Saturday, January 31, 2009

Definitely Dead [Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 6] by Charlaine Harris


Definitely Dead isn't nearly as good as the other novels in this series. A major revelation takes place that will change the way you feel about a main character.

This installment is my least favorite. There are way too many things going on and not enough Vampire actions. Bill and Eric seem almost non-existence and there is a lot more emphasis on other super natural beings.

Sookie isn't nearly as sweet as she use to be, she is more hardened and angrier. Despite being a bit disappointed in this book, I look forward to reading the rest in this series.


Grade: B

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

In Too Deep by Jennifer Banash

In Too Deep was just average, a little too typical for me.

It isn't very realistic either. I mean seriously, finding out your adopted, your biological mother happens to be a famous actress and YOUR sixteenth birthday party is going to be on a reality TV show. How much more lame can it get?

The characters are stereotypical and cliched, which I suppose works for this book but I personally like characters that are more individualized.

In Too Deep is also all over the place and unorganized.

Grade: D

Monday, January 26, 2009

In My Skin: A Memoir by Kate Holden


Kate is nothing be honest.

Her memoir is well written but lacks a bit of emotion despite this, she takes you on her spiraling "journey" of drug abuse and prostitution.

This raw look into her life will captivate you, make you cringe and make you want to scrub your body clean. She holds nothing back.

If harsh language makes you squeamish or you are one of those people who can't simply read about sex, pass on this book.

Grade: B

Saturday, January 24, 2009

Shut Up (Hamilton High series) by Marilyn Reynolds

Shut up is about a topic that unfortunately touches the lives of one child too many. It is narrated by a 17 year old boy who finds out that his younger brother is being sexually molested by their aunt's boyfriend.

The topic of abuse is the larger part of the subject but it is only one part. The book is also about the typical life of a teen boy [friendship, work, first love] and how a family is broken apart when a single mother has to ship out to Iraq because her unit is called up.

This book can be a bit mature for teens because of the subject matter but since it is something that happens the realistic nature of it needs to be addressed.

The author does a good job at writing the material in a manner that will make it easier for teens to read. She addresses this sensitive material in thoughtful yet frank manner.

Grade: A-

Friday, January 23, 2009

Angelhead: My Brother's Descent into Madness by Greg Bottoms

This work of nonfiction chronicles the the antics of a mentally ill older brother.

It will put you on an emotional roller coaster. You will be angry at the family, the system and even the schizophrenic brother. You will also feel a great deal of sadness and compassion.

This is an all too familiar story among our broken mental health system. Greg Bottoms writing is excellent and he easily captures your attention, his words leap off the page as he writes his family story and how schizophrenia negatively impacted it.

Each page paints a portrait of what his brother and his family went through. Beautifully written, you will never forget this book.


Grade: A+

Thursday, January 22, 2009

Waiter Rant: Thanks for the Tip--Confessions of a Cynical Waiter by Steve Dublanica Aka The Waiter

As soon as I saw this book, I knew I had to read it. I waited tables my first three years in college and I just knew this was going to make me laugh.

I laughed and overall had a great time reading it. It was like being back in the restaurant and serving pleasant and surly customers. The writing is smooth and you will find that this is quite a page turner. I don't think you need to be a former waiter to enjoy this book.


The passive-aggressive attitude of this waiter will keep you entertained. I can't say that it's better or funnier than the blog but it's worth the read.


Grade: B+

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Secrets in the Attic by V.C. Andrews


Secrets in the Attic is the worst V.C Andrews book I have read to date. I have to wonder if they changed ghost writer's because the books from the past few years have been deeply disappointing. Don't get me wrong, I'm not expecting a masterpiece but I'd like a bit of the entertainment I got in the past.

This book is... poorly written, inconsistent, lacks details and is basically atrocious. This book reads like a first draft and there is no originality. It is like a really, really bad Life Time movie staring Tori Spelling. I can't imagine that the sequel, Secrets in the Shadows is any better.

Save yourself time, frustration and disappointment. Don't read this book. I'm sorry I did.

Grade: F

Sunday, January 18, 2009

Dead as a Doornail [Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 5]by Charlaine Harris

After two not so great books it was nice to read something exciting and entertaining.

The fifth book deals a lot less with Eric and Bill, they just tend to make cameo appearances. It has a lot more to do with shifters and werewolves. Giving us a great view into the the world of other super natural creatures.

Sookie is more mature and independent and has a new sense of self confidence. The plot in, Dead as a Doornail is not as strong as the previous books in this series but that is part of the charm. There is a lot less romance in this book so don't expect it, although to be fair you don't realize the lack of it until AFTER you finish reading the book and go over it in your head.

