Monday, February 1, 2010

Review: Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr

Island Sting Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr

My rating: 8.5/10.0
Publisher: Leap Books
Publish Date: January 6, 2010

My Review:

A very interesting mystery novel focusing on one girls' quest to help protect the wildlife on the small island that has become her new home.

Island Sting is a fun young adult read paired with a mystery that is solved by the teenagers involved. Kenzie has just moved down to Big Pine Key and on her first day there gets involved with a local boy and a mystery of who is harming the local deer population. Focusing on a real problem in a real area of the Florida Keys makes this book even more interesting. Kenzie and Angelo make good characters, though we never learn a lot about them. Maggie, Kenzie's mom also plays a small role. Her and Kenzie have a typical mother/daughter teenage relationship - one moment fine, the next moment at odds. Maggie wants the best for Kenzie and wants to protect her, while Kenzie is impulsive and acts without thinking.

The mystery is simple but interesting. I kept guessing through the book and the author does a good job at throwing suspicion in different directions. The plot moves quickly and comes to a satisfying conclusion. I look forward to more books in this series to get to know the characters better.

I think my one minor complaint and the reason I knocked points off of my rating was that there were a lot of different characters that made brief appearances here and there through the book and when they would come back I would be slightly confused on who was who. But that may just be me. I think overall this is a very enjoyable book and well-worth the few hours of reading time I spent. It has a feel-good element to it while still be realistic and that makes it great in my opinion.  

Rating Breakdown:
Characterization:    1.5/2.0
Plot:                     1.5/2.0
Writing:                 1.75/2.0
Attention-holding:   0.75/1.0
Ending:                  1.0/1.0
Believable:             1.0/1.0
Genre:                  1.0/1.0    
Rating:                8.5/10.0

About the Book:
Kenzie Ryan's New York know-how and private girls' academy education prove useless in the middle of an island wildlife refuge.
Upon arrival in the exotic Florida Keys, she is thrown into the midst of an ecological mystery involving the endangered Florida Key deer. How can she navigate this upside down world? A world deftly maneuvered by Angelo--island native and nerve-wracking hunk. The two team up to accomplish what perplexes law enforcement, but Angelo exposes Kenzie's insecurities, as well as her inexperience with nature and the opposite sex.
Danger and disagreement follow the pair wherever they go. Enamored with Angelo and his local savvy, Kenzie hopes to secure his loyal friendship. But how can she win Angelo's trust when what she must tell him will crush his ego?
***I received this book for review through Around the World Tours***


Review: Freaksville by Kitty Keswick

Freaksville Freaksville by Kitty Keswick

My rating: 9.0/10.0

Publisher: Leap Books
Publish Date: January 8, 2010

My Review:
Freaksville is a highly entertaining young adult paranormal. I enjoyed Kasey and Gillie and their friendship, I think this is one of my favorite things about the book. These girls are the best of friends and no matter what they find out they seem to stay together, no matter how weird Kasey's life can get. I also enjoyed Kasey's relationship with her parents. I think it shows a normal relationship - she loves them but she looks down on them because she's a teenager and they are her parents. I wasn't a wild child as a teenager and even I did it. She doesn't go too far as to be too disrespectful - I think she is just a typical teenager and Kitty Keswick catches this in writing very well.

The storyline of Freaksville is strong. I got the hints of things that would happen as I read along, but nothing too big was revealed. The suspense of how things would actually turn out was kept up until the end. I loved getting to know little (and big) things about Kasey's life as the story went along and she learned them herself. The additional characters of Josh and Gunther also added to the story. Josh sounds absolutely hot and Gunther sweet. I look forward to getting to know all of them better in the next installment in this series.

If you like slightly different young adult paranormal involving werewolves, humans with the gift of sight and other creatures and you like your books to have a humorous streak then this is the book for you. Ms. Keswick will draw you in and keep you reading until the end of the book and then you will be ready to read the next one (which I can't wait until it is published).

Rating Breakdown:
Characterization:   1.5/2.0
Plot:                     1.5/2.0
Writing:                 2.0/2.0
Attention-holding:   1.0/1.0
Ending:                  1.0/1.0
Believable:             1.0/1.0
Genre:                  1.0/1.0    
Rating:                9.0/10.0

**I received this book through Around The World Tours for review**

About the book: 

High school is hard enough when you’re normal. There’s peer pressure, book reports, the in crowd and the enormous zit that has a life of its own. Having a family whose skeletons in the closet lean toward the paranormal is not a topper on anyone’s list. Sophomore Kasey Maxwell is busy juggling the typical teen angst. Add visions, ghosts and hairy four-legged monsters into the mix and you get FREAKSVILLE. It’s a wonder Kasey has survived.

