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

Friday, October 30, 2009

In My Mailbox (18)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Had a nice mailbox this week, and received some non-book goodies as well!


Got a t-shirt for my hubby from a Penguin Twitter contest. He's a big Denis Leary fan, but I don't think he's too thrilled with the back. Told him to wear it under another shirt so no one will see the back. *L*




Can you see why hubby isn't thrilled with the back of the shirt? I think it's funnier than anything, but don't think I'd wear it either!







I won this beautiful, hand-made bookmark from Nely over at All About {n}. One of her co-workers, Mireya De Jesus, made it and it's absolutely beautiful! I collect bookmarks and have to say that this one is definitely one of the best in my collection! If you want to see all of the bookmarks or get in touch with the artist, Nely's original post is here.



Won a copy of Demon Forged by Meljean Brook from the author herself in a Twitter giveaway. I am totally loving Twitter this past week!
Four centuries ago, two young guardians would have surrendered to t he desire burning between them-if a demon hadn't shattered any possibility of their love. Now, a desperate plea for help thrusts them together, even as shocking betrayals threaten their reunion.



I received a review copy of A Note From an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker from a Pump Up Your Book Tour promoter. I'll be taking part in my first virtual book tour at the beginning of December and am very excited!
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...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.


The Manufactured Identity by Heath Sommer is a review copy I received from the author. I read the first chapter online at http://www.themanufacturedidentity.com/ and it sounded so interesting that I couldn't resist!




I've been trying to expand my reading selections lately as feel I'm getting in a rut. While I love urban fantasy and paranormal romances, there's only so many werewolves and vampires I can take in one sitting. *L*

Hope everyone had a great week!

Friday Firsts (4)

Friday Firsts (4)

Friday Firsts is a meme hosted by Well-Read Reviews.

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? Here's how to play:
* Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.

* Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.

* Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)

* Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?


Here is my Friday Firsts:

In a different time, in a different place, Mornak ruledthe realm of Mythos from the city of Aspiria.

I thought that this made an interesting first sentence. It let me know right off the bat that this was not taking place in my reality, but in a different time and place. It's part of the prologue, so I know Shiraz is going to set things up first before diving right in, which is always helpful for a fantasy novel. Makes me want to keep reading, and reminded me a little of Flash Gordon and Star Wars for some reason!

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (9)


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! Here's how to play: Write down all the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them. The definition of Balderdash: An oft used strategy to elect your own fake definition in an attempt to give it credibility in the minds of your fellow players.…in other words, you make up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for this week:

Prehoe: Term used for the preparation of
the garden area before the soil is hoed.

Evish: Vague time given to meet up with friends,
normally after 6pm in the evening.

Gnaks: The sterile hybrid offspring of a male
yak and a female gnu, characterized by a shaggy-
haired coat and large horns.

Dirxami: Latest wonder drug from Phizer, used
in the treatment of severe stomach callophrys.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Random Reading Challenge (1)


I signed up for the Random Reading Challenge a while back, but am just now starting it. Was having trouble choosing my next book, so decided that now would be as good a time as any to let the magic randomizer choose for me!

Numbered all of the books in my most recent TBR piles (32 of them!), and the winner was... Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz!
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.


This challenge is hosted by Caribousmom, and here's the scoop:

August 1, 2009 – July 31, 2010

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you always find yourself reading from set lists or feeling committed to reading one book while another book screams at you from your TBR mountain? Has your reading become completely scheduled? If so, the Random Reading Challenge may be just the thing to put the spontaneity back into your reading.

For this challenge, readers will be choosing books randomly from their TBR stacks. You may select one of three levels of participation:

Level I
You are just a tad compulsive about your reading – you love your lists and schedules. Being spontaneous is not something that comes naturally to you. To complete the challenge, force yourself out of your rut and read just six books.

Level II:
You really want to break away from all those lists, but you do still have a responsibility to your reading groups, other challenges, and all those review books. Six books is too little, but twelve is too much. Stretch a little and read nine books for the challenge.

Level III:
Throw away the lists, don’t look at your schedule, bring on the joy that comes with the freedom to chose books randomly. Read twelve books for the challenge.

Rules (come on, you didn’t think it would be THAT random did you?!?!?):

1. NO lists allowed. Books for the challenge are chosen one at a time when the mood strikes.

2. Sign up at any time during the challenge period using Mr. Linky. Please give a direct link to your blog post about the challenge. If you do not have a blog, no worries. Simply enter your name and leave the URL box in the Mr. Linky blank.

3. Book reviews are not required, but if you want to write a review, a review Mr. Linky will be provided after August 1st.

4. Books are selected one at a time using the following procedure:

•Randomly select any number of books from either your physical OR your virtual TBR pile (don’t care how you do this, but it must be random…no “cherry picking” allowed)

•Assign a number to each book based on how many books you selected (ie: if you selected 14 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 14; if you selected 28 books, assign each book a number from 1 through 28…you get the idea)

•Go to http://www.blogger.com/www.random.org and use the TRUE RANDOM NUMBER GENERATOR located in the upper right hand corner of the page to randomly select the book you will read. NO CHEATING – whatever the random number generator generates is the book you must read!

