Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Get Jealous

"Aren't all your blog readers jealous of all the food I cook for you?" The boy asked me recently. Guiltily I told him that food blogging had taken somewhat of a backseat lately to book blogging. But since I've now made you all curious here are some of the boy's recent creations.
Meatball Grinder
Meatball Grinders.
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Stuffed Pork Tenderloin
Pork tenderloin stuffed with rice, spinach, and goat cheese. Isn't it pretty?
Homemade Hummus
Bell Peppers & Hummus
Homemade Hummus.

There was also fried mozzarella in there, and I'm sure one or two meals I've missed. So let's build up his ego and let me know if you're jealous!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 7

Day 07 – Most underrated book
I'm not sure this book actually qualifies as underrated. After all if spent several weeks on the bestsellers list. But I think in comparison to the author's other books, it is almost never talked about. The book in question...
The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Twilight is obviously everywhere, but while I think people have her of Stephanie Meyer's other book, to me it seems rare that people have actually. I posted a review about 2 years ago after the second time I read it. While I don't think I've read it a third time yet, I love it just the same.

If you hated Twilight (or even if you loved it), I really think you should give this one a chance. In my opinion, while I loved Twilight, I think this is so much better. I did hear they recently signed a movie deal for it, so I'm hoping as the movie gets closer this one gets on more people's radar.

Have you read The Host? Were you a fan? And what do you consider to be the most underrated book?

Monday, August 29, 2011


One Day
I love the book back when I read it, and since then I've been looking forward to seeing the movie. Knowing the way the book is written I wasn't sure how well it would translate to film, but I was more than willing to see them try. And as for the verdict, well I'm not too sure.

I did enjoy the movie and I'm glad I saw it. But if I hadn't read the book I'm not sure I would have really gotten into it. The ending is as heartbreaking and tragic as I was expecting it to be. I held back tears through a good part of the end.

I thought Jim Sturgess was great in the film. But I'm not sure why everyone was so against Anne Hathaway. I'm not sure she was the perfect fit for the role, but I'm not sure who would have done better. Overall I'd saw this was definitely an occasion where the book was better than the movie. But I'm still glad I got to see the movie on the big screen.

This of was a bit of an opposite experience, where I wasn't quite looking forward to seeing it. But surprisingly it really wasn't that bad. There is a bit of a novel story in this one that I was a fan of. And you can't help but feel for Catalaya throughout the movie. Not one that I'd need to see again, but if I had to, I would be willing to sit through it for a second viewing.

Saturday, August 27, 2011

In My Mailbox (20)

It's Sunday, which means I'm again linking up the The Story Siren's in my mailbox!

Once again I hit up the Borders closing sale. The selection is starting to thin out, but if you're not completely picky about what you want great deals are easy to find. I have been completely taking advantage and stocking up, and I've told myself once the store if officially closed I'm on a book buying ban, but untill then...
In My Mailbox
William and Kate by Christopher Andersen
I've been wanting to find a good Will & Kate book for a while now. This one of the most "novel-y" one I found, plus it still has cute color pictures instead.

It's a Book by Lane Smith
I don't normally, fine never would be the better description, buy children's books. But I've had my eye on this one for a while now. It's written by one of my favorite childhood authors (he worked on both The Stinky Cheese Man and Math Curse along with Jon Scieszka for those in the now.) And in my opinion this book pretty much illustrates the reason for Borders' fail. To quote the back cover, "Can it text? Blog? Scroll? Wi-Fi? Tweet? No... it's a book."

The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman
I picked this book up on a whim, and reall it's $2.50 price. (50% off the clearance price) I think it looks like a cute book to read around holiday time. Plus it has cookie recipes inside. What I find interesting, is that there'a a Target sticker on the cover. I'm not quite sure how a book from Target is now at Borders, but if anyone has some insight of the book industry to explain this I'd love to hear!

Sweet Little Lies by Lauren Conrad
I've been wanting to read the sequal to L.A. Candy for a while now, and at $2.00 it's well worth the price.

Mrs. Astor Regrets by Meryl Gordon
This is another one that I might not have normally picked up, but at the price, it's more than worth it. It's a biography of Brooke Astor, who I have read about in the news, but besides that know little about.

Borrowed from a Friend
Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
I really enjoyed Jen Lancster's first three memiors, and I'm excited to finally read this one. It's been about a year since I last read her, but I'm expecting this to be another laugh-out-loud adventures.

So that's it for me this week! What do you have in your mailbox today?

From OH to SC

Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
I heard great things about this one before I started it, and was really looking forward to reading it. Unfortunately I think my expectations might have been a little too high with this, and the story didn't quite meet them.

