Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"92 Pacific Boulevard" by Debbie Macomber


I love to read Debbie Macomber's books because I always come away feeling a bit more positive about life and people in general. This book is her latest in the Cedar Cove series. The fictional town of Cedar Cove is based on her own town and at the end of August they hosted Cedar Cove Days and from what I've read it sounds like it was a big success (I did not attend the event).

This series started 9 years ago and she releases a new installment at the end of the summer each year. The number at the beginning of the address tells what book it is (for example 16 Lighthouse Road was first and 92 Pacific Boulevard is ninth). Each address belongs to one character or couple and the main story or mystery will revolve around him, her or them while all the other characters continue to make an appearance and continue forward with their lives. From when the series started a few characters have moved or passed away but most of them are the same although their lives may have changed. This installment deals with Sheriff Troy Davis and Faith Beckwith who was his first love but due to circumstances they ended up happily married to other people. Both are now widowed. A misunderstanding took place in the last book and they are still working through the fall-out plus Troy is trying to solve the case of the 25 year old skeleton found in a cave by two teenagers as well as looking for the person responsible for vandalizing Faith's rental home. Olivia is still fighting cancer and Ben continues to have problems and to be disappointed by his grown son David.

These characters feel like friends. It is a testament to Macomber that they feel like real people, the whole town feels real. There are times when I feel like authors allow their series to go on too long, but that is not the case here. The only issue I have is that since it's been awhile since I read the last books I sometimes forget details. That being said, Macomber does drop hints and have people reminisce about things to catch the reader up on what has changed. This is a great book to curl up and relax with. I didn't want it to end and look forward to late August next year for the next installment.

On a side note, a cookbook was also released in hardcover which I am currently reading (look for a review in the next few days). The cookbook uses the characters from the series.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Teaser Tuesday






Teaser Tuesday
Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme, hosted by Miz B of Should be Reading.Here's how it works. Grab the book you are currently reading, open it to a random page and share two "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page. Just make sure they aren't spoilers for anyone that may want to read it. Don't forget to list the name of the book and author.




"As I watched the four bridesmaids in their poofy orange dresses walk down the aisle of the packed church, their hair done up on their heads in ringlets, and more makeup than I'd ever seen any of them wear, I was feeling very, very lucky. They had round bouquets of orange and white flowers with black lace and orange and black ribbons trailing down from the flowers, I just had to stand up at the front of the church with my one hand holding the wrist of my other arm."




Blood Upon My Lips by Laurell K. Hamilton (part of Cravings an anthology with other authors)

Monday, September 28, 2009

3 Day Potty Training: Start Friday, Done Sunday! The Queen of Potty Training will share tips, advice and secrets of potty training in 3 days!

3 Day Potty Training
Start Friday, Done Sunday!
The Queen of Potty Training will share tips, advice and secrets of potty training in 3 days!
by Lora Jensen
3daypottytraining.com

First off I realize that this book will not be of interest to a lot of people, but I read it yesterday to look for some hints and tips to help me with potty training my third child. Although Lora Jensen does have some good pointers I have to admit that I am not following the whole program. I have a friend who is and she recommended I take a look. My third child is mostly potty trained, the difficulty he is having is pooping in the potty. He just doesn't want to do it. I read the whole book, but was mostly looking for tips on dealing with this one issue. I like the idea of a magic wand to be used to help the child with getting over any fear of going poop on the potty and I can definitely see the need to keep the child right with you all the time so no accident will be missed. Most of the accidents he has had since training started have been when he wasn't with me but in another room or being watched by someone else. For someone just starting with the process I would recommend this as a program to start with. Part of me wishes that I had started with this months ago. Lora recommends taking a thirty day break from whatever method you were using before trying her program and if you can't or don't want to do that to understand that it might take longer than three days. One issue I have with the book is the repetition. It is only 40 pages long, but she restates the same thing repeatedly. I've noticed this in other non-fiction self-help books so perhaps it is a technique that is used to hammer important points home or for people who just look at the table of contents and skip to the part of the book they think they need. For me, reading it straight through I could have done without the repeats. Give this a try of you are starting to potty train because she has some good ideas.

