Sunday, January 25, 2009

25 Random Things about me

This is going around Facebook and I wanted to participate here on my blog and in Facebook!

Rules: Once you've been tagged, you are supposed to write a note with 25 random things, facts, habits, or goals about you.

1. I've been married for over 14 years! That's longer than anything else I've ever done.
2. I worked for the CIA as a co-op in college. Don't ask or I'll have to shoot you.
3. I am very lazy.
4. I always said I wanted 2-4 kids, but meant 4. I had 4 pregnancies, 2 miscarriages and 2 kids. Done!
5. I love to watch NFL football! My husband is a football widower in the fall.
6. I've become a NASCAR fan over the last few years.
7. I enjoy taking pictures of people, especially children, doing things. Not so much pictures of things and places.
8. I love reading mysteries. I enjoy many other types of books, but mysteries are my first love.
9. I thoroughly enjoy writing my blog!!!
10. I went to a different elementary school every year growing up.
11. I only lived in three states - Ohio, Florida, and Indiana. I've lived in Indiana for 16 years, longer than any other state so far. Ohio will begin winning again soon! Woohoo!
12. I have very few regrets in life and I attribute that to trusting God. He's awesome!
13. My kids are my best accomplishment so far!
14. I need to volunteer to serve more.
15. I was very introverted, awkward and shy in high school. I was a wanna-be! LOL
16. I am very blessed with many friends here in Indiana that will be sorely missed. They better come visit!
17. I have completed over 20 scrapbooks. The first 17 or so are traditional paper scrapbooks. The last 3 have been digital. I LOVE digital scrapbooking!
18. My daughter is nothing like me as a kid - she's so outgoing, sure of herself, funny. She's definitely her father's daughter. And I love them both!
19. I've never had any broken bones and only been in the hospital due to babies and miscarriages.
20. I am horrible at small talk.
21. My favorite tv shows are Survivor, The Closer and CSI. But I DVR a whole lot more.
22. My boy is quite witty - I so enjoy his love of humor. And his compassion.
23. I am friends with my mom and my sister. Am excited to be moving closer to both.
24. I have great in-laws.
25. I wish I had learned to play the piano.

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Still alive and kicking!

Been crazy around her with getting everything ready to move. We should be in the new house by the end of the month. So hopefully I'll be able to get back to a more normal routine of reading and posting. Know that I am thinking of everyone! And missing reading!!!! There are some great books out now that I am dying to read. And I'm excited to see all the new suggestions from out there!

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Review: Breathing Out the Ghost by Kirk Curnutt

I have a book that an author signed for me! Kirk Curnutt signed his book to me, Michele and even wrote me a little note! Isn't that cool? I feel like I've won some award! LOL (Yes, I am a dork!) I read Mr. Curnutt's book, Breathing Out the Ghost, as part of his TLC Book Tour. I enjoyed it!

Summary from his website: Colin St. Claire is on a dangerous mission. His young son is missing, and he is on a self-appointed quest to find the boy, or at least find the man he believes is responsible. Fueled by uppers and a profound lack of sleep, Colin’s road soon becomes an uncontrollable spiral of blurry white lines, of fleeting forms in the night, ghosts of memory as intangible as vapor . . . Assisting him is Robert Heim, a former private investigator who lost his license in the line of duty—and it is a sense of warped duty that still ties him to Colin, though his own family, a loving wife and children, beckons him back home . . . The answers for both men may lie not with the man they believe is the perpetrator, but with a long-suffering farmer’s wife, Beverly “Sis” Pruitt, whose own daughter was claimed by violence, years prior.

In the shape of a noir thriller, Curnutt fashions a gripping tale of the consequences of unchecked grief, of painful truths hidden as though they were dark secrets, and what salvation remains possible for good men who enter the darkness and become the ghosts they are chasing.

I had to read it in spurts - partly because of my crazy life at the moment, but also because it felt like a book that I could only take a little bit at a time. I've thought about that since and not really sure what it was about the writing that made me read it that way, but I am not really sure. There were parts that were hard to read - one of the fellows that we hear his POV was a little crazy, so he tended to rant and ramble.

