Follow by Email

Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Reading Totals

With only a few hours before I head to bed (I'll be fast asleep by midnight), it looks like my reading total for 2009 is 145 books. I shoot for 150 so I fell a little short but all in all, I'm pleased. Happy New Year!

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Death by Cashmere (4.5/5)

Death by Cashmere (4.5/5)

The first book in a cozy mystery series. Izzy runs a knitting shop and Angie lives above it. Angie is murdered and Izzy, Nell and others in their knitting group try to solve the murder. Good twists and turns. I enjoyed the cat named Purl. I will continue this series.

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (4/5)

The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane (4/5)

This book was sent to me to review. I was happy to receive it since I knew it was somehow connected to the Salem witch trials which is a time period that I love to read about.

Connie is a graduate student heading into her thesis. She goes to her grandmother's house over the summer to work on her thesis and close up the house so her mother can sell it. Connie begins to look back through family history and realize that Salem might have also left its mark on her family. There seems to be some witchcraft going on.

Told in the present time through Connie's story and in 1692 to tell the account of accused witch Deliverance Dane, this book details the paranoia that was so huge and the search, hundreds of years later, for the truth about magic. Good writing. I enjoyed it.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Magician's Elephant (YA) (5/5)

The Magician's Elephant (YA)

This book tells the story of Peter, a boy whom is looking for his sister. A fortune teller tells him that an elephant will lead him to his sister, which he does not believe. Then an elephant magically appears and life is never the same. Great illustrations and great story telling.

Murder Most Maine (5/5)

Murder Most Maine (5/5)

Third book in a great cozy mystery series. Natalie once again has murders happen at her inn and this time she must solve them to save her boyfriend from being charged. One of my favorite cozy mystery series of all time. Great setting, good culinary mixed in with the mystery and good characters.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Sent (The Missing Book 2) (YA) (4.5/5)


Sent(The Missing Book 2) (YA) (4.5/5)

This book picks up right where Found, the 1st book in the series, left off so make sure to read that one first. Chip and Alex have traveled back through time to the 15th century and are taking back their historical identities. Jonah and Katherine have gone along to try to save Chip and Alex. A lot of action and twists and turns in this book. I enjoyed it. I am assuming there will be a third book, based on the ending of this one.

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Lucy's Lion Cut


This is Lucy, our 12 year old Maine Coon, after her lion cut. She was bitter for days--her tail scared her and was used as a feather wand by the other cats. I have never done a lion cut to her since!

Just Gus (5/5)

Just Gus (5/5)

Gus is a rescued dog who finds a home with a woman dying from cancer. A different sort of love story, as both Gus and Stephanie draw strength from each other. A quick read but very moving.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Persistence of Memory (YA) (5/5)

Persistence of Memory (YA) (5/5)

Erin has a mental illness and an alter ego, or so she thinks. In reality she is bonded to a vampire and the two share a connection to each other's thoughts and memories. This bond needs to be broken before Erin really goes crazy. Good YA paranormal--vampires, witches and shapeshifters.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Fragile Eternity (YA) (4.5/5)

Fragile Eternity (YA) (4.5/5)

This is the 3rd in the series which began with Wicked Lovely. Aislinn is trying to settle in as Summer Queen. Seth wants to become immortal so he can have eternity with Ash. Keenan and Donia are trying to figure out their relationship and Niall is settling in as the Dark King. I'm not normally big on books with fairies in them but I really enjoy this series. #4 comes out in March and I will read it.

Saturday, December 19, 2009

Blueberry Muffin Murder (4.5/5)


Blueberry Muffin Murder (4.5/5)

This is #3 in the Hannah Swensen series. Hannah once again finds a few dead bodies and tries to solve the murders. A lot of humor in this one and good twists and turns; I was guessing until the end. I enjoy this series a lot, though the cookies in it make me hungry.

