Wednesday, December 9, 2009

My newest Christmas ornament! I LOVE IT!!!

My VERY TALENTED friend, Lisa Clarke, of Polka Dot Cottage, decided to make a small set of family ornaments again this year! This made me VERY happy to hear and I immediately ordered. I got ours in the mail today and this made me very Happy! LOL Can you tell I'm in love? Just look at the details! The hair, the freckles, the dog. The heights...scary to think my girl is just that much shorter than me, but she really is! My boy's hair sticks up in real life just like this one! And this is proof that my blonde hair is real. Really it is. (Okay, it used to be.)

Lisa is SO talented! She makes jewelry (I own multiple pairs of her earrings as do most of the ladies in my family). She makes fun flip flops. She makes scarves and hats and aprons and skirts. And many, many other things. I am in awe of her. You have GOT to click on on of these links and go check out her store. It's all her. Oh, and she's got a blog too and is quite humorous. I suggest subscribing to her blog - you won't be disappointed.

Okay, back to my rabbit hole. I wish I had more time to give this blog more attention, but I will some day, I promise!

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Look what I got today!

I love Random House. They sent me a new book to read AND some chocolates!!! Every book needs chocolates! The book is Home Safe by Elizabeth Berg. I have not anything by her before so hopefully it's a good one. And due to the bribe of chocolates, this book moves up in the tbr pile!

Review: The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly

I am a HUGE Michael Connelly fan and was very excited to see two books coming out this year! Scarecrow came out over the summer and I read it last week.

Summary: Forced out of the Los Angeles Times amid the latest budget cuts, newspaperman Jack McEvoy decides to go out with a bang, using his final days at the paper to write the definitive murder story of his career.

He focuses on Alonzo Winslow, a 16-year-old drug dealer in jail after confessing to a brutal murder. But as he delves into the story, Jack realizes that Winslow's so-called confession is bogus. The kid might actually be innocent.

Jack is soon running with his biggest story since The Poet made his career years ago. He is tracking a killer who operates completely below police radar--and with perfect knowledge of any move against him. Including Jack's.

It had been awhile since I had read about these characters so had to search my brain a bit for the details I remembered. Given my swiss-cheese brain, it was not the easiest thing to do! But I digress.

I enjoyed Jack! He was so believable I wanted to slap him a few times. LOL The other characters are quite fun and pull the book together well. The plot was fun, suspenseful and interesing.


There was something about the book that is keeping me from saying this is one of my top reads of the year. It took me about a week to get through this book. I know that may not sound like a long time, but it is for me for a favorite author in my favorite genre. However, I can't put my finger on it. It was still a good book though and I do recommend reading it, especially if you like Michael Connelly.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Monday, October 5, 2009

Need young adult book help!

My girl is in 7th grade. She needs to read two books by the same author. They need to be about 200 - 250 pages each. It cannot be a book that has been made into a movie. She likes adventure books, romances and puzzles. She loved the entire series of Twilight. Some of her favorites when she was younger were Because of Winn-Dixie, Judy Blume, Holes, Calder Game.

What are your suggestions for her?

Monday, September 28, 2009

Review: Undone by Karin Slaughter

Karin Slaughter is one of my favorite authors from the past few years. I have read all of her books, both from the Grant County series and the Atlanta series. So when I started looking for what books I missed, I was very excited to see that Ms. Slaughter had a new one out. The best part was that Undone combines characters from both her Grant County and Atlanta series!!!

Summary: In the trauma center of Atlanta’s busiest hospital, Sara Linton treats the city’s poor, wounded, and unlucky—and finds refuge from the tragedy that rocked her life in rural Grant County. Then, in one instant, Sara is thrust into a frantic police investigation, coming face-to-face with a tall driven detective and his quiet female partner…. In Undone, three unforgettable characters from Karin Slaughter’s New York Times bestselling novels Faithless and Fractured collide for the first time, entering an electrifying race against the clock—and a duel with unspeakable human evil.

