Sunday, December 31, 2006

Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein and December Reads

I thought I would do a combined post of what I read this month as well as my reivew of Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein. Here is my review:

Christopher Miller has a pleasant life working at a desk at the F.B.I. even though he would rather be on the field. He has a wonderful wife and a daughter he adores when he gets mixed up in a crazy game that he isn’t sure how it is going to come out. Scott Wilkerson is about to live out his worst nightmare. He is on the way to the airport headed out of town for an important meeting and his limo driver is awful. So he calls to complain about him and the driver loses his job. Little does Scott know that his driver Nikolai is not someone you want to mess with at all. Nikolai is so pissed not only at Scott for getting fired but at Christopher Miller that he takes things too far. But will everyone survive and how far will Nikolai take things?

This is the first book I have read by Chris Grabenstein. It was certainly not what I was expecting but I enjoyed it. I have never read any Christmas thrillers but this is one I would highly recommend. A friend of mine had read it and it peaked my interest. The writing is well done. Reading books about the FBI is one of my favorite things to do and this story really was amazing.

Deciding between Christopher Miller and Scott Wilkerson is not possible. Not only were they strong men, but also I like them both as main characters because one was the one who would save while the other one needed saving. They both had roles to play and I felt bad for Scott because of what he had to go through. I personally have never been in that type of situation so just reading the words on the page I could only imagine the agony. I felt awful for Melissa who is Scott’s wife never knowing what was going to happen next. It takes a lot of team effort to make something work and to pull it off. I was impressed with even the minor characters because they also had roles to play.

I hope to read more by Chris Grabenstein. I enjoyed how he put the characters together and weaved one thrill ride of a story. It was a wonderful Christmas book, but not really one who can’t stand some swearing. I give it a 5/5 cause I enjoyed something different for once and maybe I will find more out there like it.

Here are the books I read in December:
1.The Meaning of Night: A Confession by Michael Cox B
2. The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messund C
3. Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp A+
4. The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield A+
5. She’s Got Issues by Stephanie Lessing B
6. Miss Understanding by Stephanie Lessing A
7.Controversy Creates Cash by Eric Bischoff with Jeremy Roberts B
8. Christmas on Conrad Street by Marcia Evanick A+
9.Little Children by Tom Perotta C
10.Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich A+
11. Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich A
12.The Secret Heiress by Judith Gould B
13. The Little Matchmakers by Debbie Macomber, Barbara Bretton, and Muriel Jenson A+
14. Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina A
15.Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen A+
16.Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica A+
17.The Dragon’s Eye by Dugald Steer A+
18. Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andres A+
19.Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein A

Tomorrow I will post my books for the year. :)

Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews

I just finished this book, then I emailed the author and then wrote my review. So here it is!

Weezie Foley is doing her best to celebrate the holidays but her boyfriend Daniel is quite the grumpy Gus about the whole thing. Weezie hopes this is the year he pops the question but nothing seems to be happening since Daniel is so busy with his restaurant. Bebe to the rescue! Weezie’s best friend Bebe helps her out with decorating for the annual Christmas contest between the stores. Weezie’s original design flops and then she is inspired but is it enough to get her the winning ribbon? And will her family behave around the surprise that she has for Daniel? Or is it all going to come crashing around her feet?

I felt like I was coming home with these characters since this is the third book in the series but well worth it. I had planned to finish it in one day but decided to space things out a bit. It wasn’t easy either because I completely fell in love with the book. But you must read Savannah Blues then Savannah Breeze then this one; it won’t make any sense any other way. The writing is fabulous and I would love to go to Antique Sales like Weezie does but for now I’ll stick to the stores. This story will have you laughing and crying. It is a wonderful story.

Of course I loved all the main characters like Weezie, Bebe, Harry and Daniel, but I loved the new additions of Mickey and Cookie. They are Weezie’s gay neighbors and they cracked me up constantly. The other part that cracked me up was the family dinner that Weezie held. Poor dear didn’t know if she was coming or going. I think all things considered that Weezie handled everything well with all the surprises that came along her way.

This was a delightful Christmas story but I have one more to go. I really enjoyed Mary Kay Andrews writing and bringing back my favorite characters. I hope to read the other books that she has written in the New Year. I recommend this book and the entire series because they are good light hearted books that will leave you with a smile on your face. I give this particular book a 5/5 cause I enjoyed being back in Savannah with all the antics of the characters. It was truly a wonderful book!

Now onto my last Christmas book Slay Ride by Chris Grabenstein. :)

Saturday, December 30, 2006

Dragonolgy Chroncles Vol. 1: The Dragon's Eye by Dugald A. Steer

Daniel and Beatrice Cook have come to stay with their parents’ friend Dr. Ernest Drake for the summer while more study is taking place in India. Dr. Drake’s focus is on dragons as well as he is a part of the Secret and Ancient Society of Dragons. Daniel and Beatrice have a lot to learn if they want to become part of that society. They also will have experience with dragons more than they ever imagined. But their summer falls apart when Ignatius Crook wants to not only get them from Dr. Drake but he wants to find The Dragon’s Eye jewel so that he can control all the dragons worldwide. Will Daniel and Beatrice be able to help Dr. Drake and keep Ignatius from the jewel or are they going to be hurt along the way?

