Sunday, November 30, 2008

The Sunday Salon - Winter Wonderland

I love the first snow. It makes me want to curl up on the couch with a blanket, cup of hot chocolate, and a good book. Yesterday, J (my fiancee) and I decorated the house for Christmas and set up the tree. Later that night we left the kids with my parents and went shopping for the kids. I always have fun going shopping for the kids but the closer to Christmas it gets is crazy in the stores so I like going earlier better. And then I woke up this morning and everything was covered in snow and it just feels like winter :) My son has already been outside playing and throwing snowballs at the dog. Both of them were eating a little bit of the snow which makes me cringe but I remember doing it as a kid as well. What's the weather like wherever you are? Feels like Christmastime to me...
I'm currently knee-deep into Be Buried In The Rain by Barbara Michaels. I've never read anything by this author but I'm hooked already. She reminds me of Daphne du Maurier as she creates a creepy atmosphere and I find myself sucked deep into it. I'm loving this book so far and am hoping to read a good chunk of it today.
I'm behind in reviews but come back tomorrow to check out my review of Murder on the Down Low. It was sent to me for review and I will posting it tomorrow. I also need to get reviews done for Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris and Forever Lily by Beth Nonte Russell. This week sometime hopefully. I'll be by today to check out all of your blogs but everybody have a great week!

Monday, November 24, 2008

Portrait In Death by J.D. Robb

Portrait In Death is another Eve/Roarke installment that had me engrossed from the beginning. This time Eve is chasing after a killer who has been murdering young people and then taking their picture afterwards. She has bigger problems to deal with though as Roarke is forced to deal with some family issues that he long thought were dead. This is another whirlwind of a murder case that had me engrossed from the beginning. What I really enjoyed about this book though was seeing a softer side of Roarke. I just love the way he and Eve work together as well as the way they depend on one another. It is so sweet!
All in all with this series, I'm loving it more and more the further I get into it. I really enjoy the way the author has made the characters grow and develop throughout this series. If I bought books these would be on my must buy list so I definitely recommend them.
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Thanks to all of you who helped me out with my questions regarding changing the background on Blogger. I found a cute one that isn't too distracting so I hope you will all enjoy. Now I'm going to have to work on my header and get a picture or something with my title. Another day for sure as I have a house to scrub down before Thanksgiving. Hope everyone has a great week :)

Saturday, November 22, 2008

Saturday Miscellaneous

I've decided to erase all of the challenges I joined this year from my sidebar for a couple of reasons. One, I'm not close to finishing any more of them. My grand total was 1 completed challenge this year...LOL! Secondly, I was really bad at keeping track when some of them ended so I wasn't sure which ones were still ongoing and which challenges had already ended. Score one for Sam not being organized :) Even though I royally stink at challenges I'm already dying to sign up for more for next year. Aack! And here I thought that books were my addiction. I'm probably am going to join some more challenges and who knows...maybe I'll be more organized this time. Yeah right. Still I had fun this year and challenges were what got me blogging so I'm glad I did it anyways.
In other news, my 5 year old thought it would be a good idea draw a heart (for me) on his carpet with marker. I was thrilled. So I got to scrub his floor today which was fun, fun. At least my house is clean though.
I'm looking to change my background for my blog and have something cute. So all of you that have blogger and have figured out how to put up a cute background need to comment. How is this done? All blogger offers is plain backgrounds and I want something cutesy (I know that isn't a word but it is what I'm looking for).
In book-related news I'm in the middle of a review book called Murder on the Down Low. And I've recently finished Portrait In Death which was good of course. Enough outta me already ;)

Thursday, November 20, 2008

The Wild Sight by Loucinda McGary

I'm going to try a new format for this review as I was getting a bit bored and sometimes (scratch that all of the time) have a hard time writing a summary. I hate giving away spoilers but want to make what the book is about understandable. Hmmm...quite the dilemma. Anyways, I'm "borrowing" the summary from the back of the book. Here goes:

From Back Cover:
He was cursed with a "gift". Born with the clairvoyance known to the Irish as "The Sight." Donovan O'Shea fled to America to escape his visions. On a return trip to Ireland to see his ailing father, staggering family secrets threaten to turn his world upside down. And then beautiful, sensual Rylie Powell shows up, claiming to be his half-sister...
She's just looking for the family she never knew. After her mother's death, Rylie finds tantalizing clues that send her off to Ireland to find the man listed on her birth certificate as her father. She needs the truth-but how can she and Donovan be brother and sister when the chemistry between them is nearly irresistible?
Uncoverin the past leads them dangerously close to madness...

