Jen's Christmas- Shirley, Goodness, & Mercy

November 29, 2010

Shirley, Goodness, & Mercy
By: Debbie Macomber

Shirley, Goodness, & Mercy are Angels who have been given the case of Greg Bennett. Between abandoning his girlfriend upon finding out she's pregnant, to declining to give his friend the money to possibly save his wife's life, to not being there when his Mom dies Greg has had a rough life. Can he turn it all around?

This is the first book I've read from Debbie Macomber and I'm sorry this was the one chosen. My biggest issue with it was how unrealistic the resolution was. There was a LOT of build up as to why a deep hatred exists for several of the characters. There was a LOT of time to show why Greg is in need of redemption. However, there was NO getting to see it all happen. Literally one chapter he's hated and given the chance to do something selfless that would set the balls in motion. The next chapter, he's already done it and, once everyone finds out, they forgive and forget. I'm all for the happy ending and forgiveness, but this was a bit fast for me.

I think the problem is that the book is really short. My copy was a large print copy I found at the library, and it was only 110 pages. The way the story unfolded was a bit unbalanced. I would have made sense if the book was abridged, but it wasn't. This book wasn't a great one, but I haven't given up. I'm going to start reading another one with these 3 Angels and see if it's better.
I'm hoping it is.

Rating: Borrow From The Library

Jen's Christmas- A Christmas Carol

A Christmas Carol
By: Charles Dickens

What's Christmas reading without one of the most famous Christmas books of all? I read this book several years ago, and have decided I need to read it every year at Christmas time. For me, this book truly reminds me that Christmas spirit and the importance of Christmas is not depended on money. It isn't about how fancy or plentiful your decorations are. It isn't about how many presents you get or receive. No, it's about being with those you love and being truly grateful for that.

The Tiny Tim storyline is a little sad, but I found comfort in knowing all turns out well. My favorite part is still the final chapter, when Scrooge awakens to Christmas day a new man. I love reading his joy and excitement that was never there before. I also loved seeing how people in that time period spent Christmas. There were no presents, or few of them. There were lots of people coming together the enjoy whatever food there was and each other.

If you haven't read it before, I encourage you to. It's a quick read that is well worth it. May it touch your heart and soul like it has for so many others. Like Tiny Tim says, "God Bless us, Every One!"

Jen's Christmas- The Muppet Christmas Carol

November 28, 2010

We all have traditions that we do during the holidays. One of mine is to watch Christmas movies. One of my all time favorite Christmas movies is...

I grew up on the Muppets! I loved their TV show and several of their movies. So, when this movie was made it was thoroughly embraced by me. While I lived with my parents my Mom & I would make popcorn and watch it. That's when the Christmas season officially began in our house. I still watch it every Christmas.

They do a great job of telling the story. I love how some of the dialogue is taken from the book. Micheal Cane is an amazing Scrooge. Gonzo plays the narrator of the story and does a great job at it. My Christmas would not be complete without watching this movie!!

The Picture of Dorian Gray (Journey Through The Classics)

November 26, 2010

The Picture of Dorian Gray
By: Oscar Wilde

Once I finished the book, the first word out of my mouth was, "Wow". I can't remember the last time a book had me on such a roller coaster ride. The first half of the book in no way prepared me for the second half. I just didn't see the turn of events in the story coming. I went from think the book was odd to thinking the book was incredible.

When Dorian Gray sits for his picture to be painted he has no idea how his life will change. While the painting is being done he becomes friends with the painter, Basil, and a man named Lord Henry. During their conversation Dorian makes a comment about hoping to stay young looking forever and let the picture age instead. Well, it happens and unleashes more than Dorian bargained for.

Dorian becomes a heartless man. He falls for an actress and propses marriage to her. When he brings his 2 friends to her play in order to see her, her acting is horrible. After the play ends he promptly dumps her. The next morning Dorian learns she killed herself. The painting slightly changes, but noticeably so. From then on, as Dorian ruins one life after another, in one form or another, the painting continues to alter. Dorian turns to blackmail and murder- all of which show in the painting. When Dorian finally decides to destroy the painting that haunts him, he is the one found dead on the floor looking old and wrinkled while the painting shows the youthful man who posed for it.

While reading this book I went from not understanding why The Picture of Dorian Gray was considered a classic, to thinking the story was strangely entrancing. By the time I was reading the second half I couldn't wait to find out what else happened. So many things occured that I didn't see coming. All I can say it, "Wow". I have a hard time doing justice to the book, or my reaction to it. It was a great read.

Christmas Reading Request!!!

