Friday, December 31, 2010

Human Blend by Lori Pescatore

Marion, Virginia seemed like a nice place to live a normal life, but she is not a normal girl. Laney has special abilities that keep her looking over her shoulder as she makes her escape from the men who had kidnapped her. A young doctor's interest is piqued when he witnesses her mysteriously curing a young child's illness. He befriends her due to his growing fascination with uncovering the true nature of her abilities, but not without harboring secrets of his own. Laney's budding relationship with a local boy puts both of them in danger when the men she was hiding from find her. All of their lives will change forever as ancient secrets become unearthed.

Laney is used and abused from the time she was little. She runs away but is caught and pays for her escapes. This time she is careful and gets a new identity and moves to a small town, hoping for a 'normal' life.
Right away, normal seems to be what she gets: she becomes a volunteer at the hospital using her special healing powers, she gets a boyfriend and a doctor who isn't what he seems to be and at the same time is attracted to Laney.

I'm not sure how to review this book. I don't usually read/review adult romance. Some of the scenes made me uncomfortable.
I enjoyed the storyline and wanted to keep reading to find out what happened to the three main characters.  I must confess I shut the book several times and vowed not to continue reading only to open it again because I wanted to know the ending.
Why did I shut the book you ask? One reason: Lori really needed an editor/proofreader/critique group. There were many grammar, etc. errors that took me out of the story. Self-publishing is hard and I applaud Lori for getting her book written and published. Authors need to believe in their work and Lori does.
The characters were interesting. They had unique abilities that were uplifting but sometimes used for bad things. I enjoyed reading how they worked through their trials.
I would recommend this book as an adult romance.  This is also the first book of a trilogy.


Rating: PG 17
L: Swear words sprinkled throughout
V: Young girl beat up; people killed; nothing bloody or gory but sad
S: Yes but not graphic


"...that he does, she is unable to resist telling him what he wants to know.
"Ready to do this?" he asked her.
"Yes," she replied. "I'm going to go change first," she said.
"Meet me in my office," he said, and started off down the hall.
After changing, Julie made a quick call to the laundromat. she couldn't remember if she had made plans with Austin or not. "Hey, how's that washer coming?" she asked when she recognized his voice.
"Hey, Jules. It's all fixed actually. I picked up the part it needed after school, and she is up and running. Are you done work?" he asked.
"Yes and no. I am gonna hang out here. there is a little girl that is undergoing a procedure, and I kinda want to be here when she comes through it," she explained.
"Want me to come wait with you?" Austin asked.
"No, that's okay. I'm not sure how late it will run. Oh hey, I got some good news. I found an ad for an apartment, like one block from the hospital. I have an appointment to see it tomorrow morning," she said, changing the subject.
That's great, Jules," Austin said, sounding genuinely happy. "Maybe tomorrow night will have something to celebrate," he said.
"I'd like that," Julie said.
"Me too," Austin replied.
"Have a good night, then," Julie wished him.
"Sweet dreams," he said. Julie hung up and made her way to the doctor's office.
"All set?" Eli asked, when she entered.
"Ready when you are," she replied. Julie and Eli walked down to the room next door. it was a small, private, patient's room. Michele was there, still curled into her fetal position. The quiet, steady beeping of machines was the only sound.
"Before you begin," Eli said. "I want you to describe what you feel when you touch her," he said. Julie nodded and walked over to the child's sleeping form. She reached under the covers and..."

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

FINDING ROSE by Stephanie Humphreys

On his deathbed, Rose Sterling’s father asks her to consider Miles Crandall as a suitor. Then Rose is sent to live with an uncle in Spring Creek, Montana, far from her carefree life with her family in Utah. Miles is returning to his hometown of Spring Creek to set up a medical practice, so Rose is certain her being sent there is a setup. Yet Miles doesn’t seem interested in her, and after Rose falls ill in Montana, he seems content to act as her physician and friend. When Rose captures the attention of Miles’s younger, flamboyant brother as well as the town sheriff, Miles retreats even further from
any attempt at courtship.

How can Rose honor her father’s last wish if Miles doesn’t even try to court her? Will she have the courage to put her heart on the line and fight for the one she really loves?



This is part of LDS history I wasn't educated on. I'm from Logan, Utah and it was interesting to read some history from this era.
I felt the characters were portrayed younger than their age. But this is a sweet, innocent, clean romance that many will enjoy.

Ratings: PG
S: None
L: None
V: None


Page 69 Test:
Chapter 8
""Where have you been?" Maggie frowned as Rose approached the house. All the guests had gone and the house was quiet. "Surely I have taught you better than to run around the countryside like a boy, especially on the day of your father's funeral."
"I guess that's my fault, Mama," Sean said. He came out of the house and put his arm around the two women. "You shouldn't have let her tag along with me so much when she was younger. I guess we'll never see her grow out of those unladylike ways, will we?"
Maggie smiled wearily. "I'm so glad to see a little spirit back in the two of you." She closed the door and took Rose's hand. "Sean, would you please find Carrie and tell her I want to speak to all of you in the parlor? We need to talk about the future."
The Future. Rose grimaced. She hoped for a few days ot just pretend nothing else would change. Rose drew the drapes in the window and sat in a chair close to the fire. She loved the parlor. Her mother's ebroidery hung on the walls. the fireplace was flanked by two armchairs, but Maggie sat in the rocker that..."

Monday, December 20, 2010

The Lost Saint by Bree Despain First Chapter

I don't have a review of this book OR page 69 but I do have the first chapter if you're interested:

Here's the link to The Lost Saint first chapter.

Here's the trailer:

Friday, December 10, 2010

PROMISE ME by Richard Paul Evans

"As you read my story, there is something I want you to understand. That in spite of all the pain—past, present and that still to come—I wouldn’t have done anything differently. Nor would I trade the time I had with him for anything—except for what, in the end, I traded it for." Beth Cardall has a secret. For eighteen years, she has had no choice but to keep it to herself, but on Christmas Eve 2008, all that is about to change. For Beth, 1989 was a year marked by tragedy. Her life was falling apart: her six-year-old daughter, Charlotte, was suffering from an unidentifiable illness; her marriage transformed from a seemingly happy and loving relationship to one full of betrayal and pain; her job at the dry cleaners was increasingly at risk; and she had lost any ability to trust, to hope, or to believe in herself. Then, on Christmas Day, as she rushed through a blizzard to the nearest 7-Eleven, Beth encountered Matthew, a strikingly handsome, mysterious stranger, who would single-handedly change the course of her life. Who is this man, and how does he seem to know so much about her? He pursues her relentlessly, and only after she’s fallen deeply in love with him does she learn his incredible secret, changing the world as she knows it, as well as her own destiny. From the New York Times bestselling author of the beloved classics The Christmas Box and The Christmas List comes a breathtaking story of the transcendent power of love."


RATING: PG
S: None
L: None
V: None


I have no idea how to rate this book or even review it. I can't do much in the way of review because it could give the plot away.
There was no character building. The characters didn't grow except in love when they shouldn't have. Money flowed conveniently when it needed to. Help came when needed and in the form of a gorgeous man.
Maybe I was having an off day in my reading. I don't know. Personally? I did not like this book. It was a little too wacky for me but I can't tell you because it would spoil the twists.
If your looking for an intriguing and clean romance, this book just might be for you!


