Thursday, October 30, 2008

The Secret Thief by Judith Jaeger

Connie doesn’t want to help her grandmother clean up the house since it is sold. That means giving up her summer before she starts to teach. Her mother pushes her into it, so Connie finally gives in. Her grandmother always is rough with her so she is not sure she wants to go out there. Yet while cleaning and going through boxes, she finds things she never knew about. She begins to question the things her mother told her and wonders what really is the truth.

Ms. Jaeger has such a way with words. I could feel into Connie’s heart. The small town was a hoot and it came alive in this story. Secrets are often hid back past things. I was pleased not only with how things came out but the ending of this story.

Connie does not mind using the five-finger discount but then she wonders if she is really doing her self any good. The things she has been told while growing up suddenly sound false. But she has to figure out what is the truth and what isn’t. It’s going to be tough but she might just finally see the world for what it really is. The grandmother keeps things close to her heart to make sure things don’t repeat themselves. Connie’s mother is very controlling and must keep things in order. She is hurt by the decisions she made in life and now feels better once she is able to control things.

This is a book full of ups and down but when you close it, you’ll just feel like everything was pretty much figured out. There aren’t many lingering questions but that is a nice change. The author truly lets you into the mind of Connie so you can see where she is coming from.

Judith Jaeger/ New Author/ 194 pages/ Family/ Secrets/ 4 out of 5

Well off to read the author of the month. :) Then another one from the stacks. :)

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

The Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde

Thursday is settling into her book Caversham Heights yet feeling like she is supposed to remember something. Her family is still there but her memories are becoming tainted. And with the promised changes to the Book World coming, things are definitely topsy-turvy. Help must come but will Thursday be able to remember anything of her life.

Mr. Fforde has such creativity in his books. I just cannot believe the things that he is able to imagine. I would love sometime to jump into a book just for an hour but in between chapters so as to not mess anything up. Thursday is a character who has a lot to deal with but I never felt things were cruel for her. There was a good balance of craziness and the normal every day things people deal with but in a book world.

Thursday has a lot to battle in this book. Her memory is slowly fading and she doesn’t understand why. The people in Justifiction are doing their best to train her. Her mentor is always there but there will be a point that she must start working on her own. But can she do that and work on what she is forgetting?

This is an interesting book in the series. There are a lot of cliffhangers in this one. I am just curious to see how it all works out. Mr. Fforde had a few scenes that I could see leading to other things. I definitely love how this author writes but it does take awhile to get used to the writing if you’ve not read him in awhile. Oh, and you must start from the beginning with They Eyre Affair.

Jasper Fforde/ Mystery/ Books/ Chunkster/ 416 pages/ 4 out of 5

Off to another review book and then one for the Author of the Month from my yahoo group. :)

Monday, October 27, 2008

Like Glass by Matthew Cory

Rob hadn’t spoken to his brother or the love of his life in eight years. It almost seemed like he had forgotten it all now focusing on running his own business. But one phone call brings back memories from long ago. Now Janet needs his help with the death of his brother Bill, but can he forgive and learn to move on?

Matthew Cory presents a real hard look at forgiveness and betrayal. The characters have depth and you feel the emotions along with them. Yet forgiveness must prevail or all Rob could have might be over. Mr. Cory truly lets you into the world of the character. Flash backs are natural and you get a better understanding of the reasons behind the emotions that is not always easy to do.

Rob just wanted to move on. Feelings were ever present on his face. The man couldn’t hide anything. His past nagged at him from time to time but he never let it get to him. Bill was overpowering and boisterous to say the least. Rob struggled to get along with him. They had good memories but Rob felt so betrayed that he couldn’t let go of his anger. Now the grudge years later comes back to haunt him. Janet, his old love, is struggling since she moved on with her life. Can he see Janet as she is now and forgive? Or is it a hopeless cause?

For a first novel, there is depth, emotion, and a story to tell whether in the past or the present. Janet, Lisa, and Rob have to deal with the now. The brother he knew seems to be such a good guy. Things are changing all the time and Rob has to figure out how to keep up. Mr. Cory keeps things light at times but there is healing that needs to be done.

Matthew Cory/ 210 pages/ Adult Fiction/ Families/ Healing/ 4 out of 5

I was contacted by the author to do this review. That was nice. :) Great book and a little bit of romance as well. :) Off to Well of Lost Plots by Jasper Fforde next!

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Acting Class Take A Seat by Milton Katselas

Mr. Katselas has worked with some of the best names in the business. His main thing now is to teach acting classes. But he does it in a way that the students do all the work. He wants them to be able to do pretty much anything that is required and go after the roles that they think they would fit the best. He understands that type casting happens but you can break out of that too if you work hard enough. It all comes down to business. Reading through the chapters, I saw how difficult it is even for actors. The exercises presented in this book were great! I have taken an acting class and have seen similar things done.

