Thursday, December 30, 2010
My 200th book this year was, appropriately, Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts. If you want to see the complete list of books I read this year you can read that post here. I also completed the YA Reading Challenge & the Local Library Challenge.
Now for the review:
I am a giant sucker for books that are part of a short series or trilogy. Don’t get me wrong, I love longer series like John Sanford’s Lucas Davenport novels or Kathy Reichs’s Temperance Brennan series, but sometimes you just want to begin and finish something quickly.
A Nora Roberts book is always a good book in my opinion. She writes two different kinds of novels. The romantic suspense and the just plain romance. I’m not a huge fan of romance, but I have always loved Nora Roberts. She’s got a way with characters and setting a scene that other writers wish they could attempt. I read a lot of dark stuff and sometimes I need some lighter fare to break up the monotony.
This quartet of books included Vision in White, Bed of Roses, Savor the Moment & Happy Every After. The characters in order of their books: Mac & Carter, Emma & Jack, Laurel & Del and finally, Parker & Malcolm.
Four best friends who have known each other for pretty much their entire lives grow up to go into business together planning weddings. Mac is the photographer, Emma the florist, Laurel the pastry chef and Parker is the one who makes sure everything turns out perfect. They meet their men and fall in love and hopefully get through it all to live happy ever after.
The stories are predictable, but that’s okay. Sometimes it’s fun just to go on the journey with them.
Wednesday, December 29, 2010
Tuesday, December 21, 2010
Sunday, December 19, 2010
I would like to thank Google's Picasa for my newest obsession...
Focal Length: 55.0mm
Edited in Picnik – 1960’s effect & rounded corners
Picnik is the most fun I've had editing pictures. EVER. EVER.
I discovered Picnik a couple of days ago and it has literally changed my photographic life. I took the picture above a few months ago when Emma and I were walking around the neighborhood. There’s a house on the corner that usually gets weeds about 5 feet high. Then someone comes & cuts them all down and leaves. The backyard fence is missing several planks and this little fence along the front has seen better days, but I thought it took a cool picture.
And it did, but when I uploaded it into Picnik and started trying out different effects I fell in love with it even more. I used the 1960’s effect. I am obsessed with old looking photos. Not like 1901 photos, but pictures that remind me of my childhood. I think they look so nostalgic and fun. I rounded the corners and I was done.
Taken with my Nikon D5000.
Focal Length: 55.0mm
Edited in Picnik – Polaroid Frame with Hand-Drawn Hearts Stickers
This picture I just framed and added some of the stickers they have. I really love the stickers and frames. I did a bunch of stuff on Scrapblog until they started charging for a lot of ‘premium’ content that wasn’t really all that spectacular. But you can do the same stuff you did in Scrapblog in Picnik. There’s collage frames & fancy stickers or backgrounds. Now, Picnik is free, but they also have a premium subscription (which I have signed up for). It’s $4.95 a month or $24.95 for a year. I think it’s worth it. I love the premium options and for a little more than $2 a month it’s cheaper than most of the crap I get.
Taken with my Nikon D5000.
Focal Length: 55.0mm
Edited in Picnik – Rounded Corners
For this picture I was reading all over the place about how to make lights look like stars without using an 4-, 6- or 8-point filter. I didn’t think I was getting it, but I really like the way this one came out. Almost all the little lights look like stars! I had to set my aperture as high as it could go even though most tutorials said it would work at around f/22. I didn’t want to change the colors with any effects in Picnik so I just rounded the corners and left it at that. I think it came out pretty good, but that’s just my opinion.
So those are my efforts from these last couple of days. I can’t wait to do more! I think tomorrow I’m going to run to Target and get me some rain boots so I can stomp around in the rain and get some water motion pictures. Wish me luck!
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Next year I think I'm going to do themed months. If I choose different genres every month it'll help me step out of my reading comfort zone and maybe get me going on some new authors. I also thought it would be fun to get suggestions from my friends & fellow book readers.
So what's your favorite book? What book do you think would change my life??
Sunday, September 12, 2010
I waited on pins and needles for the conclusion to Suzanne Collin's ridiculously popular teen read series The Hunger Games. The day finally came, I bought the book then realized that this was THE LAST ONE. Once I read it the trilogy would be over and Katniss & Peeta would move on without me.
I tore through the book and turned the last page with mixed feelings.
For those of you who are insane enough to not have picked up these amazing books let me explain. The Hunger Games takes place in a post-apocalyptic world in the country of Panem, where North America once stood. Panem consists of The Capitol and 12 surrounding Districts. A number of years ago the Districts stood together to revolt against the wealthy Capitol but lost. In the end District 13 is decimated and The Capitol is victorious. As punishment for their disobedience the Capitol creates The Hunger Games, a vicious televised reality show in which one boy and one girl from each district must kill to be the last contestant standing.
16 year-old Katniss Everdeen's nightmare comes to be on the day of the lottery when her younger sister Prim is chosen to represent District 12. Katniss immediately volunteers to take Prim's place and so begins a terrifying tale of murder, love and revenge.
Out of the three The Hunger Games was definitely my favorite and I loved the trilogy as a whole, but at the end I was left feeling conflicted. There was so much violence and not just a 'you know someone has died' type of violence, but a bloody 'let me describe it in detail to you' sort of violence. Was that necessary? I doubt it, but there it was.
