Saturday, October 29, 2011

The Lost Symbol

The Lost Symbol (Robert Langdon, #3)The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown

My rating: 3 of 5 stars


I have to say that I was one of those people that years ago read Angels and Demons long before The DaVinci Code came out and I enjoyed those two books a lot. I eagerly anticipated the release of this book. I got it as a gift almost immediately after it came out....but I hardly cracked it open. I had already been hearing the mixed reviews and it didn't really spark my desire to plow through it.

It took my until now to actually read it - almost two years ago. Am I so glad I did? Eh. I guess. The funny thing about this book is that I enjoyed the suspenseful part of the book but not so much the secret that the suspense is about. How do I explain it? I really didn't find the lost secret to be that interesting. It wasn't the Holy Grail search. The parts where Robert Langdon and Katherine Soloman were on the run - intriguing. The parts that they were talking about mind over matter and minds working together to create a measurable change in the world - not so intriguing.

I felt like there needed to be a bigger pay off. I just read 500+ pages only enjoying the cat and mouse parts but not the reward in the end. Granted, I knew that many people were letdown with this book before I even opened up the front cover but it was still disappointing.

Dan Brown can write a good suspense filled novel. I did enjoy it, just not as much as Angels and Demons. I really do hope we get another installment of Robert Langdon. 
View all my reviews
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
  7. The Lost Symbol by Dan Brown (pair with another nestie and read a book she picks for you); 15 pts.
Total: 70 pts

Monday, October 24, 2011

My feet are cold

And I hate it. I am really not enjoying this whole "gotta wear socks everyday" thing. Yuck.

I really do love my slippers though. Right now I am down to two pairs:
and




yup. I'm a child. Eh, whatever. I'm cool with that.

But I want another pair or two. I really miss my fuzzy thong slippers but I finally broke them after way too many hours of use. These could be a good replacement to them
Acorn New Spa Thong $36











A hard rubber bottom pair would be good for letting the dog out or having to run into the garage for something.
Acorn Textured Moc Chinchilla $40











These look fabulous, albeit a tad pricey for my budget right now:
Ugg Ansley $100











Or these look fun
Reef Reef Snooze Bar 2 $36

as do these:
The North Face NSE Tent Mule Fur II $45

Hey...this IS Wisconsin after all. Slippers and down coats are to WI as bathing suits and flip flops are to Cali.

Wednesday, October 19, 2011

Adrenaline

Adrenaline (Sam Capra, #1)Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott

My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I could picture the book playing out on the big screen as a cross between Die Hard and Bourne Identity. It was a fast-paced CIA action thriller that never seemed to slow down. Sure, it takes a little leap of faith here and there (how much can one man take, honestly!) but never did it come across as unbelievable.

Sam Capra is a CIA agent assigned to a project in London. His wife Lucy is about to have their first child and life is good for Sam. Then one day he is at work giving a presentation when he gets an urgent call from his wife telling him to get out of the building and run. When he gets outside he spots her being taken hostage and the office building he just exited explodes.

From there Sam is taken prisoner by the CIA, who believe him to be a traitor. When he is finally able to, he escapes and sets out to find Lucy and their baby. There is never a dull moment in his journey and in the end it is left slightly unfinished so I can only hope that there will be another installment.
View all my reviews
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
  6. Adrenaline by Jeff Abbott (Read a book published in 2011); 15 pts
Total: 55 pts

Sunday, October 16, 2011

Heat Wave


Well, this book had me confused. Not by the story you see, but by the author - whom I knew nothing about. When the hold came in from the library and I picked it up, I saw the little logo about the show Castle being advertised. The "author's" name is Richard Castle. Now...I've never watched the show Castle but I was sitting there thinking, hmm, I guess the author has a TV show?? Nope. Well...sort of nope. The author of this book IS the fictional character of the show Castle, who is a writer. And one of the characters (Jameson Rook) in the book is actually Castle on the show. The main character, Detective Nikki Heat is supposed to be like the female lead on the show. Still with me? Yeah, I had to wiki it. I would almost suggest you do the same because I'm not sure I even explained that correctly. Oh well. In the end, it was a quick fast mystery. I never complain about those.

This is actually the first mystery I have read in quite a while (well, for me). I can't remember how I stumbled upon this book but it fit a category in the Fall Book Challenge so I decided to give it a try. I like female detective leads in books so this fit in with that.

Nikki Heat is a NYC detective charged with the task of solving a high profile murder case. The victim is a real estate developer that was sent flying from his 6th floor balcony. Along the way another crime is committed in the dead man's apartment. Oh and of course she has a potential love interest in Jameson, who is a writer that is given permission to shadow Det. Heat and her unit. I love her squad of guys. There are some good comedic lines in there and it broke the tension in those too serious moments.

