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Saturday, December 31, 2011

2011 Reads

In 2011 I read:

111 books

52 Young Adult books

30 books on my Kindle

For 2012 I want to read 120 books and get caught up on some series.

Saturdays with Stella

Saturdays with Stella

The author tells of her six weeks of obedience training with her new dog Stella, who has some self-esteem issues.  During the training, Allison connects with Stella in a way different than what she expected.  This book has a large spiritual element to it.  Allison connects the commands that Stella is learning in her training to the Bible and religion but I focused on the dog aspect of it more than the spiritual part.  Stella is a good dog and it was nice to read a dog book about a normal dog, with some training issues, and an owner who wants to do right by her dog.  I enjoyed this book.

Making Rounds with Oscar

Making Rounds with Oscar

This was a great read.  Oscar is a cat who lives in a nursing home where most patients suffer from dementia.  Oscar seems to have a sense of when a patient is going to die and he then refuses to leave their bedside until they pass.  Dr. David Dosa is not quick to believe that Oscar really has this sixth sense but he is slowly won over, after witnessing it a few times for himself and after speaking with the family members of those who have passed with Oscar by their side.  

I remember hearing about Oscar in the news a few years ago and I wanted to read this book.  It was more than just a cat book though.  Readers learn to care about the families who spend a lot of time in this nursing home, through Dr. Dosa's retelling of their stories.  Oscar is a great cat--independent, loving when he wants to be, and comforting when he needs to be.  I enjoyed this book a lot.

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Forever (YA)

Forever (YA)

This is the third book in a YA paranormal series.  Sam and Grace are werewolves.  Sam has finally stopped shifting into a wolf but Grace has not had the experimental cure yet.  In this book, the final in the series, Isabel's father is planning an aeriel wolf hunt to kill off the pack.  Cole is trying to discover a cure and a way to force a wolf back into its human form.  Sam knows that he must lead the pack to a safe place.  But will it happen before it is too late?

With some unlikely allies in a police officer and Grace's friend Rachel, the trio of Cole, Sam and Grace try to save the pack.  Throughout this, Sam and Grace's love story continues and deepens.  Grace reveals to her parents that she is still alive.  Olivia, Grace's friend who was turned into a wolf, is not so lucky.  As a secondary love to hate love story, Isabel and Cole's relationship deepens as well. 

Also, Sam gets a chance for a sort of closure with his adoptive father Beck.  Sam has matured and has become a strong person, sure in his own skin.  This strength helps him help Grace and in turn, the pack.

This was a good finale to a great series.  I had hoped for a little epilogue detailing what happens 20 years later, but that did not happen.  All in all, I have enjoyed this series a lot and liked the characters.  I recommend it.

Saturday, December 24, 2011

Death by the Dozen

Death by the Dozen

This is the second book in a cozy mystery series set in a cupcake shot.  In this book, Mel and Angie enter a baking competition.  Their arch enemy, Olivia, is in the competition as well.  Mel's mentor is one of the judges--until his body is found in a walk in freezer.  Heart attack or murder?  That is the question and Mel wants to find out the answer.  Meanwhile, Angie and Tate are still trying to figure out their relationship, Mel and Joe are moving along in their relationship and the addition of a cute cat named Captain Jack make this a great read.  I love the characters in this series and enjoy the setting of the cupcake shop.  I recommend this to fans of cozy mysteries.

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Sing You Home

Sing You Home

Zoe and Max are married and both suffer from fertility problems.  They go through rounds of IVF with no success.  After Zoe delivers a stillborn baby, Max tells Zoe he cannot do this anymore and that he wants a divorce.  Zoe is devastated.  Eventuallly she begins to pull herself together and gets back into the groove in her job as a music therapist.  She begins to work with Lucy, a troubled girl at a local high school.  Vanessa is the Guidance Counselor there.  Vaness and Zoe become friends and eventually lovers.  They get married.  They decide they want a baby and Zoe wants to use the leftover frozen embroyes from her marriage with Max.  She asks Max and he tells her that he will think about it.  Max is now involved in a cult-like church and ends up suing Zoe for the rights to the embroyes.  This results in an intense court case.

As usual, Picoult picks an edgy topic and shows multiple sides to it.  Her book is told in chapters alternating between various characters.  This develops the characters and gives readers a strong insight into how the hot topic is affecting them.  Picoult is masterful at this technique.  She also does a great job researching the legality of the issue at the heart of her books, and Sing You Home is no exception. 

Even the secondary characters in this book are fully developed and interesting in their own right.  Readers will feel for Liddy, want to help Lucy and despise Wade.  Picoult's books are always good ones to discuss and  this book will stay true to that pattern.  I really enjoyed it and highly recommend it.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Forgotten Bookmarks

Forgotten Bookmarks

The owner of a bookstore in Oneonta, NY details items that he found in books traded into his store.  There are things such as postcards, letters, birth certificates, recipes etc.  This book was a quick read but I found it interesting.  I liked how a lot of the items left in the books were from my local area.  I also enjoyed how the bookstore owner tried to reseach what he could and gave information about the items that filled in the background a bit.  This book is a book for book lovers--we have all stuck something in to use as a bookmark.  This book made me wonder what people would find in my books! 

The Mother Daughter Book Club (YA)

The Mother Daughter Book Club (YA)

This is the first book in a cute, young adult series.  Four girls--Emma, Megan, Jess and Cassidy, are signed up by their mothers for a book club.  These four are not necessarily friends so book club could get interesting.  The club chooses Little Women as their selection and this book details their discussions, their social lives in middle school and the changes they make throughout the year as they learn things about themselves, and each other.

I really enjoyed this book.  I liked the incorporation of the book club and book discussion into the lives of the characters.  The four girls were well developed and unique.  The secondary characters--the mothers, fathers, brothers and pets--were also interesting and fleshed out well.  I have purchased the rest of the series on my Kindle.

