The Return of the Read

I have a confession to make.

Until Monday, it had been months since I'd read a book.

I typically always have a book going and so to go months without reading is a strange predicament indeed. As you may recall, I had been reading A Clash of Kings (from the Game of Thrones/Song of Ice & Fire series) but to be honest...I couldn't get through it. And so I put it down at about a third of the way through it. And then I took a long hiatus from reading.


I missed having that amazing feeling of reading a fantastic book. The kind that, when reading it, you actually don't mind being stuffed on the train, you stay up late in bed way after husband has gone to sleep, you can't wait to turn the next page and find out what happens next.

So, I logged onto my Kindle Store and took a look at the top sellers. I needed something that would grip me from the very first page. When I came across T.R. Ragan's Abducted, I downloaded it right away and dug in.

I have to say...I am loving this book! I do love me a good thriller/mystery and though some of the story points are tough to read, overall, I'm really plowing right through it. It was just the ticket to get back in the swing of things!

Abducted follows the story of Lizzy, a woman who is abducted at age 16 by a serial killer. Somehow, Lizzy manages to become 'the one who got away'. 10 years later, she is a private investigator teaching women how to defend themselves, when suddenly another girl goes missing and the killer leaves a note for Lizzy, letting her and the FBI know that's he has returned and is back on the scene.

Ah, it's so good!

I think I smell the return of the Book Club page! Maybe with a few twists. Would others be interested in reading a book at the same time and then having a discussion here on the blog? Or on the Facebook page? Just a thought! If there's interest, I can set that up starting on March 1.

Oh and are any of you on Goodreads? If so, we can be friends!

Questions of the Day:

What are you reading right now?

Do you go through phases with reading?


Also, if you'd like some other book recommendations, here are some of my favorites:

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo Series, by Steig Larsson

The Hunger Games Series, by Suzanne Collins

The Fever Series, by Karen Marie Moning

The Pillars of the Earth & World Without End, by Ken Follett

Shanghai Girls, by Lisa See

Room, by Emma Donoghue

A Thousand Splendid Suns, by Khaled Hosseini

Something Borrowed & Something Blue, by Emily Giffin

...I could go on and on, but let's start with those! :)'s link day over on The Peach & The Pit and we're sharing one super link that I hope you'll check out!

10 Books For Your Summer Reading List

Hi friends. I know I've left you hanging with the Book Club page. I'm sorry! Please don't be mad at me. Today I'm coming at you with a whole list of books to read. Will that work for you? I've been slacking on my reading too. Somehow listening to my iPod and playing Scramble have become more interesting on my commute. But I'm ready to pick up some books again.

In a week and a half, I'll be heading to Aruba, so beach reads will be a must. Please send recommendations! Meanwhile, here's my list of must-reads and want-to-reads for the remainder of the summer! Please note that there are more than 10 books on this list, because I included full series as one book. Let's face it, you can't read one in a series without the others!

The Help, Kathryn Stockett

It's my #1 pick for the summer. If you haven't read it, do it today. It's seriously so well-written, such a fantastic and heartbreaking story. I blew through it in a matter of a few short days. Not to mention that the movie is coming out in a couple of weeks. Do it. Please.

The Hunger Games series, Suzanne Collins

If you haven't gotten on the train, you really should. When my sister Christine first told me about these books and the general plot, I literally looked at her and asked...why would you think I would like that? But like it I did. Love it, in fact. It's unsettling, romantic and unlike any other book I've read. What more do you want? Oh and in case you've been living under a rock and haven't heard (or just don't scour pop culture sites like me ;)), the movie is coming out next year featuring Jennifer Lawrence, Stanley Tucci, Lenny Kravitz, Donald Sutherland & Woody Harrelson.

Shanghai Girls, Lisa See

I really loved this book. It was not only the sort of book that I couldn't get through fast enough if only to see how these characters ended up, but I found the historical aspect fascinating. Admittedly, I'm not exactly a history buff, so learning a bit about the China-Japan conflict in the 1930s (even in a fictional setting) was a real bonus. If you liked Memoirs of a Geisha, you will probably like this - though this similar story had a bit more depth in my opinion.

Room, Emma Donoghue.

This is another one that I plowed right through. The story of a woman who is kidnapped at 19 and held in a single Room by her captor (so relevant right now with the freeing of Jaycee Dugard!). The story takes place 6 years after her abduction. She now has a 5-year-old son, Jack and the story is told from his point of view. It's unsettlingly mesmerizing. I found the story to be most disturbing when Jack's innocence keeps his mind safe from things that readers just can't ignore.

