Monthly Archives: December 2012

Forgotten by Catherine McKenzie

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When up and coming Lawyer on her way to partner, Emma Tupper’s mother passes away, Emma decided to take the trip to Africa that her mother had always dreamed of.  Taking a month long vacation at this point in her career didn’t make for the best timing, but Emma wanted to do this and knew she could bounce right back to where she left off in no time.

In Africa Emma becomes ill and unable to return as planned.  Then the earthquake hits and no planes are coming or going and phone lines are down. 

Six months later, Emma finally makes it home only to find out home is not how she had left it.  When her rent wasn’t paid, the apartment was rented out to someone else.  Her bank account was froze once the news spread that she was missing and presumed dead.  Emma’s boyfriend had moved on to someone else, and it appears while she was making her way up the corporate ladder, someone had kicked the ladder out from under her. 

What do you do when everything you had and knew about yourself is gone? 

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I have enjoyed every book that Catherine McKenzie has written.  She comes up with real feeling quirky characters and scenes that are interesting and definably out of the norm.  Take Emma for instance, at one time had it all going her, now borrowing clothes from a male stranger.

Forgotten is a bit of a far fetched story.  This is where for me the story falters a bit.  I had trouble wrapping my mind around everything that had gone wrong and there were several lose ends throughout the book that my mind kept (and still is) picking at.

I really liked the love interest in the book (although he too is somewhat of a loose end) and I especially likes the case that Emma is given to work on in her firm.  As you can see I had some ups and downs with this one, I liked it, but I didn’t love it. 

Cascade by Maryanne O’Hara

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What would you be willing to sacrifice to be who you want to be?

When Desdemona was at the peak of her breakthrough as an artist in 1935, she made a hasty decision to marry Asa Spaulding, a solid and stable man, and make a home in the town of Cascade to be there for her bankrupt father whose health is quickly failing.  While Desdemona felt in her head this was the right decision for the circumstances, her heart strongly disagreed.

And who’s head has not been overrun by their hearts wants?

With Cascade being considered to be flooded to provide water for Boston, Desdemona is even more restless with her decisions.  When she becomes attracted to a fellow artist Jacob who provides her with everything her husband can not, she knows it is time to make the hard choices that hopefully can correct the wrong ones she made in her past.

But at what cost?  Is it possible to turn away from a choice without causing further damage?  And even as she contemplates a brighter future, would she be able to live with herself for doing so?

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Cascade, Massachusetts

First.  Let’s take a pause for this beautiful cover.  Cover love at its finest, cover alone would cause me to pick up this book wanting to know more, and honestly… it did factor in on my choice to read this book.

While set against the backdrop of the Depression and WWII, Cascade (thankfully) focuses more around Desdemona and her relationships with the men in her life and the decisions she must make.  While beautifully written, Cascade is not for the person looking for a quick read.  It takes times to absorb this slower paced detail oriented book.  You really get the feeling you are brought fully into the world that is Cascade.

For me, the book was good but the slower pace was a deterrent.  Perhaps it was the time of year that I chose to read this that made it more of a struggle for me.  Desdemona is not the most likable character, her choices… well, if you read it you will see. Cascade, in my opinion, is a book to take your time with, to read over several sittings and contemplate what would you do put in a similar situation?

Well written, filled with historical facts that will make you think and learn, and those are always pluses for me.

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Thank you TLC Book Tours for giving me a little history

along with a good read that made me think.

Right at the point of WHELMED

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Good morning or afternoon or evening depending on where you are and when you read this. :D  I have just entered the week I have been referring to as “Hell Week” for the past month and yeah, I know that isn’t the best way to put it since it is all good stuff… but unfortunately the name stuck. 

This afternoon around 2 I will meet up with a friend and teammate to do some shopping for events coming up this week.  Right from there I will go to work and prep some things for tonight and the weekend and be home probably around 7:30 pm.