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Bonechiller (YA) (4.5/5)


Bonechiller (YA) (4.5/5)

A Yeti-like creature has been making teenagers disappear. Dan and his friend Howie are both infected by the creature and are trying to figure out how to kill it before it takes them away from their home. Good action, good twists and turns. A book that both HS boys and girls would enjoy.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

The Girl Who Could Fly (YA) (4.5/5)

The Girl Who Could Fly (YA) (4.5/5)

Piper can fly and this disturbs her parents. They send her to a school for kids with special talents. Piper soon finds out that the schools are actually trying to make the kids forget their special talents and she plans an escape for the students. Good characters, good action. This was on the reading list as 4th grade and up but I think it is more of a middle school book. I enjoyed it. Any book that is described, by the author of the Twilight series, as being a combination of Little House on the Prairie and the X-Men, has to be decent.

Friday, December 11, 2009

CR: The Girl Who Could Fly (YA)

CR: The Girl Who Could Fly (YA)

Any book deemed to be a combination of Little House on the Prairie and the X-Men has to be an interesting read. It gets even better when the reference was made by Stephanie Meyer, author of the Twilight books.

A good read so far. . . I hope to finish it up tomorrow.

Friday, December 4, 2009

Koko


Koko has recently returned to us, after a year and a half of another home. Koko needs to be the only cat and in our house, that isn't possible. Her new owners brought in a cat and behavior problems started once again. Facing putting her to sleep, I told them I would take her back. So a la Virginia Woolf, Koko is now in my reading room, using it as a room of her own, and we'll see if that helps. If so, then I will try to find her another home to be the only cat. Keep paws crossed!

The Willoughbys (YA) (5/5)


The Willoughbys (YA) (5/5)

Four siblings decide they want to be orphans so they try to plot the demise of their parents. Their parents decide they don't want kids so they try to get rid of them. This book reminded me of Dahl's The Twits--people doing evil to each other, but in such a funny way you can't help but love it. A good, quick read. Very different from Lowry's usual fare. I enjoyed it.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Death in Daytime (4.5/5)


Death in Daytime (4.5/5)

Good cozy mystery--this is the first in a series. Alex is a soap opera diva. Her boss is killed and she is the prime suspect. She begins to investigate the murder herself so she can clear her name. Good twists and turns; I wasn't sure of the murderer's identity so this book kept me guessing. I have #2 in my TBR pile.

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Kiss of Life (YA) (5/5)

Kiss of Life (YA) (5/5)

This is the sequel to Generation Dead. Teenagers are able to return from the dead as zombies. There are some people who accept them and others who fear them. It becomes a sort of war between the zombies and the beating hearts. In this book, Adam returns from the dead, Phoebe breaks up with Tommy and starts dating Adam, and some of the zombies are looking for justice. Apparently #3 is out in the spring and I will read that one too--this is a good series.

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

The Carbon Diaries 2015 (YA) (4/5)


The Carbon Diaries 2015 (YA) (4/5)

Laura journals the year that the great storm hit and people had to start using carbon cards to buy things. This book reminded me of the book Life As We Knew It. I like that this book was told in journal form but it was a little slow in the middle. There's action and romance in this book and I think HS boys and girls would like it.

Saturday, November 21, 2009

If I Stay (YA) (5/5)


If I Stay (YA) (5/5)

Mia and her family are in a horrible car accident and she ends up in a coma. Mia needs to decide whether to stay or to let go. This book reminded me a little of The Lovely Bones--in that Mia can hear and see what is going on around her--without the grisliness and violence. A great, quick read. Very emotional at times but also very powerful.

Thursday, November 19, 2009

Ink Exchange (YA) (4/5)

Ink Exchange (YA) (4/5)


Second book in the series that began with Wicked Lovely. In this book, Leslie is chosen by the King of the Dark Court to do an "ink exchange" where his blood is tattoed onto her so that he can feed off of her emotions. Leslie is drawn to another fairy, Niall, and needs to decide if she will let herself be used by the Dark Court King or if she will take back control of her own life. A decent read that HS girls especially would enjoy. I have #3 to read soon.

