Tuesday, August 30, 2011

River Marked, Mercy Thompson Series #6 by Patricia Briggs 

I really love this series.  Still interesting and fresh.  Hope the next book has more of Stephen in it. Why do I have to wait until Spring 2013 for the next installment?  I'm not sure I can.  In the mean time I have started her Alpha and Omega Series (more on that later).

For a few Demons More #5, The Outlaw Demon Wails #6, White Witch, Black Curse #7, Black Magic Sanction #8, Pale Demon #9, The Hollows Series by Kim Harrison

Obviously, I really love this series, too.  Ms. Harrison has such a flair for dreaming up such interesting characters and situation.  Rachael always tries to do the right thing and just keeps getting herself into trouble.  Her trying to save her roommate, the living vampire, Ivy from herself and now, do I detect a bit on sympathy toward the evil demon, Al?  Wonderful reading!  I tried to string them out and make them last longer, but I just couldn't do it. 

Thursday, August 25, 2011

So What Did I Read Last Summer?

Almost all Vampire/Supernatural books and yes, I am obsessed.  I can't get enough of them.

In early June I read:

Morganville Vampire books, Fade Out and Kiss of Death by Rachael Caine.  The series is still interesting and readable.  So many seem to get a bit stale, depressing, or go no where by now, but these are still fresh and interesting.  Great Young Adult Vampire Horror.

Vamps and the City by Kerrelyn Sparks, Vampire Romance.  Romance novels are a guilty pleasure for me and vampire romance even more so.  Nothing spectacular here, but a good story and good romance and fun lighthearted reading.  I will eventually read all the books in this series. 

Hex Hall and Demon Glass by Rachel Hawkins.  This is a Young Adult, Supernatural series.  I picked them up because they are my 14 year old daughter's favorite series.  I liked them, but wasn't completely taken with them the way she was.  It was fun talking with her about them, though.  Reason enough to read anything.

Where did Summer go?

I can not believe it--the kids are back to school today!  It was a short quick summer as they all seem to be, there is never enough time to do everything you want. 

I have a few updates.  First, no one wanted to listen to To Kill a Mockingbird in the car on the way to Wisconsin.  That's okay.  I probably should have had everyone listen to the book before watching the movie.  It was worth a try.

The second update is that I never did read War and Peace.  I read all the introductions and started reading it, but I ran into problems and never got past the second chapter.  The first is I now see a need for a electronic reader.  I love paper books--the weight of them in your hands, the smell of them, being able to flip back at ease, but the weight of War and Peace was ridiculous.  It was so heavy and unwieldy that I had to read it sitting at a table or desk, not the most comfortable.  The second is that is was difficult going getting into the book and every time I would try to start reading I would be interrupted by my children wanting something or my husband saying something like "are you going to do anything else besides read that book this summer."  So I gave up.  Maybe I will buy an electronic reader and try again next year. 

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Wisconsin here we come!

I will be selecting a few good books and taking them with me camping.  I am looking forward to some technology free days spent outside enjoying the beauty that is Wisconsin.  We will be packing the kids bird books, nature journals, and binoculars.  I have ordered To Kill a Mockingbird on CD for the family to listen to in the car on the way there.  I find there is no better time to educate your kids than when they are a captive audience.  I told them they could only bring one electronic toy each and they exploded in anger.  Really?  Kids today as so spoiled.  In my day....  You get the idea.  We are praying for a rain free trip.

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare

Book Four in The Mortal Instruments series.

I loved the first three books.  There was such a long wait between books three and four that I forgot a lot of the plot happenings so it took me a while to get into it.  That said, I still didn't like it as much.  Jace being so vulnerable and his refusal to believe that Clary loves his was getting a bit annoying.  I like Jace's combination of bad ass Shadowhunter and wounded soul, but enough already!  I liked Simon's storyline, but couldn't (and still can't) remember anything about the Mark of Cain.  The back of the book says it's going to be a movie--looking forward to that.  I think my daughter would like it.  Overall, the series is great.  I will read anything written by Cassandra Clare.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Vampire Diaries, The Return - Nightfall by L.J. Smith

I picked this one up because my daughter loves Vampire Diaries books and t.v. series.  I, however, am not that taken with it.  I find the T.V. series annoying.  There is way too much whining and teenage angst.  The first few books were okay, but not great.  My daughter said that she like the Return Series better than the first series and I think it was, a bit, better.  I still didn't love it and probably won't read the others unless I'm desperate for a vampire story.  Still too much whining and sap for me.  Plus I don't really like the characters much.  Elena is annoying and so is Stephen.  Damon is more interesting, but evil, so I can't like him either.

