Saturday, December 27, 2008

Love the One You're With by Emily Griffin

Emily Griffin is the author of Something Borrowed, Something Blue, and Baby Proof. I read all of these books and loved them, so I was looking forward to her newest book Love the One You're With. The main character, Ellen, is married to Andy Graham, her college roommate/best friend's brother. They are happily married (some-what newlyweds) until Ellen runs into a love from her past, Leo. Running into Leo brings up many unresolved feelings from their intense relationship. Things get even more complicated when Ellen agrees to move with Andy from New York City to his family's hometown of Atlanta. They settle into the ritzy suburban life with Andy's family (Ellen's BFF sister-in-law and generous mother-in-law) right down the street. But Ellen doesn't like Atlanta. She misses her work, the city, and Leo.

Personally I thought the book was somewhat slow for the first half of the book. But the last 5 chapters more than make up for it. I was screaming at Ellen in the book and squealing at all the twists and turns the story took in the last 50 or so pages.

I found this particular statement in one of the last few chapters to be very poignant:
"...what it all comes down to. Love, not as a surge of passion, but as a choice to commit to something, someone, no matter what obstacles or temptations stand in the way...making that choice, again and again, day in and day out, year after year, says more about love..."

If you can stay with it through the first few slow chapters, it is so worth it in the end.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, December 22, 2008

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

I wasn't overly impressed with the first Twilight book. I could take it or leave it. But now I am hooked. I read this book obsessively. When I wasn't reading, I was thinking about what might happen next in the story. A lot of people have said they didn't like this book in the series, but I loved it.

In New Moon we go deeper into this secret vampire world. Edward is not as prominent in this book, but that was ok with me. Bella is sad through most of this book, which I could relate to.

I don't want to give away any of the plot line, so I will just say trust me, there is a reason this series is so popular. It is super romantic with lots of drama. The chapters are long, but it is an easy read. Each chapter ends with a cliff hanger which makes you want to continue reading. I think this style helps you get through the 500+ pages really quickly.

I will say I think this is dangerous for young girls to read. I mean Bella's whole world is Edward. It is the kind of love everyone dreams of. But this stuff just does not exist in real life, so don't get your hopes up girls.

It is a great book though. I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars!

I also saw the Twilight movie this weekend. It was good. Edward was hot. Some scenes where very cheesy though. They did a good job with the normal scenes, but the love scenes with just Edward and Bella were cheesy and just laughable. They were some of my favorite scenes in the book and the movie just ruined them.

I'm going to see the movie again this week though, so it must not be that bad.

I'm also hoping to borrow the third and fourth books from someone soon so I can continue escaping to this super romantic vampire world!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

One Fifth Avenue by Candace Bushnell

I have read every Candace Bushnell book and never been disappointed. From Sex and the City and Four Blondes, to Trading Up and Lipstick Jungle (currently my favorite TV series!) and now One Fifth Avenue, every book has been great. One Fifth Avenue is the story of a prestigious building in New York City and the lives of it's residents. There is power, status, mystery, scandal, sex, and all kinds of neighborly disputes. From Lola Fabrikant, the beautiful but shallow 20-something trying desperately to secure her spot in New York City to Annalisa Rice who is adjusting to being a hedge fund millionaire's wife instead of a Washington attorney, or Phillip Oakland and James Gooch, the building's two very different but almost equally successful writers. From the gossip columnist to the bloggers, you will enjoy getting to know each of the characters in this novel and follow them along their intertwined journeys through the power, status, and relationship struggles. There is lots of drama and there are lots of characters to keep up with, but it is well worth it. If you secretly dream of living in NYC and like to follow lots of drama, you will enjoy this book! If you can keep up with all the characters you will be left wanting to know more about where their adventures in NYC lead them next long after you finish the last chapter.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

Also, if you haven't watched the Lipstick Jungle series on TV, you should. It is absolutely the best series on TV right now. I heard a rumor they canceled it, but hopefully they will have a change of heart because I will be very sad to see it go. Check it out Fridays on NBC.

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

If you haven't heard of this series by now, you might be living under a rock. People are comparing this to the Harry Potter craze. I had so many people recommend this series to me that I just had to read it. When I first started Twilight by Stephanie Meyer, I thought I was going to become obsessed and finish it over the weekend. But to be honest with you I just couldn't get in to it for the first half of the book. It was the story of this high school girl, Bella Swan, who moves to a small town in the Northwest called Forks to live with her dad. She slips easily into high school life there and meets Edward Cullen. He is beautiful, dazzling, and kind of weird at first. Of course you should know this by now- he is a vampire. All the guys are crazy about Bella at her new school, so I'm guessing she probably isn't so bad herself. But for the first 300 pages or so it was just this little high school story.

