Showing posts from 2010

Post-Holiday Catch Up

For Christmas, there was only one thing on my list. I was dying to own a Kindle. Despite my attempts, the Kindle became a challenge to order. Because I had Best Buy Rewards and Gift Cards to use up, we went there to order the Kindle in mid-December. Sure, I could have ordered from Amazon, but I had $40 in certificates so it made sense to shop local.

Our Best Buy was sold out, but promised they could get one in by Wednesday, so we went ahead and paid for it. Turns out that was a HORRIBLE mistake. Amazon told area stores (I checked Best Buy here and in neighboring states and Staples in Vermont and neighboring states) that the Kindles were in high demand again this year and they had orders to fill before they could accept additional orders. Shipping delays until after New Year's were guaranteed. I honestly didn't want to wait and opted for the Nook.

Now, I do understand the Nook doesn't have the same storage capacity, though I can add an SD card, so that's not a problem.…

Zombie Cupcakes - Zilly Rosen (Cookbook)

Released February 15, 2011

If there's one thing that amuses me, it's a good, emphasis on good, zombie movie. Fido, Shaun of the Dead, Zombieland, and even Norway's Dead Snow all are great representations on zombie movies of today that should become classics. When I learned of a cookbook that was presenting cupcake designs with zombie or Halloween themes, I was highly amused and couldn't wait to get my hands on a copy of Zombie Cupcakes.

If you know of the Hello, Cupcake design books, you get the basic premise for Zombie Cupcakes. There are a number of different cupcake designs ranging from falling out eyeball cupcakes to a corpse's hand rising from the grave. Each "recipe" is rated so that you know if it is difficult to make or incredibly easy. A full list of necessary ingredients is given, along with some cake and frosting recipes. Cake recipes include basics like Red Velvet Cake, but also throw in some more uniqu…

I'll Be Home for Christmas - Julie L. Cannon

Released September 2010

Maggie Culpepper has given up on God. After her mother dies, Maggie decides there's no way she's going to freely give her heart to someone else only to have God snatch them away and leave loved ones heartbroken. With that, she enlists in the U.S. Navy WAVE program and heads off to serve her country during WWII.

William Dove has loved Maggie for most of his life. He knows she loves him too, so he's shattered when she enlists. One thing is certain, he is determined to change her mind and realize there is a happily ever after.

I'll Be Home for Christmas is a holiday romance that left me with mixed feelings. I adored William's character and really felt he was the most sensible of the lot. Given that, it's got to be obvious that Maggie did little for me. In fact, there were times I wondered how William could tolerate her. She's so angry with most everyone and everything that it's off-putting. She treats William …

Family Affair - Debbie Macomber

Released January 2011

I'll start off by saying this is not a new story. Debbie Macomber's Family Affair was first released in 1994 in Purrfect Love. This is not a long story, expect a total of 99 pages. The novella follows with a few recipes for homemade cat treats. Readers whose cats have sensitivities to grains, like my boys, should note that the recipes all call for whole-wheat flour and/or cornmeal.

In Family Affair, Lacey Lancaster moved to San Francisco after learning her husband was leaving her for another woman. Lacey's kept her heart locked away and doesn't think men are particularly trustworthy. The light of her life is her Abyssinian cat. She's not of fond of her neighbor Jack, a man she is convinced is cheating on his girlfriend.

Jack Walker noticed Lacey the day she moved in and he wishes she'd give him the time of day. One evening while he and his sister are having an argument, Lacy shows up at his door asking them to tone i…

'Twas the Night - Sandra Hill, Trish Jensen & Kate Holmes

Released November 2010

'Twas the Night offers a trio of Christmas tales finds its way to Belle Books. Originally published by Leisure/Dorchester in 2001 under the title Here Comes Santa Claus, readers who missed this romance anthology of sorts have the chance to enjoy some fine holiday stories.

The basic premise involves a Christmas wedding in Maine. Sam, Kevin and Stan were foster children at the White Mountain Home for Boys in Snowdon, Maine. Now George, a man who means the world to all three of them, is about to get married, and he wants his "boys" to be his best men on his wedding day.

Each author writes the story from their character's point of view. Alternating chapters are written by one of the three authors--Sandra Hill, Trish Jensen and Kate Holmes).

