Winners Announced in the Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

aafThree people have been chosen winners in the Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. HOLLY who left a comment on February 15th
  2. Erin @ ITIO Book Reviews who left a comment on February 15th
  3. Christina B who left a comment on February 22nd

Please contact me with your mailing address by Tuesday March 2, 2015 to claim your prize.

Thank you to all who participated and left comments!

Happy Valentine’s Day Giveaway!!

heart-bookHappy Valentine’s Day readers! As promised, I’m hosting a Valentine’s Day giveaway! Instead of books for reading, I’m offering up three books for art! Three winners will be chosen to each receive one ArtFolds folded book. What is an ArtFolds folded book you ask? They are real books, folded into words (see the pictures below for examples.) Giveaway instructions are below the photo.

The three options you have to win are:

  • Anne of Green Gables by Lucy Maud Montgomery folded into the word “Joy”
  • Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen folded into the word “Love”
  • Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte folded into the word “Read”



Three lucky winners will have the opportunity to each win ONE ArtFolds book!  For your chance to win simply leave a comment below.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Sunday, February 22, 2015.  Winners will be picked at random and announced on Monday, February 23, 2015.  Open to US residents only.  Good luck!

Winners Announced in the Valentine’s Day Giveaway!!

heart-bookEight people have been chosen as winners in our Valentine’s Day Giveaway!

Congratulations to:

  1. Christine N who left a comment on February 17th
  2. Felica who left a comment on February 16th
  3. kelsoh7 who left a comment on February 18th
  4. gnottinggecko who left a comment on February 17th
  5. Krista who left a comment on February 16th
  6. heidenkind who left a comment on February 16th
  7. DoingDewey who left a comment on February 17th
  8. jacquemeier who left a comment on February 17th

Please contact me with your mailing address and book choice (first come first serve) by Saturday, March 2, 2013 to claim your prize.  Shipment is to the US only.

Valentine’s Day Giveaway!!

heart-bookI know that Valentine’s Day happened two days ago, but I didn’t get a chance to post the giveaway I wanted to do in honor of it!  I’m not of the mindset that you must have someone to spend Valentine’s Day with, as long as you are happy with who you are and take time to appreciate yourself.  Therefore, why not curl up with a good book?  With that in mind, we at Reflections would like to give away a few books so that you can do just that.  So, without further adieu, here are the books we’re giving away:

  1. Handle With Care by Jodi Picoult (Hardcover)
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (Hardcover)
  3. Marley & Me by John Grogan (Paperback)
  4. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart by Beth Pattillo (Paperback)
  5. Textual Healing by Eric Smith (Paperback)
  6. Young Master Darcy by Pamela Aidan (Paperback)
  7. Lobsters Scream When You Boil Them by Bruce Weinstein and Mark Scarbrough (Paperback)
  8. Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange (Paperback)


Eight lucky winners will have the opportunity to win the novel of their choice from the selection above.  Simply leave a comment in the thread below telling us what you like about Valentine’s Day or about your favorite love story.  Comments will be accepted through midnight on Friday, February 22, 2013.  Winners will be picked at random and announced on Saturday, February 23, 2013.  Giveaway open to residents of the US only.  Good luck!

