Friday, July 27, 2012

Opening Ceremony 2012


In tying in with the Olympics, in London. I am reading the novel, Gold by Chris Cleave. Wonderful timing of the novel. I am enjoying reading. He is the author that wrote, Little Bee. You can visit he's website here.  I will be reviewing in a few days.




Before we leave for the games. Let me tell you how spectacular the opening ceremony was.
The culture of the British people shined on them with all the glory and spectacle of the 2012 opening ceremony.

The choreography was done, by Danny Boyle, he did Slum dog Millionaire.  From the history of the industrial revolution, to World War one.

Nurses, and Doctors were honored tonight for their service in health care.   The children asleep in their beds.   The children's  bedtime stories, and the villains in the story

 The children were showcased by nightmares of Harry Potter, and Peter Pan in their sleep.  To James Bond, and Queen Mother Elizabeth, and my favorite comedian, Mr. Bean.  JK Rowling, reading Peter Pan was wonderful.

 It was wonderful to show us, and remind us what the British have contributed to the world. People around the world still enjoy British culture. The movies, music, history, TV, movies, and books.

Since I am a book blogger. I just have to mention children's British literature was showcased. It was wonderful to see.

  The only disappointed thing was, for some of us that don't subscribe to cable TV, any longer we were penalized.

I was disappointed, because I could not watch the entire opening ceremony. I just learned I can't stream Olympic openings, and the sports coverage. Hopefully, it will pop up in a couple weeks to see the show in it's entirety.

Below here are some of the highlights:



                                          

                                                  

                                        
                                        
                                                    

Thursday, July 26, 2012

Perfect Beach Read: Defending Jacob








Defending Jacob
By William Landay

Defending Jacob, is from the author  The Strangler, and Mission Flats. He is a former district attorney in Boston.

Defending Jacob is not your typical court room drama with twists and turns.  Defending Jacob is a bit more than that.

Andy Barber has a stable, and loving family. He is very proud of he's loving wife, and son. He is the assistant district attorney, in Newton Massachusetts.  He is just delving into a case. A local high school student's body is found.  Evidence is brought forth, that it is he's son, Jacob who may be the suspect of the murder. During the investigation, Andy learns that there is a pedophile living in the area. He thinks he is the true murderer

  Andy is accused of disposing evidence of a knife, etc.  He's family life is then put on shaky ground, and tested with his wife and son, Jacob.

Andy, never told Laurie he's past genetic history. The rage, and violence he's father's uncontrollable anger, that put he's father behind bars for murder.  He's father, and grandfather are cold blooded killers. He's father has been in jail for years, and will most likely stay there. He never told Laurie, until Jacob was accused of murder. He is afraid they will use the genetic history against Jacob.

Laurie, is horrified that Andy did not trust her to tell her the truth. There marriage is on shaky ground.
Andy questions himself, should he have told her from the beginning?. After Andy admits to Laurie the truth. Laurie questions Jacob's behavior. Could her son murdered a fellow student? Has Laurie and Jacob been wearing rose colored glasses? Not notice he's odd behavior? Both of them question their parenting. Could we have done anything to prevent this? What did we do?


Jacob and Laurie think they raised a well adjusted son. But, as the trial get's closer they learn they don't really know their son.  He is introverted, and withdrawn, with not many friends.  Andy learns from one of Jacob's friends( they used to be close) some things about their son.  Both Jacob and he's friend were picked on for quite awhile. 

Defending Jacob, is not your typical court room drama. Why I found the book unique, was not just court room drama, but the family.  The family dynamics, the tension, and how the murder trial affected the family.  There was a big surprise at the end. The ending will blow you away. Such imagination.

Defending Jacob is a good book for a book discussion.  There is a lot to discuss, and a jumping off point for discussion of family, and the children, and the justice system.

I picked up Defending Jacob, because I wanted to read something that was a typical fast read for the summer. I was not disappointed.  Defending Jacob, is a fast paced novel perfect for the beach.

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Book Club: Lively Conversation Part 2

I decided to split blog posts in parts because it would end up being to lengthy. That would be the indication, what a awesome book discussion we had. I can not talk about every thing in the book because it would become endless.

We discussed the novel, The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton. I, and the others have not read anything by this author before. I had said before, I am sure 38th Ave. Diva's would probably, not read this because it would be too literary for them.

 With the book club discussion we had, which was talked about in my previous post. This book was perfect.  I was afraid about the length, I hesitated and dived in. I have never read a book this long before. That is what a book club is for, right? Books we would previously, not read.

