Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 176 - The Laughing Corpse

The Laughing Corpse
Laurell K. Hamilton

Series or Stand Alone: Anita Blake, Vampire Hunter Series, book two

Synopsis: [from bn.com]

The novels of New York Times bestselling author Laurell K. Hamilton take readers into the dangerous life of Anita Blake, animator and vampire hunter—a woman as good at raising the dead as she is at slaying the undead. Now, a creature from beyond the grave is tearing a swath of murder through St. Louis. And Anita will learn that there are some secrets better left buried—and some people better off dead...

Review:

I had no idea how much I missed Hamilton's writing until I picked up The Laughing Corpse. Even though this was crazy different then Guilty Pleasures (reviewed here), I'm still head over heels in love with Anita!


Not a lot of vampire love and/or slaying in this installment. This one is all about, yep you guessed it, zombies! My first real zombie fix to be honest. Anita is helping the police with some very gruesome murders that have been happening lately. As if being horrifically killed wasn't enough for the poor victims, it seems they have been eaten too. Seems there is a killer zombie on the loose and Anita needs to find a way to put a stop to his rampage. She needs to find out who raised the zombie and why, but more importantly she needs to get to it before it gets to another victim!

I think what's so great about the series so far is that the bad guys are truly bad! No redeeming qualities whatsoever, so it's impossible not to hate them. Definitely makes it so much more enjoyable when they meet their not-so-pretty demise when their time is up.

I like the fact that the background supernatural world was delved into more. Instead of being told how things are in Anita's world, I learned about them around the same time she did. I also really enjoyed some background character developing on Anita herself. Hamilton does really well throwing in tidbits about Anita's affinity with the dead and how her abilities are an inherited talent.

And yes, Jean-Claude is in the story, so untwist your nervous hands if you were thinking he wasn't. However, his part in the book was more a sub-plot line. He's now the master vampire of St. Louis and is still heavily pursuing Anita. Apparently though, she's been given two of the four marks that will make her Jean-Claude's human servant. But do you really think Anita wants to be someone's servant, no matter how sexy the person may be?! I think not. Although, he does seem pretty yummy...I know I'd have a more difficult time saying no to the guy, but that's a different story.

Overall, I loved The Laughing Corpse. It was different: bloody and gory and full of a great writing style (IMHO) I already have book three, Circus of the Damned, waiting to be read in my room!

Saturday, May 30, 2009

Day 175 - The Five People You Meet in Heaven

The Five People You Meet in Heaven
Mitch Albom


Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from bn.com]

Eddie is a wounded war veteran, an old man who has lived, in his mind, an uninspired life. His job is fixing rides at a seaside amusement park. On his 83rd birthday, a tragic accident kills him as he tries to save a little girl from a falling cart. He awakes in the afterlife, where he learns that heaven is not a destination. It's a place where your life is explained to you by five people, some of whom you knew, others who may have been strangers. One by one, from childhood to soldier to old age, Eddie's five people revisit their connections to him on earth, illuminating the mysteries of his "meaningless" life, and revealing the haunting secret behind the eternal question: "Why was I here?"

Review:

I don't really know what I was expecting from this book. I was a little hesitant because I was afraid the book was going to have a preachy tone. I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed the book. And it was such a quick and easy read that packed a big emotional punch, a perfect combination. This was my first book by Mitch Albom and I've heard his first book, Tuesdays with Morrie, is good I think I might try his others ones first.

The story starts out at the end of Eddie's life. The head of maintenance isn't a terribly hard job, but it fills Eddie's days at Ruby Pier. After a freak accident with one of the amusement park rides on his 83rd birthday, Eddie dies and goes to Heaven. It is there he meets five people from his life that have somehow had an affect on him.

Each of the five people have something to teach Eddie - something that will help him better understand his life and what it means. This is where I feared the book would become preachy, but it didn't! I totally believed in the lessons and the characters that were chosen for Eddie's teachers. I eagerly kept turning pages to see who all five people were and what they would be teaching Eddie.

Over the course of the book, Albom provides flashbacks of Eddie's life. They are on subsequent birthdays that turn out to be pivotal moments in his life. It is here I learned what kind of person Eddie was while living and how he came to be the person I first met at the beginning of the story. Instead of being a cranky old man stereotype, Eddie became someone that was layered with different emotions and characteristics that quickly drew me to him.

I had a bunch of passages I wanted to share but I think I'll save them for you to discover. I will share one line that really is a lesson in itself, but won't ruin any part of the story.

"Life has to end," she said. "Love doesn't." (173)

I don't want to go into any of the other characters or any other part of the story because I really feel you should read it for yourself. It's a really quick read so I definitely recommend anyone who hasn't read this yet to pick it up. It's a sweet and yes, even life-teaching novel that I think a lot of people would enjoy.

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While searching for the book cover to put in this post I came across this picture and found out that there is a movie. I found the trailer for it here. Looks pretty good, I'll definitely have to get it on Netflix or something and check it out.







Thursday, May 28, 2009

Day 173 - Thursday Thunks [6]

Welcome to the May 28th version of Thursday Thunks!
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!


This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by THE THURSDAY THUNKERS!!!!!

These questions were submitted by Thursday Thunker participants! (so don't blame Kimber & Berleen for the quality of the questions.....)

...we are picking up where we left off last week, which explains why we are starting with #21 instead of #1. Great work on the questions submissions everyone! It gave Kimber & I a much needed mental break.We posted these questions just as they were listed on the participant's blog.



21. How many states have you been in?

While driving to Walt Disney World in Florida - 5.

