Thursday, December 27, 2012

New Books

The book from my brother and sister-in-law:
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
Got this as a Christmas gift.  So cute! One of my favorite presents this year!

The book from my mom:
Jane Austen's Letters

Can't wait to see if anyone else got me a book...a few more gift exchanges to go.  

Thursday, December 20, 2012

2012 Color Coded Reading Challenge - COMPLETED

Here are the rules:
*Read nine books in the following categories.
1. A book with "Blue" in the title. -  Blue-eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
2. A book with "Red" in the title. - Redshirts by John Scalzi
3. A book with "Yellow" in the title.  - Yellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte
4. A book with "Green" in the title. - The Green Mile by Stephen King
5. A book with "Brown" in the title. - Brown-Eyed Girl by Mariah Stewart
6. A book with "Black" in the title. - Black City by Elizabeth Richards 
7. A book with "White" in the title. - The White Queen by Phillipa Gregory
8. A book with any other color in the title (Purple, Orange, Turquoise, Pink, Magneta, etc.). - Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
9. A book with a word that implies color (Rainbow, Polka-dot, Plaid, Paisley, Stripe, etc.). Midnight Rainbow by Linda Howard

Tuesday, December 18, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Black

Black City (Black City, #1)Black City by Elizabeth  Richards
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Wow...that was some end to the book!

I wasn't too sure about reading this book, it sounded interesting but the reviews already posted were less than positive.  I gave it a shot anyway (hey I needed a book for this color and the year is nearly over!).  It seemed similar to quite a few dystopian novels already out but it has it's own feel.

The point of view goes back and forth between Ash and Natalie, each narrating full chapters at a time.  Towards the end it's a quick back and forth of the same events which adds a punch to the unfolding scene.  This really worked for me, I was very choked up while reading the end of the book (which is the reason for my initial response above!).

I will be reading the other books in the series, I need to know how this story plays out.  Even though it was similar to other novels, I still got pulled in by the characters and I really wanted to know what happens to them.  The love triangle with Ash, Natalie and Evangeline, was a little weird but not a complete turn off.  The world building was nice and Elizabeth Richards even gives a good reason why Ash's heart (think unbeating vampire heart) doesn't beat but he's still functioning.

View all my reviews

Thursday, December 13, 2012

Memoir Mini-Reviews

Yes, Chef: A MemoirYes, Chef: A Memoir by Marcus Samuelsson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I first heard of Marcus Samuelsson when he competed on Top Chef Masters.  That was right around the time, I started to become addicted to The Food Network and other cooking show/channels.  It was the start of my journey on the road towards mini-foodie. This was a look at Marcus' life and the road he took to get where he is now.  It's a great look at the life of a chef especially one of color who has had a hard road to travel.

The book is really descriptive in the details of the food and taste experiences.  I wanted to be rollerblading (even though you wouldn't ever catch me on a pair) through NYC and trying the different foods from all the cultures that make up the city.   When he talks about Ethiopian food, I'm back in grad school (1st time) and we're headed to the Ethiopian restaurant for some Doro Wat (mmm yummy).

Monkey Mind: A Memoir of AnxietyMonkey Mind: A Memoir of Anxiety by Daniel B. Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Monkey Mind is a term used by Buddhist to describe an unsettled mind.  It perfectly describes the mind of a person who battles anxiety.  If you deal with anxiety on a regular basis, and it doesn't have to be anything too extreme, you have probably experienced an unsettled mind.  I experience mine at night, when all I want to do is fall asleep and all my mind wants to do is play back the days events, or that time in college when...or that time when I did...  It can be a long night when that happens.

In Monkey Mind, Daniel Smith recounts his battles with anxiety and tries to pinpoint the cause of his unsettled mind.  He talks about his struggles with living with high anxiety and its effects on his job and his love life.  It was hard to get through the beginning of this book, but once you get past the tough stuff (rape) I really started to connect with his experiences.


I recommend both of these if you want a short, interesting memoir to read!

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

Winter Break Reading!

The semester is over and as much as I enjoyed reading those global novels, I can't wait to put a dent in my To Be Read bins in my room!

I have a stack ready to go and hope to get through them all before Term 3 starts in January.

Here's what I have planned:

Play by Play Series by Jaci Burton
  • #3 Taking a Shot
  • #4 Playing to Win

Highlander Series by Janet Chapman (this is one I started a long time ago and just recently realized there are 2 more books)
  • Secrets of the Highlander
  • A Highlander Christmas
  • Highlander for the Holidays

Puffin Harbor Series by Janet Chapman (again read the first book forever ago)
  • The Dangerous Protector

The Windham Series by Grace Burrowes
  • Lady Maggie's Secret Scandal
  • Lady Louisa's Christmas Knight
  • The Courtship

Color Coded Reading Challenge
  • Black City by Elizabeth Richards

Other Novels
  • A Seal at Heart by Anne Elizabeth
  • Shadow Ops: Control Point by Myke Cole
  • Orleans by Sherri L. Smith (ARC book due out March 2013)

Reading for CNJ_JASNA
  • The Jane Austen Handbook by Margaret C. Sullivan
  • The Lost Memoirs of Jane Austen by Syrie James
  • Becoming Elizabeth Darcy by Mary Lydon Simonsen
  • What Matters in Jane Austen? by John Mullan
  • Mr. Darcy's Letter by Abigail Reynolds
  • A Pemberley Medley by Abigail Reynolds
  • All My tomorrows by Colette L. Saucier

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday - The Saint Who Would Be Santa Clause

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus

 by Adam C. English

I saw a link for the book trailer in The Shelf Awareness Pro newsletter for Tuesday, December 4th.  After watching the trailer and reading the description thought of The Autobiography of Santa Claus by Jeff Guinn. I enjoyed reading those and I would really like to know more about St. Nicholas.  I have the book on hold now just to wait to read it!

