Wednesday, October 13, 2010

Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells




Della Carmichael runs a cooking school and gets the chance to run a cooking TV show. But when the former show host drops dead on set after tasting Della's mousse, she looks a little suspect. Della claims being innocent since she had not met the original host previously. Now she wants to work hard to prove what she is saying.

Ms. Wells has a wonderful start to this mystery series. The twists and turns in this book were amazing. I had no clue who the killer was until it was revealed at the end. I was shocked! The characters had quite the range of personalities and it made the book so more appealing. I loved that how clean it was for a cozy. If there was romance present, it was kept behind closed doors. Emotions were rampant in this book of a wide variety. I also was happy to see the recipes in the back of the book.

Della struggling over losing her husband two years previous takes the offer of a cooking show. She loves to cook and it helps her work through her emotions. She is such a sweetie and for the most part a very intelligent woman. She does have one moment of stupidity towards the end where she really wasn't thinking. Liddy, Della's best friend, is her voice of reason. When emotions are starting to build between Della and another character, Liddy is able to tell her to watch what she does. These two women made the best friends. The other minor characters like Eileen, who stayed at the house with Della was a sweetie. You really got to know quite a bit about her.

I truly enjoyed this book and can't wait to read the next one. Being set around Halloween made this a fun October read. I hope the new relationship presented in this book blossoms in the next one. But I guess I'll have to wait and see what Ms. Wells cooks up next.

Melinda Wells/ New Author/ Cozy Mystery/ Fright Fest 2010/ 280 pages/ 5 out of 5

This was such a fun read. I'll start my next entry for Fright Fest next week!

Saturday, October 09, 2010

Cell by Stephen King





Clay Riddell just left a wonderful business venture from a graphic arts company. He cannot wait to get back to his hotel to call his ex-wife and son. In the heart of Boston, all hell is unleashed with simple cell phone calls. Clay doesn't understand what is going on but people are turning into mindless creatures. All Clay wants to do is to get home to check on his family. That may not be as easy as he thinks.

Mr. King is quite talented at writing books that really make you freak out. The best thing in my mind is that it sticks with you. He also does not use a lot of words. The way that man can write just blows me away. His imagination is deep with what he is able to create in every single story. His characters have depth and emotions that have a wide range. There is a lot of gore but it may not run through out the entire book. That is the part that pleased me the most in this book. To have a good horror novel, you need some gore but not too over the top. There was a few moments but all in all, it wasn't as bad as some others I have read.

Clay Riddell had one mission. He needed to get back to his family to see if they had come out of this event unscathed. He had feelings that they might not have but no matter what he needed to see it for himself. He didn't want to rely on his emotions since so many other things were going wrong. He found a friend in Tom McCourt who he saved from one of the mindless creatures. Tom didn't want to leave all that he had. Yet he knew when he found a friend. There were a lot of big decisions made in this book at every turn. It was definitely a survival of the fittest as well as those who didn't use their cell phones.

As much as this book intrigued me, the ending was way too abrupt. It upset me that I had made it all the way through the book to have a lot of things hanging in the balance. The gore did get a little too much for me since this is not a genre I typically read. But the premise intrigued me so much that I had to read it to find out how it would envelop over time. Mr. King truly had a good novel for the most part no matter what other people may say. It just frustrated me with how it ended. I was hoping for so much more and had a major letdown. I know not everything can end well but the build up to the end seemed like there would be so much more to it than what I was left with after all. I will definitely pick up more of his work in the future but it may be awhile before that will happen.

Stephen King/ Horror/ Fright Fest 2010/480 pages/ 3 out of 5

Though I didn't finish in time for week one which stinks. I am hoping better for this next week. As long as I finish all four books before the month is up, I am happy. :) Off to the next book!

Saturday, October 02, 2010

Fright Fest 2010

Jenn's Bookshelves



I have been looking for a Halloween Challenge. So I am challenging myself to read four books, one a week. :)

Here they are:
Cell by Stephen King
Revenant by Caroylyn Haines
Carbs and Cadavers by J.B. Stanley
Killer Mousse by Melinda Wells

I own the first two so that will be a great jump on it. Will start one of them tomorrow!

Cozy Mystery Challenge Wrap Up Post!

I had soo much fun with this one. I challenged myself to read between 7 and 10 books. I read 8! Here they are:
The Fashion Hound Murders by Elaine Viets
Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson
Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson
Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz
Beat Up a Cookie by Denise Dietz
Death and The Easter Bunny by Linda Berry
Death and the Hubcap by Linda Berry
Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett

I had a blast! I would link to reviews but I do not know how. I just started Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert. I hope to enjoy this one. I still would like to finish up the Goldie Bear series by Diane Mott Davidson this year.

Friday, October 01, 2010

September Stats and Reads

Reads:

1.Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult 9-1-10 through 9-22-10 A+ (another favorite)
2.Homemade Life by Molly Wizenburg 09-02-10 through 09-06-10 A+ (Another favorite)
3.Water Witch by Deborah LeBlanc 09-06-10 through 09-09-10 B
4.Death and The Easter Bunny by Linda Berry 09-11-10 through 09-15-10 A
5.Death and the Hubcap by Linda Berry 09-16-10 through 9-20-10 A
6.Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett 09-27-10 through 09-30-10 A+
7.Monkey With A Tool Belt by Chris Monroe 09-30-10 A

Stats:
Total Books Read: 7
New Authors: 5
Fiction: 6
Non-Fiction: 1
Mystery: 3
Children's:1
Romance: 0
Chunkster:1
From the stacks: 6
Books for Review:1
Books I Bought:3
Total pages read: 1965 pages

Cozy Mystery Challenge: I wanted to read 7 to 10 book and I read 8! I'll make a wrap up blog tomorrow.

Off to go start my book club book Eat Pray Love!

Monkey with a Tool Belt by Chris Monroe



Chico Bon Bon is a monkey with a tool belt. He fixes anything and if he makes a mistake he'll fix that too. An organ grinder finds Chico and kidnaps him to make Chico his new show monkey. They take a long trip to the circus. Can Chico get away with the help of his tool belt?

Ms. Monroe wrote a fantastic and imaginative story. My six year old picked this book out of his school library for the title alone I am sure. He read most of the book but once the organ grinder had kidnapped Chico, there were too many words for him to read. So I finished up the book.

He laughed and really seemed to enjoy the book. I loved the illustrations. They were very well done. The tools went from the ones I have heard of to ones I am sure she created. But every tool on Chico's tool belt had a purpose. I see there are more in this series and I would love to see what Chico does next!

Chris Monroe/New Author/32 pages/ Monkey/ Tools/Children's fiction/ 4 out of 5

FTC: My son got this from his school library. I can't wait to finish the book he got from the library today!!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett




Tricia Miles moves to Stoneham, New Hampshire to start her life over after getting divorced. She still doesn't understand why but she takes it all in stride. Opening the mystery bookstore Haven't Got A Clue, it all hits home as her neighbor Doris at the cook book shop The Cookery is killed. Tricia is the one who finds her body. The sheriff is determined to prove Tricia was the killer. All tied into an old cookbook that Doris bought right before her murder. Proving her innocence may have to come from all the mystery reading she has done up till now. But will that be enough?

Being a first time reader of Ms. Barrett's work, I am highly impressed. The detail of the book is so much fun. I felt like I really did walk into Haven't Got A Clue. The small town life is so much fun to read. I loved the cleanliness of the book. Ms. Barrett did a fabulous job. The characters were lively and fun to read.

Tricia was full of life and had moved on. I loved how she came to create her store and the atmosphere in it. She has a fantastic business with old/used books as well as the new ones. Her personality is fun to read and loved watching her store bloom. Her only employee Ginny loves her job and is a sweetie. Their balanced personalities make the store run smoothly. There is also their number one customer Mr. Everett who is there when the door opens and stays till closing time. He always helps out wherever Tricia might need help even though he is not an employee. Angelica, Tricia's sister, sweeps into town and wants to help Tricia in any way she can. Yet she makes friends with Bob Kelly, the main realtor of the town. Tricia isn't thrilled one bit.

I loved this series. I think it is great and getting off to a good start. I am curious to see how all the relationships play out like between Tricia and her sister Angelica. Plus I can see story lines coming hopefully in the romance department for Tricia. At least that is what I hope for. I don't know when I will pick up the next book but I hope soon!

