Friday, April 30, 2010

In the Time of the Butterflies by Julia Alvarez

Disclaimer: It’s pretty hard to do a review about this book without spoilers because if you read the summary of the book, or the acknowledgements, or the first chapter, or you know anything about Dominican history, you know what the outcome will be. I will not give anything away that is not clear from the book flap or the first chapter.

Wow. What a beautifully sad story.

This was not an easy read by any stretch of the imagination, but it was an awesome read without a doubt. The alternating POV’s are fascinating - I’m coming to realize that I really like that style of writing. For about the first ¼ of the book, I had a hard time keeping the sisters straight (who was who, what order they were in age wise etc) but as you get to know the sisters better you can tell who you are reading without actually having to see their name. Each has a distinct personality that makes them very much their own person.

I think that I enjoyed reading about Maria Teresa (Mate) most. Given that she is the youngest, I think you see the most change and growth in her. The diary entries are a unique way of telling her side of the story.

All the girls were courageous in their own ways and had their own stories to tell. I think I enjoyed this so much because it’s about such strong and yet compassionate women… who also have their flaws and weaknesses. Alvarez made them seem very real.

There were parts of this story that made me angry, parts that made my stomach tighten and feel sick and parts that had lumps forming in my throat. By the end of the book, I felt very connected with each of the sisters and you really feel for Dede and her loss. It’s as if the sisters were physically part of each other and I got the feeling that Dede had been living as only ¼ of herself since the death of The Girls.

I’m not normally a fan of books that span over such a long period of time, but this was definitely an exception. It was really interesting to see each girl grow-up and mature and really added to your connection and sense of emptiness and grief by the end.

I really recommend this book to anyone who enjoys fiction based on fact. The story of the Butterflies is a sad one but one that’s worth the read.

Viva Las Mariposas!

The Sign of the Twisted Candle

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

Nancy Drew: The Sign of the Twisted Candles was the book the started my obsession with reading. My sister had the entire ND collection and had loved them, but I had showed little interest. My parents, in an effort to ignite a love of reading (on my own), offered me $1 for every Nancy Drew book I finished. They also told me to keep a log of any words I didn’t understand and we could discuss them after (I was pretty young).

Eager for money, I randomly picked The Sign of the Twisted Candles off of the shelf and began reading. Within pages I was hooked and by the time I finished, I forgot to get the money from my parents. I kept reading though, but only for the sheer enjoyment.

GoodReads Description: While solving the mystery of an old man's disappearing fortune, Nancy ends a family feud and reveals the identity of an orphan of unknown parentage.

Nancy’s adventures are a wonderful way to get reluctant readers reading. As a kid, you just have to know what happens and I spent many nights in the hideout under my bed with a flashlight. I’ve been a bookworm ever since (obviously).

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Hiking and Camping and Reading.... Oh My.

This past weekend turned out to be exactly what I wanted.  I was so bummed when Monday rolled around, but I'm excited for the opportunity to head back to the park soon.

We spent Friday night getting packed up for camping (which was interesting since Bub can't lift anything over 20lbs right now) and then on the couch catching up on some of our PVR'd shows.

Saturday we were up and out of the house by 8am. After a quick stop for gas and Timmy's we were on the road.  We made really good time and were in the park by 10am.  The weather was gorgeous (it was sunny and 19 degrees) and the girls were anxious to get out of the car.... while I went in to the information center for a park map, Bub took them on a little walk.  Then we headed to Tea Lake to set up camp.

I'm not a fan of Tea Lake because it's really meant for transient campers who need a place to stay before heading into the interior via canoe or one of the backpacking trails, and therefore affords little privacy and very small sites. However, for us for one night this weekend it was fine.  We didn't have much choice because only 3 campgrounds were open, the others remaining closed until the middle of May.  Luckily it wasn't busy so even though that site was pretty open, we weren't on top of our neighbours.  We were however right on the water, which I was of course very happy about. 

We got camp set up in no time so we headed back out to start hiking.  On the way, we drove right past a "lady moose" eating right at the side of the road. By the time I realized she was there, it was too late to stop anywhere safely to get some pictures, but she was definitely there and very content to watch the traffic go by.

