Wednesday, August 31, 2011

A Game of Thrones by George R. R. Martin, 694 pages

This is a series that is getting a lot of attention because of the HBO show based on the books. It is an epic series that reminds me a lot of Robert Jordan's Eye of the World series. It's a world where summers last for years and winter can last for decades. There seems to be a plot to overthrow the king, but the question is where is the threat coming from. With treachery and intrigue, direwolves and dragons, lords and knights, this series promises to be filled with lots of excitement and adventure. This book was a little slow at times but I think this first book was laying a lot of groundwork for the following books.

License to Pawn by Rick Harrison, 256 pages

I'm a big fan of Pawn Stars on the History Channel so I was excited to see this book on the new nonfiction shelf. The show is about a pawn shop in Las Vegas that specializes in odd and unusual items along with the normal pawned items. It features history, little known facts and really odd people, so it's always funny. I have this book for three weeks and have about 30 other books I need to read but this one got read the day I checked it out. I knew I would have to fight off my husband and oldest daughter for the book, plus I wanted to read something fun and light. If you don't watch the show on tv, this might not be the greatest book for you since it reads better if you have a lot of back info from the show.

Sunday, August 28, 2011

Here We Go Again by Betty White, 303 pages

Betty White has been been acting for decades, with Golden Girls still being one my favorite shows. Heck, I even saw all of The Golden Palace episodes, so I've really enjoyed her repopularity. This book is a re-released memoir covering her television career from 1949 to 1995. I hadn't realized just how many shows she had been in, that one of her husbands had been the host of Password, and all the talk shows and games shows she's done. While the book wasn't as funny as I thought it would be (blame Betty White's hilarious SNL performance and Hot in Cleveland) it was still a good read. I learned a lot about the the early days of television and it was neat to hear some of the behind the scenes stories.

The Dating Game by Kate William, 154 pages

Neither Jean West nor her friend Claire Middleton has had a date in ages. So when they each receive a passionate love letter, they're thrilled. But when the girls compare the letters, they discover something horrible: The letters come from the same guy-Scott Trost! Jean and Claire confront the handsome, arrogant Scott. Instead of apologizing, he suggests a dating contest with him as a grand prize. Elizabeth Wakefield is stunned when Jean and Claire agree to the outrageous plan; her twin sister, Jessica, sees nothing wrong with a little romantic competition. But what neither Elizabeth nor Jessica knows is that their friends are secretly plotting to use the contest for revenge. Everything goes as planned, until the unthinkable happens. It looks as if Jean is falling in love with the enemy.

Cheating to Win by Kate Wiliam, 150 pages

When track star Tony Esteban tears a tendon in his knee, it looks like he's lost his chance of being an Olympic star. But Tony refuses to give up. Against his doctor's advice, he trains harder and harder. Not even his girlfriend, Annie Whitman, can convince him to slow down. Then a weightlifter gives Tony "magic vitamins," and suddenly Tony is running faster than ever-and acting mean and aggressive. When Annie discovers Tony is taking a dangerous steroid drug, she knows she has to help him stop-before he destroys his whole life along with his Olympic dreams!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb by Melanie Benjamin, 424 pages

Lavinia Warren Bump might have been less than three feet tall but her personality and determination more than made up for any shortcomings in height. In a time in American history when women were limited only to marriage, nursing or teaching, Lavinia traveled much of America as a perfect miniature lady, first with Wood's traveling steamboat, and then with P. T. Barnum. Just a few short months after meeting Barnum, Lavinia married General Tom Thumb (also known as Charles Stratton), and the two became a superstar couple, with details about their wedding pushing the Civil War off the front pages of the newspapers. Following Lavinia's life up to just after her husband's death, this book covers one of America's most interesting women.
"The Autobiography of Mrs. Tom Thumb" by Melanie Benjamin is an outstanding fictionalized biography of a woman whose story has been largely ignored. She traveled much of the world, meet many reigning heads of countries, and shook more hands than probably anybody else in her time. One of my guilty pleasures has always been reading about "freaks" and human oddities such as Eng and Chang, the famous Siamese twins, and other personalities who performed for Barnum. This was well written, entertaining, and a treat for anyone who enjoys historical fiction.

