Literary Quote of the Month

“For poems are not, as people think, simply emotions (one has emotions early enough)—they are experiences,” … Rilke, The Notebooks of Malte Laurids Brigge.

Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Happy 4th Blogoversary!

It's my Blogoversary! 4 years ago today I put text to virtual paper and created Chick with Books Blog!

During the past 4 years, Harry Potter flew from across the pond and landed, Twilight became a sensation and not just a time of day, We found out there were fifty shades of gray, and liked them …

We saw the eReader become a reality, Borders said goodbye, We learned to tweet (not twerk), found Facebook was more than a place to put your face, and learned to pin on Pinterest…

We traveled far & wide (and even time traveled), fell in love with many a hero including a few in kilts, and revisited some classics including a visit to a pig named Wilbur and his spidery friend Charlotte…

We saw writers getting published, and banned, and we read many great books. I've met many great people blogging here, and I want to thank you all for making Chick with Books the blog that it is today! You came here to read about books and bookish things, you shared your likes, dislikes and part of yourselves. You commented, lurked and tweeted. Thank you for it all! And as a thank you, here's another Blogoversary Giveaway!

I've read & reviewed a lot of books on Chick with Books, so I thought it would be fun if I gave away one of the books I've read & reviewed. ANY one of the books I've actually read and reviewed in the past 4 years! (not just blurbed about, but actually read & reviewed)  So, here's the giveaway…

Happy 4th Blogoversary Giveaway #2…

Take a look through all the books I've read & reviewed over the past 4 years and pick one out. The post will say "… a Review". This giveaway is for a paperback of any one of the books I've read & reviewed (not just blurbed about but actually reviewed). If you prefer a ebook version, that's ok too. If the book isn't out in paperback yet, you'll get a hardback. And if for some reason the book isn't available any longer, you can pick another book. Sounds simple enough? I hope so!

TO ENTER THE GIVEAWAY… YOU MUST LEAVE A COMMENT (a post comment) AND in your comment along with your email, just let me know what book you'd like. And here's something new I'm going to try- Rafflecopter. A lot of bloggers use Rafflecopter for their giveaways, and I thought I would give it a try. (Not as part of the giveaway, but let me know if you like using Rafflecopter).




a Rafflecopter giveaway

Monday, February 17, 2014

Love & War Audiobook Giveaway!

They seemed the most unlikeliest of couples. 
Two political powerhouses from opposite sites of the floor who simply fell in love…. 

And... It's An Audiobook GIVEAWAY!

Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home by Mary Matalin and James Carville is not what you'd expect and then again everything you'd expect. I have always been fascinated by the romance of this couple. How can such political powerhouses and adversaries find love between campaigning? I never thought that their relationship was created for publicity, but it seems that enough people did think that and have asked that question point blank to them. And that's what makes this tale of love and politics so interesting, because even though the media made such a big deal out of their romance, it wasn't a big deal. It was just a working class girl from Chicago and a boy from Louisiana falling in love and raising a family in the craziness of Washington, DC and then taking a step back and making lives for themselves outside the fray and dealing with the fray. Both Mary Matalin and James Carville are smart, savvy political engineers, but that's just one of the wonderful things about their relationship- they knew how to run a campaign, love politics and they could relate to what the other was doing. Political opposites, but that's what makes life interesting. Their life together is as normal as any husband and wife raising a family, buying a house, going to work every day but also filled with some people and places that we as readers have become familiar with if we've payed attention to anything happening to our country in the past 15 years. BUT, this is NOT a book on politics!

I listened to this audio book of Love & War and loved it! Read by Mary Matalin and James Carville, it's almost as if they are speaking to us directly about what's going on in their lives and what had been going on in their lives. They individually answer those questions about getting along, raising children, dealing with being "well known" and trying to live a normal life at the same time, and basically giving us a peek into their lives. Yes, they do talk about their jobs, but it's really not about that. It's about marriage, children and dealing with everything that goes along: Falling in love, staying in love, giving birth, ADHD, buying that first house, going to school, having a job, friends, and keeping your sanity in a Washington DC existence. This book lets you see beyond what you may have thought about Mary and James (individually and as a couple), and find common ground in your own life. Listening to Mary read and then James read what seems to be his "view" of the topic was fun. They both have great voices in respect to audiobooks, and they read wonderfully.