The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus: The True Life and Trials of Nicholas of Myra 
With his rosy cheeks and matching red suit—and ever-present elf and reindeer companions—Santa Claus may be the most identifiable of fantastical characters. But what do we really know of jolly old Saint Nicholas, "patron saint" of Christmastime? Ask about the human behind the suit, and the tale we know so well quickly fades into myth and folklore. 
In The Saint Who Would Be Santa Claus, religious historian Adam English tells the true and compelling tale of Saint Nicholas, bishop of Myra. Around the fourth century in what is now Turkey, a boy of humble circumstance became a man revered for his many virtues. Chief among them was dealing generously with his possessions, once lifting an entire family out of poverty with a single—and secret—gift of gold, so legend tells. Yet he was much more than virtuous. As English reveals, Saint Nicholas was of integral influence in events that would significantly impact the history and development of the Christian church, including the Council of Nicaea, the destruction of the temple to Artemis in Myra, and a miraculous rescue of three falsely accused military officers. And Nicholas became the patron saint of children and sailors, merchants and thieves, as well as France, Russia, Greece, and myriad others. 
Weaving together the best historical and archaeological evidence available with the folklore and legends handed down through generations, English creates a stunning image of this much venerated Christian saint. With prose as enjoyable as it is informative, he shows why the life—and death—of Nicholas of Myra so radically influenced the formation of Western history and Christian thought, and did so in ways many have never realized.
Baylor Press

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Global Literature - Weeks 7-10

Mini Reviews of the last two books in the semester!

Love in the Time of CholeraLove in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcí­a Márquez
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but it was a bit disturbing.  The whole romance between senior citizens...yeah that didn't go over so well with me.

I think I enjoyed it more because I had to analyze it for class. Having to break it down and look at meaning and everything gave me a different way to look at the story.  If not for this, I think some of the descriptions would have had me closing this book and not picking it back up.  The same can be said for Midnight's Children.

Midnight's ChildrenMidnight's Children by Salman Rushdie
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

OMG I feel like I've been through a war reading this book. I don't know how some of my classmates said it was their favorite book of the semester.

There was so much going on in this story.  I think an abridged version was needed for me.  There was just too much talk of excerment, and bodily fluids and stuff.  If you could reach into a book and harm a character, it would have been done with this book and these characters.

Like with Love in the Time of Cholera, it helpped that I had to break down the story.  This is the book for my final paper/presentation.  So I ened up just reading for information that I needed.  Again if not for this I think I would have closed the book and not picked it back up.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Yellow

Yellow FlagYellow Flag by Robert Lipsyte
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The last few YA books I've picked up have been directed at boys.  I must say, they are a refreshing break from the drama/love stories of the YA I have been reading.  They seem to focus on a older teen boy who needs to make a choice between two things and they aren't little things, they are major life changing decisions.

In Yellow Flag, Kyle needs to decide if he's going to keep racing with his family or keep pursuing his music.  The race scenes were great, I couldn't put the book down.  Not being a big race fan (I've been known to watch a handful of laps of a handful of races) it was a great look at the inside workings of a team/car.

As great as those scenes were, I got thrown a few times when the POV changed from 3rd to 1st person.  Normally when I see those changes there is a font change or the changed POV is italicized.  Not so in this book, and there was no warning, it was one sentence to the next in the same paragraph.  Things like that just throw me off.

The other thing that bothered me was the ending. Not going to spoil it, but I didn't care for the way the book ended.

I'm interested in reading more of Robert Lipsyte's books.

View all my reviews

Thursday, November 22, 2012

A Thanksgiving Quote

Coffee And Kung Fu

 "Happy kill an Indian and steal his land because God told you to day."

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

Global Literature - Weeks 6

Wide Sargasso Sea: A Norton Critical EditionWide Sargasso Sea: A Norton Critical Edition by Jean Rhys
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

After giving myself some time to dwell on it, I had to up my rating of this book.  I think this book was my favorite of this class.

This book is written as a sort of prequel to Charlotte Bronte's Jane Eyre.  It really changes your opinions of Bertha and Rochester (or just mine).  I always felt bad for Bertha, having your husband lock you away in the attic because you went crazy, now I really feel bad for her when you read Rhys' back story of how she ended up the crazy woman locked in the attic.  I had felt bad for Rochester for having the first wife that wasn't the love of his life and who went crazy; I no longer feel bad for Rochester!  Well, I guess I do, but just not as much as I did before reading this novel.

