- Fizzy Thoughts: June 2008

Another giveaway

Monday, June 30, 2008


It seems like every time I turn around (or read read someone's blog) I find another giveaway. This time, it's thekoolaidmom's turn. Her contest involves cold hard cash (well, a cold hard giftcard) and Dr. Seuss. What's not to love about that?

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The Sunday Salon: a trip to Icehotel

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Happy Sunday everyone.

Earlier today I finished The Reincarnationist. It was a good treadmill book. A little reminiscent of The Da Vinci Code (yes, I admit to reading it), but still entertaining. I had a few issues with it, but I'll save them for a later review.

I just started reading The Palace of the Snow Queen, by Barbara Sjoholm. This book has been sitting in the TBR pile for awhile, and after Octavian Nothing (which I found disappointing), followed by The Reincarnationist, I needed something different. I think this book is definitely unlike anything I've read recently. And not so recently. The author writes about her winter travels through Lapland. Brrrrrr. While I'm only on page 37, I'm enjoying it. Sjoholm starts her first trip to Lapland with a visit to Icehotel. (By the way, she doesn't stay at the hotel...she visits to watch it being built.)

Since the book has no pictures, I had to go and google Icehotel. Pretty, huh? Except a single night's stay costs a minimum of $500. Of course, snowsuit and mittens are included in that price. Because you have to get all bundled up to go to bed.


$500 to freeze my butt off?!?! No, thank you. This is one instance where I'm glad to be reading, not experiencing.

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the most awesomest book giveaway ever

Saturday, June 28, 2008


No, not here. Here. Seriously, if you want a chance to win a big box o' books, head on over to Trish's blog and sign yourself up.

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Book trailers gone wild

Friday, June 27, 2008

It seems like everyone's making book trailers these days. But have you seen the Queen of the Road's?

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Definition

Thursday, June 26, 2008

What, in your opinion, is the definition of a “reader.” A person who indiscriminately reads everything in sight? A person who reads BOOKS? A person who reads, period, no matter what it is? … Or, more specific? Like the specific person who’s reading something you wrote?

I call myself a reader because...

  • I love to read
  • I love to lose myself in the story
  • reading is my relaxation
  • I love to be entertained/distracted/amused/provoked by a book
  • I can spend hours at a time reading
  • I prefer to spend my free time reading
  • I read almost every day...there are days when I don't open a book, but those aren't good days. In fact, I get a little crabby if I'm reading deprived.
  • I find it very, very, very difficult to pass by a bookstore (okay, be within 5 miles of one) without going in, and then finding a book I can't live without. Not that that makes me a reader, but I understand it's a problem for many of us.

However, that doesn't mean that I...

  • hoard my books or line my walls with bookshelves
  • spend all my time talking about books (mostly because I'm lucky if I remember what I read last week)
  • read lit-ra-chur
  • look down on anyone for their reading choices

I know this wasn't supposed to be all about me, but it was the only way I could get the words flowing today. I really like this image. Except did you notice that all of the books are from the library? If that was me, those would all be books I just had to buy. And I'd probably be catching poison oak. Or I'd be the next one checking the books out from the library and I'd catch poison oak from the books. Me and the wilderness have issues. Yet another reason why I'm a reader.

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The Year of Disappearances

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

The Year of Disappearances
Susan Hubbard
May 2008
287 pages

The Year of Disappearances picks up where The Society of S left off. Ariella Montero, teenage vampire, is back in Homosassa, Florida with her mom. And just like the title implies, things start disappearing. Actually, not things. Bees. And people. Ari is only 14, but she’s an extremely mature 14. She applies to college, falls in love, deals with FBI without breaking a sweat (not that vampires sweat), and ponders the ethics and future of both vampires and humans.

I kept thinking these were young adult novels, but they’re not. In fact, one blurb I read classified it as horror. I’d say that’s a stretch. I think the vampires simply provide an avenue for Hubbard to discuss the future of the planet. Conservation, ecology and environmental issues are interwoven into the story, and the political message at the end is hard to miss. It makes for an interesting mix. Almost preachy, but not quite.

