Monthly Archives: January 2010

iPad=iJokes

Barbara Vey -- January 28th, 2010


Apple unveiled their highly anticipated iPad.  It looks like the kind of eReader I’ve been waiting for.  But while enthusiastists are itching to get their hands on the device that looks like an iPod on steriods, others are having problems getting past the name.  Twitter and Facebook was burning up with jokes about the moniker that brings up images of feminine hygiene products.  The hottest trending topic on Twitter is iTampon.

"Were there no women in the Apple think tank when they came up with iPad for a name?"
"Got your period? There’s an app for that. "
"You can do things with iTampon that you just can’t do with iPad – like biking, horseback riding and swimming."
"Surely the iPad name was chosen ages ago? sounds more like iTampon.  Hmm, think I’ll trademark iBreath, iWalk, iSnore, iFart, iDontCare"
"Upgrade to a MAXiPad!"
"They could’ve catered to Southern customers with iThang."
"Oh excuse me sir, are you out of iPads?" "Oh, no madam, look in aisle 3. We have medium and heavy left in stock."

So, with all the clever puns, is Apple kicking themselves this morning or congratulating themselves for getting their product so much press? 

You can also check out the video from MadTV who thought of the iPad back in 2006.

Bottom Line:  I’m sure the name won’t stop anyone from buying the product, but do you really want your stuff to be the butt of jokes?
 

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- January 27th, 2010


Harriet Richardson Ames received her bachelor’s degree three weeks after her 100th birthday.  She had a two year teaching degree and taught first graders to read.  A wonderful example of never giving up on your dreams.  Now here’s the WW Ladies with their reads of the week.

Windswept by Ann Macela   Read by joysann   The Windswept Plantation in Louisiana was founded and held by the Jamison family since the early 19th century, and now Davis Jamison is bequeathed the documents preserved since the beginning, and charged to protect them and the family. Barrett Browning longs to research and catalog the documents for academic articles that would lead to tenure for her, and help Davis know how to dispose of the valuable historical records. Davis and Barrett discover a rising mutual interest as they work closely together, and must learn about trust as shocking family secrets are revealed.   Stepping away from her sparkling magical romances, Ann has written a captivating blend of contemporary and historical romance that is even more rewarding. While as romantic and sensual as her fantasies, Windswept is also intriguing and suspenseful. Once engaged, I read straight through, attracted by the romance and enticed by the mystery.

He’s No Prince Charming by LuAnne McLane

Read by Denise   Dakota Dunn was America’s Pop Princess at the age of 16.  She is now 25 all grown-up and all washed up.  She decides to head to the tranquil marina and fishing retreat in Tennessee which is the last piece of property she owns.  She thinks that she might be able to write some new songs and transform from pop princess to kickin’ country.  Little did she know that while she was in LA, her parents handed over the operations to a sexy , cranky cowboy who is a former bull-riding champion sidelined because of injuries, Trace Coleman.  He is not happy that Dakota has arrived and makes no secret about it.  She is attracted to him and he feels the same animal magnetism.  This just may lead to Dakota having to dig in her heels and hold on tight.     There is so much animal magnetism in this book that you can just feel it.  It kept me on the edge of my seat, were they or were they not going to realize that they belong together.  Prejudices in the mind are not always the truth, she may have been a Pop Princess, but she was a down to earth girl.

More Than it Hurts You by Darin Strauss
 
Read by Michelle
 
Dr. Darlene Stokes is the head of the Pediatric Department of St. Joseph’s Medical Center and is confronted with a potential threat to human life.  Dori Goldin’s son Zack is brought into the ER with mysterious symptoms that can’t be explained and when he stops breathing, a battle begins that will threaten two families.  Dr. Stokes will be held up to ridicule and her authority questioned and the Goldins may lose custody of their son with Dr. Stokes suspects Munchausen by Proxy.
 
This was a realistic portrayal of what doctors and families face when someone is diagnosed with Munchhausen by Proxy.  The things we never consider possible becomes a heart wrenching reality.  Very enlightening and for anyone with an affinity towards human psychology.


