Nov 30, 2014

Uncle Remus ~ His Songs and His Sayings and Read A Classic Month

Uncle Remus: His Songs and His Sayings

In 1880, Joel Chandler Harris, a moderate white Southern journalist, published a collection of black folktales, proverbs, songs, and character sketches based on stories he had heard as a child. In his introduction, Robert Hemenway discusses the book's enduring popularity, pointing out that the character of Uncle Remus, the docile and grandfatherly ex-slave storyteller, is a utopian figure-a literary creation by Harris that reassured white readers during the tense and tentative Reconstruction. By contrast, the feisty Brer Rabbit was a mainstay of black folklore long before Harris heard of his exploits. Brer Rabbit's cunning and revolutionary antics symbolically inverted the slave-master relationship and satisfied the deep human needs of a captive people.

So, here's a bit about my reading for the month before I get to my "sort of" review.  I have an author/blogger friend named Robert Zimmerman (his blog is A Life Among The Pages) who has a habit of talking me into things I don't want to do.  Sometimes I'm happy about it after all is said and done, like the fact I like Gilmore Girls now and sometimes it just ends up being a thorn in my side, like "Read A Classic In November" has been.

I have been so busy lately.  I have barely read a book every other week the last couple months.  It has been terrible.  So in November not only am I trying to read, but I'm reading a classic which I have a hard time due to my past experience with them not being the best.  I hated reading them in school and the couple times I have tried since I have hated it within a couple chapters.  It just isn't really for me.  So this time I thought I would maybe listen to a classic.  It's almost the same as reading and to some it is the same.  I had 8 hours in the car to myself while driving to Yallfest in November so this was going to be cake!  Yeah, not so much.  Within 3 chapters I was about to fall asleep at the wheel, not because the book I was listening to was bad (The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells) but just because the listening and driving wasn't a good mix for me over a long distance.

A couple weeks pass and I start thinking about what else I could maybe fit in and might be a bit more fun to read AND something my kids might enjoy at the same time.  I remembered seeing the Disney movie "Song of the South" as a kid and loving it.  I have always loved the stories told by Uncle Remus because they were so funny.  So I talked my 9yo into letting me read her a story about Brer Rabbit and Brer Fox.  After a page or two she stopped me with "I don't get a thing you're saying Mom!" That's because I wasn't really good at reading "Southern" out loud which is how these stories are written.  I had to keep stopping and telling her what was happening and before long she was bored.  I pulled out the Disney version of the book and redeemed myself with her at least.  It was much easier for her to get and we had a fun time laughing over these few stories I remembered.
Then the teens came home and I MADE THEM sit down and let me read the book to them as well. They thought it was funny too and I felt like I at least passed a little something different I enjoyed as a kid on to them.

The next night we were all hanging out and I decided to read them some of the differences in the versions of the stories.  We listened to a few of them on audio as well and this week I have heard "de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' Nuthin'" and "Brer Fox, he lay low" about 100 times....literally! We all loved the Tar Baby story and have been laughing about it all week.  Since my kids speak fluent southern is sounds fairly authentic as well.

I went through and read a few more of the stories and although I didn't read the entire book, I wanted to share the small experience I did have with reading a few of these adventures with my kids.  It was a lot of fun and I'm glad we did it.  I want to finish reading them, or listening to them, sometime soon. Perhaps when I'm wrapping Christmas gifts in the coming weeks.  I found the writing EXTREMELY hard to read out loud, but not so bad to read to myself.  Years before living in the south (I have been here 16 years now) I would have probably found it even more difficult, but I actually found it getting easier the more I read.

I thought I would be fun as well to ask my kids what their favorite part of the stories were and here's their replies:

Ainsley ~ 9 
"I liked the story where Brer Rabbit talked Brer Bear into trading places with him for the dollar a minute job when he was in the trap Brer Fox set."

Meaghan ~ 13 
"de Tar-Baby, she ain't sayin' Nuthin' and "Brer Fox, he lay low." (That was her exact answer when I asked her her favorite part! I told you....I've heard it all week!)

