"Before you, Bella, my life was like a moonless night. Very dark, but there were stars, points of light and reason. ...And then you shot across my sky like a meteor. Suddenly everything was on fire; there was brilliancy, there was beauty. When you were gone, when the meteor had fallen over the horizon, everything went black. Nothing had changed, but my eyes were blinded by the light. I couldn’t see the stars anymore. And there was no more reason, for anything."

~ Edward Cullen

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Review: He Loves Lucy

Title: He Loves Lucy
Author: Susan Donovan
Pages: 338
Rating: 3.5/5

Marketing exec Lucy Cunningham is thrilled when her firm lands The Palm Club account. The campaign concept for Miami's hottest fitness club was Lucy's idea: take one fitness-challenged woman, put her in front of TV cameras, and into the hands of the club's top personal trainer, Theo Redmond. And there's a big cash reward for each pound shed. It seems like a brilliant idea-until Lucy gets picked to be the guinea pig. It's obvious she needs to drop the pounds, but the idea of letting it all hang out in front of some Malibu Ken jock has her choking on her Milk Duds before she even begins!

After one meeting, Theo knows Lucy will be his toughest client and one of the most unforgettable women he'll ever meet. Smart-mouthed and stubborn, it's clear she isn't fond of marching to anyone's drumbeat but her own. But she shocks Theo by rising to the challenge like a pro. And he finds his heart in jeopardy long before Lucy starts to slim down and turn heads.

As Lucy sweats her way into a whole new life, things start to heat up between her and Theo. But trust doesn't come easy for either of them. They've both been burned by romance in the past. Now Lucy and Theo are about to discover that appearances can be deceiving-and in the end, true love lies somewhere between pizza and Pilates...(Cover Blurb)

Susan Donovan was a new to me author. I've hear a lot of talk about her most recent book The Girl Most Likely Too, and I was looking forward to reading it. However, I've yet to get it and He Loves Lucy was on my shelf, so I read this one instead. I really loved the concept of this story. I really like stories with "larger" heroines considering the fact that I am not a size 2 myself. However, I guess I get irritated with them always losing weight and getting skinny when they are getting the guy. Can't a big girl stay big and still get the girl?

I really like the heroine of the story, Lucy. I thought she was down to earth and spunky and had a lot of great characteristics. Theo, the hero, wasn't bad but he kinda reminded me of my elementary school gym teacher, which I think ruined the moment for me. However, their love story is strong and could really happen in everyday life. One thing I really enjoy in a book is strong secondary characters and I felt like they were really lacking in this one. I never felt like a made a connection at all with any of them, except for Theo's brother Buddy.

Lastly, I had to rate this book just a tad lower because there were some major editing mistakes. Take this for example:

Theo tossed his clipboard on the reception counter and cupped Lucy's elbow, turning her toward the elevators as he chuckled...As they walked down the three flights of stairs to the lobby on Washington Ave, Lucy checked out her trainer from the corner of her eye and, as she always did, wondered how much more she weighed than the person next to her..."Are you originally from Miami Lucy?" The elevator doors opened and they headed for the street and into the pleasant, saltwater-scented city air (Page 9)

I didn't type out the full passage, but hopefully you get my drift. I must have read this section three times trying to figure out if they took the stairs or if they took the elevator. I'm still not quite sure :)

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Anyone But You

Title: Anyone But You
Author: Jennifer Crusie
Pages: 224
Rating: 4.5/5

For Nina Askew, turing forty means freedom—from the ex-husband whose career always came first, from their stuffy suburban home. Freedom to have her own apartment in the city, freedom to focus on what she wants for a change. And what she wants is something her ex always vetoed—a puppy. A bouncy puppy to cheer her up. Instead she gets…Fred.

Overweight, smelly and obviously suffering from some kind of doggy depression, Fred is light years from perky. But for all his faults, he does manage to put Nina face-to-face with Alex Moore, her gorgeous, younger downstairs neighbor.

