Wednesday, November 3, 2010

The Abortionist's Daughter by Elisabeth Hyde

The Abortionist's Daughter

I started off listening to the audio version, which I thought was excellent. But once I was just a short way to the end, I grabbed my paperback copy off my bookshelf and finished it.

I thought it was very good. Briefly, it's about the murder of a local doctor who runs an abortion clinic and the investigation. There's the mystery of who could have murdered her - the local Pro-Life minister? The husband? Someone else?

And then there are the issues that the daughter, Megan, must deal with - not only with losing her mother but forging a new kind of relationship with her father.

Maybe it's not the most complex mystery, but I don't think it's supposed to be. I think it's more a character study, dealing with obsessions, convictions, fears, and uncertainties that we all deal with at some point. And a woman whose marriage is flailing and whose relationship with her daughter is rocky. Who has approached middle-age and is re-evaluating her choices and her goals (and unfortunately, her life ends before she comes to any conclusions). Just as Megan finds that with her mother's death, she loses the chance for reconciliation (her last conversation with her mother was an argument).

There's not a lot of resolution, but there is some, and as the book ends, we feel that Megan, her father, and Huck just might be ok.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

  Deeply, Desperately (Lucy Valentine, #2)Deeply, Desperately by Heather Webber

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book was an absolute joy to read!  I was beyond excited after I finished the first one (Truly, Madly) and couldn’t stop gushing about it.  So of course I’ve been just dying to get my hands on this one – and YAY!!!  I got an ARC from Heather (thank you thank you thank you!!) and within a day of getting it, I was devouring it.

And it’s terrific!!  Lucy has two main cases in this book – finding the lost love of one client through her company, and helping the police find the body of a missing woman.  On top of that, Sean’s ex-fiancee makes an appearance, and Lucy and Marisol try to “help” Em and her love life.

I have to admit that there were times I had tears in my eyes while reading this – and other times when I laughed out loud.  Now, how many books can you say that about?  Not to mention that I just hated to get to the end of the book and say goodbye to Lucy, Sean, and all the rest of the family and friends.  So the countdown has begun – the next book in this series is Absolutely, Positively and has a February2011 publishing date!  I can’t wait!!!

View all my reviews >>

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet

Product Details

 I think I'm one of the few people who read this book and didn't love it!  For some reason, I didn't connect to any of the characters at all.  They didn't seem complex or interesting.  The story itself seemed to be "told" rather than shown.

The story is about Henry - we first meet him as a 56 year old widower who has recently lost his wife to cancer.  He has one son who he has a strained relationship with.  One day, he watches as a nearby hotel (The Panama) brings up items which had been hidden in the basement since WWII.  These items were family belongings that Japanese citizens left there for safekeeping as they were taken away (relocated to camps).  As Henry watches, he begins to remember his childhood and his relationship with a Japanese girl, Keiko.

I get the sentimental aspect of it - the awful truth of how our country treated Japanese citizens during WWII and how anyone of Asian descent was looked at with suspicion.  The sadness of being different, and losing someone who you connected with.

I think this book could have been so much more, both in emotion and in history. 

Thursday, May 6, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

 The Forest of Hands and Teeth
  The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan

Unfortunately, this book only gets 3 stars from me.  On one hand, the writing is great - very readable and compelling.  Unfortunately, the plot and story just didn't do it for me.

A small village exists, surrounded by fencing to keep out the "Unconsecrated" - which are zombies that like to feed on the humans.  The village is run by the Sisterhood and protected by Guardians.  The village has survived for so long that no one really knows why they live this way, why there are the Unconsecrated.

Mary has heard stories of the ocean from her mother all her life, and when the village is breached, she decides to leave and try to find another village and other humans.  Together with a few other survivors, they set out.

The story could have been fabulous, but nothing was ever explained.  Why are there zombies?  Why was the village set up the way it was?  How many other villages are there?  What about the paths - how and why are they there?  Why does no one travel them???? 

With a bit more work, this book could easily have been a 4 1/2 star book, but as it is, I don't really recommend it.

Thursday, April 29, 2010

Pretty In Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson

Pretty In Ink: A Tattoo Shop Mystery by Karen E. Olson

Product Details

This is the 2nd book in the Tattoo Shop series, and is just as good, if not better, than the first!