November 21, 2010

Attention all bloggers, readers, & book lovers!!! I need help. I want to start reading Christmas themed books, but not the same ones I always see. If you have a recommendation or suggestion, please leave a comment below because I would LOVE to hear it. I appreciate all the help you can give me. If you heard of a good book, or read a good Christmas book tell me about it! Thank you so much!!

The Christmas Cookie Club

November 18, 2010

Ann Pearlman
The Christmas Cookie Club

I read this book last year and loved it! Once a year a group of women get together. Each brings cookies that they hand made. They share the cookies and why the cookie is special to them. I loved this aspect of it. It made me want to have a Christmas cookie party- which I may try to do this year. Each chapter is a cookie and the story of the woman who made the cookie. And each chapter includes the recipe so you can make the cookies , too, if you like.

I loved reading this book. I loved the idea of people coming together in the name of cookies!! I hope you give it a try and enjoy as much as I did. Maybe you'll even find a cookie recipe you like, too!

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much...

November 16, 2010

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
By: Allison Hoover Bartlett
258 Pages

Gilkey is a man who steals rare books. A career criminal he used fraud to get most of the books, but he never sold them. What drove him to steal such rare books? Ken Sanders, self proclaimed "bibliodick", wants to know. He also wants to know where the books are. This is the story of the book thief and the man who caught him. The author claims Gilkey stole the books because he loved them. Or did he steal them for show?

I was very disappointed with this book. I couldn't wait for my library to get this book in so I could plunge right into it. I started reading this book with such high hopes, and none of them came true. I don't think Gilkey stole the books he stole because he loved them. He wanted to be envied by others and he wanted the status he felt they would give.

The book was very choppy and disorganised in it's re-telling of the events. It took awhile to finally get the ball rolling, but once it did you didn't get much farther. The book would focus on Gilkey for a bit and then switch to Sanders. By the time you went back to one of them you might need to be refreshed as to where you left off.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much had such potential to be a really good read and I'm disappointed it wasn't. You just bounced around from here to there.

Rating: Return It/ Borrow From The Library

And My Magic Number Is...

November 15, 2010

In 1990 I wrote my first song. I've been doing so off and on ever since. Once I fill up a notebook it gets stored in a storage bin- and I'm currently on my second bin. Well, I've been curious for awhile to see how many I've written. So, I finally tallied them all up. I wasn't expecting the number I reached. In fact, I had someone else double check my math because I didn't trust that I did it right. Turns out did. Here's my magic number...


Playing The Game

November 14, 2010

Playing The Game
By: Barbara Taylor Bradford
385 Pages

Annette Remmington, a London art consultant and private dealer, is at the top of her game. She is considered a rising star in the international world of art, and has a roster of wealthy clients who trust her judgment and her business acumen. Her success reaches new heights when a rare and long lost Rembrandt finds its way into her hands, which she restores and sells for top dollar. Called the auction of the year, Annette becomes the most talked about art dealer in the world.
Annette is married to her mentor and personal champion, the much older Marius Remmington. For twenty years, Marius has groomed her into the international art star that she has become, not to mention saving her from a dark and gritty past. She is his pride and joy, and as her best advisor, it’s with great care that he hand picks only the best journalist possible to do a profile on his beloved wife in a popular London Sunday newspaper. Jack Chalmers is a bit of a celebrity himself, becoming one of the top journalists of his time. Marius believes only he will be able to capture the true brilliance of his lovely wife. But Marius never intends to put his marriage in jeopardy. How could he have known that the connection between Jack and Annette would ignite so many secrets? And how could he know that Jack would uncover a scandal that could ultimately destroy them all?

I've been a fan of Barbara Taylor Bradford for years. However, her latest books have all been part of a series that I had become disenchanted with. So, as excited as I was to read this book, I started it with some trepidation. Was it going to be good? I'm happy to say Playing the Game exceeded all my expectations. I loved reading this book! After a few less than great books, I dare say Barbara Taylor Bradford is back!!!

I'm not really an art fan, but I loved the art plot line. Discovering what paintings were fake and who was involved with them was a blast. Throughout the book you discover some methods people employ to create fake art and sell it as real. It blows my mind that people would do such incredible things at the risk of getting caught.

The main character, Annette, was a wonderful character to read. She survived a horribly abusive childhood and made a success of her life. She had a remarkable grave that carried her through truly tough times. She spent her life protecting and looking after her sister, Laurie. The two of them found happiness and a future in the world of art.

