Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Catching Up Readathon Final Update

I started this readathon 7 books behind on Goodreads. As of today...I am still 7 books behind. Oh well. I'll catch up one of these days.

Monday, April 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by The Story Siren. I'm a day late with this, but I haven't done one in a couple of weeks and I have gotten a bunch of books to show off.

First up, library hauls. This is from 2 different trips over the past few weeks:

1. Act Like a Lady, Think Like a Man-Steve Harvey
2. Freefall to Desire-Kayla Perrin
3. Princess Sister-Sheila Copeland
4. Darius Jones-Mary B. Morrison
5. Flat Belly Diet
6. Winter Break-Kayla Perrin
7. Lipstick Hustla-Allison Hobbs
8. Heaven Right Here-Lutisha Lovely
9. Dr. Feelgood-Marissa Monteith
10. Not Easily Broken-TD Jakes
11. The Vixen Manual-Karrine Steffans
12. Why Men Love B*tches-Sherry Argov (not pictured because I left it in my car: Why Men Marry B*tches)
13. Drop Shot-Harlan Coben
14. Love Smart-Dr. Phil McGraw

Up next, my first contest win! Thanks to Diva's Bookcase for hosting the giveaway.

The Bum Magnet by K.L Brady

And finally, 2 purchases downloaded onto Strawberry (my NC):

Sweet Valley Confidential-Francine Pascal
Something Borrowed-Emily Giffin

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (17)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Journey.

Last Week:
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich
The Night Before Thirty by Tajuana Butler

Currently Reading:
Sweet Valley Confidential by Francine Pascal
Why Men Love B*tches by Sherry Argov

Up next:
I have no idea. I got a ton of books from the library today and a few other books (I'll do an In My Mailbox later today), and plus I still need to start Eclipse soon.

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Versatile Blogger Award

The lovely Literary Marie of Precision Reviews was kind enough to reward me the Versatile Blogger Award. Thanks so much, Marie!

Rules of acceptance:

Thank me!--Done!

Tell us seven things about yourself.
1. My father passed away the week before last. I am still in shock about it.
2. My favorite TV shows are Veronica Mars, Golden Girls, and Friends.
3. I majored in English so that I could become a journalist, but then found journalism to be boring, so that's why I'm doing my first love, teaching.
4. I am a Jillian Michaels workout DVD junkie.
5. The first chapter books I ever read were Left Behind, Sweet Valley Twins #21 and Mary Anne's Bad Luck Mystery, BSC #17. I still remember the day I got it--my fourth grade class went on a field trip to the library. I didn't want to be the only lame checking out picture books, so I checked out those books. I've been hooked on all things SV and BSC ever since.
6. Things I am afraid of--flying in planes, dogs, cats, actually all animals, bugs, roller coasters
7. Beyonce is my soul sister. I adore her.

Award other recently discovered bloggers.
Most of the people I follow have already done it, so I don;y have anyone to award it to right now. When I come across some, I will.

Contact these bloggers to advise of their award. N/A

Review-The Night Before Thirty

The Night Before Thirty: a NovelThe Night Before Thirty: a Novel by Tajuana Butler

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

This one was a little slow. It tells the story of five different women who have never met, but all share the same birthday.

The five women are Catara, Tonya, Elise, Lashawnda, and Alecia. None of them were extremely interesting characters, but I did like Catara and Elise the most, since they were the most relatable. Catara is a plus-sized woman who wants to be a fashion designer, but is unable to move forward in her career. Tonya loves her boyfriend Chris, but not his drug-dealing, street behavior. Elise has opened up her own gymnasium for kids and meets a new guy, but is unable to tell him her true feelings. Lashawnda is tired of being disappointed by men, but finds out that being with a woman isn't much better. And Alecia is the typical, spoiled, gold-digger who is having an affair with a married man. The five women all win a radio contest in which they are able to spend their thirty birthdays on a luxurious cruise.

The story was quite predictable and a tad formulaic. There are some "make you think" moments, but again nothing too interesting.

View all my reviews

Challenges: 100 Books in a Year

Saturday, April 23, 2011

Catching Up Readathon Update

I didn't read anything on Thursday because I thought this readathon didn't start until Friday. I need to do what I tell my students to do, which is to read all the directions carefully before beginning! Anyway, since then I have:

Time spent reading: 2 hours and 20 minutes
Pages read: 15 pages to finish reading Sizzling Sixteen and 92 pages of The Night Before Thirty-107 pages total

Still 7 books behind on goodreads.

