Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday ( or Molly )

It's Molly Ringwald.
Need I say more?

Due out from Harper Collins April 27!

From the publisher's website:

From the endearing and witty star of the beloved John Hughes “brat pack” classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, Molly Ringwald defined teenage angst, love, and heartbreak. Now a wife and mother of three, and a star on the current hit television drama The Secret Life of the American Teenager, Molly is facing a new angst-inducing time in her life—her fortieth birthday! Encouraging every woman to become “the sexiest, funniest, smartest, well dressed, and most confident woman that you can be,” Molly shares a lifetime of experience in a vibrant, fun, stylish, and sexy collection of intimate stories and candid advice: Getting the Pretty Back, a fully illustrated “girlfriend’s guide” to life.

Book Description

The iconic Molly Ringwald shares intimate stories and candid advice in this fun, stylish, and sexy girlfriend's guide to life

To her millions of fans, Molly Ringwald will forever be sixteen. As the endearing and witty star of the beloved John Hughes classics Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, and Pretty in Pink, Molly defined teenage angst, love, and heartbreak. While remembered eternally as the enviable high school princess Claire, or the shy, vulnerable Samantha, Molly has just celebrated her fortieth birthday. Facing a completely new, angst-inducing time in her life, she is embracing being a woman, wife, mother of three, actress, and best friend with her trademark style, candor, and humor.

In Getting the Pretty Back, Molly encourages every woman to become "the sexiest, funniest, smartest, best-dressed, and most confident woman that you can be." She shares personal anecdotes and entertaining insights about the struggle to get through the murky milestones and identity issues that crop up long after the prom ends. Whether she's discussing sex and beauty, personal style, travel and entertaining, motherhood, or friendship, Molly embodies the spirit of being fabulous at every age, and reminds us all that prettiness is a state of mind: it's "the part of you that knows what you really want, that takes risks."

Lavishly illustrated by Ruben Toledo, Getting the Pretty Back is sure to charm women of all ages with Molly's unforgettably personal, refreshingly outspoken take on life, love, and, of course, finding that perfect red lipstick. . . .

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Review #61: Arcadia Falls by Carol Goodman

Title: Arcadia Falls
Author: Carol Goodman
Publisher: Ballantine Books
Genre: Fiction
ISBN: 978-0-345-49753-6
Format: Own copy
Price/Pages: $25.00/355
Out in stores now

My Review and Description:

This book came my way as a gift from my friend, Cheryl. She now lives in Atlanta and has been busy going to many author events. This one came to me autographed! I had my eye on this one when I saw it on a new release table at the bookstore I work at. I have read two other Carol Goodman books; The Lake of Dead Languages and The Seduction of Water. The Lake of Dead Languages was pretty darn good and The Seduction of Water was so-so.

Her books always have such rich descriptions that you can't help but jump on them. Most of them involve some sort of academia; boarding schools, colleges, etc and educated women. Arcadia Falls fit that bill.

Meg is a recently widowed woman and mother of a teenage daughter, Sally. Having been out of the workforce for some time, Meg accepts a teaching position in upstate New York. Arcadia Falls is tucked away from any hustle or bustle of the city. It's dark, heavily wooded and mysterious. Meg and Sally move in to the run down cottage that used to belong to the founding ladies of the school; Vera and Lily.

Arcadia is a home for gifted, promising art students. It is a place that prides itself on collaboration and expression. Run by Dean Ivy St. Claire (once an assistant to Vera), it still holds a mesmerizing quality over all its guests and students.

Meg is a teacher of folklore and her fascination with the secrets and history of Arcadia and of Vera and Lily propel her into a whirlwind of mystery. When a student falls into the gorge and dies, Meg is quickly swept up in the true darkness of Arcadia. Vulnerable and curious, Meg seeks help from the town sheriff and her fellow teachers. Who can she really trust? How can she keep her own daughter safe?

The plot of this book was quite involved. Told in two parts, I liked how it all came together. Meg's story was first and foremost but upon finding Lily's journal, you then get pieces her story and the background of Arcadia school. What was the relationship between Lily and Vera? What caused Lily's mysterious death at the same gorge? How much does Dean St. Claire know?

Goodman's writing, in my opinion, has improved. She could be compared to Joyce Carol Oates but lacks a bit of fine tuning. I had no real issues with this one. I enjoyed it. It surprised me, it kept me intrigued. The ending, though a bit complicated, shocked me and I liked that. I enjoyed Meg and her inquisitive, yet respectful nature.

I would say this was a ghost story but not overly done. It wasn't trying to spook me but she set the mood quite well with the descriptions of the campus, the woods, the cliffs and the cottage. The actual town of Arcadia Falls though near this lush school, was left somewhat abandoned and run down. You start to get the feeling of how imposing the school really was on everything and everyone.

