Saturday, November 14, 2009

Happy Birthday to Us!

Have you ever heard of Grind Out Hunger? Well, you should.

Click on the picture to get some info!

Grind Out Hunger is the brainchild of our friend Danny Keith. Now, Danny is awesome people. He owns Santa Cruz Skate Shop and does 5 million other things, but mostly, his claim to fame is that he married a girl that I’ve known since she was a giggly little girl who looks more like my sister than I do. She’s still pretty giggly too.

We've much admired Danny & Taniya's commitment to trying to help out whenever and however they can so this year we thought maybe we could help them out!

My brother-in-law, Dave celebrates his birthday on November 16th, my birthday is the 28th and Ray turns 32 on the 30th. Ray thought it would be fun to invite all of our friends to spend a little money on themselves on our birthday and join us at La Torta Gorda for lunch on the 29th of November. We’ll be there from 11 a.m. until about 2 p.m. Check out their menu at I guarantee you will drool. Seriously.

La Torta Gorda opened their doors at the end of September and they make some frakken delicious food. More tortas than you can shake a stick at (what does that even mean? They have a lot of tortas, that’s what it means.) and the most mouthwatering thing that I wake up every day and lust for…..Carne Asada Fries.

Ray, being the youngest of us three November babies is feeling rather brave. Will he slay a dragon this year? Probably not. Go to a New Kids on the Block concert with us? No. Eat a gianormous torta and a full order of Carne Asada Fries just to get his picture on the wall of fame? Yes. That’s right people, Ray will attempt the La Torta Gorda Challenge. Feel free to join him. Those festivities will begin around 12:00.

Now, where does Danny Keith come, you ask? We’d love it if you brought us tons of presents this year. Tons. No need to wrap them, just throw some canned and other non-perishable food items in a bag and Danny will take them over to Second Harvest Food Bank for us! Let’s help Grind Out Hunger reach their goal of bringing in 100,000 pounds of food!

So let us know if you will be joining us. We would love to see everyone and whoever you’d like to bring. It’s always nice to meet new people on your birthday!! Party is open to all!! If you could please RSVP so we have an idea of how much cake to get and if you’d like to attempt the La Torta Gorda Challenge. You can either comment on this blog to RSVP or email me at

Hope to see you there!!

Wednesday, September 30, 2009

Faerie Lord

Two years after almost bringing the Faeries of the Night and the Faeries of the Light to a Civil War Faerie Lord finds Henry moving on with his life in the Analogue World. Kicking himself for turning down Blue he heads back to Mr. Fogarty's house to return Hodge and finds a middle aged Pyrgus searching for him. A plague causing victims to age rapidly has swept both Nighters and Lighters in the Faerie Realm and Mr. Fogarty is among the ill. Henry must travel back to the Faerie Realm to convince Mr. Fogarty to return to the Analogue World where the disease becomes dormant before it kills him. Now Henry and Blue must discover the source of the plague and put an end to it before all of Faerie is destroyed.

The conclusion to the Faerie War Chronicles is quite an interesting chapter in the tale. Herbie Brennan brings closure to about every aspect of the series, including the fate of Henry and Blue's relationship. This book focuses mainly on Henry and his quest to find courage and save Blue despite feeling less than worthy for the Queen of Faerie and Demon. Along the way Henry meets a boy who shows him what bravery and friendship really mean. Blue must decide what is more important to her, the Faerie Realm or Henry. No longer is she the young, inexperienced ruler, yet there are still some in the Realm who think she is.

Quite a satisfactory ending to a fantastic journey!

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

Blue Bloods

Of course, you know I can't get enough of vampires.

Melissa de la Cruz's Blue Bloods series takes us into a different world of vampires and immortality. How different, you ask? Well, these vampires are not humans who have been bitten and siree. These blue blooded vampires were once angels who followed Lucifer. Now cursed to spend eternity in the Mortal World, the Blue Bloods spend their time (and money) trying to make the world a beautiful place so they can earn their place back in Heaven, or Paradise, or whatever it is. Among the 'regular angels' we find Michael and Gabrielle. They chose to come to the Mortal World with their kind and were not cast out in sin. Therefore, they are the Untainted.

While the new take on vampires is refreshing, Melissa de la Cruz's writing is not. The first three books could easily have been one book if she spent less time talking about the clothes everyone's wearing and concentrated more on the character development and story. She tends to drag everything out so there seems to be no conclusion to anything. To top it off, the characters are not at all likeable! They're either snotty, wishy-washy, or just plain dumb.

