Friday, December 28, 2007

On Stirke for Christmas - Sheila Roberts

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
Pages: 352

Synopsis (from
At Christmastime, it seems as though a woman’s work is never done. Trimming the tree, mailing the cards, schlepping to the mall, the endless wrapping—bah humbug! So this year, Joy and Laura and the rest of their knitting group decide to go on strike. If their husbands and families want a nice holiday—filled with parties, decorations, and presents—well, they’ll just have to do it themselves. The boycott soon takes on a life of its own when a reporter picks up the story and more women join in. But as Christmas Day approaches, Joy, Laura, and their husbands confront larger issues in their marriages and discover that a little holiday magic is exactly what they need to come together. Sheila Roberts gives the best gift of all in this funny, heartwarming novel that touches the very core of Christmas spirit.
I enjoyed this book, but I don't think I would recommend reading it at Christmas time. I could really relate to the women in the book and how much women do versus the men. My house is no exception. So I think reading this book during Christmas made me very dissatisfied with my husband's participation in our family activities -- the planning and grunt work. I have thought about going on strike for a while - though my strikes are never successful. But in the book the husbands did get an appreciation for their wives and how much they did, but not without a lot of pain. But the women also learned lessons on not having to go all out and how they affect their children. It was a good book, but don't worry if you aren't reading it around Christmas! Plus there are recipes in the back of the book! Always a bonus!!

The Persian Pickle Club - Sandra Dallas

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)
Pages: 196
Synopsis (from
It is the 1930s, and hard times have hit Harveyville, Kansas, where the crops are burning up, and there's not a job to be found. For Queenie Bean, a young farm wife, a highlight of each week is the gathering of the Persian Pickle Club, a group of local ladies dedicated to improving their minds, exchanging gossip, and putting their quilting skills to good use. When a new member of the club stirs up a dark secret, the women must band together to support and protect one another. In her magical, memorable novel, Sandra Dallas explores the ties that unite women through good times and bad.
This is a book I have been reading and putting down for a while. I like it and am glad that I finished it, but its not a book that will be on my highly recommend list. If I couldn't put it down I would recommend it more. This book is about a group of women who quilt. There is also a mystery thrown in when one of the women's husbands shows up buried in a field. The town had thought he had run off. So one of the new members writes a newspaper article and tries to solve the mystery. It's a quick easy read - and short.
I have also read "The Diary of Matte Spenser" and liked it much better, so if you want to read a book by Sandra Dallas I would recommend this one. I also will soon be reading Tall Grass and I have "Alice's Tulips" in my TBR pile, so check back later for other Sandra Dallas reviews.

Saturday, December 22, 2007

Themed Reading Challenge

Caribousmom is hosing a Themed Reading Challenge. I am picking books with Blue in the title. I have.
Blue Moon – Luanne Rice
Funny that there are 2 books with the same name...I am tempted to read them just to compare them!!

Thursday, December 20, 2007

The Memory Keepers Daughter - Kim Edwards

Rating: 3 Don't Bet On This One - Wait for the Movie(···)

Pages: 432 (listened to it on audio)

Synopsis (From BN.Com)
On a winter night in 1964, Dr. David Henry is forced by a blizzard to deliver his own twins. His son, born first, is perfectly healthy. Yet when his daughter is born, he sees immediately that she has Down's Syndrome. Rationalizing it as a need to protect Norah, his wife, he makes a split-second decision that will alter all of their lives forever. He asks his nurse to take the baby away to an institution and never to reveal the secret.
But Caroline, the nurse, cannot leave the infant. Instead, she disappears into another city to raise the child herself. So begins this beautifully told story that unfolds over a quarter of a century in which these two families, ignorant of each other, are yet bound by the fateful decision made that long-ago winter night.
A brilliantly crafted, stunning debut, The Memory Keeper's Daughter explores the way life takes unexpected turns, and how the mysterious ties that hold a family together help us survive the heartache that occurs when long-buried secrets burst into the open.

I am disappointed that this book has gotten so much hype. Although the story is different an easy to follow with all the different characters I am not sure why it has gotten so much hype. It didn't capture me where I couldn't wait to know what was happening. David Henry is the main character and is likeable, but it is disturbing that he never admitted the truth. I wonder what their lives would all be like if he didn't give away his daughter. He lived with the guilt all of his life and his family paid for his decisions. On the other hand, Caroline seems blessed to have Pheobe. She wouldn't have met the man she eventually married if not for Pheobe. I would have like to see her have more children though. All in all not a book I would put on my recommendation list.

I have gone Challenge Crazy!!

I am signing up or have signed up for 2 more challenges.