Miss Teen Sweet Valley by Kate William, 152 pages

When the first annual Miss Teen Sweet Valley beauty pageant is announced, Jessica Wakefield is confident she'll be crowned the winner. But Elizabeth Wakefield is trying her best to get the pageant canceled. Elizabeth thinks beauty pageants are old-fashioned and sexist, and she can't understand why her sister would even want to enter one. The twins have had fights before-but never like this! It's a standoff for the twins. If Jessica participates, she'll lose her sister's respect. If Elizabeth succeeds, she'll lose her sister's love...

Friday, August 26, 2011

Deadly Threads by Jane Cleland, 279 pages

This is another Josie Prescott antiques murder mystery, featuring vintage clothing, shoes, and handbags. I really enjoy this series but recommend reading them in order.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Amy's True Love by Kate William, 135 pages

Boy-crazy Amy Sutton has finally found the guy of her dreams-tennis star Tom McKay. But Tom's not at all interested in dating her. Amy just can't believe it and refuses to give up! Tom asks his friend Barry Rork to help him convince Amy that she's wasting her time. Barry's fallen for Amy himself, and he tries to make her see how much he cares about her. But Amy just gets furious with Barry for interfering. Will she ever set aside her pride and find true love?
What's really great about this book is that they introduce their first homosexual character. We've had drugs, anorexia, teens dying and now one coming out. What's next Sweet Valley, a teen pregnancy?

Zombies Calling by Faith Erin Hicks, 112 pages

This happens to be the very last graphic novel in the teen section so it happened to catch my eye at the end of the shelf. Joss is a college student in Canada who is worried about finals, the amount of her student loans, and loves all things England. She fights off zombies one evening but her roommates don't believe her. But luckily Joss is familiar with "The Rules" of surviving a zombie attack so she knows how to make it against the undead.
This was a funny zombie comic, light-hearted, making fun of the zombie genre in a great way. A great way to spend an half hour.

The Perfect Girl by Kate William, 135 pages

Robin Wilson is pretty, smart, and athletic, and her boyfriend, George Warren, adores her. Most students at Sweet Valley High have forgotten that Robin used to be an overweight loner. But Robin remembers. When George becomes friends with a beautiful girl named Vicky, Robin feels George slipping away. If only Robin were thinner, George would drop Vicky in a second! Before long, Robin is obsessed with her weight. Elizabeth Wakefield suspects Robin is taking her diet too far, but Robin insists she's fine. What will it take to get Robin to admit that starving herself is not the answer to her problems?

Wednesday, August 24, 2011

A Night to Surrender by Tessa Dare, 400 pages

Victor Bramwell, or Bram as he's known to his friends, has come to Spindle Cove hoping that he is to soon be joining his company fighting Napoleon. Instead, he finds himself made the Earl of Rycliff, and set in charge of forming a company of soldiers from the local men to protect the coast. But Spindle Cove seems to be made up of nothing but women, with Susanna Finch at their head. Susanna has formed a retreat for ladies in Spindle Cove, a spot safe from overbearing husbands, fortune-hunting dandies, and quack doctors. Bram's company threatens all that she holds dear, including her perceptions about wooing and seduction. But Susanna's heart isn't the only one under siege, Bram finds himself falling under Susanna's spell. Will these two people be able to overcome their scars from the past and have a future together, or will forces conspire to pull them apart forever?
"A Night to Surrender" by be Tessa Dare's first book, but it it one of the best historical romances I've ever read. It's humorous and light-hearted, steamy and seductive, filled with intriguing characters and wonderful dialogue. There were additional characters introduced that will hopefully get their own stories told in later books. Tessa Dare has shown herself to be an author to watch with this outstanding romance.

