Friday Finds

Friday, July 31, 2009

I haven't participated in Friday Finds before, but I was at Barnes and Noble tonight and found something that looks really good!

From Amazon (Publisher's Weekly):

This retelling of Cinderella follows the oft ignored character of the fairy godmother, who may or may not be a mentally ill New Yorker. Lil, as this godmother is known, is now living in New York City, broke and employed at a bookstore, years after being exiled from the kingdom of fairies for betraying her charge. Condemned to live as an old woman, her wings bound to her back as penance, Lil is overcome by longing for what she has lost, slipping in her recollections of her idyllic past into the harsh present. When she meets Veronica, a young woman perpetually dogged with man problems, Lil sees an opportunity to redeem herself. But as the narrative progresses, cracks in Lil's story (and psyche) emerge. Needless to say, readers expecting magical carriages and glass slippers will be surprised by the novel's morose tone, and though the surprise conclusion doesn't quite work, Turgeon's takes on nostalgia and regret are surprisingly clear-eyed given her narrator's unbalance.

A Circle of Souls

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Preetham Grandhi's debut novel, A Circle of Souls, was an intriguing look into a murder mystery, pediatric psychiatry, and a little bit (but not too much) of some paranormal elements.

The novel takes place in Newbury, Connecticut, when a young girl is murdered. Along with the investigation by local law enforcement, Agent Leia Bines is called in to assist because of her experience with the FBI's Crimes against Children Unit. Alternating chapters with this storyline is the storyline of psychiatrist, Dr. Peter Gram, who works in a pediatric psychiatric unit at the hospital. He receives the case of Naya Hastings, a young girl who recently tried to jump over her balcony while sleepwalking. Grandhi uses this opportunity to give the reader a look into the fascinating world of psychiatry as he tells of Peter's experiences at the hospital. Then Naya starts drawing, with alarming detail, scenes from her dreams. Peter realizes her drawings are related to the murder of the girl despite the fact that Naya can't have received any information about it. Peter and Leia then join together to use these clues to solve the murder and rush to save Naya from harming herself or from becoming harmed by anyone else.

A Circle of Souls was very engaging and I enjoyed it. The author, Preetham Grandhi, is a child psychiatrist and the facts and knowledge that he wove into the novel were interesting. There were maybe 2-3 places in the book that the author's bias or thoughts appeared... for instance, Peter states in the book that it's so much easier when the parents he works with are educated. I can understand that, but the character, Peter, should have explained that more or just not said it at all. Those little things could easily have been overlooked though. The book kept me reading through and through to figure out what was going on. It was smart and intense (in a good way). I enjoyed the characters after getting to know them -- especially Naya. Both Peter and Leia were characters that I could see in a series (I don't know if that was the author's intent) and were likeable.

There were just a couple other small things I wanted to point out that I know often occur in first novels. I initially felt some of the dialogue was a little superficial, and there were a places throughout the book that could have used a little more showing and less telling. I noticed it more in the beginning. I don't know if it's because it improved throughout or if the story was just so good that I didn't notice. Regardless, I did end up really enjoying the book. Thank you to Preetham Grandhi for sending me an autographed ARC to read and review!!

And I just wanted to add as a sidenote.... if you don't already know what the word "slaaf" means, look it up before reading. You'll get what I mean as soon as you start reading. ;-)

Booking Through Thursday

Today's booking through thursday question is:

What’s the funniest book you’ve read recently?

I looked back at the list of books I've read, and there haven't really been any outright funny ones. The funniest one most recently would probably be Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn... this wouldn't necessarily be labeled "a funny book", but it definitely had its comedic elements that made me laugh or smile. The last really funny book was Such a Pretty Fat by Jen Lancaster. (Though this wasn't my favorite of her books). I think she is hilarious though, and her books literally make me laugh out loud. People tend to either love her sense of humor and tone or they hate it. I think she's funny, and I actually happen to currently be reading her newest book, Pretty in Plaid, right now, so I'm looking forward to some more laughs!

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by me! It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic! Leave a comment here and feel free to take the icon and use it on your blog!

This week I'm featuring a few books by the author Louis Sachar.