From Amazon: 

Product Description

Murder in the city of sin...

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas's hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After Brett and company ink Sin City's newest drag queens, they're invited to opening night at the strip's glamorous Nylon and Tattoos show-which ends in disaster when a stranger with a Queen of Hearts tattoo fatally injures Britney Brassieres with a champagne cork. And when another drag queen is found poisoned, it looks like someone's targeting Vegas's fabulous femmes... 

This was such a fun book - how can you go wrong with tattoos, a hot doctor, a scary cop, drag queens, and poison?!  This book pulls it all together and keeps you reading and reading.  Definitely recommend!! 

Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change? - Sign the Petition

Hungry for Change

Official Food, Inc. Movie Site - Hungry For Change? - Sign the Petition

And the Companion Book to the Movie:

  Product Details
Food Inc.: A Participant Guide: How Industrial Food is Making Us Sicker, Fatter, and Poorer-And What You Can Do About It by Participant Media and Karl Weber

If you want to read about this as well, the movie was largely based on these two books:

Product Details

The Omnivore's Dilemma: A Natural History of Four Meals by Michael Pollan

Product Details Fast Food Nation: The Dark Side of the All-American Meal (P.S.) by Eric Schlosser

and if you haven't seen the movie:

Product Details Food, Inc. ~ Eric Schlosser

I watched it last night on Netflix - it's available on Instant Play - so you can watch it NOW if you have a Netflix account.

I watched Food, Inc. last night, and now I feel like I'm on a mission!  Please education yourself on the food you eat, where it comes from, how it gets to us!

Friday, April 23, 2010

It's Friday!  Time for another Book Blogger HOP!! 
This is for ALL BOOK BLOGGERS (NEW AND OLD) and READERS!  Let's make some new friends and have fun!  It's FRIDAY!!!

NOTE:  You can snag the linky code and post the Hop links on your site, too!  That way someone can start with link #1 and hop around in order to each person's site without having to come back here each time!  At the bottom of the linky list, just click on "Get the code here"!  Let me know how you like this feature!

In the spirit of the Friday Follow, I thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all book bloggers and readers a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on!  So, I created this weekly BOOK PARTY where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start PARTYING!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

If you start following someone through the Hop, leave a comment on their blog to let them know!  Stop back during the week to see other blogs that are added!  And, most importantly, the idea is to HAVE FUN!!

On your blog hop post, tell us about some of the other great blogs you've found while Hopping around!  

The Hop isn't just for you to throw your link in there and not visit any other blogs.  It's all about networking and finding new blogs that are of interest.  So, in the spirit of the Hop, try to make some time to visit other blogs and don't post your link if you are not planning on visiting other blogs in the Hop that week.  This is a weekly event, so if you don't have time this week, that's fine!  We'll see you next week!

If you sign MckLinky, please share the love and POST ABOUT THE HOP ON YOUR BLOG!  How else will anyone else find out about it and come join the party?

Please use the following format when entering your link below (be careful - I don't always have time to go in and edit your link!!):

NAME OF BLOG (How long you've been blogging; what genres you PRIMARILY review)
I know a lot of us read all different genres, but if you had to choose ONE OR TWO genres that you review more often than others, what would they be??

Crazy-for-Books (21 months; contemporary fiction/mystery)

So, let's do the Hop!


Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Waiting on Wednesday - Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Bk 5) by Richelle Mead

Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill over at Breaking The Spine. It's a feature for bloggers to swoon over upcoming releases they can't wait to get their hands on.

My pick is

Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Bk 5) by Richelle Mead - release date 5/18/10

 Spirit Bound (Vampire Academy, Bk 5)

Product Description

Dimitri gave Rose the ultimate choice. But she chose wrong...

After a long and heartbreaking journey to Dimitri's birthplace in Siberia, Rose Hathaway has finally returned to St. Vladimir's-and to her best friend, Lissa. It is nearly graduation, and the girls can't wait for their real lives beyond the Academy's iron gates to begin. But Rose's heart still aches for Dimitri, and she knows he's out there, somewhere.

She failed to kill him when she had the chance. And now her worst fears are about to come true. Dimitri has tasted her blood, and now he is hunting her. And this time he won't rest until Rose joins him... forever.

