Thursday, December 31, 2009

2009 Year in Review--Stats And Favorite Books

I read 149 books this year.  I was hoping to get to 150, but I beat last years total of 147 so that's good. 

I read 46,833 pages this year ( I read 45,614 last year) so I read 1,219 more pages this year.

I only had one 5 star book this year!

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

I had 3 books get a 4.5 rating (granted I only started the .5 points in July, so there might have been more 4.5 books before then)

My Soul To Save by Rachel Vincent

Japan Took the J.A.P Out of Me by Lisa Fineberg Cook

After You by Julie Buxbaum

Challenge Uncompleted--Failure

Here are the 2 challenges that I didn't complete this year.

I had 14 books left to read!

Description: 9 books in 9 different categories, all read in 2009.
For an added challenge, try completing your books by 9/9/09!
This group is to help you track your progress on the Paranormal 999 challenge.
You choose your own categories.... but you must have 9 categories and they must be paranormal....some examples are:
If you join, please leave a comment here with a link to your challenge page, and click on the image above to leave a comment on the original page as well.

So, here's my list:

  1. Undead and Unworthy by MaryJanice Davidson
  2. Tantalize by Cynthia Leitich Smith (can also be used as were-animals)
  3. Dead End Dating by Kimberly Raye
  4. Dead and Dateless by Kimberly Raye
  5. Your Coffin or Mine? by Kimberly Raye
  6. Just One Bite by Kimberly Raye
  7. Revelations by Melissa De La Cruz
  8. Accidentally Dead by Dakota Cassidy
  9. Real Vampires Get Lucky by Gerry Bartlett (can also be used as shape-shifters)

  1. Competition's A Witch by Kelly McClymer
  2. She's A Witch Girl by Kelly McClymer
  3. Modern Magic by Anner Cordwainer
  4. 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover by Linda Wisdom (can also be used for vampires, ghosts)
  5. Mysteria Lane by MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, Gena Showalter, and P.C. Cast (can also be used as demons, fairy, vampires)
  6. Thirteenth Child by Patricia C. Wrede
  7. Laced With Magic by Barbara Bretton (can also be used for Fae)
  8. Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells (can also be used for Vampires, demons, fairy)
  9. Witch High edited by Denise Little
  1. The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
  2. Demons Are Forever by Julie Kenner
  3. Deja Demon by Julie Kenner
  4. Succubus Blues by Richelle Mead
  5. Succubus On Top by Richelle Mead
  6. Succubus Dreams by Richelle Mead
  7. Jennifer's Body by Audrey Nixon
  8. Speed Demon by Erin Lynn
  9. Awakening by K. Lippi
Were-animals/ Shapeshifters/ Mermaids
  1. The Accidental Werewolf by Dakota Cassidy
  2. In Over Her Head by Judi Fennell
  3. Real Vampires Don't Diet by Gerry Bartlett (can also be used as vampires)
  4. Wild Blue Under by Judi Fennell
  5. The Accidental Human by Dakota Cassidy
  6. Hex Appeal by Linda Wisdom (can also be used as witch, vampire, ghosts)
  7. Barbie & the Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom
  8. Last Vampire Standing by Nancy Haddock (can also be used as vampires)

  1. Demon's Delight by MaryJanice Davidson, Emma Holly, Vickie Taylor, & Catherine Spangler (can also be used as witch, vampire, demon)
  2. Shadowed Summer by Saundra Mitchell
  3. First Night by Tom Weston
  4. The Hollow by Jessica Verday
  5. What's A Ghoul To Do? by Victoria Laurie (could also be used as Psychics/Sensitives)
  6. Demons Are A Ghoul's Best Friend by Victoria Laurie (could also be used as Psychics/Sensitives)
  7. The Splendor Falls by Rosemary Clement-Moore
  8. Sex and the Psychic Witch by Annette Blair
  9. Swoon by Nina Malkin (could also be used as Demon)

Misc (doesn't fit into a category:)


Chick-lit Challenge 2

I had 2 books left to read

I am participating in another Chick-lit Challenge on Paperback Swap. So of course I have to blog about it here!

