Saturday, October 3, 2009

October is Breast Cancer Awareness Month

I posted last year about this, and I'm here again. Here's what I'm doing this year:

Hosting a shopping swap on my favorite site (paperbackswap.com) where we are all buying gifts for each other from stores/sites that will donate a portion of the proceeds to breast cancer research.

Walking the 5k in the Susan G. Komen Race for the Cure on October 17.

Rewarding anyone I know who gets or schedules a mammogram OR (if they aren't old enough to get need to start) gets their mom, aunt, friend, etc. to go get one.

And here's just one reason why -- this cause is important to me in a big way. My daughter's grandmother, my husband's mother, died from breast cancer, and I'm soooooo angry about that. She was one of the most decent, loving women I've ever known. I'm angry that my daughter won't know her grandmother. Won't visit her, cuddle with her, talk to her on the phone, draw her pictures. Won't grow up having another person on this earth love her unconditionally. I'm pissed that Jean won't know her granddaughter - this beautful, amazing girl who looks like her. Who is bright and funny and so full of life, and would love her so much.

Please please please, let there be a cure before my daughter grows up. Let this horrible thing be one less thing she needs to worry about.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

Evernight

Evernight (Evernight Novels (Hardback)) by Claudia Gray

This is an enjoyable YA read about a young girl who is new to Evernight Academy. Not the typical vampire novel, but unfortunately nothing all that unique here either.

Still, the characters are likeable (or not, in some cases!) and this first installment definitely leaves you wanting more to the story.



The Missing Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson


From Amazon:

From Publishers Weekly
The Painted Lady, a tattoo shop in contemporary Las Vegas, and its owner, artist turned tattooist Brett Kavanaugh, are central to this pleasantly jargon-free themed mystery from Olson (the Annie Seymour mysteries). When a woman requests a devotion tattoo from Brett and then vanishes, her disappearance is quickly linked to a series of murders involving tattooing equipment and rival shop Murder Ink. Brett's police detective brother, Tim, requests her expertise, and a murder at an engagingly excessive fictional hotel leads to Brett meeting its mysteriously handsome manager, Simon Chase, providing a solid base for further sleuthing and romance. Readers need not be conversant with street flash or other industry terms to enjoy the setting and follow Brett down a trail of needles and gloves to the dramatic finale. (July)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

-----------------

I thought this was a refreshing change from the usual craft, cooking, or paranormal cozies that are so popular lately. While I like those others quite a bit, this one was just so much fun to read! It even made me want to go get a tattoo :)

4 1/2 stars, and will definitely read the next one!!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Black Dagger Brotherhood

I love this series! I read books 4 and 5 back to back, and have the 6th one coming to me - hopefully it will be here soon!

Lover Revealed (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 4) by J.R. Ward

This book in the series features Butch, the human who was a cop that just learned way too much about the vampires and the black dagger brotherhood. Now he lives and fights with them. Still, he feels like an outsider. Especially since he's in love with Marissa - a vampire female who (he believes) does not want anything to do with him.

Lots of surprises in this one, especially about Butch, who has far more to him than meets the eye!!


Lover Unbound (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 5) by J.R. Ward

Next up is Vishous's story. After a particularly bad fight, he is rushed to a human hospital because of a bullet wound - and meets Jane. He immediately connects with her, which causes all sorts of problems! We also learn about his childhood, the abuse he suffered at his father's hands, and with him, we find out who his mother is.

While the relationship between him and Jane is good, the far more interesting parts of this book deal with his relationship with his mother and with Butch. I wasn't really happy with the way the book dealt with him and Jane, but hopefully during the next book it will become a bit more palatable.

Catching up on Reviews!

Doom with a View (Psychic Eye Mysteries, Book 7) by Victoria Laurie

The FBI has asked Abby for help with a case involving missing teenagers, so she heads to DC with her partner Candice. Unfortunately, she meets some resistance from the head of the task force, and Dutch's boss. But of course, she manages to prove herself!

This was a really good addition to the series. A good, solid mystery with plenty of red herrings thrown in, some intrigue, romance, and a big surprise ending that has me counting down until the next book in the series comes out!!


