May 31, 2011

Mini Reviews

It's hard to write reviews for books in a series.  You don't want to give away vital information in the previous books, but it's so darn hard not to.  I figured the best solution is to mini review them.

The Off Season (Dairy Queen, #2)

The Off Season by Catherine Gilbert Murdock
(Bk 2 in the Dairy Queen Trilogy)

What's so great about this series?  D.J. Schwenk...she's what's up.  D.J. is strong, independent and feisty.  I love the flow of the book and the story.  There aren't any OMG cliffhangers.  It's contemporary YA at it's best.  If you haven't picked up this series yet, I must insist that you do. :)

In order:
The Dairy Queen
The Off Season
Front and Center


Real Live Boyfriends: Yes. Boyfriends, Plural. If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver (Ruby Oliver, #4)

Real Live Boyfriends:  Yes. Boyfriends, Plural.  If My Life Weren't Complicated, I Wouldn't Be Ruby Oliver
by E. Lockhart
(Bk 4 in the Ruby Oliver Series)

E. Lockhart is one of my favorite YA writers.  I love her writing, her characters, especially Ruby Oliver.  This series is up there on my top three all time best YA series.  Real Live Boyfriends is the last, and as the final book in the series it ROCKS!

In order:
The Boyfriend List
The Boy Book
The Treasure Map of Boys
Real Live Boyfriends


May 29, 2011

Sunday Salon

In the midst of a bunch of "I'm bored's" and "There is nothing to do's" I've decided to add two guest reviewers over the summer.  My 13 yr. old daughter Jaci will be reviewing  YA books, and I am going to add a special summer feature for my son, Alec. Don't know what to call it yet but he will be writing mini reviews for MG books.  They both seem excited to do it, and I think it will be fun to do together.  Hopefully this can become a yearly summer thing.  

Sadly, this year I wasn't able to make it to BEA but i'm loving all the posts with pics coming in, and I will admit to book envy.  BEA had so many great books available.  I'm dying to read Shut Out by Kody Keplinger.  I loved her debut book, The D.U.F.F.

What we're reading:

Melissa:  The Peach Keeper by Sarah Addison Allen

Jaci:  The Magnolia League by Katie Crouch

Alec:  Measle and the Mallockee by Ian Ogilvy, Chris Mould

Hope everyone has a great Sunday and week ahead.

May 25, 2011

Delirium by Lauren Oliver

Author:  Lauren Oliver
Publisher:  HarperTeen
Date Published:  February 1st 2011

From Goodreads:

Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love -- the deliria -- blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she’ll be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.


Delirium is much better than Before I Fall, Lauren Oliver's  debut book.  I paused a couple of times while reading Delirium trying to picture a place where Love is forbidden,  and against the law.   "Better to have loved than never have loved at all" does not apply at all for the characters in Delirium.  

Author Lauren Oliver wrote a unique story that  baffles the brain.  Yes, love can cause heartache, but the rewards are grand.  What is life without love?  It's depressing, and void of everything good and fun like joy and happiness, but in Delirium the citizens think the payoff is worth it. I was actually sadden to hear of the way parents were with their children.  I just couldn't imagine, nor would I want to.  I think it would make for a great book club read.  

Lena, the main female protagonist did irritate me some.  I wanted her to grow a pair.  She was so willing to go with the mass never questioning authority even when she knew something wasn't right.  I did love her BFF Hana, she had spunk and was fearless.  It isn't until Lena meets Alex that she starts questioning things.  Now Alex seems crush worthy, but seriously Lena needs the attention of a boy to start questioning the so called deliria. I like my female characters in dystopia more "Fight the Power", which Lena definitely wasn't until close to the end.  I did like how things ended though, major cliffhanger and Lena became someone I could hang with.  

I'm looking forward to the second book in the series.  Delirium was a good book. I'm curious to see where Ms. Oliver goes with the story. 

