Friday, July 8, 2011

Friday Finds -- 7/8


This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My Friday Find this week is So Much to Say by Nikki Van Noy. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

DAVE MATTHEWS BAND has one of the largest and most loyal followings of any band today—after twenty years of constant touring and several acclaimed, multiplatinum albums, the members enjoy a connection with their fans that few other acts can match. Ask DMB devotees and they’ll happily tell you tales of amazing sold-out summer shows, the stunning venues they’ve seen the band play all around the world, classic live show recordings . . . and memories of good times with great friends, old and new. For hundreds of thousands of people, affection for DMB goes far beyond simple fan adulation—it’s a way of life. Journalist (and fan) Nikki Van Noy bridges the gap between the band and their followers, looking at the DMB phenomenon from all perspectives—including interviews with the band, Charlottesville insiders who knew them in the early days, and, of course, the DMB fans who witnessed it all.

Sounds great, right? What did you find this Friday?

Friday, May 20, 2011

Friday Finds -- 5/20

Happy Friday! My find this week is Home to Woefield by Susan Juby. This book peaked my interest because I have always wanted to try living on a farm! Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Prudence Burns, a well-intentioned New Yorker full of back-to-the-land ideals, just inherited Woefield Farm—thirty acres of scrubland, dilapidated buildings, and one half-sheared sheep. But the bank is about to foreclose, so Prudence must turn things around fast! Fortunately she'll have help from Earl, her banjo-playing foreman with a family secret; Seth, the neighbor who hasn't left the house since a high school scandal; and Sara Spratt, an eleven-year-old who's looking for a home for her prize-winning chickens. Home to Woefield is about learning how to take on a challenge, face your fears, and find friendship in the most unlikely of places.

What did you find this week?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

3 W Wednesday -- 5/18

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? I am about halfway through A Clash of Kings, the second book in the Song of Ice and Fire series, by George R.R. Martin.

What did you recently finish reading? I just finished the wonderful Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin (the first book in the Song of Ice and Fire series). I need to write a review for this book and hopefully post it soon.

What are you reading next? I have People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks for book club and the new Sookie Stackhouse novel on deck.

How about you? What are you reading?

Tuesday, May 17, 2011

List of Reads -- A & B Edition


Recently, I updated my list of books read since starting this blog. Here are the As and Bs (by title) and a bit of commentary -- enjoy!!

A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans: Fun book, a bit long, and took me awhile to warm up to the main character.

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick: Intense character read, terrible characters who make terrible decisions.

A Wife's Tale by Lori Lansens: Great read, interesting look at a obese woman's search for her husband and herself.

Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Crusie and Bob Meyers: My favorite guilty pleasure, fun and entertaining story about a chef, a hitman, and a wedding.

All Together Dead by Charlaine Harris: Sookie Stackhouse series. Fun paranormal.

Already Dead by Charlie Huston: Intense detective story that takes place in the future with lots of vampires.

American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld: Based on the life of Laura Bush, engaging read, but slow at times.

Anybody Out There by Marian Keyes: Good chick-lit, sad story.

Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein: Phenomenal read, highly recommended.

Ask Again Later by Jill A. Davis: Funny, interesting story about a woman who is having trouble becoming an adult.

Austenland by Shannon Hale: Fun read for those who love Austen spin-offs.

Beach Trip by Cathy Holton: Women's fiction that details the adult friendship between four women. Good book club pick.

Best Intentions by Emily Listfield: Character driven novel that looks at marriage in crisis with a bit of a mystery.

Breaking Point by Suzanne Brockmann: Is it bad that I don't remember what this book is about? My guess -- a special forces unit who saves someone.

Burn by Linda Howard: I think this is the book where the main character wins the lottery and is kidnapped on a cruise.

I would recommend Agnes and the Hitman (so much fun) and Art of Racing in the Rain (it will make you laugh and cry). Have you read any of these books? If so, what did you think?

Friday, May 13, 2011

Friday Finds -- 5/13

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find for this week is Heads You Lose by Lisa Lutz and David Hayward. The premise is very interesting. The authors took turns writing chapters with no outline or ending in mind. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Meet Paul and Lacey Hansen: orphaned, pot-growing twentysomething siblings eking out a living in rural Northern California. When a headless corpse appears on their property, they can't exactly dial 911, so they move the body and wait for the police to find it. Instead, the corpse reappears, a few days riper . . . and an amateur sleuth is born. Make that two. When collaborators Lutz and Hayward (former romantic partners) start to disagree about how the story should unfold, the body count rises, victims and suspects alike develop surprising characteristics (meet Brandy Chester, the stripper with the Mensa IQ), and sibling rivalry reaches homicidal intensity. Think Adaptation crossed with Weeds. Will the authors solve the mystery without killing each other first?


I am really looking forward to reading this. What did you find?

Friday, May 6, 2011

Friday Finds -- 5/6

Happy Friday! My find this week is My Jane Austen Summer by Cindy Jones. I absolutely love this kind of modern day take on Jane Austen and am looking forward to reading it. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Lily has squeezed herself into undersized relationships all her life, hoping one might grow as large as those found in the Jane Austen novels she loves. But lately her world is running out of places for her to fit. So when her bookish friend invites her to spend the summer at a Jane Austen literary festival in England, she jumps at the chance to reinvent herself. There, among the rich, promising world of Mansfield Park reenactments, Lily finds people whose longing to live in a novel equals her own. But real-life problems have a way of following you wherever you go, and Lily's accompany her to England. Unless she can change her ways, she could face the fate of so many of Miss Austen's characters, destined to repeat the same mistakes over and over again. My Jane Austen Summer explores how we fall in love, how we come to know ourselves better, and how it might be possible to change and be happier in the real world.

