Thursday, December 30, 2010

Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

Product Details
Pub. Date: September 2010
Publisher: Mira
Format: Hardcover , 253pp
ISBN-13: 9780778328193
ISBN: 0778328198

This Christmas, Emily Merkle (call her Mrs. Miracle!) is working in the toy department at Finley's, the last family-owned department store in New York City. And her boss is none other than…Jake Finley, the owner's son.

For Jake, holiday memories of brightly wrapped gifts, decorated trees and family were destroyed in a Christmas Eve tragedy years before. Now Christmas means just one thing to him—and to his father. Profit. Because they need a Christmas miracle to keep the business afloat.

Holly Larson needs a miracle, too. She wants to give her eight-year-old nephew, Gabe, the holiday he deserves. Holly's widowed brother is in the army and won't be home for Christmas, but at least she can get Gabe that toy robot from Finley's, the one gift he desperately wants. If she can figure out how to afford it…

Fortunately, it's Mrs. Miracle to the rescue. Next to making children happy, she likes nothing better than helping others—and that includes doing a bit of matchmaking!

This Christmas will be different. For all of them.

My thoughts:
I love Debbie Macomber’s Christmas hardcovers. I look forward to them every year. They always leave me feeling uplifted and hopeful and they usually only take a day or two to read. Years ago I read the first book with Mrs. Miracle but the details are fuzzy now. Last Christmas I watched the Hallmark Channel movie though and enjoyed it. This year I saw there was another movie and I watched it when I was on TV. Just last week I got a copy of the book and I started it on Christmas Day, as a present to myself, not the book but the chance to sit and read. I enjoyed the book more than the movie. I didn’t dislike the movie, but I am glad that I saw it first. The book had quite a few changes, but in a good way.

I liked the references to Mrs. Miracle’s friends Shirley, Goodness and Mercy who are the angels that appear in a number of other books. Those stories are always so encouraging to read. This was the perfect read for this time of the year when it is so easy to get bogged down by the shopping, wrapping, baking and buying. To see the real reason for the holiday and to feel hope for the coming days no matter how things seem right this moment.

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick


Nora Grey is trying her best to do well in a summer school chemistry class, find a part-time job, and keep up with a group of dubious friends. Adding to this frenzy of activity is a difficult relationship with Patch, her guardian angel, the unsolved mystery of her father's brutal murder, and an often-absent mother. Interwoven into the complications of Nora's life is the escalating conflict between a band of fallen angels and their Nephilim hosts, which may soon take its toll on all of mankind. This sequel relies on the reader having knowledge of its predecessor, Hush, Hush (Simon & Schuster, 2009 / VOYA December 2009). Unfortunately a short recap does not appear until the middle of the book. Nora, the story's narrator, is a walking contradiction. She is an outstanding student who continues act foolishly. She is a self-professed good girl who has no trouble using a fake identification card, dressing provocatively, visiting shady pool halls, and slugging people. She steals her nemesis's diary, but is too ethical to read it. She trusts bad-boy Patch with her life (even though he tried to kill her in the prequel), but not with another girl. Although Nora's sensual dream sequences advance the story and add romance while keeping her innocent, they come across as contrived insertions. More information about the paranormal world the archangels inhabit may have made up for an overly long story with unlikable characters, a convoluted time frame, and contrived plot twists.

Product Details
Pub. Date: October 2010
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 427pp
ISBN-13: 9781416989431
ISBN: 1416989439

My thoughts:
I ordered this book for myself a few months ago but just got a chance to read it now. I started it, then decided I needed to reread hush, hush first since it had been over a year since I had read it. Even without rereading the first book I would have been fine, anything that you needed to know from the first book was reviewed briefly, but I was still glad to have had it all fresh in my mind.

I like both Nora and Patch, but I am not totally sure I buy their relationship. Even in the first one, which I loved the first time I read, I kind of wondered upon rereading if they really had a relationship as such. This time they are happy to begin the story and then life and angels get in the way and complicate matters. That said, this book drew me in and I read it in two days. I just had to keep going to find out what was going to happen next. Fitzpatrick does a great job pulling the reader in and keeping the reader engaged and needing to know what will happen next. I can see this being popular with young adults, who after all are the intended audience for the book. I read the first book last summer as part of an advance readers group. I mentally noted when the second book was coming out at that time because I knew I wanted to read more about Nora and Patch.

I still have issues about Nora being left alone so much by her mother especially as more and more about her mother and her family is revealed throughout the story. Also, I questioned the need for her father to have died at all. His death wasn’t covered very much in the first book, but many more details are revealed in this book. The flashback to him at the beginning of the book was helpful in showing the kind of man he was before his death.

This is a book I would recommend to readers regardless of whether or not they had read the first book.

Sunday, December 26, 2010

A Stitch Before Dying by Anne Canadeo

Product Description
Stitching it together . . .
The Black Sheep Knitters: a fivesome with a knack for knitting—and for solving crimes.

hen Maggie Messina, owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Shop, is invited to give knitting workshops at a Berkshires spa resort, she manages to negotiate a cottage that fits all five of the Black Sheep for what promises to be a weekend of knitting bliss. But while the friends are expert at counting stitches, they haven’t counted on murder.

Guests and staff at the Crystal Lake Inn are as varied as a mixed bag of yarn, but most colorful is certainly the owner, charismatic self-help guru and former psychiatrist Dr. Max Flemming. The doctor may have told all in a revealing autobiography, but from his ex-wife to the widow of his former business partner—both employees at the inn—Max seems mired in shad­ows from his past. And when a killer strikes during a mountaintop retreat, the Black Sheep wonder what the good doctor might be hiding.

The police seem to be following the wrong thread. But while Maggie’s workshops have given the knitters a unique view of the tensions at the little inn, can they make sense of a crime that is as complexly stranded as a Fair Isle sweater? When the killer murders a second time, the Black Sheep won­der if they’ve dropped a stitch and put themselves in mortal danger. . . .

Product Details
Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Gallery; Original edition (December 28, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439191395
ISBN-13: 978-1439191392
Product Dimensions: 8.2 x 5.4 x 0.8 inches

My thoughts:

This is the third book in Canadeo's Black Sheep Knitting mystery series. While I have not read the first book, I did read book number two when it was published last year. It was my first introduction to the idea of a cozy mystery. Growing up I read mysteries almost exclusively for a while, things like Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon. Later I moved on to Barbara Michaels and Phylis Whitney. In college I started reading more romances and fell away from mysteries. Since then I have jumped around but never fully got back into mysteries. This book, and the previous ones, were such fun reads that I plan to look for more mysteries to add to my TBR stack of books.

In this installment, Maggie, the owner of the Black Sheep Knitting Store, has been invited to a new age spa to teach some knitting courses. She invites her friends to come with her for a weekend away to relax and be pampered. While two members are on a camping retreat a fellow guest is found dead. When his death is ruled a murder things at the Inn change. Everyone is jumpy and worried and the police aren’t allowing anyone to check out or leave until they are finished with questioning. A few possible suspects arise within the assortment of characters staying and working at the Inn. As with the last book, Maggie and her friends do some sleuthing of their own (grown=p Nancy Drew and Trixie Beldon style).

Different clues point to different guests and the book moves along at a nice pace. These felt like friends I was checking in with again. It made me want to learn to knit, just as the last one did, and I envied this group of women who were able to make time for each other on a regular basis even in the busyness of their daily lives, jobs and families. I think sometimes we underestimate the need to have a close relationship with our friends.

