Sep 30, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

From Goodreads

With the stunning revelation surrounding Bliss's true identity comes the growing threat of the sinister Silver Bloods. Once left to live the glamorous life in New York City, the Blue Bloods now find themselves in an epic battle for survival. Not to worry, love is still in the air for the young vampires of the Upper East Side. Or is it? Jack and Schuyler are over. Oliver's brokenhearted. And only the cunning Mimi seems to be happily engaged. Young, fanged, and fabulous, Melissa de la Cruz's vampires unite in this highly anticipated fourth installment of the Blue Bloods series.

Out October 6

Book of the Month --September

On the last day of the month, I will be posting my favorite book read.


My favorite book for September was

The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran

What was your favorite read for September?

Sep 29, 2009

Sarah's Key- Tatiana de Rosnay

Sarah's Key- Tatiana de Rosnay

From Goodreads-
Paris, July 1942: Sarah, a ten year-old girl, is brutally arrested with her family by the French police in the Vel’ d’Hiv’ roundup, but not before she locks her younger brother in a cupboard in the family's apartment, thinking that she will be back within a few hours.
Paris, May 2002: On Vel’ d’Hiv’s 60th anniversary, journalist Julia Jarmond is asked to write an article about this black day in France's past. Through her contemporary investigation, she stumbles onto a trail of long-hidden family secrets that connect her to Sarah. Julia finds herself compelled to retrace the girl's ordeal, from that terrible term in the Vel d'Hiv', to the camps, and beyond. As she probes into Sarah's past, she begins to question her own place in France, and to reevaluate her marriage and her life.

I've read quite a bit of fiction and nonfiction concerning the Holocaust, but this one was the first that I've read about the Vel d'Hiv' roundup, that happened in Paris in 1942. The subject is hard to read about whether it's fiction or not, because you know that though the people in story weren't real, the situation was. This was a sad, heartbreaking story, and like all the other books I've read on the Holocaust, I was touched deeply.

The book is about the Vel d'Hiv', Sarah who lived through it, and Julia Jarmond, who 60 years later is writing a column about it. The book rotates chapters between Sarah and Julia. Sarah's story starts off on the night her family and her were taken from there home, and Julia's story begins with getting the Vel d'Hiv assignment. Julia has no idea, her present will entwine with Sarah's past. The rotating of chapters does not last through the whole book, a little more than halfway through, Julia takes over the story. I was disappointed when that happen, because I was drawn more to Sarah's story, and would find myself hurrying through Julia's chapters just to get to Sarah's. I read on though, because I needed to find out what happen to Sarah.

Sarah's Key was a really great book, about a horrible time in history. When you read books like these there really aren't nice endings.

Rating: 4/5

Sep 28, 2009

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter Thompson

September 1001 book challenge pick

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas- Hunter Thompson

From Goodreads-

Heralded as the "best book on the dope decade" by the New York Times Book Review, Hunter S. Thompson's documented drug orgy through Las Vegas would no doubt leave Nancy Reagan blushing and D.A.R.E. founders rethinking their motto. Under the pseudonym of Raoul Duke, Thompson travels with his Samoan attorney, Dr. Gonzo, in a souped-up convertible dubbed the "Great Red Shark." In its trunk, they stow "two bags of grass, seventy-five pellets of mescaline, five sheets of high-powered blotter acid, a salt shaker half-full of cocaine and a whole galaxy of multicolored uppers, downers, screamers, laughers.... A quart of tequila, a quart of rum, a case of Budweiser, a pint of raw ether and two dozen amyls," which they manage to consume during their short tour.
On assignment from a sports magazine to cover "the fabulous Mint 400"--a free-for-all biker's race in the heart of the Nevada desert--the drug-a-delic duo stumbles through Vegas in hallucinatory hopes of finding the American dream (two truck-stop waitresses tell them it's nearby, but can't remember if it's on the right or the left). They of course never get the story, but they do commit the only sins in Vegas: "burning the locals, abusing the tourists, terrifying the help." For Thompson to remember and pen his experiences with such clarity and wit is nothing short of a miracle; an impressive feat no matter how one feels about the subject matter. A first-rate sensibility twinger, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a pop-culture classic, an icon of an era past, and a nugget of pure comedic genius. --Rebekah Warren

When I had chosen this book for my September 1001 Books Challenge pick I knew it was widely popular, and had a cult following. It was a wild, and crazy ride.

From the first paragraph, I was already laughing.

"We were somewhere around Barstow on the edge of the desert when the drugs began to take hold. I remember saying something like "I feel a bit lightheaded; maybe you should drive..." And suddenly there was a terrible roar all around us and the sky was full of what looked like huge bats, all swooping and screeching and diving around the car, which was going about a hundred miles an hour with the top down to Las Vegas. And a voice was screaming: "Holy Jesus! What are those goddamn animals?"

I was surprised at how hilarious this book was. It follows a journalist, and his lawyer on a drug induced trip to Las Vegas to cover a story. What ensues is nothing short of bizarre. I was completely appalled, and thoroughly entertained. Throughout there are illustrations so you can actually picture what these guys were seeing, while completely drugged out.

Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas is a very quick read, and a window into the world of drugs, and utter craziness. I really liked this book!

Rating: 4/5

Sep 27, 2009

Sunday Salon

This week I was able to get 4 books read, and change up my blog layout. Everything was starting to look crowded, and I was getting tired of the coffee cup. I started messing with the mumbo jumbo (template), and came up with the layout I wanted. I hope it's pleasing to the eyes.