Cecelia Rose (or CeeCee) Honeycutt grows up in Ohio in the 1960s. Except when her crazy mother and truck-driving father can no longer care for her, she goes to live with her great-aunt in South Carolina. CeeCee is scared that her future is set, and there's no way she or anyone else can change it. But Savannah and its people have their own opinion and slowly she starts to heal.

I'm not sure why I didn't fall in love with this book. I wanted to, but it just didn't work for me. That not to say I disliked it, but I can't quite rave about it either. I did enjoy reading it, but it just didn't seem to draw me in.

I think one aspect that confused me, and made it difficult to really get lost inside, was that throughout the first chapters I assumed CeeCee was African-American. I'm not sure why I drew that conclusion, and it most situations it wouldn't really matter. Except the book does take place in the South in the 1960s, and race it a subplot throughout. Once I realized that CeeCee was in fact white, it was hard for me to picture her. Whenever I started visualizing CeeCee throughout the novel I almost had to stop myself, and by the end still couldn't seem to form an accurate picture of her in my mind.

I feel almost guilty for not enjoying the book more. As if I've missed out on party that everyone else is at. But I guess what I want to leave you with is that even though this novel didn't quite work for me, if you read it there's a great chance you'll be one of the people that falls in love with CeeCee and her world.


Friday, August 26, 2011

My Zombie Boyfriend

Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
Going into this I wasn't really sure what to expect. It seems like everyone has their own copy of it to read, and with such a big marketing push I was a little weary that there was a bad reason behind it. And then there's the fact it's a zombie books, which turns me off a little, and is part of the reason I've never read a zombie book. But I'm glad I gave it chance, because I wound up being really pleasantly surprised.

The books starts almost in the middle of the story and Wren has already brought her boyfriend back from the dead. I think that worked for the story, because if I had to read the choices Wren made to get to the place where she made that decision it would may have been difficult to understand. Instead we're with Wren as she's having to deal with the consequences of her decision, how to keep her zombie boyfriend hidden from her mom, her sister, and all her friends. It's almost heartbreaking reading just how lost Wren feels in this mess and how she doesn't seem to have anyone to turn to.

I think my biggest frustration with this book, was Wren's unwillingness to open up to her mom. I understand that it's a YA book and that as a teenager there's stuff you don't want to tell your parents. I also get that there's no guarantee that Wren's mom could have helped. But Wren just seemed so lost and confused throughout the book, that I was dying for her to be able to confess to her mom, to hopefully get at least a little comfort or even a little guidance.

While the book is a zombie book, it doesn't really feel like one. So much of the book is Wren dealing with her feelings of loss from the death of her boyfriend in a car crash. And I'm sure anyone going through that situation would wonder, what if I could bring him back? Wren has that ability (although the reasons behind that ability remain much of a mystery even through the books end), and is able to do so without really thinking about the consequences, which again is part of normal teenage behavior. You can't help but feel for Wren throughout the book, and even if the zombie aspect turns you off, I think it's one that you definitely take a chance on.


Disclosure: I was provided this book through a Goodreads First Reads giveaway. All opinions expressed are my own.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 6

Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Alex The Life of a Child By Frank Deford
I actually stumbled on this book for the first time in middle school, or it even might have been elementary school. I spent the night at a friend's house, and she lent me this book. "It's so sad," she told me, "It's about a little girl who dies of claustrophobia." Which was a disease we had at least heard about. In reality, Alex suffered Cystic Fibrosis, but we couldn't quite sound out. I borrowed the book from her and read it a little in disbelief.

And no, I never gave the book back. She was more of a family acquaintance and after spending the day at the pool together I went back to her house for a sleepover, the one and only time I was ever there. I ran into her years later, and let her know I still had the book. Turns out she had never read it, while through the years I read it over and over.

Alex Deford was born in 1971. When she was only a few years old she was diagnosed with CF, which at that time was practically a death sentance. (When Alex was born life expentency for a baby born with CF was only around 10 years; now it's closer to 40.) What got me while reading this book was that Alex was barely younger than me when she died. I couldn't believe that I was reading about the life of a little girl, who died 4 years before I was even born. It was one of the first books I remember reading that really made me cry.

I haven't actually reread this book since college, but I have a feeling if I read it now it would hit me differently. Previously I saw much of the book through the eyes of Alex. But if I read it now, I'm sure the perspecive that would hit me the most be the author's, who in fact is Alex's father. And I can't imagine what it would be like to ever have to bury a child.

It's not an easy book to get through, but I wholeheartedly recomend it if you're up for it.

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

I'm at Table Number What?

I realize this is outside of the Louisiana norm for weddings but I'm planning on assigning tables for the reception. If you don't believe me, take it from the owner of our venue who told me, "I should have known you were from California considering you wanted a seated buffet." But one of the reasons I'm looking forward to table assigned table is to be able to name them.

