Monday, December 29, 2008

The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Finally finished this yesterday! It took almost a week since I was busy with Christmas stuff, but it was worth the time.

The novel takes place primarily at Walker and Daughter yarn store. Georgia is the owner, Dakota is the daughter, and there are two employees, Anita and Peri. Gradually, a group of women begin hanging out at the store on Friday evenings, and thus the Knitting Club is born.

As the novel progresses, much changes in the lives of the women in this group. Without going into detail and spoiling some of the surprises, I'll just say much of them are life changing. The women grow in maturity and self-awareness.

I really enjoyed reading about these women, and hated to end the book and say goodbye to them. Fortunately, there is a sequel!

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Blue Bloods (Blue Bloods, Book 1) by Melissa De La Cruz

I enjoyed this book! I've heard such great things about this series, so I've picked up the next book in the series and I plan to read it soon.

This is an interesting take on the vampire book. Blue Bloods are vampires, and live a very exclusive, high-society life. The main character, Schuyler, is a vampire, but is different - which was briefly touched on in this book and I'm assuming will play a much stronger role in the rest of the series.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 13) by Janet Evanovich

Lean Mean Thirteen (Stephanie Plum, No. 13) by Janet Evanovich

As usual, these are great additions to this series! I read these back to back and loved both of them.

I'm going to go back and read the three Between the Numbers books before moving on to Fearless Fourteen. And then I'll be caught up! I was very late starting this series, but I'm so glad I finally got to it. I've really enjoyed each book!!

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Still Alice by Lisa Genova

I read this beautiful book in one day - I stayed up late late late reading!

This is the story of Alice, who is diagnosed with Early Onset Alzheimer's. She is a professor of Psychology at Harvard, and has been at the top of her field for many years. She's married with three children, and is just 50 years old.

Her decline is swift, and we follow the progression of it throughout the book, and her struggle with this awful disease.

There are many heartbreaking moments. For anyone who is familiar with this disease, it's difficult, if not impossible, to see any silver linings, but there are a few in this book.

I know this is one book that will stay with me for a long time. The characters, especially Alice, were written so beautifully and vividly that I can't help but wonder how she's doing now :)

I highly recommend this book, and give it 5 stars.

Friday, December 12, 2008

Used Book ~ The Darkest Evening of the Year by author Dean Koontz
The Darkest Evening of the Year
Author: Dean Koontz

I liked this book, but it seems to lack the depth of Koontz's earlier works. This book deals with Amy and Bryan, who each have pasts that have caught up with them, so to speak. Koontz also has a few golden retrievers making an appearance, including a special one named Nicky.

Friday, December 5, 2008

Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, Book 1) by Richelle Mead

What I\
Succubus Blues (Georgina Kincaid, Book 1) by Richelle Mead

I love Mead's Vampire Academy books, so I was so anxious to try out another series of hers! This one is for adults, so it does have some "mature" themes! The main character is a succubus, and there are other demons as well, including an imp, vampires, and even angels. There's intrigue, romance, and great characters. I look forward to reading the next one in this series! 4 stars

Monday, December 1, 2008

Saturday, November 29, 2008

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

Love and Biology at the Center of the Universe by Jennie Shortridge

This was an absolutely fantastic book! This is my second book by this author (she also wrote another of my all-time favorites -
Eating Heaven) and I think her writing is wonderful, as are the stories she tells.

This book is about Mira, a woman in her mid-40s who leaves her husband and family. It's not the most unusual plot, but this one is told with such warmth and depth that it's completely fresh. I love how Mira is re-discovering her sexuality and learning to live as herself. I love how the relationship between her and her daughter seems so real to me - as a daughter, it very closely mirrors my own relationship with my mother. I love how she grows up a bit, too, and begins to be more accepting of others and of herself.

I give this one all 5 stars!

Thursday, November 27, 2008

Tale of Despereaux by Kate/ Ering, Timothy Basil (ILT) DiCamillo

What I\
Tale of Despereaux by Kate/ Ering, Timothy Basil (ILT) DiCamillo

I wanted to make sure I read this book before the movie comes out next month! It's a really sweet story about overcoming obstacles, the power of friendship and love, and other wonderful lessons you want your children to learn.

Monday, November 24, 2008

Eleven on Top (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich

Eleven on Top (A Stephanie Plum Novel) by Janet Evanovich

I keep on loving this series!!! In this one, Stephanie quits the bounty-hunting business, but she just can't shake it! Between having to help Lula (who has decided to step in Stephanie's bounty-hunting position), getting scary notes from a stalker, having her car bombed (again!), and helping Ranger out, she's still right in the thick of things.

This one, like all the ones before, had me laughing out loud! If anyone hasn't started this series, they really really need to :)

4 1/2 stars!

