Friday, August 29, 2008

Review: Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber

Third in the series, Back on Blossom Street is another good book by Debbie Macomber. These books are quick reads about women helping other women mature and grow, with a little knitting thrown in. They aren't an "in depth, make you think" type of book, but rather a "curl up in front of the fire and spend some time with friends" type of book. And I rather enjoy them. Check out my review on the second in the series, A Good Yarn.

In Back on Blossom Street we greet some old friends - Lydia, the recently married owner of The Shop on Blossom Street; her sister, Margaret, whose daughter gets carjacked; and Alix, who had quite the rough life growing up but is now engaged to a youth minister. And we meet some new friends - Samantha, who recently purchased the flower shop next door, and Colette, who is now living in the upstairs apartment and working at the flower shop but may be hiding something in her past.

I hope you enjoy these ladies and how they overcome their struggles as much as I do.

Random thoughts - 100 posts and counting!

Welcome to my 100th post!

Who knew I had so much to say that I could blog at least 100 times and still have more to go???? LOL

Getting my house ready to move - de-cluttering, purging, cleaning, packing, painting, more cleaning, moving things to storage, staging of my rooms (um, doesn't look like my house anymore!), more painting (Keep your Hands OFF the walls!), with school starting, laundry, meals (yes, I said we are having'll just complain if I tell you what it's just meat and you'll eat it!), homework, and more cleaning has just knocked me on my butt! I am exhausted!

I have been able to read some over the last few weeks but have definitely not had time to review them, blog them, or, heck, even add them to my library thing! It's been killing me! I've finished and need to review Back on Blossom Street by Debbie Macomber and Sail by James Patterson. I am working on Matters of Faith by Kristy Kiernan.

But! The house is now listed. The kids are in a routine for school (which includes keeping things clean - hopefully this will continue for the next house...BWAHAHA...yeah, I am dreaming). My husband had his last day at the old job yesterday. New job starts on Tuesday. We are going suburb/neighborhood shopping/hunting this weekend. So the house is clean and ready to show (where are those buyers...c'mon, you know this is a GREAT weekend to buy a house!).

My goal is to get back to blogging and visiting other blogs. I dare not share how many new posts are in my Google Reader. It's shameful! But I look forward to catching up and seeing what else is out there!

I do know I need to post about the Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Amy is collecting nominations for the Blogger Awards. Be thinking of what I should be nominated for (there is not a slacker award - so be more creative please!) and who else you'd like to nominate. I will be posting the list of awards over the weekend. Anyone can send in nominations, so make sure you do!

Have a good weekend. Enjoy this last long weekend of the summer! Make sure you spend some time with your family and your books! Doesn't matter to me whether that's at the same time or not! LOL

Thursday, August 28, 2008

Tuesday Thingers: LT Authors

From The Boston Bibliophile - Tuesday's question:
LibraryThing authors. Who are your LibraryThing authors? What books of theirs do you have? Do you ever comment on an author's LT page? Have you received any comments from an author on your LT account?

First - yes, I realize it's Thursday and not Tuesday. But I'm behind, you've missed me, I've missed me and I want to answer this question! animated smileys

It took me forever to figure out where to find the answer to this question! You'd think I would know more about my Library Thing account as much as I am in there. But there are so many cool features that are automatic that I can't keep up! (Okay, that sounded like a plug for LT and I suppose it could be - if you don't have a library there, you are missing out!).

So, I finally found my list of LT authors on my profile page. They are (with what I've read and their reviews):
Randy Alcorn, author of Deadline and Dominion
Meg Waite Clayton, author of The Wednesday Sisters
Sandra Kring, author of The Book of Bright Ideas (read in 2007 and gave 4.5 stars)
Michelle Richmond, author of Year of Fog and No One You Know
Marisa de los Santos, author of Love Walked In
Michael Simon, author of Body Scissors.

I have not ever commented on their library thing pages as it never occured to me before! LOL I've participated in some of the author chats - Michelle Richmond and Meg Waite Clayton. I have not received any comments from authors on my LT page, but that's okay as I have gotten comments here.

Great question this week! Click here to see everyone else's comments.

Review: Say Goodbye by Lisa Gardner

I love author Lisa Gardner and have read all her books over the years. I was very excited to finally get a copy of her newest book, Say Goodbye, and I was not disappointed.

Say Goodbye is Lisa Gardner's sixth novel that involves members of the Quincy FBI family. This one focuses on Quincy's daughter Kimberly, an FBI lead investigator, and her husband Mac, a GBI Georgia Bureau of Investigation) detective.

Kimberly is pregnant and she and Mac are having "discussions" about her work: amount, level, dangerous-ness. Mac wants her to take a step back to protect herself and their child but Kimberly does not think she is putting herself in any danger and resents the implication.

