Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Best Friends Erin and Darcy have agreed to answer personal adds for a friend who is doing research on the kinds of people who place personal ads. When Darcy is out of town and Erin goes missing, Darcy is determined to figure out what happened to her. Once Erin's body shows up, Darcy decides to, against the police and better judgement, go on dates with the guys who Erin had dated recently. When Darcy turns into the next target, there is no turning back for her.

In classic Mary Higgins Clark style the mystery unveils and you are left uncertain who the killer is until the end. This was a very quick read for me and as usual Mary Higgins Clark throws enough character development into the book that you think you know who the killer is but you really have no idea. You get to know and like the characters and the twists and turns come openly. Her writing always reminds me a bit of Agatha Christie with the way she unveils the killer.

This book fills the following Categories and Challenges for me:
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge
  • PBT Feb Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

Monday, February 22, 2010

February WoWO Book Club Meeting and Dear John by Nicholas Sparks Review

For our Second WoWO Book Club Meeting we read and discussed Dear John by Nicholas Sparks. Before the book discussion we got together and watched the movie and that was a fun time in itself. Between Tricia's yelling out during the movie what was different in the book and my very first Appletini in a movie theater (Lori corrupting me). We had a really fun time at the movies. Later in this review I'll speak of what we liked and disliked about the movie compared to the book. But for now, I'll stick with the book review first.

Group Rating - Book: 4/5 Stars
Group Rating - Movie: 3/5 Stars

Dear John is the story of John Tyree and two very key relationships in his life. The relationship between him and Savannah, who he meets while home on leave from the Army. They have a whirlwind romance for a few fabulous weeks and then he must go back to Germany, where he is stationed. They write letters and their relationship takes ups and downs as any long distance relationship would. The other key relationship in John's life is the one with his father. John was raised by only his father after his mother left when he was young. They had a relationship that was built around collecting coins and not much else. John couldn't connect with his father on an emotional level and it led to his rebelling and to a strained relationship with his father.

Everyone in the group enjoyed the story. In this one we were split on most parts of the book. A few of the girls wished it would have ended differently but several of us thought that it was a realistic ending. We debated on whether John and Savannah were really in love or in some form of infatuation. I was one of the peope who thought that it was infatuation, especially on Savannah's part. For the most part we felt that without the story of John and Dad there wouldn't be much meat to this story. Sparks did a very good job with the Character development of John and the father. Their relationship was intriguing and touching. As favorite characters go - John received 8 votes and his father received 1 vote.

Some our favorite parts in the book were:
  • The connection that they had with watching the moon at night.
  • When John starts to take nightly walks with his father
  • When John's dad was ill
  • When Savannah gives John the book
  • When Savannah explains why she wants John to write instead of emailing or calling.
  • and for good measure - p.209 ;-)
As for the Movie, there were so many changes that I won't list them all but the ones that stood out as good or bad were:
  • Tim is the father of Alan instead of the brother - not good
  • Tim was scruffier and different that expected - not good
  • John didn't have his tattoo's - not good (I was so looking forward to these!)
  • Savannah doesn't give John the book - not good (important story line)
  • The September 11th tragedy was much better felt in the movie than the book - good change
  • John's father was played by Richard Jenkins - good good good!
  • I would like to add that Channing Tatum is HOT.. and although I wasn't convinced of him by the previews.. he convinced most of us by the end of the movie.
So, which was better, the Movie or the Book? 7 of us thought the book was better and 2 of us thought the Movie was better. The two that liked the movie better stated that it was mostly for the ending, which was slightly different. I personally liked the book more after seeing the movie, it made me appreciate scenes and developments that occurred in the book that did not happen in the movie.

I'd like to say a special thanks to my co-worker Chris for making the WoWO Logo at the top of the page and to Linda for making these fabulous book markers for all the girls!

Next Up for the Women of Washington Oaks is The Help by Kathryn Stockett on March 24th, so look out for the next post of the WoWO Book Club.

