Ashes of a Black Frost (11/1) | The Shattered Vine (11/3)
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OpusFest is back!

January 31, 2009
This is a public service announcement for Ilona Andrews over at One Crazy Dame. I had to do it, I WANT that ARC of Magic Strikes!!

What: OPUS Fantasy Festival
When: March 13 - 15, 2009
Where: Red Lion Hotel (I-70 and Quebec) Denver, CO
Who: Meet Ilona and Gordon Andrews, Gil Bruvel, Stephen Segal, David Boop and many others.

For more information

Oh, to live in Denver...


I was cleaning up my category list the other day, because my funky little moving cloud (thanks, Janel!) was way too busy. Anyway, that got me wondering - how do you decide what to tag books with, if you tag them? And how many ways can you categorize a book? Like Kitty - urban fantasy fits, right? What about the Fever series? Urban fantasy? Paranormal? etc.?

The one I really got stuck on was Uglies. I tagged it YA (young adult), but it's also set in a future, so does this make it sci-fi as well? Even if there's no space/ships/alien races/etc? (I don't normally read sci-fi, so I could be totally off-base in my idea of what constitutes sci-fi...)

So, HELP!!

31. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn...

Title: Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand
Author: Carrie Vaughn
ISBN-10: 0-446-19953-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-19953-7
Paperback: 282 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009

Kitty and Ben head to Las Vegas to get married, to escape the whole plan-a-wedding- "production". Her producer (ha ha!) arranges for her to do her show from Vegas, in front of a live TV audience. And books Kitty & Ben into a hotel hosting a gun show convention, where they run into acquaintances from Ben's (& Cormac's) past.

Kitty's knack for finding trouble follows her to the city that never sleeps, and she runs into vampires, a magician whose magic seems real, and an animal act with shifters, in addition to the hunters on her trail (gun show = crazies with a penchant for hunting Kitty & those like her). Her wolf does not like all the smells in the strange town. And gets more antsy when Ben disappears while he's playing in a poker tournament.

Kitty's quest to find Ben takes her to the vampires, magician, and animal act, where she finds something evil that explains the lack of werewolves in town. And with a little bit of help, she finds her mate, escapes from danger, and gets married. Whew.

Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand is a good continuation of the Kitty Norville series (so, is she Kitty O'Farrell now?). I started reading Kitty Raises Hell (#6), and wonder if #5 exists to introduce characters into Kitty's ever-evolving journey. Even so, it's a good, well-written read.

Hurrah! My next books are...

January 30, 2009
Kitty! I just got my copies of Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, and Kitty Raises Hell. Guess I know what I'm going to be doing this weekend!! w00t!

The former just released, and the latter's coming out March 1st. So stop back for reviews, and my Kitty giveaway starting on Monday!

Alternate winner for Sundays at Tiffany's...

I never heard back from KLM39. Thanks to Randomizer, I have another winner... Congratulations, Reeva, you're it. Please send me your mailing information by Sunday, February 1st.

30. Faefever by Karen Marie Moning...

January 29, 2009
Title: Faefever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
ISBN-10: 0-385-34163-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-34163-9
Paperback: 314 pages, not including the Glossary
Publisher: Delacorte Press, 2008

Oh, Mac! She finds out that the Sinsar Dubh is moving around Dublin. Not only that, she sees it. And it sees her.

There's Unseelie fae everywhere - driving cabs, picking up garbage, roaming the streets with humans...

Barrons is not human. Who knows how old he really is. And there's history between Barrons and V'Lane. Which explains why Barrons gets so completely whacked out of shape when Mac spends time with V'Lane. Which she does.

Rowena sends sidhe-seers to retrieve Mac's spear. And the nice boy who knew Alina, is a druid.

Everyone is preparing for Samhain (Halloween). The good guys, the bad guys, the non-guys... Mac tries to figure it out, before... I can't say more. Go read it yourselves.

To say that this book ends with a cliffhanger, is an understatement. Holy Moly! I should have listened to my friend who warned me not to read this until the next book (Dreamfever) is out. Bah!

Done with the current renovation...

I'm done! I got my tabs added, & I hope they're not too goofy-looking. I wanted to get my blog roll in its own tab too, but couldn't figure out how to get the blog updates to show up. Oh well. Next up - my Faefever review, before I forget what I read (yeah, right!)...

Renovating drey's library...

I should've done this earlier, before I started creating new posts... So, I'd like to apologize for any inconvenience caused.

I'm trying to re-arrange my blog into (hopefully) something a little bit more organized. I'll do an end-of-renovation post so you know when to start paying attention again. =) Thanks for your patience!

Giveaway - Rachel Vincent's Shifters (Werecats) novels...

In anticipation of the official release of her next novel, Pride, Rachel Vincent is giving away a signed set of her Shifters novels (all 3!), OR a twenty-dollar online gift certificate to Barnes & Noble.

International entries will only qualify for the books.

Go here for details & enter before February 4th.


Here's hoping cats do have nine lives

I’m on trial for my life. Accused of infecting my human ex-boyfriend—and killing him to cover up the crime. I’m not guilty. But tell that to the panel of Alphas sitting in judgment. Infecting a human is one of three capital offenses recognized by the Pride—along with murder and disclosure of our existence to a human.

I’m two for three. A goner.

On top of that, Marc is in danger of being tossed from the Pride, then we discovered a rogue stray terrorizing the mountainside, hunting a wild teenage tabbycat. I think I can protect her from both the ambitious rogue and the scheming of the territorial council.

If I survive my own trial…

S. Krishna's Books Giveaway - Wendy Tokunaga's Midori by Moonlight...

S. Krishna's Books is giving away her copy of Midori by Moonlight. Go here for rules & to enter, by Sunday, February 8th.

BTT - Electronic vs. Paper?

This week's Booking through Thursday:

Something a little different today–
First. Go read this great article from Time Magazine: Books Gone Wild: The Digital Age Reshapes Literature. (Well worth reading.)
Second. Stop and think about it for moment. Computers and digital media are changing everything we do these days, whether we realize it or not, and that includes our beloved books.

Today's BTT is a little different - instead of posting thoughts on each participating blog, we're discussing the topic at (yup, you guessed it!) BTT. Go here to add your opinion(s) into the mix.

29. Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz...

January 28, 2009
Title: Scot on the Rocks
Author: Brenda Janowitz
ISBN-10: 0-373-89528-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-89528-1
Paperback: 293 pages
Publisher: Red Dress Ink, 2007

What do you do when your ex-boyfriend - the ultra-competitive one, who always has to "win" - invites you to his wedding? So what if he's getting married to the latest It Girl? Do you go, or not? Do you agonize for hours (days!) over the decision?

Brooke actually experiences this. Her ex-boyfriend is getting married (yes, to the It Girl), and calls to gloat/invite her to the wedding. So Brooke does what any sane not-at-all-jealous/envious/insert-your-version-of-the-green-eyed-monster-here girl does - she accepts the invitation. And tells the ex that she's bringing her fiance. The Scot (from the title)...

Little does she know that by the time the wedding rolls around, she'll be sans Scot (who never even made it to fiance), and agonizing whether to show up solo or not show up at all. One bright idea later, her friend Jack is escorting her to the wedding, complete with kilt & Scottish accent.

Scot on the Rocks is a funny and entertaining story about a girl who has everything working the way it's supposed to, before it falls apart. She scrambles to try and salvage the pieces, and discovers along the way that she might not want all those pieces after all. And sometimes what you're really looking for has been right next to you all along. A great first novel for Brenda Janowitz.

Book blog FAQs...

I just stumbled onto a very well-written FAQ for new book bloggers at Presenting Lenore. Go check it out (here), and thank Lenore for putting it together!

28. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld

January 27, 2009
Title: Uglies
Author: Scott Westerfeld
ISBN-10: 0-689-86538-4
ISBN-13: 978-0-689-86538-1
Paperback: 425 pages
Publisher: Simon Pulse, 2005

The world is very different from the one we know now. Cities are smaller, and very compact. Everything is done with the aid of technology - including walls that absorb discarded items and recycles them. And where you wait until your sixteenth birthday, eagerly anticipating the process that will make you a Pretty. Because, duh, you're just an Ugly till then.

Tally Youngblood is one of those anxiously waiting for her sixteenth birthday. She's the last of her friends to turn Pretty, and she can't wait. She meets Shay, another Ugly, who shares the same birthday. Shay takes Tally adventuring beyond the city limits, telling her that there are people, Uglies, who live "outside," in the Smokes, where they don't have to become Pretty.

Then Shay runs away. And Tally is told that in order to be Pretty, she'll have to track Shay down and lead the Specials (for Special Circumstances) to the Smokes. And even though Tally doesn't want to betray her friend, she has to do this, because she just has to be Pretty. Because what would life be, if you're not Pretty?

Uglies is a captivating story where the main character has her eyes opened to the reality of the world she lives in. One where normal is biologically unacceptable, and everyone goes under the knife to achieve perfection. It is the story of her need to conform, followed by her understanding that there can be a different view of life - one where you don't have to be what you're told, and can be who you want. And as understanding and realization grow, the need to be Pretty doesn't seem so pressing anymore.

I've now got Pretties on my library queue. I cannot wait to read what happens next to Tally...

Teaser Tuesdays ~ Jan. 27...

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • Share the title of the book that you're getting your teaser from... That way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

"I didn't want to be around when everyone realized what was happening. In case they got mad at me."
Uglies, Scott Westerfeld ~ pg. 305

What's on your nightstand? January edition...

It's time for this 5 Minutes for Books event again...

I've been a reading loon this month. I polished off all of Janet Evanovich's Stephanie Plum series, including the 3 between-the-numbers books. I've read 2 out of the 3 Fever books by Karen Marie Moning. Plus Twilight, Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson - a giveaway book, Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda, Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong, Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels, and Hard to Handle by Lori Foster. I've also just completed Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher (Codex Alera #5). Whew!

Next up: Hopefully Carrie Vaughn's Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand, which should be coming in the mail any day now. Faefever, to bring me up-to-date on the Fever series. A re-read of Sheldon Rusch's For Edgar, to get my brain re-wrapped around Elizabeth Hewitt, and to do some prep work for an upcoming interview with Sheldon (yay!). Rogue by Cheryl Brooks, for a review. And hopefully, quite a few of the books on my TBR pile so I can get moving on my Ban on Spending challenge...

27. Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher...

January 26, 2009
Title: Princeps' Fury
Author: Jim Butcher
ISBN-10: 0-441-01638-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-441-01638-9
Hardcover: 386 pages
Publisher: Ace, 2008

Princeps' Fury is book number 5 in the Codex Alera series. Tavi has been recognized by his grandfather as the Crown Prince, and leaves to guide the Canim home, along with the Free Alerans. More for his own safety than anything, really. Seems the Alerans might have a problem with a Crown Prince without any furies.

What he finds when they reach the Canim mainland confirms his worst fears. The Vord have laid waste to the Canim lands, and only one holdout warrior-state remains. Tavi and Varg must convince the leader of that state to let them help him fight the Vord. Not an easy task when the Canim warrior-states are usually at each others' throats.

This book has lots of the same for Tavi - growth, angst, cleverness, and last-minute-hold-your-breath-are-they-going-to-survive suspense. The interactions between the new Canim, and Tavi & the "old" Canim (i.e. the ones who came back from Alera), are sometimes humorous, seeing as how Tavi, Varg, and Nasaug have all gone through the motions.

And while Tavi's away, his grandfather is slowly losing his health, and has to fight the Vord on Alera as well. Isana is sent to the north to negotiate a truce with the Icemen so that the legions there can head south to assist against the Vord. And I have to admit, I skimmed past a lot of the storyline involving Amara and the Count. Because you just know that they're going to do the right thing. Every. Single. Time. Regardless of personal sacrifice and hardship, yada yada yada... Like they're bloody Paladins or something. Ok, gripe over. But c'mon! It's like they're thrown into the book to save their country/people/livestock/whatever, just to fill pages. Because there's no question that they'll do it. And win.

I felt like this book is kind of a throwaway, except for two things. One, Tavi had to be out of the way for political reasons. And two, he had to bring help back to fight the Vord in Alera. So send him & the Canim away, and come back with more of 'em. Oh, and three - there needed to be a Princeps book, to follow the naming scheme of these books. Hopefully the next one's the last. It'll be interesting to see how Tavi adjusts from having no furies to having the most powerful fury in the lands. Will he still trust his instincts and use his brains to solve problems, or will he resort to using brawn, as most are wont to do if it's available?

2009 Vampire Challenge...

I really, really, REALLY have to stop popping in at J.Kaye's Book Blog. Because whenever I do, like today, I find yet another challenge that I want to participate in. Why? Who knows? Maybe because with this one, I'm already 50% done? =P Anyway, the 2009 Vampire Challenge is hosted by Kathrin at It's All About Books.

What? For the Vampire Challenge you will read books with vampires - romance, YA, paranormal, mysteries - anything, as long as there's a or two (or more) vampire in it.

When? The challenge will start January 1, 2009 and end December 31, 2009.

How? The goal is to read 2+ books with vampires in 2009, that's it. It's fairly easy, I think. For some inspiration check out my post on vampires in books.

Go here to sign up!

My books:
  1. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  2. New Moon by Stephenie Meyer
  3. Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer
  4. Breaking Dawn by Stephenie Meyer
  5. Glass Houses by Rachel Caine
  6. The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine
  7. Midnight Alley by Rachel Caine
  8. Feast of Fools by Rachel Caine
  9. Some Girls Bite by Chloe Neill
  10. A Drop of Red by Chris Marie Green

26. No Experts Needed by Louise Lewis...

Title: No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You!
Author: Louise Lewis
ISBN-10: 0-595-42971-8
ISBN-13: 978-0-595-42971-4
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: iUniverse Inc, 2007

About the book: Losing a job always delivers a hard blow, but it was especially hard for forty-something author Louise Lewis, one of many victims of the technology industry's dotcom implosion. No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! tells the story of how she pulled herself together and discovered a new life of meaning.

Just minutes after being "set free", Lewis, a single woman with a mortgage to pay, sits in the San Jose, California, airport panicking over her future. While toying with the option of giving into depression, she receives a powerful message from God that instantly releases the weight of her worries. "This is just a new chapter in your life. You hold the pen, I'll guide your hand, and together we'll write one hell of a chapter." Through Spirit's continued involvement, Lewis is inspired to ask normal, everyday people to answer Spirit's question: what is the meaning of life?

No Experts Needed: The Meaning of Life According to You! weaves through a vast collection of spontaneous, thought-provoking answers and inspirational stories that demonstrate how the simple act of listening to Spirit can add meaning to every moment of your life.

I have to admit that it's been a while since I've read an inspirational book. And even then, I probably would've just looked past this one. That would definitely have been my loss.

Louise Lewis writes this book with her heart. I love how she's open to other people, instead of closing herself off, like most people do. After all, life's busy. There's family, work, finances, child(ren), friends, etc. to expend your energy on and worry about. People tend to box their "life" up and only think about their box. Everyone who's not in that box are extras in a film - they're background noise. I know this, I've been there.