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen-year-old Kasey would gladly give up. All she wants is a normal life. Shopping and talking about boys with her best friend and long-time sidekick Gillie Godshall consume her days. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into new waters, a lead in a play, a haunted theater…and into the arms of the Josh. Yet, both Kasey and Josh have secrets lurking in dark corners. Can Kasey’s new romance survive FREAKSVILLE?

What are you Reading Monday - February 1

Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see J.Kaye's Book Blog and join in!

Books Completed Last Week:
Invitation Only: The Web Series (Private)Lone Star LegendJenna's Cowboy: A Novel (The Callahans of Texas)Dead as a Doornail (Southern Vampire Mysteries, Book 5) (Mass Market Paperback)   
  • Invitation Only by Kate Brian
  • Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda
  • Jenna's Cowboy by Sharon Gillenwater
  • Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (audiobook) 
  • Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
  • Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr  
Reading Now:
 The Courteous Cad (Miss Pickworth) Viola in Reel Life
  • The Courteous Cad by Catherine Palmer 
  • Viola in Reel Life by Adriana Trigiani (library)
  • Spring Breakdown by Melody Carlson
One Amazing ThingLessons in French   Hero's Tribute: A Novel  Searching for Tina Turner  Songs of Deliverance

  • Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
  • One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni
  • Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale
  • Hero's Tribute by Graham Garrison
  • Searching for Tina Turner by Jacqueline E. Luckett
  • Songs of Deliverance by Marilynn Griffith
Reviews Completed this week:
Reviews to do:

  • Don't You Forget About Me by Cecily von Ziegesar
  • Let Them Eat Fruitcake by Melody Carlson
  • Smash Cut by Sandra Brown
  • Invitation Only by Kate Brian
  • Dead as a Doornail by Charlaine Harris (audiobook) 
  • Freaksville by Kitty Keswick 
  • Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr   
Summary -
Another great reading week.  I have some reviews to catch up on now and some library books to read.  It will be another busy week coming up and I look forward to more wonderful books.

Mailbox Monday - February 1

Mailbox Monday is hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page. To see this weeks list of participants go here.  I had another good week, check out what I received and feel free to leave your links so I can see what you received also and add to my wishlist.  I received a bunch of books this week and most came on Monday.  Sorry for the Amazon links - the image alone wasn't working and this was the one quick and easy way to see the book covers.

ARC/Review Copies of:

Out with the In Crowd by Stephanie Morrill
Publisher: Revell
Publish Date: January 1, 2010
Paperback, 252 pages
For a Revell blog tour in February
She knew changing her life wouldn't be easy--but she never expected it to be this hard. Skylar Hoyt may have vowed to change her partying ways, but it's not so easy to change her friends. Even though the old Skylar is gone, she's still not sure who this new Skylar really is. Add to that two parents battling for her loyalty, a younger sister struggling with a crisis pregnancy, and a new boyfriend wishing for more of her time, and Skylar feels like she can't win. After all, how do you choose favorites among the people you love most? Stephanie Morrill is a twentysomething living in Kansas with her high school sweetheart-turned-husband and their daughter. She is the author of Me, Just Different and loves writing for teens because her high school years greatly impacted her adult life. That, and it's an excuse to keep playing her music really, really loud.

Abigail by Jill Eileen Smith
Publisher:  Revell
Publish Date: February 1, 2010
Paperback, 368 pages
For a Revell Blog Tour in February

Abigail's hopes and dreams for the future are wrapped up in her handsome, dark-eyed betrothed, Nabal. But when the long-awaited wedding day arrives, her drunken groom behaves shamefully. Nevertheless, Abigail tries to honor and respect her husband despite his abuse of her. Meanwhile, Abigail's family has joined David's wandering tribe as he and his people keep traveling to avoid the dangerous Saul. When Nabal suddenly dies, Abigail is free to move on with her life, and thanks to her brother, her new life includes a new husband--David. The dangers of tribal life on the run are serious, but there are other dangers in young Abigail's mind. How can David lead his people effectively when he goes against God? And how can Abigail share David's love with the other wives he insists on marrying? Jill Eileen Smith, bestselling author of Michal, draws on Scripture, historical research, and her imagination as she fills in the blanks to unveil the story of Abigail and David in rich detail and drama. The result is a riveting page-turner that will keep readers looking forward to the next book in this trilogy.

