Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Pudgy Pages: Let's Talk Cars

I don't know if all you humans remember me, but I'm Pudgy.  This is my mommy's blog where she talks about all those clumps of paper she is always carrying around and going on and on about.  I know she talks about them a lot cause my daddy's eyes glaze over just so...  Well, I thought my mommy would be mad at me the last time I used this thing without permission, but she wasn't.  She actually gave me an extra cookie from Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory!  I'm hoping to get another one!  

I want to talk about my new car!

Isn't it the woofiest thing?  It makes me yap for joy!  My mommy bought it for me on Amazon from some people called Fancy Lulu.  As you can see I have to share it with my sisters.  Bark it!  Grrrr.  But I'm a smart dog.  I got my mommy's magical plastic card with numbers on it and it will probably cost me one of my biscuits, but grrrr, there's a blue one on the way now!

Lola, get the bark out of my car!  Your smelly anal glands are stinking it up.  Now I gotta go find a tree freshner.  Do they make bacon scented? 

Special Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway

October has come and gone... but it was Breast Cancer Awareness month.  Thus, my Avon lady (also my mother) and myself went into a frenzy all thru October to make a Breast Cancer Awareness Giveaway.  We both agree that Breast Cancer Awareness should be all year long, not just the month of October.  So... this is my November giveaway. 

Let me explain what you see above, what the winner will receive.  There's a breast cancer ribbon pin, a tote bag (perfect for all your books!!) with sexy lips all over it (12" x 23" x 5 1/2") with a breast cancer awareness label inside, a pink plastic makeup bag (6" x 11" x 2 1/2"), Avon Nail Pro Pink Radiance polish, Avon Mirror Shine Ice Pink nail polish, Avon 24K Pink lip gloss, a check yo' self pamphlet (remember to check yo selves!!!), and the book Promise Me by Nancy Brinker (singed hardback!).   Nancy Brinker is Susan G. Komen's sister.  Promise Me is a memoir of two sisters growing up and one being lost to breast cancer. 

So... one lucky winner gets it all!!  Leave a comment to be entered in this latest giveaway of mine.  Winner's name will be drawn by Jazzy, my dog, from her food bowl the last day of November, 2010.  Time of drawing:  At my own convenience.  Followers get two entries, drop-ins get one. 

And again, thanks, Mom!!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

American Rose: A Nation Laid Bare: The Life and Times of Gypsy Rose Lee

This is a biography about one of the most famous strip teasers in American history.  And I don't mean pole dancing, but burlesque.  This is a woman who would remove pins from her outfit one by one and throw them in a nearby tuba and show only one body part at a time.  It was stripping before it became "stripping."  It was stripping when stripping had a measure of class about it.  (I know that sounds funny, but seriously.)

Gypsy Rose Lee aka Rose Louise Havoc aka Hard boiled Rose had a rough life.  She was an unwanted child.  When her prettier, more dainty sister was born to her mother, Rose, her mother actually changed Gypsy's name from Ellen June (the more desired and prettier name) to Rose Louise in order to give the new, better daughter the name Ellen June.  Neither sister was educated.  Each one was forced to sing and dance in Vaudeville their entire lives and support their greedy mother, Rose.  The book talks a lot about the growing tensions between Rose and June who later became a well known actress, June Havoc.

"June is idealistic and Gypsy pragmatic, Gypsy untalented and June unbright, Gypsy makes life fun and June infuses it with drama; June is generous and Gypsy tight.  June is an actress but Gypsy is a presence."  That sums it up nicely.  Their mother pitted the two girls against each other their entire lives.  However, even after their mother's death, both women competed against each other.  They even attempted to write their memoirs at the same time. 

A lot of the book is about their mother, a cruel woman that worked them to the bone and gave no thoughts whatsoever to June's bleeding three year old toes.  She stole from hotels and forged documents.  She was determined to keep her daughters babies the rest of their lives and lied about their ages to the point the girls didn't even know old they were.  On her deathbed, she told Gypsy, "This isn't the end.  Wherever you go, as long as either of you lives, I'll be right there. . . . So go on, Louise, tell all your classy friends how funny I was, how much smarter you were than me.  When you get your own private kick in the a**, just remember:  it's a present from me to you."