Cheryl said that once I started it, I would not be able to put it down and she was right. When I did set it down for a bit, the story stuck in my head and I itched to get back to it. I always like when a book makes me feel like that.

Rating: 5 stars/ 6 stars
I highly recommend this one. If you are in the mood for a mystery, a ghost story, a love story or even a historical account of the arts, this is for you. It has a little bit of everything. When I closed the last page, I was satisfied. If you have not read her before, I think this would be a good one to start. The older ones I read are some of her firsts and like I said, her writing has gotten better.

Author's website:

Happy Reading and thanks again for stopping by!

red headed book child

ISBN: 978-0-345-49753-6

Monday, April 26, 2010

The Library

The Library by Sarah Stewart
ISBN: 0-374-44394-7
Farrar Straus Giroux

With my recent good fortune in acquiring a library job and my recent guest spot on A Novel Source's Sunday Serenade, I've been thinking all about ME lately. (how is this different then any other day?!)
What motivates me, what inspires me, where I came from, where I'm going, yada yada.
Don't worry, I'm not going to get all Dr.Phil on you all.

One of the questions I answered in the Sunday Serenade was Is there a favorite book that you re-read? I initially answered No because, in all honestly, I don't go back and read my favorite novels. But I do re-read a lot of children's picture books. For some reason, in my weird brain, I just didn't think that counted. I read five books with my son every night and we re-read some of my favorites.

One of my favorites is The Library by Sarah Stewart.

This magical little story is about a skinny, red haired girl who falls from the sky. She spends every moment reading; under the covers, while she's walking, at school, doing chores, etc. etc. She grows up and instead of going on dates, she reads. She gets lost one day and buys an old house and fills it with books. She reads on her head, she reads even while cleaning the house, bumping into walls. One day she realizes she can not fit one more book in her house, so she donates all of them to the town. The town library is then created!

This book has such a sweet spot in my heart and I've been thinking of it fondly because of how important libraries are and were to me. So if you have not seen this book or any book by Sarah Stewart, please check her out. Her books are illustrated by her husband David Small.

Some of my favorite lines:

" Elizabeth Brown
Entered the world
Dropping straight down from the sky.

Elizabeth Brown
Entered the world
Skinny, nearsighted, and shy.

She didn't like to play with dolls.
She didn't like to skate.
She learned to read quite early
And at an incredible rate."

"She manufactured library cards
And checked out books to friends,
Then shocked them with her midnight raids
To collect the books again."

"She read about Greek goddesses
While vacuuming the floor.
Attending only to her book,
She'd walk into a door."

"She didn't want a bicycle,
She didn't want silk bows.
She went straight to the courthouse-
"May I have one of those?"

"The form was for donations.
She quickly wrote this line:
I, E.Brown, give to the town
All that was ever mine."

(Sigh) I just love it so.
As much as I support the continuation of bookstores, I will always find peace at libraries and rally for their success as well.

Go to this website and read about Sarah Stewart and read about her stories and love for reading and writing.

Happy Reading to you all, and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 25, 2010

Check me out!

Hi all!

Stacy at A Novel Source featured me on her Sunday Serenade!

If you want to get the dirt on me, head on over!

Happy reading!

red headed book child

Review #60: Cooking up Murder by Miranda Bliss

Title: Cooking up Murder

Author: Miranda Bliss
Series: Cooking Class Mystery #1
Publisher: Berkley Signet Crime
Genre: Cozy Mystery
Format: Own copy
ISBN: 0-425-21291-2
Price/Pages: $6.99/233
Challenges: 2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge

My Review and Description:

I discovered this series from just good old fashioned cover love. I was shelving away at my part-time bookstore job and this one was on my cart. I am such a sucker for cozy mysteries that I easily fall in love with the silly themes and titles they have, whether they are food, animal, or holiday related.

Cooking up Murder is a really quirky, fun, simple cozy. Eve and Annie are two best friends who can't cook to save their lives. Why do they decide to take a gourmet cooking class? Call it a quick decision made on the heals of good ol' heartbreak. Annie's husband left her for a new tartlet and she is left with zilch for self esteem. Her boisterous, bubbly, beautiful blonde best friend, Eve, pushes her into moving on with her life.

So they find themselves at Tres Bonne Cuisine Cooking School with a scrumptious instructor that comes fully loaded with a Scottish accent. They figure they'll learn how to bake a potato, maybe toss a salad or two. They didn't expect to find murder! One that involves some scary international gun smugglers!

Like most cozy mysteries, you find a character or two who are ordinary folks who get stuck in quite extraordinary circumstances; like tripping over dead bodies, walking in on murders, etc. Even though most of the situations make me laugh a little, I still love reading them. Probably because I am such a crime show nut, that I imagine myself to be an amateur sleuth.

Oh who am I kidding? If I found a dead body, I would be scared shitless. (pardon my language!) I just like watching it on Law and Order.

