Tuesday, December 29, 2009

For My Daughters by Barbara Delinsky

Rating: 2.5/5 Stars (round to 3)

This is a nice story of an estranged family who come together one summer and find themselves and each other. Ginny, the mother, has always been cold and distant.. She did what she needed to do as a mother but her three children, Caroline, Annette and Leah, never felt her approval and acceptance. Caroline, is a lawyer at a Chicago law firm with an artist boyfriend. Annette is the mother of 5 children with a doctor husband. Leah is twice divorced, and feels she'll never find true love. All of these women have their own internal issues as well as having sibling and mother issues. One short two week span, around the mothers 70th birthday, at Stars End in Maine will put all of these things right for everyone.

I really enjoyed the first half of the book. I related to these women because they reminded me so much of my family and our relationship. The second half of the book, didn't really appeal to me as much. I felt I related to Leah the most but the way Leah was acting at the end, so indecisive about her life - I didn't understand why it was so hard for her. Also, Everything wrapped up a little too perfect.

I was entertained by the story, so I gave it 3 stars.

This book fits in the following Challenges/Categories:
  • PBT Dec Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele: F in February

Friday, December 25, 2009

Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Rating: 5 Stars
Favorite

Dr. Peter Brown, an intern in a Manhattan Hospital has a past that he'd rather keep hidden, that is if he wants to live. When a man from his past recognizes him as "BearClaw" a former hitman for the mob turned witness, Peter must do everything he can to keep who he really is from getting back to some of the people in his past.

Unveiling the story of Pietro "Bearclaw" Brnwa, interwoven with the craziness of a day with Peter Brown making rounds in the hospital; You have sheer writing genius. This book is vulgar, violent and in your face aggressive and all at the same time it's the most unique and refreshing story I've read in a long time, with an Anti-hero you can't help but like. This is a roller coaster ride like no other, with never-ending violence and action.

The final fight scene in this book is so crazy and amazing that it makes you wonder how someone could come up with a scene like this, and many other scenes in the book for that matter. What kind of person is Josh Bazell, the mind behind such violence and grand imagination? He has to be the most interesting person, with a tortured mind I suspect. Would I want to be his friend if I met him? HELL YES!

This is his debut novel, but when his next comes out I will be the first in line to buy it.

This book fills the following categories/challenges for me:
  • PBT Dec Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele - B in decemBer
  • Fantasy Thriller Horror Yahoo Group - December Discussion

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge 2010

Yet another reading challenge! Thanks Annette from Annette All Booked Up for reminding me about this one.


Timeline: 01 Jan 2010 - 31 Dec 2010
Rules: To read TWELVE (12) thrillers in 2010
Hosted by: Book Chick CIty

Details:

• You don't have to select your books ahead of time, you can just add them as you go. Also if you do list them upfront then you can change them, nothing is set in stone! The books you choose can crossover into other challenges you have on the go.

• If you decide to participate in this challenge please use the links I have set up below with the buttons to post on your sidebar, this way others can find their way back to this post and join in the fun.

• If you decide to join this challenge be sure to create a post telling others, please make sure you add a link back to this post so others can join in.

• You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.

As usual, Check back here for my progress!

1. 7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
2. Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
3. Fear by Jeff Abbott (Audio)
4. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
5. Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark
6. 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
7. Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag (3/19)
8. Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught (4/16)
9.Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido (4/17)
10.House Rules by Jodi Picoult (4/25)
11. Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (6/15)
12. Panic by Jeff Abbott (Audio) (8/30) ** CHALLENGE COMPLETE!!! **
13. The Last Child by John Hart (9/30)
14. Just One Look by Harlan Coben (9/30)

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

My Christmas Puppies

I was taking pictures of the my puppies for the christmas cards this year (yes Im very behind!) and now Im having trouble with my printer ink, so these may not get out at all this year. So, in the spirit of sharing, here they are. May I present my babies, Max and Gunner. Max is the one laying down and Gunner is the one sitting up.
Hope you enjoy them!




Monday, December 21, 2009

Survivor Samoa Finale

The game is called Survivor and the slogan is Outwit, Outplay, Outlast.