Monday, December 5, 2011

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins (YA)

The Adventures of Nanny Piggins (YA)

Mr. Green places a sign advertisting the need for a nanny for his three children.  He is surprised when a former circus pig shows up and applies for the job.  He hires her, until a human nanny can be found.  Nanny Piggins teaches the children the important stuff--what junk food to eat, the importance of chocolate and other things.  Nanny Piggins is over the top and uncoventional and the Green children love her.  Each chapter of this book is a mini-adventure tale of some hijink or another involving Nanny Piggins and the children.  This book is a fun read filled with humor.  Upper elementary grade children would love it.

Saturday, December 3, 2011

Slow Love

Slow Love

I was really excited to read this book.  However, it ended up being very slow for me and I felt myself plodding along, often like the narrator.

This book tells about Dominique, who unexpectedly loses her job at a magazine.  She tries to get motivated enough to get out of her pajamas and become a functioning adult again but this is a daily struggle.  This was the part of the book that I liked.

Unfortunately, most of the book detailed her unhealthy relationship with a man she called Stroller.  This was the part of the book that I did not like.  I did not care about their relationship and I was frustrated by her willingness to stay with a man in a relationship that would be going nowhere.

I was sent this book to review by netgalley and read it on my Kindle.

Thursday, December 1, 2011

November Reads

November reads:

1.  A Taste of the Night Life (1st in series) (4.5/5)
2.  The Name of the Star (YA) (4.5/5) Kindle
3.  Fall for Anything (YA) (4/5)
4.  Mind Over Murder (5/5) (1st in series)
5.  Killer Pizza (YA) (4.5/5) Kindle
6.  The Carrie Diaries 2 (YA) (4.5/5) Kindle
7.  Wonderstruck (YA) (4.5/5) Library book
8.  It's Hard Not to Hate You (4.5/5) Kindle/review book
9.  In Trouble (YA) (4/5)
10. Explosive Eighteen (5/5) (18th in series)
11. Ruby Red (YA) (5/5) (1st in series)

So far, 103 books read in 2011

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Ruby Red (YA)

Ruby Red (YA)

This book is the first in a three book series.  Gwyneth's family has a time travel gene that is passed down among the generations.  Her family believes her cousin Charlotte carries the gene but it is actually Gwyneth who has it.  She then begins to travel in time, trying to complete a mission to complete the circle of 12 time travelers. 

This book is well written.  The time  travel seems to actually drive the plot rather than be a plot device.  The characters are interesting and well-developed.  There is a strong mystery aspect to the book.  Along with that, there is romance as well.  This book was a great, quick read and I look forward to number two being published.

Sunday, November 27, 2011

Explosive Eighteen

I love this series. Stephanie Plum is at it again--trying to find people who have skipped out on their bonds, trying to get away from bad guys who are after her, trying to decide between Morelli and Ranger. This book was great. There was tons of humor, lots of action and a decent mystery plot to keep me interested. Reading these books are like getting together with old friends--love Lula and Grandma Mazur. I read this book in a day!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

In Trouble (YA)

In Trouble (YA)

This book takes place in the 1950s.  Jamie's father has been recently released from prison for being considered a Communist during the McCarthy trials.  Jamie's friend Elaine becomes pregnant by her older boyfriend, Neil.  Jamie tries to help Elaine by gathering names and numbers of doctors who will help young girls "in trouble".  What Jamie is not telling people is that she was recently raped and is also trying to help herself.  This book tells of the limited options girls and women had in that time period and how they were viewed by society.  This was a quick read, but this book had a lot to it.    I would recommend it to HS girls.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

It's Hard Not to Hate You (review book)

It's Hard Not to Hate You (review book)

Valerie Frankel writes a very honest look at the ups and downs of her life.  She talks about the death of her first husband due to cancer, her own medical concerns, finding a great guy who becomes her second husband, jealousy over other people's writing successes, and a host of other issues with a sarcastic wit that makes it fun to read.  Fans of Jennifer Lancaster will enjoy this book.  Valerie looks at herself and does not make herself out to be what she is not.  She shows her whole being to reads--the good, the bad and the fugly, as she calls it.  This book made me laugh, made me think of things in my own life and made me reflect on myself.  I recommend this book.  I received this book through the Amazon Vine program and I am glad that I chose it.

Wonderstruck (YA)

Wonderstruck (YA)

Ben is deaf in one ear.  That is not the biggest issue he is dealing with though--his mother was recently killed in a car accident.  Ben discovers information about who his father is and where he may now be living.  When making a phone call to find his father, Ben's house is struck by lightning and he becomes totally deaf.  Instead of going to the hospital that his aunt and uncle want him to go to, Ben heads to New York City to try to find his father.  He meets a boy who helps him hide out in a museum while Ben is looking for his father. 

This book is told in both narrative and photo form.  Ben's story is told in the written word.  Rose's story (and her connection to Ben) is revealed in a series of illustrations.  This is not jarring though to the reader.  Both stories flow well individually and together.

I enjoyed this book.  I liked Ben and hoped all would work out for him.  I was curious to know the story behind who his father was and where he was and if Ben and he would connect.

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Carrie Diaries 2--Summer and the City

Carrie Diaries 2--Summer and the City

This book is for fans of the TV show Sex and the City.  In this book, Carrie is spending the summer in New York City participating in a writing program.  She is staying with Samantha Jones.  Carrie meets Miranda and the two become friends.  Carrie tries to get her writing career started, tries to date an older man and tries to make it in the big city--all with varying degrees success.  This book gives some insights to these characters in their younger days.  I enjoyed it.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Killer Pizza (YA) (Kindle)

Killer Pizza (YA)
A pizza shop is a cover for a monster hunting operation.  Three teenagers hired to work at the pizza shop are then recruited into the monster hunting operation.  Annabel, Toby and Strobe agree to the dangerous job.  The three put their lives in danger to rid their small town of these horrible monsters who can live unnoticed among  the human population.  This book had good action and a hint of romance.  There was humor in it as well.  This would be a good boy book for both MS and HS boys.  Girls would still like it as Annabel is a tough cookie.  I enjoyed it.

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Mind Over Murder

Mind Over Murder

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series.  Clara moves back to her hometown and begins working in the bookstore owned by her cousin, Stephanie.  The owner of the store next to them ends up being murdered in their storeroom.  The cousins decide to begin their own investigation, using Clara's "Quinn sense" where she hears voices when people are lying.  Of course their investigation is not without problems and danger. 

