Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body, but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand, martini in the other, totally worn out and screaming,
"WOO HOO, what a ride!"

Friday, February 26, 2010

Review: Powers by John B. Olson

“Bury me standing.
I must be buried standing.”

Powers, the follow-up to John Olson’s Shade (“a must-read for those who enjoy Ted Dekker and Frank Peretti” —Publishers Weekly), introduces a sheltered Gypsy girl named Mariutza. Her grandfather utters a mysterious last request before dying in her arms after being shot by ten cloaked men.Those same men die before her eyes, but strange powers continue to pursue Mari through the swamps of southern Louisiana where she has always hidden from “the Badness.”The whole world seems to join in the chase—helicopters, soldiers, government agents, and the police are all trying to kill her. Mari’s only hope of survival is to find Jaazaniah the Prophet, the mythical hero of her grandfather’s bedtime stories. But she has never been outside the swamp or known other humans besides her grandfather and one teacher. How can this lone girl survive the bewildering world of men long enough to find a prophet who might not even exist?

I have really struggled with this review. I've started it over and over again and I'm not exactly sure why. The book was interesting but it was also confusing. The early chapters jumped into the action as Mari's grandfather died in her arms and she is forced to go on the run. She had been sheltered her whole life and never lived outside the swamps but now she must find Jaazaniah the Prophet. He is the hero of the bedtime stories that she listened to as a child. Jazz is a musician who plays his music wherever he can earn a paycheck. He has no idea that he in the mysterious prophet.

As more characters are introduced the chapters are told from their points of view. Again, there is plenty of action and suspense but it felt like the story splintered with each narrator and they weren't fully developed. It was an interesting plot but not very cohesive. I still had questions at the end but perhaps that was to allow for a sequel.

I also didn't realize this was Christian fiction which may have led to some of my confusion as well. I wasn't familiar with all of the references and bible passages although I thought they were incorporated into the story well and faith was one of the most important elements. Overall this was an intriguing story, it just wasn't for me.

Thank you to LibraryThing Early Reviewers who provided me with a free copy in exchange for an honest review.

Publisher: B&H Publishing Group
Release date: 12/1/09
Pages: 400
Price/format: $14.99/paperback
Type: supernatural thriller/Christian fiction

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

I went to the library yesterday to return a book and I brought another one home. I didn’t need to get any more but I was proud of myself for only getting one! I can’t resist books. I have so many good ones to choose from it’s driving me crazy.

I have a hard time deciding what to read next. I’m usually itching to start my newest books because they are fresh on my mind but I also have many great ones waiting patiently on my shelves. Some of them are for reviews and some are my own. If they are for reviews I try to read them in the order they were received unless they are for a tour or contest. I do keep track in a notebook and on a calendar. My choices really just depend on what I’m in the mood for. If I’ve read a few murder mysteries it might be time for a comedy. If I’ve just finished part of a series I might jump right into the next one to stay with the story. I never know for sure until it’s in my hands.

So I was just wondering how do you decide what you’re going to be reading next? Do you fly by the seat of your pants like I often do or do you have a schedule? I hope you have a pile of great books waiting for you too. Good luck choosing the next one!

Contest reminder

My contest for the two Dan Simmons titles Black Hills and Drood ends tonight! I have five of each for a total of ten books. Go sign up now, details are HERE.

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser" sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser".
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

I hate to be where she is not, when she is not. And yet, I am always going and she cannot follow.

~page 10 of Prologue
The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger

Monday, February 22, 2010

Review: Septimus Heap: The Magikal Papers by Angie Sage

Enter the world of Septimus Heap with this collection of previously unpublished papers.

This rich compendium includes:

The private journals of Septimus, Jenna, and Marcia Overstrand.

