Monday, February 28, 2011

March Pick A Book Giveaway

For the March Pick A Book, there are two choices, both paperbacks.

Moonface by Angela Balcita is a memoir about a woman with kidney disease. See review here:

The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson is a historical fiction novel of Shakespeare's Tempest. See review here:

Leave a comment, stating which book you desire, and a way I can contact you. I only give away ONE. On the last day of the month, Jazzy the Japanese Chin will choose a winner from her dog bowl. This will occur at mine and her convenience, no set time.

Good luck, all!

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Moonface by Angela Balcita

This is a memoir written by a woman who has a kidney disease. I won't get into all the medical jargon that none of us can spell or pronounce, but just try to sum it up real quick.

Angela's kidney began failing her when she was in College. It would no longer clean her blood. Her brother stepped in and gave her his kidney. Ten  years later, she rejects the kidney and has to go on dialysis. By this point, she is with Charlie.

Charlie is a really likable guy. He remains positive when Angela gets down. "This is a new moment for you. This is the new you. Pretend for a second that everything you're scared of is getting washed out by this machine. That somehow, you'll come out of this whole thing feeling refreshed and brand new. Healthy. Maybe even better than before."

And Charlie gives her his kidney. This can make or break a relationship. What if her body rejects his kidney? What does that mean for them? Does that signify that their love will not last either?

Here is where I started to frown. I would think at this point, that Angela would count her blessings and finally be happy, but after a few years, she decides she wants a baby too and organ transplantees with previously failed kidneys don't have a good track record with the baby thing.

Full disclosure: I have never been equipped with the maternal gene. I have never had any desire whatsoever to have a baby. In 1979 when the baby gods were passing out genes to unborn fetuses, they forgot to hand me that one. So the last quarter of the book... I didn't like it. It goes on and on about wanting a baby, chili cravings, desire to see the baby. Angela did not want to adopt, despite the risks she was taking to herself and the unborn child and despite the fact that there are million of homeless babies and children out there.. so this is a personal issue for me. I was put off.


Of course, she loses her husband's kidney after that, no big surprise. The big surprise is that a third donor steps up to hand over her kidney, but I found myself wondering.. what is going to happen to that kidney when another baby craving pops up?

**End of Spoiler**

I think it's a touching story that most people, women anyway, will really like though I didn't feel the writing flowed together all that well. 

I bought this on Amazon. 

Saturday, February 26, 2011

Our Lives Are the Rivers by Jaime Manrique

Wow. A very good book. This is a historical novel about Simon Bolivar, the "Liberator" and the woman he loved, Manuela Saenz, "liberatadora del libertador," the liberator of the liberator. Bolivar was known as a dictator. His goal was to liberate South America from Spanish rule and unite the countries into one country: Gran Colombia.

The book begins with a young Manuela. She is a bastard and her deceased mother's family treats her as one. She is sent to a convent for schooling where her and her friend Rosita notice strange goings on and visitations at night. "Manuela, I'm not sure what they're doing in there, but I don't believe they're saying the rosary."

Funny. :)

The novel continues and chronicles Manuela's reunitement and then estrangement with her father and his family, her doomed elopement with a Spanish soldier, her arranged marriage to an Englishman, her assistance in liberating Equador from Spanish rule, and finally, she meets Bolivar when she hits him on the head with a laurel wreath.

They have a passionate love affair that lasts for years. "From that day on, I counted the hours of the day till evening, anticipating that moment when i would lie again in bed with him. Our hunger for each other was insatiable."

This is scandalous because she is still married to the Englishman. However, her own matrimonial ties do not stop her from threatening Bolivar should he dare to have an indiscretion.

-Feeling his swelling press against me, I said, "Simon Bolivar, you listen to me, senor, Liberator or not, if I find out you're making love to other women, I will get to Guayaquil before you know it and"-I squeezed his member-"I will cut this off, pickle it, and send it as a present to King Ferdinand."