Friday, November 21, 2008

The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

What I\
The 7th Victim by Alan Jacobson

On one hand, this was a great thriller - fast paced, hard to put down, great mystery, etc. I thoroughly enjoyed the writing, characters, and gore :)

BUT, I have to say that there were too many parts of this novel that just was asking too much of the reader. I am perfectly willing to suspend reality to a certain point, but this one just asked too much. Without giving away anything, I'll just say this - too many coincidences. Too many plot-driven contrivances.

Overall, it's a good thriller - the writing is excellent, and the mystery is solid. I give it 3 1/2 stars.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy, Book 3)

I was anxiously waiting for this book to come out, and I bought it right away! Happily, I was not disappointed. The first two books in this series were excellent, but this third one managed to surpass them.

This book is far more dark and emotional than the first two. In the first two, Rose is still underage, but as this book starts, she's very close to her 18th birthday and graduation, and begins to truly mature. Sadly, with the events of the last book and the things she deals with in this one, she grows up fast.

Highly recommend this series! The next one is scheduled to be published in September '09 - I can't wait!

Sunday, November 16, 2008

The Keepsake: A Novel by Tess Gerritsen

The Keepsake: A Novel by Tess Gerritsen
In this latest book in the Jane Rizzoli series, several "preserved" bodies of women lead Jane and medical examiner Maura into the world of Egyptian mummies and head shrinking! There's a lot packed into this book - intrigue, a compelling mystery, great characters, and loads of interesting Egyptian facts!

Thursday, November 13, 2008

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani

Schooled by Anisha Lakhani

I was very pleasantly surprised at how much I enjoyed this book. The story is a bit cliche - the new teacher struggles to be accepted by her students, takes some wrong turns, but in the end remembers why she chose the profession in the first place. The book, however, is not cliche. The main character, Anna Taggert, is very likeable, even when she's choosing money over substance. And her growth during her first year as a teacher is compelling - we see her really struggle to reach her students and her frustration when her efforts are thwarted by parents, school administrators, and sadly even other teachers. Thankfully, in the end, she finds her way.

Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Asking For Murder (Advice Column Mysteries) by Roberta Isleib

What I\
Asking For Murder (Advice Column Mysteries) by Roberta Isleib

This is the 3rd book in the series, and I think it might be the best one yet! Rebecca's friend is found beaten in her home, and Rebecca takes it upon herself to find out what happened.

There's lots of intrigue, some red herrings, and some romance teasers throughout. But the resolution at the end brings everything together nicely.

This series is definitely a winner! 4 1/2 stars :)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

Land of a Hundred Wonders by Lesley Kagen

This is a beautifully written book, and I am so sorry that I've finished it! I have really enjoyed living in this world and being with these characters.

Gibby is a 20 year old girl living with her grandfather. After suffering a head trauma in a car accident that killed her parents, she struggles with being NQR (Not Quite Right). I'm in awe at Ms. Kagen's talent - the book was written in Gibby's voice, and it was always true to her character. The words, the phrasing, and the feelings all rang true.

There are also plenty of other amazing characters, from the circle of family and friends who help Gibby to the ones who are out to do her harm.

There is suspense, romance, and true friendship, as well as intrigue and a mystery or two. I highly recommend this book! 4 1/2 stars

Thursday, November 6, 2008

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou, Steve Johnson, and Lou Fancher

Amazing Peace: A Christmas Poem by Maya Angelou, Steve Johnson, and Lou Fancher

When Lydia was born, I started the tradition of buying a special Christmas book for her. This beautiful book was my pick this year.

I stood in the bookstore's children's area and read through it and by the end of the book, I had tears on my cheeks.

To quote:


Come and fill us and our world with your majesty.
We, the Jew and the Jainist, the Catholic and the Confucian.
Implore you to stay awhile with us
So we may learn by your shimmering light
How to look beyond complexion and see community.

It's Christmas time, a halting of hate time.

On this platform of peace, we can create a language
To translate ourselves to ourselves and to each other.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

USA Today's Top Selling Books - Meme!

USA Today's Top Selling Books - Meme!
S. Krishna's Books decided to turn USA TODAY's Best-Selling Books of Last 15 Years into a meme. Let's see how I do!

So here's the deal: bold what you've read, italicize what you own, star books on your TBR list!