The audiobook of Love & War is unabridged, 9 CD's and 10.5 hours. Thanks to Random House Audio I received a review copy of this! Thanks Random House! AND thanks to Random House Audio I have a copy of this audiobook to GIVE AWAY! It's part of my week long Blogoversary Celebration! I've always talked about Memoirs on Chick with Books and this one really captured my attention. Here's how to enter…

To Enter this giveaway…

*For one entry leave me a comment with your email address!

*Get an extra entry for following my blog! Just let me know you're a follower when you leave your comment! ( Not a follower yet? No problem, sign up by clicking on the 'followers" button on the sidebar to the left by Google Friends Connect or Google +! Just let me know you became a new follower!)

*Blog or tweet about this giveaway and leave me the link for one more entry.

This giveaway is open to US and Canadian residents only. Contest ends 11:59pm EST on Feb. 24th. I will randomly pick the winner the next day and email you! (please check your email.. winner must reply to me within 3 days! Thanks!) Good Luck!




Love & War by Mary Matalin & James Carville… An Audiobook Review

They seemed the most unlikeliest of couples. 
Two political powerhouses from opposite sites of the floor who simply fell in love…. 

Love & War: Twenty Years, Three Presidents, Two Daughters and One Louisiana Home by Mary Matalin and James Carville is not what you'd expect and then again everything you'd expect. I have always been fascinated by the romance of this couple. How can such political powerhouses and adversaries find love between campaigning? I never thought that their relationship was created for publicity, but it seems that enough people did think that and have asked that question point blank to them. And that's what makes this tale of love and politics so interesting, because even though the media made such a big deal out of their romance, it wasn't a big deal. It was just a working class girl from Chicago and a boy from Louisiana falling in love and raising a family in the craziness of Washington, DC and then taking a step back and making lives for themselves outside the fray and dealing with the fray. Both Mary Matalin and James Carville are smart, savvy political engineers, but that's just one of the wonderful things about their relationship- they knew how to run a campaign, love politics and they could relate to what the other was doing. Political opposites, but that's what makes life interesting. Their life together is as normal as any husband and wife raising a family, buying a house, going to work every day but also filled with some people and places that we as readers have become familiar with if we've payed attention to anything happening to our country in the past 15 years. BUT, this is NOT a book on politics!

I listened to this audio book of Love & War and loved it! Read by Mary Matalin and James Carville, it's almost as if they are speaking to us directly about what's going on in their lives and what had been going on in their lives. They individually answer those questions about getting along, raising children, dealing with being "well known" and trying to live a normal life at the same time, and basically giving us a peek into their lives. Yes, they do talk about their jobs, but it's really not about that. It's about marriage, children and dealing with everything that goes along: Falling in love, staying in love, giving birth, ADHD, buying that first house, going to school, having a job, friends, and keeping your sanity in a Washington DC existence. This book lets you see beyond what you may have thought about Mary and James (individually and as a couple), and find common ground in your own life. Listening to Mary read and then James read what seems to be his "view" of the topic was fun. They both have great voices in respect to audiobooks, and they read wonderfully.

The audiobook of Love & War is unabridged, 9 CD's and 10.5 hours. Thanks to Random House Audio I received a review copy of this! Thanks Random House!  I've always talked about Memoirs on Chick with Books and this one really captured my attention.

Sunday, February 16, 2014

Happy Blogoversary Week & The Sunday Salon!



Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's a special week on Chick with Books because it's our Blogoversary week! 4 Years ago on February 18th, I created Chick with Books Blog to share my love of reading with "the world" or whoever would be so kind to stop by and take a peek at what I posted. I've met so many wonderful bloggers, readers, authors, publishers, writers, and other bookish people! Thank you to everyone who has stopped by, added a comment, answered my questions about blogging (and there were plenty), read my blog and helped Chick with Books to grow. Thank you to all the publishers and writers who have shared books with me, so that I may share them with others! Thank you to everyone for making it so much fun to talk about books!

