Tuesday, February 24, 2009 5 comments By: Suzanne

Teaser: The Liar's Club

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading. Be sure to go there for the rules and more fun!

This teaser comes from The Liar's Club by Mary Karr. I'm enjoying this inappropriately funny memoir.

Apparently I just blanked out her last visit along with a lot of other things. She died, and I wasn't sorry.
---pg. 99
Friday, February 20, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Every Breath You Take

Every Breath You Take: A True Story of Obsession, Revenge, and Murder by Ann Rule is exactly what the title says: A true story of a brutal murder. I'm not generally into true crimes novels, that's usually my mother's genre. She loves them and loves to watch those true crime television shows too. I enjoy them sometimes, but after awhile, everyone begins to look like a cold-hearted-B out to kill their mom, dad, son, daughter, wife, husband, or neighbor. It really makes you feel hopeless about the human race!

This is another I picked up through Paperback Swap to give me something to listen to on my long commute. From the Simon and Shuster Website:

If anything ever happens to me, promise me that you will see that there is an investigation....And find Ann Rule and ask her to write my story," Sheila Blackthorne Bellush told her sister after she divorced multimillionaire Allen Blackthorne. Now, in perhaps the first book ever written at a victim's request, America's Number One bestselling true-crime writer, Ann Rule, untangles a horrific web of lies that culminated in Sheila's savage murder more than ten years after she left Blackthorne.

When beautiful, blond Sheila married the charming, handsome Blackthorne, she was convinced she had found her perfect soul mate, and helped him reach his goal of living the privileged life of the country club set. But behind Allen's smooth facade, she discovered a violent, controlling sociopath -- a liar, a scam artist, a sexual deviant. When she finally fled with their two young daughters, she was skeletally thin, bruised, and beaten.

Although Sheila recovered, remarried, and was starting a new life and family, she still felt she was doomed. Joyously pregnant, she and her new husband expecting quadruplets, Sheila still feared Blackthorne, who had sworn to her he would monitor her every move and "every breath you take." And, in fact, Blackthorne inevitably tracked her down, as did her killer, who left her in a pool of blood marked by the tiny footprints of her two-year-old toddlers. The questions remained: Could the authorities ever link Sheila's murder to Blackthorne himself? Was his true obsession high-stakes golf and his extravagant pink mansion -- or was it to destroy Sheila?

I was impressed by Ann Rule speaking at the beginning and the end of the audiobook about Sheila and how this apparently lovely woman knew something could happen to her and she needed to have her story told if possible. This story seems to have affected Rule unlike any other book she has written since Ted Bundy. If there is anyone out there, like me, that did not know that Rule knew Ted Bundy and considered him a friend before it was known he was a murderer, well, now you do. This was very surprising to me because one of her books is about him. I wonder what it would be like not only to know a murder (because I have) but to then have to write about him! I can't imagine living in the story of that person for the time that it takes to write a book about him. It might just drive me crazy!

Another thing that impressed me was the story of Sheila herself. How such a strong person can let herself become enveloped so much in an abusive relationship no longer surprises me. Anyone who says it would never happen to them has simply been lucky. What surprises me is that she was able to get out with her two children and remake her life. She returned to the strong person she was before this relationship.

Ann Rule writes in such a way that you forget this is a true story. You forget that most of the people in the story are actually living somewhere in this world having to deal with the consequences of this murder. I was sucked into the story and only afterward was I reminded that this is not fiction. It breaks my heart that this family has been so completely torn apart.

My Award

This is my first blog award! YAYYY. It comes from Stacy at Stacy's Bookblog (she got from Wrighty, who received it from Bev, who recevied it from J.Kaye. Just thought I'd pass that on as Stacy did!). I sending it out to 3 fabulous gals:

1. My childhood friend Jenn. Unfortunately most of you cannot see her wonderful blog unless she invites you but it is AbFab!

2. A fellow flute player, Ruthanne at the Genco Journal. She recently did an overhaul on her blog too and it's beautiful.

3. A finally, Kristi at Books and Needlepoint, who always participates in my Friday 56 and has a beautiful layout.

Pass it on to someone you feel deserves it.

