Wednesday, November 24, 2010

With Love; Now and Forever by RaeAnne Hadley

From all outward appearances, Anastasia Cassadine has the perfect life; gorgeous looks, a very successful company and handsome men vying to be her companion.  But outward appearances can be deceiving.  Ana is still haunted by a dark secret from her past, one that involved her first love, Austin Troy.

Now, twelve years later, after finally gathering the courage to confront Austin, Ana is horrified to learn of his recent death.  His widow, Jennifer, informs her that Ana is named in Austin's will and must come to england at once.  Once there, Ana meets Rick Montgomer, a handsome medium that immediately puts Ana on her guard.  Their mutual attraction however, is hard tod eny, and as Rick and Ana begin to get closer, dark forces are gathering to tear them apart.

Once more forced to relive the terror that forced her and Austin apart so many years before, Ana and Rick must join together to battle the darkness that will threaten everything they know. -taken from the back of the book

This was a fun read for me.  Easy to pick up, difficult to put down.  I have to admit that I found the heroin to be a pretty big twit who annoyed me, but it was easy enough to look past that.  I can't say what it was about her that annoyed me without giving away spoilers, but I found myself reading and thinking, 'Really?  Seriously?  What's wrong with you???'  Perhaps she's written that way on purpose, I'm not really sure.  She's still lovable in spite of that one nasty character flaw, however.  The rest of the cast of characters are equally fun and endearing, if at times a bit staged.

Basically, this was a romance with an attempt at horror/suspense thrown in.  The reason I use the word 'attempt' is that it's sadly predictable.  Still fun to read, don't get me wrong, but predictable.  Those who enjoy Harlequin would definitely enjoy this meatier version. 

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Perform Like a Rock STar and Still Have Time for Lunch by Orna W. Drawas

Take the guesswork out of success and focus on the actions that can make you a star.  Filled with inspirational stories from successful executives, athletes, and ordinary people, Perform Like a Rock Star offers a clear road map for accomplishing impressive results that can move you forward faster than you ever thought possible. - taken from the back of the book

This book is definitely for the individual with their career in mind.  I have mixed emotions and thoughts on this book.  While reading it I felt rushed, as though the author was speaking to me and had a lot to say and minimal time to say it.  Although, as a reader, I have all the time in the world to read this book, there was such a sense of urgency in the way it's written that I didn't feel like I could slow down and let everything sink in.  On the other hand, the pop culture references, cartoons, inspirational stories and lyrics were well-worth being rushed. 

The most useful part of this book is the second half.  Most of the beginning of the book talks about being a star and finding your goals and other helpful tidbits.  The second half goes a bit more in depth and gives you key information on taking care of pesky co-workers, formatting better e-mails and making meetings more productive.  This book focuses on prioritizing, which should go without saying in the business world, but Orna shows ways to remove the clutter from your business life and make it easier to achieve those priorities.  At the end of the book there's a section with discussions and activities.  These are designed to help you personally make the most of your business life and become a 'rock star'.

Gar Fish and Long Gravy by Alexander Devereux

Growing up poor in the small town of Vicksburg, Mississippi, Alexander Devereux didn't have much.  But there was no lack of remarkable personalities, each of whom left an indelible imprint on his life.  Gar Fish & Long Gravy collects the stories, insight, tragedies, and uproarious wit of an unforgettable cast of characters.  Meet Granmama Lia', who's hard-won wisdom on life, love-and mistresses-is dispensed to in her kitchen to her beloved grandson, sometimes over Johnny Walker Black.  There's Ms. Peaches, who raises chickens in her ramshackle hut yet might be one of the richest people in town.  Big Daddy is an imposing hulk, but his massive frame hides a vulnerable past and humiliating secret.  Ms. Annie Laurie is a fabulously wealthy white woman who never had children of her own.  But her love rains down on young Alexander.  And that's just for starters. -taken from the back of the book

I've come to notice recently that most of the memoirs I read from the south have a definite hint of humor in them.  I found myself grinning in several spots of this book.  My favorite quote from this book is, 'If sense were common, everyone would have it.'  It makes you smile and holds several grains of truth.

This book paints a picture of Devereux's life as a child, and it's not usually a pretty picture.  There are so many hardships depicted that no one should ever have to live through, but each time it's taken care of with love and faith.  Though not everyone in Devereux's life growing up was someone any of us would want to be around, the others more than made up for it with their depth of love and wisdom and sharing.  I can't agree with all of the wisdom shared with him as a child, but I was still entertained while disagreeing. 

For me, the best part of this book is the actual dialogue.  The rest of the book is interesting and ads, but the dialogue is where the real meat of the story lies.  It gives us insight into the characters and their beliefs as well as the truths that hide behind each person. 

Though parts of this book are heart-wrenching, I strongly suggest it for you  memoir readers.  Also, for those of you handy with a baseball bat, let me know how the gar fishing goes :)

Kosher by Design: Teens and 20-Somethings by Susie Fishbein

This cookbook is NOT just for those who are Jewish!  Every recipe in here is kosher, but you'll find several American-style recipes in here too. 

Also, this book is not just for 20-somethings.  The recipes are designed for those with minimal kitchen space and utensils, but they're honestly good for anyone to use.  Not only that, but they look absolutely divine!

Most of the recipes you'll find in here are just a step up from basic cooking.  They're enticing, but not so difficult that you can't achieve them. 

My personal favorite section of this book is a chapter on parties.  It's full of party theme ideas! 

