Thursday, September 29, 2011

A Clash of KIngs by George R. R. Martin, 762 pages

This is the sequel to The Game of Thrones, and I must say I enjoyed this one even more. It is a epic, with tons of characters, lots of plot development and intrigue galore. The last hundred pages had me very upset and the cliff hangers make me want to immediately jump into the next book. This series reminds me of the The Eye of the World series by Robert Jordan and a little bit of The Lord of the Rings.

The Buddha in the Attic by Julie Otsuka, 132 pages

This book is about Japanese brides coming to America in the early 1900s. It talks about the men they thought were coming to marry, the men they actually married, the lives they left behind, the children they had or didn't had, and finished up with the gathering up of Japanese immigrants in World War II to be put in concentration camps. It was an extremely fast read, giving different viewpoints, and just a quick overview. But I really enjoyed this book and plan on taking a deeper look into these section of American history.

Embers by Sandor Marai, 224 pages

This was the September book for the Readers Without Borders book club. It takes place outside Vienna in what seems to be late 1930s/early 1940s. The General is meeting with his best friend, Konrad, after 41 years. He is hoping to get answers for the last evening he, his wife, and his friend spent together, and to find out how deep the betrayal went.
This was originally published over 40 years ago and has recently seen a new popularity, after being translated into English. It was very deep, dragged on, and seem more like Russian literature than I enjoy. I must say this was a book I wouldn't have read on my own, but that is what I really like about book club.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Song of the Nile by Stephanie Dray, 398 pages

Selene is the daughter of Cleopatra and Anthony, brought to Rome in chains, determined to return to Egypt to rule. She has vowed to prove her loyalty to Augustus, no matter the cost. But as a bride in name only, sent to rule a distant country, and serve as the living reincarnation of Isis for her people, Selene finds the cost for the throne may be higher than she's willing to pay because it turns out it may not be just her body but her soul as well.
"Song of the Nile" by Stephanie Dray is an outstanding piece of historical fiction. I've read numerous books about Cleopatra, but none about her children. Selene has a fascinating history, being the only one that has more than just one or two mentions in Roman history. She actually was a reigning monarch for Rome, along with her husband, King Juba, with both of them being captives of Rome from a young age. Stephanie Dray has done a wonderful job bringing to life one of history's lesser known women, weaving magic, intrigue and historical characters into a must read novel for fans of historical fiction.

A Midsummer's Night's Sin by Kasey Micheals, 376 pages

Robin Blackhtorn, better known as Puck, is one of the three infamous Blackthorn Bastards. He has decided to enter London society, using his money and blackmail connections to join. On his first outing at a masquerade ball, he finds his interest piqued by a beautiful lady in a scarlet domino. Regina Hackett only wanted one night of flirting and dancing with masked man, but when her cousin is kidnapped by white slavers, she must turn to to intriguing Puck, who stirred her interest and passion. Regina finds that everything she thought she knew and believed in will be challenged on this dangerous escapade. Will she survive, with her heart and virtue intact?
"A Midsummer's Night's Sin by Kasey Michaels is a wonderful historical romance. It's filled with humor, danger, seduction, intrigue, and lots of passion. The characters are interesting, the dialogue well-written, and the plot keeps you eagerly turning each page. My only regret is that I missed the first book in this trilogy about the Blackthorn scoundrels, but I will be reading it soon. This is a definite must read for Regency romance fans.

Mom and Dad Aren't Getting Along: Now That Mom's a Zombie by Garry McNulty, 6 pages

It's hard enough being a teen without having to deal with the family issues of mom being a zombie. Now, Dad's wanting separate bedrooms, Mom has a tendency to nibble on neighbors, and Teddy doesn't know what to do. Maybe a trip to the beach is in order?
This is a short story featuring zombies and is a fun, quick read. I really enjoyed it and would love to see more by Garry McNulty.

