Wednesday, June 24, 2009

The Loser's Guide to Life and Love by A.E. Cannon

Title: The Loser's Guide to Life and Love
Author: A.E. Cannon
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Mid-Grade
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: mild language
Premise: Over the summer, Salt Lake City high school student Ed McIff works at a video store, wearing a shirt with the name Sergio on it, and when a beautiful girl comes in one day, he decides to take on a new, more suave identity, resulting in a series of misunderstandings and star-crossed encounters. (PG Library System)
Opinions: This was a fun, quick read. The story is told from four teenagers' points of view and is about a love quadrangle and all the complications of teenage love. The humor is quick, the method of telling helps to draw you into the characters personalities, and the ending is perfect. A.E. Cannon did a fantastic job writing a very good book that I highly recommend you read.

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Dragon Flight by Jessica Day George

Several months ago Karen reviewed "Dragon Slippers". Since we are giving away "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow" by Jessica Day George, we felt it was appropriate to highlight her other books. So here is a review of "Dragon Flight" sequel to "Dragon Slippers". Tommorrow, (okay in the next couple of days) I will post a review of "Dragon Spear" the third book in this awesome series.

Don't forget to enter our giveaway. You have one more week to enter and to send us some reviews. We've gotten some already, and are totally excited to share them with you! Go here for all the ways you can enter.

Title: Dragon Flight
Author: Jessica Day George
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: none
Premise: Young seamstress Creel finds herself strategizing with the dragon king Shardas once again when a renegade dragon in a distant country launches a war against their country, bringing an entire army of dragons into the mix. (King County Library System)

Opinions: As the second book in her Dragon series, Jessica Day George does a fantastic job carrying on the tale. Her characters are just as vivid, the dragons impressive, and the hint of romance tantalizing. Though the book had a slow start I do believe it was intentional to show Creel's life having become dull after the intensity of the first dragon war. As soon as a threat to the country and her friends arises Creel (as well as the story) leaps into action to help save the day (and do see Luka again). So far I'm thoroughly enjoying reading this series and am excited to see where it leads us. Overall, I think Jessica Day George is a fantastic author and I'm glad for the opportunity to read her work.

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark

Before I do this review I have to say that I am a HUGE Mary Higgins Clark fan and have been for about sixteen years. I also own almost every one of her books (which is interesting since I can't stand watching crime drama on television). However, being murder mysteries, and being the queen of murder mystery writing, Mary Higgins Clark books are not for children. That said, here is my review of her latest book that just came out this year:

Title: Just Take My Heart
Author: Mary Higgins Clark
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Murder Mystery
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: violence, drinking, psychopaths
Premise: "Natalie Raines, one of Broadway's brightest stars, accidentally discovers who killed her former roommate and sets in motion a series of shocking events that puts more than one life in extreme peril." "While Natalie and her roommate, Jamie Evans, were both struggling young actresses, Jamie had been involved with a mysterious married man to whom she referred only by nickname. Natalie comes face to face with him years later and inadvertently addresses him by the nickname Jamie had used. A few days later, Natalie is found in her home in Closter, New Jersey, dying from a gunshot wound." "Immediately the police suspect Natalie's theatrical agent and soon-to-be-ex-husband, Gregg Aldrich. He had long been a "person of interest" and was known to have stalked Natalie to find out if she was seeing another man. But no charges are brought against him until two years later, when Jimmy Easton, a career criminal, suddenly comes forward to claim that Aldrich had tried to hire him to kill his wife. Easton knows details about the Aldrich home that only someone who had been there - to plan a murder, for instance - could possibly know." "The case is a plum assignment for Emily Wallace, an attractive thirty-two-year-old assistant prosecutor. As she spends increasingly long hours preparing for the trial, a seemingly well-meaning neighbor offers to take care of her dog in her absence. Unaware of his violent past, she gives him a key to her home." "As Aldrich's trial is making headlines, her boss warns Emily that this high-profile case will reveal personal matters about her, such as the fact that she had a heart transplant. And, during the trial, Emily experiences sentiments that defy all reason and continue after Gregg Aldrich's fate is decided by the jury. In the meantime, she does not realize that her own life is now at risk" (Book jacket)

Opinions: As soon as I started reading it yesterday, I was quickly drawn into the case and immediately became attached to the main character, Emily Wallace. What is even more intriguing is the twist and turns of events that happened in Emily's life that have a direct impact on the case that she is trying as the Assistent Prosecutting Attorney. I could not put the book down, and when I couldn't stay awake anymore last night to keep reading I reluctantly went to bed only to pick the book up again first thing in the morning.

