Friday, June 30, 2006


In the fourth book of Mary Janice Davidson's undead series, UNDEAD AND UNRETURNABLE (Berkley, c2005, ISBN 0-425-21081-2) 'tis the season for madness and mayhem.

Betsy Taylor and Eric Sinclair, both undead, are planning their wedding and Betsy is trying not to go crazy while dealing with her role as Queen of the vampires, her stepsister Laura (daughter of the Devil), and a gnat of ghost who needs help stopping her murderer, the Driveway Killer.

It starts with a clip from a newspaper:

From the Saint Paul Pioneer Press

December 15, 2005

Third woman found slain.

These books are simplistic, campy and oh, so much fun. Set in the Twin Cities, they are much lighter than say, the Anita Blake series by Laurell K. Hamilton.

I'm currently reading Janet Evanovich's latest, 12 SHARP, which, unlike the last three books I've read, starts out with a complete sentence. Novel idea!

Out of this world

MJ Rose's newest book THE VENUS FIX (Mira Books, c2006, ISBN 0-778-32317-X) is the third book in the Dr. Morgan Snow Butterfield Institute series. Set in New York City, Dr. Snow is once again treating patients, this time those who are addicted to Internet Webcam porn. When the women being watched start dying online it's only a matter a time before it comes full circle to Morgan and her patients. Once again, Noah Jordain is the cop doing the investigating and he's trying to get even closer personally to Morgan - a physician bound by a law who can't tell him a thing. Even if it endangers her life.

For starters, the beginning of a letter from the killer:


After all these months, I'm willing to succeed.

This was my favorite thus far, although I've enjoyed all of her Morgan Snow books. I confess I've yet to read any of her others. Morgan is such a 'real' character for me and I enjoy the relationships that she has in the books whether they be with Noah, Nina or her daughter, Dulcie. Truthfully, I never imagined I'd enjoy a series with a main character as a sex therapist because I don't like romance stories which involve a lot of sex and reading about sex bores me, so I thought there'd be a lot of that to contend with but nope...not the case at all and MJ Rose has become one of my "must-read" authors over the years and not because she signs and sends me the books before they are published, although I truly appreciate it. This book comes out tomorrow. Look for it at a bookseller near you. Also, check this out!

Don't you dare read this...oh, okay

In the book for young adults DON'T YOU DARE READ THIS, MRS. DUNPHREY by Margaret Peterson Haddix (Simon Pulse, c1996, ISBN 0-689-87102-3) Tish Bonner, a 16-year-old student is And Tish's life sucks! When Tish is assigned to write in a journal in Mrs. Dunphrey's class. The teacher has promised that any entries they mark as DO NOT READ will be honored with that and when Tish's life goes downhill her journal becomes her closest confidante.

The entire book is written in journal form starting with:

August 28

All right, Mrs. Dunphrey, you said we had to do these journals, but if we wanted to write something personal and private we could mark an entry, "Do not read."

This has probably been my most favorite YA read to date. I'm still having a hard time finding that 'perfect' young adult book and I truly feel that it's because I started reading novels at such a young age (Stephen King, age 9). I read about others who just LOVE YA books.

What am I missing?

Am I trying too hard?

Saturday, June 17, 2006

Shelf Life

The book SHELF LIFE: STORIES BY THE BOOK (Simon & Schuster Books for Young Readers, c 2003, ISBN 0-689-84180-9) is a book edited by Gary Paulsen and contains short stories, each of which has the lives of young people in different circumstances changed by their encounters with books.

My favorite of the ten stories was FOLLOW THE WATER by Jennifer L. Holm which surprised me as it's set on Mars and you know me and science fiction/fantasy...

The first sentence:

I'm floating in water.

I have yet to find a young adult book that really grabs hold of me and won't let go. I think that this is probably why I was such a mature reader as a child (I did read all of the Trixie Belden mysteries but I read my first Stephen King novel at age nine and never looked back!)

I'm reading THE VENUS FIX by MJ Rose right now but next I'm going to attempt a couple of Margaret Peterson Haddix's books.

