Monday, February 28, 2011

Gregor and the Curse of the Warmbloods by Suzanne Collins

Book Two left off with Gregor reading the Prophecy of Blood: a prophecy that calls for Gregor and Boots to return to the Underland to help ward off a plague. But this time, Gregor's mother refuses to let Gregor return to the Underland ...until the rat Ripred assures the family that Gregor and Boots are needed only for a short meeting, which the crawlers will attend only if their "princess" Boots is present. Gregor's mom finally relents, but on the condition that she go with them so they aren't out of her sight. The Underland plague is spreading, and when one of Gregor's family is infected he begins a journey to satisfy the prophesy.

My thoughts:
I’ve resumed listening to audio books in the car with my children and this is the one my son selected last week. We wanted to start with book 1 but both the first and second books were checked out of the library so we started out of order. I actually went back today to see if book one or two were there, but all they had was four and five so I guess we’ll be continuing from this point and we’ll have to go back at some later time.

Not having read the first two books left us jumping into a story that was already going, but enough review and catch up was done that I think we had a handle on most of the characters and past books that we were able to enjoy this one. I liked how the narrator used different voices for each of the characters because it made it both more entertaining and easier to follow who was who. My children were a little confused as to how the rats, bats and cockroaches were so large, somehow they missed that at the beginning and a few of the questions they asked at the end made it evident that they hadn’t understood that aspect of the story. I wonder if we had started with the first book if more explanation of that was done. I am sure Collins was thinking that most readers had read the first two so, while some review was needed, there might not have been as much detail in book three as there was to start.

In this book Gregor, his sister Boots and his mother travel into the Underworld for what they think is going to be a short meeting about a prophesy. Of course it ends up that they cannot leave until they go on a quest to fulfill the prophesy to find a cure for the plague that is affecting the warm-blooded beings of the Underworld. The humans, bats and rats are at risk while the insects are not. Not only is there concern for those in the underworld but if this plague were to spread to the Overland it could wipe out populations around the world. Parts of their journey are quite dangerous, they meet characters who were thought to be dead and some characters do die. Towards the end of the novel there is a punishment to a character for a very serious breach of morality. I thought the character who be put in prison for these deeds but the consequence was much more severe. I was a bit afraid of how my children would take that but they were surprised but not upset about it.

I recall picking up the first book in this series at a book fair when my oldest was still a baby and almost buying it for myself to read. For some reason I put it back, most likely because for years I have had way more books than I can read, but I think it was good that I waited to read it with them. I am really enjoying sharing books with my children and having the chance to read and listen to them together. Later today we will be starting book four as we venture out this evening for their evening activities.

Product Details

Pub. Date: July 2006
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 358pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Underland Chronicles Series , #3
ISBN-13: 9780439656245
ISBN: 0439656249
Edition Description: Reprint

Sunday, February 27, 2011

700 Sundays by Billy Crystal


Hailed as a triumph by everyone from the New York Times to Sports Illustrated, Billy Crystal's 700 SUNDAYS is the crowning achievement of an amazing career. A poignant, hilarious, and personal portrayal of his youth, Crystal's play broke Broadway box office records and failed to leave a dry eye in the house.

My thoughts:
I really enjoyed this book.  So many parts of it had me laughing.  I could hear Crystal's voice in my head while I was reading and could imagine how he would deliver it if he were on stage.  It was very evident that Billy Crystal loved his family and that his time with them meant a great deal to him.  700 Sundays refers to how long he had with his father, who died when Billy was fifteen.  Because of work obligations the day Billy and his two older brothers had to spend with their father was Sunday.  He was proud of the achievements of his father with producing jazz records and running a record store in New York as well as giving new musicians a chance to get up on stage and play for audiences.  From a  very young age Billy loved baseball and comedy.  His first acts were done in front of his family, both his immediate and extended family.  He would perform routines he had seen on stage and memorized from records, even when he did not understand all of the jokes or sexual innuendos included in them.  Most of this book focuses on his childhood and memories with his father and then later with his mother at the end of her life.  While he mentions his wife briefly and his two children, this is not a book about them.  I imagine on the stage this was even funnier because of being a part of an audience and hearing Crystal himself tell the anecdotes.  The photos that were included added to a feeling of knowing Billy's family and set the tone for the time period within which events were taking place.  Each of the chapters was on the short side and in a way self contained so this was good before bed reading.  In between other books I would pick this one up and read a chapter or two, get a  few laughs and go to bed for the night. It was nice to read a book from a celebrity that was so family focused.

Product Details

Pub. Date: October 2006
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Paperback , 192pp
ISBN-13: 9780446698511
ISBN: 0446698512
Edition Description: Reprint

Saturday, February 26, 2011

The Thieves of Darkness by Richard Doetsch


Reformed master thief Michael St. Pierre thinks his criminal days are behind him when his best friend Simon is sentenced to die in a brutal desert prison. Breaking into jail for the first time in his checkered career, Michael frees his friend only to discover his own girlfriend in the next cell. . . .


