Thursday, December 31, 2009

A to Z Challenge Wrap Up

I actually finished the challenge back in November but as things were crazy in my life, and only got crazier, I just now squeaked in a review for my last book, which was "R".  I chose to A - Z Titles.  I wanted to do both but I was worried about reading fifty-two books.  Turned out I came in at fifty-one for the year so I probably could have done it but I'm glad I stuck with just titles. 

I faced a few challenges right off the bat.  I started out fine with "A" but quickly found myself reading out of order.  I received a few advanced reading copies that I really needed to get read so I decided it really didn't matter what order I read the books in.  I also found myself with books that I really didn't want to read.  That meant my carefully planned selection was changing.  It was fine, I just had to accept it. 

For 2010 I am going to read A - Z Authors.  I'm looking forward to reading a few books I've been saving up and I'm sure I'll get distracted again.  It's all right.  This is all for me. 

Here is my 2009 Final list for the A - Z challenge, with links to my reviews.  The one on my side-bar is going away tomorrow.  Time to start fresh!

A:  Animal Dreams by Barbara Kingsolver
B:  Baby Proof by Emily Giffin
C:  The Constant Princess by Philippa Gregory
D: Dewey by Vicki Myron
E: Eragon by Christopher Paolini
F: Feathers by Jacqueline Woodson
G:  A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
H: The Host by Stephenie Meyer
I: I was Told There'd be Cake by Sloane Crosley
J: Julie and Julia by Julie Powell
K: Kissed by an Angel by Elizabeth Chandler
L: Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
M: Misery Loves Cabernet by Kim Gruenenfelder
N: The Next Thing on my List by Jill Smolinski
O: One Perfect Rose by Mary Jo Putney
P: Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster
Q: Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot
R:  The Rocky Road to Romance by Janet Evanovich
S: The Sunflower by Richard Paul Evans
T: Tribute by Nora Roberts
U:  Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
V: Vision in White by Nora Roberts
W: Whisper to the Blood by Dana Stabenow
X: X-Files Ground Zero by Kevin J. Anderson
Y: Yesterday's Embers by Deborah Raney
Z: Zel by Donna Jo Napoli

Now on to the next year!

The Rocky Road to Romance by Janet Evanovich

The Rocky Road to Romance, by Janet Evanovich, is a quick and breezy book.  It's full of fun characters and situations.  When Daisy starts working for Steve as a traffic reporter, she gets herself in all kinds of messes.  She struggles to find her footing in the job and when she witnesses something she shouldn't, she finds her life in danger.

If you are looking for a quick read with a cute story, you can't go wrong with this.

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

Truly, Madly, by Heather Webber is a great book!  I was looking for something fun and witty to end the holiday season with.  I'm so glad I chose to pick up this book.  It's due to be released in February, 2010 and I highly recommend you pick it up.

The story centers on Lucy.  She comes from a long line of matchmakers but due to an electrical surge, she's lost her matchmaking abilities.  Instead, she can find lost objects by touching someone's hand.  She never embraces her gift as a gift, instead it's a disappointment to her that she can't follow in her family's legacy.  When Lucy's father leaves her in charge of the business for a couple weeks, she discovers that maybe her abilities are something special.  Lucy gets wrapped up in a missing child, a murder investigation, and a heavy flirtation with the PI in the office upstairs.   

The characters are completely enjoyable.  Even the pets are lovable with their fun little quirks.  There are at least two more books in the series and I can't wait to read them.  It's always nice to find new authors (to me) and a new series to look forward to!

I highly recommend this book to anyone who wants to smile while reading a mystery.  It's recommended for adults or older teens as there is a bit of a love story.  Nothing explicit which is nice but a lot of kissing. . .

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

The Christmas Train by David Baldacci

I'd waited a year to read this book.  My mother gave it to me last Christmas but I didn't have time to read it.  All year long I toyed with wanting to read it but it never seemed right.  My decision to read Christmas books during the month of December allowed me the opportunity.

I don't typically go for the sappy, feel-good Christmas stories.  Fortunately this book wasn't like that.  Yes there was a happy ending, but the characters were charming and flawed.  The book revolves around Tom.  He's a fortyish journalist who loses his patience with the TSA and ends up losing his flying privileges in the United States.  Needing to get from Washington, DC to California for Christmas, he decides to ride the rails.

I've traveled short distances by train and while they were good experiences, they weren't quite like Tom experienced on his long -haul trains.  The story brings up a whole host of quirky characters, like the young couple planning to get married on the train and Agnes Joe, a lonely but feisty woman who isn't all she seems.  The biggest surprise for Tom was running into his long lost love, Eleanor.

Tom and Eleanor face challenges as they try to get to know each other after so many years apart.  They struggle to face the past and why they broke up.  They also face the weather, when the train gets caught in a winter storm.  Christmas is nothing like any of them planned, but it was better than they ever expected.

I highly recommend this book to anyone looking for a little love, and a little adventure at Christmastime (or anytime really).  If you love trains, you need to read this book.  If you don't love them, read it anyway!  You'll want to have your own cross country adventure.

Teaser Tuesday - December 29

My effort to keep up on my blog was thwarted by life stuff.  Drat. 

I'm hoping - really hoping - to get back on track.  I'll do that by giving you a teaser from a book I'm really excited about.  Truly, Madly, by Heather Webber is a ton of fun.  Lucy comes from a long line of matchmakers.  She's lost her gift of matchmaking but has a new one - the ability to find lost objects.  Look for my review coming soon.  It's the first in a series and is coming out in February.  I am really loving it! 

From page 118:

I should have just canceled the date, but I wanted to act as normal as possible.  As if I weren't about to unearth a murdered woman

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

The Graveyard Book by Neil Gaiman

The Graveyard Book, by Neil Gaiman is one of the most unique books I've ever read. As a child I was terrified of cemeteries and frankly, I'm not fond of them as an adult either. Imagine growing up in a graveyard, raised by ghosts. The story begins with a baby wandering (crawling) into a graveyard, not knowing that he was being pursued by a murderer. A kindly ghost couple vows to protect and raise the baby, and a resident vampire agrees to provide for him. The baby, now named Nobody, lives and learns surrounded by his ghostly family and friends.

The complete normalcy of Bod's life struck me. He wasn't afraid of graveyards or ghosts because it was all he knew. He found peace amongst the dead. There are many stories of orphans being raised by horrible monsters - usually human. Bod's family were dead but yet they loved him and cared for him. Go figure. It was a fresh perspective on the story.

I enjoyed this book immensely. It was beautifully written and I confess to crying at the end. It's a Newbery Award Winner and deserves that award. I don't know if I would have been okay with reading it as a very sensitive child but as an adult it was no problem. It's perfectly acceptable for children to read but I think it would be great to read to a child just in case as it is a little on the dark side of things.