They want the parts but they have to believe in themselves before they can get anywhere. They also have to prepare for any situation and script. There is a time and place for improvisation but rarely in that industry. You have to get along with others as well as cut the gossip. I can see everything he says is true. It is nice to have someone who spells it out as it is now. And with the involvement he has had, this one guy I would pay attention to.

I may not be an actor but I was impressed with how well things were laid out. This is one author who knows what he is talking about and not just writing for the fun of it. Lots to learn and knowledge to acquire; a must have for any one who is an actor or who wants to be one. Being involved whether in theatre or film, the principles still remain. I learned a lot from it myself.

Milton Katselas/Non-fiction/ Acting/ 320 pages/ 4 out of 5

Off to rest. I have one more review book and then back to my own pile. :)

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Fun Stuff

I was contacted by an author yesterday to review his book. His name is Matthew Cory. The title of his book is Like Glass. I don't know a whole lot yet except for the blurb and the summary. So it will be interesting. He is having podcasts on his site. The link is:

He wants to a mail bag segment where he answers your questions.

So there you go, if he picks your question it sounds like he'll give you a copy of the book! It is most likely at random. But that is still really cool. It will be the question of the week winner. The one that stands out to him the most so far. So put your thinking caps on and check it out. :)

Monday, October 20, 2008

The Confessor by Daniel Silva

Gabriel is responsible for cleaning up an important painting. Yet when he finds that an old friend of his is killed. He feels he must solve the murder. There are a lot of twists and turns to get through and a lot of shocking things that Gabriel must prove in order to find out the truth. Problem is, that there is someone that wants this all kept quiet and will do anything needed.

Mr. Silva does good work in this book. Not to mention all the research he had to have done to make it accurate. I appreciate all his work. It made the book come across real knowing that he had done his work.

Gabriel is always meeting someone but it never works out. He has gotten to the point where his art restoring is his passion even more so. Yet when Shamron calls, he at least answers to find out what is going on. Friendships mean the most to Gabriel and that is one quality I find endearing. He won’t rest till he has some answers and will do whatever it takes to get them.

This book really impressed me. I liked the depth and the mystery that Gabriel had to solve. He was putting a lot on the line in this book and it was more than just his life. Mr. Silva has truly impressed me.

Daniel Silva/ Thriller/ 480 pages/ Spy/ Chunkster/ 4 out of 5

I enjoyed this book and am now working on reading The House At Riverton by Kate Morton.

The Manning Brides by Debbie Macomber

A Marriage of Convience

Rich Manning and Jamie Warren have been friends since high school. But they have only ever been just friends. Now Jamie is determined to have a child but she asks Rich to be the father but she has to agree to marry him. Rich wants more than just a marriage of convience for them.

Jamie is just so stubborn but she knows in her heart that there may have been there something all along. Everyone knew that Rich loved Jamie except for him. Can they make things work or will things fall apart?

Stand-In Wife

Paul Manning needs help raising his kids after his wife dies. Leah is more than willing to help she loves the children. But slowly feelings blossom between the two. Can they work it out or will things just fall apart.

Leah doesn’t want to remind Paul of his dead wife. Paul cannot believe he even has feelings for Leah. These two will have to figure something out as the baby Kelsey only knows Leah as her mother.

Ms. Macomber writes great fiction and I am glad that these were re-printed. Definitely a good read. I cannot wait for the next one in the series.

Debbie Macomber/528 pages/ Chunkster/Romance/ 5 out of 5

Okay got behind on my reviews. lol sorry

Saturday, October 11, 2008

Doggy Style by Jane May

Miles just wants his pack to be happy. Bob and Jennifer are so right for each other if only they could make up. Miscommunications are keeping these two apart even though at one time they were happy and got Miles. Now he just wants to see them back together but since they won’t do it on their own. It’s time to take things into his own paws.

Ms. May did something different with this story. Animals often play a part but this was amazing. Miles was so fun and I finally got to hear what they are thinking. I wish I had been able to do that with my own pets. Obviously there is more to it than that but I loved how she weaved this story.

Miles is quite the dog. He really just wants the people he loves to be happy. Jennifer is dating a man who is getting divorced as well as she is divorced. Trust issues are a problem for them. Bob just loves the women he is with and hopes she understands things take time to resolve.

This was quirky read that I loved it. It was different than her book Hooked, which I loved as well. Definitely an author who likes to do things differently but that keeps you focused on what you are reading at the same time. She has become one of my favorites and I hope she comes out with something new soon!