22. If a sexist Man is called a pig, what is a sexist Woman called?

A bitch? I don't really use the word pig for dudes. I call the guy a douche and tack on the word sexist if I feel the need *shrugs*

23. You see the one person who you absolutely despise. If you were guarentee'd that he/she couldn't say or do anything back to you.... What would you do??

Lol, wow good question. A part of me wants to think of something really evil. Another part wants to just flip them off and walk away... decisions...decisions.

24. How many states are to the right of you? And don’t give us a map to look at.

What's with the state questions... I'm glad you said right though, because that would be zero! I'm on the east coast.

25. You can go anywhere in the world for free. Where are you?

Only because I'm lonely - Atlanta, GA to see my ex.

Any other day - The countryside of China. Always wanted to see it in person.

26. HOW MANY FINGERS AM I HOLDING UP?

Uhh, who cares?

27. Are you a boxing fan? Do you think there will be a rematch of the Hatton-Pacquiao fight?

No I'm not but I'm guessing you are and you want a rematch =)

28. What is the most disgusting thing you have ever eaten?

I'm sorta picky so I guess the food that had the most disgusting consistency I can think of at the moment was boiled okra...pretty nasty flavor too.

29. Is it cloudy right now?

Probably, it's dark.

30. What is your dream job?

Honestly? A rockstar...true story lol

31. Someone gives you a $500 gift card to WalMart or Target. What are you going to buy?

Honestly, again? Books and maybe a few other things lol and that's a BIG maybe

32. When you were little, what did you want to be "when you grow up"? And, how much different is your occupation now from where you thought it would be when you were younger?

I think I wanted to be a doctor. I'm a college student going for Accounting *blech* and I work at an Aquarium dealing with tickets and customer service *double blech*...I can't stand hospitals anymore, so I don't know which is worse lol

33. What was your favorite toy as a child?

It's sad that I can't remember. *sigh*

34. How do you think these things up??

What? My answers? Hmmm...

35. Why do you think so many "fake" veterans get away with pretending? Why don't people question them more (especially the media who eats up their stories?)

Uh, I guess I'm out of the loop on this one.

36. What is the last place you had a good cry and why?

I'm assuming you mean where...and it was in my bedroom. It wasn't necessarily "good", it was long, hard, and exhausting. And it was a break up, took me a while to get that cry out, so I guess it was healthy for me.

37. What do you mean?

Next question...

38. Which Sesame Street Character do you relate with the most and why?

I was never a big Sesame Street watcher. I liked the brown elephant thing for some reason though.

39. What one song would you listen to over and over if you absolutely had to?

This is like asking me to pick my favorite song and I just can't...so yep, next question.

40. Did you ever make what you believed at the time to be a horrible mistake - that in hindsight turned out to lead you on the best path in your life?

Not yet. All of my situations are usually reversed lol. I think it's great at the time but instead turns into the horrible mistake, go figure.

41. If you could change one thing on your person, what would it be?

Selfishly - my weight lol. I'm working on it though.

42. What’s your favorite show to watch on television nowadays?

Gotta go with House, I watch it the most.

43. Do you believe there is life after death?

I want to believe there is. Do I? I don't know.

Wednesday, May 27, 2009

Day 172 - Waiting on Wednesday [14]





from harpercollins.com:

The marriages of desire . . .
From the multitalented and versatile Gloria Vanderbilt comes a passionate, sensual, witty, and puzzling tale of erotic obsession, beauty, and revenge, told in tandem by two women obsessed with the same man—and, ultimately, with each other.


Talbot Bingham is a renowned architectural genius who, with his formidable wife, Priscilla, creates an architectural community. When he dies unexpectedly in the middle of their tenth wedding anniversary celebration, the devastated Priscilla is left keeper of the flame of Talbot's genius. Going through her husband's archives, she comes unexpectedly upon a pile of neatly tied letters, and the shocking secret of her husband's intimate life—a discovery that shatters the foundation of her soul and spirit.

Obsession explores the mysteries of the human heart and the nature of sexuality and obsession, provoking questions about whom we choose to love, and why. The reader is left to decide if the other woman represents another facet of Priscilla, or if Priscilla her-self has invented the other woman who completed the world her husband so recently inhabited?


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Reason: I've seen this twice now while hunting for a book to post today and I finally decided to read the blurb. I think what really grabbed my attention was the last sentence...the possibility that Priscilla could have made this "other woman" has really made me curious about the book. I'm definitely going to get myself a copy when I get the chance.


Cover Discussion: I'm not crazy about the cover. However, I can see where there might be a tie in to the novel. After I read it I'll be sure to re-analyze the cover.


Obsession: An Erotic Tale will be released June 23rd!


What are you waiting on this week?
To see more books that are being waited for click
here.

Day 172 - Wordless Wednesday [12]



Want more Worldess Wednesday photos? Click here.

Tuesday, May 26, 2009

Day 171 - Teaser Tuesday [12]

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:




-Grab your current read.
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!




"The tears were back, stinging just behind my eyes. There was blood all over my penguins. I didn't give a damn about the walls and carpet. They could be replaced, but I'd collected those damned stuffed toys over years." (141-142)



Monday, May 25, 2009

Day 170 - It's Monday

Photo credit : Moriza


It's Monday! What are you reading this week?, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog, is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.


