Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: "A Girl's Best Friend" by: Kristin Billerbeck

Title: A Girl's Best Friend
Author: Kristin Billerbeck
Pages: 318
Personal Rating: 4/5
Number read this year:9
Total Pages read this year:2,596

Fromt he back cover:From the outside, Morgan Malliard has it all: diamonds at her disposal, a willowy figure, a doting daddy, and allt he elegance that money can buy. But money can't buy happiness- or an identity to call her own- and morgan is realizing her perfect life has no purpose other than spectacular grooming (which isn't really a purpose at all unless you're a chimpanzee.) Then a falling-out with her father drop kicks Morgan into the real world, and she is suddenly forced to get an actual job, wear affordable shoes and cope with public transportation- not to mention deal with that mysterious hottie who may or may not be stalking her!
It's time for a spa get away with her best gals, Lilly, and Poppy, because there's just something about lying under a pile of sweet smelling papuya plaster that can help a girl figure things out. Like the fact that life isn't about living up to a perfect ideal, and that with God's grace, the beauty of it may just be int he flaws after all...

Personal Thoughts and review: I enjoy Kristin Billerbeck. Her style is similar to that of Janet evanovich. Somewhat snarky humor is used to spin her tales. This is the sixth book of hers I've read, and hers are always a treat, laced with Chirstian principle undertones, "A Girls Best Friend" is a nice summer read.

Thursday, January 14, 2010

Book Review: "My Sunshine" By: Catherine Anderson

Title: My Sunshine
Author: Catherine Anderson
Pages: 421
Personal Rating: 4/5
Number Read this Year:7
Total Pages read This year:1813

From the Back Cover: When Isaiah first hired laura, he wasn't expecting her to be such a breath of fresh air. Impressed by her healing touch-and captivated by her dazzling beauty-Isaiah finds himself falling in love. And he'll move heaven and earth to convince Laura that she's the woman he needs...the only one who can bring joy to all his days.

Personal Thought and Review: This was a run of the mill grocery store paperback. I picked it up at Sam's Club for a mere 4.88, the low price being my main reason for picking it up. I used to really enjoy mass paperback romances, but recently have not invested so much money or time into them. While this was a light, easy read, I didn't come away from it feeling as though I had gleaned anything useful from it, although it was fun brain candy.

I gave it a 4 out of 5 stars because I felt the story was well written, and the storyline was well filled out, and easy to follow, however i felt that some of the character development was lacking. This is an enjoyable read if you enjoy a good romance, with a little mystery thrown in for good measure.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Book Review: Gracelin O'Malley By: Ann Moore

Title: Gracelin O'Malley
Author:Ann Moore
Pages: 398
Personal Rating:5/5
Number read this year:6
total pages read this year:1,392

From the back cover: Life has not been easy for Gracelin O'malley. only fifteen when she married the local English landlord to save her family from financial ruin,she has tried her best to be a dutiful wife, providing him with an heir. Despite her husband's escalating cruelty, Gracelin's spirit remains unbroken, though she is no longer the innocent country girl she once was. As famine devastates the land, she openly defies him by feeding the desparate souls who come to her door. As political unrest sweeps across the countryside, she harbors Irish rebels-her own brilliant brother among them-keeping them hidden, as well, the deepest secret of her heart. And as a disaster threatens those she loves most, Grace fights to keep them alive, her profound courage inspiring everyone around her.

My persoanl thoughts: This book really brought the Irish potato famines to life for me. I was able to see the suffering of those poor Irish farmers, as they lost their homes and lives at the hands of ruthless, wealthy English landlords, who only cared about getting paid, leaving the poor in ditches, dying of hunger and yellow fever.

This was a hard read for me, emotionally, because while I was reading, I kept reminding myself that while this particular story and the characters within were fictional, the events were based on something that really happened. People DID starve and suffer in this tragic way, and that reality was heartbreaking.

I have the sequel to this one, Leaving Ireland,and am looking forward to reading it later this year, I have some challenges I need to read for and library books as well to finish first though.

I rated this a solid 5 out of 5 for solid plot, history research,and the ability to yank at my hearstrings. I would reccomend this one to anyone, but especially those with Irish background who care to learn more about their heritage and background. Amazing book! A job well done, Ann Moore!

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: "Foul Play" By: Janet Evanovich

Title: Foul play
Author: Janet Evanovich
Pages: Audio
Personal Rating: 4/5
Number Read this Year:5
Total Pages read This year:994

From the back cover:When Amy Klasse loses her T.V. job to a dancing chicken, handsome vetrinarian, Jake Elliott rescues her with an offer to be his receptionist. Jake just can't resist a damsel in distress, and Amy certainly doesn't mind Jake's charming sincerity.

Then the job-stealing chicken suddenly disappears and Amy is suspected of foul play. Amy and Jakesearch for clues to p;rve her innocence. But will Jake be able to show Amy that love, too, is a mystery worth solving?

This is a funny, quick typlical Evanovich read. I enjoyed it, had some laughs, but not much else was gleaned from this one. But if you enjoy Janet Evanovich, I'm sure you will enjoy this one!