In the backwoods of suburban Atlanta, where Sara’s patient was found, local police have set up their investigation. But Georgia Bureau of Investigation detective Will Trent doesn’t wait for the go-ahead from his boss—he plunges through police lines, through the brooding woods, and single-handedly exposes a hidden house of horror buried beneath the earth. Then he finds another victim.…

Wresting the case away from the local police chief, Will and his partner, Faith Mitchell—a woman keeping explosive secrets of her own—are called into a related investigation. Another woman—a smart, upscale, independent young mother—has been snatched. For the two cops out on the hunt, for the doctor trying to bring her patient back to life, the truth hits like a hammer: the killer’s torture chamber has been found, but the killer is still at work.

In her latest suspense masterpiece, Karin Slaughter weaves together the moving, powerful human stories of characters as real as they are complex and unforgettable. At the same time she has crafted a work of dazzling storytelling and spine-tingling mystery—as three people, each with their own wounds and their own secrets, are all that stands between a madman and his next crime.

With my swiss-cheese memory, my lack of reading and such, it took me until about the middle of the book to remember all the back stories of the main characters. But that did not keep me from enjoying the story. The characters are so alive in these books. In fact, I debated giving the book a lower rating because I am not happy with some of the choices of the characters. Like, I am mad at them so won't rate them as high as they should be. LOL

I was amazed at who was the killer and definitely did not see that. These books don't keep you on the edge of your seat with the suspense of the chase but rather include the emotions and thoughts of the hunters to make such a complete story.

Being the serial reader that I am, I do recommend going back and reading the entire set of books. Some of the character development might not be as interesting or understandable if you don't. But it's a good book all on it's own as well.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 24, 2009

I blame it on...

I feel like I'm finally becoming me again. Is that weird?

About a year ago my husband started a new job in a different state. However our house didn't sell until January. So for four months we lived apart during the week and I was sort of a single mom. Yet I was still able to blog, scrapbook, work, take pictures, and keep up with everything (okay ... most everything).

When we moved at the beginning of February, it was three hours away. I moved to a town where we knew no one. I did move within a half hour of my sister with her cute little boys. I was blessed to be able to continue to work my old job remotely from my home. I love my new house. My kids settled well into school. Being the social creatures they are, they made friends very quickly. Sports starting in the spring and the busyness was renewed.

But I wasn't reading, blogging, taking pictures or scrapbooking. My house was a wreck. I wasn't really me. (well the house being a mess is probably the real 'me' LOL)

I blame it on...

- Depression - clearly I went through a depression. Knew it, wasn't any option but to go through it. Also gained a few pounds. What's up with that? I mean, I was already depressed... did I need to do something to further that issue? LOL

- Facebook - I had just joined facebook last fall and got thoroughly addicted. It seemed like such a great way to keep in touch with my wonderful friends that I left and to meet up with friends I haven't seen in almost a lifetime. However, do you know how easy it is to spend hours on facebook without really anything to show for it? And when you are supposed to be working from home and your work computer is on the same desk as your home computer.... it's quite easy to do both. Or to pretend to do both. And it was just so much easier to think of short statuses than entire blog posts. Too much effort was needed to blog. Plus, I needed to be reading to blog about reading.

- Not knowing anyone.

- The library - this sounds odd doesn't it? But my new library does not work well with my swiss cheese memory. When I put books on hold and they come in, it sends one email. One. And I only have three days from the time of that email to pick up the books. I'm sure that's a reasonable time for normal people, but I can never seem to get there to get the books. I either need a longer time or more reminders. But they aren't asking me for ideas. So, having no books to read just contributed to the no reading.

I'm not sure why or how, but I am reading again. I've been focusing on my favorite genre of serial killers and murder mysteries but am getting the itch to read a good women's friendship book. Getting an itch to read is good.

I have people to talk to - at the soccer and volleyball games, I have people who actually choose to sit by me. And they talk to me. On purpose. I'm being funny but have been working very hard to not become stalker lady and scare away potential friends. We've been getting together with the sister and her family. We even invited one of hubby's high school and college friend over along with her family and had a great time.

