Hola amigos! I know many of you are more than halfway finished with bloggiesta, whereas I am just getting started.  I had to borrow my husband’s computer, as mine is out being fixed, not to mention I picked up an extra shift at work this weekend, so as much as I want to participate fully this weekend, I am going to have to devote less time than I would like.

Because of my lengthy break, I am playing catch up at the moment.  My two biggest goals this weekend are to catch up on my Google Reader and reviews.  I think I will just devote an hour or two tonight to reading through as much of my reader as I can manage, and then I will admit defeat and clear it out.  There’s no way I could possibly catch up completely, so it’s best to just read the most recent stuff and then start fresh.

As for my reviews, I have 17 to write, quite a few of which are from last year.  I suck at retaining what I have read, so I think that, with the exception of my most recent reads, I will probably be doing mini reviews for the rest of them. I have no idea how many I’ll be able to do this weekend, but it will be nice to get a good chunk of them out of the way.

Now it’s time to fill me in on your progress! How is everyone doing so far?

Pregnancy/Life Update

I know things have been quiet around here recently. I had hoped once the first trimester passed, I would feel up to blogging and getting back into my normal routine. Unfortunately, it didn’t happen the way I envisioned. Physically, I started feeling better around 14 or 15 weeks, but emotionally I have been drained. After losing two pregnancies, it became hard for me to believe that this one could go right, so all along I have been waiting for the other shoe to drop. Now that I am 20 weeks along, I have started to feel more positive about things. We had an ultrasound two weeks ago and baby looked absolutely perfect, and I have started feeling movement too, so I feel like I can finally let myself get excited. Especially now that we know it’s a girl!

I have always wanted a little girl, so I am thrilled! Her name is Genevieve Wells Borders and we’re expecting her arrival around mid August. Her first name is after my paternal great grandmother and her middle name (also my middle name and my mother’s as well is after my maternal grandfather. I am now immersing myself in all things girly. I can’t wait to start on her nursery.

I appreciate everyone still stopping by my blog despite the lack of posts, not to mention the fact that I have been remiss in visiting everyone else’s blogs! My computer is out being fixed, so for the time being I am stuck with just my iPad–not ideal for blogging–but I hope to use my husband’s computer tomorrow and Sunday so that I can participate in bloggiesta! Lord knows I need to play catch up badly!

TLC Book Tour: Clair de Lune

Clair de Lune

Jetta Carleton

Harper Perennial

304 pages

Allen Liles is a a farm girl, born and raised, who is determined to become a writer.  She is reasonable enough to realize that she has to be more realistic, so in order to make ends meets, she takes a job working as a college professor, and puts her aspirations on the back burner.

Allen realizes quickly that teaching isn’t as bad as she had anticipated.  She is only a couple of years older than her students, and she forms a bond with some of her more studious pupils, most notably George and Toby.

George and Toby are in Allen’s modern writing seminar and they become so interested in the subject matter that they often stay after class to discuss literature and the meetings quickly involve into a threesome.  Allen, Toby and George start meeting at Allen’s apartment numerous times a week and go out on the town together as well.  George becomes a third wheel though once Toby and Allen begin to grow closer, and it begins to seem as though Allen’s infatuation with Toby could put an end to her teaching career.

Given that Clair de Lune takes place in 1941, it is well before the time of Mary Kay Letourneau.  It is easy to see how Allen’s situation could get out of hand, although at times I was shocked that she could be so naive.  She seemed much too young to be a college professor but she also became a very likeable character for me.

I knew nothing about this book but I immediately volunteered to participate in the tour because I have been meaning to read Carlson’s other book, The Moonflower Vine. I knew very little about Clair de Lune and I am glad I went into it not knowing much.  The simplicity of the prose really struck a chord with me and I found myself flying through the book at lightening speed.  I am even more excited to read The Moonflower Vine now!

About Jetta Carleton

Jetta Carleton was born in 1913 in Holden, Missouri, and earned a master’s degree at the University of Missouri. She worked as a schoolteacher, a radio copywriter in Kansas City, and a television advertising copywriter in New York City. She and her husband settled in Santa Fe, New Mexico, where they ran a small publishing house, The Lightning Tree. She died in 1999. The Moonflower Vine was, until now, her only published novel.

Jetta’s Tour Stops

Tuesday, March 6th: A Bookish Way of Life

Monday, March 12th: Unabridged Chick

Tuesday, March 13th: The Bluestocking Society

Monday, March 19th: Amused By Books

Wednesday, March 21st: BookNAround

Thursday, March 22nd: Life In Review

Friday, March 23rd: “That’s Swell!”