The best—and worst—places to eat as described in The Egg-on-Toast Restaurant Guide. Sirius Weazal's Speedy Guides to the Palace, the Wizard Tower, and Wizard Way. Excerpts from the Pigeon Post Biography series and the Heaps of History series. Alther Mella's Guide to Being Dead: Ten Handy Rules for New Ghosts. Beautiful maps, quirky flyers, funny letters, and much more!

This is a companion book to the Septimus Heap series. Although I've only read the first title (so far!) of five in this series I really enjoyed the fairy tale quality of the story. It was filled with rich detail and whimsical drawings at the beginning of each chapter. So when I saw this book at the library I had to pick it up.

The main characters are the Heap family; Silas, Sarah and their seven sons who have lived in the Ramblings. This is the section of the enormous Castle filled with a variety of rooms to live in, schools, factories, shops a hospital and the Chapel. The young girl they were raising was the rightful heir and princess of the Palace which had become their new home.

The book is divided into four sections: Papers From The Castle, The Wizard Tower, The Palace and Around The Castle. Filled with beautiful paintings, drawings, diagrams and other important information, it's all helpful to the reader. The pages are made to look like different documents complete with wrinkles and waterstains. From an official Biography Series come brief backgrounds and portraits of the main characters. There is a restaurant guide (do NOT eat at The Meat Pie & Sausage Cart), a list if shops on Wizard's Way (my personal favorite is Wyvald's Witchy Bookshop) and so much more.

The best part is that it's all done with a sense of humor. This is such a delightful book I've read it twice - so far! If you enjoy the series this is sure to enhance the experience and it's fun for all ages.

Publisher: HarperCollins Publisher
Release date: 2009
Pages: 167
Price/format: $17.99/hardcover
Type: children, fantasy

Sunday, February 21, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Something Like Fate
by Susan Colasanti

ARC from the publisher? (Viking)

Lani and Erin are bonded for life. One thing that connects them is their fascination of fate. Lani wonders how much of our lives has already been decided and how much we can actually influence. Since the Unknown can unexpectedly change our lives forever, how much can we really control?

From the minute Lani meets Jason, she can't deny the intense connection they share. It feels like she's known him forever. She's not sure if he feels it, too. But it doesn't matter. Because Jason is Erin's boyfriend. Lani is determined to ignore her feelings for Jason, no matter how powerful they are, rather than risk hurting her best friend.

What if the person who is your destiny is the one person you can't have?

Hell Hollow
by Ronald Kelly

ARC from LibraryThing Early Reviewer

From out of a shadowy backwoods hollow, echoes a dark threat from the past, nearly a century lost and forgotten. The rural town of Harmony, Tennessee possessed a disturbing secret; a secret so ancient that most of its residents were completely unaware of it. Even the last survivors of a vigilante raid long ago have filed the tragic events of that autumn night away, totally unaware of the evil that remains, dormant, but forever patient, among the tall pines and thick-leaved kudzu of a place known only as Hell Hollow. There it would have remained, unrevealed, if not for a handful of unknowing participants. Four kids, bored for excitement during one of the hottest summers on record. A killer on the run, dodging his latest atrocity. And a rape victim on a deadly mission – scarred in both body and mind. All have a hand in bringing forth an unspeakable evil from the dark woods of Hell Hollow. He is a skeletal figure in top hat and tails, brandishing a handful of magical cards and a patented elixir that was brewed in the very depths of Purgatory.

Spam a lot

I hope it doesn't inconvenience anyone who is entering my contests or who would like to make a comment but for now I am disabling anonymous posting. I have been receiving spam almost every day this week and while I appreciate the person who is Belarus and keeps posting the new website for kinky sex I really don't need it here. Thanks for thinking of me though.

Anyone may enter the giveaways so if you are unable to, you can contact me through email and we can take care of it that way. Thanks for understanding!