Alex looks great on paper—a sexy, seemingly sane, surprisingly single E.R. doctor who shares Fred's abiding love for Oreos—but a ten-year difference in age, despite his devastating smile, is too wide a gap for Nina to handle. Ignoring her insistent best friend, some interfering do-gooders and the ubiquitous Fred—not to mention her suddenly raging hormones—Nina thinks anyone but Alex would be a better bet for a relationship. But with every silver-haired stiff she dates, the more she suspects it's the young dog-loving doctor she wants to sit and stay (Cover Blurb)!

I’m pretty sure my reading slump has a lot to do with needing a change in genres. I’ve been reading primarily young adult vampire fiction since the beginning of the year, with a few smatterings of books about wizards and demons. I had finished up Marked last week and started Betrayed and I’m still only about 90 pages into the story (despite this fact, I already like it better than Marked). What I decided to do was to sit that book down and go for something totally different and see if that helped.

About two years ago, I read Jennifer Crusie’s contemporary romance Bet Me and absolutely loved it. I ended up buying her whole back list where they sat and collected dust on my bookshelf. Last year, I picked up Agnes and the Hitman and devoured it in about 12 hours, stopping only to go to the bathroom. I really enjoy Crusie’s writing style and her stories are wonderful. Therefore, when I went for something different to read, I was instantly pulled to her books on the bookshelf.

Anyone But You is an absolutely adorable read. I started this book yesterday morning and if I wouldn’t have had to sleep, I would have finished it last night. I settled instead to finish it at lunch today. I loved it! The main characters of this novel are Nina and Alex, but really the hero of the whole book is Fred, the depressed, bottom heavy beagle basset mix dog that Nina picks up at the local animal control. I’m a huge dog person anyways, so it doesn’t surprise me that I latched onto him. His antics are the reason for Nina and Alex, and he’s the reason why I loved the book so much!

I think this is exactly what I needed. I’m going to start another contemporary type romance tonight and I think I’ll stick with these for a while :)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Best Day Ever!

So I just checked my email and I am now dancing around our little office like my butt is on fire...

Check it out:

The following items have been shipped to you by Amazon.com:

Amazon.com items (Sold by Amazon.com, LLC): 1 Twilight (Two-Disc Special... )

Shipped via UPS (estimated delivery date: March 20,2009).

I should have by greedy little hands on Edward by tomorrow at 12N. I feel like screaming! And dancing!

Maybe I should call off work tomorrow so he doesn't have to hang out by himself for the afternoon? Would it look odd to the neighbors if I camped out on my front porch and chased the UPS man?

Despite my behavior, my husband is still not interested in the movie...disappointing. It probably doesn't help that I told him I'd leave him for Edward in a heartbeat now does it ;)

Review: The Lit Report

Title: The Lit Report
Author: Sarah n. Harvey
Pages: 197
Rating: 5/5

Julia and Ruth have been unlikely best friends since they first met in Sunday school-Ruth was standing on the Bible-crafts table belting out "Jesus Loves Me." Now that they're a year away from graduation, they're putting the finishing touches on their getaway plans. But their dream of a funky big-city loft and rich, interesting older men is threatened when preacher's daughter Ruth goes to a wild party without studious Julia, and all hell breaks loose. Ruth gets pregnant; Julia gets creative. Determined to support her friend and stay on track for life after high school, Julia comes up with a plan that will require all her intelligence, compassion, ingenuity and patience. Drawing on some great (and some not-so-great) works of literature, Julia proves that you can learn a lot just by opening up a book (Orca Publishing).

I’m a member of LibraryThing’s Early Reviewers program and this book came up a few months ago for review. At that time, I wasn’t able to get an ARC copy but put the book on my wishlist at Paperbackswap.com instead. The book arrived in the mail last week, and I started it shortly after finishing Marked last night. It was a super fast read but I absolutely adored the book.

