Friday, June 29, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

This is a really good one so HURRY!!!

Get a free pair of Hanes ComfortSoft Panties!


Another Adam Update

The most recent news:

"Just saw him this afternoon and he is up and walking around. Is grooming himself and actually washing his little ears (which were burned). He responds to his name and his caretakers. Last night at 10:00pm he was walking around on Tina (his caretaker's) bed, sniffing and exploring. His little tail was amputated yesterday which was a source of pain and infection. He seems glad to be rid of it. The most important thing I'd like to convey to you is that he does NOT appear to be in pain. Many folks have that picture of him in the PD emblazoned in their minds and I want to assure you that now when you see him crying, he is expressing his desire for attention, not crying out in pain."

That is the good news. The bad news is that is appears that two 15-year-old girls were responsible for this horrible crime. I feel really angry right now. When Gary told me that the perpetrators had been identified, I got so mad and told him, "I better never find out their names." And boy, I meant it. It seems like the world would be a better place without people who have no empathy like that. To take pleasure in the suffering of another one of God's creatures!!!! I'm a little calmer now but still so angry. What would be justice in this case? I don't know. I guess I just hope that these girls feel some sort of regret.

God Trying to Get Your Attention

I have a lot to say today but first of all, I'd like to give an Adam update.
I know many people are reading these posts thinking, "There is so much pain and suffering in the world. Why is she getting all worked up about a kitten?" And they would be right. Each day, I get on the computer and read about the people affected by the Iraq war, people suffering from AIDS in Africa, genocide in Sudan, bloggers losing their precious children, fires, floods and famine. My heart breaks a little each time. I do care. A great deal. And I store all of it up inside of me. But for some reason, this little kitten was the tipping point for me. He pushed me over the edge. Maybe it's because I'm really sensitive about animals. Maybe it's because he looks like the cat I lost last year. Maybe it's because the depths of human cruelty astound me. But Adam's story has really really affected me.

This little kitten has such a tremendous will to live. Although he had his little tail amputated yesterday, he is purring and kneading and bathing his paws. He is fighting really hard. (pardon me, while I blow my nose) This little creature has no understanding of why someone would set him on fire or even why others would take care of him. In his short life, he has seen both sides of the human psyche. And yet he still has the ability to trust and to fight. And that says something to me.

Today, I sat in Starbucks reading the book QUAKER SUMMER by Lisa Samson. It was recommended by Katrina over at Callapidder Days. Normally, when I hear about Christian fiction, my eyes roll back in my head. I'm just not a fan. But I love this book. It is exactly what I needed right now. When I got back in the car, Keb' Mo's song "God Trying to Get Your Attention" came on. (have I mentioned that I adore Keb' Mo'?) I'm wondering if this book and Adam the kitten are conspiring to get my attention in some way. I think God is trying to knock me in the head and say something. Today, I'm going to try and listen.

Thursday, June 28, 2007

Adam the Kitten UPDATED!

I debated whether to blog about this but it is really bothering me so I thought I'd share it with you.

We have several feral cats on campus and I am on the e-mail list in case they need to be helped in some way. Well, we got a message from a local cat shelter that announced that they had received a kitten who had been burned through torture. This sweet little thing is hanging onto life by his little claws. They are currently offering a $3000 reward in order to capture the individual who did this horrible thing. So, I am sitting at my desk sobbing. I can't understand how someone could have so little empathy for a living thing that they could do something like that. I hope they find him and put him away for life. And I hope little Adam pulls through. They say he has a tremendous will to live or they would have put him down. In the book of Matthew in the Bible, it says that God is aware of every sparrow that falls. I'm sure He is with Adam as well.


I just got this e-mail from the charity taking care of Adam:

"Here is the Adam update for today: Last night he went home with the vet tech who said he purred and kneaded through the night, played with a toy, continues to eat like a champ and has started grooming his little paws. I went to visit him today at Animal Hospital of Cotati and he is doing SO much better. Everyone there thinks he has turned a corner, although the recovery will be a long one. He talks to you when you talk to him and although he still looks pretty rough, his eyes are bright and he is very responsive."

The bad news is that Adam was in a trap with several other kittens. A local person has been trapping strays in order to get them spayed/neutered. The trap was stolen by the abuser. The other kittens have not been located. I shudder to think about what happened to them. But I'm focusing on the fact that Adam is hanging in there!

