Monday, December 29, 2008

The Luxe - Anna Godbersen

Rating: 5 - Loved it!
Pages: 433
Challenges: Young Adult Romance Challenge
Genre: Young Adult
Synopsis (from
Pretty girls in pretty dresses, partying until dawn.Irresistible boys with mischievous smiles and dangerous intentions.White lies, dark secrets, and scandalous hookups.This is Manhattan, 1899.
Beautiful sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland rule Manhattan's social scene. Or so it appears. When the girls discover their status among New York City's elite is far from secure, suddenly everyone—from the backstabbing socialite Penelope Hayes, to the debonair bachelor Henry Schoonmaker, to the spiteful maid Lina Broud—threatens Elizabeth's and Diana's golden future.
With the fate of the Hollands resting on her shoulders, Elizabeth must choose between family duty and true love. But when her carriage overturns near the East River, the girl whose glittering life lit up the city's gossip pages is swallowed by the rough current. As all of New York grieves, some begin to wonder whether life at the top proved too much for this ethereal beauty, or if, perhaps, someone wanted to see Manhattan's most celebrated daughter disappear...
In a world of luxury and deception, where appearance matters above everything and breaking the social code means running the risk of being ostracized forever, five teenagers lead dangerously scandalous lives. This thrilling trip to the age of innocence is anything but innocent.
Loved it! Read it in only a few days which is amazing for me because I get so little time to read! I enjoyed the history of the time period and the ways that the ladies got around doing what was proper. Each chapter started with an article from the time or a tidbit of information about the time period, which was great to really understand the confinements that women had. The book starts out with a mystery that I had an idea what happened but not how. The book didn't resolve the details of how the mystery occurred but I still enjoyed it. There are 2 more books in the series, so far and I have them reserved at the library!
There are a few racy parts in this book so I would think hard about give it to a young teen, but perhaps someone in high school.

Saturday, December 27, 2008

The Host - Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 3
Pages: 624
Challenges: Stephenie Meyer Mini-Challenge

Synopsis (from
Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.

I want to start off saying that Science Fiction is not my favorite genre, but I have found books that I have enjoyed (see my review of Life As We Knew It). I know there are MANY people who love Stephenie Meyer and I have enjoyed her books but not loved them like many have. This book just didn't pull me in until the last half. In fact, I read the first half and put it down for a few months then picked it up again because I wanted to loan it to a friend and finish it in 2008. I was very glad I finished it. This is a hard book to rate because I would give the first half of the book a 2 or a 3 rating, but the last half would be a 4 or a 4.5 rating. So I think I will settle down the middle with a 3 - average.

'Tis the Season - Lorna Landvik

Rating: 3 (out of 5)
Pages: 304
Challenges: None

Synopsis (from
Heiress Caroline Dixon has managed to alienate nearly everyone with her alcohol-fueled antics, which have also provided near-constant fodder for the poison-pen tabloids and their gossip-hungry readers. But like so many girls-behaving-badly, the twenty-six-year-old socialite gets her comeuppance, followed by a newfound attempt to live a saner existence, or at least one more firmly rooted in the real world.

As Caro tentatively begins atoning for past misdeeds, she reaches out to two wonderful people who years ago brought meaning to her life: her former nanny, Astrid Brevald, now living in Norway and Arizona dude ranch owner, Cyril Dale. While Astrid fondly remembers Caro as a special, sweet little girl left in her charge, Cyril recalls how he and his late wife were quite taken with the quick-witted teenager Caro had become when she spent a difficult period in her life at the ranch as her father was dying.

In a series of e-mail exchanges, Caro reveals the depth of her pain and the lengths she went to hide it. In turn, Astrid and Cyril share their own stories of challenging times and offer the unconditional support this young woman has never known. The correspondence leads to the promise of a reunion, just in time for Christmas. But the holiday brings unexpected revelations that change the way everyone sees themselves and one another.

At once heartfelt and witty, ’Tis the Season bears good tidings of great joy about the human condition–that down and out doesn’t mean over and done, that the things we need most are closer than we know,and that the true measure of one’s worth rests in the boundless depths of the soul.

This was a quick read and a fun book. It didn't get into a lot of character development, but it was really creative on the ways it kept a letter type format even when the 3 main characters were together! Very creative. If you want a quick fun read then I would recommend this.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Merry Christmas!

Just a quick note to say Merry Christmas to all my blogging friends!!

Being pregnant this Christmas has made me think a lot of Mary and her pregnancy with Jesus. I can't imagine being 9 months pregnant and riding on a donkey!! Speed bumps in the car hurt - let alone riding on a donkey!! Plus don't get me started on the scariness of having a first baby (this is my second) or giving birth in a barn! I just really can relate to what Mary had to go through this Christmas! :) Ever since my daughter was born the song, "Mary Did You Know" has been my favorite song. I can't imagine what Mary went through with the scandal of being pregnant without being married and knowing you were giving birth to Jesus.

Merry Christmas!!

Friday, December 19, 2008

Eve's Christmas - Janet Dailey

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)

Pages: 317

Challenges: None


Eve is a free-lance music teacher living in a small town with her parents. She runs into Luck McClure who is commiserating the loss of his wife (6 years ago) in a bottle of alcohol. He grabs her in his arms and calls her a brown mouse. Later they meet again when Luck accidentally throws a ball through her car windshield. Luck doesn't remember who Eve is though he does remember seeing a brown mouse during his drunken stupor. Eve rekindles Luck's heart and he actively pursues her. Eve on the other hand is full of insecurities and questions his feelings. Will their relationship advance beyond casual acquaintances?


I thought this book was ok. I got a little frustrated with all of Eve's insecurities and just wished at times she would enjoy the moment (which is a good lesson for me!). I especially enjoyed the snowing scenes and when Luck and Eve were snowed in. I used to live in Illinois and we would get snowed in frequently. Here in Kentucky when it snows it is best to stay in because snow removal teams are not very experience nor are people driving...but as for being snowed in we rarely get enough snow. :( Bummer. And if we do get snow -no worries it will have melted with in a week! I would like a couple of good snow days a year! The other thing I liked about this book is that Eve's Mom is a baker and loves baking at the do I. But I have forgone baking this year in favor of a health baby. My gestational diabetes keeps me from eating sweets and let me tell you I CAN'T make them and not try them! LOL! So I have decided not to bake this year...instead I am cleaning and organizing the house to get our small 2 bedroom condo ready for another baby. I guess that is a good exchange!

I do like Janet Dailey but have enjoyed some of her other books much better, for example the Calder Pride series.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Things I have done...

Stephanie at the written word posted this blog and I thought it would be fun to do also!

