Sunday, November 07, 2010


DUMBWAITER: The guy who asks if the kids would care to order dessert.

FEEDBACK: The inevitable result when your baby doesn't appreciate the strained carrots.

FULL NAME: What you call your child by when you're angry.

GRANDPARENTS: The people who think your children are wonderful even though they're positive you're not raising them right.

INDEPENDENT: How we want our children to be as long as they do everything we say.

OW: The first word spoken by children with older siblings.

SHOW OFF: A child who is more talented than yours.

STERILIZE: What you do to your first baby's pacifier by boiling it and to your last baby's pacifier by wiping it on your jeans.

TOP BUNK: Where you should never put a child wearing Superman pajamas.

VERBAL: Able to whine in words.

WHODUNIT: None of the kids who live in your house.

Friday, July 23, 2010


I've been trying out some of the new recipes in my collection, and this one was a huge hit! My neighbor said these are what you eat in heaven. I served them with a dab of blueberry all-fruit with a dollop of light sour cream on top. They were muy delicioso! Here's the recipe--it makes a LOT of pancakes, easily enough to feed six very hungry people. The next time I make it, I'm going to mix some orange marmalade and cream cheese, with a couple of drops of maraschino cherry juice, and use that to spread over the pancakes.

Ricotta Pancakes

6 eggs
1 15-oz. container ricotta
1-1/2 c. flour
1-1/2 c. sour cream
2 T sugar

1. Beat the eggs. Add remaining ingredients; mix well.

2. Drop by 1/4-cupfuls onto hot buttered griddle, spreading batter into 4-inch circles. Cook 2-3 minutes per side until light golden brown.

3. Serve with fresh fruit, powdered sugar, or maple syrup. Makes 6 servings.

Saturday, June 26, 2010


I "celebrated" my 50th birthday last week. I use the quotation marks because I really had a hard time accepting that milestone. Sure, I'm glad I'm still alive and more or less healthy, but that number really freaked me out. Also, I felt bad because I wasn't home in Massachusetts to celebrate with the people who've known me for most of my life. I have a handful of friends here in Georgia, but it just wasn't the same.

My friend Sue drove up from Naples, FL, to celebrate with me. We had a girls' night out at Spanky's in Savannah with my friend Sheila and my daughter, Hillary. It was a lot of fun, and it helped that by then my actual birthday was over and I'd had a couple of days to process my feelings. The four of us are readers, so we always have something to talk about.

Last week, I was finally able to get to Pembroke with some free time on my hands. I dragged the kids to a thrift shop I'd recently discovered, and my age really hit me in the face. There I stood, browsing the bookshelves, which had a larger than usual selection of very old Harlequins and other books that I originally read when I was in my teens. Barbara Cartland (before she went all crazy with her "trance" formula historicals), Elsie Lee, Lucy Walker, and a bunch of others all stared back at me. Even though I couldn't remember anything so specific as a plot for most of them, I knew I'd read most of them. (I routinely read 15 or 20 books a week when I was young.) I bought a few for old times' sake, and I've read a couple of them. They're very old-fashioned now, and the stories are simple and straightforward (Harlequin authors were not allowed to incorporate sub-plots; consequently, there are fewer characters, but the authors were held to high standards, so they're actually pretty well-written.), but they've held up better than I expected they would.

While Sue was here, we went back to Pembroke so I could check out a used bookstore there. It turned out not to be a bookstore at all, but rather kind of an old-fashioned hardware store with a book section and a thrift shop at the back of it. It was sort of organized, but there were books there that looked like they'd been sitting there since they were new, covered in a sort of rusty dust and a bit grimy to the feel. Sue and Hillary were pretty uncomfortable, so we didn't linger, but I did buy one book. I really want to go back by myself so I can take my time and peruse every nook and cranny. It was peculiar to see relatively new books and authors cheek-by-jowl with the old-timers like Victoria Holt, Dorothy Eden, Frank Yerby, and of course, every romance series ever published, including Loveswept, Candlelight, and not just Harlequins but even original Mills & Boon.

I'm really finicky about tactile things, and I hate for books to feel grubby, but I don't mind it when they're old--maybe it's because somewhere in the back of my head, I believe they're supposed to be that way. I'm going back so I can explore to my heart's content, and at 50 cents each for paperbacks, I may just indulge myself and buy a few...dozen. Just maybe....

