“Books are for people who wish they were somewhere else.” ~ Mark Twain

Thursday, December 31, 2009

100+ Reading Challenge Wrap Up

The 100+ Reading Challenge was hosted by J.Kaye's Book Blog this year. I didn't finish the challenge as I think I was a little cocky and wasn't paying attention to the number of books I needed to read each month. Here are the books I was able to finish for the challenge:


1. Vision In White
2. Sins & Shadows
3. Red-Headed Stepchild
4. Echoes In The Dark
5. The Photograph
6. Stepsister Scheme
7. Norse Code
8. Die For You
9. Once Dead, Twice Shy
10. Shadow of Betrayal
11. Lover Avenged
12. 0 To 60
13. Chemo KateLynn
14. Finger Lickin' Fifteen
15. Stray
16. Strain
17. Under the Radar
18. Across the Pond
19. My Soul To Take
20. Sucks To Be Me
21. Sandman Slim
22. Under This Unbroken Sky
23. Heck: Where The Bad Kids Go
24. Hunting Ground
25. Unbound
26. Demon Inside
27. Benny & Shrimp
28. Road Trip of the Living Dead
29. The Quickie
30. How To Catch and Keep a Vampire
31. The Child Thief
32. Huntress
33. Rampant
34. Shimmer
35. FastForward
36. Maze Runner
37. Tempest Rising
38. Wicked Game
39. Bed of Roses
40. Defenders of the Scroll
41. A Note From An Old Acquaintance
42. Pastworld
43. Once a Witch
44. Rapacia: Second Circle of Heck
45. Kindred in Death
46. Spellbinder
47. Truly, Madly
48. Las Vegas Then & Now

As you can see, I couldn't even make it to the halfway point. So close, and yet so far. Very embarrassing, but has motivated me to complete this challenge in 2010! I am determined not to fail again, as I know I read more than 100 books a year! Wish me luck!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Book Review: Truly, Madly by Heather Webber


Mass Market Paperback: 305 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Original edition (February 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312946139
ISBN-13: 978-0312946135

Rating: 4/5
Source: Barnes & Noble Sneak Peek Program

Book Blurb:
Lucy Valentine is as smart as can be, as single as you can get, and so not qualified to run a matchmaking service. But when her parents temporarily step down from the family business, Valentine, Inc., it’s Lucy’s turn to step up and help out—in the name of love. Plus, her rent is due.

Here’s the problem: Lucy doesn’t have the knack for matchmaking. According to family legend, every Valentine has been blessed by Cupid with the ability to read “auras” and pair up perfect couples. But not Lucy. Her skills were zapped away years ago in an electrical surge, and now all she can do is find lost objects. What good is that in the matchmaking world? You’d be surprised. In a city like Boston, everyone’s looking for something. So when Lucy locates a missing wedding ring—on a dead body—she asks the sexy private eye who lives upstairs to help her solve the perfect crime. And who knows? Maybe she’ll find the perfect love while she’s at it…


My Review:
I received a copy of Truly, Madly from Barnes & Noble as part of their Sneak Peek program. It's sort of a romance, mystery, paranormal combination with a touch of humor. Lucy is a great character who has a talent for finding lost objects, which she feels is practically useless when compared to her family's talent for finding true love as matchmakers.

This is a fast, fun read with likable characters. A little predictable, but I enjoyed the journey. The romance aspect wasn't hot & steamy, but still interesting. The mystery wasn't Agatha Christie hard, but still had a twist. I'd like to see more of Lucy, watch her relationship with Sean to see where it heads, see if she decides to stay with the family firm, and learn more about her grandmother Dovie.

Gave this a 4/5 rating as it was an enjoyable read, Ms Webber is a talented writer, and it left me wanting more! Recommend this book as a light, enjoyable read.

Sunday, December 27, 2009

Book Review: Spellbinder by Helen Stringer

Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 384 pages
Publisher: Feiwel & Friends (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312387636
ISBN-13: 978-0312387631

Rating: 4/5
Source: Ksenia at Feiwel and Friends via Shelf Awareness

Book Blurb:
Belladonna Johnson can see ghosts. It’s a trait she’s inherited from her mother’s side of the family, like blue eyes or straight hair...It is convenient, though, after Belladonna’s parents are killed in a car accident. They can live with her the same as always, watching the same old TV shows in their same old house. Nothing has changed . . . until everything changes.

One night, with no warning, they vanish into thin air - along with every other ghost in the world. It’s what some people think ghosts are supposed to do, but Belladonna knows it’s all wrong. They may not be living, but they’re not supposed to be gone. With the help of her classmate Steve, a master of sneaking and spying, Belladonna is left to uncover what’s become of the spirits and to navigate a whole world her parents have kept well-hidden. If she can’t find her way, she’ll lose them again - this time for good.


My Review:
This was a cute book that I read in a few hours, as I didn't want to set it down. Belladonna makes a good heroine, and I enjoyed her growing friendship with Steve and how they learned to work together. They were joined in their adventure by Elsie, one of the few remaining ghosts left.

One minor thing that annoyed me is how almost every child in YA fiction would rather jump into the deep end rather than ask adults for help. Granted, Belladonna's grandmother and aunt kept blowing her off when she tried to talk to them, but I'm sure they would have listened had she told them the important stuff!

