Friday, July 30, 2010

Miss Hildreth Wore Brown: Anecdotes of a Southern Belle

By:  Olivia deBelle Byrd

From Goodreads:   With storytelling written in the finest Southern tradition from the soap operas of Chandler Street in the quaint town of Gainesville, Georgia, to a country store on the Alabama state line, Oliviade Belle Byrd delves with wit and amusement into the world of the Deep South with all its unique idiosyncrasies and colloquialisms. The characters who dance across the pages range from Great-Aunt LottieMae, who is as “old-fashioned and opinionated as the day is long,” to Mrs. Brewton, who calls everyone “dahling” whether they are darling or not, to Isabella with her penchant for mint juleps and drama. Humorous anecdotes from a Christmas coffee, where one can converse with a lady who has Christmas trees with blinking lights dangling from her ears, to Sunday church,where a mink coat is mistaken for possum, will delight Southerners and baffle many a non-Southerner. There is the proverbial Southern beauty pageant, where even a six-month-old can win a tiara, to a funeral faux pas of the iron clad Southern rule—one never wears white after Labor Day and, dear gussy, most certainly not to a funeral. Miss Hildreth Wore Brown—Anecdotes of a Southern Belle is guaranteed to provide an afternoon of laugh-out-loud reading and hilarious enjoyment.

I thought this book was great.  The stories were cute and funny.  They were definitely the sort of things I could hear in my daily life in Louisiana (especially among my Tuesday Night Ladies).   Some of these stories had me laughing out loud and some had me rolling my eyes because I knew my mom, grandmother, insert any other female relative probably would have said or done something similar.  Fun book!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is who is your favorite new-to-you author this year?  My answer would have to be Charles Martin.  I read The Mountain Between Us and LOVED it.  I'll definitely be reading more of his work in the future.

Where did this week go????

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

The Katrina Diary

By:  Amy Rohde

The Katrina Diary is a memoir of one family's evacuation from New Orleans in advance of Hurricane Katrina to Jasper, Texas.  The family then suffers the second blow of Hurricane Rita that hits the area less than a month later.  This is the story of their struggle to get their lives together in the face of uncertainty and the aftermath of two devastating hurricanes.

I was very interested in reading this book because I live in South Louisiana.  Our family lives about 60 miles northwest of New Orleans.  We stayed home for both hurricanes and have a pretty good first hand knowledge of what it was like around here.

First off, I will say that I did enjoy reading the book.  I'm always interested in learning about people's Katrina experiences.  It's been 5 years and still not a day goes by that I don't hear someone talking about how Katrina changed their life.  The author did a good job illustrating what their daily life was like and the fears and challenges they faced.

However, I had a couple of technical issues.  The first was that I was unclear as to where the family actually lived originally.  In reading the book I was able to figure out it was a military base, but which one?  It doesn't really matter, but its just one of those things people are usually really specific about when they tell their story, exactly where there house was when New Orleans flooded.  Secondly, the writer stated that Katrina came ashore as a Category 5 or strong Category 4 hurricane.  That's incorrect.  Katrina came ashore as a Category 3 hurricane.   Then the last was that it was stated that "thousands" died here.  That's a bit of an exaggeration.  The final death toll number was 1,836 (over several states) with 135 categorized as missing.  Missing doesn't necessarily mean that they're dead and their body just hasn't been found, it's been theorized that some people took the opportunity of all the chaos to disappear on purpose.

Overall, I thought the book was interesting and touching.  I could relate to it personally I guess because I had been through it all and I had very small children at the time too.  Our poor state of Louisiana has suffered through a lot over the last few years, but we shall persevere through all this mess.

Sunday, July 25, 2010


By:  Jane Eagland
Publish date:  Sept. 6, 2010

Seventeen year old Louisa Cosgrove thinks she's on her way to her new job as companion for a new family, but instead she arrives at Wildthorn, an insane asylum for women.  Her traveling chaperone is there to make she she gets admitted.  She's told she's no longer Louisa Cosgrove, that her name is Lucy Childs and that she has to stay there to get well.  What makes Louisa so crazy?  In Victorian England the problem is that she wants to be a doctor, she reads too much, she learns too much and it makes her family uncomfortable.

