Friday, April 30, 2010

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

(77) The Burying Place by Brian Freeman

I know, I know... I missed the "Happy Tuesday" post today. Can you guys forgive me? Yesterday was the first day of my new job & I was just in Zombieland after work, so I sacrificed my blogging. I promise not to let it happen again.

If you are not familiar with Brian Freeman, he is fairly new on the mystery/thriller scene. I would compare him to Tami Hoag, mostly because Minnesota is the shared local of many of their books. Now, Freeman uses recurring characters in his stories, but it is not really necessary to read them in any sort of order.

The Burying Place, like his other books is set in and around Duluth, Minnesota. Detectives Stride & Serena are called to the scene of a child abduction. At the same time a fourth person goes missing from the area. But no one knows that the two cases are connected....

Bottom line, if you are in the mood for a good grisly detective novel, check out Brian Freeman.

Monday, April 26, 2010

Sunday, April 25, 2010

(76) Last One by Anna Quindlen

Mary Beth & Glen are living a charmed life in the suburbs with their three teens. Ruby, and the twins, Max and Alex. Ruby is a Senior in High School and the twins are fourteen. They have their typical twin issues, but nothing uncommon.

Until one night their idyllic life is shattered in a shocking and tragic way. Leaving Mary Beth to hold everything together, something she is ill prepared to do, for many reasons.

This is one of those books that I can't say much without giving major spoilers. But to say that the "shocking event" was a major shocker is a gross understatement. It took my breath away in a way most unexpected.

In Every Last One, Anna Quindlen has a masterful way with words. She expertly creates a world that is easy to slip into. Her words drawing you further in with each page. You feel as if you are part of the story and that is why when tragedy strikes, you are so shocked by what just happened. If you have never read Anna Quindlen, I encourage you to do so, but be prepared for what is about to happen.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Friday, April 23, 2010

(75) Restoring Grace by Katie Fforde

Restoring Grace was the first book by Katie Fforde that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed it. Ms. Fforde wrote a charming novel set in a quiet England village. Her main characters, Grace, Ellie & Remi are all charming, sweet characters that have noticeable personal growth. Some of the peripheral characters are written in such a way that I wanted to reach through the pages and kick her butt (Allegra, I *am* talking about you).

Grace is a newly divorced woman living in a big ancestral home in England. Her rooms are sparsely furnished because the furnishings that came with the house were left to her sister and her ex took everything else. A young pregnant woman enters her life and soon she is saying and doing things she never thought she would do. Like standing up to her overbearing sister, Allegra. It doesn't take Grace long to discover that home is more than the four walls that shelter you, it is the people within those four walls that make it home.

I am a big fan of authors from across the pond. Harriet Evans, Jill Mansell, & even Jane Green are among my favorite British authors, now I need to add Katie Ffored as an author I need to keep my eyes on! Her writing is fun, yet intelligent and something that I very much enjoyed.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

(74)Mommywood by Tori Spelling

While I thought Stori Telling was just "meh," I really enjoyed Tori Spelling's Mommywood.

The difference between the two novels was I think Stori Telling was all about Tori's entitled childhood and her uncomfortable relationship with her family, specifically her mother. She detailed her adulterous affair and that was a little hard for me to take. She didn't really come across as a nice girl.

Mommywood is the next step. So she and her husband had an affair, unfortunately they are not the only people in the world to start their relationship that way. They are married now and have started their family together. This is where I start to like Tori. Sure her world is completely different than any world I will ever live in. But she tries so hard to be "normal". Baking cake for the neighborhood party, pushing her kids in the stroller, dealing with poopy diapers in the swimming pool. All everyday stuff that most Mom's have to deal with.

Tori's self deprecating humor was almost refreshing. She really came across as "down to earth" in this book. Almost so much that I may actually check out her show. What do you think? Will I like it?

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

(73) The Sales Bible by Jeffrey Gitomer

My new job is in Sales. I have never had a strictly Sales position. And while I will have a salary, the real money is in the commissions. I wanted to brush up my selling skills. I picked up a few books at the library, but my goal is to read at least one business book a week. Probably more for the first few weeks.

