Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

This was an absolutely fantastic book! This is my second book by this author (she also wrote another of my all-time favorites -
Eating Heaven) and I think her writing is wonderful, as are the stories she tells.

This book is about Mira, a woman in her mid-40s who leaves her husband and family. It's not the most unusual plot, but this one is told with such warmth and depth that it's completely fresh. I love how Mira is re-discovering her sexuality and learning to live as herself. I love how the relationship between her and her daughter seems so real to me - as a daughter, it very closely mirrors my own relationship with my mother. I love how she grows up a bit, too, and begins to be more accepting of others and of herself.

I give this one all 5 stars!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tale of Despereaux by Kate/ Ering, Timothy Basil (ILT) DiCamillo

What I\
Tale of Despereaux by Kate/ Ering, Timothy Basil (ILT) DiCamillo

I wanted to make sure I read this book before the movie comes out next month! It's a really sweet story about overcoming obstacles, the power of friendship and love, and other wonderful lessons you want your children to learn.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eleven on Top (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich

Eleven on Top (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich

I keep on loving this series!!! In this one, Stephanie quits the bounty-hunting business, but she just can't shake it! Between having to help Lula (who has decided to step in Stephanie's bounty-hunting position), getting scary notes from a stalker, having her car bombed (again!), and helping Ranger out, she's still right in the thick of things.

This one, like all the ones before, had me laughing out loud! If anyone hasn't started this series, they really really need to :)

4 1/2 stars!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

What I\
The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

On one hand, this was a great thriller - fast paced, hard to put down, great mystery, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, characters, and gore :)

BUT, I have to say that there were too many parts of this novel that just was asking too much of the reader. I am perfectly willing to suspend reality to a certain point, but this one just asked too much. Without giving away anything, I'll just say this - too many coincidences. Too many plot-driven contrivances.

Overall, it's a good thriller - the writing is excellent, and the mystery is solid. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Book 3)

I was anxiously waiting for this book to come out, and I bought it right away! Happily, I was not disappointed. The first two books in this series were excellent, but this third one managed to surpass them.

This book is far more dark and emotional than the first two. In the first two, Rose is still underage, but as this book starts, she's very close to her 18th birthday and graduation, and begins to truly mature. Sadly, with the events of the last book and the things she deals with in this one, she grows up fast.

Highly recommend this series! The next one is scheduled to be published in September '09 - I can't wait!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Keepsake: A Novel by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake: A Novel by Tess Gerritsen
In this latest book in the Jane Rizzoli series, several "preserved" bodies of women lead Jane and medical examiner Maura into the world of Egyptian mummies and head shrinking! There's a lot packed into this book - intrigue, a compelling mystery, great characters, and loads of interesting Egyptian facts!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The story is a bit cliche - the new teacher struggles to be accepted by her students, takes some wrong turns, but in the end remembers why she chose the profession in the first place. The book, however, is not cliche. The main character, Anna Taggert, is very likeable, even when she's choosing money over substance. And her growth during her first year as a teacher is compelling - we see her really struggle to reach her students and her frustration when her efforts are thwarted by parents, school administrators, and sadly even other teachers. Thankfully, in the end, she finds her way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Asking For Murder (Advice Column Mysteries) by Roberta Isleib

What I\
Asking For Murder (Advice Column Mysteries) by Roberta Isleib

This is the 3rd book in the series, and I think it might be the best one yet! Rebecca's friend is found beaten in her home, and Rebecca takes it upon herself to find out what happened.

There's lots of intrigue, some red herrings, and some romance teasers throughout. But the resolution at the end brings everything together nicely.

This series is definitely a winner! 4 1/2 stars :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

This is a beautifully written book, and I am so sorry that I've finished it! I have really enjoyed living in this world and being with these characters.

Gibby is a 20 year old girl living with her grandfather. After suffering a head trauma in a car accident that killed her parents, she struggles with being NQR (Not Quite Right). I'm in awe at Ms. Kagen's talent - the book was written in Gibby's voice, and it was always true to her character. The words, the phrasing, and the feelings all rang true.

There are also plenty of other amazing characters, from the circle of family and friends who help Gibby to the ones who are out to do her harm.

There is suspense, romance, and true friendship, as well as intrigue and a mystery or two. I highly recommend this book! 4 1/2 stars

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou, Steve Johnson, and Lou Fancher

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou, Steve Johnson, and Lou Fancher

When Lydia was born, I started the tradition of buying a special Christmas book for her. This beautiful book was my pick this year.

I stood in the bookstore's children's area and read through it and by the end of the book, I had tears on my cheeks.

To quote:


Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian.
Implore you to stay awhile with us
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It's Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

USA Today's Top Selling Books - Meme!

USA Today's Top Selling Books - Meme!
S. Krishna's Books decided to turn USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books of Last 15 Years into a meme. Let's see how I do!

So here's the deal: bold what you've read, italicize what you own, star books on your TBR list!

