Thursday, December 30, 2010

My Year End Wrap Up

"HA! Mom, I can't believe you've only read 65 books this year?!"
says the toddler who keeps me busier than ever!

This year has been filled with ups and downs.
For the downs; I lost my Grandmother, I experienced real depression and anxiety for the first time in my life and sought therapy for it, I discovered I hate potty training, I broke out in hives, my hair turned more gray than red, and I got arthritis in my big toe. :(

For the ups; I've been fortunate to continue to be home with my son, I got a job at my local library that I love, I went to BEA and the first ever Book Blogger Convention and it rocked!, I met a few of you lovely folks, I got my blog redesigned by Rachel at Parajunkee, I celebrated my 6th year anniversary with my husband and I finally discovered GLEE!

Thanks to all of you for going along on the ride with me. I appreciate you all!
Overall, it's been a busy year and I look forward to the next being bigger and better and
full of happy times.

Now, here's my Book Year in Review, folks.

Books Read:
64
Books Read including Children's Books:
182
Review Copies read:
34
Library Loan:
15
Owned Books Read:
16

Challenges completed:
RIP Challenge 1/1, Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge 1/1

Challenges NOT completed:
100+ Reading Challenge 65/100, Cozy Mystery Challenge 3/6

Favorite New Author:
Karen White

Best Review Books I almost said No to:
Adriana Trigiani's Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine

Best Discovery:
Sandra Brannan's In the Belly of Jonah

Guilty Pleasure:

Top 10 Favorite Books of 2010:
The Distant Hours- Kate Morton
The Likeness- Tana French
Sea Escape- Lynne Griffin
Revolution-Jennifer Donnelly
In the Belly of Jonah-Sandra Brannan
Very Valentine-Adriana Trigiani
Madonnas of Echo Park-Brando Skyhorse
House Rules-Jodi Picoult


In the next year in Blog Land, I hope to read more of my favorite genres while at the same time discovering new authors. I'm very excited for the 3 challenges I am participating in. I look forward to discovering more bloggers out there and start planning to BEA 2011, baby!

I hope to also write more about my adventures in the literary world from my years of bookselling to managing a bookstore to now working at a public library. More to come on that...!

Happy Reading. Happy New Year. As always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Thursday, December 23, 2010

The Winter Ghosts by Kate Mosse

Oh, to discover this book a day before Christmas and to find out it does not come out until February 3.
I would love to sink into a couch and get lost in this one right now.
Sigh.
I'm browsing the internet too much today. :(

From Goodreads:

Kate Mosse is back with a haunting ghost story from the French mountains|From the bestselling author of LABYRINTH and SEPULCHRE - a compelling story of ghosts and remembrance. Illustrated throughout by Brian Gallagher.

The Great War took much more than lives. It robbed a generation of friends, lovers and futures. In Freddie Watson's case, it took his beloved brother and, at times, his peace of mind. In the winter of 1928, still seeking resolution, Freddie is travelling through the French Pyrenees. During a snowstorm, his car spins off the mountain road. He stumbles through woods, emerging in a tiny village. There he meets Fabrissa, a beautiful woman also mourning a lost generation. Over the course of one night, Fabrissa and Freddie share their stories. By the time dawn breaks, he will have stumbled across a tragic mystery that goes back through the centuries.

By turns thrilling, poignant and haunting, this is a story of two lives touched by war and transformed by courage. THE WINTER GHOSTS is a gorgeous illustrated novel inspired by The Cave, Kate Mosse's short story written for the Quick Reads Initiative for adult emergent readers.

Mosse's depiction of life in Southern France between the wars is utterly convincing. Not only that, the book itself is a work of art - with stunning illustrations by artist Brian Gallagher and copies of vintage maps as endpapers


Has anyone read her before?

red headed book child


Wednesday, December 22, 2010

CHALLENGE UPDATE and GIVEAWAY!

CHALLENGE UPDATE!

