Sunday, November 20, 2011


I'm pretty sure I'm abusing my 'pallooza' priveleges here, since the application in this instance is festival of two. Whatever, my post my title. Anyhoo, at first it was kind of a thrill to see the books we read popping up on the big screen, now it's becoming a little routine. Briefly reviewing our book list, 11 of our picks are either already movies or are making their way in that direction. (In case you're wondering, movie potential isn't a criteria in a book pick, we just apparently have keen senses in this regard.) 

Imagine my surprise when during the previews for Footloose the following trailer popped up. (Sidebar: While Footloose has no novel base that I am aware of, I'm still gonna give this movie a shout out.  Guess it's no surprise that my love of YA literature would also lead to a love of YA film. And while Ren 2.0 is no Kevin Bacon he does have this adorable Boston accent that goes a long way in upping his charm. So if you're inclined, go see this movie, then download the soundtrack and dance around your kitchen like a maniac. Your kids will think you're crazy but you'll feel better, promise)

If I'm being honest this pick (One for the Money), by Amber the first, was not my favorite. As book heroines go Stephanie Plum just didn't do it for me, but apparently this opinion does not hold the majority vote since Ms Evanovich is currently on installment 18. At the end of my book was a break down of the following 11, and that brief preview was enough to satisfy any curiosity I had. I don't know if I'll make the effort to see this one in theaters, but if I got an invite I probably wouldn't turn it down.

If you read Caisse's review here or the book itself maybe you find yourself in the same position as me. While the story and characters were compelling the story went down roads that I really don't want a visual for. I still find the trailer interesting because I'm always interested in casting (which in this case seems pretty spot on). I also find the music and mood pretty consistent with the tone of the book. In this case the trailer is pretty much a curiosity for me because I have a feeling the trailer is all I will see. 

Any thoughts on either of these movies?

Friday, November 18, 2011

May the Odds Be Ever In Your Favor

When someone asks me for book recommendations I have a couple go-to's and Hunger Games tops my list. In fact, my copy recently went out on another road trip. I have yet to come across someone immune to it's power. If you have for one reason or another not yet read this series, why not?

Regarding the movie, I have put all grumbling and complaining about casting behind me. This trailer turned my insides to jello and March 23rd can't come fast enough!

What book are you quick to suggest when someone asks?

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

We're Famous!

So the title may be slightly misleading since, in fact, we are as far from famous as humanly possible, but I needed a catchy title to get you all interested in my announcement.  We've been reviewed!!!!!  From my overzealous use of exclamation points, I hope you can tell how absolutely thrilled I am about this.  This calls for a round of fist pumps (come on, everybody!). 

OK, settling down, here's the sitch:  Laura Godfrey, Associate Director of Bookclub-in-a-Box, e-mailed me in response to an e-mail I sent her a few months ago about writing about our book club on her website  She sent back what I thought at the time was a polite brush off that turned out to be, in all actuality, a legitimate interest for the future.  Then, just a few weeks ago, I got an e-mail saying she wanted to feature the Book Babes as her Book Club Spotlight.  Imagine my ecstaticism (I can make up words...shut up) to see it in web print today!  Laura also tweeted about her post, so does that mean we have an official hashtag?  Sorry, I don't know about all this newfangled technology but I'm willing to throw a fist pump up for it.  I know she has a Facebook presence, too, so we might be on there as well.  Check out our review and the rest of Laura's site at the Bookclub-in-a-Box website and tell us what you think.  Our 14 followers can say they knew us before we hit it big... 

Bucket List--One Gal's Interpretation

Hearing that someone has a bucket list conjures up images of AARP membership cards (not sure if those even exist) and old Tommy Lee Jones movies.  Wasn't there a movie about a bucket list he starred in?  If not, then I can't really explain the connection, but it works in my mind.  Moving on. 

 I've been thinking about my reading bucket list lately, pondering on books that I've always intended to read but never gotten around to yet.  My top 5 include:

1.  War and Peace by Leo Tolstoy
2.  Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
3.  On The Road by Jack Kerouac
4.  A Clockwork Orange by Anthony Burgess
5.  The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

What books are on your bucket list?  And are my picks worthy...if not, why not?

