Jul 31, 2009

Verification fixed on comments.

It seems that people were having a problem with commenting. I fixed it! I'm actually so proud of myself, I'm really not that savvy when it comes to computers, and all that kinda stuff. Also, please stop and pause to take in the font change. I had no idea where to begin with changing it. Going to Fonts, and Color was not helping. I had to actually change up the template. Have you seen the &*$$(*#$%() stuff that's in the template box. I just took a deep breath and starting deleting parts and adding parts, and for a while there my blog lost some color. LOL! But I did it, I did it (picturing myself in full Dora Costume)!

So please enjoy my comic sans, I think it has a little more pizzazz than the other people's comic sans, but than don't we all think are kids are extra cuter than other kids.

The cheese is calling me.
(its nacho night).


1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die Challenge

I recently was scouring over the 1001 Books You Should Read Before You Die list, and I was blown away by how many of those books I haven't read.

So, I've decided to start a challenge. The 1,001 Books Challenge is a way for me to incorporate one of these must-reads monthly into my reading.

Here are the rules:

Must read 1 book a month from the list.

Must rotates lists every month.
(For example, August I will take a book from the 2000's list, then following month choose a book from the 1800's.)

Pretty simple, huh?

You can find the list here.

Come and join me!

*************************************My 1001 books challenge reads.

August- The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time- Mark Haddon Review

September- Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter Thompson Review

October- The Shining- Stephen King Review

Review of Case Histories- Kate Atkinson

Case Histories- Kate Atkinson

The scene is set in Cambridge, with three case histories from the past: A young child who mysteriously disappeared from a tent in her back garden; An unidentified man in a yellow jumper who marched into an office and slashed a young girl through the throat; and a young woman found by the police sitting in her kitchen next to the body of her husband, an axe buried in his head.

Jackson Brodie, a private investigator and former police detective, is quietly contemplating life as a divorced father when he is flung into the midst of these resurrected old crimes. Julia and Amelia Land enlist Jackson’s help to find out the truth about their younger sister. They embroil him in the complexities of their own jealousies, obsessions and lust.

Another woman named Shirley needs Jackson to help find her lost niece. Jackson meets solicitor Theo Wyre whose daughter, Laura, was murdered in his office and is desperate for Jackson to help him lay Laura's ghost to rest.

As he starts his investigations Jackson has the sinister feeling that someone is following him. In digging into the past Jackson seems to have unwittingly threatened his own future. This wonderfully crafted, intricately plotted novel is heartbreaking, uplifting, full of suspense and often very funny.

Case Histories revolves around Jackson Brodie investigating three cold cases. One case about a missing young girl, another involves a wife murdering her husband, and the third is about a murder of a young women.
The mysteries are fused with Jackson's personal life which slowed down the pace considerably. I did like the characters. They were complex, flawed, and real. The mysteries weren't all that interesting to me, though. As the story goes along you basically figure it out. No surprises here, other than that it was a little boring. After hearing so many positive things about the book, I was expecting much more. I would probably catagorize this as more of a drama. It wasn't a disappointment, more like not what I expected, at all.

Rating- 3/5

Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Back Bay Books (October 17, 2005)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316010707

Jul 28, 2009

Two Book Giveaways

Giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog- Michelle De Kretser, thanks to Hatchette Book Group, and 1 copy of Prairie Tale- Melissa Gilbert

The blurb-
Tom Loxley, an Indian-Australian professor, is less concerned with finishing his book on Henry James than with finding his dog, who is lost in the Australian bush.

Joining his daily hunt is Nelly Zhang, an artist whose husband disappeared mysteriously years before Tom met her. Although Nelly helps him search for his beloved pet, Tom isn't sure if he should trust this new friend.

Tom has preoccupations other than his book and Nelly and his missing dog, mainly concerning his mother, who is suffering from the various indignities of old age. He is constantly drawn from the cerebral to the primitive--by his mother's infirmities, as well as by Nelly's attractions. THE LOST DOG makes brilliant use of the conventions of suspense and atmosphere while leading us to see anew the ever-present conflicts between our bodies and our minds, the present and the past, the primal and the civilized.