I have changed a few things regarding my first Challenge.
I received some good tips from fellow bloggers and I decided to go with it. If you have already signed up, please leave another comment below. Thanks!

RULES:

  • Challenge runs from January 1 - December 31, 2011. Sign up ends February 1, 2011.
  • Read A-I, J-P or Q-Z. You choose. The letter group you choose must be the last name of the author. (i.e= S for John Sandford).
  • Mystery genre can include Cozy, Suspense, Thriller, or Noir. All Adult novels please.
  • Leave a comment if you would like to sign up. I am getting rid of Mr. Linky.
  • Write a post about this challenge and which group/s you pick. You can list the authors you choose or do it as you go.
  • When you post your reviews, mention this challenge and link back to this sign up post.
  • Sign up for my Giveaway below! You must be a follower, reside in the U.S and post about this challenge. I would appreciate it if you would sign up but it is not a requirement. I would like the help in spreading the word.
  • Winner will be announced January 11, 2011.

I will be choosing the A-I portion of the alphabet to start!
If I do well, I will continue on!
Some of the authors I am interested in are Nancy Atherton, Lawrence Block, Benjamin Black, Lee Child, Diane Mott Davidson, just to name few. I am shooting for authors I have never read before. !


Thank you to Touchstone Books (Simon and Schuster) for sending me 2 copies of this new mystery to give away to one of my readers.

If you liked the shows 24 and The X Files (2 of MY favorites!),
this book would be right up your alley.

Gideon's War by Howard Gordon
Release Date January 11, 2011

Howard Gordon—the longtime executive producer of the hit TV series 24—makes his fiction debut with a tale of political intrigue and international terrorism. Gideon Davis has just 48 hours to bring his rogue agent brother in—before a twisted global conspiracy turns deadly.

GIDEON DAVIS, whose behind-the-scenes negotiating skills have earned him the role of peacemaker in conflicts around the globe, knows more about hush-hush discussions in Capitol corridors than he does about hand-to-hand combat. But his more practical, tactical skills come into play when he's called on by family friend and government bigwig Earl Parker to chaperone a rogue agent from Southeast Asia to D.C. The agent, Tillman Davis, has promised to turn himself in— but only to his brother, Gideon.

Although the two brothers have been estranged for years, Gideon cannot fathom how his brother could have turned into so ruthless a man. But when the plan for Tillman's surrender goes awry and Earl Parker is taken hostage, Gideon is forced to embrace his dark side in order to evade hostile locals in war-torn Mohan to make his way to the Obelisk—the multimillion-dollar, state-of-the-art oil rig that has been seized by terrorists led by Tillman himself. It is with the help of oil rig manager Kate Murphy that Gideon launches an unlikely one-man rescue.


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2011 Reading from My Shelves Project

Diane from at Bibliophile by the Sea is hosting this challenge again this year.
She is another favorite blogger of mine. We have a lot of same tastes and she writes mighty fine reviews.

Here are the details if you are interested:

  • Challenge runs from January 1 - December 31, 2011.
  • Read books from your own shelves, and then pass the books on to someone else: a friend, relative, the library, used book store, swap them, just as long as the book leaves your house once it has been read.
  • Decide on your goal (12 is the minimum - no maximum). Cross over books are allowed.
  • Grab the button and do a post about the challenge.
  • Keep a running list of the books you've read and passed on.
  • Leave a comment with a link to your post and you are entered (no Mr. Linky).
  • Have Fun and GOOD LUCK!

Stop by her blog here and sign up.
I have well over 250 books on my shelves at home. However, I have a section of shelves, about seven in total, that hold the "oldest' books of mine. I have old ARCs that I have received in my bookstore days, old bestsellers that I have been meaning to read, and others that have been recommended to me through the years.
I am going to focus my energy on these specific books because they stare at me every time I am on this blasted computer!!

I am going to shoot for 12 books but honestly if I even get through 6 I'd be happy!

Here are a few that have been giving me the evil eye for years now.

