Saturday, January 29, 2011

Chocolate Beach by Julie Carobini(Kindle)

Brianna Stone has the perfect beach life. She has the perfectly hunky/lawyer husband, the perfect son, the perfect home on the beach and the perfect job. Things seem to be spiraling downhill though.

Bri's perfect husband Douglas is working long hours. When a snide remark from one of her acquaintances points out to her that maybe her life isn't so perfect, Bri begins to feel that maybe she needs to make some changes in her life to keep her husband interested in her.

Bri embarks on a mission to change things. She takes her mother-in-laws advice to remodel her livingroom to make it more presentable for Douglas as a rising lawyer. She buys a new wardrobe to make herself look more dignified instead of the beach/comfortable that she normally wears. She has her hair streaked with new color. She even takes some cooking classes so that she can present home-cooked meals to her family instead of the take-out fare that they are used to.

Things are not rosy at her work either. Bri loves her job as a tour guide. When the owner of the company decides to leave the business in her son's hands things start getting weird there for Bri. She tries setting the son up with her best friend Gaby. She thinks that Gaby and Ty are hitting it off, but Bri misses the subtle hints that Ty is more interested in her.

Bri realizes finally that she needs to be who God made her to be. She needs to be herself. Bri's spunk and sarcasm had me smiling and laughing throughout the story. I even shed a tear at a tender moment between Douglas and Bri. I especially enjoyed the sailing off into the sunset ending!

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Claim To Fame by Margaret Peterson Haddix

Lindsay Scott can hear everything that anyone is saying about her no matter where they are in the world. She used to be a famous actress but has been in seclusion for several years. Her house is the only place that she can go that she cannot hear what people think about her.

When a couple of teenage boys read a tabloid article stating that Lindsay is being held against her will by her overbearing father they decide to "set her free". So they kidnap her. Thinking they are doing Lindsay a great favor the boys are confused when all she wants to do is go back to her home.

In reality Lindsay's father has just died and she is living on her own. She has never known her mother whom she assumes abandoned her and her father when Lindsay was a baby. What Lindsay doesn't know is that her "gift" is not something that she alone has. There are others out there that have her gift.

Through the help of the boys and Roz, Lindsay learns how to deal with and appreciate her special gift. She learns to think about others and to see that she can make a difference in her world instead of being cooped up in her safe house.

I liked the story, the only problem I really had with it was that it was slow-paced. Not like other more exciting books written by Margaret Peterson Haddix.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Targets Down by Bob Hamer

Matt Hogan is an undercover FBI agent. His latest assignment is to infiltrate a ring of criminals suspected of everything from sex slavery to murder.  The operation is suspected of attempting to kill a FBI agents wife because she witnessed the disposal of a body on a lonely road.

 Matt's cover is almost blown a couple of times. Each time he is able to convince the "bad guys" that he really is one of them and that their concerns are unfounded. If he is found out to be an FBI agent these criminals will have no problem getting rid of him to save their industry.

Matt rents a warehouse to help establish his credibility with Boris the boss of the crime ring. When Boris brings in a Marine tank and secretly plants explosives on it, Matt realizes that Boris and his gang are into way more than he bargained for.

There were parts of this book that I really enjoyed reading. It kept me on the edge of my seat at times. It had a pretty exciting conclusion. BUT, there were other parts of the book that I didn't like at all. The treatment of one of the FBI's woman co-worker was so irritating. They called her "The Queen Mother" behind her back and they acted condescending to her face. True, she probably deserved it, but we as the reader only knew this from Matt and his partners point of view. We didn't get a glimpse of what her thoughts were, what her motives were etc. It seemed a bit too woman bashing for the sake of woman bashing than deserved treatment. There were also several times that I found my eyes rolling at some silly clich├ęs that the author would insert randomly throughout the book. This was definitely a "guy" book. Not to say that I didn't enjoy the action and suspense. I'll pass it on to my husband and see what he thinks.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Against All Odds by Irene Hannon (Kindle)

Monica and her father are estranged. Her father gave up his family for his country. Now his job has put Monica in jeopardy. Terrorists have kidnapped 3 American citizens. They have now threatened to kidnap Monica if her father does not give in to their demands.

Mark and his partner Evan Cooper(Coop) are sent to protect Monica. They are part of the FBI's HRT(Hostage Rescue Team). Monica thinks that everyone is overreacting and refuses to go to a safe house. She agrees to let Mark and Coop protect her in her home, but doesn't see the need to disappear. Unfortunately these terrorists are serious about their need for revenge on both her father and on the United States.

