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Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Back to the Books Giveaway Hop

(click on image for list of participants)

Welcome!  I am making this stop in the hop fairly quick and simple. I am giving away $10 e-gift card OR up to $10 worth of books(s) to The Book Depository, winner's choice.  You must be a GFC follower to enter and fill out the form below.  You will get an extra entry if you follow my Facebook Page HERE.

Much thanks to our hostesses, I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Buried In Books for this fun opportunity to discover wonderful bloggers and books.

I thank you for stopping by and hope that you like it here enough to be one of my blogger friends. :)

Happy hopping!!

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

"You On A Diet: The Owner's Manual for Waist Management"

by Michael F. Roizen & Mehmet C. Oz, narrated by Johnny Heller, non-fiction, 2008, Playaway audio, 10.5hrs, rating=4

"For the first time in our history, scientists are uncovering astounding medical evidence about dieting. Now Michael Roizen and Mehmet Oz translate this cutting-edge information to help you shave inches off your waist, by giving you the best weapon against fat: Knowledge. Through their signature entertaining style, Drs Roizen and Oz teach you about your body how and why it stores calories, burns fat, and reacts to the foods you test your body with. Ultimately, they give you the Plan and formulas that will help you lose up to two inches from your waist in two weeks on your way to your ideal size." (Goodreads)

YOU-reka!  A true manual  ... it contains detailed-seemingly boring gist (biology and physiology of fat and such though I actually thought it was fascinating!), sprinkled humor (can get irritating if you listen/read through the entire book), illustrations (I had to get the bound book too), and index (cool). 

If you're motivated enough and ready for the leap of healthy eating then this might be the book for you!  It was quite informational and motivational.  My favorite part was the mantra, "At the next available moment, make an authorized YOU-turn.".  Overall, impressive book.

It was good that I listened to this book first.  Mr. Heller's narration was vibrant and effective.  Perhaps if I had read it, I would have found it too taxing. 

Did I try it.  Not yet but it did motivate me to walk everyday for 30 minutes ..okay, almost everyday.  It's a start!  :)


by James Patterson & Neil McMahon, narrated by Matthew Bomer, AF, 2011, Playaway audio, 6.5hrs, rating=2.5

"Move over James Bond--you've just met your match!
Hays Baker and his wife Lizbeth possess super-human strength, exceptional intelligence, stunning looks, a sex life to die for, and two beautiful children. Of course they do--they're Elites, endowed at birth with the most advanced genetic enhancements available. Elites are the pinnacle of evolution; the triumph of man's ambitions.
The only problem in their perfect world--are the humans!
And their toys!
Now comes the most unbelievable shock of Hays Baker's life. Suddenly he's on the other side of the gun, experiencing a life he'd never dreamed possible--and fighting to save humans everywhere from extinction.
Not only that, Hays and Lizbeth just might lose their perfect family.
James Patterson's Toys is a thriller on a hyper plane--with a hero to rival both Bond and Jason Bourne." (Goodreads)

In short, I do not agree with the blurb's comparison to James Bond and Jason Bourne ... not classy enough.  This book was more of a Terminator to me.  It had Terminator's mechanics though not it's fire and heart.

Monday, August 29, 2011

"Dash and Lily's Book of Dares"

by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan, YA, 2010, 260p, rating=4.5

“I’ve left some clues for you.
If you want them, turn the page.
If you don’t, put the book back on the shelf, please.”

So begins the latest whirlwind romance from the New York Times bestselling authors of Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist. Lily has left a red notebook full of challenges on a favorite bookstore shelf, waiting for just the right guy to come along and accept its dares. But is Dash that right guy? Or are Dash and Lily only destined to trade dares, dreams, and desires in the notebook they pass back and forth at locations across New York? Could their in-person selves possibly connect as well as their notebook versions? Or will they be a comic mismatch of disastrous proportions? (Goodreads)

I really enjoyed this book.  It was teasingly fun and romantically hip.  I'm guessing that the obsession on words (OED, the Oxford English Dictionary) was part of Mr. Levithan's contribution seeing that he likes terminology (see his book The Lover's Dictionary).  It worked for me here because it wasn't overwhelming and it fit Dash's character. 

