30 December 2007

Almost the New Year...Are you Ready?

Everyone has been asking about New Year resolutions and I have noticed the annual glut (perhaps poor choice of words) of diet plans, exercise aids, workout programs, etc....
I learned not long ago that it does not behoove me to make resolutions, especially at the New Year. I don't keep them because I always make the ones that are icky in concept. Never eat more Cheetos, drink more wine, have more ice cream. Nope, it's always eat less 'bad' food and exercise more. I did a re-think in September when I went to day shift and off of shift work for the foreseeable future. I began exercising more, eating better choices (there are no good or bad foods, just better choices and smaller portions) and I recommitted to Weight Watchers. By golly, it's working.
If I do have a New Year resolution, it would be to make more time for me, reading, alone, movies, whatever. That old saying, 'If Momma ain't happy, ain't no one happy' holds grains of truth. So Momma is gonna be happier!

We paid a visit to B&N and bought some DVDs with the gift card we received for Christmas. The Die Hard boxed set to catch us up with the first three and Kelly's Heroes. Then we wandered the book sales. A lot of books 50% off and I picked up some holiday books for Lady K's collection and Jeff Long - DEEPER, the sequel to THE DESCENT which scared the badoobees out of me. Also AN ICE COLD GRAVE - Charlaine Harris, the third in this series. THEN there was the 3 for $9.99 sale tables.....GREAT SOUTHERN MySTERIES that DH picked out for me and THOU SHALT NOT KILL edited by Anne Perry. Gotta go find room for my additions. Also found PREACHING TO THE CORPSE - Roberta Isleib in my mailbox that I won a couple of weeks ago. It's second in a series and I know this one will be as good as the first. Thanks J Kaye!!

25 December 2007


I hope everyone is having a great day. Were books under the tree? I had four and Lady K had many many many thanks to my Booktalk friends and her Auntie Deb. I organized a Secret Santa book exchange and had two names, so received two packets of books and DH gave me the Paula Deen biography. I am very much looking forward to all of them. They are upstairs and I cannot for the life of me remember the titles. We are in the middle of Christmas dinner prep or I would go up and check the names.
We went from having just DH, Lady K and myself for the day as my parents were hesitant to drive out in the crappe weather Kansas was having. They called Sunday night and said they'd come out Monday. About 10 minutes later, our friend Jaime called and said he and his DS would be over for Christmas dinner and possibly his wife and MIL. And today DH's friend called to wish Happy Christmas and (my thought) hope to get invited for dinner with his DD and girlfriend. Sadly they were going to have pizza if they didn't come over here....sigh.....
So....we now have five more adults and two kids coming over at some point this afternoon for dinner at 5pm to go with DH, myself, Lady K, my mom and my dad. I am looking forward to tomorrow and holiday time is basically over. Might take my mom shopping if the snow (that the weather fibbers said we weren't going to get and now we have 6 inches on the ground and it's still coming down) lets up any.

23 December 2007

A Redbird Christmas

I finished A Redbird Christmas - Fannie Flagg yesterday morning. I really didn't want it to end. What a lovely book! I had never read Fannie Flagg before and I am going to add more of her books to my wishlist from now on.
Oswald discovers his ailments are rapidly increasing his likelihood of dying. While at the doctor's office he finds a flyer for a retreat for better health. There really isn't anything keeping him in Chicago, so he calls the number on the flyer. He finds himself in Lost River, a town that time seems to have forgotten. We meet the residents in all of their sweet quirkiness. My favorites are Jack and Patsy. Jack is a redbird nursed back to health after being injured by crapweasel boys and now a pet of the local store owner. Patsy is the sweetest little girl, smart as a whip, and twisted of body due to a birth injury.
This was my absolute favorite of the group of holiday themed books I read in December.

20 December 2007

So You Wanna Win Some Books....

No, I don't give away books, but I know someone who raffles books once she and her family are finished reviewing them! JKaye and her fam read and review books and they raffle them on Sunday. All you do is visit her site and comment on the books she reviews pretty much each day. I've won four or five and added some pretty spectacular titles and authors to my wishlists and shelves thanks to JKaye.

