Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Books I've Read In September 2011

1) You'll Never Nanny In This Town Again: The True Adventures Of A Hollywood Nanny, by Suzanne Hansen
Hilarious and addictive, this chronicle of a small-town girl’s stint as a celebrity nanny reveals what really happens in the diaper trenches of Hollywood.

When Oregon native Suzanne Hansen becomes a live-in nanny to the children of Hollywood ├╝ber-agent Michael Ovitz, she thinks she’s found the job of her dreams. But Hansen’s behind-the-scenes access soon gets her much more than she bargained for: working twenty-four hours a day, juggling the shifting demands of the Hollywood elite, and struggling to comprehend wealth unimaginable to most Americans, not to mention dealing with the expected tantrums and the unexpected tense–and intense–atmosphere in the house where she lives with her employers.

When the thankless drudgery takes its toll and Hansen finally quits, her boss threatens to blackball her from ever nannying in Hollywood again. Discouraged but determined, Hansen manages to land gigs with Debra Winger and then Danny DeVito and Rhea Perlman. Attentive, welcoming parents with a relaxed attitude toward celebrity–looks like Hansen’s fallen into a real-life happy ending. But the round-the-clock workdays continue, rubbing some of the glitter off L.A. living, and Hansen’s not sure how much longer she can pretend to be Mary Poppins.
Even bosses who treat her like family can’t help as she struggles to find meaning in her work while living in a town that seems to lack respect for nannies and everyone else who comes in the employee’s entrance–but without whom many showbiz households would grind to a halt.

Peppering her own journey with true stories and high drama experienced by other nannies to the stars, Hansen offers an intriguing, entertaining mix of tales from the cribs of the rich and famous. You’ll Never Nanny in This Town Again is a treat for everyone who is fascinated by the skewed priorities of Tinseltown, for anyone who has wondered how high-wattage supermoms do it all, and for readers who love peeking behind the curtains of celebrity, all of whom will devour this unparalleled–and unabashedly true–account of one girl’s tour of duty as Hollywood’s hired help.

2) The Duggars: 20 and Counting!: Raising One of America's Largest Families--How They Do It, by Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar
This practical, positive book reveals the many parenting strategies that Jim Bob and Michelle Duggar use as they preside over America’s best-known mega-family. Each time a new baby arrives, the press from around the world clamors for interviews and information. Visitors are amazed to find seventeen (baby number eighteen is due January 1, 2009) well-groomed, well-behaved, well-schooled children in a home that focuses on family, financial responsibility, fun—and must importantly, faith.

Readers will learn about the Duggars’ marriage—how they communicate effectively, make family decisions, and find quality time alone. They’ll discover how the Duggars manage to educate all their children at home, while providing experiences that go beyond the family walls, through vacations and educational trips. And they’ll see how the Duggar family manages their finances and lives debt-free—even when they built their own 7,000-square-foot house.

Answering the oft asked question—How can I do with one or two children what you do with seventeen?—Jim Bob and Michelle reveal how they create a warm and welcoming home filled with what Michelle calls “serene chaos.

3) Traveling With Pomegranates: A Mother And Daughter Journey To The Sacred Places Of Greece, Turkey And France, by Sue Monk Kidd and Ann Kidd Taylor


Sue Monk Kidd has touched the hearts of millions of readers with her beloved novels and acclaimed nonfiction. Now, in this wise and engrossing dual memoir, she and her daughter, Ann, chronicle their travels together through Greece and France at a time when each was on a quest to redefine herself and rediscover each other.

As Sue struggles to enlarge a vision of swarming bees into a novel, and Ann ponders the classic question of what to do with her life, this modern-day Demeter and Persephone explore an array of inspiring figures and sacred sites. They also give voice to that most protean of human connections: the bond of mothers and daughters.

4) The Fairy Godmother (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms), by Mercedes Lackey

In the land of Five Hundred Kingdoms, if you can't carry out your legendary role, life is no fairy tale . . .

Elena Klovis was supposed to be her kingdom's Cinderella -- until an accident of fate left her with a completely inappropriate prince! Determined not to remain with her stepfamily, Elena set out to get a new job -- and ended up becoming the Fairy Godmother for the land.

But "Breaking with Tradition" was no easy matter. True, she didn't have to sleep in the chimney, but she had to deal with arrogant, stuffed-shirt princes who kept trying to rise above their place in the tale. In fact, one of them was so ornery that Elena could do nothing but change him into a donkey.