I thought the book was going to be a mystery - what happened to the little boy and why - but it really wasn't. It was more a look at how different people handle life's stresses, specifically child tragedies. The book was not really about 'figuring it out' but more about the people dealing with things never being figured out. To me, the ending left some things unresolved and as a mystery fan, I didn't like that.

It was set just about 30 minutes from me, in Shelbyville, Indiana. That was really cool. I recognized road names and such - another fun part of the book for me.

Overall, I liked the book, but obviously not the content. I clearly did not want to think about a missing child, especially as it would get me thinking about what I would do if one of my kids went missing or something worse.

Rating: 3.5/5 stars

Thursday, January 8, 2009


As I've discussed before, LOLAs is my book club. We've been a book club for over seven years of which only missed the first few months. I've laughed, learned and cried with these ladies. And I am going to miss them terribly.

We had our monthly meeting last night. The book discussed was The Lace Reader. I was a bit late (basketball game for my girl) so missed most of the book discussion. Sounds like the reviews were mixed. I'll let them comment here if they want to clarify.

What I want to share is how GOOD they were to me last night. As I said, I was running late - ended up being about an hour and a half late! But as I knew they'd still be chatting and eating, I went anyway. Especially because I wanted to give them all hugs and say good-bye. We'll be in Ohio by the next meeting.

They gave me an awesome going-away present! It's an ink drawing of our library. And it's beautiful!

For those who don't know, Columbus, IN is known around the world for the architecture here. I, personally, don't know diddly squat about architecture, but I know that tons of people have heard of our little city because of it. And it is fun to look at. I just don't understand it. But I digress.

Here's our library:

Isn't it cool? I am already trying to decide where to put it in the new house. Near the wall bookshelves in the family room? Above the couch in the living room? Very fun to figure out!

I neglected to take my camera into LOLAs but our hostess for the evening took a picture of all of us. We were only missing one, but I'll pencil her in the picture later. :-) When I get the picture, I'll add it in here.

Thanks so much ladies for being such wonderful friends over the years. I have enjoyed talking about books, kids, jobs, food, husbands and many other things with you. I will definitely miss you. I will look for a book club at my new house but it will be hard to match up to LOLAs.

Wednesday, January 7, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday: The Associate

Waiting on Wednesday is a way to showcase books that are not yet released but I am excited to see they are coming out. It's hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

Later this month, John Grisham is coming out with a new book! It's called The Associate. I have thoroughly LOVED all of John Grisham's books and I am sure this one will be just a good. I need to get moved so I can get the library card at the new place - need to put this on hold!

Summary (from Amazon): Kyle McAvoy grew up in his father’s small-town law office in York, Pennsylvania. He excelled in college, was elected editor-in-chief of The Yale Law Journal, and his future has limitless potential.

But Kyle has a secret, a dark one, an episode from college that he has tried to forget. The secret, though, falls into the hands of the wrong people, and Kyle is forced to take a job he doesn’t want—even though it’s a job most law students can only dream about.

Three months after leaving Yale, Kyle becomes an associate at the largest law firm in the world, where, in addition to practicing law, he is expected to lie, steal, and take part in a scheme that could send him to prison, if not get him killed.

With an unforgettable cast of characters and villains—from Baxter Tate, a drug-addled trust fund kid and possible rapist, to Dale, a pretty but seemingly quiet former math teacher who shares Kyle’s “cubicle” at the law firm, to two of the most powerful and fiercely competitive defense contractors in the country—and featuring all the twists and turns that have made John Grisham the most popular storyteller in the world, THE ASSOCIATE is vintage Grisham.

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tuesday Thingers: LT Authors

Over the holidays, Marie, The Boston Bibliophile, stepped down as host of the Tuesday Thingers weekly question and handed the baton over to Wendi of Wendi's Book Corner. Wendi started last week with a question on the different areas of LT that we were familiar with. I missed that question while traveling but basically I only use my home page and my library. And sometimes the groups.

Here's today's question from Wendi: Last week, I asked about your favorite areas of Library Thing, some that you were familiar with, some that you were curious about, and some that you had never really looked at. It was great to look at all the different areas, and I even learned that sometimes it pays to scroll all the way down to the bottom of the page . . . I learned that there were links that I had completely missed! Yikes!

