Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Sweet Dreams are Made of This.....

So I went to the annual YMCA book fair last weekend and I always love going because I find so many books I remember from my childhood and from my teen years. I especially love finding the old teen romance books that are what had me so interested in reading when I was around 12. I remember devouring one of these IN A DAY over the summer! I've not read any of these in years but I think I will have to revisit them just because I'm curious. 

Now I admit I'm bummed because to save space I did let go of all the ones I originally had and have since been unable to locate all of those same titles, but I have since found a few of them in the past couple of sales at the YMCA. I'm not sure who here in St. Louis still has them and how they wind up finding their way back into the sale each year, but I think it is awesome!

The photo below was the few I found last year. I really should have known about the adult romance table last year! I think I might have found more!

I am always able to find them scattered in little clusters among the young adult tables. THIS year however I happened to glance across the paperback romance books and lo and behold I find a big chunk! I was super excited and grabbed all I could find as I scoured the romance section. Future reference....check ADULT romance section as well as YOUNG ADULT! 

So I thought I would share a snap shot of my loot from this year and I'm interested in what books got other people reading as kids/young adults? For me it was these Sweet Dreams, Wildfire, and Silhouette romances that started it; I then later branched into the Baby Sitter Club much to my librarians chagrin I might add! She hated those books and always encouraged me and my friends to check out ANYTHING else but those darn books!

 The photo below is from this year. I got a lot more this year especially after finding them in the adult section. I had three from young adult the rest were in the wrong area!

Anyone else read these or recognize them? I am a child of the 80's so these are dated but they were sweet little innocent reads and I adored them!

Sunday, August 26, 2012

Mirage (Winterhaven #2) by Kristi Cook

Read: August 22-26, 2012
read in 5 days
pages: 384

Mirage by Kristi Cook

The second installment in the Winterhaven series takes up at the beginning of senior year for the same cast of characters we met in the first book and one new introduction: Tyler. The intervening summertime is summarized that Violet had spent the summer taking care of her Gran who had suffered a stroke. After arranging for a care taker to stay with Gran and Lupe Violet feels a bit more at ease when returning to school. She returns to school anticipating the return of Aidan as the two have been separated for the whole summer. After last years fiasco with Julius Violet is hoping for a much calmer year. And from my reading and feel of the novel things are relatively calm and there really is no action or tension that builds over the course of this novel. I didn't feel a sense of urgency or a real climax that was in need of being solved as the first book had.

Violet still has her visions to deal with but lucks out when a certain handsome teacher offers to help her as he has similar psychic abilities himself. He works with Violet and helps her to recall her visions so that she can begin to make sense of them and get details so that she might alter the endings. The main vision she comes back to time and time again is a vision of Aidan attacking her childhood friend Whiteny. While this is troubling I just didn't see it as a strong tension builder. The only events that could be seen as tension building, and its a bit of a stretch at that, may be the struggles Aidan has with working towards a cure, and even that is only peripheral because Violet does not work with Aidan in the lab. 

Violet also has the discovery of a little more information about her Sabbat origin to deal with. The information is vague and seemingly sketchy. She refuses to accept her destiny because she feels her free will is what will allow her to make up her own mind. When confronted with the chance to explore the meaning of the information however she runs rather than confronts the issue. It is her fate however and she must one day face it.

The climax that is given in the book is wrapped up way too quickly and I don't feel that was a very satisfactory ending. I don't like when books end just pages after the climax. Not that things were wrapped up in a tight little bow either. It was kind of a jilted ending and ends with Violet vowing to herself to make sense of things between her and Aidan as well as to understand her status as a Sabbat. It was not much of a conclusion and was very open ended.

I'd recommend it I suppose to anyone who read the first one and was curious to see where things were going. I may pick up the next book, but I'm not completely committed at this point. You can check the review for Haven as well in my blog.

I found the book trailer and I'll link it here. I don't really care much for it but its all that I found.