So how does someone who skates on someone's curtails win? I am a woman who started out hating Russell but ended up rooting for him because he's Survivor genius. if you are someone who watched this season regularly, I would hope that you could agree at least that he is the best survivor player ever. I wouldn't want to be friends (or enemies) with him. But, he was amazing... He found immunity idols, over and over again, without knowing that they even existed and without clues. and even when it truly mattered he won immunity. It kills me to say it but he was a master at this game. He was ruthless and a liar but it's a game, not real life - it's a competition for money and thats the idea. Get people to trust you, do what you have to do to survive and win. But he didn't win, the girl, Natalie, who rode his curtails the entire time won. Some would say she deserved to win because she was nice to everyone and didn't stab anyone in the back.. but the truth is, she had no problems letting Russell do the dirty work and crossing people at the vote, so she is not so angelic as we let her seem.

Now, she did win and that's the point of the game, so you have to give her a hand for that and she did try hard on all the challenges, I just don't like that she claims to have played the game so innocently and kind and all the while scheming to stab people in the back and having someone else do the heavy lifting. She certainly latched on to the right person to get herself to the finals. Russell deserved to win, the problem is all the people on the jury were too personally involved, as he was the puppet master that led to them to being eliminated. If they looked back and really voted for who was the best player, they would change their vote... but it's a popularity contest and they were jaded.. so Natalie won. The problem is no one who is crossed by someone else, in a game or in real life, is going to put their name down for a million dollars. The truth is they didn't so much as vote for her but against Russell.

While writing this review it occurred to me that the winner of Survivor is really whoever can get to the top without hurting everyones feelings, and that kind of ruins the point of the game for me. People don't watch the show to see people being nice to other people, the ratings are in the people like Russell... They are the money makers for the network. I think people signing up for this have to change their strategies if they want to win the money. I have been thinking for some time now that Survivor needs to have the audience vote for the winner once it gets the final 2 or 3. I think then the true best player of the game would win. I realize this would have it's challenges as we see edited version of what happens, but I would like to see it anyway.

Did any of you watch the finale? What did you think? Any scenes from this season you absolutely loved?

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherfurd

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Part I of The Dublin Saga takes you from Ireland in 480 A.D through its history ending in the year 1537. I really wanted to enjoy this book but it never truly grabbed me. In the very beginning I was intrigued by some of the characters (Deirdre and Cornall) but they never developed before we were jumped to a new time with new characters. I was never really able to get comfortable in a time period before I was thrusted into a new one. I forced myself to finish this book although I had to re-read pieces several times because I found myself zoning out. I gave it 2 stars because although I didn't like it, I didn't hate it either. Some pieces were intriguing and interesting but all in all it was like reading a history book. I was hoping it would be more like Pillars of the Earth with it's writing but it is no where near it - in my eyes.

This book fills the following Challenges and Categories:

  • PBT Dec Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge (P in April)

Monday, December 14, 2009

I've Got Mail Monday!

Over the past week I got a few books in the mail. One I have been anxiously awaiting and another I have had on my wishlist for some time. I just love opening up my mail box and seeing the packages of books in there, it's like Christmas in my mailbox! Speaking of Christmas, I did receive a third package from my secret santa on Shelfari but I won't be opening that one until the big day! Im a big fan of surprises.

The one I was waiting for the most was Happy Hour by Michelle Scott:


I entered a contest on Michelle Scott's website and won 7 copies for my face to face book club at home. We will be reading this in January so please check back for my review in late January.

The Synopsis:

Every woman has that group of friends in her life ~ her "go to girls" The friends that she can turn to who "get it." The ones who are there for you no matter what. The ones who laugh with you and cry with you. The ones that will always be there. These are the women of Napa Valley.

Jamie is the editor-in-chief of Wine Lover's Magazine, a single mother and caretaker to her senile mother-in-law ~ a woman who thinks her daily caregiver is Dean Martin. Jamie is still recovering, financially and emotionally from the death of her husband several years earlier. And when she finds what could be the key to happiness, can she open the door and let it in? Or will her feelings of guilt and betrayal hold her back?

Danielle is a vintner and the divorced mom of two. She's basking in what she knows is going to be a successful launch of her new wines. Wines she created on her own after her divorce. But what she doesn't expect is for her daughter to come home with news that will shock her to her core. Will an old flame help her accept the changes that are coming and find the love she's been missing in her life for so long? Or will a tragedy that no one sees coming change their lives forever?

Kat is a sommelier, co-owner of a magnificent restaurant with her chef husband, and mother of a blended family. But is being deeply in love with your husband enough to get them through the teenage years, step-children and exes? And what happens when old faces return and she's faced with the knowledge that not everything is what you thought it was. What happens when she finds she was mad at the wrong person and finds out the "right one" was in the wrong? Can she forgive and move on? Can love overcome everything and truly bring a family together?

