The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen, just what I needed

The Girl Who Chased the MoonThe Girl Who Chased the Moon. Finished 1-29-13, rating 4.5/5, magical realism, 269 pages, pub. 2010

Something suddenly caught her eye. She quickly stepped to the balustrade.  She thought she saw something in the woodline beyond the gazebo in the overgrown backyard.

There! There is was again. It was a bright white light-a quick, zippy flash-darting between the trees. Gradually, the light faded, moving back into the darkness of the wood until it disappeared completely.

Welcome to Mullaby, North Carolina, she thought. Home of ghost lights, giants, and jewelry thieves.

Chapter One

Emily recently lost her mother, the only family she has ever known, and is shipped off to her grandfather in North Carolina.  Julia is from Mullaby but left as a teenager only to return as an adult after her father died.  Both plan on  being there for  short time, but both find themselves with reasons to stay in the quaint, close-knit town full of secrets and charm.

I loved Allen’s first book Garden Spells and found myself almost as enchanted with this quirky and magical tale of lost love and the trials of growing up.  She has a talent for making stories that are light and still satisfying.  Oh, and romantic.  Emily and Julia both found men to appreciate them even when they didn’t want to be appreciated.  Julia’s story of her teen years carried the novel for me and I was happy to see her get her happy ending (this is Sarah Addison Allen so I don’t think I’m spoiling anything by saying that).

I like magical realism, especially when done well, and need to read more.  Let me know if you have a favorite.

This was from my personal library and I decided to read it after I saw it on Carrie’s 2012 favorites list.

It’s Friday so let’s talk about reality tv

I usually try to keep Friday posts to movie topics but I was wondering if I was the only one who watches reality tv?  There are 4 reality shows that I have watched every show of every season.  There are others I’ve tried in the past and maybe lasted a season or two but these are the ones I just can’t give up.

Survivor: Season One - The Greatest and Most Outrageous MomentsSurvivor.  You had me at hello, Jeff Probst.  Watching you skillfully and respectfully navigate through these crazy characters makes me happy.  Some seasons have been better than others but even after 25 seasons I have no intention of giving it up.  Although watching Russell Hantz for three seasons almost made me throw in the towel.

Project Runway: Season OneProject Runway.  I watch this show for the sheer talent of these designers not for any fashion sense I have.  I am always amazed at what they can whip up in a day and then be able to be creative enough to do it day after day.  Tim Gunn such a perfect mentor and I wish he made housecalls!  Season 11 started last night.

Top Chef: New York - Complete Season 5Top Chef.  Just as I am not a fashionista but still love Project Runway, I am not an accomplished chef in any way and I still love this cooking show.  I love Tom Colicchio, the head judge.  This show is addictive and it may even turn you into a bit of a foodie.  We’re in season 9 now and I feel much more confident eating at fine restaurants and even cooking with new ingredients.  It’s inspirational and instructional!

The Voice has only had 3 seasons but I’ve loved them all.  I love the idea of choosing a singer blind and how each of the coaches really mentors their singers.  I think I made it through 3 seasons of American Idol too, but I can see myself sticking with this show.  I’m not a country music fan, but Blake Shelton is so darn nice and Adam Levine isn’t so hard to look at either.

So, admit it, what ‘reality’ shows have you hooked?

My 2013 reading list

001I knew that January would be a laid back blogging month so I didn’t stress out about goals for the blog when the year started.  As I read my way through my Google Reader I pulled books from my shelves that I saw on 2012 favorites lists and decided to make every attempt to read those this year.  A 2013 reading list with 9 books.  I think even I can manage that 🙂  I really hope to read more from my shelves this year, while at the same time buying fewer books.

I’m not sure what it says about the upcoming year that I am only now, on January 24th, coming up with a goal.


The Enemy by Lee Child and why you should be reading the Jack Reacher series

The Enemy (Jack Reacher Series #8)The Enemy. Finished 1-21-13, rating 4/5, 464 pgs, pub. 2004

Book 8 in the Jack Reacher series (Book 1) (Book 2) (Book 3) (Book 4) (Book 5) (Book 6) (Book 7)

She had lived through desperate times and she had stepped up and done what was necessary.  At that moment I started to miss her more than I would have thought possible.  At that moment I knew I would miss her forever.  I felt empty.  I had lost something I never knew I had.