On a separate bucket list project, I REALLY REALLY want to ride a mechanical bull.  Anyone know of a book they can recommend that would make an outing to ride one legit?

Anyone else have weird bucket list items that they want to tie to a book?  Or is it just me?


Sunday, November 13, 2011

True Grit

This is our first book from the Western genre. Thankfully none of the book babes have seen the movie either, so none of us knew what to expect. I think we were all surprised!

For those who are as clueless to this book/movie as we were, here is a brief description:

Mattie Ross, at the wise age of 14, demands retribution for her fathers death. The murderer has slunk away, so she takes the law in her own hands by partnering up with "Rooster", a gruff, old, dirty, drunk Marshal. Along the way the pair meet up with an arrogant Texas Ranger. Along the highly entertaining way they learn to appreciate and support each other. They discover who has 'true grit'. 


I loved the way this novel was written. It wasn't flowery or overly descriptive yet you got a clear picture of the characters and their strong personalities. The conversations were sharp and to the point. I laughed out loud at the humorous trio. 

For book club we watched the modern version of True Grit. But personally, my favorite part was that I gave us all outlaw names!!  Can you guess who's who?

Cowchip Kitty
Nikki "Big Guns"
One Eye Eliza 
Dirty Marie
Lead Pusher Lenore 
Crusty Ginger

Saturday, September 3, 2011

A Taste of Fantasy

And it was Mmm Mmm good! I decided to try a new genre for our book club, fantasy. We had read some sci-fi-ish books, but nothing really with mythical creatures. When I announced we were going to read His Majesty's Dragon I got several "I'm being polite and pretending to be excited to read about dragons" looks. I think we were all surprised at how much we enjoyed it. 

It starts out with Captain Will Laurence in the middle of a battle on the seas. He is in the British Navy and they just captured a French ship harboring the most unusual cargo: a dragon egg. From here on out Will's life is turned upside down. Temeraire is the hatchling who adopts Will. In this book an amazing friendship developed between man and dragon. But it's not all sappy, there are plenty of fights and a variety of dragons both humorous and sad. 

I loved this book (as did my husband who follows this blog via audio books). It left me feeling satisfied and content...except, I want my own dragon!!


Saturday, August 27, 2011

Movie Night

Tonight (most of) our book club heads out to see the movie adaptation of one of our better book club picks (Thank you Elisabeth), The Help.

The casting, based on what I see in the trailer, seems spot on. I can't wait to watch. Any one have a review? Will we be disappointed or ready to go again? 


Friday, August 26, 2011

One Last Summer Fling

Can there really only be a week of Summer left? And yes I realize that officially the season stretches into September, but I always felt like summer ended with school, regardless of whether I was going or sending kids. When they start throwing out school supplies in July I want to start throwing pencils, why hasten the end of such a glorious season? Anyway, if you have one last weekend getaway or trip to the beach and you are looking for the perfect book to toss in your bag, Kate Morton's "Forgotten Garden" is a remarkable choice. I brought it along on our annual Chelan camping trip and it was the perfect side dish to my favorite week of the year. Three generations entwined in a way that never feels overwhelming and a catalogue of characters that will stick with you long after you've finished. While an easy to read and get hooked on story, it isn't the kind of book you'll feel embarrassed to have visible in your bag. 

One half of the book club on the lawn at Lake Chelan State Park

Go buy this book for one last summer fling!!!


Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Number Four Update

Good old Pitacus Lore is making a liar of me. Remember this little gem with it's unfinished business...

                  Product Details

Well, available only as an ebook, is this beauty...

                  Product Details

For only $3.99, you can have the backstory of Six. So here's where I eat crow about not giving into eReaders, but only because I have no choice. Fortunately, for me there's no big investment, I was able to get it on my phone. 

The brief review of both books on the official Number Four website does clear up any ambiguity about the nature of the sequel "The Power of Six".  If you wondered, like I did, if the book was about Six or about the remaining six, wonder no more. With the eBook we get Six's back story with the sequel..."The Legacies Develop", or so the cover promises.