About the Author
- Michelle de Kretser

Michelle de Kretser was born in Sri Lanka and emigrated to Australia when she was fourteen. She was educated in Melbourne and Paris and has worked as an editor and a book reviewer.

The Hamilton Case, her second novel, received the Commonwealth Writers Prize (SE Asia and Pacific region), and the Society of Authors’ (U.K.) Encore Award for best second novel of the year. It was also first runner-up for Barnes & Noble’s Discover Award in Fiction, and a New York Times Notable Book.

The Lost Dog is her third novel. It was a finalist for the Commonwealth Writers Prize and received the 2008 Christina Stead Prize for fiction.


Prairie Tale- Melissa Gilbert

She was a natural on camera, but behind the scenes, life was more complicated. Adopted as a baby into a legendary show business family, Melissa wrestled with questions about her identity and struggled to maintain an image of perfection her mother created and enforced. Only after years of substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and made-for-television movies did she begin to figure out who she really was.

With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Half-pint" Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife, and mother. She partied with the Brat Pack, dated heartthrobs like Rob Lowe and bad boys like Billy Idol, and began a self-destructive pattern of addiction and codependence. Left in debt after her first marriage, and struggling to create some sense of stability, she eventually realized that her career on television had earned her popularity, admiration, and love from everyone but herself.

Through hard work, tenacity, sobriety, and the blessings of a solid marriage, Melissa has accepted her many different identities and learned to laugh, cry, and forgive in new ways. Women everywhere may have idolized her charming life on Little House on the Prairie, but Melissa's own unexpectedly honest, imperfect, and down-to-earth story is an inspiration.

To enter leave a comment with your email address, and please specify which book you are entering for or if you are entering for both.
No email address means you will not be entered.

Additional entries:

Become a follower- 2 entries

Subscribe to the blog- 4 entries

Blog about the giveaway(post the link to giveaway mention)- 5 entries

As a added bonus, every comment you post on the blog(on any of my blog post) until deadline will give you another entry.

Giveaway open to U.S. and Canada residents only.

No P.O. Boxes

Deadline to enter: August 20

Winners announced: August 22

Review of Notes From the Backseat- Jody Gehrman

Notes From the Backseat- Jody Gehrman

It's either Willa Cather or blondecide, I guess.

I thought I knew everything about Gwen Matson. We ve been best friends since sophomore year at Analy High. I know her to be smart and confident with a retro style that would give Jackie O. a run for her money. (Albeit a graceful, sweat-free run in kitten heels).

Not once did she ever display a rabid need to record every detail of her existence. But never before had she gone on a weekend road trip with her amazing boyfriend Coop...and his evil, yoga-toned best friend, Devil Blonde Dannika. Now she s writing to me like mad.

Not that I'm complaining. I m in gay Paree (good), meeting my future in-laws (bad), so her tireless scribbling is keeping us both sane.

Usually, a well thought-out What Would Jackie Do? helps Gwen pull it together. But this crisis is beyond help. I know Gwen and Coop are meant to be, but can their love withstand Gwen's psycho jealously and Dannika's twisted sabotage?

And what do you do when you re just watching it all unfold from the backseat, over 3,000 miles away?

Marla has been best friends with Gwen since high school. While Marla goes to Paris to meet her fiance's parents, Gwen is about to go on a road trip with her boyfriend, Coop, and his blond, busty, yoga guru best friend, Dannica. Marla stumbles on a journal and knows she should buy it. She gives it to Gwen before she leaves so Gwen can vent on paper, especially since she knows Gwen has a jealously streak. After that the story is told by Gwen through her letters to Marla.

Jody Gehrman is one of those writers that is a hit or miss with me. Notes from the Backseat was a hit. Gwen was fun, quirky character with a flair for fashion. A lot of what Gwen was feeling was real. Character development in the book was strong. I found someone to root for, and someone to dislike. I was totally involved in the story. The story was predictable, but in this case an ending any other way and I would have hurled the book across the room. The California Coast was described so thoroughly and beautifully, I now what to see it myself. The Story was fun, with a little bit of seriousness involved. "We are not our parents" seriousness. Final word, I loved it, and I will definitely be lending this one out to some friends.

