Wednesday, April 21, 2010

Book Review: Double Love by Francine Pascal

Double Love by Francine Pascal (Sweet Valley High #1)
Publisher: Bantam Books
Publish Date: September 1, 1984
Mass Market Paperback, 240 pages

My Review:
Wow - the memories this book brings back.  I think I read most of this series when I was in middle school/high school and enjoyed it so much.  I actually had to pace myself I was going through them so fast.  I kept the books too, until our house and property was flooded during Hurricane Isabel and the box all the books were in became a casualty of the flood.

So awhile back I saw a post on Smart Bitches, Trashy Books about a new Sweet Valley series that would follow Elizabeth and Jessica in their 20s.  I was intrigued.  I knew the Sweet Valley High books were no literary masterpiece, but I remembered them as very enjoyable and why else do I read but to enjoy and be entertained.

So I found Double Love on and ordered it.  It sat on my shelf for a few weeks, and I kept trying to get to it, but there are so many other new books to read out there I couldn't seem to make time to read a book I read before.  Then came the read-a-thon and I was getting tired.  I figured this took little concentration so I grabbed it and started reading it.

The memories came back, except now I absolutely can't stand Jessica - she is so horrible, self-obsessed and conniving and Elizabeth is so sweet and understanding.  I don't remember hating Jessica before, in fact I think I kind of wanted to be her.  Now I think back to how deranged I must have been.  But I was a teenager and what teenager doesn't want to be the prettiest, most popular girl in the school.  I just don't think I noticed how self-centered she was before.

So there is a great juxtaposition of the twins - one sweet and kind, the other self-absorbed.  Double Love was a fun book to introduce us to the twins and I enjoyed reading it once again.  Looking back now I think 90210 must have used some of the ideas from these books for their shows (though most of it is universal teenage themes - so I'm not accusing them of plagiarism).  Just put in fraternal twins instead of identical twins.  One is brainy and works for the school newspaper and wants to do good, the other wants to be popular and will do what she has to be that way.  It's just funny to see it now.

So Double Love is good, it's a quick read and suitable for teenage girls.  The language is not rough, the situations are typical and the books do teach a little in the end.

I'm looking forward to reading Secrets next and I just received it from PBS.

My Rating:  3.5/5

About the Book:
Will Jessica steal Todd from Elizabeth?

Elizabeth and Jessica Wakefield are identical twins at Sweet Valley High. They're both popular, smart, and gorgeous, but that's where the similarity ends. Elizabeth is friendly, outgoing, and sincere -- nothing like her snobbish and conniving twin. Jessica gets what she wants -- at school, with friends, and especially with boys.

This time, Jessica has set her sights on Todd Wilkins, the handsome star of the basketball team -- the one boy that Elizabeth really likes. Elizabeth doesn't want to lose him, but what Jessica wants, Jessica usually gets ... even if it ends up hurting her sister.

Meet the Wakefield twins, their guys, and the rest of the gang at Sweet Valley High....

About the Author:
Francine Pascal (May 13, 1938— ) is an American author best known for creating the Sweet Valley series of novels. In 1982 she created the characters and the stories for the first six books and her agent, Amy Berkower of Writers House sold them to Bantam Books. Book number one is mostly written by Ms. Pascal. From then on she wrote the stories for every book ever published in the series. After the first book ghostwriters were hired and edited by Dan Weiss' packaging company.

Ms. Pascal was married to writer John Pascal (July 8, 1932 - January 7, 1981), and her brother was Broadway lyricist Michael Stewart (August 1, 1924 – September 20, 1987).

She now divides her time between homes in New York and the south of France.

FTC Information: I received this book from through for my own bookshelf.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Check out the revamped cover below:


Book Review: True Blue by David Baldacci (audiobook)

True Blue by David Baldacci (read by Ron McLarty)
Publisher: Hachette Audio
Publish Date: October 27, 2009
audiobook, 12 CDs

My Review:
I really liked the characters in this book.  Mace is very determined.  She wants to clear her name and knows that solving a big case could do that and help her to get back to her one true love, police work.  Mace is tough, but she has a soft spot for her sister and that makes her more human and real feeling.  Beth is the D.C. police chief so you know she is tough, but she will do anything for her sister.  Roy is a great character too, I like his crush on Mace that comes through in the book.  He is determined also, to keep Mace safe and to bring the bad guys to justice.  I have a feeling we will be seeing more of these characters in the future and I look forward to it.  All three of them really made the book for me.

