Thursday, April 28, 2005

Book 30: The Calhouns: Suzanna and Megan

TITLE: The Calhouns: Suzanna and Megan
AUTHOR: Nora Roberts
STARTED: April 25, 2005
FINISHED: April 28, 2005
PAGES: 490 pages
GENRE: Romance

SUMMARY: [From] Atop the rocky coast of Maine sits the Towers, a magnificent family mansion that is home to a legend of long-lost love, hidden emeralds - and four sisters determined to save their home against all odds.

Suzanna's Surrender - Burned-out and tired as hell, all ex-cop Holt Bradford wanted to do was relax. But when beautiful single mom Suzanna invaded his solitude to search for the missing Calhoun emeralds, he couldn't say no. Holt had changed from a bad-boy teen to a dangerously sexy man, but Suzanna couldn't risk her well-ordered life for a man who made her mouth go dry.

Megan's Mate - Calhoun sister-in-law Megan O'Riley and her young son had traveled far to become the Towers' newest residents. Cool as an Atlantic breeze, Megan buried her passions and vowed never to let her heart control her life. But when boat captain Nate Fury set his course for her, the practical lady was swept away by his formidable charm.

REASON FOR READING: It's the sequel to the book the roomie made me read.

THOUGHTS: This was better than the first Calhouns but only because one character was named Megan. All in all, I was still bored. Nora Roberts on autopilot... that is what I thought about this book. The roomie and I, however, did have fun making maritime "verb" your "noun" statements.

MISCELLANEOUS: It's Meghan not Megan... get it right.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Take it back roomie... take it back.
RATING: 4/10 [An "okay" book, but I don't recommend it]

CR: Prince of Thieves by Saranna Dawson
RN: Not a clue.

Monday, April 25, 2005

Book 29: The Calhouns: Catherine, Amanda, and Lilah

TITLE: The Calhouns: Catherine, Amanda and Lilah
AUTHOR: Nora Roberts
STARTED: April 20, 2005
FINISHED: April 25, 2005
PAGES: 601 pages
GENRE: Romance

SUMMARY: [From] Atop the rocky coast of Maine sits the Towers, a magnificent family mansion that is home to a legend of long-lost love, hidden emeralds - and four sisters determined to save their home against all odds.

Courting Catherine - Headstrong beauty Catherine "C.C." Calhoun wasn't going to let anyone take away the Towers. Especially not handsome hotel magnate Trenton St. James. For Trent, this was strictly business, but C.C.'s mix of fire and fury led his mind in an unexpectedly different direction!

A Man for Amanda - A slow drawl was all Amanda Calhoun heard when she walked into the wall of denim and muscle that was Sloan O'Riley, the architect hired to renovate the Towers. Amanda found Sloan's easygoing manner infuriating. But his smile just might change her mind.

For the Love of Lilah - Adrift in a storm, Professor Max Quartermain must have hallucinated the beautiful mermaid who came to his rescue. But Lilah was no mystical creature - she was a woman of flesh and blood, and undeniable attracted to the intense and mysterious stranger.

REASON FOR READING: The roomie told me I had to.

THOUGHTS: Nora Roberts is just beginning to bother me. Her storylines, characters, and writing style are the same in every book. It's beginning to drive me nuts. For that reason, I could not get into this book. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either.

MISCELLANEOUS: Stop it with the jewels and mysticism already.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): The roomie gets to keep it.
RATING: 4/10 [An "okay" book, but I don't recommend it]

CR: The Calhouns: Suzanna and Megan by Nora Roberts
RN: Prince of Thieves by Saranna Dawson

Wednesday, April 20, 2005

Book 28: Classical Mythology: Images & Insights

TITLE: Classical Mythology: Images & Insights
AUTHOR: Stephen L. Harris and Gloria Platzner
STARTED: Sometime in January
FINISHED: April 19, 2005
PAGES: 1040
GENRE: Textbook

FIRST SENTENCE: An integral component of ancient Greek religious, political, and social culture, Greek myth originate with anonymous storytellers who created tales about gods and heroes that were transmitted orally for many generations before being crystallized in written form.