Coop and Monica have an instant attraction towards each other. Coop is a man of few words though. Monica has written a book entitled "Talk the Walk" stating that words are necessary in relationships.  Monica has a faith in God that Coop does not understand or think is logical. But he is soon to learn that faith may be all that he can trust in when Monica's life is thrown into even more danger.

I liked the action of this book. The story was suspenseful and entertaining. I thought that the issues of faith were portrayed very weakly though. I appreciate a spine-tingling story without all of the cursing and sex that you find in mainstream fiction. I look forward to reading Irene Hannon's next two books in this Heroes of Quantico series.

Monday, January 17, 2011

The Street Lawyer by John Grisham

Another hit for John Grisham. I hope that he never goes the route of co-authoring with someone like so many of these authors are doing. So far I have enjoyed every one of Grisham's books.

The Street Lawyer starts off with a gunman holding a group of lawyers hostage in a conference room. From the very beginning this book is a page-turner! The gunman known as "Mister" is a homeless man who is disgruntled at the law firm for evicting him from an abandoned warehouse. Michael Brock is one of those being held. He is 32 years old and on the fast-track to becoming partner in the firm. Shook up over the ordeal and its outcome Michael searches for answers to what resources the homeless have in the Washington DC area.

With lots of twists and turns John Grisham takes us from the streets to the courtroom. A very interesting read!

Saturday, January 15, 2011

Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls by Steve Hockensmith(Kindle)

Dawn of the Dreadfuls takes us to how the Bennett girls became warriors protecting themselves and others against the onslaught of the "unmentionables".

When zombies start arriving in their village Mr. Bennett immediately cleans out his old dojo that Mrs. Bennett has been using for a greenhouse. Soon after the new "Master" of the dojo arrives to teach the girls how to combat the unmentionables. The girls soon become social outcasts for their unseemly ways, but Mr. Bennett insists that they continue learning the art of combating the undead.

Mrs. Bennett is devastated when the girls are uninvited to the ball that was to be Lizzie's "coming out". But there are more pressing matters to worry about with more and more dreadfuls arriving.

When the ultimate battle of humans and dreadfuls arrives who will be the last ones standing? Is there any hope for Lizzie and the rest of the Bennett family?

I loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies so was very much looking forward to reading P&P&Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls. It did not disappoint me. I enjoyed it very much. While I didn't think it was as humorous as P&P& Zombies, it still had its humorous moments and it was very entertaining. There is a third installment to this series coming out soon entitled: Pride & Prejudice & Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After that I am looking forward to reading.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

The Unknown Ajax by Georgette Heyer

 A friend gave me this book a while back and I just now got to it. I think Georgette Heyer is an author that I have missed over the years! I now have to remedy that and get some more of her books! While Jane Austen is still my favorite author in literature I found Georgette Heyer's characters witty and amusing just like Austen's characters. If you like to read Historical Romance then this author is one you must check out!

A little bit of romance, a little bit of mystery and a little bit of hijinks make for a very entertaining read.

Monday, January 10, 2011

The Knife Of Never Letting Go by Patrick Ness(Kindle)

Imagine that you can hear what every person and creature around you is thinking. This is what Todd and the men of his village have to deal with every day. They call it Noise. It is constantly buzzing in Todd's mind. The random thoughts of men, their evil thoughts, their desires, all out there for everyone to hear.

One day while in the swamp with his dog Manchee Todd senses another person there. He can't hear their noise though. It freaks him out. When he tells his caretakers Ben and Cillian they panic and pack him up to send him away. The town hear though and come to get Todd and the person that they can't hear the noise from. While escaping Todd runs into that person~a girl. She won't speak to him. Todd has to rescue her from Aaron the "preacher" from the town. Aaron tries to stop Todd and the girl from escaping. While struggling he falls into the swamp and is attacked by crocodile's. Thinking this is the end of Aaron, Todd and the girl take off for the next settlement.

After days of travel the girl finally is able to talk. Viola and her family crash landed in their space ship. Her parents died. They were a scouting trip to this new world. Viola is trying to get to a place where she can notify the rest of her people coming to settle on the new world. Once they reach the first settlement they find that an army is chasing them. This starts a race of survival hoping to reach the biggest settlement of all before the army catches up with them.

The Knife of Never Letting Go kept me on the edge of my seat! I kept hoping for Todd and Viola to win. I fell in love with Todd's dog Manchee. I wanted everything to end well...It didn't. I now have to get The Ask and the Answer that hopefully picks up where The Knife of Never Letting Go ended. A couple of things that I didn't like were the language and the constant one-thing-after-another that kept happening. It got old after a while. I will have to take a break before I start the next one because I need something a little lighter.