•Each time you select a book for the challenge, you will use this procedure. You many select different books each time, choose a different amount of books each time, etc…have fun, mix it up, keep it random.

I'm going for the Level III Challenge. While reviewing the books is not mandatory, I'll post reviews and use the Random Reading Challenge Meme to mark and number them. This way I can combine this challenge with others (multi-tasking!).
Wish me luck!

Guest Post: Daniel Nayeri, author of Another Faust

Brother and sister team Daniel and Dina Nayeri have written Another Faust, an updated retelling of the classic story of Faust, but featuring teenagers. Sounds fascinating, and I'm looking forward to reading it! Daniel & Dina have come up with a great idea for a contest, so without any further ado, here's Daniel to explain things....

*Another* Another Faust Contest

Hi everyone. Dina and I are about to kick off a month-long tour for our book, Another Faust, and we want to do it by announcing a contest! We are looking for the most promising writers out there (that’s YOU). And then we want to showcase their work, so that all of the Internet can bask in their awesome writing might (and, you know, give them prizes).

HERE’S HOW IT GOES.

We want you to write your own short story, re-imagining of the Faustian Bargain. (For inspiration, check out Bedazzled, Simpsons “Tree House of Horrors IV,” and The Little Mermaid). It can be about anything you like (but let’s keep it PG-13, and under 3,000 words), and it’s open to everyone.

All you have to do is send your entry to dviergutz@gmail.com before January 31.
Rules and details can be found here:
http://www.danielanddina.com/site/2009/10/writing-contest-create-another-another-faust/

Make sure to read them so you don’t get DQed

And the winner gets all kinds of sweetness:

*A signed copy of Another Faust

*A handwritten deleted scene

*A featured article & interview on our site

*An author’s galley of the sequel Another Pan

Though we’ll feature the top five on our site for comments, the judging WON’T happen by popular vote (so basically, we don't care which contestant has the most friends). Dina and I will personally read them.

So, spread the word! Tweet, retweet, forward, thread, spread, embed this post.

Good luck!

D&D


Friday, October 23, 2009

In My Mailbox (17)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I did much better this week and only received a few books. Working on reducing my TBR piles, but it's harder than I expected!


Received Strange Angels by Lili St. Crow from a contest hosted by Breia at Literaturely Speaking. I adore Lilith Saintcrow and am really looking forward to reading her new young adult series!

Dru Anderson has what her grandmother called “the touch.” (Comes in handy when you’re traveling from town to town with your dad, hunting ghosts, suckers, wulfen, and the occasional zombie.)

Then her dad turns up dead - but still walking - and Dru knows she’s next. Even worse, she’s got two guys hungry for her affections, and they’re not about to let the fiercely independent Dru go it alone. Will Dru discover just how special she really is before coming face-to-fang with whatever - or whoever - is hunting her?

Bought Wicked Game using one of the awesome coupons an online bookstore keeps sending me. How am I supposed to wrestle my TBR down to managable levels if they keep tempting me like this? *L*

Recovering con artist Ciara Griffin is trying to live the straight life, even if it means finding a (shudder!) real job. She takes an internship at a local radio station, whose late-night time-warp format features 1940s blues, '60s psychedelia, '80s goth, and more, all with an uncannily authentic flair. Ciara soon discovers just how the DJs maintain their cred: they're vampires, stuck forever in the eras in which they were turned.

Ciara's first instinct, as always, is to cut and run. But communications giant Skywave wants to buy WVMP and turn it into just another hit-playing clone. Without the station -- and the link it provides to their original Life Times -- the vampires would "fade," becoming little more than mindless ghosts of the past. Suddenly a routine corporate takeover is a matter of life and undeath.

To boost ratings and save the lives of her strange new friends, Ciara rebrands the station as "WVMP, the Lifeblood of Rock 'n' Roll." In the ultimate con, she hides the DJs' vampire nature in plain sight, disguising the bloody truth as a marketing gimmick. WVMP becomes the hottest thing around -- next to Ciara's complicated affair with grunge vamp Shane McAllister. But the "gimmick" enrages a posse of ancient and powerful vampires who aren't so eager to be brought into the light. Soon the stakes are higher -- and the perils graver -- than any con game Ciara's ever played....


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

Book Review: Rampant by Diana Peterfreund

Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: HarperTeen (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061490008
ISBN-13: 978-0061490002

Rating: 5/5
Source: Library

Book Blurb:
Forget everything you ever knew about unicorns . . .

Real unicorns are venomous, man-eating monsters with huge fangs and razor-sharp horns. Fortunately, they've been extinct for a hundred and fifty years. Or not.

Astrid had always scoffed at her eccentric mother's stories about killer unicorns. But when one of the monsters attacks her boyfriend - thereby ruining any chance of him taking her to the prom - Astrid finds herself headed to Rome to train as a unicorn hunter at the ancient cloisters the hunters have used for centuries.

However, at the cloisters all is not what it seems. Outside, the unicorns wait to attack. And within, Astrid faces other, unexpected threats: from the crumbling, bone-covered walls that vibrate with a terrible power to the hidden agendas of her fellow hunters to - perhaps most dangerously of all - her growing attraction to a handsome art student . . . an attraction that could jeopardize everything.

