Monday, December 31, 2007

Last Post of the Year...

...And I decided to use a tribute to two of my favorite things this LOL cat (courtesy of and Scrubs!

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
498 pages
Finished 12/30/07

To say that this is a fast read would be an understatement. I began reading this book yesterday afternoon, around the beginning of the 4th quarter of the Packer game (Go Pack!). I finished it by 9 last night, and I was definitely not reading the entire time (took some time off to make dinner, drink some wine, and put the book down every 3 minutes or so to meow at David. Which he didn't find annoying. At all.).

I was throughly absorbed and addicted to this novel. It is a young-adult novel about a high school junior named Bella that moves to a new school and falls in love with a vampire. It was easy to see why/how a teenage girl can get swept up in it - what heterosexual teenage girl didn't day dream about the perfect guy falling for her and whispering sweet nothings to her? I thought it was a very romantic novel when looking at it from eyes of the teenage girl I used to be.

Of course, other things drove me nuts - things that were unexplained (Edward, the vampire, can read everyone's thoughts...but Bella's), Bella's ridiculous outfits there were supposed to be cute (floor length khaki skirt? Really?), and even the sexual tension got a little annoying. It was all too pure. The two barely ever kissed!

Either way, I still really liked it, and I am already reading the second novel, New Moon. I'll let you know how I feel about that one.

Four stars.

The Unholy by Michael Falconer Anderson

The Unholy by Michael Falconer Anderson
223 pages
Finished 12/30/07

I found this book in a box of my old books that I got from my mom - the box had some of my Baby-Sitter Club books, a bunch of teen angst books, a few romance book...and then there was this one. The book is in horrible shape - bent, sun faded, and it looks like part of it had gotten wet, but I was desperate for something to read a week or so ago (before I went to the bookstore and ordered from Amazon).

The back of the book makes the story sound really freaky and disturbing, but the story was actually a bit of a disappointment for me - I didn't get the chills I was expecting when reading it. It seemed a little rushed in places, and a little drawn out in others, and sometimes details were mentioned that just didn't fit with the storyline, and had me going "Huh?". Ug, plus, the other thing that annoyed me was that the f-bombs were edited. Really? Why have your character speak them if you are just going to type it "F..."?

Two stars.

Sunday, December 30, 2007

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King

The Tommyknockers by Stephen King
752 pages
Finished 12/28/07

Considering I've read most of Stephen King's books, I'm not sure how I missed this one, but I did. I had a hard time getting through the first 200 pages or so - it was pretty slow going there for awhile, with all of the back story on Bobbi and Gard. Once it picked up, though, I really enjoyed the book. I liked King's writing style in this novel, and I loved how the storylines were all intertwined. It was cool to see the story from on angle in one chapter, and then see it from another view the next.

Overall, I'd say the book could have been better if it was about 200 pages less, but I still liked it.

Three stars.

Thursday, December 27, 2007

December DNFs

December was a seriously depressing month for books. I wasn't all that into reading in the first place, and it didn't help that the books I had were not that great.

The good news is I can only think of three books that I actually quit:

Mirror, Mirror by Gregory Maguire
Song of Solomon by Toni Morrison
Mother of Pearl by Melinda Hayes

The first two books I read (maybe) 30 pages of each before quitting. I just couldn't get into them.

The third book is actually one that's been on my shelf for years. I've tried reading it a couple of times, but could never get into it. Turns out I still can't, so it goes back to the shelf as a Did Not Finish.

Anxiously awaiting UPS...

Whew, so my moodiness from the last week seems to have gone away for the most part. Must have been PMS.

Right now I am terribly excited because the UPS driver is on his way to my house. Yes! He is coming with a box full of books from I ordered the books on Christmas Eve - as soon as I got some money for Christmas, I told David to get ready to deposit it into checking, because it was going straight to Amazon. So, I have the following books on the way to my house:

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
New Moon by Stephanie Meyer
Eclipse by Stephanie Meyer
Forever Odd by Dean Koontz
Gone, Baby, Gone by Dennis Lehane (author of Mystic River)
The Pillars of the Earth by Ken Follett
The Golden Compass by Philip Pullman

Plus, since I knew I couldn't wait until the books came today, I had also picked up a couple of books at HPB on Monday...Tommyknockers by Stephen King (I have no idea how I've never read this book before) and A Prayer For Owen Meany by John Irving. I'm currently reading both of these books (although I'll probably just go to Tommyknockers tonight so I can concentrate more and get them both done!).

