Welcome to the MOSL Book Challenge

Sunday, November 16, 2014

"The Grumpy Guide to Life" Observations by Grumpy Cat

I love Grumpy Cat.
I adore Grumpy Cat.
She is my hero.

Her precious little face makes me smile and perfectly captures my mood so often that I feel a kinship with her.  I even have a shirt with her on it that says, "I had fun once.  It was awful."  (Real name:  Tardar Sauce.  Yes, that's how it is spelled.)  This book is full of her lovely grumpiness and beautiful visage in various settings.  Her adorable brother, Pokey, even makes a few appearances.

Some of my favorite Grumpy Cat observations include:

"It's not whether you win or lose - it's how you refuse to participate."

"People are like balls of yarn.  For the most part they're boring and useless, but I still get a lot of pleasure out of watching them unravel."

"Trying new things is a recipe for disappointment."
"Why put off until tomorrow what you can do never?"

"Look at things from a different perspective.  My favorite one is 'with my eyes closed.'"

"Snow is nature's way of saying, 'Go back inside and get in bed, you idiot.'"

"Don't worry, be grumpy."

Grumpy Cat is not kidding when she says, "No."  She is a national treasure and should have her incredible face on a postage stamp RIGHT NOW!  112 awesome pages.

"Stay" by Riley Hart

This is book two in the Blackcreek series and focuses on Wes Jensen, whose oldest sister died in book one.  He is new in town and is now raising her four-year-old daughter.  He has to find a job and figure out how to be both mother and father to his vivacious niece.  Braden Roth is a firefighter in Blackcreek and wants to be more than friends with Wes.  Unfortunately, Wes won't allow himself to get close to anyone because they always leave - his father, mother, sister, and former boyfriend.  Can Braden convince him to give them a chance?

After reading the first book, "Collide," I picked up this one hoping to see more of Noah and Cooper, that story's main characters.  I did but only in small snippets.  Wes and Braden weren't very interesting to me, maybe because I was so focused on the many problems good editing could have fixed.  Wrong tenses, misspellings, poor grammar, and shifting points of view (even in the same sentence) almost made me give up.  Wes was pretty much a downer through most of the book, and Braden became annoying trying to get him to open up.  Better editing and a tighter narrative would have made this story work much better.  355 pages.

"The Lonely Drop" by Vanessa North

Nick and Kevin were best friends in college, but they haven't been in touch in 10 years.  Now Nick is the owner of The Lonely Drop, a bar/restaurant in Asheville, NC, and Kevin works for his father's large company in New York.  When Kevin arrives in Asheville to acquire a business and hire new managers for the company, he goes to Nick's bar for a drink and dinner without knowing his former best friend is the owner.  Nick is unprepared to face Kevin again but does so with grace and composure, something quite difficult for him because of his unrequited love for Kevin.

I'm a sucker for unrequited love stories, and this one is very nearly perfect.  Nick is introverted and wants a serious relationship while Kevin is more outgoing and only has one-night-stands, but things change when he talks Nick into going out dancing.  Told from Nick's point of view, the author was quite eloquent explaining his feelings of loneliness and desire for a relationship with Kevin.  It was a very touching story, and I hope to read more from this talented author.  93 pages (Kindle edition).

"Waiting, Hoping, Wishing" by Nic Starr

This story takes place mostly in Sydney, Australia, where Dean and Matt have been best friends since high school when they came out of the closet together.  Now in their mid-20s, Dean is a plumber hoping to start his own business, and Matt works for a big company.  Dean has secretly loved Matt for years but never let him know for fear of rejection and loss of his friendship.  Unfortunately, Matt moved to Melbourne with his boyfriend a year ago, and Dean thinks he's lost his chance with him forever.  Then Matt and his boyfriend break up, and he tells Dean that he wants to move back to Sydney.  Will Dean ever tell Matt how he feels or will he go on being miserable without the man he loves?

This was a cute novella with two likable main characters and just enough miscommunication and angst to make me keep reading.  I really felt for Dean and his inability to get over Matt.  His family was supportive and pushed him to find happiness, but no one measured up to his best friend.  61 pages (Kindle edition).

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Spring Fever by Mary Kay Andrews

Summary:  "Annajane Hudgens truly believes she is over her ex-husband, Mason Bayless. They've been divorced for four years, she's engaged to a new, terrific guy, and she's ready to leave the small town where she and Mason had so much history. She is so over Mason that she has absolutely no problem attending his wedding to the beautiful, intelligent, delightful Celia. But when fate intervenes and the wedding is called to a halt as the bride is literally walking down the aisle, Annajane begins to realize that maybe she's been given a second chance. Maybe everything happens for a reason. And maybe, just maybe, she wants Mason back. But there are secrets afoot in this small southern town. On the peaceful surface of Hideaway Lake, Annajane discovers that the past is never really gone. Even if there are people determined to keep Annajane from getting what she wants, happiness might be hers for the taking, and the life she once had with Mason in this sleepy lake town might be in her future."