Lorna Barrett/New Author/ Cozy Mystery/Small Town/Bookstore/Family/288 pages/ 5 out of 5

FTC: This book is part of my own collection and was either bought or given to me.

This is the last one for my cozy mystery challenge. I am bummed to see it end but will read more I am sure of it!

Monday, September 27, 2010

Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult




Life with Willow has always been interesting. One trip to Disneyland changes the family's life forever when the doctor's note for Willow gets left behind. Questions arise and time spent apart makes Charlotte and Sean upset. Meeting with a lawyer brings up a question neither thought about, what if they had known from the start that Willow had Osteogensis Imperfecta? Would Charlotte had an abortion even though it goes against her being Catholic?

Ms. Picoult does it again. It all drives home how they want to make sure Willow has the best of everything. Her characters have so many problems physically and emotionally. Yet they must learn to work through them and figure out what is going to be best for them. Their lives are wrapped up and around the center of what is going on.

Charlotte just wants to protect her family but wants to be able to finally provide everything that Willow needs to be safe. Sean is frustrated with how Charlotte wants to go about getting the money. He thinks Willow will think more of the wrongful birth lawsuit than even Charlotte can imagine. Among the chaos is Amelia who is caught in the middle, she loses attention but never doesn't love Willow. They mean the world to each other.

This book was tough to read at times. It also had a lot of points of view between Sean, Charlotte, Amelia, and their lawyer Marin. Just the every day struggles that they had from birth to present day with Willow being 5, it just blew my mind. The book was one big roller coaster for the most part but I was glued. I had to find out what would happen. Ms. Picoult does it again. There are some people who do not care for the book but I couldn't get enough. And as always there is a twist at the end, but to find that out you'll need to read it.

Jodi Picoult/ Fiction/ Family/ Lawsuit/496 pages/ 5 out of 5

I finished this one awhile ago but couldn't come up with a good review. Hoping to read one more book this month.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Bridget Jones' Diary the movie!





This movie was fantastic. They got a the characters spot on from the book. I was impressed. I loved some of the scenes and could see how they were taken directly from the book. Obviously due to time constraints some of the bigger stuff was left out. I was bummed but I enjoyed the chick lit movie all in all.

I loved the Darcy reference and I could see in the beginning how Bridget was a bit like Elizabeth. I found it interesting that Colin Firth played another Darcy in this movie. Since he did play Mr. Darcy in the movie of Pride and Prejudice.

I couldn't get enough of the movie and was sad to see it end. I am curious to see what happens next so I will most likely get to the second book and the second movie. Renee Zellweger blew me away in this movie. Once again, great acting, great casting and a well enjoyable movie all in all!

This was part of the Everything Austen II Challenge. Up next is Rude Awakenings of A Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Death and the Hubcap by Linda Berry



Trudy has her feet wet but this next crime scene has her puzzled. Tanner whitcomb who drives a hubcap claims he has run over a man. Keeping a straight face, she goes to check out the crime scene. Actual tire tracks on the body has her scratching her head about all of it. A poshly dressed man doesn't fit the small town of Ogeechee. It all leads back to Atlanta and the past that Trudy had while living there. Is there someone there that is willing to kill again?

Ms. Berry writes another fantastic book in the series. It builds up just where the other one left off. Her characters that repeat have more depth. I loved seeing how they changed in this story. Relationships were tested and Ms. Berry gave you closed endings for most of them. She truly shows you the true way of small town life. I agreed and it made me giggle at times having once lived in a small town. Ms. Berry also showed how she can write silly characters as well as very serious ones. It was a joy to watch the whole story unfold.

Trudy really shines in this book. She doesn't have as much free reign as the last one. Yet she still is able to prove herself to Henry. She has to fight some of her family in little ways. Dulcie, her niece, is still around and as sweet as ever. Phill Pittman, the editor of the local newspaper, and Trudy seem to be expanding their friendship. I can't wait to see where that goes next.

This series just keeps getting better. It never comes across as over the top. Every scene is so genuine. I am blown away by the fun of it all. The murder again is not gruesome in detail. This author keeps me on edge to see what happens next. It's a book you laugh out loud while reading as well as just finding it for the most part like you are coming home.

Linda Berry/Cozy Mystery/ 256 pages/ Small Town/ Family and Friends/ 5 out of 5
So glad to get another one done for the cozy mystery challenge. Now just need to write up my post for Everything Austen Challenge II.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Death and the Easter Bunny by Linda Berry





Trudy Roundtree is the only woman police officer at the Ogeechee Police Force in Georgia. She struggles cause her cousin is the chief. She is determined to prove herself. She is just happy to be home again. A murder has them all getting fired up in more ones than one. Reed Ritter is the victim of a fire but the he was dead before the fire was lit. Secrets aren't easy to hide in a small town. There are way too many suspects, can Trudy discovers some secrets might be worthy of a murder.

Ms. Berry does fantastic job with juggling all the characters. The point of view is all through Trudy's eyes. The small town life is very well represented. I was also impressed with how clean the book was due to the fact of finding a dead body. I loved all the aspects of each character and the developments with each little storyline.

Trudy is so much fun. Even though she is a widow and is dealing with the death of her hubby, she is a very light hearted person. She sees things very well and keeps her chin up. She is a determined lady who just wants to show what she can do. Her family is a bit nutsy since she lives in her Grandmother's house as well. Henry Huckabee is the chief of police and her cousin. He is a good guy but he is stubborn as well. He is learning his position and so wants to do it all himself. Phil Pittman is the editor of the newspaper as well as a volunteer fireman. He does his best to answer any questions Trudy might have about the town since she has come back.

I truly loved this series. I have the second one and I am curious to see where a few story lines are going. It is a true cozy with no blood and guts. I couldn't get enough. I hope Trudy finally gets her feet wet and gets somewhere. Ms. Berry has me captivated from the very beginning!

Linda Berry/ New author/ Small Town/ Police/Family/ Cozy Mystery/ 251 pages/ 5 out of 5

FTC: This book is part of my personal collection that was either bought or given to me as a gift.

I am hoping to start the next one in the series tonight!!

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Water Witch by Deborah LeBlanc




Dunny always felt left out. She had a secret that she wanted secret. When it became public, it only brought unwanted attention. So she kept her powers a secret until her sister calls and there are children missing. She wants to help but there is something out there that scares her to no end. Yet finding the children keeps her going.

Ms. LeBlanc has a tremendous way with words. Being on the edge of my seat was only one thing I dealt with. It was gruesome at times in detail but reminded myself it was a thriller horror after all. Nothing ever felt like over the top or too much, it all seemed to fit well in the story line. She creates characters that you not only feel but see in a way. The villains are real people not just looking for an end to their means. It didn't make it any easier to read and I didn't empathize but felt more human and not perfect.

Dunny truly wants to help. It is in her entire being yet she doesn't want to be used. She wants to be appreciated for who she is all of her not just the part that has powers. Angelle is scared of what is going on but knows that her sister Dunny can be helpful to the children's disappearance or at least she hopes that will be the case. Angelle is young and wants the best for all. Poochie is a sweet woman who lives with Angelle and her husband Trevor. She is a wise woman that I grew to love throughout the story. She believed and accepted Dunny as she is. That was a huge part of the story.

This book was difficult to read at times but I had to find out if the children were going to be found. The villain in the story was determined to get his mission completed. The power described in this book is one not to touch ever! It always reminds me to be careful of what I do and say in this world. Without warning you can unleash things beyond our comprehension. Ms. LeBlanc does a fantastic job and I may read more of her work eventually.

Deborah LeBlanc/New Author/ Thriller/ Horror/ Family/ Acceptance/ 290 pages/ 4 out of 5

FTC: I got this book for a review over a year ago and I have tried to be as honest as possible.

Tuesday, September 07, 2010

A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg




Molly has a unique take and relationship with food. Both her mother and her father have different perspectives and that has shaped her from early childhood. The recipes in this book vary from the simple to a little on the difficult side. Yet I am intrigued to try most of them. The writing style is straight forward. I also felt like I got to know the writer personally through her stories and recipes.

Ms. Wizenberg blew me away. I wasn't sure what to expect at all and I found myself captivated! She puts her whole self in her writing. I never felt like she held back anything though I am sure there had to be something.

I fell in love with this book. Whether you are a foodie or not, since I am becoming one, this book is for you. It is a wonderful journey and I can't wait to try some of these recipes. I can't wait to see what Ms. Wizenberg writes next and will be patiently waiting for it to come out.

