"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

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Review: The Devouring

Title: The Devouring
Author: Simon Holt
Pages: 240
Rating: 4/5

"When dark creeps in and eats the light,
Bury your fears on Sorry Night.
For in the winter's blackest hours,
Comes the feasting of the Vours,
No one can see it, the life they stole,
Your body's here but not your soul..."

THE VOURS: Evil, demonic beings that inhabit human bodies on Sorry Night, the darkest hours of the winter solstice.

When Reggie reads about the Vours in a mysterious old journal, she assumes they are just the musings of an anonymous lunatic. But when her little brother, Henry, begins to act strangely, it's clear that these creatures exist beyond a madwoman's imagination, and Reggie finds out what happens when fears come to life.

To save the people she loves, Reggie must learn to survive in a world of nightmares. Can she devour her own fears before they devour her? (Cover Blurb)

First off, I have been an absolute horrible blogger lately. I've been so busy with all getting the house ready for summer, working in the flower beds, getting ready for vacation (16 days!!), and everything with Macy that I haven't hardly had a chance to sit down. I apologize for appearing to be so negligent of my little blog. I really do still love everyone!!

I finished this book last Thursday and it was really good. I'm really looking forward to the sequel Soulstice, due out in September. It's definitely one I'll be getting right away.

This book grabs you right from the very beginning. The story is really horrifying, and at times I found myself getting up to turn on all the lights in the room. Also, I found myself going to bed at the same time as my husband, rather than sitting in the leaving room alone, for almost a solid week. However, despite wondering why I was all of a sudden so interested in sleeping a mere centimeter from him at night, he didn't want to hear about my book...disappointing I know!

The only disappointment I had in the book is that it leaves you hanging at the very end --- to get you to buy the sequel no doubt, but it was very annoying. I kept turning the last page to make sure I didn't miss anything. So if you like suspense and not knowing, read the book now. If you want to know the answers wait until September for the sequel, which will probably be a cliff hanger too...

Monday, April 20, 2009

Needing Prayers

This has been a really rough month for my entire family. On top of starting with the new company, Michael and I found out some horrible news on Wednesday. Our god daughter, who is the daughter of my cousin and Michael's best friend since the 5th grade, has been diagnosed with malignant retinoblastoma, a cancer of the eye. She will not even be a year old until May. As of right now, she has no vision in either eye, due to detached retinas. The Drs know for sure that the cancer is in one eye, but they are not yet sure if it is present in the other eye. The family left for a specialist in Philadelphia today, and we should hopefully know more by tomorrow afternoon. Right now, the biggest concern is making sure it has not metastasized anywhere else in the body, and what the next steps in treatment should be.

My cousin and her husband introduced Michael and I five years ago, and have been married about six months longer than we have. They have two beautiful girls and are just an adorable little family. Michael and I love them dearly, and consider them to be our best friends. We're very close to both of the girls, and are truly devestated by this news.

My brother has added Macy's name to the prayer list at seminary, and the entire family has been praying constantly for good news. Both my extended family, and Michael's extended family have been brought to their knees with this news. I don't think you ever really know how it will feel when cancer touches one of your own, especially not a tiny baby.

So, all I ask is that if you could please keep Macy Jane in your prayers, myself, and my entire family would be forever thankful.

Review: Bless Your Heart Tramp and Other Southern Endearments

Title: Bless Your Heart, Tramp and Other Southern Endearments
Author: Celia Rivenbark
Pages: 208
Rating: 3.5/5

Step into the wacky world of “womanless wedding” fund-raisers, in which Bubbas wear boas. Meet two sisters who fight rural boredom by washing Budweiser cans and cutting them into pieces to make clothing. Learn why the word snow sends any right-thinking Southerner careening to the Food Lion for extra loaves of bread and little else.

Humor columnist and slightly crazed belle-by-birth Celia Rivenbark tackles these and other lard-laden subjects in Bless Your Heart, Tramp, a hilarious look at Southern---and just plain human---foibles, up-close and personal. So pour yourself a glass of sweet tea and curl up on the pie-azza with Bless Your Heart, Tramp (Cover Blurb).

