Library Love

January 25, 2012

I grew up in libraries. As a child, I loved the trips I got to take to my city's library. To this day, I still, get the tingles whenever I go into a library. Can you imagine what it would be like to walk through these libraries?! All I can say is, "WOW!!!"

This is the inside of the National Library of Ottawa, Canada.
Book  my ticket, cause I'm ready to travel to the North.

University of Toronto's Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library
Give me some chocolate & I'm in good to go.

I would love, love, love to roam these libraries. My dream vacation would be to visit all sorts of beautiful bookstores and libraries. Who's with  me?

Can I Move In?

January 19, 2012

A bookstore located in Buenos Aries

When I saw this picture, my knees went weak. I'm not going to lie, it was love at first sight. 3 stories of nothing but books?! Can I move in?

The Christmas Village

January 17, 2012

The Christmas Village
By: Melissa Ann Goodwin
189 Pages

Jamie Reynolds and his Mom are spending Christmas with his Grandparents. His Dad has lost a lot of people's money and left, Jamie's best friend has told him they can't be friends anymore. Jamie is ready for an escape and he gets it in the form of his Grandmother's Christmas Village.

Jamie is full of hurt, anger, and confusion. All he wants is to go somewhere that no one knows what his Dad has done. He thought he found it in Bell's Crossing, where his Grandparents live. However, one trip to the General Store proves otherwise. More and more he wishes he could be live in the 1937 replica village of Canterbury his Grandmother puts out every Christmas. One night the village comes to life. When he sees one of the skaters on the pond fall in, he tries to help her. Next thing he knows, he's right there in the village.

He's immediately embraced as the hero who saves little Kelly Pennysworth's life. He becomes best friends with her and her brother, Christopher. He's welcomed by the whole village, with the exception of the unwelcome former resident, Jim Gordon. Jim was hit hard by the Depression and has never been the same since. An overheard conversation has Jamie learning Jim mistreated his wife and is not welcome back by most of the town. Another overheard conversation has Jamie hearing Jim threatened harm to his baby, Emilie. As time counts down to Christmas Eve, and Jamie feels the urgency to get back home he's forced to play hero one more time. Can he do it and still get back home? Will he ever get back home?

The Christmas Village is so good. I can easily see myself reading this every year at Christmas. From the start to finish, I was glued. I was torn between wanting to keep reading and not wanting to finish the book. The twists at the end were amazing- my head is still trying to make sense of it all.

I've always been one of those people who were drawn to Christmas Villages. I always imagined lives behind the statues and thought how wonderful it would be to be part of it all. Melissa Ann Goodwin has turned that fantasy to life and did a remarkable job at it. It was a privilege to read this book, and I encourage everyone to read it. Well done, Melissa. I look forward to her future books with eager anticipation.

Rating: Buy It!!!

J.D. Salinger: A Life

January 13, 2012

J.D. Salinger: A Life
By: Kenneth Slawenski
428 Pages

Before I read this book I knew next to nothing about J.D. Salinger. I knew he write a book that went on to become a classic and that he was known for his reclusive life as much as for Catcher In The Rye. That's it. My curiosity was peeked, to say the least. 

Kenneth Slawenski accomplishes a difficult task: let you get to know a man very few people knew. In J.D. Salinger, Kenneth goes the extra mile whenever he can. For example, very little is known of Mr. Salinger's Army days. Salinger, himself, refused to talk about them. Kenneth gathers information about them and gives you as close an idea of what he did during those years. I was drawn to Salinger's CIC work during the war. The information he helped to gather has made history.

Not knowing much about the book's subject prior to reading it, I also didn't know about Salinger's work outside of Catcher In The Rye. I had no idea he wrote several short stories and was deemed successful from them. I had no idea how many times his stories were rejected before getting published. For some reason, I just thought getting published came a bit easier for him than it actually did.

I did feel the author went into too much detail at times. I grew restless with the analogies and theories as to what was behind each of Salinger's works. I'm one of those people that don't want interpretation in biographies because, I feel, they could be wrong. I was drawn to the facts more.

Rating: Borrow From The Library

Darlings In Love

January 10, 2012

Darlings In Love
By: Melissa Kantor
317 Pages 
Natalya, Jane, & Victoria are the closest of friends. So close, in fact, they were nicknamed "The Darlings". All three are about to find out the highs and lows of love.

Natalya has a crush on Colin. He gave her the choice to be his friend or his sister's. Natalya chose to be friends with his sister, and regretted it quickly. The two are no longer friends, but Colin won't accept her apology. A chance sighting in the park gets things back on track for the two, but life is far from idealic for them. Colin drops a bomb on Natayla that changes everything: he has a girlfriend. His girlfriend happens to be one of her friends. Natalya has a choice to make: get the guy she likes and break her friend's heart,or walk away.

Jane is the theatre student who had a crush on her teacher last year. Still feeling the sting of that not ending well, Jane decides a break from acting is what she needs. Her friend Marc has other plans. Marc is directing the school's production this year and he wants Jane to be in it. She says no, but changes her mind when she meets Simon, the guy who would play opposite her. Simon and Jane hit off, but he's still haunted by his previous relationship. Is it really as in the past as he thinks?