Beighley ~ 17 
"I liked the Tar Baby story and when they threw him in the Brier Patch." (He's a man of few words.)

I want to thank Rob for making me, once again, do something I didn't really want to do that didn't turn out too bad.  If nothing else, my kids and I have something else we share that we all like.

You can catch Rob's Read A Classic In November post HERE and maybe you will be inspired just a bit to read a classic yourself sometime soon.

Nov 25, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Winter To Be Read

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by 

This weeks topic: My Winter To Be Read List

10 & 9 
Torn ~ True Love 
Tore ~ Divided Love
by K.D. Ferguson
Torn True LoveTore Divided Love
These are the only books I purchased while at Y'allFest this month (a small miracle I know) and I enjoyed meeting author K,D. Ferguson very much so I am looking forward to reading this series.

8 ~ Any Book by Colleen Hoover
Hopeless (Hopeless, #1)
I have been all but yelled at by so many people for never reading anything by Colleen Hoover that I guess it's about time I get her bumped up on my TBR.  

7 ~ Daughter of Smoke & Bone Trilogy
by Laini Taylor
This is another series I have been putting off for a while.  I am really in the mood for a good fantasy series so I look forward to getting to this one.

6 ~ Contradictions
by Tiffany King
Contradictions (Woodfalls Girls, #3)
It's no secret that I love Tiffany King.  Her books are amazing and I am certainly looking forward to reading the final book in the Woodfalls Girls series...Contradictions.

5 ~ City of Heavenly Fire
by Cassandra Clare
City of Heavenly Fire (The Mortal Instruments, #6)
I haven't had time to finish this series yet, mostly because I need to reread books 4&5 before I read this one.  I'm looking forward to seeing how this series ends. 

4 ~ Shadow and Bone Trilogy
by Leigh Bardugo
This is a trilogy that has been sitting on my shelf for a long while.  I look forward to sinking in to it hopefully while the weather is cold this year.

3 ~ The Weight of Destiny
by Nyrae Dawn
The Weight of Destiny
This book was a must have for me.  I love Nyrae Dawn's books so much and this one is calling out to me like crazy!  I also would like to note that I LOVE this cover!

2 ~ The Oh Captain, My Captain Series
by Lindsay Paige and Mary Brown
Looking for You (Oh Captain, My Captain, #1)A Hockey Player's Proposal (Oh Captain, My Captain, #2)Finding Carson Lee (Oh Captain, My Captain, #3)
My best author discovery of the year was Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith!  I love these ladies and their work is amazing!  I am looking forward to this great series that they have released so fast that I can't seem to catch up with it!  

1 ~ Breaking the Rules
by Katie McGarry
Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)
Katie McGarry is a must have author for me and I look forward to every one of her books.  I can't wait to devour this installment of the Pushing The Limits series.

That's it for me this week.  What books are on your Winter TBR?

Nov 20, 2014

#TGIT Recap Week 8

To see last week's post click here.
Shondaland's Thursday Night Lineup TGIT will have its winter finale tonight!  It's been a crazy nine weeks so far, and we can't wait to see how it ends! Naturally, there's a lot more that goes on each show before the winter finale, which means that there was even more to forget or miss last week. Here's are the main points from last week's episodes so!  This #TGIT Recap starts in 3... 2... 1...

Babies, Drugs, and More Drama...
Grey's Anatomy
Can We Start Again, Please?
  Amy's sobriety comes into question when someone from Narcotics Anonymous breaks the most important rule and it almost makes her lose her job as a result.  Everybody in the hospital is talking about it, or whispering is more like it.  Richard helps her through the ordeal.
  Derek is asked by Owen if Amy should be Chief of Neurosurgery and he hesitates and doesn't even give an answer.  Amy is not happy about this and Derek promises to fix it, and he does.  At the end, he tries to apologize and says he doesn't know who he is anymore.  He's miserable and he hurts the people he doesn't want to hurt.  Amy tells him that he's hit rock bottom.
  Arizona decides to go through with Herman's deal.  When Herman goes M.I.A., Arizona has to handle a case on her own the way she knew how. She has Kepner help her work on closing up the mother, who ends up dying.  She has a deep talk with Jackson later on, saying she's not worried because she's got her faith.  
  Meredith apologizes to Maggie for the dinner incident.  She ends up forgiving her and they go out for dinner at the end of the episode.  Also, be happy because Jo successfully did her first surgery by herself!  She doubted herself and Bailey, who stood in on the procedure, played on her fear before she told her everything was okay.  
  Arizona walks in to Alex's house with her stuff, asking if she can stay and he, of course, tells her she can.  The awkward part... everyone, including Callie was there and just pointed out everyone was related through sex.  Jo is just sitting in the other room, and she needs to get over her problems with not having all the Alex time she used to have.  

