Wednesday, November 7, 2012

Shut Up, I Know!

Shut up already, I know I suck!  I've read
like 4 books lately but haven't made the time to get on here and actually post anything about them.  Priorities folks!  ;)

To make up for it, I'm offering you some 
visual entertainment I found on Facebook today.  I lurve it!

Coming soon, I promise, will be reviews for Falling Together, Tigers in Red Weather, The Gilly Salt Sisters, and My Sister's Keeper.  

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Maybe There IS Hope

I was reading some blogs that I follow the other day and I stopped on Amanda Hocking's to see what's brewing.  If you will recall, Hocking is the author of Wake, a book I read and reviewed a couple weeks ago.  Unfortunately, I wasn't able to give it my highest of accolades, which disappointed me almost as much as the book did.  I like Hocking a lot and wanted so badly to like this book; I have enjoyed several of her other works.

Well, as I was reading I found a piece she wrote back on September 19, 2012 in regards to the Watersong series (Wake is the first book).   She said, "So Wake is setting things up, introducing characters, revealing the danger, and asking questions. Out of the four books in the Watersong quartet, Wake is definitely the slowest. A big part of that is because I had to introduce six main characters - Gemma, Harper, Alex, Daniel, Penn, and Thea - as well as several side characters, like Lexi, Marcy, Brian, Nathalie, and Bernie. I wanted to really take my time and establish who they are and what drives them, so when their motivations and integrity are challenged in later books, it makes more sense.

In the first book, I really focus on Gemma, Harper, Alex, and Daniel. I especially wanted to establish the romance between Gemma and Alex. But in the second book, since I've really set up the principals, I get to dive more into Penn and Thea, and deepen the relationships between all the characters, and delve further into the mythology behind the series. 

With Wake, I wanted to keep the mythology as clean and simple as possible. The mythos behind Watersong is based on Greek mythology, which is so rich and epic, it's easy to want to include too much and make things more complicated and harder to understand. So for the first book, I definitely wanted to keep it on a need-to-know basis.

To read the full piece, go to:

Fans of Hocking can only hope, and pray, that the next couple of books in the series pick up the pace a bit and begin to open up this story to a little magic.  

Monday, October 15, 2012

Paging Mrs, Lazy...Mrs. Lazy Report to her Blogs

I totally have been slacking both here and on my other blog too.  Don't have a cow, just relax.  Mostly it's been because my schedule this past week was insanely hectic and I barely had time to breathe, let alone spend actual quality time blogging. 

Okay, so maybe I had some time but I chose to use that doing other more reading!  Duh!  I'm almost finished with one book and have another I already finished up that I need to review and blog about also...more coming soon, I promise.  Just to tease you though...the ones I'll be reviewing next are Life as I Know It, by Melanie Rose and Falling Together by Marisa de los Santos.  Stay tuned. (cue theme music)

When Lightening Strikes

One of the more recent books I read is Life as I Know It,  by Melanie Rose.  This had been on my wish list to read for more than a year so I was exceedingly pleased when it was chosen as one of the books my book club would do.  The funny part is that when I started it, I couldn't remember why I'd originally put it on my list because it was nothing like I thought it was going to be.  That's not to say that I didn't care for it, because I indeed liked it quite well.

Life as I Know It, is a story of how a 
lightening strike completely changes the life of Jessica Taylor.  One day she is innocently walking her dog in the park, gets caught in a storm after catching the eye of a good looking guy, and boom!  She wakes up in a hospital and people are telling her that her name is Lauren Richardson, wife and mother of four.  The only thing is, is that she still has all of Jessica's memories.

Jessica/Lauren struggles with trying to figure out what is happening to her and her life, yet she seems to take it in stride.  She begins to live Lauren's life, trying to understand who her new husband, Grant, is and comes even to love the children.  She feels horrible that their real mother obviously died at the exact same time that Jessica was hit with lightening, whose soul is now somehow inside of Jessica.   She throws herself into Lauren's life, buying pets and swing sets for the children,  trying to make the best out of a bad situation both for the children and for Grant.

When she is Jessica, though, she begins to develop a relationship with the man from the park, Dan.  She knows this life and this is her life, but is conflicted with feeling like she needs to help Lauren's family.  

What I really liked about this book is that Rose easily could have told a story about a girl with memory loss and living two lives simultaneously.  What she did instead was to bring to life a tale that brings ethics and morals into play.  She raises some amazing thought provoking questions to her readers throughout the book, that make the reader actually stop and contemplate how they might react in the same situations...or at least that's what she did to me.

The only thing I disliked about the story was that one of Lauren's sons was constantly being referred to as the "brain damaged" one.  Maybe there was a reason for it, but it seemed awfully insensitive to me, when there are so many other ways that the boys could have been described:  mentally challenged, learning impaired, etc.  I'm just sayin'.

Overall, I really liked this very non-traditional chick-lit book.  I probably ended up liking it more than I originally thought I would too and that rarely happens to me (it's usually the other way around).  Now that I've discovered Melanie Rose I'm really looking forward to reading more of her work.  She now has a new fan!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

I Must Have

Sometimes I come across something that just so perfectly describes me or my mood that I actually feel giddy inside. Yesterday was one of those days, people!  Check out the awesomeness that is here!

