Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Saturday, July 31, 2010

So Over It by Stephanie Morrill (Book Review)

Title: So Over It (Book 3 - The Reinvention of Skylar Hoyt)
Author: Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Revell

My synopsis:  Skylar has made it through her last year in high school.  She had started out with such high hopes in changing herself, but by the end of the year was slipping back into the old Skylar's skin.  Connor had disappointed her by playing the hero to Jodi's damsel in distress, so even though she loved him, she broke up with him.  Eli saw this as his open door and made a play for her whenever the opportunity arose.  He had had feelings for Skylar for awhile, and even though she knew it was wrong, whenever she had a run-in with Connor, she ended up having a drink or too and hooking up with Eli.  She always felt bad about making out with him, and kept trying to tell herself that it was okay.  She was headed to Hawaii to stay with her grandparents for the summer and figured she could start over on her reinvention while she was there. 

Hawaii didn't prove to be the oasis that she thought it would be.  Her Grammy immediately started matchmaking with Justin, the boy next door, and Skylar found herself using him to try and forget Connor.  After just a few days he called her on it and told her he wasn't into summer flings and didn't like being used if she was truly going to go home after 2 months.  Turns out she realized that she couldn't run from her problems and returned home with her family after only 2 weeks. 

The crux of all the problems and changes in her life had started in Book 1 when Eli rescued her from a possible date rape situation.  She had not gotten over it and had also not shared it with anyone except for Eli, Connor and her sister Abby.   As it continues to color her relationship with her other friends, she wonders if she will ever be able to move forward.

Available July 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

My thoughts: This was book 3 of the series (read my reviews Book 1 - Me, Just Different and Book 2 - Out With the In Crowd).  As Skylar reconnected a little with her mom in this book, it made me look at my own relationship with my teenage daughter, and what she might be needing to hear from me these days.  She is living with her grandmother in Iowa as she just graduated in May.  It brought tears to my eyes and I will be making a phone call to her later tonight.   Besides all that though, this book did a nice job of showing how it isn't always peaches and cream when you become a Christian.  It dealt with repairing relationships with family, friends and even with yourself.  This would be a great series for any girl in high school and maybe even in junior high. 

~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Baker Publishing in exchange for my review.~

So Over It
Publisher/Publication Date: Baker, July 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-8007-3391-9
262 pages


Friday, July 30, 2010

First Wild Card Tour: Online with God by Laurie Lazzaro Knowlton (Book Review)

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
***Special thanks to Pam Mettler of Zondervan for sending me a review copy.***

REVIEW:  Written in the style of a young girl blogging to God, this puts Him smack dab in the middle of a junior high girl's life.  Even though the writing is simple enough for a tween/teen to understand - reading as an adult there was still a lot of gems that would apply to my life as well.  Each devotion is only 2 pages long with a short "Stepping Up" section that pretty much lays it on the line about how you should act in certain situation.  What I liked was if the Internet came into play at all, they gave all the safety features you could install or what the proper etiquette would be online.  It ends with a "Let's Talk" which is a short prayer you can pray.  Would be a great gift for any girl just entering junior high, but I am going to share it with my high schooler as well.


Laurie’s first published work was a note passed to a boy in elementary school. You would have thought that this most embarrassing moment would have stopped her writing career. But instead, Laurie is the author of thirty five books and author/illustrator of two more. Laurie lives in rural Ohio with her husband and two daughters.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: Zonderkidz (April 9, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310716152
ISBN-13: 978-0310716150

Press the browse button to view the first chapter:

Thursday, July 29, 2010

And One Last Thing. . . by Molly Harper (Book Review)

Title: And One Last Thing. . .
Author: Molly Harper
Publisher: Gallery Books

My Synopsis/Thoughts: Lacey Terwilliger was a happily married woman, well - maybe not happily, but she thought it was implied with her husband that they didn't sleep with other people.  When some flowers from her husband get delivered to the wrong address, Lacey's eyes are opened to what a low-life he really is. 

Not willing to sit back and take it anymore, she continues to act like nothing has happened to make her aware of her husband Mike's philandering ways - but when it comes time for her husband's monthly business newsletter to be sent out - by her, Lacey lets it all fly.