Louise's quest to get others to open up to the Spirit by answering that age-old question, "what's the meaning of life," starts on her birthday and takes her on a wonderful journey of discovery - both hers and her interviewees'. The answers she receives and experiences are as varied as the people who give them. And whether you believe in the Christian God, follow another religion, or don't believe, shouldn't stop you from answering her question. It's really not the answer, it's the process of reflection that precedes it, that's important - to the spirit, and the heart.

Living life by following Spirit instead of Ego isn't easy to do. If it were, there'd be more people like Louise around. Hats off to you, Louise.

Go to Louise's site to sign up for a free copy of this book. =)

Making the most of each moment of each day. Cherishing the experiences that make us all better people. Loving your neighbor as yourself.

Sundays at Tiffany's Winners!!!

January 25, 2009
I want to thank everyone who stopped by to enter this contest. There were a total of 232 entries total! I can't believe it. Unfortunately, as much as I'd have loved to have everyone win, I only have 5 copies to give away. So, thanks to Randomizer, here are the winners:
  1. KLM39
  3. Aisling
  4. Lisa
  5. deedleweedle
Congratulations!! Now, the housekeeping - sometime in the next 5 days, please email me at dreyshouse at gmail dot com and let me know who & where to ship your book to. If I don't hear from you by then, I'll pick (a) new winner(s).

Stop back soon for my next giveaway - a full set of Carrie Vaugn's Kitty Norville series. Yes, all 6 books, including the two new ones! =)

25. Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda...

January 24, 2009
Title: Houston, We Have a Problema
Author: Gwendolyn Zepeda
ISBN-10: 0-446-69852-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-69852-8
Paperback: 372 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009

Jessica Luna is a twenty-six-year-old who hasn't figured out what she wants to do with her life. She has a kinda-sorta artist friend-with-benefits who only calls her when he needs her around. She's stuck in a dead-end secretarial job. Her sister's left her for suburbia. And her parents are fighting. For real.

So she turns to Madame Hortensia for direction. Should she stay with Guillermo, or leave because he's basically an inconsiderate jerk? Even when he's nice? Or should she go out with her brother-in-law's friend Jonathan? Who's successful, rich, and white? Should she try for the promotion at her company? What can she do about her parents' fighting?

Houston, We Have a Problema is a story of Jessica's growing up and realizing that she can trust her own instincts, and make the decisions that she's been going to Madame Hortensia for. Sure, her sister and mother are constantly piping up on her love life. But what mother and sister doesn't? It doesn't mean that they don't think she can't get by without their help, it just means that they love her and want her to be happy. And if she's really good at her job, but don't want to be stuck doing it for the rest of her life, she really can go and find something more fulfilling. Or, create her own fulfillment. The only thing holding her back was her fear of making a decision - any decision - because it might not be the right one...

I really enjoyed reading this - it's well-written, entertaining, and I found myself rooting for Jess to make the right decisions. In my book, she did. =)

24. Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning...

Title: Bloodfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
ISBN-10: 0-385-33916-X
ISBN-13: 978-0-385-33916-2
Paperback: 296 pages, not including the Glossary
Publisher: Dell, 2007

Bloodfever picks up where Darkfever left off - Mac now knows who killed her sister, and her first attempt at revenge failed. And now she's anxiously looking over her shoulder for the retaliation. To complicate things, the garda in charge of her sister's murder investigation turns up dead, after visiting her at the bookstore. His brother-in-law, another garda, thinks she has something to do with the death, and starts following her around. And O'Bannion's brother Derek shows up too, looking for his brother's killer. The irony of it - Mac & Derek are both looking for their sibling's murderer. And Mac's (indirectly) responsible for his brother's death.

To retain some sense of normalcy (& add to her bank account), Mac decides to take over running the bookshop when Fiona is fired. And she needs some normalcy, with how her life's been going lately... V'lane saves her life once, and exacts payment for it. Barrons saves her life, too, and pisses her off in the process. And Mac meets Rowena, whom she assumes is the leader of a group of sidhe-seers. All three want to recruit Mac to do their bidding - Barrons and V'lane to find the Sinsar Dubh, Rowena to kill Unseelie fae.

I'm glad to see Mac grow up some in this book. She stands up to Barrons - as much as she can, anyway. She stands up to V'lane and Rowena, too. And she manages to maintain most of her moral compass. After all, you can't fight wrong with more wrong, right?

I can't wait to make a library run to pick up Faefever.

23. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning

January 22, 2009
Title: Darkfever
Author: Karen Marie Moning
ISBN-10: 0-440-24098-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-440-24098-3
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Dell, 2007

Darkfever tells the story of how MacKayla (Mac) finds out about the world of the Fae while seeking the truth behind her sister's death. Not only does she find out that the Fae actually exist in this world, she also finds out that she's one of a very few who have the power to see through their glamour, and can freeze them in place with a single touch. That's enough to make any grieving sister run screaming to the other end of the earth. Unfortunately for Mac, she doesn't...

While in Dublin, she meets Jericho Barrons, the tall, intensely masculine, mysterious, filthy-rich owner of Barrons Books and Baubles. Jericho also happens to be looking for the same thing that Mac's sister tells her to find - a very powerful book that's very much wanted, by good guys and bad alike. (Can I call them "guys"?) And Mac has to figure out if he's on the "good" side or not. While she's figuring that out, she meets V'lane, prince of the Tuatha De Danaan. Or, as I'd call him, Sex-on-Wheels. That would be the only reason Mac finds herself taking off her clothes in the middle of the street, in broad daylight. Right?

I guess Mac was okay as the "heroine" of this book. She flies across an ocean without any help from anyone. She gets lost in the streets of Dublin. At night. After she finds out that there are scary creepy things crawling around out there. She stares at the fae so hard that other sidhe-seers have to clock her upside the head to get her to stop. Sometimes it seemed like a smidgen more common sense would've been a good thing for Mac to have... 

I also had a hard time pronouncing some of the terms used, like Sinsar Dubh, even in my head. That's my own problem though - guess I'm not used to words that don't sound like they're spelled. =) However, it did put a little itty-bitty damper on my enjoyment of the story, because I kept stopping to think "how do I say that again?" while reading... Maybe by the time I get to Bloodfever I'll have figured it out. If you're a fan of Moning's Highlander series (which I figured out were romance novels), there's more fantasy than romance in this book (yes, even with mr. sex-on-wheels). If you're a fantasy buff, pick it up for the storytelling.

22. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet...

January 20, 2009
Title: Sundays at Tiffany's
Author: James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
ISBN-10: 0-446-19944-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-446-19944-5
Paperback: 309 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing, 2009

Sunday's at Tiffany's is a love story to read with a mug of hot chocolate (with marshmallows!) and a warm blanket, on a cold winter night. Kinda like I did, tonight. =) It's a warm-fuzzy story that you could get into, but it requires an imagination and a willingness to forget that Patterson wrote the Alex Cross novels.

The story is about Jane Margaux and her imaginary friend, Michael. Michael helps eight-year-old Jane deal with an overbearing mother and an out-of-the-picture father. Like most imaginary friends worth having, Michael is warm, caring, funny, charismatic, and really really good with kids. When Jane turns 9, Michael has to leave, and tells Jane that she'll forget all about him.

Twenty-three years later, Jane's all grown up. She works for her overbearing mother, and has a successful play under her belt. Her boyfriend is a gorgeous actor, and life's looking up. She thinks. As for Michael, he's on sabbatical, taking a break between kids. While walking around town one day, he sees Jane - grown up Jane.

Then Michael and Jane meet, and Jane realizes that she's not only NOT forgotten about Michael, she thinks about him every day. And off they ride into the sunset. With a side trip to discover why he's there, at that particular time.

