Sunday, March 13, 2005

Answered Prayers by Danielle Steel

This novel about a woman's quest to find herself was published in 2002, so I'm a little behind with this author's work. She publishes them so fast, it's hard to keep up...

Book Description: This novel is about family and friendship, about one woman's struggle to break free from the past -- and the man who helps her triumph. And most of all, it is about daring to believe in... ANSWERED PRAYERS. On the outside, Faith Madison is the very picture of a sophisticated New Yorker. Slim, blonde, stylish, Faith has a life many would envy. Overcoming a childhood marked by tragedy, married to a successful investment banker and having raised two grown daughters, Faith has enjoyed her role as mother and wife, and the good life that emanates from their bustling Manhattan town house. But every step of the way, Faith has carried within her a secret she could divulge to no one. And with it, she has kept an even more painful secret from herself. For Faith, it is the sudden death of her stepfather -- a man who, like her husband, Alex, always remained just beyond her reach -- that will touch off a journey of change and revelation. At the funeral, painful memories flood back -- and an old friend reenters Faith's life. Faith is greeting mourners, when she hears a voice behind her and a single word that brings a quick smile to her face: "Fred." Only one person aside from her older brother, Jack, called her that. Brad Patterson was Jack's best friend, a long, lanky boy who teased, tormented, and protected Faith when they fancied themselves "The Three Musketeers" as kids. When Jack died years later, Faith and Brad came together again in their common, inconsolable grief, then lost touch once more amid the demands of families and busy lives a continent apart. Now a lawyer in California, Brad has reentered Faith's life just as she is making a decision that plunges her marriage into crisis. Determined to fulfill a long-held desire for a career of her own, Faith applies to law school against her husband's wishes, igniting a barrage of anger and recrimination. Faith's only solace is the correspondence she has begun with Brad, a man trapped in an empty marriage of his own, a friend she once lost and has found again. Soon e-mails are flying between them, bridging three thousand miles, sharing much-needed friendship, support, laughter. And as these two childhood friends rediscover each other, something extraordinary is beginning to happen. In the safety of their friendship, Brad will find the courage to make a decision he should have made years before. And Faith, too, is changing, beginning to believe in herself -- and in her right to grab hold of her dreams. Gathering a strength she never knew she had, Faith is finally ready to face the most painful step of all: of sharing the secret that has long been haunting her, and truly opening up her heart for the first time in her life. With unerring insight into the hearts of husbands and wives, lovers and families, Danielle Steel tells a wise and moving story of the secrets that wound and the choices that heal -- and of the second chances that come only once in a lifetime.

Book Rating: 8/10 - Danielle Steel used to be an auto-buy author for me; I couldn't get enough of her books. Over the years, I found myself disappointed many times and the stories seemed to all sound the same. I was afraid this book would follow the same pattern. It starts out a little depressing with the history of Faith's marriage and how Alex treats her but then draws the reader in as Faith's journey to finding herself begins with her decision to go back to school. The reader is given an inside look into not only Faith's life, but her marriage of 26 years and what her quest to have a life does to her marriage. The reader is uplifted at the recollections of Faith's past, her painflul childhood, her brother, and her friend Brad, who reenters Faith's life when she most needs a friend. I thought the author handled the blooming friendship and enventually the romance with style and grace. I also enjoyed being drawn into Brad's life as well. All too often, a story centers around one central character with supporting characters adding flavor throughout. I enjoyed that the reader gets to know Brad and you see his personality come alive on the pages. The author has created characters in this story that the reader will care about. Overall, a very enjoyable story about family and friendship. Ironically, I felt many times while reading this book that my marriage held an eerily similar view as Faith's...

Wednesday, March 09, 2005

New Book Acquisitions

Went to the library to pick up some books today...I picked up:

The Miserable Mill by Lemony Snicket (Book #4 in the Series of Unfortunate Events)
Honeymoon by James Patterson
and several others that I had to return before due to running out of time.

