Sunday, May 30, 2010

Goldengrove by Francine Prose

I eagerly picked up, Goldengrove but I was hugely disappointed. It is bland, repetitive, cliched and borders on unrealistic.

It failed to touch me emotionally and does not live up to its expectations. I expected it to be dark, mournful, and intriguing instead I got a flat and lame story.

Skip over this particular book and pick something else up.

Grade: D-


At the center of Francine Prose's profoundly moving new novel is a young girl facing the consequences of sudden loss after the death of her sister. As her parents drift toward their own risky consolations, thirteen-year-old Nico is left alone to grope toward understanding and clarity, falling into a seductive, dangerous relationship with her sister's enigmatic boyfriend.

Over one haunted summer, Nico must face that life-changing moment when children realize their parents can no longer help them. She learns about the power of art, of time and place, the mystery of loss and recovery. But for all the darkness at the novel's heart, the narrative itself is radiant with the lightness of summer and charged by the restless sexual tension of teenage life.

Friday, May 28, 2010

The Invention of Hugo Cabret by Brian Selznick

The Invention of Hugo Cabret is a 500 plus page children's book. It is a combination picture book and fiction. There are more pictures than text and both tell a sweet and beautiful story giving you a rich, sensory experience.

The story lives up to its packaging and I can easily see this becoming a classic for many generations to enjoy. This sweet but heavy book is timeless and fun for all ages. The story, artwork, design and writing style will give you a unique reading experience.

It is truly extraordinary!

P.S The writer is also the illustrator.

Grade: A+


Orphan, clock keeper, and thief, Hugo lives in the walls of a busy Paris train station, where his survival depends on secrets and anonymity. But when his world suddenly interlocks with an eccentric, bookish girl and a bitter old man who runs a toy booth in the station, Hugo's undercover life and his most precious secret are put in jeopardy. A cryptic drawing, a treasured notebook, a stolen key, a mechanical man, and a hidden message from Hugo's dead father form the backbone of this intricate, tender, and spellbinding mystery.

Wednesday, May 26, 2010

Heart of the Matter by Emily Giffin

Giffin quickly draws you into her latest novel. The characters are well developed and easy to relate too. The storyline is believable and this fast paced story keeps you memorized.

This thought provoking read will keep you interested and the resolution at the end will either make you happy or angry.

Giffin does an excellent job at telling the different sides of her characters stories and making you sympathetic to each woman involved.

Be prepared for a rough, emotional ride.

Grade: A

Synopsis (B&N)

"Giffin excels at creating complex characters and stories that ask us to explore what we really want from our lives."--Atlanta Journal-Constitution

Tessa Russo is the mother of two young children and the wife of a renowned pediatric surgeon. Despite her own mother's warnings, Tessa has recently given up her career to focus on her family and the pursuit of domestic happiness. From the outside, she seems destined to live a charmed life.

Valerie Anderson is an attorney and single mother to six-year-old Charlie--a boy who has never known his father. After too many disappointments, she has given up on romance--and even to some degree, friendships--believing that it is always safer not to expect too much.

Although both women live in the same Boston suburb, the two have relatively little in common aside from a fierce love for their children. But one night, a tragic accident causes their lives to converge in ways no one could have imagined.

In alternating, pitch-perfect points of view, Emily Giffin creates a moving, luminous story of good people caught in untenable circumstances. Each being tested in ways they never thought possible. Each questioning everything they once believed. And each ultimately discovering what truly matters most.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Scent of the Missing: Love and Partnership with a Search-and-Rescue Dog by Susannah Charleson

Scent of the Missing is informative, entertaining and engaging. These realistic stories of heroism will warm your heart and take you on an emotional journey.

This book is a must for Dog lovers and those interested in search and rescue. It is hard work and Charleson gives detailed accounts on training methods and what is involved in search and rescue. You will fall in love with every single dog and cat featured in this book.

Grade: A

Synopsis (B&N)

In the wake of the Oklahoma City bombing, Susannah Charleson clipped the powerful news photo of an exhausted handler and his search-and-rescue dog. A dog-lover and pilot with search experience herself, Charleson was so impressed by the extraordinarily important work these dogs did that she decided to volunteer.

