Thursday, November 26, 2009

Happy Thanksgiving

There is so much to be thankful for on this Thanksgiving Day.

The last year of my life has been like something out of a Chick Lit novel. A year ago, I would have never imagined that this man would be back in my life, let alone engaged to him. I thank God everyday that He is giving me the "Happy Ever After" that I have always dreamed of.

I am also so very thankful for my family & friends. This past year has been the Year of Decisions for so many of my friends, family, and of course myself. Not every decision has been an easy one, but I am so very thankful for the support my family & friends have given me. They might not always be the best decisions, but I know with the support of the ones I love, every decision can turn i nto the right one.

I am especially grateful that my lil brother has moved back to the area and for the first time in years we have gotten to spend some time together. The ability he has to make me laugh has grown over time. Between Andy & David, I have never laughed so hard!

There is a lot of things happening in my life in the next few months that will likely create many memories and many times to reflect upon. But right now. In this moment, I am thankul to be alive. Thankful to be healthy. And thankful to be loved.

Life doesn't get any better than this.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

(93) Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog by Lisa Scottoline

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog is a bit of a deviation from the Lisa Scottoline that I am familiar with. I am used to reading her gritty & sexy mystery novels, but apparently there is more to Ms. Scottoline than meets the eye.

Unbeknownst to this Midwest girl, Lisa Scottoline is a regular columnist for the Philadelphia Inquirer. Obviously her regular columns are not the dark & twisty tales she writes in her books. They are mostly her observations and comments on daily life. Ranging from pet issues to parent issues to kid issues, Lisa Scottoline proves that Best Selling Authors are just like you and me.

Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog is a compilation of all of those columns. The book is a fast read, each column is no more than a couple pages long. Not very challenging reading material, but entertaining nonetheless. Being the author groupie that I am, I enjoy the "behind the scenes" look at her life. No matter how boring it may be.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Sunday, November 22, 2009

(92) This is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper

Are you in need of a good laugh? Not just a chuckle, but a laugh so big and so hard that your sides ache when you are done? Then waste no time getting your hands on This Is Where I Leave You by Jonathan Tropper.

This Is Where I Leave You is a book about Judd Foxman & his family. Not only has Judd recently discovered that his wife has been screwing a radio shock jock, the guy happens to be his boss. His father just passed away from a long battle with cancer. He has requested that his family sit Shiva. Judd is just a little shocked by the request and with this line, I knew I was going to love this book.

Dad didn't believe in God, but he was a lifelong member of the church of Shit Or Get Off The Can.

Judd does honor his father's wishes and he finds himself in his childhood home with his sister, two brothers and their various significant others. In the seven days following their father's burial, the Foxman children find themselves trapped in the house dealing with the current issues in their lives as well as reminiscing about their childhood and the father they just lost.

From Wendy's recounting of the day she first got her period to the boys setting off the sprinklers while smoking a joint in the Temple bathroom I laughed & laughed. But it was the part with the poorly placed baby monitor & Uncle Stan's flatulence problem that had me laughing so hard the pets were looking at me funny. Holy Crap (pun intended) it was hysterical.

I have read Jonathan Tropper before, but this is his best book by far. In fact, this may be the best Fiction book of the year. Judd Foxman and his siblings are like any other family out there. They have their inside jokes, they have their go-to insults. They have their major dysfunctions. But most of all, right now, they share the pain of missing their father. For every brilliantly written Foxman mishap, there is the kick in the gut they feel when they remember their Father has died. Hysterical. Poignant. Engaging. Wonderful. Absolutely wonderful.

The perfect book to take with you in the car as you are traveling to wherever your family may be this Thanksgiving holiday. Either you will relate with the Foxmans or you will Thank God there is a family out there worse than yours. Bottom line is you will enjoy it and thank me for it later.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

(91) The Gift by Cecelia Ahern

My first holiday book of the year!!

I am a huge fan of Cecelia Ahern. I have been ever since I listened to PS, I Love You on audio. Long before the movie, if I might add. The Gift is a wonderful Christmas tale.

Lou Suffern is on the fast track to the big time. He works hard and despite that he has a wife and children at home, he plays hard. And not with his wife. Lou Suffern is a real asshole.

One day out of the blue, he decides to give the bum on the street a cup of coffee. And before he knows it, Gabe (the bum) is working his way into Lou's life. In unbelievable ways, Gabe inserts himself in Lou's out of control life.

Is Gabe the wake up call that Lou needs to get his priorities in order? To get his life in order? Or is it too late?

The Gift wasn't my favorite Cecelia Ahern book, but it is not a bad book. A bit predictable, but nice Holiday book, nonetheless.

