27 March 2009

The Composer is Dead BY Lemony Snicket

rating: 5 of 5 stars
Lemony Snicket has struck again....he is a genius...GENIUS, I say! Many you know that I loved The Series of Unfortunate Events by Lemony Snicket...and I recently blogged my review of his book, The Lump of Coal, which I loved, as well. I may venture to say that this is my favorite one of his books yet. It is a picture book that includes a free cd (if you happen to check this out at the library, be certain that the cd is there inside the front cover!!!). I read the book in a matter of minutes and instantly loved it! After just a page or two, I was ready to tell my best friend that she MUST get this book, one way or another! A mysterious murder mystery where everyone is suspect! The composer is dead and the inspector interviews all members of the orchestra to find the culprit. As he moves from section to section in the orchestra, it is amusing the personalities that come to life. The list of composers in the story is long for those not very familiar with the classical world. Educational in so many ways! I read the book, then listened to the cd. The first half of the cd is sort of an audio of the book, with much more animation and commentary...very cute!!! The soundtrack that follows on the second half of the cd is good and quick! Even if you didn't like TSoUE, I think you will like this one!

What would a book review of mine be without a quote or two, eh?! Here goes, a little different this time. As the mystery gets underway, the inspector starts his interrogation with the strings. Violins first, of course, then he moved onto the cellos and basses and in my head I thought, "What about the violas, they are always forgotton!" To my utter surprise, this is how the story went: ""Well, I guess that takes care of the strings," the Inspector said. "Oh---the Violas! I forgot all about you." "Everyone forgets about us," said the Violas bitterly." I laughed right out loud and my mom looked at me quite funny. It was perfect! Then as the inspector continued on, I was quite amused by these lines from the percussion section, "We percussed. We employed xylophoniness and cymbalism."

To say the least, this book is a MUST have for every family that wants to expand the horizons of their children or even the parents, for that matter. It should also be included in all elementary music curriculum! Of course, this is just my opinion...read for yourselves and let me know what YOU think!!!

24 March 2009

Inkheart BY Cornelia Funke

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This was a good book, of course, what book about reading books isn't a good book?! I loved Cornelia Funke's book The Thief Lord so much that I plan on reading all of her books, but having gotten distracted by many other books since I had yet to even start on this endeavor. Then, in December on my ill-fated, not so free date, we saw a trailer for a new movie coming out, Inkheart! I just had to read the book now, so I got on the waiting lists at the local libraries, finally received it AND finally got through it. Mind you, I do think this is a good book and I was interested the whole time but with life's many distraction, it did take this slow reader a long time read this book! At first, I thought this was a book where the readers get taken into the story itself, but, for the most part, it is quite the opposite, the characters come out of the books! The storyline of this book, really made me want to read more and learn to read AND write beautifully. Not only things that are well written, or even popular among the masses, but to be able to bring good things to those who take the time to read such things. To captivate an audience and change their lives for the better, now that is something to work towards! I look forward to seeing the movie and reading the other two books in this series!

With well over 500 pages, of course there are several quotes:

pg 8: "Some books should be tasted some devoured, but only a few should be chewed and digested thoroughly." so true!

pg 38: "Her curiosity was too much for her. She felt almost as if she could hear the books whispering on the other side of the half-open door. They were promising her a thousand unknown stories, a thousand doors into worlds she had never seen before." A perfect description of the heart of a true book lover upon entering a personal library!

pg 39: "She was just staring at the books. The shelves on which they stood smelled of freshly sawn wood. They went all the way up to a sky-blue ceiling with tiny lights in it, hanging there like stars. Narrow wooden stepladders on casters stood by the shelves, ready to help any reader up to the top shelves. There were reading desks with books lying open on them, held in place by brass chains that shone like gold. There were glass display cases containing books with pages stained by age but showing the most wonderful pictures." WOW!

pg 87: "...it's not just plants and animals that die out, so do books. Quite often, I'm sorry to say. I'm sure you could fill a hundred houses like this one to the roof with all the books that have disappared forever." I believe this to be true and it is sad, in a way...BUT, at the same time, it does make room for all the books yet to come....what are YOUR thoughts?

pg 125: "She's a real bookworm. I think she lives on print. Her whole house is full of books --- looks as if she likes them better than human company." I think this is one statement that could be said of me, if I didn't love my family so much.

