Saturday, October 29, 2011

A Novel of Nell Gwynn

The Darling Stumpet by Gillian Bagwell
It's funny, just a few days ago I wrote how I first discovered King Charles II and her I am writing about him again. If you've never heard of Nell Gwynn before her story is truthfully a tale from rags to riches. As a teenager Nell was forced to start working at a whorehouse in order to survive. From their she was able to change her life course by selling oranges at a playhouse, and go on to be an actress on stage. As an actress she caught the eye of the King, and become of one of his favorite mistress, and even mother to his children. She may be the only one who litterally started as a street urchin and became a countesss.

In some ways I felt like I read the whole first half of the novel weighting for King Charles II to enter the picture. Except once he did, the story seemed to slow down. Looking back it makes sense. After all it is more exciting to read about someone's rise to the top, and by the end the center of Nell's life was well....

There are a few scenes that come off as a little graphic, but do make sense considering Nell's upbringing. I'm not completely sure some of them were completely neccessarily, but it does make sure to provide a stark contrast between the life Nell was living, and how it changed.

While I did enjoy the overall story, and how Nell and King Charles II were protrated, I didn't quite feel the connections with some of the minor characters. I wanted to get to know Nell's sons and friends more. And while I felt we got to know her sister, Rose, in the first few chapters, but the end of the novel I had almost lost my feel for Rose.

But even with my complaints I really enjoyed this and pretty much devoured it. I think Nell's story is in some ways a real life fairy tale, and if you've never heard of her or don't really know the story of King Charles II, I do think this would be a good place to start. As for the author, this was her debut novel, although she does have a new book coming out telling the story of another of King Charles II's mistresses, which I'd love to read as well.


Friday, October 28, 2011

One for One

Start Something that Matters by Blake Mycoskie
I wasn't completely sure I wanted to read this one. And honestly when I found out I had won a copy and it was on its way to me, part of me regretted requesting it in the first. But surprising, the story has a happy ending because I was surprised by home much I enjoyed reading this.

Going into it I was hoping for more of a memoir, and there are parts that resemble one. For instance, Blake gives a lot of the back story on how he came up with Toms and the company's early history. But most of the book is meant to be inspirational, to help you not only start your own company but more from the title something that matter. Each chapter focuses on a core belief. There aren't that many, since the book isn't very long, but include topics such as facing your fears and finding your story, things that sound simple at first but just make a lot of sense.

As silly as it sounds, I love the dust jacket of the book. It feels almost leather-y and unlike any other book I've seen. (But not-so-coincidentally a bit like a shoe!) I love that they're donating a children's book for each book purchased. (I have of course assumed that you know of Toms already, but if not they're a shoe company that donates a pair of shoes for each pair purchased.)

Ending the book I couldn't help by feel inspired, and wanting to come up with a great idea to start something myself. Although honestly a lot of his principles could be applied more abstractly to other projects that you already do. As I mentioned initially, I tend not too read a lot of inspirational or entrepreneurial books, and while I'm not completely hooked, after reading this I'd be more willing to give similar books a chance.


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

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Bridal Beauty

Recently I came home to discover that a I had received a package in the mail, which containded all of the following.
It's a bridal beauty box from my MOH! So cute, right? First there's a Disney Cinderella wedding card, which I had no idea they made but think it's an awesome idea. And well tons of fun stuff to play with, which I'm sure you can see most of it, but there's mascara that's supposed to grow your lashes, face mask, body butter, hair conditioning treatment, whitening strips, and obviously much more. There's even a cute little wedding coffee.

Although there were supposed to be two, one for me & the boy, but unfortunately one broke in transit. When I told the boy his response was that it wasn't a big deal, he would just drink out of the one that's left, although I haven't seen him drink out of a mug featuring a bride a groom yet.

It was such a cute package and such a great surprise! I'm definitely grateful that my sistah (as in godsister!) took the time the to send this all to me and was SOO excited to receive it, and can't wait to continue planning the wedding with her!