Things start off with Sandra Hill's Sam Merrick, a Blue Angels pilot, heading to Maine. Unfortunately, a snow storm cancels flights all along the East Coast leaving S…

How Sweet It Is - Sophie Gunn (Contemporary Romance)

Released January 2011

Lizzie Carpenter understands the struggles single moms face. As a pregnant teen, her boyfriend up and left for Europe without a word. Fourteen years have passed and Lizzie is employed and spends as much time with her daughter as possible. Her home may need repairs but being a loving mom comes first.

When Lizzie and her daughter, Paige, receive a letter from the father Paige has never met, both fly into a state of panic. Lizzie is terrified he'll take her daughter away, Paige is ashamed he'll see the house and think poorly of them. Lizzie meets with her "Enemy Club" former high school enemies who are now friends and makes a wish that a handyman will knock on her door and start making repairs without wanting anything in return.

Enter Tay Giovanni. He's in the small New York town hoping to make amends for tragic situation he played a role in. While trying to work through his guilt, he overhears Lizzie's wish. He …

Goodnight Tweetheart - Teresa Medeiros

Released December 14, 2010

First, let me say that Goodnight Tweetheart is very addicting. I am one of those thousands, maybe millions, that think Twittering is a fad that will eventually disappear. I have no use for Twitter and am somewhat saddened that people feel it's a good thing to share intimate details of your life. Too many sickos in the world for my liking to even think of doing that.

Given that, Goodnight Tweetheart is all about Twittering. After having a successful first novel, an Oprah pick no less, Abby Donovan's discovered that fame can be fleeting. Her publicist urges her to sign up with Twitter and start connecting with her fans through that medium. As a n00b, Abby connects with a college professor who is current on sabbatical. Mark Baynard shows her the ropes and soon a strong connection forms between the two.

While Mark's touring the world, Abby begins to realize she may have met Mr. Right. That is until the t…

Chronicle Books' Friends and Family Sale

Friends & Family Holiday Sale Extended! Enjoy 35% off and FREE ground shipping
on our website for one more week! Use promo code FRIENDS at checkout
through Dec. 12. Happy Holidays! Start shopping.

Blackboard Books Giveaway

Congratulations to Meredith from Florida. Her name was drawn from the hat as the winner of the Blackboard Books Boxed Set of Grammar Guides.
Just in time for the holidays comes a second contest. Want to win? All you have to do is post a comment about your thoughts on these books, and I'll be choosing one winner from the posts. (Winner must have an address within the United States. Winner will be chosen Christmas Eve, so all entries must be received by noon EST on December 24th.)

Blackboard Books Boxed Set: 

i before e (except after c), My Grammar and I . . . Or Should That Be Me?,
I Used to Know That

By Caroline Taggart, J.A. Wines, and Judy Parkinson
Published by Readers Digest
October 2010
$35.00 US

The first three titles in the Blackboard Books series are now available in an attractive box set! Test your knowledge on all subjects, from English Lit to Western Civ, from Grammar to Idioms, from Physics to Math and so much more. Inside you'll find:

i before…

Love Finds You: Under the Mistletoe - Irene Brand & Anita Higman

Released September 2010

Love Finds You Under the Mistletoe is another entry into the Love Finds You collection of gentle romances. They are Christian novels to an extent given the scripture and Christian references, but I think anyone looking for a heartwarming story will adore the romances.

Irene Brand's entry, An Appalachian Christmas, shares the story of Julia Mayfield. She has no experience caring for children, but that doesn't stop her parents from sending Julia on a trip with her toddler nephew in tow. Julia's sister died during childbirth and the father of the baby died in WWII. Julia's heading to Mistletoe, Kentucky to introduce her nephew to his paternal grandparents. In Mistletoe, things don't go as planned when the boy's grandparents refuse to see him. She's taken in by David Armstrong's grandmother hoping they might come around. David Armstrong is hiding a secret that he can't r…

Kill the Dead - Richard Kadrey

Released October 2010

Kill the Dead, the follow-up to Sandman Slim, brings readers into another glimpse of James Stark's, aka Sandman Slim, life. For those who, like me, are new to the story, James Stark came from the depths of Hell to seek vengeance for his girlfriend's death and rid the world of some evil in the process. He won't rest until he's found the man who put him in Hell.