Of course, Schuyler Van Alen doesn't fit into the exclusive little world that she lives in. Maybe it's because of the way she spells her name? Anyway....always an outcast, Schuyler suddenly finds herself part of the Blue Blood society yet still on the outskirts. Harboring a crush on the most popular (and one of the most powerful) vampires, Jack Force, Schuyler becomes the target of Mimi's, Jack's twin and bonded soulmate, wrath. With her faithful human Conduit, Oliver, at her side she alone must find a way to stop the powerful Silver Bloods who threaten the very exsistence of the Blue Bloods all while mending her broken heart. Corny? Yes. Will I continue to read the series? Of course!

The Faerie Path

Anita was just a normal sixteen-year-old when she was pulled through from the Mortal World into the Faerie World. In Faerie World she finds for 500 years the land has seen little happiness. Since she disappeared mysteriously from the Faerie World her mother, Queen Titania drowned in a tragic boating accident. Her father, King Oberon could take no more grief and plunged the land in enternal darkness. When his youngest daughter returns the people of the land rejoice and sunshine spills across the lands.

But Anita cannot remember any of her life in the Faerie World and longs to return to London where she's sure her parents are frantically searching for her. She must choose who needs her more, the people of Faerie World or the ones she left behind in the Mortal World.

And so begins the tale of Tania, Faerie Princess in The Faerie Path by Frewin Jones. Of course, I love me some young adult fantasy and the story is interesting and fraught with possibilites. The writing isn't quite as sophisticated as Suzanne Collins or Cinda Williams Chima, but Frewin paints an intriguing faerie world where the paintings move and respond to feelings and animals communicate with those who have the gift. The book feels quite as if it was written for a 16 year old (which of course, it is), but I think the series is delightful in itself to continue on.

Ruler of the Realm

Ruler of the Realm is the 3rd book in Herbie Brennan's Faerie Wars series. Blue, now Queen of the Lighters finds herself on the brink of a civil war between the Faeries of the Light & the Faeries of the Dark. Blue is clever, brave and fair, but she is just a 16 year old Faerie who is struggling with grief, stress and a huge crush on her human friend Henry. Meanwhile, Henry seems to have been abducted by aliens while walking home from his father's apartment (after walking in on his Dad's new girlfriend getting out of the shower) and can't remember days in which he disappeared without a trace.

Definitely the most exciting in the series thus far. Blue is a wonderful character! The series benefited greatly when the focus shifted from Pyrgus, the reluctant Crown Prince, to Blue. Despite the fact that Blue is the younger of the two she is much more mature and responsible than her emotion driven brother. Her thoughts are always for the betterment of the Realm whereas Pyrgus wants the perks, but not the responsibilities that come with being an Emperor.

There are many characters to follow, but Brennan does so in a way that eases you into each chapter so you're not left confused and wondering. The glossary at the end of each book helps the reader understand a little better the Faerie-speak without forcing Brennan to spend so much time explaining everything.

The book ends with a definite cliff hanger of sorts so it's off to the Faerie Lord, possibly the last in the series, I go!

Friday, September 18, 2009

The Girl Who Played with Fire

After waiting only a week I scored big time when I got notification that my request for Stieg Larsson's The Girl Who Played with Fire was ready for me to pick up. I thought for sure, after the success of The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo I would have to wait months.

Immediately I dug in and discovered the reading world is quite unfortunate to have lost Stieg Larsson. The Girl Who Played with Fire starts out much quicker than Dragon Tattoo did. I found myself quite lost in the beginning of Dragon Tattoo as Larsson went into detail the financial world to set the stage for Blomkvist's trial and conviction. With Fire, there wasn't any of that, he just dove right into the story.

The Girl Who Played with Fire starts off about two years after The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. We find Lisbeth has been abroad, traveling with her seemingly endless amounts of money she aquired in the previous novel. There is a short story line that ends up going nowhere except to show the type of personality Lisbeth has. She returns to Sweden and unsure of what to do with herself begins to make moves to start a new life. However, a name from her past opens up a long buried desire for revenge and she finds herself a wanted murder suspect, hunted by the police, the criminals and friends alike.

The book leaves with a conclusion, but if I wasn't already aware there would be another book I would have been very upset! While the beginning might have been quite long and drawn out once the story gets going I wasn't able to put the book down until the very end. I'm thrilled that there is a third book due out, but quite saddened that The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest will be the last of the adventures of Mikael Blomkvist & Lisbeth Salander.

Thursday, September 10, 2009

I'm a Gleek

I absolutely ADORE Glee. If I could create my own TV show it would be exactly this show. The cast is phenomenally talented, but I can't get enough of Lea Michele.

Lea made her Broadway debut at the tender age of 8 when she was picked from an open audition to play young Cosette in Les Miserables and she's been working ever since. Her biggest success was originating the role of Wendella in Spring Awakening for which she won a Drama Desk award in 2007.