Rating: 3 stars/ 6 stars
Cooking up Murder is not anything exceptional but it was fun. With cozies, I have to like to characters and the location to really get into it. The crime itself doesn't really matter. Annie and Eve are pretty normal gals with normal jobs, completely relatable and fun. The location is the Arlington, VA/Washington DC area which is really fun to read about.
I would recommend this one for fans of cozies. No real complaints here!

Challenge: This is the first book I read for the 2010 Cozy Mystery Challenge.

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Saturday, April 24, 2010

We have a winner on this rainy morning!

Good Morning Everyone! It's a rainy morning here in Minnesota. A perfect day to stay home and read.

We have a winner of Eat Nap Play! Congratulations to Jacki at

Thank you to all for entering and stopping by!

Happy reading!

red headed book child

Monday, April 19, 2010

Review # 59: An Earl to Enchant by Amelia Gray

Title: An Earl to Enchant

Author: Amelia Grey
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca
Genre: Historical Romance
Series: The Rogues' Dynasty
Format: Review copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4022-1761-6
Price/Pages: $7.99/352
Release Date: April 2010

My Review and Description:

Though I have said before I have figured out I am not a huge fan of historical romances, this one definitely caught me by surprise. On the cover of the book there is a quote "Witty Dialogue and Clever Schemes...Grey's characters will charm readers".

That says it pretty clearly. The plot is seemingly similar to other romance novels. Strong willed woman vs. an equally stubborn strong willed man, tensions arise and love is the result.

Lord Morgandale is the man in question. He is a known bachelor, preferring the company of women for really only one reason. He has no interest in marriage.

Arianna Sweet is a independent educated woman who finds herself on his doorstep one stormy night in search of Morgan's grandmother. Turns out her father is distantly related to a former husband of Morgan's grandmother.

Expecting his mistress, Morgan's reaction to Arianna is confusing and unsettling. Arianna brings a mystery along with her, in needing the help of Morgan's grandmother. With the news of her death, Arianna is left trying to figure out her next step. Her father was a scientist and something very precious was stolen from him. Arianna is trying to get it back and fulfill her father's work.

What I liked about this book was the dynamic between Morgan and Arianna. Morgan, though stubborn, wasn't a jerk and his developing feelings towards Arianna were really quite sweet and honest. Arianna, though independent, wasn't a bitch. She was direct and down to earth. Witty and charming indeed! And, well, their love scenes were pretty darn fun to read too!

The plot line with her father and his work threw a different twist in as well. It brought a bit of mystery along with the romance, something I found refreshing. It was nice to not just have a typical cat and mouse game between an unavailable woman and an aggressive man.

Thank you to Danielle at Sourcebooks for providing me a copy to read and review. I so enjoy my romance adventures in reading. I feel my eyes open even further to the massive genre that is Romance.

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
For fans of a good romantic story with a little suspenseful twist, I would recommend this book. There are two previous books in this series; A Duke to Die For and A Marquis to Marry.

Authors' Website: Amelia Grey

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 18, 2010

Guest Review #2: The Typewriter is Holy by Bill Morgan

Title: The Typewriter is Holy: the Complete Uncensored History of the Beat Generation

Author: Bill Morgan
Publisher: Free Press (Simon and Schuster)
Genre: Non-fiction
Format: ARC from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4165-9242-6
Price/Pages: $28.00/ app. 250
Release Date: May 11,2010

Michelle says:

I was interested in this book because I knew it would be something that my husband would eat up and love to talk about. And he did. He read it in less than a week during his lunch breaks and came home this evening saying he was done already! He then started to babble on and on, with much enthusiasm, about the history of the beat poets and writers. Well, if that much excitement can be generated from a book, then, by golly, he must review it! So I give you once again, my famous Guest Reviewer: Sean, the husband.

Sean says:

Essentially, this book helped me to really "get" Allen Ginsberg. He is often framed, along with Jack Kerouac, as one if the "it" poets of the so called "beat" generation. This is an almost chronological account of the complex relationships between these prolific writers. It illustrates the dynamic between William S. Burroughs, Allen Ginsberg, Jack Kerouac, and all of the assorted characters in their lives at the time.

An interesting tidbit: Jack Kerouac may have coined the term "Beat Generation", but he considered it dead by 1949. He referred beats to the beaten populace, the downtrodden. In the media, the term became synonymous with anti-establishment, which soon became "hippy" instead of "beatnik", dogging Kerouac (who was quite conservative) to his final days.

I was able to understand Ginsberg's poetry at a deeper level, having read this. I would recommend this strongly for anyone seeking clarification on the lives of these beat poets.

Any traces of Bill Morgan (the author) are almost non-existent in the well documented narrative, instead going to painstaking lengths to keep it as textbook as possible. It is like reading one of their journals of the time, pure historical journalism.

