Under the Dome

I bought Stephen King’s novel “Under the Dome” when it first came out, but it has been gathering dust on my bedroom side table. The book is over 1,000 pages long and I just couldn’t bring myself to make such a commitment to start it (even thought I did buy it so it was a bit of a commitment there). Once I heard that the novel was coming to a television near me I knew I had to dig my heals in a read it.

“Under the Dome” is a story of a small town in Maine called Chester Mills that one day is suddenly cut off from the rest of the world with an enormous transparent dome. No one can come in, no one can get out. Is this some kind of government experiment? Aliens? A natural disaster?

The development of the Dome environment, the physical and mental mechanics of isolation from the world, is compelling. Sanity and resources gradually begin to shrink and we see the destructive nature of the community within. The novel boasts a large cast of characters that are sometimes hard to keep track of. King does his best to show the situation from as many characters as possible.

Stephen King never fails to entertain me. Now that I have finally finished the book I am looking forward to watching the show (which I have been DVRing) to see just how the characters appear in real life.


From her kitchen to ours.

I was finally able to spend some time cooking in the kitchen. With all that has been going on Mr. Sweet & I have been eating out a lot. It is a shame!

The Pioneer Woman Cooks: Food from My Frontier” is Ree Drummond’s second cookbook. I have been a fan of Drummond’s blog “Pioneer Women” for quite some time now. Instead of giving you her background, you should take a look over at her blog. It is well worth it.

Food from My Frontier” is great for beginners and people who like step by step photos. Cooks can compare their dishes with the book and make sure they are on the right track. Another great feature was that many of the entries had a section called “Variations”. In them, Ree mentions possible ingredient substitutions, dishes that could be paired with the recipe and enchantments. There are recipes ranging from breakfast, appetizers, soups, supper, sides, canning and desserts.

Something you should know about this book: Some of the recipes are already on her blog and can be printed out for free. If I like the author enough I tend to spend the money so I can have the book, with all the recipes in one place, to enjoy at my convenience.

Note: This cookbook is not for everyone. Her food is very decadent with a lot of butter, oil & red meat – not for people who are on special diets or restrictions. This cookbook is not for vegetarians, vegans or others with allergies and or a gluten-intolerance. Unless you’re burning tons of calories working on a farm every day, these recipes are too high in calories for every day meals. Do enjoy them though on occasion and share with friends!

First World Problems.

First World Problems: 101 Reasons Why the Terrorists Hate Us” is a collection of short essays, rants, and personal accounts of what it’s like to live in the First World from Ben Nesvig.

I picked this up as a freebie on Amazon and finally got around to reading it while waiting at the hair salon the other day.

Several moments made me chuckle and was alarmed how true this book is to what middle class Americans see as problems. It puts certain things in perspective. Our problems are nowhere near the problems the Third World faces on a daily basis. This is what the author highlights.

This book can be read in short sittings or quickly read in a few hours. The concept was interesting and different; definitely not something to be taken too seriously.  I could have done without the “bathroom humor” part of the book, but all in all I enjoyed the concept.

America’s sweetheart loves a Bad Boy.

In “What I did for Love” we follow a Hollywood love triangle which is taken straight from the tabloids. The story involves two TV actors, Georgie York and Bram Shepard who starred together for eight years in a wildly successful sitcom Skip and Scooter. Georgie is America’s sweetheart while Bram is the complete opposite who redefines Bad Boy.

Eight years later we find Bram with no career and Georgie coping with a very difficult and scandalized divorce. Bram follows Georgie to Vegas, they are drugged and find themselves together in bed with a wedding certificate. Not being able to face another scandal, Georgie convinces Bram to stay married for a year to help with both their reputations. Georgie aims to undo the damage the divorce has done to her heart and her public image, while Bram is wants a second chance at life and stardom.

Susan Elizabeth Phillips was going for the “hate-each-other-yet-made-for-each-other couple” but came up short. I felt more of the hate instead of the love. The plot moves in a predictable, yet slightly annoying trajectory. The conflict between the couple went on too long and was wrapped-up too quickly.  Misunderstandings fly, misunderstandings are cleared up and a happy ending ensues in just a couple of pages. The bickering in this novel was way over the top and by the end I was hoping that Georgie & Bram didn’t end up together. Unfortunately, they did.

