Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Review: "Witch Way to Murder: Ophelia & Abby Mystery #1"

Witch Way to Murder: Ophelia & Abby Mystery #1 by Shirley Damsgaard
2 out of 5 stars

This was recommended to me by one of my Twitter friends and it looked interesting, so I picked it up at Half Price a while back. It wasn't the best, but I might get the next one if I see it...just to give it another chance!

Ophelia Jensen is a psychic librarian in the small town where her witchy grandmother, Abby, lives. Ophelia doesn't want anything to do with her "other worldly" powers ever since she was unable to prevent something bad happening to her best friend. She's forced to start using them again though when weird things start happening in her town and a hot stranger shows up asking all kinds of questions.

I felt like we didn't get nearly enough time on Ophelia's back story or her powers. The author kind of glosses over the grandmother's "Mountain Magick" too and I would have enjoyed seeing more of that. I actually really enjoyed the other characters quite a bit though. Ophelia's coworker and eventually friend Darci is sassy and actually very smart. Handsome stranger Rick is funny and pretty interesting. I would probably pick up the 2nd book for those 2 alone. :)

Friday, February 18, 2011

Review: "Kristy's Big Day: The Baby-Sitters Club #6"

Kristy's Big Day: The Baby-Sitters Club #6 by Ann M Martin
2 out of 5 stars

I don't really like Kristy, have I said that before? She's too bossy and there is no way she would want to wear that yellow dress and heels. I see her more the type to want to dress like the boys in a tuxedo a la Rory Gilmore. :)
Plus, Andrew looks super creepy on the cover lol.

Anyway, this is the BIG DAY for Kristy where her mom and Watson get married and all move into Watson's McMansion. I think it's funny that Kristy called him a sort of jerk, but I've never seen anything like that? Eh, maybe he leers at her in her tanktop or something haha! That would make an interesting book! Okay, so Kristy's mom (who changes names from the first book btw) finds out her company is sending her to Europe right when they had the wedding planned, so they suddenly have to plan & have a wedding AND get moved to the McMansion all in like a month.

Kristy freaks out and throws a hissy cow because she wanted one more summer on her block. Oh puh-lease, grow up! You're getting a huge house, probably with a pool and whatever you want to buy for your new room!

Now it's time for a BSC club meeting and....a "What Claudia is Wearing!" Look! It's Baby Claudia! :) "She was wearing one of her usual outrageous outfits: a black leotard and skintight red pants under a white shirt that was so big it looked like a lab coat. Claudia's a wonderful artist and she had decorated the shirt herself, covering it with designs painted in acrylic. She had pinned her long, black hair back at the sides with red clips."
At the meeting we get more of Claudia's atrocious spelling: "Artwork: Still Lifs and Portrits." Somebody should really get that girl a spell check app or something. And they also talk about the Final Fling, which is the last dance of 7th grade. Kristy says she'll go with Alan Gray if he asks her. *Shakes head*

Then Kristy's mom gets MORE bad news and finds out all her and Watson's relatives are coming to town early to "help" with the wedding and bringing their 50bajillion kids with them and OH NOES what are they going to do???? I know! Let a bunch of 12 years watch 14 kids 9-5 for a whole week!! What could go wrong?? Well, not much apparently. Which kind of makes for boring reading lol...so let's get to the highlights:

-Kristy's mom & Watson are going to pay the club $600 to babysit these 14 kids...which breaks down to $120 each or $3.00 an hour!!
-The kids are between 8 months and 10 years, so they break them up into groups and make them wear silly name-tags, like red stars and green dinosaurs
-Kristy's Nannie agrees to make her and Karen's dress, so we get to meet the awesomely fantastic Nannie and her Pink Clinker car! "It's a secondhand car that's about a hundred years old, and when she bought it last year, she had it painted pink. ...and then she fastened a pink plastic flower to the antenna and hung a little stuffed koala bear from the mirror." My first car was a 1989 Camry and it was so ugly...so I put all these cool bumper stickers all over it and then I glued toys (ponies and such and a troll doll!) to the dash and glow-in-the-dark stars to the roof. I wish I'd gotten pictures of it...and also that I'd thought to paint it pink! :)
-Karen causes mass panic at a school playground by telling all the kids that Martians are going to attack and they are banned from coming back.
-Stacey has seen Mary Poppins 65 times...who hasn't? lol...
-Kristy realizes she should get mom & Watson a wedding gift. (When our dad & stepmom got married we decided that we should do that too. So we took the stepsiblings to Walmart and got a "family picture" taken. Only it turned into the WORST picture of all time!! (click if you dare!) We had to go get it retaken! LOL....)
-Kristy & Mary Anne have to take all the boys for haircuts (I really think they should have gotten more than $3.00 an hour for that!)
-On Friday it rains, so they're stuck inside and decide to have a fake wedding with the kids. Karen & David Michael are the bride & groom, which is kind of sick if you think about it. Think they turned out like Greg & Marcia Brady in their teens? Hehe...
-Morbidda Destiny shows up at the wedding uninvited and freaks everyone out.
-All the kids and adults go home, Mom & Watson go on their honeymoon, and Charlie gets to be in charge.
-Kristy finally figures out a gift, a family tree. Gag...

Monday, February 14, 2011

Review: "Dawn & The Impossible Three: The Baby-Sitters Club #5"

Dawn & The Impossible Three: Baby-Sitters Club #5 by Ann M Martin
3 out of 5 stars

I know, I know...I'm a little behind on my reviews! With no internet at home, it seriously cuts in on my bloggy blogg writing. ;) I will try to get caught up soon, I swear! Cause I know my 3 readers miss me haha!! (I heart you btw!)

Okay, on to the review. This is the first book with Dawn, Miss California...I'm not crazy about Dawn. She always seemed kind of whiny to me: "I hate cold weather. I'm still not sure what the big deal about New England winters is all about. Back in California, we had one season: summer. I thought it was wonderful. I loved the beach, I loved sunshine, I loved eighty-degree Christmases." Okay, now I know what you're saying: "Jenn (that's me), you just said in the paragraph above this how you've had bad weather and you hate it". Yes, I know...but I don't spend alllll the time complaining about it. I swear! ;) Dawn is as bad with California as Stacey is with New York.

This book starts out with Dawn babysitting the Pikes and then rushing off to another BSC meeting with Mary Anne, who is wearing her FIRST EVER sweatshirt and pair of jeans. Really???? She's never had jeans before now??? Jeez, her dad was seriously Mr Stick-in-the-Mud. They have the misfortune to run into Claudia's sister, Janine, who tries to give them a grammar lesson. Blegh...

In today's episode of "How Gross are the Hot Lunches at Stoneybrook Middle School" we have: "...grayish tuna salad, potato chips, limp green beans, a Popsicle, and milk." Eeewww...I don't blame Kristy & Mary Anne for bringing the same thing every day: "peanut butter & jelly sandwich, an apple, a bag of Doritos, and a box of fruit juice." Actually, that sounds pretty good. :)

Okay, anyway! MaryDawn's (did you see what I did there? Lol) parents are still dating and the girls finally realize that they could maybe, someday, possibly be SISTERS!! Hi foreshadowing, good to see you again! And Kristy is um...peeved. Mary Anne is HER BFF and she knows MA best, blah blah blah...

Dawn takes a big babysitting gig for the Barrett kids, who's mom sounds suspiciously like Dawn's only messy Bessy instead of scatter-brained Suzy. Although...confession time...the description of the Barrett's house kind of reminded me of my own. Hah! Now you know...we're little pigs! :) I love Marnie the best cause she makes the "ham face" by scrunching up her face! So Dawn makes a classic babysitting mistake and cleans up the house and the kids, thereby setting a precedent for every proceeding engagement....sorry I was channeling Janine! She makes a boo-boo and now Mrs Barrett expects it.

We also get to see the first game of "Let's All Come In" which is a fantabulous game that Karen Brewer invented and I totally want to be Mrs Noswhimple. Oh!
And there's a "What Stacey is Wearing"! "She was wearing a simple pink t-shirt under a baggy jumpsuit with big pink and red flowers all over it. Her permed hair bounced over her shoulders." I added some accessories. :)

So...Dawn is babysitting the Barrett kids one afternoon and the boy goes missing for a few hours, which is actually a pretty intense scene, calling the cops and everything. Turns out his dead-beat dad picked him up to teach mom a lesson, which would totally end him up in jail these days. Everything turns out okay though and since Dawn is such a super-sitter, Kristy learns to love (tolerate) her and even makes her the official Alternate Member or whatever.