I've been trying out different "humor" writers lately to see if there is anyone that can hold me over until the next Jenn Lancaster book comes out (May 5 cannot get here soon enough --- however, I'm keeping the new book until vacation on the 15th to read on the beach!!). I've heard really good things about Celia Rivenbark and thought I would give her a try.

This book definitely had its funny moments. I did find myself laughing out loud and nodding in agreement at a few different things, especially during the last third of the book. Rivenbark writes about real life, and some of the stupid real life things that people do. One of my favorite stories had to do with a train accident and clean underwear. I cannot help but admit that my mother is one of those "you should always keep a clean pair of underwear in your glove box in case you are ever in an accident" types. I, however, have never heeded her advise. I mean how embarrassing would it be to open your glove box one day in front of someone from work or something, and underwear falls out...the horror!! I'll take my chances thank you very much!

I have two more books by Rivenbark to read and I'll definitely be giving them a chance in the near future.

Sunday, April 12, 2009

Review: My Horizontal Life

Title: My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One Night Stands
Author: Chelsey Handler
Pages: 213
Rating: 1/5

In this raucous collection of true-life stories, actress and comedian Chelsea Handler recounts her time spent in the social trenches with that wild, strange, irresistible, and often gratifying beast: the one-night stand.

You've either done it or know someone who has: the one-night stand, the familiar outcome of a night spent at a bar, sometimes the sole payoff for your friend's irritating wedding, or the only relief from a disastrous vacation. Often embarrassing and uncomfortable, occasionally outlandish, but most times just a necessary and irresistible evil, the one-night stand is a social rite as old as sex itself and as common as a bar stool.

Enter Chelsea Handler. Gorgeous, sharp, and anything but shy, Chelsea loves men and lots of them. My Horizontal Life chronicles her romp through the different bedrooms of a variety of suitors, a no-holds-barred account of what can happen between a man and a sometimes very intoxicated, outgoing woman during one night of passion. From her short fling with a Vegas stripper to her even shorter dalliance with a well-endowed little person, from her uncomfortable tryst with a cruise ship performer to her misguided rebound with a man who likes to play leather dress-up, Chelsea recalls the highs and lows of her one-night stands with hilarious honesty. Encouraged by her motley collection of friends (aka: her partners in crime) but challenged by her family members (who at times find themselves a surprise part of the encounter), Chelsea hits bottom and bounces back, unafraid to share the gritty details. My Horizontal Life is one guilty pleasure you won't be ashamed to talk about in the morning (Cover Blurb).

Let me just start this review by saying, I love Chelsey Handler. I watched (and will again when I don't go to bed at nine) her show Chelsey Lately every night before going to bed. She always can make me laugh, and I've never been disappointed in her comedy. And then, I read this book.

This was the LOOOOONGEST 213 pages I think I have ever tackled in my entire life. If I didn't have this weird thing where I have to finish a book, I would have wall banged it a long time ago. This book took me over a week to read. I couldn't wait to finish it. I was so disappointed.

I knew this book would be raunchy. Handler's comedy often is, and that was fine with me. However, it was just plain stupid. And almost bordering on disgusting. I cannot imagine why anyone would want to advertise how many people they had randomly slept with. I know, I know, the title should of been a warning. I should of seen the caution light when I picked this one up at Borders. All I can say is that I was obviously doped up on cold medicine at the time.

Plus, I don't think this book showcased Handler's comedic ability at all. I laughed once while reading this. Maybe I'm just not funny anymore, or don't appreciate humor like I used to but it didn't do anything for me. It certainly wasn't like Jenn Lancaster's books. Or Laurie Notaro's. With those, I go running into the living room, reading passages out loud to my husband, while I snort and gasp for air and pee my pants all at the same time because I'm laughing so hard.

I'm pretty sure I won't be giving "Are You There Vodka? It's Me Chelsey" a try next time I'm at the bookstore, and this one is already pending with someone on Paperbackswap so its off to a new home, where possible it will be loved.