1) Pick a Chic Lit book that's been on your TBR for a year or more.-- Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot
2)Pick a book that hasn't had a movie made from it. --The Agency by Ally O'Brien
3)Read a new to you author--American Wife by Curtis Sittenfeld
4)Read a book with a hair color in the title example: Bergdorf Blondes
5)Start a series! (you don't need to finish it) The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs
6)Read a book with some kind of beverage in the title (i.e.:Cocktails for Three, Milk Run)

Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Challenge Completed- A to Z Reading Challenge

I have finished my fifth challenge!

A to Z Reading Challenge

Option B: Read titles A to Z. Commit to reading 26 books theoretically speaking. (since X and Z are hard to find, I will count the book if the letter is anywhere in the title)

Book Review- Queen of Babble

I just finished reading Queen of Babble by Meg Cabot.

From the back cover:

Lizzie Nichols has a problem: she can't keep anything to herself. And when she opens her big mouth on a trip to London, her good intentions get her long-distance beau, Andrew, in major hot water. Now she's stuck in England with no boyfriend and no place to stay until the departure date on her nonrefundable airline ticket. Fortunately, Lizzie's best friend and college roommate, Shari, is spending her summer catering weddings in a sixteenth-century château in southern France. Who cares if Lizzie's never traveled alone in her life and only speaks rudimentary French? She's off to Souillac to lend a helping hand!

One glimpse of gorgeous Château Mirac—and of gorgeous Luke, the son of the château's owner—and Lizzie's smitten. But thanks to her chronic inability to keep a secret, before the first cork has been popped Luke hates her, the bride is in tears, and Château Mirac is on the road to becoming a lipo-recovery spa. Add to that the arrival of ex-beau Andrew, who's looking for "closure" (or at least a loan), and everything—including Lizzie's shot at true love—is in la toilette . . . unless she can figure out some way to use her big mouth to save the day.

I have had this book in my TBR pile for a while and couldn't wait to get around to reading it, since I love reading Meg Cabot's blog and was hoping I would enjoy the book just as much.  But for the first half of the book, I was slightly disappointed.  I felt that Lizzie seemed like a complete airhead and I just couldn't get why she was so obsessed with Andrew.  But halfway through the book, when she and Andrew break up, it gets much better.  I liked her interactions with Luke and she became a stronger character.  And I really liked Luke--he seemed like the type of guy that I'd fall for (and probably every other girl too!) The scenery seems so beautiful--I want to visit place like Château Mirac!  I have the next book, Queen of Babble in the Big City, in my TBR pile and I can't wait until I have a chance to get around to reading it!

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
A to Z Reading Challenge: Q
Chick-Lit Challenge 2: 1) Pick a Chic Lit book that's been on your TBR for a year or more.

*FTC Disclosure: I traded for the copy of this book with a friend.

Wednesday Wordle- December 30, 2009

Here is a screen shot of my Wordle for the week (Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from words that is seen on my blog)

Waiting on Wednesday- December 30, 2009

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

The Reckoning
by Kelley Armstrong
Publication Release Date: May 1, 2010

From Kelley Armstrong's website(SPOILER ALERT:  Only read the summary if you have read the first two books- The Summoning and The Awakening!)

Only two weeks ago, life was all too predictable. But that was before I saw my first ghost. Now, along with my supernatural friends Tori, Derek, and Simon, I’m on the run from the Edison Group, which genetically altered us as part of their sinister experiment. We’re hiding in a safe house that might not be as safe as it seems. We’ll be gone soon anyway, back to rescue those we’d left behind and to take out the Edison Group . . . or so we hope.

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review- Bleeding Violet

I just finished reading Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves for an Around the World Tour.

From the back cover:

Love... can be a dangerous thing.

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Wow.  I think that might be the weirdest book I have ever read.  I'm not sure what to think or write about it.  And I'm not sure if I liked it or not.  I do know that it was extremely gory.  I do know that there were a bunch of times were I was confused as to what things were and what was happening.  I do know that I liked the two main characters- Hanna and Wyatt.  But I'm not sure if I liked the book.