One person mentioned that they wanted to learn more about LibraryThing Author. I happened to stumble upon this great page within the site that has some great information on it about LT Authors, becoming a LT Author, and how readers can use the section to learn about their favorite authors, the books they read and what inspires them.

Did you know that there are 1497 authors participating in LT Authors? If you haven't checked it out, head over for a moment and see if you can find out something new about an author! If you don't have time to go snooping, have you ever looked at the LT Author page before? Did you know that it is for authors and readers alike? Have you ever looked up a favorite or new author on LT to see what they read and if they have left any comments or reviews themselves? Have you ever told an author about LT Authors and encouraged them to check the site out?

I have never looked at the LT Author page but have been thinking I'd like to explore that area soon. Maybe after the move and things settle down. I'd like to get to know more authors and explore the work that they do, how they come up with ideas, their writing process, etc.

It would be interesting to see how diverse their reading is too - do they read books like what they write or never read those types of books? How do they keep from 're-using' an idea or concept they read in another book? I am meaning sub-consciously. I find all that fascinating and am looking forward to exploring it.

Thanks for the great question Wendi! And thanks for taking this on.

Let me know your thoughts on LT Authors or other authors ways of doing things. And if you want to see more answers to the Tuesday Thinger question, pop over to Wendi's Book Corner!

Top Reads of 2008

I read 101 books in 2008. That's only a few more than the 95 I read in 2007. I had issues in the fall both years - maybe I should stop blaming my different life stressors and just realize that the fall is a hard time for me! LOL

Listed below are all my 5 star ratings in my library for the year 2008. I broke them up into a few categories. Since the biggest genre of books I read is mystery/thrillers I made that it's own category. But just because you don't generally like mysteries, it doesn't mean you won't find something you like there. They are listed in the order that I read them, so the early ones don't have blog reviews (blog started in May).

If you've read any of these, let me know your thoughts. If you have a top reads list of 2008, I'd love to add it or link to it at the bottom. Let me know!

+ Mission Possible: Wonderful story of God and a Wyclife Translater in the Jungles of Papua, New Guinea - Marilyn Laszlo
+ Mistaken Identity - Don and Susie Van Ryn [my review]
+ The Oxford Project [my review]

+ Strangers in Death - J.D. Robb
+ The Appeal - John Grisham
+ T is for Trespass - Sue Grafton (Kinsey Millhone series - LOVE it!)
+ Takeover - Lisa Black [my review]
+ Beyond Reach - Karin Slaughter (Sara Linton/Jeffrey Tolliver series) [my review]
+ No Time for Goodbye - Linwood Barclay [my review]
+ The Accident Man - Tom Cain [my review]
+ Say Goodbye - Lisa Gardner [my review]
+ Fractured - Karin Slaughter [my review]
+ The Darker Side - Cody McFadyen [my review]
+ The Brass Verdict - Michael Connelly [my review]
+ Triptych - Karin Slaughter [my review]

General Fiction
+ Sarah's Quilt - Nancy E. Turner (Book 2 of These is My Words - top read in 2007)
+ The Star Garden - Nancy E. Turner (Book 3 of These is My Words series)
+ Dominion - Randy Alcorn [my review]
+ Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks - E. Lockhart [my review]
+ Love Walked In - Marisa de los Santos [my review]
+ The Lace Reader - Brunonia Barry [my review]
+ The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society - Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows [my review]

Monday, January 5, 2009

Sunday Salon on Monday: Post New Years Edition

It's 2009! Can you believe it? How crazy is that???!!! I'm excited about the new year. How about you? What big plans do you have for 2009? What worries you about 2009?

My big news is that we are moving to Ohio! We have bought a house in a suburb of Columbus, Ohio and will be moving the week of January 19th. It's been a hectic and stressful holidays for us - all the house stuff on top of the normal holiday stress. Can you imagine how much fun I've been? LOL I did have a wonderful time with my family and friends over the holidays so that kept me sane.

The move is bringing us closer to family but we will be leaving the friends we've made over the last 16 years here in Indiana. And that makes me sad. I will miss them. I hope to be able to keep friendships and make some that are just as precious and special in my new area.

As a result of the move, I will probably be a bit sparse on the blog. I am sure I will have a hard time justifying sitting down to read and then blog about it instead of packing or gathering. I will also have a hard time justifying reading blogs so will be even more behind on that - don't be surprised in late January to see me commenting on the posts this week!

