Thursday, August 27, 2009

Missing the Library

Oh how I miss the library!! We live in Louisville and although we weren't personally effected by the floods 3 weeks ago, my dear Louisville Library was. The main library had substantial damages when the 6 inches of rain in one hour flooded the basement - which housed all the inter-library transfers (which is a lot and mostly the new books) and all the new book processing, plus it totaled 3 book mobiles and 2 employee cars. Yes in the picture is the top of the book mobiles...this is a dock that went into the basement so you can imagine how much water flooded into the library.

Today (3 weeks later) the library was able to open. Unfortunatly a lot of the computer system is still down. The library catalog is up, but I can't request any books and they can't tell me what is due. They have asked people to keep their books until they can tell us when they are due. The library close to me is in a middle school and they have sorted books in boxes to where they belong (you can return books to any library reguardless of where you checked them out from) and they essentially can't check the book back in. So if they have a book you can check it out, but that's about it.

On the plus side the catalog is working so I was able to find our next book club book and drive to the library where it was located and check it out. It was fun for my girls and I to explore a new libaray. :) I DOOOOO miss being able to reserve books, but am trying to get some of my personal books read...that isn't going to well...what I seem to be doing is buying new!! UGH! Will I never learn??? LOL! Needless to say I am having library withdrawl!

If you are interested the are taking up a collection to help pay for the damages at:

The Library Foundation

ATTN: Flood

301 York St

Louisville KY 40203

(502) 574-1709

Sunday, August 23, 2009

How I Live Now - Meg Rosoff

Rating: 4

Pages: 194

Challenges: New Author, Read Your Own Books, Dewey Recommended, Young Adult, 2009 From the Stacks, 20 in 2009, Award (PRITZ)

Synopsis (and picture from

“Every war has turning points and every person too.”

Fifteen-year-old Daisy is sent from Manhattan to England to visit her aunt and cousins she’s never met: three boys near her age, and their little sister. Her aunt goes away on business soon after Daisy arrives. The next day bombs go off as London is attacked and occupied by an unnamed enemy.

As power fails, and systems fail, the farm becomes more isolated. Despite the war, it’s a kind of Eden, with no adults in charge and no rules, a place where Daisy’s uncanny bond with her cousins grows into something rare and extraordinary. But the war is everywhere, and Daisy and her cousins must lead each other into a world that is unknown in the scariest, most elemental way.

A riveting and astonishing story.

I really enjoyed this story. And was happy the end had a epilogue because I thought it ended abruptly. This was one of Dewey's favorites and after she posted about it I got the book from bookmooch, so it was good to read it!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

April / June Update

It's hard to beleive my last post was May 6! There are many reasons...1 is that I found Facebook! And Farm Town and Yo'ville games on them...I am completely addicted to Farm Town.

I have been reading though... Here is what needs to be reviewed:
How I live Now - Meg Rosoff
Saavy - Ingrid Law
View from Saturday - EL Konigburg
The Penelopiat - Margaret Atwood
Wanted - Shelly Sheppard Gray
Handle with Care - Jodi Picoult
Mudbound - Hillary Jordan

Obviously I am still reading, but work and housework keep getting in they way. Also I finally feel like I am adjusting to having 2 little ones! :) Having 2 little ones and still time for me - well that is another story!

There are several challenges that I have some books to post to, but in a nut shell I have missed the deadlines for:
Book Awards (by 2 books...UGH)
Themed Reading - haven't started and is due end of July - I am calling Uncle
Numbers Challenge - Havent started - due Aug 1 - Uncle #2 (I have read one)

Everything else I have signed up for is due Dec I am not ready to call Uncle yet. I DO need to start reading books I own. I made that goal in January and have finished 2 yes only 2 of my own books...and I KNOW I have bought more than 2! Terrible...back to the drawing board. So my goal is to get a review up everyday until they are done. Thanks for sticking with me...wish I had more time to read .

Wednesday, May 6, 2009

Dream A Little Dream - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Rating: 4
Pages: 400
Challenges: Audio, Support your Local Library, Romance, Book Awards (RITA), 20 in 2009


Rachel Stone is left with a young son Edward when her Evangelist husband is caught lying to his congregation about the "good deeds" he is doing. He decides to ditch his life and his wife with $5 million to boot! In desperation, Rachel decides to return to Salvation, NC, where the towns people think (thanks to her husband) that Rachel is the reason for the good preacher's demise. Needless to say she is not much liked.

Rachel has determined that her husband's millions have to be in Salvation and has returned to find it. After some pleading and desperation she starts working at a drive-in where she finds love with the owner...and finds her faith.


