Thursday, June 30, 2011

Last Chance by Kate William, 136 pages


Dropout Johanna Porter knows that the students at Sweet Valley High are shocked to see her back in classes. She's never done well in school. Now, with everyone talking about her behind her back, she's finding it practically impossible to succeed. But Johanna's determined to stick with it. Peter DeHaven is one of the reasons Johanna wants to stay. She's always had a crush on him, and she thinks he likes her, too. When Peter's girlfriend, Amy is away for the weekend, Peter and Johanna go out and have a great time. But when she sees Peter at school, he ignores her. Is Peter like all the others who think Johanna's just a failure? Can she prove once and for all that she can make it at Sweet Valley High?

Out of Control by Kate William, 154 pages


Aaron Dallas, the handsome co-captain of the Sweet Valley High soccer team, used to be friendly and likeable. But suddenly he's changed. He explodes whenever the smallest thing goes wrong, and lashes out at everyone, including his teammates and his girlfriend, Heather. Elizabeth Wakefield is concerned about the changes in Aaron. Her boyfriend, Jeffrey French, is Aaron's best friend. Jeffrey keeps making excuses for Aaron, and Elizabeth can't persuade him that his best friend really needs help-until Jeffrey himself becomes the target of Aaron's rage.

Forbidden Love by Kate William, 138 pages


Maria Santelli's engagement to Michael Harris is the talk of Sweet Valley High, but they must keep it a secret from their parents. Years ago, the two families had a huge argument, and Michael and Maria were forbidden to see each other. At first, the sparkle in Maria's eyes nearly matches the sparkle of her diamond ring. But being engaged isn't as easy as Maria had expected. She's used to doing things on her own; but not Michael acts as if he owns her . He's even jealous of her helping Winston Egbert with his campaign for Student Council. Maria's beginning to think that she and Michael were happier before their engagement. Will Michael and Maria resolve their differences and go ahead with their wedding plans? Or will their secret engagement destroy their relationship forever?

The Map of Time by Felix Palma, 612 pages


Gilliam Murray, in late nineteenth century London, is currently selling trips to London in the year 2000, site of the fateful battle between automans who have taken over and the remaining humans who are fighting for survival. H.G. Wells, author of The Time Machine, must serve as go-between a girl from the past and humanity's last hope, Captain Derek Shackleton. Throw in a young man hoping to travel back in time to save his beloved street whore from Jack the Ripper, and you have a book that covers many years, many love stories, and many adventures.
"The Map of Time" was a highly entertaining book, with a complex interweaving of plots, superb character development, and an intriguing re-writing of history. Every time I thought I had figured out the plot, the author would completely take the novel in a new and unexpected way, but still completely believable. This was one of the most intriguing books I had read in a long time, I especially loved how actual historical figures were included, and how a single story could be shown, changing each time depending on the viewpoint of the character. I would wholeheartedly recommend this to anyone who is a fan of time travel, history, or just an outstanding read.
It's really hard to describe this book without giving away important details, but this was a GREAT BOOK!

Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Betrayed.


by P.C. Cast, 310 pages.

The writing in this series is distracting. Again, I like the overall mythology of this vampyre world, but I have a lot of issues with fine details in the plot and the writing style...

and yet, I'm hooked. I'm such a book masochist. I read this book in less than two days, which is a big deal for me. It's like when I read the Twilight series. I kind of hated it, but I couldn't stop! It's like a soap opera!

Cloaked by Alex Flinn, 341 pages


Because I enjoyed the fairy-tale aspect of "Beastly," Alex Flinn's earlier novel, I picked up her newest release, "Cloaked." Teenager Johnny works in his family's shoe-repair shop at a swanky South Beach hotel in Miami. He and his mother barely get by working long hours at multiple jobs and always seem to be struggling to keep the electricity from getting turned off. Then one day at the hotel, Johnny meets a princess from a far-away land. Victoriana asks for his help in tracking down her brother the crown prince, who has been turned into a frog by an evil witch. Needing the money and hungering for adventure (and the princess's hand in marriage), Johnny accepts the task and sets off to find the frog. Along the way, he meets animals who were once human, battles giants, comes up against an evil witch and her son, and makes use of a magical cloak, ring, and earpiece. This was a fun, fast read. I liked the multiple references to fairy tales and magical beings, and I found Johnny an appealing hero with a good sense of humor and a strong desire to do the right thing, whether it's helping his mother, his best friend Meg, or the princess and her brother.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Starting Over by Kate William, 153 pages


Sally Larson is thrilled when she moves in with her cousin Dana's family. After years of living in foster homes, Sally longs to have a real home, and she's determined to make a good impression. As long as Sally lets Dana control her life, she feels she'll be accepted. After all, her cousin is pretty, popular, and the lead singer for The Droids, Sweet Valley High's smash rock band. Sally even hopes to overcome the resentment of Dana's brother, Jeremy. But when Dana begins to resent her, too, Sally's afraid she'll have to leave-and she knows this is her last chance to make a life for herself. Will Sally ever be able to call Sweet Valley home?