The first book up is Jeffrey Gitomer's Sales Bible.I worked at the bookstore long enough to know that Jeffrey Gitomer is the King of all thing Sales related. His books continue to be bestsellers long after their publication date. So I went straight to the source.

The Sales Bible was a great book to ease me into the world of Sales. Gitomer writes in a straight forward, no nonsense manner. With enough humor thrown in that makes him the kind of guy who could sell me the Brooklyn Bridge then get ME to buy him a beer. I took two pages of notes and got some great ideas. Now I am just itching to get out there & make some sales!

(72)All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything
is probably one of the most unique Chick Lit books I have ever read. A man cheating on his wife and leaving her, that is nothing new. How the spurned wife in this story handles her humiliation IS new. And that is what made this story such a unique story.

Janice Miller is blissfully unaware of her husband's transgressions. His company just went public, making them more money than they will ever be able to spend. Their oldest daughter owns and operates a magazine in LA and their youngest daughter is a productive member of her high school swim team. But everything falls apart when her husband, announces that he is leaving her. In *most* Chick Lit novels, this is where the heroine does the "I am woman hear me roar" bit. They pull themselves up by their bootstraps and go into survival mode. Janelle Brown went another direction with her heroine, though. She introduced her to Crystal Meth.

Margaret moves home at Lizzie's request and for awhile all three women are floundering in ways that make your heart ache. It isn't until a near tragedy occurs that Janice pulls herself out of her drug induced haze, but is it too late to save her daughters?

If it weren't for the serious subject matter, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything could almost be called a breath of fresh air. The direction the characters go is so completely different than what we are used to reading in Chick Lit novels of this type. It is far from fluffy, yet the way the family pulls together will most certainly warm your heart. Well done Janelle Brown, I look forward to reading more from you.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

(71)When You Went Away by Michael Baron

When You Went Away should come with a disclaimer. Tissues Needed!

Gerry Rubato's world has been shattered. Not too long after his teenaged daughter runs away, his beloved wife passes away suddenly, leaving him alone to parent their newborn son.

When You Went Away is the story of how Gerry manages to hold on. It is hard. He was married to his college sweetheart. His daughter, Tanya, doesn't even know that she has died. But Gerry has a strong support network. His Sister-In-Law, Codie and a handful of friends and colleagues help keep him going through the dark times. Then he meets Ally. And the relationship he develops with Ally. A relationship that causes all sorts of emotions to rise to the top.

I am a bit of an emotional mess lately. To quote my beloved Aunt " I have been boo-hooing all over the place". When You Went Away is a book that contributes to my "boo-hooing". It is a tearjerker, but it is well written and Gerry is a great character. Easy to like. He is in a horrific situation and he does the best anyone could do, he survives. As the story progresses he takes a hard look at himself and his relationship with his daughter. It is a growing process. One that would serve many of us well.

If you are in need of a good cry (and don't we all need one occasionally?) or in the need of a good story, pick up When You Went Away. It will touch your heart in more ways than one.

Monday, April 19, 2010

(70)Sworn To Silence by Linda Castillo

My reading has decreased a bit and for a little while it is going to remain decreased. First of all, I GOT A JOB!!!!! After a two hour interview this morning I was offered a job on the spot. I will be working for Farmers Insurance in the sales department. On the one hand it is completely different from the Retail I am used to, but on the other hand, it really isn't all that different. I am very excited about this new opportunity.

I was on the road all weekend visiting my Aunt in Hospice, but I did get to listen to an Audio book while on the road.

Sworn to Silence was a fun book to listen to on Audio Book. For one thing, there was no way I could skip ahead to the end to find out whodunit. The narrator did a great job of keeping with the "edge of your seat" writing. Speaking of which, Linda Castillo did a FABULOUS job.

Kate Burkholder is Chief of Police of sleepy little Painters Mill. She has had an easy run of things until one bitterly cold winter night when a dead body is found in a field. Soon another body is discovered. Kate is forced to come to grips with her Amish past in order to find the killer that is terrorizing her town today.

Sworn to Silence is a twisted story with horrific murders set in the heart of Amish country. The writing is superb. The characters are realistic and enjoyable. The story is one that will give you nightmares. Exactly what I have come to love about mystery novels. If you are a fan of Karin Slaughter, you will enjoy this book. It is not a story I would recommend to the squeamish, but if you can handle it, you will love it! I promise!