Lucky Break by Carly Phillips   Read by joysann   The witch’s curse that has doomed the chance for a happily-ever-after for every male Corwin since the 17th century has focused on the youngest man in the family. Jason Corwin has lost his dreams of Olympic medals in snowboarding by the connivance of a traitorous woman, sending him back to a humdrum life in his Massachusetts hometown. There he re-encounters the first love of his life, Lauren Perkins, a descendent of the very witch who cursed his family, and the obstacles and crises they face make him wonder if there really is a curse, and if it can be broken.   Good contemporary romance is a pick-me-up for any dull winter day, and Lucky Break is quite a bright spot. Warm and hot, sexy and romantic, a bit mysterious and a touch mystical, all three books in Carly Phillips’ Lucky series have been a delight to read, and this might be the best of them.


Not Without Her Family by Beth Andrews  

Read by Denise   Jack Martin is chief of police and Kelsey Reagan blows into town.  Her ex-con brother just became the prime  suspect in a murder, and this "reformed" bad girl vows to prove that her brother is innocent.  What Jack does realize is that his young daughter is beingging to idolize Kelsey.  Once along time ago an error in judgement nearly cost this widowed cop his career, he’s never going to let that happen again.  Not even for a gorgeous woman like Kelsey.     Sometimes I like to see the "reformed" bad girl come out smelling like a rose.  I was on her side from the beginning, the police chief was ready to railroad her brother right to prison.  It made me want to fight for the "underdog".

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Read by Sheila

 

Claire Waverly has an instinctive, magical flair for cooking. She’s content as a caterer in her solitary life, living in the house she grew up in. At least, she thinks she is. Then her sister, Sydney, returns home after a long absence, needing shelter from an abusive relationship, and with a daughter Claire didn’t know about. There goes Claire’s protective shield. Claire and Sydney have to confront their past. And Claire has to confront that guy next door. Oh, and an ornery apple tree in the backyard keeps lobbing apples at people who need to learn a truth about themselves.

 

It’s a wonderful story, with intertwining characters, a touch of enchantment, and lots of chances for redemption. I really loved this novel. If you haven’t read Sarah’s first two books yet (the other is >The Sugar Queen), read them now. Then you’ll have just enough time to wait impatiently with me for her next book, The Girl Who Chased the Moon, due out in March, 2010.


Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning   Listened to by joysann   The war with the unseelie fae continues, tearing apart the city of Dublin, leaving all in darkness, quite literally, with no electric power, no electronic communication. Mac leads Dani and the sidhe-seers, freed from years of constraint, as they prepare to claim their heritage and join the battle to defend humanity and the world from unimaginable monsters.   This is tough to blurb about without giving any spoilers, for as the Fever series continues, it gets more intense. Nail-biting suspense, action-packed conflicts, and steamy encounters kept me plugged in to my CD player. This audio edition of Dreamfever featured performers Natalie Ross and Phil Gigante, giving greater dimension and drama to the series’ already exceptional fourth book, and listening was an exciting adventure. 

Bottom Line: 
"When I stand before God at the end of my life I would hope that I would have not a single bit of talent left and could say ‘I used everything you gave me’. " ~ Erma Bombeck

Browsing

Barbara Vey -- January 26th, 2010

Sheila here, one of the WW Ladies.  I’m a picky reader. I don’t grab books off the shelf or follow bestseller lists. I ignore perfectly delicious, nutritious books. I have to work to find a book I like. It’s okay though, because I love to browse as much as I love to read.

 

When I find the right book, it’s like I fall into the pages. Bells ring. A puzzle piece snaps into place. I can’t wait to take that book home. Sometimes, there is a synchronicity, a reason why that book resonates with me. Books become landmarks of where I was when I read them. The way people chart Family Trees, I could draw a Reading Tree. I have a genealogy of books marking my rites and passages.

 

I read my first romance novel in 1997. I didn’t know it, but I was about to have a life transition. I needed the healing escape of story. Then, I lived in a remote area. I walked to our tiny small-town library. I browsed all afternoon, studying every paperback on the spinning rack. Finally, I chose Straight from the Heart by Pamela Wallace. It was just the book I needed. When I think of that story, I am back spinning the racks in that one-room library.