Books Already Gobbled:
Remember the Sweet Things :: Ellen Greene
The Five People You Meet in Heaven :: Mitch Albom



Currently Gobbling Down:
The Laughing Corpse :: Laurell K. Hamilton
Gauntlet :: Richard Aaron


Sunday, May 24, 2009

Day 169 - Book Arrivals 10.0

Book Arrivals 10.0 is here already! I know I did my happy dance more than once this week =) As for my B&N shopping - I tried to get as many YA novels as I could (with the limited amount of funds at my disposal).I'll be continuing with the new format, complete with blurbs, let me know if it bugs anyone.



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From B&N:
Glass Houses :: Rachel Caine
Book one in the Morganville Vampires Series

From the author of the popular Weather Warden series comes the debut of an exciting new series set in Morganville, Texas, where you would be well advised to avoid being out after dark.
College freshman Claire Danvers has had enough of her nightmarish dorm situation. When Claire heads off-campus, the imposing old house where she finds a room may not be much better. Her new roommates don't show many signs of life, but they'll have Claire's back when the town's deepest secrets come crawling out, hungry for fresh blood.


Wicked Lovely :: Melissa Marr
Book one in the Wicked Lovely Series
Rule #3: Don't stare at invisible faeries.
Aislinn has always seen faeries. Powerful and dangerous, they walk hidden in mortal world. Aislinn fears their cruelty—especially if they learn of her Sight—and wishes she were as blind to their presence as other teens.
Rule #2: Don't speak to invisible faeries.
Now faeries are stalking her. One of them, Keenan, who is equal parts terrifying and alluring, is trying to talk to her, asking questions Aislinn is afraid to answer.
Rule #1: Don't ever attract their attention.
But it's too late. Keenan is the Summer King who has sought his queen for nine centuries. Without her, summer itself will perish. He is determined that Aislinn will become the Summer Queen at any cost—regardless of her plans or desires.
Suddenly none of the rules that have kept Aislinn safe are working anymore, and everything is on the line: her freedom; her best friend, Seth; her life; everything.
Faerie intrigue, mortal love, and the clash of ancient rules and modern expectations swirl together in Melissa Marr's stunning 21st century faery tale.

Ink Exchange :: Melissa Marr
Book two in the Wicked Lovely Series

Unbeknownst to mortals, a power struggle is unfolding in a world of shadows and danger. After centuries of stability, the balance among the Faery Courts has altered, and Irial, ruler of the Dark Court, is battling to hold his rebellious and newly vulnerable fey together. If he fails, bloodshed and brutality will follow.
Seventeen-year-old Leslie knows nothing of faeries or their intrigues. When she is attracted to an eerily beautiful tattoo of eyes and wings, all she knows is that she has to have it, convinced it is a tangible symbol of changes she desperately craves for her own life.
The tattoo does bring changes—not the kind Leslie has dreamed of, but sinister, compelling changes that are more than symbolic. Those changes will bind Leslie and Irial together, drawing Leslie deeper and deeper into the faery world, unable to resist its allures, and helpless to withstand its perils. . . .

Ghostland :: Jory Strong

Welcome to a postapocalyptic world, where the afterlife holds beings that only the bravest can summon—or dare to desire.
Taken from her home and family, shamaness Aisling McConaughey must enter the "ghostlands" to save a wealthy man's mistress. But there's a price to pay for her power: She must summon the Djinn prince Zurael en Caym—and yield to his savage, sensual rage.
Zurael intends to kill Aisling after she's served as bait to find an enemy in possession of an ancient tablet. But the more he tastes her innocent spirit, the more he'll use his fiery touch to keep her hungry for his mercy—even as they weave an erotic spell that he cannot escape...
City of Bones :: Cassandra Clare
Book one in the Mortal Instruments Series

When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder — much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing — not even a smear of blood — to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?
This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know. . .

The Hunger Games :: Suzanne Collins
Book one in the Hunger Games Series

Sixteen-year-old Katniss is smart, athletic, and fast. She can take down a rabbit with a bow and arrow, hitting it straight through the eye. Will these skills be enough to survive the Hunger Games? Suzanne Collins, the author of the middle-grade fantasy series The Underland Chronicles begins anew, exploring a future landscape that will be familiar to devotees of science fiction's dystopic strain. In a nation called Panem, which occupies the landmass that is the present United States, a parasitical fascist Capitol dominates 12 conquered districts. There was a thirteenth district but it was obliterated during a rebellion. The totalitarian government keeps the subjected populations in line by threatened devastation, starvation, and brutality.


The Song is You :: Arthur Phillips

Julian Donahue is in love with his iPod.
Each song that shuffles through “that greatest of all human inventions” triggers a memory. There are songs for the girls from when he was single; there’s the one for the day he met his wife-to-be, and another for the day his son was born. But when his family falls apart, even music loses its hold on him, and he has nothing.
Until one snowy night in Brooklyn, when his life’s soundtrack–and life itself–starts to play again. He stumbles into a bar and sees Cait O’Dwyer, a flame-haired Irish rock singer, performing with her band, and a strange and unlikely love affair is ignited.
Over the next few months, Julian and Cait’s passion for music and each other is played out, though they never meet. In cryptic emails, text messages, cell-phone videos, and lyrics posted on Cait’s website, they find something in their bizarre friendship that they cannot find anywhere else. Cait’s star is on the rise, and Julian gently guides her along her path to fame–but always from a distance–and she responds to the one voice who understands her, more than a fan but still less than a lover.
As their feelings grow more feverish, keeping a safe distance becomes impossible. What follows is a love story and a uniquely heartbreaking dark comedy about obsession and loss.
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From Book Mooch/Paper Back Swap:

DarkFever :: Karen Marie Moning
Book one in the Fever Series
MacKayla Lane’s life is good. She has great friends, a decent job, and a car that breaks down only every other week or so. In other words, she’s your perfectly ordinary twenty-first-century woman. Or so she thinks…until something extraordinary happens.
When her sister is murdered, leaving a single clue to her death–a cryptic message on Mac’s cell phone–Mac journeys to Ireland in search of answers. The quest to find her sister’s killer draws her into a shadowy realm where nothing is as it seems, where good and evil wear the same treacherously seductive mask. She is soon faced with an even greater challenge: staying alive long enough to learn how to handle a power she had no idea she possessed–a gift that allows her to see beyond the world of man, into the dangerous realm of the Fae….
As Mac delves deeper into the mystery of her sister’s death, her every move is shadowed by the dark, mysterious Jericho, a man with no past and only mockery for a future. As she begins to close in on the truth, the ruthless Vlane–an alpha Fae who makes sex an addiction for human women–closes in on her. And as the boundary between worlds begins to crumble, Mac’s true mission becomes clear: find the elusive Sinsar Dubh before someone else claims the all-powerful Dark Book–because whoever gets to it first holds nothing less than complete control of the very fabric of both worlds in their hands….




Along Came a Spider :: James Patterson
Book one in the Alex Cross Series
From the #1 New York Times bestselling master of the terrifying thriller comes a chilling, edge-of-the-seat psychological thriller that tells the gripping tale of a serial killer whose cunning and lust for violence rival those of Hannibal Lecter.
He had always wanted to be famous. When he kidnapped two well-known rich kids it was headline news. Then one of them was found - dead. For such a high-profile case, they needed Alex Cross, a psychologist, and Jezzie Flanagan, a Secret Service agent - yet even they were no match for the killer.

Kushiel's Chosen :: Jacqueline Carey
Book two in the Kushiel's Legacy Series
Phedre no Delaunay has survived much in her short life; she is an anguissette, a courtly spy, and the keeper of a nation's secrets. She has saved a kingdom, kept her people from a barbaric invasion, and thwarted Melisandre Shahrizai, a ruthless, Machiavellian villainess. But Phedre's gods are not yet finished with her, for while the young queen is well loved by the people, there are factions that believe other heads should wear the crown. Melisandre was able to escape the royal guard, and is not done scheming for power and revenge. To save all she holds dear, Phedre will travel from the sun-drenched villas of La Serenissima to the wilds of old Hellas, and will discover a conspiracy dreadful enough to make the earth tremble...
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From Contests/Giveaways & Misc:

Testimony :: Anita Shreve
(I actually have no idea why the publisher gave it to me but thanks!)
At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellinglyexplores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

Twenty Boy Summer :: Sarah Ockler (reviewed here)
(Sent for review by Caitlin Price, thank you! I loved it!)
"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."
"Okay."
"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?"
"Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"
According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in ZanzibarBay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy ever day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Graceling :: Kristin Cashore
(From Tina at Fantastic Book Review, thanks so much!!)
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight - she's a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug. She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace - or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting
more.

April & Oliver :: Tess Callahan
(kindly given to me by Mary at Bookfan-Mary, big hugs!)
April and Oliver have been soul mates since childhood, and the attraction between them has always been palpable. Now, years after being completely inseparable, they have become strangers, but the wildly different paths of their lives are about to collide once again with the sudden death of April’s brother.Sexual tension builds as Oliver, the responsible, newly engaged law student, finds himself drawn more than ever to the reckless, mystifying April—and cracks begin to appear in his carefully constructed life. Even as Oliver attempts to “save” his childhood friend from her grief, her menacing boyfriend, and herself, it soon becomes apparent that Oliver has some secrets of his own—secrets he hasn't shared with anyone, even his fiancée.Yet April knows. Is it really her life that’s unraveling, or is it his own? The answer awaits at the end of a downward spiral . . . toward a surprising revelation.

Gauntlet :: Richard Aaron
(Sent for review for a June blog tour)
660 tons of Semtex is detonated in a massive explosion in Libya. The operation seems to have gone smoothly, but within minutes of the explosion, CIA agent Richard Lawrence discovers that one shipment of the explosive has been hijacked. Days later, a glory-seeking 'Emir' broadcasts to the world that he is planning a massive terrorist strike against a U.S. landmark. And he gives a time line of one month. Now a desperate chase is on, as the men bent on attacking the U.S. use every weapon at their disposal to evade American authorities. Time and again they prove willing to destroy anything—and anyone—standing in their way. But Hamilton Turbee, an autistic computer mastermind at the newly created TTIC agency, discovers a way to track them. His flawed genius gives the nation its only chance at stopping the attack . if the American leadership will listen. As the enemies near their destination, it is up to the TTIC team to stop the massive explosion that could destroy the lives of millions.

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See you all at 11.0,
Happy Reading!

Day 169 - Remember the Sweet Things

Remember the Sweet Things
Ellen Greene


Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from harpercollins.com]

For twenty years, Ellen Greene kept a running list of the thoughtful, funny, touching things that her husband, Marsh, said and did. She wrote them down secretly, then shared those thoughts with him every Valentine's Day when he would find pages from her "Sweet Things List" tucked inside a card.

Married and divorced at a young age, Greene raised two small children alone. After another failed relationship in her late thirties, she swore she'd never again subject herself or her kids to men who treated them poorly. Then she met Marsh Greene.

In this beautiful tribute to a man and a marriage, Greene intersperses selections from her "Sweet Things List" with recollections from their years together. Written with grace and candor, Remember the Sweet Things captures the kindness, sharing, humor, and affection that defined the Greenes' marriage, and encourages us to acknowledge the goodness in our own lives and relationships.