My initial plan was to use Holes
As further evidence of his family's bad fortune, which they attribute to a curse on a distant relative, Stanley Yelnats is sent to a hellish boys' juvenile detention center in the Texas desert. As punishment, the boys here must each dig a hole every day, five feet deep and five feet across. Ultimately, Stanley "digs up the truth" -- and through his experience, finds his first real friend, a treasure, and a new sense of himself. Winner of the 1998 National Book Award for young people's literature, here is a wildly inventive, darkly humorous tale of crime and punishment -- and redemption.

This is a book I've never read but have wanted to for a while. I haven't seen the movie either.

I decided that instead of using this book, though, that I was going to feature the fun Sidways Stories from Wayside School and Wayside School is Falling Down. It wasn't until I was looking them up that I realized they were written by the same person as Holes. I just thought that was sort of funny.

A Crazy Mixed-up School.

There'd been a terrible mistake. Wayside School was supposed to be built with thirty classrooms one on top of the other...thirty stories tall! (The builder said he was very sorry.)

That may be why all kinds of funny things happen at Wayside SChool...especially on the thirteenth floor. You'll meet Mrs. Gorf, the meanest teacher of all, terrible Todd, who always gets sent home early, and John who can read only upside down—along with all the other kids in the crazy mix-up school that came out sideways. But you'll never guess the truth about Sammy, the new kid...or what's in store for Wayside School on Halloween!

There was a terrible mistake-Wayside School was built with one classroom on top of another, thirty stories high! (The builder said he was sorry.) Maybe that's why all kinds of funny things happened at Wayside-especially on the thirteenth floor.

From Publisher's Weekly:

The wacky school--and unusual characters--first portrayed in Sideways Stories from Wayside School is back. But in the sequel, the students venture further than they dared before--Myron walks down to the basement, Allison finds the nonexistent 29th floor, Mrs. Jewls drops a brand-new computer from the 30th floor, Jenny reads a story backwards, and a substitute teacher turns the tables on the class. Sachar has written 30 tongue-in-cheek, slightly madcap stories that are sure to appeal to the slightly caustic humor that is typical of middle readers.

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

Crossing Washington Square by Joanne Rendell
Publish date: September 1, 2009


A story of two strong-willed and passionate women who are compelled to unite their senses and sensibilities, from the author of The Professors’ Wives’ Club.

Professor Diana Monroe is a highly respected scholar of Sylvia Plath. Serious and aloof, she steadfastly keeps her mind on track. Professor Rachel Grey is young and impulsive, with a penchant for teaching relevant contemporary women’s stories like Bridget Jones’ Diary and The Devil Wears Prada, and for wearing her heart on her sleeve.

The two conflicting personalities meet head-to-heart when Carson McEvoy, a handsome and brilliant professor visiting from Harvard, sets his eyes on both women and creates even more tension between them. Now Diana and Rachel are slated to accompany an undergraduate trip to London, where an almost life-threatening experience with a student celebrity will force them to change their minds and heal their hearts…together.

It's Tuesday... Where are you?

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This is a cute idea for a meme! It's hosted by Adventure in Reading, and it sort of goes well with the name of my blog too... I think I'll try it out and see if it sticks. =)

I'm working in an inpatient psychiatric unit in Newbury, Connecticut trying to figure out what's causing this child's dangerous sleepwalking behaviors. (A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi)

Where is reading taking you today?

Ella Minnow Pea

Monday, July 27, 2009

Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn is an adorable and clever book that explores the combined issues of dystopia and language. The characters in this book live on the fictional island of Nollop. The island is named after Nevin Nollop, the creator of the famous phrase "the quick brown fox jumps over the lazy dog" which contains all 26 letters of the alphabet. The residents of Nollop are lovers of language. They idolize the since deceased Mr. Nollop and have a statue erected in his honor in their town square.

At the beginning of the novel, one of the letter tiles, z, falls off the erected statue. After deliberation, the High Council decides this is a sign from Nollop and that he wants them to terminate the use of the letter in all oral and written conversation and correspondence. Most of the townspeople adapt. But then more letters keep falling and communication starts to become exponentially more difficult. Ella and others then start on a mission to save the island of Nollop from the overzealous High Council before their means of communication is taken away from them completely.

