Friday, March 28, 2008

(30) My Best Friend's Girl by Dorothy Koomson

I don't typically buy books at Wal-Mart. In fact, since starting to work for Barnes & Noble, I NEVER buy a mass market paperback. Knowing that eventually I can get a stripped copy. Well, yesterday, I was trapped at Wal-Mart waiting for them to change my tire. I very rarely allow myself to get caught in a waiting room without something to read. Everytime I go to get a haircut, doctor's appointment, oil change, ANYTHING, I stick a book in my purse.
So after my tire blew out, I was trapped at Wal-Mart & I saw this book. I had remember seeing it in Trade Paperback on the new release table. Who knew they had it in MassMarket as well. Well, by the time the car was done, TWO HOURS LATER(!!) I was 300 pages into this book.
Such an amazing book!!
Kamryn & Adele met at University. They were put together on an assignment & became more than best friends, they became family. Adele & Kam had gone through a lot together. Boy troubles. Family troubles. You name it. But they were also there for each other for the good times, too. Like when Kam fell in love with Nate.
They were both there for Adele when she became pregnant by an "unknown" man. Kam stood by her friend & was even in the delivery room for the birth of her Godchild, Teagan.
It wasn't until three years later that Kam discovered that the father of Adele's child was her very own fiance, Nate.
Life as Kam knew it ended. She broke of her engagement to Nate, she cut Adele out of her life & she moved from London to Leeds to start a new life nursing her resentment & hurt.
It was three years later, on her 32nd birthday that Kam opened a letter from Adele. It wasn't the first letter that Adele had sent, but Kam mistankingly opened this one, thinking it was a birthday greeting from someone else.
Adele was dying.
She needed Kam to come back to London & take on the responsibilities of a Godparent. She wanted Kam to adopt Teagan.
Soon, Mummy Ryn & Teagan are on their own. They are left to mend their broken hearts & broken family. Just when they both need it the most, Luke comes into their lives. At first he admittedly is only there because of the bond he forms with Teagan. But soon, a bond starts to develop between Kamryn & Luke.
This is a heartbreaking story about relationships. Between friends, between lovers, and between a mother & the child of her heart. Dorothy Koomson does an excellent job of tugging at your heart strings. Sitting there in the Wal-Mart waiting room I had to fight back tears many times. And I am not a cryer. This story just gets to your heart. It makes it very hard to put it down.
Great, Great book!! Check it out!

Tuesday, March 25, 2008

(29) Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos

Love Walked In is a love story. Plain & simple. But it is not the kind of love story that you may think. It is not the kind of love story that the title implies.
Cornelia is the manager of a coffee house in Philly when "love walked in". Cornelia "thinks" in terms of movies & movie stars. Carey Grant, Jimmy Stewart, Frank Capra. She thinks of Bogart & the classic love stories.
So when Martin walked into her shop, she was thinking her very own "hero" had walked through the doors. But that isn't when Love Walked In. No, love walked in several weeks later when Martin walks through the door with Claire. His eleven year old daughter. The daughter he never told Cornelia about.
Claire is very obviously shaken & bursts into tears. Cornelia's maternal instinct kicked in & the bond was instant. Love has socked her in the gut & she doesn't know how it happened.
Cornelia is still trying to smooth things with Claire and figure out how to fit her into her life when her brother in law & childhood friend, Teo, shows up for a visit. Then there are a series of unfortunate, tragic events that leave Claire reeling. And unsure of how to handle things.
I don't want to say too much more because I don't want to give the book away. This is not your typical love story, but it will tug at your heart. I admit, the first few chapters were hard to read. The story is told in alternating chapters from Claire & Cornelia's point of view. And it isn't until the two of them meet, that the story really picks up & makes it hard to put the book down.
Marisa de los Santos does such an excellent job of weaving the story, that you just can't help but grow fond of Cornelia. And I was excited to learn that she is continuing Cornelia's story with Belong To Me. I am about chapters into it & I can't wait to get back to the story!!

Thursday, March 20, 2008

(28) Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot

More ice cream for the brain! Total fluff, but very enjoyable!!
Jane's best friend is eloping to Italy. The only people in on it is Jane & the groom's best friend, Cal.
His insufferable best friend. Mr World Traveler. Mr Foreign News Correspondent.
Jane & Cal butt heads several times over the course of the trip, but do they really hate each other? Or is this a classic case of opposites attract?
The entire book is told in the form of email, text messages, & journal entries. It makes for a fun read.
Total ice cream, I tell you!

