Friday, January 29, 2010


This is an award from my new, and lovely, friend Emma at Emma Michaels!  Thanks, Emma!!!

The only rule in the Happy 101 award is you have to list 10 things that make you the most happy!
  1. My family, as in my hubby and our two beautiful daughters! (that includes our pets!)
  2. My extended family, and it's a big one!
  3. My friends
  4. BOOKS
  5. my job in film when I am able to do a show!
  6. the book blogging community!
  7. pasta in any kind of a cream sauce
  8. chips, ripple or dorito!
  9. knitting
  10. life in general!
I'll now pass this onto

Thursday, January 28, 2010


Throwback Thursday is a bookish meme hosted by Jenny over at Take Me Away

It's pretty straight forward, you highlight an oldie but a goodie!

My pick for this week is: 

Cane River by Lalita Tademy

This book was a gift to me a million years ago, and I absolutely LOOOVED it.  It was the first book I had read about the life of slaves, and it really impacted me in a major way.  The parts that were especially haunting were when slave women had their babies taken away and then sold.  Families were torn apart, and probably would never see eachother again.  Here is the blurb from the back cover which can say it better than I ever could.

On a Creole plantation on the banks of Louisiana's Cane River, four generations of astonishing women battle injustice to unite their family and forge success on their own terms.  They are women whose lives begin in slavery, who weather the Civil War, and who grapple with the contradictions of emancipation through the turbulent early years of the twentieth century.  There is Elisabeth, who bears both a proud legacy and the yoke of bondage.... her youngest daughter, Suzette, who is the first to discover the promis --- and heartbreak of freedom... Suzette's strong-willed daughter Philomene, who uses a determination born of tragedy to reunite her family and gain unheard-of economic independance... and Emily, Philomene's spirited daughter, who fights to secure her children's just due and preserve their dignity and future.

After reading this years ago, I found I was fascinated with this time period and the personal lives of those who were treated like animals, and found another book years later The Book of Negroes by Lawrence Hill, very good as well. You can read my review of it here.  Now I am looking forward to reading Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez, and it is sure to become a hot one in the book blogging world. 

Wednesday, January 27, 2010


Comfort Living:  A Back-to-Basics Guide To a More Balanced Lifestyle

77 pages

This book was sent to me by the publisher, and I have to be honest here, this will not be a glowing review.

I was pretty excited when I was approached to review this book as books on how to make my life more pleasurable is always a big hit around here.  And I am a pretty big clutter hound, but hate it.  The only room in my house that is always clutter free is my living room, which is the first room you see when you walk into our house.  Otherwise, everywhere else there are toys, books (duh!), papers stacked everywhere... you get the picture.  So, I was actually looking for some real tips from this one.

Here was the number one first impression that immediately put me off, but I was mindful not to let it taint the overall opinion I have of this book.  The photography.  It is just not very good, okay I'm sorry to say it is pretty poor for a book like this.  At first it was the quality of the image that was odd, I showed it to my husband saying, "Doesn't this look like it is a bad copy off of someones printer?"  He had to agree.  Even the author's photo on the back is very poor quality.  Okay, so the pics were bad quality, but then it got even worse, when I really looked  at the photos I quickly realized that even the photography itself is just not good.  The composition is terrible, and for a book like this photos are really needed to get the "picture" so to speak of what the end result of her tips are. The photos on the cover of the book and the journal are GEORGOUS, so it is a bit misleading. 

Her tips are pretty good, I like the ones of entering your house and then each room and try to see if from an outsiders eyes, and try to create a cozy feel when you enter a space.  But the "campfire" idea just seemed odd, as in creating a "campfire" in each room with objects you love and add warmth and comfort to a space. 

Then there's the journal that came along with it, that you can purchase for an additional $7.95.  This thing is so small I almost laughed out loud.  I just didn't get it.  It is about the size of a standard sized cheque book, I'm not even kidding.  With teeny tiny print, and my daughter was looking through it and found that half of the book was upside down, which had us really confused.  But then she noticed that on the back right above the HUGE bar code is actually another front cover, so you can flip it over and use it both ways for two different catagories.  But the problem with that is the bar code takes up almost half of the back/front cover so it just looks weird and doesn't feel right. 

