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August Recap

I did really well this month since quite a few of the books I read were 400 - 500 pages each. I am right on schedule to complete my challenge of 200 books this year.


138 A Mermaid's Kiss by Joey Hill 3
139 Secondhand Spirits by Juliet Blackwell 4
140 Beverly Hills Adjacent by Steinhauer Hendra 3
141 City of Glass by Cassandra Clare 4
142 Losing Mum & Pup by Christopher Buckley 4
143 Dead is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez 4
144 LA Candy by Lauren Conrad 3.5
145 The Best of Times by Penny Vincenzi 5
146 The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher 4
147 Dead is so Last Year by Marlene Perez 4
148 My Soul To Take by Rachel Vincent 5
149 Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn 5
150 The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan 4
151 Graceling by Kristin Cashore 3.5
152 Fire by Kristin Cashore 4
153 Hell Week by Rosemary Clement-Moore 4
154 Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez 4

Literary Locals August, 20009

Tif over at Tif Talks Books posted her Literary Local this morning. She is highlighting Moose, Bear and Hummingbird by Susan Tone, Gabriel D'Luzansky and Mary Delaney. Go check out her beautiful pictures of Montana as well. Click on the Literary Locals to see Tif's post.


Book #154 Unexpected Development by Marlene Perez


Product Description

"I'm not sure you really want to get into what I did this summer, Mrs. Westland. Sex. Sex is how I spent my summer vacation."Megan knows twenty different words for "breasts," and can recite them alphabetically-but she can't remember the last time a guy looked her in the eye first, not the chestSize matters, as Megan found out in the 5 th grade, when she developed the largest breasts in the class. Now she's 17 and wearing her twin brothers' baggy sweatshirts can't hide the fact-two facts, really. When her summer job at Pancake Palace puts her in close touch with Jake , who smells like "temptation and Ivory soap," Megan wonders if he can like her for herself, not just her body. Can lusty, busty Megan learn to trust Jake -and herself? Megan tells about her summer of sex in somewhat poignant and very funny journal entries to her favorite teacher.
About the Author
Marlene Perez lives in Southern California. This is her first book.
Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 176 pages
Publisher: Roaring Brook Press (September 16, 2004)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1596430060
ISBN-13: 978-1596430068
Sigh, I wish all authors could write like this. Direct and full of humor, this cute story is perfect for teens that hate their body. Megan is such a believable character from a different point of view than normal young adult themes about how you have to deal with what you have.

Weiner Nationals

The Dachshunds ran this weekend at PetCo Park in San Diego. Maybe next year?


Book #153 Fire by Kristin Cashore


Product Description

She is the last of her kind...
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.
Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.
About the Author
Kristin Cashore lives in Massachusetts. Check out the author's blog:
I liked the first book (Graceling), but I REALLY liked Fire even more. While reading this, I was thinking about the Wizard of OZ. There was something about this book that really reminded me of the movie. The descriptions were so intense, I could picture the colors as vividly as watching the movie. Fire is such a wonderful female character that shows real depth and emotion. I was sorry this one had to end.
The story is appropriate for younger teens and I think everyone would enjoy this book. The cover nicely depicts the core of the story as the bow and arrow come back again and again in the tale.


For my first Literary Local Author spotlight, I have picked Marlene Perez who lives in Orange County, CA.

I nicely asked and received answers to two questions!

1. Your website biography mentions an elderly Chihuahua. Does your puppy participate in your writing in any way?

We go on walks and I sometimes get my best ideas away from my desk, so he contributes by getting me out of the house.

2. Your characters in the Dead series are all name after flowers (Daisy, Rose, Poppy). How did you name them?

I once read that the actor Poppy Montgomery comes from a family where the girls are all named after flowers and thought that would be a fabulous idea for a family of mostly women. Rose is the classic beauty, Poppy is the more flamboyant beauty, and Daisy is the natural kind of beauty. So for me, the characters match their floral counterparts.

I am just in love with the Dead Is series and there are 2 more book to come!

Look for new books in the DEAD IS series! DEAD IS JUST A RUMOR will be out in the fall of 2010 and DEAD IS NOT AN OPTION will be out in the spring of 2011.

You can also check out Marlene's Amazon page here.

Be sure to check out her latest release:
Sophie Donnelly is one half of the most popular and powerful couple in school, until new girl Angie Vogel shows up and compromises everything. Angie steals Sophie's starring role in the school play, and, worse, her super-popular boyfriend. Sophie has been quickly dispatched to social Siberia, but not for long--she'll do anything it takes to make a triumphant comeback.
Reading level: Young Adult
Mass Market Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Point (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0545088070
ISBN-13: 978-0545088077
I just ordered my copy!

Here is some background information from her web site:

I grew up in Story City, Iowa, which I think has to mean something. I am the youngest of twelve children, which means that I’m very familiar with the survival-of-the-fittest theory.
I now live in Southern California with my family, a psychotic cat, an elderly Chihuahua, and an albino corn snake. The corn snake and I have agreed to keep our distance.

My favorite song in the entire world is either “We Close Our Eyes” by Oingo Boingo or “At Last” by Etta James, depending on what day of the week it is. I also like blues, anything from the ’80s, punk, emo, and cheesy ’70s disco.