Friday, January 8, 2010

Book Review: "The Inheritance" by Louisa May Alcott

Title: The Inheritance
Author: Louisa May Alcott
Pages: 177
Personal Rating: 4/5
Number Read this Year:4
Total Pages read This year:992

From the front Flap of Cover: Set in an English country Manor, the story follows the turbulant fortunes of Edith Adelon, an impoverished Italian orphan whose loyalty and beauty win her the patronage of wealthy friends until a jealous rival contrives to rob her of her position. In the locket around her neck, she carried a deep secret about her natural birthright. But an even greater truth lies hidden in Edith's heart- her deep reverance for the kind, and noble Lord Percy, the only friend who can save her fromt he decietful, envious machinations of Lady Ida.

Personal thoughts and review:
This was Louisa May Alcott's (Author of Little Women)very FIRST book, it was found at Harvard University, with the words "My First Novel written at seventeen- High St.Boston" on a piece of paper that was pasted on the inside of a notebook. This piece of work, the very first book written by Alcott, was found in the Houghton Library, by the writers of "The Selcted Letters of Louisa May Alcott", as they commenced research for their book. This was in 1988. And 9 years later "The Inheritance" was published.

While this book was short of length, the knowledge that it is the first novel written by such an acclaimed author, makes it so special.

I enjoyed it very much. I only gave it a 4/5, for it's length, and sometimes it feels as though it is filled with holes, the plot and character development is thin. However, the thought that it is her very first book written at the ripe young age of 17 is amazing!! I can't imagine the excitement of those who were standing in the rare manuscript library at a prestigous college, looking for letters to fulfill material for one work, and stumbling across something as great as an entire novel that was never published, not only just an entire novel, but her VERY first one, written before she was ever publsihed. Amazing!!

Thursday, January 7, 2010

Book Review: "Then Came Heaven" By LaVyrle Spencer

Title: Then Came Heaven
Author: LaVyrle Spencer
Pages: Audio
Personal Rating: 4/5
Number Read this Year:3
Total Pages read This year:815

From the Cover: As time passes, Sister Regina and Eddie Olczak come to realize that something has blossomed between them that transcends their love of Krystyna (Eddie's Deceased wife) and Eddie's daughters. Thrilled and secretly frightened, they both summon the courage to look within their hearts and make their own choices.

Personal thoughts: This is a good heart wrenching story about loss of a loved one, and learning to move on and about sacrifices that sometimes must be made in order to have true love.

Library Loot

Today I went to the library as if I need any books!! lol...This was what I got:

1) The Inheritance by Louisa May Alcott
2) Water Dancers By:Terry Gamb
3) Catch-22 by:Joseph Heller
4) Little Women By:Louisa May Alcott
5) The Little Giant of Aberdeen County By: Tiffany Baker

1) Foul Play by JAnet Evanovich
2) Moral Disorder By Margaret Atwood

1) The Restoration By:Douglas Liversidge

I posted a photo because I love the way a stack of books look. =) I know, I'm weird!

I also traded in my 11 trade ins for 11 others, some I will probably keep, like "The Diary of Anne Frank", and Ken Follets "The Pillars of The Earth", and some I will probably trade in again.

I was also bad and ordered 5 new ones from paperbackswap. 4 books, and 1 audio book.

Yesterday I finished reading "The Other Queen" by Philippa Gregory, today I finished "Then Came Heaven" By: LaVyrle Spencer. I listened to Then came Heaven while I worked on my Cross Stitch this week. I love that I can combine my love of reading with my love of Cross stitch, I can do them (sorta) at the same time!

So, I have two reviews to write sometime very soon! =) Off to dive into this stack of books!

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Book Review: "The Other Queen" by Philippa Gregory

Title: The Other Queen
Author: Philippa Gregory
Pages: 433
Personal Rating: 5/5
Number Read this Year:2
Total Pages read This year:815

From the Back Cover: This Dazzling novel from bestselling Philippa Gregory presents a new and unique view of one of history's most intriguing, romantic and maddening heroines. Mary, Queen of Scots, trusts Queen Elizabeth's Promise of Sanctuary when she flees from rebels in scotland and then finds herself imprisoned as the "guest" of George talbot, Earl of Shrewsbury, and his indomitable wife, Bess of Hardwick. The Newly married couple welcomes the doomed queen into their home, certain that serving her hosts and jailers will bring them an advantage in the cutthroat world of the Eliabethan court. To their horro, they find that the task will bankrupt them, and as their home becomes the epicenter of intrigue and rebellion against elizabeth, their loyalty to each other and to their sovereign comes into question. If Mary succeeds in seducing the earl into her own web of treachery and treason, or if the great spymaster William Cecil links them to the growing conspiracy to free Mary from her illegal imprisonment, they will all face the headsman.

Since I've read "The Othe Boleyn Girl", I have been wanting to read another book by Gregory. She makes the Elizabethan court and all that it entails so alive. I felt as though I was right there with the characters.

