Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sunday Salon: Post Thanksgiving Edition

I am finally feeling a bit better! Hurray! I still have a lingering cough, mostly at night, but much better. We had a wonderful Thanksgiving weekend. My mom, my sister, her husband and two boys, my father-in-law and his wife were all here! We had a very yummy turkey dinner with all the good fixings. Well, except I didn't let my father-in-law make his oyster dressing. But I don't really consider that part of the 'good' fixings. We played lots of cards, played with the baby and his three-year-old brother, and ate lots. I even made chicken lasagna for dinner on Friday so we'd get a break from the turkey.

I did take pictures of my nephews. I will have to ask my sister first before I post them here. But they are worth waiting for! What cuties! While you are waiting, here's a picture my sister took of my girl and me.

I am eager to take pictures of my kids now. When I do, I'd better be sure to get a pic or two of me and my boy.

It was another slow reading week. Between being sick and having everyone here (and all the cleaning that goes along with that), I only finished one book: Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer. I have started Anita Shreve's latest, Testimony, but am having trouble moving past the opening scene. Kinda graphic and emotional. Hoping it gets...better isn't the right word, but easier to read. I posted my review of The Note by Angela Hunt.

I didn't get my next digital scrapbooking post finished so will work on getting that done this week. I also am working on a post about the believability of the action in books. Reading this week will be finishing Testimony then on to LOLAs next book - The Year of Living Biblically by A.J. Jacobs.

My next post will be my 200th post on the blog!!! To celebrate, I will be having a book giveaway! Be sure to check back tomorrow for the details!

I'd love to hear about your week. Leave a comment and tell me what you are doing and what you are reading!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving!

Happy Thanksgiving to everyone in the United States!

I am at home with my family. My mom, my sister and her family and my in-laws are here for the long holiday weekend. We will have a turkey and all the fixings today along with lots of card-playing, laughter and singing. I'll get to play with my nephews and (hopefully) beat my father-in-law at cards. I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to spend this holiday with these loved ones.

I would like to take a quick minute and also state a few more things I am thankful for at this time of year:
- My loving, caring, cute husband
- My smart, mostly well-behaved children
- The Lord God to whom I owe everything
- Good health for myself and my loved ones
- Wonderful friends that I will miss very much when we move
- A great job that's interesting, challenging and flexible
- My husband's new job that will allow us to move to Ohio
- A mom that will come and paint the trim in my house
- Our house
- My entire extended family - both those that are here now and everyone else!
- Getting to move closer to that extended family
- Nyquil (still sick...sigh)
- Our cars that travel well
- A mother-in-law that is great at buying me clothes
- The joy I get with taking good pictures

I could go on and on. But you get the point. What are you thankful for at this time of year?

Wednesday, November 26, 2008

What type of food am I?

I saw this on My Friend Amy's website and had to find out what type of yummy Thanksgiving food I am. I am happy! Does anyone disagree with what I am?

You Are Mashed Potatoes

Ordinary, comforting, and more than a little predictable

You're the glue that holds everyone together.

Let me know what type of food you are!

Review: The Note by Angela Hunt

I read Angela Hunt's The Note last week for my C3BC book club. C3BC was started last year at my church and I've read some great books with those ladies. Plus met some really cool ladies of all ages! But I digress...

The Note is the first book I've read from author Angela Hunt. Here's the summary:

When the unthinkable happens . . .

En route from New York's LaGuardia Airport to Tampa International, Flight 848 bursts into flames and crashes into Tampa Bay. All 261 passengers and crew are killed. For one week, newspaper columnist Peyton MacGruder and her fellow reporters cover one of the nation's worst air disasters in years with overwhelming and numbed emotions.

Then a woman Peyton's never met gives her a plastic bag that has washed up behind her house. The bag contains a note, almost certainly from the doomed flight, with a simple yet wrenching message: T- I love you. All is forgiven. -Dad

Combing through the passenger list to find the victims whose children's names begin with T, Peyton is determined to deliver the note to its proper owner. A quest which will prove as important to Peyton's own life as to the mysterious T.

I read The Note on my Kindle. It was a quick, enjoyable read. I enjoying watching Peyton's discovery of the purpose of journalism. Her discovery of what really is important in her life. And the power of forgiveness.

