These Books Aren't All New??

Books are expensive. I tend to pick and review books that are both new & old. Many of these books you will be able to find on the shelves on your library as opposed to the front of your bookstore.

I believe that there are many hidden gems from years gone by & I enjoy highlighting those as well as today's best sellers.

Sunday, March 29, 2009



Babyface, Fiona Gibson

Babyface is a typical release from Red Dress Ink. It's light reading, chick lit, a lot of the time I dig that.

Nina meets Jonathan through an ad & oops, they end up pregnant before they even know each other! Deciding to "do the right thing", they move in together & plan for their future. Then they begin to realize they don't know exactly what "the right thing" is.

Set in the UK, this book has a little more English terms than the standards like crisps & biscuits, but I didn't find it offputting.

The baby modeling storyline seemed a little superfluous & not too connected to me, but as a fun rainy day read, it's great.

Amigas and School Scandals


Amigas and School Scandals, Diana Rodriguez Wallach

The second in this series did not dissapoint. Mariana is back from Puerto Rico & brings her cousin Lily back with her. Trying to re-adjust to her friends after being gone all summer, while trying to get her friends to warm up to Lily proves challenging.

A story line about a distant relative & the way Mariana's father & uncles react is stretching it. It seems unrealistic & just thrown in with no resolution.

The girls find their way through the drama that surrounds teenage girls, deal with their first major "boy" issues, and handle some messed up grown up secrets in a way that is usually realistic & fun. Again the lack of focus on sex, alcohol & drugs is a nice bonus. Great YA reading for teen girls.

Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Amor & Summer Secrets


Amor & Summer Secrets, Diana Rodriguez Wallach

This book was really a nice YA book. Drinking played a majorly small role in the book, sex was just a few sweet kisses & drugs weren't even mentioned.

Against her wishes, Mariana is shipped off to chaperone her older brother to meet long forgotten relatives on a summer trip to Puerto Rico. Mariana & her brother Vincent are from a wealthy area of Philadelphia, with 5,000 square foot houses & marble bathrooms for everyone. The family is ruled by her father & sharing thoughts & emotions is discouraged.

Welcome to Puerto Rico & culture shock! Warm, effusive distant realtives in a very small abode, with one bathroom for everyone to share is a real wake-up call for Mariana. Throw in cousin who's Mariana's mirror image, except for her two prominent endowments & there's a lot going on in this fun book.

I would have liked to see a little depth to Mariana's first romance, but the story continues with Rodriguez Wallach's next book in the series, Amigas & School Scandals.

New Moon

new moon Pictures, Images and Photos

New Moon, Stephanie Meyer

Fresh off of my excitement from Twilight I started reading New Moon. I was excited to hear what was happening with Edward, Bella & Edward's family.

Instead I get Native American teen werewolves. Huh? I thought we were doing vampires...

What to say about New Moon? I read it, I finished it, I've moved on with my life.

Eclipse just arrived yesterday from Paper Back Swap.

Ms. Meyer, please don't let me down again. These are big books to read, just to be bored with.

(Anyone who loves to read & doesn't know about Paper Back Swap, go there now!)


Twilight Pictures, Images and Photos

Twilight, Stephanie Meyer

Yes, I finally rolled around to the old bandwagon & hopped on. Since I have teen boys, this was one mania that never swept through out household. Well I'll be darned if I didn't see half of the mommy-blogging community declaring themselves devoted to this series of books. I guess it was the peer pressure that got me. I needed to know if I was team Edward or Jacob. I did post a bit about this here.

I really enjoyed the book, even though I was not too impressed with the character of Bella. I think this may be a result of reading many quotes from Kristen Stewart, the actress that plays her in the movie. Endearing is not a word I would use to describe Ms. Stewart.

The bonus of this post-movie-release reading experience is that fact that I could clearly picture the handsome Robert Pattinson in my mind when reading about Edward. I haven't seen the movie yet, but the internet & mags really couldn't be plastered much more with them.

I made my through the first half of the book in one evening, staying up late. And then he sparkled. I've had women explain to me that this was a crucial point, that allowed Edward to be out in the daylight, as long as the sun wasn't shining, I get that. I had already suspended disbelief enough to go with the whole family of vampires thing, but the sparkling just seemed like adding a set of jazz hands around the whole book.

