Thursday, May 14, 2009

I MOVED!! Come see.

Okay folks if you are reading this you really need to update and check out my new blog!!

I have now officially moved over to
You can go to:
reads for my new book review blog.
lives for my new everything-else blog

Why did I move? Nothing against blogger, I still love blogger (most of all the ease of it) but I felt it was time to step out and do something I have wanted to do but hadn't had the guts to do. I have wanted to have my blogs in one spot, to have them combine and work together. I wanted a place that was more mine. Does that make sense? Anyway, so both my reads and lives blogs combine onto my main blog which is from which you can head back and forth between my different interest blogs.

You can still just subscribe to the book blog or my everything-else blog separately by clicking on the feeds in each of those individual places. However if you would like the full dose, I set it up so you can subscribe in your reader to both when you subscribe to the main feed. Do you have questions? Now that I am done with all the editing (well, mostly done...there are some headers and such left) I will try to be better at getting back ;)

And a HUGE thank you for all the help you have offered in advice and suggestions. Keep it coming, let me know how I can improve!!

Sunday, May 10, 2009

I have moved!!! (actually I am in the middle of it)

Hey guys!
I am so sorry to do this, but I have moved to my very own blog! I am so excited to share it with you, so make sure you come check it out and do tell me what you think. I am still in the middle of moving my posts over, as I m having to do that by hand ;( Anyway, pretty please come stop by!!!

dreadlock girl reads you can subscribe there (I moved the toast icon for you to click on).
Or you can subscribe directly here.
I am so sorry for the inconvenience, and I do hope you will all follow me over.

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

The Little Road Trip Handbook

The Little Road Trip Handbook
by Erin McHugh
192 pages
Travel & Reference
(May 5, 2009)

The Little Road Trip Handbook is packed with ideas for your very next road trip! There are so many sections in the handbook to rave about. If you have ever been on a road trip you will know that generally the trip is not the fun part, but McHugh argues that it really should be the fun part. That the, " American Road Trip isn't just a pastime it's a birthright, a necessity, a rite of passage, and even in the teeth of spiraling fuel costs, it's a way of life" (p. x introduction). It is made perfectly to fit in your glove box, as it is a smaller sized book. But don't let that lead you to believe it isn't filled from front to back with tips, tricks and plans, because it most certainly is. This little amazing book packs the punch that it promises! If you tick with it you will get from point A to point B in perfect harmony with your surroundings and so much better prepared than the last time.

Because there is so much in it that I would like any potential travelers to see, I am going to post the chapters to give an idea of what I am so excited about:

Part One: Pre-Ignition Check
1. It's All About the Car
2. What are you packing
3. 10 Things You Must Never Bring On A Road Trip
4. Saving the Benjamins (and Lincolns and Washingtons too)
5. The Ultimate Road Trip Music, Movies, and Books
6. What Is (And Isn't ) A Road Trip

Part Two: Trippers: Choosing Your Dream Team
7. The Interview
8. Tripmates and Their Positions
9. Road Trip Etiquette
10. The Frequent Tripping reward Points Program

Part Thee: Road Rules
11. The 10 Commandments of the Road
12. Expenses
13. Take it to the Limit (But No More!!)
14. Foolish Laws from the 50 States

Part Four: Roadside Attractions
15. As Long as We're Out

Part Five: Tips for Trippers
16. Road Games
17. On the Radio
18. Excuses, Excuses!
19. Worst Case Trip Scenarios (and How to Solve Them)
20. The 10 Classic Road Trip Cars of All Time
21. 10 Things You Should Never Pay For

Part Six: End of the Road
22. Home Again

How do I feel about this book? The only thing that I am annoyed at is that McHugh didn't publish it while I was in high school. It would have saved me so much grief. Growing up we traveled A LOT. We traveled for so many reasons, one that my mom is from Southern Jersey and my dad is from Oregon, and two that we were missionaries. I can most certainly agree with Erin McHugh that the journey should be part of the trip, and a fun part at that, because so much of the trip is actually the travel. So, anyway we traveled across the country from Oregon to New Jersey 4 whole whopping round trips-of-a-lot (yes, so that does make 8 times across the US!). Two of the times that were the worst of all, my dad had to fly over to get there sooner and My mom, my little brother and I got to make the trip alone. We did it in a little Toyota Tercel hatchback from the 80's with a u-haul trailer. Oh, if you are confused by why that would be difficult: imagine a little short lady that can barely see over the steering wheel and is also a bad (very distracted) driver. And to top it off we brought our dog. Miserable.