The early portion of the book was on the crash itself and Peyton's draw to it. It felt a little underdeveloped at the time I was reading it. But it was mostly a background for the rest of the book and now I'm not sure it would have been better to flesh it out more.

I enjoyed the search for the correct owner of the note. I especially enjoyed talking with the C3BC ladies about each of these potential owners - how they reacted to the note itself, whether they needed the note to be theirs, and the difference in their public versus private reactions.

Some of the situations and especially the ending felt a little contrived but not enough that it ruined the story. I was still teary-eyed at the end!

I recommend the book to anyone who enjoys lighter women's fiction or Christian fiction. It would also be good for any women's book club to read as there are good themes for discussion.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 25, 2008

Tuesday Teasers: Testimony

My two 'teaser' sentences are from page 66 of Anita Shreve's Testimony:

Mike watched Silas walk across the office, his book bag slung over one shoulder. He settled himself into the chair in front of Mike's desk, the chair the girl had so recently occupied.

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
- Grab your current read.
- Let the book fall open to a random page.
- Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
- You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
- Please avoid spoilers!

Check out other teasers around the blogs.

Tuesday Thingers: Widgets

From The Boston Bibliophile - Blog Widgets. Do you use them? Do you have them on your blog? Do you know what I'm talking about? :-) A blog widget is that list of books "From my LibraryThing" and such, that you'll sometimes see on someone's sidebar. If you use it, do all of your books show up or do you have it set to only show certain books? Do you have a search widget, which would allow your blog readers to search your library? Have you ever made a photomosaic of your book covers? You can find widgets and photomosaic information on the "Tools" tab in LibraryThing.

I do use a Library Thing widget on my blog! It's over there on the left. Under the list of blogs I enjoy. Did you look? If you are reading this in email or a reader, you'll have to click to my blog. C'mon, you know you want to see what I am talking about!

It's the listing of my most recent books. I originally had it set up to show all the books I've read this year, but now that I am almost to 100, I thought the list was way too long. I couldn't show off other things over there that I wanted folks to see. So now I just highlight the latest 10 that I've completed, searching on my 2008 tag.

Does anyone ever look at it? I have no idea. I've wondered about that. I've also wondered about whether I should have the book covers there too - especially since I went down to just the latest 10 books. Might be more colorful to look at.

I've not played with the photomosaic feature, but I think it looks cool. I may just have to honor everyone with my mosaic some day soon!

Check out how other folks use the widgets! And let me know if you want me to change or add anything to mine.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Review: Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer

Robert Greer's latest book, Blackbird, Farewell, is a good one. I have not read any of Mr. Greer's work before this one, but I will be checking out his other books. Blackbird, Farewell is listed as the 7th CJ Floyd mystery but centers more on Damion Madrid, who apparently has worked with CJ on other mysteries.

Here's the summary (from the author's website): BLACKBIRD, FAREWELL is Damion Madrid's story, and with this novel, he takes his rightful place as CJ's protégé. Just before he is to start medical school, Damion's best friend and basketball star cohort, Shandell "Blackbird" Bird, is murdered after signing a multi-million dollar contract with the Denver Nuggets. News of the high-profile murder of this family friend still reaches CJ, who is honeymooning in Hawaii. But he decides to stay where he is and enjoy this special time, leaving the sleuthing to the professionals.

Or so he thinks.

Raised around CJ, Damion thinks nothing of launching his own investigation, with the help of the Floyd network. He can't help but. He and Blackbird grew up together on the Glendale courts, in Five Points, and at Colorado State University, where they almost took the basketball team all the way to the NCAA Championship. It's that "almost" that is worrying Damion now. A local loudmouth has accused Blackbird of giving away the final game. Plus, a former teammate claims that Blackbird sold performance enhancing drugs to kids back on his home turf in Five Points. None of this makes sense to Damion. He can't believe that Blackbird would have involved himself in illegal activities, especially given his prospects in the draft. Why risk it?

In a thrilling, fast-paced ride through the worlds of college and pro sports, Damion discovers the tragic answer: that Blackbird had a secret that he felt was so private, he did almost anything to protect it.