I always feel terrible when I have to review a book I did not enjoy, but honestly I would not have purchased this book if I saw it in a book store.  And that is why I feel like I need to be honest because if you order it online you may be surprised at the quality of it. 

RATING:  0.5/5

Tuesday, January 26, 2010


Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading... anyone can play along!

  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences
  • please do not include spoilers!
  • also please tell us the name and author of the book so we can add it to our TBR piles if we wish!
My teaser this week is from "The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder" by Rebecca Wells:

"Some of my happiest moments were during dance lessons.  I was content to lie, head in hands, on the edge of the perfectly polished dance floor, studying my parents as they danced by, illustrating different types of dances.  My mother's strength and beauty captivated me as she swirled across the dance floor in my father's arms." 

I can't tell you how much I am enjoying this book.  LOVE.  Especially because so far it is summer in Louisiana and HOT and humid, and there is plenty of talk of ice teas and porch swings, and swimming holes.  Since we are in the dead of winter here in Alberta, this is perfect escape reading.  Not only that, Calla is such a joyous child to live vicariously through for awhile!  I LOVE her, and I love her mother whom she calls "M'dear".  I can't wait to tell you all about it when I'm done! 

Clearly this gem has catapulted me out of my reading rut... YAY!  Thanks for all your advice, support and encouragement! 

For more teasers visit MizB's blog here.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Still trying to climb out of my reading rut...

Okay, so I tried "One for the Money" by Janet Evanovich. 

Meh.  I got about 20 pages in and it was just not doin' it for me.  So, now I am trying a book I won back in August when I first started blogging:

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lilly Ponder by Rebecca Wells.  I think it may just be the ticket judging by the first page. 

I'll keep you posted. 

Friday, January 22, 2010


Because I am WAAAAYYY behind on ALL my reading, review and otherwise, I am going to depart from bookish things to tell you guys about a blog a very dear friend of mine has.  If you need a good LAUGH she is the one to turn to! 

Today I am highlighting one of my FAVOURITE blogs to read, and it happens to be the blog of one of my most FAVOURITE people in the entire universe. (enter trumpets)  Her name is Michele and she has been one of my CLOSEST most dearest friends over the past, dare I say, 20 plus years.  Her blog is extraordinary.  Her writing is incredible, and she is one of THE funniest people I know and her blog is no exception.  Michele is a wonderful and REAL mother who has a 5 year old lovely lady in kindergarten.  She has hilarious and very very touching stories about their life together, and on the days where she has a rant or two about life in general?  PEE.  I actually PEE myself laughing, people! 

ANYway, enough pre-amble.  Here she is in all her bloggy gloriousness.  And she does not know I am doing this sooooo... SURPRISE! 


STILL can't get into a book.... any suggestions???

Okay, my fellow book bloggers and readers, I am still in my reading slump but would love to latch onto something!  I know asking for book suggestions is like asking for a specific grain of sand on a dune, but I'm puttin' it out there anyway.  I am looking for A) some escape reading B) preferably historical fiction set in middle ages- ish, but would also love anything at this point  C) nothing TOO fluffy or brain dead, but almost.  D) something I can get into right away. 

So far I have picked up and put down the following (this says NOTHING about the quality of book, for sure, as I know I will LOOOVE them when my brain is not in weird-mode):

  • Hunger Games
  • Graceling
  • East of Eden
  • Wolf Hall
  • The Boleyn Inheritance
  • Friends, Lovers and Chocolate by Alexander McCall Smith
See what I mean?   I need HELP.  Ugh.

Maybe I just need to NOT read for awhile, if that's even possible.  Is that possible?  I don't know.  I know there are other people out there who are feeling the same exact way, someone said it was the January reading slump?  I'll have to pay attention in coming years from now on, I have a feeling they are probably right on with that!

Have a WONDERFUL weekend!  And I look forward to reading all of your bookish suggestions!

Monday, January 18, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY - A biblical slant

Mailbox Monday is a bookish meme hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page.

I DID in fact get a book last week in the mail!  The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etzioni-Halevy.  Eva kindly sent me a copy, and I am very excited to read it!  I LOVED The Red Tent and think it is fascinating to read fictional accounts of biblical women.  You can read more about Eva and her books on her website, click here.

What's in YOUR mailbox this week?