Abandoned books- This week I abandoned one book, No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard. It was dragging along, and I was quite bored with it. I just don't think I was interested in the Cappadora’s anymore.

Currently Reading- I just started Sarah's Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. I think I'm really going to enjoy this one.

1001 Books Challenge- Just a couple of days before deadline, I was able to get my September pick read, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. My review will be up soon. I'm looking forward to searching the lists for my October read. I think I'll search for something scary.

Book of the Month- The last day of the month I will post my Book of the Month. I'm really hoping to hear what ya'lls favorites were. I think I'm going to try a Mister Linky, so it's easier to check out everyone's favorite. I'm looking forward to adding more books on my TBR shelves!

Have a great Sunday, and week ahead!

South of Broad- Pat Conroy

South of Broad- Pat Conroy

From the Publisher

Against the sumptuous backdrop of Charleston, South Carolina, South of Broad gathers a unique cast of sinners and saints. Leopold Bloom King, our narrator, is the son of an amiable, loving father who teaches science at the local high school. His mother, an ex-nun, is the high school principal and a well-known Joyce scholar. After Leo's older brother commits suicide at the age of thirteen, the family struggles with the shattering effects of his death, and Leo, lonely and isolated, searches for something to sustain him. Eventually, he finds his answer when he becomes part of a tightly knit group of high school seniors that includes friends Sheba and Trevor Poe, glamorous twins with an alcoholic mother and a prison-escapee father; hardscrabble mountain runaways Niles and Starla Whitehead; socialite Molly Huger and her boyfriend, Chadworth Rutledge X; and an ever-widening circle whose liaisons will ripple across two decades-from 1960s counterculture through the dawn of the AIDS crisis in the 1980s.

The ties among them endure for years, surviving marriages happy and troubled, unrequited loves and unspoken longings, hard-won successes and devastating breakdowns, and Charleston's dark legacy of racism and class divisions. But the final test of friendship that brings them to San Francisco is something no one is prepared for. South of Broad is Pat Conroy at his finest; a long-awaited work from a great American writer whose passion for life and language knows no bounds.

I didn't know what to expect when I picked up this book, since I've never read a Pat Conroy book, but I'm glad this one was my first experience into Pat Conroy's world. He writes such beautiful prose, and is really a master storyteller.

From the beginning I wanted to know these characters fully, and experience the journey they were about to take. The characters in this novel were unique, and exaggerated, to the point of unreal sometimes, but I appreciated, and adored them anyways. The book is dark, but underneath the exterior of the story, you can feel the bond, and love the characters had for each other, and it shined a light through the tragedy of their lives.

The book takes place in Charleston, and is it's own character. Every description is dripping with Pat Conroy's adoration of Charleston. It really is beautiful the way he describes the scenery, the people, and the social aspects of the South.

South of Broad is a sad story, with doses of loveliness. If you are looking for happy endings, look elsewhere, if you're looking for a great story, with wonderful witty banter, and lives that are messy, tragic, and real, pick this one up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Product Details:
Hardcover: 528 pages
Publisher: Nan A. Talese (August 11, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 038541305X

Sep 26, 2009

Book of the Month

On PBS I participate on a thread where we post our favorite book read for each month. We started in January, and it's been a great way to discover some great books. I'm going to start posting my pick on the last day of the month here on my blog.

Here are my favorites for each month so far:

January- The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Steig Larrson

- Rena's Promise by Rena Kornreich Gellisen

- The Given Day by Dennis Lehane

- Graceling by Kristin Cashore

- Charity Girl by Michael Lowenthal

- Tomato Girl by Jayne Pupek

- The Double Bind by Chris Bojhalian

- The Girl who Played With Fire by Steig Larrson

I already have a clear favorite for this month, but there's four more days left, who knows if the book I'm about to start will be better.

I hope to hear what your favorite book was every month.

Best Friends Forever- Jennifer Weiner

Best Friends Forever- Jennifer Weiner

From Goodreads-
Some bonds can never be broken...

Addie Downs and Valerie Adler will be best friends forever. That's what Addie believes after Valerie moves across the street when they're both nine years old. But in the wake of betrayal during their teenage years, Val is swept into the popular crowd, while mousy, sullen Addie becomes her school's scapegoat.

Flash-forward fifteen years. Valerie Adler has found a measure of fame and fortune working as the weathergirl at the local TV station. Addie Downs lives alone in her parents' house in their small hometown of Pleasant Ridge, Illinois, caring for a troubled brother and trying to meet Prince Charming on the Internet. She's just returned from Bad Date #6 when she opens her door to find her long-gone best friend standing there, a terrified look on her face and blood on the sleeve of her coat. "Something horrible has happened," Val tells Addie, "and you're the only one who can help."

I've always enjoyed books about friendships, and though this book wasn't fantastic, it was still okay enough to hold my interest.

Several things about this book worked for me. I loved the character of Addie Downs, she was just someone you really wanted to root for. I felt bad for her, I was elated for her, I wanted to be friends with her. Valerie on the other hand was a narcissistic, selfish, human being, that had a rough childhood. The girls were opposites, and it worked great for the story, because she was able to clearly define the differences in the girls with how they reacted toward each other. I also enjoyed how it was written. The story starts off in the present, but throughout the book there are flashbacks, so we can understand the scope of their friendship, and ultimately, the falling out.

