Saturday, October 9, 2010

Don't Kiss Him Goodbye

Don't Kiss Him Goodbye
London Confidential #3
Sandra Byrd
Juvenile Fiction / Religious / Christian
978-1-4143-2599-6
$6.99 US

Synopsis:
Now established in her quirky British village, Savvy works hard to get an article with her own byline published in the school newspaper. When an attractive and mysterious boy asks her for help with his school work, Savvy is slowly pulled into his circle and soon finds out that the wrong set of friends—boys and girls—can influence her own behavior. Following her own advice to cut ties with a charming bad boy would mean abandoning her dearest wishes, and it just doesn't seem as wrong as it feels. Is it? Read on for surprise twists throughout the book!

London Confidential is a new series for young girls. In the series, British fashion, friendships, and guys collide as an all-American teen girl learns to love life and live out her faith. The series follows Savvy's entertaining attempts to fit in during her first year at a new school in a new country.

My Take:

A quick, easy read, "Don't Kiss Him Goodbye" follows Savvy in her first year of high school in England. I think this would be a great book for any girl in 6 - 9th grade, and enjoyed reading it myself. The plot was well detailed, and Savvy was a believable character. The message in the book was clearly delivered without preaching.

4 stars :)

I was provided a copy of this book at no charge. The opinion in this post is entirely my own.

Sunday, August 1, 2010

Whisper on the Wind by Maureen Lang

Author Maureen Lang - view author info
List Price: $12.99
ISBN: 978-1-4143-2436-4
Release: September 2010

Synopsis:
In Brussels at the height of WWI, a small, underground newspaper is the only thing offering the occupied city hope—and real news of the war. The paper may be a small whisper amid the shouts of the German army, but Edward Kirkland will do anything to keep it in print. Meanwhile, Isa Lassone, a Belgian-American socialite whose parents whisked her to safety at the start of the war, sneaks back into the country to rescue those dearest to her: Edward and his mother. But Edward refuses to go, and soon Isa is drawn into his secret life printing the newspaper . . . And into his heart.

My Take:

This was my first read by Maureen Lang, and I've definitely stumbled on another great narrator. Maureen takes you back to Belgium 1916, richly describing the war torn country now occupied by Germany. Conquered but not defeated, the Belgiums are still hopeful and rebellious.

Edward and his family are Belgium natives, and stay during the German occupation. Edward is shipped off to a work camp, and returned home when he is to ill to work. Doctors hold little hope for a recovery, yet through a miracle he survives. His mother has a death certificate forged to protect Edward so he won't have to go back to the camp, and Edward stays in Belgium undercover, writing, publishing and delivering an underground newspaper to keep hope and pride in the country alive.

Isa is a rich, slightly spoiled, American whose parents left Belgium at the start of the war. Isa spent most of her time at the hotel Edward's parents ran, and loves his mother like her own. She also develops a crush on Edward. Soon Isa grows from girlhood to adulthood, and sets out to sneak in Belgium in the hopes of rescuing Edward and his family. She brings with her current news articles and letters of those that made it across the border. She makes it safely across, and finds Edward, his mother, and his young brother Jonas alive and well, but his father was killed at the start of the war. Edward refuses to leave Belgium, feeling obligated to keep his secret press going as long as possible.
Isa and Edward's family refuse to leave without Edward, and soon Isa is involved in the newspaper herself.

The story was richly woven and beautifully told. You could clearly see the country, and root for the Belgiums.

Five out of five stars :)

Saturday, July 3, 2010

Missing Max by Karen Young


Missing Max by Karen Young
Howard Books - a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
ISBN # 978-1-4165-8749-1
Fiction - Romance (General)
$14.99 US / $19.99 CAN


Synopsis:

It took precious seconds of 16-year-old Melanie's diverted attention at the Mardi Gras parade for someone to take baby Max from his stroller. Another hour for police to present Max's mom, Jane, with all the kidnapper left behind...one small shoe.