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 496 pages
  • Publisher: Razorbill (May 18, 2010)
  • ISBN: 1595142509 / 978-1595142504

A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans

 A Good and Happy Child
A Good and Happy Child by Justin Evans

Book DescriptionThirty-year-old George Davies can't bring himself to hold his newborn son.  After months of accepting his lame excuses and strange behavior, his wife has had enough.  She demands that he sees a therapist, and George, desperate to save his unraveling marriage and redeem himself as a father and husband, reluctantly agrees.

The book goes back and forth in time between George as an 11 year old who has recently lost his father and adult George who is keeping a notebook for this therapist.  The writing is amazing, and for a first-time writer, I'm completely impressed!  The story is cohesive, if a bit confusing in places, the characters are well-written.

George as an 11 year old was visited by an invisible "friend" - was it a vision?  was it a product of George's imagination?  Is George insane or in touch with the supernatural?

The book gives readers quite a bit to think about, but doesn't really give many answers - so if you like books that end with a nice, clean finish then this book may not be for you.  But if you like a book that holds you in its grasp, gives you lots of ideas to ponder, and leaves you thinking about it well after you close it up, then I recommend this one.

Saturday, April 17, 2010

Recently Read

Product Details Day After Night: A Novel by Anita Diamant

I was disappointed in this book. I thought the premise was fascinating - Jews who were being detained after WWII by the British as they made their way to Israel. There was so much I didn't know about this period of time, and after reading this book I still don't! I think this book could have been much more in-depth, both in the history and in the characters. The characters were almost two-dimensional - I didn't feel connected to any of them - the backgrounds were only a few pages long and scattered around the book. Unlike The Red Tent, which was outstanding, this book just didn't do justice to the story.

Honeymoon by James Patterson and Howard Roughan

I listened to this on audio, and really enjoyed it!  The narrators, Hope Davis and Campbell Scott, totally made it interesting.  The book itself was good, but a little predictable and in some places, a bit cliched.  Still, it's definitely worth listening to.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, Bk 3) :: Richelle Mead

Succubus Dreams (Georgina Kincaid, Bk 3)

Another fun addition to this series!  Honestly, I think this is the best one yet.

Book Description:
Some days, a girl just can't catch a break... especially when the girl in question is Georgina Kincaid, a shape-shifting succubus who gets her energy from seducing men. First there's her relationship with gorgeous bestselling writer Seth Mortensen, which is unsatisfying on a number of levels. It's not just that they can't have sex in case Georgina inadvertently kills him (generally a turn-off for most guys). Lately, even spending time together is a challenge. Seth's obsessed with finishing his latest novel, and Georgina's under demonic orders to mentor the new (and surprisingly inept) succubus on the block.

Then there are the dreams. Someone, or something, is preying on Georgina at night, draining her energy, and supplying eerie visions of her future. Georgina seeks answers from Dante, a dream interpreter with ties to the underworld, but his flirtatious charm only leaves her more confused -- especially as the situation with Seth reaches crisis point. Now Georgina faces a double challenge -- rein in her out-of-control love life, and go toe-to-toe with an enemy capable of wreaking serious havoc among mankind. Otherwise, Georgina, and the entire mortal world, may never sleep easy again.

 Without giving too much away, there's a lot going on in this book - maybe that's why I liked it so much!  Between the mentoring of the new succubus, the dreams and energy draining, angels in town, new characters (Dante, Tawny, to name a few) - there was just a lot packed in this one.  I'm definitely going to get started on the next one soon.

Saturday, April 3, 2010

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, Bk 2) by Stieg Larsson

The Girl Who Played with Fire (Millennium, Bk 2) 

This book (#2 in a 3 book series) is just fantastic!  I loved the first one so much, and was so afraid this wouldn't be as good.  I was thrilled to discover this was better!  I stayed up late last night, curled up in bed with a swiftly dimming booklight, reading each and every word of this amazing book.

As many know, Mr. Larsson died after writing the three books in this series.  While I can't wait to get the 3rd one, it will definitely be bittersweet knowing that it is the very last.  A sad thing that such talent is lost to us now - but thank goodness we have these three books to treasure!

From  Lisbeth Salander, the troubled, wise-beyond-her-years genius hacker, is a wanted woman. Two Millennium journalists about to expose the truth about the sex trade in Sweden are brutally murdered, and Salander's prints are on the weapon. Her history of unpredictable and vengeful behaviour makes her an official danger to society -- but no one can find her anywhere.