Blood Promise (Vampire Academy, Book 4) by Richelle Mead

This is by far one of the best YA Vampire series written. I love Rose, tough but tender-hearted, who at the beginning of this book has set out to find and kill Dimitri, who has been turned into a Strigoi. She leaves Lissa behind at the Academy, and is out in the world alone, with no idea where to go or if she'll succeed in her quest.

Of course, both her and Lissa end up in very scary situations and they both learn how strong they really can be.




Saturday, August 22, 2009

Succubus on Top (Georgina Kincaid, Book 2) by Richelle Mead

Succubus on Top (Georgina Kincaid, Book 2) by Richelle Mead

I had forgotten how much I enjoyed the first book until I picked up this second one!

Georgina is a succubus - she drains life energy from her sexual partners/victims. And she's in love with a human - which means she can't have sex with him without draining away some of his life. And if that's not enough, now she's dealing with someone dealing "otherworldly" drugs, problems at the bookstore, and on top of that, her friend Bastion (an incubus) comes to town and needs her help.

This book has lots of steaminess, action, and humor - more than enough to keep you reading late into the night!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Prettiest Girl in the World!

Finally got a picture that doesn't look posed, lol!
Posted by Picasa

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

"How far would you go to save someone you love?"

As a teen novel, this book works on many levels. There's the usual teen angst (trying to fit in, self-discovery, dealing with parents, falling in love). But there's also deeper levels here - what it means to be a human, what is a soul, what is the mind.

Jenna Fox is a 17 year old girl who wakes from a year+ long coma and finds herself in a world that is foreign to her. As her memory slowly returns, and as she begins to uncover some secrets her parents are keeping, she finds that she has found more questions than answers.

Can Jenna accept that sometimes there aren't answers at all?

Monday, August 17, 2009

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Burned by Ellen Hopkins

Ellen Hopkins' verse style of writing is growing on me! This is the 2nd book I've read (I listened to Crank on audio).

Burned is about a young Mormon girl who is questioning her beliefs and her place in the LDS community. She begins to experiment with alcohol and exploring her sexuality - which leads to her being sent to her aunt's house for the summer. There, she meets Ethan and falls in love and develops a strong, loving relationship with her aunt as well.

The novel deals with great sensitivity the issues of spousal abuse, alcoholism, and teen sexuality, not to mention the compelling way the Mormon view of women and their place in the church is described.



The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong

I enjoyed the first book in this series,
The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1), and thought this sequel was a good follow-up. As with the first, it leaves the ending open for another book in the series.

This book picks up with Chloe being held in the facility she was taken to after running away from Lyle House. Simon and Derek are still on the run, Chloe is trying to deal with her aunt's duplicity as well as her abilities as a necromancer.

I think this series is excellent for YA readers. It's got strong characters and a good storyline, and most teen readers will love it.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) by J.R. Ward

Lover Awakened (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 3) by J.R. Ward


Another great book in this series! This book focuses on Zsadist and Bella, but also brings more lore into the story - we learn a bit about sympaths, trainees, etc.

I have to say, the writing and story is getting so much better, too. This book had me riveted, and there were several times I cried! I am just such a fan of this series. I have the next one on it's way to me, and I'm sure I'll be starting it soon :)

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Blue Moon: The Immortals

Blue Moon: The Immortals

I hate to say, but I didn't like this book. The first one (Evermore: The Immortals by Alyson Noel) showed a lot of promise. It was a great concept (combining immortality and reincarnation), and introduced some solid teen issues for the characters to deal with.

This one, however, was just confusing and rushed. It could have been an excellent book - I enjoy Ms. Noel's writing style and I like the characters - but sadly this one falls short.


Tuesday, August 11, 2009

A Whole New Look!

I have changed the look of my blog!!! I have been in love with this guy's artwork (www.vladstudio.com) for a long time, and finally decided to incorporate some of it into my blog.