1 Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
2 Dr. Atkins' New Diet Revolution - Robert C. Atkins
3 The Da Vinci Code - Dan Brown
4 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
5 Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
6 Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
7 Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
8 Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
9 Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire - J.K. Rowling, art by Mary GrandPre
10 Who Moved My Cheese? - Spencer Johnson
11 The South Beach Diet - Arthur Agatston
12 Tuesdays With Morrie - Mitch Albom
13 Angels & Demons - Dan Brown
14 What to Expect When You're Expecting - Heidi Murkoff, Arlene Eisenberg, Sandee Hathaway
15 The Purpose-Driven Life - Rick Warren
16 The Five People You Meet in Heaven - Mitch Albom
17 The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People - Stephen R. Covey
18 The Kite Runner - Khaled Hosseini
19 Men are from Mars, Women are from Venus - John Gray
20 **The Secret - Rhonda Byrne
21 Rich Dad, Poor Dad - Robert T. Kiyosaki with Sharon L. Lechter
22 To Kill a Mockingbird - Harper Lee
23 Don't Sweat the Small Stuff ... And It's All Small Stuff - Richard Carlson
24 **The Secret Life of Bees - Sue Monk Kidd
25 **Eat, Pray, Love - Elizabeth Gilbert
26 Twilight - Stephenie Meyer
27 The Notebook - Nicholas Sparks
28 The Memory Keeper's Daughter - Kim Edwards
29 The Catcher in the Rye - J.D. Salinger
30 Memoirs of a Geisha - Arthur Golden
31 A New Earth - Eckhart Tolle
32 Oh, the Places You'll Go! - Dr. Seuss
33 The Four Agreements - Don Miguel Ruiz
34 Angela's Ashes - Frank McCourt
35 The Lovely Bones - Alice Sebold
36 Body-for-Life - Bill Phillips, Michael D’Orso
37 New Moon - Stephenie Meyer
38 **Night - Elie Wiesel, translations by Marion Wiesel and Stella Rodway
39 Chicken Soup for the Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen
40 The Greatest Generation - Tom Brokaw
41 **Breaking Dawn - Stephenie Meyer
42 The Celestine Prophecy - James Redfield
43 Wicked - Gregory Maguire
44 Good to Great - Jim Collins
45 **Eclipse - Stephenie Meyer
46 Eragon - Christopher Paolini
47 Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood - Rebecca Wells
48 Your Best Life Now - Joel Osteen
49 In the Kitchen With Rosie - Rosie Daley
50 Simple Abundance - Sarah Ban Breathnach
51 A Child Called It - Dave Pelzer
52** A Million Little Pieces - James Frey*
53 The Testament - John Grisham
54 Chicken Soup for the Teenage Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Kimberly Kirberger
55 Deception Point - Dan Brown
56 **The Alchemist - Paulo Coelho
57 Marley & Me - John Grogan
58 Dr. Atkins' New Carbohydrate Gram Counter - Robert C. Atkins
59 **Life of Pi - Yann Martel
60 The Brethren - John Grisham
61 The South Beach Diet Good Fats Good Carbs Guide - Arthur Agatston
62 **The Innocent Man: Murder and Injustice in a Small Town - John Grisham
63 For One More Day - Mitch Albom
64 The Polar Express - Chris Van Allsburg
65 **The Great Gatsby - F. Scott Fitzgerald
66 **The Last Lecture - Randy Pausch, Jeffrey Zaslow
67 What to Expect the First Year - Arlene Eisenberg, Heidi Murkoff, Sandee Hathaway
68 Love You Forever - Robert Munsch, art by Sheila McGraw
69 Green Eggs and Ham - Dr. Seuss
70 A Painted House - John Grisham
71 The Rainmaiker - John Grisham
72 Skipping Christmas - John Grisham
73 Cold Mountain - Charles Frazier
74 The Curious Incident of the Dog In the Night-Time - Mark Haddon
75 Life Strategies - Phillip C. McGraw
76 Seabiscuit: An American Legend - Laura Hillenbrand
77 The Summons - John Grisham
78 Midnight in the Garden of Good and Evil - John Berendt
79 The Hobbit - J.R.R. Tolkien
80 The Runaway Jury - John Grisham
81 Goodnight Moon Board Book - Margaret Wise Brown, art by Clement Hurd
82 The Perfect Storm - Sebastian Junger
83** Snow Falling on Cedars - David Guterson
84 The Giver - Lois Lowry
85 Embraced by the Light - Betty J. Eadie
86 The Chamber - John Grisham
87 **You: On A Diet - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
88 The Prayer of Jabez - Bruce Wilkinson
89 Holes - Louis Sachar
90 Digital Fortress - Dan Brown
91 The Shack - William P. Young
92**The Devil Wears Prada - Lauren Weisberger
93 Water for Elephants - Sara Gruen
94 A Thousand Splendid Suns - Khaled Hosseini
95 The Seat of the Soul - Gary Zukav
96 Chicken Soup for the Woman's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
97 The Partner - John Grisham
98 Lord of the Flies - William Golding
99 Eldest: Inheritance, Book II - Christopher Paolini
100 The Broker - John Grisham
101 The Street Lawyer - John Grisham
102 A Series of Unfortunate Events No. 1: The Bad Beginning - Lemony Snicket
103 **The Poisonwood Bible - Barbara Kingsolver
104 **Into the Wild - Jon Krakauer
105 The King of Torts - John Grisham
106 **The Tipping Point - Malcolm Gladwell
107 The Horse Whisperer - Nicholas Evans
108 Hannibal - Thomas Harris
109 **The Audacity of Hope - Barack Obama
110 Running With Scissors - Augusten Burroughs
111 The Glass Castle: A Memoir - Jeannette Walls*
112 My Sister's Keeper - Jodi Picoult
113 The Last Juror - John Grisham
114 **The Devil in the White City - Erik Larson
115 Left Behind - Tim LaHaye, Jerry B. Jenkins
116 America (The Book) - Jon Stewart and The Writers of The Daily Show
117 The Red Tent - Anita Diamant
118 **John Adams - David McCullough
119 The Christmas Box - Richard Paul Evans
120 The Sisterhood of the Traveling Pants - Ann Brashares
121 Sugar Busters! - H. Leighton Steward, Sam S. Andrews, Morrison C. Bethea, Luis A. Balart122 Blink - Malcolm Gladwell
123 The Power of Now - Eckhart Tolle
124 90 Minutes in Heaven: A True Story of Death and Life - Don Piper, Cecil Murphey
125 **The Fellowship of the Ring - J.R.R. Tolkien
126 **1776 - David McCullough
127 The Bridges of Madison County - Robert James Waller
128 Where the Heart Is - Billie Letts
129 The Ultimate Weight Solution - Phillip C. McGraw
130 Protein Power - Michael R. Eades, Mary Dan Eades
131 Chicken Soup for the Mother's Soul - Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Jennifer Read Hawthorne, Marci Shimoff
132 Into Thin Air - Jon Krakauer
133 Middlesex - Jeffrey Eugenides
134 **Three Cups of Tea - Greg Mortenson, David Oliver Relin
135 You: The Owner's Manual - Michael F. Roizen, Mehmet C. Oz
136 1,000 Places to See Before You Die: A Traveler’s Life List - Patricia Schultz
137 Self Matters - Phillip C. McGraw
138 She's Come Undone - Wally Lamb
139 1984 - George Orwell
140 The Chronicles of Narnia - C.S. Lewis
141 The Millionaire Next Door - Thomas J. Stanley, William D. Danko
142 The Other Boleyn Girl - Philippa Gregory
143 The Zone - Barry Sears, Bill Lawren
144 The Pilot's Wife - Anita Shreve
145 The Lost World Michael Crichton
146 Atonement - Ian McEwan
147 He's Just Not That Into You - Greg Behrendt, Liz Tuccillo
148 Fahrenheit 451 - Ray Bradbury
149 **The World Is Flat - Thomas L. Friedman
150 Cross - James Patterson