When I started the book I wasn't aware that this was the latest in a series. (This seems to be an issue for me...I need to start checking that out ahead of time!) The beginning starts solidly, we are drawn in quickly and given good background before the murder takes place. I felt like I could easily see Damion, a.k.a. "Blood", and Bird talking, feel their bond of being life-long friends. And then after the murder, when Damion is looking into what happened, I felt bad for him that he learned all these things about his best friend and the others around him.

It was a good mystery, with interesting whodunit questions and action. I felt like some of the characters were not quite developed and were stereotyped - but since I now know it's a series, than those characters are probably fleshed out better in earlier books.

Early on there was some writing that seemed a bit odd or forced, particularly when dealing with the police. The part that sticks in my mind is about how the detective had to write everything down in his Blackberry and we were told each time he wrote something. That felt weird and I worried that was how the whole book would be written. However after the first few chapters, it was well-written and the writing was 'unnoticeable' - which to me means good! I don't want to notice the writing - I want to remember the story.

I am glad I had the chance to read Blackbird, Farewell. I am going to put the rest of Robert Greer's CJ Floyd books on my list to be read. It looks like another good mystery series that I will enjoy.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Sunday, November 23, 2008

The Sunday Salon:

Sigh... I am still sick. This cold has really knocked me for a loop. I think I'm getting better and then I start hacking up a lung! The worst part is everyone is coming HERE for Thanksgiving weekend. My mom was teasing that I'd better not make her sick. I'm not worried about that - but more about my littlest nephew later this week. I'd better be better so I can cuddle and play with him and his big brother! I'll be sure to annoy ;-) my readers next week with more cute kid pictures.

I was able to get some reading in last week. I read, on the Kindle (read my Kindle review), The Note by Angela Hunt for the C3BC book club Thursday night. I will be posting my review later this week. I posted my reviews of two ARCs this week: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell and Scattered Leaves by Richard Roach.

The best book I read this week was Triptych by Karin Slaughter. I just started reading her books in March and have now read all of them. Time for Ms. Slaughter to write more!

Coming up first this week is another ARC book tour to be posted tomorrow - Blackbird, Farewell by Robert Greer. I am only about halfway through so you know what I'll be doing later today! I think next up will be Anita Shreve's latest, Testimony.

Planned for later in the week is the next installment of Digital Scrapbooking by Me! You can read the first installment - The Paper Years - to get caught up. As of this posting, this installment will be entitled The Transition to Digital. But like book authors, the title may change before printing. LOL

Best part of the week will be the family and food for Thanksgiving! My house will be bursting at the seams on Wednesday night with folks sleeping all over the place. Then great food, lots of games, chatting, and more food! Woohoo!

What will you be doing this week?

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Review: Scattered Leaves by Richard Roach

I was able to finish Scattered Leaves this afternoon. Unfortunately, Richard Roach's book was not an enjoyable read for me.

My post yesterday contains the book jacket summary, so I won't repeat it here. The idea, the plot, the background of the book had me hooked the first time I read it. I still think it's a great idea for a book.

The plot moves quickly. An oil rig blows up in the opening scene. Ben McCord leaves there, has a fight with his boss, then goes home to find his wife dead. Great opening to the book. Had me hooked. Ben gets arrested, released, goes looking for the killer, gets shot at, gets kidnapped... Lots of action, lots of mystery.

So, why didn't I like it? One reason is that it is just not believable. Maybe I am too much into mysteries and thrillers to allow this book to seem real. Ben's interactions with the police were wrong - not stereotypical or anything but just not right. And too many things happened in such a quick fashion without any real connection. Or reason. And rather than causing me to become more interested and wonder what happened, it just made me think "No way - could not happen". Add into the mix Dr. Pettijohn, a dentist that was raped by the bad guys, who later, with seemingly no issues, 'fixed' it so those 'guys' could not hurt anyone again. Just felt like a woman with her background would have handled things very differently. Didn't ring true.

I also had issues with the first person writing style. I felt like I was being told what the characters were thinking and feeling rather than letting their actions show me. I don't think it was an issue with being written in first person, but rather how it was done. I don't go around thinking to myself that I am hungry, sad, frustrated. Rather, my actions clue me and others in way before I ever think those actual words. As a reader, I don't want to be spoon-fed the emotions and actions, but rather be a part of them as they unfold.

