Monthly Archives: February 2009

Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- February 27th, 2009

Vexing the Viscount by Emily Bryan
This was a very good week for me as far as reading goes.  Each book I read took me only one day.  Thankfully I don’t watch a lot of tv, was satisfied with cereal and left overs and did the laundry a few days ago.  Turning off the phone helped.

First up was Vexing the Viscount by Emily Bryan.  Daisy Drake was childhood friends with Lucien Beaumont, Viscount Rutland, but because of a family disagreement, hasn’t seen him (or heard his incredible Italian accent) in years.  Daisy studies the writings of a courtesan to try to get Lucien to notice her, but he’s more interested in rumored buried treasure on his estate.  The money is much needed since his father seems to be going mad.

I’ve called Emily the queen of the first lines because they always made me smile and I’m eager to see what will follow as the story unfolds.  This book is no exception.  "I wonder if that’s life size?" Miss Daisy Drake murmured.  Come on, don’t you want to know what she’s talking about?  The adventure of a treasure hunt combined with the sensual teachings of a courtesan seen though innocent eyes, make this historical something to smile about.

Dark of Night by Suzanne BrockmannNext was Dark of Night by Suzanne Brockmann. 

Troubleshooters, Inc. takes on the cases that the government can’t handle, but now it’s a dark government faction known as The Agency.  James Nash worked black ops missions for them in the past and they tried to kill him, but Lawrence Decker hatches a plan to make The Agency think he’s dead while trying to uncover the people behind the organization. 

This is very over simplifying the plot.  Fans of the series will know all the characters (too many to mention here), but this is still a great book for the first time reader.  Now I know there’s been some rumblings because readers have expectations when they follow a series about who should end up with who, but I’m here to tell you that, in my opinion, Suzanne got it right.  Everything in this nonstop action suspense moves with twists and turns, but all is explained and it makes sense that things couldn’t have gone any other way (this is kind of hard to write without giving away spoilers).  Just trust that Suzanne obviously knows her characters better than we do and enjoy the thrilling, emotional ride.  I did.

I’ve also got a couple of others books (and audios) going at the same time, so I’ll finish those by next week.

But what about you?  What have you been reading lately.  It is Your Turn Friday, so post your recommendations.

Bottom Line:  Today I’m also guest blogging at Petit Fours and Hot Tamales (don’t you just love the name?).  Stop by and say hi.

Bestseller Lists Blues

Barbara Vey -- February 26th, 2009

New York Times
I don’t really consider myself a stupid person and I come from the school of common sense, so it just seemed logical, to me, that the bestseller lists were based on the number of books sold.  Well, guess what, they’re not (but you probably knew that already).

I talked to an editor of the New York Times Bestseller list, and she tried to explain (the parts that she could) the complicated formula to me (at least it seemed complicated to me).  Apparently, they use numbers supplied by bookstores who have preapplied to supply numbers to them.  They do encourage small book stores to get involved.  After they get the numbers, they get together and talk about a bunch of stuff I didn’t understand and that’s how you get on the list.  You still have to sell a lot of books, but the placement is not only based on book sales.

Publishers Weekly Bestseller List
I did email Daisy, who used to do Publishers Weekly’s bestseller list, but she is no longer with the company and I think she took the secret formula with her.

USA today didn’t even bother to answer my email.  But then, their list includes everything but the kitchen USA Todaysink.  Apparently, to them, it’s ok to compare apples to oranges by mixing fiction, nonfiction and even comic books together. 

Bookscan is part of the Nielsen Company and counts point of sales from the large booksellers.  One big complaint I’ve heard is that Wal-Mart sales are not included because the store doesn’t want anyone to know what they are selling the most of.  Bookscan also doesn’t include Sam’s Club, CVS, Duane Reade, grocery stores, and other smaller outlets. 

So, what makes a book a bestseller?  Should it be based on sales alone?  Should there be other criteria?  Does every book sold need to be counted?  Would people cheat and buy tons of their own books?  Could some books have not made the list because of the formulas used and the way they are counted even though they may have sold more than the listed books?  Am I beating a dead horse because nobody really cares about this?

Can someone please explain this to me?

Bottom Line:  I really don’t have to worry about this myself since I don’t plan to write a book…but if I did, I guess I’d like it to be #1 too.