pg 148: "To think of all the times I've wished I could slip right into one of my favorite books. But that's the advantage of reading --- you can shut the book whenever you want." 'nuff said!

pg 181: "The fact that you don't believe me doesn't make that a lie." I have said these exact words on many an occasion.

pg 427: "Only in books could you find pity, comfort, happiness --- and love. Books loved anyone who opened them, they gave you security and friendship and didn't ask anything in return; they never went away, never, not even when you treated them badly. Love, truth, beauty, wisdom and consolation against death. Who had said that? Someone else who loved books; she couldn't remember the author's name, only the words. Words are immortal --- until somone comes along and burns them." How true, even in something as simple as ones journal...hmmm, something to think about!

pg 441: "Happiness made her bold." I don't know if I've ever made this connection, but as I read these words and thought back, I believe them to be true!

pg 528: "...inventing stories in , filling new, empty pages with the right words --- I can't do that. That's a very different trade. A famous writer once wrote, 'An author can be seen as three things: a storyteller, a teacher, or a magician --- but the magician, the enchanter, is in the ascendant.'" I am stating right here, right now, that I will one day be an author. I have the ideas, it is just a matter or learning the trade of putting them together into something worthwhile!

23 March 2009


Here I am, back with yet another review of a great restaurant...this time it is the new ENJOY CHINESE CUISINE in West Jordan. Click on the title of this review to go directly to their website, where you can see pics and their menus! I have been wanting to try this place since the signs went up way before it opened. One of my friends on facebook loves this place (you know who you are)...well, last Saturday, I finally got the opportunity to try it out for myself. My mom and I chose to eat dinner there...ok, short and sweet, that's the goal here, right?

I ordered my favorite, Lemon Chicken and my mom ordered Orange Shrimp....yes, Orange SHRIMP. The waiter said that had he had not had many orders for this item, at this point. He even asked her opinion on if he should recommend it, afterwards. Of course, she said yes...the food was very delicious and the value for the money was great! The service was among the best, from the moment you walk in to the moment you walk out. The atmosphere is wonderful and pleasant.

I agree with the statement on the website, this is the best chinese food in West Jordan. I would even add, that it is among the best in the state of Utah!!! If you take the time to go to the website, you will see on the gallery page, the pic with the fireplace and "smile" in it, that is the table where we ate. The place was packed when we got there, with people even waiting for to go orders. We chose to wait a few minutes for a table. The entire time we were there, it was a full house. At one point, I told the owner guy that we think they should rent out the available unit next door and expand with an archway entry. With a huge smile, he simply said, "It is grand opening, no money yet." It was cute. This place is here to stay, ENJOY it every chance you get!!!

14 March 2009

Emmett's & Ethel's - 90 E Main St Lehi. Utah

We went to the new place in town today....Emmett's & Ethel's...thought I would take a minute to tell everyone I know about our experience...

In all, we ordered: Teriyaki Turkey Burger, Tangy Bacon Ranch Burger, corn dog, cheese fries, onion rings, sprite, homemade root beer and water

The turkey burger had great flavor! The corn dog was wonderful, beating Iceberg, the best in the area before now, and giving Lagoon's a run for their money as the best corn dog in the state! The onion rings were crisp and very good. They weren't breaded like I originally thought, like say IHOP or Burger King, but they were about the best onion rings I've ever had! The Tangy Bacon Ranch Burger was a little on the messy side, but very good, as well. The cheese fries were cheesy and delicious. The homemade root beer was good, eating in, you even get free refills! Sprite and water, well they were sprite and water!

We visited there around 1 or 2 this afternoon and it was packed the entire time we were there. There are booths and tables for seating, these were full the entire time and there were still about 20 or so people in line waiting to order. Like I said, the place was packed!!! There is a beautiful oil painting on the wall (http://cristallharper.blogspot.com/2009/01/emmett-ethel.html) that can be viewed as you wait to order. There is also a wonderful fun mural on part of the wall....

I look forward to eating there again, but hoping that we can find time to go just for dessert sometime, as well. I'm sure the reviews for that will be just as wonderful! I've put a couple of links below of other reviews I found online:
http://my.heraldextra.com/LehiNews/blog - post on 13 Mar 2009

http://www.heraldextra.com/content/view/302682/147/ - from 12 Mar 2009

I encourage EVERYONE to give Emmett's & Ethel's a try and leave your thoughts/review in my comments! ENJOY!!!