Once Susannah qualified to train a dog of her own, she got Puzzle, a strong, bright Golden Retriever. From the start Puzzle exhibited a unique aptitude for search-and-rescue work, but the puppy’s willfulness challenged even Susannah, who had raised dogs for years.

Scent of theMissing is the story of Susannah and Puzzle’s adventures and the complex relationship they forge as they help in the pursuit and recovery of people who have fallen prey to crime,misadventure, or catastrophe—a teen gone missing, an Alzheimer’s patient wandering in the cold, the debris of the space shuttle Columbia disaster. From the earliest air-scent lessons to her final mastery of wholebody dialog, Puzzle emerges as a fully collaborative partner. Along the way Susannah and Puzzle learn to read the clues in the field, and in each other, to accomplish together the critical work neither could do alone.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

This World We Live In (Life As We Knew It Series #3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

This World We Live lacks many of the things, I loved in the two previous novels in this series. It is a huge let down. The character development changed and some of the characters are nearly unrecognizable.

The story line is not nearly as interesting and the book does NOT stand on its own, you MUST have read the previous two, in order to get an understanding of what is going on.

I am left unsatisfied and unfortunately this is the last novel in the trilogy so you get no true conclusion on this apocalyptic novel.

I would still recommend it because the first novel, Life as We Knew it leaves you emotionally charged and The Dead and the Gone gives you another prospective.

Check it out or borrow it.

Grade: C+


The heart-wrenching companion to the bestselling novels Life As We Knew It and The Dead & The Gone.

It’s been a year since a meteor collided with the moon, catastrophically altering the earth’s climate. Miranda and her two brothers spend their days scavenging for food and household items, while their mother stays at home and desperately tries to hold on to the ordinary activities of their previous life. But they all know that nothing is truly normal in this surreal new world they live in.

The struggle to survive intensifies when Miranda’s father and stepmother arrive with a baby and three strangers in tow. One of the newcomers is Alex Morales, and as Miranda’s complicated feelings for him turn to love, his plans for his future thwart their relationship. Then a devastating tornado hits the town of Howell, and Miranda makes a decision that will change their lives forever.

Publishers Weekly

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Mathilda Savitch: A Novel by Victor Lodato

This book is about grief and what it can do to one individual, a family and the family dynamics. Mathilda's older sister has been dead for nearly one year and the family is falling apart and young, naive, Mathilda tells the story from her view point.

The story unravels and does not compare to what I envisioned. I somehow, thought Mattie was going to be a mischievous, naughty, wicked girl, in a humorous way of course. Instead, I found that Mattie is sullen and her character lacks development.

The story has an edge to it , that could make for a remarkable story, rather than one, that made it difficult for me to believe that, Mathilda was "real."

Overall, a decent but lacking novel.

Grade: B-

Synopsis (B&N)

A fiercely funny and touching debut novel about a young girl trying to find out the truth behind her sister’s death

I have a sister who died. Did I tell you this already? I did but you don’t remember, you didn’t understand the code . . . She died a year ago, but in my mind sometimes it’s five minutes. In the morning sometimes it hasn’t even happened yet. For a second I’m confused, but then it all comes back. It happens again.

Fear doesn’t come naturally to Mathilda Savitch. She prefers to look right at the things nobody else can bring themselves to mention: for example, the fact that her beloved older sister is dead, pushed in front of a train by a man still on the loose. Her grief-stricken parents have basically been sleepwalking ever since, and it is Mathilda’s sworn mission to shock them back to life. Her strategy? Being bad.

Mathilda decides she’s going to figure out what lies behind the catastrophe. She starts sleuthing through her sister’s most secret possessions—e-mails, clothes, notebooks, whatever her determination and craftiness can ferret out. More troubling, she begins to apply some of her older sister’s magical charisma and powers of seduction to the unraveling situations around her. In a storyline that thrums with hints of ancient myth, Mathilda has to risk a great deal—in fact, has to leave behind everything she loves—in order to discover the truth.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Stories from Candyland by Candy Spelling

You get what you expect. Nothing extraordinary or earth moving, just the tales of a woman who is too rich and has too much time on her hands.

It is so ridiculous you can't put it down and have to simply finish it in one sitting. You will get a few laughs, from this simple, easy read.

Check it out of the library or borrow it.

