Wednesday, October 31, 2007

Almost Anniversary

On Sunday David and I will be celebrating our two year wedding anniversary! In some ways, it's hard to believe it's already been two years, and in other ways, I can't believe it's ONLY be two years. Time flies.

Anyway, because I am very vain and like looking at pictures of myself, here are some of my favorite wedding pics:

Tuesday, October 30, 2007

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert

Ok, first let me just start out by saying how much I love the cover of this book. Yeah, yeah, you shouldn't judge a book by it's cover (I TOTALLY DO!!), but come on - this cover is gorgeous. I seriously want to lick it. I think it's beautiful. I'm practically in love with it.

Moloka'i by Alan Brennert
384 pages
Finished 10/25/07

Done gushing about the cover now.

I am a little embarrassed to admit this, but before reading the book, I wasn't even entirely sure lepers were real. Yeah, there, I said it. How did I not know? I have no idea. I had always just heard stories about them, or had seen them briefly mentioned it books, and it was always about how body parts were just randomly falling off. Clearly not very accurate. So, when I started reading this book, I really wasn't sure if this was based on a true place, or what. Of course, once I got done reading the book, I did a ton of research on Hansen's disease, because I'm nerdy like that.

So, back to the review, and I must say - I adored this book as much as I adore the cover. I absolutely loved it. I think it was beautifully written, well researched, and an overall very compelling story. I was very drawn in to the characters, and I loved how the book spanned Rachel's lifetime.

I am a champion crier, so it didn't surprise me (too much) that I cried a little in the book. One of the parts touched me so much I marked it with a piece of paper (literally the first time I have ever done that). It was the part where Rachel's father Henry was leaving her after his first visit to the Island, and as she hugs him, she cries and says, "I need you all the time!" It just sounds like something a child hurting would say - it makes me teary just thinking about it.

Seriously, I loved, LOVED this book. One of my all time favorites.

No surprise that I gave it five stars.

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay

Hmm, I probably shouldn't take so long to write up reviews on books (or maybe I should not only not take so long to write reviews, but also read 4 more books in the mean time)...I'm already having some troubles remembering this book. Yikes!

Darkly Dreaming Dexter by Jeff Lindsay
288 pages
Finished 10/21/07

This is another one of those books that I put on my wishlist ages ago (in 2005!) but kept skipping over for some reason (probably because it had been so long since I added it, I didn't remember what it was about). I just realized a couple of weeks ago that this book was the basis for the Showtime TV show Dexter. I don't know much about the show, except for the very basic premise (serial killer that kills other serial killers), but it looks interesting. Too bad we are too cheap for premiums (oh, how I'd love to know you Entourage, Weeds, and Dexter)...

Anyway, like I said, I am having a hard time really remembering a lot about the book. It was pretty fast paced, which was nice. It was a pretty quick read. I was a little annoyed by one thing in the book - Dexter would talk about how he doesn't have feelings for other people, but then would mention how the girlfriend's kids are getting to him, or how his adoptive father got to him - it was totally contradicting what he kept saying about himself. (Or maybe that was the point? He thinks of himself as so coolly detached when he really isn't?).

Overall, I liked the book, and will definitely consider reading the sequels. And possibly picking up the TV show DVD. :)

I give it three stars.


I have been feeling too lazy to review the last few books I've read, so while I keep putting that off, here is a pic of some of the 105 jell-o shots I made, all neatly labeled and ready for consumption!

Wednesday, October 24, 2007

Lamb by Christopher Moore

Lamb by Christopher Moore
437 pages
Finished 10/20/07

I'm not going to lie, I was pretty iffy on reading this book. I first heard about it a few years ago (I think it had been on my wishlist since 2004). For some reason, I kept skipping over this book when I went to order books. I really think it was because of my complete lack of knowledge of the Bible and anything religious. I wasn't sure what I'd need to know (if anything) going into this book.

I finally picked it up because it seems to have a resurgence of popularity, and I am hearing about it constantly. I don't do this often, but this is actually one book that I didn't tear through. It actually took me about a week to read, which is a really long time for me when I am loving a book. And that's the thing - I was loving the book so much I didn't want it to end. I kept making myself put it down after a few chapters to extend the reading time. It was actually a pretty unnatural feeling for me.

Overall, I thought the book was great - the author's imagination and wit were outstanding. In regard to the Bible aspects, I liked that I wasn't completely lost when reading the book, although I imagine that some things were probably lost on me. That's to be expected though, and I don't feel like I missed out on the story.

Loved the book and the author, and will definitely check out more of his work.