Do you agree with the way the bestseller lists are done?
Yes, it’s worked for years, so why change it.
No, it really isn’t fair and the formulas used should be made public.
It doesn’t matter to me because I don’t pay any attention to it.
I try to read all the books on the bestseller list because they must be good.
Other…please post comments on Beyond Her Book blog

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 25th, 2009

I’m totally blown away by the response I got yesterday to the announcement of my upcoming Anniversary Party next month.  Over 60 authors already pledged books, gift cards, gift baskets and more.  Every day during the week of March 9th, the authors/publishers/publicists/editors/booksellers/bloggers will take over with decorations, food, entertainment and gifts for the readers of BHB.  I’m so excited and you will be too when you see what they all have planned for you.

But until then, here’s the WW Ladies and the books that have kept them out of trouble this week.

Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry   Read by Joysann   Escaping a shady businessman’s vengeance when a new commercial venture goes awry, self-promoted local supernatural celebrities Amanda, Wendy and Gil hightail it out of town, acquiring an RV and an assortment of new companions along the way. Though Amanda and Wendy admit to satisfying their voracious appetites with the unsavory and unwanted, they are disturbed when they find their companions are being torn apart, not sure if it’s vengeance in pursuit, or a new mysterious element added to the travel agenda.   Kooky and funny, gross and horrifying, fashionable and charming (okay, charming not so much), and certainly mysterious and suspenseful, Road Trip of the Living Dead is a fast and enjoyable supernatural romp. Mark Henry’s witty dialogue and mind-boggling imagination are highly entertaining. Amanda is an unlikely heroine, but reading this, her second adventure, I’ve grown fond of the the most fashion-conscious zombie in the Pacific Northwest, though I can’t help but think about the fable of the fox and the scorpion.

True Colors by Kristin Hannah

Read by Jan

Set in fictional Oyster Shores, Washington, three sisters who lost their mother to a sudden death, struggle to keep the family ranch going and to gain/retain the love of their father who has turned into a bitter unhappy man.  Each sister has taken a different path seeking happiness.  Winona, oldest and overweight, but according to her "the brightest penny of the lot" is a successful lawyer.  Though love and marriage has passed her by, Aurora, the family peacemaker, is married to a doctor but feeels she may have "settled" for a dull marriage.  Vivi Anne, youngest and still the apple of her father’s eye, is engaged to the town vet, but falls in love with the hired hand.  The sisters remain devoted to each other, but jealousy and family turmoil threaten to tear them apart.
Kristin has written another great novel.  One that will keep you turning the pages long into the night.  I’ve been on a Kristin Hannah roll, reading every one of her books.  So glad to find that she has kept up the pace.  (As all her books are set in the Pacific Northwest, I feel I always need to keep my umbrella and yellow slicker handy to keep the pages dry!)

Ravenous by Sharon Ashwood
Read by Joysann

    Starting with an investigation of people never exiting a haunted house, licensed witch Holly Carver and her sometimes partner, mysterious and gorgeous Alessandro Caravelli, discover evidence of demon summoning and power plays leading to war between supernatural factions. Issues of trust and honesty arise when the natures of their beings and secrets of their pasts become part of their struggles in the ensuing battles. Holly must face her own guilts and fears to control her powerful magics, and Alessandro’s voracious hungers for Holly endanger her life and his dreams.

   Sharon Ashwood’s debut introduces an exciting new urban fantasy series, The Dark Forgotten. Though writing with a light hand, she’s created characters with enough darkness and conflict to make them compelling. I enjoyed this easy to read story a lot, and look forward to what comes next.

Driven by Desire by LuAnn McLane

Read by Marie

Alexia Spencer almost lost her high school sweetheart in a near-fatal accident when she asked him to choose between her or motocross racing. He chose motocross and rode off without a goodbye or a look back, devastating Alexia.  She left to go away to college, ended up married to an older man, but divorced him 6 months ago.  Jayden Michaels last saw Alexia as a teen and now she’s a mature, divorced woman he is determined to prove that he’s over. Jayden soon realizes that he still loves Alexia, but how best to convince her to open her heart and trust him again. He’s still involved in the dangerous sport that she asked him to give up and currently injured but training for the next big race. Can he give his career up for Alexia this time?


I was unsure going into this book because I know nothing about motocross and had to look up many phrases. But this book was hot and exciting and caught my attention from the very beginning.  I loved the characters and the things that they have had to overcome in their lives to get back to where they started 10 years ago.  It’s a wonderful story of first love and true love winning out no matter what.  The supporting characters were also wonderful and I hope we hear more from Brianna and Colin.