With a madman on their heels, the trio plots a series of daring thefts inside the world’s most celebrated and heavily guarded sanctums to find the mysterious artifact that landed them behind bars: a map to a secret holy place predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. From the glittering banks of the Bosporus to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, they embark on a globe-trotting adventure to preserve the priceless relics at stake and protect the fate of humanity.

My thoughts;
I haven't read a thriller in a pretty long time, not because I was avoiding them but I think I had forgotten about them a little.  This book was offered to me for review purposes from Gallery Books Publicity and I decided it was time to give a thriller another try.  For me this book had a slow start, but once I got into it I finished it in one night.  It reminded me a bit of The Raiders of the Lost Ark, The Davinci Code, Angels and Demons and even The Mummy.  There was a lot of research and religious texts and finds.  This book is part of a series, but I had no trouble picking it up as a stand alone novel.

Michael has a security business.  Part of the reason he is sought after and is so good at security is the time he spent as a thief.  His friend, a priest and also a thief of stolen or lost religious items, ends up in jail and Michael receives an anonymous tip that his friend is in jail slated for a five am death sentence.  When Michael breaks into the prison in the middle of the desert in a foreign country he finds out that Simon is not alone, he is with Michael's girlfriend.  So starts a journey in a private jet across different countries and into numerous dangerous situations.  Some of the surprises I anticipated but there were a few truly big surprises along the way.

Along the journey background information on each of the characters is revealed. At times I felt like too much background was given, especially at the beginning.  That was part of the reason why this novel was a slow start for me, but as I read further I saw that having that information was important to the rest of the story.  Doetsch was very descriptive in the pictures he painted of the restored harem they visit in Turkey and the mountain they climbed, in the hotels they stayed in and restaurants they visited.  It was obvious that he put as much thought into his settings as he did the actions that were taking place.  It seems like he did a lot of research as well because the places were believable and felt real.

I enjoyed this book, last night I read more than four hundred pages because I just couldn't find a spot where I wanted to stop.  I must admit I am a bit tired today since I read later than I should have, but it was so action packed that I couldn't put it down.  I am glad that I had the chance to read this book.  That is part of what I love about receiving review books, often times they are ones that I would not have selected on my own and when I love them, as I did with this one, I realize that I would have missed a good book because it wasn't in my usual genres.

Product Details

Pub. Date: February 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Mass Market Paperback , 592pp
ISBN-13: 9781416598978
ISBN: 1416598979

Monday, February 21, 2011

How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I received this book from the wonderful Ayelet Gruenspecht at Gallery Books Publicity for review purposes, but honestly I think I would have bought it anyway so I was thrilled to get a chance to read it early and to be able to share my thoughts.  When I first read the title I was so intrigued, I don't read a lot of werewolf or were anything books.  I know some readers love them, but I think when I read paranormal I tend to pick more vampires or lately just characters with special abilities like the ones in Jennifer Estep's Elemental Assassin series.  This was a fun departure from what I've read lately and I loved reading it.

Mo moves from Mississippi to Alaska to escape from her overly involved hippy parents.  She is about to turn thirty and wants a chance to find herself and the space and freedom with which to find it in.  She meets an assortment of characters in Alaska from men ready to propose to her from day one to those who don't even want to talk to her until she has made it through a winter, who think why bother to get to know someone who is going to run away as soon as it gets cold.   Being that this is a paranormal romance Mo manages to fall in love with none other than a werewolf who has left his pack for reasons he is not yet ready to share with her.

I think all of us at times have wondered what it would be like to leave the world we know behind and go and have a new adventure somewhere else, but I thought it was really brave of Mo to move so far from home to a place that has such extreme temperatures.  More than the temperatures I think I would personally have trouble with the amount of daylight and darkness Alaska has at times of the year.  Perhaps watching the movie "30 Days of Night" wasn't such a good idea for me last year!  The idea of having a whole month of darkness is not my cup of tea, i love seeing the sun every day.  Temperature I could work with but darkness would be more of an issue for me!

Mo and Cooper of course run into their fair share of obstacles, but I love how they manage to work together and to bring out the best of each other.  I already added the second book to my wishlist.  The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf comes out next month.

In My Mailbox 9

In My Mailbox was started by The Story Siren .  I haven't formally participated in a while.  None of my books this week arrived in my mailbox, but they are new to me.

The first two are from my local Border's store which is going out of business.  I had a gift card from Christmas that I wanted to make sure I got to use so I picked out two from my wish list.

No Mercy by Sherrilyn Kenyon

Product Details
Pub. Date: September 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover , 343pp
Series: Dark-Hunter Series , #18
ISBN-13: 9780312546564
ISBN: 0312546564

#1 New York Times bestselling author Sherrilyn Kenyon brings us back to the electrifying world of the Dark-Hunters and introduces us to a brazen heroine for whom there is


Live fast, fight hard—and if you have to die, take as many of your enemies with you as you can. That is the Amazon credo and it was one Samia lived and died by. But today, in contemporary New Orleans, the immortal Amazon warrior is about to learn that there’s a worse evil coming to slaughter mankind than she ever could have imagined.