Don't let her picture fool you. This is not a docile woman. She even holds a pistol on a visitor in her parlor and gives him five seconds to get out of her sight.

The story is told from her viewpoint and the viewpoints of her slaves. I think the entire story could have been told from Manuela's POV alone, but the effect in the end tied up rather well.

The only thing preventing me from giving this a 5 is at times Manuela irritates me. She begs and whines to Bolivar constantly, "Take me with you.. you better not cheat on me..blah blah." And when he does cheat on her, she slaps him, slaps the wench, and takes him right back. She appears very weak at times. Also, she professes to be against slavery, but at all times, she has Jonata and Natal serving her food, following her around the country, taking care of her. When Natal requests freedom in order to get married, she is denied and forced to go fight alongside Manuela complete in a Colonel's attire. And.. well, honestly, after you publicily cuckold your husband and run to the General's bed, do you really thinking you're entitled to any of his estate? I beg to differ, chica.

The story ends sadly with an on old Manuela exiled to Jamaica after having survived assassination attempts alongside her lover, Colombia's political upheaval, and the loss of her native home. The conclusion consists of the plague and a piece of paper floating on the wind that says, Come to me. Come soon. Come sooner. Truly, an amazing ending.

Manuela was a brave woman worth reading about. If this novel is to be believed, she saved Bolivar's life two times.

Four stars and I got this from the Library.

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Emily and Einstein by Linda Francis Lee

Once upon a time, there was a woman named Emily. She was naive. She met Sandy and fell in love and married him and never realized.. or I should say she refused to see what was in front of her.. that Sandy was a bad husband and a horrible person.

Sandy didn't even realize this about himself... until he was dead. Upon his death, Sandy strikes a deal with the "grim reaper" of sorts. The deal is: he gets a second chance, but under the Grim Reaper's terms. The grim reaper's terms: Sandy must fix things from the body of a dog. As the Grim Reaper so bluntly states: Sandy was a dog as a man. Things are just being reversed.

What follows is a tale full of heartache, anger, and realization. Heartache because Emily must find herself again. She's struggling in her job, falling into a slump of depression. What she had with Sandy... wasn't. Anger because as the book unfolds, it becomes appalling to the reader how Sandy treated Emily. And even as Einstein, he's a jerk sometimes, thinking thoughts of hate and jealousy. Sandy had numerous affairs, made Emily pay for stuff just to be spiteful (She isn't the wealthy one), and even in his death is denying her their very own home. Realization because I felt this book really makes one look deep into their own selves. I found myself pondering why we, humans, treat people the way we do sometimes.

The narrative goes back and forth between Emily and Einstein (Sandy) and I thought the dog's parts were superbly done.

-Instantly, I was set upon. Noses up my hindquarters, muzzles in my face. Good God Almighty. "Back off," I barked.

-I put up with the attention as best I could until an overly amorous poodle tried to have her way with me. I had dated models more discreet that that blasted poodle. So really what was I supposed to do? I turned on the went and snapped at her.

I have one quibble with this book: Too often, Emily is a pushover, especially with her sister, Jordan. I couldn't stand Jordan. If I had a sister like that, I would check myself into the nearest orphanage.

However, with Einstein's help, Emily just may get her life together... Can she run a marathon? Save her job? Find love? Keep her apartment? Forgive Sandy? All with the help of a dog....

Five stars. I won this on Library Thing.

Saturday, February 19, 2011

The Raven's Bride by Lenore Hart

First of all, this is one of the best covers I have seen this year. Absolutely gorgeous.

This is a historical novel about Edgar Allan Poe and his wife, Virginia aka Sissy. It is told from Sissy's POV and begins in Baltimore with her as a child playing with dolls and ends with her "haunting" Edgar in a way.

Sissy and Edgar are cousins. She loves him from the moment she sees him and they agree to marry and he promises to always care for her and her mother. They marry when she is a mere 13 years of age, almost 14 and he is 26. (They don't do it for a while though.. she's 16 before they get it on...)