I enjoy the "Bonner" books from Phillips. Although I enjoyed What I Did for Love much better. See my review here. Rachel has more guts and determination than most people and she endured more than anyone should have to. The way her husband paraded her around reminded me of Tammy Faye Baker - I wonder if that was Phillip's inspiration for the book. A very good read!!

Monday, April 27, 2009

What I Did For Love - Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Rating: 5 out of 5 horses
Pages: 400
Challenges: Support your Local Library, Publish in 2009, 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from
How did this happen? Georgie York, once the costar of America's favorite television sitcom, has been publicly abandoned by her famous husband, her film career has tanked, her father is driving her crazy, and her public image as a spunky heroine is taking a serious beating.

What should a down-on-her-luck actress do? Not go to Vegas . . . not run into her detestable former costar, dreamboat-from-hell Bramwell Shepard . . . and not get caught up in an ugly incident that leads to a calamitous elopement. Before she knows it, Georgie has a fake marriage, a fake husband, and maybe (or not) a fake sex life.

It's a paparazzi free-for-all, and Georgie's nonsupporting cast doesn't help. There's Bram's punk-nightmare housekeeper, Georgie's own pushy parent, a suck-up agent, an icy studio head with a private agenda, and her ex-husband's new wife, who can't get enough of doing good deeds and saving the world—the bitch. As for Georgie's leading man, Bram's giving the performance of his life, but he's never cared about anyone except himself, and it's not exactly clear why.

Two enemies find themselves working without a script in a town where the spotlight shines bright . . . and where the strongest emotions can wear startling disguises.
Loved it! If you enjoy watching ET or reading US to get the scoop on celeberties you will enjoy this book. It is esentially the break up of Jennifer Aniston and Brad Pitt with Jennifer marrying a bad boy...oh and Jennifer Aniston has a stage father. It's fun to see the the inner workings of celeberties and their relationships. I have rellly enjoyed Susan Elizabeth Phillips books and would recommend this one

The Burning House -Ann Beattie (short story)

Short Story Title: The Burning House
Author: Ann Beattie
Book: More Stories We Tell
Rating: 3 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"Freddy Fox is in the kitchen with me."

This is a story of a party held at Amy and Frank. The story kind of drove me nuts because it was hard to keep up with the characters and what was going on. But then again it's about a party and I think the moving back and forth between characters and short snippets of things that are happening gives you a party feel. Basically the title comes from Amy and Frank - burning their marriage...they are both having affairs. The story is not of an actual burning house.

John at The Book Mine Set is hosting Short Story Mondays! Pop over there and see what people are reading or let us know what short stories you are reading.

The Lesson - Toni Cade Bambara (short story)

Short Story Title: The Lesson
Author: Toni Cade Bambara
Book: More Stories We Tell
Rating: 3 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"Back in the days when everyone was old and stupid or young and foolish and me and sugar were the only ones just right, this lady moved on our block with nappy hair and proper speech and no makeup."

Miss Moore is her name and she was an educated woman living in a poor neighborhood. She would take the kids places and teach them lessons. This story revolves around her taking the kids to FAO Schwarz. They window shop and see a toy sail boat that costs over $1,000. The kids can imagine that anyone would pay this for a boat when it could feed their whole party for a year. They come to the conclusion that democracy doesn't exist for the poor.
I thought this was ok. I agree that $1,000 is outrageous for a boat, but I don't think that democracy doesn't exist for the poor. I think that one of the best things about the US is that you can be dirt poor and invest in your eduction and make enough money to live well (at least before the recession!)

John at The Book Mine Set is hosting Short Story Mondays! Pop over there and see what people are reading or let us know what short stories you are reading.

Snow Mountain Passage - Houston, James D.

Rating: 2 out of 5 horses
Pages: 336
Challenges: New Author, ebook, 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from
Snow Mountain Passage is a powerful retelling of the most dramatic of our pioneer stories--the ordeal of the Donner Party, with its cast of young and old risking all, its imprisoning snows, its rumors of cannibalism. James Houston takes us inside this central American myth in a compelling new way that only a novelist can achieve.

The people whose dreams, courage, terror, ingenuity, and fate we share are James Frazier Reed, one of the leaders of the Donner Party, and his wife and four children--in particular his eight-year-old daughter, Patty. From the moment we meet Reed--proud, headstrong, yet a devoted husband and father--traveling with his family in the "Palace Car," a huge, specially built covered wagon transporting the Reeds in grand style, the stage is set for trouble. And as they journey across the country, thrilling to new sights and new friends, coping with outbursts of conflict and constant danger, trouble comes. It comes in the fateful choice of a wrong route, which causes the group to arrive at the foot of the Sierra Nevada too late to cross into the promised land before the snows block the way. It comes in the sudden fight between Reed and a drover--a fight that exiles Reed from the others, sending him solo over the mountains ahead of the storms.
We follow Reed during the next five months as he travels around northern California, trying desperately to find means and men to rescue his family. And through the amazingly imagined "Trail Notes" of Patty Reed, who recollects late in life her experiences as a child, we also follow the main group, progressively stranded and starving on the Nevada side of the Sierras.
Snow Mountain Passage is an extraordinary tale of pride and redemption. What happens--who dies, who survives, and why--is brilliantly, grippingly told.