This was an enjoyable read that I would recommend to readers of all genres. Sit with a cup of tea or a glass of wine and immerse yourself in this group of friends.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

Savor the Moment by Nora Roberts

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Paperback , 339pp
Series: Nora Roberts' Bride Quartet Series , #3
ISBN-13: 9780425233689
ISBN: 0425233685

New Love takes the cake in the third novel in Nora Roberts's new Bride Quartet-in a stunning French flap edition Wedding baker Laurel McBane is surrounded by romance working at Vows wedding planning company with her best friends Parker, Emma, and Mac. But she's too low-key to appreciate all the luxuries that their clients seem to long for. What she does appreciate is a strong, intelligent man, a man just like Parker's older brother Delaney, on whom she's had a mega-crush since childhood. But some infatuations last longer than others, and Laurel is convinced that the Ivy League lawyer is still out of her reach. Plus, Del is too protective of Laurel to ever cross the line with her-or so she thinks. When Laurel's quicksilver moods get the better of her-leading to an angry, hot, all-together mind-blowing kiss with Del-she'll have to quiet the doubts in her mind to turn a moment of passion into forever...

My thoughts:
I had a whole post already ready to go for this book last month and our computer was infected with a virus and I lost it along with a lot of other things. This is the third book in the Bride Quartet and it follows Laurel as she finds love with Parker's brother, Del. The cakes that Laurel designs for the couples getting married all sound so complex and beautiful, that is a skill I wish I had more of! While I enjoyed this book it took me longer to read than usual. I started to get annoyed with Laurel and her feelings of inadequacy and not being good enough for Del since her family didn't have the money his did. While I know that money will probably always divide the world to a certain point, I really wish people were more able to move past obstacles such as money to find happiness with the right person for the right reason.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Last Olympian )Percy Jackson and the Olypians #5) by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Product Details

Pub. Date: May 2009
Publisher: Hyperion Books for Children
Format: Hardcover, 400pp
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series , #5
ISBN-13: 9781423101475
ISBN: 1423101472


All year the half-bloods have been preparing for battle against the Titans, knowing the odds of victory are grim. Kronos’s army is stronger than ever, and with every god and half-blood he recruits, the evil Titan’s power only grows. While the Olympians struggle to contain the rampaging monster Typhon, Kronos begins his advance on New York City, where Mount Olympus stands virtually unguarded. Now it’s up to Percy Jackson and an army of young demigods to stop the Lord of Time.

In this momentous final book in the New York Times best-selling Percy Jackson and the Olympians series, the long-awaited prophecy surrounding Percy’s sixteenth birthday unfolds. And as the battle for Western civilization rages on the streets of Manhattan, Percy faces a terrifying suspicion that he may be fighting against his own fate.

My thoughts:

This installment was a little harder to listen to than the prior four in that more people are hurt and killed in this one. I know that made it a more difficult read/listen for my children. It was interesting to see how things played out and to get a further back-story on some of the characters and gods and how things in the past are playing out in the present. Finding out how Nico and Bianca ended up at the Lotus Blossom Casino for all those years, what happened to their mother, why Luke’s mother is the way she is and what led Luke down the path to becoming the vessel for Kronos. Also how infighting and unfairness among the gods led to some of them siding with Kronos over the Olympians. It is a good lesson on how things from the past continue to play out in the present and how we all must take care with our words, actions and decisions not because we are going to cause a battle that could end like as we know it, but because today’s events could come into play at some later date. A flip comment today meant as a joke can be taken the wrong way and become a big issue for someone farther down the road. Sometimes the comment you take away from a conversation and just can’t shake was forgotten by the speaker moments later and wasn’t meant in an unkind way at all.

Seeing the demigods in a more grown-up way was different and I think I am going to miss their adventures. I was a the bookstore last weekend and saw the Riordan has a new series about heroes now so that should be interesting. I wonder if the characters from these will make appearances of if it will be new heroes.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Ramona the Brave by Beverly Cleary

Product Details
Format: Paperback, 208pp
Series: Ramona Series
ISBN-13: 9780380709595
ISBN: 0380709597


In this touching and funny story, the ebullient Ramona, feeling brave and grown-up, enters first grade. Quickly she finds that her new teacher, Mrs. Griggs, appears perplexed by pupils who like to be different. Since Ramona cannot help being different, clearly the two are incompatible.

Nevertheless, Ramona can be counted on to keep things lively. Enraged when Susan copies her wise old owl prepared for Parents' Night and receives praise for it, Ramona rebels. Overcome by guilt and no longer brave, she tries mightily thereafter to please her teacher, but still Mrs. Griggs infuriatingly reports home that Ramona lacks self-control. Only because she is a girl with spunk, to use her father's word, does Ramona's courage return, earning her at last an uneasy truce with the teacher.

Beverly Cleary draws here a portrait of a little girl discovering with astonishment that the way others see her is not always the way she sees herself. In the contrast lie moments of

My thoughts:
Ramona is becoming one of my favorites. I do not recall reading any of these books when I was in elementary school, but honestly I can’t remember most of the books I read then so that doesn’t really mean all that much. Ramona is just the right age for my older two children. They are in school and can understand where she is coming from. The part in this story where she meets the dog walking to school by herself but a different way than usual really grabbed them and brought about a lot of good conversation. Some things are still the same as they were when this book was written 35 years ago and some are different. My children do not walk to school alone they take a bus and even if we were close enough to walk I would walk with them. I don’t think too many young elementary students walk alone any more but the interactions with her parents and students at school are much the same.
It was good to see someone coping with fitting in to a new classroom and getting to know a new teacher, since that was what they were both doing when we were listening to the book. As adults I think we sometimes forget how hard it can be to be a good listener and to follow directions at school all day. Ramona's stories are so fun to listen to. Now that we've read a few I would like to rent the movie again and watch it. When we saw it at the drive-in this summer I hadn't read any of them and I think we might all appreciate Ramona even more now.

Saturday, October 2, 2010

Ramona and Her Mother by Beverly Cleary

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2007
Publisher: Random House Audio Publishing Group
Format: Compact Disc
Series: Ramona Series
ISBN-13: 9780739338957
ISBN: 0739338951


Beverly Cleary has given books to each member of the Quimby household except Mrs. Quimby. Now she gets her turn at last in a story that hits the high and low points of a working mother's life as seen from Ramona's seven-and-a-half-year-old viewpoint.

Inevitably domestic tensions, not without their amusing side, occasionally arise. Mr. and Mrs. Quimby sometimes forget who is to do what, as when the Crock-Pot is not plugged in and dinner remains uncooked. Beezus acquires a ludicrous teased hairdo at the student body shop while Ramona gets a becoming pixie haircut. Ramona, who feels unloved, takes to twitching her nose like a rabbit in a cozy picture book until her teacher becomes concerned that something is making her nervous.

Yet Ramona is wrong. She is loved, and readers will rejoice with her when she discovers the wonderful truth. Few writers today are as skilled as Mrs. Cleary at showing families in the round, and here she is at the peak of her powers.

My thoughts:

I listened to this audio book earlier this summer with my children while we were in the car. This is something I mention a lot but I love how listening to a book holds my children’s attention so well. We do not have a DVD player in the car, but even if we did I am not sure it would hold their attention as well. When they watch TV they sometimes talk because they can still see the picture, while with an audio book if they talk they miss the action so they tend to be better behaved.

Ramona’s jealousy of her sister is something that is so common in families so the story was easy to relate to. Some of the antics from this book are featured in the movie that came out this summer, Ramona and Beezus. The incident with the tooth paste and wearing pajamas to school among others. We checked the book out after having seen the movie at the drive in theater. Because we had already seen actors playing the roles that is how I pictured each of them as we were reading. In this book they are a little younger than they were in the movie.

I like how even though these books were published years ago they still hold true today. It was neat to be able to tell my children that the book was even older than me because I am sure they think I am quite old!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Venom by Jennifer Estep

Product DetailsPub. Date: September 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 416pp
Series: Elemental Assassin Series , #3
ISBN-13: 9781439148013
ISBN: 1439148015

What kind of assassin works pro bono?

It’s hard to be a badass assassin when a giant is beating the crap out of you. Luckily, I never let pride get in the way of my work. My current mission is personal: annihilate Mab Monroe, the Fire elemental who murdered my family. Which means protecting my identity, even if I have to conceal my powerful Stone and Ice magic when I need it most. To the public, I’m Gin Blanco, owner of Ashland’s best barbecue joint. To my friends, I’m the Spider, retired assassin. I still do favors on the side. Like ridding a vampire friend of her oversized stalker—Mab’s right-hand goon who almost got me dead with his massive fists. At least irresistible Owen Grayson is on my side. The man knows too much about me, but I’ll take my chances. Then there’s Detective Bria Coolidge, one of Ashland’s finest. Until recently, I thought my baby sister was dead. She probably thinks the same about me. Little does she know, I’m a cold-blooded killer . . . who is about to save her life.