Sounds good, right? What did you find this week?

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

3 W Wednesdays -- 5/4

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? I just started Book 2 in the A Song of Fire and Ice series, A Clash of Kings, by George R.R. Martin.

What did you recently finish reading? I finished Book 1 in the A Song of Fire and Ice series, The Game of Thrones, by George R.R. Martin.

What are you reading next? I need to tackle House Rules by Jodi Picoult for book club on Monday night.

What are you reading?

Review -- A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans

A Hopeless Romantic
by Harriet Evans
Simon & Schuster, 2007
544 pages
* I bought a copy at the bookstore.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): Laura Foster is a hopeless romantic. Her friends know it, her parents know it - even Laura acknowledges she lives either with her head in the clouds or buried in a romance novel. It's proved harmless enough, even if it hasn't delivered her a real-life dashing hero yet. But when her latest relationship ends in a disaster that costs her friendships, her job, and nearly her sanity, Laura swears off men and hopeless romantic fantasies for good. With her life in tatters around her, Laura agrees to go on vacation with her parents. After a few days of visiting craft shops and touring the stately homes of England, Laura is ready to tear her hair out. And then, while visiting grand Chartley Hall, she crosses paths with Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. She finds she shares more than a sense of humor with him - in fact, she starts to think she could fall for him. But is Nick all he seems? Or has Laura got it wrong again? Will she open her heart only to have it broken again?

Review: Laura Foster is annoying and yet I love her. In the beginning of the novel, Laura makes romantic mistake after mistake and her choices effect her family and friends. Once she realizes the terrible mistakes she has made and looks to put her life back together, that is when the tale really picks up speed. At 544 pages, it is a bit long, some sections drag while others race by. In the end I was happy to have read it. It was an enjoyable and entertaining read. Rating: *** out of 5.

Monday, May 2, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 5/2

Happy Monday everyone!! Today is my last day of class for the semester. My final paper is finished. The powerpoint is all prepared. Wish me luck!

Though I haven't been blogging, I have been reading! Currently, I am about 75 pages away from finishing Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin. The books are getting a lot of buzz due to the HBO series, so I needed to see what the fuss was about. This book is fantastic. If you like fantasy, heroes and heroines, but for an adult audience only, then definitely give this book a try.

Okay -- off the work and then class. Have a great day!!

Friday, April 8, 2011

Friday Finds -- 4/8

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! This week my find is The Winter Sea by Susanna Kearsley. Here is the publisher's description from their website:

In the spring of 1708, an invading Jacobite fleet of French and Scottish soldiers nearly succeeded in landing the exiled James Stewart in Scotland to reclaim his crown.

Now, Carrie McClelland hopes to turn that story into her next bestselling novel. Settling herself in the shadow of Slains Castle, she creates a heroine named for one of her own ancestors and starts to write.

But when she discovers her novel is more fact than fiction, Carrie wonders if she might be dealing with ancestral memory, making her the only living person who knows the truth—the ultimate betrayal—that happened all those years ago, and that knowledge comes very close to destroying her...

What did you find this week?

Friday, April 1, 2011

Friday Finds -- 4/1

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is The Sherlockian by Graham Moore. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

In December 1893, Sherlock Holmes-adoring Londoners eagerly opened their Strand magazines, anticipating the detective's next adventure, only to find the unthinkable: his creator, Arthur Conan Doyle, had killed their hero off. London spiraled into mourning — crowds sported black armbands in grief — and railed against Conan Doyle as his assassin. Then in 1901, just as abruptly as Conan Doyle had "murdered" Holmes in "The Final Problem," he resurrected him. Though the writer kept detailed diaries of his days and work, Conan Doyle never explained this sudden change of heart. After his death, one of his journals from the interim period was discovered to be missing, and in the decades since, has never been found. Or has it?

When literary researcher Harold White is inducted into the preeminent Sherlock Holmes enthusiast society, The Baker Street Irregulars, he never imagines he's about to be thrust onto the hunt for the holy grail of Holmes-ophiles: the missing diary. But when the world's leading Doylean scholar is found murdered in his hotel room, it is Harold - using wisdom and methods gleaned from countless detective stories - who takes up the search, both for the diary and for the killer.

What did you find this week?

Friday, March 25, 2011

Friday Finds -- 3/25

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is Tales from the Yoga Studio by Rain Mitchell. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

The yoga studio is where daily cares are set aside, mats are unfurled, and physical exertion leads to well-being, renewal, and friendship. An aggressively expanding chain of Los Angeles yoga "experience centers," has Lee and her extraordinary teaching abilities in its sights. They woo her with a lucrative contract, a trademarked name for her classes, and a place for her handsome musician husband. But accepting the contract means abandoning the students at the homey studio Lee runs in L.A.'s Silver Lake district- and leaving behind four women whose friendships are suddenly more important to her than retirement benefits and a salary increase.

What did you find this week?

Friday, March 18, 2011

Friday Finds -- 3/18

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find for this week is The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

The Andreas family is one of readers. Their father, a renowned Shakespeare professor who speaks almost entirely in verse, has named his three daughters after famous Shakespearean women. When the sisters return to their childhood home, ostensibly to care for their ailing mother, but really to lick their wounds and bury their secrets, they are horrified to find the others there. See, we love each other. We just don't happen to like each other very much. But the sisters soon discover that everything they've been running from-one another, their small hometown, and themselves-might offer more than they ever expected.

