Friday, April 30, 2010

Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens

Starter Vegetable Gardens: 24 No-Fail Plans for Small Organic Gardens

Barbara Pleasant

5 out of 5

No only is the book visually stunning, but it's darn useful too.

Based on the theory that with a good plan you can't fail, Barbara Pleasant shows you the three year plan for multiple garden layouts with year by year guilds to make this a fun no fail hobby. What Pleasant does, is gives you not only a shopping list, but a step by step plan for easy gardens from first time gardener to "beyond" beginner. I guess it's up to you how you want to rank yourself. Using planting guides and crop rotations, you too can have the garden that you have always wanted, but have only been able to see in magazines.

Definitely a must have and a must keep on your shelf for years to come with insight and experience from a master gardener.

Thursday, April 29, 2010



Laura Bynum

2 out of 5

Unfortunately, I lost interest half way through this book, moved it to the bottom of the pile and pretty much forgot about.

Harper Adams, a Monitor capable of reading people's emotions, identifies enemies of the Confederation of the Willing, an oppressive state designed to control the words and thoughts of it’s inhabitants. Like everyone else, she has a “slate” implanted in her neck, in place to execute her if she utters one of the many words that have been outlawed or “Red-Listed” by the government. Pushed to revolt when her daughter's name, Veracity, is banned, Harper is recruited by the resistance and becomes their secret weapon.

Though Harper’s character is drawn to relay the physical and emotional pain that she is going though in hopes to keep her daughter real to her, Bynum over does it with the constant feel of “oh, poor me” that has a way of turning me away from characters no matter how well other parts of the story are.

Maybe if I had stuck with the book through to the end I would have found something or someone redeemable in this futuristic story, but there just wasn’t enough of a hook after half of the book to make me want to keep reading

Wednesday, April 28, 2010

True Food: 8 Simple Steps for a Healthier You

True Food: 8 Simple Steps for a Healthier You.

Annie B. Bond - Melissa Breyer - Wendy Gordon

4 out of 5
If you have never stepped foot into the green movement or done any exploring into the realm then this is a good resource. But if you have been poking around for awhile, very little of what these authors have to offer will sound new.

The 8 steps involve: Eat Local, Eat a Variety, Go for Organic, Eat Lower on the Food Chain, Eat Fresh, Eat Whole Foods, Stocking your pantry, Green Your Kitchen

By reviewing the list, you can see that many of the subjects repeat themselves. Local food is cheaper to transport, higher in food value since it doesn't have to travel as far, etc., but we know this, tell me something more. Their "what is in season guide" is good, since we are so used to supermarkets that offer watermelon in January, it's good to come back to reality from time to time.

If variety is the spice of life, eat the rainbow. Great advice. Vary what you eat, colors mean something and each have their own hidden values.

Going organic is a great idea if 1) you can afford it and 2) if you trust you source. Choose wisely.

Lower on the food chain. Become more of an herbivore and less of a carnivore. This was a really good chapter. Explained a couple of things that I didn't know. Complementary Protein Combinations.

Eating Fresh sort of recaps everything that has been already covered.

Whole Foods. Fiber. Sugars. Whole Grains. Think unprocessed and you pretty much have it.

Stocking your pantry. Personally, when the term Green is used too much I get a little concerned. Apparently, this means different things to different people. Restocking your pantry can be a very pricy undertaking so they suggested slow and steady. Make the best choices you can when the opportunity presents itself - and I will guarantee you, most markets don't even have the products that are suggested.

Green Your Kitchen. Once again, back to that Green word. Keep your kitchen clean, don't use harsh chemicals and use common sense.

Over all, it is a very good book. Very helpful information and very good recipes. I recommend it as a good starting point for jumping off into a new "Healthier You".

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Looking Forward to This One

Be CentsAble

Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee

Now more than ever, people are desperate to save money without scrimping on every little purchase or sacrificing their lifestyle. Like most Americans, stay-at-home moms Chrissy Pate and Kristin McKee spent the lion's share of their budgets on what they assumed to be static costs such as groceries and utilities. But when using traditional couponing and cheapskate guides didn't help their budgets shrink by a dime, Pate and McKee decided to come up with their own way to save.