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth

Book 2 in the Nathaniel Cade Series

I loved the first book.  I was intrigued by the idea of someone who was forcibly turned vampire hating what he was so much that he had himself bound to do the will of the President of the United States.  The second book, however, was a bit disappointing.  I am much more interested in Cade and his relationships and what makes him tick, than I am the action.  This book was mostly action and actually very little about Cade.  On top of that, the book skipped around with little flashes of information then switching scenes and more little flashes.   Each chapter was fairly short and there was always info. to read at the top the chapter before you could get back to the story.  I HATE THAT!  I hate having to stop what I'm reading and read a poem or some other such thing.  It requires a shift in thinking away from the story and most of the time it isn't always obvious how the snippet relates to story.  Then I have to stop and think about it which it something I usually don't want to take the time to do.  If I skip it, I always feel guilty.  If I read it I'm always annoyed.

Saturday, May 28, 2011

May Reading, Memorial Day, and Mulch.

Memorial Day Weekend this year will be nothing but MULCH.  We have lived in the same house for 5 years, with its huge beds all around the house and yard and have not mulched yet.  So in an effort to finally control the weeds that normally completely choke the beds, I had 6 cubic yards of mulch delivered and the weekend (and probably the next several weekends) will be spend weeding, spraying, sprinkling, shoveling, and raking.  Between sessions, I will be trying to scrub the dirt out of my fingernails, reading (what better way to rest my back!), and maybe grilling out something.  I'm not sure what the kids will be doing.  I can bet whatever it is it won't be helping.

My daughter is playing her flute in the school band at the Memorial Day tribute at the town square park.  We will all be there for that. 

Here is what I have been reading:

Dead Reckoning, Sookie Stackhouse #11, Charlaine Harris.  I have my autographed book!  I really hate to say this, but I am a little disappointed with the book.  It was good, but left me wishing for something more.  I didn't feel much of a connection with Sookie this time.  It did leave the reader wondering, will there be more romance between Sookie and Bill?  I think she will use her Fae wish to wish one of her vampire boyfriends human.  Will it be Eric, Bill?  I guess I will just have to wait and see.

Dark Gold, Christing Feehan.  This is book 2 in the Dark Series.  Good Supernatural Romance.  Great escape reading.

Every Witch Way But Dead, Hollows book #3 and A Fistful of Charms, Hollows book #4,  Kim Harrison.  This series just keeps getting better and better.  I love impulsive but sincere, Rachel Morgan and her living vampire roommate and partner, Ivy.  The book has great adventure, romance, longing and friendship.  Loved it.

Bone Crossed and Silver Borne, Mercy Thompson books 4 and 5, Patricia Briggs.  I just love Mercy, Samuel, Adam, and Stefan. 

I am going to try to stay away from my typical genres and read something else.  I am getting stuck in a rut.  With June comes my reading of War and Peace.  I'm suddenly not feeling it, but we will see. 

Tuesday, May 24, 2011

Modern Rural Life

Last weekend I went to my family's farm.  It's in the middle of corn and soybean country--completely rural and open.  I love it out there, nothing but big sky and open fields dotted with trees and houses.  I can't help but be a little sad though.  The land used to be a person's identity--a way to make a living and a life.  Families were supported and lived there.  The near by small towns were alive with people.  They probably never were teeming with people, but had thriving businesses and people living in them.  Church's full on Sundays.  Now, it's just dead.  If people live there they probably drive somewhere else to work.  The farms are non-functional.  No one raises a variety of crops and animals--it's all just corn and soybeans.  All the old barns, silos, and other various building are just rotting.  There is no money in farming, so those that do work there can't afford to keep the homes and property in nice condition.  It takes fewer farmers to farm the land now, so more and more houses are abandoned or people still live there, but drive else where to work.  The small towns are ghost towns.  What is happening to our rural way of life?

This made me think of one of my all time favorite books.  Stories from the Round Barn by Jacqueline Dougan Jackson.  The author wrote about her grandfather and his farm in Wisconsin near the Illinois border.  It's full of wonderful stories and insights in to a way of life that is gone now.  I recommend it.  She followed up with More Stories from the Round Barn.  I've had the book for several years now and haven't read it.  I am saving it--I'm not sure why.

