Friday, August 26, 2011

Earthquakes, Hurricanes, and Selling Books, Oh My!

I keep vanishing and for that I apologize. You know that term, when it rains, it pours? That's been happening for the majority of this year. We all know of previous issues but more have arrived.

But the good news is that I have a fancy new job and I love it. I'm very busy between work and getting my life squared away. Trying to play grown up and all that.

This week has been rather eventful. My area felt the much talked about East Coast earthquake. Now, for those who do not live in the East Coast, understand that we don't typically receive earthquakes. This is only the second one I've ever felt in my lifetime. It wasn't horrendous, more amusing because I thought my car was breaking down (my mother thought it was the washer), but it was still talked about because it's such a rare event. And it was strong enough to put a crack in a bridge I cross over to get to work. Now that was fun, being literally two minutes from my job and being told I had to turn around and find another way to it because they were afraid the bridge would collapse (it didn't, btw). And it messed up cellular service so I couldn't call my job to say I would be late.

This can be considered my 'earthquake picture', only because I took it the day of.

Now we're due for the biggest hurricane we've ever received in my life time. The most unnerving part of all this is that my friends are being evacuated from the coast. I, luckily, am far enough inland to not be affected with the evacuations but we're still in for a hellish weekend. And I need to get my car fixed at some point during this hurricane. Ah, bad timing is bad.

In other news, I am on a minimalist kick. I want to downgrade as much of my belongings and part of that is... books. I love books. I love reading. We all know this but I feel the need to remind you before I continue. I have about 20 books sitting on my floor awaiting a trip to my favorite used book store. I'll be selling them to the store so that, hopefully, someone else will buy them and enjoy them as much as I have since owning them. But wow, so many books! I went through my book shelves and considered each one. What ones have I read and intend on reading again? What ones will I return to in search of quotes? What ones are 'classics' that maybe, one day, my children will have to read in school? If I answered 'not this one' for any of the books I took them off the shelves. It's given me so much room for my ever changing book collection.

So besides the real life issues, saving for a plane ticket to visit family in Florida, car troubles, nature kicking our butt, and work- I have been reading. I've been flying through a book series and I hope to actually (gasp) provide you all with some type of book reviews in the future! You know, after I finish reading this series and we aren't being pummeled with bad weather.

I hope you're all doing well. I'm sorry for the lack of posts. And if you happen to be in the line of this hurricane, stay safe!

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Guest Post: This Is Where I Leave You

Hi all! I’m Amanda, from Amanda’s Musings. While I don’t run a specifically book related blog, I do read. A lot. I’m also an English Lit major, which adds to the time I spend reading.

I recently finished “This Is Where I Leave You” by Jonathan Tropper. While I’m pretty sure this book was all the rage last year, I’m sometimes slow getting around to things.

That being said, Tropper’s novel is a wonderful one. It’s one of the funniest, saddest, happiest, most depressing books I’ve ever read, and no, that won’t make sense until you pick it up for yourself.

Judd is forced to return to his childhood home after the death of his father, whose dying wish was for his family to sit Shiva. For the Foxman family, seven days spent with everyone under the same roof may very well be their undoing.

Judd recently found his wife having an affair with his boss. Phillip is the family screw up. Paul blames Judd for ruining his chance at college sports and the opportunities it would have afforded him. Alice just wants a baby. And on it goes.

“This Is Where I Leave You” is an absolute gem of a novel. Tropper’s ability to dissect the familial relationship is almost scary – I saw threads of my own family within the walls of the Foxman home. I was taken by complete surprise by the sheer truth of the words on the pages, and loved every time it happened. Families are far from perfect (all of them). But your family is also your home – sometimes whether you want it to be or not.

"We all start out so damn sure, thinking we've got the world on a string. If we ever stopped to think about the infinite number of ways we could be undone, we'd never leave our bedrooms." – This Is Where I Leave You

Monday, August 8, 2011

The Help

I am such a stubborn person. If you know me personally then this isn’t new information. While working in a bookstore this book was released and people couldn’t get enough of it. Everyone was buying a copy and raving about it. So, because I’m stubborn and make no sense, I pushed it aside and refused to read it. Why? I’m not even sure. No, wait, I didn’t want to just jump on the bandwagon when everyone else was obsessing over it. Because I am stubborn.

Insert a year or so and now I get wind that The Help is being made into a motion picture. It seems that Hollywood is doing that a lot lately - making books into films. And I’m relatively quick to see these films, however, I always try to read the books first. So, I stopped being stubborn and got the book on my Kindle. I opened it, curious to see how it began (I always look to see how books start, forever reading the first page before I usually getting around to reading the book) and I couldn’t put it down.

It’s a thick book but I flew through the book and enjoyed every moment. See, for the past few months I’ve tried to stick to the more relaxing, happy, short books. It’s been all that I can concentrate on with an assortment of less than happy things going on in my life. So this was my first serious book since my life became topsy turvy. And I loved it… I see why there was such hype and so many customers would tell me to read it.

The book is told from three perspectives. Two black women who are maids in white homes in Jackson, Mississippi and another woman, Miss Skeeter, a white woman who is breaking away from the typical expectations of the southern 1960’s woman.

While Miss Skeeter is expected to get herself married because, my goodness, she is a whole twenty-three years old and single, her educational endeavors are looked down upon. She has a degree and it seems like no one finds it important or an achievement in any way. God forbid a woman in her twenties isn’t engaged or married.

There was something more than this. Aside from Miss Skeeter being single, she was also tall, thin, her hair wasn’t perfect, and goodness how will she ever get a husband looking like that?

I immediately related to this woman on so many levels. I’ve heard comments pertaining to my height and the height of women in my family. We’re all above average and closer to six foot than anything that’s considered ‘petite’. People have commented, “But you’re so tall” as if it was something disgusting. “You wear heels?” As if it’s completely incomprehensible that I, a woman of 5’9”, would even dare to consider wearing heels. The comments continue, “You’re twenty five and you’re not dating anyone? Oh, we know you’ll never marry.”

The other women of the story (Minny and Aibileen) are trapped by the presence of people who are fearful of difference and extremely racist. They cannot look at a person who is different from them and see nothing but separation. Minny and Aibileen may suffer some weaknesses but they are so strong and brave. I just fell in love with all of the main female characters. This was a book that days after I had finished reading it I was still trying to grasp words to describe how wonderful it is. I still was struggling to express my feelings because it was just that good.

