Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Accidental author?

We've all seen the movies where a promising young author checks the mailbox everyday eagerly awaiting the news that his or her book is finally going to be published and shared with all the world. Well, what if you got the call that your book was being published... and you never submitted it for publication? That's the story of my friend, neighbor, and former relief society president Patty Orr.
According to sources, Patty wrote her book The Three Gifts as a special gift for her mother. It's a fictional rendering of what Mary may have done with the three gifts given to her by the wise men. Of course her mother loved it and gave it to Patty's sister to read. Every year Deseret Book has a contest in which they choose one promising manuscript among the many submitted and publish it. Patty's sister submitted the manuscript without telling her. Sure enough, The Three Gifts was chosen and was published this year bearing the author's full name: Patricia Cook Orr. I asked her in passing this week what she thought of it all. She replied, "It's been really fun!" She never imagined that little gift to her mother would snowball into the #7 best selling book in the world of LDS literature. It's currently the #2 best selling Christmas book at Deseret Book. What a wonderful Christmas gift! I have not yet been able to get my hands on a copy of the book, but I am going to the book store to purchase one today as a gift to my husband. I have heard nothing but good things about it.
A little about the Orr family: The Orr children (3 boys, 3 girls) were actually in the Nauvoo pageant red cast in 2008 with their grandparents. After learning of their participation, I said excitedly "My family was red cast in '08! You must know them! My little sister is named Hillary and...". Spencer, 19, finished the sentence for me, "And she got married there! She was always fun to hang out with. That means Cody is your little brother. Dang that kid had so much energy! I used to get tired just watching him run around working!" The Orr family is easy to spot every week in church, amongst the lava lavas and church slacks Brother Orr and the boys wear the red kilts of their family tartan. When I first met Brother Orr he asked if I was named after the Isle of Skye. He always tells me I look "very Scottish". Having just returned from a family visit to Scotland, he told me on Monday that I'd fit in well with the people back home with my blue eyes and freckles.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Discussion of Positive Personality Profiles!

Okay... So this is how I have wanted to start this discussion.
Positive Personality...............................You have one!!!!!
I know, it's dorky but it is true and I learned it reading this book. According to Dr. Rohm (and the old Greek guy) there are 4 basic personality types and every person will have a little bit of each. We have a very dominate trait which is our "High" trait and less dominate trait which is lower. You don't understand what I am saying do you? Well, If you take a circle and divide it by a + you will see what I mean. Well, maybe not, but I liked the use of the letters D.I.S.C. and circle graph to explain the personality types. To me it was so much easier to comprehend than using the ancient temperment terms of Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Choleric and Melancholic. Anyway, I like being called a "High I" personality as apposed to sanguine. I am sure Cali would like being called a "High D" as apposed to Phlegmatic. No wait... you are Choleric. See, I am confused by those terms. But I know you are a High D!
I know some of you girls were not able to get the book but, never fear. Our fearless book blog editor-in- chief has read it several times and can explain your high side, low side and what it all means.
Another aspect I liked about this book was the positive Biblical perspective we are given as examples of different personality traits. And the emphasis that every personality trait, no matter what it is, can be a positive in your life. Since the first time I read this book 2 years ago I have gained a better understanding of people in general and especially my family.
Oh.... and I know the old Greek guy who did the first personality profiling was Hippocrates (he started it as "Temperaments" with his blood, bile and phlegm thing.) And then Galen gave them the most common names of Sanguine, Phlegmatic, Melancholic and Choleric. I do hope someday you get a chance to read this wonderful little book.
You can find out your Personality type by taking a little quiz on Dr. Rohm's site.

Friday, November 19, 2010

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1

This is my personal Movie review, not a book vs. movie or anything like that. If you would like to comment or even post your own review on here please feel free. We welcome the opinions of all. If you have not read the book and are looking forward to seeing the film beware, there are some spoilers.

9 years ago when I saw the first Harry Potter film I was very excited to see the rest, even though book 4 had just come out. Chris Columbus was very thorough when it came to including all essential parts of the storyline. But then came Alfonso Cuaron and his interpretation of the, Prisoner of Azkaban, which was not as accurate as the previous films, and a few essentials were left out. "That's okay," I told myself, "they will make up for it in The Goblet of Fire, they have to or it won't make a whole lot of sense." How wrong I was, Mike Newell's Goblet of Fire interpretation, though thrilling, left something to be desired, including details that would later be essential, such as Bill Weasley. I had nearly given up hope that they would even get close to the being one with the books by the end of the series, but then a miracle happened and David Yates was made the director of 5, 6, and 7. He saw the essentials that were left out and managed to work them in, and everything and everyone essential that has been left out to this point was gradually introduced in the first 15 minutes of the Deathly Hallows part 1. Everything from Mundungas Fletcher, to Bill Weasley and his werewolf maimed face, and even the shard of Sirus's broken mirror. Though that last one has no explanation, and is just there with Harry.

Now anyone who has read the book knows how fast and upbeat it starts. They manage to cover the first 5 chapters in the first 15 minutes. They were even able to squeeze in some great humor of the Fred and George variety; and though those first 15 minutes include the 7 Harry's, the escape from Privet Drive, and the Fall of Mad Eye Moody, it's the lightest part of the film. The movie like the book is riddled with darkness, emphasized by the eerie compositions. The entire film changes to this feeling of darkness just after the ambush at the wedding, and I could feel my heart beating in my throat the duration of the movie even though I already knew what was going to happen. When our three heroes infiltrate the ministry, I thought that I was back at home reading the book, it was so exact in the way it played out.