The Friday 56: Gardening

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

For those of you that don't know I have three lovely gardens and I've started them again this week. I pulled the weeds from all three and covered the vegetable and herb gardens. I'll be planting those in a couple weeks. One of my chives plants came back and my strawberries are still going strong. I didn't have any herbs other than basil last year, that garden was just flowers, but I want to do more herbs so I'll be experimenting this year. My rose bushes look just awful! I'm learning more about those as I go too. I've pruned them and they've already got some new growth (so early!) so hopefully I can be a better rose mom. I found a bunch of wild onions in the rose garden. I stopped pulling them and am going to let them grow. I've heard they have beautiful flowers.

So, the reason I'm telling all this on the Friday 56 is that my closest book was Neil Sperry's Complete Guide to Texas Gardening. It inspired me to share! Unfortunately, it ruined my theory of every page having something to do with the theme of the book (ironic for a book on gardening!). This one has nothing on pages 56 and 57 because they are chapter dividers! So this from page 58. Here ya go:

Wise landscapers buy quality trees, then care for them regularly. You have, at tree-planting time, control over the generations to come.
Thursday, February 19, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

A new look

Ok, so I finally did it. After talking about it for since I started this blog, I finally put up a new 3 column layout that isn't from boring blogger. I think the reason I didn't do it before was because, first I couldn't find anything I really liked, and then I was afraid I'd lose all my posts. I found some neat templates and then would notice that I couldn't change things very easily in them, like the picture in the header that just didn't fit or other minor details. It just seemed overwhelming to research how to backup everything and how to change elements I didn't like. Well, I've been sick the last two days and stayed home. Today, this is what I did. What do you think?
Wednesday, February 18, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne

TV Stories

I was trying to decide if this is relevant to my blog about stories and I say, yes it is. This is my story!

Has anyone seen the new Blackberry "butt dialing" commercial? I love that commercial. I giggle every time I see it.

Starts with "A"

This challenge is from Stacy at Stacy's Bookblog. I'm supposed to list 1o things that I love starting with the letter A. hmmmm, why couldn't you have given me an easier letter?

1. Aurora. Aurora is my wonderful collie that I;ve had since she was 5 weeks old. She is now 4 years old.
2. Amos. Tori Amos is one of my favorite singers. My favorite song by her is China.

3. Apple. I love apples. I eat one almost every day. I recently even began making my own applesauce after I learned to make these little hard apple candies. The first step is to boil and mash. It's so easy and tastes so good with a little sugar and cinnamon.

4. Apple. Ok, this may technically be cheating but I think since they're different things I should be able to do it. Fiona Apple is another of my favorite singers.

5. Aroma. I love smells. I have candles, incense, flowers, lotion, and oils throughout my house.

6. Alice in Chains. Yep, I just got up and looked at my cd collection. I'm telling you, I'm at a loss here! But I do love them and was very sad when Layne Staley died.

7. Alison Kraus. So I have a theme here, but what do you expect from a musician?

8. Ayn Rand. Her book The Fountainhead changed my life.

9. Allman Brothers Band. I just can't help myself. There may be more coming...

10. Amie. This is my favorite song my Damien Rice

11. All Dressed Up. Have I said yet on this blog how much I love Damien Rice? Stacy should have given me the letter D so I could use him only once. mawhahaha (evil laugh).

12. Angie. My second favorite song by the Rolling Stones. If Beast of Burden is not available I will sway in ecstasy to this one.

13. Annie. My mom says I watched this movie every single week for years when I was a kid. Sometimes for several days in a row. My poor mother!

14. American Gods. This is my favorite Neil Gaiman book.

15. Allen. Sarah Addison Allen is one of my new favorite writers. If you haven't read Garden Spells yet, do it soon!

Ok, so I went overboard! I was having so much fun I actually forgot it was supposed to be 10 things. I somehow along the way here thought it was 15. I guess I didn't have to cheat!

TV Show Meme

Ok, I'm home sick today so I'm bored. Here we go...

1. Name a TV show series in which you have seen every episode at least twice: This is so easy I almost hate to say it. I've seen every episode of Buffy at least 4 times!
2. Name a show you can’t miss: Currently and for the last 4 years, it's Lost. I became addicted on day 1 when I saw the plane crash on the beach. The rest is history.
3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to watch a show: This is hard. I'm likely to watch anything that has actors who were on Buffy. But then I'm more likely to watch anything created by Joss Whedon. Can we pretend he's an actor for the sake of this meme?4. Name an actor who would make you less likely to watch a show: Richard Dean Anderson. He will always be MacGyver. I loved the movie Stargate but can't make myself watch the show because he's in it. I just don't take him seriously.