Molly Wizenberg/ New author/ Non-Fiction/ Food/ Family/ 352 pages/ 5 out of 5
I don't want to give it all away but I highly recommend this book! Off to start another one while still reading Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult.

Monday, September 06, 2010

August Stats and Reads

I am a little behind but here you go!

Total Books Read: 5
New Authors:3
Fiction:3
Non-Fiction:1
Mystery: 1
Children's:
Romance: 1
Chunkster: 1
From the Stacks: 5
Books for Review: 0
Books I bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 1643

Reads:
1.The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne 08-02-10 through 08-05-10 A+
2.A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova 08-07-10 through 8-23-10 B
3.Beat Up a Cookie by Denise Dietz 08-24-10 through 08-25-10 B
4.Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding 8-26-10 through 8-29-10 B
5.Hurricane by Karen Harper 08-29-10 through 8-31-10 A

I'll have my review of my latest book that I finished tomorrow.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010

Hurricane by Karen Harper




Julie Minton is trying to get her girls that she watches over to safety while a hurricane comes their way. But all she can think about is her daughter Randi who has ridden off on a jet ski with Thad. She hopes they are safe. Yet in her heart, she begins to wonder if something is wrong since they are not back yet. With the help of Thad's father Zach, she hopes to find them before the storm hits. Law enforcement is no help due to the storm so they are on their own. They must work together to get through the storm that has hit and escape an enemy that is lurking in the shadows.

Ms. Harper writes a fantastic suspense story. I was on the edge of my seat. There was tension of all kinds and yet nothing seemed out of place. I loved how clean it was and not bloody, gory, or full of sex. It was a nice change of pace and the characters were well detailed. I felt like I was in the midst of the book. I love reading the credits to see how much help they had and it showed how important she felt it was to seek out help to write an accurate story line.

Julie is a woman I can relate to with being a mom. She truly cared for her daughter even though it didn't always show. Running a resort for cutters kept her busy. She had help in her friend Kaylin to run the resort. Kaylin is tested by the emotions of Randi gone as well as helping the girls and not returning to her old ways of cutting to deal with the stress. Zach is a tough guy but even he is stressing out. He doubts finding the kids alive but won't stop looking. With his SEAL training, it may just be the one thing that would save the kids.

This book was very good! I was impressed with how well paced it was and with the diversity of characters. I would definitely read more of this author's work. I'm not sure what problems people might have with this writing style, but give it a try. I hope the rest of her work is just as good if not better. I am definitely happy with how it all played out.

Karen Harper/ Thriller/ 400 pages/ New Author/ Weather/ Family/ 4 out of 5

I finished this one yesterday but was not able to post the review. I'll post my monthly stats and reads tomorrow! Oh and I bought three books today The Cat, The Professor and The Poison by Leann Sweeny, A Killer Plot by Ellery Adams and Murder is Binding by Lorna Barrett. I can't wait to read them!! :)

Sunday, August 29, 2010

Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding




Bridget is a thirty something single Brit who fails miserably at losing weight, quitting smoking, and trying to find a love life. Her look through the year in her diary lays it all out there. She relies on her friends and searches to find how her life is and could possibly be if she keeps working at it.

Ms. Fielding did a fantastic job of keeping things real for Bridget. Her descriptions of the characters help to make things come even more alive and make it seem like you are right there in the book. The book is well written whether in journal or story form.

Bridget is very real and most of the time not too over the top. She has to rely on her friends since her family has their own struggles. The ones that are the most close are Tom, Shazz, and Jude. They keep her uplifted through all the things she experiences in the book.

I liked this book over all and never really saw a connection to Pride and Prejudice. There were a few mentions of the movie with Colin Firth. It's a quirky book if you can get past all the drama. By the end, it was wrapped up neatly and I couldn't wait to see what would happen next. I may just check out the next book in the series.

Helen Fielding/ New Author/ British Lit/ Family and Friends/ 271 pages/ Everything Austen Challenge II/ 4 out of 5

I had a nice review all typed up and then somehow deleted it. I hope to finish one more book. We'll see.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Beat Up A Cookie by Denise Dietz




Ellie Bernstein is at it again. Murder seems to follow her around even 7 years later. She is frustrated but Lt. Peter Miller tries to keep her on a short leash. Being a MASH lover, she never knew how it would be for someone to kill look alikes of the actors on that show. Now she feels like she must figure out what is going on before she is next.

Ms. Dietz definitely improved the depth of the characters in this one. I felt a little bit better yet was still a little too gory for a cozy mystery. There were more characters to play around with and a better glimpse into their lives. The flash backs were done well and flowed smoothly through the book. I never felt like any of it was out of place. It all made sense at the end.

Ellie was still a little bit of a snoop. Yet I really started to care for her. She finally seemed to be happy where her life was at. Her ex Tony drove me up the wall. The man didn't seem to know who or what he wanted in his life. Peter, on the other hand, was straight forward and always laid it all on the table. There was no question what he wanted and who he wanted in his life. Mick, her son, came to play more in this story than the previous one. I enjoyed seeing the depth of Ellie's character.

This book was far better than the last and not nearly as gruesome or detailed. I know it is classified as a cozy but sometimes it just didn't have that feel for me. I enjoyed it a lot more and may continue the series at another time. I am curious to see what happens next in Ellie's life and how she gets wrapped up in the next murder to solve.

Denise Dietz/Cozy Mystery/Dieting/253 pages/4 out of 5

Onto the next challenge book, so excited to read something. I will watch Pride and Prejudice next month!

Monday, August 23, 2010

A Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova




Elena Gorokhova presents her world growing up in Russia. Her world is only one side but she does show how each side works a little bit by the people she meets and the friends she has in her life. The rules she follows are ingrained in her from childhood. It encompasses a lot of time and some of it is skipped. Yet I felt that the main part of her life was covered and all the important things are shown. I was blown away with how things are so regimented. Maybe this is only one point of view but that is not how it came across to me.

I had some difficulty believing how things are for them. Yet when dealing with kids from other countries they had the same reactions that I had while reading the book. So it helped me understand just the outside experience with the country. The repetitiveness got to me after awhile but as the story went along, it just seemed that is how they were taught to express themselves. So it fit in her world while it doesn't always fit in mine.

I was proud of Elena and all that she went through. And for the most part, she stayed as true to herself as possible. It wasn't always easy and she knew she might butt heads with her mother in some respects. But she still kept plugging along even if she had to keep secrets from her mother. I didn't agree with that, but then her life is different than mine. The one other thing I didn't agree with is the comparison to Angela's Ashes. While the book was very readable, I never had trouble eating while reading this book unlike Angela's Ashes. I was pleased to see that Mr. McCourt had liked the book. I never noticed it till I finished the book so that helped me like it a little more in the end. If you don't mind a little repeating of things and sometimes feeling a little left out, this is a good book for you. I enjoyed it for the most part and it gave me a great glimpse into a world I don't know a whole lot about. I would love to read more about this time through other people's eyes.

New Author/ Non-Fiction/Memoir/308 pages/Russia/3.5 out of 5

I am going to be posting a giveaway for this book since it is an ARC and I don't believe I'll read it again!

Friday, August 06, 2010

The Finishing Touches by Hester Browne




A question always nagged at the back of Betsy's head. Twenty-seven years ago, she was left on the door step of The Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. Raised by the owners Lord and Lady Phillimore has been wonderful. Returning to the place she loved, she finds it in disarray and Lord Phillimore desperate to save the lasting piece of history his family has carried on for a long time. Betsy is given the chance to update the curriculum and make it more modern for the times. Though coming back to London also means facing her crush she had when she was younger. She also wants to solve the mystery of her parents who abandoned her.

Ms. Browne does it again! I loved the Little Lady Agency series. This one brought me back to the UK and I couldn't get enough. The characters are pretty one dimensional but I needed something with a little growth development but not piles of it. There was a nice balance and it was just what I needed. I loved seeing all the aspects of current high society life but making it relevant for anyone. Skills we all could use even me!

Betsy is such a sweet heart of a character. I couldn't get enough of her. Yes, she had her doubts and she had to learn to work through them. I kept cheering her on! Her best friend Olivia is a good balance of reality and naive. She had a lot to learn but was able to take it all in thanks to Betsy's help. They were such a good match in friendship. I enjoyed all the time that they spent together. The four girls that were in the school were so much fun. They even got to play a part in restructuring the new school.