Meet Dev Peltier. A shapeshifter who has stood guard at the front of Sanctuary for almost two hundred years, he’s seen it all—or so he thought. His enemies have just discovered a new source of power—one that makes a mockery of anything faced to date. Now the war is on and it’s up to Dev and Samia to guard ground zero. But in order to win, they will have to break the most cardinal of all rules—and pray it doesn’t unravel the universe as we know it…

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain
Product Details
Pub. Date: December 2010
Publisher: EgmontUSA
Format: Hardcover , 416pp
Series: Dark Divine Series , #2
ISBN-13: 9781606840580
ISBN: 1606840584


The non-stop sequel to The Dark Divine delivers an even hotter romance and more thrilling action than Bree Despain's first novel. Grace Divine made the ultimate sacrifice to cure Daniel Kalbi. She gave her soul to the wolf to save him and lost her beloved mother. When Grace receives a haunting phone call from Jude, she knows what she must do. She must become a Hound of Heaven. Desperate to find Jude, Grace befriends Talbot - a newcomer to town who promises her that he can help her be a hero. But as the two grow closer, the wolf grows in Grace, and her relationship with Daniel begins to crumble. Unaware of the dark path she is walking, Grace becomes prideful in her new abilities - not realizing that an old enemy has returned and deadly trap is about to be sprung. Readers, ravenous for more Grace and Daniel, will be itching to sink their teeth into The Lost Saint.

This one I received as a gift:

The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia by Phil Jimenez
Product Description


She’s as beautiful as Aphrodite and as wise as Athena, stronger then Hercules and swifter than Hermes. Blessed at birth by the gods themselves, Princess Diana left an idyllic island paradise ruled by wise and brave women to bring the peace, love, and nobility of the Amazons to the tumultuous world of humankind. In January 1942, Wonder Woman took the world of comics—and its pantheon of superpowered males—by storm. Wielding her impervious silver bracelets and golden Lasso of Truth, she’s battled forces of evil from the Axis powers to a slew of super-villains worldwide, teamed up with the likes of Superman, Batman, Green Lantern, and the Flash, and become a high-flying feminist icon and pop-culture superstar. Now, for the first time in more than thirty years, here’s a definitive A-to-Z volume that draws together all the knowledge about the star-spangled, action-packed history of Wonder Woman. In more than 400 fact-packed pages you’ll find

• the complete story of Wonder Woman’s origins, as imagined and reinterpreted by generations of comics writers—including her groundbreaking creator, William Moulton Marston

• biographies of every major character in Wonder Woman’s universe, including her mother, Hippolyta; sister, Donna Troy; and mortal ally Steve Trevor—as well as such classic foes as Ares, Cheetah, Hades, and the members of Villainy Inc.

• classic black-and-white comic book artwork throughout

• two sixteen-page full-color artwork inserts—plus a dazzling original cover illustration by fan-favorite artist Adam Hughes

Written by veteran Wonder Woman artist and writer Phil Jimenez and comics historian John Wells, The Essential Wonder Woman Encyclopedia is the ultimate archive, proving that die-hard devotees of the gorgeous go-to goddess don’t have to visit Paradise Island for a taste of heaven on earth.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Puddlejumpers by Mark Jean and Christopher Carlson


Ernie Banks, named for the legendary Chicago Cubs shortstop, is a troubled, thirteen-year-old juvenile delinquent. Abandoned on the doorstep of the Lakeside Home for Boys when he was three years old, his only proof that he once belonged to somebody is a vintage Ernie Banks baseball card, a crystal acorn he wears on a string around his neck, and a strange spiral birthmark on the bottom of his right foot.

As a last reprieve before being sent to a juvenile detention facility, Ernie is allowed to spend three weeks on a working farm. When Ernie arrives at the home of Russ Frazier, he learns that the widower s baby was kidnapped years before. Ernie is determined to solve the case. He teams up with Joey, a local tomboy, to investigate clues that lead them on a dangerous journey into a forbidden world of dark secrets, magic puddles, and the cavernous underground kingdom of the Puddlejumpers eleven-inch-tall water creatures with whom Ernie has a mysterious connection.

My thoughts:
Puddlejumpers is a YA book about a group of beings who are about a foot tall and live under the ground hiding from Troggs who are eight feet tall and kidnap the Puddlejumpers to work underground in their mine.  According to a prophesy a human baby boy born in spring is going to be their rainmaker.  When Shawn Frazier is six months old they take him from his father to their home underground and raise him there until he is three.  Then they attempt to move him to a new location, but a series of incidents cause Shawn to end up at a home for orphans.  Eight or nine years later his ends up in a foster farm owned by his father.  Shawn is now known as Ernie and befriends Joey, a girl who lives nearby.  Together they start to unravel the mystery of what happened to baby Shawn and the mysterious neighbors and the source of the terrible drought their area of Ohio has been going through.  I listened to the audio CDs for this book with my children.  One thing that kept throwing me was that the narrator used a southern accent for Russ, Shawn’s father in Ohio.  Why would someone in Ohio have a southern accent?  Maybe just to make the voices more distinct.  I was afraid that some of the story elements would be scary to my children, but they seemed to really enjoy it and understood that it was fantasy

Product Details

Pub. Date: February 2010
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: Hardcover , 336pp
ISBN-13: 9781616790370
ISBN: 1616790377

Saturday, February 19, 2011

Wicked Appetite by Janet Evanovich

Diesel, the man with mysterious powers, leaves the world of Plum and travels to Massachusets where he awakens a woman to her own mysterious powers.

