If you've come here through a link from a fellow bloggers' blog... I've moved!

The Daughter-in-Law Rules by Sally Shields

The full title of this 4 star book actually is The Daughter-in-Law Rules: 101 Surefire Ways to Manage (and Make Friends with) Your Mother-in-Law! and there are some really smart ones! I don’t have any major issues with my fiancĂ©’s mother, but if I ever do, I know just where to go for help.

The Daughter-in-Law Rules is broken up into very easy to navigate Parts: The Newlywed - On House and Home - Her Beloved Son - Before and After the Baby - Most of All. Each Part has its own smaller sections with pertinent rules. Best yet, it’s battle-tested. According to the Foreword (written by the author herself) this book was born

“whenever a bothersome incident would pop into my head, I jotted down longhand, on the back of napkins and any other scraps of paper I could get my hands on, a new strategy for dealing with my MIL. … Though this exercise started off as a tongue-in-cheek coping mechanism, once I began putting a few of these rules into practice, I noticed that my MIL’s attitude started to shift. I began to see her softer, gentler, more agreeable side …”

The Daughter-in-Law Rules should be given to all brides-to-be by their own mothers or their maid/matron of honor. Preferably when said Mother-in-Law is NOT looking! The book can be purchased most anywhere (Barnes and Noble & Amazon just to name two).


Little Miss Smarty-Pants by Suzanne Kopoulos

Little Miss Smarty-Pants is first the memoir I have laughed my way through most of. Suzanne Kopoulos really lets it all hang out. She didn't hold much, if anything, back. As you might expect, she did change the names. I give her a lot of credit. Granted I didn't have as diverse a life as Suzanne, but I couldn't sit down and write about my life like she has. Give Suzanne Kopoulos a gold star for guts!

She may be about 10 years older than I am, but I could relate to a lot of what she talks about in Little Miss Smarty-Pants. From a high-school boyfriend she calls Joe Trailer, whose only perceivable ambition in life was to own a double-wide trailer, to dying her hair the same orange-red as Lucille Ball. Suzanne develops a close friendship with a guy, Jack aka Pookie, while in her first year of college in 1982; a friendship that lasts to this day.

Giving this book 5 stars was easy. A book that keeps me reading until well past 10pm (I didn’t close the book until 1:30am the first night/early morning) is rare. Suzanne made me cry, feel her pain (Dr. Love), laugh and a few other emotions all in 320 pages. Please give this book a chance!

You really get a taste of her sense of humor in some of these answers. Here is her interview:

~Kylee’s Book Blog: Do you have any superstitions or rituals when you're writing? Is there anything in particular that inspires you?
Suzanne Kopoulos: I don't have any superstitions, but I DO need to have all of my chores done. I can't write unless the kids (Sadie Mae, Gumbo and Flipper Mae) have been fed, I've worked out (running, swimming or weight lifting) and any other daily chores have been completed. I don't like to have any outstanding tasks hanging over my head when I write.

I wouldn't actually say that I get inspired but ideas do pop into my head in the strangest places such as the shower, while walking the dog, or driving to the grocery store. I have notebooks stashed EVERYWHERE! Dialog seems to come to me while I'm in the shower. That's really inconvenient. I've lost count as to how many times I've actually gotten out of the shower and tiptoed to the study in search of a notepad while dripping water all over the floor.

KBB: If you had to describe your writing to someone in only 3 words, what would they be?
SK: funny, irreverent, heartfelt

KBB: What does your family think of your writing?
SK: My parents are proud of me. They've always wanted me to write. They have NO idea where my storytelling ability comes from. It makes them scratch their heads but they've both encouraged me to keep it up. However, they do wish I'd try writing fiction next time! My husband had been suggesting that I return to my journalistic roots by writing for our local newspaper. That didn't really appeal to me. I didn't want to write on anyone else's schedule. But he brought up the subject often enough that I guess it stuck in my head. When I said I wanted to write a book, his only request was that I limit my musings about our home life. He does not want to be the star of my next book!

KBB: What kind of TV shows do you watch? (comedies, dramas, etc)
SK: I watch TV as an escape. I really liked Pushing Daisies this year. It had just the right blend of humor, whimsy, and romance for me. I am also devoted to What Not To Wear. Clinton and Stacy are my idols. I'll do whatever they say. All of my friends know that I can't dress myself...not without a lot of help! I will also watch just about any gardening or home decorating show. And, I've recently become a BBC America freak. I really enjoyed Hex a few years ago and now I'm a big fan of Torchwood.