So, overall Christmas was a whole lot of awesome. David and I had a great day together on Saturday - we ate some pizza, did some cannon balls (involves chugging Boones Farm), drank some beer, opened some presents, and watched my favorite movie - Love Actually. Sunday was spent with David's parents and grandmother. We turned off the Packer game early (it was wretched), and played some dominoes before David and I made our fish dinner (which I ended up not liking). On Monday we drove up to EC with my brother Bob and his fiancee Nikki and opened presents with my mom and Grandma, and then Tuesday we had to stop by both sides of my family for Christmas.

As usual, the Present Game at my mom's side was a lot of fun, although it seemed to drag on FOREVER. Everyone was fighting over a few specific gifts, mainly because we knew they contained alcohol. :) David and I had a good giggle once the game was over - we didn't end up with any alcohol (it was Boones Farm and Asti!) but we got off pretty easy - two things of candy, a book (Nicholas Sparks - I'll read it eventually), and a hideous bracelet that will go in the game next year. David and I played the game well and were pretty proud of our (lack) of gifts.

Friday, December 21, 2007

Thursday, December 20, 2007


I've been really crabby the last few days...heck, even weeks it feels like. I'm seriously hoping Christmas will make it better. I'm in such a rut - nothing that I usually do sounds very fun. I'm sick of reading crappy books (I've been reading Mirror, Mirror for over a week now and am literally 30 pages into), I haven't been into TV (I somehow still have the last two episodes of Heroes on my DVR, among others), and I have even looked at EVERYTHING on the Internet. Almost.

David and I decided that it's probably because I haven't been drinking very much lately. That, and of course our usual reasoning - I'm not blonde. I was always more fun then.

So, anyway, thank goodness for this weekend - on Saturday David and I are doing Christmas together. We decided to have our Christmas dinner together be Pizza Hut (so nerdy), and I'm going to enjoy a Pina Colada (or two) with a tasty Red Vine straw. Sunday we are going to do our Christmas with David's family, where I plan on enjoying multiple glasses of Prosecco. Yumm...

And to demonstrate how cute my hair looked with blonde highlights, I'll take you back to October 2006 with I first met little Raina:

Sunday, December 16, 2007

Dinner Drama

There is a reason I don't cook. Ok, there are actually a lot of reasons why I don't cook, but the main reason seems to be my lack of attention to detail.

A few weeks ago David and I were making pancakes for dinner. We bought one of those easy little plastic containers - just add water! I seriously read the instructions 3 times - and then proceeded to fill the container to the top, rather than the fill line. Needless to say, we did not have pancakes that night.

Tonight David and I were making Four Soup Casserole. David was browning the hamburger, while I was mixing the soups. I read the instructions over a few times. "Brown hamburger and drain. Mix soups together. Lightly mix soup & noodles together; add beef." I thought it was a little weird that I didn't have to cook the noodles, but since we had only made this meal once quite awhile ago, I couldn't remember. I added about half of the (uncooked) noodles to the soup when I read the instructions (again). "Brown hamburger. Cook & drain noodles. Mix soups together." Whhaaa? How did I miss the "cook and drain noodles" the first 15 times I read it? Grr. David had to throw on shoes and drive to the grocery store for more soup while I finished browning the hamburger and (oops) cooking the noodles.

By the time David got back, the noodles were cooked, the hamburger was browned, and I was ready to mix the soups. Except...instead of a can of cream of mushroom soup and a can of cream of celery, David came home with 2 cans of cream of celery and no mushroom. There was a bit of dramatics in the house then - David was pissed that he had bought two of the same soup and was convinced dinner was officially ruined, and I was pissed that he was pissed about something so stupid. Good times. We finally got everything in the dish and into the oven, with me saying all the time "I don't remember putting cheese on it last time" (as the recipe calls for).

Forty-five minutes later, it came out of the oven and was actually really good. I am completely convinced that last time we didn't put cheese on it, which is weird, because I'd top everything with cheese if I could. David can't believe we made the casserole twice and haven't done it correctly yet. Oh well. It still ended up being delicious.

I had been feeling ambitious before we started making dinner, and had planned on making chocolate chip cookies after dinner. Not any more.