Our first stop was Mew Lake to buy some firewood and so that I could show Bubba the waterfall and rapids my family used to visit and play in when I was a kid camping in the park.  I was a little worried I wouldn't be able to find them since they're not marked, but with luck I picked the right trail head and only a few minutes deep into the bush I could hear the water, so we basically walked right to it. 

We had planned to eat our lunch at this spot, but there was a group of backpackers already set up there (it's at the start of a 3 day backpacking trail) and I didn't feel like sharing the space with them, so we took a few pictures, enjoyed the scenery and then headed back out to the car to hit up a few different trails.

Our next stop was Two Rivers Trail- a 2km loop that takes you to the top of a gorgeous bluff overlooking an absolutely fantasic (and seeminly never-ending) landscape. 

This is where we decided to stop for lunch (my favorite part of hiking- eating!)  While we were eating I noticed this....

Clearly we weren't the only ones having lunch of the bluff that day.  Oh the circle of life... how cruel mother nature can be.

We also very obviously were following closely behind a herd of deer as well since every 50 or so feet, we had to step around giant piles fresh of you know what.  Lovely.

Then we headed to Big Pines Trail, which is a 3km loop that takes you through an amazing old growth pine forest.  The trees were seriously HUGE:

It was a really gorgeous trail.

Our last hiking stop of the day was Peck Lake Trail which is another 2km loop that takes you around the shores of- you gueses it- Peck Lake.  This was probably my favorite of the day.  Any trail that leads you to, or around water is always a win for me.  We were lucky enough to see this guy hanging out in the lake for most of our hike:

You can't tell from the pictures, but we were actually able to get pretty close to him in a cove until he dove and came back up in the middle of the lake.  It's times like these that I wish I had a decent camera rather than my simple point and shoot.

We, unfortunately, ran into another dog who was quite vocal about wanting to meet our girls (who had no interest in stopping for him) and I'm quite certain it was his loud barking that effectively ruined our chances of seeing any more wildlife on this particular trail.  Regardless of that, it was a very nice walk.

We had to keep to the easy trails because Bub's back and shoulder are still bugging him and after 7kms of hiking and probably another 1 or 2kms in walks at Mew Lake and at the gate when we arrived, it was time to call it a day before he started getting sore.  Jenny and Lola were done too- I can always tell because instead of sniffing and exploring, they stick right to my heels and continually look up at me as if to say "okay Mum, it was fun while it lasted, but we're done now".

We headed back to the campsite for the evening after stopping the (closed) Portage Store.  I laid down a few towels and gave the girls a busy bone each, but Lola didn't even touch hers before she was fast asleep.  Jenny made it about 1/2 way through her bone and then zonked our herself.  There's something very satisfying about seeing a dog who is so tired from a day you know they enjoyed so much. 

So, while they slept, Bub and I set up fordinner and the fire and then played a few games of cards.  The day was still abosultely gorgeous and we were both comfortable in our shorts and tee-shirts.

Dinner was bacon wrapped steak medallions with potato and ceasar salad!  So yummy.  I, as the dummy I am, forgot to bring soap, so we rinsed our hands and dishes in lake, making clean-up a breeze.  We played a final game of cards and then took the dogs on another walk around the campsite.  Although this may sound crazy, it was solely for the purpose of letting the dogs strectch their legs and do their business as they had to be kept on leashes since we were so close to the (campground) road at our site- we were basically ON the road actually.

Now, those that know me know that I am a complete tea addict.  I was sure to get an extra-large a Timmy's Saturday morning to get me through the day (and so I could get the extra tea bag), but by 7pm I was really craving a tea.

Unfortunately we don't have a coleman stove because it's a piece of equipment we haven't needed at the cottage.  We did have a mini bbq though so I though we'd try to boil a little water on that... unfortuantely, as ready as I was for tea we had no luck getting the pot to boil on the bbq or over the fire.  It was so disappointing, especially since this was right about when it started to cool down outside.

We grabbed the girls and sat on a the rock at the water for a bit watching the sun go down and as it got dark, we started putting on more clothes a layer at a time and Bub got the fire going.  We parked our butts in front of it and didn't move for the rest of the evening.  We busted out the treats at this point (chocolate bars and chips) and by the time those were done, I didn't even want a marshmellow!