I watch (too much) t.v. My favorites include Heroes, Dexter, Californication, Gossip Girls, Ugly Betty, Grey’s Anatomy, Men in Trees, Moonlight, Friday Night Lights, Reaper, Pushing Daisies...well, you get the idea. Thank goodness for dvrs. Old favorites include Buffy the Vampire Slayer, Angel, My So-Called Life, Freaks and Geeks, Roswell, and Veronica Mars.
My favorite movies include Grease, Sixteen Candles, The Princess Bride, Galaxy Quest, Raising Arizona, The Opposite of Sex, and Brick.

My favorite books (this could take all day!) include fairy tales, Anne of Green Gables, The Little Princess, Pride and Prejudice, I Capture the Castle, The Hobbit, Lord of the Rings, Forever, and Down a Dark Hall.

You can get two more chance to win my brand new copy of DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK by becoming a fan on Marlene's facebook page by clicking here. Just be sure to post a comment to let me know!



To kick off my first Local Author Spotlight with MARLENE PEREZ, I am hosting a giveway for DEAD IS THE NEW BLACK!

To enter, please leave a comment here with a way to contact you!

This contest ends on September 1, 2009 at noon (Pacific time).

Additional Entries:

Sign up to follow me as a Blogger Follower. Click here if you are not sure what this is. This is worth 2 entries, please note it in the comments section in this post.

Post a note on your blog with a link back to this giveway...another entry!

Since I am paying for the shipping, I can only sent this in the USA...

Also, the winner will be picked at random.


Book #152 Hell Week (Maggie Quinn: Girl vs Evil) by Rosemary Clement-Moore


Product Description

MAGGIE QUINN IS determined to make her mark as a journalist. The only problem? The Ranger Report does not take freshmen on staff.Rules are rules. But when has that ever stopped Maggie?After facing hellfire, infiltrating sorority rush should be easy. It’s no Woodward and Bernstein, but going undercover as the Phantom Pledge will allow her to write her exposĂ©. Then she can make a stealth exit before initiation. But when she finds a group of girls who are after way more than “sisterhood,” all her instincts say there’s something rotten on Greek Row. And when Hell Week rolls around, there may be no turning back.If there is such a thing as a sorority from hell, you can bet that Maggie Quinn will be the one to stumble into it.

About the Author

Rosemary Clement-Moore lives in Texas with her husband and too many pets. Hell Week is her second book for young readers. You can visit her online at

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Delacorte Books for Young Readers; Reprint edition (September 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385734158
ISBN-13: 978-0385734158

I think the second book in the Maggie Quinn series is better than the first. I love Maggie's snarky humor and quick comebacks. The one liners are things you want to remember to try yourself sometimes. I think this read is geared towards older teens as there are sexual situations and some alcohol references, but nothing serious. I think the cover perfectly pictures Maggie. I can't wait for the next one in this series. Watching Maggie grow is wonderful!


Book #151 Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Liked It
Product Description
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

About the Author
KRISTIN CASHORE is a freelance educational writer who writes content for textbooks and teacher editions, as well as book reviews for The Horn Book Guide and other publications. Kristin received her master's degree in children's literature in 2003 from Simmons College, where she worked with Liza Ketchum and was named a Virginia Haviland Scholar. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida. Visit her blog at
Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Graphia (September 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547258305
ISBN-13: 978-0547258300
I really enjoyed the meat of this story. Once I got past the world building and really descriptive parts, the basis of everything is just perfect for a page-turner. I liked all of the characters and really hope the story is continued. This is an excellent read for anyone who enjoys detailed books of fantasy but based somewhat in our reality. I can see where this would make a wonderful movie.
The story of Katsa and Po is the best sort of new fairy tales that are available today. Katsa is a strong female point of view and the fact that she is the warrior just puts a great spin on the princess gets her prince. There are some sexual references in the book, so it is best kept to older teens.

I hope the Poodles didn't mind...

For another 11 poodles that have been remade to look like everything from a pirate (Jack Sparrow) to a buffalo, click here.



Book #150 The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan


Product Description
Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.
Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is des-perate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.
Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.
This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

About the Author
Sarah Rees Brennan was born and raised in Ireland by the sea, where her teachers valiantly tried to make her fluent in Irish (she wants you to know it's not called Gaelic), but she chose to read books under her desk in class instead. After living briefly in New York and doing a creative writing MA and library work in Surrey, England, she has returned to Dublin, Ireland, to write. Her Irish is still woeful, but she feels the books under the desk were worth it. This is Sarah's first novel. Visit her website at

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry; 1 edition (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416963790
ISBN-13: 978-1416963790
I love debuts and this was a really nice read. This is appropriate for younger teens as there is no sexual situations, alcohol/drug references that I remembered being too blatant. The dynamic of Nick and his brother Alan really create a good background for the story. There is a lot of action and it is nice to have a male point of view when so many of the paranormals seem to have female protagonists these days. The Demon's Lexicon should have you staying up late to finish it. There is another one in the series to be released next year.


Happy Tails Books

Check out the fun facts about dachshunds here at Happy Tails Books.

