Thursday, April 26, 2012

Flesh & Blood So Cheap, The Triangle Fire and Its Legacy by Albert Marrin, 182 pages

This was a look at labor in America, mainly the clothing industry in New York, filled by young immigrant women and children. The Triangle Fire with it's large loss of life was a wake-up call to the horrible conditions these people were forced to work in for a mere pittance. Many of the safety measures we enjoy now in the workplace came about because of the fallout from this tragedy. This book was really informative and well-written. The pictures really added to the book.

Does This Mean You'll See Me Naked? by Robert Webster, 172 pages

Jacque had reviewed this book and it sounded pretty interesting so I requested it via inter-library loan. I'm glad I did. It's a look at the funeral process, from picking bodies up from homes to final interment, told by a funeral director. The author had been interested in being a funeral director ever since working with his older brother at a funeral home as a teenager. His book was interesting and entertaining without being too morbid.

Model Flirt by Kate William, 196 pages

Jessica Wakefield is making the most of her internship at Flair magazine-she's got two gorgeous guys wrapped around her finger! Dating Quentin Berg, a famous photographer, could do wonders for her modeling career. But Jessica actually prefers lowly mail-room clerk Cameron Smith-who can't help her at all. So she's decided to date both of them at once! It's a good thing she has a twin. Elizabeth Wakefield loves interning for Leona Peirson, the sophisticated and elegant fashion editor at Flair. But when Elizabeth brings a great idea to savvy Ms. Peirson, the editor takes all the credit! Elizabeth learns a lesson from Leona Peirson that she never expected-ruthlessness!

Cover Girls by Kate William, 214 pages

Fashion! Models! Deadlines! Identical twins Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are interning at Flair-the hippest fashion mag ever! As assistant to famous photographer Quentin Berg, Jessica thought she'd be working on glamorous photo shoots. Instead, she has to clean up after Simone, a supermodel with a bad attitude. But not for long. Elizabeth is thrilled to work in the managing editor's office. Until her boyfriend, Todd Wilkins, visits her and gets discovered as a model! Todd's ego quickly spins out of control, and he's soon busy flirting with Simone. Will Todd fall into the clutches of the evil supermodel?

Tall, Dark, and Deadly by Kate William, 195 pages

When Jonathan Cain moves to Sweet Valley, Jessica Wakefield feels an attraction so strong it's almost supernatural. Jonathan is interesting, intelligent, and gorgeous in a dark, brooding sort of way-no wonder SVH students are following him around! But Jonathan won't even meet Jessica's eyes. Will Jessica find a way to capture this mystery man's heart...or has she lost her touch? Elizabeth Wakefield doesn't trust Jonathan for a single minute. She can't believe her friends-and her twin sister-are so taken with such and arrogant guy. And when a body, drained of blood, is discovered behind the Dairi Burger, Elizabeth's mistrust explodes into fear. Jonathan might be far more dangerous than she ever imagined.

Wednesday, April 25, 2012

Kiss of a Killer by Kate William, 199 pages

Jessica Wakefield has finally gotten Jonathan Cain to admit that he loves her. Then she finds out the shocking truth about him. Is Jessica willing to give up her life to keep Jonathan's love? Elizabeth Wakefield has made a terrifying discovery! Jonathan Cain's past is more horrible, more twisted, than she'd ever imagined. And Jessica is under his spell. Now Elizabeth must save her twin from a fate worse than death. But is Elizabeth strong enough to stop a creature of the night?

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Cravings by Laurell K. Hamilton, MaryJanice Davidson, Eileen Wilks, & Rebecca York, 358 pages

I picked this up because 2 of the 4 short stories were by authors I really enjoyed. The Anita Blake books and Betsy, Queen of the Vampires, are usually pretty good. The other 2 stories weren't bad, I'm just not familiar with the works that go with them.