I think the turning point for me was the baseball game. After that chapter, things started moving really fast and I got into it. For those last few chapters I could almost get the Harry Potter comparisons. It was exciting and you had to use your imagination to visualize what was going on. But Harry Potter this is not. It is a good book and I will read the others in the series: New Moon, Eclipse, and Breaking Dawn. I will also see the movie. But I'm not jumping right in and reading all four books overnight. I'm going to take an Edward/Bella break for now, but I will come back for more.

I give this book 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, November 21, 2008

Jen Lancaster's next book: Pretty in Plaid

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomanical, Self-Centered Smart Ass Phase

Jen says of this book on her blog "
I've been telling people Pretty in Plaid is a memoir about being a socially awkward 'tween, privately summing it up as The Book in Which I Go David Sedaris All Over Your Asses..."

The cover is super-duper cute!

According to Amazon it comes out May 5, 2009.

Something to look forward to for poolside/beach reading next year!

Friday, November 14, 2008

Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster

I finished Jen Lancaster's Such a Pretty Fat on the plane ride to Orlando. It was a pretty good book. Not as great as her first Bitter is the New Black, but still good. In this book Jen attempts to loose weight following Atkins, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers, hiring a personal trainer, and taking up swimming.

The best thing about her books is her quick wit and her footnotes. Seriously, the footnotes are usually so funny. But in this book she used her footnotes to promote her other two books a few too many times for my liking. Also, now that she has published three books it is hard to feel sorry for her when she complains. At least for me...

Overall the book was a fun, quick read. I don't have much else to say except you will chuckle at her writing and adventures, but don't expect this to be life changing or anything. I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Marley and Me as a movie!

Last year I read Marley and Me and I absolutely LOVED it! I'm a dog person and now having gone through the dreaded puppy stage with Cam I have so much sympathy for the owners of Marley. Dogs can bring so so much to your life it is impossible not to love them despite the accidents in the house, chewed household items, and embarrassing moments in public. If you are a dog person Marley and Me is a MUST read! I would give it 5 out of 5 stars!

I saw the preview for the movie Marley and Me this weekend and it is going to be H-I-larious! It stars Jennifer Aniston and Owen Wilson and comes out on Christmas Day. I personally can't wait to see it! And it may just be the one that is good enough to go see by myself so I can cross something else off my list!

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd is the kind of story that sucks you in. Set in South Carolina during the 1960's, it is the story of Lily Owens. Lily has been haunted by the events surrounding the death of her mother when she was 4. Shortly after her 14th birthday she escapes her unloving father's peach farm and breaks her colored nanny out of jail for an adventure to discover more about her mother's past. They end up in the home of the "calendar sisters"- May, June, and August Boatwright. The three colored sisters own a honey business and Lily learns a lot about beekeeping, her mother's past and herself. There are lots of twists and turns throughout the book that I won't spoil for you, but I can tell you that you will fall in love with the characters as they face race relations and heartache, but find strength in themselves and each other.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars.

I also saw the movie this weekend and it was really good too. It had a few differences from the book and some that was left out. Overall I would recommend the book over the movie, but if you don't have the time to read it, at least see the movie. I would suggest not watching the movie right after reading the book though. I was so caught up in comparing the differences from the book that I couldn't really enjoy the movie as much.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

15% off at Barnes and Noble

I found this great printable coupon from Barnes and Noble today. You can get a FREE Cappuccino AND save 15% on that book you have been eyeing! Get the details and print the coupon here. Offer expires 10/31/08.

Monday, October 6, 2008

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Trooper

The Book of Joe by Jonathan Trooper is a wonderfully written novel. The words dance together in perfect harmony and create a beautiful piece of work. He does use some big words (that made me want to break out the dictionary) but I think that is what made it so lovely to read. He uses out of the ordinary words to describe what’s happening which makes it more interesting and descriptive.