My thoughts:
This is the third book in the Elemental Assassin series. I read the first one months ago. I liked it but it didn’t quite grab me as well as this one did from the start. I recall having a hard time getting into the story in the first book, maybe because Estep was setting up the series and wanted to really get her reader into the setting. Lately I haven’t had much time for reading and I’ve been having a hard time getting into books, but this one I read over the course of the weekend. I just didn’t want to put it down! Even if you haven’t read the first two book I think it would be easy to jump in because Estep does enough review of the pertinent details you need, plus she adds to the back story filling in some of the blanks from the first book.

I liked Gin better this time around. She has a new love interest and he seems like a much better fit for her life than the detective she was dating in the first book. I think she must have learned to better use her ability to do ice magic in the second book because I don’t recall that from the first book. I am torn now as to whether I will go back and read book two or just wait for the next one. I think I may skip it since I skipped ahead in the series already.

In this book Gin is still trying to be retired from her work as the Spider but keeps getting pulled back in. She put Rosalyn, a vampire club owner and former prostitute, in danger when she used the club as her cover on an assignment and now Rosalyn is being stalked by a giant who works for the mob boss who murdered Gin’s mother and sister and tortured her seventeen years ago. The dwarfs and giants throw me off a bit and the vampires seem to drink blood and eat real food.

The family Gin has made for herself with her foster brother Finn and the dwarf sisters with Air elemental power feels real, in the way the support and take care of each other. I loved that she gets to meet the sister she thought was dead for all these years and can’t wait to see where the story goes with them.

I read this book as part of Gallery & Pocket Books SciFi/Fantasy Blog Tour.


By night, Jennifer Estep is an author, prowling the streets of her imagination in search of her next fun, sexy fantasy idea.

Jennifer currently writes the Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series for Pocket Books. The star of the series is Gin Blanco, an assassin who can control the elements of ice and stone when she’s not too busy running her barbecue restaurant, the Pork Pit. Jennifer is also the author of the Bigtime paranormal romance books, which feature sexy superheroes, evil ubervillains, and smart, sassy gals looking for love. Titles in the Berkley series include Karma Girl (May 2007), Hot Mama (November 2007), and Jinx (September 2008).

By day, Jennifer is an award-winning features page designer for a daily newspaper with a broad range of journalism and media experience. She's also a certifiable fangirl and an authority on fantasy literature and culture. Jennifer is a member of Romance Writers of America, Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers of America, and other writing groups.

Jennifer's books have been featured in Cosmopolitan, Entertainment Weekly, Southern Living, and a variety of other publications. For more information, visit her Web site at

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ramona the Pest by Beverly Cleary

Product Details
Format: Paperback, 208pp
Series: Ramona Series
ISBN-13: 9780380709540
ISBN: 0380709546


At last Beverly Cleary has given Ramona Quimby a book of her own. No longer is she the shy nemesis of Henry Huggins or the exasperating responsibility of Beezus. Instead she is a five-year-old with spirit'and a rare opportunity to explain her side of things.

The story deals with Ramona's entrance into kindergarten, a memorable event for all concerned. Whether Ramona is proving what a good rester she is by snoring delicately during quiet time or whether she is pulling Susan's tempting curls, she makes her presence known. Most of the time Ramona loves her teacher, Miss Binney, wholeheartedly. How Miss Binney feels is anyone's guess. Mrs. Quimby tells her daughter, "She will never forget you as long as she lives."

Nothing seems quite so funny to children as the tales of what they did when they were little. Here then is an account of kindergarten days for readers who have passed that awkward stage. Many will find that Ramona's escapades hilarious; others will be moved by her struggles to make a place for herself in an uncomprehending world.

My thoughts:
I listened to Ramona the Pest in the car with my children as we ran errands to prepare for our family beach vacation. It is odd but I can’t recall if I ever read this books as a child. The covers and titles are all familiar from seeing them in libraries and bookstores, but if I read them as a child it was so long ago that I had forgotten all about them.

Ramona reminds me a bit of Junie B. Jones, who obviously came many years later. She isn’t trying to be bad but her perception of reality is her own and that causes her to run into problems. The audio book was read by Stockard Channing. She changes her voice a bit for each of the characters which helps to entertain my children.

Ramona is in kindergarten in this book and is getting used to going to school and all that entails. I am not sure my children understood the chapter with the rain boots that were pulled on over shoes since they’ve never seen boots like that, I’m not even sure I’ve ever seen boots like that. While the book was written before I was born the story isn't actually that dated. It shows how, while we have a ton more technology now than there was then, the interactions between sisters, parents, teachers and friends really hasn’t changed all that much.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Battle of the Labyrinth (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #4) by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Pub. Date: June 2009
Format: Hardcover, 368pp
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series , #4
ISBN-13: 9781615534272
ISBN: 161553427X


This thrilling New York Times bestselling series of modern-day mythology continues.

Time is running out as war between the Olympians and the evil Titan lord Kronos draws near. Even the safe haven of Camp Half Blood is growing more vulnerable. To stop them from invading, Percy and his demigod friends must go on a quest through the Labyrinth.

My thoughts:

Each time I read one of these books I think to myself that I wish I knew more about Greek Myths. While we were on vacation we actually bought an easy reader at one of the book stores so my children can start reading about them on their own. I also set aside a book we already had on our shelf to read, but that was at least a month ago and so far I haven’t gotten around to opening it.

This series is really engaging. As we listened to the audio book in the car my children asked a lot of relevant questions and at one point when we got home they complained that they didn’t want to get out of the car because they wanted to keep listening. I think it could be really good for older reluctant readers with its elements of fantasy. Plus for someone who was learning Greek myths for school putting them into the context of a story could make them even easier to remember.

Part of me is a bit sad to know that there is only one more book to read. I guess things will be resolved as much as they can by the end of the next one but then end of good series always makes me a little sad because you are saying goodbye to characters who feel like they have become your friends.
I thought Riordan did a really good job with incorporating the labyrinth into the story and liked how they met all different creatures and beings within the maze. It reminded me of a myth book come to life with the way the new creatures were introduced. I wonder if Percy will ever tell Paul what he really is and was surprised to see Poseidon turn up at his house for the first time. I hope to be listening to book five very soon!

Monday, September 20, 2010

The Titan’s Curse (Percy Jackson and the Olympians #3) by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2009
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians , #3
ISBN-13: 9781423131977
ISBN: 1423131975


Percy Jackson returns in another modern-day adventure with a Greek mythology twist—this time he must find a goddess kidnapped from Mount Olympus!

When the goddess Artemis goes missing, she is believed to have been kidnapped. And now it's up to Percy and his friends to find out what happened. They must find Artemis before the winter solstice, when her influence on the Olympian Council could swing an important vote on the war with the titans. Not only that, but first Percy will have to solve the mystery of a rare monster that Artemis was hunting when she disappeared—a monster rumored to be so powerful it could destroy Olympus forever.

My thoughts:
As I mentioned in the last review I ended up listening to this audio book at the same time I was reading the second book aloud to my children which was a bit confusing, but we needed enough time to listen to this one before it was due at the library. Once we finished the other one it made it easier to keep track. Also there were a few periods of time that I wasn’t able to pay as good attention as usual so I feel like I should reread this one at some point.
In this one we were introduced to Riordan’s version of Artemis and Apollo. The sun chariot was interesting and Artemis’s hunters were a nice element of the story. In the last book Percy, Anabeth and Grover end up on the quest even though they weren’t selected for it and it made me wonder how, out of all the heroes or demigods, Percy keeps ending up on quests. Last time it was Clarice’s quest and she did end up getting to end it. This time having Thalia in the mix changed the balance of things. It will be interesting to see how the series ultimately wraps up.
Zoe, Nico and Bianca were interesting to get to know. I liked how they ended up in Las Vegas again since my husband and I spent seven years living there. In this book they end up at Hoover Dam, so they aren’t quite all the way to Las Vegas, but having visited the Dam while we lived there it made it easy to picture the setting. Meeting Anabeth’s family as well was nice because they were not as I had pictured them based on her descriptions of her past interactions with her father and stepmother.