This book had me rooting for Dash and Lily's get-to-know-each-other adventure to succeed.  Their daring exploits was exciting and I relished the see-saw communication between the two.  The supporting characters were a fun addition as well.  Overall, I loved the romantic feel of the story.  A treasure of a YA find ... bold, charming, and curl your toes delightful.

The ending ... yeay!!  :)

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #38

Today's scripture is simply stated and profound. 

Jesus is speaking:
"If ye love me, keep my commandments." John 14:15

Have a great week!!

Friday, August 26, 2011


by William H. Armstrong, 1969, YR, 116p, rating=4

"Sounder is no beauty. But as a coon dog, this loyal mongrel with his cavernous bark is unmatched. When the African American sharecropper who has raised Sounder from a pup is hauled off to jail for stealing a hog, his family must suffer their humiliation and crushing loss with no recourse. To make matters worse, in the fracas, Sounder is shot and disappears. The eventual return of a tattered and emaciated Sounder doesn't change the fact that the sharecropper's oldest son is forced to take on man's work to help support the family. His transition to adulthood is paved by the rocks and taunts hurled at him by convicts and guards as he searches for his father. But along this rough road he ultimately finds salvation as well."  (Goodreads)

Only the dog has a name in this book, Sounder.  The anonymity of the characters perhaps suggests that you can fill in the names from someone you know.  You might say, "Yes, my Uncle  Jafaris went through a similar hardship.  'That's how it was during those days.', he would exclaim." ... a universal theme of struggle.  And so it was for father, mother, son, brother, and Sounder in this book ... happily poor.  But coming back empty handed after food hunting with his dog one too many times, father felt compelled to steal food in order to feed his family.  But he broke the law and so he was sent to jail.  His loyal co-hunting dog, Sounder, ended up getting shot at in the process and off to the waters Sounder disappears to heal.  In the meantime, son takes on the role of man of the house.  Endures cruelty in his quest to see his father in jail and later his whereabouts.  Son longs to be literate and through the years in wait for his father to return, he was fortunate enough to stumble into a teacher willing to empower him with that gift.  Such an enablement gave fruit to hope amidst the sad, cruel, and hard life.

A touching story of endurance and patience.  Saddening and hopeful.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Readercon Filipino Friday: Week 3

It's Friday in the Philippines so I'm posting this now. :)
(go HERE for explanation of what this is)
This week's question:
"How hard or easy is it to be a book lover in the Philippines? What are some of your frustrations as a Filipino reader (e.g. availability of books)? What are positive aspects of being a reader based in the Philippines (e.g. book prices are lower here than they are abroad)?"

My answer:
Okay, this question doesn't apply to me since I live in the U.S. but will answer it as it relates to being a book lover in the U.S.  Anyway, I'm queen of frugal so I get most of my book from the library.  Of course, this limits me to what they have but I'm fortunate to have a library that has great selections.  I'm quite content with this set up ... helps my pocketbook and supports the library!  :)

I have noticed quite a bit of bookstores available to the public here.  From large chain bookstores to discount ones.  There use to be a dollar book store in the mall nearby but before I took advantage of it more, it closed!  Now, the bookstore chain, Borders, is closing nationwide ..bummer!  I'm guessing with the advent of electronic readers, some stores are suffering.  Speaking of e-readers, I got myself one this past Christmas but just haven't gotten into it yet.  I love holding a bound book, flipping the crisp (or not) pages, ... just old fashion that way.  Although, I've come to appreciate audiobooks.  I find them quite convenient and functional for my busy schedule.  Anyway, in general, the accessibility of books whether bound or not is considerable here.  So perhaps the ease of access will aid in promoting the young and upcoming generation to a love of reading.