I have already donated money towards Adam's care. They are also collecting money for a reward going towards the capture of the evil person(s) who did this thing. If you would like to donate, go here.

Wednesday, June 27, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a sample of the new Tampax Cardboard tampons.


Ann Coulter Smackdown

Thanks to Margalit for drawing my attention to this. You will not hear me say stuff like this very often because it is really nasty and un-Christian of me but I really despise Ann Coulter. I cannot believe the things she gets away with. Don Imus had his career destroyed for lesser offenses than she commits in a five-minute conversation. (for the record, I don't care for Imus either) Elizabeth Edwards confronted Ann Coulter on "Hardball" about the vicious attacks that she makes on political persons and their families and Coulter's only response was "You're asking me to stop talking and I won't." Well, that isn't what Edwards was trying to do. When Edwards pointed out that Coulter made a joke about John Edwards having a bumper sticker that said "Ask me about my dead son," Coulter's response was not an apology. She simply said, "That was three years ago!" I'm sorry but what a b***h! It's one thing to disagree with people politically. It is quite another to disparage, ridicule and attack them publically. Isn't it time someone sent Ann Coulter back to the hole she crawled out of?

See the exchange here.

Tuesday, June 26, 2007

Year One

My first anniversary is coming up one week from today on July 3. I can hardly believe it. This time last year, I was going crazy with last minute wedding details. My mom and I planned and executed the entire wedding ourselves. At about this time, I was probably sitting on my front porch stenciling grapes on parasols and then running inside to construct wedding programs. Then, I took some time to run around town putting together a surprise gift basket for my mom's hotel room of local goodies. A day before the wedding, Mom and I were on the floor of my apartment putting together lavender bundle favors. There were just so many little details to cover!!! But it was a great wedding and I think everyone had a good time. I told Gary that by having our wedding on July 3, we would always have fireworks on our anniversary! Not a bad deal.

I'm taking suggestions for gift ideas for Gary at my crafting blog. (GARY---DON'T GO OVER THERE AND PEEK!)

Monday, June 25, 2007

A Big Gay Parade

My friend Sonya is still in town so I drove to San Francisco to go with her to the Gay Pride Parade. We figured that would be the ultimate San Francisco tourist attraction. I love a good parade but I was worried about the crowd. Turns out, I didn't need to be. No one pushed, shoved or crowded us. Everyone was festive and polite. I have to say we were a little disappointed by how TAME it all was. We were expecting something really outlandish. But it was really more political than "spectacle." We watched part of the parade and then walked around looking at booths. Sonya grabbed a few condom giveaways as souvenirs for the folks back in Texas. I guess the most exciting things we saw were four bare-breasted women and three guys in thongs. But that's it. You can see some photos here.

By the way, I know that Mayor Newsom is kind of a cad but is he hot or what?!

My favorite part of the parade was a whole bunch of couples holding up signs with their names and how long they have been together. Two women of retirement age were riding in a carriage and they had a sign that said they had been together 27 years. Isn't that lovely? I guess parades like these used to be about calling attention to gay people and making them more visible. You know, "We're here. We're queer. Get used to it!" But now, the crowd and the parade seemed to be filled with gay individuals and their families. And I felt the message to be: "We're just like you." And they are.

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free subscription to LIZ IS magazine. Liz Claiborne is in the middle of a big re-branding campaign and my guess is that this magazine is part of that. No CC required.


Friday, June 22, 2007

Caution: Women Shopping!

Well, I went to not one but TWO sample/warehouse sales this morning.

The first stop was the Athleta warehouse sale. If you are not familiar with Athleta, they are a women's athletic wear catalog. Beautiful clothing but really expensive. So I jumped the chance to hit their warehouse sale at the local VFW. I was not prepared. I thought I would waltz in and leisurely shop. How naive! There were women shoulder-to-shoulder down every aisle. They were digging through piles of clothing on tables as if someone had told them a diamond ring was hidden somewhere inside of the mess. I started to get scared. There was no way to retreat. I had to press forward. I clutched my plastic shopping bag to my chest and hoped for the best. After a few minutes, I started to panic. Maybe these women were getting in on deals that I was missing! I started shoving random things into my sack. Bright pink board shorts! Absolutely! Ski pants for all the "skiing" that I do in California. Perfect! It was a tough journey but I finally made my way to the cashier. I told the lady, "I'm so excited to see what I ended up with!" I got a ski jacket, ski pants, a sweater cardigan and four pairs of shorts. And they all actually fit. A miracle.