Again new myths were woven in that opened my eyes to how much I don’t know about Greek Mythology and made me want to learn more. Somehow I will find the time to fit them into my reading, hopefully sooner rather than later.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Sea of Monsters (Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series #2) by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Pub. Date: March 2007
Format: Paperback, 304pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series , #2
ISBN-13: 9781423103349
ISBN: 1423103343
Edition Description: Reprint


Percy Jackson, hero of the The Lightning Thief, returns to Camp Half-Blood and undertakes a perilous voyage to save the camp in this modern-day adventure with a Greek mythology twist.

Percy Jackson's seventh-grade year has been surprisingly quiet. Not a single monster has set foot on his New York prep school campus. But when an innocent game of dodgeball among Percy and his classmates turns into a death match against an ugly gang of cannibal giants, things get well, ugly. And the unexpected arrival of Percy's friend Annabeth brings more bad news: the magical borders that protect Camp Half-Blood have been poisoned by a mysterious enemy, and unless a cure is found, the only safe haven for demigods will be destroyed. Percy and his friends must journey into the Sea of Monsters to save their beloved camp. But first, Percy will discover a stunning new secret about his family one that makes him wonder whether being claimed as Poseidon's son is an honor, or simply...

My thoughts:

Somehow I ended up reading this book aloud to my children at the same time we were listening to book three on audio CD in the car. It worked out that way with library due dates. I have to say I do not recommend reading two books from the same series at the same time, we started getting the two stories mixed together! It took a couple nights of long story times to get this one done so we could stop getting mixed up.

Percy finds out that he has a brother who is a Cyclops in this story which raised some questions that I didn’t bother exploring with my children. If Zeus, Poseidon and Hades made a pact after WWII not to have any more children, which was violated when Poseidon became Percy’s father and Zeus became Thalia’s father, how in the world did he also father a Cyclops? I thought that Sally Jackson was supposed to be so wonderful that Poseidon had trouble resisting her with the outcome of Percy but then he also found someone else as desirable? Had he not worried with Percy since most of the big three children end up as cyclops and don’t violate the treaty? Does this kind of convoluted logic happen often in YA or children’s books?

Back to my thoughts on the story, this quest for the golden fleece and also to save Grover from the Cyclops (not Tyson the brother but a different one who uses the fleece to lure satyrs to his island thinking they are finding the god Pan in the Bermuda Triangle) was interesting and engaging. I like how Riordan is pulling in so many other myths and stories and it is making me want to read more about them. One of the books we bought on vacation was a book of Greek Myths in an easy reader format for my children to read to themselves. I love that this series is raising interests for them and for me in finding out more about a subject, that is one of the hallmarks of a good book, that we want to go beyond it.

While the story is above my children's current reading level they have no problem following it when I read it to them, or in the case of some of the other books in the series listening to the audio book. The slightly more teen content between the characters seems to mostly pass over their heads. My one worry is that they will not pick the book up in the future to read to themselves since we've already read it, but there are so many good books out there that it probably doesn't matter and favorite books tend to be read repeatedly so if they like these they may read them again. Mostly I am glad to enjoy a story with them and nurture their love of reading!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Dead to the World by Charlaine Harris

Product Details
Pub. Date: October 2004
Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series , #4
ISBN-13: 9780786548750
ISBN: 0786548754

When cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse sees a naked man on the side of the road, she doesn't just drive on by. Turns out the poor thing hasn't a clue who he is, but Sookie does. It's Eric the vampire--but now he's a kinder, gentler Eric. And a scared Eric, because whoever took his memory now wants his life

My thoughts:
With going back to work my time for reading has really shrunk. When I read book three I finished it in two days, this book took me closer to two weeks! Hopefully as I adjust to my new schedule and get better at planning my time I will be able to carve out more time to read.

This story brought in some more supernatural elements. Along with the shape shifters there are now Weres and witches and a fairy. I do not have HBO but last night was one of our free preview nights so I saw the last episode of season three of True Blood. It looks like they have incorporated some elements from book four into this season, since I don’t recall them meeting the Hotshot Weres until this book. Then again a lot is changed from the books. I’ve noticed the same thing with The Vampire Diaries. It seems that the series are only loosely based on the books. I wonder how the authors feel about the changes, if they would have rather things stayed the same or if it doesn’t bother them.

I really liked Eric without his arrogance. Honestly I like him as a character normally as well, but found him more likeable when he was vulnerable. It was nice to see Sookie being taken care of by someone who was really focused on her. I’ve never been totally sold on Bill. He relies on her a lot and asks a lot of her and doesn’t always seem to see how he could also be helping her in return. My heart broke for her a bit at one point in the story.

The witches and fairies were not what I was expecting. In book one we met vampires and shape shifters, in two there was the maenad and more shifters, then in three were the Weres and in four fairies and witches. It makes me wonder what is coming next and if having so many supernatural creatures together might get to be too much. I think I thought based on the covers and premise that Harris would be sticking to vampires and whatever Sookie turns out to be. True Blood seems to be saying she is a fairy but so far in the stories that hasn’t really come into play. The fairy in Merlotte’s is so attractive to all the vampires and Sookie doesn’t seem to have quite that much of a hold on them all. Perhaps because she isn’t a full fairy. It will be interesting to read the rest of the series but I am still frustrated by how slowly it looks like I will be getting to them.

Monday, September 6, 2010

Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

Product Details
Pub. Date: August 2010
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 390pp
Series: Hunger Games Series , #3
ISBN-13: 9780439023511
ISBN: 0439023513

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has survived the Hunger Games twice. But now that she’s made it out of the bloody arena alive, she’s still not safe. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge. Who do they think should pay for the unrest? Katniss. And what’s worse, President Snow has made it clear that no one else is safe either. Not Katniss’s family, not her friends, not the people of District 12. Powerful and haunting, this thrilling final installment of Suzanne Collins’s groundbreaking The Hunger Games trilogy promises to be one of the most talked about books of the year.

My thoughts on Mockingjay:
Usually I wait to find books at the library or for my turn to come up on PaperbackSwap, but once in a while I treat myself to a brand new book. Last year I bought one to take on vacation with me and I decided to do the same this year as well and this was my selection. It took me longer to read than the other two but I didn’t have a whole lot of free time to read. While we were on the beach I was playing or watching my children so I didn’t even take it along with me. I found myself having trouble remembering the other tributes who were in the Quarter Quell when the rescue took place. I think part of the issue is the way each of names was unique, a variation of a name we might use but twisted in some way.

This time I was back to having questions as I read. I wondered how like the capitol District 13 was with their daily schedules tattooed on their arms and the food rationed down by weight and activity level. How nutrition was just enough to keep them going but never any extra. Especially the questions about how ethical different weapons or tactics would be, with the argument that the capitol wouldn’t hesitate risk innocent lives so should they as the rebellion be concerned about it.
I think if I had it to do over again I would love to read the books back to back. I now can't decide if I should hold onto this one or pass it along in some way. While I would like to reread them all the other two I borrowed from the library and my free time for reading has really dwindled down. I now hesitate about rereading a book, even if I loved it, because I might miss the chance to read something new.

I was content with the conclusion of the story but don’t want to reveal it so I don’t ruin the book for anyone else. I am not sure I would have made the choice she made between Peeta and Gale but it did seem to end up being the best choice in the end.

