Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Tuesday Thinger

This week's Tuesday Thinger from the wonderful Wendi's Book Corner...

Questions: When you click on the Local tab, do you see any information? Do you find the information you see useful? Have you added any information? If you don't already use the Local tab, is it something you would use more often if there were more events listed?

In my case, I see quite a bit. Now I realize that I live in a metropolitan area that is quite addicted to anything that has to do with books. Book stores have readings, book signings, Libraries have reading events, we have a Book Festival once a year and on and on.

So there are a lot of listings. I have not had an occasion to post anything as it seems to be done by all of those that are hosting events. I consider this to be a great asset as the newspaper has almost completely done away with the Book Section which I used to rely on as a source of info for upcoming events. Just another example of the virtual taking over the job of the printed matter. As long as there is a source available to point me in the right direction, I will use it. Just another reason that I am happy to be a lifetime member of LibraryThing.com

Monday, July 27, 2009

Monday Musings

Today's question for Monday Musings from from Just One More Page,
Do you have an account with an online book database site (LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads etc)? If so, do you have a preference? Do you use it for - your own record keeping? finding new books to read? social networking?

I always love to see the responses to questions like this as I am interested in the different uses of the same applications that I have been using. You never know what you might learn or be able to pick up from someone else.

1. Use both LibraryThing and GoodReads. Use both to catalog my own library. Also catalog books that I have read but do not own. I note the difference. I post reviews on both sites.

2. Have been participating in Early Reviewers on LibraryThing since 2007. That also led me to ARC Junkies, a group that also solicits advance copies of upcoming releases to read and review.

3. Just recently discovered a similar group on GoodReads, which are book giveaways, however, not all of those are upcoming releases.

4. Am much more detailed in my cataloging on LibraryThing as far as tags go, and I probably network more on this site as I have found groups that I have with collections much like mine.

Look forward to reading what others do with these sites.

Thursday, July 23, 2009


Sisters one and all, if you are in need of a new book TO entertain you, rush out and get Sassy by Gloria Mallette. If you are not near a bookstore, click on the Amazon.com link to the right, and order your copy to be delivered directly to your door right away. You won’t be sorry. Ms. Mallette certainly has herself a winner with this book. Sassy is a romance, mystery, and suspense all rolled into one.

When I started the book, I was so into hating Norris that it was difficult for me to get beyond him. But I hung in there, and I am so glad that I did. There are several characters to love and embrace and enough twists and turns to keep you turning the pages. And, of course, as is always important with a mystery, she keeps you guessing, (I was incorrect about three or four times) right up until the end of the book.

For a sneak peek of the details of the book, watch the promo video from YouTube.

If you are hooked on Gloria's style of writing, visit Gloria’s website to see a complete list of all of her other books. This is an author that truly deserves the attention. Check back and comment on the book. I would love to hear how others feel.

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Tuesday Thinger

This week's question is

Have you checked out your ER list? Is it accurate? Did you need to mark any books as not received? Any suggestions for upcoming topics??

I love this new accessory as it means that I don't have to save all the previous emails to keep track of the ones that I received from Early Reviewer rather than from Shelf Awareness or a cold request as sometimes they do overlap on their offers and the book does not always say it is part of the Early Reviewer Program when it is sent to me.

I have checked it to confirm that all my reviews show and that part also keeps me on my toes as I do want to fulfill my commitment to review. All I can say is that LibraryThing.com just keeps getting better and better.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Perfection: A Memoir of betrayal and renewal

RATING: 3 out of 5

Perfection is about almost everything but perfection. It is about death, marriage, family, children, lies, adultery, deceit, betrayal, loss, self-destruction, and on and on.

Julie Metz was living one life until her husband died unexpectedly. She then learned that it had been a fraud for quite some time. How long she was not even sure about. The fraud was not on her part but on the part of her husband as well as many friends, some well meaning, and others by outright betrayal. She had a six yr. old daughter and life to try to salvage from this wreck. Suffering a loss of a loved one is hard enough without having to relive your life and inspect all the episodes to find the memories you want to keep, and those that now have to be thrown away.

This book is a raw, honest exposure of relationships. Sometimes it is too raw, too honest, too exposing, almost like you are looking through someone’s bedroom window. I am sure that not everyone could put themselves out there for the scrutiny of all, but Ms. Metz does, and I take my hat off to her for taking such risks. I think she took the risks as a means of cleansing and healing herself .

