Monday, December 31, 2012

December - the last of 2012

I went into December thinking I would barely finish a few books as it was quite a jam packed month of holiday things - Ford's Theater for a Christmas Carol, a tour of the White House, a four day trip to New York City and a few Christmas celebrations - BUT I somehow finished quite a few books this month!  I completely surpassed my reading goal for the year on Goodreads - I wanted to read 202 and I finished 217, so December and 2012 will end with goals completed and a renewed excitement for the reading that is happening in 2013.  

Books Completed:
. Judging a Book by Its Lover by Lauren Leto
2. How to Host a Holiday by Kathleen Kitson
3. Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer
4. She's the Boss by Lisa Lim
5. The Bracelet by Roberta Gately
6. Goodnight, Brian by Steven Manchester
7. I Never Promised a Goodie Bag by Jennifer Gilbert
8. One Flight Up by Susan Fales-Hill
9. Five Years to Live by Frank Zaccari
10. The One I Left Behind by Jennifer McMahon
11. Traces of Kara by Melissa Foster
12. The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
13. The Tell by Hester Kaplan
14. Friendfluence by Carlin Flora
15. Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter by Melissa Francis
16. Three Good Things by Wendy Francis
17. Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury
18. An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd
19. A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
20. The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Total pages read, clicked, and flipped: 5,588

Where Have I Been Reading?: 

St. Louis, MO
San Francisco, CA
Narragansett Bay, RI
New York City, NY (2)
Buffalo, NY
Williamsport, MD
Maryhill, Scotland
Providence, RI
Madison, WI
Marshall, NC
Portland, ME

Sunday, December 30, 2012

It's Monday, What Are You Reading?

I wasn't quite sure about this week, with the holidays and visiting family, but I was able to get in a few hours on the car trip to and back from South Carolina.  I also snuck in a few quite hours while the boy was sleeping - it ended up being a good final week in 2012.

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury
An Unmarked Grave by Charles Todd 
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Promise of Stardust by Priscille Sibley

Currently Reading:
An Uncommon Education by Elizabeth Percer

Next on the TBR pile:

The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

Saturday, December 29, 2012

2012 Challenges wrap up

For 2012, I participated in 3 challenges and was quite successful in two of them and need to make more of an effort in the third for this next year.  So in this post, I am going to wrap up all three of my challenges.  I have a post scheduled for January 2nd to tell you about my 2013 challenges, hint I will be basically doing the same challenges next year!

The Where are you Reading Challenge was easy to complete and I loved watching as the year progressed where most of my books tended to take place.  I am an East Coast reader and love books that that take place in New York City.  Thankfully, I was able to visit NYC twice this year, great to put a face to a place or something like that!  My map can be found here - Kristin's Where are you Reading Map.

As it is easier to list the states that I didn't read a book in, I will do so - Nevada, Montana, North and South Dakota, Wyoming, Colorado, New Mexico, Oklahoma, Ohio, Tennessee, and Delaware. (definitely an East Coast reader).  The countries that I did read books in were Canada, UK, France, Italy, Spain, Bulgaria, Israel, Kenya, China, Pakistan and Brazil - I was quite the worldly reader this year!

The 2012 Ebook Reading Challenge was the challenge I was most excited about because I have been reading more and more on my nook in various places, so I enjoyed tracking how many ebooks I read this year.  I outdid myself to the extreme in this challenge, I wanted to read 25 books and was able to finish 88 ebooks.  I would say I definitely completed this one!

The final challenge that I participated in for 2012 was the Off the Shelf Challenge.  This would be my failure for the year.  I wanted so badly to read books that had been on my shelf for a bit and either keep them or send them on their way - it just didn't happen.  I kept getting books in all year round that trumped what was currently on the shelf.  My goal was to read 50 books the were placed on myself before the beginning of 2012, I only read 5 books.  Maybe I will be more successful in 2013.

Friday, December 28, 2012

Happy Birthday to my hubs!

Just 3 days after Christmas is another special day at our house - it is my husband's birthday.  Having a birthday so close to a major holiday and during the holiday hangovers has been a trial - it's hard to properly celebrate when you just want to curl up and veg after all of the holiday hub bub!  

So this year, we are in South Carolina visiting with his family and I am hoping to show him that we are glad he is just one year older!  His birthday may be celebrated a few times in the next month with a special dinner in the works and some other happenings.  

Happy Birthday to my Mr. Jones!

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Review: Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell

Vanity Fare by Megan Caldwell

Publisher: William Morrow  
Pages: 400 
Format: eARC 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  A charming novel about a 40-year-old Brooklyn mother, recently divorced, who starts writing copy for a bakery, discovers a knack for food-related literary puns, and becomes entangled in a love triangle.

Molly Hagan is overwhelmed.

Her husband left her for a younger, blonder woman, her six year-old son is questioning her authority, and now, so is she. In order to pay her Brooklyn rent and keep her son supplied with Pokemon and Legos-not to mention food and clothing-she has to get a job. Fast.

