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

Friday, December 27, 2013

Book Review: Paleo Cookbook for Dummies

Paleo Cookbook for Dummies
Paleo Cookbook for Dummies by Dr. Kellyann Petrucci

The fast and easy way to enjoy a Paleo diet. The Paleo movement is one of the hottest diet and healthy-eating approaches, as people discover an appealing and sustainable alternative to the restrictive diets that lead to burnout and failed weight loss efforts. This modern-day take on an ancient diet--which excludes dairy, processed foods, and refined sugar--has helped thousands of people lose weight and keep it off. Now, "The Paleo Cookbook For Dummies" offers more than 100 simple and tasty Paleo recipes for breakfast, lunch, dinner, snacks, desserts, and even beverages.Includes an overview of the Paleo Diet, grocery shopping and pantry stocking tips, and kid-friendly Paleo recipes. Offers Paleo recipes for every meal of the day. All recipes are contributed by powerhouse Paleo chefs. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This sounded interesting, both as a healthy way of eating and a possible weight-loss diet. Unfortunately, we must be really picky eaters as I couldn't find a single recipe in this book that my family would enjoy. Very disappointing.

Like most For Dummies guides, this book is laid out well. Part 1 explains the Paleo lifestyle, how to stock your kitchen, and how to start the diet. The rest of the book is full of recipes, broken down into soups, salads, snacks, main dishes, sides, and desserts. There's even a section for slow cookers and kid-friendly dishes! Too bad I couldn't find anything for my picky family.

While this wasn't the right book for us, I'm sure that others would benefit from the recipes and lifestyle suggestions!


Review copy received via Amazon Vine in exchange for an honest review.

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Happy Christmas!

Happy Christmas to all!

And if you don't celebrate Christmas - 
Happy Wednesday!

Some funnies for your amusement:

Wish I had thought of this for our office Gingerbread contest!
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Genius!

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Waffles, the unhappy reindeer. 
She was not amused....
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Hope Santa is good to you!
And remember - tomorrow, everything is ON SALE!!!




Saturday, December 21, 2013

My Book Haul (36)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the book.

For Review:

While this doesn't sound like my usual read, I was pulled in by the sample chapter and quickly agreed to review it! Looking forward to seeing if it lives up to the first chapter!

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The Ascendant by Drew Chapman

In this taut and cunning novel, Drew Chapman takes readers into a scenario that is eerily plausible and utterly terrifying - an unconventional war capable of bringing a superpower to its knees. The Ascendant is a brilliant new twist on the art of the white-knuckle thriller. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?



Wednesday, December 18, 2013

Book Review: Same Kind of Different As Me

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Same Kind of Different as Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless - until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional story of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader will ever forget it. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

This book is a perfect example of why I shouldn't judge a book by its cover! After seeing the cover and reading the synopsis, I decided that I'd skip reading this one despite it being the monthly pick for my bookclub. Because after all, I don't normally read non-fiction or religious books (jeez, I sound so pretentious and snooty!). Then I felt guilty. So I climbed down off my high horse, downloaded a sample on my nook and, by the end of the sample, I was hooked and immediately downloaded the rest! Lesson learned!

Some of the members of my bookclub didn't finish this one as they got bored and didn't care for Denver, but I found myself sucked in by the excellent writing and actually enjoyed Denver's "unique" voice. 

Denver and Ron take turns narrating their story, and it's easy to tell who is speaking because Denver has a strong accent and uses slang quite a bit. Their stories were more interesting than I expected, and I really grew to care about them. Actually got tears in my eyes during Deborah's battle with cancer!

Faith is a strong component in their lives, but I appreciated that there was no preaching involved and that it was just presented as a matter-of-fact part of their lives. I think part of the reason I don't enjoy books with a religious bent is because I don't enjoy being preached to, so I think that the religious aspects of this story were well handled. 

Sincerely hope that I remember to never judge a book by its cover/synopsis again and to at least read a few paragraphs first, as I wound up really liking this story! I found Denver the more interesting man, as his life has been totally different than mine. Ron was a little irritating at times, but he grew on me as well. Well worth the read if you enjoy non-fiction. Or even if you don't and just want an interesting, well-written story!

Saturday, December 14, 2013

My Book Haul (35)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the book.

For Review:

I really enjoyed the first book in this series, so was happy to receive book two of The Testing for review!