Saturday, April 17, 2010


I've been avoiding this one for a couple of weeks, even though it's the only SEP I could find to reread since I finished Dream a Little Dream earlier this month. As I recall, I enjoyed it the first time I read it, but the She-God in the story was a bit unsettling. Since I was in the mood for an SEP kind of story, I bit the bullet and re-read it. This time I enjoyed it without qualifications. The God plot didn't bother me a bit, and I was carried away for a couple of hours to the sunny fields and vineyards of Tuscany. How could I go wrong?

I feel like I haven't been reading much lately, but I've been listening to Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire when I'm in the car. I'm on tape 4 of 12. Jim Dale really does a marvelous job reading the Potter books, and he deserves every award he's received for his work.

I've been skimming lots of magazines lately, and my recipe book has taken up chunks of my time. I love reading recipes and seeing how the same ingredients can be combined in so many different ways with so many different results, give or take a spice or two. It's funny how I know just from reading a recipe whether I'd even want to try making it.

I watched Julie & Julia the other night and found the idea of working my way through a cookbook more than a little daunting, until I realized that I sort of plan to do something similar with my own recipe book. What I find perplexing is how Julie got such a following on her blog--as far as I know, I have two readers and several who come here just to post junk and ads. How do you get hundreds of people interested in your online musings?

My cookbook project will likely begin in May. Now that my husband has a job and we can see an end to the days of being broke and living paycheck to paycheck, I can focus on planning my menus for the week, using my crockpot, doing a bit of baking, and just expanding my list of go-to recipes. I'll probably post the recipes I try, so you foodies out there, plan to chime in with advice and share your cooking adventures.

And in the words of Isabel Favor, Embrace the Chaos...and BREATHE!

Sunday, April 11, 2010


The best thing about discovering a new author is glomming all their other books and immersing yourself in their writing, or re-discovering an old favorite, revisiting favorite titles, and catching up with their other titles.

When Jayne Ann Krentz was writing what I call her Alphabet Trilogies under her pseudonym Amanda Quick, I read them as fast as I could get my hands on them. I don't remember much about them now, and frankly, I found it very hard to remember specifics about each book because those titles (Mystique, Mischief, Mistress, Dangerous, Desire, Deception, Ravished, Reckless, etc.) didn't help me remember what they were about. I've thought about going back and re-reading them, and that's not out of the question, but there are so many books I have yet to read for a first time by authors I have yet to discover that I'm not necessarily willing to devote a lot of time to that many books I've already read.

Anyway, I hadn't read JAK for a while, except in her Jayne Castle persona, because I love her Harmony series. My aunt, Posey, and I talk books a lot, and she was telling me how hard it is to find JAK books secondhand, and I realized I had a few of her Arcane Society books. I hadn't realized that they tied in with the Harmony books. So I'm on my fourth JAK title in the past month, and I love that I'm just flying through it. I've begun to realize that sometimes my slow reading pace is a symptom of reading books I think I *should* read rather than reading what I know I'll love and enjoy.

When I first discovered Susan Elizabeth Phillips, it was the same thing--I read everything I could find by her. I recently re-read Dream a Little Dream, which is one of my favorites of hers, even though I'm not exactly sure what that title had to do with anything. And that leads me to a particular pet peeve: bad titles.

I used to read Harlequin romances all the time, and I didn't care who saw me reading them. I don't read them to speak of now, and the reason is quite simple: the titles are stupid and embarrassing. The Billionaire's Baby Bargain. The Sheikh's Secret Seduction. The Italian's Pregnant Mistress. These may or may not be actual titles, but you see where I'm going with this. For years I defended Harlequin as good story-telling with a wealth of opportunity for fledgling writers. Now I can't get past the titillating, newsstand headline titles of the books to read the stories inside. Harlequin's taken the genre backward about fifty years, and it's a terrible mistake. On the other hand, I guess if I were to read one of those books, I wouldn't have trouble remembering what the plot was.

I recently read Never Love a Lawman by Jo Goodman. I really enjoy her books, which are usually western historical romances, but the title of this one left me scratching my head, because it's one of those titles I'm talking about--it had nothing to do with the story, except that the hero was the town sheriff. The story was about a young woman who moves to a small western town to escape a villain. She keeps to herself for the most part, except for the fact that she's a dressmaker who designs clothing for the ladies of the town as well as for the ladies of the night. The town is open-minded about this because the ladies of the night were brought in to provide company for the bachelor miners, and many of them have married and become respectable. Anyway, the heroine and hero marry to meet the terms of the will of the young woman's benefactor, who had once been a friend of her father's. So, does anything here relate to "Never Love a Lawman?" I didn't think so, either.