Six months later, the family is in a turmoil they cannot seem to escape. Max is out there somewhere - Jane is certain and she won't stop until she finds him - while Melanie takes a horrific step to make amends for those few seconds of attention lapse. Kyle doesn't know who to comfort first and, even if he could determine whether his wife or daughter needs him most, he can't put aside his own anguish over his missing infant son to chart a corrective course of action.

With their marriage on the rocks and a teenager taking matters into her own hands, can this family survive MISSING MAX?


My Take:

An amazingly written tale (I'll definitely be looking for more books by Karen), "Missing Max" tells the story of the fallout from Max's abduction. Jane (Max's mom and Melanie's step-mom) leaves Max in the care of Christine (her best friend) and Melanie during the Mardi Gras Parade to grab a bite to eat for everyone. In the few minutes she's gone, Christine rushes to help a stranger who's collapsed, leaving Max in Melanie's care. Max is sound asleep in his stroller, resting comfortably in the shade, back from the crush of the crowd. Melanie takes her eyes off Max for a few minutes to chat with some guys she knows on a parade float. When she turns back to check on him, he's gone. No Max. No stroller. Melanie calls Jane, and chaos ensues. Kyle (dad) is called from work, Jane rushes over. The police swarm to search, but all they find is the stroller and one tiny shoe.

The story focuses on the family, and how they deal with the the loss of Max. Jane focuses desperately on finding her son, spending hours volunteering for the local Missing Children department. Kyle pulls inward, working more and more hours, unable to deal with Max's loss. Melanie rebels, going from a sweet, ambitious teen to a surly, rebellious brat who blames Jane for everything. The family is on the verge of imploding, with each one blaming the other for Max's abduction. Months pass, and no Max. Every lead, every rumor, is followed, each one delivering another blow to their hope of Max being returned.

The story is amazingly narrated, Jane, Kyle and Melanie are easy to love and believe, and I was hoping along with them for Max's return. Each suspicion has you guessing who really took Max, and if he'd be returned alive and well. Jane, Kyle and Melanie's relationship is thoroughly plotted, from the start as a warm, loving blended family to the strain that is put on everyone.

5 stars.

Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd

Storm of Visions by Christina Dodd (The Chosen Ones)-
Signet
First Published August 2009
ISBN # 978-0-451-22763-8
$7.99 / $9.99

You can read an excerpt here.

Buy this book at:

Amazon.com | B&N.com | Borders

Synopsis:

When the world was young, twins were born. One brought light to a dark world; the other, darkness and danger. They gathered others around them, men and women destined to use their powerful gifts for good or evil. Today their descendants walk the earth as the Chosen, and the ultimate battle is about to begin.

My take:

This is pure Dodd -hot, fast, and impossible to put down. Part of the Chosen series (#1), Storm of Visions revolves around Jacqueline and Caleb, two characters I fell in love with from the first chapter.

Jacqueline is a Chosen one, but wants no part of her gift and is working in a winery, trying to live a normal life - impossible when your mother is Zusane, the worlds most renowned psychic. Enter Caleb, Zusane's top bodyguard and major thorn in Jacqueline's side (due to the love her and leave her he pulled) who hopes to bully Jacqueline into accepting her Chosen destiny.

Jacqueline soon finds herself swept up, and tricked into the Chosen life, and fireworks quickly follow.

Dodd does an amazing job of detailing her characters, flaws and virtues, weaving a richly painted story that had me devouring book #2 (Storm of Shadows) the same night as I read this one :)

5 out of 5 stars.

Sunday, May 2, 2010

Between Two Kingdoms (book review)

Between Two Kingdoms by Joe Boyd

Published by Standard Publishing

pub date: 2010-03-01

ISBN # 9780784723586

Read Excerpt

Synopsis:

There is a land of two kingdoms, but only one true King. A living land, where foundations grow in trees and rivers sing and breathe. A dying land, where the darkness of a false prince threatens to swallow everything in its shadow.

