Happy Birthday, Baby Kitty!

So, it's the hottest week of the year, and the Staff over at Confessions of a Plate Addict are having a birthday bash for Baby Kitty - and on a hot Friday, what's more fun than chillin' with some cool cats?

Here are my two party goers: Anne Shirley, the beautiful torti Maine Coone, and BabyCat, my black and white bunny. Yes, that's her real name - Anne and our other cat (Sarah, she's too preoccupied watching baby rabbits and deer in the backyard) named her, because "that's the funniest baby cat we ever saw!"

Anne hopes that Baby Kitty has a very wonderful birthday party, and that he really enjoys being 8. "I just turned 9, and I wish I could still be 8 - it's so much fun to say you're 8! But 9 sounds funny when you say it out loud. And you got a real party! I didn't get one, I just got to watch a movie. I think it was Pride & Prejudice or something - not a kitty movie."

BabyCat says "Happy Birthday! I thought it was my birthday, but Becca told me it's not - that my name is BabyCat not Baby Kitty. I get confused sometimes, I'm still a baby. I'm 18 months old! And I weigh 13lbs! Did you eat all the strawberries and catnip? Those look really good. I love strawberries."

And I say: "Happy Birthday, Baby Kitty! Enjoy your day, and I hope you have lots of fun meeting all the other kitties!"



Heather Dixon
Greenwillow Books, 2011

The cover of this one caught my eye months ago, and I eagerly awaited it's release and my library's acquisition. Even before I realized Entwined was a retelling of 'The Twelve Dancing Princesses', I knew it was right up my alley - I mean, look at that cover? It just screams 'fairy tale adventure,' in a princess-y way, of course. Book in hand, and knowing it was going to be a revision of a fairy tale I've read several versions of (two of my favorites being Wildwood Dancing and Princess of the Midnight Ball), I was very interested in seeing how Dixon would make it work - and make it her own. I was not disappointed.

Entwined takes the basic story of twelve princess sisters who mysteriously wear out their dancing slippers every night and makes it a richer story about family bonds; the power of dance as language, expression, and 'therapy;' and the ultimate power of Love. There is intrigue, mystery, dimensional characters, and magic. Lots and lots of magic. What begins as a simple secret adventure becomes a much darker and more significant 'quest' of sorts for Azalea and her sisters (all with garden names, alphabetically by age). Dancing suddenly becomes more than just a way to feel happy or free again, and as the stakes rise - everything they thought they understood about their family and relationships will be tested and tried.

I was quickly caught up in the story, waiting and watching to see just how everything would play out. The theories I developed early in the reading were disproved later, and I found I didn't mind. I liked the way the story unfurled better - it had more depth, more surprise. I loved the characters - Bramble made me laugh out loud, and I enjoyed the way Dixon made each of the sisters different. It'd be so easy to only focus on one or two for 'fleshing out,' but each of the twelve has a unique approach to life, and together? Oh man, if I had a pack of sisters like that ... Azalea did make me want to shake her a few times, but not so much that I stopped reading. And she grew through the story, so by the end I was happy for her. The supporting characters, a.k.a The Guys, are also diverting and well-rounded, surprising and delightful. Quite a nice handful of heroes for such a fairy tale.

I wasn't real sure what to expect going into the reading, but Entwined definitely satisfied my desire for a rich, detailed retelling of a familiar fairy tale.

Book provided by my local library.


New Books!

The past two weeks have been very happy book weeks! Have a look-see:


Jane Austen: A Life Revealed won through BookRat's Jane in June event
Raining Cupcakes & The Day Before (both signed!) from Adventures in Children's Publishing
Single Girl's To-Do List (signed!) from Chick Lit Central
My Life Undecided from Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers
The Other Countess from RT Book Reviews
Not pictured: a beautiful edition of Mansfield Park with Jane Austen card and bookmark, from Austen Authors

For Review:

Road to Pemberley from announcement at Austen Authors
JRR Tolkien through BookSneeze
Lion's Deceit from author


Through My Eyes

Through My Eyes
Tim Tebow
HarperCollins, 2011

I have been waiting on this one to release for...months. And maybe, on some philosophic level, I've been waiting on this book for years, since that first game - that first glimpse - of the football phenom known as 'Tim Tebow'. This may be a good time to note: I am a passionate SEC football fan, with special passion for the Florida Gators and their former quarterback Tim Tebow. Thus, this post is one-part book review and many-parts football girl responding to her favorite quarterback's memoir. Consider yourself forewarned.