Lovely deathbed confession.

The book chronicles Gypsy's somewhat unwilling move from the Vaudeville circuit to Burlesque, her transition from virginal girl to a gangster's woman, her numerous different skits, her novel writing, her marriages, her ulcers, her hated teeth, and how moving pictures ruined the theater life. 

I found the book interesting, but there were two things I didn't like.  1.  The book jumps back and forth rather than going in chronological order.  One chapter is about the creation of a cow costume they used in the 1920s.  The next chapter jumps to Gypsy's affair with Mike Todd in the 40s.  The next chapter goes back to when she was 15 years of age.  2.  I didn't care for the parts about the Minsky brothers.  Yes, they are relevant to Gypsy's tale.  I just wasn't interested in them.  

Fabulous quote:  "I want to be a legend.  A fad is just one step along the way."

I received this book from the publisher via Shelf Awareness.  Thank you.

Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Unidentified Redhead by Alice Clayton

This is about a struggling actress, Grace.  She's in her early thirties, recently lost a lot of weight, re entered the acting business after a brief period of giving it up, and is feeling fabulous about herself while living with her best friend and agent, Holly.  Holly introduces Grace to Jack, an actor about to become the next big hearthrob.  This dude has a British accent, looks to die for (I kept picturing Samantha's actor/model lover.. surely ya'll remember Sex and the City..), and despite the fact he has women falling at his feet, he takes an interest in Grace.

What follows is pictures on TMZ, catty remarks about Grace being nine years older than Jack, and lots and lots of bedroom antics..  In between romps in Holly's guest room, Grace manages to land a job on a Broadway musical... in New York.  Uh oh.  New relationship, women falling at his feet, 9 year age difference, and now a long distance thing is gonna happen.  What is going to become of Jack and Grace? 

What I loved:  The Hollywood setting and the heroine's funny narrative.  Here's an example:  After Grace first gets a whopper of a kiss from Jack, she attempts to drive home but her thoughts are not on the road.. "I found my chin somewhere in my lap and attempted to drive home.  I ran two stop signs and almost hit a pomeranian."

Wouldn't we all want to be kissed so well we can barely drive afterwords?? Wow.  Good book and I'm interested to see what becomes of this new relationship, but I would have preferred less sexual relations and more story so it doesn't hit the 5 star mark.  

Laugh out loud moment:  When Grace discovers she is going to be working closely with an ex boyfriend, she thinks, "I could be a professional.  A professional that wanted to remove his balls and wear them as earrings." 

I don't think that relationship ended well.

The book since I've read it has undergone a makeover and republication, but above, is the edition I read.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

How to Keep Him on a Short Leash

Yes, it's a book.  I don't know who the authors are but it was published by Partners and Spade this year.  See.. my husband and I took today off of work (it's our anniversary) and browsed the downtown Park City shops before hitting a riduculously overpriced restaurant.  While I was looking at shoes and leather dresses and hand painted clutch purses in a store called Mary Jane's, my husband was (gasp!) looking at a book, this one and upon seeing the frown on his face at its contents, of course my interest was picqued and of course, I had to buy it. LOL

And now, we be bloggin'.  It's too funny not to share.  Granted, it's a book that you will have read in fifteen minutes, but the laughs last much longer than that.  It's 50 ways or things to do to keep your man on a short leash. 

According to the book, there are many similarities between men and dogs.  "Like dogs, men are wonderful and loving creatures who can make great lifelong companions.  But you've got to train them right or they're bound to be bad."

Here's some tips from the book:

- On the rare occasion that you've made a mistake, just plead the Fifth, storm off, and make it his fault that you're at fault.