Did you receive and surprise packages leading up to the wedding? And do you have an recommendations as to which of the products I should start with first?

Wednesday, October 26, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 14

Day 14 – Favourite book of your favorite writer
Last week I shared how Jean Plaidy was currently my favorite author, and this week as a follow-up it's my favorite book written by her.
To start with this, Mary, Queen of France, was the first book of his I ever read. I read it my junior year of college a few months before I left to study abroad in France. But interestingly enough considering the title, Mary is a princess of England and that's where a large portion of the book takes place. Mary was the youngest brother of King Henry VIII, and after her short marriage to the King of France ended with his death she betrayed her brother by marrying the one she was actually in love with. But while this book does have a found place in my heart since it introduced me to Jean Plaidy, it isn't my favorite.
That honor would go to The Loves of Charles II, which I read a few months later during my senior year of college. What I loved about it was that I had never read anything about King Charles II, and by the end I knew so much about his life and reign. Of course, the book is technically made up of 3 novels that were first published individually. That's actually a complaint by some, since it means parts of his life are told 3 times. But I think reading so much about him only gave me the opportunity to learn, and what I did learn about him made me fall a little bit in love. For instance did you know he fathered more children than any other English monarch, except none of them were legitimate? And the first time one of his direct descendants has the chance to reign will be with Prince William. (Diana was descended from one of his mistresses.) Since then I've read several other books that take place during Charles II's reign, but this one remains my favorite out of both those books and Plaidy's.

Have you ever hear of King Charles II's? Or what's your favorite book by your favorite author?

Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Turning Two

This past weekend was the boy's nephew's, aka my nephew-to-be's, 2nd birthday.
It was LSU themed, which made complete sense since it was on a Saturday just before the LSU-Auburn. We along with a few others stayed after the party to watch the game, which of course LSU won. And if you've been hear a while it shouldn't be a surprise that I'll be sharing our gifts, basically because I love being able to buy toys.
We wound up deciding on the Count & Crunch Cookie Monster, which is basically a cookie monster that counts the cookies you feed him. He wound up being one of the first toys rescued from his packaging, so at least for now Cookie Monster was a hit.

And of course, we picked up some books, which is what I really wanted to share.
Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel by Virginia Lee Burton
This one is a classic and while I don't specifically remember reading it growing up I still know the story. So I guess I must have read it at some point, right? I love the author's other book The Little House (which I've blogged about before. So while Mike may not be my favorite book by her, I still think it's perfect for a little boy.
The Stinky Cheese Man and Other Fairly Stupid Tales by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
While this one may not necessarily be a classic, at least not yet, it's one of my favorites from growing up. I remember being in 4th grade and visiting my brother's 1st grade class as a guest to read the book to them. And again, not only do I love this book, but I love the other books the author's have written. If you remember a few months ago I even purchased Lane Smith's recent book for myself.

Overall it was a fun day, and I'm hoping he falls in love with these two books as much as I have. Have you read either one of these books? What books do you think you'd purchase for a 2-year-old boy?

Monday, October 24, 2011

All for One & One for All

The Three Musketeers
It's been a while since I've seen a three musketeers movie. So long in fact, that this was the first time I truly got where the movie was historically. I read enough about this time period now that I knew of the kings mentioned, knew of the parents, and their offspring, so that was fun for me. Of course the movie wasn't completely historically accurate. Nor were the costumes, at least I don't think they were, but it was a lot of fun

We opted for the 2-D version, and I don't feel like we missed out. I think the boy enjoyed it, although made a point to say it wasn't his favorite version of the story. And while I don't really remember the other version I've seen, overall this felt almost "cute" so it's hard to say it's the best.

But I still think it was a fun movie. Not neccessarily one you need to rush out to the theaters to watch. But one that would be fun randomly to watch curled up on the couch.

Of course, there is the fact that the new Breaking Dawn trailer played before, and the trailer was absolutely amazing. I can't beleive I'm admitting this, but I started tearing up just watching the preview. Only about a month to go, and I really can't wait!!

