Monday, November 28, 2011

It's Monday, what's on the cover?

The woman on that cover looks happy and ready to have a picnic in the park. Not someone about to dish out rules on eating and cooking. Food Rules: An Eater's Manual by Michael Pollan is making me think differently about food. This new edition of the book comes with beautiful illustrations by Maira Kalman. I won't go into full details today because a review will be posted on Thursday. But one rule that sticks out at me is, "Don't eat cereals that change the color of the milk." Darn!!! I used to like Froot Loops as a kid. Now, I like Special K Red Berries. The strawberries in that cereal change the color of the milk!! But at one time those strawberries were fresh so it's Ok right? Who knows. In the meantime take a look at this....

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Where have I been lately?

Normally, this blog is all about books and book-related content. But today I feel I have to get something off my chest. I'm going to unload a little personal information right now. I haven't posted in a while? If you look at that picture, I think you can guess why. If blogging could be my full-time job, I would be the happiest person alive. Who knows maybe it will one day. But presently my mind has been running a mile a minute with life issues. I was laid off from my job, and I've been left wondering what next?

I have three more weeks before my last day. After the initial shock, I'm Ok with it. In the short term, it's a problem. How am I going to pay bills? I need new glasses, how am I going to pay for those? Christmas is coming, how am I going to afford gifts? How long does unemployment last? That last part is weighing on my mind the most. I don't know much about the unemployment world. It's uncharted territory for me. Given the economy, I'm not sure what the future holds.

Reading books and writing about them on my blog has always been a happy experience for me. The past week, reading and writing hasn't been my top priority. I'm trying to get my stuff in order before my last day.

Don't worry authors and publicists, all reviews that were arranged with a set date will be honored. Book reviews without a set date will be posted, but it just might take me a little while.

Hopefully, 2012 will start off better than 2011 is ending!!!

Monday, November 21, 2011

It's Monday, what's on the cover?

Agatha Christie looks a little crowded in that picture, don't you think? Did you know she wrote 87 novels? I sure didn't. No wonder she looks so haggard in that shot. I don't know much about her. I am fascinated by the imagination she had. I know about Hercule Poirot and Miss Jane Marple. I'm ashamed to admit, I've never read any of her books. I have seen three of the movies based on her books (Murder on the Orient Express, Death on the Nile and Evil Under the Sun), and that's it. Now thanks to HarperCollins, I can learn a little more. But this is a little long, so a review will probably be posted next month (fingers crossed).

I can tell Elizabeth and Hazel: Two Women of Little Rock by David Margolick will be powerful. In 1957, a young girl named Elizabeth was just trying to enter school when she was accosted by racial epithets for another young woman named Hazel. Now, decades later the two women have reconciled. I had never heard of this story, so it's always great to learn new things.

Yes, I have started several books. Most of them non-fiction, but I need a little escapism, too. Wanna Get Lucky? by Deborah Coonts is a mystery novel. I love mysteries. Look a little deeper and you can see Sin City in the background. A lot goes down in Vegas. The title is very suggestive, but the main character's name is Lucky.

 Ballerinas, what do I know about them? Absolutely nothing. I used to take ballet, but I hardly remember anything about it. Bunheads by Sophie Flack is about a young girl trying to rise in the ranks. I'm not sure what to make of the cover. The girls all seem very united, but the book tells another story. In the meantime how about a little background on the book from Sophie Flack...

Sunday, November 20, 2011

My take on: When She Woke

Look, I finished a book!! I know it took me two months to finish When She Woke by Hillary Jordan, but that's not because the book was boring. The book was great, it's just that my reading pace goes in peaks and valleys. Sometimes, I tend to put some books ahead of others. This didn't have a set date, so it kind of fell off to the side. I read the first 60 pages, then I kind of stalled for a little bit.

When I finally read the last 270+ pages, I found that this book was awesome.

Hannah Payne is red. She woke up with red skin, after committing a crime against society and God. What was her crime? She had an abortion. She refused to name the father or the abortionist. Hannah went against everything she was taught. She fell in love, and had sex outside of marriage. Worst of all she fell in love with charismatic pastor Aidan Dale, who also happens to be married.