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) by J.R. Ward

Lover Eternal (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 2) by J.R. Ward


I couldn't help it, I had to pick up the next book in this series! It was as good, if not better, than the first one. This book is about Rhage and Mary, but also continues the storyline of the Lessers and their plans to take down the Brotherhood.

The writing in this book (and the 1st one) is great, and the plot is terrific. I am fighting the urge to go straight to the next one! But I have other books to read and send out :-D

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) by J.R. Ward

Dark Lover (Black Dagger Brotherhood, Book 1) by J.R. Ward

So.... what does it say that instead of reading the books I needed to read, I bought them new just so that I could read the next book in this series?!

Loved it!!!! Love Beth and Wrath. Love the concept. And I can't wait to read more about this world they live in.

This is one of the best vampire books written. It took a while to start this series, and I'm kicking myself about it - seriously!

Lots of romance, intrigue, and excitement. I give this one a 4 1/2!!! Can't wait to get really into the next one :)

Monday, August 3, 2009

The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer

The Wet Nurse's Tale by Erica Eisdorfer


Set in Victorian England, this is the story of Susan Rose, the daughter of a wet nurse who finds herself taking on the same job.

On the surface, the book describes her journey from single parent to wet nurse, and her struggles along the way with her family, her work, her employers, etc.

But there's also another story being told. It's the story of women from all walks of life and their experiences with motherhood, pregnancy, PPD, etc. We meet women who want to nurse their babies but can't, women who don't want to nurse. Women who must help their husbands or take care of other children and are just too busy. We see women who are helpers to their husbands, who are lovers, and also those that are at the mercy of men who are cruel to them.

And throughout the book is the love Susan has for her child, and the lengths she will go for him. She will risk everything for this child.

I'm not a huge reader of historical fiction, but this one completely captivated me! I highly recommend it - for the story of the women, the historical significance, and the beautiful writing and plot.


Friday, July 31, 2009

Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Book 1) by Gena Showalter

Awaken Me Darkly (Alien Huntress, Book 1) by Gena Showalter


A thorougly enjoyable read! Usually I try to read a series in order, but I've read the two YA books in this series - Red Handed and Black Listed - and enjoyed them, so I finally decided to go back and start the series from the beginning.

This book
is definitely NOT Young Adult! There are some pretty steamy sex scenes and a lot of violence, so I think it's very interesting to see a series that mixes genres this way.

In this book, the main character is Mia Snow who works for A.I.R. - a group who is dedicated to hunting aliens who have commited a crime. She's part of a group who is investigating the murder of several men, and during the investigation, she discovers a lot more than just who the murderer is!

I can't wait to read the next one - and luckily I have it here :)

Monday, July 27, 2009

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder

I Heart You, You Haunt Me by Lisa Schroeder


The only complaint I have about this book is that it's really short! Because it's written in verse, it's a really quick read. Still, Ms. Schroeder manages to pack a lot into it.

The book deals with a young girl, Ava, whose boyfriend, Jackson, has died. She
is devastated, as she believed him to be her soulmate, and also blames herself for his death. And then he begins to visit her - she can't feel him or see him, but she knows he's there.

As the book progresses, Ava deals with her grief, her guilt, and her confusion about the "haunting." Her inner turmoil is dealt with very well, but that's really all. There's no room for any character development, the death of Jackson is briefly described, and there's really not much of a plot.

Even so, the book succeeds for what it has set out to do, and I definitely recommend it.

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain

Wow!!! I could NOT put this book down - thank you to Lori
LORI'S READING CORNER for sharing her ARC with me!!

This is the 3rd book in the series with Archie and Gretchen, and it's a great addition. It picks up 2 months after the 2nd book ends, with Gretchen on the loose and Archie in a mental hospital.

When some bodies are discovered, the police suspect that Gretchen is back to her old ways and Archie is pulled into the investigation, and back into Gretchen's reach.

Definitely a must-read!

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Love Stories in This Town

Love Stories in This Town
Love Stories in This Town

This is a beautiful collection of stories. The first half are stand-alone stories of different women at different stages in life. One woman has lost her husband in the 9-11 tragedy. Another woman must choose between the life she knows and the unknown one with her boyfriend.