Stark receives an unusual request this time around. Lucifer's coming up from Hell to oversee a biopic of his life. He's in his human form and needs protection. He wants Stark as a body guard, and it's not in Stark's best interest to say no. Things get hairy when a massive amount of undead known as "drifters" hit the area. Someone's released them and Stark needs to find out who and why. Stark's definitely got his hands full, but a Czech porn star/movie star in Lucifer's film is ready to help out and kick butt. With a …

The Long Road Home - Mary Alice Monroe

Released November 2010

Originally published in 1995 by HarperCollins, Mary Alice Monroe's The Long Road Home is back. I have to admit, I was eager to read this romance. It's set in Vermont and I often find that authors who don't live or spend plenty of time here rely on untrue stereotypes that end up painting an inaccurate picture of the residents and towns. Given that, I was ready to see what Mary Alice Monroe had to say.

Relatively speaking, Monroe does a great job. Some aspects such as Vermonter's not being a "chatty group" are not necessarily true of all areas. The hick accent (yeh-up) is another thing that is not very common that tends to be heard mainly in Northeast Kingdom regions and only with the older Vermonters, particularly those who grew up on farms. I know many of today's farmers and they have no discernable accents and are generally grammatically correct in speech and writing.

Like many states and counties, different r…

The Tenth Circle - Jodi Picoult

Released October 2006

Once again, the key reason I picked up a copy of Jodi Picoult's The Tenth Circle is because an area high school banned the book from its English class. This time, parents claimed the book was violent, there was graphic rape and bullying. And again, I still feel parents are being overprotective because like it or not, rape does happen, bullying happens and kids see far more violence on the nightly news or in a newspaper than they'll "see" in this book.

In The Tenth Circle, Trixie Stone is heartbroken over the break up of her and her jock boyfriend, Jason. Jason is the classic all-American with a bright future. He's the town's hockey star and idol of many. One night, Trixie is at a friend's house where a plan is in store for Trixie to make Jason jealous and win him back. The night ends with Trixie saying she's been raped by Jason.

Trixie's dad, Daniel, will do anything to protect his only child. When she tel…

Nineteen Minutes - Jodi Picoult

Released February 2008

I have this thing about book banning. After hearing on a local news station, that parents confronted an area high school and demanded that Nineteen Minutes be banned from the classroom, I decided I had to read it for myself.

I do agree that it's a parent's responsibility to monitor what their child reads, plays and watches. However, banning a book being taught in an English class because of the content seems a little absurd. Life, in general, is full of atrocities. Columbine happened and you can't make it go away. Even if parents think they can ban away fiction of this nature so that their teen doesn't know, you can guarantee that your teen is exposed to things ten times worse on a daily basis simply by watching the evening news.

If you were to ban every book that contained violent or graphic context, you'd have to remove To Kill a Mockingbird (rape and racism), Romeo and Juliet (suicide), Macbeth and Hamlet (murder), etc.…

The Holiday Triplets - Jacqueline Diamond

Released December 2010

The latest entry into Jacqueline Diamond's Safe Harbor Medical romance series shares Sam Forrest's story. Sam's created a few ripples as head of pediatrics. Once again, she finds herself in a heated battle with the hospital administrator, Dr. Mark Rayburn, when she learns he wants her clinic space for a new fertility lab.

Things take a turn when one of the teen moms Sam's been counseling gives birth to triplets and decides they're too much. Sam's already fallen for the newborns and agrees to adopt them herself. Mark is shocked that workaholic Sam would agree to add more chaos to her life. However, the more time he spends with her, the more he's falling in love. The question remains--will she ever see him as more than an obstacle to her life goals?

Set in the midst of the holiday season, The Holiday Triplets is a sweet romance. Characters shine and adjust to new situations. I'll admit tha…

The Duke's Night of Sin - Kathryn Caskie

Released December 2010

Following the death of her fiance, Lady Siusan Sinclair has felt empty. A passionate encounter in a dark library invigorates her, but at the same time, she knows she's risked a lot by having sex with a complete stranger--unprotected sex at that. Her family's already been through numerous scandals, so she opts to run off and become a teacher at a school for young girls. If she is pregnant, her father will never know.

Sebastian Beaufort, Duke of Exeter, must find a bride. However, the only woman to appeal to him is a complete mystery. He never saw her face, only her dress as she ran from the dark library where they made love. He knows she is the woman he needs, yet he has no idea how to find her. When he heads to Bath to discuss Gemma, his niece's, education, he's surprised at how drawn he is to Gemma's teacher. Little does he know that his mysterious woman and Gemma's teacher are one and the same.


The Zombie Survival Guide - Max Brooks

Released September 2003

If zombies were real, how prepared are you for survival? Max Brooks bestselling The Zombie Survival Guide delves into the best way to prepare for a zombie apocalypse. From the best weapon to the best vehicle for travel, nothing is ignored in this guide.