I thought this book was such a cute, humorous, and witty read. I laughed throughout the book at the absurdity of the "High Council" and the subsequent antics of the townspeople. This was an easy read once I got into it. The first 10 or so pages took a minute to adjust to because the characters speak in a more formal manner with unfamiliar-to-me vocabulary words. But then, the entire book is written in letters to and from different characters which sometimes lends itself to more formal speech, so that might account for some of the language. I will admit there were a couple instances where I wondered if it was really necessary to use as many large words so frequently, but for the most part it wasn't an issue. (If you're looking to learn some new words, though, you may be in for a treat!) As the High Council bans more and more letters, the extreme change in words and spellings greatly reflects the way in which the government is getting out of control. This may or may not have been intentional, but it added an interesting dimension to the novel.

Because the book is written in epistolary form, we don't necessarily get to read or see a description of each character -- we get to know them and their thoughts without dealing with the sometimes annoying stream-of-consciousness narration. The plot was interesting and moved along well. The book is short at 208 pages and can easily be read in a couple quick sittings. I definitely recommend this book! Lovers of language will also really love this book.

Just a little side note.... it was a long time before I realized Ella Minnow Pea = LMNOP, lol! I borrowed this book from my sister, but I was there when she bought it. She apparently got it right away but it took me a while. =)

Musing Monday

Musing Mondays is hosted by Becca at Just One More Page

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about online book sites…

Do you have an account with an online book database site (LibraryThing, Shelfari, GoodReads etc)? If so, do you have a preference? Do you use it for - your own record keeping? finding new books to read? social networking?

I actually have an account with all three, lol! I've joined so many book sites but don't use all of them. I liked how Shelfari has the book covers all on a shelf so it looks like a virtual library. I think their discussions were easier to navigate too. But I haven't used that one in a while. I currently am using Goodreads and Librarything, partly because I signed up with the early reviewer groups on both pages. I like Goodreads better because I can put an unlimited amount of books. I haven't figured out the best way to network or keep up with discussions there, though. Librarything seems to have more "sophisticated" discussions, but then a lot of there discussions boards aren't as interesting to me or I have nothing to contribute. I like the site for the most part, though, except that I've maxed out at 200 books. I don't really want to pay to keep up even though it's not too expensive.

On both librarything and Goodreads, I have catalogued all the books I've read since 2005 (since that was when I first started keeping track). I guess I'll just randomly add books from before that as I think of them. I don't really use either sight for looking for new books. I get enough of that just in general and from paperbackswap. I need to figure out how to better socially network on both those sites (esp. Goodreads).

Sunday Salon

Sunday, July 26, 2009

I don't have a whole lot from my past week to update about, unfortunately. My previous reading funk sort of continued into this week. In fact, I did very little reading at all. But there's hope! I just finished reading Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn and thought it was an adorable and smart little book! I will post the review for that possibly tomorrow.

I'm sad to say I gave up early on in the group read of Pillars of the Earth. It was interesting enough so far but I was having a hard time keeping up with all that I had going on. Plus, right now I'm trying to make my way through the HP books (I just recently joined a challenge, you can see a few posts back) and it seemed like too much to be reading that too. Hopefully I'll get back around to it one of these days! I also picked up a couple library books that were on hold: Shanghai Girls by Lisa See and Bird by Bird by Anne Lamott. That last one is about writing which is something I have started. I do hope to be published one day, but I have too much going on right now to focus a whole lot on that! In picking up those books, I did have to turn in something unread, The Angel's Game by Carlos Ruiz Zafon. I hope to get back to that one too. I also need to focus on getting through the books in my TBR. I feel like I haven't even looked at those in a while. I've focused on books from the library, review books, HP, and borrowed books. I can't forget about the 300 books on my TBR!

Till next time....

Giveaway at Bookmagic

Deb over at Bookmagic is hosting a giveaway for two books through August 14th...
The Physick Book of Deliverance Dane and Of Bees and Mist. The first one is about a graduate student who is studying the Salem Witch Trials and finds a connection to her family. I have been -1 in line at my library for ages. They ordered it, I guess, but it has just never arrived, I guess. The other is a book I haven't heard of before but looks good.

Saturday, July 25, 2009

3 / 7 Harry Potter books. 43% done!

Harry Potter Challenge

Click here for my current progress on this challenge.

Here is something that may help me finish the Harry Potter series....

