Sunday, January 31, 2010

REVIEW: Wild Heart by Lori Brighton

Wild Heart is an historical romance novel by debut author Lori Brighton. There is a subtle vein of supernatural to the story in that the heroine, Ella Fitch, has the gift of being able to "communicate" with animals by picking up on their emotions and soothing them with calming thoughts. The characterizations are loosely based on the tale of Tarzan as the male protagonist in Wild Heart, Leo Roberts, was the sole survivor of a deadly attack on a camp in the jungles of India when we has a child accompanying his parents on an exploration. Not only was the experience traumatic because of the act itself, but the understanding that the attack was an act of betrayal by someone his father trusted and the fact that Leo was not searched for or rescued for a very long time, has made Leo the wild, uncouth, outsider he is now.

Leo is now next in line for Earldom of his Grandfather's estate and Ella Fitch is hired as Leo's governess in order to educate and refine him in the manners and habits of a cultured member of society. It turns out, however, that Leo is not the only one with a mysterious and dark past as both of their pasts catch up to them and they are one or the other the object of a series of attacks. As they try to figure out exactly what is going on without revealing their secrets to each other, they end up learning about love, trust, and understanding like neither have ever known or dared hope for.

Wild Heart is a wonderfully suspenseful and mysterious adventure and a romantic tale of two lost and lonely souls who are brought together under some unusual, albeit possibly fateful circumstances. The mystery surrounding the attacks on them and the estate is intricate and multilayered, and kept me guessing at the possibilities until the very end. The love between Leo and Ella is built not only with passion, but also with compassion, trust and the kind of emotional connection you share with someone who simply believes in you.

I enjoyed witnessing the mystery of these characters and their love for each other unfold on the pages of Wild Heart, and I celebrated in their much deserved happily ever after.

Saturday, January 30, 2010

In Death Challenge Post: January 2010

In Death Reading Challenge

This is the round up post for the first official month of the In Death Reading Challenge. If you read at least one In Death book in the month of January, congratulations on fulfilling your first challenge! If you made a post on your blog, whether it be a review or commentary, please grab the link to your post and enter in the Mr. Linky below along with your name so we can find each other's posts easily. If you're just going to keep a running list of the books as you read them, grab the link to your post where you'll be keeping track of your list and enter in the Mr. Linky so we can recognize your success this month. This will also help me keep track of who's eligible for my challenge giveaway in April. Thanks for participating!

As I stated in my challenge post back in November, I read the first four books in the series in early 2007, nearly two years ago. Two friends of mine generously gifted me autographed copies of the first three books for and I no sooner had them in my hands when I bought a used set of the first 29 In Death books on ebay. So with the first four In Death books under my belt by March 2007 or so, nearly every month since then, I've told myself I should read another book in the series if I were ever going to catch up, and every month I failed to do so. Until this month, that is, thanks to the challenge.

Ceremony In Death by J.D. Robb
In Death series, book 5

This past week, I picked up and read the fifth book in the series, Ceremony In Death, and I was immediately drawn into the futuristic world of Eve Dallas once again, and feeling like I picked up where I left off two years ago as if it were last month. It's so good to be back on track. Hopefully this challenge will help me stay on track this time.

In Ceremony In Death, the story starts with Eve Dallas investigating the murder of one of the police department's own and no sooner does she start her investigation that she then has a string of connected murders to solve, all tied together somehow to two very different religious factions-- a Satanist cult and a Wiccan group.

The murder mystery in this story kept me guessing almost right to the end, which is always good. As for the emotional and relationship aspects of the story, again, this novel did not disappoint. It seemed to brim with interesting developments and dynamics in numerous relationships. As always, Eve and Roarke just live on these pages. One can't help but love the way Roarke loves Eve, cares for Eve, and knows Eve. I love the way her life, her world, her business is unquestionably, irrevocably his as well. He takes charge of taking care of her. Eve's relationship with her senior officer and mentor, Feeney gets tested in this story and what went down between them, what it did to both of them emotionally, and how it came back around, all important to the story and the character development and quite moving, too. A little bit of the same thing goes on between Eve and her aide, which was healthy for their relationship as well. We can't have her aide kissing up to her all the time, now can we? That wouldn't advance either one professionally or personally. I really enjoy all of the characters in this series and look forward to more from them and their world in the next book, Vengeance In Death.

In Death Book Covers

Within the set of used book collection that I bought, I have three books that have a very different cover than the typical In Death book, in that the cover art features an unusual blue lady. My first thought was that these blue lady covers were odd looking and I didn't like them as much as the newer ones featuring a city image or the even more recently issued books that have the more modern lines, graphics and colors. Here's a visual case study of the fifth book, Ceremony In Death in it's different issues. From left to right, The "Blue Lady" cover, The "New York" Landmark cover, and the newer Neon book covers.

I found some interesting information about the covers on the site. It turns out that the "Blue Lady" covers are the original US cover versions for the first seven books in the series, all featuring a lady with blue skin. Later the series picked up with "New York Landmarks" or other backgrounds. The site also indicated that many serious collectors of this series deem the "Blue Lady" covers must haves in a complete collection. So now, of course, I think it's pretty darn cool that I have three out of the seven "Blue Lady" covers and I'll be hanging on to them for sure.

I also wanted to mention there are UK versions to the covers as well, and they are very nice.

Starting with Survivor In Death (book 23), the cover style was changed to the style used today for the In Death reissues and new releases, known as the neon colored covers.

What do you think of the covers?

Do you own any "Blue Lady" covers?

Which is your favorite book cover style?

Challenge Participants:
Enter the url to your January 2010 In Death Challenge blog post with Mr. Linky below


Enter the url to your blog post that contains the list of In Death Challenge books you have read so far with Mr. Linky below.

Thanks for playing!

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cover Love! Killbox by Ann Aguirre

This is the newly revealed cover art for Killbox, Ann Aguirre's upcoming October 2010 release, and the fourth novel in her Sirantha Jax series!!!