SUMMARY:[From] Comprehensive and beautifully illustrated, this is the only classical mythology text that combines thorough coverage of theoretical approaches to myth with a substantial anthology of primary works. More than 700 pages of primary selections, many of them complete works, include major hymns, epics, and plays of classical myth, while more than 200 photographs of classical works of art illustrate how the Greeks and Romans envisioned gods.

REASON FOR READING: The only assigned textbook in my "Greek and Roman Mythology" class.

THOUGHTS: For a big, thick, intimidating book... it was AWESOME. I love mythology and this book only caused me to fall in love with the gods, goddess, nymphs, satyrs, and stories even more. This book had the benefit of including numerous excerpts form actual texts. By reading and analyzing chunks of the Iliad, Odyssey, et al. I really got into the meat and purpose of the stories. I would highly recommend this book to anyone who is interested in a comprehensive and diverse overview of ancient myth.

This book also gave me so many new pieces of art with which to fall in love.

MISCELLANEOUS: Zeus was a naughty boy.

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Selling back
RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: The Calhouns by Nora Roberts
RN: The sequel to The Calhouns also called The Calhouns and also by Nora Roberts

Book 27: Hard Day's Knight

TITLE: Hard Day's Night
AUTHOR: Katie MacAlister
STARTED: April 17, 2005
FINISHED: April 19, 2005
PAGES: 368
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: "Right, so where are all the good-looking men in formfitting tights?"

SUMMARY: [From] Pepper Marsh, an unemployed software engineer, is dateless and gawky. Her cousin, the ultimate matchmaker, has dragged her to a two-week Renaissance Faire so that Pepper can meet the man of her dreams; all Pepper has to do is parade around in a Wench costume that pushes her breasts nearly to her chin. Within the first half hour, she is almost run over by a herd of wild horses and yelled at by Walker, a big, handsome knight on a very big horse. Within the week, she's learning to joust with a lance by day and with Walker by night. The intrepid Pepper surmounts all the obstacles throw in her path, and her Elizabethan cursing scene is a special treat.

REASON FOR READING: The roomie was cackling over it. I was intrigued beyond reason.

THOUGHTS: This the first time I have not wanted to strangle the lead female character of Katie McAlister's books. In fact, I think this is McAlister best works. Normally her female leads come across as whiny, stuck-up, weak, insecure, over-expectant, and/or just plain stupid. Not so in this book. Pepper definitely lived up to her name. She had fire and a back bone. Always a good thing in my book. While the plot kind of fizzled out at the end, the characterization of people and the Ren Faire more than made up for it. I would highly suggest this be the first book people read by this author.

However, there was one character I loved more than all of the rest.


The cat.

I want him.

MISCELLANEOUS: She knows how to write horses.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: The Calhouns by Nora Roberts
RN: The sequel to The Calhouns also called The Calhouns and also by Nora Roberts

Sunday, April 17, 2005

Book 26: The Passion

TITLE: The Passion
AUTHOR: Nicole Jordan
STARTED: April 14, 2005
FINISHED: April 17, 2005
PAGES: 367
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTECE: I take up my pen once more, aching with the struggle in my heart.

SUMMARY: [From] To escape marriage to a despised man twice her age, Lady Aurora Demming makes a scandalous arrangement with Nicholas Sabine, a dangerously handsome American facing execution for murder and piracy. She agrees to become his wife for one day... and one glorious, intoxicating night. Widowed, Aurora returns to London society with Nicholas's orphaned sister at her side to face a lifetime without love — until her "dead" husband returns, insisting that she honor their vows and haunting her dreams with promises of forbidden desire...

REASON FOR READING: No real reason. Just cause.

THOUGHTS: This book dragged on way too long. Normally, I love lengthy romances... it gives time for things like character development and plot. This book, on the other hand, could not end soon enough. The writing style was fine and the actual plot was decent, but the middle of the book was just unnecessary filler. I was waiting for the actual plot to kick in. The other Jordan book I read was phenomenal and this one was just a huge let down.


KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): I will probably send this on to Melanie because that is what I do.
RATING: 3/10 [Poor, lost interest]

CR: Hard Day's Knight by Katie McAlister
RN: Who knows.

