Tuesday, September 30, 2008

Love The One You're With by Emily Giffin

"But maybe that's what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way. And maybe making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love than never having a choice to make at all."

Thank God that passage was in there, because I'm telling you what, there were times I was ready to pick up this book and chuck it across the room. Let me back up. I take marriage extremely seriously. I take my vows very seriously and I do what I can to protect and nourish my marriage even if it means taking some drastic steps in some cases.

But this story was about coming across that one guy, that first love, after you had married someone else. And let me tell ya, I get it, I really do. What would you think, what would you do if you saw him? Everyone might handle the situation differently. But when you realize you have a really good thing, a wonderful man, just like Ellen knows from the beginning she has in her husband Andy, why on earth would you continually flirt with fire?

It would have been a lot easier story for me to digest if Andy was a total jerk, abusive, maybe had left her, or cheated on her...something to justify what she was doing. But here you have a great and attentive husband and she's off sneaking around...ok, I've got to stop or I'll give too much away. The book itself was well written and it definitely kept my attention, but I was just extremely frustrated with the story line itself.

I'm not deterred from reading Emily Giffin again, I've heard from friends that her other books are wonderful. But every once in a while, you come across that one book that hits a nerve and this one hit mine. If your a fan of Emily Giffin, by no means let my opinion keep you from reading it...after all, its just my opinion.

The New York Times bestselling author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof delivers another captivating novel about women and the choices that define them. This is the story for anyone who has ever wondered: How can I truly love the one I’m with when I can’t forget the one who got away?

Ellen and Andy’s first year of marriage doesn’t just seem perfect, it is perfect. There is no question how deep their devotion is, and how naturally they bring out the best in each other. But one fateful afternoon, Ellen runs into Leo for the first time in eight years. Leo, the one who brought out the worst in her. Leo, the one who left her heartbroken with no explanation. Leo, the one she could never quite forget. When his reappearance ignites long-dormant emotions, Ellen begins to question whether the life she’s living is the one she’s meant to live. Love the One You’re With is a powerful story about one woman at the crossroads of true love and real life.

See what others had to say about "Love The One You're With":

Book Club Classics
Girls Just Reading
A Girl Walks Into A Bookstore

Rating: ***

Recommend: meh, you wouldn't be missing out terribly if you didn't read it.

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Yes! I'm It!

Trish over at Hey Lady! Watcha Readin? tagged me for a meme on 6 Weird Things About Me!

Hey, don't everybody chime in at once now! I KNOW I'm a bit weird.

Before I get up close and personal with y'all, here's the rules:
1. Link to the person who tagged you
2. Post the rules on your blog
3. Write 6 random things/unspectacular quirks about yourself
4. Tag 6 people at the end of your post and link to them
5. Let each person you have tagged know by leaving a comment on their blog
6. Let the tagger know when your entry is posted.

Ok, time to get personal folks.

1. I pass out with eye stuff. Ever seen the episode of Friends where Rachel goes to the eye doctor....Yea, that's me. I don't know why it happens but if you touch YOUR own eyeballs, put drops in YOUR own eyes, take out YOUR contacts, I'm down for the count. I'm not as bad with my own eyes, but still can't put drops in my eyes without passing out. Weird, I know.

2. I have co-dependency issues with water bottles. There are currently six filled water bottles in my passenger seat and about 15 in my backseat. And don't touch them. I have no idea why, but I like them right where they are at.

3. There is a bubble in my nose. I'm being for real. If you gently squeeze the tip of my nose, you can feel it cave in and pop out. I haven't really met anyone else with this weird phenomenon, I guess I'm just blessed.

4. I wiggle when I'm eating something yummy without realizing it. My husband says he's never seen someone get so excited over food. Not like "yeah, I'm looking forward to Chinese food tonight", but more like doing a happy dance in the car and parking lot of my favorite donut shop. That's not so weird is it?

picture from here.

Take this picture for example, is it raising anyone else's blood pressure like it is mine right now?? Oh baby.

5. OK, so slightly less weird, but still probably not the typical norm - I don't like wearing skirts or dresses. I've come a long way from wearing jeans and grey hooded sweatshirts to work all the time. Now I actually MAKE myself put on a pair of heels and a skirt to work, but I feel so out of my comfort zone. I've worked at my job for 2 years now and after working there for a year and finally wearing a skirt, I'm not kidding.... EVERYBODY said something about it. "What? Kim in a skirt?!" Dude, I'm trying.

6. Ok, something random and a bit strange that not many people know. I've actually eaten quite a bit of dog food as a little kid. I still remember what it tastes like, it really wasn't all that bad.

picture from here.

How's that for laying it all bare?

Ok, so on to my tagging!

Lit Chick
Hope is an anchor
Archives of our Lives
2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews
The Magic Lasso

If you've already done the meme or its just not your thing, then no worries I'm just passin it on!