I did like that Belladonna, Steve, and Elsie did not have all the answers and seemed like believable 12 year olds, getting cranky when things didn't work out and bickering at each other when they were frustrated and tired. Even though Elsie was a ghost, she was still a girl and I enjoyed the trio's growing friendship.

Gave this one a 4/5 rating as I enjoyed the story, liked the characters, and thought that overall it was well done. There were a few references I'm not sure the 9-12 age group would understand (Paladin, the Wild Hunt, oracles, etc.) but they can always check online. I'm looking forward to a sequel, as Ms. Stringer left the ending open enough for another adventure! If you enjoy YA books at all, I recommend this one!

Saturday, December 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (25)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Received one review copy and one contest win this week, but then got to go to the bookstore after Christmas and go a little nuts! Love wandering the aisles of a bookstore! It's my Happy Place! BTW, I linked the covers to Goodreads in case you want more info about the books.

I received a review copy of What I Know from the author. It's a fun collection of advice for all ages! Will be holding a contest for an autographed copy soon, so keep an eye out!


I won a copy of The Brain Finds A Leg from a contest over at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers. Looks like a fun book, so looking forward to reading it! And if you're not familiar with this blog, you definitely need to visit. She has great posts, fun giveaways, and awesome book reviews! Be sure to stop by and say hello!


Christmas is over, so my book buying ban is over! Yea! Picked up the following books from Barnes & Noble that I've been drooling over for the longest time!







Hope everyone got lots of goodies in their mailboxes this week! Happy reading!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Happy Christmas!




Happy Christmas everyone! Hope Santa was good to you! Enjoy!

Thursday, December 24, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (14)



Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme started by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

You know all of those annoying word verifications you have to do when posting comments on certain blogs? Well, playing Balderdash with the words makes everything a little more bearable and fun! Be sure to write down the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them by making up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for the week:

Proit: Skillful and adept at referencing Proust under pressing conditions.

Adish: When something seems like an ad, but really isn't; "I didn't like that show because it had silly characters and was too ad-ish".

Sitiver: A four day period of mourning for failed sit-coms; "the cast and crew are observing Sitiver for their cancelled show, Bozo's Brigade."

Himsel: Unpopular male version of holiday tinsel, occasionally found in bargain bins at the Dollar Store.

So, did you come across any interesting words this week? Was hoping for some holiday themed words, but the closest I could find was himsel! Oh well....Happy Holidays! :-)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Mini Review: Kindred In Death by J.D. Robb

This is the 29th book in the Eve Dallas series by J.D. Robb (AKA Nora Roberts) and is another winner! I really like Nora, as she's a talented writer who knows what her audience wants, and she always delivers! I can always rely on her for a good, fast read.

In this outing, Eve is called upon to solve a murder involving the 16 year old daughter of a police captain. The girl is brutally murdered, but we know that Eve never gives up and that she will solve the crime and make sure that the bad guy(s) pay. All of the usual cast of characters are here; from her ultra-sexy husband Roarke to her partner Peabody, the EDD team, Dr Mira, etc.

Am giving this a 3/5 as while it's nothing spectacular and is predictable, it has good, solid writing with a decent plot and delivers exactly what you expect from a Dallas/Roarke story. Enjoy!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Book Review: Once A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Clarion Books (September 14, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547223994
ISBN-13: 978-0547223995

Rating: 4/5
Source: Library



Book Blurb:
Tamsin Greene comes from a long line of witches, and she was supposed to be one of the most Talented among them. But Tamsin's magic never showed up. Now seventeen, Tamsin attends boarding school in Manhattan, far from her family. But when a handsome young professor mistakes her for her very Talented sister, Tamsin agrees to find a lost family heirloom for him. The search - and the stranger - will prove to be more sinister than they first appeared, ultimately sending Tamsin on a treasure hunt through time that will unlock the secret of her true identity, unearth the sins of her family, and unleash a power so vengeful that it could destroy them all. This is a spellbinding display of storytelling that will exhilarate, enthrall, and thoroughly enchant.

My Review:
As a younger sister who was expected to follow in her perfect older sister's footsteps, I could totally relate to Tamsin. What younger sister wouldn't be tempted to impersonate Miss Perfect if the opportunity presented itself? Of course, none of us are witches who have been told from birth that we were destined to be one of the most Talented and powerful witches in history, only to never have her talent manifest. So yeah, Tamsin has it a little rougher than the bookworm sister of a cheerleader, but that only made me like her more!

Tamsin is a very likable character, and I loved her large, crazy, extended family and their various powers. Seemed like everyone in the family had a power of some sort, useful or not, everyone except Tamsin. Despite feeling like a disappointment to her family and wanting nothing more than to be an ordinary girl, Tamsin is resourceful and determined to prove herself. With the help of a childhood friend, she sets off on what turns into a quest to save her family and fulfil her destiny.