The Cougar Club by Susan McBride
Publisher: Avon A
Publish Date: January 26, 2010
Paperback, 336 pages
For a TLC Book Tour in February

Meet three women who aren't about to run and hide just because the world says they should be on the shelf and out of circulation.
Her life seems perfect until she loses her high-powered advertising job and catches her live-in lover in a compromising position—with his computer!
This sexy TV news anchor is in danger of being replaced by a twentysomething blond bimbo. Wasn't it just yesterday that she was the up-and-coming star?
A married dermatologist, Elise thinks her plastic surgeon husband is playing doctor with someone else.
Kat firmly believes that aging gracefully isn't about giving up; it's about living life with your engine on overdrive. So this unofficial "Cougar Club" quickly learns three things about survival of the fittest in today's youth-obsessed society: True friendship never dies, the only way to live is real, and you're never too old to follow your heart.

Absolute Power by David Baldacci
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publish Date: January 16, 2010
Audio CD, reader - Scott Brick
For review from the publisher(I love Scott Brick as a reader!)

Available for the first time Unabridged on CD in an all-new recording by Scott Brick, the first of the blockbuster thrillers by New York Times bestselling author David Baldacci. The book that will change the way you think about Washington - and power - forever.

In a heavily guarded mansion in a posh Virginia suburb, a man and a woman start to make love, trapping a burglar behind a secret wall. Then the passion turns deadly, and the witness is running into the night. Because what he has just seen is a brutal slaying involving the president of the United States.

Luther Whitney is the career break-in artist who's in the wrong place at the wrong time. Alan Richmond is the charming U.S. president with the power to commit any crime. And Jack Graham is the young attorney caught in a vortex between absolute truth and... ABSOLUTE POWER

The Khan Dilemma by Ron Goodreau
Publisher: iUniverse
Publish Date: June 23, 2009
Paperback,  300 pages
For review - received through Bostick Communications

Las Cruces, California is a gritty town full of political corruption and social turmoil. The District Attorney, Rich Danko, is in the midst of a federal probe when a cabal of Washington, D.C. elites, fronted by a sinister FBI agent named Ross, takes an interest in a local double homicide. A young Muslim suspect has murdered two mysterious businessmen in a quiet, upscale neighborhood and for some reason the administration is scrambling to cover it up. Max Siegel lands the case and gets caught in a spiraling vortex of deadly intrigue with a dangerous mix of characters that threaten to consume his career and his life!

Island Sting by Bonnie J. Doerr
Publisher: Leap Books
Publish Date: December 15, 2009
Paperback, 280 Pages
Received for review from Around The World Tours

Kenzie didn't expect her first summer in the Florida Keys to be murder. Or cute guys, awesome boats, endangered species, and gun-toting thugs... When city girl Kenzie Ryan moves to a Florida wildlife refuge, she plunges straight into an eco-mystery. Kenzie trades New York streets for Keys pollution cleanup, and now, instead of hailing cabs, she's tracking down a poacher of endangered Key deer. Her new home does have some benefits-mainly Angelo, an island native, who teams up with her to nab the culprit. But will they both survive when the killer turns from stalking deer to hunting humans? Island Sting includes notes on the endangered Florida Key Deer and the National Key Deer Refuge.

Freaksville by Kitty Keswick
Publisher: Leap Books
Publish Date: December 15, 2009
Paperback, 328 pages
Received for review from Around the World Tours

Every woman in the Maxwell family has the gift of sight. A talent sixteen year old Kasey would gladly give up. Until Kasey has a vision about Josh Johnstone, the foreign exchange student from England. The vision leads her into deep waters, a lead in a play, and into the arms of Josh. But Josh, too, has a secret. Something that could put them all in danger. To solve a mystery of a supernatural haunting, they must uncover the secrets of the haunted theater when they are trapped on the night of the full moon.