I felt bad for Hanna.  She so wanted to be loved by her mother but she was one messed up girl.  And I liked Wyatt.  I felt like he did care about Hanna, although there were times when I wanted to ring his neck for his obviously still-there feelings for Petra. 

As for the plot, there was just too much weirdness going on for me to really enjoy it.  I did read it quicker than I thought I would, but I just couldn't really get into it.  I dunno...if you're looking for a unique, off-the-wall book, then this would be it.

I gave this book a rating of 2.5/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Misc (alternate reality)
*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Teaser Tuesday- December 29, 2009

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

"I waited for a long time, watching her face slip from composed to exalted to scared and then back.  Weird seeing such emotions on a face normall devoid of all feeling."
~pg 275, Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves

Monday, December 28, 2009

Book Review- The Secret Year

I just finished reading The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard for an Around the World Tour.

From the back cover:

How do you get over someone who was never yours to begin with?

More than anything else in the notebook, I had wanted to read this entry, the last one.  I wanted to know what Julia thought about the last time we saw each other.  I wanted to know if it ate away at her the way it did at me.

If she'd broken up with Austin, would she still have needed me?  If she could see or talk to me anytime, instead of squeezing our whole relationship into Friday nights and unsigned notes and secret phone calls, would she still have wanted me?

And would I have wanted her?

When I first saw that this was a story told from a male point-of-view, I wasn't sure if I was going to like it--I tend to not like emotional stories told from guys.  But The Secret Year was a pleasant surprise.

There were two main characters in the story--Colten, who is the narrator, and Julia, who we learn more about and read from the pages of the diary.  Their secret romance is very Romeo-and-Juliet-like.  And while I felt that Colt was down-to-earth and real, I found myself disliking Julia and thought that she was just using Colt and didn't really feel that stongly about him.  Even when the pages in her diaries said otherwise, I felt that at some points she looked down on him.  And as much as I didn't like Julia's boyfriend, I didn't like the fact that she was cheating on him.

There were other smaller sub-plots in the story:  Colt's older brother reveals a deep, dark secret, and the two worlds between the Black Mountain kids and the flats kids collided in a huge brawl.  But the main one was the secret affair between Colt and Julia.  I will say that the end was a slight let-down.  I expected there to be a bigger reveal on the last page of Julia's diary.  But overall, it was a promising debut novel from Jennifer Hubbard.

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

*FTC Disclosure: I was given this book for free for an honest review as part of the Around the World Tours.

Mailbox Monday- December 28, 2009

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week:


Captivate- Carrie Jones--from publisher per my request

Must Love Hellhounds- Nalini Singh, Charlaine Harris, Ilona Andrews, Meljean Brook—PaperbackSwap


Frostbite (Vampire Academy #2)- Richelle Mead--bought

Shadow Kiss (Vampire Academy #3)- Richelle Mead--bought

Elphame’s Choice- P.C. Cast--bought

How to Be Single- Liz Tuccillo--Bookmooch

Bleeding Violet- Dia Reeves-- review for Around the World Tours

The Secret Year- Jennifer Hubbard-- review for Around the World Tours

Book Review- Road Trip of the Living Dead

I just finished reading Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry.

From the back cover:

Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle's supernatural nightlife. But what's a zombie chick to do when her 'Mommie Dearest' gets sick? If you're Amanda Feral, you can either ignore the wicked old witch - or bury the past by visiting Ethel before she kicks it. Amanda's not thrilled about the idea of crossing three states just to be criticized. But Wendy, who's always looking for fresh meat, is up for the adventure. And Gil, who just launched his 'luxury' resurrection business, needs to disappear because a pissed-off client is out for his blood.