There's all type of creative ideas for table names, places you've been as a couple, favorite books, types of herbs, but I'm planning on doing actual numbers! For a bit of background the boy and I met in a Combinatorics class. I have my masters in math and the boy is currently working on his Phd. So when I say numbers, I don't mean numbers like 1,2,3. Instead I mean numbers like π or e. Here's some of the number I'd love to use, and a brief description of what it means.
Just and average day in Math 347
This is the board from one of my classes senior year of college to give you an idea of the numbers we actually used.
φ - Phi - Known as the golden ratio, which is related to the Fibonacci Sequence
i - as in the imaginary numbers, by definition √-1
ε - Epsilon - Basically used as a small area of measure. So often in proof you'll want to proof something when epsilon is greater than zero, which basically means something that exists in very small terms.
λ - Lambda - This is more chemistry than math, but it's used to designate wavelength.
∞ - Infinity - Technically not a number in mathematical theory, but more for the idea that something is infinite.
0 - Aleph Naught - First I love this one because it's actually a Hebrew letter instead of a Greek letter. To try to explain this concept as simple as possible, this symbol represents the number of integers that exist.

I could probably come up with a few more, but it at least gives you an idea of where I'm going. Although honestly I'm not sure how many more we could actually come up with that would work. I thinking maybe along with the numbers we could do mathematical theory, or maybe even famous mathematicians, but for now I think it's a start.

Did you do anything clever for your table numbers? And if you're more math-y, any ideas of other "Famous Numbers" we could use?

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 5

Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Is it crazy that this is the one that took my forever to decide on? It was easy to come up with a book that makes me sad (Day 6, coming soon!), but one that made me happy was elusive. Isn't that kind of crazy? I enjoy reading, and so I would make sense that all books make me happy. But as for finding the one. That was hard. So what did I go with...
Always the Bridesmaid by Whitney Lyles
It's been about 3 years since I read this, but even so it's one that sticks with me. The title itself could be thought of as a bit of a downer, except when you realize the sequel is Here Comes the Bride. It is at its essence the perfect chick-lit book. It's funny, and it's sappy, and it's just a cute book. No it isn't anything literally, and obviously it's predictable, but still it's a fun happy book to read.

I've actually never reread this book, or its sequels, since I first read them. But writing this definitely makes me want to take a cozy Sunday afternoon to reread them. Please since I'm planning my wedding now, it could be counted as research!

Do you have any books that make you happy? Or did you have a hard time coming up with one, like I did?

Monday, August 22, 2011

Monday Movie Review

Conan the Barbarian
In case you were unsure, the movie was the boy's choice. Except as we left the theater, the boy paused in front of a poster for 30 Minutes or Less, "Why didn't you tell me this movie was out? I would have rather seen this than Conan." Oh, well... too little too late, right? But onto the review.

It actually wasn't that bad. Or at least not as bad as I was dreaded. I actually rather like Jason Momoa as the lead. It didn't help that he was nice to look at too! Rose McGowen came off really creepy as the evil sorceress, in a role that fit her quite well. As for the movie itself? Well it's a ton of gore (I can't even count the number of decapitated heads throughout), a ton of nudity (don't you love it when "Topless Wenches" are listed in the credits), and even a sex scene or two. So pretty much the perfect movie for a teenage boy. Unfortunately, I am not a teenage boy. But even so, the movie could have been worse. And no we did not pay for the 3-D on this one, just in case you were curious.

Saturday, August 20, 2011

In My Mailbox (19)

Another Sunday, another edition of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, so let's get started, shall we?
In My Mailbox
From Goodreads
Cold Kiss by Amy Garvey
I've been seeing this one all over IMM posts, but I don't believe I've read a review yet. The back story on this is the Wren brings he boyfriend back from the dead, except he isn't the same person. (That's actually how the books opens, so I'm not even giving anything away!) Except now that Wren has brought back this half alive/half dead person she isn't really sure what to do with him. I'm already a few chapters into this one, and so far it's awfully heartbreaking.

The Smartest Woman I Know by Irene Beckerman
I wasn't sure what I was going to think about this one, but now that it's here it looks so cute! It's basically a memoir about the author's relationship with her Jewish grandmother. I'm pretty sure I didn't realize there was a Jewish aspect going on when I asked to read this book, but knowing there is only makes me more excited. Flipping through the books it's full of cute little doodles, like someone journal or even a lot of children's books. But the author herself is in her 60's so I can't imagine it's actually targeted to children. It is a short book, so I have a feeling I'll get through it in about a day, but I'm excited to really discover what it's all about!

Not too big of a haul, but still books I'm excited to read! What did you find in your mailbox this week?

The Tea Rose Trilogy Book 3

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
If there ever was a book where I wished I could read faster because I had to know how things would end up this was it. I been waiting to read this book since I finished the book about 2 years ago. And the last one was actually published back in 2006, so as long as I feel like I've waited there are others who've been waiting quite a bit longer.