Author Profile:
Bill Morgan is a writer and archival consultant who was written and edited dozens of books on the Beat writers, including the acclaimed biography, I Celebrate Myself: The Somewhat Private Life of Allen Ginsberg. In addition, he has served as the archival consultant for nearly every member of the Beat Generation. (from the ARC)

Rating: 5 stars/6 stars

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

Sean and Michelle

Week in Review: April 11-17

Week in Review

Once upon a time, there was a little girl who grew up in the country. She spent a lot of time wandering in the woods, climbing trees, trying to find a place to read. She had red hair the size of Texas, knobby knees, pale skin and a toothless smile. All she wanted was to read about far away places,lovable animals , babysitter clubs and a little highschool named Sweet Valley.

Sometimes, however, she had to leave the safety of her country oasis and ride the stinky horrible bus into town (one whole hour!) to go to school. Yuck!
She would beg and beg her mother to please spare her atleast ONE of these bus rides after school. "Well, dear, what on earth are you going to do until I get off of work?"
"Go to the LIBRARY, of course!"
So, as a young girl, many hours were spent hidden also in corners of the great old dark library in town. There the little girl would read eye opening bios on Joan Crawford and trashy romance novels by Jackie Collins. Oh my what adventures she had!

Such peace she would find here at the library, as much peace as she found in her country side. How wonderful it would be to someday WORK in a library. The little dream began to grow in the very back of the little girl's mind.

Fast forward many years later and this same girl is now a woman and after many attempts at school, she finally realized that well, she sucked at it! So her dream of working in a library floated away and instead she found herself working in a bookstore.
Not too shabby. This would do, she thought.
But how exciting was it for this woman to discover that after her many years at her bookstore job, that she comes to find herself living very close to a tiny local library. She begins to spend many hours there again, only this time with her child. The thoughts of working at one begin to come back.

Until, last Thursday, when that thought and childhood dream became a realty!

Yes, that's right folks. That little girl was me. That woman is me. And I am now a proud employee of my local library! I get to do all the nerdy stuff I just know I will love; repair books, shelve, loans, returns, assist patrons, etc.

That's the exciting news for my Week in Review and all I can think about! I begin training in June and July and officially start in August!!

I hope I can stay away from sneaking into corners and reading Jackie Collins again. :)

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Thursday, April 15, 2010

GIVEAWAY! Eat Nap Play (ends April 23)

Good Evening Everyone!

Lisa @ TLC Book Tours was kind enough to offer 1 copy of Eat Nap Play to one of my readers in a Giveaway. Here is my review for it. I loved it. If you are a parent or know a parent, this book is bursting with great ideas!

* You must be a follower of my blog.
* You must leave a comment.
* You must reside in the U.S or Canada.

One winner will be picked on Friday, April 23. Info will be sent to Lisa and book will be sent from publisher.

Thanks and good luck!

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

Review # 58: Eat, Nap, Play by Robyn Spizman and Evelyn Sacks

Title: Eat Nap Play
Author: Robyn Spizman and Evelyn Sacks
Genre: Parenting/Education
Publisher: Health Communications, Inc.
Format: Review Copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-0-7573-1361-5
Price/Pages: $14.95/212
Release Date: In Stores now

My Review and Description:

I find it incredibly appropriate that my first review after my new blog design is a parenting book. Now that I have a sweet little picture of my little red head watching over the blog, it makes this review all the more fun! Thank you to TLC Book Tours for giving me the opportunity to review this book.

The title along caught my eye considering I have read Eat, Pray, Love; I thought this was a magnificent take off from that. Eat Nap Play is a very helpful resource book for parents of children toddler to teens. Written by two women who are former art teachers, writers, media personalities and parenting experts, they worked together to create this guide for inexpensive ways to entertain your kids and family.

The subtitle of this book is How To Get Even More Out Of Your Child's Day For Less. Talk about right timing for this subject to get addressed. With the economy the way it is and many parents losing jobs, it is really important to be money smart. It is not only helpful to your piggy bank but it teaches your children how to manage money and be creative.

I am the mother of a two year old which most readers out there now know. I am also a full-time Stay at Home Mom. So, when a book like this falls in my lap, you better believe it becomes dog eared very quickly.

The layout is super easy to read and pick up at different points depending on your type of family, ages of kids, or your particular issues at hand. It starts out with the basics and how important it is to realize that you do not have to spend lots of money when you are with your kids. That may appear easier for some but in the long run, using some of these simple steps, you could save a lot of time and money.

The rest of the chapters flow like this:
  • Family Activites
  • Mommy, I'm still bored!
  • Food and Kitchen Fun
  • Swap, Shop, Barter, Share
  • Parties
  • Low cost to No cost Gifts
  • School savings
  • Techno Kids
  • Lists of Resources and Freesources
Each chapter is very descriptive in creative ideas. I was left pretty amazed at the authors' ability to create something out of nothing at times.

