Queen Emily’s Enchanted Kingdom ~ Lee Ann Graff-Vinson


Queen Emily’s Enchanted Kingdom Sugarland by Lee-Ann Graff-Vinson

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet story about a Queen whose kingdom is overrun by sweets. I imagine it serves as a nice reminder to children about “treats” and think it’s kind of cute that the author got her daughter to illustrate the book. the only thing I might have done differently is have at least one character exercising a bit of wisdom throughout the story. Although I suppose the unicorn did try to warn the queen about indulging too much. Perhaps if Stargazer had been a little bit more vocal? just to get the point across a little bit harder…

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Unearthly ~ Cynthia Hand


Unearthly (Unearthly, #1)Unearthly by Cynthia Hand

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Um…. I enjoyed this book! So much of yay!! Yeah yeah it has some typical teen read cliches in it but I dunno… I really liked this one which is quite a change for me. Also I may have spent the whole day reading this book…which I suppose is something I do often but obviously it’s not something I do unless I’m enjoying myself. And the best part? I got this book (and the next one) FOR FREE after entering a Penguin Books giveaway so feeling all smug now.

Now – I didn’t enjoy it right from the beginning, I must admit! I felt very ho-hum about it at first and almost gave up after the first 40 pages or so. The only reason I didn’t was because I was too lazy to go and find something I DID want to read.

Of course this leads me to question: why? Why enjoy THIS book so much and not Twilight or The Hunger Games or other YA books that everyone seems to be so enamored with? And I think the reason is that I didn’t spend this book going “oh please whatever!” in my head. It’s like that illusive indescribable but completely recognizable X-factor. Some books – no matter how far fetched – are truthful. And you believe them. I think that’s the difference. I can get on board with what’s happening here. I don’t feel like the author is being disingenuous. Maybe it’s not like that for everyone, but it definitely is for me.

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The Indian in the Cupboard ~ Lynne Reid Banks


The Indian in the CupboardThe Indian in the Cupboard by Lynne Reid Banks

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

I can’t say I enjoyed this book. It took me a long time to read it because i just didn’t find it all that interesting – but I don’t think that’s a fair review. It’s a boy book really.
A not-for-Nadine kind of book too. I do appreciate the style of writing, and think my stepson would probably enjoy it. I know it’s a famous story and feel like I’m committing some sort of literary felony by not gushing over it – but my god both the indian and the cowboy were so irritating that I wanted to just give up on the book altogether. I do like Omri though, and I think it’s great when kids read books about kids who are good people. Maybe that sounds insane…as well as lame since most heroes in books are good people…aren’t they? So yeah, very sweet story – but do you ever slog your way through a book not particularly enjoying it and then kind of appreciating it as a whole when you are done?

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Dirty Little Angels is a gritty read


This slice-of-life story by Chris Tusa, published by the University of West Alabama in 2009, tells the tale of Hailey, and her dysfunctional family.  Set in the American south, populated by poor whites, blacks and a smattering of Hispanics, the plot revolves around Hailey’s coming of age and culminates in a murder and encroaching mental illness.

The characters of Hailey, Cyrus, Mama, Daddy, Meridian, Chase, and Moses are fully drawn, through dialogue as well as action. Each of them is flawed; some with redeeming qualities, others with none. Verma is the wise but ailing crone, trying to assist the family to function in a community beset by unemployment, alcoholism, depression, infidelity, and poverty. Uncle Errol is the villain who wants to evict Hailey’s family. Mr Guidry represents the suffering of a Christ like figure, someone who has accepted his impending death with grace and humour. Continue reading

Last Act of All – Aline Templeton


The Last Act of AllThe Last Act of All by Aline Templeton

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I must say I am rather in love with the way this woman writes. The story itself is not quite as riveting as it makes out to be but I didn’t find it at all predictable (though I did wonder along the right lines) which was kind of nice since I usually can tell who the murderer is as soon as he or she walks onto the page. Plot aside though, Aline Templeton’s writing is superb. It seems almost academic without being boring. I can’t quite describe it. She writes in that way that Stephen King and Margaret Atwood do – where the fact that this is their craft is so apparent and there is no room for a pesky personality to shine through (this I find particularly fascinating since I can’t write a single thing without vomiting my character all over the page). That said she has an uncanny ability to pinpoint human emotion and motivation in the most deliciously matter-of-fact way. Really did enjoy this book – and I’m pretty sure I paid next to nothing for it at a second hand book sale!

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Rabbits in the Garden ~ Jessica McHugh


Rabbits in the GardenRabbits in the Garden by Jessica McHugh

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Am so glad I finally got around to reading this book – it’s been sitting next to my bed for far too long!! I must admit that I was a little nervous to read it when I first picked it up since I sort of feel like I’ve gotten to know the author lately and I was a little bit worried that I wouldn’t love it. Of course there was no need for such worry as Jessica McHugh’s book was just as brilliant as I expected it to be. A whirlwind of constant suspense on every page, Rabbits in the Garden takes your breath away from the beginning and doesn’t return it until the very end. Definitely not the sort of book you would recommend to a lover of “warm and fuzzy” reading, but a it’s a definite must-read for those of us with a darker side.

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Harmony ~ Rita Murphy


HarmonyHarmony by Rita Murphy

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

A sweet story about a girl who was brought to earth by a star. After she turns fifteen she discovers that she has magical powers. I liked that her adoptive mother was a Cherokee Indian – I’ve always found them so quietly fascinating. It’s not the greatest story you will ever read but definitely far less whiny and annoying than a lot of other YA fiction out there. At least the main character is a respectable girl with a good head on her shoulders instead of an emotional mess.

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Mockingjay ~ Suzanne Collins


Mockingjay (The Hunger Games, #3)Mockingjay by Suzanne Collins

My rating: 2 of 5 stars

Sadly I must admit that this series disappointed me more than Twilight did. And not even necessarily because it was bad… Let me see if I can try to explain…

The Hunger Games idea is a brilliant one. Really. It is. We both know that we like to read about ridiculously far-fetched scenarios where great abominations to humans are carried out. The more heart-tugging the better. But for me? I still need it to be believable. I still need to feel like the author is telling me the truth. Now The Hunger Games is written in such a way that you can actually imagine such a world taking place – realistically. Far more realistically than Harry Potter or Narnia for instance. And yet the connection just could not be made for me. The characters irritated me. Katniss was especially awful. I just couldn’t find the part of me that could commiserate with these people. Instead I simply judged them. And yes they finally rebelled etc but I don’t know. I just didn’t buy it. And I couldn’t get past the idea that they were all just a bunch of idiots.

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Stay Tuned ~ Lauren Clark 2.5*


Melissa Moore works behind the scenes as a producer for WSGA, Macon, Georgia’s very own television station. The young and beautiful Alyssa Andrews and the womanising Tim Donaldson are a team in front of the cameras and a couple behind them, presenting local news each day. When their affair goes south, both Alyssa and Tim go AWOL and Melissa goes on screen to save the situation. But her on-screen persona can’t reflect her rather dowdy and dated daily self, so Melissa’s daughter Kelly and best friend Candace help her to revamp her wardrobe and make over her hairstyle. An even bigger problem is that her marriage to husband Chris, a portfolio manager for Macon’s largest financial firm, has gone stale. Melissa fears that the empty nest created by Kelly going off to college will be empty of her husband too if she can’t revitalise their relationship. With Candace’s Dr Phil inspired wisdom and her faith in God, Melissa tackles her career challenges along with her relationship problems. Continue reading