In this dystopian society, God is the center of everything. You're not supposed to question things. The path is marriage, children, and devoting your lives to God. Hannah's parents followed that path, and so did Hannah's sister Becca. Only Hannah wishes Becca would get away from her abusive husband Cole. Hannah wants more out of life than being the dutiful daughter. She rebels in her own way. Hannah wears flashy dresses in secret. Her relationship with Aidan is Hannah's biggest act of defiance. She followed her heart rather that what was expected of her. Female authority and sexuality is taboo in this society. Pregnancy brings all her of her secrets and fears out in the open.

Her punishment for abortion is 16 years as a Red. A process called chroming. Although I never read The Scarlett Letter, that's what Hannah's punishment will remind you of. She's branded in the worst way. Forced to live and face her crime every day she looks in the mirror. The place where it's done is reminiscent of a torture chamber. Hannah is isolated in a white room and left to her thoughts. Left to wonder was it all worth it? How long can she live like this? Will her family forgive her? Will others accept her?

Hannah struggles when she is back in society. Her father and Aidan find a church program that will accept her. That place was more about humiliation and submission than redemption. This point in the book reminds me of The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. Women forced to live by certain set of rules, if you don't then you're cast out. The only saving grace of this place is that Hannah finds a friend in Kayla, another Red like her. There reaches a point when neither can take the humiliation anymore. Their odyssey together is not without its struggles. Kayla makes Hannah realize the huge bubble she had lived in. Kayla is more "worldly," she knows about music and pop culture. Hannah is finally realizing it's time to go against everything she's been taught. They begin to wonder if a path together is right or wrong. What does the future hold? Does fear help?

"She'd been taught that free will was an illusion; that God had a plan for her and for everyone, a pre-mapped destiny. But if that were true, then He'd meant for her to get pregnant and have an abortion, to be chromed, to be despised and humiliated, kidnapped and almost raped. She saw suddenly that this was at the core of her loss of faith: a reluctance to believe in a God who was that indifferent or that cruel." Pg. 320-321

What I got out of the book overall is that once you let go of all the fear and propaganda, you can truly be free. It's disturbing to think that someone could be branded simply for having an abortion. Of course it sounds like an excellent idea for murderers and pedophiles, but once you start that where is the line drawn? This is a unique and interesting read, pick it up!!

Rating: O.M.G. !!!

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Algonquin Books) in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday: The Cobwebs are forming

Top Ten Tuesday is an original weekly feature from The Broke and the Bookish. This week's list is right up my alley. What are the top 10 book that have been on my shelf for the longest time? This could easily be the top 100 books on my shelf that are sporting cobwebs. I have sooooooooo many books that I want to read, but there just aren't enough hours in the day.

1. Harry Potter series by J.K. Rowling: Ok, I know this is seven books, but an exception has to be made. I ordered the hardcover boxset nearly a year ago. I have long felt like I was out of the loop when it comes to Harry Potter ... and I still feel out of the loop. The books and the fancy box it came in are collecting dust in my closet. I have no idea when I'm going to get to them. The day will come.

2. Room by Emma Donoghue: I know this one is rather lonesome. I bought this book and a couple others as a birthday present to myself. It's about a mother who has managed to create a world for her 5-year-old son Jack in one room. I ordered it as soon as I could, but I have never cracked the spine. The book looks brand new.

3. Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult: I went to her book signing earlier this year. I did read the first 60 pages while I waited for the start. I managed to read the first 60 pages, but the book signing was in March and I haven't been back to the book since. I'm a huge fan, and I will get to it.

4. The Unbecoming of Mara Dyer by Michelle Hodkin: I went to her reading at BookExpo America and it was heavily hyped at another panel at BEA. The story sounds awesome. A girl who wakes up in a hospital with no memory of who she is and has to glue the pieces of her past back together.

5. Daughter of Smoke and Bone by Laini Taylor: This was another heavily hyped book at BEA. I made sure to get on the line early for a copy of her book. But BEA was in May, and it's now the middle of November. There just aren't enough hours in the day.

6. Hunger Games series by Suzanne Collins: When the last book came out I saw a flurry of talk about it on Twitter. Just like with Harry Potter, I felt out of the loop. See #2, this set of books was also apart of that order from SEPTEMBER of 2010!!

7. Annabel by Kathleen Winter: I saw a review of this one on another blog. I was intrigued. A young boy is raised male despite being born with female genitalia. It takes place during the late 1960s. It sounds like a great book. I believe I bought it last April when a Long Island Borders went out of business. I got it on sale, so that was the great part.