I give it four and a half stars. (Because for some reason I can't bring myself to five it)

Monday, October 22, 2007

Fun at Culver's

Yesterday David was kind enough to take me to Culver's because I was having a craving for one of their Concrete Mixers. David and I also decided to each order a salad, since they have awesome salads. The following was the drive-thru exchange:

David: Yeah, can I get 2 Garden Fresco salads with no peas?
Girl: That's a Garden Fresco salad with no cheese?
David: No, I said 'no Peas'
Girl: Ok, no cheese
David: No, both are with no Peas. We want cheese.
[Long pause]
David: Also, a concrete mixer made with chocolate ice cream and oreos.
Girl: Ok, so that's a Garden Fresco salad with blue cheese, and a concrete mixer
David [face turning red]: No blue cheese. No dressing. Both are without Peas!
[At this point, David and I are both realizing that she only has 1 salad in the order]
Girl: You want a salad with no cheese?
[Steam starts coming out of David's ears. I am laughing my ass off]
David: What comes on the salad?
Girl: Lettuce, tomato, cucumbers, cheese, Asian peas, and croutons.
David: No Asian peas on BOTH salads!
Girl: Ok, so that's 1 Garden Fresco salad with no Asian peas, and a concrete mixer. Please pull ahead.

David finally just said fuck it, and pulled ahead. He was too worked up to eat a salad. I could barely stop laughing. David is usually a mumbler, but for once he was enunciating very well. I know it was probably just the connection that made it hard, but good grief. Getting up to the window wasn't the best, either. We paid, and they gave us the salad (it was correct!). While we were waiting for my mixer, they came back to the window to try to make us pay again. We told them we already did, and they left to find the mixer. Then they had to come back to find out what kind of mixer it was.

I spent the ride home giggling, and I think David finally saw the humor in it eventually. At least we know now to say "Asian peas" instead of regular ol' peas.

Sunday, October 21, 2007

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar

Instead of starting with the book, I decided to start with the TV show. Gossip Girl (Wednesday nights on the CW) is officially my newest guilty pleasure. It has replaced The OC as the teen soap that I love (Ok, that's a lie. Nothing will ever replace The OC, but it has helped fill the void).

I first tuned into Gossip Girl because I heard it originated as a book. I like books (duh), so I decided to check it out. I wasn't entirely in love in the first episode, but I am now. I am so addicted, mostly because of the actors that play Serena and Dan (both far left in the pic). Looove them.

I decided to check out the book to see how they compare. I thought it would be cool, because it gave me a mental image of all of the characters.

Gossip Girl by Cecily von Ziegesar
201 pages
Finished 10/19/07

So, how does the book compare to the TV show? Well, I think I'd be more hooked on the books if I hadn't seen the TV show first. The show's first episode (or two, I can't remember), followed the book in many ways (Serena showing up at a party, Blair having no idea she was coming back, the Kiss on the Lips party, etc). However, there are some pretty different things between the two as well, including the fact that in the book, Serena's brother Eric is older and at college, versus the show, where he is younger and suffering from depression.

Other things didn't really match up, including the description of Dan in the book, plus spoilers I've read about the book's series (which, thankfully, the TV doesn't seem to be going in that direction...yet).

Overall, for a young adult book, I did think it was pretty interesting. I'll probably pick up the rest of the series eventually, just to see how the original author intended it to go. I have heard that von Ziegesar wrote around 8 or 9 books in the series, and the rest of them are now being ghost written. That should be interesting.

Distancing my complete adoration with the TV show from this book, I give it three stars.

Friday, October 19, 2007


I still don't totally understand the concept, but these things make me laugh. Especially this one - I was on a conference call yesterday when I saw this one, and I kept giggling. I pretty much giggle just thinking about this now. I think it's the "bwinker" that gets me.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Joe College by Tom Perrotta

Joe College by Tom Perrotta
306 pages
Finished 10/15/07

I really wanted to like this book - it seems like all of Perrotta's books get rave reviews. Unfortunately, I just wasn't feeling it too much. The main character was too out there - there were times when I really liked him and his honesty. There were a lot of times throughout the book when I thought "That is so a college boy." For the most party, I thought all of the other characters in the book were completely out there and unrealistic, from Cindy to Matt to Nick.

I was enjoying the book for the first half or so - while Danny was still at Yale. Unfortunately, the book got pretty ridiculous about half way through it, when Danny moved back home for spring break to help out with his dad's lunch truck (which, incidentally, what the hell is that? I've never heard of the thing. Is it an East Coast thing?).

I give it two stars.

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory

The Boleyn Inheritance by Philippa Gregory
514 pages
Finished 10/14/07

I go back and forth on this author - the first book that I read by her (The Other Boleyn Girl) I really liked, but most of her other stuff has been crap. Really.

That being said, overall I did end up liking this book. It's a compelling story, and the author has clearly done her research on the Tudors. Along the same lines, while it's clear she has done her research, I also enjoy how she puts her own spin on things - there is a reason this is called historicalfiction. She will probably never be considered a literary great, but she writes a compelling and interesting story.