Saturday, December 15, 2007

Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman

Skylight Confessions by Alice Hoffman
262 pages
Finished 12/15/07

There was a sticker on the cover of this book that claimed "If you like Jodi Picoult, you'll love Alice Hoffman." I like Jodi Picoult OK (although the last two books of hers that I read, Vanishing Acts and The Tenth Circle were not very good), so I thought I'd pick this one up. Plus, I've read at least one of Hoffman's books, and while I don't remember loving it, I certainly don't remember hating it.

And hating it is exactly how I felt about this book. It was bad from page one. Her writing style drove me nuts, and the characters all were so weak and unbalanced. I barely finished it - I basically just started skimming and reading every few pages, and then, with about a quarter of the book to go, I skipped to the last 20 pages or so and read them. Turns out I didn't miss much.

One star.

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold

The Almost Moon by Alice Sebold
291 pages
Finished 12/11/07

When I saw this at HPB, I snatched it up right away, even though it was a brand-new hardcover. I didn't know this author had another novel out. I had read her two previous books - her memoir, Lucky, and her first novel The Lovely Bones, and I adored them. I figured this would be the same.

Except, yeah, not so much. The main character (Helen) was disgusting. The book starts out (the first sentence) with Helen proclaiming that she killed her mother. The book follows the next 24 hours as she tries to decide what to do next. I'm not sure if Sebold's intention was to make us feel empathy for her, but whatever the plan was, Helen came off as a serious lunatic. And she didn't really have any redeeming qualities, and yet it seemed like everyone in her life (especially the men) would do anything for her. Unfortunately, whatever they saw in her doesn't come across to the reader.

An utterly disappointing Two stars.

Thursday, December 13, 2007

Good news...(relative)

I haven't said anything about this on here because there was no new information for so long, but now I have some news...

David and I were making dinner tonight around 5 or 6 when the doorbell rang. It was Benjy, our neighbor, with the best news we've heard from him in a long time. His and Erin's daycare provider was just arrested tonight in the death of their son Lincoln. She was charged with 1st degree reckless homicide. Benjy wanted to give us a heads up since everything will be on the news tomorrow - just in case news vans start showing up in our driveway.

I'm glad that this is finally happening for them. Lincoln was only 4 months old when he died on September 11, so it's news Benjy and Erin (and everyone who knows them) had been waiting awhile to hear.

Wednesday, December 12, 2007

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell

Lipstick Jungle by Candace Bushnell
435 pages
Finished 12/11/07

So, a funny thing happened this morning as I was watching my DVR'd from last night Biggest Loser (which, side note, can I just say how annoyed I am about an all-Black Team finale? Grr, Bill or Hollie better win, because I will be so annoyed if either of the blondes win it). Anyway, as I was fast-wording through the commercials (and half the show, really), I saw Brooke Shields on my screen, so I rewound a bit because I like her. Turns out it was a promo spot for the new TV show she is in...called Lipstick Jungle! I had no idea this book was being made into a TV show. Apparently it starts in February. Yeah, I'll probably watch it (I'll probably be starved for new TV, what with the writers strike and all).

Ok, on to the book. My first feeling when reading this was extreme annoyance. One thing that it always seems about chick-lit books - the main characters always have ridiculous names. The three main characters are Victory, Nico, and Wendy. Ok, Wendy's not bad, but the other two? Come on! (Although, there was a two week or so period in 6th grade where my 3 bestest friends were Danette, Minta, and Windy, so...)

There were a few things that made me crazy - mainly, the lack of details. The timeline drove me a little nuts - it seemed like it went from around the Oscars (February) to Cannes (May) within a few pages, when it had taken 200+ pages just to get to the Oscars. The author tried to run all of these parallel storylines, but it just seemed like she had so much going on (and the book was getting so long) that she decided to say fuck it and started chopping out parts. The ending was crazy - it was all wrapped up neatly with a bow within 10 or so pages, and it didn't make sense. Without going into detail, one of the main character's storyline went from pretty good to over in a matter of sentences. Grr.

Three stars - but that's on a curve, taking into a count that it's a chick lit book, and not literary genius. Off topic a bit - this author is the same author that penned Sex and the City. I've never watched the TV show, and I didn't know it was based off of a book. Curious.

Tuesday, December 11, 2007

Come Back by Claire and Mia Fontaine

Come Back: A Mother and Daughter's Journey Through Hell and Back by Claire Fontaine and Mia Fontaine

306 pages
Finished 12/9/07

This book is a memoir written by a mother and daughter. The book tells of their struggle with Mia's (the daughter) addiction and the steps her mother and step father took to get her to rehab.

