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!