Paperback: 296 pages
Publisher: Red Dress Ink (January 1, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373895488

That Song Reminds Me of.....

Have you ever heard a song and thought "WOW! That totally reminds me of that one book". Well, I have. Here's one...

The Song: Teenage Lobotomy- The Ramones

Lobotomy, lobotomy, lobotomy, lobotomy!
DDT did a job on me
Now I am a real sickie
Guess I'll have to break the news
That I got no mind to lose
All the girls are in love with me
I'm a teenage lobotomy

Slugs and snails are after me
DDT keeps me happy
Now I guess I'll have to tell 'em
That I got no cerebellum
Gonna get my Ph.D.
I'm a teenage lobotomy


The Books: Airhead and Being Nikki- Meg Cabot

Airhead- Emerson Watts, 16 and female, loves playing video games, hanging out with her best friend, Christopher, and has made peace with her less-than-supermodel-esque looks. But when she's involved in a mysterious accident, she wakes up to find she's now in the body of...a supermodel. Who was behind this switch? What was the motive? And how can she get Christopher to realize she's still the same person inside?

Being Nikki
- Things aren't pretty for Emerson Watts.

Em was sure there couldn't be anything worse than being a brainiac the body of a teenaged supermodel.

But it turned out she was wrong. Because that supermodel could turn out to have a mother who's gone mysteriously missing, a brother who's shown up on her doorstep demanding answers, a former best friend who's intent on destroying Stark Enterprises to avenge the death of his lost love, and a British heartthrob who's written a song about her that's topping the charts.

How can Em balance all that with school, runway shows, and weekend jaunts to St. John's - especially when she's got ex-boyfriends crawling out of the woodwork who want more than just a photo op; a sister who is headed to the high school cheerleading championships; a company she represents that seems to be turning to the dark side...

Not to mention trying to convince the love of her life that models aren't really airheads after all... especially one model in particular. But then, nobody said it was going to be easy being Nikki.


Jul 26, 2009

Review of The Elephant Keeper- Christopher Nicholson

Thanks to Harpercollins for sending me the ARC.

The Elephant Keeper- Christopher Nicholson

I asked the sailor what an Elephant looked like; he replied that it was like nothing on earth. In the middle of the 18th century, a ship docks at Bristol with an extraordinary cargo: two young elephants. Bought by a wealthy landowner, they are taken to his estate in the English countryside. A stable boy, Tom Page, is given the task of caring for them. The Elephant Keeper is Tom's account of his life with the elephants. As the years pass, and as they journey across England, his relationship with the female elephant deepens in a startling manner. Along the way they meet incredulity, distrust and tragedy, and it is only their understanding of each other that keeps them together.

The Elephant Keeper set in the 18th century is about a caretaker and his relationship with two elephants Timothy and Jenny. It's about the bond between them, the training, and the keeping. The devotion to Timothy and Jenny is charming, and engaging. From the very beginning Tom is a very likable character, though as the story progresses you begin to wonder if Tom has lost his marbles. The story gets wierd and loses momentum half way through. The "conversations" between Tom and the elephant were ridiculous, but if the author was trying to convey a love between them, well, he certainly did that. The writing was consistant with the time period. At times the story felt disjointed, but it wasn't so much so that you could get lost. Final word, The Elephant Keeper wasn't a hit, but it wasn't a miss either. I would give the author another try.

Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (August 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061651605

The Elephant Keeper released August 4th.

Jul 24, 2009

Review of Prairie Tale: A Memoir - Melissa Gilbert

Prairie Tale: A Memoir- Melissa Gilbert

To fans of the hugely successful television series Little House on the Prairie, Melissa Gilbert grew up in a fantasy world with a larger-than-life father, friends and family she could count on, and plenty of animals to play with. Children across the country dreamed of the Ingalls' idyllic life -- and so did Melissa.

She was a natural on camera, but behind the scenes, life was more complicated. Adopted as a baby into a legendary show business family, Melissa wrestled with questions about her identity and struggled to maintain an image of perfection her mother created and enforced. Only after years of substance abuse, dysfunctional relationships, and made-for-television movies did she begin to figure out who she really was.

