The Well-Read Wife


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I Am A Reader, Not A Writer

Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
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Kiki Overthinks Every Thing
June 1, 2011
Watcha Reading Now?
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: What I'm Reading, What I Will Read
Topic: Book Reviews

What I'm Reading Now


YA paranormal novel, Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers. An angel and a demon fight over the soul of a teenage girl in a literal battle of heaven over hell. I'm on page 21 and I'm enjoying it so far. I met Lisa Desrochers last week at BookExpo 2011. She told me that she decided to write Personal Demons for her daughter who was a huge Twilight fan.


I'm also starting to get ankle deep in the romance/family drama, The Welcome Home Garden Club. I just got to the part where our heroes have reunited in nearly ten years. It was an intense scene. I'm on page 87.


While watching my daughters in the bathtub, I started reading the Kimani Romance To Love A Wilde. It is the second Harlequin romance I've purchased this year, and the first I bought just based on the cover--an interracial couple on a ranch. Black chicks and cowboys. Yeehah! I'm at the set up portion.


What I Will Be Reading In the Future

Elizabeth Scott's teen romance novel Between Here and Forever. I also met her at BEA. She promised me that this will be a far lighter read than her intense, intensely creepy, and well written Living Dead Girl.




Planet Middle School--a YA novel told in verse by Nikki Grimes.



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May 31, 2011
Personal Demons Not Belonging To Me
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Personal Demons by Lisa Desrochers
Topic: Book Reviews


Chapter 13

A Cold Day In Hell


My hear is pounding s I wait at my locker 'cause, after last night with Luc, I'm not sure what to expect. I stare blindly at my books and shift my weight from foot to foot, failing spectacularly at trying to appear casual.


page 177, Personal Demons by Lisa Deroschers

(from my autographed copy!) 




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May 18, 2011
Watcha Reading?
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Books I'm Reading Now?
Topic: Book Reviews

What I Am Reading Now

 Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger; Jazz's traditional Indian family want her to chose a spouse from a list of predetermined candidates, but Jazz has her eyes set on a school cutie. What will Jazz do when her desires clash with her family's wishes?

Mr. Fix-It by Crystal Hubbard: Khela Halliday, an award-winning romance writer who doesn't believe in love, meets her match in a gorgeous handyman who is determined to find the perfect tool to shatter her defenses and win her heart.

Witch Baby and Me by Debi Gilori: It's a rainy spring-time, coming up to Witch Baby Daisy's second birthday. Her nursery class are putting on a musical performance, helped by the older children, including big sister Lily. Meanwhile Mum is trying to potty train Daisy, unaware that as soon as she succeeds, Daisy will be reclaimed by the witches who live on the hill.

How I Changed My Life by Todd Strasser: Overweight high school senior Bo decides to change her image while working on the school play with a former star football player who is also struggling to find a new identity for himself.

The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde: Returning home from the Iraq war with battle scars, soldier Gideon Garza discovers that the timid girl he left behind is now an independent single mother whom he still has feelings for, and the father who refused to acknowledge him has left him a vast cattle ranch.


What did you recently finish reading?

I recently finished reading Jane by April Lindner and Vegas Two Step by Liz Talley.

What do you think you’ll read next?

I plan on reading To Love A Wilde by Kimberly Kaye Terry; Cinderella: Ninja Warrior by Maureen McGowen; and Exposure by T. Fowler

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 12:01 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: May 18, 2011 8:52 PM EDT
May 17, 2011
Teaser Tuesday-- Mr. Fix It
Mood:  chillin'
Topic: Book Reviews

"Romance novels are just soft porn for women," Carter stated flatly.

"--romance is the ultimate escape," Khela continued as if he hadn't interrupted. "Men are perfectly happy with sex. Women want romance."

"And sex," Carter put in.

"And tenderness."

"And sex."

"They want honesty and bare emotion!"


p. 146, Mr. Fix It by Crystal Hubbard



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April 27, 2011
What I'm Reading Wednesdays
Mood:  hungry
Topic: Book Reviews

What Am I Currently Reading?

Dead to the World (Sookie Stackhouse #4) by Charlaine Harris

Jazz in Love by Neesha Meminger

Vegas Two-Step by Liz Talley


What Am I About to Start/Continue Reading?

Jane by April Lindner

Friction by E.R. Frank

Mr. Fix-It by Crystal Hubbard

Tempting Faith by Crystal Hubbard

The Welcome Home Garden Club by Lori Wilde


What Did I Just Finish Reading?