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

I always have a book with me. Of course I have them scattered all throughout my house but I also keep a Reader’s Digest or two in my car in case I’m ever stranded without reading material. Forget the jumper cables and spare tire, I need to read! Whatever book I’m currently perusing travels with me everywhere I go. I take it with me to my room because I read every night before I go to sleep. I bring it downstairs with me every morning. I read while I’m eating my cereal and hopefully with the half a cup of coffee that may or may not be left in the pot. I need to use my heating pad first thing in the morning for my back and other aching parts so my book comes to the couch with me. Whenever I leave the house it leaves too. If we are traveling after dark I take my book bag and book light so I can read in the car (while hubby is driving of course). I’ve had to take my son to doctor appointments lately for an injured knee and I’ve been reading my book in the waiting rooms. I had my own  appointment last week that was two hours away. So that was four hours in the car and two hours in the waiting room. I got a lot of reading done that day! When spring finally arrives sometime in July (I’m kidding of course, it’s more like June around here) the sacred hammock will come out of storage and my book will always be with me when I’m lounging there. Ah, the joy!

Like I said, I take a book with me everywhere. I don’t seem to be getting much reading accomplished lately though. Now that I think about it, as much as I carry around my books I should be zipping through my TBR pile. Maybe I’m actually carrying them more than I’m reading them. Hmmm…

So I was just wondering, how do you get your reading done? Do you have a system and read at the same time of day or night or do you just read when you get the chance? Do you have a different routine for the books you are going to review or is it all the same? How long does it usually take you to finish a book? I hope you are enjoying some good quality reading time this winter! Enjoy!

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesdays: Truly, Madly

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser" sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser".
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

"Bad day, Uva?" he asked.
Let's see. my parents skipped town, leaving me behind to run a company I had no business being in charge of; there's a little boy possibly lost in the woods I could do nothing to find; I saw a vision of a ring on a skeleton of someone who'd probably been murdered; I made a fool out of myself in front of Sean Donahue; and my grandmother had set me up with a meat cutter named Butch.

~pages 41 & 42
Truly, Madly by Heather Webber
A romantic mystery with a sense of humor!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This is what I got this week -

zero, zip, nada, nothing (well, there were a few from the library of course) but I'm not complaining because I have plenty to read. And since I didn't feel well last week I got even farther behind so I need to take advantage and get crackin' here!

Sunday, February 14, 2010

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering

When I was a kid I loved the book orders we got from school. I can still remember how exciting it was to get them from the teacher and flip through the tissue-paper-thin pages looking at all of the glorious, inexpensive books. My mom has always loved reading too so she would let me get as many as I wanted. I was so grateful because it was hard to choose only one. And the day my teacher would hand me my pile of new titles, with my order form slipped between the pages…I was always so happy! If I recall correctly the book orders stopped being passed out our freshman year. I missed them but I never was at a loss for reading material. I was sharing most of my mom’s books by then and I also had plenty of other people boys things to keep me occupied as well.

When my own kids started bringing home book orders from school it was fun all over again! They loved it and so did I. Unfortunately they lost interest in them sooner than I did. By middle school they were playing sports and they were starting to have other interests as well. It probably wasn’t cool anymore either. I even asked the boys to bring them home to me so I could pick out some books but they didn’t care for that idea. I might actually make them read something. Oh the horror! Oh well, we had a few more good years together anyway, my book orders and I.

So, I was just wondering what were some of your favorite childhood memories that involved reading? Did you get book orders too? I can’t  remember what my first experiences were with books but they must have been good. How about you?

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser"sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser.
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

She's making her way down the rows, sometimes stooping to peer underneath the cars as though someone might be sandwiched against the ground, trying to light up. There's a reason everyone calls her the Nicotine Nazi behind her back.