"Aiding and Abetting"

by Muriel Spark, 2001, AF, 166p, rating=3.5

"Lord Lucan was a dissolute member of the British aristocracy whose accidental murder of his children's nanny (he was trying for his wife) and puzzling disappearance created a sensation in Britain—and a tantalizing mystery as yet unsolved. In Muriel Spark's version of Lucan's flight, his adversary is Beate Pappenheim, a fake Bavarian stigmatic who embezzled missions from devout followers before assuming a new identity as a celebrated psychiatrist. These two inhabitants of the farther shores of morality collide memorably in her brilliant new novel, where "aiding and abetting" Lord Lucan's well-padded fugitive life is the name of the beastly upper-class game and a duel of wits plays out with potentially mortal consequences. The artful murderer meets the master con-woman—who will emerge victorious?"  (Goodreads)

I'm not sure what it is about based on true story books that captures my interest.  This one certainly pushed my curiosity button.  Nothing like murder and on the run to get the ball rolling ... by the 7th Earl of Lucan no less!  His unsolved mysterious disappearance made for the perfect base for imaginative minds to explore and so it was for Ms Spark, I assume.  And what a tale!  I found this to be quite entertaining and odd take.  The mind games was definitely present.  I especially enjoyed all the characters.  They were zany and so it made for a fun read.  Overall, leaving me to say, "That was strangely intriguing."

This makes me wonder to what extent that I would aid and abet a friend ... hmm.

A different read for sure so give it a shot.  It's a short book.  :)

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

Sunday, August 21, 2011

Readercon Filipino Friday: Week 1 & 2

I'm late in joining this meme so I'm playing catch up!  Anyway, there will be a first Filipino Reader Conference in September in the Philippines and so this meme was created as a fun way to get a jump start in getting to know each other before the event.  Although, I won't be attending the function (I live in the U.S.; financial + reasons) I want to do my part to support it.  So head on over to the Readercon website for details on the event and the links to others who are participating in this meme.

Now, here's the Q&A:
Q:  August 12 - Introduction. Tell us everything that we need to know about you as a Filipino reader. You can talk about the genres that you read, your favorite authors, your comfort reads and your best books of 2011. You can also include links of where other readers can find you online: blog, Twitter, Goodreads, Shelfari, etc.

A:  See my August 19 answer below for the first part of this question.  ~I'm a softy so I enjoy books that touch the heart.  So generally those fall into the adult fiction genre... discovering initial favorite authors such as Mitch Albom, Richard Paul Evans, and Nicholas Sparks.  But I didn't want to limit myself so I dabbled into other genres and discovered more wonderful authors such as Lois Lowry, Haruki Murakami, and J.K. Rowling.  Reading about people who take a stand for themselves or others in the cause of humanity became a big plus in my book as well.  I discovered a love for variety!  Though lately, I am finding myself caught up in the contemporary alley and missing out on great books.  But that's alright, I generally learn something from every book I read.  ~Off the top of my head, the best books I read this year are the Harry Potter series.  However, I've also found treasure in Newbery Medal books, tearful moments reading Holocaust subject books, and awe at dystopian novels.  Even a couple or so turned into movie books made my list.  Basically, I've hit some wonderful reads and looking forward to more!  You'll find a few of my favorites in my complete profile if you're interested in a list.  ~See this blog's sidebar for links to other places you can find me.  Hope to see you there too!  :)

Q:  August 19 - How did you become a reader? What factors influenced you to take up reading as a hobby and why do you enjoy it so much?

A:  I wasn't one of the fortunate ones that grew up in books so I'm a late bookworm bloomer.  I don't recall being read to as a child.  Perhaps I was read to here and there, but not regularly enough that reading stuck.  However, I did have a good period of time during grade school that I enjoyed reading books.  There was an incentive reading program that encourage me to read and I took advantage of it.  But book reading ended there because I only read required readings during the rest of my school years.  During my young adult and adult years, I read here and there for leisure.  Then, my time finally came last year in February where I just took the plunge and challenged myself to get back to reading so as to be able to join in book conversations with my friends.  Before I knew it, I got the reading bug!  What joy filled me when that happened!!  I felt enrichment in the power of stories and through them I was able to take journeys and was broadening my horizon.  It was an exhilarating feeling and still is!!  So now you'll find me with a book or two or three and even catch me reading if my hands aren't tied. 