This was a fast, enjoyable read with good writing and a decent plotline. The ending left itself wide open for a sequel, but I haven't been able to find any details on the next book yet. But whenever it comes out, I'll definitely be picking up a copy! Gave it a 4/5 rating as I really enjoyed this story!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

In My Mailbox (24)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I didn't have a chance to post last week, so this is two weeks worth of books. Am still banned from buying books until after Christmas, but no one said anything about contests or review copies! I always find the loopholes! *L*

I won Sea of Monsters from a contest over at Teens Read & Write. They have a great blog with reviews for both books & movies, lots of contests, and all kinds of fun stuff! Be sure to stop by and say hello.

Received a copy of Julie Kenner's Torn from a contest at The Whine Sisters blog. Haven't read this series yet so will have to pick up book #1 (after Christmas of course), but I know it will be awesome because everything Julie writes is awesome!
Received Deadly Codes for review from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. This is a thriller instead of urban fantasy, as I think I'm getting into a rut with all the paranormal and Young Adult books I've been reading lately. I have high hopes for this one!

Received a free review copy of Sea Clearwater from Author Marketing Experts, Inc. This book was written by a 13 year old girl, so am curious to read a YA book by an actual young adult!
Won a copy of I Used To Know That from an instant Twitter contest by FSB Associates. I actually knew the answer to a trivia question without having to Google it! Yea me!




Received an ARC of Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart for review from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. Pride & Prejudice is one of my favorite books, so I'm a sucker for anything to do with Elizabeth or Mr. Darcy.

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (13)


Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme started by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

You know all of those annoying word verifications you have to do when posting comments on certain blogs? Well, playing Balderdash with the words makes everything a little more bearable and fun! Be sure to write down the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them by making up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for the week:

Anainka: Anakin Skywalker's mysterious twin sister, who
disowned him when he became Darth Vadar. She vanished
soon afterwards and was never heard from again. The
Force was not with her....

Gaterma: Nickname for the mothers of Florida
Gaters football players, both past and present.

Tropitime: The optimum time for visiting the tropics.

I didn't have very many words to choose from this week, as I didn't have much time to go blog hopping and the pickings were slim! Hoping that next week will be better.

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

The Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge is hosted by Reading With Tequila. While I didn't do very well with my 2009 challenges, I am determined to that 2010 will be my year! Saw this challenge over at Natilie's Mindful Musings blog and thought it looked interesting enough to join.

Book bloggers are a favorite source of book recommendations. More than any other source, they consistently introduce us to books and authors that impact our lives. Therefore, Tequila has created the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge. She compiled a list of 234 books recommended by 33 different book bloggers. While I've already read several books on her list, there are still enough listed that I want to read.

The Rules:
*
Challenge will run January 1, 2010 to December 31, 2010.
Participants can join anytime throughout the challenge.


*Create an intro post, linking back to this post.

*Sign up with the MckLinky. Please link to your challenge
intro post, not your blog home page.

*Chose your own books from the list. You can decide to read books
only on the Top 25 list or from
the entire recommendation list. You
do not have to make a list of books before the challenge begins.


*All forms of books acceptable (audiobooks, eBooks, etc.)

*Rereads do not count towards the completion of the challenge.
The challenge is about discovering books that are new to you.

*You don't need a blog to participate.

*Reviews, while always appreciated, are not mandatory.

The Levels:
Level I - Read 5 books from the 2009
Book Blogger Recommendation List

Level II - Read 10 books
Level III - Read 15 books
Level IV - Read 20 books
Level V - Read 20+ books
I think I'm going to shoot for Level II, as I don't want to overreach again. Wish me luck!
1.
2.
3.
4.
5.
6.
7.
8.
9.
10.



Saturday, December 12, 2009

Book Review: Pastworld by Ian Beck

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: Bloomsbury USA Children's Books (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1599900408
ISBN-13: 978-1599900407

Rating: 4/5
Source: Library


Book Blurb:
What if all of London were really an amusement park - a whole city returned to Victorian times to entertain visitors from the twenty-first century? That's the wildly original premise of Ian Beck's Pastworld, a high-stakes mystery set in a simulated past.

Eve is a lifelong resident of Pastworld who doesn’t know she’s living in a theme park until a mysterious threat forces her to leave home. Caleb is a visiting tourist who finds the lawlessness of the past thrilling - until he suddenly becomes a fugitive from an antiquated justice system. And in the midst of it all, in the thick London fog a dark and deadly figure prowls, claiming victim after victim. He’s the Fantom, a creature both of the past and of the present, in whose dark purpose Caleb and Eve will find their destinies combined.


My Review:
I first saw this book mentioned by Carrie over at Carrie's YA Bookshelf. It kept popping up on various blogs, so put my name on the list to borrow it from the library. Was well worth it, as I think it's a very original story, with a twist I should have seen coming but didn't!

One of the things that I enjoyed about the book is that each chapter is narrated by a different character. We have excerpts from Eve's journal, then the next chapter might be from Caleb or Bible J or a policemen, then back to Eve. The different voices weren't hard to keep track of, and I thought having several different viewpoints only enhanced the story.

Found the whole idea of turning an old section of London into a giant theme park for the rich remarkably believable, and thought Beck was able to keep the story moving along nicely even when switching from narrator to narrator. Don't want to give away too much of the plot as there were a few nice surprises along the way, but I will say that I liked most of the characters and that the unlikable characters were all villains.

