Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Settling In

Well, the move is complete and it is actually starting to feel like home. Most of the pictures are hung and the boxes are put away. Realized that I had forgotten to pack about one-third of my work clothes so had to go back and get them. Now I just have to finish getting all the utilities in my name, the apartment management was gracious enough to let me have a couple weeks free.

Living in town is a different experience. It used to be running out for a gallon of milk was an hour long event, now it’s 5 minutes to the store and home again; something that I haven’t been used to for 10 years now.

On Sunday my daughter and I went 5 minutes away and saw Little Fockers, hadn’t seen the first two and was not sure about jumping into number three but loved every minute of it and the best part the theater was so close we could have walked.

Now that the New Year is coming I am beginning to look forward to our new adventure. Still not sure about how my budget will work out I just have to have faith that it will and that this was the best choice for us all.

So here’s to a new year and a new chapter.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

What to do with an old Wedding Dress

What does one do with a used wedding dress? 26 years ago when we stood before God and man and swore our undying love for each other I thought that I would save the dress and one day pass it on to our child or niece or someone that would appreciate and cherish the gift.

Now that the marriage is over, what do you do with a used dress?

If someone gave me a dress from a wedding that had ended in divorce, would I think that it was cursed? We did last 26 years and I know that many marriages do not last half of that and some might think it's a lucky charm of sorts, but still I don't know.

Right now, it's just a dress in a hermetically sealed box with the outside gathering dust and awaiting a new location on the top of yet another closet waiting for the owner to either hand it off or ......... actually I don't have an or. Just do not know what to do with it.

Which also brings up the questions, what do you do with the shoes, the cake topper and the wedding album?

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Countdown To Moving Day

Well, it is the one-week countdown to moving day. I do not know if I am ready, if I ever will be ready, but this is what life has given me right now and I have to make the best of it.

I love the house we live in, the home that I thought we had created for our children, and now I have to leave. To start a new life on my own and try to create new lasting memories of happy times for my children.

I do not know how this went so wrong. When you think you are doing what is best and only come to find out, through divorce papers that your best was not good enough, is one of the hardest things that you will have to live through.

How do you start over, how do you pack your boxes and keep a smile on your face so you can be strong for your children and know that soon, you will close the door on this life and struggle everyday to pay the rent and utilities and put groceries on the table and no one is there to stand with you and to help you stand up when all you want to do is crumble.

Divorce hurts, it hurts your soul in a way that you never knew was possible. The soul that holds your children and all of their hopes and dreams and you realize that you have done this to them. That you were not able to hold their stability together. That you have ripped their lives apart and no amount of apologizing or hope will ever put it all back together.

So now, I head back to my boxes and packing tape and with my tears, I pray that I can make this all right. I need to make this all right for my children.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

The Tale of Hill Top Farm

The Tale of Hill Top Farm

Susan Wittig Albert

3 out of 5

I've always had a problem with books that have talking animals as main characters. I'm not talking the picture books of our childhood; I am talking about grown up books, without pictures, that have farm animals talking to each other in a regular tone and voice.

Maybe I should have done a little more research into this series by Susan Wittig Albert to know that this is really a mature version of the Beatrix Potter books of my childhood.

After the untimely death of her fiancé, a fictional Beatrix Potter travels to a new home that she has purchased with the proceeds from her little books. Trying to break free from a demanding father, Beatrice purchases Hill Top Farm where she can continue her interest in writing, drawing and studying nature. But most important, to achieve the almost impossible, that being independence.

A cozy mystery would be nothing without the appropriate dead body showing up and that is just what happens when a well liked villager is found dead- but is it not as simple as that when there are also funds missing, a valuable painting is no longer the wall that Beatrix remembers from a previous visit, and most importantly, the parish register that holds the records of Near and Far Sawrey residents.

Nothing is as simple as it seems, but with the local cats, dogs and owl on the case, it won't be long until all is right in this little part of the Lake District.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Wanna Get Lucky

Wanna Get Lucky

Deborah Coonts

5 out of 5

I really enjoyed this new series by Deborah Coontz.