I have a few quibbles with the book. It still bothers me that Ari is only 14. I understand why she is so mature for her age, but she could have been a little older. At times it was flat out creepy to remember she’s only 14. Also, the rampant drug use was over the top. For half of the student body of a supposedly progressive college to suddenly succumb to drugs without the administration doing anything about it was a bit much. Granted, they could’ve been whacked out, too. But still.

Despite that, I’m still enjoying the series. Although I don’t know anyone else who has read the books. So I’m looking forward to reading bethany’s take.

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Queen of the Road

Monday, June 23, 2008


Queen of the Road
Doreen Orion
June 2008
304 pages

This is going down as one of my favorite books of the year. Why? Because it’s got travel, it’s got humor, and it’s got parentheses. Really, go check out that link…and make sure you read the comments, because Doreen stopped by. I feel so special.

I adore the style of this book (and I’m not just saying that because the author left a comment…really). It’s so casual, it’s like listening to Doreen tell stories of her year on the road. (And after reading the book I'm feeling okay with saying Doreen, as opposed to Ms. Orion...I really don't she'd mind.)

I’ve always loved the idea of road trips. Except I could never, ever, ever, picture us (as in Hamburger and Softdrink) on a bus traveling across the US. Because, you know, there’s no surf in Wyoming. Or Kansas. Or Tennessee. Let alone most of the other states. So I’d probably only get to see the states that bordered an ocean, and I’ve already been to most of those already. Plus, I don’t think I could bear to listen to Hamburger bitch about the price of gas. He already does that enough now.

So I’m glad I read this book, because then I got to live vicariously through Doreen, who took the mother of all road trips. Doreen, her husband Tim, Miles (their standard poodle), and Morty and Shula (the cats) piled into a giant Prevost bus and spent a year driving across the US. They even went up to Alaska. I’ve heard about the roads in Alaska, and that’s impressive. Along the way they encountered some strange and beautiful sites, but more importantly, they expanded their horizons. Tim managed to separate himself a bit from his Protestant work ethic, and Doreen became less of a reclusive shoe-addict.

If you do read this book, don’t forget to read the stuff at the end. Like the list of books they read during their year on the road (some good choices in there, by the way) and the list of some of the places they stopped at. Which included two restaurants in Morro Bay. Yo, Doreen? How come you didn’t mention my town anywhere else? We’ve got a big rock. And San Luis Obispo has Bubblegum Alley. Yeah, yeah, I know…you can’t include everything. But still.

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The Sunday Salon: Rosewater and Soda Bread

Sunday, June 22, 2008

It's getting late here in California. I kept delaying my post hoping that I'd have some brilliant reading session to talk about, but it never happened. I did go for a nice long walk though, to celebrate the fact that the weather is once again bearable. Just a side note to the weather god...100 plus degree weather in Morro Bay is unacceptable!

I did finish this book today:

Rosewater and Soda Bread
Marsha Mehran
2008
272 pages

This book is the sequel to Pomegranate Soup, which I read earlier this year. It picks up the stories of the residents of Ballinacrough, including the Aminpour sisters, Marjan, Bahar and Layla, as well as their elderly friend Estelle and the gossipy old biddy Dervla (who while incredibly narrow-minded (not to mention mean) at least provides some tension...too bad she disappears half way through the book). I enjoyed catching up with the characters, but I felt the story had no point. Oh sure, there's a bit of drama when Estelle finds a mysterious young woman on the beach, and the sister's are moving forward with their lives, but overall? No point. And Marjan's potential love interest came across as a wanker danker. And there were hints of yet another sequel. Gah.

It's ironic that during the first part of the book, when Dervla was making her appearances, I was so annoyed by her holier-than-thou attitude that I wished she wasn't in the book. But when looking back at the book, I'm asking for more Dervla.

The other book related happening in my day was that I joined BookMooch. I am really trying to work on cutting back on the number of books I buy. I have this whole instant book gratification thing working against me, though, so we'll see how it goes.

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I Capture the Castle

Saturday, June 21, 2008

I Capture the Castle
Dodie Smith
1948
352 pages

How did I never hear about this book until this year? Have I been living under a rock? Or has the book been hiding under a rock? Well, regardless of where we've both been, we managed to hook up last week. And it was love at first sight.