I would classify this particular book as more mystery than romance.

Enjoyable and worth the read.


Grade: A

Friday, January 16, 2009

The Midnight Twins Jacquelyn Mitchard

Midnight Twins is not nearly as interesting as the synopsis makes it out to be.

The concept is great, the idea has the potential to make a great book but this work of fiction is beyond boring. Turning each pages was burdensome and many times I was about to give up but I forced myself to finish this novel.

The writing seems forced and it never grabs your full attention. The idea behind the story is original and perhaps that is why I kept on reading it but do yourself a favor and don't waste your time reading this book.

It will be a LONG time before I pick up another book by Mitchard.


Grade: F


Synopsis
Meredith and Mallory Brynn are mirror twins born on either side of midnight one snowy New Y ear's Eve. They have always been inseparable. But after they are nearly killed in a mysterious fire on their thirteenth birthday, the bond that has always joined them unravels. They begin to have visions and dreams that reveal the deep secrets kept by the people around them. Meredith and Mallory realize they have each been given a gift: Mallory can see deep into the past; Meredith can see the future. But when they discover that one boy is not what they imagined, their lives will be changed forever. If they can survive . . .

Wednesday, January 14, 2009

Here's the Story: Surviving Marcia Brady and Finding My True Voice by Maureen Mccormick


Mccormick is nothing but honest in this biography. She lets you into her private hell of drug abuse, promiscuity and self loathing.

Her struggles are typical of many child actors and she accepts responsibility for all her actions. Her book is well written and rather interesting however would I reread it? No. This is the type of book you either check out from the library or pass along to others.

This memoir is more Mccormick than Brady, so don't expect any Brady Bunch gossip.

I really , really wanted to love this book but I wasn't won over by it. It is pretty typical of celebrity bio's but if you're a Brady Bunch Fan the read is worth it.



Grade: C

Monday, January 12, 2009

My Lobotomy by Howard Dully and Charles Fleming

Howard Dully's memoir is another tragic story about child abuse however the abuse is amplified by a professional who is suppose to help heal, rather than cause more anguish.

If you are outraged by such studies such as Tuskegee Experiment, The Monster Study and Willowbrook State School's experiment on the mentally ill you will be disgusted by the callous work of Walter Freeman.

Dully's writing and his difficult life will captivate you and make you appreciate the things you do have. After four decades he is able to turn his life around, his book it not just about the abuse he survived, the difficult life he had but about redemption, forgiveness and the will to not let your past lead your future.

Grade: B

If you want to learn more about Freeman's "work" go here...

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=_0aNILW6ILk

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Dead to the World [Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 4] by Charlaine Harris

I have to say that the fourth book in the Sookie Stackhouse series is delightful yet leaves you feeling melancholy at the end.

Many interesting events take place, each better than the previous one. Sookie's character remains loving and sweet yet she does the unexpected and surprises the reader more than once.

More supernatural creatures surface, adding mystery, excitement, suspense and violence to this already energy packed series.

Set some time aside because this is one book, that you must read in one sitting. It keeps you on your toes and on the edge of your seat.

More complications arise and I suspect they will unravel in the next book.


Grade: A

Friday, January 9, 2009

Queen of Babble Gets Hitched by Meg Cabot

Predictable, Predictable, Predictable but still cute.

If Lizzie wasn't such a well developed and likable character this book wouldn't be nearly as fun. This is the LAST book in the Queen of Babble Series and I must admit that I will miss quirky, adorable, lovable, Lizzie.

This final book isn't nearly as good as the previous two but it's good enough that when you walk away from the series, you're happy for almost all the characters.

The book has some more advice for brides to be along with fun, wedding info.


Grade: B

Thursday, January 8, 2009

Queen of Babble in the Big City [Queen of Babble Series #2] by Meg Cabot


This book is typical of Meg Cabot but that is a good thing, a very good thing! I read her books because they are fun, entertaining and are quite enjoyable.

Her characters much like, Lizzie in this book are quite possibly someone you know or someone you would easily be friends with.

Queen of Babble in the City is cute and quirky. She even includes advice for brides to be in between chapters [very, good advice].

This is a fast, easy read. The plot is a bit predictable but it adds to the enjoyment of the novel. You don' t need to have read the prequel to enjoy this but I'm pretty sure you'll want to read the third book to find out what happens because the ending... well you'll just have to see for yourself, won't you?

I know I'll be reading the third book!