My Review:
Had heard about this book on various blogs, but my initial thought was: killer unicorns? Yeah, right! But people kept raving about it, so decided to take a look. The first page had me hooked, and I stayed up much too late to finish reading it! This is one of my favorite types of books, in that it grabbed me by the throat and wouldn't let go!

Astrid is the main character, who grew up thinking her mother was more than a little crazy because she insisted that they were descendants of unicorn hunters. Then one night her new boyfriend is attacked by a unicorn! Before she knows it, Astrid is shipped off to Rome to begin her training as a unicorn hunter. Unfortunately, the training turns out to be trial & error as the order was disbanded way back when the unicorns were thought to be extinct, and it's left to a bunch of teenagers (and one young man) to try to figure things out.

While the idea of killer unicorns and virgin hunters may be a little out there, Diana does a great job of making it all seem entirely possible. It doesn't hurt that Astrid is a skeptic as well, and we come to terms with the situation together.

All in all, this was a great read and I recommend that everyone give it a chance. Had an interesting well-paced plot, good writing, and believable characters. Plus, I adored Bonegrinder, the baby unicorn! Gave it my highest rating as I didn't want to put it down despite having to work the next day.

Learn more about killer unicorns at http://www.killerunicorns.org/

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (8)


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! Here's how to play: Write down all the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them. The definition of Balderdash: An oft used strategy to elect your own fake definition in an attempt to give it credibility in the minds of your fellow players.…in other words, you make up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for this week:

Wingsta: The newest wings appetizer at TGIF, aimed
at gansta rap fans. Available in smokin' hot BBQ only.

Stossel: An avid fan of TV journalist John Stossel, borderline stalker.

Dolic: Least popular of a new brand of educational
baby dolls. Main feature is incessant crying.

New Awards

I received this lovely award from Melissa at My World. If you haven't stopped by her blog before, be sure to visit and say hello! She's an awesome blogger!

Love the whole idea of a Sisterhood Award! I've met so many wonderful people in the blogging world who have embraced me and helped me out in so many different ways. Yes, there have been a handful of self-righteous prigs, but they have been few and far between (knock wood!).

Melissa also gifted me with this beautiful Dragon's Loyalty Award!

The Dragon's Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just a someone who follows and comments regularly. Here are the rules:

* If you have a blog, post it on your blog with a link back to the site who gave it to you.
* Leave them a comment on their site, email, etc. to let them know.
* If you don't have a blog but have a website, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other type account, post there with a link back.

Would like to pass these awards on to everyone reading this instead of passing them along to just a handful of people, as I appreciate each and every one of you! Enjoy!


Tuesday, October 20, 2009

David Morrell: How Rambo's Creator Earned His Pilot's License

Am currently reading The Shimmer by David Morrell. Fell for David way back when I saw Brotherhood of the Rose on TV and liked it so much that I just had to read the book!

Was lucky enough to receive a review copy of this book from the lovely folks at FSB Associates, and I'm about a third of the way through it. In the meantime, thought I would share an article they sent me from David, as he's a pretty fascinating guy! Enjoy!

Rising Above it All: How Rambo's Creator Earned His Pilot's License
By David Morrell, Author of The Shimmer


Readers familiar with my fiction know how much I love doing research. For Testament, I enrolled in an outdoor wilderness survival course and lived above timberline in the Wyoming mountains for 30 days. For The Protector, I spent a week at the Bill Scott raceway in West Virginia, learning offensive-defensive driving maneuvers, such as the 180-degree spins you see in the movies. I once broke my collarbone in a two-day knife-fighting class designed for military and law enforcement personnel.

Two years ago, I began the longest research project of my career. I was preparing to write a novel called The Shimmer, a fictional dramatization of the mysterious lights that appear on many nights outside the small town of Marfa in west Texas. When the first settlers passed through that area in the 1800s, they saw the lights, and people have been drawn to those lights ever since, including James Dean who became fascinated by them when he filmed his final movie Giant near Marfa in 1955.

The lights float, bob, and weave. They combine and change colors. They seem far away and yet so close that people think they can reach out and touch them. In the 1970s, the citizens of Marfa organized what they called a Ghost Light Hunt and pursued the lights, using horses, vehicles, and an airplane, but the lights had no difficulty eluding them.

Because an airplane was used, I decided to include one in The Shimmer. I'd never written about a pilot, and the idea of trying something new always appeals to me. The dramatic possibilities were intriguing. But a minute's thought warned me about the monumental task I was planning. As a novelist version of a Method actor, I couldn't just cram an airplane into my novel. First, I would need to learn how airplanes worked so that real pilots wouldn't be annoyed by inaccuracies. Real pilots. That's when I realized that it wouldn't be enough to learn how airplanes worked. I would need to take pilot training.

I live in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Our small airport has a flight school: Sierra Aviation. I made an appointment with one of the instructors, Larry Haight, who took me up in a Cessna 172 on what's called a "discovery" flight. The idea was to "discover" whether I enjoyed the sensation of being in the cockpit and peering several thousand feet down at the ground. Flying in a small aircraft is a much more immediate and visceral experience than sitting in the cabin of a commercial airliner. Even in a Cessna, the canopy is huge compared to the tiny windows on an airliner. The horizon stretches forever.

