Tuesday, December 30, 2008

Living Dead in Dallas [Southern Vampire Mysteries, No. 2] by Charlaine Harris

The story lines are better, bigger, bolder and the last two paragraphs are revealing. This second book in this series has a bigger bite!

This is a fantastic follow up and leaves you thirsting for more. You will become addicted as you go on an adventure with Sookie.

Grade: A

Saturday, December 27, 2008

Dead Until Dark [Southern Vampire Mysteries, No. 1] by Charlaine Harris

Dead Until Dark is absolutely fascinating and the exquisite plot lines will keep you on the edge of your seat. You will be hooked from page one.

The characters are well developed and the novel is a mixture of humor, violence, love, romance, sex and suspense.

This book is unique and fun. Vampire books are not a new concept by any means but the idea of all society knowing the existence of vampires is which makes for a refreshing and exciting vampire series.

Grade: A

PS The book does follow the HBO series, True Blood but not as closely as I thought it would. The book is actually much better than the series so, turn off your TV and curl up with this book.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Murder by Family: The Incredible True Story of a Son's Treachery and a Father's Forgiveness by Kent Whitaker

This true crime novel has the potential to be interesting but rather than grab your attention your left irritated and annoyed.

There is a lot of information missing and you never get an understanding of why, Bart had his family murdered . Whitaker uses his faith and Christianity as an excuse for why things happen and how it lead to putting his son onto a path of redemption.

If you were to subtract all the christian preaching and get the story this nonfiction book would be worth the read but for now this true story leaves much to be desired.

Grade: C-

Thursday, December 25, 2008

Saving Zoe by Alyson Noel

Saving Zoe will keep you enthralled.

This novel is only 266 pages and each page builds up page turning addiction. You read page after page on how modern technology [Internet, cell phone cameras, easy and cheap access to video equipment, the ability to set up fake web pages] can easily destroy a life when put into the hands of the naive, young, perverted and/or evil.

You don't' get a detailed version of the murder because that isn't what this book is about.

This book is not for judgment individuals. It deals with events that do happen just as sexual intercourse, drugs, underage drinking and pornography.

I recommend this book for all, especially young teen girls because life is not always beautiful and there will always be those who prey among us.

Grade: A

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Bitter is the New Black by Jen Lancaster

Bitter is the New Back is down right hilarious. Seriously, I never laughed out loud so many times and so often while reading a book.

Each laugh episode hurt terribly [ it was worth it!] because right now I am suffering from quite possibly the worst lung infection ever [hence why it took so long to read this great book].

Jen's memoir is so honest, she doesn't hesitate to put herself in a bad light. She would make a great friend... well you know, the one you take out for a good laugh because you just know something crazy will happen.

Buy this book... You will laugh and laugh... and actually because the terrible state of the economy you will be able to understand a bit of what she went through [ lets face it will all know someone who has been laid of this year].

Jen turns such a serious topic and life altering event into something funny. I simply can't wait until May of 2009, when her next [yes, I said next, she already has two] memoir comes out.

Grade: A+

PS If this post makes little sense. I blame the lack of sleep and crazy med's I'm on.

Monday, December 22, 2008

Every Boy's Got One by Meg Cabot

First I have to say that I adore Meg Cabot so I might be biased.

This book is quite charming and reads thru a series of emails, journal writting and text messages, which makes for a fun, super fast read.

Cabot uses experiences from her own, Italian wedding making this novel a bit more personal and realistic. There are a bit of mistakes in the use of Italian language but... it doesn't take away from the book.

Grade: B

When cartoonist Jane Harris’s best friend Holly, New York Journal art director, announces that she’s eloping to Italy with longtime doctor boyfriend Mark, and asks Jane to come along as her witness, Jane jumps at the chance, delighted by the prospect of her first ever trip to Europe.
What Jane doesn’t gamble on is Mark’s witness, New York Journal foreign affairs correspondent Cal Langdon. It’s hate at first sight for Jane and Cal, and neither is too happy at the prospect of sharing a villa with one another for a week —not even in the beautiful and picturesque Le Marche countryside.

But when Holly and Mark’s wedding plans hit a major snag that only Jane and Cal can repair, the two find themselves having to put aside their mutual dislike for one another in order to get their best friends on the road to wedded bliss, and end up on a road themselves —one neither of them ever expected....

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Dead Girl Walking: Dead Girl by Linda Joy Singleton

Dead Girl Walking is a cute, simple, fast read.

It is a bit like an episode of Quantum Leap or more like the idea behind it is similar. In the sense that the main character finds herself inside the body of another.

Amber gets to live the life of a thin, beautiful, popular , rich girl only to find out her life isn't as perfect as one would assume and soon finds herself wanting to return back to her own body and family.

This book is for a pretty young audience [8+ yrs] yet it keeps you interested. The sequel is due out in spring of 09'.