I'm still addicted to Facebook and don't see that changing any time soon. LOL

So, what did I miss during my hiatus? What good books are out there that I need to put on my tbr list? Any changes to the book blogging arena that I need to know about? Any new blogs? Talk to me!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Review: Evidence of Murder by Lisa Black

Last year I read Takeover by Lisa Black. It was her first novel and I thoroughly enjoyed it (my review). I listed it as one of my top reads of 2008. I was excited to get an email from Lisa a few weeks ago saying that her next novel is out. Evidence of Murder starts off about 8 months after the end of Takeover.

Summary: Eight months ago, forensic investigator Theresa MacLean lost her fiancÉ in a bank robbery gone wrong, and she's had trouble concentrating on her work ever since. But now a particularly difficult case may just be what she needs to regain her focus by demanding all her skill, intelligence, and attention.

Jillian Perry has been found dead in the woods, leaving behind a husband of three weeks and a young daughter. The police can't determine how she died—her body shows no visible marks, and the autopsy reveals nothing suspicious—and the leading theory is that she purposely wandered into the forest and succumbed to the freezing weather. But something doesn't feel right to Theresa, and she can't let it go.

To complicate matters, a former boyfriend of Jillian's unexpectedly petitions for custody of the daughter. Obsessed with Jillian, he also suspects foul play in Jillian's death, and now he and Theresa believe Jillian's daughter may be in danger of meeting a similar fate. With a child's life at stake, Theresa must search for evidence of murder—evidence that doesn't seem to exist—before it's too late.

I have to say I was kind of disappointed in this book. It did not have the 'wow' or the suspense that I expected. However, it was still a good read. The characters are believable but could be a bit more....something. The word stiff comes to mind but am just thinking that they could have been more fleshed out or something. I think they didn't really do anything in the story - Theresa was depressed and yet I didn't feel for her.

The plot was very good. I liked the way it was all set up and the work Theresa did within her job and on her own. I was guessing right up to the end on the 'whodunit' - right along with Theresa. She thought she knew who was the killer but there were enough doubts around to make me wonder too. That was fun.

Overall, it was a good book, but not a great one. I am interested to know what others have thought. And I would like to read more from Ms. Black.

Rating: 3 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Tuesday Teaser: Undone by Karin Slaughter

My two 'teaser' sentences are from Undone by Karin Slaughter. I am reading it on the Kindle and these sentences are in location 1143-50.

Maybe she hadn't managed to escape. Maybe her attacker had found her before she could reach for help.

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- 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, September 15, 2009

The Beauty Killer Online!

I just recently read Chelsea Cain's series of books: Heartsick, Sweetheart and Evil at Heart (my reviews are linked). In these books, the main serial killer is Gretchen Lowell. She is nicknamed The Beauty Killer.

How many times have you read a book that had a female serial killer in it? Not often. Gretchen is definitely unique. The public in the books are fascinated with her - both in a good way and in a weird, scary way. There are websites talked about throughout the last book (and maybe the second) about the public's desire to know Gretchen.

Guess what? You can check out one of them! Check out I Heart Gretchen Lowell. It's so fun to read, especially having read the books. And I can imagine it would be a definite draw to the books if you haven't read them.

Oh, go read them already!

Review: Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

I am a big fan of murder mystery series, thrillers, serial killers (in books), interesting and flawed detectives... basically the entire murder mystery genre. It's always been my favorite type of book and I've read a bunch of them. So when I say that this Heartsick series by Chelsea Cain has jumped to the top of the list of favorites, know that it bypassed quite a few great books!

I received Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. When I realized that it was the third in the series, I had to go back and read the first two. See my reviews of Heartsick and Sweetheart. The thing is... it gets better with every book!

Summary: Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multiweek bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. These days, she’s more of a cause célèbre than a feared killer, thanks to sensationalist news coverage that has made her a star. Her face graces magazine covers weekly and there have been sightings of her around the world. Most shocking of all, Portland Herald reporter Susan Ward has uncovered a bizarre kind of fan club, which celebrates the number of days she’s been free.

Archie Sheridan hunted her for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a détente of sorts---Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen’s trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?

Archie is so depleted after the first two books, he doesn't really know which end is up. He's not even sure he can 'be' in the real world. His head is all messed up and yet he's still obsessed with Gretchen. Susan, Henry, and Claire are all here again, working hard to continue on while Gretchen is still out there. Then the killings start that have to be hers....or do they?