Look how gorgeous this cover looks on my blog! It was made for me. I love it so. The colors. The attitude. The heat. The strength. The impulsiveness. It's so ... so ... Sirantha!

Ann Aguirre's Jax series is a romantic science fiction series that follows the adventures and misadventures of space jumper Sirantha Jax and her crew as they jump through space on various political and humanitarian missions. And some missions are simply of the run for your life sort. The series has realistic and emotional romantic elements and is fast paced, suspenseful, clever, gritty and should not be missed.

October 2010 couldn't be soon enough.

If you've been with me on my blog for a while, you must already know how much I love Ann Aguirre's work. Need a refresher? Count the ways by checking out my past posts on this dear to me author ... especially my Loving Ann Aguirre post, which let's face it, is more like a Loving Sirantha Jax post! Sorry, Ann. ;)

The truth of it is, I do love Ann Aguirre and think you will, too, once you read her books. And books are her specialty, no matter your genre as Ann is an incredibly versatile writer. Check out all that she's got in the works all at once:

  • The Jax series romantic science fiction
  • The Corine Solomon series urban fantasy
  • "Skin" series paranormal romance written as Ava Gray
  • Ellen Connor books, three a collaborative paranormal apocalyptic action books yet to be released
  • A post-apocalyptic young adult series expected sometime Dec. 2010 or Jan. 2011

Visit author Ann Aguirre at her website

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

So, What's For Lunch Today?

Lisa from Books, Lists, Life invited me to join {which I did} a new group blog that she started up a week or so ago where participants post what they ate for lunch. She wanted a place to turn to when she needed inspiration for lunch ideas. How to re-use leftovers from dinner in new ways for lunch, a new sandwich combination, and even some near gourmet lunches that got pulled together when the pantry was nearly bare. So if you're looking for some inspiration, stop by So, What's For Lunch Today and see what everyone else is having. If you're interested in joining, you can drop Lisa an email and let her know. You can find her email address on the sidebar of the lunch blog.

Most days I have the same old same old boring turkey on whole wheat, and when I realized I was posting the same thing over and {yawn} over on the lunch blog, ... I decided I needed to make a conscious effort to mix it up a little! So yesterday I made a quesadilla with chicken and cheddar with homemade guacamole and some store bought smoky peach salsa. Today, I had one of my all time favorite salads, inspired by the Fuji Apple Chicken Salad from Panera (yum!). I came up with this simple, short cut version that has a very similar taste and texture and possibly even healthier.

Mixed Green Salad with Chicken & Pear

3-4 cups loosely packed lettuce or baby greens
4 oz. grilled chicken breast,
or cooked left over chicken
1/2 medium crisp pear, thinly sliced
1 1/2 tablespoon dried cranberries
1 1/2 tablespoons coarsely chopped pecans
2 tablespoons Trader Joe's Champagne Pear Vinaigrette

Assemble lettuce greens on a plate. Arrange chicken on top, add the pear, and sprinkle with cranberries and pecans. Drizzle vinaigrette over top of salad just before serving.

Add other vegetables to the salad base as desired, such as cherry tomatoes, thinly sliced cucumber and red onion.

For a vegetarian version of the salad, substitute 1/3 cup crumbled feta or blue cheese for the chicken.

The dressing truly makes this salad, so definitely look for the Champagne Pear Vinaigrette at your Trader Joe's store in the refrigerator case. If you don't have a Trader Joe's near you, you are so out of luck because this dressing is fabulous. And once you read the nutrition facts for this dressing, it will become your favorite, too. A 2 tablespoon serving has only 45 calories and 2.5 grams of fat (0.5 grams saturated fat, 0 trans fat). It is a little on the sweet side, but it's still only 4 grams of sugar per serving. There is gorgonzola blue cheese in the dressing, but the pieces of blue cheese are very small crumbles and are not strong flavored at all. So even if you're not a fan of blue cheese, I think you would still like this dressing. So good. In fact, you had better buy two bottles if the trip to your Trader Joe's is more than 20 minutes.

So what did you have for lunch today?

What do you usually have for lunch?

Monday, January 25, 2010

REMINDER: In Death Reading Challenge this week

Just a friendly reminder that if you're participating in the In Death Reading Challenge, we're in the last week of January (gasp!), so start reading your In Death book for this month if you haven't already. Of course, there are a few readers who have not only jumped on board, but they're reading as if this were a race! Namely, Lori, Natalie and our very own perpetual In Death re-reader, azteclady (see the comments in that link). All three of them have already read or re-read, at least two books. Lori is up to book nine or ten, I think.

If you haven't been by in a while, I made some changes to the challenge rules in that you're not required to write a review or commentary every month. Of course, I encourage you to talk up the books on your own blogs, but if you like, you can also simply keep a running list of the books as you read them. However, if you manage to keep up the pace and read at least one book per month, I will be doing a drawing and giving away a prize every four months to one reader who has stayed on track. So be sure to visit my blog at the end of every month to link your list with Mr. Linky so I'll know if your eligible for the drawing. Visit the sign up post HERE for more details. January's Mr. Linky post --and perhaps a discussion prompt-- will be up on Saturday, January 30, so stop by sometime over the weekend to add your link and join in on the book chat.

I still can't believe it's the last week in January already. It seems it was just yesterday that I was reviewing my 2008 reading stats and making crazy plans to join all of those reading challenges for 2010. And then, poof! It's nearly February, already! Well, there's one week left in January, and I plan on making it a productive one where reading challenges are concerned. I pulled out Ceremony In Death from my TBR boxes this morning (still haven't unpacked my books since moving back into the house back in May!), and will start it tonight.

I also finally started reading Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows over the weekend. This last book in the series has been at the top of my TBR pile since it came out in 2007, and thanks to the motivation behind the Big Book Challenge I recently joined and the persistent nagging of my 10 year old over the last few weeks, I'm finally going to read it. Now that I'm reading it, every morning she wakes up and every afternoon she gets home from school, she asks what part I got up to since she last asked. It's quite cute.

