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!

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

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?

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

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?

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!

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!

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.

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.

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.

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.

Tuesday, June 14, 2011

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!

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.

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?

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Orchid Affair by Lauren Willig, 405 pages

This is the eighth book in the flower spy series by Lauren Willig, continuing the proud tradition of the Scarlet Pimpernal. Laura Grey is the newest spy, named the Silver Orchard, sent to France to serve as a governess in the household of Andre Jaouen, a highly placed government official. But she never expected that along with the danger and intrigue, she would have to deal with her feelings for Andre. Interweaved with the storyline is the plot of Elise in present day England, an American graduate student who thesis is based on the flower spies. She has fallen in love with one of the descendents, Colin, and is now caught up in his family drama.
This is one of my favorite series, it combines Regency romance and the best of Jane Austen, with intrigue, spies, and a big dash of Bridget Jones' Diary. What's not to like?

Thursday, June 9, 2011

iDrakula by Bekka Black, 150 pages

This was a really interesting twist on the Dracula story, told via text messages and email between Mina Murray, Jonathan Harker, Lucy Westenra, and Abraham Van Helsing. It pared the story down to the essentials, heightening the suspense, and modernizing this for the teen set. I wouldn't have wanted this to be my first introduction to Dracula, but as someone who has read a ton of vampire books, including many retellings of Dracula, this was a good read of an old story.

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

A Banquet for Hungry Ghosts by Ying Chang Compestine, 180 pages

This is a collection of Chinese ghost stories featuring great food along with hungry ghosts. I saw this book on the shelf in the teen section, thought the title looked interesting and the cover grabbed me. It was fun, dark, and delicious, 8 short stories that were lots of fun.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

The Summer Garden by Paullina Simons, 742 pages

Tatiana and Alexander have made it to America, but can they overcome the scars of the past to have any chance for a future together. With the ghosts of the War Department and Russia hanging over Alexander's head, Tatiana keeps the family on the move, hoping that if they never find Alexander, no one can take him from her. But Alexander's scars, both mental and physical, threaten not only their peace of mind, but the intimacy of the marriage bed. Anthony, their son, conceived in a cold Russia out of the hotness of their love, born in America, also has issues of abandonment and constant nightmares. Covering decades, continents, wartime and peace, Tatiana and Alexander continue to love, fight, and struggle to survive.

This epic novel is the final in a trilogy by Paullina Simons. With all of the emotional pathos that Russian literature is known for, the author has created a book that moves seamlessly between different times in Russia and America, with all of the drama and intrigue that lead up to the Cold War. Tatiana and Alexander's love is one that refused to die despite all odds and obstacles, creating a series that will stand alongside "Roots" and "North & the South" as sweeping sagas.

Unfortunately, I'm not a fan of Russian pathos, and sappy, love stories where people are never happy. I didn't enjoy the first book that much, so of course I got sent all three books in the series to review. This is the series that refused to die.

Runaway by Kate Williams, 170 pages

Jessica Wakefield is sick and tired of taking second place to her twin sister, Elizabeth. Everyone adores Elizabeth; she's kind and loving and generous. But Jessica can't seem to do anything right. Then Jessica meets handsome, sensitive Nicky Shepard, who feels the same way she does. Nicky is running away to San Francisco and wants Jessica to join him. At first she doesn't take him seriously. But when things reach the breaking point at home, Jessica starts to see that she might be better off if she left Sweet Valley-forever!
Yes, I'm still reading these, they are totally fun and light, and make for a great afternoon break.

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry, 458 pages

Cari has reviewed this book, so I won't go into great detail, but this was truly outstanding. This covers life after "First Night", a night when something set off the zombie plague. Some survivors have banded together in small conclaves, and some live alone in the Rot & Ruin, what the wilderness is now called. Benny, a 15-year-old is forced to become a zombie bounty hunter apprentice to his brother Tom, who he considers a coward. Everything Benny thinks he knows is challenged after he goes into the Rot & Ruin with Tom.
This is one of the best zombie books I've read, weaving a coming of age theme with what makes a hero, and the thought that power corrupts. I can see now why my 15-year-old loved it.