The Storm by Jean Johnson

    Read by Joysann

      The Sons of Destiny are mages, four sets of twin brothers fated to live in exile as bachelors until each fulfills his part of the prophecy. The Storm is about the 6th brother, Rydan, who keeps to himself, wandering around at night and working stone with hammer, chisel and his magic. Rora and her sister have been pursued across a sea, fleeing evil mages who seek to contain her and control her special powers. Finding sanctuary and finding Rydan are one and the same to Rora, but only if she can calm his stormy nature.

    Jean Johnson has an enchanting series going as each brother in turn meets his fate by finding a bride. The several books are really only one story about companionship, caring and love as the growing family establishes their own legitimate island country. I found each episode to be fun, romantic and sensual, entertaining and, well, magical.

Fault Line by Barry Eisler ="right" alt="" src="/articles/blog/880000288/20090225/faultline225h.jpg">


Read by Stacey



Two brothers divided by family tragedy.  But when one is targeted by forces out to kill him, he turns to the one individual in the world who could help him through: his brother. 



I love my thrillers, but I’m a sucker for books that are as brilliant with their suspense as they are with the characterization; with the action as well as the emotion.  Both Alex and Ben are written so well, Eisler succeeds in making their struggle-with each other and with themselves, feel real.  Even more importantly for me, it is secondary character Sarah who succeeds in giving this book it’s heart.  I absolutely adore this new direction Eisler is taking and I cannot wait to see what he does next.

Immortal Warrior by Lisa Hendrix

      Read by Joysann

      When Viking raiders invaded the British Isles, one band was eternally cursed to split the hours of day and night into hours as man or beast. Two hundred years later, as a Norman knight with an eagle coat of arms on his shield, Ivar claims the lands and lady given him by the king, allowing him his dream to live like a normal man, if only for a little while. Unexpected is the love that grows between him and his lady wife, making inevitable tragedy and heartbreak when he is forced to abandon her to keep his secret.

      Lisa Hendrix has taken the elements of my favorite books and come up with a perfectly lovely story. There’s historical fiction founded in real history, there’s sword and sorcery fantasy, there is action, mystery, suspense, and, of course, romance. I was delighted from start to finish, and am pleased that Lisa will have more stories to tell about this band of enchanted Viking warriors.

The Edge of Desire by Stephanie Laurens

Read by Emily

  Lady Letitia Randall’s husband is brutally murdered and when her brother is suspected she turns to her former lover to help clear her brother’s name. When Christian Allardyce,  Marquess of Dearne get’s the letter requesting his help, he is stunned. He thought that he’d never see Letitia again, let alone have her ask for his help. Of course he cannot but stay away, and soon they are following the path of a murderer, and the path towards love.   
Stephanie Laurens writes the kind of books that are great to read on a rainy day.  Easy and exciting stories that always leave a smile on my face. This book is the seventh, and mayhap last book in the Bastion Club series.

Bottom Line:  I saw picture of how Mark Henry decorated his house for Halloween and can just imagine what he has in mind for the Paranormal Monday party March 9th (well, I can’t really imagine it because he thinks on a whole different plane than I do).

Save the Date!

Barbara Vey -- February 24th, 2009

I’m sure you’ve all heard of announcements sent with the Save the Date message.  "We’re getting married…save the date!"  "Grandma’s turning 90…save the date!"  "We’re having a housewarming…save the date!"

Well, starting on March 9th, I’ll be celebrating 2 years here at my Publishers Weekly, Beyond Her Book blog.  I know, I can’t believe it’s been 2 years either.  As many of you know, last year’s blow out was a huge success.  Over a hundred authors and publishers donated items to be given away to anyone who posted a comment.  There was a martini bar, chocolate fountain and dancing cabana boys for entertainment.  Over 700 of you showed up and managed to take out the PW servers a few times.  (Read about last year’s party here)  How do we top that?

By having an Anniversary Week!  I’ve divided the week up and plan to ask authors, publishers, editors, publicist, agents and whoever else would like to be involved, to help me with the food, decorations, entertainment and prizes.