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In My Mailbox 2







I know I mentioned that I went to the library and added to my TBR books, but I also visited the store and received somebooks in the mail. I love paperbackswap.com and definitely recommend it to other readers. You post books you are done with (although not any ARC because those are not allowed to be traded on the site) and you get one credit for each book you send out and use one credit for each book you order from another member. It keeps books moving around and saves money because for most the postage is less than what you would have paid to buy the book new.

Books I will soon be reading are:
An Echo in The Bone by Diana Gabaldon
92 Pacific Boulevard by Debbie Macomber
Witch Blood by Anya Bast

Friday, September 25, 2009

"Handle with Care" by Jodi Picoult


This is the third book by Jodi Picoult that I have read. In all three books Picoult deals with a situation within a family that is controversial and hard to view in black and white. For this novel Charlotte and Sean O'Keafe have two daughters, Amelia who is 12 at the start and Willow who is five at the beginning of the novel. Willow has OI or brittle bones and has already suffered sixty some breaks in her short life and in all likelihood will continue to suffer breaks for her whole life. Amelia feels overshadowed and unwanted and develops an eating disorder as well as cutting herself to deal with her emotions. The family has financial problems and as a result of a disastrous vacation to Disney World end up seeing a lawyer and deciding to sue their OB for malpractice stating that if they had known about Willow's condition earlier in the pregnancy they would have terminated it. This decision to sue along with the stress of having a child with special needs tears the family apart.

Pros:
Well written
Tells the story from multiple POV
Deals with subject matter that brings up a lot of issues about society and law and medicine

Cons:
Some of the characters felt like stereotypes
Some of the meetings between characters felt too forced or convenient
Although I guessed what the ending was going to be (not going to spoil it for other readers) the way it happened didn't feel totally genuine

Thoughts on the novel:
One of the main emotions I felt through reading this book was a sense of relief that my own children were not born with this disorder, I don't even want to imagine what it would be like to not be able to hug one of my children without worrying that he or she might break or to have to constantly be on guard for any type of hazard. It gave me a real appreciation of parents who live and care for children with not just brittle bones but many other conditions.

While the story is told from multiple points of view, each of the characters is telling the story to Willow. It isn't until the end of the novel that we get to hear Willow's POV. I liked that each character got a different font for their segments, it was almost like putting a different personality in with the type.

One issue I have with Picoult's novels (the three I've read- The Tenth Circle and My Sister's Keeper as well as this one) is that while she makes the mother human and flawed she also makes her hard to sympathize with. Each of these mothers makes tough decisions, but in caring for one child (in two of the stories) another child is pushed into the background and almost ignored. When Amelia's eating disorder and cutting are finally discovered it isn't because her parents wake up and notice, it is because another person brings it to their attention. She has been crying out for help for months and they finally have to stop and consider her.

Whenever I read about a medical malpractice lawsuit I always wonder if the main purpose is to get money, either because the plaintiff actually needs it due to negligence or simply because he or she thinks they can get it. Would more money really solve all the problems and issues the family or person are having? If he or she had expended that much energy in another direction could a similar result have been achieved? Do all countries have so much of an issue with lawsuits or is this an American thing?

While the story made me think and touched me, I never got as engrossed in it as I usually do in the book that I am reading. I wasn't sure I even cared what happened to this family. Of the three Picoult novels I have read this was not my favorite, but it was still a good read.