May 19, 2011

Summer and The City by Candace Bushnell

Summer and the City
Author:  Candace Bushnell
Publisher:  Balzer + Bray
Date Published:  April 26th 2011
Series: Carrie Diaries (BK 2)

From Goodreads:

Summer is a magical time in New York City and Carrie is in love with all of it—the crazy characters in her neighborhood, the vintage-clothing boutiques, the wild parties, and the glamorous man who has swept her off her feet. Best of all, she's finally in a real writing class, taking her first steps toward fulfilling her dream.

This sequel to The Carrie Diaries brings surprising revelations as Carrie learns to navigate her way around the Big Apple, going from being a country "sparrow"—as Samantha Jones dubs her—to the person she always wanted to be. But as it becomes increasingly difficult to reconcile her past with her future, Carrie realizes that making it in New York is much more complicated than she ever imagined.

With her signature wit and sparkling humor, Candace Bushnell reveals the irresistible story of how Carrie met Samantha and Miranda, and what turned a small-town girl into one of New York City's most unforgettable icons, Carrie Bradshaw.


A little spoilery

When we last left Carrie Bradshaw in the Carrie Diaries she had just arrived in New York for a writing class.  What a way to end the book!!!  I have been waiting not so patiently for the sequel Summer and the City.  I wanted to read about Carrie's first adventures in the city, and I wanted to know how Miranda and Samantha, and Charlotte came to be a huge part of Carrie's life.  

In Summer and the City Miranda and Samantha do make their appearance but Charlotte is nowhere to be seen until the last page, so i'm going to have to wait impatiently again for the next book. BLAH!  I did find Summer and the City slightly less entertaining than it's predecessor, but nevertheless I do enjoy reading about Carrie Bradshaw and the gang, especially New York City.   I was shocked with Samantha in Summer in the City. I don't know if it makes reading these books difficult being a huge fan of the show. I feel like the show defined the characters, not the Sex and the City book.  I don't know I was confuse and didn't recognize her, as for Miranda, well she is a feminist with a capital F. I love reading Miranda's rants on society and feminism.  I love Miranda.

Summer and the City is an entertaining read even more if you are a fan of Sex and the City. 

May 17, 2011

The Summer Son by Craig Lancaster

The Summer Son
Author:  Craig Lancaster
Publisher:  AmazonEncore
Date Published:  January 25th 2011

From Goodreads:  

He owed a lot of people, but I was the only one left to collect. I told myself that I didn’t care about him, only about what he owed me, whatever that was.
I even tried to believe it.

When Mitch Quillen’s life begins to unravel, he fears there is no escape. His marriage and his career are both failing, and his relationship with his father has been a disaster for decades. Approaching forty, Mitch doesn’t want to become a middle-aged statistic. When his estranged father, Jim, suddenly calls, Mitch’s wife urges him to respond. Ready for a change, Mitch heads to Montana and a showdown that will alter the course of his life. Amid a backdrop of rugged peaks and valleys, the story unfolds: a violent episode that triggered the rift, thirty years of miscommunication, and the possibility of misplaced blame. In Craig Lancaster’s powerful novel, The Summer Son, readers are invited into a family where conflict and secrets prevail, and where hope for healing and redemption is possible.


I am a huge fan of Craig Lancaster's debut book, 600 Hours of Edward, naturally when given the opportunity to review his sophomore book The Summer Son I jumped on the chance.

Right off the bat we know that there is tension and problems between Mitch and his dad, Jim.  We get the story of how this came to be with flashbacks.  Each chapter rotates between the present and the past circa 1979.  The present story, as well as the past one are equally great.  Mitch along with the reader find out what exactly  happened that changed father and son's relationship those many summers ago.   The Summer Son takes you for an emotional ride with a ending that is both shocking and understanding.    

Craig Lancaster's characters are amazing.  Mitch is a great solid character with depth, and just the right amount of complexity.  The character of Jim hit a spot for me, because my dad is a lot like him.  He's quiet and not very affectionate, but you know he loves you.   As I said, the characters are all so authentic and real.  