This was a fantastic book from beginning to end. I couldn't get enough. I finished it fairly quickly yet didn't want to see it end as well. I would love to see a sequel from Olivia's point of view. That would be fun! I highly recommend it if you need a good chick-lit book that has heart.

Hester Browne/ Chick-Lit/England/New beginnings/Friendship/ 411 pages/ 5 out of 5

Off to a non-fiction book next. :)

Wednesday, August 04, 2010

July Stats and Reads

Sorry a little slow, but here they are finally!

Reads:
1.The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton (Another Favorite) 06-28-10 through 07-01-10 A+
2.Persuasion by Jane Austen 07-06-10 through 07-15-10 A
3.A Climate for Change by Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Fairley 07-19-10 through 07-25-10 A+
4.Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz 07-28-10 through 07-31-10 C

Stats:
Total Books Read: 4
New Authors: 2
Fiction: 3
Non-Fiction:1
Mystery:1
Children's: 0
Romance: 0
Chunkster:1
From the Stacks: 3
Books for Review:0
Books I bought: 0
Total Pages Read:1,245

Challenges:
Cozy Mystery: 2/6
Everything Austen II: 2/6

I hope to read a non-fiction book next but not sure what that will be. :)

Monday, August 02, 2010

Throw Darts at a Cheesecake by Denise Dietz



Ellie Bernstein is the leader of a Weight Winners group. But one by one, her members are getting attacked and some of them are dead. Lt. Peter Miller comes to investigate and tells Ellie to keep her nose out of things. That is better said than done. She needs to know what is going on. But could it cost her everything?

Ms. Dietz has a good story plot line through out. I just was less than awed. I felt for the characters and wanted to get through it. There were times that I couldn't put it down. Yet there were times that classified as a cozy, things were a little too detailed from other cozy mysteries that I have read. She kept all the character story lines seperate and I was impressed.

Ellie was learning to get over things that had happened in her life. She was looking out for the people she helped lose the weight to get healthy. She has a good heart and had the right motives. Peter Miller was human in this book as well. He had a case to solve but he made sure all the people in the group who had been attacked or could be next had protection. I also loved Wanda. She was there and stuck through it even though her husband was less than supportive. She kept plugging along and brushed it off.

This mystery was interesting but some of the minor characters drove me bonkers. If someone were to go on this kind of endeavor of losing weight, support is something that is needed throughout the whole journey. I was less than impressed with some of the minor characters. I don't want to say a whole lot just because well the book fell flat in parts. Humor is needed but Tubby and Lulu seemed to take it to the negative extremes. Yeah, not sure I want to pick up the next one. I am hoping it is better. It was an interesting mystery and had no clue who was behind it all. The clues were there once it was revealed. Like I said previously, things were a little over the top.

Denise Dietz/Cozy Mystery/Dieting/251 pages/ New author/ 3.5 out of 5

Off to another book on my shelf. I hope to start it today. I'll post my stats for the month of July tomorrow.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Stella and Dot Giveaway

Natalie of Natalie's Sentiments is hosting a stella and dot giveaway! Check it out!!

http://www.nataliessentiments.com/2010/07/stella-dot-giveaway.html

Girls got to love the jewelry!

More cleaning to be done still and hope to finish up one more book this month! :)

Monday, July 26, 2010

A Climate for Change by Katherine Hayhoe and Andrew Fairley





This thought provoking book takes a look at “global warming”. I don't care for that term so that is the last time you'll see it in this review. Climate change is happening at the earth's core. It's warming lakes and there are changes in the weather. The thing that stuck out to me is that weather is different than what is happening. Yes there are record colds but it's how much the seasons are changing that is being effected. They use charts, graphs, and other facts. They even debunk the myths that people like Al Gore are trying to prove. They take real life examples and show how things have changed around the world.

It's not about politics. It's about the science of things. Looking back at temperature changes for hundreds of years. I was blown away by the detailed record keeping over the centuries. They wanted the straight facts not all the hot air that is blowing around about this topic. They laid it all out, what causes were happening both by nature and by man. We're causing the most problems.

The main problem with most of it is that it is expensive to change how we live. Yes, recycling does help but that is only one thing that can be done. Yet we are creatures of comfort. I loved the honesty of the authors that laid it all out for you. They even admitted that they didn't agree on everything. Statements throughout the book just made my eyes open even more. I may not understand it all. I am still learning but definitely want to read more on the subject.

The final thing that it left me with is something that I have always felt. I want to take care of the Earth that we do have. Yes there will be a new heaven and a new earth as it is stated in the Bible. I am concerned about what we have now. It doesn't mean that we need to trash what we do have left. Comforts are nice but even I get pissed when I see that my old fridge uses CFC's since there was a ban on it. Yeah, things are going to slip under the radar. I even checked our current fridge and it had no such tag. I also liked the fact that they gave you other sources to understand more of what is happening to our Earth. This is one book that will stick with me for a long time.

Katherine Hayhoe/Andrew Fairley/ Non-Fiction/224 pages/ 5 out of 5

Not sure what I'll read next. Got a lot to do at the old place before Saturday. I hope to read one more book but we'll see. :)

Monday, July 19, 2010

A Really Cool Giveaway


Not sure how I found this blog anymore. But she has some of the coolest giveaways. This one is for a personalized necklace. Here is the link to her blog:
http://shane-natalie.blogspot.com/
I absolutely love it! It's a personal one but I look forward to reading it every day or every other depending on how many times she posts and what is going on in my home.The image is of the necklace she bought from this website with her wedding invitation. It has inspired me! We'll see if I can find stuff to frame our wedding invitation. Off to go get something more done and maybe some more reading in A Climate for Change.

Friday, July 16, 2010

Persuasion by Jane Austen




Anne Elliot's family has financial trouble. So the only thing that can be done to save Kelly Lynch Hall is to rent it out. But due to her father's pride, it is not something that they want advertised. They are able to find a husband and wife who will follow their small requests. But the wife's brother happens to be Captain Fredrick Wentworth who was once engaged to Anne. Anne, eight years ago, was persuaded by her mother's friend Lady Russell that the man was not worthy of her. So Anne broke off the engagement even though she still had very strong feelings for the gentleman. Now that they are becoming re-acquainted. She wonders if their love can be rekindled?

Ms. Austen writes a fantastic story for the most part. The gossip was a little much at times. And the stereotypical situations and feelings were accurate even if a little annoying. The story flowed fairly well. I was impressed with keeping all the different characters and traits separate. Just a lot going on and different story lines. I was impressed with how much was in the book and everything was wrapped up neatly. Some things hadn't happened yet but you knew what was going to happen.

I truly felt for Anne. She was trying to follow the influence of a friend since her mother was dead. I understand but she finally had to figure out for herself what was right and stick to it. Things seemed to go better now that she was older. Family and friends didn't fight things for her so much. Of her family members I loved her older sister Mary the best. She had her moments where she would get “sick” or get frustrated with her husband for making plans when plans were already made. But she had to learn to speak up as well. The women just kind of sat back and did nothing sometimes.

All in all, I enjoyed the book. The drama was a little bit overwhelming but I had to find out how it ended. I wanted to know if Anne and Fredrick would end up together. I could see how things would all play out or at least how I hoped it would end up. Ms. Austen is an amazing author and I cannot wait to read more of her work. I only took half a point off cause of the drama. It got down right annoying.

Jane Austen/ Classic Novel/ 247 pages/ Family/ Drama/ 4.5 out of 5

I hope to make a library run tomorrow. We'll see how it goes.

FTC: This book was a gift to me.

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton




Family secrets come to light in this gripping drama of a story. A little girl is left on a wharf in 1913 and takes the ship to Australia. The little girl grows up and on her 21st birthday, Nell is told the truth, her parents are not her real parents. It sets her world into a tizzy. But never really finds out the truth and so passes it onto her granddaughter Cassandra. It may just be the adventure she needs to take her mind off her grandmother's death.

Ms. Morton does it yet again! Weaving all the different view points was done very well. The time periods really didn't effect a whole lot for the most part but I enjoyed reliving it all. Made all the easier thanks to the little notations at the beginning of most if not all chapters. I was impressed with the range of characters presented and how you truly got to know the ins and outs of each one. Whether it was through the characters' own words or in letters/ journals etc.. Ms. Morton has a way with stories that completely captivate and envelop inside that world. The situations pretain and all is revealed. At times, I found it a little predictable but the twists that came about were still surprises for the reason behind it all.