Sunday, January 17, 2010

This is KEWL.

So, recently a fellow book blogger told me about The Book Depository.  I had NO IDEA this company even exsisted, nevermind the FREE shipping.  HELLO!  How much MONEY have I wasted with other online book companies???  ANYway, clicking around there I found this cool feature on their site.  You can follow a world map and watch people buying books LIVE.  It is one of the neatest things E-V-E-R. 

Click here to check it out!


Please email me as soon as possible with your info so I can order and have your book shipped!  Thank you to everyone who entered!!! 

Friday, January 15, 2010


Remember the special feature I told you all about?  Weeellllll, the friend/colleague of mine who was the first assistant director on the mini-series has agreed to do a vlog interview!!  WOOOOT!!! 

He and I will be scheduling that fairly soon.  I cannot WAIT to hear what he has to say! 

So, here is a little bit of background in case you are interested:

DEFINITION OF A 1ST A.D..:  He/she is responsible for scheduling the film in pre-production.  While filming the 1st AD runs the set, he/she makes sure that everything is being done ON TIME.   The safety of the cast and crew is the 1st A.D.'s responsibility.  So, when you see a battle scene or a difficult stunt, you better believe that the 1st AD has made sure that all of the safetly elements are in place before the camera rolls. 

While the director works with the actors when shooting, the 1st AD is his right hand man, he makes sure that all of the other elements of the scene are in place so when the director is ready to shoot everything is ready to go. (props, lighting, set dec, wardrobe, etc.).  He works closely with the Director Of Photography who is responsible for the look of the film, as in lighting.  The Director, 1st AD and DP work closely together throughout shooting, and on set they are often standing near eachother. 

Phil Chipera is the 1st AD on Pillars.  He spent 8 months shooting in Europe and has been an AD since 1996.  When we work together he is MY BOSS.  I am in his department.  There are 4 of us plus any PA's we may have.  There is him, his second AD, ME (the third AD) and our Trainee. 

Phil has done many many productions, feature films such as Passchendaele, and The Last Rites of Ransom Pride (which was shot here in Alberta and will be released soon and looks INCREDIBLE!). 

I am thrilled to offer you guys an inside look LOOONG before the release of the project and before anyone is really chatting about it! 

See this guy right here on the left with the blue and white shirt?  That's Phil on set of Pillars. 

Phil and I will see you in the next week or two, so stay tuned!

Thursday, January 14, 2010


I think that today I would just like to post the link to the Red Cross and urge all of my readers and fellow book bloggers to donate as much as they can to the victims of this horrendous earthquake.  I spent 3 weeks in Haiti working at an orphanage (Cap Hatien) and I can say from first hand experience that I have never ever seen such poverty in my entire life... ever.  And the resiliancy of the people there is incredible.  Especially their children.  But even as you read this many are dying and need our help.  The government is extremely corrupt and the police have done little or nothing at this point, from what we can tell. 

Photo taken on my trip in 2006

Wednesday, January 13, 2010


Wishlist Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City.

Today mine is VEEEERRRY simple.... me want...

Tuesday, January 12, 2010


Teaser Tuesdays is a bookish weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading, and anyone can play along! 
  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on the page
  • please do not include SPOILERS!
  • do include the book title and author so we can add it to our TBR piles if we wish!
My teaser is from: 

WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel

"'Fighting again, or was it your father?'

     Yes, he says, vigorously nodding, making his nose drop gouts of blood: yes, he indicates himself, as if to say, Walter was here.  Kat calls for a basin, for water, for water in a basin, for a cloth, for the devil to rise up, right now, and take away Walter his servant."

This quote made me laugh out loud.  Kat kills me.  She reminds me a bit of Jenny, Jamie's sister, in Outlander.  She is a feisty woman who cares fiercly for her brother.

I am really enjoying Wolf Hall, but have to admit I am having to re-read sections every once in awhile to get a handle on who is speaking.  She tends to preface sentences only with HE when there are conversations going on, and I have to check to see:  is this the cardinal speaking?  Thomas?  And she mentions names without explaining who they are, like Thomas More. Who the heck is he, and why do they keep bringing him up?  If you have a good grasp of this portion of history, you probably know already who these people are, but I am a total layperson when it comes to Cromwell's history so at times, I admit, I'm a bit lost.  I did like it when they were talking about King Henry wanting to get an annulment from Katherine, and then wanting the Cardinal's home for Anne.  This I could follow as I read The Other Boleyn Girl and have a slight grasp on the Anne/Katherine saga.