Are these not the cutest things?  I am so hearting them, along with the masses of cute tees I found at Two Chicks Designs.  They even have my all time fave saying on one:

Now, if only I had a credit card with lots of buying power, one that someone else takes care of the bill too.  Yes, that would be fab and I would have such fun on a shopping spree at Two Chicks Design!  Well...maybe when that ol' tax refund check comes I've mosey on back and see what's available.  Until then, I'll keep visiting and giggling at all the cleverness they have in store!

Everything Tastes Better with Butter

Well, it does, right?  Everything really
does taste better with a bit of butter on it.  Or, as Beth Harbison says in her newest title, When in Doubt, Add Butter.  Okay!  As a fan of Harbison's chick lit style writing, I took her word for it with this new book of hers.  I'm just feeling like this recipe was missing something else, especially at the end.

In true Harbison fashion, this book takes 
the reader on a ride with successful personal chef, Gemma (yes, I am aware that it's the same name of the main character in my last review; I made no mistake).  She's 39, single, and happy with her life for the most part.  She works hard and is good at what she does but rarely lets her hair down, until one night she meets "Mack" at a bar and ends up having a one-night stand with him.  Even thought she knows it was just a one-nighter though, she can't help but to continue thinking about him.

In her professional life though, Gemma deals with many characters as she cooks for different families/people each night of the week.  Some are very difficult, like her Friday night people Angela & Peter.  Peter is attractive and friendly (maybe a little too friendly) while Angela is rude and difficult to be around, mostly due to her lack of tolerance for almost all food items.  Then, she cooks for others like Mr. Tuesday, as Gemma refers to him, who truly appreciates her cooking, leaves her witty notes and banter for when she's there.  Unfortunately, Gemma feels a tide shifting among her clients; she loses one client, begins losing out on catering gigs on the weekends, and her life is spinning out of control.

Finally, through a strange set of 
circumstances, she meets Mr. Tuesday and everything changes.

Yep, that's all I'm gonna say about it folks.  No more, so stop your crying!  Besides, if you read the book you'll figure out what's going to happen before you get to the end anyhow; it's just that predictable.  Don't misunderstand me, I liked this book quite a lot but it certainly was not a surprise what happened.  It was more like, "Finally!" in my opinion.

As I stated, I really like this author and have read several of her other books, including Always Something There to Remind MeThin, Rich, PrettySecrets of a Shoe Addict, and Shoe Addicts Anonymous, which are all quick fun reads too.  They are all great vacation books, or light easy reading books.  Harbison has this innate way of creating a voice for her books that just resonates with you and draws you in so much that you want to know all about her main character, be BFF's with them, and find out everything about them. The material might be "fluff" but I still say it takes talent to bring readers into the world that is a book.

The only thing I disliked about this book, aside from the predictability, which I can totally deal with, was the ending.  I know I'm a HUGE stickler for endings (both in books and film) but I really hated the way this book ended.  I invested my time and heart into these characters and you just left me in the lurch, Ms. Harbison!  Shame on you!  You can't just end a book like that and then try to wrap it all up pretty in an epilogue.  That's cheating.  There.  I said it.  You cheated me.  That being said,  I'm still pretty sure I'll be among the first in line for your next release. :)

The Sky is Falling

It's been a while but I have an excuse.  I was deeply involved in a book series that I couldn't put down, the Fallen Star Series, by Jessica Sorensen.  Well, I mean I could put it down; I had to sleep after all, but be assured that I didn't want to.  What strikes me the funniest about this whole series is that I kind of think it's funny that I liked it so much to begin with, especially considering the content.  

So the big thing among YA books lately has been anything dealing with vampires, angels, werewolves, etc.  This series not only had the vamps, but it also included witches, time travel, Death Walkers, star power, ghosts, soul stealers...and probably another couple of weird things that I'm forgetting.  It's like the author took every unworldly thing and just said, "Ah hell, let's throw 'em all in here!"  Strangely enough, I still really enjoyed the series, despite it's obvious flaws, mostly being the editing that made me want to stab my eyeballs out at times.

The series starts with Gemma, a strange 
girl that  nobody pays attention to (except for her violet eye color) and who is raised by her grandparents in a very non-feeling kind of family.  I mean literally she has no feelings or emotions.  No happiness, no sadness, no anger, no joy, no nothing.  Then suddenly she can "feel."  She's having a hard time dealing with all of the new emotions she's experiencing and trying to get control of them.

She meets two new students, Aislin and 
Alex and there's something about Alex that she just can't shake.  They have this electricity between them, again literally, an electric current that seems to spark each time they're near each other.  Alex seems to hate her (typical YA story line) and Gemma can't figure out why.  Then he takes her to a special place of his and tells her a story about a falling star.  Cut to the chase:  the falling star is actually inside of Gemma.

Gemma must come to terms with the 
boring life she's always known is not what she thought it was, nor is the world in which she lives.  She believes she is the secret to keeping the world from falling apart, thus the adventure begins.  She finds out that vampires are real, that witches exist, Death Walkers are ready to freeze her and the world, and that bad bad bad people are out to get her...all of this among the growing feelings of desire for Alex and the undisputed connection that they have with each other.