I found this book to be very good, it starts off right away at her arriving at the asylum and is told through a series of flashbacks which I thought was really effective.  I felt very bad Louisa, she couldn't do anything to get out of the situation she was in and she didn't do anything wrong to get herself into the situation she was in. 

There's a very mild lesbian theme throughout the book, which wasn't graphic by any means at all, but if that offends you this book might not be for you. 

This book is also classified as Young Adult, but don't let that deter you grown ups, it's worth the read I think.

I got an ARC of this book from Netgalley

Marked & Betrayed

By: PC and Kristin Cast

In Marked 16 year old Zoey Redbird has been Marked as a fledgling vampire.  She must leave her school and family and move into the House of Night, a boarding school for young vampyres making the Change into adults.  Not all the fledglings will survive the Change. 

From the very first day it's obvious that Zoey is different, her mark is different.  She has been bestowed special gifts from the Goddess Nyx, the Goddess that watches over vampyres. 

Zoey's arrival shakes up the status quo in the cliquey group called the Dark Daughters and she becomes the leader. 

The story continues in the second book in the series called Betrayed.

In Betrayed Zoey is settling into her life at House of Night and loving her new friends.  Things are rolling along smoothing until a series of murders of human kids occur, kids that she knew.  The murders appear to be committed by vampyres, but were they really?

My neighbor gave me these books, but I really didn't think I was going to like them too much.  I figured I needed to hurry up and read them before she got back from vacation.  Once I picked up the first one I couldn't put it down.  I thought they were great!  I know they didn't get great reviews on Amazon but I think those are people that want the super serious Twilight like love story vamp thing and these just aren't it.  They're fun and light and teenybopper. 

Great beach reads I'd think!  I read both books in a day and a half.  Now I just need to track down the rest of the series!!

Check out the House of Night Website.  Pretty Cool!  There's an ebook special on Marked on there too.

Friday, July 23, 2010

The Wings of Leo Spencer

By:  Jerome Parisse

The plot summaries that I've seen posted on Amazon and Goodreads and the back of the book are really misleading.  Basically this book is about 14 year old Leo Spencer who dies abruptly and unexpectedly.  Unexpectedly to him, his family knew he had some disease that was never named that would kill him, but never let on to him the severity of the situation.  So, he dies and goes to heaven and become and angel and spends the rest of the book fighting evil forces that are trying to take over heaven and kill his family.

Part of me liked the book.  I thought it was interesting and different and it was written by a Australian originally born in France so that makes for unique word choices.  Another part of me was really frustrated with the writer.  It was like he had this grand picture in his head that he didn't get all down on paper.  I think the reader had to assume a lot.  The writer just expected us to know what he would know.  The dialogue was just completely unrealistic in places and at times it just didn't make sense at all.  There could have been a lot more texture brought to the story.   Overall, it was a good effort that fell a little short in my opinion.

Just Grace

By:  Charise Harper

Grace Stewart enters the third grade to learn there are 3 other Graces in her class.  In order to avoid confusion her name becomes "Just Grace".  How humiliating!!  The story of Just Grace is a super cute story about unlikely heroes and missing cat mysteries.

This week I let my 8 year old pick the audio book we'd be listening to in the car as we ran errands and this is what she picked.  While this is geared towards 2nd - 4th graders, I thought it was pretty fun.  The audio reader did a really good job.  All three girls had a lot of fun with this book.  It says something when there's no fussing about going anywhere because they wanted to know what was going to happen with Just Grace.

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Follow Friday

I love Follow Friday!  I find so many fun new blogs!