This sounds fantastic. What did you find this week?

Friday, March 11, 2011

Friday Finds -- 3/11

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find for this week is Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green and David Levitan. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

One cold night, in a most unlikely corner of Chicago, two teens—both named Will Grayson—are about to cross paths. As their worlds collide and intertwine, the Will Graysons find their lives going in new and unexpected directions, building toward romantic turns-of-heart and the epic production of history’s most fabulous high school musical. Hilarious, poignant, and deeply insightful, John Green and David Levithan’s collaborative novel is brimming with a double helping of the heart and humor that have won both them legions of faithful fans.

Doesn't this sound fantastic? What did you find this week?

Friday, March 4, 2011

Friday Finds -- 3/4

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is How to Bake a Perfect Life by Barbara O'Neal. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Professional baker Ramona Gallagher is a master of an art that has sustained her through the most turbulent times, including a baby at fifteen and an endless family feud. But now Ramona’s bakery threatens to crumble around her. Literally. She’s one water-heater disaster away from losing her grandmother’s rambling Victorian and everything she’s worked so hard to build. When Ramona’s soldier son-in-law is wounded in Afghanistan, her daughter, Sophia, races overseas to be at his side, leaving Ramona as the only suitable guardian for Sophia’s thirteen-year-old stepdaughter, Katie. Heartbroken, Katie feels that she’s being dumped again—this time on the doorstep of a woman out of practice with mothering. Ramona relies upon a special set of tools—patience, persistence, and the reliability of a good recipe—when rebellious Katie arrives. And as she relives her own history of difficult choices, Ramona shares her love of baking with the troubled girl. Slowly, Katie begins to find self-acceptance and a place to call home. And when a man from her past returns to offer a second chance at love, Ramona discovers that even the best recipe tastes better when you add time, care, and a few secret ingredients of your own.

Sounds good, right? What did you find this week?

Friday, February 25, 2011

Friday Finds -- 2/25

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is A Visit from the Goon Squad by Jennifer Egan. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Bennie Salazar, an aging punk rocker and record executive, and the beautiful Sasha, the troubled young woman he employs, never discover each other's pasts, but the reader does, in intimate detail, along with the secret lives of a host of other people whose paths intersect with theirs in the course of nearly fifty years. A Visit from the Goon Squad is about time, about survival, about our private terrors, and what happens when we fail to rebound.

What did you find this week?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Friday Finds -- 2/18

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is The Secret of Everything by Barbara O'Neal. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

At thirty-seven, Tessa Harlow is still working her way down her list of goals to “fall in love and have a family.” A self-described rolling stone, Tessa leads hiking tours for adventurous vacationers–it’s a job that’s taken her around the world but never a step closer to home. Then a freak injury during a trip already marred by tragedy forces her to begin her greatest adventure of all. Located high in the New Mexico mountains, Las Ladronas has become a magnet for the very wealthy and very hip, but once upon a time it was the setting of a childhood trauma Tessa can only half remember. Now, as she rediscovers both her old hometown and her past, Tessa is drawn to search-and-rescue worker Vince Grasso. The handsome widower isn’t her type. No more inclined to settle down than Tessa, Vince is the father of three, including an eight-year-old girl as lost as Tessa herself. But Tessa and Vince are both drawn to the town’s most beloved eatery–100 Breakfasts–and to each other. For Tessa, the restaurant is not only the key to the mystery that has haunted her life but a chance to find the home and the family she’s never known.

I read The Lost Recipe of Happiness by Barbara O'Neal and really enjoyed it (click to read my review). Can't wait to read this one! What did you find this week?

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review -- Finny by Justin Kramon

Finny
by Justin Kramon
Random House, 2010
384 pages
*I purchased this book.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): We meet Finny Short as an observant, defiant fourteen-year-old who can’t make sense of her family’s unusual habits: Her mother offers guidance appropriate for a forty-year-old socialite; her father quotes Nietzsche over pancakes. Finny figures she’s stuck with this lonely lot until she meets Earl Henckel, a boy who comes from an even stranger place than she does. Unhappy with Finny’s budding romance with Earl, her parents ship her off to Thorndon boarding school. But mischief follows Finny as she befriends New York heiress Judith Turngate, a girl whose charm belies a disquieting reckless streak. Finny’s relationships with Earl and Judith open her up to dizzying possibilities of love and loss and propel her into a remarkable adventure spanning twenty years and two continents. Justin Kramon has given us a wickedly funny odyssey with a moving and original love story at its core. Finny introduces us to an unforgettable heroine, a charmingly intricate world, and an uncommonly entertaining and gifted young novelist.

Review: When the reader first meets Finny, she is a scrappy sarcastic teenager that feels out of place within her own family. Then she meets Earl and the love she feels begins to change her and as the story continues a variety of events change the course of her life. The book is a great character driven novel and a surprisingly lovely love story. Though, at the heart, it is really a story about growing up and the people and places who influence how a person sees the world and themselves. The author has a wonderful writing style that just flows and the reader gets caught up in Finny's world. A really beautiful story that I could envision as a wonderful movie. Really beautiful, entertaining, and a fantastic read. Rating:****1/2 out of 5

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

3 W Wednesdays -- 2/16

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? On Sunday night, I started My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme.

