Monday, December 21, 2009

It Never Ends

Well, despite being about 10 days from the end of the year, the trials and tribulations of 2009 have not ended. Last Thursday, my husband and I decided to go out to dinner, to celebrate our last dinner-time alone together before I leave for the holidays. Even though it was raining, we decided to go anyway. I mean, this is rains all the time! While we were inside eating dinner, about a foot of rain was dumped directly on us. When we finished and went to get the car, there was about three inches of standing water inside it. Panicked and just trying to get us HOME, I drove through a large puddle in the parking lot. And my car quit running. My beautiful, barely-two-year-old car is most likely dead. I've calmed down some since Friday morning, when I was in absolute hysterics. But I'm still worried. What if we're not covered? If we are, things are fine. We have gap insurance, which will cover the difference between what we owe on the car and what it's worth. I'm just worried that the flash flooding and/or puddle driving accident are not covered losses. Then we would be SCREWED. We can't afford to take on an additional car payment, while still paying off a car we don't even own anymore. We don't have enough in savings to outright purchase a used vehicle. This year has been terrible finance-wise, what with the wedding and moving. Add to that the need to purchase a new car, which we weren't expecting to have to do for another year or so? I just don't see how we can do it. I AM taking on a second job (teaching an online class for the local college), and we'll have Ricky's bank loan paid off in February, and our friends have been WONDERFUL, offering the loan of an "extra" car that they have if we need it...but...I'm just SO ready for 2010. There's no way it can be as stressful as 2009.

I'm heading up north to my parents' house in a few hours. They have dial-up, so I probably won't be around for the next ten days or so. I did get a new book from LibraryThing, and I finished Now It's My Turn, but I'll deal with all that when I get back from the holidays. You all have a wonderful holiday yourselves! See y'all in 2010!

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Any Given Doomsday by Lori Handeland

I received this book as an ARC from LibraryThing/St. Martin's Paperbacks. I have to say, I enjoyed this novel immensely. It's the beginning of a new series by Handeland, called The Phoenix Chronicles, as the main character at the heart of the action is named Elizabeth Phoenix.

Elizabeth was adopted as a young child, taken in off the streets by a woman named Ruthie. At the opening of the book, Ruthie is found murdered and it's up to Liz to figure out why. Liz meets up with a man from her past, Jimmy Sanducci, and he reveals to her that she has supernatural powers she never knew of...and it's up to her save the world. She travels to New Mexico to learn to use her powers, and then to New York to put them to the test. She's a seer, one who can tell demons from humans, and she is needed to show the demon-killers where to focus their efforts next. But what is she to do when someone close to her is the demon who needs killing?

The book does have some sexual content and language, so if you're not a fan of those things, you might want to skip this book. I, however, have no qualms about language or sex scenes (and the sex scenes in this book weren't THAT bad, but I have pretty liberal standards), so I enjoyed the book a lot.

It's a good supernatural romance/thriller. It's a great beginning to the series. I didn't expect to like it as much as I did. But I was drawn in and stayed up late several nights, including this past Wednesday night when I finished it, in order to find out what would happen to Liz next. And, since I was SUPPOSED to review this book over a year ago, there are now at least two more books in the series published, so I'll have to keep an eye out for them, because I'd like to find out where Liz's powers take her next.

Four and a half out of five Whatevers. Good for fans of Laurell K. Hamilton, older fans of the Twilight books, and anyone who is interested in a good romance/thriller all rolled into one.

P.S. Word of warning: almost everyone who posted a review for this book on LibraryThing HATED it. Weird. I really liked it. Guess it goes to show that every reader is different. That's why I try not to read too many reviews before I write my own. I started to feel feeble-minded and stupid for liking this book, after reading about so many others who didn't like it!

Friday, December 11, 2009

Quick Post

Finished another book (a REVIEW book!) Wednesday night, but won't have time to review it till maybe tomorrow. I've got two Christmas parties tonight. This book was the beginning of a series and I REALLY enjoyed it (hence, my speeding through it). I haven't really read anything since I finished Any Given Doomsday, but I'll probably take a book break and read a magazine to catch up. Then, I think I'll dive in to Mary Cheney's autobiography, Now It's My Turn. Hope y'all are getting your fill of reading and holiday events!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Virtual Advent Tour 2009

I'm participating in the Virtual Advent Tour this year. We're supposed to share Christmas memories, traditions, etc. with the rest of the bloggy world.

Christmas, for me, is a time to reconnect with my family. I don't see them very often, as they are (mostly) in Ohio and I am in Florida. But Christmas is the one time a year when I can count on seeing them, especially my sisters.

And what do we do when we get together? We watch movies! Our favorite, must-see Christmas movie is a rather unusual one...Home Alone 2: Lost In New York. And it has to be the second one, not the first, and certainly, oh GOD no, not the third one. I don't know what it is about this movie...but we all have our favorite parts and we know almost all the lines from it by heart. We'll gather as a group and watch it, without our parents around to interrupt. I'm 32 years old, but it makes me feel like a kid again to spend this goofy time with my sisters!

Another of our Christmas favorites is one I've already watched this season, Love, Actually. This is a sweet, romantic comedy with lots of different storylines that all weave together in the end. My sisters and I share an inside joke that the kid who plays the character Sam in the movie sort of looks like my cat, Picasso. That's not the best picture of Picasso, but what do you all think?

Finally, the traditional favorite, one we usually watch with our parents, is A Christmas Story. Who doesn't love this silly story of Ralphie and his quest for the Red Rider BB Gun? My favorite part is the leg lamp. What's yours?

I can't wait to go "home" this year and watch all of these favorites with my sisters. What movies are holiday classics for your family?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Ya-Yas in Bloom by Rebecca Wells

This is the third and final book in the Ya-Yas trilogy. It was good, but not as good as the other two, I don't think. The book is mostly told in interconnected short stories about the Ya-Ya members when they are young, showing how they became the women they did. While the stories were amusing, I have always connected more with the second generation, the Petites Ya-Yas, not the mothers. At the end, however, there is a several-chapter story arc which ties a lot of the book together and gives the earlier vignettes some context. In fact, I thought it very clever how Wells pulls it all together at the end.

I finished the book on Tuesday evening and am already forgetting a lot of what was in it. It was good, entertaining, etc. but I think the vignette format is holding me back from enjoying it as much as I did Divine Secrets or Little Altars Everywhere. Recommended for those who already love the Ya-Yas, but I would read the other two books first. And if you're only interested in reading one of these novels, go for Divine Secrets; it was the best of the three.

Four out of five Whatevers.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Finished Another Book!

I finished Ya-Yas in Bloom, the third and final book in the Ya-Ya trilogy, by Rebecca Wells...last night. BUT I'm going out of town for a conference tonight and will be gone for the next two days, so the review will have to wait for Friday. Or Saturday. Or maybe even Sunday.