Within a few months, their household expenses dropped by more than half-from spending $800 each per month to less than $350! only a few years after developing their "be centsable" system, Pate and McKee have helped thousands of subscribers save money without spending hours finding and cutting coupons, or giving up "extras" like travel and entertainment. In this prescriptive guide, these authors show how anyone can save thousands of dollars on cleaning supplies, pet care, toys, travel, and most importantly, groceries-without giving up healthy foods, favorite products, or the occasional splurge.

Monday, April 26, 2010

What's In Your Mailbox

So Not Happening

Jenny B. Jones

Bella Kirkwood had it all: A-list friends at her prestigious private school, Broadway in her backyard, and Daddy's MasterCard in her wallet. Then her father, a plastic surgeon to the stars, decided to trade her mother in for a newer model.

When Bella's mom falls in love with a man she met on the Internet--a factory worker with two bratty sons--Bella has to pack up and move in with her new family in Truman, Oklahoma. On a farm no less! PBS

The Walk

Richard Paul Evans

The first in a planned series about a man who sets out to walk across the country in the wake of a personal tragedy. At 28, Alan Christoffersen is the head of his own successful ad company, and madly in love with his wife, McKale. His life seems truly charmed, until McKale has an accident while horseback riding. She is left paralyzed, and to stay by her side, Alan leaves his business in the hands of his partner, Kyle, which proves to be a terrible misstep when Kyle cruelly betrays him. Simon and Schuster.

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Speed Reading for Dummies


Richad Stuz with Peter Weverka

Finally a book that was designed with me in mind. I must confess that I have to be the worlds slowest reader. Back in the day when I was taught how to read, my teacher explained that you must look at each word, sound it out in your head, and then say it quietly to yourself. Well, to this day, I swear I still do that. I have absolutely no idea how to skip unimportant words. I find myself having to say each and every and, is, but, etc. It is so frustrating when I see others just whiz through a book with total comprehension, pick out the subtle nuances, compare characters to other books that they have read that week all the while I am saying, "wait, I'm still on chapter two"

So, hopefully, when I get this book finished, after learning the fundamentals of speed reading and mastering the ten quick techniques to improve speed, I just might be up to chapter 3 by the time everyone else is finished.

Here's to wishful thinking.

Saturday, April 24, 2010

Mozart's Ghost

Mozart's Ghost

Julia Cameron

3 out of 5

This uninspiring story introduces you to Anna, a Midwest transplant to New York City who fills in as a substitute teacher during the day to give the appearance of normality, but her evenings are dedicated to psychic readings.

Always seen as the misfit and wacko, Anna guards her secret to the point of rarely letting anyone in. Then one day her life is thrown into turmoil as a concert pianist moves into her very quiet apartment building and with his constant playing her psychic vibes are thrown into a turmoil. That is until Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart appears and torments her into providing help, and calming, to a very stressed pianist who just happens to be preparing for the concert performance of his life performing Mozart's work.. With Anna's, and Mozarts help, Edward is finally able to bring his rather non-conformists ways to a reasonable existence.

Overall the book seemed to lack a crescendo. The psychic reading were interesting, but the romance that was budding between Anna and Edward seemed more of a high school romance then two grown adults and was rather unimaginative.

Friday, April 23, 2010

Death By Cashmere

Death by Cashmere

Sally Goldenbaum

4 out of 5

The first 50 pages or so of this book just did not grab me. The sentence structure was a bit off and the knit shop by the seas with dear friends and a cat was a bit dry and redundant; but the fearless reader that I am decided to see it through to the end and I'm glad that I did.

Izzy Chambers has left her burgeoning career as an attorney and has decided to open up a knit shop in the sunny seaside town of Sea Harbor, Massachusetts. As her friends gather for the weekly meeting of food and stitching, the discussion quickly turns to the renter of the apartment above the shop. Angie Archer has returned to town to take on a specialty project but before her research can come to light she is found dead. With a couple of odd occurrences and a couple of people with secrets, it is up to Izzy and her band of knitters to work out what happened and to bring Sea Harbor back to the peaceful sleepy village that it is.

Though this is definitely a knitters book, with a scarf pattern at the end, I had wished that Ms. Goldenbaum had included a couple of the recipes that were mentioned during Ben's Friday Night Martini Drop In and the Thursday Night Stitch and Eat. Not to mention a couple of Frittata recipes.

I look forward to the next couple of books in this series. The early problems that Ms Goldenbaum encountered at the beginning of the book ironed themselves out and the characters soon began to take on their own life and rhythm. I look forward to meeting up with them again.