Presented as a non-fiction "how-to," the son of famed Mel Brooks melds humor to every page. The book contains a thorough weapons guide, best hideouts, places to avoid and even covers the best terrain for traveling. He finishes the book with details on recorded zombie attacks and leaves you blank pages for noting additional zombie attacks, as well as a sample on how to fill out the pages.

If you're a fan of zombie flicks, particularly Zombieland or Shaun of the Dead, you're definitely the right person for Max Brooks' The Zombie Survival Guide. It's humorous and definitely needs to be studied by some movie makers who keep trying to come up with a zombie movie but m…

Cousin Myrtle - P.J. McCalla (General Fiction)

Released October 2010

Seeing friends struggle to make ends meet and eventually divorce, twenty-four-year-old Jessie knows her ticket in life was to meet and marry a rich old man. When she meets seventy-four-year-old Sam Sharpe, owner of a number of gas stations and body shops, Jessie knows he is her ticket to her desired lifestyle. Jessie does what she pleases and Sam seems to dote on her every movie. She never expects him to open their new home to his elderly cousin Myrtle though. As time passes, Jessie's resentment towards being Myrtle's caregiver grows.

Meanwhile, Myrtle realizes that Jessie's simply after a sugar daddy and definitely not the right woman for her cousin. Myrtle's been evicted from her home and sees Sam as gullible enough to taking her in for good, especially if she acts bedridden. She begins to plot to get him to see the light and remove Jessie from his life before it's too late. Myrtle's running a con of her own and…

The Fall - Guillermo del Toro & Chuck Hogan (Horror)

Released October 2010

Continuing where 2009's The Strain left off, The Fall continues the saga as man battles vampire to save the planet. I highly recommend reading The Strain first. It details a lot of backstory involving the characters and their plight.

 A few characters share center stage in the second of this trilogy. Ephraim Goodweather is doing all he can to keep his son, Zack, safe. Zack's mother has been turned and desperately seeks Zack so that she can obey her master's request that she spread the disease to her pre-teen son. While trying to remain a step ahead of his ex-wife, Ephraim is also trying to help learn how the vampiric disease came about and what they can do to stop it.

Abraham Stretrakian survived the Holocaust and is damned if he'll let vampires end his life. He knows more about the vampires than anyone and knows that everyone's future depends on his obtaining the rare book Occido Lumen.

Joining th…

No Place to Run - Maya Banks (Romantic Suspense)

Released December 2010

Five months after a passionate affair, Sam Kelly is shocked to find Sophie Lundgren floating half dead in the lake behind his home. He and his brothers, all part of the Kelly Group International, nurse the pregnant Sophie back to health. All are suspicious of her actions, but she's told them they're all in danger, so safeguarding all members of the family takes priority.

Soon, it's apparent just how much danger they all face. Keeping Sophie, her and Sam's unborn child and the rest of the family is going to require every ounce of skill the men and women of KGI possess.

The storyline in No Place to Run certainly takes an important place in this story. The reader knows Sophie's secret from the start, but the rest of the KGI has to learn what she's hiding. This heightens suspense as the reader waits to see if they'll be able to figure it before it's too late.

Sam and Sophie's relationship is very steamy. Romantic s…

A Taste of Romance - Roni Denholtz (Contemporary Romance)

Released December 2010

Meet Nicole Vitarelli, host of the new cable show A Taste of Romance. Nicole's show is doing well, but her executive producer wants to put a face to the boyfriend she's always mentioning on air. There's one big problem, Nicole's as single as they come!

Desperate to find a stand-in beau, Nicole asks her neighbor, Jeremy Perez, to play the part of her boyfriend. He agrees on one condition, Nicole must cook dinners for him from time to time.

Nicole loves to cook and she certainly doesn't mind being in Jeremy's company, so this arrangement can't be bad! There's just one little problem. The pair of them have relationship phobias that they must overcome if they can make a real go of their budding romance.

I fully enjoyed the relationship between Nicole and Jeremy. They clicked from the start and had a great thing going. Now, every romance story has to have that hurdle. I'm still waiting on that one romance that i…

The Best American Comics 2010 - Edited by Neil Gaiman (Comics)

Released October 2010

Comics by nature are subjective. I never understood my brothers' fascination with superheroes any more than they understood my passion for Archie comics. The Best American Comics 2010 introduces segments of what the editors felt were some of today's best comics, many came from graphic novels.