Lucky O'Toole is Head of Customer Relations at the Babylon, a new luxury resort on the Strip in Las Vegas. On a daily basis she sees her share of the misfits and the bizarre but since her mother is one of the top madams in Las Vegas, you really have to hit the weird scale hard to even begin to fluster Ms O'Toole.

So when a woman falls to her death from a sightseeing helicopter into the middle of a Pirate show, Lucky doesn't see it as just another unlucky victim. She knows this woman and there most assuredly is more to this story. Add in Lucky's new love interest Teddy, the premiere female impersonator in Las Vegas, and you have quite an interest cast of characters. Though some parts of the story are predictable, the never ending shenanigans that Lucky must deal with on a daily basis are what kept this book interesting to me.

The adage, "what happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas" really does apply in this book.

I look forward to the next in the series, and I certainly hope that Ms Coonts can keep the pace and tomfoolery alive and kicking throughout this series.

Tuesday, December 7, 2010

Final Jeopardy

Final Jeopardy

Linda Fairstein

2 out of 5

I am still very much up in the air about this book.

In the past I have loved books by Linda Fairstein, but for some reason, this one just didn't come across as well. The storyline and the supporting characters felt rather flat, nothing really stood out in the storyline and I didn't feel the urgency that would be necessary for a book like this.

In a case of mistaken identity, Assistant District Attorney Alexandra Cooper has been reported murdered when a body fitting Alex's description is found in a car rented to her on a deserted road leading to the summer home of Alexandra Cooper - S e x Crimes Prosecutor.

But it's not Alex, its Isabella Lascar, a film star that just needs a break from her life and some peace and quiet. Now the question is who was the real intended victim? As Alex combs her past cases to see who would be out for revenge and scouring Isabella's life to find the stalker that was writing letters and threatening call to her, the hunt goes on for the killer and the reason behind the murder.

The ending is good, if a bit unbelievable, but overall, the book just didn't do anything for me. I will pick up other books by Ms Fairstein, because of past success, but for this one, I would recommend that you pass.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Hannah's List

Hannah's List

Debbie Macomber

3 out of 5

I have been enjoying this series until this book. It's not because of the storyline, which flows well with the other books; it's not the characters because there are enough recurring characters that make this a nice story to come back to. My dislike comes from a purely sexist stance. This book, unlike the others, is from the male perspective. Somehow, this very female series hit a snag for me when it was told in Dr. Michael Everett's voice.

A year after his wife Hannah succumbs to ovarian cancer; Michael receives a letter with a list outlining the three women that she, Hannah, would like for Michael to get to know. Michael has a way of folding up into himself and with this list Hannah is asking him to meeting someone, fall in love and start a family.

At first Michael is appalled at the idea, but his love for Hannah is stronger and he quite reluctantly gives the three women a chance.
As I said, it's not a bad storyline, just not what I had been expecting. The novel follows all three women, in addition to Michael, so you get to know each woman and find yourself picking and choosing along with Michael who would be the best match for him. Sort of like a human version of the TV show House Hunters where you get to view properties and make a decision on which would suit the potential buyer best. I know, that was harsh, but that is the feel that I got.

Being a typical Macomber, there is a happily ever after feel to the whole book and it was a nice reprieve from the hectic world to just sit down and relax with an old favorite series and likeable characters. Even if it was from a male perspective and he was auditioning women.

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden

Agatha Raisin and the Witch of Wyckhadden

MC Beaton

3 out of 5

No matter how much I adore Agatha Raisin, some books just aren't as good as others. This is one of those that missed the mark for me. A little on the boring side with very little momentum to keep the storyline moving forward.

Since Agatha had quite the hair incident at the end of Wizard of Evesham, she has decided to take a holiday to the seaside town of Wyckhadden. She needs a break from her life and most definitely a break from James Lacey.

What she finds is a small hotel with horrible elderly guests and nasty weather. Not exactly the restful situation she was looking for. Having nowhere else to turn, she settles in and learns of Francie Juddle the local witch. Well, things are looking up for Agatha and she head out to investigate. What is even more interesting is the supposed love potion that Francie brews.

Once again, Agatha stumbles onto a dead body. Who would have guessed?
As Agatha does her own amateur sleuthing she quickly comes to the conclusion that one of her fellow hotel guests must be the killer.