"Lost Souls: FOUND! Inspiring Stories about Dachshunds"

To buy these great books, click here.
Pre-Order Offer #1: Donate DOUBLE to Dachshund rescue from each book I buy.

Pre-Order Offer #2: Give me $2.00 off the cover price for each book I buy.

Price: $12.95 ea
Paperback: 144 pages
Publisher: Happy Tails Books, LLC
Language: English
Product Dimensions: 8.5 x 6.5 x 0.4 inches
Shipping Weight: 8 ounces

My mom was involved in dachshund rescue since the early 1960's. I have her last one, a red/brindle mini named Schatze that the breeder wouldn't see since she was born with a crooked tail. Actually, the fact that she ended up with a puppy at all is a miracle since she was turned down by all of the rescue groups nearby because of her age. My brother found this one from a schoolmate of his son. All of the dachshunds ended up being called Schatze, no matter what name they started out with since the grandchildren always ended up calling them that. Well, except the males. After she passed away, I counted 17 that ended up being permanently placed with her. She did wonders with abused dogs. They were treated better than us kids sometimes.....they probably behaved better as well.



This story was sent to me from Kyla at

She has several books about dogs and of course one about dachshunds that is to be released soon. Check out her site and see if your favorite breed is there!

I will have another post about her books periodically....

Wilbur’s Jell-O® Distribution Service

All the dogs in our house know Tuesday is the night we clean out the fridge in preparation for garbage day. As soon as the trash can appears and I block the fridge door open, they are all on scene, working the area for anything that might hit the floor by accident. They patiently wait for the tidbits of dried vegetables, old lettuce, and cherry tomatoes that miss the trash can as they fly through the air.
No dogs were small enough to actually climb in and clean off the shelves until Mr. Wilbur came along. He’s a sneaky little Double Dapple who is very inquisitive and doesn't miss anything that relates to food.
I decided to go for the gold this week and wash all the fridge walls down, too, so I took out all the top shelves thinking I had removed all the food. Just as I was about to begin, I heard the washer out of balance in the basement, so figuring it was safe to leave the door open, I sprinted down the stairs to rebalance the load.
Job completed and new load in the machine, I went back to the kitchen to finish the fridge. As I reentered the kitchen, I saw everyone huddled around Wilbur, staring adoringly at him. It turns out he noticed a six-pack of Jell-O in the back of the fridge, climbed in, and pulled out the treasure.
There Wilbur stood, in the middle of the kitchen, removing the foil tops from each container and then passing them out like an ice cream truck driver passes out ice cream. Delilah and Bully were already enjoying their treats while my other two Doxies waited patiently in line. For a second I thought that Wilbur was going to turn around and ask them for twenty-five cents!
I must admit, I was fascinated. For a second I just stood and watched my little Wilbur serve his customers. Sadly for the last two dogs, I intervened, and Wilbur’s illegal “Jello® Distribution Service” was busted, and they went without.
Moral of the story: Never underestimate a Dachshund’s determination when it comes to Jell-O!!

Helen LaBuda

Book #149 Prospect Park West: A Novel by Amy Sohn

Product Description
BROOKLYN'S FAMED PARK SLOPE neighborhood has it all: sprawling, majestic Prospect Park; acclaimed public schools; historic brownstones; and progressive values. Among bohemian bourgeois breeders, claiming a stake in Park Slope has become a competitive sport.
In the park, at the coffee shops, and on the playgrounds of the neighborhood, four women's lives come together during one long, hot Brooklyn summer. Melora Leigh, a two-time Oscar-winning actress, frustrated with her career and the pressures of raising her adopted toddler, feels the seductive pull of kleptomania; Rebecca Rose, missing the robust sex life of her pre-motherhood days, begins a dangerous flirtation with a handsome neighborhood celebrity; Lizzie O'Donnell, a former lesbian (or "hasbian"), wonders why she is still drawn to women in spite of her sexy husband and adorable baby; and Karen Bryan Shapiro finds herself consumed by two powerful obsessions: her four-year-old son's well-being and snagging the ultimate three-bedroom apartment in a wellmaintained, P.S. 321-zoned co-op building. As the women's paths intertwine (and sometimes collide), each must struggle to keep her man, her sanity...and her playdates.
From the perennially hot author and columnist Amy Sohn comes a smart, sexy, satirical peek into the bedrooms and hearts of Prospect Park West.
About the Author
Amy Sohn is the author of the novels Prospect Park West, My Old Man and Run Catch Kiss. She has also written for New York, The New York Times, The Nation, and Harper's Bazaar. She has written television pilots for such networks as HBO, Fox, and ABC. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit her at
Product Details
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster (September 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416577637
ISBN-13: 978-1416577638
This chick lit story reads as a television or movie plot. It really reminded me of Candace Bushnell in a really good way and the fact that I try not to look up any reviews or details about the author until I am involved in the story and was glad I didn't. I really want to know how the author was able to incorporate famous actors and their "conversations" in this book. You have to read the book (which I fully recommend) to get the details. I thought this book just flew by and I really liked all of the characters and their faults which are detailed quite thoroughly.