That's it!  Thanks for stopping by.  Have a great week! :)

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #37

Beyond instincts, the Holy Ghost shines a brighter light.  Here's a few things he provides:

"But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, he shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you."  John 14:26

Happy sabbath. :)

Thursday, August 18, 2011

"44 Charles Street"

by Danielle Steel, AF, 2011, Playaway audio, 9hrs, rating=2

"The plumbing leaked; the furniture was rescued from garage sales. And every inch was being restored to its original splendor—even as a relationship fell apart. Owner of a struggling art gallery and newly separated from her boyfriend, Francesca Thayer does the math and then the unimaginable. She puts out an advertisement for boarders, and soon her Greenwich Village house becomes a whole new world. First comes Eileen, a pretty L.A. transplant, now a New York City schoolteacher. Then there’s Chris, a young father struggling for custody of his seven-year-old son. The final tenant is Marya, a celebrated cookbook author hoping to heal after the death of her husband. Over the course of one amazing, unforgettable, life-changing year, the house at 44 Charles Street fills with laughter, heartbreak, and, always, hope. In the hands of master storyteller Danielle Steel, it’s a place those who visit will never want to leave."  (book cover)

I'm glad I'm rediscovering Danielle Steel.  She's not the raunchy romance novelist that I pegged her out to be.  I don't remember which of her books that I read in the '80s that gave me that impression but the raunchiness is gone!  In fact, she's mixing in a bit of mystery (ex. Southern Lights).  Anyway, this book was straight out romance.  Man and woman meet, buy a house and live together, partnership a business, then things just don't work out and woman scramble a plan to save house and business. 

The meat of the story then became Francesca's relationship with the three tenants she had to take in to her home.  There was no surprise that through time they built a friendship and bond.  That development was a nice read.  That was pretty much the best part.  I liked the exploration of the dynamics of roommates. 

Overall, there wasn't anything too exciting, even with the Eileen incident, that wowed me.  Even the happy ending didn't add much depth ...too predictable.  But I wouldn't consider the read a complete waste of my time ... I liked Marya and the Frenchman.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

"The Lover's Dictionary"

by David Levithan, AF, 2011, 211p, rating=2.5

"How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time."  (book cover)

I am not on the fan bandwagon on this one.  Looks like I have a trend starting in not liking books about modern love (eg. Nicholl's One Day).  I just found this book to be too cynical.

The writing approach was clever.  It didn't have the tradition beginning, middle, and end in that order but rather written in fragments (in dictionary format) incorporating a jumbled beginning, middle, and end that one can still piece together.  This made for a quick read but also leaves you with many unanswered questions.  But having everything lined up wasn't the point of this book.  Rather a glimpse into an unidentified couple's relationship.  It's like a diary written out of order.

It's an overall relate-able and cute story but I don't know ... this novel struck me as an easy way out of writing a full length novel ..masked under creative writing style.  Too hip for me, I guess.

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

"Number the Stars"

by Lois Lowry, YR, 1989, 137p, rating=5
Newbery Medal 1990

"Ten-year-old Annemarie Johansen and her best friend Ellen Rosen often think of life before the war. It's now 1943 and their life in Copenhagen is filled with school, food shortages, and the Nazi soldiers marching through town. When the Jews of Denmark are "relocated". Ellen moves in with the Johansens and pretends to be one of the family. Soon Annemarie is asked to go on a dangerous mission to save Ellen's life." (Goodreads)

I've been trying to write this review for 4 days now.  I keep starting over.  I think I will try not to get too picky about getting the perfect words out because they are just not coming to me.  So, let us see what I come up with today and hope this one sticks!

My heart bleeds for stories about people who risk their lives to save others.  People who ban together.  People who form a Resistance for humanity's sake.  It is moving to know that there are people who care for one another enough to make meticulous plans and carry them out at perilous risks.  This was one of those books that can leave a reader asking himself, if given a similar situation, would he be as brave?  Maybe I cried so hard after reading this book because my answer may have been I don't know or flat out no.  Hence, I was left with immense admiration for those courageous people in the book that answered yes and a renewed pledge to be a brave person.

This was not a direct story about the Holocaust but enough of its aura resounded in Annemarie's reflective simple story.  The tension, the fears, the injustice, etc.  In reflection to that time in her life, Annemarie came to understand that lies, secrets, and not knowing every detail was part of life and survival during that time in history.