Authors don't get much say in naming their books, but I'm pretty sure I'd have trouble accepting a title that didn't have anything to do with my story.

Sunday, February 28, 2010


The letter of the day at my amazon store is A! Any book with a title or author's last name that begins with A (excluding A, An, or The) is 20% off until midnight tomorrow, March 1st. You can check out my inventory through the link at the top of this page. Don't miss this opportunity to save a little money!


Anyone who knows me knows that I love to cook, and that I have a decent collection of cookbooks. I've been trying to take some of the pressure off my bookshelves and let go of some of the books that I don't absolutely love and use frequently. I've been going through a few of the more obscure, less-used cookbooks, culling the recipes I really like, and then putting the cookbooks on sale at my amazon store. I've also been going through my huge collection of digest-sized cooking magazines, adding the recipes I really like to my big white recipe ringbinder. The recipes are in alphabetical order, housed in page protectors.

One thing I've been finding kind of funny is that I don't like long, elaborate recipes. I suppose that's proof that I'm not a Top Chef, but I think I'm pretty adventurous about ingredients and cuisines. I like my recipes to fit on one side of a college-ruled notebook sheet. I will edit lengthy instructions to ensure that the recipes fit into my book. I'm really enjoying this, and it's relaxing to do it in the evenings while I'm watching TV with my family. I've been especially productive this past two weeks while the Olympics have been on. I'm going to miss it when they're over and we all kind of go our separate ways after supper.

So far, I've tried to be a purist and keep my blog on the subject of books, however tenuous that subject might be. I'm thinking about writing about other things when the impulse strikes. I'll see if I can tie that in with books.

My amazon bookstore is beginning to do pretty well. I'm going to do a letter of the day sale for the first 26 days of each month. So on the first of the month, any book with a title that starts with A or written by an author whose last name starts with A will be on sale for a 10% discount. On the 2nd, it will be letter B, and so on. I want to see if that helps boost my sales at all. I would like to sell 10 books a day.

February ended up being a slow reading month, only eleven books in all, and two of them rather short, but I'll have a lot of time off in March, so maybe I'll be able to read a lot more.

Happy Reading!

Saturday, February 13, 2010


I've only read five books so far this month (which puts me nearly two books behind my self-imposed schedule, if you'll recall), but all of them have been non-fiction. I've read four true crime books and a memoir written by a man who took in a severely emotionally disturbed foster child. Here are the details.


This is the account of a woman who killed seven of her nine children, all before they turned two years of age. (Of the other two, one was stillborn and one died in the hospital shortly after birth). The woman, Marie Noe, lucked out because about the time that her babies were being murdered, SIDS was making headlines, and doctors wanted to use her as a case study. Unfortunately for them, and tragically for these beautiful children, the cause of death was having Marie for a mother.

HOUSE OF SECRETS--Lowell Cauffiel

This book gave me the creeps, because the father was so depraved, committing incest, abuse, assault, fraud, and pretty much every other crime you can think of. The father got his children to kill his son-in-law (their sister's husband) and grandson, and took them on the road in a small camper to escape authorities who wanted to investigate charges of child abuse. The photos in this book are very graphic, particularly two of the infant corpse.

THE THINGS I WANT MOST--Richard F. Miniter

This book comes endorsed by David Pelzer, of "A Child Called It" fame. It's a much milder story, mostly because the assault against young Mike happens before the book begins, as it were, and is fairly clinically described in brief by the author. It was a very compelling read, especially for people who have to deal with children with emotional disorders, because it details how gruelling it can be to try to break through the defenses such children erect to protect themselves from the disappointments of life.


This is the story of the murder of Debra Evans by her so-called friend, who wanted to have a light-skinned biracial baby for her boyfriend, despite the fact that she'd had her tubes tied years before. The woman and two male accomplices (one the boyfriend who wanted the light-skinned baby) shot Evans, cut the baby out of her womb, killed her two oldest children so they couldn't identify them, and left Evans' young son alone with his mother's corpse in an apartment soaked with the blood of his family members. This was a truly heinous crime.


Betty Lou Beets was executed in 2000 for the murders of two of her husbands, whom she buried in her own backyard, one under a storage shed and the other under a wishing well. The horrific thing about her case is that she coerced two of her children into helping her cover up her crimes. She seems to have been a cold-blooded killer, and has the distinction of having been on death row with Karla Faye Tucker, whose execution caused so much controversy because she'd become a born-again Christian while on death row but had a stay of execution refused by future President George W. Bush. The sad thing about this case is that her final victim's son tried to get help investigating his father's disappearance from multiple sources, all of whom dismissed his concerns.