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Friday, April 16, 2010

Thursday, April 15, 2010

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

(69)Looking For A Love Story by Louise Shaffer

Looking For A Love Story by Louise Shaffer was just what I needed. A fun, fluffy Chick Lit story about flawed, yet lovable main character, Francesca.

Francesca is a neurotic, newly divorced woman with a major case of writers block. She doesn't want to be known as a "one hit wonder" but the ideas just aren't coming. The money starts running out and Francesca is desperate to find a paying gig. She stumbles upon Chicky, an elderly woman who read Francesca's book and now wants her to write the story of her parents.

As Francesca listens to Chicky's tale she falls under the spell of Joe and Ellie's tale. As the story goes on Francesca starts learning some truths about herself and her family in only a way that can happen in a well written Chick Lit novel.

Looking For A Love Story was the first book of Louise Shaffer's that I have read & I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. The characters, especially Francesca, were fun and easy to like. Even the "story within a story" was enjoyable. I enjoyed it so much that I will look Louise Shaffer up at the library and see what else I can find!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

(68)Facebook Fairytales by Emily Liebert

Facebook has become such a staple of electronic life, I don't know how we ever lived without it. I was one of the few holdouts. I had MySpace and I thought that was enough social networking for me. After enough persuasion from siblings and discovering that my Dad had Facebook, I went ahead and signed up. I have been hooked ever since. From long lost camp friends to old classmates that I had always wondered what happened to them, I have reconnected and shared memories with all of them. We all have those kind of stories.

Facebook Fairytales is a book that gathers 25 "warm fuzzy" stories that all were a result of Facebook. From a stranger donating a kidney to lost pets Emily Liebert has gathered stories that are guaranteed to make your eyes leak and reaffirm your belief in humanity.

Monday, April 12, 2010

(67) The Virgin of Small Plains by Nancy Pickard

If you ever want to know what life is like in a small Midwestern town, all you need to do is pick up The Virgin of Small Plains. Thanks, Nancy Pickard, now I am incredibly homesick for the Midwest's violent spring storms.

On January 23, 1987 in Small Plains, Kansas, a young woman was found naked and dead in the midst of a raging blizzard. What happens next can only happen in a small town. There is a cover up of epic proportions, not only involving the towns most powerful men, but their children as well.

It is seventeen years later and the past is coming back to haunt them all. Will the truth finally be revealed and will the Virgin of Small Plains finally be given the proper burial that she deserves.

I have seen this book on the shelves for many years now. I had no idea that the author was from the KC metro or that her books were set so close to home. I thoroughly enjoyed this book. There was a fair balance of gore, mystery, and romance. Without an excess of any of them, making it a book that will appeal to men and women alike.

Still Life With Husband

I knew it was time to give it up when I sat here and was coming up with excuses for not reading. Still Life With Husband is about a thirty something married woman who is obviously unhappy and spends time flirting (and going on dates) with a man who is not her husband.

Being a newlywed, this is a concept that still seems so foreign to me & pretty much makes me want to slap her silly.

Anytime I have to FORCE myself to pick up a book, it is time for me to move on.

Sunday, April 11, 2010

(66) Think Twice by Lisa Scottoline

The good twin/bad twin story is one as old as time. Only Lisa Scottoline can make it a fast paced suspense thriller that can be read in only a matter of hours.

Think Twice is the tale of two sisters. Bennie is a successful lawyer and Alice is her twin who is shady at best. Although they are identical twins, they were raised by two different families. To cover her own trail of trouble Alice decides to bury Benny alive and take over her life. What she did not expect was that Bennie would not go quietly.

Think Twice is a fast paced novel. Comprised of very short chapters, that make the story fly by at record speeds. I don't think that Think Twice is the best that Lisa Scottoline has ever done, but it certainly wasn't the worst book I have ever read. If you had to choose between Think Twice and Harlan Coben's Caught, I would go with Caught. It was just a little more of an "on the edge" type of book. But if your choices were Joy Fielding's The Wild Zone or Think Twice. Definitely go with Lisa Scottoline.