Gave this book a 4/5 rating. Thought the writing was very well done, the characters were all well developed, and the plot was original and compelling. I've seen a few comparisons to The Truman Show, but I didn't think they were similar at all. I don't think that this was too violent for a YA book, as video games are much more violent and bloody. All in all, I'd recommend this book!

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (12)



Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme started by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

You know all of those annoying word verifications you have to do when posting comments on certain blogs? Well, playing Balderdash with the words makes everything a little more bearable and fun! Be sure to write down the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them by making up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for the week:

Chilwail: The chill that races down your
spine whenever you hear a banshee wail.

Feryti: Peaceful alien race discovered during season 3
of Star Trek: Yet Another Spinoff.
Distinguishing features
include bright red skin and their love for fast cars.

Twivelho: Disparaging nickname for female fans
of the Twivel series, who will buy any and all
Twivel merchandise, no matter how lame.

Gorthumb: Suburb of Gotham City, known
for it's garden apartments and patio homes.

Diffula: Bunnicula's sweet country cousin, who
prefers tomato juice & does not like being a vampire.


Did you come across any fun word verifications this week? I actually got "dopers" and "cross" this week! *L*


Tuesday, December 8, 2009

New 2010 Reading Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge

Despite failing miserably at my 2009 challenges, I've decided to go ahead and sign up for J.Kaye's challenge again for 2010! Am blaming the fact that I had less than a year to complete the challenge for my sad failure. That's my story, and I'm sticking to it! *L* Wish me luck! If nothing else, I'm bound to do better in 2010 than I did in 2009!

Here are the details:
1. The goal is to read 100 or more books. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

--Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post. To learn how to sign up without having a blog, check J.Kaye's blog.

2. Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Library books, Young Reader, Nonfiction – as long as the book has an ISBN or equivalent or can be purchased as such, the book counts.

3. No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

4. Crossovers from other reading challenges count.

5. Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010. Books started before the 1st do not count.

6. When you sign up under Mr. Linky, put the direct link to your post where your books will be listed. Include the URL to this post so that other viewers can find this fun challenge. If you’d prefer to put your list in the sidebar of your blog, please leave your viewers the link to the sign up page. Again, so viewers can join the challenge too.

Here are my books:
1.  Devouring
2.  The Recipe Club
3.  Three Days To Dead
4.  Manufactured Identity
5.  What I Know
6.  Iron King
7.  Breathless
8.  Penguin Luck
9.  Seven Rays
10. Sea Clearwater
11. Mr. Darcy Broke My Heart
12. One Amazing Thing
13. Better Part of Darkness
14. Before I Fall
15. Grave Sins
16. Odd and the Frost Giants
17. Power of Half
18. Original Sin
19. Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter
20. Fantasy in Death
21. Admit One: My Life in Film
22. Official Book Club Selection
23. Black Magic Sanction
24. Blood Ties
25. Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
26. Spiral Hunt
27. Wild Hunt
28. Spider's Bite
29. Never Look Away
30. Stressed in Scottsdale
31. Girl Who Chased the Moon
32. Every Last One
33. Shade
34. Dark End of the Street
35. Mind Games
36. Iron Daughter
37. Star Wars Scanimation
38. So Cold the River
39. Dream of Perpetual Motion
40. Winter's Passage
41. Tales of the Otherworld
42. Hannah's List
43. Savor the Moment
44. Tracking the Tempest
45. Sh*t My Dad Says
46. Paranormalcy
47. Tyger Tyger
48. 61 Hours
49. Journey Home
50. Noah's Castle
51. Infinite Days
52. Eternal Ones
53. I Am Number Four
54. Red Hot Fury
55. Blood Song
56. Dante's Journey
57. Dying Bites
58. Derik's Bane
59. Waking the Witch
60. Greek: Double Date
61. Homecoming
62. Gerry Tales
63. Web of Lies
64. Jinx
65. Replacement
66. White Cat
67. Tithe
68. Ironside
69. Room
70. Radiance
71. Saving Max
72. Venom
73. Twisted Path Home
74. Zombies vs. Unicorns
75. Full Moon City
76. Blood Lite II
77. Bound
78. Darwin Awards II
79. Secret History of Elizabeth Tudor
80. How's Your Dad?
81. Mother's & Other Liars
82. Moonlight Mile
83. Halo
84. Dash & Lily's Book of Dares
85. Kisses From Hell
86. Reaper
87. Prince Charming Doesn't Live Here
88. Happily Ever After
89.
90.
91.
92.
93.
94.
95.
96.
97.
98.
99.
100.

Monday, December 7, 2009

Book Review: Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz

Paperback: 264 pages
Publisher: iUniverse (June 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 144014477X
ISBN-13: 978-1440144776

Rating: 4/5
Source: The author


Book Blurb:
A teenage boy. A dark wizard. A mystic scroll. And the fate of a world hangs in the balance. . . When Alex "the Axeman" Logan is pulled from his world to help young princess Dara save her kingdom from the Shadow Lord, he thinks there has been a mistake. He's a teen guitar player close to failing 11th grade, not some defender of the realm. All he has are some school books, his wits, and his love of fantasy movies. Overnight his life is history. Alex must confront the Shadow Lord and his minions when he is thrust into a land that has changed from a magical paradise to a barren, hopeless, helpless realm invaded by a dark army. But Alex is not alone. He has the help of Dara, a magic scroll, and a band of unlikely companions drawn from his own history books: a hardened Roman Legionnaire, a swift Japanese Samurai, a mighty African Warrior, a fiery Amazon Archer, and a spirited Shaolin Monk. Can Alex become more than he believes and lead his small band of Defenders to the Hall of Shadows, the birthplace of the Shadow Lord? The fate of the realm and everyone in it rests on him.