In less than an hour the film has transitioned to the 200 most boring pages of the Harry Potter series ever written. Miraculously, David Yates has done it again and somehow made the most dull moments some of the most interesting. He makes 6 months of camping around the mundane British countryside go by fairly quickly. He doesn't do this through adding non-existent action or even an exciting score, but through our characters, and mostly through Ron. My favorite aspect of this film actually was Ron and how the negative and dark way he is feeling about the entire endless journey, actually makes sense to the viewer. In the book you feel like he is being stupid and angry because of the horcrux, but in the film you really feel for him and understand his broken perspective. In the previous movies you know he has feelings for Hermione, but from the get go of Deathly Hallows, it's more than that, he's in love with her and it shows, and you know that he would do anything for her. She is just too stupid too see it, which is ironic because she is such a brilliant person.
The Christmas eve in Godric's Hollow is almost exactly as the book describes. So, Cali, the snake attack will probably give you nightmares, it is way worse than the Basilisk in the Chamber of secrets. I like snakes, and I was scared.
Ron's return is one of the greatest moments in Harry Potter history. I must admit I nearly cried. It truly shows Ron's loyalty and the lengths he goes to in order to help Harry. You can see that though he was angry when he left, he really does love Harry in a way that a nerd like me can only relate to as Samwise and Frodo.
Immediately afterward, Harry and Ron take on the horcrux so Ron can kill it. Just like in the book, when the locket opens it immediately preys on Ron and shows him his biggest fears; and while in the book one of those fears was an image of Harry and Hermione wrapped around each other and kissing, in the film it's a bit more than that. Enough to make you stare awkwardly at your knees and blush.
Once the Horcrux is destroyed they continue to follow the path set by the book, to Luna Lovegood's house and learning of the deathly hallows. I won't go any farther into the film, though most know what happens next, I don't want to tell you where it ends and spoil the surprise, though I was crying at the end.

I really actually loved it. It wasn't just the epic story, or the way they told only half of it and made you feel like you had sat through a complete plotline. It was the filming style, the colorless shots that accompany Voldemort and the death eaters that we grew familiar with in Order of the Phoenix, the bright colors of the burrow and the Weasley family, and the dull shades of colors that accompany our trio of heroes. It was the scoring that set the mood perfectly, and the artistic license they took to make the film as graphic as the book feels, but more graphic than described. It's PG-13 rating was well deserved, though I wouldn't take anyone under 15 to go see it. I don't know about you, but a room covered in human blood spatters and full of buzzing flies would have given me nightmares at 13. The sight of it was enough to make me imagine a smell that nearly made me vomit. But in a twisted way I think it enhances the viewing experience, it brings to life little details that were tickling the backs of our minds while reading the book, but things we never thought about or focused on. It makes it seem more life threatening, more real, and much more involved.
The emotions run high, and the fear runs even higher. It is certain to get your heart racing and have you on the edge of your seat. It brings a whole new perspective to Harry Potter. It used to be a children's story.
By Hillary

Wednesday, November 10, 2010


After years of the msm and lefty pundits labeling him as "the worst president ever" or the "stupidest person ever", is it ironic to anyone else that George W. Bush's memoir Decision Points is the best selling book in the country right now? It sold over 220,000 copies just on its first day!
And why is it, if he's such an "evil" and unforgivable "dunce", that the media can't stop talking about the book?

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

Here it is!! The book of the month for November! I read this book three years ago and I have been wanting to read it again. It is a good, quick read that will open your eyes and answer some of those questions that have always been nagging at the back of your mind, like.......1. Why does mom procrastinate? 2. Why does Cali feel compelled to alphabetize the spices? 3. Why doesn't Shiloh feel compelled to alpahbetize her children.....'s books? 4. Is Cami a people pleaser? 5. What makes Jesse such a beautiful person? 6. Is Skye really stubborn or just always right? 6. Why is Hillary........ Hillary? 7. What makes Cody such a peacemaker?
Those answers and many more can be found inside this little book. Start today for as little as $0.10 cents (plus shipping and handling from to really understand people. It's fun and it will improve all of your relationships, even the ones that don't need improving.
Happy reading!
Since this is a very short book I will be able to start discussion on it on Monday, Nov. 29th.
Love you,

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Review

This is a book review of Meghan McCain's new memoir of the 2008 presidential campaign - Dirty, Sexy Politics. If you think the title is catchy on some junior high cheerleader level, wait until you read the book! Luckily you don't have to. The linked review saves you the time, money, and brain cells.
PS - It's one of the best book reviews I have ever read.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Discussion for august and an announcement.

Hello Ladies and Dad! The discussion for the books for August, Percy Jackson and the Olympians: The Lightning Thief. And, The Sisters Grimm Fairytale Detectives. Is Now OPEN! So please after reading this post leave your comments below.

Now for an announcement, I know Jesse had the book for September and Mom had October, but seeing as how we are halfway through September and a book has yet to be assigned, I have decided to commandeer both months. We can pick up in November with Jesse's choice. The book for the rest of this month and October is GIFTED Vol. I- By Ruthie Cunningham. That's right! I finished my book yesterday, and now I want to test it out on the public, well on my book club anyway. That and I need proof readers, so you will each be receiving copies of the book and a letter of proof reading instruction in the mail sometime in the next week. Jesse, your book will be sent with Cali's to her house. Skye, yours will be sent with Mom's to her place since you will be there for a while. I really hope you enjoy it and am excited to hear your feedback! Happy Proof reading!

Monday, August 9, 2010

Choose Your Own Adventure!

Hi Girls,
For the month of August we will be using a different format. There are two books for this month. You can read one or both, whatever you want and then we will discuss them.
The first book is 'The Lightning Thief' by Rick Riordan. Even if you have seen the movie you need to read this book because like the Harry Potter books their is so much more in the book than they can ever put in a movie. The second book is 'The Sisters Grimm - The Fairy Tale Detectives' by Michael Buckley. It is the first in a series, and it is Fun!