This past week I did finally hit the 100 book mark for 2008! Yeah! I will be posting my end of year wrap-up later this week. I posted the reviews of my last books of 2008 - The Beach House by Jane Green and Fault Line by Barry Eisler. I am scheduled to review Kirk Curnutt's Breathing Out the Ghost next week as part of a book tour.

So, what can you tell me about moving? Any tips? Any watchouts? What are your big plans for 2009? Share! I'd love to chat about it all.

Have a good week!

Saturday, January 3, 2009

Review: Fault Line by Barry Eisler

I don't think I've mentioned lately how much I enjoy participating in LibraryThing's Early Reviewer program. I have received quite a few very good books from that program and am always excited to get another one. I got Fault Line by Barry Eisler from the November batch of books. I received it quickly and definitely enjoyed reading it.

Summary: In Silicon Valley, the eccentric inventor of a new encryption application is murdered in an apparent carjacking. In Istanbul, a cynical undercover operative receives a frantic call from his estranged younger brother. When Alex Treven, a patent lawyer who has been working for the inventor, is attacked in his apartment, he is convinced he is the target of a conspiracy, and his brother, Ben, is his only hope. Setting aside their differences, Alex and Ben come together to find out who is behind the attacks. They soon learn that forces in America and abroad are involved in a high-stakes struggle to take hold of the technology, and now both of their lives are in danger.

This book had me hooked from the first line. It reads: "The last thing Richard Hilzoy thought before the bullet entered his brain was, Things are really looking up." I think that's a great opening line.

The scenario of software being the cause of 'murder and mayhem' is new to me. But the thing is, now that I've read this book and thought about it, I can easily see it happening. So much of our world today revolves around computers, data, internet, communication - if part of that gets shut down, it would be hard to get lots of things done.

The back story for Alex and Ben was a bit weak but I am envisioning this becoming a series where more of that will be fleshed out. However, I totally believed their characters, reactions, emotions. Good characters that I would enjoy seeing more of in future stories.

The only drawback was the ending. While it was okay, it was a bit underwhelming, happening quickly and not quite in line with the mystery and drama of the rest of the story.

Overall, good story, glad I read it. Fault Lines comes out in March. Check out other Barry Eisler books at his website. I've not read any of his before but looks like there is a great series out there that folks love. Time to start a new series for me!

Rating: 4/5 stars

Friday, January 2, 2009

Review: The Beach House by Jane Green

Way back in June, I won The Beach House by Jane Green from S. Krishna's Books. It's been sitting in my book basket for months, calling my name. I have been so full of books that I have to read, that I haven't had time to read this one. Now that I have, I am bummed that I didn't read it earlier! It was definitely worth the wait!

Summary: Known in Nantucket as the crazy woman who lives in the rambling house atop the bluff, Nan doesn’t care what people think. At sixty-five-years old, her husband died twenty years ago, her beauty has faded, and her family has flown. If her neighbors are away, why shouldn’t she skinny dip in their swimming pools and help herself to their flowers? But when she discovers the money she thought would last forever is dwindling and she could lose her beloved house, Nan knows she has to make drastic changes.

So Nan takes out an ad: Rooms to rent for the summer in a beautiful old Nantucket home with water views and direct access to the beach. Slowly, people start moving into the house, filling it with noise, with laughter, and with tears. As the house comes alive again, Nan finds her family expanding. Her son comes home for the summer, and then an unexpected visitor turns all their lives upside-down.

The story line - people come together in the beach house of the crazy lady and all ends up good - was a bit predictable. But that did not keep me from thoroughly enjoying the characters and their stories.

The people in the book all were quite believable, well-developed and enjoyable. I did want to whack them upside the head a few times but I think that added to the realism.

I enjoyed how it all wrapped up. I highly recommend this book as a light, fun read for anyone who loves a good story.

Be sure to check out S. Krishna's review of the book too!
Rating: 4.5/5 stars

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Happy New Year!

We are all in Pennsylvania at my aunt's house. We stayed up late and my boy got me up early!!! I feel a nap coming on soon! LOL

I pray that everyone is having a wonderful New Year's Day and that the coming year will bless each one of you.