Still, her practical nature couldn't let him roam the country, so she brought the donkey -- er, the prince! -- home to her cottage to teach him some lessons. All the while keeping in mind that breaking with tradition can land everyone into a kettle of fish -- sometimes literally!

And so begins a whole new tale . . .


5) One Good Knight (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms), by Mercedes Lackey

Another story sparkling with wit and humor from New York Times bestselling author Mercedes Lackey.

Traditionally, marauding dragons are soothed only by a virgin sacrifice. And so practical-minded Princess Andromeda -- with the encouragement of her mother's court -- reluctantly volunteers to do her duty, asking only for a sword to defend herself. Well, her offer is accepted, but the weapon isn't forthcoming, and so Andromeda faces the dragon alone.

Until a Champion arrives to save her -- sort of. Sir George doesn't quite defeat the dragon, but as Andromeda finishes rescuing herself she discovers that beneath the Good Knight's well-meaning though inexperienced heroics lies a further tale . . .

Still, Andromeda can't leave her seacoast country in further jeopardy from the dragon's return, and so she and . . . er . . . George join to search for the dragon's lair. But even -- especially -- in the Five Hundred Kingdoms bucking with Tradition isn't easy. It takes the strongest of wills, more than a hint of stubbornness, quick thinking and a refusal to give up, no matter what happens along the way.

Somehow, though, none of this was taught in princess school . . .

6) Heaven Is For Real: A Little Boy's Astounding Story Of His Trip To Heaven And Back, by Todd Burpo

A young boy emerges from life-saving surgery with remarkable stories of his visit to heaven.

Heaven Is for Real is the true story of the four-year old son of a small town Nebraska pastor who during emergency surgery slips from consciousness and enters heaven. He survives and begins talking about being able to look down and see the doctor operating and his dad praying in the waiting room. The family didn't know what to believe but soon the evidence was clear.

Colton said he met his miscarried sister, whom no one had told him about, and his great grandfather who died 30 years before Colton was born, then shared impossible-to-know details about each. He describes the horse that only Jesus could ride, about how "reaaally big" God and his chair are, and how the Holy Spirit "shoots down power" from heaven to help us.

Told by the father, but often in Colton's own words, the disarmingly simple message is heaven is a real place, Jesus really loves children, and be ready, there is a coming last battle.

7) Dragon's Oath (House of Night Novella #1), by P.C. Cast

The first in an enthralling new mini-series of novellas from the #1 bestselling authors of the House of Night, Dragon’s Oath tells the story behind the House of Night’s formidable fencing instructor – the love that will transform him, and the promise that will haunt him

In early 19th century England, long before he’s a professor at the Tulsa House of Night, Bryan Lankford is a troublesome yet talented human teen who thinks he can get away with anything… until his father, a wealthy nobleman, has finally had enough, and banishes him to America. When Bryan is Marked on the docks and given the choice between the London House of Night and the dragon-prowed ship to America, he chooses the Dragon – and a brand new fate.

Becoming a Fledgling may be exciting, but it opens a door to a dangerous world.... In 1830’s St. Louis, the Gateway to the West, Dragon Lankford becomes a Sword Master, and soon realizes there are both frightening challenges and beautiful perks. Like Anastasia, the captivating young Professor of Spells and Rituals at the Tower Grove House of Night, who really should have nothing to do with a fledgling…

But when a dark power threatens, Dragon is caught in its focus. Though his uncanny fighting skills make him a powerful fledgling, is he strong enough to ward off evil, while protecting Anastasia as well? Will his choices save her—or destroy them all?

8) Fortune's Fool (Tales Of The Five Hundred Kingdoms, Book 3), by Mercedes Lackey
The seventh daughter of the Sea King, Ekaterina is more than a pampered princess—she's also the family spy. Which makes her the perfect emissary to check out interesting happenings in the neighboring kingdom…and nothing interests her more than Sasha, the seventh son of the king of Belrus. Ekaterina suspects he's far from the fool people think him. But before she can find out what lies beneath his facade, she is kidnapped!

Trapped in a castle at the mercy of a possessive Jinn, Ekaterina knows her chances of being found are slim. Now fortune, a fool and a paper bird are the only things she can count on—along with her own clever mind and intrepid heart.…


Total Year To Date: 43

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