Thursday, March 31, 2011

The Exile by Diana Gabaldon Illustrated by Hoang Nguyen


Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant storytelling has captivated millions of readers in her bestselling and award-winning Outlander saga. Now, in her first-ever graphic novel, Gabaldon gives readers a fresh look at the events of the original Outlander: Jamie Fraser’s side of the story, gorgeously rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his compassion . . . and arouse his desire.

But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.

Step into the captivating, passionate, and suspenseful world of The Exile, and experience the storytelling magic of Diana Gabaldon as never before.

My thoughts:
I discovered this book last weekend when I was looking around at our local Borders which is going out of business.  Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series is one of my favorite series.  They are books that I keep in my collection, even though I've already read them, which is rare for me.  I only hold onto my favorites or books I haven't read yet.  While I do not hold the record for having read the first book the most times (Gababldon has a blurb on her blog that one of her readers wrote to tell her she has read the book 23 times!) I have read it more than once over the years and foresee reading it again sometime in the future.

It was interesting to see the tale from Jamie's point of view instead.  This graphic novel covers about a third of Outlander.  I looked on the author's website to see if there is a release date for a second book, but if it was there I couldn't find it.  I hope another one is published because I enjoyed reading this one.  This weekend my youngest was sick and was so congested that he needed to sit up while napping.  So during his nap I was essentially trapped on the couch and I used that time for some guilt free reading!  This was close at hand, and I was excited about giving it a try.

I'm not sure how close either Jamie or Claire are to how I pictured them and Murtagh is much different than he has been in my mind.  One thing that bothers me when a book is made into a movie is that I lose the character as I've created him or her in my mind, but that didn't happen with this.  I am able to look at them both ways and not lose my own version, which is nice.

Because of the page constraints in the graphic novel, some of the aspects of Jamie and Claire's personal relationship seem to be missing.  Some because they might be too graphic and others because there is less time in this format.  I missed some of the passages where Jamie and Claire are sharing their history.  When Claire tells Jamie the truth about where she is from it is just one panel.  I guess since the reader saw her come through the stones and knows she is from the future there is no need to go into more detail but I missed her explanations.

I saw on Barnes and Noble's web site that this book didn't get very good reviews, but I enjoyed it.  I am still new to graphic novels, manga and comic books.  For a very long time I thought they were more geared towards a male audience and I have a feeling that a lot of female readers feel the same way, so it is nice to see authors writing and creating books that appeal to women and might bring them into a whole genre that may be new and exciting for them.  I know it has been for me!   

Product Details

Pub. Date: September 2010
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 224pp
Series: Outlander Series
ISBN-13: 9780345505385
ISBN: 0345505387

Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Murder Takes the Cake by Gayle Trent


A routine cake delivery becomes a culinary nightmare when a small-town baker discovers her first client’s dead body in this irresistible new mystery series.

It’ll take more than a little sugar to convince folks Daphne Martin’s freshly baked spice cake was not to blame for the mysterious death of town gossip Yodel Watson. Getting her new cake decorating business, Daphne’s Delectable Cakes, off the ground is hard enough now that Daphne’s moved back to her southern Virginia hometown, but orders have been even slower since she found Yodel’s body. She soon realizes, however, that just about everybody in town had a reason to poison the cantankerous busybody, from the philandering pet shop owner, to Yodel’s church potluck nemesis, to the Save-A-Buck’s cranky produce manager-turned-bagger. Now, to help prove she’s no confectionary killer, Daphne recruits her old flame, Ben Jacobs, editor of the local newspaper, and quickly stirs up a long-hidden family scandal that just might hold the secret ingredient she needs to solve the case. All she’s got to do is roll up her sleeves and get her hands a little dirty before the real culprit decides that taking sweet revenge on Daphne will be icing on the cake.

My thoughts:
I am totally loving cozy mysteries! Up until last year I had never even heard the term, but the ones I’ve read so far I have really enjoyed! I read this book as part of Pocket Blogs Book Tours on Book Blogs. With going back to work this year I haven’t participated in very many sign-ups for blog tours or review books, I’ve mostly been reading books I buy for myself, already own or borrow from the library. It is fun though to be introduced to new authors I might not have found for myself.

I enjoyed this book so much I finished it in two days. I started it yesterday and finished it tonight. I had planned to watch a movie tonight but once I got into the book I didn’t want to put it down! Daphne Martin’s story reminded me of a few others I’ve read recently, but it was still all her own. At the beginning when she describes her new house, one-eyed stray cat and baking business the most recent Janet Evanovich book in her new Diesel series came to mind, Wicked Appetite, because her main character has a one eyed cat she has inherited, an old house and works in a stumbled upon job baking for a bakery. From there the two stories are quite different. Since there is quite a lot of time in between the writing of a book and the actual finished product, I am not in any way implying that either author took elements from the other; it was just an odd coincidence. Or perhaps it isn’t and I’ve just been away from reading mysteries for that long!
This story totally sucked me into its small town drama and the whole culture of everyone knowing everyone’s business. It took me longer than I would have liked but I did figure out the killer before the end of the novel. The clues were all there but I won’t risk spoiling anything.

The cakes that Daphne creates and makes for Daphne’s Delectable Delicacy’s made me hungry. The way she described decorating them made them come to life. I have a long list of things I would like to eventually make the time to do, and learn to decorate cakes is on it, along with horseback riding and tap dancing! If I were really and truly passionate about these things I would think by now I would have made the time to make them happen, but I honestly do plan on giving them all a try some time in the future when my children are older. But back to the story, Daphne goes to deliver a cake to her first non-family client in town and finds the woman dead. This leads to some erroneous assumptions that the woman died by poison in the cake. A lot of colorful characters are introduced, some of whom have secrets the dead woman knew about leading to a lot of suspects in her murder.

Daphne niece and nephew were a lot of fun. I also loved that Daphne and her sister Violet were named by their mother for her two favorite authors, Daphne Du Maurier and Violet Winspear. There is a mystery that goes hand in hand with the murder of Yodel Watson. The story is a mystery as well as being about a family and secrets that are held within a number of families.

This is the first book in what looks to be a series. There are a few pages of the next book in the series included at the end of the book, along with a few recipes and directions on how to make some of the cakes and foods included in the novel. I may even try some of the tips to decorate a cake one of these days. I do know that I will be looking for Gayle Trent’s next book since I enjoyed this one so much!

Product Details

Pub. Date: March 2011
Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
Format: Paperback , 288pp
ISBN-13: 9781451600018
ISBN: 1451600011


Gayle Trent lives in Southwest Virginia with her husband and two beautiful children, a boy and a girl. She's a full-time writer/editor/mom/wife and chief cook and bottle washer, and she love every minute of it. Okay, not the bottle washing so much, but the rest of it is great.