Qualifications for those comics that made it into this book included:

Book had to have been published in North AmericaPublication date had to have been between September 1, 2008 and August 31, 2009

Among the comic snippets, I certainly had favorites. C'est ci n'est pas une comic (A George W. Bush Administration Retrospective) cracked me up. There's a lot of truth to that one.

The Lagoon was intriguing, somewhat creepy yet also slightly romantic. The comic series starting with Defining Beauty that chronicles a pregnancy certainly will hit many women as being very, very true. But hands down, it was The Alcoholic that made me cry. T…

Dead Even - Brad Meltzer (Legal Fiction)

Released November 2010

Every now and then a book really catches my attention and Dead Even is one that hooked me from the start. The story is pretty involving. Sara and Jared Tate are happily married attorneys. Sara's finally landed a job after months of searching and she's working for the Manhattan District Attorney's Office. Jared is a defense attorney on the ladder for promotion to partner.

On Sara's first day as ADA, she takes a case meant for another lawyer but that seems so dull, she figures he'll never miss it. She finds out soon enough just how wrong she really is. The simply burglary case isn't quite what a seems. Suddenly, Jared's dragged into the case after the accused hires him as his defense attorney. Jared's been told that if he loses, Sara dies. Meanwhile, a mysterious stranger catches up with Sara and informs her that if she loses, Jared dies. If they tell anyone else, again their spouse dies.


In Katrina's Wake - Donald L. Canney (Non-Fiction)

Released September 2010

In Katrina's Wake details the hard work put forth by the Coast Guard during the 2005 hurricane season. Most of the media focused on New Orleans during that time, but there were many affected in Florida too. The book opens with the rescue of a fishing crew off Florida's coast and then follows Katrina's path of destruction to Louisiana.

My knowledge of New Orleans following the hurricane is limited to what the media showed. Clearly from the photographs, U.S. Coast Guard interviews and first-hand accounts, there was far more to the devastation than the media shared. I fully understand having read this book just how much effort went into rescuing people while also keeping the Coast Guard members safe from panicky people who thought of themselves before the welfare of others.

Despite mandatory evacuation orders in New Orleans, only about 80 percent of the residents opted to leave their homes. This left tens of thousands at risk. The U.S. Coas…

Simply Irresistible - Jill Shalvis (Contemporary Romance)

Released October 2010

There's nothing like a cold, rainy day to help you lighten your reading pile. With my kids glued to their game system and household chores done early, I pulled out some books, found a cozy place near the heater and spent an afternoon engrossed in books.

Jill Shalvis' latest release, Simply Irresistible, takes the reader to Washington State. Maddie Moore's mother has died and she and her half-sisters have inherited their mother's coastal inn. Given that Maddie's just lost her job and loser boyfriend in one shot, she's ready for a change of pace. She just needs to convince her sisters that renovating the inn is the best plan of action. Not an easy task because they want to sell quickly and get back to their lives elsewhere.

Though she's sworn off men, Maddie's first day in Lucky Harbor finds her enjoying the attentions of Jax Cullen. When she learns Jax is the handyman the sisters need to…

Love Finds You in Deadwood South Dakota - Tracey Cross (Christian Romance)

Released August 2010

When her husband dies, Jane Albright isn't too upset. He was a hard, potentially abusive man, so she and her young son are likely better off without him. That's until she learns that he'd never paid his debts and that the owner of her land, freight company and home, Franklin Lloyd, is giving her three months to move on. Jane manages to convince him to give her six months, but she's pregnant and finding a company willing to take on a woman to transport freight is a huge, seemingly impossible challenge.

Franklin Lloyd quickly becomes enamored with Jane and her young son. However, he knows she's too full of pride to accept charity or agree to another marriage of convenience, so he's determined to watch her back until he can come up with a plan that allows her to pay off the debt as easily as possible without hurting her pride.

Love Finds You in Deadwood South Dakota is another entry into the "Love Finds You..."…

Home Outside - Julie Moir Messervy (Landscaping)

Released January 2009

Julie Moir Messervy's award-winning landscape design guide is a must-have. If you struggle with garden design, you'll find this book to be an invaluable resource. If you simply want different ideas for your existing garden space, you'll still find Home Outside to be a great addition to your library.