Jane May/ 304 pages/ Romance/ Animals/4 out of 5

I got this one done yesterday but was too wiped out to type. lol

Thursday, October 09, 2008

Really Something by Shirley Jump

Allie Dean is going back home and it is the last place she wants to go in all honesty. But scouting out a spot for the newest movie might just be the thing that will jump start her career. Though the first person she runs into when she gets into town is also the last person she wants to see. Duncan Henry broke her heart back in high school. He is not used to being stood up and has not had anyone to talk to since his best friend Allison left town. Allie is just after finding the place to shoot and Duncan wants her in his bed. Who will get what they want first?

Ms. Jump does a fantastic job at the whole coming home story line. I loved how Allie just wanted to prove herself and possibly get a little revenge. The characters were all over the board, which made this book come more alive. Even the minor characters were fantastic.

Allie had horrible memories but she knew this would be the perfect spot to film the B horror movie. It was not going to be anything flashy but Allie knew this was the stepping-stone to getting where she wanted. Duncan just wants someone to talk to but Allie seems to be a beautiful woman as well. He just keeps thinking he knows her from somewhere.

This book had me flipping pages fast. I could not get enough. The tension between Allie and Duncan was really great. There was going to be a lot to deal with if Allie would only come forth, but things might go better. She is just nervous. Duncan just enjoys someone to talk to and wishes for more. I just hoped the outcome would be one that would seem real no matter what it was.

Shirley Jump/New Author/Romance/ Family/Relationships/ 352 pages/ 5 out of 5

Off to go do some more writing!

Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Anatomy of a Boyfriend by Dara Snadowsky

Dominique is trying to figure out what to do with her life. She has only kissed a few boys and life is very normal. She knows she wants to be a doctor but there has got to be something more. Her best friend Amy hooks up all the time and Dom is starting to feel a little left out. Going to a track meet, she meets this sweetheart of a boy who helps her up after she falls. She wonders if she could fall in love with him. Amy helps her and before Dominique knows it, she is kissing and wanting so much more with Wesley. But she still is not sure.

Ms. Snadowsky writes a very emotional book that shows how relationships can be. At times, I was not sure I wanted Dominique to act on her feelings. But then she kept processing them and making sure that is what she wanted. This was not wilting flower by any means. The one thing that kept coming across for this author was that just keeping in mind what you want and talk things out.

Dominique being an only child had no one to share attention. That drove her nuts cause she wanted more freedom than her parents would give her most of the time. Boys were an unknown for most of her world but having found Wesley her curiosity got the better of her. Amy was so much experienced in most ways and Dominique was feeling a little left out. But she was not about to hook up with just anyone.

This book was up and down. I never really had the curiosities that Dominique had at her age. I will not say I was not boy crazy and wanted to have my first kiss. It just never happened till later. Dominique has a lot of things to deal with and I felt she handled them very well for her age. She was a senior in high school so I am not sure I would recommend this book for any one under the age of 16. But that is just me. There will be some curious teens but definitely let your parents read it first. It is not easy to discuss this kind of stuff with them but they have a lot more experience than one might think. I liked that the book was not detailed but you saw the emotions of Dominique throughout the book. Not an easy subject for a mother to read but definitely one I’ll keep in the back of my head.

Daria Snadowsky/ Young Adult Fiction/ Relationships/Growing Up/ 272 pages/ 3 out of 5

This book was well done and now I am not going to pick up another book till tomorrow.

The Friday NIght Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs

Georgia Walker never thought she would do much with her life. But having her daughter Dakota changed all that. She loves owning her own yarn shop Walker and Daughter. Her friends that help her run the business are fantastic people. They may have faults but know how to be good friends. She looks forward to her Friday Night Knitting Club, where a lot of fellowship happens but not always so much knitting. It is her one escape that she will not let go.

Ms. Jacobs has a fantastic story on her hands. Empowering woman is always a good thing. I loved watching each character step up in their own way. They certainly were not perfect but it was interesting to watch and a joy as well. It was all these women from all walks of life. Just doing what they do best be friends and to follow their dreams.

Georgia did her best on her own every day. She just hung in there and enjoyed getting help from her friends so she could run her shop. Her daughter Dakota was always the life of the party with the food she created for each Friday night meeting. Anita was a widow who was learning how to start over. How much well you’ll have to read the book. Peri was a woman who wanted to design something. She loved working with yarn and maybe she could find a way to connect the two. There are so many more women from Darwin Chiu, Lucie, and Cathy. They all had a role to play.

This is one series that I hope to pick up the next one soon. And with the third one coming out this month, I am certainly curious with what they are going to do next. The women in this book take you through so many things in their lives that by the end you feel like you’re old friends. Definitely a must read for anyone who loves stories about women whether you like to knit or not.