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Eve's Revenge by Tama Starr, 271 pages

This is a collection of quotes, poems and witty bon mots, all about men, love, sex, and woman's struggle with man. It contains quite a bit of funny items, but is really harsh, especially at the end, toward men. It says very little that is nice or flattering about our relationship with men, and love in general. Towards the end, it even made me feel a little guilty about having a monogamous marriage with a man.

Twice As Dead by Sue Ann Jaffarian, 295 pages

Odelia Grey has a talent for stumbling over dead bodies. This time it is the wedding planner at her best friend's daughter's wedding. Odelia starts investigating, and quickly finds that the deaths are piling up, with some people having died twice. Odelia, her husband, half-brother, friends, and even her boss, all get involved in the mystery.
These are always fun mysteries, light-hearted and fast reads.

The New Dead Edited by Christopher Golden, 384 pages

Zombies are the new vampire right now, riding the wave of popularity. This anthology features a variety of zombie stories, showcasing the many types of zombies. Lazarus is the first story and one of my favorites. Lazarus, raised from the tomb by Jesus, looks at the story from Lazarus' point of view, and is a very dark look at it. The last story is told entirely by Twitter and is funny, original and increasingly creepy as it develops. There are fast zombies, slow zombies, voodoo zombies, government created zombies and everything in between.
I think part of the fascination with zombies is our fascination with death. Zombies are the ultimate death, with everything that was us being gone, but the body remaining. Just as vampires are the avoidance of death, with eternal life, zombies are eternal death.

Monday, September 19, 2011

Malled: My Unintentional Life in Retail by Caitlin Kelly, 226 pages

Caitlin Kelly was a journalist, who due to downsizing at her newspaper, decided to take a part-time retail position with The North Face, a adventure clothing store. This book details her experience, starting with the interview, training, dealing with corporate expectations, demanding customers, and an ever growing sense of the lack of respect shown to customer service employees. Businesses pride themselves on their excellent customer service, but many pay their frontline people a low wage, give few benefits, create unsafe work environments and show little respect to those employees. Caitlin intersperses her experiences with actual facts about retail work, making this an informative and entertaining read. While I've worked fast-food, I've been lucky enough to not work retail with sales quotas and such and I will count my blessings. It's hard enough working in a field with a lot of public contact, I can't imagine doing so where I also had to sell so much every shift.

Stepsisters by Kate William, 154 pages

Jessica and Elizabeth have a new neighbor-their friend and sorority sister Annie Whitman. Annie's mother is getting married to a famous African-American photographer from New York City, and the new family is moving in next door. Annie can't wait to introduce her stepsister-to-be to all her Sweet Valley High friends. She tries her best to make Cheryl feel at home in Sweet Valley, but Cheryl, used to the excitement of New York City, doesn't seem interested in fading into the crowd. Annie is hurt and thinks Cheryl's a snob. Can two such different people ever become sisters?

She's Not What She Seems by Kate William, 156 pages

Jessica Wakefield has landed the starring role in Sweet Valley High's production of Macbeth, and suddenly she's too busy for anyone except Paula Perrine, a timid new transfer student who idolizes her. At first Paula spends all her time fawning over Jessica and helping her to prepare for her role. But before long, Paula seems to be better friends with Jessica's crowd than Jessica is. Jessica is pleased that her new friend is coming out of her shell, but when Paula fails to tell Jessica that she's been made her understudy, Jessica wonders if Paula is trying to steal not only her friends but her role as Lady Macbeth as well! No one else, not even Jessica's twin, Elizabeth, believes shy Paula could do such a thing. Can Jessica convince her friends of the truth before it's too late?

In Love With a Prince by Kate William, 151 pages

When Elizabeth Wakefield announces that her long-time pen pal, Prince Arthur of Santa Dora, is coming to Sweet Valley for a visit, everyone's excited about meeting him-except for Dana Larson, lead singer of Sweet Valley's favorite band, the Droids. Dana thinks the only place for royalty is in the history books-until she actually gets to know Prince Arthur, and the sparks begin to fly! Soon Dana and the Prince have fallen in love. Then Arthur suddenly asks Dana to marry him, and she faces the most serious decision of her life. Dana knows she's too young to get married to anyone, much less the Prince of Santa Dora. But if she says no, she might lose him forever.