I am glad that this book was targeted towards young readers because this book showed a great example of true heroes.  That is a mark of an amazing book!

I am still struggling to describe how wonderful I think this book was and the indelible trace it left me.   Therefore, read this book for yourself and you might understand what I can't seem to eloquently phrase into words.

I will leave you now with a verse that stuck out to me:

 "That's all that brave means -- not thinking about the dangers.  Just thinking about what you must do." page 123.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #36

Life seems to be full of trials, temptations, obstacles, hurdles, and such; so today the following verse might be a stop to go to for comfort during those trying times:

"There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man:  but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it."  1 Corinthians 10:13

Yeay, we are not alone and we can pass any test!!!

Happy pondering. :)

Friday, August 12, 2011


by Veronica Roth, YA, 2011, 487p, rating=4.5

"In Beatrice Prior's dystopian Chicago, society is divided into five factions, each dedicated to the cultivation of a particular virtue—Candor (the honest), Abnegation (the selfless), Dauntless (the brave), Amity (the peaceful), and Erudite (the intelligent). On an appointed day of every year, all sixteen-year-olds must select the faction to which they will devote the rest of their lives. For Beatrice, the decision is between staying with her family and being who she really is—she can't have both. So she makes a choice that surprises everyone, including herself. (book cover, 1st paragraph)

I enjoyed this dystopian book.  It's been awhile since one has captivated me as that of Collin's The Hunger Games.  In this case, the angle was formulating a division by human traits .. interesting!  So that got the ball rolling for me.  I found myself invested in following through Beatrice's (aka Tris) path to getting established in a faction (society) and finding out the true make up of this intriguing dystopian city.  I wasn't completely disappointed.

Due to the writing style and the storyline, this was remarkably a smooth read ... as if the pages moved like movie reels.  In general the pacing was just right.  The amount of foreshadowing and mystery kept me on my toes.  I loved that entrancing element of this book because I certainly didn't want to read a 500-page book and discover it to be flat.  Well done Ms Roth!

This was often action packed and provided a heroine worthy to be in the middle of it all.  Tris would certainly give Katnis (The Hunger Games heroine) a run for her money!  Also, the steamy romance was a pleasantly appealing incorporation though somewhat disturbing (hmm, seems like a lot of YA book teens get a lot more action than I did at that age ... kind of a scary thought knowing I have a daughter who will one day be that age).  Anyway, the romance worked for me because I'm for all things of the heart and I like how that closeness would be tested when it most counted.

My attraction to dystopian stories is that they deal with human diversity.  Humanity is often explored and makes for a very fascinating read.  This book is no exception and found it to be a fun read.  My only big qualm was that the ending was wrapped up rather too quickly.  I expected more action at that point.  However, it didn't leave with a cliffhanger that I wanted to hunt the author down and yell at her.  I'll patiently wait for the sequel.

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

"The Last Song"

by Nicholas Sparks, AF, audio CD, 12.5hrs, rating=5

"Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alienated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church."  (Goodreads)

I'm a sucker for books that tug at the heart strings (hence my blog addy) and this one definitely did that for me.  Mr. Sparks sure knows how to wrench your heart!  So get your tissue box ready because you're in for a good cry.  Clearly a Nicholas Sparks trademark ... heartrending plot.

I'm lost for words.  Once it made me cry, I resolved to forget any qualms I had about the book.  There's power in tears, let's leave it at that.

I wonder if the movie's adaptation got it right?  I'm fifty-fifty about Miley Cyrus being Ronnie.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

I think I'm going to cry!

This weekend, I finally took the plunge and ventured on trying out templates to makeover my blog instead of backgrounds.  I found one I like and installed it.  It wasn't as bad as I thought it'd be.  I only ran into a couple of problems ... I lost my original flag counter (butterfingers on my part!) and I can't seem to move the attribution out of the header section (help!)... oh, and I don't know what that Post RSS and Comment RSS are about under the header.  Anyway, I've been learning a lot about HTML through the incredible Parajunkee and the wonderful world of Google.  They are my techy heroes!! 

So the end product is what you see now.  I am so happy, I am going to cry!!  Not too shabby for an amateur, eh?