Tomorrow, Sunday I will need to be at the church around 7 am and leave around noon.  Then I will shop for our IHN serving week (Homeless week) which starts tomorrow. I will pick up the guests at 4:30 pm, and a group of friends will come and we will all do dinner together and then I will stay overnight there. 

Monday morning after I take the guests to the day center I work a half day.  Will hopefully go out to dinner and maybe a movie with my hubby.

Tuesday I work a full day and have lots of prep work to do for Wednesday which is our annual members meeting. 

Wednesday – work all day, train new people in with IHN and do the members meeting… I will probably not come home between 8 am and 9 pm.

Thursday – start working on all members info I gathered last night and cleaning up from the big meeting and prepping for the 10 Year party which is Sunday.

Friday – possibly my day off… depends on what needs to be done for the 10 Year, probably some shopping.  Maybe some set up. 

Saturday – train in new people at IHN, then our company Christmas Party.

Sunday – up at 5 am and tear down IHN, clean up and move the van to the next hosting church.  Hopefully get to the 10 year party set up by 8:30 am to help as that starts at noon.  Clean up and home by 3 pm… I hope. :D

On the bright side… horizon…. goal, whatever you want to call it… I am taking Monday the 7th and possibly Tuesday the 8th off. 

Listing my week out was actually therapeutic… I see tiny pockets of free time in there that I need to take full advantage of.  Hopefully Monday, Tuesday and Friday will give me a little time to re-energize.  I am an introvert that needs to charge up my batteries by being alone, preferably with a book. :D

For todays Saturday Snapshot I thought it would be fun to actually show pictures of my Saturday morning.  A snapshot of what my life looks like now as I simmer at the feeling of whelmed…. but not quite overwhelmed:

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The recliner I am hanging out in this morning… snuggled up with my favorite blanket.

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COFFEE CUP and the book I plan to finish today.

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Breakfast of scrambled egg whites, spinach, and shrimp left over from Christmas.

Now I am going to check out a few of the other Saturday Snapshot posts (Thank you Alyce), write a review, make a meme button for our Library, send out a book club email and year end voting form and hopefully spend a little time int hat book pictured above before it is GO TIME.

May your week be a lot less crazy then mine…. bear with me while I get through this marathon of events. 

The Christmas List by Richard Paul Evans

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James Kier was quite the real estate developer.  He had made a fine career out of cutting deals with vulnerable people, metaphorically cutting their throat in the process.  He had everything he ever wanted and more than he could ever need.  In his wake, his soon to be ex-wife Sara was trying hard to keep moving forward while battling a fast-moving cancer and his adult soon to be married son wanted nothing whatsoever to do with him.

Oh well… collateral damage is bound to happen. 

But now, James is reading a newspaper that is announcing his death.  Apparently he had crashed his BMW in the snow storm the previous night and was pronounced dead at the scene. Clearly a mistake and no doubt a costly one for some poor reporter, James thought as he dials up his lawyer… but then he has second thoughts about so quickly announcing the mistake.  Perhaps this would be a way to find out what people really think of him…

and find out he does.

Following some painfully harsh comments on the internet, James is quick to learn that some he thought were his allies are clearly not… and perhaps someone he wrote off too quickly surprisingly comes to his defense.

In this new light shed brightly on his true character, James decided to take a real hard look at those he has hurt while building himself up and seeing if in this season perhaps he can make some changes to who he was and take this “resurrection” as a new chance at life.

 

I wish I would have been able to get this review up a week ago because this turned out to be a wonderful read for the season.  Never a big fan of holiday reads as I find them usually too mushy and dull… I admit I went into this book club read a little “dragging of the feet.”  I was surprised to find not only did this book have a backbone, I could hardly put it down as page by page I wanted to know what would happen… would James be able to make amends or was it too late -  beautifully, it turns out to be a little of both. 

James is not a likable person.  He has done things so terrible that I think even I would slam the door in his face.  Throughout his building of fame and fortune he destroyed careers, families, and lives.  As he tries to make amends you get a Dickens “Christmas Carol” feel to the book, James seeing for the first time what his decisions had cost others. 