Meanwhile, Mikael Blomkvist, editor-in-chief of Millennium, will not believe what he hears on the news. Knowing Salander to be fierce when fearful, he is desperate to get to her before she is cornered and alone. As he fits the pieces of the puzzle together, he comes up against some hardened criminals, including the chainsaw-wielding 'blond giant' -- a fearsomely huge thug who can feel no pain.

Digging deeper, Blomkvist also unearths some heart-wrenching facts about Salander's past life. Committed to psychiatric care aged 12, declared legally incompetent at 18, this is a messed-up young woman who is the product of an unjust and corrupt system. Yet Lisbeth is more avenging angel than helpless victim -- descending on those that have hurt her with a righteous anger terrifying in its intensity and truly wonderful in its outcome.

My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, Bk 2) by Rachel Vincent

 My Soul to Save (Soul Screamers, Bk 2)

It took me a while to get into this one, but I'm glad I stayed with it - it turned out to be very good!  In this 2nd book in the series, Kaylee is living with her dad now and learning more about being a banshee.

She discovers that girls are selling their souls for fame and fortune, and when she finds out what exactly that entails after they die, she's determined to help get a soul or two back for them.  With her boyfriend Nash's help, as well as Tod, she travels to the Netherworld.

While not near as good as the first book in the series, this was still pretty entertaining.

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard

The Seventh Witch (Ophelia and Abby, Bk 7)
 This is the latest book in the Ophelia and Abby series (#7!) and the series is going strong!

Abby, Tink, and Ophelia have gone to visit their aunts to celebrate Mary's 100th birthday.  While there, Ophelia becomes aware of a feud between her family and another local family, but when no one wants to talk about it, her curiosity gets the better of her!  After finding a dead body (again!), she begins to investigate the other family, and in the process, she unearths some dark, ugly secrets.

There isn't as much magick as in previous books, which I kind of missed, but her relationship with Ethan moves forward, and we get more information on her ancestors, especially Abby's mother, Annie, which adds quite a bit to the story.

All in all, it wasn't the best book in the series, but it was still a very good read.

Friday, March 19, 2010

Push: A Novel (Paperback) by Sapphire

Push: A Novel (Paperback) by Sapphire

As everyone (I think!) knows, this is the book that the movie Push is based on.  It is an excellent novel, told from the perspective of Precious Jones, an abused teenager who has been kicked out of school because of her pregnancy (this takes place in the mid 80s).

With a deep-seated need to better herself, Precious begins to take classes at an alternative learning center, where she finally (at age 16-17) learns to read.

The life Precious has led is horrific and heartbreaking, but her spirit is amazing.  Still, the story is not a happy one, but rather can be considered deeply inspiring.

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen

The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen 

 This was an exceptional book.  Sarah Addison Allen is quickly becoming an all-time favorite writer.  Her writing is just so beautiful, and I love how she incorporates the most amazing magic in her books.

In this novel, Emily has come to her mother's home town to live with her grandfather after her mother's death.  She quickly realizes that the mother she knew was completely different from the Dulcie that the town remembers.  As she tries to discover what her mother was really like, and why her mother kept so many secrets from her, she finds love, acceptance, family, and magic.

Julia has returned following her father's death - finding that he was in debt, she took over his restaurant with a self-imposed time limit of 2 years before selling the restaurant.  As the 2 year anniversary approaches, she must finally deal with the past so that she can live happier in the present.

If you enjoyed The Sugar Queen and Garden Spells, you will love this one.

Monday, March 15, 2010

Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Shutter Island

WOW!!  This book is absolutely fantastic! 

I had no idea what the book was about when I picked it up - only that it had been made into a movie.  So a few days ago, I had started and put down two other books, and then picked this one up.  I didn't have high hopes, because I just was in a reading funk - and it grabbed me right away!  I didn't get much reading done yesterday, but today, I just kept on going until I finished it.

In a nutshell- Teddy, a U.S. Marshall, lands on Shutter Island to help track down a patient who has escaped from the hospital there - a hospital for the criminally insane.  He and his partner quickly realize that they are being lied to at every turn, and are determined to solve the mystery of the hospital, as well as the missing woman.  At the same time, Teddy must also face some demons of his own past.

