I have been tangled in the web of words for a very long time. I remember being a child and riding my bike to the local library, only needing help getting home because I had checked out so many books.~~
My love of the written word has grown over the years. I recently left my dream job at Barnes & Noble to marry the man of my dreams. I am writing this blog to share with you the books I have read throughout the years. Please feel free to comment and discuss.
My 13 year old Step Son is all about Zombies. Anything & everything Zombies. So when I was in Sams and saw the Mass Market paperback for dirt cheap I thought I would pick it up and read it to see if it was okay for him to read. After reading it in just two short sittings, I will say that it is okay for a 13 year old to read
World War Z picks up 12 years after VA day. America, really, the world, is starting to really put everything back together after the World War Z. The story is about a reporter who has gathered all of these stories from all over the world to go into a US Government Commissioned report, like the Warren Report. In the introduction, the author tells us that the Government does not use nearly enough of his material, so he wrote this book. The book is just a series of interviews with people all over the world who tell their experiences during World War Z. From doctors to military personnel to regular civilians we get a pretty comprehensive view of what happened during the War. And I gotta tell you, it is a pretty gripping read.
Some of the military interviews got to be a bit long for me because of all of the technical gobbleygook, but I assure you, my 13 year old will just EAT it UP! There was one interview that had some foul language, but nothing too extreme. I was so engrossed in the Zombie War that I stopped in the middle of the book and watched Zombies: A Living History on the History Channel. Which, I discovered within the first five minutes, features Max Brooks (author of this book and son of the genius, Mel Brooks) as an expert on all things Zombies. The documentary was actually just as interesting as the book. AND will be a movie released in December of 2012 starring Brad Pitt.
So, if you are looking for something "scary" to read in between Trick-or-Treaters tonight, pick this one up. It is not really scary, in the typical horror book kind of way, but in the "OMG what if that really happened" kind of way. If you have read World War Z, I would love to hear your thoughts!
Jane Kaufman is minding her own business working on a news show in her homeland of Canada when a friend she met on vacation informed her of a wonderful career opportunity as a reality television show producer in Hollywood. Well of course she won't turn down an opportunity like that!
Jane's world is turned completely turned upside down. Her days are now spent babysitting reality show stars and although she has very little time to date, she finds out the dating world in Hollywood is a million times different than Canada. Will she ever find true happiness or love in Hollywood?
I will be honest that this was one of those books that was almost painful to get through. It was really hard to "get into" any of the characters, specifically Jane. Her choice in men, time after time, proved to be bad and I just wanted to scream at her. You know we all have had that friend with the perpetually broken picker. Jane seems to be that kind of girl. Overall, a pretty disappointing book.
Okay, we have all seen the hysterical, Awkward Family Photos. If you have not, you must click that link immediately and prepare yourself for hours of laughter. Well, I had no idea that because of their success they created a spin off website, Awkward Family Pet Photos.
There isn't a whole lot to say, but Mike Bender and Doug Chernack have gathered the best of the best. Hysterical family photos with all sorts of pets. Cats, dogs, birds and other exotic animals. This would be a great stocking stuffer for the pet lovers in your life!
The Taker is exactly the kind of book you should pick up to read the weekend before Halloween. It is Gothic, spooky, suspenseful, and even a little romantic.
The book starts in present day. Dr. Luke Findley is working the graveyard shift when an enigmatic young woman is brought in as a prisoner by the police. She is accused of killing a man in the woods. Luke's only focus is to make sure she isn't injured herself when she starts to tell her tale. Yes, Lanny killed that man, but there is a back-story there that spans nearly 200 years.
Lanore tells the story of her youth in St. Andrew, but it was in the early 1800's. She tells the story of her love for Jonathon St. Andrew. And she tells of how she is sent away when she discovers that she is pregnant with Jonathon's baby. She finds herself alone and destitute in Boston when she is taken in by Adair. She soon discovers that Adair is not all he seems and her suspicions are founded when he gives her the elixir that will give her eternal life. No matter what they have been through, Adair knows that there is another man who holds Lanny's heart. Adair commands her to bring him Jonathon, setting off a chain of events that will change the course of their lives. Will Jonathon and Lanny ever be free of Adair's reign of terror? Who was that man in the woods and did Lanny really kill him? All will be answered if you dare to pick up The Taker.