So, what do we do with a Blogoversary?! Well, we celebrate! This week I'll be giving away some great bookish things to celebrate, so come back starting Monday to enter the Blogoversary Giveaways! 

Now for some Books that are all the rage this week…

Winter People by Jennifer McMahon… West Hall, Vermont, has always been a town of strange disappearances and old legends. The most mysterious is that of Sara Harrison Shea, who, in 1908, was found dead in the field behind her house just months after the tragic death of her daughter, Gertie. Now, in present day, nineteen-year-old Ruthie lives in Sara's farmhouse with her mother, Alice, and her younger sister, Fawn. Alice has always insisted that they live off the grid, a decision that suddenly proves perilous when Ruthie wakes up one morning to find that Alice has vanished without a trace. Searching for clues, she is startled to find a copy of Sara Harrison Shea's diary hidden beneath the floorboards of her mother's bedroom. As Ruthie gets sucked deeper into the mystery of Sara's fate, she discovers that she's not the only person who's desperately looking for someone that they've lost. But she may be the only one who can stop history from repeating itself.

Ever since reading Dismantled by Jennifer McMahon I have been a fan. I loved that book and enjoy Jennifer's writing.  She's a writer who knows how to write a great plot twist and I'm sure we can look forward to a great twist or two in Winter People. Published by Doubleday, it's available now from your favorite bookstore and it's on my wish list!

After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman… When Felix Brewer meets Bernadette “Bambi” Gottschalk at a Valentine’s Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative—if not all legal—businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi’s comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes. Though Bambi has no idea where her husband—or his money—might be, she suspects one woman does: his mistress, Julie. When Julie disappears ten years to the day that Felix went on the lam, everyone assumes she’s left to join her old lover—until her remains are eventually found. Now, twenty-six years after Julie went missing, Roberto “Sandy” Sanchez, a retired Baltimore detective working cold cases for some extra cash, is investigating her murder. What he discovers is a tangled web stretching over three decades that connects five intriguing women. And at the center is the missing man Felix Brewer. Somewhere between the secrets and lies connecting past and present, Sandy will find the truth. And when he does, no one will ever be the same.

Laura Lippman is always a great choice when you're in the mood for a great mystery, and After I'm Gone has gotten great press. It would have been on my wish list, but thanks to the nice people at William Morris it is on my nightstand and waiting for me to crack the spine this weekend!

My Life in Middlemarch by Rebecca Mead… Rebecca Mead was a young woman in an English coastal town when she first read George Eliot's Middlemarch, regarded by many as the greatest English novel. After gaining admission to Oxford, and moving to the United States to become a journalist, through several love affairs, then marriage and family, Mead read and reread Middlemarch. The novel, which Virginia Woolf famously described as "one of the few English novels written for grown-up people," offered Mead something that modern life and literature did not. In this wise and revealing work of biography, reporting, and memoir, Rebecca Mead leads us into the life that the book made for her, as well as the many lives the novel has led since it was written. Employing a structure that deftly mirrors that of the novel, My Life in Middlemarch takes the themes of Eliot's masterpiece--the complexity of love, the meaning of marriage, the foundations of morality, and the drama of aspiration and failure--and brings them into our world. Offering both a fascinating reading of Eliot's biography and an exploration of the way aspects of Mead's life uncannily echo that of Eliot herself, My Life in Middlemarch is for every ardent lover of literature who cares about why we read books, and how they read us.

This book has gotten so much buzz this week I just had mention it. I am so curious about it too - will Rebecca Mead's writing live up to all the talk? And in order to really appreciate Rebecca's love letter to Middlemarch, do we need to read the classic by George Elliot first? I've never read Middlemarch and so I just downloaded a copy on the nook. I'm putting My Life in Middlemarch down as a TBR at some point. If you want to read Middlemarch by George Elliot, which is said to be "the ultimate piece of literature", you can download it from Gutenberg.org.

How was your reading week? Did you find any must read books?! I hope you found something good to read here today! And I hope you'll stop by all next week to see what great giveaways I've got planned for my 4 year Blogoversay!