Went to Waldenbooks to use a 25% coupon I received in the mail. I used it to purchase The Cat's Meow by Emily Carmichael. I have enjoyed this author's previous books featuring paranormal activity and animals and I expect this one will deliver.

Book Description: When a cat plays cupid, it means love with the PURRFECT stranger...

Sparks (and fur!) fly both in and out of the courtroom in this sparkling new novel, second in Emily Carmichael's "Hearts of Gold" trilogy....

When workaholic attorney McKenna Wright returns home from the hospital following a car accident, she has the sinking feeling that her road to recovery is going to be a long one. Her memory has more holes than a piece of swiss cheese; she can barely recall her own name, let alone the details of the big case she's been trying in court. And then there's the fact that her beloved cat, Nefertiti, has suddenly learned how to talk. Or is it that McKenna has suddenly learned how to listen? Not that she wants to hear what Titi is trying to tell her, because it just might turn her world even further upside down. Such as the fact that the music star she's been defending isn't all that innocent. And worse, that the hunky prosecutor McKenna condemned on sight is guilty of nothing more than his criminal good looks.

But after losing her job and her house, and making no progress at finding her memory, McKenna needs all the help she can get to rebuild her life. She's determined to reclaim her fiercely independent former self, even if it means taking advice from her talking cat, listening to her bossy friends, or -- worst of all -- leaning just a little on the man she used to snub. Once her memory returns, she'll finally be able to put chatty felines and a certain entirely-too-handsome lawyer behind her so her life can return to normal. After all, normal is exactly what McKenna wants... isn't it?

Received my Red Dress Ink shipment today. They included a very pretty wineglass and a bookmark with the books. Here's what I got:

A New Lu by Laura Castoro
Book Description: "What was I thinking? Sex for the last time. That's what."

Five-O magazine lifestyle columnist Lu Nichols has led an ordinary life. Marriage. Career. Two kids. Now she's turning fifty, and the wear is showing. The kids are grown. The ink is dry on the divorce papers. Her boss wants to do an extreme makeover feature, starring Lu. And those bad oysters she ate have turned out to be something a little more permanent.

"I'm almost fifty years old, recently divorced. Now I'm about to be an unwed mother. And you thought you had issues."

Her soon-to-be-wed daughter is horrified. Her boss is thrilled; she can turn her delicate condition into a monthly expose. Her ex is AWOL. And the sexy, slightly younger doctor who delivered the news? Well, he hasn't run off screaming yet. And however it all turns out, there's one thing Lu can be sure of --- she's knocked up, but not out. And more than ready for a brand-new Lu...

Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool by Lynn Messina
Book Description: This could mean the end of cool as we know it...

So hip it hurts...

Want to know what'll be hot next season? Just ask Mim Warner, the best coolhunter in the business. But Mim's latest trend predictions ("slut" T-shirts for eight year old girls? Samurai swords for ten year old boys?) are troubling, to say the least.
Fearing that Mim's about to be out like last season's Capri pants and worried about what she'll say next, her staff implements a Mim surveillance mission. With clients fleeing in droves and everyone around her in a tizzy, Meghan Resnick, Mim's protegee, seems to be the only one in control of all her faculties. But watching Mim lose her cool is loosening a few of Meghan's own screws. Suddenly she's not sure of anything --- her career, her future, her ex-boyfriend, even her judgment. When Mim-watching leads to the scene of a murder --- with Mim leaning over the dead body --- Meghan can't help but wonder if her boss will be forecasting her next trend from Sing Sing.

An affectionate satire about the ins and outs of coolhunting, Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool mines the mysterious forces that make a trend come together --- and a woman fall apart.

Had I known I would be getting a copy of Mim Warner's Lost Her Cool, I wouldn't have bought the copy I already had...oh well. Speaking of strangeness...when I got to the mall today (where Waldenbooks is located), I was putting on my glasses and the lens pops out. Somehow the screw on the frames worked itself loose enough that the frames separated and out comes the lens. Luckily there was a Lenscrafters in the mall and they were kind enough to fix it for me. Wonder if it's a full moon...