KBB: What is one item that you could not live without? What is your favorite junk/comfort food?
SK: I cannot live without some sort of lip color whether it's tinted lip gloss or lipstick. This girl needs some color on her face! Without it, I'm completely washed out. As for junk/comfort food, I'm a Mac & Cheese gal. I'm actually thinking about blogging about my obsessive love of mac & cheese.

KBB: Where can my blog readers buy your books?
SK: Your readers can find my book at,, and They can also ask any local bookseller to order it for them. I'm hoping to have the book stocked in a few local, independent stores in Chicago, but my publisher has to work out some issues with its distributor before that can happen.

KBB: Are you working on anything currently? If so, would you tell me about it?
SK: I have a few ideas rattling around in my head. A lot of people expect a follow-up to Little Miss Smarty-Pants. That's always an option. I definitely have plenty of material. Heck, I could write a book about the behind-the-scenes adventures of writing a book at this point. But I also have two ideas for fiction novels. Nothing too heavy. That's not my style. I'm most comfortable writing about friendships...with an alternative twist. There's a good chance I may begin spending an inordinate amount of time in Chicago's drag clubs!

KBB: Any other plug you would like me to give? (plugs are good!)
SK: If readers like Little Miss Smarty-Pants, please consider writing a review on and/or For a first-time writer from a small publishing company, friendly reviews from fellow readers are like gold!

Jaclyn's Ghost by Dorlana Vann

Jaclyn's Ghost is a very well written love story about Jaclyn Jade and Logan Smith. At the beginning of the story Jaclyn realizes, with the help of Logan, that she is dead. More specifically, she's a ghost. Logan died in the 1920s when the site of Sunset Apartments was a hotel. Dorlana Vann lends a great twist to the question of "where do we go when we die". "Hell" is really Earth, were we repeat our past mistakes or learn from them with each subsequent life. I really liked this take on it, of course I already think that our souls live more than one life on this planet. I've given Jaclyn's Ghost 'only' 4 stars out of 5 because with the paranormal and mystery elements it's not for everyone.

"Jaclyn stared at the stranger. Nothing made sense. He wore a black jacket over a double-breasted vest and dress pants. Clearly bought off the rack, but still, it was a bit much for a burglar. She wondered why he hadn't left when he had the chance."

Dorlana Vann was kind enough to let me interview her. Here are my (probably silly) questions and her answers. Nothing was cut or edited in any way except (!) where I have things written in [ ]s. That is stuff I have added as I typed this. =)

~Kylee's Book Blog: I read in your interview on Studio 3B Author Spotlight that you get a good chunk of your writing done in the early mornings. Do you have any superstitions or rituals when you are writing? Is there anything in particular that inspires you?
Dorlana Vann: All I need is a cup of strong coffee and complete quiet. My inspirations simply come from the types of stories that I like; I enjoy adventures, fairy tales, love stories, the supernatural, suspense ancient civilizations and treasure hunts.

KBB: If you had to describe your writing to someone in only 3 words, what would they be?
DV: Quirky, Supernatural, Fun

KBB: What does your family think of your writing?
They are my biggest fans and my biggest critics. I can always count on them to tell me exactly what they think – even if it isn’t pretty. They are very supportive and helpful.

KBB: What kinds of TV shows do you watch?
DV: I’m kind of a reality show junkie: American Idol, American’s Next Top Model, Hell’s Kitchen, Kitchen Nightmares and The Apprentice are my favorites. My all time favorite TV show is Angel – vampires and great dialogue, what more could you ask for? I hated to see it go.

KBB: What is the one item that you could not live without? What is your favoite junk/comfort food?
DV: At this point it would have to be my computer. I know it's the obvious anwer, but so true. And I love dark chocolate and cake... any kind of cake.

KBB: Where can my readers buy your books?

DV: [to make it easier, I have linked the image of Jaclyn's Ghost, both in this review and in the Featured Selections, to this address]

KBB: What are you working on currently?
I’m working on my next book, Passage to Mesentia. It is another paranormal mystery, but it is a little darker than Jaclyn’s Ghost. It will be released in ebook Jan 2009 and then will be in a 2 volume print book under Tease Publications Dark Tarot Series for the Death Card around March 2009. Here is a blurb:

After Wade and Bella find Bella’s archaeologist parents murdered, they are approached by a mysterious stranger who is searching for an amulet. He claims Bella’s parents smuggled it out of Cairo for him and convinces them to follow her parent’s clues to its whereabouts before its ancient curse is used for evil.