I just made a grab button so if you are so inclined, please feel free to grab it.  Isn't it darling?  :)

Truly, Parajunkee's blog is very helpful!!  Thank you bunches Parajunkee.  You are the bomb!!!  So if you've got a techy question, head on over to her Blogging 101 feature and be empowered!!

Monday, August 8, 2011

"One Day"

by David Nicholls, AF, 2010, 437p, rating=2.75

"It’s 1988 and Dexter Mayhew and Emma Morley have only just met. But after only one day together, they cannot stop thinking about one another. Over twenty years, snapshots of that relationship are revealed on the same day—July 15th—of each year. Dex and Em face squabbles and fights, hopes and missed opportunities, laughter and tears. And as the true meaning of this one crucial day is revealed, they must come to grips with the nature of love and life itself." (book cover)

A telling cover ...atop, an embracing passionate kiss but below each heading on opposite directions.  And so the story goes for Dexter and Emma.  A couple who met and had a moment a day after college graduation but found themselves moving on to different directions thereafter.  And so the cat and mouse game begins.  Over the course of twenty years they lived their separate lives but maintained contact.  Their relationship seemed to be always at bay. 

For some reason I kept thinking of the TV show Arrested Development when I was reading this book.  Mind you I've never sat through an episode, but the few times I stumbled on it while flipping through the channels gave me the impression that it was quirky.  A good adjective to describe this elusive relationship between Dex and Em and the whole aura of the book.  And from that can come comedy and tragedy as well.  There was definitely comedy but tragedy ... well, I can't tell you exactly.

Because this spanned twenty years, you were able to see an evolution of growth.  The earlier years were idealistic and the latter years things began to settle and became practical.  That was the strength and interesting part I got out of the book.  But it also made for a tedious read with all the banter and craziness in the interim.

The foul language and adult content (thought not necessarily graphic) was too heavy for me.  Plus, I did not like the ending!  Looks like I won't be seeing the movie.

I forgot to mention that I learned that la cucaracha means cockroach through reading this book.  See, it pays to read!  Though now I'm disturbed and curious about the song ... what about the cockroach?  Why would one sing about it?  ...Symbolism?

Summer Giveaway Hop Winner!

Using the services of ...
goes to:
LAURIE @Frugal Wahms

Laurie, you have won "Wish You Were Here" by Phillipa Ashley.  You will have 48hrs to reply to the email I just sent you.

Thank you everyone for entering my giveaway and for the follow!!  You are awesome!!!
Be sure to come back next month for the Back to the Book Giveaway Hop.  It will be international.

Have a wonderful week!!  :)

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Pondering the Scriptures Sunday #35

Thank you for your uplifting words last week.  I had a better week ... tiring but better.  Anyway, in honor of friendship, here is today's pondering scripture:

"Faithful are the wounds of a friend; but the kisses of an enemy are deceitful"  Proverbs 27:6

Happy pondering!!

Friday, August 5, 2011

"A Need So Beautiful"

by Suzanne Young, YA, 2011, 267p, rating=4

"Charlotte’s best friend thinks Charlotte might be psychic. Her boyfriend thinks she’s cheating on him. But Charlotte knows what’s really wrong: She is one of the Forgotten, a kind of angel on earth, who feels the Need—a powerful, uncontrollable draw to help someone, usually a stranger." (partial blurb from Goodreads)

An incredibly fascinating premise!!  Nothing warms the heart as well as reading about an angel-like character touching other's lives for the better.  In this case the 'angel' is called a Forgotten, who only exist to follow the Need (pull to help people) then viola, when a quota has been met the Forgotten goes to the light and everyone forgets about you as if you never existed.  That would suck if you have a lovely life going for you as the likes of Charlotte.  It's no wonder that she wasn't crazy about the fact that she was literally disappearing. 

Off the bat the constant mentioning of the word Need annoyed me.  Oddly enough it was necessary for the storyline but it bothered me nonetheless.  I was also exasperated at the relationship between Charlotte and her boyfriend Harlin ... her over-the-top affection towards him and his initial passiveness.  Moreover, perhaps due to setting ground to the story, the story telling felt mechanical.  But the ending sure left me baffled and piqued enough to want to read the sequel!