I hope you all have a great week reading!

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

Did you know that today is National Pie Day? I learned this yesterday from my fifth grader and wouldn't you know . . . I was already planning on making chicken pot pie for dinner? How serendipitous!

I love chicken pot pie and I love curry. I came across a recipe for Curried-Chicken Potpie years ago from CookingLight magazine, and over the years have adapted it to my own version. It's one of my favorite comfort foods in the winter months and a dish my family loves.

Chicken Curry Pot Pie

Basic pie crust
2 tablespoons cold butter, cut into small pieces
2 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups all purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon apple cider vinegar
2-3 tablespoons ice water

1 tablespoon cooking oil
1 1/2 tablespoons curry powder
1 medium onion, diced
3 medium sized potatoes, cut into bite sized pieces
1 1/2 lbs. boneless chicken breast, cut into bite sized pieces
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 cups vegetables, such as diced red peppers, sliced carrots, peas, sliced mushrooms, corn and green beans
1/4 cup raisins
2 cups chicken broth
1/2 tablespoon cornstarch
1 1/2 tablespoons ice cold water

Using a food processor:
Add flour and salt to the bowl of a food processor. Pulse once or twice to combine.

Add cold butter to flour mixture and pulse until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add olive oil and vinegar and pulse a few more times.

Add cold water, 1/2 tablespoons at a time until the dough comes together to a ball.

Turn dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper, shaping into a disc. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to the shape to cover the dish you are using for the potpie.

Without a food processor:
Combine flour and salt in a bowl, mixing with a fork. Add butter to flour and use a fork or a pastry blender to blend until mixture resembles a coarse meal.

Add olive oil and vinegar, blending with a fork or pastry blender. Slowly add the ice water, blending with fork or pastry blender until the dough starts to come together to a ball.

Turn dough out onto a sheet of waxed paper, shaping into a disc. Using a floured rolling pin, roll dough to the shape to cover the dish you are using for the potpie.

Preheat oven to 375 F.

Heat the cooking oil in a large skillet or large shallow sauce pan over medium high heat.

Add the curry powder and cook for 1-2 minutes. Add the onion, potatoes, and chicken, and cook over medium high heat until onion starts to soften and chicken starts to brown, stirring occasionally. Season with salt and pepper.

Add vegetables, raisins and broth, stirring to combine. Lower heat to medium and simmer chicken mixture for 5-10 minutes.

Combine cornstarch and ice water in a small dish. Raise heat under chicken mixture if necessary to until mixture is at a boil. Add cornstarch mixture and stir until the sauce is thickened. Remove from heat.

Pour chicken mixture into a deep dish pie plate or other medium sized, shallow baking dish. Cover chicken mixture with rolled out crust, folding and pinching edges to the sides of the baking dish. Cut several small slits in top of pie crust to allow steam to escape.

Bake pot pie in oven for 20 minutes or until crust is browned and filling is bubbling. Remove from oven and serve hot. Yumm!

I imagine that most people think of sweet fruit, chocolate or custard pies and NOT chicken pot pie when they think of National Pie Day. My first pie thoughts would have been on apple, pumpkin, coconut custard, blueberry, mixed berry, peach, strawberry rhubarb, or lemon meringue pie. Yum. I love them all! :)

What is your favorite kind of pie?

Thursday, January 21, 2010

The Happy, Over the Top, Superior Scribbler Awards!

I have had the honor of receiving some blogging awards from two blogging friends recently and now it's my turn to spread the blogging love. And oh my goodness, it has taken me distraction and interruption filled days to put this post together. Days!

Most of us blog because we have fun doing it and we continue to do so because we enjoy the interaction we have with our readers. Why not let your favorite bloggers know that you love what they have to share by sending one of these fine awards their way?

Over The Top Award:

Michelle of The RedHeaded Book Child blog awarded me not one, but TWO blogging awards back in November. Okay, I admit that's not really so recent. The first is the Over The Top Award and is given to blogging friends whose blogs you consider over the top, in a complimentary way, of course. As in, they are "far more than usual or expected; extraordinary." Thanks, Michelle! :)

Before passing on the award, there is a fun survey I am supposed to do using single word answers only. I tried my best, but couldn't answer them all with single words.

Your cell phone? iPhone, lifeline <--pathetic, but true.
Your hair? curly
Your mother?
Your father?
Your favorite food? desserts
Your dream last night? forgotten
Your favorite drink? coffee
Your dream/goal? to be love and be loved forever
What room are you in? family room
Your hobby? reading
Your fear? losing my husband and kids
Where do you want to be in 6 years? anywhere my husband is (awww...)
Where were you last night? home
Something that you aren't? even tempered
Muffins? yes, please.
Wish list item? new wardrobe
Where did you grow up? New Jersey, USA
Last thing you did? made coffee
What are you wearing? jeans, a comfy long sleeved t-shirt, (fake) fur lined scuffs
Your TV? home theater
Your pets? 4 cats
Friends? diverse
Your life? memoir-worthy
Your mood? roller coaster
Missing someone? my mom
Vehicle? minivan
Something you're not wearing? makeup
Your favorite store? bookstore
Your favorite color? blue ... No, red! ... I mean, green? Definitely pink. Although, lavender is nice, too ... ;)
When was the last time you laughed? today
Last time you cried? today
Your best friend? supportive
One place that you go to over and over? grocery store
Facebook? rarely
Favorite place to eat? local asian fusion place

I'm passing the Over the Top Award to the following bloggers whom I think have blogs that are over the top in an extraordinary way:

1. J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog
For all the amazing and wonderful events and giveaways she offers the book blogging community. In fact, this week I was supposed to join her and another book blogger on Twitter as we did an online read along to Megan Hart's novel Deeper. Unfortunately, I didn't get around to reading the book on time, but if you've read the book and are on twitter, check out the tagline #DEEPER and join in on the discussion.

2. Kwana of Kwana Writes
Because she always has something interesting and thought worthy to share. She's smart, sassy, very creative and makes me think and sometimes laugh.

