Sunday, July 31, 2011

Second Chance by Kate William, 133 pages

Quiet, determined Kristin Thompson knows exactly what she wants from life. Since she was little, she has had one goal-to become a world-class tennis player. Now all she has to do is win one more tournament and she'll qualify to turn professional. Then handsome Bruce Patman invites her out and sweeps her off her feet. But there's not enough room in Kristin's life for a boyfriend and professional tennis. She begins to wonder if a romance with Bruce will make her happier than winning the tournament ever could. Will Kristin give up the dream of a lifetime to live like an ordinary teenager?

White Lies by Kate William, 137 pages

John Pfeifer, popular sports reporter for the Sweet Valley High Oracle, is worried that his good friend Jennifer Mitchell is becoming too involved with dropout Rick Andover. When he finds out that Jennifer plans to run away with Rick, he enlists Elizabeth Wakefield's help to stop them. Then Rick is arrested. Jennifer is convinced that her father turned him in. Furious, she refuses to speak to her father. John is the one responsible for Rick's arrest but there's no way he can admit it now that Jennifer has turned to him for comfort. Then Mr. Mitchell becomes seriously ill, and John is faced with a terrible dilemma. Should he tell Jennifer the truth and risk losing her friendship, or let her go on thinking her father is to blame?

Against the Odds by Kate William, 151 pages

Ronnie Edwards is having the time of his life. By betting successfully on high school sports, he's made more money than he knows what to do with. He's even offered Jessica Wakefield a loan. Unfortunately, he hasn't been keeping up with payments to his bookie, Big Al. When Big Al decides to collect, Ronnie's out of cash. So Big Al offers him another option: if Ronnie can fix the state championship soccer game, Big Al will forget about Ronnie's debt. Ronnie turns to the only friend he has-Elizabeth Wakefield's boyfriend, Jeffrey French, star soccer player for Sweet Valley High. A college scout is coming to see the game, and if Jeffrey doesn't play his best, he'll jeopardize his future. But if he doesn't help Ronnie out, his friend may not have a future.

Friday, July 29, 2011

The Help by Kathryn Stockett, 451 pages

Well, I think I am one of the last people in America to read this book. There has been so much hoopla about this book that I've put off reading it. Either I want to read a book before everyone else has or I'm likely to avoid a book that everyone is reading. But this one has gotten so many great reviews, plus the movie trailer I saw looked good. And I refuse to see a movie if I haven't read the book first. So, I finally picked this up and knocked it out. I won't go into plot details because you would have to have been living in a cave not to know them, but I was pleasantly surprised to find myself enjoying the book. It had interesting characters, a compelling plot and good writing. I will definitely be going to see the movie now to see how the two measure up against each other.

Playing for Keeps by Kate William, 165 pages

Jessica Wakefield is head over heels in love with handsome A.J. Morgan. She knows he likes her, but Jessica's convinced he'd really fall in love with her if she were studious and reserved, like her twin, Elizabeth. So Jessica sets out to change her personality completely. But her plans are threatened when she hears about a fashion contest she just knows she could win. How can she compete and still be the shy, sweet girl that A.J. thinks she is? When the contest turns into a battle to keep A.J. as well as a competition for a designer wardrobe, Jessica has to make some difficult decisions. Will the old Jessica reappear-and risk losing A.J.-or is the quiet, serious new Jessica hear to stay?

Lost at Sea by Kate William, 150 pages

It's a beautiful, sunny day when a group from Sweet Valley High sets sail for a special science field trip. Jessica Wakefield is looking forward to a few hours of sunbathing and flirting while her twin sister, Elizabeth, can't wait to get to deserted Anacapa Island to study the marine life. Neither of them could have imagined the nightmare the trip will become. On the way back from the island, a violent storm sets in, and the group is forced to abandon ship in the middle of a raging sea. Then, when the lifeboat carrying Jessica and Winston Egbert capsizes, they disappear into the fog. After the storm clears, Jessica's life preserver turns up. And soon the Coast Guard spots the missing lifeboat-but it's empty! Will Jessica and Winston ever be found?