With candor and humor, the cherished actress traces her complicated journey from buck-toothed Laura "Half-pint" Ingalls to Hollywood starlet, wife, and mother. She partied with the Brat Pack, dated heartthrobs like Rob Lowe and bad boys like Billy Idol, and began a self-destructive pattern of addiction and codependence. Left in debt after her first marriage, and struggling to create some sense of stability, she eventually realized that her career on television had earned her popularity, admiration, and love from everyone but herself.

Melissa Gilbert was America's Sweetheart back in the 70's and early 80's. In her memoir Prairie Tale she swrites about her adoption, Little House on the Prairie, her relationship with Rob Lowe and her battle with drinking.
I've always been a fan of Little House , naturally I couldn't wait to get my hands on this book. The book was very engaging, and read it in one day. For someone who reads tabloids cover to cover(I know, i'm ashamed) this book was great. She's very open about her time on Little Prairie giving a vast amount of info on her co-stars and what it was like on set. The most interesting part of the memoir for me was about her relationship with Rob Lowe. I've always been fascinated with The Brat Pack, and there's a good amount about them in the book. Did you know she auditioned for the part of Debbie in About Last Night? Luckily it went to Demi Moore, cause I just can't see her in that role.
The writing was straightforward and easy. It didn't seem like she was trying so hard, she just told her story. Memoirs are usually hard to follow because they can be disjointed, going back and forward in time but not with Praire Tale. The last couple of chapters were boring, but then again reading about someone being a mess is much more entertaining. Is that wrong to say? Melissa Gilbert also name dropped quite a bit in the book. It got annoying some, but it is about Hollywood so what can you do? I would definitely recommend it especially if you were a fan of Little House, or Rob Lowe.


Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment (June 9, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416599142

Review of Almost Single- Advaita Kala

Almost Single- Advaita Kala

My name is Aisha Bhatia, I am twenty-nine years old and single. I work as a Guest Relations Manager at the Grand Orchid Hotel. I dine at luxury hotels and stay in five-stars during my travels; I can name old and new world wines with great √©lan, and can tell my cheeses apart.I tolerate my job, hate my boss, and bond big-time with my friends, while routinely suffering from umbilical cord whiplash. I don’t really care for my vital stats at the moment, and I don’t have a cute/funny nickname either. Hence this introduction: it stinks, but it sticks. In fact, sometimes I think there should be support groups like the AA out there for people like me…’

Aisha Bhatia is not getting any younger, and all her and her friends want is a guy. While working as a Guest Relations Manager in a upscale hotel, she bumps into a gorgeous guy, and quickly falls for him. Is he out of her league? Does he like her? Along with her best girl friends, and her fun loving gay friends who are a couple hilarity ensues.
Dubbed as the Bridget Jones of India I had to read Almost Single. I love Bridget Jones! To start off with the good, this book was funny. I laughed quite a bit. Sometimes it felt the funniness in Almost Single seemed forced, but still I did laugh quite a bit. Example, the story starts with Aisha and her gal pals toilet papering a car. There was also a interesting part when the girls participate in a Indian tradition that was a total plus.
Now for what I didn't like about Almost Single. First, the setting could have taken a bigger part of this book. I would have loved to be able to picture India, but the setting description was lacking, seriously. The author barely skimmed the surface with the characters. They were caricatures, there was no insight to them.
Very funny, but predictable. Almost Single could have been way better.


Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bantam Discovery (February 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553386107

Jul 22, 2009

The Double Bind- Chris Bohjalian

The Double Bind- Chris Bohjalian

When college sophomore Laurel Estabrook is attacked while riding her bicycle through Vermont’s back roads, her life is forever changed. Formerly outgoing, Laurel withdraws into her photography and begins to work at a homeless shelter. There she meets Bobbie Crocker, a man with a history of mental illness and a box of photographs that he won’t let anyone see. When Bobbie dies suddenly, Laurel discovers that he was telling the truth: before he was homeless, Bobbie Crocker was a successful photographer who had indeed worked with such legends as Chuck Berry, Robert Frost, and Eartha Kitt.