Being a big fan of Jane Austen, it's almost required (in a sense) to not be a fan of the Brontes.  Charlotte didn't like Jane, just look at the results of a Google search for Charlotte Bronte vs. Jane Austen! If a book like this had been written about one of Jane's works.  A book that changes how I view (possibly) beloved characters I would be very upset.  I can't find myself getting very upset about having a changed perspective of Rochester.

Bertha (according to Rhys) starts out her life as Antoinette Cosway.  Life isn't easy for her; her father dies, her mother kind of loses it, they lose their money, her mother remarries, they lose their house, her brother dies and her mother goes crazy.  Antoinette ends up living in a convent until she's 18 and then her stepfather marries her off to a man who is supposed to be Edward Rochester.  He doesn't really want to marry her, but he needs her money. So it's a bad marriage and it just doesn't get good for either of them.  It ends with Antoinette now Bertha (Rochester changes her name) crazy and living in the attic. 

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Thursday, November 15, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Brown

Brown-Eyed GirlBrown-Eyed Girl by Mariah Stewart
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I read romance, but I tend to stay away from romantic suspense, it's just not my thing.  I find too often that the suspense is just a catalysis to throw the characters together with out ever really contributing to the plot.  There are a few authors who write really great suspense stories and oh yea there's a lot of romance.  Mariah Stewart is now one of those authors I'll read for this reason.

I picked up the book because it was the only "brown" titled book that sounded interested in my library system. The plot seemed like it could have been the flip side of a Criminal Minds episode, and I really like that show.

Anyway Leah's sister Missy disappeared forever ago and now this serial killer is contacting her with information about her sister's disappearance.  Before she can get any information out of him he's killed in jail (shortly before his execution).  So Leah goes to see Ethan who wrote a book on the serial killer.  She gets to his place, he's not there and she kind of falls for his family.  Ethan is not please to see her, but they come to terms and he'll help her the best he can...and this is where the whole suspense kicks in and completely hooked me.

There were great sub plots and secondary characters.  I like who we get the killer's perspective but I would have liked maybe a little bit more towards the end with the twist.

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Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Late Halloween Themed Post about Werewolfs

In honor of Halloween I had wanted to read some appropriately themed books. (This post is late due to Super Storm Sandy and my own laziness.)

 Moon ShadowsMoon Shadows by Nora Roberts
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Just reading Wolf Moon for my Nora Roberts Reading Challenge. I have read everything published since 2004 (except for the books that haven't been released yet).

I have to say I like how Nora Roberts seems to write these male characters who just worm their way into the woman's life.  Simone wants to keep her distance since she's been turned into a werewolf but Gabe just nudges his way into her life.  Together they end up working on a way to cure Simone of being a werewolf.

Personally it's the first time I've read this concept of trying to cure the werewolf.  I've seen it done in TV shows and it never really goes far, but I like the way Nora worked with the concept.  Simone had been working on it but she just needed Gabe.  A fresh set of eyes, a medical background, and a personal connection to make it all that more important to succeed.

Forever Werewolf: Forever Werewolf\Moon KissedForever Werewolf: Forever Werewolf\Moon Kissed by Michele Hauf
My rating: 3 of 5 stars
(I received an ebook copy from NetGalley)

I haven't read Michele Hauf before but it seems that she has created her own little paranormal world filled with vampires and werewolves. This caused some problems with understanding some back story which put a hitch in the plot of Forever Werewolf and a little less so in Moon Kissed.  I think the couples worked well together but I could have used just a little more build up to the relationship in Moon Kissed.
- small spoiler below -
There was one thing in each story that just didn't work for me.  In Forever Werewolf Tryst has this kind of snowboarder dude inner dialogue persona and it just didn't seem to fit with this serious lone wolf guy he's supposed to be. In Moon Kissed, the whole combo he's a werewolf and now she's a vampire thing just bothered me, I think the story would have been great otherwise.

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Thursday, November 8, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday - Madly in Love with ME

Madly in Love with ME - Self Love Guidebook Trailer

Self love author Christine Arylo releases the official self love guidebook - practical, tangible and fun ways to truly love yourself, for real and for keeps.
I don't know if I'll really get this book, but it's one that will be added to my list of books that I'll consider.  I'm picky about which self help books I'll pick up, the writing style of the author has to sound like me.  I want to read the book and feel as if I'm telling myself these things, as if I'm pushing myself to make the changes and helping myself.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Reading Challenge Catch Up

I have three books left in the Color Coded Reading Challenge - brown, yellow, and black.  I've been struggling with picking which books to read. 

I finally picked some books!

For Brown

For Yellow

For Black

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Global Literature Book Review - Weeks 4&5

The Grass Is Singing: A NovelThe Grass Is Singing: A Novel by Doris Lessing
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

What a depressing novel.  I'm a little confused by the ending, did she have a relationship with him or didn't she?  Lessing never writes that she does, but I guess that's part of this story.  As I read the novel, I kept wishing the characters were different.  I wanted Dick and Mary to at least attempt to work out their differences and try at their marriage.

