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Thursday, April 30, 2009

ed the spammer

As my kids would say...ed...you're a douchebag.....Thanks to this jerkwad, I'm going to have to start moderating comments. Which annoys me to no end. Not only does Ed spam, Ed spams in a language I can't read/write/or speak. Seems pretty pointless to me, but...again as my carpool kids say...whatever....


Friday, April 24, 2009

Pneumonia's a bitch

I've been silent of late, and haven't even felt like reading other blogs. Nope, I haven't fallen into another dimension, I just came down with an unexpected case of pneumonia last Saturday. It's a weird one, no cough or congestion, just fever and the Mother of all back pain. I couldn't believe it when the urgent care doc said it was pneumonia! In fact, I was so sure that the young "Doogie Howser" was wrong that I went and visited my own doc the following Monday. Huh...son of a gun...I have pneumonia. Aside from feeling like I got hit by a Mack Truck, I'm on the road to recovery though.

I still don't feel much like any computer time, but I'm feeling bad that I'm not doing any online participation, so I figured maybe an explanation of sorts, might placate my guilt.

I thought I'd get lots of reading done, but I'm just dragging there too. It seems like all I do is sleep, stare into space and when that tuckers me out...sleep some more! What a bum I've become!

Y'all have a good weekend..I'm gonna go take a nap.....

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Wednesday Winner!!

After plugging all the entries into random.org, the winner of this weeks giveaway is.....*drumroll please..........

Congratulations to Lethea Benson! Lethea is the winner of Matthew Glass's Ultimatum! Check your email Lethea!

Thanks to everyone who entered! Keep checking back, I have something special planned for giveaways starting next week!

Friday, April 10, 2009

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

In the debut novel, The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano, little Melody McCartney was only six years old when she and her parents witnessed a brutal murder. The family was placed into the federal Witness Protection Program and Melody spent her childhood moving from one city to another, from one name to another. Twenty years later, Melody is alone, using the Program to start over when boredom and ennui strike her. During the process of “starting over”, a man approaches her and calls her by her real name. Melody finds the lure of being with someone who actually knows her, knows her past, her name, the real her, so irresistible, she defies the feds and goes with the man. This man is Jonathan Bovaro, the son of the mafia crime boss who started everything when Melody was six. Who can she trust? The federal government who she knows sees her as a pawn in their effort to bring down the Bovaro crime family? Or Jonathan, the son of the man who destroyed her life?

First, a disclaimer, I don’t usually like Mob books or movies. I know, it’s a wildly popular genre, but I’ve just never been all that interested. That said, I was surprised how much I really liked The Girl She Used to Be. I’ve read many reviews that commented how difficult it was to believe that the author was male, and I’ve thought, “Hm, that’s an odd thing to mention”. But now that I’ve read the book, I understand what they mean. Cristofano’s dialogue and thoughts are spot on, and the voice of Melody is authentic. And the other reviewers are right, when I stopped to think about it, it did seem surprising. Cristofano’s writing is excellent, he manages in a few short lines to describe completely Melody’s first night when starting again, in a new life.

“I drop my head to my pillow and feel a rush of warmth that suggests slumber is a moment away. Even with being in a strange town and a strange bed and my hair now short and stinking of chemicals, I feel safe. Very safe.”

The Girl She Used to Be works on many levels. Superficially, it’s an interesting story, about a young woman finally discovering whom she could be when allowed to choose for herself. But it’s also a story about new beginnings, about each of us. Who hasn’t looked at themselves at least once during their lives and thought, “That’s it, I’m done. I want a do-over.” This book shows that “do-overs” aren’t all they’re cracked up to be, and by sticking it out and choosing our own paths through life, we finally can get the life we want.

You can read a great interview with the author by clicking here.