Wish List Book and Guest Post: The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper

Last month I discovered Molly Bang through her book How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf.  I had a lot of fun reading it and have been looking forward to the release of the second book in the series which happened yesterday.  I added the book to my wishlist as soon as I finished the first.  Here is a post I received from the   author's publisher to share with readers:

Molly Harper, author of HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF and the upcoming THE ART OF SEDUING A NAKED WEREWOLF, has written the following blog post.

When I was little and came running into the house, sweaty and caked in dirt, my mom would cry, “What the- have you been rolling around with wolves?”

Well, here I sit, sweaty, caked in various layers of dried mud. And I have indeed been playing with wolves. While promoting the release of my Naked Werewolf romance series, I visited the Wolf Run Wildlife Refuge in Nicholasville, KY. Wolf Run, a state- and USDA-licensed non-profit educational facility, provides a safe, loving and permanent sanctuary for 23 adult wolves and wolf-dog hybrids. The refuge is also home to two full-grown lions, deer, goats, sheep, monkeys, and other exotic wildlife. And Rowdy, the most obese raccoon I have ever seen.

Most of the animals are former pets that were either confiscated by or surrendered by their owners. Because it turns out, wolf hybrids do not make great house pets.

As Savannah Massey, director of animal care and education at Wolf Run told me, “These animals are gorgeous, appealing and unique. But they’re also aggressive, destructive and territorial. This is not an animal you want in your home. Wolf genetics do not go away. And it’s not just that they could tear up your furniture or hurt one of your other pets- you are physically in danger when you’re around them.”

Just what you want to hear when you’re sitting right next to one, and he’s been licking your face.

Honestly, Boone, a 10-year-old grey male, could not have been nicer during my visit and our subsequent photo shoot. He was a dignified statesman compared to raucous Razz, a three-year-old tan specimen who seemed to think my make-up was bacon-flavored. (Note to Sephora, wolf-oriented face powder may be a niche market you haven’t considered yet.)

I learned a lot during my visit to Wolf Run. I was happy to find there are some definite similarities between actual wolves and the characters in HOW TO FLIRT WITH A NAKED WEREWOLF and THE ART OF SEDUCING A NAKED WEREWOLF.

For instance, a wolf will pee on whatever it wants, whenever it wants, to make sure you know that thing belongs to them. It is now your tree, Boone, we understand. Thank you for not choosing my shoes.

Wolves have to date. There are five packs at Wolf Run, each with three to five pack members. New wolves are matched to potential packs based on temperament when they arrive at Wolf Run. If the initial matches don’t work, they are moved to different packs until they find a good fit. Some wolves, like Boone, don’t fit well with any group and end up being loners. (Which, I think, makes him a bit like Cooper.)

Wolves struggle over the Alpha position. Large males jockey for the position and it can lead to inter-pack tension. Unlike Boone, who was an Alpha contender, Razz, just seemed to want to play, which made me think of Samson. I did not see a real-life counterpart for Maggie, which was probably a good thing given her penchant for biting people on the butt.

Mary Kindred, CEO of Wolf Run, calls the animals her babies. When she walks around the yard, any effort to distract the wolves is futile, because a) she is mom and b) she has Pupperoni in her pocket. Kindred noted that the sanctuary receives no outside funding, and all expenses, such sturdy fencing, food, veterinary care, and upkeep of the grounds, are paid through donations. The facility welcomes volunteers. And despite the love and effort Mary and her staff devote to the sanctuary, both she and Savannah look forward to the day they’re no longer needed.

“These animals shouldn’t be here,” Savannah said. “The lions should be in Africa. The wolves should be in the wild. Our goal is to rescue animals and educate the public, until a facility like this is no longer needed.”

To learn more about Wolf Run, go to or contact Mary at

Click here to check out the trailer for Molly’s Naked Werewolf series:

Wolf photo credit: Memories by Chris/Chris Meyer/Georgetown, KY



Tuesday, March 29, 2011

The Dark Hunters Volume 4 by Sherrilyn Kenyon Art by Claudia Campos


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.

In this volume, the adventure continues with Talon and Sunshine as they face off against the Greek and Celtic gods bent on making a major comeback.

My thoughts:
Talon and Sunshine are two of my favorite characters from this series.  I think I like the beginning characters more than some of the later one because the series was still fresh then.  While I still enjoy reading each installment, there are now so many characters to keep track of that I feel like I start to forget who is who.  I need one of the cheater family tree diagrams like Christine Feehan uses in her Carpathian series!

Sunshine is such a pure and good character.  With her love of art and the way she looks for the best in people.  It is easy to see why Talon feels so strongly for her.  I loved seeing her grandmother and finding out the twists of fate that are woven into the fabric of their lives.  This was also the first book that gave a glimpse into Archeron's true character and his past.  I had forgotten how selfish and spiteful Styxx was in the beginning.

Seeing this story played out in manga fashion was fun.  The four volumes of the Dark Hunter series are the only  manga books I've read, but I really can see the appeal.  Because the pages do not have page numbers on them I have a hard time finding a good place to stop.  I always seem to think I'll just read one more page and before I know it I've stayed up too late and finished the book!  Since this one just came out this month I suppose it will be a bit before another volume is released.  I am a bit sorry I gave away the first volume because these are ones I now think I will be keeping on my shelves.

Product Details

Pub. Date: March 2011
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback , 208pp
Series: Dark-Hunter Manga Series
ISBN-13: 9780312554019
ISBN: 031255401X
Edition Description: First Edition

Check out my reviews on the first three volumes as well:
Dark Hunters Volume 1
Dark Hunters Volume 2
Dark Hunters Volume 3

Monday, March 28, 2011

Scooby Doo and the Caveman Caper by James Gelsey Illustrated by Duendes del Sur

Zoinks! Daphne's going to perform with Olympic figure skater Betty Kunkle. But when Betty's signature silver skates disappear, it looks like there's another mystery to solve. Only problem is, the criminal appears to be a prehistoric caveman! It's up to Scooby and his friends to find the caveman and put him back where he belongs, on ice!

My thoughts:
I grew up watching Scooby Doo.  I remember watching it after school while having a snack before I went out to play.  Sometimes it surprises me that it is still around.  My children enjoy it and have been picking out Scooby books from book orders, libraries and book stores.  My son brought this one home from the library this week.  We took turns reading pages.  I must say that it reads a lot like the TV show, and is still as predictable, but anything that gets kids reading is fine with me.  It is hard sometimes to get kids to put down their video games and the TV remote.  My two older children enjoy reading and are good readers, but sometimes it I feel like they don't read enough on their own.  I'm glad we spent some time reading together yesterday.