This is a sweet, sappy love story. Nowhere is it mentioned exactly what Michael is, or how he doesn't age in the twenty-three years that he's gone from Jane's life, which is where that imagination comes into play. =) Grab it to curl up with on a cold night, or to take to the beach.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway, before January 24th!

21. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich...

January 19, 2009
Title: Fearless Fourteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-34951-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34951-6
Hardcover: 310 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2008

Morelli's extended family features in this fourteenth Stephanie Plum novel. His cousin Dom just finished serving time for robbing a bank, and Dom's sister Loretta is one of Stephanie's FTAs - for robbing a liquor store. Stephanie brings Loretta in to get re-bonded and ends up babysitting Loretta's son, an artistic type who goes by Zook. Luckily for her, Morelli volunteers to take over.

Good thing, too, because Ranger has a side job for Stephanie, babysitting a still-popular-but-heading-out singer. Things get interesting (don't they always?) when strange men start showing up in Morelli's basement - some alive, some dead - and his backyard. Then Loretta disappears, and Stephanie starts receiving gifts from the kidnapper. So in between picking up FTAs on her list, working for Ranger, and helping Lula with her wedding planning, Stephanie's also hunting for Dom's partners in the robbery, who're apparently still looking for the loot.

Family: Grandma Mazur not only gets engrossed in an online game Zook's playing, she recruits her friends, too.

Wheels: A used-to-be-silver Nissan Sentra that gets decorated & signed by Zook.

Action: Not a lot going on with Zook living at Morelli's till they find his mom.

Another adventure in the life of Stephanie Plum, bounty-hunter extraordinaire (not!), this books has the requisite dead bodies, blown-up vehicles, stalker, comic FTAs, and the ever-bumbling, ever-smart Stephanie and her sidekicks. It was a fun read, but really didn't expand beyond the formula.

20. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Plum Lucky
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-37763-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-37763-2
Hardcover: 166 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2008

This St. Patrick Day's mini-novel has Diesel poofing into Stephanie's life again, looking for a little guy in green pants. Apparently, the little dude stole a horse. Stephanie's more worried about finding Grandma Mazur, who disappears. Turns out she found a bag full of money, bought an RV, and headed off to Atlantic City to use her luck.

And as we all know, nothing is what it seems. Grandma Mazur's bag was originally stolen by the little dude, from a mobster. He wanted the money to pay for a vet, because the horse had a bad leg. Now the mobster's on the hunt for his money AND the little dude. Next thing you know, Grandma Mazur disappears again. Only this time, the mobster's got her.

And the race is on! Steph's got to find Grandma Mazur. She also has to find enough money to give back to him, since Grandma went on a RV-and-casino-spree. She hides the horse in the RV, and parks it at RangeMan for safety. And recruits Lula and Connie to back her up when meeting with the deranged mobster.


Family: Grandma Mazur, missing. Twice. 'Nuff said.

Wheels: A Chevy Monte Carlo that gets blown up by a rocket. By Lula.

Action: Not much when there're three guys in this story...

It all works out in the end, as expected. This was a quick romp through the incredibly lucky life of bounty hunter Stephanie Plum. T'was pretty funny, especially when Stephanie & gang drive the mobster nuts. Completely wacky cuckoo nuts.

19. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich...

January 16, 2009
Title: Lean Mean Thirteen
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-34949-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34949-3
Hardcover: 310 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2007

It's Stephanie's turn to be the suspect. Her ex-husband Dickie disappears, the day after she beats him up in his office. And there's bullet holes and bloodstains in his house. Joyce Barnhardt follows her around, hoping to find Dickie. Dickie's business partners follow her around, hoping to find his missing stash. And the bad guy uses a flamethrower. And the body (and building) count goes north.

The skips are entertaining, as usual, especially the taxidermist.

Family: Grandma Mazur helps out by waiting for the cable guy while a skip gets rebonded. Everybody hates the cable guy. I wouldn't want to have that job...

Wheels: Steph has a barely-mentioned Ford Escape that got crushed by a tree. She then drives a burgundy ex-cop-car Crown Vic that's shot at by Joyce, covered in exploded squirrel (it was dead already), dies, and it gets crushed in the junk yard.

Action: Morelli has a dude under protection in his place. Stephanie gets waylaid at hers. Hmm...

Y'know, while this series has been pretty entertaining, I'm kinda ready to get to the end. Stephanie's still a bounty hunter with more luck than skill. She's still broke. She's still going back & forth with Morelli. She's still flirting with Ranger. She's still shot at, stalked, threatened. And her vehicles - it's a miracle she can still get insurance. It's like she's stuck in Groundhog Day. I think it's time for a good wrap-up story. Soon.

18. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Plum Lovin'
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-30634-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-30634-2
Hardcover: 164 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2007

This second Stephanie Plum short story takes place just before Valentine's Day. Diesel pops up again, and negotiates a deal. If she helps him clear off a match-'em-up Cupid list, he'll hand over her FTA. So off Stephanie goes to make sure 5 people have a good Valentine's day, including an overworked mom, a 30-something virgin, a shy butcher, a desperate vet, and Albert, whom she's supposed to get to marry Valerie.

Family: Valerie's pregnant again, and wants to be married.

Wheels: Stephanie manages to not hurt a 'vette too badly.

Action: As if two men aren't enough to keep her spinning, here comes a third. With dimples...

This was a quick romp through some sappiness for Steph, but all's well that ends well.

17. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Twelve Sharp
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-34948-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-34948-6
Hardcover: 310 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2006

Ranger features quite a bit in this book. A woman claiming to be his wife shows up, taking shots at Stephanie. She ends up dead in her SUV. Steph also finds out that Ranger's daughter Julie has been kidnapped, and he's the prime suspect. And all of this occurs while he's out of town. Stephanie also has a new admirer, i.e. stalker, and yes, one other than the dead "wife".

Lula gets a job singing with Sally's new band. So does Grandma Mazur (yep!). With Ranger out of town, Connie tries to hire another bounty hunter to help clear the backlog. That in itself is quite the comic relief, what with the characters who show up to interview for the job. And Stephanie's good heart has a new filing clerk in the office.

Family: Grandma Mazur's channeling Mick Jagger. Need I say more?

Wheels: Stephanie's ride is a Mini Cooper that's shot up by Ranger's "wife."

Action: Ranger shows up at Stephanie's. Morelli shows up at Stephanie's. Absolutely no action while both boys are at Stephanie's.

Another adventure in the life of Stephanie Plum. This one's got plot, twists & turns, and belly-laughs. There's not as much of her sister Valerie, or Valerie's unraveling/depression/desperation/pregnancy/wedding planning... Just Stephanie, her job, the mystery, and her boys.

16. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich...

January 15, 2009
Title: Eleven on Top
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-30626-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-30626-7
Hardcover: 310 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2005

Stephanie decides she's had enough. Enough of being shot at, cussed at, pushed around, having her vehicles decimated, just plain enough. So she quits working for Vinnie, and starts looking for a "normal" job. She's fired from her first new job for being 1.5 hours late. On her first day. Her second job is with a dry-cleaners whose owner is scarier than Grandma Mazur and Grandma Bella combined. And she's fired from that one when the scary owner takes her keys, gets in her car, and is blown to bits. Her third job goes up in smoke. Literally. So, she winds up with an office job. At RangeMan. Doing investigative work at the Trenton Bat Cave's command and control center. She gets a uniform, a new gun, and a key to Ranger's apartment.

She also has a new stalker, and this one leaves notes. And while she's left her bounty-hunting days behind, she's willing to help out when Lula calls.

