Monthly Archives: June 2010

Insatiable by Meg Cabot

As the summer has now started, three of the five books on my Books of Summer post have been released. First up for review is Insatiable.


Insatiable Book CoverSick of vampires? So is Meena Harper.But her boss is making her write about them anyway, even though Meena doesn’t believe in them.

Not that Meena isn’t familiar with the supernatural. See, Meena Harper knows how you’re going to die (not that you’re going to believe her; no one ever does).

But not even Meena’s precognition can prepare her for what happens when she meets—then makes the mistake of falling in love with—Lucien Antonescu, a modern-day prince with a bit of a dark side . . . a dark side a lot of people, like an ancient society of vampire-hunters, would prefer to see him dead for.

The problem is, he already is dead. Maybe that’s why he’s the first guy Meena’s ever met that she could see herself having a future with. See, while Meena’s always been able to see everyone else’s future, she’s never been able look into her own.

And while Lucien seems like everything Meena has ever dreamed of in a boyfriend, he might turn out to be more like a nightmare.

Now might be a good time for Meena to start learning to predict her own future . . .

If she even has one.

It took me no time at all to reach 48 books read this year. Getting to 49 has proved to be tricky. Despite the fact I have a great pile of new books sitting next to my bed, none of them have really grabbed my attention. Once I purchased Insatiable the opposite was true. I could not wait for some free time to start reading! I picked up the book and was immediately hooked. I devoured the book in a day.

As a person who is over the whole “Vampire” craze, I was interested to read Meg Cabot’s take on the subject. In the first half of the book she seemed to discuss many of the issues that I have with the vampire novels. I was excited by this because I thought it meant she would avoid these pitfalls. However as the book progressed, the opposite occurred. Does the main character find out that her boyfriend is a vampire yet still need to be with him? Yes! Is the main character just an “ordinary everyday woman” yet the two main men fall in love with her? Yup! Do these two men have a need to kill each other? Of course! These are just a few of the things Cabot had spent the first 100 pages complaining about, and here she was committing the same sins.

Despite the fact that the author hit so many of these plot pitfalls that I despise, I still ended up enjoying the book; perhaps it was due to the great overall plot. Cabot’s great storytelling ability may have won me over. The interesting characters may have been the factor that added to my enjoyment. Of course it was probably all of these great things combined that led to a tale I found interesting and engaging, despite the few issues I had with the story.

Review: While I was hesitant to read another vampire drama, my love for Meg Cabot’s work made me pick up this book. Once I started the novel I could not put it down. Although I did roll my eyes at some of the plot points, I found the completed product to be a great read.

Hollywood Is like High School with Money by Zoey Dean

Next up is a book that helps me cross off a book for the 2010 Chick Lit Challenge.


Hollywood Is High School With MoneyDean delivers another pop artifact in her latest riff on the Gossip Girl generation, this time dressing up the goings-on with a very Devil Wears Prada vibe. Landing a job as second assistant to Iris Whitaker, a Metronome Studios hotshot, sounds like a dream come true for Ohio native Taylor Henning, who naturally wants to make it big in Hollywood. But this fish out of water needs to learn quickly how to swim with the sharks, as Iris’s first assistant, Kylie Arthur, would prefer she drowns. Thankfully, a fairy godmother appears in the fierce form of Quinn, Iris’s 16-year-old daughter, who suggests Taylor follow her surefire high school rules: fake it till you make it; speak up in class; make one cool friend; and realize lunch is a battleground. But there are unforeseen consequences for Taylor, who remembers some age-old advice just in time. It’s a slick little novel: catty, glitzy and just mean enough.

I discovered Zoey Dean while browsing the book section at Target. I noticed her A-list series in the store and purchased the first story. Over the next few years, I read many of the books in the series. I was excited to find out that Dean had published a non-YA novel, How to Teach Filthy Rich Girls, which I read and enjoyed.

I kept purchasing new works by Dean because I found each new story entertaining and original. The plot of each book was unexpected and enjoyable. As a result, I was excited to see that Dean had published a second novel, Hollywood Is like High School with Money. I expected the same great story telling in this latest release, however I was largely disappointed.

The main problem with this story was that I felt as if I had read it before. The story line was largely predictable with its “20-something relocating from Middle America to a big city” tale. Taylor, the main character, hits a rough time at first, but starts to be able to maneuver the difficult world of working with celebrities. With the help of a surprising ally, she falls into the classic pitfall of becoming overconfident, which leads to her hitting a road block. In the end her ability to stick with it leads to a happy ending.

There was one plot-line in the story that I did find original. This was the fact that Taylor’s ally was her boss’s 16-year-old daughter Quinn. While this had the opportunity to make the story more creative, it just ended up not being believable. The fact that such an integral part of the story didn’t feel real dampened my enjoyment of the story.

Review: The combination of predictable plot and forgettable characters led to a book that was just OK. This book would be a good vacation or beach read: entertaining but not really memorable.

The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler

The next book up for review is The Council of Dads: My Daughters, My Illness, and the Men Who Could Be Me by Bruce Feiler. This book was another first-read from


The Council Of Dads book coverBestselling author Bruce Feiler was a young father when he was diagnosed with cancer. He instantly worried what his daughters’ lives would be like without him. “Would they wonder who I was? Would they wonder what I thought? Would they yearn for my approval, my love, my voice?”

Three days later he came up with a stirring idea of how he might give them that voice. He would reach out to six men from all the passages in his life, and ask them to be present in the passages in his daughters’ lives. And he would call this group “The Council of Dads.”

“I believe my daughters will have plenty of opportunities in their lives,” he wrote to these men. “They’ll have loving families. They’ll have each other. But they may not have me. They may not have their dad. Will you help be their dad?”

The Council of Dads is the inspiring story of what happened next. Feiler introduces the men in his Council and captures the life lesson he wants each to convey to his daughters–how to see, how to travel, how to question, how to dream. He mixes these with an intimate, highly personal chronicle of his experience battling cancer while raising young children, along with vivid portraits of his father, his two grandfathers, and various father figures in his life that explore the changing role of fathers in America.

This is the work of a master storyteller confronting the most difficult experience of his life and emerging with wisdom and hope. The Council of Dads is a touching, funny, and ultimately deeply moving book on how to live life, how the human spirit can respond to adversity, and how to deepen and cherish the friendships that enrich our lives.

Just by reading the description of this story I knew it was going to be a tearjerker. The book did not disappoint. Right from the first chapter, I found myself emotionally attached the the author and his family. I needed to read more to find out how they survived during the author’s year-long ordeal.

One of the things I enjoyed about this book was the chapter layout. The first chapter in this pattern was a letter written by the author to his friends and family. This was followed by a chapter introducing one of the “dads” to the reader. The last chapter was one in which the “dad” and Feiler discussed what that dad would pass along to the author’s children if he passed. While it was possible for these chapters to feel disjointed, each worked well together to tell a complete story.

The chapters consisting of the letters were my favorite. One of the reasons I enjoyed these so much is that they were able to give an update about the author’s condition with a human touch. They discussed things such as Feiler’s heath and how his family had been coping with his illness. I found these chapters were a a great tool to help pace the story. They were a great way to quickly cover several months worth of time while still keeping the reader informed.

As the author was telling a very personal story, I could of easily felt like an outsider throughout the book. The lack of experience I have with dealing with cancer in my family could of made it hard to relate to the journey told. Neither of these things was a problem. The author does such a fantastic job telling his story that you feel like you are right there with him. You celebrate his highs as if they are your own. When he is suffering you wish that you were there to support him. The author’s ability to make his journey your own helps make this book a must read.

Review: This was a fantastic read that was impossible to put down. The author had my interest and I was riveted throughout his year long battle. Despite the fact I had little in common with the author, I found myself often relating to his situation and enjoying his story.