Friday, November 30, 2007

From the Stacks Update - November

The From the Stacks challenge has been going month down and 2 books read! Whoo hoo!! I think it has helped a lot that work hasn't been that busy. We'll see how December goes with Christmas coming up.

From the Stacks
I am going to read:
1. The Negotiator (Dee Henderson)
2. The Alphabet Sisters (Monica McInerney) - Finished Nov-07
3. Seven Loves (Valerie Tureblood)
4. Hunger Moon (Suzanne Matson) - Finished Nov-07
5. Raising Hope (Katie WIllard)

6. Patty Jane's House of Curl (Lorna Lanvik)
7. Lost And Found (Jacqueline Sheehan)
8. Queen of Babble (Meg Cabot)
9. A Promise for Ellie (Lauraine Snelling)

The Alphabet Sister - Monica McInerney

Rating: 5 (stars) Better than a new Derby Hat and the winning horse (¨¨¨¨¨)

Pages: 419

This is one of those books you are sad to see end!! It is about 3 sisters who were a singing group as children called the Alphabet Sisters (since their names: Anna, Bett, and Carrie were the first 3 letters of the alphabet). They had a falling out - over a boy of course and this is the story of their journey back to each other. It's a great story that keeps you wanting to turn the page. This is a book I wish I had other people reading at the same time to discuss it!

I want to read more books by Monica McInerney...she will be on my list of to reads in 2008.

Thursday, November 22, 2007

Hunger Moon - Suzanne Matson

Rating: ääää (4 Tell a Friend over a Derby Pie )
Pages: 252
Synopsis (from
When this novel opens, Renata, a waitress, has packed up her baby, Charlie, and taken off for the road. The baby's father and Renata's ex-boyfriend, Bryan, hasn't been told he has a son. Renata drives cross-country to begin a new life, hoping to stay free of emotional entanglements and the associations of a painful childhood. She ends up in Boston, living next door to Eleanor, a seventy-eight-year-old widow, who finds herself gradually stripping away the layers of complication in her life until she is living in virtually a plain white room. June, a young dance student, dangerously obsessed with thinness to mask her loneliness, is hired to look after Eleanor. These three women, from very different social backgrounds and ages, meet by chance and their lives become unexpectedly linked. When Bryan appears unannounced in Boston, Renata is forced to reconcile with her past and find a new meaning of family. The friendship among the three women transforms their lives.
My Thoughts
I liked this book a lot. It kept me engaged and I wanted to know what woiuld happen with Eleanor, June, and Renata. It was interesting how their stories mixed and how they influenced each other. I thought it was well written and I would read more books by this author. I would recommend this book!
1 done in "From the Stacks Challenge" - 4 to go!

Monday, November 12, 2007

Book 1 update

Page 130...making progress...122 to go!

Wednesday, November 7, 2007

No progress

Still on page far no reading yet this week...maybe tomorrow.

Sunday, November 4, 2007

I started the From the Stacks Challenge!

Saturday: 66 pages

I started the challenge with The Hunger Moon by Suzanne Matson. I originally bought this book because it was a potential Novella Cafe book option that wasn't selected for the reading group. So far I like it and I was shocked to be able to get through 66 pages yesterday! Amazing! Part of that is Katie slept until 8:00 - shocker!! She is a 6 am - 7am out of bed girl. She has been sick so I think that is why she slept so much.

Sunday: 0 Pages
Sad to say that I didn't get to read at all today. With church and my sick little reading

Friday, November 2, 2007

From the Stacks Challenge

November 1, 2007 through January 30, 2008

The rules for this challenge are:
To read 5 books that we have already purchased, have been meaning to get to, have been sitting on the nightstand, and haven’t read before. The idea is to save money during the holidays...I am all about saving money...and I can read some books from my pile of books that I / win!
Here is the link in case you want to join... From the Stacks
I am going to read:
1. The Negotiator (Dee Henderson)
2. The Alphabet Sisters (Monica McInerney)
3. Seven Loves (Valerie Tureblood)
4. Hunger Moon (Suzanne Matson)
5. Raising Hope (Katie WIllard)
6. Patty Jane's House of Curl (Lorna Lanvik)
7. Lost And Found (Jacqueline Sheehan)
8. Queen of Babble (Meg Cabot)
9. A Promise for Ellie (Lauraine Snelling)
This is the first challenge I have joined!! And I am very excited. This will be a challenge for me with the holidays coming up and my 1 year old, but I am hoping to get some reading time in during the holidays and her nap times! Check back to see how I am doing!

