Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Belly Laughs: The Naked Truth about Pregnancy and Childbirth by Jenny McCarthy

If you know and can handle McCarthy's humor, you will find this book quite funny.

I do not have a child nor is one on the way, yet I still laughed aloud and got squeamish at the appropriate moments.

She is honest, maybe too honest but it is a good thing because she reveals things, I have never heard women talk about or knew in relation to pregnancy.

Put about an hour or two aside for this short, addictive book.

Grade: A

From the Publisher
The acclaimed national bestseller-a humorously candid account of what you can really expect when you're expecting

Oh, the joys of pregnancy! There's the gassiness, constipation, queasiness, and exhaustion, the forgetfulness, crankiness, and the constant worry. Of course, no woman is spared the discomforts and humiliations of pregnancy, but most are too polite to complain or too embarrassed to talk about them. Not Jenny McCarthy!

In the New York Times best-selling Belly Laughs, actress and new mother Jenny McCarthy reveals the naked truth about the tremendous joys, the excruciating pains, and the unseemly disfigurement that go along with pregnancy. Never shy, frequently crude, and always laugh-out-loud funny, McCarthy covers it all in the grittiest of girlfriend detail. From morning sickness and hormonal rage, to hemorrhoids, pregnant sex, and the torture and sweet relief that is delivery, Belly Laughs is must-read comic relief for anyone who is pregnant, who has ever been pregnant, is trying to get pregnant, or, indeed, has ever been born!

Sunday, March 28, 2010

The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow

Dow's autobiography is not only compelling but memorable.

He is a realist who fights not necessarily for freedom of death row inmates but justice in instances where there cases fell through the cracks or in which negligence occurred, such as previous lawyers falling asleep during the trail or failing to put witnesses on the stand.

He is also a family man, who loves his son and wife dearly and somehow manages to maintain some sense of balance with his family and hectic work load.

He does an amazing job of portraying the chaos that ensues before a condemned man is executed.

This moving and personal look into the exectuion of those on Death Row in Texas gives you insight into a world so many of us know little to nothing about.

Set a few hours aside because you will not be able to walk away from this book without learning the fates of others.

Grade: A

Synopsis (B&N)

David R. Dow has had access to a world most of us will never experience. As a lawyer, he has represented over one hundred death-row cases. Many of his clients have died. Most were guilty. Some might have been innocent. The Autobiography of an Execution is his deeply personal story about justice, the death penalty, and a lawyer's life.

His life at paradoxical extremes: Witnessing executions and then coming home to the loving embrace of his wife and young son, who inqure about Dow's day. Waging moral battles on behalf of people who have committed abhorrent crimes. Fighting for life in America's death-penalty capital, within a criminal justice system full of indifferent and ineffectual judges. Racing against time on behalf of clients who have no more time.

Regardless of your views on the death penalty, Dow's writing will take you inside the issue in striking, intimate ways: through the complicated minds of judges, inside prisons and execution-administration chambers, and into his own home, where the toll of working on these gnarled and difficult cases is often paid. Ultimately, he shows us a world where suspense clings to every word and action, where human lives hang in the balance, and where doing the right thing is never as easy as it sounds.

Saturday, March 27, 2010

A Great and Terrible Beauty (The Gemma Doyle Trilogy) by Libba Bray

This Gothic, Victorian novel is a suspenseful page turner. It is enthralling and impossible to put down!

The characters are well scripted, the storyline is easy to devour and it is nothing like I expected.

This beautiful novel will keep you interested far after you put it down and anxious to see what happens to these realistic characters.

The mythical aspects are not incredibly silly which makes reading it enjoyable and doesn't induce eye rolling.

Grade: A-

(Synopsis)From the Publisher
It’s 1895, and after the suicide of her mother, 16-year-old Gemma Doyle is shipped off from the life she knows in India to Spence, a proper boarding school in England. Lonely, guilt-ridden, and prone to visions of the future that have an uncomfortable habit of coming true, Gemma’s reception there is a chilly one. To make things worse, she’s been followed by a mysterious young Indian man, a man sent to watch her. But why? What is her destiny? And what will her entanglement with Spence’s most powerful girls—and their foray into the spiritual world—lead to?

Wednesday, March 24, 2010

The Daily Coyote: A Story of Love, Survival, and Trust in the Wilds of Wyoming by Shreve Stockton

An absolute sweet book about love, trust and companionship.

A page turner that, engages you and warms you to the very core. Better than I could ever have hoped for.

