Jane Eyre Winner

Mucho thanks to everyone who entered my Jane Eyre giveaway this past week. I can't tell you how fun it was to read about all your favorite scenes from the book that you hoped would make it into the newest Jane Eyre flick. And now for the winner...

Who said she most wanted to see Rochester cross-dressing like a gypsy! 

Now if I could only find a theater near me actually showing the movie, I'd be a happy camper. 

The Three Musketeers

Anyone else seen this new trailer yet? I'm not too sure what to think about this latest incarnation of Dumas' tale. The movie stars Logan Lerman, Matthew Macfadyen, Ray Stevenson, Milla Jovovich, Orlando Bloom, Christoph Waltz and James Corden and will release October 14.

As for me, it looks like the story is taking itself just a little too seriously for my tastes. And what is with all the Matrix slo-mo moves? We really don't need to go there with this classic. That said, I'll probably still go see it because I'm compulsive like that. Thoughts?

84, Charing Cross Road by Helene Hanff

In what began with one innocently written request for a few out-of-print, reasonably priced books, American writer Helene Hanff unwittingly launched a decades-long correspondence with English booksellers Marks & Co. And more specifically with one bookseller, Frank Doel, a man she would never happen to meet. Her first letter to the establishment at 84, Charing Cross Road reads thus:

Your ad in the Saturday Review of Literature says that you specialize in out-of-print books. The phrase 'antiquarian book-sellers' scares me somewhat, as I equate 'antique' with expensive. I am a poor writer with antiquitarian taste in books and all the things I want are impossible to get over here except in very expensive rare editions, or in Barnes & Noble's grimy, marked-up school-boy copies.

I enclose a list of my most pressing problems. If you have clean, secondhand copies of any of the books on the list, for no more than $5.00 each, will you consider this a purchase order and send them to me?

Very truly yours,
Helene Hanff
And so a beautiful relationship between two extremely different bibliophiles is born. Helene can only be described as your typically eccentric and brash New Yorker who manages to slowly chip away at the equally typical professional British reserve of Frank Doel with her witty requests and sharp retorts. Even from this very first letter, I'm sure Frank Doel was able to paint a pretty clear picture of Ms. Hanff: unafraid and full of dry wit. An assessment that would have been spot-on as her later letters revealed a woman brimming with hilarity and intelligence alongside an astonishing fullness of heart. As Helene would often not only send her trademark letters of sarcasm and good-humor but packages of rationed foods for her British friends too. At different times I giggled, I cried, and above all I marveled at the profound reverence Helene and Frank shared for the written word. 84, Charing Cross Road is such a perfect little volume, one that will find a home in any bibliophiles' library.

Immediately after finishing, I just had to Netflix the movie adaptation, which of course was excellent and probably one of the most brilliant casting decisions regarding Anthony Hopkins (who just happens to be one of my top leading men) that I've ever seen. If you need any more prodding to pick up this delightful book, I recommend giving the movie a chance, I don't see how it could fail to bring a smile to anyone's face.

Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
Angieville review
At Home with Books review
Book Harbinger review
Sophisticated Dorkiness review

book source: purchased

Jane Eyre Giveaway!

Well do I ever have something exciting for you today! Many of you already know of my deep and long lasting love for the story of Jane Eyre - all that tension and drama just gets to me every single time. Which is why I was so excited when the kind people at Focus Features contacted me about doing a giveaway in conjunction with the recently released drool-worthy film, Jane Eyre. I haven't seen it yet (since I'm in one of those unlucky areas where it isn't showing yet), but you can be sure it's currently topping my list of must-see flicks. Just check out this lovely trailer...

Now onto the good part: Thanks to Focus Features, I have some great prizes in store for one lucky winner:
  • Soundtrack sampler
  • Bookmark
  • Journal
  • Pencil
  • Copy of the book, Jane Eyre, movie tie-in edition
All you need to do, dear reader, is to leave me a comment telling me what scene(s) from the novel you will be forever crushed if they don't include in the movie. Please be sure to leave me your email address. Contest will run until March 30th and is open to US residents only.

    Chasing Alliecat by Rebecca Fjelland Davis

    Summer is not turning out quite how Sadie Lester would have liked. Even though her mother basically dropped her off in the middle of Minnesota to live with her aunt and uncle and their bajillion kids for the summer, Sadie is determined to still find time for her true passion - mountain biking. Fortunately, Sadie quickly discovers that the wilds of Minnesota are actually the perfect place to not only one her riding skills but to escape the craziness of her new home. And her skills quickly begin to improve, especially after Sadie meets the fearless and focused rider Allie. Accompanied by Sadie's 'cousin' Joe, Allie continually forces the trio to push their bodies to the utmost limits, without ever exhibiting any fear. That is until they discover a dead priest in the woods and Allie disappears after reporting the crime that Sadie begins to realize just how desperate Allie's life has recently become and her determination to help her new friend no matter what.

    As unique storylines go, Chasing AllieCat is an absolute winner. When approached with the possibility of reviewing a novel about a teenage GIRL who mountain bikes competitively with the added bonus of a mysterious murder, well you can imagine my desire to dive right in. Talk about your strong, empowered heroine! Sadie (and Allie) is all of those things as she pushes herself physically in her riding. But more importantly she always remains a relatable teenager, suffering from self-doubt and even fear of success.

    Rebecca Fjelland Davis does an excellent job of creating a world full of annoying little cousins, redneck neighbors, and above all the ferocious Allie to populate Sadie's summer. Basically every single individual (with the glaring exception of Sadie's 'cousin' Joe who I could never wrap my brain around) was utterly real and full of personality. Combined with Ms. Davis' excellent sense of place - the backwoods of Minnesota - and you have a compelling mystery I'm sure most teens will gobble right up.

    Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
    Bookworming in the 21st Century review
    Lauren's Crammed Bookshelf review
    The Naughty Book Kitties review
    Reading Teen review
    Stacked review

    **Rebecca Fjelland Davis has generously offered to donate $1.00 for every meaningful comment left during the Chasing AllieCat book tour to Global Giving - a charity which provides bikes to girls in India, allowing them to attend school. 

    book source: Teen Book Scene tour

    How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

    It seems like Molly Harper continually gets good reviews for her Nice Girls series, especially by the trusted Kmont over at Lurv a la Mode who named the Nice Girls series her top humor read for 2010. So naturally when I was offered a chance to review her newest title, the first in a series featuring a pack of werewolves in remote Alaska, I jumped at the chance. Although not exactly my preferred genre, this paranormal romantic comedy was just right for putting a big 'ole smile on this readers face.

    When Mo Duvall-Wenstein finally decided to dump her vanilla fiance and make a fresh start away from her overbearing hippy parents, remote Grundy, Alaska seemed like the perfect escape. Even if the town happens to be a little on the smallish side, Mo quickly begins to feel right at home after finding a cooking job at the local diner/saloon and making friends with - most - of the locals. With the glaring exception of one Cooper Graham, smokin' hot good looks notwithstanding. Cooper has yet to bestow a single civil remark or gesture to Mo when she unexpectedly finds the surly man on her porch late one night, naked, with a bear trap caught around his ankle. Demanding an explanation, Mo is understandably astonished with Cooper transforms into a very large and very furry wolf. Which isn't the last of Cooper's startling revelations after several hikers and even Grundy locals fall prey to fatal wolf attacks. Attacks that Mo are sure could not have been caused by Cooper even if he can't remember his actions while in wolf form.

    With chapter titles such as "When Options A and B Both Suck" and "Moroseville, Population: Me" I found Molly Harper's witty banter and snarky observations in How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf hilarious. Instantly likable with her fast quips and enviable southern cooking, Mo's adventures with the confusing Cooper held my attention completely. I also devoured every single one of Mo's observations on the eccentric and diverse population of Grundy. Each individual added a new dimension and plenty of humor to keep the pages flipping. At times I was a little thrown off by minor details (Mo easy acceptance of Cooper's werewolf status for example) but the story itself was simply too much fun to complain about. And even though there were considerable more *sexytimes* than I was anticipating (which, honestly I don't know what's wrong with me since the title all but screams hot encounters contained within!!) they were never over the top or enough to throw me out of the story. As a light, fluffy read with plenty of comedy, I absolutely recommend How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf.

    series reading order:
    ~ How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf 
    ~ The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf (March 29, 2011)

    Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
    Fresh Fiction review
    Smokin' Hot Books review

    book source: review copy from the publisher

    Sword-Singer by Jennifer Roberson

    Retro Friday is a weekly meme hosted at Angieville and focuses on reviewing books from the past. This can be an old favorite, an under-the-radar book you think deserves more attention, something woefully out of print, etc. 

    After finally tracking down her long-ago kidnapped brother with the help of master sword-dancer Tiger, Del now faces the daunting task of returning to the North to finally pay the price for having slain her sword-master. Tiger isn't about to allow his basha to return to her homelands alone to face a trial and possibly death and so comes along for the ride. All too quickly however, he discovers that the North is nothing like his beloved desert South. Not only is he faced with an unfamiliar landscape and colder temperatures but demons and magic which Tiger stoutly refuses to believe exists. Even though the proof is right before his eyes. Frustrated with the whole venture, a miserable Tiger watches as Del becomes increasingly more detached and withdrawn even as she daily tries to prepare him for the uncompromising severity of her former home.

    Well. Whereas Sword-Dancer left me extremely satisfied if not entirely hungry for more Tiger and Del, then its sequel, Sword-Singer left me astounded and downright DEMANDING for the next installment. After having already spent one whole book with these two outstanding characters, I thought I had a pretty good handle on their histories and motivations but boy howdy was I ever wrong. Clever Ms. Roberson had plenty more surprises up her sleeve in Sword-Singer. For most of the novel I truly felt like I was there, right along with Tiger, discovering detail after detail about the North and Del for the very first time. I sympathized with his frustrations and unhappiness even if I sometimes wanted to pop him upside the head. But then, Tiger wouldn't be Tiger without a rash response here or there.

    Although once again, Del in her quiet yet unyielding way utterly stole the show and my heart in Sword-Singer. She is so fierce yet still feels every choice so deeply - even though she tries to hide that facet of her personality. I simply do not know how Del has managed to continue after enduring hardship upon hardship. But GAH!! How in heavens name could Jennifer Roberson end the book in such a way?!? Horrible cliff-hanger that it was, I'm still fuming at my mailman for taking over three weeks to bring me the next book, Sword-Maker. You can bet your sweet socks I didn't waste any time diving right back in.

    series reading order:
    ~ Sword-Dancer - my review
    ~ Sword-Singer
    ~ Sword-Maker
    ~ Sword-Breaker
    ~ Sword-Born
    ~ Sword-Sworn

    Because Everyone Likes a Second Opinion:
    Seedlings review

    book source: purchased

    Guess who is getting a book?

    "My name is Marcel and I'm partially a shell."

    Today I discovered that the hilariously awesome Marcel the Shell is going to be released in November as a picture book from Razorbill called Marcel the Shell with Shoes On: Things About Me based on the awesome video by Jenny Slate and Dean Fleischer-Camp. Seeing as my little boy loves this video (okay, me too) I think it's gonna have to go on my wishlist. Although I can only hope the publishers offer it as a read-along with the same narrator. She kills me.