I have heard of the Dragonology book and then hearing about this fiction book peaked my curiosity to read it. Dugald A. Steer has an amazing writing style that also incorporates riddles and journal entries to get his point across. I found this book so enjoyable because of all the different writing mediums he used. I felt like I was really there learning with Daniel and Beatrice.

Daniel and Beatrice are lucky kids to be found themselves immersed in ideas that are not held today. The book is set in the 1880’s but the challenges they faced I found even more fascinating. They were pretty well rounded characters and they changed a lot in the book. I am curious to see where Steer takes the characters in another book. I am thinking since it is referred to as Volume One that more will be coming. I have to say I enjoyed Dr. Drake as well. He was a little bit more eccentric but he was doing what he thought best to keep the dragons safe.

If you are a fantasy lover, I would recommend this book. It is full of adventure and thrills. I really loved how he put all the story together and I can’t wait for the next book to come along. I give it a 5/5 cause this book kept me on the edge of my seat. It was a fantastic book!

Now I am going to start reading Blue Christmas by Mary Kay Andrews. She is the author of the month of a yahoo group that I am in. I just picked it up today from the library. Who knows I might make a second post tonight. lol

Friday, December 29, 2006

Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica

Molly Parker is an unusual twelve-year old. When her mom Jen died, she was told who her real father is. That guy was Josh Cameron the MVP of the Boston Celtics. Molly decides to confront Josh but all does not go well. He doesn’t believer her. Molly wants Josh to not only believe her but also to not take a DNA test. That is an odd request and Josh is willing to go along with that. The one final thing that is in her way is Josh’s agent Bobby Fishman. He doesn’t want her around. Even when Molly gets to know Josh Cameron she has to decide if she really wants him for a father. Can Molly see the real Josh and will he want her for a daughter?

Mike Lupica is a good author. I enjoyed this book immensely and had to put it down numerous times so I could get other things done. It’s a wonderful Christmas book with a lot of heart and sports. That part didn’t even bother me at all like I thought it might. I am not a big sports person but this book left me on the edge of my seat. There were emotions and questions on every page.

Being in a situation like Molly is not one I would want to be in. I think she did really well and she was smart with the actions she took. She also wasn’t too smart but that is where the emotions came into play. Josh was so in shock about the whole thing, he wasn’t sure what to do at first. I don’t blame him to have something like sprung on him would have been hard to deal with being a celebrity. I understood that he wanted to make sure she was telling the truth but you would have thought that after reading one of Jen’s letters that it would have brought him around. I guess some people take longer than others. The other person I really likes was Molly’s best friend Sam. He knew a lot about sports but would never play them. He also knew when to joke about stuff to get Molly to smile. That is what good friends do and I could tell that about the two of them. It made me smile too.

I really want people of all ages to read this book even though it is found in the Teen Fiction section of bookstores and libraries. I recommend this one very highly and it is a very good Christmas book to read. I give it a 6/5 cause I enjoyed it that much! I am even thinking about reading the other two books by Mike Lupica in the future.

Thursday, December 28, 2006

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

Jacob Jankowski has seen it all. He even worked for the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. He found himself on the train by accident. He stayed because he had nowhere else to go. Jacob met and fell in love with the start of the show Marlena but she was married. So he had to struggle with not only his feelings for her but his place in the show. Those months of his life were unchangeable and left their mark. But now as a man of 93, he kept recalling the memories and had to battle the feelings he had now.

Sara Gruen is an incredible writer. She writes characters that are so engaging. I couldn’t put the book down. I had to find out what would happen between Jacob and Marlena. The story was so inviting because I had always wondered what it would be like to be part of a circus. She didn’t dash any dreams but gently gave a wake up call to make me realize it’s not all fun and games. It is serious hard work and life can change in a moment.

I admired Jacob the most. He really did all he could to make his job work. Giving up as much as he did was incredible but there wasn’t all that much to give up in his mind. He really focused and stepped up to all the challenges. I also liked Marlena but I loved Rosie. Rosie was a sweet elephant who just needed love to get things right. Once that happened, she was able to do what was asked of her. I didn’t care how the animals were treated sometimes in the book but at that time they thought they knew best.

The book was enjoyable. It was also a quick read for me. I got pulled into the book so much that I didn’t want it to end. I can see why this book got such rave reviews because the writing, the storyline, and the characters are so good that you have to keep turning the pages. I highly recommend this book to not only people who like history but adventure and a little romance on the side.

I give this book a 6/5. I hope to read more but Sara Gruen soon.

Next up is Miracle on 49th Street by Mike Lupica. But off to go do laundry. :)

Tuesday, December 26, 2006

Tough Choices: A Memoir by Carly Fiorina and New Years Resolutions for Reading!