I can say for sure that I will definitely be seeing the movie once it's out in theaters and I am telling everyone I know to please pick this book up and read it. It is worth the hype. It isn't a romantic story, it isn't flimsy, it's real and tough, sometimes funny, often sad, but just so well written that the words completely transport you to Jackson, Mississippi during an important time in American history. Grab the book and give it a read before the film comes out and also check out the trailer to the movie down below!

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Go the F**k to Sleep

This book absolutely and positively cracked me up. Family members who have children loved the concept and humor. Yeah, I have no children. I hope to be a parent one day but I haven’t the personal experience of what it is to be a mother. However, I know enough people who have children that I’ve been around. I recall clearly trying to get a child to go to sleep with a friend. We would pretend we were asleep, sing to the child, do an assortment of things and yet this child insisted on staying awake. After two hours we were pretty tired of it.

This book is humorous and well, it’s more for the parents than the children. If you don’t mind saying the word ‘f**k’ around your child then sure, go ahead, read the book to your child because there are cute pictures and a rhyme scheme. It’s entirely your choice. But I do believe this is something that a parent or caregiver to a child can identify with and laugh over.

What’s better? Friggen Samuel L. Jackson reading the book. You can hear what the book is about in the awesome youtube video below and decide for yourself if you would like the book. Or, better yet, get it as a gag gift for a friend (I’m intending on doing just that!)

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Vampire Diaries- Stefan's Diaries: Vol. 3 The Craving

Ah, the last book of this little trilogy. Really, they are so short and such quick reads that why not read them? When you're stressed and looking for some brainless entertainment I look to these books. It isn't a snub to the writing or anything because it serves it's purpose in entertaining me and giving me a temporary break from whatever is causing me stress in my real life. I welcome these type of books and due to an assortment of stressful things happening in my life for the last three months I have been devouring them any chance I get. Serious literature with deep concepts? No, sorry, I can't concentrate on that right now. Let alone any book that is highly emotional, I need something that's exciting or happy.

The book picked up shortly after where the last one left off. Okay, no problem. It might be a good idea to read the three books of Stefan's Diaries one after another since they all take place so closely to each other.

I appreciated that this book featured Lexi more. If you are a fan of the tv show (and these books are based off of the tv show not the book series) then I hope you are a fan of the character Lexi. While watching the show I always wanted to know her history and while the second Stefan's Diaries book introduced her, this book continued with tales of her. I really enjoy the character and wish I could find out her history. That's the problem with vampire literature- I'm introduced to an assortment of characters who are all immortal so they've lived a number of years and I'm left wondering about the details of their lives.

The book felt a little rushed at the end. It had a huge build up and my fav Damon pops back in and is controlling as always. But then all of these elements are thrown in, this interesting plot develops and then is quickly finished. I was disappointed with that, really, because I was hopeful to hear more about the details of this plot. But it was quickly taken care of and finished. But now, see, I want Damon's diaries. Yeah, he doesn't write in a diary (I don't think?) so maybe it can be Damon's Mind but there is a gap in time from the end of this book to when the television show begins and I would really appreciate allowing my obsession to continue!

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

The Color Purple

Growing up my parents used to watch The Color Purple every time it came on tv. I knew that it was a book but as a child and teen I had little interest in reading anything that my school considered worthy enough to read. I was a rebel. I loved books but I did not want to be forced into reading anything. So I stayed very far away from The Color Purple until I began to work in a book store. Then, every start of a semester we would set up displays of the books the schools wanted their students to read and The Color Purple was always on the table. It started to spark my interest despite my refusal to read it as a kid. In fact, most of the 'classics' I didn't begin to have interest in until I was far away from school. Then it was my choice, it was my decision to read these books, rather than having them crammed down my throat.

I picked up The Color Purple and was surprised- the entire book is through letters. I had never known that. The language slowly grows and changes as the main character and her sister matures and I quickly fell in love with them. It's an entire life told through letters between sisters that mean the world to each other.

Now, their lives aren't perfect. Women are abused, men rape, and there is a number of sexual scenes. But I read it nonetheless. This is life, unfortunately (well maybe not so unfortunate for the sex scenes). These characters are growing up so it's understandable that they will be seeing different aspects of their lives. Good and bad.

There are some very strong female characters in The Color Purple which is pleasing to read. I generally enjoyed the majority of the female characters and even a decent portion of the males that were featured. It's definitely a different time and place but I read it quickly and enjoyed the book despite the long list of heartaches that the main characters felt.

And they really do have a lot of heartaches. So much of the book I spent going, "Really? Do they have no luck?" It wasn't to the extent of being unbelievable but it was definitely prominent and sad.

This book isn't for the faint of heart. If you have any issues with homosexuality, sexual exploration, language, and violence then you should stay away from The Color Purple. This has drawn a lot of negative reaction from people across the US and has made this book one of the most banned and challenged books in the country.

What's the most enjoyable part of this book? That it ends on a good note. That despite all of the hardships the characters experience they still come out for the better and life still works out for them. There are good things that come their way, they just have to fight to get it, and I feel that's a positive message to the readers.

And the movie? The movie is pretty good as well. Of course it's different from the book but it's pleasurable and beautiful and will make you cry.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Percy Jackson: The Lightning Thief

As a child I had a strange obsession with Greek mythology. I suspect it began because of the Disney movie Hercules but I can’t quite remember if that is the cause. None the less, I devoured the Greek mythology books that were available at my school library but have since forgotten the majority of the Greek myths. Still, the idea of Greek gods and the likes attracts me because I am a nostalgic freak.

I had a reader tell me to read Percy Jackson two years ago and at the time I had so many other books I was reading or more interested in that I put the series aside. Recently I’ve joined an online community that sort of obsesses over mythology and it sparked my interest again. A friend of mine swore by the Percy Jackson books. She loved the entire series and felt I should read the books for years. Finally, I listened to everyone and took out The Lightning Thief from the library.

And I loved it.

I read the book quickly and it was the right amount of excitement and humor that I needed. The characters are lovable- even the bad Aries. And the way the gods are presented is incredibly interesting.

The Greek myths pop up through out the book in different, more modern, ways and they were exciting every time I spotted them. “Oh, oh! I know what myth this is!” Or “I recognize this! Ugh, I have to reread my myth books!”