If you like history books about the west you will like this book, If you like books about relationships you probably won't like this book. I like books about relationships. I liked Patty's diary about what happened, but you had to read some parts of the book to understand what was happening outside of Patty's view. This book doesn't go very much into the cannibalism part from the Donner party so you don't have to worry about that. If this wasn't a book we were reading for my book club I would have put it on the Did Not Finish list.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

2009 Read-a-thon

Oh 24-Hour read-a-thon I miss you! But a 2 year old saying "Mommy, Mommy" all day doesn't do well for reading. If I am lucky I will get a few hours of reading in today. :) I will try! If anyone is interested stop by the Read-a-thon post

Check it out and participate in some of the challenges or comment on some of the reader's site and give them some encouragement!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Three Weeks to Say Goodbye - CJ Box

Rating: 4 out of 5 horses
Pages: 340
Challenges: New Author, Support Your Local Library, 20 in 2009, Pub 2009

Synopsis (and pictue from
Jack and Melissa McGuane have spent years trying to have a baby. Finally their dream has come true with the adoption of their daughter, Angelina. But nine months after bringing her home, they receive a devastating phone call from the adoption agency: Angelina’s birth father, a teenager, never signed away his parental rights, and he wants her back. Worse, his father, a powerful Denver judge, wants him to own up to this responsibility and will use every advantage his position of power affords him to make sure it happens. When Jack and Melissa attempt to handle the situation rationally by meeting face-to-face with the father and son, it is immediately apparent that there’s something sinister about both of them and that love for Angelina is not the motivation for their actions.

As Angelina’s safety hangs in the balance, Jack and Melissa will stop at nothing to protect their child. A horrifying game of intimidation and double crosses begins that quickly becomes a death spiral where absolutely no one is safe.

How far would you go to save someone you love?

This book was a good and fast read. It was suspenseful and give a small indication half way through what might happen, but it didn't happen the way I thought it would - so it kept me guessing to the very end.

Here is my favorite quote:
"I know anyone is capable of anything, including me. It's a fine line between good and evil and, given the situation, the line moves. Oh, how it moves. It moved for me, but I still managed to cross it - repeatedly. And I've learned that once you cross it, bad acts become more effortless to commit because the moral restraints have loosened, and justifications cushion the implication of the crime. It becomes effortless to set things in motion, then stand by and let them happen, which is what I did."

I would recommend this book if you enjoy suspense.

Priceless - Dave Ramsey

Rating: 2 out of 5 horses
Pages: 136
Challenges: New Author, Support Your Local Library

Review (picture from
This book is about why we need to be out of debt. I am already convinced that being out of debt is good so this book wasn't the right one for me. This book has very little on HOW to get out of debt, just a persuasive argument on why debt is bad. Not the book I was looking for.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

2009 Quarter 1 Totals

Here are my totals for the end of March 2009:

3,954 Pages Read
12 Books Read
8 New Authors
1 Non-Fiction
The sidebar lists all the books finished in 2009.

Challenges Finished
Young Adult Romance Challenge

On-going Challenges (Number Completed To Date / Total Needed)
Book Awards II Challenge (5 /10)
Themed Reading Challenge (0/4)
Numbers Challenge (1/5)
Romance Reading Challenge (1/5)
Read Your Own Books Challenge (1/25)
Support Your Local Library Challenge (8/12)
PUB Challenge (0/9)
Christian Readers Challenge (0/4)
Audiobook Challenge (3/12)
Dewey's Reading Challenge (2/5)
20 in 2009 (11/20)
TBR Lite (0/12)
New Author Challenge (8 /12)
From the Stacks (0/5)
YA Challenge (7/12)
eBook Challenge (0/12)

American Girls About Town

Rating: 3 out of 5 horses
Pages: 386
Challenges: Short Stories, 20 in 2009, Support your local Library,

