Thursday, September 20, 2012

hodge podge Fall

Thought that I would take a few minutes to answer these Wednesday Hodge Podge questions.  It's a fun little thing to do, and hope you join us!

1. What's the best and worst thing thing about growing older?

tough question... worst, the cricks you get very easily even from isn't fair!  I need more yoga to help with that!  The best? every day brings joy watching our girls grow into beautiful ladies.  I am looking forward to seeing them with their families, when they start them! :D

2.   Autumn arrives this week in the Northern Hemisphere...what one thing do you love most about the fall season?

There are many things I love about fall - but I think I have to go with Halloween!  I love little kids dressing up, our annual pumpkin carving fest, and moon-filled kisses in crisp autumn air!

3.  Speaking of fall...pumpkin seems to be flavoring everything these days-are you a fan?   What's your favorite pumpkin flavored food or beverage?

My favorite pumpkin thing is Marbled Pumpkin Cheesecake - even though it doesn't agree with me, boy will I deal with the gurgles for several slices of this stuff!

4.  Since we're on the subject of fall...what's the worst fall you've ever taken?

There have been some good ones, like New Years Eve in Crete and twisting my ankle while running into the ocean, or tripping up stairs while a high school teacher.  However,  I would have to go with the one where we were rushing out to a religious service with my mom-in-law and I was wearing heels (not something I usually do) and slipped on the stairs in to the garage - my foot went through the open area at the back of the stairs and I landed on my face!  Worse yet, I still have a lump on my shin, 8 years later.  And yes, we still went to services.

5.  If you could own a prop from any film what would you choose?

I have no response to that... I guess I couldn't say the Eiffel Tower from the movie French Kiss, could I?  I think that the neighbors would be a bit bothered as it would obstruct the view of the mountains.  Then there is Downton Abbey - I would need a nice sized park for that little chateau.  I don't think there has been any prop from a movie that I desire.  Clothing is another story, though.

6. What's the most interesting word you've read or learned in the past week?

My mind is a blank... I could bore you with all of the medical terms from my nutrition book....

7. When was the last time you locked yourself out of your house, car, or office?  Was it a big deal?

We had just moved to Virginia, and my husband was immediately deployed to Iraq.  We had our household goods delivered basically in the middle of the night (I am serious - the movers should up after the bats came out and didn't leave until almost 2 am).  A few days after that, I had locked the keys in the house.  I luckily had a cell phone with me so I could call a locksmith, and really not a big deal.  That was the last time.  

The most memorable time was when our girls were little and we stepped out to talk to the neighbors, and the door was one of those automatic locking ones... I remember waiting for the MPs to show up to unlock our door, and we were standing outside of the window, trying to reassure them, while they were hugging each other and screaming, tears pouring down their face.  When we got back in, we grabbed the spare, and gave it to those same neighbors just in case!

8.  Insert your own random thought here.

I am wondering (speaking of Halloween) where we can go to see all of the trick-or-treaters, as we have moved to an area that will most likely not have any this year... that will be strange.  Even when we lived in England, we had Trick-or-Treaters!  Maybe we will be mobile candy dispensers - ride around on bikes and hand out candy...what do you think?!


Monday, September 17, 2012

top ten Bookish People

This week, we are to list ten Bookish People we would like to meet.  I did think about this one quite a bit... I chose the ones I truly would like to meet - or simply to be in their presence, or to thank them for the wonderful books they have written.  I have included some of my favorite bloggistas as well as authors.

...and here they are!
Top Ten Bookish People You Want To Meet

Meg from Write Meg.  I would love to meet Meg.  I love her writing style, I enjoy her reviews on book, and find that I like similar books.  Plus, I would love to learn more about photography from her, as I always enjoy her Wordless Wednesdays.

Alyssa Goodnight, author of Austentatious.  Alyssa seems so quirky, and I think we would be friends if we knew one another – plus, I would take her out for gluten free cupcakes – since I am always trying to find gluten free yummies as well.

Sarah Strohmeyer, author of many books that I have devoured.  She would be great to have a two martini lunch with, and I am sure that much laughter would ensue.

Lauren Willig, author of the Pink Carnation series.  In truth, I did meet her, but would love the chance to spend more than three minutes with her as she is signing my book at a book fair.  She is a very intelligent woman (graduated Harvard Law School) with a very unique personality.  

Liz and Lisa from Chick Lit is Not Dead.  I love their author interviews, and I want to hug them for sending me a few books from book giveaways that I have won from their site.  Plus, it would be fun to just sit back and watch the two of them work on their blog.  It sounds like they have a neat relationship.

Dana Huff from Much Madness in the Divinest Sense.  I have no idea what her blog title means and I would love to ask her.  She is an English teacher, and it would be nice to meet a fellow book lover who also teaches.

Richard Bach, the author.  I would love to thank him for his books that have changed my perspective on life with Jonathan Livingstone Seagull, Illusions, and his Bridge Across Forever series.  It would be inspiring to talk with someone who believes in the power of the spirit and finding one’s soul mate (as I have been lucky enough to have done so, as well!)