The things I have done are in BOLD!
1. Started my own blog
2. Slept under the stars
3. Played in a band
4. Visited Hawaii
5. Watched a meteor shower
6. Given more than I can afford to charity
7. Been to Disneyland/world
8. Climbed a mountain
9. Held a praying mantis
10. Sung a solo
11. Bungee jumped
12. Visited Paris
13. Watched lightening at sea
14. Taught myself an art from scratch
15. Adopted a child
16. Had food poisoning
17. Walked to the top of the Statue of Liberty
18. Grown my own vegetables
19. Seen the Mona Lisa in France
20. Slept on an overnight train
21. Had a pillow fight
22. Hitchhiked
23. Taken a sick day when you’re not ill (I call them Sanity Days)
24. Built a snow fort
25. Held a lamb
26. Gone skinny dipping
27. Run a Marathon
28. Ridden in a gondola in Venice
29. Seen a total eclipse
30. Watched a sunrise or sunset
31. Hit a home run
32. Been on a cruise
33. Seen Niagara Falls in person
34. Visited the birthplace of my ancestors
35. Seen an Amish community
36. Taught myself a new language
37. Had enough money to be truly satisfied
38. Seen the Leaning Tower of Pisa in person
39. Gone rock climbing
40. Seen Michelangelo’s David
41. Sung karaoke
42. Seen Old Faithful geyser erupt
43. Bought a stranger a meal at a restaurant
44. Visited Africa
45. Walked on a beach by moonlight
46. Been transported in an ambulance
47. Had my portrait painted (in chalk in New Orleans)
48. Gone deep sea fishing
49. Seen the Sistine Chapel in person
50. Been to the top of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
51. Gone scuba diving or snorkeling
52. Kissed in the rain
53. Played in the mud
54. Gone to a drive-in theater
55. Been in a movie
56. Visited the Great Wall of China
57. Started a business
58. Taken a martial arts class
59. Visited Russia
60. Served at a soup kitchen
61. Sold Girl Scout Cookies
62. Gone whale watching
63. Got flowers for no reason
64. Donated blood, platelets or plasma
65. Gone sky diving
66. Visited a Nazi Concentration Camp
67. Bounced a check (oops)
68. Flown in a helicopter
69. Saved a favorite childhood toy
70. Visited the Lincoln Memorial
71. Eaten Caviar
72. Pieced a quilt
73. Stood in Times Square
74. Toured the Everglades
75. Been fired from a job
76. Seen the Changing of the Guards in London
77. Broken a bone
78. Been on a speeding motorcycle
79. Seen the Grand Canyon in person
80. Published a book
81. Visited the Vatican
82. Bought a brand new car
83. Walked in Jerusalem
84. Had my picture in the newspaper
85. Read the entire Bible
86. Visited the White House
87. Killed and prepared an animal for eating
88. Had chickenpox
89. Saved someone’s life
90. Sat on a jury
91. Met someone famous
92. Joined a book club
93. Lost a loved one
94. Had a baby
95. Seen the Alamo in person
96. Swam in the Great Salt Lake
97. Been involved in a law suit
98. Owned a cell phone
99. Been stung by a bee
100. Rode an elephant

37 out of 100...

I have been Missing

I have been missing blogging and checking in on my blogging friends. I had a incredibly aggressive deadline that had me working 60 hours a week - UGH! And with a 2 year old all the rest of the time tends to go to her. So I because a blogging writer and reading slacker! Since I am now taking vacation (due to a use-it-or-loose-it policy and my REFUSAL to loose it), I am getting back with it! And I realize how much I have missed my blogging friends! Also with the shock of Dewey's passing it tells me I need to keep up. So I have cleaned up my Google reader and have caught up on a few. :)

Trish at Trish's Books has posted this Meme via video...well I love it!! Now I am not ready to post a video because who knows how much time that will take. :) And I have to get working on house cleaning because the house has greatly suffered in my work schedule, but I thought I would answer 7 things about me:

Since my anniversary was 2 days ago I thought I would have 7 things about me and my Husband:
1. I met my husband in High School History
2. I punched my future-husband in HS History for saying something that is still too inappropriate to repeat.
3. We met up 15 years later through, went to Pizza at a local pizza shop and soon started dating.
4. We tend to balance each other out well - he tells me to relax and I tell him to stop relaxing and fulfill his promises.
5. We both dislike cleaning - little did I know that this would make for an always messy house...and that it would drive me crazy before him...hence I end up cleaning more.
6. I always said I would Never move for a guy...well never say never - I now live in Louisville, KY and moved for him!
7. We had 2 weddings and until this post only 3 people know about the first one! You see we were living together and as my Christian faith began to grow I was feeling that we should not be living the way we were. So our Pastor agreed to marry us in July and then again for the family in December. So we had 2 friends at our little wedding (the way that I wanted to get married) and 150 or so at the big wedding (how he wanted to get married). It's not necessarily something that we try to keep a secret - it just doesn't really get brought up much! ;)

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Dewey's Book Reading Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2009
Chris at Stuff Dreams Are Made Of and Robin at A Fondness for Reading are hosting a very special challenge in honor of Dewey from The Hidden Side of A Leaf. Chris writes:
Dewey was such a prolific reader and her reviews were honest, intriguing, and beautifully written. What better way to celebrate her wonderful life than by having a year long challenge in her name!
Dewey's Books Reading Challenge asks participants to visit Dewey's blog and peruse her archives. Then do one of the following:
1. Pick one book from each of the 6 years of which Dewey has archives. You can access her archives by clicking on the archive link in the sidebar of her website. It’s a dropdown menu. For instance, you would read one book that she reviewed in 2003, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, and 2008 for a total of six books.
2. The other option is to read 5 books that Dewey reviewed. These can be from any year.There will be Mr. Linky's to link to reviews, and a prize draw or two.
To read more and sign up, visit the dedicated blog and leave a comment on the post about the challenge.
I am going back on my personal goal to read MY books for this challenge. I just adore Dewey and miss her greatly. It was fun to go back and read some of her old blogs on books that she read. I am only going to read 5 books but here are the potentials I have picked:

1. How I Live Now by Meg Rosoff
2. What I Was by Meg Rosoff
3. Just Listen by Sarah Dessen
4. The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson
5. Matrimony – Josua Henkin
6. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield
7. Chocolat by Joanne Harris
8. What Mothers Do by Naomi Stadlen
9. The View from Satruday by EL Konigsburg (newbury)
10. The Higher Power of Lucky – Susan Patron & Matt Phelan (Newbery Challenge)
11. The Luncheon of the Boatin Party – Susan Vreeland
12. On Chesil Beach – Ian McEwan
13. The Penelopiad – Margaret Atwood
14. The Road – Cormac McCarthy
15. The Pesthouse – Jim Crace

Gestational Diabetes - What to Expect

Rate: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)

Pages: 72

Challenges: None

Yes I have been diagnosed with Gestational Diabetes sadly from the 1 hour test. It was so bad that I didn't even have the option of taking the 3 hour test. I guess that could be a blessing too. What this means is essentially I can have NO sweets and very little carbs/starches. I can have 6 starches a day, which is about 90 grams of carbs. After playing with my diet for 2 weeks and cutting carbs I seem to have gotten my blood sugars under control - Yeah!! Although I still have bad days where it seems my hormones are high. :) But I haven't had to go on insulin yet which is great. My diet though is essentially Atkins - lots of meats and fats!

Anyone have any good Atkins or low carb recipes?? I am all for them!!


This book is good for the basics and I would recommend it to someone who has just been diagnosed. Probably a little too basic for people who have been dealing with diabetes for a few weeks. Although I did learn about the different type of insulin's and some effects diabetes may have on the baby, so that was helpful.

By the way - I don't know how people on Atkins stay on the diet...If there wasn't a baby dependent on me I would have completely fallen off the wagon MANY times...actually every time I see a dessert or a roll!

Monday, December 8, 2008

2009 Challenges

Here are the challenges I have slotted for 2009:

Young Adult Romance Challenge (5 out of 6 needed) - Feb 28
Themed Reading Challenge (4 out of 4 needed) - Feb - July - Jane Austin Theme
Romance Reading Challenge (5 out of 5 needed)
Read Your Own Books Challenge (25 out of 25 needed)
Support Your Local Library Challenge (12 out of 12 needed)
PUB Challenge (9 out of 9 needed)
Christian Readers Challenge (4 books out of 4 needed)
The Numbers Challenge (5 out of 5 needed) - January - August 1
Audiobook Challenge (12 out of 12 needed)
Book Awards II Challenge (1o out of 1o needed) -June 1

I am sure more to come!!