Kimberly is contacted by a pregnant hooker who claims one of her customers has gotten rid of one of her friends. She calls her customer Mr. Dinchara, which is arachnid backwards, because of his love and ownership of many spiders.

Mac's friend and co-worker Sal has been working on a potential case involving missing hookers. Sal thinks his case is related to Kimberly's hooker and this Mr. Dinchara. Kimberly does not get an official 'okay' to work on the missing girl but continues to investigate on her own (and the discussions with Mac continue because she's adding MORE to her plate).

As you can guess, this turns into more than anyone could see at the beginning. Lisa Gardner has the unique ability to write a mystery/thriller that has you turning pages wanting to know more of what happens while developing her characters in real and significant ways. I'm always impressed (and maybe a little scared - lol) with how well I can understand and relate to her characters - both the good and bad. I would argue with Kimberly and Mac, seeing both sides of their discussions. But then I also thought "don't do it!!!" when Kimberly ... well, you can find out for yourself.

Say Goodbye, as with all of her novels, can stand alone and you will thoroughly enjoy the book. However, if you want to understand the characters even more deeply and appreciate the story even more, I recommend you read the series in order. The books in this series are (from the author's website):
— THE PERFECT HUSBAND (introduces Quincy)
— THE THIRD VICTIM (Quincy and Rainie meet)
— THE KILLING HOUR (focuses on Quincy's daughter, Kimberly)
— SAY GOODBYE (focuses on Kimberly, Mac, Rainie and Quincy)

If you are a mystery/thriller lover and have not read any of Lisa Gardner's books, you are missing out on one of the best. She has other books that are not related to the Quincy family that I also love. I highly recommmend you get these on your list!

Thursday, August 21, 2008

My book club ideas - check them out!

I keep reading reviews of books that I think would be a great book club book. And I don't have a way to keep track of them in an easy-to-find (for me) manner. So I created a new blog!

Check out Michele's Book Club Ideas!

I will be posting books and links to reviews that look like great books for a book club to discuss. I will include the review and blog I originally read the review on, any author information, other reviews I find, and whatever else I can come up with!

I will also be posting information on books that my book clubs read, including any comments from other members that they'd like to share.

My goal is that this is a reference for you and for me when we are looking for ideas for book club choices.

I am hopeful that other readers will send me information to include in this blog to make it an even better resource for all of us.

To keep up to date with the book club ideas:
- You can add the feed of the book club blog to your feed reader with the link on the book club blog.
- You can check the book club ideas from time to time via the link to the left on this main blog.
- And if I add a bunch of books, I may put up a reminder post here too.

Thanks for your help!

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Review: Lookin' Back, Texas by Leanna Ellis

I was grateful to have received Lookin' Back Texas by Leanna Ellis from the Early Reviewer program at Library Thing.

From the back of the book:
Betty Lynne Davidson is planning her husband’s funeral while overlooking one thing: he’s not dead.

When Suzanne Mullins, forty-two, gets the call from her father to come back home to Texas because her mother has gone off the deep end, she knows it will mean having to look at the faulty foundations of their marriage as well as her own. Betty Lynne has always upheld a perfect facade of home and family, and Suzanne has followed suit. But her life with husband Mike and son Oliver is cracking under the pressure of its own unspoken history.

Looking her past in the eye once and for all, Suzanne hopes that trusting in God’s love and mercy will set all of this craziness straight—even if it does mean having to watch her father give the eulogy at his own funeral.

My thoughts and reaction to this book are varied. I felt some of the situations were very contrived and did not feel remotely real. But some - including the non-dead husband's funeral planning - were quite funny and I could easily imagine it. The writing style took a while to get used to, but eventually I was able to lose myself in the book.

The main characters - Suzanne, her mother Betty and her husband Mike - were fairly well developed. I did get involved in their lives and got emotional a few times for them. However some of the other characters and their reactions left me feeling like I was missing a big part of their personality, they were very flat when they could have been quite colorful.

Overall, I enjoyed this book. I think it was a good story and am glad I got a chance to read it.

Check out the book's website for an interview with author Leanna Ellis.

You can find other reviews on Lookin' Back, Texas:
Brittanie at A Book Lover.
Allison at On My Bookshelf.

Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

I am excited to share with you that My Friend Amy is putting together a Blogger Appreciation Week for September 15-19. Here are the details straight from Amy's blog!

Book Bloggers: You work hard. You read books, you write reviews, you maintain relationships with your readers, publicists, and authors. You are constantly running to the post office to mail your giveaways and participating in carnivals to help boost traffic. You sometimes want to faint when you see the size of your TBR pile, but faithfully you read. And you do it because you love it. Book blogging is for most a hobby. But it's a hobby that takes a lot of work and time. It's a labor of love.