Filled with beautiful photographs of gardens of different shapes and sizes, Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love offers a wide array of garden and patio designs. Each garden incorporates outdoor living space so that you add square footage to your home without having to pay hefty construction costs. If you've ever wanted an outdoor kitchen or a tranquil location to kick back and relax on a sultry summer evening or crisp fall day, Home Outside is going to help you achieve your goals.

The book begins with an introduction in garden design. As you progress, you learn about landscaping on a budget, creating your dream garden one sect…

Love Finds You in Sugarcreek Ohio - Serena B. Miller (Amish)

Released July 2010

With her aunts getting older, Rachel Troyer is hoping she can persuade them to give up their bed and breakfast. She has enough money for them to retire for good and enjoy the rest of their lives. However, their Amish beliefs have them determined that they must continue to offer their home to others.

When a stranger shows up in Sugarcreek, the aunts are only too happy to take him and his young son into their home and lives. Rachel is less than pleased. She's uncertain about Joe Matthews, he's hiding something and she's determined to unravel the truth.

Joe Matthews is on the run and he simply wants to find a place where he and his young son can start again. When he's offered a job helping to repair and maintain the Troyer sister's bed and breakfast, he thinks things might finally be looking up. However, Rachel's suspicions and her job as a police officer have him on edge. Can he finally find a place…

Bound, Branded & Brazen - Jaci Burton (Erotic Romance)

Released March 2010

 Bound, Branded & Brazen features a trilogy of novellas set in Oklahoma. Following the death of their uncle, Jolene McMasters asks her sisters to return home to the family ranch. Each novella in this book revolves around a sister's romantic entanglements.

In Bound, Valerie McMasters never thought she'd return to the ranch. She's spent years getting her medical license, working her way into a private practice and forgetting about the husband she left behind. Now she's back and her attraction to Mason is stronger than ever. But she's not set up for ranch life, no matter how great their sexual encounters may be...

Branded finds Brea trying to come to terms with herself. She's had men tell her she's no good at sex, and she's convinced she's a failure. So when the man of her fantasies, a ranch hand named Gage, tries to show her otherwise, she's not sure if he's simply saying it to get what he wants or if she&…

One Lane Bridge - Don Reid (General Fiction)

Released October 2010

From the first page, something about One Lane Bridge held my attention firm to the pages. Before I knew it, I'd finished this charming tale of one man's unusual discovery. It's the perfect book for cozying up on a cold snowy or rainy day.

J. D. Wickman and his wife are empty-nesters with a little dilemma on their hands. One of their waitresses is stealing money. They trust these women and can't imagine one of them would hurt them that way, but the evidence is clear and they must now face the task of determining which woman is the thief.

They also are concerned with their college-aged daughter. After an attack on campus, their daughter is shaken up and wants to come home and  take a semester off. J. D. seems okay with the decision but his wife is less than thrilled.

All of these becomes a minor concern to J. D., however. One night while out driving, he loses his cell service and his car overheats.  He walks up to a small farmhou…

Twelve Wicked Nights - Nadia Aidan (Erotic Romance)

Released November 2010

Attorney Isabella Andreu returns to her hometown shortly after her fiance announces it's over. The coward didn't even tell her to her face, he broke up with her via the phone. It's the holiday season and Isabella is ready to help out in her family's bakery and enjoy her time off.

Navy SEAL Justin Rourke has been friends with Isabella for as long as either can remember. When Isabella's mom calls him because she's worried about Isabella driving in the blizzard hitting Virginia, he sets off to find Isabella and bring her to his home.

Stuck in Justin's home for one snowy evening is incredibly difficult. A game of strip Scrabble leads them to realize they can't ignore their sexual yearnings. When Justin learns that he's about to be deployed, Isabella asks for one special gift. She wants Justin to provide her with every sexual experience possible.

For whatever reason, I couldn't get into Twelve Wicked Nights. It …

The Track of Sand - Andrea Camilleri (Mystery)

Released October 26, 2010

Inspector Montalbano awakens to find a horse has been beaten, killed and dumped right outside his Sicilian beach home. Determined to find the savages, Montalbano begins his investigation.

He discovers the woman missing her prized horse but soon learns another horse is also missing. His case leads him to the world of horseracing and even the mafia. When Montalbano's home is broken into, he realizes he must be onto something. Keeping those around him safe and finding the horse's killer may be challenging, but he's certainly up to the task.

