Sunday, August 9, 2009

Dreadlock Girl, Come On Over and See it!


Hey peeps,
Wondering why I have been so quiet? Well, I haven't been quiet...I am blogging away, posting reviews and bookie thoughts at my new self-hosted spot. Make sure you subscribe over there, I will be hosting some giveaways pretty soon that you won't want to miss out on!!

Some of the great book talk you've missed:

One Reason I Love my Library!
Book Review: Don't Let's Go to the Dogs Tonight
Book Review: The Islands of Divine Music
Book Review: Paper Towns
Book Review: Secondhand Jesus
My Encounter with Luis Alberto Urrea at Powell's Books!
Book Review: Into the Beautiful North

There is so much more to see at my new blog: Dreadlock Girl for all my friendly banter and Dreadlock Girl Reads for just the bookie chatting.

Check it out!

Powell's Book Love II

Monday, June 1, 2009


If you are still following this blog, you are really missing out!! I have just posted some reviews, giveaways and other such bookie stuff on my new blog!! Please head over and add that one to your reader instead of this one.

New exciting stuff at Dreadlock

*A Successful International Adoption Story (in pictures)
*Guest Post by Paul Harris Author of The Secret Keeper
*A List of Spring Favourites
*Some great Reviews:
Anne's House of Dreams
The Secret Keeper
Anne of the Island
Guide to Pirate Parenting
Secret Son

Hope to see you come over soon peoples, I know it is a hassle to change things around, but I will try and make it completely more than worth your while!! Come see!

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.

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Emma vol. 1

Emma (vol.1)
Volume 1 out of 8
by Kaoru Mori
183 pages
Graphic Novels, Manga
October 2006

Emma's is the story of a maid in London, England at the end of the 19th century. She is brought up in Victorian England as a proper British maid. She is kind, gentle, and very humble. Emma serves her lady with utmost care. But, when William the son of a wealthy family comes to call on the lady of the house, (who used to be his governess when he was a kid) both Emma and William notice each other. However in the midst of the Industrial Revolution and the division between classes, William has far fewer choices to make impulsively than he would like. Is loving Emma even a choice though?

This is an amazing portrayal of the class system, still blatantly true in many nations and in even more it goes on still in many circles still. This is a topic that I find intriguing, as it was never something I dealt with. I loved Kaoru Mori's illustrations, and attention to detail, and the story, oh the story, I was entranced and blasted through this little Manga in less than two hours (even with TONS of interruptions from the kiddos). I am hooked for sure and know that I will follow on with the entire series. I first saw Emma on several other book sites ( Historical Tapestry and Tantabata and Nymeth and Kailana) and I immediately put them on hold at the library. What do I mean by immediately, well immediately as in: click, click, password, click, hold placed, click.

This is my first true Manga, I have read graphic novels before, but this was much more like a comic book type of read, but with so much more depth than I had expected. The great part is that reading Emma was so fun! I kept coming back to grab it up again and read a couple more pages, physically unable to put it down. I enjoyed the format, in the Japanese style (although in English) it is from back to front and right to left. It took me no time to grasp the order and I really thought it was fun to read it that way. I appreciated the story and plot and immediately fell entranced by Emma and her fellow Japanamation friends. For me this series is the perfect break in between books, the only problem is that now that I know how wonderful they are I just can't get enough of this genre. (Shhhh! I ended up reading two in a row!!)

Do you read graphic novels of Manga, which are your favourites? Do you have any recommendations for me that are more classic like this one, and not sexual or into extreme sci-fi violence? Do tell! I am now obsessed and need more titles to read!!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Blog Deleted. Beware and Back-up!

I am posting a letter that Gautami sent out, just so you all are aware of what could happen to your blog too. I am now going to back up all my stuff. I hope Gautami can find her blog again, and recover the files.

Hello friends,

As of now my blog has been deleted without any information or intimation. I am in some kind of shock. As all of you know, our blogs are our tiny worlds, our family. And loss of a book blog is like cutting of the intellect side.