My Review:
Wasn't really sure what to expect from this book, but have to say that I was pleasantly surprised. Princess Dara is just a little girl whose father just started training her in magic, so it's understandable that she accidentally summons the wrong "Axeman" as her protector. And Alex is just a teenager who soon finds out that this wild adventure is all too real. But I love how all those hours spent watching movies and playing video games pay off when Alex is able to predict what should happen next, and is usually right!

The teenage warriors they summon from one of his books are also amazing! While they are all heroes and mighty warriors, they are also still teenagers and I liked how Shiraz made them vulnerable at times. Enjoyed how they all picked up some of Alex's slang, as it's not every day a magical princess says "crap." *L*

I enjoyed Alex's struggle to survive his adventure and prove himself in a world surrounded by heroes. Liked how the warriors all learned to work together and started to become friends. Even liked the evil villains, as sometimes the bad guys can be disappointing, but not in this case! Thought the ending was a little abrupt, but looking forward to the second book so I can find out what happens next!

Gave this a 4/5 rating, as the story was enjoyable, the writing was very readable, it had likable characters, and I particularly liked that the pages looked like a scroll, which I thought was a nice touch.

Saturday, December 5, 2009

In My Mailbox (23)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Had another surprising week when I received books I wasn't expecting. Love surprises in my mailbox!



Received a copy of Penguin Luck by Kay Mupetson from an email offer from Meryl L Moss Media Relations. It's a little outside my usual genres, but I'm trying to expand my horizons and this sounded like a good one!


Received two Margaret Ronald ARCs, Wild Hunt and Spiral Hunt. I checked my email history and my review lists but don't have a record of requesting these books, so what a nice surprise! Maybe I forgot to mark these down, as the editor wrote "congrats" on her business card. A mystery for sure, as I'm pretty anal about keeping track of contests and review requests. Guess it really doesn't matter in the long run, as both of these books look really cool!


Was surprised when Morning Sunshine showed up in the mail, as I was notified that I had won this from BBAW back at the beginning of October! When it never arrived, I just wrote it off as lost. I've had a handful of books lost in transit, so chalked it up to karma. Yea for surprises in the mailbox!
Am trying something a little different by linking the titles and cover pictures to Goodreads in case anyone wants more information. I've had nice surprises in my mailbox the past two weeks, so can't wait to see what next week brings!

Friday, December 4, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (11)


Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme started by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

You know all of those annoying word verifications you have to do when posting comments on certain blogs? Well, playing Balderdash with the words makes everything a little more bearable and fun! Be sure to write down the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them by making up your own definition for the word!

Forgot what day it was as this is usually posted on Thursdays,
but better late than never! Here are my words for the week:

Jughth: Usage found in Omar Khayyam's original
quote of "A hunk of bread, a jughth of wine,
and you." Revised several times.

Pedanchu: Minor Pokemon character, loyal and
brave, but clumsy during battle.


Porpsin: The ultimate sin commited by a porpoise, that
of impersonating a shark in order to frighten humans,
often resulting in banishment from the pod.

Huggli:When two people wearing Snugglies hug.

Did you come across any fun words this week?


Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Book Review: A Note From An Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker


Am very excited to be part of my very first blog tour! Received a review copy of A Note From An Old Acquaintance in order to take part in a Pump Up Your Book Promotion tour. As I've never done a blog tour before, thought I would just get my feet wet by doing a book review. Maybe down the road I'll tackle an interview, but thought I should stick with what I know, which is reading and reviewing! So here we go.....


Paperback: 360 pages
Publisher: iUniverse
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1440133336
ISBN-13: 978-1440133336


Book Blurb:
Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair. Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart. Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love.

My Review:
The story started out in the present, where Brian is trying to deal with the aftermath of a horrible accident that left his wife in a coma and his little boy dead. Although it's been almost two years, the pain is still fresh and he's having a rough time. That's when he receives an email titled "A note from an old acquaintance," bringing Joanna back into his life. Then after about 50 pages, the story turns into a flashback of when Brian and Joanna first met. There's even a flashback during the flashback! I'd say that the bulk of the book is their back story, then we finally come back to the present.

Overall, I enjoyed this story. The flashback is a nice love story, but I didn't feel that it really connected to the first part of the book. The book started off with Brian dealing with his grief, then that's it. His wife and son rarely get mentioned in the rest of the book. And I would have really liked to have known more about Penny and how they met. I realize that this was Joanna and Brian's story, but I hungered for more.

Think I liked Brian more than I liked Joanna. He seemed nice and easy-going, even if he did get over his grief awfully fast. Joanna was supposed to be this beautiful, vivacious, talented woman who had men falling in love with her at a glance, but I thought she came off a little immature and selfish. Did not like Joanna cheating on Erik, but that's a personal quirk. Tried to understand Joanna's point of view but again, I never really warmed up to her. Also thought that the ending was wrapped up a little too fast, and was too nice and neat. A little disappointed there, but still okay with it. And without giving anything away, I appreciated that Walker resisted the urge to go down certain cliched paths with Zach.