Page 69 test:
"...sad that even if they put me through chemo and radiation it would only buy me a few months at est. He said, 'god home, put things in order and cherish every minute with your loved ones.'" He began to cry again. "I told him I didn't have a home."
"You do. You have us. And that's what we'll do. We'll make the most of every minute. I love you. I always have."
Marc dropped his head on my shoulder and we both wept."

Monday, December 6, 2010

CROSS MY HEART by Julie Wright

The first man is Geoffrey--in Boston, which is Jillian's hometown. Hazel-eyed Geoffrey, the brilliant ad exec whom Jillian would've married if he hadn't stolen some of her best work and gotten her promotion as a result. The second man is Jack in Los Angeles. Insecure Jack, who signs Jillian up for a love study at a local university "just for fun" but secretly intends to find out if she still loves Geoffrey. Flaky Jack, who splits as soon as her brain neurons fire and emphatic yes. The third man is Allen on the airplane from LA to Boston, where Jillian's boss has ordered her to investigate the underhanded dealings of a competing agency and where Jillian's crazy parents still live. Allen, the electric-blue-eyed dentist who hates the advertising industry because his ex-girlfriend, Nicole, recently dumped him for some hotshot ad exec. Head spinning yet? Well, forget about love triangles--this turns into a full-blown love quadrangle that quickly becomes a high-stakes game with savvy players, snappy dialogue, and a plot that won't stop twisting...until another love study delivers surprising results.



Rating: PG
S: None
V: None
L: None


I've enjoyed reading Julie's books and seeing her writing become better and better. Plus, Julie's such a cute person! I mention that last sentence because it seems the main character, Jillian, has the same voice as Julie; funny, quick and witty.
Cross My Heart is a good, clean romance. Julie has written the characters in such a way that I found myself cheering for Jillian and Allen and wanting Geoffrey to dangle with the Labradors instead of Jillian. The characters grew throughout the book. I was so happy to watch Jillian come to terms with her past and move toward a happy future.

 Go forth and by this book for your BFF, your mom or sister. It would make a great gift!
I look forward to the next book, Julie!


Page 69 test:
""Are you okay?" His concern and gentle voice was a total polar opposite from the way he'd spoken to Nicole.
I shrugged.
"What's a nice girl like you doing here with those two anyway?" Allen asked once he had me in the chair.
I never really understood why dentists insisted on asking questions when they knew your mouth was filled with their hands and who knew what horrid, sharp, pain-inflicting tools.
I tried to articulate, but nothing intelligible came out.
"So what happened to you?"
"Ah riip on dowgs--"
He removed his hand from my mouth. "Sorry. What was that?"
"I tripped over a woman and her two huge Labradors. I think that's what they mean when they say dog pile."
"Dont' worry. I've seen worse, and I'm good with same-day repairs. I'll do a CEREC crown, and you'll leave here looking like nothing ever happened."
I hoped he was right since I had imagined I'd have to wait for them to cast a mold and order a crown from a factory somewhere. I didn't have weeks to wait to get my smile back.
"Are you friends with him?" Allen asked. "You work for the same advertising company or something?"

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

THE CHRISTMAS SHOES by Donna VanLiere

Robert is a successful attorney who has everything in life -- and nothing at all. Focused on professional achievement and material rewards, Robert is on the brink of losing his marriage. He has lost sight of his wife, Kate, their two daughters, and ultimately himself. Eight year old Nathan has a beloved mother, Maggie, whom he is losing to cancer. But Nathan and his family are building a simple yet full life, and struggling to hold onto every moment they have together. A chance meeting on Christmas Even brings Robert and Nathan together-he is shopping for a family he hardly knows and Nathan is shopping for a mother he is soon to lose. In this one encounter, their lives are forever altered as Robert learns an important lesson: sometimes the smallest things can make all the difference. The Christmas Shoes is a universal story of the deeper meaning of serendipity, a tale of our shared humanity, and of how a power greater than ourselves can shape, and even save, our lives.




Rating: G
S: None
V: None
L: None


I have to confess...I didn't finish this book. I just couldn't. I enjoyed the storyline but not the way it was written. I wanted to finish it just to see how everyones lives got better.
I have another confession...I like the Christmas song this book is based on. Also, I don't mind the movie. But reading it wasn't the experience I hoped it would be.


Page 69 test:
""Mom, wait," she begged. "I didn't know that would upset you."
Evelyn patted her daughter's hand.
"I'm not upset. I just want to make sure Jack's had enough to eat." She attempted to make her getaway again.
"Mom, come on. Look at me, I can't chase you down. What's wrong?"
Evelyn sighed, trying her best to maintain control.
"It's just one of those things that I never imagined I'd ever have to think about," she said slowly. "I wish that Rachel would wear your dress. I wish that she'd want to wear it." Evelyn felt her emotions swelling, but she held them back. Jack leaned on the stove. This was a moment he knew would come, but he was not prepared for talking about the reality of Maggie not being with them for track races or football games, cheerleading tryouts or senior proms, graduations or wedding days. he braced himself as he walked into the living room and sat on the chair next to Maggie.
"Listen," Maggie started, looking at Jack and her mother. "We all know that Rachel's too young to remember me." A tear rolled slowly down Evelyn's face. "It's true, Mom. She is. But my things aren't going to make me alive to her. I want her to know things about my personality. I want her to know why I fell in love with her daddy. I want her to know that I would nearly burst into tears when I'd carry her through Ferguson's and..."

Friday, November 26, 2010

DANGEROUS CONNECTIONS by Julie Coulter Bellon

Having just finished a tour of duty in Iraq, Dr. Tyler Winthrop is ready to join his father, Craig, for a little downtime in Paris. But when Craig disappears, Tyler is yanked back into the brutal realm of danger and the unknown, and his fate quickly becomes entwined with attractive French counterintelligence agent Isabella Floret as he looks for his missing father.

Risk escalates and trust dwindles as the pair uncovers ties between Tyler’s father’s disappearance and a terrorist plot that could take the war on terror in unthinkable new directions. As lines separating enemy and ally increasingly blur, Tyler and Isabella are sent on a pulse-pounding race through Paris while the security of nations hangs in the balance—and dangerous connections are the only aid to be found.






RATING PG:
S: None
L: None
V: Some shooting, people get hurt, a few die



"...I hope you like my book. Please lie to me if you don't :)" This is the inscription Julie signed in my book. No pressure!

I'm happy to report, I don't have to lie. Dangerous Connections is a story full of twists and turns, espionage and traitors, and a strong female main character, who can drive in Paris! Impressive! Oh. And romance! Just a little to make it an even better read :)
Tyler and Isabella are thrown together by accident but they work well together and help each other in finding the truth they need.
There were a couple of loose ends for me. One was how Tyler's dad had so little page time. Tyler was in Paris and in trouble because of his dad. Maybe I missed it? But that isn't really a big deal, now is it?
I can't remember the other one so I guess it wasn't a big deal.
Julie's writing is clean and full of description. I felt I was along for the bumpy ride in France.
Good job, Julie! Can't wait to read more of your books.