I've never read other Montalbano mysteries, so this was a new experience. The stories are written by Camilleri who lives in Italy, but translated into English by translator and author Stephen Sartarelli. This isn't a lengthy book by any means, it's barely 258 pages. However, the mystery is meaty and keeps you hooked. I also appreciated the notes in the back that help c…

Somewhere Along the Way - Jodi Thomas (Contemporary Romance)

Released November 2010

Following on the heels of June's Welcome to Harmony, Somewhere Along the Way continues sharing stories about residents in Harmony, Texas.  Reagan Truman is about to celebrate her eighteenth birthday. She wonders if she and Noah should be more than friends and also finds someone new who catches her eye.

Attorney Liz Matheson is new in town, ready to start life on her own and away from her slightly domineering mother and man-hating sister, Claire. When Liz meets her strange building mate, she's shocked at how powerful her attraction is to him.

Gabe Leary wants to be left alone. How he ended up trading kisses for answers to Liz's prying questions is beyond him, but he's defenseless against his strong attraction to her. However, secrets from his past keep him from wanting to bring her into his life of seclusion.

Hank Matheson, Liz's brother, still wants nothing more than to marry Sheriff Alex McAllen. She's j…

Grace - Shelley Shepard Gray (Christian Romance)

Released November 2010

With Christmas just around the corner, the Brenneman's are looking forward to a huge family gathering and no guests at their bed and breakfast. Unfortunately, a letter arrives announcing an unexpected guest. This letter is followed by another surprise guest who desperately needs a place to stay.

Levi Bender is trying to avoid a painful past and really wants to hide out at the Brenneman Bed and Breakfast. The last thing he wants is to get dragged into a family gathering. Melody Gingerich is pregnant and alone. All she wants is to avoid community gossip and being away from her home in the latter stages of pregnancy seems like the best solution.

While Melody and Levi may want to keep their secrets, Katie Lundy is determined to find out what brought these two strangers to her parents' home. She's not thrilled that their arrival has turned the family holiday into a flurry of activity, but her attentions turn…

Sexiest Man Alive - Diana Holquist (Contemporary Romance)

Released October 2007

While she's gained many clients by doing seamstress work out of her home, Jasmine Burns doesn't want the opportunity of a lifetime to pass her by. Famed costume designer Arturo Mastriani is hiring and she wants the job. The problem is Jasmine lacks self-confidence, especially around men.

Surprisingly, especially to herself, Jasmine wows Arturo after she runs out of her interview and leaves her design books behind. She lands the job and learns she will be working closely with Hollywood heartthrob Josh Toby, the name given by Jasmine's psychic sister as being Jasmine's one true love. Jasmine's nerves are making it hard to be around Josh, but it's obvious there's a spark if only she could find a way to feel comfortable around him.

Sexiest Man Alive has been sitting on my shelf for years. I don't know what kept me from reading it. Jasmine, despite her insecurities, is a lot of fun and Jos…

Montana Glory - R. C. Ryan (Contemporary Romance)

Released November 2010

The final entry into R.C. Ryan's McCord series finds Zane McCord falling head over heels for a single mom. Riley Mason is hired to get the books balanced at the McCord Ranch and she couldn't be happier. On the run, she needs a place where both she and her four-year-old will be safe.

It isn't long before Riley realizes she doesn't want to live without Zane, but she can't expose the family to the danger from which she is running. Meanwhile, Zane knows there is something more to Riley, and he wants to get to the bottom of her secrets.

Montana Glory offers a couple sub-plots. First, the long-running mystery about the supposed treasure on McCord property finally reaches a conclusion. Readers will learn whether Coot McCord was simply a storyteller. The other storyline involves Coot's sister and the ranch foreman Cal who are in love but too blind to see the truth. Readers will finally discover if there…

Book News - Home Outside by Julie Moir Messervy Wins Gold Medal

Home Outside: Creating the Landscape You Love has won the 2010 Garden Writers Association Gold Medal Award for Best Book Writing.

As changes in the housing market have homeowners planning renovations instead of relocations, Messervy suggests moving beyond the walls of the house to the landscape outside.While many homeowners are comfortable with do-it-yourself home decorating, design and renovation, it's often a different story when it comes to tackling landscape design. That's where Home Outside comes in.

In Home Outside, Messervy demystifies the art and practice of landscape design by introducing her easy, tangible and yet intuitive six-step process that helps professionals and homeowners transform an ordinary property into a unique and personal "home outside." Developing a "home outside" not only expands the amount of valuable living space, it also increases the pleasure one gets from the property as a whole.