The Shadow of the Wind - Carlos Ruiz Zafon
The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
Ahab's Wife - Sena Jeter Naslund
The Blind Assassin - Margaret Atwood


What am I waiting for? I must read these fabulous books sooner rather than later and then pass them on.

Of course, by this point, I'm sure everyone ELSE has read them. HA!


Happy Reading everyone. Happy Holidays, once again and as always, thanks so much for stopping by!


red headed book child

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Memorable Memoirs Reading Challenge

This will be my second challenge that I will be signing up for in the next year. I have decided to focus on my three favorite genres: Mysteries (my own challenge), Memoirs and Literary Fiction (which I am still pondering which challenge to join).

This challenge is hosted by Melissa at The Betty and Boo Chronicles, one my of my favorites stops in blog land.
If you have not discovered her yet, I would recommend stopping by.

Here are the rules:

About the Challenge: If you enjoy reading memoirs or really haven't explored them as much as you'd like to, then this is the challenge for you. Anything that in your mind qualifies as a memoir will meet the challenge requirements. Letters, diaries, autobiographies, books on writing memoirs ... in my book, they all count as Memorable Memoirs. Books, e-books, audiobooks are all fine.

Dates: January 1 - December 31, 2011. You can sign up anytime from now and throughout 2011, but don't start reading until January 1, 2011.

Requirements: It's up to you! I want this to be a fun and low-key challenge, yet one that will be worthwhile of your valuable reading time. If that means reading one memoir, that's great. If that means reading three dozen, even better. You decide what works for you. Overlaps with other challenges are more than fine ... even encouraged. :)

Write a post (or include your intention to participate in this along with other challenges) on your blog (if you don't have a blog, you can just leave a comment). Tell us how many Memorable Memoirs you're planning on reading. You don't need to list your books in advance, but if you want to, we'd love to see which ones you're thinking about. You can always change them later. (I'll create a list of possibilities based on some of my own memoir reading and that which participants did last year.)

On January 1 (or thereabouts), I'll have a link up for reviews.

The challenge is open to anyone, even if you don't have a blog. You can sign up in the comments, or in the Linky below. (I haven't had good luck with linkies this year ... if it ever goes down, check back later or leave your link in the comments.)

Sign up with your name and url to your blog post about the challenge. Example: Melissa (The Betty and Boo Chronicles)

Most importantly,
have fun with this challenge. Happy Memorable Memoir Reading!

My Goal is to read 10 Memoirs.
I have not decided what they are but I know there will be so many delicious, delightful, inspiring, and powerful stories that will come my way in the next year.
Here are a few I am interested in already:
The Memory Palace by Mira Bartok
Coming Home to Myself by Wynonna Judd
Blue Blood by Edward Conlon
Parallel Play by Tim Page

I mentioned a few others in a previous post as well.
Cakewalk by Kate Moses and Stuffed by Patricia Volk.


Happy Reading, Happy Holidays and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Holiday Tag!

(sorry guys, this made me laugh. he DOES have a tough job, you know?)

Lori at DollyCas's Thoughts tagged me in this fun Holiday Tag!
Please stop by her blog. She is a delight you all must get to know!

When do you usually know and feel that it's finally the holidays?
When the Christmas music starts on the radio.

What do you want for Christmas this year?
A vacation! A real live, feet in the sand, book on my lap vacation!
My husband and I deserve it!
If that doesn't happen, well, I guess I want an Ipod. Finally. I want to be able to sing and dance down the street while listening to the Glee Soundtracks!

Do you go all out with decorations?
NO! It takes everything in me to just get the darn tree up! My husband loves it. I just don't. I don't know why...well, yes, I do...because I am the one who has to clean it all up and put it all away before Easter rolls around. :)

What are you doing Christmas Eve?
We spend the Eve at my inlaws making lasagna, drinking wine and eating cookies. Then we watch The Christmas Story and pass out!

