Friday, January 28, 2011

(13) Return to the Past

Title: Sabotage by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
360 pages
Genre: YA (historical fiction/adoption/time travel)

Synopsis:After helping Chip and Alex survive fifteenth-century London, Jonah and Katherine are summoned to help another missing child, Andrea, face her fate in history. Andrea is really Virginia Dare, from the Lost Colony of Roanoke. Jonah and Katherine are confident in their ability to help Andrea fix history, but when their journey goes dangerously awry, they realize they may be in over their heads: They seem to have landed in the wrong time period. They can’t reach JB for help. Andrea is behaving oddly. And even worse, it appears that someone has deliberately sabotaged their mission….


Review: Another fabulous history lesson.This time Jonah and Katherine are sent back in time with another missing child from history, Andrea (AKA Virginia Dare).  They are sent back to Roanoke Island  where an entire colony of settlers disappeared without a trace. There are many theories of what happened but no conclusive proof which give Haddix an enormous amount to work with.

This time their trip back in time goes wrong and they don't land in the right time, but aren't sure what time they landed in they also have no way to communicate or get back.  They find ruins of villages that are supposed to be whole and tracers of people who are supposed to be living there.  Everything is off and soon they start receiving messages from someone named Second.  Can they trust him?

While trying to find other settlers two more missing children are thrown back in time much to their surprise and to Jonah, Katherine and Andrea.  Having these two new people creates a whole new set of problems and they still aren't able to contact JB who they trust to get them home.

Haddix once again does her homework with regard to the history.  Her story is filled with mystery and moves along at a quick pace.  I love the characters and their interaction. The story ends with a cliffhanger that leaves Jonah and Katherine fighting for the lives of their friends and their ability to return to the 21st century.

The ending of this story had me doing a little digging and I discovered that this is not just a trilogy so I'm eagerly looking forward to the next installment to this series.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

(12) King for a Day

Title: Sent by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
308 pages
Genre: Young Adult (Sci Fi / Adoption)

Synopsis: Jonah and Chip have just discovered the shocking truth of their pasts: They're famous missing children from history.  Before they can fully comprehend what that means, Jonah and Katherine are zapped back in time along with Chip and another boy, Alex. When they land in the fifteenth century, they learn that Chip is really Edward V, king of England, and Alex is his younger brother Richard, Duke of York. But the thrill of being the king wears off quickly - its no fun being royalty when someone is trying to kill you...especially when that someone is your uncle, the infamous Richard of Gloucester! JB promises that if the kids can set history straight and fix time, he will bring them back to the present day. But how can they possibly return home safely when history claims that Chip and Alex were murdered?

Review: The second Book in the Missing Series was fabulous.  Less about adoption and more about time travel and history.  Chip, Alex, Katherine and Jonah all travel back to the 15th century to try to save time.  Chip and Alex are the Princes of England that are thought to have died in the Tower of London.  But Katherine and Jonah won't allow their friends to die so they have to figure out how to save them without messing up history anymore than it already has been.


This was like reading a fun history book.  You got to learn about how Richard the III stole the throne from his nephew Edward the V and why Richard is portrayed the way he is in history.  It was all really fast past fun and fascinating.  Time travel books have always fascinated me but to throw 4 tweens into the past and ask them not to mess it up creates a lot of entertainment.

Monday, January 24, 2011

(11) Adoption 101

Title: In on it: What adoptive parents would like you to know about adoption by Elizabeth O'Toole
Publisher: Fig Press
155 Pages
Genre: Adoption

Synopsis: This is the adoption book for grandparents and friends, neighbors and colleagues, and aunts and uncles of adoptive families.  Whether you're excited or worried, committed or a bit reluctant, experienced or unfamiliar with adoption, In On It is an informative, friendly and very useful adoption guide for anyone touched by adoption.

Review: I tend to just keep all my reviews of adoption books on my work blog, (I work for an adoption agency) particularly if they are non-fiction, but this year I joined an adoption reading challenge so I'm going to be posting some of my reviews here as well.

In On It is a great book for families of adoption. This book is smart, thoughtful, and full of humor. Elisabeth O'Toole guides readers through adoption--and all the unique stuff that accompanies parenting in a family with adopted children. In On It opens a path for friends and relatives to become insiders to the process and is a great resource for people who want to support their loved ones, but aren't always sure what to do or say.

