Wednesday, July 23, 2008

The Dark Knight

My husband and I went to see "The Dark Knight" this past weekend!
First, let me set the stage:
We decided to go 'dating' Saturday -- you know, dinner and a movie.
The evening started out with dinner at one of my favorite restaurants (they have the best salad dressings in the world!) where we shared a plate of chicken fettuccine. Yum!
When we got to the theater, lo and behold, the film was sold out. This was at 7:00. They suggested we come back for the 9:30 showing, but that we purchase our tickets ahead of time because every time the film played, it was selling out.
OK. So we bought our tickets and went puttering around town.
Our main stop was Hastings, where we cruised the book and movie aisles. Cool! I love doing that and I found a copy of "The Wizard of Oz," which I had been looking for. I also bought Zuma (computer game) and a disc on using QuickBooks. Hubby found four classic western movies.
Now what should we do? We still had an hour until show time.
Fortunately, I just happened to have the current book I was reading with me! We went back to the theater and found a shady spot to park. I read my book and hubby rested.
We went inside about a half hour before the movie was to begin (also a suggestion from the theater manager when we were there earlier). There was already quite a line. We bought popcorn and soda and joined the others who were waiting.
Finally, we were sitting in front of the screen -- a little closer than I like to sit, but the seats were filling up fast!
Aw, previews of coming attractions and YES! the film begins.
I've always been a Batman fan. I remember watching the weekly series starring Adam West when I was a little girl. My sister and I would get home from school, turn on the TV and BAM! WHAM! (Guess you had to be there!)
Imagine how excited I was when they started making the movies. I absolutely loved Jack Nicholson as the joker.
So, what did I think of this latest version of the caped crusader? Wonderful. Excellent. Thrilling. Super-duper. Etc. Etc. Etc.
The action was fantastic, i.e. the scene where the semi flips! The makeup and costumes were awesome.
I also loved Heath Ledger as the joker. He reminded me of a young Jack Nicholson. Heath did a great job and I can see why the critics are talking "Oscar" here.
Now, what did hubby think? Hmm, that's another story. You have to understand that he's a pretty laid-back kind of guy. He likes the old westerns (hence the purchases at Hastings) and he likes comedies. He thought "The Dark Knight" was too fake.
Ugh! (Can you picture me rolling my eyes here?)
"It's supposed to be fake ... it's a comic book!" was my reply.
Oh, well. I liked it and next time, I'll let him pick the movie. I hope I don't fall asleep in the middle of it!

An Unusual Blog

I found this blog today and wanted to share it with my readers.
It's called "Unusual Historicals" and it's written by authors of historical romance. It's really an interesting blog. The authors discuss the actual facts about the people they choose for characters in their books.
Lot of pictures and a few contests sprinkled in here and there make for a great place to visit each day.
I was particularly interested in Lisa Yarde's entry about William the Conqueror as he is a distant ancestor of mine.
You can find the blog at
Check it out!

Saturday, July 19, 2008


Reading through my reviews, you'd probably never guess Stephen King is undisputedly my favorite contemporary author. Not long ago, a friend of mine asked me that very question. I didn't hesitate to answer and his response was, "Oh, you like that dark side."
That's not necessarily the case.
Yes, King has written some very macabre books, but he's also penned many that aren't really horror -- in fact, I wouldn't classify most of his books as such. Whether it's a so-called horror novel, a thriller or just a plain story, King is the master. (Read "The Stand" if you disagree.)
No one can pen words like that man nor does anyone have the imagination.
"Blaze" was actually one of the first books he wrote. It was under his pseudonym (or other personality, as he is apt to say) of Richard Bachman. Originally written in 1973, it was never published, boxed up and put on a shelf. It was the last of the Bachman books. After that, King went on to write "Carrie" and the rest, as they say, is history.
King brought the book out of storage, did some rewriting and published it in 2007.
It definitely has the flavor of the Bachman books, which have a little different style than the novels he publishes under his own name. Even with that, any King fan will admit that it is a King book, too.
This is the story of a man who was born a genius. Indeed, he would have classified as a phenom -- if his father hadn't thrown him down the stairs, bashing his skull and destroying his intelligence. Instead, he grows up in an orphanage (of course, the state takes him away from the man who nearly killed him), where he falls under additional abuse from a director who is cruel and loves to wield the stick.
Blaze is now classified as mentally deficient ("retarded," in other words). He falls in with the wrong crowd, ends up in prison and, when he gets out, becomes best friends with a hoodlum-type. They share future plans for doing the one crime that will set them up for life. With the money they can make from that one crime, they can go to a place where it's warm year-round and retire to a life of leisure.
After his friend is killed, Blaze decides to go ahead with their plans. Unfortunately, they are rather complicated as they involve kidnapping the infant son of one of the area's richest families. That may seem like quite an undertaking for someone with limited reasoning skills, but not to worry. His friend will still be helping him. How? Blaze hears him talking and can vaguely make out his form. A ghost? His imagination? Hmmm?
Well, Blaze kidnaps little Joe and, of course, falls in love with this 6-month-old child who doesn't call him names and smiles so warmly at him. Joe laughs at his jokes and snuggles up to his neck.
His plans now change. It's still take the money and run, but he's going to keep Joe for his own. He imagines what it will be like watching Joe grow up.
That's all I can say about the book without revealing the story to those who haven't read it yet. It's a great book and King adds that twist at the end readers have come to expect.
Don't ever think you've figured out a King novel. There's always a surprise ending and "Blaze" is no exception.
I loved it!

