Category Archives: The Written Word

Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

Harvesting the Heart Harvesting the Heart by Jodi Picoult

My Review:  3 of 5 stars
Paige’s mother left her when she was only 5 years old. When she becomes a mother herself, Paige is frightened that she will be a terrible mother and that she will no longer have a life of her own.

Throughout this story, we see the troubles facing Paige and her husband, Nicholas. Nicholas is on a fast track to becoming a surgical genius and spends more and more of his time away from home. When the baby arrives, Paige is on her own to deal with the day to day trials of raising a newborn.

What bothered me most about this book is that, will Paige is flawed and makes her share of mis-steps, all of the blame seems to reside squarely on her shoulders. Nicholas, to me, seems to be a pompous ass who never even bothers trying to understand what life has been like for Paige. I also didn’t like the way Paige’s future is painted as either having to stay with her husband and child, or “run away” and be with her past.

Suze’s 2009 Action Plan

Suze Orman's 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound Suze Orman’s 2009 Action Plan: Keeping Your Money Safe & Sound by Suze Orman

My Review:  3 of 5 stars
If you’ve read any of Suze’s other books, there’s not a lot that is new here. It’s geared towards actions to take in our current economic crisis, although, the advice is pretty similar to what it would be any other time. Only here, the emphasis on having an emergency fund (8 months minimum) and paying off debts is much more crucial.

My Horizontal Life (no, not MINE)

My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands My Horizontal Life: A Collection of One-Night Stands by Chelsea Handler

My Review:  3 of 5 stars
I found this book to be both hilarious and depressing. It’s part independent-single woman takes charge of her sex life and part sad-pathetic-single woman looking for love in all the wrong orifices. It’s supposed to be a memoir, but at times it felt more like it was trying to force a punchline. Either way, Chelsea delivers a fun, racy, read of her sexual misadventures with this one and proves that she certainly is one of the guys.

Masturbation is a touchy subject.

Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex Bonk: The Curious Coupling of Science and Sex by Mary Roach

My Review:  4 of 5 stars
I got this as a bookray from bookcrossing and have since sent it on to the next person, but I may very well purchase a copy of my own. This is my kind of non-fiction. Never boring, filled with fascinating stories and research, and funny. More than you ever wanted to know about the science of sex…er, I mean sexual intercourse.

Harry Potter #6

Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince (Book 6) Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by J.K. Rowling

My Review:  4 of 5 stars
I’m glad I waited as long as I did to read this. All of the spoilers and speculations I recall hearing at the time had completely slipped my mind when I finally picked up my copy to read. The characters have matured and the plot has become more complex without failing to persue the original storyline of Harry vs Voldemort. I’m looking forward to the 7th book as soon as it comes out in paperback!

My First Chuck Klosterman

Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto Sex, Drugs, and Cocoa Puffs: A Low Culture Manifesto by Chuck Klosterman

My Review:  2 of 5 stars
Not as good as I’d hoped it to be. There were some relatable and humorous bits and pieces, but on the whole, I just got tired of listening to this guy “talk.”

P.S. He might have squeezed a third star out of me were it not for him claiming Pamela Anderson is the modern day Marilyn Monroe. May the fleas from one thousand camels infest his crotch for such treachery!

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Not one of Picoult’s finest

Keeping Faith Keeping Faith by Jodi Picoult

My Review:  3 of 5 stars
While it was worth reading, this was not one of Picoult’s better books. It felt a little too after-school-special and formulaic. Her usual twisty endings felt forced and weak in this story. I still enjoyed it, but after reading some of her other works, this one left me a little disappointed and didn’t have me asking as many questions of myself afterwards.

