October 29, 2008

!!!!!!(100!!!)!!!!!! --- Tis the Season By Lorna Landvik



The 100th book that I read of 2008 was a Christmas book!! YAY for Christmas!! Things are really gearing up at work for the Holidays. Between the Holiday Changeover & talking about Holiday Scheduling, well Christmas will be here before you know it.

Tis The Season was a FAST read. It is written in email/letter format. And those always read fast. I think it took me an hour from start to finish.

The story itself is a heartwarming tale of a Party Princess made good. Think Britney Spears mixed with Paris Hilton. Caro Dixon has spiraled out of control with her drinking & partying. She has alienated friends, family, & several hotel chains. She finally hits rock bottom & after coming out of rehab, she finds herself more isolated than ever.

In the spirit of making amends, Caro emails some people from her past. People who had always been kind to her. And with their help her life gets back on track.

Tis The Season was really a cute book. The message was great & just wanted I needed to really get me in the mood for the upcoming season.

October 28, 2008

(99)Going Home by Harriet Evans


Lizzy Walter is excited. It is Christmas Eve & she is Going Home. Her cousin, Tom & sister, Jess are waiting outside to take her home.

Home is the Keeper House, an English Manor in the English countryside. Keeper House has been in the family for many generations. It is where Lizzy's dad grew up with his sister & brothers. Keeper House is where Lizzy grew up with her sister, Jess.

Christmas Eve is when Uncle Mike springs a surprise on them by bringing his new wife all the way from America. Christmas Eve is when Aunt Chin introduces them to her boyfriend, Gibbo. Christmas Day is when Lizzy runs into her ex-boyfriend, the love of her life, at church. Christmas Day is when Lizzy's father announces that they must sell Keeper House.

Lizzy spends the next few months agonizing over the thought of losing her home. But most of all, she agonizes over what could have been with David. (What IS it with men named David?? Seriously, if I have learned nothing it is to NEVER date another man named David!)

Going Home is not your typical Chick Lit book. It isn't fluffy & lighthearted. It is real & intense. Lizzy's emotions jump off the page & sucks you in. Harriet Evans did a great job & has found a loyal reader with me. I look forward to reading her next book.

October 24, 2008

(98)Dead Until Dark by Charlaine Harris

The 98th book I read of 2008 was a book I had first read several years ago.

As you know, I am a Sookie Stackhouse fan. I have been a fan for many years. And I have also been very entranced by the HBO series, True Blood. So when I found a stripped copy of Dead Until Dark at work (which, for the record was A COLOSSAL mistake, given the fact that is our number one bestselling paperback right now) I decided to read it again. To refresh my memory.

Dead Until Dark is just as fast of a read now, as it was when I first read it. And I remembered it fairly correctly. And even better, HBO is staying very true to the story. With one minor exception. The Tara/LaFayette storyline was introduced earlier on the show than in the book. Other than that, they have almost stayed true to the original story.

But, I admit that I had forgotten who the killer was. I wasn't shocked, but I didn't have it figured out either. I just hope that HBO sticks with Charlaine Harris on this one.

October 20, 2008

(97) The Smart One & The Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik



If I were to run into Claire LaZebnik on the street, there is one book I would encourage her to read. Boundaries by Dr. Henry Cloud. http://search.barnesandnoble.com/Boundaries/Henry-Cloud/e/9780310585909/?itm=1

I was absolutely horrified by the lack of Boundaries that Lauren & Ava displayed in the book The Smart One & The Pretty One. Let's forget the stereotypes that the title perpetrates, and move onto the fact that these sisters need some serious boundaries.

I have a sister. We are relatively close & have even lived together before, not to mention sharing a room as we were growing up. And not once. In our 25 years of being sisters have I EVER dreamt of getting into her purse to get money to give the neighbor girl peddling a fundraiser. And never would I think it was OKAY to do that. NEVER in a million years would I EVER think that it would be okay to hire a debt consolidator for my sister without her knowledge or permission.

Good grief. I just wanted to reach through the pages & set these girls down & shake them silly.

I purchased this book, because I saw that it was about Sisters. And it looked interesting because it involved a childhood "sweetheart". Holy cow, was the blurb misleading. There was the frumpy intelligent sister. And then the careless, irresponsible sister. There was absolutely nothing about this book that makes me willing to recommend it to women. I imagine that there are some women out there that can relate to the lack of boundaries between sisters. But, having grown up in a large family, boundaries were established early & (I am eternally grateful for that) this books just makes me want to kiss my mother for that.