The one major thing I disliked about the book, was the tendency to get weird, and outlandish. The cops turning all CSI mode was hilarious, and totally unwarranted. I felt like I was watching Barney Fife.

Best Friends Forever is a okay book with a slightly over the top story, nonetheless it is entertaining.

Rating: 3/5

Sep 22, 2009

Kiss Me Kill Me- Lauren Henderson

Kiss Me Kill Me- Lauren Henderson

From Goodreads-
When 16-year-old Scarlett Wakefield transfers from St. Tabby’s to Wakefield Hall Collegiate, she is relieved that no one knows her dark, haunting secret. A few months ago, Scarlett was invited to an elite party with a guest list full of the hottest names in British society, including Dan McAndrew. Before the party, Scarlett had only imagined what it would be like to have her first kiss with Dan, but on the penthouse terrace, Dan leaned in close and she no longer had to wonder. Their kiss was beautiful and perfect and magical, and then . . . Dan McAndrew took his last breath as she held him in her arms. No one knows how or why Dan died, and everyone at St. Tabby’s believes Scarlett had something to do with it. But now that she’s safely hidden away at Wakefield Hall, Scarlett would rather forget that it ever happened. Only she can’t. Especially when she receives an anonymous note that will set her on the path to clearing her name and finding out what really happened to the first and last boy she kissed.

When I picked up Kiss Me Kill Me, I was a little skeptical about it. The description on the back cover was intriguing, but I was worried that it would be ridiculously far-fetched. Well, it wasn't hard to believe, but it still left me indifferent because the story was so rushed.

First, Dan obviously dies right away, because the story is about what happens to Scarlett after Dan dies while kissing her, but he still is a big part of the story, and mystery. That is why I was surprised the author really doesn't give us much on Dan. We know he's popular, and cute, but that's it.

The story seemed somewhat disjointed, and I think it was because the story was so hurried. Scarlett kisses Dan, he dies, then she's off to Wakefield Hall, it really feels like pieces are missing. The ending is so abrupt, its disappointing. It ends right when you start to actually care about the story.

Kiss Me Kill Me is a quick read, that does draw you in, but at the end. It wasn't a waste of time, but IMO it could have been done better. Luckily, there is a sequel, Kisses and Lies out, and the reviews for it are great. Most say the sequel is better than the first, so I'm going to give the sequel a try.

Rating: 2.5/5

Sep 20, 2009

Sunday Salon

Books I read- This week I read two books, Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain, and After You by Julie Buxbaum.
My favorite was Evil at Heart by Chelsea Cain.

Books checked out or bought- I picked up Best Friends Forever by Jennifer Weiner, and No Time to Wave Goodbye by Jacquelyn Mitchard from the library this week. I controlled myself this week and didn't buy any books.

Abandoned books- I abandoned one book this week, Wish Club- Kim Strickland. I only made it to around the 50 page mark. I just couldn't get intothe story, or any of the characters. I'm not sure if I really gave it a fair shot, but once the women chanted for a dog, I just couldn't anymore.

Currently Reading- Right now I'm reading Best Friends Forever, and I'm not sure what I'll pick up next. I need to read some books for a couple of swaps I'm in, plus I have a ARC that needs to be read for review, and I still have to read my September pick for my 1001 Books Challenge.

Have a great Sunday, and week ahead!

Sep 19, 2009

After You- Julie Buxbaum

After You- Julie Buxbaum

From the publisher-

It happened on a tree-lined street in Notting Hill to a woman who seemed to have the perfect life. Ellie Lerner’s best friend, Lucy, was murdered in front of her young daughter. And, as best friends do, Ellie dropped everything—her marriage, her job, her life in the Boston suburbs—to travel to London and pick up the pieces of Lucy’s life. While Lucy’s husband, Greg, copes with his grief by retreating into himself, eight-year-old Sophie has simply stopped speaking.

Desperate to help Sophie, Ellie turns to a book that gave her comfort as a child, The Secret Garden. As the two spend hours exploring the novel’s winding passageways, its story of hurt, magic, and healing blooms around them. But so, too, do Lucy’s secrets—some big, some small—secrets Lucy kept hidden, even from her best friend. Over a summer in London, as Ellie peels back the layers of her friend’s life, she’s forced to confront her own as well: the marriage she left behind, the loss she’d hoped to escape. And suddenly Ellie’s carefully constructed existence is spinning out of control in a chain of events that will transform her life—and those around her— forever. A novel that will resonate in the heart of anyone who’s had a best friend, a love lost, or a past full of regrets, After You proves once again the unique and compelling talent of Julie Buxbaum.

I'm in the middle with this one. I can't say that it was a bad, but I can't say it was good either.

I did love the characters. They were flawed, and real. Ellie, Greg, and Sophie were the reasons why I kept reading. I really wanted to know what would happen with them, I wanted the perfect ending with them all happy, and content with what life threw at them. I liked that Ellie was reading The Secret Garden to Sophie, and the parts where they discussed the book. I also enjoyed when the went to the garden that inspired the author of The Secret Garden .

I didn't like that the story really never went anywhere. It was about how one copes with the tragic death of a loved one. Every page was about the emotions they were feeling, and how they were trying to move on. Nothing happened. Ellie is also dealing with the falling apart of her marriage, and what that means to her, and her life. The secret that Lucy has is not that big of a deal, story wise. It didn't spice up the book, turn it up a notch, it did nothing.