Grade: C

Synopsis (From the Publisher)

Carole Gene Marer spent her girlhood dreaming of meeting Rock Hudson, but when she finally had the chance—on a date with her future husband, television mogul Aaron Spelling—she was so shy she hid all night in the powder room. How Candy morphed from that quiet girl into a stylish trophy wife, mistress and designer of the largest house in Los Angeles (70,000 square feet when you count the attic) is at the heart of Stories from Candyland.

The life Candy created for her family—her husband and children Tori and Randy—was fabulous, over-the-top, and often magical. So what if California Christmases don’t come with snow? Let’s make some on the tennis court! How do we take a cross-country family vacation with a dad who doesn’t fly? By private train car, of course (with an extra for the 52 pieces of luggage).

Candy had a hand in some of the most beloved TV shows of all time (she insisted on a bigger diamond ring for Dynasty’s Krystle Carrington), has entertained half of Hollywood in epic fashion, and lives life in the spotlight . But under all the glamour lies a woman still wrestling with some of the insecurities of her ingénue self. Oprah threw her into a panic with a discussion of hoarding. And there’s nothing like being defined as, “well, you know, complicated” by your daughter on television and in her own book.

Monday, May 17, 2010

When Ghosts Speak : Understanding the World of Earthbound Spirits by Mary Ann Winkowski

A very interesting, exciting, fast read! The stories are vivid and the writing holds your attention.

You, just might get goose bumps but you have to ask it is the years of what we have seen in the movie and read in books that cause that reaction or it is our own intuition.

For the first time ever, I am interested in watch the TV series, The Ghost Whisperer based up the authors own experiences and this book might make you also want to watch it.

Synopsis (B&N)
Lights flicker on and off for no good reason. You feel drained and inexplicably irritable. Your four-year-old is scared to enter her bedroom.

Tell these things to Mary Ann Winkowski, and she'll tell you that you have a ghost.

A happily married, devout Catholic, suburban mother and full-time paranormal investigator, Mary Ann Winkowski has been able to see earthbound spirits, spirits that are trapped on earth and haven't "crossed over," since she was a little girl. Mary Ann works with these spirits to help them make peace with what keeps them here - whether it be people they can't let go of or homes they love.

In WHEN GHOSTS SPEAK, Mary Ann will tell the amazing story of growing up with this gift, and will share tips on how to recognize when you're not alone, and what to do if you are in the presence of a ghost.

Leroy Hommerding - Library Journal

Sunday, May 16, 2010

The 9th Judgment (The Women's Murder Club) by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

The 9th Judgment is the weakest novel in, The Women's Murder Club series or the series it just getting "old".

One of the characters is far fetched and hard to believe and connections that occur are just too coincidental.

I was looking forward to much more spark, action and suspense instead, I got predictability.

A fast read that makes for an OK book.

Grade: C+

Synopsis (B&N)

During an intimate dinner party, a cat burglar breaks into the home of A-list actor Marcus Dowling. When his wife walks in on the thief, the situation quickly teeters out of control, leaving an empty safe and a lifeless body.

The same night, a woman and her infant child are ruthlessly gunned down in an abandoned garage. The killer hasn't left a shred of evidence, except for a foreboding and cryptic message: WCF, the letters written in blood-red letters.

With two elusive criminals on the loose, Detective Lindsay Boxer calls on the Women's Murder Club to help her stop them before they continue their spree. But before they can break either case, the Lipstick Killer changes his act and demands a ransom—not for a single victim, but for all of San Francisco. Lindsay puts her own life on the line—but will it be enough to save the city from this deranged killer?

Friday, May 14, 2010

Weekends at Bellevue by Julie Holland M.D.

Weekends at Bellevue gives you an insiders look into the world of chaos that ensues in this particular hospital during the weekends.

It is a fascinating read, that is nearly impossible to put down! It paints a picture of the disturbing antics that occur and how mental illness and mental health care has an impact on all.

Dr. Holland gives actual accounts (names changed to protect the innocent) of cases. She also gives the reader a look into her own life and that of her beloved co-worker, Lucy.

It is a roller coaster ride, that's main focus is on the authors life and medical training.

An emotional read. An interesting and satisfactory look inside the Bellevue Psychiatric unit.

Grade: B+

Synopsis (B&N)

Julie Holland thought she knew what crazy was.
Then she came to Bellevue.