Let's Blog Hop while we're at it.  Crazy For Books asks us to tell about what book we're currently reading.  I'm reading Wildthorn by Jane Eagland.  A young girl is put into an insane asylum and told she is someone she isn't.  It's been pretty interesting so far!

Book Blogger Hop

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Same Kind of Different As Me

By:  Ron Hall and Denver Moore

This is the story of two very unlikely people becoming best friends and the woman who guided them together.    Ron Hall is an international art dealer that is extremely wealthy living in Fort Worth, Texas.  Denver Moore grew up a virtual plantation slave in Louisiana until he hopped a train to Texas where he was living homeless on the streets of Fort Worth. 

Deborah Hall, Ron's wife, was a woman of God and her calling was to help the homeless in Fort Worth.  She had a vision of Denver and knew that that man was going to change their lives.  When she finally met him she encouraged her husband to become his friend.  Denver, more cautious of white people, took some time to come around, but once he did they were friends for life.

Same Kind of Different As Me, is told in alternating view points.  One chapter is from Ron's point of view, the next is Denver's.  It's slightly confusing because it's not labeled, but Denver's dialect is different being that he was completely uneducated, so you can figure it out, but in my perfect world the chapters would have been labeled.

The story was really fantastic.  I was kind of skeptical about it.  I knew it was going to be a "religious" book, but it was very well done, not too over the top I didn't think.  It was just a laying out of their story and what happened to them, not any "You must do this!" sort of thing.

I would recommend that you read the last third of the book with a box of tissues.  It gets very emotional from that point on.

I received a copy of this book from BookSneeze in exchange for an honest review

Monday, July 19, 2010

The Mountain Between Us

By:  Charles Martin

Ashley, a writer, and Ben, an orthopedic surgeon, were waiting for their flight in Salt Lake City when they first met.  When their flight is cancelled due to an impending ice storm, Ben convinces a charter flight pilot to fly them to Denver and hopefully a connecting flight that will get them home more quickly.  Unfortunately, their pilot has a fatal heart attack over the High Uintas Wilderness, which has the distinction as being the most remote land in the United States. 

The Mountain Between Us is the story of Ben and Ashley's desperate struggle to survive despite the staggering odds against them. 

I won a copy of this book from Read It Forward.  However, after seeing the author interviews talking about his book, I was really excited to read the book.  When I saw the audiobook at the library I checked it out and got started. 

I thoroughly enjoyed the story.  It was interesting and exciting and I just couldn't wait to find out what was going to happen next.  I felt so let down when things didn't go right for Ben and Ashley and happy when something finally did.  I listened to much of this book with my daughter (8 years old) and it led to some very interesting "what would you do if..." type discussions.  I think she enjoyed the adventure aspect of the story. 

The characters, particularly Ben and Ashley, were believable.  Their dialogue was great.  I loved their sarcastic conversations.  I could relate to Rachel (Ben's wife) in that I have twin daughters and I understood her, but I won't say anything further because I don't want to spoil it for anyone.

There were a few copyediting type things that caught my attention.  Mostly repetitions, which I think are more noticeable when you're listening rather than reading.  You might not notice the same phrase 3 times when you're reading quickly, but when you're listening and have to listening to every single word, it's far easier to pick up on.

Now, my one negative...the audiobook reader.  I didn't like him.  Maybe I've gotten spoiled with some really good actors, but he just seemed not as into it.  It was hard to distinguish between narration and main character dialogue.  Most readers seem to distinguigh between these a little better...having a different voice for the main character and their regular voice for narration.  The tone of his voice seemed too jovial and lighthearted in places for two characters that have suffered major injuries and are stuck in freezing cold in the middle of nowhere.   There were a few spots where you could tell where some sort of technical editing had been done.  That wasn't the readers fault though, that was some producer some editor somewhere I'm sure.  Overall, it wasn't horrible, it wasn't even bad, I'm just being overly picky maybe.

Bottom line...go get the book!!  It was an excellent story!