Product Details

Pub. Date: September 2001
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 64pp
Age Range: 7 to 10

The Falling Flowers by Jennifer Reed Illustrated by Dick Cole

Falling Flowers tells the timeless tale of a young girl, Mayumie, and her grandmother as they take the train into Tokyo to see something special--the cherry blossoms in full bloom. It is a simple plot, as there is no direct conflict except the build up of the child's excitement to see something "more interesting than the zoo or a museum." But it is through this simplicity that the beauty of the story is revealed, for Reed shows the universal bond of love that crosses both generations and cultures, and she illustrates how something so simple can bring together so many. Cole's watercolor illustrations add to this simplicity with his sleek lines, soft colors, and sparse details, making the book a wonderful story of family love. The last page offers more information about Japanese culture with an explanation of how the Japanese celebrate the cherry blossoms and a discussion of the origins of the cherry trees in Washington, D.C.

My thoughts:
I used this book with my preschool class to talk about spring and while we were working with the letter J for Japanese Cherry Blossoms.  Later I read it to my children at home and they were so interested they asked me if we could go to Washington, DC to see the trees. I'm not so sure that is going to be happening this year but it is something I've never done before.  For me to take my children I would need to do a lot more research about it.  In this book I liked not only the cultural references, but also seeing the young girl having trouble being patient and pouting about not getting her way.  Seeing the girl and her grandmother spending special time together was a nice message too.

Product Details

Pub. Date: September 2005
Publisher: Shen's Books
Format: Hardcover , 32pp
Age Range: 4 to 8

Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox 14

Not only am I getting behind on reading and reviewing, but I haven't even listed all the books I've bought and received lately.  I'm trying to catch up a few at a time.  Three of these I bought yesterday and the fourth I won on another bloggers site a little while back.


Hell on earth.

That’s what it’s like for Luce to be apart from her fallen angel boyfriend, Daniel.

It took them an eternity to find one another, but now he has told her he must go away. Just long enough to hunt down the Outcasts—immortals who want to kill Luce. Daniel hides Luce at Shoreline, a school on the rocky California coast with unusually gifted students: Nephilim, the offspring of fallen angels and humans.

At Shoreline, Luce learns what the Shadows are, and how she can use them as windows to her previous lives. Yet the more Luce learns, the more she suspects that Daniel hasn’t told her everything. He’s hiding something—something dangerous.

What if Daniel’s version of the past isn’t actually true? What if Luce is really meant to be with someone else?

The second novel in the addictive FALLEN series . . . where love never dies

*I haven't read the first book yet but couldn't resist this one at 50% off yesterday.  I guess I'll have to hold onto it for a little while until I get my hands on the first.


New York Times bestselling author Cheyenne McCray sets the night on fire in her blazing-hot Night Tracker series—where the fangs come out when the sun goes down…

Vampire attacks are on the rise in the city that never sleeps. So why is half-human, half-Drow private eye Nyx tracking down Sprites? Sure, these “young bloods” are causing mischief all over town—like painting the Statue of Liberty’s toenails neon pink. But it’s not until Nyx finds herself at the Pit, Manhattan's hottest nightclub for paranorms, that she understands what she’s really up against…

Seems Master Vampire Volod has a plan—and the Sprites are in on it. By targeting the weaknesses of every paranorm in the city, from Elves to Shifters to Zombies, Volod and his fang gang aim to rule the night once and for all. Over Nyx’s dead body. She loves a good challenge—and she will seduce danger at every turn to throw Volod off course. It’s time for Nyx to enter the beating heart of this dark conspiracy…before driving a stake through it.


After winter break, the girls at the very prestigious Longbourn Academy become obsessed with the prom. Lizzie Bennet, who attends Longbourn on a scholarship, isn’t interested in designer dresses and expensive shoes, but her best friend, Jane, might be — especially now that Charles Bingley is back from a semester in London.

Lizzie is happy about her friend’s burgeoning romance but less than impressed by Charles’s friend, Will Darcy, who’s snobby and pretentious. Darcy doesn’t seem to like Lizzie either, but she assumes it’s because her family doesn’t have money. Clearly, Will Darcy is a pompous jerk — so why does Lizzie find herself drawn to him anyway?

Will Lizzie’s pride and Will’s prejudice keep them apart? Or are they a prom couple in the making? Whatever the result, Elizabeth Eulberg, author of The Lonely Hearts Club, has concocted a very funny, completely stylish delight for any season — prom or otherwise.



Fans of the E! smash hit series The Girls Next Door fell in love with sporty Playboy beauty Kendra Wilkinson’s care- free spirit, infectious laugh, and down-to-earth nature. Now that she’s moved out of the world’s most famous bachelor pad and into her own delightfully chaotic world on Kendra as wife to NFL star Hank Baskett and mother to their newborn son, we’ve watched her hilarious antics as she adjusts to domestic life. But how much do we really know about the fun-loving star? In this humorous and optimistic, sometimes heartbreaking, but always unfailingly honest memoir, Kendra reveals the highs and lows of her extraordinary journey.

She wasn’t always the quintessential girl next door. Before she was a reality television superstar, Hugh Hefner’s girlfriend, or one of the most popular Playboy cover models ever, Kendra was an athletic tomboy whose father walked out on her family when she was a little girl. She grew into a rebellious teenager with a serious drug habit before she quit cold turkey and beat the odds to graduate from a high school that almost didn’t give her a second (or third, or fourth) chance.

Following her rocky teenage years, an out-of-the- blue phone call from Hugh Hefner changed everything. Kendra dishes candidly about life in the Playboy Mansion: the sex, the parties, the show, and even her relationships with her Girls Next Door costars—Hef, Holly, and Bridget. She tells the true story about how she and Hank met and built a relationship in secret while she was still Hef’s girl- friend and a public face of Playboy. Finally, she reflects on the slew of unexpected changes in the short space of a year that have brought her sliding into home from Playboy party girl to wife and mother with a blooming Hollywood career. If you think you’ve seen all of Kendra, think again. She’s only warming up. . . .

Saturday, March 26, 2011

In My Mailbox 13

Tonight we went to our local Border's which is still in the process of going out of business.  I bought a number of books but these three I am most excited about.  Tomorrow I will list the others.


A new Carpathian novel from the #1 New York Times bestselling author.

Dominic of the Dragonseeker Carpathians is on a desperate mission, in the very heart of enemy territory. Solange Sangria is one of the last of the jaguar people. She has long been fighting to save women who are able to shift from the hands of the man who slaughtered her family and everyone she loved-her own father. They are two warriors who have lived their lives alone. Now, a the end of their time, they find each other, a complication neither saw coming


Diana Gabaldon’s brilliant storytelling has captivated millions of readers in her bestselling and award-winning Outlander saga. Now, in her first-ever graphic novel, Gabaldon gives readers a fresh look at the events of the original Outlander: Jamie Fraser’s side of the story, gorgeously rendered by artist Hoang Nguyen.

