Sunday, August 30, 2009
Synopsis: Picking up where book one left off, Fitzwilliam and Elizabeth are continuing their life together as the "Darcys" of Pemberley. They have faced challenges of health and happiness, but have much to look forward to over the coming years. We find them moving from their beloved countryside into Darcy's home in London, so that Darcy can take care of business while there, and for the "season" ahead. While there, they are reunited with one of Fitzwilliam's uncles, Dr. Darcy, who comes to the house to lend his expertise to health issues that pop up, as well as to lend his philosophies on life. Also while in London, Elizabeth celebrates a birthday, and is spoiled by her doting husband Darcy, in a way that would make any girl swoon. Each of these adventures happen over the course of months, and fill the pages of book two with the continued lives of our much-loved couple.
Review: As a single woman, I will admit to having been skeptical to the kind of love that Lathan proposed for the Darcys in book one, but as I mentioned in my previous review, I pushed aside my own prejudices about love (not to mention what I thought was okay to mention about our loving couple) to consider the possibilities. It was then that I really fell in love with Lathan's continuation of Elizabeth and Fitzwilliam's story. The novel contains scenes of sensuality between the couple, and plenty of them, but didn't ever feel cheap or tawdry to me. I realize that the relationship, and arc of the story, were trying to show the full range of their life together. While the book centered on their continued, loving relationship, there was a shift in book two that seemed to try to focus on how the couple seemed to fall into individual routines and pursuits. This didn't mean they forgot about the other, but that they naturally settled into their lives together in a charming way.
Book two feels like a novel that is preparing us for further plotlines and twists. It's difficult to explain exactly how the novel is doing this without giving away some major portions of the storyline, but I will say that book two left me even more eager for book three!
*Sharon Lathan's Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley comes out in stores on Tuesday, September 1st! As a follow-up to my review, stay tuned for a follow-up interview I had with Sharon about the Darcys and her novels! Sharon is a really lovely person, so kind and generous, so I'm eager to share a few of the insights she sent my way.
Okay, so now here's my question. Where's my Mr. Darcy?!? Aside from Mr. Darcy, or a Rhett Butler, what character do you wish would actually materialize?
Friday, August 28, 2009
Also, I didn't share this here, but as I've blathered on and on about teaching AP Literature this last year, and the stress I felt over helping them pass the exam, so I thought I'd share the good news. 76% of my students passed (which yes, is pretty good). My relief is beyond words, and I'm just so happy for them.
I am excited to say I will be back to my normal reading self after this weekend, and I can't wait! I'll be reviewing Sharon Lathan's wonderful second book, Loving Mr. Darcy: Journeys Beyond Pemberley this weekend, which comes out on September 1st, AND which will be a great introduction back to my happy reading self. Until next time...Mahalo!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Thank you to those of you who nominated me in two categories, Best Reviews and Best General Review. Thanks so much for the nominations!
Now, seeing as how I've fallen a little behind in my blogging activities, I missed the BBAW Meme when it first came out, but wanted to go back and catch up a little by responding to the Meme posted for BBAW.
1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?
This has two parts for me: people and books. What's not to love there? Especially when the people in that list love books? Really, I have loved having a place to post my thoughts on the books I'm reading, and also to have wonderful discussions with other bloggers/readers!
2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?
How can I list them all? I think that Eva, at A Striped Armchair actually was one of the first to reach out to me with some helpful information about the book blogging community, and to really get me interested in becoming a part of the group. This was followed closely by Natasha, at Maw Books Blog, who has been a great example and local blogger who is a real professional at what she loves to do! There have been so many others who have been great Twitter/Blog friends, such as Tasha at Heidenkind's Hideaway who I'm book buddies with, and who has dual interests on her blog in books and art, as I do with books and films. J.C., at The Biblio Blogazine really inspired me to write better reviews by her hard-hitting questions and posts! (Although, she also scared me as I watched her switch to self hosting! :) Maybe at some point I'll try J.C., but for now, I'm too scared!) Then there's Pam, at Bookalicious for all those great, late night conversations about books and blogging. Whew...how can I name you all?!? Sigh. Honestly, I can't name you all! All I can say is that MANY of you have and continue to shape my blog and my blogging experience!
3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?
I really don't know at this point. I know that sounds lame, but I hardly know what to expect. I'm just excited to be a part of this great community!
