Sunday, March 31, 2013

As Mad as a March Hare

     I often wonder about phrase origins. I figured that I would look at the saying "as mad as a March hare" today in honor of both the Easter bunny's visit today and the fact that Easter has fallen in March this year, something that doesn't happen very often.

     Rabbits and hares are infamous for multiplying, and I'm not referring to their math skills. As March is the beginning of the mating season that lasts several months for these critters, they tend to be highly excitable and sometimes downright violent. This phrase has been in use since at least the 16th century and was used frequently enough in speech that it was included in John Heywood's collection of proverbs in 1546.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

War of the Worlds - Featured Author Book Review

book cover art for War of the Worlds by H.G. Wells War of the Worlds
by H.G. Wells
Genres: Classic, Historical Fiction, Horror,
   Science Fiction

     War of the Worlds was originally written in 1898 during a time when aliens was not a common every day theme in entertainment. This classic novel tells of the panic and destruction when aliens from Mars invade earth, wanting to take it over for their own use. The horror component is fairly soft core compared to today's standards, but in its day, it was one of the first books published depicting a conflict between earth and invading extraterrestrials. Told as a first person narrative by an unnamed survivor, he also tells us of his brother's experiences during the invasion.

Monday, March 25, 2013

Promise - Pick of the Month Book Review

Book cover art for Promise by Kristie Cook Promise
Soul Savers #1
by Kristie Cook
Genres: Fantasy, Paranormal,
   Romance, Young Adult

     This book started out really good. The main female character was strong, independent, willfull and had the ability to just keep plodding on, no matter what life threw at her. As a college freshman she was writing her first novel - an adaptation of a strange otherworldly dream or possibly real situation that she encountered.

     The book was hard to put down as I craved to know what would happen next and just what type of paranormal creatures Alexis and her mom were - because they obviously are not completely human. Then, IT happens. Alexis falls in love and immediately becomes clingy, needy, whiny, and annoying. The numerous declarations of love are sickeningly sweet and made me roll my eyes. Then let's throw in a "he loves me, he loves me not" scenario just "for fun".

Friday, March 22, 2013

Shocking Pink - Fun Read Friday Review

Shocking Pink
by Erica Spindler
Genre: Thriller

     Andie, Raven and Julie had been friends since childhood. Their band of friendship had even survived the traumatic summer of '83 when the girls became material witnesses to a creepy murder.

     A friend of mine had given me this to read, though I'm not entirely sure why as it does not fall within my usual preferred genre.

     Plenty of plot twists to keep you guessing but frankly are fairly predicatble. Racy references to kinky sex lead me to not recommend this book to anyone under 21 even though it isn't horribly graphic or detailed.

I give it 2 star review graphic 2 stars.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

A Modern Utopia - Featured Author Review

book cover art for A Modern Utopia by H.G. Wells A Modern Utopia
by H.G. Wells
Genre: Classic, Nonfiction

     Wells has addressed quite a few of the problems with Utopia in this book. Some of his ideas have merit. But no matter the era, it is just impossible to make everyone happy all of the time. There will always be somebody somewhere who will find fault with something that another person feels is absolutely perfect.

     In the 19th century man was enthralled with the ideas of Utopia. Many writers theorized about how it could be obtained. Not just writers and philosophers were captivated with the idea of Utopia, architect Le Corbusier even designed buildings for his idea of the perfect Utopian city. At the time many people thought Utopia was attainable.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Laughter Really is the Best Medicine - Pick of the Month Review

book cover art for Laughter Really is the Best Medicine Laughter Really is the Best Medicine
by the editors of Reader's Digest
Genre: Humor

     From my earliest memories the Laughter is the Best Medicine feature has always been my favorite in the Reader's Digest. Even as a little girl before I had found any interest in the rest of the magazine, I can remember grabbing my great-grandmother's latest issue and reading this feature while visiting her.

     I notice that this is not titled The Best of... and rightly so. Some of the jokes contained within are a bit corny, others I had heard before, but there are a few gems included as well that made me chuckle out loud while reading.

     The nice thing about having this on my kindle is that I can open it between books and read just a few stories as time allows. Or even on those days when nothing seems to go right and I could use a little humor to my day, I can easily have a humorous story right at my finger tips to brighten up my day a little bit.

     I hope that you downloaded this when I first posted March's monthly picks as it is no longer free, but even at it's current price of $3.99* it is worth it.

I give it 4 star review graphic 4 stars!

     *This was the current price on Amazon when I wrote this review, but as with all books on Amazon their prices fluctuate often so please double check the price before downloading the book.