This book was written from first person point of view by Bess, George and Queen Mary, each chapter written by another character, so youare getting three view points of the story. The story of Bess who hold a grudge as she watches her holdings and everything she has worked for slip away while carrying to the every need of Queen Mary. You read the thoughts of George as he slowly slips into enchantment of the beautiful Queen he has been made a jailer of, all the while trying to remain faithful to his own Queen, Elizabeth. And you read the thoughts of the treasonous traitor, Mary, Queen of Scots. You start to take sides as you see the story unfold, and you feel what the characters feel.

Gregory writes with amazing character development, to the point where you make friends, or enemies of her characters.

I enjoyed this book very much, and gave it 5 out of 5 stars. I will later this year, be reading "The White Queen" by this author, and I am much looking forward to it.

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Book Review: "Dracula" By: Bram Stoker

Title: Dracula
Author: Bram Stoker
Pages: 382
Personal rating: 5/5
Number Read this Year: 1
Pages Read for the year: 382

From the Back of the Book: Count Dracula sleeps in a lordly tomb in the vaults beneth his desolate castle. His stony eyes are open. His cheeks have the flush of life beneath their pallor. On his lips- a mocking,sensuous smile and scarlet fresh blood. He has been dead for centuries, yet he may never die....Here begins the story of those who feed a diabolic craving into the veins of their victims, into the men and women from whose blood they draw their only sustenance. It is a novel of peculiar power, of hypnotic fascination. The reader is warned that he who enters Castle Dracula may not escape it's baleful spell, even when he closes this book.

This book was as great as I thought it would be from the beginning. As of late I have been wondering about the whole Vampire thing, since the uproar for the Twilight Series by Stephanie Meyer. I sorta wanted to see how they compared and contrasted. I wanted to see how her version held up to one of the originals.

Which brings me to something I learned while doing my research. I had always thought that Count Dracula was THE original Vampire. The first. However, that isn't true at all. There were THREE written before Bram stoker's Dracula: The Vampyre By John Polidori,Varney the Vampyre by thomas Preskett, and Carmilla Written by Sheridan LeFanu.

Learning this fact, I am all a-search for these first novels, so I can do more research. I don't know if they are still in print, or not, but I would really like to read them,and get some more background to the original gothic character of the vampire.

I gave this wonderful gothic tale a 5/5. It was a quick, easy read, as far as classics go, and the storyline kept me intrigued...I was forever wondering who would die next? WHEN the heck were they gonna die? And would they ever catch this evasive bloodsucker? So, if you have not had enough of the Vampire craze, I wholeheartedly suggest this one, to wet that Vampire desire!!

First finish for 2010!!

I just finished Dracula tonight. I wanted to read it, since there is the whole Twilight/Vampire craze going on right now. I thought I'd go back and read the classical version!

I really enjoyed that book. I won't write too much here on what I think, as I will write a proper review tomorrow, or so.

I started "My Sunshine" By Catherine Anderson, now that I'm done with Dracula. It is what some of us refer to as brain candy. Something a little lighter, after reading a classic, gives the ole' grey matter sloshing about in my skull a little break.

Ok, off to bed!

Oh yeah tonight, Hubby and I saw "Avatar" in the theater...not bad. I give it 4/5 stars.

Some goals for 2010

I have once again decided to do the 75 book challenge with a group at goodreads.

2 of those books are gonna be Leo Tolstoy's Anna Karenina and War and Peace.

So I made a start on Anna Karenina On Friday! I figured out that if I only read 10 pages a day I can get them both read during the year, with no problem!

I want to continue to read more classics, and try to knock a few more off the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction off the list. I read three last year. I am also aiming to maybe make a dent in "Dr. Boxall's 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die" list as well.

So, pretty much trying to read 75 books this year is the big goal. I barely made it last year, as I finished #75 with 5 hours left to spare before the end of the year. I am hoping to actually finish early and see how many more than that I can get done.

We shall see how I do. I also have some pretty steep stitching goals to work on this year as well. So, we shall see how I do!!

Saturday, January 2, 2010

Spending The Christmas Money

For Christmas, my parents sent me some cash. And today I went out and bought a nice little pile of books. Except for one was a gift from my hubby.

Here's my haul:

They include:
1. The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes By: Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
2. The Secret Garden By: Frances Hodgson Burnett
3. Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters by: Jane Austen and Ben Winters
4. The House of Mirth By: Edith Wharton
5. The White Queen by: Philippa Gregory

They have all been on my wish list for awhile, and I was lucky to find them at the BX here. Usually they don't have many that I actually want, so I was pleasantly surprised. Especially since I had taken a bag full of 11 books that I wanted to trade at the paperback swap they have at the base library and the library wasn't opened...=( So I gotta wait until next week to do that. And of course on top of switching out those eleven for "new" ones, I will also peruse the stacks to see if I can find anything to check out also...hey! I'm a sucker for free books! Even if you do have to turn them back in! I guess you could say that is sort of one of my yearly goals. Is to make use of my library more often. I mean I have over 100 books that I already own that is on my TBR shelf here but I can make those last longer if I use the library!

I feel as though I have gone book Crazy!!!