Thursday, July 28, 2011

Out of Reach by Kate William, 151 pages

All Jade Wu wants is to be as all-American as the other girls in Sweet Valley. But her traditional Chinese father won't let her date or do any of the things other teenage girls do, so Jade's sure she'll never fit in. Jade is a talented dancer, and when she wins the solo part in a dance show, she takes the role despite her father's objections. Soon she's happier than she dreamed she could be, especially when the show brings her together with handsome David Prentiss. Jade begins to confide everything in David-until it suddenly looks as if he's betrayed her deepest secret about her family. Can Jade really find happiness in her two world, or was her father right all along?

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Vision Impossible by Victoria Laurie, 358 pages

Abby Cooper, psychic extraordinaire, has been requested to help out her government. A highly secret drone that takes pictures of people's auras has been stolen, and Abby and her FBI boyfriend Dutch are crucial to getting it back. Abby knows that if Dutch goes alone he won't make it, but the odds for their survival together aren't much better. But the two go undercover in Canada, and quickly find themselves knee-deep in trouble. Can Abby's spirit guides keep them alive long enough to find the drone and get back home or will Abby end up on the other side of the ether curtain?
"Vision Impossible" by Victoria Laurie is the latest Psychic Eye Mystery in what has been a fabulously quirky series. With great characters, wonderful plots, steamy romance and lots of humor, this series is a must-read on my list. The only thing better than one of these books would be a Ghost Hunter book by Victoria Laurie.

Wicked Plants, The Plant that Killed Lincoln's Mother & Other Botanical Atrocities by Amy Stewart, 236 pages

I had read Wicked Bugs by this author and really enjoyed it, so I eagerly picked this book up. It's comforting to think of how much of the world is actively trying to kill us. Plants that poison, destroy, suffocate, and are just plain dangerous are featured in little vignettes. Ranging from Betel Nuts, Nightshade, Kudzu, Ratbane, Stinging Trees, and Yew, there is something for everyone. I will definitely take a second look at plants I put in my flower beds or bring into my house considering how many things are poisonous to animals and children. This book is well worth picking up for a fun and informative read.

Slam Book Fever by Kate William, 137 pages

Slam books are the newest craze at Sweet Valley High. They're do-it-yourself books of lists and predictions about everyone in school. They start out as fun but soon stir up big trouble. First, Jeffrey French, Elizabeth's Wakefield's boyfriend, gets paired up with another girl under the category, "Couple of the Future." Then Elizabeth gets matched up with the new boy at school, A.J. Morgan-and her twin, Jessica, is furious, because she's the one who's fallen hard for A.J. Will the mysterious slam book entries spell the end of happiness for both Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield?

Troublemaker by Kate William, 166 pages

No one at Sweet Valley High can understand why a shy, sensitive girl like Julie Porter is attracted to someone as conceited as Bruce Patman. But no matter what anyone says, Julie detects a warmth in Bruce's piercing blue eyes that's meant only for her. Julie's longtime neighbor and friend, Josh Bowen, isn't fooled. He's trying to get into Bruce's fraternity, and he knows what the arrogant senior is really like. When he hears that Bruce has invited Julie to a Phi Epsilon party as his date, he's sure that Bruce has a rotten trick in mind. Josh tries to warn Julie and she's furious. She's never had a serious boyfriend before, and she can't understand why everyone's trying to spoil her happiness. But will Bruce make Julie happy, or is he just out to break another heart?