 

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Block Parties and Books

I was all set to watch the season finale of Supernatural, eat pizza, and finish Book 3 of the Hollows series, Every Which Way but Dead--a perfect Friday evening.  However, fate had other ideas for me.  As I was coming home from taking my son to the doctor, the garage door wouldn't go up.  Then I found out that Supernatural wasn't on and to add insult to injury, we had a block party to go to.  After discovering my new schedule for the evening and then listening to my husband grumble at the garage door for an hour, I was in a pretty bad mood.  But, life has a way of working out if you just let it.  I still got to eat great pizza (our family tradition on Fridays) the block party was fun (yes, I like to socialize from time to time, usually when my husband gives me a little push) and I finished the book this morning.  Now, I have to figure out when my show will be on and what to do about the garage door.  How come you can't open garage doors manually anymore?

Wednesday, May 18, 2011

May reading

Here is what else I have been reading in May so far.  I have completely given up watching T.V--there is nothing on right now that can compete with my reading (Supernatural and Being Human are done for the season.)  That will, of course, change when True Blood Season 3 is finally released on DVD.  My Husband is happy to watch all the bicycle racing, food shows, and outdoor adventure programs he can stomach, making everyone happy.  (Except for Midwestern son, who tries to sneak watching Adult Swim on Cartoon Network when no one else is watching.)

Night Pleasures, Dark Hunter #2 by Sherrilyn Kenyon.  Really good Paranormal Romance.

Iron Kissed, Mercy Thompson #3 by Patricia Briggs.  Urban fantasy.  I was so caught up in this one, I actually cried.  Something I can say I almost never do!  I love this series so much that I am trying to wait between books.

The Good, The Bad, and the Undead, The Hollows #2.  Another Urban Fantasy.  I wish the Vampires weren't so evil in this series, but they are enjoyable reads.

Family Affair by Debbie Macomber.  This book was recently republished in Hardcover, but it is actually more of a short story.  It was cute, wholesome, heartwarming, romance as only the master can write!  I've never read anything by Ms. Macomber that I didn't like.

Firelight by Sophie Jordan.  A young adult book about a race of people who are descended from dragons.  Great, unique story.  A bit dark at times, but they story is so good, I didn't mind.

Halo by Alexandre Adornetto.  Another young adult book.  I managed to finish this one, but I didn't like it much.  I found the main character annoying and her relationship with her boyfriend pathetic and annoying.  Really, Angels shouldn't be so wishey-washy!

Sex and the Single Vampire by Katie MacAlister.  Cute.  Not great, but entertaining and funny. 

Spring Fever

It's spring and my reading has been completely crazy.  On warmer days, I'm anxious to expand my mind preparing to read War and Peace and some of the many non-fiction books I want to read about how to help my kids grow-up to be normal adults (I could read forever on that topic!).  On overcast, rainy and cold days, I'm back to my Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance escaping into more interesting worlds.  With the weather 50 and rainy one day and 85 and sunny the next it's been a little crazy.  There is hope on the horizon!  Only a few more weeks until school is out and summer begins. 

The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown

This book started off slow; it took me a while to get into it.  When I finally did, I couldn't put it down.  I really, really liked it.  First, it is about three sisters.  This is great for two reasons, because I have two sisters and because there are so few books about women being friends with women (or in this case their sisters).  Second, it's a book about a family who loves to read.  I love reading about people who read (is that too obsessive?).  The story of how the three women mess up their lives and come together again is believable, interesting, and hopeful.  It's a great book. 

Saturday, May 14, 2011

Update

I don't have time for any full book reviews right now, but here is what I've been up to:

Saw Charlene Harris and got an autographed copy of her new book, Dead Reckoning!  I finished it a few days ago.  I find myself wishing for more Romance for Sookie and am a little worried that her relationship with Eric won't workout.  I'll guess I'll have to wait and see.

I have been reading about ADHD and Sensory Processing Disorder to try to understand how to help my son.

I have been reading the Mayo Clinic Diet, French Women Don't Get Fat, and 1001 ways to get in Shape to try to carve out a diet and lifestyle that works for me and will help me eat healthy without having to follow a strict diet (those don't work).

I am gearing up to read War and Peace over the summer.  I will have to read 14 pages a day all summer.  I am looking forward to it.  I am reading the intro. and the cliff notes so I'll be ready to start June 1st.

Thursday, May 5, 2011

Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

Book two in the Mercy Thompson series.

Mercy's Vampire customer and possible friend (she not sure vampires can be trusted enough to be true friends) asks her for a favor and she ends up in trouble.  A dangerous being is killing people and Mercy must come to the rescue.  The vampires either can't or won't help and the being affects the werewolves in a bad way.  So it's Mercy (a werecoyote)  on a dangerous mission to rescue a vampire and three werewolves. 