There were parts of this book that were difficult or maybe the word is uncomfortable for me to read. It felt like I was receiving too much information. There was still this lack of self assurance on her part that disturbed me. The whole section devoted to her Match.com escapades could have been omitted, and the story would still have survived. I felt Henry had left his mark on her, and I wondered would she ever regain all her love of self.

Friday, July 17, 2009

The Orange Prize Project

I was inspired the other day when I came across this blog and read the challenge. It sounded like something I would recommend. Prize winning books only by women. Sounded like the book club from the 1990's. Some of you will remember that.

I started looking at the list of nominees and winners since 1996 and reading about the history of the prize. Women like Toni Morrison, Zady Smith, Jhumpa Lahiri, and Sandra Cisneros. Some of my favorites. Then, I saw books that I had been in love with or couldn't put down until the last page like The Time Traveler's Wife, The Bonesetter's Daughter, From Caucasia with Love, The Secret Life of Bees, and Lovely Bones. Finally, I saw ones that I owned but had not gotten to yet, and I realized that this might just be the beginning of a new list of must reads. After all, they were all nominated, many were shortlisted, and there were at least two winners every year, one for the best fiction and one for the best fiction by a new writer.

But don't just take my word for it, read some reviews of any one of these books, either at Amazon, GoodReads, or LibraryThing, and you will see that they all fall in the category of worthwhile reads. I did, and I was blown away by the synopsis, and editorial reviews of books that, 1. I had never heard mentioned before in my circle of reading friends, or 2. had never seen on the front table of Borders. I had to finally stop because my wish list was getting too long.

So if you are currently without a good book to read, or waiting for your favorite author's newest release, this list or Project is a great resource of wonderful women writers from all over the world.

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Tuesday Thinger

This is my first time participating in Tuesday Thingers which is sponsored by Wendi's Book Corner. I have been a die hard LibraryThing.com user since Sept. of 2007, so I feel like I have some info to share. Today's question is:

Questions: Do you tag? If so, do you tag for your own purposes (make lists, sort, clouds, etc)? Do you tag to help classify a book (historical fiction, self-help, sci-fi, mystery, etc)? What is the most helpful thing for you about tagging?

Yes, I tag. For many reasons. I read a lot of different genres, and I have a fairly large collection of non fiction. I also read a lot of diverse authors from all over the world. So my tags not only catalog the book and it contents, but they also catalog the author, i.e., African American Author, African American, Japanese Author, Japan, and so on. I do think it is helpful if someone visits your library and they are interested in, or want to discuss a certain category of book or author. I try to tag in the same order each time so I don't forget anything, and then, I check my collected tags to make sure I have no spelling or format errors. So I start first with, FICTION, AFRICAN AMERICAN AUTHOR, AFRICAN AMERICAN, AUDIOBOOK, ETC.

Additionally, I do believe that tagging helps determine who is selected in the Early Reviewer process based on collected interest. That being said, I don't think it is weighted towards the large collection holders. It is based on percentages compared to your individual total library, so if you have 50 books and 10 of them are mysteries your odds are probably greater than someone with a library of 100 books and 10 mysteries. I joined Early Reviewers in October of 2007, and I have received 16 books to review. Also, I believe I read at one point that your tags have to be in place a month in advance of a selection process i.e., so if you saw a cookbook was being offered this month and you had not yet cataloged your cookbook collection, it would not do you any good to rush and input it as it would not count towards the selection process this month.

I will be curious to see if anyone tags by the author's name. I tag biographies by the name of the person they are about but that is all. I do not tag my memoirs by name. Maybe I should????

Feel free to stop by and visit me at LibraryThing.com and look at my tags. If you like, add me as a friend.

Monday, July 13, 2009

Julie & Julia

Rating: 5 out of 5

There was no way I could resist this book. I am and have been a die hard Julia Child fan since the 60's. I was not caught up in the MTAOFC frenzy of housewives in the 60's but as a single woman watching Julia on public television during her first show, right there along with The Galloping Gourmet, a whole other story.

She was the kind of person I think, you either love or hate. Her quirky voice, her sense of humor, her way of handling food and most of all her attitude. No matter how complicated the recipe she either said it was easy or made it look easy.