I would say that it was a nice easy read and I will for sure check the other books out in the series.
~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
  5. Heat Wave by Richard Castle (Read a book under 200 pgs long); 5 pts
Total: 40 pts

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Heading for Iowa

for my cousin's wedding on Saturday.

I'm not sure what I am in for. This should be interesting. The real question is should I even say hello to her soon to be husband or should I snub him as he did to me on my wedding day ;o) Naw, I'll play nice. Only because I know our grandma isn't thrilled with him either, lol.

Anyway, have a great weekend! I have some more books posts coming up too.

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Figuring out things

I had a bunch of books posts recently huh? :o)

I had a lot of time to read last week can you tell? This week I'm not sure how much time I will have. I'm hoping that with me going to an out of town wedding and being in the car for 6.5 hours one way will allow me to get some more read. We shall see. With that said...

I have some other things I've been trying to figure out how to blog but I'm not sure if I'm ready to at the moment. I mean, I guess I am ready since I'm sitting here typing this but I'm not sure if I'm ready to make it reality.

I'm thinking about leaving the IFV board and the bump in general for now. I have been feeling like it isn't home to me anymore since we are out of the game right now and since the board split from IF to IFV, it is so....off to me. The premise of the board was a great idea. In theory it was awesome that we were going to have a place for those that "graduated" from the IF board to be able to post with those of us still in the trenches. But hardly any of the "graduates" ever post. It's always the same ones - which I love, don't get me wrong but...idk. I'm still active over on the nest but the baby boards are not where I am right now mentally.

K and I are tossing around the idea of possibly cycling again in December. A very hail mary IUI cycle to use up the last of our FSA money from this year. Nothing is set in stone and no appointments have been made. It's just an idea. But with that comes the fact that I don't think that we are going to be heading into an IVF cycle anytime soon. And here's the shocker...I think I'm ok with that. At least...I'm ok with that today.

So what's changed? Nothing really. Except that I think that we are uncertain of our future in WI. I think that the wheels are really starting to turn with us looking to move home or south. That's always been the plan but with some things that have happened recently for K, it seems to have pushed the thought more to the forefront of things. I also want to do some traveling and enjoying my time with K again. We've been really working at our relationship since that last rough patch and I think that we are mending well. It's give and take. We both still want a baby more than anything in this world but I think that we are opening our minds to the idea that we might have to wait a little longer. We can put ourselves in an awesome position before baby comes to have me be able to stay home. We both want that. If I were to be get pregnant right now, I would still have to work. Not the end of the world - and believe me, I have no real opinion on working moms vs SAHMs but it would be nice to stay home.

So...here I am. Still treading water in the IF department. It blows. I hate this part of life. I really don't know when it will be my turn to be a mom but I hope it's soon. I can't control that though.

I can only control how I live my life in the meantime. And in the meantime, I want to live.

Monday, October 10, 2011

The Book of Luke


I have fallen into a YA pit. I'm not complaining because some of my favorite books are YA but it's just funny how I end up reading book after book in one genre and then I switch to another genre and do the same thing. I'll probably be back to chick lit or mystery again soon. This book is written by another new-to-me author, Jenny O'Connell.

Anyway, this book is set in Boston, very soon after a re-location back from Chicago. The main character is Emily Abbott and she is simply tired of being known as the nice girl. She is reeling with all the changes forced upon her in a short amount of time: her family getting moved back to Boston, her dad staying behind in Chicago, her boyfriend Sean dumping her the morning she leaves for Boston...so as she falls back into her friendship with Josie and Lucy, she decides that she is going to change things in her life.

She and her friends are charged with the task of coming up with something to put into their high school's time capsule. After a bad breakup for Josie (by Luke) the girls decide that their contribution will be a how to guide dealing with how to change a guy. Their focus is on changing Luke - the boy who dumped Josie. Emily is put up for the task and she takes the job and runs with it.

Along the way she finds herself questioning why she is doing what she is doing. Because of course, Luke isn't what he seems. She is falling for him and now her friendship is at risk when the girls, especially Josie, finds out that she loves Luke and doesn't want the experiment to continue.

