Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Happy New Year!

I know I am a little early with this, but will be offline for the weekend and figured early was better than never.

Here is wishing you all a happy, healthy and blessed New Year!

Review: Holidays on Ice by David Sedaris

Holidays On Ice collects six of David Sedaris' most profound Christmas stories into one slender volume perfect for use as a last-minute coaster or ice scraper. This drinking man's companion can be enjoyed by the warmth of a raging fire, the glow of a brilliantly decorated tree, or even the backseat of a van or police car. It should be read with your eyes, felt with your heart, and heard only when spoken to. It should, in short, behave much like a book. And, oh, what a book it is!

I read Dress Your Family in Corduroy and Denim a while ago and thought it was just so-so, but I figured this holiday collection would be fun to read this time of year. I have seen many positive reviews of this book, but I was disappointed.

The first story about Sedaris' time as a mall Santa Claus, made me chuckle in spots but I didn't find much humor in the rest of the stories. I found myself skimming until I reached the story about the ultra competitive neighbors. It wasn't ha ha funny, but did make me kind of laugh and roll my eyes.

The version I read was the original instead of the recently re-released one with extra stories. Maybe some of the new stories were better, but I think that Sedaris just isn't for me.

Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Wendi of Wendi's Book Corner has taken over as the host of Tuesday Thingers! Her first question asks: What area are you most familiar with? What area is your favorite? What area are you curious about? Are there any that you have not really looked at?

Here is a list of the main areas of Library Thing:

1. Home (, before you log in)
2. Home (once you log in, contains Your Home, Your Profile, Connections, Recommendations, Reviews, Statistics, Clouds, Gallery, Memes)
3. Profile (Recent activity, tags, comments, members with your books)
4. Your Library
5. Your Tags
6. Add Books
7. Talk
8. Groups
9. Local
10. Search
11. Zeitgeist (Stats, Top Lists)
12. Tools (Widgets, Store)
13. Blog

I probably spend the most time on the Groups page keeping up with those that I follow. I do like the customizable home page. I always get great ideas from the books being added under connection news. I also use tags, my library and add books page frequently. I used to have my link set to my profile page, but recently changed it to my home page. Now I don't visit my profile page all that often.

The areas that I use the least are Local, Zeitgeist, Tools and Blog. It seems I only go to these areas when I am looking for something specific.

Monday, December 29, 2008

The Countdown Challenge

I really meant it when I said no more challenges, but this one looks like so much fun! It is being hosted by 1 More Chapter. It should overlap nicely with my other challenges so I am going to give it a try.

1. The goal of this challenge is to read the number of books first published in a given year that corresponds to the last digit of each year in the 2000s — 9 books from 2009, 8 books from 2008, etc. The total number of books required, therefore, is 45.
2. This challenge lasts from 8/8/08 through 9/9/09. Yes, it is retroactive to August 8th!
3. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and your lists may change at any time.
4. Sign up using Mr. Linky.
5. Have fun reading!

2009 - Completed
1. Beat the Reaper by Josh Bazell (review)
2. Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein (review)
3. Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories by Lauren Groff (review)
4. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (review)
5. The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them by Amy Dickinson (review)
6. The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood (review), audio
7. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (review)
8. A Child's Journey out of Autism: One Family's Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure by Leeann Whiffen (review)
9. Mixed Blood by Roger Smith (review)

2008 - Completed
1. The Shiniest Jewel: A Family Love Story by Marian Henley (review)
2. The Third Angel by Alice Hoffman (review)
3. The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson (review)
4. The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson (review)
5. Tears of the Desert: A Memoir of Survival in Darfur by Halima Bashir (review)
6. Firefly Lane by Kristin Hannah (review)
7. Her Last Death by Susanna Sonnenberg (review)
8. Fractured by Karin Slaughter (review)

2007 - Completed
1. Book of the Dead by Patricia Cornwell (review)
2. Absolute Fear by Lisa Jackson (review)
3. Shoot Him If He Runs by Stuart Woods (review)
4. Invisible Prey by John Sandford (review)
5. Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese (review)
6. Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher (review)
4. Looking for Alaska by John Green (review)
5. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (review)

1. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (review)

2003 - Completed
1. Dry by Augusten Burroughs (review)
2. The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier (review)
3. Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward (review)


2001 - Completed
1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (review)

Friday, December 26, 2008

This Week in Books...

I have been getting so many ARCs in that I need another way to help me keep track and thought this would be a great way to do that and a way to also thank the publishers and authors who so generously sent them my way.


Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford from Random House
Knit Two by Kate Jacobs. I won this from Pop Culture Junkie


Cathy's Ring by Sean Stewart, Jordan Weisman, and Cathy Brigg from Running Press
The Plague by Joanne Dahme from Running Press
Rainy Day Rescue by Inda Schaenen from Running Press
The Quarter Horse Foal by Inda Schaenen from Running Press


Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein from Random House

Outliers by Malcom Gladwell from Hachette Book Group

This will usually be posted on Friday or Saturday, but the holidays have me off schedule this week.

