Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Christmas 2011 = Awesomesauce

We had a great 5 year anniversary (Friday before Christmas) and a really good Christmas. :) Already decided upon making red velvet cheesecake supreme for my mother-in-law for her birthday this Friday...but we still don't know what to get her for her birthday. Hmm.


The kids with Santa :)

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011: Wrap Up

Today is the wrap up for the Fall Into Reading 2011 challenge that ran from Sept 23 to Dec 21. This was my first reading challenge to participate in outside of the awesome ones we did in elementary school.

I should've known I wouldn't finish all the books, I finished 4 out of 20. I did read 2 book club books in the middle of that - they were separate off the list. I haven't been reading hardly at all though. My husband got home from deployment on the 6th of October and everything for me that I was used to doing to kill the alone time I had after the kids went to bed was put on the back burner. Then the holidays and planning the holidays got the best of me. I have already signed up for at least 2 challenges for 2012 (2012 TBR Pile Reading Challenge & 2012 YA Reading Challenge) and I have an actual reading schedule typed up so that I am actually reading a bunch of books I want to read. I'm nearly at 900 books on my to-read list.

I read:
My book club books were:
I'm currently reading
  • Lemon Meringue Pie by Joanne Fluke
  • The True Story of Hansel & Gretel by Louise Murphy (book club pick)

I've actually loved all the books I've read, especially the murder mystery books, which is a new genre for me. My book club books were ones I normally wouldn't read and they turned out to be great. I'm really excited to get in a reading frenzy in 2012! :)

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Books or Bust #2

Waiting on forwarded mail stinks! I'm impatiently awaiting some things right now and also very excited about the idea of perhaps getting books for Christmas :)

This week, I received Casserole Queens {via} winning a giveaway at A Well-Seasoned Life!



And {via} Kindle...
All These Things I've Done (Birthright, #1)Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)

All These Things I've Done ~ Gabrielle Zevin
Anna Dressed in Blood ~ Kendare Blake

Friday, December 9, 2011

Blueberry Muffin Murder

Blueberry Muffin Murder (Hannah Swensen #3)

Stats
384 pages (Ebook)
Published 1 March 2002

Synopsis
Preparations are underway for Lake Eden, Minnesota's annual Winter Carnival - and Hannah Swensen is set to bake up a storm at her popular shop, The Cookie Jar. Too bad the honour of creating the official Winter Carnival cake went to famous lifestyle maven Connie Mac - a half-baked idea, in Hannah's opinion. She suspects Connie Mac is a lot like the confections she whips up on her cable TV cooking show - sweet, light, and scrumptious-looking, but likely to leave a bitter taste in your mouth.Hannah's suspicions are confirmed when Connie Mac's limo rolls into town. Turns out America's 'cooking sweetheart' is a bossy, bad-tempered, and downright domineering. Things finally boil over when Hannah arrives at The Cookie Jar to find the Winter Carnival cake burnt to a crisp - and Connie Mac lying dead in her pantry, struck down while eating one of Hannah's famous blueberry muffins.Next thing Hannah knows, the police have declared The Cookie Jar's kitchen crime scene off-limits. She's a baker without an oven - and the Carnival is right around the corner. Hannah's only alternative is to cook up a plan to save her business - by finding the killer herself

My Thoughts
I'm not sure if it's the character development with each story, but I definitely loved this one more than the last one. I'm still loving the competition between Mike & Norman. I'm rooting for Norman though - there are times I like Mike, but Norman seems like the right choice. I love how Fluke is able to hold out and keep you guessing until the very end. She's a brilliant author.

Also...I love Moishe. Have I mentioned that before? Yes? I LOVE MOISHE!

Recipes in this book include: Best Blueberry Muffins, Grilled Cream Cheese Sandwiches, Lisa's White Chocolate Supremes, Little Snowballs, Multiple-Choice Bar Cookies, Short Stack Cookies, Twin Chocolate Delights, and Peanut Butter Melts.



