Saturday, August 31, 2013


It's getting to be my favorite time of the year!! I love autumn, with its crisp brisk air, bonfires, leaves crunching underfoot, and my favorite holiday of them all, Halloween. I love a good scary story, in book or movie form.  F.Scott Fitzgerald said that life starts all over again when it gets crisp in the fall, and I am in agreement.

This year I am going to try (again) to participate in R.I.P. VIII, a scary reading challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. I say again because last year I got sick in the beginning of October, and stayed sick. It is kind of a tradition for me to get sick in October, a tradition that started when I was five. I am hoping to avoid it this year with lots of vitamins, soup, and a flu shot.

I am attempting Peril The First - I am to read four books that fit the definition of R.I.P. Literature. And since I try to fill October with all things scary, this should not be a problem, especially if I stay healthy. I am definitely going to read The Legend of Sleepy Hollow, as for the others I am tossing around a few ideas. I am sure there will be a book that is a ghost story, and one that is about witches..and then maybe one pure horror.

I am also participating in the Peril on the Screen challenge. October wouldn't be complete without horror movies. I think it is time to re invoke our "Horrible Horror Movie Night" this year!

What about you? Do you say yay or nay to Halloween? 

Tuesday, August 27, 2013

The Wishing Thread - Review

Title: The Wishing Thread
Author: Lisa Van Allen
Source: Librarything Early Reviewers

The Van Ripper women have been the talk of Tarrytown, New York, for centuries. Some say they’re angels; some say they’re crooks. In their tumbledown “Stitchery,” not far from the stomping grounds of the legendary Headless Horseman, the Van Ripper sisters—Aubrey, Bitty, and Meggie—are said to knit people’s most ardent wishes into beautiful scarves and mittens, granting them health, success, or even a blossoming romance. But for the magic to work, sacrifices must be made—and no one knows that better than the Van Rippers.

When the Stitchery matriarch, Mariah, dies, she leaves the yarn shop to her three nieces. Aubrey, shy and reliable, has dedicated her life to weaving spells for the community, though her sisters have long stayed away. Bitty, pragmatic and persistent, has always been skeptical of magic and wants her children to have a normal, nonmagical life. Meggie, restless and free-spirited, follows her own set of rules. Now, after Mariah’s death forces a reunion, the sisters must reassess the state of their lives even as they decide the fate of the Stitchery. But their relationships with one another—and their beliefs in magic—are put to the test. Will the threads hold?

My thoughts:

Have you ever read a book you just wanted to crawl into the pages and the story, and live there? That is how I felt about The Wishing Thread. If I could magically transport my life into this book, I would.

It's a family tradition for my brother and I to love the story of the Headless Horseman and Sleepy Hollow. We know the Disney cartoon by heart, the songs, the dialogue, even the lines from the cartoon shorts that come before it on the DVD. I loved the Johnny Depp movie version, and I am excited for the upcoming television show, although it involves time travel and that usually turns me off.  I sadly have never read the Washington Irving story, but I plan on correcting that in October.

I looked at the blurb for the book, and was a little apprehensive. I have had bad experiences with books that take place or are based on an original story, like this one. Or Scarlett, that sad sequel to Gone with the Wind.  So I started reading a little reservedly. It didn't take long for the story and the characters to steal me away into their lives.

Aubrey and her two sisters grew up with their aunt in a house that had been in the family for generations. Their house is known as The Stichery around town, and always had been. The Van Rippen family's heritage is long and winding and magical. They can knit spells, fulfilling the wishes of those who come to them, desperate, hopeful, resigned. The wisher must give up something of great importance to them in order for the deal to be made, and for the spell to work. But this is not a guarantee that the magic will work, just a sign of good faith between the two.

The idea of being able to embed emotions such as dreams and wishes, and curses like anger and despair into creative works is also called sympathetic magic. I have read this as a device in another book, where it was said that women who made quilts while waiting for their loved ones to come back from war sewed those emotions right into the quilts. I find this idea fascinating - I am pretty fanciful, and halfway believe that the transference really could happen.

The sisters grow up, and one by one leave The Stitchery - except Aubrey. She is different. She is the chosen one to stay on and grant the wishes, the sign of the choosing being her bright electric blue eyes. This part confused me, I wasn't sure if it was her whole entire eye that was blue, including the whites, or just the iris. Their beloved aunt dies, and her sisters come home for a visit. At this point, their lives start unraveling, and outside forces are working against them and The Stitchery. It is up to them to come together to change their own fates.