As depressed as I was reading this book, I have to say it's been my favorite so far in this class.  I really liked Lessing's writing style and I thought the story was formatted great!  You know from the first few lines that Mary is dead, the story is how she winds up that way.  The story is about identity and the struggles that we all face in finding who we are and where we belong.  Sadly Mary never found where she belongs.

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Thursday, October 18, 2012

Book Swag from NYCC

Season 8, Vol 1-4 
The only two books I purchased besides the Buffy Graphic Novels.

Two free paper backs

Timonthy Zahn was there signing his book and I'm never one to pass up a free signed copy of a book.

The five ARCs I was able to get my hands on at different booths.

"special" ARCs.  I got Blood Gospel when I purchased the Douche  Journals and Obsidian Mirror was handed out only to librarians. 

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

What I'm Currently Reading...

I'm currently reading two books for school:

The Grass Is Singing: A NovelFor the last two weeks our book for discussions/reaction paper is The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing. It's a good book, but it's depressing.

Midnight's ChildrenMidnight's Children by Salaman Rushdie is a book we'll be discussing later in class but it is the book I picked for my final project so I need to read it now. I'm moving a lot slower than I would like to be, but it's a difficult read and I want to get as much out of it as I can!

My current audio book is:

Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World That Can't Stop TalkingSo far I'm really liking Quiet: The Power of Introverts in a World that Can't Stop Talking by Susan Cain. It really is a book that I think I wouldn't have been able to get through if I was reading the print book, but listening to the audio book on my commute to and from work I have time to listen and process the information. Being an Introvert I'm really interested in a lot of the information that basically explains why I am the way I am.

My current Jane Austen read is:

Murder Most AustenI was sent a copy of Murder Most Austen by Tracy Kiely from the publisher to review for our Jane Austen Group. It's not my typical genre of book, Cozy Mystery, but I'm enjoying it so far. Her whole series is connected in some way to a Jane Austen theme and if this book is any indication she's done her research on the author and the fandom surrounding our beloved Jane.  This may be the first cozy series I read!

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

When a Book is a Letdown...

The Maverick (Long, Tall Texans) (Silhouette Desire #1982)The Maverick (Long, Tall Texans) by Diana Palmer
My rating: 1 of 5 stars

I was kind of excited about this book, I've been waiting for Harley to have his own story and even though I didn't finish reading this series during the summer I was going to keep reading to fill in the gaps since I had read Jon's book and had holes to fill in. However this book was the biggest let down.  I didn't like the characters, the dialogue or the story.  

There have been a few books that I've waited for with bated breath. Books that are finally telling the story of the character who has been in each previous books, or a romance that has been building up for a number of books.  Acheron by Sherrilyn Kenyon was one and I wasn't let down by this book, nor was I let down by Kiss of Snow by Nalini Singh.  They were just what I was expecting, the epic stories they had been built up to be.

I wasn't expecting Harley's story to be epic, but I was expecting to at least like Harley's story.  We've seen Harley be the fall back guy for a number of heroines while they deal with their own romances. In a letter to readers that appeared before the story, Diana Palmer stated that she wanted to do his story justice, I think the failed.  This didn't seem like Harley's story, this felt more like a build up book for Kilraven, Marquez, and Jon and their books.  

To start off with I didn't like Alice from the first page, nor did I like what was supposed to pass for witty banter between Alice and Harley.  There was also way too much background dialogue that seems forced.  As a reader I know it's there to add information, but the conversations seemed scripted, like those horrible radio commercials.  

Those the biggest thing for me was the fact that no one, NO ONE, was able to put one and one together to figure out who Harley's father was, I mean his father is a Senator with the same last name. It's not like they are running around with the last name Smith.  Fowler is not a common name and am I really supposed to believe that no one was able to look into the Senator and find out that he had a son named Harley. I mean how many Harley Fowlers are there in Texas?

I barely read the book, I briefly skimmed the pages to see if there was anything interesting and honestly there wasn't, I don't know if I'll finish reading the series now. 

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Thursday, October 4, 2012

Global Literature Book Review - Weeks 2 & 3

In order to catch up with the current weeks in the semester I'm combining weeks 2 & 3 into one post. The StrangerThe Stranger by Albert Camus
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was okay, I don't think I would have picked this up on my own. I've always thought that Camus was a bit heavy and I tend to avoid heavy reading unless it's assigned to me. That being said I thought it was a deep book, and it really made me step back and take a look at how I react to and interact with the world around me.

View all my reviews Things Fall ApartThings Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I liked this book. I was starting to think that I wouldn't like anything we were reading this semester. I was surprised that this would be the book that I liked, since I don't have a favorable opinion of Chinua Achebe. (Long explanation involving earlier Literature classes.) There were things that frustrated me about this book, but it got bumped up to "like" because I can see myself recommending this book to people.

There is so much to be said in this book and he fits it in perfectly into a compact story that really makes you think.

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Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Global Literature Book Review - Week 1

This semester I'm taking Graduate Seminar in Global Literature.  We have a great line up of books and I wanted to share some mini-reviews here.  Here is the list of books I'll be reading:

Week 1 - The Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka and Death in Venice by Thomas Mann
Week 2 - The Stranger by Albert Camus
Week 3 - Things Fall Apart by Chinua Achebe
Weeks 4 & 5 - The Grass is Singing by Doris Lessing
Week 6 - Wide Sargasso Sea
Weeks 7 & 8 Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Weeks 9 & 10 Midnight's Children by Salman Rushdie

I chose Midnight's Children as the book I'm going to focus on for my final project/report.  I'll be finishing that up sooner rather than later.

