December 13, 2010

Parents Say the Darndest Things

Twenty-eight year old Justin Halpern was dumped by his girlfriend and decided to move back in with his parents. Sh*t My Dad Says is a memoir about the funny witty sh*t that Justin’s dad says. It will make you laugh out loud from the visuals in your head. It may even remind you of sh*t your parents said while growing up, and still say.

This memoir started off as instant messenger statuses, then a Twitter page that grew into over one million followers. Literary agents started calling. TV producers extended show invites. Reporters asked for interviews. Now it is a published book and a TV series. These facts are not lost on me. If Justin Halpern can do it, I can too. So I’m taking a brief blogging break to write about the Sh*t My Mama Do.

Rating: ♥♥♥

December 10, 2010

Winter Bloom Brings Past Seasons' Secrets

A garden isn’t a garden without the tender love and care of a gardener. The effort and work that a gardener puts into a garden is what makes it beautiful.

Eva discovers a neglected walled garden. She asks the owner, Mrs. Prendergast, also rumored to have murdered her husband, if she can care for it. With the help of others, the garden is brought back to life. This process also helps the individual workers heal from their own problems and soon friendships form.

I’m not a gardener with a green thumb by any means. I look at a plastic flower and it dies. But author Tara Heavey did a wonderful job developing each character and engaging the reader. The cover is misleading, as it gives the idea that it’s a light chick lit read. We all know not to judge a book by its cover though, right? It is actually a story that will draw you in with light suspense as each individual character’s history is revealed. Topics such as the sudden loss of a loved one, abuse, the Holocaust, and unwanted pregnancies are covered in the 369 pages.

There are reader discussion questions and an author Q&A at the very end of the book. I recommend Winter Bloom for a book club selection.

Rating: ♥♥♥

December 8, 2010

One-Two Punch

Imagine Muhammad Ali in the ring. He’s floating like a butterfly, stinging like a bee. His one-two punches are quick and on point. He’s on top of this boxing match and it even looks like he’ll win. Now imagine Muhammad Ali is Alex Cross. Nana Mama, Bree and the kids are cheering from the sidelines. But nobody suspects that the opponent is really someone else.

Amongst all of the chaos in the ring, there is a physical ring that demands attention too. Bree and Alex are planning a wedding. Not to mention there is a team of snipers playing hero by killing corrupt public figures. And Kyle Craig is back with a personal vendetta! He never knew exactly how he’d destroy Alex, but the time has finally come. Through every chapter, I had to brace myself. It’s coming! Is this it? Now? Uh oh it’s time! And then…

The murder case took a backseat. I was just anxious to see how Kyle Craig vs. Alex Cross would result. Recent stand-alone Patterson books have been disappointing. Cross Fire somewhat let me down too. I anticipated this moment when Kyle Craig would return and plot to destroy Alex Cross/Cross family. It was like a three-hour fight that you can't stop watching, and then it ends with a single punch in the last two minutes, but not a TKO.

Rating: ♥♥♥♡

Decoded Quote of the Week

"I live a life you can write a book on. Man and I'll tell ya, it'll be a best seller." -- Shawn "Jay-Z" Carter (1998)

Rating: ♥♥♥♥♥

December 5, 2010

Vows, Vendettas & Katz the Detective

Everything seems fine and dandy in Sophie Katz life. Her latest book is a best seller. Her boyfriend Anatoly has basically moved in. And her best friend just announced her engagement. Then in the blink of an eye, Sophie’s world isn’t so peaceful. Her other best friend Dena is shot. In true Sophie fashion, she delves into investigation mode.

As usual, Sophie gets herself into humorous situations. Kyra Davis wrote another entertaining light book with the right amount of seriousness. The story flows, but don’t expect anything deep. Katz fans will shake their head at Sophie’s antics and try to solve the mystery too.

Rating: ♥♥♥

Although this is the fifth in the series, you won’t be lost if you haven’t read the others. However, I always suggest reading books in order. I recommend them all. Here is the complete order below:

♡ Sex, Murder & A Double Latte 
♡ Passion, Betrayal & Killer Highlights
♡ Obsession, Deceit & Really Dark Chocolate
♡ Lust, Loathing & A Little Lip Gloss

December 1, 2010

Digital Portable Reading Devices

I dedicate my 100th blog post to the future of reading. 

I'm contemplating whether I should join the revolution and convert to an eReader. I'm a sucker for a new gadget so the idea of owning an eReader is spellbinding. However, I'm an even bigger sucker for physical books. The comfortable feel of a trade paperback. The official new feel of a hardcover. The act of physically turning pages can never be replaced. After all, an eReader kind of nulls the term "page-turner."

But there are advantages. I like the idea of having access to over 100 classic books conveniently in one place. But will I really read them all? I also like the idea of traveling with multiple books without the extra weight. It makes it easier to read more than one book/magazine at a time.

Through my research, I've narrowed my choices down to three of the most popular types. (Note the Apple iPad is excluded because it's in a league of its own. #TeamApple) Here's what I found:

($139 Wi-Fi; $189 Wi-Fi + 3G; $379 DX)

        • High contrast e-ink screen
        • No glare; readable in bright sunlight
        • Sleek design
        • Weighs less than a paperback
        • Battery life of up to one (1) month
        • Stores up to 3,500 books
        • Seamless page reading
        • Dictionary lookup, notes, & highlight
        • PDF reader with search and annotations
        • Send, carry, & read personal docs
        • Web browser
        • Can read English-language content out loud
        • Book lending coming soon
        • Transfer/play MP3's & podcasts
        • eBooks $9.99 or less
        • Free out-of-copyright books
        • Free book samples before purchase

($249 Wi-Fi; $199 Wi-Fi + 3G)

      • Color touch screen
      • No glare or backlight 
      • Customized font sizes
      • Free book browsing/reading in store
      • Surf the web
      • 8GB of space & expandable memory
      • Offers over 2 million titles
      • Electronic newspapers & magazines
      • Lifetime library
      • 14-day lending from local library
      • Borrow/lend to friends
      • Share passages/quotes on Twitter & Facebook
      • Bookmark, highlight & take notes
      • Most bestsellers & new releases $9.99 or less
      • Sample eBooks for free before purchase
      • "Poor Man's iPad"

$179 Pocket; $229 Touch; $299 Daily Edition
      • Pink ribbon bundle edition
      • 14-22 days battery life
      • Clear touch screen
      • Six (6) adjustable font sizes
      • Access up to 350 books anywhere
      • Carry up to 1,200 books at a time
      • Virtual keyboard, highlight & take notes
      • Two (2) dictionaries & ten (10) translators
      • Transfer titles to both PC and Mac
      • Adobe PDFs, personal docs, blogs, & RSS feeds
      • Play MP3's & audio files
      • Borrow books from local library
      • Daily subscriptions to newspapers
      • Access to Google Books & Sony eReader Store

In conclusion, I am still a fan of old school paper books, but will broaden my reading experience with an eReader. If you are an eReader user, please share your experience with us.

Happy eReading!