Monday, November 30, 2009

"The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle" by L.J. Smith

From back cover:

My rating: 4 out of 5
Where the book came from: borrowed from a neighbor

"Elena: the golden girl, the leader, the one who can have any boy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, he seems to be the only one who can resist Elena, even as he struggles to protect her from the horrors that haunt his past.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him. Determined to have Elena, he'd kill to possess her.

Collected here in one volume for the first time, volumes one and two of The Vampire Diaries, the tale of two vampire brothers and the beautiful girl torn between them."

My thoughts:
I finished the second story in the series, "The Struggle" yesterday but didn't have a chance to record any thoughts. I'm not quite sure how to go about doing so without giving spoilers to readers who plan to read the books but haven't read them yet. That said, if you dislike spoilers this is a review to skip.

I can see why these stories would appeal to young adult readers, and high school girls in particular, who are able to consider meeting the man they will spend their life with in high school. Not the most realistic, but a common fantasy. (At this point I feel like I need to mention that I actually did marry my high school boyfriend, but not until after we had broken up and had a bunch of life experiences on our own. We got back together towards the end of college.) Elena seems so dead set on being with Stefan forever even knowing that he is a vampire and his forever is different than hers. She does not seem to entertain thoughts of becoming like him, just marrying him and living happily ever after. I feel pretty confident in my prediction of who is the third power in Fell's Church, but that may be because it was made too obvious. I do have some questions about Stefan's landlady and her behavior.

As I was reading a continued distraction for me is the difference in how the characters are described in the book versus the TV series. It shouldn't matter, but it is distracting. I was caught off guard by the ending without revealing how the story ended.

Saturday, November 28, 2009

"The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening" by L.J. Smith

My rating: 4 out of 5
Where I got the book: Borrowed from a friend

Details from back cover of book:
"A deadly love triangle

Elena: beautiful and popular, the girl who can have any guy she wants.

Stefan: brooding and mysterious, desperately trying to resist his desire for Elena . . . for her own good.

Damon: sexy, dangerous, and driven by an urge for revenge against Stefan, the brother who betrayed him.

Elena finds herself drawn to both brothers . . . who will she choose?"

My thoughts:
I borrowed this book from my neighbor with the intention of reading all 6 books before the television series started. Having given myself only 3 days to do so and being busy with other things at the time that never happened. This weekend I picked up the first book again and decided to start it. Better late than never!

I have been watching the series on CW, but I haven't seen all the episodes in full. Many times I miss the first 10 to 20 minutes of the episode. Still, I have been enjoying the series on TV and wondered if that would color my thoughts on the book. Since I already have the actors in my mind as the characters the fact that physically Elena and Bonnie are totally different in the book than the show keeps tripping me up. Also I can't remember if Meredith is in the show or not, if she is she hasn't made a very big impression on me.

Elena seems less likable in the book than the show. On TV I don't get the sense that she thinks she is the queen of the school while in the book she considers herself royalty. That said, I think she grows some and changes as the first book progresses. I am interested to see how the story progresses and how she continues to change. I also would like to find out more about how her parents died.

Stefan in the show doesn't drink human blood while in the book he does. I wonder why the change was made when it was adapted for the screen? Doe sit make him less likable or is he able to more superior to Damon if he is, to quote Twilight, a "vegetarian" vampire? Do TV executives think that is what viewers are looking for based on the success of "Twilight"?

Since the first book leaves so many questions I am very glad to have book two to start on right away.

12 Blogs of Christmas

In my online reading today I came across multipleposts about the 12 Blogs of Christmas. I put the information I found below in case anyone else is interested in finging out more:

Starting December 12th, there will be a very exciting contest beginning called the 12 blogs of Christmas. Each day, a different blogger will be giving away a great prize for you to win.