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

If You Were Here by Jen Lancaster, 306 pages

Mia is a writer of teen Amish zombie books (there's an underrated genre) and feels confident that her and her husband Mac have watched enough DIY home improvement shows for them to tackle a home improvement project of their own. But it quickly becomes a huge money pit (like the 80s movie reference, read the book and you'll get the joke) that starts to destroy their marriage. But this house becomes a symbol that Mia can't let go of.
I love Jen Lancaster, she is snarky, sarcastic, and one of the funniest writers I've read. She has the same attitude I do to so many things, so I love having someone else with the same dark place in her soul, saying the same mean and evil things I think. I finished this book with a strong craving to watch 16 Candles and Fast Times at Ridgemont High. Lisa, you will love this book!

The Killer Angels by Michael Shaara, 355 pages

This was the July book for the Readers Without Borders book club. I'm not a huge fan of Civil War books except for Gone With The Wind and North & the South, so this book wasn't a favorite of mine. I think most of my dislike is tied up in the fact that I think it was a senseless war, fought because a group of people refused to see blacks as people instead of slaves. They can say state rights as much as they like, but it boils down to slavery. This book though wasn't a bad read. It covers the battle of Gettysburg and the 3 days involved. It tells the story from the viewpoint of just a few soldiers, using some of their actual words, known from historical documents. Basically, if you're a guy who enjoys war books, this is a must read.

Decisions by Kate William, 167 pages

Robin Wilson is having a spectacular year. She's in love with George Warren, she's doing well in school, and she's almost sure to win the upcoming diving championship. Then her rich aunt makes an offer that's incredible-but it may just ruin Robin's happiness. Aunt Fiona will pay for her college education if Robin goes to the school her aunt and grandmother attended back East. If Robin accepts, she'll have to leave George and her diving behind, but without her aunt's help, Robin may not be able to afford college at all. Robin feels as if she's being pulled in two directions. How can she do what's right for her without hurting the people she cares about most?

Family Secrets by Kate William, 149 pages

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are thrilled when their cousin Kelly Bates arrives in Sweet Valley. Kelly's mother is planning to remarry and hopes that living with the Wakefields for a while will prepare Kelly for life with a new stepfather and two stepbrothers. As soon as Kelly arrives she shocks her cousins by going out with troublemaker Kirk Anderson. Then she announces her plans to stay in Sweet Valley and live with her father. She says he's the perfect dad, but that's not the way it looks to the twins. Their cousin seems to have a blind spot when it comes to her father, as well as to Kirk. Will Kelly find out what's keeping her from seeing the truth?

Sunday, July 24, 2011

Hit List by Laurell K. Hamilton, 320 pages

Anita Blake is on the trail of the Harlequin, the professional killers of the vampire council for hundreds of years, a force so scary that even speaking their name insures your death. They serve the Mother of All Darkness, the original vampire, believed to be dead. She is without a body but plans on taking over Anita's. Anita teams up with Edward to try to track these powerful monsters, but the odds aren't in their favor. Who will survive the coming showdown?
I've been reading the Anita Blake series since the mid 1990s and have really enjoyed. But the series has taken a turn to a more sexually explicit storyline that I didn't always enjoy as much. This book has less sex and much more of the original Anita Blake feel that hooked me in the beginning. I won't go into details to keep from giving away the plot, but this book left me thinking she was close to ending this series.

Darkness Creeping, Twenty Twisted Tales by Neal Shusterman, 291 pages

Neal Shusterman writes some odd and creepy books, so a collection of twisted short stories must be outstanding. These definitely were stories I wouldn't want to read late at night and home alone. Samantha (my 9-year-old) had checked out this book and left it in the van. I discovered it sitting at Sonic waiting for my order and was hooked by the end of the first story. The stories feature the roller coaster from hell, a little girl scared of monkeys, a grandma going crazy (0r is she) and a security blanket that doesn't seem that comforting.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Lila's Story by Kate William, 214 pages

Lila Fowler is the richest girl at Sweet Valley High. She wears designer clothes, lives in a mansion, and has an allowance at least three times the size of her friends'. And as an only child, she's always had all of her father's affection. Lila has everything a girl could possibly want. But before long Lila's happiness is shattered. Her father brings home a beautiful new girlfriend, Joan. And Joan has a daughter, Jacqueline, who's the same age as Lila. Soon it seems that Joan and Jacqueline are taking over Fowler Crest and Lila is furious. Then Mr. Fowler drops a bombshell-he and Joan are getting married. If Lila can't stop them, her life will change forever!
I never got to read this book as a teenager, so it was kind of neat to get to read it now.