#14 A Review of Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen

Cover ImageJane Austen is a name synonymous with truly amazing novels.  Pride and Prejudice, Persuasion, Mansfield Park, Emma, Northanger Abby, and Sense and Sensibility are all considered to be amongst the greatest works of fiction ever written.  Austen’s first published novel, Sense and Sensibility, was published 200 years ago this year!  In honor of its bicentennial birthday (and the Sense and Sensibility bicentenary reading challenge), I’ve made sure to make this the year for my re-read. It’s amazing to think that Sense and Sensibility is still so loved and revered today, 200 years after its first publication as “a lady’s” first novel. 
Most people are familiar with the plot line of Sense and Sensibility, but for those of you who aren’t, here is a fast run down.  Mrs. Dashwood and her three daughters Elinor, Marianne, and Margaret are left almost penniless when Mr. Dashwood dies.  John Dashwood, half-brother and stepson to the women, becomes the new owner of their home Norland Park due to an entailment on the estate.  John and his wife Fanny move into Norland Park and take over, forcing the women to look for a new home.  During this transition Fanny’s brother Edward comes to visit and begins a close friendship with Elinor.  Mrs. Dashwood and Marianne believe an engagement is upcoming, but a warning from Fanny reveals that Edward is unable to control his own destiny while his mother controls his purse strings.  Insulted, Mrs. Dashwood refuses to stay any longer than necessary in Norland Park and is lucky to find her cousin, Sir John Middleton, offering them a cottage to live in.  They soon set out for their new home, Barton Cottage, and upon arrival meet with their cousin Sir John.  He is a lively man with good manners and a caring heart.  He invites them to dine with his wife, children, and mother-in-law as often as possible.  It is at Barton Park (Sir Middleton’s estate) that they begin a friendship with Sir John’s friend Colonel Brandon, a man who is quiet, reserved, and fascinated by Marianne. 
Marianne, a hopeless romantic, is madly in love with Willoughby, a man who rescued her from a fall during one of her walks.  The two share many conversations about life, literature, music, art, and much more.  Everyone believes them to be madly in love and secretly engaged.  Elinor, the sensible one in the family, tries to curb the gossip as she doubts there to actually be an engagement.  Elinor tries to subtly tell Marianne that she needs to begin following social procedures, lest she become a subject of public gossip.  Marianne tries to tell Elinor that there is nothing wrong in her actions, that she need not be false due to social norms and will continue to act how she feels.  Will Marianne’s actions come back to haunt her in the end?  Will Elinor ever tell anyone of her love and yearning for Edward?
The above barely touches upon half of the plot of the novel.  It’s one of Austen’s more complex stories in my opinion as there is a large focus on the relationships that the characters have with each other.  The biggest relationship is between Elinor and Marianne.  The two are complete opposites of each other in both temperament and disposition.  Marianne is reckless, romantic, eager, spirited, and not at all worried about how others perceive her.  Elinor on the other hand lives by the rules, is sensible with money, quiet, reserved, and dependent on herself.  Towards the end of the novel you see how much they each learn from each other as sisters, friends, and confidants.  I think of all of Austen’s books the relationship between Elinor and Marianne is the one most beautifully written. 
While the relationships between characters is important it’s also the relationships the characters have with themselves that shine.  Most specifically with Elinor.  We watch her struggle throughout the whole novel and she first realizes that she is in love with Edward and then later on comes to realize that she may never have him as her own.  We watch her struggle watching Marianne express herself so simply and easily in a way she knows she is incapable of mimicking.
Austen truly shines as a writer with this novel.  It’s no surprise that 200 years later society is still talking about this story.  If you’ve never read it  I heartily encourage you give it a try.  It’s the perfect year to honor it with your first read.
5 out of 5 Stars

This is my eighth completed review for the Historical Fiction Challenge

This is my first completed review for the Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge

This is my fourth completed review for the Page to Screen Challenge

Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen
Barnes and Noble (2004)
Hardcover, 324 pages
ISBN: 9781593083366

A 2011 Reading Challenge – Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge

The Sense and Sensibility Bicentenary Challenge 2011Call me crazy! It’s reading challenge #5! Austenprose is hosting the Sense and Sensibility bicentenary challenge in honor of the 200th anniversary of the novel. 

I will be entering the challenge at the neophyte level which means that I must read/view up to four things that relate to Sense and Sensibility.  (Man I wish I saved my review of the graphic novel version of Sense and Sensibility!! I’d already have one book down!!)

If you’d like to sign up for the challenge yourself check out the post here.

New Year; New Challenges

January 1, 2011.  It’s the official beginning of my new challenge!!  I have 365 days to read 100 books.  I’m partaking in two reading challenges this year (that I’ve signed up for so far) so 11 of those books are the Jane Austen mystery series and 20 of them will be historical fiction novels. I’m excited that I’m mixing it up this year and doing some reading challenges as well.  I think it will help keep me motivated throughout the year. 

I’m really looking forward to some of the titles that I’ve decided to read this year.  I have a very eclectic group to read so far.  Some of the titles include:

  1. The Red Queen by Philippa Gregory
  2. Sense and Sensibility by Jane Austen (It’s the 200 year anniversary of the book this year!)
  3. Little Children by Tom Perrotta
  4. Bridget Jones: The Edge of Reason by Helen Fielding
  5. V For Vendetta by Alan Moore
  6. Under the Tuscan Sun by Frances Mayes
  7. You Better Not Cry by Augusten Burroughs
  8. Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
  9. The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  10. The Girl With the Dragon Tatoo by Stieg Larsson
  11. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  12. Stardust by Neil Gaiman
  13. The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
  14. Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

I have a much bigger list than this, but I’m really looking forward to the specific books above!

So now that my new challenge has begun I would like to encourage you guys to do your own challenges.  You don’t have to read 100 books like I do, but you can do something similar to Todd and try for between 25 and 50.  You are always welcome to post on the blog thoughts about your own reading challenges or about specific books.