This series isn't great.  It's not deep, nor 
thought provoking.  It's definitely not award winning, yet there was something about it that I really enjoyed.  Part of that is, I'm sure, because I've turned into a bit of a sci-fi geek lately so all of the otherworldly stuff peaks my interest.  Though, truth be told, I'm not sure I think throwing it all in together is the best idea either.  I kept reading the series because I liked Gemma's character.  Others have described her as "boring" or "whiny" but I just thought she didn't know better because of her upbringing.  I mean, can you imagine living your life with no emotion and then one day it all hits you and you're bombarded with feelings you're unfamiliar with?  Not me!  

If you like the paranormal and so forth, you 
will likely enjoy these books.  There are several twists and turns and you keep wondering what the heck is going to happen next.  The relationship between Gemma and Alex is a bit bland despite their electricity, so I would've loved to have seen that spiced up a little bit, but oh well!

 I would love to see how this could be played out on the big screen, or if that would even be possible with such complex characters and location changes and such.  

Tuesday, September 18, 2012

Break It

Jane Green's latest, Another Piece of My Heart, is the story of a dysfunctional family at it's finest.  Andi, who in her late 30's feels like she's finally met "the one" gets married to Ethan.  Ethan has two daughters, Emily and Sophia, from a previous marriage.  Of course it wouldn't be a good story without conflict so inevitably one of the girls dislikes Andi, the stepmom.  The story is told from Andi's perspective (at least initially) and we really feel for her.  She's wanted a child forever but she's been terribly unsuccessful.  She's sweet and kind to her step daughters but Emily takes advantage of Andi and Ethan over and over again.  Combine Emily's horrible behavior with the fact that Ethan constantly sticks up for Emily and makes excuses for her, and it pushes Andi to the brink...until something happens.

Although I'm a fan of Green's work, I can't 
say that this was my favorite book of hers. I found it simply pleasant and enjoyable.  It was a quick read and I wanted to find out what was going to happen but there wasn't necessarily that urgency that made me not want to put it down.  

I liked the plot of the story and the idea 
behind it.  I think overall Green did a solid job with creating the family dynamic.  The arguing, the crying, the resentment, the anger, and frustration were all very realistic.  I think the character development was alright, but could've gone a bit deeper.  We hear over and over that Andi can't have children of her own but we never know why that is the case.  Emily is a bit too wishy-washy in my opinion too; she's a brooding angry teen one moment and then the next she's wanting bedtime stories and comfort.  I would've liked to understand more about Ethan and more about Michael, who is the love interest in Emily's life.  

I liked that the conflict in this story is real.  I liked that the emotions and language of the characters felt real too.  They spoke from their hearts about their pain and hurt.  The situation surrounding them is one which many women can relate and therefore makes for a successful story.

As I said, it's a sold story and enjoyable.  It's not Miss Green's best work, however.  If you've got an afternoon free and looking for a story with a little heart, but doesn't cause you to think too much, this is the one for you!

Monday, September 17, 2012

Wake Me Up When It's Over

My most recent read is from one of my new 
favorite authors, Amanda Hocking, author of the best selling Trylle Trilogy and other self published novels.  She is, in my opinion, one of the best up and coming YA novelist out there.  With that being said, I was obviously really geeked out when I heard she would be releasing the first in a new trilogy in August.  I purchased it the day it came out but had to wait (oh, the agony!) to read it because I was in the middle of another series.  

The newest release is called Wake and is the first in what is being called the Watersong Series.  The cover art alone is fantastic, as is the cool videos  that Hocking likes to have produced for her novels.  After reading the Trylle Trilogy, along with the My Blood Approves series, and The Hollows books by Hocking, I was exceedingly excited for this release.  Maybe I put it up too high on a pedestal.  Unfortunately, it just didn't grab me like her other novels have.

Wake is basically the story of two sisters, 
Harper and Gemma.  Gemma is a phenomenal swimmer who both swims for her school's team and takes night swims alone in the Maryland bay area where she lives.  Suddenly there are stories of other teens that leave to meet with friends and never return.  Then, there is a group of new group of girls in town.  The new girls are beautiful, beyond what most girls that age look like.  They seem different too, but nobody can quite figure out why.  Gemma even thinks there's something mysterious about them but can't quite put her finger on it.

Gemma falls for the boys next door, literally.  
Alex has been Harper's friend growing up but now, the summer before leaving for college, he finds he's attracted to Gemma.  Gemma in turn is flattered and finds herself attracted to Alex.  A budding romance ensues.  On the other side, Harper is so transparent with her "dislike" of the local boat boarder, Daniel.  She's run into him on several occasions and immediately puts up a wall, but it's so obvious that she likes him.  Can you say lame?

Gemma is soon drawn into the new girls' circle and suddenly she finds herself as even a stronger, faster swimmer and able to heal quicker than imaginable.  She can stay under water longer than ever before.  She's even found a couple of greenish iridescent scales in her house.  What's going on?  Well, *SPOILER ALERT* it's not too hard to figure out that Gemma has been turned into the same thing the other girls are:  Sirens.  Hocking makes a clear distinction between sirens and mermaids here though, and I'm not quite sure why, maybe only to make the reader understand that sirens are quite a bit more ruthless and uncaring than a mermaid might be.  We learn about the Greek curse put on sirens and how they will never have love.