Jane Eyre, Charlotte Bronte


I can't believe I made it through high school without ever reading this book. I'm so glad I did. There's little to no chance that I would have appreciated it then. I totally fell in love with Jane, Mr. Rochester and the antiquated language (that wasn't too over the top). I'm dying to see the remake film that came out earlier this year. Read it. Please.

The Glass Castle, Jeannette Walls

You've probably already heard me talk about this one, but I truly adored this book. It's heartwrenching and captivating. Walls documents her memoir in this book, and she does so with matter-of-factness that is one part endearing and one part heartbreaking. Walls grew up quite poor and as a nomad as her highly intelligent father cooked up get-rich quick schemes and boozed their money away. But her relationship with her father, though tumultuous, is the heart of this book.

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, The Girl Who Played with Fire, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Stieg Larsson

I'm not going to lie to you. These books did take a little more time and effort than some of the others on this list. It's worth it though, trust me. Earlier this spring it seemed like all of Manhattan (and probably all of the world) was reading this series. Get past the first 50 or so pages in the first book, and you'll be hooked. I was. Oh and the movie is coming out this December starring Daniel Craig (who is pure perfection in casting for Mikael in my opinion), Rooney Mara as "The Girl" Lisbeth (if you've seen the photos of her, all I can say is WOW!) and Robin Wright-Penn (also a fine choice to play Erika Berger). These will keep you busy for a while.

One Day, David Nicholls


I have mixed feelings about this book, but I think it's a worthwhile read. It follows the lives of best friends Emma and Dex for one day each year over 20 years. It's an unusual concept and at first, I wasn't sure I'd really like the flow, admittedly. Somehow, it worked. Even as I read it, I wasn't sure how I felt about it. But after finishing, I decided that I liked it. It's not a typical love story. And sometimes that's ok. The movie is coming out soon with Anne Hathaway and Jim Sturgess (swoon).

Something Borrowed + Something Blue, Emily Giffin


You simply can't read one without the other. This is perhaps my favorite chick lit series of all time. It's less fluff, more genuinely good story. It follows the lives of BFFs for life Rachel & Darcy. Darcy, the beautiful, fun ones, always gets everything even the perfect fiancee. The book starts with Rachel ending up in bed with Darcy's fiancee (and Rachel's own long-time friend and crush). It will make you laugh, make you cry and make you want to call your best friend immediately.

Bossypants, Tina Fey


This is obviously a totally different kind of book. I'm reading it now. It's definitely not an "I need to see what happens next!" sort of book. But it's light and funny and Fey's humor always makes me laugh (and her outlandish observations make me feel like I'm not crazy). It's a super easy read and I've even found myself laughing out loud on the train to work.

So that's my list for all of you. Next up on my list? Sarah's Key, Dreams of Joy (the sequel to Shanghai Girls), A Stolen Life (Jaycee Dugard's memoir), The Paris Wife, Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet and The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks.

What is missing from my list? Please send me your favorite books or recommended summer reads in the comments!

Avid Reads: Kitchen Confidential

I'm not sure what it is, but lately food has been creeping into my reading repetoire beyond the usual food blogs that I incessantly read each day. On my vacation in Antigua, I curled up under a palm tree with Anthony Bourdain's Kitchen Confidential, where not only did I read all about Tony's lifelong struggle with drugs (to me, providing some of the most interesting parts of the book) but learned all about the ways that the home cook dishonors food and all of its glory - most notably using jarred garlic, something that I do frequent in my own tiny apartment kitchen out of, really, sheer laziness. Sorry Tony. Oh, and did you know that one should never consume sushi on a Monday? I won't go into specifics, but let's just say that now I know why Hoboken's Teak offers half priced sushi Mondays. Anyhow, with his signature snark that I love so much, he details his rise to culinary glory - as a child, his first taste of oyster on a fishing boat in France, his coke-induced dishwashing days in Provincetown, all the way to heading up the culinary team at his now-famed Park Avenue restaurant, Brasserie Les Halles. Oh, and let's not forget a little show on Travel Channel called No Reservations, which just so happens to be my favorite travel show. Bottom line? I could have gone a lifetime without knowing the ins and outs of the culinary underbelly, but Tony did make it a fun ride. And my can't-get-enough-of-this-guy feeling has only gotten stronger. (Oh, and I should mention that many foodies have probably jumped on the Kitchen Confidential train long ago as this book has been out for a couple of years...I know I'm behind the curve, but what can I say? My love of all things food is still fresh...)

So what about you? What are you reading these days? Do you read food books? Food blogs? I just opened up Omnivore's Dilemma on the Kindle and something tells me I'm not going to love all of the information I get from this one...