Saturday, July 23, 2011

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Jennifer Crusie et al.

"You're invited to spend the weekend with three extraordinary sisters..."  When she was sixteen, Dee Fortune kidnapped her two younger sisters and ran from danger. Now twenty-nine, she's still trying to control her shape-shifting power--no easy task when Danny James shows up one Friday morning with his deadly smile and dangerous questions about the past.

Lizzie is determined to save her family from financial ruin by turning straw into gold; now if she could only stop turning forks into bunnies. Then Elric, a sorcerer, appears one Friday--annoyed with the chaos Lizzie is creating in the universe "and" in his heart. . . .

The youngest Miss Fortune, Mare, towers above her sisters but her telekinetic power is dwarfed by their gifts. She spends her days at Value Video!! and her nights contemplating the futility of her existence. But then a gorgeous Value Video!! VP "and" Mare's long lost love turn up. . .and they all turn up the heat on a weekend that no Fortune will soon forget!

My Thoughts:
I thought it was ok but honestly it would have been better as a trilogy. Where each sister had their own book with the third book being the big showdown between the sisters and their evil aunt. I would have liked to get to know the characters better. As it is the book was written as a full book with each author contributing something but it read like an anthology whereas each sister's love story was told very quickly making it feel rushed.

There were some humorous things in the book that I enjoyed a lot and one of the couples had some great banter between each other. One of the sisters is a meek woman afraid of her own shadow and within a few hours suddenly developed a backbone. It felt as if she was a completely different character than what we were introduced to. I did enjoy the pop culture sprinkled in the book which felt right with one of the sisters. That particular sister actually felt more fleshed out than the other two to me however I liked the connection between the meek sister and her love better than the other two.

Collaborations are becoming quite popular and I'm not sure it worked here. I couldn't really tell when one author ended and another one started which was good but once again I really felt this book would have been better to have each sister have their own book.

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Blog Hopping Time!

Book Blogger HopEvery week Jen over at Crazy for Books does such an amazing job of coordinating the Book Blog Hop. I just wanted to give a little shout out to her. She certainly doesn't have to do this every week but I'm grateful that when I choose to participate I know exactly where to go to find the Hop.

Anyway, I'm not going to go into great details about how to hop because if you click on her link it will take you right to the original post and most of you stopping by are probably from the hop anyway, so you all know what it is and how it works.

This week's question is....
What’s the ONE GENRE that you wish you could get into, but just can’t?
I tend to gravitate towards romance, YA and mysteries but I will read horror, sci-fi, fantasy, and various non-fiction stuff too. I have found that within each genre I can find a book or two that I love. A common theme I have found that I stay away from though is religion. I really don't like my fiction book to contain blatant religious opinion. Its not that I don't have faith, I just don't want to feel preached to while reading.

Just Like Heaven by Julia Quinn

Back Blurb:
A) a really bad violinist
B) still miffed at being nicknamed "Bug" as a child
C) NOT in love with her older brother's best friend
D) All of the above

A) the Earl of Chatteris
B) regrettably prone to sprained ankles
C) NOT in love with his best friend's younger sister
D) All of the above

A) eat quite a bit of chocolate cake
B) survive a deadly fever AND world's worst musical performance
C) fall quite desperately in love.
It's Julia Quinn at her best, so you KNOW the answer is...
D) All of the above

My Thoughts:
Overall I thought this was a fun book. I loved getting to know one of the infamous Smythe-Smith girls which are mentioned in just about every Bridgeton book written. After all the Smythe-Smith Musicales are major events that everyone goes to even though the music is so terrible it bring tears to most listener's eyes. 

I found Honoria and Marcus well suited for each other. They balance each other very well. She is loyal to family (which is why she plays in the musicales despite the fact that she knows they are really bad) and Marcus has no family. She is often outspoken and outgoing where he is most likely to be quite and reserved. 

The witty banter between Honoria and Marcus is typical Quinn and quite entertaining. As a matter of fact the dialogue between not only the two main characters but with most of the characters was probably my favorite part of the book.

I also liked time frame some of the scenes were written in. Meaning that Honoria would experience an event then we would be privy to the same event through the eyes Marcus.

What I didn't like, however, was the moment they realized they loved the other. They each had their own moment and both of the character's inner dialogue described it almost cheesy. The world stopped a lot. I expected to read that angels were singing. This part of the book really was too sugary for me.

I also noticed that on a sizzling hot sex scale this book would be warm possibly even luke-warm. There was one sex scene which was found almost at the end of the book which was described non-graphically. Normally I am all about hating books that have too much graphic sex but found in this case it was the complete opposite. I would have liked a little more. Or at least, if the sex wasn't there the romance should have been showcased more. There was romance but I think for lack of hot monkey sex there should have been more. 