So you see (imagine me holding up a brand new shinny copy of The Little Road Trip Handbook that you see above and gesturing to it like only Vanna could) if we had had this book, we would have known what we were in for, not only because my mother wanted to stop at every historical monument (such as: the first sidewalk, the biggest pancake, the smallest mountain) that there was a road sign for but because we violated the rules of the journey. If my brother and I would have had this book then, we would have known to leave mom behind, ditch the pooch and make the trip ourselves!!! Oh, that would have been a joy! But because we broke rules 1 and 3 of the "10 Things You Must Never Bring On A Road Trip" we are scared for life. Where were you when we needed you, McHugh?!?!

However even if McHugh wasn't around then, she is now and so is The Little Road Trip Handbook, no worries I'll live another road trip the right way (and hopefully another one down to Book Group Expo in October)! And McHugh, it is good for you I am not the type to hold grudges. Even if I were, I don't think I could after reading and loving The Little Road Trip Handbook. A must own for anyone who loves to make the rubber meet the road.

Do you have a fun/horrid road trip story to share? I'd love to commiserate with you! What about a road trip you dream about but have never been on? I dream of so many....most of them in a VW van. Now that I have The Little Road Trip Handbook all I need is that van.

About the Author:

Erin McHugh started her wanderlust Road Tripping years as a college student in a variety of fast cars. Eventually she turned to the working life and publishing industry, where she has held a number of executive positions. Finding she could keep her opinions to herself no longer, Erin turned to writing; she has published more than a dozen books on a wide variety of subjects, and also appears frequently in Time Out New York. She lives in Manhattan and South Dartmouth, Massachusetts, a road trip of 203 miles, door to door.
- from Sterling Publishing

Monday, May 4, 2009

The Laws of Harmony

The Laws of Harmony
by Judith Ryan Hendricks
480 Pages
Harper Collins Publishers
February of 2009

Sunny Cooper is the daughter of a hippie mama and a dad who moved on to a new family. She grew up in the communes of New Mexico, dirty, arguably neglected and living off the earth. Her mom does not see things the way she does, she says she gave her daughter what was most important: faith in herself and the ability to enjoy life.

After a turn of events, (which I will let you read about for yourself) she is left wondering how all the people who she loved seem to have left her. There are just too many mysteries which surround her, engulf her life. This is especially true of her boyfriend, and when his ugly past comes to light, it gets uglier and uglier until she has to bail. Sunny runs to a place so different that she immediately feels she left her fears and past behind. However it is hard to run from your past, because when you turn around it is usually following you like baby chicks fall in line after their mother. What does life hold for her? Will she be able to start fresh and put down roots more powerful than the ones that were ripped out?

Okay, here is my take. I really liked this book, it was mysterious, it was absolutely fab. I couldn't put it down and wanted to read page after page and said something like "keep it coming!", under my breath and my husband (B) asked, "what?". Yes, it is good, very good. Judith Hendricks' writing is so smooth and rich that it will make you want to devour each following page, neglecting chapter breaks, potty breaks, snack breaks and all other breaks just to keep your eyes on the words.

In all honesty I looked at the cover and watched the trailer and didn't want to read this. It seemed too- sad loner girl searches for herself and finds something completely different than she expected- type of book. It was not that at all. I also was turned off by the cover, mostly because it reminded me of a Jodi Picoult cover as the colours and fonts and stuff just made me think of bubbly writing and no depth. Oh, I am so thankful I was wrong, Judith Ryan Hendricks is nothing like Picoult! This is the kind of book that keeps you reading, thinking and wondering and while you read, the writing delights your senses. I loved it from the first page actually. So, can't judge a book by its cover, or its trailer or any review. Only by itself can you judge a book. The Laws of Harmony stands on its own, as a mysterious piece of splendid fiction writing.
Now I just need to get my hands on her other books!!!

PS. I keep going back and forth between giving this a Stellar Five Chicken Book Award...I will have to wait a couple of days and let it sink in. I'll be sure and let you know if I chose to give it my highest recommendation.

Make sure you also check out:
Literate Housewife is giving away a copy of The Laws of Harmony!!
Judi Hendricks' blog

Check out the remaining hosts on this TLC Book Tour:

|May 6th: Books and Cooks | May 7th: Baking and Books | May 11th: Book Addiction |May 12th: Prudence Pennywise |May 14th: Farmgirl Fare| May 18th: Peeking Between the Pages |May 20: Baking Delights |May 28th: Stephanie’s Written Word |May 29th: Caribou’s Mom

The Boy In Striped Pyjamas

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas
by John Boyne
240 pages
Fiction, History- Holocaust
David Fickling Books

This book isn't really about a boy in striped pyjamas, it is, but really it isn't. It is really about the other side of the coin, and portraying a picture to the reader that will never be forgotten. I have thought about how to do this book review, and what to include and I have arrived at the conclusion that the less the possible reader knows before snatching up The Boy in Striped Pyjamas the better.