Home Outsideis a user-friendly guide…

Killer Mousse - Melinda Wells (Cozy Mystery)

Released February 2008

I do look culinary mysteries. As an avid collector of cookbooks and a book addict, it's always seemed natural to me to blend fiction with recipes. Other genres haven't seem to catch on yet, though I have picked up a few romances with a culinary theme. It remains the culinary mystery that appeases my passion for both reading and cooking.

Killer Mousse is the first entry into Melinda Wells Della Cooks mystery series. In this novel, new TV chef Della Carmichael is finishing up her first live taping of her show. The person chosen to sample her recipes is none other than Mimi Bond, the woman who Della replaced. When Mimi keels over following a spoonful of Della's chocolate mousse, Della becomes an instant celebrity for all the wrong reasons. Not to mention, she prepared the food herself so she's also the prime suspect.

Wanting to clear her name, Della, widow of the late Detective Carmichael, begins her own investigati…

Creativity for Christians - Sheilah Vance with Reverend Felicia Howard

Released September 2010

Creativity for Christians is a collection of insights about overcoming the worst possible situations. Stories within this book are endearing and definitely prove that in the darkest of times, there are others out there who've been handed a lot worse.

The book starts with writing instructions that help you write your own story. It covers the basics including writing exercises to get you started and a guide into creating your outline, beginning, middle and end.

All of the stories within Creativity for Christians come from members of the Bethel African Episcopal Methodist church in Pennsylvania. Each story is clearly related to the reader and one, the story of a young blind boy now adult, will certainly stick with me for years. Other stories include a woman and her estranged husband who find romance bloom after shocking news and a devastating fire that led to the church gaining a new address though it never moved locatio…

Fiance at Her Fingertips - Kathleen Bacus (Paranormal Romance)

Released May 2008

Tired of her mother's meddling, Debra Daniels finds the perfect product on a novelty store's shelf. The self-proclaimed Boyfriend-in-a-Box kit comes complete with everything needed to convince those around you that you have met the man of your dreams and that you're headed for your very own happily ever after.

Debra's delighted when the items in the kit begin working. Then the unthinkable happens, Debra's father comes home with her very own Lawyer Logan. Logan's playing along a little too well and Debra can't figure out why. How can a fictional "boyfriend" become a living, breathing, very attentive man.

Fiance at Her Fingertips is steamy fun. The romance is quirky with plenty of humor tossed in at the right moments. I'm not sure I enjoyed every aspect. It is a romance and it's true of the genre that a conflict must be thrown in. When the conflict arrived, I wondered why it hadn't been handled anot…

Chosen - Chandra Hoffman (General Fiction)

Released September 2010

Drawing from her own experiences as the director of an adoption agency, author Chandra Hoffman delves into the lives affected by the adoption process, including both the joys and heartbreaks. Chosen isn't always an easy read, it had me itching to smack a few characters around, but the author does a great job at portraying all angles of adoptions.

Chloe Pinter is the director of Chosen Child, a Portland adoption agency. Chloe's life in Oregon revolves around her work, but she's also trying to figure out if she and her boyfriend really mesh or if her job, and his lack of one, are bound to draw them apart.

Chloe tried to help Paul and Eva Nova adopt a child, but that adoption fell through. It seems the pregnant 13-year-old and her mother were simply in for the free restaurant meals and groceries. Shortly before the birth, they announced plans to raise the child on their own. With hearts broken, Paul and Eva w…

Fine Cooking: Appetizers (Cookbook)

Released November 2010

Fine Cooking Appetizers is a compilation of appetizer recipes for all cooking levels. Best of all, many of the recipes adapt easily to dietary guidelines. If you have a low-carb guest, try the Curried Pecans or Greek Salad Skewers. Tackle a healthy seafood feast with Crabmeat-Avocado Quesadillas or Scallop and Mushroom Rosemary Kabobs.

Recipes are divided into six sections:
Quick and SimplePassed and PlatedSpread and ScoopedSliced and ServedStuffed and SkeweredSips and Sweets
I love cookbooks. With two shelves full of new and old cookbooks, I still find myself searching to fill gaps. I have hundreds of cookbooks, but few really tackle appetizers. Sure, there are recipes out there, but if you're hosting a cocktail party, finding new and exciting recipes can be challenging. Add in diet trends, such as the friend who is going low-carb or the relative watching sugar intake and it's simply frustrating.

Fine Cooking: Appetizers changes all tha…