Suzanne Collins writes Katniss to be an almost indifferent character. She takes her responsibilities more seriously than any other 16 year-old and seems to have no patience for anyone other than her best friend and hunting partner Gale. She views her mother as weak and useless, her sister as innocent and frail. But as the story progresses she becomes both softer and tougher. She begins to form more attachments to unlikely characters and at the same time begins hardening towards the Capitol and all it stands for.
In The Hunger Games I found myself riveted. Though the concept was already done (The Running Man, Death Race 2000, The Lottery) the characters were new and the writing was horrifically graphic. I was reeling, wondering how this story could possibly end in any way that would be satisfying for me.
Catching Fire was almost an unnecessary evil. I couldn't believe that after everything Katniss had been through that it would start all over again. I wanted a happily ever after that didn't exist. But with Catching Fire came a whole new set of characters that were colorful and lively and vicious. And Catching Fire definitely left you on the edge of the cliff. I hate that!
And then finally there was Mockingjay. Much more emotional than the first two. The book is graphic. I can't say that enough, but by this time you have come to know all the characters so well that when one is lost it is like a real life death. Katniss has finally come into herself and she proves to everyone that she is a force to be reckoned with.
I can't say more without giving much away. I want readers to pick it up and be as enthralled as I was the first time I read the books. So, do it now! Go out and buy these books!!
Tuesday, July 27, 2010
Ok, so I'll admit it. I judge books by their covers. I browse the library and bookstores and if a cover catches my eye I'll pick it up. I'm generally really good with my randomness, but I suppose there are times when I'll pass up a book because the cover isn't very interesting. Charlaine Harris's books fell into that sinkhole.
I started watching True Blood and I think I'm the only person who doesn't like Sookie or Bill the Vampire. I think the show's kind of corny & the first season was really just supernatural themed porn, but it's decent TV to watch when there's not much else on. A friend in one of my book groups couldn't believe I hadn't read the Southern Vampire series. She said it was right up my alley with, you know, the vampires and all. So I picked up the first SV book Dead Until Dark and was horribly, horribly bored. The first season of True Blood did NOT stray far from the book so reading the book was like a replay of what I'd already seen thanks to HBO.
But I thought I'd give it another chance. Since I was only halfway through the second season of True Blood I thought maybe the second book wouldn't be bad. It wasn't, but I still wasn't in love with the series. I kept reading and somewhere discovered that I LOVED the series. I love the direction Charlaine Harris has taken the books so far and I've only gotten through 7 of the books. I can't wait to see where Sookie goes next.
I still don't like Bill the Vampire (I'm Team Eric all the way), but Sookie in the book has grown on me.
Next up was Harper Connelly in Grave Sight. More good stuff. After being struck by lightning Harper has the ability to see the dead in their last few moments of life. She and her stepbrother travel around helping people find the bodies of loved ones missing and how they came to their end.
I just started the Aurora Teagarden series last week, reading Real Murders and ran to the library as soon as I could to pick up the next book. Aurora is a librarian who spends her free time studying up about famous murders throughout history. The group she belongs to who shares her interests finds themselves the victims and suspects of a series of real murders (hence the title).
I found that Harper, Lily and Sookie are all very similar but different enough to keep it interesting. My goal next month is to finish the last of the Sookie books, but I will be sad when I've come to the end. I heard she's writing one or two more in that series and then she'll move on.
Thursday, May 27, 2010
***DON'T READ THIS REVIEW IF YOU HAVEN'T READ PREVIOUS CAMEL CLUB BOOKS***
Written by: David Baldacci
Mass Market Paperback: 523
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publisher's Description: Known by his alias, "Oliver Stone," John Carr is the most wanted man in America. With two pulls of the trigger, the men who destroyed Stone's life and kept him in the shadows were finally silenced.
But his freedom comes at a steep price: The assassinations he carried out prompt the highest levels of the U.S. government to unleash a massive manhunt. Yet behind the scenes, master spy Macklin Hayes is playing a very personal game of cat and mouse. He, more than anyone else, wants John Carr dead. With their friend and unofficial leader in hiding, the members of the Camel Club risk everything to save him. Now as the hunters close in, Stone's flight from the demons of his past will take him from the power corridors of Washington, D.C. to the coal-mining town of Divine, Virginia - and into a world every bit as bloody and lethal as the one he left behind.
I love Oliver Stone. Not the director, of course, but the 60-something year-old former Triple 6 member and leader of the Camel Club. I love the characters that David Baldacci has created in this series, the backgrounds and the humor and humanity each possess. I was devastated when Milton was murdered in Stone Cold and delighted when Annabelle joined the Club.
Baldacci has slowly been building up to Divine Justice. Each book is amazing on its own, but when you reach the end of Divine Justice you'll realize that every book before this one was just setting the stage for the events in Divine Justice.
The book takes place immediately after the murders of Gray and Simpson. Oliver goes back on the run, but his plans are railroaded ironically on a train. He finds himself in the tiny town of Divine, Virgina where everything is anything but Divine. Meanwhile, Annabelle, Russell & Caleb concoct a plan to find Oliver before super CIA hunter Joe Knox catches up with him first. The book is a non stop action adventure for sure and NEVER once did I think it was unrealistic that a 60 year old man could do the things Stone does. I'm sold on Oliver.
I regret that this could be the last Camel Club story. I hope for a happy ending for Oliver and Company, but who knows?
Friday, May 7, 2010
Today my baby girl turned 4 years-old. So hard to believe that much time has gone by & she's not such a baby anymore!