Books I have won (what my brain can remember anyway):
Preaching to the Corpse - Roberta Isleib
Sexiest Man Alive by Diana Holquist
The Last Jew Standing by Michael Simon
The Overlook - Michael Connelly

19 December 2007

What's in a Name Challenge List

1. A book with a color in its title. (The Black Echo – Michael Connelly)
2. A book with an animal in its title. (The Monkey’s Raincoat – Robert Crais
3. A book with a first name in its title. (Agatha Raisin and the Quiche of Death – MC Beaton)
4. A book with a place in its title. (Pacific Vortex – Clive Cussler)
5. A book with a weather event in its title. (Storm Front – Jim Butcher)
6. A book with a plant in its title. (Thyme of Death – Susan Wittig Albert)

Calling it Good.....Joy's Seconds Challenge

Joy's Seconds Challenge October thru December

What I Listed I'd Read
Jacqueline Winspear - Birds of a Feather
Beverly Connor - Dead Guilty
Karin Slaughter - Kisscut
Larry J Hillhouse - Shot At and Missed: A Cody J Bryan Mystery
Katie MacAlister - Fire Me Up: An Aisling Gray, Guardian, Novel

Joy's Seconds Challenge Books Actually Read
Grave Secrets
- Charlaine Harris (2nd in Grave series) Oct

Deep in the Woods: The Beginning - Larry J Hillhouse (second I have read by this author) Oct
Whole Lotta Trouble - Stephanie Bond (second of this author) Oct
Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian Novel - Katie MacAlister (second of this series) Nov
Birds of a Feather - Jacqueline Winspear (second in series) Nov
Blue Christmas - Mary Kay Andrews (second by author) Dec

18 December 2007

A Highland Christmas - M C Beaton

A very warm and fuzzy holiday book. Very very quick to finish, two sessions on the recumbent bike. Superbly enjoyable if you like light cozy mysteries. No murders in this one, just some intrigue and warm wishes for the holiday season and what Hamish does to bring it about for several characters.
Calvinist roots run deep, so the village of Lochdubh does not celebrate the holidays in a showy fashion, at least in public. Hamish does his best to help bring the holiday spirit to all and sundry. There is a missing cat belonging to a reclusive 'witch' on the hill, a perfect child of rather strict parents, a new schoolteacher, missing fairy lights in a nearby village, an unhappy retirement home. All of these, not so oddly, come together for a nice story.
This was the first time I've handheld read a Hamish Macbeth book. I have only listened to them in the past and I could hear the lovely voice of Davina Porter, the narrator of this series, in my cranium as I read. This was definitely not a bad thing to hear this voice in my head. = )

16 December 2007

Tumbling Blocks - Earlene Fowler

I finished Tumbling Blocks - Earlene Fowler this morning thanks to early morning wakeup due to muscles utilized yesterday that hadn't been utilized in quite that fashion in some time. Snowshoeing yesterday in the woods up at Eldora Ski Resort up and down some pretty decent hills. Anyway, the quads and calf muscles were giving me grief this morning and I turned to my bedside book. It was a very peaceful morning under the covers and I finished the last 60 or so pages.
I have always listened to Earlene Fowler's books before, so this was a variation of a treat. Earlene uses quilt names in her titles, but doesn't focus much on actual quilting. The particular quilt makes an appearance somewhere in the reading, but it's more of a metaphor for what will occur in the book. This one has several stories, all tied to mega-tasked Benni Harper. She is the wife of the town's police chief and she runs the town's folk art museum (a place I would dearly love to visit if it actually existed), and friend to many. I love her grandma Dove, her father, her friend Elvia, her cousin Emory, her dog Scout. Her husband is a rugged and sometimes troubled soul, but is devoted to Benni as Benni is to him.
The benefactress of the museum demands that Benni take on an investigation of the death of her best friend, another rich woman. Constance thinks Pinky (she's rich, the rich sometimes have silly names) was murdered. The police chief thinks otherwise and asks Benni to take on a fake investigation to keep Constance off his back.
Into this beginning, Benni's mother-in-law appears. She is someone who was not happy with Benni marrying her only son. Tension....perhaps.
A painting by an 'outsider artist' has been donated to the folk museum. We learn what outsider art is. The painting is by an reclusive artist which makes the artist's work that much more valuable.
All of this is going on throughout the book. One block falls in each and the tumble begins.
A good Christmas themed mystery.

13 December 2007

Slay Bells - Kate Kingsbury

Finished Slay Bells - Kate Kingsbury this morning on the recumbent bike. Perfect timing of 30 minutes on the bike and just the right amount of pages to carry me to the finish line of the ride. This was a fairly decent holiday cozy mystery. I might look for more by this author if she has written other holiday themed cozies for this series.
Main character has a pretty understanding husband to let her sleuth around and not tell the police who only seem to get in the way. Three deaths in as many days at the holiday timeframe and mini-mysteries going on as well. Is there a ghost in the inn? Who killed the three men, seemingly unconnected to each other? Why is that singer woman after the husband?
Thankfully a fast read and I can move on to something else.