Book #148 My Soul to Take (Harlequin Teen) by Rachel Vincent

5 out of 5

Product Description

She doesn't see dead people, but…
She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.
Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

About The Autho

Rachel Vincent is the author of the Shifters series, about a werecat named Faythe Sanders, who is learning to define her own role in her family and fighting to claim a place in her Pride.
Rachel’s young adult debut, My Soul to Take, will hit the shelves on August 1, 2009. My Soul to Take is the first in the Soul Screamers series, about a teenage bean sidhe (banshee) trying to balance a normal high school experience with the terrifying, hidden world she’s just discovered.
A recent transplant into the deep south, Rachel Vincent has a BA in English and an overactive imagination, and consistently finds the latter to be more practical. She shares her workspace with two black cats (Kaci and Nyx) and her # 1 fan. Rachel is older than she looks-seriously-and younger than she feels, but remains convinced that for every day she spends writing, one more day will be added to her lifespan.

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Harlequin (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373210035
ISBN-13: 978-0373210039

I have to say this is a good solid debut of a new series. I was immediately taken with how believable the situation of the teenagers (Kaylee and Nash) and their world is described. I seriously could not put this book down once I started it. This book is definitely for older teenagers over 14 as there are sexual situations and drug/alcohol references. Adults who enjoy paranormal romance should pick this up as well.

I wish I had more time to go into detail about how much I liked this one, but I will leave it at that. I loved it.


My Soul To Lose by Rachel Vincent-- Free Download!

Kaylee Cavanaugh's trip to the mall ends with a brutal panic attack and a brainscrambling shriek she can't stop. Her secret fear is exposed. It's the worst day of her life.
Until she wakes up in the psychiatric unit.
But the hospital isn't a safe place for Kaylee, and getting out won't be easy because everyone thinks she's crazy. Everyone except Lydia, who has a secret of her own...

I just started My Soul To Take since everyone has been raving about this book....

Dogs Are Smart! Part II

I don't know about this study...I think dogs just assume people always have treats for them.

Study: Dogs can dig through human deception

By Dan Vergano, USA TODAY

Man's best friend or food-grubbing flatterer? Dogs are no dummies either way, suggests a study showing how canines respond to deception.
Fido always seems to know which hand hides the treat, even without sniffing, and researchers and pet owners alike have long wondered whether pooches imagine what we are thinking or whether they simply read body language.
"Dogs evolved with humans, and a number of studies have suggested they are particularly sensitive to human cues," says psychologist William Roberts of Canada's Dalhousie University. Sentimental pet owners might even say their dogs know what they are thinking.
To test how well dogs have people figured out, Roberts and colleagues performed three experiments reported in the current Behaviour Process journal. The team recruiting pet owners and tested 16 dogs in a park near London, Ontario.
First, the researchers presented the dogs with two covered buckets, one empty, one loaded with treats. In some trials, the same tester would always signal to the dogs the empty bucket. In other trials, another tester would signal the full bucket.
The dogs started out running to the bucket indicated by testers in both trials, but within five attempts, the dogs figured out a little less than half the time to run to the bucket not indicated by the "deceptive" tester.
Similar tests were done decades ago in chimps, notes psychologist Clive Wynne of the University of Florida-Gainesville, editor of the journal. "One interesting thing is that the dogs are wiping the floor with the chimps in how often, statistically, they figure out the deception," he says.
To see whether the human testers mattered, the team replaced the testers with white or black boxes, placed behind buckets, one empty and one holding hot dog pieces. "It appears that dogs learned rather quickly to approach the (full) box and to avoid the (empty) box," the study says.
"They are just as good at it when no humans are involved," Wynne says. The study suggests, he adds, that "sometimes for your dog, you are just a stimulus machine that provides food" rather than a thinking creature whose intentions need to be read.
But Alexandra Horowitz of Columbia University says the experiments can't tell us too much. "In the deceiver case, they were torn — this person had deceived them, but on the other hand, it is still a person, and people often have information about where food or a toy is hidden."

Book #147 Dead Is So Last Year by Marlene Perez

4 out of 5
Product Description
Something very strange starts happening in Nightshade the summer that the eldest Giordano sister, Rose, gets a job working at Dr. Franken's research laboratory. People are starting to see double. Doppelgängers of Nightshade residents are popping up all over town. Daisy, Rose and Poppy think it's a coincidence, until the rumors start that their father, who disappeared several years ago, has been spotted in town. Meanwhile, Daisy's beau, Ryan is spending all of his time training for football, and like the other guys on the team, he's grown enormous almost overnight. Samantha Devereux's boyfriend's neck has doubled in size since school ended. Could the football players be resorting to extreme measures to win? Between summer jobs, sugar rushes, and beach parties, the Giordano girls get to the bottom of these mysteries and more.
About The Author:
My next post will have a mini interview with Marlene Perez
Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 208 pages
Publisher: Graphia (May 4, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0152062165
ISBN-13: 978-0152062163
I can't tell you how many people I have recommended this series to, especially those with 11-12 year old girls who are not into the Twilight series. Everyone seems to agree, no matter how old they are, think that this series is just wonderful. The characters of Daisy, Poppy and Rose provide good role models since they all have college plans, hold jobs and value family. The mystery of each book is enough to keep everyone turning the pages.
There are nice little word plays in the book like naming the evil scientist, Dr. Franken, which could be short for Dr. Frankenstein. A young werewolf named Wolfgang and the term "hairballs" as slang for the drug of werewolf blood and steroids are also very clever. This is the only drug reference in the book which is put across in a way to open discuss of such things. There are some romantic situations, but nothing that anyone would be uncomfortable with.
At the end of the third in the series, I was a little sad and thought "OH NO, this can't be the end!" Without giving away the ending, I realized that there is another mystery to be solved and therefore another book. I look forward to the next one and I just hope it doesn't take a year before it comes out.