Monday, August 22, 2011

Undead and Undermined by Mary Janice Davidson, 279 pages

Betsy, Queen of the Vampires, has just returned from hell with her half sister, the Anti-Christ. It turns out she's now in an altered time line and must work to prevent the horrible future she visited where she is a horribly evil dictator that has destroyed the world. But will the cost of changing the future be more than Betsy be willing to pay?
I love this series, it's funny and well-written, but Mary Janice Davidson has taken a very dark turn with this and the previous book in what she says will be a trilogy within the series. I really hope it turns out well, it's kind of sad and scary the twist is has taken. But it's still a great read.

Quiet , Please: Dispatches from a Public Librarian by Scott Douglas, 330 pages

This is the August book for the Readers Without Borders Book Club and I loved this book. It was funny reading about someone else's issues with library policy and management, dealings with patrons both pleasant and problem, and why they went into library work. I do have to disagree with his belief that most library workers don't like to read. I would like to say that I am living proof that that isn't true. I'm going to suggest this book for purchase at our library.

Sunday, August 21, 2011

The Heretic's Wife by Brenda Rickman Vantrease, 408 pages

Kate Gough and her brother John are booksellers in Tudor England, whose shop carries English Bibles, illegal and dangerous to have. When John is caught up in a sweep and forced to recant his beliefs, Kate takes his place on a smuggler's run to restock their shop. She meets up with John Frith, a student and translator who has escaped the reach of Thomas More, who wants nothing more to burn all heretics. Kate and John quickly fall in love and marry, creating a life together in Antwerp, helping translate the Bible into English until John goes back to England to gather support for the effort. Will John be able to escape the clutches of Thomas More and the heretic's fire to return to Kate?
"The Heretic's Wife" is an exciting and heartbreaking novel about the people involved in translating and sharing the Bible with the common man, set against Henry VIII's determination to set aside his queen for Anne Boleyn. Religion, and the Church, as all knew it was threatened by the thought of anyone being able to read and understand the Bible, and by the thought of the Pope not being the head of the Church in England. Brenda Rickman Vantrease has brought history alive with this book, combining actual historical figures with fictional creations. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Carolly Erickson will consider this a must read treat. It definitely made me think about how lightly we take the privilege of being able to own and read anything we want, much less the Bible, here in America.

Centuries of June by Keith Donohue, 342 pages

Jake is heading to the bathroom in the middle of the night when the next thing he knows is that he's on the floor with a hole in his head, and there are eight women in his bed. Telling the story of how he ended up on the floor, Jake keeps getting interrupted by the women attempting to kill him one by one, and then sharing their stories. Each of the women come from a different time in American history and all share the link of being done wrong by their man.
This was an extremely odd and different read, a mystery crossed with a ghost story with humor and history mixed in for good measure. The reader almost needs a scorecard to help keep track of the women and murder attempts. This is a multi-layered story, rich with detail and wonderfully quirky characters. While this is not a book I would have picked up on my own, it wasn't a bad read.

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs, 352 pages

Lisa has reviewed this book already so I won't go into a ton of detail. Jacob has heard stories about his grandfather's childhood, especially the orphanage he lived in and the wonderfully odd children who were also there. But it's not long before Jacob realizes that the stories are just fairy tales, or so he thinks until his grandfather's death. Jacob goes to the small Welsh island to see if he can discover the truth but the cost may be too high.
I have to say I really enjoyed this wonderfully quirky and dark book. The pictures added an extra layer to the story, showcasing some of the abilities of the children. I will be awaiting the next book, I can't wait to see what happens to Jacob next.