Lots of intrigue, a great mystery, and fascinating characters and setting - this book is a gripping page-turner. 

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story by Carolyn Turgeon

Godmother: The Secret Cinderella Story

After hearing so much about this book, I finally grabbed it and read it in one big gulp.  This was a great read!  The writing is truly magical.

This is Lil's story - she was Cinderella's fairy godmother and after she failed her duty, she was banished from the fairy world and into the human world.

She works at a bookstore, and lives a quiet life as an old woman.  Until she meets Veronica, and comes to believe that the fairies are coming back for her and giving her the chance to redeem herself.  If she can find true love for Veronica, maybe she can finally be forgiven and return to her home and family.

There's a lot of sadness, loneliness, and loss in this book - Veronica's first love died, George is divorced, and Lil craves to be reunited with her family and home.  But there's beauty too, and hope for redemption - will Veronica and George be able to move away from the past and fall in love?  Will Lil be forgiven, most importantly by herself?

This book is both lovely and heartbreaking.

On My Wishlist

On My Wishlist is a weekly meme hosted by Book Chick City, which will be posted every Saturday. It allows us to share the books we haven't bought yet but are waiting to be bought and devoured. If you would like to take part and have your own 'On My Wishlist' post then you can find more info here.

Since my Wishlist is so huge, I'll try to limit my list to books that are actually in the bookstore that I might just have to go buy:

Pretty In Ink (A Tattoo Shop, Bk 2) :: Karen E. Olson
Ghouls Gone Wild (Ghost Hunter, Bk 4) :: Victoria Laurie
Bundle of Trouble :: Diana Orgain
If Books Could Kill (Bibliophile, Bk 2) :: Kate Carlisle
and something that's NOT a cozy!  The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks :: Rebecca Skloot


Friday, March 12, 2010

One of My Favorite Blogs + One of My Favorite Writers = Check it Out!

Check out my friend Jennifer's blog and read Sarah Addison Allen's entry!

Coming soon -
Product Details
The Girl Who Chased the Moon: A Novel by Sarah Addison Allen

I, for one, can't wait!!!!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl


Beautiful Creatures

It would be easy to say this book is about Ethan and Lena, in love, and dealing with overwhelming obstacles.  But that short-changes the book.  There's so much more, and with a book that has this much depth, it's hard to know where to start.

Lena is an outsider in more ways than one - she's new to town, which is Gatlin - a small Southern town that never changes.  The town, and the school, refuses to accept her - except Ethan can't stay away from her.  As he is pulled towards her, he becomes an outsider.

There's magic - Lena is the niece of reclusive Macon, and Ethan discovers that they have powers, as do others in their family.  And Lena seems to be more powerful than any of them.  As her 16th birthday draws closer, she grows more and more terrified of the future.

There's history - the town of Gatlin has many layers, from the forceful and formidable DAR to the Civil War fanatics who recreate a battle each year.

And there's family - Ethan's mother who died, his father who can't seem to overcome his grief, Amma who is his caregiver.  And his friend Linc, who is much like a brother to him and who stays by his side.

This is a wonderfully written book, and well-worth the read.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Reading Now...

The Girl Who Fell from the Sky by Heidi W. Durrow

The Girl Who Fell from the SkyThis debut novel tells the story of Rachel, the daughter of a Danish mother and a black G.I. who becomes the sole survivor of a family tragedy.

With her strict African American grandmother as her new guardian, Rachel moves to a mostly black community, where her light brown skin, blue eyes, and beauty bring mixed attention her way. Growing up in the 1980s, she learns to swallow her overwhelming grief and confronts her identity as a biracial young woman in a world that wants to see her as either black or white.

In the tradition of Jamaica Kincaid's Annie John and Toni Morrison's The Bluest Eye, here is a portrait of a young girl-- and society's ideas of race, class, and beauty. It is the winner of the Bellwether Prize for best fiction manuscript addressing issues of social justice.

The story is not a happy one - it deals with murder, abandonment, loneliness, alcoholism, and of course the bigotry that Rachel must face, while still trying to deal with the loss of her family.  But the novel is beautifully written, a nice paradox to the ugliness of the subject.