Having said all of this, I want to thank all of those who are putting this wonderful week together! All of us who blog on a regular basis know how much time and energy you've put in to pulling us all together for this event. Thank you so much!
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Considering the busy schedule of starting back to work, and getting a new home, I've noticed that the way I read has adjusted to the way my own mind has been working as of late. Here I am, rotating books faster than the chocolate conveyor belt on "I Love Lucy!" Seriously, I find that I'm reading multiple books at once, switching them out every day. That doesn't exactly lead you to get through a book very quickly, but seems to help my wandering mind. This led me to an interesting thought this weekend, especially after attending a wonderful picnic that Natasha at Maw Books Blog put on for those of us who are local bloggers (and what a great time we had). I wanted to know if anyone else reads several books at once? I hope they don't mind me mentioning them, but I asked Emily, at Emily's Reading Room, and Britt, at Confessions of a Book Habitue, how many books they read at one time. Both of them said they like to stick to one at a time. I wish I would have thought to make the rounds and ask a few more people, as it left me wondering, why do I rotate my reading material so much?
As mentioned in previous posts, I have a couple of books I've been trying to read for over a period of weeks, but in the meantime, have started a couple more. In fact, just yesterday, I started reading Secrets of a Christmas Box. Although I felt a bit like I needed snow or cold, rather than the 100+ degree weather we were experiencing, I still wanted to start something new to mix up my reading a bit.
I think what it boils down to is that I can't always fall into a book to the point of blocking out the world. Of course I love to read, and usually read quite a bit, but I'm just not one of those people who you have to tap on the shoulder to get them to snap out of the book their reading. I never have been. I'm curious though to find out how other readers approach reading. Do you read more than one book at at time, and do you notice that there are reasons why you do that?
Well, I'm off to settle in for a couple of hours of reading!
Sunday, August 16, 2009
School starts for me tomorrow, although the students don't return until Thursday. I'm still in the process of paperwork, paperwork, paperwork on my new town home, so I'm thinking ahead to my long commute over the next week, or two, or three (man I hope it's not three). Since I'm back to my "real life" here, that also means I'm back to my wonderful library here. (Did I mention that the library situation in my county was my #1 reason for wanting to stay in the area? We have the BEST library. My realtor also said that it was his first time ever having someone say they wanted to live somewhere...because of a library. I'm glad I could be the first!)
Having said all this about the many things up in the air right now in my life, I made a trip to my local library to check out a few books. First, I picked up The House of the Scorpion, which was a book I started while in Hawaii, but never finished. I actually am listening to this on audiobook and am NOT thrilled with the reader. He sounds like the guy off of reading rainbow! Other than the bizarre reader, the book is pretty interesting with its themes of cloning and advanced science.
Next, I checked out the next two in the Princess Diaries series. If you'll remember, I'm still trying to read the entire series so that I can read Princess Mia's novel, Ransom My Heart.
Other than the books I've checked out, I'm STILL reading The Grand Sophy, by Georgette Heyer, and a couple other Pride and Prejudice sequels/retellings that I received from Sourcebooks. Honestly, when things settle down a bit more, I know I'll be reading much more than I am. I can't wait. Sigh. So, my Sunday Salon does not really exist right now, but I'm dreaming of when I'll be in my place and can truly relax and get into my stack of reading. Anyone else heading back to school, back to work, or some other excitement this week?
Thursday, August 13, 2009
I have so needed to get some reviews posted, but I have been so busy now that I'm back to the mainland, that I haven't had two seconds to rub together. (In fact, I'm up early posting this before I head out for the day!) I returned here to have to go out to look for a home and have put an offer on a beautiful new townhome! I'm really excited, but also very busy taking care of "life" things that I pushed aside for the summer. Forgive me as I get my nest fixed up. I'm out looking for window treatments, a bit of furniture, a few odds and ends, and a new fridge!
As I'm out getting things ready to move in to my new place, I'm wondering ...where do you have your bookshelves??? I have four bookshelves, two that I used to keep in my bedroom, and two in the front room. Now that I have my own place to kind of spread out, I'm wondering where to set up my lovely bookshelves? Where do you put your bookshelves? Help!
Monday, August 10, 2009
So, last month I won a wonderful signed, advanced copy of Table Manners, and a signed copy of Good Things from Mia King's personal blog. The giveaway was in honor and anticipation of the August 4th release of Table Manners. As a fan, I was so excited for the opportunity to get these wonderful books, and to watch another wonderful author continue to write.