Page 69 test:
"Chapter Nine
Tyler glanced over at the woman sitting in the driver's seat. Her jaw set, and she was focusing on the road, maneuvering through the traffic and roundabouts with skill. She didn't look at him, and Tyler wondered what was going on in her head. "Are you okay?" he asked.
"Fine," she said, exhaling deeply. "But I'm worried about Jacques and Marcus." She clenched the steering wheel as she weaved in and out of the cars In front of them. "How exactly did you meet Jacques?" she asked him, changing the subject.
Tyler shifted uncomfortably in his seat. "Didn't you hear Jacques? We're trying to find my father."
"But that doesn't explain how you met Jacques."
"That information is on a need-to-know basis, and I'm pretty sure you don't need to know." He repeated her words back, but smiled to soften them, before turning his gaze out the window. "It's a long story. I'm sure we'll have plenty of time at the house to talk about it, don't you think?"
Isabella didn't answer at first, her eyes fixed on the road, but after a glance in her rearview mirror, she reached over and gave his seat belt a tug. "Yes, we probably will, but before we do, you better make sure you're belted in for the ride. They've found us." She made a sharp turn, threw him back and forth. "This is going to be harder than I thought."
Her expression was grim as she kept an eye on her rearview mirror and tightened her lips even more at what she saw. "We've got company right on our tail."
Tyler swiveled his head around in surprise and saw a black sedan speed up behind them. "Are they following us? Who are they, anyway?"

Friday, November 19, 2010

A Return to Christmas by Chris Heimerdinger

Until he was three years old, Artemus Holiday and his twin brother, Andrew, had shared the adventures of life together. But when young Artemus lost his brother in a terrible tragedy on Christmas day, the miracle of the Christmas season seemed forever shrouded by a cloud of sadness and despair.

But miracles have been known to happen during this time of year.

This heartwarming Christmas story follows the lives of two eleven-year-old heroes--the weary and cynical Artemus and an outcast named Chess, a homeless con artist with a heart of gold. Through a simple twist of fate, these boys will find themselves swept into the adventure of a lifetime--one that takes them beyond their wildest imaginings.



This book is a Prince and the Pauper Christmas story. Twins separated at a young age, one poor, the other rich, they swap places unknowingly and learn lessons they each need.
I liked this story the first time I read it.  It's an easy and quick read. Many different situations and solutions are convenient but the story is a good one.

Ratings:
S: None
L: None
V: Some slapping, punching, etc.


Page 69 test:
""Tell me something, Mom." Chess said to Charlotte that morning at breakfast. It surprised even him how easily "Mom" and "Dad" now came to his lips. "How come we hardly got any Christmas decorations?"
Chess knew he might be treading on thin ground by interfering with family custom. But after last night, he'd started to believe he might infallible. He could do or say anything; it didn't matter. His membership in this family was inextricable. After eleven years of loneliness and chaos, the gods of destiny were finally smiling down. As a result, Chess Folsom was determined to live to the fullest every fantasy every orphan had ever craved. At the top of his list was a full-blown, no-holds-barred family Christmas extravaganza.
However, to his consternation, his question only seemed to have caused a rather uncomfortable hush.
"What do you mean?" Charlotte replied uneasily, still in in hopes that someone might change the subject. No one came to the rescue.
"I mean, look at this place," said Chess. "You call that a Christmas tree? How come we don't go out and get a real tree? And real Christmas lights--hundreds of 'em. I bet we could do up this place twice as good as anybody else in this neighborhood. We could create a light show bright enough to be seen from the moon!"
Chess could feel the mood in the room growing tense, but he chose to ignore it. How could such a subject possibly be..."

Saturday, November 6, 2010

IMPRINTS by Rachel Ann Nunes

Sometimes what you can't see means everything

A young woman is missing. In desperation, her parents turn to Autumn Rain for help. Autumn reads imprints—emotions left mysteriously behind on certain treasured objects. But is this ability a blessing or a curse?

Sometimes Autumn isn’t sure—her life has become far from normal—but for people who have missing loved ones, her talent might mean the difference between life and death. Even the infuriating Detective Martin has asked for Autumn’s help, though at times she feels more like a suspect than a consultant. Too often Autumn finds herself retreating to her antiques shop and the company of her best friend, Jake Ryan, to avoid notice.

But soon more than one woman is mission, and Autumn teams up with private eye Ethan McConnell to investigate their disappearance. Ethan’s attraction to her is a pleasant change from Jake’s frustrating offers of friendship, but once Autumn takes that first step, she sets in motion a series of events that risk not only her own life but the lives of those she cares about most.


IMPRINTS is a good, clean book with romance and mystery.
Autumn is a good character who is in love with her best friend, Jake. She also has a gift, or curse, of being able to touch an object and see or feeling its history.
Ethan McConnell's sister is missing and he would like to find her. He asks Autumn for help. Jake is suddenly acting very jealous. Or maybe just protective.
Autumn goes undercover to find the missing woman, putting herself as well as many others in danger.
I enjoyed the story, romance and all. Good job, Rachel!
 I didn't quite relate with Autumn in that I like to wear shoes and I don't mind eating non-organic food. But she is likable and sweet and has backbone.
I guessed the bad guys because Rachel left a few clues around but I like that! I like feeling like I'm clever! :)

Rating: PG
L: None
V: People punching and getting punched; gunshot wounds; a couple of deaths
S: None

Page 69 test:
"...to marry each other, as Tawnia and Bret had. Then both friendship and romance had the chance to endure.
Placing my handbag over my head and shoulder so it wouldn't go flying, I silently put on Jake's extra helmet , climbed onto the back of his motorbike, and slid my arms around his waist. The helmet didn't go around my chin , so once I lifted up the visor, I could press the front part of my cheek against the back of his leather jacket. I felt his solid form, the warmth  of him. I wondered if he was as aware of me and my touch, or if I was like his little sister, Randa. At that thought, my eyes pushed out a few more tears, but I didn't let go of him to wipe them away.
In the next moment we were off, the air breathing against my face and blowing it dry. Exhilaration quickly replaced the sadness, and I knew Jake had picked this nearly deserted road on purpose for the high speed we could achieve. We rode for an hour, until the summer night became cool and I had to tuck my hands under his jacket to keep them warm. He turned in the direction of home.
We pulled up at my apartment, and I eased myself off the bike, stopped, and I flexed my finger so the cold would leave them more quickly. "That was great," I told Jake, as we both removed our helmets.
"Better than going with Ethan?"
"I know you aren't happy about what I want to do, but I ave a chance to help whose women. Winter would understand."
Jake's lips pursed, and that did funny things to my heart. Jake had great lips, full and generous and inviting. I'd always thought so, even before I'd begun falling for him.
"I understand why, Autumn. But I still don't like it, and I don't trust Ethan."
"Why?"
Jake frowned. "I don't want to see you hurt."

Thursday, November 4, 2010

The Fairy's Mistake by Gail Carson Levine

In this humorous retelling of a Perrault tale, the fairy Ethelinda rewards one twin sister for good behavior and punishes the other for bad, only to discover that her punishment is more pleasing than her reward. 