Otherwise, I am liking it thus far. 

You can read other teasers here.


Monday, January 11, 2010


MAILBOX MONDAY is a weekly meme hosted by Marcia over at The Printed Page.

The only thing I have aquired in the last week I happened to get later today.  I ordered it through my daughters Scholastic book school club thingy and it finally came in!

I know I am late to the party for this one, but I am sooo excited to FINALLY get to read it!!!  And hopefully I can get the other one read in time for the 3rd one to come out this August!

What was in your mailbox??

Sunday, January 10, 2010


Good morning!  This week was a little bit better on the reading front. I finished The Pearl, and what a gem (ha ha!), and I have been reading a fantastic book called "Authentic Happiness" by Martin Seligman.   This is a great read by a hilarious Psychologist.  He has spent the last 30 years studying what happiness really means and how we can truly get it, all the while struggling with it himself.  One of the things I am going to do for my blog is cover other kinds of reading that I often do, a bit of self-help stuff, and I am also going to review knitting books and cookbooks! 

Today I am going to spend some quality time with Wolf Hall.  I love this one, but have not had some serious time with it.  I am also still reading A Lion Among Men, and I'll chip away at that one too.

Here is another new thing I'll be doing with my blog in the near future.  Some of you may or may not know that I work in the film business.  I have been a third assistant director for 14 years in Alberta, and my husband is a camera assistant.  This is how we have supported our family for all of these years, we do nothing else work-wise.  It occurred to me when I worked on my last movie, that it might be neat to do an insiders view on films that are adapted from books.  The last show I did was adapted from a book called, "Angels Crest" by Leslie Schwartz (working title of film "Waska").  Because it was a low budget feature I figured it would be filled with no name actors, but was thrilled to find out that I was working with Mira Sorvino, Jeremy Piven, Elizabeth McGovern, Kate Walsh and Thomas Dekker.  I had worked with Jeremy's Dad years ago on Jack Bull, so it was neat to chat with him about it.  I am going to read the book, and then compare it to the script and then share some insights into the shooting of the movie as well. 

Another thing you might be interested in is that a friend and collegue of mine was the first assistant director on the mini-series for Ken Follet's "Pillars of the Earth".  He returned from Europe last month, and I am going to ask him if he would agree to do a vlog interview so we can get all of the scoop about the filming of the show before anyone else!  It took 8 months of shooting and many countries, so I am sure he has a story or two he would be willing to share!

Other examples of books to films that I can provide an inside peek at were The Assassination of Jesse James by Ron Hansen which I was 3rd AD on in 2005.  Ron was present on set through most of the filming and even had a cameo in the film!  I have read the book, and the script was an EXCELLENT example of an adaptation, but the film itself was not as good as I had hoped.  I am also planning on vlog interviewing other people I know in the industry who would be interesting in sharing some of their experiences filming some of the books to film in our province, and in BC as well. 

Hopefully you will all enjoy this new feature as I begin implementing it in the weeks to come!  I will entitle these features "Books to Film: An Inside Peek" And then the name of the project. 

Here is a little promo about the stars and films that have been shot here over the years! 

Have a WONDERFUL Sunday!

Saturday, January 9, 2010


I am embarrassed to say that I have never read any of Steinbeck's novels.  Ever.  Despite buying this novella years ago, AND buying East of Eden back when it was an Oprah pick, I had not read either.  Until now.  A neighbor of ours (and our amazing teenage babysitter) had an English assignment to read The Pearl, so I told her I would read it with her as I had a copy.  At 87 pages, the book is small, but mighty.  The story is so beautifully told it breaks your heart. As you read, you feel as if you are watching a movie, the images are vivid and you can feel, smell, hear, and see everything that Steinbeck creates within the story. 

The Pearl is a story that everyone can relate to.  Kino is a poor man with a beautiful little family.  He has a wife, Juana and their precious little baby Coyotito.  The start of the book is very idealic as we see their familial bliss and quiet peaceful life.  They seem very happy and completely in love with their little baby and each other.  From the very beginning Steinbeck talks about the music that Kino hears in his mind/heart, that accompanies the storyline like a soundtrack. 