Sunday, September 5, 2010

McKettricks of Texas: Austin by Linda Lael Miller

Product Details
Pub. Date: June 2010
Publisher: Harlequin
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 378pp
Series: McKettrick Men Series
ISBN-13: 9780373774463
ISBN: 037377446X


World champion rodeo star Austin McKettrick finally got bested by an angry bull. His career over, his love life a mess, the lone maverick has nowhere to go when the hospital releases him. Except back home to Blue River and the Silver Spur ranch. But his overachieving brothers won't allow this cowboy to brood in peace. They've even hired a nurse to speed his recovery. Paige Remington's bossy brand of TLC is driving him crazy. As is her beautiful face, sexy figure and silky black hair.

Paige has lost count of how many times Austin has tried to fire her. She's not going anywhere till he's healed—body and heart.

And by then her place in his life just might become permanent….

My thoughts:

Before I left for our family vacation I finished up the McKettricks of Texas trilogy. I like this family. While I haven’t read every book from Linda Lael Miller’s McKettricks I have read most of them. I enjoy how she comes out with trilogies. Once a series gets too long it can be hard to keep track of who is who, but three books seems to be just about perfect. Plus they usually come out pretty close together as well. She and Nora Roberts seem to do a lot of trilogies. It is nice to have three to read and then feel like you can move on to something else for a while.

Austin is back home at the ranch following his rehabilitation from a rodeo accident with a bull that almost killed him. Both of his brothers are engaged and set to married to sisters on New Years Eve. Paige, the high school love that he hurt because he felt they were too young to be so serious, is staying at the ranch in the guest quarters because work is being done on her house and her sister needs her help taking care of son while she works on a play. This book pretty much jumps in where the last one ended but even if you hadn’t read the first two it wouldn’t be too hard to jump into the series now.

While I enjoy reading romances the predictability of them makes me not want to read them exclusively. I love having a chance to feel good for a while and know that it will all work out. It is part of the reason I try to mix things up in my book choices and not let myself read the same genre all the time.

Austin and Paige are likeable and the mystery with the cattle rustling is solved. By the end everything is neat and tidy. I am sure there will be more about the McKettricks somewhere down the way.

Sunday, August 15, 2010

Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire by J.K. Rowling

Product Details
Pub. Date: July 2000
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover, 734pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Harry Potter Series, #4
ISBN-13: 9780439139595
ISBN: 0439139597

Harry Potter is midway through his training as a wizard and his coming of age. Harry wants to get away from the pernicious Dursleys and go to the International Quidditch Cup. He wants to find out about the mysterious event that's supposed to take place at Hogwarts this year, an event involving two other rival schools of magic, and a competition that hasn't happened for a hundred years. He wants to be a normal, fourteen-year-old wizard. But unfortunately for Harry Potter, he's not normal - even by wizarding standards. And in his case, different can be deadly.
My thoughts:
I decided to try listening to the audio version of this book as I had read it before. One of my main complaints with audio books is that they take so much longer to listen to than they do to read since the narrator is working hard to make it entertaining for the listener. I listen to books in the car with my children so I look at it as using time I wouldn't have had for reading anyway and they really enjoy listening as well. I much prefer that we are listening to a story than have them watch a movie in the car, and our car doesn't have a DVD player anyway so the thought has really never crossed their minds anyway. At some point they are going to realize that lots of their friends get to watch movies in the car, but I am going to enjoy this time while they haven't considered the possibility or started asking for it. I do think they might still prefer listening to the story anyway.
It is different getting to read the stories in order and relatively close together. I recall waiting for the next installment to come out for many of the books and when too much time passes it can be hard to remember everything that had happened in the other books. I like how Rowling does put in reviews for readers to help those who may have either not read the other books or may not remember them in their entirety. It will be interesting to re watch this movie now that the book is fresh in my mind as well.
For some reason I had remembered Hermoine making more in roads with SPEW (her organization for the treatment of house elves) but perhaps that comes later or else I just remembered it incorrectly. It was nice to see Dobby again. More importantly the part with Winkie in the top box at the World Cup (which does not happen in the movie as I remember it) took on much more significance in light of what I knew from reading it before and watching the movie. I like that you can always come away with something else from a second reading of the same book.
Since the previews for the final movies have started to air I really want to finish rereading the last three books before November when the first half of the last book reaches theaters. At the same time I'm not sure I want to keep reading them with my children as they are about to take a darker turn and they had some trouble with the duel in the graveyard in this book.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

McKettricks of Texas: Garret by Linda Lael Miller

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2010
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 376pp
ISBN-13: 9780373774418
ISBN: 0373774419


Fast track up the political ladder, fast cars, fast women—that's Garrett McKettrick. Make that was. A scandal has brought him home to Blue River, Texas, a place where a man can slow down, take stock and plan his next move. Which doesn't include staying at the family ranch with his brothers. A city boy, Garrett doesn't think he has the land in his blood.

But Blue River has other attractions, like his former high school nemesis, Julie Remington. Now a striking woman, Julie comes complete with a four-year-old cowboy, a three-legged beagle and deep ties to the community. Good thing they have nothing in common…except their undeniable attraction and a future brighter than the Texas sun.
My thoughts:
This was a fun summer time read. I read book one in the series a little while ago and this one follows along with the second brother in the McKettrick family. Linda Lael Miller always seems to bring her settings to life so I really felt like I could see the Silver Spur Ranch and the small town in Texas. Julie and Garret seemed like real people who were dealing with large obstacles being thrown at them by life while at the same time exploring new avenues for the direction of their lives. I have book three sitting on my shelf and will probably read it as well before summer is over.

Thursday, August 5, 2010

The Guardians of Ga'Hoole: The Capture by Kathryn Lasky

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2003
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback, 226pp
Age Range: 8 to 12
Series: Guardians of Ga'Hoole Series, #1
ISBN-13: 9780439405577
ISBN: 0439405572

In the first book in the GUARDIANS series, the reader is introduced to Soren, a barn owl and the centerpiece of the series. When Soren is pushed from his family's nest by his older brother, he is rescued from certain death on the forest floor by agents from a mysterious school for orphaned owls, St. Aggie's. When Soren arrives at St. Aggie's, he suspects there is more to the school than meets the eye. He and his new friend, the clever and scrappy Gylfie, find out that St. Aggie's is actually a training camp where the school's leader can groom young owls to help achieve her goal.

My thoughts:

My son picked this book our as part of Barnes and Nobles Summer Reading Program. If you have children who love to read and are under 12 check out their site. For reading a set number of books children can pick out a free book from a selected list. There are a whole bunch of books on the list that appeal to all different ages and interest groups.

We decide to read this one as a family so we could all enjoy it and also because I know there is a movie version coming out in the fall or winter. When possible I try to have my children read or listen to a book prior to seeing the movie. Currently in the car we are listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire. Even though they keep asking to see the movie I keep repeating that we need to finish the book first.

This book pulled us all in and I think I enjoyed it as much as they did! Following the owls as they made connections and figure out what they think is going on at St. Aggie's got them all thinking. It will be interesting to see where the story goes from here. We ordered the rest of the series on ebay over the weekend and I keep checking out tracking number to see if they will be here any time soon. They are in the postal system so hopefully they will make their way to us before too long.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Club Dead by Charlaine Harris

Product Details
Pub. Date: April 2003
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 272pp
Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series, #3
ISBN-13: 9780441010516
ISBN: 0441010512

There's only one vampire that cocktail waitress Sookie Stackhouse is involved with (at least voluntarily) and it's Bill Compton. But when she catches him in a serious act of betrayal, she's not sure whether to save him-or sharpen some stakes.
My thoughts
I know the third season of the TrueBlood season started a bit ago but since I most likely won't see it until it comes out on DVD I was trying to hold off on reading the third book, but then I changed my mind. I was so ready for a read like this. I read it in two day, staying up a bit too late last night because I didn't want to put it down. I love when a book pulls you and and reads nice and easy so it seems like no time is passing!
From the first book I was never a total fan of Bill's so this was an interesting story for me, seeing how she reacts to the real possibility that he has betrayed her with another woman. It will be interesting to see what the next book brings in terms of their relationship and her life in general. She meets a Were that I thought showed so real possibility for being at least a good friend if not more in her life. I wonder how many supernatural species will be introduced over the course of the series. Since I have watched the first two seasons of the HBO series I have a hard time seeing the characters in any way other than how the actors portray them, so it was nice to meet some new characters that I don't know the actors for because then they were able to appear as I pictured them based on the description in the book. I always miss that a bit when books become movies or TV series.
I have some catch up to do on my current reading but I am going to be looking for book four at the library pretty soon. Now that I am getting some reading done it is starting to feel like summer, finally. My big memories of summer from childhood involve lots of swimming, sun and reading!