The 2nd half is a collection of "Lola" stories, and they are wonderful. Each story is like a snapshot of a different time in Lola's life. One story is from her mother-in-law's perspective, which gives a whole new dimension to Lola's story.

I love Amanda Eyre Ward's writing! Her novels How To Be Lost and Forgive Me are two of my favorites, and Sleep Toward Heaven will be moved much farther up my TBR pile!

Friday, July 24, 2009

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell

Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell


I've been anxiously waiting for this book! I love the Art Lover's Mysteries written by Hailey Lind, who is actually
a collaboration between Julie Goodson-Lawes and Carolyn J. Lawes. (BTW, I am absolutely THRILLED to read on their website that there WILL be another addition to this series!!!!!!! Arsenic and Old Paint will apparently be published in 2010.)

Anyway, as for this book... I loved it. It's more paranormal than cozy mystery, but if you're a fan of either genre, you should love this one too. The main character, Lily Ivory, is a witch who has finally settled into a community that she wants to stay in for a while. She has a vintage clothing store (Aunt Clara's Closet), some new friends, and of course, a mystery to solve and a demon to banish.

I can't wait for the next one in this series!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Untamed (House of Night Novels) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Untamed (House of Night Novels) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast

Book Four in the House of Night series - and another great addition! I think this one, though, is a bit darker than the first three in the series. As Zoey's power grows, it seems her battles get bigger. I love how she finds unusual allies in this book - but I don't want to say too much and give it away!

If you're reading this series, you'll love this one. And if you're not, you should!

Saturday, July 18, 2009



Glass by Ellen Hopkins


I listened to the first book in this series, Crank, and to be honest, I didn't really care for it that much. It could have been the narrator, or just that I'm not as big a fan of audiobooks as I am printed ones :)

Still, I decided to go ahead and read the second. I checked it out from the library, and it sat unread until it was due back. A few weeks later, I checked it out again and this time, I READ it! And I'm so glad I did!!

I really enjoyed it. The "verse" style was a little hard to get used to right at first, but I quickly got used to it, and began to really appreciate it. Very unique and easy to read.

As for the story, it is just heartbreaking - for Kristina, the young girl who is addicted to crank, her mother, her son, her siblings. As someone who has an addict in her family, I know all to well how painful it is to watch someone destroy so much of their life. These books are from Kristina's point of view, and it's hard sometimes to like her when she's doing such horrible things.

I highly recommend this series! And I look forward to the next book in the series!

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel by Yoko Ogawa

The Housekeeper and the Professor: A Novel by Yoko Ogawa

It's not often that a book moves me the way this one did. After devouring most of it yesterday, even staying up late in the night, I finally finished it this morning, with tears streaming down my face.

This is a beautifully written novel (written by Ms. Ogawa in Japanese and translated by Stephen Snyder). It's a simple story of a woman who is the housekeeper for a mathematical genius - one who survived a tragic accident almost 20 years before leaving him with a short-term memory that lasts only 80 minutes. Each day, she must re-introduce herself when she comes to work. The Professor lives with notes clipped to his clothes, reminders to help him live. When he meets her son, he insists that she bring him with her every day. Nicknamed Root, the son and the Professor develop a fascinating relationship, sharing a love of math and baseball.

I could go on and on describing this book, its loveliness, and its love in every single page. Instead I will just say, please please read this book.

Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer

Serendipity: A Novel by Louise Shaffer

From the back of book: Louise Shaffer brings to life three generations of Italian American women in this stunning novel of surprises, secrets, and serendipity. A child of theatrical royalty, Carrie Manning is having a hard time getting her own act together. Thirty-seven, aimless, and having just buried a famous mother she never understood, she is desperate to uncover her family's mysterious past in the hopes that it will help her understand herself.

Review to come...

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (Stephanie Plum Novels) by Janet Evanovich

Sadly, this book is not getting the rave reviews that earlier Stephanie Plum books have gotten. When I first started this series, I would laugh out loud, read late into the night, and pass the book along immediately to a friend.