It's interesting as well to set the story of race in the 80s.  The 1960s are such a popular setting, but this works so much better. Twenty years after the Civil Rights movement and we see that much has not changed at all - in fact, as the Grandmother notes, it's gotten worse - with the startling observation that much of the pain is inflicted on the black community by other blacks.  

There's the mystery as well - did the mother throw her children from the roof and jump?  Or was someone else up there pushing them to their deaths?  The truth is shocking, and heartbreaking.

This novel is well-worth the time, and will give readers much to ponder.  Highly recommend.

Monday, February 22, 2010

The Red Thread by Ann Hood

The Red Thread
The Red Thread by Ann Hood

An amazing book dealing with Chinese adoption. We meet both the adoptive parents as well as the birth mothers, and their stories are both heartbreaking and hopeful. All this revolves around Maya, the woman who runs the Red Thread agency, who is haunted by her past and terrified of becoming close to anyone again.

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Relentless by Dean Koontz

I listened to the audiobook of this one - and while I thoroughly the narrator, I did not care that much for the story.

The book is a fairly generic mystery/thriller, but then all of a sudden supernatural elements are added - it's jarring.

The son is a 6 year old prodigy - but still, as a parent of a 6 year old, I just don't see it at all. The parents seem to just take it in stride that their child has this amazingly advanced scientific mind - and yet, they aren't teaching him - who is?? We assume he's self-taught... And I don't buy it.

I'm sorry - I love Dean Koontz, but this one just doesn't make sense.

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

Stitches: A Memoir

Stitches: A Memoir by David Small

This was my first graphic novel read! It's a very different experience to read a book that is more pictures than words, but I enjoyed it so much.

The book deals with David's childhood - primarily his experience of having surgery to remove a "cyst" only to wake up unable to speak. He finds out later that the cyst was cancer and that the surgery removed tumor, along with a vocal cord and thyroid. His father, a radiologist, later confirms that the frequent x-rays he subjected David to as a child most likely caused the cancer.

David's experience is tragic, and I think telling it in this format makes it much more "real" than just reading it. He's a very gifted artist, and his drawings were fantastic.

Highly recommend!

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, Bk 1) :: Stieg Larsson, Reg Keeland (Translator)

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (Millennium, Bk 1)

The Girl With The Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson

I can understand now why, when I picked up this book, I didn't really know what it was going to be about. This novel defies description - it's a murder mystery, a thriller about financial espionage, a story of a young girl trying to find her way in the world, a man whose principles lead him into a lot of trouble and hurt, and a story of a family who has long buried secrets that finally explode around them.

So not knowing anything about it, I started reading, and couldn't put it down! I loved the story of the Vargar family - the missing 16 year old and how Mikael is hired to try his hand at solving the 40 year old mystery. Also, I loved meeting Lisbeth who is one of the best characters I've read in a long time - she's smart and strong, but also weak and naive in some areas. Mikael is strongly principled, but at the same time, understands that "the right thing" isn't always the right thing.

Highly recommend this fantastic book!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister

The School of Essential Ingredients The School of Essential Ingredients by Erica Bauermeister.

Finally! I have heard so many wonderful things about this book, and I just never took the time to pick it up and read it. Had I known this beautiful gem of a book was on my shelf, I would have read it long ago.

The book takes us to Lillian's restaurant, where on Monday nights, she gives cooking classes. We meet her and her students, and learn about them, why they are there, what they take from the class.

The writing is absolutely wonderful, simple and elegant, and so descriptive that you can almost feel, smell, and taste the food.

Books this lovely are rare, and well worth the read.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Under the Dome by Stephen King

Classic Stephen King!! I had forgotten how much I love his writing - but sitting down with this one brought it all back and now I want more more more!

It's a rare writer that can fill up 1000+ pages to cover a time period of less than a week in the lives of the people of Chester Mills without boring their readers to death!

The book on its surface is about a small town that is suddenly encased in an indestructible dome. Obviously, the questions of where the dome came from, why it happened, how to get rid of it, are considered. But there's also the reality of the fact that they are on their own completely - there's no one getting out and no one getting in either. Who is in charge? And why? Are they still part of the U.S.? Or have they seceded? Who can be trusted?

Stephen King is sometimes at his best when he deals with the monsters that really do exist - the evil that lives inside all of us - and that's what this book is ultimately about.