My favorite part of this book is the Bayless family drama surrounding their family-owned business, Quixie, a struggling cherry soft-drink company. The soda drama is one I've never read before, and I enjoyed it more than I anticipated. Mason's sister Pokey, also Annajane's best friend, is the best character, and I wish she would get her own book: she's smart, honest and fights for her family. 

402 pages

A Storm of Swords by George R.R. Martin

This is the third volume in the Game of Thrones series.  Mayhem, war, and plot twists abound; several main characters meet their demise and others take unusual detours in their journeys.  This is a fascinating story, but Martin's method of telling the story from several viewpoints simultaneously is somewhat disruptive, as I would become engrossed in following one character only to be switched to another part of the country in the next chapter.  Overall, the villains are still winning, but other dark forces have risen in the north, and the wars are now not just between men, but with other undead enemies and demons as well.  1177 pages.

Monday, November 10, 2014

Out of My Head: Coon Dogs That Lie to You, Killer Pancakes, and Other Lunacies by LeRoy Powell

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

A book of many interesting problems, facts and solutions. How Moon Pies must be washed down with Royal Crown Cola, why the rich eat the heels of their loaves of bread.

Audio:  3 hrs. 45 min.
Print:  179 pages

Friday, November 7, 2014

"Darling Beast" by Elizabeth Hoyt

This is book seven in the Maiden Lane series and centers on Apollo Greaves, Viscount Kilbourne, who escaped a four year nightmare in Bedlam nine months ago and is now living as "Mr. Smith," a gardener at a burned out pleasure garden called Harte's Folly.  He is friends with Harte, who is actually Asa Makepeace, the brother of the main characters of previous entries in the series.  Unbeknownst to Apollo, Makepeace had hired a famous actress, Lily Stumpe, to perform plays at the garden before it burned downed.  Angry that she left his theatre, Lily's previous employer blacklisted her in the London theatre community.  So when Harte's Folly burned, she could find no work but talked Makepeace into letting her, her son, and her maid live in the two small rooms of the theatre that hadn't burned.  Apollo frightens Lily when they first meet due to his size and his inability to speak as his voice was damaged in a vicious beating in Bedlam.  But as Lily's son, Indio, becomes enamored with the silent gardener, Lily eventually realizes that he is not the hulking oaf he pretends to be.  Apollo is really searching for the killer of his friends, a crime for which he was framed and sentenced to Bedlam.  But how can he do that if he's lost his voice and must not divulge his real name and station in life?

Hoyt writes another winner that brings back other characters from the series, including Apollo's twin sister, Artemis, and her husband, the Duke of Wakefield, the two people responsible for his escape from Bedlam in book six.  Lily and Apollo make a classically great historical romance couple; both are strong, likeable, and moral.  I'm leaving out a lot because I don't want to give away any spoilers, but fans of the genre will love this entertaining addition to the series.  Oh, and there's a cute, red, Italian greyhound who steals a few scenes!  328 pages.

Ladies' Night by Mary Kay Andrews

Summary: Grace Stanton is a famous design and lifestyle blogger who seems to have it all: the perfect house, the perfect husband and the perfect job. But her life falls apart in one hellish night, and she is left with nothing but her wits and gumption to pick herself up again.

Deep Dish was the first Mary Kay Andrews book I ever read, and I enjoyed Ladies' Night just as much. Her stories and characters are rich and detailed, making them a great way to lose yourself and escape reality. You'll be rooting for Grace from the very beginning.

458 pages 

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Burn by James Patterson & Michael Ledwidge

(Posted for Paul Mathews)

Robbery in the diamond district of New York. Eighteen months of planning is actually the plan of a Wall Street hedge fund manager, a cannibal/murderer.

Audio:  7 hrs. 55 min.
Print:   368 pages

Tuesday, November 4, 2014

"County Almshouses and Jails of Missouri" by William T. Cross and Charlotte B. Forrester

Published in 1912, this sad little book is the text of a speech given by Cross, the secretary of the Missouri State Board of Charities and Corrections, at the state Nurses' Association's annual meeting on Oct. 16, 1912.  It describes what Forrester saw throughout the state when she visited county jails and almshouses (which housed the poor) and includes a few badly reproduced photographs of their inhabitants.  Some of the places were praised but most were poorly run and the people housed there terribly mistreated, especially the mentally ill.  Women and children were not always separated from the men, and rapes were not unusual.  Cross's racism is also in evidence by his insistence that non-whites be kept away from whites.  What a sad and depressing time in history.  23 pages, copyright 1912.

Monday, November 3, 2014

My Soul to Keep from African Immortals Series (Book 1) by Tananarive Due

Image result for my soul to keep bookThis is the intriguing story of a young Miami newspaper reporter, Jessica and her mysterious husband, David.  David is handsome, intelligent, accomplished, and it becomes evident, has lived for over 500 years.  He belongs to a secret society of men called "the immortals," who have undergone a ritual that gives them everlasting life.  But David has fallen deeply in love with Jessica; they share a five-year-old child, Kira, so he devises a scheme to keep them with him forever.  Once begun, this book is incredibly hard to put down.  Tananarive Due is an extremely talented writer with a gifted imagination and the ability to weave unusual stories.
352 pages