Showing posts from February, 2011

Sweet Caroline by Lissa Matthews

[Full disclosure: This is something I borrowed through, formerly Kindle Lending Club, so read for free.]

Sweet Caroline by Lissa Matthews (2010) is the first in the Blue Jeans and Hard Hats series--and probably the last for this reader to explore.

After twenty years of living the swinger lifestyle with her now-ex-husband, Caroline finally decides to assert her independence and move ahead with the life she wants to live. Part of her life change involves getting her marital home ready to sell, and that brings an opportunity to Buck, a contractor who is willing to pretend to be "only" a handyman in order to spend time with Caroline.

Maybe I'm projecting too much "real life" into a fictional book, but I could have used a stronger Caroline. She rushed into a sexual relationship, one where she's the submissive yet again, really soon after being divorced from a controlling, creepy older husband. Yes, Buck's a much nicer guy than her ex-husband,…

Muffin & Allie

Poor Allie. Someone needs to remind her that she's a big, bad Rottweiler, and she doesn't have to let a little dog rule the roost.

Yep, there's Shih tzu Muffin (a) sitting on Allie and (b) imitating Allie's favorite pose while sitting on her chair.

The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard

We read The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard (2010) as the first selection for the book club I started at the hospital where I work. (We're up to thirteen members in the e-mail book club now, and just getting started on our second book. I'm so excited!!)

One beautiful summer afternoon, Jody Linder receives shocking news: The man convicted of murdering her father is being released from prison and returning to the small town of Rose, Kansas. It has been twenty-three years since that stormy night when her father was shot and killed and her mother disappeared, presumed dead. Neither the protective embrace of Jody’s three uncles nor the safe haven of her grandparents’ ranch could erase the pain caused by Billy Crosby on that catastrophic night.

Now Billy Crosby is free, thanks to the efforts of his son, Collin, a lawyer who has spent most of his life trying to prove his father’s innocence. Despite their long history of carefully avoiding each other in such an i…

Happy Birthday to Me!

I'm turning 41 today. My plans? Doing as little as possible, including taking a vacation day from work, and expecting a nice dinner out with Maya and friends this evening.

Hope you're having a great day, too!

What I've Been Re-reading

Here are some of the book I've been re-reading lately:

The Fifth Son by Elie Wiesel (One of my all-time favorite books.)

The Other Side of the Door by Nicci French (I think the older books from the husband-and-wife duo are better than the newer ones. My favorite from them is Killing Me Softly.)

Kiss and Tell by Cherry Adair

Rock Me
by Cherrie Lynn (Really enjoyed this one enough to almost want a tattooed guy of my own.)

Unleashed by Cherrie Lynn (Not quite as good as Rock Me.)

Girl Meets Girl by Susan X Meagher (It's amazing how not different female/female love relationships are from female/male ones, at least based on this collection of short stories.)

North and South by Elizabeth Gaskell (I can see why all the Pride & Prejudice fans also appreciate this one.)

What have you been reading?

Puppy Eye Candy

Maya and Charlie, the new love of Maya's life.

My best friend and her daughter brought home Charlie, an eight-week-old Catahoula leopard dog, from our local Humane Society on Friday evening. Maya's first comment, after telling me the time, when she wakened on Saturday, "When can we go see the puppy?"

Isn't he adorable??

This and That

It's official--Borders just filed for bankruptcy.

I've been busy with some re-reading lately, so not a lot to blog about in terms of books at the moment.

Maya and I enjoyed the special Valentine's Day story and craft time at one of our local Barnes & Noble locations on Saturday morning. We listened to three picture books before Maya learned how to make a cute bee valentine from construction paper and an empty toilet paper roll.

I'm also finally getting Maya started more on reading chapter books, so we bought enough books to double her in-home collection. She prefers the picture books still because we can get through multiple books in a short time. We usually only read two or three chapters in one sitting.

What have you been doing lately?

Valentine's Day

"Infatuation is when you think he's as sexy as Robert Redford, as smart as Henry Kissinger, as noble as Ralph Nader, as funny as Woody Allen, and as athletic as Jimmy Conners. Love is when you realize that he's as sexy as Woody Allen, as smart as Jimmy Connors, as funny as Ralph Nader, as athletic as Henry Kissinger and nothing like Robert Redford - but you'll take him anyway." ~Judith Viorst, Redbook, 1975

"Who, being loved, is poor?" ~Oscar Wilde

"Passion makes the world go round. Love just makes it a safer place." ~Ice T, The Ice Opinion

"You know you're in love when you don't want to fall asleep because reality is finally better than your dreams." ~Dr. Seuss

"Whatever our souls are made of, his and mine are the same." ~Emily Brontë

"I am good, but not an angel. I do sin, but I am not the devil. I am just a small girl in a big world trying to find someone to love." ~Marilyn Monroe

"Love takes hos…


Doing a little happy dance because the first episode of season two of Justified, based on novels and a short story by Elmore Leonard, aired on Wednesday night.