We discussed the style of writing the author used. Compared linear narrative, to different voices. We talked about the workshops, that authors attend, who influences them.

  Where some novels, it works, where others that flip back and forth, don't work at all and leave the novel flat, and lifeless. Talked about plot development, and climax of the story. The climax did not come till the very end of the novel. Which is unusual. What a fantastic read!!! We all agreed.




SPOILER********************SPOILER*********************SPOILER*************


We talked about the theme of the novel, of identity and how it impacts you later. Does it come back to haunt you? Does it ever leave you?  Should you tell? Should Hugh have waited that long, to tell or, told her when she could understand? All of us agreed that it does impact you, and doesn't leave you. Your history, or memory is not forgotten.

We all thought if Nell was told when she was younger, she would not have become so angry, lost, and withdrawn from her family. Her life would have been so different.

  We discussed how things have changed with the adoption process in America. Many years ago,files were not accessible to the child. But, laws have changed that it is accessible once the child becomes a adult.

When Eliza, came to the estate and helped blossom the sickly girl, Rose. Her mother that was obsessed with Rose, so much so was so controlling. There was many a time, that Eliza liked to get under her aunt's skin, and push her buttons.

 Most of us hated what Rose turned into later. Rose, manipulated Eliza to do something. That she would be sorry for, and change the entire dynamics of the story.  The brooch, was the connection of the mystery underlined why the girl was left on the boat.  That is what was the big surprise.

 The character of Eliza changed from a head strong person with spirit. She stood up to the Swindle's( play on words), to her aunt, Rose's mother. But, at the end she let everyone manipulate her and use her to their own gain.  When Eliza's mother was alive, her mother told her don't let things pass you by, don't let anyone tell you how to live. You fight for what is right. But, Eliza did not do this, she gave in.

Rose's mother all she thought of was respectability, and worried what everyone would think.  If they found out, really what happened. She did not care about her daughter, or her grand daughter's safety as much as her reputation, and respectability.

 Nell had bought a house on the old estate, and was suppose to go back and live there. But, Cassandra's mother interrupted her life, by leaving her grand daughter at her door step and was unable to move and finish remodeling the house. Instead when her grandmother, Nell died, and  left the house, Cassandra finished the job her grandmother left to find out who she was

. Cassandra  found out her grandmother's identity, and why Nell left her the house in Cromwell, England.

Two things we did not discuss and I wish we did. If Nell did find out her identity, what do you think she would have done with it? Do you think it was a tragedy? From who's perspective. The group did not think it was a tragedy. I realize now, it was especially for Eliza. What do you think was Nell's a tragedy. At first yes, because I thought she never did find out where she came from. Wonder what she would have done if she did find out.  But, then Cassandra came into her life, and gave her blessings.

Our next book club will be reading, Sipping From the Nile by Jean Nagger.

Book Club : Part 1( administrative)




The Beach Babes Book Babes met yesterday, with five of us. I had said in our previous post, we just started we are fine right now with our small group. But, that said we would still welcome others.

I will say, don't let the name of our group fool you. There was serious discussion going on. From the writing style, down to the characters.

First, we had discussion of feedback about our wonderful speaker that we hosted for our Jewish community, of 15 people. We were happy with the response. We are a small community, and we don't have the resources, and funding to form a large event.

We were happy with the numbers that came.  During Rabbi Debbie's presentation, we had one of our members that was talking so loudly. I was hoping this would stop, but continued for almost the entire presentation.  What is the problem with this woman. I felt like a school marm. I wanted to go back there, and split them up like school kids. I finally said, something. Believe it or not, yes she stopped. This is a woman, that should know better.

  But, then she went to the other room and continued the conversation with someone else, again loudly. I was never so embarrassed.

I found out today, what was so important for her to keep talking, was knitting.  We all agreed, why did she come, if all she was going to do is talk. Why come to a group presentation. Then if she was not interested she should have gone outside, and continued the conversation, without disturbing the others.

We spoke about this in the meeting, about this person. I, as well as the group don't have a problem with her. It is her behavior that we all, found embarrassing and appalling.  The reason it had to be talked about is because we have invited another guest, a local university professor at CCU to talk about Jane Eyre.

It would be embarrassing if it happened again. Hopefully it will be resolved. Because one of our members volunteered to say something, if she does this again.

Has this ever happened to you? Any comments or feedback you would like to leave would be appreciated it.