Here’s the schedule:

Monday, March 9th:         Paranormal/Sci-Fi/Fantasy/Horror
Tuesday, March 10th:       Thriller/Suspense/Mystery
Wednesday, March 11th:  Publishers/agents/publicist/editors/bloggers
Thursday, March 12th:     Inspirational/YA/Graphic Novels/Nonfiction
Friday, March 13th:          Contemporary/Historical/Erotica/E-books/Audio
Saturday, March 14th:       Romance Blow Out

Now I know that a lot of you write different genres, so you can help in any or all areas you choose.  This is going to bigger than the Oscar after parties! 

So, send me an email if you’d like to help out (with the subject Anniversary Party). Be creative.  Do it individually or with a group (blog buddies, critique partners, RWA chapters, Sisters in Crime, etc.).  Have fun with it.

Bottom Line:
  I hate to shop, but I’m off to buy a new dress and shoes…I don’t want the fashion police to show up and give me a snarky award for worst dressed.

This, that and the Other Thing Monday

Barbara Vey -- February 23rd, 2009
Liz Maverick, Australian blogger Tez Miller

Well, how did you all do with the Academy Awards last night?  I got 4 out of the top 6 right.  I missed Sean Penn and Penelope Cruz.  Not too bad considering I didn’t see any of the movies.  I loved how they had previous winners individually introduce the nominees.  But now it’s Monday and here’s the news I received this week:

From author Liz Maverick:  On Feb 21-22, Melbourne, Australia hosted the inaugural Australian Romance Readers Convention.  The event drew 300 dedicated readers and booksellers from all over Australia and New Zealand, many of whom had only met each other online–all of whom were delighted to find an entire conference room full of kindred spirits. 

Susan Grant, Rosemary (Brisbane’s Rosemary’s Romance Bookshop), Sherrilyn Kenyon

The Aussies gave a super-warm welcome to their American guest speakers: Sherrilyn Kenyon, MaryJanice Davidson, Dianna Love, Susan Grant and Liz Maverick.  As part of the two-day event featuring a slate of panels and booksignings, over $7000 was raised via silent auction in support of victims of the recent Australian bushfires.   This debut convention could not have been better organized nor provided a more enjoyable experience for readers, booksellers and writers of romance to share their love for the genre.

From Leslie Marshman:  The Houston Bay Area RWA’s Judge A Book By Its Cover contest (otherwise known as JABBIC.)  The contest recognizes excellence in covers of romance genre books published each year.  The judges are booksellers from around the world.  The first place winners of all six categories are featured in a full-page color ad on the inside front cover of the April edition of Romance Writers Report.

Contemporary Series:  Boardrooms & A Billionaire Heir by Paula Roe
Romantic Suspense:  Stolen Fury by Elisabeth Naughton
Science Fiction/Fantasy/Paranormal: The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox
Single Title/Mainstream:  Weddings Can Be Murder by Christie Craig
Historical:  A Knight Well Spent by Jackie Ivie
Sexiest Cover:  Lyon, The Lords of Satyr by Elizabeth Amber

Charlotte McClaineFrom Author Charlotte McClain:  I’m in the final countdown to head to Korea. I was offered both positions at the same time and decided to go back to what I knew. (Then I was offered a dream job in Dubai. Arg!) I’ll be teaching at an English preschool in Korea. It’s total immersion meaning we speak English (almost) all the time. At the beginning of the year, we do use some Korean, but 2 or 3 months in we stop and we don’t let them speak it either. The class I’ll have has never been in school at all so I get to be one of their first teachers and their first foreigner. I speak hardly any Korean at all, but it’s very easy to get around in Seoul without. The Korean school year runs all year and I’ll be there until March ’10. After that, who knows, the school in Dubai is keeping me in their database and there’s lots of other options.

From Lisa Amrine of Samhain Publishing:  Our next free Kindle title giveaway begins on Sunday, February 22 through Saturday, February 28. That title is, Last Chance, My Love by the award-winning author, Lynne Connolly. This title is a sensual historical romance and Connolly is well known for her attention to historical details. 

If you have any news, kudos or special happenings, please email the details to me at

Bottom Line: 
True story…Last night I had a dream that Brad Pitt and Angelina Jolie came to South Milwaukee and they were so nice that I told them they could stay at my house whenever they were in town.  My sisters better get over here and start cleaning…just in case.

