Friday, January 31, 2014

2014 So Far...

So my plan to blog more in 2014 hasn't worked out so far. I've had a few friends mention to me that I needed to blog, so I decided to do a post of "What I've Been Up To So Far in 2014". Prepare to be amazed (or bored). :)

I went to my second Stars game of the season...

I hosted my first baby shower where the guest of honor wasn't able to be there. My BFF Brandy and her newborn son got very sick the day of the shower, and it was too late to cancel it, so we Skype chatted with her (we had already postponed the shower once since Baby M decided to make an early appearance). I opened the presents while she watched from the hospital. Isn't modern technology wonderful? She and Baby M are thankfully doing much better. I'll hopefully post a picture of Baby M soon, it's late as I'm writing this and I want to get her permission before I post anything (I always get permission from parents before I post pictures of their children on my blog). :)

Holding up the gifts so Brandy could see them via the iPad.
Everyone's favorite principal Mr. Belding replied to me on Twitter. Yes, that Mr. Belding. If you don't know who that is, I feel sorry for you (hint: Saved By the Bell). :)

I went to Austin to meet Baby A...

Baby A is my BFF Mandy's son (yes, I have more than one BFF, don't judge me!) :) Mandy and I have been friends 25 years. It was also her birthday weekend so I got to spend that with her. :)
Went by my old high school and was very upset to see the empty spot where they had cut down MY tree (it was the tree my friends and I would sit under during lunch). Tree killers...
That bare spot is where our tree once stood...
Was sad to see my friend and coworker Yolanda move from Dallas (she got a job out of town). She will be missed around our office!

While watching The Karate Kid (the original one), I sent out the following tweet. It was favorited by William Zabka (who played Johnny in the movie). I know, I have silly giddy moments when stuff like this happens. :)

So, my goal in 2014 is to read 52 books. So far I'm on track and have read four. If I can stop being so lazy, tired, busy, I'll try to do these book reviews on a weekly basis. :) I'll get you caught up with the four I have read so far (I tried to keep the reviews short). Click on the name for links to the books on Amazon.

(5 out of 5 stars)

I seriously couldn't put this book down- in fact, I stayed up until 2am reading because I HAD to see how it ended. Everything in this novel works- the characters, the plot, and the writing style. The author does a great job of making the characters seem real and believable. I love the historical facts that he includes-even readers with no interest in San Antonio will enjoy this part of the story. I hope that the author will write another novel using these characters, I feel they have more stories to tell. Great job!! I read the paperback version, but it's also available in e-reader form.

(5 out of 5 stars)

Allison Brennan is one of my top five favorite authors. I can't believe it took me SO LONG to start the Lucy Kincaid series. The only good thing is that I don't have to impatiently wait for the next one to come out since I'm so far behind. Although at this rate, I'm sure I'll catch up in no time.

I love the Kincaid sibling novels. We first "met" Lucy in the novel Fear No Evil when she was in high school. Now she is older and determined to apply to the FBI. I don't want to give away too much of the plot so I won't go into a lot of detail. You can read this novel without reading Fear No Evil (although to fully understand Lucy's story, I recommend you read Fear No Evil first). If you don't, Brennan does a great job of recapping the past events to get the reader caught up, so it won't take anything away from the story.

This is a great mystery novel (with a little bit of romance thrown in- although it doesn't distract the reader from the mystery portion of the book).

Love Is Murder by Allison Brennan
(4 out of 5 stars)

This book is more of a novella, and the story takes place between the events of Fear No Evil and Love Me To Death. It was a good story, but I wish it would have had been longer (to give more of a background on some of the characters). But overall, it was a very good read! Oh, and even though it's a prequel, it doesn't HAVE to be read before Love Me To Death, (I read it after the fact and I don't think it took anything away from the story). The only reason it didn't get five stars is because it was too short. :)

Nineteen Minutes by Jodi Picoult 

(3 out of 5 stars)

"In nineteen minutes, you can mow the front lawn, color your hair, watch a third of a hockey game. In nineteen minutes, you can bake scones or get a tooth filled by a dentist; you can fold laundry for a family of five....In nineteen minutes, you can stop the world, or you can just jump off it. In nineteen minutes, you can get revenge." This is taken from the description on the back of the book. This was all that I knew going into the book, but it didn't take long before I realized what the story was going to be about. KINDA SPOILER ALERT: Although I don't consider this a spoiler, because the reader will discover pretty quickly that this story is going to revolve around a school shooting. The author goes back and forth in her chapters describing the events leading up to the shooting and the aftermath of the shooting. This is done in such a way that it's not too confusing to the reader. 

I felt the story was well written, especially since it's dealing with a sensitive topic (one that might hit too close to home for some readers). Some of the characters were pretty stereotypical: the jocks who are flat out mean to kids who aren't as popular; the unpopular kid living in the shadow of his older brother, thus making him an outcast and causing him to be bullied, etc. There were also a few characters who I thought were somewhat over-dramatized, but it didn't take away from the story too much. 

The author not only shows the reader how the victims' families handled the tragedy, but she also shows how it affected the family of the shooter. I guess most people don't think about the families of those who cause shootings. We forget that at one time, the shooter had someone who loved and cared for them, and that they too are upset and confused at why the shooting happened. I don't want to talk too much about the story, because I don't want to give anything away (once I start talking, I won't shut up). :) This is a good read- although it does deal with some sensitive topics (other than the shootings), so be prepared. This is the first book by Jodi Picoult that I have read and I plan to read some others.

Okay my lovely friends, there you go, 2014 so far. I know, it doesn't seem like I've been so busy that I can't update my blog. Pure laziness, and the fact that I'm reading more. Hey- that's a good thing, right?!! Hope everyone is doing well!