I've been blogging for three years but only really got into book blogging in the last year. I have found, without a doubt, that book bloggers are the kindest, most open minded, and supportive group of bloggers on the internet. With book blogging, it's about community and a love for the written word.

The Readers: We love you! You don't have a blog, but you read our reviews and share your thoughts with us. You enter our giveaways and click on our Amazon associates link. We do this for you and appreciate your readership. We hope you'll join in the fun and festivities of BBAW! (we'll have a special contest just for you!)

Book Blogger Appreciation Week: Acknowledging the hard work of book bloggers and their growing impact on book marketing and their essential contribution to book buzz in general, I am excited to announce the first Book Blogger Appreciation Week. Think of it as a retreat for book bloggers and a chance for us to totally nerd out over books together. And of course, shower each other with love and appreciation.

Register: In order to experience the maximum impact of the week, I invite you to register your participation (just like a retreat)!
To register, just send an email to bookbloggerappreciationweekATgmailDOTcom with your blog url and what you consider your niche...i.e, general book blog, classics blog, personal blog with a healthy dose of books, YA books blog, etc. Then, add one of the two buttons at the bottom of this post to your sidebar. If you are a reader (no blog) just send an email announcing your plans to follow along.
Why bother? If you register, you will be added to a book blog directory which will exist long after this week is over. Additionally, you will receive one raffle entry into the daily giveaways during BBAW here at My Friend Amy.

Awards: Oh yes, there will be awards. The Oscars of Book Blogging. :) Nominations start next week.

Spread the Word: If you are excited about this idea like I am and the other book bloggers who are helping, please consider writing a post on your blog announcing this event and inviting other book bloggers and readers to join.

So why not join in? You have nothing to lose and lots to gain!

Tuesday Thingers: Friends

From The Boston Bibliophile - Today's question: LT and RL (real life)- do you have friends in real life that you met through LibraryThing? Have you attended any LT meet-ups in your area? Would you be open to attending meet-ups or is LT strictly an online thing for you?

I don't think I've gotten any new friends directly from Library Things recommendations and such. BUT! Reading and posting in the Early Reviewers Group inspired me to start this blog and I've gotten lots of new blog friends! Some of my new friends are also LTers but not all. I've so enjoyed this expanding of my circle of friends, it's another reason I love LT!

Have I not yet met up with any LTers that I did not know before. Some of my friends here are now LTers based on my recommendation, so I do meet up with them. :-) I have met up with other online friends multiple times, so would be excited to meet up with other book lovers!

Have you met up with other Library Thing members or online book lovers?

Check out other answers to today's question here.

Monday, August 18, 2008

We are moving!

Yes, that's the big change. We are moving from Indiana to Ohio. We are both originally from Ohio. We met at and both graduated from Ohio State (a long time ago). Our family is all still in Ohio and it's been hard being over five hours from our parents (who live three hours apart - one south, one north).

So! My husband starts a new job the first of September and we are moving to Columbus, Ohio. The kids and I will stay here until the house sells and we are frantically working to get it ready to list (and I am exhausted!!!). I didn't realize how much stuff we have, me the non-pack rat! LOL We have tons of options for places to live - I didn't realize how many suburbs and school districts were a part of Columbus until I started doing some research. It can be overwhelming to know where to live!

We are excited to be closer to family but also very sad about leaving our Indiana friends! We've been here 15 years and have built alot of friendships that we are going to miss terribly. But we will definitely have a guest room so we are hoping for lots of visitors.

So I am asking for your help. Please let me know if you have any good tidbits about relocating, about Columbus, Ohio, or about selling a house. And I am asking for your prayers for a smooth transition for all of us, for a quick sale of the house, and ease of finding the right place to live.


Sunday, August 17, 2008

Review: The Accident Man by Tom Cain

Looking for a unique thriller? The Accident Man by Tom Cain may be just what you need!

The summary: For a certain sum of money, Samuel Carver will arrange a death. A ruptured gas line, an automobile crash, a fall from a window; anything can look like an accident. But when Carver is to carry out a job in a tunnel in Paris, and when the job goes wrong for him, and when he is pursued by the very forces that hired him, Carver must execute his most daring feat yet. A thriller of the grandest and most exhilarating sort, The Accident Man races above and below the streets of Paris, across Europe, and through storms at sea. It is also a startling introduction to a hero engaged in acts of moral violence. With the dissolution of world powers, with everything and anything for sale, how does one justify death? Samuel Carver—a clouded man of determined action—will come to understand the prices to be paid.

I don't think I've ever read a thriller quite like this book. It's a work of fiction, a 'what if' surrounding the death of Princess Diana. What if one of the conspiracy theories actually happened - what would it look like? Who would be involved? The best part is it doesn't really focus on the princess but rather on the Accident Man: Carver. On his skills and his vulnerabilities. On the people he works for - the ones he knows about and the ones he doesn't, and how he finds out who they are.