My thoughts:
I’m glad that Diesel is starting his own series. I know the Between-the-Numbers books were technically their own series already, but since Stephanie Plum was in them too they seemed more her books than his. In his adventure with Lizzy so much more about Unmentionables is revealed. I loved Lizzy’s friend Glo and her penchant for believing in magic and adopting animals she couldn’t take care of in her apartment. I think I could have done without Carl the Monkey though. He is amusing in small doses, but if he is in all the books I think his antics will get old.

Lizzy and her money pit of a house are easy to relate to. Salem and Boston are both places I have never been to. I loved the ghost squad that hung around her house; it was like they thought they were the Ghostbusters from the movie with their talk about readings and ectoplasm. I wonder if they will be in future books. I checked the web site and the Diesel books are going to be published in the fall in September while the Stephanie Plum series is in June.

It will be interesting to see what happens with Lizzy’s cupcakes and her cookbook. I wonder if Janet went through something similar in her quest to have her first book published. I also wonder if Lizzy and Diesel will stay in Salem to find more stones or if they will travel to other locations.

Product Details

Pub. Date: September 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover , 313pp
ISBN-13: 9780594222682
ISBN: 0594222680

Friday, February 18, 2011

Sizzling Sixteen by Janet Evanovich


Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, he didn’t specify if it brought good luck or bad luck!

My thoughts:
I was starting to feel like the Stephanie Plum series had reached its end, how many cars can one somewhat inept bounty hunter manage to have blown up or destroyed?  But I am glad I got around to reading this one because parts of it had me laughing out loud.  I think Vinnie had more page time in this one than in the others (although truthfully it has been a while since I read the other ones so I could have just forgotten him since he isn't one of my favorite characters).  Vinnie was funny in a sad sort of way.  He is flawed and knows he is flawed but doesn't seem to be making decisions to hurt the people in his life, he is more like a child who doesn't anticipate the possible outcome of his actions.

Stephanie and the lucky bottle she inherited from her uncle go through quite a few adventures.  There are totaled cars, bounty hunter rebondings that go awry, grandma and her penchant for open casket funerals, mobsters, bombs and the ongoing attraction she has for both Ranger and Morelli. I must be a safety first kind of woman because I think I would go with Morelli and get out of the bounty hunter business.  Ranger is always there to back her up and get her out of a jam but I can't see him sticking with her long term.  I understand the attraction to them both but what she has with Morelli when they are in their on-again times seems more genuine and real.

I've read more than once that a  movie for the first book in the series is supposed to be coming out in 2011, but I haven't seen a release date.  It's been so long since I read the first book that I can't decide if I should go back and reread it (once the date is released) or just plan on enjoying the movie as it is since so much seems to change when a story goes from a book to a film.

Product Details

Pub. Date: June 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover , 309pp
Series: Stephanie Plum Series , #16
ISBN-13: 9780594222699
ISBN: 0594222699

Janet Evanovich's website:

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

In My Mailbox 8 and New this week

From the library this week I have two books:


Diesel, the man with mysterious powers, leaves the world of Plum and travels to Massachusetts where he awakens a woman to her own mysterious powers.


Bounty hunter Stephanie Plum has inherited a “lucky” bottle from her Uncle Pip. Problem is, he didn’t specify if it brought good luck or bad luck!

For review I have these two: 


Northern Exposure

Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .


An irresistible treasure, two master thieves, and a secret as old as mankind . . .

Michael St. Pierre, a reformed master thief, thinks he has left his criminal days far behind him, when he receives word that his best friend, Simon, has been locked up and sentenced to die in a brutal desert prison. Breaking into jail for the first time in his checkered career, Michael is stunned to discover that his new girlfriend, KC, is connected to Simon’s case.

With a madman on their heels, the three adventurers make their way to Istanbul in search of the mysterious artifact that landed Simon behind bars in the first place: a map containing the location of a holy place lost to the mists of time, a repository of knowledge and treasure predating Judaism, Christianity, and Islam. Testing their courage and wits, Michael and his team are forced to plot a series of daring thefts that take them inside some of the city’s most celebrated (and heavily guarded) sanctums, from the imperial harem of Topkapi Palace to the tombs of the Hagia Sophia itself. More than priceless artifacts are at stake—the lives of loved ones and perhaps the fate of humanity itself hang in the balance.

A globe-trotting adventure that wings from the glittering banks of the Bosporus to the highest peaks of the Himalayas, The Thieves of Darkness confirms Richard Doetsch’s place as the modern-day master of pulse-pounding suspense.

And as a Valentine's Day gift I received:


Ninety-five days, and then I'll be safe. I wonder whether the procedure will hurt. I want to get it over with. It's hard to be patient. It's hard not to be afraid while I'm still uncured, though so far the deliria hasn't touched me yet. Still, I worry. They say that in the old days, love drove people to madness. The deadliest of all deadly things: It kills you both when you have it and when you don't.