Jane Austin Challenge
This is a challenge to read or watch 2 Jane Austin books/movies. Masterpiece Theatre is running a series on all 6 of her books and a movie about her life. I love the A&E version of Pride and Prejudice and haven't seen Mansfield Park, Northanger Abbey or Persuation so I am excited to see them. Someone commented that the movies start Jan 13! I am not sure if I will read any of the books based on my current reading list...we'll see.

I am also joining Reading Full Circle Challenge...see next post. I have selected 12 books for I have 24 books so far commited in 2008...I am hoping to read 50 books - we'll see if I make it.

I was thinking of joining Reading My Name challenge, but all authors name Darcie/Darcy seem to be Harliquin or non-fiction writers.

I also want to read the Chronicles of Narnia series. :) Plus I want to start a book club! LOL!!

Wednesday, December 19, 2007

Reading Full Circle Challenge

Here's how to do it...
Use the common words from your book titles to connect the last title and the following title. The last title in your list needs to share a word with the first title making it a full circle. Click on the button if you want to join.

Here is my list:

Drums of Autumn – Diana Gabaldon
Drums of Change: A story of Running Fawn – Janette Oke
Change of Heart – Jodi Picoult
Harvesting the Heart– Jodi Picoult
Fatal Harvest – Catherine Palmer
Fatal Grace: A Three Pines Mystery – Louise Penny
A Tread of Grace – Mary Doria Russell
The Scarlet Tread – Francine Rivers
Scarlet Moon – Kimberly C Hughes
Blue Moon – Luanne Rice
Autumn Blue – Karen Harter

I actually got a few books I own in this List (Tread of Grace & Drumbs of Autumn). I have been wanting to read more Jodi Picoult (and the change of heart is her new one) and Janette Oke because I love the Love Comes Softly Series...all of the others are new books and new authors!!

This was hard but fun!! It took me a few hours...and I wanted to include the Drums of Amber so I can work on the series this year.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

2008 TBR Challenge

Here are my choices for the 2008 TBR challenge...

1. Voyager – Diana Gabaldon – Book 3 of the Outlander Series. This will be interesting because this book is in storage so I am going to have to find it first!
2. The Surrogate – Judith Henry Wall
3. Case Histories – Kate Atkinson
4. Busters Midnight Café --Sandra Dallas
5. Dancing on the Edge of the Roof – Shelia Williams
6. Beginner’s Luck– Laura Pedersen
7. PS I Love You – Cecelia Ahern
8. The Touch - Colleen McCullough
9. Always – Jude Deveraux
10. The Shop on Blossom Street – Debbie Macomber
11. The Perfect Arangement – Suzanne Berne
12. Five Fortunes – Beth Gutcheon

13. The Secret Wife of King George IV (Diane Haeger )
14. Snow Flowers and the Secret Fan (Lisa See)
15. All We know of Love (Katie Schneider)
16. Redemption (Kingsbury with Smally)
17. The other Boleyn Girl (Philippa Gregory)
18. Custody (Nancy Thayer)
19. Bread Alone (Judity Ryan Hendricks)
20. The Persia Café (Melany Neilson)
21. The Negotiator (Dee Henderson)

These are all books that I own believe it or not! We'll see how I do this year. I hope to get Voyager done before March because these are good books to read in the winter. I read 1 & 2 years ago so I hope I don't have to remember a lot!!

Giving Up On Books

I found this article while looking for a challenge of reading 50 books in a year. I thought you would enjoy it. I put some additional comments at the end.