Review: Smitten

Title: Smitten
Author: Janet Evanovich
Pages: 256
Rating: 3.5/5

Single mom Lizabeth Kane isn't exactly construction material—she's never picked up a hammer in her life. But she desperately needs the job that builder Matt Hallahan is offering. And even though he knows better, Matt can't refuse her irresistible smile.

Matt Hallahan isn't exactly relationship material—he has always been too busy working on other people's houses to make a home of his own. And even though she knows better, Lizabeth can't stop thinking about the rugged carpenter.

Is the relationship Matt and Lizabeth are building solid—or more like a house of cards?

It's been over a week since I finished this book, so I have to say, my minds a little fuzzy when it comes to the details. I do know this. I liked it much better than The Grand Finale. I felt the story developed at a much better pace and it didn't feel nearly as rushed. Plus, the heroine, Lizabeth was much more normal than Berry (what the heck kind of name is that anyway?).

I also really liked the hero, Matt. He was really down to earth, and he really did love Lizabeth. Plus, I absolutely adored how he tried to protect her from the neighborhood flasher. One of my favorite scenes in the whole book involves Matt in hot pursuit of the flasher. Let's just say it involves minimal clothing and lots and lots of the neighbors.

I would definitely give this Evanovich try if you are looking for something light to read. While these books aren't the Stephanie Plum series, they are still cute and unique in their own right.

I was going to try and read all of Janet Evanovich's Loveswept books in March, but after two, decided a needed a bit of a break. Plus, my reading time has been severely hampered by the new job I took with the new company. Once I'm home at night, I barely have enough energy to get dinner done, clean up a bit, and take a shower. I've been in bed most nights by eight o clock. Hence the lack of posts, and the even bigger lack of reviews lately.

I think once I'm used to everything I'll be back on the reading mojo. Or at least I hope so. Learning new systems, and my work almost tripling has just been running me ragged!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

March in Review

March was a very long month for me. There was a lot of stuff going on at work. All that has been settled now. I signed an acceptance letter with the new company, and will be moving to a new building and a new supervisor on Monday. I'll be able to leave all the gossip and hostility at the old place. I found all this out yesterday, and I can already feel the stress leaving my body. I finally know what is going on with that part of my life!

Reading wise, I hit a mid month slump and only managed to read one book in a week and a half. I was a little panicky because this year has been so good for me reading wise. After spending a quiet evening in the "library" (my really overcrowded spare bedroom that houses all my books) I decided to change up my genres a little bit and moved to contemporary romance. I guess that is all it took because I was able to read four in one week.

I managed to read nine books this month and I'm already 1/4 of the way done with the 100 Book Reading Challenge. In fact, I'm actually one book ahead of where I had wanted to me at the end of March (yeah me!). Also, I read two more books in the Harry Potter series in March, getting myself closer to my goal of completing all seven books before the new movie is released in July.

April will be a busy month for me because of spring. Michael and I always take a few evenings and weekends and edge all the flower beds, weed, trim, and mulch. Also, we are looking to expand the back bed this year and plant a few more trees. I'll take pictures when its all done and show everyone all of our hard work. We have managed to get the garage and basement cleaned and organized and ready for spring already so that is one good thing.

Another thing I really want to concentrate on in April is Michael and I's plans for the future. We have been trying to get pregnant now for about a year; however, during almost this entire time I have been under extreme amounts of stress at work. I'm really working on relaxing and enjoying Michael and I's time together this month. I'm hoping maybe the change in job and the change in my attitude will cause a change for us. If not, I'll be making an appointment with the Dr. in the near future to see what our options are.

Review: The Grand Finale

Title: The Grand Finale
Author: Janet Evanovich
Pages: 246
Rating: 2.5/5

Berry Knudson had a talent for disaster, but when she climbed a tree to rescue a kitten, she wasn't prepared for the scrumptious hunk undressing in a nearby window, or her dive downward that smashed Jake Sawyer's pizza and won his heart! But was there room in her chaotic schedule for a risk-taking inventor with dreams? She took classes, delivered pizzas, and cared for three eccentric old ladies she rescued from the train station. But Jake thrived on a challenge, and he could be very inventive. Could he teach her there was time to make butterscotch pudding and let herself be loved (Cover Blurb)?

