Monday, April 30, 2012


TwitterpatedTwitterpated by Melanie Jacobson

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Internet dating. I never tried it, but I love reading Melanie Jacobson's stories about it. She is hilarious!

Twitterpated tells about a mid-twenties Seattle accountant named Jessie that is the newest member of LDS Lookup ("Facebook for Mormons"). The problem is that she didn't sign up; her roommate created a profile for her. She's upset, but decides to respond to Ben.

Although Jessie is VERY hesitant to start dating again (she was burned and hasn't gotten over it), she and Ben hit it off. But, fear of being burned again, along with a very demanding career, might end things just when they're looking good.

Some of the lines were so funny that I thought they'd be fun to share in a review. But, I was too into the book (and lazy) to stop reading to write them down. Go read it so you can share your favorite lines!

Twitterpated is the first story that Melanie wrote (although it's the third to be published). It feels a lot like her other novels, Not My Type and The List (not the same story-but fun characters, internet dating, and lots of humor). I wasn't as into this one as the others, but it was still enjoyable. I'm looking forward to her next novel!

Friday, April 27, 2012


Everneath (Everneath, #1)Everneath by Brodi Ashton

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

The description on the back of Everneath (along with recommendations from some friends) got me excited to read this story.

"Six months ago, Nikki Beckett vanished into an underworld known as the Everneath.

Now she's returned--to her old life, her family, her boyfriend--for another six months before she leaves again. This time forever.

She has six months before the Everneath comes to claim her.

Six months for good-byes she can't find the words for.

Six months to find redemption, if it exists."

So, how did it all turn out? Without spoiling it, I'll say that I really liked the story, but was distracted by the many similarities to the Hourglass Door trilogy by Lisa Mangum.

I don't typically love when stories jump around time a lot to tell a story (there's something about chronology that appeals to me), but for the most part it was well done. Most issues were explained well (although one that was a big issue was sort of glossed over).

I liked the characters and found the mythology interesting. I'll read the next book in the series when it comes out.

There is some swearing and teenage intimacy.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Mother Daughter Book Club

Last week my daughter and I went to a Mother-Daughter Book Club at the library. The discussion was on The Cabinet of Wonders. Actually, saying discussion is a bit of a reach. The group was for 8-12 year-old girls and their moms, and there wasn't a lot of input from most of the girls. But, the librarian who hosted the evening had found some interesting information about the author and some people and items mentioned in the book. She also had a game, craft and treat.

The best part was having some one on one time with my daughter. She seemed really happy about the outing, and it's fun that we have a common reading interest. Definitely a good activity to do together!

Wednesday, April 25, 2012


BruiserBruiser by Neal Shusterman

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Everybody has seen Brewster, but no one really knows him. And, even though the kids at school tease and bully "Bruiser", along with spreading crazy rumors about him, he wants to keep it that way. As Bronte and Tennyson find out, the moment Bruiser starts to care about someone, he takes on all of their pain.

I was drawn into the story immediately and had quite a few laugh out loud moments (at least early on before things got serious). I got a kick out of several of the lines, like this one (the background is that Tennyson and Bronte are twins and their literature professor parents' marriage is struggling):

"Mom could have been a sniper if she had chosen that line of work. Every time she gets off a nice one, it gives me hope that her soul might be reviving."

I really liked that Tennyson tried to protect Bronte when he found out about her date with Bruiser.

I didn't love everything about the book (ie. the poetry style of the Bruiser POV chapters), but overall it was such an interesting and enjoyable story. For most of the book I couldn't help but think about the great symbolism for Christ and his atoning sacrifice for all of us.

There is some swearing and violence.

Tuesday, April 24, 2012

A Bride in the Bargain

A Bride in the BargainA Bride in the Bargain by Deeanne Gist

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

It's the 1860's and lumberjack Joe Denton claimed 640 acres of Seattle redwoods through a Land Donation Grant. He's worked the land and created a successful logging company, but his claim is at risk because single men only qualify for 320 acres. Joe can't get his hands on a copy of his wife's death certificate proving that he was married when he got the land. As a last ditch effort to save his land, he "buys" a bride that Asa Mercer promises to collect from back East among all the Civil War widows and orphans.

Anna Ivey sees an article about discounted passage to Seattle for those looking for work, and jumps at the opportunity to start over. Little does she know she's expected to marry Joe and not just work as his cook when she arrives.

The historical fiction was very interesting. There were times I felt like getting online to check some facts because I wasn't aware that certain things were available at the time this was taking place, but Gist does seem to put a lot of research into her novels. She also includes more romantic details than I'd expect from a Christian author.