Sunday, November 15, 2009

When I Crossed No-Bob (YA) (4.5/5)


When I Crossed No-Bob (YA) (4.5/5)

Addy comes from a rough family. Her father takes off to Texas and then her mother leaves her behind to go after him. A schoolteacher and his new bride take her in and raise her. Pappy returns but he's bad news--he's involved in the KKK. Addy realizes that just because he's family, that doesn't mean she has to be like him or even like him. A good coming of age story and this book had good action.

Kiki and Gizmo


Kiki and Gizmo are sleeping amid my piles of books. Kiki is a Maine Coon battling HCM and Gizmo is a seal point Ragdoll.

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (5/5)

Finger Lickin' Fifteen (5/5)

The latest in the Stephanie Plum series, probably my favorite series of all. In this one, a chicken barbeque guru is decapitated and Lula is a witness. The killers are after her and she moves in to Stephanie's apartment, causing Stephanie to move into Ranger's apartment. The usual twists and turns (cars blowing up, Stephanie torn between Morelli and Ranger) and the usual laughs (love Lula and Grandma as a cooking team!)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Al Capone Shines My Shoes (YA) (5/5)


Al Capone Shines My Shoes (YA) (5/5)

This is the sequel to Al Capone Does My Shirts. Moose is still living on Alcatraz and has to pay back Al Capone for doing a favor for him. Natalie is at a special school now, Piper's mom is pregnant and Jimmy is jealous of Moose's friend Scout. Good action in this one. MS and HS boys and girls would like this book.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Stolen Children (YA) (5/5)


Stolen Children (YA) (5/5)

Amy gets a new babysitting job and gets more than she bargains for when she and her little charge are kidnapped. Amy tries to leave clues in the ransom videos for cops. She's a smart girl. Good action in this book. MS and HS girls would really like this book.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

The Rock and the River (YA) (4.5/5)

The Rock and the River (YA) (4.5/5)

This book details the civil rights movement and the Black Panthers. Sam and Stick are two brothers whose father is involved with Dr. Martin Luther King and the civil rights movement. Stick, the older brother, becomes involved with the Black Panthers. This book shows the horror that African Americans faced during this time period and how desperate people were to make a difference. Good boy book especially.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Skin Deep (YA) (5/5)


Skin Deep (YA) (5/5)

Andrea Anderson is a HS student who doesn't really fit in. She is hired to walk a neighbor's dog while the neighbor is in the hospital. She meets Zena, a Saint Bernard, and feels a connection. When the neighbor gets out of the hospital, Andrea and she form a close friendship. Andrea begins to connect more with people including Ashley, a popular classmate, and Dennis, her mom's boyfriend. Good realistic fiction, especially for HS girls.

Sunday, November 8, 2009

The Help (5/5)

The Help (5/5)

I can see why this book has gotten rave reviews. It is powerful, even though sometimes it is difficult to read. Why do people hate other people based on the color of their skin? That question can still be asked today. In this book, the high society white ladies of Jackson, Mississippi treat their help like lesser beings. One lady, Miss Skeeter, decides to write a collection of the stories from the colored help. This is risky for all involved. But man does it create a reaction when it is published. Readers will root for Miss Skeeter, Aibleen and Minny to get out of this unscathed. A great read. Good writing style. I would highly recommend it.

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Soldier's Secret (YA) (5/5)

Soldier's Secret

This book tells the true story of Deborah Sampson, a woman who disguises herself as a man in order to fight in the Revoluntionary War. Deborah is a true heroine and this book is a good, quick read. I found it interesting to learn how a woman was able to disguise herself and how some men who discovered her identity reacted. MS and HS boys and girls would like this book.

Friday, November 6, 2009

Wide eyed Maggie

Maggie looks wide eyed in this picture. She had been sleeping on the kitty condo and probably didn't appreciate me taking her picture.

