Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Review: The Other Side of the Story by Marian Keyes

Goodreads: Life is a circle, and what goes around, comes around. Just ask a trio of unforgettable women in Marian Keyes enchanting new novel . . .

Written in the charming and chatty voice that has become Marian Keyes's signature style, this hilarious and heartwarming new novel proves there are three sides to every story . . . especially in the world of publishing!

Kritters Thoughts: Well at the beginning of this book, I was nervous I wasn't going to finish the over 600 page book that sat on my nightstand. Then it switched to another character's point of view.

The first one - Gemma - was way too whiny to start the book off. I know the order of the characters mattered due to the unveiling of the story, but I was really not liking this book in the beginning. By the time Keyes introduces the second two characters I am engulfed in their semi-connected stories and wondering how this will all end.

Upon completing - I would have to say in general I liked the book. I know that I am biased when it comes to books based on Britishness (sorry rooms) - never been a fan. But when I got beyond the language barrier I enjoyed how each character was entangled and affected by one another.

I would definitely recommend this but with hesitation to those who are not into the British things AND to those who are not into larger volume books!

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 648 pages

GR July - Sept Challenge: Big and Small - this was the big one at 648 pages

Saturday, August 28, 2010

Review: The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

Goodreads: As the story opens, Harvard symbologist Robert Langdon is summoned unexpectedly to deliver an evening lecture in the U.S. Capitol Building. Within minutes of his arrival, however, the night takes a bizarre turn. A disturbing object - artfully encoded with five symbols - is discovered in the Capitol Building. Langdon recognizes the object as an ancient invitation . . . one meant to usher its receipient into a long-lost world of esoteric wisdom.

When Langdon's beloved mentor, Peter Solomon - a prominent Mason and philanthropist - is brutally kidnapped, Langdon realizes his only hope of saving Peter is to accept this mystical invitation and follow wherever it leads him. Langdon is instantly plunged into a clandestine world of Masonic secrets, hidden history, and never-before-seen locations - all of which seem to be dragging him toward a single, inconceivable truth.

Kritters Thoughts: What a ride! I read The DaVinci Code and could never get into Angels & Demons, but this one sucked me in. I believe I was able to dive in fast because I could easily picture where each moment was taking place - love when I live around the corner from the story.

Thank goodness for a rainy day alone at the house with the pup - after 300 pages read in one day I had a hard time going to work on Monday with it unfinished.

Taking place all over Washington, D.C. this book takes you behind the scenes of the Masonic traditions that lie in the center of the founding of our country. I live right around the corner from the HUGE masonic temple in Alexandria, VA - sometimes I know where I am due to where I am in regards to it. The boy has some friends who are Masons, it has taken everything in me to sit and quiz them on the accuracy of this book.

A read I would recommend to young, old, male or female. I would definitely pass it along to those who live near me and know where all the events are taking place.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 509

GR July - Sept Challenge: Where in the World (D for D.C.)

Friday, August 27, 2010

Hop to It

Well, it has been awhile since I have hopped along. Among some crazy fridays at work and a birthday on a friday - August has flown right by me!

So the question this week -

Do you use a rating system for your reviews and if so, what is it and why?
Yes, I think that rating books helps categorize ones into an order of what you enjoyed reading. I use SHOES!! Each shoe has a meaning that I believe correlates with the type of shoe! Check out my rating system here!
Now off to hop along and see how others rate their books!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

Books I am craving!

So every once in awhile I want to share what books I have found that are on the top of my list. I saw this type of post on The Story Siren - the books she pines for, well I crave them!!

I have been running around the web trying to find some new books to put on my ever expanding spreadsheet - I know - why look for more to put on a spreadsheet that looks like it will never be accomplished in this lifetime.

So here are some books that I am craving . . .

Promise Me by Nancy G. Brinker - The story behind the founder of Susan G. Komen. I am a huge fan of the foundation would love to read the story behind the foundation and two sisters who have affected women across the world with little pink ribbons.

The Way by Kirsten Wolf (no book cover image) - Every once in awhile I get into a rut where I am enthralled by religious history, whether it be the one I grew up with or other religions out there. Per my understanding this book tackles an interesting topic - what would have been different if Jesus was female? Being a female and always challenging the roles that women are limited to within certain religious practices, I am definitely interested in reading this book.

Sister by Rosamund Lupton - Being a sister, I am wanting to get this read as soon as possible. One sister is found dead in the snow, while the other is trying to find out how it happened and who should be responsible. I can not wait to get a copy of this one!!
What books do you have your eyes on?