First, they pack their stiletto pumps and plasma into a skeevy rattrap on wheels that used to be a Winnebago. Then, with a little help from a Korean-ghost hood ornament, a masochist named Fishhook, and a slew of 'moderately accurate' psychics, they hit the highway - their way. Of course, they'll have to navigate past some neo-Nazi skinheads, a horny dust devil, a hunky werewolf cop (who could pass for an underwear model) and an unsightly horde of Kmart shoppers. But for this glamorous gang of ghouls this trip is about to take a dangerous detour that could give road kill a brand new meaning...

Ok, this book just didn't do it for me.  Yes, some of it was humourous, but most of it was just disgusting.  It was too gory and skeezy for me.  And a lot of the jokes were too dirty, either sexual or toilet humor, even for me.  I didn't like the characters either.  Blah.  The only reason it got a 2 rating because if you break it down into the basic plot, it was okay.  This is not one book that I would recommend.

I gave this book a rating of 2/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Misc (Zombies)

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend

Sunday, December 27, 2009

The Sunday Salon- December 27, 2009

The Sunday Salon

I can't believe Christmas has come and gone!  It was so fast!  Kory and I drove up to my parents house on Thursday and just got back today.  It was great to spend time with my family and celebrate my mom's birthday (her bday is on Christmas day...and she hates that!)  On Christmas we have steak and lobster for her to enjoy and then we go out the day after.  Kory and I did a bunch of laying around and I napped a lot instead of reading.  Oh well!  I can't believe 2010 is almost here! (And then with the sad news of Urban Meyer taking an indefinite leave of absence from coaching the Gators was so shocking!  I hope he gets better soon and comes back!)

I finished and reviewed the following books this week:

When She Flew by Jennie Shortridge

How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier

Barbie & the Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock

Last Vampire Standing by Nancy Haddock

I fulfilled items in the following challenges this week:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Fae/Fairy, Were-animals/Shapeshifters, Psychics

I am currently reading Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry and up next is The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard for an Around The World Blog Tour.

Contests- December 21- December 28

Number One Novels is giving away a copy of Soulless by Gail Carriger.  The contest ends on December 27.

The Bookologist is having Mega 2010 Box Contest!  The contest ends on January 31.

Saturday, December 26, 2009

Book Review- Last Vampire Standing

I just finished reading Last Vampire Standing by Nancy Haddock.

From the back cover:

I know.  A vampire princess would have to be nuts to live in the Sunshine State, what with all that sun shining.  But, hey, St. Augustine is beautiful and it's my home.  Plus, I have good friends, nice new digs, and no major problems-- until a stranger from the Atlanta nest crashes my party, looking for sanctuary.

A budding stand-up comin, Jo-Jo's running from an undead superior who's eager to drive a stake through the heart of his dream job.  But Jo-Jo's bad jokes aren't the only dark clouds on the horizon.

A psychotic vampire with a murderous agenda has followed Jo-Jo to Florida, putting everyone close to me in danger.  I might be a lousy vampire, but I'm determined to find out what it all has to do with an energy-sapping plague that's knocking off the country's head vamps.  Even if it kills me.  Again.

This was a second great novel in the series by Nancy Haddock.  I once again enjoyed reading about an area where I grew up in (and the Florida Gators were acutally mentioned in this story!).

The characters were the same that I loved in the first book in the series, La Vida Vampire, but a lovable Jo-Jo was added this go round.  You couldn't help but laugh at his jokes, even if they were corny.  And the plot was fun and had me guessing until the end.  But I want to know more about Triton.  I haven't seen where there is going to be another book in the series, but I sure hope there is going to be one!

I gave this book a rating of 4/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Shape-shifters (can also be used as vampires)

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend

Friday, December 25, 2009

Friday Firsts- December 25, 2009

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
~Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
~Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
~Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)

"The villagers marched on Maggie O'Halloran's house, but not at dawn while bearing torches to set us ablaze."
~Last Vampire Standing by Nancy Haddock (ISBN 978-0-425-227541)

Friday Fill-In- December 25, 2009

Friday Fill-In

1. My boots are pink and fuzzy on the inside and since I live in Florida, I've only worn them once when I went to NYC during the winter.
2. Next Friday we will be starting the second decade of this century.
3. Imitation fur/mink is the way to go.
4. Why do you always have to stuff food in your mouth and talk?
5. I'd like to get a good night's sleep.
6. Would you just get over it?
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to curling up on the couch with Kory (since my parents already went to bed), tomorrow my plans include going to dinner to celebrate my mom's bday which is actually on Christmas and Sunday, I want to go to dinner with one of my best friends who is in town!