Julie and Julia is written in style very much like I described Ms. Child. Quirky, funny, and with an attitude. None of which are bad things when you are trying to keep someone's attention. For all of us that have been able to read this journey through the Art of French cooking, I personally think we are very lucky to have it in book form rather than in installments, as those who originally followed the blog. Remember, Ms. Powell was blogging during the early days. Not all the bell and whistles that we have now days. No photos, no embedded buttons or moving objects, no videos from Youtube, literally showing you what she was talking about. No, the readers of her blog had to imagine all the foils and follies that she went through to create each dish, or to simply get the ingredients for each dish and had to wait for the next dose of humor and recipe.

One of my favorite aspects of the book, is the way that she is able to weave in the entries from Paul Child's letters or journals or the ones from the archives of Julia Child. She is able to identify with Julia in a way through space and time and value changes that is really remarkable, and adds so much to the book. Julie has also been able to show the value of family and friends. Her wonderful husband is a gem and should be protected, and she has some life long friends that were there for her when she needed them most.

I laughed from the beginning to the end of this book even though I was in bed with the flu. But, maybe that was a good thing as I did not have the desire to eat which would have been the case if I was well, or maybe even get out the recipe book and try to stir something up myself.

I am now sitting waiting for August 5th for the movie release. I hope everyone else can agree with me at the brilliance of casting Meryl Streep as Julia Child.

Saturday, July 11, 2009

The Mighty Queens of Freeville


Your favorite bathrobe, your Birkenstocks, a bowl of Tapioca, whatever your favorite comfort is, that is what I felt I was getting as I read more and more of Amy Dickinson's, The Mighty Queens of Freeville.

I read a lot of books of varying genre and topics, literary fiction, lots of memoirs, mysteries, and on and on. It seems that the subject matter can be more and more dramatic and touch lots of raw nerve these days. It seems the more dicey the subject matter, the more attention the press gives it, and it becomes the latest syndrome that everyone pulls up from their or their family's past.

What I realized early on as I read Amy's memoir, was there were still everyday people out there that may have had the regular ups and downs in their lives but not the heavy, heavy, earth-shattering kind of drama that seems to be coming up on a regular basis. They weren't completely free of pain or grief but the majority of their life was committed just sharing and learning from one another the value of family, of supporting the ones you love and caring about them to the best of your ability.

It was refreshing, and reaffirming to read about "normal" people across this land. And I don't mean that in a negative way. Maybe because "reality" TV tries to make us think we are "not normal", it was time for this book to come along and remind us what normal family life can be like. Thank you Amy, for bringing back some normalcy to my reading life.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Wife in the North

RATING: 4.5 of 5

The subtitle of this book is three young children, two aging parents, and one absentee husband 350 miles from home, but it should end with `one very funny woman'.

As I started reading this book, I got out my little sticky tabs because there were so many funny, sarcastic sometimes, but very funny comments. After a while the edge of my book looked like it had been sprinkled with a heavy dose of confetti.

The honest feelings, sometimes bordering on blatant, that Ms. O'Reilly uses to describe her life as it unfolds during her transplant from London to Northumberland can resonate with many women. Every time you think she has run out of expressions or comparisons up pops another one. Her definition of a "health visitor", and then soon to follow, the description of her body in a surfing wet suit had me practically rolling on the floor.

However, the book has a touching side to it as well. There were times when I wanted to pick up the phone and call her husband and tell him that he would later regret it if he did not go home and help his wife with their children during such a trying time and for Gosh sakes, at least pump the petrol. For someone who wanted to have his family raised in such a rural location, he was spending way too much time in London.

But when I came to the August 4, 2007 entry, and she described what the loss of child meant for her new friend, The Yorkshire Mother, I was very surprised that she was able to see it so clearly. I lost my only son and I have only found a kinship in that pain with other women that have lost a child. No matter what anyone says, it is a loss very different from the loss of a parent, spouse, or sibling.