The New Jessica by Kate William, 136 pages


Jessica Wakefield is sick and tired of being an independent twin. Her parents make jokes about it, and recently people at school have been mistaking her for her sister, Elizabeth. So Jessica's determined to make sure no one mixes up her and her twin ever again; she's going to create a new Jessica! She gets a complete makeover and dyes her hair black. Then she starts to wear outrageous clothes and read European magazines. Soon everyone at Sweet Valley High is talking about the new, sophisticated Jessica Wakefield. But one person isn't thrilled with Jessica's transformation. Elizabeth feels as though she's lost her twin sister forever. Is the old Jessica gone for good?
This is one of my favorite books in the series. I remember thinking when I read it for the first time in middle school how I completely wanted to change my personae. I even convinced my mom to let me dye my hair raven black and perm it. NOT A GOOD LOOK! Probably not the smartest thing to base your life choices on Sweet Valley High, lol.

Monday, June 27, 2011

Meditations on the Tarot, Letters XIX & XX, pp. 525 - 586

These two letters concern The Tarot Trumps of The Sun and Judgement. All the quoting of Henri Bergson and elucidation on the powers of intelligence and wisdom within the previous letters concerning The Star andThe Moon are brought to conclusion in the The Sun, which combines these forces into powers of accurate intuition. The letter analyzes deeply the Emerald Tablet of Hermes Trismegistus, which I recite every morning in part of my daily ceremonial work as a correspondence member of the Builders of the Adytum (http://www.bota.org/). Those not familiar with the recitation would probably benefit little from a commentary upon it, so I will go forward the the card of Judgement. In this letter, the author examines many enigmas concerning different interpretations of Judgement Day and Resurrection -- not just of Christ, but of Lazarus, the faithful disciples, and even (in a manner) of Samuel by the seer for Solomon. The author does not come out and state one idea as being completely and totally accurate, but rather surveys many Biblical scholars' views on these phenomena, incorporating other miraculous events, such as the Transfiguration, into the development of ideas. A very interesting and thought-provoking letter. Well, only two more letters before I am completed with this wonderful collection; more next month!

Taking Sides by Kate William, 134 pages


Jeffrey French has been at Sweet Valley High for only one week, and already he's made quiet an impression-especially with the girls. Enid Rollins has a crush on the rugged junior, but just as she's about to claim Jeffrey for her own, Lila Fowler declares that Jeffery is just the boy for her. Elizabeth Wakefield isn't about to let Lila steal Jeffrey from her best friend. And when Jessica, Elizabeth's twin, finds out her sister is helping Enid, she vows to do whatever she can to help Lila. Jessica's not going to stand for Jeffrey ending up with Enid, and she's certainly not going to let herself be outwitted by her own twin!

Jealous Lies by Kate William, 135 pages


It's pledge season for Pi Beta Alpha, and everyone in the exclusive Sweet Valley High sorority expects Sandra Bacon to nominate her best friend, Jean West. But Sandra's always tired of hearing about Jean's perfect figure, terrific grades, and fantastic cheerleading. The sorority is the only thing Sandra has that Jean doesn't, and even though Jean is her best friend, Sandra wants to keep Pi Beta Alpha for herself. When Sandra unwillingly becomes Jean's pledge sponsor, she's determined to do everything she can to insure Jean doesn't make it through the pledge period. But how far can Sandra go and still remain friends with Jean?

I Am Number Four by Pittacus Lore, 440 pages


I'd put this book on hold when the movie came out, wondering if I was missing the next big thing in teen/children's literature. Then I promptly forgot about it until my hold came up. I started the book half-heartedly and soon found myself unable to put it down. The novel's narrator is a refugee from the planet Lorien. His planet was attacked when he was a child, and he and several children, along with their guardians, escaped to earth. They are now being hunted by their planet's enemies, who must kill them in order. The hero of this book is -- you guessed it -- Number Four. Numbers One through Three have been killed, and Four and his guardian are constantly on the move in an attempt to throw off the aliens hunting them. They end up in Ohio, where Four takes on the name John Smith. John experiences typical teenage stuff -- he falls in love, makes a friend, encounters bullies -- before his special powers manifest and his enemies show up to kill him. I found the writing awkward in spots, and the battle scene at the end of the novel could have been edited down somewhat, but overall, the book kept my attention. John's increasing abilities and his growing knowledge of his home planet, coupled with his desire just to fit in and have a normal life, kept me interested. Perhaps the most interesting thing about this book, however, is that Pittacus Lore is a pen name. One of the co-authors is none other than James Frey, the author whose fallacious memoir "A Million Easy Pieces" made a fool out of Oprah Winfrey.

Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali, 353 pages


This was a book for the library book club. It was a look at Ayaan's life as a Somalian girl growing up in Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Kenya as a Muslim female. She was excised (female mutilation) as a young girl, forced into marriage to a man her father knew for an hour before agreeing to the marriage, fled to the Netherlands, and was forced to move to America after multiple death threats. This was a hard book to read, knowing that this happens every day, even in this country. I had managed to convince myself that it was only a few extremist Islamics that were giving the rest of the religion a bad name, but reading this forced me to question a religion that says the testimony of women is worth half a man's, condones violence against women, and says a woman's sexuality is a dangerous thing. This book also questions allowing immigrants to retain all of their culture in a new country, without adapting any to the country's beliefs and laws. This is a situation we are dealing with here in America, not just in Europe. I will be reading her next book very soon.

Bitter Rivals by Kate William, 138 pages


Elizabeth Wakefield is ecstatic. Her dearest childhood friend, Amy Sutton, is moving back to Sweet Valley. Elizabeth can't wait to see her again and introduce Amy to her current best friend, Enid Rollins. Amy is an undeniable hit at Sweet Valley High. She's glamorous and vivacious, and she becomes the newest member of the cheerleading squad. But to Elizabeth's shock, Amy and Enid seem to be heading for a showdown. Will the prospect of having two best friends leave Elizabeth with none?

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Marked.


by P.C. Cast, 320 pages.

This is a fluffy teen vampyre book from a fluffy teen vampyre series and I think it's exactly what I need right now. I like that there's a lot of Wiccan ritual-type stuff and that the vampyre world is a matriarchy. The writing isn't the best, but I am hooked on the fluff and will probably continue to read this series.

Lovestruck by Kate William, 153 pages


No one at Sweet Valley High can believe that football star Ken Matthews has fallen in love with super-sophisticated Suzanne Hanlon. Suzanne likes poetry, gourmet food, and art films, while Ken's idea of a good time is listening to rock 'n' roll and eating pizza. Two people couldn't be more different. Elizabeth Wakefield knows that snobbish Suzanne is wrong for Ken. But Ken seems to be blindly in love with Suzanne and is willing to do anything she wants. Can anyone help Ken come to his senses before he gets hurt?

Impulse by Ellen Hopkins (666 pages)


Impulse follows three teens who have all ended up in the same mental institute for attempted suicide. There's Connor, who seems to have to perfect life, but inside he's miserable and knows his life is anything but perfect. Tony was horribly abused as a child by his mother's boyfriend, leaving him emotionally scarred and confused about his sexuality. Valerie finds comfort from her manic depression by cutting herself. As the weeks pass they form a sort of strange friendship and learn to confide in each other and face their own twisted family lives.

Impulse was my first venture into the world of Ellen Hopkins and probably my last, at least for a while. Not to say that this book wasn't well-written - in fact it was so well-written that at times I had to take a break from reading because it left me so emotionally exhausted. Hopkins doesn't shy away from reality, and there were times I found myself cringing from the absolute horror of it. It makes me so sad that this kind of stuff isn't contained in books... it's reality, and it's happening in our own country, in our own neighborhoods. Impulse is a book that will stay with you for a long time after you turn the last page.

Note: If you're looking for a happy ending... don't pick this one up.

Alone in the Crowd by Kate William, 136 pages


Lynne Henry is tall, awkward, and painfully shy. The one bright spot in her life is her songwriting. In her room, playing her guitar, Lynne forgets how lonely she is and becomes someone special. When The Droids, Sweet Valley High's most popular rock band, announce an songwriting contest, Lynne enters it. But she is so insecure about her talent that she submits her song anonymously. As soon as they hear Lynne's song, The Droids know they've got a winner. Guy Chesney, the attractive lead guitarist for the band, vows to find the songwriter, no matter how long it takes. Only Elizabeth Wakefield knows Lynne's secret. Can she persuade Lynne to come out into the open and share her talent or is Lynne destined to remain unnoticed?

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim by Mark Twain and W. Bill Czolgosz, 271 pages


If you haven't read Mark Twain's classic Huckleberry Finn, you've missed out on a wonderful piece of literature. Now, The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn and Zombie Jim, brings new life (or new Undead Life) to this great book. Bill Czolgosz has done an outstanding job weaving the story of Jim being a zombie, or Bagger, into the original story. While staying true to the original language and intent of Twain's original work, Czolgosz has added new dimensions, with more action, and character development. I'm a fan of both Twain and zombie books, and have read many of these re"vamped" classics only to be disappointed. This was not one of them. Blood Enriched Classics always delivers a wonderful new twist, with well-written adaptations of beloved classics that have been gorified for our zombie-reading enjoyment. I especially enjoyed Huckleberry's struggle with Jim's struggle for freedom as a zombie, because he's no longer human. Huck could see how as a Negro he was almost human, and as a zombie he at times retained some humanity. This book was a great read and lots of fun. I especially liked how the "duke and king" got their just desserts.