The pictures in this book are stunning.  The recipes are clear and concise.  Everything has been well-collected and well-placed.  Of all the cookbooks I own, I have to admit that this is my favorite and will be used often.  I want to try every single recipe in this book!

Simple Times Crafts for Poor People by Amy Sedaris

Most of you have probably heard of Amy Sedaris, but you've never seen her this way before.  She spent years as Jerri in Strangers With Candy and often collaborates with her older brother, David.  Though I've seen Amy's humorous side before, this was a whole new light that I just can't wait to share with you!

Whether you're a serious crafter or just want a good chuckle, this is the book for you.  Amy covers crafting for everyone from those high on hallucinogens to shut-ins.  Need to make a gift for the nudist in your life?  Amy has it covered!  How about that poor little poisoned mouse that's not quite dead yet?  Make him a mouse ghetto for his final hours!  Though most of the crafts I found to be rather jokish, there were a few that I found myself saying 'What a great idea!' to.  There are definitely some useful tips and information in here among all the giggles.  I do have to warn you about the chapter on safety though.  Although I'm sure it's packed full of humor and useful information, I couldn't bring myself to read it.  The pictures were just a bit too graphic for my own tastes. 

Whether wanting a new style for your love patch, a new recipe, or crafting for Jesus, this book has everything.  A friend and I spent hours going through it and we both found something entertaining on each page.  Amy's brand of humor lends a whole new light to crafting. 

Painkiller Ghosts by J. Marc Harding

After his girlfriend's death, 30 something year old Thymothy X Exler moves back home with his mother, Suzanne, to get stability, and then changes his  name to Thyme.  While out walking, Thyme witnesses a tragedy that changes the direction of his life.  meanwhile, Suzanne is stalked and threatened by a man she dated briefly and Thyme takes matters into his own hands, with kitchen utensils.  Soon, the man begins appearing in the lives of Thyme's friends with disturbing consequences.  Thyme begins to hear the jingle of his dog's collar occasionally, but his dog died years ago.  And then Chastity disrupts things even more. - taken from the back of the book

I had a great time reading this book!  The suspense kept me intrigued and the storyline kept me engrossed.  The characters are interesting in that they aren't like anyone I've ever known.  There's still a sense of realism, but they're behavior borders on the outlandish.  I'm sure there really are people like these in the world somewhere, just not in my own personal reality.

What really hit me the most about this book is Harding's way of writing.  It's nearly poetic.  In the beginning it's more noticeable than later on in the book, but it's still there for those that are looking for it.  The way the words are strung together is beautiful and haunting in the beginning.  Later, as it becomes more natural, the tone of the poetry of his writing alters to match the mood of the book.  Though the story was entertaining, it was Harding's flair with words that kept me from putting the book down.

A First Christmas; Friends and Festivity by Sean Noonan

Join Elannah and Sam as the half sleep takes them to their secret Tree-House in the Jungle..where they meet in their dreams.

Once again they're off to see their friend Rodger the Badger and onto another everlasting and fantastical adventure.

This time it's about a First Christmas Party.

From finding the perfect Christmas Tree, the Best of Decorations the excitement just keeps building as as for the lights...!  Well these lights will be like no lights ever seen on a Christmas Tree before!  But what will the Bridge Troll make of the party and what present will be the most unexpected of them all? -taken from the back of the book

Being a Christmas fiend, I had a great time reading this children's book.  It's full of adventure and magic.  Not just Christmas magic, but the wizard kind as well. 

This book is geared towards children ages 6 and up.  It's a little difficult for some younger readers, but I visualize this more as a night time read where the parent/guardian reads the book to the child.  The story is bright and fun and should keep children on the edge of their bed, all snuggled in and wondering what will happen next.  This would definitely be a great addition to your Christmas reading collection and a joy to share with your child.

I'd also like to extend a special thanks to Elannah for autographing my book for me.  Elannah drew all of the illustrations for the book.  Some of the illustrations are intricate, but all of them made me smile :)

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Boost by Linda Edgecombe

First, I want to state that I haven't read this book, although I plan to.  Linda is a Canadian author/motivational speaker.  Her first book, Shift...Or Get Off The Pot, is a motivational book that deals with changing your perspective on life in a humorous manner.  Boost is geared more towards enjoying life.  Whether at work or home, every day has it's own special challenges.  Linda gives practical, fun advice about how to 'whistle while you work' and make those challenges a little less challenging.  I can't say I strongly suggest you pick this book up since I haven't read it yet, but I can say that it looks like a pretty good read, even if you're already taking a spoonful of sugar with your medicine.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Monday, November 1, 2010

November

It's November already and I have no idea how that happened!  This year is seriously just flying by!  I know I normally put up the 'Pick of the Month' and draw the $5 Amazon winner on the first of the month, but I'm switching it up this month.  I'll be using tomorrow as a catch up day, so I'll get everything caught up then.  (Hopefully!)  On the bright side, this gives you guys an extra 24 hours to scare up some extra entries into the giveaway!  See you all tomorrow!

Giveaway Notice

All winners of giveaways will be notified as soon as their name has been drawn. Each winner will have two weeks to respond in order to receive their prize. Prizes cannot be delivered without an email/physical address. Any prizes that are not claimed within a two week period will be forfeited.

Notice

All books (unless otherwise specified) belong to me already, have been borrowed, or are sent to me by the author, publisher or review company for review. I do not receive any monetary rewards for reviewing books. The opinions expressed in my reviews belong solely to me.