Saturday, May 29, 2010

A Series of Unfortunate Events - The Bad Beginning

Until this morning, the only experience I had with A Series of Unfortunate Events was the movie with Jim Carey. My sister brought me Lemony Snicket's The Bad Beginning, and I'm delighted--a word which here means "absolutely will be reading the rest of the series"--to give this review.

After having read the book, I have a greater respect for Jim Carey's performance as the absolutely wretched Count Olaf. This book is not only a fun story, and a relatively quick read, but it's a great vocabulary enhancer. Words like "blanched", "perished", "nuptial" & "incurring" are not just sprinkled throughout the book, but the characters & narrator define them as well.

The story follows the adventures of the Baudelaire children, following the untimely demise of their parents. They are sent to their new legal guardian, the aforementioned Count Olaf. Count Olaf is a strange and despicable man, bent on getting their fortune by any means necessary. The children each have a special talent, that they put to good use in outsmarting the Count & his theater troupe.

As the narrator promises, the book does not have a happy ending; however it does leave you desiring to learn what will happen in later books.

Friday, May 28, 2010

Letters to Juliet - Movie

Today I went with Brooke to see Letters to Juliet & thoroughly enjoyed it. Amanda Seyfried plays Sophie Hall, a fact checker for The New Yorker who has always wanted to be a writer. Her and fiance Victor (played by Gael Garcia Bernal) go on a "pre-honeymoon" vacation in Italy. While Sophie is looking forward to exploring Verona, she's dismayed to find out that Victors plans are to attend wine auctions, and discover new wines & cheeses for the Italian restaurant he plans to open soon.

They decide upon a "win-win" scenario, where he continues his quest for new flavors, and she will explore Verona alone. She discovers "Casa di Giulietta" where Juliet Capulet is said to have lived. Inside the courtyard where the famous balcony is, she discovers a wall where women have left letters for years. As the evening draws to a close, she sees a woman removing the letters from the wall, and placing them in a basket. Curious, she follows the woman to a small restaurant where a group of women declare themselves to be Juliet's secretaries.

The next day, as she's helping collect letters from the wall, she accidentally dislodges a stone. She discovers a letter from an Englishwoman named Claire, written 50 years ago. Deciding that love has no expiration date, she decides to respond. Within a matter of days, her grandson Charlie arrives to inform her that she made a terrible decision, and his grandmother has come to Italy to relocate her long lost Lorenzo.

Upon discovering that there are 74 Lorenzo Bartolinis in the area, Claire enlists Sophie's skills as a fact checker, much to Charlies dismay. They work their way through a variety of wrong Lorenzo's, from the Speedo wearing Lothario, to the man who curses everything about his first love....including her mustache. Yes I said her mustache.

The movie may seem fairly predictable to those of us who have enjoyed many chick flicks, but the Italian scenery was well worth the price of admission. The actors all did terrific, and for ladies who love sexy accents Chris Egan & Gael Garcia Bernal don't disappoint. Vanessa Redgrave, still lovely at 73, gave a stunning performance as Claire, and Chris Egan played the handsome, sarcastic & secretly charming Charlie brilliantly.

Wednesday, May 19, 2010

The Twitter Book

Recently I read a Kindle sample on Amazon for The Twitter Book by Tim O'Reilly & Sarah Milstein. I wasn't sure if it would really delve beyond how to set up your account, and basic usage, but it went far beyond my expectations. The sample was extremely short, but it still caught my attention. All the sample contained, was an explanation of hashtags. That was all it took! I've had absolutely no idea why the pound sign drifts around Twitter so much. I wanted to know more!

So imagine my pleasant surprise when it came up for review on netGalley, and I got accepted to review it. I downloaded it last night and devoured it over the evening and this morning. I learned how I can use Twitter more effectively, how businesses can use Twitter, even how Shaq uses Twitter. I learned about a few programs that can help me keep an eye on trendy discussions, or even if I'm being discussed. And yes, I learned how use hashtags (and even used one this afternoon). If you're interested in social networking for personal, blog or business use, I highly recommend this book. If you just want to understand the Tweeting hype, I highly recommend this book. And if you want to know how those blasted hashtags come into play, I definitely recommend this book. :)

**I am not employed by netGalley. I was able to obtain the book as a free download, and have received no other compensation by them. I was not obligated to write a positive review, as I was under no obligation to write a review, period. If you have any other questions on how this process works, please see

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

The Bride Collector

A woman has been discovered glued to a wall, bled out through drill holes in her heels. The veil on her head marks her as the 4th of the Bride Collector's victims. With this startling beginning, Ted Dekker throws us into headfirst into the action of his latest book, appropriately named The Bride Collector.

As FBI Agent Brad Raines sets out to track down the serial killer, a clue leads him to the talented residents of an asylum catering to the brilliant but crazy. There he meets a girl named Paradise, who took refuge there to struggle with her past.

As Brad & Paradise both face their inner demons, we discover that the line between sane & insane may be more blurred than most realize. As is typical with Ted Dekker, the book is fast-paced, the story is skillfully woven, and I didn't want to put it down until the very last word had been read. I immensely enjoyed my latest library pick, and can't wait to add it to my own personal collection.

Monday, May 17, 2010

Carolee @ Blogging 4 You

This is an awesome woman, who will do a 1 hour consultation of your website (for FREE!). When Carolee first explained her service, I honestly thought one of 2 things would happen. I thought she would either a. Not really be helpful, but give ideas that the most beginner of bloggers would already have accomplished, or b. Give me so many things wrong with my blog, that I would reconsider my latest hobby. Pleasantly, neither of those was true. She looked over my blog, and sent me a nice friendly message detailing what I could do to improve it. All of her ideas were simple, quick, and best of! It boiled down to a simple rearranging of my blog, along with a few suggestions for content & networking purposes. 24 hours after taking her advice, I had gained 3 new followers. I think that speaks for itself.

Friday, May 14, 2010

The Cricket In Times Square

While reading books for the Revisit Your Childhood Favorites Reading challenge I chose George Selden's "A Cricket In Times Square." In it we meet Chester the Cricket, who 3 days ago was safely enjoying a picnic lunch in Connecticut, but now finds himself in the strange & wonderful world of New York City. Discovered by Mario, the son of a newsstand owner, he soon befriends Tucker Mouse & Harry Cat. Feeling out of place at first, he soon discovers a hidden talent that brings notoriety to himself as well as Mario's family. Along the way he has several adventures, including a fire, a Chinese dinner, and eating money (quite by mistake!). This trip down memory lane was a quick read, and it's easy to see why this is a Newberry Honor book.

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