I enjoyed this book and here is my review:
Carly Fiorina is an amazing woman. From starting out as a receptionist at Marcus & Millichap to eventually becoming the CEO of HP, she led quite a life. Now mind you, she did what she thought was best for every company she worked for and she always asked questions. She sought out problems and did her best to fix them in order to keep things going. She saw a lot of big names and she turned down a lot of opportunities but she is loyal to whom she works for. Her family is also a priority yet her work never stood in the way. She was able to balance them both, which is another thing that amazed me. Carly stood up for what she thought was right and never backed down from questions that were asked of her. When it was all said and done, as frustrating to be fired from HP, she took it in stride and waited a whole year before even writing this book.

This book was written well and I was able to understand a lot of business titles and keywords that I have never heard before. A lot of the things she made sure were working are things that even need to work in every job out there. There needs to be a team and that team needs to work together. It is not always an easy process but Carly never let that get to her. Even when people questioned her because of her background, she stood firm and did the research.

I would recommend this book to anyone who likes reading about business and the workings of them. This was not a book I would typically read but I wanted to hear more about her situation and learn something from it. To have all that power and still be that humble is nice to see in this day and age. I give this book a 4/5 while it is not something I would normally read this is a book that a lot of people might enjoy.

I thought I would keep this to one post so here are my resolutions:
1. 170 books. I was supposed to read 160 but I read more than that. I am hoping the chunksters will help slow me down. :)
2. Keep going through my TBR pile.
3. Classics Challenge
4. Chunkster Challenge
5. Continue book list and blog

So there you go! It took me so long to finish the book because of the holidays. :) But now I hope to start tonight Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen.

Thursday, December 21, 2006

A Carol Christmas by Muriel Jensen

Carol is a dorm mother at St. Christopher’s Orphanage. She looks after 5 kids, 3 girls and 2 boys who haven’t been placed with a foster home yet. This Christmas is the worst because the orphanage is being shut down and so the kids will have to move somewhere else. When Mother Margaret’s brother Mike comes to stay, the kids connect with him almost immediately. Mike takes a shining to Carol and wonders why she is even there. These 5 kids need a miracle but can it happen and what will it be?

This is the first story that I have read by Muriel Jensen and it won’t be my last. It was a story that melted your heart and you had to keep a box of tissues nearby. She is a wonderful writer and I really felt a part of the story. I loved this one the most because there was so much more to overcome between Carol’s past and what to do with those sweet children. It was a perfect Christmas story to read.

My favorite character was Carol. She was sweet but had a rough exterior due to an unfortunate accident that had happened the year before. It was hard for me to read about what she had been through but I really wanted her to be able to persevere. I also liked Mike as well because he really needed a wake up call. The kids were terrific and it is hard to think about kids that are like them in the same type of situation. Of all the kids I really liked Frank. He was the oldest and he really wanted to have a family. I don’t think he really cared how it came to be but he wanted to have it.

This book was the perfect ending to the anthology and my favorite story of the three. I give this anthology a 6/5 and this particular story a 5/5.

I plan to read more of these authors in the new year. But now onto Tough Choices by Carly Fiorina. She is the former CEO of HP. I am curious to what she has to say.

Part 2 of Little Matchmakers: Mrs. Scrooge by Barbara Bretton

Samantha Dean has wanted one thing all her life to open up a restaurant. Now that one thing is about to happen but her daughter Patty has other ideas. She wants a daddy for Christmas. Sure, her biological father is in the picture but Patty wants a daddy that is real and stays at home. On career day, Patty finds the perfect man and his name is Murphy O’Rourke. Now all Patty has to do is get her mom and Murphy together and she has the perfect idea. But will it work out or is it just another dream.

This is the first book I have read by Barbara Bretton surprisingly. I hope to read more by her in the coming year. It was wonderfully written and it shows what kind of sacrifice people have to make in their lives but how you often get rewarded for it. The writing was excellent and I really loved how she was able to write the kids talking like kids. That’s not an easy thing to do sometimes when you are used to writing adult fiction but Barbara did a really good job with it.

My favorite character was Patty. She was a genius but only 11 years old. All she wants is a 24/7 daddy. She matches up her mom with people and it is pretty darn cute. Samantha was a good mom to her and I liked how she was really trying to get herself supported better financially. I also liked Murphy. This is a guy who could melt your heart. He completely falls for Patty and does a lot to keep her happy really. I don’t think either Sam or Murphy really knew what was going on right away.

This is a wonderful heart warming Holiday book. I can’t wait to read the last one in the series as well as many more I can fit in before December 31st. I give this story a 5/5 and it is certainly helping the final grade of the anthology.

Now onto the final story in the book, A Carol Christmas by Muriel Jensen. I might end up posting about this one today. We'll see.