The unique thing about this book and Ms. Cain's writing is that one of the characters doesn't really 'show their face' during this story and are more behind the scenes. Yet they truly are always there. I'm sure you can guess who it is, but if not I don't want to spoil it.

Now, I do need to provide a warning. These books, especially this one, discuss some unique methods of torture. While it's not all blood and guts, it does have some descriptions in it that will stick with you for awhile. But it's such an integral part of the psyche of the characters, the book wouldn't be as good or suspenseful without it.

Evil at Heart became available on September 2nd. You need a copy! You need all three books!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain

Second in the Heartsick (Heartsick reviewed here) series, Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain, is another great book filled with lots of suspense, drama, anxiety, great characters, and unique twists.

Summary: With Heartsick, Chelsea Cain took the crime world by storm, introducing two of the most compelling characters in decades: serial killer Gretchen Lowell and her obsessed pursuer Portland Detective Archie Sheridan. The book spent four weeks on the New York Times bestseller list and garnered rave reviews around the world. But the riveting story of Archie and Gretchen was left unfinished, and now Chelsea Cain picks up the tale again.

When the body of a young woman is discovered in Portland’s Forest Park, Archie is reminded of the last time they found a body there, more than a decade ago: it turned out to be the Beauty Killer’s first victim, and Archie’s first case. This body can't be one of Gretchen's—she’s in prison—but after help from reporter Susan Ward uncovers the dead woman's identity, it turns into another big case. Trouble is, Archie can't focus on the new investigation because the Beauty Killer case has exploded: Gretchen Lowell has escaped from prison.

Archie hadn't seen her in two months; he'd moved back in with his family and sworn off visiting her. Though it should feel like progress, he actually feels worse. The news of her escape spreads like wildfire, but secretly, he's relieved. He knows he's the only one who can catch her, and in fact, he has a plan to get out from under her thumb once and for all.

Chelsea Cain has topped her own bestselling debut thriller with this unputdownable, unpredictable, edge-of-your-seat read.

Loved this book just as much as the first. What a unique take on the serial killer/cop relationship. And what being a policeman can do to your family. I felt for Archie's wife, Debbie - you could tell how much she wanted her husband back and yet... On the other hand, I could feel Archie's confliction (and guilt) between wanting to be a part of his family and being drawn to Gretchen.

Then there's Susan. She's the one you yell at in the movies "Don't Go In There!!!" yet always does. Her spunk and attitude together with her self-esteem vunerability just make me want to slap her and mother her at the same time. LOL

Can you tell I liked this book? I feel like I know these characters. What an awesome writer Chelsea Cain is!!!

The best part is how she interweaves the 'other killers' - the ones that are committing the murders the cops are actually investigating now - with Gretchen and her murders, the flashbacks, the continuing drama between Gretchen and Archie, etc. It makes for a very fast-paced, don't put down book.

Read this series!

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Review: Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Last month, I received a copy of Chelsea Cain's newest book, Evil at Heart, from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. It's the third in a thriller/serial killer series that starts with Heartsick. Given my issues with reading books out of order, I just couldn't read the third without going back. So, back I went.

And I am SO glad I did!!!

Summary: Portland detective Archie Sheridan spent years tracking Gretchen Lowell, a beautiful and brutal serial killer. In the end, she was the one who caught him…and tortured him…and then let him go. Why did Gretchen spare Archie’s life and then turn herself in? This is the question that keeps him up all night—and the reason why he has visited Gretchen in prison every week since.

Meanwhile, another series of murders is tearing up the Portland streets. Archie seems to be getting closer to solving this high-profile case…until he finds himself in a fatal collision course with the killer—one that inevitably leads him back to his former captor. Gretchen may be the only one who can help do justice. The only thing she can’t do, this time, is save Archie’s life.

Serial killers/thrillers like this have got to be my favorite genre of books. I've read ALOT of them. So when I find a book that is different than anything I've read in the past, I am Hooked! That's the case with Heartsick.

