Monday, December 28, 2009

Insider Dating by Jennifer O'Connell

Insider Dating by Jennifer O'Connell

My Rating: 8 *'s

Description: Recently divorced, top financial analyst Abby Dunn has learned the hard way that when it comes to relationships, there's no sure thing. But Abby has decided to use her knack for risk management to change all that --- and give a whole new meaning to mergers and acquisitions. She's creating a members-only club in which women share the inside-dating information they need to invest in their greatest assets: themselves. And she has underperforming men running scared.

But while Abby is busy hedging bets, someone is skewing her data and threatening to ruin her business. Now Abby is is about to find out that sometimes even the savviest market wizards can be headed for a crash.

While it may be perfectly legal, nothing good can come from insider dating...

My Thoughts: The first book I've read by this author. I liked the characters and the story had a good premise. The back cover blurb is not accurate, though. The author doesn't spend a lot of time in the past which would have given the reader a better understanding of why Abby's marriage failed, which is the catalyst for her actions in this story. I liked that Abby was a flawed heroine. She made a lot of mistakes and definitely wasn't the victim of a bad marriage as she contributed to the downfall quite a bit. She also carries a lot of baggage from her own parents divorce with her that established the foundation for a lot of her behavior and thinking. I will be looking for more books by this author.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

My Rating: 6 *'s

Description: When you loved the one who was killing you, it left you no options. How could you run, how could you fight, when doing so would hurt that beloved one? If your life was all you had to give, how could you not give it? If it was someone you truly loved?

To be irrevocably in love with a vampire is both fantasy and nightmare woven into a dangerously heightened reality for Bella Swan. Pulled in one direction by her intense passion for Edward Cullen, and in another by her profound connection to werewolf Jacob Black, a tumultuous year of temptation, loss, and strife have led her to the ultimate turning point. Her imminent choice to either join the dark but seductive world of immortals or to pursue a fully human life has become the thread from which the fates of two tribes hangs.

Now that Bella has made her decision, a startling chain of unprecedented events is about to unfold with potentially devastating, and unfathomable, consequences. Just when the frayed strands of Bella's life-first discovered in Twilight, then scattered and torn in New Moon and Eclipse-seem ready to heal and knit together, could they be destroyed... forever?

My Thoughts: Good ending to an interesting series. The story seemed to drag for me somewhat and I had a hard time accepting how easily Bella adjusted to her new existence, but I liked how the story turned out. I recommend this series to anyone who enjoys vampire romance.

Friday, December 11, 2009

Books On The Nightstand

As the year is quickly winding down, I see I have several titles still sitting on the nightstand that it doesn't look like I will get read by the end of the year.

Here is what's stacked up...

Dating Big Bird by Laura Zigman

Description: With the laugh-out-loud humor and heartfelt wisdom that made ANIMAL HUSBANDRY a national bestseller, Laura Zigman's second novel introduces Ellen Franck, a successful single career woman whose one desire -- a child of her own -- throws her into the ever-growing ranks of the "reproductively challenged."

Ellen has a life many people dream about -- a glamorous fashion industry job, an apartment in Greenwich Village, good friends -- and yet Ellen feels herself at sixes and sevens, filled with a vague longing for... what? She can't say. Then the sight of her newborn niece, Nicole (a.k.a. "The Pickle"), makes her realize exactly what she's been missing: a child. But there's one problem. Malcolm, the man she loves, is too scarred by the long-ago death of his young son to ever consider fatherhood again.

Looking down the barrel of the dark side of thirty-five, Ellen knows that time is passing, and as it does, her desire to have a baby only increases -- especially when her sister Lynn announces she's pregnant with her second child. Now Ellen must finally address the very real flaws in her relationship with Malcolm and examine her doubts and fears about the only option that seems to be available -- single motherhood. And so begins nine months of reading, Internet surfing, and nonstop Zigmanesque observations about morning sickness, stretch marks, accelerated hair growth, digestion, amniocentesis (and that's just the beginning). And Ellen... well, Ellen finally makes a clear-eyed decision that will change her life.

Murder Between The Covers by Elaine Viets

Description: Once on the fast track to success, Helen Hawthorne is going nowhere faster. Forced to trade in her chic life for a shabby one, she's now on the run, jumping from city to city and dead-end job to dead-end job, trying to stay one step ahead of her past....

Helen has a new job "off the books" at Page Turners bookstore in Fort Lauderdale. It's run by Page Turner III, who happens to be neither well-read nor well-liked. When his money troubles surface, it seems the store's long life may be over --- but it's Page's life that's cut short instead. He had plenty of enemies, including an unhappy wife and unfortunate employees. But it is his unforgiving lover --- Helen's wacky neighbor --- police are ready to throw the book at. To save her friend, Helen will have to read between the lines ... and uncover the truth about a clever killer.