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Black Magic Sanction by Kim Harrison

Product Details
Pub. Date: February 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
Format: Hardcover, 487pp
Series: Rachel Morgan Series, #8
ISBN-13: 9780061138034
ISBN: 0061138037


In New York Times bestselling author Kim Harrison's most complex and nuanced adventure yet, bounty hunter and witch Rachel Morgan fights a deadly battle—mind, body, and soul

Black Magic Sanction

Rachel Morgan has fought and hunted vampires, werewolves, banshees, demons, and other supernatural dangers as both witch and bounty hunter—and lived to tell the tale. But she's never faced off against her own kind . . . until now. Denounced and shunned for dealing with demons and black magic, her best hope is life imprisonment—at worst, a forced lobotomy and genetic slavery. Only her enemies are strong enough to help her win her freedom, but trust comes hard when it hinges on the unscrupulous tycoon Trent Kalamack, the demon Algaliarept, and an ex-boyfriend turned thief.

It takes a witch to catch a witch, but survival bears a heavy price.

My thoughts:
Each time I read one of the Rachel Morgan books I feel like I have forgotten so much of the past story. I know I have read them all but I just can't remember all of what has happened. While any crucial elements are repeated I hate feeling like I am missing parts that might be more meaningful if I had the whole story to work with, if that makes sense.

Overall the story was good and I enjoyed reading it. Things have been so busy lately that I haven't read anywhere near as much as I usually do for quite some time now. It was neat reading this one as the last book was one of the ones I reviewed when I first started my blog almost a year ago, maybe it is a year, I can't recall if I started in August or September.

I like Rachel but I almost stopped reading the series when Kisten was killed off in one of the other books. At the time it felt like someone I knew had been killed, I think I must have read the books all in a row and I really liked Kisten and the relationship he and Rachel had and I could see a future in it and then to have him be killed in what seemed like a senseless way rocked my trust in the author. (Which sounds silly since it is just a book, but I recall at the time feeling very strongly about it, I also think I may have been pregnant at the time so maybe some of those hormones were coming into play as well, who knows.) Even though that was how I felt at the time I have continued to read the books.

It will be interesting to see where Harrison goes with the changes in Rachel's blood and how the witch coven figures into future stories. For some reason this was a slower read for me than some books, I had it borrowed from the library for three weeks and didn't finish it until the night before it was due. I didn't start it right away but it took me longer than usual to finish, not sure if it was the length or just not having enough free time to read.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

The Short Second Life of Bree Tanner by Stephenie Meyer

Product Details
Pub. Date: June 2010
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Format: Hardcover, 192pp
Age Range: Young Adult
Series: Twilight Saga Series
ISBN-13: 9780316125581
ISBN: 031612558X


Fans of The Twilight Saga will be enthralled by this riveting story of Bree Tanner, a character first introduced in Eclipse, and the darker side of the newborn vampire world she inhabits. In another irresistible combination of danger, mystery, and romance, Stephenie Meyer tells the devastating story of Bree and the newborn army as they prepare to close in on Bella Swan and the Cullens, following their encounter to its unforgettable conclusion.
My thoughts:
It had been awhile since I had read any of the Twilight books so it was neat to reenter that world for a little while. I read the book right before we went to see the Eclipse movie so I kept watching the newborn vampires to see if they were following the storyline that was in this book. I read it online, which I've only ever done once before. I had wanted to get this posted before the time to read it online for free expired but that didn't happen.
For summer I like books that are fast reads, winter tends to be the time I start longer, heavier books. I'm not sure why but that seems to be my reading style. This book fit the bill. I really found myself liking Bree and hoping that she would be successful as a vampire. My memory of Eclipse wasn't very fresh so I couldn't recall that well what was going to happen to her. I remembered that they had had a fight and I thought all the newborns were killed but I still kept hoping that maybe some of them got away, how would we know if all of them had made it to the fight? I think the timing of the release of this book really work for it as well since it came out at the same time as the most recent movie.
If you have read the other books this was a fun diversion. I was a bit thrown by the fact that there were no chapter breaks. I don't know if it needed one but I am used to there being breaks and those breaks are where I tend to stop reading. This one I read almost all the way through at once. Also I thought it was shorter and since I was reading it online I kept wondering how close to the end I was. One of my reading quirks is I tend to keep track of how much more of the story I have to go as I read along.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Undead and Unfinished by MaryJanice Davidson

Product DetailsPub. Date: July 2010
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 320pp
Series: Betsy Taylor Series, #9
ISBN-13: 9780425234358
ISBN: 0425234355

SynopsisVampire Queen Betsy Taylor returns in the ninth novel in the New York Times bestselling series. Vampire Queen Betsy Taylor is having a tough time getting through the Book of the Dead-until the Devil strikes a bargain. She offers Betsy a chance to finish the cursed (literally!) thing, and finally discover all its mysteries. There's just one catch... Betsy and her half-sister Laura have to go to Hell long enough for Laura to embrace her dark heritage (after a rebellious youth of charity work) and finally make nice with her mother, aka Lucifer. That means interacting with their family's past. In doing so, they're impacting the future in ways they never anticipated. Of course that's what Mother wanted all along. Damn her.

My thoughts:
This week I felt like I hit the library jackpot. When I walked by the new shelf there were two books that I had been wanting to read just sitting there waiting to be checked out with no need to request and wait. I decided to read this one first. As usual it was a quick, funny read. I realized as I started that I must have not read the eighth book in the series because the events that had happened prior to the start of this one weren't ones I knew about. I guess I'll have to look for that one soon.

Most of this book takes place between Laura and Betsey as they travel through time so that Laura can learn to use her powers to travel in all dimensions so she can eventually take over for her mother, the devil, during her anticipated retirement. Through their travel they realize that what they are doing is messing with their own time line but that they always were there so the time line has always been interfered with. Betsy is as usual, she is sarcastic and self involved but is starting to recognize more and more that she is this way. One of her visits takes her to see herself in the future which opens her eyes to ways she would like to change.

This is a good summer book. I just wish I had read the book that came before it first, but with a library book I didn't really have the luxury of waiting to read it. I wonder how much longer Davidson will continue the series. I enjoyed her series about Fred the Mermaid but I believe she has ended that one already. I'm just not sure how much is left for her to do at this point.

Sunday, July 4, 2010

Percy Jackson and the Lightening Thief by Rick Riordan

Product Details
Pub. Date: January 2010
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Percy Jackson and the Olympians Series


Twelve-year-old Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. No matter how hard he tries, he can't seem to stay out of trouble. But can he really be expected to stand by and watch while a bully picks on his scrawny best friend? Or not defend himself against his pre-algebra teacher when she turns into a monster and tries to kill him? Of course, no one believes Percy about the monster incident; he’s not even sure he believes himself.

Until the Minotaur chases him to summer camp.

Suddenly, mythical creatures seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy’s Greek mythology textbook and into his life. The gods of Mount Olympus, he’s coming to realize, are very much alive in the twenty-first century. And worse, he’s angered a few of them: Zeus’s master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy has just ten days to find and return Zeus’s stolen property, and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. On a daring...

My thoughts:
This series appealed to me when the movie was in the theater but I was busy and never got to it. When I saw that it was soon being released on DVD I decided I wanted to read the book before seeing the movie. I belong to the school of though that most of the time, the book is better than the movie and this is another story that I believe that holds true for.