Mercy just keeps getting more and more interesting.  Is it possible that her vampire friend is really a nice vampire?  Is is possible he likes her?  What about Adam and Sam?  What does being a Walker mean?  I look forward to the next book.

Tuesday, May 3, 2011

Fantasy Lover by Sherrilyn Kenyon

A romance full of Greek Mythology, kind of like a grown-up Percy Jackson with romance instead of adventure.  I have seen a lot of Sherrilyn Kenyon in the paperback book sections and I wanted to read something of her's.  It was good.  There were a few really tender, heart wrenching moments and a happy ending--just want I want in a romance. 

Dead Witch Walking by Kim Harrison

The first book in the Hallows series.

I liked this book.  I didn't devour the book, but I did enjoy it a lot.  There were even a few funny parts.  I'm not as fond of books that include vampires where the vampire bite is awful and wrong and vampires are evil, but there is enough else to like that made up for it.  The Heroine is spunky and headstrong.  I will be reading more of this series.

Ape House by Sarah Gruen

A woman, who's life is researching bonobos and language, has her world turned upside down when the lab is bombed.  A reporter with job and wife problems sets out to redeem his career by tracking the story.

I really liked the story.  It is filled with true, interesting details about bonobos and ape cruelty.  I realized it is a transparent animal rights statement, but since I mostly agree with it, I didn't mind.  What I did mind, however, was that the story was going along fine, when the author suddenly ended the book.  It should have been much longer.  She set up this interesting story and then wrapped it up in just a few pages, leaving me feeling like the story shouldn't be finished yet.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

A Discovery of Witches

Book 1 in the All Souls Trilogy by Deborah Harkness

This book is an adult Twilight with witches meets Pillars of the Earth.  I devoured it!   It has really good romance, protective caring good vampires, books and librarys (I, of course, love reading stories about characters who read), and good fighting evil.  What's not to love?  I can't wait for the next book.  All I can say is, please do not make to many bad things happen in book two.  I hate stories that start out good and end up completely depressing.

Look Me In The Eye, My Life With Asperger's

by John Elder Robinson

I picked this book up for several reasons:  I work in school's with kids who have Asperger's (in a non-teaching role), I know people with Asperger's, and my own son sometimes acts like he has Asperger's.  At this point, I don't think my son does have Asperger's, but I am still interested in how this condition affects people's lives.

I loved this book!  My family got sick of me talking about as I was reading it.  The author overcomes an awful childhood and an condition that no one had even heard of before to go on to do great things.  I loved reading about how his love of electronics ended up with him getting work out of it.  I loved his description of married life, I couldn't agree more--It is good to be married. 

This book has it all, entertaining stories, life lessons, stories of overcoming, and being the best you can be. 

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Angelology by Danielle Trussone

Angels called Watchers took human wives and produced offspring.  The Watchers were then imprisoned.  They are all uncaring and evil.  People who study these creatures and who are at war with the offspring in order to save humanity are call Angelologists.  The book reminded me a bit Dan Brown with Angels.  I didn't love it, but found it interesting.  I think there will be more books and possibly a movie.  I will probably have to read them all and see the movie, though. 

Moon Called by Patricia Briggs

Mercy Thompson Series, Book 1

This is a new series I am starting to read and so far I love it.  I don't always like werewolves and shape shifter stories, but so far I love this one.  Mercy is a mystery, even to herself, has two hot, powerful men interested in her and is possibly more powerful herself than she knows.  I can't wait to find out what happens next.

Riley Jenson Guardian Series

Moon Sworn by Keri Arthur

This is book 9 in the Series and I am finally finished with it.  The series ended on a fairly satisfactory note.  Something I usually can't say.  I would have liked a bit more wrapping up, but I am satisfied.  A fun series.  There were things about the character that I never fully liked, but overall a good, fun, escape series. 

Thursday, April 21, 2011

Stealing Lincoln's Body

by Thomas J. Craughwall

This is an interesting little book, full of Illinois history.  The author starts with counterfeiting and ends up explaining a bizarre attempt to seal Lincoln's body.  I learned a lot of local history that I did not know. 

Karen Marie Moning's Faefever series

Darkfever
Bloodfever
Faefever
Dreamfever
Shadowfever

I read all five books in just a few weeks.  It is a great story.  The author does a great job of just giving you enough info. to keep reading.  The evil Fae, the elusive Barons, and Mac. who keeps rising to all the challenges thrown her way.  There are still a lot of questions left unanswered, so I hope the spin off series will continue to delve into the Fae world.  Loved them!