Wednesday, December 20, 2006

6 Great Books I read this year!

One of my yahoo groups came up with this idea and it was not easy to narrow it down. :)

Blue Smoke by Nora Roberts
The Tenth Circle by Jodi Picoult
Angels and Demons by Dan Brown
Life Expectancy by Dean Koontz
The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseni
The Expected One by Elizabeth McGowan

There they are! Well off to get the kid down for a nap. lol

Little Matchmakers Part 1: The Matchmakers by Debbie Macomber

Dori is a widowed mother of an 11-year-old Danny. But Danny wants to have a daddy around. Dori agrees to look for a father type figure for him but they need to take some time with it. On the way to school that morning, she almost gets into an accident. The guy ends up following her and it turns out to be Gavin Parker, the ex-football player. Dori agrees to pay his dry cleaning bill since he spilled coffee on himself. When he sends her the bill, Danny puts a note in there that Gavin has to come see them. What ensues next is an agreement to look like they’re dating to not only get Danny off of her back but Gavin’s daughter Melissa. The problem is emotions and what will they do if they get too involved?

This is the first story I have read by Debbie Macomber and I loved it! It was cute, clean, and things were taken care of very nicely. Now mind you all books can’t do that but it is nice when it happens. The writing was really good and I enjoyed reading what happened to the characters and the lovely situations that they found themselves in. I laughed and sighed my way through the story.

Dori was my favorite character because of her having a son but also the fact that she is doing what she can to keep her son happy within reason. It is something all parents need to learn how to do but keep a balance so that the kids don’t think they are always going to get what they want in life. I think she did that well until emotions got involved which makes things very tricky. Gavin was a jerk in the beginning but past experiences had left him hardened from relationships. Danny and Melissa were two conniving kids and their ideas had me smiling. Those two kids were pretty smart.

I really enjoyed this holiday story the first in the anthology called Little Matchmakers and hope to read the next one soon! I would definitely give this story a 5/5 but we’ll have to see what I think of the book over all later.

The Secret Heiress by Judith Gould

Ariadne and Nikoletta are twin sisters that were separated by birth. Their father Nikos thought Ariadne was cursed and sent her off to live with another family. Ariadne grew up to be sweet and loveable. Nikoletta had all that she ever wanted and more whenever she wanted it. Once Nikos died, the board of advisors didn’t care for the direction Nikoletta was taking the company Papadaki Private Holdings Limited and decided that they would find her twin sister that Adrian Single knew about. Finding her was not so much of a problem but training her to be her sister Niki is another thing all together. Can she pull it off or will something happen to ruin their entire plan?

I have only read one of her other books so I wasn’t sure what to expect at all. The writing was really good but I just didn’t like all the sex. What is it with steamy novels and me lately? Anyways, I enjoyed how well the characters stood out and I really got a deep feeling of dislike for Niki. My favorite character was Ariadne. As I said before she was sweet and lovable a complete opposite from her twin sister. I also really liked Matt Foster. He was looking out for Adriane’s best interest even when things became complicated.

At first, I really didn’t care for the book but it grew on me. I wanted to see how they would deal with Niki as well as how Ariadne was going to deal with her gut feelings on how to be Niki. I was pleased with how well Judith Gould handled the book. The thing that impressed me the most and I feel silly for not seeing it sooner was what Judith mentioned at the end of the book. But I’ll leave that up to you to read and find out. I don’t want to give anything away. This book was delightful and I really felt for all the characters even Niki in spite of her delusions. I wish that a few things had been taken care of and not left hanging. Yet not much I can do about it. I do recommend this book if you love romance and adventure. It is good with that but if you don’t care to read a lot of sex scenes then this would not be the book for you.


Now I am working on The Little Matchmakers anthology. It starts with Debbie Macomber's The Matchmakers. It is supposed to be holiday themed. I'll let you know. :)

Sunday, December 17, 2006

Motor Mouth by Janet Evanovich

I am on some kind of pace or something cause I normally don't blog this much in a day. But I guess from time to time it will happen. :) This was a pretty good book. I enjoyed it but .. well you can read my review. :)

Alex and Sam are at it again in the second book in the series. Alex is Sam’s spotter in the last race in the season. Their friend Jefferson is gotten himself into some deep trouble and gets stuck in a race hauler. So Alex and Sam go to help him get out and when they do they also find a dead man. They have to figure how to get rid of a dead body but more than that try not to get in trouble for taking the hauler in the first place. Alex thinks that there is illegal technology being used and had to figure out what to do about it. Plus Alex knows that Sam cheated on her and needs to deal with that as well. Their friends in Miami help out and it is quite the fiasco but can they come out in one piece?

I have to say that I liked it but not as much as the first one in the series. A lot of it seemed far-fetched to me. I laughed quite a bit and the writing was just as good but there seemed a lot of obstacles in the way and I wasn’t sure if they would ever be able to solve all the problems.

It was really nice to have recurring characters as well as reading them back to back. I still really liked Alex and Sam. I was impressed with how well their whole relationship was dealt with and I can’t wait to see what happens next with those two. As always Felicia and Rosa cracked me up. Those two are a riot. I was really impressed with how well Janet Evanovich did with all the Nascar stuff she put in her book. Most of it is public knowledge really but it is nice to see that she pays attention to the littlest detail.