Immediately regretting sending this email to over 300 of their friends, family and husband's business associates, Lacey at least feels that now she doesn't have to keep the facade about her life in place.  High tailing it to her mom's she spends a few days there and then runs to her cabin at the lake - a cabin that her grandmother had bequethed to her.  Here she can decide what she is going to do with what is left of her life.

She meets Monroe quite unexpectedly early one morning as she is enjoying the sunrise on her porch in tee shirt and panties.  He walks out of the cabin next door, which Lacey thought was empty, and an embarassed Lacey hastily goes in doors.  Well, Monroe makes it perfectly clear that he doesn't want to have anything to do with her, especially after learning that she is newly separated.  He goes out of his way to freeze her out, but tends to keep running into her anyway.  When he finally realizes that she is not going to "need" him to recover from her marriage, a strange friendship is begun.

Meanwhile, Lacey's fame has virally spread through out the country and brought a young lady named Maya to her door.  Maya has a business proposition for her which would put to use her scathing email abilities.  Lacey is very tempted by this offer and genuinely likes Maya, so tells her she will consider it.  She does need to do something to live as Mike didn't allow her to work outside the home. In her solitude at the cabin though, she does begin to write.  Her writing and her friendship with Monroe lead her to make some very serious decisions that will affect the rest of her life.

Seriously laugh out loud funny in places, this was not a woman for whom you felt sorry..  As they say - "Hell hath no fury like a woman scorned" and Lacey accurately fit this description.  But she didn't curl up in a ball and expect someone to come take care of her.  She saw what she had done and realized it was going to be up to her to take control of her life - in all aspects.  As she lives alone she realizes all the parts of herself that she lost somewhere along the way - from who she was allowed to be friends with to the kind of food she ate.  You get to see the empowerment that comes back to her as she begins making decisions on what she really wants to do.  A fun, quirky read with plenty of sarcasm and some romance.  This was a great summer read.

~I was provided a copy of this book by Gallery Books in exchange for my review.~

About the author: Molly Harper is the author of the acclaimed paranormal romance series for Pocket Star Books featuring librarian Jane Jameson: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever; Nice Girls Don't Date Dead Men; and Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs, which was a Romantic Times Top Pick.   She is a former humor columnist and newspaper reporter who lives in western Kentucky with her husband and children.  Visit her on the web at mollyharper.com, at her blog Nice Girls Don't Write Naughty Books or on Twitter.

And One Last Thing. . .
Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery Books, July 27, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6877-6
310 pages


Wednesday, July 28, 2010

First Wild Card Tour: The Wiersbe Bible Sutdy Series: John: Get to Know the Living Savior

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
***Special thanks to Karen Davis, Assistant Media Specialist, for The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


A man who has given his life to a deep examination of the Word of God, Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe is an internationally known Bible teacher, former pastor of The Moody Church in Chicago and the author of more than 150 books. For over thirty years, millions have come to rely on the timeless wisdom of Dr. Warren W. Wiersbe’s “Be” Commentary series. Dr. Wiersbe’s commentary and insights on Scripture have helped readers understand and apply God’s Word with the goal of life transformation. Dubbed by many as the “pastor’s pastor,” Dr. Wiersbe skillfully weaves Scripture with historical explanations and thought-provoking questions, communicating the Word in such a way that the masses grasp its relevance for today.

Dr. Warren Wiersbe’s commentaries and his world-renowned knowledge of God’s Word can now be enjoyed in a format that allows everyone to enjoy spending time getting to know the Savior. David C Cook plans to release additional volumes in the Wiersbe Bible Study Series over the next few years.

Product Details:

List Price: $8.99
Paperback: 192 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (July 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434765075
ISBN-13: 978-1434765079


Lesson 1

God in the Flesh

(JOHN 1—2)

Before you begin …

• Pray for the Holy Spirit to reveal truth and wisdom as you go through this lesson.

• Read John 1—2. This lesson references chapters 1–2 in Be Alive. It will be helpful for you to have your Bible and a copy of the commentary available as you work through this lesson.

Getting Started

From the Commentary

Much as our words reveal to others our hearts and minds, so Jesus Christ is God’s “Word” to reveal His heart and mind to us. “He that hath seen me hath seen the Father” (John 14:9). A word is composed of letters, and Jesus Christ is “Alpha and Omega” (Rev. 1:11), the first and last letters of the Greek alphabet. According to Hebrews 1:1–3, Jesus Christ is God’s last Word to mankind, for He is the climax of divine revelation.