8. Delirium by Lauren Oliver: I loved Before I Fall. I bought Delirium without even knowing what the book was about. I got another copy at BEA, which she signed.

9. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak: I had no idea this was a YA book until I found it in the YA section.

10. Backseat Saints by Joshilyn Jackson: Seriously, this list could go on. I love Joshilyn Jackson's books. They are full of Southern sassy humor. I'm sure this one is no different.

Monday, November 14, 2011

My take on: Chosen

I was a little torn with Chosen by Chandra Hoffman. I was all set to say this was an awesome book, but then I got to the last 20 pages. The way the author chose to end it threw me for a little loop. The topic was certainly interesting -- infertility, adoption and what makes a family.

Chloe Pinter is a hardworking caseworker. She has the tough task of managing birth parents and adoptive families. It's something I don't think I could ever do. How do you convince someone to give up their child without coming off as insensitive? How do you reassure the adoptive families that everything will work out? To me she's a psychiatrist without the large salary. Chloe is in a relationship, but isn't sure of where it's going. And now Chloe has work her cut out for her with her latest case.

Francie and John McAdoo have been through it all, fertility treatments and a long drawn out adoption process. Their friends, Paul and Eva Nova know how they feel. The Novas were all set to adopt before the birth mother changed her mind. But with Eva ready to give birth, the Novas have a sense of security that the McAdoos don't. This baby is theirs, no one can take him away. The Novas know their is light at the end of the tunnel. But a case of mistaken identity nearly ends in disaster for them.

Francie came off as a little wackadoo!! She wants a family more than her husband. John is older and has had children, another child isn't a priority. Francie isn't missing the signs, she just doesn't want everyone else to notice -- especially Chloe. Francie has also built an entire world for herself on the adoption message boards. She's like the Queen Bee.

Penny and Jason have chosen the McAdoos for their son, but their reasoning isn't without ulterior motives. The give the baby up, but feel their has to be something more in it for them. What about money? Who is going to pull them out of poverty? Jason is an ex-con, how can he get a job? They deserve a better apartment too. In their world, the McAdoos and Chloe owe everything to Penny and Jason. The McAdoos represent everything that Penny and Jason are not. The McAdoos are intelligent, they have money, a house and a car. While Jason and Penny are left to their own demons.

This one is definitely a page-turner. If you're a new parent or you're thinking of adoption, you might want to skip this one. This book will pull at your heartstrings. It's not all sunshine and roses on both sides of the coin. Eva and Paul finally have the baby that they want, but is this what they truly want? You can get wrapped up in the dream and forget about the all the hard work that comes with it. Paul is overtaxed at home and work. He looks for an escape in the wrong direction. Eva is so tired she starts to forget things. The McAdoos have the baby, but not the sense of family that Francie was searching for. At first Penny seems like a grieving mother, but she turns evil very quickly. Jason could care less one way or the other as long as he gets some money out of the situation.

Hoffman knocks it out of the park on the high and lows of the birth/adoption process. Now, towards the end is where she lost me a little bit. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the main characters, a style that I like. But the resolution to the story is told from an anonymous character, which left me a little confused. Why take this way out? I have an idea who the character is, but perhaps I'm wrong. You have to read it to know what I'm talking about. But as a debut novel, this one is worth checking out.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (HarperCollins) as part of a tour with TLC Book Tours

Friday, November 11, 2011

It's holiday time!!

That is 100% funny. But I personally believe books are a great Christmas gift. Scholastic happens to think so also. Looking for some books for your youngsters? Here is a list to help you out....

Picture books

  •  10 Little Caterpillars by Bill Martin Jr., illustrated by Lois Ehlert (Simon & Schuster): A visually stunning read-aloud from the creators of Chicka Chicka Boom Boom!
  • 12 Days of Christmas written and illustrated by Rachel Isadora (Penguin): The beloved holiday song brought to life in breathtaking illustrations.
  • A Bad Kitty Christmas by Nick Bruel (Roaring Brook Press): One of the best and funniest Christmas picture books this season.
  • Can You See What I See? Toyland Express written and illustrated by Walter Wick (Scholastic): This eighth title in the bestselling search-and-find series features a Toyland theme.
  • If You Give a Dog a Donut by Laura Numeroff, illustrated by Felicia Bond (HarperCollins): If you give a child this book, he or she is sure to love it!
  • Llama Llama Home with Mama by Anna Dewdney (Penguin): Llama Llama stays home with a cold in this sweet new addition to a very popular series.
  • The Man in the Moon written and illustrated by William Joyce (Simon & Schuster): This first book in the Guardians of Childhood series tells the epic tale of how a child named MiM became the Man in the Moon.
  • Pinkalicious: The Princess of Pink Treasury written and illustrated by Victoria Kann (HarperCollins): Five stories, an audio CD, plus several fun “extras” make this the ultimate Pinkalicious collection.  
Transitional and Readers and Chapter books