Pretenses by Kate William, 153 pages

Cara Walker feels that her boyfriend, Steven Wakefield, isn't paying enough attention to her. Suddenly he's acting aloof and withdrawn. Cara's good friend Jessica, Steven's sister, suggests that Cara add some mystery to the relationship. When Cara takes Jessica's advice, it backfire. Steven starts to act even more distant, and Cara is sure he's hiding something. He used to confide in her, but now it seems he's turning to his sister Elizabeth's friend Abbie Richardson. Will Cara discover Steven's secret before she's replaced by someone new?

Hard Choices by Kate William, 153 pages

Enid Rollins can hardly wait for her grandmother to come live with her and her mother. But when she arrives, Enid is dismayed that the kind, sprightly woman she remembered is now burdensome and demanding. Because Enid's mother works long hours and is often out with her boyfriend, Enid finds herself making all sorts of sacrifices to please her grandmother. She skips school events and even stand sup her best friend, Elizabeth Wakefield. Worst of all, she never has any time for her boyfriend, Hugh. It's beginning to look as if Enid may have to say goodbye to someone she loves.

Caught in the Middle by Kate William, 138 pages

Sandra Bacon has finally found a boy to love. Manuel Lopez is kind, sensitive, and handsome, and he cares about Sandra as much as she cares about him. But there is one problem: Sandy's parents don't approve of Manuel. So the couple must keep their love and their precious moments together a secret. Then eyewitnesses place Manuel at the scene of a life-threatening accident, and only Sandy can clear his name. If she tells the truth, she may lose her parents' trust and love, but if she doesn't, she will certainly lose Manuel forever.

Outcast by Kate William, 152 pages

Ever since Regina Morrow's tragic death at Molly Hecht's party, everyone has been treating Molly as if she has the plague. Nobody at school wants to talk to her, her parents have permanently grounded her, and even her good friend Justin Belson is avoiding her. Every time Molly tries to make amends, nobody will listen. So when Buzz, a drug dealer who's hiding from the police, calls Molly and announces he's leaving town, she's more than ready to go with him. She'd rather flee to Mexico with Buzz than walk the halls of Sweet Valley High alone. Only Elizabeth senses that Molly is troubled, but even she may be too late to stop her from running away with a fugitive.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Silent Girl by Tess Gerritsen, 318 pages

Maura Isles and Jane Rizzoli are back again in another fascinating book. Jane is investigating the murder of a young woman in Boston's Chinatown. It seems to tie into a previous murder that took place nineteen years ago. There also seems to be links to ancient Chinese fighting mythology of the Monkey King.
I always enjoy Tess Gerritsen's book and this was one of her best. My only fault with the book is that Maura Isles didn't figure much into the book. I do recommend reading this series in order, they make a lot more sense that way.

Wicked Bugs, The Louse that conquered Napoleon's Army & Other Diabolical Insects by Amy Stewart, 272 pages

This books explores some of the most deadly and interesting bugs in the insect world. With a variety of flies, spiders, mites and louses, this book makes for an intriguing but disturbing read. There are some very creepy bugs out there. America has some bad bugs but not as many as Africa and other third world countries. These insects won't just bite or sting you, some of them will burrow their way into you to live or lay eggs. UGGGHHH!!!! But this book was so fascinating that I've already picked up another book by this author called Wicked Plants.

