Category Archives: Books & Films

If We Were Having Coffee…3/11/17

If we were having coffee…I would (quickly) welcome you in and slam the door right behind you. There is a fridge wind fighting to get in this morning and I am determined to keep him at bay. I feel as if the March Lion is doing battle with the March Lamb. We are expecting a snow storm on Tuesday here in southern New Jersey so I guess the Lion still has control at least till then. Personally, I’m more than ready for Spring!

Nevermind the weather. Come in. Sit down. I have coffee or tea or hot chocolate ready to warm your bones. You might notice that I am using my very cool  Friends “CENTRAL PERK” mug that Miss Dee gave me for my birthday this past December. As you can see, it’s very large so I only use it on the weekends when I have unlimited coffee time. There are lots of other cool mugs for you to choose from; two Marvel Avengers , a Hershey Park (the sweetest place on Earth), another from Disney World, or Miss Dee has a mug from her graduation that says “THE TASSEL WAS WORTH THE HASSEL.” I’m sure she wouldn’t mind sharing. Which ever you chose, I promise to fill it with something strong and hot!

If we were having coffee…I would start off by asking you how you’ve been. It’s been a while since I’ve had a chance to join the Coffee Share (in fact, it’s been so long that I didn’t realize that it changed hosts!) so I’m afraid I’m a bit behind. Is everything well in your world? Everyone healthy? Have you seen any good movies or read any good books?

Things around here have been chugging along. Nothing too extraordinary is happening. We are a bit excited because my niece, Anna, and D-Man’s stepsister, Regan, are both about to have babies so of course we are awaiting news on that. This is the second baby for Anna. Anyone who has been following this blog for a while might remember the shower Miss Dee and I threw for her when her first (Squish) was born two years ago. She and her guy will be welcoming another little boy to their family. We can’t wait to meet him.

Hubby’s step sister, Regan, is also having a little boy. This is the first for her and her husband. They live a few hours away, up in Hoboken so we don’t get to see them too often. Miss Dee and I attended her baby shower just last week over at my in-laws house. Personally, I find showers, as a whole, a bit of a snooze to attend and, (speaking as an introvert), terrifying  to be the subject of, but it’s always nice to wish the soon-to-be parents well and see all the cute things they receive. We a gave a gift card and books, of course. I make it my mission to start every child’s library with a few good stories.😊

In other news, Mr D and three of his friends are driving to Florida for their spring break next week. It’s a thirteen hour drive to where they are going in Daytona Beach and as a mom, I’ll admit, I’m a bit freaked out but they are a pretty responsible group of young men and they’ve planned it out well. The other moms and I have put together a “survival kit” containing snacks and sunblock and of course we will be expecting regular texts and calls while they are gone. If I was 21 again, I would see this as a great adventure too so I can’t fault them for wanting to go. Doesn’t mean I won’t worry though.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that my friend Urszula and I went  out last night to see the movie Lion and I must say, if you haven’t already seen it, I highly recommend a viewing. It was written by a man named Saroo Brierley and telle his life story. Brierley was born into a loving but poor family in India but was adopted by an Australian couple after he got lost as a child and ended up homeless on the streets of Calcutta. Twenty-five years later, he went back to India to try and find his family. Dev Patel plays the character, Saroo, as an adult and an amazing young man named Sunny plays the child Saroo. It was one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

If we were having coffee…I would tell you that I certainly have enjoyed our drinks and conversation! I would also remind you to visit Nerd in the Brain so that you can enjoy the rest of the Coffee Share Posts. May the rest of your weekend be super-fantastic!  I hope you are able to surround yourself with the people and things you love the most.

A to Z Literary Ladies – Ginny Weasley

Ginny Weasley

 “The thing about growing up with Fred and George is that you sort of start thinking anything’s possible if you’ve got enough nerve.” (Ginny to Harry)-J.K. Rowling, Order of the Phoenix

The basics:

Age ranging from 10 years to late teens through out the series; youngest child and only daughter of Arthur and Molly Weasley; long  flaming red hair; brown eyes; athletic; quick witted and spirited; powerful witch.

Where to find her:

Ginny appears in all seven books of the Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling.

Why she made the list:

Through all the Harry Potter books, Ginny has always been my favorite female character. Ginny is strong and spirited (you have to be able to hold your own when you have five older brothers), and quite often has some of the funniest come backs in the book.