Thursday, April 22, 2010

New Summer Releases Part 3

THE COOKBOOK COLLECTOR, Allegra Goodman (July 6)
Fans of Goodman's lovely, nuanced novels have a treat in store with this tale of two sisters, one the CEO of a much-hyped data storage start-up, the other a grad-school dropout working in an antiquarian bookstore.

LUCY, Laurence Gonzales (July 13)
A fast-paced Crichtonesque thriller about a half-human, half-ape girl.

RED HOOK ROAD, Ayelet Waldman (July 13)
The setting: an idyllic town in Maine. The scene: a local wedding. The tragedy: The bride and groom are killed as they drive from the church to the reception. What happens to the families left behind, then, is the stuff of Waldman's moving novel.

I CURSE THE RIVER OF TIME, Per Petterson (Aug. 3)
A poignant mother-son story from the acclaimed author of Out Stealing Horses.

YOU LOST ME THERE, Rosecrans Baldwin (Aug. 12)
A much-hyped debut novel that tells the story of a marriage from the point of view of the husband.

MOCKINGJAY, Suzanne Colllins (Aug. 24)
The final volume of Collins' dystopian trilogy, following The Hunger Games and Catching Fire.

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

New Summer Releases Part 2

WAR, Sebastian Junger (May 11)
A riveting account of the 14 months Junger (The Perfect Storm) spent embedded with a platoon in one of the bloodiest, most remote pockets of Afghanistan.

The third and final installment in Larsson's Lisbeth Salander series (after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo and The Girl Who Played with Fire).

When Rose Edelstein turns 9, she realizes she can taste emotions in food. In the lemon-chocolate birthday cake her mother has baked, for example, there is nothing but despair and sadness. A magical novel from the author of The Girl in the Flammable Skirt.

She's not done with Twilight...yet! This novella will chronicle some key Eclipse scenes from the point of view of fledgling vampire Bree Tanner. As Meyer explained to USA Today, ''There's only so much stuff you can tell when what Bella sees and hears is all you can tell.'' Millions of fans are waiting with bated breath.

THE PASSAGE, Justin Cronin (June 8)
Probably the most buzzed-about novel of the summer, this post-apocalyptic epic will inevitably draw comparisons to Stephen King's The Stand.

SO COLD THE RIVER, Michael Koryta (June 9)
An edgy, seat-of-your-pants thriller with a supernatural edge that's set in an immaculately restored grand old hotel in the Midwest.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

New Summer Releases Part 1

THIS BODY OF DEATH, Elizabeth George (April 20)
George has once again delivered a thick, knotty, densely plotted mystery. As always, it isn't a book to tear through in an hour, but one to read slowly, over many sittings, and savor. This time out, George, turning to her usual characters, highlights Scotland Yard inspector Thomas Lynley — still grieving the senseless deaths of his wife and child — as he takes a tentative step back to his old job by investigating the murder of a young woman found in a cemetery.

HALF LIFE, Roopa Farooki (April 27)
Farooki's novel follows the life of a troubled Indian doctor who marries without coming to terms with her past relationships — something which she decides, finally, that she must do. A lovely, graceful, and utterly compelling love story.

GIRL IN TRANSLATION, Jean Kwok (April 29)
Though the plot may sound mundane — a Chinese girl and her mother immigrate to this country and succeed despite formidable odds — this coming-of-age tale is anything but. Whether Ah-Kim (or Kimberly, as she's called) is doing piecework on the factory floor with her mother, or suffering through a cold New York winter in a condemned, roach-infested apartment, or getting that acceptance letter from Yale, her story seems fresh and new.

THE INVISIBLE BRIDGE, Julie Orringer (May 4)
Orringer's debut story collection, How to Breathe Underwater, was greeted with fanfare several years ago; this novel, her first, is the tale of Hungarian brothers during World War II.

THE LAST STAND, Nathaniel Philbrick (May 4)
If anyone can breathe life into the oft-told tale of Lieutenant Colonel George Custer, it's Philbrick, who evoked the Pilgrims in 2006's Mayflower and 19th-century whale traders in 2001's In the Heart of the Sea.

When Browning, the hard-charging founding editor of House & Garden, found herself suddenly, unexpectedly unemployed, she literally did not know how to fill her days — at first. But the enforced vacation, she found, had unexpected benefits.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What's In Your Mailbox


Dreaded Feast

The star roster of contributors includes Jonathan Ames, Dave Barry, Robert Benchley, Charles Bukowski, Augusten Burroughs, Billy Collins, Greg Kotis, Lewis Lapham, Jay McInerney, Fiona Maazel, George Plimpton, David Rakoff, David Sedaris, Charles Simic, Hunter S. Thompson, James Thurber, Calvin Trillin, and John Waters.

