June 30, 2010

100 Books In 2010 Update

I know, I know! I am a bad, bad blogger. But if you were currently job searching like a crazy person, you probably wouldn't be thinking about updating your blog too much either. Though I've TONS of time to read, any time spent on the computer has been devoted to hunting down a job.

BUT I have returned. And since this is the end of June, all of us 100 Books In 2010 Challenge participants are at the half way point in our quest. And although I am not at 50 books, I have a feeling I might be able to complete this challenge!! Call me optimistic. Anyways, here is the list, in order, of what I have got so far:

1. Jen Holling - My Shadow Warrior
2. Rick Riordan - The Sea of Monsters
3. Rick Riordan - The Titan's Curse
4. Rick Riordan - The Battle of the Labyrinth
5. Rick Riordan - The Last Olympian
6. Libba Bray - A Great and Terrible Beauty (reread)
7. Libba Bray - Rebel Angels (reread)
8. Libba Bray - The Sweet Far Thing (reread)
9. Elie Wiesel - Night
10. Georgette Heyer - Sylvester
11. Jean Plaidy - Murder Most Royal
12. Diana Gabaldon - The Fiery Cross
13. Dennis Lehane - Shutter Island
14. Jean Plaidy - The Rose Without a Thorn
15. James Patterson - Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas
16. P.C. Cast - Burned
17. Rick Riordan - The Demigod Files
18. Melissa De La Cruz - Blue Bloods
19. Ian McEwan - On Chesil Beach
20. Melissa De La Cruz - Masquerade
21. Melissa De La Cruz - Revelations
22. Jennifer Weiner - Goodnight Nobody
23. Melissa De La Cruz - The Van Alen Legacy
24. Whitney Lyles - Always The Bridesmaid
25. James Patterson - 1st To Die
26. Kristin Hannah - Between Sisters
27. J.K. Rowling - The Tales of Beedle the Bard
28. James Patterson - 2nd Chance
29. Jeanne Kalogridis - The Borgia Bride
30. Laurell K. Hamilton - Guilty Pleasures
31. Sophie Kinsella - Confessions of a Shopaholic
32. Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants
33. Stephenie Meyer - The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner
34. James Patterson - 3rd Degree
35. Charlaine Harris - Dead In The Family
36. Nicholas Sparks - A Walk To Remember
37. Richelle Mead - Spirit Bound
38. Stephenie Meyer - Twilight (reread)
39. Stephenie Meyer - New Moon (reread)
40. Stephenie Meyer - Eclipse (reread)

So there you have it! Have suggestions for me to read? Send 'em my way! I'm finishing up Breaking Dawn right now and then am moving on. Happy reading!

May 14, 2010

Charming Chick Lit

Whitney Lyles - Always the Bridesmaid

Cate Padgett is a wedding pro. Within three months, she serves as a bridesmaid to friends and family members five times. She wears every kind of bridesmaid "outfit" imagineable - from the super sexy lavender gown with a pluging neckline to an honest-to-god royal blue satin SUIT. But bad bridesmaid dresses aren't the only thing that Cate must put up with. She has to deal with bridezillas who are normally the sweetest girls in the world, the financials of paying for five weddings on a kindergarten teacher's salary, and a boyfriend who just doesn't seem that interested in committing. Always the Bridesmaid tells Cate's story as she weaves her way through these weddings only to discover what truly makes her happy.

Whitney Lyles writes in a style that is easy to read and is also very entertaining. Cate is a likebale and relateable character. I think every woman has felt similar emotions and feelings that Cate does at one point in her life. As a 20-something girl myself, I completely understand Cate's thinking about her future and her longing to take the next step. While reading, it is easy to tell that Lyles is writing from experience. That is, Lyles is Cate Padgett. Because of that, the writing and story feels honest and real. Nothing about the book feels forced or contrived. Although it's a bit predictable, there's no other way that the book should have played out. Readers who enjoy a feel-good light read will definitely like this book. It's a quick but refreshing read. Well done, Ms. Lyles!

The final verdict: Charming.

May 4, 2010

New P.C. Cast Bites (in a good way!)

P.C. Cast - Burned

I always love reading the new vampire series books. P.C. Cast's House of Night series centers on Zoey Redbird, an unusually special vampire with powerful abilities that she will only use for good and to fight evil, naturally. The series has focused on Zoey learning about her abilities and her magic, as well as how to juggle three or four boyfriends at the same time. During her boy trouble, Zoey also is faced with fighting against two seriously evil beings: one a powerful former High Priestess, the other an ancient immortal who carries the untapped power source of Darkness in his blood.

In the newest installment, Zoey's soul is shattered by Kalona, that ancient immortal mentioned above. While her body lives in the living realm, her spirit is in pieces in the Otherworld. But Zoey isn't alone there. Her recently murdered human boyfriend, Heath, is also there. He tries to help her collect her soul pieces together, but Zoey refuses. Kalona has also traveled to the spirit world to ensure that Zoey never leaves, thus making her body die. It's up to Stevie Rae (who is in love with Kalona's immortal half-bird son Rephaim), Aphrodite, Stark, and Darius to find a way to help Zoey collect her soul into one piece and return to the human realm. If they don't, Neferet (the powerful former High Priestess) and Kalona will take over the world... which isn't a good thing.