The great appeal of this book for me was bringing to recognition that people have the potential to be angels to others.   I think we secretly live for those moments so reading about them inspires us to listen to our version of the Need and act on them.  A wonderful message if one doesn't get anything else out of this book.

Overall, the dynamics of existence was the strength in this read. Who wants to find out that you can't control your life ... your destiny for that matter? Especially tormenting to a teenager who feels like life is just beginning. And in general, no one wants to be forgotten.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

"Wish You Were Here"

by Phillipa Ashley, AF, 2011, 287p, rating=4
Book won from Mary @BookHounds
"Beth Allen has moved on ...  It's been eight years since she and Jack Thornfield met on an exotic holiday and sparked up a seriously promising romance.  But then he disappeared without a trace, and Beth's life got dreadfully busy, demanding, and altogether complicated.  Then Jack and Beth run into each other again ... while she's applying for an exciting new job in London --at his company.  For necessity's sake, but against her better judgment, she takes the job, and from that moment on, complicated doesn't even begin to describe it."  (book cover)
It was the last third of the book that rocked for me!  I was swept away with the love story.  The sensual tension between Beth and Jack was intense.  I found myself characterizing Jack as debonair.  Heck, I'd take him back!!  That's how good the teasing was presented.  I can't believe I'm going to say this, but the "will they get back together" scenario played out as foreplay.  Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying that this fits the erotic genre.  Not at all.  Merely, a chick lit that made me want to cheer for the couple's success.  I caught myself in La-La Land imagining Prince Charming in the midst.

In between the tension was funny stuff that made the read fun as well.  Also, the supporting characters were intriguing as well and helped the mystique.  My only memorable qualm was the 2 or 3 swear words towards the end.  I understand that people use it but I read it at the wrong moment.  I'm trying to get out of a spiritual struggle and so seeing those words hurt my eyes and felt an immediate heartbreak because I was so enjoying the ending.  Really just the timing because I liked Push by Sapphire and every other word there were swear words ... though I'm not saying that I like seeing those words, I actually rather not, ... it was context and time there as well.

An overall lovely chick lit and nice beach read ... that's if you don't have three little kids to worry about getting tossed in the sea!  I know, melodramatic but we were at the beach a couple of weeks ago and I thought that it was the perfect place to read.  But come to find out that I needed both eyes on the little boogers! 

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

"Home in Carolina"

by Sherryl Woods, The Sweet Magnolias book #5, AF, 2010, Playaway audio, 10hrs, rating=2.5
*Spoiler alert?*

"There's no place like home, especially if it's Serenity, South Carolina. For Annie Sullivan, though, the homecoming is bittersweet. She'd always envisioned a life there with her childhood best friend, Tyler Townsend. But Ty's betrayal has cost her the family and the future they'd once planned.  For Ty, losing Annie was heartbreaking. Still, he can't imagine life without the three-year-old son whose mother left him for Ty to raise. Ty wants it all—Annie, his child and the future he'd dreamed about—and he's back home in Serenity to fight for it. But getting Annie to forgive and
forget may be the hardest challenge he's ever faced. With the stakes so high, this is one game he can't afford to lose." (audio book flap)

I like books set in the South so I picked up this audio book ... again oblivious to the fact that it's the fifth book to a series.  There was nothing in the case/cover stating so (I only found out when I plugged it in at Goodreads), hence, this review reflects my thoughts of this book as a stand alone. 

It was an all right read.  The plot was not particularly original but the emotions was palpable.  I could understand Annie's reservation to distance herself from Ty and Ty's urgency to try to get Annie back.  Of course, Ty had to work hard to convince Annie that he really loves her but just got caught up in the life of a major league baseball player and doing the honorable thing in its consequences ...after all, having groupies was part of that life.  In Ty's case, he had a son to show for it and before he knew it, a child custody battle was ensuing just in time when Ty was trying to woo Annie back.  Thanks to a small town setting, Annie's employer happen to be Ty's mom and it's part of a mom's job and community of friends to butt in ... in a good way of course.  And so you guessed it, ... a chick lit that ends abounding in love.

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