Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

Apple Turnover Murder (Hannah Swensen, #14)Apple Turnover Murder by Joanne Fluke

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


Things I liked:
1.) The cliff-hanger ending

2.) Numerous awesome recipes (I made the Too Easy Hotdish tonight for dinner and it was excellent!)

3.) Norman finally acting differently toward Hannah instead of being "mr. safe/dependable guy" whom she seems to think will continue waiting around on her forever. I hope something actually happens between Norman and this new female dentist he's brought into his clinic because he deserves better. I'm so sick of Hannah stringing him along while she decides whether she wants to marry him or marry Mike. While we're on the subject, let's move on to...

Things I disliked:
1.) The continuing Hannah-Norman-Mike love triangle saga. How long are these clowns going to keep doing this little dance with Hannah? First off, aside from his physical appearance, what precisely about Mike attracts Hannah? He is such an a**hole! He's had a plethora of "flirtations", as Fluke would call them, with other women behind Hannah's back and yet she continues to think he might be the one she wants to marry? GET REAL! He finally even admits in this book that she's great for him but he's terrible for her and that if they married, she'd constantly be worried about him having affairs! She needs to wake up and realize he's a womanizing turducken and MOVE ON. He checks out other women in her presence and says things to her that are completely chauvenistic, yet she's still on board? We're supposed to believe that she's a "strong female" who doesn't need a man to make her happy or help her with anything? If that were true, she would have realized long ago that Mike is not a good match for her, despite his "dreamy looks". Norman, on the other hand, is reliable, kind, thoughtful, considerate and she'd never have to worry about him cheating on her. When they are together, there is a comfort level there that exists only between the best of friends. Why she is still undecided about which man to choose is annoying and ridiculous. Also, in what world would 2 men propose, both be turned down and told that the lady would choose when she was good and ready and they would both actually stick around for MONTHS waiting? Hannah is a self-described tactless 30 year old woman who never wears make up and rarely rakes a comb through her hair, whose fashion sense consists of old jeans and t-shirts with food-related slogans (or "legends", as Fluke calls them) printed across them. Her favorite hobbies are baking desserts and correcting other people's English at inappropriate times. Why exactly are 2 bachelors in a dead-lock over winning this woman's hand in marriage any way?

2.) Why does Hannah get to be indignant over Mike's not dating her exclusively when she's been dating both him and Norman for over 2 YEARS?

3.) You're telling me that Hannah wouldn't have told her baby sister to stay away from Bradford Ramsay? The same man who hurt her so badly that she left college permanently after discovering he was engaged to another women throughout their relationship? COME ON! She knew Michelle was getting friendly with him before she ever invited him over to Hannah's place for dinner. She still remained mute? I truly cannot believe she'd allow her younger sister to get hurt by that creep and only let her in on the relationship she'd once had with him after he was dead and had clearly already harmed Michelle. I thought Hannah was close with her sisters, yet neither Andrea nor Michelle had any clue that Bradford Ramsay was the man who caused her to leave college?

4.) Bradford Ramsay not remembering her? Or pretending to not remember her? They had an intimate relationship for months when she was in college at Macalester, but she believed he had no idea who she was when they ran into each other when he started teaching at the community college? Hmmmmm.

5.) I want Hannah to stop correcting other people's English at the stupidest times imaginable. In this book, her sister Andrea is in tears over the family's possible move to Florida and she has the gall to correct her about crocodiles vs. alligators? Who gives a crumb when your sister's world is falling apart which freaking type of reptile inhabits Floridian swamplands???

6.) I wish there had been much less talk about metal grave art between the characters at the beginning of the book. Paragraphs were dedicated to this inane topic and it was completely unnecessary and totally boring. In a town where people turn up dead holding various baked goods, you're telling me metal grave art is the hottest topic of conversation?

7.) I had the killer figured out immediately. Once Sherri is observed tossing her proverbial cookies, I knew she was pregnant by Bradford Ramsay and that her angsty and protective bro Perry (rhyming names? Really?) killed the dude. For Hannah to be such a "sleuth", how the hell did this possibility never even cross her mind?