Thursday, September 25, 2008

Get Out!

(And that is meant to be said with your best valley-girl impression, because... *sigh*... well, we all have our flaws.)

Jason: "I have tonight off from work"

Me: "GET OUT!"

My sister: "You should have heard the way I told my boss off "

Me: "GET OUT!"

you get the idea....

So when I saw that my humble little book blog was granted with this lovely award, by Stephanie of Written Word, I instantly squeaked out "GET OUT!".

OK, so I'm a little excited about it and had to share my fun news with everyone. Stephanie, you completely rock and I admire you in many ways. I'm glad your surgery went well and I hope you continue to get better!

And keeping true to the spirit of blog awards, here are my shout-outs highlighting other blogs I truly love!

Book Escape

Books on the Brain

Booking Mama

Maw Books Blog


The Written Word

Lit Chick

Hey Lady! Whatcha Readin?

S. Krishna Books

The Friendly Book Nook

Seriously, they're all great blogs and great individuals too, so check them out! Because of these lovely folks, in the last few months I've had a renewed passion for reading!

Friday, September 19, 2008

Some gas would do us all some good!

1. There is no need to freak out about the gas shortage!

2. Where in the heck did the gas go?

3. Sitting in line at lunch waiting to fill my tank up is all I managed to do.

4. Prospects for finding alternative transportation is in the works.

5. Not enough gas in the whole state of Tennessee is the message.

6. Simplicity and tranquility are absent at the present moment, folks are downright freaking out.

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I’m looking forward to my husband finding some gas without being harmed by a desperate thug or redneck, tomorrow my plans include picking my mother-in-law up from the airport and Sunday, I want to relax with the fam over BBQ pork sandwiches and baseball! (I ran out of gas on those last two blanks - haa haa! Pun intended!)

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Reading and Relaxation

My hubby Jason captured a couple fun reading shots from this last weekend at the Columbine Bed & Breakfast in Louisville, Kentucky. We had a great time relaxing and then attending an 8 hour concert in Indianapolis!

I thought I'd post the pictures for fun, but if your interested in seeing more from the trip, check out my personal blog here.

Tuesday, September 16, 2008

The Knitting Circle by Ann Hood

I confess I'm a closet crafter (say that three times fast!). At 30 years old, I get a bit embarrassed confessing that I really do enjoy spending my evenings at home with either my nose in a good book or up to my elbows in embroidery thread cross-stitching. There's a reason my sisters call me "Grandma Scribbles". I'm a cross between a hip-hop lovin diva and an old soul ;-)

So with all that out in the open, you now know why a book about a knitting circle of friends sounded so appealing to me. As a matter of fact after reading The Knitting Circle, I wouldn't hesitate for a minute to join a knitting circle if I knew of one.

The women in this story come from all different backgrounds and trials in their lives. But what I really appreciated was that as difficult of situations these women were living through, they found a way to persevere. It wasn't depressing, though it easily could have been, because the author was so great about showing how through the strength of each other as friends they literally could get through anything. It was powerful and inspiring and I really enjoyed this book a lot. Plus I now have this desire to try and pick up knitting again. I would highly recommend this book.

For more reviews on The Knitting Circle, you can click on the links below:

Book Club Classics
Books on the Brain
Booking Mama

Description: After the sudden loss of her only child, Stella, Mary Baxter joins a knitting circle in Providence, Rhode Island, as a way to fill the empty hours and lonely days, not knowing that it will change her life. Alice, Scarlet, Lulu, Beth, Harriet, and Ellen welcome Mary into their circle despite her reluctance to open her heart to them. Each woman teaches Mary a new knitting technique, and, as they do, they reveal to her their own personal stories of loss, love, and hope. Eventually, through the hours they spend knitting and talking together, Mary is finally able to tell her own story of grief, and in so doing reclaims her love for her husband, faces the hard truths about her relationship with her mother, and finds the spark of life again. By an "engrossing storyteller," this new novel once again "works its magic" (Sue Monk Kidd).

Rating: ****

Recommend: for sure, but you do need to keep an open mind.

Monday, September 15, 2008

Who Doesn't Like Free??!!

Lots of fun giveaways are taking place as part of the festivities of BBAW at My Friend Amy. Just check out what you can win through this week of September 15-19!!

Daily Raffles:
Monday--Books and Chocolate sponsored by My Friend Amy and Hey Lady! Whatcha' Readin?
Tuesday--Books and Going Green sponsored by My Friend Amy
Wednesday--Books and Coffee sponsored by My Friend Amy
Thursday--Books and Charity sponsored by My Friend Amy and Fashionista Piranha
Friday--Books and Movies sponsored by My Friend Amy.

Win a Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit!
Do you find it's your turn to host book club and not only do you not know what to serve but you don't know what books to offer up for the next month's selection?! Let Book Club Girl come to your rescue with the Book Club Girl Hostess Survival Kit.

One lucky winner of the kit will receive:

* A basket of cheese, crackers, cookies and wine for up to 12 people
* 5 great book group books to vote on for your group's next pick. And Book Club Girl will then donate 12 copies whichever book is chosen for your entire group to read.
* 12 Book Club Girl mousepads to give out as party favors that night
* 12 Book Club Girl bookmarks to mark everyone's favorite passages
* 12 Book Club Girl coasters to protect your coffee table from all those wine glasses!

TWO SORMAG Goody Bags containing books and more!

A Special Pamper Me Basket from Cafe of Dreams!
From Avon Foot Works
~ Inflatable watermelon shaped foot tub
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Cooling Foot Lotion
~ 3.4 FL oz Watermelon Exfoliating Foot Scrub
~ 12 count Watermelon Effervescent Foot Tablets
~ An ARC of So Long At The Fair by Christina Schwarz
~ A variety of Hot Chocolate and Tea mixes

A pre-made blog template from SNSDesign!

A Subscription to Poetry Magazine from Savvy Verse and Wit!

Mistress of the Revolution by Catherine Delors
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen
The Spanish Bow by Andromeda Romano-Lax
John's Quest by Cecelia Dowdy
Confessions of a Contractor by Richard Murphy
Acedia & Me by Kathleen Norris
The Wordy Shipmates by Sarah Vowell
The Lucky One by Nicholas Sparks
The Book of Lies by Brad Meltzer
Supreme Courtship by Christopher Buckley
A Tale Out of Luck by Willie Nelson with Mike Blakely
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
When Will There Be Good News by Kate Atkinson
An Exact Replica of a Figment of My Imagination by Elizabeth McCracken
Exit Music by Ian Rankin
The Smart One and the Pretty One by Claire LaZebnik
Gunmetal Black by Daniel Serran
Isolation by Travis Thrasher
The Miracle Girls by Anne Dayton and May Vanderbilt
Every Freaking! Day With Rachell Ray by Elizabeth Hilts
Dewey by Vicki Myron
The Shiniest Jewel by Marian Henley
Keep the Faith by Faith Evans
The Book of Calamities by Peter Trachtenberg
A is for Atticus by Lorilee Craker
After the Fire by Robin Gaby Fisher
Mike's Election Guide by Michael Moore
War as They Knew It by Michael Rosenberg
Fixing Hell By Col. (ret.) Larry C. James
Wild Boy: My Life with Duran Duran by Andy Taylor
The Last Under-Cover: The True Story of an FBI Agent's Dangerous Dance with Evil By Bob Hamer
Border Lass by Amanda Scott
Insatiable Desire by Rita Heron
Hungry for More by Diana Holquist
Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
Trespassers Will Be Baptized by Elizabeth Emerson Hancock
He Loves Me, He Loves Me Not by Trish Ryan
Never Surrender by General Jerry Boykin
Dream in Color by Congresswoman Linda Sánchez, Congresswoman Loretta Sánchez
Beyond Belief by Josh Hamilton
Cobain Unseen by Charles R. Cross
Doing Business in 21st Century India by Gunjan Bagla
Branding Only Works on Cattle by Jonathan Salem Baskin
Launching a Leadership Revolution by Chris Brady, Orrin Woodward
How to Hear from God by Joyce Meyer
Knowing Right from Wrong by Thomas D. Williams
Pope John Paul II: An Intimate Life by Caroline Pigozzi
Pure by Rebecca St. James
He Loves Me! by Wayne Jacobson
So You Don't Want to Go to Church Anymore by Wayne Jacobson and Dave Coleman
Move On, Move Up by Paula White
The Rosary by Gary Jansen
Shoot the Moon by Billie Letts
The Choice by Nicholas Sparks
Right Livelihoods by Rick Moody
by George by Wesley Stace
The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
Trunk Music by Michael Connelly
Hollywood Crows by Joseph Wambaugh
Dead Boys by Richard Lange
The Gifted Gabaldon Sisters by Lorraine Lopez
Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn
Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky
With Endless Sight by Allison Pittman
Harlequin Titles: To Be Announced.

Many other blogs are giving away books and prizes for BBAW as well! You can see the links to all of these giveaways here.

2-4-6-8 Who Do I Appreciate??!!

A while back I mentioned that I would be participating in the BBAW or Book Blogger Appreciation Week - and well, that's this week!

My obsession with books has largely grown recently due to the book blogs that I read religiously and I trust these women's reviews much more than a review in a magazine, article or publication. So without further ado - here's my list of some of my favorite book bloggers who I find myself constantly adding to my TBR pile because of their fabulous book reviews and often similar tastes!:

When you get a second, you should really check them out!!

Monday, September 8, 2008

The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen

I had seen a number of reviews on various book blogs that I read and still wasn't fully convinced that I might enjoy this book. But after seeing it available at the library and realizing it really wasn't all that large of a book, I figured I might as well take it home and try it out.

The fact alone that the main character Josey has a serious sweet-tooth, had me tied into the story. And I loved how the author named each chapter after a different kind of candy. I could easily see this book made into a great movie with someone like Amanda Bynes playing Josie - quirky, yet cute and fun.

I was very pleasantly surprised and fully enjoyed this magical and even whimsical story. It wasn't so far-fetched that it would be considered fantasy, and it was just the right amount of pixie dust scattered through out the pages that made it absolutely enchanting and endearing. I loved Sarah Addison Allen's style of writing and I'm very much looking forward to her other book Garden Spells, which she wrote before this one.

For more reviews on The Sugar Queen, you can click on the following book blog links:
Love To Read
Fizzy Thoughts
Books on the Brain
Girls Just Reading

Description: In this irresistible follow-up to her New York Times bestselling debut, Garden Spells, author Sarah Addison Allen tells the tale of a young woman whose family secrets—and secret passions—are about to change her life forever.

Twenty-seven-year-old Josey Cirrini is sure of three things: winter in her North Carolina hometown is her favorite season, she’s a sorry excuse for a Southern belle, and sweets are best eaten in the privacy of her hidden closet. For while Josey has settled into an uneventful life in her mother’s house, her one consolation is the stockpile of sugary treats and paperback romances she escapes to each night…. Until she finds it harboring none other than local waitress Della Lee Baker, a tough-talking, tenderhearted woman who is one part nemesis—and two parts fairy godmother…

Fleeing a life of bad luck and big mistakes, Della Lee has decided Josey’s clandestine closet is the safest place to crash. In return she’s going to change Josey’s life—because, clearly, it is not the closet of a happy woman. With Della Lee’s tough love, Josey is soon forgoing pecan rolls and caramels, tapping into her startlingly keen feminine instincts, and finding her narrow existence quickly expanding.

Before long, Josey bonds with Chloe Finley, a young woman who makes the best sandwiches in town, is hounded by books that inexplicably appear whenever she needs them, and—most amazing of all—has a close connection to Josey’s longtime crush.

As little by little Josey dares to step outside herself, she discovers a world where the color red has astonishing power, passion can make eggs fry in their cartons, and romance can blossom at any time—even for her. It seems that Della Lee’s work is done, and it’s time for her to move on. But the truth about where she’s going, why she showed up in the first place—and what Chloe has to do with it all—is about to add one more unexpected chapter to Josey’s fast-changing life.

Brimming with warmth, wit, and a sprinkling of magic, here is a spellbinding tale of friendship, love—and the enchanting possibilities of every new day.

Rating: ****


Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Sister's Choice by Emilie Richards

At 544 pages, I was a little leery that this book might drag out too long for my liking, but in the end I felt as though it was just perfect. Emilie Richards does an amazing job of weaving together a story that both addresses the current issues of today and capturing the history and struggle of years past. I loved the multiple story lines which kept me engaged from chapter to chapter.

Apparently, this is only one of the five books in the Shenandoah Album series though they don't follow each other in any particular order. And after a great experience with Sister's Choice, I'll for sure be picking up one of the others in the series.

One more aspect that I fully enjoyed, that may not be suited to everyone's taste, is that there are many references to quilting throughout the story. I have just begun to get more interested in this craft and really hope to learn more about it, but if that type of thing bores you, this may not be what your looking for.

In the end I would describe this book as a cozy read with an emphasis on family relationships. Definitely worth the read!

Description: With nine years and a turbulent childhood between them, Kendra and Jamie have never been storybook sisters. After a long estrangement, they've finally begun to heal their hurts and forge a new bond.

Now Jamie is offering a gift Kendra has long since given up hoping for, the fondest wish of her heart—a baby. Already raising two young girls on her own, Jamie wants to become a gestational surrogate for Kendra and her husband, Isaac, giving birth to a child the husband and wife have created together. Despite some lingering misgivings about her once-wayward younger sister's commitment, Kendra agrees, and soon Jamie is pregnant.

In addition to this amazing gift of life, Jamie has designed a new house for Kendra and Isaac and is overseeing its construction on Isaac's ancestral property along the Shenandoah River, with the help of Cash Rosslyn, one of the most attractive men Jamie has known. By giving her sister both a home and a family, Jamie hopes to prove to Kendra that she deserves absolution for her past mistakes. But when a medical crisis threatens her health and her promising new relationship with Cash, Jamie learns that the most difficult choice in her life is yet to come—and its cost may be beyond calculation.

Rating: ****

Recommend: for those who enjoy historical fiction and a well thought out story.