Oh wait, I know why I've never read this book. I usually read modern stuff, and this book has been around since 1948. For some reason, it was sitting on one of those Barnes and Nobles' display tables (once again, it just goes to show those things work after all). So thank you anonymous B&N person for choosing this book. I love you. I love the book, too. Although I'm not so fond of this particular cover...it looks like there is a giant sticky note plastered across the cover, and I'm pretty sure they didn't have sticky notes in 1948. Besides, someone saw the book and all they noticed was J.K. Rowling's name, so they thought I was reading a book by her. I wonder how many copies of the book sold for that reason?

The key to this book is the narrator, Cassandra Mortmain. Young Cassandra lives with her family in a crumbly house attached to an even crumblier castle, and she's a hoot (and I can't believe I just used that line, but it's appropriate, so I'm leaving it). I still can't get over the opening line, "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink." Cassandra has a great voice, and the book is Cassandra's journal..she records the tale of her family over the course of a year. And that's all I'm going to say about it, because I knew squat about the book when I started it, and I think it's a great book to know nothing about before diving into it.

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and the winners are...

Friday, June 20, 2008

I held another highly technical drawing this morning to determine the winners of the two book giveaways. I put every one's names into a little bucket that is my candy dish at work when there's candy in it (thank goodness it was empty) and then I shook it until one of the slips of paper jumped out. I was actually going to draw a name, but when as I was shaking the bucket, one of the slips of paper jumped out. I figured any scrap of paper with that kind of motivation, especially at 7:30 in the morning, deserved to win a book.

So for Woman in Red, the slip of paper that so desperately wanted the book was bethany. Nice jumping skills!

And for The Way Life Should Be, Care's slip of paper hopped out and then nicely perched on the edge of the bucket. It was quite the acrobatic move, Care. You would have been impressed.

Congratulations to the winners, and thanks to the rest of you for playing. Stay tuned...I have a few more books to off-load.

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Flavor

Thursday, June 19, 2008

Think about your favorite authors, your favorite books . . . what is it about them that makes you love them above all the other authors you’ve read? The stories? The characters? The way they appear to relish the taste of words on the tongue? The way they’re unafraid to show the nitty-gritty of life? How they sweep you off to a new, distant place? What is it about those books and authors that makes them resonate with you in ways that other, perfectly good books and authors do not?

I will always appreciate Christopher Moore for his bizarre sense of humor. And J.K. Rowling for her ability to create an alternate world that appealed to readers of all ages. And Lisa See for her knack with historical fiction.

However, I wouldn't necessarily name them as favorite authors. I generally don't have favorite authors, or even favorite books past what I've read in the course of a year. Mainly because my memory is crap and I just don't remember details. What I do like in a book is an ability to transport me into another world. This can be our world, or a vampire world, it can be the past or the present. Whatever or wherever it is, I want to be able to visualize what I'm reading...I want a book that draws me in and lets me imagine myself there. And this can happen for me in various ways...it can be the author's sense of humor, it can be their way with dialogue, it can be the characters or the story, it can even be my mood. I guess what I'm trying to say is, I really don't know. I've never identified a particular style or technique that draws me in...for me, a book's either got it or not.

And wasn't that a lame answer? On a more positive note, I'm giving away two books...go here and here for a chance to win. But you gotta do it soon...I'm drawing names Friday (that's tomorrow) morning.

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Woman in Red - another review, another giveaway

Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Eileen Goudge
May 2008
352 pages

I already bitched about the cover art here. Despite that, I really enjoyed this book. Although I was all prepared not to. In fact, I'm still not sure why I even bought it. Oh wait, it's because every time I went into Borders it was sitting on the display table. So thanks Borders-employee-in-charge-of-display-tables. Good choice. You really know how to suck me into buying a book.

The reason I kept not buying this book is because of the main character, Alice. Alice spent 9 years in jail for the attempted murder of the drunk driver who killed her son. I wasn't sure I wanted to read about an emotionally unstable, vindictive woman. But that's not the focus of the story. In fact, this book has a lot going on.