You might assume that with so many dislikes, I'd be passing on the next addition to the Hannah Swensen series due out in 2011, but you'd be wrong. Even with all of the silliness mentioned above, the author managed to keep me interested in what happens next in this crazy little town. I await thee with reserved curiousity, Devil's Food Cake Murder.

Saturday, December 25, 2010

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

Bitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment OfficeBitter is the New Black : Confessions of a Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smartass, Or, Why You Should Never Carry A Prada Bag to the Unemployment Office by Jen Lancaster

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I really loved this book! I was familiar with the author's website, Jennsylvania, as I'd read her response to Marie Claire's exceptionally insulting article "Should Fatties Get a Room?" and thought it was perfect. Though she has her b*tchy moments, I found her very easy to relate to. She learned a hard lesson that what is truly important in life isn't one's Kate Spade shoe collection. This book was so packed with hilarious quotes that I had to start marking pages with the little sticker page markers (pulled from Lucky Magazine, which I found humorous since it's the magazine all about shopping) so I could go back later and write them all down. I look forward to reading the rest of Jen Lancaster's books!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Cranberry Chutney n' such

Snagged from DisturbinglyHuman on Zanga! Thank you!

What were you doing an hour ago? Trying to find a song on iTunes. I hate it when they don't have one I'm really hoping they do!
When did you wake up today? 7:02
Is there anyone that could make your day if they showed up at your house? The full-sized Snuggle bear that brings joy to cities all over America with the So You Think You Can Dance tour! This thing is The Cutest. No denying it.
Do you live west of Ohio? Nopes!
Do you live east of Colorado? Yes
Does your middle name begin with a A, M, or S? No
How old was the last person you rode in a car with? 37
What color was the last vehicle you were in? white
Do you have big plans for the weekend? Yeah baby! It's Christmas!
How long have you lived at your current residence? 13 months
When was the last time you were up at 5am? A couple months ago b/c I couldn't sleep and kept waking up. V. annoying.
What was the last movie you saw in theaters? Wow. I guess it was Eclipse?! I don't go to movies too frequently!
When was the last time you went bowling? Last month for Emily's b-day!
How about swimming? This summer in Jacksonville.
Have you ever been to the Grand Canyon? Not yet but I'll see it someday!
The Eiffel Tower? Zut alors! I REALLY want to see it in person. France is my dream! J'adore.
The Great Wall of China? It's not really on my radar.
When you go fishing, do you make someone else get the fish off the hook? Only went once and yes, I think I did have it removed by another party!
How old were you in 1999? 19
How many funerals have you been to this year? Thankfully NONE.
When was the last time you spent a night stargazing? On vacations I always give them a peek.
Are you taller than 5'6"? Yes
What was the last thing you cooked? Chicken n' Sausage Paprikash - YUM! It rocked the house.
Who were the last three people to call you? Mom, Jason and a nice lady who needed help with something at work.
What were you doing last night at 10pm? Sitting in my papasan chair reading Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster - and LOVING IT!

Did you go to daycare when you were little? A little but mostly I stayed with my mom.
Do you have a favorite pillow you always sleep with? Just the one that goes under my head.
When was the last time you slept in someone else's bed? Thanksgiving in Winston-Salem @ J's folks' place!
Are there any candles in the room you're in? Yes, I've got a Yankee Candle (Cranberry Chutney) rippin' freshness into my sunroom as we speak. Thanks, LaVaughn!
If you turn around, what is behind you? Windows.
Would you dye your hair hot pink for $50? No, though I thought it looked cute when Rachel McAdams had pieces of her hair dyed pink {photo below} back in the day. It doesn't hurt that she's stunning-ness personified!!
Do you know what you'd have been named had you been born the opposite sex? Christopher.
If you switch 'e' with 'a', 'n' with 'c', & 'l' with 'x' what's your name? Kristac.
When was the last time someone gave you a compliment?
Where did you get the shirt you are wearing? Target.
Where was the last place you spent more than $50?
What percent of your day includes music? I try to listen all day at work now that I have the option! Recently I've been rockin' around the proverbial Christmas tree thanks to B 98.5's constant stream of holiday tunes ever since Thanksgiving day!
What perfume/cologne do you wear? So many, I love fragrances! I could sniff different perfumes (parfums?) all day and never tire of it! Stella, Lotus Garden by Pacifica, CK One Summer, CK One, Strawberry Flowers by Fresh, Unconditional Love by Philosophy. I reallllllly want Love, Chloe but it's pricey!
What's the last TV show you watched? Real Housewives of Atlanta (my friend J-Larks has gotten me into it!)
What are you plans after this? Go. to. bed! Good night!