Our New President!

This morning, I made Lydia suffer through a few minutes of news and told her she needed to make sure she always remembered this morning - our country's first black president. It's a monumental day! And I feel confident that in Lydia's lifetime, and hopefully even my own, we'll see a woman president. I'm thrilled that this opens the door to a much wider playing field of exceptional people for our nation's highest office!

As for this president, I am so excited (and hugely relieved!!) that Obama won. Finally, a president who will lead our country and represent our country who is dignified, well-spoken, knowledgeable, and enthusiastic - someone who can strengthen our foreign ties, who can hopefully make some much-needed changes here.

Now if we can just get through the next few months until he actually takes office!!

Monday, November 3, 2008

Catching up on Reviews!

Recently read:

Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson - This is a fabulous novel about a high school student who spends her freshman year isolated and in pain after being raped during the summer. The book is beautifully written, with so much compassion for Melinda. I know this one will stay with me for a long time.

The Music Teacher by Barbara Hall - I think this book could have been so much better. It started off so good - I couldn't put it down! But then about halfway through, it lost it's momentum and became hard to read. The book deals with a violin teacher who has a young girl come to her for lessons - and the girl is brilliant, with natural talent for the violin. I would have enjoyed reading more about the interaction between the teacher and student, rather than so much about the natural talent and how a musician is close to God...

Love the One You're With by Emily Giffin - I really enjoyed this book about a married woman who runs into an old lover and begins to question her choices in life. My biggest complaint about this book is that it is almost all narrative. There is very little "action" or dialogue - most of the book is Ellen's internal discussions about the choice she must make. Overall, the book is very good, but not as good as her others, especially Something Borrowed and Something Blue, two favorites of mine.

Saturday, October 25, 2008

October is Breast Cancer Awareness month

Go to fullsize image

Before this month ends, I want to say my thing about breast cancer, since October is Breast Cancer Awareness month.

When I was in my early 20s (1985 :-O), my future mother-in-law died just a week before my wedding. She died of breast cancer, which had gone to the lungs. I didn't know her well, but from what I did know, she was a very kind woman who loved her family, and was deeply loved by them. She was probably at that time just in her late 40s/early 50s. She had fought breast cancer for many years, but it finally got too far. RIP Colleen Showers.