Tuesday, March 08, 2005

The Wide Window by Lemony Snicket

This is the third book in the Series Of Unfortunate Events...

Book Description: Dear Reader, If you have not read anything about the Baudelaire orphans, then before you read even one more sentence, you should know this: Violet, Klaus, and Sunny are kindhearted and quick-witted, but their lives, I am sorry to say, are filled with bad luck and misery. All of the stories about these three children are unhappy and wretched, and the one you are holding may be the worst of them all.If you haven't got the stomach for a story that includes a hurricane, a signaling device, hungry leeches, cold cucumber soup, a horrible villain, and a doll named Pretty Penny, then this book will probably fill you with despair.I will continue to record these tragic tales, for that is what I do. You, however, should decide for yourself whether you can possibly endure this miserable story.With all due respect, Lemony Snicket

Book Rating: 8/10 - Another good installment of the doom and gloom that is the lives of the Baudelaire orphans. In this episode, we find the orphans now living with their Aunt Josephine, a woman who is afraid of everything. I mean everything. The doorknob, the telephone, the stove, the lake. If you can think of it, she's probably afraid of it. When the dubious Captain Sham comes into their lives, Violet, Klaus and Sunny immediately recognize him as Count Olaf, but, of course, Aunt Josephine doesn't believe them when they try to warn her. When Aunt Josephine suddenly commits suicide, the children are left in further despair to learn that Aunt Josephine leaves instructions that the children are to be cared for by Captain Sham. The children immediately begin looking for clues to find out the truth about Aunt Josephine's disappearance and to avoid having to go live with Captain Sham. Looking forward to the next installment of this story.

Inappropriate Men by Stacey Ballis

Another new to me author...

Book Description: Sidney Stein has come undone, but who's going to pick up the pieces? "Don't get me wrong. There was -- there is -- much love between my husband and me. We aren't miserable, we just aren't happy. And we aren't really together that much -- it didn't used to seem to matter. But it's starting to matter. It's starting to matter very much indeed." With her marriage spiraling toward divorce, sexually confident and unapologetically sized-24 Sidney Stein finds herself drawn into an illicit affair with Geoffrey Fahl -- not only married and twenty years her senior, but also her father's business partner. Perilously close to falling in love with this man who is so very wrong for her and knowing there's no future in the relationship, Sidney decides it's time to turn her life around.Newly separated from her husband, Sidney dives into the dating pool. And after more than a dozen dates, a disastrous transitional guy and reconnecting with a high school crush, she can't help but wonder if it might not just be easier to let herself drown. But just as she stops looking for the ideal man, someone else arrives... and he might just be everything she never knew she always wanted.

Book Rating: 6/10 - I have to admit that, initially, I didn't think I would care for this story at all. Adultery themes really turn me off, usually. I skimmed over the poems, but I did enjoy the story for the most part. I thought Sidney was a realistic character trying to find passion and true love, though I didn't agree with her direction. I did like the author's voice and found her to be very witty, which came through in the character's personalities. The last 1/4 of the book seemed to drag for me while Sidney was waffling about what she was going to do about Geoff and having her email marathon with Joe. I think the author has a lot of potential so I will be looking for more by her to read.

The Ex-Files by Jane Moore

This is the first book I've read by this author and am very happy I did!

After five years spent maneuvering for Mr. Right, beautiful, feisty Faye Parker has finally snared a sensitive cutie named Mark. So when he pops the question, Faye is fully prepared to step out of the dating rat-race, call the caterer, and don the veil.

Just as soon as she has one last teensy-weensy little fling.

Then comes the dicey issue of the guest list. First there's Nat, Faye's ex -- a narcissistic fashion model hell-bent on flaunting his substantial charms in Faye's face, his latest Playboy bunny in tow. Next there's Kate, Mark's ex -- a woman so indignant she's not the bride that she's liable to slit Faye's zipper. And, of course, there's Adam, Faye's flamboyant sidekick, milking the chaos for all it's worth while shamelessly ogling Nat's abs. As the rehearsal dinner lurches toward the brink of a spin-the-bottle-fueled imbroglio, Faye must face the fact that marriage means more than a flawlessly executed reception. She's got a serious decision to make -- about Mark, about love, and about her own deepest desires.