I shared this book with my children, we read almost the entire thing aloud and then borrowed the audio book to listen to in the car on a long trip. One thing I liked about listening was hearing someone else pronounce the names for the Greek gods, I just wasn't entirely sure of the pronunciation of some of them which is no big deal when you are reading silently to yourself but becomes a bigger problem when you are reading aloud!

Parts of this book reminded me of Harry Potter (another series I am working through with my children this summer) and somewhat of the Spiderwick Chronicles which we have already finished. I like that this opened their minds to the idea of Greek myths because I think we are going to moving into those in a few weeks. This book was engrossing enough for adults or children and I highly recommend it. When we went to the beach last week my children were throwing shells back in telling me that they were offering for Poseidon the sea god!

My thoughts;
I enjoyed the movie but saw a lot of changes from the book to the movie. I know based on time constraints they have to cut things out, but it seemed odd that they aged the characters from 12 to at least 16, Percy no longer goes to boarding school, some of the gods who had large rolls were cut out and even omitted and even the towns they visit on their cross country trek are changed. The basic story was still there and if looked at without the book it was pretty good but a little more obvious as to who is behind the theft. Whenever you narrow the field of suspects it makes it easier to find the right one. Still I would recommend the movie as well.

Sunday, June 20, 2010

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris

Product Details
Pub. Date: March 2002
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304pp
Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series, #2
ISBN-13: 9780441009237
ISBN: 0441009239


This is the second book in Charlaine Harris' popular Southern Vampire Mysteries series. Telepathic vampire maven (and cocktail waitress) Sookie Stackhouse has been tasked with locating an abducted vampire and suppressing an upstart anti-undead religious cult.

My thoughts

I had my post all written and then it was lost when I went to publish it so here goes try number two. Once again I read and viewed in the opposite order of my usual. Usually I prefer to read a book before watching the book or television series based on it, but for both books one and two in this series I watched TrueBlood and then read. It isn't such a big deal since the series is based on the books but doesn't follow them completely. I actually enjoy looking for the similarities and differences between the two and then deciding how I prefer the story. I was glad to see that Tara, Sookie's best friend, does exist in the series even though she doesn't make an appearance until almost the end of book two. Some of the characters that die in the show are still alive and ones that are still alive have died, so I am not sure how that will affect the third season of the show. Since I don't have HBO I haven't seen the first episode of season three yet. I usually wait for the DVDs to come out and watch it all in a row.

I wondered about the Eric, the vampire from Fangtasia, because he showed up under an assumed name at a party in Dallas. Eric Northman said his name was Lief and I wondered if he was supposed to be Lief Ericson since he is also a Viking. Perhaps in each book she throws in a real person who is a vampire now. In book one it was Elvis. That may not be the case, I've only read books one and two and that is just a guess about Eric.

This was an enjoyable read, it was quick and easy and even if you've already watched the series I would recommend it because it isn't all the same.

Wednesday, June 16, 2010

Cinderella Deal by Jennifer Crusie

Product Description
New York Times bestselling author Jennifer Crusie brings humor and storytelling magic to this modern-day romance of a match made anywhere but in heaven—but destined for a fairy-tale ending.

Daisy Flattery is a free spirit with a soft spot for strays and a weakness for a good story. Why else would she agree to the outrageous charade offered by her buttoned-down workaholic neighbor, Linc Blaise? The history professor needs to have a fiancée in order to capture his dream job, and Daisy is game to play the role. But something funny happens on their way to the altar that changes everything. Now, with the midnight hour approaching, will Daisy lose her prince, or will opposites not only attract but live happily ever after?

Product Details
Mass Market Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Bantam; Reprint edition (January 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0553593366
ISBN-13: 978-0553593365
My thoughts
It has been a while since I've read a Jennifer Crusie novel. This one was a very enjoyable read, such a nice escape for awhile. The thing I really liked about this book was Daisy's belief that we area all the author of our own story. If we can tell it we can make it true, sometimes you are writing your own story and other times it is a friends, but every day you are creating your reality. I'm not sure that is what Crusie was hoping her readers would get from it when she wrote it, but in between the fun and the painting and the relationships that was what I took away from the story.

About the Author
Jennifer Crusie is the bestselling and award-winning author of more than fifteen contemporary novels. Her work has been published in twenty countries.

Friday, June 11, 2010

Tate by Linda Lael Miller

Synopsis from

There are barely enough hours for divorced dad Tate McKettrick to run the Silver Spur ranch, do the suit-and-tie thing for his business and run herd on his beloved six-year-old twin daughters. But time stands still at the sight of Libby Remington. When they were high school sweethearts, the wealthy McKettrick couldn't convince Libby he loved her. But now they're both back in Blue River, Texas. And cattle rustlers, a manipulative ex-wife and a killer stallion can't keep him from trying again.
Libby has her hands full taking care of her mother—and running the Perk Up Coffee Shop. Caffeine, she needs. Tate McKettrick, with his blazing blue eyes and black hair? No. Oh, heck—yes. But can they really hope for a second chance?
My thoughts:
It has been so busy around here that I feel like I've barely had any time to read lately. I am experimenting with our laptop right now, but I keep getting kicked off. Hopefully I will be able to save this for when I am logged on again, but who knows.
I ordered this book from paperbackswap awhile ago but when I didn't get to it right away I decided to wait until it was closer to the release of the other two books in the trilogy so that I could read them all together. Less likely to forget details that way. I really like Miller's McKettrick family. Although these McKettrick's are related to the others it doesn't make any difference if you've read the other books or not. I think I have forgotten more details from the books than I remember, and I had no problem getting to know Tate and his brothers because they pretty much stand alone.
I enjoyed getting to know Libby and Tate and see her try to learn to trust him again after he had broken her heart years ago and I also liked the way Miller explored how to change one mistake might take away some of the good things that came from going down that path in life. That is a good lesson for all of us, even when things aren't perfect they may lead to something you might have missed had you not gone through the rough patch. I am looking forward to reading the next book in this series and it is in the mail to me from Paperbackswap right now. I just love that site. If you are a big reader and you haven't checked it out yet I highly recommend it!

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Hero at Large by Janet Evanovich

Product Details
Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
ISBN-13: 9780062000163
ISBN: 0062000160

It seems like good luck when gorgeous and mysterious Ken Callahan stops to help single mom Chris Nelson with her car. But then she breaks his arm...then his toe...and then his heart. Not easily discouraged, Ken moves into her basement...cooks her potholder in the spaghetti sauce...attempts to seduce her with cookies...and destroys her favorite pan by trying to make a roast in it. All may seem lost for Chris and Ken, until a meddlesome Aunt Edna, a ride on a Zamboni and a genuine love of family all conspire to turn their luck around.

My thoughts:
I really enjoy Evanovich's novels, they are full of wacky situations and often car problems. This one was re released in March and was one of the first ones she wrote years ago before developing the Stephanie Plum series. Both of the main characters were likable. For some reason I had a hard time getting into the book and even put it down for quite a while, but then when I picked it back up I finished it in a couple of days. It reads very fast. This would be a great book to read at the beach, perfect for a summer day relaxing even though it is set in the fall. All the ice skating might make you feel cooler by the pool!

Friday, May 21, 2010

Montana Destiny by R.C. Ryan

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 352pp
ISBN-13: 9780446548632
ISBN: 0446548634

They're the McCords...three rugged, sexy cowboy cousins who'll inherit the family range--if they seek the treasure hidden on it. But even more precious are the women who can tame their wild hearts...