The first thing I noticed about this book is that it's short - oh, it tries to bulk up by using larger print and wider margins, but I read it in one day - and not because I couldn't put it down.

I really really want to love this series as much as ever, and in some ways, I still do. Stephanie and Lula and Grandma are hilarious, Morelli and Ranger are sexy. But the things that had me rolling on the floor just aren't there anymore - or at least not as much. Stephanie's failed attempts to capture her FTA are funny, but sometimes the way she would actually succeed are funnier. The cars getting blown up used to be funny - now it's just recycled. She's breaking up and making up with Morelli and hot for Ranger... Nothing's new, and that's the saddest part of all.

Maybe the next installment will bring new life to Stephanie.


Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch

From Amazon /
Publishers Weekly
An unenthusiastic Southern debutante copes with the cruelties of postcollege New York life in Crouch's amusing debut. Sarah Walters is neither a misfit nor the queen of the Camellia Society cotillion scene growing up in Charleston, S.C. But when she and her fellow Camellias try to make a life in New York City, they find themselves coping in unexpectedly dangerous ways—from standard substance addictions to Sarah's fixation on preppy ex-boyfriend Max, a smooth and sadistic child of wealth. While the formula of young women in the big city seems destined for cliché, Crouch subverts most expectations; Sarah almost purposely misses an opportunity for happiness and stability with the gentle lover she met in Europe, and her ploy to ignite sparks with a college friend goes painfully awry. When Sarah goes back to Charleston and faces a perhaps too over-the-top family crisis (it involves suicide and lesbianism), the reader's left with the hope that the worst is over. Though this feels almost like a collection—each chapter its own story with its own narrative technique—Crouch's portrayal of a young woman's self-sabotage and the pitfalls facing young women in a cold world is wise, wry and heartbreaking. (Apr.)
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

I just can decide whether I really loved this book or am annoyed with it! On one hand, I could not put the book down - I had to keep reading to find out what Sarah would do next, what was going on with her friends and family, etc. But the book just jumped around too much - one chapter might be about the summer before college, then the next would be 10 years after college, and then back again to a friend's perspective from during college! I had a hard time keeping track of the timeline throughout the book.

Still... there's no denying that Sarah's story is compelling. And throughout the book, the one connecting thread is that she was a Camellia (the group of women who were debutantes, daughters of debutantes...) and this keeps her grounded and connected in ways she didn't always realize. She may have left home and her Southern roots, but she couldn't escape the Camellias.

Unlike most books, this one doesn't end with everything all wrapped up and tidy. You still don't know how much more Sarah will struggle, but you do at least feel that she's grown and will make more mature decisions with her life - which I guess is all any of us can hope for in our own lives.

Overall, this is a solid 4 stars, possibly even 4 1 /2 for the great writing that kept me reading late in the night.

Saturday, July 4, 2009

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

The Summoning (Darkest Powers, Book 1) by Kelley Armstrong

Chloe Saunders sees ghosts - and more... After having a terrifying episode in her school, she's sent to Lyle House - a home for troubled teens. While she's there, though, she begins to uncover sinister acts and makes friends with some of the other kids who seem to have other supernatural talents. As they become closer, they realize that they might be in danger.

Chloe and the other characters were well-written, but I'm hoping they will be more fleshed-out in the next book. This book seems to be mostly about setting things up for the rest of the series. I'm not sure how many books are planned - the next one, The Awakening (Darkest Powers, Book 2) by Kelley Armstrong, is available (and I'm very anxious to read it!).

Overall, this was a very good book, just obviously unfinished.

Next up:

Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch


Monday, June 29, 2009

Dark Places: A Novel by Gillian Flynn

I absolutely loved Gillian Flynn's first novel,
Sharp Objects, so I was anxiously waiting to get my hands on this one.

In this book, Libby Day is a survivor of a mass murder of her family - and her brother Ben is still serving time for the murders of her mother and two sisters. She lives in almost paralyzing inertia, living off a trust fund that started with donations for her care after the murders. The novel begins 25 years after the murders. Libby's money has run out and she's contacted by a man who wants to pay her for memorabilia and a personal appearance with his "Kill Club" - a group who has been attempting to solve the mystery.