Sunday, October 23, 2011

In My Mailbox (27)

I took last week off from In My Mailbox, but have no fear I'm back today! If you're new to IMM and want to know what it's all about, be sure to head over to The Story Siren for the details. But on to the books!
In My Mailbox
From Goodreads
Kings of Colorado by David E. Hilton
Both of these books are interesting selections that I probably wouldn't have picked up without winning them through a giveaway. This one is about a teen-aged boy whose sent away to reform school, which is a ranch in Colorado. I'm am a little skeptical on this one, but hopefully it surprises me.

One Moment, One Morning by Sarah Rayner
This one is another interesting find. It's about what happens one morning commute waiting for a train, and how it impacts the lives of all those involved. From the looks of it, I have a feeling it'll be a good book-club-type-book, but I guess we'll see if that winds up being the case.

As I said before, it's definitely an interesting and surprising week for me, but hopefully yous was to. What's in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, October 22, 2011

Amor Deliria Nervosa

Delirium by Lauren Oliver
I had heard so many great things about this book and I was so excited to finally have a chance to read it. In case this one isn't yet on your radar, the idea behind it comes off a little cliched, it's a world where love is a disease and at 18 everyone is giving the cure to avoid any type of suffering.

While the idea behind the story may come off a little silly it definitely make for an interesting universe. You are able to follow the logic of how a society realizes all of the pain love can create, even though it seems a little far fetched. Throughout the book are bits and pieces of the propaganda used, and it was really interesting to see how the government was able to twist various ideas.

The book definitely reminds me of the Uglies series. There are quite a few differences between the two, but even so while reading the book I had to mentally stop myself several times from comparing the two.

And then of course there's the ending. Part of me is definitely glad I put off reading this one for a while, so that was I don't have to so long for the sequel. In some ways I can't believe this is the way the author chose to end it, but I do have to admit it's the perfect breaking point in the story.

I did wind up really enjoying this one, except I don't think it quite lived up to my expectations. I think I wanted so badly to fall head over hells with this that I forced the issue a little much. I still loved the book, am glad I read it, and can't wait for the sequel, but still part of me wishes I hadn't hyped it quite as much.


Friday, October 21, 2011

Here's a Story of a Lovely Lady

Life is Not a Stage by Florence Henderson
This isn't a book a normally would have picked up on my own. But since I won a copy of the book, I was quite excited to read it. Not completely knowing what to expect this it, I wound up really pleasantly surprised.

I was expecting to read quite a bit more about life filming The Brady Bunch, but now that I've read Florence's story I understand it. There are really only a chapter or two about the show, which really doesn't seem like a lot considering that's want she's know for. But what I had no idea about was how much else she had done, that while Mrs. Brady is her claim-to-fame it was in no way her big break.

Florence early on says she won't be talking much about her childhood, but even so she does paint the basic picture. Her mother was in her mid-twenties and her father almost fifty. Florence was the last of 10 children born in the mid-1930s after 20 years of her parents marriage. Her father was a poor tobacco farm and an alcoholic, and her mother left the family when Florence was around 10-years-old.

After high school she left her hometown in Indiana to move to New York hoping for her big break. It wasn't long after that she was cast chorus of a play, and went on to be a Broadway star staring in plays such as Oklahoma and The Sound of Music. She did start in a movie or two and helped to host The Today Show all before her time as Mrs. Brady.

Before reading this I had no idea of Florence's musical background, although I guess it shouldn't really have been a surprise. She does disclose of few "scandals" throughout the books pages, but if that's all you're looking for you're probably be disappointed. But overall it wound up being an enjoyable book, and I'm glad I was able to experience and would definitely recommend.


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

Thursday, October 20, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 13

Day 13 – Your favourite writer
If you go through my archives it shouldn't be a surprise as to who my current favorite author is, just by the number of reviews. And when I say current I mean by mean currently, I mean myself at this moment. I definitely don't mean writer whose writing currently since she's been dead for almost 20 years. To give you an idea of who I'm talking about here's a list of the reviews of the author's books from my oldest review to most recent.