So when an old friend offers Molly a copywriting position at a new bakery, finding romance is just about the last thing on her mind. But the sexy British pastry chef who's heading up the bakery has other thoughts. And so does Molly when she meets the chef's intimidating business partner-who also happens to have a secret that might prevent Molly from getting her own Happily Ever After.

Kritters Thoughts:  This book was centered around a woman who is in the middle of going through a pretty bad divorce, while raising her son and trying to find the next job to support her family.  With three leading men in this book, the reader was left to wonder who would end up in her life, if anyone at the end of the book.  

Molly ends up doing marketing and copy work for a bakery that is opening near the New York Library.  This bakery wants to use their proximity to the library as a way to get customers to come in the door and with the main character as a former English LIterature major can easily combine marketing baked goods with a library theme.  I absolutely loved watching the marketing concept come together, it made me wish a bakery like this was opening near my indie bookstore!

The one part that didn't make me fall completely head over heels for the book was the constant reminder that she was unhappy and dealing with her list of issues.  I wish there was a little more plot and a little less whining.  

It was a good piece of women's fiction that combines two great things that I love - books and baked goods!  If the one little thing that I didn't love was fixed, I would be passing this book along to anyone I know, especially those who like books and baked goods!   

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

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 78 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from Edelweiss.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Wordless Wednesday - Christmas Edition

It is the day after Christmas, some may be in holiday hangover mode.  We (meaning me, the hubs and the pup) are in the car headed down to South Carolina for Christmas part 3 - Jones edition.  I hope you and your family had a Merry Christmas and as 2012 closes we find excitement for what 2013 will bring.  


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Merry Christmas


To you and your family - 
I hope you have a very merry Christmas and a wonderful new year!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Review: How to Host a Holiday by Kathleen Kitson

How to Host a Holiday by Kathleen Kitson 

Pages: 60 
Format: ebook
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Ivy Stratton has Big Plans: Plans to host an unforgettable Christmas dinner party.

She's compiled a gourmet menu, festive decor, and the perfect guest list, all in hopes of winning the heart of the man of her dreams.

But when her Big Plans fall apart, Ivy must scramble to make the most of the situation and keep her composure as the ideal holiday host.

Kritters Thoughts:  A sweet and simple holiday short story that has all the trimmings for a great little holiday novella - great characters, a snowy scenery and mishaps and mayhem!  From the beginning I fell in love with Ivy our main character who begins the novella dreaming up her perfect Christmas and waking up to things being just a little different from her dreams.  She is surrounded by great neighbors and friends, who all join her for a Christmas party and feast.

I think the characters are the main focus of this novella.  The author was able to develop them into full characters that any reader will want to spend more time with, and thankfully we will get that opportunity!  Although the story took place mostly in the confines of her apartment, she conveys the feel of Christmas by greatly describing the treacherous snowy outdoors. 

A perfect novella to curl up with Christmas music in the background a warm cup of something to drink.    

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and I know I am getting one!!)

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 79 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Sunday, December 23, 2012

It's Monday, What are you Reading?

Twas the week before Christmas and all through the house, the wife was wrapping, baking and cooking while the hubs worked and the pup snored. Some how and some way the wife was also able to complete quite a few books, so 2012 will go down as the most well read year!

A meme hosted by Sheila at BookJourney. 

Finished this past week:
The Death of Bees by Lisa O'Donnell
The Tell by Hester Kaplan
Friendfluence by Carlin Flora
Diary of a Stage Mother's Daughter by Melissa Francis
Three Good Things by Wendy Francis

Currently Reading:
Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury

Next on the TBR pile:
A Land More Kind Than Home by Wiley Cash
The Love Song of Jonny Valentine by Teddy Wayne

Across My Doorstop

A quiet week across my doorstop, which was quite ok.  Hope you each have a great holiday week!

For Review:
The Imposter Bride by Nancy Richler  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Political Suicide by Michael Palmer  (Goodreads  Amazon)
Wineocology by Caitlin Stansbury  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Swap Sites:

Corked by Kathryn Borel  (Goodreads  Amazon)

NYC trip:
Any Place I Hang My Hat by Susan Isaacs  (Goodreads  Amazon)

Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer

Unmasking Maya by Libby Mercer

Pages: 129 
Format: eARC 

Goodreads:  Fresh from a career-killing scandal, New York fashion girl, Maya Kirkwood, arrives in San Francisco to reinvent herself as a fine artist. She's offered the opportunity to create an installation at the Silicon Valley headquarters of a hot new tech company. Fabulous, right?

Not so much.

She can't stand Derek Whitley - wunderkind software genius and CEO of the company. Hot as he may be on the outside, inside the man is a cold, unemotional, robotic type. Way too left-brained for her right-brained self.