While they are gazing upon their baby in his little swinging box, they suddenly see a scorpian hanging from one of the ropes.  This is another of Steinbeck's many gifts, I believe, creating extremely tension filled suspenseful moments that have you holding your breath.  Before they can decide how to rid the rope of the scorpian, it falls into the crib and stings their son. 

What follows is their attempt to find help for their baby, and they seek to gain the expertise of a very corrupt local (and only) doctor.  Clearly they have no money, and therefore he has no interest in treating their son, whose arm is now swelling at an alarming rate. 

Kino is then determined to find a way to pay the doctor, and they take their little boat and begin harvesting oysters in the hopes that one will reveal a pearl with which to pay the doctor. 

Will they find a pearl to save their son? 

As usual I do not want to include a complete summary of the novella, so you can go in fresh.  There are PLENTY of places online to find a summary of the book if you want, as The Pearl is a classic and is many times chosen for classroom study. 

What I can tell you is that I loved it.  It completely enveloped me and carried me along this harrowing journey of innocence, despair, hope, greed and corruption. I felt my heart soar and sink with each passing page.  The power of Steinbeck's writing is incredible, and I plan on immediately reading East of Eden now, and it will fit nicely into 3 of my challenges as well! 

I hope you have a chance to read this, and anyone you love.  It is such a powerful story and a testament that a book does not have to be large to be masterful.

RATING:  5/5

Wednesday, January 6, 2010


If you are an adoptive parent and in particular an adoptive parent of a child who does not share your skin color, this book is for you!   This is an incredibly heartwarming story of a little wee yellow bird named Choco.  He is all alone and looking for a mother.  He stumbled accross various animals who tell him that they cannot be his mother because of various physical differences.  Like the giraffe who says that she does not have wings like him.  After being rejected a few times, Choco dissolves into tears.  A beautiful big bear hears him and runs to the rescue.  This is where the story really gets super sweet, and I admit getting very teary eyed when I read it.  She then goes through the list of things Choco's mother would do to make him feel better if she were there -- and then she does them.  And in the end she invites him to join her family and off they go to her house.  When they arrive, Choco discovers that the bears children are various animals, and not one of them is a bear! 

I read this for the first time to our 2 year old little Ethiopian beauty a few weeks ago, and she seemed to really grasp that Choco needed a mommy.  And when she saw the bear give Choco a big hug she said, "There's the mommy!" 


And here is our little peanut for whom I bought this book:

Monday, January 4, 2010


Okay, so like many of you out there I have committed to several challenges, and after each one I vow to not add another one to the list.  But alas, I have stopped making such a vow and resign myself to the fact that there are many other bloggers out there cleverer than me and will tempt me with their tantilizing challenges.

Now, on to the challenges I am currently doing and what I am reading at the moment that pertains to each one.

Chunkster 2010
Reading from my shelves and
Blogger Recommendations


GRACELING by Kristin Shore            
LAMENT       by Maggie Stiefvater       
SHIVER          by Maggie Stiefvater
MAZE RUNNER by James Dashner
(And that is just for starters, I have committed to reading 12 YA books this year)

and Reading from my Shelves

OUTLANDER by Diana Gabaldon   (re-read)    
WOLF HALL  by Hilary Mantel                         
WAR AND PEACE by Leo Tolstoy
A FINE BALANCE by Rohinton Mistry
TWO LIVES by Vikram Seth

Reading from my Shelves


This is just a starter for these challenges, the list will be added to and likely tweaked as the year progresses.  Thanks to all of my fellow book bloggers for these awesome challenges!

Sunday, January 3, 2010


Well, hello all!  I must say that after taking a break from blogging for over a week, I feel TOTALLY refreshed and raring to go for the new year.  I really didn't do much internet stuff at all over the holidays, and it was just wonderful.  But now I am back and realize how much I truly enjoy reading all of your blogs, interacting with all of you (or as many as I can.. how Bermudaonion does it I have no idea!  She remains the QUEEN of COMMENTING for sure!)  and writing on Book Blab here. 