- Encourage the creation of a man cave, a little subterranean castle - where he can luxuriate under the illusion that he's the master of domain.  Sink a few dollars into an ugly sofa, some shag carpeting, and a plasma TV, and you can hold him captive indefinitely.

- Ration lovemaking like bread during the Great Depression.  Like a doggie treat, it should come when he's learned to roll over and beg.

- Never let him forget how loving and caring your friends' husbands are.  Men are competitive so when he hears about the romantic trip to Antigua that Jessica's husband planned for her...

- Once he steps inside the house, make sure he knows you're the sheriff of this town.  If he tries getting up in your business - whether it's the decor, the paint color, or the type of furniture - punish him like a vagrant trespasser.

- Master the art of The Look.  (Ladies, I dont have to explain this one to you!)

Laugh out loud piece of advice:  "Let him know that you know that he knows that you know."

Funny book.  Wish I had some chicas and wine gathered around to laugh about it with me.  The husband doesn't find it that humorous and the dogs don't seem to care.  (No food words in it.)  My only complaint:  lots of advice about keeping your man from cheating or checking to see if he is cheating.  Seriously, if you are so paranoid you gotta check your husband's credit card statements, he may not be the man for you. 

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton

This is a novel about a bunch of crazy women.  Yep.  Seriously.  It's 1992 and Edie is thirty years old, moving back in with her parents, and is obsessed with a castle, a childhood book, and her mother's secret past.   That's not so crazy, really, but the three old women in the mentioned castle are.  Percy is a a domineering control freak. Saffy is afraid to leave the castle for anything.  Juniper has moments she spaces out and doesn't remember a thing later.  She is also obsessed with a man she was in love with 50 years ago who stood her up one stormy night..

They all sound looney, don't they?  And they are.. but there are so many reasons for their lunacy and the reasons go back a long way.  As Edith digs out her childhood book about a mud man and strains her relationship with her mother, secrets buried during world war II and even before then come to the surface.

Quick recap:  When WWII first broke out, children in London were sent to live with families in the country.  Edith's mother was about 13ish and sent to live in a castle with the crazy sisters (much younger then, mind you) and their controlling author/father.  He wrote a book about a mud man that rose from a moat and terroized some children.  Well, as Edith's father likes to say, the inspiration had to come from somewhere...

This was a very long book and I risk making this review too long of a review if I go into it much further.  To make it as simple as possible, Edith begins to get to the bottom of why the sisters are the way they are.  What gave birth to the sinister mud man?  The secrets are revealed one by one.  There's scandalous love affairs, mysterious fires, missing people, secret letters, and at the base of it all, one crazy man who manages to control everyone even from beyond the grave.

I was thoroughly engrossed in this book and found myself thinking of the characters and its goings on even when I didn't have it in my hands.  That is the sign of a good, well written book.  However, it is far too long for what it contains.  My ARC ends on page 672.  Some things could have been cut out, namely some of the 1992 stuff.  As it is, it is so long that it allows me way too much time to ponder and figure things out.  I had most of the outcome figured out by page 500 or so.  (I was still surprised by one thing though.) 

Laugh out loud moment:  When Saffy and Percy were little girls, they apparently made a list of rules; things that old people do so that when they grew old they would know they were old and no longer act young and ridiculous.  Here are the rules:

1.  Professing strong and repeated preference for England when Queen Victoria was on the throne.

2.  Mentioning one's health in any company other than that which included a medical professional.

3.  Failure to put on one's undergarments whilst standing.

Thus, if you do the first two and fall down while putting on your undies, you are old!  :)

I received this ARC from the publisher via Shelf Awareness.  Any quotations may be changed in the final copy.

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Noble Pirates by R.L. Jean

I was totally blown away by this book.  I love pirates!!  I also love the heroine of this book, Sabrina.  She narrates the tale with spunk and sarcasm and humor.  She is on a "booze cruise" in 2009 when a storm hits and she finds herself bobbing in the ocean.  She is rescued by what she believes are pirate re enactors, but discovers she has floated right into the year 1718.  She goes from missing her personal hygiene items, her Blackberry, cotton underwear, mulitivitamins, and Lexapro... to making the most of her situation, dressing as a lad, and you could say becoming a pirate herself...  That is, after she shoots herself in the shoulder. 