"The Dreaded Feast" will act as a balm for the millions of people who face Christmastime with a mixture of dread and obligation. Whether it's the last-minute shopping, the unappealing office party, or the prospect of more than 24 hours with family, it's never easy. The anthology, which includes fiction, nonfiction, and poetry on these and many more related subjects, deflates the notion of the "perfect" holiday season, and allows the reader to commiserate and bask in the glow of a little dark, neurotic, and unflinchingly honest humor.

The Man Who Loved Books Too Much
Allison Hoover Bartlett

Rare bookstore owner Ken Saunders relishes catching book thieves, and his favorite target is John Gilkey, a repeat offender who has spent multiple stints in jail for using stolen credit card numbers and bad checks to purchase books estimated to be worth together more than $100,000. In this intriguing account, journalist Bartlett takes readers behind the scenes at antiquarian book fairs and rare bookstores, where sellers are always on the lookout for thieves. Bartlett first meets Gilkey when he is serving time near San Francisco. Over several meetings, Gilkey explains that he feels he builds his image through books, proving himself a man of taste, knowledge, and affluence.

Dune Road

Jane Green

divorced mom Kit Hargrove learns about family, love, and the price of secrets while rediscovering passion for life and her small Connecticut beach town. As the off-season begins, Kit is still recovering from the breakup of her marriage (to solicitous but work-obsessed Adam), working for famously reclusive author Robert McClore, and practicing yoga with her new friend Tracy. Upheaval soon arrives in the form of a mysterious new boyfriend and a long-lost sister, as well as a scandalous secret regarding Kit's much-desired employer. Green's newest has all the right elements for a sun-baked afternoon of reading: sandy locales, hints of sex and scandal, and lots of strong female characters. With three main plots, however, Green tries to pack in too much story, ultimately shortchanging her characters and her readers.

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Spring Is In The Air

Each spring I get excited about the potential of starting over, of eating better of getting more then garden boxes going and by the first hot day of summer I usually give up. But these two books look very interesting.

Fueled by the localvore movement and a tightened economy, more people are motivated to grow their own vegetables, and yet few aspects of gardening are quite as daunting. Sowing seeds! Combating pests! Harvesting zucchini! It can all be a little overwhelming for the inexperienced gardener. With a clean, crisp, foolproof approach, Pleasant takes the fear out of food gardening in a must-have resource that will appeal to both neophytes and experienced gardeners. From simple bag gardens to bountiful food cornucopias, each garden plan is a symphony in simplicity, laid out with precise lists of materials and plants based on detailed landscape plans suitable for small city gardens as well as larger suburban backyards. Along with year-by-year overviews that allow gardeners to anticipate growth and adapt to changes, Pleasant provides essential cultivation and maintenance techniques, and offers surefire recommendations for top-producing vegetables and herbs.

This inviting, encouraging how-to turns the ideals of today’s food revolution into eight practical steps to a healthier, more natural diet. It’s a workable blueprint for enlightening your kitchen in ways that are good for you, your family, your pocketbook—and the environment. Friendly and fun, featuring lighthearted design and lively writing, the book shows how preparing good food with simple, natural ingredients can actually cost less than reaching for commercially produced and processed alternatives. You’ll discover fresh, seasonal recipes and new ways to go shopping, plus practical advice on how to establish priorities among the many rules that sometimes seem to contradict each other. How can I eat fresh fruit in the middle of winter? If favor local produce, do I have to stop eating bananas? Full of quick, innovative solutions (and a few old-fashioned ones, too), True Food is a complete vision of how to select, prepare, serve, store, and enjoy the planet’s bounteous harvest.

The eight steps introduce and implement a short list of powerful ideas, from "Eat Local Food" to "Green Your Kitchen." Every piece of advice is backed up by solid research and personal experience. Stories of real people who have committed to the lifestyle offer amusing tales of acquiring new habits and inspiring portraits of people who quietly live with a new awareness. Special sidebars called "Budget Benefits" highlight how following these eight simple steps can actually save you money—and at the same time help you nourish better and greener attitudes everywhere.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist

Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist

MC Beaton

3 out of 5

With Jimmy Raisin now dead and James Lacey hightailing it away from their wedding, Agatha is aghast that James would leave for their intended honeymoon destination without her. It was just a misunderstanding that she really was not a widow, but Agatha knows she can make amends if James would just give her a chance. Therefore, off to Cyprus and God willing she will get her man, but first she has to find him.