Overall I really enjoyed the novel. It was a great book to read for the last leg of our road trip.

Monday, April 23, 2012

Banana Split

Banana Split: A Culinary MysteryBanana Split: A Culinary Mystery by Josi S. Kilpack

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I really wanted to like Banana Split so much more than I did. To be fair, I was exhausted while reading this book. I tried reading it on down times during our very busy vacation non-driving days (even though we drove all of those days, but it was sight seeing and not just day-long driving). I think it deserves another read when I'm not so tired.

Up to this point in the series Sadie Hoffmiller could be described in many ways: nosy, brave, daring, quirky, excellent cook. The descriptive words could go on, but I really have enjoyed this series because of these features.

Enter Banana Split. Sadie had a really rough experience in the previous book Pumpkin Roll (not to mention many rough experiences leading up to that), and she can't handle regular day to day life. So, she heads to Hawaii to spend a few months trying to relax and calm down. This is a very different side to Sadie. She's now stressed, paranoid, scared, and depressed.

Sadie's situation worsens exponentially when she finds a dead body while out snorkeling. She's traumatized and fights getting involved.

It takes a lot of time, but Sadie is drawn out of her new shell to become involved and solve the mystery.

I've thought that most of the other Sadie Hoffmiller mysteries could stand alone, but I think Banana Split needs Pumpkin Roll in order to understand what brought Sadie to Hawaii. There are quite a few references to Boston, but little to no details about what actually happened there.

I liked the idea of the "bonus chapter", and was happy to put my QR code scanner to use.

Food is a big part of this series. Even though it doesn't play as big of a role in this book, the recipes that are included sound great. I'm excited to give them a try.

And, as always, I like how the first chapter of the next book in the series was included. Josi S. Kilpack is a very good writer, and even though Banana Split wasn't my favorite in the series, I'm excited to read Tres Leches Cupcakes when it comes out this Fall.

Saturday, April 21, 2012

The Kiss of a Stranger

The Kiss of a StrangerThe Kiss of a Stranger by Sarah M. Eden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was relaxing in a lovely bungalow in California while I read this book. It was perfect after lots of driving and a day of sight seeing.

Lord Cavratt can't seem to escape the company of Miss Bower. She is everywhere he turns, and her attempt at getting him to declare that he's courting her (which he most certainly is not doing) causes him to act rashly. He kisses a stranger whom he thinks is a maid in the gardens where Miss Bower is annoying him. Much to his surprise, Catherine is not a maid and her uncle witnessed the kiss. He insists that Lord Cavratt must marry Catherine.

Thinking that he'll be able to annul the marriage quickly, Lord Cavratt goes along with the rushed marriage. When he learns that an annulment will ruin Catherine's reputation, not to mention that she'll have no where to go, he hesitates to move forward with the annulment.

Such a great story! I'll admit that I was bothered that kissing a servant wouldn't have mattered, but it probably wouldn't have back then. I also stumbled over the name Cavratt-just doesn't roll off the tongue. That must be part of the reason he was referred to by his first name (Crispin) most of the time. But, those were trivial, and the story was very enjoyable.

The Kiss of a Stranger is a book to read again and again!

Friday, April 20, 2012

Courting Miss Lancaster

Courting Miss LancasterCourting Miss Lancaster by Sarah M. Eden

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another great regency novel by Sarah M. Eden. Many of the characters from Seeking Persephone are included, but this time the focus is on the Duke of Kielder's best friend, Harry, and Persephone's sister, Athena.

Harry has had feelings for Athena since the day he met her, but with his low income winning her hand without appearing like a gold digger seems impossible. When Athena's guardian, the Duke of Kielder, gives Harry the task of helping find someone for her to marry he sabotages it by introducing her to the worst suitors.

Such an entertaining book-perfect for traveling.

Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Seeking Persephone

Seeking PersephoneSeeking Persephone by Sarah M. Eden

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I love it when someone recommends a book and it turns out to be as good as they said it was! Thanks to my sister for introducing me to Sarah M. Eden's books!

Seeking Persephone takes place in England in the early 1800's. The Duke of Kielder would rather burn his castle to the ground than for it to go to the heir presumptive, his idiotic distant cousin. He has never considered marrying (who would want someone with the scars he bears?), but he is convinced by his solicitor that marrying someone desperate would give him an heir of his own.

Adam sends a proposal letter to Persephone Lancaster's father with instructions that they will meet at the wedding. Persephone's first instinct is to refuse, but the amount of money promised will save her family.

Such a wonderful story with great characters!