The King's Confidante
For a Queen's Love
A Favorite of the Queen
The Murder in the Tower
The Three Crowns
Madonna of the Seven Hills
Light on Lucrzia

Any guesses? Or maybe by now you've just clicked over to one of the review to ruin the surprise? Either way the answer is Jean Plaidy. She published easily over 100 books starting in the 1940s until the early 1990s, a large portion of which were historical fiction. Unfortunatly most of them are currently out of print, although some have been republihsed recently which is how I stumbled onto her while I was in college.

Although while I say they are being republished, as far as I can see there aren't any plans in the near future to put out anymore. Hopefully this changes, but for now I'll be picking up the books that are currently in print that I haven't yet read, and at some point hope to start looking for older version of her books in used books stores.

Have you by chance read anything by Jean Plaidy? Or instead, who is your favorite author?

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

The Ides of Steel

Real Steel
The boy really wanted to see this one, partly because he had heard it was actually based on the Rock Em Sock Em Robots toy, and honestly it really wasn't that bad. All the fighting scenes where you'd normally cringe and look away, weren't really gruesome because after all, do you really care if metal ripped apart?

The boy in the film was really cute and had some pretty adorable scenes. Overall, even though it's not the type of movie I would pick at first, I still really enjoyed it.

The Ides of March
How could you not want to see this movie? I mean Ryan Gosling? George Clooney? You'd be crazy not too!

The entire time watching this movie I kept waiting for and expecting the big twist. Except when it finally did come I was taken a bit by surprise.

Basically it is a political movie, and parts of it are a little slow. But others are almost heartbreaking. I wound up really enjoying this one, in some ways more than I had even expected. I thought Ryan was awesome in it, and could easily see him at least pulling off an Oscar nomination for it.

Both of these movies wound up being quite enjoyable, and really I think the big question is what you're in the mood to see. But either way, I don't think either one of them would disappoint you.

Tuesday, October 18, 2011

Lemon-y Goodness

I know I've made lemon bars before, because I have the proof in a blog post. Except while I took pictures of the final product I didn't really post a recipe, so when I wanted to make some for a recent LSU game I didn't know where to start. Except that I loved the ones I made before and was hoping to recreate them. After a little google-ing I'm pretty sure this recipe from was the one I used as an outline. And this time I made sure to photograph the process so the next time I know what to do!

1 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup white sugar
2 cups flour
4 eggs
1 1/2 cups white sugar
1/4 cup all-purpose flour
Juice from 2 lemons
Zest from 1 lemon

1. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees
2. Blend together softened butter, 2 cups flour and 1/2 cup sugar.

A mixer would have probably been good for this, but to keep things easy I basically used a knife to cut the butter into the flour/sugar. It wasn't perfectly mixed at this time, but I'm pretty sure the point is to still have a few chunks of butter.
3. Press into the bottom of an ungreased 9x13 inch pan
4. Bake for 15 to 20 minutes in the preheated oven, or until firm and golden

The time is from the official recipe, except ours never really got "golden." I think I coooked it for close to 40 minutes. You can see that around the edges it was getting dark, but the bulk of it was still white-ish. I was a little afraid of under cooking it, till I realized the eating raw butter, flour, and sugar wouldn't really be a problem.
5. Meanwhile while the crust is baking whisk together remaining 1 1/2 cups sugar and 1/4 cup flour. Whisk in the eggs, lemon juice, & lemon zest.
The lemon zest was all my idea. I stuck with the zest from only one of the lemons afraid it would be too lemon-y, but I think you'd be safe to use both.
6. Pour the lemon juice over the baked crust...
and bake for an additional 20 minutes.
7. Let cool
(I'm pretty sure I used the fridge to help this process since I was running late after it took almost forever for the crust to turn golden) and garnish with powdered sugar.
8. Cut into bite-sized squares and enjoy!

