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Death to Dust: What Happens to Dead Bodies?
Kenneth V. Iserson
In Darkness
Nick Lake
Etiquette & Espionage
Gail Carriger
The Invention of Hugo Cabret
Brian Selznick

Little Women and Me

Little Women and Me - Lauren Baratz-Logsted I got about 20 pages in and then had to quit. It's not often I'm willing to give up on a book, especially this early on, but I just couldn't keep going. Emily, supposedly a fan of Little Women, does not seem to have much respect for any of the March family from the moment she is whisked into their world. I'm sure at some point in the story she'll have a change of heart, but I just couldn't drum up enough interest to get through and discover when it happens.

House of Leaves

House of Leaves - Mark Z. Danielewski I grew up loving spine tinglers, but was always just a little disappointed that I couldn't find anything that really frightened me. Then I read "House of Leaves" and had to kick myself. I'd rather not be scared by a book, at least not in the way I was. "House of Leaves" got under my skin and just ate at me. I began making rules as I got further into it: no reading it later at night before I went to sleep and no reading it in close confined spaces. I have never felt so claustrophobic in my life. My neurosis was a result of the well written and formatted pages within the book.Yes, "House of Leaves" is a gimmick, but what a great gimmick. Danielewski plotted a great story and presentation and I love it. Admittedly as much as I enjoyed the book I don't think I would ever want to read it again, but it's still sitting on my shelf so maybe someday. As a note, try to read the book while listening to the album "Haunted" which is written and performed by Danielewski's sister, singer Poe.

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan

Shopaholic Takes Manhattan - Sophie Kinsella I hate to admit it, but I didn't finish it. I felt for Becky in the first book and had high hopes for the lessons she learned, but then I opened the pages of this book and realized she didn't learn anything except how to make more excuses, which is saying something. If you want to read more about a woman who can't seem to have a lick of sense beaten into her, then by all means enjoy. Otherwise, steer clear of this one.


Enclave - Ann Aguirre I'm going to be honest, I'm getting tired of YA dystopian/post apocalyptic books, and this might be playing a part in why I only gave this two stars. The book had some good things, but by the time I got to the end, it only felt like an ok book. I definitely have people I know that would enjoy this, and I would feel comfortable recommending it to certain students of mine. I just can't honestly say I like it enough to get the three stars.

A Rogue by Any Other Name: The First Rule of Scoundrels

A Rogue by Any Other Name - Sarah MacLean I'm not sure what happened. I love Sarah MacLean. She's a favorite of mine, but for some reason this book just fell flat for me. I enjoyed the premise, but I felt like the development just wasn't quite there and even though things came to a conclusion there were so many things that could have been better developed. I'm not giving up on Sarah though. I'm really looking forward to reading about Pippa next.

Dearly, Departed: A Zombie Novel

Dearly, Departed - Lia Habel Review coming soon

The Fame Game

The Fame Game - Lauren Conrad Laguna Beach and The Hills star, Lauren Conrad, pens her fourth novel about what she knows best: reality TV. The Fame Game, first in a new series, follows Madison Parker, as she embarks on her new show, the eponymous Fame Game. Madison should be a familiar face to those who read Conrad’s first series, L.A. Candy. Madison is joined by former costar Gaby, “celebuspawn” and aspiring actress Carmen Curtis, and Midwest singer-song writer Kate Hayes as they all try to make it to the top. Filled with the back stabbing and bitching familiar to reality TV enthusiasts, this book gives you a peak at their lives on and off camera. But in reality TV, not all is as it seems to be. The girls are at the beck and call of producers who will do anything to score ratings.While the girls COULD be sympathetic characters, the wooden dialogue and hollow writing didn’t allow me to connect nor empathize. While I was mildly curious about whether or not the girls would be successful, most of the time I was too frustrated and/or bored to really care by the time I reached what little resolution there was. While I admittedly haven’t read any of the LA Candy novels, I imagine fans of Conrad’s other works (written or otherwise) will probably enjoy this book. As for me, maybe I’ll just go for Wikipedia spoilers once the series is complete to find out what happens.I received this book from the publisher through Goodreads "First Reads" program. I received no compensation for this review