Agatha finally meets up with a very cold and brusque James and they are quickly drawn into a group of Europeans that somehow involve Agatha in yet another mystery. With the help of an old friend Sir Charles Fraith, one that Agatha really should avoid but yet makes for a very interesting twist to anger James, Agatha continues her investigation into not one but now two murder mysteries, which at times has Agatha in danger of losing her own life.

Though not a very imaginative book, the Agatha saga has me following story after story just to see what lie Agatha will tell next and how she will get herself of out her next sticky situation.

The one endearing part of this book is a very interesting conversation between Agatha and James when he explains his conflict with her and for the first time I see James really opening up. Now if only Agatha could see it that way and stop throwing Charles in his face.

Friday, April 16, 2010

DNF - The Wrong Mother

The Wrong Mother

Sophie Hannah

OK, so it wasn't me. After putting this book down and not being able to force myself to pick it up again, I checked other reviews. Glad to see that I wasn't the only one that thought this book was a little too twisty and didn't really make any sense from the beginning.

BLAH, BLAH, BLAH A woman is watching a report on television of the death of a mother and daughter; apparently both had died at the mother's hand. Also on the screen is the surviving member of the family, a widower described as Mark Bretherick. Watching with her husband, the woman, Sally, has to bite back the words that spring to her lips: this man is not Mark Bretherick! How does she know? Because she had enjoyed a brief affair with the real possessor of that name some time before -- an affair (needless to say) she has not revealed to her husband. Sally is forced to hang on to her secret, and she anonymously informs the police that all is not as it appears to be in this case. BLAH, BLAH, BLAH

Sorry, maybe next time, but for now, this book just doesn't work for me.

Thursday, April 15, 2010

What's In Your Mailbox

Aunt Dimity Slays the Dragon

Nancy Atherton

Lori Shepherd loves living in the small English village of Finch, but as her eighth summer in the town approaches she finds herself wishing for something exciting to spice up her all-too-familiar routine. When King Wilfred's Faire opens nearby, Lori gets her wish and more. The age of chivalry lives again at the Renaissance fair. Wizards, wenches, magicians, and minstrels cajole the fairgoers while lords quaff, jesters joke, and knights battle in the joust arena. But Lori discovers that it's not all pageantry and play.

A sinister figure is stalking the angel-voiced madrigal singer. A jealous rival has sabotaged the Dragon Knight's weapons. And an evil assassin is trying to murder Good King Wilfred. With Aunt Dimity's otherworldly guidance, Lori races to save her dear village and risks her neck to keep the medieval revelry from ending in tragedy.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

September Society

September Society

Charles Finch

3 out of 5

I am beginning to think that Charles Finch put way too much effort into this somewhat lacking second addition to the Charles Lennox saga.

What begins with intrigue slowly muddles down into too much description of the colleges that make up Oxford in 1866 and by doing so, puts the murder mystery beyond the backburner.

When Lady Annabelle Payson shows up in Lennox's front hall she presents him with a rather dubious mystery. Her son George has gone missing. Lennox doesn't usually take on something so mundane, but how do you turn down a lady in distress whom had already lost a husband under mysterious circumstance in war and now her son too may possibly be dead.

With unique clues and the mysterious September Society, a secret society made up of gentlemen that served in the 12th Suffolk 2nd, Lennox must now risk his life to untangle two very similar webs and hopefully bring answers to those that felt the truth would always be beyond them.

As time wore on, I found myself having to write down characters names with little descriptions of exactly who they were and how they fit into the story. Though new characters have been added that should spice up future books, I don't find myself running out to get the next book so quite so quickly.

After the first book, which I loved, this one was a bit of a let down. I don't want to be completely negative, there are some good parts, but unfortunately, you have hack your way to the end to get there.

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

What's In Your Library Bag

Mozart's Ghost
Julia Camerson

Meet Anna, a thirtysomething Midwesterner living alone in New York City. A schoolteacher by day, she is a medium by night, covertly helping people reunite with their lost loved ones. Anna leads a double life, guarding her secret as much as she guards her heart—until Edward, a gangly yet quietly handsome concert pianist, moves into her building.