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

Review: Hollywood Stories by Stephen Schochet

Goodreads: Just when you thought you've heard everything about Hollywood comes a totally original new book. Hollywood Storise: Short, Entertaining Anecdotes About the Stars and Legends of the Movies! by Stephen Schochet contains a timeless treasure trove of colorful vignettes featuring an amazing all-star cast of icons including John Wayne, Charlie Chaplin, Walt Disney, Jack Nicholson, Johnny Depp, Shirley Temple, Marilyn Monroe, Marlon Brando, Errol Flynn and many others both past and contemporary.

Kritters Thoughts: The main reason I picked up this book was for the challenge, a different way to read short stories. I was a little disappointed by the lack of current stars stories in the book. Although entertained by the stories and quips of the past, I was hoping it would be a mix of past and present. That it wasn't.

Among the Three Stooges and the movie and tv stars of the past, there were very few of stars that are still alive and performing. I think this book would have been better appreciated by a film buff or a person who is enamored by the movies and tv shows from the past. Therefore I easily passed it on through Paperback Swap.

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 324

GR July-Sept Challenge - Short n Sweet

Sunday, August 22, 2010

In My Mailbox (11)

An exciting two weeks in my mailbox and on shopping adventures! Here is what has been happening in my book collecting ways - let's just say the boy has been shaking his head a lot recently!

Review and Winnings:
Just Don't Call Me Ma'am - Anna Michael
Saving Max - Antoinette van Heugten
Keep the Change - Steve Dublanica
A Change in Altitude - Anita Shreve
Mood Matters - John L. Casti

Package from my aunt:
Seaglass - Anita Shreve
We Are All Welcome Here - Elizabeth Berg
Lullibies for Little Criminals - Heather O'Neill

Purchased: (trip to Baltimore B&N and Goodwill)
Necessary Arrangements - Tanya Michna
The Divorce Party - Laura Dave
The Fortunes of Indigo Skye - Deb Caletti
Happens Every Day - Isabel Gillies
Million Dollar Dilemma - Judy Baer
What was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, August 21, 2010

Review: The Romantics by Galt Neiderhoffer

Goodreads: Laura and Lila were college roommates--one brooding and Jewish, the other the epitome of golden WASP-dom. Now it's ten years later, a day before Lila's wedding to Laura’s former boyfriend, and as the guests arrive, Laura finds herself the only one not coupled up. Struggling with the traditionally thankless role of maid of honor, Laura realizes for the first time why she can't stop thinking about her long, tangled relationship with the groom. And it appears that he is not entirely ready for the altar himself. Unfolding over two days off the coast of Maine, The Romantics follows the shifting allegiances among an unforgettable set of characters.

Kritters Thoughts: Well - an interesting read. I picked up this book initially because I saw the movie would be coming out and nothing is more frustrating than a ruined book after seeing the movie. I would much rather ruin the movie! It was a good read, not excellent, but good.

I think my main point of frustration was after reading such a great push pull about whether Tom would end up with Lila or Laura - the ending left me more than hanging. I can not believe how I felt when it ended, I have not been that upset with an ending that just left me feeling empty.

With no hope for a sequel, I am upset that this dilemma was not solved - let's see if they solve it in the movie.

Ok now that that is done. I will have to say that I am excited to see the movie because I want to see how they do the story. I think there were parts that were definitely drawn out in the book, so I think it will be easy to convert to movie without cutting a ton of plot points.

Here is to hoping the movie exceeds my feelings for the book!

Rating: enjoyable, but didn't leave me wanting more

Pages: 288 pages

GR July-Sept Challenge: Soak it Up

Thursday, August 19, 2010

In My Mailbox

Hello blogging world - so it has been one nuts of a week!!
After the birthday celebrations, participating in my first book blog tour AND
trying to find a place to live, my blogging this week has been at its lowest this week.
SO I will be posting all the goodies I have received in the last two weeks this weekend.
I joined bookmooch, so I am sure to have some really good weeks coming up!!
Have Happy Thursdays - I will be hopping along tomorrow!