Ginny is responsible for holding the Quidich team together when Harry takes over as captain. She is the one who comes up the name forDumbledore’s Army, helps Nevil try to steal the sword of Griffendor and keeps the rebellion going at Hogwarts while Harry, Ron and Heromine are off chasing horcruxes. Even though it doesn’t always show, Ginny has Harry’s back through out the series.

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female.

A to Z Literary Ladies – Ermatrude Fanshaw

Ermatrude (Daphne) Fanshaw

The basics:

Thirteen years old;  a distant cousin of the British crown in the year 1860;  polite and kind; often refered to as “ghost girl” due to her fair coloring and her white clothing.

Where to find her: 

Ermatrude, who renames herself Daphne, is the main female character in the novel Nation (2008) written by Terry Pratchett of DiscWorld fame. The premises, according to Goodreads:

“Alone on a desert island — everything and everyone he knows and loves has been washed away in a storm — Mau is the last surviving member of his nation. He’s completely alone — or so he thinks until he finds the ghost girl. She has no toes, wears strange lacy trousers like the grandfather bird, and gives him a stick that can make fire.
Daphne, sole survivor of the wreck of the Sweet Judy, almost immediately regrets trying to shoot the native boy. Thank goodness the powder was wet and the gun only produced a spark. She’s certain her father, distant cousin of the Royal family, will come and rescue her but it seems, for now, that all she has for company is the boy and the foul-mouthed ship’s parrot, until other survivors arrive to take refuge on the island. Together, Mau and Daphne discover some remarkable things (including how to milk a pig, and why spitting in beer is a
good thing), and start to forge a new nation.”

Why she made the list:

Daphne is a girl who is able to find good in others and appreciate their differences. Raised as the girl whose father is “138th in line to the British throne” she is drilled on proper behavior and the importance of protocol, but when she finds herself stranded on the island, alone and totally without the skills to survive, she is open and ready to learn a new way.  Mau teachers her things that are weird and foreign to her but she respects his traditions and trusts that he and the other islanders know what is best.

She doesn’t try to change them, or teach them a “better” way and is always open to doing what ever is asked of her. Just the amount of effort Daphne puts in to communicating with Mau is enough to earn her a place on my list, but she is also funny and good natured and selfless.

In the end, when the island is invaded by pirates, it is Daphne’s willingness to accept the strange new customs that saves her life. The Pirates consider the islanders savages with no intelligence who are beneath their contempt. This turns out to be their undoing.

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female.

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Kate Erickson

Kate Erickson

“Kate moved quickly down the center rafter. Despite the height above the floor, she felt perfectly comfortable. The beam was six inches wide. Nothing to it. Hearing another gasp from the people below, she glanced back and saw Sir Guy step onto the center beam…” -Michael Crichton, Timeline

The Basics:

Short ash blonde hair; blue eyes; darkly tan; early twenties; originally from Colorado; a graduate student at Yale university spending the summer helping to excavate ruins in France along the Dordogne River.

Where to find her:

Kate Erickson is a secondary character in a 1999 novel by Michel Crichton entitled  Timeline. A science fiction thriller, Timeline tells the story of a group of historians who travel back to medieval France on a rescue mission. Anyone familiar with me knows that time travel is a favorite book theme of mine and this particular one is my favorite.

Why she made the list:

I can come up with a few reasons why I’m a fan of Kate’s. First of all, she has a cool job. She was originally an architecture major but switched to history, so in the book she’s been recruited to spend the summer in France studying the ruins of an ancient medieval castle. When they end up traveling back to 1357, she is the one who knows her way around the castle and even shows the others a few secret passages she had discovered.

I could also say that I appreciate her practicality and resourcefulness. Originally, when she goes back in time, she is fitted with typical female clothing from the time period, however, Kate quickly discovers how confining and constricting the long skirt is so she trades it in first chance she gets and spends the remainder of the time masquerading as a young squire. That gives her the physical freedom of movement that brings me to my most favorite reason…she likes to climb stuff!

Kate is an avid rock climber, something she did quite a bit back home in Colorado. At the site, she spends every Sunday climbing the rock cliffs along the Dordogne River and when we first meet her, she is hanging from a harness fifty feet in the air taking mortar samples from the chapel ceiling. I totally get this.

As a kid, I was always up in trees or at the top of the monkey bars. There is a certain freedom that comes with being high up and I loved to freak out my mom by dangling from my knees. Even as an adult, I enjoy heights and climbing. My favorite ride is the Ferris wheel and, if I can ever talk my husband into it, I would love to go up in a hot air balloon.