It turned out that I more than enjoyed the experience. It was exhilarating and fulfilling. I realized that this was something I wanted to do not only for research but also to broaden my life. As a consequence, I eventually earned my private pilot's license and bought a 2003 172SP. The plane was based near Dallas, and my longest cross-country flight to date (600 miles) involved piloting it from there to Santa Fe. Truly, nothing can equal controlling an aircraft, making it do safely whatever I want while seeing the world as if I were an eagle.

In The Shimmer, I wanted the main character's attitude toward flying ("getting above it all") to help develop the book's theme. The following passage shows what I mean. You only need to know that Dan Page is a police officer. When I started pilot training, I figured that one day I'd be relaxing in the sky, listening to an iPod and glancing dreamily around. As we learn in this section, the actuality is quite different and more substantial.

"Non-pilots often assumed that the appeal of flying involved appreciating the scenery. But Page had become a pilot because he enjoyed the sensation of moving in three dimensions. The truth was that maintaining altitude and speed while staying on course, monitoring radio transmissions, and comparing a sectional map to actual features on the ground required so much concentration that a pilot had little time for sightseeing.

"There was another element to flying, though. It helped Page not to think about the terrible pain people inflicted on one another. He'd seen too many lives destroyed by guns, knives, beer bottles, screwdrivers, baseball bats, and even a nail gun. Six months earlier, he'd been the first officer to arrive at the scene of a car accident in which a drunken driver had hit an oncoming vehicle and killed five children along with the woman who was taking them to a birthday party. There'd been so much blood that Page still had nightmares about it.

"His friends thought he was joking when he said that the reward of flying was 'getting above it all,' but he was serious. The various activities involved in controlling an aircraft shut out what he was determined not to remember.

"That helped Page now. His confusion, his urgency, his need to have answers -- on the ground, these emotions had thrown him off balance, but once he was in the air, the discipline of controlling the Cessna forced him to feel as level as the aircraft. In the calm sky, amid the monotonous, muffled drone of the engine, the plane created a floating sensation. He welcomed it yet couldn't help dreading what he might discover on the ground. "

At one point a character asks Page, how high he intends to fly.

"Enough to get above everything," he answers.

"Sounds like the way to run a life."

That's an important lesson I learned from flying.

©2009 David Morrell, author of The Shimmer

Monday, October 19, 2009

Book Review: Huntress (anthology)

Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; 1 edition (June 30, 2009) Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312943822
ISBN-13: 978-0312943820

Rating: 4/5
Source: Personal collection


Book Blurb:
It takes a real man to satisfy the powers and passions of the HUNTRESS

My Review:
Think I've mentioned before how much I love anthologies. I've discovered several new authors this way, and don't feel cheated if I don't like a particular author, as there's several more to choose from.

The first story in this collection is The Devil's Bargain by Christine Warren. Lilli Corbin made a deal with a devil and all she has to do to finally fulfill the bargain is retrieve an old book. Too bad it's a book of prophecies that will bring about the Apocalypse. This story was just okay for me, and my least favorite. Didn't really warm up to either Lilli or Aaron, the current owner of the book. And while this book is classified as a romance, I thought the sex scene was a little unnecessary.

Next up is The Robber Bride by Marjorie M. Liu. Maggie runs a junkyard in a post-apocalyptic world, on the outskirts of a small settlement of other survivors. Maggie's world is turned upside down when a strange gang of bikers invade her town and make off with several of her neighbors. Concerned for an old friend when she sees one of the bikers with Trace's necklace, she sets off in pursuit. Think this was my second favorite story, as it had interesting characters with a good plot. Loved the twist towards the end, and think Maggie deserves to have a full length novel of her very own!

Third story is Down In The Ground Where The Dead Men Go by Caitlin Kittredge. This one features Jack Winter, the bad boy mage we all know and love. Jack is tricked into helping a sexy demon slayer seek revenge against a demon in the underworld. While I usually like Jack, I didn't really care for this story. Couldn't really get into it, and wasn't really invested in the outcome.

Last but not least is the final story, Sin Slayer by Jenna Maclaine. Think this one was my favorite and I'm looking forward to reading more by Jenna, as she's a new discovery for me. Cin Craven is a vampire witch and a member of The Righteous, a group of vampires who police the vampire world and answer to no one but the High King. Jack the Ripper has started targeting vampires, and it's up to Cin to stop him. And oh yeah, Jack just happens to be a demon who's possessed Cin's husband, Michael. This was a great story with all the action you could possibly want, plus well developed characters that left you wanting more! Very happy to discover that Cin has her own series, as I'm now a fan!

Gave this collection a 4 out of 5, as thought that two of the stories were really, really good, and the remaining two were okay. Definitely worth buying!

Sunday, October 18, 2009

In My Mailbox (16)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Seems like no matter how hard I try to wrestle my TBR piles down to a managable size, I keep finding new books that I can't resist!



I received an ARC of Spellbinder by responding to an ad in Shelf Awareness. Looks like a fun read!
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. And it’s a trait she could do without, because what twelve-year-old wants to be caught talking to someone invisible? 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.