Because she's sweet, upbeat and she writes such honest and passionate reviews and other posts about books. Her exuberance is contagious!

4. Tracy of Tracy's Place, the DIK (Desert Island Keeper) blog, AND Book Binge
Yes, she really does blog at all three of these blogs. Tracy's capacity to read so much, so fast and then write book reviews for both her blog and Book Binge is way over the top to me! And she's even recruited her mom into the world of book blogging and reviewing. How cool is that?

5. Jill D. of Romance Rookie.
Because Jill consistently writes succinct, informative, reviews for almost every single book she reads. And she reads a lot. Plus she's got great taste in romance novels.

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Superior Scribbler Award:

The second award that Michelle so kindly awarded me is the Superior Scribbler Award. Thanks, Michelle!

The rules are as follows:
Post the award on your blog, linking back to the blogger who gave it to you. Pass the award onto 5 of your blogging friends who you consider superior scribblers.

I'm passing this award to the following bloggers who are superior scribblers. They have a natural way with words that is informative and smart, but also fun and friendly.

1. Brandy of Book Mom
I don't know if Brandy is going to like me putting her and her blog in the spotlight here as she's quite shy, but she's definitely a superior scribbler in my book, so I couldn't not award her this fun award. Truthfully, I only know Brandy is panic attack shy because she tells me she is, but you'd never know that by visiting her blog. She's so friendly, warm, and so kind. Brandy posts daily on her blog that she keeps like a daily journal, as she shares the goings on in her world... her cats, her family, homeschooling her kids, daily little ups and downs, what she's reading, where she shopped, what she (or her husband) made for dinner, that sort of thing. I feel like I'm a real life friend with Brandy after just a few short months of following her blog and like a friend, I come back again and again to find out what she's up to and how she's been.

2. orannia of Walkabout.
orannia is another friendly blogger who posts mostly about bookish things on her blog. She always has something interesting to discuss and she's very smart, articulate and insightful. I love when bloggers make me think.

3. Shawn of doodle thoughts
Shawn is a new blogging friend who is a superior scribbler for REAL. She scribbles and doodles for a living creating really cool graphics. But that's not how we met. Shawn and I are relatively new blogging friends brought together by our mutual new found passion for running. Her posts on running are both fun and inspiring.

4. Angie of Angieville.
Another friendly blogger (like there's any other kind?) whose book reviews constantly expand my TBR and book wish list. Angie reads young adult fiction, fantasy fiction, general fiction as well as many classics. Every now and then she even reads romance! Angie's reviews are well written informative, but are splashed with her personal voice that I never tire of hearing. Even her rare posts about her personal world and her family are well written and have this ... flourish that I love to read.

5. Carolyn Crane of The ThrillionthPage
Carolyn is smart, sassy, very creative and has a great sense of humor. She's one of the first bloggers I ever started to follow way back in early 2007 and now I'd follow her anywhere. She has a debut urban fantasy novel coming out in March 2010! Go, Carolyn!

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Happy 101 Award:

The last and most recent award I received is the Happy 101 Award from Tracy at Sugarcrafter blog. Thank you, Tracy!!!

If you haven't visited her blog before, you HAVE GOT to pop over and visit Tracy at her blog. She has the most amazing food blog, where as you might have guessed from her blog name, her blog focus is on sweet stuff! Gorgeous photos, clear instructions, delicious recipes--everything she does is so inspiring. If only we were neighbors, I would so be one of her official taste testers. And then have to run an extra 10 miles every day, for sure! ;)

I lurked at Tracy's blog for a couple of months last year and found myself visiting more and more frequently. I didn't really think about it at the time, but now I wonder if I was a lurker because I felt I came from the book blogging world and Tracy and her visitors are almost all from the food blogging world and I felt out of my league or something. Eventually, though, I couldn't resist commenting on her mouth watering, creative recipes and so I started commenting. Now Tracy's blog is a regular stop for me. I guess that's how Tracy started visiting me. It turns out she likes me and my blog, too! :)

The rules for the Happy 101 Award are:

Copy the award image into a post.
List 10 things that make you happy.
Tag 10 bloggers who brighten your day.
Put in a link to their blogs.
Notify the award receivers.
Recipients should link back to the sender’s blog.

Ten things that make me happy:
1. My husband
2. Our children
3. Our four cats <-- when they're not throwing up somewhere or missing the litter box or trying to bolt out the door. *sigh*
4. Being healthy.
5. Having a comfortable, welcoming home.
6. Reading!
7. Running <-- I know. I can't believe it, either.
8. Growing things. <--Children, flowers, vegetables... Not mold in the bathroom.
9. Creating things. <--cooking, baking, photography, crafts, etc...
10. Visiting National Parks <--Sequoia, Kings Canyon, Yosemite, Arches, Bryce, Zion, Grand Canyon...

This is crazy hard to do, because I subscribe to upwards of 150 blogs via RSS feeds and visiting each and every one of you is special and makes me happy. Just want to make that clear. ;)

I'm passing this award to the following bloggers whose blogs I probably visit most frequently these days. In no particular order,

1. Leslie of Leslie's Psyche
She reads a lot of the same books I'm interested in, writes honest reviews, occasionally throws in a personal post here and there, and she has actually tried one of my recipes that I posted on my blog! And no one in her family got sick. Well, at least she didn't tell me they did. LOL.

2. Hilcia of Impressions of a Reader
Hilcia had been a regular commenter in romance book blogging for a while, and finally started her own blog last year. Yay! She's reads books across several very diverse genres (not just romance) and blogs about them.

3. nath of Books, Books and more Books
Nath is a sweetheart. Always upbeat, even when she's ranting--gotta love that-- and I love the way she almost always includes a smattering of tidbits from her personal life in her posts. I like getting to know my fellow book bloggers like that.