Wife In The Fast Lane by Karen Quinn

Description: Christy Hayes is a case study in successful living. She's won two Olympic gold medals, built a multimillion-dollar business, and landed a gorgeous and powerful CEO husband. But Christy's dream life begins to unravel when she inherits custody of an eleven year old girl named Renata. Suddenly she finds herself battling three formidable opponents: a treacherous business partner bent on ousting her from the company she founded, a ruthless stay at home mom who'll stop at nothing to maintain her PTA power base, and a stunning single woman scheming to steal her husband. Throw in the demands of one high maintenance spouse and it's clear: something's got to give. But what? Her marriage? Her career? Her sanity?

Tall, Dark & Dead by Tate Hallaway

Description: The line between magic and sanity is very thin. That's part of why I, Garnet Lacey, quit cold turkey. Never touch the stuff. No exceptions.

But magic is so addictive...and my inner Goddess, Lilith, is hard to resist. Besides, restraint isn't easy when you manage Wisconsin's premier occult bookstore, and get customers like Sebastian Von Traum --- piercing brown eyes, a sexy accent, and a killer body in black leather and denim. The only thing missing is an aura. Which means he's dead...

That means trouble. I guess I'm a sucker for it. The Vatican witch hunters are on to us. My long-lost vampire ex has crawled out of the woodwork looking for action. And Sebastian's frustrated ex is stirring in her grave.

What's a girl to do if she's hot for a dead man walking? Run like hell --- and take full advantage of the nights...

Nursery Crimes by Ayelet Waldman

Description: A public defender turned stay at home mom, Juliet Applebaum is bored with playdates and trips to the park --- so near the end of her second pregnancy, she gets off the mommy track to track down a murderer....

Juliet isn't too surprised when her feisty, tantrum throwing two year old daughter doesn't get into Hollywood's premier preschool ---- but she's shocked and suspicious when the school's principal is killed in a hit and run accident. Against the advice of her screenwriter husband, and with her rambunctious toddler in tow, Juliet heads to the local playground to dig up some dirt on a disgruntled studio executive whose daughter wasn't offered a place in the school. But she has some surprising new suspects to consider when her investigation takes her into a seedy online newsgroup --- and the most dangerous parts of the human heart....

Couch World by Cathy Yardley

Description: It's all about the furniture, the friends, the funk.


P.J.'s life is simple. Wake up at 2:00 p.m. In someone else's place, on someone else's couch. Shower. Clothes. Club. P.J.'s a punter -- someone who fills in if a DJ isn't able to make a gig. San Francisco is a hotbed of glam bands and alternative rock, and P.J.'s into all of it -- she's been living the urban Bedouin lifestyle for almost a year now, saving money to create the blow-out, off-the-hook demo of the music she loves, the music for which she deliberately abandoned "normal."

Ever wondered what it would be like to pack it all in and live the carefree life -- no 9 to 5, no daily grind, no routine, no one to check in with? P.J. knows how it's done. The most important element? Lots of friends, with couches. One night it's Cecil's high-end settee, the next it's Sticky's lumpy sofa. P.J.'s even got smarmy Samantha to make sure there's always a hideaway bed from hell in the wings. But when a reporter infiltrates her life, then acts as if she wants to make it her own, P.J. senses real trouble. Could this spell the end of couch world?

What's sitting on your nightstand?

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Gaming My Own Way

Before The Scottish Guy and I got married, the only gaming I was interested in was The Sims. Interested is a weak adjective though. It actually bordered on obsessed. The ex-asshole and I played a little Nintendo before he graduated to Playstation and then eventually to Xbox. The Scottish Guy gave me an Xbox for our first Christmas as a married couple. I was really excited because I had discovered Uno on Xbox and wanted to play without having to exit the console because Halo or Call of Duty or Rainbow 6 was summoning my man.

I tried to play Halo with him once but was completely overwhelmed with the pace of the game and the fact that he kept sneaking up behind me and clobbering me in the back of the head with a battle rifle didn't help. Enjoyed playing LEGO Indiana Jones so much that I jumped on to LEGO Star Wars, but haven't finished it. Have found that I also enjoy all of the Guitar Hero and Rock Band games and we are accumulating quite a collection of guitars.

Imagine my excitement and enthusiasm when I was informed about the release of the Resident Evil special edition Xbox 360 elite console. Never played the game, never had an interest, most likely never will. I was totally stoked about this console because...

Take a look....

Yes, it's red! "Is that all? Is this what had you so jazzed?" You are probably asking yourself that right now. And the answer is not just yes, but HELL YES! It matches my kitchen. My Coca-Cola red kitchen.

Now if only I can pull myself away from Facebook and the farming, cooking, and mobbing, then maybe I can get back on my red machine and kick some Uno butt.

Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Questions To Ask Before Marrying by Melissa Senate

Questions To Ask Before Marrying by Melissa Senate

My Rating: 6 *'s

Description: A New York Times article lists fifteen questions couples should ask before marrying

Ruby Miller and her fiancé, Tom Truby, have questions 1 to 14 almost covered. It's question 15 that has the Maine schoolteacher stumped: Is their relationship strong enough to withstand challenges?

Challenges like…Ruby's twin sister, Stella. The professional muse, flirt and face reader thinks Ruby is playing it safe. And that the future Mrs. Ruby Truby will die of boredom before her first anniversary or her thirtieth birthday, whichever comes first.

Challenges like…sexy maverick teacher Nick McDermott, Ruby's secret longtime crush, who confesses his feelings for her at her own engagement party.

But before Ruby can plan the wedding that may never be, Stella announces she's pregnant by a one-night stand whose name might be Jake (or James? Maybe Jason?) and who lives somewhere under the glittering lights of Las Vegas. Ruby and Stella hit the road to find him—with a lot more than fifteen questions.

And after three thousand miles, a stowaway relative and hitchhiking teen lovebirds bound for an Elvis wedding chapel, the Miller sisters might get some answers.

My Thoughts: OK story about two sisters on a journey of self-discovery while trying to answer many of life's questions before one of them gets married. Couple of twists in the plot I didn't care for that nearly made this book a wallbanger for me. It was difficult at times to connect and relate to the characters.

Tuesday, December 01, 2009

New Additions To The TBR Pile in November

Shhh...don't tell on me, but I actually got rid of nearly 100 books in November. Books I knew I wouldn't read.... Hardly seems effective when more show up on my doorstep begging to be let in.

The Gatecrasher by Madeleine Wickham

Description: Everything's coming up roses for Fleur Daxeny, as she goes through more rich men than she does designer hats....if that's humanly possible. Beautiful, charming, and utterly irresistible, her success at crashing funerals to find wealthy men is remarkable. But behind Fleur’s Harvey Nichols wardrobe, is a woman with a mysterious past.

Fleur wastes no time in seducing her latest conquest, the handsome and rich widower Richard Favour, and she swoops into his life like a designer-clad tornado. His children are caught up in a whirlwind as their father's new girlfriend descends on the family estate leaving chaos and excitement in her perfume-scented wake. Soon, more than one family member is suspicious of Fleur's true intentions. Fleur is not one to wear her heart on her Chanel sleeves, but she soon finds herself embracing Richard and his lovable family. But just as Fleur contemplates jumping off the gold-digger train for good and enjoying the ride of true love, a long-buried secret from her past threatens to destroy her new family. Fleur is thrown into a race against time to prove herself to Richard before it's too late. Can she trust her heart or will she cut ties and run away as fast as her Prada pumps can take her?

My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon by Jim Butcher, Kelley Armstrong, et al

Description: What newly married couple doesn't dream of a romantic retreat where they can escape the world for a while—but what happens when supernatural forces intrude on their wedded bliss?

Nine of today's hottest paranormal authors answer that question in this all-star collection of supernatural stories. Can a vampire-hunter enjoy her honeymoon when she's just learned that her new hubby is a werewolf? How can newlyweds focus on their wedding night when their honeymoon suite is haunted by feuding ghosts? And what's a wizard to do when a gruesome monster kidnaps the bride on her way home from the wedding?

With so much otherworldly mayhem awaiting our newlyweds, will they ever get around to the honeymoon itself? Find out in My Big Fat Supernatural Honeymoon.

Edited by P.N. Elrod
Kelley Armstrong - "Stalked"
Jim Butcher - "Heorot"
Rachel Caine - "Roman holiday, or SPQ-arrrrrr"
P.N. Elrod - "Her Mother's Daughter"
Caitlin Kittredge - "Newlydeads"
Marjorie M. Liu - "Where the Heart Lives"
Katie MacAlister - "Cat got your tongue?"
Lilith Saintcrow - "Half of Being Married"

Killing Bridezilla by Laura Levine

Description: When writer-for-hire Jaine Austen signs on to script vows for the ultimate Bridezilla, "I do's" soon become "I wish I hadn't's"--and curtains for the bride spell a veil of woes for Jaine...
Jaine's accepted her share of lame gigs to pay the bills, but rewriting Shakespeare's got to be an all-time low. The fiasco begins with a call from Jaine's high-school nemesis, uber rich uber witch Patti Devane. It seems Patti will soon be sashaying down the aisle with another former classmate from Hermosa High, and she'd like the exchange of vows to evoke Romeo and Juliet...except without the "downer" of an ending.

Even worse than the assignment itself is dealing with Patti as a client. At least Jaine's not alone, as nobody can stand the demanding, spoiled, and incredibly rude Bridezilla from Hell. Patti's managed to rack up an amazingly long list of enemies in a short time, not the least of whom include her prospective mother-in-law, the soon-to-be ex-wife of Patti's stolen soon-to-be groom, and just about everyone involved in the wedding preparations. So it isn't a complete surprise when the erstwhile Juliet plunges to her death during her balcony scene.