I give it three stars.

Friday, October 12, 2007

Night Sins by Tami Hoag

Night Sins, by Tami Hoag
540 pages
Finished 10/10/07 (aka Brett Favre's birthday)

This book was actually a re-read. I had read this book right after it came out (around 1994 or so) and remembered liking it. There was only one part of the book that I remembered, so I spent the whole book waiting for it to happen...turns out the only thing I remember was what happened on the last 3 pages! Oh well. It was still a decent read - a little funny with it's pop culture references (Mariah Carey and her song "Hero" were mentioned a couple of times), and also pretty amusing was the lack of cell phones, etc. One thing I didn't realize - this book didn't have a solid ending. It basically ends so you have to buy the sequel (I think it's called Guilty As Sin). I guess I'll have to re-read that one, too.

I give it three stars.

Friday, October 5, 2007

Specials by Scott Westerfeld

This book is a Young Adult novel. It was supposed to be the 3rd book and final book in a trilogy, but it looks like the series is continuing...

Specials by Scott Westerfeld
372 pages
Finished 10/4/07

I wasn't so sure going into this book, as I had read the first two books in the supposed trilogy and had mixed feelings. I really liked the first book - I thought it was very interesting and original. The second book was way out there - the author created a ton of new terms and used them ALL THE TIME. I wasn't a huge fan of the second book.

Luckily, the author redeemed himself a bit in this book. The silly terms are still there, but they are not used as frequently. Like the other two novels, this book is extremely fast paste (is that the right paste? It looks funny, but I am having a huge brain fart). Don't be fooled by the 372 pages - the print is large and the book is small.

Overall, I liked the book. I thought it wrapped up a lot of storylines in a pretty decent manner.

I give it three and a half stars.

The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger

The Perfect Storm, by Sebastian Junger
299 pages
Finished 10/3/07

I thought this would be a pretty interesting book - I had vaguely heard the story when the movie came out, although I don't remember ever watching the movie.

The Perfect Storm is a great name for the book, as the book revolved around the storm that took out the Andrea Gail. It gave a lot of good information about fishing, but overall I wasn't impressed by the book, especially where it concerns the Andrea Gail. The synopsis on the back of the book annoyed me, because I thought the book was going to be entirely about the Andrea Gail, but it instead seemed to be about the storm itself, past storms, and other accidents that happened during the storm.

My biggest issue is that no one actually knows what happened on the boat/to the boat - it was never found. The author did make it clear that what he was writing was just a guess based on other boaters and their experiences, but it was pretty annoying to constantly read "Presumably" and "Probably." The Andrea Gail story was basically assumptions about what the Captain and crew decided and did while the ship was going down. I don't consider that nonfiction.
I give it one and a half stars.

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock

Me & Emma by Elizabeth Flock
292 pages
Finished 10/2/07

It feels a little weird to be breaking out the five star rating so soon, but this book definitely deserved it. This was a book that I always walked by in the book stores because I had read another book by the author and wasn't impressed...I wasn't looking to try this one out. I finally decided to give it a whirl after seeing it again at the Half Price Bookstore.

The whole time reading it, I really felt for Carrie and her sister Emma. It was such a sad story. There were a couple of times that I got a little confused and had to go back and re-read the previous page(s). I can't give it the full review I'd like to, because it would spoil the book for those that haven't read it, but it's a book I can't get out of my head.

I loved the book - I am actually considering reading it again very soon.

Like I said, I give it five stars.

Monday, October 1, 2007

Banned Books

So, it's fairly obvious from all of my posts thus far that I am a reader, right? Well, I found this article online today. It is the top 100 books challenged from 1990-2000.

Here is the full article on it -

Their numbers on banned books are pretty interesting - at least 6,364 challenges to shelved books available in schools and libraries.

Here's the full list. I'm a little disappointed in myself - I've only read 26 of the 100! Makes me want to get crackin' though.