Sunday, March 17, 2013

Socs and Greasers - Book Review

Socs and Greasers: Behind The Scenes of The Outsiders from Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe Socs and Greasers: Behind The Scenes of The Outsiders from Rob Lowe's Stories I Only Tell My Friends
by Rob Lowe
Genres: Nonfiction, Autobiography

     This short book actually appears to be an excerpt from Rob Lowe's autobiography and regales us with behind the scene stories from the making of The Outsiders. Even if they hadn't already read and enjoyed S.E. Hinton's book, every red blooded American teenaged girl loved this movie. As yet undiscovered actors: Tom Cruise, Ralph Macchio, C. Thomas Howell, Rob Lowe, Emilio Estevez. Add to this list the slightly older but still incredibly hot Patrick Swayze and singing heart throb Leif Garret and even if the movie had had no plot, we wouldn't have noticed while swooning over all the eye candy available.

     I decided to review this book today because it is Rob Lowe's birthday. I still remember this fact from the days that I was an official member of his fan club. The posters that had hung on my wall as a teen are probably still rolled up somewhere in my mother's attic. When I saw this book on amazon it made me feel nostalgic for the days when life's main concern revolved around gossiping with my friends about cute boys and the latest pictures of our favorite heart throbs in Sixteen magazine or Teen Beat.

     Lowe gives very emotional accounts of friendships formed, and situations experienced while filming this classic movie. He seems incredibly down to earth despite the fact that he became a megastar at the age of 18. Definitely some interesting reading and the ebook was still free when I wrote this review.

I give it 3 star review graphic 3 stars.

Friday, March 15, 2013

The Invisible Man - Flashback Friday

book cover art for The Invisible Man by H.G. WellsThe Invisible Man
by H.G. Wells
Genres: Classic, Science Fiction

     When I announced my featured author picks for the month I bet it seemed strange that I had neglected some of H.G. Wells most popular titles. I knew that I had already reviewed The Invisible Man and that I have also recently read Time Machine though I have not reviewed it on here. Originally I had planned to re-read and review Time Machine but while researching the author biography post I learned of his Anticipations book and decided to read it instead. Ok, so that was a mistake as I had found Anticipations incredibly dull. But to be honest, the whole reason that I started the featured author segment was to motivate myself to read some of the books that have been sitting on my "to-read" list for ages that I would not normally pick to read. So, at any rate, I HAVE reviewed H.G. Wells' The Invisible Man and if you'd like to read my review, you can link to it here.

I gave it 4 star review graphic 4 stars!

Thursday, March 14, 2013

Beware the Ides of March

     Do you ever wonder where certain phrases came from or how exactly they originated? Since a lot of popular phrases come from literature I thought that it might be fun to periodically take a break from reviews and research such phrase origins.

     The Ides of March dates back to the days when the Romans were a powerful empire. The Romans didn't number their days like we do today, instead they based their calendar on the lunar cycle. Kalends usually fell on the 1st day of the month and represented the new moon. Ides was the full moon which generally occurred on the 13th of short months (such as January, April, June, etc.) and 15th of long months (March and October for example). Nones is halfway between the Kalends and the Ides and most probably the day of the half moon, this denotes the 7th or 9th, depending on the length of the month. The Romans would refer to days in a system very similar to their numbering system where October 14th would merely be considered the day before the Ides of October.

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Anticipations - Featured Author Review

book cover art for Social Anticipations by H.G. Wells Anticipations
by H.G. Wells
Genre: Nonfiction, History

     I like to shake things up and review at least one book by a featured author that is not within the genre that they are best known for. I thought it would be interesting to read this nonfiction novel that was penned by H.G. Wells. This book was published under several titles: Anticipations of the Reactions of Mechanical and Scientific Progress upon Human Life and Thought, Wells' Social Anticipations, and simply Anticipations. In this book Wells gives us his predictions as to where he sees the world headed by the year 2000. Many reviews that I have read for this book proclaim that many of Wells' prophecies were dead on the mark, while some were almost humorous that he was so far off base.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

H.G. Wells Quotes - Top Ten Tuesday

Ten quotes from this month's featured author - H.G. Wells
  1. “If you fell down yesterday, stand up today.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  2. “If we don't end war, war will end us.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  3. “We all have our time machines, don't we. Those that take us back are memories...And those that carry us forward, are dreams.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  4. “Losing your way on a journey is unfortunate. But, losing your reason for the journey is a fate more cruel.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  5. “What really matters is what you do with what you have.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  6. “I hope, or I could not live.”
    ― H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau

  7. “It sounds plausible enough tonight, but wait until tomorrow. Wait for the common sense of the morning.”
    ― H.G. Wells The Time Machine

  8. “Very simple was my explanation, and plausible enough---as most wrong theories are!”
    ― H.G. Wells The Time Machine

  9. “The crisis of today is the joke of tomorrow.”
    ― H.G. Wells

  10. “I write as straight as I can, just as I walk as straight as I can, because that is the best way to get there.”
    ― H.G. Wells

Quotes provided by goodreads

Monday, March 11, 2013

Girl From Long Guyland - Pick of the Month Review

book cover art for The Girl From Long Guyland by Lara Reznik The Girl from Long Guyland
by Lara Reznik
Genres: Mystery, Drama

     This is a story about peer pressure. Laila Levin left for college at the tender age of seventeen. Her first adventure out of the nest allows her to spread her wings and enjoy her freedom. She has always felt a sense of not quite belonging and on the college campus she falls in league with some very hot, but very bad boys. Even twenty-some years later, Laila has a successful career, a loving husband, two grown sons and still finds herself in situations where she is bending to make the popular choice amongst her peers rather than what is in her own best interest.

