Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Derby Events

How can a site named Reading Derby not mention the Kentucky Derby? For anyone who hasn't lived in Kentucky you may not know what a big deal the Derby is here. Now mind you it is ONE race...so approximately 7 minutes, but it has 2 weeks of events leading up to it...yes 2 weeks!

The Derby Festival has something for everyone! Here are just a few of the highlights -
  • Largest Fireworks show in the US
  • Hot Air Balloon Race and Balloon Glow
  • Mattress Races (yes mattresses - Companies in the area make movable beds and race them...Ford Motor Company won this year and has for the last several years - I keep waiting to see their innovation commercials that say they are 5 time champs of the Derby Festival Mattress race!)
  • Steamboat Race - sadly this may be the last year of the race. There is quite a debate about restoring the Delta Queen
  • Marathon (which is getting very large)

We went to the Balloon Glow, but was really disappointed in it. After 40 minutes of waiting to PARK we realized that the traffic pattern was a BIG issue. It seemed people parking and leaving were all trying to get around this same circle which meant we were all going in the same direction - no wonder it was taking so long. So we drove by some of the balloons and decided to leave! The winds were preventing people from getting on the field were the balloons were, so people were all clumped together. Plus we had a sleeping 1 year old in the back seat, so we drove out instead of parking! All in all we were disappointed. Mostly with the inefficiency of getting people in and out. This event happens every year - you would think they would have parking down by now!

Husband Chores Update

Just wanted to give you an update on the husband font. He has started helping some around the house. But not because anything I did! Our Church service Sunday was on Service. It was a good lesson and my husband realized he wasn't servicing at home! How wonderful I didn't have to nag him or anything. I will pray it will continue!! I think I will get the CD copy of the service and play it around the house once a month!!

Blue Moon - Luanne Rice

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Challenge: Themed Reading, Spring Thing, Reading Full Circle
Publishers Weekly (From BN.com)
Though its setting is quite different, this highly readable, richly detailed slice of life offers the same absorbing vision of a single family in a particular time and place as do Elizabeth Jane Howard's Cazalet Chronicles. Set in a Rhode Island fishing village-cum-resort town, the narrative focuses not on the upper-middle-class, white collar characters that Rice has heretofore brought to life in such well-reviewed novels as Crazy in Love and Secrets of Paris , but on a family of hardworking restaurateurs. The action revolves around Cass Keating Medieros, the youngest granddaughter of Sheila and Eddie Keating, founders of the family's successful restaurant, Lobsterville. Though Cass and her fisherman husband Billy have been ``madly in love since eighth grade, and proud of it,'' their marriage has begun to show the strain of caring for their partially deaf daughter Josie. Meanwhile, their teenaged son is experiencing his own first grand passion; their nephew dabbles in Satan worship; and Cass's embittered sister Nora blossoms when romance unexpectedly comes her way. These and other engaging subplots keep the narrative sailing briskly along; frisky sex scenes are another plus. A dangerous sea storm clears the decks for this multigenerational saga's unabashedly teary and heartwarming resolution. Rice writes with assurance and is particularly adept at illuminating the inner lives of the novel's youngest characters. 35,000 first printing; Literary Guild selection; author tour. (Sept.)
I was really disappointed in this book. I kept thinking it would get better or there would be something that happened, but not until the last few chapters was there a conflict. Now the question is why did I continue a book that nothing happened in? I don't know. I wasn't committed to finding out what happened to the characters or anything, so I don't know why I kept up with it. I guess I need to get better at giving books up! Also I listened to this on audio and am wondering why on a book with a majority of female characters was a man picked to narrate? Seems odd...
Has anyone else read Luanne Rice? I am not sure if I will read any of her other books (unless some of you have some good reviews).

Saturday, April 26, 2008

Online Book Club!

Becky is hosting an online book club! The May's online book club discussion of Life As We Knew It by Susan Beth Pfeffer. I haven't participated in a online book club discussion, but I think it would be fun!! I would love to have the discussion with you too! Leave me a comment and let me know if you are going to join.