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

The Ax and the Oath: Ordinary Life in the Middle Ages by Robert Fossier, 384 pages

I really enjoy historical non-fiction books, so this one about everyday people in medieval France caught my eye. I always try to give a book 50-100 pages but this was pretty boring and dry from page 1. I found myself rereading sentences trying to figure out what they meant and losing my place many times. I consider myself a fairly intelligent person but this book made me feel stupid. I reached a point where I refused to stop reading this book just so the book wouldn't win and this book took over six weeks for me to read. The author has a tendency to use foreign quotes and then only translate half of them (because doesn't every speak French and Latin?) and to never use an easy word when there is a fifteen-syllable word that would work instead. Putting your obscure words in italics doesn't not make them easier to translate! I wholeheartedly say, don't pick this book up unless you're working on your thesis in Medieval French peasantry, and even then you might want to choose something else.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Mobbed by Carol Higgins Clark, 255 pages

Regan Reilly, private investigator, is called down to the Jersey Shore by her mother, Nora Reilly, to help out with a friend's situation. Heading to a friend's house to keep an eye on a garage sale soon leads to a mystery involving a missing guest at the house, actress Cleo Paradise. Regan soon discovers that there is something odd with the situation. Can they figure it out before Cleo ends up gone for good?
I've read all the books in this series, and always enjoy them. They are fun, light-hearted mysteries that are a breeze to read. The only drawback to them is that there seems to be a multitude of characters and subplots introduced, and then all is resolved in just 10 pages or less.

Sunday, August 14, 2011

The Wednesday Conspiracy by Sergio Bleda, 150 pages

I found this book in the teen section with the new graphic novels, and the cover looked interesting, so I thought I would pick it up. It's a support group for people with special gifts to help them learn how to deal with them. One girl has a jar of demons, one can see her dead parents in the mirror, one guy can hear thoughts, another is pyrokinetic, and another is an exorcist. All in all, just your normal support group members. Turns out there may be an evil group out for world control (isn't there always) and they start trying to kill off the members.
This was at times difficult because I almost felt like I was missing some of the back story, but it is nice that this is a standalone graphic novel. I have to say it's one of the darker ones, and I could see the foreign influence in it also. If you like graphic novels with a harder twist to them, this is a must read.

Four Eyes-Forged in Flames by Joe Kelly, Max Fiumara & Nestor Pereyra, 110 pages

Chris/Jake recommended this graphic novel to me so I gave it a try. Enrico is just a young boy when his father dies collecting a dragon's egg. It is the Depression-era, and dragons exist. There is a huge underground for betting on dragon fights and to get the dragons, special hunters must collect the eggs, with high fatalities. Enrico and his mother are barely eking out an existence when Enrico decides that he hates dragons for killing his father, he wants to see them die, and what better way than collecting the eggs for the fights.
This is a very dark book, but with a great storyline and amazing artwork. I will have to pick up the second volume and see what happens to Enrico next.

Sentenced to Death by Lorna Barrett, 340 pages

I have read all of Lorna Barrett's Booktown Mysteries and really enjoy them. One of my dreams is owning an used book store, the only problem would be not letting people buy books that I haven't read yet!
Tricia owns the store Haven't Got a Clue, a mystery bookstore, and has a tendency to stumble across dead bodies. This time, the death is a plane crash right in front of her that kills one of her closest friends in Stoneham. Tricia immediately becomes suspicious of the not-grieving husband and starts looking into the accident. Of course, not everything is as perfect as it seems in this storybook town.
I definitely recommend reading this series in order, to better appreciate the back stories, and character development, but this series is well worth picking up.

Regina's Legacy by Kate William, 149 pages

When Elizabeth Wakefield receives a camera as a memento of her friend Regina Morrow, who died recently, she never expects it to plunge her into a dangerous mystery. Then she takes a picture of three suspicious-looking men. One of them tries to grab her new camera, and Elizabeth only narrowly escapes. Watching TV that night, Elizabeth thinks she sees one of the same men on the news. But this man is accused of being involved in a drug-smuggling operation. Could this be the man in her picture? When the darkroom at school is trashed, Elizabeth knows that something really strange is going on. Someone wants that picture-and will do anything to get it!