Walker is a very talented writer, but some of the passages were a little too descriptive for my taste. Don't really need to know that many details that do nothing to move the story forward. And whenever someone mentions a brand name, I feel like it's product placement. I know that some readers really enjoy overly descriptive passages, but unfortunately, I'm not one of them. So now you know some of my reader pet peeves. That being said, I thought that all in all, the writing was well done and it was a nice story. Gave it a 3/5 rating, and would definitely read his future books.


The Author:
Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site: http://www.billwalkerdesigns.com/


Thanks to Tracee at Pump Up Your Books for providing the review copy!

Monday, November 30, 2009

10 Books To Read Before You Die


Saw this posted over at Tif Talks Books and it looked like a fun meme. It's hosted by Pam over at Bookalicious if you want to check out all the books people have been recommending. I think this is a great idea, and much easier than those lists of 1001! So here, in no particular order, are the books that have left an impact, stayed with me, and that I think everyone should definitely read:


1. The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood

2. The Complete Tales of the Brothers Grimm

3. The Child Thief by Brom

4. Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen

5. Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien

6. American Gods by Neil Gaiman

7. A Tale of Two Cities by Charles Dickens

8. Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling

9. D'Aulaires' Book of Greek Myths

10. Lamb: The Gospel According to Biff by Christopher Moore

This was much more difficult than expected! Especially number ten, as there were so many candidates! Went with books I find myself gifting again and again, as well as titles which have stayed with me over the years. So what do you think? Seems to be an awful lot of fantasy in there. Which must-read did I forget? Curious to see other people's lists now...



Blog Tour will stop by on 12/2/09!


Join Bill Walker, author of the soul searching romance novel, A Note From an Old Acquaintance (iUniverse, June 2009), as he virtually tours the blogosphere in November and December on his second virtual book tour with Pump Up Your Book Promotion!


About the Author
Bill Walker is a graphic designer specializing in book and dust jacket design, and has worked on projects by Ray Bradbury, Richard Matheson, Dean Koontz, and Stephen King. Between his design work and his writing, he spends his spare time reading voraciously and playing very loud guitar, much to the chagrin of his lovely wife and two sons. Bill makes his home in Los Angeles and can be reached through his web site: http://www.billwalkerdesigns.com/


About the Book
Brian Weller is a haunted man. It’s been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian’s life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife’s prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair.

Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains unsure where their reunion will lead. One thing is certain: the forces that tore their love asunder will stop at nothing to keep them apart.

Filled with tender romance and taut suspense, A Note from an Old Acquaintance is an unforgettable story about fate, honor, and the power of true love

Saturday, November 28, 2009

In My Mailbox (22)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Honestly didn't think I'd have anything in my mailbox this week, so was pleasantly surprised when I received two books! I know, I know, shouldn't receive any if I'm serious about reducing my humongous TBR pile. I'm weak... *L*


Received Bite Marks by Jennifer Rardin from a contest hosted by Rachael over at Enchanted by Books. Lucked out when the original contest winner didn't respond, so I was the runner-up. Score!

Jaz Parks here. But I'm not alone. I'm hearing voices in my head - and they're not mine.

The problem, or maybe the solution, is work. And the job's a stinker this time -- killing the gnomes that are threatening to topple NASA's Australian-based space complex. Yeah, I know. Vayl and I should still be able to kick this one in our sleep. Except that Hell has thrown up a demon named Kyphas to knock us off track. And damn is she indestructible!




Got my $9 copy of Breathless by Dean Koontz from Amazon Friday afternoon. Hey, I'm not proud! Someone offers to sell me a $28 book that I would have bought no matter what for a measly $9, I'm there! *L*

Koontz delivers a thrilling novel of suspense and adventure, as the lives of strangers converge around a mystery unfolding high in the Colorado mountains—and the balance of the world begins to tilt….


Looking forward to seeing what everyone else got this week!

Friday, November 27, 2009

Book Review: Covet by J.R. Ward

Mass Market Paperback: 496 pages
Publisher: Signet (September 29, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451228219
ISBN-13: 978-0451228215

Rating: 1/5
Source: Public Library


Book Blurb:
Redemption isn't a word Jim Heron knows much about - his specialty is revenge, and to him, sin is all relative. But everything changes when he becomes a fallen angel and is charge with saving the souls of seven people from the seven deadly sins. And failure is not an option. Vin DiPietro long ago sold his soul to his business, and he's good with that - until fate intervenes in the form of a tough-talking, Harley-riding, self-professed savior. But then he meets a woman who will make him question his destiny, his sanity, and his heart - and he has to work with a fallen angel to win her over and redeem his own soul.

My Review:

Words alone cannot express how very, very disappointed I am with this book. I really like Ward and had high hopes for this book. It's the first in a series and to be honest, I was hoping for another Black Dagger Brotherhood. No such luck. I just don't care about Jim or Vin or Marie-Terese or Devina. I kept reading long after I would have stopped with another author because of Ward's track record, but finally gave up around the 28th chapter. Thought I would push through and finish it, but simply can't read another word.