     The book almost begins in the middle. The plot unfolds through flashbacks of Laila's life during college and what is happening in her present day life. When her old college roommate commits suicide, Laila's past and present collide following the revelation of circumstances in the past that lead to the FBI reopening the missing person's case of one of their old friends. This group of five people are the only ones who know what had happened and made a pact to never discuss it again, not even among themselves. Until somebody does talk, and the entire house of cards falls as each person shifts the blame to another and it is all a matter of he said, she said to figure out who was really to blame.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Harriet Tubman Biography Review

Book cover art for Harriet Tubman - The Moses of her People by Sarah H. Bradford Harriet Tubman - The Moses
   of her People
by Sarah H. Bradford
Genre: Biography, History,

     Today marks the 100th anniversary since the death of Harriet Tubman. Slave birthdays were not celebrated and as far as she could recollect she was born around 1820-21 and passed away on March 10, 1913. Around the age of 13 she received a serious head injury at the hands of her master. Her skull was partially bashed in and would forever give her the appearance of being slow and stupid as well as having other health complications, but she was far from stupid. Harriet was a calculating, brave, and deeply religious woman. Her cunning helped save the lives of hundreds of slaves during a time when anyone - black or white - could be put to death for harboring or assisting slaves to escape to freedom.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

The Island of Doctor Moreau - Featured Author Review

book cover art for The Island of Doctor Moreau by H.G. Wells The Island of Doctor Moreau
by H.G. Wells
Genre: Science Fiction, Classic, Horror

     This story is told in the first person point of view of a man who has been shipwrecked and rescued at sea by a passing ship. It is hard to imagine the inconveniences of such situations back then. Pendrick pretty much is powerless over his future as his circumstances put him at the mercy of wherever the ship is sailing to. To complicate matters, the captain of the boat is a drunkard and becomes spooked, forcing Pendrick to disembark on the secluded island where he is dropping the other passengers and cargo. Pendrick relates to us the horrors of the creatures that he finds residing on that island.

Monday, March 4, 2013

March Monthly Picks

     March is the month of ... hmm, not much that I can relate to literature at any rate. St. Patrick's Day and Easter fall within this month, but those really aren't great holidays as far as book ideas go. So I'm just picking a hodgepodge of different books that look interesting.

book cover art for The Girl From Long Guyland by Lara Reznik
book cover art for Laughter Really is the Best Medicine
Book cover art for Promise by Kristie Cook
Paranormal Romance

     *These were free ebooks on Amazon when I wrote this post, but as with all books on Amazon their prices fluctuate often so please double check the price before downloading!

As A side note, while trolling through Amazon's Kindle store looking for this week's monthly picks, I happened to notice that The Phantom of Valletta was free. It is a fan-fiction sequel to The Phantom of the Opera that I reviewed back in January. Check out my review and see if it is a book you might enjoy. I know I did.

Saturday, March 2, 2013

March Featured Author - H.G. Wells

picture of H.G. Wells

H.G. Wells

  September 21, 1866
  August 13, 1946
Main genre:
  Science Fiction

     Born Herbert George Wells in Kent, England and called Bertie by his family, Wells had poor health as a child, in fact his parents were often worried that he wouldn't survive his childhood. At the age of 7 he was bedridden for several months with a broken leg. This started his love affair with the written word as he read several books during this time, even some written by Charles Dickens and Washington Irving. As a teen, he was apprenticed to a draper but didn't care for the profession much. Instead, he continued his education with the aid of a scholarship to the Normal School of Science where he studied physics, chemistry, astronomy and biology.

Friday, March 1, 2013

Flashback Friday - The Count of Monte Cristo

cover art of The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas The Count of Monte Cristo
by Alexandre Dumas
Genre: Classic, Historical Fiction

     Some books are worth reading over and over again. Granted, if there was a surprise plot twist, you aren't going to have that feeling of awe during the re-read. However, a lot of times I pick up new details that didn't seem important on the first read but on the second time around facts will click in my head as my excuse for a brain realizes just how this small piece of information fits into the big picture. Somehow it would feel like cheating to review the same book a second time or to just copy and paste my original review into a new post and attempt to make it all new and sparkly again. For those who have just found this site and haven't looked through my archives (seriously does anyone read the complete archive of a blog?) I have decided to periodically highlight certain books that I have reviewed in the past, that just HAVE TO be read, at least once in life, if not more.