Wednesday, April 13, 2005

Book 25: Ride the Fire

TITLE: Ride the Fire
AUTHOR: Pamela Clare
STARTED: April 10, 2005
FINISHED: April 13, 2005
PAGES: 356
GENRE: Romance


SUMMARY: [From the back of the book.] There was only one rule on the frontier - survival. So when a wounded, buckskin-clad stranger appeared at the door of her isolated cabin, Elspeth Stewart felt no qualms about disarming him and then tying him to her bed. Newly widowed and expecting her first child, she had to protect herself at all costs. And Nicholas Kenleigh threatened not only her safety, but her piece of mind. The terrible scars on his body spoke of a tortured past, but his gentle touch and burning gaze awoke longings she had never expected to feel. Bethie had every reason in the world to distrust men; the cruelty she had suffered at their hands had marked her soul, though her blonde beauty showed no sign of it. But little by little she found herself believing in Nicholas, in his honor, his strength. As he brought her baby into the world, then took both mother and daughter into his care, she realized this scarred survivor could heal her wounded spirit, and together they would... Ride the Fire.

REASON FOR READING: In the mood for a western.

THOUGHTS: I can't even make fun of books without wanting to read them anymore. I was with friends in a Barnes & Noble and picked up this book because it looked absolutely horrendous. I was wrong. The title, cover, and blurb on the back intrigued me. So, I decided to buy it. That was a good decision. This book is quite true to life (if overly dramatic). The characters actually seem real to me. The author did a great job of recreating life on the frontier. I just wish more authors had that talent. All in all, one of the better romances I've read.

MISCELLANEOUS: The title is just too much.

RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: The Passion by Nicole Jordan
RN: Hard Day's Knight by Katie McAlister

Monday, April 11, 2005

Book 24: Fire & Ice

TITLE: Fire & Ice
AUTHOR: Catherine Hart
STARTED: April 6, 2005
FINISHED: April 9, 2005
PAGES: 480
GENRE: Romance


SUMMARY: [From] Spirited Kathleen Haley set sail from England for the family estate in Savannah. On board ship, she met the man who would forever haunt her heart, dashing and domineering Captain Reed Taylor. On the long, perilous voyage, she resisted his bold advances--until she woke from unconsciousness after a tragic storm and heard Reed's shocking confession. She then knew she must marry the rogue. But their fiery conflict was far from over.

REASON FOR READING: The roomie was giggling so viciously over it that I couldn't not read it. (Yeah for double negatives.)

THOUGHTS: For a random romance novel bought at CVS, this was amazingly good. I mean, it was stunning. The plot, the characters, the one-liners, everything... it was just a spectacular read. The leads are so feisty and real that it's hard not to like them. Besides... female pirates are the best.

MISCELLANEOUS: One of the best lines: "The kind of sugar she wants to borrow doesn't come in a cup."

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Keep indefinitely.
RATING: 7/10 [Very Good]

CR: Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare
RN: Finals week is around the bend. I can't think that far.

Friday, April 08, 2005

Book 23: Defending America: The Case for Limited Nuclear Missile Defense

TITLE: Defending America: The Case for Limited Nuclear Missile Defense
AUTHOR: James M. Lindsay and Michael E. O'Hanlon
STARTED: March 15, 2005
FINISHED: April 7, 2005
PAGES: 167 (excluding appendices)
GENRE: Political Science

FIRST SENTENCE: Should the United States build a national missile defense (NMD) to protect the American people, and possible key allies as well, against attack by long-range ballistic missiles?

SUMMARY: [From] In a potential blueprint for President George W. Bush's defense team, the authors construct an argument for a limited missile defense system. Such a shield has hovered over U.S. political discourse since Ronald Reagan proposed Star Wars in 1983, but the authors, senior fellows at the Brookings Institution, note that Lyndon B. Johnson first raised the idea in 1967. Lindsay (Congress and Nuclear Weapons), formerly of the National Security Council (during Clinton's presidency), and O'Hanlon (Technological Change and the Future of Warfare), who teaches at Columbia and Georgetown and has worked for the Congressional Budget Office, weigh three possibilities: a complete shield, as proposed by Reagan; no shield; and the limited one they favor. Their plan includes interceptors to shoot down missiles early in their flight, and midcourse interceptors like those President Clinton proposed. They admit their proposal's weaknesses including possible negative reactions from Russia and China but ultimately decide that such a system is both feasible and secure enough to defend the U.S. against attacks from "rogue nations" such as Iraq, Iran and North Korea. "The fact the United States cannot defend itself perfectly against every threat is no reason to give up the effort," Lindsay and O'Hanlon assert. They include appendixes of past weapons treaties and U.S. intelligence estimates of threats posed by other nations. Policy wonks will devour this thorough, academic book; other readers seeking a conservative, interventionist treatment of a hot topic will also benefit.

