Sunday, August 31, 2014

Curses!

Curses! A F**ked Up Fairytale (F***ed-Up Fairy Tale #1)Curses! A F**ked Up Fairytale by J.A. Kazimer
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

This was a very quick read. At times originally funny, but for the most part I found the humor to be forced. It was lacking the natural wit of authors such as Jasper Fforde or Gregory Maguire. Characters were somewhat well written, but lacking a motivational plot. I think with some practice and work in plot and voice development, this author may have promise.

Summary: I'm no hero. In fact, up until a couple of days ago, I was the villain. Kidnapped maidens, scared kids, stole magic tchotchkes—until I got into a little scrape with the union. Now I'm cursed with the worst fate in New Never City—no matter what I do, I gotta be nice.

So when a head-case princess named Asia barges into my apartment and asks me to find out who whacked her stepsister, Cinderella, I have no choice but to help her. And I'm more than willing to head back to her parents' castle and do some investigating if it means I can get into her black leather cat suit. Except this twisted sister has a family nutty enough to send the Biggest Baddest Wolf running for the hills—and a freaky little curse of her own. . .

Recommended Reading:
The Silence of Bonaventure Arrow by Rita Leganski
An Expert in Murder by Nicola Upson
The Hum and the Shiver by Alex Bledsoe

Thursday, August 28, 2014

The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters

The Gifted Gabaldón SistersThe Gifted Gabaldón Sisters by Lorraine López
My rating: 3 of 5 stars



This book was very ethnic - there is a lot of Spanish spoken in the beginning of the story. Don't worry, it is not a key factor of the book and only adds to the authenticity of the story. I enjoyed the characters. The plot of the story is very meandering, told over a time of 'Coming of Age' for the Gabaldon sisters, and only apparent until the end.



This is a story of motherhood, of finding mothers, being mothers, and losing mothers. The story is not of magic or fairytale witches, which I found kind of disappointing. I would have read this with a different mindset from the beginning if I had known this. I really did expect a lighter, more fanciful read than the emotional trials of four sisters.



Summary: Having lost their mother in early childhood, the Gabaldón sisters consider Fermina, their elderly Pueblo housekeeper, their surrogate Grandmother. The mysterious Fermina love the girls as if they are her own, and promises to endow each with a "special gift" to be received upon her death.

Mindful of the old woman's mystical ways, the sisters believe Fermina's gifts, bestowed based on their natural talents, magically enhance their lives. The oldest sister, Bette Davis Gabaldón, always teased for telling tales, believes her gift is the power to persuade anyone, no matter how outlandish her story. Loretta Young, who often prefers pets to people, assumes her gift is the ability to heal animals. Tough-talking tomboy, Rita Hayworth believes her gift is the ability to curse her enemies. And finally, Sophia Loren, the baby of the family, is sure her ability to make people laugh is her legacy.

As the four girls grow into women they discover that Fermina's gifts come with complicated strings, and what once seemed simple can confuse over time. Together they learn the truth about their mysterious caretaker, her legacy, and the family secret that was nearly lost forever in the New Mexican desert.



Recommended Reading:
A Single Thread by Marie Bostwick
Thank You for All Things by Sandra Kring
Woman of a Thousand Secrets by Barbara Wood
Bitter Sweets by Roopa Farooki
With Violets by Elizabeth Robards

Saturday, August 23, 2014

End of Summer

It's been awhile since I did a Ramblings post, so I thought you might enjoy a few updates.

I have a new guy. I like him. My kids like him. He seems to like us. It's all good.

I kind of sort of finished the dining room. I have a few minor details to take care of, but seem to be in no hurry to get it done.





The kids and I had some fun in Okoboji:


And now our summer vacation is done. On Wednesday The Spawn started 7th Grade, and The Diva started 1st Grade. Time goes so fast!

On a bookish note, my reading seems to be picking up speed with the end of summer. Maybe the realization that time is passing kicked my butt into gear? I've been making more effort to read. I'm trying to get through the old backlog on my TBR shelf as some of these books have been around for years.

I have the newest Diana Gabaldon waiting for me to start. I set a goal to get one book ahead of the reading challenge and then I could start reading it. I can't wait!! The Spawn also challenged me to read the Divergent series, completely realizing that this will be much like The Hunger Games series - harass me weekly for a year before I finally break down and read them.

I've been listening to a lot of talk radio at work. Technically they're podcasts courtesy of the Stitcher app I have on my Nook. My reading and tv watching lists are growing at a crazy rate!

My Netflix splurge for the summer has been watching The Walking Dead. Seriously good stuff, kids.

On that note, I have to give summer 2014 a huge two thumbs up +10 A++ rating. My house is a happy house these days and that makes me happy.

Thursday, August 21, 2014

The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud

The Death and Life of Charlie St. CloudThe Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud by Ben Sherwood
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

This was an enjoyable and fast read. The characters were authentic. A well written book.

Summary: The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud tells the haunting story of a young man who narrowly survives a terrible car wreck that kills his little brother. Years later, the brothers’ bond remains so strong that it transcends the normal boundaries separating life and death. Charlie St. Cloud lives in a snug New England fishing village. By day he tends the lawns and monuments of the ancient cemetery where his younger brother, Sam, is buried. Graced with an extraordinary gift after surviving the accident, he can still see, talk, and even play catch with Sam’s spirit. But townsfolk whisper that Charlie has never recovered from his loss.