The 12 Blogs of Christmas

Here are the 12 blogs:

Day 1 Neverending Shelf

Day 2 Literary Escapism

Day 3 Library Lizard Lounge

Day 4 Princess Bookie

Day 5 Ellz Readz

Day 6 The Page Flipper

Day 7 Luxury Reading

Day 8 Bites

Day 9 Shooting Stars Mag

Day 10 Book Rat

Day 11 The Shady Glade

Day 12 vv32Reads

See some new blogs? Some old favorites? Want to win 12 prizes? Stick around, it's gonna be fun!
Spread the word, steal the button-it links back to the 12 blogs update blog!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Thankfully Reading Weekend

I decided to participate in this challenge since I was going to try reading as much as I could anyway. Here is the link to the info:

While I love my children there are mornings, espescially on weekends or holidays whe I really miss being able to wake up and grab a book to read in bed. Not that I would trade being a mom, but it's been almost 7 years since I got the luxury of doing that. It was such a nice way to start the day!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

"The Hunger Games" by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 4 out of 5
Where the book came from: borrowed from local library

Synopsis from
From Publishers Weekly
"Starred Review. SignatureReviewed by Megan Whalen Turner If there really are only seven original plots in the world, it's odd that boy meets girl is always mentioned, and society goes bad and attacks the good guy never is. Yet we have Fahrenheit 451, The Giver, The House of the Scorpion—and now, following a long tradition of Brave New Worlds, The Hunger Games. Collins hasn't tied her future to a specific date, or weighted it down with too much finger wagging. Rather less 1984 and rather more Death Race 2000, hers is a gripping story set in a postapocalyptic world where a replacement for the United States demands a tribute from each of its territories: two children to be used as gladiators in a televised fight to the death.Katniss, from what was once Appalachia, offers to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, but after this ultimate sacrifice, she is entirely focused on survival at any cost. It is her teammate, Peeta, who recognizes the importance of holding on to one's humanity in such inhuman circumstances. It's a credit to Collins's skill at characterization that Katniss, like a new Theseus, is cold, calculating and still likable. She has the attributes to be a winner, where Peeta has the grace to be a good loser.It's no accident that these games are presented as pop culture. Every generation projects its fear: runaway science, communism, overpopulation, nuclear wars and, now, reality TV. The State of Panem—which needs to keep its tributaries subdued and its citizens complacent—may have created the Games, but mindless television is the real danger, the means by which society pacifies its citizens and punishes those who fail to conform. Will its connection to reality TV, ubiquitous today, date the book? It might, but for now, it makes this the right book at the right time. What happens if we choose entertainment over humanity? In Collins's world, we'll be obsessed with grooming, we'll talk funny, and all our sentences will end with the same rise as questions. When Katniss is sent to stylists to be made more telegenic before she competes, she stands naked in front of them, strangely unembarrassed. They're so unlike people that I'm no more self-conscious than if a trio of oddly colored birds were pecking around my feet, she thinks. In order not to hate these creatures who are sending her to her death, she imagines them as pets. It isn't just the contestants who risk the loss of their humanity. It is all who watch.Katniss struggles to win not only the Games but the inherent contest for audience approval. Because this is the first book in a series, not everything is resolved, and what is left unanswered is the central question. Has she sacrificed too much? We know what she has given up to survive, but not whether the price was too high. Readers will wait eagerly to learn more.Megan Whalen Turner is the author of the Newbery Honor book The Thief and its sequels, The Queen of Attolia and The King of Attolia."

My thoughts:
Before starting the book I didn't let myself read any other reviews so that I could create my own opinions of the story. I hate to know too much before I start. For this reason with movies I like to only see a preview once or twice so I can be more surprised by the actual finished product. Although I enjoyed the book it didn't go as quickly as I thought it would. The first time I picked it up I only got a few pages and then put it down and read a few other books. When I picked it up the second time I got into it right away. While I understood the premise of the Hunger Games I also had an inkling of the outcome because this book is the first in a series, it might have been better to have it be a stand alone novel. Also, I didn't care for the open ended way it ended. I know it needed to be left open for the next book, and I am lucky that I waited this long to read the first since now I can move right on to the second, but it reminded me a bit of the openness of the endings for the Fever series by Karen Marie Moning. Like the end of a season of a tv show that leaves you hanging so you'll tune in again in the fall. To me, if the writing is good I will go back for more by the same author and about the same characters even if I am not being teased by a cliff hanger. Perhaps with YA books this is more common to keep younger readers hooked.

The story this first called to mind for me was "The Lottery" by Shirley Jackson. Usually when we think of having our name chosen from a bowl winning is the desirable option, but in both of these stories it is what everyone is crossing their fingers hoping against. Kind of like sacrificing virgins to the gods hoping for favor, they seem like pointless rituals from the outside.