 Well, the first noble pirate (also her rescuer) that she befriends is Edward England.  He's a nice enough bloke but doesn't rock her socks off.  As a matter of fact, he discards her when she becomes "burdensome" and shoots her herself.  Sabrina does not complain for long though as she is placed on a ship with an extremely sexy, funny, charming, and daring soon to be pirate, Howell Davis.  And I couldn't help but visualize this..

I couldn't resist.  (sigh)
There's a mutiny, imprisonment, ship after ship taken, fort takeovers, cutlass lessons, and increasing sexual tension between Sabrina and Davis once he realizes she is a woman.  The man is sexy enough to make Sabrina immune to the 1718 body odor she is surrounded by.  I also mentioned he is funny.  Here's an example and a laugh out loud moment:  (Davis is trying on some finery and pretending to be a dandy.)

"I am a gentleman, that is, a man of quality, and I do not kill my fleas of lice or other such vermin in the sight of others, nor do I bedew any man's face with my spittle.  I do not put my hands to any part of my person not usually discovered, and I do not shift myself in the sight of others."

BUT... Sabrina happened to have a book in her backpack whilst bobbing in the ocean and undergoing time travel phenoma, a book called "Rovers of the Sea," a biography of famous pirates and what happened to them.  According to her book, Davis is going to die within the year.  Can Sabrina change history?  Is meddling in history a good idea?  She can either keep him from his death or end up being the cause of it.  Which will it be?  Keep in mind, not all the pirates back then were noble.  There is bound to be trouble especially when Davis joins forces with two other pirate crews.

And the biggest question of all:  How can she go back to 2009????

Favorite quote:  "Pirates of the 18th century or frat boys of the 21st, men are all the same.  I watched as they whaled on each other playfully, full of bonhomie and boyish cockiness, like an undefeated high school football team.  They knew they were a powerful lot, and as such displayed a ridiculous amount of of arrogance together.  I found myself rolling my eyes on a number of occasions, wishing they would get over themselves already."


I bought this on

Thursday, October 21, 2010

Adventures of a Love Investigator: 527 Naked Men and One Woman by Barbara Silkstone

527 Naked Men and One Woman: The Adventures of a Love Investigator
When I first saw the title of this book, I was scratching my head.. "Naked men?  527 of them?  Ew."  I couldn't stand 527 clothed men.  However, it's NOT about men without their clothes.  The term naked in this sense means "emotionally bared" as the men agree to sit down with Barbara and tell all; how they view women, sex, marriage, what is love, and would they die for their women?

The answers will surprise you.  As Barbara travels around the United States she meets all kinds of men.  There is the man that made her so uncomfortable she had the urge to run away.  There was the sports team manager who provided his wife with a child whenever she got emotionally clingy.  There is the man who had the strangest complaint:  "These girls will go out on my boat with me, take off all their clothes, make me have sex with them and then when we're done, tell me "I've got a boyfriend, forget it."  (I gotta give a shout out to my friend Doug.  I know he will love that quote.  Hi Doug!)

And does this make sense?  "It's not cheating.  I just want sex from someone other than my wife."

And is this a good reason to marry a woman?  "She's no looker but I don't have to worry about her running off with anyone.  No one else will ever have her."

And what kind of misunderstanding is this:  "The woman I've been living with for two years, she thinks we're involved in a serious relationship.  I think we've been having convenient, casual sex."

And how is this for a deep revelation?  "A man will rarely leave a woman unless and until he's already found another one to take him in.  It's their nature."

Do men really see us like this? "Women just put the fin down to one side and wear high necked blouses to hide the gill marks.  I can respect a survivor but not a shark."

Here's another one:  "Women are willing to invest their stock in your, and they'll trade sex for financial returns."