Don't Go Home With John by Kate William, 152 pages

John Pfeifer, handsome sports editor for The Oracle, is suddenly showing a lot of interest in popular Sweet Valley High junior Lila Fowler. Lila's never dated a guy like John before-serious, intense, and supersmart-and she's definitely interested. When John finally asks her out, Lila can hardly wait for their first date. But the evening turns sour when John tries to take things too far. Though Lila manages to get away without getting hurt, she's too embarrassed to tell anyone what happened. When John crashes Lila's long-planned costume party, Lila blurts out the whole story to her guests. Now all of Sweet Valley High knows about Lila's dangerous date, and everyone has an opinion about who's responsible. The school has become a jury. Will they find John guilty? Or Lila?

Murder on the Line by Kate William, 214 pages

Jessica and Elizabeth Wakefield are looking forward to another summer as interns at the Sweet Valley News. Elizabeth can't wait to get to work as a reporter; Jessica can't wait to spend time with the gorgeous news editor. Jessica is even more excited when she discovers that a crossed telephone line allows her to eavesdrop on other people's conversations. She loves listening in on the private lives of Sweet Valley-until she overhears plans for a murder! Elizabeth thinks Jessica's imagination is working overtime, until the body of a teenage girl washes up on the beach. The police make a connection between the girl and a local drug ring-and Jessica makes the connection between the voice on the phone and someone who works in the newspaper office! When the twins start to get threatening calls at home, it's time to put the killer's plans on hold before he disconnects them forever!

Sunday, September 18, 2011

My Best Friend's Boyfriend by Kate William, 156 pages

Denise Hadley is poised, elegant, and beautiful. Her best friend, Ginny Belasca, isn't any of these things, and she's always comparing herself to Denise. So when Ginny decides to do volunteer work for a teen phone hot line, Denise hopes that it will give Ginny some self-confidence. It looks as is she's right when Ginny helps a guy named Mike, who says he wants to meet her in person! But now Ginny's terrified that her looks won't meet Mike's expectations. In desperation, she asks Denise to meet Mike in her place. Denise agrees and falls for Mike. Can Denise and Ginny's friendship survive a battle for the boy they both love?

Love Letters for Sale by Kate William, 156 pages

Jessica Wakefield is sure that her newest get-rich-quick scheme is the perfect way to make the extra money she badly needs. Even her twin sister, Elizabeth, loves Jessica's latest idea: a letter-writing service for people who don't want to write their own. Elizabeth agrees to write the letters in exchange for half the profits, which she plans to spend on a special gift for her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins. But this "perfect" money-making solution turns into a nightmare when Jessica reads a girl's request for a love letter-to Todd! Jessica knows that Elizabeth has been neglecting Todd lately, and she's afraid that Todd might leave Elizabeth for a more attentive girlfriend if given the opportunity. Can Jessica find a way to save Elizabeth and Todd's relationship and the letter-writing business, too?

Soap Star by Kate William, 156 pages

When Jessica Wakefield's favorite soap opera, The Young and the Beautiful, announces that it's looking for a set of beautiful blond twins for a special weeklong storyline, she's sure that she's just a step away from getting both an acting career and handsome Brandon Hunter-star of daytime TV! When she and her twin sister, Elizabeth, actually get the parts, their lives change even more dramatically than either had expected! Jessica gets carried away with all the publicity about her supposed relationship with Brandon and dumps Sam, the boy she really loves. Will Jessica realize that she's just another starlet to the conceited Brandon in time to salvage her relationship with Sam?