—Be Alive, page 20

1. As you read John 1:1–2, what stands out to you about the description of

“the Word”? What does it mean that the Word was “with” God? That the

Word “was” God? How does this opening contrast with that of the other

three gospel accounts (Matthew, Mark, and Luke)? What does this tell us

about John, the writer of this gospel?

More to Consider: Why do you think John refers to Jesus as “the Son

of God” so many times in his gospel? (See John 1:34, 49; 3:18; 5:25;

10:36; 11:4, 27; 19:7; 20:31.)

2. Choose one verse or phrase from John 1—2 that stands out to you.

This could be something you’re intrigued by, something that makes you

uncomfortable, something that puzzles you, something that resonates with

you, or just something you want to examine further. Write that here.

Going Deeper

From the Commentary

Life is a key theme in John’s gospel; it is used thirty-six times. What are the essentials for human life? There are at least four: light (if the sun went out, everything would die), air, water, and food. Jesus is all of these! He is the Light of Life and the Light of the World (John 8:12). He is the “Sun of righteousness” (Mal. 4:2). By His Holy Spirit, He gives us the “breath of life” (John 3:8; 20:22), as well as the Water of Life (John 4:10, 13–14; 7:37–39). Finally, Jesus is the Living Bread of Life that came down from heaven (John 6:35ff.). He not only has life and gives life, but He is life (John 14:6).

—Be Alive, page 22

3. As you go through the gospel of John, underline the references to “life.” Why do you think John’s gospel touches on this theme so frequently? How do the themes of “light” and “life” relate to one another in John 1?

From the Commentary

John the Baptist is one of the most important persons in the New Testament. He is mentioned at least eighty-nine times. John had the special privilege of introducing Jesus to the nation of Israel. He also had the difficult task of preparing the nation to receive its Messiah. He called them to repent of their sins and to prove that repentance by being baptized and then living changed lives. John summarized what John the Baptist had to say about Jesus Christ (John 1:15–18).

—Be Alive, page 24

4. What is significant about the gospel writer’s mention of John the Baptist (John 1:6–28)? Why would this have been important to the early believers?

From Today’s World

Although the skepticism of the modern age has diminished their impact, self-proclaimed modern “prophets” continue to speak about the end of the world (or other events) as if they have exclusive insight into “insider information” from a source they often claim is God Himself. Some gain a following as people clamor for wisdom about why the world is in its current state. Whether out of fear or frustration, they look to the so-called prophets for answers.

5. Why are people so fascinated (whether they agree or disagree) with modern prophets? Do you agree that people today are more skeptical about prophets and their reliability? Why or why not? How does today’s culture compare to the culture in which John the Baptist appeared? What does this suggest about the role of prophecy in modern Christianity?

From the Commentary

The people of Israel were familiar with lambs for the sacrifices. At Passover, each family had to have a lamb, and during the year, two lambs a day were sacrificed at the temple altar, plus all the other lambs brought for personal sacrifices. Those lambs were brought by people to people, but here is God’s Lamb, given by God to humankind! Those lambs could not take away sin, but the Lamb of God can take away sin. Those lambs were for Israel alone, but this Lamb would shed His blood for the whole world!

—Be Alive, pages 27–28

6. How might John’s Jewish followers have responded when he announced Jesus as the “Lamb of God”? Why is John the Baptist’s testimony important? How does John’s description of the “Spirit” compare to the coming of the Holy Spirit as recorded in the book of Acts? What does this teach us about the Holy Spirit?

From the Commentary

“We have found the Messiah!” was the witness Andrew gave to Simon. Messiah is a Hebrew word that means “anointed,” and the Greek equivalent is “Christ.” To the Jews, it was the same as “Son of God” (see Matt. 26:63–64; Mark 14:61–62; Luke 22:67–70). In the Old Testament, prophets, priests, and kings were anointed and thereby set apart for special service. Kings were especially called “God’s anointed” (1 Sam. 26:11; Ps. 89:20); so, when the Jews spoke about their Messiah, they were thinking of the king who would come to deliver them and establish the kingdom. There was some confusion among the Jewish teachers as to what the Messiah would do. Some saw Him as a suffering sacrifice (as in Isa. 53), while others saw a splendid king (as in Isa. 9 and 11). Jesus had to explain even to His own followers that the cross had to come before the crown, that He must suffer before He could enter into His glory (Luke 24:13–35).