The Wolf Gift by Anne Rice, 404 pages

Reuben Golding has come to Marchent Nideck's house high in the hills of California to write an article about the house and the mysterious history behind it. A terrible event results in Reuben gaining not only possession of this great and beautiful house but also a great and terrible gift. Somehow, he becomes a wolf, intent on tracking down evil doers. Reuben must try to make sense of the changes befalling him, while staying out of the clutches of science and law. Who can Reuben turn to, his father the professor, his mother the doctor or his brother the priest? The house's history promises just as many mysteries as answers. Can Reuben stay alive long enough to master them?
Anne Rice has proved herself queen of the vampires and mistress of witches with her many wonderful books. Her many fans, including myself, were heartbroken when she moved from the paranormal to write about Christianity's early days. With "The Wolf Gift", Anne Rice shows that she is back and just as great bringing a new look to the werewolf genre. The characters grab the reader from page one, the reasoning is plausible, and the back story is lush and intriguing. This book will delight not only Anne Rice's old fans but bring a whole new fan base.

The Sister Queens by Sophie Perinot, 503 pages

Marguerite must leave her family and home at the Court of Provence to marry Louis IX, becoming Queen of France. As the oldest, she has been trained to be patient, quiet, demure, and to be a good wife and queen. Her sister Eleanor hasn't always taken to the same training, striving to surpass her older sister. When married to Henry III, King of England, she hopes to achieve her goals. But while Henry loves Eleanor and is a good man, he is often times a failure as a king. Marguerite's husband, Louis, is considered a good king, but often times puts his overwhelming passion for God before his duties as husband and king. Will these two sisters find happiness in not only their marriages, but also their relationship as sisters?
I am always a fan of historical fiction, but had never read anything about these sisters or even really this time period. Sophie Perinot has done a wonderful job of bringing to life this tumultuous time, and making these characters dynamic and engaging. Fans of Philippa Gregory and Carolly Erickson will want to add this author to their collection. I can't wait to see who or when she covers next.

Zombie High Yearbook '64 by Jeff Busch, 128 pages

The author has recreated an old yearbook, but completely zombified it. This is one of the funniest things I've seen. I especially like the doodles and drawings, which makes it look like an actual yearbook. If you like zombies, this is worth picking up for a laugh.

Monday, April 23, 2012

The Bark of the Dogwood by Jackson Trippett McCrae, 450 pages

Strekfus Beltzenschmidt is a writer for a home and garden magazine in New York City. He is called back home to the South for a death he starts a series of stories for the magazine that will challenge all he thought he knew about himself and his family.
This was at times difficult to read, because of the emotional issues Strekfus was wading through, but was intriguing and kept me engaged. Towards the end there was a very disturbing incident that almost had me putting the book down. I feel like that event didn't have to be as graphic as portrayed, but this was an outstanding book, all in all.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Gypped by Carol Higgins Clark, 202 pages

This was a fun and fast read, I've enjoyed all the other mysteries in the series.

Buried in Buttercream by G.A. McKevett, 277 pages

Savannah and Dirk are finally getting married, that is until an arsonist sets their reception hall on fire. Friends hire a wedding planner to help with details for the wedding, take 2, but that wedding is kiboshed when the planner is found dead. Savannah and Dirk must hurry to find the killer if they ever plan on walking down the aisle to a happily ever after.
I really love these books, they're funny, quirky and fast-paced. Watching Savannah cope with the after effects of being shot was heartwrenching, because she has become a character I really care for. If you haven't read any of these books I recommend starting at the beginning because the character development really adds to the enjoyment of the books.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Jessica Takes Manhattan by Kate William, 227 pages

Jessica Wakefield and Lila Fowler are headed to the Big Apple! They're psyched for a week of Broadway shows, superstretch limos, major shopping and New York guys. Jessica's fun begins the moment she steps on the plane-and finds she's sitting next to rock star Ryder Mitchell. There's an immediate spark between Jessica and Ryder-in fact, things are so hot, they promise to meet for an ultraromantic date at the top of the Empire State Building in three days. Flying first class has definite advantages. But things don't go as planned. The staff at their ritzy hotel mistakes Lila for Princess Charlotte, a visiting royal. Lila and Jessica don't mind the VIP treatment...until a gang of kidnappers also mistakes Lila for the princess-and holds the girls for ransom! It's New York City...and anything can happen.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Below Stairs by Margaret Powell, 212 pages

This book covers Margaret Powell's entry into domestic service in the early 1920s. As a kitchen maid she inhabited a world of back stairs, early risings and late nights, and servitude. One of the best things about this book was how utterly British it was in it's language. So many books are Americanized, but this one hadn't been. This book supposedly inspired "Upstairs, Downstairs" and "Downton Abbey" so fans will want to pick it up.