The book is thoughtful - we know Carver's worries and desires about doing his job. And we get to see how he deals internally about the consequences of his actions and being double-crossed. I completely bonded with Carver.

However, this book is not for the faint of heart. It does contain quite a bit of killing and various other items that one would see in an action movie. However, the details are not lengthy and don't overwhelm the story - which is Carver trying to come to terms with what he did and figuring out how to fix what he can.

I highly recommend this book to other thriller readers out there. If you like a good spy novel or a unique conspiracy theory, The Accident Man will be a book you won't want to put down.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Suspense and Thriller Challenge Update

Way back in May, I joined the Suspense and Thriller Challenge. And I've never updated on how I'm doing. If you remember, this challenge listed many suspense and thriller genres and the goal is to read books from 6 different ones in 2008 and six more in 2009.

Here's the list of genres and what I think I've read against them so far, linked to their reviews. I have completed 6 genres already and for sure will get one more in this year! Very exciting to me that I took the time to figure this out!

Action thrillers -
Amateur Detective mystery - Sudoku Puzzle Murders by Parnell Hall
Comic Thrillers - Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
Conspiracy thriller - The List by Robert Whitlow
Cozy mystery -
Crime thriller -
Eco-thriller -
Erotic thriller -
Disaster thriller -
Drama thriller -
Forensic mystery -
Futuristic mystery/thrillers -
Hard-boiled mystery - not yet but am DYING to read The Brass Verdict by Michael Connelly, out in October
Hitman Thriller -
Horror thriller -
Inverted mystery -
Legal thrillers -
Literary thrillers -
Locked Room -
Medical thrillers -
Military Thrillers -
Murder Mystery - Beyond Reach by Karin Slaughter
Mob Mysteries -
Police Procedural Thrillers -
Political thrillers -
Private Detective mystery - Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen
Psychological thrillers -
Religious thrillers -
Romantic thriller -
Sci-Fi thrillers -
Serial Killer thriller - All the Pretty Girls by J.T. Ellison
Spy thrillers -
Supernatural thrillers -
Techno-thrillers -
Terrorist thriller -
True-Crime thrillers -

Review: Body Scissors by Michael Simon

I received Body Scissors by Michael Simon from J. Kaye to read and guest review for her site. I read it and she posted my review on her blog.

Be sure to check out other posts on J. Kaye's blog as she reads a ton (twice as much as I do!) and has been reading some good ones lately!

Thanks J. Kaye for the book!

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Review: No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay

Looking for a thriller that you don't want to put down? Then you need to read No Time for Goodbye by Linwood Barclay.

The summary from Book List on Amazon: Fourteen-year-old Cynthia Bigge wakes up one morning to find her entire family gone. Twenty-five years later, their unexplained disappearance still haunts her. She agrees to appear on the reenactment show Deadline, hoping the TV exposure might provide her with some answers, although her husband, English teacher Terry Archer, is considerably more skeptical. Indeed, not long after the show airs, the two are shaken down by a psychic, receive a series of bizarre phone calls, and become the victims of a break-in, although nothing is taken; instead, something is left—a hat that Cynthia is convinced belonged to her father. As Cynthia's paranoia escalates, Terry's patience wears thin, and the two decide to hire a private detective. That's when the mayhem starts.

This book is definitely a page turner! Cynthia's paranoia - is it in her head? Something she's doing - maybe a split personality? What happened to her family? Are they really dead? I cannot imagine for even a second that my family would just disappear. It's not even in my ability to imagine. Knowing that, I can imagine how if that were to happen, how messed up I would be. How I really would have trust issues. And abandonment issues. And, really, all sorts of issues! (And, yes, I know I already have issues --- these are not what I am referring to!)

The book is written primarily from Terry's, Cynthia's husband, point of view. And it's easy to see he wants to believe her and yet also easy to believe that maybe she's finally cracking up after 25 years. The characters are quite real, flawed, and I could imagine all of them in my town. I felt myself rooting for Cynthia not to be crazy, but boy howdy! I probably would have had her committed! LOL

I read this book all today. It was a perfect day for reading and the perfect book as I didn't want to put it down. I highly recommend this thriller.

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

Summer Fun Photo Contest

The fun ladies at 5 Minutes for Mom are a must read every day. They are hosting a Summer Fun photo contest that ends tomorrow. I've been debating for days what photo to enter - cause you know I have to enter!
Their words about the photo to choose: The theme for the contest is Summer Fun - which leaves it wide open for your creativity. Your photos can be of kids, adults, animals… anything that represents summer fun to you! Just keep the shots family friendly please.