By this point it was pretty cold, so we had to make sure that the girls were comfortable.  Lola was up on my lap under the blanket and we made Jenny a puppy burrito in her fleece blanket on the ground. 

Even that wasn't enough for her eventually and she got up with Bub.  Eventually I cold feel the cold setting in an knew that it was time to go to bed so that the cold didn't hit my bones and last all night.  The girls came with me while Bub stayed out with the fire until it died.

We made it through the night pretty toasty with a sleeping bag, a duvet and a comforter and I slept fairly well actually.  Early Sunday morning we were up and out for a drive to look for Moose.  Unfortunately we didn't see any and I was pretty disappointed thinking that I didn't have the opportunity to take any pics of the one moose we did see.  We did see 2 wild turkeys which freaked Bub right out given his fear of birds.  They don't get much bigger or uglier than that.  We went back to the campsite, had  quick breakfast and then packed up.  It was absolutely freezing and we were anxious to get going and out of the biting wind.

On the way out, this is what we saw!!!!

...a Mama and her yearling getting a salt fix at this bog off the highway.  I was happy to finally see them and have the opportunity to get some photos.  I hopped out and got a few shots, but Mama wasn't overly imppressed at my being there.  She was definitely keeping an eye on me.  We spent a couple of minutes with them but then a van and motorcycle pulled up and Mama sent the babe into the bush, so we left.

We made it home and after unloading the car and getting the back grass cut and the yard poop scooped,  we made our favorite weekend lunch and watched Bull Run (GO HEMI-CUDA!!).  I had a nice bath and read my book and then migrated to the bed where I napped and read for the rest of the afternoon.  It was heaven. Bub had a work thing for dinner so I made a chicken breast and ceasar salad and watched Avatar and then went to bed early. 

I don't know what to say about my dogs though because they're still exhausted.  They slept all the way home from the park and ALL DAY yesterday.  I even had hard time getting them out of bed this morning.  They're totally beat from the all the fresh air and hiking... poor babies.

The whole weekend was fantastic. No exams looming over my head, great weather, the chance to read, the chance to be outside.... it was awesome.

Monday, April 26, 2010

WeeklyToDo- April 26 to May 2

-grocery store-complete
-file taxes-complete
-pay property tax-complete
-finish In the Time of The Butterflies (47 pages/day)- complete
-cut front grass
-send claim for optomistrist visit-complete
-stop by re-store (kitchen drawers)
-wash and dry sleeping bags
-dry-out tent
-cleaning (kitchen, bathrooms, floors)-complete
-wash camping laundry-complete
-upload camping pictures pictures-complete
-find out where math class is and what the required materials are-complete

Friday, April 23, 2010

Into the Wild (we go)

My macro exam was PAINFUL, but it's over so I don't even care.  All I have to do now is wait for my marks for this semester.  I have the next week and a half (two full weekends!!!!) sans school!  Summer classes start on the 3rd with a devil of a math class. So, I plan to take full advantage of this school-less time to get caught up on some stuff.

We're going camping in Algonquin this weekend!! The site is booked and I called today to make sure there were no fire bans (yeah- it's WAY to early to camp without a fire for heat here) and checked the weather network (19 and sunny!).  So, we'll get the car packed up tonight and head up early tomorrow morning.  I plan to spend the day hiking to some places that we used to go to when I was kid so I can show them off to Bub.  I'm most looking forward to trying to find this little waterfall/rapids we used to swim in.  If I can find it- it's an unmarked trail off of a trail that's off of another trail... and it's been about 15 years since I've been there- we're going to picnic lunch there.

We'll get the girls good and worn out and then head back to the campsite for steak and ceasar and then a campfire (complete with beer and marshmellows)  :)  I plan to get up early on Sunday morning a) because it's supposed to rain to I'll want to get the tent down before it gets soaked b) because I want to take a tea down to the lake and just enjoy the quiet for a couple of minutes and c) because I want to go shoot some moose (just pictures of course) and the best time is first thing in the morning.