And one man actually gets it:  "A man should never take his woman for granted.  She'll slip through his hands like a spring breeze."

It's no wonder that Barbara who originally intended to interview 1000 men stopped at 527.  It got to this point.  "Did you ever pig out on one food... chocolate, potato chips, ice cream?  You swear you'll never eat that food again.  This was similar but worse.  The sound of a man's voice made my teeth rattle."

Well.. wow.  Good stuff.  Very insightful.  I could go on but I've quoted enough.  The book is not just interviews though.  Barbara also keeps thinking about her first love, Mark and begins a quest to find him.  If she finds him, will she have a chance at true love?  Will he be the man she remembers?  After all these emotionally naked men, will she be able to handle it?

Laugh out loud quote:  "Women are born with one side of their brain being the 'Get Engaged Lobe'.  The day after the wedding it turns into the 'Shopping and Nagging Lobe."

I recieved this in ebook format from the author.  I honestly DO recommend it. 

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Washington Avalanche 1910 by Cameron Dokey

Washington Avalanche, 1910 (Historical Romance)

In 1910, there was a train stop called Wellington (known today as Tye) and on Feb 23 of that year, record breaking snowfall hit the Cascade mountains surrounding it.  There was approximately a foot of snow every hour and up to 11 feet recorded in just one day.  Two trains, #25 (Fast Mail) and #27 (passengers) were on their way towards Seattle when the snowfall caused them to be trapped for nine days at Wellington.  The extreme weather resulted in an avalanche that took 96 victims.  Only 23 survived.  Is the heroine of this story, Ginny, going to be one of them?

Wellington before Avalanche

She is on #27, attempting to escape from her evil stepbrother in Spokane.  On this train, Ginny is rescued by Virginia, another young frightened woman.  How does Ginny thank her newfound friend?  Steals her boyfriend.  Yep.  What begins as a "harmless" exchange of names in order to "inspect" the unknown fiance of Virginia (whom she has never met, but just happens to be on this train as well) turns into "love at first sight" and ultimate betrayal.  You-know-what happens and I get that, but this Ginny gal takes things WAY too far and I found myself disgusted with her.  I mean, my gawd, let the real Virginia have some happiness for a change. 


Anyways, the book was really informative about the avalanche and what the passengers went thru, but there were far too many convenient coincidences for Ginny, and the heroine ended up being very unlikeable, and the ending... again, WAY too convenient for Ginny, but I'm not going to say why.  I just didn't like it at all.

I got these pictures from Wiki.. for more pictures, check out the following website:

 This was a library book.

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Coolest Birthday Cake Ever

I'm totally veering off the subject of books here, but this cake my husband got me for my birthday was just WAY too cool not to share. 

And of course, I must take this opportunity to remind all my female followers: WE CAN DO IT!!! :)

Friday, October 15, 2010

Giveaway And Review: Solid by Shelley Workinger

The term "military brat" gets a whole 'nother meaning in this YA "paranormal" novel.  You got a group of Army brats with a very interesting story.  When their mothers were pregnant, a crazy Army doctor managed to mess with their baby chromosomes.  The result:  A group of 95 teenagers that are super jocks or have the ability to make invisible walls, or make themselves invisible or star like. 

The secret comes out when all these Army babies are seventeen and they are sent to a secret camp so their ablilities can better be explored.  The narrator is Clio, short for Calliope.  Her dad was an Army soldier killed years ago.  She has felt like an outcast until now.  At the base camp she not only learns about her abilities, but makes friends.  There's Jack, Miranda (very annoying girl!!), Bliss, and Garrett.  All these friends start to realize there is more going on in the camp than meets the eye.  Why does the internet not work?  Why can't they call their parents?

I enjoyed the story and found it very plausible.  You never know nowadays!  LOVED the heroine and her sarcastic remarks.  My fave is when she discovers the medical building requires her to scan her finger before entering, " much for a place to run to in an emergency - you could bleed out trying to get in.  You'd really be screwed if the emgergency was a severed hand."