Now, to be fair, I have just read two excellent mysteries in the last weeks and so may have been expecting too much. If you are not a huge mystery fan, but want to read a quick moving, action-filled book, this may be a good one for you.

I am just one reader, however. To find out what other readers thought of Scattered Leaves, check out Savvy Verse & Wit and Reader Views.

Rating: 1.5/5 stars

Friday, November 21, 2008

What I am reading: Scattered Leaves by Richard Roach

I am scheduled to host author Richard Roach and his book, Scattered Leaves, today for his book tour via Pump Up Your Book Promotions. Unfortunately I've been sick most of this week and I haven't finished the book. I am about halfway through. It's fast-paced, very plot driven so far. Some of the plot points are not quite believable. But as I am intrigued with the character and the story, I am reserving judgement until I reach the end and can see how it all plays out. I should be able to finish in another day or so and hope to post my complete review this weekend.

Summary: When Ben McCord comes home from a business trip to find his young wife raped and murdered, he starts out on a journey of death and destruction. Clues lead him to a dark world of drugs and violence in action that spans Texas, Colorado, and the Mexican border. McCord hooks up with a beautiful doctor, who was also victimized by members of the same drug cartel, and together they track down the killers, surviving bloody confrontations, and ending with a suspenseful climax in the Big Thicket of Texas.

About the author (from his website): Richard E. Roach was born in Galveston, Texas in 1931. He attended Trinity University, and the University of Texas. He served in the USAF for four years as a drill sergeant. Richard has invented several electronic instruments used in the detection of oil and gas, formed his company, manufactured them and sold them nationwide as Richard E. Roach, Inc. Before the oil business fell upon hard times, he sold the business for several million dollars and retired to write. Richard is married and Norma has put up with him since 1948. He has three grown children.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Review: Triptych by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is another of my favorite mystery writers. I just started reading her books this year and have, as of last night, read them all! Her original series is the Grant County series (Sara Linton/Jeffrey Tolliver). You can read my thoughts about those books starting here.

In September I read and reviewed here her latest book, Fractured. It was actually the second book in a new series for her. She calls it the Atlanta series. As I am a serial reader, the fact that I skipped a book in the series freaked me out! LOL But I can now say I've read all in the series!

Triptych is the first book in the Atlanta series. We get introduced to Detective Michael Ornewood, Detective Leo Donnelly, GBI Agent Will Trent and GBI Boss Amanda Wagner.

Summary: In the city of Atlanta, women are dying–at the hands of a killer who signs his work with a single, chilling act of mutilation. Leaving behind enough evidence to fuel a frenzied police hunt, this cunning madman is bringing together dozens of lives, crossing the boundaries of wealth and race. And the people who are chasing him must cross those boundaries too. Among them is Michael Ormewood, a veteran detective whose marriage is hanging by a thread–and whose arrogance and explosive temper are threatening his career. And Angie Polaski, a beautiful vice cop who was once Michael’s lover before she became his enemy.

But another player has entered the game: a loser ex-con who has stumbled upon the killer’s trail in the most coincidental of ways–someone who may be the key to breaking the case wide open….

As usual, Karin Slaughter makes the story come alive. I was a part of the story. I did not have any clue who was doing what until she wanted me to. And then I wasn't sure that the 'good guys' would figure it out before they got killed!

And I learned something new - what Triptych means. You'll have to read the book to find out how it relates.

It was fun trying to remember the characters from Fractured and the 'next' of the story. Fun - not really - my memory is like a sieve! I barely remembered the characters names! LOL

If you are a mystery reader and haven't read any Karin Slaughter, now is the time! Start with Triptych and you will not be disappointed!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Tuesday Teaser: The Note by Angela Hunt

My two 'teaser' sentences are from Kindle location 150 of The Note by Angela Hunt:

Peyton forced a smile even as Nora's words spread ripples of pain and betrayal. Peyton had thought she and Janet were friends, but if the television writer had been jockeying for her spot...

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
- Grab your current read.
- Let the book fall open to a random page.
- Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
- You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
- Please avoid spoilers!

Check out other teasers around the blogs.

Monday, November 17, 2008

Review: Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell

Available in January, 2009, Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell is a good first novel.