Magic Hour - Kristen Hannah

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)

Pages: 480

Challenges: None
Synopsis (from
Until recently, Dr. Julia Cates was one of the preeminent child psychiatrists in the country, but a scandal shattered her confidence, ruined her career, and made her a media target. When she gets a desperate call from her estranged sister, Ellie, a police chief in their small western Washington hometown, she jumps at the chance to escape.
In Rain Valley, nothing much ever happens—until a girl emerges from the deep woods and walks into town. She is a victim unlike any Julia has ever seen: a child locked in a world of unimaginable fear and isolation.
When word spreads of the "wild child" and the infamous doctor who is treating her, the media descend on Julia and once again her competence is challenged. State and federal authorities want to lock the girl away in an institution until an identification can be made.
But to Julia, who has come to doubt her own ability, nothing is more important than saving the girl she now calls Alice. To heal this child, Julia will have to understand that she cannot work alone and must look to others—the people in the town she left long ago, the sister she barely knows, and Dr. Max Cerrasin, a handsome, private man with secrets of his own.
Then a shocking revelation forces Julia to risk everything to discover the truth about Alice. The ordeal that follows will test the limits of Julia's faith, forgiveness, and love, as she struggles to ascertain where Alice ultimately belongs.
I thought this book was ok. It was very easy to put down, but I did want to know how it ended which kept me reading it. I liked Firefly Lane more than this one.

Wednesday Sisters - Meg Waite Clayton

Rating: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)

Pages: 288

Challenges: Pub Challenge

Synopsis (from
Friendship, loyalty, and love lie at the heart of Meg Waite Clayton’s beautifully written, poignant, and sweeping novel of five women who, over the course of four decades, come to redefine what it means to be family.

For thirty-five years, Frankie, Linda, Kath, Brett, and Ally have met every Wednesday at the park near their homes in Palo Alto, California. Defined when they first meet by what their husbands do, the young homemakers and mothers are far removed from the Summer of Love that has enveloped most of the Bay Area in 1967. These “Wednesday Sisters” seem to have little in common: Frankie is a timid transplant from Chicago, brutally blunt Linda is a remarkable athlete, Kath is a Kentucky debutante, quiet Ally has a secret, and quirky, ultra-intelligent Brett wears little white gloves with her miniskirts. But they are bonded by a shared love of both literature–Fitzgerald, Eliot, Austen, du Maurier, Plath, and Dickens–and the Miss America Pageant, which they watch together every year.

As the years roll on and their children grow, the quintet forms a writers circle to express their hopes and dreams through poems, stories, and, eventually, books. Along the way, they experience history in the making: Vietnam, the race for the moon, and a women’s movement that challenges everything they have ever thought about themselves, while at the same time supporting one another through changes in their personal lives brought on by infidelity, longing, illness, failure, and success.

Humorous and moving, The Wednesday Sisters is a literary feast for book lovers that earns a place among those popular works that honor the joyful,mysterious, unbreakable bonds between friends.


I thought this was pretty good. It was a good discussion book for our reading group and was a fast read.

Capital Holiday - Janet Dailey

Rating: 3.5 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie (···)
Pages: 352

Challenges: None

Synopsis (from
"All I Want for Christmas..."
Life in the White House means never having a moment to yourself. As the President's daughter and official hostess, Jocelyn Wakefield longs to escape the media circus that surrounds her every move for just one day. Impossible? Not with a wig, some very different clothes, a secret tunnel, and a grandmother with a butler, both of whom are willing accomplices...

But being anonymous in Washington, D.C. at Christmas time may turn out to be an impossible dream after all when she collides with political columnist Grady Tucker—a man who could publish her exploits in papers nationwide. But Jocelyn is about to discover that Grady is more than just a journalist looking for a story—and that the magic of love can never be disguised...
This was a fun, easy read for the holiday season. It is engaging and kept me interested.

Thursday, December 4, 2008

Dewey - You are missed!

I just learned that Dewey at The Hidden Side of the Leaf passed away this week. I am so saddened to hear the news. I don't think I have the words to express my sorrow. I helped Dewey with the read-a-thon this fall and had a ball. She was so laid back and didn't stress over it it was so refreshing to work with her. I am now sad that my pregnancy kept me from participating this fall - had I known it would be our last together I would have made every effort to participate.

My sadness is a little shocking to me - it is amazing how much impact a person can have on you that you have never met! If you would have told me a year ago before I started blogging that someone would pass away that I never met would make me so sad I would have never believed it. For me Dewey's passing hits home to how my "blogging" friends have become true friends. They are here when ever I want them to be (by popping to their sites) and sharing my passion and love for reading. Thanks to all of you for opening my world and impacting my life! And to you Dewey - I will miss you dearly!

Friday, November 14, 2008

16 Lighthouse Road (Cedar Cove Series #1) - Debbie Macomber

Rating: 4
Pages: 377
Challenges: 1st in a series

Synopsis (from
Olivia Lockhart16 Lighthouse Road Cedar Cove, WashingtonDear Listener,You don't know me yet, but in a few hours that's going to change. You see, I'm inviting you to my home and my town of Cedar Cove because I want you to meet my family, friends, and neighbors. Come and hear their stories - maybe even their secrets!I have to admit that my own secrets are pretty open. My marriage failed some years ago, and I have a rather . . . difficult relationship with my daughter, Justine. Then there's my mother, Charlotte, who has plenty of opinions and is always willing to share them.Here's an example: I'm a family court judge and she likes to drop in on my courtroom. Recently I was hearing a divorce petition. In Charlotte's view, young Cecilia and Ian Randall hadn't tried hard enough to make their marriage work - and I agreed. So I rendered my judgement: Divorce Denied.Well, you wouldn't believe the reaction! Thanks to an article by Jack Griffin, the editor of our local paper (and a man I wouldn't mind seeing more of!), everyone's talking.Cedar Cove - people love it and sometimes they leave it, but they never forget it!See you soon . . . Olivia

This was a really good book! I liked all the characters and want to know more about them. She left some mysteries of the characters and what happens hanging so it makes you want to read more. Luckily I have the next book!

Fields of Gold - Andy Stanley

Rating: 4

Pages: 144

Challenges: none

Synopsis (from

A practical and inspirational book based on the principle of sowing and reaping. If we sow fear, what will be our harvest? And conversely, if we sow faith, what will we grow? This book moves the reader beyond fear and guilt about giving and into confidence, security, and excitement. Andy Stanley unpacks our irrational fears about money, helping us to discover that generous giving is actually an invitation for our heavenly Father to get involved in our finances and resupply us with enough seed to sow generously throughout our lifetime.


This book gave me a new perspective on giving. One of the concepts that made me think the most is Jesus having dinner. If Jesus was coming to dinner would you give him leftovers or would you go the the store and prepare a special meal? Most likely I would make a special meal, but if that is the case why do I give him the left overs of my money...and giving to the church is not the first thing I give my money to? It is a concept I have been mulling over and changing my perspective on. Andy Stanley really has a way of making you think about different perspectives. Listening to his lessons are always enlightening.

Twilight - Stephenie Meyer

Rating: 4

Pages: 544
Challenges: 1st in a Series, Stephenie Meyer mini-challenge

Synopsis (from
About three things I was absolutely positive:
First, Edward was a vampire.
Second, there was a part of him–and I didn’t know how dominant that part might be–that thirsted for my blood.
And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him.

“I’D NEVER GIVEN MUCH THOUGHT TO HOW I WOULD DIE– I’d had reason enough in the last few months –but even if I had, I would not have imagined it like this. . . . Surely it was a good way to die, in the place of something else, someone I loved. Noble, even. That ought to count for something.”When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret. What Bella doesn’t realize is the closer she gets to him, the more she is putting herself and those around her at risk. And, it might be too late to turn back. . . .Deeply seductive and extraordinarily suspenseful, Twilight will have readers riveted right until the very last page is turned.