Julia, a nerdy, book loving teenager, is the narrator of the story and she is so easy to connect to. She’s a lover of classic literature and each chapter of the book starts with a quote from some of the greats (To Kill a Mockingbird, Jane Eyre, Little Woman, and Charlotte’s Web just to name a few). Julia is a junior in high school and she and her best friend Ruth have big plans for the future. But Ruth, after only having sex one time, finds herself pregnant. Ruth’s parents are not the accepting type when it comes to this type of thing, so Julia finds herself planning to hide Ruth’s pregnancy and to deliver the baby herself. As the months progress, we see the relationship between Julia and Ruth change. This baby changes both girls lives, bringing everything full circle.

It’s been a long time since I read a book and really had the characters touch me in such a poignant way. Harvey’s hand at writing is an extremely talented one and she takes the reader on quite an emotional journey in a very short amount of time. This book means something. It brings something to the reader. It is a wonderful, wonderful story. I will definitely be keeping Sarah Harvey on my future book buying radar

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Review: Marked

Title: Marked
Author: PC Cast and Kristin Cast
Pages: 306
Rating: 3/5

Enter the dark, magical world of The House of Night, a world very much like our own, except here vampyres have always existed. Sixteen-year-old Zoey Redbird has just been Marked as a fledgling vampyre and joins the House of Night, a school where she will train to become an adult vampire. That is, if she makes it through the Change--and not all of those who are Marked do. It sucks to begin a new life, especially away from her friends, and on top of that, Zoey is no average fledgling. She has been chosen as special by the vampyre Goddess Nyx. Zoey discovers she has amazing powers, but along with her powers come bloodlust and an unfortunate ability to Imprint her human ex-boyfriend. To add to her stress, she is not the only fledgling at the House of Night with special powers: When she discovers that the leader of the Dark Daughters, the school's most elite group, is misusing her Goddess-given gifts, Zoey must look deep within herself for the courage to embrace her destiny--with a little help from her new vampyre friends (Cover Blurb).

I was really excited about starting this series, and was hoping that I would love it. I didn't. I was really bored the entire first half of the book, and I thought the main character, Zoey, was rather annoying. I just couldn't connect with her. I don't know if it has to do with the fact that this is a young adult book, and I'm too old (oh I do not like saying that) or if its the writing style, but something about this book just really turned me off.

I did like the second half of the book better, and felt that the story line developed more and had a bit more action, but it still wasn't great. I think the problem may half to do with the fact I find myself comparing this series to Twilight and its not the same thing. I need to come to the realization that nothing will ever be Twilight and most likely I'll never be touched by a young adult book like that again.

I am going to try to stick with this series, seeing as how I own them all. I'm hoping that as I continue with it, the story line will get better and more intense.

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

The Spring Slumps...

I think I’ve hit a reading slump. This always seems to happen around this time of year. The weather gets nice, and I just want to be outside. Nothing I read sticks, and I’m easily distracted. Despite not feeling well on Saturday, I barely read at all this weekend. I came home Friday night, made some tomato soup and then went outside and cut down the tall grasses on the side of the house. I raked up the beds until dark and then went to bed. Saturday I just didn’t feel good and slept most of the day. A lot of that was just stress about work and such I think.

Sunday, I woke up feeling much better. Michael and I went to mass, and then headed home. We wasted two hours watching Paranormal State on A & E, and then headed out to start cleaning the garage. Four hours later, we headed back inside, dirty, gross, and hungry. But the garage looks awesome. Both cars actually fit in it and you can still get to the lawnmower. We swept up all the nasty winter grime, and put away the weird collection of stuff that seems to get left out there. Please explain to me how over half my Tupperware was outside? Once we came in, I grabbed a shower and then we went to see my brother, who was home from seminary for the weekend. We came home about 9:30 and I fell into bed.

So, I am still no farther in Marked then I was on Friday, and I’m still about halfway through California Demon (the second in the Demon Hunting Soccer Mom series). Tonight, we have to go to calling hours, for a friend of Michael’s family so I probably won’t get much accomplished tonight either in the whole reading arena.

I hope this doesn’t keep up through the summer. I started off the year really strong and I’d love to keep it that way!