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me

Wolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill MeWolves, Boys and Other Things That Might Kill Me by Kristen Chandler

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I read a recommendation for this book on a site that was discussing Whitney Awards. Apparently this was a finalist in 2010. I read the chapter or so that Amazon lets you sneak peak at and was pulled in.

KJ Carson and her dad are two of the few full-time residents that live in a small tourist town bordering Yellowstone. The new school year brings several changes in KJ's life, one of which is a new student who happens to be attractive. She tries not to focus on Virgil (what a name), but they are teamed up in their journalism class where they are assigned a story on the controversial Yellowstone wolves.

I enjoyed the story and read it fairly quickly. The small town issues and the teenage concerns seemed very realistic, and the opposition to the wolves was eye opening. There is some swearing and making out.

Monday, April 16, 2012

30+ Hours in the Car = Lots of Reading

Last week my family went on vacation for Spring Break. We had LOTS of time in the car, and my wonderful husband did almost all of the driving. Thus, I was able to down several books while the nothingness of the Nevada desert passed by.

Special thanks to my sister for providing me with most of the books I read. I'll post my reviews over the next week or so.

Friday, April 6, 2012

The Seventeen Second Miracle

The Seventeen Second MiracleThe Seventeen Second Miracle by Jason F. Wright

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I've had a copy of The Seventeen Second Miracle (our April Book Club selection) sitting on my shelf for a couple of weeks. I was finishing up the Whitney Finalists first, and even though I've really liked most of Jason F. Wright's books, the thought of reading another book I didn't pick wasn't appealing.

But, I'm so happy that I picked it up and gave it a try. It is a touching story that I didn't want to put down.

Seventeen seconds changed Rex Connor's life forever. Although he almost couldn't deal with the tragedy, he was able to overcome the guilt and find and make miracles in the seconds of his life. His son Cole carries the message forward by teaching others about the Seventeen Second Miracles.

Although there is plenty of tragedy in this book, I love this type of story. It makes me want to be a better person, and to be more grateful for all of the miracles in my life.

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

The Hunger Games

My friends and I have a book club, and our book for March was The Hunger Games. I've posted about it before, and since I was reading Whitney Finalists I thought I would just go to the discussion without re-reading it. But, as the date got closer I decided to listen to the audio book (great while doing dishes, folding laundry, doing yard work or driving). The more I listen to the series, or re-read it, the more I LOVE the characters.

Our discussion was good (but really, how can getting together with friends to talk and eat not be fun?).

Anyway, we also planned to go see the movie together.

Unfortunately the plan to go to a Saturday matinee pushed the date back quite far since there is a lot on everyone's calendars for a few weeks. Being super excited to see the movie, I went with my husband on Friday night (I still plan on going with my friends, I'm just not that patient and my sister offered to watch my kids).

I was pretty nervous that it would be totally gruesome at times, but I was happy with how the killing was handled. You definitely knew that people died, but the way it was shot didn't get viewers too close and it didn't linger.

Overall, I'm not really sure how I felt about the movie though. I was pretty happy with how it was cast, and the parts that were included were good. Some swearing was thrown in (too bad-one awesome thing about the books is that they don't have swearing), and some of the camera work (especially near the beginning) was nauseating.

But, the sad thing was that I didn't feel like enough was done to get connected to the characters. The "star crossed lovers" angle was definitely a part of the movie, but nowhere near what it was in the book. *SPOILER IF YOU HAVEN'T READ THE BOOK* At the end of the book I am heart broken for Peeta when he finds out that Katniss was pretending to love him for the game. That wasn't really addressed in the movie.

But, I think I might like it more when I see it a second time. The crowd at the theater was one of the loud commenting, clapping kind that tends to make a movie experience not as enjoyable for me. Going later might eliminate that.

Oh, and is it weird that while I listened to the book this time, I was picturing the characters as the actors I'd seen in the trailer (that I watched one or ten times)? Funny how I don't even remember how I pictured them in my mind before.

Monday, April 2, 2012

The Cabinet of Wonders

The Cabinet of WondersThe Cabinet of Wonders by Marie Rutkoski

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

My daughter and I are going to a mother-daughter book club, and The Cabinet of Wonders is the selection for April. My daughter read it while I was plugging through the Whitney Finalists, and last week I finally had time to read it.

It was a pretty cute story (well, cute might not be the right word as there are parts about a wicked prince who does unspeakable things to his subjects to get what he wants). A young girl decides to leave home and find a job in the castle so she can find her father's eyes and try to stop the prince from an evil plan.

While I'll admit that I wasn't totally excited about the book (I'm a little tired of reading things out of obligation-even though it's self imposed), I did think the overall story was good. And I am very excited to go to the book club with my daughter. Good bonding time!