Giving Up On Books
by Steve Leveen
When I interview people about their reading and ask, “Do you give up on a book you don’t like?” people usually get a pained expression and say something like, “Well I’d like to be able to give up.I should give up. But I find it hard to.”
Ring a bell? It’s the reading equivalent of the clean-your-plate syndrome.
Perhaps it goes back to school days. Our teachers assigned books that we had better finish if we wanted a good grade. And we had to read
“Many professional readers apply the 50-page rule. If the book hasn’t grabbed them by then, they give it the heave-ho.” that book before we could have another (the clean-your- plate-or-no dessert syndrome).
Yet many of the professional readers I’ve interviewed—book reviewers, editors and booksellers—do give up on books. They have retrained themselves. They don’t give up tentatively and regretfully but deliberately and decisively. And they consider it one of the most important reading skills they’ve learned. The prevalence of this skill among professional readers has made me wonder whether those who give up on the most books might also be those who finish the most.(Didn’t Babe Ruth lead the league in strikeouts as well as home runs?)
The wisdom of giving up on books is compelling. New York University professor Atwood H. Townsend wrote in his Good Reading: A Helpful Guide for Serious Readers, “Never force yourself to read a book that you do not enjoy. There are so many good books in the world that it is foolish to waste time on one that does not give you pleasure and profit.”
Townsend penned that advice in the 1930s, when America was producing some 10,000 books a year. Today the number is more like 150,000. Compare that with an active reading schedule of 50 or so books a year and, well, numbers talk.
“Consider wine tastings. Do we finish the whole bottle for each wine we sample? Tastings wouldn’t get very far if we did.”
To help them know when to give up, many professional readers apply the 50-page rule. If the book hasn’t grabbed them by then, they give it the heave-ho. Nancy Pearl, the librarian and author of Book Lust, reports that some people take this rule further and subtract a page for every year of age over 50. This way a 75-year old would give a book only 25 pages to prove itself. As readers mature they become quicker and surer judges of what they like.
Most of us give up on people faster than books. Imagine you’re at a cocktail party and the first person you chat with turns out to be a stupendous bore. Do you keep talking to him for the next hour because you started with him? To the contrary, you suddenly develop a passionate interest in the spinach dip across the room and excuse yourself.
Or consider wine tastings. Do we finish the whole bottle for each wine we sample? Tastings wouldn’t get very far if we did.
To be fair, some books do take effort to understand and appreciate. I’m thinking of philosophy and science and James Joyce, for example. Some readers claim you learn most from the books you struggle with. But for the majority of books that people open, I’m beginning to think we would benefit by turning the usual finish fetish on its head.
Instead of feeling guilty about giving up on a book, we could set out to give up on, say, a dozen books a year with the understanding that if we don’t do this, we’re just not tasting enough books. And these aren’t just any books but highly recommended books we thought we might really like. If we took this approach, wouldn’t the books we do finish be far more rewarding for us?
Perhaps we should hold book tastings. Better yet, book and wine tastings together. Yum!
# # #
Reader’s Question: Do you give up on books you don’t like?Please
click here to respond.

Do you give up on books? Sometimes I do, but usually at 100 pages. I have the idea that there are too many good books out there to waste time on a bad one. Although if you look at my blog you will see that in fact there are some rated low, which means I guess I don't give up on all of them.
I am going to set up a goal of 2008 to determine if I am going to continue after 50 pages. I am going to add to my blog books I gave up on...we'll see if I reach 12 or not. Funny I am thinking about this after coming off 2 bad books. Post a comment and let me know if you give up on books.

Friday, December 14, 2007

Christmas Read

I am going to take a break from the TBR Challenge and read a light Christmas book - not that the other books aren't fun. And NO the TBR challenge has not kept me from buying new are some of the ones I have bought -

  • On Strike for Christmas (Sheila Roberts) which I am reading next
  • Family Baggage (Monica McInerney) because I liked Alphabet Sisters so much
  • The MacGregors - Serena & Caine (Nora Roberts) 3 for $1 a the library - how can you beat that?!
  • Countdown (Iris Johansen) also 3 for $1 the idea of the TBR challenge was not to buy any books...I was good for a month! : )

Seven Loves - Valerie Trueblood

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 232
Synopsis (from
Who most deeply affects our lives? Sometimes it is those who touch us briefly, even unexpectedly. For May Nilsson, these include the lover she takes in her forties; the handsome, troubled young rebel she is determined to rescue; the police officer who inadvertently plays a major role in her greatest catastrophe. Moving back and forth in time, from May's childhood to her eighth decade, SEVEN LOVES weaves together the strands of an ordinary life made extraordinary by the complex passions that drive it.
This book has 4 stars at BN. I am not sure why...although I think it would be a good discussion book for a book club. I think the ones that you like typically are good discussions. This book was very disjointed. The concept that it was about the 7 great loves May had.
Here are the problems I had with this book:
#1 - she had a woman at work who she had a crush on as one of her great loves but neither of her daughters! Hello???!! Are you serious?
#2 One of the people she loved was a man who I don't beleive she ever talked to...he was an aide in the nursing home she was in. I can understand this more than the woman, but still no daughters! On some level for the story I guess the daughters would have told a similar story but then please don't call it Seven Loves...ok - I am moving on...
#3 I had a hard time following the characters in the book because it was very disjointed. I couldn't remember who characters were and when things happened because it jumped around so much.
#4 Affairs. I am scared to think affairs may start the way the author discribed. May liked a man at a conference and sat down with him and had a drink. Before they knew it they were in an affair. Do affairs really start like that? One day you are monomgomous and then next day not? With so little thought. I guess I would have like to have seen her give some thought to the affair and how it would effect her family. you can see this would be a good discussion.
There is a quote in the reading guide from Trueblood where she said in an interview, "she is a bit of an anti-plot, because of the 'contained arc: the beginning, the complication, and the resolution. Novels like that, I just don't believe. It's hard for me to see that things really could ever be tied up with a resolution.'" I am not sure that things always can be tied up with a resolution...but you are telling a story...please tell it in a way that people can follow it!
The best thing that I can say is...It's OVER!! :)

Friday, December 7, 2007

The Widow of the South - Robert Hicks

Rating 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages 448 (Audio)

Synopsis (from
In 1894 Carrie McGavock is an old woman who has only her former slave to keep her company…and the almost 1,500 soldiers buried in her backyard. Years before, rather than let someone plow over the field where these young men had been buried, Carrie dug them up and reburied them in her own personal cemetery. Now, as she walks the rows of the dead, an old soldier appears. It is the man she met on the day of the battle that changed everything. The man who came to her house as a wounded soldier and left with her heart. He asks if the cemetery has room for one more.
In an extraordinary debut novel, based on a remarkable true story, Robert Hicks draws an unforgettable, panoramic portrait of a woman who, through love and loss, found a cause. Known throughout the country as "the Widow of the South," Carrie McGavock gave her heart first to a stranger, then to a tract of hallowed ground-and became a symbol of a nation's soul.
The novel flashes back thirty years to the afternoon of the Battle of Franklin, five of the bloodiest hours of the Civil War. There were 9,200 casualties that fateful day. Carrie's home -- the Carnton plantation -- was taken over by the Confederate army and turned into a hospital; four generals lay dead on her back porch; the pile of amputated limbs rose as tall as the smoke house. And when a wounded soldier named Zachariah Cashwell arrived and awakened feelings she had thought long dead, Carrie found herself inexplicably drawn to him despite the boundaries of class and decorum. The story that ensues between Carrie and Cashwell is just as unforgettable as the battle from which it is drawn.
The Widow of the South is a brilliant novel that captures the end of an era, the vast madness of war, and the courage of a remarkable woman to claim life from the grasp of death itself.

I didn't really like this book much. It was sad and depressing and not much happened, believe it or not in the middle of the Civil War. It was slow and dark. I don't recommend this book and probably won't read more by this author.

Seven Loves - is it over yet?

I am having a hard time getting through this book! For 2 reasons - the book - its not my favorite read or a fast read...I can put it down and do a lot! and 2 - so little time...

I have a Christmas book that I want to start so I am hoping to get 7 Loves done this weekend. I will still have 2 books left to finish for the From the stacks challenge...oh and the From the Stacks Challenge hasn't kept me from buying more books!! I think I have gotten about 5 since I far the same number that I am reading...oh well.

I also found a great web site Paperback Swap where you can swap paperbacks!! I can't wait to see if it works. If you go to the site please put ReadingDerby down as the person who recommended you because you can get points for recommending people! I will put a graphic up later this weekend.

Christmas Meme

Book Binge is hosting a Christmas Meme here are my answers:

1. What is your favorite Christmas romance to re-read each year? I don't tend to re-read books. I think there are to many unread books that are in my TBR pile to re-read. :) I read a new book each year. This year it's "On Strike for Christams" by Shielia Roberts.

2. What is your favorite Christmas movie/show? Hallmark's a Stolen Miricle or It's a Wonderful Life. I actually like to start watching Christmas movies in November. This year Lifetime and Hallmark have marathon Christmas movies playing - I love it!!

3. What is your favorite Christmas cookie? Mmm - this one is hard because if I love a cookie I will make it all year! I think it would be a Krumcaca (sp?) because when I was a kid my Grandmother made this with me. We only made them at Christmas so it's a happy memory with her. I will carry on this tradition with my little one.

4. When do you start Christmas shopping? When I have the $ - not before November.

5. Do you re-gift? Nope

6. What is your favorite Christmas song? Mary Did You Know? I think I like Reba's version the best.

7. When do you get your Christmas tree? I have it all year round - it's fake...went up this year the day after Thanksgiving.

8. Wrapping presents: Love it or hate it? I live Christmas so I hate to say I hate anything about the season, but it's not my favorite thing to do. Sometimes people get the gift with no wrapping! : )

9. Who is the hardest person to buy for? hm...this changes each year but usually my friend Brad. It's hard to tell what he wants - he usually loves 80's music so that is what he gets.

10. Christmas tree: Real or artificial? Artificial. I hate the thought of killing a tree for 1 month of joy, plus paying for a new one each year. This way it's free!

Binge Books Christmas Meme Contest