And then... my current husband's mother was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1999. On my wedding day, she had just finished up her chemo, was at my wedding in her wig, but with high spirits. We were all so hopeful. And then, in the spring of 2003, they found the cancer again, this time in her bones and liver. We heard the news just days after my second miscarriage. The last time I saw her, she was so sick, and I was 5 months pregnant. At least she knew her first born was going to be a father before she died. But, she didn't live to see Lydia. She was one of the dearest women I've ever know, and I'm so sorry that my daughter will never know her wonderful, beautiful grandmother. RIP Jean Ostromek.

Just now, I got a phone call - my dad's cousin, Linda, has just been diagnosed with bone cancer - without knowing the details for sure, I'm willing to bet anything it's breast cancer that has metastized. She went through treatment for breast cancer about 5 years ago. My heart is absolutely breaking for her right now.

And yet - I have a friend who has passed the 5 year cancer-free mark! Yay Jan!!!

The charity I donate to is the Susan G. Komen foundation. Maybe because they started locally, maybe because I try to do their annual walk/run each year, or maybe because I just like them and think they do a good job.

Anyway, I urge all of you to get your mammogram each year if you are over 40. And for all women, do your self-exam each month - I just the other day talked to a young mom - all of 36 years old - who just finished chemo for breast cancer after finding a lump during a self exam. She told me her story as we stood and watched our 4 year old daughters in ballet class. I send a prayer out right now that she stays cancer-free.

See your doctor each year, making sure they do a breast exam. Take care of yourself and eat healthy and exercise.

Be good to yourself. You are sooooooooo worth it.

Organize Your Corpses (A Charlotte Adams Mystery) by Mary Jane Maffini

Organize Your Corpses (A Charlotte Adams Mystery) by Mary Jane Maffini

This was a great cozy! I love Charlotte and the other characters. The mystery was terrific - a total surprise, which is always fun, and sometimes pretty rare in this genre :)

I'll definitely be reading the next one!

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky

What I\
Magic and the Modern Girl by Mindy Klasky

Another great book in this series! I really love the way the characters are evolving as the series progresses. In this 3rd book, Jane has been so involved in her "regular" life that she's neglected her witchcraft - and this leads to serious problems! She's begun to lose her powers.

As she tries to find ways to get her powers back to full strength, she struggles with the idea that maybe she doesn't want them back - that maybe a life of "normalcy" is what she really needs.

I was thrilled when I saw that there will be a 4th book coming! I can't wait :) I give this one 4 stars!

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Killer Blonde (Jaine Austen Mysteries) by Laura Levine

What I\
Killer Blonde (Jaine Austen Mysteries) by Laura Levine

I had stopped reading this series after the 2nd book for some reason - but I'm so glad I picked this one up! It's really funny, the mystery is good with a surprise resolution, I love the characters! I'll definitely be reading the next one in this series soon :)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer

What I\
New Moon (The Twilight Saga, Book 2) by Stephenie Meyer

I think I actually liked this one more than the first book. The plot seemed more "full," whereas in Twilight, it seemed that the book had too many places where it was just repeating itself (Bella thought Edward was so beautiful, etc.)

I have the next two books ready here to be read, and hopefully will get to them soon!

Friday, October 10, 2008

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

I just now closed this book, after spending as much time as possible today reading it! This is the first book by this author and I truly hope she has more coming (I'm off to look for that in just a bit!).

This is the story of Ellie, a young 11 year old girl struggling to deal with her father's desertion and her mother's insanity. She's one of the most engaging characters I've read in a long time - so real and believable. There are many heartbreaking episodes in the book, and the author writes them with such feeling that you can't help but be completely drawn in.

I loved this book so much - and it was oddly just a whim that made me pick it up off the library's new book shelf! Thank goodness I did :) I give this one all five stars :)

Catnapped (Animal Instinct Mysteries, No. 1) by Gabriella Herkert

What I\
Catnapped (Animal Instinct Mysteries, No. 1) by Gabriella Herkert

I really enjoyed this book - the characters were great! The mystery was a little too involved, and I had trouble following it and keeping track of some of the suspects, but overall it was well done. I'll definitely read the next one, and in fact, will probably buy it the next time I'm at the bookstore!

4 stars!

Monday, October 6, 2008

Busy Reading - Not enough time to blog!

Hopefully I haven't missed a book! I took a few days and read:

Twilight (The Twilight Saga, Book 1) by Stephenie Meyer

I really ended up enjoying this book! I had actually started it before, got about 1/2 way through it, and put it down. BUT... I kept hearing so many people say they loved it, and I had a copy of the last book, Breaking Dawn, here, so I gave it another try. And I'm glad I did!

In this first book of the series, Bella has moved from Phoenix to the Seattle area to live with her father. At her new school, she makes friends, but is intensely curious about a group of students - especially one! Of course, these are the vampires, and she falls in love with one of them.

While some parts of the story are predictable, the story is engaging. I give it 4 stars!