Passive Aggressive Notes by Kerry Miller, 161 pages

This is a collection of post-it notes that people have left on refrigerators, microwaves, doors and various places. It ranges from funny, ironic and kind of sad at times. If you want a light and fluffy read that is easy, pick this one up.

Dance of Death by Kate William, 199 pages

Jessica Wakefield and Jonathan Cain have shared the kiss of a lifetime. Jessica should be wildly happy, but Jonathan keeps pushing her away. What is he hiding behind his dark and dangerous eyes? Jessica's sure she'll discover all of Jonathan's secrets at the party in his mansion. Will it be the most wonderful night of her life-or the most tragic? Elizabeth Wakefield is being torn in two! Her summer fling, Joey Mason, has moved to California, and he wants her back. Elizabeth can't deny her attraction to Joey, but she's still in love with longtime boyfriend Todd Wilkins. How can she choose between them?

Friday, April 13, 2012

Jane Vows Vengeance by Michael Thomas Ford, 275 pages

Jane Fairfax was known as Jane Austen, that was before she was turned into a vampire by Lord Byron years ago. Now she owns a little bookstore in New York, and is finally getting married to her fiance, Walter. But dealing with the wedding preparations are enough to drive even a vampire author crazy. So when Walter suggests that they get married on a tour of houses in Europe, Jane jumps at the chance. But a husband from her past, a holy grail of vampire lore, and a murder all conspire to keep Jane from getting her happily ever after.
"Jane Vows Vengeance" is the newest book in what is a fabulous series by Michael Thomas Ford, combining Jane Austen, vampires, and comedic intrigue in wonderfully written novels. One of the highlights of the book is Jane's total lack of mastery over her vampire skills, while Lord Byron proves just as captivating and charming as a vampire as he was as a poet. Fans of revamped classics and vampire novels will want to pick up this books, it's a read you'll sink your fangs into.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

The Secret Lives of Hoarders by Matt Paxton with Phaedra Hise, 238 pages

This looks at hoarders, the behavior behind it, and the people who help clean the houses. Having just moved with probably more books than I need (but not more than I want), I found this interesting and intriguing. I've decided though my problem isn't too much stuff, it's not enough house, lol. The book jumped around a little between the case studies, but was pretty good.

Zombie Island by Lori Handeland, 265 pages

William Shakespeare has figured out a way for him and his lady love to be together. He gives her a potion that simulates death, and will whisk her away from her tomb, leaving her husband, and London believing that Katherine Dymond is dead. But when the vampire playwright shows up, the tomb is empty except for moldering skeletons. Little did they expect Katherine's husband to ship her body back to the New World, falling prey to a sea storm, leaving Katherine and her husband stranded on a magical island, inhabited by a sorcerer, a sprite, and zombies galore. Will must hurry to save his love, and possibly even the throne.
This was probably the funnest retelling of The Tempest that I've ever read. Nothing makes Shakespeare better except turning him into a vampire and adding zombies galore. Lori Handeland has created a well-written new entry into the revamped genre, breathing new life into the undead playwright and his "dark lady" muse. I look forward to reading the next novel in this fantastic new series.

The Modern Fae's Guide to Surviving Humanity, edited by Joshua Palmatier & Patricia Bray, 309 pages

We've all read stories about the fae throughout history but how do these magical creatures make their way through today's world of technology? This collection of short stories showcase a new twist on these supernatural creatures, penned by some of fantasy's best writers. "How Much Salt" shows a selkie seeking out a new home and family while protecting his seal skin. "The Slaughtered Lamb" has a crossdressing werewolf facing a past that had thrown him away. "Hooked" has a fairy utilizing man's obsession with Tinkerbell for her dark purposes, while "Fixed" may have you reconsidering the decision to spay or neuter your animals. These stories ranged from darkly funny to downright creepy, making this book a must read for fan's of fae literature.