Last night Ray and I were talking about the day she was born. Call me a bad parent, but I don't remember what day of the week it was, I don't remember the exact time and I barely remember the first time I saw her! So sad! We had been in the hospital for close to a week. She did NOT want to come out. Since she wasn't in any distress they figured she'd just come out when she was ready, but even with pitocin she STILL wasn't making her way out. I was pretty miserable, had an infection and was pretty blurry for most of the week....or so it seemed. By the time they realized she was stuck and not coming out I was so ready to go!
I remember that the woman who had a c-section before me named her daughter Emma and the doctor who delivered Emma had a daughter named Emma. I remember she was teeny tiny and no one told me there would be all kinds of gunk on her eye lids, but after that, since it seemed my anesthesia was wearing off and I could feel everything going on, the anesthesiologist (my favorite person in that room after Ray and Emma left) just decided to knock me out.
I remember how beautiful she was when I really got to get a good look at her. How she was so long she barely fit in the hospital bassinette. How I couldn't wait to take her home and start our lives as a family. How scared I was to take her home!
I couldn't be more proud and lucky to have her in my life. She makes me laugh everyday, even if it is the same knock knock joke told over and over again.
Happy Birthday my little sweet pea! I love you more than I could ever say!
Monday, March 29, 2010
Looking for ways to make reading more interesting I decided I would try something different for the month of March. I read only one book at a time. NO GOOD! I read 12 books in March as opposed to 20 books in February! Don't ask me why, it just happened!
So I'm going back to my multiple book reading, but I've decided that for the month of April I will only read books off my Nook. Which means a lot of Charlaine Harris, Laurell K. Hamilton and I'll probably finally read 'The Help'. This month I'll still check out eBooks from the library, but for May I'm going to try to read only books that I already have, but haven't read. I've got about 90+ books sitting on my bookshelf that are part of various series that I've yet to pick up! I get too distracted by what's currently out and available at the library. We'll see how my willpower holds up in May since I'll still be taking Emma to the library to pick up her books!
Tuesday, March 23, 2010
The Dead-Tossed Waves
Written by: Carrie Ryan
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Genre: Young Adult/Romance & Love
The publisher's description: Gabry lives a quiet life. As safe a life as is possible in a town trapped between a forest and the ocean, in a world teeming with the dead, who constantly hunger for those still living. She's content on her side of the Barrier, happy to let her friends dream of the Dark City up the coast while she watches from the top of her lighthouse. But there are threats the Barrier cannot hold back. Threats like the secrets Gabry's mother thought she left behind when she escaped from the Sisterhood and the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Like the cult of religious zealots who worship the dead. Like the stranger from the forest who seems to know Gabry. And suddenly, everything is changing. One reckless moment, and half of Gabry's generation is dead, the other half imprisoned. Now Gabry only knows one thing: she must face the forest of her mother's past in order to save herself and the one she loves.
The Dead-Tossed Waves takes place at least 10 years after the events of The Forest of Hands and Teeth in the ocean town that Mary finds herself washed up on all those years ago. Gabry is the opposite type of girl that Mary was. Gabry is a rule follower seemingly happy to live her life the way the Protectorate (the loose governmental agency ruling from the Dark City) deem life should be lived. In love with a boy she's known her whole life, the desire for him is what drives her to go along with him and their friends over the barrier into an old abandoned amusement park that lays just beyond their village. It is there that Gabry cements her love for Catcher and makes a decision that changes everyone's lives....and not in a good way.
Gabry is weak where Mary was strong, but I found Gabry to be a much more redeemable character. She grew in strength and courage as the story goes on, facing her fears in her quest to find herself & save the people she loves. This is the second book in what is supposed to be a trilogy (the third and final book is slated to come out in the Spring of 2011) and my husband compared it to the Matrix trilogy in way of endings. Where TFOH&T leaves you with an ending you could walk away from, The Dead-Tossed Waves leaves you knowing there has to be more. Gabry's story is definitely not finished and I can't wait to see if she and her allies can (yes, it sounds corny) save the world.
Monday, March 22, 2010
Written by: Carrie Ryan
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: Delacourte Press
Genre: Young Adult/Romance & Love
The publisher's description: In Mary's world there are simple truths. The Sisterhood always knows best. The Guardians will protect and serve. The Unconsecrated with never relent. And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village; the fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth. But, slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power, and about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness. When the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, she must choose between her village and her future--between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?
On the day that Mary must decide whether to let her infected mother be killed by the Guardians or set out into the Forest of Hands & Teeth her life is forever changed. Not called on by any of the boys in town and turned away by her brother she is forced to join the Sisterhood. There she begins to question everything she has been taught her entire life. After seeing a girl her age from outside their village hidden away by the Sisterhood she knows the Sisterhood has been lying to the villagers all along & she's determined to leave the village and find the ocean. She believes there must be a place somewhere where you can see something other than forest.
Mary is single minded in her determination to find the ocean that no one else believes exists. She's a selfish character that's not easy to like. You admire her desire to find the truth, but there's little else likable about Mary.
However, I LOVED this book. It reminded me a lot of M. Night Shyamalan's The Village. This self dependent village cut off from the rest of the world with a huge secret.....add zombies. The action was there, the suspense and mystery. Despite not really liking Mary I still rooted for her to find the ocean, to find love, to find the truth.
Monday, March 15, 2010
Written by: Amy Efaw
Hardcover: 350 pages
Publisher: Viking Books
Genre: Young Adult/Law & Crime
The publisher's description: An infant left in the trash to die. A teenage mother who never knew she was pregnant. . .