Purple Heart (YA) (5/5)

Purple Heart (YA) (5/5)

Matt is in Iraq fighting the war. He gets injured and can't really remember the circumstances of when he was injured. He heads back to his unit and gets back in the thick of battle again. This book shows the effects, physical and mental, of war on people. Some swearing, some violence but a powerful book for HS boys and girls. Good read.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Little Audrey (YA) (4.5/5)

Little Audrey (4.5/5) (YA)

This is a memoir of sorts about growing up in a coal mine town. Audrey is the oldest of 4 girls, 5 if you count her sister who died a few months ago. Dad has a drinking issue; Mom is still dealing with her daughter's death. Sounds dreary but there is humor in this book. I especially liked Audrey's friend Virgil and his monkey obsession. A good, quick read.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

Schooled (YA) (5/5)

Schooled (YA) (5/5)

Cap Anderson has lived his entire life on a hippie type commune with his grandmother, Rain. Rain falls and breaks her hip and Cap must move in with a social worker and go to the local middle school. Needless to say, he is like a fish out of water. He gets elected as 8th grade President as a joke and he has no idea that it is a joke. Good humor in this one and a good message to the book. MS and HS boys and girls would like this one.

Puppet (YA) (5/5)

Puppet (YA) (5/5)

Based on a true story, this tells the tale of a Hungarian Jewish boy who was forced to testify against his father and family friends when a Christian girl comes up missing. The Jews are accused of killing her and they are thrown in jail. This shows yet another horror of the hatred that Jewish people faced. This was a powerful book.

Murder Packs a Suitcase (3.5/5)

Murder Packs a Suitcase (3.5/5)

First book in a cozy mystery series. Mallory Marlowe, newly widowed, begins a career as a travel writer. Her first assignment is to go to Florida. Quickly, a murder happens of a fellow travel writer and Mallory is considered a suspect. She decides to try to find the real murderer herself. Good twists and turns--I didn't figure out who did it--but a little slow in parts.

Saturday, October 31, 2009

42 Miles (YA) (4/5)


42 Miles (YA) (4/5)

A very quick read. A little too quick for me--I wanted some more development but this book is really a set of verse poems so I get why it was so quick. JoEllen's parents are divorced and she feels like she is two separate individuals--Joey with her father, Ellen with her mother. She eventually connects the two worlds. I think MS and HS girls would like this book.

Friday, October 30, 2009

Kimchi and Calamari (YA) (4.5/5)

Kimchi and Calamari (YA) (4.5/5)

Joseph is a 14 year old who was adopted after being brought to the US from Korea. He begins to want to investigate and find his birth parents. He has been adopted by a very Italian family so he feels like he is trying to live in two worlds. This is a good, quick read. MS boys and girls would like it. The ending was a little lacking in my opinion; I would have liked to see everything fully tied up in the end. Good characters.

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Double Trouble--Max and Boo

Guardian (YA) (5/5)

Guardian (YA) (5/5)

This book tells the tale of a white boy trying to find his way in a world full of racism and hatred. A very quick read (under 130 pages) but very powerful. A white man gets away with a crime because people are more comfortable getting justice from a black man. Very compelling read.

Monday, October 26, 2009

The Plight of the Darcy Brothers (5/5)


The Plight of the Darcy Brothers (5/5)

This is the 2nd in a series which began as a sequel to Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice. In this one, Darcy finds out that his father was not exactly the man that he thought he was and this takes him and Elizabeth on a journey. Also, Mary Bennett has become pregnant and Darcy once again tries to rescue one of Lizzy's sisters. A good read and this book stays true to Austen. I enjoy this series. I have #3 to read to review for Sourcebooks.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

IQ (YA) (5/5)

IQ (YA) (5/5)

This is the first book in a ya series. Q and Angela are new siblings as Q's mother has married Angela's father. Angela's mother was a Secret Service agent killed in the line of duty. Twists and turns ensue on their parents' tour and Q and Angela find themselves doing spy duty. MS and HS boys and girls would like this book. #2 comes out next month.