Chapter 19

Jack Reacher, loner extraordinaire, wasn’t always such a hard man.  There was a time when he had a job, a family and friends.  He was a star in the military police force and he was content with life.  This story of his time at Fort Bird was quite a departure for Reacher and I liked it but Reacher didn’t feel completely known to me either.  This is a military police procedural with some mom and brother time thrown in for fans.  His mother’s storyline was powerful.  I liked the change of pace, but am looking forward to the roaming Reacher with nothing but a toothbrush to take on the world.

Why should you be reading the Jack Reacher series?  Because he’s alpha male dreamy.  He isn’t held back by rules but is ruled by what is good and just and he’s not afraid to get his hands dirty in the pursuit of justice.  He’s a tall, commanding man who, if you count the number of women he’s charmed out of their clothes, knows his way around a woman’s body.  Wonder if I can get Reacher to take a bus to Cleveland?

I found this paperback on my shelf and was ready to read it after seeing the Jack Reacher movie.

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn is my first read of the year

Gone GirlGone Girl. Finished 1-11-13, rating 4/5, thriller, 415 pages, pub. 2012

I don’t often actively choose a book to be the first I read in a new year, too much pressure.  But as I was walking through the library after Christmas, Gone Girl just called out to me from the shelves.  I couldn’t resist.  I mean I’ve been reading so many raves about it that I was excited to read it.  Thankfully, I was not disappointed.

Nick and Amy sitting in a tree, K-I-S-S-I-N-G.  First comes love, then comes marriage, then comes blood on the kitchen floor.  As with most other reviews of this book, the less I say about the story the better.  It’s best to go in with no expectations.  I tried skim the reviews because I didn’t want my experience to be spoiled but I still caught a few hints that led me to a few good guesses.  It didn’t ruin the book at all.  But, in all honesty, I think Flynn does a good job of keeping you guessing no matter what you might expect.

I read Sharp Objects, Flynn’s first book, but I didn’t really care for it.  This one I really liked.  They are both dark novels with characters not always easy to like, but somehow, this one really worked for me.  I don’t know if it will end up on me year end favorite list, as seems to be the case with almost everyone who has read it, but it is one that I can happily recommend for the thriller lover with a twisty streak.

It’s Sunday and Gage is here to choose winners!

Thank you all for your best wishes on my blogiversary.  Let’s get to some winners… First up, winner of the free book from my favorites list.  I taped everyone on a ball and let Gage choose one.

013014And the winner is…Sheree!  She said she wanted to win Violets of March, but a girl has a right to change her mind.









Next up is the winner of Godiva chocolate.  I let Gage choose oneof the letters that represented the quiz gang this week.  Who’d he choose?

001004The winner is Nise!  Yummy chocolate is headed your way 🙂










I had you help me choose the best Gage photo from his years on the blog.  The majority of you chose the one with him and his momma on their birthday hats.  Great choice 🙂  Gage helped me pick the winner of a surprise bookish gift.  This time I gave him some Sesame Street stickers and waited to see who’d get stuck first.

006012On his third sticker Big Bird hit Carol (Carol’s Notebook)!  Congratulations, Carol!

5 Best of the Best – Gage is giving away a prize if you tell him how cute he is!

012May 2012 153006082391

In October 2010 little Gage came into the world and onto the blog.  Six pounds of cuteness!  After much debate, here are my 5 favorite photos from Sundays with Gage.  Tell me your favorite and you’ll be entered to win some Godiva chocolate!

In honor of my 5 year blogiversary I’m giving stuff away.  Click here to win a favorite (of mine) book).

Click here to win a cool bookish gift.