I went home and changed clothes to prepare myself for the next sale. (I had sweated through my other clothes through a mixture of anxiety and close proximity to other humans) It was time to hit Mrs. Grossman's. If you are not familiar with Mrs. Grossman's, it is a wonderful sticker company that started in the 1980's. I was a huge fan as a child. When I heard they were having a one-day warehouse sale...well, as my mother would say, it was "Katie, bar the door." (a Texas expression) This one was a lot less stressful than the Athleta. However, I was caught up in the frenzy yet again. Albums for $5. Count me in! Strips of stickers for 25 cents! Get me a shovel! So, if any of you do any crafty swapping with me in the next few months, get ready for lots of Mrs. Grossman stickers on your things.

All in all, I did pretty well. I have to say I was a bit appalled at some of the shoppers. They trampled each other to get to things and left stuff on the floor. I saw one woman deliberately push clothing onto the floor to get deeper into the pile and then step on the clothes! I tried picking up clothing and stickers and putting them back because it offended my obsessive need for order but I finally had to give up. The task was too daunting.


Is it time for a nap? This shopping stuff wears me out!

Thursday, June 21, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free 2-liter bottle of 7-UP for registering.


Swap Fever Continues

I must constantly feed the monster. The Swap Monster that lives inside of me. I don't know how I got so addicted to internet swapping but I am. I love it! So, for you creative types that like to get your craft on, I'm thinking about hosting a swap. It would be an art doll hat swap. Go check it out on my crafting blog.


It's open to everyone so leave a post if you might be interested. Should be a fun challenge. My mind is buzzing with ideas. Let's see... a Frida Kahlo hat for me, a cowgirl hat for me, a witch hat for Halloween, a snowlady hat for the many ideas are flowing!

(plus I get do another swap...ha!)

The Story of Malady and Frank

Someone recently asked me how I got my screen name "Malady." Well, it's a small tale really. One I may have already told before. But here it is.

I went to college in my home state of Texas and the first few weeks were a little rough. I'm a only child and I'm pretty shy. Okay, REALLY shy. The university had all of these mixers for freshman in the first couple of weeks. As I sat holed up in my dorm room (my roommate didn't show up for about a week), I decided to force myself to go to the ice cream social. I ended up at a table with two really nice women named Kate and Ellen. I recognized a kindred spirit in Ellen right away. She had a sense of humor and a good sense of whimsy too. Somehow, we got on the topic of nicknames and Ellen said that she had never gotten a good nickname like "Frank." I told her that from that moment on, I would call her "Frank." She, in turn, called me "Malady" which is a play on my actual name.

Being the creative soul that she is, Ellen wrote a children's book about our adventures in college called "Malady." When I got married, she did the sequel called "Malady Gets Married." I hope that someday (perhaps soon) she will be able to do the third book in the series, "Malady Has a Baby." And even more than that, I hope that Malady and Frank get to have more adventures together. And their present and future children too!

By the way, in case you hadn't guessed, Frank is none other than the wonderful and talented Queen Ellen. I just know that she isn't blogging right now so she can open an Etsy store. Right, Frank?

(the above picture is from "Malady Gets Married" and is copyrighted by Ellen)

Spring Reading Thing Wrap-up

This post is a bit early but I know I will forget if I don't do it now.

Well, I did pretty well with my Spring Reading Thing. I am in the middle of the last book. It's a big one so I won't finish on time. But I still think I did pretty well. I got to read a wide variety of books for the SRT. My least favorite was HEART-SHAPED BOX by Joe Hill. I guess I just expected more. It was a silly book. But I will read his collection of short stories based on recommendations by other readers. My favorite turned out to be WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers. Unfortunately, I'm still in the middle of it but I think it will still be my favorite. It is really well-written and riveting. I will post a review when I'm finished. I had read three of the authors before: Min, Hamilton and Coelho. The Min and Hamilton held up to expectations but I was disappointed with the Coelho. Not his best effort.

It is really fun to get involved in these readalongs because it exposes you to new books and gets you focused on your reading. Now, I have moved on to my Summer Reading Project---AGAINST THE DAY by Pynchon. That should take awhile.

Read my reviews for the SRT here.

Tuesday, June 19, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Try a free sample of Dove Ultimate Clear Deodorant.


Monday, June 18, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Here is a chance to get a free 3-Day supply of Crest Multicare WhiteStrips.