This book fallows the same basic formula as the first two, in that it tells the love story of one of the Finnegan children. Being the third book, it's the story of Seamus the third sibling in the family. The story picks up a few years after The Winter Rose, which means not only do we find out what Seamus is doing we get to check in with the rest of the family. I loved being able to check in with Fiona and see how her children turned out and how her life continues, as well as the rest of the family. Since the books as a whole take place over so many years, we really see the entire extended family grow up throughout all 3 books.

But some of the similarities to the first books are also its weakness. While it is in essence a new story so much of it feels to be the same basic plot line. Each one has a big mystery throughout. Each one is full of missed connections and misunderstands between characters that make you want to throw up your hands in frustrations. Each one manages to have all the seemingly unrelated plots coincidentally wind up wrapped up in each other by the end. And each one, by the end, is impossible to be put down. So it could be a feeling of "if it's not broke, don't fix it," but at times it felt a little too much like reading the same basic formula of a group.

One thing I loved was learning about the Middle East and Lawrence of Arabia in the WWI-era. Honestly while I knew who Lawrence of Arabia was, I really had no idea what he did or even when he lived. The scenes with him definitely brought me back to my time in Israel, and made me want to learn more about the Middle East in this time period.

Basically in case you couldn't tell, even with it's lows, I loved the book. I loved the series as a whole, and while the 2nd was previously my favorite, now I'm not so sure. I think part of it is that The Wild Rose is fresher in my mind, but I would love to reread the whole series now back to back so I can relive it all, and official choose my favorite. Basically, what I'm saying if that if you haven't picked up these books, you need to, and I think you'll be in for a treat!


Friday, August 19, 2011

The True Story?

O, Juliet by Robin Maxwell
I've read Robin Maxwell's books before and enjoyed them each time. (I think the first of hers I read was To the Tower Born right after college graduation.) But I actually picked this one up based on only the title and summary, it was only after I purchased it that I realized who the author was.

In case you couldn't guess from the title of this, it's a historical retelling of Romeo & Juliet. It takes place in 15th century Italy and almost reads as if it is the true story behind the play. While Romeo & Juliet and their associated families aren't actually historical, the other characters like the Medici's are in fact based on actual people. I think it's an interesting version of what could have potentially been the truth, although as the author explains in her note, there are version of the love story that predate this period.

I loved reading how various scenes from the play were reinterpreted her. Except of course I read the whole time dreading the ending. I knew what to expect, yet I was hoping they would be saved, maybe they could escape and fool everyone into thinking they were dead. It's not like the ending hasn't been reinterpreted before, haven't you seen West Side Story?

But I am glad I picked this one up. While I have read most of Maxwell's books at this point there are still one or two that I've love to read. (Signora da Vinci probably being at the top of the list!)


Thursday, August 18, 2011

Blast from the Past

The past weekend we spend house-sitting at the boy's parents'. Which means with this weekend and the one before with my BFF, my google reader is out of control. I'm doing my best to get it down from 500 unread but so far am failing. I've decided not to let myself hit "Read All," which means that if you get a comment from me one a post that's over a month or so old, just be glad I finally read it!

Anyways, what was a doing this past weekend if I wasn't internet-ing? Working on a project for the wedding of course. I really love the idea of scrapbook/guestbook so spent most of the weekend scanning the boy's childhood photos. I am planning on saving most of these as a surprise to use at the wedding, and as you might imagine he's not to happy with the idea of me sharing a picture of him actually smiling, but I can't help but share one!
Seriously, how cute is this picture of the boy in a Christmas stocking at only a day or so old? And the green pillow to match? I love it!

And instead of asking the more obvious questions like "what are you doing for a guestbook?", or "how did you incorporate your childhood photos?", how about "how often do you hit "read all" on your reader?"

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 4

Day 04 – Favourite book of your favourite series
Last week I let you know that The Betsy-Tacy Series is my favorite, as to my favorite book in the series it has to be...
Betsy and Joe
This is the 8th book in the series, which I think could be unexpected since so often the 1st few are the most memorable. This isn't the cover I read growing up, in fact I can't seem to find a picture of that cover anywhere online. But I figured if I couldn't use my cover I would use a vintage-y one.

And as for why it's my favorite, I think a lot of it is that it's the most romantic of the series. I mean just look and the name? But it's not overly sappy and doesn't come off as cliched. Plus this is also Betsy's senior year of high school, and I think it so much fun to read about all our standard high school traditions (prom, school pranks, parties, dating, and even somewhat of a high school musical) but the way they occurred in the early 1900s. Honestly you forget that these books don't take place in the present, and they don't really read as historical fiction because so much of high school is still the same that's it's so easy to relate to.