Near the end of the book, there is a really great chase scene that puts Kate’s climbing skills and her love of heights to very good use. In an attempt to get away from a very nasty knight she finds herself tiptoeing around up in the rafters of the castle’s great hall. Michael Crichton very kindly included some illustrations in the book including this one of the ceiling…

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Does it look like fun to you? Kate thinks it is and, as she moves around quite nimbly from beam to beam the crowd below begins cheering her on. I don’t want to spoil the suspense by telling you exactly what happens but I will tell you, it doesn’t end well for the knight.😊

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female.

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Charley Davidson

Charley Davidson

“Maybe I needed sensitivity training. I once signed up for an anger management class, but the instructor pissed me off.”
― Darynda Jones, First Grave on the Right

The basics:

Chocolate brown hair; golden eyes; 27 years old; resides in Albuquerque, New Mexico; Part-time private detective; full-time grim reaper; has the ability to see and communicate with the dead.

Where to find her:

Charley Davidson is the main character in Darynda Jones’ “Grave” series beginning with “First Grave on the Right” (2011). The series is currently up to book nine, just released this year.

Why she made the list:

Obviously, this is one of those books that require the reader to suspend their grip on reality and just kind of go with it. It is also politically incorrect where death is concerned and leans towards an “R” rating  due to the incredibly hot relationship Charley has with Reyes Farrow, aka the son of Satan. What can I say,  I have slightly eclectic taste in reading material.

Charley Davidson, the big draw here, tends to be a bit long winded, spouting wise cracks and sarcasm in abundance but, hey, she’s a grim reaper encountering dead people on a daily basis. I’d say she deserves some slack where her coping mechanisms are concerned. The fact that she is so off the wall, is exactly what appeals to me. The biggest struggle she faces is trying to protect the people she cares about while still being able to do her job. For the most part, she succeeds

Have you ever felt like throwing convention out the window and just doing or saying whatever popped into your head? Charley is a one-of-a-kind entity who needs to operate on her own, making it up as she goes. She’s just so damn cool and fearless. I wouldn’t mind being that self confident now and then.

Plus, she has a really hot boyfriend. 😊

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female

 

 

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Casey Singleton

Casey Singleton

     “Casey looked at his smooth face, smelled his cologne. The little bastard was enjoying this.  And in a moment of fury, of deep outrage, she suddenly saw another possibility.                                        From the beginning, she had tried so hard to do the right thing, to solve the problem of 545. She had been honest, she had been straight, and it had just gotten her into trouble.   Or had it?      “You have to face facts, here” Richman said.  “It’s over.  There’s nothing you can do.”   She pushed away from the sink.

“Watch me,” she said.  And she walked out of the room.

   -Michael Crichton, Airframe

The basics:

Thirty-six years old divorcee;  short brown hair; athletic body; mom to 7 year old Amanda; vice-president at Norton Air Craft; resides in Glendale, California.

Where to find her:

Casey is the main character and heroine in Michael Crichton 1996 novel “Airframe” a mystery/thriller involving a flight in which ninety-four passengers are injured, three are killed and the interior cabin virtually destroyed. Casey, who is in charge of quality control and public relations is thrown into the middle of the investigation and tasked with finding out exactly what happened on board TransPacific flight 545.

Why she made the list:

Casey Singleton is a no nonsense Midwest girl, a “straight arrow” as her boss at Norton calls her. She grew up in Detroit, earned a degree in journalism and began her career working for Ford Motors. Eventually she moved to California, trading cars for airplanes. She is smart and tenacious and very good at her job.

The entire novel takes place within a weeks time, a week in which Casey’s seven year old daughter is away with her dad and therefore removed from what becomes a dangerous situation. It is lucky, though, that she has experience dealing with her own child because most of the men she works with behave like children themselves! Apologizes to any male readers but Michael Crichton threw his own gender under the bus when he wrote this one. There are very few likeable male characters in Airframe and amid all the postulating executives and engineers, as well as one naive female TV producer, Casey is the sole voice of reason.

When Casey realizes that she has been set up by people who expect her to do as she is told, she instead figures out a way to do what is right. In the end,  she out thinks and out maneuvers the big shots and solves the mystery of flight 545 as well.

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

 

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Lily Bard

Lily Bard

“Once upon a time, years ago, I thought I was pretty. My sister, Varena, and I had the usual rivalry going, and I remember deciding my eyes were bigger and a lighter blue than hers,…… I haven’t seen Varena in three years now. Probably she is the pretty one. Though my face hasn’t changed, my mind has. The workings of the mind look out through the face and alter it. “- Charlaine Harris; Shakespeare’s Landlord

The basics:

Middle thirties; short blonde hair, toned and muscular body; skilled in martial arts; resides in Shakespeare, Arkansas.