Rock Star's Girl by Kate William, 150 pages

Jessica can't believe it! Her idol, rock star Jamie Peters, has moved to Sweet Valley. If only she could meet him, her career as a "star" would really take off! Peeking through the bushes bordering his estate, hoping to find a way to talk to him, Jessica sees something shocking. Andrea Slade, the quiet new girl at Sweet Valley High, is lounging by the pool with Jamie-and she's acting as if they are more than just good friends. Could a sixteen-year-old nobody like Andrea really be a rock star's girlfriend?

Starring Jessica by Kate William, 149 pages

When TV talk-show host Eric Parker comes to Sweet Valley and announces a contest to find the perfect American teen, Jessica Wakefield vows to win the coveted spot as Eric's special TV guest. She's meant to be a star! Then Lila Fowler, Jessica's best friend, announces she's going to win the spot, and the contest becomes a battle of wills and wits. With the help of Bruce Patman, who has his own score to settle with Jessica's shot at stardom. Will Jessica have her moment in the limelight, or will Lila succeed in stealing the show?

Saturday, August 13, 2011

English Tea Murder by Leslie Meier, 265 pages

Lucy Stone is on her way to England as part of a college-sponsored tour. Unfortunately, the tour leader dies on the plane after an asthma attack. The replacement leader sent turns out to be a teacher from Lucy's past who had set her heart aflutter years ago. Lucy must deal with that situation while battling suspicions that members of the tour may have had something to do with the tour leader's death. All that, while fitting in visiting attractions and shopping is sure to leave Lucy exhausted, if not dead!
I always enjoy the Lucy Stone series, and I have always dreamed about visiting England, so this book was doubly good. Leslie Meier delivers a great, light-hearted murder mystery.

Ms. Quarterback by Kate William, 150 pages

Ken Matthews has regained his sight, only to face another battle. Now that he's recovered, everyone assumes that Ken is sure to win back his old position as quarterback for the Gladiators. But Sweet Valley High is stunned when Ken's toughest competition comes from the shy new junior-Claire Middleton! Terri Adams, Ken Matthew's girlfriend, sees Claire not only as threat to Ken's football career, but also to her own relationship with Ken. Can Terri find a way to get Claire off the field so that Ken can resume his rightful place on the team?

Friend Against Friend by Kate William, 138 pages

Andy Jenkins and Neil Freemount have been best friends for years. They hang out together, double-date, and help each other with their homework. But bully Charlie Cashman sets out to make life miserable for Andy, just because Andy is black. First Andy finds trash in his locker. Then his girlfriend is taunted, and he is pushed around in the school parking lot. Neil wants to help his best friend, but suddenly Andy turns against him, and Neil doesn't know why. The two boys are about to face the greatest challenge of their lives. Can their friendship survive the test?

The Love Bet by Kate William, 151 pages

Dana Larson is fed up with love! She tells Elizabeth Wakefield and Todd Wilkins that she prefers singing with her band, The Droids, to wasting her time on dates. Aaron Dallas is fed up, too. He insists that soccer is more important to him than girls. But Elizabeth has a plan to make Dana and Aaron fall in love-with each other! Todd reluctantly agrees to help, but he bets Elizabeth that she won't succedd. After all, Dana is a rock singer and Aaron is a jock. Everything Dana likes, Aaron hates-and vice versa! Elizabeth thinks she's creating the match of the decade, but Todd thinks she's headed for a matchmaking disaster!

The Parent Plot by Kate William, 134 pages

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield's father is running for mayor of Sweet Valley. The twins are hard at work on his campaign-but they're taking opposite sides in an even bigger contest: a contest to bring romance into their parents' lives. Even though Mr. and Mrs. Wakefield separated only recently, Jessica thinks it's time for them to start dating other people-and she's going to make sure that's exactly what happens. But Elizabeth is just as determined to get her parents back together. She's thinking up some romantic schemes of her own. It's Jessica versus Elizabeth-may the best twin win!

