Wednesday, April 16, 2014

How Far Will You Go To Get What You Want? Serena: A Review

Our Literary Junkies read for March was Serena by Ron Rash and I am just now getting around to this review. I need to step it up big time with the reading. You know, I cut my Goodreads goal for the year in half from last year because I've been at an all-time low for books. Luckily, I've already read half the amount of books in four months than I read in all of 2013. I see progress there. Ok, Serena, let's get to it.

What Goodreads Says:
The year is 1929, and newlyweds George and Serena Pemberton travel from Boston to the North Carolina mountains where they plan to create a timber empire. Although George has already lived in the camp long enough to father an illegitimate child, Serena is new to the mountains—but she soon shows herself to be the equal of any man, overseeing crews, hunting rattle-snakes, even saving her husband's life in the wilderness. Together this lord and lady of the woodlands ruthlessly kill or vanquish all who fall out of favor. Yet when Serena learns that she will never bear a child, she sets out to murder the son George fathered without her. Mother and child begin a struggle for their lives, and when Serena suspects George is protecting his illegitimate family, the Pembertons' intense, passionate marriage starts to unravel as the story moves toward its shocking reckoning.

Rash's masterful balance of violence and beauty yields a riveting novel that, at its core, tells of love both honored and betrayed.

What I Say:
I was looking forward to Serena big time. I thought it was going to be this really twisted story with a psychopath as it's main character. Well, I wasn't wrong on one of the main characters being completely crazy but it wasn't really twisted to me. Serena is a very calculated woman who knows exactly what she wants and she will attain it by any means necessary. Her precision in executing everything so perfectly hardly make her crazy. She's just a straight-up terrible person without an ounce of remorse or regret in her body. I'm even convinced that she killed her own family before she was even 18.

Serena is all about extremes. How far will you go do get what you want? How far will you go to save your life? How far will you go to forget the mess that has become your life? Serena goes so far as to kill anyone that gets in her way. Rachel, the mother of Pemberton's son, moves to the complete opposite end of the country without knowing anyone to protect her life and her son's life. Pemberton sinks so far into the bottle that he loses control of himself and his senses because he can't stand the woman he's married to even though he finds himself completely overcome by her. The men that work a the camp turn their heads at everything they notice the Pemberton's do and they turn their head away from the destruction of the land all to keep a job.

Serena is about desperation and lust and greed. Serena and Pemberton don't love each other, they lust for each other. Love doesn't cause you to do terrible things for your partner. Serena doesn't care about the earth or where their lumber is going. She only cares about the money that will fill her pockets, same with Pemberton. All of their investors? Their exactly the same. They will turn their heads away from the murders they know are more than accidents because all they want is more money. Any journey for lust or greed is run by desperation. The need to always come out ahead and be the best.

Serena is many things. It's a novel full of intricate details and lengthy dialogue that you sometimes think is going nowhere. But it really shows the dark side of humanity. I think that's what makes it so interesting. You cannot possibly think it will take you to the places that it does. How could a grown woman be so threatened by a child, so much so that she tries to have it murdered? Serena may not be the twisted novel I was thinking it would be, but it is definitely a journey through the immense darkness that can exists in a human being.

Tuesday, April 15, 2014

Literary Junkies Tuesday: April

Pink Heels Pink Truck
It's that time of the month again! Time for Literary Junkies Tuesday! Link up with Taylor, Cassie and I and make sure you join us at 7pm CST on Twitter for our chat about What Alice Forgot. Our read for May will be Where'd You Go, Bernadette by Maria Semple.

Grab our button, grab the questions below, write your post and link up with us!!


1. What are you reading right now? Tell us about it!
I'm actually finishing up What Alice Forgot by Liane Moriarty. It took the book a while to get to me and then I had little time to read it once it arrived so I'm scrambling to finish up.

2. Divergent, Hunger Games, or Twilight. Which do you prefer and why? (If you've never read them which do you think you'd prefer?)
Well, I've read the Twilight books and even though I got super caught up in them, I feel like the Divergent books are so much better. I've been wanting to read them for so long!

3. TV Series Based on Books they start out very close to the book to draw in the fans but then will start to separate themselves by changing things and adding characters. What are you thoughts on this?
One show comes to mind for this question, True Blood. The seasons practically followed the books until the last few. I am obsessed with the show but I was definitely disappointed with the direction. I still have to watch this last season but I have it
under very good authority that it's much better than the one before.