As far as plot, in this one it was a little hit-or-miss for me.  There was a broad conspiracy, but I felt like it got a little muddled and confusing.  I lost track of which characters were which from time-to-time in the bad guys and the not-so-bad guys.  This may have been because I was listening to it.  It may have been easier to keep up with if I was actually read it.  But the truth is I have listened to more David Baldacci books than I have actually read and I haven't had this problem before.

So it's a good book, not great, it kept me interested but a little confused.  I felt the characters made up for a lot that was lacking in the plot and I wanted to know more about them, that is what kept me listening.  The reader was pretty good.  He did a good job with distinguishing the voices most of the time.  He's not Scott Brick (he's read a lot of Baldacci's books), but he is a good reader and I would listen to any books he reads in the future without a second thought.

If you like Baldacci or thrillers in general - give this one a try - it's not a stellar book, but it's definitely worth the time it takes to read it.  Hopefully there will be more books involving Mace, Beth and Roy in the future.

My Rating:  3.5/5.0

About the Book:
Mason "Mace" Perry was a firebrand cop on the D.C. police force until she was kidnapped and framed for a crime. She lost everything-her badge, her career, her freedom-and spent two years in prison. Now she's back on the outside and focused on one mission: to be a cop once more. Her only shot to be a true blue again is to solve a major case on her own, and prove she has the right to wear the uniform. But even with her police chief sister on her side, she has to work in the shadows: A vindictive U.S. attorney is looking for any reason to send Mace back behind bars. Then Roy Kingman enters her life.

Roy is a young lawyer who aided the poor until he took a high-paying job at a law firm in Washington. Mace and Roy meet after he discovers the dead body of a female partner at the firm. As they investigate the death, they start uncovering surprising secrets from both the private and public world of the nation's capital.
Soon, what began as a fairly routine homicide takes a terrifying and unexpected turn-into something complex, diabolical, and possibly lethal.

About the Author:
David Baldacci was born in Virginia, in 1960, where he currently resides. He received a Bachelor of Arts in political science from Virginia Commonwealth University and a law degree from the University of Virginia. Mr. Baldacci practiced law for nine years in Washington, D.C., as both a trial and corporate attorney.

David Baldacci has published sixteen novels: Absolute Power, Total Control, The Winner, The Simple Truth, Saving Faith, Wish You Well, Last Man Standing, The Christmas Train, Split Second, Hour Game, The Camel Club, The Collectors, Simple Genius, and Stone Cold; and in his young adult series, Freddy and the French Fries: Fries Alive! and Freddy and the French Fries: The Adventures of Silas Finklebean. He has also published a novella for the Dutch entitled Office Hours, written for Holland's Year 2000 "Month of the Thriller." Baldacci authored a short story, "The Mighty Johns," as part of a mystery anthology published in 2002.  (From

FTC Information: I received this audiobook from Hachette for review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.


Book Review: Hush by Kate White

Hush by Kate White
Publisher: Harper
Publish Date: March 1, 2010
Hardcover, 352 pages

My Review:
Talk about a roller coaster - that is what I would sum this book up as.  It's a thrill ride from beginning to end.  Hush is the first book I have read from author Kate White, though I have been wanting to read her Bailey Weggins series.  I was intrigued on how the Editor-in-Chief of Cosmopolitan magazine would pull off a thriller and I have to say she does a great job with it.

I liked Lake from the beginning (though I kept wanting to read her name as Luke - Lake is just different).  She is a woman who is going through a divorce and has just learned her husband will be suing for joint custody.  She finds this out just when she feels like she is starting to get her life back on track.  She's enjoying her new consulting job, she's been flirting with a handsome man and things seem to be going well.  Then she finds out about the custody and her lawyer tells her to lay low especially with men for awhile.  Then the flirting escalates with Dr. Keaton at work and culminates in a one-night-stand that ends with Dr. Keaton's murder.