I enjoyed this book and will continue the series.  I liked Stephanie and Clara.  There was a hint of romance to come for Clara with fellow store owner Rick.  I loved the bookstore setting and the small town feel to it.  The mystery was decently done and there were a good amount of twists and turns to keep readers guessing.  I recommend this book.

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Fall for Anything (YA)

Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers (YA)
Eddie's father committed suicide and she struggles to figure out the reason why he did so.  Eddie is numb and her mother is in an almost catatonic state.  Eddie's best friend Milo is worried about her obsession to figure out the reasoning behind her father's actions.  Eddie meets Culler, a photography student of her fathers, and the two begin to go to a variety of places where Eddie's father took pictures and left behind messages that could perhaps enlighten them to her father's mindset.  But are things what they seem?  This book is not a happy book but it was interesting and I was curious to see if Eddie would reach some sort of closure by the book's end.

Saturday, November 5, 2011

The Name of the Star (YA) (Kindle)

The Name of the Star (YA)

Rory moves to England and begins boarding school.  There are murders happening that copy those of Jack the Ripper.  Rory sees the murder and the police begin to protect her as a witness.  The only thing is, the murderer is a ghost.  How can Rory see him?  How can he be doing these horrible things?  Rory meets other police who can also see ghosts and begins to work with them to catch this horrible killer.  But at what cost?

This book was a good read.  It had a lot of action and suspense.  The characters were well-written both those dead and alive.  I would recommend this book.

Thursday, November 3, 2011

A Taste of the Nightlife

A Taste of the Nightlife

This book was a mystery that had a cozy, culinary and vampire aspect to it.  Charlotte owns a restaurant with her vampire brother Chet.  A witch is killed there and the Paranormal Squad closes the restaurant while they do their investigation.  Charlotte decides to do her own investigation, with help from witch Brendan and vampire Anatole.  There were good twists and turns in this books and I enjoyed the characters.  This book is the first in a series and I will continue to read this series.  I recommend it.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

October Reads

October 2011 Reads:

1.  Mr. Darcy's Bite (5/5) review book
2.  Girl, Stolen (YA) (4.5/5)  library book
3.  The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (YA) (4/5) library book
4.  Shelter (YA) (5/5) Kindle book 1st in series
5.  The Body Finder (YA) (5/5) Kindle book 1st in series
6.  The Firefly Letters (YA) (4/5) library book
7.  Smile (YA) (4/5) library book
8.  The Puppy Diaries (5/5) library book

Books read in 2011:  92

Friday, October 28, 2011

Current Reads

Current Reads:

Middle School: The Worst Years of My Life (YA) (library book)
The Name of the Star (YA) (Kindle)
The Carrie Diaries 2 (YA) (Kindle)

Calling for a lot of snow this weekend--good weekend for hibernating and reading.

Sunday, October 23, 2011

The Puppy Diaries

The Puppy Diaries

This book details the first year of ownership of Scout, a English Golden Retriever, by Henry and Jill.  Jill was a bit anxious about bonding with Scout, as she was very attached to Buddy, their Westie who died.  Scout won Jill over.  This book tells about training, vet issues, and the anxiety of new puppy parenthood.  Scout had the best of both worlds--country home in CT and city apartment in Manhattan.  This book was a cute read and I would recommend it to dog lovers.  Dog owners can definitely relate to this book.  It is a happy dog book.

Thursday, October 20, 2011

Smile (YA)

Smile (YA)

I could relate all too well to this book, given years of dental work and two recently painful oral surgeries.  This book tells the story of Raina, who loses her front teeth.  She gets a retainer with fake teeth, braces, oral surgery, you name it!  Any tween or teen who faces dental work or braces should read this book--this poor girl goes through it all!  I am not usually a big fan of graphic novels but this book works well in this format.  It has a comic strip feel to it, like "For Better or Worse".  I enjoyed this book.  It was a cute, quick read.  Readers will certainly feel for Raina and her painful journey to two good front teeth.

Sunday, October 16, 2011

The Firefly Letters (YA)

The Firefly Letters (YA)

This book, told in verse style, tells the story of Fredrika Bremer, a women's right pioneer.  Fredrika travels to Cuba and realizes that slavery and women being controlled run rampant in Cuba.  She begins to write about it and this book is based on her journals and letters.  This book is told through Fredrika, her translator (who happens to be a slave) Cecilia, and a fictionalized rich girl whose family Fredrika is staying with named Elena.  This book was a quick read.  It was interesting to read about an area that I am not familiar with and about a person I did not know anything about.  I enjoyed it.

Saturday, October 15, 2011

The Body Finder (YA)

The Body Finder (YA)

This book was a great, creepy read.  Violet can sense an "echo" from a dead body.  She found her first buried  body when she was eight years old.  Now, as a teenager, a serial killer is hunting down girls from her hometown and Violet decides to use her power to find the killer herself.  This book had good twists and turns in it and will keep readers hooked.  Violet and Jay (her best friend/boyfriend) are great characters and readers will care about them.  The kidnappings and killings are creepy and scary without going into too much gory detail.  This seems to be the first book in a series--I will read more in this series.  I enjoyed it.

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Shelter (YA)

Shelter (YA)

This seems to be the first in a new series.  Mickey is the nephew of Myron Bolitar, from Coben's adult books.  Mickey is new to Myron's hometown, his father recently died in a car accident and his mother is in rehab for drug addiction.  Mickey becomes friends with Ema, an overweight Goth girl, and Spoon, a geek with decent computer skills.  They begin to search for Ashley, another new student who has mysteriously disappeared.  This book has good action, decent mystery, twists and turns and interesting characters.  Readers will get sucked in to this read.  I enjoyed it and will continue with this series.  This book would be a good read for both HS girls and boys.