As Libby begins to finally face what happened that night, she begins to question her own memories - as well as her own testimony that her brother had committed the murders.

I highly recommend this book - and if you haven't read Sharp Objects, be sure to pick that one up as well!

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Recent Reads

The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano

From Amazon /
Booklist
After 20 years in the Federal Witness Protection Program (WITSEC) and eight aliases, Melody Grace McCartney hardly knows who she is. On the run since she and her parents stumbled on a gruesome murder by mobster Tony Bovaro when she was six years old, Grace saw WITSEC’s promised protection fail her mother and father when they were killed 12 years later. Now she feigns personal danger to be relocated just because she’s bored and wants a change. But before her new case officer can move her from suburban Maryland to rural Wisconsin, Tony’s son, Jonathan, tracks her down to present an alternative: protection from his family and a life of more safety and freedom than she has ever known. While federal officials pressure her to stay in WITSEC and show her Jonathan’s violent side, her attraction to him grows, and she must decide a course for the rest of her life. This is a compulsively readable, skillfully constructed first novel with well-drawn characters and a plot that twists and turns to what seems the best possible conclusion, marking Cristofano as a writer to watch. --Michele Leber

I read this book in about a day, and thoroughly enjoyed it. It's always a joy to read such a well-crafted novel. I thought it was such an interesting idea of a character who couldn't be herself - literally! Melody hasn't been able to be "Melody" since she was six years old, and when Jonathan calls her by name, she can't resist listening to him and his proposal. It did make me think about how closely tied we are to our name and hometown as a big part of our identity - to have those taken away would make me feel very lost in the world.

I look forward to more books by Mr. Cristofano.

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Vision in White by Nora Roberts

Vision in White (The Wedding Quartet, Book 1) by Nora Roberts

From Amazon:
Two out of three isn’t bad, right? Mackensie “Mac” Elliot had the perfect job and the best friends in the world, Emma, Laurel, and Parker. Together, the four were Vows, Connecticut’s hottest wedding-planning company. So what if Mac hadn’t found her own Mr. Right yet. Then Mac literally bumps into shy, scholarly, yet surprisingly sexy Carter Maguire when he turns up for his sister’s wedding-planning meeting, and Mac quickly discovers exactly what is missing from her up-until-now satisfactory life. After blending paranormal and fantasy elements in her last four romance trilogies, consistently engaging Roberts returns to basics and her literary roots. The result is a thoroughly charming contemporary romance that neatly showcases this reigning romance author’s flair for sharp, clever writing and realistically complicated characters in a compelling celebration of the power of friendship and love. --John Charles

OK - Normally I'm not a big Nora Roberts fan, but I really enjoyed this book! It's not great literature, true, but it's not meant to be. I liked the characters, I liked the story, and I liked reading about wedding details. It's fun chick-lit, and great summer reading.

Like the description says, this book was about Mac - the photographer who meets a great guy. Unfortunately, he's just not her type. Well, of course we all know right away that he's exactly her type, and fortunately she soon realizes it too. There are few surprises in this book, but that's ok - it's a nice comfy sweet ride.

I plan to continue this series - the next one comes out in December!


Friday, June 5, 2009

Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See

Product Details Shanghai Girls: A Novel by Lisa See



Lisa See has an amazing gift for making the history of Chinese women come alive. Her novel
Snow Flower and the Secret Fan is still one of my favorite all-time books.

In Shanghai Girls, we are introduced to Pearl and May, sisters living in Shanghai just before World War II. Through a series of frightening events, they eventually come to America and live in Los Angeles' Chinatown. The novel takes us to the 1950s, when they experience the fear that the communist witch hunts brought about.

I'm normally not a big "historical fiction" reader, but when a book is as well-written as this one, where the history is so expertly woven with the story, I am entranced by it. This is a definite must-read!