I'm so excited I can hardly stand it.  Hopefully I'll get some good shots to post here.  I've told everyone that I'll be in the wilds of Algonquin for the weekend and not to try to contact me.  I need some peace, space and fresh air.  It's going to be great.

Monday, April 19, 2010

Today's Post Has No Name

So I’m coming up for air from studying and working briefly, to take a few deep breaths and calm myself. In the interest of expediency I will make this a point form list of things going on.

-macroeconomics final exam (worth a measly 60% of my mark) is Wednesday night at 7pm. Ack! I’m terrified because I just can’t wrap my head around a lot of the material… I’m going to be studying my butt off for the next couple of days when I’m not at work

-I sacrificed my Saturday morning, drove all the way to school and paid $40 to take an exam prep class on Saturday morning (prep specifically for my ECON exam) and didn’t come out any further ahead. What a waste of time and money

-My house is a disaster: I didn’t get any cleaning done and the lawn needs to be cut so bad (and our fudging lawnmower is broken AGAIN) and… I just feel overwhelmed when I walk in the door. I hate a messy house, but it’s going to have to wait until Thursday when my exam is over and I have some time again

-I’ve been “reading” the same book for 2 weeks now and am only about 50 pages in. I feel guilty because it’s my April Buddy Reads book, but again- it’s one of those things I can really concentrate on when my exam is over. I’m not back at school until May 3rd after Wednesday night.

-My SIL is getting married in October and we’re in the throes of wedding/shower etc planning and it’s been…. interesting so far. I’m a little concerned about how much it’s all going to cost (since we’re both in the wedding party), but we’ll figure it out.

-If the weather is nice enough the weekend, we heading to Algonquin Park very early Saturday morning to hopefully see some wildlife, do some hiking and possibly camping overnight before the park gets really busy for the season. I’m sooooo excited. I want to spend the day hiking around here:

and wakeup the following morning here:

These aren't my images- I grabbed them through a google search.

Fingers crossed that the weather holds out!  It's still only April and that means very cold nights here in Ontario. If we don’t end up going , I’ll spend the weekend getting my house under control and working on some projects around the house that have been on my to-do list for far too long.  Oh! and reading.

-I’m still waiting for the copy of Will Grayson, Will Grayson that I ordered from The Book Depository. Not that it matters, because I’m not ready for it yet anyway (see above) but I want to have it in my hands and on my bookshelf.  I'm a little impatient.

Okay- that’s it. Work to do.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Cover Love Wednesday

Julie over at Book Hooked started Cover Love Wednesday, which I'm am really digging because, I'm totally guilty of judging books by their covers.  A lot.  Half the fun of browsing in a book store is looking at all the gorgeous covers.

So... to get started, I'm not going to go with a theme or anything this week.  I'm just going to post a few that have caught my eye recently:

Halo- Alexandra Adornello (Sept 2010)

The Disappeared by (CANADIAN) Kim Echlin

Fallen & sequel Torment (Sept 2010) by Lauren Kate

These are all books that I will buy (actually- I already own Fallen) for the sole reason that I think they are absolutely gorgeous and must have them for my collection.  What can I say? Some like sculpture or art... I collect beautiful books.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Bedroom Revamp

One of my favorite parts about our house, both when we bought it and now, is our master bedroom.  It's small as far as most masters go, but it's definitely not too small.  The best part about it though is that it's on the front of the house with a wall of windows.  The room has such amazing natural light and I love going to bed and waking up looking outside.

I don't have a picture from the inside, but here's an exterior shot.  All of those windows on the 2nd floor are in our bedroom.

When we moved in, most of the rooms in the house were builder beige (with the exception of the spare rooms which were forest green and barbie pink).  We have since painted the livingroom (a grey-blue) and the office (a funky sage-green), but that's pretty much it.  I've decided that I'm bored with the beige and I want to revamp our bedroom since it's my favorite room in the house.