Dr. Seuss – who wouldn’t want to meet the man who shaped our childhood?  From the fantastic drawing to the awesome stories, I think he would have been one cool cat to chat with!

Meredith of Austenesque Reviews.  She seems so sweet and would be lovely to talk with.  I know that she loves anything Jane Austen and it would be wonderful to learn more from her.  Plus, I could tell her in person how wonderful she is for putting together the Jane Austen Extravaganza for the second year in a row!

Jane Austen, of course.  Wouldn’t it have been wonderful to have been invited to a dinner party where she a guest?  To hear her wit in person, I am sure, would have been like watching a great master paint.  

Who would you like to meet, and why?  I would love to see your list!

Saturday, September 15, 2012

book review: Nadia Knows Best

Title by Author: Nadia Knows Best by Jill Mansell
Series (if applicable): none
Publisher: Headline Book Publishing
Publication Date: August 2003
Page Count:  440 pages
When Nadia Kinsella meets Jay Tiernan, she's tempted. Of course she is. Stranded together in a remote Cotswold pub, with a snowstorm raging outside—let’s face it, who would ever know? But Nadia’s already met The One. She and Laurie have been together for years—they’re practically childhood sweethearts, and she still gets goosebumps at the sight of him. Okay, maybe she doesn’t see that much of him these days, but that’s not Laurie’s fault. She can’t betray him. Besides, when you belong to a family like the Kinsellas—bewitchingly glamorous grandmother Miriam, feckless mother Leonie, stop-at-nothing sister Clare—well, someone has to exercise a bit of self-control, don’t they? I mean, you wouldn’t want to do something that you might later regret.

My Interest in this book is: I have read a few Mansell books before and they are hilarious!

My Review:
Nadia is dating current male model, Laurie, who is actually the boy next door that she was dating and got him in to modeling by signing him up for a modeling shoot almost as a gag!  However, his career took off, and when he flies in for a night or two, he goes straight to Nadia.  Until one night…

Nadia met Jay on a stormy night where she was a very good girl while stranded with him.  At first she thought he was gay, and that was a very amusing scene.  Later, Nadia runs in to Jay and ends up working for him as a landscaper for homes he is renovating, helping her escape a dead-end job at a gardening center.  It has been almost two years since Laurie broke up with Nadia, and Laurie comes back to town wanting a second chance with her.  Nadia isn’t’ sure what to do.

What I loved about this story was the English wit and humour!  Having lived in England for a bit made it easier to understand the places she describes, but it would not lessen the storyline for anyone who has not lived or visited England.  Also, all of her characters have a personality of their own, to include the man who pines for Miriam, Nadia’s grandmother.
There are so many story lines that are going on in this book.  We have Clare, Nadia’s younger sister, who is trying to figure out life and who to love.  There is Tilly, a half- sister to Nadia and Clare, all the same mum, but Nadia’s dad and grandmum are raising her.  She wants nothing more than to see her pseudo-father happy. I truly enjoyed all of these stories that went along with Nadia’s story, and it added to the storyline all the more.  If you had taken these other stories out of the picture, however, there would not have been that much of a story.

This is the perfect book to read on the plane while flying to see family over the holidays.  You will actually find yourself wanting to slip away to read and find out what’s happening next in this story.  How is the chap that is sending those bizarre letters to Miriam?  Why do Nadia and Jay seem to constantly misunderstand one another?  Will Nadia find out the truth about the one who wants her back?  Will Tilly be successful in setting up her ‘dad’?  It’s a fun read that you cannot help but wonder about this crazy family and how everything will turn out for them.  This is actually one of the first books that Jill Mansell had written and re-released, but does not detract from the fun and wit found between the covers.

When I finished this book, I felt: glad that I had picked it up. I love Jill Mansell and this one just proved it even more.

Rating: 4 stars

Other books to read by this author or theme: too many to choose from so it would be best to try any that strike your fancy.  If you love British humour, give Jill a chance!
Tag: chick lit, romance, England, sisters

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

top ten Thinks

Top Ten Books that Made Me Think

Writing this list, I see that I am definitely a child of the 1980’s!  Having looked at other people’s lists, I see I have many more books to add to my TBR monster pile – but so many of them sound fascinating.

     1.      Illusions by Richard Bach.  This is not a book for the ultra-religious, as it makes you think about being in charge of your own destiny and reality.
     2.      1984 by George Orwell.  A book written in 1948 about a dark future.  I remember as the year of 1984 approached if this story would come true.
     3.      The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupery.  I first read this in French for high school and several times subsequently.  This definitely made you think about life.
     4.      Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee.  You wonder what your dog might have to say, but it makes you think about those that you love and finding your inner strength.
     5.      Jonathan Livingstone Seagull by Richard Bach.  About pushing the boundaries and not being ordinary – a quick read.
     6.      The Precious Present by Spencer Johnson.  A beautiful story of seeking and a surprising ending.
     7.      All I Need to Know I Learned in Kindergarten by Robert Fulghum.  One of those fun books with many Ah-Ha moments.
     8.      Across the Universe and A Million Suns by Beth Revis.  Not all of this story is deep, but there are definitely moments in these books that make you think about leading people and how to control them.
     9.      The Da Vinci Code by Dan Brown.  Main fiction but it had many interesting precepts in this sotry, as well as puzzles that made me think a bit before moving on.  It was fun figuring out the puzzles.
     10.   The Way of the Peaceful Warrior by Dan Millman.  Another one of those books that helps you to perceive the world a little differently.