Leaving it wide open is always difficult for me! I need structure and organization, people! Anyway...

I decided that to me, summer fun means the kids and I having fun with our family, doing things that we might not otherwise do throughout the year. With that in mind, I went back through my pictures from June through now. I wanted a photo that included both kids. I wanted one that photographically was decent (doesn't need to be great but has to not make me cringe) and this was tricky as my SLR was at the doctor most of July (it's back now - yippee!!!). I wanted a picture of something that would only happen in the summer. And I wanted it to make me smile with the memory.

Here is what I chose: We were at my in-law's house. It's raining and they are out playing in it, riding their cousin's little tricycle. Think they were having fun? This picture makes me smile - I hope it looks like summer fun to you!

Little too big?

Giveaway: The Shack

Icedream at Reading in Appalachia has a giveaway that I am sure you all will love. The ladies in my small group have been all over me to read The Shack. They have read it and now tell me I need to. So much so that I already have two copies at my house to read! LOL And I will get to it soon. I promise.

But for now, you can win a copy of the book for yourself. Icedream reviewed the book here. Then because of her review, Hatchette Book Group gave her an opportunity to chat with the author William P. Young. Click here to see her interview and to enter her giveaway. You need to enter by August 17th and it's only for US and Canada readers.

And when I get it read (soon, I promise!), I will review it here and also include comments from my small group ladies.

Tuesday Thingers: Book stores

From The Boston Bibliophile : Favorite bookstores. What's your favorite bookstore? Is it an online store or a bricks-and-mortar store? How often do you go book shopping? Is your favorite bookstore (or bookstores) listed as a favorite in LT? Do you attend events at local bookstores? Do you use LT to find events?

It's hard to define 'favorite' for me as I don't buy alot of books, preferring to use the library. But, of course, I do buy some books.

Is my favorite book store where I buy most of my books? Then it would have to be Amazon. And that's because it's easiest. I can do it from home (not having to remember to go there and make the time to go) and have it delivered here (without having to remember to go pick it up). I usually do the free shipping option when possible so that makes it the cheapest option out there most of the time too.

Or is my favorite book store where I go shopping locally for book gifts and attend some events? That would be Viewpoint Books. They always have great books in stock, wonderful sales people to help you find what you want, even if you don't know what you want, and cool toys that are book related that always is a hit with kids.

Or another option for my favorite book store is the one where my husband and I go on dates. That would be Barnes and Noble. It's about an hour from here but it's a great part of date nights for us. We'll go out to dinner, chat, and then spend an hour or so at the book store browsing independently. I know, not the most romantic for a date night. But it's fun for us to be there without the kids. We talk about the books we find and we both 'recharge' (him with the comics section, me mysteries/thrillers and new fiction). We generally leave there with a long list of books I want to read (and request from the library) and a book or two for me or the kids. And, of course, some comics!

So, not sure which is my favorite book store, but they each play an important role in my life. What is your favorite book store? I'd love to hear what you like and why.

And check out the main post to see what others choose as their favorite book stores.

Review: Private Justice by Terri Blackstock

I read Private Justice by Terri Blackstock for the C3BC book club. A partial summary from Amazon: It is the week of Mardi Gras in the Louisiana town of Newpointe, and the whole town is celebrating. Then horrible news arrives: Martha Dwyer, the wife of a firefighter, has been found murdered, shot through the head, her body set on fire. The townspeople's shock soon turns to horror when yet another firefighter's wife is found murdered in a similar fashion. By the time a third wife is attacked, it has become clear that a serial killer is at work. Firefighter Mark Branning is terrified, especially since he and his wife are estranged. Realizing that Allie may be the next victim, Mark convinces his reluctant wife to leave town with him. Unfortunately, this action does not stop the killer.

This book was a quick read. The pace kept moving and the plot kept me engaged. Unfortunately, there was not much depth to the characters which made it difficult to become involved with the cares and worries of the town. The reason that Mark and Allie are estranged is just hinted at until the end which also made for some frustration as I always want to be invested in the main characters.

While the characters were not very well developed, what we did know quite believable and real. The pastor of the church shared some of his worries about the town and whether he's doing what God wants him to be. And there's the required 'Doubting Thomas' (although it's a woman) that allows some of the dialogue about God and how he allows bad things to happen.

It's not the best Christian fiction out there, but it's a good read. It's a thriller that did keep me guessing until the end. If you are looking for a quick, non-offensive thriller, I recommend reading Private Justice.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Friday, August 8, 2008

How do you react to stress? has 14 different definitions of stress. Some of them have to do with putting an emphasis on something - a syllable, good manners, etc. Some of them have to do with mechanics - stresses and strains on levers, balanced forces, etc. (having flashbacks to Engineering Mechanics and they are not good/happy flashbacks). And then the definitions that apply today:
"++ Physiology. a specific response by the body to a stimulus, as fear or pain, that disturbs or interferes with the normal physiological equilibrium of an organism.
++ physical, mental, or emotional strain or tension: Worry over his job and his wife's health put him under a great stress.
++ a situation, occurrence, or factor causing this: The stress of being trapped in the elevator gave him a pounding headache."