Through My Eyes is Tebow's story - we know some of it: what we watched with our own eyes, what sports shows and reporters told us in blurbs and bits and specials, what the media in general picked up and broadcast. There's no denying that Tim Tebow is quite possibly one of the most polarizing figures to ever play the game of college football, if not among athletes in general. People love him or hate him, but there's no question his ability and presence demands respect. But these things developed around the outside view - and while we as a people like to claim we know our 'celebrities', how well do we really know them? Do we really know what's going on in their head, what they're thinking and feeling? Chances are: No. And that's where these memoirs come in - allowing us the chance to relive experiences, seeing it through the eyes of the person who actually lived it.

Starting at the very beginning, and working systematically through his life up to early this year, Tebow tells us the way he saw things - from reflections on how he was raised and the experiences that nontraditional upbringing allowed, to reliving some of the most amazing, breathless moments of college football, this is his story - through his eyes. And I absolutely loved it. Knowing some of the story from the years I've spent watching him play, I thoroughly enjoyed getting "the insider" perspective. I think anyone reading it would quickly see how the way he grew up translates onto his performance and spirit on the field. Also, once his college career at Florida started, I remembered so many of those games - watching them, texting my friends with running commentary and exclamations, holding my breath and shrieking in delight (sometimes agony), even crying -- I got to relive all those moments, and see things I didn't get to see over the television screen or in post-game write-ups.

Rest assured: while this is definitely a pro-football book, it's also the story of a very passionate young man who knows exactly who he is and why he is where he is - and is not afraid to share anything. There is emphasis placed on Tebow's unabashed Christian faith, but it's not intimidating or demeaning: it simply explains and helps define who he is and why he behaves and speaks as he does.  Additionally, this memoir serves double-duty as a challenge to live our lives with purpose and meaning, to "finish strong". It made me stop and think about who I am and where my dreams are - where I've been and where I'm going. It's a challenge and an encouragement, and some really amazing football.

Book provided by my local library.


Blog Tour: The Luckless Prince


The Luckless Prince
Rie Sheridan Rose
Zumaya Otherworlds, 2011

When I saw this listed as an upcoming blogtour over at Pump Up Your Book, I knew I had to try to get on that schedule - very happy I was successful in that quest! The synopsis of The Luckless Prince, and the blurbs accompanying it, liken the tale to Tolkien, and I can definitely see how and why.

The Luckless Prince
is one of those beautifully crafted stories that reads as ancient, treasured legend - only, you're living it as it happens. There's an intricacy to the story - so many layers, so many questions. The world of men collides with the world of elves (yes, beautiful, wonderful, mysterious elves! er, can you tell my favorite 'species' in Lord of the Rings?), and the two sworn enemies find themselves fighting elbow-to-elbow, struggling against forces of evil to save the life each adores. But it's so much more than just a battle against evil, there are rich characters - characters with mysterious pasts and yet more mysterious futures - who provide their own stories and intricacies, affecting every tiny nuance of the plot. It's a tale that caught my attention from the first few chapters and wouldn't leave my mind when I set the book down. The story itself carried me through the pages and to the end - holding my breath at each twist and turn, trying to figure out just where everyone fit into the big picture: who is the bad guy?, what's the history here?, so that's why -- ...

The writing is not pretentious or what I consider "heavy," but it is equally far from sparse. There are beautiful details, both in terms of physical descriptions as well as attention to the 'backstory' - readers are given hints and tastes of the things that have led to this moment, but discover the full truth of those matters alongside the main characters - particularly Roland and Stefan - with a sense of natural timing. There are legends and songs and the elves of Starlit Wood reminded me so very much of my beloved Tolkien elves, though they are not copycat duplicates, they have their own flavor.

In short, it's a story that drew me in and begged me to finish as fast as I possibly could - I had to know what happened next, how things worked out. The characters feel real, alive. I'm being deliberately vague in terms of exactly how the story progresses and refraining from divulging too many details - I don't want to ruin the surprises your reading journey will deliver, I want you to experience it all firsthand. I am pretty sure you won't be disappointed. (Though if you are, please tell me about it - I'd love to hear your responses!)

PS: If you click on the blogtour banner, it takes you to the official 'Blog Tour Central' page, with the full schedule (lots of great stops you should visit!), and...a teaser excerpt.

Book provided by publisher for review through Pump Up Your Book.


New Books!

It was a surprisingly bookish week, especially since last week also featured a flurry of bookishness. I won't complain - although, my To Read stack is teetering a little.


I was beyond giddy to find these at one of the thrift stores in town! I bought the first book in this series ages ago, and have never been able to find the last three...I know own 1-3, and just need book 4!

For Review:

Why Jane Austen? came my way through my participation in the Austen for Twitter project, and I'm very excited and interested in seeing how it reads.
The Luckless Prince is for a blogtour through Pump Up Your Book! for a blogtour - stay tuned!