After too long an absence, Jamie Fraser is coming home to Scotland—but not without great trepidation. Though his beloved godfather, Murtagh, promised Jamie’s late parents he’d watch over their brash son, making good on that vow will be no easy task. There’s already a fat bounty on the young exile’s head, courtesy of Captain Black Jack Randall, the sadistic British officer who’s crossed paths—and swords—with Jamie in the past. And in the court of the mighty MacKenzie clan, Jamie is a pawn in the power struggle between his uncles: aging chieftain Colum, who demands his nephew’s loyalty—or his life—and Dougal, war chieftain of Clan MacKenzie, who’d sooner see Jamie put to the sword than anointed Colum’s heir.

And then there is Claire Randall—mysterious, beautiful, and strong-willed, who appears in Jamie’s life to stir his compassion . . . and arouse his desire.

But even as Jamie’s heart draws him to Claire, Murtagh is certain she’s been sent by the Old Ones, and Captain Randall accuses her of being a spy. Claire clearly has something to hide, though Jamie can’t believe she could pose him any danger. Still, he knows she is torn between two choices—a life with him, and whatever it is that draws her thoughts so often elsewhere.

Step into the captivating, passionate, and suspenseful world of The Exile, and experience the storytelling magic of Diana Gabaldon as never before.


When Isabella Swan moves to the gloomy town of Forks and meets the mysterious, alluring Edward Cullen, her life takes a thrilling and terrifying turn. With his porcelain skin, golden eyes, mesmerizing voice, and supernatural gifts, Edward is both irresistible and impenetrable. Up until now, he has managed to keep his true identity hidden, but Bella is determined to uncover his dark secret...

Beautifully rendered, this first installment of Twilight: The Graphic Novel is a must-have for any collector's library.

Gregor and the Code of Claw by Suzanne Collins


Everyone in the Underland has been taking great pains to keep The Prophecy of Time from Gregor. Gregor knows it must say something awful but he never imagined just how awful: It calls for the warrior's death. Now, with an army of rats approaching, and his mom and sister still in Regalia, Gregor the warrior must gather up his courage to help defend Regalia and get his family home safely. The entire existence of the Underland is in Gregor's hands, and time is running out. There is a code to be cracked, a mysterious new princess, Gregor's burgeoning dark side, and a war to end all wars.

My thoughts:
This week we reached the conclusion of the Underland series.  I listened to this audio book in the car with my children.  Last week I was able to check out books one and two from a different local library so we are going to go back to the beginning of the series and fill in the gaps of what we know.  If I had it to do over again I would have waited to start at the beginning because I think knowing what we already do may get it in the way of the story having a lot of suspense and perhaps even take away some of the enjoyment, but what is done is done.

The ending of this story leads me to believe that the series is done, I don't see much of an opening to continue on with the story.  While reading series is fun, it is also nice to have a clear ending, otherwise some series seem to go on for way longer than they need to.  As with the Hunger Games series, which Collins is also the author of, it is clear that the story has ended and, while the characters will go on, there will not be anything as compeling as what they have already experienced to keep the series alive.

Gregor makes a lot of tough decisions in this book and some more important characters meet their end.  Luxa declares war on the Nars (rats) because of their execution of the Nibblers (mice).  Solevete takes over the armed forces once again and Gregor is not thrilled with the plan for him to be under her control.  Gregor's dad and grandmother both take a turn for the worse healthwise in the Overland and Gregor comes to believe that the Prophesy of Claw that calls for the death of the warrior is saying that he will die in the battle.  As with any story where there are battles, some of the fighting is graphic, perhaps more so than I would have expected in a children's book.  Then again, the fights in the Chronicles of Narnia could be just as bloody.  I think it is more so that these are not the books I recall reading when I was in this age group so I am surprised by how much blood and death there is. 

I am looking forward to filling in the what we don't already know with the first two books in the series.  Years ago, when I was still teaching first grade, I recall picking up Gregor the Overlander at a book fair and debating buying it.  At that time I put it back, but it is funny that now, years later, I have picked up the book again and am enjoying reading the whole series.

Product Details

Pub. Date: May 2008
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Paperback , 412pp
Series: Underland Chronicles Series , #5
ISBN-13: 9780439791441
ISBN: 0439791448

Suzanne Collin's debut novel, Gregor the Overlander, the first book in Underland Chronicles, received wide praise both in the United States and abroad. All three titles in the series are available on audio from Listening Library. Also a writer for children's television, Suzanne lives with her family in Connecticut.

Dark Hunters Volume 3 Story by Sherrilyn Kenyon Art by Claudia Campos

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.

Talon, an ancient Celtic warrior, has been cursed by the god Camulus for killing his son.  Camulus cursed Talon, decreeing death for everyone he loved.  Now a Dark-Hunter in modern-day New Orleans, Talon meets Sunshine, who is key to ending his curse once and for all.  Not to mention helping him to save New Orleans from an ancient god bent on total destruction...
My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading Talon and Sunshine's story when I started the Dark Hunter series a few years ago and it is nice to go back and revisit them.  Over the course of time some of the details have gotten fuzzy for me, but for the most part I remembered the events that took place.  This book is only part one of their story, just as volumes one and two followed Kyrian and Amanda, volumes three and four are about Talon and Sunshine.  Both Kyrian and Julian make an appearance, along with Acheron and Nick.  Thinking ahead, if the manga series continues, I wonder how many books it will take to tell Acheron's story.  His was the longest of all the books and the most involved.  When I read the series his book is the one I started with so I knew all his secrets already when the characters in the books were still in the dark about him.

Getting back to the book, I enjoyed the illustrations and the telling through visuals.  I don't always care for the way the characters faces look when they are surprised or embarrassed, but I am guessing that that is a characteristic of manga illustrations (since the Dark-Hunter books are the only manga books I've tried out to this point in time).  I don't recall Ash having such long hair either, but it has been awhile.

Sunshine is one of the characters I always liked.  I liked her forgetfulness and the way she lives in her own little world.  In the novel Starla is introduced and then you find out that she is Sunshine's mother, but this book skipped over that.  Perhaps it didn't seem important or it could be that Kenyon and her editors thought that most readers of the manga books would have already read the novels so they would know that already.

In this book Styxx makes an appearance but who he is is not mentioned.  I can't recall if that was the case in the book either since I already knew who he was from having read the books our of order.  I love how quick and easy these reads are and how time flies while I am reading them.  I've started the fourth one, but now I need to look and see when the next one is supposed to come out.

Product Details

Pub. Date: September 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Paperback , 208pp
Series: Dark-Hunter Manga Series
ISBN-13: 9780312376888
ISBN: 031237688X


Sherrilyn Kenyon is a #1 New York Times bestselling author with more than sixteen million copies of her books in print, in over thirty countries. She is the author of the Dark-Hunter novels, which have an international cult following and always appear at the top of The New York Times, Publishers Weekly, and USA Today lists. Writing both as Sherrilyn Kenyon and Kinley MacGregor, she is also the author of several other series, including: The League, Brotherhood of the Sword, Lords of Avalon, The Dream-Hunters and the forthcoming Nevermore.