Lauren Oliver astonished readers with her stunning debut, Before I Fall. In a starred review, Publishers Weekly called it "raw, emotional, and, at times, beautiful. An end as brave as it is heartbreaking." Her much-awaited second novel fulfills her promise as an exceptionally talented and versatile writer.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

The Tenth #2 Resurrected by Tony Daniel Romano

Earlier I had posted how this weekend we took our children to a comic book store.  I picked out two for myself from the discount bin.  The first one was a Wonder Woman old issue and then I tried this one because the cover reminded me of Anita Blake in Laurel K. Hamilton's Vampire Hunter series.  I think because of that I thought the comic would be similar, but it isn't really.  I also think I was looking for a comic with a strong female lead character.  Most of the ones I saw in the store seem to feature male main characters and there was a section at the front of the store that disturbed me a bit.  Most of the most sexually explicit comics were on the top shelf and I just kept looking at my kids and thinking, "Don't look up".  I really didn't want to try to explain why the cover showed a well endowed woman who was either barely dressed or not dressed at all. 

This comic is book two of a set of four and once again it seems as though the publisher or author is really expecting the readers to buy them all.  I guess they need to keep you coming back!  The main character was a strong female named Espy who can somehow feel (perhaps through ESP and that is how her name came into being) some monster she is tracking with a man who at times I thought might  not really be on her side.  Of course there was no resolution at the end since you need to buy books three and four to find out what happens to her.

I enjoyed the manga book I read a few weeks ago and graphic novels seem more like books to me.  Perhaps comics aren't really my thing.  I ordered a set of Wonder Woman from eBay yesterday figuring if I don't care for them my daughter seems to like Wonder Woman so I can give myself another chance with comics  in general and she can feel like she has her own.

Wonder Woman: Burning Devastation by Luke Paquette McLeod

This weekend we took our children to a local comic book store. Comics were something I never really got into when I was younger. No special reason, I guess I was just more interested in books. When I was in first or second grade I recall getting two Wonder Woman comics for my birthday and I had them for years. I think they may still be around somewhere. Anyway, the store had a fifty cent bin and I flipped through to see if anything caught my eye and I ended up picking out two for myself. This was one of them.

While the title on the front doesn't list it as part two of Devastation the first page of the comic says it is part two. I figured it shouldn't really matter since I would think a comic should be able to stand alone just as a book in a series is able to stand alone. What i didn't care for was the way it kept referring with an asterisk to a different issue or the prior issue, as in "*See issue #139". I guess it is a way to try to make sure that readers buy all the issues but for someone who decided to start collecting now I think it might be overwhelming to feel like you needed to go back and buy all the back issues which are then more expensive because they are no longer the current issue.

What I did like about the story was the use of Greek mythology, which I don't remember from when I was in elementary school. Since I recently worked through the Percy Jackson series with my children it was fun for us to encounter Chiron and the Oracle and to find out that Wonder Woman was gifted her powers from different gods. She has the power of earth from Demeter, wisdom from Athena and flight from Hermes. I wonder if these comics might help students learning Greek mythology cement the gods a little bit better.
I don't know if I will become a comic book collector of any kind. Even the new cover price of $2.99 seems like a lot for an issue that can be read in five to ten minutes. I can see how this could get to be an expensive hobby.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Succubi Like It Hot by Jill Myles (Succubus Diaries Book 2)

Synopsis from
NOBODY SAID SUCKING WAS EASY. — With a hot new figure, her dream job as an archaeologist, and "two" gorgeous boyfriends to scratch her seductive Itch -- an angel and a vampire -- Jackie Brighton is totally getting the hang of life as a succubus. Then she accidentally knocks the pizza guy unconscious with her touch. Great -- she's "cursed." After striking a deal to get the curse lifted by a crafty demon, Jackie and her best friend Remy take a road trip to deliver a cryptic message to the nation's oldest succubus. Unfortunately, neither of her jealous lovers is talking to Jackie right now, and due to the curse, she's desperate to get her Itch scratched very soon. Their journey gets weirder with every mile -- demonic possession, a charming stalker, a cryptic warning -- and when they get to New Orleans, Jackie discovers a dangerous catch to her supernatural bargain. Someone wants her dead -- again. Can a brainy vixen in a miniskirt outsmart the forces of evil?

My thoughts:
I read the first book in this series last year as a reviewer for Pocket Books and I found it to be a fun read. I've meant to read the second one for a while now, I borrowed it from my sister-in-law months ago but just got around to reading it now. I found the second book to be just as much fun. It is fast paced, with elements of both humor and danger. Jackie is still getting the hang of being an immortal succubus but has started to see things happen for her in the archeology career she has always craved. Then she is cursed and goes on a road trip to find a cure and help which meets with all sorts of roadblocks and detours along the way.