What will Gemma do when she finds out that a mortal man, a man like Alex, can never love her?  How will Harper figure this all out and save her sister?  And what the heck is Daniel going to do to help Helper?  Well, that's what she leaves us wondering at the end of Wake.  

I went into this as a huge Hocking fan and I think for that reason I had very high expectations.  I felt a bit let down though.  I mean, as a story it's solid and I'm sure there are millions who will love it.  I just expected more.  I'm not sure if the let down is in the actual writing itself or if because it's not a self published novel, she had to change it so much that it's not even the same story she started with. That happens once an editor gets a hold of your work sometimes.  So I wonder Amanda Hocking, what happened?  The characters weren't developed, the story was rather short, and I was just left at the end thinking, "It's done?"  As a reader, I HATE feeling that way.  

Clearly it leaves the opening for the follow 
up novel, due out in November and titled, Lullaby, but still, it wasn't just like a normal cliffhanger.  I felt cheated a bit by the ending.  I literally turned the page and wondered where the rest was because it didn't seem like a natural stopping point to me.  Don't get me wrong, I will read the next one and the one after that too.  I can't just not finish a series unless I truly hated the first book, which I honestly didn't hate this.  In fact, I want to love it so badly but I just can't...and that makes me  mad!

Well, if you like stories about mythical creatures and teenage drama, then you might like this.  It's a nice change of pace from the typical vampires and werewolves that have become so increasingly popular, so it does have that going for it.  Who knows, maybe as the next two books come out to complete the trilogy, I'll fall in love with it as a completed work.  I can only hope so.

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Oh For the Love of...

I'm back and I've finally finished the series I 
mentioned to you previously, the Fallen series, by Lauren Kate.  This series is comprised of four titles including Fallen, Passion, Torment, and finally Rapture.  I'm just going to talk about them as a whole work instead of delving into each one.

I started this series very excited.  Honestly, the cover art is what got me; it's beautiful to say the least.  It made me want to read this story...well, that and the fact that I've seen the titles on the shelves for what feels like forever.  

The story starts out as many YA ones do, 
with a girl named Lucinda (Luce) who falls for a dark brooding guy, Daniel, at school.  Long story short, we realize this guy isn't quite what he seems and BOOM, insert Angels.  Yep, Daniel's an angel.

We find out that the main character, Luce,
has lived many lives before her present one and in each of them Daniel was present as well.  In each life she has died -actually sparked into flames- at the age of seventeen in Daniel's arms.  Now she's on a hunt to figure out why this has happened and why it didn't happen this time.

Up to this point the story wasn't too bad.  
I actually dare to say that I sort of enjoyed it.   Then it was on to the next three books, all of which about bored me out of my gourd.  I know they provided the back story for the characters and how they came to be but they felt so slow and I literally had to force myself to keep.  on.  reading.    I feel like the author could've condensed 2.5 books down into 1 and we all would've been a lot happier.

Then something happened.  Finally on
page 367 of the last book, my interest was sparked again.  There was a twist I didn't see coming.  Maybe other readers might have figured this out by now but not me!  It totally made me smile because it was what I least expected.  With this shift in the story, the end starts wrapping up quicker, at last.  Maybe that's why I smiled.  Anyhow, good defeats evil and the lovely couple end up together and happy, as we all knew they would.

Now, with all that being said, let me tell 
you what I didn't like about this series.

*The relationship between Luce & Daniel was so chaste that it barely qualifies as romantic.

*The story is based around angels who were made to decide between Heaven and Hell and those that couldn't or wouldn't decide were punished and turned into Fallen Angels.  Maybe it's just me, but I have a moral dilemma with this one.  The story portrays the heavenly figure, or God, as the Throne. He comes across very harsh and demanding.  He punishes and doesn't seem all that loving.  Lucifer, however, is portrayed as simply a very misunderstood angel who loves too deeply and cannot choose God because of his love.  You can make your own decisions on this one, folks, but for me, I had a problem with it.

*Though the angel Daniel didn't choose Lucifer's side, wasn't he still punished and ultimately sent through Hell?  I mean, he was made to live life over and over again and have the same heartbreaking thing happen before his eyes for 6 millenia.  If that's not Hell, I don't know what is.

*Daniel chose love.  Well, doesn't God=love?  So really Daniel did chose his side.  Why are we getting caught up in semantics here?

*I felt like the author tried too hard.  I don't exactly know how to describe that, I just feel it.  

This series has done well as a best 
seller and has really great reviews.  I had a friend tell me that she loved it even.  For me it was just alright.  I couldn't get past a lot of my feelings on the whole good vs. evil, Heaven vs. Hell, Lucifer vs. the Throne issue so it really tainted the entire series for me.

Saturday, September 8, 2012


So it's been a while and I feel bad but I've been super duper busy being a mommy and time has just been completely sucked away from me.  At least my own time has been.  Hell, I just looked at my September and October calender and it's c-r-a-z-y as all get out!  Seriously, it's insane and I have no idea how I'm even going to get through it.