Stockston includes photos of her beloved cat and coyote while beautifully relaying her story about how this unlikely pack came to form there own family.

Awe, worthy photos and heart melting text, makes this read worth of your time.

This work of non-fiction grew from daily photos to friends, to a blog , to this piece of hope and treasure you can hold in your hands.

Purchase this book. You will want to reread it and share it with friends and family.

For more about Charlie (the coyote) visit, Shreve's blog at: http://www.dailycoyote.net/?beginning=true

Grade: A

Synopsis (Barnes & Noble)
First a blog and now a book, The Daily Coyote tracks the progress of the fascinating relationship between "city girl" Shreve Stockton and an orphan coyote pup. From the start, the wiggles and licks of the small creature she nicknamed Charlie belied the species' well-established reputation as sheep killers. Of course, acclimating a young prairie wolf to human society is not a seamless task; Shreve and her boyfriend, MC, experienced periodic challenges from Charlie's unpredictable behavior. However, his puckish good nature usually triumphed, making Stockton's illustrated blog one of the most popular personal destinations on the Net. This full-color illustrated book will change your view of an entire species.

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Chelsea Chelsea Bang Bang by Chelsea Handler

Handler is crazy, funny. You will laugh aloud. I know I did, I woke my puppy several times.

Tears streamed down my face, as I giggled. It didn't matter that I got a few odd looks. This book is so funny!

Handler knows how to pull off a prank and keep it going for hours, in some cases up until this very book was published.

Her family is just as funny and the family stories make you shake you head. The stories get crazier and crazier...

Don't walk, run and get this book.

Grade: A+


WHAT . . . A RIOT!

Life doesn't get more hilarious than when Chelsea Handler takes aim with her irreverent wit. Who else would send all-staff emails to smoke out the dumbest people on her show? Now, in this new collection of original essays, the #1 bestselling author of Are You There, Vodka? It's Me, Chelsea delivers one laugh-out-loud moment after another as she sets her sights on the ridiculous side of childhood, adulthood, and daughterhood.

Family moments are fair game, whether it's writing a report on Reaganomics to earn a Cabbage Patch doll, or teaching her father social graces by ordering him to stay indoors. It's open season on her love life, from playing a prank on her boyfriend (using a ravioli, a fake autopsy, and the Santa Monica pier) to adopting a dog so she can snuggle with someone who doesn't talk. And everyone better duck for cover when her beach vacation turns into matchmaking gone wild. Outrageously funny and deliciously wicked, CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG is good good good good!


Being unpopular: "My parents couldn't have been more unreasonable when it came to fads or clothes that weren't purchased at a pharmacy."

Living with her boyfriend: "He's similar to a large toddler, the only difference being he doesn't cry when he wakes up."

Appreciating her brother: "He's a certified public accountant, and I have a real life."

Arm-wrestling a maid of honor:"It wasn't her strength that intimidated me. It was the starry way her eyes focused on me, like Mike Tyson getting ready to feed."

Sunday, March 21, 2010

The Comeback Season by Jennifer E. Smith

If you love the, Chicago Cubs your simply adore, The Comeback Season.

It is about baseball, grief, lost, love, family and friendship.

Some of the baseball players and moments are identifiable and true to life. The friendships are quite common and believable.

At times the storyline does drag but if you push through it you end up with a pretty decent book. The ending is rushed and leaves you to come to your own conclusion.

Grade: B-


The last place Ryan Walsh should be this afternoon is on a train heading to Wrigley Field. She should be in class, enduring yet another miserable day of her first year of high school. But for once, Ryan isn't thinking about what she should be doing. She's not worried about her lack of friends, or her suffering math grade, or how it's been five whole years since the last time she was really and truly happy. Because she's finally returning to the place that her father loved, where the two of them spent so many afternoons cheering on their team. And on this — the fifth anniversary of his death — it feels like there's nowhere else in the world she should be.

Ryan is once again filled with hope as she makes her way to the game. Good luck is often hard to come by at a place like Wrigley Field, but it's on this day that she meets Nick, the new kid from her school, who seems to love the Cubs nearly as much as she does. But Nick carries with him a secret that makes Ryan wonder if anyone can ever really escape their past, or believe in the promise of those reassuring words: "Wait till next year." Is it too much for Ryan to hope that this year, this season, might be her comeback season?

Friday, March 19, 2010

Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon

Nightlite has many, many hilarious moments, that will make you laugh aloud.