Saturday, August 25, 2012

Dolmarehn - Book Two of the Otherworld Trilogy by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson

Read: August 18-21, 2012
read in 4 days
pages: 235

Dolmarehn (The Otherworld Trilogy, #2)

Book Blurb:

"Do you trust me Meghan?"

His voice was soft, almost pleading. I swallowed and tried hard to discern his expression in the dark. The paltry amount of light reaching this far into the small cavern glinted off his eyes, giving him the appearance of a demon trying to tempt me into something evil.

"Yes," I answered, my own voice a mere whisper, "I trust you."


He gave my hand a quick squeeze, and then I was pulled forward into the icy abyss that loomed before us. . .

A year ago, Meghan Elam learned that she was Faelorehn, a being of the Otherworld. Immortal. Now she must juggle her life in the mortal world wiht the one she has started to build in the Otherworld. However, keeping her identity secret from her friends and family while trying to avoid a wrathful Celtic goddess is no easy task.

With the help of  the intriguing Cade MacRoich, Meghan will learn that not only does she come from a place full of magic and wonder but that she, too, is far more powerful than she ever thought possible.

This is the second installment in the Otherworld series by Jenna Elizabeth Johnson. I had forgotten how much I get caught up in this series! I just love these characters! When I sat down with this book.....IT ALL CAME BACK TO ME. I was hooked once again and was regretful every time I had to put this book down.

This book picks up where we left Meghan after Faelorehn. She has been healing and recouping over the summer after her run in with the Morrigan. While Meghan has been healing she has been a bit reclusive and Cade has been MIA, which has caused her to become a little obsessive over him. But hey lets face it I would obsess over him too!

Meghan gains more exposure to the Fae part of her origin thanks to Cade when he finally makes an appearance. He gifts her with a Merlin for her birthday so that she has her own spirit guide and he can then take Fergus with him back to Elie. She learns to care for the little bird and the bird becomes her protector.  Meghan goes to Eile on three occasions over the course of the novel and Meghan begins to learn more about herself, her magic and her origins. She also learns a little bit more about the mysterious Cade. I admit I fell in love with Cade. I didn't think I could like him any more than I already did after Faelorehn, but what do you know I was wrong.

In terms of pacing, while the last book worked to set things up this novel has a lot more action and a lot more going on. We learn a lot more about the characters and their world of Eile.The bulk of the action takes place in the Otherworld while the mortal world is relatively calm. Don't mistake me, I don't consider Meghans encounters with the fae creatures in the mortal world to be calm by any means, but the amount of action between the Otherworld and the mortal world are very different. Well I'm not giving out the details because I want to leave that to the reader to discover, but the ending left me anxious and waiting impatiently for the last installment in the series. I can't wait to join these characters again and to see just where things are going to go.

For a recap on the series you can visit my review of Faelorehn.
To purchase Faelorehn you can visit and/or
To purchase Dolmarehn you can visit and/or

And don't forget to stop over and visit Jenna's site HERE, and learn more about the author herself in an interview HERE.

F in Exams: The Best Totally Wrong Test Answers edited by Richard Benson

Read: August 17, 2012
read in 30-45 minutes

This book was incredibly funny! I'm so glad to have stumbled upon this little gem. It took maybe 30-45 minutes to read over the course of my breaks at work. I didn't want to put it down every time I sat down to read it. I was asked so many times what I was reading that had me laughing out loud so hard. I had to share a few of the funnier ones with coworkers who were passing by. These test questions cover a variety of subjects and some of the answers were so close to being right while others only came similar in sound but were no where near correct. While others were so far off the answer was just ridiculous!

I highly recommend the book to anyone looking for a good laugh, which honestly is at a strangers expense, but at least you don't know who the person is and you'll never have to face them! I'd recommend this to college students because it would be a great stress relief during exam time. It would emphasize the importance of studying too!