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Independent Study by Joelle Charbonneau

In the series debut The Testing, sixteen-year-old Cia Vale was chosen by the United Commonwealth government as one of the best and brightest graduates of all the colonies . . . a promising leader in the effort to revitalize postwar civilization. In Independent Study, Cia is a freshman at the University in Tosu City with her hometown sweetheart, Tomas - and though the government has tried to erase her memory of the brutal horrors of The Testing, Cia remembers. Her attempts to expose the ugly truth behind the government’s murderous programs put her - and her loved ones - in a world of danger. But the future of the Commonwealth depends on her. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?



Thursday, December 12, 2013

Throwback Thursday

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Throwback Thursday is hosted by Melissa at My World...in words and pages. Rather than spotlighting an upcoming title that we're looking forward to reading, we spotlight those wonderful books we already have, patiently waiting their turn in the TBR piles.

My spotlight for the week:

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Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane

ENEMIES DON’T NEED TO BE ALIVE TO BE DEADLY.

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem - humans filing false claims of hauntings - all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill. But Chess has been extra busy these days, coping with a new “celebrity” assignment while trying on her own time to help some desperate prostitutes.

Someone’s taking out the hookers of Downside in the most gruesome way, and Chess is sure the rumors that it’s the work of a ghost are way off base. But proving herself right means walking in the path of a maniac, not to mention standing between the two men in her life just as they - along with their ruthless employers - are moving closer to a catastrophic showdown. Someone is dealing in murder, sex, and the supernatural, and once again Chess finds herself right in the crossfire. (Goodreads)

I can't believe I still haven't read Stacia Kane, as I've heard nothing but great things about her books! Looking forward to this one, as it sounds awesome!

Monday, December 9, 2013

My Secret Santa Goodies!


Broke & Bookish Secret Santa
So excited to receive my Secret Santa goodies from the Broke & Bookish swap! I wasn't expecting to get anything so soon and, to tell the truth, I haven't even mailed mine out yet (in my defense, I'm still waiting for an online order to arrive). So what a great surprise!

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My Secret Santa was Tanya from Ramblings of a Reading Addict and boy did she do a fantastic job! Look at what she packed my gifts in - book boxes! Is that awesome or what? Love it!

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The smaller box held a treasure trove of goodies! Twizzlers, chocolate Santas, Milky Way minis, a chocolate Kiss, and a bag of coal. But it's okay, because the coal was made of chocolate! I'm seriously in love with this girl, as she sent me so many of my favorites!


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The bigger box held even more goodies, including bookmarks and Ghiradelli peppermint bark! I collect bookmarks, and some of them were even signed! Tanya really hit it out of the ballpark with her selections. Wonder if I can hire her to be my personal shopper? *L*

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She also included some silly socks, which I love. Another home run!

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And now for the major goodies in the box- books! While I had included my wishlist when I joined the swap, I also said I'd love to discover some of my Santa's favorite titles. While the Rowland book was on my list, the other two are new to me and I can't wait to read them!
Twice Tempted by Jeaniene Frost
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones

I simply cannot get over how wonderful this gift is! So many of my favorite items, and some new books to read! There's not a single thing in this box that I don't absolutely love! If my Secret Santa enjoys my gift half as much as I'm enjoying Tanya's, then I'll consider it a win. 

Thank you so much Tanya! You rock!


Monday, December 2, 2013

November Wrap Up

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Getting back into my reading and blogging groove, and a monthly wrap up post seems to keep me on track!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read 6 books this month:

  1. Hunted by Kevin Hearne
  2. Machine of Death anthology
  3. Princess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist
  4. Taken by Erin Bowman
  5. Man Made Boy by Jon Skovron
  6. Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark
  7. Death Warmed Over by Kevin J. Anderson
  8. Unnatural Acts by Kevin J. Anderson
  9. Naughty & Nice by Kevin J. Anderson

Blog Goals

Managed to cross a few more things off of my perpetual To-Do list

Went through all of my drafts and either deleted the ones I knew would never get written, or updated the publish date to give myself a new deadline. Hopefully now that they're no longer buried, I'll finally catch up on my writing!