Overall I would say that this was a decent book by a great author.


Saturday, July 9, 2011

Holes by Louis Sachar

Stanley Yelnats is under a curse. A curse that began with his no-good-dirty-rotten-pig-stealing-great-great-grandfather and has since followed generations of Yelnats. Now Stanley has been unjustly sent to a boys' detention center, Camp Green Lake, where the warden makes the boys "build character" by spending all day, every day, digging holes: five feet wide and five feet deep. It doesn't take long for Stanley to realize there's more than character improvement going on at Camp Green Lake. The boys are digging holes because the warden is looking for something. Stanley tries to dig up the truth in this inventive and darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment--and redemption

My Thoughts:
Although this is technically a children's book I was pretty enthralled with the story. Yes I have watched the movie before but that didn't take away from my fascination with Stanley's plight. Even though this was Stanley's story there were several stories within this story. There's the story of Stanley's great-great-grandfather. And there's the story of Kissin Kate Barlow and her broken heart. I love stories within stories.

My only complaint about this book is that it seemed to wrap up really quickly. All storylines tied in a nice bow within the last few pages. I would have liked to have seen more of what happened next to Stanley and Zero (who by the way, really stole the show for me especially in the last half of the book.)

Overall, an excellent book that would be a great project to read as a family....and then watch the movie!

The Lorax by Dr. Seuss

When the Once-ler stops along his travels to utilize one of the many Truffula Trees to make a Thneed the Lorax intervenes on behalf of the trees. The Once-ler replied that it's only one tree until he sold his Thneed for a hefty proffit. He then called all his family and they chopped down more and more to make more Thneeds. 

My Thoughts:
I haven't read a Dr Seuss book in probably 30 years and was entertained and amazed at the message behind this book. This is not a simple children's book, don't let the silly rhyming made up words fool you. This is a message about capitalism and greed in addition to quite the environmental stand.

When the Once-ler realized he could make so much money on the Thneeds he was creating he did whatever he could to make more. The Lorax intervened on behalf of the trees begging the Once-ler to cease. The Once-ler replied "I'm being quite useful. This thing is a Thneed. A Thneed's a Fine-Something-That-All-People-Need!" And so he ignored the plight of the trees. Later the Lorax would come back 3 more times to speak for the Brown Bar-ba-loots who's food supply was dwindling with each chopped tree, the Swomee-Swans who could no longer sing with all the smog in their throats, and the Humming-Fish who's gills were getting all gummed because the water was so polluted. All the animals had to find new homes and when the last of the Truffula Trees was chopped, the Once-ler's family all left too and he was left with buildings falling down, polluted water and air and very much alone with only the last word the Lorax said to him for comfort. "Unless."

I loved this message. Dr. Seuss wrote this book in 1971 the message is more dire 40 years later.

There is some hope though for the Once-ler had a visitor much later who he gave the very last Truffula Seed to. The boy was told to plant a new Truffula Tree and treat it with care. To give it clean water and feed it fresh air. From one little seed a forest can grow but cannot Unless someone cares.

Friday, July 8, 2011

Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson

Get ready for the maximum thrill ride from #1 New York Times bestselling author James Patterson. Fang, Iggy, Nudge, the Gasman, Angel, and Maximum: Six kids who are pretty normal in most ways--except that they're 98% human and 2% bird. Riding the wind, their wings are an amazing gift...and yet, their world can morph into a nightmare in a single instant. For when the bloodthirsty Erasers--half men, half-wolves genetically engineered by sick and sinister scientists--kidnap little Angel, the Flock embarks on a rescue mission that will change them forever. From Death Valley, California, to the bowels of the New York City subway system, 14-year-old Max leads her five feisty "family" members on a journey full of nonstop action, adventure, and soul-seeking--not to mention a little bit of saving the world on the side.

My Thoughts: 
Typical of Patterson this book has his trademark short chapters, fast pace and interesting characters. This makes for a quick and enjoyable read. Even though he wrote two adult novels featuring a female birdlike girl named Max this is not part of that series. Patterson explains this at the beginning of the book which I am thankful for because I really thought it was a YA spinoff of that series. Glad to have been set straight right off the top. Yes Max is a girl with wings, yes she escaped from a place that created her and she has her friends with her but this is where the parallels end between The Fugitive series and the books When the Wind Blows and Lake House.

You see a bit a growth in the form of newly developed cool talents among some of the children throughout this book. Angel seems to be the most special of them all. She was the one that the dreaded Erasers snatched after all. It was interesting to realize this wasn't really the case (even though Angel really is super cool.)