Thursday, August 11, 2011

A Pinchbeck Bride by Stephen Anable, 180 pages

I had read the first book by this author, The Fisher Boy, and just didn't love it. But I thought I would give his second book a chance. It's a mystery set in Boston, in a Victorian House museum. One of the docents (tourguide/caretaker) is found dead in a period piece dress. Comic Mark Winslow is one of the trustees, and starts looking into the murder.
I just couldn't get into this book. This was way too dry, especially since it features a comic as the main character, and just never grabbed my attention.

Bruce's Story by Kate William, 212 pages

The license plates on Bruce Patman's Porsche read 1BRUCE1, and that's exactly how he thinks of himself-as Number One. Handsome and arrogant, Bruce is used to getting everything he wants. Bruce's cousin Roger, who lives with the Patman family is nothing like Bruce. Roger was penniless for most of his life. He only recently found out that his late father was a Patman and that he was heir to his father's estate. Roger is still trying to adjust to his newfound wealth. The boys have only one thing in common-their grandfather, who is one of the richest men in California. A shrewd, hardworking businessman, Mr. Patman decides to set up a contest between Bruce and Roger. The winner will inherit the grandfather's entire estate. The war is on-and Bruce will do anything to win!

The Ghost of Tricia Martin by Kate William, 152 pages

Steven Wakefield is both stunned and elated when he meets Andrea, a girl who looks, sounds, and behaves just like Tricia Martin, his first love. Tricia died just after she and Steven fell in love, but now he can almost believe she has come back to him again. Until Andrea appeared, Steven was happily involved with Cara Walker. He still cares about her, but every time he's with Andrea, he's reminded of how much he loved Tricia. So Steven refuses to choose between the two girls-until his indecision leads to a dangerous accident that may take all his choices away!

Wednesday, August 10, 2011

Who's to Blame by Kate William, 152 pages

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield's parents have separated. Mr. Wakefield has moved into an apartment of his own, and the house seems empty without him. Elizabeth has never been so miserable. She would do anything to bring her family together again. Then Jessica tells her twin that she thinks their parents' separation is all Elizabeth's fault. Distraught and guilt-ridden, Elizabeth decides to move away from home. If she really is the cause of her parents' unhappiness, perhaps they'll get back together once she is out of their way.

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

witches of east end by Melissa De La Cruz, 273 pages

This was very much Witches of Eastwick meet Norse mythology with some teen vampire thrown in. It was a pretty good read and I'm eager to see what happens next. I had read most of this author's Blue Blood series so it was neat to see vampires from that series show up in this one.

Quinn by Iris Johansen, 374 pages

Eve Duncan has been searching for not only her daughter's body, but also her killer for a long time. Now she seems to be closer than ever to discovering the truth. But will Eve and her loved ones survive the truth?
At this point I'm just kind of tired of this series. It has gone on for way to long and is depressing and horrifying at times. But I refuse to give up. The next book "Bonnie" is supposed to wrap it up. If it doesn't I might have to track the author down and hurt her, lol.

Monday, August 8, 2011

The New Elizabeth by Kate William, 138 pages

If one more person calls Elizabeth Wakefield responsible or predictable, she'll scream! In an effort to prove that she can be as adventurous as Jessica, her daring identical twin, Elizabeth secretly decides to take up surfing. That will show her friends she knows how to take risks. But from the start, Elizabeth's new hobby causes problems. She has a sneaking suspicion that her surfing instructor is falling in love with her. And even worse, she has to lie to her steady boyfriend, Todd, in order to keep her surfing a surprise. Todd's becoming suspicious and angry-and Elizabeth is beginning to wonder if a daredevil reputation is worth the trouble after all.