Before That Morning, these were the words most often used to describe straight-A student and star soccer player Devon Davenport: responsible, hardworking, mature. But all that changes when the police find Devon home sick from school as they investigate the case of an abandoned baby. Soon the connection is made, Devon has just given birth; the baby in the trash is hers. After That Morning, there's only one way to define Devon: attempted murderer.
And yet gifted author Amy Efaw does the impossible as she turns Devon into an empathetic character, a girl who was in such deep denial that she refused to believe she was pregnant. Through airtight writing and fast-paced, gripping storytelling, Ms. Efaw takes the reader on Devon's unforgettable journey toward clarity, acceptance, and redemption.
There is no doubt that Amy Efaw is a talented writer. I couldn't put the book down, although I wanted to. Being a mother I had a hard time 'rooting' for Devon. I couldn't imagine wrapping my baby up in towels and throwing her away with the trash. But as the story unfolds, I don't come to like Devon, but I do come to understand her. And maybe, I come to respect her.
The characters are rich and colorful, from the thumb-sucking poet Destiny to Devon's ambitious and tough public defender. Even the guards and employees at the detention center are fully visible by Efaw's pen. She writes them as no nonsense prison guards, but not without empathy and kindness.
The story basically comes down to a terrible lapse in judgment for a girl who always made the 'right' decisions. Such a trivial way to put the attempted murder of a baby, but true and throughout Devon's self realization journey she sees how she went wrong. During the declination process she starts to see the baby as a baby and not IT. She understands how her mother had her when she was only 16 years old. That just as easily, her mother could have left her in a trash can, but she didn't. She acknowledges her role, what she did and how she must take responsibility for her actions.
I'm not sure that this story is necessarily a 'teen' book. Not because of any graphic nature or any such thing, but because I think adults need to read. I think teenagers understand the emotions much better than adults do. It's been such a long time since these sort of fears and denials have been a part of our lives. Efaw writes at the of the book about how she became interested in writing a novel like this. She mentions a case her husband worked on in which acquaintances of the pregnant woman suspected she was pregnant, but never approached her, never admitted to it until the baby was found, still alive, in a dumpster. If anything the novel reminds us to be vigilant with our children. Ask questions, be aware, be part of their lives, love them fiercely and truthfully.
Tuesday, March 9, 2010
We had a hard time coming up with a name for her. I was trying to think of a good name that had something to do with Kevin Smith or Joss Whedon. It's very difficult. My hamsters were Snootchies & Bootchies (Kevin Smith reference), but it's hard to think of Kevin Smith themed girl names. I initially thought of Buffy (of course), but Emma veto'd that one.
Because Emma wore a cupcake T-shirt & pants the day we picked up the puppy she wanted to name the puppy Cupcake. Ray didn't really care for that idea. Then we thought of Echo from Joss Whedon's 'The Dollhouse', Eliza Dushku's character. Emma latched onto that name right away, but it had to be Echo Cupcake.
We were still thinking of names, but Emma had pretty much decided it would be Echo Cupcake until today. Today she decided her name would be Echo Cupcake Sprinkles Ramirez. We decided to firm up the name Echo before Emma added another name.
So Echo it is!
Wednesday, March 3, 2010
Written by: Audrey Niffenegger
Hardcover: 406 pages
Publisher: Scribner Book Company
The publisher's description: After they inherit a London flat near Highgate Cemetery from their aunt Elspeth Noblin, two American twin teenagers, Julia and Valentina, move in and get to know their quirky neighbors, but they soon discover that much is still alive at Highgate, including, perhaps, their aunt, who can't seem to leave her old apartment or life behind. By the best-selling author of The Time Traveler's Wife.
I adored The Time Traveler's Wife. ADORED. I have to admit that I had high hopes for Niffenegger's second novel, Her Fearful Symmetry. It's hard to determine where to start so I'm breaking it down into what I loved and what I didn't love. I'm also going to try to write this review without any spoilers. We'll see how that goes!
What I Loved: I loved the setting. The story mainly takes place within the walls of Elspeth's flat, but never far from the idea of the novel is Highgate Cemetery which the apartment building neighbors. After getting just a tad into the book I found myself obsessed with the cemetery. Taking a break from the book I looked up everything I could find on Highgate Cemetery and found that while Niffenegger's descriptions were poetic and accurate they certainly didn't do it justice. I want to travel to London just to visit the cemetery!
I loved Martin and Marijke, Elspeth's upstairs neighbors. Martin suffers from OCD and agoraphobia which finally drives his wife, Marijke away in a last ditch effort to 'cure' Martin of his ailments. While mostly background characters Martin & Marijke are alive within the pages, flawed but beautiful in their intentions and their heartbreaking emotions.
I loved the supernatural-ness of the story.
I loved the twists and turns and the intricacies of the plot.
I loved the 'British-ness.'
And here's what I didn't love: The main characters. None of them. It didn't start out that way, of course. I rooted for one twin over the other, sister over mother, twin over aunt, but in the end I found everyone to be horrid. Well, not everyone, but you know what I mean, right? See, I usually root for the underdog. Julia and Valentina have lived their entire lives doing almost everything together. At twenty years old the two women still share the same bed, sleeping side by side, hands held together. Of course, they are not equals. Julia, the stronger twin makes the decisions for both of them while Valentina goes along seemingly unperturbed. However, delving deeper into Valentina's you find there's a rebel begging to be released. As her resentment towards her sister grows, you realize there really can be no happy ending in all this.
The character relationships are difficult and in the end redeem almost no one. Roles are reversed and choices are made that shatter lives, yet little remorse is displayed. People who were fraught with good intentions become the villains.