I am really surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The chapters flash back and forth between present day and Boston circa early 1800's. And as Lanny starts to unravel the mysteries of her path one thing becomes clear, she is a very manipulative woman. Even though I could see that flaw, it was also very easy to like her. She is a survivor and will do whatever it takes to survive. Luke is great character because you think you can see him fall into Lanny's spell, then he will say or do something to let you know that he still has his wits about him. Bottom line this was a book that had me hooked from page one. The last ten pages nearly did me in, because it is a teaser from the sequel. It is one sequel that I will be lining up to buy.
Admit it. You had a slight crush on the "Bad Boy" in your High School. Every school had a "Bad Boy". You know, the guy who always wore a leather jacket and drove either a motorcycle or an equally dangerous "Bad Ass" kind of car. Kristan Higgins' new character, Posey, also had a crush on the town Bad Boy, Liam Murphy. Until Prom Night when he broke her heart.
Posey Osterhagen was always that awkward girl that got made fun of in high school. She was so thin the kids called her Anne Frank It seemed that she had been redeemed a bit when beauty, Emma Tate, got one of the most popular boys in school to take her to Prom. Granted Rick was not Liam Murphy, Posey's true crush, but he was still cute and popular, and Posey was thrilled to go to Prom with him. Until she overheard Liam making fun of her to Rick at Prom. Right after which Rick dumped her. At Prom. Posey was literally traumatized for life.
Flash forward fifteen years and Liam Murphy has come back to town with his fifteen year old daughter, Nicole. He is desperate to protect Nicole from boys just like him, but he wants Nicole to grow up in the town that once was home. Posey still lives in that small New Hampshire town. She has made a name for herself with her Architectural Salvage company and helping out at her parents German restaurant when needed. She is shocked to hear that Liam Murphy is back in town. And even more shocked when he asked her to the movies. Could he really like her or is he just using her to spy on his daughter? Will Posey be able to forgive past sins and fall in love with the town's oldest Bad Boy?
Kristan Higgins is quickly becoming one of my favorite authors. Her books are technically considered Romance, but they are so much more than that. They are funny, intelligent, heartwarming, and unique. Her cast of characters are always well rounded and so unique that they really bring the story to life. In Until There Was You, it is Posey's cousin Gretchen and Brother in Law, Jon, that just have me cracking up repeatedly through this book. OH - and there is the fact that Posey uses "Beiber" as if it were a curse word! And to many of us it truly is a curse word. LOL.
Until There Was You is a fun and whimsical story about a young woman who just wants to fit in and find someone to love. The story of Posey and Liam will warm your heart and tickle your funny bone at the same time. Look past the moniker of "Romance novel" and you will find a great book that you will not regret reading!
The first time I read a novel by Diana Palmer I was fourteen and had sneaked it out of the bag of giveaway books my Grandma had sitting by the front door. That started my love affair with Diana Palmer and Harlequin Romance novels.
It has been a long time since I have read a book by Diana Palmer, but when I saw the title "Wyoming Tough" - I just had to see what it was about. Having just spent eighteen months living in Wyoming and becoming pretty good friends with one of the largest ranch owners in the entire state, well I wanted to see how accurate the book was. And then I remembered, it is a Harlequin Romance novel and I needed to lower my expectations. LOL.
Morie Brannt has set off for Wyoming to prove to her wealthy rancher of a father that she can handle ranch life. She was hired as a ranch hand by wealthy rancher, Mallory Kirk. She quickly becomes one of the most liked ranch hands they have, but Mallory's gold digger girlfriend will do anything possible to get rid of Morie. Including framing her for theft. Will Mallory see through his girlfriend's accusations or will he ignore what his heart is telling him and have Morie arrested.