I'm pretty sure I'm going to turn to lighter material for at least part of the month.

Tuesday, February 09, 2010


So this is a weird thing that's been on my mind lately, and I wonder what other people think about it. Not that I'd ever do it, of course, but...

When I'm registering books at BookCrossing, the BCID number comes out like a telephone number, three digits, dash, seven digits. XXX-XXXXXXX. I always wonder what would happen if I dialed one of those numbers. Would the person at the other end be a BookCrosser, too? Wouldn't that be cool if s/he were?

My mind works in mysterious ways...

Tuesday, February 02, 2010


These are the books I finished reading in January. I'm quite pleased with the total, and especially with the average pages per book: 338.5. Here's hoping February will be as good!


True Love and Other Disasters--Rachel Gibson; 345 pages
What I Did For Love--Susan Elizabeth Phillips; 390 pages
Certain Poor Shepherds--Elizabeth Marshall Thomas; 128 pages
Getting Lucky--Elaine Barbieri; 294 pages
Dragon Slippers--Jessica Day George; 324 pages
Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery--Eric Ives; 392 pages
Early Dawn--Catherine Anderson; 417 pages
The Lovely Bones--Alice Sebold; 329 pages
Kissing the Countess--Susan King; 338 pages
Princess Ben--Catherine Gilbert Murdock; 344 pages
The Bride Price--Anne Mallory; 369 pages
Liar--Justine Larbalestier; 376 pages
Ivy--Julie Hearn; 355 pages
Once a Knight--Christina Dodd; 405 pages
The Immortal Highlander--Karen Marie Moning; 348 pages
Succubi Like It Hot--Jill Myles; 338 pages
The Minister's Daughter--Julie Hearn; 263 pages

Saturday, January 23, 2010


I went to the PX today after I dropped my son off at his job at church. On Saturdays, while Evan is working, I usually treat myself to a hot chocolate from Cinnabon (and maybe a 4-pack of the cini-minis or whatever they call them) and sit in the food court and read for a while. Once I'm done, I wander into the PX and browse for a while. Today I wanted to get the Glee 2 soundtrack, and I was hoping to find some Valentine decorations to hang from the ceiling in our kindergarten classroom. On my way into the PX, I noticed an author sitting at a table just outside the entrance. I smiled at her and went ahead with my shopping.

On the way out, I walked past the author again, and again I smiled. Then I had the impulse to stop and talk to her. I often think about how awful it must be to be there with a book to sell, and have people just walk by and not buy. So I asked her about her books (she had three titles for sale), and I ended up buying one, which she very nicely autographed for me. The book was Only Time Can Tell, and the author was Lisa Dumas Harris. She was really nice, and I'm looking forward to reading her book. She's a local author, from Richmond Hill, I think, which made it doubly important to support her.

This led me to think about something that happened when Harold and I were first married. I had the chance to meet Dorothy Garlock, who was doing a book signing, and I think it was her husband who tried to get me to go over and meet her and buy a copy of her book and have it autographed. I just couldn't do it. I really don't remember why I felt so reluctant, but I think it was because I was afraid I would turn into a gibbering idiot and be another one of those people who babble to successful authors about the book they're writing that will never see the inside of a publishing house. If I had it to do over again, I would totally go over and talk to her.

Later in my marriage, when I was managing a Reader's Market (the book department inside Kmart), I hosted several book signings: Robert Cormier, R. A. Salvatore, R. Patrick Gates, and Rick Hautala (who showed up during my maternity leave, but I made sure to go by and get a couple of books signed). I just now realized that all my authors had R names. Don't know what that means, but it's kind of interesting. Anyway, Robert Cormier was the most gracious man and was wonderfully encouraging. He told me when he got stuck in a manuscript, he would introduce a new character and see where things went. He was truly a lovely person, and I was sad when he died.

R. Patrick Gates and Rick Hautala both write horror stories. I don't recall us selling tons of their books. R. A. Salvatore was really nice. He hadn't yet become the huge phenomenon he is now, but he had several books under his belt and was enjoying being a published author. He talked a lot about his kids and laughed at me (in the nicest way) because I didn't know how to pronounce DelGiudice, which is a fairly common name in Fitchburg, Mass. It's very cool to walk into stores now and see Bob's books taking up so much shelf space and think I got to meet him way back when.