The MetamorphosisThe Metamorphosis by Franz Kafka
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

It was okay, I don't understand what all the fuss is about with this book.  I thought it was disturbing.

View all my reviews

My rating: 2 of 5 stars
It was okay, I liked it, but I think it was probably the writing style that bothered me more than anything.  Maybe it was because of the translation?

Thursday, September 27, 2012

Just some Librarian randomness

I really don't have anything interesting to post about so I'll just share these two images Pinterest thought I would be interested in this week.

First up Lego Librarian!

This is a great PSA of sorts!
Source: via Veronda on Pinterest

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

Summer Reading Challenge Wrap-up!

Wrap-up!  The first day of Fall was 9/22 and I fell four book short of my challenge goal.  I'm happy I said I'd only read the books listed on FictFact because there are more book associated with the Long Tall Texans series than listed here.  I'm going to keep reading now, I need to finish these four books!

Series list from Titles highlighted yellow have been read before this challenge.  Titles highlighted in purple have been read for this challenge. 
  • Clahoun
  • Justin
  • Tyler
  • Sutton's Way
  • Ethan
  • Connal
  • Harden
  • Evan
  • Donavan
  • Emmet
  • Regan's Pride
  • That Burke Man
  • Redbird
  • Coltrain's Proposal
  • Paper Husband
  • A Long Tall Texan Summer
  • Christmas Cowboy
  • Beloved
  • Callaghan's Bride
  • Love with a Long, Tall Texan
  • Matt Caldwell: Texas Tycoon
  • A Man of Means
  • Lionhearted
  • Man in Control
  • The Founding Father
  • Cattleman's Pride
  • Carrera's Bride
  • Boss Man
  • Winter Rose
  • Iron Cowboy
  • Heart of Stone
  • Heartless
  • The Maverick
  • Tough to Tame
  • Dangerous
  • True Blue
  • Merciless

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Rose

This book fills the "any other color" requirement.

The Inn at Rose HarborThe Inn at Rose Harbor by Debbie Macomber
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

I was sad to see the Ceder Cove series end, but I understand Debbie's reasons (shared in a note to readers in this book) and I think it was wise.  Too often I find that an author seems to just push out books in a series and the stories end up stale.  While I was sad, I was also happy to see that this book was set in Ceder Cove, a nod to her long time readers, Debbie heard our requests to still be kept up to date with the characters we've grown to love (again mentioned in the note to readers).

From the first book it looks like the series will focus on the individuals who come to stay at the Rose Harbor Inn.  The book also sets up to follow Jo Marie as she deals with the changes life has dealt her and her new start in Ceder Cove.  The first two guests, Josh and Abby, are both returning to Ceder Cove to face their pasts.

There were some near paranormal events, but they didn't seem out of place.  Jo Marie's husband was killed overseas and she has some "encounters" that she attributed to him and his presence.  I can say that I believed it, my mother has had the kinds of dreams the Jo Marie describes and I can say the year following his death we also felt his presence around and felt as if he was still influencing our lives.  I think these aspects touched me and connected me to the book.

I can't wait for the next always there's a hint towards what awaits us.

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Tuesday, September 11, 2012

Tap Out - Book Review

Tap OutTap Out by Eric Devine
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I've been struggling with writing this review.  As a librarian I have one view of the book and as a reader I have another, and they don't match up and I don't know how I should review the book. I finally decided to just write this review as a reader, because when I think about the library in and our readers, I don't think this book would fit in with what our YA readers are interested in reading.

This book was full of things that shocked me, especially since I was reading a YA book.  The language was the first shock. There were just too many curse words for my tastes, I think the language could be toned down and still have the gritty feel that the author wanted to achieve.

The second shock was the story line involving Charity.  I know things like that do happen, but it was just not what I'm used to reading.  It was a bit disturbing, but it fit in with the story, again I think it could have been toned down and not so intense and still would have impacted the story appropriately.

The third shock was the end and Tony's reactions.  I just feel like a kid who shows so much emotion through out the rest of the story seemed a little stunted in his reactions.  The end of the story just felt like a let down.

Even with those three shocks I still really enjoyed reading this book even though it wasn't my normal genre to read.  I couldn't put it down, I had to keep reading to find out what Tony would have to face next, and how his decisions would impact his life and those of his mother and friends.

I think this story also focuses and how we live up to expectations.  When people have low expectations of us, we tend to only live up to those expectations and very rarely to people aim higher.  Tony is an example of this, because of where he lives people have preconceived ideas about him and where he will go in life.  There are a few people who know that he can do better and want to help him achieve those higher goals.  Tony seems to want to get out of the trailer park and make something of himself, but the odds aren't in his favor.

This story is different from others that deal with kids/people over coming these odds, there isn't a definite ending, I don't think we know for sure if Tony will be able to get out of the trailer park, but I sure hope he does.