               Product Details

Anybody had a chance to read the eBook yet? Reviews? Comments?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Saturday, August 6, 2011

Wear Your Love

Want to advertise your love of the classics and flaunt your inner hipster? (And who doesn't)  Then you might just need to head here.....


Plus if you like to make fashion choices that are socially conscience, for every shirt they sell a book is donated through Books for Africa. I think I need to save my peso's for one of these beauties, anybody have a favorite?

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

Fighting the Tide...

As I packed my “carry-on” backpack for the long haul to and through California, I thought a lot about the merit of Sara’s argument for the Kindle. My pack must have weighed over 50 pounds and bulged with the sharp edges of all the books I might read. I thought about why I so doggedly hold on to the notion that I can’t give up holding an actual book. Is it weird to confess I love the papery inky smell of a book? Is it shameful to admit that I just can’t imagine taking a Kindle to the bathroom with me? (Don’t judge, when you have three kids sometimes that’s the only place you’re afforded any peace.) Does anyone else think that the risk of dropping a paperback into the tub is markedly less than dropping any sort of electronic device? 
I’ll admit that I’m pretty slow to pick up on most technological advances. I resisted digital cameras, and now my computers memory is full of digital images. I thought texting was ridiculous, until I grasped it meant not actually having to talk on the phone. So I have a feeling at some point I’ll give in to the some sort of Kindle/Nook/Ipad reader, but until then here’s the book that made me put off that purchase just a wee bit longer.....

                                           Yosemite: the Complete Guide: Yosemite National Park, James Kaiser, Paperback
I know there are plenty of savvy computer users out there who successfully use the internet to plan there vacations. People who can filter through all the excess of information out there. I’m sure everything contained in this book can be pieced together online. But for me, I need a book that I can dog ear the corners of, that I can hold my finger in one part, while flipping to a map in the back or an address in the middle. A book that can be passed around the car and that is sturdy enough to handle being jostled around in the bottom of a backpack. And I love that once I’m home I still have all the information, literally at my fingertips. Sometimes once you’re home, the interesting anecdotes and historical facts are more interesting that when you’re there.
So if a trip to Yosemite is in your future, I really enjoyed this as a guidebook. The author, James Kaiser, loaded the book with more than a sterile guide to the park. It’s full of amazing photographs, interesting history and of course all the basics on lodging, hiking, dining, etc.

And maybe it’s not fair to use a guidebook against a Kindle. Travel books and novels are kind of apples and oranges, but it’s just my way of defending my books. Guess I’m old school, or just old.

PS Anyone know how I can score a job writing travel books?


Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Capitol way of life...not far off???

We read Catching Fire in October of '09 as our 11th book club selection. I was slow jumping on the Hunger Games wagon and probably wouldn't have made time for it unless one of the girls picked it. I was not disappointed. All the hype over these books have not been overrated and a great pic for a book club- that is if there are any gals out there who haven't read it yet.

One thing that I thought was a little disturbing for a YA was the premise of the Hunger Games themselves. You know, children killing children. But the push and pull relationship between Peeta and Katniss is perfection and easily makes me forget any disturbing thoughts.

I was also very fascinated with the Capitol peeps. With their dyed skin, whiskers, wigs, and other eccentricities. If you think about it people today aren't all that much different. I mean plenty of people have full sleeve tattoos and lots of piercings and dye their hair all sorts of colors. And that's not even getting into plastic surgery. BUT I think ALL of us actually aren't all that much different from the Capitol. I mean, we tan to enhance the color of our skin, we dye our hair colors it couldn't be on it's own, poke holes in our ears to dangle metal from them, put paint on our finger and toe nails and even super glue on fake ones that hurts like no other when they're ripped off.

We put chemicals on our teeth to whiten them, and we wear high heels to appear taller, slimmer or sexier even though we pay for it in blisters and cramps.

And we use a wide assortment of Spanx to appear slimmer and spend hours at the gym trying to change our shape. And remember the days of getting perms? Although I am not opposed to these I do wonder has Suzanne given us a possible glimpse into what mankind will become....