Despite the insanity of the past couple weeks, I have managed to read a new book.  I just finished Hush Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick, a young adult novel.  This is the first in a series by the author and although I kind of knew what I was getting into upon opening the book, I decided I HAD to read it since I've seen it on the bookshelves forever.

This series has widely been compared to 
Stephanie Meyer's Twilight series and after reading the whole thing, I can definitely see where the mass of haters are coming from.  The plot is all very de ja vue if you've read both, I'll admit.  Both create a world in which things from dreams suddenly become a reality for a young girl.  In Twlight it's vampires and werewolves whereas in Hush Hush it's angels.  Both girls suddenly have baddies trying to hurt them and their other-worldly heroes rescue them time and time again.  But still...

Nora never wanted a boyfriend, despite the fact that her BFF is completely and utterly boy crazy.  Nora wanted to go to school and do homework and forget the fact that her father was killed in a freak accident.  Enter Patch, the dark, sexy, seductive boy in school who Nora can't seem to stop thinking about.  In fact, she's somehow drawn to him in a way that she can't even explain.

Long story short, after being rude to her, Nora decides that Patch and her will be boyfriend-girlfriend...because all good relationships are based on insults and mistrust, right?  Nora's life is in danger a number of times while Patch is vague about who he is and why things are happening.  Nora finally finds out that Patch is a fallen angels and is basically trying to find the light again.

Okay, so parts of this story did bother me. 
The relationship between the two main characters, Nora and Patch, kind of strike me both ways.  I hated the fact that he was downright rude to her and treated her poorly at times.  For a YA novel, I think this sets a bad precedent on what we think young girls should expect from the young men they date.  On the other hand, when Patch is loving, he's...well, pardon the pun, but he's an angel.  I got lost in moments of tenderness between the two.  Patch also had a great sense of humor, which lent itself to the story nicely.  It broke up some of the more intense parts.  Nora, I must say, was just a poor pathetic, naive girl who really was lucky to stay alive.  I have a hard time believing that with all of the adventures she encounters that she still is silent on the whole thing and never tells her mother or the police.  

One more thing I will say in regards to comparing Hush Hush with Twilight is that both authors did a wonderful job of pulling the reader into the story.  I felt they both created characters that despite their many flaws, still really appealed to the reader.  I wanted to know more about the characters and find out why they behaved the way they did.  Even when I didn't like something or someone, I wanted to find out what made them that way or what caused them to behave in such a manner.  Now, whether those questions in my head were actually answered as I continued reading is another story entirely.

In the end, I can say that I liked the Hush Hush series.  All three books collectively created a full story with mystery, fantasy, and romance.  I would recommend them to readers who like fantasy fiction on the light side.  Don't go into it expecting an award winning series; you're not going to find it here.  You will find a couple of books to suck away hour after hour of your weekend easily though.

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.* 

Super Slackitty Slacker

Okay, so I have been the most super
slackitty slacker for more than a month now and I honestly don't even have a good excuse except to say that I have been concentrating on other things.  My kids went back to school, started soccer, dance, scouts, etc and then I agreed to lead my daughter's Daisy Scout troop as well.  Also, I sell Thirty-One but I've also signed on now to be a consultant for Close to My Heart, which in case you're not familiar with it is a scrapbooking/card making/paper crafting company.  They have FAB stuff too which is mainly why I'm doing it.  I want that discount!  Plus, I love scrapping so at least I'm enthusiastic about it already (even if I'm not that great at it).

So, with that in mind, I think I'm going to start a  new blog (I know, I mean how many can one girl have?) dedicated to my layouts and CTMH.  I figured that I'm creating my pages anyhow so I might as well display them and maybe they will give some other fellow scrappers some ideas to use.  I've got a name for it so I just need to create it and start taking some pictures to post.  I know...get on it already!

I really am going to start getting on here 
more often again and posting my book stuff.  I've read several recently, some of which I really enjoyed and others that I'm not quite sure of.  I'm finishing up a series right now that is in that "not quite sure" category actually but I'm determined to finish it out.  I can definitely see why some people would like it...but I'm just not so sure myself because of my own personal beliefs.  More on that to come soon though, I promise! :)

Until then keep living, keep loving, and keep reading!  

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

A Few of My Favorite Things...Well, More Like Books but that didn't have nearly the same flow

I thought I'd take a moment to share with you some of my favorite books.  I'm not going to review them all or justify why I like them because honestly, who has the time for that?  NOT ME!  I just wanted to list them here for you and if your looking for a new book to read, maybe you'll find one here that you would like too.