Basically, they move from place to place while Edgar writes, succumbs to the drink here and there, quits his editing jobs, and uproots them all over again. Sissy's mother pretty much becomes their maid, follows them everywhere, cooks, cleans, does laundry, takes care of them when they are sick. I liked the mother despite the fact she pretty much runs the show. She says something thought evoking at one point, "People have often needed me, but-no one ever wanted me before to, to ... just be with them."

Sissy just sings, plays music, gardens, walks to the market, and eventually ends up coughing a lot. She gets consumption. This is what I didn't like... Sissy feels.. worthless.. always has mommy to do everything for her.

The novel is well written and a superb look at the life of Edgar Allan Poe and what was behind his dark musings, poetry, and writing, but by the time I reached the 70 % mark, it grew repetitive and I grew bored.

Favorite quote, again from the mother: "you can't complain of things to a man, for you see, it only irritates and makes them angry. At least when it's not something they can quickly remedy."

Three stars. I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Deliverance from Evil by Frances Hill

Deliverance from Evil
The evil in this book does not stem from Satan... Rather it comes from deep inside the human psyche from jealousy, bitterness, and resentment.

A passage in here sums it up really well. (I have an ARC so things may be different in the actual publication.)

"For his unknowable ends God had made men and women capable of causing terrible harm to one another, of not only, in the words of the psalm, breathing out cruelty, but of acting out cruelty. Those who thought themselves righteous, it seemed, often inflicted most suffering."

This is a novel of the Salem witch trials. In this retelling of the tale, it all begins with one mistreated girl who has some kind of seizure.... and leads to another girl having a convulsion. Heaven forbid that other chick get all the attention, right? And before you know it, an entire gaggle of girls are having convulsions and pointing their fingers at various citizens of Salem. Nevermind that all these citizens have at some time or another crossed one of the accusers father. If four girls claim you are a witch and that they can see your specter and that just the sight of you can give them convulsions... well, you must be a witch. And if you are deaf and cannot hear the accusations properly? Well, you must be a witch, especially if you leave carpets outside all day and they get rained on... (Seriously, you have to read it to understand that.)

The back of my ARC says, "old scores would be settled." What a way of going about it.

In the thick of it all, unknowingly at first, is George Burrough (accused) and his wife, Mary. While these rigged trials continue (the touch test.. my gawd!!), George sits shackled in jail while Mary tries to prove his innocence. But how to prove his innocence in a town of mass hysteria? The town goes mad and soon too many are faced with a difficult choice: be the accused and possibly hung or be an accuser.

Which choice would you make?

As with most Salem witch books, Deliverance is spooky and dark and makes the reader ponder just how much humans can hate and how far their vindictiveness will go.

The trials got a bit repetitive with the girls writhing, throwing themselves on the floor, screaming, and awaiting Putnam's further command. I think those particular scenes should have been changed up a bit.

Four stars. I received this ARC from the publisher.

Sunday, February 13, 2011

Timeless by Alexandra Monir

I loved this book. I have only good to things to say about it. When I picked it up, I was a tad worried. Most contemporary YA novels contain insolent, spoiled, bratty heroines. Not so, Timeless.

The heroine is Michele. She wants to be a song writer, loves her mother, never knew her dad, and she is not a brat, but a likeable and realistic chick.

When tragedy occurs she finds herself living with her very wealthy grandparents whom she has never met before in the Windsor Mansion, a relic of New York's gilded age. In the Author's Notes, it is revealed that the book's mansion is based on the following (as far as exterior), Marble House in Newport.

In this old mansion, Michele comes across a key and the key combined with the mysteries and history of the mansion, send her back in time to 1910 where she changes the course of history by falling in love with one of her ancestor's fiances... But how can this love last? She is really stuck in 2010 and he is stuck in 1910. She can travel back briefly, but cannot stay.. and there is bound to come a time when she can't go back at all.

Ever heard the saying, "If you really love someone, let them go?" Michele may have to...

I was sucked into this story, couldn't put it down. I loved the time travel and the scenes Michele witnessed. She not only goes back to 1910, but also the flapper era with singing and speakeasys, and to WWII where she witnesses America's patriotism and women banding together. I loved Lily. She deserves her very own novel. I fell in love with Philip myself, never wanted their romance to end.

Some questions regarding Michele's lost father are answered as well... And there was a scene between Michele and her mother that made me bawl..

Mom: "But I'm always here with you, just as Philip is. And I've already fulfilled my purpose on this earth."

Michele: "What was it?"

Mom: "Bringing you into the world of course."

Great stuff and had both a sad and happy ending. I'm eager to see where the author is going to go with this. My only complaint: I gotta wait till 2012 to find out. That's too long!

5 stars and I bought this on Amazon.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

Sultana by Lisa J. Yarde

I'm very impressed with this novel. It's about a Sultan's granddaughter (and Sultan's daughter.. depends on who sits on the throne) who is married at the tender age of eight amidst much war between clans, tribes, and kingdoms.

The Sultana is Fatima. When she is married off to Faraj, a war breaks out because she was supposed to be married to a member of the Ashqilula tribe, as tradition dictates. Her mother kidnaps her in order to save her, but instead Fatima ends up witnessing her murder. What follows throughout the novel is war.. War between Fatima's people and the Ashquilula people and between Fatima's people and another group of people (starts with M.. can't spell it) and war between Fatima's people and Castillians and also the Aragons. Are you confused by all that? I was confused half the time too. My eyes glazed over at times over all the politics and after a while I lost track of who was battling who and who had betrayed who.. That is the only thing preventing me from giving this a five star.

However, the story of Fatima and Faraj had me on the edge of my seat. She is 8 years old in the beginning.. so not much action there, but as the novel continues, she grows into a young woman and slowly her and Faraj begin to love each other. They don't "get it on" till the 70% mark and the anticipation by then just built up wonderfully. Great job, Ms. Yarde!

There is some conflict regarding Faraj's concubines, the Sultan's concubine, an aunt that betrays the kingdom in some way, Fatima struggling to pregnant, Faraj trying to fight off his thirst for revenge, and even Fatima's brother does something appalling. The last 15 % really had me tense with excitement as Faraj is accused of committing a crime... and Fatima tries to save him. Did he do it?

Fatima is a strong heroine. She even holds her husband at the tip of her arrow in one scene. LOVED that!

Truly I was impressed. If I hadn't been confused sometimes by the politics and all the different groups, I would have gave this a five. A little thing that bugged me: How does Fatima's hair color go from ink black in the beginning to copper?

Favorite quote: "All beauty fades with time. What shall never fade is the power of your mind."

Four stars.

I bought this on Amazon Kindle.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Murder is a Family Business by Heather Haven

There's a lot to like about this story. You got a 34 year old strong Latina woman, Lee Alvarez with a closet full of designer clothes, a classic car, and a kitten named Tugger (cause he tugs on your heartstrings.) Plus, this chick is a P.I. and part owner of an elite investigative company that specializes in computer and technology and theft and.. stuff.  That stuff rarely includes stake outs on cheating husbands, but because of a special request from a friend of the family, Lee finds herself on one and the cheating husband being spied upon winds up dead. No, she didn't do it..

But events that follow have others thinking she did.. Lee keeps finding herself in all the wrong places at the wrong times and ends up uncovering more than she bargained for. This is a mystery so I can't reveal too much, but let's just say Lee ends up in the hospital with chopped off hair that thankfully gets salvaged into this look:

Audrey Hepburn in "Roman Holiday"
 I knew whodunit long before it was officially revealed. Call it a hunch or a nagging feeling, but I enjoyed the story and how it was told. I especially like the heroine and her wit and the funny way she expresses her thoughts, like comparing her mother's friend to a dog.. LOL She's also real. She gets saved, but also does some saving of her own. She's not Super Woman, but neither is she is damsel in distress.

Something else that I really like is the way it educates readers about San Francisco. It mentions numerous historical places or streets with interesting facts about them. However, it is incorporated into the story. For example, I have been to Coit Tower, but I never realized until reading it in here, that the building was intended to look like a fire hose.

5 stars. I received this ebook from the publisher and I understand it is the first in a series, The Alvarez Family Murder Mystery Series.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

"WHERE THE DOG STAR NEVER GLOWS" by Tara L. Masih is Now Available on Ebook

I reviewed this book last year. See review here: and I liked it enough that I want to let everyone know, especially my fellow ebook readers, that there is special going on right now. Not only has it been released on ebook, but until March 1st, it is on sale for $4.49.

To purchase it on Untreed Reads, here is the link:

For my fellow kindle users it is $4.50:

And for you Nook users (tsk, tsk) it also $4.50:

For those of you that do not yet have an ereader (Shame on you!!) you can read it on your computer if you want. That option and pdf format is available on Untreed Reads as well.

And there is also a Giveaway for this going on!!!! For more information on that and how to enter:

So I just wanted to give you all a heads up and again, do click on the link to view my review.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

The Gentleman Poet by Kathryn Johnson

 I'm very impressed with the writing style of this. It does not feel like a debut at all, but like it is written by a very experienced and established author. Very well done.

The year is 1609 and a young woman, Elizabeth, is a servant to a cruel witch of a lady aboard a ship sailing from England to the new colony, Virginia. A storm causes them to be shipwreched in the Bermudas where they wash up on a little island and proceed to build a little camp of sorts, attempt to maintain law and order, and build a new ship.

You wouldn't think there would be much intrigue on a little island full of castaways but there is.. There's mutiny, marriage, attempted rape, and a secretive poet passenger.. William Shakespeare.

Shakespeare becomes a father figure to Elizabeth while Elizabeth struggles to satisfy her evil mistress, gather miscellaneous herbs from the island, cook for the colony, and fend off the unwanted advances of a man named Thomas.

This is where it bothered me. One day she is cursing Thomas, telling him to go away, and the next day she is missing him, pining for him, and then bedding him. Her personality changes so drastically from page to the next... This brings this novel down to a four star.

It is superbly written, however. I liked how Elizabeth comes to battle her inner demons regarding men and how she begins a friendly comeptition of sorts with the cook, Thomas, as she attempts to outdo him in cooking.

Favorite quote: "How was it that men obsessed on the female form? The mere passing of a fully dressed woman set their bodies to stiffening. Drunk at the sight of her, even if not a swallow of ale had passed their lips, they'd titter and guffaw amongst themselves. Revolting behavoir!"

I bought this book from Amazon.

Saturday, February 5, 2011

A Wing and a Prayer by Ginger Simpson

When I saw this cover, I had to read the book. See, I fancied myself a flight attendant at one time, but alas.. it was not meant to be... The FAA frowns upon deaf flight attendants.. safety hazard, you know? LOL

Nevertheless, I enjoyed this short, very short story. Callie is fresh out of flight attendant school and on her first trans atlantic flight, Cali to England. On top of pre flight jitters, discomfort with sitting backwards, and slight fear of turbulence, Callie has two interesting passengers; one a sexy cowboy complete with stetson and dreamy blue eyes (sigh) and one an Arab appearing man with a gun under his jacket and dark black eyes...

Callie gets a bit uncomfortable with it all. The cowboy unnerves her and the Arab has her frightened. Was it a gun she seen or a cell phone? Should she say something? It's her first day on the job. She can't very well accuse a passenger of packing and then have him whip out a blackberry... How embarassing.

So Callie begins to have serious doubts about her career choice.. And then all hell breaks lose... and Callie passes out. This is my sole complaint about the story and the only reason it doesn't hit the five star mark for me. Things get good and interesting and the action heats up and the heroine passes out... when she wakes, we get to find out what happened through her fellow co worker's brief narrative. Though I must say, I didn't see this coming. The ending surprised me.