5. Name a show you can, and do, quote from: Buffy. Sensing a theme?

6. Name a show you like that no one else enjoys: I loved Firefly but no one else must have watched it at the time because it only lasted one season. I;ve heard others say they loved it after watching it AFTER IT WENT OFF THE AIR. Where were all you people while it was on?

7. Name a TV show which you’ve been known to sing the the

me song: Cheers, Growing Pains
8. Name a show you would recommend everyone to watch: Dollhouse. This is Joss Whedon's new one and the first episode was really good.

9. Name TV series' you own: Buffy and Rosswell. They're so expe

nsive that I've stopped buying them and started renting them through Netfliz. I've rented Alias (which I watched while it was on but I got my mom addicted to it and we had to watch all the episodes in order), Supernatural (because it comes on at the same time as Grey's now and I love both!), Gossip Girl, Firefly (because I loved it so much), and I'm currently going through Dark Angel. I wish I'd watched that one while it was on. It's really good.

10. Name an actor who launched his/her entertainment career in another medium, but has surprised you with his/her acting choices in television: I'm going to say Sarah Michelle Geller because I consider Soap Operas another medium! I watched when she was on ALl My Children, that's why I didn't watch the first season of Buffy until someone else got me into it the summer after.

11. What is your favorite episode of your favorite series? I have a lot of favorite episodes but I have to go with the Prom episode in season 3 of Buffy. It makes me cry every time.

12. Name a show you keep meaning to watch, but you just haven’t gotten around to yet: Weeds. I don't have cable but I plan on renting the seasons through Netflix someday.

13. Ever quit watching a show because it was so bad? I stopped watching Heroes this season because it's just awful now. I really liked this show too. So very disappointing.

14. Name a show that’s made you cry multiple times: Buffy, Grey's, Friends, Lost (they keep killing off my favorite characters!)

15. What do you eat when you watch TV? Breakfast, Lunch, Dinner if I'm by myself. Nothing if I have company.

16. How often do you watch TV? A couple times a week for Grey's and Lost.

17. What’s the last TV show you watched? I watched Dollhouse online yesterday.

18. What’s your favourite/preferred genre of TV? Science fiction.

19. What was the first TV show you were obsessed with? Don't remember but I'm sure there was something before Buffy.

20. What TV show do you wish you never watched? Doesn't bother me so much I wish I'd never watched a whole show but there's an episode from the early days of CSI that still haunts me. It's about some teenagers that do s
ome kind of drug and two of them eat a third ALIVE. I still have nightmares.

21. What’s the weirdest show you enjoyed? Roswell? Is that weird?

22. What TV show scared you the most? See #20

23. What is the funniest TV show you have ever watched? hmmmm, Friends, or Fraiser. Why did they stop making funny shows?

24. What show was cancelled too early? My so called life. I really loved that show and it ended without any kind of resolution. Is it too late to bring them all back for another season?

Monday, February 16, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

Prince of Fire

I've found that since I've been listening to more audio books that I am listening to more books that I never would have read before simply because I'm so hungry for audio books. (I just re-read that convoluted sentence but it makes sense and I am keeping it!) This means that I'll try a book that before I probably wouldn't have even read the book jacket of before. Daniel Silva's Prince of Fire is one of those. From the back:

Few recent thriller writers have elicited the kind of critical praise that Daniel Silva has received, with his "provocative and deeply satisfying" novels featuring art restorer and sometime spy Gabriel Allon...
Now Allon is back in Venice, when a terrible explosion in Rome leads to a disturbing personal revelation: the existence of a dossier in terrorist hands that strips away his secrets, lays bare his history. Hastily recalled home to Israel, drawn once more into the heart of a service he had once forsaken, Allon find himself stalking an elusive master terrorist across a landscape drenched with generations of blood, the trail turning on itself until, finally, he can no longer be certain who is stalking whom. And when at last the showdown comes, it will not be Gabriel alone who is threatened with destruction - for it is not his history alone that has been laid bare.

Oh, sure that sounds fascinating but here's why I would not have read it before: I don't like "terrorist" thrillers. They are generally all about the evil of the terrorists and the purity of the people out to take them down. And, of course, we are supposed to hope and believe that the evil terrorists will all be killed and the pure will live happily ever after.