Friday, March 25, 2011

Superhero ABC by Bob McLeod


Silly and zany, and armed with the most unusual skills, these heroes are out to save the world-one letter at a time! bubble-Man blows big bubbles at bullies, and laughing lass laughs at lawbreakers! together, these one-of-a-kind defenders represent the ABC's in a way never seen before.

Renowned comic-book illustrator Bob McLeod has created a full cast of humorous and delightful characters, sure to please anyone in need of a hero to save the day.

My thoughts:
Yesterday my class went on a field trip to our local library.  After the tour and trip were over I spent a few minutes talking to the children's librarian and I found out about a local author who has also worked as a comic book illustrator.  Comics are something my family has become more interested in lately and as a family we have visited local comic book stores as well as a comic book expo.  I checked out the book to read it to my children. 

Each page looks like a page from a comic and the superheros for each of the letters are funny, like "Upside- Down Man" and the "Yellow Yeller".  My children laughed at something on almost every page!  The librarian mentioned that she recommends the book to parents who are having a hard time convincing their school age children that learning letters can be fun.  Just like at school each of the superheros has the letter in their name at least once if not more and the illustrations and captions are all funny and memorable.  "Water Woman" swims in the water like a mermaid, without the tail,  and "Ms. Incredible" who can become invisible.  The superheros are split between female and male characters as well.  While there are still more male superheros (19 letters with male characters and 7 with female superheros) it didn't feel as unequal. Girls won't feel left out, but I wish it there had been a few more of them.  This would be a fun addition to any library.  For now I don't plan on buying it as we can borrow it from the library, but I did have to think about it before making my decision.

Product Details

Pub. Date: June 2009
Publisher: Barnes & Noble
Format: Hardcover , 40pp
ISBN-13: 9781435117600
ISBN: 1435117603


Bob Mcleod is a comic-book illustrator who has worked on such projects as Spider-Man, Superman, and The Phantom. SuperHero ABC is his first children’s book. he lives with his wife, Lucy; their three children, Molly, Jeff, and Andy; and their dog, Penny, in Pennsylvania.

Friday, March 18, 2011

In My Mailbox 12

The school I work for had a book fair yesterday at Barnes and Nobel.  While I was there as a guest reader I picked up two books that I've been wanting to read using a gift card I received at Christmas time.


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.

Kyrian is an immortal Dark-Hunter who just lost his Dark-Hunter powers and along with it, his immortality. Now he is faced with the chance to regain not only his humanity, but his very soul. The problem is, it couldn’t have happened at a worse time. Desiderius is closing in and if Kyrian and Amanda are going to save humanity then Kyrian must take the war to his enemy or it may be too late.


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.

In this volume, the adventure continues with Talon and Sunshine as they face off against the Greek and Celtic gods bent on making a major comeback

Technically this one is not from my mailbox, i requested it at the library and picked it up on Wednesday, but I am really excited to be reading it so I couldn't resist including it in the post:

Condemned and shunned for black magic, Rachel Morgan has three days to get to the annual witches’ conference and clear her name, or be trapped in the demonic ever-after . . . forever after.

But a witch, an elf, a living vampire, and a pixy in one car going across the country? Talk about a recipe for certain disaster, even without being the targets for assassination.

For after centuries of torment, a fearsome demon walks in the sunlight—freed at last to slay the innocent and devour their souls. But his ultimate goal is Rachel Morgan, and in the fight for survival that follows, even embracing her own demonic nature may not be enough to save her.

Tuesday, March 15, 2011

Win all five of the Breathless Reads!

Beth Revis is having a contest over at her blog for a chance to win these five books, all of which will be signed.  The books are above (just click on the picture and it will take you to her site to enter) and here is what they are about in her own words:
•THE ETERNAL ONES by Kiersten Miller is a fast-paced, adventurious love story that involves reincarnation, secret societies, and fire.

•THE REPLACEMENT by Brenna Yovanoff is a hauntingly beautiful book that scares the pants off me.

•NIGHTSHADE by Andrea Cremer is not about werewolves--it's about true wolves that can shapeshift into people written by a brilliant scholar who incorporate history into the tale.

•MATCHED by Allie Condie shows us that love can break through any barrier, and the most important thing is to not go gently...

•ACROSS THE UNIVERSE is the book that I wrote and I would really like it if you liked it. Also I think you're pretty and want to be friends with you.

Head on over to her blog for a chance to win!

A Fabumouse School Adventure by Geronimo Stilton (Book #38)


When my nephew, Benjamin, invited me to Career Day at his school, things did not turn out the way I expected. I caused a volcanic explosion, got tangled in the tunnel slide on the playground, and accidentally let the class's pet gecko out of its cage! Rat munching rattlesnakes-how was I going to get myself out of this mess?

My thoughts:
This is the first book I've read in the Geronimo Stilton series.  My son has been reading them to himself but I've only listened to him read a chapter or two here or there.  Tomorrow is library day for my daughter and she informed me after baths that we hadn't read her books yet.  I was picturing her usual picture books so I told her I'd read them when I came back downstairs.  Imagine my surprise when she had two chapter books for me to read before bed!  I let her pick one and I read it a lot faster than I normally would, with a lot less inflection and such, but we finished it!

Geronimo seems like a really fun and relateable character.  He admits to being scared of things and nervous about things but forges ahead anyway, which seems like a good lesson for children.  All the names have something to do with mice.  Like last names such as Stiffwhiskers, Handimouse, Sandsnout and Rodentford.  All the food seems to be cheese based and Geronimo is funny.  He gets hoisted up a flag pole and stuck in a tube slide, he gets scared of a mummy and gets caught trying to sneak food when preparing lunch.  He is like a big kid caught in a world he has trouble with.  It will take a few more books but I think I like Geronimo.  There are illustrations very regularly throughout the books and some of the text is written in different fonts or colors, sometimes going in a curly pattern or like a set of stairs.  Interspersed with the story are real facts about thinks like geckos and recipes and directions to try experiments included in the book.  Definitely a book that will hold the attention of elementary are children.

Product Details

Pub. Date: July 2009
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Mass Market Paperback , 128pp
Age Range: 7 to 10
Series: Geronimo Stilton Series , #38
ISBN-13: 9780545021388
ISBN: 0545021383

Monday, March 14, 2011

Gregor and the Marks of Secret by Suzanne Collins


It's only a few months since Gregor and Boots returned from the Underland, leaving their mother behind to heal from the plague. Though Gregor's family receives frequent updates on her condition, they all know Gregor must return to fulfill his role as the warrior who is key to the Underlanders' survival. Accompanied by his now-talkative little sister Boots, still considered the honorary "princess," Gregor joins forces with another princess--12-year-old Luxa--and Ripred the rat to defend the Underlanders and the vulnerable "Nibblers," or mice, from the rat army.