It was also during my Kmart days when I got to meet my idol, LaVyrle Spencer. Being a store manager, I received an invitation to have tea at the Ritz in Boston with LaVyrle, and I was allowed to bring a guest. I couldn't decide who to bring, because my sister-in-law Nancy loved LaVyrle's books as much as I did, but I also wanted to bring my aunt, Posey, to return the many kindnesses she's done for me over the years. I called the publisher, and they said I was welcome to bring an extra guest.

The three of us dressed in our nicest clothes and had a wonderful time. The tea was lovely, and it was so awesome to meet LaVyrle and her husband. The only dark note was when I asked her about Romantic Times magazine, which was relatively new at the time. LaVyrle's eyes snapped, and she said she did NOT want to talk about it. I don't remember anything more specific than that, but I did feel a bit chagrined. At that time, LaVyrle's novel Morning Glory was being made into a movie, and she told us that Peter Weller (AKA RoboCop) was being cast as the hero. He looked exactly like her description of Will, and I thought it was perfect casting. I was not best pleased to find out that Christopher Reeve ended up playing the role. I never did get to see the movie, and I've looked for it from time to time, but it's apparently quite hard to find. Since LaVyrle ended up retiring from the writing business, I guess that makes the movie even more rare.

I've met other authors over the years, and interviewed several during my tenure as a reviewer at, including Sandra Brown (who was warm and wonderful) and Beverly Lewis (as inspiring to write about as her books are to read). I met Alex Haley and got his autograph way back when I was in college. (I still have it!) He was a very engaging speaker, and I waited quite a long time for a moment of his time and attention. What I've carried away from it all is that it's really hard to be a fledgling author making a name for yourself, and it would be my worst nightmare to be sitting alone at a table wishing and hoping people would stop by and chat and maybe even buy a book. Once you're established, you have so much more control over the situation, but everything you do and/or say means so much more to the person you're talking to, and you really have to be thoughtful and courteous so people don't take away a negative impression. I think sometimes people forget that it was their fans who put them in the big leagues.

I hope I'll be in a position someday soon to have to keep that in mind.

Happy trails!

Friday, January 22, 2010


I've been looking through my reading log this month, and what I saw startled me a bit. I read about 150 books a year, give or take a dozen. (No, that's not the startling part!) What surprised me was that I tend to read the same authors over and over. I thought I was a more eclectic reader than that, so it was unsettling to see how often I gravitate back to the same writers.

Of course there are the obvious culprits, those authors who are blessedly prolific, like Nora Roberts/J. D. Robb--well, actually, I guess there's no one else quite like the Queen--she is an entity unto herself! Still, authors like Christina Dodd, Kelley Armstrong, Susan Elizabeth Phillips, and others keep me coming back for more.

This week, I finished Liar by Justine Larbalestier. Now, I wouldn't exactly call her one of my favorite authors, but I find her books inherently intriguing, especially this one, about a girl who is a pathological liar with a very unusual problem. The thing is, this book grabbed me and kept me all the way through, but I'm still scratching my head over the ending, which I think is exactly what JL was going for when she wrote it. So I guess she is one of my favorite authors, because her books always leave me thinking.

My current read is Ivy by Julie Hearn. It's a book for teens, but it seems like an amalgam of A Little Princess, anything by Dickens, and possibly Slammerkin or The Dress Lodger. I'm always up for a heartrending orphan story, but I have no idea where this one is going to take me. I'm enjoying the ride, er, read.

Putting books up for sale at has been fairly lucrative of late. Since my husband retired from the army last June (2009), he has not found another job. His retirement pay doesn't stretch quite far enough for him to remain unemployed for much longer, but of course this economy is about as bad as it can be for job hunters. So I do my regular job, my side job, and find other ways to make money, like selling my books. Considering how many thousands of books I have, and the snail-like pace at which I read, it makes some sense to try to sell them, because I probably won't live long enough to read them, anyway.

I'm going to stop here and go eat dinner, but I wanted to post something and keep my blog active on a regular basis this year.

Happy trails!

Saturday, January 16, 2010


January so far has been a really good reading month, with lots of interesting books. I've finished 10 books this month, and have several others in varying states of reading progress. I like to finish a book every other day, so I'm a couple of days ahead of schedule. I don't have really strong impressions of some of the books, but I'll share my thoughts, such as they are.