Enter Between Two Kingdoms with Tommy, an eternal seven-year-old child of the Great King, as he and his friends accept the challenge of the Good Prince to live as grown men and women in the Lower Kingdom -- where hope is hidden, vision is clouded, and pride twists truth into a beautiful yet deadly deception.

My Take:

Between Two Kingdoms is an enchanting allegory tale that revolves around Tommy and Mary, eternal seven year olds in The Upper Kingdom. They must brave the evil of the Lower Kingdom to save many lives. The story twists and turns, leaving you guessing what will happen next. The story reads like a fairy tale, and yet covers the age old battle of good and evil, and faith conquering all.

I loved the depth of detail, and how detailed is character is. I didn't want this book to end.

4 out of 5 stars.

Monday, April 19, 2010

I Has a Hotdog - Review

I Has a Hotdog (What Your Dog Is Really Thinking)
Grand Central Publishing, A Division of Hachette Book Group
ISBN 978-0-446-56638-4
$12.00 US / $13.50 Can

Synopsis:

Professor Happy Cat knows exactly what goes on in Dogs' minds and he has IHasaHotdog.com to prove it. Now you can share this knowledge in a handy-dandy dog friendly--sized book.

I HAS A BWAIN!!1!
An you thawt we dint! Now Professor Happycat tells you what's in it and, from I HAS A HOTDOG.com and beyond, lets over 200 LOLdogs loose on the world, all barking the truth about kibble, toys, and bad kitties. This collection of favorites and never-before-seen photos will have you barking for more! For all you hoomins, a LOLdog is a kay-nine picture with a funny, misspelled caption.

I Has a Hotdog is available April 20, and to celebrate the launch of book, they're running an I Has A Hotdog Book Launch Contest (ends 4/25)! Send your email address to iwantihasahotdog@cheezburger.com and you’ll be entered to win the grand prize pack of:

-Signed copy of I Has a Hotdog: What Your Dog Is Really Thinking by Ben Huh and the team that brought you the book.
- $100 lolmart.com gift certificate

For contest official rules, click here.


My Take:

Laugh out loud funny, this one had me rolling from the first photo :) Appealing to all ages, it was like having my favorite website in print form. I've loved the I Can Has Cheezeburger (funny cats with a misspelled caption) site, and I Can Has Hotdog is every bit as enjoyable, only starring canines. Ben Huh (aka Professor Happycat) is a former journalist turned dotcom entrepreneur and CEO of the Cheezburger Network, the company behind all these hugely popular blogs. Scroll waaaaay to the bottom of this blog to see one of my all time favorite photos from their sites :)

5 out of 5 stars :)

Check out IHasaHotdog.com
Become a Fan on Facebook
Follow @LOLDogs on Twitter

I received this book free of charge to review.

PLEASE NOTE: I used pictures from the I can Has Hotdog site, not from the actual book to avoid spoilers :)

Monday, April 12, 2010

Dutch II - Angel's Revenge by Teri Woods - Review



Dutch II - Angel's Revenge by Teri Woods
Grand Central Publishing /Hachette Book Group
March 2010
ISBN # 978-0-446-55155-7
$14.99 US / $17.99 CAN

Synopsis:
He is the most merciless of his lieutenants, with style and skills that even the hardest hustlers fear . . . and none survive. And with Dutch gone, Angel is fueled by a shattering vendetta and methodically eliminating every successor, wannabe, and mobster trying to lead Dutch's madly profitable organization. The only person between her and ultimate control: One-eyed Roc-aka Rahman-Dutch's other trusted lieutenant and a man with his own zealous master plan. He and his crew are cleaning up the streets and righting his wrongs by any means necessary. And he's checkmating Angel's strengths and playing her every weakness. Neither can stop. Neither will give in. And they will never surrender Dutch's lethal legacy, even though their last devastating power play could destroy it all .