What are you doing Christmas Day?
We celebrate with my family with lots of goodies; Swedish meatballs, Oyster stew, Herring, ooooh...lots of good stuff!

It's Christmas time. What are you reading?
I participated in the Christmas Spirit Challenge and read one book so far. Right now I am trying to finish up Faithful Place by Tana French (SO not a Christmas read) and then I am going to move on to Deck the Halls by Mary Higgins Clark OR Gingerbread Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke.

Favorite movie to watch during the holidays?
Elf with Will Farrell, The Ref with Denis Leary and The Christmas Story, of course!

Favorite Christmas song?
O Holy Night sung by Linda Eder

Favorite holiday drink?
Hmm, I just drink lots of wine because I have the family back up for
taking care of the toddler.
I let it all out!

How is your Christmas shopping going?
We always keep it really simple so I'm doing okay!

If you could spend Christmas Day anywhere else, where would you spend it?
New York City!!!!!!

Any holiday traditions?
Our traditions are changing every year with our family expanding so much. We did start making Christmas cookies with my son and my mom this year. That was fun!

Favorite thing about the Holidays.
Now that I don't work retail? I enjoy the days off to relax!

I would love to tag the following three bloggers.
Share with us your holiday fun pass it on to 3 more!


Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, December 13, 2010

Review #103: An Innocent, A broad by Ann Leary

An Innocent, a Broad by Ann Leary

Description from Publisher website:

When Ann Leary and her husband, then unknown actor-comedian Denis Leary, flew to London in the early nineties for a brief getaway during Ann's second trimester of pregnancy, neither anticipated the adventure that was in store for them. The morning after their arrival, Ann's water broke as they strolled through London's streets. A week later their son, Jack, was born weighing only two pounds, six ounces, and it would be five long months before mother and son could return to the States.

In the meantime, Ann became an unwitting yet grateful hostage to Britain's National Health Service -- a stranger in a strange land plunged abruptly into a world of breast pumps and midwives, blood oxygen levels, mad cow disease, and poll tax riots. Desperately worried about the health of her baby, Ann struggled to adapt to motherhood and make sense of a very different culture.

I have to admit that I was lured into reading this book because I was curious about the woman behind Denis Leary. Yes, he is definitely one of my famous crushes. He has been for years, ever since I saw his stand up show No Cure for Cancer. I was in my early twenties, back when I smoked a pack a day, wore tight jeans and thought myself to be wickedly funny. I knew very little of his personal life until just recently when I discovered this book and Ann's blog.

Her experience is definitely shared with her husband but it is entirely in her own voice, one that is smart, sharp and full of a wicked sense of humor. She comes across entirely vulnerable yet utterly prepared at the same time, something that fascinated me as a mother.
I can't imagine living in another country hoping and praying that my child, born premature, gets the healthy okay that he is fit to go home. You feel her struggles with being a new mom and trying to be a supportive wife at the same time. Denis's career was about to take off and the opportunities in London were critical to his success.
She also writes candidly about the differences with health care in London and the doctors and other patients she meets. I knew very little of this and found it to be scary and educational at the same time.

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
I recommend this for a few different readers. It has the memoir style to it; very lyrical, human, down-to-earth writing style. But it also has a bite to it, laced with sass and humor; I guess, something to expect from the wife of a comedian. Certainly talented in her own right, Ann Leary writes a touching tale about plugging away through some tough choices and coming out the other end.

Author's blog:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Sunday, December 12, 2010

Yummy Blizzards

Yummy Blizzards, right?
I wish.
Nope. It's more like this crappy blizzard.

My husband's out of town.
I'm home with my mother, bless her heart.
She can't shovel, nor can my two year old.
So that leaves me and I'm going to be honest, I'm a wuss.
Oh, yeah, I'm going to say it. I pissed and moaned the whole way.
BUT I did it.

Though after a day of shoveling over a foot of snowball, I climbed my way over to my neighbors and begged them to snow plow my driveway.