My Likes:
I liked the setting and the atmosphere that the author created with this book. She gave beautiful descriptions of Ireland and it is a place that I've wanted to visit for awhile now. The fens where a lot of the action takes place seemed mysterious and a bit scary. I wanted everything to work out for the two main characters which kept me reading until the end. I liked the paranormal aspects that were interspersed throughout the book. I especially found the visions that Donovan had interesting in the end of the novel.

My Gripes:
This is minor for sure but really how many times can all of the characters refer to Rylie as a "wee lass". I know stupid, right but after awhile it began to grate on my nerves. I know she is small already! Aack, but really if that is my only gripe then so be it.

All in all:
A good romance read with some paranormal aspects. I liked it but it didn't leave me saying WOW at the end. Thanks to Sourcebooks for sending me this book to review! And to all of you, let me know what you think about this different format. I'm just test-driving it and will probably try something else with my next review but who knows :)

MY RATING: 3.5 out of 5

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath

This is another one of those books that I've been meaning to read for some time. Considered to be a classic, Plath's novel takes the reader deep into Esther's mindset as she battles mental illness and depression. Wow, what a ride it was if I do say so myself. When we first meet Esther she is in New York participating in an internship that she won from a magazine along with 11 other girls. Esther's story switches from the present to the past as she goes back and forth between her memories and what she is presently experiencing. And even from the beginning the reader can sense that something is a bit off with the way that Esther is feeling.
When Esther's internship ends and she returns home you can just feel the downward spiral. Plath describes with such detail and the way she writes just made me feel for Esther the entire time. I couldn't always understand the reasoning that made Esther behave the way she did but I was always rooting for her and hoping that she would be able to get better.
In a previous post, I talked about how I wondered if Sylvia Plath based part of this book on her own life. Once I finished the book and read the afterword I had my answer. A lot of Esther's experiences with depression and mental illness are based on Plath's own experience with depression. I can't even begin to imagine the way that Plath felt writing this book let alone ever hearing it critiqued. This was a powerful story and one I'm glad that I took the time to read. Wow!
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Monday, November 10, 2008

Dark Highland Fire by Kendra Leigh Castle

First, just let me say mmm...mmm...good. This was just the book that I was looking for and didn't even know it. Dark Highland Fire begins with us meeting Rowan and her brother Baustian who are on the run from an evil dragon named Lucien. Lucien wants Rowan to be his wife and won't take no for an answer. Rowan is a demi-goddess stuck on Earth until she can figure out how to defeat the dragons (Lucien included) who attempted to kill all of her family and friends. Enter Gabriel, a wolf shapeshifter, whom Baustian entrusts to watch over Rowan while he tries to distract the dragons. Now you've got a hot (did I say HOT?!) love connection between Rowan and Gabriel that isn't as easy as I've let on. But the fun is just getting there and I just loved this book. I was immersed in Rowan and Gabriel's struggles from the very beginning and just fell in love with this book. Which leads me back to my original statement that apparently I was in the mood for a good romance. I'm not a huge romance fan (usually I lean a bit more toward mysteries) but Kendra Leigh Castle has a new fan in me! I couldn't get enough of this book and was actually sad when I finished it. Now I'm going to have to figure out what else she has written because it seemed to me that this was part of a series...I might be wrong but I'm too lazy to go look right now for this post. Suffice it to say that if you like romances and don't mind a bit of paranormal thrown in then this is the book for you. I loved the paranormal aspects and felt that they added to this book. But then again I really loved everything about this book :) Great read and definitely recommended and enough gushing out of me.
My Rating: 5 out of 5

Sunday, November 9, 2008

The Sunday Salon- Classics

Good morning everyone! Today finds me halfway through The Bell Jar by Sylvia Plath. It is such an interesting book to read especially now that Esther is starting to go down a disturbing path of mental illness. I know that this story is fictional but I've been wondering how much Plath based this book off of her own life. There is a foreword in my copy of the book that talks about Plath's life and as I read the book I feel like there are some similarities. I think when I'm finished I will reread the foreword again. I'm glad that I'm finally taking the time to read this book as I've wanted to read it for awhile now.
In other book-related news, I finished Dark Highland Fire by Kendra Leigh Castle this week for a review book. I loved it!!! I'm not sure if this book just hit me at the right time but I was enthralled with it and I'm not a huge romance person. Awesome book but I think that there was a book before this one that I'm now going to have to find and check out. That's it for me now so I'll check out everyone's blogs later today. Have a great reading week!!