The story itself is about a guy, Joe, who returns to his hometown after being away for 17 years. He had good reason to stay away. He wrote a best-selling novel (which was turned into a blockbuster movie staring Leonardo DeCaprio) which was loosely based on the people in his hometown and the secrets and tragic events that defined his adolescence. Most of the people in the town were portrayed in a poor light and they are not happy about it. He returns to Bush Falls after his father has a stroke and within the first 24 hours he is there he is verbally abused, has a milkshake thrown in his face, has his life threatened, has copies of his book thrown at his house, and is beat to a pulp at the local bar.

Joe is finally forced to face his past, which is a good thing. There are unresolved issues and issues he didn’t even know existed for him to deal with back in Bush Falls. From his true love to his dying friend- From his so-called family to the legendary Bush Falls High Cougars and their beloved coach- the ghosts of his past are not going to let him get off so easy. It is a great story and really shows you how important it is for you to deal with your past to effectively live in the present and move on to the future. Even though it wasn’t easy, it was just what he needed.

I highly recommend it and give it 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, September 28, 2008

Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

I don't knit. I tried to learn once in college, but I guess I didn't have the time or patience to learn. But this book wasn't really about knitting. Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs was more about the friendships women form from a common interest. It was about how women support each other through rough times.

Walker and Daughter is the knitting shop in Manhattan owned by Georgia Walker that brings together all the women in the book. Georgia and her 13 year old daughter are dealing with James (Dakota's father) returning to their lives for the first time. Anita, Georgia's best friend, is dealing with learning to date for the first time since her husband's death. There's also re-connecting of old friends and forgiving past wrongs, a long distance marriage and the difficulties that entails, changing life/career paths, pregnancy and baby issues, cancer and divorce as the women support each other through the ups and downs of each other's lives.

I must admit the book did make me want to learn to knit again. But honestly I don't have the time. It also reminded me of my Book Blub girls (RIP Book Blub). I know life is so busy it is hard to keep these groups going. But I think female friendships are so important. This book was a reminder of that.

It was a good book with lots of interesting story lines!

I give it 3.5 out of 5 stars.

Friday, August 29, 2008

StrengthsFinder 2.0

Chances are, you don’t. From the cradle to the cubicle, we devote more time to fixing our shortcomings than to developing our strengths.
To help people uncover their talents, Gallup introduced StrengthsFinder in the 2001 management book Now, Discover Your Strengths. The book ignited a global conversation, while StrengthsFinder helped millions discover their top five talents.
In StrengthsFinder 2.0, Gallup unveils the new and improved version of its popular online assessment. With hundreds of strategies for applying your strengths, StrengthsFinder 2.0 will change the way you look at yourself—and the world—forever.
AVAILABLE EXCLUSIVELY IN STRENGTHSFINDER 2.0 (using the access code included with each book)
• The StrengthsFinder 2.0 assessment, fine-tuned to be faster and more accurate
• A Strengths Discovery and Action-Planning Guide featuring: A customized version of your top five theme report; 50 Ideas for Action for building on your top five themes; A strengths-based action plan for setting goals
• And much more on the StrengthsFinder 2.0 website: A strengths community area; Resources, activities, and discussion guides; A strengths screensaver and program for creating display cards of your top five themes

After reading this summary I snatched this book up and quickly went home to read the intro and take the online assessment. I was nervous what I would find out but as soon as I saw the report I felt like there was a psychic in my computer. This is SO me! But I didn’t even realize it until you spat out this report! Thank you for helping me find myself computer!

The report is great because it goes in depth to each of your strengths- tells you what the theme means, what actions you can take to develop them further, and gives real life examples of each strength in the real world. It is a great tool and gives you some focus for your professional development.

I give it 5 out of 5 stars (worth every penny)!

Learn more about StregthsFinder 2.0

Monday, August 25, 2008

Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella

What has changed in the last 3 years of your life? If you suddenly lost all those years would you recognize yourself or your life? This is what happens to Lexi Smart, Sophie Kinsella’s main character in “Remember Me?” After a car accident she wakes up in a London hospital and thinks it is 2004. During the 3 years she lost, she has transformed into someone she doesn’t even recognize (literally thanks to a crash diet, collagen injections, veneers, and a great stylist). In that time she has been on a reality TV show (why do I keep picking books with references to reality shows?), gotten married, become the boss of her department (not to mention a millionairess), given up carbs, and lost her closest friends. She tries her best to figure out her new life and face all the secrets, schemes, and bombshells that come her way during the process as she figures out why, when, and how she turned into this person she doesn’t even know.