A Kiss Before Dying by Kate William, 197 pages

Jessica Wakefield can't deny her love for handsome Christian Gorman, the leader of the dangerous Palisades High gang. Christian promises her he'll never fight again. But can he keep his vow when the battle with Sweet Valley turns deadly? Elizabeth Wakefield plans a secret meeting with Palisades High's Rosie Shaw, and together they scheme to end the gang warfare once and for all. Can Elizabeth really trust Rosie-or will her friendship lead to tragedy?

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Cinnamon Roll Murder by Joanne Fluke, 481 pages

Well, this time Hannah's mom is the one who stumbles over a dead body but Hannah quickly finds herself investigating. These books are a ton of fun and filled with great recipes. I always end up copying at least 2-3 of them. I look forward to making the Chocolate Avocado Cookies sometime soon.

The Bedlam Detective by Stephen Gallagher, 306 pages

Sebastian Becker is an investigator based out of Bethlehem Hospital, investigating the mental status of England's wealthy eccentrics. He arrives in a rural part to investigate Sir Owain Lancaster, an Amazon explorer who blames the loss of his family and entire party to jungle beasts, when two girls go missing and are found dead. Becker must decide if Lancaster is truly crazy and behind this dark event.
This was a very odd read, it just didn't grab me. The storylines felt convoluted, and the ending was wrapped up way too neatly. It was a pale imitation of The Alienist by Caleb Carr.

Monday, April 9, 2012

Timeless by Gail Carriger, 402 pages

Boohoo, this was the final book in what has been one of my favorite new series. The Parasol Protectorate series introduced me to Regency Romance Paranormal Steampunk, and I will be very sad until I find another author that delights me as much.

Thursday, April 5, 2012

A Hero's Guide to Deadly Dragons by Cressida Cowell, 252 pages

This is a fun series. This book has Hiccup stealing a book from the Viking library and fighting for his life against the Hairy Scary Librarian.

Girlchild by Tupelo Hassman, 275 pages

The description for this book, that caught my eye, went something along the lines of "Rory Hendrix has continually checked out the Girl Scout Handbook, reading every page and trying to follow all the guidelines, even though there isn't a single girl scout troop in her trailer park community." I started this book thinking it would be a funny read, never expecting it to be a deeply moving story, heart-wrenching at times, and one of the best books I've read so far this year.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

To Marry an English Lord by Gail MacColl, 403 pages

I love Regency romances and nonfiction books and this book combines both of these. It covers the American heiresses who married titled Englishmen in the late 1800s and early 1900s. It covers the the height (and depths) of American society which was centered in New York, and "The Buccaneers" who traveled to London to nab a husband and a title with their massive dowries. I had to get this book via inter-library loan, but I'm considering buying a copy for myself. A fascinating and informative read.

Tales of Terror from the Tunnel's Mouth by Chris Priestley, 260 pages

This was the final Chris Priestley book I had gotten via the inter-library loan system. This guy has a twisted mind, because he has written some fabulously dark and gothic stories for children. I think I'm going to buy these books for Samantha because she would love them.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

In Love With the Enemy by Kate William, 199 pages

The rivalry between Sweet Valley High an Palisades High is spinning out of control. And when a group of guys from Palisades beats up SVH quarterback Ken Matthews, the Gladiators are determined to retaliate. Christian Gorman is the sexiest guy Jessica Wakefield has ever laid eyes on. Now that he's teaching her how to surf, they're not only catching waves, they're falling in love. Jessica feels terrible sneaking around behind her boyfriend Ken's back. But that's not the worst thing. There's something about Christian that Jessica doesn't know, and it could tear her world apart: Christian is the leader of Palisades High's most violent gang.