 

Next, in the same library, I found the Kat Colorado mystery series by Karen Kijewski. Her lovably comic characters, as much as the suspense, kept the pages turning. One time, the P.I. heroine, Kat Colorado, longed to lie on the couch and read a novel. She couldn’t! She had to rush out and investigate a murder so I could read all day on the couch.

 

I still search for hours to find the right title and make bells ring in my head. It seems there are millions of delicious books to choose from. Often I can tell from the cover, title, and first line if I’m going to love a book. That’s how I found my heroes Kristen Hannah, LaVyrle Spencer, Billie Letts, Alice Hoffman, Jeanne Ray, Marsha Moyer and Sarah Bird.

 

I met a romance author once, ten years ago. She asked who I liked to read. I said, “Nora Roberts.” She smiled. But it was true. Ms. Roberts had carried me through my life transition. But now I can add Sherryl Woods, Susan Wiggs, Fern Michaels, Jennifer Crusie (I love her HQN novels), Sarah Addison Allen (Garden Spells), Sheila Roberts (Angel Lane), Robin Kaye (Breakfast in Bed) … and so many authors past, present, and future.

 

Even though I could spend the time actually reading, browsing is my favorite thing (besides reading). It’s like mining for gold. It’s a high to find a new author, one whose books give me that tingling urgency, that itch like hives, to read.

Bottom Line:  Make my bell ring by telling me the books I should be "browsing."

Fugitive Disguise Kit

Barbara Vey -- January 25th, 2010


I receive about a hundred books a month.  They come from publishers, authors, publicists and friends.  Soon they pretty much all blend together.  Then every once in a while one arrives so cleverly packaged that it makes you sit up and take notice.  One arrived the other day.

It was in a plain brown envelope, but it was stamped with "Fugitive Survival Kit."  Inside the package were a toothbrush, wig, sunglasses, $50 dollar bill (a little smaller than a real one, but believable), a postcard from Colorado that read "What a long, strange trip it’s been…Rosemary" and a black backpack.  Of course, it also included the book, Dead Head by Rosemary Harris.  I have to admit that I did sit up and take notice. 

The book, due out in April, is described as:  Fugitive Mom. That’s the tabloid headline that rocks Springfield, Connecticut when one of the town’s favorite ladies is discovered to be an escaped convict. With a little help from the always game Lucy Cavanaugh, Paula is hired to find out which of her neighbors is a fugitive from the law and why the long-kept secret has finally come out.

Do I want to read the book?  Yes.  It immediately went into my TBR pile.  Does that mean it’s better than the rest of the books I received this month? Not necessarily, but it did help separate it from the pack.  Just like covers do and book jacket blurbs do. 

Debbie Macomber’s Twenty Wishes was sold with a little notebook to write down your twenty wishes.  Years ago I bought a boxed set of Laurel K. Hamilton’s books because they came in a case shaped like a coffin (of course, when I got home it didn’t fit in my bookcase…too big, but it looked so cool).  I also bought a book once that had an ornament attached.  Would I have bought the books anyway?  Maybe, but the fact remains that they stood out so I took that extra look at them.  It’s got to be a good thing to have people look at your book longer.

Did you ever buy a book because of a promotion?  Does it sway your opionion?  Does it make you take that extra look?  Or doesn’t it faze you at all?

Giveaways

From the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales Blog:
  On January 25, the blog launches its new format and celebrates it’s 1st Anniversary with a variety of giveaways. This year, in addition to its successful offerings, the blog will feature Atlanta Exposé, the long-awaited sequel to its popular first blog novel, Aspen Exposé; a Sunday Travel section Travel the World in Words – a new research tool for writers that highlights cities around the globe to help them set the scene (It’s the next best thing to being there); the Petit Fours and Hot Tamales twist on popular fairy tales (February); and more.

From Susan Hanniford Crowley:  Nights of Passion will be having romance author Belladonna Bordeaux on Tues., Jan. 26, who will be celebrating her latest book by giving away an ebook (author’s choice from her backlist) to one lucky commentor.  Romance author J. Hali Steele will be visiting on Wed., Jan. 27 to talk about her latest work and give away a promo pack that includes a lottery scraper key chain to one lucky contest winner. Both contests are worldwide. 

Bottom Line:  I’m packing this disguise kit for upcoming conferences and will see if anyone will recognize me.