Thursday, September 24, 2009

"The Power of No: How to Keep Blowhards and Bozos at Bay" by Beth Wareham


Description from Amazon.com:
"The terrible yes years. You know them well: You're suckered into working late and often, unflattering haircuts and poodle perms, back-fat-exposing blouses, too small jeans, treacherous friendships, and dudes who kiss like a Saint Bernard…all because you couldn't use that one little word…that one little word with so much power…N-O.
Unlike "please respect my boundaries," N-O has teeth. It says jump back! Stand down! Mess-with-me-at-your-peril! It can be delivered like a whisper or spat out like a curse. N-O is perfect for every relationship, from cubicle to corner office, backyard to bedroom, dry cleaner to grocery store. Worn on your hip and drawn in one smooth action, NO lets you say, "I don't have time for this nonsense. I am making a great life here."
The perfect book for anyone who has ever been passed over for a promotion, dated jerks, married a disaster, suffered too many fools, or just needed more time alone, The Power of No will teach you how to manage what you don't want and get what you do. "

Review and my thoughts:
When I was at the library on Monday, not needing any new books for myself (I was there to return some books on CD that I listen to in the car with my children and pick out some new ones to listen to) I wandered through the new books section. When I was about to cross the threshold I almost said no to myself but now I'm glad I didn't. This book jumped out at me because of the big "NO" on the cover. Right now I feel like we are in fundraiser hell, every week one of the schools or organizations my children belong to send something new home for us to order from and try to sell to our friends. I hate asking people to buy overpriced stuff and was looking for help at saying no without feeling guilty about it. I want to say no not just to fundraisers, but to the multiple requests I get to volunteer my time to work a consession stand at football or chair a committee for the PTA or shelve books at the library etc.

I wish I had had some of this advice in college and when I was dating because I wasted so much time waiting for a call or wondering if I was going to hear from a guy. My best semester in college was the one where I didn't date anyone seriously and just had fun on my own terms when I wanted to.

Saying no is so hard for me. Not so much to my children, I tell them no all the time if it fits the situation, but when asked to volunteer my time or do something extra I feel like I often say yes when what I really want to say is no. One of the tips I am definitely going to incorporate into my life is saying that I need to think about it before giving an answer.

Some parts of the book dragged a bit, like she was repeating the same thing too much but if you're reading the book it is most likely because you need to get hit over the head a bit with the need to use the word no when appropriate. I agree that sometimes in order to not have someone else get annoyed at me or probably out of a misguided fear that I won't be liked anymore I say yes to things I don't want to do. Then the person I'm mad at is myself, wouldn't it be better tolet someone else be annoyed rather than being mad at myself?

Hopefully I'm starting down the right path to reserve more time for me for what I want to do rather than saying yes to chores that won't be anywhere near as fulfilling.

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

I haven't finished a book in a few days!

Somehow I seem to measure my accomplishments by how much I've done or read and there is a part of me that feels like I should finish a book every day or so unless I'm reading something that is terribly long. Realistically I know that is a little silly, since depending what else is going on there are going to be lots of times it takes longer to finish a book. Plus if I would just read one at a time I would get done faster. Why would anyone care how long it took me to read a book, I should just be doing it for enjoyments sake (or information's sake depending on what book it is). It's not like this is a contest. Maybe having too many books to read and that I want to read is a negative rather than positive thing, but I doubt it. I would be lost without a book to read!

Monday, September 21, 2009

Libraries and Books and More, Oh my!

Tonight I made it to one of our local libraries that I don't get to as often as I would like and I had so much fun browsing around. I love libraries and bookstores alike, but I love borrowing things. As mentioned in previous posts, borrowing something does tend to put a rush on reading it since you know it will have to be returned at some point. Even with putting a lot of things back on the shelves I still walked out with four more books to read for myself, along with books on CD to listen to with my children in the car and picture books to read with them. All four of them are only 2 week books so I guess I'll have to reorder my TBR pile again. Years ago I read a book about the publishing industry and it stated that on average 4000 books are published each day. Many of those books are textbooks or specialized ones for technical fields and the like, but still 4000 books a day! No wonder it is so easy to find books that look interesting with how many there are to choose from. It also makes me wonder how hard it is for an author or publisher to get one book out of all those noticed and made into a best seller. Kudos to all those authors who are out there putting their books on the shelves for readers to find.