KBB: Any other plug you would like me to give? [I think all new writers deserve a lot of chances to advertise their groups and such]

DV: My writers group, Humble Fiction CafĂ©, has just release our first anthology, Split. You can find all the information and read one of my short stories from the book on my website –

Visit my blog ( ) Supernatural Fairy Tales, to read fairy tale inspired short stories, poems, and articles.

What are you paranormal and mystery fans waiting for? Click and buy!

The Seventh Tower: The Fall by Garth Nix

I actually gave The Fall two different star ratings. 3 Stars for anyone 13+ and 4 Stars for kids 9-12. I was a little bored by it; the book couldn't hold my attention. I'm also way outside the target. I think any 3rd to 6th grader would like this book. I think the back of the book describes The Fall better than I could.

From the back:

Tal has lived his whole life in darkness. He has never left his home, a mysterious castle of seven towers. He does not see the threat that will tear apart his family and his world.

But Tal cannot stay safe forever. When danger strikes, he must desperately climb the Red Tower to steal a Sunstone. He reaches the top...

... and then he falls into a strange and unknown world of warriors, iceships, and hidden magic. There Tal makes an enemy who will save his life - and holds the key to his future.

You can find out more about the books on the Scholastic site. Garth Nix has a trilogy that seems to be a YA series. I think I'll try the first of those because I really did enjoy his writing style.


Eats, Shoots and Leaves by Lynne Truss

Yes, that's right, 5 Stars for a book about proper punctuation. I fully expected to get through this book only for my 2008 Challenges. In my mind's eye I saw myself reading a page or two and then falling sound asleep from boredom. I could not have been more wrong.

Not only does Lynne Truss make punctuation interesting, she makes it funny. She knows just were little punctuation puns fit. Who knew there were 17 proper uses for the apostrophe?! There was, at onetime, a movement to have a special mark to indicate a rhetorical question. As is stated on the front flap,

"Through sloppy usage and low standards on the Internet, in e-mail, and now "txt msgs", we have made proper punctuation an endangered species."
(not to mention proper spelling)

I've given this book 5 Stars not only because I enjoyed it, but because I think all of us who have been out of the classroom for 10 years or more could use a refresher. Before I go I want to share with you part of what is on the back of "Eats, Shoots & Leaves".

A panda walks into a cafe. He orders a sandwich, eats it, then draws a gun and fires two shots in the air.
"Why?" asks the confused waiter, as the panda makes towards the exit. The panda produces a badly punctuated wildlife manual and tosses it over his shoulder.
"I'm a panda," he says, at the door. "Look it up."
The waiter turns to the relevant entry and, sure enough, finds an explanation.
"Panda. Large black-and-white bear-like mammal, native to China. Eats, shoots and leaves."

So, punctuation really does matter, even if it is only occasionally a matter of life and death.

Right now I am also reading, "The Fall" by Garth Nix. It's a children's book so I should finish it today. I have updated 2 links: 2008 Challenges and Books I've Finished in 2008. What are you reading?


This has nothing to do with books...

1-800-flowers is having a contest “Celebrate Mom For Who She Is Contest”. I've entered my mom and you should too. =)

You can enter your mom in one of 5 categories. Prizes vary by category:
Over $30,000 in prizes!

Green Thumb Mom:
• Trip for two (2) to New York. Trip includes 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles.
• One night accommodation at W Times Square Hotel awarded in the form of a $500 gift card.
• (2) Tickets to Martha Stewart Show in New York City
• (2) Tickets to New York Botanical Garden Event
• Patio set & garden tools from Plow & Hearth, awarded in the form of a $1,500 gift certificate to Plow & Hearth.
• A $1,000 Papyrus gift certificate for fabulous selection of personalized gifts and stationery.
• $500 Gift Card to Lowe’s

Gourmet Mom:
• Trip for two (2) to Philadelphia, PA. Trip includes 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles.
• One night accommodation at the Rittenhouse Hotel, a 4 course dinner for two at the acclaimed LaCroix Restaurant and opportunity to meet Chef Levine and breakfast for two.
• Keurig B60 Coffee Maker (Single-Cup Brewer) from Green Mountain includes a variety pack of 24 K-Cups of coffee
• (10) $50 Gift Certificates to
• $500 Gift Certificate to Cheryl & Co

Planet Friendly Mom:
• A Luxury Included™ Family Vacation for four (4) to any of the four (4) Beaches Resorts located in Turks & Caicos and Jamaica, with three nights luxurious accommodations, unlimited gourmet dining and premium beverages, unlimited land and water sports, daily and nightly entertainment, and daily activities with the Beaches Resorts Caribbean Adventure with Sesame Street, Kids Camps, Crayola® Art Camps, and more for two adults and two children ages 15 years and under.
• Trip includes 140,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles that can be redeemed for travel.
• $1,000 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® credit for a Year of Planet Friendly products.
• A $1,000 Papyrus gift certificate for fabulous selection of personalized gifts and stationery
• Green Mountain Coffee – 2lbs of coffee per month for 6 months