New York City’s Bellevue Hospital, the oldest public hospital in the United States, has a tradition of “serving the underserved” that dates back to 1736. For nine eventful years, Dr. Holland was the weekend physician in charge of Bellevue’s psychiatric emergency room, a one-woman front line charged with assessing and treating some of the city’s most vulnerable and troubled citizens, its forgotten and forsaken—and its criminally insane. Deciding who gets locked up and who gets talked down would be an awesome responsibility for most people. For Julie Holland, it was just another day at the office.

In an absorbing memoir laced with humor, Holland provides an unvarnished look at life in the psych ER, recounting stories from her vast case files that are alternately terrifying, tragically comic, and profoundly moving: the serial killer, the naked man barking like a dog in Times Square, the schizophrenic begging for an injection of club soda to quiet the voices in his head, the subway conductor who watched a young woman pushed into the path of his train. As Holland comes to understand, the degree to which someone can lose his or her mind is infinite, and each patient’s pain leaves a mark on her as well—as does the cancer battle of a fellow doctor who is both her best friend and her most trusted mentor.

Writing with uncommon candor about her life both inside and outside the hospital—her professional struggles, personal relationships, and the therapy sessions that help her crack the hard shell she’s formed to keep the painat bay—Holland supplies not only a page-turner with all the fast-paced immediacy of a TV medical drama but also a fascinating glimpse into the inner lives of doctors who struggle to maintain perspective in a world where sanity is in the eye of the beholder.

Wednesday, May 12, 2010

Stake That by Mari Mancusi

Stake That, is the second book in the Blood Coven Series. It is fresh, funny and enjoyable.

The main characters are witter than ever and the storyline is an excellent mix of twists and turns mixed in with romance.

Reminiscent of BTVS. If you need your, Buffy fix this series, just might give it to you. You also don't need to have read the first book in this series to love and understand the characters. It stands well on its own.

Perfect to read on the beach or snuggled up under the covers.

Grade: A

Synopsis (B&N)

The edgy young vampire series continues!

A fresh voice and fresh blood-it adds up to one very sassy vampire series...

Sisters. They'll swipe your clothes, your boyfriends, your destiny. But it wasn't exactly Rayne's twin Sunny's fault. Magnus, a vamp hottie and coven leader, mistook Sunny for Rayne last month and bit her instead. Now they're doing the inter-species dating thing.

Turns out that for every generation, there's a Vampire Slayer-and this time around, it just happens to be Rayne MacDonald. Her first mission: infiltrate a seedy vamp bar downtown and expose its vampire owner for purposely spreading a blood disease he created himself-a task almost harder than passing trig.

After going it alone once, Rayne realizes she needs help. So Magnus sends his sexy Goth buddy Jareth to go undercover with her. And, frankly, Rayne wouldn't mind going under the covers with him. Maybe fate doesn't bite after all...

Monday, May 10, 2010

The Four Seasons by Mary Alice Monroe

The story is touching and warm but predictable. The characters are likable and original.

At times the storyline is slow and drags but then it picks up and becomes enjoyable once again.

Might be more fitting for an older audience, as I couldn't relate to characters or their status in life.

An ok, read.

Grade: B-

Synopsis - From the Publisher
They are the Season sisters, bound by blood, driven apart by a tragedy. Now they are about to embark on a bittersweet journey into the unknown; an odyssey of promise and forgiveness, of loss and rediscovery.

Jillian, Beatrice and Rose have gathered for the funeral of their younger sister, Meredith. Her death, and the legacy she leaves them, will trigger a cross-country journey in search of a stranger—a stranger with the power to mend their shattered lives. As the emotions of the past reverberate into the present, Jilly, Birdie and Rose search for the girls they once were—in hopes of finding what they had really lost: the women they were meant to be.

Saturday, May 8, 2010

Not Without Hope by Nick Schuyler and Jere Longman

Be, prepared to go on an emotional roller coaster.

Schuyler, writes from the heart and you get a close look into the deepest, darkest moments of his life and the will to survive despite all odds.

Nick, gives an account of what happen that fateful day and the tragedies that occurred. He is honest and real. You learn about the 3 other men with him and how they used team work and communication to work around harsh conditions and uncontrollable forces.

If you read this memoir and have no compassion, than you are a cruel, heartless person.