If you decide to do a challenge: Good Luck and Happy Reading!

The Weekly Roundup – Week 5

So I’d like to start my weekly roundup this week with the hope that everyone had a great holiday!

Belle and Sebastian (Our cats)

Last Wednesday I did a mini-happy hour with some friends from work.  Our offices were closed on Thursday and Friday so it was just a little way to start the holiday for us.  After we hung out for a bit Todd and I headed off to Home Depot to go pick out our Christmas tree.  Todd and I do fake trees because of the cats.  We had a small little apartment tree the past two years, but have out grown it now.  With our new tree in hand we headed home to get it set up and into its base.  With that all settled I began packing for our overnight trip to Jersey. 

Thursday morning we got up and watched a majority of the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day parade while getting ready.  We hopped in the car and started the trek down to Jersey.  We hit major traffic on the Garden State Parkway but we got to Todd’s parents house with time to spare!  After a short respite from all the traveling we hopped in the car again, this time to Todd’s Aunt and Uncle’s house.  We had a fantastic Thanksgiving dinner with them and got back to Todd’s parents around 11pm.  Todd’s little cousin Sarah (who is the most adorable thing ever) kept us busy the whole trip, so as soon as we got back it was straight to bed.

Our Christmas Tree

Friday morning we headed up to my parents house (half hour away from Todd’s parents) to help them decorate a bit for Christmas.  We had lunch with my best friend Stephen and then continued with the decorating.  We had a Thanksgiving buffet for dinner with my parents, Grandma, and Aunt Barbara, and then it was back up to Connecticut.  Todd and I made it back to our apartment around 6pm and started getting all of our own Christmas stuff out.  I started blasting the holiday CD’s and decorating our tree.  Adam came over and we had some eggnog and got in the spirit. 

Christine and Me

Saturday was a great day as my sister Christine and her fiancée Jason stopped by on their way down from Cape Cod.  (They live in Manhattan but went up to the Cape to spend the holiday with Jason’s family)  So over they came for lunch with their two dogs Ethan and Chelsea. It’s always hysterical to see the dogs and cats react with each other.  Sebastian tries to act all brave, but as soon as a dog gets near him he freaks out!  We all just hung out, had lunch, and randomly watched the end of Flashdance.  (It was on TV, don’t ask)  Todd and I also watched Brothers later on in the day. WHOA good movie.  I highly recommend it!

On Sunday Todd and I drove to Providence to see Jen, another of our really good friends.  We hung out and got lunch together had bubble teas, and walked around for a bit before heading to the largest liquor store I’ve ever seen.  As most of you know from Todd’s posts he is a HUGE beer fan. This liquor store had almost half  the store dedicated to just beer.  You could mix and match tons of beers from small breweries across the country.  We picked a bunch of beers and loaded the car up.  We headed back and made it home by 6.  It’s only been two days and I think I drank all the beers I picked out.  Todd can tell you more about them in his post, but I’m already counting the days to see when we can head back to that liquor store!

Somehow in the midst of everything that has gone on in the past few days I’ve managed to read three graphic novels.  I was definitely on a graphic novel kick this week.  Sense and Sensibility, The Walking Dead Volume 1, and Anne Frank: The Anne Frank House Authorized Graphic Biography. I owe you all a review on the last one. 

With December here it’s time to kick into an even higher gear. (I didn’t know I had any more to kick into)  I’ve read 80 books, leaving 20 for December.  I looked back at my totals and realized I had read 12 for the month of November.  I will absolutely die if I make it to 92 books and fail my challenge by 8 books.  If anyone has recommendations for short fast reads let me know.  I’m in the middle of two books right now (Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs and Fifth Avenue 5AM) and am really hoping to complete them in the next day or two. 

Totals: 80 books read, 20 to go.  Here I go.

Happy Reading!

#78 A Review of Sense and Sensibility (Graphic Novel) by Nancy Butler and Sonny Liew

Sense & SensibilitySense and Sensibility is a classic story of family, friendship, heartache, love, grief, and sisterly bonds.  This brilliant rendition of Sense and Sensibility turned graphic novel brings Jane Austen’s vibrant words to life through incredible illustrations.

I was very nervous at first about picking up the graphic novel version of Sense and Sensibility because of my thoughts on the Pride and Prejudice graphic novel. (Both are produced by Marvel comics)  I thought that the artist’s rendition of the Pride and Prejudice version was just completely off.  All of the women, to put it frankly, looked like porn stars.  The writing done by Nancy Butler stayed fairly close to the original work, giving it points in my book.   What sold me on the Sense and Sensibility version was a new artist, Sonny Liew. 