But that is not to say that the book is not worth reading. If you compare the Time Traveler's Wife with Her Fearful Symmetry you will find two completely different books that share only the author's ability to describe emotion and fantasy perfectly. Where TTW was a love story, HFS to me was a story of envy.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Yes.
Thursday, February 4, 2010
getting these pictures up! Awhile ago my sister, b-i-l, Ray and I took the kids out to hike at Uvas Canyon Park. Uvas has a very kid-doable hike that takes you around to all the little waterfalls around the camping area. Nothing huge, but all very beautiful. The kids loved running around, although the trail does run for a bit along a cliff so heart attacks were abound.
Nonetheless, it was wonderful to be surround by the smell of outdoors and the green everywhere! The best thing about our hike was seeing all the ladybugs! Ladybugs go into hibernation until about February. All along the creek, up along the cliff side there were ladybugs clustered together on branches and sign posts. Fascinating!
Uvas actually has camping spaces! I think maybe sometime this summer we'll try them out, let the kids run around in the creek like we did when we were kids at Alum Rock Park. Can't wait for the summer!
Monday, January 25, 2010
It is 1 a.m. and I should go to sleep, but I can't bear the idea of laying down in bed and being alone with my thoughts in the quiet.
So I read, I type messages on Facebook and try to find things that make me chuckle. But it doesn't really work.
Tomorrow I will go to the hospital to start a round of tests to find out why I can't seem to get pregnant. Just blood tests, taken on the right days, no biggie....but really, it is. Either one of two things will happen: We find out there is something wrong and find out if it can be fixed or we find out nothing is wrong and it's just not happening. I don't know which is worse. But I can't feel like this anymore.
If you take it down to the basics, a woman's body's first job is to procreate. Have babies. At this point in time I am failing at that. I am failing at being a woman. And it hurts. And I cry every month. And I have no girlfriends to talk to because I am ashamed and all my friends are pregnant. I can barely stand to talk to them on the phone much less look at them. I am happy for them, but I cannot be happy for me.
Sometimes I look at Emma and I think, let it just be enough. She is the most amazing little girl and I love her so very much, but I wish she had a sibling to love and plot and scheme and fight with. No matter what happens in the whole of your life when you have a sibling you never feel truly alone. I want that for her.
I want that for me.
Thursday, January 21, 2010
Written by: F.G. Cottam
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Thomas Dunne Books
The publisher's description: Just weeks after four students cross the threshold of the derelict Fischer House, one of them has committed suicide and the other three are descending into madness. Nick Mason's sister is one of them. To save her, Nick must join ranks with Paul Seaton, who visited the house a decade earlier and survived. But Paul is a troubled man, haunted by visions that even now threaten his sanity. Desperate, Nick forces Paul to go back into the past, to the secret journal of beautiful photographer Pandora Gibson-Hoare; to a decadent gathering in the 1920s; and to the unspeakable crime that has haunted the Fischer House for decades.
*****This review contains spoilers*****
Okay, I love horror books. I love haunted houses, zombies, vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, aliens, what have you. I did not love this book. In fact, I would go as far as to say that I hated this book.
What I thought was great: The idea. When I first read about the book in my library's recommended reading newsletter I thought it would be right up my alley. A man must return to a house that so irreparably changed him 10 years prior. Another man's sister is in danger and he will do anything to save her. What's not to love? I had all these questions in my head when I picked the book up. Why did these girls go to the house? What happened when they got there? What happened BEFORE they got there? What happened to Paul Seaton?
And then it got bad: As I read the book I found the beginning to be intriguing, but very slow and slightly boring. I stuck with it though. After all, books don't always start out with a bang. Sometimes the best ones take awhile to pick up. So I kept going. It's so hard to explain this book! Cottam is EVERYWHERE with it. There are stories within the story that are both boring and unnecessary. He takes about 100 pages to finally get to the crux of the story, why we're reading this book. The first time you read the name Pandora isn't until after much ado about nothing. Of course, you want character development. You want to root for someone, hate someone, love someone, but Cottam takes it a little too far.
His writing style was slightly similar to Stephen King. Painfully descriptive of needless aspects. I don't need to know the whole geography of the London. I don't need to know how familiar Cottam is with England. Don't care what color and pattern the wallpaper is in Seaton's room or what the leaves in the jungle Nicholas Mason found the devil were shaped like. I don't need anyone to tell me that grass is green. See how ridiculous this paragraph is? Imagine 340 pages of that.
Then, when the book finally gets somewhere and you want to know what the decaying house, the possible zombies or ghosts or demons look, sound and smell like he rushes through as if he was afraid of running out of typewriter ribbon. As if he was getting too close to his publisher's deadline. It was disappointing.
While trying to explain the book to my husband I realized how confusing and full of holes the story was. All in all the book was a mess.
Would I recommend this book to anyone? Absolutely not.
Monday, January 11, 2010
I'm going to try to do the 'Stepping It Up' level of the challenge. Wish me luck!
1. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
2. The Birthing House - Christopher Ransom
3. The House of Lost Souls - F. Cottam
4. White is for Magic - Laurie Faria Stolarz
5. 13 Bullets - David Wellington
6. The Last Days - Scott Westerfeld
7. Shadowland - Alyson Noel
8. Deadly Little Lies - Laurie Faria Stolarz
9. Prism - Aliza & Faye Kellerman
10. Pucker - Melanie Gideon
11. The Forest of Hands & Teeth - Carrie Ryan
12. 99 Vampires - David Wellington
13. The It Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
14. Rough Country - John Sandford
15. Not Becoming My Mother - Ruth Reichl
16. Witch & Wizard - James Patterson
17. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzgerald
18. Fire - Kristin Cashore
19. The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong
20. The Salt Maiden - Colleen Thompson
21. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
22. The Widow - Carla Neggers
23. Skin Hunger - Kathleen Duey
24. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
25. The Everafter - Amy Huntley
26. Notorious - Cecily von Ziegesar
27. Silver is for Secrets - Laurie Faria Stolarz
28. Liar - Justin Larbalestier
29. Little Bee - Chris Cleave
30. The Hunter's Moon - OR Melling
31. After - Amy Efaw
32. Red is for Remembrance - Laurie Faria Stolarz
33. The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
34. Blood Ties - Kay Hooper
35. Need - Carrie Jones
36. Sacred Scars - Kathleen Duey
37. Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
38. Reckless - Cecily von Ziegesar
39. Unforgettable - Cecily von Ziegesar
40. An Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris
41. Lucky - Cecily von Ziegesar
42. Tempted - Cecily von Ziegesar
43. Infamous - Cecily von Ziegesar
44. Adored - Cecily von Ziegesar
45. Devious - Cecily von Ziegesar
46. Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris
47. By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead - Julie Anne Peters
48. Fallen - Lauren Kate
49. Real Murders - Charlaine Harris
50. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
51. Dragonfly - Julia Golding
52. The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King
53. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
54. The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
55. The Killing Hour - Lisa Gardner
56. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong
57. The Curse of the Romanovs - Staton Rabin
58. The Bone Collector - Jeffery Deaver
59. A Bone to Pick - Charlaine Harris
60. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
61. The Devouring - Simon Holt
62. The Poison Eaters - Holly Black
63. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
64. Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
65. Wicked: Witch - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
66. Wicked: Curse - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
67. Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin
68. Blood Ninja - Nick Lake
69. Soulstice - Simon Holt
70. Dark Flame - Alyson Noel
71. The Unresolved - TK Welsh
72. The Knife that Killed Me - Anthony McGowan
73. Possessions - Nancy Holder
74. The 9th Judgment - James Patterson
75. Classic - Cecily von Ziegesar
76. Outside Beauty - Cynthia Kadohata
77. Luna - Julie Anne Peters
78. The Evil Within - Nancy Holder
79. White Cat - Holly Black
80. Worst Case - James Patterson
81. Swimsuit - James Patterson
82. I, Alex Cross - James Patterson
83. Frankenstein: Lost Souls - Dean Koontz
84. Captivate - Carrie Jones
85. Glimmerglass - Jenna Black
86. The Postcard Killers - James Patterson
87. Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
88. Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
89. Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
90. Torment - Lauren Kate
91. The Good Neighbors: Kin - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
92. The Good Neighbors: Kith - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
93. Blindsighted - Karin Slaughter
94. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
95. Radiance - Alyson Noel
96. The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
97. The Good Neighbors: Kind - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
98. Keeper of Light & Dust - Natasha Mostert
99. Night Star - Alyson Noel
100. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
GOAL REACHED 8/26/2010
1. Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
2. White is for Magic - Laurie Faria Stolarz
3. The Last Days - Scott Westerfeld
4. Shadowland - Alyson Noel
5. Frostbite - Richelle Mead
6. Deadly Little Lies - Laurie Faria Stolarz
7. Prism - Aliza & Faye Kellerman
8. Pucker - Melanie Gideon
9. The Forest of Hands & Teeth - Carrie Ryan
10. The It Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
11. Gossip Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
12. Witch & Wizard - James Patterson
13. Hush, Hush - Becca Fitzgerald
14. Fire - Kristin Cashore
15. The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong
16. Skin Hunger - Kathleen Duey
17. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
18. Marked - PC & Kristin Cast
19. The Everafter - Amy Huntley
20. Silver is for Secrets - Laurie Faria Stolarz
21. Liar - Justine Larbalestier
22. The Hunter's Moon - OR Melling
23. Notorious - Cecily von Ziegesar
24. After - Amy Efaw
25. Red is for Remembrance - Laurie Faria Stolarz
26. The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
27. Need - Carrie Jones
28. Sacred Scars - Kathleen Duey
29. Betrayed - PC & Kristin Cast
30. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
31. Reckless - Cecily von Ziegesar
32. Unforgettable - Cecily von Ziegesar
33. Lucky - Cecily von Ziegesar
34. Tempted - Cecily von Ziegesar
35. Infamous - Cecily von Ziegesar
36. Adored - Cecily von Ziegesar
37. Devious - Cecily von Ziegesar
38. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
39. By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead - Julie Anne Peters
40. Fallen - Lauren Kate
41. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
42. Dragonfly - Julia Golding
43. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
44. The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
45. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong
46. The Curse of the Romanovs - Staton Rabin
47. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
48. The Devouring - Simon Holt
49. The Poison Eaters - Holly Black
50. Wicked: Witch - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
51. Wicked: Curse - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
52. Blood Ninja - Nick Lake
53. Soulstice - Simon Holt
54. Dark Flame - Alyson Noel
55. The Unresolved - TK Welsh
56. The Knife That Killed Me - Anthony McGowan
57. Possessions - Nancy Holder
58. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
59. Classic - Cecily von Ziegesar
60. Outside Beauty - Cynthia Kadohata
61. Luna - Julie Anne Peters
62. The Evil Within - Nancy Holder
63. White Cat - Holly Black
64. Captivate - Carrie Jones
65. Glimmerglass - Jenna Black
66. Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
67. Crescendo - Becca Fitzgerald
68. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
69. You Know You Love Me - Cecily von Ziegesar
70. Chosen - PC & Kristin Cast
71. Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
72. Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
73. Torment - Lauren Kate
74. The Good Neighbors: Kin - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
75. The Good Neighbors: Kith - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
GOAL REACHED 11/28/2010 Happy Birthday to Me!!