13 March 2009

To JO: happy birthday!!!

We all go through life with friends. I would think it sad if someone really truly didn't have friends. With that in mind, if you think you don't have friends, you are most definitely WRONG! I would like to take some time today and share a few memories of the bestest friend I have had in my life....and I've gone through several best girl friends that just ended up not really being true friendships.

Fall 2001, my mom decides to do a 30 min free trial thing at a Curves in Salt Lake, where she meets a gal that sells Pampered Chef. At this time, my mom was a massage therapist selling Partylite (as part of my team). They decide to 'trade' shows. This is how I met my bestest friend...and life has never been the same or better!!!

2002: She turned me on to one of my favorite books, Fat!So? (I am about to re-read this book and will do a review in the next few weeks or so) This book and her friendship have gone a very long way in helping me truly love myself, AS I AM!!! You see, we live in a world where I am not accepted mostly because of my flabulousness. Another major problem is that I'm too stinkin' nice for my own good and many in today's society take complete advantage of that....you know who you are!!! Anyway, I digress...when I first read this book, I knew from the start that everyone who ever knew me just had to read this book...so far, only one person besides my bestest friend has read the thing cover to cover. Oh well, I got what I needed from it and that is the most important thing she could have given me! Also, this year was the first of many times that she was there for me when some tough times hit, she's funny that way...always there for her friends and they are very blessed for it, too!!! Thank you!

2003: We went on what would be the first of our road trips...We drove down to Mesa, Arizona and stayed with her friends family. We had a great trip, which included a naked man, speed reading in audio form and being introduced to the great NEW place called Iceberg...LOL!!! We stayed in Mesquite, NV on the way back and little did I know that just a month or so later, my mom would make the decision to move there and then less than two years later my husband and I would move there, as well....and love it!!!

2004: We took another road trip, this time to Riverside, CA. This was a great opportunity for me, as this was my mission field. I was able to take some time on the Sunday we were down there and go visit my favorite ward/area. What an unusual trip with curfews and a visit to Red Lobster that started the thoughts of cows being lined to be chosen much like the lobsters in the tank, LOL! This trip gave me the opportunity to meet more wonderful people that are also friends with this same bestest friend...reminding all that she is wonderful and popular!!!

2005: After helping my mom through her heart surgery and recovery, my bestest friend and I took another trip, this time a cruise to Ensenada, Mexico. This was, by far, my favorite of our trips together! I loved the cruise and being spoiled. This trip included visiting the San Diego Temple, riding in a glass bottom boat, and yet another partially naked man!!! Sure wish I could remember his name, or his girlfriends for that matter...they were very nice, I hope they did get married and such...

2006: Now living in Mesquite, my bestest friend made a few trips down to visit, but we didn't have any road trips or monthly visits to our usual place of choice, Red Lobster. During the time I lived in Mesquite, I introduced her to Charmaine's, or as she called it "fancy restaurant".

2007: We had moved up to Lehi, UT and I had a broken arm, so had lots of time on my hands. I was doing several book clubs. It was at this time that she gave me a book called The Total Money Makeover and introduced me to a great man by the name of Dave Ramsey. I have not gotten around to reading this book yet...I struggle with non fiction and keep putting this one off for others...again, I digress...she is still making my life better and transforming things for the good!!!

2008: This is one of the hardest years of my married life. We were both unemployed, albeit for different reasons and in different ways, we struggled a lot on a personal level and with others trying to get the much needed help. This bestest friend of mine was most supportive and understanding of our struggles and issues. We also attend the Total Money Makeover Live Event (where the above picture was taken). I really recommend you listen to or watch Dave. He is on the radio every night, from 7-9pm on 570am (salt lake city, utah) and I understand these are available as podcasts. Also, he is on Fox Business news every week night at 6pm. Good stuff, thanks, Jo!

2009: We, with my mom, took a trip to Mesquite just over a month ago. Always the supportive friend, she hung out and took some much needed down time while mom and I played in the first ever Mesquite Bunco tournament. My friend and I took in a movie, Paul Blart Mall Cop (this movie rocks, I highly recommend it), and ate at Katherine's steakhouse. Charmaine's had recently been closed, so we tried a different "fancy restaurant". We miss Charmaine's, but I would recommend Katherine's, as well.