Teeth-Vampire Tales edited by Ellen Datlow & Terry Windling, 252 pages

This is collection of vampire short stories by established and new authors with it being a young adult vampire tale that had to be smart and unusual. This was really well-done. One of the best things with this book was the introduction. It talked about the vampires throughout history, and their introduction in literature, and the evolution of vampires. It listed a few books that I'm going to track down and read. One of the most interesting facts I learned is that there is an African tribe that believed you could tell a vampire by the glow they emit at night from their armpits and anuses. REALLY?!?

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Who's Who by Kate Williams, 150 pages

Jessica Wakefield has a fantastic idea! She's bored with all the guys at Sweet Valley High, so a computer dating service seems like the perfect way to spice up her love life-especially when she invents two new sparkling personalities to help her out! Jessica becomes sophisticated Daniella Fromage and also Magenta Galaxy, a wild rocker with a passion for anything hot. The two guys she gets set up with seem to be exactly what she wanted. With the reluctant help of her twin sister, Elizabeth, Jessica must somehow manage to juggle them both. Who will finally meet her perfect match-Daniella, Magenta...or Jessica?

Man Down by Dan Abrams, 144 pages

Lisa has already reviewed this book so I won't go into great detail. It looks at different fields that women outperform men, but unfortunately it does so in kind of a boring way. I was hoping it would be more fun and humorous than it actually was. Luckily it was a short book, so I wasn't too bored. Probably not worth actually picking up.

Boy Trouble by Kate Williams, 153 pages

Patty Gilbert is elated when she finds out that her boyfriend, Jim Hollis, is coming home from college for a weekend visit. But then she finds out that her older sister, Jana, is coming to visit the same weekend, and she tells Jim she'll have to spend most of her time with her family. He blows up at her, and before Patty knows what's happening, they have a huge fight and break up. Patty feels awful, but at least she knows she'll be able to confide in her sister. As soon as Jana walks in the door, however, she announces that she's getting married in two weeks! Jana's so excited about the wedding plans that she has no time for Patty's problems. Patty feels she's lost her boyfriend because of Jana. When Patty accuses her sister of being selfish, they have a huge fight. Now it looks as if Patty has lost both her sister and her boyfriend!

That Fatal Night by Kate Williams, 152 pages

Terri Adams loves football. In fact, she's one of the Sweet Valley Gladiator's biggest fans. She's also the biggest fan of Ken Matthews, the team's quarterback. Terri thinks Ken has everything going for him-he's good-looking and popular, and he's led the Gladiators to an undefeated season. Then one rainy night, Ken is in a terrible car accident that leaves him blind. His football career is over, and even worse, his friends are so uncomfortable about his blindness they avoid him. Ken would be miserable if it weren't for Terri. She's the one person who is always there when he needs her. But when Ken realizes he's falling in love with her, he's convinced that she could never return his feelings. Can Ken and Terri ever be more than friends?

In Love Again by Kate William by Kate William, 150 pages

Todd Wilkins and Elizabeth Wakefield are back together! After living in Vermont for several months, the Wilkins family has returned to Sweet Valley. Now it's just like old times between Elizabeth and Todd-only better. In fact, they've never been so much in love. But before long Elizabeth notices that Todd is different now. His family has a lot more money. Todd lives in a mansion, attends an elite private school, and rives an expansive car. He even has a whole new set of friends, and some of them don't like Elizabeth. Can Todd and Elizabeth's love survive the changes in Todd's life?