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Review: Carpe Demon

Title: Carpe Demon - Adventures of a Demon-Hunting Soccer Mom
Author: Julie Kenner
Pages: 307
Rating: 4.5/5

Lots of women put their careers aside once their kids come along. Kate Connor, for instance, hasn't hunted a demon for ages...

That must be why she missed the one wandering through the pet-food aisle of the San Diablo Wal-Mart. Unfortunately, he managed to catch her attention an hour later-when he crashed into the Connor house, intent on killing her. Now Kate has to clean up the mess in her kitchen, dispose of a dead demon, and pull together a dinner party that will get her husband elected county attorney - all without arousing her family's suspicion. Worse yet, it seems the dead demon didn't come alone...

It's time for Kate Connor to go back to work (Cover Blurb).

This is another book that has been sitting on my shelves, collecting dust since I bought it. I wanted to take a break from the Harry Potter books and grabbed this on a whim. I remember buying this at Wamart and being surprised it was out in Mass Market Paperback. I think this is around the time that more and more publishers were going to this format for the final publication. I'm finding more and more fiction books in this format now then I ever did before. But anyways, back to the book.

I've never read any books written by Julie Kenner. I had heard talk about her mystery series that revolves around designer clothes and coded messages a la The DaVinci Code, but I hadn't read them. If they are anything like Carpe Demon - I'll be picking them up soon. I really, really enjoyed this book. It was exciting and quirky and down to earth. Sometimes, books written in the paranormal genre can be really far fetched. I could really see the things in this book happening (what can I say... I'm a practicing Catholic - demon possession isn't that far fetched of an idea). Also, I dearly loved Kate Connor, the main character and heroine. There was just something really kick butt about her. Plus, what wife wouldn't admire a women who can kill a demon in her kitchen and still put on a dinner party...all in less than two hours.

I already have the next two books in the series to read and I'm ordering number four from Amazon. This is definitely a series I'll be sticking with!

Saturday, March 7, 2009

Job Update...

Just a little update on the whole job front. My interview went extremely well. There's been a lot of changes within the departments at the company who bought us and these changes were definitely for the better. It was actually quite a postive experience and I think that taking this opportunity would be a wonderful thing for me. I heard today from my HR department that they are writing up an offer and will be presenting it to me next week so I will keep you posted!

Review: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban

Title: Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban
Author: JK Rowling
Pages: 435
Rating: 5/5

For twelve long years, the dread fortress of Azkaban held an infamous prisoner named Sirius Black. Convicted of killing thirteen people with a single curse, he was said to be the heir apparent to the Dark Lord, Voldemort.

Now he has escaped, leaving only two clues as to where he might be headed: Harry Potter's defeat of You-Know-Who was Black's downfall as well. And the Azkaban guards heard Black muttering in his sleep, "He's at Hogwarts...he's at Hogwarts."

Harry Potter isn't safe, not even within the walls of his magical school, surrounded by his friends. Because on top of it all, there may well be a traitor in their midst (Cover Blurb).

I really could kick myself for waiting as long as I did to start this series. Now that I'm getting deeper and deeper in, they are all I can think about. If it hadn't been for everything going on at work this week, I would have finished this one way before today.

So far, Book Three, is my favorite by far. There's quite a bit of mystery and deception within its pages, and the story is really starting to develop. We're learning more and more about what went on between Harry's parents and Voldemort and how different people fit into the story. I love the fact that we learn a little bit more about Snape in this book. It helps explain some about how he feels about Harry.

I've always been a big Harry supporter when I watched the movies, but now that I'm reading the books I think I have a little crush on Ron. He's just so darn cute! I'm going to start Book Four this weekend and Michael is out of town most of the day tomorrow so I think I might watch a few of the movies. I'm rather looking forward to it!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Finally Some Answers...

I know in the past few months I've mentioned some of things that have been going on at work but I didn't go into a lot of details. However, some things happened at work today and I feel a little better talking about what is going on.

I used to work for a company (Company A) and left that job because of some of the people in the office and the whole atmosphere of the work place. I was younger and very intimidated by the older woman and not sure of myself - this was all before I was married, owned a home, met my husband. I left Company A three and a half years ago to work for Company B. I really loved Company B and was so happy with my decision.