I like Jackie, a formerly mousy and overweight woman who found herself transformed in a matter of days to someone who is attractive to all men and draws attention just by being in the room. In the first book she was very excited about finally being beautiful and desirable, but in book two she is starting to see that being seen only for your beauty gets old quick. The draw she had to her two boyfriends, who are also her masters in that she would not have been made were it not for the two of them, is well done. It is hard to say who would be the better choice for her. They both have pros and cons, such as the forced 12 hour hibernation either during the day or at night depending on if it is Zane the vampire or Noah the serim. It is easy to see that she loves them both and they both love her. Her friend and fellow succubus Remy brings in a lot of the laughs until she is possessed again.

Product Details:
ISBN-13: 9781416572831
ISBN-10: 141657283X
Publication Date: 1/26/2010
Pages: 368
Publisher: Pocket
Book Type: Mass Market Paperback

Sunday, February 6, 2011

Daniel Radcliffe No Ordinary Wizard by Grace Norwich

Meet Daniel Radcliffe: one of the richest, most famous teens in the world. Oh and let's not forget that he plays one of the most beloved fictional characters of all time: Harry Potter. But before taking on the role of Harry, Daniel was just an ordinary kid. With five Harry Potter movies under his belt, and the final ones in the works, Daniel has begun to come out of his shell and take on some more eclectic acting roles. Both in film and on the stage. From his favorite band (The Sex Pistols) to his favorite show(The Simpsons), learn everything you ever wanted to know about Daniel Radcliffe and his hot-shot role as the boy wizard, Harry Potter! This biography is complete with brand-new, up-to-date photos and information about everyone's favorite teenage heartthrob!

My thoughts:
My son checked this book out at the school library last week. When he brought it home he said, "Look, it's a new Harry Potter book that we haven't read yet." That opened a whole discussion on biographies and actors and such. We tried reading it together but my kids got bored with it. We made it halfway before it was obvious I was reading it mostly to myself. Out of curiosity I finished the second half by myself, and remarkably quicker since I didn't have to read it aloud anymore! The author seems to do a pretty thorough job of covering Daniel Radcliffe's life from right before he was cast as Harry Potter to about two years ago. Much discussion takes place about the directors of the films in the series and his costars. I'm not sure how indepth it really got, most quotes were taken from newspapers, magazines or online news sources. The author does not seem to have ever actual met the actor which isn't always necessary of course. It also seems as though this book was written more for a female audience as it calls Dan a "babe" more than once. If you have a child who is very into reading the books or more so excited about the movies this book would be a good way to read more. On my own I wouldn't have picked this up, but I have this weird inability to leave books unfinished so after the halfway point I had to keep reading! I guess that is why my TBR shelf is so full, I have a hard time getting rid of books if I haven't finished them yet.

Product DetailsPub. Date: October 2008
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Paperback , 128pp
Age Range: 12 and up
ISBN-13: 9781416967712
ISBN: 1416967710

Saturday, February 5, 2011

Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen

As a young man, Jacob Jankowski was tossed by fate onto a rickety train that was home to the Benzini Brothers Most Spectacular Show on Earth. It was the early part of the great Depression, and for Jacob, now ninety, the circus world he remembers was both his salvation and a living hell. A veterinary student just shy of a degree, he was put in charge of caring for the circus menagerie. It was there that he met Marlena, the beautiful equestrian star married to August, the charismatic but twisted animal trainer. And he met Rosie, an untrainable elephant who was the great gray hope for this third-rate traveling show. The bond that grew among this unlikely trio was one of love and trust, and, ultimately, it was their only hope for survival.

My thoughts:
For some reason I put off reading this book. Honestly I decided to read it since the movie is coming out soon and I was curious about it but I am sorry that I waited. I loved it! Each time I picked it up to read I didn't want to put it down! Jacob's story goes back and forth from his present as a man who can't quite remember his exact age to his past as a young man who has almost finished veterinary school and ends up working as a circus vet. His dreams and reminisces are of those times when he was working with the show. It was almost as disappointing to me as a reader as it was for Jacob the character to awake from one of these dreams or daydreams. For Jacob it was disappointing because he finds himself old and wonders if he is starting to lose his mind, but for me I really wanted to find out more about Rosie the elephant, or Marlene and her horses, Walter and his dog or the other tensions and issues involved with a circus moving around the country by train.
I hate spoilers, so I won't say why, but I loved the ending. I really felt it worked for the book. There were a few ways I thought it might go as the pages I had left to read kept getting smaller and smaller and I as quite satisfied with the ending Gruen crafted for her tail. Now that I've read it I don't know if I want to see the film because movies are never quite as good as the book and changes from the book take away something from the final product for me. I like to have a bit of time pass before seeing a movie of a book I've read so it all isn't too fresh in my mind.

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2007
Format: Paperback , 350pp
ISBN-13: 9781565125605
ISBN: 1565125606

Thursday, February 3, 2011

The Dark Hunters Volume 1 Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon Art by Claudia Campos

The Dark-Hunters (Dark-Hunter, Bk 1) Synopsis from Sherrilyn Kenyon
In the war against vampires, mankind has only one hope: The Dark-Hunters. Ancient warriors who died of brutal betrayal, the Dark-Hunters have sworn themselves into the service of the goddess Artemis to protect us. — It’s a pact with pretty good perks. Immortality, power, psychic abilities, wealth and a cool wardrobe. But it comes with a few drawbacks: fatal sun poisoning and a new, irreparable dental problem. But aside from the fangs and nocturnal lifestyle, it’s not so bad.

