The Art of War by Sun Tzu

What to do when you have a toddler sleeping on you at midnight?  Read on your iPhone, naturally.  Thanks to a toddler tummy ache, I finished The Art of War by Sun Tzu around 1 A.M.  I can honestly say I was impressed with this book, even if it took me a while to finish it.  Granted, anything I read on my phone is going to take me a while in general, as it is my backup time filler reading (i.e. between  appointments, when my iPad is dead, etc.), so that is no slight on the book.

First and foremost, I feel I should tell you history isn’t my thing.  I should care, and I do, but honestly most just doesn’t sink in long-term.  My brain tends to automatically go to la-la land when people start discussing history.  It just isn’t something I get excited about, which is odd since this is a history book of sorts.  Nonetheless, I thought it was one of those books I should have read at some point so I did.

Secondly, I should admit I remembered some of the names/people from a video game, one of the Dynasty Warrior games for the PlayStation.  I think that makes me part Geek.  As sad as it is, it helped me visualize what was going on in the examples more clearly.

Because my brain was making however weird connections between the game and book already, it made further connections to other points in history I’ve lived through: presidential campaigns, U.S. turmoil, wars, etc.  I found myself even applying it to every day drama, which was interesting.

As my final point, I should tell you I hate trying to make connections in books and decipher meaning.  That’s why I’m not an English major.  I think some stretch it a little TOO far (OMG, why is he wearing maroon instead of teal?  What’s the meaning of maroon in the book?  Is it is theme?  blah blah blah).  I like to just read and enjoy the book as it.  If I think about it further, most excellent.  Thus, if I start making connections and thinking about it to find more connections and implications, that is a major feat accomplished.

So read it.

 

I saved a few quotes for myself.  I’ll end with my two favorites here.

All warfare is based on deception.”

[The meaning is: If two enemies will help each other in a time of common peril, how much more should two parts of the same army, bound together as they are by every tie of interest and fellow-feeling. Yet it is notorious that many a campaign has been ruined through lack of cooperation, especially in the case of allied armies.]”

I’d hate to see her PMSing

“Should your naughty new neighbors resist your suggestions, invite them over to see your new media room. The fact that it doubles as a torture chamber should encourage them to toe the line!”

-Josie Brown, The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook


Killer quote, don’t you think?

Each chapter starts out with a lovely assassin tidbit.  It fit the book perfectly.

The first chapter had me questioning if I was going to enjoy the book.  It didn’t flow right to me, so I had trouble focusing on it.  Once past the first chapter, I was enjoying the book and trying to figure out the twists and turns.  It got kind of stressful when I realized I didn’t know who was actually on what team, despite my thinking ahead, but that was quickly resolved.  From there on out, it was an enjoyable read once more.

The story is told from Donna’s POV.  Donna, housewife turned assassin, wife turned lover turned wife turned lover turned lover?  Just go with it.  She’s complicated and human, but that just makes the book come alive more to the reader.

This is book one of the series.  I’m not sucked in the series, but if I happen to chance upon more in the series, I’d read them.


The Housewife Assassin’s Handbook by Josie Brown

BN link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/housewife-assassins-handbook-josie-brown/1101133270?ean=2940012412539

Goodread link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11393698-the-housewife-assassin-s-handbook

Life’s little echoes

“Everything that’s worth having is some trouble…”

-L. M. Montgomery, Anne of Avonlea


Could truer words be spoken?  The story might be fictional, but the words are true.

After the catastrophe of Dracula, I needed more mental fun fluff.  I enjoyed the first book in this series, Anne of Green Gables, that I had already downloads several more books in the series when I found them for free.  Anne of Avonlea is the second book in the series.  It is a delightfully written as the first.

It’s an easy read.  Some stuff is predictable, other stuff leaves you wondering what is going to happen next.  It’s interesting to see Anne growing up, still getting into some mischief, but also witnessing Davy getting into his own.  She understands but doesn’t.  Her eyes are slowly opening to adulthood, but she is still a child, whimiscal and fun.  You see love developing through Anne’s eyes, though her mind isn’t consciously aware of romance for herself yet.

