Tuesday, May 29, 2012

Review: Fifty Shades of Grey

Speaking of not being able to put a book down... Just used my lunch period to wrap up the first Fifty Shades novel.

Words escape me. Which probably isn't great for a blogger.

I think I'll reserve a full review for when I finish the series.

This first one ended so abruptly. I thought I was approaching the end of a chapter, and then the next thing I know, it's the last page of the book. Without warning! (#eReaderProblems)

This was no easy read. The plot centres on a very innocent and inexperienced young college graduate, Anastasia, getting ready to take the next steps into adulthood when she has a chance meeting with the mysterious and very gorgeous billionaire Christian Grey. The two can't stay away from each other and eventually embark on an incredibly exciting, confusing, and highly sexual journey into a relationship and world Anastasia never knew existed.

Throughout the novel she battles with her subconscious who is screaming for her to run for the hills from this man who finds thrills in the BDSM lifestyle. But she also craves to listen to her inner goddess who is exhilarated by all of the pleasures he is bestowing on her.

As a reader, I was very much another voice in Ana's head. Sometimes on the side of the subconscious, other times cheering her on alongside the inner goddess. Every bit as confused as our heroine.

Questions constantly filled my head about Christian Grey and his past, his work, his feelings, and thoughts.

So when this novel came to a close, I had to fight with myself to put the book down instead of diving into the next. (My lunch hour is only so long)...

Without giving away the ending, I found myself both prideful and wounded... very much anticipating the next instalment. And fortunately for me, I don't have to wait very long... Only a few more hours until I can go home for the day and reinvest myself in their ever interesting and tumultuous love story.

Tuesday Teaser

I am absolutely tearing through this book. It helps that the weather has been so gorgeous that usually the only thing I want to do when I get home is sit out back and read. But it also helps that the book is completely absorbing... in its own very weird and twisted way.

In fact, I was nervous about Tuesday Teaser this week -- and likely will be every week until I'm done the Fifty Shades trilogy. It seems every other page is full of content I'd be more than embarrassed to make immortal in cyber space. But I think today I've rested on a page that reveals the tameness of the relationship instead of the wild, animalistic part.

I notice the Twinnings label, and inside, my heart sings. See, he does care, my subconscious mouths at me. I sit and face him, drinking in his beauty. Will I ever get enough of this man?
(Fifty Shades of Grey by E.L. James, pg. 340)

Better question: Will I ever get enough of this book? Seriously. I'm reading before work, during lunch, after work, before bed. I'm a complete bookworm for this "love story" unlike any I've ever read about a relationship unlike any I've ever heard of.

Monday, May 28, 2012

Keep It Current

It may come as some surprise that I absolutely hate the news. It's a terrible truth. Especially since I'm a teacher and staying "with it" on current events should be a top priority, but I have just never ever been able to get into it. Even when the news directly involves me. I read or watch what I absolutely have to, then turn it off.

It could be that news today is always more bad news than good news. Which could be why what constitutes as "reading the news" for me includes 3 things:

1. Skimming my favourite online news sources for stories that look "feel-good" or like they will directly affect me in some way.

2. Browsing entertainment news for stories about theatre, movies, music, or celebrities (please refrain from judging me)

3. Checking out the "Insight & Books" section of the Sunday Star. (Which, I should add, is such an obscure section it doesn't even exist on their website or else I'd have posted the link for you).

When I started this blog it was a place for me to get back into writing. My life was changing and I wanted an outlet to write about how I was feeling by sharing my thoughts on the books I was reading. I was combining three of my major interests, reading, writing, and social networking (haha) to help me cope with "turning the page" in my life to start something new.

Well, life is still changing, and will continue to do so from now until forever, and I feel like my blog should evolve as well. It shouldn't just be a place to vent about teenagers like a teenager. I want to keep it current and share with you what's going on in the world of books by sharing selected articles each week from my favourite Sunday Star section: Insight and Books.

I happened to find this week's section a bit dull and I've prattled on a bit too long already, so for my first instalment I'll just share a selection of Bestsellers (something I'd like to do every week).

Original Fiction
1. Fifty Shades of Grey (E.L. James)
2. Bring up the Bodies (Hilary Mantel)
3. Fifty Shades of Darker (E.L. James)

Original Non-Fiction
1. The End of Growth (Jeff Rubin)
2. Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop Talking (Susan Cain)
3. The Power of Habit: Why Do We Do What We Do and How to Change It (Charles Duhigg)

Reprint Fiction
1. Death Comes to Pemberley (P.D. James)
2. The Lucky One (Nicholas Sparks)
3. A Game of Thrones (George R.R. Martin)

Reprint Non-Fiction
1. Bossypants (Tina Fey)
2. In the Garden of Beasts: Love, Terror, and an American Family in Hitler's Berlin (Erik Larson)
3. The Hare with Amber Eyes: A Hidden Inheritance (Edmund de Waal)

Friday, May 25, 2012

Friday Funnies #20

As we approach the end of the month, I can't help but groan at the fact that yet another student loan payment will be automatically withdrawn from my account. Automatic payments were supposed to mean I didn't have to think about it. I'd just just a little less money on my end of month pay check than usual.