I do recommend this book because it is good just make sure that you read Metro Girl first because it will make more sense. I am a stickler for reading books in order as long as I know that they are in a series. Not more that I can say really except that I give it a review of 3/5. It was good, it kept my attention, but in the end a lot of the events weren’t all plausible to me. But I was impressed with how well she tied up most of the loose ends.

Well next on my list of books is The Secret Heiress by Judith Gould but I won't get to that till tomorrow. :) Good night all!

Classics Challenge

I am going to be doing this one too and four of these tie into my TBR Challenge too. :) But with the TBR Challenge those are on a whim so I am not sure I can even post them. lol Here is my classics:
The Hobbit
The Fellowship of the Ring
The Two Towers
The Return of the King
Madame Bovary

Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich

I loved this book! Here is my review:
Alexandria “Barney” Barnaby gets a call from her brother around 2am. Bill is calling to let her know that he is leaving town and to not go find him. But when Barney hears a woman scream in the background, she is determined to find out what is going on. So she takes some much needed vacation time and heads down to Miami. While looking for her brother at the docks where he works, she runs into famous NASCAR driver, Sam Hooker. Sam offers to help her find her brother since he has nothing else to do. Barney hesitates at first but then agrees since her brother Bill did take Sam’s boat. Little did they know the trouble that they were getting into could cost them their lives. Greed is a powerful motive and that is one that they have to combat and win in order to save not only Bill but also the woman he claims to love Maria. Will they succeed?

Janet Evanovich is one amazing author. This is the first of her books that I have ever read and there will be more to come. She is really able to capture her characters’ feelings and put them down into words. I was impressed with how clean this book was though I know it is a rarity. I was able to enjoy the book and the little hints of sexuality. The characters had feelings but there was some dishonesty. The other thing I liked about the characters came across as real people. I know some authors try but aren’t able to accomplish that but Janet Evanovich was very able to do that.

My favorite character is Alex aka Barney. She is headstrong and doesn’t know when to call it quits. Now sometimes that works out in her favor and other times it doesn’t work out as well. Yet she knew when she was over her head. Though that didn’t often stop her. I still liked her cause she was doing all that she knew to do so she could save her brother. The other character I really liked was Sam Hooker. I just love NASCAR but I really liked it that even though he was famous he could keep his head on his shoulders. That isn’t something that is easy to do when given the power that famous people have. But I felt bad for the guy cause he kept getting mobbed.
Metro Girl was really good and I especially enjoyed how Janet Evanovich put the title in the book. You’ll have to read it yourself to know how it is used. But it is worth the read and worth your time. I give this book a 5/5 cause I couldn’t put it down. I had to find out if Bill and Maria made it and if the bad guys got it in the end.

Now onto Motor Mouth by the same author. :)

Little Children by Tom Perotta

The ladies at the playground consider Todd “The Prom King”, but no one ever talks to him until Sarah shows up one day with her daughter Lucy. His wife Sarah produces documentaries and is jealous of the connection he has with their son Aaron. Sarah, on the other hand, was a feminist but is now in a traditional marriage to her husband Richard. Richard has secrets of his own that take him away from Sarah and Lucy. Mary Ann has to plan everything out right down to a scheduled time to have sex. But all of their worlds change when a convicted child molester moves into the neighborhood. They have to figure out how to deal with the issue without scaring their children. And two of the people listed above have an affair that goes too far.

When I first picked up this book somehow I thought it was a mystery. I don’t know why I thought that but oh well. I still have mixed feelings about this book even though I finished it yesterday. I felt sorry for all the spouses in this book. But I never felt they were really trying to do anything to keep their marriage intact. The sex got a little too blatant and normally I don't mind it if I can see it being realistic. Tom Perotta may be a fine writer but I didn’t really think so. The writing itself was fine but the characters came off a little too self-centered for me again.

The one that I felt sorry for the most was Kathy. She was trying to make money while her hubby Tom was working on passing his bar exam but she still feel left out. The poor dear really tried. I don’t agree with how some people treated the child molester. Now having said that, I don’t think they should be let back into society. Well, at least this one, but it is not an easy decision to make. If the person is not in public, don’t egg his house etc, just leave him be. Now if he/she is in public, then just stay near your kids so they can play. It’s just a tough call though I think a few neighbors took things too far with that situation.
I don’t recommend this book but I may try his book Election since they turned it into a movie. On the back of the book they compared him to Nicholas Hornby and if I had known that I probably wouldn’t have read it because that was another author I found only okay. So I give this book a 2/5.

Now onto something lighter I hope. lol I am going to start Metro Girl by Janet Evanovich. :)

Friday, December 15, 2006

Books I didn't like

A friend of mine posted a question about books we didn't like. Well I had more than the three she asked for. lol So here they are in no particular order:
Summer Crossing by Truman Capote
The Remedy by Michelle Lovric
London Transports by Maeve Binchy
Cradle and All by James Patterson
Alentjo Blue by Monica Ali
The Glass Books of the Dream Eaters by Gordon Dahlquist
Times of the Thunderbolt Kid By Bill Bryson
The Emperor’s Children by Claire Messund

Sometimes it was foul language other times it could be either confusing characters, plot that had no sense to it or just really offended me.