Answer the following survey. You must not be employed by any of the businesses on the first question and YOU MUST ANSWER "NO" WHEN ASKED IF YOU HAVE TRIED TOOTH-WHITENING PRODUCTS IN THE PAST.


A Case of the Mondays

All right. I have to admit it. I have a "case of the Mondays." The weekend just seemed to go by so fast!!!

I got my hair cut on Friday. I have this weird thing about getting my hair cut. I hate it. So I usually put it off for about nine months until I have so many split ends I can't get a brush through it. They cut off four inches and I got bangs. I'm not sure about my new look yet but at least it's different.

My college buddy Sonya came to visit on Saturday which was great fun. She has such a great sense of humor but she is also a very mellow person which is pleasant to be around. Her lovely sister, Rachel, also came. I got to show them around my little town and catch up on all the gossip back in Texas.

Yesterday, my brother-in-law showed up with his girlfriend. They were visting from SoCal and wanted to go wine-tasting. I think I overdid it a little bit. I think that tonight, I will be vegetating while watching BIG LOVE. Although, I do need to get busy and finish my current swaps!!!

My PersonalDNA

Get your own personal DNA here.

If you click on the actual picture of my "DNA" above (instead of the Benevolent Creator link), you can read all about "benevolent creators."

Friday, June 15, 2007

Secret Pal 10

Wow! Look what my Secret Pal sent me!!!


Thursday, June 14, 2007

Something Trivial

Gary and I recently watched "Music and Lyrics" with Drew Barrymore and Hugh Grant. It was actually pretty charming. In the movie, Hugh Grant plays a washed up 80's music icon trying to make a comeback. Evidently, his character is based on the "other guy" in WHAM!

So, in the movie, they show a "video" of this 80's pop group and it is so perfect! Totally WHAM-esque. And unbelievably catchy. I can't get the d**n thing out of my head. So, if you want join me in a little laugh, here is the video:


Don't Stand So Close to Me

Well, what can I say? For a bunch of old farts, the POLICE can still really rock the house! It was great. Sting looks exactly the same. Not one saggy wrinkly bit that I could see. And Stewart would look the same too if he dyed his hair. Andy was looking a little old but he could still rip on that guitar.

They opened with "Message in a Bottle" and played three encores. Gary most wanted to hear "Walking on the Moon" and I most wanted to hear "So Lonely." We got them both.

The great thing about a reunion tour is that you don't have to hear any new crap. It's ALL old stuff. And it's still good after all these years. We really enjoyed ourselves. The only negative was the ENORMOUS crowd. It took us 30-45 minutes just to fight our way through the crowd to our seats. And don't even get me started on the chaos at the food and vendor areas. I don't do well with crowds. All the people pushing against you and shoving you. Awful. It was worth it, though.

Read Stewart's funny account of their first reunion gig here.

When I heard the Police Greatest Hits album in high school, I felt like they were talking directly to me. Since I was suffering a bit from depression, "King of Pain" really spoke to me. By the time I got to college, I was a complete Sting/Police convert. In fact, my sorority nickname was "Sting." I'm not the rabid fan that I used to be but the Police (and solo Sting) will always have a place in my heart.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007


I really enjoyed Coelho's last book, THE DEVIL AND MISS PRYM, so I was really looking forward to reading this new one. I was disappointed.

WITCH OF PORTOBELLO follows the story of a woman named Athena who claims to be in touch with the "Great Mother." She becomes the leader of a New Age movement and is known as the "witch of Portobello." The story is told from the various perspectives of the people in her life.

The book offers some interesting thoughts on goddess movements and getting in touch with one's spirituality but the story is fairly uninteresting. For such a short book, it really drags. I felt no empathy for any of the characters and found the many perspectives and characters distracting.

I am in the middle of my last book for the Spring Reading Thing, WHAT IS THE WHAT by Dave Eggers. I probably won't get finished but the book is great so far. I'll let you know!

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a trial pack of ob tampons and a cute little carrying case.


It's Getting Hot in Here

I am lucky enough to work in a brand-new state-of-the-art library. It just opened in August 2006 and has all the latest "green" technology. In our safety training, I found out that this building is the safest one on campus to be in if there is an earthquake. (and I now live in earthquake country---in Texas I just had to worry about tornadoes) Well, the fancy features aren't working for me today. It is getting really hot. We have turned off all the lights and pulled the shades trying to cool the building down. But I am starting to sweat.