Well, I must say that I have got to stop picking up books that are set in Wyoming just because they are set in Wyoming and I miss that beautiful state. Diana Palmer has her place in my memory as an author that fostered my love of reading, but that is where she needs to stay, in my memory. Wyoming Tough was so predictable that it was laughable. And the "love scenes" weren't really any steamier than your average novel. Bottom line, next time I mention reading a beloved author from my past, stop me and refer me back to this post. Thank you in advance.
Recently I have been secretly proud of myself for resisting the urge to read new books by old favored authors that I had been disappointed in lately. I should have kept my streak going with the latest effort by Nicholas Sparks.
Dawson and Amanda, old high school flames, are called home because of the death of a mutual friend, Tucker. They hadn't seen each other since they broke up right out of high school and Dawson was sent to prison for vehicular homicide. They reunite to honor Tuck's last wishes and in the process ignite the flame that was once between them. But Amanda must return home after their magical weekend and as they part ways once again they both encounter tragedies that will change the course of their lives. Will their love hold strong or is it destroyed forever.
*sigh* Nicholas Sparks has become so predictable that I am almost ready to demand my $12 back because I feel live I have read this story before. Oh wait, I have,
(Spoilers below. Stop reading if you don't want to know.)
Nights in Rodanthe with different names and just a few plot changes. I used to really enjoy his books, but I guess he has become one of those authors where if you have read one of them you have read them all. Remind me next fall to stay strong and just say no to Nicholas Sparks.
Right off the bat I need to say that this is NOT your teen's Ellen Hopkins. The cover alone hints at the fact that this book is not Ellen Hopkin's typical YA novel. Instead I should say you need to take extra precautions that this novel does not fall into the hands of your teens or you will be in for a looooot of questions.
Triangles is a story about three women, told in typical Ellen Hopkins poetry style. There is Holly, a woman on the brink of 40 and in search of something that even she can not define. Andrea is a single mother seeking a partner for life. And there is Marissa, Andrea's sister, whose entire world is her five year old special needs daughter. She is so focused on her care that she does not realize that her son and husband are slipping away.
Told in alternating voices we get to watch as each one of their lives spin out of control for various reasons. For Marissa, she has just discovered that her son is gay and her husband has been having a long term affair. Holly joins a writers group and gets sexually wrapped up in a guy from the group. She is so infatuated she is blinded to what is happening with her own kids. And Andrea, at first she is envious that Holly and Marissa are married, but when she starts to see the cracks in their marriages, she starts to rethink the envy.
If I had to sum up Triangles in one word it would have to be "Intense." All three women are going into "mid-life" kicking and screaming. Their lives have not turned out the way they had planned as young girls and they struggle to come to grips with reality. This book is intense, heartbreaking, sexy, risque, and a little bit dangerous. But no matter how shocked I was by the antics of Holly,I could not stop reading. That is a sure sign of a good book, no?
Jean has always been the "practical" one. Doing what is expected of her. Including leaving her husband and moving in with her Mother while she is dying of cancer. Jean is practically emotionless after her mother dies. Going into work mode in order to sort out her mother's affairs. All the while dwelling on the indignities of death. From the loneliness of Cancer to the physical ailments that come along with the disease. Jean vows to spare those closest to her, her friends, from the indignities of growing old and getting sick. One by one she kills them. Will her law enforcement (and clueless) brothers put a stop to her "good deeds" or will Jean go on unnoticed and take out all of her friends one by one?
Practical Jean is a dark, dark satire. Think Jon Waters dark. Jean is one of those characters that can rationalize anything, even murder. I enjoyed it, in the same way that I enjoyed Serial Mom. It was engrossing and a bit terrifying, but mostly very engrossing. Although a departure from my normal types of reading material, I will say that I enjoyed Practical Jean.
There is something about Irish Chick Lit that just makes it feel like home. I know that sounds weird, but it is just so familiar to me that if feels like home. Claudia Carroll is one of those authors that just feel cozy to me.
Charlotte (great name, huh?) is in a horrific car crash after her boyfriend of five years tells her that he has fallen in love with Actress, Sophie "bleeding" Kelly. The next thing Charlotte knows her late father is by her side and she is being given an opportunity to return to earth as a Guardian Angel. Only Charlotte forgot about the pesky little rule of "don't interfere with free will". Will she earn her wings are there other plans for her....