Family: Valerie's coming apart at the seams, driven to distraction by the wedding. She ups & disappears to Disney World, along with Albert & the girls. Stephanie's mom and Grandma Mazur get into a cake-throwing fight, whereupon her mom swears off drinking if Steph swears off sugar.

Wheels: A dark green Saturn SL2 that blows up, with someone in it. After it's shot at and sledge-hammered. The indestructible Buick smokes up (dud bomb). Morelli's SUV blows up, along with his garage.

Action: She moves back in with Morelli to help out while he's got his leg in a cast, and to stay low while her stalker's leaving her little blow-up presents. Not that it works (see Morelli's SUV). This doesn't stop Ranger from kissing her though. And he says those three little words again. Actually, they both do. No wonder her brain's a mush when these two are around.

I liked this better than Ten Big Ones, because my gal doesn't get quite as hurt. Sure, she's stunned and transported in a casket, but it's not like she's getting the snot kicked out of her by a gang. This book has more character than chasing-down-the-bad-guys action, and I liked it. Next?

15. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Ten Big Ones
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-28972-3
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-28972-0
Hardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2004

There're gangs and a hitman in this installment. All gunning for my gal Steph. She witnesses in a bike-by bombing - of her own car, as it turns out - and the guilty party isn't happy about it. So Steph hides out while trying to keep up with her FTAs, trying on dresses for Valerie's wedding, and dieting. The body count's reasonable (for Stephanie), till Sally drives his school bus through a bunch of gang members who're trying to beat Stephanie up. Figures. With a cop and an ex-Special Forces dude on her side, it's the 7-foot-tall cross-dressing perpetually-cussing school-bus-driver who comes to the rescue.

Family: Valerie & Albert are getting married. Sally Sweet (from Four to Score) is roped into the position of wedding planner. And Steph finds Valerie a nice place to rent so that she can get her apartment back.

Wheels: Well, the sunny yellow Escort makes it to page 5, where it's, you guessed it, blown up. She buys a purple Lincoln that gets riddled with bullet holes. The Buick (still thinking of a replacement nickname for the tank) gets graffiti'd. At least she didn't toast any of Ranger's vehicles this time...

Action: Stephanie moves out of Morelli's place, and hides out at Ranger's, while he's out of town. There's no hanky-panky (even when he's back in town), but Ranger does drop a qualified "three little words". And she finds out she's a line item in his budget.

I can't believe I'm on #10 already, it seems like it was just yesterday that I picked up One for the Money. 6 more to go (includes to two "little" ones) - I hope they're as good as these have been. =)

BTT - Sing a Song!

This week's Booking through Thursday:

But, enough about books … Other things have words, too, right? Like … songs! If you’re anything like me, there are songs that you love because of their lyrics; writers you admire because their songs have depth, meaning, or just a sheer playfulness that has nothing to do with the tunes.

So, today’s question?

What songs … either specific songs, or songs in general by a specific group or writer … have words that you love?
And … do the tunes that go with the fantastic lyrics live up to them?
You don’t have to restrict yourself to modern songsters, either … anyone who wants to pick Gilbert & Sullivan, for example, is just fine with me. Lerner & Loewe? Steven Sondheim? Barenaked Ladies? Fountains of Wayne? The Beatles? Anyone at all…

My absolute favorite song ever is What a Wonderful World, by Louis Armstrong.

I love all of Louis' work. His lyrics are simple but worth remembering, his skill with the trumpet is inspiring. Other artists I love for their lyrics - the Boss, Eric Clapton, Rachael Yamagata. Harry Connick, Jr.'s music is fun, and so is Brian Setzer's. And my other all-time favorite is Sheila Majid. Kumohon and Rindu Untuk Ayah I feel, and Legenda is a wonderful combination of music and lyrics.

14. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich...

January 14, 2009
Title: To the Nines
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-26586-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-26586-1
Hardcover: 312 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2003

This time, Stephanie's chasing down a visa bondee who went missing. A visa bondee is someone who's in the States on a temporary visa, and his/her company places a bond as a guarantee that the employee will return home (wherever that is) when his term of employment is up.

She gets greased up trying to catch a naked, Vaseline-d FTA, and has a stalker who leaves her red roses and white carnations, and shoots tranquilizer darts at her. Somehow I think that even if Steph moved into an uber-secure gated community, she'd still have to deal with break-ins. At least in this book there are no dead bodies left in her apartment...

Oh, and in addition to vehicles, Stephanie must've put the hex on Ranger's merry men. Tank breaks a leg. Cal faints and suffers a concussion. Erik survives Lula with broken bones in his hand and possibly a slipped disc. Everybody watch out - she's graduated from mechanicals to organics!

Family: There's lots of Morelli's family in this one. Specifically his mom and Grandma Bella who stop over - all. the. time. - while she's at his place. Stephanie's parents place is bedlam with 4 adults and two (soon to be three) children living in a 3-bedroom 1-bath. and Valerie has a baby girl.

Wheels: Stephanie's sunshine yellow Ford Escape actually survives this book.

Action: Lots of Ranger kissing Stephanie. Makes things complicated when Steph moves in with Morelli due to the stalker, and offers her apartment up as temporary housing to Valerie. I sure hope things work out for her.

This book had a more involved plot than the others so far. I'm happy she made it through in one piece. Yes, I know there are more books in the series, but I did get worried about my gal Steph. A great addition to the series.

13. Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich...

January 13, 2009

Title: Visions of Sugar Plums
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-30632-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-30632-8
Hardcover: 149 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2002

This short story has Stephanie looking for FTA Sandy Claws. At Christmas time. What she finds is a toy store that looks abandoned, a workshop that falls down around her, and "elves" who like pelting her with cookies and causing a riot. And don't forget Diesel, who just pops into her kitchen. Like, literally. To complicate things, it's four days to Christmas, and she hasn't gotten anything done - no Christmas cards, no tree, no presents, no Christmas cheer.

Family: Valerie is pregnant. Grandma Mazur has a half-blind studmuffin, who comes with sparks. The Christmas tree goes up in smoke, along with the "fake snow" batting and all the presents underneath.

Wheels: A Honda CR-V that gets burned to a crisp.

Action: There's kissing, but nothing to tell. =)

This is a quick read that capitalizes on Stephanie's ability to draw out even the most unbelievable events and people. Morelli's gotta be wondering sometimes.

Sony Reader & Kresley Cole's Kiss of a Demon King...

Kresley Cole's latest installment in the Immortals after Dark series - Kiss of a Demon King - is coming out on January 20th. Go here for an excerpt. She's also giving away a Sony Reader. Go here for details.

12. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Hard Eight
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-98386-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-98386-4
Mass Market Paperback: 326 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2002

Stephanie's helping out her parents' neighbor Mabel, whose house is collateral for a custody bond on Annie, her great-granddaughter. Now Annie & her mom (Evelyn) are both missing, and Mabel's going to lose her home to the bond company. Ok, you say, what's so difficult about finding a mother and daughter? Apparently, a lot. QUITE a lot. Stephanie finds herself face-to-face with another psycho nutjob, one that both Morelli AND Ranger warns her to stay away from. If only it were that easy. Steph & psycho nutjobs seem to go together like peanut butter and jelly.

She gets stalked around town by a bear and a rabbit, picks up a new helper (a hapless lawyer), has an FTA die on her (of the flu), and gets rescued by Valerie.

Family: Valerie tries to put her life back together. Apparently landing herself a husband is supposed to help. Hmm... Stephanie's mom runs over a rabbit on the way to lunch. Never mind that the rabbit was chasing after Stephanie in the middle of the street. Buh-bye bunny!