My Take:

Second in the Dutch Series, this book drew me in from the get go. Fast moving action and dialogue keeps the story going, while well detailed characters hook you completely. I think reading "Dutch" would have helped me fill in a few areas, but this one definitely stands alone.

Angel is back, out of prison and up to her old tricks. Roc, Dutch's other lieutenant, is also released but has been "saved" by religion and decides to clean up the streets. Angel and Roc both have completely different ideas for the streets, but their methods are the same, leading to tragedy and loss on both sides. Dutch II provides a no holds barred look at the inner workings of gangs, and what happens when their leaders die.

Explicitly detailed (NOT for under 18), with steamy scenes woven in, this was a fantastic read I couldn't put down.

4 out of 5 stars.

Married on Mondays by HoneyB - Review



Married on Mondays by HoneyB
Grand Central Publishing / Hachette Book Group
March 2010
ISBN # 978-0-446+58232-2
$21.99 US / $26.99 CAN

Synopsis:

By day, Valerie Cooper, Dierdra Dawson, and Foxy Brown assist their husbands, all partners at the law firm Brown, Cooper, and Dawson. But at night, they become Vanilla Cream, Cherry Cream, and Sugar Cream, and run an upscale swingers club called Creamé. Their clientele include everyone from judges, lawyers, politicians, and police officers, to soccer moms and housewives. Business is booming at the hottest club in town. Until the police chief extends an indecent proposal to Foxy: sleep with him, or go to jail.

My Take:

Another explicit dive into Urban Literature (NOT for under 18), Married on Mondays follows Valerie, Dierdra and Foxy as their lives twist from the normal working, married to their second career moonlighting as sexual fantasy helpers.

The story is very well written, and carries a depth and emotion to the characters. Valerie, Dierdra and Foxy are presented honestly, with their flaws and strengths clearly detailed. Sometimes sad (each lady struggles with their marriage and how their moonlighting affects their relationship) and always steamy, Married on Mondays is definitely an enjoyable read.

3 out of 5 stars.

Monday, March 22, 2010

The Mayo Clinic Diet (book review)


The Mayo Clinic Diet

Published by Good Books 1/1/2010

ISBN #978-1-56148-676-2

$25.99 US

Synopsis:

In our work with literally thousands of patients, we've identified the critical habits of people who maintain a healthy weight, and the habits of those who don't.

With The Mayo Clinic Diet, we've boiled this research down to five simple habits to help you take off the extra weight -- and five habits to break so that you can keep it from coming back. Plus, we've made it easy, because what works best when it comes to weight loss is keeping it simple!

The Mayo Clinic Diet is composed of three sections to get you started, to keep you on track, and to give you the knowledge and tools you need to keep those unwanted pounds off for good

  1. Loose it! is a two-week quick-start program designed to help you lose 6 to 10 pounds in a safe and healthy way.
  2. Live it! is a long-term plan in which you continue to lose 1 to 2 pounds a week until you reach your goal. Then, you learn how to maintain your healthy weight for life.
  3. All the extra stuff includes meal planners, recipes, tips on overcoming challenges and much more to help you along the way.
The Mayo Clinic Diet puts you in charge of reshaping your body and improving your health -- for a lifetime.

For more information, visit The Mayo Clinic Diet book Web site.

My Take:

I've struggled with my weight for years, and have finally made progress, dropping 40 pounds in 10 months. I still have a ways to go, but definitely feel I am well on my way to success. I don't do well on traditional diets, rebel if I have to count points or calories, and will eat pretty much anything that is off limits (I ate donuts every day I was on Atkins, and I HATE donuts :) But I needed something to help, something that would provide motivation and a common sense attitude towards meeting my goals.

The May Clinic Diet is exactly that - using clinically tested techniques, you make simple changes that result in success, both short term (losing) and long term (maintaining).