Another cute story from Ms. Levine! 
Story of what happens to one sister who spews gems and the other spews insects, frogs and snakes. 
Quick read.
My 10 year old loves these books.


Rating G
S: None
V: None
L: None

Monday, November 1, 2010

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton

A foundling, an old book of dark fairy tales, a secret garden, an aristocratic family, a love denied, and a mystery. The Forgotten Garden is a captivating, atmospheric and compulsively readable story of the past, secrets, family and memory from the international best-selling author Kate Morton.

Cassandra is lost, alone and grieving. Her much loved grandmother, Nell, has just died and Cassandra, her life already shaken by a tragic accident ten years ago, feels like she has lost everything dear to her. But an unexpected and mysterious bequest from Nell turns Cassandra's life upside down and ends up challenging everything she thought she knew about herself and her family.

Inheriting a book of dark and intriguing fairytales written by Eliza Makepeace - the Victorian authoress who disappeared mysteriously in the early twentieth century - Cassandra takes her courage in both hands to follow in the footsteps of Nell on a quest to find out the truth about their history, their family and their past; little knowing that in the process, she will also discover a new life for herself.


Ms. Morton is a great storyteller! The beginning of the book was hard to wade through only because I hadn't been properly introduced to the three women who would tell the story of the forgotten garden. Each chapter is told from a different perspective and era but each story is woven together and at the end, all loose strings are tucked neatly together.
We have a woman who eloped with a commoner and ended up poor with a pair of twins.
The woman's daughter is discovered and taken back to the mansion to live with her aunt, uncle and girl cousin. The two become inseparable, much to the dislike of the aunt.
The cousin's child disappears and ends up in another country, raised by the port master and family. Her adoptive father doesn't tell her until she is 21. She suddenly feels she is not who she thought and goes on a search of who she is. She dies and her granddaughter takes over to solve the mystery.
And Ms. Morton will keep you guessing throughout the whole book. But the story is so engaging and beautifully written the reader won't mind waiting until the end.
I must confess I guess the outcome but there were many, many red herrings thrown in that I was kept off track until the end.
There are over 500 pages in this book and they are all worth reading.






Rating PG
V: None
S: None
L: None


Page 69 test:
"Nine
Maryborough 1914
Nell had been with them six months when the letter arrived at the post office. A man in London was looking for a little girl, four years of age. Hair: red. Eyes: Blue. She'd been missing near on eight months and the fellow--Henry Mansell, said the letter--had reason to believe she'd been boarded on a ship, possibly a transport headed for Australia. He was seeking her on behalf of his clients, the child's family.
Standing by his desk, Hugh felt his knees buckle,his muscles liquefy. The moment he'd been dreading--had surely always known was coming--was upon him. For despite what Lil believed, children, especially children like Nell, didn't go missing without someone raising the alarm. He sat in his chair, concentrated on breathing, looked quickly at the windows. He felt suddenly conspicuous, as if her were being watched by an unseen foe.
He ran a hand over his face, then rested it across his neck. What the hell was he going to do? It was only a matter of time before the other fellows arrived on the job and saw the letter. And although it was true he was the only one who's seen Nell waiting alone on the wharf, that wouldn't be them safe for long. Word would get out in the town--it always did--and someone would put two and two together. Would realize that the little girl staying with the O'Connors on Queen Street, the one with the unusual way of speaking, sounds awful lot like the little English girl was missing.
No, he couldn't risk anyone reading the contents. Hugh observed himself, his hand shaking a little. He folded the letter neatly in half..."




Sunday, October 31, 2010

The Scorch Trials by James Dashner

Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more Variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.

In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety... until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.

Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, much of the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated--and with it, order--and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim... and meal.

The Gladers are far from done running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.

Thomas can only wonder--does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?


I don't know how to rate this book. I do know that this book pushed me over the edge to keep my promise NOT to read trilogies until all three books are published.

James is a good writer.

That said, I had a hard time with this story. I knew it wouldn't be easy on the youth who had escaped the Maze. But they never seemed to get a break. They had a day here and there of easiness before James plunged us into another terrible situation.
He made sure the reader didn't know who to trust which is frustrating. The whole time I kept hoping they would get help/food/out.
This book is way more brutal than Maze Runner.
 It drove me crazy that they knew who was doing this to them but they couldn't get out. They couldn't do anything to help themselves except get to the place they were told to go. One time WICKED even intervened.
The tats were as big of a deal as I thought they would be.
Thomas is amazing how he just keeps moving forward.
I did skim ALOT in this book. There was a ton of internal dumping (it felt like anyway).
I can't decide if I want to read the next one.
*sigh* But I will! I'll do it for James because he is awesomesauce.


Page 69 test:
"...singled Thomas out somehow It was a sad thought--Chuck was the one who had lost his life. Teresa was the one missing But taking those two away from him...
His life felt like a black hole He had no idea how he would muster the will to go on in the  morning. To face whatever WICKED had in store for them. But he'd do it--and not just to get a cure. He would never stop, especially now. Not after what they'd done to him and his friends. If the only way to get back at them was to pass all their tests and trials, to survive, then so be it.
So be it.
With thought of revenge actually comforting him in a sick and twisted way, he finally fell asleep.

Every Glader had set the alarm on his digital watch for five o'clock in the morning. Thomas woke up well before that and couldn't go back to sleep. when beeps finally started filling the room, he swung his legs off the bed and rubbed his eyes. someone turned on the light and a yellow blast lit up his vision. Squinting, he got up and headed for the showers. Who knew how long it's be before he could clean himself again.
At ten minutes till the time appointed by Rat Man, every Glader sat in anticipation, most holding a plastic bag full of water, the bed sheet packs at their sides. Thomas, like the others, had decided  he'd carry the water in his hand to make sure it didn't spill or leak. The invisible shield had reappeared overnight in the middle of the common area, impossible to pass through, and the Gladers settled just on the boys' dorm side of it, facing where the stranger in the white suit had said a Flat Trans would appear.
Aris was sitting right next to Thomas, and spoke for the first time since...well, Thomas couldn't remember the last time he'd heard the boy's voice."

Friday, October 29, 2010

Al Capone Does My Shirts by Gennifer Choldenko

A twelve-year-old boy named Moose moves to Alcatraz Island in 1935 when guards' families were housed there, and has to contend with his extraordinary new environment in addition to life with his autistic sister.

I hadn't given any thought to families living on Alcatraz until I read this book. It was really interesting reading about life there.
This is a book about families, relationships and Al Capone.

Moose's family moves to Alcatraz so his family can live closer to a special school for his sister who has a mental handicap. The dad is an electrician for the infamous prison. The mom is focused on making her daughter "normal." And Moose gets left in the dust to make his way around the island, making friends, going to school, playing baseball and trying not to get in trouble with the warden because his daughter is a schemer.

 The author does a good job of putting the reader on Alcatraz. The characters were will done also.
This book is a heartwarming story. I enjoyed watching the relationships change or mature. I especially liked Moose and his sister's relationship.