~page 51
Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Monday, February 8, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

This was a quiet week and that's what I needed. The last few weeks have been busy so I have lots to catch up on. And while I was chatting with my librarian Friday she brought out a large pile of new books that she hadn't put on the shelves yet. She asked if I was interested in any of them. I almost wet my pants! Although I was drooling over them all I was a good girl and only took two. *sigh* Books are so awesome.

breath: Attack of the Ninja Frogs
by Ursula Vernon

For review from Dial Books/Penguin Group

Danny Dragonbreath knew girls were trouble. But the new foreign exchange student, Suki the Salamander, is beyond trouble. Not only has she reduced his best friend, Wendell, to a blithering, lovesick tadpole, but she’s apparently the object of an elaborate ninja frog kidnapping plot. Danny is never one to pass up an adventure (especially one involving ninja frogs), and so he and Wendell and Suki set out on a dangerous quest through the mythical Japanese bamboo forests to find out what these fearsome frogs want. Danny may not be able to breathe fire like a normal dragon, but he and Wendell have watched lots of kung fu movies and can totally take on a bunch of ninja frogs. Or, um, so he hopes . . .

Using her trademark hybrid style of comic-book panels and text, Ursula Vernon has packed this second book in the hilarious Dragonbreath series with lots of kung fu, a little bit of loooove, and plenty of everyday school drama.

Cowboy and Wills
by Monica Holloway

Won from Bookin' With Bingo
autographed with a ribbon and silver dog bone attached

The day Monica learns that her lovable, brilliant three-year-old son, Wills, has autism spectrum disorder, she takes him to buy an aquarium. It's the first in a string of impulsive trips to the pet store to buy animals as a distraction from the uncontrollable, crushing reality of Wills's diagnosis. But while Wills diligently tends to the growing menagerie, what he really wants is a puppy. And one Christmas, when Wills is six, Cowboy Carol Lawrence joins their family.

Like all dynamic duos, Cowboy and Wills complement each other perfectly. Wills is cautious, fastidious, and irresistibly tenderhearted. Cowboy, a rambunctious golden retriever, is overeager, affectionate, and impulsive. And from the moment Cowboy enters their lives, Monica sees her son step a little farther into the world.

Soon, the boy who could barely say hello to his classmates in kindergarten is sharing stories of his new "sister" Cowboy during morning circle. Children crowd around them at the park, and instead of running away, Wills, holding Cowboy's leash in his sweaty fist, proudly answers all of their questions. With Cowboy, he finds the courage to invite kids over for playdates, overcomes his debilitating fear of water to swim along beside her in the family pool, and, after years of gentle coaxing, Wills finally sleeps in his own bed with Cowboy's paws draped across his small chest.

Through it all, Cowboy is there, dragging him toward other children, giving him the confidence to try new things and the courage to face his worst fears. And when Cowboy turns out to need her new family as much as they need her, they discover just how much she has taught them -- about devotion, about loyalty, and about never giving up.

Sometimes it's what you don't know to hope for that saves you. For Monica, her husband, Michael, and their son, Wills, salvation came in the form of a puppy with pale blond fur, chocolate brown eyes, a fondness for chewing the crotch out of underpants, and a limitless capacity for love.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

A sad day and a birthday do-over.

We've had some special family birthdays recently. My oldest son turned 21 at Christmas time, my grandmother celebrated her 91st birthday two weeks ago and this week my niece turned 15. My hubby also had his special day amidst all the others.

Unfortunately it was also a sad time along with the good. Our cocker spaniel Boo had been slowing down the last few weeks. At the age of 15 that was expected but except for his weakening eyesight and becoming hard of hearing he was always so spry. He really started to fail quickly two weeks ago and I played round-the-clock nurse maid. I slept on the couch next to his blanket/bed in the family room for four nights. I would think it was his last day and then he would rally back and be more like himself. One day there was no rallying back and it just happened to be on hubby's birthday. We just kept Boo comfortable and loved him up until it was over. Even the other two dogs knew what was happening. I've buried a lot of pets over the years and it never, ever gets easier. Of course I bawled like a baby but my guys all rallied around me. (Probably because they can't stand to see a woman cry.)