Why We Broke Up

Why We Broke Up - Daniel Handler, Maira Kalman No matter how in love you may be, if you’re honest with yourself, you know the chances of “happily ever after” are slim. Once those shining moments of love have passed, it’s easy to revisit those memories and catch the signs of impending doom. Of course you’ll also never forget the feelings that made you overlook those signs. In Why We Broke Up, film enthusiast Min (“short for Minerva, Roman goddess of wisdom”) writes an epic Dear John letter to her ex Ed Slatterton (co-captain of the basketball team) about what was right, but ultimately what was wrong.Accompanying the letter is a box filled with the minutiae of their relationship. The little things that mean nothing to those except the two involved: bottle caps, a lone movie ticket, a toy truck, and more. In her letter Min names the items and describes the associated memories and emotions, and how each relates to “why we broke up” (and sometimes, why they stayed together).Daniel Handler does a masterful job writing this book. While the material is very different from the works of his pseudonymous Lemon Snicket, his signature command of language and turns of phrase are still very evident. Min has a believable voice as she describes the ups and downs of her first love. The art of Maira Kalman adds the final touch; her beautiful illustrations of the items in Min’s collection really pull together the book, creating a polished and interesting finished piece.Why We Broke Up is a novel for older/mature YA readers. Younger teenagers may enjoy parts of the story, but older teenagers and adults will probably have a better appreciation for the emotional complications of love. Parents may also take language and content to task if they catch a younger teen reading the book.

Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles)

Bewitching (Kendra Chronicles) - Alex Flinn Kendra, a centuries-old witch, has one goal in mind: helping people. Unfortunately, as she will tell you, “Using my talents sometimes backfires.”Those who have read Flinn’s Beastly will already be familiar with one of Kendra’s success stories. Bewitching introduces the reader to Kendra’s newest project, Emma. Also included are vignettes about some of Kendra’s less successful attempts. One takes inspiration from “The Princess and the Pea” and the other from “The Little Mermaid”.Emma, our plain Jane (in her mind) heroine, lives a comfortable, albeit socially lonely life, with her perfectionist mother and doting step-father. When it is announced that Lizette (Emma’s unknown step-sister) will be moving in, Emma is apprehensive, but soon sees it as an exciting chance to have a sister and move back up the social ladder. Of course nothing is quite as it seems. Enter Kendra, on a mission to make sure Emma gets her own happy ever after.For those of you who liked Beastly or love fractured fairytales, this time Flinn puts her own spin on "Cinderella". Emma is a likeable girl with all the angst and uncertainty that comes with being a teenager. You’ll empathize with her wish for love, acceptance, and a place of her very own in the world.Kendra’s had her share of both successful and failed missions. You’ll have to read to find out which category Emma will fall into. Not even Kendra could have predicted how this one will turn out!


Sovay - Celia Rees Sovay, you tricky devil you. You kept promising me a fascinating story that took place during a dramatic time period, and you were always beyond my reach. Then I reached the end and I realized your promises were shallow. I was looking for an exciting adventure while Sovay tried to save her family's reputation from accusations of treason. I guess there was some of that, but I don't know if exciting is an apt description. It was more slow and drawn out. Being a young adult novel I expected some romance. By the third male that had been described as appealing, attractive, pick your positive adjective I was laughing to myself. Oh and don't forget that Sovay is the most beautiful girl and all these men are in her thrall. By the time some real romance was to be found I was so tired of it all and ready to toss my book at the wall.Finally, once again about the pace, I read and slogged my way through these pages. I kept expecting something to happen, but really it just kept going. Then suddenly, without warning, everything rushed to a quick and rather uninspired end. Sovay had great promise, but sadly just couldn't quite meet my expectations.