Thank goodness they didn't think my over sized man boots, wet pants, red cheeks and big fuzzy hair were not too crazy and said, "Sure!"

So now I can actually walk down my path and drive out of my driveway without cursing!

No reading done, not when you are solo with child for the whole weekend or entertaining your mother. Christmas cookies were made, though and that has to be good for something!

red headed book child

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

R.I.P Elizabeth Edwards

"Resilience is accepting your new reality, even if it's less good than the one you had before. You can fight it, you can do nothing but scream about what you've lost, or you can accept that and try to put together something that's good."




(click to read more)
(click to read more)


Rest in Peace,
Elizabeth Edwards

Thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

Sunday, December 5, 2010

Memoirs: suggestions from loved librarian Nancy Pearl

Blue Blood

Thank you to my friend Cheryl for sending me this link to Nancy Pearl's suggestions for wonderful memoirs to read.

All descriptions were written by Nancy Pearl.

I listed the three memoirs that I am really interested in reading.

NPR's link to Nancy Pearl's full article


Blue Blood

By Edward Conlon; paperback, 576 pages; Riverhead Trade, list price: $17

If you, like me, could watch Law & Order reruns eight hours a day, or if you've ever been curious about the inner workings of police departments, you'll want to rush right out and read Edward Conlon's Blue Blood. After graduating from Harvard, Conlon came home and joined the New York City Police Department, walking a beat in some of the worse housing projects in the South Bronx. His wide-ranging book is partly a memoir of his experiences (he is now working as a detective for the NYPD); the effects — pro and con — of the Giuliani anti-crime years; the Abner Louima and Amadou Diallo cases; Sept. 11; and the scandals and the triumphs, both large and small, that mark the history of the NYPD. Nicely written (some of it appeared in The New Yorker as "Cop Diary" under the pseudonym Marcus Laffey) and filled with interesting characters (both cops and perps — wait, make that suspected perps), this is both a pleasure and an education to read.(Nancy Pearl)


Cakewalk: A Memoir

Cakewalk: A Memoir

By Kate Moses; hardcover, 368 pages; The Dial Press, list price: $26

I am not a foodie, although some of my best friends are. Thus, there's no way I would have picked up Kate Moses' Cakewalk to read but for the photograph on the cover, which made me smile. (See, you can judge a book by its cover!) I continued reading it because Moses is a writer of salutary talents. And if I hadn't read it, I would have missed not only an affecting memoir but also some recipes that I feel sure — if I were a baker — I would immediately try out. If my oven even works. Luckily, those friends of mine who do bake have, in return for lending them the book, let me try samples of the ever-so-tasty results of several of Moses' recipes. Mainly focused on her life during the 1960s and '70s, her memoir is marked by parental discord and differences (her mother and father were spectacularly unsuited to one another), frequent moves, and a thorny family history. Cooking and reading were her lifelines out of the unhappy situations she found herself in. Each chapter includes a recipe, and each — from cheesecake to linzer tort, from spiced pecan cake to chocolate truffles — sounds more scrumptious than the one before. One bit of advice I feel compelled to give: brownies, page 209. Thanks to my friend Jeanette, I know the first version (with walnuts) is amazing.(Nancy Pearl)


Stuffed: Adventures Of A Restaurant Family

Stuffed: Adventures Of A Restaurant Family

By Patricia Volk; paperback, 256 pages; Vintage, list price: $13.95

In Stuffed: Adventures of a Restaurant Family, Patricia Volk delivers an affection-filled tribute to both family and food. In a series of vignettes, she lovingly describes her adored extended family. Each chapter, titled for a different food, from Butter Cookies to Caviar, is primarily devoted to one of her relatives. Among them are her great-grandfather, who was the first to import pastrami to New York; her grandfather, who invented the wrecking ball; her mother, forever trying to improve her daughters ("Mom made me, and now she will make me better"); her beautiful and best beloved older sister, Jo Ann; her embittered Aunt Lil, who embroidered a pillow with the phrase, "I've never forgotten a rotten thing anyone has done to me"; and her magnetic father, who taught her:

how to swim, speak French, drive, eat using the utensils American-style (which nobody in America seems to do), spot weld, solder, emboss, ride English, ride western, merengue, sing pop songs from World War I's "Keep Your Head Down Fritzie Boy" up through his favorite — the one that chokes him up, although he's not sure why — "Younger Than Springtime," remove a splinter, sap a blister by sticking a sterilized threaded needle through it then tying the exposed ends in a knot, carve a Thanksgiving turkey, chop, dice, and mince, make canapes, deglaze a pan, suck meat off a lobster a lobster doesn't know it has, blind a mugger, kill a rapist with a rabbit punch, remove stains, cloisonne, and intimidate a tennis opponent by clenching my teeth then drawing my lips back and growling like a gas-station dog.

Volk's family is sufficiently odd enough to keep anyone's attention, while her writing (she's also the author of a novel and two collections of stories) is both witty and tender. I pored over the all-too-few family photographs, wished that there was a family tree that I could refer back to, and most of all wished that I, too, could be part of the whole Volk/Morgen clan. (Nancy Pearl)


Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, December 2, 2010

My 1st Challenge as Hostess!

It's funny that I should be hosting my very first challenge weeks after I posted how crappy I am when it comes to completing challenges. Oh well. I was inspired so I am going with it!

This challenge came out of one of my shifts at the library. I was shelving in the mystery section and I discovered an amazing amount of authors who I have never read and have never heard of. I knew there are many mystery authors out there having come from book retail but the library seemed to have more of a variety vs. the bestsellers.
I liked that!

Mysteries being one of my favorite genres I am confident I will enjoy this challenge. I thought it would help to do it in an A-Z format. Keep it simple and organized!

My goal for this challenge is to simply discover new mystery authors, whether they are suspense, cozy, noir, or thriller. I am going to try to use the last name of the author in my A-Z but if I have to, I may use the first name as well.

To complete the challenge, I would read 26 books, one for each letter of the alphabet. That would be TOP but I would be happy if I read 12, one for every month.

I am working on a prize for anyone who completes the challenge. It will either be a new mystery book to giveaway OR a favorite of mine!

If you would like to hop on board, sign up.
The challenge will run from January 1, 2011- December 31, 2011.

Please sign up below.

I look forward to reading and sharing with you all.

Thank you to Michelle at The True Book Addict for making my button!
Grab it and share it!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child


Wednesday, December 1, 2010

The Borgias on Showtime

Check out this trailer for The Borgias on Showtime.



I only came acrossed it because I signed on to review this book from Sourcebooks.

Sins of the House of Borgia by Sarah Bower

With the highly talked about Spring 2011 premiere of Showtime’s new series The Borgias, there is no doubt this notorious and legendary crime family will soon be in the spotlight. Sourcebooks would like to introduce the original, fifteenth-century Sopranos to twenty-first-century readers. From author Sarah Bower comes Sins of the House of Borgia, a complex, unvarnished portrait of one of history’s most notoriously corrupt families. The story is set in fifteenth-century Italy, where sex, scandal, and murder are masked by the glamorous riches of those in power. The scheming families of Rome rule Renaissance Italy and the grand ambitions of the Borgias stop at nothing. With rich descriptions and fascinating historical details, Bower recreates this world flawlessly in her compelling tale of a girl, Violante, who gets caught up with the wrong family.


The book sounds good and the show looks like it will be fabulous! I have only seen the first season of The Tudors and they are saying this is just as good.

Anyone else interested in this?

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, November 29, 2010

Another winner!

I am very pleased to announce another winner for
The Dressmaker by Posie Graeme-Evans. The publisher, Simon and Schuster, have been very kind to send me another copy to give away to another reader!

Congratulations to Carey from The Tome Traveller.
You are the lucky surprise winner!

Happy Reading and thanks again for stopping by and entering!

red headed book child