Lemon Bars
Seriously, these are ridiculously true. And despite my long-winded rambling they are almost amazingly easy. I actually thought about picking up a box mix for this, but with so few ingredients needed, these really are worth making them from scratch.

Are you a lemon bar fan? Have you ever made them and if so, do you have a favorite recipe?

Friday, October 14, 2011

Painting the Roses Red

The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
Despite my post's title, this book has nothing to do with Alice in Wonderland. I just thought it was be a fun intro. Instead the book is about Margaret Beaufort, mother to the first Henry Tudor, who became Henry VII. The book's actually been out for quite a while, and I didn't pick it up till it was out in paperback. I'm not completely sure why I waited so long to read it, especially since it's been over 2 years since I last read one of her books. Although I think part of it is that while in general I enjoy Gregory's books, most seem to miss a historical fact or two. But the reason why I finally picked it up, probably has a lot to do with the fact that her next book from this time period will be out shortly.

I've read quite a bit about the War of the Roses, so most of the events were familiar to me. And while I knew who Margaret Beaufort was, and knew she was famous for helping her son to the throne, I didn't know a lot about it. This is actually the first time I've read a book about her, and as far I know there aren't any others specifically about her.

While parts of Margaret's story are interesting, mainly the fact she gave birth to the future king at only 14, most of her life wasn't that exciting. Or at least if it was history has lost that to us. Margaret spends a lot of her times scheming and conspiring throughout the book without a lot else happening. I think because of this, the book's lack of action, a lot of people weren't a fan.

But overall I really enjoyed it, and might go as far as saying it's one of my favorite Gregory books. I think what's does it for me, is that while the historical events are known, so much of Marat's life was a mystery to me, and I love the experience of reading a historical book like this and feeling like I learned a lot throughout.


Thursday, October 13, 2011

Roasted Polenta with Swiss Chard

About 2 years ago Frozen Thursday used to be an almost weekly feature on From L.A. to LA, where I'd review various frozen meals. I did one this past June, but they're still pretty rare. Unless of course I come across something new and interesting that I want to share... and that's what we're doing today!
Amy's Roasted Polenta with Swiss Chard
Amy's Roasted Polenta with Swiss Chard
I've honestly never seen a frozen meal like this before, which is why I was so excited to try it. And like normal Amy's didn't let me know. I was a little hesitant to eat frozen & microwaved swiss chard, but it turned out really good. (I do like chard in general, so I wasn't necessarily worried whether I would like chard, but more of it would taste like I'd expect.) The sauce which contained squash, tomatoes, and mushrooms was awesome.

My only complaint was really the polenta itself. That's not that it was bad, but more that it wasn't heated all throughout the middle. Amy's meals normally end up on the extra hot side, so for the last recommended 2-3 minutes, I went out 2:30. But I think with the extra time, it would have been almost picture.

And did I mention that somehow this is only 140 calories? It definitely didn't feel that small when I ate it, but with so few calories this has the potential to be a great snack.

I'd definitely buy this one again, although it still doesn't top my favorite Amy's lasagna. And no, this post was not sponsored. I just wanted to be able to remember this meal, and hopefully lead someone else to try it!

Monday, October 10, 2011


Today is officially my 27th birthday! It's hard to believe right? It's just sounds so old, especially when I still feel 16 inside. Ha! I'm not completely sure what the plans are for the rest of the night, but my parents are visiting so maybe we'll be heading out to dinner shortly. But I guess a pretty laid back birthday. But yesterday morning...

The boy needed to go to the grocery store to pick up milk. I decided to stay home, and after what felt like forever he called me from the store to make sure there wasn't anything specificially we needed. I told him no, and when I asked what I taken so long his response was that he wanted a sandwich at Burger King and it had taken almost 30 minutes.

So later yesterday afternoon, the boy was going in and out of the house. He picked up Saturday's mail which was still in the mailbox, as well as a few other variouis things, and each time I stayed on my computer not looking back, until of course I the one time I did, and saw him standing there with this...
My New Keurig
My birthday Keurig!!!