I was used to this kind of thing at the public library. It would be 95 degrees INSIDE the building and we would continue to slog along, draped over the circulation desk like limp dishrags.

Global warming can be a real b****.

The good news is that I am leaving early tonight to go to the POLICE concert. I can hardly wait.

Monday, June 11, 2007

Blogging Thoughts

Okay, I wasn't going to but I think I'm going to weigh in on something.

I have mentioned Margalit's blog before. I found her blog through my buddy Ellen's blog. I like the fact that Margalit expresses herself and gets me thinking about things. I may not always agree with what she has to say but I think it's nice to get other perspectives. This weekend, there was a firestorm of controversy among the "mommy bloggers." Most of it aimed at Margalit. This really bothered me. The inital post was on this blog. It started out as a post about child-rearing but turned into a conversation about welfare and the working poor. Margalit tried to make her opinion heard but was either misunderstood or simply vilified for her comments on other blogs/posts. I'm not going to state any positions on this feud one way or another. It is an extremely complicated issue and since I have never faced poverty or hunger (nor do I have children), I don't feel it is my place to start spouting off. However, I have never liked "gang mentality." And whether or not these bloggers were justified in being angry at Margalit and her comments, it made me really angry how they ganged up on her and refused to acknowledge anything that she had to say.

I have the unenviable position of being a Christian, a Texan, a liberal, a (childless) woman, a cultural relativist and a secular humanist. I often feel like I offend everyone and identify with no one at the same time. But I do know this. I'm never going to apologize for who I am. I'm not going to change for anyone. I will follow Voltaire's example and defend to the death someone's right to say what they want. I will not allow people to gang up on an individual or bully them. I will try my best not to be a part of an exclusionary group (and don't start throwing Christianity in my face with this one)! I will always keep myself open to listen to what others have to say. If we are ever to change someone's mind, it cannot be through intimidation or anger. I would hate to think that in a country that values free speech as much as we do, people would be intimidated and threatened into not blogging.

The blogging world is a fascinating place. I didn't create my blog to make a statement or to make money or to get attention. I just wanted to share my life with my friends and family who live far away. But I have made some surprising internet friends in the process and I've been exposed to lots of great ideas. My hope is that we will use the internet to make connections with our fellow human beings. To appreciate what is relevant to us and to let go of the rest.

So, leave Margalit alone, people. If you don't like it, don't read it. And if you want to say something, make it nice and respectful. That goes for all of us. Myself and Margalit included. After all, it's something most of us learned on the playground.

"If you can't say anything nice, don't say anything at all."


Well, I had to say farewell to an old friend last night. THE SOPRANOS went out with a whimper. It has been a part of my life since it debuted in 1999. That is the year my father died and it was also during my first major relationship. Now, I'm living in California and I'm married. Hard to believe how much has changed. I'm going to miss it but I guess it was time. I just wish the last episode had been different. I felt like it didn't give the viewers any sense of closure. Not that that is a requirement for tv shows but I needed SOMETHING. I think SIX FEET UNDER did a really good job with its final episode. Wish SOPRANOS could have been like that.

In other news, I am finally going to achieve a dream of mine this week. I'm going to see the POLICE on Wednesday night. I came to the POLICE a bit late. They were significant in my life from about 1992-1995. I never thought I'd get the chance to see them live and in person. I can hardly wait.

"There's a little black spot on the sun today...."

Sunday, June 10, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Free sample of Kinerase Cream. (must choose the FREE SAMPLE option)


Thursday, June 07, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Here is one for people with cats. Although Toulouse is only getting TIKI CAT treats now, I might let him try this.

Get a sample of the new WHISKAS Purrrrfectly fish!


FINN by Jon Clinch

I just finished FINN by Jon Clinch and it is truly a fascinating book. FINN gives a voice to Huck's father, "Pap." It seeks to explain Huck's origins, the nature of his relationship with his father, how Huck came to live with the Widow Douglas and Pap's untimely demise. It is very well-written although the format of the dialogue can be difficult to follow at times. The plot also jumps backward and forward in time without clear delineation so it can take a moment to figure out where you are in the story. However, the book reimagines an American classic in an entirely new and dark way. If you are a fan of Mark Twain, I would definitely recommend this book. Be aware, however, that the book is filled with fairly dark and disturbing content.