Happy reading… Suzanne

Friday, February 14, 2014

Happy Valentine's Day

                                                                     When You Are Old

         When you are old and grey and full of sleep,
        And nodding by the fire, take down this book,
        And slowly read, and dream of the soft look
        Your eyes had once, and of their shadows deep;

        How many loved your moments of glad grace,
        And loved your beauty with love false or true,
        But one man loved the pilgrim soul in you,
        And loved the sorrows of your changing face;

        And bending down beside the glowing bars
                                                     Murmur, a little sadly, how Love fled
                                                      And paced upon the mountains overhead
                                                      And hid his face amid a crowd of stars.

                                                                                                       ~~  William Butler Yeats

*Woman Falling Asleep While Reading, Painting by Jean Spitzerwho gave me permission to use it in this post. 

Monday, February 10, 2014

Mailbox Monday

 Welcome to Mailbox Monday! It's a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

I've had some great books arrive in the mail the past week…


*A Nearly Perfect Copy by Allsion Amend

*Season of Tending by Cindy Woodsmall

*Ophelia and the Marvelous Boy by Karen Foxlee

*The Weight of Blood by Laura Mchugh

*The Divorce Papers by Susan Rieger

*After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

*The Girl With A Clock For A Heart by Peter Swanson

*Archeteype by M.D. Waters

*Dead Men Kill by L. Ron Hubbard (audiobook)

Did you get any books in your mailbox?

Sunday, February 9, 2014

What's Up Valentine? It's The Sunday Salon


Welcome to The Sunday Salon! It's that time of the week again… The time to talk books! So grab yourself a cup of joe, find yourself a comfy chair and settle in…

It's been a cold and wintry week in Connecticut. There was a major snow storm that layered almost 12 inches of beautiful white snow that's here to stay for a while as the temperatures aren't going much above 20 degrees. Baby It's Cold Outside, but at the end of this week is Valentine's Day and that definitely can get HOT! What do you do for Valentine's Day? Romantic dinner, funny cards, HOT reads? Well, this week I thought I would share some romantic reads, plus a book to send your sweetheart, and share some links to some great Valentine's Day crafts!
First the romantic reads… 
A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux… Once upon a time...as a fair maiden lay weeping upon a cold tombstone, her heartfelt desire was suddenly made real before her: tall, broad of shoulder, attired in gleaming silver and gold, her knight in shining armor had come to rescue his damsel in distress… 

The thrillingly romantic tale of thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomer, left alone and brokenhearted in an English church, and the sixteenth-century hero who carries her heart away, A Knight in Shining Armor is a story for all time, and for anyone who believes in the power of love… Abandoned by her lover, thoroughly modern Dougless Montgomery finds herself alone and brokenhearted in an old English church. She never dreamed that a love more powerful than time awaited her there... until Nicholas Stafford, Earl of Thornwyck, a sixteenth-century knight, appeared. Drawn to him by a bond so sudden and compelling that it defied reason, Dougless knew that Nicholas was nothing less than a miracle: a man who would not seek to change her, who found her perfect just as she was. But she could not know how strong were the chains that tied them to the past -- or the grand adventure that lay before them.

This has been on my TBR list for a LONG long time. I have seen this novel on many many "must read" romance lists and so here it is on one of mine! I love time travel romances and this was one of the first I ever read about. I don't know why I haven't read it, except for the fact that romances aren't the norm for my reading pleasure. This is going to the top of my TBR list.

Outlander by Diana Gabaldon… Claire Randall is leading a double life. She has a husband in one century, and a lover in another...

In 1945, Claire Randall, a former combat nurse, is back from the war and reunited with her husband on a second honeymoon--when she innocently touches a boulder in one of the ancient stone circles that dot the British Isles. Suddenly she is a Sassenach—an "outlander"—in a Scotland torn by war and raiding border clans in the year of our Lord…1743. Hurled back in time by forces she cannot understand, Claire's destiny in soon inextricably intertwined with Clan MacKenzie and the forbidden Castle Leoch. She is catapulted without warning into the intrigues of lairds and spies that may threaten her life ...and shatter her heart. For here, James Fraser, a gallant young Scots warrior, shows her a passion so fierce and a love so absolute that Claire becomes a woman torn between fidelity and desire...and between two vastly different men in two irreconcilable lives.