I love this book.  I kept this on my iPad mini to reread when the mood strikes.  It’s fun, lighthearted, entertaining.  I hope my children discover this series while they are young instead of in their 30s such as myself.  This is on my favorites shelf permanently.


Anne of Avonlea by L. M. Montgomery

(Book 2 of Anne of Green Gables series)

Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/anne-of-avonlea?store=allproducts&keyword=anne+of+avonlea

Goodreads link: https://www.goodreads.com/book/show/77390.Anne_of_Avonlea

This book bit the dust

“The world seems full of good men, even if there are monsters in it.”

-Bram Stoker, Dracula


Let me be up front about my reasoning in choosing this book.  I LOVE the movie The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen.  By love, I mean I watch it EVERY TIME I find it on tv, I have it recorded on DVR so I can watch it any time I want, and I own the DVD that I have been known to play over and over.  My husband and children groan over it now.  Yes, I am well aware it is cheesy, but I love it.  It makes me happy to relax and just watch this movie.  I completely zone out and typically pick up on new things I hadn’t noticed before.

I decided I wanted to understand more of the characters’ backgrounds to get more out of the movie because apparently I’m insane.  I came across a free iBook copy of Dracula and since it is the Halloween season, I thought it was appropriate to start with it and learn more of Mina Harker’s background.

As with any book/movie relation, I knew there would be some differences. I expected more than usual since the movie wasn’t based on this particular book alone.  I did expect there to be more in common than Mina.

Let me just say I was ticked off when I finished the book.  I was bored the first 300 pages.  I get why they had to occur, but good grief we could have summarized.  I was interested somewhat for about 100 pages, and then even that died to the point I was at the last chapter and had to push myself through it.

Only to get mad at the ending.  SERIOUSLY?

It is a classic and from that perspective, I am glad I read it.  It did give me Mina’s background story, but the ending doesn’t match with the movie in the least, which I didn’t expect.  I’d suffered through the whole book looking for a connection that just didn’t exist.

This book will not land among my favorites and I highly doubt I’ll ever read it again, but I am proud that I read it.  It wasn’t the worst book I’ve ever read, but I am glad to delete it off my reader.


Dracula by Bram Stoker

Barnes & Noble link: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/dracula-bram-stoker/1116610564?ean=9781593081140

Rikki-Tikki-Tavi’d

“The motto of all the mongoose family is, “Run and find out,” and Rikki-tikki was a true mongoose.” – Rudyard Kipling, Rikki-Tikki-Tavi


I must admit that even as a 30+ year old, if I see the cartoon Rikki-Tikki-Tavi on tv, I stop.  Always. Thus, the booknerd in me was super excited to see this book as a free download through iBooks.  To quote that annoying commercial, “Awesome-sauce!” No, this book wasn’t written with 30 year olds in mind, but I loved it as much as the cartoon.  Truth be told, I don’t know if I’ve ever read a book that the movie so closely followed.  I could be biased though. I can’t wait to share Rikki-Tikki-Tavi with my children.  It can teach hard work and determination, as well as showing love between a family and how that definition of family can grow. This was a short book, so I’ll keep my review as READ IT.  We all need an easy fun read from time to time.  This is it.  Go read it.  Now. And then you too can say he Rikki-Tikki-Tavi‘d that ass.  🙂


Rikki-Tikki-Tavi by Rudyard Kipling Link to Barnes & Noble store: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/s/Rikki-Tikki-Tavi?store=allproducts&keyword=Rikki-Tikki-Tavi

Bippity-boppity-boo OH MY

“Everything has beauty, but not everyone sees it.”