Okay, so yes, these books are horribly cheesy. But they are fun, and that's what I look for in a read. I want to be entertained, and the House of Night series definitely entertains. We can all be book snobs, but it's so much more fun not to be. And to those who have read the series and stopped because it got a little too.... "teenage-ish," this book puts the series back on track to being interesting. I think the main reason the book was so interesting was because Zoey was absent for most of the book! Readers don't have to read about her inner struggles with choosing between Stark, Erik, and Heath. Instead, Cast focuses most of her writing on Stevie Rae and Rephaim, which made for a nice change of pace.

So who should read this book? Well, House of Night readers who quit reading should rediscover the series, because this book was actually pretty decent.

April 29, 2010

Patterson's Soft Side

Who know that James Patterson, one of the most popular modern mystery writers harbored the ability to compose a romantic novel that inspires tears? I sure didn't and was pleasantly surprised when I read my very first James Patterson novel: Suzanne's Diary for Nicholas.

Katie works in New York City and has fallen deeply in love with Matt. The two of them have more fun together than she could have ever imagined. Just when things are reaching levels of happiness beyond comprehension, Matt drops a bombshell on Katie. He's married. With no other explanation, he leaves Katie. Katie is, of course, distraught and completely heartbroken. She vows to get over Matt. But then a package arrives for her with his handwriting on the outside. Inside is a diary with a note attached to it. Matt tells Katie that if she really wanted to understand about why Matt never told her about his marriage, she needed to read the diary: his wife Suzanne's diary for his son Nicholas. The diary details the couple's meeting, dating, marriage, and child birth, with a few extra little twists thrown in.

I liked this book and could not put it down. It reads much like a Nicholas Sparks novel. Almost the entire book was read before I had to ask myself, "Okay, I still am not figuring out where this is going." Patterson uses his master mystery mind to hold reader's in suspense until the very last ten pages.

I won't lie and say that this was a fantastic book. I was engaged with it and had to keep reading to find out what happens next, but it isn't literary genius by any means. It's a fun, fast, effortless read. And let's face it, sometimes that's all us avid readers need. I recommend this book to Nicholas Sparks and James Patterson fans! It's worth the read.

April 27, 2010

Plaidy = Historical Fiction Perfection!

The Rose Without A Thorn, by Jean Plaidy

This is the story of Katherine Howard, a lowly member of a prominent English family who would later become Queen of England. Katherine began her life living with her numerous brothers and sisters. Her father and mother, though Howards, did not have the wealth which is usually attributed to such a family. Even at a young age, Katherine exhibited immense beauty and resembled her beautiful cousin, Anne Boleyn (who would serve as her predicesor). Taken in by her grandmother, the Duchess, Katherine learned more than just how to play the lute. Here, she was exposed to all sorts of sexual behaviors, even at the young age of fourteen. The matter was quickly hushed up when Katherine was granted a spot at Court in Henry VIII's fourth queen's, Anne of Cleves, retinue. Unhappy with his German queen, Henry quickly divorced her and married the sensual Katherine. Needless to say, her wicked past caught up with her and led her to the same fate her cousin met: beheading at the block.

I am a huge Jean Plaidy fan. She is one of my favorite authors. She knows how to blend the worlds of history and fiction so well. The Rose Without A Thorn is no exception. There are not many historical fiction books out there that details the life of Henry's other wives. Because Anne Boleyn is arguably the most interesting of his six brides, historical fiction writers tend to focus on her. Not that I am complaining... everyone knows I love a good Anne Boleyn novel. But it is refreshing to read about the others: Catherine of Aragon, Anne of Cleves, Katherine Howard, Catherine Parr, and my personal favorite for some reason Jane Seymour.

I would definitely recommend this book to any Tudor lover. I finished it in a matter of a few days. It's a quick and satisfying read. It will quench any historical fiction fan's thirst for courtly intrigue!

April 8, 2010

Aren't I The Lucky One?

I certainly am feeling lucky! This week I scored huge at my local library and bargain shopping with finding some wonderful books that I have not read yet. I have had these books on my TBR list for ages. Now that I own them, perhaps it will be easier to get around to them. This also gives me some great options to take to Mexico with me at the end of May. So here are the books I scored:

*Laurien Gardner - The Spanish Bride
*Sara Gruen - Water for Elephants
*Kristin Hannah - The Things We Do For Love
*Karen Harper - The Last Princess of Wales
*Khaled Hosseini - The Kite Runner
*Dennis Lehane - Shutter Island
*Jodi Picoult - Vanishing Acts

I am so excited to get reading these. Though I know that I cannot begin reading them until I finish the fifth installment of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series. I'll tell you what, I love her books without question. But they sure do take a while to read, especially when practically balancing two jobs. The Fiery Cross is an excellent book, though not nearly as wonderful as the others in the series, but I confess that I am anxious to be done with it. I hate that feeling; it makes me feel as though I am cheating on my significant other. So I'm sorry, The Fiery Cross, but can we just get this over with? I'm ready to move on.

With love,

March 28, 2010

Up For A Challenge?

I am, I am!!! Although I doubt I will be able to complete the challenge, I will do my best!

The challenge is to read at least 100 books by December 31, 2010. There aren't too many rules. You may reread a book that you read in a previous year. However, you cannot read the same book twice in 2010 and count it twice. So, the one rule is that the 100 books you read must all be different.

I am off to a dismal start so far but am optimistic about catching up during my vacation to Mexico and during the summer when life calms down a little bit. This will be the first summer in six years that I have not had to worry about moving! What a relief it is too. I cannot wait to relax by the pool and read some of the books that have sat ignored on my bookshelf.

I will try to complete the challenge, and I challenge you to do the same! Periodically, I will post my progress... if you have some suggestions on books I should read this year, feel free to drop me a message!