My reading over the holidays consisted of Pope Joan, and I was just itching to see what my hubby and girls picked out for me for Christmas and was SUPER excited with their choices, PLUS my parents, er I mean "Santa" gave me a gift card to Chapters.  SWOON!  So, here is what was given and purchased in all their bookish glory:

Aren't they BEAUTIFUL?..........excuse me, I feel a little light headed.....

I know you can see from the pic what the books are, but here is the run down anyway:

GRACELING by Kristin Cashore
There has been much ballyhoo about this book in the bloggy world, and thus I have wanted to read it for a veeeerrrry long time.  Okay, for a few months, but whatever.  It always feels like a long time when one is waiting to read a juicy little number.  And get a load of the premise, here is the blurb from

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight shes a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the kings thug. When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Pos friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Graceor about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

Sounds like a gooder, am I right?

Next on the roster is:
WOLF HALL by Hilary Mantel
There has been a lot of talk about this one as well, and it is apparently a very very good historical fiction and the first page has me immediately hooked, which is (most of the time) a good sign.

Here's the blurb on that one (courtesy of
England, the 1520s. Henry VIII is on the throne, but has no heir. Cardinal Wolsey is his chief advisor, charged with securing the divorce the pope refuses to grant. Into this atmosphere of distrust and need comes Thomas Cromwell, first as Wolsey's clerk, and later his successor. Cromwell is a wholly original man: the son of a brutal blacksmith, a political genius, a briber, a charmer, a bully, a man with a delicate and deadly expertise in manipulating people and events. Ruthless in pursuit of his own interests, he is as ambitious in his wider politics as he is for himself. His reforming agenda is carried out in the grip of a self-interested parliament and a king who fluctuates between romantic passions and murderous rages.

From one of our finest living writers, Wolf Hall is that very rare thing: a truly great English novel, one that explores the intersection of individual psychology and wider politics. With a vast array of characters, and richly overflowing with incident, it peels back history to show us Tudor England as a half-made society, moulding itself with great passion and suffering and courage.

I have one thing to say about that blurb:  Yu...mmy.

Next is A LION AMONG MEN by Gregory Maguire
This is the next in the trilogy for his Oz series.  I started this one over the holidays and it proves to be as weird and groovy as the last two.  I only JUST started it, though, and as is the way with most of his books it takes a good chunk of the book to get me really hooked, so I'll keep you posted.  Basically this is the life story of the Cowardly lion of the Wizard of Oz story. 

And on to:  PIRATE LATITUDES by Michael Crichton

I have to preface this by saying that I have never in my life... ever... read anything by Michael Crichton.  Yes, I have seen the Jurassic movies, and that's about it.  But there is something about Pirates, and the sea.  I just LOVE to read about them!  In fact, if any of you reading this right now have any recommendations for any sea faring type books set in the piraty type era I would be much appreciated.  For example one of my all time favourite books I discovered last spring by total fluke was John Boyne's Mutiny on the Bounty. 

ANYway, I don't know much about this one other than this manuscript was found among his belongings after his death, and from what I have heard about it, it's pretty good. 

Here is the blurb from 
The Caribbean, 1665. A remote colony of the English crown, the island of Jamaica holds out against the vast supremacy of the Spanish empire. Devoid of London's luxuries, Port Royal, its capital, is a cutthroat town of taverns, grog shops, and bawdy houses. In this steamy climate, life can end swiftly by dysentery--or dagger. But for a daring soul like Captain Charles Hunter, this wild outpost in the New World can also lead to great fortune, if he abides by the island's code. In the name of His Majesty King Charles II of England, gold in Spanish hands is gold for the taking and the law of the land rests with those ruthless enough to make it.

Word in port is that the Spanish galleon El Trinidad, fresh from New Spain, is awaiting repairs in nearby Matanceros. Heavily fortified, the impregnable Spanish harbor is guarded by the bloodthirsty Cazalla, a favorite commander of King Philip IV. With the Jamaican governor's backing, Hunter assembles a crew of ruffians to infiltrate the enemy island and commandeer the galleon and its fortune in Spanish gold. The raid is as perilous as the bloodiest tales of Matanceros legend, and Hunter will lose more than one man before he makes it onto the island's shores, where dense jungle and the firepower of Spanish infantry stand between him and the treasure.

With the help of his cunning band, Hunter hijacks El Trinidad and escapes the deadly clutches of Cazalla, leaving plenty of carnage in his wake. But the danger--and adventure--are only just beginning. . .

And last but by no means least is the brand spankin' new cookbook by Ree Drummond from Pioneer Woman who I have loved since she launched her little wee blog two and a half years ago.  This wee blog grew to the mammoth it is today (and I know you bloggers reading this will appreciate this stat) which has an AVERAGE OF 33 MILLION HITS EVERY SINGLE MONTH.  Thaaaaaat's right.  She is the little blogger that could.  What started out as blog like we all have, to share her thoughts and a few recipes with a few family members, exploded into the juggernaut that it is today from her post on how to cook a steak.  But it wasn't just that, the appeal about Ree is she is just like us, her blog is written in the funniest best voice E-V-E-R, and you will find yourself reading every little scrap she has on there, just because she is so damn charming and funny.  Her cookbook is just like her blog, very charming and cute.  I have only one small bone to pick with it though, I in no shape or form needed a recipe for egg in the hole.  I just don't need to read how to cut a hole in a piece a bread and fry an egg in said hole.  Don't need that.  And I also don't need a recipe on how to mash potatoes.  I mean puh- leeeze.  Otherwise it is pretty good.  But all of her recipes are available on her site FOR FREE, so in hind site I guess I didn't really need the book, but I am totally happy my hubby bought it for me.  It is beautiful, and I look at it every night in bed and dream about all of the yummy things I'm going to make with it. 

So, that was my Christmas booty!  Not to mention my ACTUAL booty has grown about a size and a half due to the holidays, but I'm not going to cry about it.  I'm totally not.  Really. 

We were at the library today and I aquired a copy of "Shiver" by Maggie Stiefvater  (how much do I love that woman's last name? Go 'head, ask me.)  which I have been in line to get for ages so I'll be reading that along with "Lament" (and OH MY GOD I literally JUST discovered as I opened another page to google the author of this one to type in here, and it is MAGGIE STIEFVATER!  I had no idea!  Okay, she may just be my new favourite YA author.  I'm just sayin'.)  by Maggie Stiefvater.

What was YOUR holiday booty???

Saturday, January 2, 2010


Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross

Okay, I'm going to admit something here (audible gasp!), I thought this book was about Joan of Arc when I first saw it.  Sigh.  So, imagine my confusion when I was about half way through and realized that it was NOT about her. It's  about another possible historical figure, a woman named Joan, who disguised herself as a man and rose thru the papal ranks to become a female pope!  Not that it mattered at all, other than my humility, I FRIGGEN LOVED IT!!  Not like I kind of loved, or sort of loved, I mean the BIG LOVE.  I have always loved historical fiction, and especially anything set in the middle ages (this is considered early middle ages in 800-ish).   This is the kind of book I want my daughters to read when they are older.  This is the kind of book that makes me realize, once again, how full of gratitude I am for the women who broke out of the mold and changed the world for us. 

But this is fiction.  Sort of.

See, the thing is, there is some evidence to support the idea that there was a female pope.  But as in a very "Da Vinci Code" kind of way there is also evidence to show that the Catholic church may have covered up the fact by destroying evidence. 

Either way, it is a darn good read and I personally could not put it down and read it in just a few days.

It starts with Joan's birth, and shows her mother as a pagan who is married to a religious zealot who is constantly trying to "save" her.  Right from the beginning Joan has a constant spiritual battle raging inside her.  Her incredible bond with her mother is rooted in the pagan beliefs she shares with her, but she also has been raised a Christian and feels loyal to that vein as well. Also right from the beginning we can see that Joan is different.  She is not content just being a girl, and is constantly miffed as to why her brothers get to learn to read and write just because of their gender.  This is a common theme through-out the book, as Joan is continually being road blocked by her sex, time and time again. 

But boy does she ever fix their wagon.

I don't want to do a summary of the plot as I do not want to spoil it for anyone, but TRUST me when I say it is a FANTASTIC book that is full of intrigue, suspense, love (oh, love, the super swoony kind!), and action. 

This was a loaner from the library, but I am actually going to buy it as I know I'll be re-reading this one for many more years to come. 

HIGHLY recommend to anyone, man or woman! 

For more about this fascinating book and author you can visit her website here. 

RATING:  5/5