First, there are the characters. There's Alice, who is returning home from her time in jail, determined to rebuild her life and re-connect with her teenage son; Colin, a recovering alcoholic who returns to the island to claim an inheritance (a house left to him by his grandfather, the famous painter William McGinty); Jeremy, Alice's son, who is accused of rape; Owen, the drunk driver who is now mayor of the town; and Alice's sister, who has her own family and political issues keeping her busy.

There are also the characters from the past, for the book delves back in time to relate the story of the Woman in Red, one of William McGinty's more well-known paintings. The subject, Eleanor, was Alice's grandmother. The scenes from the past touch on World War II and the Japanese internment, as well as friendship, marriage, love and loyalty. I really enjoyed Eleanor's and William's stories. Without their stories interwoven into the book, I wouldn't have like the book as much as I did.

Then there is the setting. The book is set on an island off the coast of Washington. I love Washington. Especially if it involves small towns on islands and lots of trees...my kind of place. Just like with The Way Life Should Be, I was all set to move by the end of the book. Except I don't think the water is warm enough for Hamburger to surf up there. Curses, foiled again.

I can't talk too much about the stories (Alice's, Jeremy's, Colin's, William's, Eleanor's...) without giving it all away. Not that anything earth shaking happens, but it's interesting to watch the stories unfold, and see the characters develop. Honestly, I didn't have a lot of hope for any of them at the beginning of the book.

Once again, I'm giving this book away. It's currently sitting on the floor of the closet in our office (because I have no space on the bookshelves!), and that's no life for a book. So leave a comment, and just like with that other book I'm giving away, I'll draw a name on Friday.

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The Way Life Should Be - review and GIVEAWAY

Tuesday, June 17, 2008

The Way Life Should Be
Christina Baker Kline
August 2007
292 pages

Angela Russo is working as an events coordinator for a New York museum. Angela is a little bored with life, and after talking with her best friend, who claims to have found true love on the internet, Angela signs up with an online dating service. Suddenly, she's in a hot and heavy email relationship with MaineCatch. And then she's out of a job (thanks to an unfortunate incident with a fire-eater and a topiary) and headed to Maine to see if MaineCatch is the love of her life. I'm sure it comes as no surprise that he turns out to be just another bottom-feeder (hey, it's early...it's the only fishing analogy I could come up with).

Undeterred, and in love with the idea of living in Maine, Angela decides to stay on in Mount Desert Island. She finds a shack (literally) to live in, a job at a coffee shop, and new friends. And she begins to discover that she may be able to make a living (and a new life) doing what she loves (cooking). And wow, I may be setting new records with the parentheses today (and I have to add...I wrote the draft of this post, complete with excessive parentheses, before I read Queen of the Road...although after I read the book I decided I'm embracing my inner parenthesizer).

There's a bit more to the book than what I mentioned above, but not much. It's a simple story about rebuilding your life and integrating your heritage and what you love to do into your life. The back cover description led me to believe that the book starts in Maine, but it doesn't. The internet-dating portion of the book seemed to go on forever, although obviously it didn't. But I wasn't too keen on that first part of the book. However, I did like the rest of the story. It appeals to my desire to chuck it all and move to some small (okay, smaller - Morro Bay isn't exactly a thriving metropolis) town and start over. Of course, Maine is bitterly cold in winter and I turn blue, so there goes that dream.

So...you want? Leave a comment if you're interested in reading this book - tell me where you would move if you could pick up and go. I'll draw one lucky name on Friday morning.

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Stephenie Meyer contest over at Maw Books

Natasha, over at Maw Books, is having a contest. She's giving away five copies of The Host, as well as all of Stephenie Meyer's books to one lucky winner. Of course, everyone and their brother (as well as their sister and their neighbor, and probably the postman, too) has entered, but Natasha is giving you plenty of chances to win (which explains this post...it gets me an extra entry, which I'm gonna need, since I know you all will be clicking over there to enter...actually, who am I kidding, you're probably already gone).



I haven't read The Host yet. I'm too much of a scaredy-pants. I'm afraid I won't like it as much as the Twilight books. And okay, the concept kind of creeps me out. Along with the cover.