It's all coming together!
Displaying photo.JPG
The Last Supper
  Jake spends most of the episode in the bunker because Rowan can't know he's free.  He fights with Fitz multiple times about various things, but Olivia is always at the core of their arguments.  Later on, Fitz and Olivia share a kiss with only a wall between them and Jake.  
  Lizzy Bear goes to Olivia to help find out who's bugged her phone.  Olivia finds out that Cyrus is the one and she also finds out about Michael, the prostitute.  It turns out he never really shared information with Liz because he cares about Cyrus.
  At the White House, Mellie and VP Andrew are starting up their affair again.  Why?  Because he almost died from a car bomb and it made her realize how much she loved him and wanted to see him again.  They do adult-like things a couple times during the episode.  Also, David is turning in the B613 files to help with Jake's case.
  Huck takes Javi on a stakeout.  They're watching Lizzy Bear's secret apartment.  Hu sends Javi to go grab ice cream while adult business goes on.  First, Kubiak, who Quinn has been watching for forever, but does nothing; he is the last connection to the key and pictures of Olivia.  He walks in to Liz's apartment.  YOU. WOULD. NOT. BELIEVE. WHO. WALKS. IN. A. MINUTE. LATER! 
  IT'S THE VICE PRESIDENT!! That's not even the worst part of this! Kubiak leaves for a minute and then we see him start making out with LIZZY BEAR!!!!  That's right!  He's cheating on Mellie, who's cheating on Fitz with him!  Kubiak comes up to Huck's surveillance truck and they have a quick fight.  Huck barely kills Kubiak... and then he looks over and sees that Javi saw the whole thing.  He runs away.
  Amid one of the Fitz-Jake fights, Olivia poses a plan to distract her father.  She takes him to dinner that night.  At dinner, he tells her that even though he wasn't always the best father, everything he does is for her.  While this is happening, snipers have their guns locked on him and there's a whole video feed and everything at the White House.  After Rowan's little speech, all of the agents on the perimeter are shot down, and the B613 files have all gone blank.  He obviously knew somehow that this was happening.  He tells Olivia that now she's turned her back on him, so she is on her own.  He tells her that if she thought the world was a such a terrible place with him in it, she's gonna see what it's like without him.

How to Get Away with Murder
He Has A Wife
  We see Lila Stangard's last moments before she was murdered.  She talks to Rebecca about "Mr. Darcy" and all of that drama.  When Sam breaks up with her, she shows up to the Keating residence to tell Annalise everything.  Bonnie answers the door and tells her that she needs to go home.
  The day before the murder, Annalise tells Wes about Lila's pregnancy and asks him to keep Rebecca out of the loop on this one.  That, of course, doesn't happen.  He tells Rebecca, who tells her new buddy Nate, who tells her a DNA test should fix everything.