—Be Alive, page 29

7. Why were the Jews expecting the Messiah to appear as a king? What does this tell us about the culture and circumstance of the Jews at the time? How might the Jewish leaders have received the pronouncement of Jesus as the Messiah? There had been others who claimed messiahship prior to Jesus’ arrival. What argument does John make in chapter 1 to support the fact that Jesus is the One they’ve been waiting for?

From the Commentary

“The third day” means three days after the call of Nathanael (John 1:45–51). Since that was the fourth day

of the week recorded in John (John 1:19, 29, 35, 43), the wedding took place on “the seventh day” of this “new creation week.” Throughout his gospel, John makes it clear that Jesus was on a divine schedule, obeying the will of the Father. Jewish tradition required that virgins be married on a Wednesday, while widows were married on a Thursday. Being the “seventh day” of John’s special week, Jesus would be expected to rest, just as God rested on the seventh day (Gen. 2:1–3). But sin had interrupted God’s Sabbath rest, and it was necessary for both the Father and the Son to work (John 5:17; 9:4). In fact, John recorded two specific miracles that Jesus deliberately performed on Sabbath days (John 5; 9). At this wedding, we see Jesus in three different roles: the Guest, the Son, and the Host.

—Be Alive, pages 35–36

8. Read John 2:1–11. Why do you think the Scriptures record this as Jesus’ first miracle? What is the significance of turning water into wine? Of the timing of the miracle?

More to Consider: Moses’ first miracle was a plague—turning water into blood (Ex. 7:19ff.), which speaks of judgment. How does Jesus’ first miracle speak of grace?

From the Commentary

Jesus revealed His zeal for God first of all by cleansing the temple (John 2:13–17). The priests had established a lucrative business of exchanging foreign money for Jewish currency and also selling the animals needed for the sacrifices. No doubt, this “religious market” began as a convenience for the Jews who came long distances to worship in the temple, but in due time the “convenience” became a business, not a ministry. The tragedy is that this business was carried on in the court of the Gentiles in the temple, the place where the Jews should have been meeting the Gentiles and telling them about the one true God. Any Gentile searching for truth would not likely find it among the religious merchants in the temple.

—Be Alive, page 41

9. Why was Jesus so upset about the money changers? (See John 2:12–16.) What is significant about Jesus’ comment in verse 19? How does this foreshadowing help us to see God’s divine timetable for Jesus’ earthly work?

From the Commentary

While in Jerusalem for the Passover, Jesus performed miracles that are not given in detail in any of the Gospels. It must have been these signs that especially attracted Nicodemus (John 3:2). Because of the miracles, many people professed to believe in Him, but Jesus did not accept their profession. No matter what the people themselves said or others said about them. He did not accept human testimony.

—Be Alive, page 44

10. Why didn’t Jesus accept human testimony? What does John mean when he writes, “He did not need man’s testimony about man, for he knew what was in a man” (2:25)? What does this say about Jesus’ feelings toward those who followed Him because of His miracles?

Looking Inward

Take a moment to reflect on all that you’ve explored thus far in this study of John 1—2. Review your notes and answers and think about how each of these things matters in your life today.

Tips for Small Groups: To get the most out of this section, form pairs or trios and have group members take turns answering these questions. Be honest and as open as you can in this discussion, but most of all, be encouraging and supportive of others. Be sensitive to those who are going through particularly difficult times and don’t press for people to speak if they’re uncomfortable doing so.

11. How do you respond to the different descriptions of Jesus in John 1 (the Word, the Lamb, the Son of God)? In what ways does the father/son imagery connect with you? Why is it important for you to know Jesus was God’s Son and not just a prophet sent to preach good news?

12. In what ways do you see your own life as a “light” to those around you? How have others been light to you? What are some ways you’ve struggled to be a light to others? How can the picture of Jesus as the light inspire you to be a light to others?