Haymitch, the advisor to Peeta and Katniss, the two tributes from District 12, is described as frequently being drunk. Haymitch was the winner of the Hunger Games many years before and I wondered if his alcohol abuse could be tied to the horrors he experienced and the kills he may have had to make as a player in the game. How much of themselves do the tributes give up in order to survive? Is it better to die yourself or to compromise what you believe in to win and make things a little better for your district? Do the winners lives ever go back to normal? If not should they want them too since starvation and hardship seem to be the norm? Will there be a way for the winners to share whatever they have earned by winning with their district and should they even be asked to? I also wondered how the rules worked for winners- would their names continue to be put into the lottery if they were under 18 or would they be dismissed for their prior service?

I admired Katniss for stepping forward to take her sisters place and for using what she had learned poaching in the woods to keep herself alive. Peeta's enduring love was encouraging at a time when they had so little. The alliances that were formed in the arena reminded me of "Survivor" especially in that they turned on each other and had ulterior motives for teaming up. I really had an issue with the people living int the capital. If they had so much why couldn't they share to keep people in the districts from starving? Did the people from the districts ever had the chance to more to the capital or did you have to be born there? If the wealth was shared and the fences removed would there even be a cause for the people to rebel again? Some great issues were addressed in this book. Whenever a story inspires so many questions I think of it as a good book for meaningful discussions.

I will definitely be reading the next book, "Catching Fire" to see where Collins takes the story!

Monday, November 23, 2009

In My Mailbox 3

In the past week I received two books in the mail, both ones that I won in online contests.

This one was from another bloggers page, Libby's Libary News.

Here is the synopsis from
Product Description
"Darroc MacConacher spends sleepless nights dreaming of a raven-haired beauty who makes him ache with desire. Then his dream comes true: the lady with her lush curves and fair skin appears shipwrecked on his shores. Darroc is immediately drawn to her strength and beauty, and from the moment she lays eyes on this powerful, broad-shouldered warrior, Lady Arabella MacKenzie knows she'll never want another man.

But theirs is a forbidden love. The MacKenzies drove the MacConachers from their lands and destroyed their honor. Now, Darroc can use this sapphire-eyed seductress to shatter his foes. Yet how can he deny the passion that burns between him and Arabella, and ruin the one woman who touches his very soul? "

This was from the fan page for "Her Fearful Symmetry" on Facebook. I had posted a mention of the contest in a previous entry.

Here is the synopsis from
" Review
Amazon Best of the Month, September 2009: Following her breakout bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger returns with Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry. The novel opens with the death of Elspeth Noblin, who bequeaths her London flat and its contents to the twin daughters of her estranged twin sister back in Chicago. These 20-year-old dilettantes, Julie and Valentina, move to London, eager to try on a new experience like one of their obsessively matched outfits. Historic Highgate Cemetery, which borders Elspeth's home, serves as an inspired setting as the twins become entwined in the lives of their neighbors: Elspeth's former lover, Robert; Martin, an agoraphobic crossword-puzzle creator; and the ethereal Elspeth herself, struggling to adjust to the afterlife. Niffenegger brings these quirky, troubled characters to marvelous life, but readers may need their own supernatural suspension of disbelief as the story winds to its twisty conclusion. --Brad Thomas Parsons "

I am so excited to read both of these. I love getting books in the mail!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

The 2010 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I decided to sign up for a challenge since I love to use the libary. I haven't decided how big I want to go yet, I'll make that call before the first of the year. Right now I am leaning towards the Super Size Me. I copied the information from the site for anyone else who might be interested. If you want to go to the site this is the address:

The details of the challenge are pasted below:

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog.

2. There are four levels:

--The Mini – Check out and read 25 library books.

--Just My Size – Check out and read 50 library books.

--Stepping It Up – Check out and read 75 library books.

--Super Size Me – Check out and read 100 library books.

(Aim high. As long as you read 25 by the end of 2010, you are a winner.)

3. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – any book as long as it is checked out from the library count. Checked out like with a library card, not purchased at a library sale.

4. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

5. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

6. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

7. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your library books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

"Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World" by Vicki Myron with Bret Winter

My rating 4.5 out of 5
Where the book came from: checked out of local library

Synopsis from
"From Publishers Weekly
One frigid Midwestern winter night in 1988, a ginger kitten was shoved into the after-hours book-return slot at the public library in Spencer, Iowa. And in this tender story, Myron, the library director, tells of the impact the cat, named Dewey Readmore Books, had on the library and its patrons, and on Myron herself. Through her developing relationship with the feline, Myron recounts the economic and social history of Spencer as well as her own success story—despite an alcoholic husband, living on welfare, and health problems ranging from the difficult birth of her daughter, Jodi, to breast cancer. After her divorce, Myron graduated college (the first in her family) and stumbled into a library job. She quickly rose to become director, realizing early on that this was a job I could love for the rest of my life. Dewey, meanwhile, brings disabled children out of their shells, invites businessmen to pet him with one hand while holding the Wall Street Journal with the other, eats rubber bands and becomes a media darling. The book is not only a tribute to a cat—anthropomorphized to a degree that can strain credulity (Dewey plays hide and seek with Myron, can read her thoughts, is mortified by his hair balls)—it's a love letter to libraries. (Sept.)"

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed reading the story of Dewey and the librarian who was his owner. My first thought about having a cat in the library was possible issues with allergies in patrons, but the doctors Myron consulted all said that the open design of the library made it unlikely a patron would have a problem and it turned out to be a way for allergic children to interact with an animal safely even though they might be unable to have one at home. Dewey touched the lives first of the residents of Spencer, Iowa, then surround counties and eventually the world. Film crews came for Japan to videotape him and he appeared in numerous news stories in magazine, radio, newspapers, magazine and TV. As he got older people came from far away to meet him. He seemed able to read feelings in people and helped them when they were feeling down or sick. Myron herself received comfort from him in hard times due to her own medical issues or deaths in her family. While I enjoyed the story I found myself slowing down as it came towards the end because I knew that being a cat who was 18 years old the next logical step was going to be his death. I knew already from news storied that Dewey was no longer living, but it felt like if I never reached the end of the book Dewey would still be living at the library, hiding in the shelves, riding on the carts, waving at the window until I reached the last page. I can't see either of the libraries that I regularly frequent buying a cat and having it live there, but at the same time I kind of wish that they would.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

"You Better Not Cry: Stories for Christmas" by Augusten Burroughs

My rating: 3 out of 5
Where I got the book: Borrowed from the local library

Synopsis from
"From Publishers Weekly
Burroughs's holiday-themed memoir lacks the consistent emotional intensity of his earlier work, despite a few gems. Arranged roughly chronologically, the vignettes begin with concrete Christmas memories (preparing a detailed, multipart list of desired presents in Claus and Effect) and move toward musings on the spirit of the holiday (facing a flooded house with an atheist partner in Silent Night). While the childhood stories have Burroughs's trademark dry wit—he once gnawed the face off a life-size Saint Nick made of wax—they aren't particularly memorable. It's when he turns his attention to the less tangible essence of the holiday that the writing comes alive, especially in the final two pieces, The Best and Only Everything and Silent Night. In the former, Burroughs (Running with Scissors) remembers a long-ago Christmas spent with a former lover dying of AIDS and in the latter, which takes place a decade later, he describes dealing not only with a burst water pipe but also feeling ready to celebrate the season with a tree for the first time since the death of his old boyfriend. (Nov.) "

My thoughts:
I really wanted to like this book, but it never quite grabbed me. I've heard a lot of people talk about how funny Burroughs's books are and thought I would give one a try. Perhaps I picked the wrong one to start with, but I did not find it as funny as some of the reviews I saw published rated it. To be honest a lot of it seemed more sad than funny. I realize he was trying to add humor to tough times he dealt with at Christmas, but waking up in a hotel room with a stranger who looked and dressed as Santa was scary to me, not funny. I did enjoy the movie "Running with Scissors" so maybe I should have started with that one instead. I most enjoyed when he got to know the homeless people who spent time on his street and saw that homelessness can happen to anyone depending on circumstances and drug use. I was glad to see that he stopped drinking since many of the unfortunate situations he found himself in were a result of overindulgence. It could just be that this type of humor is not for me.

Monday, November 16, 2009

"A Creed Country Christmas" by Linda Lael Miller

My rating: 4 our of 5 stars.