To Be Reviewed

I took part in a review-a-thon this month and didn't do too well, only managing to write two reviews. But I did manage to set up all the review posts, so was determined to finish my list by the end of the month year. Here's my remaining review-a-thon list, with the finished reviews crossed off. Notice that none of them are crossed off? Boo on me.

  1. Hunted
  2. She's the Boss
  3. TaleSpins
  4. Spider
  5. The Curiosity
  6. Through the Zombie Glass
  7. Same Kind of Different As Me
  8. Pawn
  9. Machine of Death
  10. Taken
  11. Indelible
  12. Once We Were
  13. Carniepunk

Overall

Still struggling with writing my reviews, but pleased that I seem to have rediscovered my love of reading! Now I just have to rediscover my love of reviewing, as I do enjoy talking about the books I've read.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Book Review: Man Made Boy

 photo manmadeboy.jpgMan Made Boy by Jon Skovron

Love can be a real monster.

Sixteen-year-old Boy’s never left home. When you’re the son of Frankenstein’s monster and the Bride, it’s tough to go out in public, unless you want to draw the attention of a torch-wielding mob. And since Boy and his family live in a secret enclave of monsters hidden under Times Square, it’s important they maintain a low profile.

Boy’s only interactions with the world are through the Internet, where he’s a hacker extraordinaire who can hide his hulking body and stitched-together face behind a layer of code. When conflict erupts at home, Boy runs away and embarks on a cross-country road trip with the granddaughters of Jekyll and Hyde, who introduce him to malls and diners, love and heartbreak. But no matter how far Boy runs, he can’t escape his demons - both literal and figurative - until he faces his family once more.

This hilarious, romantic, and wildly imaginative tale redefines what it means to be a monster - and a man. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

We first meet Boy at home, where he lives with his parents in a NYC theater. Working in a production called "The Show" with other legendary non-humans, this is the only life Boy has ever known. But Boy is restless and wants more out of life. Told of his parent's plan to ship him off to Geneva to attend college and live with the Frankenstein family, Boy is appalled and runs away.

At first, life is hard for someone with no ID and his "unusual" looks, but he finally finds a job and things start to look up. Things look up even more when the girl of his dreams runs away from The Show to join him! Then his luck turns when one of the computer programs he created goes viral (in a very bad way) and he has to go on the run again.

After a couple of old friends from The Show catch up with them, one of them takes girlfriend home while the other decides to show Boy that life on the road can be fun. Introducing him to the granddaughter of Jekyll and Hyde, the two (three?) of them set off on the adventure of a lifetime! 

Really enjoyed this story, and got a kick out of Frankenstein and his Bride making a son of their own! The Show made sense too, as legendary monsters do need a safe place in today's world. The discovery that there was more than one safe haven made sense too, and I liked how they differed.

Boy was a unique character and he really grew on me. A cross between a typical teenage boy obsessed with computers and the ultimate outsider, I really liked getting to know him and watching as he dealt with various challenges during his adventure. And I really liked the granddaughter(s), Claire and Sophie. For two people sharing the same body, they're both totally unique characters!

Skovron is a very talented author, who created a clever storyline that was well-paced, had interesting characters, and left me wanting more. Would love to see a sequel down the road so we can find out what happens next for Boy, his family & friends, and especially The Show!


Review copy provided by the publisher in exchange for an honest review

Sunday, November 24, 2013

My Book Haul (34)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

I read and enjoyed the first two books in this series, so was happy to take part in a blog tour for the next two books! My tour stop is in January, but don't think I'll be able to wait until then as I want to find out what happened next for Jenny!

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Dark Prelude by EJ Wesley

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. Unfortunately, a lot of on-the-job training is required to be a monster hunter, and unlike her computer repair business, this gig could literally kill her.

***

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Dragon's Game by EJ Wesley

Jenny Moonsong recently inherited the title of "monster hunter" and an ancient tribal journal/how-to manual passed down by her Apache ancestors. She has already faced a werewolf, witches, and a troll. But nothing could prepare her for her latest confrontation...

Purchased:

This is the latest pick for my book club, and we're going to an author signing next month. While I haven't read any of Celia's other books, I do read her newspaper column and she's pretty funny!

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Rude Bitches Make Me Tired by Celia Rivenbark

In this always sensible and mildly profane etiquette manual for the modern age Celia Rivenbark addresses real-life quandaries ranging from how to deal with braggy playground moms to wondering if you can have sex in your aunt's bed on vacation to correctly grieving the dearly departed (hint: it doesn't include tattoos or truck decals). (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?