A few of the dog eared portions I liked fell under the Food and Kitchen Fun. My husband loves t cook and we are very particular about having healthy meals and variety for our son. We are also a huge fan of Jamie Oliver and his Food Revolution (Getting American to Eat Healthy). So one of the neat tricks in this book was to do "Fake Fast Food" (page 67). Though we rarely eat fast food, I know that a lot of people do in our society and this was a really neat idea to make it fun for the kids. Fast food is so familiar and all around and showing them that the real fast food is NOT healthy is important. The recipes for making it healthy are really easy and will get them thinking!

The next section I saved was the creation of a Proud of you Plate. My son may be a little young for this but I am going to use it for the future. You create and design a plate with your child or children to be brought out by the parents on special occasions or when they do a good deed, get a good grade, etc. I really liked this idea of rewarding your children with something so simple.

One more part I enjoyed was the Swap Chapter. I never knew all that you could do with sharing within your community or online. I was actually just thinking of the Child Swap the other day. How great would it be to do a babysitter swap with a few other moms and get one afternoon off a week?!

I could go on listing the many neat ideas in this book but the nice thing it that at the end there is a very concise chapter that lists all of the websites and info mentioned in the previous chapters. This makes for quick reference!

Many of the ideas were for older children; I would say 4 and up but even if you have a little one like I do, it is still really helpful for you to start thinking in creative ways. By the time your kids get a little older you will be prepared! Or you can just brag to your friends about all the awesome, smart projects you know about and spread the word!

Thank you so much to TLC Book Tours for allowing me a chance to read and review this. My very worn copy is sitting very close my on my desk for easy reference.

Rating: 5 stars / 6 stars
Any parent would benefit from this book. It is organized easily so you don't feel like you have to sit down and read the whole thing at once to get the point. You can hop to any chapter that you want to try. Cheap, fun, easy, creative. You can't go wrong!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, April 12, 2010


Good Evening Everyone!

I am still working through the kinks while I get everything adjusted but what do you think?

Pretty cool, huh?

Thank you to Parajunkee for desinging this for me. She was and still is fabulous! I am still asking her questions!

Stay tuned. It should all be straightened out by the end of this week.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 11, 2010

Week in Review: April 4-10 (BLOG REDO COMING!)

Week in Review

Hi everyone!
I had a busy blog week with lots of reviews and I got some more reading done too! I am currently working with Parajunkee to finally redesign my blog! I've seen the first mock and am bubbling with excitement! That is where my focus is right now.

I am going to be hip, happenin' and stylin', people.


red headed book child

Friday, April 9, 2010

Review #56 and #57: Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani

Title: Very Valentine and Brava, Valentine
Author: Adriana Trigiani
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copies for TLC Book Tours
ISBN: 978-0-06-125706-3/978-0-06-125707-0
Price/Pages: $14.99/367: $25.99/352
Release Date: VV out in paperback, BV out in hardcover

Sneak peak of Very Valentine

My Review and Description:

I almost said no to reviewing these books due to having a TBR mountain that currently surrounds my house. But I consulted my pal Cheryl and she read Very Valentine while I was deciding and said I would love it! And boy, was she right. I don't even think love is a strong enough word for how these two books made me feel.

Adriana Trigiani is a well known author in the world of bookselling. I've shelved her through the years, I've seen book groups buy her up, and I've seen her hit the bestseller charts. Has any of this compelled me to read her sooner? No and that makes me a moron.

But late is better than never!

I loved these books for three very specific reasons. But first I will give you a little description of them. The books are told from the perspective of Valentine Roncalli. She is a single, thirty something Italian American woman living in New York's Greenwich Village. She also is an apprentice to her grandmother at the Angelini Shoe Company, a family shoe making business started back in 1903. They live and work in the same old building down in the village that has been the home of her Grandmother for over 50 years.

Along with Valentine and Tedora, her 84 year old Grandmother, is the extended family; her married sisters, her anal brother, her "fabulous" mother and her dead pan father. Along with a charming gay man as her best friend and a new hunky chef as her love interest, Valentine's life is far from boring. But trouble settles in when the family business is faced with debt they can not pay, tensions between Valentine and her brother escalate, health scares arise and love seems to be too complicated to juggle when you are independent and career minded.

Here are the reasons I loved these books:

1. Valentine and her Grandma Tedora
Though my friend Cheryl warned be before hand that this was a story of a close relationship between a Granddaughter and a Grandma, I jumped in anyway. It turned out to be really good therapy for me to remember the good times I had with my own Grandma. (For those of you new to my blog, my 94 year old Grandma passed away in early February and we were very close). Tedora and Valentine had a wonderful relationship. Tedora taught Valentine everything she knew about the shoe making business. They lived together, shared together, and worked hard together. And Tedora was a spit fire and I loved that!