  • Clementine and the Family Meeting by Sara Pennypacker, illustrated by Marla Frazee (Disney Hyperion Books): Fans of Junie B. Jones and Ramona will love watching Clementine get into (and out of) her latest sticky situations.
  • Fly Guy: Fly Guy vs. the Flyswatter! by Tedd Arnold (Scholastic): More action-packed entertainment for beginning readers starring a boy named Buss and his pet fly.
  • Magic Tree House: Dogs in the Dead of Night by Mary Pope Osborne, illustrated by Salvatore Murdocca (Random House): In this wintry, magical adventure, Jack and Annie travel to the Swiss Alps.
  • Rainbow Magic: Magical Holiday Boxed Set by Daisy Meadows (Scholastic): Just in time for the holidays, this magical boxed set includes four sparkly special editions.
  • Super Diaper Baby 2: The Invasion of the Potty Snatchers by Dav Pilkey, George Beard, and Harold Hutchins (Scholastic): The long-awaited sequel to the bestselling The Adventures of Super Diaper Baby is filled with Dav Pilkey’s usual laffs, guffaws, and action-packed fun.
Middle Grade Fiction
  • Darth Paper Strikes Back: An Origami Yoda Book  by Tom Angleberger (Abrams): Dwight and his all-knowing finger-puppet return in this sequel to the bestselling book, The Strange Case of Origami Yoda.
  • Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Cabin Fever by Jeff Kinney (Abrams): The sixth book in Jeff Kinney’s wildly popular cartoon-filled series.
  • Dead End in Norvelt by Jack Gantos (Macmillan): A wildly funny story about a boy’s strange and memorable summer in a small town.
  • The Heroes of Olympus, Book Two: The Son of Neptune by Rick Riordan (Disney Hyperion Books): The latest must-read in The Heroes of Olympus series.
  • Middle School:  The Worst Years of My Life by James Patterson and Chris Tebbetts, illustrated by Laura Park (Little, Brown and Company): A hilarious and poignant story about the wacky ups and downs of being a middle-schooler.
  • The 39 Clues: Cahills vs. Vespers Book 2: A King’s Ransom by Jude Watson (Scholastic): Just in time for the holidays, the latest installment in the bestselling 39 Clues series.
  • Torn by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon & Schuster): New in The Missing fantasy-adventure series.
  • War Horse by Michael Morpurgo (Scholastic): The basis for the Tony award-winning play and a new movie from director Steven Spielberg.
  • Wonderstruck written and illustrated by Brian Selznick (Scholastic): Two stories, one told through pictures and one told through text, merge with unforgettable results in this stunning book by the Calecott-winning author of The Invention of Hugo Cabret.
Young Adult Fiction
  • Crossed by Ally Condie (Penguin): Sequel to the bestselling Matched.
  • The Eleventh Plague by Jeff Hirsch (Scholastic): It’s the end of the world as we know it—and an adventure awaits.
  • This Dark Endeavor: The Apprenticeship of Victor Frankenstein by Kenneth Oppel (Simon & Schuster): In this gothic adventure, a young Victor Frankenstein discovers an ancient formula for the Elixir of Life.
  •  The Hunger Games Trilogy Boxed Set by Suzanne Collins (Scholastic): The perfect gift for adventure- and suspense-loving teens.
  • Inheritance by Christopher Paolini (Random House): The much-anticipated conclusion of the bestselling Inheritance cycle.
  • Okay For Now by Gary D. Schmidt (Clarion Books): A terrific coming-of-age story and one of the year’s must-read novels.
  • The Scorpio Races by Maggie Stiefvater (Scholastic): A captivating adventure from the #1 New York Times bestselling author of Shiver.
Nonfiction (all ages)
  • Guinness World Records 2012  (Guinness World Records): A perennial favorite with readers of all ages, this year’s edition features new topics, a dynamic new design, never-before-seen photos, and thousands of new records.
  • How Cool Is This: An Up-close, Inside Look at How Things Work (DK Publishing): This fascinating compendium of gadgets and gizmos shows how various inventions work.
  • The Hugo Movie Companion: A Behind the Scenes Look at How a Beloved Book Became a Major Motion Picture by Brian Selznick (Scholastic): This insightful gift-book shows how Brian Selznick’s The Invention of Hugo Cabret (winner of the 2008 Caldecott Medal) was adapted for the much-anticipated movie Hugo, directed by Martin Scorsese.
  • Lego Harry Potter: Building The Magical World (DK Publishing): A fascinating look at the Lego Harry Potter world and how it’s created. 
  • Lego Star Wars Character Encyclopedia (DK Publishing): This illustrated encyclopedia offers an in-depth look at the mini-figures of Lego Star Wars.
  • Ripley’s Believe It or Not!: Special Edition 2012 (Scholastic): This collection of strange but true facts makes for fascinating reading.
All of the books are available through Scholastic Book Clubs and Scholastic Book Fairs in schools and online at Happy shopping!!