Monday, January 3, 2011

Trixie Belden Series by Kathryn Kenny #1-39

I finally finished the series! I loved these books when I was a kid and I still enjoy them today. I have to admit though that the last ones were not that interesting. I bought the majority of these books with babysitting money. I found some at garage sales and some at the local auction, but the majority of them I sent away to the publishers for. I think the last one published was in 1984. The first one was published in the 1940's. They brought back some of the series a few years ago, but they weren't big sellers so they only printed 15. I was disappointed because I was hoping to collect another set so that both of my daughters could have a set. But after reading the newer ones where they attempted to bring the terminology up to date I was glad they didn't re-publish the rest.

These are my top 5 favorites from the series:

Numbers 1 and 2

The Mystery of the Mansion and The Red Trailer Mystery

In the first book Trixie meets Honey. They befriend run-away Jim Frayne. In book two the girls go with Honey's Governess Miss Trask to find Jim Frayne who has run away from his cruel step-father.

Book number 9, The Happy Valley Mystery. The Bob-Whites go to the Belden's Uncle Andrews farm in Iowa. There they solve the mystery of his disappearing of my favorites because at the end of this book Jim give Trixie his ID bracelet. I always was a sucker for a little bit of romance with my mysteries!

Book number 13, The Mystery On Cobett's Island. The Bob-Whites meet Peter on Cobett's Island. They learn to sail, help Peter's mom put on a tea benefitting the local library and solve an old mystery that helps a young widow and her son.

Book number 25, The Sasquatch Mystery. The Bob-Whites go to Idaho on a camping trip with the Belden's cousins in Idaho. There they are introduced to the local legend of the Sasquatch. Is there really such a thing or is someone trying to scare the Bob-Whites away from their camp? Very fun!

This is the cover to book 1 in the re-released books. They printed 15 books of the series. Very nice covers. I was very disappointed though in the way the publishers chose to re-word some of the old terms used in the originals. They said that it was for clarity, but I think it muddied up the clarity and aged them even more. One that stuck out to me was that in the original series the Bob-Whites teasingly referred to Trixie and Honey as Schoolgirl Shamuses. In the newer versions they changed that and called them "Moll-Dicks" I had to look that up! A Moll is a female companion to a gangster and of course Dick is a slang for private-eye. Nobody talks like that these days so how the publisher thought that that was updating the books is beyond me. It took away from the original and made this favorite series hard for modern day kids to understand. That's my rant on that!

I enjoyed revisiting my childhood favorite series. I read the series to my oldest daughter when she was about 8 or 9 and I'm looking forward to reading them to my grand-daughter.

Sunday, January 2, 2011

2010 in review

The stats helper monkeys at mulled over how this blog did in 2010, and here's a high level summary of its overall blog health:

Healthy blog!

The Blog-Health-o-Meter™ reads Wow.

Crunchy numbers

Featured image

A Boeing 747-400 passenger jet can hold 416 passengers. This blog was viewed about 4,900 times in 2010. That's about 12 full 747s.

In 2010, there were 128 new posts, growing the total archive of this blog to 145 posts. There were 193 pictures uploaded, taking up a total of 18mb. That's about 4 pictures per week.

The busiest day of the year was September 2nd with 64 views. The most popular post that day was Secret of the Shroud by Pamela Binnings Ewen.

Where did they come from?

The top referring sites in 2010 were,,,, and

Some visitors came searching, mostly for candor, linger by maggie stiefvater spoilers, linger maggie stiefvater spoilers, linger by maggie stiefvater, and finally by wendy mass.

Attractions in 2010

These are the posts and pages that got the most views in 2010.

Secret of the Shroud by Pamela Binnings Ewen August 2010
1 comment and 2 Likes on

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater April 2010

Candor by Pam Bachorz January 2010

Dear Pen Pal by Heather Vogel Frederick January 2010

Holiday Break Reading Activity # 12 December 2009
1 comment

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #17

Today's challenge is to put our reading list for 2010 into a collage. Here is my attempt:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Holiday Break Reading Challenge #16

Goals for 2011:

Today we are supposed to post our reading goals and blogging goals for 2011. I pretty much only have one goal in this area and that is to read more books. It seems that each year I get stuck at or around 100 books(a few more usually) and I would like to read more than that. So there you have it. As for blogging, I'm definitely an amateur so continuing to develop that skill would be nice too. I love looking at other people's blogs, I find that other people are way more talented and creative in that area than I am. So, Happy New Year everyone, may it be a blessed year! Happy Reading!!!