Monday, March 26th: The Lost Entwife

Tuesday, March 27th: Review By Lola

TBD: Jo-Jo Loves to Read!

TBD: Coffee and a Book Chick

TBD: Lit Endeavors

TLC Blog Tour: This Beautiful Life

This Beautiful Life

Helen Schulman

Harper Perennial

256 pages

Ok, so you may (or may not) have noticed that I am late for this review.  Ironically enough, I actually finished This Beautiful Life over a week ago, but somehow my muddled brain thought my review was due to go up on the sixth instead of the first.  We’ll blame it on the baby brain.  Pregnancy is an easy scapegoat! But I digress.  On to my review.

Have you ever had a moment where you made what seemed to be an innocuous, split second decision?  The type of decision that seemed so innocent, the type of decision that seems so mundane you would never give it a second thought? Jake Bergamot is just like any other teenage boy.  He enjoys his freedom, hanging out with friends, and making out with girls.  The Friday night in question seemed like any other, with Jake and his friends getting caught up at a local house party.  Daisy is only in eighth grade but she is often left to her own devices, so on this night she has taken advantage of her parent’s absence and decided to throw a house party.  She and Jake hook up, although he stops it before either of them go too far.  Or so he thinks.

The next day Daisy emails a strip tease video of herself to Jake that culminated with her sticking a miniature baseball bat where the sun don’t shine. (And I should just note as a small aside that the book takes place in 2003, when teenagers apparently communicated with each other via emails. It seemed a bit antiquated to me, because I graduated high school in 2002 and it was rare that my friends and I sent one another emails . . . ) So what does Jake do?  You guessed it.  He forwarded the email to his best friend.  What fifteen year old guy wouldn’t do that, I ask you?!This is where things start to get a bit sticky.  Before you know it, the video has been emailed halfway across the globe and back.  The media has gotten a hold of it and all hell has broken loose.

For such a seemingly meaningless gesture, Jake has now put his entire future at risk.  His school is attempting to expel him and there is discussion of criminal charges being forthcoming.  Not only is Jake in the center of the maelstrom, but as you would expect, his entire family is affected.  Jake’s dad is a higher up with a local university and on the verge of making some huge career moves.  Unfortunately, once the scandal hits, he is forced to take a leave of absence from work at the behest of his employer.  Jake’s mother is equally damaged by what’s going on, and she seems to be becoming a former shell of herself, with Jake’s younger sister Coco becoming lost in the midst.

This Beautiful Life is an intimate portrayal of a family falling apart at the seams.  Told from the viewpoints of Jake and his parents, you see all three of them unraveling and reacting in different ways.  The book was written in such a gritty, realistic way that I had no trouble imagining this is a true story.  As such, I was a ball of emotions as the book wore on.  I was so angry with Jake’s position.  It didn’t seem just that one email sent to one person could have such ramifications, especially when the sender is a kid.  Most fifteen year old’s don’t have the capabilities to rationalize their behavior to that extent, so I was disgusted at the actions of the school, not to mention the pending criminal charges.

On the other hand, I was annoyed by Jake’s mom Liz.  She seemed to cower the most once faced with Jake’s indiscretion, and as time went on, she became more and more dispirited.  It got to the point where I was begging her to just pick herself up by her bootstraps and get on with life for the sake of her children.

If you’re interested in well written family drama, This Beautiful Life is a captivating read.

About Helen Schulman

Helen Schulman is the author of the novels A Day at the BeachP.S.The Revisionist, and Out of Time, as well as the short story collection Not a Free Show. An associate professor of writing at The New School, she lives in New York City.

Helen’s Tour Stops

Thursday, February 9th: Peeking Between the Pages

Wednesday, February 15th: A Soul Unsung

Thursday, February 16th: Luxury Reading

Friday, February 17th: There’s A Book

Monday, February 20th: A Bookish Way of Life

Tuesday, February 21st: Everyday I Write the Book

Tuesday, February 28th: The Betty and Boo Chronicles

Wednesday, February 29th: Book Hooked Blog

Monday, March 5th: Chunky Monkey

Tuesday, March 6th: Book Club Classics!

Wednesday, March 7th: The Book Bag

Thursday, March 8th: Suko’s Notebook

Friday, March 9th: Stiletto Storytime

Tuesday, March 13th: “That’s Swell!”

TBD: Reviews By Lola

TBD: A Cozy Reader’s Corner

TBD: Book Journey