The Summer Son is a really great read, and I totally endorse this book, as well as Craig Lancaster.  I do have one problem though, the covers .  Not really a determining  factor in reading books, but I really do like pretty covers.

May 13, 2011

Throwback Thursday (Chick Lit Edition)

Throwback Thursday is hosted by Jenny from Take Me Away

This week I am focusing on some of my all time favorite chick lit books.  

Meet the residents of the London brownstone on 31 Almanac Road who together weave a tangled web of romance. Ralph, a ne'er-do-well artist, suddenly realizes he's head over heels in love with his new flatmate Jem, the most fun and sensible girl he's ever encountered. Unfortunately, Ralph's best friend, Smith, has already won Jem's affections, although Smith has not entirely given up his passion for the femme fatale, Cheri, who lives upstairs. Across the hall, Karl and Siobhan have been happily unmarried for years, until Karl gets a smashing job as a London rush-hour DJ and momentarily gets tempted into Cheri's cozy lair. These six star-crossed tenants become more enamored, and more confused, as the story progresses-until their true destinies are revealed on one crucial night-the evening of the extravaganza that is . . . Ralph's party. This wonderfully hip new novel was an instant popular success when it was first published in England, and American readers are sure to be captivated by the debut of a talented new writer.

This is one of the first chick lit books I read after being introduced to the chick lit genre.  I loved the characters, as well as the story. I think it is a hip fun novel.

From Goodreads:  

Marian Keyes begins Watermelon with a rather inauspicious romantic opening when the heroine's husband leaves her for Denise from the flat downstairs the day their first child is born. Claire, the deserted wife and mother, returns to her family in Dublin and, after going through the required stages of "Loss, Loneliness, Hopelessness and Humiliation", begins to feel much better--so much better that when James tries to win his way back into her affections, he gets more than he bargained for.

Watermelon is my favorite book in the Walsh Family series.  I laughed so much reading this one.  Claire is one of my favorite characters in the chick lit genre.  

From Goodreads:

For too many years, quiet, unassuming, overweight Charlotte Clapp has let
life slip through her fingers. Holed up in tiny Gorham, New Hampshire, gorging
on bonbons and glued to reruns of Magnum, P.I., she has made a habit of playing
it safe. But Charlotte is about to get a major wake-up call. What was supposed
to be a routine physical turns up shattering news: Her days are numbered. In
fact, she has just one year left.

How can she be dying when she has never truly lived? That's the refrain that
keeps running through her head. Unwilling to waste another second, Charlotte
walks into the First Savings and Loan Bank where she's worked for fifteen years
and quits. Then she does the unthinkable: She robs the place.

Now two million dollars richer, Charlotte-all 253 pounds of her-is going on
the lam to discover what life and love are all about. It's a journey she never
envisioned-one that's bound to be difficult, maybe painful, even lonely. Yet it
will transform her in the most unpredictable and deliciously surprising

Arriving in Hollywood, Charlotte changes her name and buys a luxury
apartment, complete with expansive views, marble foyer, and a blond, built,
bronzed god of a pool boy. She forges new friendships, falls in lust, and, on
nights when she can't bear the weight of her own thoughts, takes moonlit swims.
Soon something magical happens: In the buoyant water of the pool, the pounds
start to slip off, and the real Charlotte begins to emerge.

Then, just when Charlotte believes that the love and happiness she's longed
for are finally within reach, reality intrudes. Back in Gorham, people have
begun to investigate the disappearance of both Charlotte and the two million
dollars. She's a wanted woman. But will she have time to get what she wants
before it's too late?

Night Swimming is not a realistic story, but it is o'so fun.  I remember staying up late with this one.  If you haven't read it I definitely recommend it. 

May 9, 2011

Don't Breathe A Word by Jennifer McMahon

Don't Breathe A Word 
Author:  Jennifer McMahon
Publisher:  HarperCollins
Publication Date:  May 17th 2011

On a soft summer night in Vermont, twelve-year-old Lisa went into the woods behind her house and never came out again. Before she disappeared, she told her little brother, Sam, about a door that led to a magical place where she would meet the King of the Fairies and become his queen.