4. You've just been recruited to help a movie studio bring your favorite book to the big screen. What's the movie and who are you choosing to play the main characters?
This is so hard! There are so many books that I would love to see turned into movies. All my absolute favorite books have been turned into movies for the most part, The Great Gatsby, Breakfast at Tiffany's. Great casts that I am definitely not disappointed in, except for Toby McGuire in Gatsby. Who thought of that one???

I'd like to see Wicked turned into a move. The musical was a great adaptation of the book and I'd like to see the movie incorporate equal parts musical and book. I would ideally like the original cast to play in the movie but if this is not possible, I'd choose Lea Michele as Elpheba (duh), Jonathen Groff as Fiyero, Megan Hilty as Glinda and I would stick with Joel Gray as The Wizard. All of these guys have musical backgrounds and they would be perfect for the parts in my opinion. Let's keep Harry Styles out of this, shall we?

5. Going back to the above question, do you keep it word for word the same or do you use this chance to change little things you thought would make the book better?
Since I'd be adapting something that was a book and a musical, I'd make the movie a little darker like the book but keep it a musical. Does that make sense? I'd try to follow the book as much as possible by bringing a little darkness back but I'd keep it a musical. And if you're thinking...musicals can't be dark. I have two words for you...Les Miserables.

6. After you finish a physical copy of a book do you keep it for a reread, put it on a shelf to collect dust, donate it to Goodwill, or do you just not purchase physical copies of books?
I keep it for a reread but it ends up on a shelf collecting dust. I do not throw away books...ever. I loan them, trade them but never pitch them.

Monday, April 14, 2014

Happy Shirtless Monday Ladies

Man do I have a treat for you ladies. Just wait. First, I want to introduce you all to an amazing blogger named Lizzy from Lizzy's Luggage. She's pretty awesome and I'm super delayed in featuring her so please share some love. Ok, now wait for it. How many of you love Zac Efron? How many of you don't watch the MTV Awards and love happening upon awesome snippets of it? Like this GIF of Zac Efron getting his shirt ripped off?? YES PLEASE! Happy Monday Ladies!
via Celebuzz
Ok, now Lizzy's Luggage. I'm sure that got all of your I right?

When people ask me to explain my blog, the best way I can describe it is to describe me. Ever since its start in November 2012, Lizzy’s Luggage has always been an exemplification of who I am as a person. Chockfull of posts about life, college, fashion, beauty, and anything else that might be in my mind’s ‘luggage’. My favorite hobby is to make people smile and laugh, and if I can achieve that through my little corner of the Internet then I feel that all of my hard work is worth it.

Facts about Lizzy:
She always has headphones in
She is claustrophobic
She wants to visit London
She loves Chai Tea Lattes from Starbucks
She wears colored skinny jeans almost every day
She is obsessed with oreos

Some of Lizzy's Favorite Posts:

Make sure you follow Lizzy on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram!

If you're interested in sponsoring Life With A Side Of Coffee, visit my sponsor page. There is an opportunity for every blog shop and budget.

Wednesday, April 9, 2014

My Top Picks From Anjolee For 2014

*Disclaimer: This post contains back links. I am being compensated for this post but every opinion remains my own.

This post is definitely for that significant other in your life. Single ladies like me, this is the kind of post you flag and hide away until that significant other comes along. Why? Because it's all about getting spoiled. I've come together with Anjolee to bring you the best gifts for those big moments coming up this year. Whether it's your twentieth anniversary, your twenty-fifth birthday or just because you feel like it, I've got great gifts to dote upon your girlfriend with including Diamond Wedding Bands. Ladies, see if you agree. When it comes to jewelry, I am personally very simple and understated. I rarely wear any but when I do, it's just a little something. So these might be more for my taste than yours but I'm sure you're still going to love them. Oh, another thing you'll notice is that I am a fan of silver, platinum or white gold. I don't particularly like traditional gold. I am just not a fan of it so everything in this post will be the opposite. Sorry to all you gold lovers.