Monday, March 17, 2008

(27) She Went All the Way by Meg Cabot

Ok, I admit it. I have a crush on Meg Cabot. Her books are so, hmm, what is the word I am looking for.... easy to read. They are not challenging, I am not going to be stressed out or depressed reading one. They are like ice cream for the brain.
Fun, light hearted, smartly written, & very, very enjoyable.
She Went All the Way is no different. I read most of it in bed last night. I finally had to admit defeat and shut the light off with only a couple of chapters left. I tried to make it to the end, but I just couldn't hang in there.
Screenplay writer, Lou Colbrese is not happy when she discovered that she had to share a helicopter ride with bad boy actor Jack Townsend to get to the location of their new movie. She has disliked the actor for YEARS, but they were both humiliated in the public eye with their respective ex's ran off and got married.
Well, soon enough, they forget about the ex's because they are fighting for their lives. Someone wants Jack dead. Pretty badly.
The book continues with their story of survival in the Alaskan woods. Kinda unrealistic, but still ice cream for the brain!
She Went All The Way is a great little fluff book. Perfect for escaping the mundane of day to day single girl living.

Saturday, March 15, 2008

(26) Tweak by Nic Sheff

I first want to say that I have never done an illegal drug. I have never smoked pot, never even SAW pot until I was past the age of 25. I am afraid of the effects that it would have on me, as well as the "stuff" I would do while in an altered state. I CAN understand why people would be drawn to the whole drug scene. There are people who can't handle life & can only survive life by escaping.

Having said that, Tweak is one of the scariest books I have ever read.

Now, I went into this book having already read his dad's book. So I know the basics of what went down. Nic started his book, from the point of his second or third relapse. And he went into detail about what happened during that time. He wasn't gratuitous. He described having sex for three straight hours while high on Meth. To the point that both of them were raw and bloody. He flash backed to the days of selling his body on the street to support his habit. He went into detail, the physical reaction to the drugs. It is sickening and scary to read.

The book itself is like an addiction. Hard to put down. Through it all, you can't help but start to like Nic. He is a charismatic young man. He is intelligent and resourceful. Yet very vulnerable.

The book follows Nic through two or three stints in rehab. The sponsors he meets and grows close with. You celebrate the successes with him, the jobs, the vacation with his Dad and Stepmom. You hope that the rest of the book is all about the good times. Sadly enough, he relapsed again.

Over and over. Even I got to the point, as a reader, of frustration with his addiction. I can not begin to imagine the frustration his parents felt.

The book ends after his last stint in an Arizona rehab. He had moved to the South to live with a friend and write. For now he is clean. But he will always be an addict.

Great book. A must read book for every teen. It takes away the "fun" and "glamour" of the drug scene. If it doesn't scare you straight, nothing will.

Friday, March 14, 2008

(25) Beautiful Boy by David Sheff

This is the book you need to read if you have teens in your life. Not necessarily your own kids, just teens in general.
David Sheff & his wife divorced when their son, Nic, was only four years old. The courts decided that it would be in Nic's best interest to live with his dad during the school year & with his mom on holidays & the summers.
David soon found the woman he was meant to be with and he married her. Karen fit into the family quite nicely. And with every passing day, her bond with Nic grew stronger and stronger.
Neither one of them were prepared for teen years. A few run ins with pot & they thought they had it easy.
Little did they know, that Nic had passed the experimental stage in jr high. It was the night of his high school graduation that Nic became acquainted with meth. Crystal. Tina. The drug that would soon control his life.
David Sheff tells the story of a concerned parent. A scared parent. A parent who expected to get the "I am sorry your son is dead" call many, many times. David does not hide his fear or his feelings. He talks of the sleepless nights. Driving around looking for his missing son. The "deals" he made with Nic. The Al-Anon meetings. And rehab after rehab.
This book is a must read for teen parents. It really is.
As soon as I finished this book, I dove head first into Tweak, Nic's book. I am about 80 pages into it and it tough to read. Tough because it is so graphic and so sad.
Which to read first? I don't know. I think Tweak should be read first, just having read Dad's story first. It might have more of an impact after reading Tweak.
Either way, these books need to be read. By you and your teens.

Monday, March 10, 2008

(24)Then We Came To The End by Johnathon Ferris

This book is the 2008 Discover Award Winner for fiction.

I tend to take interest in this stuff, well, because I work for Barnes & Noble. I wholeheartedly agree with their Non Fiction selection. I read Here if You Need Me by Kate Braestrup when it first came out. I blogged it on the MySpace blog. EXCELLENT book.

Then We Came To The End is a good book. It is a pretty accurate depiction of office life at a Chicago Ad agency. Complete with layoffs, "walk Spanish" is what they call it. Office affairs. Friendly competition & the whole bit.

The humor is very subtle. But it is there. Like the guy who photocopies an entire novel so he can sit at his desk and read it, without anyone catching on to him. Or the guy that gets fired, but shows up the next days (and many other days) to photo copy his resume.

The deviation from the mundane "we" telling the story is the night before the boss is scheduled to have surgery for cancer. That one chapter is told in the first person, from Lynne's point of view. And that chapter was a very powerful chapter. Then it continues on.

Until we come to the end.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

(23) To Have & To Hold by Jane Green (Audio)

I like Jane Green's books. I have almost got them all read & let me tell you, To Have & To Hold is a little different than her others.

In my opinion, this book tackles a pretty serious topic. It doesn't have the light hearted tone that her other books does. Yes, there were serious topics hit on in her other books, but not at the forefront. It almost makes me wonder if the progression of her books indicates her real life progression. Hmmm.... makes you wonder. I checked out her website, but I suggest you avoid the message board. (Oh My!!).


Alice is a successful caterer with her own business when she stumbles across a man from her past, Joe Chambers. Of course, the handsome successful man does not remember the night he spent with Alice all those years ago. The book skips around at first and you realize it is the night before their wedding. And Joe's buddies have gotten him a call girl for his bachelor party.

And I guess it goes downhill from there.

The story then picks up after they have been married for five years. In five years, Alice has completely transformed into the woman Joe wants her to be. She highlights her hair, she straightens her hair, she has quit her business.

But she is miserable, Joe is never home. He is distant. Demanding. Did I mention never home?

When one of Joe's indiscretions gets him in trouble at work, the only way he can stay in good graces with his company is to transfer to America. He is a little relieved, because he is just sure that Alice is oblivious to the indiscretions. And America can be a fresh start for him. A chance to rekindle the marriage with Alice.

So does America save the Chamber's marriage? You must read (or listen) to the book to find out.

Sunday, March 2, 2008

(22) Not Quite What I Was Planning by Smith Magazine

This is a NEAT little book!! Someone had pointed it out to our District Manager, who then emailed it out to all the stores. So I picked it up & couldn't put it down. I brought it home with me & just finished reading it. It took maybe 45 minutes.

The books concept reminds me of Postsecret to be honest. It is like Postsecret, without the postcards.

According to the blurb at the front of the book, the book was compiled from SMITH magazine's website. The website is addicting. You can just sit and read the ever changing memoirs.

The synopsis on the back of the book sums it up by saying (paraphrasing here) that anyone's life story can be summed up in six words. They give the example of Hemmingway's "FOR SALE: Baby Shoes, Never Worn".

The book has hundreds of six word memoirs. Including from some of your favorite authors. Dave Eggers, Elizabeth Gilbert, Joyce Carol Oates, & Stephen Colbert are just a few. I jotted down a few that really spoke to me. I could have written a couple of them myself, the other's made me chuckle. (Stephen Colbert's)

" Middle of seven made me" ~~ Susan Sinnott (I could have wrote this)
"Bad breaks discovered at high speed" Paul Schultz (OMG!)
"I recognize red flags faster now" Barbara Burri (OH, YEAH!)
"Lost and found. Rescued by dog. " Gail Reilly (do you have a Mr. Bailey?)
"Glass half full. Pockets half empty." Marina Guthrie
(story of my life)
"Revenge is living well without you." Joyce Carol Oates
"Well, I thought it was funny." Stephen Colbert (giggle)
What is my six word memoir? What is YOUR six word memoir?
"I'd rather be reading a book"
~Charlotte Garnatz~

Why I Read...

I remember the carefree summer days when I used to ride my bike to the public library to pick out new books. I would go almost daily to find books to read. I read to learn. I read to explore the world. I read to escape. I read because not reading is not an option.

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