True Love and Other Disasters, by Rachel Gibson--This was about a former exotic dancer/Playboy bunny who marries a wealthy old guy. When he dies, he leaves her his hockey team. The old guy's son is a nasty piece of work who wants to buy the team from his erstwhile stepmother, but he gets in her face once too often and she decides she'll keep the team for herself. Unfortunately, she and the team captain take an immediate dislike to each other, but their animosity soon turns to attraction.

I really enjoyed this book--it reminded me of Susan Elizabeth Phillips's Chicago Stars books. However, I was kind of bugged by some of the details in the book, especially about Faith's clothing and nail polish. As a former exotic dancer trying to go conservative, I found the constant references to short red nails a bit off-putting, because someone who switches to a basic neutral palette in her clothing would probably wear less obvious colors of nail polish. Also, sometimes the footwear sounded kind of tacky and stripperish, and I could never tell if the author meant to show that Faith hadn't quite absorbed a less flamboyant presentation or if she wanted to show that sometimes the wild girl has to escape the confines of her beige life. Other than those minor quibbles, it was a fun, satisfying read.

What I Did for Love, by Susan Elizabeth Phillips--It's always a treat to read SEP, and I enjoyed this story of a child TV star who finds herself married, Vegas-style, to her former co-star, a somewhat dissipated has-been who seems intent on arranging for a reunion show to earn some money. Of course his motives turn out to be a bit more altruistic, and there's really a decent guy under that bad-boy exterior. SEP keeps the action moving and the plot twists turning with her usual flair.

Certain Poor Shepherds, by Elizabeth Marshall Thomas--This slight Christmas tale seems like a book I SHOULD like because it's kind of serious and literary, but I just didn't love it. This is the story of a dog and a goat and the flock of sheep they tend, who follow the star to Bethlehem and have some adventures along the way, including encounters with angels and the three Wise Men. Probably someone more serious-minded than I would enjoy it more.

Getting Lucky, by Elaine Barbieri--I was actually somewhat disappointed with this story, because it was all a little too pat and relied on stock characters to tell the story. The heroine was orphaned while on a wagon train to California and had to walk the rest of the journey after her parents died. The book blurb tells us the heroine's virtue is at stake, but you never really get a sense that she's in any real danger, despite the best efforts of the villain and the jealous other woman (who is a saloon hall hooker). Everything was telegraphed well before anything actually happened, and there was just a bit too much mustache-twirling and gnashing of teeth to make a truly engaging read.

Dragon Slippers, by Jessica Day George--This was a very unique fairy tale about a girl who is offered as a sacrifice to a most unwilling dragon. She coaxes him into giving her a pair of shoes, which are coveted by an evil princess who is engaged to the heir to the throne of the girl's kingdom. The story was original, and it was a very enjoyable read, with some excellent themes.

Lady Jane Grey: A Tudor Mystery, by Eric Ives--This book was very scholarly in nature, as the author's intent was to delve through legend and letters to get to the real reason why Jane Grey, the person most innocent in the plot to put her on the throne of England in lieu of her devoutly Catholic cousin, Mary, was put to death. It was pretty dry reading in places, but thoroughly researched and eminently convincing in its conclusions.

Early Dawn, by Catherine Anderson--The heroine of this story is kidnapped from a train during a robbery by a band of outlaw brothers who molest and abuse her while preserving her virginity as they intend to sell her to a Mexican bordello. After several days of captivity, the heroine is rescued by a man who's been pursuing the brothers for years in serach of vengeance for his wife's rape and murder by these same villains. Most of the book consists of the hero and heroine trailing and/or evading the outlaws while they wait for the heroine's brothers to catch up with them and take her home. The heroine's strength of character was very appealing, and the hero's heartache was touching. Anderson has added another winner to her long list of successful books.

The Lovely Bones, by Alice Sebold--I don't know what took me so long to get to this one, but it was definitely my kind of book. I wanted to read it before I see the movie, which opened this weekend. Susie Salmon is a captivating narrator/heroine, and the ripple effect her murder has on the rest of her family is heartbreaking and encouraging at the same time. Anyone who's lost a loved one to a murderer will find this book heartfelt and accurate in its depiction of the isolation grief causes the survivors of crime victims. I hope the movie does the book justice.

Kissing the Countess, by Susan King--It took me months to get into this book, but once it finally caught me, it held me until I finished it. Catriona is a minister's daughter who collects old songs from her Scottish Highland home to preserve them before they're lost to the clearances (when Scottish lords moved families out of their homes and cleared the land to raise sheep for maximum profit and minimum outlay). While returning from a trip to gather yet another song, she comes across an injured man. As the weather gets treacherous, they seek shelter in an abandoned hut, where they're found by Catriona's father, the local doctor, and the mysterious man's friend. Forced into marriage, Catriona learns that her husband is the new laird, whose father was responsible for moving so may people out of their homes. The subplot involving the doctor was a little nebulous and stretched belief at times, but overall, the book was interesting.

