Sunday, March 9, 2014

Speaking at a Librarian Convention!

Hi all! I’m pretty excited about April Fool’ Day this year, because I’ll be speaking at a Master’s Class for librarians in Oklahoma. We are having a panel discussion about genres and I’ll be speaking on Urban Fantasy. In preparing for this, I realize that no matter how much I have read in the genre, I have still missed a LOT of authors! I wrote down pages and pages of authors in the genre and I’m certain I’ve barely scratched the surface. What’s so great about Urban Fantasy and Paranormal Romance is the variety! While I enjoy a great vampire tale, I also enjoy books about angels, demons and the fae. Let’s not forget about steampunk either. I’ve read some fun pieces in the pat few years that touched on steampunk stuff.

Finding a book with unique world-building is quite rewarding! Hopefully some of the books I write about over the next few days will intrigue you!

Monday, August 26, 2013

Book Review: Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich


Big Girl Panties by Stephanie Evanovich is a rollicking and poignant romantic comedy about a young widow who decides to get in shape...and winds up getting her groove back—and a whole lot more!
Holly Brennan used food to comfort herself through her husband’s illness and death. Now she’s alone at age thirty-two. And she weighs more than she ever has. When fate throws her in the path of Logan Montgomery, personal trainer to pro athletes, and he offers to train her, Holly concludes it must be a sign. Much as she dreads the thought of working out, Holly knows she needs to put on her big girl panties and see if she can sweat out some of her grief.
Soon, the easy intimacy and playful banter of their training sessions lead Logan and Holly to most intense and steamy workouts. But can Holly and Logan go the distance as a couple now that she’s met her goals—and other men are noticing? from


I picked this book up on a whim because I thought it looked hilarious. It had an intriguing premise: a large woman decides to change her life dramatically by losing weight. As a woman who has changed her own life over the past year, by losing a significant amount of weight, I was ready to love this book for the topic alone because it was such an unexplored theme. I was greatly disappointed.

I “get” what I think the author was attempting to do with this book: educate people about obesity, confront stereotypes and provide a larger heroine, thereby proving “overweight women” can have fun and have a HEA (even if they still have 20-50 pounds left to lose).  The writing, however, was not very good and in my opinion did not convey the message as well as it could have been done by a more experienced writer. I thought the hero, Logan, was a shallow man-whore, self-centered, overly-focused on feminine weight, commenting about his best friend’s love of women with excess flesh with the implication he doubted his ability to “deal” with extra weight in a partner. The sex was mediocre and the side story involving previously mentioned best friend and his partner’s sex practices was really extraneous.

My biggest problem with the book is how it was so “preachy” about obesity and health. I’m not complaining about pointing out some facts about obesity and how some people will never be thin, due to bone size or body type. Certainly a large portion of people need to lose weight and this book does indeed point out safe ways to do just that: proper nutrition, portion control and exercise are the best way to do that. There is no magic pill that will take away years of bad habits and psychological problems related to food overnight or even in a month. My problem with the book comes more from the way the author presents the  issue. She probably meant to portray realistically confronting society’s notion of thinness and health, but it seemed like she got caught up in a few of her subplots instead of having the hero confront his prejudices earlier in the book. As it stands, he just magically comes to his senses (well, OK, with a little help from…a certain event—no spoilers!) at the end of the book. It just didn’t ring true to me. I had already invested so much time and frustration in grumbling to myself about what a scumbag in an Adonis suit he was that I just didn’t buy his transformation.

There were, however, some really good parts. I loved the part when Holly worked at a gym and encouraged an extremely large woman who had come into the gym to begin the road to losing weight. That alone was worth the price of the book (but it wasn’t enough to give it an overall good rating). I loved when Holly stood up for herself on a few occasions that really warranted it. I wanted to yell at the book “You go, Girl!”  

Recommendation: While the book has a few good points, I cannot in good conscience recommend it to most people. I think the target market is overweight women and it does have some scenes that will appeal to them, but as I mentioned earlier, there is an emphasis on change, not acceptance of who one is. While change is necessary in changing life situations where one is obese, I would wager people reading this book don’t want to read a fiction book about the need to change their life (they KNOW it already!). This review is written by a formerly fat person, so I know the importance of change, patience and perseverance, but I also know I despise being told what to do in my personal life by a book I pick up to read for laughs. Bet Me by Jennifer Crusie deals with a not-tiny heroine and the Adonis who falls for her in a much better way.

Sensuality: some sex, not amazingly written and spanking.

Rating: 2 stars

Sunday, August 25, 2013

Personal Update

Hi all, it’s been a while since I posted any kind of personal update, which makes it a good time to do that now!