13. What sort of “Messiah” do you think you’d be hoping for if you were among the Jewish people before and during Jesus’ time? In what ways might you have been pleasantly surprised by the way the Messiah arrived? In what ways might you have been disappointed? How do you see the Messiah’s role in your life today? In what ways is Jesus’ role like that of a king? Of a servant?

Going Forward

14. Think of one or two things that you have learned that you’d like to work on in the coming week. Remember that this is all about quality, not quantity. It’s better to work on one specific area of life and do it well than to work on many and do poorly (or to be so overwhelmed that you simply don’t try). Do you want to know more about John’s description of Jesus as “the Word”? Do you want to better understand the Jews’ expectation about the Messiah? Be specific. Go back through John 1—2 and put a star next to the phrase or verse that is most encouraging to you. Consider memorizing this verse.

Real-Life Application Ideas: John the Baptist contrasts his method of baptism with Jesus’ in 1:26–34. How well do you know your church’s stance on water baptism? Learn what your church teaches on this

important topic. Consider what baptism has meant to you. Or, if you haven’t yet been baptized, consider talking with your pastor about being baptized.

Seeking Help

15. Write a prayer below (or simply pray one in silence), inviting God to work on your mind and heart in those areas you’ve previously noted. Be honest about your desires and fears.

Notes for Small Groups:

• Look for ways to put into practice the things you wrote in the Going Forward section. Talk with other group members about your ideas and commit to being accountable to one another.

• During the coming week, ask the Holy Spirit to continue to reveal truth to you from what you’ve read and studied.

• Before you start the next lesson, read John 3—4. For more in-depth lesson preparation, read chapters

3–4, “A Matter of Life and Death” and “The Bad Samaritan,” in Be Alive.

Sand in My Eyes by Christine Lemmon (Book Review)

Title: Sand in My Eyes
Author: Christine Lemmon
Publisher: Penmark Publishing

My synopsis:  Fairly early in Anna's marriage, she discovers that her husband has had an affair.  Believing that a change of scenery, and getting her husband away from his co-worker with whom he cheated, she quits her high power publishing job and moves her family to Florida, to a house on stilts. She has always wanted to write a novel and figures now is a good time to start.

New to the stay-at-home-scene she is overwhelmed by the demands of twin boys and a little girl.  Feeling like all she does is clean the house, feed, or change the kids, or grab some much needed sleep, her novel isn't a priority.

"All I wanted was to finish an act from start to finish without interruption, so I set the egg I wanted to fry on the counter and steadily walked to the sink, trying hard to block out the noise hitting me from every direction. To an ordinary person, washing a pan is simple. But for a mother, who is also like a ringmaster in a three-ring circus, doing dishes is more hair-raisingly difficult than swallowing fire." ...

"You can do it," I chanted under my breath, trying hard to be the little engine that could. "You can make it through this day." At least I thought I could, thought I could, thought I could.  There was nothing I wanted more this very moment than to become an escape artist and disappear, but then I saw from the corner of my eye the egg I was going to make for my children's breakfast, the only egg in the house, the extra large one sitting on the counter, roll to the edge and take a great fall. I dropped to my knees, trying to save old Humpty, but hard as I might, he slipped through my fingers." (Sand in My Eyes, p44)

I think that gives you a good picture as to Anna's state of mind.  I know that I have been at this point before.  It is actually this scene that sort of sets up the rest of the book.  Anna's husband is leaving on a business trip, so he arranges for his parents to come and pick up the kids for a week.  He doesn't really get why Anna can't get everything done with the kids there, but I think he doesn't really trust her to leave the kids alone with her.

Anna decides that this is the week to start her novel.  So she does.  She gets a lot of inspiration from her next door neighbor, Fedelina Aurelio, a geriatric gardener who shares with her much wisdom about life as it relates to flowers. She also meeds Fedelina's professor-son Liam and we learn about yearning and love lost. But I am leaving out an important part.  We are learning all of this 20 years later, as she has gone to visit Fedelina in a nursing home, to share with her the novel that she has actually spent the last 20 years writing.  The one she started the week she was home alone. 

So you see, it is actually a story within a story.  We learn all about Anna and Fedelina and the relationship that developed between them 20 years ago.  But we also see the stage of life they are now in, and how their relationship has changed.  Fedelina  had shared with Anna letters from her mother Cora which she had written to her daughter over the years.  As Anna lost her mother when she was in college, I believe that both Fedelina and Cora's letters served as a surrogate to her. They made it into her book, so they were definitely an inspiration to her. 