Synopsis: Picking up where Good Things ended, we find Deidre McIntosh building on the wonderful ideas she had developed for a cookie line. Here she was developing a new brand and company during the day, all while gracing the arm of her gloriously rich and handsome Seattle bachelor boyfriend Kevin, to a myriad of events and fundraisers at night. As in the previous novel, Kevin's sister Marla continues to see Deidre as simply not good enough for her brother, and continues to seek out opportunities to show Deidre how ill-fitted she is for the family. Not only then must Deidre make her cookie line a success, but must also find a way to hang onto a beautiful new relationship.
Review: There really is something very clean, crisp, and clear about Mia King's writing that I just can't seem to put my finger on. I love the preciseness of her language, and the way it seems to lack pretension. In fact, it is the this clear, precise voice that makes the story so easy to fall into and to engage with her characters. As with other novels that I've read where there is another character or even situation working to pull apart the confidence and love of our main heroine, Deidre faces challenges with jealousy and inadequacy. I could picture her saying in her head, "Why is he with me? He's such a great guy, and maybe he'll wake up and realize I'm not as stunning and amazing as so and so." This felt very real to me, as I think many of us tend to think that of a loving partner at the time. The one part I found surprising and satisfying was Deidre's reactions to really difficult situations or strife. In my head I could see the main character lashing out, showing what a strong woman can do, but Deidre didn't need to do that. Somehow this character continued to make choices that felt low impact, not as emotionally ridden as I would have thought the author would take them. I kept waiting for tears, yells, or quiet wallowing. Instead, Deidre methodically faced her circumstances, and I really admired that.
So, what the selling point besides being a genuinely fun, great, escapist read? Can I say that the sweet treat mentions and cooking really made the reading experience like eating a chocolate croissant with a warm beverage. You can't help but indulge yourself in picturing the beautiful sweets and dishes created in the book, and to top it off, many of them are included in the back of the book. For me, I found Mia King's second novel to be a fun, sweet success!
This is a wonderful book that includes cooking and recipes. I'm finding that I love books that really describe beautifully made, good food. What books stand out to you as having great food references?
For more information: Table Manners.
Friday, August 7, 2009
Here it is. The end of the summer is staring me down. I don't mean that to be a negative, as I really am a big fan of the second half of the year--summer to the holiday season. There is something so quaint about the changing colors of fall that drives me to a book, or the cold of a December snowfall, twinkling and twirling off of the Christmas lights in my neighborhood to put me in a snuggly book sort of mood. However, I have to say that I'd be hypocritical if I didn't express a certain amount of sadness to see another beautiful summer come and go.
As part of my summer here in Hawaii, I knew that this might be my last summer here, since my mother might be moving back to the mainland before next year. That's still not for sure, but my heart is definitely a bit heavy as I face heading home. I know I'll be back for Christmas, but what after that? Well, in knowing that, I wanted to read books this summer that would give me new knowledge, new skills, or new information I'd wanted to learn but hadn't had time to read up on. In general, I wanted to spend some time rejuvenating through learning, resting, and exercising. I've succeeded for the most part, in that I've been sleeping fairly well, and have fallen in love with walking again. Reading took a hit for me this summer, but I feel good about what I've read this summer, so I think I'm ready to head back!
For the Rejuvenate & Renew Challenge, I have read the following:
Even if you're not participating in the challenge, what are you looking forward to as summer winds down?
Thursday, August 6, 2009
Before I review, let me preface this by stating that it's not a BBC drama, but rather a film I wanted to watch to remind me about the basic plot of Daniel Defoe's novel Moll Flanders because I'm teaching it in my online class. YES, sometimes as teachers we need a fast reminder of the plot structure and storyline so that we're ready to go. Thankfully, even though the film had many variations from the novel, I still had a great reminder so that I was ready to go!
Synopsis: Moll has lived an underprivileged life, as the daughter of a prisoner who was raised first in a convent, and then left to provide for herself on the streets of London. Moll ends up in a brothel, and of course, over time ends up working there. Along the way, she loses her sense of self, and when a young artist comes along to pay for her services as a muse, and not as a prostitute, both Moll and her boss question what his motives are and what he wants. In the interest of not giving away any more of the plot, Moll goes through many more great disappointments and sorrows, but also experiences great joys and happiness.