The Stolen Diary by Kate William, 154 pages

Todd Wilkins has decided that he and Elizabeth Wakefield should start dating other people. At her twin sister Jessica's urging, Elizabeth accepts a date with handsome Kris Lynch, a cartoonist for The Oracle. After a few dates with Kris, Elizabeth is more certain than ever that she'd rather be with Todd, and Todd is realizing that he made a mistake-he still loves Elizabeth, too. Elizabeth tells Kris she can't go out with him anymore, and that's when the trouble begins. Rumors about Elizabeth spread throughout Sweet Valley High. It's up to Jessica to find out who's behind the gossip before it's too late.

Steven's Bride by Kate William, 154 pages

When Cara Walker announces that she and her mother are moving to London, no one is more shocked than Steven Wakefield. After losing his first love, Tricia Martin, to leukemia, Steven can't bear the thought of losing another girlfriend. Jessica Wakefield knows a way for Cara to stay in Sweet Valley-as her brother's bride! Steven thinks an elopement is the perfect solution, and at first Cara agrees. Then Cara begins to wonder if she's ready to sacrifice her future to stay with Steven now. Does Cara have the courage to follow her heart-no matter what it's telling her?

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Jessica Against Bruce by Kate William, 156 pages

When Bruce Patman complains that things at Sweet Valley High have gotten too boring, Jessica Wakefield agrees. Then Bruce starts a secret club to liven things up. Soon Club X has Sweet Valley Hight roaring with unscheduled fire drills and other practical jokes. But when Jessica joins the club, events take a dangerous turn. Furious that a girl had the guts to join, Bruce dares Jessica to perform more and more dangerous stunts, hoping to scare her away. Jessica's twin sister, Elizabeth, urges her to stop before things get out of control, but Jessica has to show Bruce that she can do anything-even though it may mean risking her life.

Roseannearchy by Roseanne Barr, 284 pages

I have always been a big fan of Roseanne Barr, back when she was Roseanne Connor, and recently on her reality tv show. So I eagerly started reading this book by her, thinking it would be filled with tons of humor. It seems that this is more a platform for Roseanne to talk about her belief in God (a female God), growing up Jewish in a Mormon town, and a lot of pyscho babble. It wasn't a horrible book, it just wasn't as good and funny as I had hoped.

Kidnapped by the Cult by Kate William, 154 pages

Jessica Wakefield's parents have grounded her, she's angry at her boyfriend, Sam, and her friends don't care what happens to her. Then, just when she's at her lowest, Jessica meets a magnetic stranger. Adam Marvel is the leader of the Good Friends, a mysterious cult that pretends to help the poor and needy. Adam's slick talk wins Jessica over, and before long she's given up parties and cheerleading for group meetings and collecting money at the mall. When Elizabeth hears rumors about a dangerous cult in Sweet Valley, she realizes Jessica has fallen under its spell. It's up to Elizabeth to save her sister from the grasp of Adam Marvel-before Jessica helps commit a terrible crime!

Olivia's Story by Kate William, 216 pages

Olivia Davidson's offbeat style sets her apart from the other students at Sweet Valley High. And until now, her mother has always encourage Olivia in her artistic pursuits. But ever since Olivia started spending time with James Yates, another intense artist, Mrs. Davidson has been pushing Olivia to change her ways and begin thinking about college and earning a living. Then Olivia's career-oriented cousin Emily comes to town, and it's more than Olivia can take. Emily's got her whole life planned and organized in color-coded files; meanwhile, Olivia doesn't even have the money to buy a paintbrush! She's ready to give up her art and James forever. Then Mrs. Davidson reveals a startling secret about her own past that forces Olivia to make what could be the most difficult and important decision of her whole life.