I really, really enjoyed If This Is Paradise I Want My Money Back. Claudia Carroll has collected a fun, yet rag tag cast of characters with only one thing in common. Charlotte Grey. Charlotte was a fun character who truly believed that she was doing the best for all of those that she loved, in reality she was complicating things beyond belief. Her hysterical antics really made the book a fun read. The book is a light-hearted look at the "What If's" of the afterlife. A perfectly fluffy way to pass the day!
For ONCE I got to "read" a book before I saw the movie! I saw the previews for this movie, and being a SJP fan, I couldn't wait to see the movie,but first I wanted to read the book.
Having bought it from Audible, I was a pleasantly surprised to discover that the book is actually set in England. Kate Reddy is not your typical British Mum. She is literally juggling her career as a successful Hedgefund Manager, being Mum to two small children, and being a wife to Richard, an architect. Kate feels the pressures of trying to be perfect in all of her roles. Whether it be staying up until the wee hours of the morning to prepare treats for Emily's school or rushing off to America to sell a prospective client on her abilities to manage their money. Kate is constantly on the go. She guiltily relies on their nanny, Paula, to help out with the children, but as the "main breadwinner" Kate feels as if she is trapped in her career or risk an impoverished life. Will she ever be able to enjoy being a mother and a wife without sacrificing her career or will she end up dropping a ball and losing it all?
I was really surprised at the quality of writing you will find within this book. I don't mean that as an insult to other "Chick Lit" books, because you know I love me some fluff, but Allison Pearson's writing was very quite insightful and often times hysterical. Several times throughout the book (I listen while I walk) I wished I had a piece of paper & pen to write down some meaningful line that I KNOW would appeal to every Mother out there, working or not. The infamous "Mommy Wars" wage on, but they have nothing on the internal war that Kate Reddy battled everyday. I am really excited to see this movie now, because I am really excited to see how it translates to the big screen. Have you seen the movie? What did you think?
I blame it all on Bill Paxton. My fascination with the Polygamous lifestyle that is. I watched Big Love from the very beginning and I belong to an online community where there was a big bruhaha over this show, so I could not resist watching. And I was hooked.
Then the Brown's came along with their TLC show, Sister Wives. It aired not long after I got married (for the first time) and had moved far away from my family. I admittedly was a little enamored with Janelle, Meri, and Christine. I envied their companionship. There was something very appealing about having Sister Wives, but there is that whole, two other women sleeping with *MY* husband thing, so I decided the "Principle" was not for me.
I saw the Dargers on Good Morning America and promptly bought their book, Love Times Three. And you know what, I really enjoyed their story. They seem like your average family with the same ups and downs as any marriage or family. They each, Joe and his wives, told their stories in alternating chapter and shared their experiences with plural marriages. What their childhood was like in a Polygamous family, what their courting was like, and what their life has been like over the last twenty years. Even a few of their older children had chapters where they briefly talk about their family life. It was really quite heartwarming.
The Darger's are not the perfect family, but neither are they anywhere remotely like Warren Jeffs, the image we all default to when we hear "Polygamous". We all know that the Hendrickson's are a fictional family, but they started to plant the seed that Polygamy is not as criminal as we are led to believe. Then we met the Brown's. And while Kody Brown is NOT the kind of man I would ever want to marry, he obviously loves his family and strives to do right by all of them. Now we have the Darger's and I truly believe that their "version" of Polygamy should not be labeled a crime. Warren Jeffs, yes. Joe Darger and Kody Brown - not even close. Besides, as long as the parties involved are consenting adults, to each their own, right?
I can not even begin to imagine what my life would be like without my husband. It is not something that I can even conjour up, but we are still in that honeymoon stage.
Ellie Kendall is a newlywed just like me. Except on a night when she chooses to go to a showing of Rocky Horror Picture Show, her husband, Jamie went to a reunion with his best friend, Todd. There was a horrific accident and Jamie is killed, leaving Ellie a young widow.