Of course the books ends on a very commonplace note but it was generally a good read. Perfect for a teenager for sure. It lacked an ending that I was 100% satisfied with but I won't hold it against the author because it seems that other readers were asking for a follow up to the story and she is obliging with a shorter story. So...I suppose this is a TBD ending for me.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
  4. The Book of Luke by Jenny O'Connell (Read a book and give it a new title); 5 pts
Total: 35 pts

Sunday, October 9, 2011

The Luxe

Here I go again...falling into deep lust for another YA series! Anna Godbersen has me hooked on these characters for sure. I have already picked up book #2 Rumors, and got notification today that the third installment, Envy, is ready for me to pick up.

This is another quasi-historical fiction book set in 1899 but leans more on the side of being simply a story of intertwined lives and their romances and hardships. Sisters Elizabeth and Diana Holland are a part of the upper crest of society in New York City. Elizabeth is secretly in love with one of her family's hired help but in order to save her family from financial ruin, she agrees to become engaged to Henry Schoonmaker. Henry is another member of old NY money and he had been carrying on with Elizabeth's "best" friend Penelope Hayes. When his father puts the pressure on Henry to marry "correctly" otherwise he would be forced with being cut off from his father's money, he proposes to Elizabeth. Their engagement comes as quite a shock to Penelope as she was convinced the rumors of Henry buying a ring from Tiffany & Co. were true and the ring was intended for her. She sets her sights on revenge and enacts several plots to win Henry for herself.  

In the meantime, Elizabeth's younger sister Diana manages to catch Henry's fancy. He can't get her out of his mind and the same can be said for her. Diana finds herself missing out on really knowing who her sister is and why she is moving toward a loveless marriage with Henry. The person that Liz loves is Will. Will asks time and time again if Elizabeth will go West with him and be his wife. She breaks his heart when she stays in her engagement and she dreams of the life she will never have. Lina in turn hates Elizabeth for breaking Will's heart, as she is herself in love with him. She hates "old money" standards and after being fired, she sets out to reinvent herself.

The book begins and ends at Elizabeth's funeral - which is not a spoiler so don't fear that I have ruined the book. Somewhere along the way I saw where the book was headed but I wasn't sure how it was going to get there. For that reason, I liked the book a lot. It had some cute touches like the society columns running around that time, highlighting things that seem so dumb in modern times. I suppose that's what all our tabloids run with today but back then, you lived and died by those columns if you were in certain circles.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
  3. The Luxe by Anna Godbersen (Book with a person on the cover); 5 pts
Total: 30 pts

Anna and the French Kiss


I really enjoyed this book. It was sweet and syrupy but hit the right amounts of both without being a cheesy book. It very much reminded me of the Jessica Darling books in the way that the story unfolds. It's classic YA love/angst. Which seems to be what I am really enjoying reading right now!! This was the first book I have read by author Stephanie Perkins but it won't be the last.

Anna is a senior in high school from Atlanta who is sent to Paris for her senior year at the boarding school SOAP. Her parents are divorced, her father being a quasi-famous Nickolas Sparks-esque author and she has to figure out how to survive on her own for a year in a country she barely even knows anything about - let alone a word of their language.

Right away she is befriended by one of her dorm mates and falls into the pack of her friends. It is in this group she meets Etienne St. Clair. He's gorgeous. He pushes her in the right ways. He's awesome. He's taken. Of course, right? Anna, being lost in a city thousands of miles away from home, is heartbroken about so many things and her friendship with Etienne starts developing into something much more than casual friends. He shows her the world, starting with Point Zero in Paris. Without being able to help herself, she falls more and more for this boy.

Follow the typical pattern of boy and girl falling for each other but not being able to be more than friends all the while being exactly that and you can come out with this book :o) But hey, what's wrong with that?! Frothy, fun, romantic. A perfectly enjoyable read. I can just see the movie version of this book already. And I tell you what, it would be a hit, no doubt about it.

~*~Read~*~

  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
  2. Anna and the French Kiss by Stephanie Perkins (Book with an average of 4+ Stars on Goodreads); 10 pts
Total: 25 pts

Saturday, October 8, 2011

World Without End


Ok, by now you have to have realized that I am a big fan of Ken Follett's historical fiction books. I love them. I really do. I don't doubt that the size of these books is enough to keep some people away. Each of the three books I have read from him hover around 1000 pages. I mean, that's a lot of reading for many people. To actively seek out multiple books of that size says a lot about how much I enjoy his style of writing. There are books out there that I find myself skimming paragraphs because of superfluous wording. I don't find myself doing that with his books. I read each and every word.

World picks up a couple centuries after Pillars of the Earth leaves off, in the same lands of medieval Kingsbridge, England. We are introduced to characters that are the decedents of the great Jack Builder, Merthin and Ralph. In the opening chapter the two young boys, along with Caris and Gwenda are playing in the woods when they witness the killing of two men by Sir Thomas. Merthin witnesses Sir Thomas burying a letter and is sworn to secrecy about what he saw. This letter would later become an important in their lives.