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Earrings

Monday, June 16, 2008



Okay, technically Anne guessed the correct number of earrings...yes, I wear six (6) earrings. Which according to Oprah magazine is trashy (and that pretty much cemented my further non-relationship with anything Oprah...first she chooses Eckhart, then she picks on my ears...hmmmph). Actually, any more than two (one in each ear) is trashy, so god only knows what I'm considered. Is there a scale of trashiness?

Girasoli actually came the closest to guessing the earring to ear ratio...she was right on with the 5 in the left ear, but missed it by one for the right (which only has one lonely piercing). But don't feel too sorry for her...she's off to Italy soon!

So, Anne...I'm guessing you want I Capture the Castle? Good thing you're in Canada, otherwise Lisa would be hunting you down. Although she needs another book like I need another hole in my, well, ear. Email me (fizzybeverage at gmail dot com) with your address and let me know if this is, indeed, the book you want.

And stay tuned for more book giveaways. I promise I won't make you guess how many tattoos I have. (None, by the way.)

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The remodeling work is complete...

...maybe. I keep finding colors I still need to fix, like the purple that's over there in the sidebar. Which will be changed in a few minutes, so don't bother to go looking. However, if you do find something that looks weird, please let me know.

So. I've got a new look. Of course, if you're in a feed reader, you have no clue what I'm talking about, but that's okay. Remodeling makes me happy, and it's all about me anyways.

However, I did change the name of the blog. For those of you have me listed as Blonde Momentos, I'm sorry. But I was trying to find a name that sort of matched the web address. Which hasn't changed, unfortunately. I'm still stuck with fizzybeverage. After a couple of years though, the name has grown on me. So if you're confused about who fizzy thoughts is, it's just me. Softdrink. Fizzybeverage. Jill. At this point, I'd probably answer to hey you.

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Under Construction - again

Sunday, June 15, 2008

Please ignore the jumbled template and mismatched colors.

I'm remodeling, but it's late and I need to go to bed.

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The Sunday Salon: On the Road Again

I've been craving travel books again, so I'm currently reading Queen of the Road, a hilarious tale of a couple who take a year off and travel across the US in their ginormous bus. With their two cats and a standard Poodle.


Part of the reason I love this book so much is the author uses more parentheses than I do. An example:

Of course, we also took the Jeep on several day trips throughout the region
for ice cream and wine tastings, passing waterfall after waterfall along the
way. (They don't say "Ithaca is gorges" for nuthin'.) When we
entered the neutral Zone in the town of Romulus (between Cayuga and Seneca
lakes), I couldn't help asking some of the natives if they called themselves
Romulans (as Tim pretended he didn't know me). It was as if I were the
alien. Next time, I'll wear my Spock ears, then maybe they'll understand
what I'm talking about.

Now I don't feel so bad about my overuse of parentheses (today is a tame day).

Anyhoosie...I'm really enjoying this book, because the author is so casual, and because she has a great sense of humor. I'm hoping to finish it this evening while the game is on. Go Celtics!

And if you haven't ventured a guess yet about how many earrings I wear, check out this post for a chance to win a book.

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What do earrings have in common with books, anyway?

Saturday, June 14, 2008

Obviously, I'm still in slacker mode. I even missed Booking through Thursday this week. But I have three books to talk about, and a whole mess of books to somehow give away, and an incredibly ridiculous line from the Monterey conference to discuss, so I've got no excuse for blogger's block (that would be my bloggie equivalent of writer's block). I know, you're probably just interested in the book giveaway, but guess what? You have to sit through all the reviews first, and no, I'm not going to post them all today. Hah! I have a bit of an evil streak, and I take full ownership of it.

But I'll tell you what...how about we have a little pre-giveaway giveaway? I currently have these books sitting around taking up space:

Three Junes

The Way Life Should Be

Woman in Red

C'est la vie

Ines of My Soul

I Capture the Castle

I will send the book of their choice from the above list (although the book may not be the exact version I linked to...some of the covers are different) to the first person who can correctly guess how many earrings I wear. Not pairs of earrings, but the total number of earrings I stuck in my ears. I'll even let you choose an extra book if you can tell me how many earrings go in the left ear, and how many in the right. Okay, it's a weird way to run a contest, but hey, I never claimed to be normal.