I told him it was a day early and he had to go hide it, but the surprise already gone, he left it for me on the kitchen table.

I'm SO excited for this though! I've been wanting one seemingly forever. I do have a single serving pod coffee maker, but I've had it since college, and I've used it so often that half the time it can't filter any coffee into my cup. Plus since since the one I have is out of style it's hard for me to find flavors, and I know there are TONS of Keurig flavors out there that I can't wait to try! The box actually comes with about 12 samples, but if you look on top of the box the boy bought me some French vanilla flavors too!

Do you have a Keurig? If so, what are your favorite k-cups?

And as I mentioned before that my parents are visiting this week, which means posting may be a little light. Although you might still see a few random posts from me!

Sunday, October 9, 2011

In My Mailbox (26)

It's Sunday, so once again I'm linking up to The Story Siren's In My Mailbox. I was lucky enough to win both of the following books through goodreads' first reads giveaway program. So let's get to it!
In My Mailbox
The Foremost Good Fortune by Susan Conley
This is a memoir, in case you couldn't tell from the cover. The first half seems to be about an American who moves to China with her husband and two sons on their experience adapting to their culture. Throughout the second half of the book she learns she has cancer, ands the story changes through the adaptations she must make in order to live with this disease. This probably isn't one I would have necessarily picked up on my own, but it does sound like an interesting premise.

Start Something That Matters by Blake Mycoskie
This may surprise some of you, but I've never actually bought a pair of Toms shoes. I have heard of them, and know people who love them, but they've just never called out to me. I do love the idea that for every pair purchased one is donated, and even more love that for every copy of this book purchased a children's book will be donated to a child in need. I've heard great things about this one, and think it should be a really interesting experience.

Are you a fan of Toms shoes? And of course, what's in your mailbox this week?

Thursday, October 6, 2011

What's the Date

I know I've kept you waiting a while now, but here's my final post on STD inspiration (at least final until I change my mine, right?). But to recap, we went out the basic outline and I mentioned there would be a mini envelope on that card. Then last week I told you what wouldn't be inside the envelope. So let's end the suspense...

Most of your guesses were actually right, so it shouldn't be a surprise, but I was planning on doing mini-magnets! Of course there's lot of ways I could go with this.

One main picture,

Or a montage of pictures,

Text Only,

or text with a graphic,

Or a photo with a graphic,

Or a photo with a calander,

Or just a calender.

Since we aren't doing engagement photos, I'm leaning towards not having a picture of us on the magnet. Obviously I have some older pictures of us I could use if necessary, but if I'm sending this out and hoping to make the fridge, I'd rather have something that looks a little more professional.

My favorite idea is a calender, especially since our wedding isn't on a Saturday, I think circling the actual day would make it easier to recognize, than it would be just a date on a card. Of course nothing actually ordered yet, but unless something crazy happens that's the direction were headed.

What are your thoughts on a Save The Date magnet? And out of these possible designs, which one is your favorite?

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

30 Days of Books - Day 12

Day 12 – A book you used to love but don’t anymore
When I started doing this "challenge" (maybe not a challenge to some since I'm not posting it everyday, but I am slowly answering all the prompts), I told my self I was never going to cop out. After all I could always be creative to come up with some type of answer, but I really am stumped with this one. I guess I'm not sure how you could fall out of love from a book.

Maybe the obvious answer is a book that you've reread where you didn't enjoy it as much the first time. Or one that you read and enjoyed, but something life changing occurred where you look back on it with a completely different perspective. But I just don't see how you could read something and love it, and not long after have your reviews completely change. I think it would be more of remembering something different maybe?

So basically, in case you couldn't guess, I'm not giving a book for this one. But I'm more than curious to hear if anyone can answer this one, or if I'm the only one who it doesn't quite make sense for.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Brunch & Football

This past weekend the LSU game was on at 11:30 am. It's supposedly one of the earliest starts in Tiger Stadium history. I'm sure there were people out tailgating all night all, which we were not a part of. Instead with the game so early, we decided to go out for brunch.