Looking like a mini Idina Menzel (a role model of Lea's) she's got the voice to match. It's such a joy to listen to her sing! I thought her duet with Cory Monteith was the best thing I'd ever heard (and the reason I knew I'd be watching the rest of the series), but then last night she belted out her version of Rhianna's Take a Bow and I was blown away. She made that song her own.

The episodes just don't come around fast enough! I love that there's several songs to an episode! I can't wait until the soundtracks come out. Emma and I will be singing along!

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Guilty Pleasures

Guilty Pleasures (aka my new book series obsession) by Laurell K. Hamilton is the first in a series of 17 introducing Anita Blake to the world.

Anita Blake is a very busy 24 year old! Besides holding a regular job as an Animator (a Necromancer) she's also a consultant for the St. Louis PD's RPIT departmant, or Regional Preternatural Investgation Team, and a vampire hunter. In a day and age where vampires, weres and other mythical beings are given rights are treated as every other human being Anita lives in quite a progressive time. Similar to True Blood (I haven't read that series yet, just watched the show) vampires are split between those who wish to go 'mainstream' and those who just want to do what they want to.

There's no explanation why Anita has such a dislike for vampires or why she went into the vampire hunting business to begin with. Quite like Buffy the Vampire Slayer, she's not just knowledgeable about vampires, but also ghouls and the were-people, but unlike Buffy she admits her fears, she's not always tough. She has emotion that you never saw with Buffy. Yet still, it is much darker than Buffy. I found myself jumping at random sounds around the house while reading this book in broad daylight!

All in all, throughout this first book Anita is a likeable, quite human, superheroine. We'll see if the series holds up, but I don't have many doubts about that!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Oh Yummy Paella

Today two of my sisters-in-law (I always want to say sister-in-laws) Irene & Theresa, Ray, Emma and I headed downtown via light rail to make our yearly visit to Tapestry in Talent. Tapestry in Talent has been going on for much longer than I have been alive, or at least that's how it feels.

On the way there on light rail we met a lovely gentleman who warned us to stay out of St. James park (unless we wanted to get into trouble) and pointed out everything that wasn't there anymore.

I didn't even know there was a restaurant that used to be behind Bella Mia.

And you could go see a movie at the theatre (which is now the Improv) for $1.

While the friendly tour guide wafted alcohol fumes our way he did paint a picture of a very different San Jose than we knew. Anywho.....

The arts & crafty vendors seems to be shrinking and we didn't find anything we had to have except for some too delicious Paella served up by my former employer Parsley, Sage, Rosemary & Thyme. Yes, the longest named catering company in the Bay Area. With the largest Paella pans. I remembered the hassle of getting those pans here from Spain and when I saw it leaning up against the booth I knew it must be PSRT. I so missed their Paella. No one does better.

Now I'm hungry for Paella. Damn.

Theresa purchased some Scentsy things while Ray and I observed the most disgusting booth to date. It's some scam where you get rid of all the toxins in your body by sticking your feet in a tub of 'water' and letting ions attack the baddies. After a bit the water looks like a tide pool. It's frakking disgusting. The only people sitting there gathering algae were elderly people who will apparently, try anything. Brave souls.

So....good things: PSRT Paella, coupons for the Renaissance Faire (Huzzah!) and watermelon slushies. Bad things: people wearing not enough clothing in public, dirty feet water and a crazy Jesus guy walking around holding his sign always wherever we were. Freaky.

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Blood Sins

Kay Hooper's Blood Sins is the latest in the Bishop/SCU series. The first time Hooper has had a direct link between stories as Blood Sins directly follows events and characters from Blood Dreams.

In Blood Sins, Bishop is leading his SCU group and Haven operatives in a war against a super pyschic who absorbs powers and energy from other psychics. It seemed to bring together all the former characters from older novels. The story was interesting and could have been tense, but as she's done in a few other novels, Hooper spends so many pages describing different psychic abilities and how they work and affect others I found myself wanting to skip paragraphs or entire pages. Very little seemed to focus on the actual questions the book raised which she touches on in the epilouge which makes me wonder if this story will continue directly in the final book.

I think maybe these characters just might be completely played out and tired. She doesn't give enough time with each one to really let anyone get attached. They're blips on your radar, even when there's an entire story focused on them. I think Hooper might have sacrificed character development for psychic-power development.

The Rain Before It Falls

Jonathan Coe's The Rain Before It Falls is a depressing story of the cycle of abuse, how close it comes around each time for each generation of women in this seemingly cursed family through the eyes of a conflicted relative.