Once Upon A Marigold - Jean Ferris

Rating:3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)

Challenges: Once Upon a Time, A-Z Challenge (F Author)


This story is about a Christian who lives with his foster father Ed in a cave. Near his cave you can see the castle where Marigold lives. Christian starts sending her pigeon-mail and they become friends. Christian is Marigold's only friend. He decides he has to meet her and gets a job at a castle. There is one problem though. Marigold's mother is trying to marry her off!


I liked this book and though it was a great young adult book! It was a quick read and has some great lessons in it.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

The Monsters of Templeton - Lauren Groff

Rating: 5 Better than a new Derby Hat and the winning horse (¨¨¨¨¨)
Challenges: Pub Challenge, A-Z Challenge (M Title)
Willie comes home to Templeton after nearly running down her lover's wife. As she returns home a Loch Ness type monster is found in the lake near her house and her Mother tells her that the story she told her about her father wasn't true. In fact her Father is a distant relative AND he lives in the same town. Willie starts a quest to find out who her Father is while working to put her life back together. In the process we meet all the interesting characters of Templeton past and present.
Loved it, Loved it! My only recommendation is if you listen to this on CD do it at times that you can pay a lot of attention to it and listen to it quick. I spent a couple of weeks listening to it which was the wrong thing to do since I was having problems connecting some of the characters to some of the others. This would be a great book on CD for a long trip! I highly recommend this book!

Family Tree - Barbara Delinsky

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)

Challenges: Spring Thing, A-Z Challenge (D Author)

Synopsis from B&N

Dana Clarke has always longed for the stability of home and family—her own childhood was not an easy one. Now she has married a man she adores who is from a prominent New England family, and she is about to give birth to their first child. But what should be the happiest day of her life becomes the day her world falls apart. Her daughter is born beautiful and healthy, but no one can help noticing the African American traits in her appearance. Dana’s husband, to her great shock and dismay, begins to worry that people will think Dana has had an affair.The only way to repair the damage done is for Dana to track down the father she never knew and to explore the possibility of African American lineage in his family history. Dana’s determination to discover the truth becomes a poignant journey back through her past and her husband’s heritage that unearths secrets rooted in prejudice and fear.Barbara Delinsky’s Family Tree is an utterly unforgettable novel that asks penetrating questions about race, family, and the choices people make in times of crisis—choices that have profound consequences that can last for generations.


I really enjoyed this book. I really wanted to find out the mysteries that were going on around Lizzie’s birth. How was she born inter-racial while both her parents were white? It was interesting some of the genetics information. I also liked the knitting references and could picture the great knitting store. This book made me want to attempt knitting again! I can make a scarf but for now that is my skill level! This book was read by the book club I am in and it was a great discussion! It is interesting to debate on how we would handle the situation.

Tuesday, April 22, 2008

Blue Water - A Manette Ansay

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)
Challenges: Spring Thing, Themed Reading

Meg and Rex tried hard for their son Evan (6) he is the only child they can have. One day Meg was driving Evan to school and was hit by a drunk driver, Cindy Ann. Cindy Ann and Meg were friends in High School and Meg has a hard time forgiving Cindy Ann for killing her son in the accident. Cindy Ann and her 3 children were unhurt. Meg and Rex leave their life and set out on a sail boat to try to live normal again. On their journey they question if they can forgive. When Meg and Cindy Ann's paths cross again Meg realizes that Cindy Ann is not who she thought she was.

This is a journey to forgiveness and asks the question - Would you be able to forgive someone who killed your child? It was a good story and I probably would have rated it higher but the "blue water" parts where they are in the ocean on their sail boat was a little monotonous. I liked the way the book approached Megs conflicts and her constant questioning of forgiveness. One of my favorite concepts is that forgiveness is done everyday - it's a conscious effort. Isn't that true!

Monday, April 21, 2008

tl;dr Challenge

Renay is hosting a 342,745 Ways to Herd Cats, or tl;dr challenge. What you do is submit 10 books that you loved, then May 1 you pick 3 books on the list and read the 3 books by November 30.