Grade: A

Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Tales from the Morgue by Cyril H. Wecht, Angela Powell, and Mark Curriden

Tales from the Morgue: Forensic Answers to Nine Famous Cases Including The Scott Peterson & Chandra Levy Cases is not nearly as interesting as the title makes it sound.

He makes Scott Peterson seem innocent and other than some information on the assassination of JFK nothing really new comes to light in this book.

This book has a lot more personal opinions in it about the cases then one would like especially since it seems as though the author is trying to get you to see things his way.

I did further research on Dr. Wecht and found that he is being retried. He is accused of using his public office for private gain while Allegheny County coroner.

If you are interested in this book check it out or wait until it comes out in paperback. Do NOT waste your money on this.

Grade: D

Sunday, January 4, 2009

Club Dead [Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 3] by Charlaine Harris


The novels in the Sookie Stackhouse series just keep getting better and this third one is the best yet.


Club Dead is fast- paced and the characters are more interesting than ever. There is a strong blend of horror, mystery and romance. Harris ups the emotional stakes [no pun intended] in this third book and the ending makes you want want to give Sookie a high five because she FINALLY sticks up for herself.


Harris gives, Sookie a great narrative voice and the complexity of this novel will keep you turning the pages until you finish the book.



Grade: A


Synopsis
Sookie's boyfriend has been very distant-in another state, distant. Now she's off to Mississippi to mingle with the underworld at Club Dead-a little haunt where the vampire elite go to chill out. But when she finally finds Bill-caught in an act of betrayal-she's not sure whether to save him...or sharpen some stakes.


Saturday, January 3, 2009

Loving Natalee: A Mother's Testament of Hope and Faith by Beth Holloway


Loving Natalee gave me insight into this tragic, unsolved case. I never really understood what exactly was occurring within the Aruba government and now I do.

Beth writes a very compelling testimony and this story is about faith, resilience and love. Hollaway gives a very personal account in her quest to find her daughter and to obtain justice. This first person narrative will allows you to feel some of the anguish, frustration and pain that she endured.

This book is a must read especially for those youth whom are about to embark on journey to another country, so that they can realize how limited we are as US citizens in other countries and how important it is to always, ALWAYS be aware.

This book is one that you can't simply put down or walk away from, you will be compelled to finish it in one sitting. It is well written and inspiring.


Grade: A-

Friday, January 2, 2009

The Boy in the Striped Pyjamas by John Boyne

Be ready to cry... This novel is not only profound and memorable but it is also an instant classic.

Don't expect this novel to be historically accurate because it isn't but the story itself is moving enough that you can get past that. The story is told from the point of view of a 9 year old boy who makes friends with another 9 year old across the fence. History has taught us that most children under age 15 were gassed upon immediately entering concentration camps so this is one inaccuracy but the friendship forged is so sweet and the novel is fiction so you shouldn't expect to get a history lesson.

This novel can be used as a launching pad to teach children and teens about the holocaust. It gives a unique approach.

A world of caution should be exercised since the views and historical text are rather simplistic and inaccurate. Don't let that sway you though because this is great book and wil haunt you.


Grade: A

Thursday, January 1, 2009

Time of My Life: A Novel by Allison Winn Scotch


Time of My Life is "OK" it is a fluffy read. The pace is fast and the end is predictable.

This novel is basically a trip down the path not taken in life and what transpires and changes you because of it. A basic "what if".

This tale of second chances is simple and enjoyable a small mix of Sophie Kinsella mixed in with a pinch of Emily Giffin.


Grade: B-


Synopsis
Jillian Westfield has the perfect suburban life straight out of the upscale women's magazines that she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple, and the elaborate Easter egg hunts seen in Parents. With her successful investment banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ glossy Range Rover ads. Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage, banish the tedium of days spent changing diapers, or stop her from asking, “What if?” Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. Before her daughter was born. Before she married Henry. Suddenly she’s back in her post–grad school Ikea-furnished Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job with the advertising agency. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend and star of her what-if fantasies.Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can use the zippy ad campaigns from her future to wow the clients and bosses in her present. She can reconnect with the mother who abandoned her so many years before. She can fix the fights at every juncture that doomed her relationship with Jackson. Or can she? With each new choice setting off a trajectory of unforeseen consequences, Jillian soon realizes that getting to happily ever after is more complicated than changing the lines in her part of the script. Happiness, it turns out,isn’t an either-or proposition. As she closes in on all the things she thought she wanted, Jillian must confront the greatest

The Mothers by Brit Bennett

The more time he spent around her, the more he realized how rarely he thought anybody else was actually good. Nice, maybe, but niceness was ...