I am not sure if I rated this book as a 4 because I had high expectations. I liked this but I didn't think it was a you have to read this book. Maybe it's that I am not that into vampires. I am not sure I just didn't think it was fabulous. I am planning on getting some of the other books but I don't have to read them immediately.

Life's A Beach - Claire Cook

Rating: 3


Challenges: None

Synopsis (from

When Must Love Dogs was published, the Chicago Tribune called it "pitch-perfect" and the Washington Post declared, "Readers will hope that Claire Cook will be telling breezy summer stories from the South Shore of Massachusetts for seasons to come." Luckily for her legions of fans, Cook returns with another sparkling romantic comedy that's reminiscent of Must Love Dogs in all the right ways, but very much its own animal—about a relationship-challenged single woman, her quirky-to-put-it-mildly extended family, and the summer the shark movie came to town.

Life's a bit of a beach these days for Ginger Walsh, who's single at forty-one and living back home in the family FROG (Finished Room Over Garage). She's hoping for a more fulfilling life as a sea glass artist, but instead is babysitting her sister's kids and sharing overnights with Noah, her sexy artist boyfriend with commitment issues and a dog Ginger's cat isn't too crazy about. Geri, her BlackBerry-obsessed sister, is also nearly over the deep end about her pending fiftieth birthday (and might just drag Ginger with her). Toss in a dumpster-picking father, a Kama Sutra T-shirt-wearing mother, a movie crew come to town with a very cute gaffer, an on-again-off-again glassblower boyfriend, plus a couple of Red Hat Realtors, and hilarity ensues. The perfect summer read, Life's a Beach is a warm, witty, and wise look at what it takes to move forward at any stage in life.
I thought this book was ok. I am not sure I would recommend it. I haven't read Must Love Dogs but liked the movie better than this book.

Comfort and Joy - Kristin Hannah

Rating: 3

Pages: 272

Challenges: None

Synopsis (from

Joy Candellaro used to love Christmas more than any other time of the year. Now, as the holiday approaches, she finds herself at loose ends. Recently divorced and estranged from her sister, she can't summon the old enthusiasm for celebrating. So without telling anyone, she buys a ticket and boards a plane bound for the rural Northwest.

Yet Joy's best-laid plans go terribly awry. The plane crashes deep in the darkness of a forest. Miraculously, Joy walks away from the wreckage as the plane explodes, obliterating all evidence of its passengers. Amid the towering trees, Joy makes a bold and desperate decision to leave her ordinary life behind and embark on an adventure . . . just for the holidays.

Daniel O'Shea has returned to the small town of Rain Valley, following the death of his ex-wife. Now he is a single father facing his son's first Christmas without a mother. Six-year-old Bobby isn't making it easy - the boy has closed himself off from the world, surrounding himself with imaginary friends.

When Joy and Bobby meet, they form an instant bond. Thrown together by fate, these wounded souls will be touched by the true spirit of Christmas and remember what it means to be a family.Then a dramatic turn of events shows Joy the price of starting over. On a magical Christmas Eve she will come face-to-face with a startling truth. Now she must decide: In a time of impossible dreams and unexpected chances, can she find the faith to reach for the love she has found . . . and the new life only she believes in?
I thought this book was ok, but I struggled with some of the decisions that Joy made. Why she made them, etc.

Wildflowers - Robert Noonan

Rating: 3

Pages: 227

Challenges: 1st in a Series

Synopsis (from

From 1854 to 1929, more than 200,000 homeless children left New York City on orphan trains to find new lives across the country. Some found loving homes; others experienced physical and mental abuse. Bridie's Daughter brings that world to life in this second novel in Robert Noonan's Orphan Train Trilogy.
Bridie's Daughter is an eye-opening tale that follows four teen-aged children who are filled with hope, concern and uncertainty, as they ride the rails to an unknown future. Once the train stops, however, it's a roll of the dice where they'll each end up.
Bridie McDonald, a wealthy spinster, finds in Catherine the daughter she has always wanted. Catherine learns to love Bridie and her new elegant home, but is concerned about Bridie's relationship with Jack, her mentally challenged handyman.
Though most of the citizens of Newberry, Illinois, befriend these children, some are not so welcoming, believing all the orphans from New York City are bastards and should be treated as such.


I really liked this story, but I wished it went into more detail. It was fast moving and a lot happened, but the author didn't explore in depth reasoning of decisions. So if you want a good story and a quick read but aren't expecting a lot of in depth knowledge of the why people are making decisions.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The Uncommon Reader - Alan Bennett

Rate: 3 Don’t bet on this one…wait for the movie

Pages: 120

Challenges: Novella Challenge - but it's over :(

Synopsis (from

When her corgis stray into a mobile library parked near Buckingham Palace, the Queen feels duty-bound to borrow a book. Discovering the joy of reading widely (from J. R. Ackerley, Jean Genet, and Ivy Compton-Burnett to the classics) and intelligently, she finds that her view of the world changes dramatically. Abetted in her newfound obsession by Norman, a young man from the royal kitchens, the Queen comes to question the prescribed order of the world and loses patience with the routines of her role as monarch. Her new passion for reading initially alarms the palace staff and soon leads to surprising and very funny consequences for the country at large.

I thought this book started out really good and really interesting, but my interest in it wained towards the end. I would recommend other Novella's over this one.

Garden Spells - Sarah Addison Allen

Rating: 5 Better than a new Derby Hat and the winning horse
Pages: 320
Challenges: None
Synopsis (from
In a garden surrounded by a tall fence, tucked away behind a small, quiet house in an even smaller town, is an apple tree that is rumored to bear a very special sort of fruit. In this luminous debut novel, Sarah Addison Allen tells the story of that enchanted tree, and the extraordinary people who tend it.…The Waverleys have always been a curious family, endowed with peculiar gifts that make them outsiders even in their hometown of Bascom, North Carolina. Even their garden has a reputation, famous for its feisty apple tree that bears prophetic fruit, and its edible flowers, imbued with special powers. Generations of Waverleys tended this garden. Their history was in the soil. But so were their futures.A successful caterer, Claire Waverley prepares dishes made with her mystical plants—from the nasturtiums that aid in keeping secrets and the pansies that make children thoughtful, to the snapdragons intended to discourage the attentions of her amorous neighbor. Meanwhile, her elderly cousin, Evanelle, is known for distributing unexpected gifts whose uses become uncannily clear. They are the last of the Waverleys—except for Claire’s rebellious sister, Sydney, who fled Bascom the moment she could, abandoning Claire, as their own mother had years before.When Sydney suddenly returns home with a young daughter of her own, Claire’s quiet life is turned upside down—along with the protective boundary she has so carefully constructed around her heart. Together again in the house they grew up in, Sydney takes stock of all she left behind, as Claire struggles to heal the wounds of the past. And soon the sisters realize they mustdeal with their common legacy—if they are ever to feel at home in Bascom—or with each other. Enchanting and heartfelt, this captivating novel is sure to cast a spell with a style all its own….
This is my second book by Sarah Addison Allen and I liked this one much more than Sugar Queen. It kept me wanting more and more. I recommend it!

Saturday, September 27, 2008

September Bookworm Carnival

Theme: Authors New To Me

Thanks for the great turn out. Sorry this has taken me a little time to get put up. Murphy's Law struck me and the last 2 weeks of work have been the busiest for me all year. Plus the baby is exhausting me!! So please accept my apologies for getting this posted so late!

Here are some interesting authors that are new to bloggers. What are your thoughts on these authors? Stop by their blog and leave them a post!

Blog: Out of the Blue
The Triumph of Deborah - this is a biblical fiction book

Blog: Things Mean A Lot
Review: Anatomy of a Boyfriend

Blog: Bobbi's Book Nook
EVERNIGHT by Clauida Gray - this is the first book in a new series about vampires.