Review:

I won this book for a Valentine's Day giveaway from the lovely ladies over at the Book Binge. And for a little background info: at the time I was with someone that was my other half. He wasn't really into reading when I met him, but my love for books somehow got to him and we would read together every chance we got. So I was super excited to win this book and hopefully find the time to read it with him.

Sadly the book arrived in early March and my other half and I were no longer together. I didn't have the heart to pick the book up after that. It was in fact, broken. It still is, 3 months later, but I got the nerve to open the book about a week ago. I'm so glad I did. Ellen's story is filled with so much love and compassion that it truly touched me. Sorry for all that personal information. I just wanted to express that even though the memories the story invoked for me were painful, they were still heartful and welcoming.

"Remember the Sweet Things" is really a list that Ellen started when she first married her husband. Marsh didn't do extraordinarily sweet things on a daily basis, but Ellen found most things he did were in fact endearing and sweet enough to jot down. Each year she would then share her list in a Valentine's Day Card for Marsh to read.
The book then goes into detail about Ellen's life before Marsh, how the two met, their marriage, and life after "happily ever after". It is obvious that Ellen loved her husband deeply and while reading along I could easily see why. Not necessarily my type of guy, Marsh was still a man to love and admire. I know I came to care about him and his personality. It was like watching an adventure unfold as Ellen re-told her story of a truly loving marriage, filled with both ups and downs.

Ellen included many excerpts from her "Sweet Things" list at the end of each chapter and I wanted to share a few in hopes of generating some smiles from you all:
  • Getting home from his trip to Eastern Europe and recounting his frustration with delays on the last leg because "they cut into my time with my wife". (87)

  • His response to his best friends calling him pussy whipped: "I know. I like it." (88)

  • Coming home with a rose and a sweet note, after I'd told him about my hard time with my hard time with my boss. (89)

  • The excitement of his home leave after two months and meeting him at Logan; people smiling at a sixty-year-old man and a forty-five-year-old woman flying into each other's arms and kissing with abandon. (120)

  • A vacation in Bali; Jennifer's disappointment at not finding a nice shell on the beach; his buying one and planting it for her to "find". (121)

  • Opening the last peanut or spreading the last cracker or dipping the last chip, and always offering it to me. (191)

  • On his hands and knees, next to the pool with Lola, his face in the water, demonstrating how to bob for the tennis balls she'd lost there. (225)
  • My torn knee ligaments on the mend after a fall on the street; his impatience with me when I tried to help myself: "Call me!" "I'll do that!" "Go sit down!" (226)

  • Telling me that he considers it a little gift each time that he wakes up and finds himself being held by me." (251)

As you can see, most of what Marsh does is small, sweet, and kind every day things that I'm sure many men (and women) do for their significant others. Reading through them made me think of my other half and how much I miss the little things he did for me. However painful it may be for me I can always hope that I still have a shot for my "happily ever after". I highly recommend giving this beautiful book a try.


Thursday, May 21, 2009

Day 166 - Thursday Thunks [5]

Welcome to the May 21st version of Thursday Thunks!
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!



This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by THE THURSDAY THUNKERS!!!!!


These questions were submitted by last week's Thursday Thunk's participants! (so don't blame Kimber & Berleen for the quality of the questions.....)

1. Have you seen the new Star Trek movie, and if so what did you think?

Nope, not yet. I'm not a big Star Trek fan but I still want to see it =)

2. Which popular sitcom character (past or present) are you most like?


I don't know. How bout who do I want to be like? =D I like that question better. Dr. Lisa Cutty, on House. I love how she puts up with House. She kicks major ass! I love that show, period! (Sidenote: I had no idea her real name is Lisa too)


3. What kind of dreams do you have?

All sorts, I suppose. I heard everyone dreams every night even if they don't remember it. I mostly don't remember them.

4. Bugger it. Go get a tattoo and come back. Right, now answer me this, what ees eet?

Finish up the one on my arm that says "Forgive". I want "Yourself" written below it and somehow work some color into it.

5. Do you think you could be on American Idol with the singing voice you have now without any voice training?

Probably not. I apologize all the time to my mom for not having a great singing voice, or model looks, or acting skills . I tell her I'm sorry I'm not famous and can't buy her things lol, she laughs at me and says I'm silly.

6. How much wood, would a woodchuck chuck? If a woodchuck could chuck wood?

I thought that was one whole question...
Answer: Who the hell cares?!?
*smiles prettily*

7. If you were a tree in a Dr. Seuss book, what would you look like?

I saw this question on the blog it was created on and really didn't want to answer it lol. I want to be an awesome and unique tree but I don't have the brain cells to describe it to you at the moment. All I know is it would be awesome...and all the other trees would be totally jealous...yeah

8. Twilight? I'm addicted/Who cares/What the hell is Twilight?

I'm not like crack-addicted to it, but I do like Twilight. So deal with it!!

9. Do you think Kimber and Berleen do a dube while writing these questions?

I think this is Bud's question lol. And no, I think all the questions are just from their weird as hell natural/beautiful creativity banks. *smiles brightly*

10. What the worst injury you've ever had?

No real accidents in life that I can think of. But I did have open heart surgery when I was 19. April 2007.

11. What is your favorite dessert?

I like simple ice cream, the cheap Pet kind to be precise. Neopolitan, yum! Oh and also Cake Batter ice cream from Coldstone, but not a lot because it's too rich. I can live off the cheap stuff!