What have you recently finished reading? Last week I finished Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn and am hoping to have a review posted soon.

What are you reading next? My mom gave me a copy of The Red Thread by Ann Hood and recommended it as well.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I just received an email from the very lovely Julie over at Booking Mama. I was lucky enough to snag a copy of The Lincoln Lawyer by Michael Connelly in her latest giveaway. Thanks Julie! Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Mickey Haller has spent all his professional life afraid that he wouldn't recognize innocence if it stood right in front of him. But what he should have been on the watch for was evil. Haller is a Lincoln Lawyer, a criminal defense pro who operates out of the backseat of his Lincoln Town Car, to defend the clients at the bottom of the legal food chain. It's no wonder that he is despised by cops, prosecutors, and even some of his own clients. From bikers to con artists to drunk drivers and drug dealers, they're all on Mickey Haller's client list. But when a Beverly Hills rich boy is arrested for brutally beating a woman, Haller has his first high-paying client in years. It's a franchise case and he's sure it will be a slam dunk in the courtroom. For once, he may be defending a client who is actually innocent. But an investigator is murdered for getting too close to the truth and Haller quickly discovers that his search for innocence has taken him face-to-face with a kind of evil as pure as a flame. To escape without being burned, Haller must use all of his skills to manipulate a system in which he no longer believes.

This sounds intense. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

And if you haven't checked out Julie's blog, then you can click here for Booking Mama!

Monday, February 14, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 2/14

This meme is hosted by Book Journey.

Happy Valentine's Day! This Monday I am reading My Life in France by Julia Child and Alex Prud'homme. Last week was okay. I was able to finish Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn but decided to return As Always, Julia to the library. I have a very busy day planned with work and then class and then a lovely dinner with my boyfriend and friends. I hope everyone has a lovely Valentine's Day and spends time with the people they love and eats lots of chocolates!

What are you reading?

Friday, February 11, 2011

Friday Finds -- 2/11

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My find this week is After You by Julie Buxbaum. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

The complexities of a friendship. The unexplored doubts of a marriage. And the redemptive power of literature...Julie Buxbaum, the acclaimed author of The Opposite of Love, delivers a haunting, gloriously written novel about love, family, and the secrets we hide from each other-and ourselves. It happened on a tree-lined street in Notting Hill to a woman who seemed to have the perfect life. Ellie Lerner's best friend, Lucy, was murdered in front of her young daughter. And, as best friends do, Ellie dropped everything-her marriage, her job, her life in the Boston suburbs-to travel to London and pick up the pieces of Lucy's life. While Lucy's husband, Greg, copes with his grief by retreating into himself, eight-year-old Sophie has simply stopped speaking.

The book club I belong to read Julie Baxbaum's first novel The Opposite of Love (click to read my review), so I am looking forward to reading this. What did you find?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Winner, Winner, Chicken Dinner!

I am very lucky to have a won a copy of Mudbound by Hillary Jordan from Mary over at (the fabulous blog) Bookfan! Thank you Mary! Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

In Jordan's prize-winning debut, prejudice takes many forms, both subtle and brutal. It is 1946, and city-bred Laura McAllan is trying to raise her children on her husband's Mississippi Delta farm—a place she finds foreign and frightening. In the midst of the family's struggles, two young men return from the war to work the land. Jamie McAllan, Laura's brother-in-law, is everything her husband is not—charming, handsome, and haunted by his memories of combat. Ronsel Jackson, eldest son of the black sharecroppers who live on the McAllan farm, has come home with the shine of a war hero. But no matter his bravery in defense of his country, he is still considered less than a man in the Jim Crow South. It is the unlikely friendship of these brothers-in-arms that drives this powerful novel to its inexorable conclusion.

This sounds fantastic. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

If you haven't visited Mary's blog, definitely go check it out here.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

3 W Wednesdays -- 2/9

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? Right now, I am reading Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn and am just a few pages into As Always, Julia edited by Joan Reardon.

What did you recently finish reading? The last book I finished was A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. I also recently reviewed The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe.

What are you reading next? I am not sure. Maybe A Dog's Purpose by W. Bruce Cameron.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Review -- The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe

The Book Club
by Mary Alice Monroe
Mira, 2008
368 pages
*I borrowed a copy from the library.

Summary (from Publisher's Weekly via Barnes and Noble): Monroe's (Girl in the Mirror) new novel opens as five friends, all members of a monthly book club, face turning points in their lives. Eve's husband dies suddenly, shattering her comfortable lifestyle, while Midge's mother makes an unannounced and unwelcomed reappearance. Annie finally feels ready to have a child, only to find her health and her marriage in jeopardy. Gabriella strains to make ends meet after her husband is laid off; Doris slides into depression as she tries to deny signs of her husband's infidelity. Sometimes close to and sometimes at odds with each other, the friends struggle to face harsh realities and, in the process, gain new independence.

Review: I had two big problems with this novel. First, I really don't think that I am the target demographic for this novel. Being in my thirties (without children) and reading about women and mothers in their late forties and fifties, I really had a hard time connecting with the characters. My other concern about this novel is the structure. The author spends a lot of time writing about certain members of the book club (such as Eve) and completely disregards others (such as Gabriella). Doris is a no show for many chapters as well. I would have enjoyed it more if there was more symmetry to the story lines and equal time given to the characters. Also, each chapter begins with a quote from the book that the club is reading at that time. Truthfully, I haven't read any of the books (except Pride and Prejudice) but most of the time I didn't understand how the quote and the book tied into the storyline. Other times, I felt the author beat me over the head with an explanation of how the book relates. I read this book for my book club and am looking forward to hearing what everyone has to say about this novel. For me, it just wasn't my cup of tea but I did read the entire book and found portions interesting (especially Doris's transformation). Rating: *1/2 out of 5.