Rogue Stallion by Diana Palmer

Barnyard Banter by Denise Flemming

Sizzling Seduction by Gwyneth Bolton

The Chicken Thief by Beatrice Rodriguez

Currently Reading

Weird But True"I'm Not Cute!"What's New Said the Gnu?What's the Matter, Bunny Blue?Sizzling SeductionThe Chicken Thief

More of Rakisha's books »
Rakisha's currently-reading book recommendations, reviews, quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists

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April 11, 2011
Oh So Blue Said the Gnu
Mood:  blue
Now Playing: Children's Books
Topic: Book Reviews
What's the Matter, Bunny Blue?What's the Matter, Bunny Blue? by Nicola Smee
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

A cute rhyming story about a little blue bunny rabbit who has been separated from his grandmother. He and his animal friends look high and low for her. This is a delightful "preschool" mystery with wonderful simple yet colorful illustrations. Perfect for read alouds and snuggle readings.

What's New Said the Gnu?What's New Said the Gnu? by Wendy Ecklson
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Although the description on Good Reads calls the book "What's New Said the Gun?", the actual title of the book is "'What's New?' Asked the Gnu."

This is a pop-up book of "rhyming wordplay," in which a curious gnu inquires about 16 of his friends' doings. Each of their answers will surprise you and make you chuckle for they are not the typical answers. The pull tabs and pop-designs add to the chuckles. Great for reading to small groups or for what I like to call "snuggle reading" with a child. It's very entertaining. Plus, I have a soft spot for stories that feature rhyming Gnus.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 10:33 AM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
April 5, 2011
Book Teaser Tuesday
Mood:  hug me
Now Playing: Jane by April Lindner
Topic: Book Reviews




"At night, though, I would drift into dreams so vivid I felt I was actually reliving moments Nico and I had shared--his hands on my back, his smell, his taste on my tongue, his voice calling my name, his weight beside me in the bed--and I would startle awake. For minutes afterward, I refused to believe it had only been a dream."-- Jane, by April Lindner 

(I'm so silly, I closed the book before I wrote down the page. lol.)

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March 29, 2011
For All The Pretty Horses & Their Riders
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Cowboy, Take Me Away by Kathleen Eagle
Topic: Book Reviews

Cowboy, Take Me Away (Harlequin Special Edition)Cowboy, Take Me Away by Kathleen Eagle
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kathleen Eagle transforms the title of a Dixie Chicks’ song into a wonderful albeit somewhat lightweight romantic novel featuring the likeable characters of Skyler and Trace. Skyler is an older woman with a past, a late husband, debts, and a love of horses. Trace is the younger rodeo cowboy with miles of cocky swagger who catches her eye from behind the camera lens. (Skyler is freelance photographer hoping to make some extra money.) Trace and Skyler hit it off immediately. Their chemistry literally jumps off the page as much as their coy dialogue--some phrases are so ripe with double meaning you’ll giggle. Ms. Eagle certainly has a way words, and developing likeble characters. This story is all about two adults taking a chance, and going in a direction they usually avoid. It’s a fun read without as much of the middle-act heartbreak that some romance novels include. If you love a good romance novel, handsome cowboys, and ladies who take a chance on love, “Cowboy, Take Me Away” is the book for you!




Mighty Quinns: BrodyMighty Quinns: Brody by Kate Hoffmann
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Payton is a socialite on the run from her fiance and seemingly empty life in the outbreaks of Australia. Brody is an ex-footballer (Aussie rules) nursing an career ending injury at his family's herding station. Unfortunate nights for both Payton and Brody lead them to a night in the pokey, and that is where the sparks begin to fly.

Brody, desperate to get over his ex and out of his pity bag, bails Payton out of jail and brings her home with him to work the ranch. Throwing caution to wind, Payton agrees and finds joy and satisfaction doing a good day's work and falling into the muscular arms of Brody. The two lovers keep their secrets, and live only for the moment until their hearts become involved.

You'll enjoy Payton and Brody's steamy encounters, and enjoy Ms. Hoffmann's ability to transport us to Australia. Although the book gets a long-winded near the end (about 15-20 pages could have been trimmed), I stay hooked as I wondered what the future held for the heroes. I was disappointed by the inclusion of a two subplots and secondary characters, because it felt like they were shoehorned in to set the reader up for the spin-offs.