12. What do you prefer...beach or mountains?

Never been to the mountains. I live by the beach, mind you it's not pretty beach lol, but I like going sometimes. I don't think I can answer the question as of right now.

13. What movie have you seen that still makes you cry?

Off the top of my head: Terms of Endearment, gets me everytime. (Although I really wanted to add Sex and The City - Charlotte tells Big "NO!" really loud and holding Carrie after he hurts her at the wedding. Totally made me cry.)

14. Why are you making me submit a question? Are you too lazy to think of one yourself?

I think the person who came up with this one was lazy lol

15. How often do you do laundry?

Whenever it needs to be done. I live with my mom and sister, so basically whenever she tells me to. I personally think it should be twice a week rather then every fricking day. My mom is crazy.

16. What is your favorite movie of all time, and why?

I hate this question, along with favorite book, movie...etc.
I have way too many so...basically I refuse to answer it...deal with it! *smiles prettily*

17. If you won a million dollars in the lottery, would you keep working?

Uh, duh. That million dollars, or the less than million dollars I'd get after taxes, would only last a little while. I wouldn't even get all the money at one time so I think I'd have to keep working.

18. If there was a war of the gummies, would you be on the gummi bear side or the gummi worm side?

Tee, hee my question!!

I'm a gummi bear gal myself.

19. What's your favorite comic strip?

I always enjoyed Garfield.

20. Close your eyes… imagine you are in the perfect room/place… describe it.

Ah this one could take a while. For the sake of time saving. I'd be outside, the sun shining (but not directly in my eyes), a light breeze every now and again. I'd be curled up in a really comfy chair. No bugs around please.

.....to be continued next week.... (you didn't want all 40-some questions this week, did you?)


Day 166 - Twenty Boy Summer [ARC Review]

Twenty Boy Summer
Sarah Ockler

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from back cover]

"Don't worry, Anna. I'll tell her, okay? Just let me think about the best way to do it."

"Okay."

"Promise me? Promise you won't say anything?""Don't worry." I laughed. "It's our secret, right?"

According to her best friend Frankie, twenty days in Zanzibar Bay is the perfect opportunity to have a summer fling, and if they meet one boy every day, there's a pretty good chance Anna will find her first summer romance. Anna lightheartedly agrees to the game, but there's something she hasn't told Frankie---she's already had that kind of romance, and it was with Frankie's older brother, Matt, just before his tragic death one year ago.

Beautifully written and emotionally honest, this is a debut novel that explores what it truly means to love someone and what it means to grieve, and ultimately, how to make the most of every single moment this world has to offer.

Review:

Sarah Ockler wastes no time jumping into her debut novel with a bang. Even though I knew Matt was going to die before I read the book, the brief spotlight time he gets in the beginning leaves a lasting impression. I remember reading the part and simply saying, "No, he can't die yet."

And I'm definitely not alone in that sense. Frankie and Anna are completely devastated by Matt's death, and a year later they are still feeling the after effects. When the annual trip that Frankie and her family takes ever summer comes up, they hesitate to go. Her parents decide that maybe it's time and invite Anna to come along. Anna is thrilled to go to the beach and all of the places Matt has often spoken to her about. I loved the conversations and closness between the two best friends as they prepared for the Absolute Best Summer Ever (A.B.S.E.) in Zanzibar Bay, California.

Frankie comes up with a brilliant idea of finding summer love. She reasons they will be there for about 27 to 28 days. Why not meet a different boy in 20 days? Anna is not up for it in her mind. She doesn't want to lose Matt and erase what her first love that she never even got to experience. But she reluctantly agrees just to keep a smile on Frankie's face. However, she has no intention of letting him go.

The Zanzibar Bay vacation is beautifully described as Frankie and her family show Anna a good time in all of their favorite spots. The trip is painful for everyone but they try to keep smiles on their faces. Frankie's parents are grieving in their own way and Sarah Ockler provides glimpses into their lives and they have to deal with after losing their son. When the trip takes a few painful turns, the girls' friendship is tested as Anna meets a new boy that she is really attracted to and Frankie continuously acts out.

The story is a very realistic portrayal of the two teenagers handling their grief, sadness, and loss and finding a way around it. I really enjoyed the novel and I think Sarah Ockler has a great future of books in store for everyone.

A part in the book that really grabbed my heart and squeezed tight:

"Other times, early on, she'd just run away and weep. Weeping is different from crying. It takes your whole body to weep, and when it's over, you feel like you don't have any bones left to hold you up." (p. 28)

Twenty Boy Summer isn't officially out until June, however I've noticed and heard that it can be found at book stores everywhere. I definitely recommend going out and getting a copy and reading this emotionally honest novel filled with truly believable characters.

I want to thank Caitlin Price from FSB Associates for sending me my ARC copy to review.

Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Day 165 - Wordless Wednesday [11]

"Tree Star"


Want more Worldess Wednesday photos? Click here.

Day 165 - Waiting on Wednesday [13]



from bn.com:

A breathtakingly honest, gloriously written memoir about the complexities of forgiveness when a young widow discovers her husband's secret life after his death Julie Metz seemed to have the perfect life—an adoring if demanding husband, a happy, spirited daughter, a lovely old house in an idyllic town outside New York City—when in an instant, everything changed. Her charismatic, charming husband, Henry, suffered a pulmonary embolism and collapsed on the kitchen floor. Within hours he was dead, and Julie was a widow and single mother at 44. Just like that, what seemed like a perfect life melted away. But the worst was yet to come.