Sideshow Edited by Deborah Noyes, 225 pages

This is a collection of short stories about side show freaks, illusionists, and such by some outstanding teen authors. This was a book that Renee had picked up at the library and I found in her pile of books when I was looking for some of her overdue books. One of the oddest stories is called Jargo! about a guy who pretends to be a giraffe at a carnival. There is a few comic book style stories mixed into the collection.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Alice in Zombieland by Lewis Carroll and Nickolas Cook, 108 pages

I had seen the promo for Alice in Zombieland and thought it would be fun and dark to read. Unfortunately, this was not a great "revamped" classic, it reminded me more of Sense and Sensibility and Sea Monsters. Just because you put zombies in a classic doesn't mean you don't have to do a good job on the writing. But if nothing else, this book is worth picking up for the wonderful dark illustrations that are true to the original book.

The Fisher Boy by Stephen Anable, 332 pages

I had accidentally got the second book by this author, and I hate reading books out of sequence. So I picked this mystery up so I could read the second. This was a murder mystery set in Provincetown on Cape Cod. It features Mark, a standup comedian who is in Provincetown to enjoy the wonderful gay summers the town is known for. But when one of his old prep school friends is killed soon after having a public fight with Mark, he must work to find the killer and clear his name. There also seems to be a flood of hippie, Scandinavian panhandlers and shoplifters flooding the town, do they have anything to do with the murder? Or is it an ex-lover or someone Ian crossed over? Plus, Mark is starting to fall for a fellow member of the comedy troupe, Roberto. Will Mark be able to find the killer, or will the killer find him first?
This was a very odd mystery, convoluted and confusing. It just didn't grab my attention and hold it. I had to come back to the book a few times over the week it took me to read it. I do think I'll pick up this author's second book though to give him a fair chance.

Deadly Summer by Kate William, 201 pages

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are working as summer interns at The Sweet Valley News when they hear that a patient has escaped from a nearby psychiatric hospital. Assigned to research the man's past for an article, the twins discover that Donald Redman was once a student at Sweet Valley High. They learn that his fellow students tormented him and that after a disturbing incident involving one of those students, Redman was expelled. He vowed to get revenge for his humiliation. Now a fugitve, Redman sees Elizabeth and mistakes her for the popular, beautiful girl who hurt him most all those years ago. When their paths cross in the deserted high school stadium, he knows he finally has his chance to get even! Can he be stopped before it's too late?

No Place To Hide by Kate William, 217 pages

When Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield invite Nicholas Morrow on a picnic to help cure his blues, their plan has unexpected results. Nicholas falls in love with Barbara, a beautiful girl who involves the twins in their most dangerous mystery yet. Barbara tells Nicholas they must hide their relationship from the uncle she's visiting. Hearing the fear in her voice, Nicholas decides to tell the twins, and they start investigating. The more they find out, the more desperate Barbara's situation seems. Then Jessica and Elizabeth are threatened by an anonymous caller. Now they face a terrible choice: either give up their search and leave Barbara in deadly trouble, or save Barbara's life-and risk their lives and Nicholas'!

Thursday, July 14, 2011

Passing Strange by Martha A. Sandweiss, 370 pages

Clarence King was one of the premier geologists in the nineteenth century. He traveled the west, and mapped most of the American West, and was the first director of the United States Geological Survey within the Department of the Interior. He came from an old New England family, hobnobbed with the elite in New York and Washington, traveled Europe and was known as one the wittiest and brightest minds of his age. So why did this privileged white man have a secret second life as an black railroad porter? Because of the woman he evidently loved, a black, uneducated, former slave, Ada Copeland. It's believed that she didn't know he was white up until his death or right before. And most of his family and acquaintance knew nothing of his Negro wife or children until years after King's death, when Ada went to court to try to claim a "trust" left for her. With blacks passing for white in order to lead a better and easier life, why would anyone go the other way? This book explores this fascinating and confusing situation, looking at the people and attitudes involved.
This was a interesting look at a time in American history when the color of your skin was determined by just drops of Negro blood and perceptions were more important than truth. I had never heard of Clarence King before this book, but this was a compelling read that I'm glad I picked up.