Take a few days (or more) and find a comfortable chair and read this book!

Monday, January 18, 2010

Truly, Madly by Heather Webber

Truly, Madly

I just loved this book! It's a blend of chick-lit, cozy mystery, paranormal, and romance all together - and it works beautifully!

The Valentine family has run a successful matchmaking business for generations (turns out, they can see auras!) - but Lucy lost her aura-seeing gift at 14 in an electrical accident. But what she gained was an ability to find lost objects.

When she has to fill in for her father in the matchmaking business while he "vacations," she finds a dead body, a new love, and an appreciation for her family's business and her own special talent.

With a compelling plot and great writing, this book was almost impossible to put down.

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

The Maze Runner by James Dashner

The Maze Runner

I have to admit I spent most of the day today finishing this book (shhhh don't tell my husband! I was supposed to be taking the Christmas stuff down!).

I loved it! I loved the writing - kept the pages turning. I loved Thomas and Newt and Teresa, and the others. I loved the concept which is:

Thomas "wakes" up in an elevator type lift and is pulled into the "glade" - a large area surrounded by walls, full of other boys around his age, and all of them suffering memory loss - he has no idea of any of his history, his last name, or why he's there.

What follows is lots of intrigue - why are they there, what is the Maze really?

This is the first book in a trilogy, and I absolutely can't wait for the next one!!

Monday, January 11, 2010

The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

The Secret of Joy

Rebecca's life is comfortable but unfulfilling - she doesn't like her job as a paralegal doing divorce mediation and she's more scared than excited about the idea of her boyfriend proposing. But when her father dies after an astounding deathbed confession, her life is profoundly changed.

Her father tells her he had an affair, and that it resulted in a child. Rebecca, realizing that she has a sister, heads out to find her last remaining family member.

Joy has grown up without a father, and isn't as welcoming as Rebecca would like, but Rebecca is determined.

Overall, the book brought up a lot of questions - most specifically "what makes a man cheat?" And what makes a family? And how do you know when a relationship is over or when to try harder?

I really enjoyed this book, and definitely recommend it. Melissa Senate is one of my favorite writers, and I look forward to more from her!

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Pretty in Plaid by Jen Lancaster

Pretty in Plaid: A Life, a Witch, and a Wardrobe, or, the Wonder Years Before the Condescending, Egomaniacal, Self-Centered Smart-Ass Phase

Funny, funny, funny!

I have over time become a huge fan of Jen Lancaster. Her humor is definitely sarcastic and may not be for everyone, but it's definitely worth a try.

In this book, she details her life through school and her early jobs - revisiting the 80s - how fun!

Laugh out loud parts? Oh yeah.

Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater


A haunting novel about a young girl, Grace, who is in love with a werewolf, Sam. As a child, Grace was attacked by wolves and Sam saved her. Over the years, she would watch for "her wolf" in the woods behind her house. Finally, she meets Sam in his human form, and they fall in love - and must try to find a way to keep him from turning back into a wolf forever.

The tension builds as the book progresses - the temperature is dropping, friends are at risk, and time is running out for Sam.

I definitely recommend this book - a notch above some of the usual YA fare.

Watch for the next book in this series - Linger, coming in July 2010!

4 stars

Sunday, January 3, 2010

Intertwined (Harlequin Teen) by Gena Showalter

Normally, I adore Gena Showalter books, but I have to say that I didn't love this one.

The good: Like her other books, this one is extremely readable. Great characters and realistic dialog make it easy to keep reading page after page. The story is intriguing - a boy who has four other souls living inside him. He's lived with this group his whole life, and has some interesting "powers" - time travel, raising the dead, seeing the future.

The bad: Too many pieces to the story. This is a big book - almost 500 pages. And just Aden's history could fill it. Instead, we are introduced to Aden and his history, Mary Ann and hers, Riley and Victoria. Vampires, werewolves, fairies, witches... Time travelers, zombies.

And this is obviously just the first book in a series - it is left with far more hanging than was resolved. And while I'm curious to see how things progress, I'm not sure I'm willing to invest the time and energy into it.
Probably, though, I will - I love Gena Showalter and will most likely get my hands on the next one as soon as it's out - which is September 2010 and it is titled Unraveled.