Jumping forward ten years, we now find the four children grown and living very different lives. They are all intertwined as always. Gwenda is from a poor family, Caris a wealthy one. The boys are going their own ways, Merthin as a carpenter and Ralph plotting a way to bring honor back to his family. Throughout the book, Ralph follows his own desires and shows how cruel and unfair he can be. His pride is what he runs his life by, much to his brother's chagrin.

Merthin and Caris are the central characters in the book. They have a love story that is always put to the test. Whether it is by Caris's cousin, Godwyn, who becomes prior after the death of their uncle, the Prior Anthony or by the plague or by Caris herself, they spend the better part of the book unhappily separated.

During the Plague (and well, whenever she feels her place demands it), Caris's strong will is what pushes her to take charge in Kingsbridge. Having entered the nunnery as a life or death decision when Godwyn accuses her of witchcraft. Her punishment is death but she strikes a deal with the Prioress to spare her life if she becomes a nun. On the day before her wedding to Merthin, Caris accepts her fate as a nun. Merthin is heartbroken and decides that his life no longer will be spent in Kingsbridge.

The Bubonic Plague is another central force in this book. It raged in Europe and while Merthin was married and living in Italy, he fell ill to it but was one of the few who survived. He lost his wife and her whole family, everyone except his daughter. He decides to return to Kingsbridge...and to Caris. Unfortunately, it follows him. The country is ravaged and so many lives were lost.

The story unfolds with many other events that I have not even mentioned in this short review. In the end, I highly recommend this book and will still be waiting (impatiently) for his next book.

~*~Read~*~
  1. World Without End by Ken Follett (Book by a British author); 15 pts
Total: 15 pts

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

81 Days until Christmas

Isn't that insane? Wasn't yesterday June?

I have become absolutely addicted to Pinterest. There are so many pins floating around on that site that I want to try. So many of them are Christmas decor or craft ideas. I wish I had half the talent that some of those people have. It's insane. If you haven't already checked it out, let me know and I'll send you an invite (you need an invite to become part of the cool club ;o) )

Anyway, that brings me to the title of this post. 81 days until Christmas. That's it folks. Thanksgiving is in like 5 weeks or so. I have no idea what I am getting anyone this year. I really don't. Normally I already have a running list of ideas to get me started. So far this year? Nada. Anyone else stumped this year?

I'm also really sad that we won't be surprising my Grandma again this year. We had such a wonderful time in Texas last Christmas. It's really a bummer that we can't head down there again. I just have no time off from work. Plus the holiday falls awkwardly on a Sunday so that shortens the time that we can leave WI.

Well, that's the first holiday post from me so far this season! I can't believe I'm talking holidays. Insane. Simply in.sa.ne.

Sunday, October 2, 2011

A Food Budget post

So I have been really thinking about our budget lately. More specifically - our food budget. We love to eat and love to eat well at that. Which is fine for some but I'm just tired of food being a huge line item in our monthly/weekly budget. And really, we could stand to lose weight. Which we are getting serious about doing. We are the types of people that have to take baby steps and see a instant gratification type of reward to stick with something. Knowing that, I think the first step is to try to cut down on the amount of money we throw into eating out and buying groceries. What's the worst that can happen? We save money?? Doesn't sound like there is anything to lose by doing so.

So with that in mind today, K and I went to the grocery store tonight to pick up something last minute to grill. I started thinking about what was going to be made for dinner the rest of the week and I told K that we should try to see how cheap we can eat this week. We already had some staples in the pantry and fridge so what could we supplement them with to complete our workweek? If all goes according to plan, we will have the following for dinners:
- super tacos (ground beef tacos on pita bread) and mexican rice
- hot dogs with chips (already had everything)
- chicken a la king
- a hamburger helper type of homemade dinner with noodles and ground beef
- chicken kiev and mashed potatoes
- grilled cheese and soup
- pizza on Friday night

For our lunches we are going to have
- brown rice and chicken breast
- pb & j or peanut butter and fluff
- salad
- I already had a frozen pizza thingy for two days worth of lunch
- and left overs: super tacos, chicken a la king

So that's our plan. If we can stick to it, we will have only spent $55 on all our food for the week. It might not be the absolute healthiest menu for a week but it's also not terrible. Looking at it I see a lot of carbs in the menu which I'm not thrilled about but this is a more carb heavy menu than we usually do. When it comes to sandwiches, we don't use two slices of bread (other than grilled cheese), instead I fold over so it's only one slice of whole wheat.