Alyssa is an artist and gallery owner with a secret of her own. One she was hoping would stay buried deep in her closet. But the time has come for her to put someone else first, to face the past and to deal with her demons. What she never expected to find was love and her "home."

No matter what is going on in their own lives, no matter the heartache or joy they're experiencing these four women are always there to love, support and encourage each other.

The other book I received in the mail this week was Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris.



Synopsis:

This is the second book in Charlaine Harris' popular Southern Vampire Mysteries series. Telepathic vampire maven (and cocktail waitress) Sookie Stackhouse has been tasked with locating an abducted vampire and suppressing an upstart anti-undead religious cult.

Have you received any good or highly anticipated books this past week in your mailbox?

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Weekly Geeks: 2009-45: Making a List?


I've been falling behind on the Weekly Geeks lately so this one should snap me back into the swing.

This weeks installment is about Making a gift List:

Do you have a book wish list for the holidays? (Or is that one of those 'duh' questions?) If so, what's on it?

My Book Wishlist is stored on Shelfari. The wishlist is not used exclusively for the holidays or gifts, it's really for myself when I'm ready to locate a new book for my shelf. It's also used for trading books, if someone sees something in my Plan to read or Own shelves that they want, they can look at my wishlist and approach me for a trade. It also came in handy for my secret santa to figure out what to get me.

Some of the books on my wish list are:
Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay: Book Cover Cover Image Cover Image Cover Image

Are you very specific when someone asks what you want for a gift? Or do you throw caution to the wind and say, "Oh any book you choose...." Or do you prefer a bookstore gift card?

I also ask for a bookstore gift card if it's from someone who doesn't know where my wishlist is. I hate to ask for a specific book, but I don't like throwing caution to the wind as I may have already read the book they choose. I think a gift card is safest. Now if someone has a book they think I would enjoy, and decides to give it to me, that's even better because it's from the heart.

Do you buy books for people on your gift list? Do you choose books for them that you like and try to influence their reading (or hope they'll loan it to you when they're done)? Or do you get specific titles from your giftee?

I do buy books for people for holidays, I try to find books that I know they will love and do my best to fit their personality and find something they haven't read yet. If it's a book I can borrow, then that's a bonus!

Where do you buy your book gifts? Do you shop at local independent bookstores, or the "big box" stores? or do you shop online?

I look at books in every store that I go to, so I buy them when I see them, unless I know I can get a better deal somewhere else on the same book. I often buy online with a discount coupon as well.

How about you? What are your answers to these questions? I'd love to hear about your lists.
Thanks for reading this edition of Weekly Geeks - check back next Sunday for the next installment.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

MAMMA MIA!


Last weekend I was surprised with an offer to go see Mamma Mia with my friends and their whole family. It was a bus trip, they had an extra ticket that wasn't being used and I have a birthday coming up, so they offered it to me for my birthday. I love musicals but for some reason Mamma Mia wasn't on my list of plays to see. I was looking forward to it but wasn't expecting much from it, boy was I surprised. It was absolutely fabulous! The play itself really worked with the songs. I mean in some spots the songs kind of get crammed into the story and you wonder how they came up with using that ABBA song in that spot but, it was still excellent. Just when it appears to be over and you are sitting there thinking, that was a pretty good show..... The party kicks in. They really kicked it up a notch and ended on a high and fun note. I would really recommend it, and you don't have to be an ABBA fan. I know some of their songs, but I wouldn't say I'm a fan and I can't tell you enough how good the show was. There were some really funny scenes and the Broadway Actors were really good.

The woman who played Donna - Beth Leavel was incredible and I'd be happy to watch her sing anything. She has power and delivery in her acting and singing. She was my favorite from the play.

Beth Leavel

Here's a link to her Mamma Mia Page: Beth Leavel

I was happy to get the opportunity to go and see NYC, on a Snowy Saturday. We went to Rockefeller Center to see the Christmas tree. The picture here is from theExaminer.com and their article on the tree lighting ceremony.


All in all it was a great day, however long. We left at 7:30am to catch the bus and then in the evening caught the bus out at 6:30pm and didn't make it home until about 9:30pm with the snow and the traffic leaving the city.

One of my favorite unplanned stops was NBC studios. I had no idea they had tours, a store, and a picture taking area where you can put your face in with different NBC characters body's. Next time I'm back in the city I'll be stopping by to see the observation deck, the tour as well as taking one of those pictures home with me. I would like to do Liz Lemon from 30 Rock.