The Outsider by Ann Gabhart - this is a Kentucky author who lives near Bobbi and conicidentally near me too! This book is about the Shakers of Harrodsburg, KY.

Are You there Vodka, It's me Chelsa ARE YOU THERE VODKA, IT'S ME CHELSA by Chelsa Handler - hilarious memoir written in short story form.

The MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY and THE MYSTERIOUS BENEDICT SOCIETY AND THE PERILOUS JOURNEY by Trenton Lee Staurt - a new series of books about a secret society for children. I have one book review posted; the other will follow.

Blog: Blue Stocking

Review: Interview with Scott Savage - this one is a pod cast!

Blog: 30+...A Lifetime of Books
Review: Books That Changed My Life - Essays from 71 Authors

Blog: Bookworms and Tea Lovers
Review: Finding new authors - Samantha did a post on how she is introduced to new authors.

Blog: Literary Escapism
Quondam by J. Gibson - (Fantasy)
Tiger Eye by M. Liu - (Paranormal Romance)
Night Huntress series by J. Frost - (Urban Fantasy)
Nightwalker by J. Drake - (Urban Fantasy)
The Accidental Demon Slayer by A. Fox -(Paranormal Romance)
When He Was Bad (Anthology) - (Paranormal Romance)
Through the Veil by S. Walker -(Fantasy)

Blog: The Blue Stocking Society
Review: Book Blog Side Effect

Blog: Becky's Book Reviews
Review: Simon Holt's The Devouring

Blog: Adventures in Reading
Review: A Handbook to Luck by Cristina García

Blog: Pick of the Literate
Review: The Disappeared by Kristine Kathryn Rusch

Blog: ReadingDerby
Love Walked In by Marisa De Los Santos
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
Life As We Knew It by Susan BethPfeffer
Monsters of Templeton by Laura Groff
Five Fortunes by Beth Gutcheon
Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah

This carnival got a great response!! Thanks to all who participated!!

Sunday, August 24, 2008

Firefly Lane - Kristin Hannah

Rating: 5

Pages: 496

Challenges: Pub Challenge, Summer Thing

Synopsis (from
In the turbulent summer of 1974, Kate Mularkey has accepted her place at the bottom of the eighth-grade social food chain. Then, to her amazement, the “coolest girl in the world” moves in across the street and wants to be her friend. Tully Hart seems to have it all---beauty, brains, ambition. On the surface they are as opposite as two people can be: Kate, doomed to be forever uncool, with a loving family who mortifies her at every turn. Tully, steeped in glamour and mystery, but with a secret that is destroying her. They make a pact to be best friends forever; by summer's end they've become TullyandKate. Inseparable.

So begins Kristin Hannah's magnificent new novel. Spanning more than three decades and playing out across the ever-changing face of the Pacific Northwest, Firefly Lane is the poignant, powerful story of two women and the friendship that becomes the bulkhead of their lives.

From the beginning, Tully is desperate to prove her worth to the world. Abandoned by her mother at an early age, she longs to be loved unconditionally. In the glittering, big-hair era of the eighties, she looks to men to fill the void in her soul. But in the buttoned-down nineties, it is television news that captivates her. She will follow her own blind ambition to New York and around the globe, finding fame and success . . . and loneliness.

Kate knows early on that her life will be nothing special. Throughout college, she pretends to be driven by a need for success, but all she really wants is to fall in love and have children and live an ordinary life. In her own quiet way, Kate is as driven as Tully. What she doesn't know is how being a wife and mother will change her . . . how she'll lose sight of who she once was, and what she once wanted. And how much she'll envy her famous best friend. . . .

For thirty years, Tully and Kate buoy each other through life, weathering the storms of friendship---jealousy, anger, hurt, resentment. They think they've survived it all until a single act of betrayal tears them apart . . . and puts their courage and friendship to the ultimate test.


This book was great!! I really felt for the characters and it may be because I am very hormonal but I cried and cried through this book! The author sets up sections by starting with a song for the era, which brings back songs that I haven't heard in a long time.

If you like books about women's relationships you will like this book!! I would highly recommend it! I will read more books about this author.

Friday, August 1, 2008

Pathetic July Totals

Since today is August 1 I thought I would post my book totals for July....ready...hang on to your hats! 3 - yes 3. Now to my defense I am about to finish book 4 and am 1/3 of the way through the Host which is 600+ pages. But yes July was only 3 books, but 1124 pages which is decent.

I do have a good reason! I am expecting a baby! Feb 23 is my due date and I can't seem to get enough sleep, so my normal reading time is now sleeping time. I don't remember being this tired with my first - I must have blocked that out! Although I do remember the nausea very well. So far it has been better this time and I vowed to take meds this time! I lost weight with my first in the first 4 months because every other day I was loosing my meal.

Also work has been crazy...but who wants to hear about that? Not me!

Now it is August 1 so we'll see how it goes this month! I figure I am ahead of the game since I am about to finish 1 and 200 pages into another!

Monday, July 28, 2008

Gods In Alabama - Joshilyn Jackson

Rating:4 Tell a Friend over a Derby Pie (ääää)
Pages: 320
Challenges: Summer Thing
Review (from
When Arlene Fleet headed off to college in Chicago, she made three promises to God: She would never again lie, never fornicate outside of marriage, and never, ever go back to her tiny hometown of Possett, Alabama (the "fourth rack of Hell"). All God had to do in exchange was to make sure the body of high school quarterback Jim Beverly was never found. Ten years later, Arlene has kept her promises, but an old schoolmate has recently turned up asking questions. And now Arlene’s African American beau has given her a tough ultimatum: introduce him to her family, or he’s gone. As she prepares to confront guilt, discrimination, and a decade of deception, Arlene is about to discover just how far she will go to find redemption--and love.

If you like books on relationships you will love this book! It's not your average relationship book. There is a love interest but that isn't the interesting relationship. There is also a mystery - what happened 10 years ago to drive Arlene away and why has she made a deal with God...and is the mystery really what she thinks it is? This is one of those books that is hard to put down. I enjoyed this one much better than The Girl Who Went Swimming.

There's No Place Like Here - Cecelia Ahern

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 340
Challenges: Chick Lit, Summer Reading Thing

Synopsis (from
Lost and found People disappear every day, some because they choose to leave their old lives behind, and some for more unpleasant reasons. Things, too, disappear: mittens and cell phones, wallets and luggage. In every case, someone is left behind; someone is left to wonder what happened.

Ever since her classmate Jenny-May vanished when they were ten years old, Sandy Shortt has been obsessed with finding things. Now grown, Sandy's obsession has become a calling, with her own agency devoted to locating missing persons. But with every failed case, Sandy is plagued with questions: Where do missing people go? Are they alive or dead? Did they intend to disappear, or did they suffer some cruel fate? As these questions threaten to consume her, Sandy suddenly finds that she, herself, has disappeared, and that she has found all the answers she's always searched for in a magical place where all lost things and people go.

A romance that explores the meaning of loss and love, There's No Place Like Here is Cecelia Ahern's most satisfying, most inspired, most entrancing novel yet.

I did not like this book at all. I thought it was slow and at some points very confusing whose perspective the story was being told from (I listened to it on CD). I didn't like the story concept that there is this black hole - a mysterious world where missing things/people go. For some reason Sandy found herself here. They don't explain how or why and then mysteriously leaves with no explanation of how and why. Just weird. This is classified as Chick Lit, but it's not what my impression of Chick Lit is. Has anyone else read this? What do you think?

I have PS I Love you in a challenge and I am hoping that it is better!