Rating: G
V: None
L:None
S: None

Page 69 Test:
""Yes, she did  For the better part of an hour, I'm afraid Your daughter's voice is quite shrill , and coupled with her early-rising habits..."
"But you think this is something that"--my mother holds up the folded slip of paper--"Mrs. Kelly can help us with."
"Indeed I do," Mr Purdy says, standing up again. He has his good-bye smile on and he's looking at his watch,
"And why is this different for boys?" she asks.
"The boys' cottage is located in the old maids' quarters, which is farther from the neighbors." Mr. Purdy sits down again. He sketches a quick map for us. It looks like a bad pirate's map with X's marked for the treasure.
"Did you take her buttons away?" I ask.
My mom looks at me, then back at Mr. Purdy.
"We can't have a child who screams like a banshee at five-fifteen in the morning in a neighborhood like this. Now, if you'd like to spend some time working with Mrs. Kelly, there's a good possibility she can help Natalie bring this problem under control. I can't promise you, of course, but if Mrs. Kelly feels that Natalie is ready for our program, we'll consider her application again in May."
My mothers is up now, offering her hand to Mr. Purdy to shake. "Of course, my husband and I appreciate all the help you've given us."
In the waiting room Natalie's legs are open, the way my mother always tells her not to sit. She is seated on a needlepoint brocade chair and I see by the way her finger is moving that she is counting the stitches in the seat.
We wait until she finishes the last stitch at the bottom..."

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.

Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What's more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by--and torn between--two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length...everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world...and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.


I felt like I was back in time reading this book. And in a different dimension with the magic, demons and mundanes.
The characters reminded me of the ones in The Mortal instruments: love interest/triangle; rebel girl; hurt boy who can't love another; mentor; bad guy who isn't; interesting demons and Downworlders.
Good story, interesting characters, great twists all make a book hard to put down.
Beware! Many questions left unanswered.
Less sexual tension than the Mortal Instruments.
But I have got to STOP reading trilogies until all three are published!!


Rating: PG 13
V: fighting, blood and gore, vampires etc blowing up
L: a little swearing
S: kissing, references to brothels etc




Page 69 test:
"...hazel eyes, he wore a torn tweed Norfolk jacket over a shockingly bright striped waistcoat; his trousers were covered in what looked peculiarly like coal dust. But none of that was what had made Charlotte scream; it was the fact that his left arm appeared to be on fire. Little flames licked up his arm from a point above his elbow, releasing tendrils of black smoke. 
"Charlotte, darling." Henry said to his wife, who was staring t him in gape-mouthed horror. Jessamine, beside her, was wide eyed. "Sorry I'm late. You know, I think I might nearly have the Sensor working--"
Will interrupted. "Henry," he said. "You're on fire. You do know that, don't you?"
"Oh, yes," Henry said eagerly. The flames were now nearly to his shoulder. "I've been working like a man possessed all day. Charlotte, did you hear what I said about the Sensor?"
"Charlotte dropped her hand from her mouth. "Henry!" she shrieked. "You arm!"
Henry glanced down at his arm, and his mouth dropped open. "Bloody hell" was all he had time to say before Will, exhibiting a startling presence of mind, stood up, seized the vase of flowers off the table, and hurled the contents over Henry. The flames went out, with a faint protesting sizzle, leaving Henry standing soaking wet in the doorway, one sleeve of his jacket blackened and a dozen damp white flowers strewn at his feet.
Henry beamed and patted the burned sleeve of his jacket with a look of satisfaction. "You know what this means?"
Will set the vase down. "That you set yourself on fire and didn't even notice?"
"That the flame-retardant mixture I developed last week works!" Henry said proudly. "This material must have been..."

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

FORBIDDEN SEA by Sheila A. Neilson

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, of whom she has heard terrible stories all her life, she is convinced the mermaid means to take her younger sister. Adrianne, fierce-willed and courageous, is determined to protect her sister from the mermaid, and her family from starvation. However, the mermaid continues to haunt Adrianne in her dreams and with her song.
Yet, when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid she is scorned, for this small and superstitious community believes the mermaid will bring devastation to the island if Adrianne does not give herself to the sea.

A powerful and lyrical story of one girl who must choose between having everything and having those she loves.

When Adrianne comes face-to-face with the mermaid of Windwaithe Island, she is convinced that the mermaid means her harm. After all, the island is steeped in stories of mermaids' curses and the ill-luck that they bring. But Adrianne is fierce-willed and courageous and is determined to protect her family and the islanders from danger. Yet when the islanders find out about Adrianne's encounters with the mermaid, her family is scorned. They believe that once active, the mermaid cannot be quieted until an islander sacrifices herself to the sea. But is the legend true? And will their fear make them force Adrienne to test it? This is a haunting story of love, surrender and strength.

A good, clean book any YA reader would enjoy.
Adrianne is thrust into the role of provider for her family after her father is killed in an accident. She lives on a small island with small-minded people, including her own aunt. The seemingly only tolerant people are the rich.
Everything bad happens to Adri and only gets worse. I felt myself getting it more and more frustrated for her. She takes everything in quiet determination.
Except for the mermaid who wants to drown her and her sister. She's fierce and protective.
When Adrianne finally learns what the mermaid wants, life turns for Adri. I like what the mermaid says to her (I can't tell you, it might be a spoiler) and what Adri gets to see.
The characters were well drawn, the twists good, and the good and mean obvious.

What I loved: the cover, don't you?; Adrianne's tough, determined, sensitive character; the mermaid; the story being different than mermaid stories I've heard before.
What I didn't love: not meeting a certain someone at the end; Denn being daft. Really, if Adri is his best friend, he should know her better and defend her better.


Rating: G
V: bullying, seeming danger in the water
L: none
S: none

Page 69 test:
"...didn't need a dog any more than Master Peck did. Still, i could not refuse his offer. It would only be a matter of time before Auntie Minnah took things into her own hands and poisoned Lark herself.
"Take her." The voice that came from my mouth sounded like a tired old woman's. "She's out behind the garden with Cecily."
"I sent Hannah and Trey in that direction. I think I'll let them visit for a while. I'll pick up Lark on my way home." Denn slid the sack from his shoulder and hung it on a nail on the wall. "This sack of potatoes can be the first payment. I'll come tomorrow to start working off the rest."
i looked up in surprise. "Aren't you sailing out with your father in the morning?"
"Papa and I talked it over. He felt that it would be discourteous for all the men in our family to slight Lord Durran by going off and not attending his son's wedding."
I was pretty sure Denn's desire to dance with Cora Lynn at the wedding feat might also have something to do with the decision, but I kept my opinion to myself.
Denn pulled off his cap and resettled it on his mass of red curls as he looked around the barn. "So, Master Adri, you look like you could use some help Where shall I begin?"
Denn sometime called me "Master" to tease me about my role as "man of the house" now that Papa was gone. Usually I..."

Monday, October 18, 2010

ENLGISH TRIFFLE by Josi Kilpack

High Crimes at High Tea Things to Do in England Visit Westminster Abbey, the Tower of London, and the London Zoo Take the Jack the Ripper tour creepy! Sample authentic English scones and crumpets Discover a dead body What begins as a holiday trip for amateur sleuth and cooking aficionado Sadie Hoffmiller and her daughter, Breanna, turns into a bizarre mystery when they discover a dead body in the sitting room of an English manor. Breanna's boyfriend, Liam, is heir to both the family title and the family estate of Southgate, where everyone seems to have a secret . . . or two. When the body in the sitting room disappears, Sadie and Breanna are stranded at the estate until the police can clear them to leave. With their departure delayed, they might as well solve the murder. Armed with a jogging whistle, her personal recipe collection, and an unfailing sense of American justice, Sadie begins her own investigation to find the killer. But as Sadie uncovers layer after layer of misdirection, secrets, and outright lies, she wonders if anyone is telling the truth or if the case is really as hopeless as it appears to be. Take a missing family history, toss in a secret romance, mix with a mysterious murder, and this is one vacation Sadie will never forget.