Tuesday, June 28, 2011

The Little Book's Leading Man

Wheeler Burden is the leading man and main character in this book. While what he did was a little too fantastic (famous musician and writer, baseball legend, and who looks like Michelangelo's David) I was definitely drawn to him. His amazing credentials are only part of the attraction for me, the other part was that he still had a bit of modesty or maybe humility. I love confidence in men (a girl likes to know she can be taken care of) but unpretentious at the same time.

I know, that's hard to find. Generally you get one or the other. So I started brainstorming and came up with a few of my favorite leading men who have that quiet confidence.

Westley from The Princess Bride. This farm boy is the classic unassuming hero.
 The Princess Bride Icon

Noah from The Notebook. Swoon-worthy Noah is confident enough to approach Allie but mild enough to let her go.
best love movie ever

Atticus Finch from To Kill A Mockingbird. A wise mild man with the guts to stand up for what he believes.
atticus finch

And to completely contradict myself, I do have to admit that there is a side of me that loves the "gods-gift-to-women man". Who doesn't have a weakness for Han Solo, Rhett Butler, and Mr. Darcy? To summarize, even if the book might not be your favorite, a strong leading man will get you through it.  

Thursday, June 23, 2011

A Not So Little Book

Selden Edwards' 33 year masterpiece, The Little Book, is a misnomer.  In no way is this story little.  In fact, the concept is so big, so far-reaching that it blurs the boundaries of solids we take for granted--location, time, space, history, self.  I'm sure the story will be fleshed out by one of the other bodacious book babes, so I'll just stick to how this book made me feel.  If you remember my Five Quarters of the Orange post, you'll remember that "feelings" and "emotions" (said with a wrinkling of my nose) are not my cup of tea, so my willingness to go there should tell you how much I loved this book.  More than anything else, this book left me with a sense of wonder.  I can recall being a Little Orphan Annie looking kid and trying to wrap my head around the concept of God having no beginning or end, of always existing.  Mind blowing.  Or how about struggling with the concept of infinity?  (On a side note, Chuck Norris has counted to infinity...Twice.)
The Little Book left me with the same mind bogglingness (let's just see how long it takes Mr. Webster to add that to that little book of his).  Dilly's forays back into 1897 Vienna start the circular pattern of his life.  Or do they end it?  That's the problem and greatest gift of this book--trying to figure out just what event jump-started everything.  In a lot of ways, it reminded me of the movie Somewhere in Time from, I'm guessing, 1984.  No other time travel love story starring Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour even comes close to the emotional punch this one packs.  (Yes, that was an attempt at humor.)  But the concept is the same--someone/something from the past starts the current hero on their quest into the past and there begins another circle of wonder.  I don't know what it is about these stories, but they capture my curiosity, imagination and yes, I'll say it, heart like not many others. 

If you haven't seen the movie, add it to your Netflix queue right away and if you haven't read The Little Book, rush out now to get it and you'll be rewarded with double rainbows for life.


Sunday, June 19, 2011


As the newest member of the book club I am so excited!! I have heard stories of the books being read and have been secretly jealous all along. Unfortunately I forgot it was my day to post. What a lousy way to start. So I am a few days late. Sorry girls, I will try to be better. With my serious lack of motivation to stop watching TV I haven't actually read any of the books on the list. Oh except the Poison wood Bible which I did enjoy. Now with the proper motivation I am really looking forward to reading more. And almost more importantly getting together for good conversation and delicious food. Now that I have two books under my belt I feel that I am getting into the routine of staying up way too late because I can't put the book down. I only notice the late hour when my mom pops her head in and wonders what could be so interesting to keep me up until 2am, which just happens to be her usual bed time.
This last book, Matched, was very interesting. It made me think a lot. At first I thought the story line was pretty basic and the characters were likable but not extremely complex. But the more I read the more my imagination and fascination grew. I can't imagine enjoying having every decision made for me, from how much and what kinds of food to eat on a daily basis, more because it sounds boring than because I didn't get to pick it out. It seemed like there was very little variety to their lives. I think we value not just making choices but the variety of choices to make. I have been in situations where I feel that I have had to make every decision and I have wished someone was there to make it for me. And I have been in situations where almost everything was decided for me, from what time to get up and be ready for the prepared breakfast and then what to do at work and how to do it and what to have for lunch and dinner. Even the type of clothing was chosen, not the exact outfit, but the standards were definitely set. It was then that I thought I could really get used to that. You may wonder how that is possible. Here is my reasoning: There is little risk when the decision is not up to you. If the venture fails it isn't on your shoulders, you were just following direction. Even at work I am a total stickler for the rules. The clearer the rule the better I feel. And the easier it is to follow it. I dislike the "exception". So I could see how a society could get along pretty well with so much regulating. And when you consider that most people these days make kind of lousy choices it doesn't sound too bad to have someone else make it for you. As in with anything in life a balance is in need. It would be horrible to have no choice in life but a little help along the way could be just what we need.