Synopsis (and picture from
Born in the U.S.A....
American gals are taking liberties — and pursuing happiness on their own terms — in this star-studded story collection featuring the nation's red-hot women writers.
They've declared their independence!
Jennifer Weiner (In Her Shoes) learns "The Truth About Nigel" — and the trouble with falling for an incognito Hollywood actor. Lauren Weisberger (The Devil Wears Prada) sends a single New Yorker on a backpacking trip halfway around the world — where she sees her love life back home with new eyes — in "The Bamboo Confessions." A harried mom with a hit novel crosses the pond in "My Great Brit Book Tour" by Adriana Trigiani (Lucia, Lucia), and turns a crumbling talk show appearance into a sweet success.
I picked up this book because I was wanting to read Adriana Trigiani's story (I love her Big Stone Gap series). I enjoyed this collection a lot - so much I got the Irish Girl collection. It is contemporary short stories by today's popular authors. I was surprised that it was called American Girls and the main characters were American Girls, but the stories weren't necessarily set in the US and the ladies in the story didn't necessarily date American, but that is just something I wish I knew going into it to set my expectations.
Here are the stories in the collection and what I thought of them...
Let me know what you think of the collection!

Monday, April 6, 2009

Small Words - Gretchen Laskas

Short Story Title: Small Worlds
Author: Gretchen Laskas
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 3 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"Marnie Haselton is going to Florida to have an affair with a a man she met on the Internet."
Marnie thinks having an affair will save her marriage that has been rocked by a miscarriage. She finds along the way that some of her friends have had affairs and explores what the affiar will mean to her marriage. She ends up in Disney World and we find that she is bored with her life and knowing what everyone at home is doing at this exact moment.
I thought this one was ok, but struggled a lot with Marnie - why would she have an affair and why she thought her marriage was so bad. The writing did keep me entertained.
John at The Book Mine Set is hosting Short Story Mondays! Pop over there and see what people are reading or let us know what short stories you are reading.

Sunday, April 5, 2009

The Uncertainty Principle - Lynda Curnyn

Short Story Title: The Uncertainty Principle
Author: Lynda Curnyn
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 4 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"It's the computer I notice first. Not the computer but the sight of my words disappearing into a pinprick of light on the screen."
Tracy is working on a deadline and the power goes out. It's a New York blackout this after 9-11. The blackout makes Trace explore her failed relationship with Jess and shows her insecurities in not being able to contact anyone. Also she has not unpacked her apartment and her mother harasses her because she can't find a flashlight. Her friend Shauna shows up and they go to the shore to look at New Jersey. They are both shocked that they think New Jersey is beautiful.
This story is about Tracy coming to terms...with her breakup and being alone. I LOVE New York and like to hear about normal people in NY (not Sex in the City type people - though I also like Sex in the City - I just don't think they are normal in a way that most people are). Also I enjoyed hearing her memories of 9-11 how she went to work even after the planes hit and then had to walk home...that would have probably been something that I would have done. I enjoyed this story and the writing.
John at The Book Mine Set is hosting Short Story Mondays! Pop over there and see what people are reading or let us know what short stories you are reading. Also if you want to see more literary stories this is a good place to go...this Monday John reviewed Kafka!

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Thirteenth Tale - Diane Setterfield

Rating: 3 out of 5 horses (average)

Pages: 432

Challenges: New Author, Audio, Support your Local Library, Dewey Recommended, Numbers, Book Awards, 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from
Margaret Lea works in her father's antiquarian bookshop where her fascination for the biographies of the long-dead has led her to write them herself. She gets a letter from one of the most famous authors of the day, the mysterious Vida Winter, whose popularity as a writer has been in no way diminished by her reclusiveness. Until now, Vida has toyed with journalists who interview her, creating outlandish life histories for herself - all of them invention. Now she is old and ailing, and at last she wants to tell the truth about her extraordinary life. Her letter to Margaret is a summons.

Somewhat anxiously, the equally reclusive Margaret travels to Yorkshire to meet her subject - and Vida starts to recount her tale. It is one of Gothic strangeness featuring the March family; the fascinating, devious and wilful Isabelle and the feral twins Adeline and Emmeline.

Margaret is captivated by the power of Vida's storytelling. But as a biographer she deals in fact not fiction, and she doesn't entirely trust Vida's account. She goes to check up on the family, visiting their old home and piecing together their story in her own way. What she discovers on her journey to the truth is for Margaret a chilling and transforming experience.
I was disappointed in this book. I think that it is possible it was all the great reviews it has gotten, but also that I read it over a period of time. I think I might have enjoyed it more if I read it faster and would have kept the characters straight. Although the end of the book did surprise me which was nice.

Envy - Anna Godberson

Rating: 4 out of 5 horses

Pages: 416

Challenges: Young Adult, Support Your Local Library, 20 in 2009
Series: Luxe #3

Synopsis (and picture from

Jealous whispers.
Old rivalries.
New betrayals.