The Long-Lost Brother by Kate William, 152 pages

It's no secret that pretty, popular Sara Eastborne has a twin brother named Tim. Sara had told her friends at Sweet Valley High that Tim choose to live with their father on the East Coast when their parents were divorced. But she didn't ell them that Tim was in reform school? Now Tim's out of reform school and ready to start a new life in Sweet Valley with Sara and their mother. Sara desperately wants Tim to keep his criminal past a secret. When Tim becomes friends with Elizabeth Wakefield and starts dating Sara's best friend, Amanda Hayes, Sara is afraid that the truth will come out and her social life at Sweet Valley High will be ruined. Tim has betrayed her before, and she isn't going to let him do it again, no matter what.

Rosa's Lie by Kate William, 155 pages

Rosa Jameson, daughter of immigrant parents, decides to start a new life at Sweet Valley High as Rose. When Jessica Wakefield and Lila Fowler ask her to pledge their exclusive sorority, Pi Beta Alpha, Rose believes her scheme is working. She's sure they would never have asked her if they knew she was Mexican. Rose's secret is safe-until her grandmother from rural Mexico pays an unexpected visit. Rose is determined to hide Nana from her friends during sorority pledge week. But as Nana teaches her to be proud of her heritage, Rose becomes ashamed of her deception. Will being true to her heritage mean losing her friends' trust and friendship forever?

A Kiss in Tim by Alex Flinn, 371 pages

Talia has been cursed by an evil witch that by her sixteenth birthday she will prick her finger on a spindle and die. But a fairy changes it to that she will sleep, along with the whole kingdom, until her true love's first kiss. Sounds familiar, right? Jack is on tour in Europe because his parents think it will look great on a college application. Escaping for a day hoping to hit a nude beach, he instead stumbles across what looks like an abandoned village, but it's occupied by sleeping people. In a castle he finds a beautiful girl sleeping, and kisses her. That's just the beginning of the story.
Alex Flinn does some of the best retelling of fairy tales, taking them, and setting them in modern times. So far he's done Beauty and the Beast, The Frog Prince and now Sleeping Beauty. They are fun, well-written, and original teen books that I whole-heartedly recommend.

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Pampered to Death by Laura Levine, 228 pages

Jaine Austen has been given a week at a luxury spa by her friend Lance as a thank you for saving him from murder charges. Unfortunately, when Jane gets to The Haven, she discovers it's actually a diet spa, not something this Ben & Jerry fanatic is looking forward to. Before Jaine has a chance to leave, one of the fellow guests is discovered killed. Who had it out for this not-so-nice B-list starlet? The better question is, who didn't? Jaine must discover the killer is she wants any chance of getting to eat a real meal again, or she may have had her last pint of Chunky Monkey ever.
These books are always hilarious, Jaine has my outlook on food, curves, exercise, and life in general. I always enjoy the subplots featuring the emails from her parents. I wholeheartedly recommend this mystery series if you enjoy murder with a hefty side of humor.

Sweet Valley Saga: The Wakefield Legacy by Kate William, 345 pages

Frontiersman Theodore Wakefield thought he'd lost his heart forever; will Dancing Wind make him love again? Turn-of-the-century beauty Sarah Wakefield marries against her father's wishes-only to become the mother of a fatherless child. Betrayed by his true love, Ted Wakefield must forget his past to find happiness with brilliant journalist Julia Marks. During World War II Robert Wakefield receives vital radio messages from P.O.W. Hannah Weiss and vows to find her when the war ends. Ned Wakefield struggles against injustice in the idealistic sixties, then fights for the heart of beautiful Alice Robertson.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Rondeau by Jennifer Linforth, 173 pages