A very short story with a very good moral. Four stars

Friday, February 4, 2011

Credo's Hope by Alison Naomi Holt

This is the first in a new police detective series, the detective being a tough, but realistic woman named Alex. Her partner is another tough chick, Casey. Her boss is also a strong woman, Kate, and throughout the novel, one strong, remarkable, or ballsy woman after another enters the picture. There's Gina, a Mafia boss who smokes cigars and has people kidnapped. There's Megan, a dog trainer that usually gets her way and flashes her boobs at drive thru employees. (It's hillarious. You have to read it to understand.)

Alex is talked into investigating a closed case by her friend Meg. There's a chance a man is wrongly imprisoned and about to die for a crime he did not commit. Unfortunately for Alex, however, the lead detective on the old case is now a very high up officer on the force... This does not bode well for her career and she steps on numerous toes just to get a few answers. Not to mention, someone has been following her and shooting at her since she started asking questions, she gets kidnapped, hit on the head, and ends up needing an air tight alibi for a sticky situation...

Meanwhile, another case is ongoing. Someone has been shooting prostitutes, a little girl is hospitalized, a rental home trashed... and chasing this culprit leads to two ER visits for Alex. Thankfully, Alex has two really cool friends in the ER, both nurses, one a bisexual man with a major dose of sex appeal.

And did I mention that one of these cases leads to Alex meeting a lady Mafia boss? GREAT STUFF.

There's no lack of excitement, but for me the best thing was the humor. I laughed numerous times at the character's mishaps or comments. Alex's thoughts were funny as well:

"...the aunt was showing a pretty vivid imagination concerning various parts of my anatomy. I was pretty sure I couldn't do most of the sex acts she suggested, but I tucked them away anyway so I could run them by Marcos (the sexy bisexual nurse) to see if he thought any of them were possible. Some actually sounded pretty interesting, but I think I'd had to do some stretching first."

I love Alex and the other strong woman characters. I think this is a great beginning to what looks like it will be a fun, exciting, and funny detective series. I have only one complaint: The story of how Alex finds her dog, Tessa.. good stuff, but the tale is related via her telling it in a diner. I think it should have been "experienced" by readers and would have been a good addition to the book, perhaps in the beginning, seeing as the incident occurrs just days before the prostitute gets shot and demands fifteen bucks from Alex for "copping a feel." (Again, you would have to read it. Very funny.)

I enjoyed this very much despite my one complaint and look forward to reading the rest of the series. 5 stars.

I downloaded the ebook from smashwords.

Tuesday, February 1, 2011

Finding Jack by Gareth Crocker

While reading this book, I thought about my dad. No, he was not in Vietnam, but he was a soldier and this book is full of testosterone and war. (There is not a single woman character until the end but I loved it!!) I told him I was reading a Vietnam novel and asked if he liked to read soldier/war/Vietnam books. My dad said they can get a bit wild, that there was often too much drug use in them.

This gets a bit wild with booby traps, intense fear everday, jumping out of helicopters into enemy fire, night watches, covert missions, and lots of killing, but the men do not use drugs to get through their trials. Instead there is comradeship, bonds formed between men, and there is a dog named Jack. It's about a soldier and how, believe it or not, he finds a way to heal in the war torn jungle of Vietnam with a dog by his side.

Fletcher is still reeling from the loss of his wife and daughter and goes to Vietnam with a death wish.  
Jack is a lab. There's a lot of drama surrounding the finding and rescue of Jack. I didn't realize until reading this book that dogs played such a large role in the Vietnam war. They were able to sniff out traps, aid in rescues, and provide moral support. Jack does all the above and then some as he walks by Fletcher's side.

But....When the war is declared over, some 4000 dogs that have aided the soldiers, saved lives and risked their own, and braved the war are declared "surplus military equipment." Jack is about to be abandoned and Fletcher knows "that just as he had lost his wife and daughter, he was on the brink of losing Jack. He knew that if that happened, then he, too, would be lost."

The last quarter is another adventure as Fletcher and Jack hike for approximately a month thru Vietnam and Laos, struggling to reach Thailand in hopes that the American friendly country can help them get home, both of them. There's hungry tigers, more soldiers, and once again, Jack proves he's more than "just a dog."

I thoroughly enjoyed this book. I enjoyed the soldiers' POV about the war and the situations they faced everyday. I enjoyed the bonding, jesting, ribbing, and grief the men shared. I actually came to know and like each one of the men and found myself mourning the losses just as though I was in the novel. I found myself growing teary eyed as the men sang Amazing Grace over a dead comrade in a helicopter. I was moved. And of course, I loved Jack.

I also liked reading about Fletcher's conflicting emotions about the killing he was performing. There's one situation in which he really questions what he is doing.. when he must follow orders but doesn't feel good about what he is doing. I found this thought evoking.  Sometimes, a soldier's duty to country conflicts with his duty to humanity.

Laugh out loud quote from one of the soldiers: "You know, for some time now, I've been seriously contemplating sticking my boot--laced or otherwise--up your ass. But I can't figure out which end it is."

Five stars.

Note to readers: Have a tissue handy.

I got this ARC from the publisher and all pictures are from the U.S. National Archives.

Countdown: Lady Pilots

Time for this month's Countdown!  What is Countdown?  It's a feature I have started in which I pick a topic, genre, country, or subject and list five books that I have read related to that topic or subject.  There is a 5 star read (loved it!), a four star read (liked it), a three star read (it was okay but had some issues and I'm not recommending it to 5000 people), a two star read (had a LOT of issues, I struggled with it), and the dreaded one star read (I hated it).

This month's topic is one of my favorites: Lady Pilots.

Five star read:
FlygirlFlygirl by Sheri L. Smith. First published in 2009. It's a YA historical about a young African American girl who wants to join the WASP during WWII... Problem is, the WASP is whites only. So what does this gutsy gal do? She passes herself off as white and she becomes a WASP even though her mother and her best friend don't approve.. Terrific look at life in the 1940s for an African American female and what life was like on Avenger field. And of course, Ida faces numerous conflicts.. A book I plan to read again.

Four star read:
The Woman in the WingThe Woman in the Wing by Jean Sheldon. First published in 2008. Historical fiction and mystery. A WASP pilot, Char is "demoted" to riveter when she refuses to sleep with the boss. She thinks she is demoted, but I assure all of you that being a sheet metal mechanic is NOT a demotion. Without us, those planes would not be flying.. However, I digress. Char is undercover in an aircraft factory... someone is sabotaging the planes.. and the war effort. Has a Nancy Drew feel. Didn't hit the 5 star mark due to too much repetition, but an enjoyable read.

Three star read:
The Lady in the SpitfireThe Lady in the Spitfire by Helena P. Schrader. First published in 2006. Historical fiction, WWII again, but this one takes place in England where the heroine is a ferry pilot. Great air battles and aircraft descriptions. My quibbles: The roomate and her love affairs. Couldn't stand her. The romance between the hero and heroine fell flat and I didn't care for her love interest either.

Two star read:
The Flamboyant: A NovelThe Flamboyant by Lori Marie Carlson. First published in 2002. Though it takes place in one my favorite settings, Puerto Rico, the story was rushed, the heroine rarely took the skies, and there was little to no detail whatsoever about planes. The heroine has numerous suitors that she leads along and refuses to marry, her very own leopard as a pet, and collects jewelry as a mere hobby. There is also very little conversation. It's really just a spoiled woman in PR who happens to have a pilot's license.

One star read:
I Was Amelia EarhartI Was Amelia Earhart by Jane Mendelsohn. First published in 1996. The worst Amelia book I have ever read. The narrative bounces back and forth constantly from first person to third. I only finished it because it was the only bit of reading material I happened to have with me on a trip to the lake. Very short read. Two hours max.