4. Lori of Living in the House of Testosterone
With a blog title like that, you know you're going to be entertained, right? Lori blogs about living with her three boys (including husband) and her male dog! Poor Lori. LOL. Lots of funny anecdotes from her family life that will make you laugh and sometimes go "awwww..."!

5. Amy of Romance Bookwyrm
Amy has eased up on the frequency of her blog posts and even her blog hopping and commenting in recent months, but I'm always happy when I see she has posted on her blog. Amy's an avid fan of romance and fantasy fiction, and you can't help but 'catch' her passion and enthusiasm for the books she reads.

6. Lisa of Books, Lists, Life
I think Lisa and I found each other's blogs way back when we were both participating in Keishon's 2008 TBR Challenge, exchanging an occasional comment here and there. Then last fall, I don't know, we just started paying closer attention to each other. Now I visit Lisa's blog a few times a week and sometimes chat via email.

7. Natalie of Reading 2 Learn
Natalie started her blog just a few short weeks ago, inspired to do so upon joining the In Death Reading Challenge. She has already read the first few In Death books and has written some very insightful posts about the series. Stop by her blog and say hello to this enthusiastic newcomer to the book blogging world.

8. Michelle of Read Headed Book Child
Michelle commented on my blog one day last fall, we clicked and the rest, they say, is history. We're both love books, organic fruits and vegetables and the Spellman series by Lisa Lutz. LOL That's the foundation of our friendship, but we just clicked in a way like we've been friends for a long time.

9. azteclady of Karen Knows Best
When I see the an email from azteclady in my Inbox, it makes me happy. If it's an email notification for comment she's left on my blog, it makes me happy. If it's a personal email? Ecstatic. She's smart, kind, funny, and so supportive. She's a kind friend who always seems to know exactly what to say to make me smile, encourage me, or feel good about something.

10. Lea of Closetwriter
Not only does Lea write some of the best romance reviews out there (especially for paranormal, romantic suspense and erotic romance genres), but she is definitely one of the kindest and most generous bloggers I know. Generous with her time to help bloggers with their html code, generous with her time leaving comments on posts even if the topic is not her cup of tea, and generous with sharing books through giveaways. She's also one of the first ones likely to send me an email just to say "Hi, how are you," if (when) I drop out of the blogosphere for a spell. She's a sweetheart.

I could seriously keep listing bloggers who deserve the Happy 101 Award, but this post will turn into the post that never ends if I do that, so ....

The end. :)

Sunday, January 17, 2010

Starring Star Fruit!

I had grand plans for spending quality time in the kitchen baking homemade rolls, making lentil soup, churning homemade pomegranate sherbet, and canning Tracy's Apple-Cinnamon jam. Doesn't all of that sound great? Instead, I spent my weekend playing Beatles Rock Band with the family (so fun!), reading my library loot, running (4 miles on Saturday), napping, spin class (early this morning), and um... napping again. All of which was really great.

In lieu of those other recipes I had planned, though, I'm just going to talk about carambola or star fruit since we got some of this exotic fruit in last week's organic produce share and tonight I tasted one for the very first time!

Star Fruit or Carambola is a tropical fruit that is thought to be native to Indonesia, India and Sri Lanka, but is now grown in may tropical and subtropical regions, including in Florida and Hawaii in the US. Star fruit is very low in calories, but high in antioxidants, Vitamin C and other vitamins and minerals. It is also high in fiber.*

A star fruit is ripe when it is yellow with a slight green tinge and brown along the edges of the 'star.' The one I cut up was probably borderline overripe as it also had a lot of brown spots. I have three other fruits that are still green, so I'll try to eat those as they approach their optimum ripeness this week.

To cut up the star fruit, first trim off a bit of both the blossom and stem end using a paring knife.

Then carefully trim a bit of the brown along the edges of the 'star' and cut the star fruit horizontally into slices. Remove the occasional seed from any slices with the tip of the knife.

Then enjoy on its own or in a fruit salad.

To me, the star fruit has a sweet flavor reminiscent of pears and oranges, with a texture between a pear and a melon. It was delicious and refreshing, and given its healthfulness, star fruit will now be making a regular appearance in my diet.**

I hope you give this healthy and exotic fruit a try the next time you see it at the market.

**Note: Star fruit is high in oxalic acid and may be a health risk for some individuals with kidney problems and can also interfere with the effectiveness of certain drugs.

Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Library Loot X

Library Loot is a weekly blog event that encourages bloggers to share what books they borrowed from the library that week. To participate, simply make your Library Loot post on your blog and link it using the Mr. Linky link at Marg's blog Reading Adventures or Eva's blog A Striped Armchair. FYI, this week's Mr.Linky is at Marg's.

This is my first library loot in over a month, and once again my list is very short. I usually only borrow a couple of books at a time so I feel less pressure to read my choices too fast before they're due again, especially since I have plenty of books on my own bookshelves that I want to read, too.

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

This young adult novel is the debut novel by the authors. I sought it out after picking up on some really great feedback in the world of book blogging and was excited that my library was just processing it when I went looking for it, so I'm the first patron to borrow it from my library. Pretty neat.

I have to say I was surprised at it's door stopper size (I love that expression that I learned from orannia of Walkabout and her Big Book Challenge for 2010)... especially for a young adult novel. Beautiful Creatures comes in at 563 pages, which may not sound so huge to a lot of readers, but most of the books I read, both young adult and adult fiction, hover around the 300 page mark.

Speaking of the 300 mark, I happen to be at page 341 of Beautiful Creatures at the moment and I have to say that it is very, very good so far. One thing, though, is that usually by the half way mark of a book, whether you consciously think about it or not, you make some kind of connection between the title of the book and its content. I haven't quite gotten that yet and it has stumped me a bit. The subtle artwork suits the book very well... I'm just not so sure if I think "beautiful creatures" is a fitting phrase to describe the book. I'm not going to worry about it too much, though, because the story has me entranced and that's what's most important. Besides, I still have another 222 pages to go to the end. Maybe I'll be enlightened. :)

Beautiful Creatures is a contemporary story with intriguing and realistic characters, strong connections to its Deep South setting and the community's Civil War history, and dark, supernatural world.

Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

This is the second book in Nora Roberts' latest contemporary romance series called The Bride Quartet. The series focuses on four childhood friends who have formed a wedding service called Vows and each novel is the love story of each of the four friends. The first book, Vision in White is Mackensie's story and she is the photographer for Vows. Bed of Roses is Emma's story and she is the florist for Vows.

I love how the titles are all wedding themed as well as indicative of the lead character's profession. Very clever.

And isn't this book cover just gorgeous? Even the pages of the novel are beautiful. It's obvious a lot of careful thought and planning went into making these novels as beautiful and elegant to look at as they are to read!

I enjoyed Vision in White very much and am looking forward to reading Bed of Roses. I actually already read the first chapter, but got pulled into Beautiful Creatures, which is due back to the library sooner, so will finish that first before I pick up Bed of Roses again.

What's your latest library loot?

Have you ever read a book whose title didn't fit the story?

Monday, January 11, 2010

How to onion your man

Not that I've ever had to resort to this (okay maybe I have), but just in case you do, this is an invaluable resource.

You may want to bookmark these instructions.

Two minutes before you expect your man to walk through the door, after he has just spent a long day at work and played a rigorous game of football, [REAL football, i.e., soccer ], do the following:

1. Heat a cast iron skillet on medium high heat until hot.
2. Add 1 tablespoon olive oil.
3. Add some chopped onion. Any amount over a handful works.
4. If you still have time, add two garlic cloves, minced to pan.

Within seconds, the kitchen will smell like the promise of a delicious dinner and you have hopefully succeeded in the art of 'How to onion your man.'

Then you'd better hurry up and think of something quick to go with those onions before he finds out he's just been onioned!

Some ideas:

1. Omelet: Add beaten eggs, diced peppers and cherry tomatoes or spinach.

2. Easy Stir Fry: Add cut up veggies like broccoli, snow peas, peppers, and carrots, tofu and or precooked chicken or left over steak, hoisin sauce, soy sauce and some broth.

3. Reheated left overs, just with extra onions.

For the record, my husband isn't the kind who demands or even expects dinner to be one the table when he walks in the door at the end of the day. In fact, he's very cool about those days that he gets home and I don't have dinner even started. So much so that if I even waited for him to walk in the door to suggest take out, he'd immediately offer to be the one to go out and pick it up. It is important to me, to have a nice home cooked meal prepared for my family most nights, especially on work and school nights. So sometimes... I have to onion not just my man, but my whole family! ;)

Thursday, January 7, 2010

2010 100+ Book Reading Challenge

Host: J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog

Details: For more details, including rules and where to sign yourself up for this challenge, visit J. Kaye at 2010 100+ Reading Challenge

Challenge: Read a minimum of 100 books in 2010.

In 2008, I read 61 books.
In 2009, I read 79 books.
In 2010, I want to read 100 books.

I'm going to aim to read eight books per month, with the exception of ten in each July and August to make my goal of 100 by December 31, 2010.

1. Wild Heart by Lori Brighton
2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
3. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
4. Stolen Seduction by Elisabeth Naughton
5. Ceremony In Death by J.D. Robb

6. Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
7. Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris
8. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
9. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
10. The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
11. The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech
12. Steamed by Katie MacAlister
13. Vengeance In Death by J.D. Robb

14. The Spellmans Strike Again by Lisa Lutz
15. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
16. Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris
17. Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris
18. Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlaine Harris
19. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
20. Holiday In Death by J.D. Robb
21. "Midnight In Death" novella by J.D. Robb
22. Proof of Seduction by Courtney Milan

23. Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
24. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
25. Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
26. Mind Games by Carolyn Crane
27. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
28. Conspiracy In Death by J.D. Robb
29. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
30. My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy

31. Beastly by Alex Flinn
32. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
33. Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward
34. Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter
35. My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent
36. Loyalty In Death by J.D. Robb
37. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

38. Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
39. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
40. Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman
41. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater

42. Witness In Death by J.D. Robb
43. Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
44. Provocative In Pearls by Madeline Hunter
45. Truly, Madly by Heather Webber
46. Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
47. Judgement In Death by J.D. Robb

48. A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia
49. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
50. Looking for Alaska by John Green
51. One Dance with a Duke by Tessa Dare
52. A Bad Day For Pretty by Sophie Littlefield
53. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling

54. Betrayal In Death by J.D. Robb
55. "Interlude In Death" novella by J.D. Robb
56. Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen
57. Seduction In Death by J.D. Robb
58. Reunion In Death by J.D. Robb
59. The Godmother by Carrie Adams
60. The Taming of Mei Lin by Jeannie Lin
61. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin

62. Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare
63. The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros
64. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
65. Room by Emma Donoghue
66. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
67. Stringz by Michael Wenberg
68. Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare

69. No Such Thing as the Real World anthology from Harper Teen books
70. Purity In Death by J.D. Robb
71. All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
72. "Winter's Passage" novella by Julie Kagawa
73. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
74. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning (re-read)
75. Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning 
76. Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning 
77. Portrait in Death by J.D. Robb

78. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
79. Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
80. Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
81. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan 
82. The Gift by Nora Roberts
83. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

And that's all.

I didn't make it.... better luck next year. 

In Death Series Reading Challenge (My Book List)

Host: Christine at the happily ever after. . . (that's me!)

Details: For more details and information on signing yourself up, visit me at 'In Death' Series Reading Challenge .

Challenge: Read one 'In Death' series book by J.D. Robb per month starting in January 2010 and ending when you are caught up with the series. This may take a while for some of us... Lori not so much. ;)

This post is my own entry in the challenge that is linked in Mr.Linky in the updated sign up post HERE. If you signed up for the challenge in the comments section of my original challenge post back in November, please revisit that post and sign up again using Mr.Linky. Thank you!

If you haven't already signed up and are interested in joining, please do!

For a list of all 'In Death' novels by J.D. Robb, see the original sign up post.