No big deal. 

Except that when you sign up for university you don't really fully realize that you're on a long road to nowhere. If I ever decided to change careers (and sometimes I think about it), I'd have to go back to school. And not university. College. For multiple years. And I already have 2 degrees! What's with that!?

Which brings me to today's funny. What my diploma degree should actually say:

To all my readers who ever feel this way... Enjoy your weekend. Maybe have a drink or two and celebrate that you are educated! (And it doesn't really matter).

Happy Weekend!

Wednesday, May 23, 2012

Review: The Last Boyfriend

My heart is warmed. Nora Roberts does it again.

Predictable? Sure. But it doesn't make it any less wonderful.

Roberts writes characters you care about, relate to, root for, and fall in love with, hoping that if they were real people, you might be lucky enough to be in their circle.

The Last Boyfriend did not disappoint with the second instalment in her latest trilogy about the lives of three friends and three brothers in a small Maryland town. This novel, about the feisty and not-ready-for-romance Avery MacTavish and the sensible Owen Montgomery, gets us more in touch with all of the characters and their adventures renovating and restoring several town buildings and landmarks. It also continues to develop an unexpected plot line about the ghost of a woman, waiting for her lost lover, in the Inn Boons Boro, recently restored by the Montgomery brothers.

The whole thing is actually quite exciting and of course, romantic, and I can't wait to see how the series ends (even though I'm pretty sure I can guess)... But I'll have to wait until November...

My Recommendation:
If you love Nora, read this series. It stands up with the rest of them. Simple as that. If you're interested in Nora's trilogies and series, I don't see why you couldn't start with this one!

In the meantime... I made myself a promise. I would finish the Moral Instruments series before moving on to something new. But I couldn't resist. I just purchased the eBook edition bundle pack of Fifty Shades of Grey. I absolutely can't stand not knowing what all of this fuss is about! It's not great timing with final projects, exams, and marking galore on my plate... But some things just can't wait another minute!

Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

I nearly forgot about today's post thinking that today was Monday, not Tuesday. Long weekends have a tendency to play with my mind like that. But who's complaining? I'm now one day closer to Friday, and after a great and busy long weekend, I may not be rested, but I'm feeling pretty pleased to have gotten so much reading done over my holiday. There's no better way to survive cottage traffic than opening a good book (and of course, turning on sports talk radio to entertain my driver).

"Adjust. Yeah, I can adjust." His face darkened, his eyes glinted. "But I'm not the only one who's going to." He waited an hour, decided he'd calmed down, steadied up. He walked over to Vesta in the unrelenting rain, and into the warm, into the scents of sauce and spice.
(The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts, pg. 282)

By this time next week I'll be quoting a new book! What are you reading?

Friday, May 18, 2012

Friday Funnies #19

May Long Weekend is upon us!!!

And as soon as I can sneak out of my professional development I will commence my 7 hour drive home where I'll spend the weekend with friends and family, having a few beer by the pool, attending the variety of events that always find a way to plant themselves throughout the long weekend, and if I'm really lucky... just reading and relaxing.

Because I'm such a nerd, today's funny really hit home for me. It's a sad kind of funny...

...but one I will NOT be participating in this weekend because I'm too too excited to see everyone I haven't seen in too too long!

Happy Long Weekend Everyone (in Canada)!

PS. Have you ever wondered why in Canada we take a day off to celebrate Queen Victoria, but in England there's no such holiday? ...Ponder that.

Wednesday, May 16, 2012

Speed Read

I'm the first person to admit that I'm not a very fast reader... Considering I have two university degrees and I'm an English teacher. I like to say I have a tendency to savour each and every word...... But in actuality it's probably because I'm just a slow reader. (As this test I'm attaching below has proven). Click the image to link to the test.

My results? 284 words per minute. Which puts me somewhere between 8th grade students and the average adult. BUT 14% higher than the national average

Try it for yourself... And share your results in a comment below!

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

I can't believe it's Tuesday again. Nothing wrong with that though. Just means Monday is behind me, and I'm THAT much closer to a sweet long weekend.

Since last week, I've really gotten into the Roberts book. All of this spring sunshine and warm weather has been helping, since there's nothing I love more than reading in the sun. It also helps that reading Nora is one of my greatest pleasures. A great story in a simple, easy to digest format.

Her life was chaos, and she had no one to blame but herself. In Beckett's former office area, one she had transformed to her own, Avery sat surrounded by boxes, wrapping paper, tissue, ribbons, and bows. Insanity. She promised herself, every year, she'd do better.
                                                 (The Last Boyfriend by Nora Roberts, pg. 95)

Make an effort to get out and enjoy some sunshine reading this week and long weekend. You know I will.

Sunday, May 13, 2012

Review: City of Ashes

I'm not sure if it's a sign of a good series or a bad one, that 400 pages later, I can't really remember everything that's happened in the book. The lines between each book blur and I finished the second novel eager to get into the third, but also a bit confused.