Monday, April 12, 2010

What's In Your Mailbox

Not Lost Forever: My Story of Survival
Carmina Salcido

Not Lost Forever is Carmen Salcido’s remarkable story of survival and healing following the 1986 murderous rampage by her father, Mexican immigrant Ramon Salcido in the wine country of Sonoma Valley, California. Left for dead at three years old—her throat brutally slashed—Carmen miraculously survived what is widely considered one of California’s most notorious crimes: the unthinkable attack that savagely destroyed seven innocent lives, including Carmen’s entire family. At once a harrowing true crime story and the inspirational first-person account of a young girl’s strength, heart, and determination in the nightmare’s aftermath, Not Lost Forever is a shocking and profoundly moving tale of perseverance and hope, and of a precious life regained.

The Hunt for Sonya Dufrette
R.T. Raichev

Antonia Darcy is both a mystery writer and a librarian. Working at London's tony Military and Naval Club offers her the opportunity to meet a widower, Major Payne, who is as sharp as he is attractive. Antonia will need his help as she sets about solving a 25-year-old mystery. It was the day of the royal wedding in 1981 when Antonia attended a house party in the English countryside. An autistic child went missing and was presumed dead when her doll turned up floating in a lake. But as Antonia searches her memory, she begins to put together pieces of a puzzle that don't quite fit. Raichev, Bulgarian by birth, writes the kind of old-school English mysteries that fans of Christie and Sayers love: plenty of Albion ambience, a cast of eccentric characters, and a dogged search for clues. But this will be pleasing to more than traditionalists, because it adds a P. D. Jamesian subtlety to the comfortable Christie formula. Antonia Darcy is a terrific sleuth, and Raichev is a very clever writer, indeed.

The Wives of Henry Oades
Johanna Moran

An English accountant and his two wives are the subject of this intriguing and evocative debut novel based on a real-life 19th-century California bigamy case. A loving husband and attentive father, Henry Oades assures his wife, Margaret, that his posting to New Zealand will be temporary and the family makes the difficult journey. But during a Maori uprising, Margaret and her four children are kidnapped and the Oades's house is torched. Convinced his family is dead, Henry relocates to California and marries Nancy, a sad 20-year-old pregnant widow. When Margaret and the children escape, eventually making their way to California and Henry's doorstep, he does the decent thing by being a husband to both wives and father to all their offspring, a situation deemed indecent by the Berkeley Daughters of Decency. Moran presents Henry's story as if making a case in court, facts methodically revealed with just enough detail for the reader to form an independent opinion. But it's Margaret surviving the wilderness, Nancy overcoming grief and the two women bonding that give the book its heart and should make this a book group winner

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Looking Forward To This One

Colm Toibin

Though I've never been brave enough to take on this author. The story does sound interesting. I just need time to sink into a comfy chair and take a couple of minutes for myself.

It is Enniscorthy in the southeast of Ireland in the early 1950s. Eilis Lacey is one among many of her generation who cannot find work at home. Thus when a job is offered in America, it is clear to everyone that she must go. Leaving her family and country, Eilis heads for unfamiliar Brooklyn, and to a crowded boarding house where the landlady's intense scrutiny and the small jealousies of her fellow residents only deepen her isolation.

Thanks Simon and Schuster

Saturday, April 10, 2010

My New Toy

First you have to understand that I am not a gadget girl. If something is more complicated than a microwave or ATM machine I am done in.

So when my ORIGINAL 4 gb pink mini decided that it could no longer hold a charge for more then 10 minutes it was time to breakdown and forge my way into a 7th generation model. My how time flies.

Going from 4 gigs to 160 gigs seems a bit of overkill, but why not, you only live once every five years. It's larger, a little heavier, but hey, I'm splurging. It might be a rather uninspiring black, but it's a classic. I also splurged on a cool leather case.

Thank God I have teenagers, thought I would never say those words in a sentence, but they are completely fearless when it comes to technology. "Just plug it in Mom, what could go wrong"? Just push that buttons, come on what are you afraid of? Really? The young are so uninformed. Does anyone remember the movie War Games where the push of a button started a nuclear war?

So I have loaded everything that I have here, books mostly, and guess what? I still have something like 140 gig to go. Off to the library site to find more books, maybe some music cd's - gee just about anything I want.