Monday, June 6, 2011

Crash Landing by Kate William, 151 pages

George Warren has been looking forward to taking his girlfriend, Enid Rollins, as a passenger on his first licensed flight. Afterward he's going to tell her something he's known for a long time-he doesn't love her anymore, and their relationship is over. Then he'll be free to date Robin Wilson, the girl he does love. But as he and Enid are flying, George loses control of the plane and is forced to make a crash landing. Enid is seriously injured, and George is overcome with guilt. He can't possibly break up with Enid now. But how long can he pretend to be in love with her and continue living a lie?

Showdown by Kate Wiliam 150 pages

When Lila Fowler's mysterious new boyfriend finally appears at her pool party, Jessica Wakefield is dazzled. Jack is handsome, sexy, and exciting-even more perfect than Lila described him. So Jessica wastes no time making sure he notices her, too. Unknown to Lila, Jack dates both girls-Jessica during the week and Lila on weekends. But the sight of Lila's happy face on Monday mornings is more than Jessica can stand! Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, warns her to drop Jack before she really gets hurt. But Jessica would rather get Lila out of the picture. Then Jack will be hers-all hers.

Head Over Heels by Kate William, 154 pages

Bruce Patman and Regina Morrow in love? No one at Sweet Valley High can believe it. Regina is beautiful and shy, one of the nicest girls at school. Bruce is a real snob, and the only person he's ever cared about is himself. Jessica Wakefield figures the romance can't last. She knows Bruce too well. She's even willing to bet Lila Fowler that Bruce and Regina break up within two weeks. The stakes are high, and Jessica can't afford to lose. If she has her way, Regina and Bruce won't be happy for long.

Deceptions by Kate William, 137 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Nicholas Morrow asks her for a date. A newcomer to Sweet Valley, Nicholas is absolutely wealthy and extremely handsome. Even though Elizabeth would never cheat on Todd Wilkins, her steady boyfriend. Nicholas is so attractive and sincere that she agrees to go out with him just once. To make matters worse, Jessica, Elizabeth's scheming twin, announces that Nicholas Morrow is the boy for her. Suddenly Nicholas is the only thing on Jessica's mind. Elizabeth is terrified to think what will happen if Todd or her twin finds out about her date with Nicholas. But who can keep a secret from Jessica Wakefield?
It's nice to see Elizabeth finally doing something a little less than perfect? I would hate to have her as a sister I must say.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Penderwicks at Point Mouette by Jeanne Birdsall, 295 pages

The Penderwicks are at it again in their third book. Rosalind the oldest is going to New Jersey with her best friend for two weeks, their father and his new bride are going to England, so Skye, Jane and Batty are off to the beach in Maine with their aunt. Skye is the OAP (Oldest Available Penderwick) and she isn't sure she is up to the responsibility. Throw in a crazy neighbor's dog, a skateboarding boy, Jane's love survey, a music loving neighbor and the general mayhem and craziness that follows the Penderwicks, they are sure to have two weeks that they'll never forget.
These are some of the best children's books I've read in a long time. They remind me of the Five Little Peppers or Little Women, with that basic innocence and wonderful storytelling. The only bad thing is now waiting for Jeanne Birdsall's next Penderwick book.

Love Letters by Kate William, 150 pages

Caroline Pearce has always been one of the least popular girls at Sweet Valley High. But when she invents a new out-of-town boyfriend, people finally start to pay attention to her. Brown-eyed, six-foot Adam and his romantic letters are the talk of the school. Caroline has everyone fooled-even clever Jessica Wakefield. But what begins as a bid for love and attention quickly becomes the worst jam of Caroline's life, when her friends insist on meeting the boyfriend she's been bragging about. Can Caroline keep the truth a secret, or will her lies be her downfall?
This one reminded me how much I hated middle school. That's all I'll say.

Uppity Women of Medieval Times by Vicki Leon, 247 pages

More biographies of women who refused to live in the narrow limits that their times called for. It covers women soldiers, religious figures, politicians, doctors and scholars galore. Uppity women are the ones who make history!