Overall, I thought it was a great book. Both Claire and Mia's stories are inter-mixed throughout the chapters, so you get to see/hear both sides of the story while it's happening. They are very frank and honest about a lot of things - their shortcomings and the huge circumstance in their life that was the catalyst in Mia's addiction.

My only complaint is that it seems like some important information is either left out or suddenly sprung on you. It made it feel a bit like a novel when I was reading those books - the story is compelling enough without throwing these "surprises" in.

Still, it was a great book, and I was happy to see that this book had a happy ending. And no, I'm not ruining the book by saying that. I mean, come on - it's written on the back of the book, nevermind that Mia's telling the story herself. Like a junkie could/would do that.

Four stars.

Monday, December 10, 2007

Amazing Race

Just a quick note to say how excited I am that TK and Rachel are still in the race! I just got done watching last night's episode. They are still my #1 pick to win this (and I still haven't read spoilers, either, so I'm keeping my fingers crossed)! My other new favorites are Nick and Donald, the grandson and grandfather. They seem to work well together (it is adorable that Nick is always carrying his backpack). I still like the Goths, although Kent is much less tolerable than Vixen.

On the other hand, I can't believe Ron and Christina are still in this thing. They drive me nuts. I am so sick of hearing her call him Daddy - you are a grown woman! And while I don't want Jennifer and Nate to win, I still want them on my TV, for pure entertainment value. Their fights are highly amusing.

Sunday, December 9, 2007

Christmas Kittens

Well, we've had the tree up for about a week now, and the kids are finally getting into it a bit.

Last night I was doing dishes in the kitchen when I heard Gabby playing in the living room. (How sad is it that I hear a cat playing and can automatically tell which one it is)? I did assume that she was playing with her pink mouse, but that was not the case.
Turns out she was having a field day with the blue bulb that had been on the tree. She was having a blast with that thing - once she got it off the tree (and posed for this adorable picture), she batted it around the living room for a good 10 minutes (an extreme work out for those of you that know Gab).

Meanwhile, Toby gave us a bit of a scare today. David and I were making dinner tonight (ok, David was making dinner, while I sat on the counter drinking a Captain and Coke). David gave Gabby a little brown mouse, since her pink one is MIA. Usually when Gabby gets a toy, Toby is there within seconds to snatch it from her. This time, Gabby was able to enjoy the toy without interruption. This actually gave us cause for concern - Toby is such a bully that it was unusual that he didn't appear. I went upstairs to look for him and couldn't find him. Then, Gabby and I (she's so nosy) went down to the basement to look for him. I was mildly paranoid when I couldn't find him (my first thought was - did he go hide somewhere to die? So morbid). While we were down there, David yelled "I found him!" and I immediately knew where he was - hiding under the tree. Sure enough, there he was.

How cute is the little black blob? He must have been loving the warmth, because that's where he's been all night. So adorable.

A bit off topic, but I just got done reading an awesome nonfiction book. I'll post a review tomorrow. I loved it!

Thursday, December 6, 2007

Tat Update

David went in for Round 2 last Friday. His session was about 3 hours long. The black shading has been completed! Still no actual color yet - red is just the irritation still.

He now needs to heal completely (about 4-6 weeks) before finishing it up. He has about 3 hours left to go. I haven't seen the drawing of what it will look like once it's done, but David's pretty excited.

Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Lolcat #2

My new favorite one. It is cute and funny all at once. Love it.

Sunday, December 2, 2007

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern

Rosie Dunne by Cecelia Ahern
431 pages
Finished 12/1/07

This book has an interesting gimmick - it is written as a series of letters, emails, and instant messages. To be quite honest, if I knew that was the case, I might not have picked up the book (although, since I found the hardcover for a dollar at Half Price Books, who knows?).

I was a little annoyed by the format, mainly because nothing is dated. The book spans 40+ years of Rosie's life, and the letters can jump a year (or more) on the same page. I was also a little confused by some of the time line, because certain things just didn't always seem to add up, especially when it came to Katie, Rosie's daughter (are one year olds still considered colicky? Shouldn't a three year old have said "Grandma" a long time ago?).

Overall, though, it was a really sweet book, and you couldn't help but root for the two main letter writers to get together. This is definitely a chick lit book, but I enjoyed it for what it was.

Three stars.