Wheels: Stephanie's CR-V apparently survived Seven Up, only to get blown up here. After being stolen multiple times, and side-swiped at least once. She's baaaaaaaaaaaack!! Her replacement (loaner?) CR-V from Ranger also meets the same fate. Somewhere up there is a commiseration club for Stephanie's vehicles, where they're all one-upping each other with the stories of their demise...

Action: Stephanie finally gets some Ranger action. Whoo boy. What is it about Stephanie and men who will not commit?

I love my gal Steph, but even I'm thinking she might want to find another line of work. One that puts you in the hospital as often as this one, isn't really my idea of fun... Still, she gets 'em all in the end.

11. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich...

January 12, 2009
Title: Seven Up
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-26584-0
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-26584-7
Hardcover: 309 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2001

This next installment in the Plum series has Stephanie chasing down old Eddie, who's depressed, half-blind, hard of hearing, and surprisingly quick on his feet. As usual, Stephanie loses the FTA, and insanity ensues. Eddie's looking for Stephanie's old high school classmate, Dougie (the Dealer). Dougie did a delivery run for Eddie and disappears. Perpetually-stoned MoonMan, Dougie's buddy, comes to Stephanie to ask her to find Dougie. She finds her first dead body on page 14. I wonder if this is the earliest one has popped up? I should've taken notes...

Extras in this caper are Benny and Ziggy, Eddie's "social club" buddies, who're also looking for Eddie & the stash he lost. And have no problem waiting for Stephanie in her apartment. Uninvited, of course. You'd think she'd get better locks. And lots of 'em. Oh, and we can't forget Bob, who now lives with Morelli. Who eats anything and everything (Bob, not Morelli). And then has to return what he's eaten. Usually (if she can make it there) on Joyce's lawn.

Family: The perfect sister, Valerie, moves back home with her daughters, Angie and Mary Alice. The hubby ran off with the money and the babysitter. Grandma Mazur gets kidnapped, and can't wait to tell everyone about it. Her mom's getting hot flashes, and her dad should be ready to drive himself to the asylum any day now... =P

Wheels: Stephanie's ride is a black Honda CR-V. Which lasts through 2/3 of the book before getting accordioned by a Cadillac.

Action: Morelli & Stephanie are engaged! She gets dragged dress-shopping, her family books the hall, and she's not sure that she's ready for marriage. She's not sure he is, either. The book ends with Ranger visiting, to collect on helping her bring Eddie in.

Wow. I'm actually in awe of Stephanie. Somehow she's managed to get through seven (!) of these books without permanently hurting herself. Sure, she's been shot at, shot, beaten up (by little old ladies nonetheless!), and almost blown up, but she's still ticking. And going. Kinda like the Energizer bunny... AND, she gets her man. Every single one. Whether she really wants him or isn't so sure. Another entertaining caper to pick up.

10. Hot Six by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Hot Six
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-20540-6
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-20540-9
Hardcover: 294 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 2000

In Hot Six, Stephanie has to use all her skills & more, to find Ranger. Yup, Ranger's the FTA - a rookie cop booked him for carrying concealed. And he didn't show up for his court date because he's now also a "person of interest" in a homicide investigation - he's on camera walking into a building with the deceased, and walking out without him. He's actually Joyce's FTA, because Stephanie knows better. Complicating things is the fact that the deceased is the youngest son of a local mob family. So instead of trying to find Ranger, Stephanie stakes out the mob family's properties, and ends up chauffeuring the mob's don out for cigs & beer.

She also trades favors to help out her friend Carol Zabo, and ends up with a new addition to her apartment - a golden retriever named Bob. All this plus 1 homicidal maniac who tries to run her over & sets fire to her shirt. A domestic abuser who also turns out to be her first body - in this book. And 1 high-as-a-kite stoner and his enterprising buddy, known as the Dealer. Life could be better.

Family: Grandma Mazur has a spat with Stephanie's dad and moves in. Just until she gets her own place. Stephanie can't get a wink of sleep, and Morelli's getting antsy (lol!).

Wheels: Stephanie loses a little blue Honda Civic to a reefer. She borrows a Rollswagen from the Dealer, which is probably only good for parts by the time she's done with it. The two hitmen following her lose a Lincoln Town Car to a manic wife-beater FTA gunning for Stephanie, and a Carpet Car set on fire by the oldest trick in town - the flaming dog poop bag. Oh, & Grandma Mazur buys a red Corvette.

Action: None while Grandma Mazur's at Stephanie's.

Ah, Stephanie, Stephanie, Stephanie... It's just comical how things happen around her. But she's smart enough to figure things out, and she always gets her man in the end. Which includes a kinda-sorta marriage proposal. Joe's exact words were "Yeah, for crying out loud, I'm going to marry her." Stephanie, I know you love him, but there's a way to do things, for crying out loud! =) Another quite enjoyable romp.

9. High Five by Janet Evanovich...

January 11, 2009

Title: High Five
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-20303-9
ISBN-13: 978-0312203030
Hardcover: 292 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 1999

Stephanie looks for missing Uncle Fred in this addition to the highly-entertaining series on the life & times of a bounty hunter. Uncle Fred went to complain to the garbage collection company, and never came home. Her FTA is Randy Briggs, who moves into her apartment after she breaks down his door during his apprehension. And to try & make more money, Stephanie takes on a side job - working for Ranger. She manages to lose a limo (& passenger), and blow up a bomb-wearing junkie looking for his stash. Actually, the latter was blown up by someone else, but Stephanie was next to the (ex-)dude. New characters include Tank, a heavily-muscled ex-military employee of Ranger's.

Adding to the suspense, the psychotic prize-fighter from One for the Money is back and stalking her again. And the press now tags her the "Bombshell Bounty Hunter," not in reference to her looks, but rather for the way things just seem to blow up in smithereens around her.

Family: Well, there's Uncle Fred, who's missing. Aunt Mabel, who's buying new things, & planning a cruise. Grandma Mazur, who's... Grandma Mazur. Who manages to stun-gun Stephanie's dad. And pulls a fire-alarm at the funeral home so she can look into the (closed) casket.

Wheels: Boy oh boy. I don't know what to say... Well, first off, I need a new name for the tank (see above). I'll have to get back to you on that. This time, Stephanie manages to kill 1 Porsche (bomb), 1 BMW (stolen), 1 limo ("stolen"), and 1 garbage truck (see Porsche). At least none of 'em are hers - the 1st 3 are Ranger's, because his "employees" only drive black - and the garbage truck was collateral damage.

Action: Stephanie tries to stay away from Morelli, except she has to go to his cousin's wedding with him. She also gets kissed by Ranger, further complicating her feelings for both men. She picks one in the end, and gets some nookie. Go, Steph!

Stephanie is a smart-enough cookie to somehow make it through the bombs, stalkers, weapon-wielding (& wearing) losers running around, AND gets her man, too. How could I not read #6 next? =P

The Knight at Dawn (Magic Tree House #2) by Mary Pope Osborne...

The little man & I went to the library the other day, and he decided that he wanted his own books. Specifically, he wanted Spanish books, because he knows Spanish. In the confident manner of 5-year-olds everywhere, just because he's learning the language, he must know it...

Long story short, he discovered that there are LOTS more words in Spanish that he doesn't know (yet!). So we ended up with the Magic Tree House series. In English. Dad read #1 to him, which is why it's not here.

The Knight at Dawn continues Jack's and Annie's adventures with the tree house. Neither could sleep after their first adventure and just before first light, head off to find the tree house again. Just to be sure.

This time they end up in medieval England because Annie wanted to see a knight and castle. They end up getting chased in the castle, caught and brought to the dungeons, where they escape and end up in the moat. They make it back to the tree house (& home) safely with the help of the knight that Annie wanted to see.