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Thursday, September 6, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Rainbow

This book fills the "word that implies color" requirement.

Midnight RainbowMidnight Rainbow by Linda Howard
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

The cover of this book has a quote from Booklist that reads:

Contains all the ingredients of a classic Howard romance.

To me a "classic Howard romance" is one that with a few updates can be set in a more modern setting and still be just as good.  While this wasn't one of my favorite books by Linda Howard, it was a quick and enjoyable read.

Originally published in 1986 there are a few changes that would update this story quite easily.  The missing microfilm turns into a flash drive, Vietnam becomes Afghanistan, there's either no connection or something happens so there's no cell phone service, and he wears a condom.

This is also a classic story line, a girl gets held hostage somewhere in Central/South America and a super special elite former/current military guy goes in and rescues her.  

I liked Jane, she was a great heroine.  She tries to be strong, but really there's only so much a girl can deal with when running through a jungle trying to survive.  Grant is also great, I think one of my favorite scenes in the book is when he goes to visit his parents.  He's just a backwoods country boy at heart who got lost in the dark world of the military.

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Green

The Green MileThe Green Mile by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'm surprised by how much I enjoyed this story.  Stephen King and I have a so-so relationship. He likes to write stories that scare the bejeebus out of me and I like to read his books. I have only read a handful of his books and I'm always careful about which ones I pick up I tend to stay away from the books that were made into movies since the movies scare me.

I read this book in the six serialization format it was originally published in and I have to say, it was worth reading that way.  If I had read the books when they were first being published I don't think I could have waited a month between books, especially between books 4 - 5 - 6.  

I didn't initially get into the story, the first book kind of dragged so I did wait a bit in between books.  I really started to get into the story by book 3 and from there I breezed through the rest of the books.  

The one thing that I didn't care for, but I know was important to the format/story, was the flashes forward that start each book.  I know because of the format that we had to start off with an older Paul Edgecombe to recap and then take us back into the story he's writing.  Otherwise this might just be my second favorite Stephen King that I've read (#1 is The Girl Who Loved Tom Gordon).
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Thursday, August 30, 2012

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star - Book Review

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock StarFitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star by Heather Lynn Rigaud
My rating: 4.5 of 5 stars

At the start of August I mentioned in a guest post at Roof BeamReaders that I consider myself to be an “In betweener” when it comes to the reading of Jane Austen inspired books.  I like my books to be believable in the realm of Jane Austen’s World.  I’ve read, but not really enjoyed, some of the modern adaptations of her books (they average about 3 of 5 stars). 

That being said, this book came way out of left field for me!

To start, I was pulled in by the cover first and the premise second.  Darcy as a rock star?  I can read that!

Darcy or Will as his friends call him is a guitar virtuoso.  He lives music.  He started a band, Slurry, with his cousin Richard Fitzwilliam (drums) and his college friend Charles Bingley (guitar and vocals).  They are a huge hit, but like any rock band they come with a bad boy reputation.   They need a new opening act and in steps Long Borne Suffering an all girl band that features Jane and Lizzy Bennet and Lizzy’s friend Charlotte Lucas.

The story followed the basic plot points of Pride and Prejudice but set in the world of two bands on the road.  One band has made it and the other is on its way up in the music world.  I liked the changes in the story to fit the plot of this book. The changes really didn’t seem forced and as far as I know the story seemed believable.

As others have noted there were editing flaws with the book and there were a few sections that I had to reread because of the changing POV, which kept this from being a 5 star book.

As I finished this book I found myself surprised by how much I enjoyed reading it and how much I liked it. I normally do not like these modern day adaptations of Jane Austen stories, but this one was different.  There was something about it, but I couldn’t put my finger on it for the longest time (okay really between the time I finished reading the book and last night when I finally realized what it was).

The “it” is that in my mind, while I was reading the book, two of my top five favorite fictions male characters formed into one! Darcy (the rock star version) was a mix of the classic Mr. Darcy and Trent Lane from Daria.  As I read the book I pictured Trent as Darcy (I know he’s not the way Darcy is described in the book, but that’s who I saw in my mind while I read). 

I didn’t picture Lizzy to be Daria and I didn’t have a reference point for other characters. 

Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - Red

RedshirtsRedshirts by John Scalzi
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Goodreads Book Description - Ensign Andrew Dahl has just been assigned to the Universal Union Capital Ship Intrepid, flagship of the Universal Union since the year 2456. It’s a prestige posting, and Andrew is thrilled all the more to be assigned to the ship’s Xenobiology laboratory.

Life couldn’t be better…until Andrew begins to pick up on the fact that (1) every Away Mission involves some kind of lethal confrontation with alien forces, (2) the ship’s captain, its chief science officer, and the handsome Lieutenant Kerensky always survive these confrontations, and (3) at least one low-ranked crew member is, sadly, always killed.

Not surprisingly, a great deal of energy below decks is expendedon avoiding, at all costs, being assigned to an Away Mission. Then Andrew stumbles on information that completely transforms his and his colleagues’ understanding of what the starship Intrepid really is…and offers them a crazy, high-risk chance to save their own lives

Review - I was unsure about reading this book for two reasons.