My thoughts:
My children and I listened to this audio book in the car.  It picks up just after the third book ended.  We still need to go back to the beginning of the series to read or listen to books one and two, but the library we have been going to does not have them on audio Cd's.  I am going to another nearby library next week and hope to borrow them then.  Since we've already started the fifth book in the series I hope to be done with that one by then so we can start at the beginning.

As a mother of four I have to say that the author has made Boots a bit precocious.  She knows all her letter and things that begin with the letters and talks an awful lot.  Now I know all children are different, and I did have a child who at 2 knew all his letters, but I think the way she is written is out of the normal range for her age.  I know it is a book and it shouldn't matter since the rest of it is a fictional fantasy as well, but this element of the book throws it a bit for me and is distracting. 

The picnic that turns into a journey through passages even below the Underland that we've seen before brings the story into a more mature storyline.  The rats are being led now by the Bane, who was a white rat that Gregor saved in an earlier book who has now grown to at least 8 feet tall and is the leader for the rats.  He is all set to bring the mice to extinction (all sorts of parallels could be drawn here but I didn't feel my children were quite ready for that discussion just yet).

Gregor and Luxa seem to be developing feelings for each other which seems to be something new for Gregor.  This seems to be about the right time developmentally for him to be doing so and the conflicted feelings and confusion make him a more real character to me.

The ending is a cliff hanger.  We finished listening to it on Saturday and my children were very disappointed that we didn't have the next book to start right away.  I did check out book five today so we are now started..  Sometimes the slowness of audio books bothers me.  I know the narrators want to make the story exciting, and I love how most of the ones we've listened to use different voices for different characters, but it would be so much faster to read it on my own.  This is part of the reason why I don't listen to more adult audio books, plus the fact that my children are usually with me in the car so most wouldn't be appropriate. 
Gregor and the Marks of Secret (Underland Chronicles Series #4)

Product Details
Pub. Date: May 2006
Publisher: Scholastic, Inc.
Format: Hardcover , 352pp
Age Range: 9 to 12
Series: Underland Chronicles Series , #4
ISBN-13: 9780439791458
ISBN: 0439791456

Also in My Mailbox

Last week I also got some new books from Paperbackswap:


Official Book Club Selection is Kathy Griffin unplugged, uncensored, and unafraid to dish about what really happens on the road, away from the cameras, and at the star party after the show. (It’s also her big chance to score that coveted book club endorsement she’s always wanted. Are you there, Oprah? It’s me, Kathy.)

Kathy Griffin has won Emmys for her reality show Kathy Griffin: My Life on the D-List, been nominated for a Grammy, worked and walked every red carpet known to man, and rung in the New Year with Anderson Cooper. But the legions of fans who pack Kathy’s sold-out comedy shows have heard only part of her remarkable story. Writing with her trademark wit, the feisty comic settles a few old scores, celebrates the friends and mentors who helped her claw her way to the top, and shares insider gossip about celebrity behavior–the good, the bad, and the very ugly. She recounts the crazy ups and downs of her own career and...


The stunning third and final novel in Stieg Larsson’s internationally best-selling trilogy

Lisbeth Salander—the heart of Larsson’s two previous novels—lies in critical condition, a bullet wound to her head, in the intensive care unit of a Swedish city hospital. She’s fighting for her life in more ways than one: if and when she recovers, she’ll be taken back to Stockholm to stand trial for three murders. With the help of her friend, journalist Mikael Blomkvist, she will not only have to prove her innocence, but also identify and denounce those in authority who have allowed the vulnerable, like herself, to suffer abuse and violence. And, on her own, she will plot revenge—against the man who tried to kill her, and the corrupt government institutions that very nearly destroyed her life.

Once upon a time, she was a victim. Now Salander is fighting back.


The Aldens begin their adventure by making a home in a boxcar. Their goal is to stay together, and in the process they find a grandfather.

Sunday, March 13, 2011

In My Mailbox 11

Yesterday I stopped into our local Borders to see what they had left on the shelves. Everyone in our family picked out something to bring home with us. These are the three books I picked out for myself:


Curiosity is definitely going to get me dead one of these days. Probably real soon.

I'm Gin Blanco.

You might know me as the Spider, the most feared assassin in the South. I’m retired now, but trouble still has a way of finding me. Like the other day when two punks tried to rob my popular barbecue joint, the Pork Pit. Then there was the barrage of gunfire on the restaurant. Only, for once, those kill shots weren’t aimed at me. They were meant for Violet Fox. Ever since I agreed to help Violet and her grandfather protect their property from an evil coalmining tycoon, I’m beginning to wonder if I’m really retired. So is Detective Donovan Caine. The only honest cop in Ashland is having a real hard time reconciling his attraction to me with his Boy Scout mentality. And I can barely keep my hands off his sexy body. What can I say? I’m a Stone elemental with a little Ice magic thrown in, but my heart isn’t made of solid rock. Luckily, Gin Blanco always gets her man . . . dead or alive.


She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.


Romantic medieval fantasy from a debut author

Friday, March 11, 2011

How to Never Look Fat Again by Charla Krupp

How to Never Look Fat Again by Charla Krupp

Product Details
Pub. Date: March 2010
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover, 253pp

The new groundbreaking style-guide from bestseller author Charla Krupp on how to look 10 pounds lighter, 10 years younger and 10 times sexier every day, all year--in summer, winter, at the gym, even in a swimsuit!

You'll never get dressed the same way again once you discover:

*smart, easy ways to hide arm flap, a big bust, a muffin top, back fat, Buddha belly, a big booty, wide hips, thunder thighs, and heavy calves-and that's only half the book.

*which fabrics, colors, and styles make women look fat

*absolutely the best shades, shapes, and brilliant buys to make the pounds invisible

*clever solutions for special fashion situations--workout gear, evening wear, and even swimsuits!

*which products, fashions, and services you shouldn't waste your money on

*the top ten tips that will make you look thinner by tonight!

So, if you've ever put on a piece of clothing and asked "Does this make me look fat?" Finally, here is the book that will answer your question.

My thoughts:

I reviewed this book a year ago, but this afternoon when I was reading People magazine I saw that it was just released in paperback.  This is the same review I posted in March of 2010.:

How to Never Look Fat Again is so much more comprehensive than I was expecting. I hadn’t realized it was a follow-up book to another one entitled How Not to Look Old. While we all want to look good there are some simple mistakes women can make on an everyday basis that can make us look heavier and looking heavier even a little can affect a woman’s ability to get a better job or receive raises. She does qualify that this book is geared for women who are in their normal weight range or slightly overweight, not for anyone who is obese.