Meet the Authors

Barbara Vey -- January 22nd, 2010
Top row: Barbara Vey, Isabel Sharpe, Laura Iding, Shari Anton-Bottom Row: Lori Handeland, Liz Kreger

I love libraries.  I go to them as often as I can and I visit them when I travel.  They may all be set up a little differently, some with sofas and chairs, others with only tables and desks.  There are fireplaces and tvs, cooking classes, book clubs, children’s areas, computers galore.  And there are magazines, videos, cds and books.  Lots and lots of books.  When you add in real, live authors, you have an event.  That’s what we had on  Tuesday night when I moderated Meet the Authors wita panel of Writers at the Franklin Library.

The librarian, Beverly, set out platters of cookies, cakes, snacks and coffee.  There was a buzz in the air as people shuffled in to hear writers talk about their books and their craft.  Many had never met authors before and were thrilled at the prospect.  We started out with the authors speaking about themselves, but the real fun started when the audience could ask questions. 

Autographed book winners Jenny St. Germaine, Joy and Bob Dielen

One women only read nonfiction.  She challenged the authors to convince her to read a fiction book.  Isabel Sharpe fielded the question by explaining that her husband only read nonfiction and there was nothing wrong with reading one or the other, so no convincing necessary.  The woman then said she’d probably try a fiction book anyway.  Another said that Hemingway and other great authors often drank, so did you have to be a drinker to write great books.  The authors felt the real question was does alcohol made great writers or do great writers need alcohol to write? 

A meet and greet followed with people anxious to talk to the authors up close and personal.  There were drawings for autographed books and three tables of free books to choose from.  Everyone left with at least one book and wanted to know when the next Meet the Author event would be.  A very successful evening indeed.

Have you participated in library events?  What do you do different?  What’s your favorite part? 

Bottom Line: A good library will never be too neat, or too dusty, because somebody will always be in it, taking books off the shelves and staying up late reading them.  ~Lemony Snicket
 

WW Ladies Book Club Blurbs

Barbara Vey -- January 20th, 2010


Last night I stopped by my niece’s house and her 6 year old daughter insisted on reading a book to me.  It was about a wild dog with a bone.  The best part was watching her transform while she read to me.  Even though she’d read the story many times, she still got excited in parts and told me, "Just wait…it really gets funny.  He’s a naughty dog."  This is what books are all about.  Putting that look of wonder and joy on people’s faces. 

Now here’s the WW Ladies with the books that put that look on their faces this week.

The Magicians by Lev Grossman   Read by joysann   Discontented, gifted 17 year old Quentin frequently reflects on the imaginary magical world of a book series he read as a child, wishing there was such a place and that he could go there. When he suddenly does find his way to a world of magic, he thinks his dreams have come true. But along with the schooling to use the magic, he begins to learn that dreams and wishes can have a price.   With something like Hogwarts meets Narnia meets The Breakfast Club meets Full Metal Jacket, The Magicians is not a children’s book. I was fascinated by the curious, twisting, puzzling story, striving to understand where it was going and why it was going there, and liked it. You might enjoy the darker, grim fantasy, and whatever it is you expect, that’s not what’s going to happen…


Divorced, Desperate and Deceived by Christie Craig   

Read by Heidi

Kathy Callahan has been checking out Stan Bradley, the plumber, for over two years. And just when she is ready to get some action; the truth comes out about who Stan really is. Kathy’s world going into overdrive and she isn’t sure if her life is worth the passion she seeks.   This fast-paced book was alot of fun. I reminded me of the TV show "24". Lots of action and you never really know who is on the right side. I truly enjoyed all the characters and the mystery behind the pursuit. And a dog in the story never hurts either.


The Millionaire’s Misbehaving Mistress by Kimberly Lang

Read by Denise   Will Harrison is Dallas’s most eligible bachelor and heir to his family’s fortune.  He knows how to handle the paparazzi, but his little sister Evie is a worry.  In walks Gwen Sawyer, Miss Behavior, etiquette expert.  She is given three weeeks to work her magic on Evie before a society ball, so she moves into Will’s luxurious penthouse.  Too late she discovers that etiquette is the last thing on handsome Will’s mind.   I was intrigued with how real the story was about how society views how the rich and famous should portray  themselves.  I now realize that I am glad that I am not one of the rich and famous.  I like my nice quiet life unknown to everyone except my family and friends!!


