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Archive for July, 2011

June Books (3)

This month was all about time management.  Unfortunately, reading got muscled out of the way for some more important things.
City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare

Goodreads’ synopsis:

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.

We all know that TMI was originally going to be a trilogy, but then–after massive success with the first few books–Cassandra Clare decided to extend the series. Which was a move we TMI fans weren’t really complaining about, right?

Don’t get me wrong–I’m still not complaining, I enjoyed CoFA, and I’ll continue to love CC and TMI. BUT. CoFA is 4th on my list of fav TMI books, mostly because it just didn’t have that “can’t put it down” quality that the first three books possessed. I love me some Jace and Clary, but in CoFA a bunch of secondary characters became a whole lot more likeable and/or interesting than Mr. & Mrs. Broody McBrooderson. Simon was (unsurprisingly) central to the plot and I’m sure we’re going to see him continue to gain importance. Sullen Alec became downright sweet and come on, you gotta feel for the guy! And of course I still enjoy some Luke here and there throughout the story. He’s just such a GOOD guy, you know?

I eagerly await City of Lost Souls, due 5.1.12, and hope it lives up to the standard set by the first three TMI books.

I Am Nujood, Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali

Forced by her father to marry a man three times her age, young Nujood Ali was sent away from her parents and beloved sisters and made to live with her husband and his family in an isolated village in rural Yemen. There she suffered daily from physical and emotional abuse by her mother-in-law and nightly at the rough hands of her spouse. Flouting his oath to wait to have sexual relations with Nujood until she was no longer a child, he took her virginity on their wedding night. She was only ten years old.

Unable to endure the pain and distress any longer, Nujood fled—not for home, but to the courthouse of the capital, paying for a taxi ride with a few precious coins of bread money. When a renowned Yemeni lawyer heard about the young victim, she took on Nujood’s case and fought the archaic system in a country where almost half the girls are married while still under the legal age. Since their unprecedented victory in April 2008, Nujood’s courageous defiance of both Yemeni customs and her own family has attracted a storm of international attention. Her story even incited change in Yemen and other Middle Eastern countries, where underage marriage laws are being increasingly enforced and other child brides have been granted divorces.

Recently honored alongside Hillary Clinton and Condoleezza Rice as one of Glamour magazine’s women of the year, Nujood now tells her full story for the first time. As she guides us from the magical, fragrant streets of the Old City of Sana’a to the cement-block slums and rural villages of this ancient land, her unflinching look at an injustice suffered by all too many girls around the world is at once shocking, inspiring, and utterly unforgettable.

At under 200 pages, this is one of those simple, yet emotionally charged reads that every woman should pick up at some point in her life. Facing the injustices Nujood experienced is painful, but her quiet determination is awe-inspiring. This 10-year-old Muslim girl has a better sense of self than most 20-something American women I know, including myself.

Like a few other reviewers, I had a problem with the narrative. Nujood–who had painfully little education prior to her saga–told her story to journalist Delphine Minoui, who then penned the book. It feels like Minoui tried to keep her writing style authentic to the 10-year-old’s first person narrative; however, at times it seems that Minoui couldn’t help injecting adult and/or Western ideas and phrases into the story. This discord detracts from the simplicity of Nujood’s account.

Overall, I highly, highly recommend I Am Nujood.

The Dark and Hollow Places (The Forest of Hands and Teeth #3) by Carrie Ryan

Goodreads’ synopsis:

There are many things that Annah would like to forget: the look on her sister’s face before Annah left her behind in the Forest of Hands and Teeth, her first glimpse of the Horde as they swarmed the Dark City, the sear of the barbed wire that would scar her for life. But most of all, Annah would like to forget the morning Elias left her for the Recruiters.  
Annah’s world stopped that day, and she’s been waiting for Elias to come home ever since. Somehow, without him, her life doesn’t feel much different than the dead that roam the wasted city around her. Until she meets Catcher, and everything feels alive again.
But Catcher has his own secrets. Dark, terrifying truths that link him to a past Annah has longed to forget, and to a future too deadly to consider. And now it’s up to Annah: can she continue to live in a world covered in the blood of the living? Or is death the only escape from the Return’s destruction?

Fantastic final book in the series!! I heart me some Carrie Ryan and want a boxed set of the trilogy for my bookshelf–the best compliment I can give any book or series! I highly recommend THE FOREST OF HANDS AND TEETH trilogy to just about anyone.