Betrayed by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, 310 pages

Zoey Redbird is a vampyre fledgling, but she is the most powerful fledgling that has been seen in centuries, chosen by Nyx. She is the new leader of the Dark Daughters but before she can even have the first ceremony, outside disruptions add even more trouble to her life. Humans from Zoey's old life have started to disappear and die. Plus, Neferet, head of the House of Night, seems to be hiding dark secrets. Who can Zoey turn to and trust in this tumultuous times?
I can't believe I've put off reading this series for so long. It's a great new twist on the vampire story, with intriguing characters and great plot development. I'm immediately putting myself on hold for the next book in the series.

Troll's Eye View: A Book of Villainous Tales edited by Ellen Datlow and Terri Windling, 200 pages

This is a collection of short stories and poems featuring the viewpoints of the bad guys of fairy tales. With Rumplestilskin, the witch from Rapunzel, Trolls, the giant's wife from Jack and the Beanstalk, and various others, this is a deliciously dark collection. I've always been one who rooted for the bad guys in stories, and I've always loved the original Grimm's fairy tales, so this was a great read for me. If you like your fantasy and fairy tales, dark, creepy, and not always a happy ending, pick up this book at once.

Uppity Women of Ancient Times by Vicki Leon, 239 pages

This book contains 1-2 page biographies of women who made history, changed perceptions and just caused trouble in Ancient Babylon, Mesopotamia, Egypt, North Africa, Asia Minor, Greece, Rome, and the Holy Land. It covers politicians, slaves, pirates, good girls and bad girls, and women in between. It was fun, interesting and filled with great tidbits of history. Ask and maybe I'll loan you my copy!

Promises by Kate William, 150 pages

Steven Wakefield is crushed when his girlfriend, Tricia, dies after a tragic illness. The only thing that keep him going are memory of his love and his promise to Tricia to take care of her sister, Betsy, after she's gone. Betsy Martin's wild exploits with drinks, drugs, and boys have left her with the worst reputation in Sweet Valley. But when Steven takes her into the Wakefield home, Betsy makes a promise to change. And as her goodness grows, so does her love for Steven. Jessica, Steven's conniving younger sister, doesn't like this one bit. She makes a little promise of her own-to get Betsy out of the house and out of Steven's life...forever!
This has Jessica at her most conniving and deceitful, which always makes for a more interesting and fun read.

Rags to Riches by Kate William, 151 pages

Noe one would have ever suspected that Roger Barret, the poorest boy in Sweet Valley, was really one of the Patmans, the wealthiest family in town. But when Roger's mother dies, the secret of his birth is revealed and overnight he becomes a millionaire! Immediately Jessica Wakefield sets her sights on Roger and his newfound wealth. Only one thing stands in her way-Olivia Davidson, Roger's longtime girlfriend. But not for long. Jessica has surefire plans to take care of her!
I've been getting the books that I haven't found at the Joplin Public Library or at used book stores, via inter-library loan. What was funny about this book is that it came from the Sarcoxie Library, but it used to belong to the Joplin Public Library. Talk about full circle.

Kindnapped by Kate William, 149 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield never imagined that her evening of volunteer work at Sweet Valley's hospital would turn into the most horrifying night of her life. But when a strong hand clamps a chloroformed rag over her mouth and she is pulled from her car, Elizabeth's hellish ordeal begins. When she regains consciousness, Elizabeth finds herself tied to a chair in an isolated shack. She has been kidnapped-by Carl, a lonely and disturbed orderly from the hospital. Elizabeth doesn't know what Carl wants from her, but it's clear he's on the brink of insanity. Somehow Elizabeth must escape-before it's too late!
This is Sweet Valley at it's dramatic, total mind-candy best. One of the things I like best about this series is the fact that they are easy to read and removed from reality, something I really need right now.

When Love Dies by Kate William, 129 pages

The Wakefield twins' older brother, Steven, is heartbroken. His girlfriend, Tricia Martin, no longer seems interested in him. She breaks their dates and doesn't return his calls. Steven can't understand why Tricia's feelings have changed so suddenly. Jessica is thrilled that Steven isn't dating Tricia anymore. She sees it as the perfect opportunity to pair him with her best friend, Cara Walker. Elizabeth, Jessica's twin, thinks that scheming, gossipy Cara is all wrong for Steven. She's determined to find out the reasons for Tricia's strange behavior-and horrified when she discovers the awful truth.