I loved Percy’s mother. I love Annabeth. I love Grover. Ugh, I love all of the good characters, okay? And I love Ares, even if he’s kind of a jerk. Just the idea of the God of War riding around on a motorcycle makes me very happy. I appreciate the concept that despite that no one believes in the old Greek gods anymore, they were immortal, so of course they still exist.

I flew through this book and rushed to get the next one, only to discover that my library didn’t have it because someone took it out forever ago. Disappointment at the extreme! This is a series where you read one book and you immediately want the next. They’re quick reads and very addictive so if you’re going to set out and read the Percy Jackson series- please- make sure you have access to all of the books.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Blog Hop 7/22

Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?

This is tough... I have liked something in nearly every genre. I'm lucky that way. As a teenager I could only read teen fantasy- that was it. I had little to no interest in anything else other than that genre and The Vampire Chronicles. Once I entered college and began studying English my interests branched out to other genres. I devoured a lot of books after that and even still, I'm starting to slowly get more and more into more genres that I previously had trouble enjoying. But there is one genre that I really just find hard to get into.


Now I like my creepy stuff. But I am so picky with finding a book I will actually read in the Horror section. So picky. Other genres that I can't get a hang of are mystery and romance. But... I'm not particularly interested in those genres. I've never been a big fan of romantic or crime movies, my interest is low with that. But I do like my creepy stuff. I like my creepy tv and my creepy movies, however I always have to be 'in the mood' for it. The same goes for the books, I suppose. I need to be in the mood and it's a mood that is here and gone. But who knows? Ten years ago I never thought I would be reading historic fiction and enjoying it yet here I am. Maybe in another ten years I'll be devouring as many thriller books I can get my hands on.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011


The author of Slate contacted me to see if I was interested in reading his novel. I agreed and then my life became overwhelming so I put off reading it for a number of months (Sorry to the other authors whose books I have not read yet!). The author was very sweet and polite when I spoke with him and then all that time passed and I finally opened up Slate with every intention of reading it.

Read it I did... and... wow.

The book, to me, ended up sounding more like a fantasy smut novel than 'chick lit'. I would not even categorize it as literature, let alone literature meant for women. It seemed very much like a dream novel about what the author wants women to do and much of it was either rushed, drawn out, or just one ridiculous thing after another. 

There were so many male parts coming and going I had lost track as to who was who and the dialogue... oh the dialogue was really unfortunate. 

I thought this had the potential of being a chick-lit book and hell, it could even have become a movie. The premise that a woman who was recently becoming divorced decides to hold fake casting sessions to find the next guy sounded interesting and like a good build up for a comedy but it was so far away from that. I felt slightly disgusted when I finished the book and I have no intention of rereading it. 

Apologies to the author. This isn't the nicest of reviews but this book was very far from my expectations and incredibly disappointing. I don't know any women who act like the main character does in this book and if I knew such a woman, I would certainly not be her friend. 

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Teaser Tuesday- July 12th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Help (Movie Tie-In)
I concentrate on Mae Mobley, try to keep my mind off Miss Hilly. Show me how to teach Baby Girl to be kind, to love herself; to love others, while I got time with her...

The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Monday, July 18, 2011

Sisterhood Everlasting

While in High School I was obsessed with the series Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants. What attracted me so much to the books was a number of things. They were my age and dealing with some of the problems that arise for teens. They were a group of friends who were like sisters- this I could relate to the most. I’m an only child and the closest I’ve come to having ‘siblings’ is through my friends and cousins. The books sort of proved the fact that I could have friends who were like sisters. There was also the fantastic cast of four different girls whose personalities were all very different so really, anyone could relate to at least one of the girls.

I always identified the most with Lena. Just sayin’.

When the fourth book came out I waited impatiently for the soft cover to be released so that I could continue having the collection of books as paperbacks. I thought that was that, though. I had heard the fourth book was the last in the series and there would be no more. It made me sad because I had grown to love the girls in the series so much and expected them to be there each summer when I was off from school. During those hot summer days I would lay on my bed and read the books with a fiery speed and suddenly the series was over with and I was in mourning.

This type of emotion for a book series has happened only a few times in my life. The other time? When the last Harry Potter book was released. I reacted much the same when I went to see the last Harry Potter movie. But that’s another story.

Imagine my glee when I found out that the sisterhood was back for another novel? I stalked the date for the book release obsessively and the moment I got my hands on it (or rather, my hands on my Kindle) I read the book in a day.

The girls are older, more mature, and in different places in their lives. They’ve lost touch in many ways and hope to all meet up again when, as if a wish came true, Tibby sends for the other three girls to meet her in Greece at Lena’s grandparents house. Excitedly the girls fly to Greece for their long awaited reunion and that’s where things become heavy.

Consider this your warning for spoilers. If you continue to read and something ruins the book for you, don’t blame me.

When the girls arrive to the house in Greece it is only at the very beginning of the book. I expected world wind romances and maybe an argument or two but what I did not see coming was that one of the girls dies. I was reading this book at work and was completely shocked by what happened then had to stop reading because I was nearly in tears. I would sit there, blink a little bit, try to calm down, then grab the Kindle to continue reading because I wanted to know how this could happen.

Insert the majority of the books plot: What happened to this girl. Did she commit suicide? Because it looked that way.

Spoiliers No More:
This is my suggestion for those who have never read the Traveling Pants books before: wait on reading this one and start from the first book. This is a series you want to read in order.

My second suggestion is to those who intend on reading this book: if you are going through a tough point in your life, hold off on reading this. The majority of the book is quite upsetting and very real. It can be upsetting to read if the reader is going through a tough patch themselves. Believe me, I know, because I was going through a rough time when I read this book.

The book is worth the read though… so don’t completely forsake reading it. You finally know for sure what is going on with these different characters and you can assume how they will continue to live, since they are now adults. Everything ties up neatly by the last chapter and I felt that finally I did get to say goodbye to these girls in a more proper way.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Common Sense

Another freebie for Kindle users (and I'm assuming other e-readers) is Common Sense. Now, this was something I've always heard about but never did anything with. It was something that had to do with America, something that was important, something that some kids had to read in class. Whatever. My attention span for it all ended there.

Of course that changed when I realized I could get Common Sense for free. That seems to be the start of many instances where I'm reading things I never thought I would. Point for e-readers? I think so.