Book contest on http://harmonybookreviews.wordpress.com/2009/09/11/contest-ruined-by-paula-norris/#comment-4173

As I try to decide how I want to proceed with my own blog I've been looking at lots of other book blogs. I came across this contest and thought I'd pass it along to anyone who happens to stop by. Go to the posted blog to enter in the contest for yourself:


Contest: Ruined by Paula Norris
Posted by: harmonybookreviews on: September 11, 2009
In: Book Reviews
Comment!

When Rebecca Brown goes to New Orleans to stay with her voodoo-obsessed aunt, she finds the beautiful city haunted by the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Rebecca is also startled to discover a haunting of a different kind: near a graveyard one night, amid the Spanish moss and beneath the moonlight, she meets a ghost girl named Lisette, who has been dead for 150 years. Lisette helps Rebecca unearth an ancient mystery in her aunt’s house, along with some troubling historical truths. Meanwhile, Rebecca must juggle adjusting to her snooty new prep school, developing a serious crush on a handsome boy, and dealing with an elite group of popular girls who may be linked to the ghostly mystery themselves.

Sounds pretty good, doesn’t it? Well, I’m giving away FIVE COPIES. Yes, that’s right. FIVE.
Here’s how to enter:
+1 for leaving a comment with your email
+2 for following me on Twitter (harmonybreviews)
+4 for following me via Google Reader
+2 for becoming a follower
+4 for posting about this on your blog
Please leave each entry in a SEPARATE comment.
Deadline: September 25th.

Sunday, September 20, 2009

"sTori Telling" by Tori Spelling with Hilary Liftin


sTori Telling by Tori Spelling with Hilary Lifton
Before I start my review I need to preface this with a few things. Although I did watch 90210 for a long time I have never seen either of Tori Spellings reality shows and actually got kind of sick of the back and forth feud in the tabloids between her and her mother. That said I was intrigued when I came across this book on the shelf at the library and checked it out and I am very glad that I did. The first two chapters were nothing special and I put the book down and, as mentioned in a previous post, I might not have picked it back up again except that it was due back on Tuesday and I knew it was a now or never kind of deal. Yes, I could have requested it and waited for it be returned or looked for it again, but if I check a book out once and don't get to it chances are I won't be bringing it home again unless there is some reason why I have to read it and this one would have been unlikely to be a book I would have to read for anything.This book was a great read, after the first two chapters the pacing moved very fast and I could almost hear her voice in my head telling the story. It was like she is talking to her friend and dishing about her life, catching up with someone she hasn't seen in a while and filling in the gaps left between what came out in tabloids and what really happened. Although celebrities may deal with slightly different problems than most of us encounter every day (when was the last time you had to worry about being photographed in the same outfit you had worn on a different shopping trip) they still worry about money and safety and their families and health. They still get their hearts broken and make mistakes and instead of being able to nurse those wounds alone they also have to deal with it being written about and speculated about. Tori covers a lot of moments from her childhood on up to after her son was born. She did release another book about motherhood probably after this one but I've never read it (I guess I'll need to be on the lookout for that at the library!). I know that this story is just told from her perspective so it would be unlikely for her to paint herself too negatively, but she does take responsibility for things she did during her first marriage, she does admit to making mistakes, and a lot of times she tries to see where her mother was coming from when they disagreed about things. One of her big points is that she grew up in a family with a lot of money and as a child and young adult she never thought about it or how much she was spending. No one at home taught her how to be responsible because there was always enough for everything. When she went into debt she had to change her way of thinking and living and learn how to be fiscally responsible which is tough for everyone. She is at time funny as well as candid and easy to read. A fun escape from everyday life!

Saturday, September 19, 2009

How I decided what to read.