This has to be my all time favorite romance. Claire and Jamie are just all that you ever want in star crossed lovers. This story is romantic, sexy, steamy and an adventure waiting for you. It is the first book in a series that follows the lovers as they cross time and space to be with each other. Don't feel obligated to read them all (but you'll want to) and don't feel intimidated by the amount of pages (it's over 800 pages), but read this book!

I Shall Be Near To You by Erin Lindsay McCabe… "An extraordinary novel about a strong-willed woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight beside her husband in the Civil War, inspired by a real female soldier's letters home. Rosetta doesn't want her new husband Jeremiah to enlist, but he joins up, hoping to make enough money that they'll be able to afford their own farm someday. Though she's always worked by her father's side as the son he never had, now that Rosetta is a wife she's told her place is inside with the other women. But Rosetta decides her true place is with Jeremiah, no matter what that means, and to be with him she cuts off her hair, hems an old pair of his pants, and signs up as a Union soldier. Rosetta trains with the men, prepares herself for war, and deals with the tension between her and Jeremiah as he comes to grips with having a fighting wife. There are many dangers to face, from the constant threat of discovery to intense battles where they fight side by side. With him, she faces the difficult realities of the Civil War, marriage, and staying true to herself. Inspired by true accounts of the more than four hundred women who fought in the Civil War disguised as men, I Shall Be Near To You is a tender love story, an exploration of gender roles and marriage, and a hard examination of war".

Can you imagine living during the Civil War and having your sweetheart or husband go off to war. How frightening that must have been. How your heart would have ached. Little did I know that there were plenty of women who went with their men! They disguised themselves as men and joined the ranks to fight alongside the men they loved. I am curious as to how this is written. If the writing is good, then this might be a wonderful romantic look at one of those relationships. It's on my radar TBR.

The Shell Seekers by  Rosamunde Pilcher… The Shell Seekers is a novel of connection: of one family, and of the passions and heartbreak that have held them together for three generations. The Shell Seekers is filled with real people--mothers and daughters, husband and lovers--inspired with real values. The Shell Seekers centers on Penelope Keeling--a woman you'll always remember in world you'll never forget. The Shell Seekers is a magical novel, the kind of reading experience that comes along only once in a long while.

At the end of a long and useful life, Penelope Keeling's prized possession is The Shell Seekers, painted by her father, and symbolizing her unconventional life, from bohemian childhood to wartime romance. When her grown children learn their grandfather's work is now worth a fortune, each has an idea as to what Penelope should do. But as she recalls the passions, tragedies, and secrets of her life, she knows there is only one answer...and it lies in her heart.

People have constantly told me how wonderful this book is. So, here I am passing it along to you! It's an oldie but goodie. Has anyone read this?! What did you think?!

Here's a book to give to your Sweetheart…. 
An Awesome Book of Love by Dallas Clayton… This book, written for ages 3 and up, explores all the facets of love. It's written as a children's book, but this book says it all when it comes to telling that someone special just how much they mean to you! Your sweetheart, your son or daughter, your wife, a grandchild, a grandmother, or just someone you can very much about. Buy this book, get out a pen and inscribe it, the person who receives it will treasure it forever! ( Psst… I'm giving one to my special guy) You can read the whole book HERE, illustrations and all!


Valentine's Day Crafts…  Want to make something special for your Valentine? Here are some great ideas for some cards and gifts you can make yourself…                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        How about a Valentine's inspired votive holder from SkinnyScoop.com… Or a Heartfelt Bookmark for your someone special…Or another inspired bookmark idea from Evermine BlogScholastic has a fun take on making bookmarks using paint sample cards… And here are some ideas from Martha Stewarts Valentines crafts and gifts… Here are some crafty Valentine's Day ideas from Better Homes & Gardens. Have any ideas you'd like to share? 