And then I read:

Island of Lost Girls: A Novel by Jennifer Mcmahon

I loved it!
I finished it this morning, and I've found myself thinking of it several times during the day. This is the story of Rhonda (what a beautiful name by the way, lol!) who witnesses a child's abduction by someone in a rabbit costume. She involves herself in the investigation - manning the tip lines, questioning witnesses, etc. At the same time, she remembers a summer years ago when she was a child and she begins to find connections between then and the current situation.

In some way, the author has fallen back on predictible plot lines, but the writing is so wonderful and the characters are so real, that it can easily be overlooked. I give this one an easy 4 1/2 stars.

Monday, September 29, 2008

The Blue Girl (Firebird) by Charles de Lint

The Blue Girl (Firebird) by Charles de Lint

This was a very interesting and different YA book. A blending of real world and the world of fairies and ghosts, as well as other "darker" beings.

It's more than that, though. It also is about family and friendship, and I think it's a great read for young adults, especially with the book's theme of individualism and loyalty and respect. Imogene is a great character, flawed but noble. Maxine is strong and brave, far more than she would have thought. And together, they realize that they have a great strength.

I highly recommend this book for all ages! 4 1/2 stars.

Ten Big Ones: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

Ten Big Ones: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

Love this series! In this one, Stephanie has a contract put out on her by a local gang. This one seemed a little more serious and dark than some of the other ones.

I'll be taking a break from this series but can't wait to get back to it!

Friday, September 26, 2008

To the Nines: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

To the Nines: A Stephanie Plum Novel by Janet Evanovich

After reading two great YA Paranormals, I needed something totally different, and I can always depend on Stephanie Plum :) In this one, she's looking for a missing immigrant, and in the process uncovers other related murders, plus takes a business trip to Vegas with Lula and Connie.

Lots of laughs and intrigue, plus the sexual tension with Ranger and Morelli - and this book, like the others, just keeps you glued to the book all the way to the end - 4 1/2 stars!

Monday, September 22, 2008

Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2) by Richelle Mead

Frostbite (Vampire Academy, Book 2) by Richelle Mead

After reading the first in this series (Vampire Academy), I went out and bought the next one! I think this one is even better - and that's saying a lot! I love this series, and can't wait until the next book comes out (come on November!!).

In this book, Rose comes closer to graduation, while outside the academy, the Strogoi has upped the ante in their attacks against Moroi and the guardians.

There were many parts of this book which brought tears to my eyes, both happy and sad ones. I love books that really pull at my emotions, and this one definitely did that.

Highly recommend this series!

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1) by Richelle Mead

Vampire Academy (Vampire Academy, Book 1) by Richelle Mead

Once I finally had a chance to sit down and get into this book, I read straight through! I loved it - I love Rose and Lissa, Christian, and Dimitri. Mead has created a really great alternate view of vampires - the "typical" ones (those who can't be in sunlight, die from fire, beheading, or a stake in the heart) are evil, and Rose is a Guardian, who protects Lissa (also a vampire, but not "turned") from the evil ones.

We learn about Vampire Royalty, history, and magic - and even mystical and historical legends. All around, this is a well-thought out, intriguing story, and I'm heading out in the next day or two to get the next one in this series! Definitely a 4 1/2 star book!!

Thursday, September 18, 2008

Brigadoom: A Kate London Mystery by Susan Goodwill

Brigadoom: A Kate London Mystery by Susan Goodwill

I'm always happy when the first book in a series is good! This one doesn't disappoint. The characters are well-drawn, and the mystery is believable. A romance is set-up, and we're introduced to the "supporting cast" in a way that fit in well with the story.

Kate London and her aunt are trying to restore her family's theater, but of course, things aren't going well. When a vandal breaks in, and then is later discovered murdered, Kate is of course considered a suspect. She tries to prove her innocence, with her aunt's "help."

This is a fun read and I'll definitely be reading the next one (which is sitting here here in my TBR - thanks Cindy!) - 4 1/2 stars :)

Secrets of My Suburban Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Secrets of My Suburban Life by Lauren Baratz-Logsted

Very good YA book. Ren and her father move from New York to the suburbs, and as she tries to fit in and make friends, she discovers that another student has been in an online sex chatroom, and is planning to meet the other man. Ren intervenes, and in the process, learns quite a bit about herself and others.

Saturday, September 13, 2008

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson

This is an amazing book! I absolutely loved it. I took my time reading it, because I wanted it to last a while and I wanted to make sure I read each word.

The story begins with the narrator's accident, which leaves him horribly burned and near death. As he recovers, he's visited by Marianne Engel, and it is her story that fills the majority of the book. She claims to be over 700 years old - and is currently a renowned scultor of gargoyles (or grotesques, as she says they are called).

I don't want to give too much away, because the joy in the book is reading her history, the stories of her friends, and ultimately, the story of the narrator's recovery.

But I will say this - it's a great book - and it gets all five stars!

Thursday, September 11, 2008

Lori Tagged Me!

