Monday, September 28, 2009

Book Review: The Crossroads Cafe by Deborah Smith

Deborah Smith's "The Crossroads Cafe" suprised me positively. It is a story of Thomas and Cathryn, a couple of people who has suffered a lot and who find peace and comfort from each other.

Thomas, an architect from New York City has turned to a drunkie. He lives in a cabin at North Carolina and spends most of his time with a whisky bottle. He once had family, a wife and a beautiful son, but it all was destroyed on the morning of September 9th, 2001 when his wife jumped out of the burning North Tower of the World Trade Center with their son Ethan on her arms.

Cathryn had it all. She had money, power and her looks. She was known as the most beautiful women of the world until the day of her tragetic accident. Cathryn crashed her car and her whole body was on fire for a couple of seconds. When she wakes up on a hospital she is in huge amount of pain and she feels that she is so ugly and no worth of life. Half of her face, her other arm and other parts of her body are burned and she knows she will be scared for the rest of her life.

In those couple of seconds she is on fire her life changes extremely. She is not that beaufiful Hollywood starlet anymore, she feels like she is the Phantom of the Lost Angeles. Her husband leaves her because she looks horrible and the only job offers are for roles of burn victims. Cathryn feels like she has hit the rock bottom.

One day, Cathryn hears a voice of a man from her phone. It is a warm, friendly voice and it talks to Cathryn about things she has wanted to hear about, especially about her Granny Nettie's house, which is now her property. She has never had time to visit that house on the mountains of North Carolina, but now she feels like it is time to go there. She has talked on the phone with her cousin Delta, who has sent Cathryn her famous bisquits and cravy. Delta, bisquits and cravy and especially the owner of the warm friendly voice, Thomas, are reasons for Cathryn to pack her bags and go to North Carolina.

It is amazing to follow how Cathryn and Thomas grow apart from their pasts together. They have a great support net around them; Delta and her family and especially 11 year old Ivy and 8 year old Cora, but in the end it is the trust they share which makes then whole again.

This book made me laugh and cry. It created so much feeling inside me and it made me think of what is really important in life. Smith beautifully describes the rumbling feelings of Cathryn and Thomas and the beautiful landscape of North Carolina. The use of language is so vivid that you almost feel like you are there, at North Carolina, at Crossroads Cafe eating bisquits with Cathryn and Thomas. I am so happy that I picked this book out from the library shelf because I can honestly say that this book changed my life -- it made me open my eyes and realize that there must be a person for each of us who see the inner beauty in us and who loves us unconditionally.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Review: Secrets of My Hollywood Life: On Location by Jen Calonita

It seems like Kaitlin Burke's all dreams have come true. She is having the best summer of her life; she has just signed in to her favorite director's Hutch Adams' blockbuster movie, she is loved by the media again after her two months disguise in a ordinary High School and she has the most gorgeous boyfriend ever, Austin Meyers. But like always, when the things are going well something bad starts to happen.

Drew, Kaitlin's slimy ex and her co-star for the Hutch movie is all over Kaitlin even though he was the one who dumbed her. When Carol, a new publicist tells that part of Kaitlin's movie contract is to be seen with Drew all over Hollywood things get diffifult. Kaitlin hates Drew. And when the filming to the movie starts Kaitlin gets to know that her rival, her co-star from the Family Affairs, Sky Mackenzie has also been booked to the new Hutch movie. Even Hutch is something different Kaitlin always thought.

Austin remains to be a wonderful boyfriend, but difficulties with him start when Kaitlin cannot be honest about things concerning Drew. Is Kaitlin ready to tell everything about her past to Austin? Why cannot Kaitlin be honest? Does she fear that her heart will be broken again?

This book is a sequel to Secrets of my Hollywood Life by Jen Calonita. There is also a 3rd and 4th book in the series and I am really looking forward to read them. If you like the Princess Diaries by Meg Cabot I guarantee you will love the Secrets of my Hollywood Life.

Saturday, September 19, 2009

Discussion Post: The Men of my Dreams

Why do I always fall in love with fictional men? I have wondered the answer for that question already for years. I read a lot and I own a lot of books, but still, I always tend to read the same book again and again and one of the main reasons for that is my passionate love towards the "hero" of the book.First time I fell in love with a fictional man when I was about 12 years ago and reading Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. I will never forget the moment I got Pride and Prejudice into my hands for the first time. I was walking between the shelfs on the huge library in my city. I haven't found anything to read until I found this brown covered, old, little book between the shelfs. The pages were yellowish and I can say that the book looked pretty boring. The only thing it said on the cover was "Jane Austen- Ylpeys ja Ennakkoluulo" (Jane Austen- Pride and Prejudice). I took it with me and went to the sofas at the lounge to read it. The story took me in right away. I had to take the book with me and I read it for the whole weekend. That was the first time I fell in love with a book but also with a man. Fitzwilliam Darcy;handsome, tall, dark, rich, proud, arrogant, completety stole my heart. After that I have know what I want from a man. After seeing BBC's Pride and Prejudice I just felt in love with story and Darcy more, Colin Firth is just gorgeous as Darcy.