After the passing of her Aunt Rosamond, Gill is responsible for taking a series of cassette tapes and pictures to a distant relative she has only met once twenty years ago. Listening to the tapes in hopes of gathering clues as to the possible whereabouts of Imogen, Gill and her daughters learn of a somewhat sordid family history they never knew exsisted. On the tapes Rosamond has described in detail twenty photographs she feels tell the history of Imogen, her mother and grandmother.

There is very little that is hopeful throughout the tale. Much foreshadowing steers you along a path of cruelty, madness and self destruction. Even when there does seem to be a slight chance of hope, Coe yanks the rug out from under you.

Not to say that this is not a story worth reading. The images are indelible. Rosamond's narrative is intriguing and heartwrenching for everyone involved. But if you're looking for a story of triumph and happy-ever-afters you'd best find it elsewhere.

The Dream of Water

Kyoko Mori's The Dream of Water is her memoir of returning to her country of birth after a 13 year absence. It is the story of reconnecting with her mother's family and trying to find answers to her father's cruelty.

While reading the book I have to remind myself that this is real, that the memories Kyoko has of her father are not fiction. Her description of her father, his temperament, selfishness and dismissive nature, is hard to believe and it isn't until she gets time with her father's sister, Akiko that she finds someone who will speak frankly about her father horrid behavior.

That being said I feel that the writing was not anything I necessarily needed to read. It seemed as if she wrote more for herself, for her own therapy than because she wanted to share her story with the world. She could not forgive the transgressions her father and stepmother committed and the book was mostly filled with anger and a sense of frustration at her inability to confront either.

There is very little happiness in the book as she focuses on what she lost, what was taken from her after her mother's suicide. She turns into an indifferent human, incapable of coming across as warm or caring. Even when speaking of her husband it's as if she could take him or leave him. She is so far removed from the story she has written of herself you are left to wonder if she ever was able to have any contentment with her life. But the book is honest and biting. While she does seem removed she is honest about her anger and refusal to forgive, her unwillingness to love her hometown. And that you can't help but admire.

Dean Koontz's Frankenstein: Book One: Prodigal Son

Dean Koontz had begun the Frankenstein story as a TV show, but creative differences took the show in a direction Koontz didn't want to go. The first novel was co-written by Koontz and Kevin J. Anderson, although the newest printing finds Anderson's name absent from the cover.

Prodigal Son introduces us numerous characters. There is a serial killer known as the Surgeon loose in New Orleans. Detective Carson O'Connor and her partner Michael Maddison are charged with tracking him down and bringing him to justice. At the same time Victor Frankenstein, now known as Victor Helios, is creating a master race to take over the world and create order and perfection. Frankenstein's first creation, Deucalion has come to New Orleans to bring his maker to an end. Frankenstein's wife, Erika, is struggling to understand hope and her limitations. A few other types of Frankenstein's 'New Race' are displayed in this first of, so far, three novels. While they are physically superior and emotionally blank they are stuggling with their humanity, or lack thereof.

Having read almost every one of Koontz's novels I found this one to be quite different. The writing style was so obviously not his. It was lighter and simplistic. Koontz's influences were still there, apparent in the character dialogue and his fascination with autism and man-made monsters. I enjoyed the book, will definitely read the next two.

Things I Want My Daughters to Know

For a while my mom worked from 3 p.m. to 11 p.m. We would get home from school and go across the street to the Sharum's house until my dad got home from work. Valerie would feed us snacks and we would play with Graham and Jerry. Sometimes, when my dad got home we would continue to play until it was dark outside.

But sometimes I would just want to be at home with my mom. When we were a bit older I would tell Valerie I needed to get something from my house and she would give me the spare key she had so I could go get whatever it was I after. I would run to my parents' room and lay down on the bed with my face buried in my mom's pillow. Even though she would be home in a few hours I missed her so.

That's how this book made me feel. While the story of the daughters was woven through my mind, in the background I was thinking of my own mom & daughter. Desperately missing them even though they were right there.

Elizabeth Noble's novel tells the story of a legacy a mother leaves behind for her children. When Barbara accepts that she is dying she writes letters and a journal to her four daughters, saying the things she might not have the time or the courage to say before she leaves them. In the year after Barbara's passing the four daughters must repair their lives from both the grief of losing their mother and the mistakes they make on their own. All the while Barabara's husband struggles with his own sadness and attempts at being the one the girls come to for the advice they didn't get while Barbara was still alive.

A lovely, reflective story, not nearly as lighthearted as her previous novels, but wonderful nonetheless.

Sunday, August 30, 2009

Support Your Local Library Challenge

I love, love, love, love my library so when I saw that J. Kaye was also doing a challenge to support your local library I knew I had to sign up! I challenged myself to read 50 books from the Morgan Hill Library this year.