How I received the book: Borrowed from local library

Synopsis from
"Celebrate the holidays with the Creed forefathers—Montana men who built the family homestead and established a legacy of love…
In the unforgiving Montana wilderness of 1910, widowed rancher Lincoln Creed is up against more than rustlers, wolves and the coming winter storms. His young daughter has needs beyond the beans and bacon he can barely cook. Lincoln must find little Gracie a governess, a lady who can teach and cook—yet won't set her sights on him.

Disowned for her refusal to marry, twenty-five-year-old Juliana Mitchell shares the love in her heart with her young students at the underfunded Indian school. When she meets Lincoln and Gracie, her response to the handsome rancher makes her realize she's not against marriage after all.

She longs to help, yet the two orphaned brothers in her care need her. But in the season for miracles, Providence just might find a way to bring Juliana, the boys and the Creed family together for Christmas Eve….

My thoughts:
It's that time of the year again when it's nice to relax with a novel in a Christmas setting. I admit that I will read Christmas books year round, but since so many are published and released around this time it is fun to look for new ones in bookstores and libraries. I found an anthology at the dollar store a few weeks ago that I bought knowing that it would appeal to me for fall/winter reading.

I enjoy Linda Lael Miller's stories. Her trilogy about three Creed brothers was published earlier this year and I enjoyed their stories. This current novel is set in 1910 and is about some of those Creed's ancestors who lived on the same ranch. This story reminded me of both the Mckettrick story line and some of her other novels.

Both Juliana and Lincoln are likable characters who do not employ tricks to win or deceive each other. They are straightforward and honest which was refreshing. Sometimes in romance novels the contrived issues used to keep the couple apart can be annoying, but each of their issues felt genuine and and plausible. Seeing the couple get to know each other and fall in love was perfect for a Christmas treat and it was an enjoyable and quick read for a busy time of year!

Sunday, November 15, 2009

"The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society" by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrow

My rating: 4 stars out of 5.

Synopsis from
"From Publishers Weekly
The letters comprising this small charming novel begin in 1946, when single, 30-something author Juliet Ashton (nom de plume Izzy Bickerstaff) writes to her publisher to say she is tired of covering the sunny side of war and its aftermath. When Guernsey farmer Dawsey Adams finds Juliet's name in a used book and invites articulate—and not-so-articulate—neighbors to write Juliet with their stories, the book's epistolary circle widens, putting Juliet back in the path of war stories. The occasionally contrived letters jump from incident to incident—including the formation of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society while Guernsey was under German occupation—and person to person in a manner that feels disjointed. But Juliet's quips are so clever, the Guernsey inhabitants so enchanting and the small acts of heroism so vivid and moving that one forgives the authors (Shaffer died earlier this year) for not being able to settle on a single person or plot. Juliet finds in the letters not just inspiration for her next work, but also for her life—as will readers."

My thoughts:
There is something I just love about letters between people. So much more thought can go into what is put on the page versus what comes out in a conversation. Especially written letters versus email as many of us are now so used to sending and receiving. I loved the format of this book. It reminded me of "The Letters" which I read previously for this blog and a number of other books like "Daddy Long-Legs" that I've read in the past. Because of the length of each of the letters this made for good reading when interruptions were frequent or when free time was on the short side.

While some of the situations in the letters seemed to lead the story to stereotypical lines, the characters seemed real and honest. The history of the occupation of the Chanel Islands during WWII was new to me, this isn't an era that I've done all that much reading in so learning about what happened then has been very interesting to me. In that regard it reminded me of "The Postmistress" (also reviewed previously) for showing an historical time period through the eyes of characters living through it. Seeing history unfold in this way rather than just reading the facts in a book makes it much more real for me and adds a much greater depth to the experience.

I liked Juliet and could understand how she would be burned out after both the war and the book tour she went on to promote the collection of essays she wrote for newspapers during the war. When she decides to go to Guernsey to connect with the friends she had made in her correspondence I breathed a sigh of relief, I had been afraid that she would only know them through their letters and was glad she was meeting them in person. The resourcefulness of the island residents in finding ways to connect and enjoy themselves even in tough times was refreshing and goes to show that even when everything seems to be going wrong one can still find the positive in the negative.

It is too bad that the main author of the novel passed away so soon after publishing her first novel. Her niece stepped in at the end to do some editing and rewriting due to her aunt's illness, but the research and main writing and rewriting were all done by Mary Ann Shaffer.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

"Julie and Julie: 365 days, 524 recipes, 1 tiny apartment kitchen" by Julie Powell

Rating 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
With the humor of Bridget Jones and the vitality of Augusten Burroughs, Julie Powell recounts how she conquered every recipe in Julia Child's Mastering the Art of French Cooking and saved her soul.