The Day of the Murder...
  Wes finds out that these two are in kahoots with each other and he doesn't like it at all and he argues with Rebecca about it.  When Connor and Laurel come over for a study group thing, Rebecca storms out. Afterwards, we see Wes beating on Rebecca's door, which has loud music playing behind it.  Connor suggests that maybe she's ran away, and that's exactly what happened.
  Michaela feels like she should have the trophy because she won the case today, but Keating doesn't really care at this point, so she never really gives it to Michaela.  What does Michaela do?  She has an argument with her mother-in-law-to-be at dinner and then goes to Asher's place and steals the trophy.  No big deal.  Meanwhile, Frank and Laurel are doing it as they're entering his apartment.  It's very exciting... Until another girl walks in asking if Laurel's the student of the month!  Laurel leaves without any explanation.
  Bonnie talks to Sam about what happened with Lila and she knows that he knew about the pregnancy.  They kiss.  Later that night, Bonnie tells Annalise that Sam kissed her to manipulate her.  She rambles on about how he can't be trusted and stuff like that, crying as she does so.  She is fired right there, right then, and is devastated.
  There are so many people with the motive, but there's only one murderer.  Tonight, we will finally find out who killed Sam!  Many believe it's Bonnie because of her long history with Sam and she is probably not happy with him at the moment.  Others believe it is Rebecca because of everything that has happened concerning Lila's case.  Could it be someone else?  Find out tonight on the winter finale of TV's new #1 Drama How To Get Away With Murder!  

Now that you're caught up, don't miss the TGIT Winter Finale starting at 8/7c on ABC!

Nov 18, 2014

Top Ten Tuesday ~ Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly event hosted by 

This weeks topic: 

Top Ten Sequels I Can't Wait To Get My Hands On

Book #2 in the Bracing For Love Series
by Lindsay Paige
Bracing the Blue Line (Bracing for Love, #1)Nepenthe (Bracing for Love, #2)

Book #3 in the Woodfalls Girls Series 
by Tiffany King
No Attachments (Woodfalls Girls, #1)Misunderstandings (Woodfalls Girls, #2)Contradictions (Woodfalls Girls, #3)

Finding Carson Lee
Book #3 in the Oh Captain, My Captain Series
by Lindsay Paige and Mary Smith
Looking for You (Oh Captain, My Captain, #1)A Hockey Player's Proposal (Oh Captain, My Captain, #2)Finding Carson Lee (Oh Captain, My Captain, #3)

Writing A Wrong
Book #2 in the Write Stuff Series
by Tiffany King
The Write Stuff (A Write Stuff Novel, #1)Writing A Wrong (A Write Stuff Novel, #2)

Boy Most Likely To
Book #2 in the My Life Next Door Series
by Huntley Fitzpatrick
My Life Next Door (My Life Next Door, #1)

Breaking The Rules
Book #1.5 in the Pushing The Limits Series
by Katie McGarry
Pushing the Limits (Pushing the Limits, #1)Breaking the Rules (Pushing the Limits, #1.5)

That's it for me this week!  Leave me your links so I can see which sequels you are most excited about!

Nov 17, 2014

Memory Lane Monday #33: Banana Edition ~ Review ~ Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Memory Lane Monday is a weekly meme that Amber at Paradise of Pages and Kristalyn (and Beighley) at The Sarcastic Palmtree, came up with. We have been wanting to re-read some of our favorites but feel overwhelmed by all the other new books coming out that our re-reads get put to the side. We have decided we don't want to put them aside anymore, so we will be taking turns putting up our reviews on our blogs throughout the month. This does not mean we won't keep up with recent releases, it just means we will make more time for those we have read before as well.

Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)
My name is Katniss Everdeen.
Why am I not dead?
I should be dead.
Katniss Everdeen, girl on fire, has survived, even though her home has been destroyed. Gale has escaped. Katniss's family is safe. Peeta has been captured by the Capitol. District 13 really does exist. There are rebels. There are new leaders. A revolution is unfolding.
It is by design that Katniss was rescued from the arena in the cruel and haunting Quarter Quell, and it is by design that she has long been part of the revolution without knowing it. District 13 has come out of the shadows and is plotting to overthrow the Capitol. Everyone, it seems, has had a hand in the carefully laid plans--except Katniss.
The success of the rebellion hinges on Katniss's willingness to be a pawn, to accept responsibility for countless lives, and to change the course of the future of Panem. To do this, she must put aside her feelings of anger and distrust. She must become the rebels' Mockingjay--no matter what the personal cost.
To see what I remembered from this book, go see my memory post here.  I'd definitely recommend you read it because there will be things which are covered that are not in this review.

Okay... since this is the final book in a series and the movie will be coming out soon... I'm gonna give everyone a fair warning!