76. Untamed - PC & Kristin Cast
77. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
78. Twilight: The Graphic Novel - Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim
79. Radiance - Alyson Noel
80. The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
81. The Good Neighbors: Kind - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
82. Night Star - Alyson Noel
83. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
This is the post for the 100+ Reading Challenge. I haven't started out too strong so far, but I plan to remedy that soon!
2. Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
3. The Birthing House - Christopher Ransom
5. The House of Lost Souls - F. Cottam
6. White is for Magic - Laurie Faria Stolarz
7. 13 Bullets - David Wellington
8. The Last Days - Scott Westerfeld
9. Club Dead - Charlaine Harris
10. Shadowland - Alyson Noel
11. Frostbite - Richelle Mead
12. Deadly Little Lies - Laurie Faria Stolarz
13. Prism - Aliza & Faye Kellerman
14. Pucker - Melanie Gideon
15. The Forest of Hands & Teeth - Carrie Ryan
16. 99 Coffins - David Wellington
17. The It Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
18. Rough Country - John Sandford
19. Tripwire - Lee Child
20. Gossip Girl - Cecily von Ziegesar
21. Body of Evidence - Patricia Cornwell
22. Seduced by Moonlight - Laurell K. Hamilton
23. The Lunatic Cafe - Laurell K. Hamilton
24. Dead to the World - Charlaine Harris
25. Not Becoming My Mother - Ruth Reichl
26. Witch & Wizard - James Patterson
27. Hush, Hush- Becca Fitzgerald
28. Fire - Kristin Cashore
29. The Awakening - Kelley Armstrong
30. The Salt Maiden - Colleen Thompson
31. Sharp Objects - Gillian Flynn
32. The Widow - Carla Neggers
33. Skin Hunger - Kathleen Duey
34. Shiver - Maggie Stiefvater
35. Marked - PC & Kristin Cast
36. Bloody Bones - Laurell K. Hamilton
37. Dead as a Doornail - Charlaine Harris
38. The Everafter - Amy Huntley
39. Notorious - Cecily von Ziegesar
40. Silver is for Secrets - Laurie Faria Stolarz
41. Liar - Justine Larbalestier
42. Little Bee - Chris Cleave
43. The Hunter's Moon - OR Melling
44. After - Amy Efaw
45. Red is for Remembrance - Laurie Faria Stolarz
46. The Dead-Tossed Waves - Carrie Ryan
47. Blood Ties - Kay Hooper
48. Need - Carrie Jones
49. Sacred Scars - Kathleen Duey
50. Shakespeare's Landlord - Charlaine Harris
51. The Magicians - Lev Grossman
52. Frankenstein: Dead & Alive - Dean Koontz
53. Grave Sight - Charlaine Harris
54. Cross Country - James Patterson
55. The Help - Kathryn Stockett
56. A Stroke of Midnight - Laurell K. Hamilton
57. The Killing Dance - Laurell K. Hamilton
58. All That Remains - Patricia Cornwell
59. The Chatham School Affair - Thomas H. Cook
60. Betrayed - PC & Kristin Cast
61. Graceling - Kristin Cashore
62. Cruel & Unusual - Patricia Cornwell
63. Girls in Trucks - Katie Crouch
64. Burnt Offerings - Laurell K. Hamilton
65. Mistral's Kiss - Laurell K. Hamilton
66. Twenties Girl - Sophie Kinsella
67. Shakespeare's Champion - Charlaine Harris
68. The Survivors Club - Lisa Gardner
69. Tribute - Nora Roberts
70. Bare Bones - Kathy Reichs
71. The Sleeping Beauty Proposal - Sarah Strohmeyer
72. Baby Proof - Emily Griffin
73. Speak No Evil - Allison Brennan
74. 7th Heaven - James Patterson
75. Three in Death - JD Robb
76. First Family - David Baldacci
77. The Cinderella Pact - Sarah Strohmeyer
78. Divine Justice - David Baldacci
79. See No Evil - Allison Brennan
80. Fear No Evil - Allison Brennan
81. A Grave Surprise - Charlaine Harris
82. Reckless - Cecily von Ziegesar
83. A Lick of Frost - Laurell K. Hamilton
84. Running Blind - Lee Child
85. Shakespeare's Christmas - Charlaine Harris
86. Unforgettable - Cecily von Ziegesar
87. An Ice Cold Grave - Charlaine Harris
88. Lucky - Cecily von Ziegesar
89. Tempted - Cecily von Ziegesar
90. Infamous - Cecily von Ziegesar
91. Adored - Cecily von Ziegesar
92. Devious - Cecily von Ziegesar
93. Swallowing Darkness - Laurell K. Hamilton
94. Shakespeare's Trollop - Charlaine Harris
95. The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner - Stephenie Meyer
96. The Body Farm - Patricia Cornwell
97. Definitely Dead - Charlaine Harris
98. Blue Moon - Laurell K. Hamilton
99. The Girl Who Was Infatuated With Dead (from Bite) - Laurell K. Hamilton
100. All Together Dead - Charlaine Harris
101. Grave Secret - Charlaine Harris
102. Echo Burning - Lee Child
103. From Potter's Field - Patricia Cornwell
104. The 8th Confession - James Patterson
105. Shakespeare's Counselor - Charlaine Harris
106. By The Time You Read This I'll Be Dead - Julie Anne Peters
107. Fallen - Lauren Kate
108. Real Murders - Charlaine Harris