The Engineered Dachshund

Book #146 The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher

The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher

4 out of 5

Product Description

What would life be like with the one who got away? From the author of My Husband’s Sweethearts—hailed as “a laugh-and-cry novel”* that’s “whip-smart, tender…an undiluted joy to read”**—comes this bighearted, funny, fiercely perceptive tale about a happily married woman and the little white lie that changed everything.… For Gwen Merchant, love has always been doled out in little packets—from her father, a marine biologist who buried himself in work after her mother’s death; and from her husband, Peter, who’s always been respectable and safe. But when an old college boyfriend, the irrepressible Elliot Hull, invites himself back into Gwen’s life, she starts to remember a time when love was an ocean. What does Elliot want? In fact, he has a rather surprising proposition: he wants Gwen to become his wife. His pretend wife. Just for a few days. To accompany him to his family’s lake house for the weekend so that he can fulfill his dying mother’s last wish. Reluctantly Gwen agrees to play along—with her husband Peter’s full support. It’s just one weekend—what harm could come of it?But as Gwen is drawn into Elliot’s quirky, wonderful family—his astonishingly wise and open mother, his warm and welcoming sister, and his adorable, precocious niece—she starts questioning everything she’s ever expected from love. And as she begins to uncover a few secrets about her own family, it suddenly looks like a pretend relationship just might turn out to be the most real thing she’s ever known.

About the Author

Bridget Asher is the author of My Husband’s Sweethearts. She lives on the Florida panhandle with her husband, who is lovable, sweet, and true of heart—and has given her no reason to inquire about his former sweethearts.

Product Details
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Bantam (June 9, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385341911
ISBN-13: 978-0385341912

I was all set to give this book three out of five and then the plot changed and the author took something mundane and made it unique. It could have really turned out to be a typical romance novel and I really enjoyed this quick read. This is a perfect book when you are looking for something not too challenging for the summer months.

My favorite phrase in the book: Conversational Vampires


Book #145 The Best of Times: A Novel by Penny Vincenzi

5 out of 5

Product Description
In a matter of seconds, absolutely everything can change …In this masterfully crafted page-turner, peopled with intense characters and centered on one devastating moment that involves them all, plot-twist queen Penny Vincenzi vividly captures how the actions of one person can dramatically affect many in the blink of an eye.On an ordinary Friday afternoon, on a major motorway outside of London, a trailer truck suddenly and violently swerves across fives lanes of traffic—careening cars into one another like dominoes and leaving a trail of chaos and confusion. Within the space of a minute, an astounding miles-long pileup has amassed, and, as the survivors await help, their stories unfold.Vincenzi expertly maneuvers the plot between the panic-stricken husband trapped in his car with his young mistress, his adultery sure to be discovered; the bridegroom trying frantically to get to the church on time (he won’t); the widow on her way to reunite with the love of her life after sixty years, now forced to ponder whether she’ll ever see him again; the junior doctor waiting to receive the crash victims in the ER … And at the epicenter of this field of destruction lies the truck driver, suffering from memory loss, while the mysterious hitchhiker, the only person who knows what really happened, has fled the scene.Spellbound by these intimate and evocative tales, we watch as fate takes its powerful course and the far-reaching effects of the crash ripple through the lives of hundreds of people. Written with incredible verve, candor, and wit, Penny Vincenzi reveals human behavior in all its fascinating detail as she challenges her characters to face crisis boldly—and she surprises us with the results at every turn.
About the Author
Penny Vincenzi is the author of several major bestsellers, including Sheer Abandon. Before becoming a novelist, she worked as a journalist for Vogue, Tattler, and Cosmopolitan. She lives in London.
Product Details
Hardcover: 608 pages
Publisher: Doubleday (July 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0385528248
ISBN-13: 978-0385528245
Product Dimensions: 9.3 x 6.4 x 1.6 inches
Normally I hate overly descriptive books, but I had to give this one a *5* for making me like it. Yes, the story is like the movie Crash since it involves different characters and the impact an accident can intertwine and create relationships where none would have flourished otherwise. I just really wish it would have gotten to the happy ending a little quicker. I did read every page and enjoyed it.
I liked all of the characters except Laura...I had one major issue with her: any mother would protect her children at any cost, even if that is forgiving your husband for the unforgivable. Maybe that is why I liked the book as well, because of the one character you love to hate.