On the Run by Kate William, 213 pages

After a chilling encounter with murder, Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are now ready for a calm summer in Sweet Valley-until Eric Hankman appears. Like Elizabeth, Eric is a quiet, sensitive writer, and the two of them immediately become friends. But Jessica's not convinced that Eric is as perfect as he seems. Her suspicions are aroused when her new friend, Darcy Kaymen, thinks she recognizes Eric as a boy from her hometown who has a mysterious past. Jessica knows Elizabeth won't believe a word of Darcy's story without evidence, but by the time she has all the proof she needs, it may be too late to save her sister.

Over My Dead Body by Kate Klise, 118 pages

This is the cutest children's series I've read in a while (and I do read a lot). It features a grumpy writer, a unpublished ghost, and a child who illustrates their books. In this book, Ignatius B. Grumply is put in an insane asylum, Seymour Hope is sent to an orphanage, and Olive C. Spence must try to free them both while locating her missing manuscripts. I have to fight my 9-year-old for these books when we are reading them. The worst thing about these books is that there is only three so far. WRITE FASTER KATE KLISE!!!!

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Pumped for Murder by Elaine Viets, 292 pages

Helen Hawthorne and her sweetie Phil are married, and sitting up a detective agency. For their first two cases, they are asked to investigate a decades old suicide that the brother believes was murder and a possible cheating husband. Helen goes undercover at a gym as a receptionist to check out the cheating husband. Of course she manages to stumble across a corpse just days into the job. Now, Helen must try to find the killer before she ends up pushing up daisies instead of pumping iron.
I'm a big fan of these books in the Dead-End Jobs mysteries, heck, I've been reading Elaine Viets since her columns in the Sunday Parade magazine years ago. She's a funny writer and that comes through in her books. These books are great because Helen works jobs that many of us have had or currently work in. Any new Viets mystery also goes to the top of my "must read" list.

Monday, July 11, 2011

Fire on Dark Water by Wendy Perriman, 326 pages

Lola is a gypsy with a gift for dancing. She is stolen from her family and her innocence sold, with Lola dumped on the streets afterwards. Forced to make a living by stealing, she is caught and sentenced to transporting to the New World in America. She becomes an indentured servant, with some basic medical knowledge. Lola steals away and ends up "married" to Edward Teach or the infamous Blackbeard. Being the thirteenth wife of this notorious pirate doesn't bode well for Lola's future, can she survive where so many others didn't?
This is an extremely dark read, with Lola Blaise assaulted, beaten, and degraded numerous times. The plot is gripping and fast moving though, filled with characters that are larger than life. Filled with many sexual encounters of a forced nature, this is not a book for the faint of heart.

Till Death Do Us Bark by Kate Kliss, 124 pages

Book Three in this wonderful series. It's filled with puns, humor and lots of sweetness. This is a great children's series. I love the letters, the artwork and the wonderful storyline.

The President's Vampire by Christopher Farnsworth, 335 pages

Nathaniel Cade has been the president's vampire since Lincoln's assassination. Him and his handler, Zachary, are responsible for fighting some of the darkest, most horrible creatures and battles. Right now they are facing snake creatures that have been created by what could be a secret government agency. Which dark creature will survive?
This was an odd book, vampire mixed with government conspiracies. I don't think I'll pick up any other books in this series but this is a good book for those manly, vampire fans out there.

Jeannie Out of the Bottle by Barbara Eden, 274 pages

I always enjoyed the show "I Dream of Jeannie" so this book piqued my interest. Barbara Eden has had an interesting life but the book didn't flow real well. She jumped around in the book via "Jeannie blink" so it was a little disjointed. It was neat hearing about Larry Hagman's ego on the show though. If you like Barbara Eden and want a fluffy read, this is good one to pick up.