So happy birthday to my family, especially to my hubby. I'm sorry it wasn't the happiest day and I was so distracted but thank you for understanding. And I promise there will be a birthday do-over. Although he never complained it's just not right for such a special guy to go without one day that's all about him. He's very, very deserving.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Friday Fill-Ins


a heart

1. I know everything according to my children when they were younger, and nothing according to my children now.
2. Every month in winter is the longest month.
3. You can't help but love puppies, warm cinnamon rolls and new shoes. Did I mention chocolate?
4. I'm ready for you giant laundry pile; bring it on!
5. Where have you looked for your missing geometry book, baseball uniform, six page report, lunch money and homemade cupcakes that you have to have for school this morning?
6. Valentine's Day candy is now available. Probably Easter candy is too.
7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to watching my nephew's college hockey game, tomorrow my plans include laundry and reading and Sunday, I want to watch the commercial during the Super Bowl!

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

So, I was just wondering…

woman wondering I have to admit, I’ve never signed up for any challenges. Last year I didn’t know that much about them and this year I just wasn’t sure if or what I was interested in. There are so many to choose from. I swear there are some people who sign up for every one of them too. (and seem to be quite successful at it!) I like a variety of genres and there are plenty of challenges that would fit the bill.

When I began blogging, the first place I noticed challenges was on J. Kaye’s Book Blog. Not only does she participate in several of them she also hosts several of them. I don’t know how she finds the time. If you’re looking for a challenge to join go to her blog. She has a great selection listed on her sidebar. I was visiting another blog this week and the author was participating in forty-two different challenges. 42!! I haven’t even signed up for one yet! That’s very impressive.

So, I was just wondering what challenges did you sign up for this year? Did you complete all of your choices last year? I would love to hear more about it!

Contest: Black Hills and Drood by Dan Simmons


Thanks to Hatchette I get to give away two titles - but five of each!

Black Hills (hardcover release date 2/24/10)
When Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, "counts coup" on General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at the Little Bighorn, the legendary general's ghost enters him - and his voice will speak to him for the rest of his event-filled life.

Seamlessly weaving together the stories of Paha Sapa, Custer, and the American West, Dan Simmons depicts a tumultuous time in the history of both Native and white Americans. Haunted by Custer's ghost, and also by his ability to see into the memories and futures of legendary men like Sioux war-chief Crazy Horse, Paha Sapa's long life is driven by a dramatic vision he experienced as a boy in his people's sacred Black Hills. In August of 1936, a dynamite worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, Paha Sapa plans to silence his ghost forever and reclaim his people's legacy-on the very day FDR comes to Mount Rushmore to dedicate the Jefferson face.

Drood (trade paperback release date 2/8/10)
On June 9, 1865, while traveling by train to London with his secret mistress, 53-year-old Charles Dickens--at the height of his powers and popularity, the most famous and successful novelist in the world and perhaps in the history of the world--hurtled into a disaster that changed his life forever. Did Dickens begin living a dark double life after the accident? Were his nightly forays into the worst slums of London and his deepening obsession with corpses, crypts, murder, opium dens, the use of lime pits to dissolve bodies, and a hidden subterranean London mere research . . . or something more terrifying? Just as he did in The Terror, Dan Simmons draws impeccably from history to create a gloriously engaging and terrifying narrative. Based on the historical details of Charles Dickens's life and narrated by Wilkie Collins (Dickens's friend, frequent collaborator, and Salieri-style secret rival), DROOD explores the still-unsolved mysteries of the famous author's last years and may provide the key to Dickens's final, unfinished work: The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Chilling, haunting, and utterly original, DROOD is Dan Simmons at his powerful best.