My problems were mainly with the characters and the plot, as the writing itself wasn't bad. Don't get me wrong, as I think that Ward is a talented writer, but this series just isn't for me. I didn't care about Jim, who comes back from the dead with a mission to save souls. Didn't care about either Vin, who is his first mission, or the two women in Vin's life. And the plot didn't move fast enough for me either. To put it simply, I was bored.

All in all, I was very disappointed with this book. Looking forward to the next one in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, but won't be reading any future books in the Fallen Angels saga. Think this is only the second book I haven't been able to finish since I've started blogging, so hoping my next book will be better!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Book Review: Bed of Roses by Nora Roberts

Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Berkley Trade (October 27, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0425230074
ISBN-13: 978-0425230077


Rating: 3/5
Source: Public Library



From Publishers Weekly:
In her second bridal-themed romance about four friends who run Vows, a Greenwich, Conn., wedding planning business, Roberts focuses on Emma Grant while her partners, MacKensie, Parker and Laurel, play supporting roles. In the first installment of this planned quartet, Vows' bridal photographer got engaged, and now florist Emma wonders if she can find true love with old friend Jack Cooke, who is also very close to Emma's associates. When Emma kisses Jack, her spark-o-meter melts from the blazing heat, but their romance's setbacks are smoothed out with a little help from their friends. Though there are few surprises in this cute courtship, those with a TiVo full of Bridezillas should enjoy it, thanks largely to Roberts's effortless wit. (Oct.) Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

My Review:
The first book in the Bride Quartet series, Vision in White, was one of my first reviews. I like Nora Roberts, as you know exactly what you'll get from her books: a good, old-fashioned, happily-ever-after romance. Sometimes I'm just in the mood for happily-ever-after, and Nora never disappoints.

This one picked up shortly after the first story and focuses on Emma, the florist. Emma is the most romantic one of the four friends, but she's no pushover. Emma and Jack have known each other for years, so are both a little surprised when their relationship takes a romantic turn. You know the story: boy gets girl, boy loses girl, boy wins girl back and they live happily ever after.

This was a fast read with no surprises and about halfway thru the book, I had a pretty good idea who the remaining two women will wind up with. No worries, as getting there is half the fun! I gave this book a 3/5 rating because while it's not outstanding, it's still very readable. Nothing groundbreaking or original, but very well done and you get exactly what you came for. Another job well done Nora!

Happy Thanksgiving!


Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Sunday, November 22, 2009

Book Review: Wicked Game by Jeri Smith-Ready

Mass Market Paperback: 432 pages
Publisher: Pocket; Reprint edition (March 31, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439101345
ISBN-13: 978-1439101346

Rating: 4/5
Source: Personal Library

Book Blurb:
Newbie marketing intern Ciara Griffin lands a job at WMMP, a station threatened with being sold to Skyware, a giant communications conglomerate, unless ad revenue picks up. A former con artist with a canny way with people, Ciara soon learns that the DJs are undead and specialists in the musical eras in which they were turned into vampires. One of them, Shane McAllister (turned in 1995), is really hot and dangerously tempting. In order to attract more listeners, Ciara promotes a new marketing strategy and the Sherwood, Md., station becomes 94.3 WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock and Roll, exploiting the fang factor (which no listener takes seriously) for profit. It works, until an ancient vampire cult wants to pull the plug. Also playing in is The Control, an equally ancient paramilitary group created to protect good vampires and kill bad ones.

My Review:
Rock and roll. Vampires. Sexy DJs. What's not to love about this book?

Ciara wants to go straight after growing up in a family of grifters, and has a chance at a "real job" as a marketing intern for an independent radio station. Little does she know what she's getting into...as the DJs are all vampires, stuck in the past. The radio station gives them the opportunity to survive, by blending their past realities with acceptable doses of the present.

Thought that this was a great start to an interesting series, and loved how Jeri included a playlist at the beginning of the book. The DJs are all intriguing, either in spite of or because of being stuck in a past era. The humans are also very relatable. Especially enjoyed Franklin, the marketing director who has his own unique salesmanship methods.

This was a well written book with a good plot that stood on it's own and didn't get bogged down in details. The characters were all believable, and most of them were likable. Lots of good music thrown into the mix as well, some of which I had to look up online. Gave this one a solid 4/5 rating, as I really enjoyed everything about the book! Looking forward to reading the rest of the series, as I can't wait to see what happens next at WVMP!

Friday, November 20, 2009

In My Mailbox (21)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've been trying to be good and haven't entered as many contests or requested as many review copies so I can get my TBR piles under control!


Got a galley copy of Coming Undone by Lauren Dane, which I think it beyond cool! This is only the second galley I've received, and I can't wait to read it!

After his parents' death, Brody gave up a promising career to care for his family. Now, with his siblings grown, Brody owns his own business, and for the first time in years he's alone. Elise has come to Seattle with her daughter to find peace. After years as a world-famous ballerina-and trapped in a marriage gone bad-she's looking for neither love nor attention. But she finds both in the handsome, honest man who befriends her with no strings attached.

Received a copy of Lockdown: Escape From Furnace by Alexander Gordon Smith as a review copy from the publisher. Trying to cut back on review copies, but this one looked intriguing.

