Sunday, March 23, 2008

One Reason

Just one reason why David is pretty much the best husband ever:

Saturday morning I woke up around 3:30 am and couldn't fall back to sleep. I had Toby laying between my legs and Gabby laying in my arm, and was so hot and uncomfortable. I spent the next two hours tossing and turning - I got Gabby to leave the bed a couple times, but she's like a boomerang - she just keeps coming back. By 5:3o am, I was still awake and very whiny. When Gabby jumped up for the millionth time, I finally said something to David about how I couldn't fall asleep and I had no room because the cats were hogging the bed. He's so cute he offered to move to the couch in the bedroom to sleep to give me (and the cats) the bed. I felt a little bad for taking him up on the offer, but I was so tired that I was pretty desperate to get some sleep. I had considered moving to the couch myself, but the reality is that if I would have moved to the couch, the cats would have moved with me (especially Gabby).

So, David is so sweet that he got out of bed Saturday morning to go sleep on the couch. Aw.

Friday, March 21, 2008

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud

The Amulet of Samarkand by Jonathan Stroud
462 pages
Finished 3/19/08

I like to judge books by their covers - so I picked this one up based on it's cover only. I had never heard of the book (and certainly hadn't heard of the Bartimaeus Trilogy, which is the first book of).

It's very easy to see how this book is compared to Harry Potter. This book follows the story of a novice magician named Nathaniel, and what happens when he summons a djinni (or demon) named Bartimaeus to steal the Amulet of Samarkand from a magician that had once humiliated Nathaniel.

The book switches back and forth between Nathaniel and Bartimaeus, but it's definitely Bartimaeus that steals the show. He is shown as a smart, witty, and very self aware. His sections are littered with footnotes to further explain what is happening. I personally love the footnotes, and think they are great - especially when Bartimaeus explains his reasoning for them part way through the book.

I will definitely be looking into the next two books in the trilogy - I have no idea what they are about, but hopefully they will be as good as the first.

Four stars.

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III
365 pages
Finished 3/14/08

I've been wanting to read this book since the movie came out years ago - the movie looked fabulous, but I thought that I should read the book first. Fast forward how many years, and I still hadn't read it.

The book is told basically in two views - the first, Colonel Behrani, an immigrant from Iran struggling in America with his wife and teenage son. In Iran, the Colonel was a wealthy, well respected man, but in the US, he is just struggling to make ends meet while his wife still spends and tries to maintain the air of their old wealth. The Colonel buys a foreclosure house at the beginning of the book, and quickly moves in. The second view is that of Kathy, the person whose house was foreclosed on her. She is a recovering addict, and the selling of her house was done due to a tax problem with the county - something that was not her fault. The story then alternates between the two, as Kathy tries to get her house back, and the Colonel tried to regain his pride while keeping the house he bought in good faith.

To be quite honest, I kept going back and forth with this book. I loved the Colonel's story, and whenever it focused on him, I was really into the book. When the story went to Kathy, and her new relationship with a married sheriff, my eyes glassed over and I tried not to fall asleep. Kathy just wasn't an interesting or likable character.

The best part of the book by far was the last 50 pages or so. The ending was awesome - I honestly didn't see it coming. It was great, and that's really what made me end up liking the book overall (and give it a better rating than I was planning for the first 300 pages.

Three stars.

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore

Island of the Sequined Love Nun by Christopher Moore
322 pages
Finished 3/10/08

This is my second Christopher Moore, after first reading (and LOVING) Lamb. The title of this one is pretty...interesting, and the premise of the book is just an interesting. A pilot name Tucker takes his boss's pink plane (his boss is Mary Jean of Mary Jean Cosmetics Corporation - remind you of another company?) on a drunken joy-ride and ends up crashing it. While recovering from injuries to his very special place, he gets an interesting job offer - a pilot for a medical missionary on a small, secluded island that is controlled by a high priestess.

The first couple of chapters were a little hard to get into. Once Tucker left the States to make his way to the island, the story really picked up though. Moore is an extremely witty author and his humor can be so subtle sometimes. Moore also created some great minor characters - my favorite, by far, being a talking bat named Roberto.

The only thing that bothered me about the book is that I felt like I was reading constant product placements - Cheetos, Budweiser, US Magazine were just a few that were mentioned. Still, it was a minor annoyance in an overall very good book.

Four stars.

Tuesday, March 18, 2008

New Me!

So, I've been a little bad at updating my books. I've finished a couple that I'll get to...eventually. Hopefully tomorrow or so, I'm already beginning to forget them.