We I decided on the Londoner. I've been waiting to try this restaurant out seemingly forever. If you remember, we tried to go there for the Women's World Cup final, but they were packed. We've planned on going before, but it seems each times things came up. But this time we made it happen!

Since we were planning on being there for a while we started with an appetizer. (Not very brunch-y, but very good.) You'll have to excuse the blurry and dark-ish photos to come, but I think you can get the idea.
Chicken & Brie Sandwiches
So, to start with, the boy and I split chicken, brie, and spinach sandwiches. They were supposed to have a sun-dried tomato spread, but since the boy isn't a tomato fan we go it on the side for me. And yes, there were delicious.
Corned Beef Hash
And for my mail meal above I went with the corned beef hash. It's hard to tell from the photo above, but this dish was HUGE. I probably ate half of it and brought the rest home for leftovers. Although I could have probably eaten a little bit more I had to save room for dessert,
Sticky Toffee Pudding
which was sticky toffee pudding. This was seriously amazing! While I didn't quite lick the plate, I did make sure to get every drop with my spoon. Seriously, I would probably go there again just to have this.

So overall, the Londoner definitely lived up to my expectations, and I'm sure we'll be going there again. And of course, LSU won as well, so hopefully we're on the way to another national title!

Monday, October 3, 2011

Monday Movie Review

What's Your Number
I heard some awful review about this one, but I should have known, that critics just don't get chick flicks, because I really wound up enjoying it. First there's the eye candy. Obviously, at least from the poster, Chris Evans is there a lot, and he's half naked through quite a bit. Plus there's a few great cameos from Chris Pratt and Dave Annable.

I had hear the critics complain that some of the best scenes were in the previews. But I didn't quite find that to be the case. Instead there were several scenes I expected from the previews that didn't actually make the movie.

I won't say the boy loved it, but there were definitely a few jokes the really amused it. Obviously it's not going to be nominated for any Oscars, nor is it completely original, but it still is a really cute chick flick, that I would easily agree to watch again.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

In My Mailbox (25)

I only have one book to share this week for The Story Siren's In My Mailbox, but I'm actually excited about it because hopefully it means I can make a bigger dent in my ever growing reading pile.
In My Mailbox
From Goodreads
The Popularity Rules by Abby McDonald
I don't know much about this, besides the fact it's summary said it was on Glamour UK's must list. It's basic summary seems to be a girl who ten years after high school runs into the popular girls who agrees to teach her the popularity rules. It was originally published in the UK, so I'm hoping for a British chick lit, maybe similar to the shopoholic books? Either way I'm excited to read it!

Did you wind up with anything good in your mailbox this week? Of course, if the answer is no, it's a good excuse to work on your reading pile, right?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

It's a Secret

The Secret Room by Beth Kanell
Something about this books cover and summary really called out to me and reminded me of the books I read growing. I was hoping for the best with it, but I was a little skeptical thinking it was self-published. (I was actually mistaken there, since there is a publisher, but it's a small publishing house.) But hopeful going into it, I am excited to share that overall I really enjoyed this.

The main story arc is of Shawna and her next door neighbor, Thea, discovering a hidden room while mapping out Thea's house for a math project. Throughout the book the two girl investigate the history of the room and what it was actually used for. While the mystery of the room is important, I would say the book is more about these two middle school girls becoming friends, learning about themselves, and discovering secrets within their own families.

The book does seem to be targeted as YA, and while I can't necessarily put my finger on why, at times it felt more like a middle grade novel to me. That's not to say they're aren't mature themes, but I think it's more that the book took place within a small town in Vermont. I think what I'm feeling more than anything else is a result of the sheltered environment where the girls are living.

I did enjoy reading this book now, but I think I would have loved reading it being the same age as Shawna and Thea. I loved hearing the girl's learn about their history, and even more than that was excited reading all the math-y notes to it. The book was definitely a nice surprise, and I'm glad I had the chance to read this one.


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