I loved the way that whenever she felt stressed she would throw in children's rhymes (like the little engine that could, or Humpty Dumpty from the quote above).  It gave the story a little whimsy. I enjoyed this book very much as I could relate to Anna so well (quitting a management job to stay home with the kids - it was quite a shock to the system!) There was so much inspirational, but not sappy, stuff in the book that I wanted to write down so I would remember it. The ending was a complete surprise and I never saw it coming, but it did wrap it up nicely. I would highly recommend this book to any mother at whatever stage of mothering she happens to be at!

I received a review copy for this book tour from Book Sparks, in exchange for my review.

About the author: Christine Lemmon is the author of Sanibel Scribbles, Portion of the Sea and Sand in My Eyes. She lives on an island off Florida’s Gulf Coast - in a house on stilts! - with her husband and children.

For more on Christine Lemmon and her books, visit: www.christinelemmon.com or find her on Facebook and Twitter.

Sand In My Eyes
Publisher/Publication Date: Penmark Publishing, July 1, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-9712874-2-6
353 pages

Monday, July 26, 2010

It's Monday! What are you reading? (July 26, 2010)

What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!

Currently Reading:
Lowcountry Summer by Dorothea Benton Frank
Tempted by a Warrior by Amanda Scott

The Little Giant of Aberdeen County by Tiffany Baker
Farm Fatale by Wendy Holden - Really late on this one. . .
Sand in My Eyes by Christine Lemmon

Bathroom Book:
Masked edited by Lou Anders

Audio Book:
The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly - My husband and I did start this one over in the car - I think I have him hooked on it, so hopefully we can cuddle up some evening this week and finish it!

New this week:
I Love This Bar by Carolyn Brown (Book Had Been Found! - My mom had picked it up when she was here - it was still in her suitcase!)
Wild Irish Sea by Loucinda McGary - another really late one. . .
So Over It by Stephanie Morrill
And One Last Thing. . . by Molly Harper
Roseflower Creek by Jackie Lee Miles

Books Reviewed Last Week:
Couldn't review any because the cabin we were in didn't have WiFi - more on that later.

Waiting to Be Reviewed:
101 Things I Learned in Fashion School by Matthew Frederick and Alfredo Cabrero

Heart of My Heart by Kristin Armstrong
Meet Me in Dreamland: A Lu-Chu and Lena Book by Steven McKinney, Valerie McKinney
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells
Starvation Lake: A Mystery by Bryan Gruley (Sheila - you gotta read this one)
Forget You by Jennifer Echols

Ready - Set - Read!

Mailbox Madness (July 18 - July 25)

Bison roam the Black Hills of South Dakota

In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story SirenMailbox Monday is currently hosted at The Printed Page, but will be going on tour after this month . Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week!

by Travis Thrasher
(First Wild Card Tour)

When Chris Buckley moves to Solitary, North Carolina he faces the reality of his parents' divorce, a school full of nameless faces -- and Jocelyn Evans. Jocelyn is beautiful and mysterious enough to leave Chris speechless. But the more Jocelyn resists him, the more the two are drawn together.

Chris soon learns that Jocelyn has secrets as deep as the town itself, secrets more terrifying than the bullies he faces in the locker room or his mother's unexplained nightmares. He slowly begins to understand the horrific answers. The question is whether he can save Jocelyn in time.

This first book in the Solitary Tales series will take you from the cold halls of high school to the dark rooms of an abandoned cabin -- and remind you what it means to believe in what you cannot see.

She's Gone Country
by Jane Porter
(from Book Sparks)

Shey Darcy, a thirty-nine-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated, led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband, until the day he announced he'd fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas, starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons, who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey's ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bull-riding champ, and she's got her hands full. It doesn't take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness -- and maybe love -- in the present.

Faeries Gone Wild
by Mary Janice Davidson, Lois Greiman, Michele Hauf, Leandra Logan
(Win from St. Martin's)

"Tall, Dark and Not So Faery" (Davidson)
Scarlett is not your typical pint-sized faery. At six feet, four inches tall, she's an unlikely candidate for a match made in heaven. But when she ventures to Cannon Falls, Minnesota, on royal orders to survey its extraordinary residents, she stumbles upon the one man who just may measure up to size. . .