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Not my cup of tea

That picture looks nice doesn't it? I guess, but I don't even like tea. I had a brief flirtation with coffee in college, but that was simply to keep me awake during early exams. Where am I going with this? Lately I had a few books that weren't my cup of tea. I don't even know where that expression came from, but it fits perfectly with how I felt about a few books lately.

Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith and The Shattering by Karen Healey have left me a little stumped. I go into every book believing I'm going to love it. Perhaps that's a little misguided because no one can possibly love everything. But I love books, and it takes a lot for me not to like something. Lately I've given some books a little too much leeway. My rule of thumb in the past has been give a book 50-60 pages before giving up. But I have fallen into back into a habit of reading books I don't like. I'm forcing myself to finish books I truly can't stand.

Where books are concerned, I have a problem with being ruthless. I'll put the book aside, and start reading another. I'll focus my attention on other books because they have a fixed date for the review. By the time I go back to the book that wasn't my cup of tea it feels like torture.

You might have noticed that after nearly two months, I'm still reading When She Woke by Hillary Jordan. Now this isn't a bad book, I actually like it. I've just made the mistake of putting other books ahead of it. Kind of like what I did with Before I Go to Sleep by S.J. Watson. I prioritize as best I can, but some things just fall through the cracks.

Which brings me to The Lady of the Rivers by Philippa Gregory. I wanted to like this one too because I love historical fiction. The cover was bright and inviting. I read the pitch e-mail, and I thought I want to know what this person is about. But as we all know looks can be deceiving. The opportunities to read books by big-time authors don't come along often. Perhaps I left myself get blinded by that.

I had to give up on The Lady of The Rivers, it just wasn't my cup of tea. I wanted to like it. The opening deals with Joan of Arc being burned at the stake. I was intrigued by that. The young girl in the book, Jacquetta was friends with Joan of Arc. Jacquetta even predicts her death. I thought this is great, where will this lead? The impressionable Jacquetta marries a much older man. He doesn't love her he just wants to use her gifts. After a while I wasn't looking forward to what was on the next page. I put it aside and started Chosen by Chandra Hoffman, a book that I am looking forward to turning the pages. I'm engrossed in that book, I want to know what happens. I hoped that taking a break from The Lady of The Rivers would give me a deeper appreciation for it.

Not the case. It just wasn't my cup of tea.

(By the way I hope what I'm saying is making sense!)

I had to put it down. I feel bad about that. Someone sent me a book and I should have finished it. I've fallen back into the mentality I had when I first started blogging. "YOU HAVE TO FINISH EVERYTHING." That just isn't true. Look at newspapers, I also happen to work at one. Some books sit on shelves for weeks, months, years untouched. Only a select few get actual coverage in the paper. I'm not a professional book reviewer or columnist, but perhaps I should adopt their attitude. I don't have to like everything, review everything or even finish everything because their just not my cup of tea!!

My take on: The Shattering

"Summerton was a perfect town. Always sunny, always safe, always the same. No one moved into Summerton. No one left." Pg. 105

The Shattering by Karen Healey transports us into the New Zealand town of Summertown. A town that is seemingly perfect, expect for one minor detail.  Several young men are dead, and their deaths ruled suicides. But their siblings just don't believe it. Keri, Janna, and Sione band together to prove their brothers were murdered. A rather morbid bond, but one formed with good intentions.