The story is told in forms of current time with Gretchen in prison along with flashbacks from when she held Archie prisoner and tortured him. There's just enough detail of the torture to keep you on the edge of your seat but it's not too much to gross you out. The anguish Archie feels, on many levels, combined with the psycho Gretchen's weird emotions leads to lots of interesting moments!

Also in the story are Henry, Archie's partner and Susan Ward, a reporter. They are both very wrapped into the story, into Archie and catching the bad guys. Great characters all around.

Can you tell I really liked this book? I am so glad I read it. Look for my review on the second in the series, Sweetheart, tomorrow.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review: Blood Bayou by Karen Young

I received Blood Bayou by Karen Young from LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. I have not read any other of Karen Young's books but after reading Blood Bayou, I plan on searching them out. It was a unique twist on the 'clear the clueless fellow' plot - and a rather good one! There are a significant number of potential bad guys, a few good yet tarnished folks and a very interesting dead gal. The characters are quite well-defined and interesting, their interactions fun to participate in.

My only drawback, and thus the 4 instead of a 5 rating is that I figured out the 'whodunit' rather early in the book. I'm not sure why because it definitely wasn't obvious, but I would have prefered to be guessing until over halfway through. Even with that, though, I thoroughly enjoyed the book and definitely recommend it to mystery lovers!

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars

Tuesday, May 5, 2009

Tuesday Teaser: I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass

My two 'teaser' sentences are from page 22 of I See You Everywhere by Julia Glass.

"Death is funny?"
"Sometimes, Louisa, yes. As a matter of fact."

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- 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, May 4, 2009

Our pond residents

About a week after I got the pond cleaned out, we started having visitors. These two are the most noticeable. They are coming more frequently and this is the first time I've been able to see them, go into the house to get the camera and come back out with them still in the pond. I think they are getting used to the front door comings and goings as long as we are quiet. Now, should I be working to keep them from coming back or just get used to hosing off the rocks? (Note: we live in a very active neighborhood, not in the country. No idea where these ducks live when not at our house.)

Review: The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller

In October last year, I read many reviews of The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller. Carey, at The Tome Traveller, Traci, at Traci's Book Bag, Amy at The Friendly Book Nook, and Jennifer at The Literate Housewife Review all raved about the book. They convinced me to add it to my tbr list. However the library in Indiana didn't have it at the time so I was excited to see the library here in Ohio had it. It's a good one!

Summary: Criminal defense attorney Harrison J. Walker, better known as Jaywalker, has just been suspended for using "creative" tactics and receiving "gratitude" in the courtroom stairwell from a client charged with prostitution. Convincing the judge that his other clients are counting on him, Jaywalker is allowed to complete ten cases. But it's the last case that truly tests his abilities — and his acquittal record.

Samara Moss — young, petite and sexy as hell — stabbed her husband in the heart. Or so everyone believes. Having married the elderly billionaire when she was an eighteen-year-old former prostitute, Samara appears to be the cliched gold digger. But Jaywalker knows all too well that appearances can be deceiving. Who else could have killed the billionaire? Has Samara been framed? Or is Jaywalker just driven by his need to win his clients' cases — and this particular client's undying gratitude?

This is Joseph Teller's first book. You can tell he is a lawyer and yet is able to weave a great story. It's a very simple whodunit - did she or didn't she. All the evidence is found early and it's just a matter of figuring out what could have happened. What makes it so interesting are the main characters Jaywalker and Sam. They have a unique relationship as well as being very strong, defined characters. Why is Jaywalker drawn to her? Is this a winnable case? Did she or didn't she? Why would someone frame her? These questions and many more are what drive the page turning.

As a veteran reader of crime dramas and mysteries, there were some parts of the book that slowed and, in my opinion, were unnecessary. He puts in some transcript-like parts of the trial - but sometimes the flow doesn't work well, or I would have rather had a different part as a transcript and summarize some of the parts he used great detail on.

But I enjoyed the book overall and am looking forward to the next Jaywalker book, Bronx Justice, that just came out in April. I recommend reading the other reviews and checking out The Tenth Case for yourself!

Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thursday, April 30, 2009

Review: Life Sentences by Laura Lippman

Laura Lippman is one of my favorite authors! She has a fun writing style and brings such life to her characters. Her latest book, Life Sentences, is no exception.

Summary: Author Cassandra Fallows has achieved remarkable success by baring her life on the page. Her two widely popular memoirs continue to sell briskly, acclaimed for their brutal, unexpurgated candor about friends, family, lovers—and herself. But now, after a singularly unsuccessful stab at fiction, Cassandra believes she may have found the story that will enable her triumphant return to nonfiction.

When Cassandra was a girl, growing up in a racially diverse middle-class neighborhood in Baltimore, her best friends were all black: elegant, privileged Donna; sharp, shrewd Tisha; wild and worldly Fatima. A fifth girl orbited their world—a shy, quiet, unobtrusive child named Calliope Jenkins—who, years later, would be accused of killing her infant son. Yet the boy's body was never found and Calliope's unrelenting silence on the subject forced a judge to jail her for contempt. For seven years, Calliope refused to speak and the court was finally forced to let her go. Cassandra believes this still unsolved real-life mystery, largely unknown outside Baltimore, could be her next bestseller.

But her homecoming and latest journey into the past will not be welcomed by everyone, especially by her former friends, who are unimpressed with Cassandra's success—and are insistent on their own version of their shared history. And by delving too deeply into Calliope's dark secrets, Cassandra may inadvertently unearth a few of her own—forcing her to reexamine the memories she holds most precious, as the stark light of truth illuminates a mother's pain, a father's betrayal . . . and what really transpired on a terrible day that changed not only a family but an entire country.

When I said Ms. Lippman brings life to her characters, I didn't mean that I liked all the characters. This is true for Cassandra. I never really connected with her and she would not be a friend of mine. But the fact that I know this to me means she is very real, vibrant, and annoying. :-) The supporting cast of characters including Cassandra's childhood friends were quite interesting.

This book has alot to do with childhood memories or really, memories in general. How real are they? How close to the truth are our memories? Cassandra confronts a variety of memories that she thinks are true but turn out to maybe not be exactly as she remembers. But does that make them less true to her? Or to the other folks with memories of the same event? It made me think about my memories of childhood - how many things do I remember just because of a picture or because someone else told me about it later?

My favorite Laura Lippman books would be the series she has written about private detective Tess Monaghen. Life Sentences is a stand-alone and is not even my favorite of hers among those. The story dragged a little in parts. And, honestly, probably my dislike of Cassandra doesn't help my rating. However this is an interesting book - a look at people with a little whodunit type of mystery thrown in. I do recommend reading it. You might even learn a few new words. If you don't read this one, definitely go find another Laura Lippman book - you won't be disappointed.

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

This photo needs a caption!

I was taking pictures of my nephew yesterday and also some of the other kids that my sister babysits. I took this picture and it just makes me smile. I know there's a very funny caption that belongs with it but I can't come up with it. Or maybe a crop or words on the bricks. Anyone have any thoughts?

Wondrous Words Wednesday

Kathy, over at Bermudaonion's Weblog, she posts every Wednesday about new words she has found through her reading. She's been doing this for awhile now and I've loved learning the new words along with her. I think it's a wonderful idea and keep thinking I am going to participate. However, I haven't found any new words in my books until now. (I think that's more because of the books I've chosen to read rather than my vocabulary knowledge.)

My words come from Life Sentences by Laura Lippman (my review out tomorrow).

1. Pedant "It was one of his favorite words, his all-purpose condemnation. Pedant, pedantic, pedantry, pederast, the last of which he seemed to use interchangeably with pendant, although he clearly knew better." states that pedant means one who pays undue attention to book learning and formal rules.

2. Solipsistic "And they were very solitary enterprises. Solipsistic, even."

Solipsistic means the theory that the self is the only thing that can be known and verified.

3. Deshabille "Given the retirement community's village-like aspect, with garden apartments built around shared courtyards, he could be glimpsed by his neighbors in deshabille."

Deshabille means the state of being partially or very casually dressed. (I could figure this one out as the narrator at this point was quite embarrassed by his actions... LOL)

4. abstemious "I often have a drink with lunch. Americans can be too abstemious."