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Books I Read in 2008

I had been keeping track of these on bookcrossing, but want to clean up my profile over there and not lose the list, so I’m putting it here for safe keeping.  😉

Books Read in 2008:
41. Me vs Me – Sarah Mlynowski
40. Life Laughs – Jenny McCarthy
39. The Black Dahlia – James Ellroy
38. Running With Scissors – Augusten Burroughs
37. The Good Guy – Dean Koontz
36. BOOKRING: Vanishing Acts – Jodi Picoult
35. The Night Crew – John Sandford
34. The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald
33. Blood Test – Jonathan Kellerman
32. She’s Come Undone – Wally Lamb
31. The Darkest Evening of the Year – Dean Koontz
30. The Dead Fathers Club – Matt Haig
29. The Innocent – Harlan Coben
28. The Copper Beech – Maeve Binchy
27. Sex With the Ex – Tyne O’Connell
26. The Husband – Dean Koontz
25. The Voice of the Night – Dean Koontz, AKA Brian Coffey
24. Mercy – Jodi Picoult
23. 2nd Chance – James Patterson
22. True Believer – Nicholas Sparks
21. The Mark – Jason Pinter
20. Talk Talk – T.C. Boyle
19. How to Be Good – Nick Hornby
18. BOOKRING: The Book Thief
17. The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
16. The Brooklyn Follies – Paul Auster
15. BOOKRING: Burnt Toast – Teri Hatcher
14. Hidden Prey – John Sandford
13. The Mermaid Chair – Sue Monk Kidd
12. Void Moon – Michael Connelly
11. The Curious Incident of the Dog in Night Time – Mark Haddon
10. Here On Earth – Alice Hoffman
9. A Million Little Pieces – James Frey
8. M is for Malice – Sue Grafton
7. BOOKRING: The Pact – Jodi Picoult
6. Naked Prey – John Sandford
5. Echo Park – Michael Connelly
4. The Room-mating Season – Rona Jaffe
3. Brother Odd – Dean Koontz
2. Perfect Nightmare – John Saul
1. Christine – Stephen King

Books Read in 2007
Books Read in 2006 (starting in May)

Goodreads: Me vs Me by Sarah Mlynowski

Me vs. Me Me vs. Me by Sarah Mlynowski

My Review:  3 of 5 stars
When Gabby Wolf wishes she could keep her fiance AND move to New York, she gets what she asked for in the way of living two seperate lives. Each night, she goes to sleep in one life and then wakes up in the other.

The double-life aspect of this was interesting. Like other reviewers have mentioned, I found myself loathing one Gabby and wishing she would grow a backbone. While one version of her grew, the other became more shrew-like and timid.

When the two “universes” collide, which of the Gabbys will remain? The confident, single television news producer or the engaged, jobless one who lets everyone else get their way?

I’m not telling.

One of Jenny McCarthy’s books

Life Laughs: The Naked Truth about Motherhood, Marriage, and Moving On Life Laughs: The Naked Truth about Motherhood, Marriage, and Moving On by Jenny McCarthy

My Review – 2 of 5 stars
I’ve never been a fan of McCarthy, but received a copy via bookcrossing from a friend of mine and decided to give it a chance.

This is a very short book, filled with several very short chapters that are really each very short stories. There is no cohesiveness between chapters. Each one reads as its own anecdote.

Perhaps because I am neither married nor a mother, I wasn’t as amused by Jenny’s quips on life. It didn’t make me laugh but there were a few chuckles. And I really don’t care if Jenny has a ring-around-her-asshole.

Running With Scissors by Augusten Burroughs

Running with Scissors: A Memoir Running with Scissors: A Memoir by Augusten Burroughs

My review:  3 of 5 stars
Dysfunctional doesn’t begin to describe this story. It made me laugh, as dysfunction is wont to do, but it was like reading a porn magazine in church. Horrible living conditions, inappropriate relationships, mental breakdowns, chaos. I’m sure similar situations have happened in reality, and I shouldn’t laugh. But I did. I didn’t really care about any of the characters, and I’ll forget them by tomorrow, but I was entertained for the moment.

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The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

The Good Guy The Good Guy by Dean Koontz

My review:  3 of 5 stars
This felt more like a John Sandford book than one by Dean Koontz. A cat-and-mouse thriller where the relentless killer may have met his match in Tim Carrier. While I enjoyed the story, the buildup behind Tim’s mysterious past and his mother’s admonition to, “Just be you,” felt cheesy and anticlimatic when the truth was finally known.