12 December 2007

The Dolls' Christmas - Tasha Tudor

World's shortest audiobook!! Or in my experience anyway. But I am counting it to my book journal for the month and I am counting it for the Christmas Challenge. I finished The Archer's Tale on the way home from work today and immediately began The Dolls' Christmas and it was immediately over after less than 30 minutes of story. The delightful Davina Porter narrated it.

The Archer's Tale - Bernard Cornwell

I was both intrigued and hesitant when this arrived from RecordedBooks from my wishlist. I'd listened to my first Bernard Cornwell - Stonehenge not long ago and I really didn't like it much. The Archer's Tale is a search for the Grail and I love the King Arthur stories, so that was the intriguing part and that won me over the hesitation.
I began listening to it and wasn't too impressed, but I persevered and so very glad that I did. Thomas is a sympathetic character with flaws aplenty to make him very human. He is a bastard, in the birth sense, not character flaw sense. His father is killed for the lance that Sir George used to kill the dragon. He becomes embroiled on his own reluctant quest for the lance as well as the man who killed his father.
I found out midway through the listening that this is the first book in a trilogy. I am very glad of this and immediately have added the second in the series to my wishlist on RecordedBooks.

So very close!!!

I am sooooo close to finishing two books, The Archer's Tale - Bernard Cornwell, audiobook in the car and Slay Bells - Kate Kingsbury, my current purse book. I have 30 more pages in the purse book and I am on the last side of The Archer's Tale. I have Innocent Traitor - Alison Weir, Dexter in the Dark - Jeff Lindsay, Fluke - Christopher Moore, Circle of Quilters - Jennifer Chiaverini, The Doll's Christmas - Tasha Tudor, and Bubbles All the Way - Sarah Strohmeyer to choose from.
Okay, just read the synopsis of Bubbles All the Way and it takes place at Christmas time....choices made....The Doll's Christmas as it is only one tape and can be finished by tomorrow, I think, and then Bubbles All the Way!! I can keep with my holiday themed books only in month of December even in the car.

09 December 2007


....but no, I am working on Christmas cards! I wish I had the same shift position I had this time last year. It was quiet on nights and I could get these accomplished in no time at all. Now I have to do them at home with all of the little things that seem to interrupt or I make them interrupt. Like posting here on the blog...
Back to The Archer's Tale - Bernard Cornwell tomorrow. Should finish this week and get to choose something new. Oh boy! I am enjoying this story the more I listen. It's a strong tale and it's a beginning of a trilogy.
I am about halfway through Slay Bells - Kate Kingsbury, my purse book. I will likely finish this week too with the rides on the recumbent bike. I'll just make them last longer.
I seem to be making headway in bedside book Tumbling Blocks - Earlene Fowler. I wish I could stay awake longer or in bed longer in the mornings.

07 December 2007

Silent Night - JD Robb, Susan Plunkett, Dee Holmes, Claire Cross

Silent Night was a very pleasant surprise. I don't usually have good luck with compilation books or whatever one labels a book with four stories by four different authors. I have been on the reading end of these and generally there is one good strong story, one pretty good story and the other two are weak. Silent Night started strong and stayed that way all the way through. I kind of hoped it would be so because the book led with (unknown to me) Claire Cross and her story A Berry Merry Christmas a very amusing story of a Christmas elf sent from the North Pole to help a mortal girl get her wish for a new mom. Next came Dee Holmes' The Unexpected Gift, a good story of bad boy coming home and making good. Next up Christmas Promises Susan Plunkett. This one might be the weakest of the group, but still a very readable tale of a woman, once rich, now doing good things for battered women. The man from her past comes in and helps. Last story was JD Robb Midnight in Death. Eve and Roarke and company always a good tale, but this was a humdinger. I read this one last year, but re-read it and enjoyed it just as much the second time.

05 December 2007

On Strike for Christmas - Sheila Roberts

This was such a good book! Talk about your life lessons. I did feel for these women who felt the need, for various reasons, to go on strike for the holidays. One because the husband didn't like the partying kind of celebrations, one because her husband liked it too much, others for reasons in between. They all put their significant others in charge of the holiday. To include cooking, decorating, getting the costumes for the holiday pageants, gift purchase, etc. All with varying degrees of very amusing results. All lessons learned on all sides of the households.

It made me very glad to be married to my sweetie-pie who loves Christmas as much as I. We decorate and bake and cook together. He did mention that we might not have to buy decorations any more except maybe the ones we can place around the house. Then the containers were empty and the tree still had room for more decorations. He conceded that it will be okay to keep getting them each year.