After reading Pride and Prejudice I wanted to read all the other books written by Austen. I searched them from libraries and I read them like there were no tomorrow. All the books have gorgeous heroes; Colonel Brandon, Henry Tilney, Mr Knightley, Captain Wentworth..., but the only hero that has become almost equal with Mr Darcy is Edmund Bertram from Mansfield Park. He is totally different type of character than Darcy. He is kind, friendly, etc. I just love the whole story structure of Mansfield Park; Fanny and Edmund are best friends, Fanny is in love with Edmund, Edmund falls in love with Mary Crawford, Edmund notices Mary is nothing like he imagined, he notices that Fanny is the person he has imagined in his mind all the time, Fanny and Edmund get together. I love Edmund because of his friendliness, but also because of the fact, that maybe all the time he loved Fanny, not Mary, but that he was just blind for the love. My favorite adaptation of Mansfield Park is the movie made in 2007 with GORGEOUS Blake Ritson as Edmund. (I must say that Blake Ritson is one of the handsomest men I've ever seen.)Since I read the first Princess Diaries book by Meg Cabot I've loved Michael Moscovitz. He is nerdy, kind, funny, musician etc. He likes Mia even though she is also kinda freaky at the beginning before she hears the she is a princess. I think Michael is lot cuter in the books that in the movie, I was kinda disapointed when he was not in the second movie. During the whole 10 books of the Princess Diaries Michael remains as my favorite character along with Mia. Michael is smart but he is also funny. I want that type of guy for me too. Plus, I always imagine him to be amazingly handsome, (and he smells good, like Mia says).
I never thought I would fall in love with a vampire. I've read Harry Potters several times, but I never fall in love with Harry Potter. When I got the Twilight Saga into my hands I never imagined I could fall in love with a vampire, because it sounds even more unrealistical than wizards. But after reading about Edward Cullen there was no going back. Edward has stolen the hearts of million girls worldwide. He is the day dream of girls from 12 years old, or even younger, to older people. He is handsome, extremely protective, rich, and he is devoted to love only one girl in the whole world. Who wouldn't want that? I must say that when I was reading New Moon I started to dislike Edward at least a little (I think I'm not the only one) but at the end of the book my heart was again beating only for Edward. Gosh I wish there could be guys like him somewhere. The first movie was worser than the book, but I have high expectations towards the second movie because at least the latest trailer looks really good. I think Robert Pattinson is a great choice to play Edward. No one can be as gorgeous as Edward but Robert Pattinson is very close to that.

I have to mention this one character from a TV show because I am basicly talking about him everyday. :D Grey's Anatomy has been my favorite TV show since it started. I am interested about medicine, which is visible on the show, but also the relationship problems and the life in the hospital are interesting. The characters are great, sometimes I feel like I personally know them. I know about their problems, their weaknesses, what they like to do, who they love etc. At season 2, I totally fell in love with this "dirty mistress" Mark Sloan aka McSteamy. He was the guy who broke Derek's marriage, the guy who has sex with everyone, the guy who is not ready to settle down. Despite all these facts I see him as the guy who is scared to settle down and who is able to love someone when he is just ready for it. At the season 5 of the Grey's Anatomy McSteamy changes when he falls in love with a lot younger intern Lexie Grey. It was great to see the other side of McSteamy, the side I always knew existed. I am really looking forward to the 6th season, which is starting next week (I AM SO EXCITED) to see more about the other side of McSteamy. One of the best things also about him is his gorgeous looks. I can honestly say he is the handsomest men I've ever seen.

This is only a little list of the fictional guys I love. I posted about these guys because they are the ones I always go back to, I always want to know more about them, I am always seaching for a guy who is like them and I constantly daydream about them.

I hope I'm not the only one dreaming about fictional guys. I would love to know who is your favorite fictional man and why?

Tuesday, September 8, 2009

Book Review: The Importance of Being Emma by Juliet Archer

Emma Woodhouse is 23 years old. She is successful, beautiful, and rich. Her father owns a food company at Highbury, which is a village in England. After studying marketing at universities like Harvard Emma moves back to Highbury and start working at her father's company. What Emma does not know when she is coming to Highbury is that her father Henry has asked Mark Knightley, Emma's teenage crush to mentor her. Mark has been working at India for past 8 years and last time he has seen Emma as a silly teenager. Things have definitely changed during the 8 years.

Emma and Mark has always been like brother and sister. That is at least what they say. Emma is still embarassed about her teenage crush to Mark. When they see each other again, especially Mark notices that Emma has become gorgeous and he definitely has so un-brotherly thoughts in his mind. Emma also sees that Mark is still gorgeous, even though he is turning 35.