Flash forward fifteen months and Ellie is coping, barely. She is tired of everyone being nice to her because Jamie died. With the help of her famous father-in-law, Ellie has moved into a fabulous flat, met a wonderful new friend, and has started a new job working for the ever so handsome Zack McLaren. As Ellie copes with her new reality, she struggles with the feelings she starts to develop for Zack. Can she resolve these feelings of guilt and go on
to find happiness or will she be stuck living with Jamie's ghost for the rest of her life?
I really enjoyed To the Moon and Back. Ellie is a wonderful character that has a lot of heart. I feel so badly for her when she loses Jamie, that I actually cried. I just could not even imagine going through that. I was happy for her when her father-in-law stepped in regarding her housing situation. I was really glad that the author chose to give them such a great relationship. The people in her life are interesting characters and I loved to see them interact with Ellie. It is a sweet story and I am glad that I read this book.
Everything We Ever Wanted is a book about longing. Longing for parental approval by both Johanna and Charles, her husband. Johanna also longs to be accepted by the ladies in their new neighborhood.
Charles grew up with a life of privileged. His grandfather made sure of that and his family, the benefactors of the swanky prep school, Swithin, are revered and respected by one and all in their Pennsylvania town. When a young scholarship boy suddenly dies at Swithin, Charles' adopted brother, Scott, is implicated and their family is the talk of the town. Johanna, Charles' wife did not grow up in a home of privilege, she feels a little lucky and a lot overwhelmed in the social circles that her husband runs with. When she answers the phone to find his "perfect" ex-girlfriend, Johanna reacts in a way that could destroy their marriage. Will they be able to navigate the waters of their new marriage and live happily ever after? Or will their insecurities drive them apart for good?
I have really luke-warm feelings about this book and it's characters. It wasn't horrible, but it wasn't as enthralling as I had hoped. It was really hard to relate to, or even like, Charles and his family. The communication between Johanna and Charles was mediocre at best, and it really isn't explained why these newlyweds have such a hard time, with communication or anything else. It is a very stunted relationship. Overall, I think this book is not really one to recommend. I think diehard fans will have a really hard time with it, because it is such a departure from her normal stuff and fans of literature in general will have a hard time with it because of the characters. But maybe I am wrong, give it a read & tell me what you thinl.
It has been six years since Pen Calloway lost her best friends. No, nothing tragic happened,but Cat, Pen, and Will all went their separate ways. A lot has happened for Pen in those six years. She got pregnant and became a single mother, she switched careers, and she lost her beloved father. She thought she was done missing Cat and Will until she gets an email from Cat summoning her to their 10th anniversary, she needs her help. Of course Pen will be there, how can she not?
What Pen does not expect is all of the old feelings that seeing Will brings up. They have a lot to catch up on, but first, they must find Cat. She has run off and her husband hints at the fact that she may be in trouble. So they try to put the last six years aside and head off to the Phillipines to find her and bring her home. But what Pen realizes is that everything she has been searching for all along was part of her life all those years ago. Will she be able to find true love and happiness or is it too late for her?
Maris de los Santos has this amazing ability to tell a story in a way that makes you feel as if you truly know all of the characters involved. I really, really enjoyed getting to know Pen and Will. Pen is the kind of character that I could see myself hanging out with. I enjoyed watching her get to know Will again and I LOVED how Augusta, Pen's daughter, fit into the story. Overall, the author has written a wonderful piece of Women's Fiction. Real characters with real problems and real solutions. Good read!
Seventeen year old Skylar Thompson is in love. She was a bit shocked when heartthrob Jimmy chose HER to be his girlfriend. She no longer felt lost after her mother's death, instead she felt loved and cherished. She would do anything for Jimmy and would do anything to protect him.
So when she is sitting at the police station being questioned about the events of last Saturday night, she will do what she has to do to protect Jimmy Seeger. She doesn't talk. You see last Saturday night Jimmy and his buddy Sean, and Skylar and her BFF Lisa Marie, were together when Sean & Jimmy used a baseball bat get the "beaners". But that night their hate crime turned into murder. Will Skylar be able to keep quiet and protect Jimmy, or will the truth eventually come out and what will happen to Jimmy if it does?