- Simply fill out the form to enter. You can enter for both books or just one.
- 5 copies of each book will be given away, 10 books total.
- US and Canada only, no PO boxes

Extra entries:
+1 new followers
+2 old followers
+2 promote the contest and leave a link

Contest ends 2/24/10 at 11:59 p.m.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

Teasure Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by Miz B of Should Be Reading and asks you to :

1. Grab your current read
2. Open to a random page
3 . Share 2 "teaser"sentences also citing the title of the book and the author and in that way people can have great recommendations if they like the "teaser.
4. Please avoid spoilers!
. . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .

As he approached the table Gwyneth was saying to Maggie , "I'm really surprised you don't have more requests for soy. This is nonfat milk though - correct?"

"I get it fresh from anorexic cows every morning," Maggie said through clenched teeth, and Gwyneth, not knowing how dangerous it was, tut-tutted her in return.

~page 93
Rose Hill by Pamela Grandstaff


The winner of Truly, Madly -


Email is on the way!

Monday, February 1, 2010

Mailbox Monday

Another big week and I stocked up at the library too. What was I thinking?? I'm blaming it all on the cold weather. I just want to hibernate and read. Really. That's all I want to do!

Mailbox Monday at The Printed Page is the gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week (checked out library books don’t count, eBooks & audio books do). Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Under The Dome
by Stephen King

Won from Peace, Love & Pat

On an entirely normal, beautiful fall day in Chester's Mill, Maine, the town is inexplicably and suddenly sealed off from the rest of the world by an invisible force field. Planes crash into it and fall from the sky in flaming wreckage, a gardener's hand is severed as "the dome" comes down on it, people running errands in the neighboring town are divided from their families, and cars explode on impact. No one can fathom what this barrier is, where it came from, and when -- or if -- it will go away.
Dale Barbara, Iraq vet and now a short-order cook, finds himself teamed with a few intrepid citizens -- town newspaper owner Julia Shumway, a physician's assistant at the hospital, a select-woman, and three brave kids. Against them stands Big Jim Rennie, a politician who will stop at nothing -- even murder -- to hold the reins of power, and his son, who is keeping a horrible secret in a dark pantry. But their main adversary is the Dome itself. Because time isn't just short. It's running out.

Holly's Inbox
by Holly Denham

Traded with Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit

Meet Holly Denham. It's her first day as a receptionist at a London investment bank and inexperienced Holly is struggling. Take a peek at her email and you'll see why: Holly's inbox is a daily source of drama.

Big Boned
by Meg Cabot

Traded with Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit

Life is reasonably rosy for plus-size ex-pop star turned Assistant Dormitory Director and sometime sleuth Heather Wells. Her freeloading ex-con dad is finally moving out. She still yearns for her hot landlord, Cooper Cartwright, but her relationship with "rebound beau," vigorous vegan math professor Tad Tocco, is more than satisfactory. Best of all, nobody has died lately in "Death Dorm," the aptly nicknamed student residence that Heather assistant-directs. Of course every silver lining ultimately has some black cloud attached. And when the latest murdered corpse to clutter up her jurisdiction turns out to be her exceedingly unlovable boss, Heather finds herself on the shortlist of prime suspects—along with the rabble-rousing boyfriend of her high-strung student assistant and an indecently handsome young campus minister who's been accused of taking liberties with certain girls' choir members.

With fame beckoning her back into show business (as the star of a new kids' show!) it's a really bad time to get wrapped up in another homicide. Plus Tad's been working himself up to ask her a Big Question, which Heather's not sure she has an answer for . . .