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Mrs. Lieutenant

Wednesday, June 11, 2008

Mrs. Lieutenant
Phyllis Zimbler Miller
April 2008
494 pages

This is the very first time I’ve written a review for a book that the author (hello Phyllis…and thank you!) actually sent to me. So, you know, my palms are a little sweaty. I think I have stage fright. I was going to be all formal, because I thought if someone actually went out of their way to send me their book, the least I could do was put some thought and structure into my review. But, seeing as how I’m the queen of informality, and this is my blog, why change now? And besides, I do put thought into my posts (really, I swear), it may just not always look like I do.

So I sat down with Mrs. Lieutenant late Saturday afternoon. This isn’t a book I would have chosen at the bookstore, because honestly, I’m not all that into the Army. And, I must confess I expected something different. For some reason I thought the men would all go to Vietnam in the course of the book. And I was prepared to bawl my eyes out about that. And then I was going to hunt down Lisa and blame my book-induced depression on her, because she gave my name to the author in the first place. But luckily, none of that had to happen. The book takes place entirely in the States, as the four husbands are in officer training at Fort Knox. And although everything isn't all happy-happy, no combat was waged in the pages of the book. So whew, that was a relief… because I really don’t like to read a book with one hand on the book and the other clutching a kleenex. And Hamburger looks at me funny when I cry over books.

I read this book straight through. I finished around midnight, somewhat delayed because I got distracted by a cute movie on tv about two brothers who play a game that turns into real life, complete with their house hurtling through space and getting attacked by lizard aliens. Seriously.


Sorry, where was I? Oh yeah…I read the book in one evening. Because I wanted to know what happened to all of the characters. Which was a surprise, since like I said, I wouldn’t normally pick up a book about Army life, especially Army life during the Vietnam War. I took a history class in college called military strategy (I needed a class in my major, and I was low priority that quarter), and I swear that class was so deadly boring it put me off reading anything that faintly touches on war forever. Luckily, war is not what this book is all about (although each chapter begins with a blurb about what was going with the war at that time).

Mrs. Lieutenant is a story of four women, all married to Army officers during the Vietnam War. Sharon is Jewish, and from the North. Donna is Puerto Rican, and grew up as an Army brat, but the transition from enlisted to officer family is baffling for her. Wendy is a black Southerner, the beloved sheltered child of a physician. Kim is from the South, too, but she’s white and uncomfortable with everyone else, because they’re not white Southerners. These four women, from very different backgrounds and bringing with them very different life experiences, arrive at Fort Knox and find themselves feeling their way through their initiation into Army life together. They are forced to step outside of their comfort zones and interact with people they would never have chosen to befriend. I really enjoyed getting to know all four women and the glimpse into what seems like the highly dictated life of an officer’s wife.

Phyllis Zimbler Miller was a Mrs. Lieutenant and her book reads almost like a diary. I have a sneaking suspicion that she drew heavily on her own experiences as an Army wife for many of the scenes in the book. Which makes me wonder why the choice of a fiction novel that reads like non-fiction, as opposed to a straight memoir? Did the author want the freedom to show the lives of other women? I felt like the author was more connected to Sharon than the other women…she had a bit more depth than the other characters. I also have a sneaking suspicion that there may be more books about Sharon’s experiences as an Army wife, since the cover states that this is a Sharon Gold novel.

So thanks again to Phyllis Zimbler Miller for sending me her book. I enjoyed reading it and stepping out of my own comfort zone to read a book I normally wouldn't have looked twice at.

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Slacker

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

No, not you. Me. I'm a slacker. I read three books this weekend and have I posted a single review? Nope. I have one half written. Am I working on it? Nope. Instead, I'm sitting here in a hotel room in Monterey (work conference...again), clicking refresh to see if the Lakers have lost yet (no such luck...and no, I'm not watching the game on tv, because I'm not at home, and when I'm not at home I like to live without the tv as a constant presence, because Hamburger is addicted to the damn thing), reading blogs, playing spider solitaire, and generally being a hermit. Because, you know, I'm in Monterey...I could be out at Cannery Row, or Fisherman's Wharf. But I'm not. I'm hanging out in a hotel room where the drapes match the bedspread. Honestly, how scary is that?

However, on the bright side, I started I Capture the Castle today. I absolutely love the first sentence, "I write this sitting in the kitchen sink."