I'm not saying it was a bad book, I just think that it isn't my type of book.

Rating: 3/5

Sep 18, 2009

Evil at Heart- Chelsea Cain

Evil at Heart- Chelsea Cain

From Goodreads- Chelsea Cain’s novels featuring Portland detective Archie Sheridan and serial killer Gretchen Lowell have captivated fans through two nail-biting entries, Heartsick and Sweetheart, both of them multiweek bestsellers in The New York Times, USA Today, and Publishers Weekly.

Gretchen Lowell is still on the loose. These days, she’s more of a cause célèbre than a feared killer, thanks to sensationalist news coverage that has made her a star. Her face graces magazine covers weekly and there have been sightings of her around the world. Most shocking of all, Portland Herald reporter Susan Ward has uncovered a bizarre kind of fan club, which celebrates the number of days she’s been free.

Archie Sheridan hunted her for a decade, and after his last ploy to catch her went spectacularly wrong, remains hospitalized months later. When they last spoke, they entered a détente of sorts---Archie agreed not to kill himself if she agreed not to kill anyone else. But when a new body is found accompanied by Gretchen’s trademark heart, all bets are off and Archie is forced back into action. Has the Beauty Killer returned to her gruesome ways, or has the cult surrounding her created a whole new evil?

This is the third book in the Gretchen Lowell series, and it's just as good as its predecessors. I have to give credit to author Chelsea Cain, she has not lost steam in the the story of Gretchen, and Archie. In this book, Gretchen is still on the loose after escaping from prison, and Archie is in a mental hospital trying to get over his obsession with Gretchen, and addiction to vicodin. Since her escape Gretchen has become a celebrity, with fan clubs dedicated to her, and bus tours with huge picture of her plastered on the side of the bus. When the murders start up again, everybody believes it's Gretchen, the Beauty Killer, but something isn't quite right. Could it be the work of a copy-cat killer?

I really thought it was a great book. It was thrilling, suspenseful, and at times scary. The story moved along effortlessly, and the short chapters made for a quick read. After reading book 1 and book 2, I really feel like I know the characters. Archie, Susan, Gretchen, and Henry, are written whole, you get there personalities, you know who they are. Chelsea Cain has always stayed true to that, which makes you appreciate the story more.

Evil at Heart is another great book, added to a great series. If you are looking for a great thriller I recommend the Gretchen Lowell series.

Rating: 4/5

Sep 17, 2009

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly event hosted by Jenny of Take Me Away.

"It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic!"


My throwback for this week is

From Goodreads-Sex and drugs and shlock and more -- Jacqueline Susann's addictively entertaining trash classic about three showbiz girls clawing their way to the top and hitting bottom in New York City has it all. Though it's inspired by Susann's experience as a mid-century Broadway starlet who came heartbreakingly close to making it, but did not, and despite its reputation as THE roman á clef of the go-go 1960s, the novel turned out to be weirdly predictive of 1990s post-punk, post-feminist, post "riot grrrl" culture.

If you haven't read it, you're missing out on a very entertaining read. It reads like a soap opera, the drama is unbelievable, and oh so good. It was written in the 60's, so it is outdated, but only culture wise, the story is itself is timeless. Don't forget the movie, too.

Sep 16, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:


When Layla Brennan married her high school sweetheart, Brett Foster, she finally got the big, loving family she’d always wanted: his. Now she’s closer to Brett’s parents than he is, partners with his sister in a successful pet-photography business, and confidant to his younger brother. She couldn’t be more of a Foster if she’d been born one. There’s just one problem: Brett wants a divorce. Stunned and heartbroken, Layla turns to the Fosters for comfort, only to realize that losing Brett means losing them as well. What else can she do but sue him for the most valuable thing he’s got–namely, his family. Breaking up may be hard to do, but for Layla and Brett it’s even harder to undo.

Out September 29th

Sep 15, 2009

The Heretic Queen- Michelle Moran

The Heretic Queen- Michelle Moran

From Goodreads-
In ancient Egypt, a forgotten princess must overcome her family’s past, and remake history.

The winds of change are blowing through Thebes. A devastating palace fire has killed the 18th dynasty’s royal family—all with the exception of Nefertari, niece of the reviled former queen Nefertiti. The girl’s deceased family has been branded as heretical, and no one in Egypt will speak their names. A relic of a previous reign, Nefertari is pushed aside, an unimportant princess left to run wild in the palace. But all of this changes when she is taken under the wing of pharaoh’s aunt, and brought to the Temple of Hathor where she is educated in a manner befitting a future queen.

Soon Nefertari catches the eye of the crown prince, and despite her family’s history, they fall in love and wish to marry. Yet all of Egypt opposes this union between the rising star of a new dynasty and the fading star of an old, heretical one. While political adversity sets the country on edge, Nefertari becomes the wife of Ramesses the Great. Destined to be the most powerful pharaoh in Egypt, he is also the man who must confront the most famous exodus in history.

After seeing the cover of this book over and over again advertised on the side at Goodreads, I finally clicked the link. Definitely the best linked I've ever clicked, because it led me to reading this outstanding historical fiction. I initially decided to read it because of the setting, Ancient Egypt, I've always been fascinated with the history of Egypt, and all that comes with.