Author Josh Bazell is a medical resident at the University of California, San Francisco. He has an MD from Columbia University and a BA in writing from Brown University.

Summary: Meet Peter Brown, a young Manhattan emergency room doctor with an unusual past that is just about to catch up with him. His morning begins with the quick disarming of a would-be mugger, followed by a steamy elevator encounter with a sexy young pharmaceutical rep, topped off by a visit with a new patient--and from there Peter's day is going to get a whole lot worse and a whole lot weirder. Because that patient knows Peter from his other life, when he had a different name and a very different job. The only reason he's a doctor now is thanks to the Witness Protection Program--and even they can't protect him from the long reach of the New Jersey mob. Now he's got to do whatever it takes to keep his patient alive so he can buy some time...and beat the reaper.

The book started slow. The book started with numerous explicatives - more than I care for. Peter started out very odd. And confusing. There are thought footnotes that make things confusing and don't really help much (kinda like you'd have to go to the bottom of the page to read it...maybe I should stop doing it).


I liked the book. The story was interesting. How a former mob fellow becomes a doctor is intriguing just in itself. Add in the story about how he became a mob guy. Add in what it's like to be a resident doctor in a less-than-ideal hospital. (Okay, I actually pray that his description of the doctors and the hospital is not at all real...but I'm not going to do any research on that.)

The writing got better. The swearing lessened. The story drew me in and I wanted to know what happened to Peter, his girlfriend and why he's a doctor. It took me a couple of days to read the first half of the book, but the second half took only an hour or so. It was a good first novel.

I am now interested in finding out what happens next. My suggestion to author Josh Bazell would be to dump the footnote thing - figure out how to write that information into the main text. And develop some of the other characters a bit more for more relationship and story depth. But I look forward to reading the next one.

Thanks to Miriam Parker and Hachette Books for sending Beat the Reaper to me.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Please pray for a young friend of mine - Cassidy Briggs

I have been a member of an online moms group since my boy was born in 2000. All the moms have children due or born in the same month as my boy. I have met over 20 of these ladies over the last eight years and they've helped me through many life challenges throughout that time.

One family I haven't met in person but know well anyway is the Briggs family. Cassidy is my boy's age and was diagnosed with liver cancer right before her eighth birthday. My understanding is that the cancer is extremely rare in children. Cassidy needs to have a liver transplant. They are currently praying that the children's hospital in Pittsburgh will be doing the transplant.

I have loved hearing Cassidy stories over the years. She is extremely bright and curious about many things. She loves hanging with her brothers, doing all sorts of sports with them. She loves school and is constantly wanting to learn.

Her story and family were featured last week on Global News Vancouver. The easiest way to see the video is to go to You Tube and search on Cassidy Briggs. You will see two videos about Cassidy, including the news story.

You can also see some newspaper stories on Cassidy at two places: The Surrey Now and (If the direct links don't work, go to their main pages and search on Cassidy Briggs. You may need to choose region of Surrey.)

Cassidy's entire journey with cancer is documented at her Caring Bridge site:

Please pray for Cassidy and her family. Pray that the Pittsburgh hospital will do her transplant. Pray that the family will be able to continue to stay strong through out this journey. And please pray that Cassidy will be healed and be able to grow up and do great things with her life. God has wonderful plans for her.

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Sunday Salon: I'm late cause I needed a nap!

My girl turned 12 today! Man, I am getting old! My mom always said she got older twice a year - her birthday and mine (I'm the oldest, not the worst). Even though mine and my girl's are only two weeks apart, I understand what my mom meant!

We had a party for her the past two days. Figured it would be okay to do a little more than usual because this will be her last birthday party with these folks (moving 3 hours away as soon as this dumb house sells). We started out at the pool at the local gym. They have a kid pool with slides, water sprayers, and such that you'd find in a community pool in the summer. We started there so the boys could join us. Only two did. Sigh... But the girls had fun too.

We then took the girls home for a night of clay making, coloring, laughing, singing, eating, dancing, pillow fighting, stair surfing (shh...don't tell their moms), and movies. I went to bed at 1 am thinking they were settling down - half were asleep and the other half watching a movie. Apparently after the movie the party started up again until 4 am! Glad I was two floors up and didn't hear that! I still needed a nap today.