Six months after his death, Julie discovered that her husband of 12 years, the man who loved her and their six-year-old daughter ebulliently and devotedly, had been unfaithful throughout their marriage, going so far as to conduct an ongoing relationship with one of Julie's close friends. This memoir—moving, simple, filled with incandescent images—is the story of coming to terms with painful truths, of rebuilding both a life and an identity after betrayal and widowhood. ltimately, it is a story of rebirth andhappiness—if not perfection.

-------

Reason: I'm usually not into memoirs. But the cover grabbed my eye and when I read the blurb I said to myself, "God, that sucks!" I don't know what I would do if I found out my husband had a whole different life after he died (if I was married that is). I think the book sounds really good!

Cover Discussion: Flowers always get to me, especially when the picture is simple. I find the natural beauty of a flower absolutely amazing. However, I don't see the relationship between the blurb and the cover (or the title for that matter).

Perfection: A Memoir of Betrayal and Renewal will be released June 9th!


What are you waiting on this week?
To see more books that are being waited for click
here.

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Day 164 - Teaser Tuesday [11]


Teaser Tuesdays asks you to:




-Grab your current read.
-Let the book fall open to a random page.
-Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
-You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
-Please avoid spoilers!





"What I am sharing are the innocent romantic gestures of two newlyweds in love who acted that way, regardless of their ages. Marsh's blowing me a kiss "goodbye" when the hostess ordered us to separate and sit at opposite ends of the dinner table." (72)



Remember the Sweet Things: One List, Two Lives, and Twenty Years of Marriage :: Ellen Greene

Monday, May 18, 2009

Day 163 - Burned

Burned
Ellen Hopkins

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from back cover]
Raised in a religious -- yet abusive -- family, Pattyn Von Stratten starts asking questions -- about God, a woman's role, sex, love. She experiences the first stirrings of passion, but when her father catches her in a compromising position, events spiral out of control. Pattyn is sent to live with an aunt in the wilds of Nevada to find salvation and redemption. What she finds instead is love and acceptance -- until she realizes that her old demons will not let her go.

Review:

This was my first book by Ellen Hopkins. I've heard really good things about her and her books but I really wasn't prepared to like it as much as I did. I definitely think it was the poetry-like writing style. It didn't necessarily rhyme but is written in stanzas and verses. Some of the verses are even written in shapes that really added a little extra to what was being talked about. I found myself breezing through the 500+ pages and despite this new style, I was immersed in Pattyn's life.

Burned tells the story of Pattyn Scarlet Von Stratten. A young mormon girl who is rebellious by nature - but not in the negative sense. She questions everything from the way women are treated by the Church and their husbands, from sex and her morals, to just life in general. Growing up in a very religious way doesn't seem to matter since her home life is abusive. I couldn't really tell you who I thought was worse, Pattyn's mother or her alcoholic father. Her mother is continuously abused by Pattyn's father, but the way she acts and treats her own children may just be as bad.

I was immediately drawn to her character. It all started with a dream. Just a teenage dream about a boy she desperately wants to know. But she was brought up not to fantasize this way. And then a different boy steps into her life, and the dream boy is quickly replaced. After some trouble with this newly discovered boy Pattyn gets in more trouble in school and her family has had enough. They send her away for the summer to stay with her aunt Jeanette, in the middle of nowhere.

Aunt Jeanette was an easy character to care about as she slowly reveals what it was like growing up with Pattyn's father. She was under strict Mormon rules as well and has long since abandoned the Church. It is on her ranch that Pattyn finds love, acceptance, and peace. But the ending will totally squeeze your heart!!

I wrote down a part I found in the book that I felt was really worth sharing. I think it opens up a big opportunity for discussion. I have been in depressive ruts before and I have definitely felt this way many times (especially recently *sigh*), maybe that's why it grabbed my attention:

"Happiness, you see, is just an illusion of fate, a heavenly slight of hand designed to make you believe in fairy tales. But there's no happily even after. You'll only find happy ending in books. Some books." (p.420)

I highly recommend this book whether you have read Ellen Hopkins or not. I will definitely pick up another, and probably all, of Ms. Hopkin's books!

Day 163 - It's Monday!

Photo credit : Moriza

It's Monday! What are you reading this week?, hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog, is a weekly event to list the books completed last week, the books currently being read, and the books to be finished this week.



Books Already Gobbled:
Synarchy Book 1: The Awakening :: DCS (Review coming in June - part of blog tour - stay tuned!)
Burned :: Ellen Hopkins


Currently Gobbling Down:
Remember the Sweet Things :: Ellen Greene
The Five People You Meet in Heaven :: Mitch Albom




Friday, May 15, 2009

Day 160 - I Am Legend

I Am Legend
Richard Matheson
Narrated by :: Robertson Dean

Series or Stand Alone: Stand Alone

Synopsis: [from bn.com]

Robert Neville may well be the last living man on Earth . . . but he is not alone. An incurable plague has mutated every other man, woman, and child into bloodthirsty, nocturnal creatures who are determined to destroy him. By day, he is a hunter, stalking the infected monstrosities through the abandoned ruins of civilization. By night, he barricades himself in his home and prays for dawn.... Richard Matheson’s classic novel has now been transformed by Warner Bros. into a major motion picture starring Academy Award nominee Will Smith. Directed by Francis Lawrence (“Constantine”), the film opens nationwide in December 2007.

Review:

When I got an iTunes card from somewhere I can't really recall, I spent it on audio books instead of music. Only because I use LimeWire so I download my music *cough*illegal-I-know*cough*Because I wanted to try one out. So this being my first audio book I have to say I was pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed it.