Friday, July 18, 2008

Let me know you've been here!!!

I love getting visitors to my blog. Last time I checked, my counter was up to 555!
Let me know you've stopped by. Please sign my guestbook, which you can find in the right-hand column on this page.

Hill Towns

I always enjoy a good book by Anne Rivers Siddons. This one spent two months on the New York Times bestseller list and I could see why.
This is a story of a woman who refuses to leave her home. She’s agoraphobic only in the sense that she will only travel so far from the house and has never left the hill she grew up on.
When friends decide to marry in Italy, she is determined to take charge of her fears and accompany them. She does quite well, even though her husband isn’t much help at all. In fact, he made me wish I could meet him face-to-face and give him a piece of my mind!
There are a variety of unusual occurrences within this story and a few twists to keep things interesting.
You’ll like this book. I certainly did.

The Locket

Richard Paul Evans is one of those rare authors who always seem to bring the reader to tears at the end of his novels.
While reading “The Locket,” that’s exactly what I expected. However, that’s not what happened.
Instead of tears, the book brought a huge smile to my face! It is such a marvelous tale.
As I read this heart-warming story, I fell in love with the characters. It’s a book about a young man who takes a job at a nursing home and the elderly clients seem to take to him right away. They trust him and believe in him. It’s actually quite touching.
He loves his job and he cares about the people he helps take care of.
“The Locket” is the first of a trilogy Evans wrote that also includes “The Looking Glass” and “The Carousel.” I’m anxious to read the other two as I truly enjoyed this one.

A Patchwork Planet

Pulitzer Prize-winning author Anne Tyler has written a unique story in “A Patchwork Planet.”
This is the story of a year in the life of a 30-year-old man who has always had things go wrong. He’s now on the right track, yet circumstances bring him to the edge of troubles over and over again.
Barnaby is described as a “misfit.” He tries to do good, but his family continually reminds him of his past mistakes. He finally meets a woman they accept, but she seems to be attracted more to his renegade side. For example, when he is falsely accused of stealing money from her aunt’s home, she tries to cover for him, assuming he did, indeed, make off with the dough (pun intended) the elderly woman had hidden in her flour bin.
This is a delightful book. Readers can’t help but like Barnaby and feel as if he gets the raw end of the deal.
I enjoyed this book and it’s no question why it is a New York Times notable book. It’s full of fun and there were moments when I laughed out loud.

Monday, July 7, 2008

Fall On Your Knees

Ann-Marie MacDonald wrote an amazing book when she penned “Fall On Your Knees.” One of her first novels, the book was an international bestseller.
I was very surprised that I liked this book. The sentence structure, grammar and punctuation leaves a lot to be desired and that would typically aggravate me. But the story is so enthralling that I couldn’t put it down.
The chapters are short and punchy, often only a few pages in length. That fact alone kept the story moving along at a quick pace.
These are great characters who deal with life’s setbacks in their own unique ways and you can’t help but love one and hate another. Yet, that seems to be exactly what MacDonald wants you to do.
On the back of the book, it says, “The Piper family is steeped in secrets, lies, and unspoken truths. At the eye of the storm is one secret that threatens to shake their lives – even destroy them. … Theirs is a world filled with driving ambition, inescapable family bonds, and forbidden love.”
To me, it’s simply a great novel and destined to some day become a classic. The Chicago Tribune refers to it as a “bold, epic shocker.” And that it is!
This is one book everyone should read. In fact, I bought an extra copy for my daughter and I’m anxious to hear how she likes it.

Lake News

This is one of Barbara Delinsky’s earlier novels, yet the reader can already see the accomplished writer she was destined to become.
As many of you know, Barbara is one of my favorite authors. I truly enjoy her novels and “Lake News” was no exception. The characters in this story also appear in some of her later books, although each one can stand on its own.
The books aren’t a series, per se, but the reader can follow the succession of events from one to the other.
In “Lake News,” we first meet these personable characters of Lily and John, who meet after Lily is accused in the media of having an affair with the newly appointed Cardinal of the church. She has known Father Fran for years and he has always been an important person in her life. When a reporter traps her into making certain statements that he, then, takes out of context to throw out the heart-breaking accusations, she returns to her hometown of Lake Henry, New Hampshire.
There, she gets involved with John, who is the editor of the local paper. He is determined to help her clear her name and get back the life she had to give up.
This is a great book and Barbara does an excellent job of demonstrating the difference between good and bad journalism.