The Heretic Queen is the story of Ramesses the Great, and Nefertari. There is a bit of everything in this novel, murder, betrayal, seduction, love. The love of Ramesses and Nefertari is touching and real, the deepness that I felt there was between them is all credited to Michelle Moran. She wrote such a great story, and I felt every word. She really did her research, and gained another fan. I actually teared up while reading the Historical Note at the end of the book.

" On a wall of her burial chamber Ramesses summed up his love for her as such: 'My love is unique, none can rival her...just by passing , she has stolen my heart'."


The book pulled me into another world until the last page, and even still, I wanted more. Immediately after finishing the book, I hit the internet and went searching for more about Ramesses and Nefertari. I really did not want their story to end.

This has become one of my favorite books. It is such a exquisite, riveting book, and I recommend it wholeheartedly.

Rating: 5/5

Sep 14, 2009

RIP Patrick Swayze

RIP Patrick Swayze. You've danced into our hearts, and will forever stay.

Along for the Ride- Sarah Dessen

Along for the Ride- Sarah Dessen

From Goodreads-
It’s been so long since Auden slept at night. Ever since her parents’ divorce—or since the fighting started. Now she has the chance to spend a carefree summer with her dad and his new family in the charming beach town where they live.

A job in a clothes boutique introduces Auden to the world of girls: their talk, their friendship, their crushes. She missed out on all that, too busy being the perfect daughter to her demanding mother. Then she meets Eli, an intriguing loner and a fellow insomniac who becomes her guide to the nocturnal world of the town. Together they embark on parallel quests: for Auden, to experience the carefree teenage life she’s been denied; for Eli, to come to terms with the guilt he feels for the death of a friend.

Auden has always been mature for her age, while kids were going to parties, and gossiping, Auden was going to lectures and attending grown-dinners with her intellectual parents. Summer before college, Auden is sees a long summer of ahead of her. She finds herself doing the same old things she always does, studying, and heading out to the all-night diner she frequents since dealing with insomnia that was brought on by her parents divorce. She decides to visit her dad, step-mom Heidi, and newborn sister, Thisbe for the summer. While in Colby visiting her dad, she suddenly finds herself working at Heidi's boutique. While working there she is forced to socialize with the three girls that also work at the boutique, and the boys that work next door at the bike shop. One boy in particular peaks Auden's interest, Eli. Eli is withdrawn, mysterious, and completely different than any other boy she's ever met.

Auden's snobby, judgemental ways in the beginning of the book was getting on my nerves, but about 100 pages or so in, the story starts moving, and I quickly fell into it. You can really see Auden's growth as the story progresses. What I really liked about the story was the "Don't judge a book by its cover" message. The competitive bike angle was refreshing also. Sarah Dessen also did a good job in showing Auden's and her parent's relationship or lack there of.

Overall, after a slow start, the story picked up, and it was able to grab my interest. Sarah Dessen writes her YA books with a serious tone, and this one is no different.

Rating: 3.5

Sep 13, 2009

Sunday Salon

We had a rainy week, and I was able to get quite a bit of reading done. There is something about reading when it's cloudy and dark out, and the thunder is rolling.

Books read this week-

My favorite this week was The Heretic Queen by Michelle Moran. I will be reviewing this book, and Along for Ride by Sarah Dessen soon. I'm hoping to have my review for Along for Ride up tonight.

No abandoned books this week.

Mini- Reviews-
I can read 3 to 6 books a week, and I tend to fall behind in writing and posting reviews. I usually then just pick a couple of books to review, instead of doing them all, but I decided what I'm going to do now, just so I can get them all reviewed, is do mini-reviews. I'll only do this occasionally when I start getting backed up. My first small batch of mini reviews is up already, and you can find them here.

Books checked out or bought-

This week I had to return some books to the library, and of course I couldn't leave without picking up some more. I checked out Evil at Heart- Chelsea Cain, and After You- Julie Buxbaum, and The Heretic Queen-Michelle Moran (read), and I bought Lush Life- Richard Price, The Story of a Girl- Sarah Zarr, Grief Girl: My True Story- Erin Vincent, and The Little Book- Seldon Edwards.

Currently Reading-

I'm just about to start Wish Club by Kim Strickland, and then will probably pick up Evil at Heart.


I started a challenge, Douglas Adam Hitchhikers Challenge. The Hitchhiker's series has five books in it, and the challenge will give me about 6 months to complete it. There's also a great site, Hitchhiker Marathon, that is hosting a reading marathon through all five books, starting on the anniversary of the first book, October 12. Check it out! Thanks Gavin, for letting me know about this site.

Everyone have a great Sunday!

Sep 12, 2009

Cult Insanity Winners

Winners of Cult Insanity are -

#14 demmi

#34 Chris

# 12 Cher

# 8 Beth

# 33 Annie1

Congrats to all the winners! I will be emailing you all shortly. You have 24 hrs. to respond, or I will pick another winner.

Mini Reviews

I've fallen behind on my reviews, and instead of just reviewing some books, like I do sometimes, I've decided to occasionally do mini reviews. Hopefully this won't be to often, but all the books I read will get reviewed. To get the full descriptions of the books, click on the link.

Standing Still- Kelly Simmons

This book was a short read about a women who is kidnapped by a man seeking justice. The story takes place in a 4 day period, with each day starting a new chapter. Inbetween there are flashbacks of Claire's life. I really expected more from this book, it sounded so good, but really fell short. I kept waiting for something to happen, luckily this was a short read, any longer and I would have given up.