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

FSE: Alibis by Sergio Mendes

This is one of those choruses that come to me from time to time that I remember hearing in the car as a kid. LOVE!

Sunday, December 5, 2010

FSE: Piano in the Dark by Brenda Russell

This song is so alluring and emotional, and it always makes me think of rainy nights and mysterious, complicated love. It came out in 1988 when I was 8, and I remember hearing it on the radio back then and thinking it was special even as a little kid. The emotion this woman conveys in this song, especially during the crescendo ("...can't wait any longer, and I'm feeling stronger but oh...") makes me wish I had a slinky dress and an antique silver mic - and the ability to sing worth a damn - so I could truly belt this out for all I'm worth! If this comes on in the car, it gets cranked to the stereo's full volume potential and I sing along - with my full volume potential.

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Fall Reading Challenge - Post Game Show

So I've officially "completed" the Fall 2010 Reading Challenge. And when I say "completed", I mean I read 26 books and earned a paltry 335 total points. Total points one could earn in said challenge was an astounding 890 points. How anyone manages to swerve near this level is beyond me. I think the only way I'd come close would be if I quit my job and refused to speak to anyone for 3 months, and I just don't think that would be very enjoyable. I like participating in these challenges for the sheer fun of finding books that work for the various tasks, and I am a-ok knowing there is no fricking way I will ever come close to completing 100% of them. I used to think I was insanely brillz when I'd read 26 books in a YEAR, so knowing that I have consumed that many literary treats in 3 months is something I'm pretty proud of. A special thank you goes to Jason for not getting annoyed with the amount of time these crazy ass things take and all the reading that I do. You are a man blessed with extreme kindness for actually encouraging these shenanigans. I love you! The Winter Challenge, or "Winter Classic" as I like to call it because I'm a hockey nerd, begins December 1st and I can't wait to see what tasks these crazy folks are about to unleash on the group!


Favorite Book Overall: A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker. Just a hilarious and delightful read, perfect for lifting your spirits and making you chuckle. Notable quote with regard to the main character's observation about a certain cheerleader's penchant for shiny lip gloss: "It looks like she just finished frenching a tub of margarine." I contacted the author through to let her know how much I enjoyed it and she actually wrote me back with a very humorous and kind response. I love it when authors reach out to readers that way!
Favorite Suspenseful Book: Ashes to Ashes by Tami Hoag. This book was AWESOME! I was riveted and found myself highlighting many colorful phrases. The author managed to balance scalp crinkling chills with just the right amount of witty repartee. LOVED IT! Some of my favorite quotes from this book were:
"Jesus, you're just the cat's ass, aren't you?"
"This is gonna get uglier than my aunt Selma, and she has a face that could make a bulldog puke."
"Sleep? I gave that up. It was taking the edge off my paranoia."
"I've already had the chief and Lieutenant Fowler on me like a couple of trick riders this morning."

Honorable Mentions: A Wrinkle in Time by Madeleine L'Engle. WAYYY ahead of it's time! This was published in 1962 and the author gets into some amazing time travel/science fiction that I can't imagine were commonplace ideas back then.
Because of Winn-Dixie by Kate DiCamillo. What an incredibly sweet and charming story filled with wonderful people. This is a great book for children as it teaches them the importance of not judging people based on appearance or what other people say. I wish everyone had to read this one at some point in their life.
The House of Night series by P.C. Cast. This series is definitely intended for 15 year old girls, but I am having a great time reading them any way! They definitely have some negatives (the dialogue can get annoying) but the imaginative new spin the author has put on the tried/tired and true teen vamp saga outweighs the bad.