This challenge is being hosted by Michelle at Galleysmith

Read or listen to all seven books in the Harry Potter series
  • Sorcerer’s Stone
  • Chamber of Secrets
  • Prisoner of Azkaban
  • Goblet of Fire
  • Order of the Pheonix
  • Half-Blood Prince
  • Deathly Hallows
The challenge will run from August 1, 2009 to July 31, 2010

I'm sure many of you have heard my Harry Potter saga many times... but in case you haven't, here goes: I first read Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone one day in college. I had heard of it long before that but scoffed at the idea of reading a children's book about a wizarding school. Well, by the time I started college in 2001, I knew enough about it to try and pick it up. My roommate and I were at Wal-Mart on one of my (not our b/c we ended up not being very good friends) many late night trips. I saw Harry Potter and decided to pick it up. Sometime in the next few years I made it through the first 4. I never got any further, though.

Later, I decided I wanted to read the rest of the series. But it had been so long since I read the first ones that I decided to re-read from the beginning. I posted something about this in my most recent Sunday Salon post, but though I love HP, it takes me forever to make it through the books! I don't know what it is. So I just recently read 4 again and actually have about 200 pages left to read. I was aiming to hurry and read through 6 before seeing the movie. I eventually decided to not pressure myself so I went ahead and watched HP5. I will watch HP6 as well, but then I will definitely read #7 before the movie next year.

OH! And did I mention it was one of my goals to finish the entire series in 2008? I failed that challenge, so I made it a challenge again in 2009. I am confident I will finish which will actually put me really ahead of this challenge I've just joined. But that's okay!

Click here for my current progress on this challenge.

Giveaway Winner: Fear the Worst

Friday, July 24, 2009

We have a winner for the giveaway of the advanced reader's copy for Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay!

The winner is Bridget from Readaholic!!

Bridget will have 48 hours to get me her address. If she does not respond, I will draw another name.

Thank you so much to everyone who entered the contest!

Booking Through Thursday: Preferences

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Here is this week's Booking Through Thursday

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

  • Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
    Usually something semi-serious. But every now and then I have to lighten it up with something frivolous.

  • Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?
    Paperbacks usually, but I like hardcovers too.

  • Fiction? Or Nonfiction?
    Fiction. Even the non-fiction ones that interest me usually bore me halfway through.

  • Series? Or Stand-alones?
    Both, but if I had to pick one, stand alones.

  • Classics? Or best-sellers?
    Best sellers

  • Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
    Straight forward

  • Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?

  • Long books? Or Short?
    In general, short ones. 300 pgs is what I think the average book should be. Some big ones are good though.

  • Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?
    Non-illustrated unless it's a kids' book

  • Borrowed? Or Owned?
    I read way too many books to own them all. So borrowed is okay.

  • New? Or Used?
    New. I just can't afford it, lol!

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by me! It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic! Leave a comment here and feel free to take the icon and use it on your blog!

This week's throwback is:
From the Mixed Up Files of Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler
by E.L. Konigsburg


When suburban Claudia Kincaid decides to run away, she knows she doesn't just want to run from somewhere, she wants to run to somewhere — to a place that is comfortable, beautiful, and, preferably, elegant. She chooses the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York City. Knowing that her younger brother Jamie has money and thus can help her with a serious cash-flow problem, she invites him along.

Once settled into the museum, Claudia and Jamie find themselves caught up in the mystery of an angel statue that the museum purchased at auction for a bargain price of $225. The statue is possibly an early work of the Renaissance master, Michelangelo, and therefore worth millions. Is it? Or isn't it? Claudia is determined to find out. Her quest leads her to Mrs. Basil E. Frankweiler, the remarkable old woman who sold the statue, and to some equally remarkable discoveries about herself.

Another children's chapter book I want to add to my collection. This wasn't my favorite book, but I have good memories of it. I always liked reading stories where the children take care of themselves.


Melissa at Reminder List has given me the Let's Be Friends award!!

"Blogs that receive the
Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

I'm going to give this award to:

Jaime at For the Love of all that is Written
Jennifer at Crazy for Books

And I'm reserving the rest until I get to know some more blogs a little better. =)

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

I'm a little late today, but here goes anyway.

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

Tricks by Ellen Hopkins


Hopkins sharply portrays extreme adolescent turbulence with her biggest cast yet, as five disparate, desperate teens are sucked into the Las Vegas world of selling sex. Indiana farm boy Seth is kicked off his family's farm for being gay; optionless, he follows a controlling sugar daddy to Vegas. In Boise, Eden's first romantic relationship spurs her "hellfire-and-brimstone-preaching" Pentecostal parents to declare, "You are obviously possessed by demons," and send her to Tears of Zion reform camp, where unwilling sex is her only hope for escape. In California, Whitney craves male attention, while Ginger realizes that the rapes she's endured throughout childhood were orchestrated by her mother for cash. Cody's in Vegas, already drugging and gambling but crushed when his stepfather dies. All five are "spinning. Spiraling. Clinging to / the eye of the tornado." Hopkins's pithy free verse reveals shards of emotion and quick glimpses of physical detail. It doesn't matter that the first-person voices blur, because the stories are distinct and unmistakable. Graphic sex, rape, drugs, bitter loneliness, despair-and eventually, blessedly, glimmers of hope.