Tuesday, December 08, 2009

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

Rating: 5 Stars, Favorite

Enzo, the narrator, is a dog. But not just any dog, he's a wise and intelligent being.

Enzo knows that in his next life he will come back as a human and throughout the book you find out his logical reasoning behind this theory. Enzo tells the story of his relationship with his best friend, Denny, and the drama the ensues in their lives. The one constant in their lives is each other and they are true "Best Friends." Enzo is endearing and loyal and everything you, as a dog lover, know your dog at home next you - is inside. A major reoccurring theme of this book is about destiny and how we may not be able to control every aspect of our lives, but we can control how we react. One way or the other we are the owners of our destiny.

Since reading Marley & Me last year I have stayed away from Dog novels, as they make me sad with the inevitable scene that is in every dog novel. My dog Max is getting up there in years and the thought of his mortality makes me incredibly sad, so my plan is to stay in denial as long as I can. But, This book came highly recommended from other dog lovers who know my fear of the dog novel, so I dove in. From the start of the book I fell in love with Enzo and his loyalty and love for Denny. Their stories made me laugh at times and sad at others, just like any great story should do. On the very first page you know that the inevitable will still come, but Garth Stein has a way of making the inevitable a little more bearable. I still sobbed and cuddled with my dogs for a good half and hour (at least) after reading this book. But I was a different crying than with the other books. This book is in fact very hopeful and sweet and if you are even thinking about reading it - do it, you won't be disappointed.
Favorite Quote "That which we manifest is before us; we are the creators of our own destiny. Be it through intention or ignorance, our successes and our failures have been brought on by none other than ourselves."
This book fits the following Challenges/Categories:
  • PBT Dec Tag: Other
  • 12 Days of Christmas Challenge Day 4: Animals
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge: A for Art (A in jAnuary)
  • Reading Cover Group, Bonus Book

Thursday, December 03, 2009

Timeline by Michael Crichton

Rating: 2/5 Stars

In trying to write my review of this book, I find myself grasping for words. I can't even intellegently say what this book was really about. Sure, it's about Quantum time travel, and a group of archeologists studying a historical site are able to travel back to medievel times and see the site in it's fully glory.. While there they get into all kinds of trouble and getting back isn't as easy as getting there was. There are some twists and turns regarding the time travel and the corporation that is secretly working on the time travel.

I love the idea of time travel in science fiction so I thought I would love this one. but this is the first Chricton book that didn't grab me and didn't keep me interested. Im sitting here after finishing it feeling disappointed, I didn't love the story and I didn't love the characters. It just didn't keep me interested. I just couldn't keep all the details straight and I thought too much was going on, in both the past and present. I just feel like I missed a bunch of pages in the middle or something. I could have done without reading this one.

This book fills the following Challenges/Categories for me:

PBT Dec Tag: Other
Twelve Days of Christmas: Day 3 France
Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge: T in (augusT)

The Nanny Diaries by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Nanny works as a nanny to help make ends meet while she's finishing college. She's been a nanny before so she is familiar with the territory but nothing prepares her for the Xes. The Xes are a typical upper class family in NYC where the Husband is always "working" , the mother is always shopping or planning events and the child, Grayer in this case, is left to be raised by the nanny.

The book was well written but at times a bit on the depressing side. You couldn't help but be angry at nanny for allowing herself to be such a pushover and you couldn't help but feel sorry for Grayer. But there were some really funny scenes and even scenes where Mrs. X seems almost human. All in all it was an enjoyable read.

I read this for my face to face book club and the whole group really enjoyed the book. We had some good discussions on Why Nanny would stay in this environment for so long and how Grayer would be as an adult.

This books fits the following Categories/Challenges:

PBT Dec Tag: Satire
Monthly Mixer Mele - N in November

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

November Wrap-up

Not a great quality month but not too bad on quantity.