Into his carefully ordered life comes Tess Carroll, a captivating, adventuresome woman training for a solo sailing trip around the globe. Fate steers her boat into a treacherous storm that blows her back to harbor, to a charged encounter with Charlie, and to a surprise more overwhelming than the violent sea itself. Charlie and Tess discover a beautiful and uncommon connection that leads to a race against time and a desperate choice between death and life, between the past and the future, between holding on and letting go.

Luminous, soulful, and filled with unforgettable characters, The Death and Life of Charlie St. Cloud is one of those rare, wise books that reveal the mysteries of the unseen world around us, gently transforming the worst pain of loss into hope, healing, and even laughter. Suspenseful and deeply moving, its startling climax reminds us that sometimes tragedies can bring about miracles if we simply open our hearts.



Recommended Reading:
The Man Who Ate the 747 by Ben Sherwood
The Wonderful Wizard of Oz by L. Frank Baum
Evermore by Alyson Noel
The Other Daughter by Lisa Gardner
The Art of Mending by Elizabeth Berg
The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Wednesday, August 20, 2014

If You Lived Here You'd Be Home Now

If You Lived Here, You'd Be Home NowIf You Lived Here, You'd Be Home Now by Claire LaZebnik
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

It's hard to like a main character who is a single mom, 25 years old, lives with her well-off parents who pay for everything - including her son's 20k tuition to a private elementary school - and acts like a complete brat. It's hard, but stick with this book anyways. The plot really isn't solid in action, it's a lot of "delayed coming of age" lessons. The characters are borderline cheesy with a fake sugary dialogue, but stick with this book anyways. Really, it's an emotional treat for mothers and daughters about where home is and how we leave those we love.

Summary: Rickie left home a long time ago-so how is it that at the age of twenty-five, she's living with her parents again, and sleeping in the bedroom of her childhood home?

At least one thing has changed since high school: She now has a very sweet but frequently challenging son named Noah, who attends the same tony private LA school she herself attended. Rickie fit in fine when she was a student, but now her age and tattoos make her stand out from all the blond Stepford moms, who are desperate to know why someone so young-and so unmarried-has a kid in first grade.

Already on the defensive, Rickie goes into full mother-tigress mode when her small and unathletic son tells her that the gym teacher is out to get him. She storms the principal's office, only to discover that Andrew Fulton, the coach, is no dumb jock. As her friendship with Andrew develops, Rickie finds herself questioning her assumptions-about motherhood, being a grown-up, and falling in love.


Recommended Reading:
Knitting Under the Influence by Claire LaZebnik
Goodnight Beautiful by Dorothy Koomson
Up From the Blue by Susan Henderson
Magic Hour by Kristin Hannah
Perfect Blend by Sue Margolis
The Life You've Imagined by Kristina Riggle

Thursday, August 14, 2014

Millie's Fling

Millie's FlingMillie's Fling by Jill Mansell
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the perfect Chick Lit read. A main character that I liked - she was smart and funny and kind. Secondary characters that weren't always likeable, but made the story interesting. A plot that was shallow but well written. Witty and smart banter. I loved this book for entertainment value alone, but that it was so well written just blows me away. Adding this author to my Must Read list.

Summary:
When Millie saves bestselling novelist Orla Hart's life and loses her boyfriend in the process, one wonders if the rest of the book can be as entertaining and eventful as this dramatic opening but for Millie Brady the fun has only just begun
Millie decides that a man-free summer is just what she needs but Orla, who wants Millie to be the heroine of her next novel, is determined to find her the man of her dreams. As far as Millie is concerned, the only man worth thinking about is Hugh Emerson but for Hugh, whose wife tragically died in a horse-riding accident, "dating is not on the agenda". Millie's determination not to fall in love with the young widower forms the centrepiece of the novel but Jill Mansell also delves into the shenanigans of Millie's best friend Hester and her eventful love life; Orla and her cheating husband; Millie's man-eating mother; and the leather-clad, sex-mad Lucas Kemp who runs a kiss-a-gram service.
Set against the backdrop of the tranquil Cornish countryside, the story is void of coldly beautiful, career-obsessed women; gorgeous men with flash cars and flashier wallets. Instead, Mansell has created a believable and diverting cast of characters, and even dares to portray sex as something other than mind-blowing:


Since carrying her into the bedroom, Lucas had stripped himself naked, launched himself at her, had sex and then rolled over with a groan of contentment.
In one hundred and eighty seconds flat.
Oh, and he had told her she was great.
Unbelievable.
This is an addictive, warm and funny read bursting with clever one-liners and sparkling dialogue. Mixed with a healthy dose of realism, the will-they-or-won't-they element will have you gripped until the end. Reading Mansell is never an idle fling; her ever-growing collection of bestsellers, including Kiss and Good at Games, demands a life-long love affair. --Amy Gallagher


Recommended Reading:
The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
Love on a Dime by Cara Lynn James
Danger in the Shadows... by Dee Henderson
The Secret by Beverly Lewis
A Cold Day for Murder by Stabenow
An Offer You Can't Refuse by Jill Mansell