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

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


• 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.


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


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:

... 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)

The Surgeon by Tess Gerritsen

How to catch and Keep a vampire by Diana Laurence

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