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Happy Holidays!

Whatever holiday you celebrate, I hope you have a happy one! Enjoy your time with friends and family and travel safe.

Tuesday, December 23, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

The question for the final Tuesday Thinger from Boston Bibliophile is about Holiday gift-giving. Do you give books for the holidays? Did you participate in LT's SantaThing, either this year or last, or in other blogging gift exchanges? Were you happy with what you received?

I do give books for Christmas when I know the receiver will enjoy them. As much as I'd like to share my love of reading with everyone, I don't like to give gifts that are about me, instead of the other person.

I looked at the SantaThing this year but didn't participate. It looks like a fun program and hopefully I will have the time to be involved with it next year. I enjoy white elephant swaps and think this would be fun too.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Review: Driving with Dead People by Monica Holloway

Small wonder that, at nine years old, Monica Holloway develops a fascination with the local funeral home. With a father who drives his Ford pickup with a Kodak movie camera sitting shotgun just in case he sees an accident, and whose home movies feature more footage of disasters than of his children, Monica is primed to become a morbid child.

Yet in spite of her father's bouts of violence and abuse, her mother's selfishness and prim denial, and her siblings' personal battles and betrayals, Monica never succumbs to despair. Instead, she forges her own way, thriving at school and becoming fast friends with Julie Kilner, whose father is the town mortician.

Throughout this remarkable memoir of her dysfunctional, eccentric, and wholly unforgettable family, Monica Holloway's prose shines with humor, clear-eyed grace, and an uncommon sense of resilience. Driving with Dead People is an extraordinary real-life tale with a wonderfully observant and resourceful heroine.

I loved this book! It seems that a lot of the memoirs I've read lately have had main characters who did nothing but whine and complain about their terrible childhood and how it wrecked their lives. This was not the case in Driving with Dead People.

Monica Holloway was brutally honest in telling her recollections of growing up, but she was also fair. Her story was told with a matter of factness that was refreshing and often funny. Holloway never pointed a finger at any of her family, nor did she adopt a "you ruined by life" type attitude. Her changing perceptions of her family member's were wonderfully portrayed, and I found my own opinions of her parents, for example, changing over the course of the book.

This memoir was beautifully written and I would recommend it to fiction and non-fiction readers alike, especially those who enjoyed The Glass Castle. 4.5 stars

Order Driving with Dead People

Friday, December 19, 2008

2009 ARC Reading Challenge

I keep telling myself no more challenges, but then I find one that fits in so well with the other challenges I'm doing that I just can't resist.

This challenge is being hosted by So Many Precious Books, So Little Time.

The rules are:

1. To sign up, leave a comment and a direct link to your blog post about this challenge that includes your list from rule #2.
2. List all of the ARC's that you have to read right now. Then throughout the year, you must continue updating that list as you receive more ARC's. (This is important). You should also strike out the ones that you finish.
3. a. All of us who have or will have more than 12 ARC's must read and review 12.
b. All of us who have or will have less than 12 ARC's must read all of the ARC's we have. Note, that if you have 11 ARC's and then receive a 12th one you will be bumped up to category a.
4. You don't have to make a list of which ARC's you plan to read, but you can if you want.
5. Crossovers with other challenges are allowed and Audio-books are allowed as long as they are ARC's.
6. Read the books and review them on your blog. If you don't have a blog, you can post your review on sites like Powells, Amazon, Barnes and Noble, etc. Leave a comment on this post with a link to each of your reviews.
7. Please subscribe to my blog, as I will be posting updates to the challenge periodically.
8. Enjoy!
Note of clarification: I guess I use the term ARC loosely. I consider anything sent from a publisher or author as an ARC because they are sent to us with the expectation that we will review them.

My list of ARCs/review books so far:

1. Down To a Sunless Sea by Mathias Freese (review)
2. So Long at the Fair by Christina Schwarz
3. Schooled by Anisha Lakhani
4. Blue Genes by Christopher Lukas
5. Hurry Down Sunshine by Michael Greenberg
6. American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
7. Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones (review)
8. Blonde Roots by Bernardine Evaristo
9. Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson (review)
10. Something Like Beautiful by Asha Bandele
11. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (review)
12. A Pearl in the Storm by Tori Murden McClure (review)
13. Midwife of the Blue Ridge by Christine Blevins
14. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford (review)
15. A Thousand Veils by D. J. Murphy
16. Stalin's Children by Owen Matthews
17. Honeymoon in Tehran by Azadeh Moaveni
18. Sweet Mandarin by Helen Tse
19. Stealing Athena by Karen Essex
20. The Richest Season by Maryann McFadden
21. Tan Lines by J. J. Salem
22. The Aviary Gate by Katie Hickman
23. The Plague by Joanne Dahme (review coming soon)
24. Lost Boy by Brent Jeffs (review)
25. 20 Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (review)
26. Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton (review)
27. Outliers by Malcolm Gladwell (review)
28. A Child's Journey Out of Autism by Leeann Whiffen (review)
29. Delicate Edible Birds by Lauren Groff (review)
30. Mixed Blood by Roger Smith (review)
31. The Survivor's Club by Ben Sherwood (review)
32. Siam Nights by JF Gump (review)
33. Boneman's Daughter by Ted Dekker (review)
34. Secret Daughter by June Cross (review)
35. Breakneck by Erica Spindler (review)
36. The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (review)
37. Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns (review)
38. Outcasts United by Warren St. John (review)
39. The Beach Street Knitting Society and Yarn Club by Gil McNeil
40. Illegal by Paul Levine (review)
41. Picking Cotton by Jennifer Thompson-Cannino and Ronald Cotton
42. The Rivers Run Dry by Sibella Giorello
43. A Final Arc of Sky by Jennifer Culkin (review)
44. A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal (review)
45. The Blue Notebook by James Levine (review)
46. Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (review)
47. Angels of Destruction by Keith Donohue
48. Precious by Sandra Novack (review)
49. Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz
50. Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha‏
51. The World in Half by by Cristina Henriquez (review)
52. Dragon House by John Shors
53. Perfection by Julie Metz (review coming soon)
54. True Colors by Kristin Hannah (review)
55. Best Intentions by Emily Listfield (review)
56. The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips (review)

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Booking Through Thursday...Generosity

Today's Booking Through Thursday asks...Do you give books as gifts? To everyone? Or only to select people? How do you feel about receiving books as gifts?

I love to give books as gifts! It seems that most people don't read much anymore and I hope that by giving books as gifts I get others hooked on reading. I do try to tailor my gifts to the recipients reading tastes, and not just buy them books I liked. I especially love to give new parents some of my favorite children's books. If I know that someone doesn't read at all I do refrain from giving them books, as I know they won't be appreciated.

I love for people to buy me books, but I acknowledge that it would hard for others to surprise me with a book. I have so many that I own but haven't read (over 700) that sometimes even I forget what I have! If there is a book I want as a gift I usually ask for it specifically.

Who do you buy books for?

Wednesday, December 17, 2008

Santa Fe Dead by Stuart Woods

When last we encountered Ed Eagle, he had been the target of a murder-for-hire plot orchestrated by his wife, Barbara, the ultimate black widow. But when Barbara escapes from police custody, Ed knows that not only will his life be in danger but also the life of his new girlfriend, and, of course, of any rich man unlucky enough to be lured into Barbara's web. To add to his troubles, Ed has taken on a new client, Don Wells, who may or may not have murdered his own wife and son.

From the posh resorts of southern California to the New Mexico desert and the seedy hotels of Tijuana, Ed Eagle will follow every lead--and hope that he doesn't wind up Santa Fe Dead.

I am have been a Stuart Woods fan for quite a while and read all four of his series, but this is my least favorite by far. Ed Eagle has spent the first two books in the series trying to avoid being killed by his wife. I hope that the next book in the series takes a different direction. I don't see the series lasting very long if the same plot keeps being rewritten over and over. The sideline mystery in this book with Ed's client was decent, but nothing amazing.

I also am not particularly fond of Ed's character. He seems to be a Stone Barrington knock off, without the charm. Overall, this series has been a bit of a let down and I hope the next book is better. 2.5 stars

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Tuesday Thingers!

Today's Question: The LT Home Page feature. How are you liking it? Or not? Do you go here when you log into LT or do you use your profile page more?

I actually like the Home Page feature quite a lot, but tend to forget about because my quick link button is set to my profile page. I don't really spend all that much time on my profile page either so maybe I need to change my link button.

I especially like the connection news section. I have stumbled on some books there that I might not have know about otherwise. There are some sections at the bottom, like tag watch, on this day and hot reviews, that I don't look at.

Monday, December 15, 2008

Read Your Own Books Challenge

I hardly need another challenge, but the modifications that S. Krishna made inspired me. I am going to read the first 10 books that I requested when I joined Paperbackswap over 2 years ago. These books have been sitting on my shelves long enough!

These books are:

1. The Last Days of Dogtown by Anita Diamant
2. Dry by Augusten Burroughs, (review)
3. The Other Boleyn Girl by Phillipa Gregory (review)
4. Labyrinth by Kate Mosse
5. The Thin Place by Kathryn Davis (review)
6. Pope Joan by Donna Woolfork Cross (review)
7. American Gods by Neil Gaiman
8. The Constant Princess by Phillipa Gregory
9. Amagansett by Mark Mills
10. A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson

Sunday, December 14, 2008

999 Challenge

I found the 999 Challenge on LibraryThing quite some time ago, but forgot to post about it here! The rules are read 9 books in each of 9 different categories for a total of 81 books. To make it easier, you can have 9 books listed in 2 different categories. To make it harder, read all 81 books by 09/09/09.