Both of these selections are juvenile fiction and are fast, easy reads that will give you a new perspective on stories you have already heard, and they are a lot of fun!



Monday, August 2, 2010

Delicious Discussion

Woohoo! I hope you enjoyed the "Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder" as much as I did. As far as the story goes, it was very simplistic and really nothing spectacular. I also thought the ending was a little cheesy, I mean are all killers that anxious to talk and answer questions? I doubt it. They probably want to kill you and hide the body before someone discovers it.
However, I found the book a very fun read and I actually read the second installment of the series "Strawberry Shortcake Murder". While the plot isn't complete brilliance it was still a decent mystery and the most fun part was reading the descriptions of the Minnesota locals. Some of the characters are so typical small town they were actual easy to visualize and rather nostalgic. I enjoyed the characters and had a good laugh with most of them.
Lastly, how can you go wrong with new recipes? I made one of the cookie recipes (it was actually from "Key Lime Pie Murder") called kool-aid cookies. While Shiloh made some cherry ones in Idaho I decided to make some strawberry ones and they were pretty darn good!
So jump in the comments and let me know what you thought of the book, story, characters, recipes, etc.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

A Book For July

I have been wanting to read a Joanne Fluke novel since I've heard so many good things about them. And let's face it, I'm a sucker for good mysteries. And food. I love suspense novels, I read all of the original Nancy Drews and most of the Hardy Boys before leaving elementary school. High school ushered in my love of Agatha Christie and Dan Brown's novels got me through college. So I'm pretty excited to read some of Joanne Fluke's work.
Joanne Fluke is famous for her mystery series that features all food titles. I asked Shiloh's advice and she said that the stories are excellent and the recipes that are included with each novel are delicious! So seriously, what could go wrong? A fun, suspenseful read and a great new recipe as well. I love it!
So without further ado I will announce the book for July: The Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder. It's the first book in the Hannah Swenson murder series (and can be found in most libraries and book stores). Happy Reading!

Update: Some have issued concern over this months chooser. True, it is technically Shiloh's turn to make the selection, but she has deferred to me and will have my spot next month. Other than that small change, the order is still the same.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Discussion for A Room With a View

Let me start by saying that in this one particular case I'm actually glad I saw the movie before reading the book. It made the book and the people and places so vivid in my mind. But it did so much more than that even.

Forster is so descriptive and well, even at times florid that you can lose sight of the real thread of story by getting caught up in the supporting characters and places. Having seen the film I knew the outcome of course, so I was able to keep that in mind even through the descriptions. Indeed I must say that Forster writes character even better than Austen or Bronte or Henry Fielding. These characters are engaging and compelling and really very easily steal the show from poor Lucy. And let's face it, until the last few chapters George and his father are barely mentioned enough to qualify them as protagonists, although they were always there, hovering over the top of the story. But how do you not get caught up in the brash Eleanor Lavish, the jovial Mr. Beebe, tiresome Charlotte Bartlett, the sometimes irritating Miss Alans, judgemental Reverand Eager, silly Freddy and on and on and on. Next to these characters Lucy and George seem almost boring. Almost.

George is classified by most as difficult, but then dismissed and extended some measure of sympathy because of his upbringing. I didn't find him difficult, just confused. A father who isn't religious and quite eccentric and a mother who died when he was young. It's hard for him to reconcile where he should fit in society when his father refuses to officially be part of it, and yet continually exposes him to the people who are a part of it. His confusion and moodiness are understandable. And yet when we do get glimpses of his passion and personality, we see that it would actually be easy to fall in love with him.

As for Lucy, I love that Forster made her very ordinary. Her looks are mentioned only once as "...a young lady with a quantity of dark hair and a very pretty, pale, undeveloped face." Meaning, I think, that she was pretty enough but not striking or stunning in any way. Indeed, Forster makes it obvious that people are draw to her, but they're each drawn to her for something other than her looks. The Miss Alans and Charlotte Bartlett saw in her a proper Victorian lady, much like themselves in earlier years. To Cecil and his mother she was someone who could be molded into their idea of a perfect wife, daughter-in-law, mother and society matron. In fact, it seems that only the Reverand Mr. Beebe & George appreciate her for what's inside, the fire and the passion the they detect down deep. Although they each have quite different motives.

I think it helps the reader understand and empathize with Lucy better that she's ordinary and comes from an ordinary family. Conventional people with a few progressive and modern ideas. They might be anyone from any family. Funny, attractive enough, but not striking, quirky and amusing in their own way. I had to laugh at Cecil's condescending thoughts about the furniture in the drawing room. All I could think of was that it must be the equivalent of modern day Ikea to late Victorian England.

The only disappointment I had about this book was the last chapter. It felt like it fell a little flat. Sure it was wonderful that the passionate lovers had finally married and were on their honeymoon in the very place they met a year earlier. But it was disappointing to hear that Lucy's family had disapproved & that Mr. Beebe had basically dropped them. I guess I just expected them to happily embrace Lucy and George (after they got over the shock) because they all wanted what was best for Lucy and for her to finally live with same passion with which she played the piano. You'd think they could recognize that this was the only way Lucy was going to become that extraordinary person. As for the revelation the Charlotte may actually have had more to do with their eventual relationship than we initially thought possible, I would have thought this would have produced a more sympathetic reaction from the lovers. But no, they decided to stay irritated at her.

Over all I loved the book. And I enjoyed Forsters descriptions and writing style. He didn't waste time trying to educate his audience, he expected them to know what he was talking about. Like all of his allusions to Greek and Roman Gods or when he deemed Sir Harry unworthy of a description. He just expects you to know. And as a reader I appreciated that. I also like that you could almost detect a bit of his sense of humor throughout the book. There were moments when you could almost sense Forster rolling his eyes or smirking or shaking his head in dismissal.