Previous Review
Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swenson #2) by Joanne Fluke [here]

Currently Reading
Lemon Meringue Pie Murder (Hannah Swenson #4) by Joanne Fluke

Monday, December 5, 2011

Books or Bust #1

So I've been seeing this for a couple months...I've been seeing it a lot more since I started following a bunch of book blogs. I know I'm not primarily book blogging...in fact, I'm slacking in the reading department...unless you include how I finished a book yesterday and got 15% through another within a couple hours. I'm actually looking forward to the long road trip this Friday night - Upstate NY to East TN :)

I've decided to do a weekly round up of books that have come into my possession :)



So last week, I bought...
 The Demon King (Seven Realms, #1)Good Eats 3: The Later YearsWhere the Sidewalk Ends: Poems and DrawingsClockwork Angel (The Infernal Devices #1)
The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima
Good Eats 3 by Alton Brown
Where the Sidewalk Ends by Shel Silverstein
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

On my Kindle...
 11/22/6313 to Life (13 to Life #1)
11/22/63 by Stephen King
13 to Life by Shannon Delany

Sunday, December 4, 2011

Strawberry Shortcake Murder

Strawberry Shortcake Murder (Hannah Swensen Series #2)

Stats:
#2 in series
320 Pages
Published 1 March 2001

Synopsis:
The stakes start rising faster than dough when a judge from the Hartland Flour company's Dessert Bake-Off is found dead in Hannah Swensen's strawberry shortcake. Can she catch the killer before he or she cooks up another recipe -- for murder?

My Thoughts:
This installment in the Hannah Swenson murder mystery books was very good. I liked it more than the first book, for sure, and I cannot wait to make the recipes out of it!

I think the murder itself was a good mystery, although I figured out whodunit before Hannah did. I love how Fluke put Norman and Mike in the same place and put them up against each other. I liked how Andrea was "needed" in this book and we got to see the sisters get closer. And Moishe...gahh how I love me some Moishe. I wish there were movies or a tv series made out of these books. I love them.

Recipes include: Apricot Bread Pudding, Chocolate Highlander Bars, Fiesta Dip Platter, Hawaiian Flan, Molasses Crinkles, Oatmeal Raisin Crisps, and Strawberry Shortcake


Previous Review: The Secret Life of Cee Cee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain [here]

Currently Reading: Blueberry Muffin Murder (#3) by Joanne Fluke

Sunday, November 27, 2011

2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge



I've decided to participate in another challenge for 2012, in addition to the YA Challenge.

Update 4/30: The blogger who was hosting the YA challenge decided to quit blogging, so there's that. I'm adding my books for the YA challenge here, except the books released this year.  I am also upping the amount to {41-50 - Married With Children} level.

Update 11/8: I've accomplished my goal. My current count of finished books is 46. I haven't been really updating as much because 2 of the last 3 wrap ups weren't posted and it seems like this challenge lost steam and so have I with participating in yearly challenges. It seems like they are put on the backburner after a few months and it's frustrating.

Here's the guidelines via Bookish

Challenge guidelines: 

  1. This challenge will run from Jan 1, 2012 - Dec 31, 2012.
  2. As we would like to see quality reviews linked up to our monthly wrap-ups, only bloggers can enter. Sorry about that!
  3. Any genre, length or format of book counts, as long as it is a book that's been sitting on your shelf for some time now. Only books released in 2011 and earlier! NO ARCs and 2012 fresh-off-the-press releases allowed!
  4. You can list your books in advance or just put them in a wrap-up post. If you list them, feel free to change them as the mood takes you.
  5. When you sign up in the linky, put the direct link to your post about joining the 2012 TBR PILE Reading Challenge (You need to include the info + host list + challenge button. You can also grab the button code and add it to your sidebar!)
  6. You can move up levels, but no moving down.
  7. Sign-ups will be open until Dec 15, 2012, so feel free to join at any time throughout the year.
  8. At the end of each month one of the hosts will post a wrap-up. Every wrap-up will have it's unique theme, a mini-challenge, a giveaway and place for you to link up your reviews from this month. For each review you link up, you will get one entry in a drawing of one book of choice from Book Depository. It's open to INTERNATIONALS. For participating in the mini-challenge you will get +1 entry.
  9. If you miss a wrap-up post + giveaway, you can link up your reviews next month. Do not, however, try to link up one review twice - we will be checking ;)
  10. December is a wrap-up for the whole year. All the book reviews you linked up January-November + the ones you'll link up in December will be entered into a HUGE giveaway - 12 books, 12 winners, INTERNATIONAL. 
  11. You don't have to follow all the hosts to join the challenge, but you do have to follow all of us to be entered in giveaways!
Levels:

1-10 - A Firm Handshake
11-20 - A Friendly Hug
21-30 - A Sweet Kiss
31-40 - Love At First Sight
41-50 - Married With Children

Hosts:
Evie from Bookish - http://www.evie-bookish.blogspot.com @SeoEvie
Nicole from All I Ever Read - http://www.nicoleabouttown.com/ @Nicoleabouttown
Bonnie from Hands and Home - http://www.handsandhome.ca/ @HandsHomeBlog
Donna from Book Passion For Life - http://bookpassionforlife.blogspot.com/ @BookPforLife
Caitlin from WatchYA Reading - http://whatchyareading.net @caitlingss
Rie from Mission To Read - http://missiontoread.com/ @missiontoread
Vicky from Books, Biscuits & Tea -http://booksbiscuitsandtea.blogspot.com/ @alouetteuette
Christa from Hooked On Books - http://christashookedonbooks.blogspot.com @ChristasBooks
Jenna from Fans Of Fiction - http://fansoffiction.blogspot.com/ @fansoffiction
Angel from Mermaids Vision - http://mermaidvision.wordpress.com @mermaidvisions



I'm taking the {11-20 - A Friendly Hug} level challenge

My books are:
  1. Stoner & Spaz by Ron Koertge - Finished 18 Jan
  2. Now Playing: Stoner & Spaz II by Ron Koertge - Finished 18 Jan
  3. Mister Ray by Adam Perry - Finished 15 Mar
  4. Jane Was Here by Sarah Kernochan - DNF
  5. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Slayer by Seth Grahame-Smith - DNF
  6. One For the Money by Janet Evanovich - Finished 26 June
  7. Two For the Dough by Janet Evanovich - Finished 4 August
  8. The First Husband by Laura Dave - Finished 28 July
  9. Hush, Hush (Hush, Hush #1) by Becca Fitzpatrick - Finished 5 Feb
  10. Crescendo (Hush, Hush #2) by Becca Fitzpatrick  - Finished 9 Feb
  11. Silence (Hush, Hush #3) by Becca Fitzpatrick - Finished 11 Feb
  12. The Iron King (Iron Fey #1) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 22 Mar
  13. The Iron Daughter (Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 29 Mar
  14. The Iron Queen (Iron Fey #3) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 9 Apr
  15. The Iron Knight (Iron Fey #4) by Julie Kagawa - Finished 15 Apr
  16. City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments #1) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 23 Apr
  17. City of Ashes (The Mortal Instruments #2) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 4 May
  18. City of Glass (The Mortal Instruments #3) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 15 May
  19. City of Fallen Angels (The Mortal Instruments #4) by Cassandra Clare - Finished 17 May
  20. The Maze Runner (Maze Runner #1) by James Dashner - Finished 22 June
  21. The Scorch Trials (Maze Runner #2) by James Dashner Finished 23 Aug
  22. The Death Cure (Maze Runner #3) by James Dashner Finished 25 Aug
  23. Shiver (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater- Finished 14 Aug
  24. Linger (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #2) by Maggie Stiefvater- Finished 15 Aug
  25. Forever (The Wolves of Mercy Falls #3) by Maggie Stiefvater Finished Aug
  26. *Added* Lemon Meringue Pie Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 27 Jan
  27. *Added* Fudge Cupcake Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 1 Feb
  28. *Added* Sugar Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished 19 Feb
  29. *Added* Angus, Thongs, and Full Frontal Snogging by Louise Rennison - Finished 23 Feb
  30. *Added* On the Bright Side, I'm Now the GF of a Sex God by Louise Rennison - Finished 1 Mar
  31. *Added* The Help by Kathryn Stockett - Finished 12 Mar
  32. *Added* Delirium by Lauren Oliver Finished 24 May
  33. *Added* Still Alice by Lisa Genova Finished 24 May
  34. *Added* Fifty Shades of Grey by EL James Finished 11 June
  35. *Added* Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin Finished 18 June
  36. *Added* Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep Finished 20 June
  37. *Added* Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep Finished 20 June
  38. *Added* Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake Finished 31 August
  39. *Added* Fallen by Lauren Kate  Finished 3 Sept
  40. Marked (House of Night #1) by PC Cast - Finished 17 Sept
  41. Betrayed (House of Night #2) by PC Cast - Finished 10 Oct
  42. Untamed (House of Night #4) by PC Cast - DNF
  43. Chosen (House of Night #3) by PC Cast - Finished Oct
  44. Choke by Chuck Palahniuk - DNF
  45. Love, Lust, & Faking It by Jenny McCarthy - Finished 12 Sept
  46. Smashed by Koren Zailckas - DNF
  47. *Added* Fifty Shades Darker by EL James - Finished 29 Jun
  48. *Added* Fifty Shades Freed by EL James - Finished 15 Sept
  49. *Added* Across the Universe by Beth RevisFinished Oct
  50. *Added* Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich - Finished Nov
  51. *Added* Peach Cobbler Murder by Joanne Fluke - Finished Nov
  52. *Added* Lost in Shangri-La by Mitchell ZuckoffFinished Nov
  53. *Added* Where the Truth Lies by Jessica WarmanFinished Nov
  54. *Added* As I Wake by Elizabeth Scott Finished Nov  