When I finished reading the story, I read the author interview and book club questions in the back. One of the book club questions was what would you would wish for, and what would you give up in the hopes of your wish coming true? You don't have to say, because I am sure your wishes are personal, but I think it is a thought provoking question.

This book is wonderful - magical, hopeful, yet with the real struggles that people actually go through in life, with a touch of Headless Horseman. The book was set during the fall, and it made me wish for autumn, with its crisp breezes, crunchy leaves, and sweaters and jeans, and is my favorite time of the year. And I don't knit, but I think I am going to give it a try this winter!

Sunday, August 25, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we have read and what we are reading and see what everyone else is reading.

Read Last Week:


Just a weird aside: I find when I pick up two very different books, there will be one thing the same in them both, that is very coincidental. This time, it was the name Mariah. Mariah was a character in The Wishing Thread, and there was a Mariah in The Night is Forever. This happens to me a lot, and I always think it is strange.  

The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen: This was a win from Librarything, and I absolutely loved it! Review to come this week.

The Night is Forever by Heather Graham: I have an addiction to this series.  Review this week.

Omens by Kelley Armstrong: I picked this up because I have enjoyed books by Armstrong in the past; this was very different but just as good. Review this week.

Reading this week:


It's my week of brownish covers! Lol. (Another coincidence!)

Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls by David Sedaris: This is our book club book, and I have to get on it, since book club is Wednesday! I am sure I will be done by then though.

A Moveable Feast by Ernest Hemingway: I am reading this as part of The Classic Club's newest Classic Spin event. I am excited, it was one of the books I had hoped to read. 

Reviews Posted Last Week:

Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Sailor Twain - Review

Title: Sailor Twain
Author: Mark Siegel
Source: Library

One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular—and notoriously reclusive—author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.

A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.

My thoughts:

I was walking through the library one day, and this book was propped up on the shelf in the graphic novels section, its gorgeous cover in shades of blue and green and mystery beckoning to me. I  had to check it out and read it immediately. Maybe this book has a siren's song of its own?

Gritty, a little bit gloomy, it reminded me of the depths of the sea, if there was a word to describe how that ocean bottom would feel. Deep and dark, murky and mysterious. Where mermaids dwell. We all know mermaids are said to be heartless and soulless and dangerous, seducing people to their deaths. But if they were real, wouldn't we want to meet one? Like fairies and unicorns, they are magical and curious and otherworldly. The illustrations themselves are beautiful, and reminiscent of the industrial era that this story is set in, all smoky and black and dusty.

Riverboat Captain Elijah Twain is an upright, moral, stand up man. No nonsense and serious, he is the last person you would imagine to fall in thrall to a creature such as a mermaid. He is happily married to his lady love, who is bound to a wheelchair, and to land. He is even drawn angular and sharp, no soft edges to him, that would invite such fancifulness, although I feel riverboat captains are by nature romantic figures.  In contrast, French nobleman Lafayette falls in love with almost every woman he meets, speaks of the river and the world around him as a poet would, and seems the least responsible human being on earth. The very opposite of Twain. Of the two, Lafayette is a romantic dreamer, while Twain is a pragmatic realist. They go about their lives upon the river, one engaged in many trysts, one bent on business. Until one night this happens:

What is the deal? Who is this mermaid? Where did she come from? What happens next? You will have to read it to find out! 

One note: This book really isn't for kids. There is the obvious nudity of the mermaid, and other more sexy times illustrations. I was surprised at first, because my library had a sticker over the John Irving blurb that states the book contains erotically charged drawings.  So, just in case you didn't see that, there are a few sexual drawings. 

I have fallen in love with this genre of books that all began with the book Blankets. Sailor Twain was completely different, but just as entertaining and thought provoking. It is a story that draws you in and holds you under until you reach the end. 

Sunday, August 18, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we have read and what we are reading and see what everyone else is reading.

Read Last Week:


Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel: I loved this book! I don't want to return it to the library, I just want to keep reading it and looking at the illustrations. I guess I should buy a copy. Lol. Review to come soon.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: Another book I loved. Soo good! Review to come soon. 

Reading This Week:


The Wishing Thread by Lisa Van Allen: I won this from LibraryThing; I love the Legend of Sleepy Hollow, so I  am interested to see how this works with the legend.

The Night is Forever by Heather Graham: Just because I can never pass a Krewe of Hunters book by. 

I also caught up on some reviews last week!