Princess for Hire by Lindsey Leavitt
Publisher: Hyperion Book CH
Publish Date: March 16, 2010
Hardcover, 256 pages
Received for review from 1-ARC-Tours

When an immaculately dressed woman steps out of an iridescent bubble and asks you if you'd like to become a substitute princess, do you
a) run
b) faint
c) say Yes!
For Desi Bascomb, who's been longing for a bit of glamour in her Idaho life, the choice is a definite C--that is, once she can stop pinching herself.  As her new agent Meredith explains, Desi has a rare magical ability: when she applies the ancient Egyptian formula "Royal Rouge," she can transform temporarily into the exact lookalike of any princess who needs her subbing services. Dream come true, right?

Well, Desi soon discovers that subbing involves a lot more than wearing a tiara and waving at cameras. Like, what do you do when a bullying older sister puts you on a heinous crash diet? Or when the tribal villagers gather to watch you perform a ceremonial dance you don't know? Or when a princess's conflicted sweetheart shows up to break things off--and you know she would want you to change his mind? 
In this hilarious, winning debut, one girl's dream of glamour transforms into something bigger: the desire to make a positive impact. And an impact Desi makes, one royal fiasco at a time.

Katy's New World by Kim Vogel Sawyer
Publisher: Zondervan
Publish Date: February 1, 2010
Paperback, 208
Received from the publisher for a FIRST Wild Card Tour
Katy has always enjoyed life in her small Mennonite community, but she longs to learn more than her school can offer. After getting approval from her elders, Katy starts her sophomore year at the public high school in town, where she meets new friends and encounters perspectives much different than her own. But as Katy begins to find her way in the outside world, her relationships at home become restrained. Can she find a balance between her two worlds?

Spring Breakdown by Melody Carlson
Publisher: Zondervan
Publish Date: February 1, 2010
Paperback, 208 pages
Received from the publisher for a FIRST Wild Card Tour

The six Carter house girls plan to join Mrs. Carter in Florida for a “quiet” spring break, but quiet is impossible when Harry and his guy friends stay in a condo nearby. Focused on her newfound faith and sobriety, Taylor is trying to behave, but Eliza has no such intention. In an attempt to win Harry back, Eliza continues to push the envelope and her partying spins out of control. When Eliza goes missing, everyone is left worried and afraid for her safety. Will Eliza wake up and see that her life is built on sinking sand? Or will this quicksand claim her instead?
The Marriage Project: 21 Days to More Love and Laughter by Kathi Lipp
Publish Date: December 1, 2009
Received for a FIRST Wild Card Tour
More love, more laughter—more lingerie.
What would marriages look like if for 21 days, husbands and wives put their marriage on project status? Plenty of books describe how to improve marriage, how to save a marriage, and how to ramp up the intimacy in a marriage. In The Marriage Project, Kathi Lipp shows readers how to put the fun back in marriage with 21 simple yet effective projects, such as doing something they enjoyed together before they got married or flirting with their spouse via e-mail or text messages.
Each of the projects contains:
  • a project description
  • suggestions for how to complete the project
  • reports from other couples on how they accomplished the project
  • a prayer
  • a place to record project results
In addition to the daily projects, three bonus projects encourage couples to turn up the heat in the bedroom.
For couples who haven’t given up on the dream of being head-over-heels with their spouse again, The Marriage Project provides just the right boost.
Included are tips on how to use The Marriage Project to revitalize marriages in a local church or small group.

A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker
Publisher: iUniverse
Publish Date: June 11, 2005
Paperback, 360 pages
Received for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions Tour
Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega- selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair. Everything changes the morning an e- mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short- lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book- signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.
Love and War: Finding the Marriage You've Dreamed Of by John and Stasi Eldredge
Publisher: Doubleday Religion
Publish Date: December 15, 2009
Hardcover, 240 pages
Received from the publisher for a book tour in February
What the Eldredge bestsellers Wild at Heart did for men, and Captivating did for women, LOVE & WAR will do for married couples everywhere. John and Stasi Eldredge have contributed the quintessential works on Christian spirituality through the experience of men and the experience of women and now they turn their focus to the incredible dynamic between those two forces.

With refreshing openness that will grab readers from the first page, the Eldredges candidly discuss their own marriage and the insights they’ve gained from the challenges they faced. Each talks independently to the reader about what they’ve learned, giving their guidance personal immediacy and a balance between the male and female perspectives that has been absent from all previous books on this topic.   They begin LOVE & WAR with an obvious but necessary acknowledgement:  Marriage is fabulously hard.  They advise that the sooner we get the shame and confusion off our backs, the sooner we'll find our way through.