My categories are:

1. Delicate Edible Birds: And Other Stories by Lauren Groff (review)
3. The Mighty Queens of Freeville: A Mother, a Daughter, and the Town That Raised Them by Amy Dickinson (review)
4. Down to a Sunless Sea by Mathias B. Freese (review)
5. The Help by Kathryn Stockett (review)
6. A Child's Journey out of Autism: One Family's Story of Living in Hope and Finding a Cure by Leeann Whiffen (review)
7. Siam Nights: A Love Story by JF Gump (review)
8. The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano (review)
9. The Simplest of Acts: And Other Stories by Melanie Haney (review)

New to Me Authors
1. Waiting to Surface by Emily Listfield (review)
2. Forgive Me by Amanda Eyre Ward (review)
3. Catching Genius by Kristy Kiernan (review)
4. The World in Half by Cristina Henriquez (review)
5. Defending Angels by Mary Stanton (review)
6. Twenty Boy Summer by Sarah Ockler (review)
7. Precious by Sandra Novack (review)
8. Notes From The Underbelly by Risa Green (review)
9. The Blue Notebook by James Levine (review)

Historical Fiction
1. The Jewel of Medina by Sherry Jones (review)
2. Honolulu by Alan Brennert (review)
3. Mistress of the Sun by Sandra Gulland (review)
4. The Virgin Blue by Tracy Chevalier (review)
5. The Rossetti Letter by Christi Phillips (review)
6. The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips (review)
7. The White Queen by Philippa Gregory (review)
8. The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig (review)
9. Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier (review coming soon)

Mysteries or Suspense
1. Case Histories by Kate Atkinson (review)
2. Mixed Blood by Roger Smith (review)
3. Bahama Burnout by Don Bruns (review)
4. Illegal by Paul Levine (review)
5. Breakneck by Erica Spindler (review)
6. BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker (review)
7. Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark (review)
8. The Associate by John Grisham (review)
9. Lifeguard by James Patterson (review)

Favorite Authors (series)
1. Damage Control by JA Jance (review)
2. Invisible Prey by John Sandford (reveiw)
3. The Broken Window by Jeffery Deaver (review)
4. Run for Your Life by James Patterson (review)
5. The 8th Confession by James Patterson (review)
6. Loitering with Intent by Stuart Woods (review coming soon)
7. Lost Girls by George D. Shuman (review coming soon)
8. Undone by Karin Slaughter (review)
9. Dead Time by Stephen White (review)

1. Girlbomb: A Halfway Homeless Memoir by Janice Erlbaum (review)
2. Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass,Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster (review)
3. Tell Me Where It Hurts: A Day of Humor, Healing and Hope in My Life as an Animal Surgeon by Nick Trout (review)
4. Dry by Augusten Burroughs (review)
5. Secret Daughter: A Mixed-Race Daughter and the Mother Who Gave Her Away by June Cross (review)
6. A Pearl in the Storm: How I Found My Heart in the Middle of the Ocean by Tori Murden Mcclure (review)
7. Invisible Sisters by Jessica Handler (review)
8. A Lucky Child: A Memoir of Surviving Auschwitz as a Young Boy by Thomas Buergenthal (review)
9. Outcasts United: A Refugee Team, an American Town by Warren St. John (review)

Audio Books
1. Outliers: The Story of Success by Malcolm Gladwell (review)
2. The Survivors Club: The Secrets and Science that Could Save Your Life by Ben Sherwood (review)
7. My Antonia by Willa Cather (review)
8. Coraline by Neil Gaiman (review)
9. Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking by Malcolm Gladwell (review)

Young Adult
1. 13 Little Blue Envelopes by Maureen Johnson (review)
2. A Countess Below Stairs by Eva Ibbotson (review)
3. Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (review)
4. The Plague by Joanne Dahme (review)
5. Briar Rose by Jane Yolen (review)
6. A Certain Slant of Light by Laura Whitcomb (review)
7. Bloom by Elizabeth Scott (review)
8. Umbrella Summer by Lisa Graff (review coming soon)
9. The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams (review)

Catch All (because I want to read it)
1. Bel Canto by Ann Patchett (review)
2. Resistance by Anita Shreve (review)
3. Sleep Toward Heaven by Amanda Eyre Ward (review)
4. Angel's Advocate by Mary Stanton (review)
5. Best Intentions by Emily Listfield (review)
6. True Colors by Kristin Hannah (review)
7. Beach Road by James Patterson (review)
8. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen (review)
9. Handle with Care by Jodi Picoult (review)