Friday, August 5, 2011

Those Across the River by Christopher Buehlman, 357 pages

Frank Nichols has inherited a house in Whitbrow, a tiny town in Georgia. With his academic life in shambles after falling in love with a fellow professor's wife, he and said professor's former wife, Eudora, decide to move to Whitbrow for Frank to write a history about one his family's scandalous and evil ancestors. But it doesn't take long for Frank to realize that not everything is as peaceful as it seems. The old plantation of his ancestor is across the river in the woods, dark woods that threaten Frank and the town he lives in. Woods that contain a presence, a presence hungry for flesh. But whose flesh and blood will satisfy it?
"Those Across the River" by Christopher Buehlman is dark, and creepy, a novel that is filled with a growing sense of dread. I could feel the music from Jaws or Halloween playing in the background during chapters of this book, lending itself to the growing uneasiness of the novel. Even when the evil was revealed, it still continued to deepen the terror level. A great cross between Stephen King and Dean Koontz, a must read for horror fiction fans.

The Devil Amongst the Lawers by Sharyn McCrumb, 320 pages

Erma Morton is on trial for killing her father in a tiny Virgina town and because of she is young, beautiful, and college educated, it becomes a nation-wide sensation. Journalists from New York arrive, each with their own already decided upon interpretation of the story. Carl Jennings though is a young local reporter, hoping to parlay this story into a career. But will his determination to tell the truth ruin his chances?
"The Devil Amongst the Lawyers" was yet another reminder of why I enjoy all of Sharyn McCrumb's books. With a fine ear for dialect, an eye for intriguing and interesting characters and a deft hand at weaving history with fiction, she creates books that grab the reader each and every time. With multiple storylines, backstories galore and a little bit of mountain esp and ghosts, she has a story that is sure to delight.

Brokenhearted by Kate William, 135 pages

When Todd Wilkins moved back to Vermont, Elizabeth Wakefield's heart was broken. She thought that she would never get over losing him. But after months passed, Elizabeth fell in love again. Now she and Jeffrey French are one of the happiest couples at Sweet Valley High. Then Todd writes to Elizabeth and tells her that he is moving back to Sweet Valley and that he still cares for her. Although she loves Jeffrey, Elizabeth realizes she still has strong feelings for Todd. Suddenly she is faced with a very difficult choice-a choice between the only two boys she has ever loved. What will Elizabeth do?

House of Mystery: Love Stories for Dead People by Matthew Sturges, Luca Rossi, & Jose Marzan Jr., 128 pages

Sequel to the first one. I'm still not completely sure what is going on in the books. But I will keep reading.

House of Mystery: Room & Bored by Matthew Sturges, Bill willingham, and Luca Rossi, 128 pages

One of the weirdest graphic novels ever. I'm not sure how to describe it. People trapped in a house that feeds on stories, but with lots of subplots. Great artwork and interesting in a very odd way.

My Lucky Life by Dick Van Dyke, 287 pages

Dick Van Dyke is one of those performers whose work is just enjoyable and funny now as it was when first performed. His goal was to to act in stuff he could watch with his family and I would say he's done a pretty job. With the Dick Van Dyke Show and two outstanding Disney movies, Dick Van Dyke has stumbled his way into the hearts of millions of fans and will continue to do so. Plus, he's lived a life that is relatively scandal free, which is pretty rare in Hollywood. This was just a fun read about a funny life.

Thursday, August 4, 2011

The Borgia Betrayal by Sara Poole, 389 pages

Francesca is the official poisoner of Pope Alexander VI, Rodrigo Borgia, and is responsible for helping protect his life from various enemies. When Morozzi, the man who killed her father returns to Rome, Francesca is determined to be the one who ends his life. But with multiple enemies and foes on the chessboard of 1493 politics, it's hard to know who is friend and who is foe. Facing the darkness inside her, Francesca must give up all she cares for to achieve the revenge she greatly craves. But will it be worth the cost?
"The Borgia Betrayal" by Sara Poole is actually the second book in this series, but reads quite well as a stand alone novel. With a gripping plot, larger than life characters, and some of history's most intriguing times, this book will delight fans of history and adventure. There is plenty of blood, mystery, history, and sex for all tastes in this gripping read. I may have missed "Poison", the first book, when it came out, but I will definitely be looking it up now.