Book Rating: 8/10 - I really liked this story! I laughed myself silly through quite a bit of the book. Though Faye comes across as a very shallow and selfish female, I found it hard to not like her. Of course, you had to know what was going to happen once Tony showed up in France, so that wasn't a surprise, but I was surprised she gave in as quickly as she did. Of course, if she had called Tony's bluff, who is to say how the story would have turned out. I also liked how the author takes the reader back in time to illustrate both Faye and Mark's previous relationships as well as giving us some background on Faye's mother. I thought Adam was a riot and think he would be a lot of fun to hang out with. I look forward to reading more from this author.

The Key Of Knowledge by Nora Roberts

This is the second book in the "key" trilogy and I've really enjoyed this series so far.

Book Description: Following hot on the heels of the first installment in Roberts's Key trilogy, this second book (following Key of Light) continues the story of three contemporary female friends chosen to free the souls of ancient demigoddesses called the Daughters of Glass. This time, the heroine is Dana Steele, a librarian who is sure that the key she's seeking lies in a book. As she begins her search, Dana renovates Indulgence, the gallery-cum-salon-cum-bookstore she is opening with her friends Malory Price and Zoe McCourt. She also spends sometimes passionate, sometimes vexing time with Jordan Hawke, the thriller writer who broke her heart years earlier when he abandoned her and their small Pennsylvania town of Pleasant Valley to seek fame in New York. Dana slowly realizes that the love they once felt for each other has not died-and that Jordan's writing is inextricably entwined with her supernatural quest. In the end, Jordan must join with Dana to fight the spells of the sorcerer Kane and fulfill the terms of her quest.

Rating: 8/10 - Very enjoyable. I loved the interaction between all of the characters, including Moe. I can't decide which couple I like the best. I definitely felt a kinship with Dana, since she is the booklover of the trio and Jordan is an author. Nora Roberts weaves a wonderful tale of romance, passion and magic around the reader in such a way that you feel like you are part of the story; experiencing and seeing everything the characters do. Kane was definitely more menacing and evil in this book, which tells me he will be even more sinister in the next book

Saturday, March 05, 2005

Bad Day

Can't seem to get my shit together today. Rob left yesterday to go to he says. For a man who is supposedly going to help a friend clear downed trees from his property, why does he need $200 cash and acne medication? Maybe I'm just a suspicious person, but something doesn't ring true here....

After work, went to Diana's to check on Tommy Kitty and wasn't watching my step (probably because I'm thinking about the above) and took a header on the sidewalk. One of the sections of sidewalk is raised and my shoe caught it just right and down I went. White jeans and mud definitely don't go together. My left knee is swollen, but fortunately I didn't scrape it up. Just sore...

Started reading Love Overbord by Janet Evanovich. Maybe it's just my mood (and probably this anti-social song I'm listening to...Hate Everything About You by Ugly Kid Joe), but this book isn't grabbing me. This book was published before her Stephanie Plum series, but the characters in this book all sound like the ones from that series.

Tuesday, March 01, 2005

Books Read in February

Here is what I managed to read in February:

BAIT - Karen Robards. I rated this book 8 stars out of 10. Fans of romantic suspense will enjoy this story that revolves around a woman who is the target of a hitman and the FBI agent assigned to protect her. The level of suspense kept me on the edge of my seat waiting to see what would happen next. Great supporting characters give the story balance and the chemistry between Maddie and Sam was fantastic, as well. There were multiple plots occurring that confused me, especially Maddie's past and her connection to the mob and just who the villain was, but the author tied up all of the loose ends nicely. I look forward to more by this author.

