Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving!

I've posted this last year, but this year I'm going to share a little bit more about why I chose this quote to share.

I enjoy the holiday, but being interested in history I do have to admit, it's not an all together bright spot in our countries history.  This was the book that really got me to do some serious research into the holiday past what we were taught in school.

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

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I Love Library Books Reading Challenge 2014 - Sign-up Post

hosted by Book Dragon's Lair

Description of Challenge from sign-up post:
Our love of reading can be expensive! Not only are we purchasing books but some of us also need space to keep them. I had so much fun with this challenge last year. Let's do it again!

There are a number of levels, for those who don't have a library card yet to those that live there. Enjoy!

Choose a level - you may move up as needed, just not down.
Check books out of the library books may overlap with other challenges any format allowed (print, ebook, audio).
Reviews are not necessary but a list of books read is. 
board book - 3
picture book - 6
early reader - 9
chapter book - 12
middle grades - 18
Young adult - 24
adult - 36
just insert IV - 50

I'm aiming for 'just insert IV'.  I'm always bringing books home from work and the last time I did a challenge like this, back in 2011, I checked out and read 86 books. I wasn't in school at the time and had some more free time on my hands, so I'm looking forward to see if I can really check out and read 50 books in 2014.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Book Review: Matzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin

Matzoh and MistletoeMatzoh and Mistletoe by Jodie Griffin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an eBook copy from Netgalley for an honest review.

I have not always been a fan of BDSM stories, I feel that sometimes they are just too focused on sex, and I do enjoy a good story along with my hot and steamy. That wasn't a case with this novella. There was a great story and it balanced nicely with the hot and steamy. Also, I liked that the BDSM aspect wasn't so intense that I got turned off by the hot and steamy.

Rebeccah has been volunteering for years on Christmas and Easter so those who celebrate the holidays can be at home with their families. For the last five years, she's been partnered up with a police officer named Jeremy. They have both felt attracted towards the other, but because Rebeccah was married neither one acted on the feelings. This Christmas, however, Rebeccah is single.

Rebeccah left her husband because he was abusive, both mentally and physically. This sets up some interesting scenes in the novella since Jeremy is a sexual dominant. It's a story about trust, and following your heart. Rebeccah wants a relationship with Jeremy and is willing to try, but between his unwillingness to push and her unresolved feelings, it's not an easy journey.

It's not a long journey, I would have really loved to have seen this story stretched out into a full novel. Even saying that, I didn't think the story felt rushed at all, which I really liked.

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Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Tea & A Book: Blood, Bones and Butter by Gabrielle Hamilton

Blood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant ChefBlood, Bones, and Butter: The Inadvertent Education of a Reluctant Chef by Gabrielle Hamilton
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I enjoy reading biographies of chefs.  I like to see their journey's to becoming chef and the different things in their lives that lead to that career.  In the past I've read them about the celebrity chefs that I watch on TV so reading one by a chef that I had never heard about was a little strange for me.  So add Gabrielle's strange journey and it was a wholly unique experience.  One where I enjoyed reading about her journey, but by the end of the book, I didn't much care for her.

We didn't have a real group meeting this month. I was out sick on both our originally meeting date and our followup date.  Luckily, our evening book discussion group has also read this book and someone was able to cover for me to lead the discussion.  I'm told it wasn't a well liked book.  Knowing my members, I think they probably felt like I did that Gabrielle wasn't a likable person.

With the holidays fast approaching we decided to do books of short stories for December and January. For December we are reading Ford County by John Grisham

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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Book Review: Bellman & Black: A Ghost Story , by Diane Setterfield

Bellman & Black: A Ghost StoryBellman & Black: A Ghost Story by Diane Setterfield
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley.

This is not my typical book, but I loved it!