I can't say enough about Ellen Hopkins! Really looking forward to this one. And I think her books would be a great way to get uninterested adolescents back into reading!

Release date August 25, 2009

Heartfelt Award!

Jaime over at For the Love of all that is Written has awarded me the Heartfelt Award. Thank you so much, Jaime!!!

(The image is supposed to move but I couldn't get my computer to upload it right, so that's all I have for now, hehe)

So what is the Heartfelt Award about?

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and freinds? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Hearthfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.

Put the logo on your blog/post.
Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
Be sure to link your nominees within your post.
Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

I nominate:

Kim at Page after Page
Melissa at Shhh... I'm Reading
Sheri at A Novel Menagerie

That's it for now!

Sunday Salon

Sunday, July 19, 2009

This has been a frustrating week in terms of reading -- I really didn't get very much done. There are a few reasons for that. 1) I have been sort of stressed out recently. I have a lot going on. I'm starting my counseling internship soon (along with my full-time job) and just getting the paperwork and all that together has stressed me out and has made it difficult to concentrate on reading. 2) I love Harry Potter, but every time I have ever read a Harry Potter book, it takes me forever. Ironic, I know! It's an easier reading, young adult book, but it takes me a long time to get through. (Plus I did have a lot going on this weekend). As it is, it's been a week and I still have over 200 pages to go on it. =/ 3) I spent HOURS today trying to change my blog background. It's partially me being picky and partially the choice of blogs. It seemed like EVERYTHING I found had something wrong with it that made it not work for me. I tried to change a 2 column one that I really liked to a 3 column one... and I did really well. It wasn't perfect, but it was okay. But then the spacing wasn't exactly right, and then to edit anything I had to add code (because otherwise the edit section was all grayed out) and then I had to go back in and take out the code (or else the right sidebar was waaaay at the bottom of the page). Nevertheless, I spent so many hours on that until I became so frustrated and exhausted. So now I am back to what I had and am not going to mess with it unless I find one that looks perfect right away.

Anyway, so haven't gotten much reading done. I started Pillars of the Earth for the group read on Librarything. I'm a little behind, but I'll catch up. Don't have anything else to say for today's Sunday Salon. Just that I am a frustrated and irritated girl right now!

Book Bloggers Appreciation Week

Thursday, July 16, 2009

The 2nd annual Book Bloggers Appreciation Week is this September.

Check it out and nominate some blogs!

Book Bloggers Appreciation Week

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – this is a weekly event hosted by me! It is the time each week to recognize those older books… an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book -- how about even a classic! Leave a comment here and feel free to take the icon and use it on your blog!

This week's throwback is: James and the Giant Peach by Roald Dahl


A little magic can take you a long way.

When James Henry Trotter accidentally drops some magic crystals by the old peach tree, strange things start to happen. The peach at the top of the tree begins to grow, and before long it's as big as a house. Then James discovers a secret entranceway into the fruit, and when he crawls inside, he meets a bunch of marvelous oversized friends — Old Green-Grasshopper, Centipede, Ladybug, Miss Spider, and more.

After years of feeling like an outsider in the house of his despicable Aunt Sponge and Aunt Spiker, James has finally found a place where he belongs. With a snip of the stem, the peach starts rolling away, and the exciting adventure begins!

I used to looooove this book! (I don't remember if this is the same cover as the one I read or not). When I was around 8ish, this was my favorite book. I am slowly building up a children's book shelf and collecting some childhood favorites. I need to add this to it. Reading Harry Potter sort of reminds me of this book in a way. I need to re-read it one day because it's been a while!

Waiting on Wednesday

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:


"I asked the sailor what an Elephant looked like; he replied that it was like nothing on earth."