We also set goals for our group, and what each of us was looking for out of our book club.  Each book club had different dynamics, and different wants and needs, and what they are looking for.  This was the time for each person to speak up.  Everyone was fine, with the group I was trying to form.

My other book club, 38th Ave. Diva Readers, has been around for 8 years. It has evolved and grown. But, not the kind of book club I am looking for. The 38th Ave. Diva's is more of a social group, they usually talk 5-10 minutes about the book, and then the rest is social hour. 

Don't get me wrong, I like social, but I am looking for stimulating conversation about the book, a even balance. I hope everyone said, what they had to say and not hold back, afraid to speak up. Because this was the time to do it.

The other thing, I like to liven the book club, with a theme. From food, to guest speaker, to a movie. From my other book club, many eons ago. We read the 13th Tale, and the theme was a afternoon tea.  I love making a fuss, and prepare to make it a event. Where others did not appreciate this.

This group, likes the idea to make it special. But, you can't do it all the time. Because it looses it's luster.  Next month, we have been given books from the author. The book is Sipping from the Nile by Jean Nagger.

 It has been arranged, the author will speak through speaker phone. I wanted to get ideas about Egyptian cuisine. Either foods from Egypt, or the Middle East.

Love to hear what your book club does to liven, and stimulate, and shake things up? What do you do to make your group unique?

Monday, July 23, 2012

Forgotten Garden: One of the Bests



Forgotten Garden
By Kate Morton
My own copy




It is 1913, Australia,  a four year old is found on a wharf. Only a white suitcase and inside a illustrated copy of fairy tales. Where did she come from? How did she get here? Why would a four year old be traveling by herself? Who was she? What happened to the Authoress?  If you want to find out these answers and more, you need to read the novel, The Forgotten Garden. What a wonderful novel it is.

To all my book blog readers, I recommend this novel highly. If you have not read anything this entire year. You must pick this book up. The novel, is old fashioned story telling at its best. There is two quirks I have. One can be remedied with a pad and paper. The other, quirk, nothing can change it, because that is the way the author wrote the novel.

The story is told by three voices, which works with this novel.  Nell, is the foundling, then Cassandra, Nell's grand daughter, and then the story itself. The story unravels, and slowly, it is peeled away, layer by layer.  Many author's I notice use this technique.  Some authors do a good job, using this type of writing style. Some it does not work at all.  But, Kate Morton used it successfully.

The main characters, are Nell, Cassandra, and Eliza.  There were many minor characters, dates and places that made this story confusing. I suggest you have pencil and paper at your side.  It does come together, with a little patience you will understand what is going on.

The story did remind me of Secret Garden, with a rich aristocratic family, and a garden, with a sickly girl, but that is where the similarities end.

On with the story, when Nell reaches maturity. Nell is told the truth about how she got to be with Hugh. But, they did not tell her until she was a adult. 

Hugh tells her, when she is twenty one years old. She is about to be married.  She decides to distance herself from her family, and her sisters. She breaks up with her fiancee. She begins a new life to find out who she is.  She never forgives her parents for not telling her sooner. Wonder what that make a difference.

Then in England, a wealthy family disinherits a young girl, she leaves the estate, and runs off with a sailor. She has a couple of kids, one is Eliza.  She is living in terrible conditions in England, after her mother passes away, the children are forced into the worst conditions possible. There is a mystery of the brooch, and that is the entire mystery that surfaces, to put the pieces together when you finish the novel.

  Her mother told her never let a mean man take her. But, unfortunately, he finds her and takes her back to the family.

Here she is back at her mother's estate. Her mother's brother and wife, take her in. She is living in high society. But, she is miserable except for the child that is also living in the house with her, her name is Rose.  Rose, is very sickly and her mother is over bearing and protective.  Rose, and Eliza become best buddies.  I set up the book, the rest you will have to read for yourself.

The novel is gothic, mystery, suspense, fairy tales, historical fiction, and much more.

I am now a big fan of Kate Morton. I did not think at my age I would find new debut authors. Usually we get stuck into a rut, and stay with the same authors. But, not this gal. I love it, when I discover new authors that I plan to read again. I definitely, will read her other books, next will be Distant Hours.

Thursday, July 19, 2012

Congrats To The Winners

Congrats to the winners, of Tigers In Red Weather!!

You will enjoy reading this book. Get your  Towel,umbrella, sunscreen, of course Tigers in Red Weather.

Caution, you will loose your self. If you bring your kids, you will have to pinch yourself a few times to remind your self to watch them.