The best thing about Santa Clara County Libraries is that if your branch doesn't have the book you're looking for you can request it. When it comes into your branch you receive an email or a phone call letting you know your book is ready. You don't have to travel all over the county looking for your book. Greatest thing ever!

After looking at this list I realize that I check a lot of books out of the library! Most of the books I've read this year have been from there, yet I still have tons of books I own that I haven't read. Better get reading! Here's my list of books I've checked out & read from my library this year:

1. Last Man Standing - David Baldacci
2. Hiding in the Shadows - Kay Hooper
3. Out of the Shadows - Kay Hooper
4. The Hunt - Allison Brennan11. The Kill - Allison Brennan
5. Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult
6. Touching Evil - Kay Hooper
7. Blood Test - Jonathan Kellerman
8. Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult
9. Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult
10. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
11. Whisper of Evil - Kay Hooper
12. Over the Edge - Jonathan Kellerman
13. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
14. Second Glance - Jodi Picoult
15. Sense of Evil - Kay Hooper
16. Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult
17. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
18. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
19. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Nifgenegger
20. Trust Me - Brenda Novak
21. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares
22. Specials - Scott Westerfeld
23. Cry Wolf - Tami Hoag
24. Stop Me - Brenda Novak
25. The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
26. Extras - Scott Westerfeld
27. Girls in Pants - Ann Brashares
28. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
29. Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
30. Watch Me - Brenda Novak
31. Silent Partner - Jonathan Kellerman
32. Vince & Joy - Lisa Jewell
33. Forever in Blue - Ann Brashares
34. The Pact - Jodi Picoult
35. The Ritual Bath - Faye Kellerman
36. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
37. Hunting Fear - Kay Hooper
38. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
39. One-Hit Wonder - Lisa Jewell
40. Dead Silence - Brenda Novak
41. Dead Giveaway - Brenda Novak
42. Tithe - Holly Black
43. Time Bomb - Jonathan Kellerman
44. Mercy - Jodi Picoult
45. Chill of Fear - Kay Hooper
46. Dead Right - Brenda Novak
47. Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale - Holly Black
48. Heat Lightning - John Sanford
49. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
50. Sacred & Profane - Faye Kellerman
51. Ironside - Holly Black
52. Night World, Vol. I - L.J. Smith
53. Sleeping with Fear - Kay Hooper
54. Night World, Vol. III - L.J. Smith
55. Private Eyes - Jonathan Kellerman
56. Milk & Honey - Faye Kellerman
57. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
58. Evermore - Alyson Noel
59. Faerie Wars - Herbie Brennan
60. The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
61. Runemarks - Joanne Harris
62. The Wizard Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
63. The Purple Emperor - Herbie Brennan
64. The Dragon Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
65. When the Emperor was Divine - Julie Otsuka
66. Devil's Waltz - Jonathan Kellerman
67. The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
68. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
69. Blood Dreams - Kay Hooper
70. Day of Atonement - Faye Kellerman
71. Things I Want My Daughters to Know - Elizabeth Noble
72. The Dream of Water - Kyoko Mori
73. The Rain Before it Falls - Jonathan Coe
74. Frankenstein: Prodigal Son - Dean Koontz
75. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton
76. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
77. Ruler of the Realm - Herbie Brennan
78. The Faerie Path - Ferwin Jones
79. Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz
80. Faerie Lord - Herbie Brennan
81. The Lost Queen - Ferwin Jones
82. Masquerade - Melissa de la Cruz
83. The Seventh Daughter - Ferwin Jones
84. Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz
85. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
86. Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
87. Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
88. The Van Alen Legacy - Melissa de la Cruz
89. Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott
90. Wake - Lisa McMann
91. Blue is for Nightmares - Laurie Faria Stolarz
92. Meridian - Amber Kizer
93. Deadly Little Secret - Laurie Faria Stolarz
94. Peeps - Scott Westerfeld
95. The Weight of Silence - Heather Gudenkauf
96. The Wednesday Sisters - Meg Waite Clayton

Young Adult Reading Challenge

I decided to join a few more challenges that J. Kaye has going on right now. The Young Adult challenge I think I've already completed, but I'm looking forward to finishing Herbie Brennan's Purple Emperor series and I still have PC & Kristin Cast's books to start. Hopefully I'll have those done by the end of the year!

The challenge is to read 12 Young Adult books from January 1, 2009 to December 31, 2009.

1. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
2. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
3. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
4. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
5. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares
6. Specials - Scott Westerfeld
7. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
8. Extras - Scott Westerfeld
9. Girls in Pants - Ann Brashares
10. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
11. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
12. Forever in Blue - Ann Brashares
13. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
14. Tithe - Holly Black
15. Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale - Holly Black
16. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling
17. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
18. Ironside - Holly Black
19. Night World, Vol. 1 - L.J. Smith
20. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
21. Night World, Vol. 3 - L.J. Smith (yes, I read them completely out of order!)
22. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkaban
23. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
24. Evermore - Alyson Noel
25. Faerie Wars - Herbie Brennan
26. The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
27. Runemarks - Joanne Harris
28. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling
29. Harry potter & the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling
30. The Wizard Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
31. The Purple Emperor - Herbie Brennan
32. The Dragon Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
33. The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
34. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
35. Blue Moon - Alyson Noel
36. Ruler of the Realm - Herbie Brennan
37. The Faerie Path - Ferwin Jones
38. Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz
39. Faerie Lord - Herbie Brennan
40. The Lost Queen - Ferwin Jones
41. Masquerade - Melissa de la Cruz
42. The Seventh Daughter - Ferwin Jones
43. Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz
44. The Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
45. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening - LJ Smith
46. The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle - LJ Smith
47. The Vampire Diaries: The Fury - LJ Smith
48. The Vampire Diaries: The Reunion - LJ Smith
49. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
50. The Van Alen Legacy - Melissa de la Cruz
51. Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott
52. Wake - Lisa McMann
53. Blue is for Nightmares - Laurie Faria Stolarz
54. Meridian - Amber Kizer
55. Deadly Little Secret - Laurie Faria Stolarz
56. Peeps - Scott Westerfeld

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Oh Twilight, How I Love Thee So

Today I just about died when I saw the pictures of Volturi Vampires. They all look gorgeous and nearly just how I pictured them. Dakota Fanning is perfect as Jane! Every little bit more I see of New Moon the more excited I get for the movie! November cannot come soon enough!!

You can click on Jane's picture to read more about the Volturi Vamps on TwiCrack's fabulous blog.

Back in July Ray and I went to Comic Con where we were amazed at how many things there were to see and do. Alas, getting to see any of the Twilight things were not in the cards. We were only there for one day and there was just too much to see to get to everything. I was quite excited to learn there will be a convention JUST ABOUT TWILIGHT in San Francisco in February. How perfect is that?

But wait, it gets better.

The same convention will also be held in Seattle, WA. A mere 3 and a half hours from Forks, WA. Seattle is also the home of Dahlia Lounge and Lola. My sister and I spent an afternoon at my parents' house watching a marathon of The Best Thing I Ever Ate on the Food Network. If you've never seen this show you should tune in. Celebrity chefs all talk about their favorite foods and where to find them. Dahlia Lounge has Lemon-Scallion Crab Cakes and Lola serves up some made to order donuts. Yes, Made To Order Donuts. I must eat these. And bring some home to my sister.

However, I'm not sure Ray would enjoy 3 fun filled days reveling in all that is Twilight. Emma might enjoy it. Three years old and she knows who Bella and Edward are. What can I say? My girl's got taste. I might be able to lure Ray to Seattle with the promise of delicious donuts. We will see.....

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009 100+ Reading Challenge

Last year I started keeping track of what books I was reading for the '50 Book Challenge' for Shelfari. When asked about the new Amazon Kindle product, Steve Jobs CEO of Apple computer had this to say:“It doesn’t matter how good or bad the product is, the fact is that people don’t read anymore,” he said. “Forty percent of the people in the U.S. read one book or less last year. The whole conception is flawed at the top because people don’t read anymore.” A member challenged everyone to prove Jobs wrong by trying to read 50 books in 2008. I met the challenge last year so I decided to keep a record this year as well. I also discovered a website that challenged readers to hit the 100+ goal. At you can join the reading challenge with me! Here's my completed list for the year:

Books for 2009
1. Creation in Death - JD Robb
2. Blood Brothers - Nora Roberts
3. Last Man Standing - David Baldacci
4. Hiding in the Shadows - Kay Hooper
5. Out of the Shadows - Kay Hooper
6. Dark Horse - Tami Hoag
7. Simple Genius - David Baldacci
8. The Hunt - Allison Brennan
9. The Hollow - Nora Roberts
10. The Pagan Stone - Nora Roberts
11. The Kill - Allison Brennan
12. By the Light of the Moon - Dean Koontz
13. Stone Cold - David Baldacci
14. Strangers in Death - JD Robb
15. Change of Heart - Jodi Picoult
16. Touching Evil - Kay Hooper
17. The Third Victim - Lisa Gardner
18. Blood Test - Jonathan Kellerman
19. Who Needs Cupid - Susan Floyd
20. Vanishing Acts - Jodi Picoult
21. Perfect Match - Jodi Picoult
22. Heartstone - Phillip Margolin
23. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo - Stieg Larsson
24. Whisper of Evil - Kay Hooper
25. Over the Edge - Jonathan Kellerman
26. Uglies - Scott Westerfeld
27. Second Glance - Jodi Picoult
28. Sense of Evil - Kay Hooper
29. Keeping Faith - Jodi Picoult
30. The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
31. Pretties - Scott Westerfeld
32. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Nifgenegger
33. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
34. Trust Me - Brenda Novak
35. The Second Summer of the Sisterhood - Ann Brashares
36. Specials - Scott Westerfeld
37. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
38. Cry Wolf - Tami Hoag
39. Stop Me - Brenda Novak
40. The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult
41. Extras - Scott Westerfeld
42. Girls in Pants - Ann Brashares
43. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
44. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
45. Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult
46. Watch Me - Brenda Novak
47. Silent Partner - Jonathan Kellerman
48. Vince & Joy - Lisa Jewell
49. Forever in Blue - Ann Brashares
50. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer (again)
51. The Pact - Jodi Picoult
52. The Ritual Bath - Faye Kellerman
53. City of Bones - Cassandra Clare
54. Hunting Fear - Kay Hooper
55. My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
56. One-Hit Wonder - Lisa Jewell
57. New Moon - Stephenie Meyer (again)
58. Dead Silence - Brenda Novak
59. Dead Giveaway - Brenda Novak
60. Tithe - Holly Black
61. Time Bomb - Jonathan Kellerman
62. Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer (again)
63. Mercy - Jodi Picoult
64. Chill of Fear - Kay Hooper
65. Dead Right - Brenda Novak
66. Valiant: A Modern Faerie Tale - Holly Black
67. Harry Potter & the Sorcerer's Stone - JK Rowling
68. Heat Lightning - John Sanford
69. City of Ashes - Cassandra Clare
70. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer (again)
71. Sacred & Profane - Faye Kellerman
72. Ironside - Holly Black
73. Night World, Vol. I - L.J. Smith
74. Twilight - Stephenie Meyer (again)
75. Harry Potter & the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling
76. The Host - Stephenie Meyer
77. Sleeping with Fear - Kay Hooper
78. Night World, Vol. III - L.J. Smith
79. Private Eyes - Jonathan Kellerman
80. Milk & Honey - Faye Kellerman
81. Harry Potter & the Prisoner of Azkban - J.K. Rowling
82. City of Glass - Cassandra Clare
83. New Moon Stephenie Meyer (again)
84. Evermore - Alyson Noel
85. You've Been Warned - James Patterson
86. Faerie Wars - Herbie Brennan
87. The Warrior Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
88. Runemarks - Joanne Harris
89. Harry Potter & the Order of the Phoenix - JK Rowling
90. Harry Potter & the Half-Blood Prince - JK Rowling
91. The Wizard Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
92. The Purple Emperor - Herbie Brennan
93. The Dragon Heir - Cinda Williams Chima
94. When the Emperor was Divine - Julie Otsuka
95. Devil's Waltz - Jonathan Kellerman
96. The Summoning - Kelley Armstrong
97. The Hunger Games - Suzanne Collins
98. Blood Dreams - Kay Hooper
99. Day of Atonement - Faye Kellerman
100. Fatal Voyage - Kathy Reichs
101. The Third Twin - Ken Follett
102. Shadowfires - Dean Koontz
103. Double Cross - James Patterson
104. Phantom Prey - John Sanford
105. Blue Moon - Alyson Noel
106. Killing Floor - Lee Child
107. Lightning - Dean Koontz
108. Grave Secrets - Kathy Reichs
109. The Other Daughter - Lisa Gardner
110. Invisible Prey - John Sandford
111. Sail - James Patterson
112. Things I Want My Daughter to Know - Elizabeth Noble
113. The Dream of Water - Kyoko Mori
114. The Rain Before The Falls - Jonathan Coe
115. Blood Sins - Kay Hooper
116. Frankenstein: Prodigal Son - Dean Koontz
117. Guilty Pleasures - Laurell K. Hamilton
118. The Girl Who Played with Fire - Stieg Larsson
119. Ruler of the Realm - Herbie Brennan
120. The Faerie Path - Ferwin Jones
121. Blue Bloods - Melissa de la Cruz
122. Faerie Lord - Herbie Brennan
123. The Lost Queen - Ferwin Jones
124. Masquerade - Melissa de la Cruz
125. The Seventh Daughter - Ferwin Jones
126. Revelations - Melissa de la Cruz
127. Firestorm - Iris Johansen
128. The Next Accident - Lisa Gardner
129. Odd Hours - Dean Koontz
130. Die Trying - Lee Child
131. If She Only Knew - Lisa Jackson
132. The Laughing Corpse - Laurell K. Hamilton
133. 'Salem's Lot - Stephen King
134. Vampire Academy - Richelle Mead
135. A Kiss of Shadows - Laurell K. Hamilton
136. The Vampire Diaries: The Awakening - LJ Smith
137. The Vampire Diaries: The Struggle - LJ Smith
138. The Vampire Diaries: The Fury - LJ Smith
139. The Vampire Diaries: Dark Reunion - LJ Smith
140. Dead Until Dark - Charlaine Harris
141. Her Fearful Symmetry - Audrey Niffenegger
142. Circus of the Damned - Laurell K. Hamilton
143. Frankenstein: City of Night - Dean Koontz
144. Living Dead in Dallas - Charlaine Harris
145. A Caress of Twilight - Laurell K. Hamilton
146. Catching Fire - Suzanne Collins
147. Run for your Life - James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge
148. Shutter Island - Dennis Lehane
149. The Van Alen Legacy - Melissa de la Cruz
150. Salvation in Death - JD Robb
151. Living Dead Girl - Elizabeth Scott
152. Wake - Lisa McMann
153. Blue is for Nightmares - Laurie Faria Stolarz
154. Meridian - Amber Kizer
155. Deadly Little Secret - Lauie Faria Stolarz
156. Peeps - Scott Westerfeld
157. The Weight of Silence - Heather Gudenkauf
158. The Wednesday Sisters - Meg Waite Clayton