Anniversary: Eternally Yours Gemstone Eternity Band
This band is a great addition to your already beautiful rings, I'm sure. I love the simplicity of this. It should blend in perfectly with your other rings and I love the pop of color. If you're not a fan of gems other than diamonds on your wedding rings, there is a similar ring with only diamonds. If you're looking for a different alternating gemstone, they have others as well.
Mother's Day: Alternating Diamond Drop Bracelet
I personally love bracelets and anklets more than any other form of jewelry. I feel like they are understated yet still elegant and beautiful. I feel like this bracelet would be perfect for mom on Mother's Day. It's simple enough to not feel like you're bribing her but beautiful enough to say that you love her.
Birthday: Classic Twist Diamond and Gemstone Bracelet
I love this bracelet. I think it's so pretty. I love the gemstone in this one. It's definitely something I would wear. I think the fact that it's not all diamonds makes it casual enough to be a birthday gift as well. I just knew that this bracelet would make it into my post.
Wedding Day: Vintage Style Leaf Diamond Bracelet
Maybe it's because of how I envision my own wedding were I to get married one day, but I feel this is perfect for that special day. It's simple and elegant. I love the leaves especially. It gives it a uniqueness that I feel every bride should have to set her apart. If you guys could see the wedding I have planned out in my head right this second, this would probably make a whole lot more sense to you.
Just Because: Alternating Gemstone Drop Bracelet
This bracelet is very similar to the Mother's Day item but I just loved it and needed to share. I have a feeling if any of us were surprised with this bracelet one day, we wouldn't be complaining. It's just so pretty and could be worn as an every day accessory. This one is also available with several other gemstones if you have one you prefer over this beautiful blue one.

And now I want to share my top 3 engagement rings with you. I am not personally planning on tying the knot, well...ever, but I do wish I could have a wedding day. I wouldn't mind the proposal too. It's the thought of commitment that scares me off honestly. The point is, I'm sure all of us have thought of what we'd like our engagement rings to look like at some point. Whether you're willing to admit this or not, I'm sure you have. So I browsed through all of Anjolee's Diamond Wedding Bands and engagement rings to choose my top favorites, one favorite from each available category. I feel like my simplicity when it comes to jewelry really comes out here but if you feel like I'm full of it, feel free to tell me in the comments below.

My Top 3 Engagement Rings
Woven Band Princess Diamond Engagement Ring (from Engagement Rings With Side Stones)
I absolutely love this ring. I love how the band is woven and not just straight. It makes it unique and so feminine. I much prefer princess cut diamonds above any others which topped this one off as my first choice.
Eight Prongs Solitaire Diamond Engagement Ring (from Solitaire Engagement Rings)
I love the simplicity of this one. It doesn't need much and that's what makes it so elegant. I love that it's not just a stone on top of a band too. the band has a creative intricacy that keeps it from being too traditional and that's why I love this one.

Rounded Band 3 Stone Engagement Ring (from 3-Stone Engagement Rings)
3-Stone rings are not entirely my favorite choice which is why this one came in third. Although I think this ring is beautiful, it's a bit traditional for my taste. I love how the diamonds are clustered though which is why it's my top pick from this category.
So what do you all think? Did I choose well? Are any of these items on your wish list? What kind of engagement ring is ideal for you?

About Anjolee
Anjolee is the only jewelry website that offers customers the ability to customize any jewelry designs to the customers’ exact preferences, taste and budget. Our jewelry designs can be customized by any metal type, any carat size, any diamond or gemstone and size. I believe your readers would love the ability to customize any of our products too! You can take any jewelry design and make it your own! Anjolee’s product line consists of an extensive collection of wedding and anniversary rings, earrings, bracelets, and necklaces.
Follow Anjolee on Facebook, Twitter and Pinterest

Tuesday, April 8, 2014

TV Recap: Sleepy Hollow & Once Upon A Time In Wonderland

Now that the regular TV season is beginning to end with a lot of shows, I thought I would recap as I caught up. So many shows are thankfully being continued like Sleep Hollow. Others that I loved are unfortunately cut, like Once Upon A Time in Wonderland. I finally caught up with these two shows while I was recovering from a rather stressful week this past weekend. One thing about TV is that it is the perfect escape from real life. You can just immerse yourself into a story and into characters while completely forgetting what's been upsetting you lately. What are some shows that are great escapes for you guys?

Sleepy Hollow is everything I was hoping it would be and more. I was skeptical at first because of how biblical they were making it but turns out, that's what makes this show so great. Nothing in the story is far-fetched because it all came from literature that's been around for centuries. I am by no means a religious person but I do love history. This show is the perfect mix of religious myth and historical facts. Characters are built out of real-life happenings. It makes you want to know more. It makes you wonder how much about the past we actually know. It just makes you fall for the plot completely. You can't help but be swept away wondering what's going to happen next. 

