Friday, December 28, 2012


During the month of December, follow this blog,and its Facebook page, and I will select one lucky follower to win a random prize from my stash of awesome doo-dads from Think Geek. Will you win a light-up light saber sucker? An awesome Mountain Dew Code Red -flavored lip balm? The possibilities are endless! Well, okay not endless, but FREE!

 You say you would appreciate a direct link to follow on Facebook? 
Why, certainly. Here you go:

See you soon!

Les Miserables: The 10-Tissue Movie

Turning a beloved, breathtaking stage musical into a film is a brave undertaking, at best. It's very difficult for devoted theater geeks not to have exaggerated expectations, but we are rarely satisfied with the casting, acting and directing of film versions of our favorite musicals. 

I tried to avoid reading reviews, positive or negative, before seeing "Les Miserables". I've been a fan of this show for over 20 years, I've seen it on stage a few times, listened to the London and Broadway cast recordings countless times, and recently raved about Alfie Boe's performance as Jean ValJean in the recorded 25th Anniversary Concert version. I was nervous about a few things. My primary concern is always the vocals and orchestrations living up to the experience of a great Broadway soundtrack, but I was also concerned about the casting choices, as I always am with a musical... 

Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Book Review: "Two Graves"

Before you read this review, if you haven't ever read any of Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child's books, start with "Relic" It's not necessary to start there, but the later Pendergast books refer sometimes to characters from the earlier titles, and it's well worth reading them all. They are excellent mystery/thrillers. Enjoy!!

Ah, Aloysius Pendergast is back. I missed him. In the last book he was a bit too... normal? Um... human, maybe. I adored the Pendergast of "Relic" and "Cabinet of Curiosities"-- enigmatic, mysterious; Holmesian with a Southern charm-- refined, incredibly intelligent and physically skilled... an intriguing character. But in the second "Helen" book, "Cold Vengeance", we began to see a different side of Pendergast. That continues into this book, but after a startling turn of events, and some very good Preston/Child twists, Pendergast returns to the hero we know and love. And the getting there is much better in "Two Graves" than "Cold Vengeance" implied it would be. Thank goodness.

I won't give you plot points, you can read the Goodreads summary for that, but I will say I loved this book. I read the bulk of it in one day (Christmas day-- I'm allowed to lounge in my PJs and read all day!)  It did take a while to really draw me in, but once hooked, I truly couldn't put it down. 

After my disappointment at the Preston/Child Gideon series, I was thrilled to see that they're still able to give me a satisfying Pendergast story, featuring, of course, all our favorite players: Corrie, D'Agosta, Constance and Proctor. I enjoyed the parallel sub-plots involving these old friends almost as much as Pendergast's storyline.

Good, good stuff. If you've kept up with Pendergast for this many books (12! Really!) you don't need me to tell you to read it. Go read it. It's well worth the journey through the first 2 "Helen" titles to get to "Two Graves".

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Glee at the Library

I nearly put off running to the city library until tomorrow. It's across town and it's very cold today and I almost didn't go. But I decided I wanted my son to do some reading this weekend while we're out of school, and the book being held for me was actually for him. So I went. And I thought, maybe I'll find something for me, too. 

Sunday, December 16, 2012

God Bless Us, Every One

It occurs to me that others will think I am remiss if I don't say anything about the horrific shooting that happened this week in Connecticut. I do kind of feel guilty about continuing to write on my blogs as though it didn't happen, but I also don't like to profit (so to speak) from others' tragedies. I suppose I ought to chronicle a little here, though, as blogs are modern-day journals.

I can't effectively express the depth of my sorrow at all those sweet children and educators being brutally murdered. My heart aches, physically and emotionally, imagining what those families and community are feeling. I will add my prayers to the thousands more being offered for them. I don't know any of them and I have been on the verge of tears all weekend. I know God is watching over that community as they mourn, and I'm so grateful to know that our Savior welcomed those babies home to joy and love and eternal glory. 

This beautiful painting circulated on Facebook, and I liked it, so I'll share it here in a slightly more permanent place:
It's Christmas time-- I hope you take a moment to reflect on the love Jesus has for you and for the blessing of agency. Even when it is abused by wicked or deranged people, it is the greatest gift we have. As you hug your children tighter this season imagine a loving Heavenly Father, longing to put His arms around you, and let Him into your heart. 