Monday, March 28, 2011

The Sound of a Wild Snail Eating by Elisabeth Tova Bailey

This book was recommended to me by several of my book club members.  It's not the usual kind of book I'd pick, but one of the reasons why I joined the book club in the first place was to expand my reading horizons. 



In this book, the author, due to serious illness, becomes bed bound.  A friend brings her some violets from the forest and puts a snail from the forest in the pot.  The author grows fascinated with the snail.  The slow pace makes the snail perfect pet.  In some ways, the book is interesting and beautiful, in others it is depressing and scary.  I'm a busy, active mom, the thought of an illness coming on suddenly that could cause me to be bed bound for the next several years is completely frightening.  There are a lot of snail facts here, but the author's obvious love for her subject makes the facts mostly, readable and interesting.  A sweet, little book.

Secretariat by William Nack

First published in 1975, this is the book that inspired the recent movie, Secretariat.

I love horses, live a short drive from one of the nation's finest tracks--Arlington, loved the movie, and love reading about people (or in this case a horse) who achieve greatness, so what's not to love about the book Secretariat!  It does get a bit tedious with all the in depth horse breeding history and race timing breakdowns, but they are minimal annoyances.  I learned so much about horse racing.  I would have liked to learn a bit more about Penny Tweedy, owner; Lucien Laurin, trainer; Ron Turcotte, jockey; and Ed Sweat, groom.  Secretariat was a truly great horse and this was worth while book.  I'm now all set to head to Arlington as soon as I figure out what's happened in horse racing since the 1970's.  (No, really it's just fun to sit and soak it all in.)  Maybe Mother's Day.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen

A 2010 Oprah Book Club Selection

Freedom
Freedom is a bit of a tough read, but it is so worth it.  It covers the lives of Walter and Patty Berglund, their friend Richard, their children, and family, detailing the ups and downs of their lives.  It is written from everyones perspective, going back and forward in time, causing the reader constant adjustments to voice and time.  The characters are wonderfully read, vibrant, and human.  There are several funny moments.  It treats the bad moments with a matter-of-factness that allows the reader to continue reading knowing that live goes on.  Ultimately the book was wonderful!  A thoughtful, well-written book about life and living and the choices we make.  I'm so glad I stuck with it.  I will have the book in my thoughts for some time.

A final note--the book itself is well made.  It was bound with thick quality paper.  A joy to hold and read.  I love the cover!

Saturday, March 19, 2011

What I'm reading now.

I have hit a new all time high or low depending on how you look at it; I am reading four books at once. They are:

Freedom by Jonathan Franzen
Secretariat by William Nack
The Case for God by Karen Armstrong
The Narnia Code by Michael Ward

None of them are easy reads, which is why am reading them at once.  I am enjoying all of them immensely.  I will, of course, post what I thought when I finally finish one.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

The Heart of Christianity by Marcus J. Borg

Rediscovering a Life of Faith.  How We Can Be Passionate Believers Today.

Heart of Christianity

This book is for all those who long to be a Christian, but can't believe Christianity is the one true religion, can't believe the bible is the literal truth.  There is an emerging Christian tradition--a way of seeing the bible and Christian life that means we don't have to suspend our beliefs to fit in.  We can be passionate believers, living the Christian life and Marcus J. Borg shows us the way.  An easily readable book, with well-organized chapters and thoughtful reasoning.  This book put joy in my heart.  I'm not alone; there are others out there who believe as I do.  Consertive Christianity is not the only Christian path.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Confessions of a Counterfeit Farm Girl by Susan McCorkingdale

I saw this book for sale at Target and thought it sounded interesting.  This book is truly funny!  The author has a high flying magazine editor job in New York, but wanted out.  Her husband found a 500 acre cattle farm his brother bought and needed a manager for 2 years.  So, the family moved from New Jersey to the middle-of-no-where.  The book is in short essay/chapter form.  Yes, there are lots of where-am-I-going-to-buy-my-designer-shoes-now, type of jokes, but my favorites are when she discusses her kids.  As a mother myself, I can totally relate to what she says about the crazy stuff her kids do.  There were numerous times when I was reading that I laughed so hard my eyes started tearing up.  The perfect book to laugh away the grey end of winter days.

Tuesday, March 8, 2011

Hold Tight by Harlan Coben

This is a 2011 Abraham Lincoln Books selection.