Friday, November 25, 2011

The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes [Review]

The Secret Life Of CeeCee Wilkes 

Stats:
528 pages
Published 1 Jan 2008

Synopsis:
In 1977, pregnant Genevieve Russell disappeared. Twenty years later, her remains are discovered and Timothy Gleason is charged with murder. But there is no sign of the unborn child.

CeeCee Wilkes knows how Genevieve Russell died, because she was there. And she also knows what happened to the missing infant, because two decades ago she made the devastating choice to raise the baby as her own. Now Timothy Gleason is facing the death penalty, and she has another choice to make. Tell the truth, and destroy her family. Or let an innocent man die in order to protect a lifetime of lies…

My Thoughts:
At first, I didn't think I would like this book. However, it really sucked me in. It had me in tears quite a few times too.

This was the November Clamhouse Book Club Pick. :)

Previous Review:  Bossypants by Tina Fey [here]

Currently Reading:  Strawberry Shortcake Murder (HS #2) by Joanne Fluke

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #9



If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
I'm making a little progress...I've finished 2 books. *sigh* I'm hoping that I can finish at least a couple more. So I don't feel like I failed.
Today's Question:
What else do you do while you are reading? Eat? Drink? Household tasks? Or do you usually put aside absolutely everything to focus solely on the book at hand?

About 90% of the time, I am solely reading. As I have gotten older, I find it harder to concentrate when there are other things going on around me - other noises. A small amount of the time I'll listen to music or eat something, but I don't like things getting on my books, so I don't do it unless I'm really hungry.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Bossypants [Review]

Bossypants
Stats:
277 Pages
Published 5 April 2011

Synopsis:
In her acceptance speech for Mark Twain Prize for American Humor, Tina Fey announced that she was proud to make her home in "the 'not-real America'." It is perhaps that healthy sense of incongruity that makes the head writer, executive producer, and star of NBC's Emmy Award-winning 30 Rock such a cogent observer of the contemporary scene. Bossypants, her entertaining new memoir, shows that strangeness has been her constant companion. Fey's stories about her childhood in Upper Darby, Pennsylvania are only appetizers for LOL forays into her college disasters, honeymoon catastrophes, and Saturday Night Live shenanigans. Most funny read of the month; the best possible weekend update.

My Thoughts:
Ever since her SNL days, I have loved Tina Fey. She's hilarious.

When I found out she was writing a book, I knew I would read it. I underestimated how funny it would be. I was laughing out loud, reading excerpts to my husband (interrupting him from whatever important thing he may be doing), and even noting a few things I really liked about the book.

I love her sarcasm, the part where she wrote back to her fans, her description of a typical photoshoot, and her opinions on breastfeeding.


My favorite part, however, was her talking about putting in her contacts...
"Right up until camera time, I was sweaty and green from having to touch my own eyeballs like that. If you've never had to do it, I'd say it's not as quease-making as when you lose your tampon string, but equally as queasish to a self-breast exam. If you are a male, I would liken it to touching your own eyeball, and thank you for buying this book."

Previous Review:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (#1) by Joanne Fluke [here]
Currently Reading:
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (Clamhouse November Book Club)

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder [Review]


Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (Hannah Swensen, #1)

Stats:
301 Pages
#1 in Hannah Swenson Mystery series
Published 2000

Synopsis:
Hannah Swenson already has her hands full trying to dodge her mother s attempts to marry her off while running The Cookie Jar, Lake Eden, Minnesota s most popular bakery. But once Ron LaSalle, the beloved delivery man from the Cozy Cow Dairy, is found murdered behind her bakery with Hannah's famous Chocolate Chip Crunchies scattered around him, her life just can t get any worse. Determined not to let her cookies get a bad reputation, she sets out to track down a killer. 