Today I finished Sail by James Patterson & Howard Roughan. Now I buy my books all the time. At flea markets, bookstores, garage sales, wherever I find them I'll buy them. But I also go to the library and check out 8 to 10 books at a time so I end up having lots of books on my bookshelves that I bought 6 months or a year ago and haven't read yet. That being said, I recently caught up on some books and found that I don't care for James Patterson's duo novels. I've read every adult fiction novel he's written and somewhere along the way I was buying and reading his books out of habit and not because I loved them.

Don't get me wrong, the Alex Cross novels are still one of my favorite series, but mostly because I love the characters. Lately, the books he shares authorship on are muddled and unbelievable with cutesy phrases sprinkled a little too liberaly and lots of italics.

However, Sail was a much better installation into the Patterson library. Howard Roughan also co-wrote You've Been Warned. I hated that book. It made no sense and it was so far out of the realm I couldn't imagine reading another book with Roughan's name on it, but I bought Sail before I read You've Been Warned so I was stuck.

Sail centers around Katherine Dunne, her three children and former brother-in-law as they take to the high seas for a vacation meant to bring the fractured family together. Of course nothing goes right aboard the cursed boat once they set sail and the Dunnes are forced to fight for their lives after a series of deadly 'accidents' befall them. Nothing and no one are what they seem in this fast paced thriller.

The story was still a little jumpy. Patterson's habit of starting a new chapter every 4 pages is prevalent, but the characters were fun to root for, the antagonist a delight to loathe. Because of the jumpy storyline there seemed to be a few characters I thought would have more to do with the plot than they ended up being. Since you already know who the bad guy is it isn't necessary to get the suspicions from all of the background characters. Maybe spending more time on the Dunne family surviving or developing Peter Carlyle's character beyond new husband to Katherine Dunne might have been better than getting short little backstories on the Search & Rescue Lieutenant or the DEA Agent not on the case.

All in all it was a good read. Much better than You've Been Warned and Honeymoon, but not quite as good as Patterson's older works.


Today was the first day of the EA Sports Active 30 Day Challenge. I'm pooped.

My husband, mom, dad and I are all attempting the 30 Day Challenge on the Wii. Ray and I borrowed my sister's Wii Balance Board and took it to my parents' house, gave them a crash course in Wii usage and off we went! I started after I got a phone call from my mom today saying she had already started hers and was wondering if she could pause the game.

On top of the 20 minute workout that included running, walking, lunges, curls, squats, kickboxing and in-line skating. A little over 100 calories burned in 20 minutes. Near the end I didn't think I would make it.

It seems so futile.

To further my new 'get in shape' lifestyle I put Emma on her push tricycle and we walked to McDonald's so she could play in the indoor (air conditioned) play area and I could get my favorite salad, the Southwest Grilled Chicken Salad. Yum. 420 calories with the dressing.

While there, Emma made friends with a little boy probably about 3 years older than her. Twice her age! They ran around the play structure together and discussed subjects as only a 3 year old and a 6 year old can.


So after an hour of walking we get home and I plop myself down in front of the TV to watch a little Project Runway and play Farmville on Facebook. The most addicting game EVER. Go fitness!

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