Monday, February 7, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 2/7

This meme is hosted by Book Journey.

Happy Monday Everybody! I am about halfway through Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn. Every spare second that I am not working or completing school work, my nose is in this book. Last week, I reviewed the wonderful Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende (click on title to read my review). I am missing book club tonight because of class but you can read my review of The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe tomorrow!

What are you reading?

Friday, February 4, 2011

Friday Finds -- 2/4

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My Friday Find for this week is The Silent Land by Graham Joyce. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

In the French Pyrenees, a young married couple is buried under a flash avalanche while skiing. Miraculously, Jake and Zoe dig their way out from under the snow—only to discover the world they knew has been overtaken by an eerie and absolute silence. Their hotel is devoid of another living soul. Cell phones and land lines are cut off. An evacuation as sudden and thorough as this leaves Jake and Zoe to face a terrifying situation alone. They are trapped by the storm, completely isolated, with another catastrophic avalanche threatening to bury them alive . . . again. And as the couple begin to witness unset­tling events neither one can ignore, they are forced to con­front a frightening truth about the silent land they now inhabit.

Sounds creepy good! What did you find?

Thursday, February 3, 2011

Currently Reading!

Even though classes have started, I am trying to read for pleasure about 1/2 an hour to an hour every night. I realize quite quickly that I really needed a light and entertaining read at that time of day, so I picked up Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn and am really enjoying it so far! Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life—with Holly's ex! Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She's soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.

Have you read this? If so, what did you think?

Wednesday, February 2, 2011

3 W Wednesdays -- 2/2

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? Right now, I am reading Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. It is good but I am thinking that I need something light to read before bed. Any suggestions? You know, a little chick-lit or a funny romance?

What have you recently finished reading? I recently finished A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans, a very fun book. I am hoping to post a review next week.

What are you reading next? Like I said before, I am looking for something light. Or maybe an adventurous YA novel. Any suggestions?

What are you reading?

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Review -- Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende

Ines of My Soul
by Isabel Allende
HarperCollins, 2006
336 pages
*I borrowed a copy from the library.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): In the early years of the conquest of the Americas, Inés Suárez, a seamstress condemned to a life of toil, flees Spain to seek adventure in the New World. As Inés makes her way to Chile, she begins a fiery romance with Pedro de Valdivia, war hero and field marshal to the famed Francisco Pizarro. Together the lovers will build the new city of Santiago, and they will wage war against the indigenous Chileans—a bloody struggle that will change Inés and Valdivia forever, inexorably pulling each of them toward separate destinies.

Review: This novel is so richly descriptive and wonderfully written. The novel's heroine, Ines Suarez, is a strong woman living during a turbulent and tragic period of Spanish history. The great strength of this book is author's description of the lengths that the Spaniards went to in order to conquer Chile. The journey is impossibly difficult but Ines takes the reader through it one step at a time in her strong and proud point of view. However, there are breaks in her story that show the humble and wise old woman she becomes. A remarkable character driven novel that also educates the reader about a time period very rarely written about. Rating: **** out of 5.

Monday, January 31, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 1/31

This meme is hosted by Book Journey.

Hello everyone! Greetings from cold and snowy New England. I hope everybody had a great weekend. My first week of graduate school (second semester) went well and I am bogged down with homework, but when I take a break it is to read Winter's Bone by Daniel Woodrell. Last week, we had a snow day on Thursday so I was able to finish A Hopeless Romantic (YEA!) by Harriet Evans and post reviews of Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (click on the title to read the review). I have scheduled for this week a review of Ines of My Soul by Isobel Allende, so stay tuned for that!

What are you reading?

Friday, January 28, 2011

Friday Finds -- 1/28

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My Friday Find for this week is Girl, Stolen by April Henry. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Sixteen year-old Cheyenne Wilder is sleeping in the back of a car while her mom fills her prescription at the pharmacy. Before Cheyenne realizes what's happening, their car is being stolen—with her inside! Griffin hadn’t meant to kidnap Cheyenne, all he needed to do was steal a car for the others. But once Griffin's dad finds out that Cheyenne’s father is the president of a powerful corporation, everything changes—now there’s a reason to keep her. What Griffin doesn’t know is that Cheyenne is not only sick with pneumonia, she is blind. How will Cheyenne survive this nightmare, and if she does, at what price?

Doesn't this sound intense? What was your Friday Find?

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Review -- Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

Uglies
by Scott Westerfeld
Simon & Schuster, 2005
448 pages
*I borrow a copy from the library

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): Tally is about to turn sixteen, and she can't wait. Not for her license -- for turning pretty. In Tally's world, your sixteenth birthday brings an operation that turns you from a repellent ugly into a stunningly attractive pretty and catapults you into a high-tech paradise where your only job is to have a really great time. In just a few weeks Tally will be there. But Tally's new friend Shay isn't sure she wants to be pretty. She'd rather risk life on the outside. When Shay runs away, Tally learns about a whole new side of the pretty world -- and it isn't very pretty. The authorities offer Tally the worst choice she can imagine: find her friend and turn her in, or never turn pretty at all. The choice Tally makes changes her world forever.