One, when reading the reviews for this book I noticed a lot of mixed reviews, people didn't seem to be overly thrilled with it, but those people had also read other John Scalzi books.

Two, my friend had recommended the book and while we do share similar tastes our reading tastes rarely are the same.

Since I hadn't read any of his books before I felt safe in assuming that perhaps I would enjoy the book and my friend and I both really liked the last "Science Fiction" book we both read. I started off reading the book thinking I'd try to at least reach page 50 (50 page rule hasn't lead me astray yet!) and quickly found myself well past page 50 and really into the book.

The characters were interesting and the story kept my attention. I really cared about them and wanted to know if Andy and his friends were able to find a way to save their lives.

The one thing that did kind of bother me were the three codas at the end of book. I really didn't care for Coda 1 but then ended up liking Codas 2 and 3.

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Thursday, August 16, 2012

Austen in August - Two Mini Reviews

Love is a Battlefield (Games of Love, #1)Love is a Battlefield by Tamara Morgan

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It was a really cute read, but I don't know if it impressed me enough to have me keep reading the series.  I originally decided to read it when I saw that Kate is a member of a Jane Austen Regency Reenactment Society (JARRS) and I just love Jane Austen (JASNA member!)

That being said there was just something about the story that didn't work for me and I can't even really put my finger on what it was, but there was just "something".  I feel like the problems the characters kept facing could have easily been solved with simple conversations, I tend to like when things are harder to solve and they really have to work at overcoming their problems.

The Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern WomanThe Jane Austen Guide to Life: Thoughtful Lessons for the Modern Woman by Lori  Smith
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

As with any interpretation of an author's work, Lori Smith uses what we know about Jane from her letters and those of her family to advise us on how Jane might advise us to live our lives. She uses examples from the books and it makes a nice little, light advice book.

I have had one little problem with the book and it's kind of had me question some other information in the book.  Lori Smith writes "Compared to Austen, we are a generation of hopeless romantics, just waiting to catch sight of the right person and fall head over heels into lifelong happiness.  We may be surprised -- Austen wouldn't have any of that. Actually, she doesn't give us any successful stories of love at first sight. (45)" I think that's wrong, I think Jane and Bingley were a successful love at first sight relationship, and through a discussion on Facebook (CNJ-JASNA) we think there are more.

That being said, there was a lot of nice information and ideas that we could think about incorporating into our lives.

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Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Austen in August - The Three Weissmanns of Westport

This review contains spoilers!

The Three Weissmanns of WestportThe Three Weissmanns of Westport by Cathleen Schine
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'll admit, I cheated. Since I was listening to this, I sought out reviews with spoilers so I could see where the story was heading because the first disc interested me, but I didn't know if I wanted to keep listening.  After reading the review with spoilers, I kept listening and I'm happy I did, this was a refreshing adaptation of Sense and Sensibility.

I'll also admit that Sense and Sensibility is my least favorite Jane Austen work, I've read it once and will probably never force myself to read it again.  So when I saw in the spoiler reviews that the plot doesn't perfectly follow Jane's tale, I knew it would be worth my time to finish listening to this story.

The ages of the characters bothered me at the beginning of the story, but as the story went on I found that it worked with the direction of the plot.  I liked Annie and Miranda more than I ever really liked Elinor and Marianne.  I liked that Annie didn't take Fredrick back and that Marianne didn't end up with Roberts but that Annie does (or does she I really couldn't tell).

That wasn't the only change I enjoyed! Instead of suffering in silence like Elinor did, Annie lays into Miranda after she finds out that Fredrick has to do the honorable thing. While Miranda does get sick like Marianne does after her heart break, it's Betty our Mrs. Dashwood who really gets sick over her heartbreak.

There were so many things that reflected Jane's original work, yet changed them so they fit in with her (Schine) story.  She changes up characters but has the fit perfectly into the rolls they are supposed to play that you can't help but just go along for the delightful ride this story turns out to be!

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Thursday, August 9, 2012

August Book Club

Forbidden Pleasure (Bound Hearts, #8)Forbidden Pleasure by Lora Leigh
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was the second book we have all disliked.  The first still goes by "the book that shall not be named" and we avoid that author's books all together when picking books each month.

We all had similar feelings about the story, the characters, and the sex.  

I have mixed feelings about the book. Normally I want to go back and read the books in the series but I'm just not feeling compelled to do that with this series. I feel that if I had started with book one I may have liked the book/series more. When books in the middle of series have been picked in the past I've gone back and read those that came before, but I never got around this time and just read the book.  I kind of regret doing that, but there's no going back now!

This was our book club pick and the woman who picked it didn't realize what it was really about, she thought Keiley was torn between the two men, not that she'd be with both once.

The story didn't interest me, I kind of felt like it was rushed on the relationship aspects.  I didn't like  Keiley, she knew before she married Mac what The Club was about, but she still acts kind of dumbfounded when Jethro shows up. There was so much more that we discussed at our meeting of things that just didn't make sense to us.

Those of us who have read Lora Leigh's books in the past felt a little let down by this book.  One member had read another random book in this series and just loved it.  I'll still read her books, but I think I'm going to avoid this series.