Honestly, if the author would have addressed the issues in the story. And have the Sister's have their "moment of truth" moment, where they both realized that they were out of line & would never cross the "Boundaries" line again, I might be able to rec it. But that didn't happen. There wasn't really any "aha" moments about their relationship. About themselves, yes. But not about their inappropriate relationship.

Bottom line. SKIP it. Hopefully the next book on my TBR pile, also about sisters will be a better read.

October 18, 2008

(96) Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World by Vicki Myron


I absolutely adored this book. And I am not a cat person. At all.

Dewey: The Small-Town Library Cat Who Touched the World made me very homesick for my childhood and my hometown. My hometown is a small town, also in Iowa. In Southwest Iowa, as opposed to Northwest Iowa, where Dewey lived.

Dewey was found on a bitterly cold January morning in the overnight book drop at that Spencer Public Library in Spencer, Iowa. I have never been to Spencer, but a very dear friend of mine is from a very large, somewhat well known Spencer family. Her Grandfather was the High School Principal for many years.

But I digress. After being rescued from the drop box, Dewey became the apple of the town's eye. Visitor traffic increased & everyone looked forward to spending time with Dewey at the library.

I liked this book because of the Iowa connection. Dewey was found in 1988. And the author, Vicki Myron, does an excellent job of setting the scene for small town Iowa in the winter of 1988. I remember it quite well, anybody associated with farming & agriculture remember it quite well. It was a dark & scary time.

I also liked the book because Myron referenced Iowa "things" that Iowa people know about. For example, she mentions the articles that "Iowa Boy" Chuck Offenburger wrote about Dewey for the Des Moines Register. Not only was Chuck Offenburger the "Iowa Boy", but he was from my hometown, Shenandoah. His family attended the same church as mine & his older brother, Dan, did a lot to breathe life into my dying hometown.

Another example, was her mention of the magazine called CountRy. For those who live in or long for the country. The founder & publisher of that magazine(and many others) grew up on the farm across the road from my Grandparents farm in an itty bitty Iowa town, Auburn, Iowa.

Those little pieces of my past, being mentioned in this heartwarming little book was thrilling. The story of Dewey, Vicki Myron, & the entire town of Spencer, Iowa warmed my heart on this chilly fall day. The story made me proud to be able to say that I am from a small town in Iowa, it may not have been Spencer, but the similarities between the towns are astounding.

Fans of Marley &Me will enjoy this book, even if they are not cat people. Because, while this is a story about a cat, it is also a testament to how pets get into your hearts & touch your lives. We should all be so lucky to have a Dewey or a Marley grace us with their presence.

October 17, 2008

(95) The Longest Trip Home by John Grogan On Sale October 21st, 2008


One of my favorite books of all time was this little book about a dog named Marley. You may have heard of it? Marley & Me by John Grogan. I read the book long before I had my own "Marley". It is one of those books that had me laughing hysterically & crying uncontrollably. I even went so far as to read excerpts from the book to co-workers. And on Christmas Day, you will get to see it on the Silver Screen.

When I saw the ad in a Shelf Awareness bulletin for Grogan's upcoming book, I couldn't request a copy fast enough.

Grogan does not disappoint with his second book. The Longest Trip Home is everything you would expect from the man who captivated America. It is funny, poignant, reminiscent, & heart wrenching all at the same time.

The Longest Trip Home tells about Grogan's life growing up with very devout Catholic parents. The Grogan's didn't take vacations to amusement parks or national landmarks. They visited Holy Shrines & locations where The Blessed Virgin was sighted.

Grogan tells tale after tale of his upbringing. From his first confession :


"There was only one thing I could do. "Forgive me Father, for I have
sinned. This is my first confession."


Then I lied my ass off."

To skipping out on Mass & attending the Church of John & Tim. John shares with us his life growing up. And his slow separation from the Church that defined his childhood. He shares with us the strife that his defection caused between he & his parents. And how the Church even caused friction between his wife & his parents.

But make no mistake, there is not a single bit of maliciousness about his feelings. The Longest Trip Home is not a "I Hate Catholicism" book. It is a book about his relationship with his parents. And how Catholicism played an integral part in that relationship.

There are millions of "lapsed Catholics" out there. I guess you could say that I am included in that statistic. Our parents raised us to be "Good Catholics". To attend Mass every Sunday, to never miss a Holy Day. To pray the Rosary when times get tough. And we can relate to Grogan when he skips Mass, yet tells his parents that he goes weekly. Been there, done that.