Tuesday, July 8, 2008

Harvesting the Heart - Jodi Picoult

Rating: 2 Drink more Mint Juleps before reading (åå)
Pages: 464
Challenges: Summer Reading Thing, Reading Full Circle Challenge

Synopsis (from
Paige has only a few vivid memories of her mother, who left when she was five. Now, having left her father behind in Chicago for dreams of art school and marriage to an ambitious young doctor, she finds herself with a child of her own. But her mother's absence, and shameful memories of her past, make her doubt both her maternal ability and her sense of self worth.

I really like Jodi Picoult books but I struggled with this one. I had a hard time with first I cannot believe that a child who was abandoned would abandoned her own. OK she just left for a while, but when she left she didn't have any intent on coming back. Second, she seemed to have very little anger against her mother for leaving her. I just really struggled with Paige and didn't believe she would react the way that she did. Also I struggled with her as a mother leaving her child. So needless to say I struggled a lot with this book but FINALLY finished it. If you are interested in Picoult I would start with Salem Falls and skip this one!

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Love Walked In - Marisa De Los Santos

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

Pages: 307
Challenge: Summer Thing, tl;dr

A tribute to classic film and true romance, Love Walked In tells the story of two women – one older, one younger – and the unexpected ways in which their lives are forever changed by chance.

For thirty-one-year old Cornelia Brown, life is a series of movie moments, and "Jimmy Stewart is always and indisputably the best man in the world, unless Cary Grant should happen to show up." So imagine Cornelia's delight when her very own Cary Grant walks through the door of the hip Philadelphia café she manages. Handsome and debonair, Martin Grace sweeps Cornelia off her feet, becoming Cary Grant to Cornelia's Katharine Hepburn, Clark Gable to her Joan Crawford. Meanwhile, on the other side of town, eleven-year-old Clare Hobbes must learn to fend for herself after her increasingly unstable mother has a breakdown and disappears. With no one to turn to, Clare seeks out her estranged father, and when the two of them show up at Cornelia's café, the lives of Cornelia and Clare are changed in drastic and unexpected ways. A cinematic and heartfelt debut that pays homage to the classic Cary Grant/Katharine Hepburn romantic comedy The Philadelphia Story, Love Walked In is sure to win over critics and readers of contemporary fiction.

I liked this book a lot, but struggled with the end. I thought the end was out of character for Cornelia and what she had shown her personality to mean. I loved the story and how a chance encounter wound their lives together. This is my first book by Marisa De Los Santos and I plan on reading more.

Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
Pages: 267
Challenges: Summer Thing (swap), Pub Challenge

Synopsis (from
Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…
Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.
Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.
As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.
Review -
I really liked this book. I liked that the chapters were named after Candy! Here are some quotes that I liked:
This is about a new maid (Helena) who spoke very little English that was hired
to help Margaret after a hip replacement (including bathing which this quote is
about). “But Helena could never quite grasp what was required of
her. She would sit on the lowered toilet lid, her eyes adverted, anxiously
wringing her hands while Margaret sat in the tub and played charade to get her
to understand soap.(7)”

“Della Lee, you’re living in my closet, you’re blackmailing me over candy, and you are currently wearing 16 articles of clothing. It’s amazing to me that you think I have problems. You need to form a plan for yourself (60).”

“’Why do you buy books you don’t even read?’ our daughter asks us. That’s like asking someone who lives alone why they bought a cat. For company of course. (180)”
This book made me laugh out loud during many times! Chloe has books that just appear when she needs him – bad break up with a boyfriend a book on forgiveness appears. I think if I was to die before my daughter was an adult this is what I would want to do…send her books on whatever I thought she needed to learn or should read for enjoyment. And the books relentlessly follow Chloe around until she reads them…doesn’t that just sound like a mother?!
I did have one problem with this book and that is the cover. The book main character is a "thick" girl. The girl on the cover certainly is not. It is possible that it is a different character by why wouldn't they put the main character on the cover...things that make you go hmm...

Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray

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

Pages: 272

Challenges: Pub Challenge, 1st in a series (Sisters of the Heart), Summer Thing

Synopsis (from
When Anna decides it's time to leave her abusive boyfriend, she doesn't know where to turn. Rob has completely won over her parents, and the entire community, with his good looks and smooth charm. Only Anna has seen his dark side.
Desperate, she runs to the only place she's ever felt completely safe—the Amish Brenneman Bed and Breakfast, where Anna met life-long friend Katie Brenneman. The family welcomes her in, and with few questions asked allows her to stay, dressed in Plain clothing, and help around the inn.
Katie's older brother Henry is the only one who doesn't take too kindly to the intrusion. He tries to ignore Anna, knowing no good would ever come from caring for an Englisher like her. But as he gets to know Anna, he discovers her good heart and is surprised with her readiness to accept their lifestyle.
The more time Anna spends with the Amish, the more she feels she's found a true home. But how can she deny the life she left behind? And will her chance for happiness be stolen away by the man from her past?


Fabulous! I really enjoyed this and it was a great book to read during the Read-a-thon. I liked that a majority of the characters were Christians when the book started, so it wasn't the Christian formula that someone finds God - they have God from the beginning. It was entertaining and kept me turning the pages. I even gave this to my friend who was doing the read-a-thon with me and she read it in one sitting too! I can't wait to the other books of the series come out!

Snow Flower and the Secret Fan - Lisa See

Rating: 4 Tell a Friend over a Derby pie (ääää)
Pages: 258
Challenges: Summer Reading Thing, TBR
Synopsis (from
In nineteenth-century China, in a remote Hunan county, a girl named Lily, at the tender age of seven, is paired with a laotong, “old same,” in an emotional match that will last a lifetime. The laotong, Snow Flower, introduces herself by sending Lily a silk fan on which she’s painted a poem in nu shu, a unique language that Chinese women created in order to communicate in secret, away from the influence of men. As the years pass, Lily and Snow Flower send messages on fans, compose stories on handkerchiefs, reaching out of isolation to share their hopes, dreams, and accomplishments. Together, they endure the agony of foot-binding, and reflect upon their arranged marriages, shared loneliness, and the joys and tragedies of motherhood. The two find solace, developing a bond that keeps their spirits alive. But when a misunderstanding arises, their deep friendship suddenly threatens to tear apart.
I liked the fact that this book takes you to a completely different place that I wouldn't have experienced without it. If you enjoyed Memoirs of a Geisha you will enjoy this book. I thought parts were heart breaking and it was a difficult book to read, but the story was very good and it was great learning about Chinese culture.

Monday, June 30, 2008

Read-a-thon Summary Survey

Thanks Dewey for hosting the 'thon and Hanna for orginizing all the prizes and all the work you are going to do in the next few days to close everything out!! Helping with the organization I see how much work it is!! Thanks for putting the time and effort into it to make this a fabulous read-a-thon!!

Here are the post-event survey questions:
1. Which hour was most daunting for you? 3:00 am! That is when I started to get really tired!

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year? Life as We Knew it - Susan Beth Pfeffer

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
My suggestions are how I would approach it differently and I would change my expectations of what I can get done!! :)

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon? I thought it was very well orginized - it was great to win prizes and read and build a community with other readers. I have added about 10 more people to my google reader!! It was already busting at the seems!

5. How many books did you read? only 2, but I did some cheering and organization too - time just flew by!!

6. What were the names of the books you read? Sugar Queen and Hidden

7. Which book did you enjoy most? Hidden, but I really liked them both

8. Which did you enjoy least? none I liked both of my books!

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders? Nope I thought they were awesome!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time? Absolutely I would participate next time! I think I would probably do the same roles, but I would expect less reading and I would also try to do more prep before the 'thon.