On a personal note Dear John filled the following Categories and Challenges for me:

  • The Romance Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Challenge
  • PBT February Tag: Relationships
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Friday, February 19, 2010

Case Histories by Kate Atkinson

Rating: 2/5 Stars

Three Cases, all being looked into by Private Investigator Jackson Brodie. The book jumps around to be told from different perspectives and this gives an interesting view on the stories.

In the beginning we learn a bit about each of the cases individually and then as the story unfolds you see some overlaps in the story from Jackson's uncovering of the details and meeting with all the clients.

I have been sitting on this review for days because i didn't know what to say about it. I enjoyed the beginning of the book and learning about all the cases but it just fell flat to me. So, this review is more about just stating that I read the book and wasn't wow'd by it. I wish it grabbed me more. I know others who have loved it but it just wasn't for me.

This book fills the following Challenges/Categories for me:

  • RYOB Challenge

  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge

  • PBT Tag: Relationships

  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

  • New Authors Challenge

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline

Rating: 5 Stars - Favorite

I am a fan of Lisa Scottoline's Legal Thrillers, where she writes her women protagonists to be strong, human and real or as she would say "extraordinary ordinary women." Since I am local to Philadelphia, the setting for these books hit close to home as well and it adds an extra special component for me. I have not read them all yet, but I have read several of them out of order and I enjoyed them enough to go back and start from the beginning of the series. Which I'm still in the process of going through and just realized that I will make this series by final series choice for my Finish the Series Challenge this year. But I am off track now... let me get back to why were are here! When I saw the title, "Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog", and I saw that Lisa Scottoline wrote this book there was no way I was leaving without it. Besides the title being entirely fitting to my state of mind, I just knew it would be a worthwhile read.

I did not know that Lisa Scottoline wrote a "Chick Wit" column for The Philadelphia Inquirer. I feel like I missed out when I wasn't subscribing to the paper - had I known I may have subscribed. Which is what this book is composed of, the articles (I believe with additions) from her column. Anxious to dive into the book, I opened it right up and started to gobble down the pages. When I was about 1/3 of the way into the book I realized that I wasn't noting all the things I loved about this book. I felt like I was sitting down and eating the best prime rib I ever ate and I wasn't savoring the taste; I was like a starving animal gorging on the meal without even taking the time to really taste it. So, I started over and savored each article. I have so many pages marked that if I gave you samplings of each one you would have no need to buy the book yourself.. and you should!

I would however like to give you a little sampling of some of my favorite entries. Before I do that let me first say that this book touched me in so many ways. Lisa Scottoline is raw and honest and absolutely hilarious. There were parts when I thought that this woman was absolutely crazy; like when she talks about going out without a bra or the reasons to love hot flashes. However, there were many more times while reading this book when I felt like we were kindred spirits; Like when she talks about how her dog sleeps on her pillow (My baby does the same thing!), being suggestible to everything I see (especially food), UnResolution Number Two (Yes I kiss my dogs on the lips - what of it??), UnResolution Number Seven (Yes I do need all those books overflowing on my shelves) and so many others.. too many to list! I certainly don't feel alone in my craziness anymore - Thank you Lisa! I found myself laughing out loud from so many of her stories, being able to relate. And I also found myself tearing up with some of her more sad stories; like her my estrogen is overflowing and I cry at everything.

Getting Religion was my favorite of the columns but if I quoted from it, it would be the whole column, so that's just one that you'll have to read on your own - but trust me it's worth it. Lets just say when she starts the religion, Sign me up! I'll tithe all day for that one!

These are not anywhere near all the excellent quotes in the book but here are some of my favorites:
  • From Everything is Nude Again: about Squeezing into Spanx, "From the front, I looked like a Tootsie Roll with Legs. From the back, instead of having a buttocks, I had buttock. In other words, my lower body had been transformed into a cylinder. I no longer had hips where hips are supposed to be, or saddlebags where God intended. I was a cardboard in the roll of toilet paper. And another detail. I couldn't breathe."
  • From Have It My Way: "I used to think of myself as low maintenance. I used to believe I was easy to please. But now I know better. Starbucks taught me the truth."
  • From Dream Job: "Its fun to do something dumb. Not something really dumb, like my second marriage. That was really really dumb."
I can't say enough about this book, it was refreshing and fun and I'm very glad I read it, I would recommend it to any woman.