3 Least Favorite Books Overall: Angus, Thongs and Full-Frontal Snogging: Confessions of Georgia Nicholson by Louise Rennison. Ughhhhhh. I have no trouble checking out, and usually thoroughly enjoying, young adult books, but this one was crapola on a platter. Nothing remotely of interest happens and the main character is obnoxious and not interesting. The only upshot was that I picked up a few new British slang terms.
The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells. This book was cornbread crumbs of cheese balls. SLOW to the point of tedium. I love the Ya-Ya series but this "work" just felt like someone else had penned it. The author seemed to amp up every character from "charmingly eccentric" to "utterly ridiculous".
Neighborhood Watch by Cammie McGovern. What. The. Hell. What the hell, Cammie McGovern? You wrote one of my top 3 favorite books of 2009 ("Eye Contact"). I added that book to my "fave books ever" shelf and recommended it to several people. I was so excited to read "Neighborhood Watch" but it was just a long, stumbly stroll to nowheresville. I have not stopped thinking "what the hell?" since I finished reading it, and not in a good "I'm still pondering it!" sort of way. I posted it for trade on and someone claimed it today. Before I sealed up the mailer, I gave serious consideration to slipping the recipient a personal note that said "Good luck with this".

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

(wagon) wheels off in a ditch

Let’s discuss Wells Fargo’s “friendly” Wachovia Takeover. As a Wachovia customer, I’d like to say that Wells Fargo is sucking big time and I miss banking with the company whose name sounds like a congested sneeze! Numerous friends of mine have had ridiculous issues ever since the takeover. Let’s talk about sundry things that irk me.

One thing I find putrid is the fact that they clearly have no one on staff at Wells Fargo HQ with an eye for decent design. Someone should have circled the wagons (I know! The puns are limitless!), possibly ‘round a campfire, and pointed out that their colors of “brandy red” and “golden nuggs” were going to clash ludicrously with Wachovia’s signature navy and gray. I challenge you to drive by a converted Wachovia and view the blue-gray building freshly adorned with a red and gold sign and tell me that you don’t feel deeply displeasured by the sight.

What’s with their logo? A STAGE COACH? Really? This is 2010, using a defunct form of transportation for your mascot is…interesting. It basically says, “We’re antiquated and proud!” Didn’t bandits rob stage coaches back in the olden days? Is this the best theme to go with for a financial institution? Why not take it a step further and have the tellers sport prairie togs such as bonnets and chaps? I wonder if they’ve remodeled the interior of my local Wachovia branch to include a saloon and general store? Have they installed the fun swingy doors? Can I barter my home-made jams in exchange for an account transcript? What about a well-oiled saddle for a Roth IRA? Is the branch manager now referred to as The Sheriff?

Why not do it up in full western regalia, I ask? Why not frame out the existing Wachovias with logs for a cabin-esque feel? Go whole hog with wagon wheel lights, burlap curtains, and hay on the floor. Wells Fargo can offer customers the option of playing horseshoes or participating in a square dance showdown while they wait their turn at the counter. Don’t half-ass it, Wells Fargo! It’s time to open a can of mercantilism and giddy up!

In all seriousness, I’m considering changing banks. I think it might be time for me to raise up off this wagon train while it’s still only partially off the trail. Although…if barn dances will soon be offered as part of my Wells Fargo Visa Rewards, I might stick around.

Monday, November 8, 2010

Where is B-Litts?

Haven't seen Bryan Little since his awful - and I mean AWFUL - stick-to-face injury delivered by Shaone Morrisonn (I've got your number, bitchbag) of my fave team the Buff Sabres. He's got a concussion and facial lacerations. We're all worried and hoping he's feeling better and will be back in the line-up very soon. Big get well wishes to my favorite Thrasher!