Annette's husband, Marius, was a character I disliked right off the bat. I had a feeling he was involved in the forgeries, but looked forward to finding out exactly how. Learning how far back and the lengths of his manipulation with Annette was disturbing, but not shocking. He's one of those loathsome characters that no matter what bad thing they've done, it doesn't surprise you.

My favorite aspect of this book was the art storyline. As I said, I've never been a huge art fan, so that says something. You know it's a good book and a good author when they can sweep you up in something you normally wouldn't be swept up in.

Rating: Buy It/ Borrow From the Library

Library Stalking!!

November 12, 2010

I found this book at the bookstore. Being broke and all, I wasn't able to buy it. So I did the next best thing, I checked to see if my library had it. They did and I put a request in for it. And now I'm anxiously waiting for....

In the late 1990s, John Gilkey stole his way through a significant number of expensive antiquarian book collections. Ken Sanders, a book collector and security chair for the Antiquarian Booksellers' Association, noticed the pattern of thefts and began pursuing Gilkey, whose obsession with his precious old books led him to commit a flurry of other crimes—stealing credit cards and forging checks. Bartlett opens up the quirky world of book collecting fanatics with respect but occasionally too much adulation—a perspective that Judith Brackley is guilty of in her more effusive moments. But on the whole, Brackley's enthusiasm is welcome; she excels when exploring the minutiae and arcana of the book collecting subculture and executes the male voices well, with a clear distinction and depth.

Doesn't this book sound sooo interesting?! The cover is what first caught me, then the title had my curious. By the time I finished reading the summary I knew I had to read it. Luckily, my library had it. I can't wait to get my hands on it!!

Auntie Mame

November 7, 2010

Auntie Mame
By: Patrick Dennis
292 Pages

Mame is a wealthy woman who knows everyone and who's life is one big party. That is until her brother dies and leaves his 10 year old son, Patrick, to her. Mame has her own way of doing things, but you can't help falling in love with her.

This book was one of my used bookstore gems. I've seen the Lucille Ball movie of the book, but I've never read the book, so I was looking forward to reading it. This book didn't disappoint. It was so much fun to enter into the madcap world that is Mame's life. By the time I finished the book I was in love with Mame and all her craziness. We could all use a little Mame in our lives.

How do you do justice when describing Mame? She's a madcap, crazy lady who lives her life by her rules and doesn't care what anyone else thinks. When Patrick enters her life, she immediately embraces him and taking care of him. Together they go on a crazy journey called life and grow up together.

The book is perfectly titled. The best part of the book is Mame. Reading all the things she does and how she handles what life throws at her is great. When she loses all her money in the Great Depression she's forced to get a job. Reading how she handles this is hilarious! The list of jobs she works attempts is equal to the amount of laughs they bring you. Upon marrying her husband she goes down to Texas to meet his family- including the woman he was engaged to prior to Mame. That is full of hilarity. Mame claims to be a thorough horse rider, but scrambles for ways out of having to prove it. When she does have to, you will enjoy the ride.

By the time the book ends you can't help but love Mame. I'm trying not to give too much away. I'm also trying not to give away all the funny parts. Each chapter is one adventure and they will have you laugh. I know this review is hardly doing the book justice, but it was a great book!

Review: Borrow From the Library/Buy It!

Playing the Game (Library Stalking)

November 5, 2010

I'm checking their website several time a day in the hopes that it comes in...

Barbara Taylor Bradford's newest release is out & I'm not so patiently waiting my turn for it. If I were on my computer I would be able to include a summary of the plot, but Hubby's computer is REALLY temperamental.

Why I almost didn't vote...

November 3, 2010

Ok, this about sums it up!!

I am the first to admit, that I haven't voted the last several years. I could not bring myself to cast a vote for people I didn't think I could trust to do the job. I always felt that my right to vote wasn't fought for so that I could cast a meaningless vote. I refuse to do the eeinie, meenie, minie, mo thing when it comes to voting.

The biggest issue I have about politicians is, probably, the same most have: I don't trust them. In the past, so many spent their campaigns making promises that never came true. The other issue I have is with the mud-slinging. Bashing your opponents does NOT show me how capable you are. In fact, nothing will cost you my vote faster than bashing others. I want to know what you're going to do if you get the job. I don't care to know what so and so did. We have to focus our attention on the present and the future, let the past alone.

Between not having the time to research the opponents and all the propositions, and taking care of 2 little girls I thought my chances of voting were slim. However, I looked over the ballots and felt compelled to vote on a few. I didn't vote for everything, but I did vote for things I felt really drawn to. Whether my votes won out in the end, I don't know. I'm just glad I did voted.

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