Wednesday, August 18, 2010

Guest Post: Bill Walker - A Note From an Old Acquaintance

Guest Post by Bill Walker, author of A Note From an Old Acquaintance

I hear a lot about authors who outline their novels before they start writing, outlines that can often be quite extensive. I’m not one of them, at least not with the books I’ve written thus far. For me, if I had to sit down and ponderously map out every little move my characters make and every twist and turn of the plot, I would more than likely lose interest in taking it any further. To then sit down and write the book would be like repeating myself. At worst, it would be excruciating. At best–anti-climactic. And I need that catharsis that comes with discovery. More about that in a minute.

The method that works for me is to first have an idea so compelling that it seizes my imagination and won’t let go. Call it an obsession if you like, because I won’t deny that it has the feeling of one, and for me I need that unrepentant passion to carry me through the months of work to get to a first draft. The next requirement is discipline, having the will to sit and type at least three pages per day. If I want to do more, fine, but that doesn’t get me off the hook for the next day.

Because I’m a film school graduate, I have always tended to see my stories as movies on a big screen in my mind. And that is the way I write, in a sort of cinematic trance. While I have a firm grip on where the story is going, the characters will often assert themselves and take the story in a different direction. Sometimes I have to rein them in and, at other times, I’m delightfully surprised to find them taking me in a fresh direction I’d never previously considered. These are the moments for which all writers live, and an outline will kill it. Not because those moments will elude you if you’ve outlined your book, but because you’ve put so much work into that outline, you won’t want to deviate from it to go somewhere else with the characters and the story.

My advice, then, is to take that basic idea and just start writing it. Once you get the first draft down, THAT will be your outline. You will then be able to see what needs to be changed with a much clearer vision and you will not have hampered your creativity at the outset by creating a rigid roadmap.

Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site: http://www.billwalkerdesigns.com/.

Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Interview with Bill Walker - A Note From an Old Acquaintance

I had the awesome opportunity to interview Bill Walker, author of A Note From an Old Acquaintance. After reading his novel, I was excited to send him some questions.
This being my first author interview, I had great joy coming up with some unique and interesting questions, SO here it goes!
1. What topic do you find yourself RAMBLING about?
** I try not to ramble about anything ;-)
2. I don't want to spoil this book for anyone - but did you know that these characters would end up where they did when you started writing?
** To a certain extent. I always try to have an ending in mind. Sometimes, the characters will take me in a different direction than the one I had planned on, and that is a terrific feeling. I never outline books in advance, as I feel that kills a lot of the spontaneity.
3. Is there any characteristic of Brian that is from your own personality?
** Certainly the fact that he and I are both hopeless romantics.
4. Did you enjoy writing this genre of books? What other genres do you gravitate towards?
** I very much enjoyed writing in this genre. I also love suspensful stories. I almost can't help incorporating these kinds of elements into everything I write. It's my desire to keep the reader glued to the page. The only way to do that is to make them keep silently asking: "What happens next?"
5. I read in an interview that you are looking to do a sequel for A Note From an Old Acquaintance - when should we expect it?
** I'm going to be starting it soon. I do have the title: Should Old Acquaintance be Forgot . . .
6. Finally, describe A Note From an Old Acquaintance in three words.
** Passionate, Nostalgic, Heartbreaking.
Thank you Bill Walker for your time! I absolutely enjoyed your book and was thrilled to send some questions your way.

Monday, August 16, 2010

Review: A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

Goodreads: Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair.

Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Kritters Thoughts: I am on a good book streak! This was an excellent read and a great way to start my book touring adventure. I was provided this book for a tour and my nerves went crazy wondering what in the world I would do if I didn't like this book - shouldn't have worried.

I am always hesitant when I read a romanticsh novel written by a guy. Being a female - I enjoy reading when it is from the female's perspective. I am a changed woman! I loved reading how this man cherished this woman his entire life and how when she was torn away from him he never was able to heal and live fully.

My one moment was - there is a pause where we go back in time to see how this whole situation came to be. WELL I got a little confused when we went back to real time where in real time we were. Not to worry - a few pages in and I found myself!

Again - I am not one to spoil a good book - so I will say this. Go find this book. I am passing my signed copy - thanks Bill Walker - off to my mom to borrow. She has received clear instructions to return upon reading.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 360

GR July-Sept Challenge: Secret Gem (under 50 reviews on goodreads)

Sunday, August 15, 2010

The Ramble

Warning - this will be a lengthy post, but there is so much to share!!

For my birthday on Friday the 13th - officially in my late 20s - we ventured to Baltimore to be tourists for a few days.