Well I decided to read based on what was due at the library the soonest. Not necessarily the best way to decide but I definitely don't want late fees and once you return something there is no guarantee it will be back on the shelf anytime soon. I have almost finished sTori Telling and I am SO glad I picked it up again. When I started it I read the first two chapters and wasn't really all that into it, if it hadn't been due back on Tuesday I might have just let it sit. Upon picking it back up I really got into it. It feels like a guilty pleasure like reading a tabloid, except here you are getting one person's version of the truth rather than having to wonder if all the stories are fictitious. of course I have more to say about it, but I want to finish the last 30 pages before writing up a review.

Speaking of reviews, I can't decide how best to write them up. Each one I've done has been a bit different as I play with what is most comfortable and fun for me. I don't want it to seem like a chore, it's supposed to be fun not work and for me. If you've wound up here and have an opinion please share, constructive criticism is welcome!

Also, I am still feeling a bit computer illiterate. I can not seem to get the images of the books to work on my page. I think it will look so much better once I get that ironed out. So next review should be sTori Telling!

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Currently reading...

So I guess I shouldn't have bothered to post what I was going to be reading because somehow putting it in print has made it untrue. The past two nights I've been reading from Cravings which is an anthology with four stories. I read the one by MaryJanice Davidson first and it was such a nice piece of fun called Dead Girls Don't Dance. It is part of her series about Betsey the Vampire Queen from her Undead books. I think I'm current with the Undead series but missed the shorter works that appeared in anthologies. Although I enjoyed this one very much I didn't like how vapid and superficial Betsey seemed. Normally the books are told in the first person from Betsey's POV and I like her, seeing her through someone elses eyes made her less likable. Then last night I started the first story by Laurell K. Hamilton titles Blood Upon My Lips. I still have a bit to go but it also seems kind of light and relaxing. It took me a few pages to catch on that it was part of the Anita Blake series, her name isn't even mentioned until page 22 although I did figure it out before that. I've only read the first two books in that series so most of the characters are totally new to me. I'm planning to read to the end to see what I think.

I have three books out of the library, Jodi Picoult's Handle with Care, Nora Robert's Vision in White and sTori Telling by Tori Spelling that I need to finish before they are due since I won't be able to renew them. I have five books borrowed from friends and family: the two Vampire Dairies one I mentioned before (books 1 and 2), Gatecrasher by Madeline Wickham , Dark Slayer by Christine Feehan and Taming the Scotsman by Kinley MacGregor, I have a book to review and discuss on Barnes and Nobel for next month The Postmistress, there are 2 books coming in the mail and Diana Gabaldon's latest saga of Jamie and Claire is coming out on Tuesday. I have so much to read that I feel sort of stuck, which doesn't make sense at all. I love to read and will enjoy them all, but it is like my brain is on overload and doesn't know where to start. Do I pick what appeals the most, what has to be given back soonest, whatever I touch first? Or do I grab a magazine from the towering pile that has been so ignored lately and forget the books?

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

In My Mailbox 1

Today UPS dropped off The Postmistress by Sarah Blake which won't be in stores until February 2010. This is Barnes and Nobles First Look Book selection for October. Here is the book description as posted by B & N and it looks like there are still copies of the book if anyone is interested in signing up.

"Filled with stunning parallels to today's world, The Postmistress is a sweeping novel about the loss of innocence of two extraordinary women-and of two countries torn apart by war.
On the eve of the United States's entrance into World War II in 1940, Iris James, the postmistress of Franklin, a small town on Cape Cod, does the unthinkable: She doesn't deliver a letter. In London, American radio gal Frankie Bard is working with Edward R. Murrow, reporting on the Blitz. One night in a bomb shelter, she meets a doctor from Cape Cod with a letter in his pocket, a letter Frankie vows to deliver when she returns from Germany and France, where she is to record the stories of war refugees desperately trying to escape.
The residents of Franklin think the war can't touch them- but as Frankie's radio broadcasts air, some know that the war is indeed coming. And when Frankie arrives at their doorstep, the two stories collide in a way no one could have foreseen. The Postmistress is an unforgettable tale of the secrets we must bear, or bury. It is about what happens to love during wartime, when those we cherish leave. And how every story-of love or war-is about looking left when we should have been looking right.