Josi has done well to transport her readers to England with descriptions of place, characteristics and food (as far as I know since I haven't been there...yet). This story is a good, clean mystery that would appeal to any reader.
This story had me twisted and turned trying to figure out the "bad guy." I knew it couldn't be the obvious person, but I thought maybe the motive was the mystery.
Sadie's character is spunky and smart. She's older and throughout the story she feels the pangs of her age, which makes her believable and lovable.


What I loved: The plot, Sadie and Breanna, the characters all well described, the mystery and the RECIPES! I'm going to try my hand at a few of them, my dears.
What I didn't love: I sometimes got confused at a few of the characters. There were proper English titles like "duke" and "earl" and sometimes those were first names so I got confused. But the further I got into the story I was able to distinguish the characters.

Rating: G
V: A dead body
L: None
S: None



Page 69 test:
"As soon as she saw Austin, Sadie knew who had told the police that the report they'd received was unreliable. She could see it now--him hanging up with Grant and immediately calling the police and explaining that they had a couple American house guests with Agatha Christie complexes. That the police sent anyone at all was perhaps a point in their factor, but she looked at Austin now with more than just anger and annoyance.
"The inspector would like to speak with you, Mrs. Land," Grant said, still holding the door open. Mrs. Land turned a shade paler, but didn't look at anyone in particular as she headed for the library. The door shut behind her and Grant took up his post beside the door as if it were an everyday occurrence to be assisting an inspector with interviews.
Sadie's thoughts remained squarely on Austin, who stood against the wall with everyone else, though they gave him ample room on either side. "Why were you in Exeter today?" Sadie asked him, standing next to Breanna and across from Austin.
"Business," he said simply. "  had a meeting with the manager of on of the earl's shops."
"Where do you live?" she asked. "You haven't been here since we arrived."
"Haven't I?" Austin asked, raising one eyebrow. "Perhaps I have been here the whole time, but simple chose to keep to myself. It's a large house, Mrs. Hoffmiller. All kinds of things can happen without the other occupants being aware of it."
His insinuation that he could have been here these two days without any them knowing about it gave Sadie a shiver. What was he trying to say anyway? Why tell her that at all?
"I left Southgate early this morning. When Grant called, I..."

Friday, October 15, 2010

Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings by Christine Fonseca

Designed to provide support for the difficult job of parenting and teaching gifted children, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students: Helping Kids Cope With Explosive Feelings provides the resource parents and teachers need to not only understand why gifted children are so extreme in their behavior, but also learn specific strategies to teach gifted children how to live with their intensity.

Presented in an easy-to-read, conversational style, Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students uses real-world examples through case studies and role-plays that show parents and teachers how to interact with gifted children in a way that teaches them how to recognize, monitor, and adjust their behavior. Worksheets, tip sheets, and checklists are included to help parents, teachers, and the students themselves learn to cope with the explosive feelings that often accompany giftedness. Specific strategies for stress management, underperformance in school, perfectionism, and social anxiety make this a must read for anyone wishing to make a positive lasting impact on the lives of gifted children.


This book is great for any parent but especially for those who parent and teach gifted children. It wouldn't hurt all teachers and principals to read this book!

What I loved: Christine starts at the beginning by educating the reader what a gifted child is and why they are more emotional. She goes over the mislabels, myths, diagnosis, etc. that often accompany a gift child's emotions.
Every chapter is short and doesn't read like a college text book. Christine uses understandable terms.  At the end of each chapter, she has extra help/ ideas for teachers.
I LOVE case studies and stories. Every chapter has them and really helped me to ingrain what I was reading. She has tips, worksheets and checklists to help. This book was a great help to me. It was well written, concise, understandable.
What I didn't like: Nothing!

Thanks for trusting me with your book, Christine! It was a great read.
I received this book for my unbiased review.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Apologies!

Sorry about the LAME lack of reviews lately!
Seriously! I have not had any time to read, well, to finish any books.
Here is a list of books started/half read/patiently waiting:
Emotional Intensity in Gifted Students
English Trifle
Dangerous Connections
Scorch Trials (YES!)
Forgotten Garden

SOOOO....many reviews coming!

Saturday, October 2, 2010

LINGER by Maggie Stiefvater

In Maggie Stiefvater’s Shiver, Grace and Sam found each other. Now, in Linger, they must fight to be together. For Grace, this means defying her parents and keeping a very dangerous secret about her own well-being. For Sam, this means grappling with his werewolf past…and figuring out a way to survive into the future. Add into the mix a new wolf named Cole, whose own past has the potential to destroy the whole pack. And Isabel, who already lost her brother to the wolves…and is nonetheless drawn to Cole. At turns harrowing and euphoric, Linger is a spellbinding love story that explores both sides of love–the light and the dark, the warm and the cold–in a way you will never forget.


 The second book of the Mercy Falls Wolves. While SHIVER was interesting I wasn't that hooked to really want to read the next and I thought maybe I'd wait for the third book. Well, I'm not a delayed gratification type girl when it comes to reading so I didn't wait. 


LINGER had an interesting storyline and new characters. The writing makes the book a story. I liked that Sam is now human and the possibility of his girlfriend becoming a wolf can be a problem. 

I was taken out of the story with the two main characters at the beginning of the book. I kept wondering why parents aren't screaming about the relationship like they screamed with TWILIGHT. Edward watched Bella sleep; Sam slept in the same bed as Maggie (who didn't deny anything went on but also didn't say it did). 

Cole (the newest wolf) was naked a couple of times after transforming from wolf to human and Isabel acted like it wasn't a big deal (sometimes to make her mother mad). At one point, she was willing to give up her virginity to Cole, who said no.

My favorite character? RACHEL! Love her! I hope she has more page time in the next book.
Overall, I think half of the book could have been cut out without missing much. 


Rating: PG 17
V: None
L: A little
S: inuendos


Page 69 test:
""You better go move your car," I told Sam. He cat an anxious look toward the ceiling, as if Mom could read his thoughts through the floor of her home studio. Then toward Rachel, And then toward me, his unasked question clear in his expression: Are you really telling her? I shrugged.
Rachel looked at me quizzically. I made a gesture like, Wait and I'll explain, and Sam went to call up the stairs, "See you later, Mrs. Brisbane!"
There was a long pause. Then Mom said, not in a a nice way, "Bye."
Same came back into the kitchen. He didn't say that he felt guilty, but he didn't have to. It was written all over his face. He said, a little hesitant, "If I'm no back bu the time you go, Rach, see you later."
"Back!" Rachel said in surprise as Same went out the front door, car keys jingling. "What does he mean 'back'? What's he doing with his car? Wait--has The Boy been sleeping here?"
"Shhh!"I said hurriedly, with a glance toward the hallway. Taking Rachel by the elbow, I propelled he oer toward the corner of the kitchen and released her quickly, looking at me fingers. ":Whoa, Rachel, your skin is cold."
"No, you're hot, she correct. "So what's going on here? Are you guys like--sleeping together?"
I felt my cheeks flush despite myself. "not like that. Just like..."
Rachel didn't wait for me to figure out how to finish my thought. "holy freakin' holy freakin' holy...I can't even think of what to say to that, Grace! Just like what? What do you guys do? No, wait, don't tell me!"