This book raises the question when/if parents are justified using some of the technology available today to spy of their children.  It is a thought provoking question.  The plot centers around a high school boy who has been acting strangely.  In a last ditch effort to find out what is going on with their son (who has a computer in his bedroom--a big no no in the first place) they put a spy program on his computer.  Later in the book they use the GPS on his phone to track him. I'm sure the High School set (the age group the Abraham Lincoln Books are aimed for) would side with the boy in the book and be outraged that the parents were spying.  The way the book turned out, the author seemed to be saying that spying was bad.  I'm going to say that children of any age (High Schoolers included) must prove that they are trustworthy by being open and honest about their activities.  If they break that trust they have to deal with the consequences.  Yes, spying is extreme, but if I thought I was about to loose my child to drugs, suicide, etc.  I would do it. 

On another note, there was a side story that seemed weird to me.  It didn't seems to add much to the main plot line and it didn't seem very believable.  There was also what I thought was unnecessary violence.  Not that by High School kids haven't been exposed to this and worse.  It just didn't seem necessary to the story.

Saturday, March 5, 2011

More books to come

Believe it or not, I have even more books to blog about to when I have more time.  I have been reading a lot in an effort to hibernate until spring comes.  Plus, my husband has been home a lot of evenings watching Bizarre Foods and Man vs. Food and I have had about enough of it.  This leaves my evenings free to read all I want.  I do insist upon watching Supernatural on Friday nights and Parenthood on Tuesday evenings; my two favorite shows.

Vampire Romance Part 2

I'm the Vampire, That's Why and Don't Talk Back to Your Vampire by Michele Bardsley

book cover of 
I'm the Vampire, That's Why 
 (Broken Heart, Oklahoma, book 1)
by
Michele Bardsley

I had to put these next two books in their own entry, because I loved them so much.  There is no fun escape read I like better than vampire romance, and it gets taken to a whole new level when the book also makes me laugh!  These did that so well.  There was an interesting supernatural world and problem to overcome, plenty of believeable romance, plenty of humor, and even better the heroines are were all mothers before being turned into vampires!  (Four Fangs)

Vampire Romance

If anyone has been following by blog, you will have figured out that I am a huge vampire book fan.  (No it didn't start with Twilight, It started with Interview with a Vampire.)  Here are a few I have read lately:

 From Christine Feehan's Dark Series--Dark Prince and Dark Melody.  The vampires in this series are at risk of loosing their soul's to the Darkness unless they find their life partner.  I love the utter devotion the vampires have for their soul mates, but the books tend to bog down when the hero and heroine sit around for page after page talking about how much the other one means to them.  Will this stop me from reading all bazillion of the books in the series, no way! (Three Fangs)

Kate MacAlister, A Girl's Guide to Vampires.  This one is a bit misleading, because it is not mainly about vampires.  Vampires are a part of the book, however and story is interesting.  There are also more books in this series and they are being rereleased soon.  Here the male vampires are born with darkness as a result of their father's sins and only their soul mate can bring them out of the darkness.  Pretty good.  (Two Fangs)

Kerrelyn Sparks, How to Marry a Millionaire Vampire.  The first book in another long series of books.  This book was a bit lighter than the previous two, but still interesting.  The author has thought up an interesting vampire/supernatural world here with good story lines and romance.  (Two Fangs) 

Note:  My vampire book scale is from one to four fangs.  One being not so hot and Four being on fire. 

Anatomy of a Murder by Robert Traver

The back of this book states that this is "America's original courtroom thriller."  It is copyrighted 1958.  It was an engaging read.  Interesting enough that I clipped through the book fairly quickly, but not so nail biting that I wanted to put my life on hold to finish (which I hate, because I do have a life that I have to live).  I like to read books written in other times because it gives me glimpses of how life was then.  This was no different and I must say--I'm glad we are no longer living in the 1950's.  The antiquated, chauvinistic attitudes toward women in this book were shocking.  Most of the humor was mean spirited and aimed at women. 

As I said in a previous entry, I picked this book up because it was recommended in a Moon Handbook on Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  There were a few descriptions of the local life and scenery that were nice.  Over all, I liked it.  If you are a fan of the T.V. series Law and Order, you will like this. 

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Moon Handbooks

Preparing for Vacation by Reading!

This is the time of year when my thoughts turn toward summer vacation.  When I start planning a vacation, I always reach for Moon Handbooks.  They are by far my favorite.  I like the way the information is presented, the quality of the information, but most importantly...The Resource Section. 

The Resource Section contains a list of recommended books and sometimes movies relating to the area.  I love this!  What better way to prepare for a vacation?  I recommend selecting one or two movies and at least one fiction and one non-fiction book.  See if any of the recommended books are available on CD so the whole family can listen to it one the way.  Get the kids involved too.  There are a plethora of children's books about states, study the map, see if there are any child friendly selections on the list. 