I loved Cassandra. She truly wanted to help her deceased grandmother. There was a whole world and a side to the story that Nell never got to discover. Cassandra decided to finish it up as she knew it was what was needed to be done. Even her past is shown in the book which I thought was so great. There was a lot of healing that needed to happen. The journey that Cassandra took was the best thing for her.

The stories presented in the story written by the Authoress were fantastic. I could see how they could grab your attention and keep it. I loved the garden aspect and I loved how it was linked to The Secret Garden. This is one book that I didn't want to see the end of though I had figured out some of it. The story swept me away to times I have little knowledge about but couldn't get enough of. I eagerly await Ms. Morton's next novel!

Kate Morton/ Adult Fiction/ Families/ Secrets/Fairy Tales/Garden/552 pages/ 5 out of 5

I wish it hadn't taken me so long to review but I wanted to make sure I didn't reveal anything important. The friendships in here are fantastic between people of the same age, different ages, and different sexes. Now onto my first book of the everything Austen challange II.

FTC: This book is part of my personal collection.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

June Reads and Stats

reads:
1.Hat Tricks Count by Matt Napier 06-03-10 B
2.Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson 06-04-10 through 06-07-10 A+
3.Orange Pear Apple Bear by Emily Gravett 06-10-10 A+
4.The Power of a Praying Parent by Stormi Omartian 06-19-10 through 06-24-10 A+

stats:
Total Books Read: 4
New Authors: 3
Fiction: 2
Non-Fiction: 1
Mystery: 1
Children's: 2
Romance: 0
Chunkster:0
From the Stacks: 1
Books For Review:
Books I Bought:0
Total Pages Read: 608

Challenges
Cozy Mystery Challenge 3/6
Everything Austen II 0/6 (this starts next month)

I am hoping to finish The Forgotten Garden tomorrow. Savoring the last few pages so much. lol

Monday, June 28, 2010

Everything Austen II Challenge




I saw a post about this challenge off a friend of mine's blog. I realized I owned a Jane Austen novel that I got as a gift that I have never read as well as an author sent me one of her books as well which I found incredibly sweet. So here is my list which is to be completed over a six month period.

1. Read Persuasion by Jane Austen
2. Read Bridget Jones's Diary by Helen Fielding
3. Read Rude Awakenings of a Jane Austen Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler
4. Watch Bridget Jones's Diary on DVD
5. Watch Pride and Prejudice with Colin Firth
6. Make Sally Lunn Buns.

You're supposed to do something crafty and as much as I would love to make something like a blouse or knit etc. I know that is just not possible so I'll do the next best thing, make something that Jane Austen might eat! :) This one starts next month and runs through January of next year! That way I only have to do one thing a month. So easy to achieve. Here is the link if anyone is interested: http://www.stephanieswrittenword.com/?p=2589

Well off to bed and hopefully reading more of the Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton tomorrow.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

The power of a praying parent by Stormie Omartian




Stormie puts into words all the fears and hopes we have for our children. She also puts a nice prayer at the end of each chapter to start the practice of praying for your children if you haven't really done it much before.

This book really truly helps you understand how things need to be for a good life as a Christan for your children. It has definitely made me think about my life more and how I need to work more diligently at being a better example.

This is a must have for all parents no matter the age of your children. I definitely want to read more of her work and check out some of her other books. This woman is down to earth and the fact that she had her children write the preface for the book just made it more real to me.

Stormie Omartian/ New Author/ Christian Non-fiction/ 224 pages/ Prayer/ 5 out of 5

FTC: this book was given to me and my hubby as a gift.

Saturday, June 12, 2010

Dark Tort by Diane Mott Davidson

Goldy has a new job making breakfast for the morning meeting at a law firm in town. But the night before, going to do prep work, she trips over something on the way in. It turns out to be the body of her neighbor and the paralegal at the firm, Dusty Routt. She is distraught but has to know the reason behind the death of her friend. The mother also doesn't trust the police and asks for Goldy's help.

Ms. Davidson weaves tales that leave you guessing as well as wanting more. I was blown away by how skillfully she brings back old characters and just makes them seem like they were never gone. Cooking is definitely a stress releaser for me as well. So the character of Goldy is easy to relate to for me in that way.

Goldy is a snoop but she has a good heart behind it all. She makes sure she shares any information she finds out with the police. Her husband Tom makes sure of that since he is on the police force. Those two are so sweet on each other that I cannot get enough of the story. They aren't perfect and it shows which makes the books that much more fun to read. Arch is growing up way too fast. Yet h seems to have a level head on his shoulders so he's enjoyable to read about as well. Julian is a great friend and side kick to Goldy in her catering business. He also makes sure to spend a lot of time with Arch too.

Each book seems to get better than the last and I'm not sure where she could go with the next one. Yet I look forward to cracking open each new book. This is one series that I hope to never see the end of it. But I'm sure that will happen. In the meantime, I enjoy and savor each book and new recipe that is provided in the book.

Diane Mott Davidson/Cozy Mystery/Colorado/Food/ 320 pages/5 out of 5

This will be my last post for awhile. I hope to pick up books by next week at the latest but we'll see how it all goes. I'll be back!

Thursday, June 10, 2010

Orange, Pear, Apple Bear





I picked this book up on a whim for my son. He loved being able to read it and wanted to read it multiple times. He is just learning how to read. Definitely going to pick this one up for our collection! The illustrations are gorgeous and I was blown away by how fun this simple book was to read and to look at!

FTC: Got from my local library

Thursday, June 03, 2010

Hat Tricks Count: A Hockey Number Book by Matt Napier




The greatest achievements in Hockey are celebrated in this book as well as simple rules. There is additional information on the side bars of each page. And for someone who knows nothing about hockey, this book taught me a lot. It also kept the attention span of my oldest, which is not always easy to do.

Mr. Napier put a lot of information into terms most younger kids could understand. I was impressed as well as how interactive the book was as well. I definitely would love to read more of this author's work.

Matt Napier/New Author/ Children's Non-fiction/ Hockey/40 pages/ 3 out of 5

FTC: Borrowed from my local library

I am hoping to pick up another cozy mystery and after that not sure when I'll read next. :)

Tuesday, June 01, 2010

May Reads and Stats

Reads:
1.Escape to Santuary by M. J. Conner 04-28-10 through 05-01-10 B
2.The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney 05-02-10 A+
3.Diving Dolphins by Laura Hamilton Waxman 05-05-10 B
4.The Green Man:Tales from the Mystic Forest Anthology 05-05-10 through 5-21-10 B
5.Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson 05-23-10 through 05-25-10 A
6.African Rhinos by Kristin L. Nelson 5-26-10 A

Stats:
Total Books I read: 6
New Authors: 20
Fiction:4
Non-Fiction:2
Mystery: 1
Children's: 3
Romance: 1
Chunkster:0
From the Stacks: 2
Books For Review:0
Books I Bought:0
Total Pages Read: 992 pages

I have a library book I want to read to my oldest after that not sure when I'll pick up another book with getting ready to move.

Thursday, May 27, 2010

African Rhinos by Kristin L. Nelson



Another great animal book for kids. I love this series of books cause even I learn so much. It is put in very simple terms and the questions get kids to think about other things as well.

Ms. Nelson does such a great job putting all the important information in a way that kids can follow it. It's not overwhelming and such a great teaching tool.

I definitely enjoy things like these books and would love to eventually add them to my personal collection.

Kristin L. Nelson/ New Author/ Children's Non-fiction/ 32 pages/ Animals/ 4 out of 5

FTC: Book acquired from my son's school library.

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Double Shot by Diane Mott Davidson




Goldy Bear wakes up on the ground and isn't sure how she got there. That is just the beginning of the book. Goldy must figure out who attacked her, why they were trying to sabotage her catered lunch, and what to do now that her ex-husband is out of jail? It only gets worse once he is found dead. All signs point to her but Goldy only found the dead body. She is frustrated and wants to solve the crime but knows it will be difficult. If only there was more time in a day.

Ms. Davidson creates situations that truly could happen. I wondered who could have really killed John Richard Korman, Goldy's ex-husband. The recipes also are interesting and am curious to try a couple of them. I liked how at least in the hard cover they were all in the back of the book instead of interspersed in between chapters or in the middle of chapters. There is a range of characters in the book as well as some old familiar ones.