There is a list of conversation starters and additional resources in the back to help those who would like to dig a little deeper on the subject and at the end of each chapter there is a little recap on what you can do to help support your friends or family that are adopting. There aren't many books out there for friends and relatives and this is one of the best I have seen.  Its short, so its not overwhelming and the information is delivered in an easy non-threatening format.

(10) Time depends on finding the Missing

Title: Found by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
314 pages
Genre: Young Adult ( science fiction/adoption)

Synopsis: When Jonah and his best friend, Chip start receiving threatening notes in the mail, they are plunged headfirst into a mystery.  With the help of Jonah's sister, Katherine, they discover that the notes may be connected to the shady circumstances surrounding Jonah and Chip's adoptions.  When they begin to investigate, they find a vast conspiracy that reaches from the far past to the distant future - one that will take them hurtling through time. They don't know who to trust, or which shadowy faction to believe. Can Jonah and Chip discover the secrets of their pasts before the conspiracy catches up to them?

Review: I was really impressed with the way Haddix handled adoption and her use of proper adoption language. Jonah has known he was adopted his whole life, but Chip doesn't discover his adoption until he receives the similar mysterious letter that Jonah received about being one of the Missing. Each boys struggles with their adoption are realistic and very well portrayed.  While Jonah isnt really interested in searching out his past because he is happy with his family, Chip finds himself lost and confused.  It doesn't help that Chips parents refuse to discuss his adoption with him.

 As Jonah, Chip and Jonah's sister Katherine start to research more into Jonah and Chip's adoptions they find an FBI cover-up, people who keep disappearing, and a woman who swears she saw a plane with 36 infants appear out of nowhere and then disappear.  When all three of them attend an adoption conference even more strange things start to happen as they begin to unravel the secret of their past and discover their past might in fact lie in the past when they are told they are part of the Missing Children in Time.

This was a great book.  I loved the sci fi angle to the adoption theme.  I can't wait to dive into the rest of this trilogy.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Buffy Reincarnated

Title: Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton
Publisher: Harper Collins
464 Pages
Genre: Young Adult/ supernatural

I received an advanced electronic copy of this book through netgalley.com.  It is due to be published February 15, 2011.

Synopsis: First there are nightmares.

Every night Ellie is haunted by terrifying dreams of monstrous creatures that are hunting her, killing her.

Then come the memories.

When Ellie meets Will, she feels on the verge of remembering something just beyond her grasp. His attention is intense and romantic, and Ellie feels like her soul has known him for centuries. On her seventeenth birthday, on a dark street at midnight, Will awakens Ellie's power, and she knows that she can fight the creatures that stalk her in the grim darkness. Only Will holds the key to Ellie's memories, whole lifetimes of them, and when she looks at him, she can no longer pretend anything was just a dream.

Now she must hunt.

Ellie has power that no one can match, and her role is to hunt and kill the reapers that prey on human souls. But in order to survive the dangerous and ancient battle of the angels and the Fallen, she must also hunt for the secrets of her past lives and truths that may be too frightening to remember.

Review: Ellie turns 17 and finds out she is the Preliator a reincarnated slayer (for lack of a better term and for those of you Buffy fans out there) here to fight in a battle between Angels and the Fallen but no one really knows her origins.  Will is her sexy, protector which isn't easy when Ellie won't accept her fate and can't remember how to use her powers.

Will and Ellie are trying to locate the Enshi and discover what it is and why the Fallen who are after her are so keen on awakening it.  While they are searching and trying to awaken Ellies powers and bring back her memories Will and Ellie start to discover their feelings for each other.

Angelfire has its ups and downs, but it is a solid start to a new trilogy. The teenage drama, angst and speech seemed genuine and realistic. As far as Angel stories go I liked Unearthly by Cyntha Hand better but I think the mythology in this one is interesting and for those who like to read about a kick ass girl this is for you.  I look forward to see where Moulton takes this.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Holmes Revived?

Apparently the Conan Doyle Estate has hired Anthony Horowitz of the Alex Rider Series to write a new Sherlock Holmes novel.  I'm a little torn on how I feel about this.  On the one hand it will be interesting if he can keep to the spirit of the series and it would be nice to revive Holmes again.  On the other hand why can't we just be satisfied with what was written?  There are so many authors these days who have passed away and yet they still have books being published by ghost writers or their names are now being used as a title...sort of like Robert Ludlum whose latest Bourne books were written by another author (and honestly aren't that good).