My Thoughts:
So technically, I'm not finished with the book. There is a novella called Candy For Christmas at the end.

I really enjoyed this book and I cannot wait for the others. I was initially drawn because I was told it included recipes. Yeah, that's right, recipes within an actual book. This one included: Chocolate Chip Crunch Cookies, Regency Ginger Crisps, Pecan Chews, Black and Whites, Chocolate-Covered Cherry Delights, Old-Fashioned Sugar Cookies and Lovely Lemon Bar Cookies.

I really love all of Fluke's characters. She made such a range of characters and I feel that they all have such a good backstory to them. The way she unveiled them was amazing. She's a very talented writer. I am excited to see what other murders happen in the following books. I think I understand a lot of the community she wrote about because I'm from Minnesota and grew up in a very small town of 350 people. :)

Previous Review:
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten [here]
Currently Reading:
Bossypants by Tina Fey
The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain (Clamhouse November Book Club)



Wednesday, November 9, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #7



If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
Today's Question:
Is there a book that has had a tremendous impact on your life? One that made you look at life in a whole new way, or caused you to completely change something in your life?
For me, the book "A Child Called It" by Dave Pelzer is the book that had the biggest impact on my life.

Although I just went to Goodreads and found that it could be completely fabricated. *sigh* Either way, I read it when I was really young - it's the retelling of one of the worst cases of child abuse in California. It made me much more thankful for my life and my parents. I'm not big into reading life-changing books, I don't think. I usually stick to vampires :)

Bonus Question:
How is your Fall Into Reading coming along? Are you on track? Ahead of schedule? Falling behind?

This is so embarrassing, but I'm not even finished with the first book on my list :( I've been so behind in everything lately and it is sooo sad! I am about to read though right now. I'm pushing to finish my current book by the end of this week. I've been neglecting just about everything else too - like my crocheting. I finally did that yesterday and today too.

Thursday, October 27, 2011

Saving Max [Review]

Saving Max

Stats:
376 Pages
Published 28 Sept 2011

Synopsis:
Max Parkman—autistic and whip-smart, emotionally fragile and aggressive—is perfect in his mother's eyes. Until he's accused of murder.
Attorney Danielle Parkman knows her teenage son Max's behavior has been getting worse—using drugs and lashing out. But she can't accept the diagnosis she receives at a top-notch adolescent psychiatric facility that her son is deeply disturbed. Dangerous.
Until she finds Max, unconscious and bloodied, beside a patient who has been brutally stabbed to death.
Trapped in a world of doubt and fear, barred from contacting Max, Danielle clings to the belief that her son is innocent. But has she, too, lost touch with reality? Is her son really a killer?
With the justice system bearing down on them, Danielle steels herself to discover the truth, no matter what it is. She'll do whatever it takes to find the killer and to save her son from being destroyed by a system that's all too eager to convict him.
My Thoughts:
Up until Part 3 of the book, I wasn't entirely sure I liked the book at all. Danielle, Max's mom, is one of the most annoying main characters in any books I've ever read.


The ending - giant cliffhanger - usually would've frustrated me to no end. But I thought it was quite fitting. It was a solid end to a book I wouldn't necessarily call solid.


I docked a star because of the style it was written and the countless Apple endorsements.
It was an easy read and I don't think it was necessarily a waste of my time to read. This was my Clamhouse Book Club October read :)
Previous Review:
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (HP #7) by JK Rowling [here]
Currently Reading:
Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder (#1) by Joanne Fluke

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #4



If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
Today's Question:
How large is your personal/family collection of books? And where do you keep them?