Common Sense was written by Thomas Paine and published in 1776. It's a declaration of sorts that American's should demand independence from Great Britain. The argument that Paine raises is, at times, humorous. He lists every reason the citizens should listen to him in a rather explanatory way. A school teacher would be proud.

Now this wasn’t any type of a ‘story’ but more based on fact and opinion. It might not have a plot, it is very much just an argument, but the significance of Common Sense is great- especially for American’s and even Great Britain. Now, it’s not like I’m going to go back and read this again. I am that person who really likes plots and political complaints and demands sort of bore me. But I don’t regret the time I spent reading this because it’s a piece of my history.

Add the fact that you can get it for free and it’s fantastic and worth the read. You really have no excuse now. So hop to it and see how people wrote opinionated papers over two hundred years ago.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Teaser Tuesday- July 12th

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title; author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #3: The Craving
I had vowed to never harm a human again, to never allow a human to come to harm because of me. I was trapped as neatly and as permanently as if I were still a sideshow vampire at a circus, tied with vervain ropes- and Damon knew it.
The Vampire Diaries: Stefan's Diaries #3: The Craving by L.J. Smith, Kevin Williamson & Julie Plec 

Monday, June 27, 2011

Children Book Picks

Two books I've read on my Kindle (which I got for free!) are perfect for parents to read to their children before bedtime.

Charlotte Bronte Herr's children's book The Wise Mamma Goose and Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know were entertainment for me while we were without internet after some severe storms. Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know (which you can get for free on your Kindle and I am assuming for other ereaders) is a nice compact book that really does have all of the classic fairy tales. Many I've read before but some were new to me and enjoyable to pick up. Our culture has fairy tale references sprinkled all over the place so why not have your child be a part of it?

The Wise Mamma Goose is pretty adorable as well. I mean, when I was a kid I got a kick out of any barn yard stories. I don't know why but the idea of chickens and geese being able to talk was exciting to me. I lived for that stuff. This book features some problem solving and a cute pooch to boot.

Then, after work one day, I stopped into a book store and discovered.... Instructions by Neil Gaiman... I can't get enough of Neil Gaiman. Who could? He's a fantastic author and when he reads his books aloud, oh my goodness, he has the perfect reader voice. I won't deny that I was incredibly excited to see he had a new children's book out and even more excited when I discovered it was a guide of sorts for fairy tale adventures. Apparently this was taken from another book? But I don't really care, this is a new publication with beautiful illustrations. It's sort of like the mystical version of Oh! The Places You'll Go but even better because this would have hit home for me as a child. I grew up in some place that was between reality and imagination, everything and anything was possible and I would have devoured a book that essentially helps you along on your magical quests. Tips of where to turn, what to look out for, who to trust and how to defeat the bad things. And you know what is the best thing about it? Many of the stories you'll read in Fairy Tales Every Child Should Know are referred to in this book! It's wonderful, magical, and made me return to my childhood for a brief moment.

Don't believe me? Check out the book trailer and beautiful illustrations.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Green Living

This is old news for some, new for others, but I’m gluten and dairy free due to allergies that I discovered a few years ago. When I decided to stop eating gluten I entered a world that I knew very little about. I started to learn what organic living was about and take a little more care of how I treated myself and the environment around me.

I am by no means completely knowledgeable of green living although I’m happy to say I know a little bit more about the effect we have on the environment now than I did a few years ago and I’m taking active steps towards a better way of life.

I came across Green Living at my favorite used bookstore and figured… why not? A nice concise book discussing all of the different ways you can start to live green. What is living green? I think the best way to describe it is that when you’re living green you make the smallest mark on the environment as you can. You also are essentially not putting anything on or in your body that shouldn’t be there. It’s like the ultimate version of being healthy.

Each topic is broken down into easy chapters- how to have your children live green, how to have a house that is green, what you should and shouldn’t do for bodily cleanser products. The list goes on and to my joy each chapter was easy to read. You just have to keep it simple when I’m a newbie with something. Catch my interest, explain the pros and cons and I’ll likely stick with it.

This book is slightly outdated having been published in 2005. I didn’t become gluten free until 2009 and at that time there was so few organic options in the grocery stores of my area that I had always assumed that ‘green living’ hadn’t really started to get a hold on society until a few years ago. Little did I know that it’s been a pretty strong way of life for many years.

What I read was all generally eye opening. I know the positives to eating healthy but when it comes to all of the other factors in life I’m kind of in the dark. Well, this book certainly helped shed some light on the situations we are living in and adding to.

Despite it being out of date I think it would be a book people should read if they want a quick go-to guide about living green. It also includes helpful companies and websites that can help you on your adventure to having a more environmentally friendly lifestyle. Then take more steps towards a better living and read other books, there are a tong on the subject out there and they’re all worth a chance to check over.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blood and Chocolate

As a teen I read The Silver Kiss and remember being ecstatic and surprised to read a book about vampires that were different than the vampires I was used to (Anne Rice’s and Amelia Atwater Rhodes). I loved her characters and devoured the book, being left wanting more. When I discovered the author had another book out, Blood and Chocolate, I jumped all over it.

Werewolves aren’t my cup of tea. They aren’t a supernatural creature that I was ever a huge fan of but since I loved The Silver Kiss so much I couldn’t help but give this werewolf story a try.

Vivian is a teenager but incredibly mature. That might scare some teens away from the book because the novel isn’t fluffy and fake. The teenagers are realistic, at least in this day and age, with interests in partying, drinking, and sex. The plot spans over the course of the summer months so right now is the perfect time to read it.

Most teenagers find themselves feeling as if they don’t belong. The awkward teenage years where you are changing too fast to keep track, as are the people around you, but this book takes all of these teenage issues to a whole other level. Vivian is a werewolf who can change nearly any time she feels like it but has no other choice during full moons. Her pack is in need of a new leader since her father had died and Vivian is disgusted by the politics of the pack she is a part of. Feeling like an outsider within her pack and also feeling rebellious enough that she wanted to befriend humans.

Befriend humans she did, also acquiring a boyfriend who didn’t know who Vivian really was. Would she be willing to keep from her boyfriend who she really is? Or would she put herself and her pack in danger by revealing herself to him?