Until Kyrian meets the most frightening thing imaginable. An accountant who’s being hunted by one of the most lethal vampires out there. If Amanda Devereaux goes down, so does he and no offense, he doesn’t want to die (hence the whole immortality thing). And he doesn’t want humanity dead either which is a good thing for us since he and Amanda are all that stands between us and oblivion. Let’s hope they win.

From the wild imagination of Sherrilyn Kenyon comes the humorous and suspenseful manga debut of the #1 internationally bestselling Dark-Hunter series. The world of manga will never be the same again.

My thoughts:
When I decided to try out this book I thought it was a graphic novel but then I saw it listed as manga. Honestly I am not all that sure of the difference. This is the first book of this genre that I have read and I enjoyed it more than I thought I would. I have read a good part of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Dark Hunter series. I don't think I am all the way up to date but I've read most of them. I thought that this book would be the whole story of Kyrian and Amanda, but it wasn't. This is a little embarrassing to admit but when I first picked it up I knew it read from the opposite side of the book but I was still reading the pages from left to right. After a few pages of thinking it didn't sound right I realized that I need to read all the pages right to left just like the book. At the very end of the book, at what would be the first page in a regular book, there was even a diagram on how to read the pages. It is a mistake I will not make again but it feels weird to read in the opposite direction!

It seems that this book was more efficient in telling the story than the novel, but I know large parts of what the characters were thinking must have been omitted. Kind of like cliff notes for the novel with illustrations perhaps? That said, I did enjoy it and I loved how quickly it read. It seemed to take almost no time at all to read it. I already added the next book to my wish list so I can read it. I was also thrown by the lack of page numbers, I have a thing with wanting to know what page I am on and how much I've read and I wasn't able to do that with this book. So along with reading backwards I had not knowing how much I was reading, I guess I was really out of my comfort zone!

I liked how the illustrations added to the story to make up for the missing text and I can see the draw to read books of this type. A part of me had considered manga something for kids not adults, but just as YA books can also appeal to adults I guess so too do manga. I think even for someone unfamiliar to the Dark Hunter series there would be no problem with following the story and understanding all the elements.

Upcoming release: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

I recieved a press release about this book today and it looks interesting. Since I just started the Where in the World are You Reading Challenge I know I would be able read it for Alaska. More interesting the author wrote it while stuck in without power during a 2009 snowstorm which is so like the weather I am currently trapped in. I haven't lost power at all but a number of my friends, who don't live all that far from me, have lost power and not all the homes in my area even have it going again yet.

Pocket author Molly Harper based new book on 2009 ice storm experience:

An ice storm. Stranded in a strange, isolated place without power. Children
an unsettling ability to win staring contests. This is how horror
movies start.

Watching the news coverage as cities across the Midwest
are pelted by the much-touted historic blizzard, I’m having strange sympathy
pangs. In January 2009, an ice storm ripped through Kentucky, taking out power
and phone lines for thousands of homes, including mine. The first night I spent
camped out in my in-laws’ darkened living room with my two young children, I was
sure this was just a temporary blip. It was going to be a funny story we could
tell the next winter. As in, “Remember that night we had to sleep on an air
mattress in front of Grandma’s fireplace and cook on a gas grill in the garage?”

By the sixth night, I was no longer amused.

Over the next week,
Kentuckians were cold, cranky and progressively ill-groomed. I returned to my
dark, cold house to forage for supplies one afternoon, only to find my neighbor
shaving his head in his driveway. I sincerely hoped that was related to the lack
of electricity and not just a personality quirk I'd never noticed before.
Neighborhood block parties have been stilted and awkward since.

But I
managed to channel my cabin fever, before going the full
fire-ax-through-bedroom-door and elevator-full-of-blood route. I started
writing. Having recently published the Nice Girls books, a vampire romance
series about an undead librarian in small-town Kentucky, I’d already decided
that I wanted to write a werewolf
story. And being isolated, in the dark, in
an increasingly crowded, enclosed
space, I decided to set the story in the
frozen regions of Alaska.

While we waited for the power to come back on,
I wrote about twenty pages of notes by candlelight. What emerged was the story
of Mo Wenstein, a woman who moves across the country to escape her intrusive
hippie parents and make a life for herself in the remote town of Grundy, Alaska.
Cantankerous neighbor Cooper has been giving Mo a hard time about her place in
her new community since day one. But when Cooper stumbles onto her porch, naked,
with a bear trap clamped around his ankle, she realizes there’s more to him than
a surly- though attractive- surface. A series of werewolf attacks, for which
Cooper may or may not be responsible, dysfunctional werewolf clan drama, and
romantic hijinks ensue.

The manuscript grew over the next few months and
became HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF, which is due to be released by Pocket
Books on Feb. 22, wherever books are sold. The sequel, THE ART OF SEDUCING A
NAKED WEREWOLF, will follow on March 29.