Monday, November 16, 2009

(90) The Girl Next Door by Elizabeth Noble - On Sale December 22, 2009

Finally! A thoroughly enjoyable book!

The Girl Next Door is the third book I have read this year set in a NYC community. First there was, Mercury In Retrograde which was okay, but not great. Then, more recently, there was Prospect Park West, which frankly I didn't like at all. Thankfully, Elizabeth Noble does not disappoint.

Elizabeth Noble tells the story of a co-op in New York City. In a brief bit of autobiography, one of the main characters, Eve, is an English woman who follows her husband and his career to New York City. Eve found the perfect apartment on her first time out with the agent. The Girl Next Door tells the tale of Eve and her neighbors. Told in alternating voices in month by month chapters you become friendly with several of the building's inhabitants.

There is Trip, the trust-fund playboy. Charlotte, the dowdy librarian & Emily, her overachieving friend. You also meet Kim and her husband Jason. Rachel & her husband, David. And of course, you get to meet Violet Wallace. The woman who becomes instrumental to Eve surviving life in New York City.

The Girl Next Door is an absolutely delightful read. The characters, even with warts and all, are very likeable and easy to relate to. Elizabeth Noble uses her incredible talents to paint the story of this co-op and it's people. Their triumphs and their tribulations. It is very easy to imagine this delightful book as a movie. It would make the perfect chick flick and one I would love to pay money to see.
The book does not hit the shelves until late December, but it would be the perfect book to curl up with after the dishes are done and all of the presents have been unwrapped. Very enjoyable.

Friday, November 13, 2009

Cheerful Money by Tad Friend

I am in such a book slump. It seems to have been a while since I read a book that really just trapped me in it's pages.

Cheerful Money is touted as being "hysterical", but frankly I made it to page 138 without laughing once. Maybe it is a cultural divide. I am not a WASP, I am an Iowa farm girl. So maybe I just don't get it.

Anyway. I have moved on.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

(89) Push by Sapphire

Sometimes, there are movies out there that are better than the book. I have a feeling that Push is going to be one of those movies. Excuse me, Precious is the name of the movie. I suspect, given the names of people involved with the production of the movie, it will be worthy of every award it wins.

The book, not so much. The book, written as if it were written by an illiterate sixteen year old, is tough to read. Grammar Nazis will go insane trying to read the book. But the writing is not consistent. One paragraph may be so hard to decipher what is being said, the next paragraph is completely comprehensible. Like I said, it is inconsistent.

Forget the writing. The story will captivate you. Precious Jones has lived the life that nightmares are made of on the streets of Harlem. She was twelve years old when she got pregnant with her first child, by her father. She is currently pregnant with her second child, by her father. Her mother is physically, emotionally & sexually abusive. She has now been kicked out of school, junior high school, and has started at the alternative school.

It is here that her teacher, Ms Blue Rain, shows Precious the first display of compassion she has ever experienced in her life. Precious starts to learn how to read & write and learn that is more to life than the ghetto.

The story is heart wrenching. The writing will drive you nuts, but whether you read the book or watch the movie, this is one story you shouldn't miss. Just in case you have missed it, here is the trailer:

Monday, November 9, 2009

(88) The Courage Tree by Diane Chamberlain

What would you do to save your daughter? To what lengths would you go? Would you break your daughter out of prison? Would you agree to a radical treatment that might cause her to live with her terminal kidney disease?

Those are the questions at the heart of this book, The Courage Tree. The Courage Tree is a book about two mothers and two daughters. Janine took a risk with Sophie's life and let her go to Girl Scout camp. When she doesn't return to the designated pick up spot with the rest of the girls, Janine & her ex-husband, Joe fear that their daughter will not be found in time for her next treatment & dialysis.

On the other end of this story is Zoe & Marti. They were living a charmed, privileged life when Marti was convicted of murder. Zoe is so convinced that she was wrongly convicted and sets a plan into motion that will free them both from the prisons of their lives.

It is here where the worlds of the two mothers collide. But is it in time to save the daughters that mean so much to them?

I really like Diane Chamberlain's books. I have read several of them now, they are very reminiscent of Jodi Picoult books, but the difference being you don't want to smack the author when you are finished reading. They are well written, thought provoking stories that will leave you feeling happy & satisfied with the end. Whether it be a "happy ending" or not. Her books also usually have Readers Guide questions for book clubs.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Thursday, November 5, 2009

Monday, November 2, 2009

(87) Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

I officially am in a slump. I was somewhat was excited to read a trashy fluff book. I mean in the first pages the woman is masturbating. So I thought, this will be a great, trashy, Sex & The City kind of novel.


I will just say that I like my trashy novels without the author pushing their political agenda and we will leave it at that.

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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