Gotta brag on my two favorite clay pieces - one I made (the Santa) and one a girl made (the frog) that I just love. There were quite a few others that were so cool. Very talented girls!

I did a little bit of reading this week. Still lower production. I think I am feeling like I need to catch up on my ARCs and books sent to me to review yet sometimes those are harder to get through. Course I've been in a little bit of a funk (anyone want to buy a summer home in Indiana???) and that slows down my reading a bit too. I end up staring at the computer screen doing nothing. LOL But I am perking up a bit I think.

I finished and reviewed The Brass Verdict by Michael Connolly. You can read my love fest with the book, the author and Miriam of Hachette Books. I finished Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell. This is an ARC that comes out in January. I will post my review later this week. I am currently reading Triptych by Karin Slaughter. You can read about her other books I've enjoyed.

Not sure what I'll read next. I've got a couple of book tours coming up plus there are a ton of library books I have to read.

I am currently at 91 books read for 2008. My goal has been to break 100. I should be able to do that. I also signed up for a 100+ challenge for 2009 at J.Kaye's Book Blog. I will probably sign up for her 2009 library challenge later this week.

Next weekend is the Ohio State vs Michigan football game. My man and my girl will be going to cheer on our Buckeyes! Be sure to cheer for the scarlet and gray!

Hope you had a good weekend. Tell me about it!

Friday, November 14, 2008

The 2009 - 100+ Reading Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog

My personal goal for 2008 has been to read at least 100 books. I am currently at 90 and should be able to make it!

I am going to have the same goal for 2009. Thus when I saw J.Kaye's challenge to read 100 books in 2009, I knew there was no reason not to sign up. Plus this will make it a little more 'official' for me.

Here are the rules:
The 100+ Reading Challenge will be hosted here this year. Here are the guidelines:
1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.
2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.
3) You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.
4) If you don’t have a blog, please join our Yahoo Groups.
5) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your 100+ books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed.
6) All books count: children’s, YA, adults, fiction, non-fiction, how-tos, etc.
7) Feel free to post in the comment section or on Yahoo Groups your monthly progress as well as your favorite books that month.

You do not have to decide on the books ahead of time, so this is a no-brainer for me. Yeah! The only thing is that I'll need to keep track of my books here. So a little more 'paperwork' for me than I am used to. Hopefully I can do it. :-)

Who's in with me? I know there's folks out there who can read 100 books next year!

Review: The Brass Verdict by Michael Connolly

I am a HUGE fan of Michael Connolly. I have read every book he's written and just thoroughly enjoy them all! Harry Bosch is one of my favorite characters - he's complex, real, flawed, has a strong sense of right/wrong. Mr. Connolly's stand-alone books are just as fun and exciting as the different series. So when I heard this summer that he had a new book coming out, I was very excited! I tried to win an ARC of the book from various places, but to no avail.

In October, Miriam from Hachette Books hosted an Blog Talk Radio chat with author Michael Connolly. You can listen to it here. I couldn't attend and in my whining about not attending and not being able to get a copy of the book, Miriam took pity on me. She sent me the book! I just love Miriam and Hachette Books!!!

Okay, I want to say the love fest is over. But it's not. The Brass Verdict is as good, if not better, than Mr. Connolly's previous books. In it, we have lawyer Mickey Haller who we met in The Lincoln Lawyer. We also have the best detective, Harry Bosch. The story is written from Mickey's point of view, so it was very neat to read about Harry rather than be in his head.

Here's the summary from Michael Connolly's website: Things are finally looking up for defense attorney Mickey Haller. After two years of wrong turns, Haller is ready to go back to the courtroom. When Hollywood lawyer Jerry Vincent is murdered, Haller inherits his biggest case yet: the defense of Walter Elliott, a prominent studio executive accused of murdering his wife and her lover. But as Haller prepares for the case that could launch him into the big time, he learns that Vincent's killer may be coming for him next.

Enter Harry Bosch. Determined to find Vincent's killer, he is not opposed to using Haller as bait. But as danger mounts and the stakes rise, these two loners realize their only choice is to work together.

This is definitely a top read for me. The characters are so unique and interesting. The story keeps moving, keeps you on your toes and engaged completely.