2. Greenwich Village and Little Italy
I am a huge fan of New York City and have visited many times. I am SO excited to go to BEA and the Book Blogger Convention in May that I am having NYC dreams all the time. These books, especially the first one, really set up the scene really well. Trigiani's description of the city and the neighborhoods and the feel of NYC really came through. You could envision yourself there while reading.

3. The Fashion and Food
So I don't know Dolce from Gabbana or hell, The Gap from Old Navy but I LOVE to read about fashion. It just makes it all seem so important. Instead of saying I wearing a striped purple shirt, I could say I am wearing a Route 66 blouse with vertical flare. Cool, huh?
Trigiani really pays attention to the art of fashion, starting and focusing mostly on shoes (because the family business) but also extending to what each character wears. That extra attention to detail added beautifully to each character and gave you a better visual of them.
And the food, well, NYC is a hotbed of awesome food. Valentine begins a relationship with a chef and their dinners are laid out for us with such detail, i almost licked the book.
Also, you get to be a fly on the wall of a very traditional Italian American family and the simplest of snacks they munch on equal delicacy in my eyes.

Combine all three of these and you get perfection, in my opinion. These books came at such the perfect time for me, I simply sunk myself in. I got the warmth of a caring Grandma, the edge of a ambitious yet struggling 30something woman (hello? familiar...), the crazy I-can't-take-them-out-in-public family and New York, New York (cue Frank Sinatra).
You can't go wrong with these books. Set to be a triology, Adriana Trigiani has hit gold and I will tell everyone I know that this is my new go to recommend. !

Check out the above links for more info. If for some crazy reason they don't work, check out Adriana's website here.

Rating: 6 stars/ 6 stars!
I think my review says it all. They knocked my socks off! A definite recommend and ones that I will own and keep and pass around until they are worn and falling apart.

Happy Reading to you all and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

ps. Oh and it comes with recipes. Hello? You can't go wrong!

Thursday, April 8, 2010

My Review Style

My Review Style

Good Afternoon!

I generally do not do random posts about "stuff". I either do my Week in Review or my Reviews and then some minor blog weeping when crushes from my childhood die on me.

I try to be as simple as possible because, really, if I started blogging about everything that popped into my mind OR that I have an opinion of, you may all start running.

BUT I do feel that it's time to post a little about my review style.

I still consider my blog to be relatively new and minor in the superstar world of book blogging. Through the months I have tried not to tweak it too much or make it a bigger or complicated machine that I could not run.

Reviewing books is first and foremost my passion and motivation for this blog. As of late, I have found myself signing on to do a lot more Blog Tours and general review requests. (book addiction is a tricky thing!) In the beginning I honestly did not know where I could do these things and no one was asking me to review for them, so it made it a little easier to keep up with the reading.

Now that I have been around for a little while I have discovered all of these neat opportunities to review so many different types of books. What I am finding in myself is that my review style is changing because of this.

When I started blogging, I felt I was pretty detailed and emotional in my review style. I really tried to be very thorough and honest. But then I was reviewing just books off my shelf that I was very confident in and fell under my favorite genres.

Lately I have reviewed more chick lit and romance that I did not normally read before I started blogging. Some of these books have left me with very little to say and a part of me feels bad for that.

I think the purpose of reviewing is to give a thorough review to motivate readers to want to read it. But I do understand that that can't always happen. Sometimes you really just don't have much to say about certain books OR all you can muster is a "That was pretty good!"

I post this following my last two reviews because I feel they were fairly brief. And this was not because I did not enjoy them, it was simply because they didn't leave me with much to say. I found them to be both fun and worth a read.

What am I babbling on about?

Simply said, I would like to remain a credible, honest book review blogger. And I want readers to pull something from my reviews and go "Hell yeah, I'm going to read that! Because RHBC told me to!" So, even though I feel like I have had some shorter, simpler, to the point reviews as of late, know that I take every review seriously and will always try to be as honest as possible. And hopefully you will all get jazzed up enough to want to read what I review!

Does this make sense or have you left by now?

Thanks for stopping by.

red headed book child

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Review #55: A Certain Wolfish Charm by Lydia Dare

Title: A Certain Wolfish Charm

Author: Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Format: Review copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3694-5
Price/Pages: $6.99/352
Release Date: April 6, 2010

My Review and Description:

I really have to say thank you to Sourcebooks for opening my eyes to a whole world of romance. I never knew there were so many different types. I have come to realize, however, that historical romances aren't for me. I like a little paranormal twist and I like a whole lot of feisty, fun characters. A Certain Wolfish Charm has a little bit of everything that I am enjoying about my new adventures in romance reading. Feisty female, stubborn male and a whole lotta tension.

This book was a first in a series featuring the Westfield Brothers (Westfield Werewolves). From Lydia Dare's website, here is a description of the three men. !