The Undertakers: Rise of the Corpses by Ty Drago, 465 pages


Will Ritter is an average twelve-year-old boy who started off for school expecting that day to be like any other. Little did he expect that his next door neighbor would be a walking corpse. The next thing Will knows, is that he's being attacked at school by undead teachers and staff. A fellow student, Helene, leads him to safety. Will discovers that he is a Seer, able to see the true face of these undead creatures, inhabiting the bodies of the corpses. Only children, and only a few, are able to see them, and for their safety, most join the Undertakers, a band devoted to fighting the Corpses. Will learns that there was a lot about his father that he didn't know, and a lot that Will needs to learn if he wants to stay alive. The Corpses are out to kill the Seers, all except Will, because they have special plans for him.
This is not your traditional zombie book, but is instead a high-octane read, with a great new take on the zombie story. Ty Drago has created what promises to be a great series, filled with adventure, undead beings, aliens, teenage guerrillas, and lots and lots of intrigue. Watching Will deal with losing the safety of his home and family, letting go of his childhood, and growing up way too fast was heartbreaking at times, but always a good read. How do you fight an enemy that is already dead and no grownup can see?
Cari or Jeana, if you haven't ordered this book already for the library, you should!

Oh No She Didn't! by Clinton Kelly (201 pages)


Oh Clinton Kelly, how I love you! As an avid What Not to Wear fan, I knew I would love this book. Since it's already been reviewed a couple of times, I'll not say much more. Although he is at times profane and tactless, Clinton isn't afraid to tell it like it is. But if you want a fast, light read and enjoy laughing at other people's fashion disasters, I'd say pick this one up.

Friday, June 24, 2011

Flip This Zombie by Jesse Petersen, 261 pages


This is the sequel to Married with Zombies. Sarah and David have become zombie busters after the zombie plague hit. They have a special request from a new client, instead of killing zombies, he wants the zombies collected alive. He's a scientist who is working on a cure. But is there more to this "mad" scientist than meets the eye? Will Sarah and David stay together and alive long enough to find out?
This was hilarious, filled with lots of action and great dialogue. Working on your marriage while fighting zombies is a fun new twist on the ever popular zombie genre. I am eagerly awaiting the next in this series.

Special Christmas by Kate William, 233 pages


The Wakefield twins and their friends at sweet Valley High are in festive spirits. It's Christmas vacation, the annual parade is just days away, secret Santas are busy buying surprise gifts, and everyone's talking about the holiday dance at the Patmans' mansion. Jessica Wakefield is determined to be named Miss Christmastime, and Elizabeth is counting the days until she's reunited with her faraway boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. It seems nothing can spoil Jessica and Elizabeth's holiday-until Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield announce the arrival of an unwelcome houseguest. Now it looks as though this Christmas might be the worst ever!

Hostage by Kate William, 135 pages


When Elizabeth Wakefield learns that Regina Morrow has returned unexpectedly to Sweet Valley from Switzerland, she drops by to visit. A strange woman answers the door and says Regina cannot have visitors. With the help of Jessica, her twin, and Bruce Patman, Regina's boyfriend, Elizabeth discovers that Regina and her parents are being held hostage! If Elizabeth calls the police, the Morrows may be killed. So she, Bruce, Jessica, and Regina's brother, Nicholas, vow to rescue the Morrows on their own-before the kidnappers take desperate action!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Queen of Kings by Maria Dahvana Headley, 401 pages


Octavius has descended upon Egypt determined to unseat Marc Anthony and Cleopatra. Cleopatra ends up seeking help from Sekhmet, a bloodthirsty Egyptian goddess, but before she knows it, Marc Anthony is dead by his own hand, Cleopatra is deposed and changed into a creature missing her ka (soul) and harboring Sekhmet inside her. After watching her oldest son killed, Cleopatra is determined to seek revenge against Octavius. She follows the emperor back to Rome, and must face Octavius, his army and a trio of witches if she intends on gaining a bloody satisfaction.
This was an interesting retelling of the Cleopatra saga, weaving historical fact with a vampire story, to put a new interpretation on this larger than life queen. I loved how Cleopatra's love for family is the driving force behind her actions. Cleopatra was a very hands on parent, especially for a royal parent, raising children who were highly educated, before the Roman attack. The author left the ending open for a sequel, and I would definitely pick it up.