5 Best of the Best- Quizzes with a chance to win!

I have a degree in English Education and although I don’t use it to make money these days I do still have some of the test maker in me and thankfully you guys let me play quizmaster.  Thank you all for coming to play 🙂  The quizzes are always on Tuesdays (next round starting in February) and the more people who guess the better.  The winner of each round wins a gift card in the amount of the number of participants, and there is always a special prize for a random quizzee.  Nise (Under the Boardwalk) has dominated the leaderboard with 6 wins in 10 rounds since I started keeping track in 2010!  But Hannah (Word Lily) is the reigning champion.

Here are 4 of my favorites over the past 5 years, Writer’s Lost Quiz (this is always the first quiz of the year, next one coming up Feb. 5), Common Thread Quiz (I’ve done a few of these and I’ll do more but they are time-consuming), Color Scattergories Quiz (this is just one of the many that I rely on the participants more than on my own research, the Big Boggle is another that I like too), and the 40 Quiz (life begins at 40 ;)).

023Wanna Win?  I love the visual quizzes.  This last favorite is the one I made for the Read-a-thon this past fall.  It’s a clock.  Go ahead and leave your guesses for the titles (each one coinciding with where you find it one the clock) as a comment.  On Saturday Gage will randomly choose a winner.  You don’t have to guess them all and guesses don’t have to be correct to be entered for the win.  Winner will receive the same bookish prize that Marie won last round (ie. it’s a surprise and a good one!)

Want to enter to win one of my favorite books?  Click here.

My 5 year Blogiversary with a chance to win a favorite book!

I can hardly believe I’ve been blogging for 5 years!  I started slow, got involved with the community through memes, challenges and events, and then slowed down again these past few months have really slowed down due to home demands.  This slowdown will continue for the next few months, but I will still be here, reading, writing, quizzing and visiting your blogs.  Only on a more laid back schedule!

It’s really the community that makes it worth the time and effort.  There have been one or two times in the past year when I’ve considered giving it up because I only have so much time in the day and while I love all of you, you aren’t the ones giving me hugs and kisses at night.  But I would miss it so here I am 5 years in and looking forward to 5 more.

I’ll be going some Best-of-the Best posts this weeks with giveaways.  For the first one I thought I’d compare my favorite lists over the years.  The only big difference I see is that I read less romances these days.  I bolded my 5 favorites from these lists (at least my favorite 5 today :)).  My 5 faves from the last 5 years.

GIVEAWAY-Tell me what your favorite is from these lists and you’ll be entered to win a favorite pick of your choice!  Make sure you leave your email too.  I’ll draw a winner on Saturday.  Look for more giveaways this week!

When I started on January 7, 2008 these were the books I listed as favorites from the year before…

the 5 Prey novels by John Sandford (Broken, Chosen, Mortal, Naked, Hidden)

Natural Born Lover by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Harry Potter & the Deathly Hollows by JK Rowling

Sophie Metropolis by Tori Carrington

A year later and my 2008 list looked like this…

On Writing by Stephen King

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Four Seasons in Rome by Anthony Doerr

The Coffin Dancer by Jeffrey Deaver

Splendor by Brenda Joyce

Fear & Trembling by Amelie Nothomb

A Patchwork Planet by Anne Tyler

Here are my 2009 favorites

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Hiding Place by Corrie Ten Boom

Shantaram by Gregory David Roberts

Watchers by Dean Koontz

Joy School by Elizabeth Berg

Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil by John Berendt

Pride & Prejudice by Jane Austen

The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver

The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa

My 2010 faves may be my favorite of the lists…

The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly

The Shadow of the Wind by Carlos Ruiz Zafon

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Saving Cee Cee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman

2011 had more great reading

Good Grief by Lolly Winston

Roots by Alex Haley

The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

Big Stone Gap by Adriana Trigani

Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart

Live Wire by Harlan Coben

The Missing Ink by Karen Olson

Buried Prey by John Sandford

A Room with a View by EM Forster

Heart Sick by Chelsea Cain

And finally last year’s  list

Beloved by Toni Morrison

The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

In the Woods by Tana French

It by Stephen King

Stories I Only Tell My Friends by Rob Lowe

Thank you all for being such great reading buddies these past years and always steering my to awesome books I wouldn’t have found otherwise.