Furnace Penitentiary: the world’s most secure prison for young offenders, buried a mile beneath the earth’s surface. Convicted of a murder he didn’t commit, sentenced to life without parole, “new fish” Alex Sawyer knows he has two choices: find a way out, or resign himself to a death behind bars, in the darkness at the bottom of the world. Except in Furnace, death is the least of his worries. Soon Alex discovers that the prison is a place of pure evil, where inhuman creatures in gas masks stalk the corridors at night, where giants in black suits drag screaming inmates into the shadows, where deformed beasts can be heard howling from the blood-drenched tunnels below. And behind everything is the mysterious, all-powerful warden, a man as cruel and dangerous as the devil himself, whose unthinkable acts have consequences that stretch far beyond the walls of the prison.

What did everyone get in their mailboxes this past week?

Book Review: Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Orbit (November 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0316056588
ISBN-13: 978-0316056588

Rating: 5/5
Source: Personal library


Book Blurb:
Living in small town Rockabill, Maine, Jane True always knew she didn't quite fit in with so-called normal society. During her nightly, clandestine swim in the freezing winter ocean, a grisly find leads Jane to startling revelations about her heritage: she is only half-human.

My Review:
Jane True is my new hero! Rather than being the typical urban fantasy heroine who is gorgeous, smart, strong, sassy, and kicks butt, Jane is a believable woman who actually screams when confronted by scary vampires and monsters! How refreshing is that? Most characters in this genre would claim to be scared, but still make a smartass remark to show how tough they are. While Jane still takes things better than I probably would, she is a breath of fresh air and I loved, loved, loved this book!

Let me back up for a moment. In the interest of full disclosure, I have been waiting for this book for months! I follow Nicole Peeler on Twitter and her blog and was impatiently waiting for this book to finally come out. I can't believe how good it is, especially for a first novel! You know how sometimes you're reading along at a fast pace then BAM! you get hit in the face with a typo or inconsistency or something else that stops you dead in your tracks? Well, nothing like that in this book. Either Nicole is incredibly talented, she's conning us and this isn't really her first book, she has an amazing editor, or some combination of all of the above. This book was amazing!

Now back to the story: Jane grew up in a small town, complete with a "history". Crazy mom disappeared. Big scandal when her boyfriend died. Always been a little weird. All in all, Jane has not had an easy life. Things start to make a little more sense after she meets Ryu, a sexy investigator who is more than he seems. Loved the interaction between Jane, Ryu, and the various people he introduces her to.

Was originally going to give this book a 4/5 rating as while I enjoyed it, I didn't stay up all night to finish reading it. Then I realized that I've been talking about this book non-stop ever since I finished it, and recommending it to everyone I know. Figured that must be worth a 5/5 rating, as I really, really loved this book! Great writing, interesting characters, a plot that made sense, and a great beginning to a new series! Great job Ms. Peeler!

update

Went to the doctor yesterday for my after-surgery follow up visit. He removed the stitches in my knee and drained off some pooled blood. Had a bad reaction to the pain pills, so he advised me to stop taking them. Was a little rough yesterday getting them all out of my system, but hoping the worst of that is over.

Thanks again for all of the prayers and good wishes! They really help. {{hugs}}


Thursday, November 19, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (10)



Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme started by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

You know all of those annoying word verifications you have to do when posting comments on certain blogs? Well, playing Balderdash with the words makes everything a little more bearable and fun! Be sure to write down the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them by making up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for this week:

Dessispo: Failed Italian coffee drink offered by Starbucks,
available either hot or iced, with a minty green coloring
.

Tedisp: Festive Teddy bear decanter for dispensing
liquid refreshments during the holidays.


Psyces: Minor Greek god of pranks, often confused
with his cousin Psyche, goddess of souls. Thought to be the
originator of the expression "to psyc someone out".

Grabess: Common affliction affecting shoppers on the day
after Thanksgiving, where they compulsively grab anything
not nailed down during Black Friday sales.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Honest Scrap Award


I received this cool award from Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books and it seems pretty straightforward.

I have to list ten honest things about me and then pass the award on to ten other book bloggers. Hmmmmm, ten honest things? Could be fun! Well, here goes nothing!


1. I am not a morning person, yet turn into one whenever we go on vacation. Guess I don't want to miss out on anything!

2. Growing up, I loved watching variety shows like Donny & Marie, Sonny & Cher, Sheilds & Yarnell, etc. Wonder why they don't make varitey shows like that any more?

3. Am pretty sure that I'm addicted to reading, as I've been reduced to reading the backs of cereal boxes if nothing else is available!

4. Like Sheila, I love television commercials and that's the only reason I watch the Superbowl!

5. The Sarah McLaughlin SPCA commercial In The Arms of the Angels always makes me cry.

6. The best job I ever had was working in a mall bookstore.

7. I love baking, but don't really like to cook.

8. My favorite color is red. And yellow. And purple is nice too...

9. I can be shy until I get to know someone, then watch out! *L*

10. I would rather scrub a toilet than mow the lawn. Strange, but true.


Well, that didn't hurt too much. *L* Would like to pass this along to the following bloggers, as I'll think they'll have fun with it:

Shellie at Layers of Thought




Peter at KyusiReader






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