Last year, we went to Michigan's Upper Peninsula.  We watched two movies from the Resource section before hand.  I didn't have time for much reading, but I did a quick review of a couple books.  While in Marquette, I picked-up Anatomy of a murder by Robert Traver from the Resource list.  (The movie based on the book staring Jimmy Stewart is one of the two we watched.)  I am finishing this book now and my thoughts on the book will be coming next.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Life Changing Reads

The Complete Tightwad Gazette by Amy Dacyczyn

This is a compilation book of monthly newsletters written in the 90's by Amy Dacyczyn.  I heard of it from a co-worker back when I was working full-time, but is wasn't until several years later that I began seriously reading it.  At that time, I quit my full-time state job so my husband could pursue an opportunity to further his career.  Needless to say, money was tight.  Reading The Tightwad Gazette completely changed the way I think about spending, saving, and consuming.

We live in a consumer, throw-a-way culture, but we, as individuals, do not need to follow along with this corporate driven model.  The author is pretty extreme about her cost saving measures, doing things I would never do like rinsing out and reusing sandwich bags and aluminum foil, but the book opened me up to a completely new way of thinking about spending.

It is not always easy and I sometimes find myself straying and spending unnecessarily.  That is when I need to reread and strengthen my resolve.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

My Reading Life by Pat Conroy

I knew about the writer, Pat Conroy, because he is a best selling author, but I was most familiar with him because of the movie, The Great Santini,  based on his book.  Over  the summer my book club read his book, South of Broad and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  So when I saw My Reading Life on the Library shelves, I had to check it out.

Mr. Conroy is such an eloquent writer, I found the book very readable and fascinating.  I, of course, adore books, but to read how a famous author describes his love of reading was a revelation.  The chapters about his writing process were interesting.  The book inspired me to branch out, to try reading books I have not considered before or dismissed.  It also inspired me to read War and Peace.  I read Anna Karenina when I was pregnant with my first Child and I have always aspired to read the great War and Peace.  I think it will be my summer selection for 2011!  (Summers are when I do my heavy reading.)

Finally, as a mother, it inspired me to work harder to introduce my children to classic literature.

Note:  The Great Santini is one of my Dad's favorite movies and I have seen it several times, but I have never read the book.  A situation I plan on rectifying as soon as the book comes in on hold at the Library.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

You know you are a book nerd when:

*  You read book about books.  (Just finished, My Reading Life by Pat Conroy (More about that to come).  Other favorites are The Read-Aloud Handbook by Jim Trelease, Book Smart by Jane Mallison, and Great Books for Girls by Kathleen Odean.)

*  You routinely carry around two books.  (Just in case you finish one or get tired of one.  You always need a back-up!) 

*  You take a book to read during your T.V. watching time.  (Especially if your husband is controlling the remote.  Honesty, only I can pick a good show.  Besides I can get a page or two read during the commercials.) 

Monday, January 31, 2011

Stock-up on books!

There is a big winter storm coming here in the midwest.  When you are out getting milk and food, be sure to stop by the Library and load up on books.  After all that shoveling, you'll want to curl up with a good book to wait the storm out. 

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Two new Young Adult books

I just finished two really great Young Adult books--Immortal Beloved by Cate Tiernan and Virals by Kathy Reichs.  They were both really good!

In the Immortal Beloved world Immortals are born to Immortal Parents.  The story focus on 400 plus year old Immortal who spend the last 400 years partying to forget what happened to her when she was 10.  Her life takes a dark turn and she finally seeks help.  The heroine is spunky and interesting.  The first chapter was a bit hard to get into, but then it really took off.  I like reading about someone who has been around for 400 years learning to do farm chores on the organic, rehab farm; learning about her magical abilities; and possibly finding love.  This is the first book of a trilogy.  This is not at all like the other Immortals series out there.  I think I like this one better. 

I have read several of Kathy Reichs' books and they are always good, so I was very excited to read her young adult version, Virals.  It has some science, but now that it is for a younger audience, it is easier to get through.  I like the science geeks, but not nerds angle.  The kids investigate a murder and along the way are exposed to a virus and start to gain abilities.  Interesting, well written, and fun.

Parents note:  Both books had nothing I wouldn't want my 13year old to read!