My only complaint:  The cool stuff with their abilities started late into the story and the ending was somewhat rushed.  However, there is a sequel to this, so I imagine it was done this way on purpose, to keep the reader in some suspense. 

I recieved this in ebook format from the author.  The author is also giving away a signed copy to a lucky winner on Halloween 10/31/2010.  Leave a comment with your email address to enter the contest. Good luck! :) (And as usual, winners will be chosen from Jazzy's dog bowl.)

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Countess of Bathory: Book Comparison

Picture of the real Countess of Bathory.. She was really quite pretty.

The Countess: A Novel
A recent release by Rebecca Johns is the most recent of the Countess of Bathory books I have read.  Sadly, it only warrants a two star rating.  It was boring.  It could be about ANY woman living in 1600s Hungary.  There is none of the depravity that the Countess went down in history for.  Though I respect that the author was attempting to portray her in a sympathetic light, that is not what people want when they pick up a book about Elizabeth Bathory.  She doesn't do anything appalling until halfway thru the novel.  (Pours honey on a servant and allows her to be devoured by bugs.)  She does not marry until almost Part II and three childbirths, the plague, the loss of 2 children, and ten years of marriage is summed up in a mere three or four paragraphs.  This was simply a disappointment. I will say, however, the first person narrative was well done.  I liked the style of it. Thankfully, it was an ARC given to me by a friend.

The second Countess of Bathory book which warranted a three star rating from me is Bathory: Memoir of a Countess by A. Mordeaux. I read this in April of 2009 and rated it a 3. Here is the review: This novel is certainly not for the easily offended or faint of heart. The murder scenes are gorey and violent and the sex is rather perverted.. and there is a lot of it. I think there was more sex than murder which says a lot considering the Countess of Bathory supposedly murdered 600 or more people. This novel begins with her as a young girl (I am unsure of age as she is sleeping on her nanny's bossum one moment and the next she is losing her virginity) and all around her there is violence. Her father, mother, brother, everybody except servants is killing, raping, or torturing someone. Even as a young girl, the Countess seems to enjoy it tho. She marries and graduates into the same vile behavior. However, she begins to murder "noble" girls instead of just servant girls, leading to her eventual imprisonment. She had an obsession with growing old and was jealous of young girls and if this book is to believed, she had an extensive and varied sexual appetite.  Thus, whereas The Countess had too little depravity consiering the subject, this one had too much.

The third Countess of Bathory book and the winner in my opinion (rating a 5) is Dandelions in the Garden by Charlie Courtland. Much thanks to Charlie for providing me with a copy in order to do this comparison. And I can honestly say, the book is wonderful. (I AM NOT JUST SAYING THAT CAUSE THE AUTHOR WAS KIND. TOTALLY UNBIASED REVIEWS HERE!) When I first started reading this novel, my first thought was, "This doesn't feel like the 1600s." And it didn't. The narrator, Amara has a very modern way of thinking and speaking, and I found myself wondering if they really had tabloids and chiming clocks that far back. Once the story went back to the late 1500s however, I became so engrossed in two little girls growing up together and experiencing their first loves, first kisses, first broken hearts, and first forrays into rebellion that I completely forgot about possible lack of historical authenticity and just sat back and enjoyed a very good story.

Amara and Elizabeth grow up together rather neglected and have little to no experience with the world outside their domain. They have a governess and pretty much run free and get into trouble. And what kind of trouble do most teenage girls get into? They fall in love. The problem is Elizebeth is not just any ordinary teenage girl, but the countess of Bathory and her marriage to a Count has been arranged. Despite her attempts, she is unable to avoid marrying the "harry ogre" and try she does! Elizabeth has shown a fiery side even before her wedding day and on her wedding night, she finds a new power within herself: the power to get her way. There is no stopping her from that point on. Is Elizabeth evil? She does some bad things, but I wouldn't say she is evil.. not in this take on her life. She simply DOES what we all THINK about, but don't have the courage to do. When servants gossip behind her back, she not only stops it, but ensures it doesn't happen again. Is she sexually promiscuous? Yes, but she desires to CHOOSE her lovers, not bed the man other's chose for her. And honestly, there isn't a woman in this world that doesn't desire to kill the woman that steals her man...