Review: An interesting young adult novel set in the future where all sixteen year old 'Uglies' undergo plastic surgery to become 'Pretty'. The plot starts off slow setting up the reader's understanding of this futuristic world and developing the main characters. Once Tally makes the decision to find Shay, the action picks up and the novel becomes very engrossing and enjoyable. Tally and Shay are both very likable characters being underdogs who are going against societal norms. The book also has a great overarching lesson of being happy with yourself and seeing the beauty within. Overall, a fast and enjoyable read. Rating: ***1/2 out of 5.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

3 W Wednesday -- 1/26

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? I am slowly working on A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. I started taking classes this week and am working extra hours so my reading time has (unfortunately) decreased.

What have you recently finished reading? I recently finished The Book Club (for book club) by Mary Alice Monroe and Finny by Justin Kramon. I am hoping to get each review posted in the next week or two.

What are you reading next? Well, in my pursuit to be ready for every book club meeting, I will be reading Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill.

What are you reading?

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Review -- Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

Girls in Trucks
by Katie Crouch
Little, Brown & Company, 2008
256 pages

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): Sarah Walters is a less-than-perfect debutante. She tries hard to follow the time-honored customs of the Charleston Camellia Society, as her mother and grandmother did, standing up straight in cotillion class and attending lectures about all the things that Camellias don't do. (Like ride with boys in pickup trucks.) But Sarah can't quite ignore the barbarism just beneath all that propriety, and as soon as she can she decamps South Carolina for a life in New York City. There, she and her fellow displaced Southern friends try to make sense of city sophistication, to understand how much of their training applies to real life, and how much to the strange and rarefied world they've left behind.
When life's complications become overwhelming, Sarah returns home to confront with matured eyes the motto "Once a Camellia, always a Camellia"- and to see how much fuller life can be, for good and for ill, among those who know you best.

Review: I have conflicting feelings about this novel. When I started reading it, I absolutely loved it. The plot was intermingled with short stories about Sarah's childhood, specifically growing up in the South and being a Camellia. As the novel continued on and she focused on her disastrous love life, I felt sad for Sarah. But when she continued to make unbelievably terrible choices and became bitter about her life, then I began to dislike Sarah and the novel. Overall, I would say it was an interesting character story that was well written. Would I read another novel by Katie Crouch? I would like to try Men and Dogs, because I did enjoy her writing style. It's just difficult to like a novel when you grow to dislike the main character so much. Rating: *** out of 5.

Have you read this novel? If so, leave your thoughts or a link to your review in the comments section!

Monday, January 24, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 1/24

This meme is hosted by Book Journey.

So the weather here is COLD, COLD, COLD, just like the rest of the country and I am trying my best to keep warm and get ready for a new semester because today is my first day of class! I have one class tonight (and every Monday for the next 13 weeks) and one class online, so I will be a very busy student for the next few months. However, I am determined to blog and read for pleasure this semester, so wish me luck!

I am currently reading A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. This weekend I finished The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe (for book club) and unfortunately was not very impressed. It should be a very good discussion next month and I will have a review in a week or two. Last week, I finished Finny by Justin Kramon and really enjoyed it. This was also for book club's March meeting and we are going to talk with the author. Very exciting!

What are you reading?

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Club Spotlight -- People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks

The library book club will be reading People of the Book by Geraldine Brooks sometime in the next six months. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

The “complex and moving”(The New Yorker) novel by Pulitzer Prize–winner Geraldine Brooks follows a rare manuscript through centuries of exile and warInspired by a true story, People of the Book is a novel of sweeping historical grandeur and intimate emotional intensity by an acclaimed and beloved author. Called “a tour de force”by the San Francisco Chronicle, this ambitious, electrifying work traces the harrowing journey of the famed Sarajevo Haggadah, a beautifully illuminated Hebrew manuscript created in fifteenth-century Spain. When it falls to Hanna Heath, an Australian rare-book expert, to conserve this priceless work, the series of tiny artifacts she discovers in its ancient binding—an insect wing fragment, wine stains, salt crystals, a white hair—only begin to unlock its deep mysteries and unexpectedly plunges Hanna into the intrigues of fine art forgers and ultra-nationalist fanatics.

This sounds great. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

Friday, January 21, 2011

Friday Finds -- 1/21

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday!! My Friday Find this week is Deep Down True by Juliette Fay. My book club read Fay's Shelter Me and absolutely loved it, so I am really looking forward to reading this book. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Newly divorced Dana Stellgarten has always been unfailingly nice- even to telemarketers-but now her temper is wearing thin. Money is tight, her kids are reeling from their dad's departure, and her Goth teenage niece has just landed on her doorstep. As she enters the slipstream of post-divorce romance and is befriended by the town queen bee, Dana finds that the tension between being true to yourself and being liked doesn't end in middle school... and that sometimes it takes a real friend to help you embrace adulthood in all its flawed complexity.

What is your Friday Find?

Thursday, January 20, 2011

Review -- Room by Emma Donoghue

Room
by Emma Donoghue
Little, Brown & Company, 2010
321 pages

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): To five-year-old Jack, Room is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be asleep when Old Nick visits. Room is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Review: This novel's narrator is very unique and author Emma Donoghue does a fantastic job writing the story from a five year old boy's perspective. This novel is intense but you almost are shielded from the danger because at times Jack doesn't feel it. He trusts his Ma almost completely and does what she says. There is also the barrier of a five year old's vocabulary, so the reader needs to infer what is happening to Jack or what some of the objects he is talking about are. Overall, a fantastic, intense, and engrossing read. Many bloggers placed this book on there Top 10 lists for 2010 and deservedly so. Rating: ***** out of 5

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

3 W Wednesday -- 1/19


This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? I am reading A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans.