The past few years have been pretty insane. I lost my dad, grandma and my mom in the space of a year. I turned 40, finished grad school and lost about 90 pounds, celebrated my 10-year anniversary with my husband  and had my gallbladder removed. I have 2 seniors in high school and a junior; they all drive now and have jobs, which means between school, their work and mine and their social lives, I don’t see them as much as I would like to. Time certainly does fly by! Oh yeah! I also got a job in the public library where I did my internship and began serving on state library association committees. Life is good and all kinds of fun right now. While I still read a lot, it is not nearly as much as I WANT to read and my to-read list grows longer and longer, in addition to the ones I want to re-read and savor all over again. I’ve had to limit myself to re-reading favorite passages instead of full books, sadly.

Back to the weight loss. My husband and I each lost 80 pounds in about 7 months by completely changing our lives. We take Plexus Slim pink drink, the accelerator, pro-bio 5 and bio cleanse. Those help regulate our blood sugar, reduce sugar cravings and help with portion control. We also walk regularly together as well as completely changed our diet (read good nutrition, not fad diet) by greatly reducing sugar consumption, adding lots of fruits and veggies, choosing lean meats and also limiting excess carbs (greatly reducing breads, pastas) and choosing healthier options like whole grains when we do choose to eat those. We don’t follow a strict paleo diet, but we do make careful food choices and try to have a balanced and varied diet. It seems to be working well for us with  maintaining the weight loss. If you are interested in Plexus at all, please feel free to go to that site and try the product. You order directly from the company and it arrives in about 3 days. is where you can order it. OK, no more commercials except to say we feel fantastic and our lives are completely different today compared to a year and a half ago.

My job is actually as a children’s librarian, but I am hopeful to be moving more into adult literature eventually. That’s part of the reason I haven’t been posting here quite as much, because I’ve been on the lookout for quality children’s literature to add to the library. I’ve found a good amount of really good children’s books, but obviously that’s the wrong type of book to review here. I do think though that I will occasionally review some cookbooks. I LOVES me some good cookbooks. I especially enjoy ones that tell a story or have entertaining chapter intros. I’ll make a post about 2 I recently purchased, as well as some fun cookbooks I pull out and reference fairly often. I will also be posting reviews to some YA books I find intriguing. There are just so many good books out there right now! I plan on including more of a variety of books in my blog from now on, but still focus on adult and YA. I’ll probably look into reading more of the new adult books that are being published now. I might on occasion review some children’s books that are particularly entertaining as well, though I expect that will be fairly rare.

So, a big thanks for sticking with me through thick and thin. I love doing this blog, even though I don’t get to update it nearly as much as I want to!

Book Review: Fifth Grave Past the Light

Book Description

Release date: July 9, 2013 | Series: Charley Davidson (Book 5)

Never underestimate the power of a woman

on a double espresso with a mocha latte chaser high.


Charley Davidson isn’t your everyday, run-of-the-mill grim reaper.  She’s more of a paranormal private eye/grim reaper extraordinaire.  However, she gets sidetracked when the sexy, sultry son of Satan, Reyes Farrow, moves in next door. To further complicate matters, Reyes is her main suspect in an arson case.  Charley has vowed to stay away from him until she can find out the truth…but then dead women start appearing in her apartment, one after another, each lost, confused, and terrified beyond reason.  When it becomes apparent that her own sister, Gemma, is the serial killer’s next target Charley has no choice but to ask for Reyes’ help.  Arsonist or not, he’s the one man alive who could protect Gemma no matter who or what came at her. But he wants something in return. Charley. All of her, body and soul. And to keep her sister safe, it is a price she is willing to pay.

Charley Davidson is at it again in Fifth Grave Past the Light, the sexy, suspenseful, and laugh-out-loud funny fifth installment of the New York Times bestselling series by Darynda Jones.


It’s been a while since I enjoyed a book as much as I enjoyed this one. Ms. Jones  masterfully blended humor, mystery, terror and sensuality. It was a bit light on the mystery, but the book furthered the storyline of the series a reasonable amount. I’m really looking forward to the next one, especially due to the bomb dropped at the very end of the book. It was not quite a cliffhanger, but pretty close to it.

Ms. Jones continues to build a rich world in this installment. Her Reaper who can speak all languages ever known to humanity and the supernatural element continue to fascinate me. While I enjoy a good vampire or werewolf story a much as the  next person, it’s refreshing to read an urban fantasy that focuses on neither of those.

It’s pretty difficult to write a review for the 5th book in a series because I don’t want to give away anything from previous books either. If you haven’t read  the first 4 books in the series, much of the story will be lost on you, so go pick up  if you like humorous urban fantasy books with some sensuality, a unique world which is a quick, fun read. If you like that one, read the rest in the series before you enjoy this one.

I can’t emphasize enough how much I enjoyed reading this book. It’s fast becoming one of my favorite series, along with the Cassie Palmer Series, the Grave Witch Series and the Hollows (Rachel Morgan) Series.

Sensuality: some sex, descriptive, but not overly-explicit.

Rating: 5 stars