What really threw me off of this book was yet another character named Jimmy. First there is James Lacey her love interest, then there was Jimmy Raisin her first husband and now there is Jimmy Jessop, the handsome local police officer. For a person who reads this series, the over use of the same name is a bit of a distraction.
Sir Charles Fraith reappears in this book and I have to say he is my most favorite character. His humor and chiding certainly keeps Agatha on her toes and a needed breath of fresh air to Agatha stodgy temperament.

To keep Agatha's character moving forward you really should read the books in order, just be forewarned that not all books are as good as their predecessors.

Saturday, December 4, 2010

Voignier Vendetta

The Viognier Vendetta: A Wine Country Mystery (Wine Country Mysteries)

Ellen Crosby

4 out of 5

Ellen Crosby's Wine Country Mysteries is yet another series that I look forward to reading. Her lead character, Lucie Montgomery, is warm and inviting with just enough sass and intelligence to entertain a reader without being too sugar sweet or condescending.

The fifth book in the series brings Lucie Montgomery to Washington DC during the cherry blossom season to meet up with an old friend, Rebecca Natele. But this meeting wasn't the spur of the moment unplanned event that Lucie was expecting. Something was definitely up and when Rebecca suddenly disappears with her clothes found neatly folded in a rowboat floating down the Potomac, Lucie wonders if it was actually suicide. This is Washington after all and when you mix politics, scandal, billionaires and a missing antique silver wine cooler looted by British soldier's before they burned the White House during the War of 1812, you just never know who is telling the truth and which lie might actually have a partial truth to it.

Ellen Crosby adds the right amount of history to her books to both entertain and educate the reader. You are left feeling that Ms Crosby had done her research and you come away with more than a nice mystery, you also are left with a bit of history and a little more knowledge then you started with.

Friday, December 3, 2010

Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham

Agatha Raisin and the Wizard of Evesham

MC Beaton

4 out of 5

Agatha is a never ending source of entertainment for me. From storyline to storyline she manages to get herself in one jam after another with pretty much the same outcome. Though that sounds redundant, MC Beaton makes the books entertaining and at times downright laugh out loud funny.

Agatha should never be left to her own devices, when she is bored things go from bad to "Oh, Agatha" very quickly. So when James is out of the country, Bill is on vacation and Charles is a bit stand offish, Agatha decides to head off to Evesham and visit the wonder Mr. John, a salon owner who has a way of working miracles.

Agatha gets a bit more than she bargained for when Mr. John starts putting on the romantic moves, y nature Agatha is a big apprehensive, and when Mr. John collapses in his shop she grabs his keys and heads to his home to find out what this man is really all about.

Is he really the blackmailer that everyone seems to believe he is or is there something or someone else actually pulling all the strings.
As the story comes to light, Agatha once again has the fame and glory pulled out from under her and must return to Carsley with a rather fantastical tale and no way of proving that it was actually she who solved yet another case for the police.

Agatha just needs to face the fact that no good deed goes unpunished and no matter what she does to get James attention it is just going to backfire on her which is what, in an absurd way, makes me come back to these books time and again.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

Until Proven Guilty

Until Proven Guilty

JA Jance

2 out of 5

I really wanted to like this series, since I enjoy the Allison Reynolds series so much, but that was not the case. Homicide Detective J.P. Beaumont of the Seattle Police Department comes across as too gruff and too much of the typical stereotype cop that you see every night on television.

When a five year old child is found dead and the mother is caught up in a fundamentalist cult you know that there is not going to be a happy ending. Plus, a well seasoned cop suddenly falling for a stranger and unexplainably dreams of their life together just doesn’t blend well for me. This story was just too choppy and all over the place.

I am glad that I had found the Reynolds series first or I would have just totally given up on this author. Different strokes I guess, but I will not be finding myself looking for anymore J.P. Beaumont.

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

So Far This Year

Total Pages Read 14178
Fiction 18
Non-Fiction 6
Mystery (All Genres) 37
New Authors 35
Audio 10
Young Adult 1

Total Books Read 62

I really thought that I had read more than this.