Then next morning I resumed reading & did enjoy the rest of the book. I liked it, I got it. While it was obviously directed at the tween girls, I could see why the mommy-set was enchanted. Until I read New Moon...

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Just Another Girl


Just Another Girl, Melody Carlson

This small YA novel is sweet & potent. Aster Flynn is not as beautiful as her older sister Rose & is totally responsible for her younger sister Lily. Lily is mentally retarded & since Aster "handles" her so well, their mother works as much as possible to stay away from home. Working as many hours possible, even though she's on salary.

The siblings' dad ran away to a new family & when Aster gets a whiff of a life of her own, she bridles against her restraints. This Cinderella story ends beautifully, the glass slipper breaks & real life becomes the attainable, wonderful, goal.

Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Mother Teresa; Come Be My Light


Mother Teresa; Come Be My Light - The Private Writings of the Saint of Calcutta, Brian Kolodiejchuk

I heard, after the death of Mother Teresa, that she had not felt the presence of The Lord in her life for years. Since around 1949, she writes about a darkness, saying "the place of God in my soul is blank, there is no God in me." She died in 1997. For over 45 years she toiled with the poorest of the poor in the name of a God who she could no longer feel. But her faith, her devotion to Him kept her going beyond her own pain.

I've wanted to read her letters & gain some inspiration about perservering through the darkness. Then I started reading the book. Sometime around 1956 Mother Teresa started asking her superiors in the church for her private writings back. Literally begging for her letters to be destroyed, or be returned to her so she could destroy them. Again & again for over 40 years she asked for her private writings to never be made public. She felt her call by God was a "delicate gift" & did not want that publicized. Each & every time the higher ups in the Catholic church denied her request.

After reading the first several of her letters, expressing her pain and longing to feel Jesus Christ in her life, I was amazed. However, after reading several of her letters pleading & begging that the writings never be made public, I could not keep reading. The Catholic Church may be willing to put her writings out there against her wishes, I can't control that, but I can choose not to read the book. For me it honestly felt like an invasion of privacy.

Shortly after her death she was fast-tracked for sainthood by the Catholic Church. She was beatified (the first step towards sainthood) in 2003.

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

A Map Of Home


A Map Of Home, Randa Jarrar

I should begin this post by letting you all know that I am an idiot. I believed during the entire book, that I was reading an autobiography. I even wondered why the name of the main character in the book was not the same as the author, but when you read the book you know that the main character is given an mans name, so I assumed that she changed it.

Anywho, this is about a young girl living in Kuwait. It's quite a culture shock to read the amount of cursing & hitting that goes on in this household. Even though this is fiction, I think it must be scenes that are familiar to Jarrar, since she lived in Kuwait until the first Gulf War.

If it's not a culture you're not used to, the book can be a little unsettling, but maybe unsettling is the first step to understanding.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wishful Drinking


Wishful Drinking, Carrie Fisher

We're probably all familiar with Carrie by now. Daughter of Debbie Reynolds & Eddie Fisher. She points out that they were the Brad & Jen of the day with Elizabeth Taylor playing the part of Angelina. Fisher has suffered with addiction & bipolar disease.

She decided her last option for feeling normal after fighting the bipolar was ECT or electroconvulsive therapy. It used to be called electric shock therapy. This left her feeling better, but having swiss cheese brain regarding her past. I struggle with addiction & bipolar & pray I never have to resort to ECT. That being said, this book is seemingly random bits of whatever comes to mind in book form. It does have lots of pictures.

Wishful Drinking has been a one woman show Fisher has done for a while & she decided to throw it in a book. Unless you really care that Eddie Fisher likes to boink women from Chinatown or Debbie Reynolds wanted Carrie to make a baby with one of her stepfathers, this one really isn't for you.

The Spectacular Now


The Spectacular Now, Tim Tharp

Sutter Keely is the master of his domain. His domain being getting drunk & trying to figure out girls. Sutter gradually learns that real life is harder than it looks and if he wants anything from real life, he's gonna have to stop the never ending party & make an effort. This book didn't reall "hook" me. Sutter's a nice enough guy, but it's hard to keep rooting for a teen who almost burns his sisters house down smoking a joint in her closet & then, once again, brushes it off. In the end he learns his lesson, does the right thing, cuts down on the alcohol, but by that point I didn't really care.