I don't know if it was Robertson Dean's voice that really grew on me, the fact that it was unabridged and I don't mind a good story telling every now and again, or the fact that it was this book that got me. All I know is that it was definitely worth putting the songs on my iPod on hold for a while so I could listen to I Am Legend.

I had no idea Matheson's book was adapted into 3 different movies: The Last Man on Earth (1964), The Omega Man (1971), and the modern I Am Legend (2007). I went here and you can watch the entire 64' movie. It actually followed the book pretty well with some minor changes. But I don't really like old movies like this one *shrugs*. But anywho, on to the book...

Robert Neville is the last living man on Earth, or he might as well be. Written in 1954, the story takes place in the "near future" of the 1970s, and Neville is trying to stay sane after a plague has turned the entire world into vampires. The beginning tells the monotony of Neville’s struggle for survival from day to day. Growing garlic, carving stakes, repairing his house is mostly what keeps him busy during the daylight hours. He also gets what satisfaction he can by stalking and staking the vampires in their coma-like sleep. But by night Neville must struggles with loneliness, despair, and even sexual frustration.

He still thinks of the past and mourns the deaths of his wife and daughter, all the while sticking close to his drink of choice. Even his classical music that he blares every night to drown the vampires out can't keep his loneliness at bay. But along the way he starts to conduct his own investigation into the cause of the plague. Having been a blue-collar worker at some sort of plant, Neville is no scientist. But with the library as his assistant, he is able to use science equipment and some self-taught knowledge to come up with theories on what caused this worldwide epidemic.

So the book is entirely different from the 2007 movie I Am Legend, which I'm sure is what most people have seen (if you haven't visited the link for the 64' movie already). Robert Neville finds someone, a woman, who may finally be the companion that can ease his loneliness. But Ruth may or may not be infected...Can Neville truly trust her? He spends a lot of time nursing his suspicions and doubts of Ruth. I can't say I blame him, but I just wanted to shake him and say "Stop being an idiot, trust her!" Maybe I spoke too soon...

The ending was crazy! I don't want to spoil anything. I definitely recommend buying a copy of this book or even going to the library and checking it out. The audio book was really good. Even Robertson's not-very-believable voice for Ruth grew on me =) I listened to the book in my car on my way to work, school...basically any kind of errand. I can recall smiling at parts, being totally enthralled in other parts, cussing along with the narrator, and just being totally wrapped up in the book (I had my eyes & concentration on the road at all times though, promise!!). I even found myself squeezing the steering wheel with white knuckles at one part!

I think what really made this book was the last three words of the novel... "I Am Legend" ... It put the book in perspective beautifully and really captured the gravity and mood, very different from the 2007 movie version (which I still enjoyed, I love Will Smith!)


Thursday, May 14, 2009

Day 159 - Thursday Thunks [4]

Welcome to the May 14th version of Thursday Thunks!
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!

We pick a subject, and your job is to interpret it anyway you want. Write about it on your blog... simple as that. Maybe you can interpret it as a picture - we don't care!Please only leave a link if you have written a Thursday Thunks post. Please mention us in your post, and link back to the blog here.Don't forget to go visit the other participants' blogs. Read and comment about all their Thursday Thunks! Thats what all this is about afterall, isn't it? We'll have so much fun and become lifelong friends....




This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Kimber, taken over by Berleen, the color carrot orange and the number 94.



1. You are at the store when suddenly 2 men walk in with guns and rob the place. Are you the hero, quiet & follow the rules type, or try to make a run for it?

Honestly, I would probably be quiet, follow the rules and still somehow get shot =(


2. Do you like Twizzlers?

Nope, afraid not.

3. Are you a YouTube watcher?

I have been known to watch a YouTube video here and there.

4. When a auto glass store calls you and asks if you have a chip or crack in your windshield, what do you tell them?

"Uh, neither? Unless you know something I don't, my windshield is fine..." (But to answer the question I'd probably use the word crack)

5. What is the age difference between you and your father?

Well, I don't really talk to my father but if I had to throw a number out there I'd say probably close to 30 years.

6. Have you ever tried to find the end of a rainbow?

Lol, no

7. Camping - recreational vehicle or tent?

I wish I could say tent, but if I had the choice I'd go with an RV. Me and bugs don't get along. But I know if I had to or if someone I was with really wanted to, then I'd do the tent. I've never been camping so...

8. Have you ever had to call 9-1-1?

Yes, I think maybe twice.

9. Who is your favorite blog in the Thursday Thunk bloggers to visit?

It's a tie - WTIT and Suburban (Bizarre) Bazaar. These two constantly make me laugh!

10. How long do you think you could live locked in your house on the food that you have on hand right now?

I'm not good at guestimations but maybe 8 months-ish *shrugs*. Yes, we have a lot of food in our house lol.

11. Pepper - shaker or grinder?

Shaker, the grinder doesn't grind all the way and then I end up eating big pieces of pepper, yuck! And I'm not a big pepper fan anyway.

12. What state (or country if you are not in the US) is 2 states west of you?

Haha, I'm so glad that picture was provided. Kentucky is the 2nd state west of me. But if we're not counting the actual 2nd state, the answer would be Missouri. The question confused me lol

13. What color do you believe you look best in?

Probably black - but that's not really a color huh? Maybe blue...don't really know.

14. and once again... next week is Thursday Thunkers Questions... so....What is your question submission for next week?

Hmm first submission -

If there was a war of the gummies, would you be on the gummi bear side or the gummi worm side?

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