I am definitely a serial reader. If you are like me, start with Michael Connolly's first book The Black Echo and start reading. Or if you want a shorter series, you can start with The Lincoln Lawyer. Both series are great. I believe this would also be fine as a stand-alone book. But this is such a great series, I promise you'll then want to go back and start at the beginning.

Go get a copy today!

Rating: 5/5 stars

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Review: The Amazon Kindle

I received an Amazon Kindle from Oprah when my book club was in her audience last month. If you don't know what I am talking about, you can read the story starting here and then the day of and my thoughts after.

After the initial amazement that we received a Kindle, I was leery about whether I would like to read on it (or any eReader). I just love the heft of books and turning pages and such. I am not a true book lover in that I have to have all the books I read or keep the ones I do read in pristine condition. I am so used to carrying around a book - since I was little and got in trouble for it in school - that I wasn't sure I would want to read my books on a screen.

But as it's definitely the wave of the future, as I had one and didn't have to pay for it or my first books, I figured I wanted to try it out and give it a fair shake. Since I was way down on the list for our next LOLAs book at the library, I decided to read Midwives by Chris Bohjalian on the Kindle. You can read my review of the book here. This post is about the Kindle.

Overall I liked reading on the Kindle. It obviously took some getting used to initially. I had to figure out what size type works best for me. I found that while I am sitting on the couch and reading, I can use the smallest type choice with no problem. But when I was walking on the treadmill, I needed the second to the biggest to not get motion sick. How cool that I could have those options!

The Kindle keeps track of where you are in the book. Automatically. You can add bookmarks of places you want to go back to for one reason or another. You can also add notes to specific areas of the book (great for reviewing books or for book club discussions). My son (I allowed each kid to buy a book - anything to get them reading and enjoying) likes to highlight the line he is on when he turns it off. Even though the Kindle automatically saves his page, he wants to know exactly where on the page he was. Apparently he doesn't want to take the time to re-read anything.

You do have to push the 'next page' button more than turning pages, but after awhile you don't even notice. The nice thing is that there are two buttons for next page so no matter how you are holding the Kindle, it's easy to hit the next button. With the different type sizes, more or less text will be on the screen so I made sure that when I could, I used the smaller type so I didn't have to hit the button as often. I also had an error (not really an error where it fussed at me but not sure what else to call it) where somehow I pushed something that sent me back to the beginning of the book without bookmarking where I was. It only happened once and I can't recreate it - if I figure out what happened I will be sure to let Amazon know and update this review to include the issue.

The Kindle is wireless, downloading items quickly and quietly. It is definitely faster than even my high-speed internet on the computer. There are so many books available to read, it's amazing. But there are also newspapers (which is a big highlight for my friend Julie), some blogs and magazines. And you can send items to it via email so you can read just about anything on it.

I have no doubts I will continue reading on the Kindle. I don't believe I will read on it exclusively at this point but I can see heading that way in the future. My biggest issue is that I generally don't buy books to read. I either get them from the library or from friends. I buy less than 10 books a year for myself (10 actually seems high). So it will be a switch to buying books, even though it is cheaper to buy on the Kindle than paper books. And since I cannot give this book away when I am done, the money seems to be an issue for me right now.

I can see using this exclusively when I travel. I usually travel with lots of books and with the Kindle only being 10 ounces, that would seriously cut down on the weight in my bags and the space needed. I would have loved to take this to Hawaii in March - I took 10 books with me that week! Plus since I can have my books along with the kids books on here, it's great to slip into my purse and use as a distraction for them if needed. The only drawback for that is we only have one!

My thoughts are if you are a book buyer but not in love with bulging book shelves, the Kindle is for you. If you are tired of carrying around heavy or bulky books, this is for you. If we can convince the libraries to rent books via the eReaders, this will be for ALL of us. (Can you imagine? No waiting for a book that you want from the library? It makes me all tingly!)

I am excited to keep reading on my Kindle and see how the technology changes my reading habits over time. And to see how books and the book market changes as more folks get interested in eReaders, including the Kindle.

If you have a Kindle or other eReader, let me know what you think. I'd love to chat about it some more!

Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Tuesday Teaser: Beat the Reaper

My two 'teaser' sentences are from page 39 of Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell:

He swallows, which isn't that easy when you're getting all your fluids through your arm. "You gonna kill me, Bearclaw?"