Emergency medic Marilee Trainor likes her freedom and lives for trouble. But when she stumbles upon a clue to the legendary McCord gold, she 's suddenly in a mysterious killer's sights--and the arms of irresistible playboy Wyatt McCord. This McCord cousin has been everywhere, yet the ranch is the only place he feels at home. Now Marilee's courage and independence make him want to protect her, win her heart, and finally settle down. But trust is the one thing Wyatt and Marilee can't easily give. And their survival and everything they cherish depends on whether they can surrender to each other--to fight for their...
My thoughts:
I received this book for review through Hatchette Books and their book tours. I love finding new authors to read and enjoy. I requested to take part in this tour because it reminded me of Linda Lael Miller's various series about cowboys and ranches and I loved the fact that it contained a mystery. While I do enjoy romance I always enjoy it a bit more with a mystery thrown in there to add to the story.
I liked Wyatt and Marilee, they are likable characters. This is book two in a series, but even though I had not read the first one I had no problems picking up the series at this point and enjoying it. I've never read one of Ryan's books before either. On their first date the couple share a pizza and here is something I loved about it, they both really ate! You always read about people eating one slice of pizza and being full which may be very true for some people, but not for all. They each ate two slices and then had a third and that made it seem real to me. Plus I loved that they weren't considering how many calories they had eaten or anything like that, each time they went out to eat, and they went out a lot, they ate what they wanted and as much as they wanted and I loved it. Silly of course, and not the point of the story at all, but that element made these characters more real to me.
Finding out the back story of the small town, their families search for the missing gold, and pat relationships and how they affect the present, while watching this couple get to know each other and overcome their own obstacles due to their own pasts made this book and enjoyable read!

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

The Spiderwick Chronicles: Lucinda's Secret Book 3

We had to take a break from reading for a few days because our regular library did not have this book on the shelf. My children were so sad on Thursday when we came home with just books 4 and 5. They paged through them and read some picture captions and such, but I decided to wait until we had read the third to keep going. On Monday we went to a different local library to borrow their copy which was available. In book three we meet Aunt Lucinda or Aunt Lucy who owns the house the children are staying and is currently living in an institution because she is believed to no longer be sane. Lucy knows about the fairies and has been treated unkindly by them because they want her to give them the field guide. Even though Jared found it in the attic of the house she never had in all of her years living there alone. Aunt Lucy is very worried for the children and shares some history they were unaware of, her father who wrote the guide disappeared one day years ago when she was a child. He went out for a walk and never came back. This changes the children's perception of what kind of man Arthur was during his time.

More fairy creatures appear in this installment as well such as a phooka, a unicorn and wood elves. More beings are wanting to find the book to either destroy it or use it.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone Book 2 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Seeing Stone Book 2 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Book 2 starts right where the first one left off and continues on from there. In this installment the children meet more magical creatures including goblins, a hobgoblin, a troll and a griffin and start using some of the knowledge they discover in Arthur's Field Guide. The children start needing to work together more to face the challenges they come upon and you can see their relationships starting to improve with each other, although their mother is left out and in the dark about the happenings. It has been interesting reading the books since I did see the movie a few years ago. Until now I would have said the movie was too scary for my children to watch, but since we will have read all the books soon I am thinking that I may let them watch it. Hopefully the way the creatures are done won't be too much for them. I enjoy comparing the book to the movie when possible so they can see how movies most times don't have all the details and elements of the book since they have to be made to fit into a set amount of time.

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide Book 1 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

The Spiderwick Chronicles: The Field Guide Book 1 by Tony DiTerlizzi and Holly Black

Last week I listened to this book with my children. We had been looking for a new book or series to start and I saw this on the rack at the library. It really grabbed them right from the beginning and captured all of us. I really like how each chapter begins with, "In Which...". To listen to the book on cd or read the book aloud each of the ones we've read so far has taken about an hour which is a good length of time for my children, not too short and not too long. I know that there are parents and teachers who aren't fans of series, but I like that with this one they make a new discovery and add to their knowledge of fairies but the book isn't crammed full of too much. Each new book lets us discover more and get further into the story without overwhelming them with too many details. Each time we reach the end of one they start begging me to start the next one.

In book one twins Jared and Simon and their sister Mallory move to an old, run down home that belongs to their great-aunt from their apartment in the city. Their father has left the family and Jared especially is carrying around a lot of anger about that. They discover a brownie or boggart living in the walls of the house, as well as a guide book from their great-great-uncle that details many more magical creatures and beings. The illustrations really add to the story and are done quite well. Along with a table of contents for the chapters there is a list of full page illustrations at the front of the book. The world created in the book feels very real and authentic and is fun to read!

Wednesday, April 21, 2010

When the Whistle Blows by Fran Slayton

Product Details
Pub. Date: June 2009
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA)
Format: Hardcover, 160pp
Age Range: 12 and up
ISBN-13: 9780399251894
ISBN: 0399251898

Meet a town and a train and a time and a boy – Jimmy Cannon. And meet his father – as strong as a Mallet locomotive – whom Jimmy simply cannot figure out! But who, in a dramatic and unexpected twist, turns out to be so much more than Jimmy ever knew.
In a book that goes to the core of boyhood – its Halloween mischief, its hunting day mystery, its championship football game surprise, and its nighttime adventures – Fran Cannon Slayton brings her listeners to the breathtaking crossroads of an unforgettable West Virginia railroad town, a family that matters, and adulthood itself.

My thoughts
I signed up to review this book as part of 1 ARC Book Tours. Each reader gets a week to read the book and then mails it to the next reader so that reviewers have a chance to read new books sometimes even before they have come out in stores. It is a really neat idea, if you are interested in trying it out here is the link:

I signed up for this tour in October and it was a small tour, only 5 or 6of us so I thought I would receive it rather quickly. In looking at the log it looks like the first reader kept the book for 4 months, my guess is it was misplaced and she forgot about it but I was surprised by the gap of time. Since then more policies have been put in place to help the books circulate a bit faster so hopefully the kinks are being worked out of the system!

This was a very enjoyable book about small town life in a the late 1930 through the 1940's. The story was told in Jimmy's voice and it was very easy to read and get into. Each year you get a snapshot of one day, All Hallows Eve, which also happens to be his father's birthday. Seeing Jimmy grow and change and watching the changes made to the town when the switch is made from steam engines to diesels shows a lot about the past and what happens to a town and to a community when their source for jobs and incomes changes. Jimmy felt real and authentic. I enjoyed watching him try to catch up to his two older brothers, dreaming about becoming a steam mechanic, and playing in a championship football season. The interconnectedness of the past and the future was very clear and was a great message. I think readers young and old will enjoy this book!

Monday, April 19, 2010

The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova


Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe has a perfectly ordered life—solitary, perhaps, but full of devotion to his profession and the painting hobby he loves. This order is destroyed when renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient. In response, Marlowe finds himself going beyond his own legal and ethical boundaries to understand the secret that torments this genius, a journey that will lead him into the lives of the women closest to Robert Oliver and toward a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism. Ranging from American museums to the coast of Normandy, from the late nineteenth century to the late twentieth, from young love to last love, THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, the losses of history, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

My thoughts:
I received this book from Reader's Favorites for review purposes. This is the first audio book for adults that I have listened to in years, I usually listen with my children in the car so this was a nice change. I wasn't quite prepared for how long it would be, especially since I didn't want to listen to it with my children, but towards the end I was really enjoying it!

It had a bit of a slow start but I stuck it out, not only because I had agreed to review it, but also because I had so enjoyed The Historian a few years ago. I enjoyed how each of the characters had his or her own reader, Treat Williams read the main character, Anne Heche was another and then the other readers were also actors but not ones I was familiar with. It added a depth to the story and the characters and made them a little bit more real. It made it easy to hear whose point of view the story was being told from at any given time.

The story about Robert Oliver really drew me in, he is a painter who one day walks into a gallery with a knife to attack a painting. After he is hospitalized for his mental instability he stops talking altogether, not just for a little while but for months maybe even a year. Since I listened over the course of time I lost track of just how long he was silent for but it was quite a long time. During this time he kept painting the same woman who turns out to not be either his wife or ex-girlfriends but someone he has never met. Watching his doctor unravel the mystery involving letters from the late 1800's written in French and his silent patient draws the reader in. Marlowe meets with Oliver's ex-wife and starts to build a history for his patient based on the past. He talks with his former coworkers and his ex girlfriend. His search takes him to Europe and Mexico, New York and North Carolina. I couldn't imagine a doctor being that curious and interested in helping his patient that he would put in that amount of effort, time and expense, but the mystery really is lovely to watch unfold. I would highly recommend this book to other readers!