“Eve” – First of a trilogy.

In Iris Johansen’s 11th Eve Duncan novel, the first of a trilogy, “Eve” zeros in on the kidnapper and serial killer who she believes years earlier abducted and murdered her seven-year-old daughter, Bonnie. In this story, we get a glimpse into Eve’s background as a teenager, the conception of Bonnie and Bonnie’s kidnapping.

Did “Eve” motivate me to read the next two stories (“Quinn” & “Bonnie”)? No. I am beginning to question if I still care to find out the outcome. I was very excited to hear that Johansen was finally writing a resolution to Bonnie’s story, but I was disappointed. The story ends with a cliff-hanger, leaving the door open for the next novel, “Quinn”. I feel many of Johansen’s recent Eve Duncan books are repetitive and that she has been dragging the Bonnie story line on for far too long. This book gave the impression that all would be revealed and instead it gave almost no answers.

Please note: If you have not yet read the last novel about Eve, “Chasing the Night”, you will want to read it before this particular novel, since it incorporates the same characters, and while the novel stands independently, you will understand it much more with the background information from “Chasing the Night”. I did not know this going into “Eve”.

Not such a vision.

“Vision in White” is the first in a series of books about a quartet of friends running a wedding business, Vows. This is the first story in the series. The Plot: wedding photographer, Mackensie “Mac” Elliot falls for a nerdy professor who is the brother of one of the brides.

Let me start off by saying I am a long-time Nora Roberts fan. I have read many of her books.

With that said – Wow, was I disappointed. The book was boring, bland and uninteresting. There was nothing exciting or fresh about “Vision in White” and it lacked the caliber of writing I normally expect from Nora Roberts.

The plot fell flat. It went on and on about the wedding planning industry. The love interest, Carter, was whiney and way too nervous for my taste. A leading man should be strong and I felt that he was constantly second guessing himself throughout the book. I think Robert’s was going more for a nerdy/self conscious endearing type but for me it didn’t shine through.

Unfortunately, halfway through the book I returned it to the library. This is actually one of the few books that I just could not finish. If you enjoy Nora Robert’s you can try it out, but don’t expect too much.

A match made in the library..

Heath Champion, an agent for athletic stars, hires spunky matchmaker Annabelle Granger to find him a wife to create his idea of the perfect life. What he is seeking can only be described as the unattainable dream – tall, model like looks, perfect and exactly like him. Unbeknownst to Annabelle, Heath has also signed up with a rival match-making agency. Between the two companies Heath meets a horde of eligible women, but none of Chicago’s finest is good enough for him. Heath soon learns that love never comes in a pretty package with a pedigree, but in the unlikeliest of spots.

“Match Me If You Can” is an enjoyable literary escape. The story flowed smoothly. Heath & Annabelle’s story is witty, touching and frustrating until they realize that they are right for each other. The banter between the two is laugh out loud funny. I would definitely recommend this book to all readers of romance. Don’t let the sports theme turn you off; it isn’t the full basis for the story.

I have to say I was pleasantly surprised and will be searching for another Susan Elizabeth Phillips book in the future.

Born Standing Up.

I have been on a reading rampage lately!  My latest read was “Born Standing Up” by Steve Martin.  I grew up admiring Steve and always appreciated his self deprecating humor. He has a skill of captivating an audience beyond his stand-up routines and movies.  He is an extraordinary good writer and I have been looking forward to reading yet another of his books.  I adored both “Shopgirl” and “An Object of Beauty”.

Born Standing Up” is primarily about Martin’s evolution as a stand-up comic over 18 years.  I felt like I had a privileged look into his comedic genius rise to fame. The book is filled with fascinating details and great insights into his family life, his struggles to gain fame, and then his ultimate struggle to handle the fame he had always wanted.

I loved this book. As with all Martin’s writing, the style of this book is crisp, the pace quick, and you should be done with it a few hours if not days.