Well, written and impossible to put down. You don't need to be a fan of football or know who any of these 4 men in order to make a connection with any of them and book.

and..please remember, don't make criticisms of choices these men, made without walking in their shoes first.

Grade: A+


On a blustery day, four friends embarked on a fishing trip. A harrowing two days later, only one man returned. This is his story.

On February 28, 2009, Nick Schuyler, a twenty-four-year-old personal trainer, left for a deep-sea fishing trip with three friends: NFL players Marquis Cooper and Corey Smith, and Will Bleakley, his best friend, who once played football for the University of South Florida.

It was supposed to be a day of fun and relaxation aboard Cooper's twenty-one-foot boat, which anchored seventy miles west of Tampa, Florida, in the Gulf of Mexico. The friends were out to catch some amberjack and grouper and maybe a few sharks. They planned to drink a few beers, have some laughs, and get home before an approaching cold front hit.

As the seas began to swell and the winds picked up in the late afternoon, they packed their gear and decided to head to shore. One problem. The anchor was stuck.

Inexperienced boaters, they made what would become a fatal mistake,...

Wednesday, May 5, 2010

Sweet Little Lies: An L.A. Candy Novel by Lauren Conrad

A sweet, little summer read!

Sweet Little Lies, is Conrad's second novel and part of the, L.A. Candy series.

Conrad does an excellent job of making this book, light hearted, fun and easy to read. The story lines are straight and to the point and the characters are well developed. Some you love, Some you hate, which makes for an entertaining reading.

I am anxiously awaiting, Conrad's third installment, Sugar and Spice, set to be released on, October 5th of this year and you will too!

Grade: A

Synopsis (B&N)

How Sweet it is?

Jane Roberts was the average girl next door until she and her best friend, Scarlett Harp, landed their own reality show, L.A. Candy. Now the girls have an all-access pass to Hollywood's hottest everything. But there's more to life on camera than just parties and shopping. . . .

When racy photos of Jane are leaked to the press, she finds herself at the center of a tabloid scandal. She turns to her co-star Madison Parker for help, unaware that Madison is scheming behind the scenes. She might be Jane's shoulder to cry on, but does Madison really have Jane's back?

Scarlett's working on a scandal of her own. She's fallen for someone who's strictly off-limits—which means Scarlett has a big secret to keep . . . from the L.A. Candy cameras, the paparazzi staking out her apartment, even from her best friend.

Of course, nothing stays secret for long for the stars of the newest hit TV series, and all this drama couldn't be better for ratings. But can Jane survive another season in the spotlight?

In television star Lauren Conrad's dishy, entertaining novel about young Hollywood, the lies are only as sweet as the people tell-ing them

Saturday, May 1, 2010

The Hollow by Jessica Verday

Jessica Verday's, The Hollow is based on , Irving's book, The Legend of Sleepy Hollow.

It is an exciting, intriguing and fun read, not to mention mysterious and sweetly romantic.

You will be hooked and one could easily say that, this series will be seriously addictive.

The stories of friendship and love run deep and you won't be able to guess the outcome until it starts to unravel itself near the end.

Well developed characters and a well throughout storyline. Abby (the main, character) will draw you in and haunt you. Verday, brings, Abby to "life" on the pages on this book.

This dark, enticing, rich novel will keep you interested and leave you craving more. One, of my favorite novels, this year! Wish, I owned a copy!

The second novel, in this series, The Haunted will be out this year! Look for it on, August 31, 2010.

Grade: A+

Synopsis (B&N)
When Abbey's best friend, Kristen, vanishes at the bridge near Sleepy Hollow Cemetery, everyone else is all too quick to accept that Kristen is dead?and rumors fly that her death was no accident. Abbey goes through the motions of mourning her best friend, but privately, she refuses to believe that Kristen is really gone. Then she meets Caspian, the gorgeous and mysterious boy who shows up out of nowhere at Kristen's funeral, and keeps reappearing in Abbey's life. Caspian clearly has secrets of his own, but he's the only person who makes Abbey feel normal again...but also special.

Just when Abbey starts to feel that she might survive all this, she learns a secret that makes her question everything she thought she knew about her best friend. How could Kristen have kept silent about so much? And could this secret have led to her death? As Abbey struggles to understand Kristen's betrayal, she uncovers a frightening truth that nearly unravels her—one that will challenge her emerging love for Caspian, as well as her own sanity.

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...