Liew’s illustrations are exactly what I pictured Sense and Sensibility looking like.  The clothing looked like the proper pieces women of that time would wear, Norland Park, Barton Park, and the cottage all fit the images that Austen herself created.  The one negative I had with the illustrations was how Elinor was drawn.  Elinor was often shown with an extreme receding hairline, making her seem bald most of the time.

Nancy Butler stayed fairly true to Austen’s original work, adding and subtracting here and there.  As she states in her introduction to the graphic novel,

“while re-reading the book, I realized I was in for some rough going.  Austen had originally written Elinor and Marianne as an epistolary novel, in the form of letters.  Although she eventually changed the format, many key scenes are still conveyed through narrative rather than dialogue.  Not the optimum source material for a graphic novel, let me tell you.  So I hope readers will forgive me for taking some liberties – in the creation of speeches where none existed and the fleshing out of scenes Austen merely hints at in the book…”

Butler does a great job fleshing out those scenes that Austen hints at, and makes sure the important stuff gets into the graphic novel.  I was pleasantly surprised at how much I liked this rendition, after Marvel’s Pride and Prejudice debacle.

Marvel has recently announced that a graphic novel version of Emma will be released in the spring.  Marvel has also turned other classic novels into graphic novels: The Wizard of Oz, The Last of the Mohicans, The Three Musketeers, The Picture of Dorian Gray, Treasure Island, The Man in the Iron Mask, The Iliad, The Odyssey, etc.   

I definitely recommend those who are iffy about graphic novels to give them a try. I was introduced to graphic novels in college when I had two as textbooks for a Holocaust history course I took.  I was hesitant at first with how such heavy subject matter would be conveyed via a comic-like interpretation but was blown away. While they aren’t for everyone they certainly can breathe new life into the classics that you love.  This rendition of Sense and Sensibility is a perfect example of that breath of fresh air.

4 out of 5 Stars

The Weekly Roundup – Week 4

So it’s been busy lately, hence the delay in posting my weekly roundup!!

Last week started the planning meetings for Relay for Life.  We had our committee meeting on Monday with our new ACS representative.  It was the first meeting getting the entire committee old and new members together.  We discussed lots of publicity and networking ideas and I feel confident in the direction we’re moving!

Tuesday and Wednesday I accomplished lots of reading.  Todd was at a conference until late night Wednesday night so I had the apartment to myself.  I read three books last week (1 short of my goal) and have already posted up the reviews.  (I finished Mr. Darcy’s Little Sister, A Wolf At the Table, and Pemberley Ranch)

Thursday I started writing a rough draft of the review that was published on Sunday for Austenprose. (Follow here for review)

Friday my co-worker Erin and I dropped off all the food our office collected at a local event called Stuff-A-Bus.  A local radio station collects for local shelters for the holidays and tries to fill buses.  The event has grown to be so large that they now fill tractor trailers and refrigerated trucks! Afterwards I went out for drinks and appetizers with Adam and Todd.  It had been a long week at work and we needed to start the weekend right!  After drinks we headed to where else but Barnes and Noble.  I picked up Sense and Sensibility the graphic novel, Walking Dead volume 1, and Shanghai Girls. (A co-worker of mine also gave me three books to borrow, so once I read those I’ll throw reviews up as well)

Janette came over the following morning after her hair appointment and we proceeded to run errands all day.  We dropped Todd’s car off for new tires and then ran to Target to pick up some odds and ends that we needed.  I got some Christmas shopping done which made me very happy.  Todd and I spent most of the afternoon at Sprint getting new phones and setting up our family plan.  It was exciting. Not.

Sunday was a lazy day.  Woke up late, cleaned up the house a bit, caught up on stuff on the DVR, all that kind of junk.  We went to our friend Jess’s for dinner and had a freaking blast just hanging out and laughing about old stories from our childhoods.  (Jess thanks for dinner again – it was delicious!)

Monday and today I just went to work came home blogged and read.  I’m completing the graphic novel version of Sense and Sensibility tonight and hopefully will finish Walking Dead tomorrow.  Thanksgiving is on Thursday so I’m nervous that this week is the week that will do in my 100 book challenge.  I’m behind 1 book from last week already and am hoping to make up for it this week.

With that I’ll sign off and go back to reading!! 77 down, 23 to go.

Happy Reading, and may I wish you all a very Happy Thanksgiving.