What did you recently finish reading? Over the weekend, I finished Soulless by Gail Carriger. I also posted reviews for Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin and Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge. You can click on the titles to check out my reviews.

What are you reading next? Well, classes start on Monday. My main goals are to finish A Hopeless Romantic and The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe, which is next month's book club selection by Sunday night. Wish me luck!

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Review -- Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin

Our Lady of Immaculate Deception
by Nancy Martin
St. Martin's Press, 2010
310 pages
*I received this copy as a gift.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): Roxy Abruzzo, bestseller Nancy Martin’s latest creation, is a loud-mouthed, sexy, independent-minded niece of a Pittsburgh Mafia boss trying to go (mostly) straight. She’d like to stay completely out of her uncle Carmine’s shady business dealings, though he's trying to reel her in. She'd like to concentrate on the architectural salvage business she runs mostly on the up and up for a tidy profit. She'd like to keep her rebellious teenage daughter on the straight and narrow. But Roxy knows where all the good intentions in the world usually lead, and when she can’t help herself from tucking away an ancient Greek statue that's not really hers, she pays for it by getting caught up in the chaos surrounding the sordid murder of the statue’s former owner, heir to a billion-dollar Pittsburgh steel fortune.

Review: I have a slight bias when it comes to Nancy Martin. I absolutely love her books! This one was no exception. Though I did have a tough time getting started (Roxy is very different from my beloved Blackbird Sisters) and some of the plot was predictable, I really enjoyed the book overall. Martin creates a lot of interesting secondary characters, especially Nooch, Roxy's right hand muscle man. I am looking forward to book number two! Rating:***1/2 out of 5

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Review -- Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe
by Jennie Shortridge
Penguin, 2008
400 pages
*I received a copy from the author.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): When she learns that her college sweetheart husband has been seeing another woman, Mira Serafino's perfect world is shattered and she wants no one, least of all her big Italian family, to know. She heads north—with no destination and little money— stopping only when her car breaks down in Seattle. She takes a job at the offbeat Coffee Shop at the Center of the Universe, where she'll experience a terrifying but invigorating freedom, and meet someone she'll come to love: the new Mira.

Review: An intriguing novel about finding out who you are without the constraints of family and friends, Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe is an easy and entertaining read. Author Jennie Shortridge introduces the reader to the likable Mira, who through a variety of misunderstandings and misinterpretations, runs away from her small town life to became the manager of a coffee shop. She misses her old life but finds beauty in the new one she creates with the help of the coffee shop staff. The writing is wonderful but the story doesn't have a same magic as Shortridge's Eating Heaven. Many of the supporting characters are annoying and I had difficulty sympathizing with many of them. However, I did enjoy the ending and am looking forward to reading more by this author. Rating: *** out of 5

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Currently Reading!

Over the weekend, I am reading A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Laura Foster is a hopeless romantic. Her friends know it, her parents know it - even Laura acknowledges she lives either with her head in the clouds or buried in a romance novel. It's proved harmless enough, even if it hasn't delivered her a real-life dashing hero yet. But when her latest relationship ends in a disaster that costs her friendships, her job, and nearly her sanity, Laura swears off men and hopeless romantic fantasies for good. With her life in tatters around her, Laura agrees to go on vacation with her parents. After a few days of visiting craft shops and touring the stately homes of England, Laura is ready to tear her hair out. And then, while visiting grand Chartley Hall, she crosses paths with Nick, the sexy, rugged estate manager. She finds she shares more than a sense of humor with him - in fact, she starts to think she could fall for him. But is Nick all he seems? Or has Laura got it wrong again? Will she open her heart only to have it broken again?

Have you read this? If so, what did you think?

Friday, January 14, 2011

Friday Find -- 1/14

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My Friday Find for this week is Mathilda Savitch by Victor Lodato. Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Fear doesn’t come naturally to Mathilda Savitch. She prefers to look right at the things nobody else can bring themselves to mention: for example, the fact that her beloved older sister is dead, pushed in front of a train by a man still on the loose. Her grief-stricken parents have basically been sleepwalking ever since, and it is Mathilda’s sworn mission to shock them back to life. Her strategy? Being bad. Mathilda decides she’s going to figure out what lies behind the catastrophe. She starts sleuthing through her sister’s most secret possessions—e-mails, clothes, notebooks, whatever her determination and craftiness can ferret out. More troubling, she begins to apply some of her older sister’s magical charisma and powers of seduction to the unraveling situations around her. In a storyline that thrums with hints of ancient myth, Mathilda has to risk a great deal—in fact, has to leave behind everything she loves—in order to discover the truth.

What is your Friday Find?

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Review -- Star Island by Carl Hiaasen

Star Island
by Carl Hiaasen
Knopf Doubleday, 2010
337 pages
*I borrowed this book from the library.