In the immortal words of Charles Dickens' Tiny Tim: "God bless us, every one."

Saturday, December 15, 2012

The Hobbit: Too Much Movie and Not Enough Story

"The Hobbit" finally opened this weekend, and I liked it. I didn't love it, and I found all the excess stuff a bit... excessive. (If you don't know what I'm talking about, read "The Hobbit" and then see the movie-- Jackson included loads of stuff that isn't in the book. At all. But my son assures me it's from Tolkein's appendices and notes and other stories and that it's all wonderful and will tie everything together with *LOTR nicely. I'm not convinced yet...) For one thing, it is long, and when a film has battle after battle after battle without a lot of story, I get bored of the battles.  But I'm getting ahead of myself.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Gathering Storm

LOVE this cover art. Wish my books had them!
Today I finished listening to book 11 of the Wheel of Time. I nearly cheered aloud (but I didn't. I work in a library.) when I heard Kate Redding say, "Epilogue". Why was I so excited to be at the end of "Knife of Dreams"? Simply this. I love book 12- "The Gathering Storm" and even more book 13- "Towers of Midnight". Such pure enjoyment in audiobook form. I am SO excited for book 14- "A Memory of Light" to come out next month. Like, ridiculously, fangirl-crazy-excited. I want to squeal with delight just thinking about it!!

I've given an entire year to listening to the Wheel of Time books. The Wheel of Time is the ultimate fantasy series, and the characters are like old friends. I haven't read them all in many years, and this time, I actually didn't either. October got here, then November, and I was only in book 8. And dragging along, as the story slows quite a bit in books 8-10. Then my friend Marc and my brother, Dave both recommended I jump ahead to 11, "Knife of Dreams". I'm so glad I did. 

"Knife of Dreams" is very satisfying. Lots of action and the story finally progresses again. There were scenes I skipped and some I skimmed through (audio-wise) because I know what happens and certain things that certain characters do are just... annoying. But I loved it. 

And now... on with Sanderson! And there was much rejoicing. 

Sunday, December 9, 2012

Book Review: "Feedback"

The second book in Robison Wells' "Variant" series (trilogy? quad?), "Feedback", is... better than the first. The writing still feels a little unpolished and sometimes I felt like bits of the plot slipped through unnoticed and I had to go back a page or two and try to find what I had missed. I found "Feedback" compelling, just not amazing. Wells pushes the story even deeper into the Sci-Fi genre, so that's interesting, but I'm not a great fan of Sci-Fi, so that didn't make me like it more.

I guess I'm spoiled to want all the books I read to be amazing, but... it would be nice. :)

Though I wasn't totally sold on this book, my two teenage sons loved it. They loved the first, "Variant", as well. SO, I guess the good news for Robison is that his target audience is enjoying the books he wrote for them.

I do look forward to seeing what else Robison comes up with in the future- he is a decent writer, and often the first few books by an author are their weakest, so there is definitely hope for improvement. I sincerely wish him luck with that. 

To sum up: I liked, but didn't love these books. I would recommend these books for teens-- they would probably like them better than I did. Adults who normally only read YA will probably like them, too. 

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Signing: Brandon Sanderson

Tonight, I got very brave and went to my second-ever book-signing by one of my most favorite authors. I didn't let my anxiety keep me home. I sucked it up, thanks in large part to my son (16 y.o.) being willing to accompany me so I wouldn't freak out from nerves and stay home. It was so much fun! I'm really glad we went. 

Sunday, December 2, 2012


During the month of December, follow this blog,and its Facebook page, and I will select one lucky follower to win a random prize from my stash of awesome doo-dads from Think Geek. Will you win a light-up light saber sucker? An awesome Mountain Dew Code Red -flavored lip balm? The possibilities are endless! Well, okay not endless, but FREE!

 You say you would appreciate a direct link to follow on Facebook? 
Why, certainly. Here you go:

See you soon!

Book Review: The Great Unexpected

Sharon Creech is a very talented author-- I say that having only read a few of her books: the picture book "A Fine, Fine School", and two quirky poetry-laced books "Love that Dog" and my personal favorite, "Hate that Cat". 

I picked up "The Great Unexpected" quite by accident, randomly seeing it on the New Titles shelf at my local library. I actually got it for my 10-year-old daughter, but I ended up reading it first.  I adored this story.