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Night Fires (YA) (4.5/5)

Night Fires (YA) (4.5/5)

Woodrow's father dies in a car accident and he and his mother move south where the KKK is a big force to be reckoned with. Woodrow meets his neighbor, a Senator, and he begins to try to get Woodrow involved in the KKK. A quick, easy read. MS reading level and a good boy book

Sunday, October 18, 2009

The Red Blazer Girls (YA) (4.5/5)


The Red Blazer Girls (YA) (4.5/5)

Based on the cover, I thought this book would be a quirky Nancy Drew book and it wasn't that far off, but it was done well. Four friends from a Catholic school try to find a missing ring for an older woman. Good mystery, good action, good literary references and even some Math thrown in make this book a good one! MS and HS girls would especially like this book. This is set up as a possible first in the series but I don't know if there are any other books out there in this series yet.

Saturday, October 17, 2009

The Morgue and Me (YA) (5/5)


The Morgue and Me (YA) (5/5)

Christopher gets a job cleaning the morgue the summer before he starts college. He sees his first dead boy, a man shot in the chest. Yet that death is ruled a suicide. Christopher begins to investigate the murder and hooks up with Tina, an eager newspaper reporter. Good writing style--Christopher is given a good sense of humor. HS boys and girls would like this one.

Monday, October 12, 2009

The Uninvited (YA) (4/5)


The Uninvited (YA) (4/5)

Mimi heads up to Canada to stay at her father's cottage in order to get her head together. She is trying to put some space between her and her professor boyfriend, who is having some problem letting go of the relationship. At the cottage, she meets Jay, the 1/2 brother she never knew about. Weird things have been going on at the cottage and things keep getting weirder and weirder. Good mystery that HS boys and girls would enjoy.

Sunday, October 11, 2009

Boo having no shame

Boo has no shame in this picture. Here he is, sprawled out on a blanket.

Homicide in Hardcover (4.5/5)


Homicide in Hardcover (4.5/5)

First in a cozy mystery series. Brooklyn is a book restorer and is working on a major project. There are two murders and she begins to investigate motive to find the murderer. Good characters, decent mystery and a hint of romance. I will continue with this series; #2 comes out in February 2010.

Saturday, October 10, 2009

If the Witness Lied (YA) (5/5)


If the Witness Lied (YA) (5/5)

This book tells the story of four siblings whose parents have died. Mom died of cancer after refusing chemo because she was pregnant with Tris, the youngest. Dad died after being run over by the family Jeep; Tris played with the emergency brake and caused the accident. Or did he? "Aunt" Cheryl has taken over the household and while the kids were never fond of her, they might have a whole new major reason to not be fond of her! Good mystery and both MS and HS boys and girls would like this book.

Friday, October 9, 2009

Somebody (YA) (5/5)


Somebody (YA) (5/5)

A 15 year old girl realizes that things are off with living with just her father and brother. She realizes that her father kidnapped her and her brother when they were children. She begins to search for her mother. This is a very quick, but good, read. MS and HS boys and girls would like this book.

Sunday, October 4, 2009

A Dog on His Own (4.5/5) (YA)


A Dog on His Own (YA) (4.5/5)

K-10 is a dog who has given up trusting humans so he lives on his own. He meets up with Peppy and Pearl when he is brought to a shelter. They break out and Pearl and Peppy try to find their owners. K-1o tries to figure out a safe spot for himself on his own. This book would be good for MS boys and girls. It's a cute, quick read.

Gentlemen (YA) (4.5/5)


Gentlemen (YA) (4.5/5)

Tommy, a HS student, goes missing and his 3 friends, somewhat rough, begin to suspect that their English Teacher had something to do with Tommy's disappearance. They begin their own investigation and things slide out of control. A good books for HS boys especially.