We just got this bedding by Ty Pennington (not my room btw- and we didn't get the lamp or throws):

I was a little concerned when we ordered it that it was going to be too plain (I like funky stuff), but when you see it in person, it's awesome.  The comforter is two different patterns top and bottom so when you fold it down it's got a really cool contrast and then the sheets are white with beige circles... very comfortable looking while still being chic.  We added 2 silk black throws with black geometric shapes and 1 purplish-blue silk throw with circles to pull in from the sheets... and it looks awesome. I was so exicted to go to bed and read last night just so I could snuggle in.

Our sidetables and dresser are currently modern white, but I think I'm going to paint and lacquer them black, and then I'm going to paint the walls.... PURPLE.  I want it to be really dramatic and I've pulled all the colors together and it's going to work well.  Now I just have to decide what color to do the curtains. We currently have the white horizontal blinds that came with the house, but I want to get some roman shades or roller blinds I think.  

The other option I've considered is making some kind of cool headboard or doing the wall behind our bed in a different color, some kind of panelling or funky (there's that word again) wall-paper.

I like these ideas (obviously with my own color choices though):

LOVE this one... I'm such a nerd. 

This one is actually made with an old door.... kinda cool and easy to do.

I'm kind of leaning towards this one. It's got to most "dramatic" potential.

or many of the wallpapers here

I've decided that I'm not going to wait anymore to get these things done to my house. I have to live there so I want to love it and make it my own.  So, our bedroom is step one.  Hopefully I can get going on it after exams next week!


Honest Scrap Award

Thanks to SusieB over at Sugar and Spice and Julie at Book Hooked for listing me for this award.

The rules of this blog award are that I have to list 10 honest things about myself and then pass it on to 7 other bloggers.

10 Honest Things About Me

1.  When my husband tells me that he is going out for a night or away for a weekend, I get seriously pumped. I love having the house/time to myself to do whatever I want (order or make a nice meal, have a long bath, watch a movie of my chosing, read a whole book, talk on the phone).  LOVE IT!

2.  There is a part of me that regrets going back to school.  As happy as I am that I am finally working on my undergrad, part of me really, really, really misses the freedom I had before I went back to school.

3.  I look up karaoke versions of my favorite songs on YouTube when I'm home alone and sing them at the top of my lungs.

4.  I'm pretty freakin' lazy at my core.  I would love to lay around and read/watch TV most days (I don't actually do it, but I would LOVE to).

5.  I'm a pretty judgemental person. I try not to be, but before I can stop it, I find myself making snap judgements about people/situations.  I try not to act on them, but they are there.

6.  I do a good portion of my eating in the middle of the night.  When I wake up to pee, I have to make a sandwich or something. It's bad.

7.  I'm totally, 100% addicted to tea.  I cannot start my morning without tea.

8.  I hate gardening.  My sister and mother are total green thumbs, but for me it's like pulling teeth.  I love the LOOK of a pretty garden, but I hate doing it.  So I don't.

9.  I over-analyze and over-think pretty much everything.  It doesn't do anything to help my anxiety.  I'm stressed out about something (likely something trivial) most of the time.

10.  I'm super competative and a giant sports nut.  I don't watch sports all that often but when I do (especially when it's important i.e. Olympic or playoff Hockey) I'm a nutcase.  Jumping, screaming etc etc etc.

7 people I'm passing this on to:

My freakin' awesome blog
Because Perfection is Boring
Unexpectedly Expecting
Our Life Experiment
My Life: Uncensored
Is it My Turn Yet?
Something to Crow About

Monday, April 12, 2010

I'm a Proud Nerdfighter!!!!

So, I've recently fallen in LOVE with all things John Green, Hank Green and nerdfighter/vlogbrother related.  I'm kinda obsessed actually, and felt the need to blog about it.

Serioulsy, if you don't follow vlogbrothers, start now. At first glance it seems kinda silly, but when you listen and watch regularily you notice very quickly just how insanely intelligent (and freakin' funny) these guys are.  They are exactly my kind of humor and have me rolling on the floor on a regular basis, while often dealing with some pretty deep/important/relevant issues at the same time.  What started as two brothers, John and Hank Green (one a way famous and adorable novelist and the other a super cute science genius/environmentalist), communicating via vlog for 1 year, turned into a social phenomenon prompting geeks and and fun intellectuals everywhere to become nerdfighers.

Look how cute!!!!