Here are the rules: I am going to list three categories of books. 3 MUST Read Books, 3 Keep Your Eyes on These, and 3 Look For These Soon. Keeping with the theme, I am going to tag at least 3 bloggers. They should put these same lists on their blog but SUBTRACT one book from each list and ADD one of their own. Then they should tag at least 3 more bloggers. It will be fun to see how the lists change as they go around the blogosphere. Please come back to this post and leave a comment so I can see how the lists are changing.

Since this is Book Buzz…please keep your lists to titles released in 2007-2009.

So, here goes…[asterisks are next to my additions]

3 Must Read Books:
Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen
*Sweetheart by Chelsea Cain
The Lace Reader, by Brunonia Barry

3 Keep Your Eyes on These:
Stalking Susan by Julie Kramer
The Grift by Debra Ginsberg
The Keepsake, by Tess Gerritsen

3 Look For These Soon:
*Cross Country by James Patterson
When Will There Be Good News? by Kate Atkinson
The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Tuesday, September 9, 2008

Questions To Ask Before Marrying (Red Dress Ink) by Melissa Senate

A great chick-lit book! Twin sisters, Ruby and Stella, drive to Las Vegas in search of the father of Stella's baby - and to give Ruby time to decide once and for all if she's marrying the right guy! Some of it was fairly predictable, but I honestly was thrilled with the way it ended. All the way through, the characters are wonderful - not just the main characters, but the ones that Stella and Ruby meet along the way. This was one that was hard to put down, and I hated that it ended.
4 1/2 stars!

Death Perception (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 6) by Victoria Laurie

Death Perception (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 6) by Victoria Laurie

Another great addition to this series! I love Abby Cooper - she's a great character :) In this book, Abby and Dutch head to Las Vegas to look for his kidnapped cousin. Cat and Candice show up to help out as well and there's lots of intrigue, great characters, and a solid, unexpected ending.

I'm well aware of the controversy with this author, and you know what? I still like the books and will keep reading them :)

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Thank you to Jeffrey Cohen!

He was kind enough to post on my blog :) So I want to make sure I let everyone know that they definitely need to read his books! I haven't read his Aaron Tucker books yet, but I just love the Double Feature mysteries!

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

It Happened One Knife (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

It Happened One Knife (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

Another cute addition to this series! Elliot's investigating again, this time looking into the mystery surrounding the death of an actress from 50 years ago. At the same time, he's "helping" the police and Anthony look for Anthony's missing film, trying to reconcile with his ex-wife, and dodge bullets! 4 stars!

Saturday, August 30, 2008

Tan Lines by J.J. Salem

Tan Lines
Tan Lines by J.J. Salem

I really liked this one! I wanted to read something light and fun after two very serious books, and this was the perfect choice.

It's the story of three friends who are sharing a summer rental in the Hamptons. Billie is the wild and troubled rock star, Liza is the married professional feminist, and Kelleyanne is the sweet Southern girl who's being taken care of by her sugar daddy. Over the course of the summer, they all go through lots of changes - some for the better and some for the worse.

It's fun and raunchy and absolutely readable!

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

The Art of Racing in the Rain
The Art of Racing in the Rain by Garth Stein

I might never have picked this book up, but my sister-in-law recommended it, and I'm so glad she did. This is such a warm, wonderful book! Told from the dog's (Enzo) point of view, it's the story of him, his master Denny, and Denny's family.

It's written simply, but with so much depth and powerful emotion. Enzo lives his life as a dog trying to learn how to be a good human, since he believes that after his death, he will come back as a person.

I laughed in parts, cried in others. I give this one all 5 points - I can't think of anything I didn't love about this book!

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Grift by Debra Ginsberg

What I\
The Grift: A Novel by Debra Ginsberg

This was an absolutely amazing book! So well-written and engrossing - I would say that I could NOT put it down, but in fact, it was just the opposite in some places - the tension would be so extreme, that I would have to walk away from the book just to relax a bit!

I love books about psychics anyway, but this was by far one of the best ones I've ever read. Marina, the main character, starts off as a grifter, having been raised to be a "psychic" by her mother, she has become very skilled at reading people - but of course has no psychic abilities whatsoever. Then... things change, and she starts to become bombarded with visions, images, etc.

There's a mystery, some romance, lots of intrigue, and great characters. I so highly recommend this book! Now I'm off to try and get my hands on her other books :)

Thursday, August 21, 2008

Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer by Jen Lancaster

What I\
Such a Pretty Fat: One Narcissist's Quest To Discover if Her Life Makes Her Ass LookBig, Or Why Pie is Not The Answer by Jen Lancaster

I almost didn't read this one, but I'm so glad I did! I really enjoyed it. I think this 3rd book by Jen Lancaster is by far her best. The first two were funny, but I didn't get a sense of any cohesion. This one, though, deals primarily with her weight, her realization that she needs to lose some!, and the processes she goes through. I completely related to so much of what she wrote, which could be why I love this one the best.