Mr. Mom:
• Trip and accommodations for two to Rancho Las Palmas Resort, 4-night / 5 days golf/spa package in Rancho Mirage, California. Package consists of (2) two rounds of golf, (2) two 50-minute spa treatments and (1) one dinner for (2) two.
• Trip includes 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles
• $200 Gift Card to Morton’s The Steakhouse
• 12 month snack of the month from The Popcorn Factory
• $500 Fannie May Gift Certificate

Red Carpet Mom:
• Trip and accommodations for two to Rancho Las Palmas Resort , 2-night / 3 day stay at Rancho Las Palmas Resort - in Rancho Mirage, California. Package consists of (2) two rounds of golf or (2) two 50-minute spa treatments.
• Trip includes 70,000 American Airlines AAdvantage® miles
• $1,000 gift certificate
• A $1,000 Papyrus gift certificate for fabulous selection of personalized gifts and stationery.
• A basket of Philosophy products:
o Basket includes: hope in a jar facial moisturizer (4 oz.), purity made simple facial cleanser (16 oz.), hope in a tube eye & lip firming cream (.5 oz.), microdelivery peel anti-aging treatment (2-piece set), help me retinol treatment (1 oz.), shelter spf 30 sunscreen(4 oz.), kiss me lip gloss in pink (.5 oz.), begin again shower gelee (24 oz.), Amazing Grace perfumed shower gel (16 oz.), Amazing Grace perfumed body emulsion (16 oz.), Amazing Grace eau de parfum (2 oz.), Amazing Grace perfumed salt scrub (23 oz.)
• $500 Gift Certificate
• A $600 1-800-FLOWERS.COM® Gift Certificate for three months of Preston Bailey bouquets - “Florist to the Stars.”

PLUS various other prizes for non-grand prize winners.

Raffle of "Pale Immortal"

Go to Amateur de Livre to enter to win a copy of this book. Just leave a comment on the post about this book; that's your entry.

"Little Altars Everywhere" Rebecca Wells

"Little Altars Everywhere" is the first book in a series. The second is "Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood" which I also have and will read and review at a later date.

The book is broken down into two parts each with there own chapters. The first part takes place in 1960's Louisiana. The second part is 1990's Louisiana and New York. Each of the chapters is from the point of view of a different person. This made the book as a whole feel somewhat disjointed. I enjoyed each story, the book is well written, but I felt somewhat disconnected. The stories are sad, funny, disturbing. It feels more like a book of related short stories than anything else.

The companion to the beloved bestseller Divine Secrets of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood, here is the funny, heartbreaking, and powerfully insightful tale that first introduced Siddalee, Vivi, their spirited Walker clan, and the indomitable Ya-Yas.

Reading now: "Regency Society Revisited" Susanne Marie Knight (ARC e-book, for Enchanting Reviews) & "Eat, Shoots & Leaves" Lynne Truss (you can find this on my "Possible Short-List" link)


Now here is something interesting

I came across a blog where, to promote his upcoming book tour, an author is making a contest out of giving away ARCs of his book. His name is J. Scott Savage, you can find the specific post here. I read an excerpt of the book and it intrigues me. I love the basic message that he has, "Every one of you has magic inside. All you have to do is start looking for it and eventually you’ll find it."

I have written an e-mail to him to enter to win an ARC of his book. By reading it and reviewing it I will be able to have one sent to a reader of my blog. So, what do you think? Sounds like a fun time!

"The Prometheus Project: Trapped" Douglas E. Richards

Reviewed for Amateur de Livre

“The Prometheus Project: Trapped” by Douglas E. Richards is geared toward middle graders. Obviously, at 32, I’m a little outside that age group, but as a mom of two I think that I can ‘read like a child’ (if that makes sense).

In “Trapped” Ryan and Regan Resnick are forced by their parents to move to Brewster, PA, ‘the middle of nowhere’ according to the children. After 6 weeks of boredom the kids are ready for adventure and boy do they find it! I don’t want to give away too much, but these kids get into (and cleverly out of) some trouble. The great thing (in my opinion) is the science back in science fiction.

Mr. Richards has a master’s degree in genetic engineering (and business). He is the father of two and wrote Trapped, as well as its sequel Captured, for his children after being unable to find an engaging sci-fi series for this age group.