You must be familiar the entire, Twilight Series and Host by Stephenie Meyer to appreciate the humor behind this parody.

Harvard Lampoon does a fantastic job at making fun of the characters and entertaining you.

With that said, there is something a bit off . Don't expect it to be much like, Twilight because it is far from it,

Check it our or borrow it. It is a slim book and not entirely worth the price.

Grade: B

Synopsis [From the Publisher]

About three things I was absolutely certain. First, Edwart was most likely my soul mate, maybe. Second, there was a vampire part of him–which I assumed was wildly out of his control–that wanted me dead. And third, I unconditionally, irrevocably, impenetrably, heterogeneously, gynecologically, and disreputably wished he had kissed me.

And thus Belle Goose falls in love with the mysterious and sparkly Edwart Mullen in the Harvard Lampoon’s hilarious send-up of Twilight.

Pale and klutzy, Belle arrives in Switchblade, Oregon looking for adventure, or at least an undead classmate. She soon discovers Edwart, a super-hot computer nerd with zero interest in girls. After witnessing a number of strange events–Edwart leaves his tater tots untouched at lunch! Edwart saves her from a flying snowball!–Belle has a dramatic revelation: Edwart is a vampire. But how can she convince Edwart to bite her and transform her into his eternal bride, especially when he seems to find girls so repulsive?

Complete with romance, danger, insufficient parental guardianship, creepy stalker-like behavior, and a vampire prom, Nightlight is the uproarious tale of a vampire-obsessed girl, looking for love in all the wrong places.

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

House Rules: A Novel by Jodi Picoult

Picoult's, new novel is another court room drama. It is entertaining and interesting.

The characters are well developed and the story line flows well with the exception of the ending, which leaves you going, "huh"?

I learned a lot about Asperger's Syndrome and feel that I have a better understanding of it.

This is not her best novel but it isn't her worst.

Grade: B-

From the Publisher

The astonishing new novel from #1 New York Times bestselling author Jodi Picoult about a family torn apart by an accusation of murder.

They tell me I'm lucky to have a son who's so verbal, who is blisteringly intelligent, who can take apart the broken microwave and have it working again an hour later. They think there is no greater hell than having a son who is locked in his own world, unaware that there's a wider one to explore. But try having a son who is locked in his own world, and still wants to make a connection. A son who tries to be like everyone else, but truly doesn't know how.

Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's syndrome. He's hopeless at reading social cues or expressing himself well to others, and like many kids with AS, Jacob has a special focus on one subject — in his case, forensic analysis. He's always showing up at crime scenes, thanks to the police scanner he keeps in his room, and telling the cops what they need to do...and he's usually right. But then his town is rocked by a terrible murder and, for a change, the police come to Jacob with questions. All of the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's — not looking someone in the eye, stimulatory tics and twitches, flat affect — can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement personnel. Suddenly, Jacob and his family, who only want to fit in, feel the spotlight shining directly on them. For his mother, Emma, it's a brutal reminder of the intolerance and misunderstanding that always threaten her family. For his brother, Theo, it's another indication of why nothing is normal because of Jacob. And over this small family the soul-searing question looms: Did Jacobcommit murder?

Emotionally powerful from beginning to end, House Rules looks at what it means to be different in our society, how autism affects a family, and how our legal system works well for people who communicate a certain way — and fails those who don't.

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Crazy Love by Leslie Morgan Steiner

Crazy Love, is well written memoir about an abusive relationship.

Steiner does an amazing job of telling the reader her life story. You feel compassion and sympathy for her and anger towards her abuser (being abused as a child is NOT an excuse to abuse another).

Crazy Love, holds your attention yet you are left feeling and knowing that Steiner has left a degree of information out, which is a tad bit disappointing because you don't feel a full grasp of who she is and what she endured, just a surface glance. Which she is entitled to.

Questions are left unanswered but it is worth the read.

Grade: A

If you or someone you know is frightened about something in your relationship, please call the National Domestic Violence Hotline at 1−800−799−SAFE (7233) or TTY 1−800−787−3224. You can also visit http://www.ndvh.org/

From the Publisher

At 22, Leslie Morgan Steiner seemed to have it all: good looks, a Harvard diploma, a glamorous job in New York City. Plus a handsome, funny boyfriend who adored her. But behind her façade of success, this golden girl hid a dark secret. She’d made a mistake shared by millions: she fell in love with the wrong person.