Thursday, May 28, 2009

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis

Finished reading this today - and I loved it!!! I think this series is just getting better - this one had a lot of depth, humor, mystery, and hot romance!

Sophie is trying to buy a new home, and the seller is giving her all sorts of crazy restrictions - but she's getting a great deal, so she tries to work it out. But things of course are not what they seem, and before you know it, there's not just one but 2 dead bodies that Sophie finds!

Highly recommend this series if anyone hasn't started them yet!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Too Far Behind

I've been awful about keeping up with this blog! Part of the problem is that I really haven't read anything lately that I'm just so enthralled with that I have to talk about it.

Right now, I'm reading:

Lust, Loathing and a Little Lip Gloss by Kyra Davis

So far, so good, and hopefully I'll finish it soon and write a review!

I've gotten lots of ARCs to review, and will hopefully be getting to those soon.

In the meantime, here are a few of my favorites so far this year:

Those Who Save Us by Jenna Blum - fantastic!!!

Marked (House of Night, Book 1) by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast - great start to a good series - I've also read the 2nd one in this series, and have the 3rd one waiting...

and in getting ready for the movie, if you are one of the very few left who hasn't read Harry Potter - start the series now! Don't worry about it being considered "young adult" - this is an amazing series and well-worth the read.

And now, I have the choice of either reading or putting together an Ikea bookshelf - I think I'm going to read :)

Monday, May 4, 2009

In the Dark by Brian Freeman

In the Dark by Brian Freeman

What a great book! This is the 4th book in the Jonathan Stride series, and it's awesome.

Jonathan is pulled into an investigation of his late wife's sister's murder when her friend comes to town with plans to write a book about the murder that took place in 1977.

Mr. Freeman does a fantastic job tying the past to the present, and even bringing in a current-day investigation that ties into the murder.

Highly recommend!!

Friday, May 1, 2009

A Night at the Operation (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

A Night at the Operation (A Double Feature Mystery) by Jeffrey Cohen

From the back cover: Most men wouldn't be terribly upset if their ex-wives suddenly vanished. But then, most men aren't Elliot Freed.

Elliot's ex-wife, Sharon, has disappeared and Elliot of course makes finding her his top priority. This starts a chain of events that leads to murder, disappearing corpses, burglary, blackmail, and all sorts of other fun things!

This is the 3rd book in the series, and I think the best one yet. Like the first two books, it includes lots of great classic movie trivia and hysterical one-liners. But there's also some very touching scenes, as well. Add to that a great mystery and you have a book that is well worth the read.

Saturday, March 14, 2009

Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

The Kindness of Strangers by Katrina Kittle

Absolutely amazing. I had no idea what the novel was about when I picked it up - I had it on my shelf, and heard so many good things about it, so I picked it up - and once I started reading it, I was so drawn in, I couldn't put it down! The story is completely engrossing, even to the point where I've found myself thinking about it days after I've finished it.

Highly recommend this one!

Saturday, February 14, 2009

The Remains of the Dead by Wendy Roberts

The Remains of the Dead (Ghost Dusters Mysteries, No. 1) by Wendy Roberts

After picking up a few books and putting them back down, I knew this one was going to keep me enthralled after the first few pages! And I was right :)

Everything about this book works great! The characters are terrific - Sadie and Zack are the main characters - Sadie owns a cleaning service that specializes in post-death cleanup (ok - how wonderfully vivid is THAT??!!) and Zack works for her. As an added bonus, Sadie often sees the ghost of the departed.

The mystery in this first book in the series is rock solid. A few red herrings, some intrigue, some danger - and it all adds up to a great story.

PLUS - a special thanks to the author for responding to my email! I just had to let her know how much I was enjoying her book, and she was kind enough to answer!

I'm reading the 2nd book in this series now, and I'm hoping there's a 3rd one in the works!

Monday, February 9, 2009

catching up!

I've finally finished the Twilight series! I read the last two books back to back - Eclipse and Breaking Dawn.

To be honest, I'm not a big fan. I don't really like the characters that much and the story is pretty simplistic. The books are just way too long, and I just got tired of reading the same character descriptions (yeah, I get it - Edward is cold!!)