Nowhere to Run by Kate William, 153 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield is surprised when Emily Mayer tells her she wants to join the school newspaper. After all, Emily's a musician, not a writer. Why would The Droids' crack drummer turn to writing, especially when the band is so popular? Emily confides to Elizabeth that she's having problems at home. Her stepmother has imposed a strict curfew and gets annoyed whenever Emily practices her drumming. What's worse, Emily's father seems to agree with his new wife. Emily's certain her stepmother is out to get her-and she's succeeding. Can Elizabeth help Emily before the situation at the Mayer home reaches the breaking point?

Memories by Kate William, 151 pages


The Wakefield twins' older broth, Steven, hasn't dated anyone since his girlfriend died of leukemia. He can't even look at another girl without thinking of his beloved Tricia. But Steven is drawn to Cara Walker, Sweet Valley's biggest flirt and gossip has changed. Her parents have divorced, and her father and brother have moved away. Cara understands the pain of losing someone. When Tricia's sister Betsy sees Steven and Cara dancing together at a party, she accuses Steven of forgetting about Tricia. Steven is torn by Betsy's bitter accusation. He can't deny his attraction to Cara. But how can he ever love another girl after Tricia?

Say Goodbye by Kate William, 153 pages


Elizabeth Wakefield's heart is breaking: Todd Wilkins, her longtime boyfriend is leaving Sweet Valley and moving to Vermont. Todd and she have only one week left. After that the only boy Elizabeth has ever loved will be gone-forever. Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, is ecstatic; she never like Todd anyway. The moment Todd leaves, Jessica begins to hunt for a new boyfriend for Elizabeth. But when Jessica's plot backfires, it threatens to destroy Elizabeth and Todd's enduring love!

The Cardturner by Louis Sachar (315 pages)

If anyone could make a book about playing bridge interesting, Louis Sachar can be counted on not to disappoint. The bestselling author of Holes and the award-winning Small Steps, Sachar has a unique writing style that begs to be read. His latest novel, The Cardturner might be about an intricate and little heard about card game, but it is fascinating.

The story is narrated by seventeen-year-old Alton Richards, and takes place during the summer before his senior year. It centers on Alton helping his blind, rich great-uncle, Lester Trapp, play bridge. Trapp is a master bridge player and despite his handicap, all Alton is required to do is to tell Trapp his opening hand and play precisely the card Trapp tells him. Alton does an excellent job as a cardturner and ends up liking the game so much he quickly picks up the basics and starts playing on his own time.

As with many of Sachar's novels, there is a story within a story that comes to light throughout the book and this one is no exception. Alton has been hearing stories about his great-uncle his entire life, but during the summer the real story is told and he learns that there is a big difference between what you think you know and what you actually know.

It might take some convincing to get this in the hands of teenagers (and even adults), but once they start reading they will have a hard time stopping. Highly recommended.

Will Grayson, Will Grayson by John Green & David Levithan (304 pages)

Two boys, each named Will Grayson, narrate this teen tale about learning how to act like yourself. At first, neither boy knows the other, but after a fortuitous meeting in Chicago they find they have more in common than just their names and one of those things is Tiny Cooper.

Tiny Cooper is fabulous. His is also a massive, offensive lineman that just happens to love musical theater. It is his love for musicals that motivates him to write a play about his life, in which both Will Graysons earn prominent roles.

John Green and David Levithan make co-author magic with this one. Not only is it funny, sad and honest, but readers are sure to love the hilariously, accurate musical numbers performed by Tiny and crew in the audiobook version of the book. MacLeod Andrews and Nick Podehl narrate the Brilliance audio and they do a spot on job!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith (and Jane Austen), 319 pages


Presumably, every book-lover in the world has at least heard of Jane Austen's classic novel Pride and Prejudice, if not read it. I have an appreciation for Austen's novels with the always present complex webs of strongly developed characters, and I have to say Pride and Prejudice is my favorite. That being said, I also love a good silly, bloody, zombie story every now and then. So the mash-up of the two seemed brilliant to my mind, and I have been excited to read this book for a long time.
I wanted to love it, but I didn't. I was strongly encouraged by a funny introduction by the author and the shock of the first few chapters as the idea sank in. However, over time, the premise got old for me and I grew bored with it. I was hoping it would be completely re-worked but no, the book is literally Jane Austen's original work with bits of gore, violence, or modern humor thrown in. Maybe if I would have read this one instead of listening to it, it would have helped. It took me a long time to get to the end, knowing exactly what the outcome would be and without being entertained enough by the few surprise bloody encounters. I wouldn't recommend it unless you haven't read P&P for a long time and would like to refresh yourself with the story while also being open to a few violent new intervals.

Monday, June 20, 2011

Leverage by Joshua C. Cohen ( 425 pages)

Sports and bullying combine to make a gritty, raw and sometimes hard to swallow sports novel.