This books fills the following Categories and Challenges for me:
  • Truth is Stranger than Fiction Reading Challenge 2010
  • PBT Feb Tag: Relationships
  • Mostly Books Monthly Theme Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Books About TV Challenge 2010

Yes.. I know I know.. another challenge.. What's your point?!?! ;-)

Synopsis of Challenge comes directly from the BooksAboutTVChallenge site post by Callista:

Introducing a new challenge...

Please note this is not for books that were turned into a TV show. This is for books that are about or based on a TV show that was there first.

There are a few different kinds from what I've thought of:

Short novels based on a TV show. These usually have the same characters but the storyline is new. E.g. Charmed: The Legacy of Merlin by Eloise Flood or Sabrina the Teenage Witch #2 Showdown at the Mall by Diana G. Gallagher I know of books like this for Murder, She Wrote, Star Trek, Buffy the Vampire Slayer and many more.

Episode Guides. These usually include a synopsis of each episode of a TV show as well as character information and trivia. E.g. The Complete Slayer: An Unofficial and Unauthorized Guide to Every Episode of Buffy the Vampire Slayer by Keith Topping or Finding Lost - Season Five: The Unofficial Guide by Nikki Stafford

In-depth Analysis Books. These aren't just light reading. These books usually make you think and analyze. They may offer criticism of the show. You can learn lots of interesting things from these types of books. E.g. Reading the Vampire Slayer: The Complete, Unofficial Guide to 'Buffy' and 'Angel' (Reading Contemporary Television) by Roz Kaveney or Lost's Buried Treasures, 3E: The Unofficial Guide to Everything Lost Fans Need to Know by Lynnette Porter and David Lavery

Other. I'm sure there are other kinds I don't know about or books that fit under more than one of the above categories. For example I've read The Numbers Behind NUMB3RS: Solving Crime with Mathematics by Keith Devlin and Gary Lorden which is nonfiction about how they can really solve crime with math but is by one of the consultants to the NUMB3RS show so he explains how what you see in the show is real but it's done much faster on TV than it would be in real life.

So finally to the challenge:

From January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010 you must read at least 2 books that are somehow about a TV show. It can be all of one kind above, a mix and match or whatever you want. If you find a book and you aren't sure if it counts, just email callista at

To join, just leave a comment here stating your intention. If you make a list of potential reads, please share the URL so others can get ideas. Or if you don't have a blog, share some ideas in the comment if you like, but it's not necessary. Link reviews back to here

My Reading Plans for this Challenge - all based on the Supernatural TV show:

Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R. A. DeCandido (Completed 4/17)

Supernatural: Witch's Canyon by Jeff Mariotte
Supernatural: Bone Key by Keith R. A. DeCandido
Supernatural Season 1 Companion

Truth is Stranger than Fiction Reading Challenge 2010

Ok.. so I know I said no more challenges but Tenia, my friend from shelfari, keeps posting about new book challenges and I can't resist when they fit with books I need to read.. so here it goes.

Welcome to the Truth is Stranger Than Fiction Reading Challenge!

Sure, we all like to read fiction, but there's lots of great non-fiction out there, too!

Here at Truth is Stranger Than Fiction, the goal is to encourage everyone to read more of it.

The Rules:

Only non-fiction books apply! These can be anything you're interested in: memoirs, history, geography, politics, religion, sports - whatever non-fiction you've put your hands on and your nose into.

Overlaps with other challenges allowed!

Post a list of choices if you want, or make it up as you go along.
Any book format is allowed. There are four levels:
Just the Facts - Read two non-fiction books.
The Scoop - Read four non-fiction books.
**The Whole Story - Read six non-fiction books. **<-- my choice
Nothing But the Truth - Read eight (or more) non-fiction books.

The challenge will run from February 1, 2010 through February 28, 2011.

Interested? Just sign up on the nonfictionchallenge blog.

Please use the link to the post where you'll be listing your books. If you want to list your books on your sidebar, that's okay, too - just link back to the sign-up so other people can join in, too!