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The Sunday Salon

Sunday, June 08, 2008

In the last 24 hours I have read three books. I haven't done that in ages, and it's a wonderful feeling to know that I spent my day reading.

So what have I been reading? Well, last night I stayed up late and finished Mrs. Lieutenant, a book that the author herself sent me. Which means I'll actually be writing a thoughtful review later this week. As opposed to my normal half-assed efforts. Then, this morning and early afternoon I spent time with The Way Life Should Be, a book that takes its title from Maine's state motto. The book starts in New York, moves to New Jersey, then migrates to a remote Maine island. Then I moved on to Woman in Red, which is set on a remote Washington island. It was a total fluke that I picked books set on islands, but I happen to like islands, and both books made me long for small-town life. Not that Morro Bay is a thriving metropolis.

Back when I bought the books, I liked the covers of The Way Life Should Be and Woman in Red. However, after reading them, I have to say, for me neither book fits its cover.

In The Way Life Should Be, the main character Angela arrives in Maine right before winter hits, and nowhere in the book does it mention her frolicking on the beach in a skirt. Trudging down to the beach in her pajamas and a down coat with her dog, yes. Skirt, no.

Then there's Woman in Red, which is the title of a painting that is an important part of the story. The painting is of a barefoot woman in a red dress. Not some elusive figure in a red cape. Not even a red sheet. I can see how the color red figures in to the story, but I don't think this cover image works:


So yes, I'm a little picky about my covers. Not that I require the covers to feature a scene from the book, but if there is figure on the cover, I do expect it to illustrate something from the book. The Way Life Should Be gets points for the beach and sort of conveying the tone of the book, but I don't think I'll ever reconcile the cover of Woman in Red with the story told within.

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The Society of S

Friday, June 06, 2008


The Society of S
Susan Hubbard
May 2007
304 pages

As previously mentioned, I picked this book up last weekend because I left my book at home and I needed something to read (fellow readers can relate, right?). Since I’m currently jonesing for the next Twilight book, I thought The Society of S might help.

Briefly put, this is a vampire coming-of-age novel. Ariella Montero lives with her father; her mother mysteriously disappeared after she was born. Ari lives a sheltered life. Her father home schools her, the housekeeper, Mrs. G., cooks (somewhat badly) all of her meals and buys all of her clothes. She has no friends and spends her days with Mrs. G. and her father. However, once she hits her teenage years, Ari begins to question her life. She starts to hang out with Mrs. G.’s family, especially Kathleen. She ventures out and expands her horizons. And she begins to question her reclusive father about what they really are.

When Ari finally discovers the truth (yes, she’s a vampire, and no I didn’t just blow the whole story by divulging that) she takes off to find her mother. She spends months on the road, eventually landing in Florida at her mother’s house. Ari is only 13, and the whole road trip experience combined with a charmed reunion with mom seems a bit far-fetched. But then this is a vampire tale, so I guess I shouldn’t quibble about things that don’t ring true.

Anyways…I enjoyed this book (more than my recent foray into fairy land, but still not as much as Twilight). I read it in a day, so it’s not that complicated. Ari, despite being remarkably mature, is a great character, and it was fun to spend time with her. And surprise-surprise, there’s a sequel, The Year of Disappearances. Because, you know, vampire stories are the hot thing right now. And okay, I’ll confess - I ordered The Year of Disappearances this morning.

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Screamy memey

Wednesday, June 04, 2008

I lifted this meme from girasoli's blog, shave ice and gelato. And since I haven't posted anything in a few days, I decided to "give it a go," as she suggested. Plus, Valerie's post title was too cool to pass up.

1. Last movie you saw in a theater? Indiana Jones and the something or another of the Crystal Skull. It was a fun movie, even if I can't remember the name.

2. What book are you reading? Either The Way Life Should Be or Mrs. Lieutenant...I haven't started either one yet.

3. Favorite board game? Scrabble, although we've been on a Monopoly kick the last few weeks.

4. Favorite magazine? I used to love National Geographic, but not so much anymore, because it's less about the history of places, and more about ecology and sciencey stuff and pictures of bugs, and I find sciencey stuff boring and bugs just plain nasty.