Rating: 1.5/5

Five Things I Can't Live Without- Holly Shumas

Nora Bishop is a neurotic, over-analyzing women who just quite her job, and is about to move in with her boyfriend. I could totally relate to Nora and her 'the grass is always greener' philosophy that I went through this book quick, seeing myself in every page. Her "meta-life" ways of constant worrying, never being satisfied, and indecisive manner are ruining her life, and making her see her life in black tinted glasses. She has a great boyfriend, or does she? She has a new job she loves, or does she? This is a chick lit with a serious tone, I really enjoyed it.

Rating: 4/5

Impossible- Nancy Werlin

This one was wierd. The author got the idea for this book after hearing the ballad "Scarborough Fair". The story is about a curse handed down through the generations of women in Lucy's family. The story could have been so interesting, but instead it came off corny, and was mediocre. Lucy has to complete 3 impossible tasks, or she will basically go insane. There's a really creepy guy (or whatever he is), and a relationship that just comes out of nowhere. I wouldn't recommend this to anyone.

Rating: 2/5 (and I gave it a two because I love this ballad)

The Princess and the Pauper- Kate Brian

This story has been done many times, but I still liked this book. Princess Carina is tired of being a princess, all she wants is a little freedom, and a chance to meet ribbit, a singer in a band, on her trip to L.A.. With bodyguards and a chaperone she knows its impossible, until she bumps into Julia, who happens to look like her. This was a cute, fun read. The story wraps up pretty quickly, but it is a YA book, so I can't complain to much.

Rating: 3.5/5

Sep 11, 2009

September 11th

“Now, we have inscribed a new memory alongside those others. It’s a memory of tragedy and shock, of loss and mourning. But not only of loss and mourning. It’s also a memory of bravery and self-sacrifice, and the love that lays down its life for a friend–even a friend whose name it never knew. “
- President George W. Bush, December 11, 2001

Revenge of the Spellmans- Lisa Lutz

Revenge of the Spellmans- Lisa Lutz

From the publisher- As the book opens, Izzy is on hiatus from Spellman Inc. But when her boss, Milo, simultaneously cuts her bartending hours and introduces her to a "friend" looking for a private eye, Izzy reluctantly finds herself with a new client. She assures herself that the case -- a suspicious husband who wants his wife tailed -- will be short and sweet, and will involve nothing more than the most boring of PI rituals: surveillance. But with each passing hour, Izzy finds herself with more questions than hard evidence.

Meanwhile, Spellmania continues. Izzy's brother, David, the family's most upright member, has adopted an uncharacteristically unkempt appearance and attitude toward work, life, and Izzy. And their wayward youngest sister, Rae, a historic academic underachiever, aces the PSATs and subsequently offends her study partner and object of obsession, Detective Henry Stone, to the point of excommunication. The only unsurprising behavior comes from her parents, whose visits to Milo's bar amount to thinly veiled surveillance and artful attempts (read: blackmail) at getting Izzy to return to the Spellman Inc. fold.

As the case of the wayward wife continues to vex her, Izzy's personal life -- and mental health -- seem to be disintegrating. Facing a housing crisis, she can't sleep, she can't remember where she parked her car, and, despite her shrinks' persistence, she can't seem to break through in her appointments. She certainly can't explain why she forgets dates with her lawyer's grandson, or fails to interpret the come-ons issued in an Irish brogue by Milo's new bartender. Nor can she explain exactly how she feels about Detective Henry Stone and his plans to move in with his new Assistant DA girlfriend...

After reading a Spellman book I always think 'What did I just read'. I laugh a lot, but I never quite get the plot. Yes, there is always some mystery Isabel is trying to figure out , but it's always secondary to the fun, and craziness of the Spellman family. I think of these books being like Seinfeld, hilarious but a book about nothing. We get all these crazy, funny situations, with a case here and there, and to be truthful I never find the cases to be all that good, or interesting. The reason I love these books is for the simple reason of the characters.

As always in a Spellman book, there's a lot of footnotes, but they don't bother me. The same characters are back in this 3rd book of the Spellman series, with some added few, like Milo's Irish cousin, that has a huge accent, and Morty's skater shop owner grandson.

Just like I love Seinfeld, I love reading about the Spellmans. Revenge of the Spellmans is a fun, quick read about nothing.

Rating: 4/5

Sep 10, 2009

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly event hosted by Jenny of Take Me Away.

"It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic!"


From the publisher-

No one ever told Margaret Simon that eleven-going-on- twelve would be such a hard age. When her family moves to New Jersey, she has to adjust to life in the suburbs, a different school, and a whole new group of friends. Margaret knows she needs someone to talk to about growing up-and it's not long before she's found a solution.

Are you there God? It's me, Margaret. I can't wait until two o'clock God. That's when our dance starts. Do you think I'll get Philip Leroy for a partner? It's not so much that I like him as a person God, but as a boy he's very handsome. And I'd love to dance with him... just once or twice. Thank you God.

This book brings back some really great memories. All of Judy Blume's books were a huge part of my life as a kid, but this one is my all time favorite Judy Blume book. I've read it numerous times, and infact read it the end of last year, while my daughter was reading it.

Twenties Girl- Sophie Kinsella

Twenties Girl- Sophie Kinsella

From the publisher-

Lara Lington has always had an overactive imagination, but suddenly that imagination seems to be in overdrive. Normal professional twenty-something young women don’t get visited by ghosts. Or do they?