After receiving my new camera for the boy - YIPPY!! My old camera had seen some great days, but with a lack of zoom and clarity, I was ready to retire it to the great electronic beyond. So after homemade lasagna - super YUM - and opening my gift we packed and readied ourselves for a fun trip.

On the agenda - the aquarium and any other touristy things that caught our eyes! We arrived late on Friday and walked around the inner harbor, got gussied up and went to dinner at Rusty Scupper. Super super YUM! I would definitely recommend this eatery!

After dinner, we ventured around the inner harbor again and ended up at the power plant aka a beautiful Barnes and Noble! Of course with the loose purse from being my birthday I came out with two books - both on sale! (to be shown on the IMM post)
Saturday - we slept in and went to the aquarium. The aquarium was great! I would definitely recommend a visit for young and old. We spent our time comparing it to the Georgia Aquarium from our visit a few years ago - they are two different beasts. We then went to the World Trade Center in Baltimore - yes there is one and went up 27 floors to have a great view of inner harbor and beyond.

We stopped by Charm City Cakes - Food Network - before heading back home to spend time with family in town. A great birthday weekend spent with the boy and playing tourist sort of close to our new home.

I know it is Sunday - In My Mailbox day, with so much going on, this will be posted on Thursday, August 19th.

Saturday, August 14, 2010

Review: Somewhere Inside by Lisa and Laura Ling

Goodreads: In 2009, Laura Ling, a reporter with Current TV, traveled with a film crew to the region of China that bordered on North Korea to report on defections, particularly of women who were later forced into arranged marriages or sex slavery. The crew momentarily crossed into North Korea, and Ling and Euna Lee, her editor and translator, were captured. Given the hostilities between North Korea and China and a recent critical documentary on North Korea by Laura’s sister, journalist Lisa Ling, the women knew they were in for an ordeal. Laura was beaten during the capture, and the women were held in isolation and faced meager meals, cold, and little medical treatment.

In the U.S., Lisa and her family prayed and called on powerful contacts, including Al Gore and Bill Richardson, to win the women’s release. During the time of their captivity, North Korea conducted a nuclear test and fired off missiles, increasing tensions with the U.S. and UN. The women were eventually tried for attempting to overthrow the government and sentenced to 12 years in a labor camp, but through behind-the-scenes maneuvering and negotiations with prickly North Korea, they were finally released after five months in captivity. This memoir alternates between the sisters, with Laura recalling the escalating peril of her capture and imprisonment and Lisa recalling heightened worries as weeks dragged into months.

Kritters Thoughts: Well another interesting book where I knew the ending ahead of time, but did not know the details behind the news stories.

Before I review the book itself - I learned something interesting in Laura Ling retelling the story. I was unaware that the guide that they had chosen to take them through China and near North Korea caused them to enter North Korea illegally. Although, my first reaction when I heard the news stories were - OK ladies - why didn't we know we were in North Korea - DUHH. WELP that thought hasn't changed because now I know that they knew they had entered the country AND not only that they had entered China on incorrect visas/passports. Instead of using media passports, they went in as tourists - I am sorry my sympathy for the situation diminishes just a little after hearing all these details.

After my soapbox moment - onto my review of the book. I absolutely loved how they intertwined Lisa and Laura's stories, so you were not only hearing the story from inside North Korea, but the work that was being done to free the girls at the same time. I liked how they chronologically mingled and it helped make the story complete.

I was absolutely intrigued by the amount of story that wasn't released, yet included in this book. It made me wonder how much "news" I don't see hit the airwaves or is delayed due to circumstances. I know there are things that happen just down the road from me in D.C. that may never hit the news blogs and how creepy and crazy is it that some things are never shared. Makes you think.

I definitely enjoyed reading this book and reading how the whole situation was handled with extreme care. I am amazed at how hard it was to have both the US and North Korea come together to agree on terms and release these two women. I am definitely not planning a trip anytime soon to Korea.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Pages: 336 pages

GR July-Sept Challenge: Where in the World (K for Korea)

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

Review: Nursing a Grudge by Chris Well

Goodreads: What is a grouchy old man to do when two attractive women encourage him to leave his assistant-living apartment and join a clandenstine chili party? He actually has fun - until someone ends up dead. Now Earl Walker seems to be the only person suspicious of the way the party-goer met his demise. Can he solve the puzzle - and make a little romance - before the home closes and the suspects move away?

Kritters Thoughts: Well, an interesting read. I read this through Net Galley, so it was nice to read something on the computer - mixed things up a bit.