At Oregrove High School, as with many high schools, football players are treated like kings and everyone else better watch out. Told through the alternating voices of Danny, a sophomore gymnast, and Kurt, a junior football player, readers get to see the inner workings of one elite school's athletic system.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

It's Not Really About the Hair.


Tabatha Coffey, 224 pages.

Lisa recommended and I will read anything fashion-related that the stylish Ms. Brown likes. It was entertaining. I'd like to see her on the ole television as I bet she is better in person than in text.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Garfield bigger than life by Jim Davis, 96 pages


This is one that Sammi brought home from the library and left sitting out on the couch. I picked it up and next thing I knew I was all the way through. It's kind of scary to think that I'm only 3 years older than Garfield, I know it seems like I've been reading him my whole life. Still funny, after all these years.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Cloaked by Alex Flinn, 341 pages


Cloaked is a modern day retelling of some of the lesser known fairy tales. Johnny works at his family's shoe repair store in a swanky Florida hotel. When a beautiful princess visits and asks for his help in finding her brother who's been turned into a frog, Johnny thinks she's playing a prank on him. But he quickly realizes she is telling the truth. On his search for the missing frog prince, Johnny must also look for the sister of the hotel's swans, so she can turn them back and runs into a fox who may be able to help him. But an evil witch dogs his steps and threatens all that Johnny tries to achieve.
This was written by the same author of Beastly that was recently turned into a movie. I really liked Beastly (still haven't seen the movie) and was excited to see this. I love fairy tales, especially the lesser known ones, and featured several. It was great how the author updated it for the teen crowd, a good read no matter what your age. I'll be looking for other books by this author.

Crazy Love by Francis Chan p.205

Best Book I have ever read other than the Bible! If you arent on fire for God before you read it you will be when you are done!!Love how he thinks and puts everything our generation is going thru perfectly into words and how most Christians feel today. Last two chapters some of the best of the book. Especially the one with the stories of those true saints who have carried the torch for Christ High till the end.

Pleasant Valley Book #4 Sarah's Gift by Marta Perry p.329

Fourth book in series and all have been outstanding. This one starts out slower but then by the 3rd chapeter you dont want to put it down.Look for #5 in the fall

Green Fairy Book by Andrew Lang, 408 pages


I was helping my daughter pick out books in the children's department and I found this on the fairytale wall. I love the original Grimm fairy tales, and this is similar. Evidently there were different collections put out under the "color" fairy tales and this is the third one. It features fairy tales from predominately Europe and some from China and Japan. I had read many before, but there were a few I didn't remember. One of the things I liked about this book was that I could read a few fairy tales, put the book down, and come back to it the next day. I read this book before bed over the last week, without feeling like I had lost my place. I think I will be looking for the other collections in this series.

Paranormal Missouri: Show Me Your Monsters by Jason Offutt, 160 pages


Although I'm an avid watcher of The Travel Channel's "Ghost Adventures" -- one of my guilty pleasures, along with true-crime TV shows like "48 Hours Mystery" -- I'm not a big believer in the paranormal. I picked up "Paranormal Missouri" because I figured it would be a quick read, which it was. It was an interesting book that I found myself *not* reading before bedtime, but I came away feeling like it could have used a good editor. Three different chapters dealt with the same individual's experiences; I would have consolidated those into one. There were several typos. The punctuation needed a lot of work. (Improper use of semi-colons and commas is a huge pet peeve of mine.) I wouldn't have included the many chapters about UFO sightings. And I would have suggested that the author broaden his geographical range. Most of the book takes place in the middle of the state. Hello, ever hear of the Prosperity Bed and Breakfast in Joplin? I'm sure there are plenty of supposedly haunted historical homes and buildings in Joplin and Carthage. Some even believe the Joplin Public Library is haunted. But overall this was a fun book to read; it just didn't make a believer out of me.

Thursday, June 16, 2011

Secrets of the White Rose by Stefanie Pintoff, 370 pages


Detective Simon Ziele is back investigating the troublesome case of a judge's murder during the trial of an anarchist. Criminologist Alistair Sinclair is a family friend called in to help and he insists on Simon's participation. With this being a high profile case involving the commissioner himself, Simon could easily find himself out of a job if he crosses his bosses. And Simon quickly comes to believe there is more to the case than just anarchists, especially when other people start to die, with a white rose and Bible at the scenes. Also, a family member of Simon's dead fiance, Hannah, seems to be involved, forcing Simon to face memories of the past. Will Simon be able to solve this troublesome case and maintain his friendship with Alistair? Will Simon even live long enough to solve the case?
I've enjoyed Stefanie Pintoff's works ever since Lisa recommended them to be, but I feel like they are homages to The Alienist by Caleb Carr. While solid reads, they won't ever be my favorite mysteries, being a little too dry for my tastes.