LOVE & WAR shows couples how to fight for their love and happiness, calling men and women to step into the great adventure God has waiting for them together. Walking alongside John and Stasi Eldredge, every couple can discover how their individual journeys are growing into a story of meaning much greater than anything they could do or be on their own.
The House of Tomorrow by Peter Bognanni
Publisher: Amy Einhorn Books/Putnam
Publish Date: March 4, 2010
Hardcover, 368 pages
Received from the publisher for review
Sebastian Prendergast lives in a geodesic dome with his eccentric grandmother, who homeschooled him in the teachings of futurist philosopher R. Buckminster Fuller. But when his grandmother has a stroke, Sebastian is forced to leave the dome and make his own way in town.

Jared Whitcomb is a chain-smoking sixteen-year-old heart-transplant recipient who befriends Sebastian, and begins to teach him about all the things he has been missing, including grape soda, girls, and Sid Vicious. They form a punk band called The Rash, and it's clear that the upcoming Methodist Church talent show has never seen the likes of them. Wholly original, The House of Tomorrow is the story of a young man's self-discovery, a dying woman's last wish, and a band of misfits trying desperately to be heard.
 Dare to Surrender by Lilli Feisty
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: January 26, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 352 pages
Received from the publisher for review
Art gallery curator Joy Montgomery has never liked her body's generous curves. And she's always been too shy to explore her wild side. But tonight, everything is going to change . . . Desperate to save her job, Joy approaches bad-boy artist Ash Hunter and asks him to exhibit his erotic work at her gallery. Ash agrees on one condition: Joy must pose as his model. But business soon turns to pleasure, as Joy experiences a passion beyond her wildest imaginings and Ash finds more than just inspiration in his voluptuous new muse.
Countess of Scandal
Publisher: Forever
Publish Date: January 26, 2010
Mass Market Paperback, 368 pages
Received from the publisher for review
As children, Eliza Blacknall and William Denton ran wild over the fields of southern Ireland and swore they would be friends forever. Then fate took Will away to England, while Eliza stayed behind to become a proper Irish countess.
Years later, Will finally makes his way home-as an English soldier sent to crush the Irish uprising. When he spies the lovely Eliza, he is captivated by the passionate woman she has become. But Eliza's passions have led her to join the Irish rebel cause, and Will and Eliza now find themselves on opposite sides of a dangerous conflict.
When Ireland explodes in bloody rebellion, Will's regiment is ordered to the front lines, and he is forced to choose between his duty to the English king and his love for Eliza and their Irish homeland.

We The Children (Benjamin Pratt and the Keepers of the School) by Andrew Clements
Publisher: Atheneum
Publish Date: April 6, 2010
Received from Simon and Schuster for review

We the Children asks:  Can a kid change the course of history? 

Beaded Hope by Cathy Liggett
Publisher: Tyndale House
Publish Date: March 1, 2010
For a FIRST Wild Card Tour

Four American women, all with their own challenges, embark on a mission trip to South Africa. Their lives are changed as they encounter a group of South African women who suffer from AIDS yet demonstrate great joy and faith in the face of overwhelming adversity. When the Americans discover the amazing beadwork that has been taught to generations of women in the community, they uncover a way to help these proud people support their families by selling their craft.

McKenzie's Montana Mystery by Shari Barr
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publish Date: March 1, 2010
Received from the publisher for review

When Bailey and McKenzie arrive to help at a horse ranch in Montana, they’re immediately entrenched in mysteries: a horse disappearing into thin air, spookiness in an abandoned western town, and ranch hand upheaval. And with all the unexpected action going on, how will they ever find time to prepare for their rodeo competitions? Can the Camp Club Girls successfully combine their skills to help Bailey and McKenzie save the ranch…and the rodeo for Sunshine Stables?

Alexis and the Sacramento Surprise
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publish Date: March 1, 2010
Received from the publisher for review

If dinosaurs are extinct, then why do they seem to come to life each night?  When Alexis’ friend, Miss Maria, tries to save her business by importing mechanical dinosaurs to her nature park, Alexis and Kate are instantly on the spot to show their support. But the Camp Club girls are soon embroiled in surprises when they soon have to not only deal with mechanical dinosaurs appearing to have minds of their own, but also the local media, which also seems determined to destroy Miss Maria. Can the girls crack the case and keep Miss Maria’s dreams—and business—alive?