Friday, April 22, 2011

Review-Sizzling Sixteen

Sizzling Sixteen (Stephanie Plum, #16)Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I remember when I first started reading the Stephanie Plum books, I couldn't finish them fast enough. I'd stay up until the wee hours of the morning because I couldn't put them down. That hasn't been the case for the past 6 or 7 books, but I keep reading them in the hopes that they will go back to the glory days of books #1-9.

This was not the book. Nothing exciting happens in this book. Stephanie is no longer the funny, kick a$$ heroine that I grew to love in One for the Money. The same things happen in all the current books:

Stephanie and Joe have a domestic dispute and are on a break
Grandma Mazur wreaks havoc in a funeral home
Stephanie and Lula go for donuts and Cluck in a Bucket
Lula wears spandex
Ranger gives Stephanie a black car
Stephanie destroys car
Ranger gives Stephanie another black car
Stephanie and Joe make up at the end, only to be on a break again at the start of the next book

I'm OVER it.

Sizzling Sixteen is no exception to the same predictable formula. I no longer care about the mystery and whether or not Stephanie will find her skips. The only parts that are interesting to me is when she's at home with her family and when she's with Ranger. I used to be a diehard Stephanie/Morelli shipper but they are so boring, I've moved on to shipping Steph and Ranger. That would make these books so much more interesting, if she would dump Joe for good and move on to Ranger permanently. Or at least for awhile. Basically, they just need to do SOMETHING. I finish reading these books, and I think back "What actually happened in this book?" because it seems like nothing of importance happens anymore.

Only 3 stars for this one. I truly hope that one day we will get back the funny, fearless, sassy Stephanie I fell in love with all those books ago, and that the storylines go back to being as cute and crazy as they once were. Now the story lines are just a little too over the top and trying too hard.

View all my reviews

Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Mystery and Suspense Challenge

Monday, April 18, 2011

The Catching Up Readathon

At the beginning of the year, I entered the Good Reads Reading Challenge and stated that my goal would be to read 100 books. According to them, I am now 7 books behind. Luckily, I am not the only one behind and Bookworming Through the 21st Century is hosting the Catching Up Readathon. Details:

When: Thursday, April 21st through the end of Monday, April 25th. Any time zone, start when you want, read when you want.
Where: Here, on your blog, on your couch, on Goodreads.. wherever!
What: Read books - duh! If you'd like to make a goal, go ahead.

My goal is to read at least 3-4 books during that time. Head on over and sign up.

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (16)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Journey.

Last week:
Last week was literally the worst week of my life (don't want to get into it now) so I didn't read anything.

This week:
This week isn't much better, but I'm currently trying to finish up Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich. I'm almost done, but it's really not interesting/funny enough to get my mind off things.

Up next:
The Night Before Thirty by Tajuana "TJ" Butler and Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer.

Friday, April 8, 2011

Theme Thursday (8)

Theme Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by Reading Between Pages.

1. A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
2. Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
3. Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
4. It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word)
Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week's theme is BEAUTY RELATED

My entry comes from Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich.

The woman who answered the door was about five foot nothing. Her hair was pale blond and cut short. Her makeup reminded me of pictures of Japanese geisha. Exaggerated bow mouth painted with glossy bright-red lipstick, white pancake makeup, and pencil-thin black eyebrows. She was wearing a magenta velour warm-up suit and white tennis shoes.

Thursday, April 7, 2011

Review-The DUFF

The DUFF (Designated Ugly Fat Friend)The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Just 3 stars for this one. I didn't love it, but I didn't hate it. The main characters just weren't very relatable or likeable to me, plus, while interesting, it was totally predictable.

View all my reviews

Source: Library
Challenges: 100 Books in a Year, Young Adult Reading Challenge

Monday, April 4, 2011

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (15)

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by The Book Journey.

Last Week:
I was a reading machine! I love when we have 4-day work weeks. Anyways, I finished-
Big Girls Do Cry-Carl Weber
All We Know of Heaven-Jacquelyn Mitchard
Torn Between Two Lovers-Carl Weber

This week:
I'm currently reading The DUFF by Kody Keplinger

Up Next:
Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich. I really hope to finish that and The DUFF by this Saturday, which is library day. I doubt I'll finish both, so it's good I have one more renewal left on both books.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Review-Torn Between Two Lovers

Torn Between Two LoversTorn Between Two Lovers by Carl Weber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Torn Between Two Lovers picks up a few months after Big Girls Do Cry ends, with Loraine and Leon renewing their wedding vows. Loraine tells her other lover, Michael, that she can no longer be with him, but he's not ready to take no for an answer.