WARNING:  This review has spoilers!
At First Sight
I love this cover because it's a symbol of Katniss (The Mockingjay) breaking free of the Capitol's grip.  This is also the first time we really got to see what a Mockingjay looks like and I thought it was cool!

Characters and Relationships
Katniss is destroyed at the beginning of this book, mentally and physically.  In addition to this, the rebellion wants her to be the one people look up to, The Mockingjay.  The only real reason she agrees is to get Peeta back and take revenge on the Capitol.
Once they finally get Peeta back... the first time Katniss goes to see him, he tries to kill her.  Plutarch and Haymitch deduce he has been "hijacked".  "Hijacking" is a sick form of torture the Capitol uses to twist a person's memories around using a dose of tracker jacker venom that is "just enough to infuse the memory with fear and doubt".  In Peeta's case, they made him think Katniss was a "muttation" The cure that is discovered is a game that Jackson, Bogg's second in command suggests called "Real or Not Real?".  The rules are very basic:  Peeta asks if something he remembers happened or not, then someone, usually Katniss, tells him the answer.
I liked being able to see Finnick grow as a character.  To see he really isn't the fake Capitol brat was great!  His love for Annie Cresta cannot be matched.  Annie was driven insane after winning her Hunger Games so it was always cool to see he was there to bring her back.  It was so sad to see him die, leaving not only her, but their son behind.

Is This A Kissing Book?
There is a maximum of like 10 kissing scenes in this book... There is little to no focus on which guy Katniss is gonna choose.  I think that all the people who think that's what it's about need to reread it and think again.  This book is deeper than that.

Don't Leave Me Hanging
Since this book is the FINAL book... there is really no cliffhanger.  The epilogue was the crack that broke the dam holding my tears it's happy, yet sad.  Katniss and Peeta end up having what some people would call a "happy ending" with kids and peace and all that stuff.  What those people don't realize is that they really don't have a happy ending, and that is the sad part.  They have been through the equivalent of three Hunger Games.  That is a traumatizing, life-altering event!  I think this is best summed up in some of the last words of the book...
"How can I tell them about that world without frightening them to death?... My children, who don't know they polay on a graveyard... We can make them understand in a way that will make them braver.  But one day I'll have to explain about my nightmares.  Why they came.  Why they won't ever really go away.  I'll tell them how I survive it.  I'll tell them that on bad mornings, it feels impossible to take pleasure in anything because I'm afraid it could be taken away".
The Best Gems

  • Mockingjay Perks (Demands)
  • Crazy Cat
  • Finnick Reveals Secrets
  • Real or Not Real?
  • "...Effie Trinket, rebel."
  • A Presidential Execution
The Sum Up
To sum it up... this book is amazing!  I know it's probably the one billionth time I've said it, but it's true!  Katniss goes through not only this book, but the entire trilogy, enduring all the crap that's thrown at her.  She does end up with a happy ending, but at a huge cost.  She will always live her life in fear that the happiness she rightfully earned will be taken away.  I think that this is why this book is so good.  This isn't some fairy tale with sunshine and rainbows!  Katniss experiences reality.  Suzanne Collins does a good job with showing this world through the eyes of a 17 year old that has had to mature at the rapid rate Katniss had to.  I can't wait to see how well the movie adaptation will be this time around since they've done such a great job with the first two.

I LOVED being able to read this book again!  It's one of the best finales in book history EVER!  Go see the movie on November 21st after you read it!  Thanks for stopping by!  

Here's how Memory Lane Monday works:
  • Each week the co-hosts will trade off with recapping when it is a re-read or what they have heard so far about the book and the other co-host will put up their review. 
  • The participants can read anything that they remember reading in the past, or something that they have wanted to read that has been around for a while and just haven't gotten around to reading it yet for whatever reason.
  • Participants can decide if they want to recap the book before reading it or just put up a review of what they read.
  • Anyone can join in, just please link back to our blogs as well as add your name to the linky so we can hop around and see what everyone is reading.
  • Please put our banner on your post as well, so we all look the same!
  • We ask you kindly to follow BOTH of our blogs.
  • Most importantly remember to just have fun! :)

We will be providing each week a linky that you will be able use to link your posts for us and everyone else to see as well. All we ask is for you to put up our banner as well as a link back to both hosts on your post. 