The Probability of Miracles

The Probability of Miracles - Wendy Wunder Cam Cooper has the big C. That's right, Cam has cancer, and all the medical trials have yet to set her right. All Cam wants to do is address a few items on her Flamingo List (bucket lists are for old men right?) before she heads off into the great unknown. Her mother has another idea of the unknown and decides to move the family to Promise, Maine. A place that is full of miracles, and might have one more in store for Cam.The Probability of Miracles probably had one thing against it through my whole reading, I read it not long after I finished The Fault in Our Stars, so it had a lot to live up to. I didn't find myself choking up and crying until maybe the last few pages, but I did laugh, and I did feel for Cam. Wunder has written a fantastic book that really makes you consider how you live life. Do you try and grab the bull by the horns or do you let life take you where it may?

A Little Change of Face (Red Dress Ink Novels)

A Little Change of Face - Lauren Baratz-Logsted I like Chick Lit. I never expect to read the best novel of our time, but I do expect to be entertained. This book sadly lacked any entertainment value. The story was alright and the end had a peachy lesson of the day, but getting to it was like getting out of quicksand. I struggled to get through it and gave up a number of times. The characters weren't really interesting or well developed, especially considering how Scarlett is supposed to learn so much about herself. If I could have just read the epilogue I think I would be satisfied. So skip the book, read the lesson, and move on.

Sterling Point Books: The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail

The Stout-Hearted Seven: Orphaned on the Oregon Trail (Sterling Point Books) - Neta Lohnes Frazier What a fantastic book for children about life along the Oregon Trail. As a child I became fascinated with the subject after playing the famous game and it was books like these that allowed me to develop my understanding of the time period. The book suffers from dry prose at time, but does a fantastic job of telling a meaningful and important story about how the Sager children came out west. Children who enjoy the subject will find much to enjoy in the book. For older children, teens, and adults who want to learn more I suggest picking up the account written by the eldest girl Catharine.

Summer of Fear

Summer of Fear - Lois Duncan I've been inspired to read a bunch of books from my childhood. During jr. high I went on a major Lois Duncan kick, including the nonfiction work about her daughter's murder. Rereading Summer of Fear instantly made me feel like I was 13 again... the good part of 13 of course.Rachel is your typical teenager, discovering love, planning a great summer, and then her family gets the bad news. Enter cousin Julia who throws the proverbial wrench into the works. But no one believes Rachel when she starts to suspect that said cousin is not who she claims to be. I can't remember how many time I've read books or watched movies with basically the same plot, but it never seems to get old.This book isn't high brow literature, but it is entertaining, well written and maybe, just maybe (ok, most likely) my fond memories are adding a certain rose colored light to it. Give it a read. It won't hurt you and it's quick.

Saints in Limbo

Saints in Limbo - River Jordan River Jordan has written a beautiful book about people contemplating where the are in life. It is a good character study of the major stages of life and how we learn to accept the choices that have been made and move on to still get the most out of what remains. I'm a bit torn with this book. I enjoyed it and at first I wasn't sure it would be that memorable. I didn't connect with some of the older characters because frankly, I'm not at the stage of life where I'm wondering what happened and how I got here. I think that as I get older it will definitely become more pertinent to me. Don't let this review get you down though. It is a beautifully written piece. The detail can be a bit much, but it does work.

Book of a Thousand Days

Book of a Thousand Days - Shannon Hale Shannon Hale has put forth a delightful read. In this tale, based on the Grimm's story, "Maid Maleen", Hale weaves a story set in the Orient of old. The culture and people are brought to life with stunning detail and Dashti, our narrator, is a vivid character with great spirit.I could not put this book down. I read the first half when I should have been sleeping and finished the second half when I should have been doing chores. This is a fantastic read with a beautifully innocent love story, two fantastic heroes, a smattering of fun and woeful side characters, and a heinous villain. IN short it has everything that a good fairytale needs. I hope everyone gets a chance to read this wonderful book.