1 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
2 Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution - Robert C. Atkins
3 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
10 Who Moved My Cheese? - Spencer Johnson
11 The South Beach Diet - Arthur Agatston
12 Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom
13 Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
14 What to Expect When You're Expecting - Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway
15 The Purpose-Driven Life - Rick Warren
16 The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
17 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
18 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
19 Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray
20 **The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
21 Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
22 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
23 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... And It's All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
24 **The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
25 **Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
26 Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
27 The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
28 The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
29 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
30 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
31 A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
32 Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
33 The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
34 Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
35 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
36 Body-for-Life - Bill Phillips, Michael D’Orso
37 New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
38 **Night - Elie Wiesel, translations by Marion Wiesel and Stella Rodway
39 Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen
40 The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
41 **Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
42 The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
43 Wicked - Gregory Maguire
44 Good to Great - Jim Collins
45 **Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
46 Eragon - Christopher Paolini
47 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells
48 Your Best Life Now - Joel Osteen
49 In the Kitchen With Rosie - Rosie Daley
50 Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach
51 A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
52** A Million Little Pieces - James Frey*
53 The Testament - John Grisham
54 Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger
55 Deception Point - Dan Brown
56 **The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
57 Marley & Me - John Grogan
58 Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter - Robert C. Atkins
59 **Life of Pi - Yann Martel
60 The Brethren - John Grisham
61 The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide - Arthur Agatston
62 **The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham
63 For One More Day - Mitch Albom
64 The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
65 **The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
66 **The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
67 What to Expect the First Year - Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, Sandee Hathaway
68 Love You Forever - Robert Munsch, art by Sheila McGraw
69 Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss
70 A Painted House - John Grisham
71 The Rainmaiker - John Grisham
72 Skipping Christmas - John Grisham
73 Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
74 The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
75 Life Strategies - Phillip C. McGraw
76 Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Laura Hillenbrand
77 The Summons - John Grisham
78 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
79 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
80 The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
81 Goodnight Moon Board Book - Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd
82 The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger
83** Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
84 The Giver - Lois Lowry
85 Embraced by the Light - Betty J. Eadie
86 The Chamber - John Grisham
87 **You: On A Diet - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
88 The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson
89 Holes - Louis Sachar
90 Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
91 The Shack - William P. Young
92**The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
93 Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
94 A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
95 The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav
96 Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
97 The Partner - John Grisham
98 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
99 Eldest: Inheritance, Book II - Christopher Paolini
100 The Broker - John Grisham
101 The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
102 A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
103 **The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
104 **Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
105 The King of Torts - John Grisham
106 **The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
107 The Horse Whisperer - Nicholas Evans
108 Hannibal - Thomas Harris
109 **The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
110 Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
111 The Glass Castle: A Memoir - Jeannette Walls*
112 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
113 The Last Juror - John Grisham
114 **The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
115 Left Behind - Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
116 America (The Book) - Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show
117 The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
118 **John Adams - David McCullough
119 The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
120 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
121 Sugar Busters! - H. Leighton Steward, Sam S. Andrews, Morrison C. Bethea, Luis A. Balart122 Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
123 The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
124 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life - Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
125 **The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
126 **1776 - David McCullough
127 The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
128 Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
129 The Ultimate Weight Solution - Phillip C. McGraw
130 Protein Power - Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades
131 Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
132 Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
133 Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
134 **Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
135 You: The Owner's Manual - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
136 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List - Patricia Schultz
137 Self Matters - Phillip C. McGraw
138 She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
139 1984 - George Orwell
140 The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
141 The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
142 The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
143 The Zone - Barry Sears, Bill Lawren
144 The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve
145 The Lost World Michael Crichton
146 Atonement - Ian McEwan
147 He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
148 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
149 **The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
150 Cross - James Patterson

Our New President!

This morning, I made Lydia suffer through a few minutes of news and told her she needed to make sure she always remembered this morning - our country's first black president. It's a monumental day! And I feel confident that in Lydia's lifetime, and hopefully even my own, we'll see a woman president. I'm thrilled that this opens the door to a much wider playing field of exceptional people for our nation's highest office!

As for this president, I am so excited (and hugely relieved!!) that Obama won. Finally, a president who will lead our country and represent our country who is dignified, well-spoken, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic - someone who can strengthen our foreign ties, who can hopefully make some much-needed changes here.

Now if we can just get through the next few months until he actually takes office!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Catching up on Reviews!

Recently read:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - This is a fabulous novel about a high school student who spends her freshman year isolated and in pain after being raped during the summer. The book is beautifully written, with so much compassion for Melinda. I know this one will stay with me for a long time.

The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall - I think this book could have been so much better. It started off so good - I couldn't put it down! But then about halfway through, it lost it's momentum and became hard to read. The book deals with a violin teacher who has a young girl come to her for lessons - and the girl is brilliant, with natural talent for the violin. I would have enjoyed reading more about the interaction between the teacher and student, rather than so much about the natural talent and how a musician is close to God...

Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin - I really enjoyed this book about a married woman who runs into an old lover and begins to question her choices in life. My biggest complaint about this book is that it is almost all narrative. There is very little "action" or dialogue - most of the book is Ellen's internal discussions about the choice she must make. Overall, the book is very good, but not as good as her others, especially Something Borrowed and Something Blue, two favorites of mine.