Thursday, August 30, 2012

So Many Books ... Part II

The Spawn is harassing me. Constant badgering. I swear, sometimes I even hear him in my sleep... "Read The Hunger Games series"... and then I wake up and he's standing over me saying, "Mom. Seriously. You read Twilight twice but you won't read Hunger Games. You disappoint."

In an effort to read The Hunger Games series guilt-free... there's been more shelf purging. It's like my shelves are puking up books. There's all kinds of things going out the door - erm, well, okay not the door. More like getting shoved into stacks in my closet to be dealt with later. I'm even purging my current read stack. Seriously? I've been trying to read Dracula for over two months and I'm not half done yet. It's not happening. Anyways, here's what has moved into the closet. Hopefully they'll find a better home at a later date.

Something Borrowed, Something Blue, Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin. The first two were part of a series and the third, well, it just seemed wrong to keep.

One Enchanted Evening by Lynn Kurland. It was hard letting this one go. I used to love Lynn Kurland's books, but then well, I changed and she stayed the same. The books started to become repetitious and the family/character chain so convoluted, I couldn't keep it straight. The fact that this sat on my shelves for over 2 years is an indication of my reluctance to read it.

Embassytown by China Mieville. I received this in a giveaway on goodreads.com. I started to read it, but put it away hoping to get back to it at some point when my brain cells were fully functioning. Well, that's never gonna happen. This is probably a great read for someone who like science fiction and likes figuring everything out without any explanation. I like sci fi well enough, I just need to be fed details a little more than this book did.

The Other Woman by Jane Green.

Smart and Sexy by Jill Shalvis.

Also hitting the road:
  • 2 computer books (let's be real: I barely have time to post to this blog, much less make a really cool webpage)
  • 5 German language books (see above regarding time)
Things are going a lot better on the reading front now that I've gotten those things out of the way. I actually feel excited to read.

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Forget Prince Charming

Forget Prince CharmingForget Prince Charming by Natale Stenzel
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

A very generic romance. Characterization was lacking - we never really saw evidence of the hero's "nerdiness" other than he owned a chain of computer stores. The story fizzled out a few chapters in. Eh... pretty generic.

Synopsis: Haley Watson has kissed one too many Prince Charmings -- those major hunks with major character flaws. She caught her latest ex-hunk warming up for their romantic weekend by having sex with his secretary. So if all princes are jerks, then geeks -- aka frogs -- must actually be a sweet, reliable, overlooked species. Natural habitat: computer stores and libraries.
But just when Haley has a real live geek in her sights, her new neighbor Rick Samuels -- the Anti-Nerd -- starts in with the charm. Haley informs him that she dates only hotties with pocket protectors and thick glasses.

Rick resents Haley's stereotyping and feels it's time to teach Haley rule #1 of the Genus Geekus ....
 
Some frogs really are just frogs. And some princes are frogs in disguise.

Friday, August 17, 2012

So Many Books...

... so little time.

Occasionally this happens. And by "occasionally" I mean very very often. It's not that I don't want to read these books, I just want to read other books more. Right now my bookshelves are overflowing. Trust me, if you think my TBR page looks a little ridiculous... try not to think about the fact that I'm behind updating that page by about 20 books. *sigh*

In moments of desparation, to keep myself from being overwhelmed (and my family from checking me into a mental facility) I cull out the books that I've accepted I'll never get to read. Here's the latest on my I Give Up list:

The Lost Hero by Rick Riordan. I bought this one for The Spawn. I don't think he finished reading it, honestly. I added it to my list because I really enjoyed the Percy Jackson books. I trust The Spawn's judgment - if it's not worth finishing, I shouldn't start.

Listen by Rene Gutteridge; Tiger Eye by Marjorie M. LiuFatal Judgment by Irene Hannon; Man Law by Adrienne Giordano; Blood Safari by Deon Meyer; Irresistible Forces by Brenda Jackson. These were all Nook Book freebies. No harm, no foul.

A Hopeless Romantic by Harriet Evans. I picked this up because it was in the recommended reading list for another book that I enjoyed. This book is HUGE! I like chick lit, but not that much. I kept reshuffling (every day I'm shuffling... uh-hem. Sorry.) it around my book shelf just to avoid reading it.

Wild Ride by Jennifer Crusie, Bob Mayer. This was recommended by a friend. I wanted to try to read it, but honestly I just don't think it's my kind of reading. (And if you figure out what my kind of reading is, please let me know.)

I know there's a few others that should go, I just haven't gotten up the nerve to do it. Maybe I'll update the TBR page and it will inspire me a little further.

Thursday, August 16, 2012

The Cupid Effect

The Cupid EffectThe Cupid Effect by Dorothy Koomson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh man. Oh man oh man oh man. This woman can write. Great story, great characters... oh man.

The first thing I notice in every Dorothy Koomson book is that her characters start out completely whole - they are real people with personality. The main character, Ceri, is no exception here. By page six I wanted to be her best friend. Or I just wanted to be her.

The storyline here was less dramatic than I expected, but great nonetheless. It has a supernatural twist that isn't forced or overanalyzed, it just is.

The one thing that still got me was the ending. I said this about the last DK book that I read and it seems to hold true with this one. She could have ended the book with one chapter less and it would have been perfection. The last chapter always seems to be a wrap up the loose ends and give it a happy ending with a big fat pretty bow on it to remind us that it is, after all, just a story.