LIE is a character driven novel. Each chapter is told from a different perspective. You get to see all sides of this situation, from the baseball coach to the mother of victims. You get to see what kind of impact the actions of Jimmy and Sean have on others, not just those directly involved. I really felt for Skylar, she is feeling trapped by the events. She knows what happened was wrong, but she is afraid of losing Jimmy and is willing to do anything to protect him. I was satisfied with the ending and felt that the author really played it out well. LIE is a great example of "your actions have consequences." The message is one that I think all teens, heck even some adults, can learn from.
It has been almost two years since I last held a "manager" position, but I still consider myself a leader. I gained some great insight from reading past books by John C. Maxwell, so I jumped at the chance to read the ARC of his new book, The 5 Levels of Leadership.
The 5 Levels of Leadership are:
1. Position - Pretty much leader in title only.
2. Permission - People follow because they like your style of leading.
3. Production - People follow you because of the results you have gotten for your company.
4. People Development - People follow you because of the results you have gotten for THEM (raises, promotions,etc...)
5. Personhood - People follow you for the person that you are and the things that you stand for.
Maxwell gets very detailed about each level. He states that you are not at any one level for all of your followers. For someone you just hired you are back at a Level One, but for an employee who has worked with you for two years, you might be a Level Four. There are assessments to help you determine which Level you are at and even assessments that someone from your team can take so you can see what Level you are perceived to be at by your team. And of course, as with all of his books, John C. Maxwell has peppered his book with quotes and truisms of some of the most successful leaders of all time.
You don't have to have a title to be a leader. Whether it be in a business, a church organization, or the local PTA, there are opportunities all around you to lead and inspire. The 5 Levels of Leadership can help leaders at all levels grow in their roles, and that makes this book worth every penny.
I know I have mentioned before that I am a chicken shit. I don't really do well with horror movies or scary stories. My imagination is just too vivid and the mental images usually haunt me for days. The cover alone is enough to hint at the terror that awaits within the pages. It has been several years ago, but I met Chris Bohjalian when he stopped by my old store to sign stock on his way to the KC airport and I would have NEVER guessed that such a nice guy could write such a terrifying ghost story!!
Chip Linton has become a household name. He was the pilot that was flying that plane that hit the birds. Not the one that landed safely on the Hudson, but the other one that crash landed on Lake Champlagne. Thirty-nine people died, including Chip's co-pilot. Even though months have passed, Chip still suffers from PTSD and has a serious case of survivors guilt. He and his wife, Emily, even moved their family to New Hampshire with the hopes that the quiet little hamlet out of the public eye will help heal Chip's broken spirit. While Chip is struggling with the ghosts of the accident, literally, his wife and twin daughters are being swept up into the neighborhood hobby, practicing New Age homeopathic-type recipes that will literally scare you to death. This young family has suffered so much tragedy in the last year that they are blind to the dangers of their own home. Will they be able to shake the hold that the mysterious village has on them before it is too late?
Just in time for Halloween comes a story that will scare the socks right off of you! Chris Bohjalian has written a novel that could very easily stand up to works by Stephen King and Dean Koontz. Within it's pages, The Night Strangers holds a run down gothic home that is full of secret passages, hidden weapons, and even a dead body. The little hamlet of Bethel is something right out of your own nightmares, where on the surface everything is quaint and lovely, but underneath deadly secrets have the residents in a grip that may never be broken. Throw in the fact that Chip Linton is battling his own ghosts unrelated to this weird little town and you have a horror story that will chill you to the bone.
I really - really enjoyed this novel. The Night Strangers is going to be the next big Halloween favorite. I guarantee that it will be on Halloween displays for years to come. There are so many facets to this novel that if it were any one of them alone, it would make for good reading, but combine the ghosts, with the witches, with the gothic type of house, which is really a character in and of itself, well it makes for GREAT reading. I can't wait to hear what you guys have to say about this one! Hurry - run out and get it TODAY so we can chat!!