Won a copy of Tall, Dark & Fangsome by Michelle Rowen from a contest over at Bookin' With Bingo. If you haven't visited Bingo's site before, be sure to check it out for great contests and reviews!
Sarah Dearly's vampire life is not all B-positive cocktails. A curse made her a nightwalker, the most vicious vamp there is; the charm she wears to curb her deadly tendencies is losing its juice; and a hunter from hell is turning up the heat. Gideon Chase will kill the ones she loves most if she doesn't obey his orders. That includes breaking up with master vampire Thierry and turning Gideon into an immortal vamp so he can escape a doom of eternal hellfire.

Primitive is the first bound galley I've ever received. Very cool! Won it from a BBAW contest from Bell Bridge Books.
A neo-primitive cult, possessing secret government documents filled with terrifying information about global warming, kidnaps a famous fashion model and holds her hostage, forcing her to act as their spokesperson. As time runs out, her estranged daughter allies with a dangerous activist group to rescue her, while battling dark agendas from the government and Big Oil.
And last but not least, I picked up a copy of Witch Craft by Caitlin Kittridge with one of those irresistible bookstore coupons I keep receiving. Love Caitlin's books!
Someone, or something, is setting fire to the homes of the city’s most infamous non-humans, racking up a body count that’s growing by the day. And strange, otherworldly creatures no one has seen before—selkies trolls and harpies—are causing chaos throughout the city.


Did you get anything interesting in your mailbox this week?

Friday, October 16, 2009

Product Review: Balt - Rolax Footrest from CSN

Jason at CSN Stores very kindly sent me a Balt - Rolax Footrest to review. You can find it along with office chairs, chair mats, and other office furniture at the CSN office chair store.

As per the online description:
This plush, padded footrest is just what you need to help you relax at home or in the office while resting or working.
Features:
•Multi-positioning for optimum relief of foot and back fatigue
•Plush, padded surface designed for home or office
•Plastic roller balls massage feet, reduce leg pressure, and ease strain on lower back
Specifications:
•Dimensions: 5" H x 17" W x 14" D
•Weight: 6 lbs.


Was delivered by UPS, but there was no packing
material. Didn't really need filler, as the box was a
perfect fit for all the pieces. Everything was wrapped in plastic.

Unwrapped everything to find the main footrest
and the four pieces for the base.

The instructions were pretty straightforward, and
my cat Didi was more than willing to be my
helpful assistant! *L*

The base was amazingly easy to put together.
All I needed was a Phillips-head screwdriver,
as the screws were already attached to the base. Took
less than five minutes to put together the base.
Then the footrest just set right on top.

Ta-dah!

Well, I've been using the footrest for a little over two weeks now. Wanted to give it plenty of time instead of rushing into a review, as I haven't really reviewed non-book products like this before. All in all, I'd say it was a good product. It's listed at $50, but is currently on sale with free shipping, so think it's worth buying!

I really like that the footrest is adjustable. Sometimes I have it facing forward, and at other times I play with it and roll it back and forth. And I love the roller ball massager! Very cool feature!

The only negative I found with the footrest was that the protective caps on the end of the base kept popping off. Sort of need those to keep from scratching my tile floor. Finally had my husband gently tap them on with a hammer, and they haven't come off since.

Being on the short side, it makes sitting at my desk so much more comfortable! Do use the roller balls to massage my feet, and have used the footrest in a few different positions. Love that it's adjustable! A huge improvement over the empty box I was previously using as a footrest!

My final verdict is that this is a good product that performs the function for which it was designed. I even like the tweedy color. I give it a thumbs up!

Thursday, October 15, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (7)



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

Here's how to play: Write down all the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them. The definition of Balderdash: An oft used strategy to elect your own fake definition in an attempt to give it credibility in the minds of your fellow players.…in other words, you make up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for this week:

Ingly: A biochemical reaction caused when a
colorless, odorless, water-soluble solid is set aflame.

Pardette: A small pardon. French slang
popular in the mid-1970's.

Sunsurt: A sudden gush of gaseous streams
on the sun's surface, thought to be similar
to a human belch or flatulence.

Shathed: The act of inserting into or to
provide with a Shath.

Did you come across any interesting words this week?

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

Book Review: Road Trip of the Living Dead by Mark Henry

Paperback: 288 pages
Publisher: Kensington (March 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0758225245
ISBN-13: 978-0758225245

Rating: 3/5
Source: Library

Book Blurb:
Celebrity party girl Amanda Feral is back from the dead, and hungrier than ever for a good time. With her zombie gal pal Wendy and vampy gay sidekick Gil, this stone cold fox is dressed to kill, on the prowl, and ready to take a big juicy bite out of Seattle's supernatural nightlife.

My Review:
This was a fun, fast read by an author I really enjoy. But....I had a major issue with the author's overuse of footnotes. Mark made such liberal use of footnotes in order to make sarcastic comments that it sort of ruined the story for me. One or two might have been funny, but he used so many that they became majorly annoying. Do we really need a biting comment on practically every page?

Amanda was fun in the first book, Happy Hour of the Damned, but not quite as amusing in this one. Maybe I just wasn't in the mood, but she seemed too snarky this time around . Things struck me as more forced between her, Wendy, and Gil, and their interaction didn't flow as smoothly.