This could be fun.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Just Desserts

Just Desserts

G. A. McKevett

4 out of 5

Now I am not sure if this series falls under the traditional Cozy genre since there isn't the warm fuzzy feel, but there is a small town, there are cats, and of course a woman on the tail of a killer. But that is where the comparison to cozy ends.

After a couple of so-so cozies in my recent past, it was nice to finally get drawn in by a writer that knows how to keep the plot moving forward without relying on clich├ęs and cats with above human intelligence.

Savannah Reid, is a police detective in the small town of San Carmelita, that is until she steps on one too many toes and finds herself out of a job and still on the trail of a brutal killer. Not having a badge or a police issued weapon doesn't stop her, she has a job to do and with her southern charm and wit she is going to find out who killed Jonathan Winston even if it does take her ex-partner and a rather dashing ex-CIA agent Ryan Stone, who with his partner, John Gibson, add quite a bit of splash to a rather dull life.

This first in a series book definitely makes you want to read the rest. If you are a fan of Stephanie Plum you will without a doubt find a new lead character that has you laughing and scratching your head at the same time.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

So Far This Year

Total Pages Read 2779
Fiction 5
Non-Fiction 2
Mystery (All Genres) 8
New Authors 7
Audio 5
Young Adult 0

Total Books Read 15

Unfortunately, I'm a little behind my usual pace, but hopefully I will get caught up.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

The Janus Stone

The Janus Stone

Elly Griffiths

5 out of 5

I am completely convinced that Elly Griffiths can not write a bad book. Usually, when an author has great success with their first there is a rush to put out a second that somehow seems to fall flat. Well, that is definitely not the case with this extremely talented writer.

Ruth Galloway , a forensic archaeologist returns to investigate when a builder in Norwich discovers skeletal remains of a child, without the skull, buried under a doorway on the site of an abandoned children's home. As the investigation continues the bones reveal that they are a bit older and are actually from the days when the home was privately owned. With the help of Cathbad - a great character- and Max, Ruth discovers the God of Doors and Openings leading the reader and herself on a very interesting voyage.

Elly Griffiths doesn't just give you a fascinating story, she draws you in with multiple storylines, Roman and Pagan mythology, and modern day Catholicism. Her detail and research both educational and entertaining. But more importantly, each layer is a bit more fascinating then the last and intertwines them all with history and mystery that keeps you reading.

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

2010 Chunkster Challenge

Goal: 6 Books (books over 450 pages)

1. How Green Was My Valley - Llewellyn 490 pgs
2. South of Broad - Pat Conroy 540 pgs

Monday, April 5, 2010

What's In Your Mailbox

From Simon and Schuster:

The Finishing Touches
Hester Browne

A fading English finishing school gets a twenty-first-century makeover in this "modern-day fairy tale" (Romantic Times) from New York Times bestselling author Hester Browne, whose sparkling novels are "charming and feel-good" (Cosmopolitan).Twenty-seven years ago, an infant turned up on the doorstep of London’s esteemed Phillimore Academy for Young Ladies. Now, Betsy Phillimore returns to the place where she was lovingly raised by Lord and Lady Phillimore, only to find the Academy in disrepair and Lord P. desperate to save his legacy. Enter Betsy with a savvy business plan to replace dusty protocol with the essentials girls need today: cell phone etiquette, eating sushi properly, handling credit cards, choosing the perfect little black dress, negotiating a pre-nup, and other lessons in independent living. But returning to London also means crossing paths with her sexy girlhood crush . . . and stirring up the mystery of who her parents are and why they abandoned her. Will the puzzle pieces of her past fall into place while Betsy races to save the only home she’s ever known?

The Shadow Princess
Indu Sundaresan

Sundaresan (The Twentieth Wife) returns to 17th-century India in this romantic fictionalization of the life of Jahanara, the oldest child of the empress Mumtaz Mahal, Shah Jahan's cherished wife. Mumtaz dies in childbirth, leaving four sons, two teenage daughters and a newborn girl. The grief-stricken emperor seeks consolation in the construction of the Taj, the magnificent Luminous Tomb, while the profundity of his mourning exposes his fallibility to his sons, who begin eyeing his throne. Jahanara and her sister Roshanara choose to back different brothers, and they compete to rule in both the royal harem and their father's heart. Before long, Jahanara is the one who succeeds as the emperor's closest confidante, and he refuses to allow her to leave him to marry. Sundaresan has a scholar's fascination with the period; she's at her best describing the opulent court or the construction of the Taj Mahal. Little is known about the actual Jahanara, and Sundaresan has blessed the princess's fictional proxy with such perfection that readers will be tempted to find her flawed siblings not only more believable but also more interesting.