A Drunkard’s Path: A Someday Quilts Mystery by Clare O’Donohue

Read by Sheila

 Nell Fitzgerald lives with her grandmother in a small Hudson River town and works in her grandmother’s quilt shop, Someday Quilts. She is dating Police Chief Jesse Dewalt – until their budding romance is interrupted by a dead body. It’s Jesse’s job to investigate. When Nell starts sleuthing, Jesse considers it obstructing. But Nell has good reason – the killer is still in town. Is it the famous artist who has begun dating her grandmother? Is it the young woman who just started working in the shop? Nell and her quilting group try to solve the murder as they stitch quilts. 

I loved this cozy. It tickled me that Nell and the quilters were such open meddlers and gossips – all in the name of trust and community. I loved that this who-done-it was also about small town friendships, quilting, and Nell’s search for happiness (and murderers). It’s the 2nd Someday Quilts Mystery (the first is The Lover’s Knot). I hope Clare has many more plots planned for Nell. I’m looking forward to the next book in her series.

 

Must Love Hellhounds by Charlaine Harris, Nalini Singh, Ilona Andrews and Meljean Brook

 

Read by Michelle

 

This collection of four novellas begins with the Britlingens Go to Hell.  Batanya and Clovache are two bodyguards of the Britlingen Collective who are hired to protect a thief who wants to break into Hell and steal Lucifer’s conjuring ball.  Angel’s Judgment – Sara is being groomed as the next Guild Director, but is a vampire hunter and tracker by trade.  She finds herself paired up with Slayer and together they track another hunter who is wrongfully killing vampires.  Magic Mourns – Shape shifters Andrea and Raphael are investigating the movements above Hades Realm of a ghost, vampires and a witch while being stalked by a three headed dog, Cerberus, that’s as big as a house.  Blind Spot – Maggie Wren is sent to rescue Blake, while her Hellhound, Sir Pup acts as his guide dog in their search for Blake’s sister. 

 

This was a great way to read new authors.  Just getting a taste of their styles and genres kept me wanting to know more.  I will be sure to check out additional books by these authors.


The Renegade Hunter by Lynsay Sands   Read by joysann   Even though he has been on the run for 50 years since killing a woman, Nicholas Argeneau never stopped being the rogue hunter he once was. Now, while in pursuit of a murderous immortal, he crosses paths with his former companions who are compelled to capture him for his crimes. But Nicholas discovers the killer’s target victim is his own newly-found li
fe mate, and nothing will stop him from saving her.   Lynsay Sands’ Rogue Hunter Novels are an expansion of her Argeneau vampire series. Many of the same characters come and go, and their stories intertwine, which makes them all the more intriguing and appealing to me, because I genuinely like them and their relationships. Charming and humorous, exciting and romantic, The Renegade Hunter met my expectations, and I’m looking forward to the next episode.


The Once and Future Prince by Olivia Gates

Read by Denise   Prince Leandro D’Agostino would have been king of Castadini, except scandal sent him into exile.  Phoebe Alexander, his secret lover who’d refused to leave with him, has come to convince him to accept his rightful crown.   The pain of betrayal still coursed through Leandro’s veins and he would only consider ruling if Phoebe bowed to his wishes.  Phoebe was willing to do Leandro’s royal bidding even though she knew she could never be his queen, but she would become the prince’s lover.  Then an unexpected pregnancy changed everything.   I felt as though I was in Castadini!   From the old ways of the country’s ruling by a king to the fact that the king had to marry into the right lineage of a family so that the woman he wed could be a proper queen.  What Phoebe went through when she found out she was pregnant, the denial, then the acceptance that it was happening all the way to the point of her realizing she could be a proper queen even though she didn’t have the proper lineage.


State of the Onion by Julie Hyzy
 
Read by Michelle
 
Olivia Paras "Ollie" is an Assistant White House Chef up for the job of Executive Chef but her efforts are thwarted by an assassin intent on killing her and infiltrating a peace negotiation.  Ollie is living her dream of working in the White House and her boyfriend Tom, a Secret Service Agent, is working against the clock to find the assassin and keep Ollie safe, but inadvertently pushes her away.  As Ollie faces numerous obstacles she wonders how she can succeed when her world is crumbling around her. 
 