Wednesday, October 12, 2011

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (YA) (4/5)

The Strange Case of Origami Yoda (YA)

This book was a cute read. It was sort of like a "Wimpy Kid" book but good in its own right. Dwight is a bit of a social misfit. He makes an origami Yoda that he uses as a sage advice giver. Soon everyone in school wants to ask Yoda for advice. This book is funny and cute. There are definitely things readers of all ages can relate to in it. I liked it. This was one of the books for the YA literature class I'm taking.

Monday, October 10, 2011

Girl, Stolen (YA)

Girl, Stolen (YA)

Griffin steals a car.  He does not realize at first that therere is a girl sleeping in the backseat.  Then he meets Cheyenne, a blind teenager who is waiting for her stepmom to come back out from the pharmacy with Cheyenne's antibiotics.  Griffin begins to panic.  His father begins to see dollar signs when they realize that Cheyenne is the daughter of Nike's President.  The car theft officially becomes a kidnapping with ransom included.  This book had a lot of twists and turns would keep readers hooked.  Griffin and Cheyenne are interested characters.  I could see both HS girls andc boys enjoying this book.  At just over 200 pages, it is a quick read but a good one.  I recommend it.

Tuesday, October 4, 2011

Books for YA Literature class

I've started to read some books for the YA literature class I'll be starting soon.  On my Kindle I'm reading The Body Finder (creepy good) and Shelter by Harlan Coben (good so far). 

What are you all reading?

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Mr. Darcy's Bite

Mr. Darcy's Bite

In this continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice, Mr. Darcy has a supernatural side, as he is a werewolf.  He tries to keep himself from falling in love with Elizabeth because of this, but it does not work.  He eventually reveals his secret to Elizabeth and asks her to marry him, if she can handle his wolf side.  She says she can and the two marry.  This book is matter of fact about Darcy being a werewolf and it really does not get in the way of the telling of Darcy and Lizzy's love story.  The writing of this book was very good and kept with Austen's style.  This book fleshed out Austen's characters in a different way and did it well.  I enjoyed the book a lot.  I received a copy to review from the publisher, Sourcebooks.

Friday, September 30, 2011

Weekend Reading Plans

Weekend Reading Plans:

Finish up reading Mr. Darcy's Bite and review it.  I have less than 100 pages left and it's good so far.

Read Forever (3rd in series).  I'm now 12% into it on my Kindle.

Sunday, September 25, 2011

Between Shades of Gray (YA)

Between Shades of Gray

This book was a powerful piece of YA historical fiction.  Lina, her mother and her younger brother Jonas are packed up, put on a train and sent to Russian prison camps during World War II.  This book describes the horrors they faced, the losses they endured and the struggles that they had to keep their faith and their humanity.  This book was so powerful, yet so difficult to read.  I think this book could be used in classrooms and I would strongly recommend it for school library purchase.  The writing is captivating, the characters are so fleshed out that readers will immediately care for them, and the storyline is fast-paced to keep even reluctant readers engaged.  This was the best historical fiction that I have read in some time. 

Library Kindle books

Very excited that my library system has started having Kindle library books.  Very easy to download.  Borrowed my first one Friday night--Between Shades of Gray--I'm about 70% into it and it is so good--YA historical fiction.

Thursday, September 22, 2011

JR Ward books

Not sure why I cannot comment on my own blog but to Carol--yes, I would definitely recommend reading the JR Ward BDB books!

Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Dark Lover

Dark Lover
This is the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series.  Wrath is the vampire king and he meets and falls in love with Beth.  She meets his tough guy vampire brothers.  There are bad guys trying to wipe out the vampire population and the brotherhood is fighting back.  Good action, good vampire smut romance, and great characters made this an enjoyable read.  All of the brothers are interesting and I will definitely continue reading this series to find out more about them.  I really enjoyed this book.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Wicked Appetite

Wicked Appetite

This book focuses on Diesel, a character from the "in-between" Stephanie Plum series.  Diesel has some magical powers and needs help from a baker, who does not really know that she has magical powers too.  The two try to find magical charms leading to a magical stone before Wulf, Diesel's evil cousin, finds them.  Carl the Monkey, also from the Stephanie Plum books, is in this book; he is joined by ninja cat, Cat 7143.  This book was a fun read--great humor, some romance, decent action.  I love Evanovich's writing.  She is one of my favorite authors.  I read this book on my Kindle.

Sunday, September 18, 2011

Never Been Bit

Never Been Bit

This is the third book in a series and I have enjoyed all three.  This series had vampires, lycans and witches mixed up with storylines that have action, mystery and romance.  In this book, Sorcha and Alec's storyline takes center stage.  Sorcha is a witch and Alec is a vampire.  They are drawn to each other, even though Sorcha really believes that she is destined to end up with a Lycan.  These books are fun to read.  The characters are interesting and complex.  I enjoy the way the author weaves in the central group of characters in every book, while focusing on one couple as the main part in a book. It is done in a well-balanced way. 

I was sent this book to review by Sourcebooks.

Monday, September 12, 2011


I have bookmarks (physical or virtual) in the following books:

Never Been Bit (review book)
Maine (review book)
The Provence Cure for the Broken Hearted (Kindle)

Wicked Appetite (Kindle)
Beauty Queens (YA)
Dark Lover
Death on a Silver Tray

Wednesday, September 7, 2011


Congratulations to Carol Evans--she won a copy of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star!  Enjoy!

Thank you Heather!

Thank you Heather for stopping by my blog!

Remember, comment here or on my review on Facebook to be entered in the drawing for a copy of this fun read!

Guest Blog by Heather Lynn Rigaud, author of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

*What is Heather's writing process?

Before I ever start, I spend a lot of time thinking about my characters and my plot. I like to have a really strong sense of my characters motivations and personalities. I want to know what they're thinking, what their quirks are, and what they're longing for.

I'm a serious plotter. I like plan where my story's going to go and the major plot points as well as the tiny details that will be important 200 pages later. However, I'm often surprised when I actually start writing because my characters sometimes will produce something I wasn't expecting, but I do try to keep some control.

I will usually write a chapter a week. I'll then send that out for feedback from my beta-readers and do some edits. When the whole work is done, I'll then do several rounds of edits and re-writes as needed. (And then some more, and then more after that)

*Was it hard to stay true to Jane Austen while making Austen's characters her own?