The Blue Orchard
Jackson Taylor

In what could be a modern classic, poet and fiction writer Taylor takes an unblinking look at abortion in America many decades before Roe v. Wade. Introducing Verna Crone as she's arrested in her home in 1954, Taylor then transports readers to her poor Pennsylvania beginnings, yanked out of school as a teenager to help support her family. Raped by her first employer, Verna soon undergoes an abortion, illegally administered by a country midwife. After another pregnancy leaves her with a son, Verna enlists her mom's help and returns to the city to become a nurse; before long, Verna begins working for Dr. Crampton, a well-to-do African-American doctor who performs illegal abortions. Conflicted at first, Verna quickly grows accustomed to the money and finds herself less upset with every procedure; it's only after Crampton runs afoul of some state politicos that the two are arrested. In this powerful, vivid debut novel, Taylor parses issues of race, power, and religion in unflinching terms while believably inhabiting the mind of a conflicted woman.

Sunday, April 4, 2010

2010 Support Your Local Library

Goal: 25

1. Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
2. Gone - Lisa Gardner
3. Trial by Fire - JA Jance
4. Little Giant of Aberdeen County - Tiffany Baker
5. The Riesling Retribution - Ellen Crosby
6. Summer on Blossom Street - Debbie Macomber
7. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist - MC Beaton
8. Mozart's Ghost - Julia Cameron
9. The Burying Place - Brian Freeman
10. Starter Vegetable Gardens - Barbara Pleasant
11. True Food - 8 Simple Steps for a Healthier You - Annie B. Bond
12. Deja Dead - Kathy Reichs
13. Miss Malory Investigates - Hazel Holt
14. Killer Pancake - Diane Mott Davidson
15. Ghouls Gone Wild - Victoria Laurie
16. An Irish Country Doctor - Patrick Taylor
17. A Slice of Murder - Chris Cavender
18. The Bride Will Keep Her Name - Jan Goldstein
19. The Cruellest Month - Hazel Holt
20. Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death - MC Beaton
21. Paper Scissors Death - Joanne Campbell Slan
22. The Pioneer Woman Cooks - Ree Drummond
23. Maisie Dobbs - Jacqueline Winspear
24. A Glimpse of Evil - Victoria Laurie
25. Grounds for Murder - Sandra Balzo

Saturday, April 3, 2010

2010 ARC Challenge

Goal: 12

1. The Wife's Tale - Lori Lansens
2. Jenniemae & James - Brooke Newman
3. South of Broad - Pat Conroy
4, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt - Beth Hoffman
5. The Book of Fires - Jane Borodale
6. Heresy - S. J. Parris
7. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver

Friday, April 2, 2010

2010 First in a Series

Goal: 12

1. Hooked On Murder -Betty Hechtman
2. Death By Cashmere - Sally Goldenblaum
3. The Cat, The Quilt And The Corspe - Leann Sweeney
4. Paper Scissors Death - Joanne Campbell Slan
5. Maid for Murder - Barbara Colley
6. Paper Scissors Death - Joanna Campbell Slan
7. A Fatal Fixer-Upper - Jennie Bentley
8. A Slice of Murder - Chris Cavender
9. Just Desserts - G.A. McKevett
10.Wish You Were Here - Rita Mae Brown
11.Murder is Binding - Barrett
12.The Long Quiche Goodbye - Avery Aames

Thursday, April 1, 2010

2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge

From April 1 to September 1
Goal: 7 - 10 books

1. Just Desserts - G.A. McKevett
2. Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist - MC Beaton
3. Death by Cashmere - Sally Goldenbaum
4. Fatal Fixer Upper - Jennie Bentley
5. Wish You Were Here - Rita Mae Brown
6. Murder is Binding - Lorna Barrett
7. Maid for Murder - Barbara Colley
8. Killer Pancake - Diane Mott Davidson
9. Miss Malory Investigates - Hazel Holt
10. A Slice of Murder - Chris Cavender
11. Paper Scissors Death - Joanne Campbell Slan
12. Agatha Raisin and the Wellspring of Death - MC Beaton
13. The Cruellest Month - Hazel Holt