Books Read:

  1. The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen - 3.5 / 5 Stars
  2. How to catch and keep a vampire by Diana Laurence 2/5 Stars
  3. Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson - 2/5 Stars
  4. Pitch Black by Susan Crandall - 3/5 Stars
  5. Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern - 3.5/5 Stars

Challenges coming to an end this month:


BOOKTIVITY NOVEMBER SPECIAL: I THANK FOR...
... not needing to know "how to catch and keep a vampire" (by Diana Laurence)
... Dark Tort - YUM! (by Diane Mott Davidson)
... not living in Pitch Black (by Susan Crandall)
... The Surgeon who did my knee surgery years ago did the surgery on the correct knee! (by Tess Gerritsen)

PBT NOV TAG: THRILLER
The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

BOOKTIVITY NOVEMBER: ACTIVITY
How to catch and Keep a vampire by Diana Laurence
PBT NOV TAG: OTHER

How to catch and keep a vampire by Diana Laurence
Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson
Pitch Black by Susan Crandall
Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern

Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern

My last book for the month of November.

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars - rounded down to 3

Cecilia Ahern has a way with writing a happy ending.. She takes the absolute longest possible route to find it. Somehow this makes it all the more sweeter when the characters you see go through such turmoil and tragedy, end up being happy and OK with the path's their life took in the end.

Rosie Dunne is the story of the trials and tribulations of Rosie, written in an epistolary format of letters, E-mail and instant messaging chats with all the people in her life over the years. People come and go but her best Friend Alex is the one constant in her life, this relationship is complex and flawed and really wonderful all wrapped up in one.

This book had some tough subject matter for me in the middle but it was worth getting through. Ahern really knows how to write good chick-lit with a twist.

This book fills the following Challenges/Categories for me:

PBT Nov Tag : Other
Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge: Day 2 - Love
Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge - R in novembeR

Saturday, November 21, 2009

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

A killer in Boston, MA is attacking women, seemingly safe in their own homes, and violating them in many disturbing ways. These killings are eerily similar to attacks from Years ago in Savannah, GA where there the last victim was left alive and the killer was left dead... Details that could only be known by the killer are being duplicated and more women are dying as time creeps on in the investigation. Detectives Jane Rizzoli and Thomas Moore need to protect the witness and find the killer and both tasks are proving harder than expected.

This book is gritty in detail and thick in medical jargon, which makes it all the more exciting and real for me. I like mysteries that I can get lost in and this definitely was one of them. I'll definitely read on in this series and read more of Gerritsen. I'd recommend this book to anyone who enjoys dark, gritty books that are heavy on the details and get your heart thumping. Rizzoli comes off a little hard edged and bitter, but the explanations for that seem real. For a woman who works in a field that for a long time was considered a "mans world", I understand what that can do to a woman.

This book covers the following categories/challenges for me:

Booktivity November Special: I thank for... The Surgeon who did my knee surgery years ago did the surgery on the correct knee! (By Tess Gerritsen)
PBT Nov: Thriller
Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge (S in auguSt)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Pitch Black by Susan Crandall

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Madison and her adopted son, Ethan, leave Philadelphia for a better life in a small town in Tennessee. Madison finally starts to open up to the town and a certain someone and allows Ethan on a camping trip when a tragic accident happens and all hell breaks lose in this small town. Madison and Ethan being outsiders have a harder time with the locals because of this event and figures get pointed everywhere but where they should.

This was my first Susan Crandall and I enjoyed her writing but I felt that too much was given away too quickly. I also didn't like how the narrator changed throughout the book, I thought it was a little too much flip flopping around.

This book fills the following Categories/Challenges for me:

Booktivity November Special: I thank for... ...not living in Pitch Black.
Fall Winter Mystery Challenge: Romantic Mystery
PBT Tag: Other
Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge (B in novemBer)

Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Goldy is has a new client, she is making breakfast and meeting goodies for a local law firm. One night while Goldy is there to prepare bread for the next morning, she trips over her friend, neighbor and law clerk, Dusty, on her way in the door. Goldy plans to say far away from this one, but can't help but promise Dusty's mother she would help with the investigation.

I enjoy cozy mysteries and that is why I've tried over and over to get into this series. I don't know what it is about Goldy that I just can't grab onto and love. I do know that I get a little bored when the author goes into details regarding the food that is being eaten or prepared that particular moment and time and the background as to why... I think if these details were missing and the food was just mentioned (like other food cozies) I would like it more. I know this is a very popular series so for some people this works.. but it just doesn't for me.

A cute book and an original story, but all in all Goldy misses for me. The food/recipes do sound very yummy though!

This book fits the following challenges/categories for me:
Booktivity November Special: I thank for... Dark Tort .. Yum!
Twelve Days of Christmas PBT Challenge: Food
PBT Nov Tag: Other
Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge (D in December)

Lynsay Sands/Argeneau Family Reading Challenge

Another New Challenge!!