Weekly Recap… I read the most wonderful ROMANTIC book. Maybe not so romantic as a wonderful romance, but it was Under The Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan and I LOVED it! This is the much anticipated 2nd novel by Nancy Horan who gave up Loving Frank. She seems to hit it right on the nose with these historical romances about famous men. Loving Frank was about Frank Lloyd Wright and his affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney. Under The Wide And Starry Sky is about the romance between Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny. Read my REVIEW from Saturday. Hmm, this book also counts towards my Chunkster Reading Challenge 2014!  AND, I'm 11 books read out of 50 for my Goodreads 2014 reading goal. 50 books is a lot though, and even though I've been quite voracious, I'm not sure I could really read 50. How many books have you read in one year?! This is also my first year of keeping track of my reading, usually I just enjoy and not think twice about "how many".

Enjoy your Valentine's Day! If reading is your choice, I hope I've shared the perfect Valentine's read for you!

Happy reading… Suzanne

Friday, February 7, 2014

Under The Wide And Starry Sky with Robert Louis Stevenson and Author Nancy Horan… A Review

I am in love. Not with Under The Wide And Starry Sky by Nancy Horan, but with Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny Van De Grift Osbourne. But if not for Nancy Horan's book, I would not have known Louis Stevenson or his feisty American wife, Fanny, so I must admit that I did love Under The Wide And Starry Sky too.

How to put into words how good this book is… Just like one of Robert Louis Stevenson's adventure books, Under The Wide And Starry Sky took me to far away places, let me live and breath the South Pacific, and let me peek into the door of the souls of Robert Louis Stevenson and Fanny, two passionate individuals who did not want an ordinary life. This book was everything I had anticipated and so much more. It was an amazing love story, an adventure story, a story filled with passion, an artistic journey, a travel journal, a story filled with pain and tragedy, jealousy and unending love. It is one of the few books that I devoured the postscript, afterward and acknowledgements as well as the book itself. The research for this book, along with the keen writing abilities of Nancy Horan, makes this book so beautiful, so full of life. These are not 2 dimensional characters on the page, but living, breathing people, sharing their lives with the reader.

Under The Wide and Starry Sky is the love story between Robert Louis Stevenson, the author who gave us such classics as Treasure Island and The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and Fanny Van De Grift Osbourne, who flees the United States and her first husband to find artistic fulfillment in Belgium. The story develops in such a way that we experience both Louis and Fanny as individuals first. Fanny, full of artistic passion, running away from her philandering husband in America, young children in tow, first to Belgium and then to France. Tragedy follows Fanny to Europe, where she finally settles into a quiet life in France to recuperate. That quiet life erupts as the boarding house she settles in explodes with a colony of artists. This is where she meets the gregarious & passionate man named Robert Louis who falls madly in love with Fanny and wants desperately to be with her. Even though Fanny is 10 years his senior, Fanny succumbs to Louis' passionate, vivacious personality, but is that enough to sustain her and her young children? Torn between practicality and passion, the love story unfolds before your eyes in such an honest heartfelt way, that you are drawn in immediately to their lives and the passion between them. It is a passionate love story that will span decades and continents, and have you blindly turning those pages as you walk through the chapters of their lives.

Nancy Horan has done such a wonderful job of researching the lives of Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife, Fanny. And it's because of the wealth of correspondence, relationships and recorded adventures that this is possible. But making sense of it all, and shaping the story, their story, in such a way as to truly let the reader experience their lives is a remarkable talent. We are lucky that Nancy Horan possesses that talent, because the result is Under The Wide And Starry Sky, a love story, painted with the artists eye for beauty, that may have been lost in the pages of a dull biography just filled with places and dates in the hands of a lesser talent.

The Low Down… I was so wrapped up in the romance between Louis and Fanny. There were so many complications with Fanny being married for one, but also overcoming the prejudice of her being 10 years older. It was such an honest portrayal of a couple who loved each other through the test of time. But I also discovered a lot more about Robert Louis Stevenson than I had known before. I didn't realize he was a lawyer by education, or that he was so sickly throughout his childhood and adulthood. I never realized how much of an adventurer he really was, he really saw the world he wrote about. And the author really gives you the feel for an artist passionate about his art. I would say if you enjoy love stories, historical fiction, and if you are a reader and want to learn more about Robert Louis Stevenson's life, read this book! I learned so much. Though this is a work of fiction, there is so much truth behind the words. You will not be disappointed. Wonderful writing, and equally wonderful story.