My rating:

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich

Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich is another in the Stephanie Plum series. Here’s what Booklist had to say about the novel:

Our heroine, the irrepressible bounty hunter Stephanie Plum, finds herself watching over a goth teen called Zook, who is heavily into gaming, after his mom can’t make bail and disappears (or has been kidnapped). A lot of people think there is stolen money buried in or near Officer Morelli’s little house—that’s Steph’s Morelli, the cop who is her number-one boyfriend most of the time, or at least when the entrancing Ranger isn’t nearby. The money is the reason behind Zook’s mom’s disappearance, and it’s the tie that binds Evanovich’s various plotlines, which carom about endlessly, not always resolving. Questions abound: Are Steph’s sidekick, the plus-size Lula, and Ranger’s man Tank really engaged? Ranger is working security for a fading but brassy pop star: How does Steph manage to get into and out of her reality show? Can Zook and his sidekicks protect Morelli’s house—and Stephanie—with their homegrown weaponry (think potatoes as missiles)? Where else but Evanovich’s fourteenth novel can a line like “it’s raining money and popsicles!” actually make sense? Fans will be delighted, but others, who stumble into the series at this advanced point, may find themselves starved for backstory, so much so that they may need to go all the way back to One for the Money (1994).

As for me, what’s not to love about Stephanie, Grandma Mazur, Ranger, Morelli and especially Lula? If you haven’t read any of the novels, start with the first, One for the Money and get busy reading!! They’re all a lot of fun, and Fearless Fourteen was no different.

I listened to this novel, rather than reading it and Lorelei King absolutely nails the reading! She IS the voice of Stephanie, and does an awesome Lula and a more than passable Morelli as well. I can’t wait for Finger Lickin’ Fifteen due out in June.

My rating:

The Necklace by Cheryl Jarvis Guest Review

A BIG thank you goes out to my guest reviewer today, Ila M.

From Amazon

The true story of thirteen women who took a risk on an expensive diamond necklace and, in the process, changed not only themselves but a community.

Four years ago, in Ventura, California, Jonell McLain saw a diamond necklace in a local jewelry store display window. The necklace aroused desire first, then a provocative question: Why are personal luxuries so plentiful yet accessible to so few? What if we shared what we desired? Several weeks, dozens of phone calls, and a leap of faith later, Jonell bought the necklace with twelve other women, with the goal of sharing it.

Part charm, part metaphor, part mirror, the necklace weaves in and out of each woman’s life, reflecting her past, defining her present, making promises for her future. Lending sparkle in surprising and unexpected ways, the necklace comes to mean something dramatically different to each of the thirteen women.
With vastly dissimilar histories and lives, the women show us how they transcended their individual personalities and politics to join together in an uncommon journey. What started as a quirky social experiment became something far richer and deeper, as the women transformed a symbol of exclusivity into a symbol of inclusiveness. They discovered that sharing the necklace among themselves was only the beginning; The more they shared with others, the more profound this experience–and experiment–became.

Original, resonant, and beautifully told, this book is an inspiring story about a necklace that became greater than the sum of its links, and about thirteen ordinary women who understood the power of possibility, who touched the lives of a community, and who together created one extraordinary experience.

"The Necklace", a wonderful true story of thirteen very diversified women who proved they could together solve their problems, hopes, dreams and share a necklace. What if women ruled the world! This experiment shows they could probably give the world what it is so sorely in need of. PEACE! I have never yearned for diamonds but even I was left wondering what it would be like to wear a diamond necklace worth that many dollars. I would be afraid of losing it as some of the women were when they first received it. I think I could handle it. Because we don't live in California nor watch a lot of TV I had never heard of it before reading the book. Thanks for a great read.

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo

Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo introduces Kate Burkholder, Chief of Police in the small town of Painter’s Mill, Ohio. Kate grew up just outside of Painter’s Mill, in an Amish family. Her understanding of the local Amish community made her the perfect choice to fill the position on the police department. Now, it seems that a serial killer has re-emerged after a 16-year hiatus, and Kate is determined to catch him. She knows more about the killer than she’s saying; when she was a young teen the man attacked her, and her family left him for dead. Now she must find a way to catch him and bring him to justice, while protected her Amish family and her past.

I was blown away by Sworn to Silence. I had inferred from the back cover of the ARC I received that this was Castillo’s first novel. It was the best first novel I’d ever read! Then I did some checking and discovered that her publisher is being a bit disingenuous. This is Castillo’s first novel of this genre, but she is a well-established author in the romance genre. After feeling a might let down by the publisher’s description of the author as, “A spectacular new voice in Suspense….”, I realized it didn’t matter. In fact, I’m very impressed that an established romance author can write mystery and suspense so well. I’m really not a fan of the romance genre, no patience for ruffled bodices covering heaving bosoms, but I’m now a fan of Castillo’s!