Book #144 L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

L.A. Candy by Lauren Conrad

3.5 out of 5

Product Description
Los Angeles is all about the sweet life: hot clubs, cute guys, designer . . . everything. Nineteen-year-old Jane Roberts can't wait to start living it up. She may be in L.A. for an internship, but Jane plans to play as hard as she works, and has enlisted her BFF Scarlett to join in the fun.
When Jane and Scarlett are approached by a producer who wants them to be on his new series, a "reality version of Sex and the City," they can hardly believe their luck. Their own show? Yes, please!
Soon Jane is TV's hottest star. Fame brings more than she ever imagined possible for a girl from Santa Barbara—free designer clothes, the choicest tables at the most exclusive clubs, invites to Hollywood premieres—and she's lapping up the VIP treatment with her eclectic entourage of new pals. But those same friends who are always up for a wild night are also out for a piece of Jane's spotlight.
In a city filled with people chasing after their dreams, it's not long before Jane wakes up to the reality that everyone wants something from her, and nothing is what it seems to be.
L.A. Candy is a deliciously entertaining novel about what it's like to come of age in Hollywood while starring in a reality TV show, written by a girl who has experienced it all firsthand: Lauren Conrad.

About the Author
Lauren Conrad is the star of MTV's number-one hit show, The Hills. She launched her career as a fashion designer in Spring 2008 with the debut of the Lauren Conrad Collection. Lauren has been featured on the covers of Cosmopolitan, Rolling Stone, Seventeen, and Entertainment Weekly, among others. She lives in Los Angeles. This is her first novel.

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins (June 16, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061767581
ISBN-13: 978-0061767586

I have to admit I actually enjoyed this book. It was a quick read that had all of the elements of good chick lit. There is shopping, boys and a career. This is really a book for older teens since there are scenes about alcohol (alot!) and sex. I would have to imagine that Jane is a composite of the girls on The Hills and Laguna Beach. She has enough detail to make her a sympathetic heroine and I would love to read more about Scarlett. Madison makes a great frenemy that you just love to hate.

I did think it was too cliched in parts, but that didn't reduce the enjoyment. This is a "write what you know" type of book for Lauren Conrad but I am eager to read the next installment in the series since this one did have a bit of a cliff hanger at the end.


Book #143 Dead Is a State of Mind by Marlene Perez

4 out of 5

Product Description
A creepy, campy new mystery series

Welcome to Nightshade, California—a small town full of secrets. It’s home to the psychic Giordano sisters, who have a way of getting mixed up in mysteries. During their investigations, they run across everything from pom-pom- shaking vampires to shape-shifting boyfriends to a clue-spewing jukebox. With their psychic powers and some sisterly support, they can crack any case! There’s a gorgeous new guy at Nightshade High: Duke Sherrad, a fortune-teller claiming to have descended from Gypsies. Even though she’s psychic herself, Daisy is skeptical of Duke’s powers. But when a teacher who was the subject of one of his predictions ends up dead, she begins to wonder if Duke is the real deal after all.Maybe if Daisy can track down the teacher’s killer, she can find out the truth. The only trouble is, all signs point to the murderer being of the furry persuasion. Is Daisy any match for a werewolf? Maybe she is . . . in more ways than she bargained for!

About the Author
MARLENE PEREZ is the author of Unexpected Development, an ALA Quick Pick for Reluctant Young Adult Readers. She lives in Orange County,

Product Details
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Graphia (January 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0152062106
ISBN-13: 978-0152062101

The second entry in the Dead is the... was just as good as the first, maybe a little bit better. I have recommended this to all my friends who have 11-12 year old daughters that aren't enjoying the Twilight series. This story about Daisy and her two sisters, Poppy and Rose solving a paranormal mystery should appeal to that age group. I love recommending books like this that have no drug or major sexual situations to younger readers.

The characters are quite believable even in the paranormal realm. They all retain the insecurity, flashes of independence and optimism found in girls this age. The author also doesn't use unnecessary words to get her point across which is a huge problem for some younger readers. There are also excellent teaching points about accepting people who are different and not judging someone until you have met them. Even adults should enjoy this tale which reads like a cozy and like all good reads has a beginning, middle and conclusion.

Bonus Point: The story mentions my alma mater, Cal State Fullerton. I never thought I would ever see that in a book.

Orange County woman performs mouth-to-snout resuscitation to save friend's Chihuahua

Lindsay Barnett - LA Times - July 31, 2009

A woman attending a child's birthday party in Huntington Beach Sunday wound up saving a little dog's life by performing mouth-to-snout resuscitation on it when it accidentally hanged itself with its leash.

Maricruz Cisneros had tied her two dogs in a backyard treehouse and blocked the treehouse entrance with chairs in order to keep them from escaping during the party; a gate to the yard, which is normally kept closed, was open to allow guests to enter. But the entrance apparently wasn't blocked quite well enough, and one of the dogs, a Chihuahua, somehow fell from the treehouse while still attached to its leash. The leash acted as a noose, choking the dog.
Fortunately for the dog, one of the partygoers was Krisna Torres, who sprung into action when she saw what had happened. "Her eyes were blank, she wasn't breathing, nothing," Torres told the Orange County Register. "She wasn't responding."

Torres cleared the dog's airway and performed mouth-to-snout resuscitation. According to KTLA, the dog gasped and began breathing on its own after receiving about two minutes of rescue breathing from Torres. After all the excitement, the dog was taken to a veterinarian, checked out and allowed to return home.