Mary Higgins Clark is an impressive writer of murder mysteries. She captures the feeling of suspense, the intensity of a mystery, and colorful characters. Her books are easy to read, but capture your imagination as you try to determine "who did it" before she reveals the answer. Being a murder mystery you are reading about death and learning about how the minds work of those who commit the crime. In recent years Ms. Clark's books have become creepier than her early works, but that doesn't stop me from reading them. So even though I think this is a fabulous book I don't recommend it for younger readers or those with overly-active imaginations.

Saturday, June 13, 2009


The winner of the Mette Ivie Harrison's Princess and the Hound giveaway is "Kevin & Melissa" - Congratulations. By the way, I love how you answered the question. For anyone who may have missed it "Kevin & Melissa" wrote:

"I would love to have the ability to split myself into multiple versions of myself and then (when my heroic deed is over) combine myself back into one again. Then I can save the day, take my daughter to piano lessons, and clean the bathroom all at the same time, and no one knows any different."

I think that would be an incredible ability for anyone to have and would definitely come in handy. I hope that you enjoy the book.

Unfortunately, we do not have "Kevin & Melissa's" contact information at this time. Please post a comment to this announcement letting me know how I can contact you so that I can coordinate with you to send the autographed copy of The Princess and the Hound out to you as soon as possible. If we have not heard from you after a week then we will have another drawing to determine a backup winner.

For those of you who didn't win....NEVER FEAR...we have a FANTASTIC giveaway planned for July. Stay tuned to see what the fabulous prize will be.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Last chance for giveaway!!!

The countdown has begun and there are only a few hours left until the Princess and the Hound giveaway comes to an end. If you haven't signed up as a follower, you still have time. If you haven't answered the questions associated with the rules, you still have time.

Don't forget that the giveaway closes at midnight tonight and a winner will be announced tomorrow. Stephanie and I so excited that so many people are participating, and we do hope that you are taking time to check out the books that we have recommended.

Good luck and you'll hear from me tomorrow!!!

The Bonemender by Holly Bennett

Title: The Bonemender
Author: Holly Bennett
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: none
Premise: Gabrielle DesChenes, gifted Healer and one of the royal family of Verdeau, finds herself falling in love with Feolan, an Elf who arrives at her castle seeking help for his wounded friend and who warns of imminent danger from invaders who threaten the freedom of all who live in the Krylian Basin.(Provo Library)
Opinions: This is one of my all-time favorite fantasy books/series. The Bonemender is the first of a three book series about Gabrielle, the daughter of a king who has incredible abilities as a bonemender. Several years past the age of marriage, Gabrielle has yet to find love until an elf appears begging her for help to heal a friend who was wounded by a wild boar. As Gabrielle strives to keep Feolan's friend alive, Feolan brings news to the king that he has seen signs that the country across the mountains is preparing to invade their country as well as several others. Will Gabrielle and Feolan find love despite their varried age, races, and history? Will Verdeau be able to save themselves and all of the Krylian Basin from a bloody battle? and What will surprising information will Gabrielle learn about her past that ties into her ability to heal others?

This book is filled with suspense, mistrust, magic, love and family. I love that Gabrielle is a strong female character, respects her family, and paves the way for peace between elves and humans in order to try and saved their loved ones from impending doom. As Gabrielle is in her late twenties I am surprised to see this book considered as a young adult book. It is a clean and enjoyable read that I'm sure teenagers would love, but as an adult I felt I was readily able to connect with Gabrielle's character. Overall, this was indeed a fabulous read.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Sisters Grimm by Michael Buckley

Title: The Sisters Grimm Book One: The Fairy-Tale Detectives
Author: Michael Buckley
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: none
Premise: Orphans Sabrina and Daphne Grimm are sent to live with an eccentric grandmother that they have always believed to be dead. (King County Library System)
Opinions: After the disappearance of their parents, and several trips to foster homes, Sabrina and Daphne are sent to live with their Grandmother Rhelda (who they thought was dead) in a town names Ferryport Landing. However, the surprises only start there as they learn that Ferryport is filled with children's storybook characters, known as "everafters", who are real and alive. The three little pigs are the local sherrifs, Prince Charming is the mayor, and Snow White is the local elementary school teacher and martial arts expert. The Grimm sisters learn that they are the descendants of the famous Brothers Grimm, and that it is their family's responsibility to protect the everafters (even from themselves) and act as detectives to resolve any mysterious events that may occur.