I do not believe anything is solved by killing another being. I don't believe in murder for any reason. And I believe that revenge killing is still murder. I believe that war is murder. Everyone who believes there are good reasons for war always points to the two world wars or our civil war and say there was no other way. What they forget is that eventually, one side runs out of people and supplies to fight with or one side is simply better at fighting than the other. That doesn't always mean that the people that won were right. In those wars I mentioned, yes the bad guys lost. But what about all the other wars when good people lost and someone was set up to rule over them? Eventually, when if the "good guys" win, there still has to be talks and a treaty hashed out. Why don't they start with the talks before so many beautiful lives are lost forever?

Ok, off my soap box and back to why I don't like terrorist thrillers. What many people in the U.S. don't realize (because we're not taught this in school) is that there was NO Israel prior to World War II. It was created out of land that was owned by Palestinians WITHOUT THEIR CONSENT. It was simply taken away from them because the European countries that the Jewish people came from didn't want them back. Those countries preferred to deal with the "problem" by getting rid of it. Think anyone in the U.S. or a European nation would put up with their land being taken away and given to someone else without consent? So, I can see why the Palestinians are so mad. However, like I said before, I don't believe in murder, so the way they've handled it is the worst possible way.

Silva doesn't shy away from this in the book. He makes sure his reader knows the reasons for the problems, however, he still does it with an obvious slant toward Israel. He talks about the horrors of Israel destroying Palestinian towns in the early years of their nation but he gives excuses for it. We are still supposed to hope that Allon kills this person. The story is very gripping and I was spellbound through most of it. However, I didn't feel satisfied after I finished the way I normally do when I finish a good book. I was just depressed. I keep thinking: why do they think the only way is violence? When has it ever done good?
Friday, February 13, 2009 1 comments By: Suzanne

The Road

The Road is my first posting in the New Classics Challenge. Is anyone else out there that reads this also doing this challenge? If so, does it seem to you that all the books on this list have been made into movies or are being made in the future? Is that how they came up with this list? If that's the case, I'm a little disappointed. If I know a movie that's based on a book is coming out and I haven't yet read the book, I usually wait to read it until after I see the movie. That way, I can like both. I know I'll never like the movie if I read the book first (Harry Potter and Bridget Jones are the only exceptions). I really hope I like this movie (if I ever get to see it). Apparently no one knows when it's coming out. It was supposed to be released in November of last year and now it's being said 2009 but no time frame other than that. It has quite a few really good actors, so I'm looking forward to it anyway.

From the back of the book:

A father and son walk alone through burned America. Nothing moves in the ravaged landscape save the ash on the wind. It is cold enough to crack stones, and when the snow falls it is gray. The sky is dark. Their destination is the coast, although they don't know what, if anything, awaits them there. They have nothing; just a pistol to defend themselves against the lawless bands that stalk the road, the clothes they are wearing, a cart of food - and each other.

This is a story told with no names. The characters are The Man and The Boy. It is post-apocalyptic America. We are never told exactly what happened but most of us can guess. In fact, it might even be talking down to the reader spending time discussing why all the trees and plants and grasses and every living thing has been burned. We know. I'm not sure if this is why McCarthy never discloses their past or if it is for more subtle reasons. The man often notes that his past is gone, what was will never be and there is no point thinking of it. The boy never knew a world other than this, being born after "the event," and does not seem to believe any of his fathers stories about the world the way it was before.

On their journey across this wasteland they meet other characters, sometimes people in much worse shape than themselves. Without giving too much away, I will tell you that without growing plants, the animals have died. Without either plants or animals to eat, the survivors are growing desperate. It's either die or find food in any way or can.

I was completely engrossed in this book, one of those "I can't put it down" types. Every minute I had free I would pick it up and read, even if it was only for a paragraph. The writing is wonderful and I got carried away in this world that is (unfortunately) completely possible. McCarthy obviously spent a lot of time making sure the details were there to give a complete picture. I had no trouble visualizing exactly what he was talking about. The trials these two go through make you wonder how they'll ever get of it this time but somehow, good pulls through. Then McCarthy killed it (the book I mean). He takes you right to the point of no return and then drops the ball. The ending is too easy. It's almost as if he said, "this boy's been through enough, I'll let him take the easy road now." It gives the reader hope, but the problem with an easy ending is that you feel cheated. I felt like he gave up and just didn't know how else to get his character there.

But this book is still wonderful and I think you all should read it!

The Friday 56: The Road

Sorry it's late this week guys!