Fifteen years later, Phoebe is in love with Sam, a practical, sensible man who doesn’t fear the dark and doesn’t have bad dreams—who, in fact, helps Phoebe ignore her own. But suddenly the couple is faced with a series of eerie, unexplained occurrences that challenge Sam’s hardheaded, realistic view of the world. As they question their reality, a terrible promise Sam made years ago is revealed—a promise that could destroy them all.


To say that Don't Breathe A Word creeped me out is an understatement.  At first I was really expecting the mystery to stand forefront, because of Jennifer McMahon's previous novels, but the eeriness of it really stood out.  The King of the Fairies is really weird, but it worked if Ms. McMahon was trying to frighten readers and convey a sense of darkness and fear.  The King of the Fairies has the impact that the boogeyman has, IMO.   I wondered how these kids weren't scared out of their minds, but then I tried thinking as a child would and thought it was the whole fairies, magic and queen thing.  Don't Breathe A Word is a story that you have to continue reading well into the night to find out answers that overrun your mind while reading.  I seriously could not let up until I got my answers.  My only complaint of Don't Breathe A Word is the ending.  The revealing of the mystery is surprising so that's great, but I just don't like how everything ended after everything was unraveled.   

I'm a huge fan of Jennifer McMahon's writing.  She writes beautifully, she doesn't overwhelm you with  unneeded descriptions.  She does not underestimates her readers by writing two page descriptions as if we need so much wording to conjure up an image.  

If you are looking for a page turner then pick up Don't Breathe A Word.  It doesn't disappoint. 

May 8, 2011

Happy Mother's Day!

I would like to wish my beautiful wife a Happy Mother's Day! You really are the Greatest Mom In The World! Just like your Top Ten Tuesday list I have come up with my own list it's called  "Fab Five Reason You're The Greatest Mom In The World!"

#5. Our kids are well mannered- They say excuse me, sorry, or pardon me when they pass gas in public or at home
#4. Our kids are well behaved- They haven't made the FBI's top ten most wanted list and they don't have a probation officer
#3. Our kids are caring- They always seem to let you know they are in the room and doing  ok......."MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM MOM !!!!!!!!!!"
#2. Our kids enjoy reading- Books, they actually read them! When hanging sheetrock they don't use the small ones to help shim up the sheetrock or use the big ones to step on to reach stuff off the top shelf in the utility room (Don't worry I use the few I have, not yours)
And the #1 reason....
The love you have for them.  It's one of a kind 

I know you would do anything and give up everything for them and that to me makes you the Greatest Mom In The World. I know at times being Mom is not easy, and I want you to know that I really do appreciate everything you do. You're a really great Mom Melissa, you're beyond great. I love you and hope you have a great day Mamma!

Happy Mother's Day to all the Moms out there!


May 6, 2011

My Fair Lazy by Jen Lancaster

My Fair Lazy: One Reality Television Addict's Attempts to Discover If Not Being A Dumb Ass is the New Black, or a Culture Up Manifesto
Author:  Jen Lancaster
Genre:  Memoir
Publisher:  NAL 
Date Published:  May 4th 2010

From Goodreads:  

Readers have followed Jen Lancaster through job loss, sucky city living, weight loss attempts, and 1980s nostalgia. Now Jen chronicles her efforts to achieve cultural enlightenment, with some hilarious missteps and genuine moments of inspiration along the way. And she does so by any means necessary: reading canonical literature, viewing classic films, attending the opera, researching artisan cheeses, and even enrolling in etiquette classes to improve her social graces. 

In Jen's corner is a crack team of experts, including Page Six socialites, gourmet chefs, an opera aficionado, and a master sommelier. She may discover that well-regarded, high-priced stinky cheese tastes exactly as bad as it smells, and that her love for Kraft American Singles is forever. But one thing's for certain: Eliza Doolittle's got nothing on Jen Lancaster-and failure is an option.