Sunday Matinee

Barbara Vey -- February 22nd, 2009

Tonight the Academy awards are on TV.  Once again, I’ve not seen any of the movies nominated for best picture, but that won’t stop me from picking the winners.   For Best Picture…Slumdog Millionaire, Best Actor…Mickey Rourke (The Wrestler), Best Actress…Kate Winslett (The Reader), Supporting Actor…Heath Ledger (The Dark Knight), Supporting Actress…Taraji P. Henson (The Curious Case of Benjamin Button) and Best Director…Danny Boyle (Slumdog Millionaire).

Who do you expect to win?  Then, who do you want to win (usually different people)? And to warm you up before the Oscars, here’s some previews of books to check out.

Bottom Line:  Today my great-niece was on tv for the segment, Look Who’s Turning 6…Happy Birthday Brooke!

Your Turn Friday

Barbara Vey -- February 19th, 2009

The Madness of Lord Ian Makenzie by Jennifer Ashley
I’ve been on a historical kick lately in my personal reading.  It goes like that sometimes.  First, I can’t get enough paranormals, then thrillers, now historicals.  When I received the new Jennifer Ashley offering, I couldn’t resist.  I’ve been a fan since The Care and Feeding of Pirates (what is it about pirates that I can’t seem to resist?).

The Madness of Lord Ian Mackenzie
follows the youngest brother, known as Mad Mackenzie because he spent most of his youth in an asylum.  He appears odd to others with his attention to certain details and lack of focus to what’s going on around him.  Beth Ackerley is a widow who  has recently inherited a large sum of money.  She’s looking for peace in her life that previously been filled with an alcoholic father, sickly mother and older woman she was a companion to.  When Ian decides she needs his protection, her life turns upside down.

This book knocked me for a loop.  Knowing first hand the way people perceive mental illness, I was fascinated to see it portrayed during this time period and the way family and outsiders dealt with it.  This is the first book in the series.  Mysterious, heartfelt, sensitive and sensual…two big thumbs up.  (Ok, just as an aside, I did question the fact that Ian doesn’t appear to have a hand on the cover.  Erin Galloway, at Dorchester, pointed out that his hand is partially hidden under her bosom and it’s just the ruffle of his shirt hanging down.  Look closely and you will see the hand, but it was a little disconcerting at first.)

The Scarlet Spy by Andrea PickensThe Scarlet Spy by Andrea Pickens.  Sophia attends Mrs. Merlin’s Academy for Select Young Ladies where she is schooled in the arts of spying and seduction.  She is sent on a mission to discover the extent of government corruption.  An orphan from the slums, she goes undercover as an Italian Contessa with the charming, but unknowing, Lord Deverill Osborne, as her entry into Society.  The most difficult part of the mission seems to be keeping Osborne in the dark as his suspicions grow and Sophia’s adventures become more dangerous.

I heard Andrea give a reading of this book at Lady Jane’s Salon in New York recently.  I was mesmerized by the tale and couldn’t wait for the plane ride home so I could dive into it.  The only disappointment was to discover that this was the 3rd book in the series and now I have to go back and read the rest (that will be a real burden…not).  Engaging, compelling and delightful.  I wish I could have attended Mrs. Merlin’s Academy.

Now it’s your turn.  Have you been captivated by historicals?  Mesmerized by mysteries?  Pulled in by paranormals?  Titillated by thrillers?  Sucked in by suspense?  Ravished by romance?  Let everyone know what you’ve been reading lately and discover some gems by others.

Bottom Line: 
Going to mix it up this week with a suspense, a paranormal and a contemporary.  Yes, I’m turning the computer off.

What’s Happening this Week?

Barbara Vey -- February 19th, 2009

Beyond Her Book
Sometimes just because we know something, we assume that everyone else knows it too.  I have heard from friends that I’m guilty of this.  Believe it or not, I do have a system when I write the blogs (most of the time) and I was sure everyone else knew that too.  But, just to make sure we’re all on the same page, I will now explain.

Monday:  This, That and the Other Thing – I rely on information from authors, publishers, editors, publicists and readers to let me know any new and interesting things going on.  I’m happy to report on any charities an author is involved with, special events like conferences or retreats, and any kudos or awards anyone may receive.  Or even something unusual or fun (just had a baby?  daughter will be on Survivor?  son won a Pulitzer?  you made it on The Price is Right?).

Tuesday and Thursday:  Random thoughts I have and feel the need to share.

Wednesday:  WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs – regular readers read the books and write blurbs about them  and how they felt about the stories.

Friday:  Your Turn Friday – I tell what I’ve read lately and invite you to share your latest book recommendations.  Lots of people make lists from your comments.