This is where writing a review becomes difficult. A lot happened. Can I tell you about it? Not really. I moved through the book as quickly as time will allow me right now. There were some exciting plot twists and emotionally charged scenes. And I will certainly read through the rest of the series. But not right now.

I'm going to take a one book break and switch to another series I started last November: The Inn Boons Boro Trilogy by Nora Roberts. This was not an easy decision, but given how my brain has mushed together the first couple Mortal Instruments novels I think a break is called for. Plus, there are so many more MI books (3 more so far since the latest was just released a few weeks ago!) I'd have never gotten to the Roberts book if I had to read through 1200 more pages of the Jace-Clary-Simon saga.
My book stack is rapidly growing now that I've recommitted myself to a reading lifestyle, and I find myself unable to wait to dig in to some more Nora. So, enjoy your books and I'll be sure to enjoy mine!

Friday, May 11, 2012

Friday Funnies #18

It's important to me (for some reason) to always know what's the hot new book on the shelf. Sometimes I'll go by my neighbourhood Chapters just to read the titles on the "What's Hot" shelves. Seriously

That said, it's been brought to my attention that there's a "new" book out there (it's actually almost a year old), that has film companies bidding for the rights and women everywhere taking to their eReaders for a little privacy. EL James' Fifty Shades of Grey. Adapted from Twilight fan fiction, this novel apparently tells an incredibly juicy and new kind of love story, that I, personally, can't wait to dig into. 

It's a steamy little piece of erotica that has certainly peaked my interest. But I promise you, it's not for the reasons in the video below. Like I said, I just like to stay on the cutting edge. Even if that edge is likely to make me blush every 20 pages or so.

PS. It is the absolute bane of my existence that SNL won't just allow their skits to be posted online. So, I'm sorry for the terrible quality.

Happy Friday!

Thursday, May 10, 2012

WTJ: Fill in this Page When You are Really Angry

Call me a perfectionist. Or a neat freak. Or anal retentive. Or detail oriented. I don't care. It's what I am. Things in my world have a place, or an order, and if it's mine, I like to keep it that way. I try not to impose my structure and orderliness on anyone else. If you want to leave your things sprawled all over the place, good for you! That's your way. But don't -- DO NOT -- come into my space, and sprawl my things anywhere but where they're supposed to be.

This rant is stemming from a recent experience in my classroom. I'm away one day and I come back to find my window wide open, several of my "good" pens and pencils missing (yes, I have good pens and pencils that are off limits to students), my desk calendar scribbled over, several of my course binders off the shelf, sitting on my desk with scribbles on some of pages inside, and the students' desks in various places throughout the room that they don't belong. And that was all discovered as soon as I got here. Since then I've even found magnetic bookmarkers of mine that have been removed from my textbooks and torn apart. Are you kidding me?


I hate blog ranting... Sorry. So, to be more visual I wrecked my journal today as a different kind of anger outlet.

My apologies to anyone who had to read this on Facebook, Twitter, and now here. I do appreciate your patronage, though.  

PS. I'm aware of the melodrama dripping from this WTF WTJ page.

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

The novel has been hard to put down lately. To the point where I even fell asleep on the couch with the book in my hands last night. And not because it was boring, but because it was past my bedtime. I won't embarrass myself by telling you what time that is. ...I hope you enjoy this little snippet as much as I'm enjoying the book!

His eyes came to rest on Isabelle and Alec. A faint shiver went through Alec, as if something had plucked at his nerves. Jace's father's words were perfectly ordinary, even polite, but there was something in his blank and predatory gaze that made Alec want to step in front of his sister and block her from Valentine's view.
(City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare, pg. 360)

Friday, May 4, 2012

Friday Funnies #17

Yesterday, while I was on the hunt for wedding readings, I got sidetracked from the traditional Catholic readings and, of course, started reading some great speeches and monologues about love and relationships from literature. Someone even suggested one from Harry Potter about how the strongest magic anyone can possess is a capacity to love. It was pretty beautiful. And it reminded me how much I really loved LOVE Harry Potter and the whole Hogwarts thing. He is the inspiration for today's funnies.  Though I think you've got to be a fan to really appreciate the humour.

Hope your Friday is just magical!

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Tuesday Teaser

With a busy, busy day and a head cold that pretty much requires a snot bucket to hang from my neck or two rolled up tissues to live permanently in each nostril, I'm ready for the couch and my book. (And Glee, but this isn't a TV blog).

So, here's what I'll be reading while I'm curled up on the couch in about 45 seconds.

Isabelle with her whip and boots and knives would chop anyone who tried to pen her up in a tower into pieces, build a bridge out of the remains, and walk carelessly to freedom, her hair looking fabulous the entire time. This made Isabelle a hard person to like, though Clary was trying.
(City of Ashes by Cassandra Clare pg. 149)

May 1st

A long time ago (and by that I mean a year ago), I tried to start a blog-tradition of kicking off each month with a great quote about reading. ...I think it lasted one or two months. But today is my attempt to bring it back!

I hope this happens to you sometime this May. I know it'll happen to me.