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert

This was one of my book club's picks; I never would have decided to read this on my own.  I couldn't relate to the entire first half of the books, so it was extremely annoying.  I have always wanted to be nothing more than a wife and mother (An old time view in this day and age).  I have always viewed my jobs as a means to an end, not the end itself.  I consider my life's work to be raising my children.  So it is with this life view that I was reading about a woman who didn't want children and wanted to spend a year traveling.  Did I mention that after four days of vacation I start longing for home?  Her description of her divorce was a lot of reading like poor, pity me, poor, pity me, etc.  I kept thinking that it was so nice for her that even after an expensive divorce that she still had the money to travel around the world for a year.  Italy was interesting.  India was hard to get through (I do not sit still well unless I have a book and don't have much interest in meditation), but I'm glad I kept reading, because the final third of the book was wonderful.  Elizabeth Gilbert is about the opposite of me in probably every way, but her discussion of seeking happiness for your self, being in charge of your own happiness, and growing closer to god WAS interesting and worthwhile.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Reading and being a busy Mom

There is a reason why my reading choices usually tend toward the easier side.  It is because I am either so tired I couldn't concentrate on something more demanding or because the kids and my husband interrupt me CONSTANTLY.  It doesn't matter what they were doing before I started reading, as soon as I pick up a book, the question start rolling in.  I'm not complaining--I love being a wife and mother and I love my easy reads.  There will be plenty of time for tackling the heavier reads later.  (I do manage some more adult book from time to time.)  What is important is that I get some time for me somewhere in there and that I am setting a good reading example for my children.

Saturday, January 15, 2011

House of the Night - Awakened

This is the latest in the House of the Night Series by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast.  I wasn't all that thrilled with the last book (#6), so it was with trepidation that I picked up this offering.  I must say, it was better, but I am more than ready for the series to end.  This book is #7 and it isn't the final book in the series either.  The last book was really, dark, boring, and depressing, but this one picked up.  Zoey and her Guardian boyfriend Stark have almost put themselves back together after dying and coming back.  Stevie Rae and Rephaim continue to work on and figure out their relationship. 

I picked up the first book because I thought it was about vampires and it mostly isn't.  Yes, the main characters are vampires, but that fact plays very little in the story.  It is mostly about elemental magic and goddess worship that it is about vampires.  The story does talk about choosing good over evil and tying religions together, something I like.  Because of this and because I am obsessive about books and MUST complete all series once I start them (unless I really hate them), means, yes, I will grab up the next book due out in 11/11. 

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Picture Books

Since this blog's address has mom in the title, I thought I'd mention one of my favorite picture books, Scaredy Squirrel by Melanie Watt.  This book is cute and really funny.  My six year old son discovered this series last year and we have checked all the books in the series at least twice.  They are really cute and funny.  They are also fun to read.  Some picture books are just a drag to read, but Scaredy Squirrel is always fun.  I definitely recommend it.

P.S. I love it (Midwestern son)

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Guilty Pleasure

Here is where I am going to prove that I am in no way a book snob.  (If anyone hadn't figured this out yet.)  I am going to admit that I love Romance books, Supernatural Romance especially.  There is something about vampire romance that I love.  (Yes I love Twilight.  Read it twice, and read all the other books in the series in one long obsessive session, and have seen all the movies so far.)  

So, I was so happy when I found out about the Riley Jenson Guardian Series.  It's full of Werewolves, Vampires, and hot romance.  This is definitely an adult series--lots of  fairly graphic sex scenes.  Riley is a strong woman who knows what she wants and isn't afraid to go after it.  It has lots of supernatural elements and a page turning story.  Best of all, the dark elements don't overshadow the good making it a non-depressing read!

I definitely recommend the first book in the series, Full Moon Rising by Keri Arthur. 

Friday, January 7, 2011

Like Mother Like Daughter

As a mother of two children, my children are a constant source of joy to me.  There was one moment recently when I have not been prouder of my daughter.  No it was not when she swam her best time at a swim meet, or when she qualified to compete in a band competition, it was when her reading level went so high most adult books are below her reading level.

Let me explain.  My daughter struggled in school from Kindergarten on.  She had to work hard to keep from being left behind, but she kept reading.  Over time she developed a love of reading and just read and read for fun.  That is what did it.  She now is a confirmed reader and I am SO proud of her.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Women's Books

Am I just not picking the right books, is it just me, or all almost all women's fiction really, really depressing? Why so many books about divorce, breakups, and people dying? Where are the heroines who have living children and goals and dreams? Where are the heroines who continue to have lives after they graduate from college and don't just fade into nothing? Where are the heroines who can inspire us? I'M SICK OF IT! Does anyone have any suggestions, because I'm at a loss.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Happy New Year!

Let's all resolve to make time for reading. I am resolving to read more classic fiction and nonfiction this year. It is easy to pick up a fun book, but I get so much out of books that require thinking and some effort to read.