Two months after Elizabeth Holland's dramatic homecoming, Manhattan eagerly awaits her return to the pinnacle of society. When Elizabeth refuses to rejoin her sister Diana's side, however, those watching New York's favorite family begin to suspect that all is not as it seems behind the stately doors of No. 17 Gramercy Park South.

Farther uptown, Henry and Penelope Schoonmaker are the city's most celebrated couple. But despite the glittering diamond ring on Penelope's finger, the newlyweds share little more than scorn for each other. And while the newspapers call Penelope's social-climbing best friend, Carolina Broad, an heiress, her fortune—and her fame—are anything but secure, especially now that one of society's darlings is slipping tales to the eager press.

Another good one in this series. I didn't like it as well as the others but it was still really good. This story ended with a setup for the next book (which I think is the last). In this we see Diana and Henry still loving each other even though he marries someone else...and Elizabeth in a predicament from being married to Will. We also see a new love emerge for Teddy, but will he ever get to be with the girl he loves? We will have to wait until book 4 to find out. I would recommend this series for anyone who is wanting a Young Adult book.

Monday, March 16, 2009

Forty Days - Jill Smolinski

Short Story Title: Forty Days
Author: Jill Smolinski
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 4 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"I didn't think it was any big deal. Turning forty."
This is a quirky story about Donna who is turning 40 and feels her life is too conservative. So she decides for the 40 days before her birthday she is going to do something she has never done an each day is different. Her first task is to go skinny dipping - which goes great until her Dad walks into the pool.
I really liked this story and liked the concept of doing 40 things and Donna going out of her comfort zone. Getting out of her comfort zone was a big success...and her last task was excellent. I could really relate to Donna feeling like she lead too conservative life and challenging herself...I might think to do this when I turn 40 (which will be in a little over a year and 1/2).
One of my favorite ideas from this story is "Ghost Fat" -this is for people who have lost weight but still see themselves as fat and still act as if they are fat.
"...There's a whole other world out there. It's filled with the type of people who don't think twice abut going away last-minute. Who as a matter of habit drop everything and do the sorts of things I was trying desperately to cram into forty days. Making up for forty years."
I really like this quote because I can relate...I am also not a spontaneous person and couldn't just run off to Vegas because someone else was ready...especially now that I am a if I couldn't get more conservative and less spontaneous...but it happened!! LOL! But then again I wouldn't give it up!

Monday, March 9, 2009

Bad Manners - Chris Manby (Short Story)

Short Story Title: Bad Manners

Author: Chris Manby

Book: American Girls About Town

Rating: 3 out of 5 horses
First Line:

"And then one day my Prince did come along..."
This story was well named - about a British man who the main character was dating who had horrible manners to others and pointed out every mistake others made. The main character and he finally broke up - and she had a one night stand...then she had bad manners. It was a cute 12 page story.
My favorite quote:
"You don't have to look too closely to realize that those little things he jokes about at the start of your passionate romance are going to be the big things that tear you apart later on. Your funny laugh is going to become a witch's cackle. That cute mole on your neck is the beginnings of a wart."

Just Visiting - Nancy Sparling

Short Story Title: Just Visiting

Author: Nancy Sparling
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 5 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"'You didn't.' I say, gripping the phone so tightly my knuckles turn white. I must have misheard her. My mother wouldn't have told those tow they could stay at my place. She wouldn't do that to me."

This is a story about Danni - who has moved to London after her fiance Tom married Susie - 2 weeks before Tom and Danni's wedding. And to add insult to injury purchased the house that Danni loved for him and Susie. A real winner huh?!

Now Danni's Mom has invited Kim (Tom's sister) and Michelle to Danni's for a 2 week visit. What Danni's Mom doesn't know is that Danni has been lying about her life in London - the great apartment she lives in is actually the home of one of the dogs that she walks and the gorgeous boyfriend is actually a client she has never met.

So now Danni has to hide her lies from Kim and Michelle so they take news to her small town that she is doing great. In the middle of one of her lies she meets a handsome man who helps her with her lies and it seems wants to take her out on a date!

A quote I liked:

"They should put us a warning signs on the highway at the edge of town. Beware: you are now entering a high-gossip area. Before taking any action, you should first stop and think, What will people say? Or, even better, WWPS bracelets should be handed out at birth and worn at all times. (263)"

I have lived in several small towns and this is SOO true!

I would like to read more of this author.

I Know a Woman - Quinn Dalton (short story)

Short Story Title: I Know a Woman
Author: Quinn Dalton
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"Let's call her Judy. I like the simple names that sound as if they could belong to your next-door neighbor or the mother of your best friend in the second grade."