Thursday, August 16, 2012

Deadlocked by Charlaine Harris

Read: August 9-15, 2012
read in a week
pages: 327

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12)

Sookie is coming to realize that her life is not entirely as she desires it to be. Her relationship with Eric is strained and has been for the last couple of books. They love each other but Eric has so many obligations in his vampire world that he hardly has time to make the relationship function outside the confines of the bedroom. Not that I am complaining because reading this series it has become a staple for there to be a good romp in the bedroom. But lately Harris' novels are lacking in that department. So I will complain a little. This one for instance has one scene and it fails terribly. It was glossed over, we see no heat or any of the passion. All we get is Sookie commenting that she left her trouble behind for a good 15 minutes. 15 minutes?! Really? That's it?? Oh come on. I know that Viking has more than 15 minutes in him!! That was a huge let down after the previous scenes with Eric.

While I know originally I was going to stop reading these novels since they have been weak and trailing downward quickly, but I was in the library and while I kept looking when I was in there, the book was never on the shelf. One time I happened upon it and thought what the heck I'll continue. I've been this far with this series this year I may as well see it through. Because I am curious as to where this will end with Sookie. I can see that the relationship with Eric has run its course and needs to be put to bed....well or to death. Jeez there is just no good way to say it, so lets just move on shall we? I'd actually been considering Bill once again despite the crap he pulled just because I remember how happy she was with him. But there is the betrayal. So not sure that will ever happen again or if anything beyond a fling would be possible or IF the two should get together again or not. 

With this novel though there are some changes in Sookie and her view on her life. She can see all these mostly stable and functioning relationships around her and she realizes she does not have that. She also sees that continuing down her path she will never have children and its starting to weigh on her after seeing Tara and J.B.'s twins. So it is likely Sookie may be changing direction. I'd like to see her with Sam honestly. Especially after this novel. I won't give away the details, but I will say I had tears in my eyes and was ready to throw the book across the room if the scene didn't pan out the way I'd wanted. Luckily there was a quick shift and things righted themselves. Thank goodness and I was glad to end on a high note. Well a higher note considering the rest of the novel. There are some definite twists here that I did not see coming, and it was an entertaining read.

On the whole I'd say if you are sticking with the series to see the end, well then do so. I don't think as a loyal reader you will be disappointed. You'll likely see what I mean when I say I am disappointed and I am not almost equally (though I've not actually sat down to tally it). There are just some things I'd like to have seen done a little differently, but it is easy to see that there are some loose ends being tied up here and we are looking at a finale of some sort soon. Its been quite a ride and I'm glad I've read the series. I've really come to enjoy reading about these characters even though they tend to be a bit out dated.

Saturday, August 11, 2012

Signspotting 2: More Absurd and Amazing Signs from Around the World by Doug Lansky

Read: August 10, 2012
read in under a half hour
pages: 160

Signspotting 2 : More Absurd and Amazing Signs from Around the World

The second installment of the Signspotting books. I enjoyed the second book a bit more than the first. I found more signs in the second book that made me laugh more than the first. This book, like the first, also includes more translation issues and will leave you wondering once again, where was the editor or at the very least the person who signed off on the approval of the signs prior to their being made. And also sometimes its just all about location location location!

Signspotting: Absurd and Amusing Signs from Around the World by Doug Lansky

Read: August 10, 2012
read in under a half hour
pages: 208

Signspotting: Absurd and Amusing Signs from Around the World

Clever little book full of signs from street to advertisements to warnings and even businesses. These are signs that have been spotted all over the world so some of the humor comes from simply translating the words to English, or the inability to find English on a sign that states "INFORMATION" yet contains no legible words for those who understand the word "INFORMATION".  Some signs are funny and slightly humorous while others were a good laugh out loud. Some were so ridiculous you wonder where the heck the editor was prior to the sign being printed. 

Friday, August 10, 2012

Taming Your Pet Monster : An Operational Guide by Scott Gordon

Read: July 22, 2012
read in 10 minutes maybe
pages: 68

Taming Your Pet Monster: An Operational Guide

Cute little picture book about owning a pet monster. I enjoyed the pictures of the monsters more than the writing. The idea of a pet monster with an operational guide was a funny topic so I thought for free on amazon I could check it out. Course at the time I read it I didn't own the kindle fire and read it on the computer, but I'm sure kindle fire owners would be able to appreciate the full color photos throughout the book more than the regular kindle readers. Which is why I'm glad I opted to read this on my computer.

Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist #3) by Rick Yancey

Read: July 28- August 9, 2012
read in little less than 13 days
pages: 558

The Isle of Blood (The Monstrumologist, #3)

I can't begin to write a review that is going to do this book justice. This is the third installment in the Monstrumologist series and they just get better and better as the series continues. I love the characters Will Henry and even the harsh Pellinore Warthrope and enjoy following them alone their journeys of discovery. The author has a magnificent grasp of the SHOW not TELL aspect of writing. There were so many times when I was reading this novel that I thought ugh I could have done without that description! But honestly that just added to the story telling and made things more real and believable.  While the field of aberrant biology, the study of monsters, may not exist in OUR reality, within THIS world it very much DOES!

This installment follows Will Henry and the Doctor to the Isle of Blood, where they are in search of the magnificum. What is the magnificum? To be honest in the end I'm not able to explain it, but I at least somewhat understand it! Although this novel felt less action filled than the prior novels, there is still alot going on that adds to the overall arch of the story. I'm hoping against all odds that despite the fact that this seems to be lesser known than other series out there that somehow the author continues to get the approval to write the rest of this story.

I liked the development of the characters as well as the gradual introduction of elements concerning Will Henry's life. The novels are construed as Will Henry's journals about his adventures as the Doctor's apprentice, and this was the first point that I started to wonder more about this little boy and what happens to him as he gets older. I'm really looking forward to the next book and hoping to learn even more about this brave young boy.

I highly recommend this book for anyone out there looking for a great, surprising, and at times shocking read. There is at times a little gore involved, but what do you expect from an author who does so well with the SHOW don't TELL way of writing? The parts where the gore is involved makes you feel as though you are literally there alongside the Doctor and Will Henry.

I'm so glad I stumbled upon these books a couple years ago. There is so much going on that you really have to start at book one, and trust me if you do you will be hooked. I was and continue to be surprised how hooked I get each time I pick up the next book. Hopefully this piqued enough interest that you go find book one and give it a read!

Thursday, August 9, 2012

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake by Anna Quindlen

Read: August 2-7, 2012
read in 6 days
pages: 272

Lots of Candles, Plenty of Cake

I heard about this memoir on NPR when Anna Quindlen was interviewed a while back. I have read a couple of her novels, Blessings and Rise and Shine, and thought I'd like to read her memoir as well. I'm on a memoir kick lately. Its interesting to see other peoples point of view on life.

I didn't know too much about Quindlen prior to reading this memoir other than the fact that she once wrote an OP column and had some novels out there as well. I remember reading her novels and thinking they were ok, I didn't get super excited over them, but this one I did look forward to reading. Once I started reading it read really quickly. The book is broken down into essays that touch on a vaierty of topics with a good deal of focus in each how topic has changed as she has aged. The essays provide her an outlet to reflect on her life and through those essays she shares the wisdom she has gained. Overall the book was very honest and thoughtful. She did a good job of highlighting the generational change of where women were once able to work, where they currently are working and is optimistic that the limit has not been reached yet. Despite the recession and given how few opportunities are available to everyone right now, the essays were inspiring to keep pushing forward to see just where we as women will one day be.

I especially enjoyed the essay on Solitude and found a couple quotes I liked:

"By the time you've lived for fifty or sixty years, you are better armored to embrace things about yourself that are true, even if you might think the world sees them as odd, eccentric."

"Solitude is an acceptable form of selfishness."

I really liked the essay because she focuses on the differences between being alone by choice and being lonely. I liked the confirmation I found after reading that I myself am not alone in needing to recharge my batteries and spend some needed time alone in this overly social bombarded world. One of my favorite things about reading memoirs is that they confirm our own actions and feelings. They make us feel less alone in the world knowing there are others out there who do the same as we do.