1.)  The Catcher in the Rye  
2.)  Citizen Girl 
3.)  The Bell Jar  
4.)  The Shack
5.)  The Devil in the White City
6.)  Bloodroot
7.)  Water for Elephants
8.)  Little Bee
9.)  The Girl Who Chased the Moon
10.)  The Memory Keepers Daughter
11.)  The Harry Potter Series
12.)  Her Fearful Symmetry
13.)  The Weight of Silence

I'm sure I'll probably continue to add to this as I discover more that I love.  Or maybe I'll mark this as Part I and continue when I get a list together...I don't know yet.  Regardless, I have really enjoyed these stories and highly recommend all of them! :)

Oh, My Sweet Tooth

I'm trying to take better care of myself by attempting to exercise and eating better.  In fact, it's almost lunch time and I've only eaten a nice fiber filled 100 calorie english muffin w/ peanut butter, toasted, and 6 oz. or blackberry yogurt.  Plus I also had a whole bottle of water to drink.  Trust me, this is an accomplishment.  So, while I'm trying to curb my sweet tooth I decided instead to just read about sweets instead.  I just finished reading Donna Kaufman's Sugar Rush, book #1 in her new series entitled Cupcake Club.  

As you can guess, this fun, cute book is about cup-
cakes...oh, well there's also some romance thrown in there too of course!  The book tells us the story about Chef Leilani Trusdale, who at one time ran one of the most elite patisserie's in New York, Gateau,  but ran away from it all.  She ran away from the pressure, the hurry of everything, the excitement, the stress, but most notably she ran away from her crush and mentor, the sexy owner of Gateau, Baxter Dunne.

Leilani runs to the one place that feels safe to her, Sugarberry Island, GA, where her father, the sheriff, lives.  She opens her own  little cupcakery.  Life is good and the pace of life is easy going.  Leilani loves being able to come up with creations for people who she cares for and who care about her in return.  She's getting over her heartbreak when who should suddenly decide to go on the road for his hit cooking television show and shoot the first episode right there on Sugarberry Island?  Yep, you guessed it!  It's Baxter Dunne in all his mega celebrity status, complete with 3 full giant trailers and production people galore.

Though she is very against the show shooting on 
"her island" and in her shop, Leilani eventually allows it without hard feelings.  In fact, Baxter and Leilani have several conversations about their feelings.  She learns that for the 10 years that she crushed on him, Baxter had the same feelings for her.  Go figure!  Neither of them did anything about it because of their professionalism in the working environment since she was working for him.  

Baxter has come back to tell Leilani that he loves her.  In fact, the entire filming there was all a ruse to be able to see her again.  That's all fine and dandy, but Baxter's going back to New York after filming and Leilani has a shop to run now.  A relationship is impossible, they both admit.  They decide to make the most of the short time they have together.  Essentially they shack up in the room above the cupcake shop and make like rabbits for 2 weeks.

Now, I don't want to give away the ending or tell you too much about this story, but let's just say that when love reigns supreme, nothing can keep people apart.  Or at least it can't in a fictional novel. :)

Sugar Rush was a really sweet story...pun intended.  The characters are fairly well developed and although you KNOW what's going to happen with Leilani and Baxter, it's still a fun story to watch unfold.  Some of the reason for that is the supporting characters in the story: Charlotte, Leilani's BFF who hooks up with Carlos who works for Baxter; Alvina who is a nosy old lady who loves to gamble and even has a propensity for baking; Leyland who is Leilani's very protective father; and Dez, the artistic assistant at the cupcake shop.  They provide laughs throughout the book, as well as act as a "conscious" for Leilani.  

This isn't a book that's going to keep you in deep thought scratching your head, or even change your life, but it is a fun read and a great one to take to the beach with you over the summer.  I would give it a 8 out of 10.  It made me smile and feel good and sometimes that's better than anything else!

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.*

Sunday, July 22, 2012

Inspire Me!

Well great!  I hate when this happens.  Really, I
truly and honestly do because it drives me bonkers.  What am I freaking out about, you wonder?  Well I know it's probably not a huge deal to the world at large, but I have this interesting idea for a story to write and I have NO IDEA how to do anything with it.  I mean, I do but I don't.  Ugh!

Okay, a good friend of mine actually came up with this suggestion of a story to write and hinted that I should try to do something with it.  I should.  I totally should.  I can see parts of the story in my head and can write parts of it in my mind but then when it comes down to putting my fingers on this blasted keyboard I feel like I'm lost.

Basically it's a story of three women who meet on a diaper chat site because they all have young children.  They  continue on to have a long distance friendship, over many years, many other children, relationships (marriages, divorces), world events, etc.  They've never actually met in person, or even spoken to each other but are still somehow kismetly connected to each other.  

I'm thinking the story would be told in segments, done by each woman's perspective, detailing their life so that you can get to know each one of them through their individual sections. Somewhere near the end, the woman will finally meet.  Everything in the middle is a mystery to me though.  I don't have any idea what to do with this.  Any thoughts?  Ideas?  Suggestions?

Maybe I'll start playing with it, working on pieces and then see if I can somehow put it together.  I don't know...

Wednesday, July 18, 2012

It's Getting Hot in Here!

Wow!  I'm not even sure where to go with this one. Let me start by stating that if you thought Fifty Shades of Grey was a hot steamy book then you haven't read nothing yet!  Coined as a "similar" style book to Shades, I found a new story to read, Bared to You by Sylvia Day, the first in a new series entitled Crossfire.  