The book twists and turns in so many dark ways and I really enjoyed all of the characters. No matter how little they appeared in the books pages you still knew the characters well. You were able to judge the majority of their reactions to different situations and while at times this made it easy to guess what would happen- it still was exciting as the plot weaved about all of its surprises. And they remained that- surprises, because even though you might guess the result you didn’t know how it would happen and you certainly were not ‘sure’ if you were right.

The first time I read this book I was in high school and loved it, flew through it, and wanted more when the book was complete. This time around I found myself without electric due to a tornado and not allowed to do anything because of doctors orders. I have a ton of books to read and yet my eyes landed on this one. Once more I flew through its pages and despite the book being written a number of years ago I felt it was still very much relevant to the present day. Nothing that was in it was outdated and you could easily enough picture it happening today or ten years ago. I like that in a book.

Check back in September to hear about why Blood and Chocolate has been one of the most banned books in the US. 

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

Blood Canticle

The final book in Anne Rice's Vampire Chronicles- the very series that I grew up with and loved so much. The series that helped me step away from childish books and immerse myself into more serious adult material. And... I hated this book. Oh my goodness did I hate this book.

Lestat is back and not better than ever. He had a few quotes here or there that I snickered at but he seems to be running on too much coffee through most of the book. Yes, I had wondered where my self obsessed drama queen was in Blackwood Farm but he really came back with too much of a vengeance in this novel. He's all over the place and obsessing over one then and then the other.

Quinn Blackwood, who is still in this tale, is still relatively the same character that he was in Blackwood Farm which I'm ok with. He's also stopped his rambling of true love and stuff and just seems to be happy to be with Mona so that's an improvement.

Mona Mayfair who is part of this new trio drives me nuts. I actually applaud Lestat for the multiple times he nearly snaps her neck. She was a great character in Blackwood Farm but in this book she cries nearly every time she is in a scene and has the temperament of a two year old. She's insanely annoying and the only time I really enjoyed her being present was when she was quiet. Every time she would open her mouth I'd groan.

Really, this book was all over the place and threw in the Mayfair stories (The Witching Hour, etc are all about the Mayfairs and a separate series until this book where they combine) so that I, a person who had never read the books about the Mayfairs, was totally lost and overwhelmed. Not only that but I found myself not really caring. I'm here for vampires! I'm here to find out what happened to all of my beloved characters! Where is my Louis? Where is David? Where are the rest of the vampires that I have loved over the past ten books?

This book, like I said, is the final book in the series so I expected some type of wrap up since I wouldn't be receiving 'updates' in further novels and I never received that. When I first started to read this book I was taking my time, moving very slow, simply because I wasn't really enjoying it. Then, after the book sat on my desk for two weeks without being touched I became determined to just finish it and get it over with. So I spent a Sunday speeding through the rest of the book and literally sighed when it came to a close.

If a reader of The Vampire Chronicles wasn't to read this book they really wouldn't be missing out on much. So... it's up to you if you want to sit through this book. I love Anne Rice, I love her Vampire Chronicles, but this book just kills me. I've read it twice now. The first time while I was in High School and it had just published and now during this year. I don't plan on reading it again.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Blackwood Farm

The second to last book in The Vampire Chronicles which introduces the vampire Quinn. Let me just say... I find him adorable. The first time I read the book I recall being a little bored here or there while Quinn tells his entire life story but I still really liked him as a character. He's sweet, polite, and just... so adorable. He's probably the least threatening vampire that has ever shown up in the Chronicles.

Of course, he tells all of this to Lestat who is moving about again after he was awoken during the end of the book Merrick, and I find Lestat to almost seem like himself in this tale. Although, maybe he's a little too quiet. Because Lestat certainly just sits back and lets Quinn tell his story without trying to draw attention to himself. I mean, come now, this is The Brat Prince we're talking about. He's such a drama queen and needs to be center stage. Maybe after his trip to Heaven and Hell he's grown some patience?

Quinn is not associated with any of the vampire's previously mentioned in the Chronicles so his story is completely separate from the rest. A brand new vampire who is only in his early twenties, his tale is much more modern day then the ones in the past, but in many ways I found I could relate to him more in that way because I understood the time period he lived in.

Quinn has a bit of a problem though- a creature, similar to a ghost, has followed him since childhood. This creature, named Goblin, has always been protective of Quinn and somewhat sweet but upon Quinn becoming a vampire Goblin took on darker characteristics. He needed the blood Quinn took and he became violent to even the people Quinn cared for- something he had not done previously.

Quinn approaches Lestat with hope that Lestat would provide help in getting rid of Goblin. Lestat agrees to help and affectionately calls Quinn Little Brother. I can't help but feel that maybe Lestat will do better at being friends with Quinn because he isn't one of Lestat's fledglings. None the less, Lestat tries his best to provide help in the form of Merrick Mayfair. She's only there very briefly and the decision of what to do with Goblin is quickly made and acted out with surprising results. I'm somewhat disappointed in how little we see of vampire Merrick without her being a panicked mess as she was at the end of Merrick. She seemed a little bit more like she was as a mortal which I enjoyed but... then she was out of the picture. So I never had the chance to enjoy her.

Also enter Mona Mayfair- the soul mate to Quinn. She seemed interesting enough during this book and I enjoyed her character although the 'love at first sight' that she and Quinn experience kind of drives me up a wall. It was just too much and too dramatic. I kept telling Quinn to shut up as he ranted and raved about how much he loved and needed Mona despite that he had literally only just met her. That was a little overkill, I won't lie.

In comparison to the earlier books of The Vampire Chronicles this wasn't a strong but like I said, I really did enjoy Quinn as a character and I appreciated how he fought to keep some form of normalcy with his mortal family despite now being a vampire. He almost makes it appear easy while characters in the earlier books didn't quite find it so easy.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Blog Hop June 3rd!

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
“Share your favorite post from the last month and tell us why it’s close to your heart!”

This past week has had a lot of ups and downs. It's been incredibly stressful and is now, hopefully, starting to calm down. So this question was a little hard for me because so many of my entries were written through a general stressed haze.

I flipped through the past months posts and I came upon my post about The Family by Mario Puzo. Even though it's been awhile since I finished reading that book I still think of it regularly. I really loved every page of it and the love between Lucrezia and Cesare. My obsession has also been bumped up due to the Showtime series, I'm sure. I can't wait until the second season comes out! I think if a book sticks with me for weeks after I read it, it's a pretty good book. The same goes for the tv show!