I completely understand wishing that our favorite authors hadn't gone to the big writers workshop in the sky and I will miss their writing but to give the series to someone else just doesn't seem right to me somehow.  No offense to Anthony Horowitz I'm sure his Holmes novel will be interesting but it can't be the same.  Unless he somehow finds a way to make it his own I think it will always fall short. Even Laurie R King has a series with Holmes as a main character but she has made the story her own and its fabulous...if you haven't read any of them you are truly missing out.

 Even movies do this stupidness and I'm not talking about when they make books into movies because 9 times out of 10 they screw it up somehow...so I always try to think of movies as stand alone stories.  I do have to give credit to the new Star Trek movie which I was anxious about watching but wound up loving because they changed the whole time line so the characters can't be the same as they were because their relationships formed differently.  Brilliant move on the part of the writer if you ask me.  It satisfied old fans and new ones.

Here is to hoping that Anthony can find his own Holmes voice.

Monday, January 17, 2011

Murder in Amish Country

Title: Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
Publisher: St. Martins Press
336 pages
Genre: mystery/thriller

Synopsis: Sixteen years ago, a series of brutal murders shattered a peaceful farming community.  A young Amish girl named Kate Burkholder survived the terror of the Slaughterhouse killer....but fled to the safety of the big city.

Years later, Kate returns to Painters Mill, Ohio as Chief of Police. She's come to terms with her past - until the first body is discovered in a snowy field.

Kate vows to stop the killer before he strikes again. But will she betray both her family and her Amish past - and expose the dark secret that could destroy her?

Review:  Kate Burkholder is the Chief of Police of Painters Mill, but she also grew up there on one of the Amish farms.  After surviving a brutal rape at 14 Kate turns her back on her church and decides to go live with the "English" (non-Amish).  After becoming a cop in Columbus Kate finds herself back in Painters Mill investigating a brutal murder that is a dead ringer for killings that were attributed to the Slaugherhouse killer 16 years ago.  But it can't be the same person because Kate believes she killed him 16 years ago when he raped her and her family covered up the crime.

Now unable to share her secret or why she thinks she is looking for a copycat Kate finds herself torn between protecting her family, and her career and catching a killer.  As the killings escalate and other agencies get called in Kate finds herself desperate to solve the case.

Despite the Bann that the Amish placed on Kate she is still their best ally.  A great go between the English police and the Amish culture.  She speaks their language and understands their culture.  While the Amish/English angle doesn't play too much in this case I hope to see her explore it more in further books.

Castillo is a great addition to the mystery/thriller authors out there.  In league with James Patterson and Jeffrey Deaver Castillo keeps you guessing right up until the end.  So descriptive I found myself cuddling up inside a quilt trying to stay warm as I read about the characters traipsing through the snow in subzero temperatures tracking a killer.  What a great start to a new series.  I can't wait to read the follow up Pray for Silence.

(8)

Sunday, January 16, 2011

I wish I remembered nothing

Title: I remember Nothing and other reflections by Nora Ephron
Publisher: Knopf
135 pages
Genre:

Synopsis: These essays cover the gamut of later-life observations (she is 69), from the dourly hilarious title essay about losing her memory, which asserts that her ubiquitous senior moment has now become the requisite Google moment, to several flimsy lists, such as "Twenty-five Things People Have a Shocking Capacity to Be Surprised by Over and Over Again," e.g., "Movies have no political effect whatsoever." Shorts such as the several "I Just Want to Say" pieces feature Ephron's trademark prickly contrariness and are stylistically digestible for the tabloids. Other essays delve into memories of fascinating people she knew, such as the Lillian Hellman of Pentimento, whom she adored until the older woman's egomania rubbed her the wrong way.

Review: This book was the January pick for my book club.  I guess after the holidays everyone wanted a light read.  The funniest thing about this book is that no matter how hard I tried I just could not remember the name of it!  Pretty funny consider the name of it.  This is not my typical pick of books but since my reading tastes are all over the place I was open to it.