My Overstuffed Bookshelf is hosting this challenge and I've been dying to read this series so here is my chance!

The challenge runs from January 1, 2010 - December 31, 2010


Here are the titles of the books in order:

1. A Quick Bite

2. Love Bites

3. Single White Vampire

4. Tall, Dark and Hungry

5. A Bite to Remember

6. Bite Me

7. Accidental Vampire

8. Vampires are Forever

9. Vampire Interrupted

Check back here for Updates!

Friday, November 13, 2009

BOOKS IN THE MAIL!!!

I just love getting books in the mail, it's like opening presents on Christmas day. I won a Amazon Gift certificate from Play Book Tag Group on Shelfari and I was happily able to spend it and get some good deals.

Turn Up the Heat (A Gourmet Girl Mystery) by Susan Conant and Jessica Conant-Park

This is book three of the Gourment Girl Mystery Series. I've only read the first book, but I loved it so much I have already have the 2nd in the TBR pile and couldn't help buy the 3rd. Im excited to continue the series.

Synopsis from bn.com:

Chloe Carter is helping her chef boyfriend with his new restaurant on Boston's posh Newbury Street, when a crabby waitress is found dead in a fish truck. Was this a prank gone awry? Or did somebody want her to sleep with the fishes?

Supernatural: Witch's Canyon by Jeff Mariotte

I love the Supernatural TV series so when I saw their were books that fit into the series between seasons, I jumped at the chance to read it.

Synopsis from bn.com:

Twenty-two years ago, Sam and Dean Winchester lost their mother to a mysterious and demonic supernatural force. In the years after, their father, John, taught them about the paranormal evil that lives in the dark corners and on the back roads of America...and he taught them how to kill it.

Sam and Dean have set out on a road trip to the Grand Canyon, but this is no vacation for the brothers. On a stretch of deserted ranchland just beyond the canyon's stunning vistas, mysterious murder sprees have occurred every forty years. The area's inhabitants have been few and far between in years past, but a nearby mega-mall is about to celebrate its grand opening—and attract thousands of fresh victims.

The Winchester boys are determined to protect locals and shoppers alike, but they never anticipated they'd be fighting a group of killers this vicious, this vindictive, this . . . dead. A deadly horde of animal spirits and human ghosts has arisen to terrorize this tiny corner of the Arizona desert. If Sam and Dean can't figure out why, the wide-open spaces of the West will once again become a desolate frontier . . . and the witch's canyon will be the brothers' final resting place.


Passion by Lisa Valdez

I don't normally go for romance novels but a friend of mine recommended this book highly so I thought I would give it a try. Looks pretty steamy!

Synopsis from bn.com:

Young widow Passion Dare thought she'd never love again. But a handsome earl has been pursuing her- and after a lifetime of propriety, Passion ponders throwing caution to the wind. After several heady encounters, the pair must face blackmail, learn a shocking truth-and choose between duty and desire.





This wouldn't normally be a book I would pick up on my own but one of my yahoo groups is reading it in December for a discussion and my library doesn't carry it, so the gift certificate came at the perfect time.

Synopsis from bn.com:

Caroline, Annette, and Leah St. Clair have spent their lives trying to escape the legacy of their wealthy, social-climbing mother, Virginia. Then, on the eve of her seventieth birthday, Virginia gives something to her daughters after a lifetime of taking...
Can't wait to read these and review them, check back for reviews.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful by Diana Laurence

Rating: 2/5 Stars


I received this book as an ARC request in early October. I was very excited to start reading this and although it was "cute" it really didn't live up to my expectations.


Diana Laurence writes a self-help book for vampire lovers. The idea of this book is fascinating to me, with all the vampire books, tv shows and movies out there these days - its the right time for a book like this. I however expected something a little more tongue-in-cheek. I felt that Laurence took a more serious approach instead of a quirky approach, which I think would have made this book at success.

Maybe the trouble is it was more written for a teen? Not sure but something was missing for me.


There were a few notable quotes from this book:
  • "Women just get so sick of being good that they are completely and utterly and downright chomping-at-the-bit ready for a nasty vampire. and when you are ready for nasty, what you need is a bad vampire."
  • vampire pickup line: "They say a diamond is forever -- I can promise you an eternity."