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
- Grab your current read.
- Let the book fall open to a random page.
- Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
- You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
- Please avoid spoilers!

Check out other teasers around the blogs.

Tuesday Thingers: Stuff

From The Boston Bibliophile - LT Things- t-shirts, bags,cue cats- are you into the "stuff"? Do you use a cuecat to enter your books, or do you enter them manually? What do you think of the stuff?

As you know, I love LibraryThing! I love that it's so easy to use and can do so many things. I think all that stuff - the t-shirts, bags, etc is fun to have and would make great conversation starters out in public. But. I can't see spending my money on it. This feeling is not limited to LibraryThing for me. I don't buy the t-shirts or items from places we visit or from other fun things I enjoy. I didn't even buy any t-shirts from the kids school or sports teams until last year when it would help pay for my daughter's uniform.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, if you want to buy me something from LibraryThing (or the Colts, Buckeyes, scrapbooking, camping, being a mom....), I would use it. But I'm not going to buy it for myself.

Can't do it

I can't do it. I just cannot finish these books.

There are four books this time. I keep thinking I need to finish these books but I realized that I am just not going to do it. Each one is a bit different as to some of the 'why' but really, I don't completely know why some books don't grab me. Especially ones that other readers have really enjoyed.

I started The Story of Edgar Sawtelle by David Wroblewski because my book club was going to be in the audience of Oprah when she discussed it. It is 562 pages and I pushed myself to get as much done as I could in the week we had between finding out we were going and when we had to be there, reading over 350 pages. I didn't get it done but Oprah never discussed it on the show. And ever since I keep thinking I should finish. But it's not calling me.

Edgar Sawtelle is a mute child who grows up on his parent's farm, working the family business of raising Sawtelle dogs. The story is very descriptive and character driven with not much actual plot. But the characters were not that compelling to me. After reading 350 pages about these characters, you'd think I'd want to know what happens to them. But I really don't. To me there was such potential with this story but I never engaged with the characters. Thus, I am not finishing.

I received Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland from the Early Reviewer program at LibraryThing. I can't get into the book. I made it 52 pages but have no idea really where it's going or what's the point. This surprises me as Ms. Handeland is not a new author and I expected great things from the book. I was very excited to get it but just cannot read it. I realize I am not much into the latest craze of books about the supernatural but I don't think this is why I don't like it. I just don't. There are too many other books out there that I want to read to spend my time reading this one.

For a book chat, Book Club Girl sent me a copy of The Safety of Secrets by Delaune Michel. I missed the chat but wanted to read the book.

I am about halfway through the book but am finding the people in the book very blah. I don't particularly care for the main character of Fiona. She's pregnant, has an okay husband, is an actress, has a couple of best friends and is just boring. There's some secret that underlies her relationship with her childhood best friend that so far is not yet revealed. But there are a ton of other secrets amongst Fi and her circle of people - some 'normal' and some just dumb. I am not intrigued enough by the hint of the BIG secret to keep reading about these people that I find very blah.

The thing is, tons of folks enjoyed this book. So I am definitely in the minority on my opinion. Go see Dar's thoughts at Peeking Between the Pages, Sheri's thoughts at A Novel Menagerie and Lisa's thoughts at RebeccasReads. And stop by Book Club Girl for the chat with author Delaune Michel.

Lisa Roe, the Online Publicist, sent me Legerdemain by James J. Heaphey. I was very intrigued by this book as I love a good spy story and this is a real one! I don't know if the reality of it is what kept me from getting involved or just the timing of reading it. Or maybe my aversion to learning history. I've picked it up two times and cannot get very far into it without stopping. This is one where I know if I just pushed through the beginning I would enjoy it. But I just can't seem to make myself do that. I am sorry for that.

For other reviews, go to see The Bookfool at Bookfoolery and Babble, an article at Old Musty books, and Curled Up with a good Book. And I'll probably try again because I KNOW I will like it if I do.

I encourage you to read the other reviews and thoughts on these books. Just because I didn't become involved with them doesn't mean you won't. In fact, maybe that means you will! If you do read one of them and want me to post your review, just let me know. I'd love to share other thoughts of these books.