Read-a-thon Summary

*Number of books read : 2
Hidden - Shelley Sheppard Gray
Sugar Queen - Sarah Addison Allen
(I must have had a 3 name author thing going on!! :) )
*Total of pages read since you started: 548
*Total of time spent reading since you started: at least 9 hours, but it could be more. I was awake most of the 24 hours. I took a 1.5 hour nap in the wee hours of the morning about 4:00am. :) I also gave Trish (my reading buddy) a crash course on blogging! I also cheered and helped coordinate which is why my reading time is low.

*Mini-challenge: 5ish

*Posts: 23

*Other participants visited: 62ish

*Prize you’ve won: 1
*Would I do the Read-a-thon again? Absolutely!! I think I will start with different expectations though...and also I would not schedule so much to do before the read-a-thon (I had a physical book club meeting) and if I am not reading at home I will scope out places to read with free internet access before the read-a-thon starts. Also if I coordinate I will know that the first couple of hours (or earlier) are dedicated to that. :)
*Summary of Hubby - My hubby did great with our little girl. They had a lot of fun and bonded a lot, so it was good for the whole family that I went away for a couple of days!

Sunday, June 29, 2008

Read-a-thon Hour 24!!!

FINISHED!! I finished Sugar Queen!! Whoo hoo with 30 minutes to spare. I am going to pack and get home now! I am missing my family!

Btw- Hubby did really good with our little girl and I think it was good for them to have some bonding time!! :)

I'll do a summary later today! Thanks for all of you cheering me on!! I lucked out and read 2 great books!! :)

Read-a-thon Hour 22

Whoo hoo 39 pages this hour!! 60 to go - if I keep this up I can finsh by the end!! Better get back to it!!

Read-a-thon Hour 21

Pathetic...only 15 pages read this hour...lots of organization stuff going on since the 'thon is starting to wind down.! :) LOL!

I am determined to finsh this book before the 'thon is over I have almost 100 pages to go - so I am putting my nose in the book!! :)

Read-a-thon Hour 20

I read this hour!! :) Trying to finish Sugar Queen which I am really enjoying! 28 pages read, which isn't much - I'll see if I can do better in hour 21! ...also somewhere between 3:00 am and 5:00 am I read 30 pages that I didn't record! :O) I will blame that on sleep deprivation!

Read-a-thon Hour 19

What hour is it? 19? where have the hours gone?? No reading this hour...some breakfast and I made 10 more comments on people's blogs! I am wondering if my totals are correct now...I think I am actually counting less than what I am commenting on! LOL! oh well.... 23 more to hit my 100 total

I also won a prize this hour!! 5 Book mooch points!! Whoo hoo!! It pays to stay awake in the wee hours - less competition for prizes (well...really I slept for 1.5 hours!)

Ok - 1 hour of solid reading coming up!! :)

Becky is Awesome!!

If you haven't gone to Becky's site then you are missing out! She reads like a mad woman! And I have found if she likes a book it's a fact that I will love it too!! She has introduced me to Life as we Knew it - ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS!! And Stephanie Meyer! She also hosts a online book club and July's pick is The Host for all of you wanting to read this (I can't wait to get started!) if you have a Costco nearby mine had it for a little over $11 - for hardback!! I have added 3 books to my TBR pile from her posts just tonight!! I just can't say enough good about her!!

I you like young adult books then Becky's site is the place to be!! :) Do you have a site that you love and who adds to your TBR pile? If so let me know!!

Read-a-thon Hour 18

Well I took a little brief nap (1.5 hours) and feel much better! No reading this hour but I did write some comments on posts - so my comment total is 67 (including my updates) - I want to hit 100 before the 'thon is over so I think that is a doable goal.

I also want to finish Sugar Queen I am on page 134 and it ends at 276 so even with my slow reading this should be completely doable!! Though my total page count will be low!! HA! Maybe Dewey has a prize for the slowest reader!! :)

Next hour: some breakfast and coffee....

Read-a-thon Hour 15

Still awake at 3:00 am EST. I only got 13 pages read, but I took a shower and posted some and Did the Wikipedia mini-challenge that Dewey is hosting. : ) I am noticing I have to get up and walk around more to stay awake, but the shower helped a lot. I really am liking the Sugar Queen which helps a lot too!

Read-a-thon Hour 15 Mini-Challenge

I am at Bald Slope, North Carolina. It is a fictional place but there are bald slopes in NC...Wiipedia says balds are mountains covered with thick native grass or shrubs occurring in areas were forests would be expected - no one knows why they are bald. There doesn't seem to be one called bald slope and I think the picture is misleading because in the book Bald slope is actually a skiing mountain...the picture looks more like a cross country mountain...

Facts about Bald Slope
* They have a bald headed festival (for bald people)
*The ski resort was founded my Marco Cirrini (the main character - Josey's father)
* The Cirrini house is the most prominent and unique house in the town
* There is a restaurant called the Eat & Run
* There is a eccentric woman living in Josey's closet (who seems a little imaginary to me - for example she thinks nothing of wearing 16 layers of clothes, never seems to eat, is getting more and more translucent, etc.)

Read-a-thon Hour 14

I am still awake and I think I am posting for Hour 14? Anyway got in about 1 hour and 20 minutes in from my last post and 60 pages. Still on the Sugar Queen and really enjoing it!

Saturday, June 28, 2008

Read-a-thon Hour 12 Mini-Challenge

Here are the questions to answer in your blog:
1. What are you reading right now?
Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

2. How many books have you read so far?
A measly one!

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?
Reading, reading, reading

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?
Yes - my friend Trish and I went to a hotel. It's my first time away from my 21.5 month old, so my hubby is super Dad this weekend. I was a little concerned early on when he told me he didn't realize our daughter signing (with sign language) Juice AND going to the fridge was an indication that she wanted something to drink- but he seems to have done well. Thanks to the Romps whose house he went to (they have kids too)! But really he is a good Dad and I am happy they have had this bonding time. I know my daughter and she will find a way to let him know what she wants! :)

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?
Not too many once we got settled at the hotel - none of our kids around!

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?
How fast an hour goes!! I look up after reading 10 pages and 30 minutes have passed...were did the time go?? Also since I so rarely get to read a book cover-to-cover I forget how fun that is!!

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?
I think the only suggestion is to have more lead time as the date. It is an effort to get the weekend off Mom duty. : ) But then on the other hand I could barely wait for the weekend to get here!

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?
I think that I would probably break the time out into Cheerleading hours and reading hours because time really does go fast! Also I would get settled where ever I was going to be earlier - it was inevitable today that I couldn't get to Georgetown until 12:30 (I live 1 hour away and had a physical book club meeting - since I organize and it's new I really can't miss) - so this cut about 2 hours off my reading time.

9. Are you getting tired yet?
Yep - my normal bed time is 8:30's now 11:20 and I am feeling it - I have started the coffee. I am hoping to get a second wind around 3:00 or 4:00 my usual waking time!

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?
Not that I can think of - but I love the tips others are leaving. The one things that is nice is reading with Trish - every once in a while we stop and talk a little bit that helps keep us awake. :) I think next year that I will call it the 'thon like Dennis at Bart's Bookshelf!

I LOVE these 14 book prizes - where else can you get 14 books for free!! :) Go Dewey!! And if we haven't said this enough tonight - thanks for having this brain child and having the guts to do all the work to start it!! And whew is this a lot of work!! I can't believe you did this all by yourself without going insane last time!! :)

Read-a-thon Hour 11

I started reading the Sugar Queen this hour. I don' t know if I am slap happy at this point (I don't think I am THAT tired) or this book is just my humor! Has anyone else read it who has found it funny?

I do have one problem with it is the story of a "thick" girl (Sarah Addison Allen's word not mine) who loves candy. From another thick girl who loves Candy I can assure you that the size 2 girl on the cover of this book is NOT in any way shape or form - thick! Does it drive you crazy when the people on the cover don't match the description in the book - or is it just me?