Grade: B
Linda Joy Singleton, author of the successful Seer books, returns with another hot paranormal series. Stars are waiting to be discovered, and high-school senior Amber Borden wants to be the talent agent for the adolescent A-list. She's not the richest or the most popular, but she's determined to make a name for herself. While Amber may be upwardly mobile, her sense of direction is lousy—so lousy that it has cosmic consequences. Instead of returning to her body after a near-death experience, she lands in the body of the wealthiest, most popular girl in school—who just tried to commit suicide. Not what she had in mind when she imagined working behind the scenes with the rich and famous! Amber soon figures out that being the queen bee isn't all it's cracked up to be.

Saturday, December 20, 2008

Identical Strangers: A Memoir of Twins Separated and Reunited by Elyse Schein (Author), Paula Bernstein (Author)

Identical Strangers is set in the typeface of Sabon, which makes the reading a bit more personal since you get a view of what each individual is thinking/feeling or trying to express. Each woman narrates her own story but you have to pay close attention to who's story your reading or you can easily get confused.

This memoir is quite fascinating and will hold your attention from beginning to end. You will be outraged that these twins and many more like them were separated and unknowingly put into a study. Furthermore, the details of this "study" will remain sealed until 2066, when many of subjects will likely be deceased.

The unethical ramifications of this study have changed the lives of many in positive and negative ways. This personal account will give you a view into why it is important to have ethics and informed consent in Social Research.

This memoir is beautifully written but a tad bit on the long side. A great story overall.

Grade: B

Elyse Schein had always known she was adopted, but it wasn’t until her mid-thirties while living in Paris that she searched for her biological mother. What she found instead was shocking: She had an identical twin sister. What’s more, after being separated as infants, she and her sister had been, for a time, part of a secret study on separated twins.Paula Bernstein, a married writer and mother living in New York, also knew she was adopted, but had no inclination to find her birth mother. When she answered a call from her adoption agency one spring afternoon, Paula’s life suddenly divided into two starkly different periods: the time before and the time after she learned the truth. As they reunite, taking their tentative first steps from strangers to sisters, Paula and Elyse are left with haunting questions surrounding their origins and their separation. And when they investigate their birth mother’s past, the sisters move closer toward solving the puzzle of their lives.

Friday, December 19, 2008

For Laci: A Mother's Story of Love, Loss, and Justice by Sharon Rocha

This is perhaps the best biography-memoir, I have ever read. Rocha's emotions literally leap off the pages leaving you breathless.

This memoir shows that a mothers love is eternal. You get never before read insight into who Laci was as a person, daughter, friend and sister. There is also information on the case that I have not read anywhere else giving you more in depth knowledge.

At times this memoir was so emotional, I had to put it down and walk away. I don't know if the emotions stemmed from the words on the page or because I saw so much of myself in Laci. We are similar in stature and looks.

This memoir is well written, organized and a wonderful tribute to her daughter and grandson's who's lives ended tragically. A recommended read for all.

Grade: A+

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Revelations (Blue Bloods, Book 3) by Melissa De la Cruz

Revelations is not the best book from the blue blood series yet it has a solid ending. You are definitely left wanting more. Good thing is, there will be a 4th book!

To be honest at times the book seemed incomplete, it is as though De la Cruz has spread her self to thin writing several series and hence it negatively impacted Revelations. The read starts of slow and slowly builds itself up, then crashes, builds up again and then explodes.

This book isn't the page turner that Blue Bloods and Masquerade were, which is disappointing but don't let that sway you away from reading it because it ties up some lose ends and I believe it is pivotal to the 4th novel.

Grade: B-

Monday, December 15, 2008

Under the Rose: An Ivy League Novel Diana Peterfreund

Under the Rose is the sequel to, Secret Society Girl. The dialogue is sharp, the characters are more developed yet there is something amiss.

At times the book bordered on boring and wasn't nearly as exciting as expected. However the reading is quite simple despite all the plot twists. The characters have a semi-realistic approach to them but many fit into a stereo typical manner.

Grade: C+

Sunday, December 14, 2008

The Daughters of Juárez: A True Story of Serial Murder South of the Border by Teresa Rodriguez, Diana Montané , Lisa Pulitzer (Contributer)

The Daughters of Juárez reads like a long criminal report. It details a rich tapestry of police and governmental brutality, corruption, blatant sexual discrimination, disregard for public safety, and incompetence.

These young women are murdered savagely and there corpses left behind to rot in the hot desert heat. The crimes are shocking and the ineptness of the police will leave you angry and chill you to the bone.

Many are accused of the crimes and some are sentenced yet the body count continues to pile up with no end in sight. The stunning account will make you weep for the countless deaths of women and cry out for justice for the families, the victims and the city of Juarez.

This book can at times be difficult to read not because of the graphic nature of the crimes but because is jumps around.

Grade: B+

For more than twelve years, the city of Juárez, Mexico -- just across the Rio Grande from El Paso, Texas -- has been the center of a horrific crime wave against women and girls. Consisting of kidnappings, rape, mutilation, and murder, most of the atrocities have involved young, slender, and poor victims -- fueling the premise that the murders are not random. As for who is behind the crimes themselves, the answer remains unknown -- though many have speculated that the killers are American citizens, and others have argued that the killings have become a sort of blood sport due to the lawlessness of the city itself. And despite numerous arrests over the last ten years, the murders continue to occur, with the killers growing bolder, dumping bodies in the city itself rather than on the outskirts of town, as was initially the case, indicating a possible growing and most alarming alliance of silence and cover-up by Mexican politicians.
Now, in The Daughters of Juárez, the authors provide the first eye-opening and authoritative nonfiction work of its kind, examining the brutal killings and drawing attention to these startling atrocities on the border. The end result will shock readers and become required reading on the subject for years to come.