REASON FOR READING: Another book for my "Politics and Military Strategy" class.

THOUGHTS: Blah, blah, nuclear defense shield, blah, blah, blah. That was about all I got out of it. I'm sure the authors made a good, persuasive case for a limited missile defense shield... but they just could not convince me with any of their arguments and that made this book very tedious for me. No matter how good a missile defense shield it can NEVER be 100% perfect. That makes it useless. Just one nuclear weapon will ruin your day.

MISCELLANEOUS: Why must professors assign entire books to be read?

RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: Fire & Ice by Catherine Hart
RN: Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare

Monday, April 04, 2005

Book 22: The Care & Feeding of Pirates

TITLE: The Care & Feeding of Pirates
AUTHOR: Jennifer Ashley
STARTED: April 3, 2005
FINISHED: April 5, 2005
PAGES: 355
GENRE: Romance

FIRST SENTENCE: Honoria Ardmore looked across the dark street and straight into the face of the pirate Christopher Raine.

SUMMARY: [From] What's a lady to do when the pirate husband she thought was dead tries to lure her back into his arms and away from the safe, quiet life she had all planned out?


THOUGHTS: For a book that I bought merely for the title, this was not bad. The book was mainly cheesy but there were moments that made it decent. However, I found the side plot involving the male lead's sister more intriguing than the main plot.

MISCELLANEOUS: The cover is gorgeous. My roomie and I found the studio photos that it was based on. *Drool.*

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Keep...merely for the pretty cover.
RATING: 5/10 [I didn't particularly like it or dislike it; mixed review]

CR: Fire & Ice by Catherine Hart
RN: Ride the Fire by Pamela Clare

Friday, April 01, 2005

Book 21: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking

TITLE: Blink: The Power of Thinking Without Thinking
AUTHOR: Malcolm Gladwell
STARTED: March 31, 2005
FINISHED: April 3, 2005
PAGES: 265
GENRE: Non-Fiction

FIRST SENTENCE: In September of 1983, an art dealer by the name of Gianfranco Becchina approached the J. Paul Getty Museum in California.

SUMMARY: [From] How do we make decisions - good and bad - and why are some people so much better at it than others? That's the question Malcolm Gladwell asks and answers in the follow-up to his huge bestseller, The Tipping Point. Utilizing case studies as diverse as speed dating, pop music, and the shooting of Amadou Diallo, Gladwell reveals that what we think of as decisions made in the blink of an eye are much more complicated than assumed. Drawing on cutting-edge neuroscience and psychology, he shows how the difference between good decision-making and bad has nothing to do with how much information we can process quickly, but on the few particular details on which we focus. Leaping boldly from example to example, displaying all of the brilliance that made The Tipping Point a classic, Gladwell reveals how we can become better decision makers--in our homes, our offices, and in everyday life. The result is a book that is surprising and transforming. Never again will you think about thinking the same way.

REASON FOR READING: I may have to review this for my university's paper.

THOUGHTS: This book made me want to trust my gut instinct even more. While some of the book got into the nitty-gritty technical stuff that made me cringe, overall it was a good book. The author does a great job of collecting, analyzing, and retelling personal stories. The author takes a subject that people talk about all the time, but they never actually sit down and ponder what they're talking about. This book is great for anyone who has ever wondered why they trust instinct over rational thought.

MISCELLANEOUS: blink, blink, blink... nice

KEEP/SHARE/CRINGE(?): Giving back to the person I borrowed it from
RATING: 6/10 [Very Good]

CR: The Care and Feeding of Pirates by Jennifer Ashley
RN: Fire & Ice by Catherine Hart