Much like myself, my husband is also a bookworm. So when we got married and moved in together, we combined our huge book collection. Right now we currently have 2 or 3 giant tubs (those plastic ones you get at Walmart for $5) full of all the "kid" books and book series that we didn't want to read any time in the future necessarily (we have 40+ Animorph books, Goosebumps books, Area 51 books, etc.). Our bookshelf in our room is overflowing with books. We actually are thinking of getting another bookshelf. I thought to myself a few weeks ago that we kind of looked like book hoarders because not only are there books on the bookshelf...there is a huge stack on my husband's nightstand, a small stack on my nightstand with my Kindle...2 large stacks of books on the floor next to my side of the bed (by the bookshelf) and various books all over the house. The kids are little bookworms too. I cannot tell you how many books they have. Shoo. At least 100. They have books upstairs as well as little stacks in their bedrooms.
This is a very poor picture due to bad lighting in our room...but it's a 5 shelf bookshelf...there are books in it the regular way...books stacked on top of those, in front of those, etc. I also have a bunch of books IN my nightstand.
In this picture, months ago...you can kind of see the bookshelf on the left there...this was before my shopping sprees at a closing Borders and then half off all paperbacks at B&N. AHHHHH! 

Wednesday, October 5, 2011

FIR '11 - Reading Question #2



If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.
It's Wednesday again :) Time for another question from Katrina...Today she asked...
How often do you re-read books? What does it take to make you re-read?
When I was younger, I reread books all the time. I can't count how many times I've read Charlotte's Web, Animorphs, Little House on the Prairie, A Child Called It, etc. But as an adult, I find myself rereading books less and less. I currently have 641 books on my to-read list on Goodreads. Some are going to be rereads...but I'd say 90% are new reads. Every day I add more books to that list.

Now I do reread books if a new book has come out in the series and it's been a while since I've read the series. Like the Southern Vampire Mystery (better known as Sookie Stackhouse) books...I've read them 3 or 4 times now. I had to reread Harry Potter because although the 7th book came out in 2007, I never got around to reading it all the way through and I wanted to see the 6th and 7th movies. I hope one day to reread my favorite books...that's usually what motivates me to reread books. They have to be good.

Wednesday, September 28, 2011

FIR '11: Reading Question #1



If you haven't seen my list...please go check it out: HERE.

Today and every Wednesday, Katrina will be asking a question about reading in correlation with the Fall Into Reading challenge :)

Today's question:
How much do book reviews influence your decision to acquire and/or read a book?

I'm a really stubborn person by nature, so when I see someone review a book that I think looks/sounds interesting...I almost take it as a challenge. I think the only way reviews really affect me is if I am on the line about the synopsis and want to know if the book is worth my time. Most of my influence is from synopses. If I am unsure whether it sounds good or not, I will go to reviews.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Fall Into Reading 2011

So Kristen over at The Book Monsters mentioned Fall Into Reading 2011 today and I had to check it out. I love book challenges! This specific one is hosted by Callipidder Days and runs from Sept 23 to Dec 21. All you need to do is make a list of books you want to read this fall, link up and get to reading :) Not to mention, there will be prizes and giveaways throughout this time!

So here is my list of books:
  1. Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#1) ~ Finished 10 Nov
  2. Strawberry Shortcake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#2) ~ Finished 4 Dec
  3. Blueberry Muffin Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#3) ~ Finished 9 Dec
  4. Lemon Meringue Pie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#4)
  5. Fudge Cupcake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#5)
  6. Sugar Cookie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#6)
  7. Peach Cobbler Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#7)
  8. Cherry Cheesecake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#8)
  9. Key Lime Pie Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#9)
  10. Carrot Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#10)
  11. Cream Puff Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#11)
  12. Plum Pudding Murder ~ Joanne Fluke (#12)
  13. Candy Cake Murder ~ Joanne Fluke
  14. 13 to Life ~ Shannon Delany (#1)
  15. As I Wake ~ Elizabeth Scott
  16. The Awakening ~ L.J. Smith (#1)
  17. Bossypants ~ Tina Fey ~ Finished 18 Nov
  18. The Help ~ Kathryn Stockett
  19. The Host ~ Stephenie Meyer
  20. Lost in Shangri-La ~ Michael Zuckoff
I don't really have a particular order for these, but I do like to read series at a time. I don't really like skipping in between series. :) I started the Hannah Swenson series a few days ago so that's "first" on my list...and they include RECIPES in the books *swoon*

Chocolate Chip Cookie Murder by Joanne Fluke

I've been in a very non-reading mood lately :( But so far, it is a great book! And it is set in Minnesota - w00t.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows [Review]

Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

Stats:
#7 in series
759 pages
Published 21 July 2007

Synopsis:
Begun a decade ago and encompassing six shelf-bending novels, the seventh and concluding volume of the international literary phenomenon that is the Harry Potter saga comes to a bombshell-packed -- and oh so satisfying -- conclusion in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, arguably the most wildly anticipated release in modern publishing history.

