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!