This book fills the following challenges and groups:

  • Booktivity November Special: I thank for... not needing to know how to catch and keep a vampire
  • Booktivity November: Activity
  • PBT November Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge (V for vampire in noVember)

Sunday, November 08, 2009

Puppy Learns to Whistle

I found the cutest video today on wimp.com and I just had to share...

video

I've watched it 100 times already and I just can't help but love that little puppy!

Wednesday, November 04, 2009

New Authors Challenge


Mostly because I have a sickness that doesn't allow me to stay away from a good challenge, here is another one I just signed up for:

New Authors Challenge


Here are the guidelines from the Literary Escapism Blog:

The challenge will run from January 1, 2010 through December 31, 2010.

Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be.

I will be of course tracking this challenge on my blog and will try for 15 new authors next year. Check back for updates throughout the year to see how Im doing.

1. Michelle Scott (Happy Hour)
2. Jeff Abbott (Fear)
3.Lewis Carroll (Alice's Adventures in Wonderland)
4.Kate Atkinson (Case Histories)
5. Nicholas Sparks (Dear John)
6. Anne McCaffrey (Dragonflight)
7. Kathryn Stockett (The Help) - 3/25
8. Keith R.A. DeCandido (Supernatural: Nevermore) - 4/17
9. F. Scott Fitzgerald (The Great Gatsby) - 4/22
10. Laurie Halse Anderson (Wintergirls) - 4/28
11. Jean Davies Okimoto (The Love Ceiling) - 5/7
12. Jeaniene Frost (Halfway to the Grave) - 5/23
13. Michael Scott (The Alchemyst) - 6/2
14. Barbara Kingsolver (The Lacuna) - 6/5
15. Henning Mankell (Faceless Killers) - 6/15 *** FINISHED CHALLENGE!!!
16. Lori Brighton (Wild Heart) - 6/23
17. Elizabeth Gilbert (Eat, Pray, Love) - 6/24
18. Alisa Smith & J.B. Mackinnon (Plenty) - 7/12
19. Donna MacMeans (The Education of Mrs. Brimley) - 9/29
20. John Hart (the Last Child) - 9/30

Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

I've found another new challenge that Im excited about.... Here's the challenge in Jen's words from Jen's book talk:Monthly Mixer Mele

All you have to do is read a book that begins with a letter of each month or read a book that begins with the authors name (first or last name, doesn’t matter). There are 74 letters so you will have to have 74 different books to complete the challenge. Books can however be used to complete other challenges.You don’t have to do the months in any kind of order, just fill in books as you go along until you have each letter a book by it.Challenge begins November 1, 2009 and ends November 2, 2010 so you have a whole year to complete! Lets break out them books and get busy!

Sounds fun right? I'll be tracking my progress on the left as usual with my challenges.

Check back for Progress Here:

Updated on 6/24/2010

N - The Nanny Diaries byEmma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus

O - Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught
V - How to catch and keep aVampire by Diana Laurence
E - Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
M - Much Ado About Nothing - William Shakespeare
B - Pitch Black by Susan Crandall
E - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert - 6/24
R - Rosie Dunne by Cecilia Ahern

D - Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson
E - The Education of Mrs. Brimley by Donna MacMeans - 9/29
C - 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
E
M - Happy Hour by Michelle Scott
B - Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell
E
R -Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein

J - Dear John by Nicholas Sparks
A - The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein
N - Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. Candido
U
A - Fear by Jeff Abbott
R - House Rules by Jodi Picoult
Y

F - For My Daughters by Barbara Delinsky
E
B - Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay
R
U
A - Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
R
Y

M - Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline
A - Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll
R
C - The Love Ceiling by Jean Davies Okimoto
H - 7th Heaven by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

A - Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey
P- The Princes of Ireland by Edward Rutherford
R
I - Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
L - Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark

M - Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (5/31)
A - Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (4/28)
Y

J
U
N
E

J - Just one Look by Harlan Coben (9/30)
U
L - The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks
Y

A - The Alchemist by Michael Scott (6/2)
U
G
U
S - The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen
T - Timeline by Michael Crichton

S - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald
E
P - Panic by Jeff Abbott (8/30)
T - Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
E
M - Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (6/15)
B - The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (6/5)
E
R

O
C - The Last Child by John Hart (9/30)
T - Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag
O
B - Wild Heart by Lori Brighton (6/23)
E
R

Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

As usual the Play Book Tag Group at Shelfari is doing another great challenge that I can't miss out on.

Twelve Days of Christmas Challenge

Start Date: November 9

Objective: To read books that fit twelve tags inspired by the "Twelve Days of Christmas" holiday song.