The concept of the “hundreds” in Matched really touched a nerve with me. Only one hundred poems, songs.....what?! Everyone knows that I’m pretty passionate about music but when I mentioned at book club that I was a fan of poetry the girls were, on the whole, incredulous. Maybe it would come off as more believable if I added that I like it best when it rhymes? So I decided that now and then I’m going to subject you to some of my more favorite poems in whole or part. 
I may have repressed most of my grade school experience but for whatever reason certain poems have stuck in my head, and Invictus is one of those poems. In my teen years when I “discovered” it, it spoke to my more melodramatic side. Then the movie of the same name came out and I decided from then on that when I read this poem, in my head, it would always be narrated by Morgan Freeman. (I have to share the trailer, even though he recites only two lines. And this is by no means a movie endorsement, I enjoyed the trailer more than the movie.)

By William Ernest Henley

Out of the night that covers me,
Black as the Pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.
In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.
Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds, and shall find, me unafraid.
It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll.
I am the master of my fate:
I am the captain of my soul. 

Anybody else ever wish Morgan Freeman would read to them? 


Friday, June 17, 2011

The Calorie Queen

Reading 'Matched' by Allie Condie was fun.  It was easy, light and made for a nice break during the few days that it took to finish.  I didn't expect it to make me think. 

But so it did.  My brain is such that it didn't formulate its thoughts on this book until a few days AFTER our book club meeting.  I remember mumbling something to the girls about "why did this book make me think of  'The Wind Up Girl'?" (one of our recent book club reads), but then I couldn't pull my thoughts together under the heat of social pressure.

Now I've got my connections all sorted out, for your reading pleasure.  In 'Matched' everything in Cassia's life is controlled by the 'Society'; what she wears, where she lives, where she works, what she does with her free time, who she'll marry, how many kids they'll have, and also what and when she eats.  It was the eating part that I connected with 'The Wind Up Girl' (otherwise known as the book which shall not be named). In that futuristic book the world is controlled by those who control the food, which makes sense doesn't it?  If suddenly all food sources were wiped out and one select company had access to and control of a viable food source they could pretty much demand whatever they wanted and the world would have to acquiesce.

In 'Matched' the same thing held true, these people were afraid to rebel because if they did, what would they eat?  Their food was measured, counted and rationed out meal by meal.  The 'Society' knew if they didn't eat their specific portion and that incurred trouble.  You couldn't just store up a stash of PB&J or Clif Bars and head for the hills.  And that's one of the first whiffs of rebellion you get in the book, when it's discovered there are a few rogue people trying to quietly grow their own food without the 'Society' noticing.  Having your own food source equals independence.

So it made me think.  Do I take for granted all that freedom of choice I have, especially when it comes to food?  
Admittedly some food choices lead to regret . . .
Choosing my own food plays such a huge role in my life, I can't imagine how I would feel if it were measured out in doses like medicine.  Think about how many social activities revolve around eating - meeting for happy hour with friends, having someone over for a dinner party, cakes on special occasions, the comforting smell of whatever speciality your mama was known for.  Or our book club, food is always an integral part of a great meeting.  Caisse lightly mentioned the dinner she made for us based on this book - but don't let her fool you, it was awesome. The smells and tastes of a great meal, delightful and not always meaningful conversation with friends made for a perfect night.  All of that capped off with a giant slab of Caisse's chocolate cake that I ate every last crumb of.