And like all children have to do, there comes a time when the roles become reversed & John & his siblings must care for their parents. Make arrangement & take care of them in ways that they were once taken care of.

The Longest Trip Home is an amazing story. John Grogan knows how to tell the tales with the best of the Irish Men. He does not disappoint he readers with his efforts. If you grew up in a large Catholic family, The Longest Trip Home needs to go on your Christmas list. You will thank me later.

October 13, 2008

(94) From Dead to Worse by Charlaine Harris


Move over Stephanie Meyer, there is a new belle at the ball. Sookie Stackhouse is the belle of the television ball this year. Ever since the HBO series, True Blood, started airing, Sookie Stackhouse is all that paranormal readers want. The customers want what they want & they want Sookie Stackhouse.

From Dead To Worse is the newest book in the Southern Vampire season. You catch up with Sookie, Bill, Eric & Jason after Hurricane Katrina. There is Were War going on & of course Sookie is right in the middle.

As a fan of the show, it is a bit weird to pick up book # 8 when so much has happened since where True Blood is at now. But things have happened & From Dead to Worse does not disappoint in it's plot or it's characters. In fact, I do believe the beginning of something good happens to Sookie in this book. And it involves Eric.

That is all I am going to say!! Once you new fans get caught up with the others, don't forget to check out From Dead to Worse.

October 10, 2008

(93)Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Daria Snadowsky




Disclaimer: This Post actually contains spoilers!! Read at your own risk!




To a bibliophile like me, authors are like rockstars. Especially successful authors. So when Daria Snadowsky contacted me through this blog & offered to send me a copy of her book Anatomy of a Boyfriend, I was like HECK YEAH!! I have seen her book on the Teen table at work, but I had a chance to read the book. I was thrilled to receive an autographed copy of Anatomy of a Boyfriend. So, Ms. Snadowsky, I thank you for the opportunity to read your book.

Anatomy of a Boyfriend is a book about Dominique & Wes. High School Seniors who meet at a football game right after Christmas. Dom takes us with her as she & Wes develop their relationship. From their first kiss to their first intimate encounter, to their graduations & journey to college. This part was a little hard for me to stomach. I KNOW kids are having sex at such a young age these days. Whether it was because I was a late bloomer or because of my hand, I don't know. But I was 21. TWENTY-ONE before I even had my first kiss. And I do believe it was just last year that I found out what a dental dam was. LOL. So in that aspect, I can NOT relate to Dom & Amy.

But the break up. Break-ups are the same no matter what age you are. And for me, that is where Snadowsky & her characters get REAL for me. I can relate to getting sick to your stomach after a break-up. I can relate to the utter despair that Dom felt when she realized that her boyfriend was dumping her. I can relate to the counting of minutes between the moments that Dom thinks of Wes. I can relate. Break ups are break ups no matter how old you are.

I really liked Anatomy of a Boyfriend. It was a bit more explicit for a Teen book, than I expected, so I would be careful about the age & maturity level of the people I recommend it to. But it is well written & realistic. Daria Snadowsky did a great job & I can't wait to see what she comes up with next. But you can keep an eye on her at her official website, http://www.daria-snadowsky.com/

October 7, 2008

(92) He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan


So my quest into my dating makeover has continued. This time with a book I found in the Christian Inspiration section. And after this past weekend, I certainly need it. He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is written by someone who could be me. In fact, in someways I hope things end up for me like they ended up with Trish, happily married.

But first, let me tell you what happened a couple of weeks ago. I went to a Nutrition Center to do a full body analysis, in preparation of starting a weight loss program. So I am JUST getting ready to step on the scale when the door opens & in walks Ex-Boyfriend #2. (Mentioned in book #91). I was absolutely DUMB-STRUCK. It seems as if my life is turning into a twisted version of a Chick Lit book. In more ways than one. For you see, as I type this blog post my current unhealthy "relationship" & I are fighting on IM & I am 100% sure that it is over.

Trish Ryan led a life very similar to mine up to a certain point. She grew up in a large Catholic family. She dated a lot, always looking for a husband. She even stated that she went to college, not to get a degree, but to get married. She dated men, slept with men, hoping they would fall in love with her. She even did get married, to an emotionally abusive man.

He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not is Trish's spiritual & emotional journey through singledom (how is that for a word). She gives everything over to God & trusts him to lead her to the man meant for her. And when she least expects it, it happens. She gets her "Happy Ever After".

What I learned from Trish & her story, is that I do deserve someone who respects me, loves me & cherishes me. I need to re-discover my Church Community. I need to give this all to God & trust that He will lead me in the right direction.