1. Scary Stories (Series) by Alvin Schwartz
2. Daddy's Roommate by Michael Willhoite
3. I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou
4. The Chocolate War by Robert Cormier
5. The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
6. Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
7. Harry Potter (Series) by J.K. Rowling
8. Forever by Judy Blume
9. Bridge to Terabithia by Katherine Paterson
10. Alice (Series) by Phyllis Reynolds Naylor
11. Heather Has Two Mommies by Leslea Newman
12. My Brother Sam is Dead by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier
13. The Catcher in the Rye by J.D. Salinger
14. The Giver by Lois Lowry
15. It's Perfectly Normal by Robie Harris
16. Goosebumps (Series) by R.L. Stine
17. A Day No Pigs Would Die by Robert Newton Peck
18. The Color Purple by Alice Walker
19. Sex by Madonna
20. Earth's Children (Series) by Jean M. Auel
21. The Great Gilly Hopkins by Katherine Paterson
22. A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle
23. Go Ask Alice by Anonymous
24. Fallen Angels by Walter Dean Myers
25. In the Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
26. The Stupids (Series) by Harry Allard
27. The Witches by Roald Dahl
28. The New Joy of Gay Sex by Charles Silverstein
29. Anastasia Krupnik (Series) by Lois Lowry
30. The Goats by Brock Cole
31. Kaffir Boy by Mark Mathabane
32. Blubber by Judy Blume
33. Killing Mr. Griffin by Lois Duncan
34. Halloween ABC by Eve Merriam
35. We All Fall Down by Robert Cormier
36. Final Exit by Derek Humphry
37. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
38. Julie of the Wolves by Jean Craighead George
39. The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison
40. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Girls: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Daughters by Lynda Madaras
41. To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
42. Beloved by Toni Morrison
43. The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
44. The Pigman by Paul Zindel
45. Bumps in the Night by Harry Allard
46. Deenie by Judy Blume
47. Flowers for Algernon by Daniel Keyes
48. Annie on my Mind by Nancy Garden
49. The Boy Who Lost His Face by Louis Sachar
50. Cross Your Fingers, Spit in Your Hat by Alvin Schwartz
51. A Light in the Attic by Shel Silverstein
52. Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
53. Sleeping Beauty Trilogy by A.N. Roquelaure (Anne Rice)
54. Asking About Sex and Growing Up by Joanna Cole
55. Cujo by Stephen King
56. James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl
57. The Anarchist Cookbook by William Powell
58. Boys and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
59. Ordinary People by Judith Guest
60. American Psycho by Bret Easton Ellis
61. What's Happening to my Body? Book for Boys: A Growing-Up Guide for Parents & Sons by Lynda Madaras
62. Are You There, God? It's Me, Margaret by Judy Blume
63. Crazy Lady by Jane Conly
64. Athletic Shorts by Chris Crutcher
65. Fade by Robert Cormier
66. Guess What? by Mem Fox
67. The House of Spirits by Isabel Allende
68. The Face on the Milk Carton by Caroline Cooney
69. Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
70. Lord of the Flies by William Golding
71. Native Son by Richard Wright
72. Women on Top: How Real Life Has Changed Women's Fantasies by Nancy Friday
73. Curses, Hexes and Spells by Daniel Cohen
74. Jack by A.M. Homes
75. Bless Me, Ultima by Rudolfo A. Anaya
76. Where Did I Come From? by Peter Mayle
77. Carrie by Stephen King
78. Tiger Eyes by Judy Blume
79. On My Honor by Marion Dane Bauer
80. Arizona Kid by Ron Koertge
81. Family Secrets by Norma Klein
82. Mommy Laid An Egg by Babette Cole
83. The Dead Zone by Stephen King
84. The Adventures of Tom Sawyer by Mark Twain
85. Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
86. Always Running by Luis Rodriguez
87. Private Parts by Howard Stern
88. Where's Waldo? by Martin Hanford
89. Summer of My German Soldier by Bette Greene
90. Little Black Sambo by Helen Bannerman
91. Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
92. Running Loose by Chris Crutcher
93. Sex Education by Jenny Davis
94. The Drowning of Stephen Jones by Bette Greene
95. Girls and Sex by Wardell Pomeroy
96. How to Eat Fried Worms by Thomas Rockwell
97. View from the Cherry Tree by Willo Davis Roberts
98. The Headless Cupid by Zilpha Keatley Snyder
99. The Terrorist by Caroline Cooney
100. Jump Ship to Freedom by James Lincoln Collier and Christopher Collier

Velocity by Dean Koontz

Velocity by Dean Koontz
460 pages
Finished 10/1/07 (how is it October already?!)

I started reading this last night, and found myself getting really spooked out by it. The book was a really fast read - for a paperback, the print seemed pretty large and there was a lot of spacing (to make the book seem longer than it was?).
I won't lie, though, it was pretty obvious from the first chapter who was behind the notes. I liked it - finished it this morning so I wasn't so creeped out.
I give it three and a half stars.

Breakdown by Eileen McNamara

Breakdown by Eileen McNamara
344 pages
Finished 9/30/07

This is a true crime novel that I picked up at Half Priced Books for $1. I figured it would be a pretty interesting read - it is about a Harvard Medical School student that began going to a Harvard psychiatrist for treatment for depression. Five years later, he commits suicide, and his family blames the psychiatrist, who was extremely unorthodox in her treatment.

The summary of the book made it out to be more interesting than it really was. It was really drawn out with stories repeated throughout, possibly to make it a full length book. It seemed to end abruptly, too, much like my review will.
I give it two stars.