So, while the encroaching
claustrophobia is frustrating, make the best of your snow days. Use the milk,
eggs and bread you hoarded to make French toast. Plow through the To-Be-Read
pile of paperbacks on your nightstand. Write journal entries about the sights,
sounds and emotions you’re experiencing as a blizzard survivor.
You never know. You could turn this experience into your first

Product DescriptionNorthern Exposure
Even in Grundy, Alaska, it’s unusual to find a naked guy with a bear trap clamped to his ankle on your porch. But when said guy turns into a wolf, recent southern transplant Mo Wenstein has no difficulty identifying the problem. Her surly neighbor Cooper Graham—who has been openly critical of Mo’s ability to adapt to life in Alaska—has trouble of his own. Werewolf trouble.

For Cooper, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it’s love at first sniff when it comes to Mo. But Cooper has an even more pressing concern on his mind. Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks, and since Cooper has no memory of what he gets up to while in werewolf form, he’s worried that he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen, yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit. Except if he’s not responsible, then who is? And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway? The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated. . . .

Product DetailsMass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Pocket (February 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439195862
ISBN-13: 978-1439195864

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Dreaming Anastasia by Joy Preble

I don't know how long this promotion is going on but for today at least you can download Dreaming Anastisia for free on Amazon and Barnes and Noble. My kids and I were home from school today for a snow day and I received an email about this book. I downloaded if for some day when I had time and somehow managed to read the whole thing today (which is something I love about YA books, they read so fast)! I was intrigued because some of the books listed underneath it in the books other customers who bought this book also bought were ones that I had read and enjoyed or had thought about reading. I do not have an ereader yet, I do not doubt at some point I will, but for now I do not, so I read the book on my computer. Have to say it is not the most comfortable spot for reading which makes it even less clear why I read the whole thing today, but I just left it up on the screen and read a page or more each time I sat down and then finished it after the kids went to bed. I enjoyed it, although the reviewer from the School Library Journal doesn't sound too thrilled with it.

My thoughts on the book:

I enjoyed this book. I like flipping around from different genres and it was about time for another YA book and this area of paranormal was new to me. Anne (spelled correctly, the reviewer below either had a different text or just made a mistake) is a sixteen-year-old in Chicago who meets a mysterious newcomer that seems to herald the beginning of strange events. It reminded me a little of Becca Fitzpatrick's hush, hush even though there were no angels involved. The mysterious new guy at school, trusting easily even though events pointed to not trusting, the loquacious slightly to interested in guys friend, and her life being in danger.

Anne has dreams where she can see Anastasia from the Romanov family. She sees her as her family is killed, as Baba Yaga's large hands save her, and living in a hut with Baba Yaga. Ethan has magic and has been alive for decades but has not aged. Together they must figure out how to save Anatasia and avoid being killed. It had adventure, plot twists and good tension. It was definitely a fun rad for a snowy day.

Where to download the book for free today:Amazon:

Barnes & Noble:

School Library Journal Synopsis from 9 Up—This convoluted and contrived story shuttles between contemporary Chicago, Russia during the reign and downfall of the Romanovs, and the enchanted world of Baba Yaga. Ann, 17, who lives in Chicago, and Ethan, a handsome 18-year-old who mysteriously enters her world, share the narration. She is attracted by his beauty, and she soon develops strange magical powers. Ethan has powers as well; he can protect people and places. Readers eventually learn that he is actually a man who died in 1918 during the Russian Revolution. Ann begins to hear Anastasia's voice in her dreams and sees Baba Yaga and her frightening antics. Supposedly Ann is the one who can save Anastasia Romanov from Baba Yaga's clutches, where she has been since her family was brutally murdered by the revolutionaries, and Ethan has come to enlist her help. After a great deal of mystery about Ann's connection to the Romanov legacy, readers learn that she is the great-great granddaughter of Victor, Anastasia's illegitimate brother who has also survived since 1918. He is trying to stop Ann and Ethan from rescuing Anastasia; if she is found, Ethan and Victor will become mortal and die. In spite of the confusing back and forth, persevering readers might forge ahead to see how the story concludes, but it is a difficult read. Also, the contemporary scenes between Ann and her friend Tess contrast sharply with the book's main focus, and Tess's bitterness over the loss of her virginity awkwardly intrudes on the main plot.

Where Are You Reading? 2011 Challenge

I am trying to get past some of my issues with linking (for some reason I never seem to get the hang of it the first time and then when I do get the hang of it I don't do it for awhile and I forget all over again) and join my first reading challenge in forever. This one is hosted by Hosted by Shelia at Book Journey and readers use a map to chart where their book took place with the goal being to read a book taking place in all 50 US States.

I've created my map (although it is currently blank as attempt to figure out how to add my January books to it) and I am going to do my best to stick with it.
View Larger Map">

I had to create a new map as I was having issues with the first one. My map is here(and I am having issues with linking again too. I guess I have all year to iron out the problems!

Hosted by Shelia at Book Journey. I have tried adding the link the way I know it should work and surprise, surprise, it isn't working. It is so frustrating to know that I used to be able to do this but for some reason can't make it work this morning. Oh well, I added the link the beginner way so it is there.

I think I finally have the right link. View my map here,-75.058594&spn=89.522664,227.636719&z=3