So here's my plea to you, don't take your meals for granted.  Your wife, mother, sister, Fry-Daddy operator probably put a lot of careful thought and choice into what you're eating. Thank them heartily, and revel in all your delicious choices.  I know I will.


Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Matched Ky vs Xander

We recently got together and discussed Matched by Ally Condie. A young adult book about a society that completely regulates every movement it's subjects make. From when they can recreate to when they die...and who they will marry. Matched, the first book in the trilogy, begins by Cassie going to her Banquet to find out who she will be matched with to marry.

Cassie soon finds her heart in a predicament. What would you have done?
Would you stick with Xander who is kind, handsome, comfortable- the safe choice? Or would you follow your heart into the dangerous unknown for a slim slim slim chance to be with Ky who is completely off limits forever?
The latter might seem like the romantic choice HOWEVER when I was reading this story I kept waiting for Ally to develop the relationship between them that would make Ky seem like the hands down obvious choice. But to me.... he wasn't. For book one I am Team Xander all the way. He took
chances and risks for people he cared about. He's smart, witty, did I mention handsome?
What team are you on? If you had the luxury to be pulled between two which way would you go?

For our book club evening we had our own little banquet with a roasted chicken, mashed potatoes, salad, bread and butter, and chocolate cake for dessert. I found for the girls little tree starter kits with cute tiny pots. We all started scheming where we're going to plant our trees on our next camping trips!

I'm really looking forward to book 2 Crossed with the release date of, yikes, November 1, 2011, when I turn 31!


Sunday, June 12, 2011

Hosting With Help

A lot of books now include a book club guide at the back, primarily consisting of questions for discussion. Sometimes I skim these guides out of curiosity, but I rarely feel that we have a hard time getting a discussion off the ground. Besides, it would feel, pretentious? Artificial? School-ish? Anyway, The Sharper Your Knife, The Less You Cry had a guide of the more useful variety, a menu guide. And let's be serious, good food and drink is one of my favorite parts of book club. So taking tips from her guide I decided to tackle the Beef bourguignon (that I still am unsure how to pronounce).  So ready to hit the hay on book club eve, I remember, just after 11, that I need to marinate the meat and veggies overnight. I'm a little concerned that I'm already falling behind at step one. (And I know it's not that late but I'm a fan of my full eight hours.) 
 None of the steps for this dish are difficult, but having just finished the book I worry about things I would never stop that long to consider. Is my dice consistent? Would my stack of dishes (clean dishes) get me in trouble for an untidy work station?

And then I overestimate the amount of time it will take to bring my marinade to a boil, and while I'm multi-tasking it boils over. The smoke detector reacts. The Gray Chef is intimidating just to have in you subconscious! The rest of the recipe goes off without a hitch, but I'm never quite sure of the final dish because I've never had it before. Is it meant to be stew like, gravy like? I still think I'd like to take a crack at Julie Child's version in "Mastering the Art of French Cooking".
The recipe said that ideally you should serve the same wine you used in the marinade with dinner. My budget landed on this particular wine, and I'm no expert, but I would definitely buy this wine again.

My mom helped me hunt down some great favors for the dinner, porcelain Eiffel Tower measuring spoons. Then because she's super generous she got the girls matching tea towels and a "sharp" paring knife. She also got the cute desert plates that I'm sure I'll break out whenever I can. 

Included in the menu guide was a small section on "Mastering the elusive cheese tray". I'm not one to pass on an opportunity to buy and sample cheese, so under Kathleen Flinn's guidance I was able to assemble a cheese tray that was pretty delicious. (It's hard to go wrong with cheese anyway.)

We ended the night with our first ever book club activity. We all gathered in the kitchen and followed the book's recipe for crepes. Everyone brought a filling. I will absolutely be revisiting this recipe and if you decide to make them yourself, you should give my favorite filling combo a try, nutella + banana's + flaked sweetened coconut + whip cream. 

If you have a book club of your own this book might is worth a try, if for no other reason than it's endless (and delicious) hosting options.