About the Author
Sarah Blake lives in Washington, D.C., with her husband, the poet Josh Weiner, and their two sons. "

"White Witch,Black Curse" by Kim Harrison


This is the seventh book in Kim Harrison's series about Rachel Morgan. Rachel Morgan is a witch and she lives in a church with two friends, Ivy who is a live vampire (meaning she still has her soul until she dies and becomes a dead vampire) and Jenks who is a Pixie. The setting is Chicago and the premise is that in the 1960's a genetically engineered tomato caused a plague that hit the human population very hard but spared most Interlanders. Because of the large loss in human population it became harder to hide so witches, weres, vampires, and pixies came out of hiding and a new society was built. Two types of police were created to police the species, the FIB for human policing and the IS for Interlanders. Rachel was kicked out of the IS and now works with her friends as a runner. Prior to this book her boyfriend, who was a living vampire, was murdered but no one knows by who.

In some ways Rachel reminds me of Stephanie Plum from Janet Evanovich's series because she seems to have perpetual bad luck not with cars but with demons and banshees, with other witches and vampires, with elves and the law. Perhaps also because they are both runners asked to bring in someone who does not want to be caught.

In this installment Edden from the FIB asks Rachel, Ivy and Jenks to help him bring in a woman wanted for murder and beating up a police officer. It turns out she is a banshee who is older than the city, who has had a child recently. Banshees suck up emotions from people and situations to live and can kill someone just by touching them by stealing their aura.

I'm not sure how well this novel would stand by itself. Harrison does do a good job of reveiwing who's who but since it's been a while since I read the others I did run into some moments of having to think twice to figure out who was who and why I knew them. She has done a wonderful job of creating a society that seems real and the emotions and complex feelings the characters have for one another are very well done. As a child Rachel had a blood disorder that could have killed her but was reversed, she spent a lot of time in hospitals and hates feeling out of control of her life. It was very touching for me when she visited the children who were currently in the children's wind at the hospital.

So Many Books!

Last night I finished White Witch, Black Curse and instead of picking up one of the books I said I was going to read next I started a story in an anthology by MaryJanice Davidson which was fun and light and a good in between novella. Now I can't decide if I can review just that story or if I have to finish the rest of the anthology first? I guess just the story because not everyone reads all the works in one of those if they buy it for just their favorite author. (Somehow I almost always end up reading them all because if I like one of the authors and they are paired up especially with authors I'm not familiar with I decide I want to give them a try and find more authors I want to read, a vicious (but in a good way) reading cycle!)

Monday, September 14, 2009

"Under This Unbroken Sky" by Shandi Mitchell


I received this book as part of Barnes and Nobles First Look Book Club. I found out about First Look by becoming a B&N fan on Facebook and I am very glad that I did. This was the first selection I received but I had a very tough time getting into it. Some books grab you right from the start and others are slower to lure you in. This one falls into the latter category. For me part of it was for summer I wasn't in the mood for such a heavy book. For awhile at the beginning it felt like nothing good happened to any of the characters. As I kept with it though the story came alive for me.

The setting is Canada in the late 1930's and the two families are immigrants from the Ukraine who left to escape Stalin's rule. They settled and received farms and signed papers on what improvements they were expected to make to keep their land. Unfortunately as English was not their first language there was either a misunderstanding or the Canadian government was trying to steal the land back now that improvements had been made and Theodor's family is told they must leave. When they do he takes some wheat to start a new farm with and is imprisoned for 2 years for stealing, during which time his wife and 5 children live in his sisters shed and help her tend her farm. The poverty is great for all involved. When Theodor returns he is a shell of a man and must regain his strength. Unfortunately once things seem to be going well again his brother-in-law Stefan who is an alcoholic and schemer returns and sets things out of sorts again in such a way that the characters have an almost impossible time righting their lives and (this is not a spoiler because it is in the prologue for the book) two of the characters do not survive the after effects of his plans to take all that has been gained by all involved with tending the land.