This isn't the last of the series, although I think it was initially written to be. In fact, after this book chronologically the next is Carney's House Party instead of Betsy and the Great World. Although back when I first read them Carney (as well as Emily of Deep Valley and Winona's Pony Cart) were out of print, so I went right to the next with from Betsy's point of view. But I do think that the way it ended, and knowing Carney was written next, Maude would have been more than happy to have this be the end to the series. Although I'm happy to say it's not and we were able to journey with Betsy a little longer.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

Playing the Hostess

Last weekend My BFF/MOH/godsister came down to visit. It was her first time in Louisiana so I did my best to be a good hostess and make sure she got experience some of the best parts or at least my favorites of the state!
First we stopped for lunch, or more like brunch from my selections, in the French Quarter. This was actually my second time stumbling on this place, although honestly I have no idea of the actual name. And don't you just love the little clover on the waffle?
After lunch we stopped for a hurricane at Pat O'Briens.
Saturday, back in the B.R., we stopped at Coffee Call for beignets, and then went to visit Mike the Tiger at LSU.
Mike The Tiger
Yes an actual tiger on campus, but we posed with a statue together too.
That night we had dinner at Boutin's where she was able to have her first experience with Alligator.
Fried Alligator
And Sunday, on the way back to the airport, we were able to make a quick visit to the wedding venue.
At Houmas House
We had a blast together, and even though she was only here for about 3 days it felt a lot longer since we were able to do so much. Oh, and did I mention we also met with a potential photographer and went wedding dress shopping? Well, we did! But you're going to have to wait a little longer to see those pictures!

Monday, August 15, 2011

Help Me Out: The Movie Version

The Help
Every since I read The Help, I've been looking forward to read the book. As will all book to movie adaptions I'm always a bit leery of how it will turn out. The previews made it seem like it was going to be pretty true to the story, and overall I'm glad to say it was.

It definitely felt a bit like watching the book come to life on screen and there were several scenes that came across just the way I'd pictured them. I thought Mae Mobley was just as adorable and see was in the books, and loved Emma Stone.

Overall it was a long movie, but I would have been willing to sit there longer. In fact it seemed like by the end of the movie they realized they had run out of time and wrapped over several story lines awfully quickly. There were a few stories that were changed in essence of time. (Constance's and Stuart's being the big ones. Although some of my favorite parts of Celia's story weren't there either.) But I understand that when you adapt a book to the screen that stuff happens.

I am glad I saw the movie and definitely think they did the book justice. I would have to say the book is still my favorite, but I think that's pretty universal in most adaptions.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

In My Mailbox (18)

It's another Sunday, which means it's time for another edition of The Story Siren's In My Mailbox!
In My Mailbox
Again I hit up the Borders closing sale. I found it a little amusing that the fiction and literature was at a 35% discount but YA was only 30%. So for that reason I held off from buying any new YAs. There was still a ton of books, and there were new books from the last time I was there (even more surprising was the new releases), so I'll probably be hitting Borders up a few more times before the official close.

The Wild Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
I was so excited when I saw this book on the shelves only days after it had been released. I LOVED the first two books from the trilogy, and even did a Waiting on Wednesday post on the book. I'm already a few chapters in and so far I'm loving it!

The Carrie Diaries by Candace Bushnell
I almost didn't recognize that this was The Carrie Diaries since I hadn't seen the cover before. But I realize now that's because it an English version. I guess we received shipments from closed English Borders? But definitely excited to read this one!

Courting Her Highness by Jean Plaidy
If you've been to From L.A. to LA long enough it shouldn't be a surprise that a Jean Plaidy book is here. This one if about Queen Anne, someone I knew little about before I started reading Plaidy's books. I do have a good idea of what to expect, and I'm always excited to read her book. But now that I have this one, I know there's still one least one recently published title of hers I don't have.

From Goodreads
Across Many Mountains by Yangzom Brauen
This is I believe a memoir that tells the story of three generations of women living in or escaping from Tibet. I honestly don't know a lot about the conflict of Tibet, so I'm definitely looking forward to learning more from there.

But that's it for me this week, so tell me what's in your mailbox this Sunday?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

Born to Breed

Bumped by Megan McCafferty
I love the premise of this book (basically a virus turns anyone over the age of 18 infertile and how society adapts to this change), except I had heard some negative reviews of this book so I tired to go into it with a bit of an open mind.

Melody was the first of the girls in her high school to sign a contract. That is contract to be a surrogate mother in exchange for a new car, a college scholarship, and well as just the money itself. Except in this world along with the fact that people over 18 can't have children, artificial insemination no longer works either, so in order for her to get pregnant she's going to have to actually "bump" with the chosen sperm donor.