109. Beautiful Creatures - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
110. Dragonfly - Julia Golding
111. The Beekeeper's Apprentice - Laurie R. King
112. Before I Fall - Lauren Oliver
113. The Carrie Diaries - Candace Bushnell
114. The Killing Hour - Lisa Gardner
115. The Reckoning - Kelley Armstrong
116. The Curse of the Romanovs - Staton Rubin
117. Wicked Prey - John Sandford
118. The Bone Collector - Jeffery Deaver
119. The Baby Farm - Karen Harper
120. A Bone to Pick - Charlaine Harris
121. The Iron King - Julie Kagawa
122. From Dead to Worse - Charlaine Harris
123. The Devouring - Simon Holt
124. The Poison Eaters - Holly Black
125. Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
126. Olive Kitteridge - Elizabeth Strout
127. Wicked: Witch - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
128. Wicked: Curse - Nancy Holder & Debbie Viguie
129. Mistress of the Art of Death - Ariana Franklin
130. Without Fail - Lee Child
131. Black Hills - Nora Roberts
132. Dead & Gone - Charlaine Harris
133. Blood Ninja - Nick Lake
134. Soulstice - Simon Holt
135. A Touch of Dead - Charlaine Harris
136. Persuader - Lee Child
137. Divine Misdemeanors - Laurell K. Hamilton
138. Alex Cross's Trial - James Patterson
139. Dark Flame - Alyson Noel
140. The Unresolved - TK Welsh
141. The Knife That Killed Me - Anthony McGowan
142. Possessions - Nancy Holder
143. The 9th Judgment - James Patterson
144. Dead in the Family - Charlaine Harris
145. Mockingjay - Suzanne Collins
146. Classic - Cecily von Ziegesar
147. Killing Fear - Allison Brennan
148. Stalemate - Iris Johansen
149. Outside Beauty - Cynthia Kadohata
150. Luna - Julie Anne Peters
151. The Evil Within - Nancy Holder
152. White Cat - Holly Black
153. Monday Mourning - Kathy Reichs
154. Gone - Lisa Gardner
155. Promises in Death - JD Robb
156. Pandora's Daughter - Iris Johansen
157. Tempting Evil - Allison Brennan
158. Love the One You're With - Emily Griffin
159. Worst Case - James Patterson
160. Swimsuit - James Patterson
161. I, Alex Cross - James Patterson
162. Frankenstein: Lost Souls - Dean Koontz
163. Captivate - Carrie Jones
164. Glimmerglass - Jenna Black
165. Playing Dead - Allison Brennan
166. The Postcard Killers - James Patterson
167. Linger - Maggie Stiefvater
168. Crescendo - Becca Fitzgerald
169. Kindred in Death - JD Robb
170. Quicksand - Iris Johansen
171. Cross Bones - Kathy Reichs
172. Bad Blood - John Sandford
173. Every Dead Thing - John Connolly
174. Fantasy in Death - JD Robb
175. I Am Number Four - Pittacus Lore
176. Obsidian Butterfly - Laurell K. Hamilton
177. Private - James Patterson
178. You Know You Love Me - Cecily von Ziegesar
179. Chosen - PC & Kristin Cast
180. Vision in White - Nora Roberts
181. Incarceron - Catherine Fisher
182. Beautiful Darkness - Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
183. Torment - Lauren Kate
184. The Good Neighbors: Kin - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
185. The Good Neighbors: Kith - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
186. Sudden Death - Allison Brennan
187. Untamed - PC & Kristin Cast
188. Bed of Roses - Nora Roberts
189. The Lost Symbol - Dan Brown
190. Blindsighted - Karin Slaughter
191. Clockwork Angel - Cassandra Clare
192. Twilight: The Graphic Novel - Stephenie Meyer & Young Kim
193. Savor the Moment - Nora Roberts
194. Radiance - Alyson Noel
195. The Eternal Ones - Kirsten Miller
196. The Good Neighbors: Kind - Holly Black & Ted Naifeh
197. Keeper of Light & Dust - Natasha Mostert
198. Night Star - Alyson Noel
199. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater
200. Happy Ever After - Nora Roberts
GOAL REACHED 12/28/10
201. Fatal Secrets - Allison Brennan
202. Storm Prey - John Sandford
Chloe Akemi was born on December 3rd. She was 6 pounds, 12 ounces and 19 inches long. So tiny! She arrived a day earlier than scheduled (my sister was scheduled for a C-section on the 4th), but that was good because we couldn't wait to meet her! My sister and her husband decided to be surprised this time and didn't find out the sex of the baby until Chloe arrived. My mom and I were going nuts, but I knew it was going to be a girl!
We love her sooooo much, but I don't think anyone can love her more than her big brother Dominic! He's so taken with her and already super protective. He loves to feed her while he's watching his shows and always giving her love.
Unfortunately, Emma and I have ended the year and started out the new one sick! We caught a really bad cold around New Year's Eve and still have the symptoms. Starting to get better, but it's still no fun! That means, no so much time playing with Chloe! Boo!