The last few weeks have been quite stressful for my family. We've got some major life changes that we've been discussing, agonizing, and praying over. We've finally come to some conclusions that I'll share at a later date. However, I've been reminded of how I respond to significant stress - I retreat.

By retreat, I mean that I kind of shut myself into a little cocoon. I lose the desire to 'mingle' with others - chatting, going out, even going to the library sounds too difficult, like too much work. And the things that bring me joy normally - my kids, photography, reading, and now blogging - also sound like too much work. I run on what feels like an 'empty tank' - am tired, crabby, and wanting to shut down. Sounds a little like depression and that's probably as good of a definition as any.

But it's not depression in it's true sense - I have had that in the past and this isn't quite there. And I find it interesting that I do this without even really noticing until I begin to come 'out of it'. And then I realize, darn it, I did it again. All the people and things that I love, I've shut out. Or at least limited their exposure to me and my heart...what I am really thinking about.

And that's just, I want to say dumb, because those are the same people and things that can help me work through whatever is stressful. Not by solving it or even necessarily discussing it, but just by refilling my tank. 'Sharpening the saw' as they said all those years ago in 7 Habits. (Who's old enough to remember when that was the all the buzz?)

So, I am hoping to refill my tank this weekend. I have lots to do but am also hoping to do it with the people I love. And at the same time showing them that I love them by talking, laughing and being positively productive. My goal is to have this clear out my defenses a bit, work through the stresses our life changes are causing, and start to enjoy the parts that are great.

So, how do you handle stress? Is it similar? Or am I just the nutcase that I think I am? LOL

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Clouds this morning

We had such unique clouds this morning that I had to take a picture. I used my family's camera as my camera is at the doctor. Not sure they truly convey the beauty, but I had to share.

Cloud cover
This is the west sky.

Clouds to the sun
This was the sky to the east. You can see the sun trying to force it's way through near the top.

Lace Reader Giveaway - We have a winner!

My second giveaway is over. This one was for the wonderful new book The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry. You can see my review and see that I loved it. There are also alot of other reviews that suggest you don't want to miss this book.

This time for my giveaway, I tried something a bit different (for me). I made a list of all the folks who entered. I then went to and did a sequence generator. Here's what I ended up with:

Ruth 4
Ruth 28
Ruth 34
Ruth 20
Ruth 30
Ruth 17
Jaime 23
Julie 37
Traci Michele 19
WindyCindy 24
Baxter 2 21
Janel 31
Anna 33
Samsakara 27
Samsakara 26
Samsakara 5
Samsakara 22
Samsakara 36
Samsakara 32
Shana 8
Shana 7
Shana 12
Shana 35
Shana 25
Shana 3
Blueviolet 6
ihchicky 13
Dawn 14
Popinfresh 18
Popinfresh 11
Popinfresh 29
Popinfresh 1
Popinfresh 2
Popinfresh 15
Archana 9
SweetSue 16
Bishiesruleme 10

This means that our winner is Popinfresh! Congratulations! Please send me your snail mail address at mawshimp at gmail dot com.

I have quite a few more ARCs and other books I've won in my tbr pile. As soon as I read them, I will be giving them away as well (anti-pack rat here).

Thanks to everyone who entered!

Challenge Wrap-up: July Book Blowout

Remember this challenge? It's the one where we had to read as many books as we could in the month of July. At the beginning of this challenge, I said that I wanted to read at least 10 books. Well, I completed that goal plus 2!!! That puts me at 65 books read by the end of the July in 2008! I am well on my way to my goal of 100. Woohoo!!!

Here are the books I read. Click on the cover if you want to read my review.

Mrs. S - our host for this challenge - has asked some wrap-up questions.

1. Did you discover a new author? The majority of what I read were new author's to me. I enjoyed Linda Leigh Hargrove's The Making of Isaac Hunt and have conversed with her a bit. I look forward to reading her next book soon. I fell in love with Marisa de los Santos and Love Walked In. And Billie Letts, author of Made in U.S.A. is a fun author that I will continue reading (in fact just got a notice that The Honk and Holler Opening Soon is ready to pick up at the library). Then Meg Waite Clayton of The Wednesday Sisters, Brunonia Barry of Lace Reader, and Lisa Lutz of The Spellman Files are all new authors for me too. That's been one of the best benefits of blogging - finding new authors!