33 pages read this hour and 2 comments on other people's posts!

Read-a-thon Hour 10

Are we really on hour 10 or is my count off?? I can't believe it! Well I didn't read this hour but I left 18 comments on other people's blogs! People seem to be doing really well and reading a lot! I think I will start a new book now...oh the choices. :)

It's 10pm and I am starting to get tired, but I am going to have a cup of coffee. :)

Read-a-thon Hour 9

Whoo hoo!! 1 book finished!! 40 pages read this hour! :) I can't remember the last time I was able to sit down and read a book cover-to-cover. Boy how I have missed it.

It's 9:00pm here and I am starting to get tired - also missing my baby girl since it is past her bed time. :) I am going to take a break and cheer for the next hour or so...

Read-a-thon Hour 8

Still reading Hidden - over 1/2 way through though and really enjoying it!

57 pages read this hour - Whoo hoo!! And I got in 1 full hour of reading! Yeah!!

Read-a-thon Hour 7

Only 8 pages read this hour :( But my friend who is an US expat living in China called - she is in the States for 1 month and we talked for 30 minutes! :) It was nice to get in touch again. I send her all of my books that I read! :) She is a speed reader and always desperate for books!

I posted comments on 3 people's sites. : ) Back to reading!!

Read-a-thon Hour 6

Pages read this hour: 37 (whoo hoo a new record!! LOL!)

Running total of pages read since you started: 90

Amount of time spent reading: 34

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 2 hours 35 minutes

Read-a-thon Hour 5

Title of book(s) read this hour: Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray
Number of books read since you started: working on #1
Pages read this hour: 9
Running total of pages read since you started: 53
Amount of time spent reading: 1 hour
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1 hour 55 minutes
Mini-challenge this hour: 0
Posts: 1
Other participants visited: 0
Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon Hour 4

Title of book(s) read this hour: Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray
Number of books read since you started: working on #1
Pages read this hour: 20
Running total of pages read since you started: 44
Amount of time spent reading: 1 hour
Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1 hour 20 minutes
Mini-challenge this hour: 0
Posts: 1
Other participants visited: 0
Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon Hour 3

I actually got some reading done this hour!! Ok - only 14 pages in Hidden - Shelley Shepard Gray, but it looks like it is going to be a good one!! :)

Pages read: 14

Running total of pages read since you started: 14

Amount of time spent reading: 20 minutes

Running total of time spent reading since you started: 20 minutes

Mini-challenge this hour: 3

Other participants visited: 3
Other blog posts: 4

Prize you’ve won: 0

Mini Challenge Hour 2

I read Questionable Content Number 523 about a woman who's job it is to count things - anything people ask her to count! It is cute. I haven't seen Internet comics much but enjoyed looking at this one

Read-a-thon Hour 2

Reading = 0!!

Yikes - well we are settled into the hotel now so I am going to start reading!! :) Yeah!

Read-a-thon Hour 1

No reading :( I went to pick up Trish at her house then we ran around to find a wireless provider at a restaurant for free. Then I showed Trish how to update her blog and participate in the challenges.

Read-a-thon Mini-Challenge: Hour 1 - CLOSED

Hello Read-a-thon readers and Cheerleaders!! Our first mini-challenge is an introduction meme! Paste this meme to your blogs and change the answers to your own. This will help us get to know each other today! This challenge will be open for 2 hours!

Where are you reading from today? The Hampton Inn in Georgetown, KY (10 minutes north of Lexington). My wonderful hubby got me a hotel room for Mother's day - because my maximum normal reading time is 2 hours during my daughter's nap.

3 facts about me …
*This is the first day in my daughters 21.5 months that I have not slept in the same house with her. Not sure when I will start having withdrawal but my guess it will be in hour 2! LOL! I keep thinking - this is Mommy's mini-vacation! I have talked my husband out of taking away her pacifier (cold turkey) today, so hopefully the day will go well for them too!! (anyone have any advice on getting rid of the pacifier?)

*I am reading today with my friend Tricia...she has just started blogging so pop over to her site and leave her a comment. She only has one post up right now - but I hope to have that changed by the end of the day!!

*We have snacks! I have brought Twizzlers, Starburst, a chocolate chex mix, gum, international coffee, and chai tea. Trish is bring snacks too. Btw - my daughter barley let me out of the house with the snacks...she found my stash this morning as I was packing. Starburst seem to be one of her favorites (there is nothing like being handed a wet squishy starburst!) :)

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours?
I brought 11 books with me - and since I am a slow reader I will probably get 3 read!! LOL! Some of them are young adult that I have discovered from the blogging community!! I will post what I am reading during the read-a-thon so check back here! :)

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)?
I think I read about 30 pages an hour (I know very lame compared to some others 100! But I have convince myself that being a slow reader means that I savor every word) so I would like to read:
Pages - 720 (but realistically I would like to read 1,000)
Books - at least 3

Comments on blogs & keeping my blog updated- I am going to make an even goal of 100 (including my update posts)...I'll keep count on my comments & updates!!

Any advice for people doing this for the first time?
I didn't do this last year, but my advice would be have fun and if you read the whole 24 hours great and if not then oh well. Also, take advantage of the read-a-thon. The great thing about it is building a community, so read others blogs and leave a comment - even if you normally lurk! We all love comments and you never know you might end up commenting on 100 too!!

Leave a comment here with a link to your Introduction Meme and you will be eligible for a prize of 2 books one will be Family Tree by Barbara Delinsky! You can read my review here and the other book is your choice from Dewey's list. Looking forward to hearing all your responses!

Congratulations to Aoi Sakura for winning the prize!

Tuesday, June 24, 2008

The Girl Who Stopped Swimming - Joshilyn Jackson

Rating: 3 Will make a good movie (···)

Pages: 320

Challenges: Pub Challenge, Summer Thing

Synopsis (from
Laurel Gray Hawthorne needs to make things pretty, whether she's helping her mother make sure the literal family skeleton stays in the closet or turning scraps of fabric into nationally acclaimed art quilts. Her estranged sister Thalia, an impoverished Actress with a capital A, is her polar opposite, priding herself on exposing the lurid truth lurking behind middle class niceties. While Laurel's life seems neatly on track--a passionate marriage, a treasured daughter, and a lovely home in suburban Victorianna--everything she holds dear is suddenly thrown into question the night she is visited by the ghost of a her 13-year old neighbor Molly Dufresne. The ghost leads Laurel to the real Molly floating lifelessly in the Hawthorne's backyard pool. Molly's death is inexplicable--an unseemly mystery Laurel knows no one in her whitewashed neighborhood is up to solving. Only her wayward, unpredictable sister is right for the task, but calling in a favor from Thalia is like walking straight into a frying pan protected only by Crisco. Enlisting Thalia's help, Laurel sets out on a life-altering journey that triggers startling revelations about her family's guarded past, the true state of her marriage, and the girl who stopped swimming.


I really liked the characters in the book and the funny happenings with Laurel's back woods relatives. I also liked the relationship with her and her sister and I thought that the mysteries developed well!

4 Days to go!

The read-a-thon is this weekend!! I have been waiting for this day since Dewey annouced it!! Are you interested in reading for 24 hours? Don't worry the reading police aren't going to get you if you don't read for the entire 24 hours! Dewey set up a great site for fequently asked questions here.

We also still need cheerleaders -so if you don't want to commit to reading but would love to read and comment on the blogs of people who have signed up please let me know (I am orginizing the cheerleaders). Or if you are interesting in hosting a mini-challenge and getting people to visit your blog let me know that to! I have set up a blog here for cheerleaders.

Check back this weekend to see how I am doing - I have a long list of books to read! I am thrilled about this weekend since I usually only get 2 hours during my darling daughter's girl's nap - and that is only on the weekends!!