Sunday, February 2, 2014

The Sunday Salon and The 3 Books You Have to Read NOW Before the Movie Comes Out

Welcome to The Sunday Salon! The day of the week where readers from all over the world congregate in the virtual library and talk books. So, grab yourself of cup of Joe, pull up a comfy chair and let's talk!

This week is about those books that are coming our way as movies. It's always been my feeling that I want to read the book first before seeing the movie. I don't like to form any preconceived ideas in my head about the people in the book or know what's going to happen ahead of time. Of course sometimes the movie changes the book in unpredictable ways, and if you've read the book, you know what "really" should have happened. Of course, in some cases, some people find the movie better than the book. I don't think I've ever experienced that before, but I have experienced ending of books changing, like Jurassic Park, which was an amazing book. The ending in the theater made my jaw drop open. The Reader had a twist at the end of the movie not in the book, which I think made the book better. And I couldn't read The Firm after seeing the movie because not only did I know what was going to happen, but it seemed that the dialog was straight out of the book, word for word.

There are quite a few movies coming out this year that are from books. We already have The Book Thief, Labor Day, Enders Game and Catching Fire , BUT here are 3 books you need to read now so you can enjoy the movie…


Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin… Set in New York at the beginning and the end of the twentieth century, Winter´s Tale unfolds with such great narrative force and beauty that a reader can feel that its world is more real than his own. Standing alone on the page before the book begins are the words, I have been to another world, and come back. Listen to me. In that world, both winter and the city of New York (old and new) have the strength and character of protagonists, and the protagonists themselves move as if in a vivid dream. Though immensely complicated, the story is centered upon Peter Lake, a turn-of-the-century Irish burglar, and Beverly Penn, a young heiress whom he encounters in robbing her house, and who eventually will die young and in his arms. His love for her, and a gift of grace, will allow him after the most extraordinary and painful explorations and discoveries to stop time and bring back the dead. To follow him, his predecessors, his inheritors, and his companions is to experience one of the great stories of American literature.

I actually have this book lost somewhere in a TBR pile stored in a moving box. Amazon reminded me that I "bought a copy of this already in 2006", but I saw the trailer for this and fell in love. I recalled the cover to be a beautiful whispy photograph of light streaming through windows in what appears to be an old Grand Central Station. Why didn't I read this book?! Now I'm going to have to because I really would like to see the movie and I hate reading the book after seeing the movie. It just ruins it for me. I like to imagine it all in my head without someone assigning an actor or actress, and I like to know the "real" story and not just the one needed to make a movie, which is sometimes altered in mysterious ways. Time travel, romance and lost love all add up to what seems to be a wonderful historical time travel romance. Historical because I believe it will be a great depiction of New York City in a by gone era.

Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin dates back to 1983, and the movie is coming to theaters this February 14th for Valentine's Day, starring Colin Farrell, Russell Crowe and Jennifer Connelly… There is  just enough time to read it before then! *P.S. Here's the link to the movie trailer… and "The Book".

The Fault In Our Stars by John Greene… Despite the tumor-shrinking medical miracle that has bought her a few years, Hazel has never been anything but terminal, her final chapter inscribed upon diagnosis. But when a gorgeous plot twist named Augustus Waters suddenly appears at Cancer Kid Support Group, Hazel's story is about to be completely rewritten.

OK, here is your typical tragic teenage love story, except it isn't typical. It's gotten fabulous 5 stars reviews and John Green, the author, has been on the radar for writing wonderful books for some time. This has been on my reading list for a while, but I'll have to move it up before June, when the movie will be coming to theaters. I liked the trailer for this one too… Here it is: The Trailer and a link to "The book".

Gone Girl by Gillian Flynn… On a warm summer morning in North Carthage, Missouri, it is Nick and Amy Dunne's fifth wedding anniversary. Presents are being wrapped and reservations are being made when Nick's clever and beautiful wife disappears from their rented McMansion on the Mississippi River. Husband-of-the-Year Nick isn't doing himself any favors with cringe-worthy daydreams about the slope and shape of his wife's head, but passages from Amy's diary reveal the alpha-girl perfectionist could have put anyone dangerously on edge. Under mounting pressure from the police and the media--as well as Amy's fiercely doting parents--the town golden boy parades an endless series of lies, deceits, and inappropriate behavior. Nick is oddly evasive, and he's definitely bitter--but is he really a killer? 
As the cops close in, every couple in town is soon wondering how well they know the one that they love. With his twin sister, Margo, at his side, Nick stands by his innocence. Trouble is, if Nick didn't do it, where is that beautiful wife? And what was in that silvery gift box hidden in the back of her bedroom closet?