Day's novel starts much like a typical romance 
novel but quickly takes the reader into a much more sophisticated journey between the smart and hard working Eva Trammel and the white-hot mega billionaire, Gideon Cross.  Eva and Gideon instantly feel a connection between them and Gideon isn't shy about telling Eva exactly what he wants from her right from the get go.  The two, who initially want nothing more than a physical relationship, quickly begin to develop a more serious relationship and through this, we also start to see the flaws that both characters have.  Both are scarred and have some type of non-consensual sex pasts that they are reluctant to fully divulge to each other.  

We go through this roller coaster of a relationship with Eva and Gideon with both characters making mistakes, following old patterns, etc.  I like that Day made the characters real.  They mess up in relationships and say dumb things like the rest of us.  They run away from their problems instead of confronting them.  Both characters yell and scream at each other and it is very volatile.  They then tend to fall back on the one thing that they're both good at, and good with each other at:  sex.  They have cataclysmic, eye-popping, writhing in your pants sex.  Every.  Single.  Time.  Now, I'm no expert but this is the one thing that seemed a bit unbelievable to me.  I'm not saying that two people can't have a great time and trust me, the author did a phenomenal job describing the hot, steamy sex scenes but I just think that it would be more believable if they had more awkward moments between them...between the sheets.

I also wish that Day had developed the characters a little more.  I didn't feel a big connection with them or the intense emotional connection between them.  It was clear there was attraction, but I didn't feel much more.  I don't know if the writer's intention is to drag that out more and reveal more in the next couple books in the trilogy or what.  This book deals mostly with Eva and her issues and her past, while revealing only a small amount about Gideon.  We only know that they're both emotionally scarred.  There is no real emotional depth to either of them.

Yes, there is a lot of sex going on in this novel and 
a small amount of discussion about being dominate and submissive (personally I think the writer should've left it out altogether; that part really did seem like a rip off), but that is where the comparisons should end between Bared to You and Shades.  They are both very different books with relationships and characters that are very unique to their writers.  

Though I read this book easily in a day, I'm still not entirely sure if I liked it.  Don't get me wrong, I don't dislike it either.  I'm just not sure.  I'm looking forward to the follow up novels in this series, hoping that putting them all together will make for a more cohesive story and better understanding of the characters and their lives.  So for now, I will give it a 6.5 out of 10.  

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.*

Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Try Your Luck

Born Under a Lucky Moon, by Dana Precious was on my Wishlist of books to read for quite some a year but finally I checked it out from the library to read on my iPad.  Isn't it great that we can do that now?  I am starting to love that; if only they would carry the newest selections.  I digress, this book is definitely worth the wait although I sincerely wish I hadn't waited so long.  I just finished it this morning and am still smiling ear to ear.

This book tells the story of Jeannie Thompson, the youngest of 5 know, the one the parents forgot the Pill with.  The story alternates between present day where Jeannie is a busy movie ad exec in LA who barely has time to sleep while struggling to keep her job away from conspiring forces, and Jeannie's earlier years when she was younger and lived at home with the whole family in a charming small town in Michigan.  

In her current life, Jeannie has all but alienated herself from the entire family by moving across the country and doesn't speak to them often, including the one sister who lives in the same state as her.  This is mainly because she's embarrassed of her family and how "things" just seem to happen to them.  In fact, she's so embarrassed by them that she refuses to let her almost-fiance, Aidan, even meet them.  She's unsure of marriage when he pops the question because she's certain that with her family's track record it will scare Aidan away; it has scared others away and she can't risk that again.  Thus we begin the tales of the Thompson family.

Jeannie believes her family is somehow cursed because of all the strange things that seem to happen to them.  The author, Precious, takes us on an adventure through Jeannie's family life and does it so brilliantly that you feel like you too are part of the Thompson family.  What Jeannie considers back luck, in my mind, are merely all the little trials and tribulations that a large and loving family may go through:  a grandmother with possible dementia, a runaway dog, sisters running away to join the military, sisters getting knocked up, or the house catching on fire.  The telling of these stories had me captivated and smiling to be honest.  The grandmother especially was quite the lil' devil.  Can you imagine a grandma running buck naked through town during a parade?  Or how about the minister of a small town who has naughty drawings on his desk?  I could visually see the scenes in my head and had tears running down my cheeks as I laughed. 

Precious also does a fantastic job in building up the characters in this story, at least as far at the family is concerned.  By the end, you feel like they're your friends from school that you've known your whole life.  Each of the five Thompson kids has their "role" in the family and for the most part they all stick to it.  These roles don't, however, always mesh the best when forced together as illustrated throughout different times in the story.  Underneath all of their craziness lies a family that truly and deeply loves each other and cares about one another and that is what Jeannie has forgotten.  There were parts of Jeannie's story that had me huddled up, wishing and praying, with tears in my eyes.  There were parts that simply moved me.

When Aidan, the almost-fiance, has had enough of Jeannie evading his proposal he just leaves.  Jeannie is heartbroken and doesn't know what to do.  Her work suffers, she finds out he's in Australia on business with an ex, and she's a mess. So what does she do?  She goes home of course.   We soon understand that everything Jeannie thought she needed to run away from is exactly what she needs to find herself again.  When the going got tough, she needed her family more than anything.