Erik and Anna have been on the run for years, but seem to have found peace in a quiet Germany village with their two children. But ghosts from the past rise up and threaten to destroy everything. When Anna is captured by Loup, Raoul's bounty hunter, Erik must return to Paris and face Raoul and Christine one last time. But this time his family may be the ones to pay the price.
"Rondeau" is the stunning end to a wonderfully penned trilogy by Jennifer Linforth that continues Gaston LeRoux's "The Phantom of the Opera." Each book had me remembering why I empathized with and loved Erik so much over the years, despised Christine for not being able to see behind the Phantom's mask to Erik, and hated Raoul for destroying Erik's chances for happiness. Jennifer Linforth has done a superb job of staying true to LeRoux's original madman of a Phantom while showing the heartbroken man who lay behind the mask. Anna, as someone abused and beaten by life, while refusing to be broken by it, was the one woman who could love Erik and help him to have a chance at happiness. During this trilogy, I found myself tearing up, desperate for Erik and Anna to achieve happiness, wondering if it was ever possible. These books grabbed me and I found myself immersed in the storyline. While it is possible to read them as standalone novels, they would be better appreciated read together. My two regrets with this book is that it ends the story, leaving me nothing to look forward to, and that I got it as an e-book, so I'm unable to relish the story again and again. I believe I will be asking for this as a Christmas present.

The Angel of Blythe Hall by Darci Hannah, 512 pages

Lady Isabeau Blythe has had the family named tainted by her father's mad search for angels and her brother Julius' betrayal of king and country. She is determined to be a good leader for her people and take care of the family fortress on the Scottish border. But the first evening she's home, Isabeau discovers all her sheep are missing, a devilish rogue knight Sir George is determined to have her and her land, and her brother Julius is back, for what evil ploys she has no idea. Isabeau doesn't know who to believe or trust, but knows she can't succumb to the visions of angels she has, until she must call on Gabriel for help. But instead of finding heaven, will Isabeau find herself in hell?
This was an unusual romance, unlike most others I've read. There were numerous plots, and the good guys kept changing, plus when you through in an angel as the romantic lead, it makes this a different but good read.

Madame Bovary's Daughter by Linda Urbach, 499 pages

Berthe Bovary must pick up the pieces of her life after her father's death when she is only twelve years old. Her mother has only been dead one year but her scandalous life still lives on. Berthe is now an orphan but hopes that life on her grandmother's farm will contain the love she's been looking for. Her grandmother, though, instead of wanting a granddaughter to love, instead wants an unpaid servant. Berthe, hoping for a chance to escape this life, poses for the artist Jean-Francois Millet, but finds it doesn't give the escape she needs. Berthe finds herself working in a cotton mill but still hopes for more. A chance to move to Paris gives Berthe a meeting with Charles Worth, one of the most famous fashion designers. Will Berthe ever be able to move past the mistakes of her mother's life or will she fall prey to the same desires, mainly someone to love her back?
"Madame Bovary" by Flaubert has never been one of my favorite novels because I can't understand women who throw everything away, including family and themselves in search of a man. But "Madame Bovary's Daughter" was an extremely well-written novel that did justice to the original while creating a new storyline that kept me interested and reading. Berthe is a determined young lady who moved past her parents' destructive lives, and managed to create a life for herself. I will definitely keep Linda Urbach on my list of must read authors.

Flash and Bones by Kathy Reichs, 278 pages

This is another book in the Temperance Brennan series that also spun off the television series "Bones" that is popular. This one takes place in South Carolina and features NASCAR as the backdrop for the mystery. A body is found in a drum of asphalt and there are a couple of different options of whose body it can be. Through in a possible FBI coverup, a bad cop, and poison, and all in all, it's a normal week for Temperance.
These have gotten a little formulaic but are still enjoyable. I do find myself comparing it to the tv show a lot though while reading.

The Last Werewolf by Glen Duncan, 293 pages

This book features the last werewolf in the world, after the rest has been hunted down by the Hunt, an organization dedicated to wiping them out. Jake is over 200 years old and is wondering if it's worth still running and hiding. He knows that at the next full moon, they'll be after him. But something happens that gives him new hope for the future and a reason to fight.
This was a little more high-minded and heavy than I like my paranormal books and is different from the normal werewolf books out there. It wasn't horrible, just not the best thing to read while sick with the stomach flu. Reading about tearing flesh and bloody guts isn't the easiest thing when you're trying to keep down your chicken noodle soup.