The little man actually attempted to read this himself, with my help on the more difficult words. He made it through 3 pages before giving up, but I'm so very proud of him! After all, he IS only 5+... Maybe my monkey will grow up to love books like his mom?

8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer...

January 10, 2009
Title: Twilight
Author: Stephenie Meyer
ISBN-10: 0-316-03837-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-316-03837-9
Mass Market Paperback: 498 pages
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company, 2008

Twilight is the story of Bella and Edward, two high-school students who meet in Forks, a small town in the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. Bella is seventeen, Edward has been seventeen for almost a century.

This is a very well-written love story. You feel Bella's confusion when Edward is antagonistic towards her. You appreciate Edward's attempt to keep away from her. The supporting cast of characters are well-thought out. Except maybe for Rosalie ~ I don't quite get why she is so angry towards Bella.

One thing that bothered me a little about this book - Bella is 17. I know why she wants what she wants from Edward. Or thinks she wants what she wants from Edward. But she's only 17. A person grows and changes with every passing year, with life lived and experienced, with trials and tribulations, and success. With loves won and lost. Is 17 old enough, mature enough, lived enough, to ask what she's asking for? To know what she's asking for? After all, Edward didn't have the same options she has. The same life she could have. Or the ability to choose.

I cannot wait to read New Moon. I'm #177 on the library wait list. *sigh* Somebody please feel free to take pity on me & send me a copy to read... =P

So, WOW! My first ever award...

January 9, 2009
lilly over at Reading Extravaganza has given me my very first ever award - the Premios Dardo Award! What a complete surprise, and such an honor! (I'll stop using exclamation points one of these sentences. Promise! Oops...)

Details: This award acknowledges the values that every blogger shows in his/her effort to transmit cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day.

The rules to follow are:
  1. Accept the award, post it on your blog together with the name of the person that has granted the award and his or her blog link.
  2. Pass the award to other 15 blogs that are worthy of this acknowledgment. Remember to contact each of them to let them know they have been chosen for this award.

So, um, now to pass it along.

J.Kaye's Book Blog ~ J.Kaye has been wonderful at helping me with my blog, replying to comments, roping me in for challenges, and just plain letting me be goofy. =) And whaddaya know, her blog's pretty cool, too.

Fantasy Book Critic ~ Some of the best reviews I've read are here. I guess it doesn't hurt that this is my favorite genre... So, uh, yeah. Even though I'm not very active on the blog site, doesn't mean I'm not paying attention.

Nice Mommy, Evil Editor ~ Angie's posts are a mix of entertainment, information, and random goodness.

Book Dads ~ There's such a range of books here that I'm sometimes intimidated by the breadth of it all. Then again, blogs like this make me want to get over my own insecurities and check out new things.

ReadingAdventures ~ Marg's blog is one of the first few that I got hooked on.

Filling the Well ~ Carrie's blog is so well-written, I'm so NOT surprised that I love her books...

Dear Author ~ Not just reviews here, nosirree - there's industry news, opinion pieces, and stuff I wish I could write, but I'm just not that good.

Peeking Between the Pages ~ Dar's blog - like J.Kaye's - is like hot chocolate on a cold snowy day. Or night. Like today, actually. ~ Insightful, detailed reviews are to be found here. Something for me to aspire to, if I ever find the time to do more than the blurbs I currently post.

Stone Soup ~ Katrina's hats are the bomb. (is it still cool - or was it ever cool - to say "the bomb"?)

The Book Fiend

A Banana in China ~ This isn't Kitty's book blog, but it definitely transmits "cultural, ethical, literary and personal values every day" so I'm giving it the award.

Thank you all for being in the blogosphere, for the inspiration, information, learning, and entertainment provided.

My favorite author blog...

At the risk of ticking someone off, I just had to gush about Carrie Vaughn's blog, Filling the Well. I don't know what took me so long to find it, but I'm so there! She's funny, entertaining, vicarious, and she makes costumes. Oh, and she writes great books too. Go check out her essays on kick-ass heroines in Urban Fantasy - they're pretty darn kick-ass themselves.

7. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich...

Title: Four to Score
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0312185863
ISBN-13: 978-0312185862
Hardcover: 294 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 1998

The continuation of Stephanie Plum's life & career as a bounty hunter. This time she's on the hunt for Maxine Nowicki, who stole her boyfriend's car, then skips her court date. Complicating things is Maxine's disappearance, while her friend's finger gets chopped off, her mom gets scalped, and her boyfriend gets kidnapped. None of which helps Stephanie find her. And who else shows up on the hunt, but Stephanie's nemesis Joyce Barnhardt? Good thing Lula's there to help diffuse the situation, Lula-style!

All this while somebody accuses Stephanie of stealing their boyfriend, and fire-bombs her apartment. What fun! (not!)

Family: Grandma Mazur goes to Atlantic City with Stephanie, Lula, and Sally (7-ft-tall - when fully decked out - cross-dressing singer in a transvestite band). And boy, do they scare the heck out of locals & tourists alike.

Wheels: A Honda CRX that's - yup, you guessed it - blown up. Ok, what happened is it got soaked in gasoline. And the FTA's mother dropped a lit cigarette into the gas puddle. Whoof! & it's back to the tank...

Action: Stephanie stays at Morelli's for 3 days. So what do you think happens?? Whereupon his mom invites them to dinner, his granny Bella puts the eye on her & declares she's pregnant, and his aunts start showing up at the door with casseroles and Morelli's christening outfit, talking about showers. Run, Steph, Run!

A very enjoyable, fast, read. Even for me. =)

Jumping on the bandwagon...

I never thought I'd get around to reading Twilight any time soon - I was #174 on the hold list at my library a week ago... However, a friend came through and loaned me her copy, so ta dah! Twilight now has a bookmark in it. So far it's better than I thought it would be. Yeah, yeah. I know there's been a lot of gushing over the book(s) & the movie, but I'm not really a follow-the-gush type of gal. We'll see where I'm at once I'm done with the book. =)

BTT - The best of '08?

January 8, 2009
This week's Booking through Thursday:

It's a week or two later than you’d expect, and it may be almost a trite question, but … what were your favorite books from 2008?

I think my absolute favorite was Feast of Souls, by C.S. Friedman. I really, really, loved her Coldfire trilogy, and was very bummed that she seemed to only have science-fiction books other than that trilogy. So I couldn't wait to get my hands on Feast of Souls. And the sequel, Wings of Wrath, comes out next month. *drool*

6. Hard to Handle by Lori Foster...

Title: Hard to Handle
Author: Lori Foster
ISBN-10: 0425219720
ISBN-13: 978-0425219720
Mass Market Paperback: 330 pages
Publisher: Berkley, 2008

SBC (Supreme Battle Challenge) fighter Harley Handleman has dedicated his life towards the ultimate prize - the championship belt. However, life threw some kinks into those plans, and the book opens with his rehab & recovery. Anastasia Kelley is a life coach and the landlord of his get-away-from-home cabin. They've known each other for a while, but this is the first time Harley actually notices her. (yeah, men!) Sparks fly, etc. etc. etc.

Maybe there's a good reason I've stayed away from romances for as long as I have. I think the last time I read a romance novel was in the late '80s, or early '90s. This book was mostly predictable, with the guy getting the girl, the cops catching the stalker trying to kill her, and lots of confusion (men!) in between.

The verdict: Eh.

5. Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels...