Where to find her:

Lily Bard makes her first appearance in Charlaine Harris’ mystery novel “Shakespeare’s Landlord“(2005), and in all the subsequent books in the series. Lily, who makes her living as a housekeeper, finds herself thrown into situations of murder and mayham where the intimacy that is achieved by cleaning a person’s home makes her the perfect sleuth.

Why she made the list:

Lily is a survivor. After suffering a life altering act of violence, she leaves her home and wanders for a bit until she finds herself poeticly drawn to the little town of Shakespeare. Here she quietly rebuilds her life and begins to heal both the physical and mental scars left from her ordeal.

I apprecialte a lot of things about Lily. Her simplistic, almost Spartan life style, her need for order,  her desire to take care of herself and her tendency to use humor or sarcasm in uncomfortable situations are all traits that I understand. Additionally, by choosing to make her living cleaning houses, she employs a form of therapy I use myself. When the world seems out of control, being able to clean, straighten and put some parts of it in order offers a certain sense of control.

Slowly, through out the series, Lily starts to open up and begins her healing process. She gets close to people and starts to trust again and, while she will never be her old self again, she learns to love the person she has become.

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imageMy A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

An A to Z of Literary Ladies – Annabeth Chase

Annabeth Chase

“Annabeth came up to me. She was dressed in black camouflage with her Celestial bronze knife strapped to her arm and her laptop bag slung over her shoulder—ready for stabbing or surfing the Internet, whichever came first.”
― Rick Riordan, The Last Olympian

The basics:

Age:  From 12 years old into her teens through out the series.

Appearance: blonde curly hair, gray eyes, very athletic, very intelligent

Residence: Camp Half Blood, Long Island, NY

Where to find her:

Annabeth Chase is a fictional character in Rick Riordan’s Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. She is a demigod, meaning she is half-mortal and half god. Her father is the mortal Frederick Chase and her mother is Athena, the goddess of wisdom, crafts and battle strategy.  She debuts in the first novel of the series, The Lightning Thief (2005). Throughout the series she becomes close friends with Percy Jackson, later becoming his main love interest and girlfriend.

Why she made the list:

The Percy Jackson books were the first novels my daughter and I read together. While Miss Dee was madly in love with Percy, she was also just as crazy about Annabeth and why not.?! Annabeth is a kick a** warrior with major brain power. I love that she isn’t written in just to give the book some female presence but instead is a very intragle part of the story. Annabeth is intelligent, brave, fiercely loyal to her friends and feels things deeply.

What a great roll model she was for my teenage daughter. Miss Dee still compares every literary female she meets to her. (“Well, she’s no Annabeth Chase, she whines too much.” or “Annabeth would never have fallen for that.”). I enjoyed routing her on as well because even though she comes across with such moxie, inside she suffers from all the normal teenage angst we all faced.

I’m pretty happy we got to know her.

Featured image courtesy of:

http://percyjacksonmovies.tumblr.com/post/91761508272/percy-jackson-and-heroes-of-olympus-fan-arts

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imageMy A to Z theme this year is a celebration of literary females. I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very very naughty, but for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

A to Z Theme Reveal

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I love books and through the years I’ve learned that my favorite books are those with strong, interesting characters. That is what makes or breaks a story for me so I thought, for the A to Z challenge,  it would be fun to revisit some of these favorite characters…and, since we girls have to stick together…..

My A to Z Challenge theme this year is a celebration of literary females.

I don’t necessarily mean famous literature or famous women, just ladies from some of the many books I have read over the years, who have stayed with me for whatever reason. Some are main characters, some are not. Some are heroines, some are screw-ups and some are very, very naughty but, for me, they were the driving force in the story, the reason I kept reading or came back to read again.

Perhaps, if you haven’t already met these literary ladies, you’ll be inspired to, and if you have, we can compare notes and share opinions. I’d love to hear about your favorite female characters too.

The Weekly Smile #9 – Happy Birthday Dr Seuss!

On this, the anniversary of his birth, I’d like to thank the wonderful, wacky Theodor Seuss Geisel, better known as Dr Seuss for all the smiles he has given me through out the years. His books have been favorites of mine since I was a child and, even though they can give your tongue quite a work out, I loved reading them to my own children and the students at school.

Here are a few of my favorite Dr Seuss quotes…

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imageThe Weekly Smile is brought to you courtesy of Trent’s World. Don’t forget to stop by and collect some more smiles or even leave one of your own!