2. Where was the most unusual place you found yourself reading? I'm not sure I was in any unusual place. The newest place for me is the football fields. My boy has started playing football for the first time in his life. Practices are 2 hours and have been every weekday for the past two weeks. Since the field is about 20 minutes from home, I've just been staying and getting alot of reading done. And catching some rays!

3. Did you read more than usual? I didn't push to read more in July than I normally would. At least since 'normal' became working on the blog. With the blog I've definitely been pushing myself to read more so I can share more! LOL But I would think my monthly average is up a bit. Which is good!

4. Did you give up anything in order to read more?
LOLOLOL Me, sacrifice something? If my lazy behind usually does it, odds are I can't get out of it. So, simple answer, no.

5. If you won the Amazon voucher what would you spend it on? Is this a trick question? More books, of course. And since I'm not one to keep them after I read (cause I'll never re-read), then I'm sure I'd share.

6. Would you like to see a 2009 Book Blowout? Sure! Was fun to do and be a part of this month. I need to find more challenges for me to participate in now.

Thanks to Mrs. S for hosting this challenge. Click here to see all the others who have participated in this challenge and what they read in July!

Favorite Author: Monica McInerney

A few years ago I read one type of book (except book club choices) - murder mystery/thrillers. And it was mostly the big names - Patrica Cornwell, Janet Evanovich, Sue Grafton, etc (all of which I still love). I could not imagine reading chick lit - I thought that meant it was all romance, gushy, graphic sex, light, airy, things I would not want to read. Now, before you start yelling at me that I am wrong, I KNOW!

One of the authors that changed my mind on this was Monica McInerney. The first book I read was The Alphabet Sisters. From the author's website:
Sisters are always there for each other . . . aren’t they?
Anna, Bett and Carrie Quinlan were childhood singing stars – the Alphabet Sisters. As adults they haven’t spoken in years. Not since Bett’s fiancĂ© left her for another sister . . .
Now Lola, their larger-than-life grandmother, summons them home for a birthday extravaganza and a surprise announcement. But just as the rifts begin to close, the Alphabet Sisters face a test none of them ever imagined.
A witty, wise family saga, filled with warmth and humour, this is an unforgettable story of three women who learn that being true to themselves means being true to each other.

OMGosh! I laughed, I cried, I was so emotional through this book! I just loved all the women in it - the sisters, Lola, their mom. It made me want to have a better relationship with my sister and my mom. It made me want to have more sisters! And, of course, a little jealous that they all could sing - it's just my sister with the star quality voice. This was definitely my favorite book of 2006.

Another of my favorite Monica McInerney books is The Faraday Girls. From the author's website:
As a child, Maggie Faraday grew up in a lively, unconventional household in Tasmania, with her young mother, four very different aunts and eccentric grandfather. With her mother often away, all four aunts took turns looking after her – until, just weeks before Maggie’s sixth birthday, a shocking event changed everything.
Twenty years on, Maggie is living alone in New York City when a surprise visit from her grandfather brings a revelation and a proposition to reunite the family. As the Faradays gather in Ireland, Maggie begins to realise that the women she thought she knew so intimately all have something to hide…
Those Faraday Girls is a rich and complex story full of warmth, humour and unforgettable women. Spanning several countries and thirty years, it is a deeply moving novel about family secrets and lies – and how the memories that bind us together can also keep us apart.

This was such an amazing story of family and women. How women in the same family can view things so differently, have such unique personalities, but still have a fierce love for one another. It's about two generations of women in one family, how events and choices affect people for years to come. But mostly it's a wonderful story about families, women and their love for one another. Again, I laughed and cried and was emotionally spent when I was done with this book.

All of Ms. McInerney books are wonderful. She has also written another book that's available in the U.S., Family Baggage, which was also a top read for me. I wish her other books were also available in the U.S. as I'm sure I would love them. If you haven't read anything from this author, I suggest you add her to your list as soon as possible!

Ooo! In looking through the links and such for this post, I found that another of her books is available in the U.S.!!!! Upside Down, Inside Out was originally published in 2002 in Australia and Ireland (at least that's how it looks from the reviews) but is now available here. I'm going to reserve it at my library today!

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Tuesday Thingers: Memes throughout the internet

From The Boston Bibliophile : Today's question is only marginally about LibraryThing but I thought it might be a fun question anyway. It's more about blogging. Everyone who participates in Tuesday Thingers has a blog- some have a book blog, some have several, some have blogs that are more personal, etc.- and we've all chosen to participate in this particular way of networking to build traffic, get to know each other, etc. So my question is: what other weekly memes or round robins do you participate in? Is this the only one? Why Tuesday Thingers and not some other weekly Tuesday meme? Or do you do more than one?