Goldy is a stubborn woman but that's what makes her so endearing. Yeah she seems to get beat up in every story which does get old after awhile. Yet she never lets it get her down. Her husband Tom is such a sweetie. He is so good for her and they complement each other very well. Archie, her son, seems to struggle with his dad's death the most. I saw that as understandable and just hoped the kid would work through his grief as quick as he possibly could for a story. I'll have to see how it plays out in the next story.

This story was full of twists and friends Goldy hadn't seen in a long time. Marla was there to help her out. The twist at the end of the story really got me. There was no way I could have seen it coming. Ms. Davidson does it again and I cannot wait to read more in this series!

Diane Mott Davidson/ Cozy Mystery/ Food/Murder/Family/320 pages/ 4.5 out of 5

It'll be awhile before I read my own books. I may make a library run tomorrow to read one more book this month. We'll see.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

The Green Man: Tales from the Mythic Forest




Short stories certainly have a place in our society. These particular stories and poems in this anthology focused on The Green Man of lore.

“-the Green Man- the spirit who stands for Nature in its most wiled and untamed form, a man with leaves for hair, who dwells deep within the mythic forest.”

That explains it better than I ever could and that gives you a brief taste of what is to come. The variety of authors, some that I knew of some that I didn't made the book come even more alive. My favorites were Going Wodwo (poem) by Neil Gaiman, Grand Central Park by Delia Sherman, Hunter's Moon by Patricia A. McKillip, A World Painted by Birds by Katherin Vaz, Grounded by Nina Kirki Hoffman, Overlooking by Carol Emshwiller, Joshua Tree by Emma Bull, The Pagodas of Ciboure by M. Shayne Bell, and The Green Word by Jeffrey Ford. There was only one in the book that just didn't seem to fit and that was Fee, Fie, Foe, et Cetera by Gregory Maguire only because it was a re-telling of Jack and the Bean Stalk and I didn't see how it truly fit into the nature category even with the bean stalk.

I loved this book and will definitely be one I am going to keep. The variety was great and it was nice to read a good clean young adult book for a change. The editors did a fantastic job and I might even seek out more of their work! They also did a fantastic job with their illustrator. I was blown away by all the gorgeous pictures!

Off to work on more packing! We are moving but hoping to finish one more book this month! Then not sure when I'll post again!

Wednesday, May 05, 2010

Diving Dolphins by Laura Hamilton Waxman




A great non-fiction book for kids. It keeps the facts simple for kids to learn about the mammals. It was fun cause my oldest could read a few of the sentences with me.

Ms. Waxman did a fantastic job of putting the facts down so simple yet effectively. It followed an easy flow to the story and had fun activities to get the reader involved.

I was impressed with this book from beginning to end. There isn't a whole lot I can say but definitely want to check out more by this author.

Laura Hamilton Waxman/Children's Non-Fiction/ 32 pages/ Animals/4 out of 5

Got some cleaning to do but hopefully pick up another book today!

Sunday, May 02, 2010

The Truly Terribly Horrible Sweater that Grandma Knit by Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney




Cameron Girard is always excited for the birthday gift from his grandma Susan. But this time when he opens the box and finds a multi-striped sweater, he just doesn't get it. He knows she spent a lot of time knitting it. He tries to get rid of it at first but eventually when his grandma comes to visit he wears it for her. But can he keep it a secret what he really thinks of it?

Ms. Macomber writes a fantastic children's book writing with Ms. Carney. The story is so captivating cause Cameron is so determined to get rid of the sweater. It's creative and a little repetitive which makes it a great book for kids. My son soon started saying the repeated phrase along with me!

Cameron is a precocious kid who just wants to get rid of what he thinks is a horrible sweater. His friends will laugh at him if he wears it. His parents try to get him to understand that it took a lot of time for Grandma to knit it.

This is a story that I have had my eye on since I heard about it. It was all that I expected and more! It's a story that will be enjoyed by all ages whether the reader is a knitter or not. I laughed really hard and couldn't wait to see how it would turn out! I hope there is more to come in Children's books by these authors!

Debbie Macomber/ Mary Lou Carney/New author/ Children's Fiction/ Family/ 32 pages/ 5 out of 5

Not sure what is up next. I do have a book that Kiddo needs to read from his library so may read that tomorrow. Other than that, no clue! Lots going on this week! :)

FTC: A loaned book from my library.

Saturday, May 01, 2010

Escape to Sanctuary by M.J. Conner





Emily Foster must leave New York before she is sold into slavery. She gets a chance at being a mail order bride and takes it. She has six months to decide if she wants to stay married and she is just hoping that God will provide. Adam Jacobs has been wounded deeply. His fiancée walked out on him. He is truly mad at the world. When he finds out his best friend Lewis got him a mail order bride, he is furious but not much can be done.

M.J Conner is a fantastic author. I was pleased with how well the story flowed though the ending was a bit sudden. I felt that it could have been expanded a little bit more to see how things all worked out instead of only hinting at it. I loved seeing the faith of the characters grow. It truly inspired me to do better about my faith.

Emily was a girl who not shy at all. She knew how to speak her mind and she did her best to be polite. Though she was human still making sure to keep her comments in private. Adam Jacobs was a man who was stubborn. He let it get in the way a few times. Even to the point of almost ignoring what was God's plan for his life.

Some of it was predictable at points but it was a good comfort read after all. It's a genre I am very familiar with. I am excited to read the other things this author has written. It had a bit of an abrupt ending but for the most part everything was addressed. The characters were human and had their faults. The main ones finally came to the conclusion that it all had to be laid at the feet of Jesus.

M.J. Conner/ New Author/ Christian Historical Romance/ Healing/ 176 pages/ 4 out of 5

I posted this early since I work tomorrow and have a lot of things going on! I hope to read The Truly Terrible Horrible Sweater That Grandma Knit by Debbie Macomber next!

FTC: This is a book from my personal collection.

My April Stats

I had the best month in a long time due to a Chunkster that took me over a month to read. lol

My Reads:
1.Ireland by Frank Delaney 03-23-10 through 04-24-10 A+ (Very memorable book!)
2.Horatio's Birthday by Eleanor Lowenton Clymer 04-15-10 A+
3.Hi Cat by Ezra Jack Keats 04-22-10 A+
4.The Fashion Hound Murders by Elaine Viets 04-25-10 through 04-26-10 A
6.Henry's Night by D. B. Johnson and Linda Michelen 04-29-10 A+

I didn't finish one in time.

My stats:
Total Books I Read: 5
New Authors: 3
Fiction: 5
Non-Fiction:0
Chunkster: 1
Mystery: 1
Romance:0
From the Stacks: 2
Books for Review:0
Books I Bought:0
Total Pages Read: 1,086

Off to read another Children's book. :)

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Henry's Night by D.B. Johnson and Linda Michelin




Henry is a curious bear. He decides to go on a journey to find the night song bird also known as the whippoorwill. He's not sure where he'll find it so he goes off on a search. How long will it take? Will he ever find the whippoorwill?

Mr. Johnson and Ms. Michelin have done a fantastic job incorporating nature into this book and making it a good adventure as well. It doesn't drag out long but keeps moving at a great pace. I loved being able to spot the creatures that were on the side of the page in the picture. It was a very participatory book. The pictures were gorgeous and only helped the story come to life even more. This is one good illustrator.

My son kept asking me questions about each animal. It was a lot of fun to read. The fact that it is inspired by Henry David Thoreau made it even more fun for me. I have studied some of his work and found this book extremely fascinating and a good way to start looking at the world around us. I definitely recommend this book to any nature lover who is around children. This is a good book to use in the classroom as well. Henry is a great bear and I would love to read more of his adventures.

D.B. Johnson and Linda Michelin/ New Authors/Children's fiction/ 32 pages/ Nature/ 5 out of 5

This is another book my son brought home from school! I am learning about other authors out there and books that are so much fun to read! I cannot wait to see what he brings home from school today since Thursdays are library days!

FTC: Book from son's school library

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

The Fashion Hound Murders by Elaine Viets





Josie Marcus gets a call from her boss Harry. He has another place for her to mystery shop. It's a pet store that has been in the news and Josie is more than reluctant to help them out. Even if they did ask for her specifically. Finally gives in but is less than happy about it. Alyce comes along with her. Pets 4 Luv has been accused of taking puppy mill dogs. She just hopes that she is wrong. While working the case, she has a chance to go visit a puppy mill and is more determined to help. But when a pet shop employee gets killed over talking to her, Josie is in way over her head. She begins to question taking the job.