I love Timothy Olyphant as main character U.S. Marshal Raylan Givens. Frankly, about the only casting choice I'm not too excited about is Natalie Zea as the ex-wife. I can't quite see why they're so attached to each other, especially since she seems so cold.

You can visit the show's site here to learn more. Just be careful with reading the blog there because they recap episodes.

Lord of Pleasure by Delilah Marvelle

[Full disclosure--I borrowed this book through Kindle Lending Club, so this is something I read for free.]

Lord of Pleasure (2009) is an entry from Delilah Marvelle's School of Gallantry series.

Lady Charlotte Chartwell, widowed when one of her husband's many mistresses killed him, needs money desperately. Her parents are dead, and her husband left her nothing in his estate. Despite being legally entitled to one-third of his estate, she isn't seeing much in the way of resolution by working through the system.

So what does she do? Proposition the first handsome man she finds, of course, while riding in a hired coach.

Alexander, aka the Earl of Hawksford, acts honorably when propositioned by a gentlewoman he doesn't believe is truly a widow. Despite a rather wild past, he (a) never paid for his pleasures and (b) wants to serve as a good role model for his young sisters since they became his responsibility on their father's death.

Imagine the surprise in store for both…

Popular Books Disliked Personally

The great point about books and reading is there is definitely something for everyone, and individual taste, viewpoint, and life experience bring a lot to the reader's interaction with an author's work.

Still, there happen to be a few books that turn into publishing phenomenons, even in this day with a seemingly-limitless number of reading choices available.

Are there any popular books or series in a genre you normally enjoy reading that you just didn't like personally?

Here's a short list that comes to mind for me:

1--The Outlander Series by Diana Gabaldon. My best friend, along with seemingly 98% of the rest of romance readers, loves this series. On the surface, this is something I should also enjoy--time travel, nice chemistry between the hero and heroine, and a sweeping saga.

I did enjoy the first book well enough. Then the second book has a (something like) 20-year jump from the first book. Um, no, thank you, anyway, despite my friend's efforts to rationaliz…

Muffin--January 2011

"I know this stuffed cat belonged to Maya, but it's mine now!!"

Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning

Beyond the Highland Mist (1999) is the first book in Karen Marie Moning's Highlander Series.

A fairy bent on revenge against sixteenth-century Highlander hero Hawk sends twentieth-century American Adrienne de Simone through time to become Hawk's wife. Since every woman falls at Hawk's feet, and Adrienne disdains handsome men after a bad personal experience, seems like a definite recipe for true love to develop.

If you're looking for a comfortable, fun romance novel involving time travel and fairies, without any real twists or surprises, this book won't disappoint.

[As an aside, what is it with Scotland for being *the* setting of choice for time travel historical romances??]

My overall rating of Beyond the Highland Mist is a B-.

The Journey by Ida Fink

The Journey by Ida Fink, translated by Joanna Weschler and Francine Prose,(Polish edition in 1990, English edition in 1992) is riveting.

Two Jewish Polish sisters survive the Holocaust through good luck, the help of strangers and friends, and having the quick wits to make decisions in tight situations, including reinventing themselves and going through three name changes. Throughout this life-changing journey, they stay together, knowing they will live or die as one.

Although written as fiction, I can't believe Fink didn't base this work on her own experiences during the Holocaust and from what she learned while recording other survivors' testimonies for Yad Vashem.

My overall personal rating of The Journey is a B+.


Time for more guilt-free shopping.

According to the BeadforLife site:

BeadforLife eradicates extreme poverty by creating bridges of understanding between impoverished Africans and concerned world citizens. Ugandan women turn colorful recycled paper into beautiful beads. Women in Northern Uganda gather shea nuts and press them into shea butter for cosmetics and soaps. And people who care open their hearts,homes and communities to buy and sell both products.

The beads and shea butter become income, food, medicine, school fees and hope. It is a small miracle that enriches us all.

Besides the peppermint lip balm and the beads and jewelry, they have notecards. If you're in the "snow zone," what better time to buy some fun jewelry and cards for writing friends and family? Who doesn't like a notecard in the mail from someone special?

[Site originally found through the I Heart Daily e-mail newsletter.]