Dying to Meet You by Kate Klise, 154 pages

This is one of the cutest juvenile books I've read in a while. Ignatius B. Grumply is a writer of ghost tamer books, but he hasn't had a new book in ages. He's been hired to write a book but is suffering from writer's block.He rents 43 Old Cemetery Road, but the house has some occupants he didn't know about. Will he be able to come up with a plot, or will the craziness of the household keep him from writing?
I read these books because of the author coming to the library last week. The book consists of letters between the different characters. It was funny, sweet, and a great read.

On the Edge by Kate William, 150 page

Regina Morrow and Bruce Patman have been going together for months. But when beautiful, devious Amy Sutton is paired up with Bruce on a school project, she schemes to steal him away from Regina. Little by little Bruce's resistance to Amy's charms begins to crumble. Regina is furious when she discovers that Bruce has been seeing Amy behind her back. Hurt and betrayed, she turns to Justin Belson, a troubled senior at Sweet Valley High. Regina's friends are worried. They think Justin and his crowd are bad news-it's rumored that some of them are drug users. Is Regina on a dangerous course?

Double Jeopardy by Kate William, 214 pages

When twin sisters Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield land internships at the Sweet Valley News, they think they'll be reporting the news-but they end up making headlines when Jessica becomes an eyewitness to murder. Then Adam Maitland, a friend of the twins' brother, Steven, is charged with the murder. And Elizabeth has evidence that could convict him! Jessica knows Adam is innocent-she saw the murderer-and she sets out to prove it. The problem is, he saw her, too. Can the twins find the killer before he finds them? Or will Jessica and Elizabeth be caught in a deadly case of mistaken identity?

Friday, July 8, 2011

How the States Got Their Shapes by Mark Stein, 332 pages

I'm a big fan of the TV show of "How the States Got Their Shape" so I thought I would like the book that started it. Unfortunately, it is an extremely dry read. It's alphabetized by state, and opens with an intro that explains the borders between us, Canada, and Mexico. There is a lot of repetition since states share borders, along with "SEE WYOMING" or "NEW HAMPSHIRE" or "SEE INTRODUCTION". The book also talks WAY TOO MUCH about dry facts, such as longitudes and latitudes, and skims over the border battles that seemed at all interesting. Did you know there was a border battle called the Toledo War? That little fact got just a sentence or two when I would have loved to read more about it. I was totally bored by the time I hit New Hampshire but I was determined to finish the book. This is one time when the TV show is much better than the book, and I never say that.

Death on Tour by Janice Hamrick, 310 pages

Jocelyn Shore is a divorced, high school teacher, on her dream vacation to Egypt. Little did she expect to have one of the tour members die at the base of one the pyramids. Millie was a nosy, pushy, annoying woman, but she didn't deserve to die. When it turns out to be murder, Jocelyn starts to look at the other members of the tour. Someone isn't who they appear to be, but can Jocelyn find out in time?
I've dreamed about going to Egypt, so Jocelyn was a character that I could really relate to. This was a fun mystery, with a great plot. I'm eager to see what mess Jocelyn lands in next.

Secret Admirer by Kate William, 153 pages

Sweet Valley High is in a frenzy when the school newspaper begins to run personal ads. Even Penny Ayala, the shy, serious editor of the paper, decides to place an ad, and a boy named Jamie responds. His letters are witty and sensitive just like hers, and he seems to be Penny's perfect match. Elizabeth Wakefield encourages Penny to pursue her secret admirer. But when she overhears a group of boys secretly laughing about "Jamie", she realizes that Penny's perfect match is only a joke- " Jamie" doesn't even exist! Can she stop the boys from breaking Penny's heart?

Leaving Home by Kate William, 150 pages

Elizabeth Wakefield has always dreamed of visiting the beautiful mountains of Switzerland, so she's thrilled when she has a chance to attend an exclusive Swiss boarding school. As much as she loves Sweet Valley, Elizabeth is positive the romantic, snow-covered Swiss countryside would provide the perfect inspiration for her writing. The thought of losing her sister has Elizabeth's identical twin, Jessica, in a panic! How would she survive without her very best friend in the world? Jessica just can't Elizabeth go, so she devises a plan to make sure her twin won't leave Sweet Valley. Will Jessica's scheme to keep Elizabeth home work - or will it end up driving her away forever?