This was an enjoyable and captivating story full of suspense.  Julie Hyzy brings to life the behind the scenes world of the White House, and I found myself hungry for the dishes being served and for the knowledge of what was waiting for me on the next page.

Bottom Line:   "So please, oh PLEASE, we beg, we pray, Go throw your TV set away, And in its place you can install, A lovely bookshelf on the wall." ~ Roald Dahl, Charlie and the Chocolate Factory
   

Name Calling

Barbara Vey -- January 19th, 2010

Hello. joysann rambling on here again, this time with some thoughts on names. Every now and then I’ve read books in which the authors had found a way to give me the proper pronunciation of a character’s name. I can’t say how much I appreciate this. I wish more authors would find a way to do it if a frequent character in the book has an unusual name.

There I am, sailing along reading smoothly through an engrossing story, and suddenly – Errhk! – the brakes go on while I have to sit and think about how to say this guy’s (or gal’s) name, even if just in my own head. This disruption occurs over and over again as I progress through the book, eventually becoming a bit irritating.

 

Speaking of guy, that’s one of them. Does this character "Guy" pronounce his name to rhyme with "buy", or does it have a French influence so it would rhyme with "bee"?

 

What makes a name unusual? A question to ask would be something like "How often did this person, as a child, have to pronounce/spell his/her name for someone else to write?" As a mid-western American lots of names are foreign and exotic looking to me, and I would probably delight in them if I had a clue how to sound them out. Once I knew that pronunciation, I likely wouldn’t notice it again and the dang thing wouldn’t be so distracting.

I meant to compile a list of names I’ve seen in recent months that drove me batty, but I never got around to making note of them, and so, of course, can’t think of them here. One was particularly annoying, and I wish I could remember in what book. Maybe that shows how impressed I was.

 

Bottom Line:  I’d probably do a lot less name calling if I knew how to call that name.

Shooting a Book Cover

Barbara Vey -- January 18th, 2010


Did you ever wonder how those book covers are done?  Handsome men, beautiful women, great costumes.  Harlequin has invited us behind the scenes to the Linda Lael Miller shoot with those super hot McKettrick cowboys in a new documentary.  While you’re at Linda’s website, you can enter to win $10,000 or a trip to Las Vegas.

Now this next one isn’t a book video or photo shoot, but it could be. Nothing like scantily clad men in kilts to get the imagination stirring.


Marianne Mancusi, Fabio, Liz Maverick

One America’s Next Top Model episode had the models shoot a romance cover with Fabio.  The girls were too young because they were extremely uncomfortable being in suggestive clinches with Fabio.  When Fabio was at the Romantic Times Booklovers Convention a couple of years ago, he posed with a lot of authors.  There were a few pictures that looked to me like he thought he was doing a cover shot. 

I don’t know about you, but being at a photo shoot sounds like a lot of fun, especially without the uncomfortable young women. Have you ever been to one? Would you like to star in one?

Bottom Line: Next time I report on something like this, I’d like to interview the cast. You know, from their perspective…purely for the educational value.

Engaging YA Readers

Barbara Vey -- January 15th, 2010


Last month I met with a 7th grade class and talked about books.  Everyone picked one to read for fun and then I passed out The Line by Teri Hall.  During the month of December, the kids read the book and had discussions once a week during lunch.  The exciting thing was that the discussions were lead by a dad which had the boys more enthusiastic about a book club.  In the coming weeks, I’ll be setting up a video conference with the kids and the author.  It will all be in the blog and I hope to get some good video.  I can’t wait and neither can the class.  They’re already asking what they can read next.  And with that, here’s what the YA readers have been reading lately.

Fallen by Lauren Kate

Read by Maddy, 17

Luce Price was starting her senior year at Sword & Cross boarding school in Savannah. She didn’t choose to go there, but had to because of a mysterious fire that killed her friend. Luce didn’t start the fire and couldn’t explain how it happened. All she knows is that there were shadows and only she could see them. Another thing she can’t explain is why she feels drawn to Daniel Grigori. She is warned to stay away from him and it should be easy considering he is rude to Luce. Daniel makes it clear that he does not like her. Luce can’t shake the feeling that she remembers him from some place and searches to try and figure  more out about him even if it kills her. 