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Grave Expectations by Charles Dickens & Sherri Browning Erwin, 394 pages

There is a whole genre of "revamped" classics or literary mashups, where a classic has the plot altered with the addition of vampires, werewolves, zombies, or even robots. "Grave Expectations" by Sherri Browning Erwin is the latest offering. "Great Expectations" by Charles Dickens is a beloved story featuring Pip, Estelle, and Miss Havisham. In this retouched novel, Pip is a werewolf, Estelle is a slayer of Scapegraces (the name for werewolves and vampires) and Miss Havisham is a vampire raising Estelle to gain revenge on all vampires because of the vampire who wooed and abandoned her years ago. There are many "revamped" classics that due to poor writing, and shabby storytelling take a wonderful novel and ruin it. This is not one of those books, Sherri Browning Erwin does a superb job altering Dickens original work, staying true to the intent, while still turning it into a fun romp with paranormal creatures. As a fan of her previous work "Jane Slayre", I was excited to pick this book up, and it didn't disappoint. With this novel, Sherri Browning Erwin proves she isn't a one-hit wonder.

The Twelfth Enchantment by David Liss, 443 pages

Lucy Derrick is a penniless orphan, thrown upon the mercy of her uncle Richard Lowell. After her fall from grace because of an elopement gone wrong that only because of her sister's death the same day avoided reputation-destroying gossip, Lucy had only a short time with her father before his death. After his death, Lucy's sister marries a distant cousin who was heir to the estate, hoping to provide Lucy with a home. Instead, Lucy is told that the estate yielded no money for her inheritance and she must leave. When entertaining her fiance, ready to enter a loveless marriage only to escape her uncle's cold home, Lucy has a young man come calling at the door, mad, insisting that she must gather the leaves. He then collapses. Lucy is thrown into a journey of discovery, learning that much she thought she knew about herself, her family and her past. Magic, yielded by herself and others, shapes much of the unseen world, with people not always being what they appeared. Can Lucy find the leaves she must gather, learn the knowledge she needs and survive long enough to save herself, her sister and her niece.
"The Twelfth Enchantment" by David Liss is a historical novel weaved with magic, historical characters, intrigue and romance. Reminiscent of "The DaVinci Code" with the hidden clues, this was an interesting read. I especially enjoyed Lord Byron and William Blake in the story, bringing history alive in a new and creative way.

Realityland, True Life Adventures at Walt Disney World by David Koenig, 334 pages

I have never been to Disney Land or Disney World but like most people, would love to go. One of my dreams is to get to stay in Cinderella's Castle in fact. So when I saw this book detailing the making of Disney World, I picked it up. From the decision by Walt Disney himself to build a second park up to to around 2005, this book examines all that went into the planning and building of one of the most outstanding theme parks in the world. Disney is a world wide name, and for decades, the theme parks made Disney most of it's money. It was interesting reading about the secret deals Disney made, the way they run their park and the people involved. If you like nonfiction behind the scenes book, you'll want to pick this up.

Vampires, The Recent Undead edited by Paula Guran, 430 pages

This is a collection of vampire short stories previously published between 2000 and 2010. These are written by some outstanding authors such as Charlaine Harris, Charles De Lint, Kelley Armstrong and one of my favorite vampire authors of all time, Chelsea Quinn Yarbro. These are varied vampires, some dark and sexy, others more metaphysical and then ones that are truer to the original fiends that populated early folklore. This is a great read for fans of vampire literature.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Sweet Valley Saga:The Wakefields of Sweet Valley by Kate William, 346 pages

Alice Larson, a bold sixteen-year-old from Sweden, arrives alone in America to start a new life-but with a broken heart. Headstrong frontier tomboy Jessamyn runs away to join the circus, leading her sensitive twin, Elisabeth, into a desperate search that ends in tragedy. Spirited twins and rivals Samantha and Amanda battle for the love of the same boy during the glamorous Roaring Twenties. Marjorie, stranded in France during World War II, becomes a heroine of the Resistance. Alice Robertson, child of the tumultuous sixties, makes a painful romantic choice she will hide forever-even from her twin daughters, Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield. Discover the lives and loves of these extraordinary young women in the biggest, best Sweet Valley story ever.