Still a fun read, but not as much fun as expected. Gave it a 3 out of 5 as I felt it was just okay.

Buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Saturday, October 10, 2009

In My Mailbox (15)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I'm trying to be good and reduce the number of new books I bring home each week, but didn't realize it would be so hard! *L*

This one was totally not my fault! I mean, between the Borders Bucks and the 40% off coupon, they practically gave me the book! And I've read such awesome things about City of Bones that honestly, how could I resist picking up a copy of my very own?



Picked this up at the library. Rapacia is the second book in the Circles of Heck series. Enjoyed the first book so much that I had to get the second one.
When Milton escapes from Heck in a soul balloon made of old clothes, Marlo is the only Fauster child left to take the blame. Bea “Elsa” Bubb, the Principal of Darkness, sends her straight to Rapacia, the circle where greedy kids are tormented by glimpses of a just-out-of-reach, glittering shopper’s paradise called Mallvana.

Meanwhile, back on the Surface, Milton has his own problems. He is determined to get in touch with Marlo and help her find a way out of Heck. But it’s hard to concentrate when his body and soul don’t seem to hold together the way they used to. Will Milton ever reach Marlo?



Won an ARC of Ash by Malinda Lo from J.Kaye's Book Blog. An interesting take on the old Cinderella fairy tale.
In the wake of her father's death, Ash is left at the mercy of her cruel stepmother. Consumed with grief, her only joy comes by the light of the dying hearth fire, rereading the fairy tales her mother once told her. In her dreams, someday the fairies will steal her away, as they are said to do. When she meets the dark and dangerous fairy Sidhean, she believes that her wish may be granted.
Am really enjoying the new TV series FlashForward, so was excited to find out that another library had a copy and would send it over. I know that the book will be different than the show, but still want to read the original.
A science experiment that unwittingly shuts down all human consciousness for two minutes is the catalyst for a creative exploration of fate, free will and the nature of the universe in Sawyer's soul-searching new work (after Factoring Humanity). In April 2009, Lloyd and Theo, two scientists at the European Organization for Particle Physics (CERN), run an experiment that accidentally transports the world's consciousness 20 years into the future. When humanity reawakens a moment later, chaos rules.

Get anything good in your mailbox this week?

Friday, October 9, 2009

Friday Firsts (3)

Friday Firsts (3)
Friday Firsts is a meme hosted by Well-Read Reviews.

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
* Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.

* Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.

* Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)

* Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?


Here is my Friday Firsts: Huntress (anthology) by Christine Warren, Marjorie M. Liu, Caitlin Kittredge, and Jenna Maclaine

Sitting at the right foot of the devil could give
a girl
a complex about her pedicure.


This is the first sentence of the first story in this anthology. Found it amusing, and it did serve it's purpose of drawing me into the story as I wanted to find out what she was talking about. Devil? Pedicure? Huh? *L*

Book Review: The Child Thief by Brom

Hardcover: 496 pages
Publisher: Eos (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061671339
ISBN-13: 978-0061671333

Rating: 5/5
Source: Library

Book Blurb:
Peter is quick, daring, and full of mischief - and like all boys, he loves to play, though his games often end in blood. His eyes are sparkling gold, and when he graces you with his smile you are his friend for life. He appears to lonely, lost children - the broken, hopeless, and sexually abused - promising to take them to a secret place of great adventure, where magic is alive, and you never grow old. But his promised land is not Neverland. . .

My Review:
This is not only one of the longest books I've read recently, but also one of the most anticipated. I was lusting after this book and really did my best to get my hands on an ARC, but had to settle for borrowing it from the library. Was worried that it might let me down as I was looking forward to it so much, but am happy to report that it was just as good as described! So good that I'm going to buy my own copy, which I rarely do with library reads.

The Child Thief is Peter, a wild child who found refuge on the mythical island of Avalon. Found it interesting that Brom combined the Peter Pan myth with Arthurian legend. Variations of the Lost Boys, Captain Hook, and The Lady of the Lake show up, but in a much darker format. Pretty sure that this book is destined to become a classic, as the story is just that good! Brom is an extremely talented storyteller as well as being a gifted artist.

During this story, we learn Peter's history as well as follow his struggle to "save" lost children. We also join him on his quest to serve his Lady, try to save Avalon, and defeat Avalon's enemies. Any more details would probably contain spoilers, so I'll leave it at this: Read this book and you will not be disappointed! Gave it a 5 out of 5, as I found the book totally captivating! Go! Now! Get yourself a copy! *L*

Buy it from Amazon or Barnes and Noble

Thursday, October 8, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (6)



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

Here's how to play: Write down all the word verifications you come across while posting blog comments. You then play Balderdash with them. The definition of Balderdash: An oft used strategy to elect your own fake definition in an attempt to give it credibility in the minds of your fellow players.…in other words, you make up your own definition for the word.

Only came across a few words this week:

Vallhold: Little known limbo for Viking warriors
who weren't quite ready for Valhalla. Not much
is known about Vallhold, as Vikings were
embarrassed to admit that not all warriors
were worthy of joining the eternal feast.

Sunpilla: The wormlike larva of a sunnerfly, similar to
a caterpillar only with distinct sunbeam-like markings.