Loraine's ex-bff Jerome is still having problems of his own, Peter is still stalking him, the guy he's really in love with Big Poppa still won't leave his wife for him, and Ron, a guy who Jerome was starting to fall in love with in BGDC comes back into the picture.

I liked this one a whole lot better than BGDC since it wasn't bogged down with all that Egypt/Isis nonsense. BGDC was full of predictability but I definitely can't say that about its follow-up. This one was full of twists and turns and then there's a huge shock at the end when we find out more about Jerome's lover Big Poppa that blew my socks off, because I definitely did not see that one coming. It makes me want to go back and reread both books to see if all the clues are there.

This was a quick read (just under 200 pages) and full of twists and turns, so I definitely recommend it.

Saturday, April 2, 2011

March Reading Recap

Books Read: 5
Favorite Book Read: Kindred in Death by JD Robb
Least Favorite Book: Pleasure Bound by Opal Carew
Number of Books Purchased: 0
Library Visits: 0
Books Won/Received: 0

Challenge Progress:
*100 Books in a Year Challenge: 5 Total: 19
*Mystery and Suspense Challenge: 2 Total: 4
*YA of the '80s/'90s Challenge: 0 Total: 1
*Show Me the Free Challenge: 0 Total: 1
*Read Me Baby, One More Time: 0 Total: 1
*Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge: 0 Total: 0
*E-Book Challenge: 0 Total: 1
*YA Reading Challenge: 1 Total: 6

Review-All We Know of Heaven

All We Know of HeavenAll We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

This book tells the story of teenagers Bridget and Maureen. They are best friends who do everything together. They even look a little like sisters. One day, while Bridget is driving them to a cheerleading competition, they are involved in a terrible car accident. One girl dies, and the other one lives, but will be brain damaged. At first, everyone believes that Bridget has lived and Maureen has died, but it is actually the other way around.

The beginning of the book gave a lot of background information on the girls, but I would've liked to see less exposition and more actual action. I wanted to get to know the girls more before the accident, and while we do learn more about Maureen while she recovers, I felt as though we never truly got to know Bridget. The middle of the story was very slow, and I felt that everyone finding out about the mistaken identity was kind of uneventful. There were too many peripheral characters to keep up with. The book finally did pick up some towards the end, when Maureen starts to feel the backlash from the community and Bridget's family for being the one who lived instead of died. I would have much rather they focused on this aspect more than some of the other things. Maureen also kind of hints at the end of the book that she was a little resentful towards Bridget and that she wasn't the perfect angel everyone thought. I would have liked for that to be explored more as well.

I didn't care too much for Maureen and Danny's relationship, and I wonder if they really are true love. I think he's still hung up on Bridget and she is actually his first love despite what he says, but whatever.

It was a quick read and I did semi-care for the characters, so three stars.

Friday, April 1, 2011

Romance Reader's April Challenge

Well, the Romance Reader's Challenge that I signed up for in March turned out to be a huge fail, since I only read one book that I chose, Deal Breaker. I'm going to try again for April, and this time I'm only signing up for 3 books. The categories are:

1. April: Read a book which title or author’s name starts with “A”.

2. Birthday: Read a book from an April B-day celebrant’s GR bookshelf whose “day” falls on the same “day” as yours. If no one has the exact same day, then go for the closest date. (http://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/2162...)

3. Geography: Read a book whose author, setting or character is from Maryland.

4. Fourth Month: Read a book that is fourth in a series, or has four words in the title.

5. The Royal Wedding: Read a book with a royal character, a book centring on a wedding or a book with a predominantly blue cover.

6. April Fool's Day: Read a book from the fifth or seventh category of either the February or March Monthly Reading Challenge.

7. Find-A-Rainbow Day: Read an LGBT book, a book with at least 3 of the 7 colours of a rainbow (violet, indigo, blue, green, yellow, orange, red) on it's cover, or a book with a title that includes the word: dream/s, wish/es, or rainbow.

8. Taxes are due in US (15 April): Read a book with an accountant/book-keeper character, or due to a shortage of funds, read a free or borrowed (library, friend etc) book.