The novel is broken down by seasons which makes sense for a farm since it is run by the seasons and within the hardships you can see glimpses of joy and love that even extreme poverty couldn't take away. It really makes you appreciate and feel grateful for what you have.

Sunday, September 13, 2009

"Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick


Once I started this book I simply couldn't put it down. It hooked me right after the prologue and I raced through it.

Pros:
Story pulls you in
The main character's emotions are well portrayed
Excellent first novel by a YA author

Cons:
High school students are pegged by stereotypes
Ages for high school sophomores seem a bit off

Book Description
Nora Grey is a high school student who meets a new and mysterious classmate who she is both attracted to and scared by. At the same time she meets him strange and unexplainable events start to occur. She begins to question her sanity and wonders if it is possible that he is a fallen angel.

Plot
Nora's biology teacher has her class pair up with new lab partners. Patch is new to the school and mysterious. While she is attracted to him she is also uneasy around him, unsure of whether he can be trusted or not. When strange things start to happen but concrete proof disappears she wonders if she is crazy or if he is behind it. Nora's best friend Vee is at first encouraging of the friendship then starts to try to talk her out of spending time with Patch. Evidence starts to point to Patch being a fallen angel who has lost his wings.

Characters
Nora Grey seems like a real student at a high school and reminded me a lot of Bella from Stephenie Meyer's Twilight series. Patch seems like a bad boy at times and at others is Nora's greatest protector. Vee, Nora's best friend, at times feels too superficial which Marcie the cheerleader fits all the stereotypes. Elliot seems like the nice guy until his veneer starts to crack and Jules stays to the background for a lot of the novel.

Dialogue
The dialogue between the characters felt real, not forced, and kept the story on track.NarrativeThe narrative of the book kept the pace moving while not being confusing the few times when memories of the past were used.

Excerpt
"Patch was saying as little as possible, keeping himself carefully showed in mystery. I wondered what his life was like when he wasn't around me. At the way back of my mind, I couldn't stop thinking about his frightening past. Up until now I'd fantasized about discovering his deep, dark secrets because I wanted to prove to myself and to Patch that I was capable of figuring him out. But now I wanted to know his secrets because they were a part of him."

About the Author
This is the first novel for Becca Fitzpatrick. She lives in Colorado with her family and has written a follow up to Hush, Hush that was recently submitted to her publisher. She grew up reading Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon. On her web site she keeps a regular blog.

"The Year of Magical Thinking" by Joan Didion


I first read a review of this book when it was released two years ago and remember thinking I wanted to read it, but put off actually getting a copy until this summer. When I went to the beach I took it with me and both my husband and best friend asked why I would want to read a book about death at the beach. My usually reading style is to go straight through quickly but with this book I read it a little at a time and actually spent some time reflecting on it and thinking about it. I really appreaciated how Didion revealed her thoughts and memories and how she got through a very difficult year in her own life. We all face challenges on a daily basis, perhaps not as large or as catastrophic as hers, but it is easy to get bogged down but you must keep going if you are going to live your own life and adapt to what is thrown at you. I especially enjoyed a part about giving away her husbands clothes and shoes, and how she kept thinking that when he came back he was going to need shoes even though she knew he wasn't coming back. The way she grappled with her new reality by remembering the past and considering the future was very inspiring.