Harmony is her twin sister, from whom she was separated a birth, and her life is completely different. Instead she grew up within a religious scent where there way of dealing with the issue is to marry girls off young so they can have as many children as possible while it's still an option.

I do think the two directions of society in dealing with this change make perfect sense. I still love the idea behind the book, and want to love it, but in some ways it just came off as weird. So many times I felt like laughing, except I'm pretty sure it wasn't at parts meant to be humorous. So much of the book just came off as odd to me, and it's a little disappointing because I still love the idea behind it and think it could have been done so much better.

The book does end with a bit of a cliffhanger and definitely makes me want to read the sequal. While I am glad I finally picked it up, if only to satisfy my curiosity, I'm hoping for more with its sequel.


Friday, August 12, 2011

How I Had a Baby, A Breakdown, and a Much Needed Margarita

It Sucked and Then I Cried by Heather B. Armstrong
Several years ago I went and read the archives of, so it wasn't a question of whether I would read Heather's book, but when I would read it. In case you missed it from the book's subtitle (also the title of this post itself) the story basically captures the time in Heather's life when after the birth of her first child when she suffered and then recovered from postpartum depression. But if you're not really at the time in you're life where you think about babies, just trust me and don't stop reading yet.

If you haven't read Heather's over-the-top sarcastic humor before you might be a little surprised. She spends pages freaking out about the fact that her baby looks worse than a hobo baby when she's out in public with only one sock, or how she always assumed that people purposely covered babies' faces with baby food only for fun, and then of course there's the tells from the bathroom. Just know that if you're not prepared for her humor it come off as a shock.

One of the complaints a lot of blog readers have about the book is that is basically is the blog, which is completely true. There are chapters that are clearly pieced together of multiple blog entries. And while I did recognize some of them, it was more like recognizing an old friend, instead of feeling completely repetitive.

If you haven't read before I think this book is a great introduction to the Hamilton family, and their humor. But even if you have, I think it's still enjoyable. Of course I enjoy rereading books in general, and in some ways this did feel like a reread to since there was nothing starling new. But it was nice to relive this part of Heather's life with her, and I'm glad I finally picked it up.


Thursday, August 11, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 3

Day 03 – Your favourite series
I think anyone whose been around From L.A. to LA long enough probably has a good idea on what my favorite book series is. After all I've written about the series itself before. I've even told how its influencing our wedding. But in case that's not enough my favorite series is...
The Betsy-Tacy Series by Maude Hart Lovelace
The series starts when Betsy and Tacy meet at age 5 and continues through Betsy's wedding. But not only do the characters grow, but the books grow in length and topic too. And then there's the fact there was a real life Betsty and Tacy since the series was based on Maude's life and her friendship with her best friend Frances "Bick" Kenney.

I know I've talked these books up over and over again, but seriously I think if you haven't read them they worth checking out. And since I don't think I've ever posted it before the complete list of the series follows.

Betsy-Tacy & Tib
Betsy-Tacy Go Over the Big Hill
Betsy-Tacy Go Downtown
Heaven to Betsy
Betsy In Spite of Herself
Betsy Was a Junior
Betsy and Joe
Betsy and the Great World
Betsy's Wedding

Deep Valley Companion Books
Winona's Pony Cart
Carney's House Party
Emily of Deep Valley

As for my favorite, well you'll have to wait till Day 4 because that's the next prompt. As always, I'd love to know if there are any other fans out there. And let me know what your favorite book series is!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Where a Kid Can Be a Kid

This past weekend I was somewhere I hadn't been in several long years. Any guesses as to where? Well, here's a clue...
Yes, I was at Chuck E Cheese! I bet you weren't expecting that were you? It definitely felt different and a little smaller than I remember. The ball pit is no more. The huge animatronic band is also gone. Instead there's one lonely Chuck E, that's attempts to sing along to the music, but the lip syncing isn't quite there.

No don't worry, I didn't just decide to hit up Chuck E Cheese for fun, instead it was the boy's niece's 4th birthday party.
She had never actually been to one before, but thanks to their awesome commercials decided this was where she needed to have her birthday. I guess I shouldn't really be one to talk, because I'm pretty sure my 4th birthday was at a McDonald's. Talk about being swayed by commercials right?

Anyways, because I'm a little obsessed with children's books, and I like to share to hopefully help someone fall in love with a new book, the books we bought as a present were...
Blueberries for Sal by Robert Mccloskey
This is one book that I remember loving as a kid. It's a story of a little girl who goes picking blueberries with her mother and a baby bear who goes out eating blueberries with hers, and as you might expect a friendly mix-up occurs.
Elosie by Kay Thompson
I actually don't remember reading this book growing up. But now know and love the story of little Elosie who grew up in the Plaza Hotel.