Lake doesn't know what to do, so she does not confess to the police that she was in Dr. Keaton's apartment.  Then funny things start to happen and it appears the clinic is not operating on the complete up-and-up.  But Lake can't quite figure out what is going on.  What happens after that begins the thrill ride and you will find yourself looking over your shoulder while reading it.  Kate's paranoia comes through so well and you find yourself guessing at who might be behind it all right along with her.  Just when you think you get it figured out, Ms. White throws in a new curveball and the anxiety starts all over again.  Kate is the main character in this but I enjoyed the secondary characters, no one was gone into as deeply as Kate, but I felt I got to know a variety of people.  I only had problems in a few spots trying to figure out which doctor was which, otherwise I felt each character stood out on it's own.  There were also a few plot points that ended up glossed over - I kind of felt like they were put in as filler, but they still wound there way into the story enough that it didn't take away from the story.

This was hard to put down and it took my mind completely away from t-ball practice yesterday (so I missed the fact my son had to go to the bathroom, thankfully my older son noticed).  I started this on Monday and finished it Tuesday which is record reading for me at the moment.

If you are looking for a great thriller and a quick read this is the book for you.

My Rating:  4.25/5.0

About the Book:
When Lake Warren learns that her husband Jack is suing for full custody of their two kids, four months after their separation, she's pretty certain that things can't get any worse. The upside is that she's working with the Advanced Fertility Center as a marketing consultant, alongside the attractive, flirtatious Dr. Keaton. But when, the morning after their one-night stand, she finds Keaton with his throat slashed, Lake learns that things can indeed become worse - they can become deadly. So not to jeopardize her case for custody, Lake is forced to lie to the police. Having just been intimate with a man who has been murdered, and wanting to protect herself from being charged with the crime, she begins her own investigation. But when the police start looking at her closely, people at the clinic start treating her with hostility, and strange and dangerous clues begin dropping-quite literally-on her doorstep, Lake realizes that she is dangerously close to dark truths about Keaton and the clinic. But can Lake stop what she's started before it's too late?

About the Author:
Kate White, the editor-in-chief of Cosmopolitan magazine, is the New York Times bestselling author of the Bailey Weggins mystery series—If Looks Could Kill; A Body to Die For; 'Til Death Do Us Part; Over Her Dead Body; and, most recently, Lethally Blond. White is also the author of popular career books for women, including Why Good Girls Don't Get Ahead but Gutsy Girls Do. Hush is her first stand-alone thriller. She lives in New York City with her family. (From


FTC Information: I checked this book out from my wonderful local library for  my reading pleasure.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Talk with Dee Davis on BlogTalkRadio 4/22 and my Dark Deceptions Giveaway winners

Join us as we interview
April 22, 2PM ET
Publisher: Forever Romance

BlogTalkRadio/HBG Program:
Join us in a live interview with Dee Davis. Dee Davis has a BA in Political Science and History, and a Masters Degree in Public Administration. During a ten-year career in public relations, she spent three years on the public speaking circuit, edited two newsletters, wrote three award winning public service announcements, did television and radio commercials, starred in the Seven Year Itch, taught college classes, lobbied both the Texas State Legislature and the US Congress, and served as the director of two associations. Her highly acclaimed first novel, Everything In Its Time, was published in July 2000. Since then, among others, she’s won the Booksellers Best, Golden Leaf, Texas Gold and Prism awards, and been nominated for the National Readers Choice Award, the Holt and two RT Reviewers Choice Awards. To date, she has sold eighteen books and three novellas, including Chain Reaction and A Match Made on Madison. She’s lived in Austria and traveled in Europe extensively. And although she now lives in Manhattan she still calls Texas home.

Call-in with your questions during show time to participate in the live interview @ 646-378-0039.

Listen-in or chat on the Grand Central Publishing channel on BlogTalkRadio.

If you would like your questions to be read on air by the host or if you would like to give advanced notice of your participation during the live call, email

Other links:

Dark Deceptions
My Winners from the Dark Deceptions Giveaway:

Debbie F

The winners have been contacted.  Thanks to all who entered.  Check out my sidebar for more giveaways going on now.

Weekend Wondering - Read-a-Thon edition - Winner

The  winner from the Weekend Wondering during the read-a-thon is:


Michelle has been emailed and I am awaiting her choice from my giveaway shelf.

Thanks for all the comments, I enjoyed reading what you thought of read-a-thons.  I understand about the timing for sure - last year the spring one fell during Cub Scout campout weekend so that was a no-go.  Thankfully this year it fell okay - even though I didn't get to participate as much as I wanted.

In the fall, I plan on sending the hubby hunting, and the kids to the grandparents and trying to do the read-a-thon as intended - 24 hours.  We'll see how that goes.