This novel, you do loose yourself.
Thank you Anna for the copies of Tigers in Red Weather, for the winners. She will be contacting you soon.
The Winners are:

                                                               Beth, Melissa, and Chelsea

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

Tigers in Red Weather: Book Giveaway

I  have been screaming on the roof tops, and beyond how awesome this novel is. On my blog, facebook, twitter, and of course word of mouth to my friends.

  I am suggesting this book for my book club.  You can read my review on the previous post of my blog, below.

Anna, from Little Brown and Co. has allowed me to host a giveaway, Tigers in Red Weather. I have three copies to giveaway. The giveaway starts today until July 17th.

leave a comment, your most memorable beach spot, and why with your email address.

Good luck









Sunday, July 8, 2012

Amazing: Tigers in Red Weather





Tigers in Red Weather
By Liza Klaussman



Tiger in Red Weather, takes place in 1945, but then goes along to the 1960's. The story reminds me of the period of The Great Gatsby.

If you like to read stories, of high society, parties, drinking, and clinking glasses, and dinner parties, pretty dresses, and jewels, and jet setters this story is for you.  Reminds me of movies from the 1940's.

 It is the story about two cousins, Helena and Nick. They are privileged high society, young women living with both their parents on Martha's Vineyard at Tiger house.  Until both parents, of Helena and Nick pass away.

Helena is off to California to meet up with her lover to marry in Hollywood.  She seems very dependent on him. He has her boozed up, and taking so many pills she is blinded by him. He wants her to sell her estates in Marha's Vineyard to advance his career. She doesn't see the terrible manipulative man he really is. Eventually, Helena moves back to Tiger House with her cousin, Nick after she gives birth, to Ed. 

Ed, is Helena and Avery's son. Avery could care less about Helena and Ed.  Ed, when he comes to Tiger House. You will see why after you read the story.

Then there is Nick, she is ready to Marry Hughes. He was off in the navy overseas. He has come back to Florida. Nick travels to Florida to meet him. But something has changed about him. You will find out what after you start reading the novel.  Nick finds out, with letters she finds. But, she has become a very cold person, and very unfeeling, at times calculating to Hughes and her daughter, Daisy.

The children, Daisy. She is Hughes and Nick's daughter. She is very competitive, she loves playing tennis competatively, and is her father's pet. Nick feels Daisy is very close to her father. She gets no attention from her husband.

 Ed is Helena and Avery's son. He is very troubled, and has strange patterns. He is always watching people, he calls it, he's research. He is watching so close, it is obsessive.  At first, as a reader, you think nothing is wrong with this picture.  Hughes is making a big deal about it. But, the more you read about it, You realize, it is a problem, so much so, it is sickly.

There is so much more to the story. I can't tell you much without giving it away.  You will have to read it yourself when you get your copy.

There is a murder, the one's who discover the body is 13 year old, Daisy and Ed. The maid is discovered on the Wilcox estate. How did she get there? Who would do such a thing? But, the story does not center around the murder. It centers around the strange and dysfunctional family of Nick and Helena. It is fun to see how this story plays out.  I think the author was having so much fun making it a game.  The writing is beautiful written, and very beautiful descriptive.

I truly loved this book. The author, you could tell did her research for the time setting and place. I have been to Martha's Vineyard, and she seemed to get it right.  I love books with historical references, and place.

 The description of the house was wonderful. It reminded me of my own grandmother's house with the same furniture, and housewares in the kitchen. The description of the kitchen was great. The way she described the curtains, sounded like most of the homes at the times of the 40's. The author did do her research. The cliques she used" Little people have big ears". I remember people used to say that over and over again.

The description of the kitchen with the warmth flowing in. I could picture my grandmother's summer cottage, near Cape Cod.

The book was a mystery, and suspense, but there also was a gothic feel to the story with twists.  The people in the story was so complex, and complicated making it a great summer read. Also makes a good book club pick. Believe me, I am recommending this book when it comes out in paperback.

The ending truly flows with the rest of the book. I am not going to tell you what I think of the ending. It still has me thinking about it after a week.

 Tigers in Red Weather I can't stop raving about. This book was so different, that is why I loved it.  The writing style, worked with this book. Each character's perspective of the same situation, turned the story differently, and made it intriguing.

I can't wait to discuss this book with anyone that has read this, especially the ending.

Thank you Anna Balsai, Little Brown, and Company for the galley, this book was a treat.

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