October Summary

Books Read: 3
Audio Books: 1
Total Books : 4
Number of Pages Read: 1,392

Fortune Quilt – Lani Diane Rich

Type: Fiction
Rating: ääää
272 pgs

Carly McKay's life is going just fine until she produces a television piece on psychic quilt maker Brandywine Seaver and receives a quilt with an enigmatic reading telling her that everything is about to change. And it does. She loses her job and her best friend (who proclaims his unrequited love for her). And her mother, who deserted the family seventeen years ago, returns, sending Carly into a serious tilt.

Convinced it's the quilt's fault, Carly races down to the small artists' community of Bilby, Arizona, to confront its maker, and ends up renting a cabin from her. Carly even starts to enjoy her re-imagined life, until her old life comes calling. Now Carly has to decide what parts of each world she wants to patchwork in...and how much she's willing to leave to fate. (From

What led you to pick up this book? The Novella Café book club had this as one of it’s possible books. It looked good so I reserved it from the library.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! Carly is given a quilt with a fortune reading of things that are going to happen in her life. It’s not straight forward as in “You will loose your job and move” more along the lines of “take the taxi.” As her life is falling apart she re-invents a new life.

What did you like most about the book? It was an easy, fast read that kept me entertained. I really liked the characters. Brandywine (the quilter) was so laid back and easy going. I liked the fact that she made quilts and may not have me the person who she was making the quilt for. Carley’s quilt was made many years before she actually met her. I also liked the that quilt had pieces in it that would soon have significance…like frogs (she was later given a frog who helped revive a career).

What did you like least? There were a few characters that I would like to have seen developed more. There is an artist that comes into a shop that is her inspiration for a story. I would have liked to have heard more about what made him the way he was.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? I haven’t read any books by this author, but I would read other books by her.

What did you think of the main character? I thought she was very likeable and interesting. I liked her not accepting the mother that abandoned her and how she came to terms with this. I liked the general theme of forgiveness.

Share a favorite scene from the book. There are several scenes that I liked from this book. I liked the opening scene where the Carley McKay ex-fiancé crashes her sister’s wedding thinking the Carley is getting married. Also, Carley doesn’t approve of her Dad taking back the Mom who abandoned them 15 years earlier. I liked that because I thought it was true to her character – and how a majority of people would have reacted.

The Dress Lodger – Sheri Holman

Type: Fiction
Rating: åå
Pgs 320

In Sunderland, England, a city quarantined by the cholera epidemic of 1831, a defiant, fifteen-teen-year old beauty in an elegant blue dress makes her way between shadow and lamp light. A potter's assistant by day and dress lodger by night, Gustine sells herself for necessity in a rented gown, scrimping to feed and protect her only love: her fragile baby boy. She holds a glimmer of hope after meeting Dr. Henry Chiver, a prisoner of his own dark past. But in a world where suspicion of medicine runs rampant like a fever, these two lost souls will become irrevocably linked, as each crosses lines between rich and destitute, decorum and abandon, damnation and salvation. By turns tender and horrifying, The Dress Lodger is a captivating historical thriller charged with a distinctly modern voice. . . . (From

What led you to pick up this book? It has been on my reading list for a while and then I found it at the ½ price book store.

Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! It is the story of Gustine who is part of the poor in Gustine, where she is a Dress Lodger – a person who wears a dress to earn money as a prostitute. The owner of the dress takes a cut of the money and has her followed by “the Eye” who watches the dress. Gustine also has a baby who needs medical treatment. To gain favor with a Doctor she helps him obtain dead bodies to perform cadaver studies on hoping in return he will cure her son. During all of this cholera epidemic hits.

What did you like most about the book? I liked that the ending summarized what happens to all the characters.

What did you like least? The first thing is that it was difficult to determine who was telling the story. Sometimes it was dead people and at one point it was the cholera disease itself. Also there were some plots that I don’t think added much to the book (i.e. the theatre about cholera and the actors of the theatre specifically).

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? Yes, Mammoth Cheese . I didn’t record it in my book journal, but from what I remember I liked it better than this one.

What did you think of the main character? I liked her. She wanted the best for her son, even though she had very little to offer. She worked hard and was smart to figure out ways to get the things that she wanted even though she was poor.

Share a favorite scene from the book. I liked the change in the relationship between Gustine and the eye. I also liked the scenes with Gustine and her son.