Friday, November 7, 2008

Charley's Web by Joy Fielding

Charley's Web was a suspenseful thriller that kept me turning the pages trying to figure out the ending. Don't you just love those kind of books once in awhile? Charlotte aka Charley is a single mother of two and a newspaper writer who writes a popular but controversial weekly newspaper column. Charley doesn't have many friends and grew up in a dsyfunctional family. She receives a letter in the mail from convicted child killer Jill Rhomer and her life begins to change in unexpected ways. All of a sudden there is someone threatening her and her children and she doesn't have anyone to count on.
This was a quick and suspenseful read where I didn't see the ending coming. The question that was constantly in my head was was Jill really guilty and what kind of game was she playing with Charley? There were a lot of family issues with Charley's family and I was rooting for her the whole time. This was a great read and a new to me author which means I'm adding her other books to my TBR list.
Challenges: A-Z Challenge ("F" Author)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, November 4, 2008

7 Random Things About Me Meme

I've been tagged to do this meme and since I never usually do this stuff I thought I would give this one a try. Seems simple enough, right? :)

1. I am a library addict. Seriously, I go to the library probably once a week and currently have a RIDICULOUS number of books checked out. I'll never get to them all and I don't care...I just like that they are there. Add that to the fact that if I didn't have two little ones I would probably spend hours there just browsing through the books.

2. As well as a book lover, I'm a huge Scooby Doo fan. My son loves this cartoon as well and one of my favorite things to do to relax is sit with him and watch a few Scooby episodes. If only we had the time to do this more often...

3. I'm a lousy cook. And handling raw meat grosses me out. But I am still learning and working on getting better. I think that I need to try and sign up for one of those free recipe to my email type things. I AM good at cooking spaghetti though.

4. I only take showers. I do take a bath once in awhile to relax but then I have to turn the shower on to rinse off and wash my hair. This is going to sound weird but baths make me feel like I'm sitting in dirty water...even though it isn't like I was playing in the mud and then decided to get in the tub. LOL! Like I said, weird, I know.

5. I had never seen the movie A Christmas Story until I met my fiance. Now it is one of my all-time favorite movies and I have to watch it each Christmas when it is on for 24 hours straight. Drives my family crazy since I could watch it over and over.

6. I love when it rains. And rainy days put me in a good mood. I love a good thunderstorm and like to listen to the rain while I am curled up with a good book.

7. And finally, I love to waterski. Seriously, I'm not very good at it but when I'm out on the boat it is one of my favorite things to do. And such a good workout for my arms. I usually can only make it over the wake once or twice without falling but I can get up on the 1st try. Such fun and my son thinks it is funny when I fall.

So there you go, 7 things you probably didn't know about me. I'm supposed to tag a few others so I'll tag Jackie at Literary Escapism, Kara at A World According To Books, and Lisa at Books, Lists, Life. Plus, anyone else who hasn't done this one yet. And I'll be posting a review of Charley's Webb soon. Happy Tuesday!

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Sunday Salon- Halloween Leftovers

Here is a belated Happy Halloween! Next time I will work on getting the pictures up sooner :)

I'm in the midst of reading Charley's Web by Joy Fielding. Really good so far and my first by this author. I just finished Hex Appeal by Linda Wisdom and found a new series that I will be following. I just posted my review so check it out. I've got way too many books checked out from the library and some review books to get to so who knows what I will read next. I'll be by later to visit your blogs but I'll be watching the game with friends so it will be later on tonight. Happy Sunday!

Saturday, November 1, 2008

Hex Appeal by Linda Wisdom

Can we just say that I am a series addict? Hex Appeal was my introduction into yet another series that I am most definitely going to be following. I should start off saying though that 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover is the 1st book in this series and one that I really want to get to now that I've finished this one. I received this book for review from Sourcebooks which is why I read them out of order.
The book features Jazz, a fiesty witch with lots of guts and flare, and her boyfriend Nick who is a vampire. Jazz and Nick are both experiencing nightmares that are pushing the couple apart and it seems like magic is involved. I love strongly developed characters along with good world building which is why I enjoyed this book so much. Jazz has a pair of bunny slippers that have been accused of murder, a ghost that lives in her garage, and a bunch of other bits of magic that make up her world and make this book so much fun to read. I really liked the relationship between Jazz and Nick and felt a connection to both of them from the beginning of the book. This book was a great combination of paranormal romance plus mystery and chick lit tossed into one. My only problem being that I wish I had read 50 Ways To Hex Your Lover first. It wasn't necessary and I didn't have a problem coming into the series without reading it but I can be anal that way sometimes. Now I'm dying to pick up the 1st book and see how it all started.
This author has created a unique series that was fun and interesting to read about. I'm looking forward to the next book and of course picking up the first book as well. I definitely recommend this! I think that I've turned into a paranormal/urban fantasy addict as well :)
Challenges: A-Z Challenge ("W" Author)
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5