When the spirit of Lara’s great-aunt Sadie–a feisty, demanding girl with firm ideas about fashion, love, and the right way to dance–mysteriously appears, she has one last request: Lara must find a missing necklace that had been in Sadie’s possession for more than seventy-five years, and Sadie cannot rest without it. Lara, on the other hand, has a number of ongoing distractions. Her best friend and business partner has run off to Goa, her start-up company is floundering, and she’s just been dumped by the “perfect” man.

Sadie, however, could care less.

Lara and Sadie make a hilarious sparring duo, and at first it seems as though they have nothing in common. But as the mission to find Sadie’s necklace leads to intrigue and a new romance for Lara, these very different “twenties” girls learn some surprising truths from each other along the way.

I was a tad bit skeptical about Twenties Girl after reading the synopse because of the ghost facet, but after only a couple of chapters, I was hooked. There is something about the way Sophie Kinsella writes that is so fun, and well, girlish. The interaction of, Lara, and Sadie was childish at times, but oh so entertaining. I've always been fascinated with flapper girls, so having Sadie come back as 23 when she was a flapper girl was interesting. The girls personalities are clearly defined by the era they are from, which makes for some laughable moments.

There is some mystery, it's all connected with the dragonfly necklace, and it is the necklace, that helps the movement of the plot. There was also relationships, and love mixed in, of course, but it wasn't the heart of the book.

If you are looking for a light, and fun read, I would recommend picking Twenties Girl up.

Rating: 4.5/5

Sep 9, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

From the Publisher-

Making fun of people is a way of life for Jeffrey Ross. Called "an heir apparent to such old-school masters as Buddy Hackett and Rodney Dangerfield" by the New York Times, Ross has memorably and uproariously roasted some of our favorite celebrities, from older-than-dirt Cloris Leachman to dirty old Hugh Hefner, to the beautiful Pamela Anderson and the handsome Bea Arthur. He even claims to have saved Courtney Love's life with his own brutal brand of tough love.

Through his funny and poignant stories, Jeffrey Ross shares the irreverent secrets every successful roastmaster should know, such as: if a roastmaster is going to dish it out, he better be able to take it, and how to use your roasting skills to meet members of the opposite sex. Ross also reveals some tips for toasting your friends and family as well as his secrets for writing roast jokes. One of the world's foremost practitioners of insult comedy, Ross explains how to organize an event, save yourself if you bomb, and prepare yourself to take a punch if necessary. He shares behind-the-scenes stories from his humble beginnings in Manhattan's comedy clubs, where he performed with Jon Stewart, Dave Chappelle, and other up-and-coming comics; to the crazy backstage (and onstage) antics from unforgettable roasts of stars like Flava Flav, Drew Carey, William Shatner, Jerry Stiller, Larry The Cable Guy, and Bob Saget that he helped bring to mainstream television audiences. He has even appeared on ABC's hit show Dancing with the Stars, where he was quickly voted off after the first round -- leading to a war with Jimmy Kimmel Live's Cousin Sal Iacono that was eventually mediated by Tom Cruise over homemade cupcakes.

A hilarious memoir and definitive how-to that will help you channel your own inner roastmaster, I Only Roast the Ones I Love will inspire you to go forth and carry a big schtick.

I love watching Jeffrey Ross's Roast, I'm looking forward to laughing.

Found this video at Simon & Schuster. He's hilarious!

Released September 15th.

Sep 8, 2009

Douglas Adam Hitchhiker's Challenge

Douglas Adam's Hitchhiker's Challenge

I've had all five books to the Hitchhiker's Guide trilogy, and have been meaning to get to them for about 2 years now. I decided the only way I can get myself to pull them out of my TBR shelf is set a challenge. I'm challenging myself to get through all 5 books by February 28th. It shouldn't be hard, the books are relatively small, and plus I've heard great things about the trilogy.

Books in the trilogy:
1. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy Review
2. The Restaurant at the End of the Universe
3. Life, the Universe, and Everything
4. So Long, and Thanks for All the Fish
5. Mostly Harmless

Ending date for challenge:
February 28th, 2010
Feel free to join me!

Sep 7, 2009

Book of a Thousand Days- Shannon Hale

Book of a Thousand Days- Shannon Hale

From Goodreads- When Dashti, a maid, and Lady Saren, her mistress, are shut in a tower for seven years for Saren's refusal to marry a man she despises, the two prepare for a very long and dark imprisonment.

As food runs low and the days go from broiling hot to freezing cold, it is all Dashti can do to keep them fed and comfortable. But the arrival outside the tower of Saren's two suitors—one welcome, and the other decidedly less so—brings both hope and great danger, and Dashti must make the desperate choices of a girl whose life is worth more than she knows.

Based on a Brother's Grimm fairy tale "Maid Maleen", Book of a Thousand Days was both magical, and inspirational.

After refusing to marry Lord Kyasar, Lady Saran and her maid, Dashti, are imprisoned for seven years as punishment. They see light only through a small flap that they can push open, and have food that should last the seven years, but is quickly disappearing due to rats. Dashti quickly takes over trying to make everyday bearable for her, and her mistress, Lady saran. There is hope for both though, Khan Tegus.

I really enjoyed this book. Lyrically written, and wonderfully executed, this book is a joy to read. Adventure, perserverance, and love are all found in this pleasurable read. I love that Dashti is the main character, and that the story is told through her eyes. The girls are strong in this book, and that is always a plus in my book. Most important who doesn't like a good vs. evil fairy tale.