Anyway, my big news is that I finally went back to blonde! I suffered through over a year of being a brunette, and while it didn't look horrible on me (because, as we all know, it's my natural color), brown hair just doesn't quite look right on me.

So, here are some before and after shots -

I think we can all agree that I look so much cuter now, right (with the exception of my not-so-great posture)? Brown hair makes me look all white and pasty. Blonde hair makes me look pink and fresh. :)

Wednesday, March 12, 2008

Tagged (on myspace)

I was tagged on myspace by my friend Kristi to give 10 facts about myself, so I thought I'd post them over here as well. At first it was hard to think of any, but then once I started I realized that I have way more quirks than I thought - and then it was hard to narrow them down. Ah, well, it's what makes us unique, right?

Here's what I had posted:

1. OK, y’all probably know this one, but I am insanely addicted to chapstick. I have a tube near me at all times. If I wake up in the middle of the night, I’ll roll over to put some on. Sometimes I think that I’ll try to stop, but 20 minutes later my lips are dry and feel like they are cracking and I just can’t go on without lube…

2. I am beyond embarrassed that NASCAR is officially my new favorite "sport." I love to be able to relax on Sundays and watch the race. I just don’t want to tell anyone that’s what I’m doing (even though I’m effectively putting it out there right now).

3. Before I go to sleep each night, I have to crack my back, my neck, my knuckles, and my toes. It’s gross.

4. I am very particular about the way my dishes are put away. We have two different color plates and bowls – a blue set and a green set. The dishes MUST be put into the cupboard every other color. If it somehow ends up when I’m putting dishes away that, say, two blue plates would have to be next to each other, I’ll leave one of the plates on the counter just so I won’t have to have the two colors next to each other. This has been troublesome lately, since I’ve broken 2 green bowls. I asked David if I could break a blue bowl to help out the numbers. He said no.

5. I won’t eat food if I don’t like the way it looks. I frequently reject bagels and refuse to eat them if they are "shaped funny." Don’t ask what that means, I just know it when I see it.

6. I like to read a lot. Ok, that’s common knowledge. What you may not know is that I will only read series books (and usually, author books) if they are the same book type as my other books. For instance, if I started reading a series in paperback, I’ll only read the rest of the series in paperback. If I started reading the series in hardcover, I’ll only read the rest of the series in hardcover. It’s a pain in the ass when I am anxious to read a new book, but have to wait months for it to come out in paperback.

7. According to my excel spreadsheet, I own 670 books (not nearly enough, I might add). This is not counting my 80 Baby-Sitters Club books (um, and there are 5 more in the mail on the way) and a couple of box full of young adult books from my youth.

8. I spend most of my "extra" money on myself – massages, pedicures, getting my hair done, etc. I would take a pedicure over buying a new shirt any day. Maybe this is why I hate my wardrobe?

9. I hate wearing shorts. In fact, with the exception of playing kickball, I don’t think I’ve worn shorts in public in the past 2 years. I would rather wear a dress or a skirt any day.

10. I am addicted to gossip websites and all things reality. Ask me what’s going on in a particular celebrity’s life, and chances are good I’ll be able to tell you. And no, this is not something I’m all that proud of. I’d like to think of it as just who I am - I'm a naturally nosy, gossipy person. :)

Monday, March 10, 2008

BSC book buying spree!

So, the last few weeks I have been going on major book buying sprees. I decided that I need to complete my collection of The Baby-Sitter's Club. When I was a kid, I was beyond obsessed with those books - I read and re-read my copies about a million times. A bunch of moving around caused me to lose track of my books, until a few months ago when I finally found some in a storage room my mom had rented. Yay!

Except it turned out that I was still missing a ton of books. I figure that I used to have at least 1-40 (if not more), plus a bunch of the Super Specials, and a Mystery or two. I was able to find about 20 books total. I have no clue what happened to the rest of the collection (my guess is they were, something). Because I was missing so many, I made it my mission to buy BSC books.

I bought a ton off of Ebay - there are a lot of people selling them in lots, so I bought one or two. Then, a couple of weeks ago, I realized that Goodwill is a fricken GOLDMINE for BSC books. I made David take me to two of the three Madison Goodwills, plus when I was in EC visiting my mom, I drug her and my brother to four or five different bookstores trying to complete my collection. It was a blast. At one store, I was able to get eleven books for 50 cents each. Amazing. There is just something about bookstores...ah.

Anyway, once all was said and done a couple of weeks ago, I had 67 of the 131 Baby-Sitters Club books, plus a few more of the Super Specials and Mysteries. I basically made it my new goal to get at least the first 50 books in the series. As of Saturday morning, I was missing just 5 of the first 50. As of a couple of minutes ago, I am missing...uh...none. Seriously, I am moderately obsessed. I just bought the last one on and I bought the other 4 on Ebay the past couple days. And now I'm going to have to step away from Ebay for awhile, before I decide that I need to get the next 50 or something.