January 7, 2009
Title: Don of the Dead
Author: Casey Daniels
ISBN-10: 0-06-082146-9
ISBN-13: 978-0-06-082146-3
Mass Market Paperback: 325 pages
Publisher: Avon Books, 2006

Pepper Martin's first "real" job is a tour guide at Garden View Cemetery, where a chance meeting with a marble headstone leads to her meeting with Gus Scarpetti, former Don of the Scarpetti family. Apparently Gus cannot move on, because there's unfinished business in this world. He heckles, cajoles, insults, and basically manipulates Pepper into helping find out who was responsible for doing the deed on the Don. Side characters include everyone from Gus' mob "family", to a handsome detective, to the adorably geeky doctor who wants to check into Pepper's brain.

There's plot, characters, etc. in this book, but I really didn't get into it. I guess Pepper's not really my type of heroine ~ I'll wholeheartedly confess that this may be a side-effect of getting into the Plum novels.

Teaser Tuesdays ~ Jan. 6...

This week's Teaser Tuesdays is a little late... But here it is!

  • Grab your current read.
  • Let the book fall to a random page.
  • Share two (2) "teaser" sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
  • Share the title of the book that you're getting your teaser from... That way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you've given!
  • Please avoid spoilers!

"When Anthony dies, you want to go with him."
"You think?"
Don of the Dead, Casey Daniels ~ pg. 242

4. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong...

January 6, 2009
Title: Exit Strategy
Author: Kelley Armstrong
ISBN-10: 0-553-58819-2
ISBN-13: 978-0-553-58819-4
Mass Market Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Spectra, 2007

Exit Strategy is a departure from the Women of the Otherworld series author Kelley Armstrong. There is absolutely nothing paranormal in this book, just crime, killing, and suspense.

Nadia Stafford is a cop-turned-hitwoman who's recruited by her mentor, Jack, to help find a hitman-turned-serial killer. Flashbacks in the story provide background as to why she's a former cop, and why she's turned to taking on assignments for a mob family. The meat of the story revolves around looking for the serial killer, and her relationship with Jack, his mentor, a few other "helpers". Mostly the first two.

Jack's not much for talking - he says what he has to, and not a whisper more. The dialog between Nadia & Jack is crisp and to the point. The story moves along less-than-quickly, there are a few close shaves, but in the end good prevails. Well, as good as assassins can be, I guess.

I'd pick it up if I were a fan of Kelley Armstrong who wouldn't be bothered that it's not a paranormal.

Giveaway - Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet...

January 5, 2009

drey's library's first ever giveaway (hurrah!) is Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet, courtesy of Hachette Book Group. There are 5 copies, so come on over & throw your name in the hat!

As a little girl, Jane has no one. Her mother, the powerful head of a Broadway theater company, has no time for her. She does have one friend-a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael-but only she can see him.

Years later, Jane is in her thirties and just as alone as ever. Then she meets Michael again-as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.

SUNDAYS AT TIFFANY'S is a love story with an irresistible twist, a novel about the child inside all of us-and the boundary-crossing power of love.

Giveaway details:
  1. Enter before midnight (CST) on Saturday, January 24, 2009. Come back after to see if you've won!
  2. Giveaway is open to residents of the U.S. and Canada only, and you must have a valid mailing address (no P.O. Boxes).
  3. For one entry, comment on this post.
  4. Become a follower for another entry. Let me know in the comment section.
  5. Blog about this contest for two (2) more entries. Comment & include the link to your blog post.
Good luck everyone!

edited to add: Check out West of Mars - Win a Book for other blogs giving away Sundays at Tiffany's. May you be lucky at one of 'em!

3. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich...

January 4, 2009
Title: Three to Get Deadly
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-312-96609-1
ISBN-13: 978-0-312-96609-6
Mass Market Paperback: 321 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press, 1998

Book #3 in the Stephanie Plum line-up, Three to Get Deadly has our heroine hunting down the neighborhood's ice-cream and candy shop owner, Moses Bedemier. She's stuck out the bounty-hunting gig for 5 months now, and is feeling better about making this work for her. However, Uncle Mo is beloved by all, and nobody is willing to help her find him when he disappears. Stephanie's efforts are further complicated by the pile-up of dead drug dealers turning up all over town. Her efforts to nab smaller-fry FTAs result in orange hair and a public take-down of a chicken. Or, rather, an FTA in a chicken suit.

Family: Grandma Mazur brings a date to dinner. Who's promptly sent on his way by Stephanie's dad. With dessert in a bag, of course.

Wheels: A cute little blue Nissan pickup that she buys on a whim, and breaks down constantly. Until it's finally fixed. Upon which it gets eliminated by a rocket launcher. Don't worry, the tank's still around.

Action: More smooching (& a little more) with Morelli. Oh, and some puking on, too.

There's no lack of action, dialog, and the occasional illegal maneuvers, but I'm now wishing I'd picked up #4, which is waiting for me at the library. Oh well, there's always tomorrow.

2. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich...

January 2, 2009
Title: Two for the Dough
Author: Janet Evanovich
ISBN-10: 0-684-19638-7
ISBN-13: 978-0-684-19638-1
Hardcover: 301 pages
Publisher: Scribner, 1996

Book #2 in the Stephanie Plum line-up continues Ms. Plum's adventures as an bounty hunter. It starts with her crouching behind a hydrangea bush in the heat of an Indian summer, watching for another bail jumper from the burg - Kenny Mancuso. Something like that would probably make me re-think my choice of careers, but Stephanie... Well, let's just say that her options haven't improved much since book #1 (and she did bring in Morelli for her $10,000). She's still got attitude and ineptitude, some brains, and a whole lotta luck.

Family: Grandma Mazur features prominently, and boy does she have fun checking out stiffs in caskets, which gives Stephanie's mom nightmares.

Wheels: Stephanie drives a Jeep Wrangler, which gets stolen. Guess that's better than getting it blown up, like Morelli's SUV in One for the Money. Her next ride is a powder-blue 1953 Buick, which she calls Big Blue, and I call the tank - she can hit anything with it, and it'll have nary a scratch.

Action (*grin*): Morelli kisses Stephanie. And more. But not quite everything.

All in all, this is a fun ride-along with Stephanie's escapades. Pick it up if you're a Stephanie fan, or if you just like a good rollicking adventure.


Ok, apparently I lied. One more. Apparently, January is National Just Read More Novels Month, i.e. NaJuReMoNoMo. Go here for details. I'm shooting for gold, and I'm already on my way. =)

My list:

  1. One for the Money by Janet Evanovich
  2. Two for the Dough by Janet Evanovich
  3. Three to Get Deadly by Janet Evanovich
  4. Exit Strategy by Kelley Armstrong
  5. Don of the Dead by Casey Daniels
  6. Hard to Handle by Lori Foster
  7. Four to Score by Janet Evanovich
  8. Twilight by Stephenie Meyer
  9. High Five by Janet Evanovich
  10. Hot Six by Janet Evanovich
  11. Seven Up by Janet Evanovich
  12. Hard Eight by Janet Evanovich
  13. Visions of Sugar Plums by Janet Evanovich
  14. To the Nines by Janet Evanovich
  15. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich
  16. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich
  17. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
  18. Plum Lovin' by Janet Evanovich
  19. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
  20. Plum Lucky by Janet Evanovich
  21. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
  22. Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson & Gabrielle Charbonnet
  23. Darkfever by Karen Marie Moning
  24. Bloodfever by Karen Marie Moning
  25. Houston, We Have a Problema by Gwendolyn Zepeda
  26. Princeps' Fury by Jim Butcher
  27. Uglies by Scott Westerfeld
  28. Scot on the Rocks by Brenda Janowitz
  29. Faefever by Karen Marie Moning
  30. Kitty and the Dead Man's Hand by Carrie Vaughn

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