I loved the direct approach, and the fact the book is divided into three sections - "Lose It", "Live It" and "All the Extra Stuff". To lose, you just break 5 habits and add in 5 new ones - sounds to easy, but it works - that's how I've managed to drop 40 pounds. rather than jumping on the latest weight loss trend, I've just concentrated on eating healthier and moving more. To maintain, you focus on your success in part 1, and know if you slip you can always start over. The last section is fantastic - loaded with information and recipes, I'll definitely turn to these pages over and over.

My book also included the Mayo Clinic Diet Journal - an easy way to track what I'm eating during the day. I loved the food pyramids included on each day - no counting carbs, calories, or fats, you just check off for each fruit, vegetable, etc..

I'd definitely recommend this to anyone wanting to lose weight, or just eat healthier.

I received this book free to review - the opinion in this post is entirely my own.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Sexaholics - Book Review


Sexaholics by Pynk
Grand Central Publishing - Hachette Book Group

Category: FICTION
Format: TRADE PAPERBACK
Publish Date: 3/23/2010
Price: $14.99/$17.99
ISBN: 9780446179584
Pages: 336
Size: 5-1/4" x 8"

Synopsis:
Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye, and Brandi share one thing...they are all addicted to sex. United through Sexaholics Anonymous, these women try to recover from their dependence on wild, spontaneous, and even sometimes, dangerous sex. From whips and chains, to sex in public, they have done it all! Led by Dr. Rachel Cummings, each woman takes the first step to recovery by sharing her biggest sexual act with the group. SEXAHOLICS takes readers through the outrageous experiences of four women on their long path to success.

My take:

This book was a steamy, explicit (NOT for under 18) ride into the sex addicted lives of four women that will grab you from the get go. Pynk, author of Erotic City, writes a no holds barred tale of sexcapades and self indulgence, a perfect guilty pleasure read. The story weaves around Miki, Valencia, Teela Raye and Brandi, perfectly developing each character, touching on the shame and pain of their addiciton. I really enjoyed this book - more than just a hot read, it provides depth and background, making the characters believable and leaves you wanting them to succeed. I loved how this book gives each character their own story while beautifully pulling the individuals together to create a single story.

Definitely a 4 star read.

I received this book free to review - the opinion in this post is entirely my own.

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls (Review)

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls
Steve Hockensmith
Published by
Quirk Classics March 2010
ISBN# 978-1-59474-454-9
$12.95 US
PG 13

Synopsis:

Readers will witness the birth of a heroine in Dawn of the Dreadfuls -- a thrilling prequel set four years before the horrific events of Pride and Prejudice and Zombies. As our story opens, the Bennet sisters are enjoying a peaceful life in the English countryside. They idle away the days reading, gardening, and daydreaming about future husbands -- until a funeral at the local parish goes strangely and horribly awry.

Suddenly corpses are springing from the soft earth -- and only one family can stop them. As the bodies pile up, we watch Elizabeth Bennet evolve from a naive young teenager into a savage slayer of the undead. Along the way, two men vie for her affections: Master Hawksworth is the powerful warrior who trains her to kill, while thoughtful Dr. Keckilpenny seeks to conquer the walking dead using science instead of strength. Will either man win the prize of Elizabeth's heart? Complete with romance, action, comedy, and an army of shambling corpses, Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls will have Jane Austen rolling in her grave -- and just might inspire her to crawl out of it!


My Take:

This is definitely my kind of classics! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls is a delightfully twisted take on Jane Austen's classic. I was hooked from the first chapter, when Elizabeth is at a funeral, and the corpse refuses to lie still so it can be buried. The story moves quickly, and Elizabeth and sisters soon learn their father was a warrior who fought the first wave of zombies. As a member of the Order, he had sworn to raise his children in the way of the warrior, which of course, he didn't. The girls are soon pushed into training, hand to hand, swords, and an assortment of other weapons, and doing their father proud by killing zombies.

The story is very well written, and impossible to put down! The characters are delightfully portrayed, and their various histories are woven into this tale, providing a rich backdrop to this tongue in cheek portrayal of the classic. The story includes black and white drawings, adding another layer to the story.

4 stars