Review: I actually thought this film was pretty decent. Robin Wright Penn, who plays Moll, and Morgan Freeman, who plays the servant to the mistress of the brothel, both do an excellent job in their acting, in that we believe that they are these characters. Unlike the previous film I watched, I felt that the acting and cinematography really helped me escape into the storyline. There were moments that felt bizarre, and over the top, but in the heart of following Defoe's story about this one woman's life, it did capture the heart of the drama and tragedy in the story. It's not my favorite film of the year, nor is it one I would necessarily recommend that anyone run out to see, but it's also not the worst. Overall, it's a fine film, not without flaws, but a decent period drama.
Well, I'm now looking forward to seeing Julie and Julia this coming weekend. How about you? What are you looking forward to seeing next (theater or rental)?
For more information: Moll Flanders.
***This is 2 of 12 for the Period Drama Challenge.
Sunday, August 2, 2009
Today I'm really only reading two books:
- Table Manners by Mia King -- A really great book that I can't seem to put down. I needed to finish my second book here, but took a little peak and haven't been able to stop reading. I love the way that King mixes her narrative with descriptions of food & goodies!
- The Grand Sophy by Georgette Heyer -- There really is no reason I shouldn't have finished this by now. All I can say is that I keep getting interrupted by work and life. I really enjoy it, so it's no reflection on the book, and plan on reviewing it ASAP!
First off, a Hukilau literally means huki -- to pull, and lau -- rope. Here I am putting ti leaves into the lau so that as it sits in the water with the nets, it is supposed to scare the fish into the nets. (Don't pick on me...it was early, and I was tired, but so excited to participate!)
Next, here are the men preparing the nets. They take the nets and lau way out into the bay while groups of divers go down to make sure the net doesn't snag on anything as it is hauled in.
This picture is hard to tell what is going on, but if you look in the distance (and yes, the range of this net was a lot larger than I expected) there is a huge line of people pulling and dragging the net towards where we are holding down the other line of the net.
I couldn't get "the action" of pulling it in, as it was a bit chaotic and way too exciting to stop and take a picture, but I did get the remainder of the nets as everyone gathered to pull fish, crabs, and an octopus out of the net (no baby sharks this time).
Here is one of the fishermen putting the octopus back into the ocean.
Finally, I thought this picture was one of the best I took all day, as they carried the lau away at the end of the Hukilau.
From the dedication of a bust of the man Hamana Kalili that was donated to Laie Elementary, I took a picture of his direct descendant here in front of a model Shaka sign that was set up that day on Hukilau Beach.
Finally, besides wonderful stories, tales, and amazing food, there was wonderful singing and hula dancing in honor of the occasion. It was just beautiful.
***Thanks to Miss Marilyn & the Laie Community Association for such wonderful events. My apologies for names or items misspelled, or for missing information. All pictures of the events above were taken by me, for express personal use and to share here on One Literature Nut.
Saturday, August 1, 2009
Thanks to all those who left comments about what their idea of "Hell" would be. I had quite a giggle over your points, and know that for several of you I felt a story behind your comments! I'd love to hear more. :) Honestly, this was a fun giveaway and reminds me that we do these so we can get to know one another better, and to meet new people. Thanks to all who joined in! I've added great new friends. Valorie, your email is on its way. (Number generated by random.org)
Also, don't miss the giant Outlander giveaways! Check them out today!
For more information about the book: The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns.
*This is a quiz I picked up from Book Chick City, who got it from Book Nerd Extraordinaire.
Instructions: Copy this into your NOTES. Look at the list and put an 'x' after those you have read.