The following list is a running list of all of the 'In Death' books by J.D. Robb that I have read so far and will be updated as I read the series.

1. Naked in Death
2. Glory in Death
3. Immortal in Death
4. Rapture in Death
5. Ceremony in Death 1.29.10
6. Vengeance in Death 2.28.10
7. Holiday in Death 3.19.10
8. "Midnight in Death" 3.21.10
9. Conspiracy in Death 4.24.10
10. Loyalty in Death 5.23.10
11. Witness in Death 7.3.10
12. Judgment in Death 7.31.10
13. Betrayal in Death 9.5.10
14. "Interlude in Death" 9.6.10
15. Seduction in Death 9.17.10
16. Reunion in Death 9.23.10
17. Purity in Death 11.5.10
18. Portrait in Death 11.29.10
19. Imitation in Death 3.29.11
20. Remember When "Big Jack" 5.9.11
21. Divided in Death 7.23.11
22. Visions in Death 8.15.11
23. Survivor in Death 9.30.11
24. Origin in Death 12.5.11
25. Memory in Death 12.20.11
26. "Haunted in Death" 12.25.11
27. Born in Death 2.5.12
28. Innocent in Death 2.11.12
29. "Eternity in Death" 3.30.12
30. Creation in Death 5.3.12
31. Strangers in Death 8.9.12
32. Salvation in Death 10.20.12
33. "Ritual in Death" 10.21.12
34. Promises in Death 3.27.13 

2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge

Host: J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog

Details: For more details, including the rules and how to sign yourself up, visit J. Kaye at Support Your Local Library Challenge.

Challenge: I joined "The Mini" Support Your Local Library Challenge which is to read at least 25 books that I have borrowed from my local library in 2010.

I started borrowing books from my local library much more often than I had in a long time, yet didn't think I would borrow and read the minimum of 25 books for this challenge. But when I went back and counted up the books that I read last year that were borrowed from the library, I was surprised to come up with 18! So maybe reading 25 books from my library in 2010 won't be such a reach after all. So I'm up for the challenge!

1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
2. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
3. Shakespeare's Landlord by Charlaine Harris
4. Shakespeare's Champion by Charlaine Harris
5. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
6. The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
7. The Unfinished Angel by Sharon Creech
8. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
9. Shakespeare's Christmas by Charlaine Harris
10. Shakespeare's Trollop by Charlaine Harris
11. Shakespeare's Counselor by Charlaine Harris
12. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
13. Except the Queen by Jane Yolen and Midori Snyder
14. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
15. Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
16. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
17. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
18. Beastly by Alex Flinn
19. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
20. My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
21. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
22. Lover Mine by J.R. Ward
23. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
24. Bad Day for Sorry by Sophie Littlefield
25. A Fantasy Medley edited by Yanni Kuznia;
stories by Robin Hobb, Kelley Armstrong, C.E. Murphy and Kate Elliott

. . . . . CHALLENGE COMPLETED . . . August 2010 . . . . .

26. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
27. Looking for Alaska by John Green
28. Bad Day for Pretty by Sophie Littlefield
29. The Godmother by Carrie Adams
30. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
31. Room by Emma Donoghue
32. Stringz by Michael Wenberg
33. No Such Thing as the Real World, anthology by An Na, et. al.
34. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
35. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
36. The Sky is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson 

Stephanie Plum Reading Challenge

Host: J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog

Details: For more details, including rules and how to sign yourself up, visit J. Kaye at Stephanie Plum Reading Challenge.

Challenge: Read all of the Stephanie Plum novels by Janet Evanovich between July 23, 2009 and December 31, 2010.

I wavered whether or not to join this challenge. I read the first three Stephanie Plum novels last fall and while I did enjoy them and will probably eventually read the rest of the novels, I really don't know if I'm so into them that I'd catch up in the entire series by the end of 2010. But what's a challenge if it isn't challenging, so what the heck.

1. One For the Money read in 9/09
2. Two For the Dough read in 11/09
3. Three to Get Deadly read in 12/09
4. Four to Score read in 3/10

Yikes! How many are there again?

Year of the Historical Reading Challenge

Host: KMont of Lurv a la Mode

Details: For more details, including rules and how to sign yourself up, visit KMont at Year of the Historical Reading Challenge.

Challenge: Read and review 12 historical fiction novels in 2010.

I joined KMont's Year of the Category Romance Reading Challenge last year and came up short. This year, KMont is challenging readers to read 12 historical novels. The books do not need to be historical romances--just historical fiction, but I'm thinking all of my selections will be historical romances since I read 17 historical romances last year.

Coincidentally, I'm in the middle of reading my first novel of 2010 and it's an historical romance. I'm reading Wild Heart by Lori Brighton and I'm really enjoying it. I'm a little over halfway through the novel and I'm at a scene where the heroine has just gotten dressed for a ball and I was so excited that the cover art shows her in the exact attire that she's wearing in this scene. Right down to the necklace! It may seem trivial, but I just love when a book's cover art perfectly matches what's inside the book.

So I realize the rules of this challenge call for a review of each book read, but I know me and my lack of discipline when it comes to writing reviews promptly or at all, for that matter, so I'm going to keep a list here just to humor myself and anyone else who's going to keep tabs on me and my challenges. ;p

1. Wild Heart by Lori Brighton
2. A Matter of Class by Mary Balogh
3. Proof of Seduction by Courtney Milan
4. My Unfair Lady by Kathryne Kennedy
5. Ravishing in Red by Madeline Hunter
6. Ten Things I Love About You by Julia Quinn
7. Provocative In Pearls by Madeline Hunter
8. Wicked Becomes You by Meredith Duran
9. One Dance With a Duke by Tessa Dare
10. The Taming of Mei Lin by Jeannie Lin
11. Butterfly Swords by Jeannie Lin
12. Twice Tempted by a Rogue by Tessa Dare 
13. The Devil Wears Plaid by Teresa Medeiros
14. Three Nights with a Scoundrel by Tessa Dare
15. Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning (time travel)

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

Host: J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog

Details: For more details, including rules and how to sign yourself up, visit J. Kaye at 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge.