Thursday, December 14, 2006

Another Wonderful Christmas Story!

I didn't think I would be posting a second review today but this book was too difficult to put down. :) The book is Christmas on Conrad Street by Marcia Evanick.

Sidney Fletcher is happy in her life and with her boyfriend Richard, but when she comes home to find him in a compromising situation she decides to give up on men. She moves to Misty Harbor in Maine where her sister Gwen lives with her husband. Sidney makes the decision to pick up the practice that is already there. The hunky Erick Olsen is originally from Norway and Sidney finds him attractive but doesn’t want to pursue it. One night, on the way home from shopping, she barely stops in time from hitting an elderly man. It turns out that it is Hans Bergersen, Erik’s grandfather. Sidney gets him home safely but it all seems to go downhill from there. Erik asks her for her help but she is not sure what to do about the situation or Erik. He says he’ll pay her back with a traditional Norwegian Christmas. As the time approaches, Sidney must decide if she is ready to fall in love again and possibly give her heart away for good?

This is the first book I have read by Marcia Evanick and I am looking forward to reading more of her books cause there are quite a few. She is an amazing writer who writes very strong women. That is one of the things I enjoyed most about her characters. They were strong women. Yes, there were weaknesses in all of them, but that is true to life cause no one is perfect. The story never seemed jumpy and I always understood her. The one thing I didn’t know was the Norwegian. But then it was always explained to the reader. I really enjoyed that the most of anything because I have Norwegian descent.

The characters were incredible. I loved hearing about Norway and their traditions because I was never taught much of anything. My favorite character was Sidney cause I could relate to her in so many ways with the doubts and all the stuff she had to go through. I also liked Hans, the grandfather. He reminded me of my grandfather Merlin. Both very stubborn men but knew when to give in at some point. I loved seeing how the characters interacted and all the surprises that came along the way.

This is a book I would highly recommend and unlike me make sure to read the book Catch of the Day first. That is the first in the series which I didn’t know about cause I found this book by doing a search on Christmas books on my local library’s website. It was a good book to stumble across. I give this book a 6/5. This was an enjoyable Christmas book!

Now onto starting another book before a friend of mine stops over. I will be reading Little Children by Tom Perotta.

An Interesting Book

I just recently finished this book Controversy Creates Cash. Here is my review:

In my humble opinion, Eric Bischoff was pretty gutsy for writing this book. I learned a lot about wrestling and Bischoff’s time with all the different wrestling companies starting with AWA to WWE. He tried a lot of different ideas, worked with a lot of famous people, and should have given up on WCW long before he did. He even said that himself about WCW. Now having all that said, a lot of the problems with WCW were NOT his fault. The powers that be at Time Warner AOL were sticks in the mud and what WCW was doing didn’t fit their ideas of what they wanted to be or do. So one can only do their best in that type of situation. I was impressed with how humble Bischoff could be at times though sometimes he came off quite self-assured which is not always bad.

One thing that I found so amazing was how well grouped things were in the book. Now that was partially to the help of Jeremy Roberts. There was a lot of points to cover and I was pleased that Eric didn’t try to do it all on his own. I’m not saying he couldn’t have done it but having the help made it a better book and easier to follow. He never really ripped on anyone but he always gave his opinion and made sure to state it as such. The second thing I enjoyed was that even though it was his opinion he often said that the other person involved saw it differently and would tell it as such. He was sure not to say that they were wrong but that they just were at differences about it. That is not easy to do or admit and that just took a lot of guts! The final thing I enjoyed was all the unique stories he had to tell and how much he really did name drop. I loved hearing about Chris Benoit and Randy Savage. Some of the wrestlers I never knew about their hey day so that was nice to read. I got a good education about how things can run and go well as well as how things can run and not go well. That’s life! I didn’t really care for all the finger pointing but that is going to happen from time to time no matter what you do.

I loved how Eric told how he started in the business and up to present day. I didn’t know much about how things were run. The thing that was really nice is that he made sure to explain all the business terms. Since I know very little about that industry, it really helped me out with understanding the point he was getting across to most people who knew what he was talking about.

If you are a wrestling fan, I would say go check this book out from the library. I did that. Now having said that, the pictures alone in the book would make it worth owning. But I just don’t have the money to buy all the books I would like nor do I have the space. I learned a lot about wrestling and it opened my eyes a lot. This is a book that is worth reading if you are interested in this type of thing. If not, don’t worry you’re not missing much. I enjoyed it and maybe down the road some day I can buy it and own it myself. It was an eye opening experience and I won't soon forget it.

Now onto another Christmas book, Christmas on Conrad Street by Marcia Evanick.