Wednesday, June 06, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

For those of you who enjoy the meaty goodness of Slim Jims (as I do NOT...I only eat poultry and seafood), get your free sample of Slim Jims here:


Something in the Water?

There is a veritable baby boom going on among my friends. Currently, I have four pregnant friends from coast to coast and I expect a royal announcement from this site any day now. Wow! Babies everywhere! I almost feel left out. Guess I better get busy on knitting some baby booties!

Things are pretty quiet here. I'm working on a couple of swaps that you can see over at my crafting blog. And I've been looking for good freebies to post but there haven't really been any lately. I'm continuing to work on my Spring Reading Thing. I don't think I'll get finished. I'm reading FINN and WITCH OF PORTOBELLO right now but it's going slowly. I think I still did pretty well, though.

Gosh this post is really boring...I'm going to end it now.

Tuesday, June 05, 2007

LBC Freebie of the Day

Get a free Hallmark Connections card sample. Choose one of three designs.


Politics and Pie

You know what? I'm really frustrated about the conversations about faith that our presidential candidates are engaging in. There are so many important issues that we should be exploring right now and faith is not one of them. Faith should not be a requirement for running for public office. If we expect an individual to represent us in government, that individual should not be running around promoting a particular religious belief. No should he/she be encouraged to do so. Jimmy Carter was especially eloquent about this in his book OUR ENDANGERED VALUES. Carter is a very forthright and visible Christian but he realized that as President, he had to set those beliefs aside. Obviously, faith and religion are a large part of our lives and who we are. (whether you believe in something or not) But as politicians, these people are charged with doing a particular job. And faith isn't in the job description.

In other news, I saw the movie WAITRESS last week. Loved it!!! Didn't know anything about it but Mom wanted to go. It was sort of "Fried Green Tomatoes" meets "Woman on Top." (the cooking movie with Penelope Cruz) The movie follows a small-town waitress who has a talent for making pies. And a rotten husband. And a BIG problem. It was very charming and heart-warming. I recommend it if you are looking for a non-blockbuster movie.

Monday, June 04, 2007

Oops....She Did It Again

I got to go hear my talented friend Heather Combs play this past weekend and, as always, it was a treat. Heather has just released a new solo acoustic album that is very personal and intimate. A departure from her recent efforts with her band. But a delight, as always. Heather is a little bit country and a WHOLE BUNCH rock and roll. I've heard people compare her to Melissa Etheridge.

If you'd like to hear a few of Heather's songs, find her here.

(I especially love "101" which is a terrific break-up song and "Crashing Down.")

LBC Freebie of the Day

Rumor has it that SEVENTEEN will be giving away 10,000 CoverGirl WetSlicks lip glosses tonight starting at midnight EST. Here is the link:


2 Book Reviews

1. ANGELICA by Arthur Phillips

I was excited to discover that Arthur Phillips had a new book out because I found his last novel, THE EGYPTOLOGIST, so intriguing. It was difficult to slog through but the ending was really unsettling. ANGELICA promised to offer a similar experience. Set up as a Victorian ghost story, ANGELICA follows the lives of a household troubled by secrets and insanity. A lonely wife believes that her household is haunted and that the ghost wishes to harm her 4-year-old daughter. In desperation, she consults a local medium to help rid her of the spirit. The book is told from four different points of view. In the end, it leaves the reader with a great many unanswered questions. What is truth and what is reality? Very well-written but frustrating at times.

2. VIVALDI'S VIRGINS by Barbara Quick

I was selected to review this book by HarperCollins' First Look program. The book itself will be released in July. At first glance, this book looked like another Tracy Chevalier or Sarah Dunant "famous-artist-inspired-by-muse" story. In this case, the story revolves around a group of cloistered virgins in Venice who are famous for their musical abilities. Most of them were abandoned as babies and only the girls are allowed to take part in the music. The protagonist is a girl named Anna Maria who excels at the violin. Her teacher just happens to be Antonio Vivaldi. Surprisingly, Vivaldi is NOT at the center of the story. If anything, he is a relatively minor character. Instead, the story focuses on Anna Maria's search for her identity and parentage and touches on the problems that females faced at this particular time. Anna Maria's story is touching but the clues throughout the book about the truth of her parentage are a bit heavy-handed. Very few surprises await the reader at the end of the novel. VIVALDI'S VIRGINS is a quick and satisfying read, however. Fans of historical female-centered fiction probably won't be disappointed.