I recommend this book to anyone who needs to appreciate their present station in life, anyone who wants to laugh their way through a book for a change, and to let them know that the best part is once you finish the book, you can continue the story by visiting her blog. I have waited until I finished the book to make my first visit, so I would not read any spoilers. :>)

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Rules of Vengeance


As I finished reading the ARC of, Rules of Deception last summer I felt that the door had been left open for a sequel with Dr. Jonathan Ransom. (See my review of that book below.) So when I saw the announcement of the upcoming release in August 2009 of Rules of Vengeance, I couldn't wait to get my hands on it. Thank you, Mr. Reich, for not disappointing me on several counts. First of all, Dr. Jonathan Ransom and his wife Emma do return, and the level of intrigue and suspense takes off almost from the first page. Jonathan Ransom is the kind of character that you can't help but like. You are rooting for him all the way throughout the book. His wife Emma, is another story. She has a dark past that continues to be a mystery even to her husband. However, in this new release, Jonathan is not willing to spend the rest of his life in prison for his wife's terrorism, no matter how she wants to justify it. He is willing, however, to become the hunter all over Europe to save himself, with or without her. Two new characters have entered the plot and instantly become the nemesis of Jonathan. Colonel Graves and Detective Chief Inspector Kate Ford, both of Britain, don't necessarily like each other or agree on tactics but their single focus is to bring in Jonathan Ransom. Again, Mr. Reich gives us a large cast of characters but they quickly form a fast paced, clever plot that will leave you wanting more. If 21st century international espionage excites you, you will not want to miss either of these page turners.

Rules of Deception.

RATING: 4.5 out of 5

Christopher Reich absolutely has a winner with this book. Rules of Deception has it all. With a full and varied cast of characters, current political climates in different parts of the world, and enough action it keeps you up all night trying to figure out the roles of everyone. No one should be turned off in the beginning by the large number of players in this world wide tale. They all melt together very quickly and have you picking up speed through each phase of this very complex adventure.

Not only does Mr. Reich weave a great plot of espionage in the 21st century and all very believable, I am hoping that the ending purposely left room for Dr. Ransom and his lovely Emma to come back in a sequel. I took this book on vacation and it did not last two full days.

(I reviewed this book in July of 2008 just prior to its release.)

Sunday, July 5, 2009

Taking a Deep Breath

The fireworks were popping all over the place at the beach last night but I had to retreat to the car to finish the last few pages of fireworks that were happening in Christopher Reich's upcoming new release, Rules of Vengeance, a sequel to his successful, Rules of Deception in January 2008 which I read, loved, and reviewed while on vacation in Jamaica last summer. I am trying to gather my thoughts for my review of "Vengeance" and will post both reviews soon.

Trying to pick up another book to start or finish, and it is difficult. I need a change of theme and yet something that will grab me. I have received several new books this week and have had several wishes granted on PaperBackSwap.com. One I am surprised I received so soon was The Girl She Used to Be, by David Cristofano. I put this on my wishlist as soon as I read the review on Shelf Awareness. I was ahead the crowd I guess, so I received one of the first copies posted. Little Fingers also arrived, as did Julia & Julia which I need to move up the pile since I won't go to see the movie without reading the book first, and the movie is coming the 5th of August. Can't wait to hear Meryl do Julia's voice. Well, I am off to the library to get a few audiobooks for one of my girls. I will probably end up with a few as well. Have a great Sunday.

Wednesday, July 1, 2009

The Laws of Harmony

Rating: 4.5 out 5

This is the first of Ms. Hendricks' books that I have read and she most certainly has captured the voices of generational women. I read in her acknowledgments that she always fears that she will mess up when writing especially if it is about something she does not know well or at all.

I must say that she has nothing to fear about her choices in this book. She picked two very different locales and yet she is able to make you feel that she has lived in both of them all her life.
The contrast between the commune in Armonia, New Mexico and a small island village in Harmony, Washington is huge but she brings them both up close and allows you to feel like you are walking through them with Sunny Cooper or Soleil as only her mother calls her. Here is a young woman born and raised in a commune in New Mexico who never felt comfortable with the experience. She leaves the commune to attend the University of New Mexico where she finds friends and love. But life is not simple and as life turns upside, Sunny realizes she not only has to leave her past life but her present as well. She overcomes her fear of flying this once, and gets on a plane for the farthest point northwest of Albuquerque, which ends up being the San Miguel Islands. It is there that we learn "The Laws of Harmony" and Sunny is able to come some resolve with her past and present.
A very satisfying read. A good life lesson for younger women, in that we don't also control what comes into our life but we most certainly can decide and determine what stays in our life.