Summary (from Barnes and Noble): Meet twenty-two-year-old Cherry Pye (née Cheryl Bunterman), a pop star since she was fourteen—and about to attempt a comeback from her latest drug-and-alcohol disaster. Now meet Cherry again: in the person of her “undercover stunt double,” Ann DeLusia. Ann portrays Cherry whenever the singer is too “indisposed”—meaning wasted—to go out in public. And it is Ann-mistaken-for-Cherry who is kidnapped from a South Beach hotel by obsessed paparazzo Bang Abbott. Now the challenge for Cherry’s handlers (über–stage mother; horndog record producer; nipped, tucked, and Botoxed twin publicists; weed whacker–wielding bodyguard) is to rescue Ann while keeping her existence a secret from Cherry’s public—and from Cherry herself.

Review: This book was a breath of fun, fresh air when I was in a reading slump. Author Carl Hiaasen writes a kooky story filled with eccentric characters and a nutty story line. For me, the book totally worked. I loved the crazy characters (even the obnoxious Cherry Pye) and the demented plot (seriously - Ann gets kidnapped by a crazy man living in a swamp and that is in the first 25 pages or so). The book flew by and left me laughing. It is also a great satire about celebrity culture and the lengths people will go to sculpt their public image. I will definitely read more by this author. Rating: **** out of 5.

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

3 W Wednesdays -- 1/12

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

What are you currently reading? I just started Finny by Justin Kramon and am enjoying it. Finny is such a fantastic character!

What did you recently finish reading? Over the weekend I finished Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende and Uglies by Scott Westerfeld (reviews to come). They are such different books starting with genre (Ines is Historical Fiction and Uglies is YA), but they were both wonderful reads that I enjoyed.

What are you reading next? Well, I start my second semester of graduate school in a week and a half, so I really need to get as much book club reading done as possible before starting classes. My goal is to start The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe (February's pick) and Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill (April's pick).

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Wanted: Blogs for my Google Reader

I want your blog to be part of my Google Reader!!

Recently, I cleaned out my Google Reader. Mostly, I stopped subscribing or following blogs that haven't had a new post in more than three months. So now I want to fill my reader with all new blogs to check out. That's where you come in!

I am looking for blogs that:

(1) have new posts regularly
(2) have book reviews
(3) cover mostly contemporary and women's fiction (I don't mind a little chick-lit or YA too).

If your blog meets the above criteria, then I would love to follow your blog! Please leave the name of your blog as well as the URL in the comments section. Thanks so much for your help and HAPPY BLOGGING!!

Monday, January 10, 2011

It's Monday! What are you reading? -- 1/10

This meme is hosted by Book Journey.

Happy Monday! I had a great weekend of reading. I was able to finish Uglies by Scott Westerfeld and Ines of My Soul by Isabel Allende (reviews to come). My plan is to start Finny by Justin Kramon later today. Last week, I posted my reviews of Maybe This Time by Jennifer Crusie and
Still Missing by Chevy Stevens (click on the title to read my review).

What are you reading?

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Book Club Spotlight -- Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill

The last book being highlighted is Someone Knows My Name by Lawrence Hill. Here is the publisher's description:

Kidnapped as a child from Africa, Aminata Diallo is enslaved in South Carolina but escapes during the chaos of the Revolutionary War. In Manhattan she becomes a scribe for the British, recording the names of blacks who have served the King and earned freedom in Nova Scotia. But the hardship and prejudice there prompt her to follow her heart back to Africa, then on to London, where she bears witness to the injustices of slavery and its toll on her life and a whole people. It is a story that no listener, and no reader, will ever forget.

Sounds intense. Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Book Club Spotlight -- The Book Club by Mary Alice Munroe

Well, the title is very fitting -- isn't it? The Book Club by Mary Alice Monroe is just one of the books selected by the library book club to read over the next six months. Here is what Publisher's Weekly had to say:

Monroe's (Girl in the Mirror) new novel opens as five friends, all members of a monthly book club, face turning points in their lives. Eve's husband dies suddenly, shattering her comfortable lifestyle, while Midge's mother makes an unannounced and unwelcomed reappearance. Annie finally feels ready to have a child, only to find her health and her marriage in jeopardy. Gabriella strains to make ends meet after her husband is laid off; Doris slides into depression as she tries to deny signs of her husband's infidelity. Sometimes close to and sometimes at odds with each other, the friends struggle to face harsh realities and, in the process, gain new independence. The actual book club of the title plays an oddly small role in this celebration of friendship and growth--the books the club reads are mentioned only briefly and often seem irrelevant to the women's struggles. Still, Monroe offers up believable characters in a well-crafted story.

Have you read it? If so, what did you think?

Friday, January 7, 2011

Friday Finds -- 1/7

This meme is hosted by Should Be Reading.

Happy Friday! My Friday Find this week is Our Lady of Immaculate Deception by Nancy Martin. I love Nancy Martin's series The Blackbird Sisters Mysteries and am looking forward to reading this new series! Here is the Barnes and Noble description:

Roxy Abruzzo, bestseller Nancy Martin’s latest creation, is a loud-mouthed, sexy, independent-minded niece of a Pittsburgh Mafia boss trying to go (mostly) straight. She’d like to stay completely out of her uncle Carmine’s shady business dealings, though he's trying to reel her in. She'd like to concentrate on the architectural salvage business she runs mostly on the up and up for a tidy profit. She'd like to keep her rebellious teenage daughter on the straight and narrow. But Roxy knows where all the good intentions in the world usually lead, and when she can’t help herself from tucking away an ancient Greek statue that's not really hers, she pays for it by getting caught up in the chaos surrounding the sordid murder of the statue’s former owner, heir to a billion-dollar Pittsburgh steel fortune.

Sound like a ton of fun! What is your Friday Find?