Here are my favorite 10 books:
1. 1001 White Women by Jim Fergus
2. Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigiani
3. Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas by James Patterson
4. Outlander by Diana Gabaldon
5. The Honk and Holler Opening Soon – Billie Letts
6. Night Ride Home by Barbara Esstman
7. Angry Housewives Eating Bon Bons – Lorna Landvick
8. Here are Earth – Alice Hoffman
9. Crow Lake – Mary Lawson
10. The Blessing Stone – Barbara Wood
Here are the books that I am going to read:
1. The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale (Melody’s Reading Corner)
2. Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos (Melody’s Reading Corner) 3. The Book of Lost 3. Things by John Connolly (Melody’s Reading Corner and Mrs S )
Here are some other ones that I am interested in:
Red Leaves by Thomas H. Cook (Melody’s Reading Corner)
Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn (Word Lily)
The Hummingbird's Daughter by Luis Alberto Urrea (Framed and Booked)
The Vanishing Act of Esme Lennox by Maggie O’Farrel (Alix)
What I Was by Meg Rosoff (Dewey)
The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield (Dewey)
The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy (Invocations)
The Thief (Megan Whalen Turner)
Book of a Thousand Days (Shannon Hale)
Rebecca by Daphne Du Maurier
Anne of Green Gables by LM Montgomery
Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult
The Prize Winner of Defiance Ohio by Terry Ryan
Snow Flower & Secret Fan by Lisa See

Sunday, April 20, 2008

Why Men Don't Pitch In

Leslie Bennett's wrote an article called Chores for Two: Why don't Men Pitch in. I don't know about you but this is probably the most frustrating thing in my marriage for me. My husband has been going to school and although he rarely studies this has been his excuse for not helping. Well he is finished (as of Friday) and this will be changing. Here are some quotes that I enjoyed from the article.

"According to the Institute for Social Research at the University of
Michigan, women spent an average of 27 hours a week on housework in 2002, while men spent 16 hours (which at least represents an improvement over the 16 seconds or so a lot of them spent a generation ago). Even today, married men perform little more than a third of household labor, whether or not their wives are in the paid labor force. And women spend more than twice as much time as men do on child care. "

I think my husband is at 5 minutes a week - and that is only because I put the garbage at the door for him to take out!!

"In many of the families I’m talking about, the wife is actually the major
breadwinner. This seems to have no effect whatsoever on the husband’s
willingness to be an equal partner — or on the wife’s readiness to demand that
he become one. Although almost half of all working women provide at least half
of the family income, and women are the major breadwinners in nearly a third of
all American households, they remain far more likely to take time off from work
when their children are sick. Needless to say, one survey after another shows
that men also have more leisure time. Ask most working mothers what they do with
their leisure time and you’re lucky if they don’t hit you. "

This is true. I am often wondering what feminism really bought us. I often think my life would be MUCH less stressful if I was a stay at home wife. I don't understand why my husband feels that the house is MY responsibility when I work as much as he does - plus I work even more if you count caring for my daughter.

"The fact that guys, when left to their own devices, rarely rush to offer
more toilet-scrubbing and diaper-changing is not in itself surprising. As Martin
Luther King Jr. once observed, “We know through painful experience that freedom
is never voluntarily given by the oppressor; it must be demanded by the

How true...

"When wives permit their husbands to shirk a fair share of the homemaking
and parenting, not only do they themselves suffer, but chances are good that
they’re also sentencing their children to a similar fate. "

I need to keep focused on this statement so I don't sentence my daughter to this fate. My husband's Mother did everything in there house while her husband literally did NOTHING. This also is very true.

"And while I recognize that gender stereotypes are risky, in my
experience husbands are a lot like children. They will get away with whatever
they can get away with. When you put your foot down and make it clear that you
won’t take no for an answer, somehow the kids’ rooms get cleaned, the groceries
bought, the laundry folded. It really does work, I promise. "

So...I am LIVING this article and am none too happy about it. I am sure that many other women are too. This is not how I want the rest of my life to be. So it's time for some changes. Any advice? We have tried maid service, but they won't typically put things away, which means that I have to clean before they clean! Kind of defeats the purpose.