Friday Finds- December 25, 2009

Here are my finds for the week:

Hex Hall- Rachel Hawkins
When Sophie Mercer turned thirteen, she discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-Gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hecate Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward prodigium, a.k.a. witches, fae, and shapeshifters. By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard. Three powerful enemies who look like supermodels; a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock; a creepy, tag-along ghost; and a new roommate, who happens to be the most-hated person and only vampire on campus. Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her friend Jenna is the number one suspect. Meanwhile, Sophie has a more personal shock to grapple with. Not only is her father the head of the prodigium council, he's the most powerful warlock in the world, and Sophie is his heir. As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all prodigium, especially her.  (From

Not My Daughter- Barbara Delinsky
When Susan Tate's 17-year-old daughter, Lily, announces she is pregnant, Susan is stunned. A single mother, she has struggled to do everything right. She sees the pregnancy as an unimaginable tragedy both for Lily and herself.

Then comes word of two more pregnancies among high school seniors who happen to be Lily's best friends - and the town turns to talk of a pact. But criticism of the girls quickly becomes criticism of their mothers, especially of Susan, who holds a visible position in town. As principal of the high school, she is considered a role model of hard work and core values. Now her detractors accuse her of being a lax mother, perhaps not worthy of the job of shepherding impressionable students. Susan is still struggling with the personal implications of her daughter's pregnancy, when she hears calls for her resignation.

But what of her close friendship with the two other moms? Are they any less at fault than she is? The friendships suffer - but shouldn't loyalty trump community pressure? And what of a fourth friend, who has power enough to minimize the fallout but whose own daughter has a murky tie to the pact?

Set in a small Maine town that cherishes responsibility, Not My Daughter raises many issues, not the least of which is the age-old question: What does it take to be a good mother? (From Barbara Delinsky's website)

House Rules- Jodi Picoult
HOUSE RULES is about Jacob Hunt, a teenage boy with Asperger’s Syndrome. He’s hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject – in his case, forensic analysis. He’s always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do…and he’s usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead, and the police come to question him. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger’s – not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, inappropriate affect – can look a heck of a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel -- and suddenly, Jacob finds himself accused of murder. HOUSE RULES looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way – but lousy for those who don’t. (From Jodi Picoult's website)

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Book Review- La Vida Vampire

I just finished reading La Vida Vampire by Nancy Haddock.

From the back cover:

Sometimes being a vampire isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Take it from me, Francesca Marinelli.  I was trapped underground for more than two hundred years and unearthed during the renovation of a Victorian mansion in historic St. Augustine. Being something of a  tourist attraction myself, I'm well suited for a job as a ghost tour guide.  A vampire telling ghost stories.  Is that a kick or what?  Hey, I'm 227 years old.  I want to learn things, do things, see things!   With enough sunblock, I can have a new lease on afterlife.  But...

Getting used to being a vampire in the twenty-first century is tough.  First, everything I learned about men is a little dated. Then a woman from my tour group turns up dead.  Naturally the police think I'm responsible, and it's not so easy to prove I didn't do it.   To top it all off, a crazed  vigilante squad called the Covenant is out to get me. Between the dead bodies, the stalkers, and my seriously nonexistent love life, I'm starting to think it was easier being a vampire when I was undead and buried.
First of all, I really enjoyed reading the story since it was set in St. Augustine.  I grew up in Orange Park, a little city right outside of Jacksonville, so we went to St. Augustine all of the time.  I loved reading about the streets and loved recognizng other city names (and the author talked about Gainesville--where I went to college!) 
I also really loved Cesca.  She was so down to earth--the total opposite of the typical vampire stereotype.  And she proved how off the stereotype could be.  She is someone, that if she were real, I would wnat to be friends with!  And Saber, the preternatural crimes special investigator hired investigate the crimes, and then to protect her just sounded hot!
This was a fun story that definitely leaves you hanging at the end.  There is a lot more to happen, and I'm very glad that I have the next book, Last Vampire Standing, to read next!
I gave this book a rating of 4/5.
This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Psychics