Abstemious means sparing or moderate in eating and drinking.

What new words did you learn this week while reading? I'd love to learn more new words along with you.

If you want to see what words other folks found this week, check out the Wondrous Words post today at Bermudaonion's Weblog.

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

Tuesday Teaser: The Tenth Case by Joseph Teller

My two 'teaser' sentences are from page 30 of The Tenth Case by Joseph Keller.

"Samara," said a recorded female voice, followed by a male one, "is calling collect from a correctional facility. If you wish to accept the charges, please press one now."

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- 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.

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Review: Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

After waiting longer than I planned, I finally was able to get my hands on a copy of Very Valentine by Adriana Trigiani. I have read all of her books and was excited to read this new one.

Summary: Meet the Roncalli and Angelini families, a vibrant cast of colorful characters who navigate tricky family dynamics with hilarity and brio, from magical Manhattan to the picturesque hills of bella Italia. Very Valentine is the first novel in a trilogy and is sure to be the new favorite of Trigiani's millions of fans around the world.

In this luscious, contemporary family saga, the Angelini Shoe Company, makers of exquisite wedding shoes since 1903, is one of the last family-owned businesses in Greenwich Village. The company is on the verge of financial collapse. It falls to thirty-three-year-old Valentine Roncalli, the talented and determined apprentice to her grandmother, the master artisan Teodora Angelini, to bring the family's old-world craftsmanship into the twenty-first century and save the company from ruin.

While juggling a budding romance with dashing chef Roman Falconi, her duty to her family, and a design challenge presented by a prestigious department store, Valentine returns to Italy with her grandmother to learn new techniques and seek one-of-a-kind materials for building a pair of glorious shoes to beat their rivals. There, in Tuscany, Naples, and on the Isle of Capri, a family secret is revealed as Valentine discovers her artistic voice and much more, turning her life and the family business upside down in ways she never expected.

Ms. Trigiani has a unique way of creating real characters that I can just feel when I read them. They are so identifiable and faulted and fun. I love LOVE the grandma and was tickled to get to know her and her choices. I wanted to hug and/or smack around Valentine throughout the book, depending on what was going on. Even the smaller character profiles are so fun - I laughed multiple times at Valentine's mom and her comments.

The book walks us through the process of hand-making shoes and all that entails. It also includes detailed descriptions of the places the story takes place. As you all know, I am not a fan of detailed descriptions. LOL So I did skip paragraphs here and there. But those of you who feel compelled to learn while you read - you will love these descriptions. What I did read was quite interesting and if I was a different person, would have enjoyed learning about how to make shoes. :-)

Overall, Big Stone Gap is still my favorite Adriana Trigiani book. But Very Valentine was quite enjoyable. It's the first of a new trilogy and I am looking forward to reading the next one!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Spring sprouts!

I have been enjoying taking pictures of the perennials that are popping up at the new house. I thought I'd share some of what I've got. I don't know what everything is yet but it's still fun to watch. Now I probably need to start weeding!

Review: Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke

Carrot Cake Murder by Joanne Fluke is the latest in a fun, light mystery series. I have enjoyed all of this series - makes me smile and enjoy figuring out the 'whodunit' along with sleuth and cookie maven Hannah.

Summary: Between baking up a storm for The Cookie Jar and unravelling the mystery of her cat Moishe's recent strange behaviour, Hannah Swensen has a lot on her plate. But she'll always make time for her business partner, Lisa, who's in the midst of preparing for a big family reunion. Everyone is delighted when Lisa's long-lost uncle makes a surprise appearance. No one has heard from Gus in twenty-five years. Uncle Gus is immediately the hit of the reunion. He's almost as popular as Hannah's scrumptious carrot cake, which is also Gus' favourite dessert. But the next morning, as the whole family gathers for the group photo, one person is missing. Hannah offers to track down Uncle Gus, but her search leads to a shocking find. Over by the bar at the pavilion, she spots two slices of her infamous carrot cake, frosting-side down on the floor - and Gus' corpse with an ice pick jutting out of his chest!Now Hannah's got to sift through a long list of suspects to find a killer - even if it could mean a recipe for her own demise...