The cover for Fallen was gorgeous and intriguing. It attracted to read the story and once I started I couldn’t stop. If you’re a fan of the Twilight saga, you would love this book. The only problem is now I have to wait until September for Torment, the next book in the series, to come out.

Deathwish by Rob Thurman
  
Read by Bekah, 17
 
Cal Leandros is only half human. The other half is from horror stories that parents tell their kids to make them behave. Niko Leandros, Cal’s older brother, is a fighter of inhuman capabilities. Together they run their own supernatural private eye business. Along with the aid of a gloriously rich vampire, Promise, and a randy, clever puck, Robin, they perform the dirty acts no one else in their world wants to even know about. When another vampire from Promise’s past hires them for protection it appears simple enough on the surface. But, just like everything else in their life, nothing is easy. Aside from the struggles arising with their vampire client, the other half of Cal’s gene pool is out for blood. Specifically theirs. Now, every day is spent in hiding and plotting their way to survival. They can’t hide forever, though. Sooner rather than later, Cal and Niko will have to do things they never thought they would have to do…or lie down and die.
 
This is my favorite book and series of all time. It is original, especially the depiction of the supernatural creatures. The characters are all uniquely memorable and extremely entertaining. This was an intense, wild ride that I couldn’t put it down. It was a smooth read I would recommend to both boys and girls.

My Invented Life by Lauren Bjorkman

Read by Maddy, 17

Roz is a junior who thinks her older sister Eva is prefect and misses how they used to be as close as best friends. Eva is a senior, a cheerleader and has a sexy boyfriend named Bryan. Even though they aren’t close anymore, Roz thinks she knows Eva’s secret, that she is a lesbian. So to get back their friendship and help her sister come out, she inventes a girlfriend. Coming out in high school when you’re really straight has its problems, but Roz is willing to see where it goes even if Eva is angry about it.

I thought that Roz’s character was hilarious. I loved the Shakespearean insults that the characters called each other. In the back of the book there is a list of them that’s interesting to read. I recommend this book to anyone who is in middle/high school.

Bottom Line:
  Nothing makes my heart happier than seeing kids with a book…especially if they’re reading it.

Reading That Unfinishable Book

Barbara Vey -- January 14th, 2010

WW Lady Stacey here, from chilly New York. 
  

This year, I have one New Year’s resolution.  What is it, you might ask?  To finally finish reading The Mysteries of Udolpho.
  

Why that?  Yes, there are many things I want to do by the end of the year.  I’d like to loose weight, exercise more, eat healthier, write more…the list goes on and on.  However, after thinking about each of them, I came to the conclusion that these larger undertakings are the sorts of things I have to decide to do every day.  I must make a commitment each day to my health, to my writing and to any of the other ‘big picture’ items I‘d like to make happen.    
  

On the other hand, deciding to read a particular book is something that I can make a blanket commitment to.  Reading is something I’m always doing-whether it’s for work, for a review, or for pleasure.  And if I fall behind, I can sit down and read a bunch of pages without any long lasting complications. 
  

So why The Mysteries of Udolpho?  It was one of those books I came across a few years ago. Not in just one source, but in a whole bunch of them.  I came to the conclusion that this was a book that I should read.  As a result, I purchased it.  I figured it would be easy; I enjoy reading the classics (the last time this happened, the book I purchased was The Great Gatsby which I enjoyed), and did not think this would be any more difficult to read than anything else written during it’s time period.  
  

Unfortunately, I was wrong, and years later, it still sits on my ‘to be read’ shelf, as yet unfinished.  Hopefully, not anymore, at least, by year’s end. 
  

Have you made any ‘New Year’s Resolutions’?  Or are there any books you haven’t yet read that you’ve meant to?  Or, even, are there books that you’ve ended up reading after seeing them mentioned in multiple places?  
  

Bottom Line:  Thanks Stacey for sharing your resolution with us.  Mine is to turn negatives into positives  in 2010…I can do this.