Ms. Viets has done her research and puts everything well balanced. There are some funny moments but serious ones as well. She really puts her heart into the story. I was very impressed with how well the story flowed no matter what the mood was. Everything comes alive on the page.

Josie really is doing her best. I am so surprised at the work she does and how difficult it is. Being like every one else isn't easy and she has to blend in without standing out. Alyce is always a helpful friend who helps her to blend in even more. Amelia keeps her level headed. Amelia is also quite the smart mouth kid and keeps things in perspective. Jane, Josie's mom, may have quite the bark to her but in reality it is just a cover for watching over her daughter.

This series keeps getting better. It definitely gets personal. I hope things settle down for Josie. That girl has more ups and downs in her life than a roller coaster sometimes. I also am learning to appreciate the things that secret shoppers do as having experience with them in my personal job. I'm on the edge of my seat just hoping there are more books in this series to come!

Elaine Viets/ Cozy Mystery/ 304 pages/ Secret Shopper/ Family/5 out of 5

So glad to read the first one in the cozy mystery challenge. I am hoping to read more next month.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Ireland by Frank Delaney




Ronan O'Mara, at the age of nine, has a life changing experience when a story teller comes to stay at his house. For three nights, he is captivated by the stories told at his fire place. The story teller is banished from the house for blasphemy. From there, Ronan wants to know more about the history of Ireland but longs to find the Story Teller.

Mr. Delaney weaves history into this fiction that blew me away. Some of the events told are too old to know what really happened. Yet everything is set before you like you are actually there while it is happening. Mr. Delaney has a way of putting you right in the midst of the story. I was blown away not only by the details but how each story was laid out. It was never so long that it overwhelmed you and the jumps between the stories and Ronan's story flowed so easily.

Ronan's love of history is cultivated by the Story Teller and encouraged by his father. His mother is a bit quiet but you can tell that she loves him in her own way. His aunt Kate gushes over him when his mother either can't or won't. It's not always easy to distinguish what her reasons were. John, Ronan's father, makes sure to help Ronan in his love of history in every possible way that he can. Even if it means he takes him on trips to go see people who might help them on his journey.

This book was so good that I didn't want to see it end. I fought to read the last bit as it completely captivated me. Having a love of Ireland, the stories presented here made me appreciate them since I knew about most of them. They were very well told and the personal experiences on the part of the story tell at the end had me in awe. The twists in the book surprised me and I never saw them coming. Mr. Delaney is a master at story telling and I definitely hope to read more of his work.

Frank Delaney/ New author/ 651 pages/ Ireland/ Family/Stories/ 5 out of 5

FTC: This book was bought and is part of my book collection.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

Hi Cat! By Ezra Jack Keats




Archie says hi to a cat as he walks by to go see his friends. The cat follows him and trouble ensues. His show for his friends may not go how he plans. Is he able to make it all work?

Mr. Keats is a fantastic children's author. The illustrations are beautiful. The story is simple yet a fun romp. The author really knows how to keep things light and fun. I enjoyed the fun the kids had with each other.

Archie loves to put on shows for his friends. What a cute kid and so friendly. The cat is curious like most cats are. I am loving this author's work. I hope to read more by him and see what the characters in his stories get up to next.

Ezra Jack Keats/Children's Fiction/ 40 pages/ Friendships/4 out of 5

This was a great book my son brought home from the library. I am loving this! :) Off to read more of Ireland hopefully. :)

FTC: Book from my son's school library

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Horatio's Birthday by Eleanor Lowenton Clymer

Horatio was a happy cat in a busy home. His owner Mrs. Casey loved looking after animals. There was a pigeon, a dog named Sam and two lively kittens. Then she found homes for the dog and the kittens while the pigeon made a home in a roof nearby. It was quiet, it was lonely and Horatio didn't know what to do. Mrs. Casey planned a party for his birthday but the night before Horatio was curious. He was in a pillow on the kitchen floor but couldn't sleep. His adventure brings about a wonderful experience.

Ms. Lowenton Clymer did a fabulous job with this story. I fell in love with Horatio right away! He is a precocious cat who is set in his ways. Yet even the quiet begins to bother him. She creates a wonderful person in Mrs. Casey. She is so sweet and caring.

My son got this from his school library and I fell in love with it right away. I see that this author has written more with Horatio and I would love to read them. Great kids book for young readers!

Eleanor Lowenton Clymer/ New Author/ Children's Fiction/59 pages/ 5 out of 5

I couldn't find a picture of the cover which bummed me out. It was soo cute! My little guy did a great job picking out this book.

FTC: From my son's school library

Thursday, April 01, 2010

March Stats and Reads

Books I read:
1.The Legend of the Green Man by Sara Hely 02-06-10 through 03-05-10 B
2.Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble 03-06-10 through 03-09-10 A
3.For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn 03-16-10 through 03-22-10 A+ (Best book so far)


Stats:
Total Books I read: 3
New Authors: 3
Fiction: 2
Non-Fiction: 1
Chunkster: 0
Mystery:0
Romance: 0
From The Stacks: 3
Books for Review:0
Books I Bought:0
Total Pages Read: 807 pages

I haven't finished Ireland by Frank Delaney yet and it might be a few more days. :) I hope everyone has a Happy Easter and enjoys some family time! :)

Monday, March 22, 2010

For Women Only by Shaunti Feldhahn




To quote the back of the book:

“What's going on in there? Ever been totally confused by something your man has said or done? Want to understand his secret desires and fears, his daily battles that you know nothing about? In a woman to woman conversation you'll never forget, Shaunti Feldhahn takes you beneath the surface into the inner lives of men. This book is about the things we just don't “get” about guys. With findings from a ground-breaking national survey and personal interviews of over one thousand men, For Women Only, is full of eye-opening revelations you need to not only understand the man in your life, but to support and love him in the way he needs to be loved. Grounded in biblical hope, you will discover how to love your man for who he really is- not who you think he is.”

Ms. Feldhahn delves into parts unknown and does with such loving words. She lays it out honestly as well but never in a harsh tone. She wants to help women do better and it was all inspired by writing a male character in one of her Christian novels. I was blown away by a lot of what I read. I knew some of it but not quite to the depth shown in the book. It has changed how I want to be not just around my husband as well as other men in how I react, dress, and my appearance. Dress just has to do with my clothes.

I am so glad I picked up this book. I made sure to give it lots of time to take in what was presented in the book. It definitely is one I highly recommend to all women to read whether you are single, dating, engaged, married or even divorced. We are around men all the time and this will help us better to honor those men in our lives. I am definitely wanting to read her other works and may even pick up her fiction books. This woman truly wants to make sure things come across well. I found that this is one book I will want to read again to refresh my memory every year.

Shaunti Feldhahn/ Non-fiction/Practical Life/Women/ 208 pages/ 5 out of 5

Having read a lot of negative comments about this book, please be kind and constructive. I do approve all comments and if it comes down to it, I won't allow comments on this post.

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Alaska Twilight by Colleen Coble




Haley Walsh left Alaska never looking back. Her family was dead and it was all her fault. Now she must accept God's help to get through being back there. Tank Lassiter is forced to help Kipp Nowak, a man who likes adventure to the extreme. She wants to find the truth about her family's murder. She may just see things from a completely different angle.

Ms. Coble did a fantastic job! I was throughly impressed with how well written this book was. It was truly suspenseful. I was on the edge of my seat. She weaved the tale so that I didn't want to put the book down. The setting only made the book pop and the characters were on all across the spectrum.

Haley really didn't want to go back but couldn't turn down the experience. Her grandma at her side would help her keep her head on straight. Though her grandmother's faith didn't always make sense to her. She just plugged along. Tank Lassiter has had a rough life but loves his daughter. His past has come back to haunt him and he just hopes he can make it through one more time. Kipp Nowak is fearless. Most of the time, that is alright but this time it may end up being costly.

Most of the book I didn't see coming. The attacks on Haley were mysterious and I never saw it coming who was behind it all. The faith in this book was so refreshing to read about. It inspired me to do better. This is one author I definitely want to read more of her work.

Coleen Coble/New Author/ Christian Fiction/ Alaska/ Confrontation/ Faith/324 pages

I hope to pick up my next book soon but for now it's back to cleaning.

Saturday, March 06, 2010

The Legend of the Green Man by Sara Hely

Kitty Harcombe is finally hoping to find love in a marriage. Her first one had it's moments but her husband died young after getting in a horse riding accident. Lord Fossick seems to be the man for her, so she sends a letter and can only hope he got it in time. Traveling is horrendous and when the next carriage doesn't show up, Kitty is at her wits end. That begins a whole series of events that make Kitty wonder if she should have ever left London.