Krupp includes a list of clothing and fabrics that she considers high-fat, low-fat and no-fat as well as a quiz for the reader to use to see how the current clothes she has in her closet fit into this rating system. I have to admit I was a bit overwhelmed when I started chapter one and it was asking if your face shape, hair, or make-up was making you look fat. But the common sense is there and I skimmed areas that didn’t pertain to me. For example, while not having bangs might add weight to my face I can’t stand them, they drive me nuts, so I will take any extra weight it adds for me to be comfortable.

I did like her pages of vows of what not to do. Reminders about not parting hair in the middle or dying hair black or wearing cutesy hair accessories jumped out at me. Plus I like the swap outs in each chapter suggesting that instead of one thing you do another similar but slimming thing instead, like instead of a boat neck you try a scoop neck to elongate your neck. Also the use of the same model showing do’s and don’ts make more of an impression than just reading about it. Seeing someone making different choices and looking much slimmer was eye opening.

One trick I’ve seen before but have to admit needs repeating is get sized for a new bra in the correct size and make sure it is supportive enough. By making your midsection as long as possible (by having your breasts in the right place not down at your elbows) makes a big difference. I see this all the time when out in public and it is something I am very conscious of. One thing I disagree on is putting jeans in the dryer. I love my jeans when they are first washed because that is when they fit the best, by the end of the day they have stretched out again and I can’t wait to wear them from the dryer again. Because of that I try to buy them a little longer than I need so they have room to shrink.

One of her reminder messages to all of us is that as we age we can no longer eat as much as we could when we were younger. It is so hard to get used to eating less though. She tells her own story of how she used to be able to use the Weight Watchers plan and with 18 points a day she could easily drop extra weight, but she recently discovered that that plan wasn’t working for her anymore. When she saw her weight Watcher coach she found out that 18 points was now too many and that she needed less. This is particularly hard with eating out because at restaurants the portion of food is so much more than most of us need, but hard to resist when it is sitting on the table in front of us especially when you are socializing and not as focused on the food.

My favorite part of the book was at the end. While I know I should go through my closet and remove clothes that aren’t flattering I am a bit too frugal to do it all at once. I tend to wear things until they wear out (last month I finally threw away a pair of jeans that had a hole in one back pocket, a hole in one front pocket, and a hole in the knee. What landed them in the trash was that when I was folding them the button from the front fell off, at which point I decided they were beyond repair!). That said, I am going to be more selective next time I go through my closet and weed out more items that I rarely wear because I don’t like how they look. Back to the book though, she gives ideas for what to do with your cast offs (eBay, clothing swap, donate) and then 37 tips to be thinner. Who knew putting cinnamon on things helps to burn calories? I am making better choices at the grocery store, I keep walking to the pantry to find chocolate or chips but they are no longer there, so I am able to stop myself from eating them simply by not having them available.

I think I will be using her tips as I add new clothes to my wardrobe and as I decide what to discard from what I own, but I do not plan on replacing everything even if it isn't the most flattering. I wore a sweater today that probably made me look heavier than I am but that for some reason I just love. Since I really like it I am willing to look less than my best to enjoy wearing it, that balances out any negatives about it's appearance for me!


Charla Krupp has done more than 100 style segments on The Today Show and she has appeared on Good Morning America, Oprah, The View, Dateline NBC, and has been a regular on The E! Channel and Home Shopping Network. She was beauty director of Glamour, editor of In Style, beauty editor for People's Style Watch and executive editor of Shop Etc. Magazine. Her writing has appeared in The New York Times, InStyle, Glamour, Shop Etc., People, Cosmopolitan, The Chicago Tribune, USA Today, and Time.

Book details:

Author Website:


Facebook page:!/pages/HOW-TO-NEVER-LOOK-FAT-AGAIN-CHARLA-KRUPP/289932520885?ref=ts

Eight Little Faces: A Mom's Journey by Kate Gosselin

Becoming the parents of eight children in less than four years has definitely presented both trials and blessings to Jon and Kate Gosselin. In this very personal close-up of their family life, Kate comments on the life lessons God has taught her. Featuring themes like trust, perseverance, joy, and encouragement, each two-page spread includes a photograph from the Gosselin family album, words from Kate, and topical Scripture verses. This book makes the perfect gift for any fan of the Gosselin's television show Jon& Kate Plus 8, which is featured on TLC, as well as any mother struggling with the demands of small children.

My thoughts:
This was another odd choice for me.  I watched Kate Gosslin on Dancing with the Stars last year and didn't really care for her.  I've read magazine articles about Kate and her family and saw the whole drama unfold when she and Jon split last year or the year before, not sure how long ago that was.  But through it all I wondered what kind of mother she was.  How she handled having eight children, how the older two felt when greeted with six new siblings, the logistics of taking eight children anywhere (I know sometimes my four feel like a handful and she had double).  None of that was really answered in this book.  I should have taken the time to flip through it, but I saw it on my way to the check out and it was only a dollar so I took a chance on it.  Each page has a picture from their family, a short paragraph (two or three sentences) about a theme word and then a bible quote.  I recall having read that Kate was creating a journal for her children so they could see how much she loved and appreciated them, but I was expecting something more than this.  I can see why it is in the bargain bin.  Plus, she keep talking about how she and Jon work as a team and she couldn't imagine doing this without him and, as anyone who has checked out at a supermarket knows, they are no longer together and went through pretty public nastiness regarding each other and their children.  It felt like the face and voice she was showing in the book are different than the few times I caught segments of her show.  This feels almost like a work of fiction rather than a journal to show her journey to motherhood and her love for her children.
Jon and Kate Gosselin had the joy of birthing twins and sextuplets in three years. The daily lives of their family are chronicled on TLC's hit show Jon & Kate plus 8. They are frequent speakers at churches and other events and live in central Pennsylvania. Find out more at

Product Details

Pub. Date: April 2009
Publisher: Zondervan
Format: Hardcover , 48pp
ISBN-13: 9781616881795
ISBN: 1616881798

Thursday, March 10, 2011

Celebrity Detox: The Fame Game by Rosie O'Donnell


That's the thing about fame. If you live like a famous person, you will pay the price. And it's a high price, and a dangerous game, because fame, the drug can sneak up on you in increments. You don't notice the increments, that they're increasing until you're so far away from ever making eye contact with another human being and being "real," that you don't even know you're not "real" anymore.

When O'Donnell's mother was diagnosed with cancer in 1973, ten-year-old Rosie believed that fame could cure her. Though she was still a kid, she had already grasped the cultural connection between talent and money. If she could become famous, the funds would pour in - and buy her mom the miracle cure that could save her life.

Rosie's mother died, but the bond in her daughter's mind between stardom and hope survived, propelling 0'Donnell into a career as a talk show host and passionate philanthropist.