Friday, July 16, 2010

Friday Followers

Book Blogger Hop

Right now the question is what book am I dying to get my hands on?  This very second it would be Linger because I just finished up Shiver.  Easy!!

And here's a new way to find new followers and blogs to follow.  Check it out!

Thursday, July 15, 2010


by:  Maggie Stiefvater

There have been wolves in the woods behind Grace's house ever since she was a little girl.  She should know this better than anyone.  She was attacked by them, until one saved her life.  The one with the strange yellow eyes.  She knows that wolf as her wolf and she watches it from her backyard over the years.  Then one day, she meets a boy with the same strange yellow eyes.

Okie dokie, so Shiver is your classic girl meets werewolf and falls in love story.  These type stories are all the rage right now.  Seriously, are there any YA books right now that aren't about chicks falling in love with either vampires or werewolves?    I don't have a problem with it though.  Team Jacob here  :)   Anyway, overall the story was pretty good.  I liked it.  Grace's parents pissed me off.  This book could have easily been retitled to "How To Be An Absent Parent".  It reminded me of Dora the Explorer, you know the cartoon?  Her parents send her off into the jungle with trolls and dragons and such with a talking monkey and talking backpack.  Grace's parents didn't know she had a werewolf sleeping in her room for weeks.  Thank God these are all fictional parents!

I liked the subplots going on with her friends particularly Olivia.  I won't give away any spoilers here, but I loved the way the ending worked out for Olivia. 

According to Ms. Stiefvater's website (she's got all kinds of fun stuff on there) Shiver is going to be made into a movie. 

Linger is the sequel to Shiver and it was just released.  Don't you just love the covers of these books?

Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday

Right now I'm waiting on Dracula in Love by Karen Essex.  It's the love story between Dracula and Mina Murray, but told from the point of view of Mina.

It's already getting 3 1/2 stars on Amazon and the reviews I've read make it sound very intriguing.

It's out in print on August 10!

Lover Mine

By:  JR Ward

This is the 8th book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.  It picks up with Xhex being held captive by the evil lesser Lash.  John Michael is all a mess because he doesn't think she's coming back.  Qhuinn and Blay are still dancing around their feelings for each other and Qhuinn's cousin, Saxton, gets thrown in the mix to shake things up.   Xhex, of course, escapes and reunites with John Michael and the pair spend ample time seeking revenge on Lash...and well...reuniting.

That, of course, is the super short majorly condensed version.  Overall, I liked this book.  It was probably my favorite so far.  Xhex has always been one of my favorite characters so I was glad to see a book dedicated to her and her relationship with John Michael.  I thought the ending was rather un-Xhex-like, but I guess after everything she had been through she had the right to change a little bit. 

I'm getting really frustrated with the Blay/Qhuinn thing.  I understand the reasoning for stringing it can write more books that way and the emotions involved are complicated blah blah blah.  Come on already!   Let's get these two together so they won't have to be so damn miserable all the time.

I didn't really like the reality tv show subplot, I found myself skimming/skipping over most of it, but it was no skin off my nose to do that, so if Madame Ward want it in be it!

Anybody read the Fallen Angels series?  Is it as good as the BDB?

Monday, July 12, 2010

Made In the USA

By:  Billie Letts

15 year old Lutie and 11 year old Fate McPhee are living with their estranged father's girlfriend, Floy, in Spearfish, South Dakota.   At the Wal-Mart check out Floy drops dead.  Lutie and Fate decide to take Floy's car and go in seach of their father at his last known address in Las Vegas.  The trip is fraught with poor decision making, back luck, bad people, and Lutie's bad attitude until their guardian angel takes them under his wing and helps them to better life.

First off I listened to the audiobook.  If you decide to, don't be put off by the reader's voice.  I almost was and I'm glad I stuck it out.  I thought it was too high pitched and childish at first, but I found that it worked.  After all, you're talking about two children.  It was very well done in my opinion. 