As Laurel’s fascination with Bobbie’s former life begins to merge into obsession, she becomes convinced that some of his photographs reveal a deeply hidden, dark family secret. Her search for the truth will lead her further from her old life—and into a cat-and-mouse game with pursuers who claim they want to save her.

In this spellbinding literary thriller, rich with complex and compelling characters—including Jay Gatsby and Daisy Buchanan—Chris Bohjalian takes readers on his most intriguing, most haunting, and most unforgettable journey yet.

As well known of an author Chris Bohjalian is I've never read one of his books. I have a couple of them on my shelves that are waiting to be read though, and that puts a smile on my face. Why? Well, because I absolutely loved The Double Bind. For some reason I wasn't surprised by how well the story was. There had to be a reason why he has written so many books.
There are a couple of reasons why this book is now a favorite of mine. I really enjoyed how he incorporated one of my favorite books The Great Gatsby in the story. In fact, he made it almost the center of the story....well a huge part of it at least. Bringing in this element, he was able to move the plot along smoothly and timely. I'm not one that likes a book filled with fillers, and the writing was great in that I found there wasn't any. Everything written in the book served a purpose. The mystery aspect was a page turner, and the ending brilliant. The characters were also solid, and believable.
I won't go into what the story was about because the synopsis above tells all you need to know, and I don't think I can dive into the story without giving away to much information.
Looking forward to reading more of his work. I would definitely recommend this book. Enjoy it!

Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books; 1ST edition (February 13, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1400047463
ISBN-13: 978-1400047468

TBR Update

Updating the progress on my TBR challenge. Out of the 5 books I had last week to read I only managed to read 3. I will be moving up the 2 left to this week and will add 3 more books to complete the 5 books. Let's hope I can complete all 5 this week.

This weeks books:

Prairie Tales- Melissa Gilbert

I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You- Ally Carter

The Lace Reader- Brunonia Barry

Notes From The Backseat- Jody Gehrman

Restless Virgins- Abigail Jones, Marissa Miley

Jul 11, 2009

Ever Rising TBR Count

Right now I have 350+ books in my TBR and it's rising. I just went to my local bookstore today and bought 5 more books. Why? Honestly, why do I need more books? Obviously I'm not going to run out. I have a WL of 153 books right now on PBS (paperbackswap.com), and I've decided i'm only going to order those and that's it. No more buying books period. I've said this numerous times before, but never actually did it. This time I'm keeping my word. I've already closed my bookmooch account so that's a good start.

Every week on Sunday I'll list a total of 5 books that I must try to finish. I will mark off as I go, and if any books are left from that week I will move them up to the following week. Let's see if I can get that TBR down...for good.

Book list for this week.

1. The Double Bind- Chris Bohjalian
2. Case Histories- Kate Atkinson
3. I'd Tell You I Love You, But Then I'd Have To Kill You- Ally Carter
4. Prairie Tale- Melissa Gilbert
5. Almost Single- Advaita Kala

Jul 1, 2009

Jen Lancaster

I just read back to back Jen Lancaster. Started with Bitter is the New Black, then jumped to Pretty in Plaid. I feel like I'm one of the last women to read a Jen Lancaster book. I have been hearing alot of good stuff about her, and I couldn't understand what I was waiting for. All four books have been sitting in my TBR just calling me everytime I went looking for a new book to grab, but I would always decide not to grab it, I think because of all the hype I didn't want to be disappointed.

Welllll......I loved them. The two I've read so far were really good. I totally get Mrs. Lancaster. Bitter is the New Black was funny, witty, and I agreed with a lot of what Jen Lancaster said. Does that make me a egomanical, self-centered smart-ass?
BUT my favorite out of the two was Pretty in Plaid. Only because I can relate, I also remember important dates by what I was wearing at the time. Like for instance first date with husband, short black dress with a zipper that went all the way down to the end in the front with black knee high boots (circa 1996). If someone would have pulled down the zipper I would have exposed my matching tiger print Joe Boxer underwear and bra. Pretty in Plaid was a riot, I loved the story about the sorioty girl who had a lewie(LOL!), with the initials LV all over it, and those werent even her initials.

If you haven't read them(which i'm pretty sure most have), go out and get a copy.