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

PARANORMALCY by Kiersten White

Weird as it is working for the International Paranormal Containment Agency, Evie's always thought of herself as normal. Sure, her best friend is a mermaid, her ex-boyfriend is a faerie, she’s falling for a shape-shifter, and she’s the only person who can see through paranormals' glamours, but still. Normal.

Only now paranormals are dying, and Evie's dreams are filled with haunting voices and mysterious prophecies. She soon realizes that there may be a link between her abilities and the sudden rash of deaths. Not only that, but she may very well be at the center of a dark faerie prophecy promising destruction to all paranormal creatures.


So much for normal.


Evie is a teenager who works for the International Paranormal Containment Agency. She works for the IPCA because she has the unique gift to see through the "glamour" that creatures put on to trick us humans. Vampires may look beautiful on the outside, but under the glamour they look like walking corpses. Evie's job is also to "tag and bag" paranormals with the help of her pink, rhinestone encrusted taser named "Tasey."
Evie is a normal teenage girl: watches the latest teen TV show religiously; drools over the main character from said show; has a BFF; has a crush; wears zebra print with pink heels (well, I didn't wear that as a teen. I wore ties and hounds tooth). 
But Evie is a protected employee at IPCA, she doesn't leave the facility except for her missions and isn't allowed to go to high school. How she wishes she could see a real locker! 
Lend is an unknown paranormal who gets caught in IPCA. He has the ability to shape shift into anyone. While he's incarcerated at the facility, he and Evie become friends and of course, develop a crush on each other.
Did I mention yet that Evie's BFF is a mermaid which lives in a tank and acts like a secretary? And Evie's ex-boyfriend is a hot faerie?
I liked the love triangle in the book because it really wasn't one. You'll just have to read the book to find out more. The scenes of first love were handled very well and sweetly.

Evie is funny, smart, sarcastic, uncertain and naive to the outside world. She has to overcome the way she views herself to safe herself and others. I really liked her character. 
There were many paranormals in this book and Ms. White did a good job of making them unique. They seemed a little wimpy and easily controlled though. 
I liked the budding romance with Evie and Lend. I would've liked to see more depth in Lend. Also, the villain wasn't scary to me but I'm not saying she didn't have issues.
The author left readers with a few loose ends for the second book. 


 One HUGE plus to this read is it is totally clean! LOVE IT! 


This book brings out a good question: why are we afraid of what's different than us?



Rating:PG
S: No
V: Paranormals are being murdered but no weapons are used so no bloody bodies.
L: No

Page 69 test:
"...head and wasn't some sort of feire freakiness. She had never felt the warmth, felt it sneak in and surrounded her her at, felt it consumer her, She didn't know. she couldn't. And I was sick of her acting like I was some sort of stupid ittle girl, still made over an ex. "Whatever," I snapped. "I'm going to bed.
I turned and stalked out of the room without saying good-bye to Lish. She would sympathize I knew, bu she still just didn't understand
o one understood. Well, that wasn't true--Reth understood. Everything And he was right, too. U was completely alone and it sucked. When U got to my unit, I went straight to my bedroom and dug around under my bed until I found the three-pound dumbbells I had stolen from on of Bud's training sessions  They were iron, the best protection against faeries. Or at least, I was pretty sure they were iron. Okay, I really, really hoped they were iron, because my only other option was to sleep with my knife in my chest. Images of impaling myself during a nightmare flew through my head the dumbbells is was.
putting the weights on either side of me, I closed my eyes and was instantly asleep.

I woke up late the ext morning; half-formed memories of a woman's voice calling to me tickled the edge of my memories. Both dumbbells were still in place, tangled up in the covers, and my heart was still mine. The night appeared..."  

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Monday, September 13, 2010

OUT OF MY MIND by Sharon M.Draper


Eleven-year-old Melody has a photographic memory. Her head is like a video camera that is always recording. Always. And there's no delete button. She's the smartest kid in her whole school - but no one knows it. Most people - her teachers and doctors included - don't think she's capable of learning, and up until recently her school days consisted of listening to the same preschool-level alphabet lessons again and again and again.
If only she could speak up, if only she could tell people what she thinks and knows... but she can't, because Melody can't talk. She can't walk. She can't write.
Being stuck inside her head is making Melody go out of her mind - that is, until she discovers something that will allow her to speak for the first time ever. At last Melody has a voice... but not everyone around her is ready to hear it.
From multiple Coretta Scott King Award winner Sharon M. Draper comes a story full of heartache and hope. Get ready to meet a girl whose voice you'll never, ever forget.


This is a great story that every 5th grade and up should read. It's a story of compassion, understand, inner strength and love.
Melody is eleven years old and has never talked. Really, she's never walked or crawled or rolled over because she has cerebral palsy. She has a loving mom and dad who are her advocates. An amazing neighbor helps Melody become more educated.
The story is form Melody's point of view, what's going on inside her head.
It's a story that will stick with you for days.

Rating: G
S: No
L: No
V: No

Page 69 test:
"...she jumped up and threw her would body against the door, making loud thuds. She'd bark, then thud. Bark, then thud. Mom couldn't ignore all that racket.
I'm sure it was only a few minutes, but it seemed like longer. Mom came to the door, looking groggy. Her hair was all messed up. "What's going on in here?" she began. Then she saw me. "Oh! Melody, baby! Are you okay?" she ran to me, sat down on the floor, and lifted me onto her lap.
She checked everything--my arms and legs, my back, my face, my scalp, even my tongue. I wanted to tell her I was fine. All she needed to do was put me back in my chair, but she had to do the Mom thing and double-check.
"Butterscotch, you're a good, good girl!" she said as she petted the dog and hugged me thigh. "Doubles on the dog food tonight!"
I'm sure Butterscotch would have preferred a nice thick bone instead, but she can't talk either, so both my dog and I get what they give us. om carefully put me back in my chair and made sure my seat belt was latched correctly. Butterscotch curled up right in front of me, making sure, I guess, that if I slid out again, she'd be there to soften the fall.That dog is amazing.
Mom restarted the video from the beginning, but somehow that yellow brick road had lost some of its..."

Friday, September 10, 2010

OUTLIVE YOUR LIFE by Max Lucado


Publisher's Description

These are difficult days in our world’s history. 1.75 billion people are desperately poor, natural disasters are gouging entire nations, and economic uncertainty still reigns across the globe. But you and I have been given an opportunity to make a big difference. What if we did? What if we rocked the world with hope? Infiltrated all corners with God’s love and life? We are created by a great God to do great works. He invites us to outlive our lives, not just in heaven, but here on earth. Let’s live our lives in such a way that the world will be glad we did.