Yes, and no. I can divide the characters into 3 categories. First, there were character that I tried to stay really true too, specifically Darcy and Elizabeth. It's their story and I find these characters so vibrant that I think their original selves shine through. Darcy is still proud and aloof, Elizabeth is still sparkling while still resenting Darcy. I have to also include the villains in this category: Wickham, Collins, and Lady Catherine. Austen knew her badies and they don't need any work, other than updating.

Second, there are characters that I tried to imagine what they would be like if they just had more 'screen time'. This would include Charles Bingley, Jane Bennet, and Anne DeBourgh, who I let express the anger I have to believe she's repressing. Jane and Charles are allowed to explore their motivations- What's going on in Charles's head when he separates from Jane, how he views his friendship with Darcy, etc.

Finally, there's the characters I take and change significantly. This would include Caroline Bingley and Richard Fitzwilliam. I don't feel bad about Richard because he's hardly in P&P (he doesn't even have a first name), so he was useful to develop for my own purposes and Caroline was an experiment: Caroline in the original is easy for Darcy to reject because he can see she's a hollow suck-up. But what if she wasn't a horrid, selfish sycophant? What if she was a nice person? She'd be a much bigger rival to Elizabeth for Darcy's attention. And wouldn't it say more about Darcy's love for Elizabeth if he had a real alternative?

Charlotte Lucas is her own special case, because I start with the very pragmatic, plain character from Pride & Prejudice, and I take it to a different conclusion. She's still Charlotte, but she goes to a really new place.

*Why does she think that these modernized classics or take offs seem to be a hot genre right now?

Because the classic stories have great bones. Under the period fluff, the characters and plots combine to make strong, exciting stories. Readers love and enjoy these characters so much they're excited to get to spend more time with them. And by updating the language, and some of the situations that don't make sense for modern times, we're opening up these classics to be enjoyed by more people.

I'm a good example: my first exposure to Jane Austen was the movie Bridget Jones's Diary, which is a fearless adaptation of Pride and Prejudice. I loved it, so I read the book. The book talked about the Pride and Prejudice BBC series, so I got that and watched it. From there, it was a short hop to Jane Austen's book and then to all of Austen's novels.

The other point I'd like to make is these novels are not that out of date. Take Mansfield Park. It's about a seriously dysfunctional family: the mother is chronically ill and is non-functional most of the time. The oldest son is an alcoholic with gambling issues. The oldest daughter is a party girl who has an affair, and leaves her rich, dull husband. The mother's nurse falls in love with the second son, who's pining for the glamorous girl next door. Sounds pretty modern doesn't it? And that's what Austen wrote.

In Northanger Abbey the heroine, who's away from home for the first time, is obsessed with romantic horror novels. She draws the attention of two men: one's charming but has an emotionally abusive father, the other is a loud-mouthed braggart who's always swearing and talking about his car(riage). 

My point is Austen's basic plots are already pretty modern. It's not that far a stretch to take down the Regency wallpaper and put up some modern paint.

Melissa, thank you for the opportunity to visit your blog and get to know some of your readers. I hope to hear about what they think in the comments.

Friday, September 2, 2011

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star

This is a unique take on Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice.  Darcy, Charles and Richard are huge rock stars in their band Slurry.  Lizzy, Jane and Charlotte are up an coming rock stars Long Bourne Suffering.  The two bands begin to tour together.  Charles and Jane become a couple, Richard and Charlotte hook up in a true rock and roll style romance and Darcy and Elizabeth are drawn to each other but have some obstacles to work through--sounds like Pride and Prejudice, right?

Add in the MTV Video awards, some hot romance, and modern times, and you have a fun read.  I enjoyed it and you know I love my Jane Austen.

I was sent a copy of this book to review by Sourcebooks.

----On September 7th, Heather Lynn Rigaud will be guest blogging here.  A copy of this book will be up for grabs.  Comment here if you want to be entered into the book drawing!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Author Guest Blog on September 7th

On September 7th, Heather Lynn Rigaud, author of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star, will be a guest blogger.  A copy of Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star will be available.  If interested in being in the drawing for the book, please leave a comment here.  Thank you!

Divergent (YA)

Divergent (YA)

This is the first book in a dystopian series.  At a certain age, teenagers must decide what faction they are going to choose to belong to.  If they don't make the cut, they become "factionless" or homeless.  Beatrice decides to join the Dauntless faction and reinvents herself as Tris.  She suffers physically and mentally through the hazing period.  She finds herself connected to Four, one of the trainers.  Tris realizes that there was more to her seemingly quiet mother than meets the eye and Tris has to find the strength to stop a war.  This had a lot of action in it.  I enjoyed it and I usually do not like these types of books.  I will read the rest of the series when they come out.

Friday, August 26, 2011

In my mailbox/inbox

In my inbox/mailbox this week:

Kindle books:
The Unraveling of Abby Settel
Circle of Fire
Blood Awakening
Learning Curves
Velva Jean Learns to Fly
Devil to Pay
Don't Say a Word
Unholy Magic
Unholy Ghosts
City of Ghosts
A Cat with No Clue
Good Girls
A Killer Collection
Fatal Appraisal
August Moon
The Sauvignon Secret
Poison Diaries 2
The Fairy Rose
The Book of Blood and Shadow
The Most Dangerous Thing
Searching for Meredith Love
Power of Six

Summer Rental

Saving June
How to Eat a Cupcake
Bride of Night
Post-it Note Diaries
You're Not the One

The Memory Palace (ARC)
Vampire Haiku
Roses (Paperbackswap)

Upcoming author blog visit

On September 7th, Heather Lynn Rigaud will be visiting the blog to talk about her new book, Fitzwilliam Darcy, Rock Star.  I am halfway through the book and am really enjoying it so far.  Make sure you save the date!