But as usual I've droned on for ages longer than I needed to. I'm excited to hear what the rest of you thought.

Monday, May 31, 2010

A Book For June

So I really wanted to do a classic novel for this month's selection. Jane Austen is always a good place to start when beginning with the classics but I'm not content to assign the usual Austen novels. I'd want us to read either Persuasion (which would be the most difficult for a first time Austen reader) or Northanger Abbey (which isn't at all typical of Austen since it was her earliest work to be published, though it was published posthumously. Not to mention the fact that I'd want to assign The Mysteries of Udolpho as a bonus read, since that's the book Austen's heroine is obsessed with and I've never actually read it.) In the end I decided I'd rather go with something that was new to me. My conundrum, of course, is coming up with one I haven't read. That pretty much disqualifies anything Austen, Bronte, Dickens, Hawthorne, Dumas, Alcott, Shakespeare, Hugo, Poe, Tolstoy, Wilde & Chaucer.

I was inspired actually, by one of my favorite movies. Our book for June is
A Room With A View by E.M. Forster I've never read anything by Forster before so I know nothing of his style or storytelling ability. But I suppose that's the fun of having a book club isn't it? Getting to broaden our horizons, open our minds and explore something new. It isn't a long book, so even with the travel and family obligations we'll have this month, it shouldn't be a problem to find the time to read it. (BTW if you've never seen the film, it's definitely worth watching when you get the time. The film is perfectly cast and the leads are great, but it's really the supporting players who really make it fun, Maggie Smith is wonderful, Judi Dench is hilarious, Denholm Elliot is endearing, the little brother is great. But it's Daniel Day Lewis's priceless portrayal of Cecil that completely steals the show! You would never know that's the same guy who played Hawkeye in Last of the Mohicans. But don't think you can watch the movie to skip out on reading the book. I expect everyone to still get their reading done!) Anyway, enjoy!

Friday, May 28, 2010

Let's hear your thoughts...

Okay the time has come to share your thoughts, feelings, etc. about The Willoughby's. As I stated previously I love this book and it is quickly becoming one of my all time favorites. I love that it's a light hearted quick read. I laughed out loud several times, one being when they disquised themselves while people looked at the house. Particularly the Alabaster Aphrodite! Bring on Halloween, I've got my costume!
I loved how the author referred to the classic orphan stories. I also loved how Tim, the oldest child, was bossy and in charge. She hit that nail on the head. I'm already seeing that with Lily. And Hey, Cali, "I DON'T hate you!"
Over all the story was predictable and a little over the top, but for me, that's what made it fun. There's no excuse why you couldn't have had this read in a month. To quote Jane "Even I can read and I'm a complete dodo." Having said that I can't wait to hear everyone's response.
So go ahead and tell me what you thought. Feel free to include your favorite quote or line from the book and in your next letter to Cody make sure you tell him how Affable he is:)

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Movie Review: Sherlock Holmes

I haven't read a Sherlock Holmes mystery since elementary school so I'll be a little weak on the comparison, perhaps someone better read can do that. The movie itself is fabulous! I think it is Robert Downey Jr.'s finest performance. He completely embodies the character of Sherlock Holmes from the exhausting analytical thought process to the violin to the British accent. I was a little skeptical of the young Jude Law being a convincing Dr. Watson, but he pulls the role off with ease. While action and special effects can overshadow a weaker storyline, the plot in Sherlock Holmes stands on its own being complex, yet easy to follow (and of course mysterious). The dialogue is witty and the acting spectacular! A must see for any mystery fan (or movie/literature lover).

Friday, April 30, 2010

May's Book

I am so excited about this book and yes, Cali, it is a fun and really easy read. The book I've chosen is The Willoughby's by Lois Lowry.
In December I had the oppurtunity to volunteer at the Scholastic (you know, the people who put on bookfairs at schools) warehouse. I helped sell, stack, sticker, and pack books. The best part is that they pay you $10 an hour in books. When I wasn't busy I would wander the place looking at the rows and rows of books. I was drawn to this book many times (I liked the cover) and read the inside cover and thought it might be a fun read. On my last day I decided to get. It sat on our shelf until 2 weeks ago. I had finished both my April book club books and thought I'd give this little book a try.
I LOVED it. It has become one of my favorite books ever. It had me laughing (out loud) all the way through and I seriously could not put it down. I even began reading it out loud to Jacob.
It's a children's novel and although the humor's a little dark (parents trying to get rid of children, children trying to get rid of parents and in the midst of it all an odious nanny) I think you will enjoy it. It's only 174 pages including the glossary and bibliography, which you MUST read. They are every bit as funny and clever as the story.
So go find a copy and have a good laugh at The Willoughby's!

For more on the story check out this review and excerpt.

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

April Discussion

The discussion for The Ransom of Mercy Carter is now open!

I think I put most of my comments on this book in my introduction post, but Once again I must say that this book has it all for me. It is tragic and happy, romantic and depressing. I don't know how I feel all of those things at once, but somehow I do when I read this book. It made history real for me, and made me hungry to learn the history of my own country. I had never even heard of Deerfield until I read this book.

I hope you all enjoyed this book as much as I did, and learned something from it.

Monday, April 12, 2010

Atlas Shrugged Discussion is Open

WOW!!!!!! This was a tough read. I am not used to thinking that much when I read. I don't use that much concentration and deep thinking in anything I do. I now know what they mean when they say someone is a "Shallow thinker". I put myself more in the "medium thinking common sense" class of people. Really, I mean Having all that explanatory introspection rolling around in your head had to hurt. No wonder she wrote it in a book, that way she didn't have to think about it all the time.