5. Favorite smells? Chocolate chip cookies in the oven, Starbucks, and freshly mown (or is it mowed?) grass.

6. Favorite sounds? Rain, if I'm at home with nowhere I need to be. Hamburger, when he comes home and says "Softdrink!"

7. Worst feeling in the world? Knowing someone is dying.

8. What is the first thing you think of when you wake up? Can I go back to sleep?

9. Favorite fast food place? In 'n Out Burger, but only occasionally.

10. Future child’s name? Not gonna happen, so there's no need to think of a name.

11. Finish this statement. “If I had lots of money I’d….?" ...pay off the house, quit my job and take off travelling.

12. Do you sleep with a stuffed animal? No, but Elmo hangs out in a chair across the living room.

13. Storms - cool or scary? Cool, unless it gets so windy the windows rattle.

14. Favorite drink? Lately, it's been green tea lattes.

15. Finish this statement, “If I had the time I would….”? I have time, I just spend it all reading or on the computer.

16. Do you eat the stems on broccoli? If they're there. I cut most of the stem off.

17. If you could dye your hair any color, what would be your choice? I went red for a year or so, and I loved it, but it fades, so I'm back to dyeing it blonde, because I'm too young to be gray.

18. Name all the different cities/towns you’ve lived in? Maywood, Dufur, Friend (for reals), Boyd, Morro Bay, Los Osos, San Luis Obispo, London

19. Favorite sports to watch? Football

20. One nice thing about the person who sent this to you? Don't you mean stole this from? I like the diversity of girasoli's blog, because she writes about the Red Sox and Hawaii and icky bugs (and her posts are much better than National Geo), and we have fun conversations in her comments section.

21. What’s under your bed? The floor, because we have no bedframe.

22. Would you like to be born as yourself again? Sure, but I'd choose a different major in college.

23. Morning person, or night owl? Neither. I'm a 10-2 person.

24. Over easy, or sunny side up? Gross. Omelette, please, with lots of stuff in it.

25. Favorite place to relax? In my comfy chair, with a book.

26. Favorite pie? Peach. A la mode.

27. Favorite ice cream flavor? Chocolate, with swirls of fudge, and caramel, or maybe peanut butter cups, or oreos, or M&Ms...once again, I like stuff.

28. Of all the people you tagged this to, who’s most likely to respond first? I'm not tagging, so it'll be whoever is looking for a topic.

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The Sunday Salon

Sunday, June 01, 2008

Unfortunately, today won't be much of a reading day. It's Hamburger's birthday, and while normally we'd celebrate by doing nothing because we're all about low-key weekends, we seem to have been roped into going over to his dad's house for a BBQ. But I got plenty of reading in yesterday.

My plans for yesterday included going into San Luis Obispo to run errands. This isn't so bad, because the weather in San Luis is generally nicer than Morro Bay, so I get to enjoy the sunshine. And the so-called errands included a pedicure (reading time) and getting my car washed (because why wash your car in the fog of Morro Bay when you can read in the sun while someone else washes it for you?). However, I was in my car on the way to San Luis when I realized I had left my book at home. I had planned to start The Way Life Should Be.

And darn it, I was looking forward to be spending some quality time with this book. Oh well...one of my errands was a stop at Barnes and Noble to pick up this book for Hamburger:

Hamburger isn't much of a reader, but he does love his motorcycles.

I figured since I had to go to Barnes and Noble, I could find something to read, even though I have way to many books at home needing to be read. So for once, I wasn't looking forward to finding a book to read, if you can believe that. I limited myself to looking at the new paperbacks table and found The Society of S, a vampire coming of age novel.

It turned out to be a good book. I read half of it while doing those so-called errands, and the other half last night. And when I got to the end I discovered there's a sequel, The Year of Disappearances. Darnit. Now I want to go to the bookstore and buy a book.

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In a real sense, people who have read good literature have lived more than people who cannot or will not read. It is not true that we have only one life to live; if we can read, we can live as many more lives and as many kinds of lives as we wish. ~S.I. Hayakawa

The World is a book, and those who do not travel read only a page.
~St. Augustine

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry, and narrow-mindedness.
~Mark Twain

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