View all my reviews

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 3:45 PM EDT | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: March 29, 2011 11:29 PM EDT
March 12, 2011
A Sailor Went To Sea to See What he Could See, See
Mood:  mischievious
Now Playing: Children's Books
Topic: Book Reviews

This Little Piggy with CD: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games and Pantomime RhymesThis Little Piggy with CD: Lap Songs, Finger Plays, Clapping Games and Pantomime Rhymes by Jane Yolen
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Perfect for librarians, teachers, day care workers, and parents of children under the age of three years old. The children will enjoy the pictures in the colorfully illustrated book, and enjoy the repetitive lyrics featured on the accompanying compact disc. Educators and caregivers will enjoy the squeals from their charges.

The Tushy BookThe Tushy Book by Fran Manushkin
My rating: 4 of 5 stars

A very cute book celebrating the uses of children's tushies from babyhood to adulthood. With colorful illustrations featuring children of all colors in different scenarios, toddlers and preschoolers will enjoy relating to how they use their tushies every day. The rhyming verses make it an excellent book for story times. Beware, there are some semi-nude tushy illustrations that will have your little ones squealing and falling over in laughter.


The Three BearsThe Three Bears by Byron Barton
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Byron Barton's picture books can do no wrong in my book. I've been sharing them with my children and children at the library for the last 5 years. The colors are bright, virbrant, and a joy to behold. The text is always bold, black, and easy to read. He covers subjects that all little ones like to read about over and over again--trains, planes, dinosaurs, cars, trucks, astronauts. Now, he brings his brillance to the classic tale of The Three Little Bears with great success. Definitely a wonderful introduction to the tale that can be read to children as young as 18-months to children as old as 7-year-olds. (Once your child gets to 2nd or 3rd grade, definitely introduce them to all of Paul Galdone's interpretations of the classic fairy tales and fables.)

View all my reviews

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 2:57 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
March 7, 2011
From the Sweet to the Sultry
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo and Taming Blackhawk by Barbara McCauley
Topic: Book Reviews

Just Being AudreyJust Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Just Being Audrey by Margaret Cardillo (and illustrated by Julia Denos) is an adorable children's biography of film star and human rigts activist Audrey Hepburn. In a scant 32 pages, Cardillo presents the life of Audrey Hepburn as a collection of qualities that children should strive to achieve--hard work; kindness; helping others; and self-acceptance. The illustrations are soft-colored and almost dreamlike. It is a beautiful book for every Audrey Hepburn fan (like myself) to own or a beautiful book to gift every children who ever felt as though they were too awkward (or untalented) to fit in.

View all my reviews

Taming Blackhawk (Secrets!) (Desire, 1437)Taming Blackhawk (Secrets!) by Barbara McCauley
My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I finished Taming Blackhawk last night, and boy was I ever pleased! It was a brisk and sensual love story featuring a modern working girl and her cowboy lover, Rand Blackhawk. The family secrets of Rand were wrapped up quickly and tidily, and gave the book a little more gravitas. I was a bit disappointed that the heroine was a virgin, and felt her life would be incomplete without a husband and a "passel" of children. However, I forgive the book for those characteristics for this is a romance novel not a post-modern feminist theory text book. (Hmmm, I suppose, as a feminist, I would say that it is okay for a woman to chose to want to have a family.)

View all my reviews

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 5:23 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
March 6, 2011
Can I Get A Q&A With Jesus?
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: A Conversatin with God by Marcia Ford
Topic: Book Reviews
It is hard to be a Christian especially if you’re new to it and you’re an adult like me. I didn’t grow up in a structured religion nor did I attend church. My classmates and friends practiced all different religions from Islam to Catholicism, and all variations of the above. I gleamed tidbits from each. I was intrigued for I liked to learn new information, but I was nonetheless confused about who was God, what did He want, and why were we here.  

As I grew into adulthood, I developed my own spirituality based on the existence of God but it also included a mixture of my very secular beliefs. Some times, the little laws I knew from the bible collided with the scientific/political laws I knew from my life on Earth. These collisions caused confusion, and I had no idea where to turn to find the right answers. Even after I was baptized ten years ago, I still found myself confused. I knew was on the right path but.... I tried reading the bible several times to completion, but I found it daunting. Heck, I found it boring but I persevered. Study bibles gave me some insightful lessons, but A Conversation with God for Women (If You Could Ask God Any Question, What Would it Be?) by Marcia Ford has really helped put God and Jesus’ laws/thoughts/concerns into perspective for me.