This story is about a woman and her husband Dennis. They work together and there is a woman in the office who is discovered to be a stripper. The couple goes to see Judy strip...which seems to be the beginning of the end of their marriage...Dennis soon has an affair (not with Judy). The main character divorces him and takes half of the company. She then crashes parties and is busted out of a Millionaire's dinner by Neil. This is where we hear the details of the demise of the marriage.
I really liked this story and would like to read more by Quinn Dalton. I liked the way the story connected to Judy and the things that happened to her and her daughter and how it doesn't reveal everything at the beginning.
Is it just me or does anyone else have a hard time with the story teller's name in short stories? I am not sure if some of them are not called by their names or if it just happens so infrequently that I miss it. It's very frustrating for me!

The Two-Month Itch - Sarah Mlynowski (short story)

Short Story Title: The Two-Month Itch

Author: Sarah Mlynowski

Book: American Girls About Town

Rating: 3 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"You're having an urge to kiss the boy sitting next to you on the plane."
This story is about a girl who is debating on cheating on her boyfriend of 2 months with a guy who is on the plane. This story has different options - does she cheat and what happens - does she not cheat and what happens. The interesting thing is that regardless of her decision to cheat or not the story ends the same! I thought that was a neat twist about the story - and also if you are like me and a "what if" person it's comforting to know that regardless of the decision the story ends the same. It kind of reminds me of the movie Sliding Doors - only because the story is the same no matter what choice Gweneth Paltrow character picks.
Also I have been on the receiving end of the 2-month itch. I went through a couple of years where my relationships RARELY went 2 months 1 day! :)

Saturday, March 7, 2009

The Chili Queen - Sandra Dallas

Rating: 4 of 5 horses

Pages: 292

Challenges: Library, Romance, Book Awards (SPUR), 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from
Life may have been hard on Addie French, but when she meets friendless Emma Roby on a train, all her protective instincts emerge. Emma's brother is seeing her off to Nalgitas to marry a man she has never met. And Emma seems like a lost soul to Addie-someone who needs Addie's savvy and wary eye. It isn't often that Addie is drawn to anyone as a friend, but Emma seems different somehow. When Emma's prospective fails to show up at the train depot, Addie breaks all her principles to shelter the girl at her brothel, The Chili Queen. But once Emma enters Addie's life, the secrets that unfold and schemes that are hatched cause both women to question everything they thought they knew.

I liked this book it surprised me which is always nice. I can see why it won a Spur Award. Although I have enjoyed all of Sandra Dallas's books I have read - this is probably one of my favorites. The characters were good and believable and the twists and turns were completely believable too! One was a little bit of a challenge - a man acting as a woman, but in the end I think I can accept that too!

Sunday, March 1, 2009

Andromeda on the Street of Ducklings - Judi Hendricks (Short Story)

Short Story Title: Andromeda on the Street of Ducklings
Author: Judi Hendricks
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 5 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"It's eleven o'clock on a Tuesday morning in May, and I'm Standing on Boulevard St. Germain des Pres in front of the beautiful old church of the same name. My suitcase sits next to me on the sidewalk and my daypack is slung over my back. I'm vaguely aware that tears are leaking out of my eyes and rolling down my face."

This is a story of getting through grief. Andy has lost her soul mate 1 month before they are supposed to get married. He passed away in a motorcycle accident. After having problems dealing with her grief and the 1 year anniversary of Evan's death she spontaneously decides to take a trip to Paris.
While in Paris she stays at a bed-n-breakfast run by Pauline. Andy and Pauline become friends and Pauline helps Andy get through her grief like none of her friends have been able to do.
I really enjoyed the writing and the characters of this story. I want to know more about what happens with Andy and Pauline and if they stay friends. I also like how the title works into the story. I love that when stories guide you to why it is titled the way it is. I feel like it's a mystery solved. I highly recommend this story. I have Bread Alone by Judi Hendricks so I am eager to start reading it!

Amore - Laura Wolf (short story)

Short Story Title: Amore
Author: Laura Wolf
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 2 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"So why was everyone bend out of shape?"

This story is about Linda who likes to date foreign men and her family can't understand this. When they have the opportunity to meet these men they typically don't like them. She starts dating an Italian man named Raffael and arranges a dinner with him and her family. To her surprise her family loves him. She is so worried about how her family feels about him that this incredible dinner she has planned is ruined dish by dish because she is trying to ease drop on what is happening with her family and Raffael. She is so preoccupied that the meal is ruined and the kitchen eventually catches on fire. The story insinuates that she may have started the fire on purpose. I think she was so obsessed with making a great meal that it wouldn't surprise me to know that she burned the kitchen down rather than to admit that the meal was ruined. Also, the story insinuates that after the evening she doesn't see Raffael again - so clearly she was looking for a man that her family didn't like.