The loosened bolts that brought down the bride were clearly an act of sabotage--what's not so obvious is whom, among Patti's numerous haters, committed this murder most foul. Was it the caterer she threatened to ruin? The bridesmaid tossed out of the wedding party for being too chubby? Jaine's determined to learn the truth--if only to end the hideous walk down memory lane kicked off by her association with Patti.

Between fending off advances from the nerd of her high school nightmares and figuring out ways to stop Prozac the cat from corrupting the victim's pet Poodle, Jaine's involvement in this case keeps veering between comedy and tragedy. That is, until another body is discovered--and the killer starts laying plot for a final act--starring Jaine...

Killer Cuts by Elaine Viets

Description: Helen Hawthorne’s latest dead-end job is in Miguel Angel’s Fort Lauderdale hair salon, where a trim can cost as much as a car payment and a blowout can wipe you out. But when one of the salon’s most famous clients, gossip blogger and cable-TV show host Kingman “King” Oden is murdered at his own wedding, things get a little hairy and King becomes the prime suspect. To save her boss—and her job— Helen is determined to find the murderer. When she finds herself the target of threatening notes, it’s more imperative than ever that she figure out who at the wedding was dressed to kill.

Hollywood Car Wash by Lori Culwell

Description: Amy Spencer is an accidental celebrity. On Monday, she's a normal college student in Michigan. By the end of the week, she's in Hollywood, starring in a TV pilot--as a regular girl from Michigan. It's all fun and games until the show gets picked up and Amy learns the terrible price of stardom--to keep the part she didn't even want at first, she's going to have to get the Hollywood Car Wash to make her more marketable. First, she'll have to lose twenty pounds. She'll also need new teeth, blonder hair, and a megastar boyfriend with a big secret. By changing everything from her weight to her hair to her name, Amy slowly learns that the only way to survive in Hollywood is to lose herself. Inspired by true events, this shockingly accurate novel about the ins and outs of the Hollywood game will leave the reader wondering--who is Star?

Hollywood Car Wash is the first in a series.

Girls Who Gossip by Theresa Alan

Description: It's not mean if it's true...

Yes the rumours are true...

I'm actually coming home to Colorado for the summer. Maybe it won't be so bad. After all, I've got cocktails, shopping, and gab sessions with my girlfriends to look forward to. Plus time with my dysfunctional family. Yippee. I'm Helaina, by the way. Helaina Denner if you've known me since junior high, like Hannah and Marti. Helaina Merrill if you know me from film school at NYU. See, I lead a bit of a double life: "starving" student when in Manhattan, daughter of privilege when in Denver

And it gets even better...

...depending on your definition of "better." First off, I've picked this time to try and reconnect with my father. Which would be easier if we'd ever had anything resembling a relationship to begin with. I guess this is one of the pitfalls of having a parent as rich as Bill Gates and as accessible as the Pope...

Seriously, some of this stuff you cannot repeat...

like what I'll tell you about Owen, the adorable journalist I just met. He's sweet, sincere, sexy...real soul mate material. But something's keeping me from letting him get too close. What's my problem, anyway? No need to answer: that's what friends are for. Now, amid high-altitude parties in Aspen, bikini waxes gone mad, and caught-on-tape blackmail fodder, I'm about to find out exactly what one heiress's problems amount to in this crazy world. Just remember, whatever I discover is off the record - for the moment, at least...

All We Ever Wanted Was Everything by Janelle Brown

Description: When Paul Miller’s pharmaceutical company goes public, making his family IPO millionaires, his wife, Janice, is sure this is the windfall she’s been waiting years for — until she learns, via messengered letter, that her husband is divorcing her (for her tennis partner!) and cutting her out of the new fortune. Meanwhile, four hundred miles south in Los Angeles, the Millers' older daughter, Margaret, has been dumped by her newly famous actor boyfriend and left in the lurch by an investor who promised to revive her fledgling postfeminist magazine. Sliding toward bankruptcy and dogged by creditors, she flees for home where her younger sister Lizzie, 14, is struggling with problems of her own. Formerly chubby, Lizzie has been enjoying her newfound popularity until some bathroom graffiti alerts her to the fact that she’s become the school slut.

The three Miller women retreat behind the walls of their Georgian colonial to wage battle with divorce lawyers, debt collectors, drug-dealing pool boys, mean girls, country-club ladies, their own demons, and one another, and in the process they become achingly sympathetic characters we can’t help but root for—even as the world they live in epitomizes everything wrong with the American Dream. Exhilarating, addictive, and superbly accomplished, All We Ever Wanted Was Everything is an original, utterly modern addition to the genre of suburban fiction.


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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)