Using bible scriptures (with proper notations) and first person narrative as though God is speaking to you directly,  Ms. Ford provides direction to the answers of some of my difficult questions--such as “Are All Sins the Same?”; “Do You Hear Everybody’s Prayers?”; and “Is It Possible to Find Genuine Peace?” Each chapter is only 2 or 3 pages, and highly readable. I leave my copy of the book in the bathroom. Each day, I read one chapter that has the answer to the question that is most bothersome to me that day. (Lately, they’ve all seem to center around suffering and prayer.)

I can’t see what is so special about the book that makes it geared toward women because I think everyone who is walking with God has similar questions whether they be man, woman, girl or boy! I would love to give this book to my brother who is more pragmatic than me. I’m sure he would find some of the answers to his questions about God’s relationship with man/woman here. Definitely a 5 star book.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 9:19 PM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
December 9, 2009
Cute Animals Ask Your Tough Questions
Mood:  caffeinated
Now Playing: Why Is Daddy in a Dress?
Topic: Book Reviews


Why Is Daddy in a Dress?

Asking Awkward Questions with Baby Animals

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February 4, 2009
Going to Italy Will Make You Beautiful
Mood:  smelly
Now Playing: Pretty Face by Mary Hogan
Topic: Book Reviews

When I saw the cover of the young adult novel Pretty Face by Mary Hogan at my library, I got high hopes for it. I deduced that it was about a plus-size teenage girl living in skinny-obsessed Southern California who discovers to love her body as is during a life-changing trip to Italy after quickly scanning the cover flap. My heart fluttered, because it was reminiscent of one of my favorite books, the memoir An Italian Affair which was about a woman who learns to accept her body (inside and out) while carrying on a long distance relationship with an older man she met while traveling in Italy. I snatched it off the shelf and quickly took to reading it. I held all my hope and reservations in check until I finished it.


Pretty Face is the story of Hayley, an overweight teen who is being badgered (damn near abused) by her mother to lose weight—a woman who lost weight on a Weight Watchers program and now is cooking & badgering her family with the zeal of a skinny convert. Self-conscious Hayley hides her pain of not fitting in with the pretty skinny folks of Santa Monica by binge-eating on comfort food in front seat of her car or making up for being fat by being the funny girl. Feeling she needs a change of scene, her parents send her to Italy to spend the summer with an old family friend. This is where and when the transformations begin.


Hayley is automatically seduced by the long, home-cooked meals and her diet plans fail her. The descriptions of yummy dishes will have your mouth watering. She spends her days at a slow anti-Santa Monica pace. She walks and bikes everywhere. She gardens. She reads and plays board games with her host family. She stops to literally and figuratively soak up everything the small Italian town has the offer. Instead of spending days self-loathing, Hayley begins to enjoy life. And her life becomes very sweet when she finds the gorgeous, gap-toothed Enzo—her first love and lover. Their romance is strong, quick and heady, and they fall under the spell of each other easily. Best of all, he loves her body. She’s his curvy Americana with a beautiful face, and the phrase is not used as an underhanded compliment. Hayley finally accepts and learns to love her big body.


Upon returning to California, she is immediately crushed by her mother’s size obsession as Hayley body has firmed up and slimmed down a bit from her daily walking tours and visits to ancient churches. Hayley does not revel in the compliment of being/looking smaller because she is past needing it. Then on the last page, the book takes a turn. Hayley steps on the scale and is happy about the number on it! The book tried so hard to create a journey of a protagonist who takes care of herself physically AND emotionally for the first time and accepts her body for what it is and can do, but it suddenly kills that positive message by having her equate it to the number on the scale.


With that said, I do come away from the book with less self-loathing about my weight and I’m sure several girls (and maybe boys) will as well. The love story between Hayley and Enzo was sexy without being graphic or smutty. The author also does an excellent job of transporting the reader to a different place, and making one long to take a trip to Italy ASAP. The other downside of Pretty Face is the liberal sprinkling of cultural references that dates the book, and will have readers 3 to 5 years from now running to Wikipedia to understand them all.


On a scale of 5 stars, I give Pretty Face 3 stars. (Five stars for the excellent descriptions of food.)

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December 31, 2008
Reading To Your Inner Child
Mood:  not sure
Now Playing: Children's Book Reviews from Good Reads
Topic: Book Reviews
Feast for 10 Feast for 10 by Cathryn Falwell

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
This is a really wonderful concept book featuring an African-American family that prepares a meal starting with a trip to the grocery store. The book will introduce children to food, numbers, and a traditional family of brown faces. Perfect for read alouds, flannel board stories, and a story & craft. Some health conscious parents might object to the mother frying the chicken, but aside from that, there is nothing objectionable abou this book.