"Simon- the scandalous Duke of Blackmoor, who heads the call of the moon, until a woman finally calls more loudly."

"Benjamin- who seeks to find the wolf within, but fights to control it once he does."

"William- a debauched rogue who wants nothings more than a scratch behind the ears from his lady love."

They sound like fun, don't they?

Though I only signed up to read and review the first one, I can tell that the whole series will be deliciously readable. Miss Lily Rutledge has been taking care of Oliver, the 12 year old nephew of Simon Westfield. Simon has been assigned guardianship to the young boy but has not been too diligent in the the caregiver role.

Lily forces herself into Simon's life after several attempts at contacting him through letters. She demands his help, unsure of how to handle the strange changes she is seeing in Oliver.

A Certain Wolfish Charm offers the reader a quick, easily engrossing adventure full of secrets, sex and a little scare.

Author's Website: Lydia Dare

Rating: 4 stars/6 stars
Because it's not a genre I normally seek out, I would not rush out and buy this but I would recommend it to fans of the paranormal romance. And as the author's website indicates, it plans on being a series with plenty books to offer.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by and joining me on my reading adventures!

red headed book child

Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Review #54: Beautiful People by Wendy Holden

Title: Beautiful People

Author: Wendy Holden
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Fiction (Chick lit)
Format: Review copy from Publisher
ISBN: 978-1-4-22-3715-7
Price/Pages: $14.99/app. 410
Release Date: April

My Review and Description:

I have never read Wendy Holden before but checking out her website I discover she has quite a following and a long list of novels under her belt. So this intrigued me even more! Beautiful People is safe to say a chick-lit kind of book but that doesn't make it any less of a novel or "fluffy".

It focuses on three very different women.

Darcy: a struggling, little known actress from London who gets a call from a big time Los Angeles director for a feature role.

Belle: an anxious, expired actress who was last year's big news and now can't get anyone to call her back.

Emma: an average, down-to-earth nanny who witnesses the crazy world of celebrity moms.

This was a fun sparkling jet set read! (sounds cheesy but it's fitting) As different and sometimes silly as the women (and the world they lived in) were at times, I enjoyed reading their adventures. You get lots of Hollywood and international glamour. Though this was centered around the entertainment industry, Holden reminded me of Lisa Jewell and Helen Fielding, two other popular British authors.

Because we are getting into warmer weather, I would suggest this for a beach/vacation read. Thank you so much to Danielle at Sourcebooks for my copy to read and review. I am going to pass it on to my good friend Cheryl next who is a huge fan of chick lit!

Author Info:
Wendy Holden has published nine novels, all being top 10 bestsellers in the UK, and is married with two young children. Her novels include Farm Fatale, Bad Heir Day, Simply Divine, Gossip Hound, The Wives of Bath, The School for Husbands, Azur Like it, and Filthy Rich.
You have to check out her website here to check out the fabulous covers of these novels!

Rating: 4 stars/ 6 stars
I would rate this one a 4, definitely worth a recommendation. It is not one that I would need to own but an author of interest to keep an eye on in the future. Come on, who doesn't want to read about the dirty side of Hollywood?

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, April 5, 2010

Review #53: Caught by Harlan Coben

Title: Caught

Author: Harlan Coben
Publisher: Dutton (Penguin)
Format: Hardcover, bookstore loan
Genre: Thriller
ISBN: 978-0-525-95158-2
Price/Pages: $27.95/388

My Review and Description:

For those of you who have not read Harlan Coben, I strongly suggest you change that. Though I have only read two of his earlier thrillers, he has yet to disappoint. His newest one I read in two days. I'm sure for some of you speed reader blogger heroes, that is no sweat but to this mom of a toddler, two days is an olympic feat!

Coben has a knack for putting us ordinary folk in not so ordinary situations, actually they are down right terrifying. Terrifyingly real. It could all happen to us though we pray like hell it won't.
Caught is one of those stories.

It starts with Wendy, a single mom and television reporter for the program Caught in the Act, which exposes sexual predators. She is determined to expose the newest predator, Dan Mercer.
Dan Mercer is a loner type, dedicated to his job working with youth but also still close to his ex-wife and her children.

At the same time, we find Haley Mcwaid, a seventeen year old, seemingly perfect, good at school and sports, missing. What begins with one day leads to three months.

All signs point to Dan. What unravels is a twisted, complicated, literally on- the- edge- of- your seat- who- dunnit thriller. Coben has become a much more complicated, involved writer. He is not afraid to layer in a good story and pile on the drama. Though Caught was definitely a page turner with a surprise at every corner, you don't get weighed down by the detail or the loose ends to the case. It seems to act like real life. Once you start digging, boy, you can come up with quite a few skeletons.

I had my nose in this one right up until the end. I even had to apologize to my husband for not asking him about his day while he was making dinner tonight due to being stuck in the final pages! Way to go, Mr. Coben. You got me!