On to the story itself, it was much darker than any of the other Billie Letts novels I've read.  There were drugs, rape, porn, not things you'd expect from Billie Letts.  However, none of it was explicit and it worked within the story.  They were appropriate for the character.  I will say though, that I absolutely ADORED this book!!  I found myself fussing at Lutie as I drove along and getting all teary eyed about the next thing she did to derail whatever progress she and Fate might be making.  The writer is very skillful with the way she crafts her scenes, they're so vivid and realistic.  I was so sympathetic towards Lutie and Fate at times I wanted to bring them home...well maybe not Lutie, but Fate for sure! 

If you've never read Billie Letts before this is good one or my favorite of her's is The Honk and Holler Opening Soon or (it's kinda played out because it was an Oprah pick and a they made a movie) Where The Heart Is.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

The One That I Want

By:  Allison Winn Scotch

Tilly Farmer is thirty-two and has the perfect life she's wanted since high school.  She's married to her high school sweetheart and is the guidance counselor at the high school she graduated from.  Her life is perfect, until the day she goes to the fair and seeks a reading from a fortunate teller.  She is given not a reading, but the gift of clarity.  She's given the ability to understand what's going to happen in the future and it's not the perfect future she's been hoping for.

I found this book to be very endearing.  I think I could relate to it because I'm 32, I have 6 year old twins like Tilly's best friend, Tilly had frustrations with her younger sister as do I.  Parts were laugh out loud funny and other parts were very emotional.  I felt like the book touched on a lot of the issues that women today deal with:  single parenthood, death of parents, taking care of parents, divorce, taking care of kids, taking care of husbands, and maintaining relationships with siblings.  The characters felt like people I knew, people who would be my friends.  The setting felt like the town that I grew up in, which was kind of funny to me, another way I could relate to the story.  The book asked if you could have the gift (or is it curse?) of knowing the future would you want it?  I definitely would not!  I think it would make me crazy always trying to change it or trying to prevent it. 

This was the first book I've read by Allison Winn Scotch but I'm going to go back and read her other books, Time of My Life and The Department of Lost and Found.

Friday, July 9, 2010

Raven Black

by: Ann Cleeves

Set in the Shetland Islands of Scotland, the story opens in the frigid cold of January.  The body of a teenage girl is found and all the locals pin the murder on the resident simpleton.  Detective Jimmy Perez has his doubts and sets about to investigate this murder and a previous unsolved disappearance that may be linked.

First off I'll say that I always love book that are set in places that I know nothing about.  I also love when books are written by people from other countries and they use their local dialects.  Ann Cleeves is British and she uses all those cute British colloquialisms that Americans just eat up.   I thought overall it was pretty good.  It was a tad bit slow, but that might just be me.  I've had a cold this week and I haven't been able to read as much as usual and maybe it just took me longer than usual to get through it.  The end was a surprise to me, I didn't see it coming.  I thought the writer really had a knack for creating a visualization of the area, it made me want to visit.

This is the first of four books in the Jimmy Perez series.  I have a dear love of series so I'll probably have to read the rest of them now!

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

The Virgin of Small Plains

by:  Nancy Pickard

This book is set in a small town in Kansas.  It opens with the body of a seemingly unknown girl found frozen to death.  The night her body is found the lives of all the characters lives are changed.  I had picked up this book because I was looking for The Scent of Rain and Lightning but none of the bookstores had it.  What's up with that??  This sounded like an interesting beach read though and I'm glad I picked it up.  I quite enjoyed it.  It never felt predictable as so many mystery/thrillers seem to lately.  The plot lines were fresh and exciting.  The characters were strong, vibrant and likeable.  Almost all the little threads were tied up in the end...there was one that I was wondering about afterwards and it may have been addressed, but I got sick while I was at the beach and maybe I just overlooked it and I'm just too damn tired to reread the end of the book now LOL  So if anybody reads it and can tell me what Mitch's plan is for all the buildings he's buying I'd appreciate it.