Even the back of the audiobook I have aims to be extremely vague, saying they "think that it would spoil the listening (or reading)" in the giving away of this plot and story. I completely agree that this is a book that you need to read cold-turkey. Reviews are good in most cases, but not in this one. Because each time you read a review, a little chip of the innocence of Bruno is chipped away, because you know what he doesn't even know of his father. Oh yes, that will surely happen even as the novel unfolds, but I think I need to let the author chip away- because he does it with an incredible disarming perfection.

I walked away from this book with tears in my eyes, and fire in my heart. What could bring about this type of treatment of other people? The Boy in Striped Pyjamas just cannot be reviewed with accuracy without being of detriment to the surprise and intrigue of the book. I will not ruin this read for you, I wouldn't dream of it. This is one of the best books I have ever read, if that isn't enough to get you to read it...I won't jeopardise the impact of it on your life for a good review at B&b ex libris. This is one you just have to read! A perfect recipient of my Stellar Five Chicken Book Award. Yep, all the cluckin' is really worth a read of The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas. I bet you'll cluck too!!

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Spoiler alert!!!
If you want to read the novel cold turkey, you should stop reading here. Go, enjoy the novel and read the rest of this after.

Author John Boyne lecture/interview:

At the end of the audio book there was an amazing interview with author John Boyne, the following words are not direct quotes, but I did jot them down as I listened to the interview, I tried to stick as close to what the authors actual words were, but these are more like scattered notes after listening to an amazing lecture. I just love them so much that I have to share with you:

There is only one normal judgment to come away with when you think of the holocaust.

A story placed at a terrible location, at a terrible time. But this is a novel. Any story requires the willing suspension of disbelief, this story is like a nightmare and the reader can feel what is coming. The older you are, the more you know and the more fearful and real it seems. To come away from the book, annoyed by the different parts is thus minimizing the bigger questions that this novel raises is a failure to see the impact of this atrocity on us as a humanity.

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas shows a juxtaposition of extreme evil and extreme naietivity. Also to deal with the complacency of the people, during the 1940's. Groups of jewish people were walking through local villages, starving and being tormented these people were known as Hitler's willing executioners. They didn't step in, didn't try to bring change. Would you have done anything to stop it? You'd like to think you would, but millions of people just like you were caught up in the complacency and didn't make a move to stop anything happening on the other side of the fence.

John Boyne hopes that this is a starting point for children that they will want to stand up and say, why did that happen? And that then they will want to read more about the severity when they are old enough.

John Boyne's website

Movie Adaptation of The Boy in The Striped Pyjamas: I haven't seen this yet, but I a dying to. I am waiting on my husband (B) to read the book, which is hard for him to do when he has a month left in the completion of his masters thesis. Soon I will get to see it.

Sunday, May 3, 2009

Sunday Salon: too many good books in a row?

The Sunday

This has been a fun book week. I have set aside the assigned reading and even though I feel somewhat guilty about neglecting that I have had such a great reading week and don't regret it at all. There are some things that I should read, but seriously isn't it more fun to read when you scrap the schedule and read what you want to?! Maybe I am just rebellious :)

I have read so many good books lately that I have been trying to scamper to fill in a bad one, I have not been able to, I failed at this. I even thought that maybe when I picked up The Laws of Harmony that I would just have like it, or not like it at all (as the cover is a little Jodi Picoult, and she is not my fave), but I was horribly wrong to even assume that. The book is stunning and captivating and beautiful and I just can't put it down. That is the way it was with all my books this week. The Boy in Striped Pyjamas is a stunning read, it was done way too soon, I was living it from the second I read the first paragraph. It is a must read!

What amazing books have you read this week? Have you read any of the books I have read or reviewed this week? Tell me your thoughts!

A week at B&b ex libris:

Books I read this week:

The Boy in Striped Pyjamas (Loved it!!)
Emma vol. 2-7 (a really gripping manga read)
Follow Me (It was okay, but not my fave: my review)
The Laws of Harmony (I am in the middle of this one, but it is fab!)

Reviews posted this week:

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I am giving away two copies of the new crafting book Linen, Wool, Cotton by Akiko Mano. It is an amazing book of practical crafts to make for yourself or for a friend. Make sure to enter.

Winners of my homemade lunchbags:

Here are my two winners for the homemade lunch bags, each of you will get one lunch bag:

Shelly B from Write for a Reader
Kim from Page after Page

Congrats girls!!!! I hope you love your lunch bags :) I am a little late in announcing, sorry.
click on the contact me button and email me your addresses ladies!!!

If you'd like a chance to win the book Linen, Wool, Cotton, enter here.