Monday, September 20, 2010

female spy? about time.

I love it when real historical events and people are used in fiction novels! Yes, sometimes it does mess with my sense of reality, but it's fun.

Rose Melikan's third edition to the popular Mary Finch series, The Mistaken Wife is set in Paris, France circa 1797. Mary, our beloved main character and British spy goes undercover in then, enemy territory. She is used to risking her life for her country, but she is still hesitant to take on such a dangerous assignment. Mary is playing the part of an American's wife, she quickly discovers that her "husband" and partner in this assignment is not what he appears.

With the French chasing a deadly new weapon and an old nemesis threatening to unmask her as a spy, Mary soon finds herself in more danger than she could have imagined. Whether it be courage, or simply luck what will it take for our heroine to come out of this a winner, or even alive?

**To win a copy of this book e-mail your name, address and this book title to:!

mildly scary look into our future.

I have never really gotten into climatology. I use as my ultimate weather resource and never paid much mind to anything else. Enter, The Weather of the Future by climatologist Heidi Cullen who somehow made the subject of climate change extremely interesting (and terrifying).

Science has always bored me to tears, but Cullen explained CLEARLY the relationship of the earth's natural greenhouse gasses, including water vapor, methane, and the pivotal role of carbon dioxide, as the geo-historic regulator gas, which has directly effected the planet's temperature (I feel smarter by the way). I have known for a while now that we suck. We continue to release these gasses through the burning of oil, coal, and natural gas - which is terrible for our planet.

Cullen does direct the blame towards society, because we are at fault. For some reason, our human nature can only care about the bad things that happen presently, rather than what the future has in store. It's like we don't believe it, until we see it, apparently none of us believe in Santa Clause either. Yes, Cullen made this book entertaining enough to attract someone as uninterested in science as I am, but what am I going to do about this? What are We going to do?

extremely useful and effective.

Bartering is not something I have perfected. My experience is limited, but I can honestly tell you that I am terrible at it. While in Paris, I was in a market place where artists were selling their work. I was told by an American tourist that it's easy to barter down 10 to 15 euros, so I gave it a try. I made my rounds and decided on two different paintings that I liked, I was basically going to take the one that was the best price. As I am going between this woman and man trying to get them to barter down to my asking price, I clearly started to offend them. The man literally walked away from me! I mean, last time I checked I am supposed to ask a price, he says no, tell him I am going over to the woman who will meet my price, wait for a response, then walk away. No, he walked away, (extremely mad) from me.

So I went back over to the lady, and whined until she gave me what I wanted. Typical American.

The Art of Barter by Karen Hoffman and Shera Dalin, is a book to teach you how to trade for almost anything. That might be where I went wrong, I didn't have anything more than money to trade? Kidding, I am well aware of where I went wrong in that particular barter. Regardless, I am pretty sure I am never allowed back to Paris.

Hoffman and Dalin designed this book for those of you who are short on cash, for personal reasons - like an upcoming wedding, professional reasons - like you are starting your own business. They even offer tips on how to use your skills to help your favorite charity or non-profit. I like where these ladies heads are at. They are teaching us to use our skills and trade them for the skills of others.

In a sense, it is kind of like what I am doing here, this book was sent to me for free, and in a trade I write this book review. Get it? Pretty cool, right? The book is a necessity because of all the tips, you should probably take notes as you go. Once you have finished, go out there and use your skills to get what you need, no money allowed.

light on the vampire, heavy on the thrill.

The world's most popular vampires have been taking a little "breather" from the media circuit as of late, so now is the perfect time to test the waters with a new vampire hero. Christopher Farnsworth gives us a different take on the undead in Blood Oath.

The story is based around Nathaniel Cade, a vampire pardoned for vampirism by President Andrew Johnson, yes folks what we have here are vampires AND nationalism. As part of his pardon (or blood oath) Cade is supposed to loyally serve each president of the United States. The presidents have come and gone, and our vampire Cade remains the same, of course. It's nice to see a vampire surrounded by humans, rather than the alternative, which we know so well from the Twilight saga.

Cade is the President's tool against enemies not of this world. Cade may be our hero, but you have to remember that there is more supernatural in the world than just him. Right now, that enemy is the current incarnation of a man known to most of the world as Dr. Frankenstein. He is working for terrorists in the Middle East (kind of wish to be done with terrorists, in the Middle East but it works for such a political book). Cade and his team (you will meet the other characters very vividly) work together to take on this monstrosity.

If you think you are sick of vampire novels, think again. This is absolutely not a vampire novel. It is a policitical thriller, with all the twists, turns and mystery that you love.

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

are you lonely?

The fact of the matter is, you can be lonely with people all around you. Having no emotional connection to the people in your life will cause you to feel alone, regardless of how many Facebook friends you have, or texts you get a day. In Emily White's memoir, Lonely, she explores her own loneliness as well as others - which may help trigger what is causing your own.

Emily confessed to us that she was chronically lonely, and had been for most of her adult life. She hid her disorder from her family and friends for years. She handled her days well, focusing on her career as a lawyer. But when it came time to clock out of lawyer mode and going home, she found herself in her apartment alone on most nights and weekends.

It's not like Emily is a social misfit, she is an independent woman, with a great job - supporting herself. She has a family and friends who love her. Any other woman would be envious of her success. What you might not realize is, loneliness is more than depression, it's a feeling of disconnection from the people in your life. Emily was sick of feeling this way, so she set out on a mission - to find out what was wrong with her. She used her resources to complete her research and interviewed men and women just like her.