Each chapter is its own essay.  The ones about her life that didn't relate to her dwindling memory were really very good, but the others just seemed like a self indulgent pity party.  Who cares if you can't remember the name of a movie from 10 years ago, or the fact that you don't remember how the Beatles were on Ed Sullivan when you were in the back of the auditorium not able to hear.  There are reasons why we don't remember some of these things, they just don't matter.  Obviously getting lost going to see Eleanor Roosevelt was more memorable than the actually meeting - maybe because it had been played up in her head for so long that the actual meeting didn't live up to expectations...who knows but really do we need to dwell on it?

The book was supposed to be tongue in cheek humor but I found it all over the place.  Its a quick read, only took me a few hours but now I wish I had forgotten the name of the book and had those hours back to read something else.

(7)

Life in the 1900's

Publisher: Poisoned Pen Press
250 pages
Genre: Mystery

I received this book as an advanced galley from the publisher via netgalley.  This title will be released in February 2011.

Synopsis: In the autumn of 1915 Shaw Tucker’s dog, retrieves an old boot with the bones of a foot inside. Buttercup then leads the hunters to a shallow grave and a skeleton with a bullet hole in the skull. That night, Shaw awakens to see a pair of moccasin-clad legs strolling by his tent flap. After he returns home, Shaw can’t shake the memory of the disembodied legs and the ghostly voice. Someone is following him. A boy, Crying Blood, followed Shaw hoping to find a white haired man who killed his brother.

Review: This is the 5th Alafair Tucker mystery but it really can stand on its own.  I haven't read any of the other books in this series so I was a little worried that I would feel lost but after I started reading I actually forgot that there were other books in this series.

What a great glimpse of life in the 1900's.  Alafair and Shaw have 10 children ranging in age from 25 to 3 years of age and while not all of the children live at home anymore they all live close by, including Shaws parents.  I would say that this book is more a look into life during the 1900's than a mystery although one does exist in the book.  Maybe I was just too taken in by the descriptions of the cooking, the hog slaughtering, hunting etc that the family had to do.  I was tired just thinking about what they did in one day!  You can tell that Donis Casey did her research.  In the back of the book there was more detailed descriptions on hog slaughtering and butchering, including recipes on making blood pudding, and head cheese.  There was also a section on how to make quail pie!

This book was also ripe with Native American legend and history.  Crying blood was a Creek, seeking to rebalance the world by avenging his brother who was killed.  Thinking that Shaw might be a key to finding the person or spirit that killed his brother Crying Blood follows him home from a hunting trip.  Crying Blood isn't really his name, though it is a name that the Creek take when they are on a mission to avenge someone.  Little bits and pieces of Indian history and ritual like the taking of a special name, are scattered throughout the book.

I've never been one to be captured by American History but reading the descriptions in this book I found my interest peaked on life back then.  I was completely taken in by this family and might have to seek out the other books in this series.

(6)

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Magic, Obsession & Murder

Title:Season of the Witch by Natasha Mostert
Publisher: Penguin Books
395 Pages
Genre: Gothic Thriller

Synopsis: When Gabriel Blackstone, a computer hacker and information thief, is asked to investigate the disappearance of a friend's stepson, he encounters two extraordinary sisters. Minnaloushe and Morrighan Monk are obsessed with alchemy and the ancient art of Memory, and soon Gabriel is caught up in their complex world, risking his own life.

Review: I have been meaning to read this book for a while but after seeing all types of promos for a movie of the same name I thought I should dig it out.  The good news is that I loved the book, the not so good news depending on your point of view is that the movie by the same name is not based on this book!  Oh well it inspired me to read this books so I'll give it credit anyway.

Six months from graduating from Oxford Gabriel left without a reason and decided to become a professional thief.  So far its been a very lucrative decision. He and his partner are in the information business, they can hack almost any system, if the price is right. Life is good and Gabriel is content until a ghost from his past shows up and leads him into a world of lust, greed, and magic.


Gabriel is contacted by a wealthy business man on what he thinks is a routine job but he finds that his ex-girlfriend is now married to said wealthy business man and wants him to use his special talents as a remote viewer to find her stepson. The problem is that Gabriel stopped using his gift and has tried to forget about it. But he can't seem to say no to Cecily.

The search leads to a pair of sisters who enchant him. Obsessed with the power of memory and alchemy, they lure him into a magical world. A journal, suspicious deaths, a mysterious room and a growing fascination with the sisters' world leads Gabriel to places he would rather forget and with the hope that he can get out of this alive.