Ok, so now you know what it's about and that I'll be choosing "The Whole Story" and will be reading 6 non-fiction books.

Here are my reading plans:

  • Open by Andre Agassi
  • The LIfe and times of the thunderbolt Kid by Bill Bryson
  • Bright Lights Big Ass by Jen Lancaster
  • Fight for your money by David Bach
  • When Elephants Weep by J. Mason
  • Why my third husband will be a dog by Lisa Scottoline

Check back for ongoing progress!

1) Why My Third Husband will be a dog by Lisa Scottoline (3/19)

2) Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (6/24)

3) Plenty by Alisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon (7/12)

Thursday, February 04, 2010

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland - Rating: 3/5 Stars
Through the Looking Glass - Rating 2/5 Stars

Since the new Alice in Wonderland is coming to the movies soon, I decided with a few people from my book club to read these stories. Since this is my first experience with the books as well as with Lewis Carroll, I expected the books to be like the Disney movie I remember from the past. I was wrong.

We all know the synopsis of Alice in Wonderland; little girl falls down the well and follows the White Rabbit through a passage and gets into all kinds of trouble. This is basically true, but what I didn't know is that Alice would be such a brat. I really wanted to love these stories and I was left with disappointment. While I enjoyed Alice's Adventures in wonderland a bit more than Through the looking glass, it still didn't wow me like I wanted it too. I found myself drifting away from the story as I was reading Through the looking glass, nothing about that story did anything for me.

I don't want to insult anyone as many people love this story, but I was just expecting so much more - and maybe that's the problem.

These books fill the following Challenges / Categories for me:
  • PBT Feb Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mele Challenge
  • New Authors Challenge

Tuesday, February 02, 2010

January Wrap-up

It's time for the January Monthly Wrap-up:

Not a large month in quantity but not a bad month in ratings. I didn't have any stinkers and I was entertained by all my books:

*Picture borrowed from
Happy Hour by Michele Scott 4/5 Stars
Dexter by Design by Jeff Lindsay 4/5 Stars
7th Heaven by James Patterson 4/5 Stars
Much Ado about Nothing by William Shakespeare 3/5 Stars

My Plans for February Reads are as follows:

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland / Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks (WoWO Book Club read)
Peony in Love by Lisa See
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson
Putting on the Dog by Cynthia Baxter
South of Broad by Pat Conroy
Why my third husband will be a dog by Lisa Scottoline
8th Confession by James Patterson (Audio)
Four Blind Mice by James Patterson
Winter Moon by Dean Koontz
DUST TO DUST by Tami Hoag

Check back for my reviews!

Monday, February 01, 2010

Fear by Jeff Abbott (Audio)

Rating: 4/5 Stars

I picked this audio book up on a whim, based on no knowledge of Abbott whatsoever. My library has shelves and shelves of Audio books and I couldn't decide what to listen to next so I started all the way to the left of the stacks at A and picked the first one in the stack. What a nice surprise it was for me to find that I picked up an exciting and complex tale of suspense.

This book brings 3 Post Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) patients together after their therapist asks them for help and then is murdered. They feel a need to find out who killed her and why she was killed and finish what she died for. These 3 people get into the thick of more traumatic events while still trying to face their own fears and move on with their lives. This book was really well written and you never really know who can be trusted nd who cannot, with lots of twists and turns that will keep you excited to read on. There are alot of characters in the book but I think the author does a good job in keeping them clean and separate, never being confused by them.

I absolutely loved the narrators voice, L.J. Ganser. I know I've heard his voice somewhere else before. It's the perfect voice for a handsome leading man character, especially for a suspense novel. I looked him up to see what else he's read and he has quite an audio book listing, which is not surprising because he is really a great narrator. You can find his audiofile site here.
I will certainly be reading more from Jeff Abbott and I will be picking up Panic from the library on audio ASAP, where L.J. Ganser is the narrator, so this is a bonus for me.

You can find out more about Jeff Abbot and his books here. He has apparently been nominated and won several awards and has a couple of books optioned for film. I think he is definitely one to watch.

This book fills the following categories/challenges for me:
  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge
  • PBT Feb Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge: A in januAry
  • New Authors Challenge