Friday, February 4, 2011

Review: "If I Stay"

If I Stay by Gayle Forman
4 out of 5 stars

I decided I needed to read this book after hearing about it on a crafty forum I’m on. She called it “Really gripping. Emotional. Intense, but also sweet and occasionally funny.” And she was right. J 

The story is about a 17 year old girl, Mia, and a big choice she has to make, one that will change her life forever. I haven’t read a book this emotional in a long time. I will admit it, I cried. And stupid me, I read this and then the next weekend watched “My Sister’s Keeper”…yeah, dumb!

The dynamic between Mia and her family and between Mia and her boyfriend, Adam, made my heart hurt. They are so happy and connected, it’s amazing. Little brother Teddy is the coolest kid ever. Her dad is a punk rocker turned bow-tie wearing middle-school teacher. Her mom “gets” her. Boyfriend Adam is an amazing musician, but punk rock instead of classical like Mia, who loves her with all his heart and wants only the best for her. And that is all I can say directly about the book without spoilers, because exactly 12 pages and a paragraph into the book, big things happen.
…the pavement grows slick and there are gray chunks of what looks like cauliflower.” Wow. Forman is VERY good at describing the accident, almost TOO good. The thing that got me the most was the music playing after the accident. I like classical music, my dad got me into it when I was a teenager. (Yes, I listened to normal music like Guns N Roses and Nirvana too lol) My favorite way to spend a Saturday morning was just us 2 at home, listening to Mozart and reading the paper and books. I miss that. (Because I’m a grown-up now, he didn't die. eeep!) Anyway, I could hear the music playing in this scene and it haunted me.

It’s definitely a cliché for Mia to have her out-of-body experience and follow her wrecked body to the hospital, etc, but it works. The book alternates between the present scenes of Mia dealing with being the only possible survivor of the crash and past scenes of her family, how she began playing the cello, her starting relationships with Adam and BFF Kim. At times, I wanted to “fast-forward” through the past scenes and get back to the action, but I did enjoy them.

So I mentioned that I cried…I got misty eyed in several parts, but the part that really got me was when her Gramps tells her it’s okay to let go. Oh jeez, I’m getting blubbery just rereading and typing about it! “It’s okay if you have to leave us. It’s okay if you want to stop fighting.” You’d have to have a heart three sizes too small to not feel something in that scene!

And then the ending scene with Adam. “Stay. If you stay, I’ll do whatever you want. …if you need me to go away, I’ll do that…that would suck, but I’d do it. I can lose you like that if I don’t lose you today. I’ll let you go. If you stay.” Is that kind of love only found in fiction? Just wondering. *Le sigh* Side note: we have the iPod on and I just realized I was listening to Weezer’s “If You’re Wondering If I Want You To, I Want You To”. Very appropriate.

In the end, Mia decides to stay. There’s a sequel to this coming out soon (already out??) and I can’t wait for it. I hope it is as good and thought-provoking and…feeling…as this one. (I know “feeling” isn’t the word I want, but I can’t think what it is.)

Thursday, February 3, 2011

TILT: Sunshine!!

Like everyone else in the country (world!?), we've been having super yucky weather here in Texas this week. Ice storms, wind advisories, below zero windchills, coldest temps in 15 years, rolling blackouts! Blegh...and hey, we're hosting the Super Bowl this weekend! Yay! *Sarcasm sign* (I have to put up a sarcasm sign when texting my sister, because she doesn't get it sometimes! Hah!) My work has actually been closed the last 3 days and today was the first day we've been able to get out. Made it all the way across the parking lot to our mom's! Lol...and I've also read 3 books and working on a 4th this week! :) Should have at least one more review up tomorrow!

So, what do I love this week? Sunshine!!

Sun Painting by SunnyDaysStudio --bold and simple!

Summer Love Print by JeannieBluePhoto --"Tired of this cold, snowy winter?" Most definitely!

You Are My Sunshine Card by SmockPaper --share the love!

Yellow Ranunculus Flower Clip by JoyfulJessica --so pretty!