Monday, October 25, 2010

We Will Miss You

Thank you for being my friend for the past 13 years. We miss you so much, but we will smile knowing you are in a better place, chasing squirrels and eating hamburgers to your little macho heart's delight. Rest in peace, sweet pup.

12-4-97 - 10-23-10

I know you hated it when I put those purple 'Elton John' feathers in your hair! You looked adorable, though!

Monday, October 18, 2010

Raw Video: Presidential Seal Falls During Speech

I never tire of seeing this clip! I think this is hysterical and Obama handles it so humorously!

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily PonderThe Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
My rating: 2 of 5 stars
I felt let-down by this book after really liking Wells' previous works. So much of this story felt like it was sprinkled with sweetness-and-light southern sugar snowflakes and it just didn't feel believable. I felt like the beginning of this book was intended for overly sentimental pre-teens.

I was listening to this book tonight at the gym and got so annoyed by it, I turned it off and elected to watch The O'Reilly Factor, which was playing on one the TV's there. That was far more entertaining. At least he has a word of the day to look forward to.

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

FSE: Decode by Paramore

I've decided to catalog some of my favorite songs ever (henceforth "FSE"). I thought I'd start with a more recent favorite, "Decode" by Paramore. I discovered this song a couple of years ago on the Twilight soundtrack (don't hate - it's a good album!) and I've been a Paramore fan ever since. I was very excited to hear lead singer Hayley Williams' lovely vocal stylings on this summer's hit "Airplanes" by B.o.B. (which has become another of my FSE's). I LOVE her voice and I love the music and the overall feeling this song gives me is: "fall is here - get out your sweaters and a copy of your favorite teen paranormal romance". Bon temps, indeed.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Carebear Countdown

You Are Whimsical

You are an unpredictable and fascinating person. You are quite mischievous. You are curious about the world, and you rarely resist indulging your curiosity. You are a total optimist, and the world makes you happy. You can be downright bouncy. You are nonchalant and carefree. You are easily amused and delighted.

You Are Cheer Bear

You are naturally happy and upbeat... some people think unbelievably so. Your perkiness is 100% real. You are just a jubilant person who loves life. You always have a smile on your face. You choose to be cheerful and look on the sunny side of life. You know just what it takes to cheer someone up, and you're always happy to brighten someone's day.

You Passed 8th Grade Science

Congratulations, you got 6/8 correct!

Thursday, September 30, 2010

A Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker

A Match Made in High SchoolA Match Made in High School by Kristin Walker
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! Had I not had the pesky duty of going to work, I would have read this one cover to cover in one sitting. I really enjoyed Fiona, as well as the supporting cast of characters, and enjoyed learning some colorful new phrases. The book flowed so well that it was hard to put down! I recommend this to anyone looking for something funny and jaunty.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Which Austen heroine are you?

I am Anne Elliot!
Take the Quiz here!

You are Anne Elliot of Persuasion! Let's face it; you're easily persuaded, particularly when friends and relatives try to use "the Elliot way" against you. But this doesn't mean that you don't have conviction. Actually, your sense of duty is overwhelming. And though you won't stick your neck out too often, you have learned to speak up when it counts. To boot, you know how to handle sticky situations. You love deeply and constantly.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Fernandes Wedding

We had the pleasure of attending the wedding of our friends Jamie & Jason over the weekend and had tons o' fun! They had it at Paris on Ponce's Le Maison Rouge - it was AWESOME! Here's some pics! Might I also add that I'd make the crappiest wedding photog EVER b/c I never get a picture of the bride and groom together just the two of them. I am made of fail.

How many weddings feature showgirls? Love it.

Bride Jamie, Groom Jason, Greg & Jason's brother

Too bad Jamie's not at all happy with her new hubs!

Jason B. & Greg

Jason B. & me, not having any fun whatsoever at this event.

Sending the newlyweds off in a miasma of bubble delights