The book was a quick read, in a matter of a couple of hours I had it finished, but it was not finished with me.  It really made me think about decisions I make and the people in my life.  After reviewing this with my book club for our December read I think it is safe to say that none of us came out of the last page unscathed, we all had been emotionally touched at one point or another in the book.

 

Bookies Thoughts

The Bookies enjoyed this read and while it was a fast read we had to admit it did pack a  punch.  There was a good discussion over James’ treatment of Sara and her ability to forgive…. was she a soft person who was easily walked on, or was Sara something stronger… a person who could see beyond the current situation and know that deep down there was someone different underneath. 

An excellent discussion book.

For our December meeting we had a fun white elephant gift exchange, a baby shower for one of our Bookies who will be a new mom in January and we each pitched in $10 to purchase a book in the bag for our Library, which is a program where they check out 10 copies of the same book all at once for book clubs and other reading groups.  We purchased, Defending Jacob.

And of course, we had out Christmas potluck…

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Oh the food….

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Whats Your First Book Of 2013 Going To Be?

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I am probably revealing a level of geek about myself that I shouldn’t… but…

too late. :D

Every year – long before I was blogging, probably since I was a kid…. I have always made the first book of the year a big deal.  The first book for me had to be one I had been wanting to read for a while, one that I couldn’t wait to dig into, even with blogging – that first book excitement each year has not changed.

It is a book I really want to read – not (necessarily) a review book, a book club book or any other book that is on my TBR shelf.  This one may have been purchased by me for the occasion…

Here is what I have on the possibility list:

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Since meeting James Dashner this past summer and finding him to be smart and funny… I want to read him.  This book has been on my shelf for probably the 3 years it has been out.  Is this the time? 

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Can you believe I havent read The Twelve yet?  Did you know this is the one book I wanted to leave New York with this past June and I did… and I have passed it around my book club but still have not read it myself?  What is wrong with me????

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Or Wild?  Because this book makes me think of hiking and maybe someday I will go hiking for a long long time… maybe… who knows… I should read the book….

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Or…. back to Gillian Flynn?  She rocked my world in Gone Girl.  Is it time to try another one?

 

 

I would love to hear what you are considering for the new year!  What is your first book going to be?

And So This Is Christmas…

Happy Christmas everyone.  May your day be filled with good family and friends.  And if there is a chance to spend a little time with a book…

all the better. :)

Merry Christmas.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading?

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Welcome to It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading!  This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I love being a part of this and I hope you do too!  As part of this weekly meme I love to encourage you all to go and visit the others participating in this meme.  I offer a weekly contest for those who visit 10 or more of the Monday Meme participants and leave a comment telling me how many you visited.  **You do not have to have a blog to participate! You receive one entry for every 10 comments, just come back here and tell me how many in the comment area.

 

Last weeks winner: Martha E

Congratulations!  Please choose a book or bookish item from the Reading Cafe!

Happy Christmas everyone!  In light of the holidays upon us I am going to keep this short and sweet.  Here is what was posted this past week:

Ravens Heart by Jesse Blackadder  (Oh historical fiction – how I have missed you!)

 

14 By Peter Clines (a little our on my genre but I liked it!)

 

 

I have reviews to write yet but have spent most of my free time this week shopping and prepping for Christmas.  With College Son coming home tomorrow and being here for the week I am not committing to any massive reading, just finishing up what I have going and of course planning my first read of the year which is always a big deal to me. 

Speaking of the first of the year, there is still time to get in on the super fun Where Are You Reading Challenge. :)

SO please add your link to your Where Are You Reading below and I will try to pop in and say hi and see what you are reading. 