England, 1766: After a long voyage from the East Indies, a ship docks in Bristol, England, and rumor quickly spreads about its unusual cargo—some say a mermaid is on board. A crowd forms, hoping to catch a glimpse of the magical creature. One crate after another is unpacked: a zebra, a leopard, and a baboon. There's no mermaid, but in the final two crates is something almost as magical—a pair of young elephants, in poor health but alive.

Seeing a unique opportunity, a wealthy sugar merchant purchases the elephants for his country estate and turns their care over to a young stable boy, Tom Page. Tom's family has long cared for horses, but an elephant is something different altogether. It takes time for Tom and the elephants to understand one another, but to the surprise of everyone on the estate, a remarkable bond is formed.

The Elephant Keeper, the story of Tom and the elephants, in Tom's own words, moves from the green fields and woods of the English countryside to the dark streets and alleys of late-eighteenth-century London, reflecting both the beauty and the violence of the age. Nicholson's lush writing and deft storytelling complement a captivating tale of love and loyalty between one man and the two elephants that change the lives of all who meet them.

Release date August 2009

The Memory Collector

Monday, July 13, 2009

The second book in the Jo Beckett series, following Dirty Secrets Club, by Meg Gardiner does not disappoint and, in fact, may have been even better!

Jo is a forensic psychiatrist who studies the past lives of the dead to determine if their death was a homicide or a suicide and to find what led up to it. At the beginning of The Memory Collector, however, she is called as part of her on-call rotation to help the airport with a man who has become erratic on the plane. They have safely landed, but not before the man made multiple attempts to open the emergency exit while in flight. The authorities hope that Jo can "section 5150" the man. (Here in Florida that's know as a Baker Act -- when a person is involuntarily admitted to a mental health treatment facility for up to 72 hours). When Jo arrives at the scene, she realizes the man is having some memory loss -- specifically anterograde amnesia -- meaning he can no longer form new memories. He is then rushed to the hospital.

All Jo is able to learn from the man is that he was returning from a business trip to Africa. Later, just before the man flees from the hospital, Jo realizes the man has a hit list of people on his arm. She then has to decipher the few things she has learned from him to try and find out what he's after. At the same time, she has to work with law enforcement to find him and prevent him from killing anyone on his list. The mystery intensifies and becomes more complex and there starts to be a lot of talk about bioweapons and research. Jo has to use what she has to find out what happened to the man to cause his anterograde amnesia -- did he do it to himself? Did someone else do this? And why is he out to kill?

Gardiner expertly weaves together a complex mystery with suspense and character development. The plot was fast-paced but I still felt like I had enough details to make everything seem real. The first half of the book introduced all the different aspects of the story. The first 30-40 pages left me a little confused, but it wasn't anything that I couldn't understand when I focused on it. Once I got a handle on what was happening, the pace picked up and almost the entire second half of the book was non-stop action and suspense. I'll admit I did wonder if it was realistic how easily the man adjusted to his memory loss. I stopped a few times to think about whether someone would really catch on as easily as he did every 5 minutes when he had to start over. BUT, again he was already in a dangerous situation before he lost his ability to form new memories, so each time he had to start over, he was prepared to continue with what he had already started. There were also some comical elements such as the continuing story with Jo's crazy neighbor, Ferd, and his pet monkey, Mr. Peebles. I have to say Ferd is growing on me and I liked his character in this book. I still love Jo Beckett's character and Amy Tang, the lieutenant. Their interactions also provide comic relief. And Jo's back story continues with her personal life, but it's done in a way that is not so predictable or maudlin. I I gave this book 5 stars and I can't wait for the next in the series!

Musing Monday

I'm going to be trying out some weekly memes to see how I like them. So don't be confused if you see me do a bunch of different ones and then not return to some and stick to others! Today I'm trying Musing Monday.

Musing Monday is hosted by Becca of Just One More Page.

This week's musings are about book covers.

We all know the old adage about not judging a book by it’s cover, but just how much sway does a book cover have when it comes to your choice of book – whether buying or borrowing? Are there any books you’ve bought based on the cover alone?

My answer is below. To make the post fun (and pretty) I've added a few book covers I like. I've read one, half of one (back in high school), and the other I've been meaning to read forever.