Monday, December 11, 2006

Another Good Chick Lit

I finished this one and I really enjoyed it. I have to go email the author again. :)

Zoe though the calmer sister of the two in the book “Miss Understanding” still had a lot of issues she has to deal with. She is the new Deputy Editor for the magazine her sister Chloe works at. The other ladies who contribute have it out for her from day one. Not to mention her sister’s mother in law Anita, who is a snobby rich woman looking only to profit from the magazine and doesn’t seem to care what goes into it. Her brother in law Dan seems to be a little clueless himself, but she can’t fault him for loving her sister. To top it all off, Zoe’s boyfriend Michael keeps asking to take their relationship to the next step meaning marriage. She has tough work to find out how to combat the girls who were like the ones that hated her in elementary school to all the sabotage that gets thrown her way. Can she do it?

I really enjoyed Zoe in this book. She finally gets to have her say and there sure is a lot of it. This woman never backs down from anything and wants to see Issues come to the 20th Century with covering stuff that really matters not just beauty tips. Chloe is as clueless as ever and seeming to focus on nothing but clothes. She is a sweetheart and really wants what is best for the magazine and supports her sister’s ideas. I really got to know Michael, Zoe’s boyfriend, more and thoroughly admired him for sticking around but always making his thoughts known too. Those two are quite the pair together.

I loved this book more than “She’s Got Issues” because to me it had more substance. There were more problems to solve but I wanted to see them get solved. I can also tell that a lot can happen with a writing style from one book to the next and appreciated it all. Stephanie Lessing is a gem and really knows how to put women’s feeling onto the page more so in this one. I can’t wait to see what she writes next. I recommend this one very highly but you must read the other book first. It will make more sense that way.

Now I am off to read more in Controversy Creates Cash by Eric Bischoff with Jeremy Roberts. The former General Manager for Monday Night Raw. :) As well as Former CEO/President of WCW, but I'll go more into that later. :)

Sunday, December 10, 2006

Chunkster Challenge

I posted the books I want to read as well as other possibilites. :) I am looking forward to this so much. Oh and I emailed Stephanie Lessing the author of She's Got Issues and Miss Understanding (which I am currently reading) and she responded back same day. How cool is that!

A Quick Read

I finished She's Got Issues by Stephanie Lessing not that long ago. Here is what I think. :)

Chloe has always dreamt about working on the Magazine Issues. But when it finally happens, it isn’t how she always dreamed and her boss is a total nightmare. It even gets to the point where she is not sure what to do about it when she goes to the shoe closet and there she meets Stan. He is a nice guy and she loves meeting him there. But once an article is written about an assistant who is possibly sleeping her way to the top, it makes her re-evaluate what she really wants. Along with the help of her sister Zoë, she works her way through the muck at work. Will she stay at her job? Is she able to succeed and work with everyone in the Art Department?

I really enjoyed the dynamic between Zoë and Chloe. There were too great sisters. I thought it was awesome how Zoë would stick up for her younger sister Chloe. Though I think she often went too far and Chloe was smart to combat that without her sister knowing. I also really liked Liz the cafeteria lady. She was sweet and not often in the book but the few times that she was in there she was the balancer for Chloe. It was enjoyable to see. All the characters were believable cause there are people that are really like that. That was what finally won me over.

At first when I started “She’s Got Issues”, I was rather disappointed. I felt that Chloe was self-centered and her job was pointless. As the book went along, I finally warmed up to her and the other characters in the book. The writing was well down and the characters were very real to me. Stephanie Lessing is an incredible author and I enjoyed how she unfolded her story. I look forward to reading her next book Miss Understanding and how she decides to take Zoë’s story.

Saturday, December 09, 2006

A book that I loved!

I finished The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield about a half hour ago and here is my review.

The Thirteenth Tale was one of the most amazing books I have ever read this year. The main character Vida Winter decides she wants to tell her real life story and sends off a letter to Margaret Lea. Margaret Lea responds and shows up to hear what Vida Winter has to say. There were a lot of lies surrounding her as well as hidden secrets known only to her. Margaret isn’t sure what to think but writes everything down doing her best not to ask questions. It is full of gothic themes and family illness. But the one thing that rings true is what people will do for love. It may not be pure love, but what each person deems what love is. Margaret struggles with things in her own life and everything comes to the surface for her. Can she write down what Vida has to say or will it be too much for her to handle?

Diane Setterfield is an amazing author! The writing was fabulous and it kept me turning pages to find out what every secret was as it was revealed. I enjoyed her writing style even though at times it was a little confusing at the beginning that was talking at times. But pushing through that was completely worth it.

Vida Winter is a character full of secrets but feels the need to reveal them. She is a woman who has lived a life full of joys and sorrows. She has been able to heal but there is still pain when talking about her past. I really was able to embrace what she was feeling and look at what I even felt. Both Margaret and Vida had tough situations to deal with but in the end I think both of them did wonderfully with them.

I would highly recommend this book because the tale is weaved so well. It has gotten mixed reviews by a lot of people but I found it incredible. To hear the story unfold page after page was one that I found very difficult to put down. The history and the times that were lived in though never mentioned were ones I found compelling. All of the stories in this book are wonderful and would recommend reading the whole book. The ending is one that I enjoyed the most as I hope many of you that read it did and the ones you will read it will agree. I know not everyone agrees but this book has been one that has affected me heart and soul.