Ok, now that I've gone through and shared the highlights of this great bestest friend of mine. I want you to keep in mind, all things mentioned DID in fact happen, but I may have mixed up the order of the trips and such. I took the time to do this fun little post as a way to wish my bestest friend a very very happy birthday!!! I send out the great vibes for this to be one of her best birthdays ever and am sure it will happen, how better to celebrate a friday the 13th?! Everyone reading this who knows my bestest friend and has wonderful memories of her, too, please feel free to comment and leave your memories...she'll get around to reading at some point....Oh, and it is too late this year, but I say it has been way too long since we've had a 'naked' man experience, think we need to do a birthday trip or cruise next year, LOL!!!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY JO JACOBSEN, make it count...you ARE loved by many!!! Thank you for everything and always being there....Moroni 8:3

09 March 2009

The Lump of Coal BY Lemony Snicket

rating: 4 of 5 stars
Lemony Snicket has struck gold again...this is THE most adorable story about a lump of coal I think one will ever read!!! One quote from the first page says it all: "Miracles are like pimples, because once you start looking for them you find more than you ever dreamed you'd see..." Love or hate The Series of Unfortunate Events, this is a must read holiday story!

06 March 2009

The Tale of Desperaux BY Kate DiCamillo

I will post a regular post soon, I have just been away from my computer a lot lately....

rating: 3 of 5 stars
I only read this book after seeing the movie and reading some not so great reviews comparing the two. It is a cute story, in both formats, and for a change, I don't know which I like better. The movie flip flops the introduction of characters a little bit, which I think works out well. I do agree with my one friend, tho, now having read the book, the veggie character doesn't fit well, but I did like that character in the movie. Alas, this is a BOOK review, so here goes: This is a cute story about a mouse who basically does whatever HE thinks he can and wants to do. It doesn't matter what everyone else is telling him he SHOULD be doing as a mouse. In the process of making his own choices, he comes across and falls in love with Princess Pea. Princess Pea is a typical princess you would find in most stories like this. It is quite the feat what role soup actually plays in this story. As far as the spool of thread goes, I wonder why there is so much focus on it being red thread, lol, it could be any color, imo. I mean, after all, purple does represent royalty! As you can see, there isn't a whole lot to be said about this book. I do like the use of light and dark and think there is more symbolism in this book that one would guess at first glance. I think one thing that did make me like it was the independent thought of Desperaux and what he was able to accomplish because of his willingness to NOT conform to the traditional life of a mouse. Hmm, makes me wonder what WE could each accomplish if we would just choose to live for ourselves and not others....Yes, even if it means taking on a bit of conformity, in the end!

Of course, there are quotes:
pg 32: "Love is ridiculous...love is wonderful. And powerful. And Desperaux's love for the Princess Pea would prove, in time, to be all of these things: powerful, wonderful, and ridiculous." I think this a good description of love, as it can be one or more of all these things at the same time!

pg 45: "Reader, do you know what "perfidy" means? I have a feeling you do, based on the little scene that has just unfolded here. But you should look up the word in your dictionary, just to be sure." I love that the author did this, it is ok to look words up to make sure one understands a story better, or better yet, doesn't misunderstand any word in a story. Oh and, just FYI, here is what www.m-w.com has to say: Pronunciation: \ˈpər-fə-dē\ Function: noun Inflected Form(s): plural per·fi·dies Etymology: Latin perfidia, from perfidus faithless, from per- detrimental to + fides faith — more at per-, faith Date: 1592 1 : the quality or state of being faithless or disloyal : treachery 2 : an act or an instance of disloyalty

pg 58: "Reader, do you believe that there is such a thing as happily ever after?" YES, I do! But we have to choose it ourselves and many times even make it happen for ourselves!

pg 117-118: "Every action, reader, no matter how small, has a consequence." This is followed by part of the story of the rat, which is basically the opening of the movie, so I will spare the details and just add the quote from the end of this part..."You can see, can't you, how everything is related to everything else? You can see, quite clearly, how every action has a consequence." Take a look at your life and see, for yourself, just how things follow through as one consequence to another!

pg 207: "Forgiveness, reader, is, I think, something very much like hope and love, a powerful, wonderful thing. And a ridiculous thing, too."

This all reminds me something I am known for saying, "You don't HAVE to do anything, you just HAVE to suffer the consequence of what you do or don't do!" ...or something along those lines...