Monday, July 4, 2011

Bloodthirsty by Flynn Meaney, 234 pages

With all the rage about vampire and werewolf books, you'd have to be living in a cave not to know that vampires are dark, moody, and sexy as all get out to teenage girls. So what's a teen geek to do except make people think he's a vampire. Finbar has moved to New York from Indiana, and this is the perfect change for him to take advantage of his pale, white skin, use of big words, and love of books. But, being a vampire can be a real pain in the neck.
My daughter has been telling me I HAVE to read this book ever since she read it last year. I finally got around to it, and it was a good read. It wasn't badly written, funny at times, sweet, and just plain enjoyable.

Spring Fever by Kate William, 233 pages

The Wakefield twins never expected that the sleepy town of Walkersville, Kansas, would be twice as exciting as their own hometown. But when Jessica and Elizabeth spend spring break at their great aunt and uncle's house in the country, they discover that small town life can have its share of big adventures. At first, things don't look so promising. Instead of a warm welcome, the local girls give them the cold shoulder. And Aunt Shirley and Uncle Herman won't let the twins out of their sight. But things brighten up when the girls meet gorgeous identical twins at a local carnival, Alex and Brad Parker. Jessica thinks Brad might be the man of her dreams, but how can she get to know him better when she's being so closely watched by her aunt and uncle? Then trouble really begins to brew when Elizabeth makes an unexpected discovery about the Parker twins...

Winter Carnival by Kate William, 215 pages

Winter's here and everyone at Sweet Valley High is excited about the upcoming Winter Carnival. It's a very special weekend at a mountain ski resort, with ice skating, skiing, sledding, and a spectacular ball. But Elizabeth Wakefield's got the midwinter blues. She's especially upset with her twin, Jessica, who's been avoiding chores and borrowing clothes without asking. Elizabeth is so sick and tired of Jessica's inconsiderate attitude that she sometimes wishes she never had a sister! And when Jessica's string of broken promises threatens to destroy Elizabeth's romance with Jeffrey French, it looks as though Winter Carnival will turn into a snowy disaster!

Bossypants by Tina Fey, 277 pages

This has been reviewed by one or two people already so I won't go into great detail. This was a great book looking at Tina Fey's life, including her stint as Sarah Palin. It had some hilarious stories about her honeymoon, and other instances in her life. It also has what has to be one of the roughest jokes I've ever read, even worse than the dead baby jokes that were so popular in the 90s. This is worth picking up for a funny, light-hearted read.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

Chosen by P.C. Cast and Kristin Cast, 307 pages

I don't want to go much into the plot of this book since I know Stephanie's reading this series. I will say it was an exciting read, with just 4 days of action in one book. It was a great, fluffy read, that was dark, bloody, and sexy all at once. I'm already on hold for the next book.

Eve by Iris Johansen, 378 pages

Eve Duncan is getting closer to figuring out who took and killed her daughter Bonnie all those years ago. Her one goal is to find Bonnie's remains and bring her home. But little does she expect the trial to lead to Bonnie's father, who Eve thought had died years ago. But, it seems that John Gallo had survived years in a North Korean prison, and worked for the government has a highly secretive operative. Now, could it be that Bonnie's father was also her killer? Eve is determined to find the truth, no matter what the cost.
It has been a long, long road to discovering the true killer of Bonnie, and Iris Johansen is determined to milk this plot line for all she can. Eve is the first book in a trilogy that will hopefully end this long-dragged out storyline. I must say I'm so ready for this to be over. I am determined though to follow it to the end. This wasn't a bad book, but shouldn't be read on it's own, but only by someone who has read the rest of the books. Otherwise, there is way too much backstory that won't make sense.