My advice to any daughters who haven't finished it...... Follow the example of your baby sister and read the cliff notes. I am sure you will get the whole story, the whole philosophy and all the psychology with out feeling like you are the dead horse being beat to death. I did read the whole book, but I confess that on about page 948 I realized she was repeating the same philosophies that she had stressed all through the book and listing each one 5 and 6 times, so I just started scanning the pages for highlights until the speech was finished (it starts on page 923 and goes to page 978 or there abouts). This one speech by John Galt covered more than 50 pages and by this time you are really anxious just to get on with the story.

Putting that aside, it is good to find John Galt and learn real meaning of that phrase. I won't be lost anymore when I hear references to this book, of which our society has many.

I understand her thinking and her point of view, and at times she seemed eerily prophetic. Talking about the press being completely compliant with the looters and not reporting the whole truth, or even any truth at that matter. The looters (Who are like our modern day president's czars) had all this unlimited power and didn't answer to congress or anyone. That was just sounding too familiar. And then anyone who was a 'producer' and could think seemed to be "Taxed to death" and constantly penalized for being someone who could produce, and all this was done for the "Good of the people". I pictured all the Union 'thugs' wearing yellow SEIU shirts because that is what they seem to do today.

Here is my opinion of the main Characters:
Eddie Willers - Too smart and loyal to have been given such a stupid ending.
Dagney - She was so smart, I am puzzled that she didn't choose freedom sooner. I don't think she is real though. No real woman who had a choice of those three guys would have chosen the one she did. (IMHO) She seemed to me like a person who could never really find Joy, only contentment. I really want both in my life.
Hank Rearden - This is one of the characters I really liked. His family's treatment of him was a microcosm of the main theme for this book, and they did to him what the government was doing not just to him but to the country. Too many of us could find our selves being taken advantage of like him if we don't educate ourselves and stand our ground. His "speech" to Dagney at Wyatt's house was really stupid and definitely not needed - if you know what I mean. The book and his Character didn't need it. I think he should have have given his family a dose of reality a lot sooner though.
Francisco dAnconia - I want him.
(Dagney didn't deserve him anyway)
James Taggart - If I ever meet anyone like him I should do humanity and himself a favor and just shoot him. What a waste of human flesh. Unfortunately I think he is a lot more like men in high places today than we would like to admit.
Robert Stadler - Wimp. It's scary to think they allowed him to teach the youth of the nation. ... O.. Maybe not.
Cuffy Meigs - Al Capone - only stupid. No wait, I meant to say Rahm Emmanual.
Hugh Askton - They don't really make teachers like this, do they. That would be nice.
All the Major Deserters (Wyatt, Midas, etc.) - To paraphrase John Wayne: They'll do.
Floyd Farris - Creepy, Snakelike reptile excrement is too nice a description for him. He probably would run the DNC today.
Ragnar Dannedkjold - Yeah, He can rescue me anytime!!!
A Handsome, strong, daring, blonde, smart, 'clean' Scandinavian Pirate? *sigh* That's the stuff dreams are made of.
John Galt - I really liked this guy until the episode in the tunnels under the Taggert Building. I mean, that kind of stupid thinking is the reason Ayn Rand didn't make it as a romance novelist (which was really what she wanted to be.... wink wink, nod nod.). A tryst on dusty dirty sandbags in a dirty tunnel while wearing an evening gown when hundreds of men are walking around? Sheese! You'd think she could have contacted Barbara Cartland or Joan Collins for advice on this part. Okay, okay, ..... He is a good guy, a genius and he really did save the world, but I still want the pirate and the playboy. Especially knowing they had the same political views and goals. :-)

Ayn Rand is right on with what we need to do if ever our government gets totally out of control like this one did. I want to find a place to make my own Galt's Gulch, and I will "SHRUG".

P.S. Just a question - Why is it all these people know how to fly airplanes?

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Movie Review: New Moon

Also known as "The movie that bites... like a vampire." While the Twilight move was not everything I had hoped or expected, it was still entertaining and held my attention. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the what I've named the worst movie I've seen this year, in the first 20 minutes I was seriously considering doing some homework instead. While the blame goes to lots of people, directors, editors, producers, I'm mostly going to pick on the actors. Kristen Stewart's portrayal of Bella Swan is pitiful. If she has more than one facial expression or vocal inflection, she hid them well. Plus, I'm having trouble remembering where in the novel it talked about Bella have dreams about going into labor. Robert Pattinson's pained facial expressions easily grew old and began to be even more painful to watch. The Cullens, with the exception of Carlisle, suck (and I don't just mean blood). Edward makes a comment in one of the books "I'm still a man". He didn't prove that statement any in New Moon. His pathetic whimperings about taking his own life if Bella should die are nothing short of pitiful. We do see a semi-manly show of courage when he attempts to protect Bella from the volturi, but as Hillary pointed out, he loses all semblance of masculinity (with no hope of getting it back) when we see him frolicking through the forest with Bella at his side. The only thing missing was a unicorn or other woodland creatures.
Then we come to the movie's only saving graces: werewolves and the volturi. Taylor Lautner proves himself as an actor when he breaks your heart with a single glance (and he's just hot). The books definitely made me Team Edward, but the movies have converted me (and probably every female with eyes) to Team Jacob. The wolf boys are perfect and make the descriptions in the book actually come alive on screen. Likewise the volturi are fabulously cast and acted. Dakota Fanning, in a performance very different from her usual role, is a fantastic embodiment of the cruel and cynical Jane. Also Michael Sheen was an excellent choice for Aro. The volturi are creepy, cool, and everything I expected.
I can't say that this is the worst film adaptation of a book ever because to be fair I would have to admit that the book itself was rather lame and my least favorite of the Twilight Saga. With endless chapters devoted to Bella's depressive heartache and Jacob's pointless infatuation, I'd recommend reading a synopsis.
For closing all I can say is "Go Team Mick St. John!"
Posted by Skye

Thursday, April 1, 2010

April's Book

I don't know when the Atlas shrugged review is, but since it is officially April, I thought that I would give you the book for this month so those of you ready to move on can do so. The book for this month is The Ransom of Mercy Carter, by Caroline B Cooney.