But even though it may not have been "My Super Sweet 16"-esque it was still a cute party and she had a lot of fun. It's so weird to see her grow up so quickly, and it feels like yesterday that she was born. I'm sure if I feel like the boy's niece and nephew are growing up quickly I can only imagine what it will be like with our future children.

Did you ever read these books growing up? And did you ever have some type of "commercial" birthday party too?

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 2

Day 02 – A book that you've read more than 3 times
I've always loved rereading book so in all honestly there's probably several books that fit this description for me. But I'm going to try to go with one book for each prompt and the book I'm sharing for this one is...
Anne of Green Gables b L. M. Montgomery
Are you surprised? I have a feeling this is probably a book that most people can claim they've read several times. I read it for the first time in 4th grade and it was one of the books (as well as the Little House books) that got me into historical fiction at an early age. I tried to read the whole series at that time, but my 8-year-old self couldn't, get past Anne of Ingleside in which Anne is a married mother and worried that Gilbert is having an affair. Understandable because reading about a marriage wasn't where my head was at that time.

Thankfully I decided to reread the whole series once I got to high school, and I'm glad I did, because while I love the first and original in the series I can't say it's my favorite. Instead I have to say my favorite is the last in the series, Rilla of Ingleside.
Rilla is Anne's youngest daughter, and the book takes place during World War I. Instead of following Anne's point of view, here we follow Rilla and romance. I'm not completely sure why I enjoy this one more than any of the others, but I think it's because it's so much more romantic than the rest of the series.

I do think it's a little amusing that this Anne of Green Gables book, that isn't even really about Anne, is my favorite. Sometimes I wonder who else stuck around and read the entire series to get to this one. And I'm definitely glad I decided to reread the books so I could read Rilla's story.

If it's been a while since you've read this book, and I think especially if you never got through the complete series, I think you should think about picking these up! And let me know, what book you've read more than 3 times. Maybe it's Anne for you too!

Monday, August 8, 2011


Crazy Stupid Love
To start with I wound up loving this movie! It's not really a surprise given the cast and the awesome reviews, but I was a little taken a back at home much I enjoyed. Obviously given the title it's a bit romantic, and it's quite a bit dramatic as well. But what I wasn't expecting was how funny it would be too. Honestly I feel like I laugh harder during this movie than any other one I've seen recently. After the movie ended I started looking forward to the next time I seen the movie. There is fairly big twist near the end, at least I didn't see it coming, and I'm curious to see my thought of the movie when I watch it again and know what to expect. If you haven't seen it yet, I'm definitely recommending it and think it could easily be one of my favorite movies of the summer!

Saturday, August 6, 2011


Peace, Love, and Baby Ducks by Lauren Myracle
To be honest I bought this book mainly due to its title. I thought is was pretty adorable and figured there had to be a cute story inside. Don't get me wrong, I had actually heard of the book before, and had read a review on another blog (Unfortunately, I don't remember whose) so I wasn't going in completely blind.

Carly is about her sophomore year of high school, except this year she won't be alone because her little sister, Anna, will also be starting as a freshmen. Except over the summer Anna's body has changed and she's become hot overnight. Carly isn't sure if she's jealous of her, instead she's busy figuring out just who she is an who just wants to be. She doesn't want to conform and be like every other girl at her school, but if you're rebelling and acting different, just to say you're different than everyone else what does that make you? And how do these changes impact the relationship between the two sisters.

It actually took me a while to get into this one. The first half most of the girls just felt fake to me, but I think that's probably the point, since neither one really knew who they really were. I'm not sure what the changing point was for me. Maybe it's because there was more action at the end or because I finally started the care for the girls, but by the close I was a little sorry to see it be over.

The book definitely explores the ups and downs of having a sister. But even with the downs, reading it made me wish I had a sister. It also brought me right back to all the angst-y high school feelings, which isn't necessarily a good thing, but definitely part of made the book itself.

I am glad I let myself be swayed be the cutest cover, and am glad I stuck with it after being disappointed at first. I wound up being a big fan of the story, and while this is the first I've read by Lauren Myracle, I'm definitely up for reading more of her books.


Friday, August 5, 2011

From Egypt to Rome

First before I get to my review (which I really think you should read because I loved this book!), just wanted to send out a friendly announcement that Book Blogger Appreciation Week 2012 has been announced for September 12 - 16. Last year I wound up on the long list for best historical fiction blog, which I thought was impressive since I wasn't a huge part of the book blogging community. But in the past year I've gotten so much more involved in the community and read some many more book blogs, I'm excited for the festivities to start! So if BBAW is something new to you I highly recommend you check it you, but now... onto the review!

Lily of the Nile by Stephanie Dray
Obviously I've heard of Cleopatra, Mark Antony, and Julius Caesar. But in truth I don't know that much about them. Surprising I think I learned far more about them from this book than I knew before, and this book actually about any of the three of them.