It was a very good story, but it had some interesting moments. I would say this story, although short in page length was very long in its building moments. I felt like it took forever for the story to get underway and then awhile for it to wrap up.

The other challenging aspect for the story was the weird random Christian inserts. Let me explain - the story would be going along and then all of the sudden the characters would be talking about praying or needing God. It was just random and I think what made it more random is that it wasn't really dealt with in the end of the story. The concepts were introduced sporatically, but weren't finished in the end.

I would have to say I wasn't a super fan of this book. It was a cute light read, but I wouldn't have passed along the paperback to a friend.


Pages: 256 pages

GR July-Sept Challenge: I Can't Fight this Feeling

Tuesday, August 10, 2010

CSN Review

Yippy!! I received another package, well two, from CSN - actually two. One to review and one just for me.

So for review, I ordered a tall standing lamp for my reading nook. The below picture was taken in process of putting it together - it was a cinch after I figured out that you must first take off these little black pieces. NOTE - lightbulb not included.

And after I completed it - I had to figure out exactly where to place it. So here it is in the nook, ready for an evening of reading.

Monday, August 9, 2010

In My Mailbox (10)

It has been awhile, but my mailbox and packages coming in has not dwindled. Nor has my need to purchase and pick up a few along the way!!

The stack from The Book Thing:
I will not list all of the books - but let's just say these two stacks had some goodies AND they were FREE! It did take an adventure to a questionable place in Baltimore. (thanks mom!)
Trip to Daedalus:
Crooked Little Heart by Anne Lamott
A Homemade Life by Molly Wizenberg
From Paperbackswap:
Gone to the Dogs by Mary Guterson

Goodreads Win:
Mood Matters by John L. Casti

It has been a good week or two - who knows what this next week holds with the birthday on Friday!

Sunday, August 8, 2010

The Ramble

SO - I have decided to start a sort of Sunday Salon. The name - Weekly Ramble!

I am a little behind on sharing a fun adventure I had with my mom. We took a little road trip to Baltimore to visit The Book Thing and a few bookstores.

The Book Thing is a warehouse where anyone can go and pick out as many books and walk out no money exchanged!! They ask for you to donate when you visit, but you can walk out with 1 or 100 books. It was a fun adventure - I came home with some to read and then some to make crafts with, but definitely a once a year adventure.

Then we went to Daedalus Bookstore. WHAT a find! If you are ever in Baltimore - go straight to this book store. A one of a kind where they receive books after the big sales occur, so they can mark these books down more than 50% off cover price. I came home with three books that I am very excited to read. I will definitely return to this bookstore often!

Saturday, August 7, 2010

Review: My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster

Goodreads: Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces.

In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure
is an option.

Kritters Thoughts: What can I say about Jen Lancaster? Every book of hers, I have literally laughed out loud and I say this truly and honestly. Reading at home, during my lunch hour at work or on the treadmill, I have had numerous stares because I was found to be laughing and shaking - sometimes eye watering.

Her snarky comedy hits the spot. I definitely believe that she can describe experiences with honesty and a bit of oneupness - yep thats a word! I find that when I am reading her book, I think YEP thats how I would have reacted with rats running across my floor and the dog just starring thinking its a new play toy. (This has not happened, but Miss Charlotte has a keen eye for finding flies, making friends and accidentally swallowing them. The sad eyes come when she can't find it anymore.)

I would recommend this book to those who love dry, snarky humor and a fun read. The stories and situations that Jen ends up in are just beyond funny.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 384
GR July-Sept Challenge: The Inside Scoop

Chick Lit Challenge

Friday, August 6, 2010

Hop Along

So after a crazy long week both personally and professionally - I am ready for the hop and the weekend!
Question of this week - Do you listen to music when you read? If so, what are your favorite tunes?

NOPE - I can't listen to music or have anything going on in the background. I can read fast, but I must have a quiet place to read.

Next week - CSN review, book reviews and the birthday!!

Thursday, August 5, 2010

Review: Spoken From the Heart by Laura Bush

Goodreads: In this brave, beautiful, and deeply personal memoir, Laura Bush, one of our most beloved and private first ladies, tells her own extraordinary story.

Born in the boom-and-bust oil town of Midland, Texas, Laura Welch grew up as an only child in a family that lost three babies to miscarriage or infant death. She vividly evokes Midland's brash, rugged culture, her close relationship with her father, and the bonds of early friendships that sustain her to this day. For the first time, in heart-wrenching detail, she writes about the devastating high school car accident that left her friend Mike Douglas dead and about her decades of unspoken grief.