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Wednesday Wordle- December 23, 2009

Here is a screen shot of my Wordle for the week (Wordle is a toy for generating “word clouds” from words that is seen on my blog)

Waiting on Wednesday- December 23, 2009

This week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection is:

Bleeding Violet
by Dia Reeves
Publication Release Date: January 5, 2010

From Dia Reeves's website:

Love can be a dangerous thing….

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna’s tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she’s far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review- Barbie & the Beast

I just finished reading Barbie & the Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom.

From the back cover:

A Hairy Situation
Barbie Bradley was swept off her feet - literally. One moment the twenty-something was traversing Forest Lawn Cemetery in the dead of night with her best friend, the next she was thrown like a sack of potatoes over a man's shoulder. True, she and Angie had come to this odd locale for a singles party, but this wasn't quite how she'd planned to get picked up.

Hello Dolly!
Darin Russell found "Ms. Right" at work, which was suprising because girls in the cemetery were usually a tad, in a word, stiff. Not that this one couldn't stand to loosen up. She seemed particularly sensitive about being named after the Mattel toy, and before he popped the question he had to know how she'd react to his furry little secret. You see, though he had a tuxedo and a Porsche, he had more in common with the residents of the Miami Zoo than Ken. And if things went according to plan, Barbie was going to see his animal side.

This book was just plain fun.  There was nothing deep or serious about the book--just a light-hearted, silly (in a good way!) romance with a paranormal side.  I read it in one day!  The main characters, Barbie and Darin, were endearing and I felt myself rooting for them to get together.  If you're looking for a charming, easy-to-read love story, then I recommend this one.

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Were-animals

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend

Teaser Tuesday- December 22, 2009

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

My two teasers:

"And damn if her internal, man-sensing antennae weren't now lying flat on her head instead of waving madly to indicate the presence of her mystery man.  He had given up."
~pg 51, Barbie & the Beast by Linda Thomas-Sundstrom

Guest Blog- Jennie Shortridge

I am honored to have Jennie Shortridge, author of When She Flew, as a guest blogger for me today!

Our world (and the 24-hour news cycle) creates events stranger than most fiction. Stories about people trying to live their lives, even under the most challenging circumstances, are the ones that feel most powerful to me, as opposed to, say, the balloon boy, or stupid socialites crashing parties. When I hear about extraordinary people (perhaps living under the radar) with the strength, tenacity and sheer will to survive and do their best for their families, friends and more surprisingly strangers, then I am moved to write about them.

It was such a story that inspired my latest novel, When She Flew. I first heard about the Vietnam vet raising his daughter outdoors in the Oregon woods when I was living in Portland in 2004. The story captivated me as it unfolded with a splash in the media, causing conversation and discussion across the city about what the right thing to do was. It eventually disappeared like all front page news does, but the thoughts and emotions attached to them stayed with me. I never forgot the people, their story, or their struggle, and in 2007 I decided to write a fictional story inspired by them.

I spent the next year and a half meeting with a police officer involved in the case, exploring the woods where they lived, and retracing their steps. I imagined their routines, their needs, their desires and in When She Flew, I cast my version of their experience told from the perspective of the little girl and from a female police officer who finagles her way onto the search team.

When She Flew is the story of Ray Wiggs, an Iraq war veteran, and his 13-year-old daughter, Lindy. They have lived for five years in the woods, off the radar, trying to survive on the meager pension Ray receives as a disabled veteran. He wants what’s best for Lindy, and would rather raise her in the woods than on the city streets, subjecting her to drugs and violence and crime. When Lindy is spotted by a bird watcher, everything changes as the police search the forest to find her, make sure she is not in danger and to take her out of the woods and do the “right” thing by her.