I have lost 650 posts. Out of which more than half were book reviews. Starting from scratch seems like a burden. But I will do that if I am unable to retrieve it in a couple of days.

I was thinking of having a mirror blog for my book review blog like I have for my poetry blog but before I got around it, it was deleted. Why/how, I can't answer it.

I have gone to the help forum but I don't know if they will help me. As I see it, lots of blog have been deleted over the weekend.

King Rat did send me a website for searching and retrieving. I am still trying to get around it without much success.

Meanwhile I need your support love and lot more.


I will leave messages on my poetry blog. Please do visit me there:

You can also direct people there


Loser of:

Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress

Photo © Jacques Sassier © Gallimard Editions
Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress
by Dai Sajie ( 戴思杰 )
Novel, International Fiction
208 Pages
published in 2000
Anchor Books

During China's Cultural Revolution, books were banned, children of well-off parents were sent off alone to work in the rural communities, and the government held a fear of anything that did not blatantly support the movement. It was a time of darkness throughout the country, and where regulations and impediments became more important than all else. This is the time period of which Dai Sajie writes in his novel, Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress. A story of love, of jealousy, and of children becoming men and women in this critical time frame in China's government.

In this novel, two city boys are sent to work in the fields in the country. While there they meet and fall for the tailor's daughter, who proves to be the jewel to be had. This little seamstress, who is more beautiful than any of the other girls (at least in the opinion of her suitors).All three of them, the seamstress, Luo and Ma (the narrator) become so obsessed with reading these forbidden books that they are willing to risk it all, for they could be severely punished for their attempts at obtaining any book which is not governmental propaganda.

The longer I waited to review Balzac and the Little Seamstress, the more it sunk in, the more I just really did love it. I really did. I bought this a year ago, mostly because the cover completely captivated me and I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. It was actually even better that I expected, and you had better believe that I had height expectations. The simple and yet stout style of Dai Sijie is perfect for the book. He has written a superb gem here, the inside of the book is even better than the outside! I loved the main characters, the writing was just right and the story/plot couldn't have been any better. Seriously, it was just so good. Plus, it was about another country, and I love to read abroad!

If it could possibly get any better, it does. For all of us who are obsessed with books, it has a hidden special element of attraction. Can you even imagine if all books that were not written to glorify the current government were banned? What would become of us? I became completely entranced. This gets a full five chickens from me peeps, no doubt. So stop drooling over that beautiful cover and start drooling over the inside!

What would you do if books were banned? Can we even comprehend that here with all the freedoms we have?

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Monday, April 27, 2009

You are in luck! Linen, Wool, Cotton giveaway!!!

Hey kiddos! I am so excited. Since so many of you were interested in this book the publisher has offered to do a giveaway on my blog. So there are two extra copies (as there is no way I am giving mine up, no way)! Two copies to giveaway here on B&b. Did you read my review? Better go do that and then enter in the comments on this post, below.

Here are some very important links you'll need to check out:
Make Good Books: A place for free patterns, and to check out the craft series this book is in. A must see!!!
B&b ex libris review: Linen, Wool, Cotton

This is what I have made so far from these this book, and my husband and boys love their little lunch bags. The boys put theirs on the end of sticks and pretend to be on a long journey. I can't say enough about this book, but for sure you will want to enter.

I am also hosting a giveaway for the above bags, and if you are not crafty and don't even want to try, you should still enter that!

Giveaway details:
This giveaway is for your very own copy of Linen, Wool, Cotton. I will give away 1 book for the first 10 entries, and then once it hits 11 I will add the other book into the mix. I will select winner(s) on the 8th of May- so you have until then to enter.

To enter, each worth one entry:
*Comment on this post
*Tweet about the giveaway (and make sure you comment back on here to let me know!)

This giveaway is open internationally!!!

ps. It is very important that you check back on the 8th, as I do not notify winners via email. If the winner does not respond within 3 days of the winner being announced I will select a new winner. If you want to be very sure you don't miss out, click on the toast (upper left) and subscribe to my feed!!