Also, if you feel like you don't have enough memes, you can visit The Daily Meme for even more blogging options for different days of the week. I know- like you don't have enough to do! :-)

Well, as faithful readers will know, Tuesday Thingers is the only meme I currently participate in. These meme/round robins are definitely part of the blogging social network that I have yet really to tap into. On one hand, I love reading other people's blogs and thoughts, but not sure I want to answer them all the time. If that makes sense.

I enjoy Tuesday Thingers because it's all folks that are also a part of Library Thing and that's one of my favorite sites these days. I love looking at my library there, seeing what others have posted in the groups, and with this meme each week, I tend to learn more of what LT can do for me.

I keep thinking it would be fun to find one or two more that force me to post as when I get started posting, I just go to town and love it. As opposed to this last week when I found other things to keep me busy besides blogging (either that or I was just take your pick!). But I don't know that I've found one that fits with me.

What memes do you enjoy reading in other blogs? If you blog, what are your favorite to write? Check out other answers here. I look forward to seeing your thoughts!

Review: Oh Danny Boy by Rhys Bowen

I was in need of some quick reads, and so went back to my 'roots' and read a few quick mysteries. Rhys Bowen has three series that are favorites of mine: Constable Evan Evans, Molly Murphy, and Lady Georgiana. I think I would classify these series 'cozy mysteries' (if I truly knew what that genre name meant!). I will review Oh Danny Boy of the Molly Murphy series here. Click to read my review of A Royal Pain from the Her Royal Spyness series.

Oh Danny Boy
is the 5th in the Molly Murphy series by Rhys Bowen. It's 1902, Molly Murphy is a recent immigrant to the United States from Ireland, living in New York City in the early . Her arrival in the US, her family background, friends she makes are all parts of the first four books. I highly recommend reading these in order as I believe it will make the books more enjoyable. As a result of choices in the first books, Molly is a female private investigator at a time when women didn't have any rights or decent jobs.

In this book, Molly has to investigate why her friend, police captain Daniel Sullivan has been jailed for taking bribes. She knows he's innocent but does not have a clue how to go about figuring out what happened. Her investigations take her through some mangy parts of the city, including talking with the head of one of the biggest gangs - he's also the one who supposedly is in cahoots with Daniel. She meets and partners up with a police matron - a female officer who is the first woman to get assigned anything besides caring for female prisoners.

Molly goes through the days with personal turmoil over Daniel beyond what is involved with this 'case'. And she gets involved in some of Daniel's investigations - maybe one of those is why he was framed.

There is the predictable chase at the end with the real criminal at the end, but until it started, I did not know who 'did it'. I enjoy this series because Molly is such a great character in a time when women were not allowed to be leaders publicly. As an investigator, she is out there in the man's world finding answers, making changes. I can easily imagine her there, with her emotions and choices being very real to me.

The series starts with Murphy's Law. I recommend them for light, fun mysteries.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Review: A Royal Pain by Rhys Bowen

I was in need of some quick reads, and so went back to my 'roots' and read a few quick mysteries. Rhys Bowen has three series that are favorites of mine: Constable Evan Evans, Molly Murphy, and Lady Georgiana. I think I would classify these series 'cozy mysteries' (if I truly knew what that genre name meant!). I will review A Royal Pain here and then Oh Danny Boy of the Molly Murphy series next.

A Royal Pain is the second and latest in the Lady Georgiana (actually it's Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, cousin of King George V of England) "Her Royal Spyness" series. Lady Georgiana, aka Georgie, is a member of the royal family in the 1930's. She's 34th in line for the throne.

Georgie's brother, Binky, was left practically penniless after their father's fortune was lost due to the stock market crash and various other 'incidents' of their father's own making. As a result, Georgie, who doesn't want to live in the country with her brother and his 'not-so-nice' wife, lives in their London home. But, gasp! She has no servants, any money, nor any income. And the queen is forever asking for Georgie's help in matching up her son, the heir to the throne, with someone other than his American, married, older mistress.

This book has the queen asking Georgie to house and escort a visiting princess. This princess is quite a handful, being 18 and just recently left the convent where she was schooled. Georgie and the princess find several dead bodies along their adventures, which leads the police to not be very friendly, as you can imagine. As Georgie and her friends work to solve the mysteries - or maybe work to stay away but they keep cropping up - you are engaged in the drama and the fun.

The story is told from Georgie's point of view, so we get to hear her thoughts on her relatives, the times, and how she views herself. I find myself laughing out loud at her antics and how she seems to continually get herself involved, against her own wishes. Her friends and family are quite lovable, as is Georgie.

This book, as was the first one Her Royal Spyness, is a light, quick read with good characters. While some of the characters or situations are a bit predictable, the majority of the book is quite fun, unique and a good story. If you are looking for a light, 'not alot of thinking' series, this would be a good choice.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars