Who would YOU trust to write YOUR life?

I read on 5 Minutes for Books about a weekly book meme called Booking Through Thursday – sounds pretty perfect for me, the absolutely book obsessed and the memes look pretty short which is always nice (not to mention all the cool kids are doing it). Maybe I can type this up before MM notices I’m not paying all my attention to his truly? I mean… anyway, here’s this week’s questions?

Are there any particular worlds in books where you’d like to live?

The first one that comes to mind is the dawn of the 20th century in Libba Bray’s Great and Terrible Beauty trilogy – I know it’s not really a world, but given that magic is possible, I’m going with it being a world of it’s own, and in a time that truly fascinates me with the whole women’s suffrage movement and women still being women but also striving to be something more, when something more was truly needed.

Other books that come to mind are the world within His Dark Materials trilogy by Phillip Pullman (jumping through different parallel universes, seeing the different possibilities for reality – as long as I don’t have to go through the specific tragedies that Lyra endures by the end… I think it could be neat; and the world within the Eyre Affair also fascinates me – more with the time jumping and the book jumping and just the whole fascinating world that Fforde creates where everything is kind of exaggerated and fantastical and a little bit conspiratorial, but just so neat. All the best and worst theories you might ever have about the world, true and real and bluntly there… I’d better move onto the next question though before this can no longer be called a short post… (too late?)

Or where you certainly would NOT want to live?

Well any dis-Utopian world or post-apocalyptic world would certainly suck – prime examples being the world in The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood or the whole sucky existence in I Am Legend which I haven’t read yet but I saw the movie and yeah… that’d suck.

What about authors? If you were a character, who would you trust to write your life?

Janet Evanovich and Stephenie Meyer both seem to have my number – I think I could trust them to do me justice, to not make me too perfect or too annoying – they seem to have an understanding of the type of character I’d be – a sort of mixture of Stephenie Plum and Bella Swan but married and with one small monkeyToddler – I think they could handle that.

What would your answers be?

Simple Woman's Daybook: Joining Yet Another Bandwagon

I keep seeing this cute meme on other blogs and it looked fun and whatnot, and you know I’m a sucker for a good meme (as you’ll find out soon when I post half a dozen more) – you know I found this meme here and that you should post it on your own blog and all that jazz…

For Today…

Outside my Window…is a view of the “court yard” in the middle of a cluster of apartments in my complex. There is a man doing yard work, and making a lot of noise doing so!

I am thinking… I might be in over my head this weekend but that I intend to love every minute of it, busy and all. 🙂

I am thankful for… good friends, and good family and wish I saw more of them, despite knowing it’s usually my own fault when I don’t.

From the kitchen… Oh dishes that need to be done – I’ll get on that soon I swear – as for dinner tonight? Sorry, no idea. I tend to figure that out when I get in there. I can tell you lunch is likely to be peanut butter and jelly and / or left overs. Fun, huh? Yeah I’m a real gourmet some days… or not.

I am creating… a calendar for next year with pictures of the family, on my iMac – it’s fun and a work in progress. I love making photo gifts and items and love that I can do it right on my computer. It makes up for my complete and utter lack of crafty skills otherwise.

I am going… to be figuring out how to wrap a huge kid’s fold out futon for a birthday party this Sunday…

I am wearing… laundry day pajamas, which are different from normal pajamas only in that it’s imperative that they have pockets, for my keys, phone, timer, etc.

I am reading… Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich – not at this very second, but most nights whenever I get a second to sit down and devour…

I am hoping… to find time for all the wonderful things I’d like to do in the coming month.

I am hearing… someone singing on Sesame Street mingled with the sound of what may be a street vacuum of some kind… and the timer going off to tell me it’s time to attend to my laundry …..

Around the house… is evidence that I am not a tidy person. A rug that needs vacuuming, dishes that need doing, toys that may or may not get picked up today. I know, I’m a great influence.

One of my favorite things… is a good book.

A Few Plans For The Rest Of The Week… Wrap presents, plan for festivities this weekend, entertain two small toddlers, normal mayhem

Here is a picture thought I am sharing with you… of my son and his little bestie…

I told them to high five for the camera... they tried...
I told them to high five for the camera... they tried...

Curse of the Spellmans: A Review

Have I mentioned I like books? A wee bit. Un peu. Un poco. Немного. Seriously – and yet I rarely take the opportunity to really review the books I’m reading on here – sure if you are a really devoted mommablogsalot fan you may have noticed my mini reviews on the right sidebar of my website (which are in fact a replica of the reviews I post on my GoodReads account and then email to myself for my ongoing “How many books did I read this year and which ones did I like?” list.

But enough about me boring you. I just finished reading Curse of the Spellmans which was the sequel to Lisa Lutz’s brilliant novel The Spellman Files (now in paperback!). I picked up this novel after confirming my obsession with Stephanie Plum, Veronica Mars, Alias and anything everything spy / Private Eye related – in short, I apparently love a good mystery, but prefer to avoid anything too dark and dreary – a little humor with my homicide is key, you see (no wonder I also love the TV show Bones… hmmm…). The Spellman Files and already mentioned follow-up novel? Perfect for me.

The main character, one Isabel Spellman, is a perfect example of a heroine who doesn’t always necessarily know what she’s doing, what’s best or what’s good for her – she is not a heroine in shining armor (or Armani) – she swears inappropriately and probably spills things on herself. She’s barely getting by and she knows it – which for me is oh so relateable – call me crazy but I get annoyed reading about girls who have it all perfectly together – I see them at the playground every day (okay, every day that I drag my arse to the playground to humor my poor deprived Monkey Son).

Isabel Spellman is a girl I can get behind you could say – she saves the day by the skin of her teeth, much like my other favorite book character Stephanie Plum – seriously, these two should meet, have a slice of pineapple upside down cake and chat. Maybe Plum can get Spellman to start smooching the man every person who reads Curse of the Spellmans will demand she start smooching. Maybe Spellman can give Plum some not necessarily needed tips on how to give her mother a coronary. It’d be good time, in my humble opinion.

So yeah, I finished the book – took me nine days which felt like ninety – like I kept nagging myself, “Geez, your two year old could read this book faster, Jen,” but then I finished it and thought, “You had 13 days till it was due at the library – what exactly was your rush? Other than Fearless Fourteen sitting pretty on your night stand nagging you in its shiny pink brilliance…”

I finished the book and adored it. I love to hate on Lutz’ formatting style which closely resembles a notebook of random thoughts but cleverly transforms itself into a bestselling novel. I love the footnotes that make me feel like I could convince someone I was doing my homework if that was necessary – I love her not remotely subtle plugs for her first book, The Spellman Files (now in paperback!) – it was all genius. I love feeling like I am so much smarter than the main character but still kind of wish I was more like her despite knowing I wouldn’t trade lives with her for anything in the world…

And I sincerely hope there will be more installments to come, because in my book – the case isn’t closed Ms. Izzy – not even close. I want to know more, and I’d prefer to know more as soon as humanly possible (unless Lutz can type at inhuman speed, then that’s okay by me, too).

Meme-tastic: Famous People

Thanks to trishmilburn.com for creating this fun little meme:

Famous People: Which famous person in each of the following categories would you like to meet?

Author: I’ve been thinking about this all day, because I love a lot of authors, but in the end, my answer is the first name that popped into my head – Janet Evanovich – I love her work, I admire her writing style and I am in awe of the name she’s made for herself. She is my writing idol.

Movie Actor: Johnny Depp – he is just amazing – I don’t know many actors who can so completely lose themselves to their characters and truly become someone else once on screen. He is incredible.

TV Actor: Katie Holmes – I of course loved her in Dawson’s Creek but I’ve also loved all her movies, and since marrying Tom and becoming a mother she has grown to intrigue me even more – I have many things I’d love to talk to her about and would love an opportunity in general to see if the real Katie is the same person I see in my mind, if that makes sense.

Musician/Singer: John Mayer – I know, I know, he’s so trendy and popular it almost feels like a cop out to type his name here, but I’d love to talk to him about politics, environmentalism and hell even his relationship with Jen Aniston (if he’d even talk about it – hehe). I love his blog, he is such a crazy, creative genius. He was the musician who first got me into my little trend of listening to music with a message, instead of just the typical love song. I also would like to meet Jack Johnson and David Archuleta.

Historical Figure: Queen Catherine of Aragon and Queen Elizabeth I

Fictional Book Character: It’s a tie between Scarlett O’Hara which might prove disappointing but I’d still love it … and Stephanie Plum which would likely prove awesome

Fictional Movie or TV Character: Loralie or Rory Gilmore – they are kind of a package pair – I don’t think I could meet one without the other anyway. And I think hanging with the Gilmore Girls would be a lot of fun! Second choice would be Sydney Bristow from Alias.

My Favorite Author: Janet Evanovich

Man I love books – If I could live, breath, eat and sleep books I might. I wouldn’t marry a book, but I am married to another book lover so that’s pretty good, too. So what book or books do I want to talk about today? I want to talk about Janet Evanovich, whose newest book in the Stephenie Plum series, Fearless Fourteen comes out JUNE 17.

I began reading the Plum series shortly after graduating college and getting laid off from my first out of college job (good times) – ironically, the series begins with Plum getting fired from her job as a lingerie buyer in Jersey and embarking on the fun life of a bounty hunter (almost as much fun as the life of a SAHM, am I right?), while trying to get the rest of her life, love life included, in order.

Evanovich began writing this series in the mid 90’s after spending several years writing romance novels (which admittedly are not as good as her Plum series but ARE fun fluff reading if you need a fix in between Plums hitting the shelf). Over the years she’s managed to keep things fresh and new, and with the times without feeling forced. She keeps the world’s hottest love triangle from getting stale and keeps Plum always, always relateable to the real women of the world, even while she’s out fighting crime like a bad ass.

I’m a pretty big fan you could say. As a woman, I relate to Stephanie Plum a lot – her imperfections and quirks remind you that we’re all human, we’re all figuring this out as we go. As a writer, I admire Evanovich’s style – she’s found a formula that WORKS for her and she’s good at keeping that from feeling forced or sell out-ish. She’s even written a book about writing that I just loved. It makes me feel like someday I might actually write something of worth and figure out how to do it well. She is a legend for me and just fantastic.

My point? If you haven’t given this series a chance yet, do it! Do it now!

Top 10 Books Read This Year (so far…)

So far this year I’ve read almost 30 books – my goal was to make it to 50 by the end of the year and I’m thinking that won’t be much of a problem. So what have my favorite books been so far? Well, let’s see…

10. Masquerade by Melissa De La Cruz ( finished April 30 ) This is the sequel to the first book in a new series, the first book is called Blue Bloods and okay yes it’s a teen vampire novel, but it’s so much more – it’s about angels and demons and romance and history – it has a lot of intriguing takes on New England history and more. Just a yummy yummy novel, even when it’s being terribly teen cliched.

9. Extras by Scott Westerfeld ( finished March 30 ) The fourth book in what was intended to be a 3 book series, this is the final installment of the Uglies trilogy – a sort of “so what happened next?” for all the readers who couldn’t put Tally Youngblood and her world behind them – it steps forward a few years from the close of Specials and shows you how much Tally’s actions really did change the world and how much they didn’t. It took awhile to get used to a new main character, but it was interesting to see the legend they had turned Tally into in this society, and how false it was from actual truth. If you loved the trilogy, you’ll devour this one.

8. So Yesterday by Scott Westerfeld ( Finished April 8 ) Same author as the Tally Youngblood series but totally different world, plot, concept – but Westerfeld’s ideas and writing style are just so intriguing and well done that this short book was superb – a look at the world of marketing and what’s “cool” – I really really enjoyed it.

7. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen ( Finished January 4 ) A surprising gem in a sea of trendy young adult fare, this novel begins in 1899 at a funeral, and also ends with a funeral but is nothing you’ll expect – the novel reads like a mystery novel and also a romance novel with very Austen-esque themes of family and expectations and it will knock your socks off. I am eagerly waiting to read the next in the series, Rumors.

6. Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce (& Queen) ( finished April 27 ) I list these both together because I read them in quick succession – this was different than a lot of the young adult books I’d been reading in that it is part of a much bigger thing – a varied series of sorts by Tamora Pierce and I seem to have started at the end so to speak, but still these two installments were so good and so timeless in their themes and yet so obviously dated – I intend to read the rest of the books in this series soon. It is full of fighting, wars, racial tension, gods and goddesses, magic, family, love, slavery and more…

5. A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray ( Finished February 20 ) My friends and I are obsessed with this series, which we admittedly caught on to awfully late in the game – the first installment of the Gemma Doyle trilogy tells a story of secret societies, witch craft, magic, and another turn of the 19th century mystery – it has it all – and despite it’s “age” it’s very current – another novel that shows the more things change, the more they stay the same…

4. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich ( finished March 25 ) I am an avid Stephanie Plum fanatic and as far as I’m concerned this may have been her best Plum book to date. I love all of her current events references – the cable company charade as well as a million other things I can’t remember anymore were fantastic. It was very now, very current, very good. The Morelli / Ranger thing manages to continue without feeling stale – ah, I just can’t say enough. It was terrific. Can’t wait for fourteen!

3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Philipa Gregory ( finished March 18 ) I fell in love with Tudor England and Philipa Gregory after reading this novel and waited with baited breath for the movie which inevitably disappointed me. This book was so amazingly good – better with every chapter, every added detail to this historical masterpiece. I don’t know who I felt for more, Anne Boleyn or Katharine of Aragon but this book was just so good words can’t even describe – if you have a chance to read it, please, please do.

2. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde ( finished YESTERDAY June 9, 2008 ) Obviously being the second best book I’ve read this year it was pretty good. This book was just fantastic in so many ways – the english major in me drooled and laughed my way through the entire book. It took me awhile to read it, just because the plot was a bit complicated – Fforde creates his own world within the confines of this great book, and it took me awhile to get used to the swing of things, but now I’m eagerly awaiting the next book in this series!

#1 book read this year is: is actually a series, a very well known series some of you may have heard of…

The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket ( finished series March 8 ) I can’t say enough amazing things about this series – the English major in me just drooled over the entire series – I think it’s amazing how he introduces new vocabulary to his readers without making you feel like you’re doing homework – I can honestly say I’ve learned several new words and phrases after reading this phenomenal story and I was in love every page of the way with the weaving of his web of wonder. I recommend this series to anyone.