Here's a little taste of why I love John Green so much:

-John on why calling someone a nerd is NOT an insult

FTW: "Saying 'I notice you're a nerd' is like saying, 'Hey, I notice that you'd rather be intelligent than be stupid, that you'd rather be thoughtful than be vapid, that you believe that there are things that matter more than the arrest record of Lindsay Lohan. Why is that?' In fact, it seems to me that most contemporary insults are pretty lame. Even 'lame' is kind of lame. Saying 'You're lame' is like saying 'You walk with a limp.' Yeah, whatever, so does 50 Cent, and he's done all right for himself."

-On why it's freakin' awesome to be a nerd

And here's why Hank rocks my socks on a regular basis:

-on how google is trying to get inside your head
-just because I love him

Anyhoo, if you enjoy witty, intelligent (albeit a little silly) humour, CHECK THEM OUT and then go buy John's books.  I ordered Will Grayson, Will Grayson last week and am anxiously awaiting its arrival. 


WeeklyToDo (April 12)

I didn't do so great on my list from last week, so I've had to carry some stuff forward that will probably end up moving to next week when my exams are finally finished.

-grocery shopping
-cleaning (both bathrooms, floors, kitchen, dusting, vaccuming)
-get propane tank filled- COMPLETE
-buy shower gift- COMPLETE
-buy card and gift wrap for shower- COMPLETE
-book oil change for the car- COMPLETE
-call bank-COMPLETE
-make deposit- COMPLETE
-organize ECON notes for class on Saturday/studying- COMPLETE
-get 150 pages of ItTOtB read
-get plates renewed-COMPELTE
-book dental appointment-COMPLETE
-book eye appointment-COMPLETE

Moving to next week
-submit entry for front/backyard makeover
-income tax

Friday, April 9, 2010

There Will be Wolves by Karleen Bradford

Flashback Friday was started over at Lovely Little Shelf (the awesome book blog of an NBC friend of mine). It’s a chance to revisit some of our favorite childhood reads and talk about why we loved them.

I frist read There Will Be Wolves by Karleen Bradford in the 8th grade as a partners book report.  It was actually chosen by my partner by I was drawn into the story almost immediately.

GoodReads Description: Ursula, condemned as a witch because of her knowledge of healing, escapes being burned to death when she joins her father and thousands of others who follow Peter the Hermit on the first Crusade from Cologne to Jerusalem in 1096.

I could not for the life of me remember the title or author of this book and it was driving me crazy because I remembered loving it as a kid.

What I now find most interesting is that once I found it, I realized it takes place during the First Crusade in 1096, which I had completely forgotten about that until I reread the summary. What's fascinating is that I am still totally obsessed with that time period and just recently (within the last few weeks) finished a research paper for my Perspectives on Globalization class, about the effects of the Crusades on Islam of the Middle Ages, focusing on the Muslim population in the first seige of Jerusalem!! Strange right? Religious discrimination and the violence/dark side of "God's War" are the major themes in this book, that I read at the tender age of 13.... and I would then go on to write a University level paper on the same thing when I returned to school as an adult years later! And THEN, just weeks after completing said paper I finally remember to research this book that I rememberd loving as a kid, but couldn't really remember what it was about...? Kinda cool. I guess religion and its history have always been fascinating to me.

I now know that I have to reread this book. Even if it's too young, I just have to do myself the favor, knowing what I know now through my research, and go through it again to see what I think of it now.

Monday, April 5, 2010

The Phantom of the Opera by Gaston Leroux


My love of all things Phantom of the Opera related just keeps getting stronger. My obsession began at the age of 3 when my parents brought me the Original Canadian (Toronto) Cast Recording (the soundtrack- and the BEST in my opinion as no one compares to Colm Wilkinson with his incredible and haunting voice) when they went to see the musical. By the age of 4 I could sing every. single. word. from the soundtrack… and hit every single note- I’m not kidding either. I wanted to BE Christine and played dress up as her all the time. I was completely obsessed for years. Unfortunately, my singing talent died away somewhat with age (and probably smoking) but my love for the Phantom never died. To this day, that soundtrack is still in my car and I bust it out every couple of months. The musical recently returned to Toronto for 1 month and MH bought my tickets for Christmas. I pity the strange man who sat next to me because as soon as the lights went down I started crying. I love it THAT much. MH whispered in my ear “the music hasn’t even started yet… as if you’re already crying”. So, needless to say this story has a very special place in my heart.