Goodreads: Vanishing Acts by Jodi Picoult

Vanishing Acts: A Novel Vanishing Acts: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

My review:  3 of 5 stars
An interesting dilemma is posed in this book. What happens when doing what you believe is right is against the law? Bethany Matthew’s father believed he was doing what was best for her by taking her away from her mother. However, by law it is kidnapping and it is that crime that, 28 years later, threatens to shatter the only life that his daughter has ever known.

Picoult always seems to tackle difficult moral subjects and takes a compassionate view of her characters. This book moved much more slowly than other books of hers that I have read, but it allowed the stories of past and present from all of the characters to weave themselves together nicely.

Goodreads: The Night Crew by John Sandford

The Night Crew The Night Crew by John Sandford

My Review:  rating: 3 of 5 stars
Quick and suspenseful crime story. A video crew catches a kid falling to his death on film and then the crew boss, Anna, becomes the target of a serial killer. Anna teams up with an ex-cop now lawyer and together they go on a search to find the killer. An entertaining thriller, but I prefer Sandford’s Prey series.

She’s Come Undone

She's Come Undone (Oprah's Book Club) She’s Come Undone by Wally Lamb

My review  rating: 2 of 5 stars
I have to agree with some of the other reviews here. Poor Dolores is faced with every horrible thing a girl could face: abandoned by her father, a mental case mother, rape, bullying, and on and on….

Lamb rolls all of these things into one character so much that it becomes cliched and trite. Throw in the whales and it suddenly feels like dark comedy.

I enjoyed parts of the story and found some of the characters believable, but this book just jumps from one tragedy to another, with large bouts of poor judgment in between. It tries too hard, leaps too much, and ultimately, falls flat.

The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

The Darkest Evening of the Year The Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz

My review
rating: 4 of 5 stars
When Amy Redwing rescues Nickie, a beautiful golden retriever, and takes her into her own home, it is clear that Nickie is a special animal. It also becomes clear that Amy has a past that is coming back to haunt her.

Not as horrifying as Koontz’s other works, this book manages to be suspenseful while weaving a sweet tale of a woman and her love of dogs. Golden retrievers to be specific.

The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig

The Dead Fathers Club The Dead Fathers Club by Matt Haig
rating: 3 of 5 stars
My review:  This book is told from the perspective of an 11-year old boy who has just lost his father. At the funeral, his father’s ghost appears with unsettling news about how he died and enlists his son’s help in seeking his revenge.

I liked the point of view from which this was told. Philip’s young voice and logic give a fresh look at this ghostly tale. His loyalty to his father and unquestioning belief in him shines through as he is asked to do the unthinkable.

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The Innocent by Harlan Coben

The Innocent The Innocent by Harlan Coben

rating: 4 of 5 stars

My review:  An exciting, keep-you-guessing kind of story! Matt Hunter’s past comes back to haunt him when all the signs from three murders are pointing to him. But not before he begins to question his own wife, Olivia, after receiving odd photos from her cell phone of her with another man. Lots of twists and turns, this was a suspenseful book that kept me involved all the way to the final page.

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Friday

My most anticipated day of the week has finally arrived.  It is sad, really, to look forward to the end of the work week so much.  Working for the weekend has real meaning to me now.

This evening I am going to relax, watch some movies, and maybe clean up around the house a little.  Or start reading something new.  I just finished reading How to Be Good by Nick Hornby and, while everyone raves about its sarcastic wit, it just left me feeling down.  So I think I’ll read something fluffier next.

Tomorrow night it’s dinner at PF Chang’s for a friend’s birthday.

Sunday, out to Fair Park for our employer-sponsored free weekend.  Mexigoalie and I went last year.  It was my first time to visit Fair Park for something other than the State Fair of Texas.  I enjoyed the flower gardens, the Hall of State, and the Musuem of Natural Science.  But not the walking around outdoors in the heat most of the day.  So this year, Mexigoalie, Nala, and V are coming with me and we’re planning to be there earlier in the day.  I’m just excited to have a chance to dust my cameras off again.  I haven’t been making nearly enough photographs lately.

That’s it for now.  Hope everyone enjoys their weekend!

[x] Say cheese!