I know a lot of people didn't like the way the series ended, but I thought Breaking Dawn was at least a bit more interesting than the first three. Still, like the others, it was just too long with not enough interesting things going on and characters that just kept doing and saying the same things over and over.

I've read many YA series, and most of them were far better as far as the writing, plotlines, character development, etc. The Vampire Academy series and Harry Potter for two.

Sunday, January 25, 2009

Story of a Girl by Sara Zarr

What a wonderful book! This is the story of 16 year old Deanna, a young girl who at 13 was discovered by her father in the back of a car with a friend of her older brother's. This has deeply affected her, her relationship with her parents, her friends, her reputation, etc. She finally realizes she must deal with it.

There were so many parts of this book that rang so deeply with me - although it's been a long time since I was 16, the way it was written brought back so much of it.

I highly recommend this book to YA as well as adults - 5 stars!

Friday, January 23, 2009

Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake by Lisa McMann


This was a great YA book! I read it in one day - I could not put it down! Janie has a unique ability - she gets pulled into other people's dreams. For the most part, she hates it, but as she gets older she learns to make the best of it. There's a bit of intrigue, romance, and coming-of-age - an all-around wonderful read!

Thursday, January 22, 2009

50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom

What I\
50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom

Really cute paranormal! I liked the main characters, Jazz and Nick. Lots of fun but also had some dark parts too. Also pretty hot in some parts!! Not for the delicate :) Looking forward to the next one!


Monday, January 19, 2009

catching up!

I need to get caught up on my reviews!

The Solomon Sisters Wise Up (Red Dress Ink) by Melissa Senate - finished 1/13 - Loved it! The main characters are three sisters who come together while their father plans his wedding with his 3rd wife. It's not just how they find ways to be close, but also how they resolve issues in their lives, make peace with the problems they've had with their father in the past, and even with each other. Very good and well-written.

Reconstructing Brigid (Red Dress Ink) by Lee Nichols - This one is published by Red Dress Ink and the cover even looks like chick-lit, but I would not classify this book in that genre. It was good - Brigid is an accident reconstructionist who is brought in on a case of a missing woman. As she solves the mystery of the accident, she also begins to come to terms with her phobias that come from an accident she was involved in. As a mystery/thriller it's very good.

Elsewhere by Gabrielle Zevin - This is a YA book about a young girl (15) who is killed in a hit-and-run accident and talks about her afterlife. I've heard really great things about this book, but honestly, I didn't love it as much as others seem to. That said, it was a very good book and worth the time to read it.

Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs - I'm surprised I didn't review this before! I loved this book - I think it's a wonderful start to a series. The characters are great, and the mystery was well-crafted. I really look forward to more in this series!

Sunday, January 11, 2009

A Veiled Deception (A Vintage Magic Mystery) by Annette Blair

I had a hard time getting into this book, but once I did, I really started enjoying it! I really enjoyed the characters and the mystery was very good - lots of believable twists. I will definitely continue with this series!

Monday, January 5, 2009

Mayhem in High Heels (Romantic Mysteries) by Gemma Halliday

Maddie is back, along with Dana, Marco, and Jack in another great addition to this series! In this one, Maddie and Jack are planning their wedding - up until the wedding planner is murdered! Of course, Maddie can't stop until she solves this mystery, even though soon-to-be hubby Jack begs her to leave it alone!

Lots of laughs, great characters, and a good solid mystery - I give this one 4 stars :-)

And watch for a book coming later this year from Gemma Halliday -
SCANDAL SHEET - available November 2009! book #1 of the Hollywood Headlines series - I can't wait!!!!!!!!

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Killing Floor (Jack Reacher, No. 1) by Lee Child

I've had this book (and most of the series) on my TBR for so long, and I finally decided to pick it up and get started on it - and I'm so glad I did! I just loved this book. It could easily be a stand-alone book, but knowing there are more books with Jack Reacher is wonderful! 4 1/2 stars!

This was Book #1 for this year! A good start for hopefully a good year of reading :)