The book is mostly about Amara tho. Amara is a delightful narrator, full of charm and wit. Amara experiences spurned love of her own while growing up in the Countess's shadow. However, when a knight named Draco enters the picture, she has a chance at happiness. BUT, throwing daggers at fence posts and declaring that it is his head is NOT the way to a man's heart! LOL

I have two minor quibbles. 1. Upon first marrying Francis, Elizabeth's main goal in life was to keep him out of her bed. It obviously happened sometime tho and as perverted as everyone is going to think I am, I wanted to know when that came about. She made so much ado about it... so what made her finally give in? Towards the end of the novel, I said, "What?? When did she give up that fight? Did I accidentally miss a paragraph somewhere?" (And NO, I did not skip or skim.) Then again, perhaps Amara is simply not privy to everything. 2. There is a fabulous and exciting rescue scene involving both Elizabeth and Amara dressing up as Turks. For some reason, this was told by the "modern" day Amara, rather than being part of the real story. I would have liked to EXPERIENCE this scene more.

Neither of those two quibbles prevented me from thoroughly enjoying this novel tho. I could not put it down. I was absolutely delighted with it and laughed and smiled throughout the entire reading of it.   The sequel makes a fine conclusion.  See Review:

An oil painting of the real Countess of Bathory.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Murder at the Arlington by Kathleen Kaska

Murder at the Arlington

This is the first in a historical mystery series taking place in the 1950s following spunky Sydney, girl reporter as she travels to different historical hotels.  This one finds her at the Arlington (est 1924) in Rock Springs, Arksansas.

Sydney thinks she is just doing a travel story.  Not so!! Upon checking into the historical hotel, rather than immediately getting a mineral bath and massage (that comes later) she finds a dead body in her bathtub.  Of course, Sydney is very nosy.  She is a reporter.. and a really sassy one I would like to add.  I loved her.  She is witty, funny, sarcastic, and dresses in a suit and fedora complete with a fake red mustache when she needs to. 

Gossipy housekeepers, gangsters, a sexy detective, a suspicous hotel manager, and her cousin Ruth keep Sydney on her toes as four dead bodies pile up at the Arlington.  There are truck chases, hooch causing forest fires, and Sydney is abducted in her pajamas as she visits numerous tourist spots in Hot Springs.  She visits the Oaklawn Race Track, gets shot at on Music Mountain, falls off a bridge over the Ouachita River, and just about everyday, goes to the famous Bathhouse Row. 

I thought it was great.  It was a whodunit and I didn't know whodunit till I had ten percent of the novel left.  The heroine is my kind of gal, full of fun and spunk and constantly sneaking out from under "house arrest."  I could have done without Grady and his lame jokes though.  They didn't add to the story in any way.

Favorite quote:  "I almost got married once, but I decided that sharing my money wouldn't be much fun."

I bought this book on Amazon kindle.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Bulletproof Mascara by Bethany Maines

The first thing I saw when I opened this book was this..

Q:  What do you get when you cross Avon Ladies...

Let's give a shout out to our Avon ladies.  This is mine.
The book heroine's mom also pops up a lot and had me thinking we should give a shout out to our mothers.
This is my mom too.  Hi, mom! Thanks for all the Avon stuff and just for being there!

...with Charlie's Angels?

A:  This really fun book!!!

I loved this.  I can't say I learned anything groundbreaking or shed a tear but I did laugh and I was entertained.  I love the idea and I love the way it was implemented.

Nikki Lanier is an unemployed 25 year old woman still living with her mom.  So when she wins a starter kit for selling Carrie Mae cosmetics, she's not overjoyed, but basically is like, "well, what the heck... what have I got to lose?"  (That's not a quote, but my words.)