The thing about Jen Lancaster is she makes you feel like she's your friend.  Her writing is so "drinking a couple of drinks, talking random things and laughing your ass off with friends".  That is why I keep reading her books.  

Ms. Lancaster's personality screams from the pages, and seriously she's a gal I could definitely hang out with. I'm a reality TV junkie.  I love most of it, so I figured this was the perfect book for me.  I've also out grown MTV's Real World, and agree totally that the downfall started with the Las Vegas cast.  Don't get me wrong I watched the Las Vegas season.  I was cringing the whole way but I watched.  So I was totally feeling it when she wrote about the Real World, and how she does still watch the challenges.  I was nodding my head thinking "me too", but then she talked a lot about Survivor.  I would then feel disengaged from the memoir, because I don't watch it.  Almost like I was left out.  My Fair Lazy is about her trying to be more worldly.  She does find herself in some funny situations.  I could relate, I know more about the Brat Pack than I do about politics.

The thing with Jen Lancaster's books for me is when she writes about stuff I don't know, or can care less about I then get bored, and start skimming until I find something I can relate to.  So in the end did I love My Fair Lazy?  Yes, the parts that I could relate to and read word for word, and No, for the parts that I could care less.  

I'm starting to think I'm better off saving my twenty something bucks on a book I will enjoy the whole way through.  I'm going to start checking out her books instead of buying them.  If you fly through her books then I'm sure you will love My Fair Lazy.   She's just as funny and snarky, and if you watch Survivor even more so.

May 4, 2011

Die For Me by Amy Plum

Die For Me
Author:  Amy Plum
Genre:  Paranormal YA
Publisher:  HarperTeen
 Publish Date:  May 10th 2011
Series: Revenants, bk 1

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything.

Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen.
Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart—as well as my life and my family's—in jeopardy for a chance at love?


With the release date fast approaching for Die For Me by Amy Plum the blogosphere has lit up with reviews. I've seen mostly reviews praising Die For Me, and a couple of reviews that weren't gushing about it. I will be gushing about it. 

I loved Die For Me.  I thought it was great storytelling for young adult fans.  I enjoyed the pace of the story.  It never felt like I was waiting for something to happen. I think it was because I liked the characters.  For a debut I think Ms. Plum did a outstanding job. Kate and Georgia's parents have died and they move to Paris to live with their grandparents.  Main protagonist Kate has withdrawn from friends back home and prefers a more quiet life than her outgoing sister.  Kate notices Vincent at a coffee shop, and from the there the story really begins.  I was slightly confused with the whole Revenants thing, but I as the story moves along I understood.  I loved the Revenants.  They are a close knit group and I thought they were fun characters.   

Though I loved Die For Me there were flaws.  I liked Kate but she did have the occasional brain fart.  If someone tells you to leave for safety reasons you leave.  This has almost become typical heroine behavior..why?  

Even with some flaws I flew through this book, and enjoyed it.  I would recommend Die For Me if you like paranormal YA books.  

May 3, 2011

Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by The Broke and Bookish.

This weeks Top Ten Tuesday

Top Ten Books Recommended to Me

The Kite Runner

1.  The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

Not a typical book for me, but had to give it a try when it was constantly being recommended to me.  I was totally caught up in this book, and I still consider this one of my favorites.

Match Me If You Can (Chicago Stars, #6)

2.  Match Me If You Can by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

So glad I listened to the librarian.  I read this in one day, and giggled the whole way through.  A great romance!

City of Bones (The Mortal Instruments, #1)

3.  City of Bones- Cassandra Clare

This one was recommended by almost every blog I follow.  After so many great reviews I took the hint and got the book.  One of my favorite series.

Outlander (Outlander, #1)

4.  Outlander by Diana Gabaldon

Recommended by a friend when I said I was in the mood to read a big fat juicy book I could escape in.  I was definitely transported all ending with me cursing my friend for my lack of sleep, as well as the bags under my eyes.  I stopped reading this series after book 3.  Why? I don't have a freaking clue.  Maybe because of my new found fear of big fat books...hmm?