Twist: Each book you read must be linked to the subsequent book.Challenge Winners:You can "win" in one of the following ways:

1. Complete all twelve reads such that they fit the tags.

2. Earn the most total points

3. Earn the most points in a given round

How It Works:

1. Every Monday, we will reveal a tag inspired by the song, "The Twelve Days of Christmas".

2. Players will select a book that fits the tag and read it. You will earn points for the following:a) Reading a book that fits the song tag = 2 pointsb) If the book also fits the monthly tag = 3 more pointsc) Review the book = 5 points

3. The following Monday, a new tag will be announced, and that will afford you with more point earning opportunities. The goal is to LINK the book you read this week with the one you read the week prior in one or more of the following ways:

a) Same author

b) Shares at least one word in the title (articles don't count)

c) Published in the same year

d) Won or was nominated for the same prize

e) Is in the same genre (as judged by the admins)

f) Is set in the same country

g) Come up with ONE additional bond using your own creativity

For each bond, you will get one point. So the more bonds between the books, the better.

4. Each week, you must report the following in a specially designated (weekly) thread: - the book you read- did it fit the challenge tag- did it fit the monthly tag- the bonds with the prior book. If you can calculate your point totals, great!!

5. A winner will be announced each week for the person who has the most points for that particular pair of books, but slower readers are still eligible to compete and may supersede previously announced winners should they earn and report more points.

6. This challenge will run for 12 weeks. At that time, the person with the most overall points will be announced as well as all the players who have completed the challenge. And of course, there will be some handing out of prizes :).

EXAMPLE OF HOW IT WILL WORK:

The monthly tag is drama.

The tag inspired by the song is: Single

On the first day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree. Read a book tagged "single".

So, let's say you read: Hamlet by William ShakespeareHamlet is tagged "single" and "drama", so you would earn 2 points for single and 3 more points for drama. Your total is 5 points. You write a review, and therefore get a total of 10 points.

The following week, the tag is: On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, two turtledoves: read a book tagged "love".

So now, you decide to read: Romeo and Juliet by William Shakespeare. Again, you would earn 2 points for love, 3 points for drama, and 5 points for your review - 10 pointsPlus, the book is written by the same author - 1 point.It's also in the same genre - 1 point

So, for this first round of the game (single/love), you would have 12 points. Your total score would be: 22 pts (10 for the first read and 12 for the second).

Sounds easy right? Ok, it sounds a little complicated but really fun. Can't wait to get started! I'll be tracking my progress on the left hand column of my blog, so check for updates regularly!

Sunday, November 01, 2009

October Wrap up

I can't believe October is over already, where are the days going. I'll be wrapping up some of my Group themes and creating new ones for November as well as summing up the books I've read in October providing Links to my Reviews.

All in all October was a very good month for me, a lot of new authors were read and some old favorites. Here are My October Reads:


My favorite for the month was definitely the Adoration of Jenna Fox, it was just a very well written book and I loved the uniqueness of the story. I would like to read more my Pearson.

The following are the group themes and/or challenges that are now closed.

BOOKTIVITY HALLOWEEN THEME Wrap Up


PBT OCT TAG: CONTEMPORARY FICTION

PBT OCT ADMIN TAG: DEBUT

PBT OCT TAG: OTHER

I was disappointed that I didn't read anything from the Author Author choices this month as I have a few in my TBR pile. I did however attempt to read Never Let Her Go by Ishiguro and couldn't get through it. I felt like something was wrong with me because so many people rated this book 5 stars that I thought I may as well not finish it now and some other day try again.

AUTHOR AUTHOR


November brings new themes and challenges from my groups and here they are:

Booktivity November: Activity (Anything in the title that is an activity/verb), I'm looking forward to this one.

Booktivity November Special: I thank for... (November is the month when Thanksgiving is celebrated (not in Germany though). Because of this occasion we are going to celebrate too! If you read any book with something in the title you would want to thank for please post your review for this book here.)

PBT Nov Tag: Thriller (Books that are tagged Thriller on Shelfari.com) - I have a lot of thrillers in my TBR pile , so hopefully I'll hit this a lot this month.

PBT Nov Tag: Other (Books read that are not tagged Thriller on Shelfari.com)

Author, Author Group

Featured: Nora Roberts

Alternate: Anne Rice

Alternate: O Henry

Looks like I'm in for some good reading this month. Also have a few ongoing challenges that I have to really kick up my reading plans for.