(65)The Lies We Told by Diane Chamberlain - On Sale May 25th

I have been a huge fan of Diane Chamberlain's for quite a while now. Her writing has been compared to Jodi Picoult, but I will go a step further and say that her writing, while similar in genre, is better than Picoult's. Why, you ask? Well because I don't have the violent urge to throw the book at the wall when I come to the end.

I was offered the chance to read an Advance Copy of The Lies We Told and I jumped at the chance. Once again, Ms. Chamberlain has written a touching story with characters that find their way into your heart. Her new book tells the story of two sisters. Both Doctor's, but that is where the similarities end. Becca is a Doctor with a non-profit organization that deals with disasters and Maya chose the safer route of an office to practice medicine. But when disaster strikes close to home, Maya is pressured into joining in the disaster relief. The helicopter she is in crashes, leaving Maya's husband and sister to believe she is dead. When really she is stranded on an island with a couple that may not have the most honest of intentions.

Just like her other books, Ms. Chamberlain tells her storys from more than one viewpoint. In The Lies We Told, you get to see the story unfold from both Maya's & Becca's views. From fear to anxiety to extreme guilt, you are able to get inside their heads and you can truly experience their emotions.

I am doing my best to spread the word, I believe that Diane Chamberlain is a hidden gem of an author that has yet to be discovered by the general population. If you have not read any of her works, be sure to pick one up today, I promise that you will not be disappointed.

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Friday, April 9, 2010

(64) Losing Charlotte by Heather Clay

Losing Charlotte is a book that probably should have touched my heart a little more than it did. It has all of the components of a real tearjerker, but it really didn't do anything but bore me. Maybe it was the writing or maybe I am a cold hearted bitch. It could go either way.

Knox & Charlotte are sister that are not as close as most sisters. They kind of grew apart the older they got. They still fulfilled their familial obligations, but they didn't talk multiple times a day or squeal with delight each time they saw each other. Yet when Charlotte calls to tell Knox that she is having her twins sooner than she thought, Knox gets on the plane to be there for their births. Unfortunately tragedy strikes. Leaving Knox and Charlotte's widower, Bruce, to try and hold things together for the twins.

The rest of the book is Bruce & Knox trying to deal with "Losing Charlotte" and getting the twins through their first year of life. Like I said, it was nothing special. It had the potential to be a real tearjerker, but for me the inspiration just wasn't there. The characters seemed awkward and forced. But maybe it was just me....

Thursday, April 8, 2010

(63) The Walk by Richard Paul Evans

Being the avid reader and fierce Christmas Season lover that I am you may be surprised to learn that The Walk was the first book I have read by Richard Paul Evans. You know what, I really liked it.

I would compare the story to something Nicholas Sparks might write, but not quite so sappy and with a bit (not excessively) of a religious twist. But not so much that it makes you want to gag or roll your eyes. How is that for a glowing recommendation. *grin* Seriously, though, it was a well written story told from the heart.

Alan is on top of the world. He owns his own ad agency in Seattle, he is married to his beautiful childhood sweetheart, and he lives in a house that fairy tales are made of. Until one fateful day it all comes crashing down around him. He has nothing and the only thing he has left to do is live. But even that simple directive is not as easy as it sounds when you have lost everything.

I really, really enjoyed The Walk. It is most obviously only the first in a series, but I look forward to seeing how Alan's story will turn out.

(62)Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay

David & Jan Harwood have taken their four year old son, Ethan to the new amusement park that just opened outside of their sleepy college town. But that is when the normalcy ends and David is thrown into the nightmare of his life.

Never Look Away is one of those books that have you on your edge of your seat almost from the first word. If you have read enough suspense/thriller type of books, then you sort of know how it goes. But in the first few pages Linwood Barclay takes the expected and turns it upside down. And that is about all I can say without giving major spoilers.

I will say that there was a minor section of the book that was a bit predictable. But other than that, the entire book kept me guessing . And I LOVE it when my "guesses" are wrong!

Linwood Barclay is an author on par with Harlan Coben. His books are fast paced and anxiety ridden. Just when you think you have something figured out, he spins the story in a whole other direction leaving you wondering where it will all end up! If you have not read his books before, Never Look Away is a perfect one to start with!