Monday, August 22, 2011

Tighter (YA)

Jamie begins a summer job nanny young Isa.  Isa's former nanny, Jessie, died the summer before in a plane crash with her boyfriend, Peter, who was piloting the plane.  Jamie bears a physical resemblance to Jessie so the townspeople are drawn to her.  Jamie is drawn to the ghost of Peter.  Jamie does not know if this is really happening, if it is a side effect of the pills she has been taking or if she is going crazy like others in her family.  This book was a mix of a ghost story, realistic fiction of a girl with a drug addiction, a mystery and a romance.  This was a decent read.  I was sent this book to review through the Amazon Vine program.  I enjoyed it.  Jamie was a good main character--she was complex and that made her interesting.

Friday, August 19, 2011

Smokin' Seventeen

Smokin' Seventeen

I love this series.  No matter how many cars are destroyed, how many times she wavers between Ranger and Morelli or how many doughnuts she eats with Lula, Stephanie Plum never gets old for me.  In this book, dead bodies are being dumped at the bond office, which isn't doing much for business.  Worse yet, some of the bodies are labeled "For Stephanie".  This doesn't really narrow down anything since there are quite a few people at any given moment who would like to kill Stephanie.  Through it all, Stephanie keeps her sense of humor--even when chasing a bond skip who thinks he is a vampire, even when Vinnie paints a more endowed picture of her on the office wall to drum up business, even when Morelli's grandmother puts the "Vordo" on her.  These books are pure entertainment.

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Barnes and Noble delivery

Received a nice book order from Barnes and Noble today.  In the box was:

Flowerbed of State by Dorothy St. James

Perfect Little Ladies by Abby Drake

Ruby Red by Kersten Gier

The Implosion of Aggie Winchester by Lara Zielin

All You Desire (sequel to The Eternal Ones) by Kirsten Miller

Let the reading begin! :-)

Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Such a Pretty Fat

Such a Pretty Fat

I love Jen Lancaster's writing.  It is witty, bitter and refreshingly honest.  In this book, Jen is using her journey of weight loss as fodder for her new book.  She tries Jenny Craig, Weight Watches and her own methods with varying levels of success (don't get her started on Atkins!).   Throughout it all, Jen realistically details her dread of exercise, her embarrassment over her body at times and her excitement at going out bare armed for the first time in a long time.  This book is hilarious and such fun to read.  I highly recommend it.

Monday, August 15, 2011

Tout Sweet

Tout Sweet

This is a memoir in the vein of Eat, Pray, Love.  Karen decides to start over after she and her boyfriend break up.  She decides to leave London behind and buys a house of her own in France.  As she fixes up the house, she gains back her independence and creates a new world for herself, filled with interesting people she meets in her new village.  Karen does not seem to be incredibly lucky in love, which makes me feel for her, but she keeps her optimism which I like.  This book had elements of chick lit in it, a great deal of humor and good writing.  Karen honestly details the highs and lows of her new life in France.  I enjoyed it a lot.  I was sent this book by Sourcebooks to review. 

Tuesday, August 9, 2011

Goddess Cottage

Goddess Cottage

This book has all that a paranormal reading fan could want--witches, werewolves, vampires and magic spells.  Sierra finds out that she is the last in a long line of Ivory female witches and to save that line's power, she must travel to Alaska and mate with Hayden, a werewolf.  Of course that is not easy with Raven, a jealous werewolf who wants all the power for herself.  This book had a good paranormal story, decent characters, a bit of action and some romance.  It was a quick, fun read.  I was sent this book to review and I enjoyed it.

South of Broad

South of Broad

This was my first book by this author and what a way to start! This was an excellent read.  I loved the characters immediately and their connection to each other.  Leo King is the main character and he introduces a group of odd teenagers to each other in the late 1960s--rich kids Chad, Molly and Frasier, orphans Niles, Starla and Betty, should be orphans Trevor and Sheba and black football captain Ike--in a time when rich and poor, black and white, should not have mixed.  This group remains true to each other over the years and through horrible things and that made me care greatly about them.  The writing is superb and even though the book was over 500 pages, I could have read 500 more.  I strongly recommend this book.  I received a copy of this book to review from the publisher.

Sunday, August 7, 2011

Current Read

Current Read:

I am about halfway through South of Broad and concentrating on that for now.  I am hoping to have it done for Wednesday's book class.  I am really enjoying it and have read close to 150 pages just today.  

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

Current Reads

I am currently reading South of Broad.  This will be my first book by Conroy.  I am on page 41.  I am really liking the character of Leo.  

Last night I began Divergent on my Kindle.  I am only 2% in so far.

For review, I am reading Goddess Cottage by Sheri Dub on my Kindle.  I'm about 60% into this book and am enjoying it.

On the YA front, I am about 30 pages into Beauty Queens and getting some chuckles out of this book!

Monday, August 1, 2011

July Reads at a Glance

In July I read:

1.  Juggling Fire (YA)  (4/5)
2.  Chapter and Hearse (5/5) 4th in series
3.  In the Heat of the Bite (4/5) 2nd in series
4.  The Lightning Thief (YA) (5/5) 1st in series (Kindle)
5.  Bad Dog (5/5)
6.  My Jane Austen Summer (4/5)
7.  Prophecy of Days (YA) (4/5) 1st in series
8.  Books can be Deceiving (5/5) 1st in series
9. The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (4.5/5) 1st in series (Kindle)
10. Click: an Online Love Story (4.5/5) (Kindle)
11. The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree (5/5) 1st in series (library book)
12.  A Weekend with Mr. Darcy (5/5)
13.  Mudbound (5/5)

Books read in 2011:  72 

Saturday, July 30, 2011



This book was a great historical fiction read. Set in the south in 1946, it details the lives of two families--whites Henry and Laura, Henry's father Pappy and brother Jamie and blacks Hap and Florence and their son Ronsel.  Jamie and Ronsel are both recently returned from the war but Pappy, with his KKK roots, feels that the two boys are nowhere on the same plane.  This book is told in chapters from alternating narrators and this adds to the story.  I found this book to be extremely well-written and the characters well-developed.  This book hooked me immediately.  I highly recommend it.