My absolute favorite part (and this doesn't give anything away) is when she decides to chart her progress with pictures. So she puts on cute clothes, fixes her hair and makeup, and decides she looks GREAT!! Then later looks at the picture and is horrified that she ended up with a picture of Jabba the Hut.

She talks about different weight loss methods - Atkins, Jenny Craig, and Weight Watchers - and exercise routines in her quest to find what works for her.

I think anyone who has struggled with losing weight can identify with this, laugh out loud reading it, and if not motivated to lose weight themselves, then at least cheer Jen on!

4 1/2 stars!

Tuesday, August 19, 2008

So Long at the Fair: A Novel by Christina Schwarz

So Long at the Fair: A Novel
So Long at the Fair: A Novel by Christina Schwarz

As I was reading this book, I loved the plot, the writing, the setting - everything about this book was going great! And then it ended, and I felt completely unsatisfied. I wanted more of a resolution.

The novel takes place in the present time during one day in the life of Ginny and Jon. Jon is having an affair with a woman from his office, and much of the book deals with his feelings about both women. We're also taken back to 1963, and discover how Ginny and Jon's parents lives intertwined at that time, as well as a man for whom Ginny is currently doing some work. And in between all that, the novel fills us in on Ginny and Jon's background - how they met, their early marriage, etc.

But while the writing is very good, and I immensely enjoyed reading this book, there is just too much that is unresolved in this novel. As it is, it can be considered a great character study. You may not like all the characters (and there is much to NOT like!) but you get to know them pretty well. However, if you're looking for a great story with everything wrapped up at the end, this isn't going to be it.

Overall, I'd give this 3 1/2 stars.

Some Like It Hot-Buttered (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

Some Like It Hot-Buttered (A Double Feature Mystery)
Some Like It Hot-Buttered (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

I loved this cozy! The characters are great - Elliot Freed (the main character) is a funny, endearing character. The murder (a man found dead in Elliot's theater), plus the added mystery of the discover of pirated copies of a movie, keep the reader guessing all the way to the end.

There's a lot packed into this book - I love Jeffrey Cohen's writing style. It's fresh and funny - you take your time, because you don't want to miss a word. I look forward to the next one in this series!

Saturday, August 16, 2008

If you like Hailey Lind

I am a HUGE fan of the Art Lovers mystery series by Hailey Lind (actually two sisters collaborating!!). I was so sad to hear that the series was ending and dearly hope that someone somewhere picks up the next book(s) in this series!

Until then, there is apparently a new series starting - this is from their blog - :

Secondhand Spirits will be coming out July 2009, under the pseudonym Juliet Blackwell.

I'll definitely be on the lookout for that one - and keeping my fingers crossed for more in the Art Lovers series :)

Friday, August 15, 2008

Coming Soon.....

One of my favorite series is the Sophie Katz books by Kyra Davis. The books are:


and YAY!! Coming soon in June of '09, Lust, Loathing And A Little Lip Gloss!

I'm so excited :)

Mum's the Word (Flower Shop Mysteries, No. 1) by Kate Collins

Mum's the Word (Flower Shop Mysteries, No. 1)
Mum's the Word (Flower Shop Mysteries, No. 1) by Kate Collins

I finally found time to start this series, and I'm so glad I did! I loved the characters, and the descriptions of working in a flower shop are actually pretty accurate (since my mom owns one!).

One thing that bothered me was how oblivious Abby could be about some things - things that were just really obvious. For example, she didn't connect all the threatening calls with her meddling - that just didn't make any sense at all.

But, despite that, the mystery was good and the plot moved along well. I'll definitely read the next one.

Friday, August 8, 2008

Twilight or Breaking Dawn Giveaway

A great giveaway is happening here! Katrina from Stone Soup giving away a copy of Breaking Dawn by Stephanie Meyer OR you can ask to receive Twilight instead, if you haven't started reading this series! Plus, if you aren't even interested in the series, you could still enter for a copy of The Host. This is an amazing giveaway!!! Enter by August 10th. Winner will be posted August 11th!!

Book Giveaway - The Gargoyle

A blog that I really like -Dawn's She Is Too Fond of Books - is having a giveaway of The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson here

Check it out!

Thursday, August 7, 2008

What I\
The Lace Reader by Brunonia Barry

This was an amazing book! The idea of Lace Reading (seeing the future by looking through a piece of lace) is fascinating!! According to the author, she got the idea from a dream :)

I love so much about this book - the characters, the story, and the setting - Salem, Mass. Through this book, you feel as if you are there - that you could just travel there and immediately find your way around.

This was a can't-put-down read, and one of the few books out there that makes you feel a little richer for having read it.

I also recommend checking out the website!

A very cool site!

I came across this artist and I just love him! At some point, I'm going to try and learn to do my own blog design, and I hope to use his Book of Trees somewhere in it. Right now, it's my desktop wallpaper :)

Check it out!