This is a good book with stories to illustrate how we can live our lives better. And more. It's a book about service, how we can be used for good in the world, and get out of our comfort zone to help others. Full of good stories, ideas and advice.

Rating: G

Page 69 test:
"Let's be the people who stop at the gate.Let's look at the hurting until we hurt with them. No hurrying past, turning away, or shifting of eyes.No pretending or glossing over. Let's look at the the face until we see the person
A couple in our congregation lives with the heartbreaking reality that their son is homeless. He ran away when he was seventeen, and with the exception of a few calls from prison and one visit, his parents have had no contact with him for twenty years. His mm allowed me to interview her at a leadership gathering. As we prepared for the discussion, I asked her why she was willing to disclose her story.
"I want to change the way people see the homeless. I want them to stop seeing the problems and begin seeing mother's sons."
In certain Zulu areas of South Africa, people greet each other with a phrase that means "I see you." Change begins with a genuine look.
And continues with a helping hand. I'm writing this chapter by a dim light in an Ethiopian hotel only a few miles and hours removed from a modern-day version of this story.
Bzuneh Tulema lives in a two-room, dirt-floored, cinder-block house at the end of a dirt road in the dry hills of Adama. Maybe three hundred square feet. He's painted the walls a pastel blue and hung two pictures of Jesus one of which bears the caption "Jesus the Goos [sic] Shepherd." During our visit the air is hot, the smell of cow manure is pungent, and I don't dare inhale too deeply for fear I'll swallow a fly.
Across from me, Bzuneh beams. He wears a Nike cap with a crooked bill, a red jacket (in spite of furnace-level heat), and a gap-toothed smile. No king was ever prouder of a castle than he is of his four walls. As the thirty-five-year-old related his story, I understand. Just two years ago he was the town drunk. He drank away his..."

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

CROSSING THE TRACKS by Barbara Stuber


At fifteen, Iris is a hobo of sorts – no home, no family, no plan. After her mother’s early death, Iris’s father focuses on big plans for his new shoe stores and his latest girlfriend, and has no time for his daughter. Unbeknownst to her, he hires Iris out as housekeeper and companion for a country doctor’s elderly mother. Suddenly Iris is alone, stuck in gritty rural Missouri, too far from her only friend Leroy and too close to a tenant farmer Cecil Deets, who menaces the neighbors, and Iris suspects, his own daughter.

Iris is buoyed by the warmth and understanding the doctor and his mother show her, but just as she starts to break out of her shell tragedy strikes. Iris must find the guts and cunning to take aim at the devil incarnate and discover if she is really as helpless - or hopeless – or homeless - as she once believed.

I won this book in a contest. The author signed it and left me a gracious note. I opened the book and was immediately drawn into the story of Iris.

All the characters in this book are well drawn, from the ones I liked to the ones I was uncomfortable reading. I not only came to care for Iris, but also the two people she lived with and the dog!
The writing was beautiful, too.
This story has tender, funny and heartwarming themes. Home and family come through very strongly as do love and loyalty.
No story or character would grow stronger without some grief, loss or pain. And Iris gets to deal with all of it in one summer.
Plus! There is a love interest which is handled well.

My copy is dog eared because of the quotes then I found I was marking tons of pages and had to stop.
There were two lose ends for me: Didn't really find out who Dr. Nesbitt's lady friend is though I have my suspicious; I would have liked someone to point out to Iris one good thing her dad did (like sending her away because she ended up with a good family). Maybe it was in the book and I just missed it.

Rating: PG
S: No
L: A few swear words
V: Yes in the form of a leering neighbor and angry daughter

Instead of a page 69 test on this book, I want to give you some great quotes:
"I count her shoes-black pumps, black boots, tan and white, brown with high heels and elastic sides, gray, and ivory with buttons. All six pairs are here-one for every year since I was born." Page x1. (Isn't that a great way to tell age?)

"As we crest a hill I feel the earth release us, then hug us tight going down. Emerald corn fields rustle under the scalloped telephone wires. I hear rivers of clover hum the same soft pink note. Everything is moving, talking, touching above and rooted below. I slow to let a garden snake show off his swivel dance across the dusty road." Page 85

"The sunflowes watch us turn around. Sun aprks off the weather-polished gate like a lighning strike. A choir of locusts tunes up.
We're alltogether too. Heading back north.
Homeward bound." Page 183

Friday, September 3, 2010

THE RED QUEEN by Philippa Gregory


The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in The second book in Philippa's stunning new trilogy, The Cousins War, brings to life the story of Margaret Beaufort, a shadowy and mysterious character in the first book of the series - The White Queen - but who now takes centre stage in the bitter struggle of The War of the Roses. The Red Queen tells the story of the child-bride of Edmund Tudor, who, although widowed in her early teens, uses her determination of character and wily plotting to infiltrate the house of York under the guise of loyal friend and servant, undermine the support for Richard III and ultimately ensure that her only son, Henry Tudor, triumphs as King of England. Through collaboration with the dowager Queen Elizabeth Woodville, Margaret agrees a betrothal between Henry and Elizabeth's daughter, thereby uniting the families and resolving the Cousins War once and for all by founding of the Tudor dynasty.

The writing was really good.
I just couldn't connect with the main character.
Or the story.
I'm so glad I didn't live as a royal in those days portrayed in this book! Treachery, deceit, self serving men, connyving women and relationships are used for gain.


PG 17:
V: Fighting
L: No
S: Refernces to
Page 69 test:
'...so trustworthy about the steady darkness of his gaze that I step forward and hold outmy hand. the big head comes down, the wide mostrils sniff at my glove, then fently, he lips at my fingers.
"I shall walk beside you, and Arthur wll go quietly," Jasper promises me. "Come here and will life you up into the saddle."
I go to him and he lifts me p and helps me to sit astride. When I am safely in the saddle, he pulls down the hemof my gown so it falls evenly on either side of the horse and covers my botts. "There," he says. "Now keep your legs still, but gently pressed against him. That way he knows you are there, and you hold yourself steady. Take up the reins."
I life them, and Arthur's big head comes up, alerted by my touch.
"He won't go off, will he," ask nervously.
"Only when you givve him a gentle kick, to tell him you are ready. And when you want him to stop, you make a gentle pull on the reins." Jasper reaches up and moves my hands so the reins are threaded through my fingers. "Just let him walk two steps forwards so you know that you can make him start and stop."
Tentatively, I give a little kick with both heels, and I am startled by the first big rolling stride forards, and I oull on the reins. Obediently, he stops at once. "I did it!" I say breathlessly. "He stopped for me! Did he? Did he stop because I told him?"
Jasper smiles up at me. "He will do anything for you. You just have to give him a clear signal so he knows what it is that yu want him to do. He served my father loyally. Edmund and I learned joust on him, and now he will be your tutor. Perhaps he will live long enough and baby Henry will learn to ride on him. Now walk him out of the stable yard andinto the courtyard before the cdastle."
More confidently, I give Arthur the signal to start, and this time I let him go on. His huge shouldes move forwards, but his back is so braod that I can sit firmly and steadily. Jasper walks at his head, but he does not touch the rein. It is me, and me alone, who makes the..."