How It Ends
by Laura Wiess

Traded with Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit

Laura Wiess, the acclaimed author who once brought us "a girl to walk alongside Harper Lee's Scout and J. D. Salinger's Phoebe" (Luanne Rice), brings us another memorable young woman, this one at the center of an extraordinary novel of how love ends, how it begins, and what it's worth to protect it... All Hanna's wanted since sophomore year is Seth. She's gone out with other guys, even gained a rep for being a flirt, all the while hoping cool, guitar-playing Seth will choose her. Then she gets him -- but their relationship is hurtful, stormy and critical, not at all what Hanna thinks a perfect love should be. Bewildered by Seth's treatment of her and in need of understanding, Hanna decides to fulfill her school's community service requirement by spending time with Helen, her terminally ill neighbor, who she's turned to for comfort and wisdom throughout her life. But illness has changed Helen into someone Hanna hardly knows, and her home is not the refuge it once was. Feeling more alone than ever, Hanna gets drawn into an audiobook the older woman is listening to, a fierce, unsettling love story of passion, sacrifice, and devotion. Hanna's fascinated by the idea that such all-encompassing love can truly exist, and without her even realizing it, the story begins to change her. Until the day when the story becomes all too real...and Hanna's world is spun off its axis by its shattering, irrevocable conclusion.

My Soul To Take
by Rachel Vincent

Traded with Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit

She doesn't see dead people, but…

She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

Making Toast
by Roger Rosenblatt

To review from Ecco

When his daughter, Amy - a gifted doctor, mother, and wife - collapsed and died from an asymptomatic heart condition, Roger Rosenblatt and his wife, Ginny, left their home on the South Shore of Long Island to move in with their son-in-law, Harris, and their three young grandchildren, six-year-old Jessica, four-year-old Sammy, and one year-old James, known as Bubbies. Long past the years of nappies, homework, and recitals, Roger and Ginny - Boppo and Mimi to the kids - quickly reaccustomed themselves to the world of small children: bedtime stories, talking toys, playdates, nonstop questions, and nonsequential thought. Though still reeling from Amy's death, they carried on, reconstructing a family, sustaining one another, and guiding three lively, alert, and tenderhearted children through the pains and confusions of grief. As he marvelled at the strength of his son-in-law, a surgeon, and the tenacity and skill of his wife, a former kindergarten teacher, Roger attended each day to 'the one household duty I have mastered'- preparing the morning toast perfectly to each child's liking. With the wit, heart, precision, and depth of understanding that has characterised his work, Roger Rosenblatt peels back the layers on this most personal of losses to create both a tribute to his late daughter and a testament to familial love. The day Amy died, Harris told Ginny and Roger, 'It's impossible'. Roger's story tells how a family makes the possible of the impossible.

Before I Fall
by Lauren Dane

From Barnes & Noble First Look Book Club

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?
Samantha Kingston has it all—looks, popularity, the perfect boyfriend. Friday, February 12th should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it’s her last. The catch: Samantha still wakes up the next morning. In fact, she re-lives the last day of her life seven times, until she realizes that by making even the slightest changes, she may hold more power than she had ever imagined.

We The Children (Benjamin Pratt series)
by Andrew Clements

To review from Simon & Schuster

Benjamin Pratt’s school is about to become the site of a new amusement park. It sounds like a dream come true! But lately, Ben has been wondering if he’s going to like an amusement park in the middle of his town—with all the buses and traffic and eight dollar slices of pizza. It’s going to change everything. And, Ben is not so big on all the new changes in his life, like how his dad has moved out and started living in the marina on what used to be the "family” sailboat. Maybe it would be nice if the school just stayed as it is. He likes the school. Loves it, actually. It’s over 200 years old and sits right on the harbor. The playground has ocean breezes and the classrooms have million dollar views…MILLION DOLLAR views. And after a chance—and final—run-in with the school janitor, Ben starts to discover that these MILLION DOLLAR views have a lot to do with the deal to sell the school property. But, as much as the town wants to believe it, the school does not belong to the local government. It belongs to the CHILDREN and these children have the right to defend it!

Don’t think Ben, his friend Jill (and the tag-along Robert) can ruin a multimillion dollar real estate deal? Then you don’t know the history and the power of the Keepers of the School. A suspenseful six book series, book one, We the Children, starts the battle on land and on sea. It’s a race to keep the school from turning into a ticket booth and these kids are about to discover just how threatening a little knowledge can be.