1 Pride and Prejudice - Jane Austen (X)
2 The Lord of the Rings - JRR Tolkien (X)
3 Jane Eyre - Charlotte Bronte (X)
4 Harry Potter series - JK Rowling (X)
5 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee (X)
6 The Bible (X)
7 Wuthering Heights - Emily Bronte (X)
8 Nineteen Eighty Four - George Orwell (--)
9 His Dark Materials - Philip Pullman (--)
10 Great Expectations - Charles Dickens (X)
11 Little Women - Louisa M Alcott (X)
12 Tess of the D’Urbervilles - Thomas Hardy (X)
13 Catch 22 - Joseph Heller (--)
14 Complete Works of Shakespeare (--)
15 Rebecca - Daphne Du Maurier(X)
16 The Hobbit - JRR Tolkien (X)
17 Birdsong - Sebastian Faulk (--)
18 Catcher in the Rye - JD Salinger (X)
19 The Time Traveler’s Wife - Audrey Niffenegger (--)
20 Middlemarch - George Eliot (--)
21 Gone With The Wind - Margaret Mitchell (X)
22 The Great Gatsby - F Scott Fitzgerald (X)
23 Bleak House - Charles Dickens (--)
24 War and Peace - Leo Tolstoy (--)
25 The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy - Douglas Adams (X)
27 Crime and Punishment - Fyodor Dostoyevsky (--)
28 Grapes of Wrath - John Steinbeck (X)
29 Alice in Wonderland - Lewis Carroll (X)
30 The Wind in the Willows - Kenneth Grahame (X)
31 Anna Karenina - Leo Tolstoy (--)
32 David Copperfield - Charles Dickens (X)
33 Chronicles of Narnia - CS Lewis (X)
34 Emma-Jane Austen (X)
35 Persuasion - Jane Austen (X)
36 The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe - CS Lewis (X)
37 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hossein (X)
38 Captain Corelli’s Mandolin - Louis De Bernieres (X)
39 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden (X)
40 Winnie the Pooh - AA Milne (--)
41 Animal Farm - George Orwell (X)
42 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown (X)
43 One Hundred Years of Solitude - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (X)
44 A Prayer for Owen Meaney - John Irving (--)
45 The Woman in White - Wilkie Collins (--)
46 Anne of Green Gables - LM Montgomery (X)
47 Far From The Madding Crowd - Thomas Hardy (--)
48 The Handmaid’s Tale - Margaret Atwood (--)
49 Lord of the Flies - William Golding (X)
50 Atonement - Ian McEwan (X)
51 Life of Pi - Yann Martel (--)
52 Dune - Frank Herbert (--)
53 Cold Comfort Farm (--)
54 Sense and Sensibility - Jane Austen (X)
55 A Suitable Boy - Vikram Seth (--)
56 The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon (--)
57 A Tale Of Two Cities - Charles Dickens (--)
58 Brave New World - Aldous Huxley (X)
59 The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night - Mark Haddon (--)
60 Love In The Time Of Cholera - Gabriel Garcia Marquez (X)
61 Of Mice and Men - John Steinbeck (X)
62 Lolita - Vladimir Nabokov (--)
63 The Secret History - Donna Tartt (--)
64 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold (--)
65 Count of Monte Cristo - Alexandre Dumas (X)
66 On The Road - Jack Kerouac (--)
67 Jude the Obscure - Thomas Hardy (--)
68 Bridget Jones’s Diary - Helen Fielding (X)
69 Midnight’s Children - Salman Rushdie (X)
70 Moby Dick - Herman Melville (1/2)
71 Oliver Twist - Charles Dickens (--)
72 Dracula - Bram Stoker (--)
73 The Secret Garden - Frances Hodgson Burnett (X)
74 Notes From A Small Island - Bill Bryson (--)
75 Ulysses - James Joyce (--)
76 The Inferno – Dante (--)
77 Swallows and Amazons - Arthur Ransome (--)
78 Germinal - Emile Zola (--)
79 Vanity Fair - William Makepeace Thackeray (--)
80 Possession - AS Byatt (X)
81 A Christmas Carol - Charles Dickens (X)
82 Cloud Atlas - David Mitchell (--)
83 The Color Purple - Alice Walker (X)
84 The Remains of the Day - Kazuo Ishiguro (X)
85 Madame Bovary - Gustave Flaubert (--)
86 A Fine Balance - Rohinton Mistry (--)
87 Charlotte’s Web - EB White (X)
88 The Five People You Meet In Heaven - Mitch Albom (--)
89 Adventures of Sherlock Holmes - Sir Arthur Conan Doyle (--)
90 The Faraway Tree Collection - Enid Blyton (--)
91 Heart of Darkness - Joseph Conrad (X)
92 The Little Prince - Antoine De Saint-Exupery (X)
93 The Wasp Factory - Iain Banks (--)
94 Watership Down - Richard Adams (--)
95 A Confederacy of Dunces - John Kennedy Toole (--)
96 A Town Like Alice - Nevil Shute (--)
97 The Three Musketeers - Alexandre Dumas (--)
98 Hamlet - William Shakespeare (X)
99 Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (--)
100 Les Miserables - Victor Hugo (X)
If I counted correctly, that makes 51 ½? Actually, I know almost all the stories behind each of these novels, which is why some of them I don’t actually want to read. I think I'm okay with what I've read though.
So, how many have you read?