Let's be real -- "judging a book by its cover" in both the literal and figurative sense is a natural human phenomenon. But I think most of us know better than to leave our judgments at that and not look further. I’ll admit, I love looking at books with pretty covers, and I will be more likely to look at those books out of all the others in a book store. And there’s probably a sub-conscious part of me that automatically wants to like the book/synopsis better because of it. In fact, I hate when I want to read a book but I end up getting (like off of paperbackswap or whatever) a book with a different cover. That being said, I don’t think I’d ever buy a book I hadn’t read before just because of the cover. If I liked the book cover AND the story sounded interesting, then yes, I’d be more likely to buy and/or borrow it. I will say that if I owned a book and later saw a different cover that I liked better (or if the publisher reprinted the books with a different cover) I would very likely trade the one I had (on paperbackswap) and buy the one with the better cover. So yeah, I guess covers do matter to me a little. =)

Sunday Salon: Book Blogging

Sunday, July 12, 2009

It's a little late, but it's still Sunday so it still counts, right? Well, I didn't get a whole lot of reading done this weekend because I was out enjoying the Florida summer! Saturday my hubby and I grabbed some lunch and then headed over to Universal Studios for a few hours. Sunday I went to the beach with my sister. (I've included a picture so everyone can see how beautiful it was!) There were actually a lot of people there... I just managed to get a good picture while everyone was out of the way). Anyway, today I'm writing about blogging. I started this blog in August of 2008 -- almost a year ago. When I first started it, I just wanted a place to review some books. I didn't get around to it that often, though. Whenever I wasn't feeling too lazy, I'd post something quick and my opinion. It didn't even bother me that no one was really reading it. It's only been very recently that I've started to do more and try and get more involved. And now I want to have other blogger friends too. But I already know a few people out there in the book blogging world, especially from, so I'm not completely alone! Anyway, when I started, my goal was just to read what I wanted to read and post about it. But like anything, the more involved you become, the more you learn is out there and the more you want to do! That's how it's been with me. First of all, I have been spending way too much time online looking at other people's blogs to even do much reading. Then I spent forever trying to add things to my blog to make it look nicer. It got a little out of hand there for a while! I'm also finding myself wanting to read a bunch of new books and review them. But I need to remember to stop and read just exactly what I want to read and not read just what others are reading or else I'll get annoyed with it! I'm also trying to get more involved with reading advanced reader copies and reviewing them because I think it's fun. So far I've done two pre-release books and I have one author requested review coming up. Yay! But when it comes down to it, I need to just remember to have fun!

I don't have a lot more to say on this topic. I may have had more had I started writing earlier. But now I'm tired and still have some things to do before I go to bed. I did borrow a couple books from my sister while I visited her today. She's a reader too, so it's always fun to look through her shelf and see what she has. Today I borrowed Little Bee by Chris Cleave and Ella Minnow Pea by Mark Dunn. I've been wanting to read both for a while. So look for reviews on both in the near future! For now I'm off to finish off my current read. That review will be up hopefully tomorrow. And hopefully next week I'll start typing my Sunday Salon a little earlier and have something a little more insightful to say. =) Good night!


Thank you so much to Melissa at Reminder List for this award!!

Once you receive this award you are to list seven of your favorite things and then nominate seven other blogs.

  1. Spending time with family (and playing cards, haha)
  2. Summer
  3. Reading
  4. My dog, Lily
  5. Shopping (for clothes, jewelry, shoes, and books, lol!)
  6. Coffee
  7. Disney

And my seven nominees are:
  1. Jaime at For the Love of All that is Written
  2. Lori at Lori's Reading Corner
  3. Hilarie at Never Not Reading
  4. Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books
  5. Trish at Trish's Reading Nook
I'm still new to finding and following more blogs so I am going to reserve the last 2 to use another time!

Fear the Worst (review and giveaway)

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Lynwood Barclay's latest thriller, Fear the Worst, tells the suspenseful story of a man searching relentlessly for his daughter who has mysteriously disappeared. The plot moves quickly and the cliffhanger at the end of each chapter kept me continuously engaged in the story.

Tim Blake's 17-year-old daughter, Sydney (Syd), is staying with him for the summer, as she does every year. During the visit last year, she worked at the car dealership her father works at, but this year she got a new job working at a local hotel. One day, Syd and her father have an argument before she leaves for work and she doesn't return home from work that day. When Tim goes to check Syd's work, he finds out she never worked there and no one knows who she is.

Though Tim eventually has to return to his mundane daily life, he continues to do what he can to find clues about Syd's disappearance. He slowly learns that Syd was involved with a lot more than he realized and may not have been who he thought she was.