I highly recommend this book for all middle school libraries. If you have a middle schooler that is into science or sci-fi, buy this book. If you have a reluctant reader who has an interest in science or adventure stories, buy this book.

Mr. Richards is currently working on an adult thriller and another kid’s thriller not set in the Prometheus Project universe. He hopes to write additional Prometheus Project books in the future as well.

On a personal note: I am especially interested in what happens to Regan Resnick. My youngest is named Reaghan (sounds like 'vegan') so I'm a bit attached to her. =)


This fast-paced science fiction adventure about an underground city built by an advanced alien civilization teaches children about science and technology while engaging their imaginations. Determined to learn why their scientist parents forced them to suddenly move to a boring town in Pennsylvania, Ryan and Regan follow them to work and discover that their parents are really working on a top secret investigation of an underground city. After cracking passwords, dodging barbed wire, and defeating laser beam alarms, they find themselves trapped in the abandoned city and under attack by a swarm of insect-like creatures. While trying to determine the nature of the creatures and how to escape them, scientific concepts such as the immune system, nanotechnology, and black holes are explained and explored.

"The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B." Sandra Gulland

"The Many Lives & Secret Sorrows of Josephine B." by Sandra Gulland is an historical fiction novel with (for me) a bit of a twist. It is written in diary form. At first I wasn't sure about reading a 'journal'. I thought it would feel disjointed, I was wrong. The journal hits all of the highs and lows. The feel is even more 'real' given that Ms. Gulland uses not just the dates and places where the entries were written, but also times of day in some cases and partial/entire letters written to Rose. She was known as Rose before she met, then married, Napoleon; he gave her the name 'Josephine'.

Finding out that she had a different name for her first 32 years was just one of many things that I learned from reading this book. "The Many Lives..." is the first of a series. I will definitely be reading the other two in this series.


In the first volume of a new trilogy that combines meticulously researched history and superb storytelling, Gulland recounts the story of a young Josephine Bonaparte, who is destined to become one of the most sophisticated and powerful women in history.

Another review can be found at:
Reading Adventures

Up Next was: "The Prometheus Project: Trapped" by Douglas E. Richards {review coming soon}

"Heart-Shaped Box" Joe Hill

For the first two-thirds of this book, I could only read it during the day. I got creeped out the first night that I was reading "Heart-Shaped Box". Every little noise that I heard was “something coming to get me”. Only one thing kept me from giving this book 5 stars; I don’t feel comfortable recommending “Heart-Shaped Box” to anyone who doesn’t like horror. There is gore.

In the beginning of “Heart-Shaped Box” by Joe Hill heavy-metal rock star Judas Coyne (formerly Justin Cowzynski) is told by his assistant, Danny, of a woman selling a suit online. A suit with the ghost of her dead step-father attached to it. Jude has quite a collection of occult and macabre items, not the least of which is a genuine snuff film given to him by a cop.

I am honestly trying to NOT compare this to any Stephen King book, but I can’t help it. The only other time I was this creeped out by a book was near the end of “Heart in Atlantis” (I kept feeling like someone was sitting on the other side of the bed and then getting up, sitting down, getting up…). I know that Joe Hill is Stephen King’s son, but seriously, comparisons would be made to the “King” of Horror even if that wasn’t the case. If you enjoy horror, you need to check out “Heart-Shaped Box”. I already have “20th Century Ghosts” (book of short stories by Joe Hill) on my WishList on PaperBackSwap.


Sooner or later, the dead catch up . . .

Judas Coyne was a collector. The bizarre, the uncanny, the grotesque. A cookbook for cannibals. A used hangman’s noose. A snuff film. Many of these objects were gifts from the black-clad fans who made his metal band a legend and made him rich.

But not all. When his personal assistant told him there was a ghost for sale on the Internet, Jude knew he had to have it for his private collection, didn’t think twice. He should have. Jude has spent a lifetime evading ghosts -- of an abusive father, of the bandmates he betrayed, of Anna, the suicidal girl he loved and abandoned. But this spirit is different. This one means to chase him to the edge of sanity.

His new acquisition -- delivered to his doorstep in a black heart-shaped box -- is the restless soul of Anna’s vengeful stepdaddy. Craddock McDermott swore he would settle with Jude for ruining his daughter’s life. Soon, everywhere Jude turns, Craddock is there: behind the bedroom door; in Jude’s restored vintage Mustang; outside his window; on his widescreen TV. Waiting -- with a gleaming razor blade on a chain dangling from one bony hand.

If ever there was a case of caveat emptor, this is it . . .