Thursday, February 28, 2013

New Reviews!

I have new reviews up at Alabama Letters and I Love YA Books! (Yes, I decided to continue with WordPress. Heaven help me.)

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Monday, February 25, 2013

Some teenager in this town is going to hate me.

I went to the library on my lunch hour, mainly because I needed to get out of the office, and...WOW. I checked out the mother load! Monday mornings must be the best time to go there for new books (at least in the YA section), because I found several of the recent hardback releases I have really been wanting to read!

Here is my hardback haul for the day:

Each of these is a sequel to a book I have read recently, so I am super excited to have them without buying them! Also, teen readers in my town should take heart: I will have them back in the library before spring break.

I also managed to snatch up three other less recent titles (though they are still really hard to find at my library), so it is a VERY good library day! 

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Abandon by Meg Cabot

Title: Abandon
Author: Meg Cabot
Genre: YA Paranormal
Release Date: 1/1/12 
Format: Paperback
Pages: 320
My Rating: 3.5/4 stars

New from #1 New York Times bestselling author Meg Cabot, a dark, fantastical story about this world . . . and the underworld.
Though she tries returning to the life she knew before the accident, Pierce can't help but feel at once a part of this world, and apart from it. Yet she's never alone . . . because someone is always watching her. Escape from the realm of the dead is impossible when someone there wants you back.
But now she's moved to a new town. Maybe at her new school, she can start fresh. Maybe she can stop feeling so afraid.
Only she can't. Because even here, he finds her. That's how desperately he wants her back. She knows he's no guardian angel, and his dark world isn't exactly heaven, yet she can't stay away . . . especially since he always appears when she least expects it, but exactly when she needs him most.
But if she lets herself fall any further, she may just find herself back in the one place she most fears: the Underworld. Confession time. This is the book that made me break my New Year's resolution (to not buy books...because...well, I don't really know why...other than to save money and make use of the public library). Anyway, that resolution is looking more insane by the minute, because you all know me and know how I am. I tend to go overboard on the asceticism thing, so I am being more gentle with myself and instead allotting a book budget. ANYWAY...back to this book.

It was an impulse buy. I was feeling kind of bored when I saw this gorgeous cover...and, then, I saw that it was a retelling of the Hades/Persephone myth...and...well, I bought it. And I am really glad that I did, even though my rating seems to indicate otherwise.

Here's the deal:

I thought that most of this book was beautifully done. I like where the story is going, and I have a huge and inappropriate crush on John, the underworld guy. I like the moodiness of the book. I like that the heroine tends to be a bit clueless (though I know several people who hate this), because I have a feeling that I would have been the same way at her age. I also like the manipulation of the mythology. Also, contrary to what other reviewers have stated, there is a ton of stuff going on in this book, which leads me to...

What I didn't like:
Like I said, there is a whole lot of stuff going on in this book. Cabot has mastered the art of holding back information and showing rather than telling. In Abandon, however, this goes a bit overboard for the audience, I think. There are scattered flashbacks and bits of information, almost as if it is stream-of-consciousness at times. I wouldn't mind this so much if there was a bit more organization to it. Yes, I by its very nature seems to be without organization, but that is a misconception. I just felt like Cabot was trying too hard to be mysterious at times. It didn't bother me until the last third of the book, when it just seemed that things got out of hand. There was also a weird plot twist involving the grandmother...and I just didn't care. Anyway, this aspect of the writing is what lowered my rating.

Does this mean that I won't read the next book in the series? NO! I am so going out to find it this weekend! :)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

New Year's Resolutions are crap.

So, yeah. I broke my New Year's Resolution to not buy a book. :)

Oh, well. I made it longer than I ever thought that I would! Ha!

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre

As always, the "Top Ten Tuesday" writing prompt is brought to us by
The Broke and the Bookish! Check them out!

Top Ten Favorite Characters in the Classics Genre!

1. John Thornton from North and South. I love him more than life itself. :)

2. Elizabeth Bennet from Pride and Prejudice.

3. Little Jo from Bleak House.

4. Allan Woodcourt from Bleak House.

5. Dickon Sowerby from The Secret Garden.

6. Heathcliff from Wuthering Heights.

7. Estella from Great Expectations.

8. Jo from Little Women.

9. Cleopatra from Shakespeare's Antony and Cleopatra.

10. Alice from Alice's Adventures in Wonderland.

Friday, February 15, 2013

Billy's Sports Grill in Northport

Just got back from a great lunch with some of the crew here at the magazine. We went to the newly opened Billy's Sports Grill, which is located in historic downtown Northport. The food was fantastic, and I love what they have done with the restaurant. The restaurant has been under construction for quite some time, so we have all been curious to see what it would look like. The owner took the old location of The Globe and  Opus, and he completely redid it, remaining faithful to the original nineteenth-century construction and architectural details.

The bar is constructed out of heart pine found behind walls as they uncovered older parts of the building. The main centerpiece of the bar is an antique from France.