I loved this book! It was full of laugh out loud moments and suspense that kept me up late reading every night. It made me think about how unrecognizable my life would be in her situation. I would have missed so much! Overall it was a great book and I highly recommend it!

I give it 4.5 out of 5 stars

If you don’t already know Sophie Kinsella (real name- Madeleine Wickham, she also publishes under this name), she is the author of the Shopaholic series. Here is a link to her official site:

They are making a movie out of her Shopaholic Series starring Isla Fischer (Wedding Crashers):

AND they are making a movie out of another book of hers “Can You Keep A Secret?” that will star Kate Hudson!

She is a GREAT writer and I predict someone will pick up the rights to this book too! Now who would I want to star? Hmmm…Reese Witherspoon maybe? She’d have to go brunette though. I’ve always like Rachael Bilson…

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst

Lost and Found by Carolyn Parkhurst was a book about secrets and how they can eat away at you until you explode. The book follows the contestants of a “reality” show called Lost and Found (similar to The Amazing Race). The contestants include a mother daughter pair who have a secret about a baby (Did you know...there's a baby?), an ex-gay married couple (man and wife found God and put their evil homosexual ways behind them- or are they just lying to themselves?), a pair of divorced brothers (one has a sick kid at home), a pair of childhood TV stars (who are trying to hold on to their fame), a pair of millionaires, and a few others (who only appear briefly in the book). Each chapter is from the perspective of a different contestant which keeps you on the edge of your seat a bit. The producers of the show go to great lengths to expose everyone’s secrets so they can get some good TV out of it. If you like drama and reality TV, you will surely love this book.

I give it 4 out of 5 stars!

Wednesday, August 6, 2008

Life's a Beach by Claire Cook

“Life’s a Beach” by Claire Cook (who is also the author of “Must Love Dogs”) is the story of a 41-year old woman, Ginger, who really doesn’t know who she is or what she wants. She is living in a FROG (Finished Room Over Garage) at her parents house. She has a cat named Boyfriend (which I thought was funny at first, but then not so much later as I saw how much of an indicator it was of Ginger’s “issues”). She has a (sort of) real boyfriend, Noah, who seems like a great guy but never calls and basically just pops by randomly throwing pebbles at her window to get her to open the door. Her sister, Geri, is the total opposite of her and has the house, husband, kids, and great job to prove it. Geri is constantly stressing over her upcoming 50th birthday. Their parents (who have their own “issues”) are trying to sell their house which forces Ginger to think about what she wants to do next. She recently started a sea glass jewelry business (which isn’t exactly booming) but spends most of her time watching her sister’s kids. The journey really starts when a shark movie starts filming in her small beach town and her nephew gets a part in it. It all wraps up pretty neatly with the unexpected 50th birthday party for her sister.

There is a lot going on in this book, but none of it is really enthralling. It is an okay book with lots of laugh out load moments, but it never really had me on the edge of my seat. I did manage to finish it in about a week, so it wasn’t bad, just sort of a basic fun story. One thing I did pull away from the book was the idea of sand bottles (it was worth reading just for that).

I give it 3 stars out of 5.

Here is a link to the author’s website:

(It looks like she has a new cute book out called “Summer Blowout”)

The Next Thing on My List by Jill Smolinski

“The Next Thing on my List” by Jill Smolinski was basically the inspiration for my own “30 List”. In the book the main character June is your typical, single 30-something who is involved in a terrible car accident which ends the life of her passenger, Marissa. In her own way of dealing with this devastating event, June tasks herself with completing Marissa’s “25 things to do before my 25th birthday” list. It is an interesting spin on an old concept. I mean it is going to be hard for me to complete my own list, I can’t imagine trying to complete someone else’s list. Some things on the list aren’t too hard like “Throw away the bathroom scale” and “Eat ice cream in public”. Marissa was practically a stranger to June, so completing other things on the list aren’t so easy. “Change someone’s life” and “Make Buddy Fitch pay” really challenge her to pull out all the stops.

It is a really good book. Throughout the story, June learns a lot from “the list”. She learns a lot about herself and also about Marissa’s life (and manages to have some fun along the way!) June’s life dramatically changes throughout the experience as she races to complete the list on time. It leads to lots of crazy adventures, lots of awkward moments, life changing decisions for June, and even an unexpected romance.

All in all, I give it 4 stars out of 5.

It apparently is also going to be made into a movie that is slated to come out in 2009!

Here is a link to the author’s website:

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