A lot of people are graduating from High School this weekend. It's making me nostalgic of when I graduated (Class of 2004!) and of course my more recent college graduation.

So with that, if you happen to be graduating from High School or getting your degree:
You've reached a fantastic achievement in life. Live it up and enjoy every moment!

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

The Hunger Games: Mockingjay

This post is going to possibly be riddled with spoilers so proceed with caution. 

When Catching Fire ended I was in an uproar of "Where is Peeta!?!?! DID SOMEONE SAVE PEETA!?!?!" as was Katniss. For a long while, like... the first four chapters... I kept telling myself that surely they were fooling me and Peeta was in District 13 and completely safe. But... well we all know about that (if you've read the book, I mean).

Peeta is finally 'saved' and completely nuts and... ugh. It broke my heart. The golden boy with the bread reduced to this cruel thing. But it gives you more depth to his character and you become even more attached to him as he struggles to overcome his obstacles while so often he was seen to be liked by everyone.

I thought Collins made really strong characters in all of her other books but in Mockingjay she seemed to really twist them around and make you know every fiber of their beings. You thought you knew the characters beforehand, but you didn't, not really. Characters I once disliked I liked by the end of this book, others that I had liked I grew cautious of, and many I was heartbroken over.

Collins really doesn't hold back. You think she's willing to go to any great heights in the first two books but this one, wow. She really is ruthless. But how could she not be? The very series is about the revolution of a land. Revolutions are generally not happy or clean or bloodless. The very subject matter calls for destruction and death and Collins is sure to bring it. No one is safe and I was near tears through out an assortment of scenes.

Katniss sort of falls apart but... I try not to judge too harshly because looking at the broad spectrum these characters have gone through a lot. Post-traumatic stress disorder, anyone? I expect the characters to kind of fall from grace after everything that's occurred and that certainly happens. Maybe I didn't like it so much, the falls from grace and this final book combined, but I think it was really necessary for the author to write in this way.

I won't say who died... but allow me to say that it pulled at my heart strings and the damn Hanging Tree song was stuck in my head for days after I finished the book. The ending wrapped everything up as nicely as it could despite what had happened during the course of the past three books and I was glad that Katniss had her final stand, so to speak.

While this was certainly my least favorite of the books it was still well written and I found it so hard to put it down. This series finally makes YA literature something worth reading again. The genre was destroyed by fangirling of many poorly written books but this series really gives hope for the future of the YA genre. A movie is being made based off of the books and while I have a mixture of feelings about Hollywood having to turn every book into a movie... I am sort of excited to see it develop.

This series is worth the read whether you're a teenager or an adult, male or female, and I promise you that. Go out to the store and pick up all three now, not just the first book. but all three. Because you will fly through each book and crave the next until you have it in your possession.

Monday, May 30, 2011

The Hunger Games: Catching Fire

I read The Hunger Games (book 1) a couple of years ago before the following two books were available. I adored the book, was totally sucked into the plot, fell deeply in love with the characters, and was eager to find out what happened next.

The original book kept me on my toes and I never really knew what was going to happen. But Catching Fire blew me out of the water. This book just didn’t stop. Everywhere you looked there was a new shocking piece of information, a new shocking plot twist, and I was clinging on to the ride with wide eyes and my jaw dropped.

Now picture this: I’m at tutor and where I work I sit at a table with another tutor. She and I entertain ourselves until a student comes along who needs help. How do I typically entertain myself? I read. Catching Fire was read at work during slow points and obsessively so. I slumped down in my chair, the book getting closer and closer to my face as I quickly read over each page, and occasionally I’d slam my Kindle down and gasp, “Oh my gosh I can’t believe that just happened!” That’s how the entire book went for me. Continuously I would be flailing over what I was reading and then I’d dive deeper into the book, speed-reading my way forward so I could see what would happen. It’s just that great.

Spoilers from this point on:
Peeta was always my favorite character. While I enjoyed Katniss because she’s a tough female in a world where YA female characters are always dependent on others, she takes charge and makes rash decisions. She gets angry and impulsive and maybe emotional every now and then, but she’s brave. She’s tough. And I would not want to get on her bad side. But Peeta? Peeta has always been my favorite and always been the character I feel I would get along with. I just friggen love him. Gale? Eh, he’s ok. When I first read The Hunger Games I had been unsure of Peeta through most of it. I didn't know if I could trust him or not but, if I were to trust him, I liked him. Once I knew that the trust was earned I really began to enjoy him.

But the relationship between Peeta and Katniss had me, once more, so on edge. I shipped these two so much and they seemed to really progress during this book. They became so much closer to one another and I just wanted Katniss to realize that she loved Peeta!

The fact that the book took such a twist as to bring all of the victors into the Hunger Games once more threw me so much. The creatures in the game, the ever changing arena, it was a mess and I didn't know what was coming next. But isn't that the great thing about a well written book? The author gives nothing away and all that you do, all that you guess, you're still surprised by the end.

I flew through this book as quickly as I could (despite that I did, after all, have work to contend with). As mentioned in an early post during this month... my life kind of threw up in my face. A lot of drama happened all at once and I was very unsteady and unstable. This book served as such a great distraction. For the first time in weeks I was completely immersed in another world and I had a break from the troubles my real life had given me. It gave my brain a chance to relax for a bit and concentrate on something else.

So, rock on Hunger Games, rock on Catching Fire. I won't lie- I think I liked this book more than the first and it killed me when it ended... however, I was lucky because I had Mockingjay waiting for me and I started it immediately after.

Friday, May 27, 2011

Blog Hop- May 27th

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
"What book-to-movie adaption have you most liked? Which have you disliked?"

Oh boy. Generally I go into the movie theater with this huge expectations for book-to-films. I mean, why would I see the film version if I didn't love the book? So I'm already going in there with this idea that, "This is my favorite book. I love this character, I love that scene, I love this line. I EXPECT IT ALL TO BE THERE." and of course, I'm usually disappointed.

The Lord of the Rings trilogy did a pretty decent job of going from book to film. I mean, those books are incredibly long and yet they were still pretty spot on. I don't believe they would have been able to include everything simply because had they, the already three hour long films would have been even lengthier.

The same goes for Harry Potter. I love all of the films and I promise you I will be a crying mess when I leave the theater after the last film is released. I really enjoy the books and the movies.

Last but not least, Atonement's book-to-film adaptation was beautifully done and I cried while both reading the book and seeing the movie.