View all my reviews.

The Cow That Laid an Egg The Cow That Laid an Egg by Andy Cutbill

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a clever yet subtle book about friendship and adoption. Marjorie the cow has no special skill or talent that makes her stand out, so her friends the chickens lay a cow-spotted egg for her and slip underneath her while she sleeps. Marjorie and the farm becomes world famous as the first cow to lay an egg. (This part is almost reminiscent of Wilbur in Charolette's Web.) Her envious cow-mates don't like having the spotlight taken away, so they go out to prove that Marjorie didn't lay the egg. After weeks of waiting, the egg hatches and out pops a chicken. The chicken, being held by Marjorie, looks at its new mother and says "MOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO!" The chicken may not have come from inside the cow, but the cow is its Mommy.

The cut & paste and collage style of the illustrations are bright, funny, and make the farm animals surprisingly expressive.

View all my reviews.

Shhhh Shhhh by Kevin Henkes

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
The prolific Kevin Henkes wonderful Shhhh humorously captures life with a preschooler. First, the story starts out very quietly as a young child describes everthing and everyone who is asleep in her house. The assumption by the reader is that this youngster will also join everyone in their slumber. The assumption is wrong! The child can't stand the silence and awakens everyone by blowing a toy horn. It's a great anti-bedtime story.

View all my reviews.

I Get So Hungry I Get So Hungry by Bebe Moore Campbell

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
This is a sweet and insightful yet hopeful book about an obese little girl who sets out to lose weight with her plus-size teacher. The cherubic cheeks and expressive eyes of little Nikki immediately draws you in, makes you want to love her like a cuddly teddy bear. But it is those same characteristics that make my throat tighten with tears as she describes eating away her pain when a classmate makes fun of her. As a plus-size woman, I feel a little Nikki's pain and understand her struggle. I want to hug her and tell her that she'll be okay, but the truth is that she does need to lose weight and eat healthier. This book says it gently and directly without preachiness.

View all my reviews.

Darkness Slipped In Darkness Slipped In by Ella Burfoot

My review

rating: 5 of 5 stars
A delightfully cute book about a little girl who gets over her fear of the dark by dancing with it. The art work is great especially the interpretation of "darkness." A wonderful book to read to toddlers and preschoolers.

View all my reviews.

My Day, Your Day My Day, Your Day by Robin Ballard

My review

rating: 3 of 5 stars
My Day, Your Day by Robin Ballard is one of those wonderful books to read aloud with your toddler or preschooler who has a bit of separation anxiety. The sweet genius of the book is how the author compares daycare/preschool activities to parents' job activities. (For example, a preschool nap time is compared to a maternity ward nurse who carries a sleeping infant to waiting parents.)

This picture book is good for:
1. reading aloud
2. demonstrating non-traditional gender roles
3. easing separation anxiety in children
4. introducing daycare or preschool
5. showing multi-ethnic characters and
6. showing community workers.

View all my reviews.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 11:52 AM EST | Post Comment | Permalink
Updated: December 31, 2008 11:56 AM EST
October 14, 2008
Another Hot One
Mood:  a-ok
Now Playing: Crazy For You By Jennifer Crusie
Topic: Book Reviews
Crazy for You Crazy for You by Jennifer Crusie

My review

rating: 4 of 5 stars
I've been waiting months for this and my literary mouth is drooling....

October 14,2008 Within the last two days, I've been zipping through this novel. I've cleared something like 132 pages in two days which is such a feat considering my schedule.

Crazy For You (C4Y) has driven me crazy in a good way. You've heard about the butterfly effect? When reliable art teacher Quinn McKenzie dumps her boring boyfriend in search of positive change, she inspires nearly everyone she encounters in the small town of Tibbet to change as well. Some residents change for the best, and some change for the worst. The only person who is not willing to change is Quinn's inflexible ex-boyfriend Bill who will not take "no" for answer.

C4Y is so chock full of characters that it can be difficult to remember who is who. Some of the characters aren't really there to move the story along but to fill out personality of the town. C4Y is also one of the darkest Jennifer Crusie novels I've read. The stalker storyline kept me on edge as much as the sexual tension between main character Quinn and her hot ex brother-in-law, Nick.

All in all, I couldn't put this book down. I'm definitely a Crusie-o-phile now.

View all my reviews.

Posted by Kiki Shoes at 10:21 PM EDT | Post Comment | View Comments (1) | Permalink
Updated: October 14, 2008 10:22 PM EDT

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