I love the twists and turns of this book. It is fascinating to discover what characters will pop up from all sorts of classical literature and fairytales in the most unusual places. I love Granny Rhelda, Daphne, Puck and many, many others. Though, I did find Sabrina Grimm sometimes overly stubborn and emotional, but considering her age, what she is going through, and what is expected of her, it is understanding. The story is intriguing, the characters are fascinating, and the overall story idea brilliant. I highly recommend this whole series to everyone, and am positive that parents and children alike will enjoy it.

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

The Princess and the Bear by Mette Ivie Harrison

Title: The Princess and the Bear
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: Some brief disturbing images
Premise: A hound who was once a princess and a bear who was once a king travel back in time to save a kingdom and find their human selves. (PG Library)
Opinions: The Princess and the Bear is the sequel to The Princess and the Hound, but it is a very different kind of sequel. We originally met the Hound, who was a princess, and the Bear, who was a King, in the book The Princess and the Hound. Now we see them working together to fight the "unmagic" which is spreading throughout the land killing everything in its path. In order to fight this "unmagic" the bear must face the wild man who turned him into a bear and then must travel back into the past, with the hound, in order to change events so that the animal magic is welcomed and accepted by all.

I quite enjoyed reading this book and actually liked it better then thePrincess and the Hound. Mettie writes such wonderful characters and does a fantastic job switching each chapter between the hound's and the bear's point of views. Be prepared that there are a couple images in relation to war, and the unmagic that can be a bit disturbing. However, overall this book is a unique look into a fantastical world that I think you will enjoy.

Between last week and this week we have reviewed all four of Mette's books:

- The Princess and The Hound
- The Princess and The Bear
- Mira, Mirror
- The Monster in Me

We hope that we've been able to interest you in reading one or more of her books. If you would like to learn more about Mette please check out her website at There are still three days left to enter the giveaway for the autographed copy of The Princess and the Hound. The winner will be announced this Saturday.

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Stargirl by Jerry Spinelli

Title: Stargirl
Author: Jerry Spinelli
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: In this story about the perils of popularity, the courage of nonconformity, and the thrill of first love, an eccentric student named Stargirl changes Mica High School forever. (King County Library System)

Opinions: I first read this book when I was in college and I remember getting goosebumps again and again while reading it. Since then I have read it many times, and every time I get goosebumps. I love this book! Stargirl is so completely true to herself and to the rest of the human race that she doesn't care what anyone else thinks of her. In a school where conformity is the high ruler of all, a girl named Stargirl is definately going to shake things up.

We read this in my book club a couple months ago and my friend asked us if we were a Stargirl and I've been thinking about that for awhile now. Maybe the reason I love this book so much is that I want to be a Stargirl.

I fell in love with Stargirl and everytime I read this book, I fall in love again. I absolutely LOVE this book, and I hope you do to!

Monday, June 8, 2009

Vanished by Lynn Gardner

Title: Vanished: A Maggie McKenzie Mystery
Author: Lynn Gardner
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: Adult Suspense/Mystery (LDS)
Rating: Fabulous
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: While researching an intriguing story of a girl who vanished years ago, journalist Maggie McKenzie joins forces with psychologist Dr. Flynn ford who is interested in helping her solve the mystery. But as their invesigation moves forward, witnesses begin turning up dead and it appears that Maggie and Flynn could be next. (PG Library System)
Opinions: Maggie walks into the San Buenaventura, California newspaper eager to start the job she had won through a competition only to cause the office manager, Lily, to do a double take. Maggie soon learns that she bares a remarkable resemblance to the Newspaper Editor's own daughter, Alyssa, who disappeared seven years early. In order to prevent Maggie from giving the editor a heart attack, Lily sends Maggie on her dream job - researching and promoting the anniversary of the Lewis & Clark expedition and encouraging Americans to learn more about their historic excursion. However, Maggie has an alterior motive for accepting this offer. She is bound and determined to find out what happened to the editor's daughter, Alyssa, and to learn why there is such a striking resemblance between the two.

I am a mystery nut and I absolutely love Lynn Gardner's books. Vanished is the first book in Gardner's second mystery series and, as much as I loved her first series and was saddened to see it end, I am ecstatic to begin reading this new series. Maggie is a fantastic, vivacious, and fiesty heroine who is intellegent and determined to delve into the truth, especially when she starts seeing images of Alyssa's kidnapper when she dreams and when she is awake. Yes this is classified as an LDS Mystery, but Maggie's religion is not the main focus of the story. The main focus is the mystery and the love of suspense. I highly recommend this book to anyone and everyone.