Thursday, August 15, 2013

A Trio of YA Reviews

Of Poseidon by Anna Banks

Who doesn't love a mermaid story? I know that I certainly am drawn to them. And this cover is gorgeous. The book itself was so-so, I loved Banks' mythology and legend of the Syrena, but the characters themselves were not that great. And don't call these mermaids mermaids, they prefer Syrena.  Galen and Emma reminded me of Bella and Edward, although Emma wasn't nearly as annoying and helpless.  I enjoyed the secondary characters of Rayna and Toraf much better than Emma and Galen, and the book ended just the right way for my interest to be piqued enough to read the second book, Of Triton. Which is apparently popular since I have been on the waiting list for about 6 weeks for it! Overall, my opinion was I loved the world building, disliked the main characters. Although if I were a teenage girl, I would probably find Galen hot.

Tidal by Amanda Hocking (I think this is #3 in the series?)

My opinion on this book is completely different from Of Poseidon. What I love here are the characters, they are more interesting, spunkier, more emotional than the characters in Of Poseidon. I like that Hocking also tried to make her mermaids meaner, with teeth, because that is how I like to read about mermaids. Think about the mermaids in Peter Pan! Although in this book they are also called Sirens, not mermaids. Unfortunately, I did not buy the explanation for their existence; I just didn't like it. Overall I liked the characters and the mean mermaids, but their origin story fell flat for me.

I always loved the mermaid part in the Peter Pan cartoon. I must have been a weird kid!

The Host by Stephanie Meyer

This was our book club book, and I kind of struggled to read it at first. I don't care for alien stories, nor do I care for Stephanie Meyer. I had to make myself sit down and read this book.  To my surprise, after the first 50 pages or so, I really loved it!  I got sucked right into the romance triangle (Team Ian!) and found Meyer's perspective on humanity very interesting. I thought the descriptions of the other planets that the aliens had taken over a little simplistic, but maybe that is a nod to Meyer's thinking we are the most intelligent species in the universe? Regardless, I loved this book, the questions it raises, and the characters themselves.

Wednesday, August 14, 2013

July Book Club

Hostess: Mary
Book: The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Food: Veggie burgers, Green Salad, Hummus and pita chips,  Lemon Cake 
Month: July
Wine of the Night:  Island Red

Mary's house buzzes with activity, like a vibrant bee hive. Her oldest boy is in and out of the house, playing in the summer evening, while her youngest burbles from his chair, wanting to be picked up. Her husband is outside grilling, and Mary herself is putting the food together. The house itself feels alive, and the evening air blows through the windows, cooling the rooms.

We all gather in the living room, wine in hand, with the sounds of people enjoying the park across the street providing background music. Mary's newest baby kitten Starfish joins us, acting a bit crazy like only kittens can get away with.  Anthony brings in the burgers, and we all eat, talking about our day and our month.  Chrissy was preparing for her honeymoon on St. John, Jill was getting ready to invade London. The rest of us were just enjoying summer and our loved ones.

After our bellies were full and we were feeling sated, we discussed the book. I was very happy that the ending worked out for every character. I really liked Wanda and was glad she got to stay. I found it so interesting that Meyer's reason for an alien takeover was because of how violent humans are. This was a big discussion question for us, about the violence of humans vs. the good; the good always outweighs the bad, which Wanda learned. We were divided between Team Jared and Team Ian, and I am Team Ian. Lol. We all agreed that this book is better than the Twilight series though.

This was a fun night, with a fun book. I enjoyed the barbecue style food, it worked perfectly with the warm summer night. 

Next book club is Alyssa's. We are reading Let's Explore Diabetes with Owls.

Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls - Review

Title: The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls
Author: Anton Disclafani
Source: LibraryThing

Goodreads Summary:

A lush, sexy, evocative debut novel of family secrets and girls’-school rituals, set in the 1930s South.

It is 1930, the midst of the Great Depression. After her mysterious role in a family tragedy, passionate, strong-willed Thea Atwell, age fifteen, has been cast out of her Florida home, exiled to an equestrienne boarding school for Southern debutantes. High in the Blue Ridge Mountains, with its complex social strata ordered by money, beauty, and girls’ friendships, the Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is a far remove from the free-roaming, dreamlike childhood Thea shared with her twin brother on their family’s citrus farm—a world now partially shattered. As Thea grapples with her responsibility for the events of the past year that led her here, she finds herself enmeshed in a new order, one that will change her sense of what is possible for herself, her family, her country.