And to all of you who celebrate Christmas – Merry Christmas, Happy Christmas to you and yours!  :D

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Click here to enter your link and view this Linky Tools list…

 

For those of you who review mainly Middle Grade (MG) and/or Young Adult (YA) reads, please also add your link to this meme as well:

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14 by Peter Clines

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It’s so hard to find a decent apartment that is affordable.

When Nate gets a tip on an apartment at an incredible price with utilities included he jumps at the chance to get at it.  While the building is old, the studio like apartment works for Nate and he is moved in quickly.

Things in the building are a little off.  As Nate meets the other tenants he finds that each apartment is very different and each tenant has a reason to not really care because, as previously stated – the price was right.  Yet as the tenants continue to meet up, Nate finds things to be more and more strange.  There is a strange staircase int he basement… and lets not even get started on Apartment that has been painted shut and padlocked and never NEVER rented out.

As the tenants work together to solve the mystery of their building cautiously avoiding the building manager, things become more and more strange…

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I discovered this book on audible.com last week and thought it sounded really interesting.  Sci fi is not normally my thing and for the most part the book did not give off a sci-fi feel (until the very end). 

I really enjoyed the mystery and the friendships built-in this book.  Never creepy or gory I found I enjoyed this audio right from the very first.  Narrator Ray Porter did a fantastic job for a multiple character read.   Normally I don’t like books with many characters playing front and center as I find it confusing to get to know them – but that was not the case in 14, the characters were introduced to Nate at a good pace and perhaps because it was a first meeting for him as well. it seemed to work for me too.

Half way through this read I knew I wanted to try something else by this author as well.  I see he has many other books but they all looked pretty sci-fi based to me and again, not my style.  This one seemed to be his first dabbling into a bit of suspense/adventure and mystery almost taking center stage.  Although I may try him anyway as I was so impressed with this one.

Again, I listened to this on audio. While not my usual genre, I think this would greatly appeal to lovers of sci fi.   This book won the best sci-fi audiobook of 2012 by Audible.com.

Morning Meanderings… Missing The Action!

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Morning all. :D  For today’s Saturday Snapshot I thought I would reflect a little on the fun events I took part of in 2012.  Winter, is not my favorite season.  It leaves me feeling….

restless.

As the days have become colder and yeah, whiter, I find myself thinking of the warmer weather more and more, and yeah I know I have a long time to wait for it but maybe some sunny pictures will help. :D

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This was the first mud run Amy and I had participated in. It gave us both the fever for more….

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Another dash….

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The Monster Dash October

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The Color Run – LOVED this!

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This is one of my favorites because I did the color run with my son Justin.

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This is my favorite event pic of the year – the girl with the 65177 number is my friend Belinda, I am directly in front of her with the little ponytail. Both are arms I raised trying to get as much color on us as possible.

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Favorite bike shirt.

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My favorite bike team :)

Ahhhh… that feels better. On January 13th Amy and I are doing  a 5K Obstacle course in the cities called The Iceman.  I am pretty excited!

I am working on a Challenge for my Fitness website Team Kickin It.  I hope to have it up this weekend so if you are interested, please watch for it – I think it is going to be fun and I would love people to join me. :)

So…. This is The End?

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Happy December 21!  So here we all are on the day that generated news articles, jokes, movies, count down timers… and more.  It is like the end all right, the end of an era of a Mayan trend.  As I look at my window at the sun shining its hard to imagine anything different.

Some friends of mine are going to a Mayan “End Of The World” party tonight.  Al and I are going to a friend’s house who has a standing get together each year the Friday before Christmas. Not Mayan themed, but if I owned anything “Mayanish” I would probably wear it. :D

SO in light of this day… I must share some of my favorite (perhaps a little inappropriate) jokes I have seen regarding the Mayan calendar… I am so sorry, but I must get this on the blog:

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Ok – I have to work out yet, have a lunch date with friends, a little shopping to do, and then home this afternoon to read a bit and prep my food for tonight’s gathering.  I hope your 12-21-12 is a good one. 

Any fun plans for today or through the weekend?  Any Mayan jokes to share?

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