Oh, and in case anyone cares, this book was the first BSC book I ever read.

It is basically my favorite one ever. And I'm pretty sure I only picked it up in the first place because the girl's name was Stacey, and I always wanted that to be my name.

Sunday, March 9, 2008

After by Claire Tristram

After by Claire Tristram
208 pages
Finished 3/9/08

I am so, so glad that I got this book as a bargain book on It was actually a book that I had wanted to read for quite awhile. It's basically about a widow whose husband died as the result of a terrorist act made by Muslim extremists. On the one year anniversary of her husband's death, she takes a lover - a Muslim man. The book basically follows their 24 hours together at a hotel.

The premise for the book is way better than it actually was. The book was supposed to be both dark and erotic, and it was neither. I'd classify it more as disturbing and boring. It got a little interesting near the end, but it wasn't enough to make me care about either of the main characters.

One lame-ass star.

Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden

Beautiful Child by Torey Hayden

400 pages
Finished 3/8/08

This book is a touching true story about a teacher working to get through to a seven year-old girl named Venus. Torey is teaching a special needs class, and Venus stumps her - the little girl is completely unresponsive to others - whether it's elective mutism or something deeper, they are not sure.

This was a quick, very touching read. It was so hard to read about the little girl, and all of the issues she had with her home life. I'm interested in reading more of the author's works. It sounds like she has written a number about some of the more remarkable special needs students she's worked with.

Three stars.

The Girls by Lori Lansens

The Girls by Lori Lansens

368 pages
Finished 3/7/08

I loved this book. A lot. Seriously. It wasn't what I expected at all. To be quite honest, I wasn't sure what to expect at first.

The novel is about conjoined twins. It is written in the voices of both of the twins - Rosie, the thinker of the twins, who has always enjoyed writing, and Ruby, the beautiful sister, who is writing because Rosie wants her to.

It's really nice having the two different voices telling the story - Rosie really tells her story with a lot of detail and back story, while Ruby is very blunt, straight to the point, and fills in some blanks that Rosie omits.

Like I said, I did love the story. My only regret with the book is that I really wasn't reading it very closely at first, so there were a couple of times when I got confused - I couldn't remember if some of the details had been revealed by Rosie or Ruby.

Five stars.

Friday, March 7, 2008

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume

Starring Sally J. Freedman as Herself by Judy Blume
298 pages
Finished 3/2/08

I'm always on the hunt at the used bookstores for books that I loved as a kid, so one of the authors I always look for is Judy Blume. Ah, memories. I found this book while I was on my book excursion in EC a couple weeks ago (I don't think I told you about it - it was fabulous. Maybe later today). I hadn't read it before, so I picked it up.

The book is set post WW2, in 1947. Sally moves to Miami Beach with her mother and brother, while their father stays in (New Jersey? I'm already forgetting the book) to keep up with his dental practice.

I went back and forth in this book - in some ways, Sally reminded me of myself when I was younger. She does a lot of daydreaming and is constantly making up stories in her mind. In other ways, Sally seems so young for her age. There were a couple of moments in the book where I thought to myself, "Really? A fifth grader acts like that?" I did have to keep reminding myself that the book was set over 60 years ago (wow!) - of course children weren't as worldly then as they are today, simply because of television, Internet, etc.

Three stars.

True Evil by Greg Iles

True Evil by Greg Iles
640 pages
Finished 3/1/08

Every time I read a book by Greg Iles, I think to myself, "That was pretty good. I should read his books more often." Then I promptly forget about him until the next time I am browsing the clearance section at Half Price Books (or, actually, in this case, when I am browsing the books at Goodwill - so cheap!).

True Evil is about an FBI agent named Alex who is haunted by her past and the recent death of not only her father, but her sister. Right before her sister dies, she tells Alex that her husband is the reason for her death. This leads Alex to do some research and find a divorce attorney who seems to be connected through business transactions to a number of clients whose spouses have all died. Alex reaches out to Chris Shepard, a doctor whose wife has just visited the divorce attorney - Alex fears Chris is the next target.

My biggest complaint about the book is that it read almost like a sequel. As I started reading, I wasn't sure if there had been a previous book that featured Alex, the way they were alluding to an accident that she had. It turns out that the author just wasn't great at revealing a story piece by piece - the writing is just a little too awkward.

I still liked the mystery behind the story, and there was a slight twist that I hadn't seen coming at the end, which always makes me happy.

Four stars.