a day. As much as I would love being able to read that many books, my 40 hour a week job requests my presence. Alas, for all those poor, unread books!

But if there's one thing I know, it's that I have always enjoyed participating in Amanda's Classic Children's Literature Event. She used to host it in …

Book Review: Murder on the Moor by Julianna Deering (Drew Farthering #5)

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Published 2017, rated 5 stars
Julianna Deering is my new hero. She's a queen among women; wielding her pen with the efficiency of Aragorn and his sword Anduril.
Where do I even start with my praises of Murder on the Moor?!

Okay, first of all, great character development in this 5th book in her Drew Farthering series. Drew and Madeline have been married for almost 2 years now, still happy little newlyweds, but Drew undergoes a maturing of character that involves not letting past prejudices interfere with his perception of new people that he meets. He also realizes that sometimes, his wife is right. Big shocker, there. So I was very pleased to see them grow, both individually, and as a couple. As my mother put it (she read the book first), it's terrific to see Madeline be more self-assured and less "whiny." Her words, not mine.

As a huge Sherlockian, it delighted me to see a story that obviously founds its base in The Hound of the Baskervilles, but was also completely uniq…

Book Review: For Love and Honor by Jody Hedlund (An Uncertain Choice #3)

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I didn't think it possible. But I actually enjoyed For Love and Honor. Considering how much I detested, and yes I know it's a strong word but very true, the first two books in the series, I wasn't holding out much hope.

Lady Sabine is wealthy, considers herself plain, practical, and hides a skin blemish that could very easily get her accused of witchcraft. Sir Bennet is the younger son of a family whose eldest son suffered great personal loss and in his grief managed to gamble enough of the inheritance away as to threaten the livelihood of the castle they own. Sir Bennet must find money and fast, but refuses to sell the family's treasured artwork and artifacts. He's a bit of a history nut, and since I too live with one in the form of my sister, I get where he's coming from. Lady Sabine happens to be incredibly wealthy and is tricked into visiting Sir Bennet by her grandmother, a woman who is desperate for her grandchild to find love. While Sabine thinks she is…