Saturday:  Occasional special WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs and hope to move on to feature Young Adult readers.

Sunday:  Sunday Matinee – I post book videos that have been sent to me.  They aren’t labeled, just like when you go to the movie theater and never know what the next coming attraction will be shown.  Enjoy them and maybe get some great book ideas.

An easy guide to print for your bulletin board or refridgerator (because you can never have too much stuff) .

Sunday Monday Tuesday Wednesday Thursday Friday Saturday
Sunday Matinee

(Send me your book videos)

This, That and the Other Thing

(Send me your news)

What in the world is on my mind today? WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs Random Thoughts Your Turn Friday

 (What are you reading?)

Occasional extra WW Ladies Blurbs and Coming Soon YA book blurbs

I encourage readers, writers, editors, publishers and anyone else who have something you think will be of interest to the blog to submit your suggestions to me at  Let’s make this blog something for everyone.

Bottom Line:  I’ve always loved the saying "It takes a village" and we’ve created an amazing village here.  Everyone’s input is welcome and appreciated at the BHB village.

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- February 18th, 2009

Blood on the Tartan
Thanks to my recent travels and wildly successful library event, I’ve picked up several new readers for the WW Ladies Book Blurbs.  Please welcome Heidi and Marie.  You’ll also be seeing new faces in the coming weeks so I should be adding Saturday as a special book blurb day.

Blood on the Tartan by Chris Holmes

Read by Marie


In 1845, Catherine Ross along with her family and the rest of the villagers of the small Scottish settlement of Glencalvie were forced into the elements of the Scottish Highlands. The residents, who rented the land from a powerful Lord, were evicted from their small crofts by a posse made up of constables and the Lord’s Estate Manager and they were made to watch while the constables set their homes on fire.  It’s been 5 years and Catherine has a new home in the Greenyards, the land the Ross’ settled on after being evicted, now they’re facing the same situation as before.  Ian MacGregor is a new constable who took an oath to uphold the law.  But, when the clearances come to the Greenyards he has to decide between the law, his honor and his love for Catherine Ross. There’s a storm brewing and Ian’s not sure if he can prevent it from rolling through the Greenyards. He will have to make a decision to uphold an unfair law or to protect the woman he loves.


I thought that this was a phenomenal book; it made me wonder what my grandma’s ancestors, who immigrated to the US in 1751, went through.  It opened my eyes to another part of Scottish history that I hadn’t previously read about.  The Highland land clearances may have been devastating for the people involved but were very beneficial for the rest of the world. The clansmen who left the Highlands brought their values of hard work, thriftiness, and loyalty to their new homes in North America, New Zealand, and Australia just to name a few.  Many rose to positions of respect and influence and contributed vitality, wit and wisdom to their new countries.

Dog Days by John Levitt Dog Days
Read by Joysann

      As a practitioner in the arts of magic, Mason gets by well enough, more content with devoting his discipline to playing his blues guitar. He gives new thought to his relaxed interest when he becomes the victim of bizarre traps set just for him, and his talent is strained to save himself and his dog Louie. Joining old friends, the search is on for the magician who is using mysterious methods to steal power, kill practitioners, and endanger the magic community.

   I enjoyed Dog Days with its fast-paced humorous narrative and inventive adventures. John Levitt’s protagonist is an easy-going likable character, and any pet lover would envy the relationship he has with his canine friend. Sort of.

A Single Thread by Marie BostwickA Single Thread

Read by Loretta   A charming, satisfying and warm story following difficult times for three women who come together with hurt, anger and loneliness — in, of all places, a quilting shop.  When their problems come out into the open, they learn to help each other and thus themselves.    The author, Marie Bostwick, teaches a lesson as her main characters unwind during the quilting classes.  So satisfying is the outcome, it makes me want to begin quilting and thus take myself into a different and kinder world. Beautifully done.

Last Gasp by Carla CassidyLast Gasp

Read by Heidi
Single mom Allison Clemmins never lets herself relive the day, years ago, when she found her mother and siblings murdered. Ever since, she’s hated the man convicted for the crimes: her own father.  Reeling from the possibility of her father’s innocence, Allison lets attorney Seth Walker unearth long-dead secrets of people who could have spoken up years ago. Everything that Allison holds dear hangs in the balance.
I should say that I do love thrillers. I love keep thinking "who done it" through the whole read and I have to say it’s very tempting to flip to the end of the book to see the answer (I know, "When Harry met Sally" reference), but I FORCE myself to read to the end without a peek!  I actually stayed up really, really late to finish reading it, because I couldn’t put it down…. can anyone really sleep when the climax is happening in the book?? I don’t think so.  Great aha moment at end.  I am not going to give away anymore!  You have to read it to enjoy it!