Instead it tells the story of Cleopatra Selene, the daughter of Cleopatra and Mark Antony. Within the first few pages both of her parents are dead, and Selene and her brothers are taken as prisoners to Rome to be raised in the household of the Roman Emperor.

I really enjoyed reading Selene's story and almost more so loved the history. Being that this is historical fiction, I have to wonder just how much is based on actual fact. Obviously given when these event occurred (about 40 B.C.E) we don't have a lot of concrete information. But while I'm not a scholar and don't know how much is the truth, it felt real to me and I very mush so enjoyed reading and learning what ancient Rome was potential like.

I don't want to say I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed the book, because I was expecting to love it based on the subject matter. I am happy I finally had a chance to read it and am now looking forward to sequel's release this fall, and would also love to read Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran to read about Selene from another author's perspective as well.


Thursday, August 4, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 1

I'm sure by now you've seen the various 30 day memes floating around blog-land. I've always wanted to do one, but I never found one that just felt "right" to me. At least till now. Through The Bibliophile, who found it at Chimneys and Magic is the 30 Day Book Meme. It doesn't look like Chimneys and Magic actually created it, but it's where I found the list, so credit is going to her. Here's the official prompt.

Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Day 02 – A book that you’ve read more than 3 times
Day 03 – Your favourite series
Day 04 – Favourite book of your favourite series
Day 05 – A book that makes you happy
Day 06 – A book that makes you sad
Day 07 – Most underrated book
Day 08 – Most overrated book
Day 09 – A book you thought you wouldn’t like but ended up loving
Day 10 – Favourite classic book
Day 11 – A book you hated
Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
Day 13 – Your favourite writer
Day 14 – Favourite book of your favorite writer
Day 15 – Favourite male character
Day 16 – Favourite female character
Day 17 – Favourite quote(s) from your favourite book(s)
Day 18 – A book that disappointed you
Day 19 – Favourite book turned into a movie
Day 20 – Favourite romance book
Day 21 – Favourite book from your childhood
Day 22 – Favourite book you own
Day 23 – A book you wanted to read for a long time but still haven’t
Day 24 – A book that you wish more people would’ve read
Day 25 – A character who you can relate to the most
Day 26 – A book that changed your opinion about something
Day 27 – The most surprising plot twist or ending
Day 28 – Favourite title(s)
Day 29 – A book everyone hated but you liked
Day 30 – Your favourite book of all time

I have decided I'm going to try not to reuse books. Because my favorite book of all time could probably go under book that I've reread 3 or more times, favorite book I own, favorite romance book, etc... Although you're going to have to wait to find out just what that is since it's on Day 30. And I don't plan on posting these every single day, but will hopefully get through all 30 days. I think it's going to be fun, and hopefully you do too and decide to play along. So let's get started with...

Day 01 – The best book you read last year
Is it bad that I can't actually choose just one from last year? If I start this now I can only imagine how many books I'll be listing by the end, but there's a few that stand out that I can't decide between. Obviously I'm not alone with these choices since all are, or at least will be, movies. So my favorites for the last year (linking to each review) are...
One Day by David Nicholls
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins 1 2 3
Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

If you're going to be joining in on all 30 days, please let me know in the comments below. Or if you just want to answer one, what was the best book you read last year?

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Curl it Up

I've been using my current hair gel forever, or really winter break senior year of college. That's when you know a hair products made an impact, when you know exactly when you started using it. I bought it on a whim, I figured with such a name I knew actually what it would do.
And sure enough, Curls Up, did exactly what it promised and held my curls throughout the day. (And just ignore the messy counter in the background. I'm sure it's no worse than yours, right?) It doesn't leave my hair hard or crunchy and yet yet manages to keep them throughout the day. Plus it smells a little bit like grapefruit.

So when I ran out recently I went to the drugstore to pick up some more as normal. Except I couldn't find any. I stopped looking and walked around the store hoping I would find it somewhere else, or when I got back it would magically appear. But still back in the hair product section, no Curls Up. I had my droid phone with me, so took it out to check the manufacturer to see if they carried anything else by them. After confirming it was made by FX, and reading everyone else rave reviews online (I guess I'm not the only one obsessed), but also complaints that others hadn't been able to find it either. I thought I was going to have to officially switch to a new hair gel, except...
I found it just with brand new packaging. You can see around it's neck there is a little tag with the old bottle on it, but obviously I didn't see it at first. I do like the new bottle, and thinks it makes it look a little more high class, but honestly I was just glad to had found it.

Anyone else use Curls Up or any other FX products? (And FYI, I have tried their Straighten Out as well, but wasn't a huge fan) Or what do you use in your hair?

And in case you were confused this post was all me. You would think if this was a sponsored post it wouldn't be about my difficulty finding it, right?