Looking forward to see what books made you think!

Friday, September 7, 2012

My Dear Miss Elliot

Langford Hall
Whitley, Wiltshire
May 18, 1815

Miss Anne Elliot
Camden Place, Bath

My Dearest Miss Elliot,

Oh Anne, please know that I will be arriving in Bath shortly after you receive this missive.  Upon reading your most informative letter, I put an order in for my carriage to be ready for an immediate departure for Bath.  There is nothing that could keep me from your side at a time like this.  You must be in quite a state!  If I were in your position, I know that my mind and my heart would be all at wrong ends of one another and I would not know which way is up.

I see, from your missive, that your parent and sibling have not changed as much as their scenery has.  One would suspect that having to retrench would put one in mind of greater economies, but it seems that is not the case, and I do feel sorry that you have to witness this avarice behaviour in one’s own family.  To go on about Lady Dalrymple and her daughter, that must have been a sight to see as when one’s own parental figure get in a dither about a cousin, simply because she has a title.  From what I remember of your father, I could see the potential for him to ‘froth at the mouth’ as you say when he was speaking of the local nobility.  I am sure you have already thought of his elevating himself (and hopefully his daughters) in society simply by association.

I understand that you had a great disappointment when visiting Uppercross and your sister, Mary Musgrove.  I know how difficult it is to be faced with one’s past, especially when there are younger and less-reserved females on the scene.  It was unkind of Mary to put you in that position, to be so near the man you had wanted to marry.  Did Mary not know of your connection with the infamous Captain Wentworth those many years ago?  To put you, my Dear, in such a position was without feeling and rude, indeed.  Though, I know you, Anne, and I wish that I were there so you need not have suffered in silence.  Why did you not write to me sooner?  You know that I would have been by your side in an instant, had you but asked.

However, it seems as if things took an interesting turn.  This Captain Benwick sounds like an interesting young man.  It is not often you find one that can quote the various poets of our times so well.  Though, the melancholy could have been too much to bear if was any bit worse than what you had alluded to.  If he had served with Captain Wentworth, then he too must have an enviable position in which a small manor in the countryside, or even near the sea would not be out of the question.  Miss Louisa Musgrove, I am sorry to say, precipitated her own injury by being so very uncautious as well as displaying behaviour unbecoming to a young lady of her age and station.

I am saddened to hear that she did not fare well from her fall.  I do hope that she does recover in a timely manner.  I always knew that you had a cool manner about you, Dear Anne.  If not for you and your quick mind, Miss Louisa may not be recovering at all.  How you must have suffered on that journey through the countryside with that blathering captain who could not stop blaming himself for the incident.  How were you to bear hearing your past love go over the situation for those many hours in one ear, and your sister’s histrionics in the other?

Then to be well received in Bath, especially with a young gentleman of fortune who not only happens to be connected to your family, but seems to have intentions to be even further connected to your family through your hand.  From your own account, Mr. Elliot seems to be all genteel and not unpleasant to watch move about a room.  Has he walked by your side whilst you partake in the mineral waters of the Pump Room?  Did he ask for a prime spot on your dance card when you attended the Assembly Room?  I must know more about this young man that had you speaking so profusely of his intelligence and good manners.  I know that he must be of good sense to have singled you out above your elder sister, Elizabeth.

You have such an even temper, a pleasant manner, and a sweet look about you.  Please do not go on any longer about your age and position.  You will most assuredly not spend your years simply as an aged maid who attends your sister Mary’s children.  Does not having two men paying homage to you through poetry or sweet words on the dance floor prove that?  Please know that I am rushing as quickly as possible behind this note to be by your side to see how the rest of the story unfolds.  My Dearest Anne, rest assured that your dear friend is on her way to walk with you through the streets of Bath to distract you from all that troubles you.  I have a mind to walk along the Royal Crescent and take tea with you at the Assembly rooms so that I can learn all of the details of these past months that you were not able to put in your too short note that was recently sent to me.  Have no fear, my Dear Anne, I will be there in a trice to help you choose which gentleman is worthy of my dearest friend.

I am always at your service,
Katherine Maxwell

Thank you for reading my letter to my favorite Jane Austen character, Anne Elliot of Persuasion.  

It was wonderful to be asked by Meredith of  Austenesque Reviews to partake in her Austen Extravaganza.    Gentle Reader, you might also like this post I did on Persuasion, which includes "The Letter" from Captain Wentworth.  Please let me know which Austen character you would write a letter to if you could.

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