Saturday, September 12, 2009

"Summer on Blossom Street" by Debbie Macomber


Summer on Blossom Street is the fifth in Macomber's series about Lydia Goetz and her yarn shop on Blossom Street in Seattle. In previous books we learned about Susannah of Susannah's Garden the flower shop, Anne Marie Roche of the bookstore, and Alix turned who works at the French Cafe among others. This books brings back Lydia, Anne Marie and Alix as well as introduces Phoebe who just broke things off with her fiance and Hutch who is in the middle of a frivolous lawsuit. The story changes perspective with each chapter so you get to see each of their lives through the characters eyes and feel their feelings first hand without simple being told. Lydia is unable to have children due to cancer treatment she received so she and Brad decide to adopt but instead of an infant they are asked to watch a 12 year old girl for a few days, which turns into more as foster homes in the area are scarce this summer. Alix and Jordan wish to become parents as well but before becoming pregnant Alix needs to quit smoking. Anne Marie finds out that her adopted daughter has a father no one knew about. Phoebe is dealing with the aftermath of her fiance being unfaithful and Hutch is dealing with stress and high blood pressure from the lawsuit. They come together in a class called Knit to Quit for people who want to quit something in their lives.

This story was well written and an enjoyable read. One of my complaints, and this holds true for a lot of books in the romance genre, is that some of the things that happen in the story are a bit too predictable. A character walks onto the page and you know that it is a love match or can see the conflicts before they arise. As I just said, this isn't just for this novel in particular but romance in general. That being said, Debbie Macomber is one of my favorite authors. Although I can't say that I've read everything she has written I can say I've read the majority of her works and I always enjoy them. They help me feel a little more optimistic about life.

"Finger Licken' Fifteen" by Janet Evanovich


This was a fun easy read from Janet Evanovich featuring Stephanie Plum as a bounty hunter who has bad luck with cars and capturing her skips to bring in to be rebonded. Stephanie and Morelli are on a break due to a fight about peanut butter and Ranger needs her help solving a series of break-ins that look like they could be an inside job from someone at Rangeman. Add in a cross-dressing fireman, Grandma Mazur, a severed head, a dancing chicken and a barbecue contest and you are in for so fun.

I've enjoyed this series since I found it a few years ago. I like how Janet runs a contest every year for someone to come up with a title based on the next number in line and then thanks them in her dedication. Her regular emails from one of the character POV are a nice add in. From the start it felt like I was sitting down with an old friend.

That said some of the antics are starting to get less plausible and how many cars can Stephanie really have burned to a crisp? I did laugh out loud on more than one occasion prompting my children to ask what was so funny, but none of the funny parts were really appropriate to pass along to them.

I would recommend this book to someone looking for a fun read.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Books as Movies

As I type this I am also watching The Tenth Circle which is a book by Jodi Picolt that I read a few years ago. So far it is sticking pretty well to the book. I have to admit that most times I think the book was much better than the movie. Part of the reason why I have yet to see The Time Traveler's Wife (which Audrey Niffennegger wrote) is that I loved the book and I can't see how it can be portrayed on the screen in quite the same way. It's funny because people always seem to talk about how great it would be if a movie were made of a certain book and then once it does happen it often falls short of our expectations.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Calling all readers!

I absolutely love to read. There are books in pretty much every room of our house. My children have had books around them from day one and have considered them toys to a certain extent, chewing on board books, telling stories with the pictures and now starting to read them on their own. We even listen to chapter books in the car (which has cut down a lot on the time I have to spend asking them to get along and stop fighting). Somehow if we have a book going, be it me reading, a recording reading or one of them reading we can all get along. Books really are a powerful thing!

I thought it would be neat to document somewhere what I was reading or had just read ( I think I'll go back into the last few weeks until I get some momentum going). I'd love to hear what other people thought of the same books or what they would like to recommend. This is my first attempt at a blog so I guess I'll have a bit of a learning curve to navigate as I go along. It might be good to brush up on my grammar and spelling skills and rules. It looks like I can use Spell Check but grammar could be a little trickier.

If you've stumbled upon this welcome to you. Leave me a message and I'll try to check out your blog as well. For tonight I am going to be reading some more of Summer On Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber but tomorrow I'm going to jump back into White Witch, Black Curse by Kim Harrison. (I seem to always have a few books going so I can pick the one that fits my mood or happens to be nearby when I have the time to sit still for a few minutes).

Happy Reading!