Saturday, December 13, 2008

the dead and the gone by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Pfeffer still captivates her audience in, the dead and the gone but not to the same a degree as in, Life was we knew it.

You must read the first book in order to have more in depth knowledge of what is actually occurring. It is not rehashed in this novel, since it is more about survival than whats occurred.

This is more of a companion book than a sequel.

This novel focuses more on religion but is not preachy. It is also a bit more grim the the other. Expect a higher body count and more realistic views on what happens to the bodies of the dead.

Grade: A-

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Intern: A Doctor's Initiation by Sandeep Jauhar

Jauhar's memoir is honest. He isn't afraid to write the truth, his hesitance towards becoming a doctor or his fear of failure. Most importantly he explains just how grueling the process is that one must undergo in order to become a doctor.

This personal account tells about the constant struggle within himself and with the over burdened health care system.

This book isn't exactly as interesting as one would think and you do have to have some degree of medical knowledge in order to understand some of the procedures and diseases that are discussed.

I am neither impressed or displeased with this memoir. It falls somewhere in the middle.

Grade: B-

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

Living Dead Girl by Elizabeth Scott

This book is absolutely frightening. Child predators are evil and one child too many fall pray. This book details the horrific life of a young girl abducted at age 10 and beaten down into submission for five years.

If is told from her point of view. The material is dark and there is violence and strong subject matter, which unfortunately is real and too common.

This book will make you nauseous , angry and disgusted with the perpetrator and people who notice something is wrong yet don't do anything about it. You will become emotionally invested in this short novel.

The book is thin, small and only runs 170 pages yet it is powerful and etches images and fear into your mind and body.

It is a fast read, took me less than an hour. You will find yourself putting the book down for just moments to digest the information because it is so tragic the mind can't handle it all at once.

Grade: A

Once upon a time, I was a little girl who disappeared.
Once upon a time, my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time, I didn't know how lucky I was.
When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends — her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.
Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.
This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

Monday, December 8, 2008

Testimony by Anita Shreve

Testimony is told from at least 20 different accounts and had it not been told in the manner that Shreve placed in her writing, one could have easily been lost.

Shreve's, novel shows how consequences of one action can lead to a domino effect which in turn leaves many to feel that they are at fault for actions that they did not directly take part of.

Testimony is an explosive cautionary tale with compelling characters, riveting plot lines and details so vivid you feel like your standing at the sidelines watching the story unravel.

This novel is both stimulating and sad because the idea behind the book isn't far fetched and we have seen similar headlines run across our television sets at home. Be prepared to sit for hours because you simply can't put this book down.

Grade: A

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellinglyexplores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Bright Lights, Big Ass by Jen Lancaster

Lancaster is absolutely hilarious. This book will make you laugh so hard your belly aches. She is like your outrageous, spunky, sarcastic, witty best friend who drives you crazy.

Lancaster tells is like it is, even if it means humiliating herself and her husband in the process. This book is full of many entertaining anecdotes and will keep you interested from beginning to end.

Don't walk... run to your nearest bookstore (hopefully an independent one) and purchase a copy of this must read memoir.

Grade: A

Jen Lancaster hates to burst your happy little bubble, but life in the big city isn't all it's cracked up to be. Contrary to what you see on TV and in the movies, most urbanites aren't party-hopping in slinky dresses and strappy stilettos. But lucky for us, Lancaster knows how to make the life of the lower crust mercilessly funny and infinitely entertaining. Whether she's reporting rude neighbors to Homeland Security, harboring a crush on her grocery store clerk, or fighting-and losing-the Battle of the Stairmaster- Lancaster explores how silly, strange, and not-so-fabulous real city living can be. And if anyone doesn't like it, they can kiss her big, fat, pink, puffy down parka

Thursday, December 4, 2008

The Hour I First Believed by Wally Lamb

Wally Lambs much anticipated, The Hour I First Believed can not compare to the power behind his novel, I Know This Much Is True yet there is something about it that entraps and captivates you.

This novel is painfully researched be prepared for several lessons on history and mythology. These sections along with a thesis portion can drag the book down but I encourage you to push thru them because the story the lays behind them is worth the read.

The historical sidebars are a bit too long and in my opinion and irrelevant to the main story which makes for a long and meandering read. It is as though Lamb tried to fit too many topics into a story that should be about a husband and wife overcoming the effects of the Columbine shootings.

The characters are well developed and in many aspects sympathetic. Had Lamb not added so many additional story lines that did not strengthen the plot but rather weaken it, this book would have been more much better.

Grade: C

The Embalmer by Caillé Anne-Reneé and Mullins Rhonda

The Embalmer is a short book around 80 pages or so. It's not as macabre as I was hoping but it is rather interesting. The book centers a...