I didn’t really like this book very much. I had a hard time finishing it and it was quite depressing. It is a unique idea and there were plot surprises which I like.

Tulle Little, Tulle Late – Kimberly Llewellyn

Type: Fiction
Rating: ···
352 pgs

It's not bad enough her cousin's stealing her thunder. She's also stealing her dress. Who doesn't love a wedding? Nina Robertson sure doesn't, since the wedding in question is that of her hyper-competitive, catty cousin Celia. And Nina's own engagement hit the brakes (and then went over a cliff) not too long ago. And the bitter icing on the cake? Celia will be wearing Nina's dream dress. Meanwhile, Nina's no-good ex is conducting a shock-and-awe campaign on her social life. And an underhanded co-worker, along with a notoriously difficult movie star, are making her public-relations job a nightmare. Although Nina might not be headed down the aisle, she's definitely headed downhill. (from

This is about Nina who’s life is not at all what she was expecting a few months before. She breaks up with her fiancé after he chooses a life style that she didn’t agree with. She has to watch a cousin buy the same wedding dress that Nina wanted and endures her Bridal Shower. This inspires Nina to completely change her life. In this vein she meats a hot guy and has a fling with him and goes for a promotion that puts her catering to a has-been demanding movie star diva. Her ex-fiancé shows up wanting to stay with her for a few weeks and her job starts going sour.

This is an entertaining novel. There were very funny parts and it is realistic to see how Nina gets into some of the situations she is in. I liked that she was strong enough to go to a Gala by herself. I did find parts predictable, which is disappointing.

This is a good beach read! I would read more from this author.

Judge and Jury - James Patterson & Andrew Gross

Rating: ˜
Pgs 448

Senior FBI agent Nick Pellisante is closing in on the notorious mob boss "The Electrician," when the scheduled sting goes spectacularly awry. Two FBI agents are dead, the boss is wounded, and Pellisante vows the Electrician's next move will be from a jail cell.
Andie Echeverra, a part-time actress and a single, full-time mom, is assigned her next role as Juror #11 in the landmark trial against Mafia Don Dominic Cavello. Everybody is on edge. No one has ever crossed the man whose orders have made entire families disappear.
Though Cavello's influence extends across blue uniforms and black robes, the case should be open-and-shut. But the legal system fails with devastating results, and Nick and Andie are the only ones left to seek justice. To stop the Electrician, they must take matters into their own hands. They are the judge and jury now. (From

What led you to pick up this book? I have read other James Patterson books
Summarize the plot, but don’t give away the ending! Nick and Andie go after a mob boss after an explosion that he is responsible for kills Andie’s son. In the process Nick and Andie fall in love.

What did you like most about the book? It was a quick read. I like that in James Patterson’s novels the chapters are short so you feel like you are getting a lot accomplished. Also he ends his chapters with a suspenseful part, so you don’t want to put the book down at the beginning of a chapter.

What did you like least? This was predicable. If you have read other Patterson novels this obviously has the same outline/format. Such as Beach Road and The Lifeguard.

Have you read any other books by this author? What did you think of those books? Yes, Beach House (ääää), The Lake House (ääää), Sams Letters to Jennifer (ääää), Honeymoon (ääää), Beach Road (···), The Lake House (ääää), The Lifeguard(···), Honeymoon, Suzanne’s Diary for Nicholas (¨¨¨¨¨)

What did you think of the main character? They were ok.

Share a favorite scene from the book. I thought the scene where Andie was being picked for the jury was humorous.

I didn’t really like this book very much. This book had many brutal scenes and was extremely predictable. Patterson needs to get a different format. And really – how much of these books with other people is he writing? He produces more than other authors which makes me believe that he writes the outline/format and another author really writes the book. So I guess this is really an Andrew Grossman book.

Thursday, November 1, 2007

Book Ratings

Well the book club ( in Champaign that I used to belong to used the following categories to rate the books

5 Stars "Better Than Chocolate"
4 Stars "Tell a Friend"
3 Stars "Take It or Leave It"
2 Stars "Needs Popcorn - Wait for the Movie";
1 Star "I’d Rather Watch Corn Grow".

Since I am now living in Kentucky I thought I would put a KY flare on here is what I came/ up with:

5 (stars) Better than a new Derby Hat and the winning horse (¨¨¨¨¨)
4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)
2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
1 I’d rather be watching the bluegrass grow(˜)

Not sure if I will stick with this...but for now they are the ratings. Please leave comments if you think of other catchy ratings for a Kentucky reader.