I didn't have any trouble remembering these were only children as there were constant reminders in the way of Max thinking to herself "he's only 8" or "Angel's only a baby!" but I did have trouble remembering that they really were very young. Angel is only 6. Max is 14. Patterson did do an excellent job of explaining that they had been training together as a team in strategic moves and self defense for 4 years so the fact that the kids were so very young really was ok with me. It helped that they were really kick butt kids too. I liked that despite their special abilities they still had their kid sides too. A total plus for Patterson creating kid characters that weren't just small adults with a kid label.

I didn't care for all the dangly ends left at the end of the book. There are so many it is frustrating. This book was designed as a series. Meaning to get the full story you have to read all the books. I prefer series books that are their own entities. Ones that are full and complete stories all by themselves but when read together complete an even larger story. Yes this books main story of getting Angel back was finished but that really only occupied 1/3 of the book.

Overall 4 stars because I loved these kids, it was pretty exciting, there was very little to no swearing, only one awkward smooch given in gratefulness, makes this a good book for ages 13 and above. There is violence and even death in this book so I would not recommend this for someone younger.

Oh by the way, anyone know how these kids can have wings that span 12-14 feet but still be able to put a jacket on and look normal in a crowd? You'd think they would look hunch backed or something.

Who Moved My Cheese by Spencer Johnson

(I know. I know. Not my typical book.)

Who Moved My Cheese? is a simple parable that reveals profound truths about change. It is an amusing and enlightening story of four characters who live in a "Maze" and look for "Cheese" to nourish them and make them happy. — Two are mice named Sniff and Scurry. And two are "little people" -- beings the size of mice who look and act a lot like people. Their names are Hem and Haw.

"Cheese" is a metaphor for what you want to have in life -- whether it is a good job, a loving relationship, money, a possession, health, or spiritual peace of mind.

And "The Maze" is where you look for what you want -- the organization you work in, or the family or community you live in.

In the story, the characters are faced with unexpected change. Eventually, one of them deals with it successfully, and writes what he has learned from his experience on the maze walls.

When you come to see "The Handwriting on the Wall," you can discover for yourself how to deal with change, so that you can enjoy less stress and more success (however you define it) in your work and in your life.

Written for all ages, the story takes less than an hour to listen to, but its unique insights can last for a lifetime.

My thoughts: 
Overall a good book that will teach a valuable lesson on identifying the clues that pop up to alert you of change coming and learning to deal with that change. The first part of the book is about a group of friends visiting each other during a reunion. It was during this party that one of the guests told the Cheese story. The second part of the story is the actual Cheese story. The third part is the original friends discussing what they had learned about the story and themselves after hearing it.

I thought the first part was not bad leading up to the main story. I like books that have a sub-story involved. I loved the Cheese story. I'm not a stranger to it. I have belong to several large corporations who utilized this story during training. Most even have a little film to watch. The last part of the book is what I really disliked.

The discussion part felt like a horribly scripted infomercial. I felt like I should have been back in a classroom doodling instead of paying attention. Although mildly interesting, I really couldn't care less about the fictional reunion members and the parallels they drew between each character of the Cheese story and themselves. I think this book would have benefited from having more of a independent study guide in the last part. One that had open ended questions asking the reader things like "Which character did you find you related to more and why?" The book did mention in the forward that many people skip the last section to draw their own conclusions.
If it weren't for that last section I may have given this book a higher rating. I believe that a nonfiction book can be informative. You can learn things without feeling lectured to.

Wedding of the Season by Laura Lee Gehrke

Back Blurb:  
Abandoned at the altar ...  
— Lady Beatrix Danbury had always known she would marry William Mallory. She'd loved him forever and she'd never doubted he loved her, too. But when she made him choose between their life together or his lifelong dream, Will chose the latter ... and left two weeks before their wedding. —  
Return of the duke ...

Will has no illusions that Beatrix would welcome him back with open arms, but six years did not dim his love or desire for her. The only problem is, she's about to marry someone else. Someone safe and predictable ... the complete opposite of Will. But can he stop the wedding of the season and win Beatrix back, or is it just too late?

My Thoughts:
This is my first book by Gehrke and I was a bit underwhelmed by her writing. The book itself didn't compel me to continue reading into the wee hours forgoing sleep to see what would happen next. 

The characters were ok. Some I liked more than others. I think I liked the secondary characters more than the primary ones.

Beatrix (or Trix as she was called by Will and Julia) seemed a bit of a martyr. Being "abandoned" two weeks before her wedding did quite a toll on her and after 6 years she was moving on by becoming engaged to a man who she liked but probably wouldn't ever love. I found Beatrix's actions to be annoying. Even though she was almost as much to blame as Will was for her lack of wedding she fully put the blame on Will. Her attitude upon seeing him again was all out hatred and her continual verbal rudeness throughout the book towards him was at complete odds with her thoughts and actions. She spoke a lot about proper behavior and how Will was not following what was proper yet she never actively sought people that would make sure things wouldn't be improper. Like insisting her elderly Aunt chaperone instead of the wild willed Julia. It's these kind of actions that leads one to believe that she actually wanted Will to pursue her. Women who say No but mean Yes are the epitome of stupid to me. 