Well.. let's just say Nikki is not cut out for sales and making a woman eat her lipstick ends up leading to a promotion.  (Oh! If only we could all get promotions for making people eat.. stuff.. You can tell what I'm thinking but won't dare say!)  Nevertheless, Nikki finds herself taking driving courses, cocktails classes, and shooting at balloons.  It's like basic training, but the women in training aren't military, CIA, or FBI.. They are Carrie Mae makeup ladies! 

You see, the makeup line is the outside.  The inside is a group of highly trained female operatives with mace body sprays, exploding cell phones, and "bug" earrings that travel around the world and help women in need.

Nikki's first assignment:  track down a missing woman in Thailand.  She is assigned to a total bad a** chick as a partner, travels to Thailand, has run ins with elephants, human traffickers, angry cab drivers, and runs into a super sexy guy she met once in Canada.. Hm.. Could his appearance be connected to her current case?

I frowned when Nikki stole someone's dirt bike.. I would like to have read that she had reimbursed the owner in some way.  Those things aren't always cheap!!  Otherwise, I really loved this book. 

Laugh out loud moment:  (Those that watch Speed Tv with the hubbies will know what this means.  For those that don't, here's a quick explanation:  Sometimes in motorcycle races, the bikes will have a sidecar thing with a person leaning or hanging out of it to help the rider turn sharper without losing speed.  That's called a monkey.)  When Nikki is driving a stolen cab and her partner Val is a passenger and they are chasing someone and a sharp turn comes up, Nikki says to Val, "Be my monkey!"

Val's response:  "Be your own monkey, b*tch!"

Women with attitude and hidden weapons in their makeup.. Way cool!  When is the sequel?

I bought this book on Amazon.

Friday, October 1, 2010

Countdown: Queens of England

This month's Countdown is Queens of England.  What is Countdown?  It's a feature I started for my blog in which once a month, I post a list of 5 books of the same topic, genre, country, or subject matter.  There's a 5 star read (which I thought was superb), a four star read (I liked it, but there was an issue), a three star read, (it's ok but had some issues and I'm not recommending it to 5000 people), a two star read (I didn't like it), and of course, the dreaded one star read (I hated it.)

5 star read:
The Other Boleyn Girl by Philippa Gregory
First published in 2001.  Fictional account of the lives of Mary and Anne Boleyn.  Anne was Henry VIII's second wife and yes, one that had her head chopped off.  You either love it for the writing and the scandal and the juicy narrative of Anne Boleyn's sister, Mary or you hate it for its historical inaccuracy.  I loved it.

Four star read:
Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
First published in 2006.  It is a fictional account of Lady Jane Grey who was placed on the English throne for 9 days.  She didn't want to be there, but royal connections and family placed her there in an attempt to prevent the rightful heir, Bloody Mary from taking it.  It didn't quite "blow me away" but I liked it.

Three star read:
The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes
First published in 1953.  Fictional account of Elizabeth of York who combined the white and the red roses of England and birthed a new dynasty.  Good story, but the first person narrative didn't work in this case what with Elizabeth being stuck in a monastry throughout pretty much the entire novel.  Everything exciting happening is TOLD to Elizabeth and something def got lost this way.

Two star read:
The Forgotten Queen by Haley Elizabeth Garwood
First published in 1998.  This is the only book by Garwood I didn't like.  Fictional account of the Empress Mathilda and her attempt to wrestle her throne from her cousin Stephen.  This was too preposterous for me.  Mathilda beds her cousin while acting like a petulant child and stomping her foot most of the time.  Nothing queenly about her at all.  And the love talk... ugh.

One star read: 
I, Victoria by Cynthia Harrod Eagles
First published in 1995.  Fictional diary/journal account of Queen Victoria.  Some people really like this one and I encourage everyone to judge for themselves.  For me, it was a DNF.  Victoria gets sidetracked way too much and goes on and on about palace decorations and her aunt's indigestion.  I don't like books made 200 pages longer with irrelevant details.