Enid's Story by Kate William, 213 pages

People who meet pretty, quiet Enid Rollins find it hard to believe that she ever ran with a wild crowd. She's popular, a straight-A student, and is best friends with Elizabeth Wakefield. Finally, Enid seems to have her life together. Then everything starts to go wrong. She's interested in Jeffrey French, Elizabeth's ex-boyfriend, and thinks that he likes her, too. But it turns out he hasn't gotten over Elizabeth. Then Enid's father shows up drunk for his Christmas visit. The only person left in Enid's life is Elizabeth, and when they have a terrible disagreement, Enid feels totally alone. So when Brian, a boy from her past, asks her out, Enid is thrilled. She knows that being with Brian is risky, but he's the only person who seems to appreciate her. Can Enid resist temptation, or will she return to her wild ways?

Sunday, September 4, 2011

The Girl They Both Loved by Kate William, 151 pages

April Dawson adores her boyfriend, Michael Harris. They both love dirt bike racing and spend most of their free time working on their bikes and preparing for races. Lately, though, Michael has become obsessed with winning every race he enters. He desperately wants to beat his former best friend and racing partner, Artie Western. April knows something terrible in the past tore Artie and Michael apart. She's got to find out what happened and bring the two boys together again before this feud leads to tragedy, even if the cost is her relationship with Michael.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lusts by Mitzi Szereto, 265 pages

"Pride and Prejudice" by Jane Austen has had many spinoffs with zombies added, told from Mr. Darcy's side and sequels galore. Mitzi Szereto has set her pen to the novel by revamping it with a new highly erotic twist. Mr. Darcy has never unbuttoned his breeches flap and Elizabeth lifted her skirts more than in this highly sexually active version. Mr. Bingley has set his sights and tongue on Darcy instead of sweet Jane, Lydia has a penchant for rubbing herself on anything and everything, and Mr. Bennet has a taste for penciled pornography. All in all, this isn't your normal Jane Austen's novel.
"Pride and Prejudice Hidden Lusts" by Mitzi Szereto is a raunchy retelling of a classic. More obsessed with fitting gender on gender encounters along with numerous self-gratification scenes than creating a new twist on an old favorite, this book falls short of the original wit and creativity of the book. I myself was a trifle embarrassed by the explicitness of the novel but others may find it enjoyable. Sometimes classics aren't improved by adding more sex, and this may be one of those times. I would have stopped reading after just the first chapter due to my blushes but I had to read it for review. Definitely not one I'll let my teenager read.

The Thackery T. Lambshead Cabinet of Curiosities edited by Ann & Jeff Vandermeer, 320 pages

Thackery T. Lambshead had collected many odd and curious items throughout his life, most never photographed or completely described. After his death in England, the remains of his cabinet of curiosities are examined. Some famous authors and artists have teamed up to share some of the items in Lambshead's varied multitude. I enjoy many of the authors that have written for this book and I love oddities and curiosities but this didn't grab me. It was too confusing and strange, and didn't flow well, leaving me struggling to finish the book. The cover and artwork is outstanding though, reminiscent of nineteenth journals.

Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day by Ben Loory, 210 pages

"Stories for Nighttime and Some for the Day" by Ben Loory is a collection of short stories that really defy easy description. The stories are odd, disturbing, intriguing and confusing. There's a man who is the only one to see a monster in a swimming pool, a little girl who wants to play with a balloon to her mother's dread, a knife act that threatens a friendship, and a man who learns that it's the crown that makes the king, along with many other short stories. Most of the stories left me questioning and confused, not always sure what the intent and meaning of the story. This was not one of my favorite collections, it was probably a little too obscure for my taste.