When I read a good book, a lot of the time the characters become real to me, I get easily attached and sometimes wish they were real. This is the one book where I got attached to the characters and didn't want them to be real, because I didn't want anyone to go through what they did. Sadly it was the one book where the characters were actual people.

This book is about the hostages taken by the Mohawk Indians in the 1704 Deerfield Massachusetts massacre, during the French and Indian war. The main story line is based from the point of view of Mercy Carter a 12 year old girl with several younger siblings. She is one of the few hostages that little is known about. Though her conversations and thought processes may be fictional she was a real person as was almost everyone mentioned in the book. The historical details of the trek to Canada are very accurate, as are the details of the massacre, and even some of the other peoples attitudes are accurate.

I always liked history and have been interested in it, but history books aren't as good to me as novels because they lack story, and historically based Novels aren't as good as history books because they lack accuracy. But this book was a perfect mix for me, It was the first thing I ever saw or read that made me realize the reality of history, that it was actual people that suffered not just a list of names in a text book.

This is a good book, a look into a part of history that isn't very well known. It is an invigorating fast read that I think you all will enjoy. You can find the book in the juvenile section at the library or Barnes & Noble. I hope you enjoy it. Good reading everybody.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Atlas Shrugged extension

So the deadline for Atlas Shrugged was today, but since there are so many (myself included) who need just a little more time to complete it we are extending the discussion until the end of March. Happy Reading!

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Book vs Movie: Alice in Wonderland

I love the story of Alice in Wonderland. I have seen all the movies, read all of the books (and other variations), and learned much of the poetry of Lewis Carroll by heart. So it is understandable that the movie I was looking forward to most this spring was Tim Burton's "Alice in Wonderland," And I wasn't dissapointed.

Traditionally the story is of ten year old Alice Liddell, (the daughter of the Dean at Christ's Church College in Oxford), who has a dream about falling down a rabbit hole into Wonderland.

The story in the film is about nineteen year old Alice Kingsliegh who is running away from a Marriage proposal and Literally falls into a rabbit hole, to a place called Underland. The film has much more purpose than the book. In the book she is just wandering around aimlessly. In the film the "Underlanders" Seek her out because it is foretold that only she can save Underland from the evil Red Queen and her Jabberwocky.

Now the film being directed by Tim Burton made it even better. The animation was very striking and awesome in 3D, and the acting was superb. Johnny Depp managed to be Creepy and endearing, as the rebellious Mad Hatter, (who has a heavy Scottish accent when he is angry, and his eyes turn orange, a really cool effect), and only Johnny Depp can wear that much creepy clown make up and still make your heart race. Helena Bonham Carter as the Red Queen had the best lines in the movie, she'll keep you laughing through the whole thing, she really embodied the stupidity and rage of the Queen of Hearts. And with other great talents such as Alan Rickman, Anne Hathaway, and Matt Lucas you will never be disappointed.

Though it is a Tim Burton film, it is not as dark as most of his past works. The scenery is quite dim, but that is just to contrast the bright colors of the characters, the story itself is much lighter than expected. I honestly thought that the Wizard of Oz and Harry Potter #2 were much much creepier.

My Verdict: Go See The Movie! Because it actually has a point. There is a deeper meaning to the film than what I have written here, but it is different for everyone, so I'll let you see the movie and decide what meanings and morals you pulled out of it.

If you do decide to go to the movie read the following poem by Lewis Carroll first. It will make a lot more sense this way. I Promise.


by: Lewis Carroll (1832-1898)

      'WAS brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

      "Beware the Jabberwock, my son!
      The jaws that bite, the claws that catch!
      Beware the jubjub bird, and shun
      The frumious Bandersnatch!"

      He took his vorpal sword in hand:
      Long time the manxome foe he sought--
      So rested he by the Tumtum tree,
      And stood awhile in thought.

      And, as in uffish thought he stood,
      The Jabberwock, with eyes of flame,
      Came whiffling through the tulgey wood,
      And burbled as it came!

      One, two! One, two! And through and through
      The vorpal blade went snicker-snack!
      He left it dead, and with its head
      He went galumphing back.

      "And hast thou slain the Jabberwock?
      Come to my arms, my beamish boy!
      O frabjous day! Calloh! Callay!"
      He chortled in his joy.

      'Twas brillig, and the slithy toves
      Did gyre and gimble in the wabe:
      All mimsy were the borogoves,
      And the mome raths outgrabe.

I Really hope that you enjoy the film, and my post.


"Sometimes I've believed as many as six impossible things before breakfast." - Alice

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Atlas Shrugged Reminder

This post is merely to remind you that you now have less than two weeks before discussion opens for Atlas Shrugged. I was a little distressed to learn that some of you have not yet started. This is a long book so please begin reading now!

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Literature Trivia

Who is the most written about woman in history?