What have I disliked? In all honesty, I thought the film versions of Under the Tuscan Sun and Practical Magic were better than the books. The film version of Blood and Chocolate was pretty bad. I know there are more that left me raging but I can't think of them.

It's been an active week in my neck of the woods. I live in Pennsylvania, kind of the middle/east end of the state, and we've had insane weather as of late! Three tornadoes on Monday, a tornado warning last night, and a storm that was so intense that it blew over trees and knocked out the power for six hours. Now, I already live in the country so it's pretty dark out once the sun goes down. But when the few street lights we have go out it is black outside. I couldn't believe how dark it was!

Luckily, no one has been hurt or killed due to the storms in my area. My heart goes out to the mid west and all those involved in the horrible storms recently.

This past week I've jumped back into book reviewing with a vengeance. Please check out:
The Loud Book and The Quiet Book
Teaser Tuesday
The Wise Owl Bookstore

Have a great Memorial Day weekend everyone!!
Thank you to all who have served in our military.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011

The Wise Owl Bookstore

May 15th I awoke to a gloomy day, as has been common since April 1st in Pennsylvania, but for once it didn't cause my mood to turn sour. I was off to the opening of a new bookstore so really, how could I not be cheerful?

In the city of Reading, PA there is the artsy Penn Avenue. For anyone who might be passing through I urge you to check this out for all of the unique little shops and the brand new store The Wise Owl Bookstore. Quaint and relaxing, you can stop in and browse for a wide range of books that are new or gently used.

I have the pleasure of knowing the owner and she's a really awesome woman who is bringing the relaxation of a legitimate bookstore to an area where there is only the mainstream booksellers.

On Sunday I was not only there for the bookstore opening but the chance to be able to attend Raymond Rose's booksigning. You can check out more details of Ray's books Better Together and The Fire Inside. He is also one of the creators of the company Christopher Williams Books.

I've sworn I will not purchase anymore books until I finish reading the ones I already own so unfortunately I didn't get anything at the bookstore but that doesn't mean I wasn't drooling over a slew of books that the store had. So tempting to buy each and every one of them. So maybe it's best that I've sworn off buying books for the moment because it gives all of you a chance to stop into The Wise Owl Bookstore and buy books for yourselves!

But in all honesty, this store is something new and exciting in the area. Something that is definitely needed. I fear that people are forgetting how comforting a bookstore can be because they're so used to Borders or Barnes and Noble but now the people within the Reading, PA region have an opportunity to be reminded of the pleasures that an indie bookshop can give. So check it out if/when you are in the area!

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Teaser Tuesday, May 24

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should be Reading and it asks us to...

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

Green Living: The E Magazine Handbook for Living Lightly on the EarthIncreasingly, perfumes and fragranced products are being blamed for contributing to health problems such as asthma, migraines, neurotoxic effects, and upper respiratory irritation. That's because although perfumes were once distilled simply from flower essences, today's fragrances are complex mixtures of more than 4,000 chemicals, 84 percent of which have never been tasted for safety.
Green Living by the Editors of E

Monday, May 23, 2011

The Loud Book and The Quiet Book

These complimentary children’s books are adorable and fun with lightly colored artwork and cute animal characters. The Quiet Book discusses ‘quiet’ moments, good and bad, all of which a child can experience while The Loud Book reflects many of those moments (once again, good and bad ‘loud’ moments).

What I really enjoyed about the two books were the characters. I’m always a sucker for artwork in picture books that is either simple or detailed but all around good. But also, it’s how unique this book is that grabs my attentions. How many of us can make a list of different types of ‘quiet’ or ‘loud’ moments? Enough to fill a book? I doubt it. While reading the books I was nodding my head and snickering to myself, “Yes that is definitely one kind of quiet.” And of course the situations apply to children. When you get in trouble, when relatives come to visit, when you are at school. I feel that they too will go, “Oh, I know what type of loud that is.”

Look at this as a little study into the different feelings in our lives, something that is completely overlooked or not thought much of. But it’s there, those quiet moments that seem… loud and so many more.

They’re separate books but I would suggest buying both books at once. The Quiet Book was the first published (April 2010) but The Loud Book (published just last month) is such a great follow up you just have to have it.

Friday, May 20, 2011

Blog Hop and a General Update

Blog Hop:
Book Blogger Hop

This Weeks Question:
"If you were given the chance to spend one day in a fictional world (from a book), which book would it be from and what would that place be?"

I legit muttered a curse under my breath when I read this question. This is, quite possibly, the hardest question I've tried to answer during my time with the weekly Blog Hop. What fictional world would I want to be in? I don't even know. There are so many stories, so many plots, that I fall in love with and wish I could be a part of. But then there is always the negative aspect of that world where I think, I'm not so sure about this. But lets take this seriously for a moment. What world would I want to be in? I love the world of Harry Potter, which I suspect will be a popular answer. Preferably one of the early books before the real battles began. The same goes for Lord of the Rings. The Fellowship of the Ring, which I think would be my final answer, always sounded so... pretty to me. Rivendell was my favorite location in the books. It sounded so beautiful. There are always parts of each season that are beautiful and dreary. Whether it's the muddy rainy days of spring or the dead-looking portions of winter. There are moments where it seems the seasons are almost magical and others where I feel the magic has slipped away. To me, Rivendell sounds like a place where the magical qualities of each season is what makes up the year. Plus I was always a big fan of the elves from Lord of the Rings.

So, there is my answer. If I were to spend a day in a fictional world it would be a day spent in Rivendell during the period that The Fellowship of the Ring took place.

I want to apologize to my readers. As mentioned a few posts ago I had to put my cat down on the 4th. It was sudden and very much unexpected. I've also been dealing with a couple of other dramatics of life and it's been very hard to get myself to do normal day-to-day functions. Only last week did I finally pick up a book and begin to read again and enjoy it. I'm slowly crawling out of the hole I've been in.

I will not be accepting any books from local or self published authors until I've caught up on the ones that have already been mailed to me. I'm sorry.

Also, if anyone is interested in being a guest on my blog please email me at it would be a great help in keeping this blog active while I get my life back together!

And finally, I do have a few reviews that I need to write. Hopefully I'll have them up during the course of the next week!