With deft humor and a sharp eye, Laura Bush lifts the curtain on what really happens inside the White House, from presidential finances to the 175-year-old tradition of separate bedrooms for presidents and their wives to the antics of some White House guests and even a few members of Congress. She writes with honesty and eloquence about her family, her public triumphs, and her personal tribulations. Laura Bush's compassion, her sense of humor, her grace, and her uncommon willingness to bare her heart make this story revelatory, beautifully rendered, and unlike any other first lady's memoir ever written.

Kritters Thoughts: Such a great read. How interesting to hear the real behind the scenes of life in the White House. Of course, I am even more interested because I live so close to 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, but to get the story from a woman who is known to be private was even more interesting.

I loved to hear about her interactions with Bush Sr and the few times they visited Washington, D.C. while he was in office. I couldn't believe that she had spent very little time with her in-laws until after they had been married for quite some time.

What a schedule those first ladies keep? I had no idea that they traveled as much as they do. I know they had schedules to keep, but I assumed most of their events were local, if not in the United States. Mrs. Bush was traveling all over the world and made friends with a lot of "first ladies." It was so cool to hear who she connected with and what helped her create relationships with all of these foreign dignitaries' wives.

Although I enjoyed this read, one of things I would have edited out were the little quips that felt as though they were included only to make George Bush look better. At the end of a long paragraph on some subject, she would state that she was glad Bush had religion to lean on in times of trouble. There were many more, I didn't think they added to the story and it even took away some of the credibility of the story.

The other thing that sent me spinning every so often was the in and out of timelines. The book had a sort of flow through time, but every so often there was a flashback or an insert of a future time. I felt as though those future moments could have been held for when they would naturally occur in the story.

Whether a Bush fan or not, I think this is a great read to find out what not only happens behind the White House walls. BUT what happenedwhen 9-11 and terrorism hit close to home. I relived that day in history when I was reading her account of what she was doing and how her life completely changed that morning.

Rating: definitely a good read, but can't read two in a row

Total pages: 464

GR July-Sept Challenge: It's All Relative (1 of 2)

Tuesday, August 3, 2010

Review: Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Goodreads: Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessahas recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie--a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance--and even to some degree, friendships--believing that it is always safer not to expect too much.

Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.

Kritters Thoughts: AHHH MAZING! I have liked all of the previous Emily Giffin books I have read, but this one was bar none my favorite. I always read the flap or the back to get a quick synopsis. Well after reading the flap, this book went down a completely opposite road then I thought it would. I do not want to give my idea or the road it actually took away because it was so good that I want everyone to log onto their library pages and request it immediately or head to a bookstore and purchase it.

Told from the point of two different moms, alternating between each of their point of views, it kept the story moving without confusing the reader. These mom's worlds collide in a much different way then I was imagining. You don't know how small your world is, until it crashes down around you. I honestly can't say more or I will ruin this gem of a read. It was a quick and easy read with short chapters.

Too all my ladies of all ages, you will love the interesting turn this book takes. If you are interested in the road I thought it was headed down - leave a comment with your email address!

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Pages: 352

GR July-Sept Challenge: On Location (Boston)

2010 Challenge: New in 2010

Monday, August 2, 2010

July in Review

Here is the recap for July (13 total read)

1. Gossip Girl - All I Want is Everything by Cecily von Ziegesar
2. Gossip Girl - Because I'm Worth It by Cecily von Ziegesar
3. Gossip Girl - I Like it Like That by Cecily von Ziegesar
4. Gossip Girl - You're the One that I Want by Cecily von Ziegesar
5. Gossip Girl - Nobody Does it Better by Cecily von Ziegesar
6. Gossip Girl - Nothing Can Keep us Together by Cecily von Ziegesar
7. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie
8. Chis & Nancy by Irvin Muchnick (Net Galley)
9. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
10. Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin
11. Dress Rehearsal by Jennifer O'Connell
12. Ana's Story by Jenna Bush
13. Spoken from the Heart by Laura Bush

Total # of pages read: 3,830

July Highlights: July was a busy month! A lot of reviews, some memes, and a lot of bookish things!

My first author signing and my first package from a publisher. I entered my second month of blogging and I think I may be more hooked than ever!

I am excited for August. It includes my birthday, more book events and some good reading!
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