Crane and Abby are great characters. I'm so happy we have another strong female lead on TV. Yes, she has her faults and weaknesses but that's what makes her so real. She recognizes her fears and her mistakes and rather than being saved or forgetting about them, she wants to confront them dead on. How amazing is that? She also reminds me so much of my sorority little, Cece. I don't know why but there is something very similar about the two. And Crane...what a passionate man. His love for his wife is incredible. He possesses such a deep faith about many things in life that I personally envy. I wish I could have hope and beliefs like him. I'm really excited to see where the battle is going to lead us in Season 2. I couldn't be happier that they are continuing this show. By the way, is anyone else happy the 7-Up guy is back (aka, Orlando Jones)?

Once Upon A Time In Wonderland is a show that I really wish wasn't discontinued. The acting could have been a little more relaxed but they are almost all fairly new actors. They've had their stints but I felt they were perfect for this casting. I'm glad they tied the story up really well in the last episode but I feel the characters could have had so many more adventures. The ending was almost too happy for me. I wanted a cliffhanger and I wanted a new villain. I actually wanted to be Alice as I watched this. Even though she had gone through so much, I couldn't help but want the freedom and adventure in her life. 

Let's talk villains, shall we? I never liked Jafar since I was a kid but wow did I hate him in this particular show. I was hoping he would meet his end at some point but making him a genie, well played ABC ,well played. The Red Queen. I knew they would bring the Queen of Hearts in at some point. They couldn't just ignore the fact that she was part of Wonderland as well. I just didn't realize how strong of a role they gave her. She was only in one episode but that interaction with Anastasia really shaped the fate of the characters and the journeys they would later embark on.

Alice and Cyrus. Will and Anastasia. Rabbit and Mrs. What great pairs. I mean, come on. No Disney movie has shown one couple fight for each other more than this show did. These guys have literally died for each other. No show says fairy tale better than Once Upon a Time in Wonderland...well, other than Once Upon A Time with every single other fantastical creature there ever was. I really need to catch up on that one too.

So what shows are you looking forward to being continued and which shows are you upset are being cancelled? As I catch up with my TV, I'm hoping to have more of these posts.

Monday, April 7, 2014

A Manic Monday and a Museum Fanatic

"Just another manic Monday, wish it was Sunday, that's my fun day." Do you guys remember that song? I swear it's become the theme song of my life. I live for Sundays. They're so bittersweet but because you know you have to go back to the real world the next day, you make the most of it. Whether that means a day of laying around watching The Voice or taking a stroll outside and ending up by the lake with a good read. Sundays have become my favorite day. Saturdays are for errands and recover. What about you guys? What days do you love most?

Today, I have an introduction to make. Welcome Betsy from Musings of a Museum Fanatic! She's pretty awesome and a culture fanatic which is why I love her. I feel like if I ever decided to drop everything and backpack through Europe, she'd be the first person I'd ask to go with...

I am a museum and culture loving, sometimes recipe cooking, fly by the seat of my pants DIYer, always rocking out and just living life kind of blogger. I LOVE museums, history, cultural and anything I can possible relate to those subjects. Musings of a Museum Fanatic is oh so much more fly by the seat of your pants DIY projects, cooking, organizing and just about anything and everything! So join in the fun ... just no touching the artifacts!
I'm a born and bred (except a 5 winter stint in Minnesota eh) Chicagoian. Even going to Valparaiso University in Indiana didn't get me out of the area. Which is OK since I love my city! I love my family and friends. Most of the time my friends are my family as well. You'll find that they come up all the time in Musings of a Museum Fanatic just because I'm always with them! We can be out at the bar, having dinner, being tourists for the day or just sitting at home as long as I'm with my friends or family I'm cool. 

Come join in on the sometimes crazy and usually unorganized but always fun times at Musings of a Museum Fanatic!

Check out some of Betsy's favorite posts:

Make sure to follow Betsy on Bloglovin, Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and Instagram!

Friday, April 4, 2014

Looking Back At 2013 Fashion

*Disclaimer: I am not being compensated for this post. I am voluntarily sharing this infographic. All opinions expressed remain my own.

Hi there! Happy Friday! What better way to kick off the weekend than with some fashion? Right?! This infographic was shared with me and I love it. I know 2013 has been over for a while now (tear), but I always think it's fun to go back and look at the best of the year. What do you guys think of these picks?
Fashion Flashback

Fashion Flashback [Infographic] by the team at theheropiece.blogspot

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