This is a highly recommendable book!!

04 December 2007

Aunt Dimity's Christmas - Nancy Atherton

The Aunt Dimity series is an uneven kind of ride. Some of them (Aunt Dimity Beats the Devil) are awesome and others (Aunt Dimity and the Duke) are so-so.
Thankfully Aunt Dimity's Christmas was on the up side. I have a feeling I have read it before, but I continued on with it anyway. I usually get disgusted with my forgetful brain and throw the book in the trade stack as soon as I recognize that I have indeed seen the words before. I didn't feel compelled to do so with this one. It may have had, in part, to do with it was the only other book I had in my purse after finishing Blue Christmas while I waited to sign Lady K up for swim lessons and I still had a 2 hour wait. Mostly, though, it was because it's a charming book. There are times when I want to whap the main character upside the cranium, but then she comes through after realizing she is being a pewpcranium.
I'm tellin' ya, I want her life. She was raised poor, but came into a crappeload of $$ and then married a rich fella, too! Then she had twin boys, apparently kept her figure, and has her father in law there at beck and call to watch the boys at a moment's notice.

Blue Christmas - Mary Kay Andrews

This was a very good start to December and holiday type reading. Yes, I started the challenge with some paranormal and futuristic mysteries, but this one actually set the tone. Very easy and light and fun. Mary Kay Andrews is such a funny person and writes how I wish I could. More funny warm characters with interesting flaws.

02 December 2007

Sigh.....Another Challenge to Join....Cannot Resist...

What's in a Name Challenge as challenged by Words by Annie
Dates: January 1, 2008 through December 31, 2008
The Challenge: Choose one book from each of the following categories.
1. A book with a color in its title. Examples might include: The Amber Spyglass, The Red Pony, Blue Blood
2. A book with an animal in its title. Examples might include: The Hound of the Baskervilles, To Kill a Mockingbird, Julie of the Wolves
3. A book with a first name in its title. Examples might include: Jane Eyre, the Harry Potter books, Anne of Green Gables
4. A book with a place in its title. Examples might include: From Russia with Love, A Tree Grows in Brooklyn, Out of Africa
5. A book with a weather event in its title. Examples might include: The Snows of Kilimanjaro, Red Storm Rising, Tornado Alley
6. A book with a plant in its title. Examples might include: Where the Red Fern Grows, The Name of the Rose, Flowers for Algernon
--You may overlap books with other challenges, but please don't use the same book for more than one category. (For example, you can use The Red Pony for either a "color" book or an "animal" book, but not for both.)

Working on my list of books now. Have to go check on Mt Git'r'Read and see what I might already have....

Holiday Gift Suggestion for the Booklovers in Your Life

Still at a loss for what to get that lover of books in your life. Yes, there's always asking for the wishlist or getting a giftcard to B&N or Borders.
My new favorite is a subscription to my favorite little mystery bookstore, High Crimes in Boulder CO. It's a book a month for my sister and one for my dad. It worked wonderfully last year for my sister, so I renewed for her. I thought it might work well for my dad, too, so started a subscription for him. I told Cynthia what tastes my sister and dad have and what they don't like (cozies are ick to my sister and female authors are a big bleck to my dad) and she goes from there. She chooses books from the not overly read authors, ones that the giftee might not choose for themselves.
So check with your locally owned bookstore and see if they have something similar. You can always give Cynthia a jingle and she would be more than happy to hook you up.

01 December 2007

November Books I Read

Bubbles in Trouble - Sarah Strohmeyer, BOT, just love this series and this is my favorite

Fire Me Up: An Aisling Grey, Guardian, Novel - Katie MacAlister, MPB, a super paranormal romp, Joy's Seconds Challenge

Birds of a Feather - Jacqueline Winspear, TPB, a keeper book..just wonderful, Joy's Seconds Challenge

What's a Ghoul to Do? - Victoria Laurie, MPB, who you gonna call? This was a good start to another good series

An Acquaintance with Darkness - Ann Rinaldi, TPB, so-so, Unread Author Challenge

Holidays Are Hell - Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M Liu, Vicki Pettersson, MPB, 50/50 decent, first two were the best, Christmas Challenge

Hissy Fit - Mary Kay Andrews, TPB, what a FAB book! More! Unread Author Challenge

Memory in Death - JD Robb, MPB, Love love love this series! Christmas Challenge

Coldheart Canyon - Clive Barker, BOT, once was enough, I was exhausted, Unread Author Challenge

7 books, 2 audio, 108 so far for the year