Challenge: I joined "The Mini" Young Adult Reading Challenge which is to read 12 young adult novels in 2010. Reviews are optional.

This was the only challenge that I completed successfully last year and even came in ahead with having read 14 young adult novels, so I definitely wanted to join again. Not only do I have at least a dozen young adult novels on my bookshelves at home that I want to read, but the library has at least a few dozen more that are on my list as well. The first book that I plan to read for this challenge is Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. I've heard some very positive reviews for it around and am drawn to the dark fantasy in a small Southern town setting. I'm really looking forward to it, and it's a long one coming in at 563 pages.

1. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
2. Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
3. Nothing But Ghosts by Beth Kephart
4. Beastly by Alex Flinn
5. When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead
6. My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
7. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater
8. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
9. Looking for Alaska by John Green
10. Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling
11. Linger by Maggie Stiefvater 
12. Stringz by Michael Wenberg

****** CHALLENGE COMPLETED OCTOBER 29, 2010 *******

13. No Such Thing as the Real World anthology by An Na, M.T. Anderson, K.L. Going, Beth Kephart, Chris Lynch and Jacqueline Woodson
14. "Winter's Passage" novella by Julie Kagawa
15. Infinity by Sherrilyn Kenyon
16. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares by Rachel Cohn & David Levithan
17. The Sky Is Everywhere by Jandy Nelson

Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge

Host: Pearl of Pearl's World of Romance

Details: For more details, including how you can sign up for this challenge, visit Pearl at Contemporary Romance Reading Challenge.

Challenge: Read 10 contemporary romance novels in 2010. Reviews are optional.

I read 18 contemporary romance novels last year, so I figure reading 10 in 2010 for this challenge should be a piece of cake!

1. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts
2. Stolen Seduction by Elisabeth Naughton
3. The Next Best Thing by Kristan Higgins
4. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen
5. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
6. Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts
7. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas
8. All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
9. Happy Ever After by Nora Roberts
10. The Gift by Nora Roberts 

Challenge completed on December 26, 2010. :) 

Lynsay Sands Argeneau Family Series Reading Challenge

Host: Amy J at My Overstuffed Bookshelf

Details: For more details, including rules and how to sign yourself up, visit Amy at Lynsay Sands Reading Challenge Redo.

Challenge: Read the Argeneau Family Series by Lynsay Sands in 2010.

I saw this reading challenge on Amy J's blog several weeks ago and again, thought it would motivate me to read this series. One of my first ever online romance reading friends from our pre-blog days, Tracy of the blog Tracy's Place, had mailed me at least the first six or seven books in this series I think in the summer of 2007. I think it's time I read these books and finally return them to her! I'm scared of the overdue fines she's going to charge me. ;)

Some good news is that I have a bit of a headstart as I've already read the first two books in the series. They're light hearted, fun stories with plenty of good natured humor and a sweet romance.

1. A Quick Bite
2. Love Bites
3. Single White Vampire
4. Tall, Dark and Hungry
5. A Bite to Remember
6. Bite Me If You Can
7. The Accidental Vampire
8. Vampires are Forever
9. Vampire Interrupted

The following titles are, I believe, a spin off of sorts to the Argeneau Family series, but still considered part of the series. If anyone has a better explanation or understanding of how the 'Hunter' books tie into the series, by all means, share your knowledge in the comments.

10. The Rogue Hunter
11. The Immortal Hunter
12. The Renegade Hunter

Titles will remain shaded gray until I've read them. Once I've read a book, I'll come back and make the title RED.

Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series Reading Challenge

Host: J. Kaye of J. Kaye's Book Blog

Details: For more details, including how to sign up yourself, visit J. Kaye at Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series Reading Challenge.

Challenge: Read the Darkyn Series by Lynn Viehl in 2010.

I have the first four books in this series on my TBR shelf that I bought a couple of years ago at a huge bargain from a local bookstore that was going out of business, so thought this would be a good motivation to finally read them.

1. If Angel's Burn (2005)
2. Private Demon (2005)
3. Dark Need (2006)
4. Night Lost (2007)
5. Evermore (2008)
6. Twilight Fall (2008)
Master of Shadows (2008) novella, click on title for more info
7. Stay the Night (2009)

If you've already read this series, I'd love to hear your (non spoiler) comments on it.

If you haven't read this series, why not join the challenge and read the books with me?

What's In a Name Reading Challenge

Host: Beth F of Beth Fish Reads

Details: For more details, including rules and how to sign yourself up, visit Beth at What's In a Name Reading Challenge.

Challenge: Read SIX books in 2010, one in each of the following categories:

1. A book with a FOOD in the title.
2. A book with a BODY OF WATER in the title.
3. A book with a TITLE (queen, president, duke...) in the title.
4. A book with a PLANT in the title.
5. A book with a PLACE NAME in the title.
6. A book with a MUSIC term in the title.

I saw this challenge on Beth's blog a while ago and passed right over it at the time, not really thinking of any challenges other than the In Death Reading Challenge I was hosting. But then I saw it again on someone else's blog (I can't remember where!) and thought it might be fun to try to do. Amazingly, I found titles from my TBR shelf and my Library List that satisfy all of the requirements, so here is my tentative list as I may change my mind if something better comes along.

FOOD . . 1. The Sugar Queen by Sarah Addison Allen 4.06.10
BODY OF WATER . . 2. Tomorrow River by Lesley Kagen 9.9.10
A 'TITLE' . . 3. Except the Queen by Jane Yolen & Midori Snyder 4.03.10
A PLANT . . 4. Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts 1.20.10
A PLACE . . 5. Looking for Alaska by John Green 8.5.10
MUSIC TERM . . 6. Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater 6.20.10

To keep track of my progress, I'll come back and darken the books as I finish reading them. If it's gray, I haven't read it yet.