Ghtestio: Large, reptilian creatures once found
in the lost swamps of Southern Italy. Now extinct.

Did you come across any interesting word verifications this week?

Monday, October 5, 2009

Book Review: How To Catch & Keep A Vampire by Diana Laurence

Paperback: 160 pages
Publisher: Sellers Publishing Inc. (August 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416205527
ISBN-13: 978-1416205524
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.4 x 0.6 inches

Rating: 4/5

Source: Andy at Sellers Publishing, via an ad in the Shelf Awareness newsletter



Book Blurb:
Who needs a book on dating a vampire? Well, Bella Swan and Sookie Stackhouse to name just two. They are fortunate to have vampire boyfriends. But what the heroines of Twilight and True Blood don't have and could use is some advice on getting along with them. Everything they and every other red-blooded American girl (and guy) wants to know about finding a dreamy blood-drinker and keeping him is within How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving The Bad and the Beautiful. And who better to introduce mortal readers to the world of dating a 21st century vampire than a few mouth-watering immortals? The cast includes: Ethan, with his aquamarine eyes and supernaturally seductive piano playing. Mordred, classically cruel, dark, and handsome, with a thing for black leather gloves. His entrancingly cute carrot-topped friend Adam, as sweet as Mordred is scary. Gunnar, with his rich, golden hair, and dastardly but delightful knack for getting his way. The experienced and fascinating Colin, with his exquisite latte-colored skin and exotic beauty. The eccentric but gorgeous Aidan, purveyor of ancient magic. And enigmatic Conner, with his deep, dark eyes and protective soul. These undead charmers will win the hearts and minds of readers everywhere, and author Diana Laurence will be their expert guide.

My Review:
This was a very funny book that somehow managed to straddle the line between serious dating guide and parody. Diana did a great job of presenting the realities of dating a vampire in a no-nonsence, practical method without ever veering into pure silliness. Inserting various 'case studies' from fellow vampirophiles of possible pitfalls was a nice touch, and I especially liked the FAQs at the end of each chapter.

Think my favorite part of the book was the list of Top Ten Vampire Pickup Lines. I mean, really...what vampirophile could resist lines like Your irresistible loveliness called to me from across this Jiffy Lube waiting room or I can be your Lestat, your Edward, your Bill...only better?

All in all, this was a fast, enjoyable, humorous read that I would recommend to any and all paranormal lovers out there. Gave it a 4 out of 5.


Buy it from Amazon or Barnes & Noble, and be sure to check out the author's website at http://www.dianalaurence.com/!

Sunday, October 4, 2009

In My Mailbox (14)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I'm trying to cut back on book purchases and review copies, but sometimes a book really grabs my interest and I can't resist! But with only two this past week, think I'm improving! *L*



Received this review copy from Andy at Sellers Publishing, via an ad in the Shelf Awareness newsletter. This is the first book I've received via Shelf Awareness, so I'm really excited!


Discover the Secret of the Red Satin Ribbon . . .In How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful, author Diana Laurence explores the romantic fascination we mortals have for the undead. Why do perfectly normal people fall for such sinister beings? And more importantly, what should we do about it when we do? Diana Laurence knows. With loads of personal experience to draw upon, Laurence does everything from explaining the attraction to blood-drinkers, to sharing what red satin signifies to them. In this book, she has created a road map to show readers how a vampire relationship can be achieved and conducted in harmony with everyday existence.



Received The Recipe Club by Andrea Israel & Nancy Garfinkel from Caitlin at FSB Associates. I like stories like this, and am looking forward to reading it!

Lilly and Val are lifelong friends, united as much by their differences as by their similarities. Lilly, dramatic and confident, lives in the shadow of her beautiful, wayward mother and craves the attention of her distant, disapproving father. Val, shy and idealistic-and surprisingly ambitious-struggles with her desire to break free from her demanding housebound mother and a father whose dreams never seem to come true.

In childhood, "LillyPad" and "Valpal" vow to form an exclusive two-person club. Throughout the decades they write intimate letters in which they share hopes, fears, deepest secrets-and recipes, from Lilly's "Lovelorn Lasagna" to Valerie's "Forgiveness Tapenade." Readers can cook along as the girls travel through time, facing the challenges of independence; the joys and heartbreaks of first love; and the emotional complexities of family relationships, identity, mortality, and goals deferred.

But no matter what different paths they take or what misunderstandings threaten to break them apart, Lilly and Val always find their way back together through their Recipe Club . . . until the fateful day when an act of kindness becomes an unforgivable betrayal.

Now, decades later, while trying to recapture the trust they've lost, Lilly and Val reunite once more-only to uncover a shocking secret. Will it destroy their friendship, or bring them ever closer?



I also received my footrest from CSN for review. Have set it up, am using it, and plan on writing my review later this week. So far, so good!

Saturday, October 3, 2009

Book Review: Unbound anthology

Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Eos (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061699934
ISBN-13: 978-0061699931


Rating: 4/5
Source: Bookstore purchase


Book Blurb:
Not all hunters are bound by human laws . . .