Monday, May 16, 2011

Eighth Scroll

I was given the opportunity to read Laurence B Brown’s novel The Eighth Scroll and readily dove into it. The book, filled with mystery, plot, government cover ups, religious ideas and murders is not what I typically go for when looking for a book to read. It’s the type of plot that I am most unfamiliar with so beginning this book I was certainly entering a world and storyline that was foreign to me. Immediately, the language Brown uses in this book grabbed hold of me. When reading novels, you must understand that there is a lengthy list of what will draw my interest. Subject matter, plot, character development, dialogue, description. How else can all of these topics be obtained without the use of language? Brown, an opthalmic surgeon, is skilled in describing the actions of the body. I truly found that the most fascinating, how the characters moved and their bodies reacted to physical contact, and also how he described the act of fighting.

The Eighth Scroll itself is a novel that travels through time, following the Dead Sea Scrolls and depicting how dangerous such important religious documents can be. Quickly you are brought into the Hansen family and get a detailed portrait of how the father and son team interact with one another. They go to help one of Gerald Hansen’s colleagues on an archeological find but are shocked to find the colleague mysteriously dead before their first full day at the location. Little do they realize they’ve been sucked into a world where the CIA, the Vatican, and so many others are after the Dead Sea Scrolls and willing to kill whomever they can before anyone learns of their existence.

This turns into a life long chase for the Hansens, if only they were to leave the mysterious ‘find’ from the dig alone, they would be safe, but it’s all too tempting and they’re drawn in. Years later Hansen’s son Michael decides to get to the bottom of the mystery of the scrolls. He travels through the world and meets an assortment of different characters, some nice, some not so much, and eventually obtains the scrolls for himself. Seeing what they have written suddenly makes it all clear- this is a reason why so many people have invested such security on whether or not these are found. But now it’s too late and Michael’s life (and many others) is at stake.

The Eighth Scroll is fast moving and filled with twists and turns. It hops from location to location, character to character, but all of the plots are easily interwoven and complete in a nice way. There were many moments where I wanted to know what was going to happen next and was eager to get to the next page. Mystery thrillers are not a genre that I go after. I’m very unfamiliar with their layout and generally become lost in even televisions that cater to such a topic. But I happily stuck with this story and followed it through, I understood what was going on but it was still written in a way that not everything was given away to the reader. You had to keep going to figure out what was around the next turn.

You can check out a copy of this book at Barnes and Noble or Amazon.

Wednesday, May 11, 2011

Blood and Flowers

As a preteen I went through a faery phase. Any book about faeries I could get my hands on I would devour. And at that time, during the early 2000's, there weren't many faery books available. In fact, I feel there wasn't so much of a prominent YA market as there is today. Granted this is based on personal opinion but it is what I remember.

Now I don't particularly like to admit this and it's a rare occasion when I do, but I'm an adult. I am no longer the preteen with sparkling fantasies. Faeries, other than those directly related to Shakespeare or folktales, don't hold the same fascination for me as they once did.

So it is with that I begin a less than stellar review... This YA novel didn't engage me. I couldn't find myself getting connected with any of the characters, and I was left looking for more plot, more description, more... everything. A lot goes on in this book and there is potential for some big plots. However, each plot is quickly taken care of.

The story follows the Outlaws, a theatrical troupe who end up in the land of Faery. I felt somewhat unprepared for this journey and feel it was rushed. I, as the reader, should have been knowledgable of everything in this story. Ok, maybe saying 'everything' is unfair. Of course a writer should have certain elements hidden but I was lost when I began this book. Where were the characters? How did they know of faeries? Even the backstories of many of the characters is not mentioned- only hinted at. I feel there was more potential for these characters to be characters I adore and cheer on but that simply was not possible with the information given.

In general, there was more time spent talking about the productions they were going to be putting on and the work they did leading up to the shows then anything about characteristics and plot. Now, I'm a supporter of the arts. I love theater and all it involves. I've worked with stage crews and I've performed on a stage. I know that there is a lot that goes into a production and it was nice to have a YA book highlight all the work that is involved. But it left me wanting more for the story itself.

I enjoy most YA books because they're quick reads that don't overwhelm me. Generally I am easy to please when it comes to these books but every once in awhile, I feel my age. I read a YA book that I can't follow and do not join due to it's simplicity. This, unfortunately, was one of those books.

The book may very well be more appropriate for a young teen but for this 24 year old the entertainment was lost on me.

Monday, May 9, 2011

The Life of Cesare Borgia

Continuing with my new obsession of the Borgia family I happily grabbed Rafael Sabatini's biography of one of my favorite Borgia family members and devoured it over the course of a Friday night (a glass of wine was included in this adventure).

I had just finished reading The Family when I dove into a more factual telling of Cesare's life. However, I was pleasantly surprised that when Mario Puzo wrote The Family he really did stick to the facts of what happened to Cesare as he grew up and conquered so many lands. Sabantini is straight to the point with each important event that occurred during Cesare's life however he makes sure to also include all of the rumors that surrounded the family.

Now, if you do not know of the Borgia family, allow me to mention once more that this family was forever being followed by tales that completely conflict one another. Many times the supposive 'crimes' that the Borgia's committed were never true or at the very least suspected not to be. This family was powerful and this family, much like anyone with power, had a lot of enemies. If you were to have an enemy would you not suspect them to try and destroy you in any way possible? So why not use what you can against that whom you want to destroy?

So much of the more terrible things that Cesare Borgia and his family 'did' are suspected to be nasty rumors derived by their enemies and Sabatini makes it pretty clear that all negative talk about the family was just that- rumors. Sabatini does a great job knocking down every single rumor that was mentioned with a list of arguments that left me, as the reader, thinking "How could people believe these rumors in the first place?"

I'm partial to any information about Cesare and his relationship with Lucrezia. I am an only child and have fantasized that if I had a sibling we would be incredibly close to one another and I feel that these two siblings embodied that love. (No, not incest, head out of the gutter, please). However, there was very little mention about Lucrezia other than when something in her life directly affected Cesare himself. But, this is the life of Cesare so I guess it makes sense and if I want to learn more about their friendship I'll have to look elsewhere.

The fact is that I felt I got as much information about Cesare Borgia and his history as I could within this book. It did what it was made to do: Inform me on this man who was said to be incredibly handsome and filled with determination. If you are interested in the Borgia family and would like to know more about my favorite Borgia guy, I suggest you get thee to a bookstore or amazon and get this book.