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

This week's selection comes from The Road by Cormac McCarthy:

I was stupid. We've been over all of this. I didn't bring myself to this. I was brought.
Friday, February 6, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

The Friday 56: Bloodstream

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

From Bloodstream by Tess Gerritsen:

Something wasn't right. It was after dark, and the door should have been latched to protect the animals.

I haven't actually read this and was not planning on it. It was the closest book because my mom left it here! But this sentence is in intriguing...
Tuesday, February 3, 2009 3 comments By: Suzanne

A movie post

I saw a preview for a new Witch Mountain movie during the SuperBowl. Does anyone out there remember the original movies? I loved those movies and about jumped out of my seat when I saw the preview. I knew before they showed the name that it looked like the Witch Mountain movies but thought it might be a cheao rip off. NOOOO! It's a real sequel! YAYYYY!!!! I only wonder why they took 30 years to make another one. I also am a little weary of "The Rock" being in it. Hmmmmmm, hope it's not cheasy. And are Tia and Tony in this movie at all, 30 years later? Can they be? Is it about their kids or are they still children and new actors are playing them? hmmmmm, gonna find out.

Teaser: Catch-22

The Teaser is hosted at Should be Reading. Be sure to go there for the rules and more fun!

I have to say I am having a real hard time reading Catch-22. I just can't get into it. I don't care that Yossarian can't go home and has to fight in the war. I don't care that the guys in his squadron are seriously screwed up. I'm making myself finish it though for two reasons: 1) It's on my Whitcouls Challenge and 2) It's on a lot of people's favorite books list, I'm determined to figure out why. So, here's my teaser for the day:

"Where've you been?" he demanded rudely and disinterestedly without looking up.
The chaplain colored and turned away evasively. "I went for a walk through the woods."
p. 285
Monday, February 2, 2009 0 comments By: Suzanne


From Jillian P. Hoffman's website:

One rainy night in New York City, outstanding law student Chloe Larson wakes from a terrible nightmare. But it's not a nightmare-it's real. A stranger stands over her, a rubber clown mask covering his face, and in one, horrifying instant, everything in Chloe’s life is forever changed. She becomes a victim, a statistic. And no one is brought to justice. Twelve years later a very different Chloe is forging a formidable reputation as a Major Crimes prosecutor in the Miami-Dade State Attorney's Office. For more than a year she has been assigned to assist a task force of detectives who have been searching for a vicious serial killer nicknamed Cupid for the way he kills his victims. Nine women are dead and two are missing and the pressure is mounting to find the vicious killer. When the police stop a speeding motorist on the McArthur Causeway, it seems that the hunt for Cupid is finally over. But as Chloe begins the task of prosecuting the suspect, she soon realizes that this case will be anything but easy. Because her past is about to force itself on her present-and the terror is only just beginning. Sometimes there is a price to be paid for justice. And sometimes that price is awful. Revenge could cost Chloe her sanity. The truth could cost her life.

I normally don't read mystery novels because for the most part they not creative and I can predict them within a few chapters. The only reason I ordered this book from Paperback Swap was because I wanted something to listen to while I drive to work. This one had 13 cds and seemed slightly interesting. That being said, this book is AMAZING! It definitely has me reconsidering my "no mysteries" stance. There was no forced romance that felt like it was put there simply to have women interested. There is a little romance but, even though it's written by a woman, it is also not all consuming throughout the novel. The true story is the mystery and Chloe herself, the romance is just a by product. I thought that was a great way to go. I really hate when female characters spend the entire book mooning over someone when their life is literally falling apart. I just found out that there is being a movie made of it so I'm sure they'll play it up in just the way I hate.

Hoffman was able to surprise me several times, which is another reason I loved the book. If I can figure it out too soon, then I'm bored. And the twist she takes near the end...well, that was genius. I knew there was something more than the story we were being told but I simply didn't see it. Maybe it's because she didn't leave enough clues for the reader to get there on her own until she reveals a key piece, but it also didn't feel wrong when I did figure it out. It was more like "Of course!"

Like I said, I listened to the audio version. I was little confused because the cover and the cds both said they were read by Martha Plimpton but the beginning and end cds stated that it was read by Kathe Mazur. I had to do a serious search to even find a version with that name being read. Everything I saw said Martha Plimpton read the abridged version and the one lonely site I saw with Kathe Mazur listed said it was unabridged. I listened to the unabridged version but you'd think they'd put the right person reading on the cover! Very weird.

I highly recommend this book. If you listen, get the unabridged version. I can't imagine what they could possibly leave out in the abridged version. It would have to be terrible.