You'd be surprised how many people suffer from chronic loneliness - you may be surprised to find out that you do yourself. Lonely is for those of you who have ever felt lonely, even just a little bit.

heavy on the characters and the drama. we'll take it.

I would like to start out by saying, I DID enjoy reading Fragile by Lisa Unger. Now, let me be real here for a moment. You can have a fabulous idea for a book, a great setting and a great conflict, but you can mess with it a bit by including too many MAIN characters. Even if every character is beautifully created and connected, with a perfect place in the story - having eleven of them is too much.

We have Maggie and Jones, husband and wife and their son Ricky. Ricky's dating Cheyenne who is the daughter of Melody whom Jones has a past with (not what you think). Then we have Elizabeth, Maggie's mother who is the former principal of Hallows High - where all three parents had attended. Now enter Marshall, crazy teenager from a bad home. His dad Travis just got out of jail, is a terrible guy that you will undoubtedly hate and also shares the same past with Jones and Melody. Maggie is a therapist and has been helping Marshall through his issues. Marshall's grandfather is the former chief of police - Jones is a head detective, and Travis had his badge taken away for having one too many DUI's. They are all connected because they have all known each other for years, now their children are all connected for the same reason. There are even more key characters that I haven't included. A bit much, eh?

Now on to our story....Cheyenne has a fight with Melody and goes missing. The adults remember a time when they were in high school when a girl got into a fight with her mother and went missing. That girl, Sarah wound up dead. Everyone's all freaked out - the teenagers especially. Surprisingly it's the parents and grandparents that are keeping all of the secrets. When people start getting shot, that's when the secrets start slipping out.

It's a good story line, not as predictable as you might think - which is fun because GOOD mysteries should keep you guessing until the very end. Nicely done Unger, nicely done.

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

lets just pretend it never happened.

I read The Stuff That Never Happened by Maddie Dawson while traveling on a train to NYC for labor day weekend. Between the way there, and back, I flew right through it. My boyfriend was sitting next to me and he asked me how the book was. I told him how much I was enjoying it, and then he (probably because he was bored) acted interested in what it was about.

"Well....I mean, it's interesting, but it's not like good in the way, that I want my life to be that way or anything, I mean, the main character had an affair and had a hard time getting over him, but the husband took her back, and okay I am explaining this really wrong. I just like the characters okay? The characters are interesting." Nice Jenilee, excellent explanation. NOT.

It seems whenever I am reading a book and my man-cub asks me what it's about, it always has to do with an affair, and I am always like, this book is SOOO good. And he's like um, okay? It's not like I want to have an affair, I just like the drama of it. I don't like reading about people getting hurt, but wild, passionate, WRONG sex - I don't mind living in that world for a little while.

The Stuff That Never Happened, is a story about an about-to-turn fifty housewife/children's book illustrator named Annabelle. Her and her husband, Grant got married when she was only twenty, after only knowing each other for a short period of time. They moved to New York City where Grant had a teaching job at Columbia waiting for him. It took a while for Annabelle to grow accustomed to being married to Grant. The book goes back and forth between the present time, and the time when the two first got married, and the troubles that followed. Annabelle's affair with a man that Grant really looked up to, someone the couple LIVED with. Yes, Annabelle and Grant lived with Jeremiah and Carly, a thirty-something couple with twin toddlers. Annabelle and Jeremiah fell in love, and had an ongoing affair for over a year.

We know that Grant and Annabelle end up together, so what happens? And what happens when Annabelle goes back to New York to care for her bedridden pregnant daughter, Sophie? Does the past relive itself?

I'm not telling.


Thursday, September 2, 2010

the real life good stuff eatery.

Last month, I was lucky enough to visit the actual Good Stuff Eatery restaurant in Washington D.C.. (I reviewed the Good Stuff Cookbook a few months ago). I've gotta say, it was a little different from what I expected. For one, it's counter-service. There is not a whole lot of seating, because the place is always packed - and for good reason, the food is amazing! I seriously waited an hour to stand in line, order my food, then get my food - the line was out the door.

Just the marshmallow shake alone made it worth it, friends.


I have been waiting for a book like this to come out. What the Yuck?! is a fabulous title, first of all. Secondly - I love how doctor/author Roshini Raj, MD (with Lisa Lombardi) answers all of the questions we are too afraid to ask our doctors, our friends and especially our mothers.

This little "doctor-help" wonder is hilarious, and far better than getting all of your sexual advice off the pages of Cosmo. What the Yuck?! is not solely based on sexual questions, Dr. Raj also covers fashion, first dates, that time of the month, and a lot of other bases. Here's a little taste (no pun, haha): semen is about 7 calories per serving - marijuana takes about 1-2 days to leave your system, but 5 weeks if you smoke a bowl habitually (don't act like you've never been worried) - and public toilet seats are not going to give you an STD, freaks. Having sex WILL help you live longer and healthier, so withhold something else from your husband/lover/boyfriend when they need to be punished. There is so much more included in these 16 chapters than I can give you here.

Thank you Dr. Raj for taking all of the women of the world's freakiest fears and strangest questions about every aspect of their bodies and compiling them into one book. Read and learn ladies, read and learn.