HEIST AND SEEK - Amy Sandrin. Never have read anything by this author before, so I was intrigued as to how it would turn out. Unfortunately, it only rated 5 stars out of 10. The story revolves around a woman who, while working as a janitor in a bank one night, interrupts a robbery in progress and is subsequently taken hostage along with an FBI agent who was in the bank trying to catch the guy in the act. A lot of running in the woods, and hiding from the killer ensues and they end up being rescued, but it isn't over as the killer is killed by someone and now is after Robyn and Killian. The story was so-so, I felt. There were some good scenes, especially the one where Robyn adopts a stray kitten and tells Killian she named the kitten SAM (for Secret Agent Man).

AS SEEN ON TV - Sarah Mlynowski. I could only muster up 4 stars out of 10 for this one. Initially, I thought the premise of the story sounded really good and one that I would enjoy. Woman gives up her job, apartment, etc. to move to NYC to live with her boyfriend. When the job she was expecting falls through, she finds herself on a reality TV show called "Party Girls" where, with 3 other women, they go to bars, get pissed and pick up men. Now, I'll admit, I've never had much of an interest in some of the reality TV shows going around, like The Bachelor and The Bachelorette, but I thought it would be interesting. Unfortunately, the story quickly lost its appeal as I couldn't find anything entertaining in getting drunk, pretending to be unattached and picking up strange men. Hoping I will have better luck with this author down the road.

THE REPTILE ROOM - Lemony Snicket. I'm trying to prepare myself for when I watch the movie as to what this story is all about. This is actually the second story in the Series Of Unfortunate Events. I thoroughly enjoyed the story and gave it a 9 stars out of 10 rating. In this installment, the Baudelaire orphans go to live with their Uncle Monty and assist him in his reptile room caring for the many reptiles. Unfortunately, Count Olaf soon makes an appearance and the orphans are again dealing with tragedy. This installment takes on a darker twist that I wonder if it will continue in future books. I'm looking forward to seeing what happens to them next and how they outwit Count Olaf.

KILL THE MESSENGER - Tami Hoag. Undoubtedly, the best book of the month. I rated it a 10. The story centers around a bike messenger who goes to make a last delivery one evening for a lawyer. When he arrives at the address to make the delivery, someone tries to kill him. Jace manages to escape, barely, and decides to go back to the lawyer's office to find out what is going on. Unfortunately, someone has gotten to the lawyer first and has killed him and now the police and the killer are looking for Jace. Totally awesome story with a surprise twist at the ending that really packs a punch.

MOTHER OF THE BRIDE - Lynn Michaels. Another new to me author whose story about the trials and tribulations of a wedding got an 8 stars out of 10 rating. There were several moments in this story that I laughed out loud and I really enjoyed the characters. After seeing what a wedding does to people, I'm glad I opted for the Justice of the Peace route.

THE NEXT ACCIDENT - Lisa Gardner. This book is a sequel, of sorts, to The Third Victim. Old characters are revisited and new ones are introduced. This one picks up with the plot of Quincy's daughter's death that was briefly touched on in The Third Victim. Rainie Conner, now a private investigator, is hired by Quincy to look into the circumstances of his daughter, Amanda's accident to determine if it really was an accident. I rated this story 8 stars out of 10. This author never fails to surprise me with the twists and turns and surprises she throws into her books. I'm looking forward to the next book, which features Quincy's other daughter, Kimberly.

IT TAKES A HERO - Elizabeth Boyle. This is a historical romance set in 1800s England. The heroine is an author whose books have made the daughters of the ton turn their backs on the marriage mart, which is completely unacceptable to their mothers. The hero is hired by one of the mothers to ferret out the author's identity and make her stop writing. Along the way, mysteries are solved, murderers are caught and love blooms. I gave this book a 7 stars out of 10 rating. The story had great characters and the heroine's Uncle deserved an Oscar for his pretense of being insane...

Happy Reading!


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I am not a professional reviewer, but I love to read and share my opinions on my reading with others who are interested. I work full time but my ideal perfect day would be to curl up with a good book. The majority of the books I review here are from my private collection and my reviews are provided purely for entertainment purposes. I receive no compensation whatsoever for sharing my thoughts and review on any book. If you would like me to review your book, please email me at Happy Reading! :o)