As the novel begins, Harry, Ron and Hermione are on the run from Lord Voldemort, whose minions of Death Eaters have not only taken control of the Minister of Magic but have begun to systematically -- and forcibly -- change the entire culture of the magic community: Muggle-born wizards, for example, are being rounded up and questioned, and all "blood traitors" are being imprisoned. But as Voldemort and his followers ruthlessly pursue the fugitive with the lightning bolt scar on his forehead, Potter finally uncovers the jaw-dropping truth
of his existence...

My Thoughts:
I think this was a really good ending to the whole series. I think this installment is my 2nd favorite. (3rd is my most favorite)

I really like how Rowling gave an extra chapter to really close up the series cleanly.

I like how she redeemed two headmasters too. :)

Previous read:
Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince (HP #6) by JK Rowling [here]

Next read:
A Stolen Life by Jaycee Dugard


Thursday, September 15, 2011

Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince [Review]

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince



Stats:
#6 in series
652 pages
Published 16 July 2005

Synopsis:
The war against Voldemort is not going well; even Muggle governments are noticing. Ron scans the obituary pages of the Daily Prophet, looking for familiar names. Dumbledore is absent from Hogwarts for long stretches of time, and the Order of the Phoenix has already suffered losses.

And yet . . .

As in all wars, life goes on. Sixth-year students learn to Apparate — and lose a few eyebrows in the process. The Weasley twins expand their business. Teenagers flirt and fight and fall in love. Classes are never straightforward, though Harry receives some extraordinary help from the mysterious Half-Blood Prince.

So it's the home front that takes center stage in the multilayered sixth installment of the story of Harry Potter. Here are Hogwarts, Harry will search for the full and complex story of the boy who became Lord Voldemort — and thereby find what may be his only vulnerability.


My Thoughts:
I read this one when it came out but didn't remember any of it really. Except the big huge thing that happened in the book. Even if it's fiction, it's like dementors are surrounding me or something...like I'll never feel happiness again. Rowling has amazing talent to evoke readers to be so immersed in the story to cry (like I did during the 5th book) and feel as if you'll never be happy again (like with this one).

I also feel like this book was a "in-between" book. It doesn't feel like a whole book. There was no meeting with Voldemort at the end of the book and fighting him like the rest of the books. Most of the book was spent with many plots and questions and that all ended pretty swiftly in the last few chapters. That's why I gave it 4 stars instead of 5.

I also get curious about Rowling's writing process. Did she know all along what she would do with each book or did she do them one by one, tying in different storylines like puzzle pieces?

Previous Book: 
Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (HP #5) by JK Rowling [review]

Next Book: 
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (HP #7) by JK Rowling

 

Sunday, September 11, 2011

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix [Review]

Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix (Harry Potter, #5)

Stats:
#5 in HP series
870 pages
Published 1 July 2003

Synopsis:
Harry Potter is due to start his fifth year at Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry. His best friends Ron and Hermoine have been very secretive all summer and he is desperate to get back to school and find out what has been going on. However, what Harry discovers is far more devastating than he could ever have expected...

My Thoughts:
I responded to two emails today saying this is the book I love to hate and hate to love. Or something like that. It's the longest of all the books in the series and probably the first book I had ever read that made me cry. (SPOILERS BELOW)

Things I hate about this book:
-Harry's attitude when he first gets to Grimmauld Place
-Kreacher
-Harry's attitude when he doesn't get to be a prefect
-Umbridge
-Quidditch - losing the Beaters AND the Seeker - lame!
-Filch (and why would Umbridge like a Squib?)
-The Cho-Harry relationship
-Harry's attitude at various other times like when Hermione says he is into saving people and when Dumbledore confronts him after being at the MoM.
-Grawp (as well as the other giants)
-Sirius dying

Things I love about this book:
-Occlumency
-Fred & George's antics from beginning to end
-Tonks
-O.W.L.S - that may make me a nerd but I loved hearing about the school part of Hogwarts
-Dumbledore's Army
-Dumbledore's boss exit out of Hogwarts
-Fred & George's boss exit out of Hogwarts
-Epic fight between Dumbledore and Voldemort
-Malfoy in Azkaban


Previously Reviewed:
Before I Go To Sleep by SJ Watson [here]


Up Next:
Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (HP #6) by JK Rowling