This book sucked me in from the first chapter.  The characters are fascinating and I found myself not wanting to put it down. Its a little bit like Inception mixed with Witches of Eastwick.

(5)

Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Stonewall Book Awards 2011

I don't want to scare people away and I am by no means turning this into a LGBT only book blog but I do want to shine a light on some of the LGBT lit out there that is worth taking a look at since often times its not mainstream and many people may not have heard of these titles.  The ALA announced the 2011 Stonewall Book Awards on January 10th.


The Children’s and Young Adult Literature Award -
  • “Almost Perfect”  written by Brian Katcher and published by Delacourte Press. 
Four Stonewall Children’s and Young Adult Award Honor Books were named:
  •  “Will Grayson, Will Grayson,” written by John Green and David Levithan and published by Dutton “Love Drugged,” written by James Klise and published by Flux
  • “Freaks and Revelations,” written by Davida Wills Hurwin and published by Little, Brown Co
  • The Boy in the Dress,” written by David Walliams, illustrated by Quentin Blake and published by Razorbill (Penguin).
 The Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award was given to:
  • More of This World of Maybe Another,” written by Barb Johnson and published by Harper Perennial.
Three Stonewall Book Awards – Barbara Gittings Literature Award Honor Books were named:
  •        “Probation,” written by Tom Mendicino and published by Kensington.
  •        “The More I Owe You,” written by Michael Sledge and published by Counterpoint.
  •        “Holding Still for As Long as Possible,” written by Zoe Whittall and published by House of Anansi.
 The Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award was given to:

  • “Inseparable: Desire between Women in Literature,” written by Emma Donoghue and published by Knopf.
 Four Stonewall Book Awards – Israel Fishman Non-Fiction Award Honor Books were named:

  • “A Great Unrecorded History: A New Life of E.M. Forster,” written by Wendy Moffatt and published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux. 
  • “Just Kids,” written by Patti Smith and published by Ecco.
  • “The Right To Be Out: Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity in America’s Public Schools,” written by Stuart Beigel and published by the University of Minnesota Press.
  •  “The Secret Historian: The Life and Times of Samuel Steward, Professor, Tattoo Artist, and Sexual Renegade,” written by Justin Spring and published by Farrar, Strauss and Giroux.

Monday, January 10, 2011

Courting in Modern Times

Title: Landing by Emma Donoghue
Publisher: Harcourt Books
321 Pages
Genre: Fiction

Synopsis: Sile is a stylish citizen of the new Dublin, a veteran flight attendant who's traveled the world.  Jude is a twenty-five year old archivist, stubbornly attached to the tiny town of Ireland, Ontario, in which she was born and raised.  On her first plane trip, Jude's and Sile's worlds touch and snag. In the course of the next year, their lives, and those of their friends and families, will be drawn into a new, shaky orbit.

This sparkling, lively story - with a uniquely twenty-first century twist - explores the age old questions: Does where you live matter more than whom you live with? What would you give up for love, and would you be fool to do so?

Review: Sile and Jude live 5000 miles apart and while their meeting may feel a bit contrived their courtship is right out of old times. Although these two have many more modern ways of keeping in touch than just by post. The distance keeps the relationship fresh but it also creates problems. Their relationship reflects the modern problems of commitment and the theory that opposites attract.  The geographic differences, Sile in Dublin, Ireland and Jude in Ireland, Ontario reveal each characters personalities. Sile is outgoing and worldly while Jude likes a slower pace and despite being younger is more old fashioned.

Emma Donoghue's characters always feel very real and believable and this story depicts lesbians and their lives in a normal, intelligent and very accessible way.  This couple could have been anyone, it could have been a straight couple or a gay couple the issues that come to light are the same.  This book is light and fun and Sile and Jude are witty and keep you turning the pages in an effort to see where things lead.  Donoghue depicts the energy and excitement as well as the uncertainty of new relationships, especially when there is so much to overcome. I thoroughly enjoyed their journey into uncharted territory and faith that they could overcome any obstacle.

(4)

Friday, January 7, 2011

Lawyers, Money, and Murder

Title: The King of Lies by John Hart
Publisher: St Martins Press
367 pages
Genre: Mystery

Synopsis: Jackson Workman Pickens-known to most as "Work" - mindlessly holds together his disintegrating life; a failing law practice left to him when his father, Ezra, mysteriously disappeared, a distant wife who shares their loveless marriage, and an estranged sister who bore the brunt of their childhood trauma.