This story was odd. I didn't really enjoy it much. I would be interested to hear of anyone who has read anything else by Laura Wolf and what they thought about her writing. At this point I don't think I would read anything else by her without a high recommendation by someone else.

Wednesday, February 25, 2009

The Baby is here!!

Kassidy Camille was born Sunday Feb 22 at 8:22 am. She is 8lbs 5 oz and 19.5 inches long.

It was quite an exciting birth experience! Kassidy decided to come very fast - 1.5 hours fast. We live 25 minutes from the hospital and my first couple of contractions were 20-15 minutes apart - then they were very close and very strong. I think I had 15-20 contractions total and 2 contractions to deliver! She was born in our living room hall and delivered by my husband. Luckily everything went perfectly (thanks to God) and she is very healthy. The paramedics arrived just as she was delivered. :)

There were a few other ways that God was involved in this delivery. My husband is in the medical field (a Surgical First Assistant) and worked about 10 years years ago in Labor and Delivery so he has seen and participated in many deliveries, he also was an EMT and knew what to tell them was needed, AND was a medic in the military - so I was in the best hands possible to deliver at home! He knew exactly where I was and how quickly I was going to deliver and how to deliver. It was quite exciting and I am hoping my 2 year old doesn't remember anything that happened. She sat on the couch the whole time quiet as a mouse - I am sure in shock.

Sunday, February 22, 2009

The Truth About Nigel - Jennifer Weiner (short story)

Short Story Title: The Truth About Nigel
Author: Jennifer Weiner
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 4 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"Sarah Compton started work at the First Bank of London on the third Monday of September, and Nigel Jones started two days later."
This story is about Sarah who is having a difficult time with men. She has sworn off all men with names starting with vowels. Sarah meets Nigel when starting a new job at a bank. He is handsome and she can't believe that he may be interested in her. They have drinks together every other day and become friends. Sarah even sneaks in a kiss on Nigel and the next day he disappears with a secret. This is a secret that gets Sarah press coverage and she goes into hiding.
I really enjoyed this story and will read more by Jennifer Weirner, since this is the first story I have read of hers.

Voodoo Dolls, C-Cups and Eminem - Melissa Senate

Short Story Title: Voodoo Dolls, C-Cups and Eminem
Author: Melissa Senate
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 3 out of 5 horses
First Line:
"Before brunch, I was engaged and happy. After brunch I was engaged and cursed - in more ways than one."

Micheal proposed to Rebecca after dating only 6 months. Well, Rebecca's family has taken offense to this and don't understand why they would rush to get married - even though their marriages to people who they dated longer didn't work. So her entire family is against the marriage and stage an intervention. Also, Rebecca is getting a bride voodoo doll and nasty notes to go with.

I thought this story was cute and it was funny during some parts. I think I will read more by this author.

The Bamboo Confessions - Lauren Weisberger

Short Story Title: The Bamboo Confessions

Author: Lauren Weisberger

Book: American Girls About Town

Rating: 4 out of 5 horses

First Line:

"I knew the moment I'd arrived in the lobby of the oddly named Viet-Tang Hotel for our group's 6 p.m. meeting that I'd made the biggest mistake of my life."

Katie decides impulsively to travel to Vietnam by herself. Her friends and family are shocked because she doesn't do anything by herself. We find out in the story that her relationship with her live in boyfriend Matthew is not going too well - not that she has shared this with anyone and she felt the need to get away.

The trip is not so great at first - sub par accommodations an annoying tour guide...that is until Katie starts making friends and ditching the group. She learns a lot about herself in the process.

I enjoyed this short story.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Young Adult Romance Challenge - Complete

The Young Adult Romance Challenge is complete. My first completed challenge of 2009! I know compared to others I am really behind! LOL! But for me it's great!!

Here are the books that I read for this challenge:
1. Luxe - Anna Godberson
2. Peaches - Jodi Lynn Anderson
3. The Higher Power of Lucky - Susan Patron
4. Lock and Key - Sarah Dessen
5. Rumors - Anna Godberson
6. Light Years - Tammar Stien

My favorites are Luxe and Rumors though I really enjoyed Lock and Key and Light Years also. I will probably read more in the Peaches series as well.

I am really glad that I joined this challenge. Young Adult is a genre of books that I don't read much of and I am not sure why, but I really enjoyed them! I am surprised that some of them are racer than I thought they would be. I would say that I probably wouldn't have read these books or authors if not for this challenge. And I would have missed some great ones!! Thanks Becky for hosting and making sure that we include the Young Adult Genre in our reading!