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Author Signing (and spotlight)

I always get excited about author signings, but unfortunately not many happen in Idaho or Hawaii. This one is really only relevant to Cami, but I thought you all might be interested in the author and books anyway.
Joanne Fluke is a best selling author of a mystery series (which Shiloh has read and really enjoyed). To promote her new book Apple Turnover Murder, she will be holding a signing in Miami/Ft. Lauderdale, Florida on March 4th. It will actually be a discussion and a signing on the beach. Details at her website (linked below).
A little about Joanne Fluke taken from her website: Like Hannah Swensen, Joanne Fluke grew up in a small town in rural Minnesota where her neighbors were friendly, the winters were fierce, and the biggest scandal was the spotting of unidentified male undergarments on a young widow's clothesline. She insists that there really are 10,000 lakes and the mosquito is NOT the state bird.

While pursuing her writing career, Joanne has worked as: a public school teacher, a psychologist, a musician, a private detective's assistant, a corporate, legal, and pharmaceutical secretary, a short order cook, a florist's assistant, a caterer and party planner, a computer consultant on a now-defunct operating system, a production assistant on a TV quiz show, half of a screenwriting team with her husband, and a mother, wife, and homemaker.

She now lives in Southern California with her husband, her kids, his kids, their three dogs, one elderly tabby, and several noisy rats in the attic.

This should be a fun discussion and signing and I can't wait to read my first Joanne Fluke novel as each is not only a mystery, but also is said to include delicious recipes!
For more info visit her website:

Monday, February 1, 2010

February's Book

Dad dictated the following to me and asked me to post it.

Originally titled The Strike, this novel is a unique blend of drama, adventure, politics, intrigue, economics, mystery and of course, just a little bit of sex. Enough to keep me interested but not enough to make me blush.
(Funny, we girls would have just called it romance. -- mom)
The author, Ayn Rand, had a very unique perspective when she wrote the book in the early 1950's. She was born in Russia and as a young woman experienced first hand life under the czars and 2 revolutions, the last being the Bolshevik Revolution which brought communism to Russia. After immigrating to the U.S. she became a screen writer in Hollywood and thus intimately aquainted with the Communist movement in the McCarthy Era.
The main drawback to the book is it's length. The author is very wordy and at times a little repetative. The book would have been better if it were 300 pages shorter. If you will just make it (suffer) through the first couple of chapters and get introduced to the characters and the plot, you will be hooked. It is notable that Ms. Rand's social and political views are totally void of religion, emotion and sentimentality, but the political insights to our present day will leave you shock-ed and amaze-ed.
All in all, I enjoyed this book not only for the story, but also for the economic theory.
Prepare to Shrug! - Dad
Due to the length of this book we will extend the reading time to the 15th of March or approximately 6 weeks. The last two weeks of March will be used for some short, fun assignments. On your marks. Get set. READ!!!!!

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Shadow on The Trail Discussion is Officially Open!

If you haven't finished the book you still have time to finish it today. I think I actually put all of the reasons why I like the book on the introduction post.... Well, except for telling you I think I developed a crush on Wade Holden. :-) Let me know what you think. Did you see a man trying to find his own way to redemption? Or did you find some other hidden meaning in this western. Oh, And if this was your first Western, or first Zane Grey novel please tell us. I am interested in learning how many of you have read westerns before. Let me hear your thoughts. Love you!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Literature Poll: Best and Worst Film Adaptations

I thought I'd have a little fun and see what everyone thought were the best and worst film adaptations of books. The answers were varied and thought provoking. Some people submitted more than one for each category and some judged movies by different criteria. For example, mom judged her choices by which one she enjoyed more, while Hillary tended to judge by which one's stuck the most closely to the book's storyline. But there were some that received more votes than others and those are the winners.
For Best Film Adaptation:
The BBC version of Pride and Prejudice is not only the best version of the book, but the best movie adaptation of any book. Colin Firth is by far the best Darcy EVER! It holds true to the book while still being entertaining. And who cares if it's five hours?

And the Worst Movie Adaptation:
Wow. I've seen road shows with better acting and more authenticity.

Best Movie Honorable Mentions: The Spiderwick Chronicles, The Last of the Mohicans, The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, The Witch, and The Wardrobe, Sense and Sensibility, The Count of Monte Cristo, and Angels & Demons.

Worst Movie Honorable Mentions: The Cat in the Hat, Ella Enchanted, Summer of the Monkeys and Beowulf (2007 version).

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Literature Trivia

You have one week to leave a comment with your answer.
What was the first novel written on a typewriter?
Good luck!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I accidently posted my personal blog on this page. I have removed it. Sorry about that.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010

Book Review: The Looking Glass Wars.

Many of us are familiar with the story by Lewis Carroll (AKA Charles Dodgson) about a girl named Alice who fell into a Rabbit Hole and entered the magical world of Wonderland. After her first adventure in wonderland, she proceeded to step through the looking glass and return to wonderland for further adventures.

According to the author of the Looking glass wars, Frank Beddor, This is a twisted myth version of the even more twisted reality of it all. He claims that Wonderland is real and Alyss Heart is the heir to the throne, until her murderous Aunt Redd steals the crown and kills Alyss' parents. To escape Redd, Alyss and her awesome ninja-like blade bedecked bodyguard, Hatter Madigan, Must flee wonderland through the pool off tears which is a portal to Earth. However Alyss and Hatter are separated in the pool and she ends up alone in Victorian era London, where she is adopted by the Liddel family and renamed Alice. She befriends an aspiring author who wishes to tell her story but gets it all wrong.
Hatter Madigan came out of the Pool of Tears in Paris and spends the next 13 years searching the earth over for Alyss before he finds her.
Meanwhile in Wonderland the loyalists to the Heart dynasty "The Alyssians" are barely holding on. They have been crushed and murdered and beheaded by the evil queen Redd. Their resistance is dwindling to just a few card soldiers, a handful of chessmen, the great General Doppleganger (who has the ability to split into two people Generals Dopple and Ganger), and Alyss' childhood sweetheart Dodge Anders, Who is suicidal in battle because he just doesn't care to live anymore.
Now it is all up to Hatter Madigan to get Alyss back to claim her throne before the resistance is completely gone.