Friday, June 16, 2006

Inside Out

Next, I read INSIDE OUT by Terry Trueman (Harper Collins, c2003, ISBN 0-06-447376-7), a young adult book about schizophrenia.
Set in Spokane, Washington at the Sunshine Espresso, Zach Wahhsted is one of 9 patrons when "Stormy" and "Frosty" aka Alan and Joey Mender hold the restaurant up. Only problem is...Zach has adolescent onset schizophrenia and the hold-up is making him late for his medication.

The story jumped around telling the story from Zach's viewpoint with blips from his doctor and mother and occasionally Rat and Dirtbag, the voices in his head.

I found this to be a touching, sometimes funny story with a bittersweet look at mental disorders. I enjoyed this book but liked STUCK IN NEUTRAL by Trueman better.
The foul language would have me recommending this book to ages thirteen and up.
The first sentence:

"You're worthless," Dirtbag says.

The Kill

I've been late in posting my most recent reads because I've been so busy with wedding preparations.

First, I read THE KILL by Allison Brennan (Ballantine Books, c2006, ISBN 0-345-48523-8), the third book in her trilogy.

In this book, Olivia St. Martin is tormented by the kidnapping and death of her sister 34 years ago. Present time, the man Olivia helped send to prison has been released because DNA evidence proved that he was not the man responsible for the death of Olivia's sister. When Olivia starts piecing together similar crimes, it looks like her sister's killer is still out there and Olivia feels responsible for this so she goes to Seattle where the "Seattle Slayer" is still killing, unofficially, to offer her knowledge and expertise. Zach Martin is the hunky detective that Olivia hooks up with in Seattle, Washington.

Once again, Brennan provides us with a solid, romantic suspense book with good likeable characters, a creepy bad guy and quick pacing. This book is not for people who detest books with children characters that are brutalized in one form or another. I know several readers who feel strongly about this and feel that I should include a warning to my own readers.

I've read all three books in this series and imagine I'll read the next trilogy when it's complete.

The first sentence:

Livie tilted her head toward the late-afternoon sky and frowned, wrapping her arms around her stomach.

Up next are two young adult books...

Tuesday, June 6, 2006

A perfect match (again!)

Well, as I mentioned yesterday, I was going to read PERFECT MATCH by Jodi Picoult (Atria Books, c2002, ISBN 0-7434-1872-7)but when I got about 20 pages in, I thought to myself, I think I've read is very familiar. So I went back to my book logs and sure enough, I read this book back in 2002. Unfortunately, it was before I kept detailed accounts of my books read but I skimmed through the book as a refresher and looked at my notes pertaining to this book. It said, "EXCELLENT NOVEL, THE PERFECT GAME, MATCH and POINT FOR PICOULT." And I gave it 4 1/2 stars out of 5. I'm guessing I really liked it.

The first sentence is:

When the monster finally came through the door, he was wearing a mask.

In Biddeford, Maine Nina Frost works as an assistant district attorney prosecuting child molesters. She's seen first hand how the system often fails these children and must come to grip with this when her own child, her miracle child, is rendered mute and it comes out that he too was a victim of sexual molestation. How far will a mother go to protect her child?
Read this book and find out.

Picoult weaves her magic again and again...

Monday, June 5, 2006

Under the Knife

Today's finish was UNDER THE KNIFE by Tess Gerritsen (Mira, c1990, ISBN 1-55166-611-1), one of her older books that I had not read and came across so I picked it up.
First things first, the first sentence:
Dear God, how the past comes back to haunt us.

So my take on the book? Well, you can definitely tell it was one of her first books and her writing has improved greatly over the past 16 years. There were a couple of times that I wanted to pitch the book across the room but I kept reading.
Dr. Kate Chesne, an anesthesiologist in Honolulu, Hawaii, is sued for malpractice when a patient and coworker dies under her care. David Ransom is the attorney representing the plaintiffs. He's a lawyer with a hard-on for doctors and is determined to bring her down. But then it appears there is a conspiracy of sorts, murders are rackin' up and in just three days time he believes her, becomes her protector and they fall in love, argh!

So much of it was just so implausible, but I kept reminding myself that this was one her first books, but I'm not sure that I want to revisit any of the other 'firsts' that I've missed.

I just started reading PERFECT MATCH by Jodi Picoult. It's looking very promising...