Light Years - Tammar Stein

Rating: 4 out of 5 horses
Pages: 263
Challenge: Young Adult Romance, Young Adult, New Author, Library, 20 in 2009

Synopsis (and picture from
He went to school to learn how to kill me. The Israeli girl who ruined his life. Seven people were killed instead. A single mother of two. A computer programmer. Two college students. A grandmother and her four-year-old grandson sharing an ice cream. And Dov, my boyfriend, my heart, the man I wanted to marry, who was there waiting for me.

Maya leaves Israel to study astronomy at the University of Virginia, running from the violence, guilt, and memories of her past. As the narrative switches between Virginia and Israel, we learn about Maya’s life as a soldier, her ambiguous devotion to Israel, and her love for her boyfriend, Dov, who is tragically killed in a suicide bombing. Now, in Virginia, amid the day-to-day pressures of classes, roommates, and fraternity parties, Maya attempts to reconcile her Israeli past with her American future.
I would recommend this book. It did a good job of hoping from Israel and discussing the past and present day Virgina. Also it gave me a much better perspective on what Israelis go through on a day-to-day basis with their terror attacks. It was very insightful!
Here are some of my favorite quotes or insights:
"They didn't even realize that light could conceal far more than it ever revealed. It deceived you, tricked you, and lulled you straight into the heart of danger. (184)"
Maya blames herself for Dov's death. Justin says, "If you hadn't existed, then maybe this wouldn't have happened. But whatever that waiter did to get himself fired would have probably happened sooner or later with someone else. You can't live life hoping nothing you do affect anything or anyone else. That's just life. You can't predict how the most simple thing will turn out, but that doesn't mean that you step away from living life and try to hide away. (247)"
"...I was especially taken by the words of Epictetus, a Roman slave from two thousand years ago. His advice: let go of what you cannot control, focus only on what falls directly under your control--your opinions, your will, your moral fortitude. (250)"
On why Israel keeps fighting, "We do it because after each war, after each victory and every death, we keep thinking and hoping it will be over. (258)"

Monday, February 16, 2009

Yoga Baby – Lauren Henderson (short story)

Short Story Title: Yoga Babe
Author: Lauren Henderson
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 1 out of 5 horses

First I would like to start off saying this story was not for me. You may enjoy it, but for me it had the following issues:

1) I don’t like to exercise, so I don’t really care to read about it
2) I didn’t like the main character at all – she is exactly the type of person I hope not to meet in life – ever!

So this story is about a woman who is taking a yoga class. During the class she competes and criticizes (in her mind) everyone in the class about everything. So this is the gist of the story. Clearly the character has many insecurities to feel the need to do this. For me, I don’t want to be exposed to these people in life – let alone in something that I am reading for pleasure. I don’t think she got any life lessons on why she shouldn’t be self centered or so critical or anything that would change her attitude – so for me I am thinking what is the point? By the way – her boyfriend is as critical of her as she is of everyone else.

Moving Day - Cindy Chupack (short story)

Short Story Title: Moving Day
Author: Cindy Chupack
Book: American Girls About Town
Rating: 3 out of 5 horses

First Line:
"It was three days before her ten-year high school reunion when Madeline's husband told her he thought he might be gay. He wasn't sure if he was gay, having never been with a man, but he thought it was somthing he out to figure out."

This story revolves around Madeline’s who’s husband Matt has told her that he thinks he might be gay. He broke this news to her just as they found a house that they both loved. She comments that his “forever” vow with marriage didn’t seem as intimidating to him as a commitment to a 30 year mortgage. The story revolves around with how Madeline copes with the news.

There are some very funny parts of this story. For example she goes to the book store to find a book on how to deal with the fact that your husband thinks he is gay. Here is what happens:

“The next day before work, she screeched into the parking lot of B. Dalton Books and went directly to the self-help section, where all problems could be solved. However, there was no book for the wives of men who suspect they might be gay. There was a book called Loving Someone Gay for teachers and family members, but nothing for spouses. That’s when she officially started to panic. She did not want to pioneer a problem. She wanted the validation of a book, the anecdotes of other women, the statistics of a study. It occurred to her that the whole point of the self-help section was simply the reassurance that your particular problem was at least widespread enough to merit a book.” (page 54) Then the poor clerk asks her if she needs help and she tells him, “This is the self-help section, Patrick. So clearly, I would like to help myself.” (56). I thought this was humorous. Madeline does eventually find her book but she goes to a specialty book store to get it.

I thought the story was ok, but really enjoyed the writing. I would probably read more by this author if the book plot pulled me in. She defiantly hit some humorous cords with me.