At times funny, at others heartbreaking, but always intensely honest, CELEBRITY DETOX is Rosie's story of the years after she walked away from her top-rated TV show in 2002, and her reasons for going back on the air in 2006. In it, O'Donnell takes you inside the world of talk show TV, speaking candidly about the conflicts and challenges she faced as co-host on ABC's The View. Along the way O'Donnell shows us how fame becomes addiction and explores whether or not it's possible for an addict to safely, and sanely, return to the spotlight. She reveals her everyday interactions with her family, and the pressures of being both an ordinary mom and a "personality." She tells of the lifelong admiration she has had for an entertainment icon and of her complicated friendships with her TV colleagues - and talks openly about some dark passages from her own past.

Chronicling the ups and downs of "the fame game," Rosie O'Donnell illuminates not only what it's like to be a celebrity, but also what it's like to be a mother, a daughter, a leader, a friend, a sister, a wife - in short, a human being.

I came on The View. This is the story of how it all happened, off stage, on stage, how we struggled to make the show, and then so much more than that.

This is an account of what it means to make a show, and a friend, and an enemy, or two. This is about where we went wrong, and right. It's a story about stars and celebrities and one woman - me - going off air four years ago and then trying to re-enter orbit, not knowing if she can. It's the story of wondering whether I could give up the addictive elixir of fame and then go back, wondering if it's possible to sip instead of slug. It's a story about so much - how Barbara Walters started out as a sort of mother, and me a child willing to obey, and where we finally ended up, months later - after all the Trump dump and divisive ways of the world we are in, we have still, and nevertheless, at the very end, we have found a way to talk. We found, I have to hope, a friendship that, like any other friendship, is both compromised and connected.

All of Rosie's net profits from this book are being donated to Rosie's Broadway Kids, a program that brings musical theater to New York City public school children.

My thoughts:
I will admit that this book was a bit of an odd choice for me.  I don't watch a lot of TV and only ever occasionally even saw Rosie's show or The View, but it is interesting to read how someone who seems larger than life sees herself in her own life.  This book, as stated in the synopsis, is about Rosie's decision to go back on TV as a cohost on The View, how she decided to be on the show and then the year she was on the show.  She talks at length about her disagreement with Donald Trump and about when she realized that her joking way of taking as if she were Chinese had actually been hurtful.  More than anything though, it is about how she has missed her mother for years and has yearned to have had the chance to have her in her life now and how she loves her children.  While she is a celebrity, and has more money than many of us could ever imagine having, she still struggles with balancing her life as a mother and her life in her career.  I liked how she recognized that she has an advantage over many mothers in that she has two nanny's along with her wife to help her with her four children.  I enjoyed the narrative parts of the book but was not a big fan of the  blog entries.  Spelling and punctuation are important to me, I know that I still make mistakes in my writing, but I don't care for abbreviations and such like "u" for  "you".  That is just me.  Maybe when I jump into texting I will have a change of heart, but for right now I did not care for those sections. 

One of the items Rosie commented on that was not from her own life was Anna Nicole Smith's death.  Last month I read a book about Anna Nicole so it was interesting to have her pop up here as well.  Rosie places a portion fo the blame for Anna Nicole's demise on the public for siletnly standing by and watching her fall apart and for particiatping in watching it happen.  I recall seeing a tabloid picture of Anna Niciole jumping into the water after her commitment ceremony and thinking it was such a bad idea since you aren't supposed to go swimming for six weeks after the birth of a baby.  (My other worry comes from watching Jaws, woulding the bleeding a woman experiences after birth be a bad thing to be having in ocean water when a shark could come around.  I am sure the shark was a lot less of a concern than the possible infection and othe rcomplications of swimming so soon after birth, but it did cross my mind!)  It seems sometimes like celebrities follow a different set of rules, but maybe it was all for the cameras and Anna Nicole didn't really want to be jumping into salt water but felt like she had to for the cameras filming her life.

I hope that Rosie has been able to find her yellow (her own term for her happiness) and I thought it was wonderful to read that she was donating proceeds from the book to a charity.  I also was really appreciated her willingness to donate to others and to causes she believes in.


Rosie O'Donnell is one of America's favorite celebrities. She was the host of The Rosie O'Donnell Show, one of the most popular shows of the decade, and has also appeared in numerous movies, television sitcoms, comedy specials and, most recently, on Broadway. She was also co-host of The View.

Product Details

Pub. Date: October 2007
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Format: Hardcover , 224pp
ISBN-13: 9780446582247
ISBN: 0446582247

Wednesday, March 9, 2011

It Doesn't Count if's the last one: 204 More Reasons Why You Can Eat That by Daisy Westmoor


There’s nothing fun about dieting.

Except cheating!

Never fear when the craving hits for that emergency chocolate hidden in your drawer. Inside this delicious little book, you’ll find your greatest hopes realized: more than 200 reasons why you can eat what you want without a hint of guilt. You already know that it doesn’t count if you take it off someone else’s plate. Now there’s more good news: It doesn’t count if you worked out within twelve hours of eating it. Or if you’re having a bad hair day!

Your real diet may start tomorrow. But for now, this book is a wonderful (and calorie-free!) way to pretend.

My thoughts:
I'll admit it, I was hungry when I bought this book.  I was a the dollar store getting ready for a birthday party and I saw it on the shelf.  That was earlier tonight and honestly, I'm still hungry.  But that is not the point of the book, of course!

I think a lot of us do rationalize eating something when we think we shouldn't with a variety of excuses.  I know one of my stumbling blocks to keeping my food journal is that I don't always know how many calories something has.  What do you write down for the lick of cupcake batter or the baked treat that someone made so it doesn't come with a nutrition label?  Sometimes I do eat something from my kids plates when I am cleaning the table and they didn't finish something.  How many calories are in two bites of a roll?  Daisy gives a whole slew of humorous reasons why you can eat something.  It  is the last one, you just worked out, you are wearing workout clothes, the diet doesn't start until tomorrow, your scale is broken, you just had good sex or bad sex, you just got dumped, it wasn't your plate and so on.  But the best reason is her last, "it doesn't count unless you want it too".  In taking charge of our own health and wellness it is up to us to make the adjustments we need to be what we want to be.  I started the new year with such good intentions, and some of them I've followed through on, but diet and exercise are two of the harder ones for me.  I need to make it all count because I want to not because I have to.

DAISY WESTMOOR loves looking delicate—but not as much as she loves cupcakes. She was raised in East Orange, New Jersey, but all her friends reside in Bakewell. Daisy lives in New York with her two boxes of chocolate (given to her as gifts, naturally).

Product Details

Pub. Date: December 2008
Publisher: Crown Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover , 112pp
ISBN-13: 9780307451484
ISBN: 0307451488