Here is what I am thinking of:
  • A chore chart - yes I know it seems so much like a kid thing to do, but clearly my husband has no clue what to do or when to do it.
  • Clutter reduction - Removing all things from our house we don't use. We have a small condo and too much stuff! Well we have a storage area and it's time to stuff it full! The less stuff the less to clean.

So far those are my ideas...check back to see how it is going...any thoughts or ideas are welcome!! My philosophy is that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again expecting a different result. Well I am ready to try something different because I want a different result.

Friday, April 11, 2008

Pub Challenge

I decided to join the Pub Challenge hosted by 1MoreChapter. When I originally saw this I thought it had to do with books that had Pubs in it...I was not correct!! Here are the details:

1. Read a minimum of 8 books published in 2008.

2. No children's/YA titles allowed, since we're at the 'pub'

3. At least 4 titles must be fiction

4. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed.

5. Titles may be changed at any time.

This is my type of challenge!! I already have 2 2008 books read: 1) The Sister by Poppy Adams that will be published in June I think; and 2.) Change of Heart by Jodi Picoult.

Here are some others that I am interested in reading:

So Brave, Young, and Handsome by Lief Enger
Last Lecture by Randy Pausch
There’s No Place Like Here by Cecelia Ahern
Skeletons at the Feast – Chris Bohjalian
What I want my Daughters to Know - Elizabeth Nobel
The Opposite of Love – Julie Buxbaum

Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)

Pages: 447

Challenges: Spring Thing Swap, Chunkster, Full Circle Challenge, Pub Challenge
Shay Borne is on death row and wants to give his heart to the girl whose sister and father he is accused of killing, but death by lethal injection does not produce a viable heart. Enter Maggie from the ALCU and Michael a Catholic priest whose decision on Shay's jury for the death penalty led him into the priesthood. Also, odd things are happening in the jail ward where Shay is housed leading people to wonder if he is Jesus or some type of miracle worker.

I struggled a lot with this book. I have read a lot of Picoult’s books and typically enjoy them, but I didn't enjoy this one as much as some of the others. I like that she takes on prevalent issues in society, but I think this book could have taken on the death penalty without injecting all the questions of God. I didn't like some of the misconceptions she portrayed about Christianity and I am not sure that Shay is creditable, which makes me question some of the book in general. Books with narrators with issues make me question if the book is truly in the right perspective. Are things happening as they appear to the "unstable" narrator. Although Shay wasn't the narrator the other characters certainly question his actions. And it leaves the reader questioning also.
I think this would be a really good book club book, because if anyone is like me they will want to discuss this book after reading it! Plus it leaves a lot of questions open for interpretation and questions of myself if I would want Shay to lie to me to appease me or if I would want him to be himself. I think I would want him to be himself.

Here are some quotes I liked from the book:

“But things like jealousy, rage, and infidelity – they don’t
disappear. They lie in wait, like a cobra, to strike you again when you
least expect it.” (361)

“How could I not have known that you see
God every time you look at the face of the person you love.” (384)

Other Picoult books I liked better: My Sister's Keeper, Second Glance, and Vanishing Acts.

BookReporter.com has an interview with Jodi Picoult.

In this interview Picoult said, "Who says that just because you're right, that means someone else has to be wrong? Why do we believe the things that we do --- because they're right, or because it's too scary to admit we don't know the answers?" I think it is an interesting question. Although I have a lot of tolerances with religion I am wondering if I practice this with my husband!