And then Ezra's body is discovered.

Set to inherit his father's fortune, Work becomes a prime suspect. But so does his sister, Jean.  As much as Work's life was overshadowed by his domineering father, Jean's life was nearly destroyed by him. But does that make her capable of vicious murder? Fearing the worst, Work launches his own investigation, crossing paths with a power hungry detective, a string of damning evidence and the ugly rumors that swirl within his small moneyed Southern town.

Review: King of Lies is Hart's 1st book.  Its always fun to read a writers first book after reading more recent ones and I have to say John Hart was good from the beginning.

Work has lived in much more than the shadow of his father.  He has lived his life.  When his father's body is found the realization that everything in his life was orchestrated by his controlling father sends Work into a downward spiral, all while trying to protect his emotionally disturbed sister, who he believes killed their father.  His actions of course lead the police to zone in on him, not to mention the $15 million he is set to inherit.  And while Work watches his world unravel the people he thought were friends seem to turn away from him and unlikely strangers become his biggest supporters.

This is not just a murder mystery but also a look into family dynamics. How our actions effect our children and how to break free and live your own life.  A quick, moody, read that is sure to keep you turning pages.

(3)

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

What Do Ewe Know?

Title: Three Bags Full - A sheep Detective Story by Leonie Swann
Publisher: Broadway Books
341 Pages
Genre: mystery/comedy

Synopsis: On a hillside near the cozy Irish village of Glennkill, the members of the flock gather around their shepherd, George, whose body lies pinned to the ground with a spade.  George has cared for the sheep, reading them a plethora of books every night. The daily exposure to literature has made them far savvier about the workings of the human mind than your average sheep.  Led by Miss Maple, the smartest sheep in Glennkill (and possibly the world), they set out to find George's killer.

The A-team of investigators includes Othello, the "bad-boy" black ram; Mopple the Whale, a merino who eats a lot and remembers everything; and Zora, a pensive black-faced ewe with a weakness for abysses.  Joined by other members of the richly talented flock they engage in nightlong discussions about the missions into the village, where they encounter some likely suspects.

Review: This is one of those books that has been sitting on my shelf for a while.  I received it as a gift and while the plot was intriguing I just never seemed motivated to pick it up, but with my New Year reading intention in mind I went to my shelf to discover what I had been missing.

Three Bags Full is like reading an Agatha Christie novel mixed with Animal Farm. I applaud the writer for her inventive outlook on murder mysteries. This story is entertaining and gives an interesting interpretation on human behavior and flock mentality.  I found myself snickering at several of the sheep's interpretations of conversations that they were overhearing.  It was also interesting to see the human reactions when they realized that George's sheep weren't your ordinary run of the mill wooly friends.

Each sheep has their own personality and their own way of interpreting the human world that is infinitely entertaining.  While the plot can be a bit slow in parts this is a fine good yarn.


(2) (1 of 2 that stayed on my shelf over a year.)

Lambda Literary Awards

The big gay world of publishing...well not really - actually if you went into most of the big chain stores the LGBT section is very small, if it exists at all.  Then there are the independent gay bookstores, which may be hard to find or there is only one 40 minutes away.  Its hard to find good LGBT fiction, and even harder to find it filed under main stream categories, such as mystery fiction, or romance.  Actually this brings to mind the question of why instead of having a separate LGBT section don't they just have a section in the romance isle marked LGBT or in the mystery section? Why does it have to be a separate section all to itself usually stuffed in some corner?

Anyway my whole purpose of this post was not to preach but to say that the lambda Literary Award nominees for 2010 have been revealed. You can find a full list of the books in all categories posted on the lambda literary website. Everything from biographies, romance novels, ya books, etc...

So few book bloggers seem to include or even read LGBT fiction so I thought I might inspire some reading by posting this.