Final words, this is a great fantasy, that offers so much to it's readers. Looking forward to passing this on to my daughters.

Review of Cult Insanity- Irene Spencer

Cult Insanity- Irene Spencer

From the publisher- Life for Irene Spencer was a series of devastating disappointments and hardships. Irene's first book, Shattered Dreams, is the staggering chronicle of her struggle to provide for her children in abject poverty and feelings of abandonment each time her husband left to be with one of his other wives. Irene was raised to believe polygamy was the way of life necessary for her ticket to heaven.

The hard knocks of her environment were just the beginning of Irene's shocking tale. Insanity ran rampant in her husband's family and was the source of inconceivable events that unfolded throughout Irene's adult life. CULT INSANITY takes readers deeper into her story to uncover the outrageous behavior of her brother-in-law Ervil -- a self-proclaimed prophet who determined he was called to set the house of God in order -- and how he terrorized their colony. Claiming to be God's avenger and to have a license to kill in the name of God, Ervil ordered the murders of friends and family members, eliminating all those who challenged his authority.

For those who were gripped by Shattered Dreams, the rest of the story will blow them away. CULT INSANITY is a riveting, terrifying memoir of polygamist life under the tyranny of a madman.

Cult Insanity is the story of Evril Lebaron, the brother in law of author Irene Spencer, a ruthless psychotic man, who killled 25 people, including family and church members. Irene Spencer was warned by her family that the Lebarons were a insane family, little did she know how insane some were.

As it's mentioned above, Cult Insanity is a sequel to Shattered Dreams, but it is not necessary to have read Shattered Dreams before you read Cult Insanity. I've never read Shattered Dreams, but I want to now. I don't know much about the polygomy ways, but after reading this book I really want to know more. This book was a real eye opener to what goes on in these compounds, and i'm speechless that these women think this is what God wants.

There are several books out there about Evril (doesn't that sound so much like Evil) Lebaron, but none have that personal touch that Irene Spencer brings. I really felt her terror while she was out there in Northern Mexico living in such close proximity to Evril. The evilness of Evril is transparent in every page as the story digs deeper and deeper into the sick mind of Evril. Again i'm dumbfounded why anyone would put themselves in such harm's way, and feel like they have no choice but to live life that way.

Final words, this a gripping, disturbing book, and after reading it I defnitely want to know more about polygomy.

Sep 6, 2009

Sunday Salon

This week I manage to buy some new books, get to the library, and read a couple of books. It was the third week of school for the kids, and the permission slips for after school clubs are rolling in, which means I'm now on taxi mode. I'll be more in my car than at home starting now until Christmas break.

Books read this week- After having a slow start, I manage to read 4 books this week.

Falling for You- Jill Mansell, The Pre-nup- Beth Kendrick, Twenties Girl- Sophie Kinsella, and Impossible- Nancy Werlin. Twenties Girl was the one book that I really liked this week. Look for my review, I should be getting to it soon. I usually like Beth Kendrick's books but The Pre-nup wasn't very good, and I felt the same way about Falling for You.

Abandoned Books-This week I abandoned one book, Perfecting Kate by Tamara Leigh. Perfecting Kate is a christian lit book, I don't mind christian fiction books but this one was overly preachy. There wasn't a page that didn't have at least 4 mentions of religion.

Book bought or checked out - This week I bought 4 books, Twenties Girl- Sophie Kinsella, Revenge of the Spellmans- Lisa Lutz, The Rise and Fall of the Queen of Suburbia- Sarah May, and Inside the Mind of Gideon Rayburn- Sarah Miller. I checked out of the library, Impossible- Nancy Werlin, and put on hold South of Broad- Pat Conroy.

Currently Reading- I'm about to start Revenge of the Spellmans, and then I think I'll pick up Standing Still- Kelly Simmons

1001 Books Challenge- Every month I choose a book for my 1001 Books Challenge, so for September I've chosen from the 1900's list, Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas: A Savage Journey to the Heart of the American Dream by Hunter S. Thompson. I'm looking forward to reading it.

Have a great Sunday and Labor Day!

Sep 3, 2009

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday is a weekly event hosted by Jenny of Take Me Away.

"It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic!"


From Amazon- The book that made Collins one of America's favorite authors sweeps readers from the sophisticated playgrounds of Europe to the glittering gambling palaces of Las Vegas, plunging into the world of the Santangelo crime family. The book introduces street kid Gino Santangelo, who makes it all the way to the top, and his beautiful and daring daughter, Lucky.

This book is a favorite of mine, and one of the best books i've read. I really typically don't read Jackie Collins novels, but as a teenager I would read whatever I could get my hands on. This book had everything, mobsters, casinos, love, greed, secrets, you name it. When I think back as a teenager I sure did read a lot of trashy novels.

Sep 2, 2009

No longer Wishing

As I was running around town today, shopping, I was thinking about my Wishful Wednesday post and deciding what book I was really wishing for. Well, I came up with two Twenties Girl, and Revenge of the Spellmans, so what did I do? I headed for the bookstore and bought them.

So on this Wednesday I'm no longer wishing for any books.

Waiting on Wednesday

"Waiting On Wednesday" is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

From the Publisher:

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.

Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

This book has a whopping 1088 pages.

Out on November 10, 2009