This book, like the others in the series, is not hard-core mystery. It's not real deep but it does have a number of facets. The characters are fun, developed over the course of the series and not so much in each book. I look forward to reading this series just as much as some of the other 'bigger name' mystery series. And the bonus is that she includes cookie and other baking recipes that are mentioned in the book. My family has enjoyed quite a few of these recipes over the years.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Review: Chop Shop by Tim Downs

One of the exciting things about moving is that the new library has different books than the old one. My old library did not have a copy of Chop Shop by Tim Downs, but the new one does. And that made me happy! Chop Shop is the second book in the 'Bug Man' series which started with Shoo Fly Pie [my review].

Summary: An autopsy room is where secrets are revealed...or buried.

Young Dr. Riley McKay has worked hard toward her career in pathology-and now she has secured a fellowship at the renowned Allegheny County Coroner's Office in Pittsburgh. But her promising future is threatened when suspicious activities incriminate her supervising pathologist, Dr. Nathan Lassiter. Bungled autopsies, concealed evidence, and unexplained wounds accumulate at an alarming rate. When Riley is ignored by her seniors and threatened by Dr. Lassiter, she turns in desperation to Dr. Nick Polchak, the Bug Man, to help her uncover the truth.

From a handful of tiny maggots, Nick and Riley begin to unearth the facts, and together they discover that these blunders are not accidents but part of a larger evil that threatens their very lives.

My mental picture of Dr. Nick Polchak is quite fun - large, teddy bear type man with the thickest glasses and oddest looking eyes ever. And yet people are drawn to him. I definitely would like to meet him. Okay, maybe I wouldn't want to see all his bug friends, but he would be very interesting to talk with.

The concept of this book is quite easily believable. I won't give it away, but on top of being very intriguing, the book also made me think.

This mystery series is quite 'clean' for the genre. No swearing, sex, etc. Obviously, there is killing. :-) I definitely recommend that folks who enjoy mysteries read these books. I am looking forward to picking up the next in the series - First the Dead.

Rating: 4/5 stars

Tuesday Teaser: The Camel Club by David Baldacci

My two 'teaser' sentences are from page 27 of The Camel Club by David Baldacci.

Stone took comfort that the thickening fog made them practically invisible from shore. Federal authorities didn't tolerate trespassers very well.

TEASER TUESDAYS is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
- 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, April 20, 2009

Review: Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell

Last year, I added Professors' Wives' Club by Joanne Rendell to my list of book club ideas. This addition was based on a recommendation from Julie at Booking Mama. My LOLAs book club added it to this year's schedule. And even though I am no longer local to the LOLAs (boohoo), I am trying to read what they read.

I am glad I did!

Summary: A debut novel about the intertwining lives of college faculty wives.

Nestled among Manhattan University’s faculty housing, there is a garden where four women will meet—each with a scandalous secret that could upset their lives, destroy their families, and rock the prestigious university to its very core.

With its maple trees, iron gate, and fence laced with honeysuckle, Manhattan U’s garden offers faculty wives Mary, Sofia, Ashleigh, and Hannah much needed refuge from their problems. But as Mary’s husband, the power-hungry dean, plans to demolish their beloved garden, these four women will discover a surprising secret about a lost Edgar Allan Poe manuscript—and realize they must find the courage to stand up for their passions, dreams, and desires.

I enjoyed these ladies! They were quite interesting, had real issues within their marriages and their lives, and I could easily see them as being people that I know. I especially could relate to the beginning when they meet - they've all used this small garden for quite some time but always keeping to themselves until one day... How many things do I do that I never actually talk to anyone while I am doing them? (Not so much now in the new place as I am desparate to meet new folks! LOL) But really. How many times have I gone to the grocery or the park with my kids, taken a book and just read, not talking to those around me. Or even soccer practice, for that matter. Anyway, I digress from the review...

This book is one where you want to know more of what happens 'after'. I could see them all growing throughout the book and wonder how that will affect their future selves. I definitely recommend reading The Professors Wives Club. I need to find out what the LOLAs thought of it!

Rating: 4.5/5