Up next a little lighter fare, I am going to read She's Got Issues by Stephanie Lessing. Off to finish dinner. :)

Thursday, December 07, 2006

A Heart Warming Read

I never thought I would finish a second book today. lol But it happened, this was a short book but it was wonderful. It is a perfect Christmas book and non-fiction too. :)

This was the perfect book to start out the Christmas season. It is a beautiful non-fiction story about a family who goes to New York to sell Christmas Trees every year. One year in particular, the oldest daughter Ellie wants to go see The Nutcracker Ballet at the Lincoln Center. Billy, the father, sees this as an extravagance and almost loses sight of what Christmas really means to him and his family.

I enjoyed the entire family. Ellie was 10 and was starting to grow up. Patti, is the mom, has a strong head on her shoulders. The middle boy Harry was trying to be like his big sister. And the youngest one boy is only 2 but he is sure a cutie pie. I loved seeing how they work together as a family.

Billy Romp has only written this book and the co-author Wanda Urbanska has written a couple of other non-fictions with her husband. I enjoyed the writing style and it was like I was there living it with the family. I would highly recommend it to anyone who needs a good warm comfort hug and to remember that life is something to cherish! A book to definitely read during the holidays!

Well I just started The Thirteenth Tale by Diane Setterfield. But my little boy wants my attention. :)

My Second book for December

I just finished this book The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud about a half hour ago. :) Here is my review of it and I try to be nice as you will read. :)

Marina Thwaite tries to get out from behind her father Murray’s shadow with writing a book. Danielle tries to find true love but has another miss. Julius keeps on looking for love as well but wants someone to really love him but that backfires in his face. Fredrick Tubb goes to see Marina his cousin and look for success with the help of her father. They all look for success in life and try their hardest. Are they able to accomplish it?

Claire Messud is a writer different than from any other writer I have read so far. She gives a lot of background and then when getting to the heart of the story it changes at the end. I was constantly confused and wasn’t ever sure I would ever find out the meaning of the title to the book. She can express her characters’ feelings well but those even seem to be all mixed up.

I never really felt like I got to know any of the characters except for Danielle and she wasn’t even the main character. Fredrick decides to rebel and writes an article that could cause a lot of problems for people. Murray Thwaite is way past his prime but people still seem to enjoy his work and he does quite a lot of speeches. Marina treasures her father too much in my opinion.
I try not to write bad reviews because the book isn’t so much bad as it just doesn’t resonate with me in any way. Books don’t have to be all finished up nice and neat but I don’t like a lot of questions in a book unless I know it is a series. There were too many questions that I had and nothing really felt satisfied to me. Now, if that is what the author Claire Messud was going for then she did an excellent job. I just personally didn’t care for how the characters were handled. It is not a book I would recommend but someone else may think different than me and enjoyed it. I would say give it a try but maybe give up sooner than I did with it.

I hope to start reading my first Christmas book called Christmas on Jane Street by Billy Romp. :)

Sunday, December 03, 2006

Yay! A Blog

This is my blog about books and only books. :) I love to read and love to share it with people. I just finished The Meaning of Night: A Confession by Michael Cox. Here is my review:

This book starts out as thoughts from the main character Edward Gylver. Or is that not his real name? Edward is seeking revenge from an old school chum back in the 1850’s and practices killing another man first to see if he can even follow through with the plan. Then Edward tells about his past and that there is a secret to who his parents are and he must find out in order to reclaim a huge inheritance. Edward seeks out information and tells lies a lot to get what he needs to. But will it all work out in the end?

This is the first book I have read by Michael Cox and I enjoyed it immensely. His vivid telling of the events in the book as well as how the characters could express themselves eloquently was delightful to me. The time period of the book meant the characters had certain rules to follow to be proper but that didn’t slow down the book. Michael Cox has a way with words that really gets to you. I felt the descriptions were needed and enjoyed all the footnotes on each page so I could understand the terms and current things of that time.

I enjoyed the character of Edward Glyver but never was sure what his name really was, but that is probably all part of the story. Each character had their place and filled it well. There were villains and damsels and things you might associate with that time. But the thing I liked most of all was the passion. It was deep whether it was passion to do good or to do bad. The motives of each character had passion behind it and that is not always seen in a lot of books today. But it just wasn’t passion of the sexual nature, it was passion for life and for love. Edward changed throughout his re-telling of the events and that was central to the story. But when truth came out on all sides, true colors emerged and I didn’t like what I saw but that is something that is in real life even today.

This book captivated me from the beginning even though at times I was confused. Everything was explained at the end and I understood the motives of the characters for their personal gains. I would recommend this book to anyone who likes to read books from other time periods. I found this one to be just what I needed. It is dark sometimes but I found it difficult to put down. It was written as a confession and all is confessed at the end like it should be.

I would give this book a 4 out of 5. It was good but sometimes it felt like it was dragging. :) I just started The Emperor's Children by Claire Messud. I am not sure how far I will get into to it tonight cause I have a bunch of other stuff I need to do. :)