This sounded like a great concept to me. It sounded like a teen murder mystery, and I'm a sucker for mysteries. But I have to say this book just wasn't for me. Each chapter is told from the point of view of the main characters. Janna seems like the leader, but also has her own insecurities. She doesn't believe she is smart, and is afraid a certain cute boy will notice that. Sione follows the crowd. It's also hard for him to say no to Janna. Keri can be assertive when she wants to be. She took charge and broke into a potential suspect's home, while Sione was a reluctant participant.

I was with them for the first 100 pages of the book, but then the story shifted into a different direction. Janna runs the shots, and Sione trails her like a love sick puppy. He's a little sweet on her, but Janna only has eyes for Takeshi -- the young man whom they believe is the next victim. To me their detective skills weren't the greatest. They jump to conclusions without a whole lot of evidence. Plus, I thought this book was going to be based in reality but then we get some magical elements. Now I'm not anti-magic or anti-fantasy. I have read plenty of books with those elements and liked them. With this one it just didn't work for me.

Despite my sentiments, there are some good elements to this book. I got a good sense of the culture in New Zealand, it sounds like a place I would want to visit one day. Older teens will also identify with many of the themes in the book. Racism, bullying, and suicide prevention. The end of the book includes numbers and web sites on suicide, something that can be extremely helpful for those in need. While this book wasn't my cup of tea, that doesn't mean it won't appeal to the rest of you.

Rating: Give it a try

Note: I received a copy of the book from the publisher (Little, Brown and Company) in exchange for an honest review.

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday...Books Outside my Comfort Zone

Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature/weekly meme created by The Broke and the Bookish. I have never done one of these, but this week's list seemed interesting. What are the Top ten books that were outside my comfort zone? I'm not sure I can give you ten, but I'm going to try. Some of these books I read this year. Not all of these were out of my comfort zone in a bad way, only a few.

1. There Is No Year by Blake Butler. This is at the top of the list because I still don't know what this book is about. It has no clear plot. Nothing is in sequence. Things came out of the walls. People were drowned. There was a room full of hair. Yes, hair. The only word I can think of is, "WEIRD!!!!"

2. Alison Wonderland by Helen Smith. This one was totally on the eccentric side. I was just stumped by it. I wasn't sure where the plot was going. The blurb on the back just didn't match what was inside.

3. White Teeth by Zadie Smith. I let all the praise from various authors inside the book sway me. I think I picked this one up in high school. I made it halfway through before I gave up. Maybe it was too highbrow for my teenage brain.

4. The Corrections by Jonathan Franzen. This one I did finish, but didn't understand. I bought it solely because I saw it on Oprah. At the time, it seemed like he was putting as many buzz words in the book as possible.

5. While I Was Gone by Sue Miller. Lady O again on this one!! I saw it on Oprah, read it, and was completely BORED. It had a good premise, a wife and mother is forced to face her past, which included murder. But again, I was BORED.

6. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood. I know I might be in the minority on this one. But I hated this book. This book has been praised by many since before I could read. I had to read this one for a college English class, perhaps the professor, who I couldn't stand, (She would make me late for my next class nine times out of 10) clouded my judgment. This was also the first time I had ever read a dystopian novel. I was used to books based in reality, and I just couldn't get into this book.

7.  True Colors by Kristin Hannah. It's not totally out of my comfort zone, but at the time I hadn't read a romance novel in a while. It was wrapped up too neatly at the end. It teetered on a Lifetime movie of the week. I actually have another book of hers that I want to get to. I don't give up on a author after one bad book. If Night Road is bad, I might give up on Kristan Hannah for good.

I'm sure there are more, but I coming up blank at the moment. There are lots of books that I didn't like, but they weren't necessarily out of my comfort zone. How about everyone else?

Monday, November 7, 2011

It's Monday, need a gift?

Normally on Monday I discuss the covers of books I'm reading, which I will do today. But first how about a little detour for a good cause?

"In Need of Gifts for Readers?
GoneReading makes unique gifts for readers and book lovers. Whether you need gifts for the readers in your life, or a bookish treat for yourself, you’ll love what GoneReading has to offer!
Gone Reading International, founded in 2011, has pledged 100% of company profits in perpetuity to fund reading libraries and other literacy projects in the developing world."
Sound like something you would want to be a part of? Then head on over to GoneReading.