Tigress by the Tail by Teresa D’Amario Tigress by the Tail
Read by Joysann

    Lance is a wizard working undercover when he witnesses the most beautiful, compelling woman he’s ever seen shape-change into a wild, ferocious predator. When Cassie tells him that the agency he works for is trapping and killing her kind, Lance and his brothers investigate their employer’s secret offices to find horror beyond their imaginings, and fight to end the atrocities being done in the name of science. Through it all, Lance and Cassie are drawn together, though a death sentence may be his reward just for knowing her secret.

     Exciting and romantic, I found Tigress by the Tail a fast and entertaining story. The handsome, appealing characters introduced here lead me to believe there other stories in the works. Avid fans of shapeshifter tales should be sure to add Teresa D’Amario to her "must read" author list.

MacGowan’s Ghost by Cindy MilesMacGowan

Read by Dina

Odin’s Thumb Inn and Pub may be owned by brooding Highlander Gabe MacGowan, but it is actually run by a crew of ornery ghosts, who aren’t eager for their home to undergo a change in management. Leave it to fun-loving American Allie Morgan to come to Gabe’s rescue. Hired to oust the sneaky spirits, who are chasing away potential buyers of the inn.
I had so much fun reading this book. T he ghosts kind of took over the story and I enjoyed the similarities of her muse.  It was very amusing, lively and a delight. 

lt="">The Story of Edgar Sawtell by David Wroblewski

  Listened to by Joysann

    Edgar Sawtell is a mute boy living in rural Wisconsin in the 1960′s and ’70′s. He believes his father is murdered by his uncle, who then proceeds to gain the affections of Edgar’s mother, and thereby the family’s decades old kennel business.

     With The Story of Edgar Sawtell currently on popular booklists and best seller lists, and the topic of library conversations, I listened to the audio version so I’d know what was going on. I can’t begin to presume my opinions on great literary works are equal to those of some highly popular celebrity reviewers who give The Story of Edgar Sawtell great praise, but after all those invested hours, all I could think was "huh?"  It is a beautifully written story, told from different perspectives, rich with vivid description, passion and tragedy. The role of the dogs might be the least of the story, or the most of it, depending on the reader’s pet appreciation; tender and heartwarming.

Bottom Line:  I just saw that today is Chocolate Mint Day!  Where are those Girl Scout cookies??

Barbie Turns 50

Barbara Vey -- February 17th, 2009

Original Barbie
No, I’m not talking about me.  The famous Mattel doll is celebrating the big 5-0 with a year long celebration.

I can still remember when the Barbie doll came out.  It sold for $3, but with 9 kids in the  family in the 1950s, it was way too extravagant.  Of course, my cousin Debbie had one (I hated her for that).  I was so jealous when she got the wedding dress that cost $5 (I always thought they were rich).  But a couple of years later, I got The Barbie Game which had you playing for an outfit, date for the prom (please give me Ken and the sleezy black dress and not Poindexter and the ugly pink one) and the chance to be Prom Queen.

The Barbie GameOver the years Barbie has had over 100 occupations (teacher, doctor, astronaut, Olympian and ran for president) and even dumped Ken 5 years ago.  She never had kids (how could she keep that figure after kids?), but is now a German chancellor. 

Much has been made of her unrealistic proportions.  Some women have even had surgery to make them more "Barbie" like.  I never had such delusions since I’m only 5’3", having Barbie legs would make themDisney World Barbie come up to my neck.

While I’m fine with Barbie, others have problems with the message she sends young girls (and even some women) about how a female should look.  Is this also true in books?  Do authors sometimes make their female characters too unrealistic physically just to have them succeed?  Is it really necessary to the story or just an easy out?  Or doesn’t it matter at all?  (Ok, some days it bugs me that they are gorgeous and can’t believe the guy is interested in them…get a mirror!  But other days I can suspend belief and just go with the flow of the story.)

Bottom Line:  I finally got my first Barbie a few years ago…Disney World Barbie, complete with Mickey Mouse ears.