At first, Leslie and Conor seemed perfect together. Then came the fights she tried to ignore: he pushed her down the stairs, choked her during an argument, and threatened her with a gun. Several times, he came close to making good on his threat to kill her. With each attack, Leslie lost another piece of herself. Why didn’t she leave? She stayed because she loved him. Gripping and utterly compelling, Crazy Love takes you inside the violent, devastating world of abusive love and makes you feel the power and powerlessness of abuse that can take place anywhere and to anyone. Crazy Love draws you in — and never lets you go.

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Rich Again by Anna Maxted

Rich Again is ... unlikeable.

The plot and characters are unbelievable and unsympathetic. This is by far the weakest novel I have read by Anna Maxted.

It took ages to read and when I, finally finished reading it, I was left frustrated by this book that lacked interest and entertainment.

The cover is cute but misleading.

I can't recommend this book. Pass on it and find something better to read.

Grade: F


Walk-in closet full of designer everything? Check. Private Caribbean island? Check. Connection to the aristocracy? Working on it. Cunning, malicious stalker? Double check.

Welcome to the world of the Kents, a charismatic, ambitious, and fabulously wealthy English family with two sisters – one as strong and sparkling as the other is delicate and wounded – who must somehow put their differences aside to keep an unknown enemy from bringing them down. Wild and beautiful Emily Kent has had the world laid at her feet by her ruthless mother and billionaire father – but it's not enough. Gifted with her mother's to-die-for looks, her father's hard-scrabble business sense, and both of her parents' lust for control, Emily is determined to make her own luck by seducing the only man she’s ever wanted, a man who can make her dreams of attaining the heights of old-money English society come true. By contrast, Emily's step-sister, Claudia, is a fragile soul—her mother died when she was five, leaving her to the unkind reign of step-mother Innocence. In an uncharacteristic burst of rebellion, Claudia trades her gilded lifestyle for an ordinary flat and daytime job where she meets the man of her dreams… or so she imagines.

But, Emily and Claudia are caught up in a desperate situation that may be beyond their control. As for their father, disgraced tycoon Jack Kent, and his wife Innocence, they are too obsessed with the fight for supremacy over their vast empire to see that a mighty and sinister opponent is plotting to ruin them all.

Friday, March 5, 2010

Undead Much? (Megan Berry, Book 2) by Stacey Jay

Undead Much? is the second book in the Megan Berry series. Jay delivers once again leaving you anxious for the third book.

This book is a bit darker than, You are so Undead to Me. Major secrets are revealed. The characters are well developed and the plot is intriguing.

A perfect sequel.

Synopsis (B&N)
Megan Berry—Zombie Settler extraordinaire—just wants Pom Squad to trounce Cheer Team in this freakishly funny follow-up to You Are So Undead to Me. But someone's turning coma victims into settler-resistant über-zombies—and everyone thinks it's Megan's fault! Well, except for super-creepy male cheerleader Aaron. (Ew!)

Meg's also being stalked by a hot—albeit undead— seer named Cliff. Can Cliff's premonitions help Megan stop a zombies-on-ice deathscapade and discover who's really behind the coma-killer crusade before an entire army of undead rise up? And when Megan's boyfriend Ethan grows jealous of Cliff, will it end their intra-settler romance?

Stacey Jay's snarky teen-speak is "dead"-on and hysterical! Ally Carter better get used to the smell of grave dirt . . .

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White

This adventure book about 5 kids who go on a survivor show is just ok.

The characters are well developed but the plot is unrealistic. It is interesting enough to keep you semi-entertained.

It is worth the read if you borrow it or check it out from the library.

Grade: C

From the Publisher

The wind and snow blow so hard, you can't see your hand in front of your face. Your heating fuel is nearly gone, and so is your food. How do you survive?

Five fourteen–year–olds face this desperate situation on a deadly journey in Antarctica. It is 2083. They are contes–tants on a reality TV show, Antarctic Survivor, which is set up to re–create Robert F. Scott's 1912 doomed attempt to be the first to reach the South Pole.

But in 2083 reality TV is not just an act. Contestants literally relive – or die during – the simulations of events. Robert Scott and his team were experienced explorers and scientists, but their attempt to reach the Pole proved fatal. What chance does the Antarctic Survivor team have?

The Accidental Beauty Queen by Teri Wilson

Charlotte Gorman is a librarian, a "nerd" and enjoys being casual and comfy. Her twin sister, Ginny is an famous instagram conte...