"Pixie Lust" (Greiman)
William Timber is a cutthroat developer who refuses to let a few trees come between him and his next million. But when Avalina -- a sparkling faery charged to protect all things green -- comes to town, William is forced to choose between life as he knows it and the unknown reaches of his heart.

"Dust Me, Baby, One More Time" (Hauf)
A librarian by day and a tooth faery by night, Sidney has absolutely no time to find Mr. Right. Until she fllies smack-dab into sexy, sun-bronzed Dart Sand, a man who makes her wings a-flutter. . . and whose allure could get her banished from the Mortal Realm.

"A Little Bit Faery" (Logan)
Tia is mysstified when she strikes out on the Luna faery singles scene, in spite of her hourglass curves and vivacious charm. Then she takes off for Manhattan and lands on the doorstep of a steamy firefighter who sets her soul on fire --  and shares a strong connection to her secret past.

The Berenstain Bears and a Job Well Done
by Jan and Mike Berenstain
(First Wild Card Tour)

Brother, Sister, and Honey Bear need to clean their playhouse. They'd rather play outside. In The Berenstain Bears and a Job Well Done the Bear children learn what the Bible says about the joy of work.

The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage
by Jan and Mike Berenstain
(First Wild Card Tour)

Brother and Sister Bear wonder if they can be as brave as David when he fought Goliath. They find out when they face Too-Tall Grizzly and his gang. In The Berenstain Bears and the Gift of Courage, the cubs learn where real courage comes from.

Knit One, Kill Two
by Maggie Sefton

Despite the fact that her aunt was an expert knitter, Kelly Flynn never picked up a pair of knitting needles she liked -- until she strolled into House of Lambspun. Now, in the first in a brand-new series, she learns how to knit one, purl two, and untangle the mystery behind her aunt's murder. . .

Kelly Flynn would be the first to admit her life in Washington, D.C., is a little on the dull side. But coming back to Colorado for her beloved aunt's funeral wasn't the kind of excitement she was seeking. The police are convinced that her Aunt Helen's death was the result of a burglary gone bad, but for the accountant in Kelly, things just aren't adding up. After all, why would her sensible, sixty-eight-year-old borrow $20,000 just days before her death?  With the help of the knitting regulars at House of Lambspun, Kelly's about to get a few lessons in cranking out a sumptuously colored scarf -- and in luring a killer out of hiding . . .

Friday Mornings at Nine
by Marilyn Brant
(from the author)

Each Friday morning at the Indigo Moon Cafe, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara meet to swap stories about marriage, kids, and work. But one day, spurred by recent e-mails from her college ex, Jennifer poses questions they've never faced before. What if they all married the wrong man? What if they're living the wrong life? And what would happen if, just once, they gave in to temptation...Soon each woman is second-guessing the choices she's made - and the ones she can unmake - as she becomes aware of new opportunities around every corner, from attentive colleagues and sexy neighbours to flirtatious past lovers. And as fantasies blur with real life, Jennifer, Bridget and Tamara begin to realize how little they know about each other, their marriages, and themselves, and how much there is to gain - and lose - when you step outside the rules...

by Alyson Noel
(MacMillan Children's Publishing Group)

Riley Bloom has left her sister and crossed the bridge into the afterlife -- a place called Here, where time is always Now. She has picked up where she left off when she was alive, living with her parents and dog in a nice house in a nice neighborhood. When she's summoned before The Council, she learns that the afterlife isn't just an eternity of leisure. She's been assigned a job, Soul Catcher, and a teacher, Bodhi, a possible cute, seemingly nerdy boy who's definitely hiding something. They return to earth together for Riley's first assignment, a Radiant Boy who's been haunting a castle in England for centures. Many Soul Catchers have tried to get him to cross the bridge and failed.  But all of that was before he met Riley. . .

Do No Evil
by Kymberly Goltermann and Ashley L Goltermann
(received from the authors)

Three years ago, Phineas Nobul was at the top of her game as a defense attorney in Los Angeles. When the Lair, New York native returned home from the holidays, she was surprised to find herself willing to give it all up for love. Now brokenhearted, nearly penniless, and once again unemployed Phineas finds herself partnering up with her sister to take a second shot as success.