Princess Ben, by Catherine Gilbert Murdock--This was another good fairy tale, about a somewhat spoiled princess whose uncle, the king, is murdered along with her mother, while her father is missing and presumed dead. Ben ends up being groomed for the throne by her very strict aunt, the king's widow. This story incorporated elements from lots of familiar fairy tales, but combined them in a unique and compelling way. I definitely want to read more by this author, and recommend this book to all fairy tale fans.

Well, that's it so far for this month. I've read lots of new storybooks with my kindergarten classes, and have listed those titles on my shelf at I hope to have lots more books to report on by the end of the month. Happy reading!

Sunday, January 03, 2010


The Last Book in the Universe--Rodman Philbrick
Dracula--Bram Stoker, read by Susan Adams and Alexander Spencer
Sundays at Tiffany's--James Patterson and Gabrielle Charbonnet
The Outlaw Demon Wails--Kim Harrison
And Baby Makes Six--Linda Markowiak
Lucy Gets Her Life Back--Stef Ann Holm
Lean Mean Thirteen--Janet Evanovich
Peace Like a River--Elaine Schulte
Maida's Little Shop--Inez Haynes Irwin (ebook)
Plum Lucky--Janet Evanovich
The Pagan Stone--Nora Roberts
A Cedar Cove Christmas--Debbie Macomber
Worth More Dead--Ann Rule

Just Between Friends--Sandra Steffen
The Great GIlly Hopkins--Katherine Paterson
Snowy Night with a Stranger--Jane Feather, Sabrina Jeffries, Julia London
To the Brink--Cindy Gerard
Christmas, Present--Jacquelyn Mitchard
The Prophet of Yonwood--Jeanne DuPrau
Seduce Me at Sunrise--Lisa Kleypas
The Empty Mirror--James Lincoln Collier
Saying Grace--Beth Gutcheon
Poison--Chris Wooding

One Little Sin--Liz Carlyle
To Tame a Texan's Heart--Jodi Thomas
Griffin's Castle--Jenny Nimmo
Don't Say a Word--Barbara Freethy
Miracle's Boys--Jacqueline Woodson

Fat Chance--Deborah Blumenthal
At Twilight--Maggie Shayne
Sean Donovan--Lori Wick
Blue Christmas--Mary Kay Andrews
Palace of Mirrors--Margaret Peterson Haddix
Salvation in Death--J. D. Robb
Promises in Death--J. D. Robb
From Dead to Worse--Charlaine Harris
Star Bright--Catherine Anderson
Stories for the Extreme Teen's Heart--compiled by Alice Gray
Only with a Highlander--Janet Chapman
Under a Lucky Star--Diane Farr
A Family Christmas--Carrie Alexander

Heart Fate--Robin D. Owens
Alone in the Ice World--MaryAnn Easley
The Revelation--Beverly Lewis
The Gunslinger--Stephen King
Hattie Big Sky--Kirby Larson
The Drawing of the Three--Stephen King
Night of the Loving Dead--Casey Daniels
Jessie--Lori Wick
Stuart Little--E. B. White

Tribute--Nora Roberts
Magic's Child--Justine Larbalestier
Living with the Dead--Kelley Armstrong
Men of the Otherworld--Kelley Armstrong
Fearless Fourteen--Janet Evanovich
Waiting for Normal--Leslie Connor
What I Saw and How I Lied--Judy Blundell
Ashes to Ashes--Tami Hoag (audiobook)
Dead Over Heels--Charlaine Harris
Savvy--Ingrid Law
Christmas Letters--Debbie Macomber
Lavender Morning--Jude Deveraux
The Waste Lands--Stephen King
Tall, Dark, and Texan--Jodi Thomas
Once Smitten, Twice Shy--Lori Wilde
Power Play--Deirdre Martin
Everything She Ever Wanted--Ann Rule

