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.