That said, it will likely come as a surprise that I had never read the original book by Gaston Leroux. I had read Phantom in Manhattan (the “sequel”) as a teen, but for whatever reason, I didn’t pick up the original story. Finally, I decided to grab it from the library in (unabridged) audio book form and listen on my commutes to school. I cannot believe that I waited this long to read this story.

Although different in so many ways from the musical, it was just as wonderful and magical. I still sympathized with both Erik and Raoul and wanted happy endings for all of them (I know, I know- I’m just a romantic at heart, what can I say?). I loved getting a deeper, more detailed look into Erik’s genius and the workings of the world he created below the Opera house.

This book gave me the romance that I crave from every story I read along with equal parts suspense and drama…even a little bit of comedy. I loved immersing myself back in the Paris Opera during the time of the ghost and will consider this book now among my favorites of all time. A must read for any fan of the musical.

WeeklyToDo (April 5th)

I decided not to list a per day task list this week, but just a general get this crap done by the end of the week list.

-grocery shopping- complete
-cleaning (dusting, floors, bathrooms, kitchen)
-laundry (completed finished meanin folded and put away)- complete
-get waxing done- complete
-pickup vacuum from MIL, vaccum, return vaccum to MIL- complete
-last 2 online lectures-complete
-file taxes-moving to next week
-organize/redo notes as necessary and organize textbook for exam next week-i
-pickup the mail- complete
-start and finish at least 100 pages of In the Time of Butterflies

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffen

Part I- No Spoilers:

GoodReads/FirstReads ARC win.... I really, really enjoyed this book. Once I actually had a little time to devote to it, I found myself flying through it. I just HAD to find out what happened next and what resolution, if any, there would be.

The alternating POV's, one in first-person and one in third-person, was a very interesting dynamic. It forced me to really analyze all sides of the story and also to waiver in which characters I was rooting for at different points throughout. I found myself identifying/sympathizing with everyone involved instead of with just one side. It was a very effective method of conflicting (and therefore engaging) the reader.

I seem to really enjoy Giffen's writing, even as someone who does not like much chick-lit. This is definitely a book I would recommend as a really good read.

Part II- spoilers:
I had no idea that this book was going to go in the direction it did. I picked up on the looming affair fairly early on (but to be honest, if I had thought about it and really read the description on the back of the book I would have been prepared for it) and I was a liitle off-put at that fact that we were going in the same direction as the other 2 Giffen novels I had read, but as I continued I realized that this was a very different story. The dynamic of an affair and possible seperation/ new relationship becomes completely different when there are children involved and that made this story completely opposite from Borrowed or Love the One You're With.

What I found most interesting reading through this was that I flipped back and forth between supporting Tessa and then rooting for Valerie (whose name I hate by-the-way). There were times when I would get to a Tessa chapter and think "ugh... I wish Nick would just leave her, I just want to get back to Val & Charlie" and other times it would be the opposite. I found that I wanted to cheer for Tessa, but had a soft spot for Valerie as well. The multiple POV's was definitely a factor in this.

I hated Nick and loved him at the same time. I hated what he was doing to his family, but I loved reading about the way he was with Charlie. I wanted both Valerie and Tess to leave him, and yet I wanted them to be together. It was this back and forth that kept me to invested in the story.

My only complaint about this book was the final conversation between Tess and Nick where he assures her that Val never loved him and that he wasn't sure that he loved her. I had a hard time believing this because we don't know how he got there. There's such a gap between his final conversation with Val in which he tells her he loves her (on the same day he confesses to Tessa) and then this explanation of confusion that I found it difficult to accept. I wish there had been more development on his side of the story. And, I guess I would have enjoyed a little more detail on how things turn out for Valerie and Charlie because I really did like them and couldn't bring myself to hate Valerie as the other woman.

But, when it was all said and done I really enjoyed this book and spent a delicious day devouring it.