This book is extremely imaginative and very entertaining, with all of the elements for a good tale, Action, Romance, Suspense, and Rivalry. It also has all of the creations of Caroll's story and more. What Carroll described as a Cheshire cat, Beddor claims was actually a half cat half human assassin with nine lives. Carroll's White Rabbit was based on Alyss' tutor Bibwit Harte, a 7 foot tall albino with large ears and uncanny punctuality. My personal favorite however, were the caterpillars, the wise all-seeing omniscient creatures as old as wonderland itself who sit on mushrooms all day puffing on Hookahs using phrases like "Duh," "Wierdest sense of Deja Vu," and "Pass the Munchies."
Beddor's Military structure is fun too. Pawns and two cards being the lowest ranking soldiers, Ten cards, Knights and Rooks near the top. But the most elite branch of the governments forces is the one Hatter Madigan himself is part of, The Millinery. Sort of like our NSA or CIA.

The coolest thing for me when I read this book was the way that wonderland parallels Earth. For example July of 1863 in Wonderland The Alyssians won a major battle that was a positive turning point for them. In July of 1863 the Battle of Gettysburg was fought. In September 1869 a squad of surrounded Alyssians commit suicide rather than being captured by Redd. September of 1869 defeated Japanese Swordsmen committed mass suicide in the Boshin War. The first book is the only one with a time line, but it is fun to read the second and third books and draw the Earth to Wonderland Parallels yourself.

With likable characters (I think I'm in love with Dodge), New artillery at every turn, perfectly timed comedic relief, and the best sound effects ever written on paper, this book is a MUST READ! The fact that it is written for children aged 10 - 15 Makes it even better because you don't have to worry about who finds the book lying around your house, and it is easier to understand. But I promise, No Matter How Old You are THE LOOKING GLASS WARS will leave you begging for MORE. Thank Goodness that the third and final book was released in November and you won't have to wait to continue the story. The sequels are called SEEING REDD and ARCHENEMY

Oh and by the way, these aren't exactly Disney's card soldiers.

I do however recommend reading Lewis Carroll's poem Jabberwocky before reading these books. The nonsense words will make more sense that way.

I hope you enjoyed my review.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

The Book for January

Since we are nearly half-way into the month of January I thought it would be appropriate to have a short fun read. Dad is going to take the month of February. There were 2 paperback copies of this book at my house in September. You can get a copy at most used bookstores.

Now as to my reasons for choosing this book..........

As a child growing up I watched my mother and John and Michelle read books all of the time. But there was a new addition to the house when I was about 5 yrs old. It was a TV. I am sure I was a mischevious child and got into a lot of things or asked a lot of questions because I can still here my mother's voice saying to me... "aren't there cartoons on for you to watch?" I remember sitting in front of the TV watching Jack LaLain, the 5 minute religious programs and cartoons in the daytime, and anything I could watch after school and in the evenings. As I got older and was one of the fastest and best readers in my class the only books I read were while I was at school. I never knew the joy of curling up with a good book and getting lost in the story. I am not complaining. My Aunts and mom would buy me books, but I was a child of the Television era and reading just didn't seem to be exciting to me.

In 8th grade I read my first novel. Charles Dickens Great Expectations. I thought it was weird and to this day the visual I have of the old lady in a mildewed dusty wedding gown in a clutterered dining room haunts me. Maybe I should give it another go. When I was in high school and many of my friends were reading the bestsellers of the day I thought I should try. So at 16 I read The Godfather (the opening scenes made me sick to my stomach). At 17 I read Airport. The movie was better. Both of these were not books I particularly liked, nor would I ever recommend them to anyone. When I took the bus to Utah to go to college I decided to give reading one more try. I picked something I was sure wouldn't make me sick or leave me feeling disturbed. Tom Sawyer. It was fun and I loved it, so I promptly read Huckleberry Finn and decided I found books I could relate to and understand. Children's novels. Well, I don't think I did any extracurricular reading at college besides church stuff. When Dad and I got married and we didn't have TV, I started reading the set of Children's Classics from his childhood. Robinson Crusoe, Treasure Island, Arabian Knights, etc. I think dad was a little embarrassed when I went into labor with Cali and took my Children's Classic of Robin Hood with me.

A day or two later he suggested I try reading Zane Grey or Louis La'Amour. (An appropriate suggestion seeing as how all things cowboy, western and Texan were becoming part of everyday life. Go figure.) The second Western I read was the one I have chosen for this month.

Shadow On The Trail by Zane Grey. It is the first book that I read and couldn't put down or walk away from. The description of the chase through the wilds of Texas not far from where I was living (so I could visualize it) had my heart pounding, and I realized I was really scared for the main character. All of a sudden I realized what getting lost in a book really means. I have escaped into many books since then, but this one will always be special to me.

A few trivia notes: Sim Bell is actually based on the Outlaw Sam Bass who was killed after a hold-up in Round Rock Texas, not far from Austin. He did hold up a stage just outside of Mineral Wells once. The Character of Wade Holden is actually based on a young man who was known to ride with Sam Bass who disappeared after Bass was shot and was never seen again.

Enjoy the Read.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Discussion Open for Total Money Makeover

Discussion is officially open now, I apologize for the delay it was my fault it took so long. Now can everyone chill out please? This is supposed to be a fun thing, not something to cause more stress in our lives.

I Don't Mean to Push

Okay... I don't mean to rush anyone, but we are a week into January and our "Catch-up" time is through. Please finish The Total Money Makeover this weekend so Jesse can get the discussion rolling. Thank you for your patience. Happy reading.