Kate Jacobs/ Women/ Friends/ Knitting/ 384 pages/ Adult Fiction/ 5 out of 5

I tried knitting but could never sit still. Now I am able to sit if I am reading or writing or sewing. Guess it just was not my cup of tea but this book certainly was. :)

Tuesday, October 07, 2008

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot

Lizzie Nichols is finally getting married. Lure proposed and things seem to be falling into place. But every time Lizzie thinks about getting married, she gets nauseous and then hives start to break out. That is not the normal reaction a woman who has dreamed of marriage should be having. And her attraction for Chaz gets worse once she sleeps with him. She is not sure everything will work out or not but something has got to give.

Ms. Cabot has a fantastic way with her characters. Definitely a few dreamers in the bunch but then there are the straight shooters who could not tell a lie if they tried. The situations the characters find themselves are normal to outrageous. Having a wonderful imagination certainly helps this story. Not that the events in this story are not believable but certainly a little out of the ordinary for someone like me.

Lizzie is finally getting the success she wants and needs. A proposal should seal everything but again she sees how Luke may not be quite so supportive. The Henris are not sure what they will do with their booming business. Lizzie is just doing her best to keep it all together. Chaz supports her the whole way. But is that what she wants? Her best friend Shari says she needs to see past the fa├žade of Luke and see the real person in Chaz.

This was a delightful book and I would love to see more in this story line. I’m not sure what could be done. If nothing else another adult book would be fantastic! I thought this was done well and now I am dying to pick up some of the young adult books that I have by this author on my shelf.

Meg Cabot/ Adult Fiction/ Family/ 288 pages/ 5 out of 5

I finished this one yesterday but got caught up in Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs. Off to reading before work.

Monday, October 06, 2008

Haunted Memories by Melanie Atkins

Olivia Bartlett is not looking forward to going back to the house she grew up in. Memories are haunting her about her stepfather Walter. Hearing about his death has only made them overwhelm her again. Showing up at the house was the first step to regaining her life but she didn’t plan to run into her child hood friend Tucker. All she wants to do is locate a letter from her real father but someone does not want her to find something in this house. But what?

Ms. Atkins knows how to keep you on your toes. The creepy characters that she creates are definitely ones that will frighten you. They have their own agenda and will do whatever they have to so that can happen. The sizzling emotions between Tucker and Olivia seemed so real. Yet reality was kept in that Olivia was hesitant to get involved with another man. Her stepfather had kept her scared.

Olivia just wants to move on with her life. She keeps having dreams about her dead stepfather. She even starts to think that she sees him. Feeling like she is losing her mind is not helping her case nor getting anything accomplished. Tucker is there to hold her and comfort her if she will let him. Maybe she will finally be able to let go of the demons of her past.

This is not a book I would recommend reading it at night. I did and that was not my brightest moment. It is a scary book but I loved watching Olivia learn slowly how to become strong. It was not going to be an easy journey for her or Tucker. The town had a lot of secrets that it wanted to stay that way. I was very pleased with this book and I hope to read some more of hers soon!

Melanie Atkins/Scary/ Memories/320 pages/5 out of 5

I found a paper back copy of this book. I did some quick research and this book is out now through Cobble Stone Press in e-book form. It is definitely worth your time reading. My other favorite Blood Rite, which was my introduction to Ms. Atkins has not found a home yet but I would highly recommend any of her works.

Sunday, October 05, 2008

Peony in Love by Lisa See

Peony has been entranced by the play The Peony Pavilion. Her father has been able to get a troupe of players to perform it for her sixteenth birthday. Peony catches sight of a man she falls in love with, but she is betrothed to another. That is the beginning of a journey that will change Peony’s life forever. She has a lot to learn and not time or space can change that.

Ms. See has written another book that will tear at your heartstrings. I got frustrated at times with the events in this book but I figured I would have a better understanding of it at the end. The dynamics of the story make you want to turn the pages. That the events may play out differently than what is laid out in the story.

Peony is a strong girl who just wants to be loved. Her parents push her and extol her to be better. Her father takes time to get to know her. The one thing Peony is good at besides writing is binding feet. The one time her mother praises her leaves her feeling flat because she knows it may not happen again. Falling in love with someone whom she is not betrothed to only makes her fall apart more and look for help in the pages of the Peony Pavilion.

This is a roller coaster of emotions presented in this book. I know there were traditions that Peony and other women of her time in the 17th century were doing their best to adhere to but I just got so frustrated. Ms. See writes with words in poems that the women could not express in any other way even to each other at times. The understanding of the play The Peony Pavilion transcends desire to hopefully finding whom that person is but family commitments do not always allow the heart to be followed. The story will certainly maybe difficult to read at times but I saw press through it. You’ll find it worth it in the end.

Lisa See/ Chinese/ Love/ Afterlife/Adult Fiction/320 pages/ 4 out of 5

I am about half way through Haunted Memories by Melanie Atkins. Definitely a book to not be read at night, and I am. Okey I think I lost my mind. lol