Phoebe, the eldest and more responsible Nobul daughter, envies her little sister's free spirit and loathes her unreliability. This is never more the case than when Phoebe finds herself dumped on her wedding day and her little sister nowhere to be found. When Phineas resurfaces and much wine has been consumed, she presents the heinous idea of Phoebe quitting her career in publishing to team up with her as private investigators. Phoebe rejects the idea at first but then sees this as a chance to start over.

Business is barely up and running when a corpse is left in the newly established Artemis Agency. A foreboding warning soon follows. The sisters don't know whether to be terrified or intrigued. As the bodies begin piling up, Phoebe and Phineas get caught up in a case of conspiracy and scandal that once haunted small-town Lair.

Add in an eccentric trigger-happy grandmother, a basset hound with an attitude, a hunky yet overprotective veterinarian, a mysterious cop known as Officer Yummy, and a very persistent killer and you've got one hell of a mystery!

What books came to live with you this week?

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Masked edited by Lou Anders - Book Spotlight

edited by Lou Anders
Publisher: Gallery Books/Simon and Schuster

Superheroes have come a long way since the "Man of Steel" was introduced in 1938. This brilliant new collection features original stories and novellas from some of today's most exciting voices in comics, science fiction, and fantasy. Each marvelously inventive tale shows us just how far our classic crusaders have evolved -- and how the greatest of heroes are, much like ourselves, all too human.

In "Call Her Savage, " Marjorie M. Liu enters the dark heart of a fierce mythic heroine who is forced, by war, to live up to her own terrible legend.

In "A to Z in the Ultimate Big Company Superhero Universe (Villains too)," Bill Willingham presents a fully-realized vision of a universe where epic feats and tragic flaws have transformed the human race.

In "Vacuum Lad," Stephen Baxter unveils the secret origins of the first true child of the space age -- and disproves the theory that "nothing exists in a vacuum."

In "Head Cases," Peter David and Kathleen David blast through the blogosphere to expose the secret longings of a Lonely Superhero Wife.

In "The Non-Event," Mike Carey removes the gag order on a super-thief named Lockjaw. . . and pries out a confession of life-altering events.

Also includes stories by Mike Baron, Mark Chadbourn, Paul Cornell, Daryl Gregory, Joseph Mallozzi, James Maxey, Ian McDonald, Chris Roberson, Gail Simone, Matthew Sturges. . . and an introduction by Lou Anders, "one of the brightest and best of the new generation of science fiction editors" (Jonathan Strahan, The Best Science Fiction and Fantasy of the Year).

Publisher/Publication Date: Gallery Books, Jul 20, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-6882-0
400 pages

Forget You by Jennifer Echols - Book Spotlight

by Jennifer Echols
Publisher: MTV Books/Simon and Schuster

Why can't you choose what you forget. . . and what you remember?

There's a lot Zoey would like to forget. Like how her father has knocked up his twenty-four-year old girlfriend.  Like Zoey's fear that the whole town will find out about her mom's nervous breakdown.  Like darkly handsome bad boy Doug taunting her at school. Feeling like her life is about to become a complete mess, Zoey fights back the only way she knows how, using her famous attention to detail to make sure she's the perfect daughter, the perfect student and the perfect girlfriend to ultra-popular football player Brandon.

But then Zoey is in a car crash, and the next day there's one thing she can't remember at all -- the entire night before.  Did she go parking with Brandon, like she planned? And if so, why does it seem like Brandon is avoiding her? And why is Doug -- of all people -- suddenly acting as if something significant happened between the two of them?  Zoey dimly remembers Doug pulling her from the wreck, but he keeps referring to what happened that night as if it was  more, and it terrifies Zoey to admit how much is a blank to her.  Controlled, meticulous Zoey is quickly losing her grip on the all-important details of her life -- a life that seems strangely empty of Brandon, and strangely full of Doug.

About the author: Jennifer Echols is the author of teen romantic dramas for MTV Books and teen romantic comedies for Simon Pulse.  She lives in Birmingham, Alabama, with her family. You can catch her at her blog - Don't forget to write. . .

Forget You
Publisher/Publication Date: MTV Books, Jul 20, 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4391-7823-2
292 pages


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