In December of last year, we found out that Company B had been bought by Company A...I felt a lot of emotions that day but in the end decided that I would stick this out and see how things go before I made any major decisions. At the time of the acquisition, we were told that my department would be ok and no cuts would be made. However, as the months have passed, a lot of rumors have been flying regarding what is going to happen with the office I am currently located at and the central office of Company A. I've been on pins and needles for almost two months now, wondering if I'll have a job when I get to work. I knew something big was happening because the CEO, company lawyers, and other upper management have been in and out of our offices for weeks. I myself, had a meeting of sorts with some of the upper management, that I had hoped went well and showed my qualities.

Today,without any warning, Company A came in and laid off almost twenty of our employees including many within my department. I was the second person called to the main conference room where I met with the department head. I was told that they would like me to come and interview with them and that they believe I would be an excellent fit within their department. They said that they were impressed with my knowledge of my job and that I presented myself very well in all of the meetings that I was involved in.

In a way, I feel some relief. My interview is on Thursday and I'm a little nervous about it, but I feel confident that I will be fine. It will be odd to go back with this company, but its a different department and a different position then I was in before. Plus, I'm older and definitely more adept at handling different situations. If I don't like, I can always look for something else. Right now I'm just thankful that I still have a job and can still make my house payment.

What I do feel horrible about, is the people that I work with that didn't get good news. I'm the only one from my department right now that was given a go ahead. Others weren't told anything yet, or they were let go, including the other girl that worked as my supervisor/coordinator. I'll be keeping them all in my prayers during this difficult time. I don't feel as though I can be happy when so many others around me are suffering.

So, that's what is going on with my life right now. I'm on a roller coaster of emotions right now, and I'm so glad I have this blog to share my feelings with. It helps me to sort through everything when I can talk (type :) ) about it. So thanks for listening everyone and God Bless!

Monday, March 2, 2009

Review: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets

Title: Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets
Author: J.K. Rowling
Pages: 341
Rating: 4.5/5

Ever since Harry Potter had come home for the summer, the Dursleys had been so mean and hideous that all Harry wanted was to get back to the Hogwarts School for Witchraft and Wizardy. But just as he's packing his bags, Harry receives a warning from a strange impish creature who says that if Harry returns to Hogwarts, disaster will strike.

And strike it does. For in Harry's second year at Hogwarts, fresh torments and horrors arise, including an outrageously stuck-up new professor and a spirit who haunts the girls' bathroom. But then the real trouble begins - someone is turning Hogwarts students to stone. Could it be Draco Malfoy, a more poisonous rival than ever? Could it possibly be Hagrid, whose mysterious past is finally told? Or could it be the one everyone at Hogwarts most suspects...Harry Potter himself (Cover Blurb)?

My first read of March was the second in the Harry Potter series. I really enjoyed this book of the series, and it read super fast (I finished it up this morning before work, after just starting it yesterday afternoon). I'm so glad I started reading these books because now things that were confusing me in the movies make sense. Plus, they are just genuinely really great books.

The Chamber of Secrets is one of my favorite movies, mostly because I think Dobby is so darn cute. However, its also been the most confusing because of the whole Tom Riddle/Lord Voldermorte thing. I could never figure it out - how it all worked, how they were connected, and the purpose of the diary. Now, its like an alarm went off - I get it! And its a really cool twist that brings the whole story together so neatly. And, the end left me a just a wee bit teary eyed. I was just so proud of Harry!

Also, with this book of the series, I'm beginning to really really dislike the Malfoys. First off, I don't like people who buy friends. Secondly, they are so mean - especially to Dobby - I was so angry at the way Old Man Malfoy kicked Dobby down the hallway, I could have spit nails. And then to treat the Weasly's with such contempt - dishonorable! I really hope they get their comeuppance in the later books.

I'm hoping to read number three before the end of the month - I really would love to be caught up when the new movie opens.

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