The American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals offers this advice for pet owners who find themselves in a similar situation:

CPR may be necessary if you remove the object your dog is choking on, but he is still unconscious. First check to see if he’s breathing. If not, place him on his side and perform artificial respiration by extending his head and neck, holding his jaws closed and blowing into his nostrils once every three seconds. (Ensure no air escapes between your mouth and the dog’s nose.) If you don’t feel a heartbeat, incorporate cardiac massage while administering artificial respiration — three quick, firm chest compressions for every respiration — until your dog resumes breathing on his own.

See the ASPCA's website for more information on emergency pet care. And, for the love of Pete, let's all vow to keep dogs out of treehouses!
-- Lindsay Barnett


Wandering Dog told to GO HOME!

Here is the story:

Idaho vandals paint message on furry coat of unleashed pooch:

MAY 3--Police are seeking the vandals who spray-painted the words "Go Home" on a Samoan Shepherd who enjoys wandering, unleashed, though its Idaho neighborhood. As seen in the below evidence photos, the dog, named Wiley, had one word painted on each side of his body. According to a Bannock County Sheriff's Department report, Wiley's owner called cops late last month after discovering her dog "had been spray painted with gang graffiti." Actually, it appears that the ambulating animal wasn't tagged by an Idaho Blood or Crip, but rather by some annoyed neighbor or juvenile delinquent. A sheriff's deputy advised Wiley's owner, Marilyn Hardenbrook, to keep the dog in her own yard (and under her control while the pooch was "out and about").

Click on the link in the title for the full report.

We have a similiar problem in our neighborhood with unleashed dogs. If you have smaller breed, you know what a problem this can be for your pup. I constantly have to pick up Schatze to keep her from being jumped on and hurt by the large dogs roaming around here while we are walking. This is to say nothing of the mess these unsupervised dogs leave behind and the danger created for drivers in this neighborhood when there is a dog dashing across the street with no warning.

Book #142 Losing Mum and Pup: A Memoir by Christopher Buckley

4 out of 5

Product Description
In twelve months between 2007 and 2008, Christopher Buckley coped with the passing of his father, William F. Buckley, the father of the modern conservative movement, and his mother, Patricia Taylor Buckley, one of New York's most glamorous and colorful socialites. He was their only child and their relationship was close and complicated. Writes Buckley: "They were not - with respect to every other set of loving, wonderful parents in the world - your typical mom and dad."As Buckley tells the story of their final year together, he takes readers on a surprisingly entertaining tour through hospitals, funeral homes, and memorial services, capturing the heartbreaking and disorienting feeling of becoming a 55-year-old orphan. Buckley maintains his sense of humor by recalling the words of Oscar Wilde: "To lose one parent may be regarded as a misfortune. To lose both looks like carelessness."Just as Calvin Trillin and Joan Didion gave readers solace and insight into the experience of losing a spouse, Christopher Buckley offers consolation, wit, and warmth to those coping with the death of a parent, while telling a unique personal story of life with legends.
About the Author
Christopher Buckley is the author of fourteen books, including Supreme Courtship, Boomsday, and Thank You For Smoking. He is editor-at-large of ForbesLife magazine, and was awarded the Thurber Prize for American Humor and the Washington Irving Medal for Literary Excellence. He lives on the Acela train between Washington, D.C. and New York City.
Product Details
Hardcover: 272 pages
Publisher: Twelve (May 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446540943
ISBN-13: 978-0446540940
This is such a beautifully written book about losing your parents. I was never a fan of William F. Buckley's politics, but you have to admire his writing ability and his son Christopher does a wonderful job in eulogizing both his parents in this easy to read book. Christopher Buckley is one writer I enjoy immensely and I try to read everything he publishes, so this was a must read for me. I did have to look up several words in this one, so it was educational as well.


Dogs are smart!

I knew this....

Dogs are smarter than toddlers, IQ tests show

By Jeanna Bryner

The canine IQ test results are in: Even the average dog has the mental abilities of a 2-year-old child.

Click on the title above for the complete article....


Being Human on BBCA

I just watched this first one of this new series from BBCA - I found it truly delightful. All of you paranormal romance lovers are going to really enjoy this series.

George's Story

Mitchell's Story

Annie's Story


Book #141 City of Glass (Mortal Instruments) by Cassandra Clare

4 out of 5
(spoiler alert)

Product Description

To save her mother's life, Clary must travel to the City of Glass, the ancestral home of the Shadowhunters -- never mind that enter-ing the city without permission is against the Law, and breaking the Law could mean death. To make things worse, she learns that Jace does not want her there, and Simon has been thrown in prison by the Shadowhunters, who are deeply suspicious of a vampire who can withstand sunlight.
As Clary uncovers more about her family's past, she finds an ally in mysterious Shadow-hunter Sebastian. With Valentine mustering the full force of his power to destroy all Shadow-hunters forever, their only chance to defeat him is to fight alongside their eternal enemies. But can Downworlders and Shadowhunters put aside their hatred to work together? While Jace realizes exactly how much he's willing to risk for Clary, can she harness her newfound powers to help save the Glass City -- whatever the cost?
Love is a mortal sin and the secrets of the past prove deadly as Clary and Jace face down Valentine in the final installment of the New York Times bestselling trilogy The Mortal Instruments.