In her debut novel, Precious sets quite the 
precedent for herself.  After reading Born Under a Lucky Moon I am now anxiously awaiting another novel by this very talented writer.  (Hear that Dana?  Get to typing!!  I'm waiting...)  I love the way that she carried me through this story like I was really a part of it because that doesn't happen in most books.  It takes a special and very unique writer to do that.  Clearly, this writer too was born under her own lucky moon.

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.*

Monday, July 16, 2012

I Like Big Books (and I Cannot Lie)

Just thought I'd break it on down for you folks...

I like big books and I cannot lie
You other nerdies can't deny
When a book fair comes to town
I go crazy
Pull out my glasses and get lazy...

It's still a work in progress, but I'm down with it.  I'm considering changing the name of the blog to "I Like Big Books (and I cannot lie)" too.  What do you think?

Sunday, July 15, 2012

A Trylle-y Awesome Series

I'm aware that I didn't write anything yesterday but time got away from me.  I'm hoping not to use that as an excuse all the time, but it really and truly did this time.  I had to spend some quality time with the family and all that know how it is!  ;)

Anyhow, I decided the next books I would talk about are from the Trylle Series, including SwitchedTorn, and Accend by Amanda Hocking.  These are in the Young Adult section and were really fun books.  Once again, I had never heard of the author so I wasn't sure what to expect but was soon pulled into a world the paranormal and fantasy.  Yep, my inner nerd is shining through big time now!

For years Wendy wondered why her mom hated her so much, so much in fact that she tried to kill her. She always wondered why she was different, even among her brother and aunt who raised her.  All that changed when she meets Finn, the good looking guardian, who introduces her to a brand new world.  Wendy discovers who she really is and it is truly the stuff of fairy tales.

After discovering her powers, Wendy must
then learn how to use them and how to control them.  At times this is funny and other times you feel like you are right there with her because the writer did such a good job with her character development and plot descriptions.  Wendy meets others along her journey and must soon decide between what her heart wants and what her world needs from her.

Facing an almost impossible choice, Wendy must make a sacrifice of epic proportions.  We see by the third book how she's grown from a cocky, sarcastic girl into a bold and strong leader, ready to rule.  This wraps up Wendy's story and left this reader wanting desperately to read anything and everything by Amanda Hocking.

Hocking has an innate ability to weave realistic and believable characters into her story line.  I had no idea the journey she would take me on when I started reading; quite honestly, I just liked the cover of the book and though, "why not?"  I was supremely pleased with my selection and the follow up books in this series.  Each book helped to develop Wendy's character & story, introduced new and appealing characters, and pulled me further and further into this world of fantasy and fiction.  I would give this series an 8.5 out of 10.

It's been rumored also that this series has 
been optioned for a movie in the future.  Who knows if that will ever come to fruition, because that happens often and then nothing ever is produced.  I hope it does though because I think it could really make for a fantastic teen sci-fi movie.

A couple other great reads by this same 
author include The Hollows Series, and the My Blood Approves Series.  I've read both and really liked them as well.  They're all very quick reads and once you start it's hard to put them down.  Hocking has a new series, Watersong, starting with the first release of Wake in August, 2012.  I, for one, cannot wait!

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.*

Friday, July 13, 2012

Mystery and Mayhem with a LOL

One series I read this Summer includes the 
Ivy Malone Series, by Lorena McCourtney.  This mystery series features Ivy Malone, a sweet, widowed,Christian, little old lady (LOL) who just happens to continually find herself in the middle of a murder investigation. 

The circumstances surrounding Ivy are 
grim, but she is a spunky and fun character with a lot of wit.  Her curiosity leads her to try to figure out exactly what is happening around her.  There is also a slight "religious overtone" to the stories, as Ivy is a proud, Christian woman who reminds herself that God will bring her through the challenging situations she finds herself in.  This isn't overbearing in anyway, however, so if you don't want a Christian novel, there's really no worries; it's subtle.

When we begin following Ivy's adventures, we learn about how she witnesses something unexplained and then leads the authorities to finding and putting away the bad guys.  Unfortunately for Ivy, these bad guys are part of a mafia-like group and they vow to find her and get rid of her.  Uh oh!

After a fire, Ivy decides to leave her home and go on the run.  First she visits her family's home out of state (while they're elsewhere) but once again, Ivy finds herself among more trouble when the lady across the lake ends up dead.  Then she gets a motor home and decides staying in any one place probably isn't a good idea, so she's ready to travel the country.  While traveling she encounters some stupid emus, a traveling companion named Abilene, a pot bellied pig, and a whole lot of adventure and mystery!

This series is light and full of humor.  Ivy is 
one very likable character, and her friend Abilene becomes a character you care about too.  They have a mother-daughter type relationship of looking out for each other and in more than one way are very important to each other's lives.

I would definitely recommend this entire series to mystery lovers.  I give it a 7.5 out of 10.  The stories are all pretty short and easy to read but I regret being able to score it higher.  After reading the first 4 books and enjoying them quite a bit, I discovered that there were no more...nor does there appear to be any more in the future.  The last one came out in 2006 and sadly there was no resolution or wrap up to Ivy's story.  That was extremely disappointing and put a bad taste in my mouth.

*Any links posted are not endorsements for that company or business, nor has that company or business payed me to use their name or likeness in any way.*