Will came across not much better than Beatrix. He constantly did things that, according to all accounts, were not in his character. Undressing in front of an unwed woman on a beach is not only rakish behavior but it is a complete disregard of respect that he may have had for the woman at all. I did, however, appreciate that throughout the book we did get to understand Will's feelings. He was just as brokenhearted as Beatrix when their wedding didn't happen.

Aiden was the man that Beatrix was engaged to and although the characters did try to appease the situation, Aiden still left wifeless during the course of the book. I felt bad for Aiden. he wasn't a bad character and thought he deserved more. He will probably get his own story which I may or may not read.

I am not a big fan of the reunited lovers plot but I did think that the author did a very good job of explaining their past in a way that I never once felt I was missing an entire prequel to this book.

So, the first time around Beatrix was brokenhearted because she felt that if Will loved her enough he would abandon his dream of Egypt and uncovering King Tutankhamun to stay in England with her and make a family. Will was brokenhearted because he felt that if Beatrix loved him enough she would have gone with him. I liked this idea but I don't think that it was followed through very well because one of the characters ended up looking bad in my eyes more-so than the other which is kind of a shame because the blame should have fallen equally. I did think the ending of the book was good because neither character was going to make the same mistake again. Proper behavior wasn't going to stop them from being together neither was King Tut.

Overall, an ok read. I think the ending raised the rating up a bit higher than average. I will give this author another go but honestly if that book isn't any better than average I probably won't read any more by Gehrke.

Thursday, July 7, 2011

Congrats to my Spellbound Giveaway Winner!

Thank you all for entering. The winner (randomly chosen by was Heather D. I will email her and she has until 8am Friday July 8th to contact me back with her mailing info otherwise Randomize again for a different winner. Thanks all for making my first giveaway fun!

Heather did contact me so I'll be sending this book out to her tomorrow! Congratulations Heather!

Friday, July 1, 2011

Bloggie Friend's Giveaway!!!!

Pedantic Phooka is giving away a copy of The Hunted by Kristy Berridge over the holiday weekend. It sounds like such a great book! Wouldn't you like to read it? Check it out on her site....just clickie her name! Oh, how about a little bit about The Hunted!

Elena Manory is by no means an ordinary teenage girl. Being born with the ability to heal herself from any injury, and with the knowledge that on her eighteenth birthday she will become a vampire, Elena is aware that she is more than a little different from other girls her age. It isn’t until she meets William Granville, an alluring and impossibly handsome vampire, that she begins to question her destiny and what secrets the Institute of Magical Intervention and her adopted family have withheld—secrets that could change the fates of not only her own life, but of the lives of all the immortals. As events spiral out of control, William may be the only person Elena can place her trust in. He, and Elena’s magical family, must fight to save her, joining forces to defeat a common, deadly foe. For William, it is his chance to save the girl that he has searched eternity to find.  (description provided by John Morrow via )

Book Bloggie Hoppie Time! 7/1-7/4

Book Blogger Hop

Yep it's that time again. This is a weekly event hosted by Crazy for Books. I don't participate as often as I would like but do hop in on occasion. Here is what The Book Blogger Hop is all about....

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!
The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don’t have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews.

1. Post about the Hop on your blog (feel free to grab the logo at the top of the post!)

Spread the word about the book party! The more the merrier!

In your blog post, answer the following question (new question each week!).

This week’s question comes from Sue who blogs at Cookie's Book Club! Thanks for submitting a question for our Hoppers, Sue! Be sure to visit her blog and tell her thank you!

What keeps you reading beyond the first few pages of a book, and what makes you want to stop reading a book and put it back on the shelf?


My Answer: Interesting characters and humor. I read mostly romance (at least right now I do) and find that if an author has a balance of great characters, interesting situations, and humor I stick the book out for it's entirety. Matter of fact if all those factors are there I anxiously turn the pages to see what will happen next. Julia Quinn, Erin McCarthy, Jill Shalvis, Susan Elizabeth Phillips are excellent at this. So is Julie Garwood, Lori Foster, and Lynsay Sands for that matter.

As far as what drives me to put a book back on the doesn't happen. It does occur that a book will bore me and I may not pick it up for awhile (but still have it in my currently reading queue). I have obsessive tendencies and just can't let a book go forever unfinished. I have to finish it. Period.