The walls are plaster -- not sheet rock-- and it is just gorgeous!

Anyway, the food was fantastic. I had fish tacos and grilled veggies (very light and good); my boss and her husband had chicken and steak wraps; and my coworker, Rebecca, had a delicious looking burger (and the onion rings were awesome!).

Here are some photos...(sorry...they aren't very good, but we were in a hurry!)...

Tuesday, February 12, 2013

Top Ten Tuesday: Top Ten Favorite Romances

As usual, the "Top Ten Tuesday" prompt is brought to us by The Broke and the Bookish!


There are just too many to name here! UGH!!! I have read so many great ones, and I know I will hate myself for leaving off so many of the great ones! Anyway....

1. The Flame and the Flower by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Oh, yes. It is so old school and a total bodice ripper. But I had to include it because it is the first romance I ever read. I picked it up during spring break when I was sixteen. I had no idea that it was the book that started what we consider the romance genre, but I had a great time reading it.

2. A Knight in Shining Armor by Jude Deveraux. I think I read this one right after Woodiwiss's book! I bought this one along with....

3. Castles by Julie Garwood....and...

4. Something Wonderful by Judith McNaught. Again, I had no idea that I was buying the heavy hitters (and three of the authors I still refer to as members of the five "J"s:  Jude Deveraux, Julie Garwood, Judith McNaught, Jayne Ann Krentz, and Joanna Lindsey).

5. Rendezvous by Amanda Quick (Jayne Ann Krentz). I love all of her nineteenth-century stuff...but I love her other books, too!

6. The Deadly Series by Brenda Joyce. Begins with Deadly Love. AMAZING.

7. Beyond Scandal by Brenda Joyce.

8. How to Seduce a Scoundrel by Vicky Dreiling. I love all of her books, but this one is still my favorite!

9. It had to be You by Susan Elizabeth Phillips. The Chicago stars series is fabulous!

10. Open Season by Linda Howard.

Saturday, February 09, 2013

Roll Tide!...the early years

Me at two. I assume the "A" is for "Alabama." We will say it is and leave it at that. :)

Thursday, February 07, 2013

Also in "Susie" news today...

It has been one whole year since I adopted Madison!!! Such a sweet girl! It doesn't feel like it has been that long, but I am so grateful to have her in my life. What a blessing. XO, Madison!

Get your Charles Dickens on.

(Wikimedia Commonds)
Oh, yeah. Rock it, sexy man. 201 never looked so good.

Happy 201st Birthday, Charles Dickens!!!

Brother Sid, by May Lamar

A new review is up at Alabama Letters! Check out my review of Brother Sid: A Novel of Sidney Lanier by May Lamar (2012).

Friday, February 01, 2013

More old photos...

My great grandmother, Irene Reynolds, second from right.

Sister Albertina holding my grandfather, William Reynolds. Sister Albertina was a nun at Loretto Academy, where my great grandmother, Irene, went to school in New Mexico (see post below for more information).

My grandfather, William Neville Reynolds, as a toddler.

My great uncle, Charles Reynolds (who died in his twenties...see post below), on the football team. He is the last in the middle row, far left.

Some of my favorites..

I have been scanning in a lot of photos recently, and these are two of my favorites!

This is a photo of my great grandmother, Irene Neville (who married Charles Reynolds). Irene is the young girl on the left. (I have no idea who the child on the right could be!) I imagine that this was taken at a tourist attraction type of spot. Irene was born in Nebraska in 1891, but she and her parents moved to Douglas, Arizona, when she was a child (some time after her older brother died...he drowned when he was only eight  or nine years old). I know that sometime before age 14, when her mother (Irene Rector Neville) died, she was enrolled at Loretto Academy in Las Cruces, New Mexico Territory. I don't know how long she stayed there, but her friendship with one of the nuns at the convent school remained solid throughout her life. At some point, there is a record of Irene Neville going to school in Washington, DC, but she returned to Nebraska at some point (probably around the time her father died in Arizona in 1909), and she eventually married my great grandfather, Charles McDonald Reynolds in 1911. She had two sons, Charles Morrison Reynolds (born 1912), who died in his twenties of heart problems, and my grandfather, William Neville Reynolds (born 1919). The boys were born in North Platte, Nebraska, but sometime between 1910 and 1920 (according to census records), the family moved to Omaha, NE. Then, they moved to Chicago. At some point, Irene and Charles separated. This event, accompanied by her son Charles's death in 1938, likely led to severe depression. Sadly, in 1942, she died. Her last living son, William Reynolds (my grandfather), would die in 1959 (of cancer).

I love this photo as well! This is a photo of my grandmother, Jean Reynolds, and her first three children: Jeanne (standing in back), my father Dave, and Sharon (seated in her mother's lap). Jean, my grandmother, was married to William Neville Reynolds, Irene Reynolds's younger son. My grandmother is still living--just turned 91! Sharon, seated in her lap, passed away in 2000.

More to come this weekend!