Weaving provocatively between home and school, the narrative powerfully unfurls the true story behind Thea’s expulsion from her family, but it isn’t long before the mystery of her past is rivaled by the question of how it will shape her future. Part scandalous love story, part heartbreaking family drama, The Yonahlossee Riding Camp for Girls is an immersive, transporting page-turner—a vivid, propulsive novel about sex, love, family, money, class, home, and horses, all set against the ominous threat of the Depression—and the major debut of an important new writer.

My thoughts:

I feel like I should be drinking whiskey or something while I write this review for some reason, instead of my coffee.  This book felt a little sordid to me, a little dirty and tarnished, but that was ok. This review contains spoilers, so if you don't want to know what happens, I am letting you know here that I talk about it.

Thea is a good girl from a good family in Florida. She is smart, spoiled, curious, and daring. She has a little pony that is all hers, her twin brother Sam, and the many adventures they take under the sun and over the land together. But as Thea gets older, this isn't enough. Something big and terrible happens, and Thea is sent to Yonahlossee Riding Camp as punishment.

This is where the story begins, with Thea's arrival at camp. The reader does not know why this is happening, but you feel the tension between Thea and her father, that she has committed some offense and now she must pay and wait it out away from home and all that she loves.

But at least she riding. Thea loves to ride, and takes solace in the horses. She also begins to take solace from the headmaster, who is young, handsome, and romantically tragic. He is also married with children. As Thea sets out upon her seduction of the headmaster Holmes, the reader begins to form an idea of the nature of Thea's Big Bad.

Thea and her twin brother live in a dream world on the citrus farm, but it is also a prison of sorts. As Thea grows older and more mature, her sexuality is awakened. Unfortunately for her, the boy she is experimenting with is her cousin George, the only other boy around her age that she has contact with. There is more to this story than I will reveal, but it doesn't end well for Thea, Sam, and George. It is really quite tragic.

The ending trailed off a bit for me. I felt like we were delivered the boom and then blah. It was anticlimactic. I was disappointed.

I read this book with only a few breaks - I just had to know what the heck this girl did! It was a pretty good book, minus the ending, in my opinion. I immediately loaned it to my friend Jennifer, who enjoyed it as well. It's not an easy read, with the underage sex and incest, but books don't need to always be comfortable.

Tuesday, August 13, 2013

Classics Spin #3

My Book Spin List for the Classics Club:
I think this is my very first!

  1. Little Women
  2. Franny and Zooey
  3. Walden
  4. A Moveable Feast
  5. Passage to India
  6. Remains of the Day
  7. Peter Pan
  8. Tarzan of the Apes
  9. The Lion, the Witch and The Wardrobe
  10. Macbeth
  11. Howl and Other Poems
  12. The Hobbit
  13. Snow Crash
  14. The Poisonwood Bible
  15. A Haunted House (Virginia Woolf)
  16. Slaughterhouse Five
  17. The Legend of Sleepy Hollow
  18. Ghost (Ibsen)
  19. The Blind Assassin
  20. Animal Farm

Sunday, August 11, 2013

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

It's Monday, What Are You Reading is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey where we share what we have read and what we are reading and see what everyone else is reading.

My art show was last night and it was so great! I have a wonderful support group of family and friends who showed up and made my night a special one for me. My mom gave me a copy of Coraline, one of my favorite books, with an inscription inside from her, and a peach rose whose scent was amazing. My aunt sent flowers that arrived while I was setting the show up, and decorated the table later. The night was a success for me, in the fact that I felt very supported by my loved ones' presence. And I even sold a few things, which was awesome. 

Read Last Week:

Cape Cod by William Martin: I absolutely love this book, and during the weeks leading to my show, I wanted to relax at night with such an old friend of a book. Amazing read, I recommend it to everyone.

Reading This Week:

I am so far behind in my reviews it is not even funny. I am going to attempt to do a few this week amidst cleaning my house, which is a disaster, and reading.


Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel: Mermaids! I love mermaid stories. This one is cool because it is also a graphic novel and includes river boating.  .

The Lemon Orchard by Luanne Rice: This looks perfectly lovely.

Z: A Novel of Zelda Fitzgerald by Therese Anne Fowler: I think I was a flapper in a past life. Maybe Zelda was my friend? 

Listening to:

Sweet Salt Air by Barbara Delinsky: I have been listening to this while I do things around the house, and I am loving it. The book and listening to it. This is my first read audio book experience, and I feel like I have finally figured out a way that works for me to listen to them.

Tuesday, August 6, 2013

Taking a quick break!

I am taking a quick break this week, as my art show is this weekend and I have lots to do! I will be back next week!