Shanghai Girls

5.  Shanghai Girls by Lisa See

Read a review by a blogger I completely trust, and picked it up at my local library.  Confirmed my good choice after librarian gushed about it while checking me out.  I mean come on she pushed me to read Match Me If You Can, if she recommends I'm getting.  She also recommended the movie Amelie to me by the way, and I love, love that movie.

Sloppy Firsts (Jessica Darling, #1)

6.  Sloppy Firsts- Megan McCafferty

Another friend recommendation.  Not done with the series yet, but i'll get to it eventually. Great young adult book.  It's raw, and real.

Heartsick (Gretchen Lowell, #1)

7.  Heartsick by Chelsea Cain

Recommend by blogger friend.  Not a huge thriller fan, but I'm so glad I gave this a try.  Need to get my hands on the latest, Night Season.

Firefly Lane

8.  Firefly Lane By Kristin Hannah

Actually was recommended the author.  I was just told pick any one of her books.  I went with Firefly Lane because  I already had a copy in my TBR, and I loved it.  

The Help
9.  The Help by Kathryn Stockett

This one was recommended on the PBS forum.  So  many great characters.  Just a all around good solid read.

I Capture the Castle

10.  I Capture the Castle by Dodie Smith

Recommend by someone at a bookstore.  It was in the sale books for a dollar, and she said that was bargain because the story was at least worth 10 dollars.  How can you not buy the book after that, and for a buck to boot.  

The book that has been most recommended to me is the one book I haven't read...Harry Potter.  I've gotten blank stares when I mention that I've never read any of them, then a "OMG".  Maybe this summer.

May 2, 2011

City of Fallen Angels- Cassandra Clare

Contains Spoilers from Bks 1, 2 and 3 of  the Mortal Instruments Series.

City of Fallen Angel
Author:  Cassandra Clare
Genre:  Paranormal YA
Publisher:  Margaret K. McElderry
Date Published:   April 5th 2011

From Goodreads:  

City of Fallen Angels takes place two months after the events of City of Glass. In it, a mysterious someone’s killing the Shadowhunters who used to be in Valentine’s Circle and displaying their bodies around New York City in a manner designed to provoke hostility between Downworlders and Shadowhunters, leaving tensions running high in the city and disrupting Clary’s plan to lead as normal a life as she can — training to be a Shadowhunter, and pursuing her relationship with Jace. As Jace and Clary delve into the issue of the murdered Shadowhunters, they discover a mystery that has deeply personal consequences for them — consequences that may strengthen their relationship, or rip it apart forever.

Meanwhile, internecine warfare among vampires is tearing the Downworld community apart, and only Simon — the Daylighter who everyone wants on their side — can decide the outcome; too bad he wants nothing to do with Downworld politics. Love, blood, betrayal and revenge: the stakes are higher than ever in City of Fallen Angels.


I really love the Mortal Instruments Series, and I was content with how I thought it had ended.   Valentine was dead, as well as Clary’s evil brother Sabastian.   End of story, right?  Apparently, Cassandra Clare had more to tell, so the series continues.    I was just hoping I agreed.  Just like everyone that has read the Mortal Instruments series, City of Fallen Angels was a book I had to read. 

It took awhile to read it for me.  I think part of it was it had been awhile since I was in the world of Shadowhunters, vampires, and werewolves, and the other part was the action was missing for more than half of the book.  We get a lot of romance, and talking about feelings, but one of the best things about the Mortal instruments series is the action.  Where was the action?  Other than that I thought City of Fallen Angels was very good.  Jace and Clary are finally together, maybe a little too much of I love you and can’t live without you, but still I like them so it wasn’t too nauseating.  There’s much more of Simon in City of Fallen Angels, in fact Simon is the key player in this 4th book.  Can’t go wrong in my eyes, I love Simon.  

City of Fallen Angels is the weakest of the three, IMO, but still very good.  I can't see anybody who loves the first three books not liking this one.