Book Description from Goodreads:

As a boy, William Bellman commits one small, cruel act: killing a bird with his slingshot. Little does he know the unforeseen and terrible consequences of the deed, which is soon forgotten amidst the riot of boyhood games. By the time he is grown, with a wife and children of his own, William seems to be a man blessed by fortune—until tragedy strikes and the stranger in black comes. Then he starts to wonder if all his happiness is about to be eclipsed. Desperate to save the one precious thing he has left, William enters into a rather strange bargain, with an even stranger partner, to found a decidedly macabre business. And Bellman & Black is born!

Like I said above, I loved this novel!

It took me a few chapters to get into this book.  The writing style was different than what I am typically read but once I got used to the style I couldn't put the book down.  I'm not big on ghost stories, but this one seemed more Gothic than ghost. I enjoyed the mysterious aspects of the story, it's what saved this book from being one I didn't finish.

William seemed to have made the best of the life fate had handed to him. He was a workaholic but still managed to be a man adored by his family. When events lead to him almost losing everything, William struck a deal that he doesn't even fully remember making, this is when I fell in love with the book.  Things were already slightly mysterious, but the way his life changes after he strikes a deal with Mr. Black was intriguing. Williams brilliant mind and extreme work ethic are his best tools and he uses them to build an empire of death in London.  He builds his empire on helping people bury and honor their dead, think your local funeral home on crack. The way his life slowly spirals out of control reminds me of an Edgar Allen Poe story; psychological, suspenseful, mysterious.

I highly recommend this novel for those who love mysteries and suspense novels and those fans of Poe who are looking for something new to read.

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Thursday, November 7, 2013

Mini Reviews - A Book Review Catch Up

I've been reading...but I haven't been reviewing. I'm going to be honest, between school work and a new relationship I just haven't had time to sit down and review. I've read some really good things the last few weeks so I've been itching for a chance to sit down and write about them.

I Stopped TimeI Stopped Time by Jane Davis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I reviewed this book for Central New Jersey - JASNA.  You can read my full review there, but I just wanted to share a few thoughts.  I really enjoyed the split perspectives of the story and the fact that they were from two different eras.  I loved the idea behind the title and the way it was used in the novel.

What the Bride Didn't KnowWhat the Bride Didn't Know by Kelly Hunter
My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley.

I enjoyed the story, but felt there was too much going on for such a short novel. There was the back story of their childhood and how they grew up friends and all went into the same job field with her brother.  Then there's the story of how she got hurt.  Then the story of why they were in Istanbul to find her brother.  Then there's the love story. I've said this before about books, but less is better when it comes to multiple story lines.

Besides all that, I really enjoyed the story.  I think Lena and Trig are really great together and I think the story line about their romance could have taken place anywhere and still have been extremely sweet.  Trig won't let Lena go alone and after an accident tells the hospital they are married so he could help take care of her. When she wakes up she thinks they are married.  I like this plot line because it gives the characters a chance to come to terms with their feelings for each other.

Heirs & SparesHeirs & Spares by J.L. Spohr
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I received an ebook ARC from Netgalley.

I don't remember requesting this book, but I found it on my Kindle and figured sure, I'll read it...then I couldn't put it down!

What's a girl to do when the King chooses you to be his bride?  That is the question that Annalore has to answer in this novel.  She always assumed she'd marry her childhood friend, until she is chosen to be queen.  I thought this was addressed beautifully, and shows the conflict shes feels.  I think the relationship between Annalore and William is wonderful, neither of them is looking forward to married life, but they both willing to make the best of the situation.

There are a number of plot lines and I really can't wait to get my hands on the next book (I really hate waiting). I'm looking forward to seeing how Annalore and William's relationship will evolve and what's going on with Robert and his sister.

Ezra and Other StoriesEzra and Other Stories by Barbara a Whittington
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I was sent a copy of the book to review from the author.

Barbara has collected a number of very cute short stories.  The thing I liked the most about all of them, was they appeared to be a collection of supporting characters from those classic television comedies. They are quirky and funny and just enjoyable to read. "Ezra" was one of my favorites, it really shows that you're never to old to find love.

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