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

(61) The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw

The Beach Reading Season has officially begun. My first beach read was The Swimming Pool by Holly Lecraw.

I love books set on Cape Cod. The whole relaxed beach scene is very appealing to me. The Swimming Pool is not quite that kind of book. There is a lot of tension and unhappiness in this book. It was just not very appealing to me. I had a hard time feeling any kind of empathy for Marcella or Anthony. Yet, I read the whole book just to see where it was going to end.

Let me give you a brief synopsis. Seven years have passed since Marcella had an affair with Cecil McClatchey. Seven years since Cecil's wife was brutally murdered. Marcella's own marriage ended after that summer and since then she has been living in isolation. Trying to atone for her sins. Another summer has arrived and the McClatchey's are still looking for answers. When Jed McClatchey crosses paths with Marcella, the results are not what you would expect.

Like I said, I did not really care for the characters or where the story went, but I finished the book. Now I wish I had stopped reading and moved onto something else.

(60) Mrs. Perfect by Jane Porter

Being perfect is hard. I wouldn't know, but according to Taylor Young, Mrs. Perfect, it is hard work. The Pilates, the Tennis Lessons, and the manis/pedis. Not to mention being Room Mother and on various committees at the school. It is a hard, exhausting life. *insert eyeroll here*

Taylor is married to her college sweetheart, Nathan. He is a VP at a prestigious firm and still as good looking as he was in college, making Taylor the envy of every woman at their Country Club. Until Taylor's perfect world is shattered by a shocking revelation. Soon she is scorned by the women and the world that she once held in the palm of her hand. Can Mrs. Perfect survive? Will her perfect marriage survive? Read to find out! =)\

Mrs. Perfect was the first Jane Porter book that I have read and I thoroughly enjoyed her writing. She writes intelligent and interesting characters. At first, I wasn't sure that I could stomach Taylor's shallow ways, but the more I read, the more I could see that Taylor was far from Mrs. Perfect. She was human.

Mrs. Perfect was an enjoying read. Perfect for the beach or the airport. I will certainly be looking for more of Ms. Porter's work.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

(59) Caught by Harlan Coben

I love, love, LOVE me some Harlan Coben! His talent for weaving intricate, detail laden tales always leaves me hungry for more. Caught is no different!

Reporter Wendy Tynes is at the center of Coben's newest thriller. Her "Catch a Predator" type of show has "Caught" a predator that swears he is innocent. He is acquitted, yet the stigma of the accusation has destroyed his life. The "predator" is killed and Wendy is the only witness. It is then, despite overwhelming evidence, that she starts to second guess her expose and believes that Dan may not be the predator she exposed him to be. Her doubts lead her to Princeton, a group of college roommates and a treasure hunt gone terribly wrong.

The thing I like most about Coben's books is his way of writing thrillers set in the hear and the now. Detailed descriptions of iPhone aps and the ever growing problem of parents providing alcohol to teens just proves that Harlan Coben is in touch with his readers.

(58) Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick

I went out of town for the Easter holiday so I have a couple of posts to catch up on. I did not get as much reading done as I wanted to, but I did finish a couple of books.

First up was Second Time Around by Beth Kendrick. It was a fast read about a group of college roommates ten years post grad. They are brought together again when their beloved friend, Arden, passed away and left her four friends equal shares of a million dollars.

Set it the beautiful Adirondacks, Second Time Around, is a book that proves it is not too late to follow your dreams. The ten years following their college graduation have not been the easiest or the happiest for any of the girls. They are determined to get it right this time. When one of the girls buys their home during the college years, the girls discover that you can go home again. The money that Arden left them is just what they needed to get their lives back on track.

Second Time Around is a well written novel with real and engaging characters. You learn to adore the girls and root for their success. Whether it be for their happy marriage or successful careers, you WANT to see them succeed. I thoroughly enjoyed Second Time Around. The camaraderie and friendship is something that Beth Kendrick writes well and all women can relate to. I look forward to reading more from Beth Kendrick.

Monday, April 5, 2010

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Saturday, April 3, 2010

Friday, April 2, 2010

Thursday, April 1, 2010

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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