Tuesday, November 30, 2010

getting the goods at Home Goods

The good folks at Blogher and Home Goods set me up with a $25 gift card, the only stipulation being that I had to spend it and share with y'a'll what a bought. Hmmm... no downside there!

I had never been in a Home Goods store, and maybe neither have you. It reminded me of a (much cleaner and neater) TJMaxx store... but with no clothes, only... you guessed it... home goods. Lots of kitchen stuff, decorations, Holiday gift items, candles, vases, bedding, bathroom stuff, incidental furniture pieces, etc. All at prices lower than department stores. Oh, and toys. That came in handy with the gift shopping.

I started off just wandering the store to get a feel for what was there, and how to best spend my $25. I kept wishing that I had already moved into my new home, because then I would SURELY have spent the money on myself. But I'm trying to hold off on buying cute house stuff until we move in and figure out what we really want/need. I was tempted to save the $25, but that would be against the rules. So I guess I'll just have to go back and spend my own money.

I think I did pretty well with my $25... it went a long way, don't you think? I bought the cute puppy stacking toy for my godson, the Curious George paint set for a friend's son who adores George, the gourmet doggy treats (Jimmy CHEWS - get it??) for my sister in law's pups, the candles for our advent wreath, and the set of mugs for my best friend from high school (when I had tea at her place the other week she commented that the snowmen mugs we were drinking out of were the only matching mugs she had, and they belonged to the kids. So two pretty, grownup mugs were immediately added to my mental shopping list). The total, with tax, was just over $26. Presents for one adult, two kids, two dogs, and some stuff for my house. For $26. Nice.

(full disclosure... the candles and Jimmy Chews were on clearance, making them extra, extra cheap. Yippee!)

They had some really great little girl stuff that I was SO tempted to buy for my daughter (like a paint your own tea set) but I'm trying to focus on her actual LIST this year, so I restrained myself. They also had a nice selection of Melissa and Doug toys at about half the price you'd find them for at a toy shop. Unfortunately, none of the kids I needed to buy for were quite in the right range for the puzzles and such. They have lots of pretty Christmas stuff and nicely packaged sweet treats, perfect for those secret Santa exchanges (which, for the first time in years, I'm not a part of this holiday).

Thanks, Home Goods. And smart move sending me that card, because I had never been in your store before. But once I close on my new house... I'll be back!

Home Goods and Blogher are giving away one $100 gift card, and 20 $25 gift cards here. Go leave a comment, and if you win... I could really use some housewarming gifts. Hopefully soon.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Winner of i'd know you anywhere

By virtue of a complex system (writing down numbers 1-5 on paper, folding them, and then drawing one) lucky commenter number 4... Kaye... has won my copy of i'd know you anywhere. Kaye... I think I have your address somewhere... but you know, I've moved and all, so who knows if I can find it. Would you be kind enough to send it again?

I've just checked another Laura Lippman book out of the library: Life Sentences. I'm only one chapter in, but so far, so good.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Book Review: i'd know you anywhere

The lovely folks at Harper Collins offered me a chance to review Laura Lippman's new book, i'd know you anywhere. I have to confess, I had never heard of Laura Lippman, even though she's a NYT's best selling author with 17 previously published novels. But the description intrigued me ("a stunning stand-alone novel that explores the lasting effects on lives touched by crime. With I’d Know You Anywhere, Lippmann tells a gripping tale of a young woman whose life dangerously entwines once again with a man on Death Row who had kidnapped her when she was a teenager"), and heck... A FREE BOOK. (I know I can borrow free books from the library all the time, and do, but still... FREE. And then I could give it away to one of you!)

I went into the book with minimal expectations, expecting a murder mystery, which aren't the kind of books I usually read. I thought there would be a rapidly rising body count and a woman who kept putting herself in danger in some weird combination of stupidity and bravery as the murders got closer and closer to her. I thought it would be a quick diversion. Instead, I was drawn in to the psychology of the story. I already knew that our protagonist made it out alive:

Eliza Benedict is now a mother of two, and has worked hard to build a happy and secure life after being kidnapped and raped when she was 15. Her world is rocked when she receives an unexpected letter from her old captor, Walter Bowman. Walter is in prison awaiting execution for his murder of another girl, a case that was won with Eliza's testimony. He is suspected of having killed more girls, although his involvement is never proved. Walter had seen her photo in a magazine, a picture taken at a society event with her husband, and asserts "I'd know you anywhere."

The walls that Eliza has built to keep the past firmly behind her are crumbling down, and she is torn between rebuilding them and finding out the answer to her unanswered question: why was I allowed to live? She struggles to understand Walter's manipulation, then and now, and fight against her own fear and survivor's guilt. The narrative jumps between present day and the past, slowly revealing the secrets not only of Eliza's time as Walter's captive but also Walter's history. The point of view shifts between Eliza, Walter and the mother of the murdered girl, anxiously awaiting her moment of revenge when Walter is finally executed.

The novel is full of well developed characters and slow building tension. I was drawn into the story: gobbling up the pieces, wondering at the ending, rooting for the protagonist.

I was up until 2 in the morning, pushing towards the end. When I closed the book and turned out the light, I was satisfied.

Now I have to look up more Laura Lippman books at the library.

Wanna give the book a try? Leave a comment. On Friday 9/17 I'll announce a winner, and I'll mail you my copy.