Gone Girl had been on numerous "best" lists in 2012. I have to admit, I just never got around to reading it or putting it on my TBR list. It seemed like the typical "Dead Wife, Husband Did It" kind of novel. But, I may have to give this one a try. Gilliam Flynn, the author, has quite a few books behind her, all with good reviews, and the writing may overcome what I first assumed was just the "typical wife dead, who-dun-it." Anyone read this yet? What did you think?! This movie will be released in October of this year and stars Ben Affleck.

Other books to movies this year… The Giver by Lois Lowry, The Maze Runner by James Dashner, This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper, The Hundred Foot Journey by Richard C. Morais, and The Ocean at the End of the Lane by Neil Gaiman, just to name a few.

What are you looking forward to seeing in the movies? Any book you think should be a movie and isn't slated for the big screen yet? What are your favorite adaptations?

Here is a link to more books to movies that may interest you courtesy of Goodreads.

Weekly Recap…
I shared two book reviews this week. First was my review of RELISH by Lucy Knisley. What do you get when you mix a graphic novel with food? Relish of course! Click on the title to read my review of this fun memoir.

Second review this week was for Are You My Boyfriend by C.B. Bryza, a take off of the Dr. Suess classic, Are You My Mother and with the same great artwork to go along with it! It's a book for adults, not because of the language, but because of the wry humor of finding the perfect man. There's a good moral to the story too that wraps it all up in the end. A perfect Valentine's Day gift book. Read my review by clicking on the title above.

And what am I reading right now?! Well, I am reading Under The Wide and Starry Sky by Nancy Horan and am LOVING it!!! It is the story of the passionate romance between Robert Louis Stevenson and his wife Fanny. It's historical fiction and no one does this type of romance better than Nancy Horan. I read her previous book, Loving Frank and fell in love with her writing then. Expect a review soon….

Hope your reading week was good! What have you been cracking the spine on? Share all those great reads right here so we can all grab a copy!

Happy reading… Suzanne

Saturday, February 1, 2014

A Perfect Chick Book for Valentine's Day… Are You My Boyfriend by C.B. Bryza (a Review)

I love a girl with confidence! And the girl in Are You My Boyfriend by C.B.  Bryza, and illustrated by Simon Greiner, certainly has it all… BUT a Boyfriend! She's got great friends, a wonderful family, she's financially independent, so she should have a boyfriend to finish the picture, right? Well, in this wonderful picture book, a parody of the classic Dr. Seuss book, Are You My Mother? by P.D. Eastman, our girl goes looking for love, only to find out that true love will ultimately find its way to you. Her journey along the way is humorous, but heartfelt, and is a perfect tale, and very relatable for any of us girls who've ever looked for love.

"Is her boyfriend the poker-faced tough guy, the wealthy cad full of empty promises, or the nice average dude who’s really more into her friend? From the coffee shop, to the movie theater, to the self-help section of the bookstore, our heroine encounters a host of potential mates who could be perfect—for someone else. Will she ever have a happily-ever-after?" ~ from the publisher

What did I think? I loved it! Reminded me of the Dr. Seuss books I use to read, and the illustrations were in that beautiful retro style too! The story itself is charming, humorous and so true! Written for us Grown-Ups, Are You My Boyfriend would also be a great book for your teenage daughter, because there are lessons to be learned in these pages, about self respect, and self confidence. But for us Grown-Ups, it's a fun tale of looking for love in all the wrong places, and finding true love in the most unexpected way. Are you My Boyfriend is available February 4th,  from your favorite bookstore! I'm thinking it would make a perfect gift for your BFF!

 *P.S. This would also make a perfect Valentines Day gift for your someone special- your soul mate!

I want to thank Gallery Books and Simon & Schuster for sending along a review copy for me! 
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