Wednesday, April 9, 2008

48 Hour Reading Challenge

Mother Reader is hosting a 48 hour book Challenge on June 6–8, 2008. Here are the details:
~The weekend is June 6–8, 2008. Read and blog for any 48-hour period within the Friday-to-Monday-morning window. Start no sooner than 7:00 a.m. on Friday the sixth and end no later than 7:00 a.m. Monday. So, go from 7:00 p.m. Friday to 7:00 p.m. on Sunday... or maybe 7:00 a.m. Saturday to 7:00 a.m. Monday works better for you. But the 48 hours do need to be in a row.
~The books should be about fifth-grade level and up. Adult books are fine, especially if any adult book bloggers want to play. If you are generally a picture book blogger, consider this a good time to get caught up on all those wonderful books you’ve been hearing about. No graphic novels. I’m not trying to discriminate, I’m just trying to make sure that the number of books and page counts mean the same thing to everyone.
~It’s your call as to how much you want to put into it. If you want to skip sleep and showers to do this, go for it. If you want to be a bit more laid back, fine. But you have to put something into it or it’s not a challenge.
~Your final summary needs to clearly include the number of books read, the approximate hours you spent reading/reviewing, and any other comments you want to make on the experience. It needs to be posted no later than noon on Monday, June 9th.
Mother Reader has some more guidelines so hop over there and sign up. Realistically it is going to be very difficult for me to read 48 hours straight...above all else because there is NO way I will be able to stay awake 48 hours. Plus 1 year olds do not understand what the "Do not disturb" sign hanging around Mommy's neck means. :) But I figure if I can do 20 or so hours I will be doing good! So I am recruiting a friend and we are going to convince our husbands to take the kids somewhere fun...while we stay at home and read!! :) Let me know if you are joining...and if you can stay up for 48 hours!

Tuesday, April 8, 2008

The Book Thief - Markus Zusak

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
Pages 552
Challenges: A-Z Challenge: Z Author; 2008 Chunkster; Spring Thing
This is about Liesel Meminger whose mother drops her off at a foster family in Germany during World War II. Her foster mother is very stern but seems to love Liesel, but her close relationship is with her foster father Hans. They adore each other. Liesel has a habit of stealing books. She stole the first one before she even knew how to read - it was a Grave Diggers Handbook. Her second book was stolen from a fire of censored books the Nazi's were burning. Her book stealing benefits many people. Liesel in that Hans teaches her to read - usually at 2:00 am when she has nightmares. She reads to people in the bomb shelter to calm them, and an old lady. Reading becomes a core activity for her and the books are her prized possessions. The stories around Liesel and her friends are incredible, from Rudy who is reluctantly training to be a Nazi, Hans who does not agree with the Nazi attitudes, Max a Jew who the foster family takes in and many neighbors.
Lisa at Breaking the Fourth Wall reviewed this book and it intrigued me. I needed a Z author for the A-Z challenge...and I kept seeing it on other people's blogs. So I requested it from the library.
I really enjoyed this book - although there were several slow parts that were difficult to get through. I really liked all the characters and liked that Zusak carried the story through the years giving us more of a long term snapshot of them. Although Max was lost towards the end of the story and that was disappointing. I almost wish that he would write about Liesel after the significant ending point. He has an epilogue that says what happens to her, but it isn't enough. I want to know more details of her life. This book was very unique and was narrated by death! It is interesting that death narrated it and gave the reader an advantage of seeing the whole story develop and know the story of many characters lives.
Also this book made me cry - I always think that books should be rated high if they make me cry. It means I am really believing the characters and what they are going through. Do you agree?

How important is a U?

I have a new computer for work...brand new!! It has been 3 years since I got a new computer....well this computer though I like it doesn't like to type U! I don't know what the deal is...does anyone know anything about keyboards? Oh - and in trying to investigate it I pulled the top of the key off...who knows if I broke it more or not!! :) LOL! I am hoping that I can break it in and the u's will come out better...uuuuuu a little better. :) I don't like the idea of moving all my stuff to a NEW computer again! UGH...another U word! I just have to remember that I can't have any U's in my passwords because I can never tell if they have been typed or not!

A Great and Terrible Beauty - Libba Bray

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
Challenges: Spring Thing, First in a Series, A-Z Challenge: G Title
Synopsis (from BN.com)
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?
Review I liked this book a lot and really wanted to continue reading (really listening) to it. It reminded me some of Harry Potter but it was very different from Harry Potter. If you like Harry Potter I think you will like this book. I liked the characters especially Gemma and her Mom and the worlds that were created. I thought that Libba did a great job of researching girls in boarding school in this time period. On the audio version there is an interview with Libba Bray reading parts of her diary in trying to get the book published. It was great I really felt like she could be one of my good friends or my next door neighbor. She was so down to earth.