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Discovering your History

Title: Finding Miracles by Julia Alvarez 
Publisher: Laurel Leaf
264 pages
Genre: YA

Synopsis: In spite of her family's openness, Milly Kaufman has never wanted to talk about her adoption. However, during ninth grade, Pablo Bolívar, a refugee from an unnamed Central American country, joins her class and immediately identifies her as someone who might have come from his family's hometown. Then, her grandmother attempts to make a will that differentiates between her and her siblings. While her mother and father's angry reaction makes the woman back down, their increasingly close relationship with Pablo's family makes it impossible for Milly to stop thinking about the parents who placed her for adoption and the war-torn nation she came from. When that country's dictator is deposed in a democratic election, the Bolívars go home to visit and invite Milly along. There she discovers a world quite different from her Vermont home, an extended family, a boyfriend in Pablo, and several possible sets of birth parents. She realizes, too, how much she loves her own family, and they join her for a grand reunion.

Review: This is a great YA book about the struggle to fit in, find your identity and the knowledge that everyone has these feelings regardless of how they became part of the family.  This book gives believable first hand description of adoption issues–Milly's feelings of abandonment and difference and her sister's fear that Milly's increased identification with her birth country will destroy their close relationship. It touches on the ways in which different family members view adoption, acceptance, and the need to know where you come from. Fabulous book.

(1)

Sunday, January 2, 2011

Reading Intentions for 2011

Welcome 2011.  I hope this is a great year for everyone.

So I've never really done this before but I thought it would be something to aspire to this next year.  Sort of like resolutions I'm going to set some reading intentions that hopefully I will achieve by the end of the year.


  1. Read at least one classic. I have a bunch on my TBR list but I never seem to get to them because there is so many new books out there that I want to read.
  2. Read two books that have been on my shelf for over a year. I hate to admit it but I am a book hoarder.  I can't help myself.  I have every intention of reading every book I buy but it doesn't always seem to happen.  Every now and then I will go through the shelves and weed out the ones that seem to have been sitting there for over 2 years and just pass them on.  This year I'm going to make it a point to read at least 2 of these!
  3. Discover a new author...what I mean is a new author to me...not necessarily a brand new author.  I have a habit of reading the same authors but I love discovering new ones. I particularly like discovering established authors who have several other books to choose from.  Two of the new authors I found in 2010 were Emma Donoghue and John Hart.  
  4. Read two books that have been on my Kindle for over a year...so I have the same problem with hoarding books on my kindle as I do with actual paper books.  So my intention is to clear at least two of these books that I bought off my kindle.  
I think four intentions is a good start for the new year.  If I can complete them before the year is half over maybe I'll make new half year intentions as well.  

Deadly Intriguing

Title: Deadly Kisses (Hqn) by Brenda Joyce
Publisher: Harlequin
384 pages
Genre: Romance, Mystery

This title is due to be released in February 2011.  I received an advanced electronic copy through netgalley.com

Synopsis: New York 1902 - Called to the home of her fiancé’s former mistress late one night, Francesca finds her curiosity piqued. But upon arrival, she is shocked to find Daisy Jones’s bloodied body…and even more devastated when the evidence points to one suspect—her fiancé, Calder.

Francesca cannot—will not—believe that Calder is capable of such an act. Still, she is unable to shake her instinctive sense that Calder is lying about something. The police are far less inclined to believe his innocence, and Calder is arrested for Daisy’s murder. But Francesca’s heart is not easily swayed…until a life-altering secret is exposed that could destroy their future together.

Review: I finished this on New Years Eve but wasn't capable of writing the review until today.  So that being said, after some investigation...this book is being publicized as the 2nd in the Deadly series but it is really the 8th.  The publisher is reissuing the last 3 books in this series to generate interest in the newest Deadly book due out in March.  I'm not a fan of this tactic and I'm kinda pissed I was fooled into believing I was reading these books in order ....that being said I am in love with Francesca, Calder and many of the other characters in this series.  

These books remind me of the "In Death" series written by JD Robb (aka Nora Roberts) in that the characters are recurring and the only thing really resolved at the end of the book is the mystery but the complicated relationships between the characters aren't as neatly wrapped up.

Calder's ex-mistress if found dead and the list of suspects is small and he seems to be the most likely candidate.  To avoid even more scandal Calder breaks his engagement with Francesca but she is unwilling to let him go.  In a time when reputation was everything it was a bit of a stretch to believe that Francesca would risk everything just to be with the man she loves but since its a romance novel we will let that one slip by.

There are always twists and turns to these books and just when you think you know who did it, there is a new suspect.  I have to give Brenda Joyce credit she weaves a good story and I am intrigued to read the next one and I hope her publisher allows her to write more for this series.  
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