I was looking for a quick, fast read last night to pass the time until Michael got home from work. I've always like Janet Evanovich and I've read a few of the Stephanie Plum books before. The Grand Finale was written way before the Plum novels became so popular, and you can definitely tell.

Originally written as a Harlequin type book, the story moves fast and there is not a huge amount of plot development. In fact, the development of the story was TOO fast. That is why I only rated the book two and a half out of five. It was almost far fetched and I found myself rolling my eyes quite a bit.

There are good things about this book. The three old ladies that Berry rescues from the train station are a hoot. The had me laughing to myself quite a few times, and reminded me of some of the older ladies I've worked with in the past. Berry's love interest, Jake, is a sweetheart of a guy, who would do anything for the woman he loves. I really liked him, I just didn't like his over the top I fell in love with you when you fell out of my tree bit.

All in all, an ok read, but nothing to write home about.

Review: Too Good To Be True

Title: Too Good To Be True
Author: Kristan Higgins
Pages: 379
Rating: 5/5

When Grace Emerson's ex-fiancé starts dating her younger sister, extreme measures are called for. To keep everyone from obsessing about her love life, Grace announces that she's seeing someone. Someone wonderful. Someone handsome. Someone completely made up. Who is this Mr. Right? Someone…exactly unlike her renegade neighbor Callahan O'Shea. Well, someone with his looks, maybe. His hot body. His knife-sharp sense of humor. His smarts and big heart.

Whoa. No. Callahan O'Shea is not her perfect man! Not with his unsavory past. So why does Mr. Wrong feel so…right (Cover Blurb)?

Oh Kristan Higgins, where have you been all my life? I cannot believe that I have been passing up this wonderful author, and letting her books just sit on my shelf. Too Good To Be True is Higgins newest work, and the only one by her that I have read (at this time...this will not be true for long). I. Absolutely. Loved. This. Book. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Our hero, Grace, is absolutely hilarious. She's sharp, witty, nutty, and possibly a bit on the crazy side. When she can't take the huge pity party caused by her fiance leaving her for her younger sister, Grace makes up a boyfriend. And tells her whole family about him. And then she tells her hot...and I mean hot...neighbor about him. So her hot neighbor thinks she's dating a pediatric surgeon, when all Grace can really think about is her hot neighbor.

And don't even get me started on the hot neighbor. Callahan O'Shea (isn't that name just dreamy) is absolutely the most perfect man I have ever heard of (No, I am not cheating on my boyfriend, Edward - Edward is the most perfect vampire ever, and he sparkles in the sun...even sexy Callahan O'Shea doesn't sparkle). Anyway, this guy is just the sweetest thing ever, and if I wasn't already married to quite a wonderful man, I might have a bit of book lust for Callahan O'Shea...oh, who am I kidding...I do have book lust. Just reading about the guy makes me start batting my eyelashes and compulsively twirling my hair around my finger...lol.

I flew through this book rather quickly. There isn't one part of this book I didn't like, and one scene in particular had me laughing so hard I had tears rolling down my face. I loved the ending and epilogue of the book so much I've read it three times. This book is definitely a keeper, and I will definitely be reading it again in the future.

Kristan Higgins has a short back list of three books (with a new one on the way this summer!!). I've already gotten my hands on them, and I'm packing them in my suitcase for Florida. I think they are just what I'll need for those lazy days on the beach.

So much to do...so little time

I tried to write this last night and the electricity went out on me so I'm going to try again. I am three book reviews behind. Two of them are for March books and one is for an April book (already :)). I'm going to try to at least get my two March reviews up tonight and then my little March in review post. I have a really busy month in April, but I'm going to try to keep up with as much reading as I can. I'm really looking forward to May because we'll be spending an entire week in Daytona, FL and I can read and read and read all day on the beach...yay!!!

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