Princess of the Midnight Ball--Jessica Day George
Under the Banner of Heaven--Jon Krakauer (audiobook)
Grave Sight--Charlaine Harris
An Ice Cold Grave--Charlaine Harris
After Midnight--Teresa Medeiros
Numbering All the Bones--Ann Rinaldi
Charlotte's Choice--Cathleen Twomey
The Christmas Hope--Donna Van Liere
How to Ditch Your Fairy--Justine Larbalestier
Heart Quest--Robin D. Owens
Vision in White--Nora Roberts
Swept Away--Candace Camp (audiobook)
The Lost World--Michael Crichton, read by Anthony Heald
Book of a Thousand Days--Shannon Hale
Lock and Key--Sarah Dessen
The Summoning--Kelley Armstrong
The Princess and the Hound--Mette Ivie Harrison

Grave Surprise--Charlaine Harris
The Time Traveler's Wife--Audrey Niffenegger
Love Is Blind--Lynsay Sands
A Curse Dark as Gold--Elizabeth C. Bunce
Finger Lickin' Fifteen--Janet Evanovich
The Awakening--Kelley Armstrong

Runaway--Bobbi Smith
Guardian of Honor--Robin D. Owens
Catching Fire--Suzanne Collins
The Runaway McBride--Elizabeth Thornton
This Lullaby--Sarah Dessen
The Darkest Whisper--Gena Showalter
Red's Hot Honky-Tonk Bar--Pamela Morsi
The Forgotten Man--Robert Crais, read by James Daniels
Christmas Revels--Mary Jo Putney
Bathtub Voyages: Tales of Adventure--Scott Foresman
The Big Blank Piece of Paper: Artists at Work--Scott Foresman
Personal Demon--Kelley Armstrong
A Babe in Ghostland--Lisa Cach
The Honorable Midwife--Lilian Darcy
Garden Spells--Sarah Addison Allen
True Believer--Nicholas Sparks

Tennyson--Lesley M. M. Blume
Stolen Children--Peg Kehret
Breathe: A Ghost Story--Cliff McNish
Impossible--Nancy Werlin
The Miss America Family--Julianna Baggott
Trouble in High Heels--Christina Dodd
Tongue in Chic--Christina Dodd
Lenore, the Cute Little Dead Girld: Cooties! (Issues 9-12)--Roman Dirge
Danger in a Red Dress--Christina Dodd
Storm of Visions--Christina Dodd
Baby Be Mine--Diane Fanning
Conard County: Cowboy Comes Home--Rachel Lee
Simply Perfect--Mary Balogh
Storm of Shadows--Christina Dodd
The Glass Castle--Jeannette Walls

You're So Vein--Christine Warren
Bed of Roses--Nora Roberts
Bitsy's Bait & BBQ--Pamela Morsi
Chesapeake Blue--Nora Roberts, read by James Daniels
Hard Day's Night--Katie McAlister
Assignment: Rescue, An Autobiography--Varian Fry
When the Duke Returns--Eloisa James
This Duchess of Mine--Eloisa James
Zenda: A New Dimension--Ken Petti and John Amodeo
Just the Way You Are--Barbara Freethy
A Christmas Scandal--Jane Goodger
Hapily After All--Laura C. Stevenson
Destined for an Early Grave--Jeaniene Frost
I'll Be Home for Christmas--Linda Lael Miller et al
The Millionaires--Brad Meltzer, read by Tony Goldwyn
They Cage the Animals at Night--Jennings Michael Burch
Sooner or Later--Debbie Macomber

Land of the Living--Nicci French, read by Anne Flosnik
Lover's Knot--Emilie Richards
Secondhand Bride--Linda Lael Miller
If Wishes Were Horses--Anne McCaffrey
Jumbo: This Being the True Story of the Greatest Elephant in the World--Paul Chambers
Dead and Gone--Charlaine Harris
Stormbreaker--Anthony Horowitz
Call Me Princess--Tomoko Taniguchi
Tall, Dark, and Dangerous--Catherine Anderson, Christina Dodd, and Susan Sizemore
A Bold Fresh Piece of Humanity--Bill O'Reilly
Gifts of Love--Kay Hooper and Lisa Kleypas
Amelia Earhart: Adventure in the Sky--Francene Sabin
Miss Spitfire: Reaching Helen Keller--Sarah Miller
White Witch, Black Curse--Kim Harrison
The Rescue--Nicholas Sparks, read by Mary Beth Hurt and John Belford Lloyd
Holidays Are Hell--Kim Harrison, Lynsay Sands, Marjorie M. Liu, and Vicki Pettersson
Sucker Bet--Erin McCarthy
The Better Part of Darkness--Kelly Gay
Mistletoe & Magic--Lisa Cach, Stobie Piel, Lynsay Sands, and Amy Elizabeth Saunders

157 Books; 46,439Pages; Average page per book: 296 pages