Sunday, July 24, 2011

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

A Weekend with Mr. Darcy

This is a must read for Jane Austen fans.  Katherine and Robyn head out for a Jane Austen weekend.  Katherine meets Warwick Lawton there, a man she is drawn to but who seems to have a secret.  Robyn, followed to the weekend by the boyfriend she is considering getting rid of, meets Dan, a horseman.  The couples do not have easy roads to romance but readers will root for them all the way.  This book had romance, humor and a big dose of Jane Austen!  I enjoyed the writing style and the characters in this book.  I also enjoyed how this book used Jane Austen and her writings to propel the plot but did not try to re-write or follow up to the original Austen works.  It was a nice way to pay homage to a great author.  I received this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for a review.

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

The Darling Dahlias and the Cucumber Tree

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series with a historical southern feel to it.  The Darling Dahlias is a woman's garden group but they are so much more.  When a young woman is murdered, the ladies begin to investigate.  At the same time, they are trying to clear another woman of charges of stealing from the town bank.  These ladies are made of Southern steel--they look delicate but they are tough cookies.  They are a great group of characters.  I enjoyed this book a lot--it was a quick read and I liked the writing flow of it.  I have the second book in this series on my Kindle to read.

Friday, July 22, 2011

Click: An Onlie Love Story

Click: An Online Love Story

This was a good chick lit read.  The book was told entirely through emails and I enjoyed that format.  Renee decides to try her luck at online dating.  She keeps her friends Mark, Ashley and Shelley up to date on her dating escapades.  Renee meets some interesting men through online dating; she meets some good guys too.  There was a lot of humor in this book.  I enjoyed how well written and full developed these characters were even though the format was all emails.  This shows good writing in my opinion.  I liked how the friendship of these four characters were portrayed in the book.  There was a lot of romance in the book as well.  I really cared about these characters.  The author sent me this book for review and I am glad that she did.  I read this book on my Kindle.

Wednesday, July 20, 2011

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo

A journalist is hired by a wealthy man to solve the murder of his niece, 40 years after it happened.  The journalist discovers that this is not a normal family.  There are twists and turns throughout this book that will keep readers hooked.  I loved the character of Lisbeth--a researcher/computer hacker with her own set of dysfunctions.  She kicked ass.  I had heard that this book started off slowly and it did a bit (a lot of background information and people all at once) but once it picked up, boy did it pick up!  I really enjoyed this book and have the others in the series to read (this is the first book in the series).  I recommend this book.

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Books Can Be Deceiving

Books Can Be Deceiving

This is the first book in a new cozy mystery series and I loved it.  Lindsey has recently become the library director of a small-town library where her friend Beth is the children librarian.  Beth's ex-boyfriend is murdered and Lindsey and Beth become investigators when the local police chief is more than happy to assume that Beth did it.  This book had a great cast of characters and a wonderful cozy feel to it.  The mystery had me guessing up until the end of the book.  McKinley is becoming a favorite author of mine--I loved her cupcake cozy mystery series as well.  I heartily recommend this book and cannot wait for the second book to come out.

Wednesday, July 13, 2011

Prophecy of Days (YA)

Prophecy of Days (YA)

This is the first in a young adult adventure series.  Caity's parents move to Scotland when her father inherits a castle; her parents decide to turn the castle into an inn.  Caity finds a secret room off of her bedroom; this room is full of symbols and codes for her to decipher.  She decodes enough to figure out that part of this code is about her and what she is "destined" to do.  Caity enlists the help of some others (her friend Justine, an attractive boy Alex and her Uncle Li) to help her figure out what is going on with the castle and its secrets.  This book bogged down a bit in the middle but picked up at the end and I see that the second book just came out; I will try to read it at some point.  This was a decent read.  I liked Caity and Alex and  I loved Mr. Papers, the monkey who made origami.  He rocked.  I would recommend this book.

Sunday, July 10, 2011

My Jane Austen Summer

My Jane Austen Summer

Lily's mother just died, she just lost her job and her boyfriend just broke up with her. Figuring she has nothing to lose, she decides to sell her clothes and her furniture and move to England for the summer to take part in Literature Live--where the books of her favorite author, Jane Austen, are re-enacted. Things do not quite work out like she had planned though--she does not get a part in the plays, the business is not doing well financially and she falls in love with a man who is unavailable. This was decent chick lit, though sometimes I wanted to wake Lily up with a slap. Overall, I enjoyed the book. Love the Jane Austen connection.

Bad Dog: A Love Story

Bad Dog:  A Love Story

This book tells the story of Hola, a Bernese mountain dog, and Martin, her alcoholic owner.  In order to give both of their lives more focus, Martin decides to train Hola for the Canine Good Citizen test--no easy feat for a dog with certain Marley-esque qualities.  But the bond between the two is strong and both are willing to work to help the other succeed.  Along with detailing the training of Hola, Martin talks about his and his friends battle with alcohol, the dissolution of his marriage, and the growing connection between he and his dog.  Having lost my dog two weeks ago to bladder cancer, this book was good therapy for me.  It is a must read for dog lovers.  I enjoyed the references to dog literature, especially the references to the Susan Conant dog mysteries.  I recommend this book.  I received this book from the Amazon Vine program for review. 

Friday, July 8, 2011

The Lightning Thief (YA)

The Lightning Thief (YA)

This is the first book in a young adult series.  I am really glad I saw the movie before reading the book--otherwise, I would have hated the movie.  The movie left out tons of book action!  In the book, Percy Jackson discovers he is a demi-god:  half human, half god. He goes to Half Blood Camp to figure out which god is his father and after that, he is sent on a quest.   His quest is to find the stolen lightning bolt of Zeus and return it to the mighty god.  This book had tons of action, great characters (I loved Grover--Percy's protector who is a goat disguised as a human) and a lot of humor.  I have the rest of this series on my Kindle and look forward to reading them.  These books can span the YA audience and adults could love them too.

Sunday, July 3, 2011

In the Heat of the Bite

In the Heat of the Bite

This is the second book in a paranormal romance series.  This book stands alone well, though there are characters from book one in this book.  Enough back story is given that readers will be ok if they have not read the first book.  In this book, Rhiannon, a witch, meets and falls in love with Matthew, a vampire.  Throw some werewolves and other obstacles in the mix and you have a great paranormal love story.  I enjoyed this book--I liked the characters and I will continue reading this series.  I was sent this book by Sourcebooks in exchange for a review.