Second generation police officer Jessica Villareal is a single mom. She’s on the police search team that discovers Ray and Lindy, and she feels a connection to the girl, as she is estranged from her own daughter. Through questioning the “forest people,” she begins to question everything she thought she knew about being a mother, about being a cop, about how we raise children and what safety really means. Her definitions of safety and well-being for Lindy take on a new meaning as she battles her fellow officers, society, and the media to do the right thing for Ray and Lindy, and ultimately, for herself.

Two of the questions I am asked most often about this book are “Did you meet the real father and daughter?” and “What happened to them?” I never met them (they left the area back in 2004) and didn’t want to. It was important to be able to create my own characters and tell my perception of the story, not to try to tell a journalistic version of the true story. As to what happened to them, I don’t know. I would like to think they are thriving and in good health, staying out of the 24-hour news cycle, and living the kinds of lives that make them happiest.

When She Flew is Jennie’s fourth novel. She lives in Seattle, WA, and is working on a new book that is also inspired by true events.

Monday, December 21, 2009

Book Review- How to Ditch Your Fairy

I just finished reading How to Ditch Your Fairy by Justine Larbalestier.

From the inside cover:

Welcome to New Avalon, where everyone has a personal fairy. Though invisible to the naked eye, a personal fairy-- like a specialized good luck charm-- is vital to a person's success.  It might determine whether you make a sports team, pass a class, or   find that perfect outfit. But for fourteen-year-old Charlie, having a Parking Fairy is worse than having nothing at all--especially when the school bully carts her around like his own personal parking pass.

Enter: The Plan. At first, teaming up with arch-enemy Fiorenze (who has an all-the-boys-like-you fairy), seems like a great idea. But when Charlie unexpectedly gets her heart's desire, it isn't at all what she thought it would be, and she'll have resort to extraordinary measures to set things right.

From the author of the award-winning Magic or Madness trilogy, How to Ditch Your Fairy is a delightful story of  friendship, fairies, and figuring out how to make your own magic.

It took me quite awhile to get into this story.  The made-up language was hard for me to enjoy at first and I didn't like having to guess what some words meant (Clue--the back of the book has a glossary, which I only found out about when I got to the end of the book.  I wish I had known this sooner).  But about halfway through the book, it became easier to read, and I enjoyed it more.

I liked the characters and I liked the setting.  Charlie seemed like a normal teenager--well as normal as one can be in such a strict setting with fairies.  I thought Rochelle seemed sweet (and I would love her shopping fairy!) And I just plain felt bad for Fiorenze.  She seemed to have the best fairy of all, but it was really a curse.  And the idea of a sports school where everything is so strict in a city where everyone believes they live in the best city in the world is intriguing yet creepy at the same time. 

I enjoyed the plot of the story.  The idea of almost everyone having their own personal fairy is a new one, and wouldn't that be great if it happened in real life?!?! (I would love a book reading fairy where I could fly through books). 

I gave this book a rating of 3.5/5.

This book fulfilled an item in the following challenge:
Paranormal 999 Challenge: Fae/Fairy

*FTC Disclosure: I traded this book with a friend

Mailbox Monday- December 21, 2009

Mailbox Monday: Here's what came in my mailbox this week:


Forget Me Knot- Sue Margolis--FrugalReader Book Ring

Silent Night, Haunted Night (#4)- Terri Garey—Frugal Reader

Gone- Lisa McMann--review for Book Divas


Magic Under Glass- Jaclyn Dolamore--for review from publisher

The Returners- Gemma Malley--for review from publisher


The Dark Divine- Bree Despain--I actually got 2 copies of this book in the mail TODAY!  One copy was for a 1 ARC Tour and one was from the publisher, along with a beautiful nail polish that matches the purplish color on the cover!!


Wings- Aprilynne Pike--PaperbackSwap

Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart- Beth Patillo--for review per publisher request