~

Tried and failed:

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion

Just not my kind of book.  I gave it 50 pages, but it wasn’t growing on me in the least.

Bumped by Megan McCafferty

I couldn’t get around the futuristic language.  I also gave this one until page 50, but couldn’t go any further.

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Sometimes, when I’m really bored and have nothing better to do, I pose random questions to myself.  Questions like, “If I were a Hollywood starlet, what would my wardrobe style be?”
(See guys, there is a small, but very present girly bone somewhere in my body!)
How very tween-ish can I be?  But, you have to admit it’s kind of fun.
 
And then I realize…that there’s not a whole lot on the red carpet that I would want to wear.  In fact, I was able to find exactly three:
Freida Pinto in Chanel Haute Couture
 This dress–with the tie–is so fabulous I can’t even put it into words. Love it!

Jennifer Hudson in Vera Wang

 

Elizabeth Banks in Tommy Hilfiger

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~Yesterday was the 4th of July.  Holy mackerel, where did summer come from so fast?  Although I’m looking forward to vacation next month, I’m so NOT ready for summer to speed along out of control like this.  This being my favorite season of the year, I’d like to enjoy it a bit.  Please?

~Both my horses have been sold in he past few weeks, each to fantastic homes with wonderful people.  Selling Pea and Beau was necessary to allow me to go back to school, but it still hurts my heart.  Saying it’s bittersweet doesn’t even begin to cover the range of emotions.  I feel like a little piece of me has been ripped away.  But, as a horsey friend so wisely said, I’ll always be a horsewoman–it’s in my blood.  And when horses come into my life in the future, I’ll appreciate them that much more.

~Two very dear women to me have gotten engaged in the past few weeks, my cousin and one of my closest friends.  Add that to my brother and his girlfriend (now fiance)–who got engaged in January–and it seems like everyone I know who wasn’t hitched is about to take the plunge!  I’m honored and excited that A asked me to be in her wedding.  It’ll be my first stint as a bridesmaid!  (Girliness I didn’t know I had is popping up!)

~Since it rained here from March through May, I didn’t plant a garden for the first time in years.  I feel a little rotten about it, actually.  (Hehe)  To make up for it, I’m planting my own hanging baskets.  More on that project later…

~Salsa, corn on the cob, peaches, sangria, and grilling out may just be the very best parts about summer time.

~Poison Ivy is the very worst part about summer.  Especially when you have it in areas that it’s typically socially unacceptable to scratch in public.  (Yes, I know you’re not supposed to scratch it anyway, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do!)

~This summer is all about home improvements for us.  Currently, my kitchen ceiling is down to the bare bones…which means EVERYTHING from the kitchen is chillin’ in the dining room.  (Have I mentioned how I loath clutter, chaos, messes, things in the wrong place, etc?)  This is going to be an exercise in being a little less OCD…

~Work is all about change, change, change these days.  I’m being reminded that first impressions are usually spot on, but being open-minded is golden, on a daily basis.  Also, pre-conceived notions are just plain worthless.  (We have a new hire from Richmond, VA and–since I love what I’ve seen of Richmond and have a fab friend who lives there–I got this notion that  New Girl A would be T’s clone.  Of course, the reality is that the city doesn’t make the person, just as the person doesn’t make the city.) 

~I up and decided to creatively fill my tragically boring wardrobe and have had a blast doing it!  Plato’s Closet and the thrift store have been my best buds, with a trip to Kohl’s, another to Old Navy, and an e-trip to Victoria’s Secret’s semi-annual sale thrown in for good measure.  I can now say that I’m (finally) happy with my summer closet!  Winter clothes are coming along, but I *may* need to do a little more tweaking to get it just right.  (I plan on posting pics some day!)

~I started college (again) two weeks ago.  (Yay!)  Class has been…interesting.  It’s a 5 credit hour class that meets once a week–which works fabulously for me, but makes Tuesday a long day.  Class is supposed to be 5:30-10pm, but our prof moved our start time to 6.  We’re talking about psychology during the life span–so from birth to death–which is fascinating.  What major theme have I learned so far?  That it’s very, very easy to screw up your kids.  Definitely enough to make me think twice about ever wanting any!

~I read an amazing book a few weeks ago.  It’s called I Am Nujood: Age 10 and Divorced by Nujood Ali.  It’s a short, easy read, but emotionally draining.  Definitely worth reading, though.  That girl has more cojones than just about anyone I know.

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