Julie Powell is 30 years old, living in a tiny apartment in Queens and working at a soul-sucking secretarial job that's going nowhere. She needs something to break the monotony of her life, and she invents a deranged assignment. She will take her mother's worn, dog-eared copy of Julia Child's 1961 classic Mastering the Art of French Cooking, and she will cook all 524 recipes -- in the span of one year.

At first she thinks it will be easy. But as she moves from the simple Potage Parmentier (potato soup) into the more complicated realm of aspics and crepes, she realizes there's more to Mastering the Art of French Cooking than meets the eye.

And somewhere along the line she realizes she has turned her outer-borough kitchen into a miracle of creation and cuisine. She has eclipsed her life's ordinariness through spectacular humor, hysteria, and perseverance

I really enjoyed this book. I cannot imagine making recipes even knowing that I didn't like the food that I was making, but I am a notoriously picky eater so I might not be the best judge of that. All the butter she used turned my stomach a bit too. Recipes aside, I could identify with how sometimes even when you follow all the directions in a recipe it can still not turn out right. Plus how often does what is made at home actually look like the picture in a cookbook?

There were times when I though Julie whined a bit too much about really trivial stuff. There were also times when the cat hair in her kitchen made me want to gag, but I was glad that she tried to make her life real, not glossed over and perfect. I looked online to see if her old blog posts were still there (not real thoroughly so they may still be there, I only looked for a few minutes) but her current blog achieves do not go back that far. When I picked up the book I sort of expected that it was going to be her blog postings and some of her comments, but I have to say I think the way it was presented was perfect. Even before reading the synopsis I pictured her in a Bridget Jones kind of way. Also in my mind I saw her as Amy Adams and heard her speaking in Adams' voice as well, which worked out fine for this book. Sometimes I hate to see who was cast in the movie role for a book because then I'm not free to create my own image of that character, but Adams worked for this role except I don't think she is probably heavy enough. Julie kept talking about how she was gaining weight from the cooking and complaining about her clothing not fitting. From past roles I picture Amy Adams as very thin and trim, but who knows. Maybe in the movie they made her gain weight or added padding or something.

I enjoyed seeing Julie grow closer to friends through shared meals. I'm a bit surprised that as of her writing she was still living in the same apartment after all the issues they had with plumbing, heating and electricity. Definitely an entertaining read.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

"The Perfect Christmas" by Debbie Macomber

My rating: 3 1/2 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from

What would make your Christmas perfect?
For Cassie Beaumont, it's meeting her perfect match. Cassie, at thirty-three, wants a husband and kids, and so far, nothings worked. Not blind dates, not the Internet and certainly not leaving love to chance.

What's left? A professional matchmaker. He's Simon Dodson, and he's very choosy about the clients he takes on. Cassie finds Simon a difficult cult, acerbic know-it-all, and she's astonished when he accepts her as a client.

Claiming he has her perfect mate in mind, Simon assigns her three tasks to complete before she meets him. Three tasks that are all about Christmas: being a charity bell ringer, dressing up as Santa's elf at a children's party and preparing a traditional turkey dinner for her neighbors (whom she happens to dislike). Despite a number of comical mishaps, Cassie does it all—and she's finally ready to meet her match.

But just like the perfect Christmas gift, he turns out to be a wonderful surprise!

My thoughts:
This was fun, easy read that put me in the mood for Christmas. I was lucky enough to find it on the shelf at the library and grabbed it. I have always enjoyed Macomber's Christmas stories. She writes one every year and they usually are released in late October. I have to say that last years story was one of my favorites and I enjoyed it more than this one. I know romance tends to be a bit predictable and this was no exception, but it was fun to get to know Cassie and Simon. Macomber includes some hilarious mishaps during the tasks Cassie must complete to prove herself. Even though these characters felt a bit recycled from other stories she has written, I loved the quickness of the pace and how it all flowed so easily. I finished it in an evening so it was the perfect follow-up to the last book I read which took a few days to complete. Part of me really wants to break out the Christmas decorations and music even though it is still early November. I would recommend this book to read to relax from holiday stress next month!