Nov 15, 2014

Because You Exist by Tiffany Truitt ~ Blitz

Because You Exist (Light in the Dark Series, #1)
by Tiffany Truitt
Release Date: 11/11/14
Limitless Publishing

Life is good for LOGAN MIDDLETON. He’s quarterback of the Shepherd High football team, nephew of the town’s most successful lawyer, and boyfriend of Jenna Maples, a girl who has finally agreed to take their relationship to the next level. But nothing good lasts forever.

With only a few minutes of last period English left between him and a weekend alone with Jenna, Logan blacks out. When he awakens, he finds himself in a future where Shepherd High lies in ruins, nothing is what it seems, and everyone he loves is dead. Logan is a shifter. Chosen to travel through time, it’s up to him to figure out how to stop the terrible events that claimed his once perfect life.

Of course, all of this might be easier if he wasn’t paired with the one girl who’d rather see him dead than help him, JOSEPHINE. A girl he tormented during childhood. Strong-willed with biting wit, who lives in the shadows. Tough and dark, Jo is Shepherd High’s most notorious outcast and Logan’s opposite in every way. Together the two must overcome their many differences to figure out why they’ve been selected for such an overwhelming task, and who selected them in the first place.

Before it’s too late… 

Excerpt from Because You Exist
“How long did it take you to find me?” Carrie asked, pulling out one of her earplugs.

“What are you listening to?” I countered. I didn’t want to answer her question. I didn’t want to explain how it took me four hours to find someone who knew anything about Scary Carrie besides the fact that she loved hoodies and had zero friends. It involved one of those things where you call a friend who knows a friend who knows a friend whose mom also works at the public library. I used the JV football team as my slew of detectives. They were always eager to please me. 

Carrie laughed quietly to herself, no doubt fully aware of the fact that I was avoiding her question. She turned her iPod so I could read the screen. 

“Sia. Hmmm. Jenna likes her.”

“Wow,” she said shaking her head. “Why do you sound so surprised there, QB1? What were you expecting to see?”

Um. I don’t know. Maybe some screamo, emo band singing songs about death or how the world sucks, or maybe how conforming to nonconformity is rad. I mean if she was going to wear the hoodie and play out the loner routine, she might as well really commit to the performance. Soundtrack and all. 

It was then I noticed how her hood was off her head. Her curly, red hair was pulled into a ponytail that lay in front of her shoulder. Her face was flushed. She almost looked like breathing wasn’t the most painful thing asked of her. She was almost...


Don’t go there.

“Listen. Um. Can we talk?”

She laughed again. “Sort of late to ask me that, Mr. All-American. Since you know...we’re already talking.”


Carrie didn’t wait for me to continue. Instead, she pushed her cart of books further down the aisle and began to place the books on the self. 

“So, I was thinking we could talk know...that thing...that happened to us.”

“You want to talk about that thing that happened to us!” Carrie exclaimed in a louder than needed voice, waggling her eyebrows.

I felt the blood rush to my cheeks. “Very funny,” I muttered.

“Oh, calm down, Die Hard. It’s not like any of your friends spend their Saturday afternoons at the public library.”

“Loving the nicknames,” I replied dryly.

She didn’t respond.

“So. Um. How long have you been working here at the library?”

Why was I so nervous?

I had talked to like a million girls before. Granted, never about the end of the world though. 

“Don’t,” she warned.

“Don’t what?”

“Play the I want to get to know you act.”

“I wasn’t—”

“You were.” 

Count to ten.





Why does she have to be such a bit...

She lifted a book from the cart, but I grabbed it out of her hand. “Enough.”

About the Author
Tiffany Truitt received her MA in literature from Old Dominion University. Her debut Chosen Ones, first in the Lost Souls trilogy, is a searing look at what it means to be other and how we define humanity, as well as a celebration of the dangerously wonderful feeling of falling in love.

Author Links:
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