If you are new to Harlan Coben's books, I would start with his stand alones. He has a mystery series featuring the same character which I haven't heard too much about. I started with Tell No One and well, I did just the opposite and TOLD EVERYONE about it :) It was a thrill ride.
Check out his website below for more details.

Rating: 5 stars/ 6 stars
I give this one a 5 because it had me wrapped up right up until the end. I had no idea how it would turn out and I am a sucker for a twist in my mystery/thrillers. And kudos to Coben for following through with his detail in the truth of the story and not letting the characters fall my the wayside. He developed each and every one of them with skill. A well done, gripping thriller, deserving of 5 stars!

Author website: Harlan Coben

Happy Reading and as always, Thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Sunday, April 4, 2010

Week in Review: March 28- April 3

Week in Review

What on earth did I do this week? Gosh, it seems so long ago. Sigh. Well, the kiddo and I stayed inside too much due to a random fever that popped up on Tuesday. What is it with these fevers and toddlers? Good grief! Once that went away, we spent lots of time in our backyard moving rocks around. He loves that! Piles were everywhere.

I had a date with the husband. I know, when does THAT happen? As they tore my arms from my child, he stuffed me in the car and we went to my favorite noodle shop. Soba anyone? Bowls of happiness, I tell ya'. THEN we went to the Derby...yep, the Minnesota Roller Girls rock! My good pal is one of the refs so she got us tickets and we went and screamed our little heads off!
Good times.

On the books front, I had my two giveaways for Beautiful Dean and Merlin's Harp. Thank you to everyone for entering and Congrats to the Winners! The books should be sent out this week.

I finished Brava, Valentine by Adriana Trigiani and man, I had a hell of a time trying to decide what to read next. It's hard to follow up perfection. Really, truly, my review will tell it all....her books are beautiful perfection. I absolutely adored these! I sent a gushing email to Trish at TLC Book Tours thanking her for sending them to me and bashing myself for not reading her earlier!

I wrote a review for Powder Necklace which, to me, feels like Young Adult but I believe it is geared towards Adult Literature audience as well. I really recommend it to those who loved Little Bee by Chris Cleave. Spread the Word!

I am almost finished with Beautiful People by Wendy Holden for review.

I recieved two awards. Stacy from A Novel Source awarded me the Humane Award and L.Diane Wolfe awarded me the Beautiful Blogger Award. Thank you so much ladies!

I had to jump on the new Harlan Coben, Caught, because he is just too fun to pass up so THAT is what I am heading off to read now during my morning of quiet.

And, of course, before I consume my weight in deviled eggs!

Happy Easter.

Happy Reading.

And, as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, April 2, 2010

Book Blogger Hop! April 2

It's that time of the week again. BOOK BLOGGER HOP time, people. I just love this so much. Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books is a genius for this idea. I was lucky enough to discover so many new blogs last week.

Kathy @Mommysreading
(i'm sorry I couldn't get the link to this one but she is fabulous!)
Zoe @ Zoe Reads

Just a few, huh? Well, they are all so lovely.

Anyhoo, off to discover a few more.

Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Now try not to be upset...

...but there will be no Author Love-a-Thon this month. So sorry. No April fools joke.
I'm just plum tuckered out. :(

I know. Try not to cry. It'll be back next month.

'til then, Happy Reading!

red headed book child

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Cozy Mystery Challenge 2010


Good Morning all. I have decided to join a challenge. I'm pretty darn sure I could handle this one. I discovered it through Dollycas Thoughts that linked me over to Kris at Not Enough Books.

Here are the rules:

1. The challenge runs April 1st, 2010 through September 30, 2010.
2. The goal is to read at least
6 cozy mysteries, one for each month. You can choose to read more, but you must read 6 in order to complete this challenge. You don't have to read 1 each month, you can read them whenever you like, you just have to read at least six.
3. While you can overlap with other challenges, please try to have at least 2 of the books only count towards this challenge.
4. Prizes you ask? Everyone loves a prize! Everyone who completes this challenge will get a bookmark made by yours truly (even if I don't mail them in a timely manner - I will mail them.)
5. Sign-up using the dedicated form. The form can be found in another post or here's a direct
link. While it would be great if you signed up before April 1st, last year I had several people who wanted to join but didn't learn about the challenge until after it had started. Therefore you can sign up anytime between now and September 1st.

Go to Cozy Mystery Challenge website to sign up.

I have not decided quite yet what I going to read. But on my cozy shelf currently I have the Cooking Class Mysteries by Miranda Bliss and A Hemlock Falls Mystery by Claudia Bishop and A Stamping Sisters Mystery by Terri Thayer.

I am going to see what comes my way and what mood I am in and let in all flow.

I hope you join me on this challenge. It sounds fun!

Happy Reading!

red headed book child