Like we know from Jane Austen's Emma, Emma Woodhouse likes to do matchmaking. She thinks she was the one who matched Tom Weston and Kate Taylor. Kate worked for Henry's company, but after she got married she stopped working. To replace Kate Henry hires Harriet Smith, a pretty but a little bit silly girl. Emma sees Harriet as a project and she starts to match Harriet with Philip Elton who works for the Finance at Highbury Foods. Quite fast Emma notices that Harriet is not the one Philip has his eyes for.

Flynn Churchill, the son of Tom Weston is a legend at Highbury. Everyone is talking about him but nobody has really met him. When he finally arrives to Highbury Emma believes that he is the man of his dreams. Quite fastly he notices that he is not the one for her, but she still thinks of him as her friend.

A night after Highbury Food's party something important happens between Emma and Mark. The next morning they both try to make the thing that happen look unimportant, but in the end they both know that what happened was really important and unforgettable. When they clear their heads by avoiding each other they notice that they are the one's for each other.

I really liked this book. I read about it a while ago from JALS and when I saw a copy of the book on a shelf at Borders at Charing Cross Road I had to buy it. The book was funny, romantic, exciting and it had a gorgeous guy, Mark Knightley, on it. What else could I wish for?

The next book by Juliet Archer will be Jane Austen's Persuasion on 21st century. I am really looking forward to it.

I count this as a part of Everything Austen challenge!

Friday, September 4, 2009

Collection of Book Reviews

Here are the couple of reviews I wrote about earlier this week.

Meg Cabot- Princess Diaries- Ten to Ten
It feels horrible to think that this was the last Princess Diaries book. I have love all the previous books and this was not an exception. Mia Thermopolis is so funny. And Michael... He is one on my favorite fictional guys (the list is big). The best thing in this book was the fact that Michael is back at NYC and he is still in love with Mia. Mia is dating JP but she feels very weird when she is around Michael. Mia turns 18 and she also had prom. She is senior at Albert Einstein High School and she thinks that she is the only virgin at the whole senior class. The whole book is about Mia struggling between Michael and JP and also about Mia's senior project, which is a 400 page romance novel. I loved the little parts of the "Ransom my Heart" which we spread between Mia's "diary". I cannot wait to read Ransom my Heart, I bet it is really good.The Reader by Bernhard Schlink
Michael is a young student. One day he gets sick on his way to home and he gets help from Hanna, this thirtysomething lady. When Michael goes to thank Hanna for her help he feels something toward her. Later on they start to see each other and they start to have sex together. After sex Michael reads books to Hanna. Hanna listens to him and wants him to keep reading to her. Michael falls in love with Hanna, but the age difference causes complications to their relationship. Suddenly Hanna just leaves without saying anything.

Years after Hanna left Michael is a law student. He gets into this group who will parcipate on court when they are going through a case in which Hanna is involved. Michael never talks to Hanna, but during the court sessions Michael understand why Hanna wanted Michael to read to her. Hanna is found guilty and she goes to jail.

After years, when Hanna is spending her last days on the jail, the lady from the jail calls to Michael and asks could he make sure that Hanna has a place to live and work when she gets out of jail. Michael goes to visit Hanna only a days before she is supposed to get out. Michael finds very old looking Hanna from the prison, but he understands that she is very happy to see him. Michael promises that he will make sure that everything goes well when Hanna gets out. Hanna never gets out of that jail, she ends her life before that.

When I picked this book up from the library shelf I really believed this would be one of those books I will not like. I was really suprised when the book turned to be out really good. I like the characters, especially Michael. The thing that he is connected to Hanna for almost his whole life was really interesting. I was really suprised about Hanna's past, I was kinda shocked about it first.

The Summer of Secrets by Rosie Rushton
Caitlin Morland is a teenager. She has just got into a new school and she has a couple of new friends, Summer Tilney and Isabella Thorpe. Isabella is a child of British politician, Summer is a daughter of famous marmalade maker.
Isabella says there is something very weird in Summer because she never goes to parties etc, but Caitlin thinks that she is a great friend who just has a secret. When Summer invites Caitlin to her family's wine yard Caitlin does not know what is is getting into. Caitlin meets Summer's brother Ludo, who is gorgeous and Caitlin totally falls for him. Ludo is really nice to Caitlin but he seems not to be interested. Isabella and Caitlin's brother James and especially Ludo's and Summer's brother Freddie are causing problems to Caitlin and she cannot spend all the time she would like to by just wathing Ludo and trying to make him fall in love with her.
Towards the end things of course get well and Ludo and Caitlin get together.

This book is a story of Jane Austen's Northanger Abbey on 21st century. This book was really fast to read and I must say that I really enjoyed it. It is probably meant for a little younger readers, but I think it was okay for me too. :) I have two other books from Rosie Rushton on my shelf, I will be reading them when I just get some time.