Friday, July 1, 2011

Chapter and Hearse

Chapter and Hearse

This is the 4th book in a great cozy mystery series.  In this book, a fellow bookstore owner of Tricia's is killed when his bookstore is blown up.  Tricia begins to investigate who is behind the explosion.  As usual, this can get her and those around her into some trouble.  I love this series--good mystery, a little romance, great characters, a great cat in Ms. Marple--all make for good reading.  I love the setting of Booktown and wish I lived in a town of bookstores.  

Juggling Fire (YA)

Juggling Fire (YA)

Rachel sets off to hike through the Yukon to her family's cabin--the last place that her father was known to be.  Her mother is not thrilled with the idea but lets her go off on her journey with her dog, Brooks as her only companion, save for the golden bear that follows her on her travels.  This book was interesting to me because my husband was in the Yukon at the time I was reading this.  I almost gave up on the book when something bad happened to Brooks but I had to keep reading to find out the final outcome for the doggy.  Rachel always made up her own endings to fairy tales and the book went back and forth between her fairy tales and her journey and that got a bit annoying at times.

Thursday, June 30, 2011

The Borrower

The Borrower

Ms. Hull is a young librarian who makes a connection with Ian, a 10 year old boy with very religious thoughts on Ian's apparent homosexuality.  Ms. Hull finds Ian in the library one morning, after he ran away from home and slept there overnight.  She begins to drive him home and he says if she does, he will tell his parents that she kidnapped him.  This begins their road trip, destinations picked by Ian.  Ms. Hull wrestles with what to do morally, Ian tries to decide how long the trip should last and I was sucked in like watching a train wreck.  These are great, complex characters.  This book had a good secondary storyline with Ms. Hull's father--is he Russian mafia?  A revolutionary?  An old man who tells stories?  This book was different, but in a good way.  I enjoyed this book.  I borrowed the book from the library.

Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow (YA)

Jake Ransom and the Skull King's Shadow

Jake Ransom and his sister Kady are transported into a world filled with ancient civilizations, dinosaurs and mythical creatures.  Following in the footsteps of their parents, Jake and Kady attempt to figure out where they are and how to get home.  This book was jam packed, sometimes almost too much so.  A reader could get lost with the references to mythology, ancient history and a sort of physics.  I liked the main characters and think that this could be a good book for a strong boy reader.  I read this book on my Kindle.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Muder Past Due

Murder Past Due

This is the first book in a cozy mystery series featuring Charlie, a librarian, and Diesel, Charlie's Maine Coon cat.  Charlie's young boarder, Justin, discovers that a famous author is his biological father.  Shortly after that news, the writer is killed.  Charlie begins to investigate in the hopes of solving the murder and bringing Justin some closure.  This book was a good mystery, had good characters (love Diesel!) and had a nice, cozy feel to it.  I enjoyed it a lot and have #2 on my Kindle to read.

Sunday, June 19, 2011

The Red Queen

The Red Queen

This is the second book in Gregory's series telling of the War of the Roses.  I enjoy Gregory's historical fiction and this book was no different.  Margaret believes that she is like Joan of Arc and has been chosen by God to be the mother of the true King of England--her son, Henry Tudor.  Margaret plots and plans to make this happen and this vision becomes the driving force in her life.  This book shows how women were powerless and powerful all at once, how people would turn on family and friends at the drop of the hat, and how keeping the family name in power was the end all be all.  This was a good read.  I read it on my Kindle.

Saturday, June 18, 2011

Jolted (YA)

Jolted (YA)

Newton's family is cursed with being struck and killed by lightning.  Newton is sent to a survival school to learn the needed skills for survival.  With help from his very smart pig, Josephine, Newton learns about life, friendship and survival.  This book was a good, quick read with a lot of humor.  The characters were great and ones that I cared about and wanted to know what happened to them.  I really enjoyed this book.

Sunday, June 12, 2011

Housecat Confidential (Kindle)

Housecat Confidential (Kindle)

A must read for cat lovers!  This book is told from the point of view of Finn, a Maine Coon type of cat.  Finn tells of her early childhood in the shelter, finding her new parents, and detailing her life with them.  She even bears all about her forbidden love affair with Mousey.  This was a fun book and I smiled at all of Finn's antics.  I could totally relate to the thought process given to these actions by Finn's mother and writing partner.  This book was a fun read.

The Journal of Curious Letters (YA) 1st in series

The Journal of Curious Letters (YA)

This is the first book in a YA series.  Atticus, known as Tick, receives a mysterious letter telling him that he will soon get a series of clues.  If he figures out the clues, he will meet a man named Master George and help him save lives.  Tick decides he will pursue this venture and he meets up with some other kids in the same boat and they bond over their adventure.  This is a good book to recommend to boy readers of the middle school and early high school reading levels.  I have #2 here to read soon.  I enjoyed the characters, especially Tick, and this book had a sort of Harry Potter feel for me--and I loved the Harry Potter books.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

Tolstoy and the Purple Chair

This is a book for book lovers.  Nina loses her older sister to cancer.  As a way of healing, she vows to read a book a day for a year.  This book details that year and the struggle to read, be a wife, a mother, a friend.  Nina connects the books that she is reading to her life and uses them as a balm for her pain.  When she reacts to a book that I have read, I smile and can agree totally.  I loved her writing style and that she loves reading so much.  I was sent this book to review by the Amazon Vine program.  I loved it.

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Demons Prefer Blondes

Demons Prefer Blondes

Rafe's sister is kidnapped.  He would rather rescue her but he must go to Earth to repossess a sacred wooden chest.  Did I mention that Rafe is a demon?  He is not looking forward to going to Earth since his last relationship with a mortal did not go well.  But he gets a little more than he bargained for when he meets Lucy, owner of a beauty salon.  Lucy does not know it but she is part demon herself and has succubus in her.  This causes she and Rafe to have an instant chemical reaction to each other and of course they are bound by the box and Rafe's urge to protect her.  This was a good, fun read.  It is in the paranormal romance genre.  I was sent a copy of this book for review by the publisher.