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Tuesday, August 7, 2012

July Book Club - Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

Darkfever (Fever, #1)Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I know this review is late, but I needed to read all the books in the series and then I felt I had to give myself time to digest the awesomeness that was that series.  

I was addicted to these books! No sooner had I finished one than I picked up the other and dove right in, and I didn't even really like the first books when I started reading.  That bothered me because I had be dying to read this series.  I read her Highlander series and I love it, it's one of my constant weekend re-read series. When I heard that the Fever series was a kind of crossover I knew they would be read.  

Like I said, I got worried because I didn't really like Mac, she bothered me and that worried me since she's the star of the books. Then I realized that I didn't understand why everyone was so OMG over Barrons.  But I knew that I would finish the series, I needed to know the fate of the world, I needed to know the fate of these people, even if I didn't really like them.

The week I read these books I was suffering a bout of insomnia* and was up all night reading.  I began to realize why everyone was so OMG over Barrons as I became obsessed with him.  Mac, nope still didn't really care about her. 

I've picked up the first graphic novel and can't wait to read it!

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*due to medication

Thursday, August 2, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday - "Animals Don't So I Won't by David Derrick Jr

This book just looks really, really cute!

I might have to pick it up for baby girl. She's going to have more books than she'll know what to do with by the time she starts reading!

Tuesday, July 31, 2012

A Message from the Pug

Mommy says she has "writer's block" I don't know what that means but she said I could take over for her.  Not that I really want to, but if you're going to allow me to do something, I'm going to do it!

So the other day Mommy and I were laying around and she was reading a book. She gets done and mutters something like "Now what?"  I should have just kept my head down and pretended like I didn't hear her.  But no, I lifted my head, cocked it to the side and she took that as me being interested in what she was saying.

Here's Mommy's problem.  She's got this issue when reading books, she doesn't like to read just one book in a series.  She likes to read them in order, or as close to in order as possible.  She's got done reading one book and in that book it linked two more series so now she wants to know if she should read those other two series?  I say no, more reading means more non pug cuddle time!

Then she won 4 books, and they are all parts of series.  Does she get the books that came before or just read the ones she got?  I say don't read them at all and cuddle with the pug!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Color Coded Reading Challenge - The Green Mile - Part 1

I've read a few Stephen King books, I'm cautious with what I read of his, we don't always get along.  My dad was a big Stephen King fan, so I've tried to read some of his stuff, it hasn't always turned out well.  It took me almost two years to read "Hearts in Atlantis" it was one of those "pick it up - put it down" routines.

For the next book in my color coded reading challenge I decided to go with The Green Mile.  I have always seen the six part serial books at my local library and had always wanted to read them, what better chance than now!

The Green Mile, Part 1: The Two Dead GirlsThe Green Mile, Part 1: The Two Dead Girls by Stephen King
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I wasn't sure what to expect. I haven't seen the movie, and know very little about the story.  It was a lot of set up and background information.  It was just enough to hook you in and make you wait for the next book.  I would have been one of those people who each month would have gone to get the next part as soon as it came out.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Book Trailer Thursday - "Goodbye for Now" by Laurie Frankel

This book is on my TBR List.  It sounds like a really interesting concept and I can't wait to read it!

Published on Jun 1, 2012 by 
Sam Elling is taking social networking to the next level: the afterlife. "Goodbye for Now", the second novel from Laurie Frankel, is already an international sensation, selling in 26 territories and having film rights optioned by Lionsgate/Temple Hill. "Goodbye for Now" hits stores on August 7th, 2012.

Like Laurie on Facebook ( and get access to exclusive content, including an excerpt from the book.

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

A Message from the Pug

There is nothing my Mommy loves more than me, but reading comes in at a close second.  I love to cuddle with my Mommy but sometimes her books get in the way of how I want to lay on her.  I think the books need to go.

I like books, Mommy read me part of a Harry Potter book once when I was sick.  I'm not saying she needs to get rid of them, but when it's cuddle time, they need to go!  There is a certain way I like to lay on top of her when I decide it's cuddle time and it's hard to do that when she's holding a book.

Sometimes she will put the book down, but there are some she just won't put down.  It doesn't matter how I push myself in front of the book or how much I give her "the stare" she just won't put them down.

What more can I pug do to get the attention of her Mommy?


Thursday, July 12, 2012

A Book Store Wedding

This is my kind of wait til you see their cake! I want a cake like that!

Published on Jul 11, 2012 by 
Loyal customers who met in our store tied the knot on July 7, 2012 at Bookmans Mesa. We are honored to be part of their story. The Bookmans family wishes Daphne and Andrew a lifetime of happiness and dragon slaying in their marriage.

Special thanks to artist Pitx for the song "Chords For David"

"Chords For David" by Pitx (feat. jlbrock)
is licensed under a Creative Commons license:

Tuesday, July 10, 2012

My Collections

I collect books and most recently shoes.

I have a habit of walking into the house and kicking off my shoes.  By the end of the week there is a collection of shoes lined up against the wall.  Last week I came home one day to find that my shoes had been moved up stairs into my hallway.  But instead of being lined up against the far door (I use the room as a big closet for now) they were lined up like this: