Monday, December 17, 2012

The Doctor's Lady

The Doctor's LadyThe Doctor's Lady by Jody Hedlund
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I thoroughly enjoyed the story and was tickled to read this book was loosely based on the travels of the the Whitman's, a married missionary couple heading west in 1836. The route they took would later become the Oregon Trail. The historical portrayal was very interesting but the authors fictional spin was great!

My first Jody Hedlund book...but not the last.

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Wednesday, December 12, 2012

The Secret Keeper

The Secret KeeperThe Secret Keeper by Kate Morton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


How can I describe this book?? There was so much to it. I was gripped by every word from start to finish. I took my time reading it so I wouldn't miss anything, no skimming whatsoever! I had to flit around in the book and reread parts as the story, the history, the characters, as all the puzzle pieces started to come together. There were a lot of oooohhh! and ah-ha! moments.

Kate Morton is a master story-teller. It's a maze of events spanning from 1928 Australia to 2011 England. It's how friends, children, lovers, and acquaintances lives are affected from the horror of the World War II blitz on England. There is tragedy, there is love, there is confusion, betrayal, and mystery. And of course, secrets that were never meant to be told.

I had the puzzle pieces more or less put together before the big revelation but still, it was in no less of a great and pleasing surprise. It was funny, as I realized what might have happened, I had to put the book down...I had goosebumps! Soooo good!

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Friday, November 30, 2012

The Inn at Angel Island

The Inn at Angel IslandThe Inn at Angel Island by Thomas Kinkade
My rating: 2 of 5 stars

By the ratings, I thought this would be a nice, pleasant, easy read. It was easy all right, but not pleasant. It was so incredibly boring. So simple, so mindless and was written at what felt like a second grade level. The dialogue was shallow and lacked effort or meaning, utterly uninspiring.

I am in no way dissing this because it's Christian, I read a fair amount of Christian fiction, but never anything this dull. And that's the thing, Christian fiction doesn't have to be a wet blanket, just read any MaryLu Tyndall book!

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Tuesday, November 13, 2012

The Reliance

The RelianceThe Reliance by M.L. Tyndall
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Oh, just another fantastic MaryLu Tyndall read! Her books are so exciting and deal with Christ in such a realistic way. This book points out that even as Christians, we can fall from our ways but we can always be forgiven when we repent and truly mean it. God is wonderful and will forgive us our transgressions. Amazing.

Captain Edmund Merrick and his wife, Charlisse are quickly separated in this book when the town they are visiting is raided by pirates. Edmund thinks his wife has died in an explosion and is completely devastated. He blames God and turns from Him and starts to turn to his old sinful ways from before he accepted Christ. But God isn't so easily willing to let Edmund turn Him away.

Meanwhile, Charlisse must face that fact that her husband may never find her since he believes her dead. She is in fact imprisoned on a pirate ship along with Lady Isabel Ashton. The two become quick friends in their struggles and make a plan to escape the evil clutches of Captain Carlton. Captain Carlton is infatuated with Isabel and provides her many comforts but he cannot seem to win her affections.

When Charlisse and Isabel are able to escape, they face a reality that life may not be the same as when they were first kidnapped. Charlisse dresses up as a pirate to head into town where she thinks her husband may be. She see's what she thinks is her husband’s deviant new ways and tells herself she no longer needs him. While she is witnessing this in town and bears the heart break, Isabel is once again kidnapped by Captain Carlton. After discovering her friend is missing, Charlisse takes command of her husband’s ship with the help of some of her husband’s loyal friends, who are disappointed to see him turn away from his good ways, and embarks on a mission to rescue her new friend again.

Once Edmund discovers his ship missing, he is determined to find his so-called loyal friends and try to figure out how and why a tiny new pirate could take over his ship. It isn't until he comes upon the ship that he discovers who this new pirate is and why this pirate gives him such a steely look of hatred that makes his stomach do flips. Could it be.......

I'll leave it at that. Very good book!!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2012


EdenbrookeEdenbrooke by Julianne Donaldson
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I loved this book. It positively just may be the best historical romance I have ever read. It was such a charming and captivating romance. The book only took place over a week so it was very intimate and delved into lovely conversations and passionate gazes.

The scene with the lesson of a love letter, wow , my cheeks were burning reading that portion. I think it may have been the most romantic thing I have ever read. The whole book is proper and virtuous, so sweet, THE SWEETEST, book I have ever read.

It contained your usual historical romance characters, the dashing hero, the modest and beautiful heroine, a villain, and several other great supporting roles. But this book was better than your average historical romance, it just was, can't really put into enough words why. All I can say is that if you like historical romance, this one is sure to grab your attention from start to finish!

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(This is definitely going to be a contender for a top pick for 2012!)

Monday, November 5, 2012

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another amazing book by Diane Chamberlain. This was a deep, thought provoking, emotional story about a horrible choice of a teenager that led to a death and a series of lies and secrets so horrible they could never be told. But when a body is discovered, the secrets start to unravel, along with the guilty conscience of CeeCee Wilkes. She must make the choice to keep her horrendous past a secret forever or speak out risking the good and upstanding life she has created since that horrendous day over two decades ago. Is she willing to tear her family to shreds by telling what she knows? Can she throw away all the good she has done in her adult life to atone for the life changing mistake she made at 16?

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Monday, October 29, 2012

The Night Circus

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I'm pretty conflicted on how much I liked this book (Three or four stars?). It was beautifully written, no question about it. A very talented author with an incredible imagination! However I think it just comes down to the fact that it wasn't as thrilling as I felt it could be. I think perhaps the ending didn't quite sit right with me either. It seemed like we were taken through so many years and got to know so many characters so well, that I felt a bit let down how it came to an end.

This was a slow read for me. I found I could easily set the book aside when the chapter changed time periods. In a way I appreciated that because I could think on it a little bit, but also a wee bit annoying.

I do like the concept of the book, I liked the magic and use of alchemy, I just wasn't as impressed by the story itself as it appears others were.

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Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The Shoemakers Wife

The Shoemaker's WifeThe Shoemaker's Wife by Adriana Trigiani
My rating: 5 of 5 stars


There was so much to this book and spanned so much time, it was a journey I will not soon forget! Lovely, lovely story.

This beautiful tale starts in the early 1900's in the gorgeous and airy Alps of Italy. Two children, Enza and Ciro, are living a few miles apart but don't meet until a tragic event brings them together ever so briefly at 15 years old. Before this new found crush can come to fruition, Ciro is sent to America to avoid a work camp as an unfair punishment for something he witnessed in a Catholic church. Enza, who did not know why Ciro left or where he went, heads to America too to help her family earn money to build a home back in Italy.

Through a series of chance run-ins in New York City, Enza and Ciro are never in the right place to make a go of the feelings they have for one another. It isn't until what seems the worst time for them to come together that Ciro steps up and risks his heart to claim her heart as his. Is Enza willing to give up the glamour of New York and The Met? Is she willing to risk an unknown life with this great man who claimed her heart so many years ago on the mountain?

Family tragedy, a near death sea voyage, a war, these two struggle through good times and bad to find what love really is.

I found myself reading this entire book with an Italian accent in my head. Ha ha! The writing was so beautiful and descriptive and I had no problems whatsoever picturing the mountains, The Met, and all the characters clearly in my mind.

An absolutely amazing, brilliant, heartwarming love story that will surely become a classic.

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Tuesday, October 9, 2012

The Fault In Our Stars

The Fault in Our StarsThe Fault in Our Stars by John Green
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I wouldn't call my review a spoiler, but it is such that once you start reading this book, you may catch wind of what I refer to below and figure it out. If you elect to read this book and want to be blissfully ignorant of it's content, then read no more. BUT! Feel free to come back after you're done. :)

Holy crap. Oh my gosh. My emotions were going haywire reading this book. I think anyone reading this review must know by now that it's sad. Incredibly sad. I should have seen it coming but I didn't therefore on a Friday night as I finished the book laying in bed, I had to change my pillow case because I cried so much. Thank heavens my husband was working so he didn't have to see what a blubbering fool I was. To offset that sadness there was humor unlike anything I've read before. The ease these kids felt in giving each other crap about cancer was eerily refreshing knowing that they were being eaten from the inside out. If only everyone could have a sense of humor like this!

I don't like to read reviews before I read a book. I'm so glad I didn't with this book especially. I like to be surprised for most of the books I read and this book did not fail in the "SURPRISE" department.

I loved the banter between Hazel and Augustus. Yes, I had my dictionary app at the ready because they use long wordy words but it only added that much more to the story. They were two kids who have gone through hell, lost a part of their lives, and had to rely on their parents and other cancer kids to mentally survive.

The emotional highs and lows did not cease until the end of the story. It took a hold of my emotions and wouldn't let go and I'm still struggling to free myself. But I loved it. I absolutely loved this book.

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Monday, October 1, 2012

Monday, September 17, 2012

Dream Lake (Friday Harbor #3)

Dream Lake (Friday Harbor, #3)Dream Lake by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I think this was my favorite of the series. At first the whole different point of view from the ghost threw me off and I wasn't sure I was going to like it. The first book in the Friday Harbor series didn't have any magic/fantasy/paranormal subject matter to it, but the second and third did. Normally adding that kind of element to a series is a turn off, but somehow LK makes it work! I got used to the paranormal element and ended up thinking it was a perfect addition to the book.

I'm not so sure about the fourth book now. Dang, if it weren't Lisa Kleypas I might look the other way when it's released, but I know I can't. I'll have to read it! Just not sure how into witches and spells I'm going to be. I was pleasantly surprised with Dream Lake though...

LK went from historical fiction to contemporary, is she leading us to believe she's going to go full on paranormal soon? Like vampires and werewolves next? I kind of hope not.

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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Night Road

Night RoadNight Road by Kristin Hannah
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The best book I've ever read.

I have never felt such an array of emotions reading a book. It was so incredibly powerful, so touching, so incredibly harrowing. It reached some of the deepest rooted fears a mother could have have yet gives you hope. Any mother who reads this book would have to be touched by this story. Why? Because it could happen. It really could happen.

I read someone's review who said they couldn't put it down. Yes, I struggled to put it down, but I also struggled to pick it back up. Not because it was bad, it was fantastic , but I needed to be in the right frame of mind and I needed to be alone. I finally was able to finish it last night and once I started the last quarter of the book, there was no way in hell I could put it back down. I had to finish it and to find closure to the story.

I could write a synopsis of the book but it would end up being an essay and I would spoil it for anyone who hasn't read it yet. I could write a whole book about this book! I feel like I need therapy now! Okay, not really, but I'm not likely to ever forgot this book. It's something that I will think about as my currently 7 and 12 year old children go through their teen years.

I told a friend, if this wasn't a Kristin Hannah novel, I wouldn't have faith in the outcome. But I absolutely love Kristin Hannah and she did not fail her readers. She wrote the most thought provoking novel a mother could write. I imagine she must have shed some tears herself writing this book.

Bravo Kristin Hannah. You are amazing and so incredibly talented beyond any measure I could compare you to. I don't know how you compose these amazing novels over and over but please do not stop!

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Friday, September 7, 2012

Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor #2)

Rainshadow Road (Friday Harbor, #2)Rainshadow Road by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

The second in the Friday Harbor series focusing on middle brother, Sam Nolan. The geek of the family, a vintner, and serial dater who won't commit to any woman. Or will he? Once he's cornered into taking care of Lucy Marrin after an accident, he's forced to deal with some overwhelming feelings he has and Lucy isn't ready to commit to anyone either. And certainly not after she was dumped by her live-in boyfriend who cheated on her with her own sister!

A man who vows to never commit to a woman and the woman he has to take care who is exceedingly vulnerable both physically and mentally... gee, I wonder what could happen. I didn't like it as much as the first book, still, it's a cute story and I enjoyed it!

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Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor

Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor (Friday Harbor, #1)Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very fast read, finished in one day, really enjoyed it though. Cute, sweet, story of a widow, Maggie Conroy, falling for a man, Mark Nolan, who recently became guardian of his deceased sister's daughter. Mark knows he's ready for the relationship, to have a wife and a mother for his niece and he knows he's found that perfect woman in Maggie. Maggie isn't quite ready, she's feels she can't do a relationship after watching her deceased husband die of cancer. Mark isn't going to let her go so easily and slowly and carefully lets her know he's not going anywhere, he will wait for her.

So stinkin' cute!

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I've Got Your Number

I've Got Your NumberI've Got Your Number by Sophie Kinsella
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

OMG, this was SO cute! This is only the second Sophia Kinsella book I've read...actually, scratch that, technically it's the first. I listened to The Undomestic Goddess after I had eye surgery and I absolutely loved that book, laugh out loud funny, especially by the narrator, hilarious.

Anyway, back to I've Got Your Number, it was a very enjoyable read. I love that Poppy Wyatt backed herself into so many corners and humorously got out of most of them. I cringed numerous times, wanted to reach through the pages and slap people, but mostly I laughed.

Sophia Kinsella is hilarious. Clearly she likes to put her characters through the ringers of morbid situations and are a bit extreme for your average female, but it's absolutely delightful to read.

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Love Will Find You in Snowball, Arkansas

Love Finds You in Snowball, ArkansasLove Finds You in Snowball, Arkansas by Sandra D. Bricker
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This was cute yet very predictable. The main character was a bit shallow but adorable. Quick, easy read.

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Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Rapture (Fallen #4)

Rapture (Fallen, #4)Rapture by Lauren Kate
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I don't what to rate this, 3 or 4. I was both happy and disappointed with it all at the same time. I'm sad to see the end, but it was getting, I don't know, long, I guess. It was pretty obvious what Luce was through most of the series and what was going to tip the scales. I liked the ending though, that was pretty decent...I wouldn't even mind if there was another book with that ending.

I think it's pretty obvious that Cam will be getting a series. Lauren Kate left that wide open. I would read it, I liked him! Speaking of Cam, I was confused by his place towards the end. It didn't seem to fit into this story, but it very well could be that it was meant to be for his story.

I think the whole heaven presentation was...well...different. No one knows exactly what heaven looks like, everyone has their ideas whether it be from the Bible, from fairy tales, whatever, but I'm not sure I wholly liked her depiction. Not bad, just not how I pictured it.

Rating the series on a whole, I'm still confused. I really liked the first two books, felt let down by the third, and felt just "okay" about this last one. I should just let it go, but sometimes it's hard to! :-)

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Wednesday, August 22, 2012

The Great Escape

The Great Escape (Wynette, Texas, #7)The Great Escape by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I like SEP, I've loved some of her other books, but this one just read oddly to me. I hated the nicknames for the two main characters. I didn't like how utterly banana's Lucy Jorik went after she ran away. It was a bit too much and silly. I liked the Bree, Toby, and Mike story. That was a good supporting story. I didn't like how the book ended, not the final ending, but how Lucy got Panda to come see her at her parents house. The interaction with Lucy, Panda and her parents was plain weird.

I think it's great that SEP talked about PTSD, but it didn't really fit well though. It could have been better if it was wound in the story more. Not just in-your-face nah-nah-nah. It's a sensitive topic but I don't think she did it justice. If you want a good story about PTSD, read Home Front by Kristin Hannah. I had a hard time reading that book but she touched on the topic better than SEP did.

So yes, silly, a bit confusing, and drawn out would be my thoughts on this book. And not bad, just not great.

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Monday, August 20, 2012

The Language of Flowers

The Language of FlowersThe Language of Flowers by Vanessa Diffenbaugh
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Loved it! Love, love, loved it!

This book was new and refreshing much like The Help was when it came out. This book also tackled a subject that is a bit on the taboo side. Totally different topics, but it delved into a topic that is not readily or easily discussed...but should be.

Victoria Jones is about to be emancipated from the state on her 18th birthday. She was given up by her mother at birth. Never knew her mother or her father. She struggled in homes and was moved from foster home to foster home. Of course she acted out, she never felt accepted and she certainly wasn't loved by anyone. That is until she was sent to live with Elizabeth.

The story goes back and forth between the past and present.

Elizabeth had demons from her past but was a good fit for Victoria. Yes Victoria fought Elizabeth, but eventually, she came to love Elizabeth and was happy for the first time in her life. And when Elizabeth wanted to adopt her she finally felt like she belonged somewhere. Elizabeth taught Victoria about flowers and what the mean...the language of flowers. It was a great way for Victoria to be able to communicate without having to say something. But Elizabeth's past came to haunt her the day of adoption and they didn't make it to court. Victoria was heartbroken and reacted the only way she knew how. She hurt Elizabeth by breaking her heart back and destroying part of Elizabeth's lively hood. Victoria was taken from Elizabeth and was sent to a group home for girls until her 18th birthday.

Cut back to the present and Victoria is sleeping in the woods until she comes across a florist shop and manages to get a job there. Her knowledge and understanding of flowers is immediately put to good use. While at the flower market, she comes across a young man, Grant, that she doesn't immediately recognize but soon realizes he's from her past. He too is fluent in the language of flowers and they form a strange but close relationship. As close as Victoria can bear.

When something happens that is too much for Victoria to handle, she once again breaks the heart of the one she loves and runs. She feels she's not fit to make Grant happy, she's not the woman he deserves. She runs and struggles to come to grips with her past and her present.

I have to say why I think this book delves into a tough topic, but it is a spoiler. Don't read past this if you want to avoid the spoilers:

(view spoiler)[The subject of abandoned children who never find a loving home and are forced from foster home to foster home is tragic. A child who never knows the love of a parent. A child who acts out and is considered a loss because the he/she is so full of anger and so empty on love. It's heart breaking. When Victoria has her baby you hope against all hope that she can do it. That she can be the mother she never had. But after a couple of weeks, she can't, she gives up. The love she had for her child but the fear that she isn't a good fit because of what she was growing up is heart breaking. To walk away from your baby like she did is something people don't talk about, but it happens. Some babies are lucky enough to be adopted by loving, devoted parents, some are dealt with like yesterday's leftovers. But the ending of this book is beautiful and I loved it. Very happy, realistic ending. (hide spoiler)]

Another reason I totally loved this book is learning about the language of flowers itself. I've never heard of such a thing. Now I can't look at flowers and not wonder what the meaning is. Absolutely fascinating!

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Monday, August 6, 2012

Love Knows No Bounds

Love Knows No BoundsLove Knows No Bounds by Boone Brux
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I had huge gaps of time between reading each of the three stories in this Kindle Edition e-book. Overall I'll give the collection four stars. I'll be brief and rate each story on it's own.

Tweet by Boone Brux: 4 Stars. Cute little paranormal about a naive, shy gal who unknowingly makes a deal with the devil. Only love can break the spell!

Bittersweet by Brooke Moss: 5 Stars. Hot little chick-lit about a good looking chef who is willing to help out a mother's autistic son. Food, hotness, a man good with kids...a winner!

Remember Me by Nina Croft: 3 Stars. A paranormal that reminds me a lot of Fallen but darker and not as good. I get that these are short stories but this one was packed with too much and so went too fast. Not bad, just not great.

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Monday, July 30, 2012

A departure from books for...BAKING!

A first! A post about something I baked. I don't know why I haven't done this before.

Went to a local farming area and bought some peaches and cherries. I wanted to bake a dessert since we're in the horrible habit of not eating fruit fast enough. So I looked for a dessert recipe where I could use either of those fruits. I came across this recipe from It's a peach cobber dump cake. I modified it of course, I always do. Here's my version:

3 - Fresh sliced peaches (skin on)
? - handful of strawberries
1 - box yellow cake mix
? - a few spoonfuls of brown sugar
1/2 cup - butter
? - some cinnamon
? - some sugar

(I totally guess on adding some things, easier than measuring! This is more for my notes when I make again. The link above is the actual recipe I based this off of.)

I put the peaches and strawberries in a pan and with a tiny bit of sugar and less than a quarter cup of water and a few shakes of cinnamon. I put on the heat for ten minutes, setting it to simmer. I could have skipped this, but I didn't know if the peaches would come out hard...note to self...skip this step next time!

I buttered the bottom of a 9x13 pan, poured the peach and strawberry mixture on the bottom.

I put the yellow cake mix in a bowl and but in a few spoonfuls of brown sugar and cold butter and cut the ingredients together with a pastry blender.

I sprinkled/poured the cake mixture over the fruit and then took a few pinches of sugar and sprinkled it on top of the batter along with a little bit of cinnamon.

I baked in the oven for about 28 minutes at 350. Voila - Deliciousness!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Live Wire (Myron Bolitar #10)

Live Wire (Myron Bolitar, #10)Live Wire by Harlan Coben
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I haven't read a Harlan Coben book in a long time. I'm not big into murder mystery but I had remembering liking his books a long while ago.

When I randomly picked up this book from the library I hadn't realized this is a long, ongoing series. There were some incidents that happened in previous books that I had to guess on, but for the most part it was a great stand alone book.

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Thursday, July 19, 2012

Smooth Talking Stranger

Smooth Talking Stranger (Travises, #3)Smooth Talking Stranger by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Really, really good. One of my favorites of LK's. But. Yes, there is a but. But the ending. I hate pretty, wrapped up in a perfect pink bow endings. Too predictable and a stretch in reality. (I'm not going to spoil it.) Would have been a perfect five if it hadn't been for that too perfect ending.

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Tuesday, July 17, 2012

Love, Come to Me

Love, Come to MeLove, Come to Me by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This is one of Lisa Kleypas' first novels, originally published in 1988. While it's an enjoyable enough story, it doesn't have the grab and pull that her newer books have. Lisa said she was in her early 20's when she wrote this book and in some ways you can tell. With this book, the jealously and insecurity one feels in their younger years is apparent. I just found it lay off the dramatics a bit! :)

Even in her early twenties she is an amazing writer, she just was a bit less polished than she is now.

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Monday, July 9, 2012

Blue-Eyed Devil

Blue-Eyed Devil (Travises, #2)Blue-Eyed Devil by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Usually I research books, put them on hold at the library then pick them up. This was a random shelf pick...and I loved it! I think I've read Lisa Kleypas before but it might have been an audio book. I don't know, but this book was so good!

Good like eating a Mint Mint Chocolate Chocolate Chip ice cream creation from Coldstone Creamery on a hot summer day! I could not put this book down until it was finished, like it was going to melt like ice cream if I didn't consume it quick enough.

Normally I am not a fan of contemporary romance, not the case here. Some writers are just so good it doesn't matter what century their story takes place in. I know she writes historical romance too, HELLO! Gotta get me some of them real quick like!

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Friday, July 6, 2012

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)

Pandemonium (Delirium, #2)Pandemonium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Umm, a lot of prose in this book. Sometimes a bit much, but could also be beautiful. Most of it was predictable but I still like how the story was written. I'm absolutely going to forget everything about this book except for the last page so I will definitely have to read this again before the next book is released. I am looking forward to how this series will wrap up, I'm completely stumped as to how the situation could be resolved! The big lingering question now is: WHO? :-)

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Thursday, June 28, 2012

War Dances

War DancesWar Dances by Sherman Alexie

I really liked The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, very cool and the fact that he's a local author gives him bonus points in my book. Well, this book wasn't really my style.

The poetry was kind of cool, but there was a lot of swearing in this book. The short stories just didn't grab my attention like I had hoped. This is one of those books where I really wanted to like it, but I simply did not.

Very talented dude, just not a big fan of this one.

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Friday, June 22, 2012

The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2)

The Calling (Darkness Rising, #2)The Calling by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I pretty much have the same to say about this book as I did the first one except I'm not feeling it as much. Seriously, nearly every creature that has been in a fantasy or paranormal young adult book in the last few years is mentioned in The Calling. Hmm, maybe they haven't mentioned vampires yet, but I would not be surprised if that would pop up in the next book.

I don't mean to discount the authors originality, there certainly is a creative element that stands out from the others that makes me like it. But I will say that when the third book in the trilogy comes out next year, I'm going to be hard pressed to remember the first two clearly.

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Tuesday, June 19, 2012

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)

The Gathering (Darkness Rising, #1)The Gathering by Kelley Armstrong
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's like all of the last few years of fantasy and paranormal young adult books all combined into one. Still liked it though! Certainly left you hanging in the last book. Thankfully I had the second book at the ready. Won't be so lucky with the third since it won't be coming out until 2013.

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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

A Rogue By Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1)

A Rogue By Any Other Name (The Rules of Scoundrels, #1)A Rogue By Any Other Name by Sarah MacLean
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

More like 3.5 stars.

If I had to pick two words that were overused in this book it would be, "more" and "adventure". How many times can you hear a word before it loses it's meaning?

This book had it's good parts, it's predictable parts, and a few eye rolling parts. Overall, it was a good book but I don't know if I will read the next book in the series. I don't often care for books where the female character keeps thinking she is not worthy, she is not beautiful enough, "why me" attitude? It's fine to a degree, but sometimes a book can overplay that weakness in a woman and it takes away from the story as a whole. I've read books who have played that pity-me-violin-tune way more than this book but thought I would point it out anyway.

I would still recommend this as a light read to those who enjoy historical romances.

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Monday, June 11, 2012

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)

Cinder (Lunar Chronicles, #1)Cinder by Marissa Meyer
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Hmmm. Not overly impressed by this book. I'm a big fan of young adult science fiction/dystopia, but this one, I dunno, maybe a little too much cheese factor for me. It was also a little bit predictable which seemed perhaps a little too juvenile. I'm being picky, but I just can't put my finger on exactly why it wasn't a hit with me.

The story follows Cinder, a cyborg (part human, part robot) who lives with her step-mother and step-sisters in New Beijing. Yes, very much like Cinderella except in the future and she likes one of the step-sisters. Anyway, there is a plague that is killing scores of people around the world. In order to find a cure, the government has started a draft for the cyborgs to be guinea pigs to find the cure for the disease. Cinder pushes her step-mother too far and her step-mother volunteers Cinder to be a plague-curing-subject. Cinder of course doesn't want to but when her sister contracts the plague, Cinder realizes it is her duty to help her sister anyway she can.

Cinder discovers many secrets within the empire and that the Lunar queen (yes, as in the moon) wants to marry the emperor so that she can rule the world. Cinder befriends the emperor who does not know of Cinders real identity. He likes her but Cinder knows that this is a match that cannot be made. Meanwhile, many people are searching for the long lost niece of the Lunar queen who is the rightful heir to the Lunar throne but of course the queen wants to find her first and eliminate her. It just all sounds so corny to me. I don't know how better to describe the book, to make it sound more appealing. It is a little cheesy.

This was a book that didn't hold my interest throughout all of it. I could go a day or two without picking it up. But to it's credit, there were also pages that I flew through trying to figure out what was next.

It is good enough that I will read the other books in the series when they come out...but that is along ways away.

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Friday, June 1, 2012

Match Me If You Can

Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6)Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Awesome book! I loved every single one of the characters, all so perfectly written. Annabelle was so cute and quirky but solid. Heath, what a hunk! Bodie, love that he's so secure on the outside but such puppy on the inside. I thought I would dislike Portia, but she's so human I totally dug her. Each character evolved so much in the book. It was great watching each person's quirks fall apart and lead them into discovering who they really were and where they had screwed up.

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Wednesday, May 30, 2012

Empress of the Seven Hills

Empress of the Seven Hills (Rome, #3)Empress of the Seven Hills by Kate Quinn

I couldn't get into it. Maybe I'm just not into the Roman empire or the sleaziness of that era? Maybe because I didn't read the two before this book in the series? Maybe I can't stand trying to pronounce those strange Roman names? Oh well.

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Delirium (Delirium #1)

Delirium (Delirium, #1)Delirium by Lauren Oliver
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Excellent! I'm loving all these dystopian young adult books coming out. This one may lead the pack out of all that I've read this year. There are similarities to other popular YA dystopian books out there, but the major plot stands out on it's own.

Way in the future the government decides that it can cure the disease, amor deliria nervosa, also known simply They figure a simple procedure now deemed safe for 18 year olds, can solve the problems of the world. If there is no love, then there can also be no hate and that is what the government decides is the problem with the world. One simple procedure will make the world a better place.

Lena Halloway is the main character in this book and is 95 days away from her procedure. She is excited to essentially have her feelings removed, to forget her family's past and move on to the mundane but secure life on being cured of the "disease".

There are hold outs, the sympathizers, the Invalids who live in the Wilds and oppose the procedure, those who fall ill to the "disease" before their procedure. Lena's best friend, Hana, decides she wants to live a little before her procedure and Lena is opposed. One night Lena goes to a party she knows Hana is at to warn her of the raids by the Regulators to catch sympathizers and rule breakers. Lena may be angry with her best friend, but she doesn't want to see her hurt or in trouble. Lena makes it to the party only to have it raided within minutes of her arrival.

From there her world is turned upside down after she escapes the raid with the help of Alex, a handsome boy whom she thinks is already cured and is safe. But is he? Is she falling victim to the disease? Is it possible that it's not really a disease? After all, how can something that's supposed to be so horrific...feel so good...

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The Good Father

The Good FatherThe Good Father by Diane Chamberlain
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I finished reading this a few days ago but am just now getting to the review. I've already finished a book since then but I'll try my best to explain why I liked it so much.

First, it seemed completely original to me. I haven't read a book like this in a long time so I enjoyed every moment of it. It was a parenthood/love/semi-crime/minor-political/twist-of-fate novel with a wonderful plot. I don't recall ever reading a book by Diane Chamberlain book before but I can tell you that it will not be the last.

Okay, not the best review but that's what I've got for today. :)

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Friday, May 25, 2012

The Dukes Perfect Wife

The Duke's Perfect Wife (Highland Pleasures, #4)The Duke's Perfect Wife by Jennifer Ashley
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I would be giving this a five star rating but the "big secret" that Hart kept from Eleanor was dorky. All through the book Ian was encouraging Hart to tell her the truth, she deserves to know. Hart's conscience kept telling him he should but he didn't want Eleanor to be afraid. When all was revealed at the end it was a dorky. Really? That's all this big grand secret was? I had to read that section a few times to figure out what it actually was supposed to be. Wasn't that big of a deal in the grand scheme of things. Oh well.

Other than that one little snafu, it was an amazing read. I'm sorry I missed the two in the series before this one but chances are I'll still go back and read those. Each book can stand alone but there are little snippets of information I would have understood a little better if I had read the others. Really no big deal though.

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Monday, May 21, 2012

Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers #1)

Secrets of a Summer Night (Wallflowers, #1)Secrets of a Summer Night by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A good, easy historical romance read. I will be reading the rest of the series but will give it a few books so I don't have a romance-novel overload. Really, really lovely story!

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Wednesday, May 16, 2012

The Screwtape Letters: First Ever Full-Cast Dramatization of the Diabolical Classic [With DVD]

The Screwtape Letters: First Ever Full-Cast Dramatization of the Diabolical Classic [With DVD]The Screwtape Letters: First Ever Full-Cast Dramatization of the Diabolical Classic [With DVD] by C.S. Lewis
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Wow wow wow! Whether or not you have read The Screwtape Letters, you have to listen to this audio production. It was fantastic! The music, the different voices for each character, the drama, all so, so good. The book itself is amazing too of course, with it's reverse teaching method.

Andy Serkis, who is the voice of Gollum in The Lord of the Rings movies, voices Screwtape, a demon mentor. His nephew, Wormwood, is trying to turn his "patient" away from the "enemy", which is God with the guidance of Screwtape.

Screwtape tells Wormwood how to get ideas into the patients mind to turn him away from God by basically turning him into a cynic. Screwtape says that their jobs are to make spouses into a relationship of anger and sarcasm. To turn fear and anxiety to a hatred of God. To not let patients have too many lows in their life because that is how the "enemy" reaches His people. He, being God, wants people to be like Him through the bible and learn from Him. The devils want patients to rely on earthly goods and turn to sexual immorality and the like because it feels good, because it is selfish.

There was so much to this short book but the reverse learning was amazing. I found myself realizing that I fall into a lot of the traps that are set to turn away from God. It's just a complete eye opener!

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Monday, May 14, 2012

What I Did For Love

What I Did for Love (Wynette, Texas #5)What I Did for Love by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Like everyone else, it did feel like a fan-fiction of real life events of the whole Jennifer Aniston/Brad Pitt-Angelina Jolie debacle, but to me it didn't ruin the story. It went off on it's own from that familiar story line and I really did like it.

I haven't read a contemporary romance for a little while so perhaps it was a little refreshing to read something that wasn't that deep. It was a light read with interesting, somewhat shallow, fun characters.

I liked how Bram was so determined to make Georgie think he was the jerk he had always been. Perhaps he didn't go along with her scheme initially but once he started to think more of her than just an annoyance, he became a real cool guy. I enjoyed how their relationship grew into friendship with their easy banter and chemistry. I liked Georgie (and not just because of her name!), even though she thought of the crazy idea, but I wouldn't doubt the Hollywood elite come up with these harebrained ideas in real life!

I don't normally like when books go off and bring focus on supporting characters, but in this book it really worked. I loved Aaron's character and his total and utter opposite but hysterical relationship with Chaz. Aaron for some reason was my favorite supporting character.

Good story and several books down the line I'll read another one of Susan Elizabeth Phillips' books.

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Thursday, May 10, 2012

Insurgent (Divergent #2)

Insurgent (Divergent, #2)Insurgent by Veronica Roth
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ack! This is why I hate reading current series. What a cliffhanger! What an incredible ending that has me thirsting to read the next...oh man, how long will that be!?!?!?


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Tuesday, May 8, 2012

The Book Thief

The Book ThiefThe Book Thief by Markus Zusak
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Ay yi yi, I don't know what to give this book. There is no denying that narrating a book by Death was both creepy but ingenious! He narrated the book during WWII, in Molching, Germany about an orphan girl named Liesel Meminger who is sent to live with foster parents during the height of Hitlers reign. She was not Jewish nor were her foster parents, but they were sympathetic towards them. Her story starts and ends with Death but this book focuses mostly on her few years with her foster parents. From dealing with being an orphan, making friends, protecting a Jew, discovery of books, Hitler youth, bombs, she deals with a lot in her youth; a side of WWII that I had not yet read about.

I tried reading this book a year or two ago and was so confused at the beginning that I stopped reading it. It's so highly rated that when I saw an audio book version was available, I borrowed it from the library.

Once I got over the initial weirdness that started with Death's narration and what he meant by the colors of the sky upon people's deaths, then I started following it just fine. Well, I mostly understood it, but I still got lost a time or two because it jumped around so much in time and place and characters. I couldn't remember what the current topic was and would have to scan backwards to figure it out.

The narrator was fantastic. I really enjoyed his voice, the books emotions were clearly conveyed by him. But oh my stars, I was getting annoyed by all the "Jesus, Mary, and Joseph" and "Crucify Christ" exclamations. It was almost a little offending. That's the book for you though, it had a lot of swearing. It fit for the theme of the book though.

I guess as far as how much I personally liked this book, I'd give it a three. For the creativity, I'd give it a five. So I guess averaging that out, I'll give it a four. Such a strange, strange book.

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Monday, May 7, 2012

Partials (Partials #1)

Partials (Partials, #1)Partials by Dan Wells
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Very scientific. Not much romance. I really liked it! Trying to find a cure to a virus that has wiped out 99.9% of the human race, not too hard to believe in the future and the author made it that more believable. I really enjoyed the detail of the virus and how the Partials were created and their purpose. Pretty neat concept.

I don't have much more to say, I started another book between now and when I finished it. I am really excited to read the next books in the series.

I'd say I liked this book more than Insurgent (which I'm now currently reading).

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Monday, April 30, 2012

A Heart Revealed

A Heart RevealedA Heart Revealed by Julie Lessman
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I liked this book, but not as much as the first one. It seemed almost to get a little too carried away with drama this time.

The story was supposed to be mostly about Sean and Emma and their love story but it felt overshadowed by a few other dramatic sideshows like Sean's sister Charity and her issues with her husband Mitch. That seemed a bit too dramatic. I'm not quite sure I agreed with how Mitch handled the situation to begin with or how he dealt with it when Charity lost her temper.

Sean and Emma's love story didn't even really begin until more than half way through. I was irritated at Sean's stupidity with Rose, I mean really, can a guy really be that blind to not see Rose's ploy or how incredibly immature she was? The fact that he blamed growing up with sisters for not being able to handle Rose's tears seemed a bit ridiculous.

Then the ending was way too fast. It was a great story but I would have liked to spend more time on the Sean and Emma story line.

Anyway, other than that the book was great. I liked being able to catch up with Luke and Kate. Sean and Emma's conversations were great. I don't want to bash the book but it easily could have been five stars if the water and fire works were a bit more tamed! I would still recommend it though!

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Friday, April 20, 2012

Ready Player One

Ready Player OneReady Player One by Ernest Cline

Unfortunately, just not my cup of tea. I don't want to read something this slanted on politics, I want to escape reality, not have this books agenda ground it into my brain. He's a talented and creative writer though. Good luck to him!

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Monday, April 16, 2012

Bridge of Scarlet Leaves

Bridge of Scarlet LeavesBridge of Scarlet Leaves by Kristina McMorris
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Fantastic! I love a book that can teach me something about history while maintaining an incredible story line.

The setting in the beginning of the book takes place in California just before the bombing of Pearl Harbor which then of course was the start of WWII. The story revolves around three main characters, Maddie Kern, her brother TJ Kern and TJ's best friend Lane Moritomo who is the son of Japanese immigrants.

Lane and Maddie fall in love but hide it from TJ. Due to Lane's Japanese heritage his parents plan to bring a bride from Japan to California for him to marry. Lane doesn't agree with all that goes along with his parent's customs so he refuses and convinces Maddie to elope with him. Nobody knows of their arrangement because interracial marriage is not only frowned upon pre-WWII, it's illegal in 30 states.

As they are having their quick weekend honeymoon in Seattle, Pearl Harbor is attacked. Lane quickly realizes whites are blaming him for Japan's bombing the United States. Maddie and Lane make haste back to California where TJ discovers what they did and demands they divorce.

When Lane returns home he finds the FBI in his house arresting his father simply because he works at a bank in California that is owned by the Japanese. Lane, his mother and sister are forced to one of the many internment camps made for those with as little as 1/16 Japanese heritage. Lane files for divorce simply to save Maddie from the embarrassment and criticism he's sure she'll suffer for being married to a Japanese man.

Maddie refuses to sign the papers and tracks Lane down to his internment camp and resides with him and his family. TJ on the other hand, he's had enough, between his sister marrying his best friend and the anger he feels for that betrayal, he joins the Army and is shipped off to the Pacific.

Lane is embarrassed of his and his families conditions, anger at the country which he loves so much, angry that Maddie is willing to sacrifice so much for him, it hurts his pride. He too joins the military for intelligence, to put his language to good use for his country. To prove find himself.

The book continues on as Maddie, Lane’s mother and sister move on to another location. Lane is also shipped to the Pacific. What effect will the war have on these three characters? Read to find out! Amazing, wonderful book.

This book is easily five stars for me. As I mentioned, a book that teaches me so much with such a fantastic story is a winner. The book was well researched and the fact that the author is the daughter of a white American mother and Japanese immigrant father gives her a lot of credit too. I have not read her other book Letters From Home, but look forward to doing so. If you liked, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet, I can nearly guarantee that you will like this book too.

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Friday, April 13, 2012

Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1)

Mine Till Midnight (The Hathaways, #1)Mine Till Midnight by Lisa Kleypas
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I'd give this five stars but since I'm also rating the edition, audio, I'm giving it four. I truly liked the story but I think a lot was taken away from it by the way the narrator read it. Her British accent trying to imitate an American accent made it sound like Americans are super snotty sounding. And a woman trying to make her voice deep and sound like a man, ugh, annoying. A woman reading romantic scenes, um, well, made me feel a little creepy. I love my husband and I'd rather hear him read it to me than hear it from an audio book narrator! LOL!

Going on to the story itself, awesome, totally awesome. I love the gypsy portrayal and the scandalous way he got what he wanted from Amelia. The magic, the way of the gypsies, the aristocrats, the ghosts of past, familial relationships, etc. Such a great and interesting love story with great emotional feeling. Very, very good book! I truly look forward to READING more books in this series and finding out more of the story that was left unanswered in this book.

My first Lisa Kleypas book. Swoon, love her!

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Monday, April 9, 2012

The "What If" Guy

The The "What If" Guy by Brooke Moss
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great, easy read. And the fact that is was local didn't hurt, I always like being able to picture the location the book takes place.

This was a contemporary, chick-lit/romance with a PG rating as my friend Tammy mentioned. There was the usual back and forth, does he, doesn't he, should I, shouldn't I, debacle about following your heart, but it was well laid out. Very sweet, romantic story that I would highly recommend to anyone who likes tame, modern romances.

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Friday, April 6, 2012

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail

Wild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest TrailWild: From Lost to Found on the Pacific Crest Trail by Cheryl Strayed
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Cheryl Strayed went through a rough patch in her early twenties. The death of her mother, a divorce, dabbling with drugs and men, she was pretty lost in life. It was one day that she up and decided she wanted to hike the Pacific Crest Trail. On her own.

Cheryl flits back and forth between her hike and the people she meets along the way and the things that happened in her past that led her there. She meets some amazing people and has one awesome adventure that opens her mind and her eyes to her past and to healing.

I can't relate to Cheryl much personally but I admire her for everything she went through and how she decided to overcome it; despite how unprepared she was for her hike on the PCT. She wanted to give up so many times but she kept on going. Both through sheer will and inspiration from her fellow PCT hikers. There are so few people who would face such things, let alone a woman in the wilderness by her lonesome.

I don't know what type of person Cheryl became after her major trek. I am quite curious of how parts of her life played out after her life changing hike. The last few lines of the book give the reader a quick little snippet but I still would have more questions if I were ever to meet her!

Overall, great book of a wayward woman who found a path that she literally and figuratively overcame in her life.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2012

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy

Jacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. KennedyJacqueline Kennedy: Historic Conversations on Life with John F. Kennedy by Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Well, hmm. I suppose I listened to Jacqueline Kennedy's oral history out of sheer curiosity. I had read Mimi Alford's Once Upon a Secret: My Affair with President John F. Kennedy and Its Aftermath and became a little curious as to what Jackie Kennedy had to say after the death of her husband.

This audio recording stretched from March 1964, four months after JFK's assassination, to June 1964. There are seven conversations in total.

She came across as a doting wife who supported her husband in whatever venture or thought he had. She made it seem that his every thought was her thought, they agreed on nearly everything, he was such a good husband and truly cared about her. Historical recollections of others tells a completely different story. Perhaps he did love her, perhaps not. I'm sure he loved her beauty and poise and her rich background, but being married, I'm not convinced that JFK, whom I think was a scoundrel, liked being married. It was a political front I think.

I think a lot less of JFK, not that I had anything really to judge him on before. I think Jacqueline Kennedy worked with what she had but I think her eyes truly opened up in the years after his and Bobbie's deaths. They were political machines who had dirty agendas that were hidden from the unassuming public.

Going back to Jackie Kennedy's oral history, there was a lot of information that bored me. I hadn't heard of many, many of the people she and Mr. Schlessinger discussed nor did I really care. It was a gossip session of, "what did Jack think of so and so, or this or that". There were a few juicy bits and the one that I was most surprised by was her candid dislike of Martin Luther King Jr. She thought he was a horrible man because he often had orgy's. She thought him a fraud, phony. I had never heard that before! I find it ironic she thought him lowly for that, yet her husband had more romps than a rabbit in heat.

I can't imagine having these conversation so quickly after her husbands death. There is no doubt she was mortified and devastated by his death but there had to a great strength to be able to talk at that point of time. She never did discuss that horrific day or anything really leading up to it. No thoughts about it. I imagine it would be too soon for that.

In the recording you can hear the kids, their TV in the background, planes flying over head, her continuous lighting up and smoking and even the clinking of ice cubes in glass. I wonder what was in there? A stiff drink perhaps? I would need one!

Overall, I suppose I'm glad I listened to her oral history because I do like the subject. Did I come away feeling smarter and able to feel as though I knew Jackie Kennedy? Nope. Would I recommend this read to anyone. Not really. I think you'd have to be a real history nut or be looking for some gossip about the Kennedy white house years. I'm a little of both.

It makes me a little sad that Jackie Kennedy nearly completely withdrew from the public eye after JFK and Bobbie's death. I can't blame her though, but my curiousity is itching to know what she thinks of JFK looking back in the years before her death in 1994.

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Monday, March 19, 2012


WanderloveWanderlove by Kirsten Hubbard
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I'm not really an adventurer, I'm certainly not a global back packer but that doesn't mean I didn't like this book. Nor am I a big fan of contemporary lit. I like books that take me away from reality. Whether it be in the past, the future or something of a fantasy, contemporary tends to bore me. Not this contemporary, it did take me away from my reality and on to an adventure, it was fantastic!

I really didn't understand what this book was about but my first thoughts were, "uh oh, liberal loving vegetarian hippies". Well, it kind of was but that was such a background issue that it mattered not to me. If anything, I could say I learned a lot outside my sheltered conservative bubble of a life.

I was in love with the insecurity the main character had but her willingness to try a new adventure; to be something that no one else thought she could dare to be. I guess in a way I had my own back pack adventure right out of high school, one that made sense to no one either. I can absolutely relate to that because I joined the Army right out of high school. I too met a guy but that's where the similarities would end!

This is another one of those books that I had never read before. It was the perfect amount of adventure, romance, and craziness!

Great, great book. One of my favorites.

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