The plot is a real page-turner, the characters have depth, and the writing is excellent. I loved some of the descriptions; one of my favorites was regarding a suspect that had been taken into custody, after pitching a bit of a fit and resisting arrest. “An abrasion the size of a pear mars Brower’s forehead. His hair is wet with melting snow. He looks like a pit bull that just had its ass kicked by a roving band of Chihuahuas.” This quote comes from the Advanced Reader Copy, I sure hope they don’t edit it out…it’s just perfect!

Summing up….great book! I can’t wait for the sequel! (There’s a sequel, right Ms. Castillo??….)

My rating:

Wonderous Words Wednesday!

Wondrous Words Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Kathy at bermudaonion where we share new (to us) words that we’ve encountered in our reading. Feel free to join in the fun!

Today's words all come from Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne Scott.

“When Lugosi left the Memphis newspaper to “head west” late last year, Selonnah purged him from her mind and now he seemed resurrected, perennially renascent as his namesake.”

Renascent--being reborn; springing again into being or vigor

“It was as if time were knitting a caesura.”

Caesura -- A pause in a line of verse dictated by sense or natural speech rhythm rather than by metrics. Or A pause or interruption, as in conversation: After another weighty caesura the senator resumed speaking.

“They would have jumped on this, he thought grimly to himself, faster than you could say apostolic interregnum.”

Apostolic-- of or characteristic of an apostle.
Interregnum--A gap in continuity.

I looked up both words…and really, I’m still not too sure what the heck this guy’s talking about!! Maybe a gap in the continuity of the apostles of the church, like one guy dies and it takes some time for another?

“But somebody had actually reified those penalties on the body of an apostate.”

Reify-- to convert into or regard as a concrete thing: to reify a concept.

“With a spiritual dusting off of his resurrected hands, Moroni’s soteriological job was done.”

Soteriological--The theological doctrine of salvation as effected by Jesus.

I don't think I'll ever work these words into a conversation!! Some obscure words, at least for me! (I'm feeling a tad dumbed down today!!)

What new words have you discovered lately?

Check out Kathy's blog for additional posts!

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

The Richest Season by Maryann Mcfadden Guest Review

Please welcome a guest review today from Ila M. (thanks Mom....)

From Amazon

Sometimes you have to leave your life to find yourself again . . .

After more than a dozen moves in twenty-five years of marriage, Joanna Harrison is lonely and tired of being a corporate wife. Her children are grown and gone, her husband is more married to his job than to her, and now they're about to pack up once more. Panicked at the thought of having to start all over again, Joanna commits the first irresponsible act of her life. She runs away to Pawleys Island, South Carolina, a place she's been to just once.

She finds a job as a live-in companion to Grace Finelli, a widow who has come to the island to fulfill a girlhood dream. Together the two women embark on the most difficult journey of their lives: Joanna struggling for independence, roots, and a future of her own, as her family tugs at her from afar; and Grace, choosing to live the remainder of her life for herself alone, knowing she may never see her children again.

Entwined is Paul Harrison's story as he loses his wife, his job, and everything that defines him as a man. He takes off on his own journey out west, searching for the answers to all that has gone wrong in his life. One thing remains constant: He wants his wife back.

Joanna, however, is moving farther away from her old life as she joins a group dedicated to rescuing endangered loggerhead turtles, led by a charismatic fisherman unlike anyone she's ever met.

The Richest Season is a stunning debut about three very different people, each changing their lives when such transformations are usually long over. It will resonate with any woman who's ever fantasized about leaving home to find herself.

The "Richest Season" by Maryann McFadden was a great read for me. I have spent a great deal of my life near the water and on the ocean. This book made me want to visit Pawley's Island. I have known Grace's in my life who wanted to remain independent even though they needed assistance. Grace's name fits her aptly. Joanna's character displays an inner strength that no one seemed to know she was capable of. I wanted to cheer her on as she builds her new life. I look forward to other books by this author.

Monday, April 6, 2009

Another Great Giveaway (or Who doesn't love free books??!)

When the mailman came today, he blessed me with an inexplicable second copy of Matthew Glass's Ultimatum. I received another copy last week, and thought I'd pass this nice brand spankin' new hardcover on to someone else. And since I'm not above beefing up my stats by giving away a book..here goes!