The Wall and The Wing by Laura Ruby (327 pgs)


Gurl lives at Hope House for the Homeless and Hopeless with many orphans. Life is pretty miserable for Gurl. She's bullied by all the other orphans (except the new boy, Bug), she is a "lead foot" (people can fly, you know, but not Gurl), and despite her fantasies about a nice life with parents, there is no way she will ever have it.

One night, Gurl sneaks out of Hope House for a quick bite to eat (from the dumpster outside an Italian restaurant)and discovers a cat (cats are rare because when people discovered they could fly, birds became the favorite pet and cats eat birds). When Noodle, the cat, is in danger of being hurt by one of the restaurant's bus boys, Gurl discovers she has a talent much more interesting than flying. She can turn invisible.

This is a very light-hearted read that is really fun to listen to. I highly recommend it for some escapism reading.

Ship Breaker by Paolo Bacigalupi (326 pages)

On Bright Sands Beach, located in America's Gulf Coast region, Nailer and his light crew stay busy breaking apart enormous oil ships that no longer work. The residents of Bright Sands Beach are all looking for a "Lucky Strike", something that will make them wealthy enough to get them out of their current situation, however, in this post-oil society, where resources are scarce and global warming has caused much damage there is little hope. So when Nailer and his friend Pima come across a beached clipper ship, worth a fortune, and a beautiful girl barely clinging to life, they are forced to make the decision of a lifetime.

Paolo Bacigalupi's 2011 Printz Award winning novel combine science fiction, adventure and a seemly-realist look at what could happen to the planet to create a hard to put down tale.

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Warm Bodies by Isaac Marion, 241 pages


R is a zombie, existing only to eat human flesh, but that changes when he eats the brain of a young man named Perry. He starts to gain Perry's memories, including his love and protective feelings for Julie. While protecting Julie from the other zombies, R starts to change. What will this mean for the undead zombies, the living survivors, and most of all, for R and Julie?
This is one of the most interesting and fascinating zombie books I've ever read, with a completely new twist on the zombie genre. With the book written from the viewpoint of a zombie, "Warm Bodies" is a undead read that will have you eagerly turning each page, upset to see the end come. As a fan of zombie books, I've read almost everything out there, and Isaac Marion's book is at the top of the field for originality, characters, and plot. I wholeheartedly recommend this book for anyone who likes zombie book, or paranormal fiction of any kind. I can't wait to see this turned into a movie. Rob Patterson kind of looks like a zombie to begin with, so he would be perfect.

Other People's Rejection Letters edited by Bill Shapiro (192 pages)


Other People's Rejection Letters is filled with everything from hateful breakup notes to college rejections to notes from little kids running away. Some of the breakup letters were so intense I couldn't help but imagine the heartbreaking situations in which these people had found themselves. Some of the letters were interesting, a few were funny, but too many of them were just kind of... well... boring.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

Funny Riddles by Jacqueline Horsfall

Takes me back to my childhood and to my kids being little with the funny jokes they tell. Lots of laughs!!!

The Penderwicks on Gardam Street by Jeanne Birdsall, 308 pages


The Penderwick family is back in this sequel to Jeanne Birdsall's first, simple but incandescent juvenille novel, The Penderwicks. Mr. Penderwick and all four girls, motherly Rosalind, independent tom-boy Skye, creative dreamer Jane, and sweet funny Batty, maintain every bit of magic and humor that they had in the first book. This time we get to see the loving family in their charming home environment. The plot is not incredibly complicated, it mostly revolves around Mr. Penderwick entering the dating world again (against both his and the girls' strong wills) and the evolution of a half-baked, always entertaining plot called the "Save Daddy Plan".
This book will make you laugh, tear up, and become immersed into the picturesque and detailed world of the family. Definitely give this series a try. It has the charm and sophistication of the classics like Tuck Everlasting and The Secret Garden.

The Completely Mad Don Martin, 192 pages


This is a collection from about 30 years ago featuring some of the best cartoons of Don Martin from Mad Magazine. We were at the flea market and my 9-year-old discovered this book and had to have it. So far, almost everyone in the family has read it. These cartoons are just as funny now as when they first came out.

Too Much In Love by Kate William, 153 pages


Bill Chase and DeeDee Gordon have been happy together for a long time. But lately DeeDee has become too dependent on Bill. She wants to do everything and go everywhere with him. Bill feels that he doesn't have any room to breathe and decides it's over between them. Elizabeth doesn't know why DeeDee is acting the way she is, but she knows DeeDee's strange behavior is killing her relationship. Can Elizabeth help DeeDee regain her strength and independence before it's too late.