This novel moved quickly with new events occurring in each chapter. For those who want a fast-paced and fun read, this is it. I could easily see this being turned into an entertaining suspense movie. However, keep in mind that this book was heavily focused on plot turns and twists and continued action. While very entertaining, it somewhat lacked some character development. We meet a range of characters in the book but rarely get to know any well. There were a few flashbacks of Syd as a child at different ages that contributed slightly to the story. There were also a few plot points that seemed a little too convenient. I have to say, though, that even when I noticed these things in the book, it didn't really take away from the entertaining aspect of the book. I plowed through the book because I wanted to know what happened to Sydney, and I was happy with the way the mystery wrapped up. I would have preferred one more chapter to wrap up some character things, but as previously mentioned, this book focused completely on the main mystery at hand. It was a fun read!

Release date: August 11, 2009


I will be giving away a copy of this (advanced reader's copy) book to a lucky winner. The release date isn't until August, so you can still be one of the first to read Barclay's new book! This will start today July 9, 2009 and go through July 23, 2009. The winner will be announced on July 24, 2009.

Read the following for how to enter:

  • U.S. Addresses only
  • Leave a comment with your e-mail (or pbs id) for 1 entry
  • Follow me (or already be following me) for 1 extra entry
  • Blog about the giveaway and comment with the link for 1 extra entry
  • Add me to your blogroll (or have me on there already) for 1 extra entry

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday – this is the time each week to recognize those older books… post about an older book you’ve always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love; maybe post about one from your childhood, or use this to review an older book -- how about even a classic! Leave a comment here and feel free to take the icon and use it on your blog!

This week’s Throwback is: Message in a Bottle by Nicholas Sparks


In 1996 The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks captured the hearts and imaginations of readers around the world. It spent more than a year on the New York Times bestseller list and was the No. 1 bestselling hardcover fiction title of 1997.

Message in a Bottle, Nicholas Sparks's eagerly anticipated second novel, proves that this author can uncork the magic again. The film industry caught on to the buzz immediately. Warner Brothers snapped up movie rights within 12 hours of submission, and Kevin Costner, Robin Wright, and Paul Newman will star in the film.

The book is a heart-wrenching tale of self-discovery, renewal, and the courage it takes to love again. Teresa Osborne, a 36-year-old single mother, finds a bottle washed up on a Cape Cod beach. The scrolled-up message inside is a passionate love letter written by a heartbroken man named Garrett who is grieving over "his darling Catherine." Teresa is so moved by the stranger's poignant words that she vows to find the penman and publishes the letter in her syndicated Boston newspaper column. Questions linger in her mind and heart: Who is Garrett? Who is Catherine? What is their story? And most importantly, why did this bottle find its way to her?

Imagining that Garrett is the type of man she has always been seeking, Teresa sets out on an impulsive, hope-filled search. Her journey, her discovery, and the wisdom gained from this voyage of self-discovery changes her life forever. Love's unimaginable strength as well as its tremendous fragility echoes on each page of Sparks's newest gem.

I didn't do a lot of reading for pleasure until after college, but I did read this back in high school around the time it came out. I loved this book and thought Nicholas Sparks was the best author for writing such an amazing story. I liked the books he wrote after this but after a while they stopped being so great. I havent' read the last 4 or 5 that he's released (including the memoir). For those of you who have, are they worth reading? Now that I have 300 books on my TBR and am still reading other books, lol! I think I will always keep a copy of this book.

Waiting on Wednesday.....

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, by Jill at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here's my pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

From her website: There was a time when Ali Gutierrez would have been forced to give up her dreams of motherhood. But thanks to modern reproductive technology—and the gift of her best friend’s eggs—Ali is now the mother of fourteen-year-old Letty.

Now, yearning for a second child, Ali asks her best friend’s permission to use another of the frozen embryos that have been stored away, awaiting this decision. But Cora has a secret that could not only change Ali’s plans for the future, but tear apart her life right now….

In this thoughtful, complex novel, Kristy Kiernan shows us two women struggling with life-changing decisions—and explores both timely moral issues and timeless truths about the definition of family.

This one will be a while still as the release date is April 2010. I'm looking forward to it. I really liked one of her books and thought the other one was okay. But this is her third book so hopefully it will be the best yet. It's also a subject I'm interested in. I read another book with a similar topic that I really enjoyed, so hopefully this one is just as good or better!