Still, I give this book five stars feeling it was well earned.

Synopsis: Ceri D'Altroy watches too much Oprah Winfrey - and it's having serious repercussions. Bored with London life and writing yet another 'have the perfect orgasm' feature, she's decided to take Oprah's advice and follow her heart's desire. Going back to college might not be everyone's dream but all Ceri's has ever wanted to do is lecture . . .

Unfortunately, Ceri's new start seems to involve disrupting lives: within days she's reunited a happily uncoupled couple, encouraged her new flatmate to do something about his unrequited love, and outed the secret relationship of her two colleagues. Only, while Ceri's playing Cupid for others, the highlight of her social calendar is trying a new hair conditioner. Something needs to be done, but can Ceri stick to her vow to give up her accidental matchmaking for good. . ?

A delicious comedy about love, life and following your heart...

Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Her Fearful Symmetry

Her Fearful SymmetryHer Fearful Symmetry by Audrey Niffenegger
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I had really high expectations for this book after reading The Time Traveler's Wife. I'm not sure yet if I was disappointed or not.

This is a very strange book about love and death - and the secrets that both keep. Overall it wasn't a very emotional book, it was hard to really care about the characters because, well, they were so weird. The plot was see through, all though I did really love the details. The little things that I wouldn't have thought of added a bit to the reading experience. The characters were great when taken individually. Throwing them all together into one story was overwhelming. I really started enjoying the story when the stories became more individualized.

I ranked this rather high despite my criticism of plot because the writing was so.darn.good. There were also many thought provoking points on love and grief, I often sat with the book in my lap, thinking "Wow. Just wow." I can only recommend this book if you're willing to accept the weirdness in the world that Niffenegger created.

Synopsis:  Julia and Valentina Poole are semi-normal American twenty-year-olds with seemingly little interest in college or finding jobs. Their attachment to one another is intense. One morning the mailman delivers a thick envelope to their house in the suburbs of Chicago. From a London solicitor, the enclosed letter informs Valentina and Julia that their English aunt Elspeth Noblin, whom they never knew, has died of cancer and left them her London apartment. There are two conditions to this inheritance: that they live in it for a year before they sell it and that their parents not enter it. Julia and Valentina are twins. So were the estranged Elspeth and Edie, their mother.

The girls move to Elspeth's flat, which borders the vast and ornate Highgate Cemetery, where Christina Rossetti, George Eliot, Radclyffe Hall, Stella Gibbons and Karl Marx are buried. Julia and Valentina come to know the living residents of their building. There is Martin, a brilliant and charming crossword-puzzle setter suffering from crippling obsessive compulsive disorder; Marijke, Martin's devoted but trapped wife; and Robert, Elspeth's elusive lover, a scholar of the cemetery. As the girls become embroiled in the fraying lives of their aunt's neighbors, they also discover that much is still alive in Highgate, including - perhaps - their aunt.


Recommended Reading:
The House at Riverton by Kate Morton
The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver
Brooklyn by Colm Toibin
Starvation Lake by Bryan Gruley
The Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
A Short History of Women by Kate Walbert

Monday, August 6, 2012

Whew!

Here's some late night ramblings for your reading enjoyment. Or not.

I'm a little behind in getting book reviews posted. I currently have two books completed and two in the works. I'm hoping to get caught up this week.

July was truly a crazy month. Conference week, two weeks of swimming lessons, pink eye (The Spawn), VBS and baseball... It's taken me the entire first week of August to recover... just in time to get back into some craziness. I haven't worked a full week since the end of June and it doesn't look like I'll be working another full week any time soon. I'm sure my boss is pleased. Or not.


All I need is popcorn...
 So, let's see... my washer decided it was too tired to continue on. It was leaking oil and water all over the place. I originally purchased the washer/dryer set last summer for $75 (used) just to get something into the house. Knowing that the set was roughly 15-20 years old, I didn't expect it to last long. I managed to tuck just barely enough money away over the last year to purchase a new set outright. The set finally arrived on Friday. I am pleased, to say the least.

I also have a bat infestation in the house. Over the course of a week I had three flying loose and found one dead in one of my favorite AirWalks. I have an exterminator/bat control guy coming the end of this week to get the situation under control. In the mean time, I'm sleeping with a firm grip on the broom.

This weekend friends from Texas will be in town. Their arrival also coincides with the PACH Back-to-School food drive; I'll be two-timing everyone to fit it all in. Oh, and my father in law decided this weekend would be the perfect time to install the bathroom fan I've been asking him to help with for the last ten months.

Next weekend I have a bachelorette party that requires my attendance. And by attendance I mean chaperoning my sisters.

After that, I'll be gearing up for back to school peparations for The CofC. The Spawn is heading into 5th grade and is none too pleased with his teacher or that none of his friends will be in his class. This year is going to be difficult. The Diva is off to Junior Kindergarten. I think I'm more of an emotional wreck about this than she is. How did my kids get so big so fast?!

And then to top everything off, because my life just isn't crazy enough, I'm doing this whole life evaluation thing. Deciding what I want and what I have to let go. But dammit, I want it all!

So there ya go. My mad mad life. Long story short: Book reviews coming soon!