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Continuing to discover new books and authors

During the last month of 2005, I was super busy preparing for and celebrating the holidays. Still, I managed to fit in a little light reading and ended up finding some new books that I really enjoyed.

I have liked books about working with children ever since I used to borrow my sister's copies of "The Baby-Sitters Club" series. More recently, I read "The Nanny Diaries" by Emma McLaughlin and Nicola Kraus (St. Martin's Griffin, $13.95), which I found strangely fascinating.

So of course, as soon as I saw "The Nannies" by Melody Mayer (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $8.99), I wanted to read it. The book is intended for teen readers, but that didn't make a difference to me. I still found it totally entertaining.

"The Nannies" focuses on three teen girls who become nannies for families in Hollywood. Kiley comes to Los Angeles to compete for a nanny job on a reality show, while Lydia comes back from South America to take care of her cousins in Bel Air. Esme, who has been involved with gang life, leaves her parents' L.A. neighborhood to move in with a family in Beverly Hills.

The book, which includes some risque situations and violent behavior, is recommended for ages 14 and up.

"The Nannies" is set to become a series, and I definitely want to read the next book. "The Nannies: Friends With Benefits" (Delacorte Press Books for Young Readers, $8.95) is scheduled for publication in May.

Essays and stories

When I picked up "Cracks in My Foundation," a collection of essays and stories by Marian Keyes (Avon Trade, $12.95), I thought I'd just read one piece. But after I read that one, I ended up reading the next one, then the one after that and so on, until I finished all the essays in one sitting.

Though I sometimes didn't understand the slang Keyes uses (she lives in Ireland), I liked her writing. The essays are divided into several sections by topic, including travel, health and beauty and friends and family.

After I finished the essays, I started on the short story part of the book and found it equally enjoyable. In fact, I have no idea why I haven't read one of Keyes' books before. She's the author of novels like "Sushi for Beginners" (HarperTorch, $7.99), "Angels" (Avon Trade, $13.95) and "Watermelon" (Avon Trade, $13.95). Reading more of her work is on my list of things to do in 2006.

Vampire romance

Recently, I discovered yet another book about vampires. "Bitten and Smitten" by Michelle Rowen (Warner Forever, $6.50) came out this month.

In this supernatural story, Sarah gets bitten by a vampire during a blind date. At first, she doesn't even believe in vampires, but soon finds out that she has indeed become one. She ends up falling for the most powerful vampire in the city, while trying to avoid being killed by vampire slayers.

"Bitten and Smitten" is a light read, but I still really liked it. The book also includes a preview of Rowen's next book, "Angel with Attitude" (Warner Forever, $6.50) which also looks pretty cute. It goes on sale July 2006.

If there's a book you think I really ought to read or you have information about upcoming author appearances in the Atlanta area, please e-mail rachael.mason@gwinnettdailypost.com.