Thursday, November 5, 2009

"Dreamfever" by Karen Marie Moning

My rating 4 out of 5 stars

Synopsis from

"MacKayla Lane lies naked on the cold stone floor of a church, at the mercy of the erotic Fae master she once swore to kill. Far from home, unable to control her sexual hungers, MacKayla is now fully under the Lord Master’s spell.…In New York Times bestselling author Karen Marie Moning’s stunning new novel, the walls between human and Fae worlds have come crashing down. And as Mac fights for survival on Dublin’s battle-scarred streets, she will embark on the darkest—and most erotically charged—adventure of her life.

He has stolen her past, but MacKayla will never allow her sister’s murderer to take her future. Yet even the uniquely gifted sidhe-seer is no match for the Lord Master, who has unleashed an insatiable sexual craving that consumes Mac’s every thought—and thrusts her into the seductive realm of two very dangerous men, both of whom she desires but dares not trust.

As the enigmatic Jericho Barrons and the sensual Fae prince V’lane vie for her body and soul, as cryptic entries from her sister’s diary mysteriously appear and the power of the Dark Book weaves its annihilating path through the city, Mac’s greatest enemy delivers a final challenge.…

It’s an invitation Mac cannot refuse, one that sends her racing home to Georgia, where an even darker threat awaits. With her parents missing and the lives of her loved ones under siege, Mac is about to come face-to-face with a soul-shattering truth—about herself and her sister, about Jericho Barrons…and about the world she thought she knew. "

My Thoughts:
This is the fourth book in the Fever series featuring MacKayla Lane. I still have to say that I prefer Moning's Highlander series to the Fever series, but it is a very colorful world to enter. If you are new to the series I would recommend starting at the beginning rather than with this one, but she does review the details enough that it could be a stand alone book.

I like MacKayla and I've enjoyed seeing her grow and come into her own more, she has matured but still has some ways to go. As with the last book, the ending frustrated me. Cliff hanger endings always remind me of the end of the year for tv shows and how they often end in a way that you feel like you need to watch them again in the fall to see what happens. At the end of the last book you were in doubt about whether or no Mac would survive, since this book has now been written that is no longer in doubt but there is a new cliff hanger to wonder about until sometime next year when the final book is published. While my memory of the first two books is a little fuzzier I think they all ended on a question.

The Fae creatures and castes she creates are wonderfully awful, it was the perfect book to be reading around Halloween for me because of all the fantasy creatures Moning created. I can't wait to see what is resolved and discovered in the next book.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

ARC Book Tours

In looking at other sites for book reviewers I came across ARC Book Tours. Harmony has such a neat idea, she facilitates and hosts book tours of Advanced Reading Copies of new books. She posts a synopsis of the book and if you are interested in being a part of it you leave a comment. Once the date has passed to close the tour she puts together a reading order list. Your responsibility if you take part is to read the book in a timely manner (hopefully bumping it up your TBR pile) and then paying the postage to send it on to the next recipient. Next you are are also asked to write and post a review of the book. I have my name on a few of the lists but as of yet my turn has not come up ad of yet. Check it out if you are interested: . I alos have her link in my list of blogs on the right hand side.

Monday, November 2, 2009


A little over a month ago I discovered the Goodreads site and I have to say that I love it. I now visit it almost every day. To me it kind of like Facebook for book lovers. You can find friends you know and make new ones. There are tons of groups to discuss all different genres that you can become a part of and connect with people with similar book interests. My favorite group so far is Busy as a Bee but I enjoy the others I've joined as well. At first I picked too many and some groups just weren't a good fit so I made some adjustments. One of the many things the site also has is a list of book giveaways you can enter to win. The address for that is: . I highly recommend the site to other voracious readers!

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers

I've reviewed three books for Thomas Nelson Book Review Bloggers for my blog and wanted to make sure I shared a few more details. I stumbled across this on another blog I was reading and was intriguied. If you go to the site and sign up and have a blog where you review books you can receive copies of books for free. On the site you can see reviews other readers have already done of books and can also access a list of books to select from to review. Once you select the first book you must reveiw it before being allowed to receive another book, but as soon as you post the review you are eligible to select another. So far all three of my books have been nonfiction, but there are also fiction selections. I have the button posted at both the top and bottom of my post or you can use this address . Check it out if you are interested!