Now what else am I reading? I've been reading The Shattering, When She Woke, and The Lady of the Rivers for a while. I put some other books at the top of the pile. It's not that they're bad books. Since I didn't have set dates for them, I've fallen behind on them. I'm just a slow reader and one of the books (The Shattering) I'm just not feeling. I wonder if I should give up on that one, but I want to know how it ends. I'm a little torn. 

November will be another heavy reading month. Soon I'll be starting Wanna Get Lucky (mystery novel. I'm a sucker for them) by Deborah Coonts. But I will also be delving into the non-fiction arena. It's been a while since I stepped away from the world of fiction. First up on the list is ....

I didn't know much about Jane Fonda before I started reading Patricia Bosworth's biography of her, but only 60 pages in I'm fascinated. Her father, Henry Fonda, didn't sound like the most chipper fellow. Her mother was also dealing with some tough demons. She seemed to have a privileged childhood, but I don't think I would want that life. This book is more than 500 pages, so bear with me.

One more book to start this week.

Chosen by Chandra Hoffman has been on my list for a while. I had an opportunity to take part in a blog tour with TLC Book Tours, and I couldn't resist. A family in peril, torn apart by an adoption nightmare. This one will have to take priority over some my other books. Why? My tour date is next Monday. Yeah I have too many books, but I think it's a good problem to have!!

Friday, November 4, 2011

My take on: Until There Was You

"Holy Bieber!," "Oh Elvis!" If I said that out loud people would look at me like I'm nuts. If I ever say those words internally, I probably am going nuts. But coming from a character in Until There Was You by Kristan Higgins it is very funny.

Cordelia "Posey" Osterhagen is a rather quirky character. She's a tomboy, who loves flannel and work boots. Dresses are a foreign entity to her. Posey is not the type to wear her heart on her sleeve. Instead an off-the-cuff joke or a "Holy Bieber!" will suffice for Posey. But deep down she is still nursing a broken heart. As a teen she was in love with the town heartthrob and resident bad boy Liam Murphy. Just one little problem Liam doesn't even know he broke Posey's heart. He was too busy falling in love with Emma, the town's good girl. Liam and Emma move away from town, and build a life with their daughter, Nicole, in California. Years pass, and yet there's a little part of Posey that still pines for Liam.

When Liam returns to town after Emma's death, Posey is forced to face her feelings. Liam moves back to town to be closer to Emma's parents. But even that has its challenges. Liam is extremely overprotective of his teenage daughter, but in a good way. Liam doesn't want Nicole to fall prey to the type of person he used to be.

Posey's parents, especially her mother, are hilarious on their own. I think they could carry on their own sitcom. Her parents own a local German restaurant, Guten Tag. Posey's mother is the type of parent who would shove a piece of food in your mouth even if you're not hungry. She's always in everyone's business. She's even trying to play matchmaker -- just not with her daughter. Cousin Gretchen, a former TV chef, has returned to town to help out the family restaurant. At first Gretchen seemed all style and no substance. She cares more about looks and style, but as the book progresses there is more to Gretchen.

Posey, who is adopted, feels that her parents hold Gretchen in higher esteem. Gretchen accomplished more in her life and men want her. While Posey is the plain Jane in the corner, who makes a living in architectural salvage. Posey also has a secret "relationship" with Dante, the owner of a rival restaurant. I say "relationship" because they never meet in public and there are no displays of public affection. That's not a relationship, it's not even friends with benefits. A least you can be seen talking and having fun with a friend in public. That "relationship" was an acquaintance with benefits.

Posey has a circle of friends, including her best friend Jon (who just also happens to be her brother Henry's partner). All of that is thrown for a loop when Liam and Posey form their own secret "relationship." You knew that was coming, otherwise there is no point to the book. Although there is a difference to this secret "relationship." While they don't make their pairing public, it seems to have substance. They can actually have a conversation. There is banter, humor and actual romance to this secret "relationship." But even Posey has her doubts. What will make this "relationship" different from Dante? Does Liam care? Is he still in love with Emma? Should she get attached or protect her heart?

This is my second book by Kristan Higgins and I love it. If you read the first two pages and can't identify with the scenario, I don't think I would understand. What am I talking about? Well you will just have to read it to find out!!

Rating: Superb

Note: I received a copy of the book from the author's publicist (Little Bird Publicity) in exchange for an honest review.