Friday, June 5, 2009

The Monster in Me by Mette Ivie Harrison

Title: The Monster in Me
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fiction
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: In a small town near Salt Lake City, Utah, a caring foster family and her love of running help thirteen-year-old Natalie Wills feel that she can be part of normal life, despite having been raised by a drug addicted mother. (King County Library System)
Opinions: The Monster in Me is a story about the emotional struggles of a teenage girl in the foster system and the struggles she deals with emotionally and psychologically through cross country running. This was a easy, fast read that lets you get into the head of Natalie to learn why she feels it difficult to trust anyone, including herself and how her struggles with her mom's addictions and getting to know a new foster family impact her.

This book was Mette's first YA novel. I was impressed how she could write so clearly about a young woman's struggle and yet show the character's willingness not to focus on her anger at what her mom has done, but to try and actually deal with her emotions about the situation. I also liked the imagery of how running helped her connect to others and herself (though personally I am no fan of running - too much effort). I did find the ending a bit abrupt, but overall I enjoyed this book.

The first week of our giveaway is almost over. One week left to enter for an autographed copy of the Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison. Don't forget to join as a follower, if you have not already, and post a comment to any of the posts this week or next. The winner will be announced a week from Saturday. Good Luck!!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Mira, Mirror by Mette Ivie Harrison

Don't forget to enter our giveaway! Go here for all the ways you can enter!

Title: Mira, Mirror
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Like
Alerts/Warnings: Some violence
Premise: Long after the disappearance of Snow White's stepmother, the witch trapped in her mirror manipulates a desperate peasant and a merchant's daughter to seek the magic she needs to gain her freedom, but the girls show her a power far greater.(King County Library System)

Opinions: "Mira, Mirror" is the story of the Magic Mirror from Snow White a hundred years after the queen dies. Mira the Mirror is desperate to get her human form back and when Ivana, a peasant girl, stumbles upon the mirror, Mira persuades her to help out.

"Mira, Mirror" is one of the most unique books I've read in quite some time. It was nothing like I expected it to be and I kept being surprised by the turns that the book took. I found it compelling to read and I enjoyed the idea of the story. However, there was some violence towards animals that I found disturbing.

In general I liked it. It was well written and surprising. I thought the ending was a bit too unfinished, but I like my stories wrapped up in a nice bow, and this wasn't that type of book. I really did enjoy it and think you will too.

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas

Don't forget to enter our giveaway! Go here to see all the ways you can enter!


Title: The Count of Monte Cristo
Author: Alexandre Dumas
Reviewer: Stephanie
Genre: Classical Fiction
Rating: Worship
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: Set against the tumultuous years of the post-Napoleonic era, here is the classic tale of 19-year-old Edmond Dantes who on his wedding day is framed for a crime he did not commit. While locked away Edmond learns from another prisoner of a secret treasure on the island of Monte Cristo. Edmond concocts a daring plan to escape and find the treasure. Years later, disguised as a wealthy Count, Edmond returns to his native land to find his enemies and make them pay.(King County Library System)

Opinions: When I was in college my friend, Christie, told me she thought I would enjoy this book. So she lent it too me. So I set to the task of reading this book. (I have only read the abridged version). Two days and 600 pages later I finished this book, and it has been my favorite classical novel ever since.

Edmond Dantes is accused of a crime and wrongfully imprisoned for years until he escapes and through the help of a friend in jail learns of an amazing treasure buried on the Isle of Monte Cristo. Free and wealthy beyond all imagination, Dantes set out to reward and punish those who helped him and destroyed him. This is a novel of creating the perfect revenge. But then what?

I read this book about once a year, and I love it more every time. It is truly a FabulousRead!

Tuesday, June 2, 2009

The Princess and the Hound by Mette Ivie Harrison

Don't forget to enter our giveaway! Go here for all the ways you can enter!

Title: The Princess and the Hound
Author: Mette Ivie Harrison
Reviewer: Karen
Genre: YA Fantasy
Rating: Love
Alerts/Warnings: None
Premise: George has always felt burdened by his princely duties, and even more by the need to hide the magic through which he speaks with animals, but when he is betrothed to the strange princess of a neighboring kingdom, his secret, and the persecution of people like himself, must come to an end. (King County Library)
Opinions: Mette is a very strong character writer. Her characters are fantastic. I love the fact that this book was written from Prince George's point of view rather than from the Princess'. The story is inventive and I love the strong character of the Princess and the hound. There are parts of the story that are predictable, however there are other parts that take you by surprise. Overall this is a fun read.