Monday, June 13, 2011

Pandora Gets Angry by Carolyn Hennesy, 310 pages


Pandora has opened the box holding the world's evils and let them loose. Now, she along with her friends, must travel the world collecting them in a set amount of time or else she'll die. So far she has collected 4 of the 7 biggies and is now looking for Rage. But Hera is still after her, angry and plotting Pandora's death. Can Pandora survive all the dangers and tribulations she facing?
This is a really fun, well-written children's series delving into the world of Greek gods and goddesses. For fans of the Lightening Thief, Greek mythology, or just fun children's literature, this is a series you don't want to miss. The only hard part is waiting for the next book to come out. Impatience is one of the minor ills released that has grabbed hold of me when it comes to reading!

Bossypants by Tina Fey, 277 pages


This book was just what I needed, post-tornado. I've been a Tina Fey fan for years. She's smart, hilarious, and very much a feminist. Plus, she was an awesome Sarah Palin parody. (But, really, isn't Sarah Palin herself a parody? Discuss.) In "Bossypants," Fey covers a lot of ground, both personal and professional: her childhood as the daughter of a Greek mom and a bad-ass dad she always refers to as "Don Fey"; her time in the Second City comedy troupe; her years as a writer and performer for "Saturday Night Live" and then "30 Rock"; marriage and motherhood; the importance placed on a woman's physical appearance; and so on. I laughed all the way through this book. Perhaps the funniest chapter describes her unfortunate honeymoon to Bermuda. Let's just say that it entails a cruise-ship fire and a husband who's petrified of flying. I also loved all the behind-the-scenes stories about "Saturday Night Live" and how things have changed for female writers and performers in the past 10 years or so. Just don't make the same mistake I did and read the "SNL" chapter while eating lunch. The descriptions of places the male writers would urinate was pretty gross.

A Curtain Falls by Stefanie Pintoff, 390 pages


Yet another historical murder mystery set in New York City. It was good, but not the best I'd read. Featuring Broadway, serial killers, a detective with a broken heart, a con man father returned, and unrequited love, it was a intriguing mystery.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Dead Reckoning by Charlaine Harris, 325 pages


I've been looking forward to this book, the 11th in the Sookie Stackhouse series that inspired HBO'series "True Blood," for a while. And although it didn't disappoint, I must admit that I'm a little unsettled by the dark turn Sookie's world has taken in the past couple novels, a trend continued in this one. Everyone's favorite telepathic waitress is no longer the perky, funny, somewhat naive girl she was when the series began. She's sadder and wiser, and often finds herself pulled into violent situations due to her own enemies or those of her vampire lover, Eric Northman. In "Dead Reckoning," Sookies' workplace, Merlotte's, is fire-bombed; something is afoot with her fae relatives; a plot to murder Eric's nemesis Victor is in the works; Pam faces a personal tragedy; and secrets are revealed that rock Sookie's world. By the end of the book, I just wanted to sit Sookie down, pour us both a margarita, and say, "Girl, what is going on with you?!" Harris is contractually obligated for two more books, so I'm curious to see how she wraps up the series. I just hope she gives Sookie a happy ending -- or as happy ending as she can have in her world.

The Best of H.P. Lovecraft: Bloodcurdling Tales of Horror and the Macabre, 375 pages




This is a great collection of short stories by the man Stephen King calls "yet to be surpassed as the twentieth century's greatest practitioner of the classic horror tale." I began reading this on Walpurgisnacht (Witch's Night), April 30th, as part of my bedtime reading material. No vampires, zombies, or werewolves in these 16 stories, but rather earlier 20th Century pulp grabbers including cannibalism, a gravekeeper locked in a mausoleum (who discovers he is not alone), a wizard and witch with a horned, tailed, and scaled child (with more problems than that), meteorites that control the minds of people who come near it, villagers who transform into fish-creatures at night and sacrifice passing travellers to Dagon, and several Cthulhu mythos stories. All-in-all, a very enjoyable read; I would recommend in particular "In the Vault", "The Dunwich Horror", and "The Shadow over Innsmouth".

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Perfect Summer by Kate William, 249 pages


It's summer in Sweet Valley, and the Wakefield twins and their friends are taking a bike trip up the beautiful California coast. What could be more exciting than four weeks of glorious sunshine, sandy beaches, and endless fun at every stop? But the dream of a perfect vacation soon fades. Elizabeth Wakefield is about to break up with her boyfriend, Todd, over another girl. Her twin, Jessica, chases after sexy Robbie October, who ignores her. Bruce Patman is mean to his cousin Roger, Lila Fowler holds a grudge against Ms. Dalton, and Ms. Dalton is barely speaking to Mr. Collins. Can this feuding group unite when an unexpected disaster threatens their lives?

Guide to Quality, Taste, and Style.


by Tim Gunn, 201 pages.

I heart Tim Gunn. I'm gonna follow all his style guidelines. Ya scared?