As Maya and Derek get to know each other, however, their facades begin to crack. She catches her first glimpse of the man behind the superhuman tech prodigy, and he starts to see her as the woman she used to be. But is this a good thing? Once that last secret is revealed, will it bring them closer together or will it tear them apart?

Kritters Thoughts:  The art world and the technology world collide when a new artist is commissioned to work on an installation for a technology firm's office.  Maya is from the art world and Derek is full on technology guy as the founder of the company that hires her.  As all chick lits do, this one has guy and girl and the question of - "Will the end up together?"  You will have to read this one to find out!   

One of the things that I genuinely adored was the characters in this book.  I work for a technology firm and I am surrounded by device and software engineers on a daily basis.  I also grew up with an aeronautical engineer as a father - so the geeky, nerdy guys who have dry smart humor is my home away from home.  I may not always get the joke, but I understand that that is where they find their humor.  

Maya was a fantastic main character.  From the beginning, I was wondering about her whole situation in New York that she left behind.  I kept wanting to read on and on to find out when the reader was going to find out the whole back story.  I knew that her back story would affect her current situation in a big way.

To all my chick lit fans, this book is a fantastic read.  It may be on the shorter side, but that just makes it perfect for a quiet afternoon or weekend.  

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 80 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from the author.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Thursday, December 20, 2012

Review: Dangerous Deception by Cindy McDonald

Dangerous Deception by Cindy McDonald 

Publisher: Acorn Book Services
Pages: 144
Format: ebook 
Buy the Book: Amazon 

Goodreads:  Old age ain't for sissies!

Vic Deveaux’s glory days as a winning jockey have ended, but he refuses to accept that pile of horse hockey! 

When the West family asks Vic to take an easier position at their Thoroughbred farm, Westwood, he becomes enraged and teams up with two greedy stable hands in a scheme to kidnap the youngest son, Shane.
Things turn ugly when Vic discovers that his new-found friends have murder on their minds. Suddenly Vic finds himself between a rock and a hard place. He has betrayed his good friend, Eric West, but will he participate in his son’s murder as well? 

Not content to sit at home and wait for her men to bring her brother home, Kate West convinces homicide detective, Carl Lugowski, to check out a hunch at an old abandoned mansion. Soon they’re trapped in a hornet’s nest of a notorious biker gang. 

Oh yeah, Vic’s deception has placed the West family in more danger than they know what to do with!

Kritters Thoughts:  From the beginning, there were two stories running parallel with many characters involved with each and some horses with names, so it took me quite a few pages to figure out each story line and who was involved.  Then I wanted to know immediately, how and where these two stories were going to intersect.  One dealt with the horse racing world and all of the people and logistics that go into making a stable successful.  The other story dealt with cops and drug dealers and was a little harder to understand at the beginning.

Once the two stories connected, the full book took off like a truck on an open road and the reader was just holding on for dear life and I loved it!  The mix of bikers, drugs, horses and money made for a fantastic thriller where you hoped that good win, but the reader wasn't quite sure with every bend in the road.  I fell in love with this family of horse breeders and think that this series could be a success with the family at the center. 

For a shorter book, it took a little longer to get to the story, but once it did, it was fantastic!  A first book in a series, I will be on the lookout for the next installment.

Rating: absolutely loved it and want a sequel (and glad to hear we are!)

Ebook 2012 Challenge: 76 out of 25

Disclosure of Material Connection:  I received one copy of this book free of charge from BookSparks PR.  I was not required to write a positive review in exchange for receipt of the book; rather, the opinions expressed in this review are my own.

Wednesday, December 19, 2012

Random House Open House

A week ago today, mom, dad, the husband and I took a train to NYC for a few days of touristy fun.  Just before we left for the trip, my dad announced that he had never been to New York City, so we had to make a list of things we could fit in our quick trip.  We went to the Empire State Building, Central Park and we went through Times Square and down Fifth Avenue to see the holiday decor.

We went to the Rockettes and had dinner at The View (yes dad, had quite a few jokes that coincided with The View the tv show). 
On Friday, the boys left to return home and mom and I had a full day at Random House Publishing House for their Open House.  
My favorite panel was Anna Quindlen with her longtime editor - Kate Medina.  They were fantastic, you could absolutely tell that they had been working together for a long time and respected each other for the work that they create together.

At the Open House we were given two tickets to get two free books, all of the books were of authors that would be at the Open House and we could get them signed, I picked up:
Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen (Goodreads  Amazon)
The Drop 10 Diet by Lucy Danziger  (Goodreads  Amazon)

The day after the Random House Open House, mom and I had one last half day in New York City.  We walked from our hotel and happened upon Bryant Park which made me more than giddy - as Glee used this ice skating rink for the Blaine/Kurt duet for the holidays.

So where did we really want to go - but to Barnes and Noble and the New York City Public Library. We went on the docent tour through the library and fell in love with the building and the history.  We have already decided to return to spend a whole day walking through the library on our own.  

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