Victoria and Jack have been together for awhile. Still, Victoria has begun to feel the resentment of doing things he likes and hanging out with his friends. When a comment he made about their relationship makes it's way to Victoria, things go from bad to worse. Can they overcome it, or is it the final straw?
I enjoyed this book. I liked spending time with these girls and getting to know them. I had a concern with the age being targeted for the books (11+) and the age the characters are (high school). I felt that maybe this book should have been meant for a little older of an audience. Still, I felt that the characters dealt with issues many readers may encounter. I got the sense this book may have been part of a series, though I don't know if it is. If it is, I wouldn't mind reading more about these 3 friends.

Rating: Borrow From Library

The Things You Do For Your Sick Child

January 9, 2012

It's always a sad thing when you have children and they get sick. The reading of a thermometer confirms what you already know: fever. My 5 year old was running a temperature of 102.0 and was miserable. Any parent would want to do something to brighten their child up a little. And thankfully, I had a moment of creative genious.
My hubby was at the store, so I told him to grab a get well card. My idea was simple: he would pick up a get well card and I would then sign all the Disney Princesses names on it. We would then place it on our front porch and ring the doorbell. She would open the door and see the card.

The card did the trick! She was so excited! There was a big smile on her face, right below those rosey red fever cheeks. Score one for Mom & Dad!

The House At Tyneford

January 5, 2012

The House At Tyneford
By: Natasha Solomons
368 Pages

It's the spring of 1938 and no longer safe to be a Jew in Vienna. Nineteen-year-old Elise Landau is forced to leave her glittering life of parties and champagne to become a parlor maid in England. She arrives at Tyneford, the great house on the bay, where servants polish silver and serve drinks on the lawn. But war is coming, and the world is changing. When the master of Tyneford's young son, Kit, returns home, he and Elise strike up an unlikely friendship that will transform Tyneford-and Elise-forever.

I enjoyed this book. Natasha Solomons does an excellent job of making you feel like you're right there in the story, not just reading it. I love good historical fiction novels, and I'm pleased to say, The House at Tyneford is one of them.

Elise is used to living a rather comfortable life in Vienna. Sadly, those days come to an end. Concerned for her safety, Elise's parents have her go to England to work as a parlor maid. Not used to the work, she struggles. However, everything changes when she strikes a friendship with Kit, the son of Tyneford's owner. Before long, they fall in love and begin an affair that causes problems.

Everything changes when Kit announces his plans to marry Elise to his father. His father asks for them to wait a year, and they do. However, war breaks out during that year and Kit goes off to fight in it. Elise is left behind at Tyneford to help run the house and help take care of Kit's father. The two are forced to rely on one another as they ride out the roller coaster that is war.

If you are looking for an intense read, you have found it in The House At Tyneford. From Elise being shot at by an enemy plane, to being hauled away by the police, to acts of descrimination you will not lack in drama. While I did feel the author went into too much detail at times, the story was still remarkable. I encourage any historical fiction lover to read this book.

Rating: Borrow From Library/Buy It

Dreaming Of Mr. Darcy

January 1, 2012

Dreaming Of Mr. Darcy
By: Victoria Connelly
368 Pages

After receiving an unexpected windfall, 31-year-old Kay Ashton boldly decides to start anew. She’s always dreamed of living in a locale dripping with Regency-era lore, so she buys a rundown B&B in Lyme Regis. Kay has barely settled into the partially rehabbed seaside home when the producers of a film adaptation of Austen’s Persuasion show up and book every available room. Kay swoons for dashing Oli Wade Owen, who plays Capt. Wentworth; screenwriter Adam Craig swoons for Kay; Kay tries to play matchmaker for Adam; hilarity ensues.

Kay's mother has recently died. Prior to her death, Kay made a friend at the home her mother stayed in. When her new friend passes on, Kay is left every penny the woman had. Fueled by a dream to own a house on the beach and a new inheritance, Kay sets out to make a new life for herself. She finds an old B&B that needs a lot of work, but it's perfect.

Before she's open for business, she gets an unexpected visitor. The producer of a film needs a place to put up her cast. before Kay knows what hits her, she has a full B&B and a front row seat to the filming of Persuasion. She becomes friends with several of the actors, falls for one, and has her life turned upside-down before filing wraps.

I loved reading this book! From the book's location in the heart of Jane Austen Land, to the little tidbits of her life you get among the plots, I loved every minute of it. It was over before I was ready for it to be.

I haven't had a lot of success with the plethora of Austen-inspired books that have come out in the recent years, but this one was great! Victoria Connelly has her niche and does it remarkably well. I have found a new writer to read and enjoy! Not only do I want to curl up and re-read some of my favorite Austen books, I want to curl up and read more of Victoria's work as well. Any Austen fan will probably enjoy this book as much as I did.

Rating: BUY IT!

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