9. Pets Are Wonderful month (nodding also to Pet Owners Day, World Rat Day and National Hairball Awareness Day): Read a book with a character that owns a pet or has an animal on the cover.

10. Reader's Choice

Challenge Duration: April 1 – April 30, 2011

You can choose 3, 5, 8 or all 10 categories depending on your reading speed, books availability and/or time commitment.

I'm doing these three:

1. Starts with A- All We Know of Heaven by Jacquelyn Mitchard
3. Geography- Fantasy in Death by JD Robb
4. Fourth Month- (4th in series) Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer

Theme Thursday (7)

Theme Thursday is a weekly event hosted by Reading Between Pages.

1. A theme will be posted each week (on Thursday’s)
2. Select a conversation/snippet/sentence from the current book you are reading
3. Mention the author and the title of the book along with your post
4. It is important that the theme is conveyed in the sentence (you don’t necessarily need to have the word) Ex: If the theme is KISS; your sentence can have “They kissed so gently” or “Their lips touched each other” or “The smooch was so passionate”

This will give us a wonderful opportunity to explore and understand different writing styles and descriptive approaches adopted by authors.

This week's theme is ANIMAL.

My entry comes from the book I just finished reading, Big Girls Do Cry by Carl Weber. I'm sure this isn't quite what they had in mind for "animal" but it's the best I could do, lol.

What I didn't understand was why she was so upset with Tony being back in the picture, because all of a sudden, she and Rashad were all lovey-dovey. The more she fought with me, the closer they got to each other. They'd been going at it like two rabbits in heat.

Review-Big Girls Do Cry

Big Girls Do CryBig Girls Do Cry by Carl Weber

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

View all my reviews

Big Girls Do Cry is the sequel to Carl Weber's novel Something on the Side. I read SotS a year or so ago, and while I remember liking it at the time, I don't remember too much about it, other than Tammy and Egypt's threesome. Anyways, this book has two of the characters from that one, Egypt and Isis, as well as two new characters, Loraine and Jerome.

Egypt and Isis are sisters, and Egypt is now married to Isis's ex-boyfriend Rashad. Isis is living with Egypt and Rashad while she attempts to get her life together after not being able to be with her married lover, Tony. Isis and Egypt really don't get along too well and Isis is bent on getting Rashad back any way that she can. Egypt desperately wants to have a baby for Rashad, but she is unable to do so, so she asks Isis to be their surrogate, which she more than happily agrees to, since she thinks this will bring her closer to Rashad.

Let me just say, that I really couldn't stand Egypt or Isis. Isis is a horrible human being and clearly mentally unstable. Egypt is clearly an idiot who, even though she knows Isis is trying to steal her man, she's too caught up on trying to make Rashad happy by giving him a baby, that she allows Isis back into their lives. One of my favorite scenes that shows Egypt's idiocy is when Loraine calls her venting about her own man troubles and says she's going to confront her husband about his mistress, and Egypt is like "Oh, you should take a friend along just in case things get out of hand," and Loraine is all "Oh yeah, I'm taking my two good friends Smith and Wesson with me," and Egypt's like "Oh ok, well as long as you have someone." LOL. The ending of Egypt and Isis's story was very predictable. I really liked their mother who wasn't afraid to stand up to Isis and her shenanigans.

Then we have the other two main characters, Loraine and Jerome. Loraine is Egypt and Jerome's boss, and Jerome is her gay best friend. Jerome loves sleeping with married men and all is good until one of those men begins stalking him and wreaking havoc on his life. Another predictable, over-done storyline, but I really liked the character of Jerome, right up until the end when he does something to Loraine that I think is pretty unforgivable.

Loraine has been married to Leon for some years now and she is not happy with their sex life. When she finds some other woman's panties in her bed and couch she begins suspecting that Leon is cheating on her. This leads her to hook up with an old friend Michael, who's been in love with her for years. She and Jerome's story ends in a cliffhanger, which is continued in Mr. Weber's next book Torn Between Two Lovers. I really liked the character of Loraine and I am looking forward to reading TBTL to see who she picks between Leon and Michael, and if she and Jerome will be able to repair their relationship.

I give this book 3 stars, it was able to hold my interest and I did like a few of the characters, but again, many of the storylines were tired and predictable. I'm glad that Egypt and Isis's story is over.

Challenges: 100 Books in a Year
Source: Library book