Product Details
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 560 pages
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry (March 24, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416914307
ISBN-13: 978-1416914303

A very satisfying conclusion to the Mortal Instruments trilogy. This missed being a true 5 for me since there were a few slow parts and a somewhat predictable ending. I guessed that Valentine was not Jace's father and was actually quite happy that it turned out to be true. The series couldn't have ended any other way and I was satisfied with the outcome. This is really a page turner and had a lot of quick humor. I am sad that this story is over though.


Book #140 Beverly Hills Adjacent by Jennifer Steinhauer and Jessica Hendra

3 out of 5

Product Description
During pilot season, June Dietz’s husband Mitch Gold becomes another man—a man who doesn’t notice her delicious Farmers Market homemade dinners, who mumbles responses around the tooth-whitening trays in his mouth, who is consumed with envy for his fellow television actors, who pants for a return phone call from his agent. And who wants to be married to an abject, paranoid, oblivious mess? Possibly not June, whose job as a poetry professor at UCLA makes her in but not of Los Angeles, with its illogical pecking order and relentless tribal customs. Even their daughter Nora’s allegedly innocent world isn’t immune from one upsmanship: while Mitch is bested for acting jobs by the casually confident (and so very L.A.) Willie Dermot, June is tormented by Willie’s insufferably uptight wife Larissa and the other stay-at-home exercisers in the preschool.
Could Rich Friend be the answer? Smart, age-appropriate, bookish—and a wildly successful television producer—Rich focuses on June the way nobody has since she moved to Los Angeles, and there’s nothing for June to do but wallow in what she’s been missing. But what’s the next step? How does a regular person decide between husband and lover, family and fantasy?
Set in a Los Angeles you haven’t read about before, Beverly Hills Adjacent is that rare thing: a laugh-out-loud novel with heart.

About the Author
JENNIFER STEINHAUER is the Los Angeles bureau chief of The New York Times, where she began working as a copygirl in college. Her reporting on Hurricane Katrina won the Newswoman’s Club of New York Front Page Deadline Reporting Award in 2006. JESSICA HENDRA is the author of How to Cook Your Daughter: A Memoir. She is married to a working television actor. Beverly Hills Adjacent is the first fiction for each. They live in the real west L.A., in Rancho Park.

Product Details
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press; 1 edition (May 12, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312551827
ISBN-13: 978-0312551827

I had high hopes for this book of Hollywood insider dirt, but it just fell flat. I am sure that this satrical look at Hollywood is spot on with the characters, but I just didn't like them. The charm that most actors have just didn't come through with Mitch. His wife June was just sad in the fact that she never realizes people are just using her. There were several plot points that I had problems with like June not realizing one of her students had plagerized several papers. Most universities use sites like to verify works against any copying.


Book #139 Secondhand Spirits: A Witchcraft Mystery by Juliet Blackwell

4 out of 5

Product Description

Love the vintage— not the ghosts Lily Ivory feels that she can finally fit in somewhere and conceal her “witchiness” in San Francisco. It’s there that she opens her vintage clothing shop, outfitting customers both spiritually and stylistically.Just when things seem normal, a client is murdered and children start disappearing from the Bay Area. Lily has a good idea that some bad phantoms are behind it. Can she keep her identity secret, or will her witchy ways be forced out of the closet as she attempts to stop the phantom?

Product Details
Paperback: 336 pages
Publisher: Signet (July 7, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 045122745X
ISBN-13: 978-0451227454

This is an excellent start to a new cozy series with a paranormal setting. Lily Ivory can sense ghosts and other spirits and uses this to her advantage to unravel a mystery surrounding her in her new life in San Francisco. I really enjoyed this book and espcially the character of Oscar--a gargoyle(?) who can morph into a pot bellie pig. I can't wait for the next one.


Book #138 A Mermaid's Kiss by Joey W. Hill

3 out of 5
Product Description
National bestselling author Joey W. Hill “stands out in a genre known for its out-of-the- ordinary love play.”(The Romance Studio)The angelic Jonah has been battling the Dark Ones for centuries. But his noble spirit has begun to tire with the weight of war—allowing a Dark One to strike a blow that severs his wings and knocks him into the sea.Anna is a Daughter of Arianne—a direct descendant of the mermaid of legend. Anna’s longing for love compels her to risk her very life to protect and hide the fallen Jonah. And the longer Jonah delays his return to the heavens, the more Anna’s secret passions are tempted.But as she falls more in love with him, Anna wonders if she’s destined to lose her heart and her dreams to save Jonah’s soul…
About the Author
Joey W. Hill has written numerous titles for Ellora’s Cave, which have won many awards, nominations, and five-star reviews from erotic romance review sites. She is also a Romance & Beyond magazine Grand Prize winner.
Product Details
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (November 4, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425223809
ISBN-13: 978-0425223802
I really wanted to like this story but it fell flat in a few places for me. Based on The Little Mermaid by Hans Christian Andersen, it replaced the prince with an angel named Jonah and was as dark as the original was meant to be before it was Disneyfied. I just don't know where this story was going. The minor plot points were at times more interesting than Anna and Jonah. I do enjoy some erotic writing, but this seems to push the envelope a little too much where the story takes a backseat to the sex.