I haven't had a chance to read the book yet, but you can click HERE and see what the folks over at Amazon have to say about the book.

To enter this giveaway, please leave me a comment and include an email address or blog address so I can get hold of you when you win.

For an extra entry, blog about the contest and leave a link to the post.

And for yet ANOTHER entry, follow my blog! (Yes, I am, in fact shameless!)

How easy is that three chances to win!!

I'll throw all the entries in a hat and draw out the winners on Wednesday, April 15th. (Just a little something to console us on Tax Day!!)

Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott

Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne C. Scott is ostensibly a murder mystery, the book opens when a young woman, Kirsten Young is found murdered and left displayed in popular canyon. Into her flesh, odd symbols and markings are carved, and a note is found with the body written in an obscure 19th century code. The symbols and note are connected with historical aspects of the Mormon Church, and the Church, always careful to protect its image, quietly calls on a few of its members to defuse the issue.

The book quickly becomes much more than it appears. One part murder mystery and one part exposé of the theological flaws in one of the worlds most powerful religions; in addition the book addresses quite well what happens when someone suffers a crisis in faith. When the very foundations of their beliefs are shaken and cracked. Scott’s protagonists are believable, and her faith is woven throughout the story, an integral thread that holds it all together. Yet the book never stoops to shallow preachiness. Instead we see real people struggling with their beliefs and faith. Against this backdrop, Scott has devised a rousing good mystery. Add to that, the fascinating glimpse into the secret and hidden practices of the Mormon Church, and you have a compelling read that I highly recommend.

My rating:

Mailbox Monday, April 6, 2009

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia of The Printed Page. What books came into your home last week?

Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad, received from Shelf Awareness ad, (I think).
From the age of three, Norman Ollestad was thrust into the world of surfing and competitive downhill skiing by the intense, charismatic father he both idolized and resented. While his friends were riding bikes, playing ball, and going to birthday parties, young Norman was whisked away in pursuit of wild and demanding adventures. Yet it were these exhilarating tests of skill that prepared "Boy Wonder," as his father called him, to become a fearless champion—and ultimately saved his life.
Flying to a ski championship ceremony in February 1979, the chartered Cessna carrying Norman, his father, his father's girlfriend, and the pilot crashed into the San Gabriel Mountains and was suspended at 8,200 feet, engulfed in a blizzard. "Dad and I were a team, and he was Superman," Ollestad writes. But now Norman's father was dead, and the devastated eleven-year-old had to descend the treacherous, icy mountain alone.
Set amid the spontaneous, uninhibited surf culture of Malibu and Mexico in the late 1970s, this riveting memoir, written in crisp Hemingwayesque prose, recalls Ollestad's childhood and the magnetic man whose determination and love infuriated and inspired him—and also taught him to overcome the indomitable. As it illuminates the complicated bond between an extraordinary father and his son, Ollestad's powerful and unforgettable true story offers remarkable insight for us all.

Ultimatum by Matthew Glass , received from Shelf Awareness ad, (again…I think…my record keeping was atrocious on these two books! I didn’t even remember requesting them! It’s hell getting old!).
From Booklist
In this near-future thriller, Joe Benton, the newly elected president of the U.S., is shocked to learn that his predecessor’s administration has been knowingly underreporting the catastrophic effects of global warming. In truth, the world is dangerously close to disaster, forcing Benton to find a way to broker an accord between the world’s worst polluter, China, and the U.S. But can the new president forge a path to peace with the U.S.’s old enemy? Fans of political thrillers will flock to this one, which combines realistic characters with shrewd political and environmental commentary. Some readers might quibble that the world of 2032 is a bit vaguely formed (with small changes, the novel could as easily have been set next year), but that’s a fairly minor quibble. The novel is propelled by character and dialogue, but it’s solidly plotted, too, and given the current public interest in global warming, it may spark some interesting debate on the subject.

Feeling a might bit irritated by the letter received with Ultimatum…in it the publisher describes the book as a “cross between a Michael Crichton type thriller and the TV show West Wing”. I’ve never seen West Wing, but after reading the book blurb, I have to wonder if the publisher ever read Crichton’s “State of Fear”? Crichton must be rolling over in his grave to have his book mentioned in connection with this book!