Ms. Hely's first novel is fantastic. I was moved by the time period in Ireland of 1798. A lot happened and you can tell that with how the characters react to the events that take place in the book. Her characters are strong ones and not to be trifled with.

I loved Kitty cause she wanted to stick to her plans. Maggie, her servant, tried to talk her out of it. But she had to see things for herself. She was a stubborn person but she finally was able to see things for herself. It made her realize what she really wanted. Luke Denny was sick of being downtrodden. He could only prove himself and his family if he could talk to the head of the family. It might take some help from The Green Man.

I have had this book for so long that I'm surprised I haven't read it sooner. It was a fantastic ride and I would love to see if there is more by this author. She knows how to keep you in suspense. I was thoroughly pleased.

Sara Hely/ New Author/275 pages/ Ireland/Fiction/Historical/ 4 out of 5


I have a picture, just couldn't find my card reader. I hope to post it tomorrow sometime. :)Off to read set in Alaska! Great timing with the Iditarod.

Wednesday, March 03, 2010

February Reads and Stats

I only read one book Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber. You can read my review. :)

So here are my stats:
Total Books I Read: 1
New Authors: 0
Fiction: 1
Non-Fiction: 0
Chunkster: 0
Mystery:0
Romance: 1
From the Stacks: 0
Books for Review: 0
Books I Bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 321 pages

I am hoping to read at least two this month. lol I did watch My Sister's Keeper based off the book by Jodi Picoult and was pleased with how it ended even though it was different than the book. :)

Wednesday, February 03, 2010

Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber





Seth Webster misses his wife but doesn't know how long he'll get along after losing housekeeper after housekeeper. Judd and Jason, his twin boys, don't exactly help matters. Then Mrs. Merkle arrives and the boys dub her Mrs.Miracle. She gets the twins into ship shape. On the other side of town, Reba Maxwell takes over the christmas pageant at church. Being around kids might just be what her heart needs. Could these two find what their hearts need and get healing?

Ms. Macomber presents a sweeping romance full of heart. I loved how clean it was and the focus was on the lives that need help. She knows how to write mischievous characters that just make you laugh. I was truly impressed with how the story flowed and that there were true conflicts. The characters weren't perfect but that was fun as well. It made them easy to relate to.

Seth is really grieving four years later after his wife died in a car accident. Reba Maxwell is finding it difficult to trust again after she lost her fiance to another woman. Mrs. Merkle seems to have everything all figured out if Seth and Reba could see past the end of their noses. They can relate to each other because of the shared grief. It might just be the one thing that makes their relationship work. As long as they don't let their pride get in the way.

This is one book that I couldn't put down. Debbie Macomber does such a fantastic job with all the characters. The minor ones even have their place. I hope to read another one of hers soon.

Debbie Macomber/ Romance/ 321 pages/ Healing/5 out of 5

I'm not sure when I'll be picking up another book with a sick wee one. Just a cold but got to keep an eye on him. I am watching the movie that was on Lifetime and it's just so-so. They kept a lot of the stuff from the book. I am hoping it gets better.

Monday, February 01, 2010

January Reads and Stats

Here are the books I Read last month and all the stats that go along with it. :)

1.Immanuel by Michael Card 01-03-10 through 01-11-10 A
2.The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere 01-11-10 through 01-12-10 A+
3.Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson 01-13-10 through 01-21-10 A+ (favorite so far)
4.The Heroines by Eileen Favorite 01-22-10 through 01-30 B

Stats:
Total Books I read: 4
New Authors: 2
Fiction: 3
Non-Fiction: 1
Chunkster: 1
Mystery: 0
Romance: 0
From the Stacks: 3
Books for Review: 0
Books I Bought: 0
Total Pages Read: 1,104

I am keeping with one non fiction a month! Yay me! And reading more of my own books so far. I hope to keep it up! Off to start Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

The Heroines by Eileen Favorite




Penny is sick of the attention her mother gives to the Heroines that pop out of story books into their lives. It finally becomes too much when a hero comes to capture the heroine back. That has never happened before and it might just tear apart the world that Penny and her mother share.

Ms. Favorite took an idea already presented in a novel and gave it a twist. I was not only impressed with how well she took the fictional characters and kept them true. I also enjoyed how seeing them in every day life even though the book was set in the 1970's. The ending was one that I didn't even see coming.

Penny wanted her freedom but trying to hide the visitors from the outside world was never easy. She had to keep it all a secret as well. Her mother just rolled with the punches and opened her bed and breakfast to them even if it meant taking over family space to keep them hidden. Penny was just tired of it all. But even she couldn't see what was going to happen next.

While this one was not a huge favorite, I was intrigued from beginning to end with how it would all play out. It is one I am glad that I own and will keep on my shelves. Ms. Favorite has written a book that truly keeps you turning pages to see what happens next and what character will show up that they have to hide. I would definitely love to see what this author brings to the book shelves next. I am impressed!

Eileen Favorite/ New author/ Fictional Characters/General Fiction/ Growing Up/ 256 pages/ 4 out of 5

Tomorrow I'm going to take a break from reading. I hope to pick Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber on Monday.

FTC: This book is from my book shelves that I own.

Thursday, January 21, 2010

Before Green Gables by Budge Wilson





Finally the story is told in detail of the life Anne had before coming to live with the Cuthberts. There is also a little bit about her parents and their lives. Anne is truly a girl who takes a lot but never gives up dreaming. Her parents die when she is 3 months old, and she is taken in by the lady who helped clean the house for Bertha. That is just the beginning of a long journey for an eleven year old girl.

Ms. Wilson did such a fantastic job that I felt apart of the story. I could feel the emotions and sometimes even cried along with Anne. She not only grabbed the essence of L.M. Montgomery's work but was able to write stuff that as far as I know never been written in detail before.

I love Anne. My favorite fictional character of all time who gave me a passion to dream myself. Her imagination was one of the things that kept her going. Also her tenacity for life kept her going no matter how difficult. She did break down but after all even she can only take so much. Her hopes were dashed and the depths of despair were something she experienced with all of her heart. Sometimes it seemed like she was just being melodramatic but I kept hoping for the best anyways.

This is one book that won't leave my shelf any time soon. I recommend it highly for anyone who loves Anne and I enjoyed it so much. Some of this was in the movie with the Hammonds and going to the orphanage. I am curious to brush off my copy of Anne of Green Gables if it's still in readable condition. I may have to tape it up since I loved it so much! This is one I may revisit when I need something to get me out of a slump.

Budge Wilson/New author/ General Fiction/ 400 pages/Canada/Anne of Green Gables

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Christmas Hope by Donna VanLiere and Movie




Patti and Mark Addison lost their son in a car accident 4 years go. Since then, they have slowly drifted apart. Patti has engrossed herself in her work. It all changes when she meets 5 year old Emily. Breaking the rules to bring her home with her is just the start. Patti watches Mark melt around the little girl and soon finds herself in the same spot. Now she can only hope that she can find a way for them to be a family. Hope finds her and Mark in another way with a gift that is long overdue.

Ms. VanLiere puts heart into a story that makes your own heart melt. The characters have their faults but learn to work through their problems. Also her characters seem to have a lot to work through but that's what made it come across as so real to me.

I really loved Patti's dedication to her job. She truly loved what she was doing but had lost how to communicate with her husband in the process. She had to find a new balance all over again. Mark was a sweet heart but he could only take so much. Emily couldn't believe her mom was gone but having attention sure helped as well as love from the people around her whether new or old. I loved Emily's neighbors Greta and Hal. They were the cutest old married couple. They kept me in stitches throughout the novel and warmed my heart as well.

This was a great book and I loved seeing repeat characters even if they only had a line or two. I am curious to see how the next book goes and I won't wait till next Christmas either. Hope and Love should be celebrated all year long. I am keeping this short so that I don't give too much away.

Donna VanLiere/ Christmas Story/ Fiction/224 pages/ 5 out of 5

I watched the movie and despite a few changes I really liked it. There was one thing I really didn't like and that I won't give away cause it is central to the story. You know about it but I like the way it was handled better in the book than in the movie. Oh, well, you can't win every day! Tomorrow I start Before Anne of Green Gables by Budgie Wilson. I have heard great things about this.

FTC: This book is one I borrowed from a family member.