–Marie Hall, Kingdom Series Collection: Books 1-3


Kingdom Series Collection: Books 1-3 by Marie Hall is a collection of the first three books in her Kingdom Series (Bad Five), starring the bad boys of your childhood fairy tales.  This series includes the titles: Her Mad Hatter, Gerard’s Beauty, and Red and Her Wolf.  I was expected a dark twist when I started book 1, Her Mad Hatter…

OH. MY. GOODNESS.

I quickly realized 1) I apparently had forgotten the premise of the book or had misread it, 2) this was certainly going to be interesting, and 3) even the bad boys need a happy ending too.

I absolutely could not put this down for the first two books.  I slightly delayed reading book 3, as the prologue didn’t suck me in as much as the previous two had, but was sucked in even faster in that one.  Not only am I wanting to read this entire series now, but I want to re-read these.  I LOVED THEM.

I’ve been telling everyone about them, which can be kind of awkward when you are telling a male colleague you don’t exactly know all because you two connected over a Mad Hatter coffee cup (which I now own) and Cheshire Cat.  I’m following the author on Facebook and Twitter, and I hope to email in to get some freebies once we close on our house.  I LOVED them THAT much.

I’m not a sappy, romance girl, but I love dark twists.  These books have them from the start.  Who wouldn’t love a fairy godmother for bad boys!?!  I will warn you-you will want to slap the “head” fairy in her bippity-boppity-boo face.  Fairies are supposed to be good, but hey, let’s add a twist in there.  And then let’s have all the stories start entwining together, so you get the main story you are reading but more of the others too.

Twist here, insert there, fold back here, push through here, etc.  You never know where this story is going to twist, turn, pop up, or “explode”.  “Wink wink.”

Oh, and there’s RECIPES!!  Too bad I am not exactly known for my cooking skills.  I might need to work on this.

I cannot praise these books enough.  Just know they are A-MAZ-ING and I love them.  Thus, READ THEM.


Free link for Nooks! http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingdom-series-collection-marie-hall/1119698320?ean=9781498944823

Purchase option: http://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/kingdom-collection-marie-hall/1117528583?ean=9781480239180

 

 

Costly secrets

“They seek him here, they seek him there
Those Frenchies seek him everywhere
Is he in heaven or is he in hell?
That demned elusive Pimpernel”
–Sir Percy Blakeney, The Scarlet Pimpernel by Baroness Emmuska Orczy
 

I love this quote.  It fits the character, Sir Percy, PERFECTLY.  Dern him, I couldn’t help but to love this “inane fop”.
 
Honestly, I delayed reading this book, and I mean DELAYEDDDDDDDDDDD.  I just didn’t see how a book with a type of bread in the title could be good.  I know, I know–1) Don’t just a book by it’s cover, and 2) GET SOME GLASSES.  Pimpernel is a type of flower, NOT pumpernickel bread.  Go me.  Anyways, I was trying to decide if I was finally going to read this book to hush my friend and her ” you must read this” when she hasn’t read my book yet (ahem, hint hint) and another classic when I read the comments on Goodreads.  Apparently, this book is the rough basis for Batman, which I love, well, the 70’s BAM!  SLAP!  BOOM! Batman.  I was immediately intrigued and decided to appease my friend.  It was a decision I have not regretted.
 
The story resolves around Sir Percy and Lady Marguerite Blakeney in England in 1792.  These two each have their secrets and are divided as a couple, though society wouldn’t know.  As the story develops, you learn with Marguerite just how costly secrets can be a marriage and a family. 
 
The killing of aristocrats by the French is central to the story, so there is a bit of history to be learned through this story as well (double bonus).  You don’t have to experience the blood and gore, but that bit of history is touched upon throughout the book through various characters.  You “see” a part of the story from different view points, which adds to the story and character development as well as causes you to love Sir Percy even more.
 
I honestly want to own this book now.  I have kept in on my iPad so I can reread it as desired.  I recently finished it and already want to read it again.  This is an AMAZING book.  Everyone should read it.  I wish I had read it sooner, and I cannot wait to share this book with my children.

All in all, LOVE it.