Revisiting the paranormal realms they've made famous in their wildly popular fiction, New York Times bestselling authors Kim Harrison, Jeaniene Frost, Vicki Pettersson, and Jocelynn Drake—plus New York Times bestselling YA author Melissa Marr with her first adult supernatural thriller—unleash their full arsenal of dark talents, plunging us into the shadows where the supernatural stalk the unsuspecting . . . and every soul is a target.

Get ready for the ride of your life—because the wildest magic has just been unleashed . . . and evil is about to have its day.

My Review:
I love anthologies and short story collections! I think it's a great way to discover new authors, as well as get a quick taste of stories from some of my favorites. I try to make my "purse book" an anthology as they're easier than full length novels to read sporadically. They're also perfect for my lunch hour reads. This book was a little different for me as I'm already a big fan of all of these ladies, so no new authors to sample. But it is a great selection of stories, so I highly recommend it to all fantasy lovers!

The first story is Ley Line Drifter by Kim Harrison. It features Jenks, my favorite pixie investigator from the Rachel Morgan series. Jenks gets a case of his own, helping a pixie family because their children are being magically attacked by a statue. Was nice to see Jenks and Bis, the teenage gargoyle, again. Rachel doesn't make an appearance, but Ivy has a cameo. Jenks handles things really well, and I think it did both Jenks and Bis good to spread their wings a little and act independently.

The next story is Reckoning by Jeaniene Frost. Good story about vampire bounty hunter Bones tracking two undead serial killers in New Orleans during Mardi Gras. Always nice to see Bones again.

Dark Matters by Vicki Pettersson is the third story presented. It involves the agents of Light from her Signs of the Zodiac series, but before Joanna came into the picture. I really enjoyed it, but the ending took me a little by surprise. I didn't see it coming, but it made sense so I liked it!

Next up is The Dead, The Damned, and the Forgotten by Jocelynn Drake. This one features Mira, from her Dark Days series. I haven't read the series yet, but have several of the books in my TBR pile. A nice introduction to Mira and her world, involving the murder of a nightwalker in her territory. If Mira can't solve the murder, she may lose her territory and be sent back to the Council. Another good story!

Last but not least is Two Lines by Melissa Marr. Liked this one, but could have used a little more background as I'm totally unfamiliar with glaistigs. Eavan does not want to become a full glaistig, which apparently involves both murder and sex. Think those are the two lines that she does not want to cross, but it's getting harder and harder for her to resist. There is a sexy bad guy and an equally appealing good guy, as well as family pressure to just get on with it already. Not bad, but there was that confusion over glaistigs, which dampened my enjoyment a little.

All in all I'd say that this was a good collection of urban fantasy, so I gave it 4 out of 5.



Buy it at Amazon or Barnes & Noble

Friday, October 2, 2009

Friday Firsts (2)

Friday Firsts (2)
Friday Firsts is a meme hosted by Well-Read Reviews.

The first line can make or break a reader’s interest. Just how well did the author pull you in to the story with their first sentence? To participate in this weekly book meme is extremely easy.
* Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.

* Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.

* Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)

* Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?
Here is my Friday Firsts: The Child Thief by Brom

It would happen again tonight: the really bad thing.

Hmmmmm, not a bad sentence to draw you into the story. It goes on to explain what bad thing would happen, and then introduces us to the main character of the Child Thief. Although to be honest, this is one of those books I've looked forward to for so long that the first sentence could have been "It was a dark and stormy night" and I wouldn't have stopped reading! *L*



The Dragon's Loyalty Award!

Received this gorgeous award from Michelle over at The True Book Addict! I love the dragon and maiden...classic fantasy! Michelle is a fellow book addict, with an absolutely humongous library! She writes great reviews, and be sure to check out her new background for Halloween. Very cool! Thanks again Michelle!

The Dragon's Loyalty Award is an award for the loyal fan/commenter, whether the recipient is a fellow blogger or just a someone who follows and comments regularly.Here are the rules:* If you have a blog, post it on your blog with a link back to the site who gave it to you.* Leave them a comment on their site, email, etc. to let them know.* If you don't have a blog but have a website, Facebook, MySpace, Twitter or other type account, post there with a link back.*

Would like to pass this award on to everyone reading this, as it's too beautiful to pass along to just a handful of people. Enjoy!


Thursday, October 1, 2009

And we have a winner!

And we have a winner!
Dark Time by Dakota Banks


Three hundred years ago, she sold her soul to a demon. Now she wants it back. For centuries, the woman calling herself Maliha Crayne has lived a second life—as an assassin for the malevolent creature who owns her soul. A haunted killer with the blood of countless victims on her hands, she has finally discovered a way to nullify the demonic pact that chains her: If she saves a life for every one she has taken, she will be free. But if she fails, her punishments will be unspeakable, unendurable . . . and neverending.

I used the True Random Number Generator at Random.org to pick a winner.
After putting every name on a spreadsheet, with a separate line for each entry,
I plugged the numbers into the generator and the winner was Lucky Number 25!

Congratulations to Froggy from Froggaritavilles Bookcase!

I'll be emailing Froggy for a shipping address and will be mailing the book by the end of the week. Thanks to everyone for making my first contest so much fun! Will definitely be doing more contests in the future, but maybe with a shorter timeframe as I tend to get impatient! *L*

Thanks again!


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