Saturday, November 23, 2013

Monster Review-a-Thon Wrap-up

Monster reviewathon

Now that the Monster Review-a-thon is over, let's see how I did. 

Out of 14 books that needed reviewing, I only managed to write 1 review from the below list and 1 review from a title that wasn't even listed. Another review-a-thon fail.

To Be Reviewed:

  • How to be Alone
  • Hunted
  • She's the Boss
  • TaleSpins
  • Spider
  • The Curiosity
  • Through the Zombie Glass
  • Same Kind of Different As Me
  • Pawn
  • Machine of Death
  • Taken
  • Indelible
  • Once We Were
  • Carniepunk

Goals

  1. Set up posts for reviews, with book cover and synopsis so all I have to do is write my thoughts - done! 
  2. Complete at least one challenge for the review-a-thon - no challenges this time
  3. Write and schedule at least 4 reviews - major fail! :(
  4. Visit and cheer on other participants - visited a few, but will try to check in with everyone's wrap up posts to see how they all did.

So even though I didn't manage to write reviews for every book, I didn't really expect to. I have a horrible track record with review-a-thons, but am happy that I did manage to prepare posts for all of my to-be-reviewed titles! And now I have a list to work from that I'm determined to finish before the end of the month!



Friday, November 22, 2013

Book Review: How to Be Alone

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How to Be Alone by Tanya Davis, illustrated by Andrea Dorfman

A charming and deeply poignant illustrated poem based on the popular viral Internet video that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide

If you are, at first, lonely be patient. If you've not been alone much or if, when you were, you weren't okay with it then just wait...

Since its debut on YouTube, Tanya Davis's beautiful and perceptive poem, How to Be Alone, visually realized by artist and filmmaker Andrea Dorfman, has become an international sensation. Her wise and perceptive words, vivid in their evocation of solitude's beauty and calm, have touched millions. Now her poem's deep eloquence and compelling illustrations have been adapted for the page in this beautiful, meditative volume, a keepsake to treasure and to share.

From a solitary walk in the woods to sitting unaccompanied on a city park bench to eating a meal and even dancing alone, Tanya reveals the possibilities and joys waiting to be discovered when we engage in activities on our own. As she soothes the disquietude that accompanies the fear of aloneness, and celebrates the power of solitude to change how we see ourselves and the world, Tanya revels how, removed from the noise and distractions of other lives, we can find acceptance and grace within.

For those who have never been by themselves and those who feel lost or lonely on their own, this moving work encourages us to recognize and embrace the possibilities of being alone-and reminds us of a universe of joy, peace, and discovery waiting to unfold. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

While I don't usually read poetry, I was intrigued by the thought of an illustrated poem. I hadn't heard of it, but this was apparently a YouTube sensation with over 6 million views. Wow! Guess I'm out of the YouTube loop.

As an introvert, I enjoy being alone and was curious to see what the poet and illustrator had to say about my favorite state of being. Some of the suggestions, like the library and movie theater, are tried and true favorites. Others, like a coffee shop or lunch counter, I still haven't worked up the courage to try. 

The illustrations that accompany the poem are charming. I especially enjoyed the artistic comparison of being alone to a single sock. We all have a single sock or two hanging around, but it doesn't have to be a sad thing if embraced as lovely and unique. 

The description I keep coming back to is charming. I don't know if I would have purchased this book for myself, but think it would make a lovely stocking stuffer for the holidays. 

About:

Tanya Davis is a Canadian singer-songwriter and poet. Since bursting onto the Halifax music scene in 2006 with her debut, Make A List, Tanya has garnered praise from industry, audience, and peers, as well as multiple award nominations, including one for her sophomore release, Gorgeous Morning, for the 2009 ECMA Female Recording of the Year.

Andrea Dorfman works as a filmmaker, animator, cinematographer, and artist. A graduate of McGill University and the Nova Scotia College of Art and Design, she has made numerous experimental and dramatic short films as well as two feature films, Parsley Days and Love That Boy. She lives in Halifax, Nova Scotia.


Review copy provided by the publisher, in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Monster Review-a-thon starting goals

Monster reviewathon

Today is the start date for the Monster Review-a-thon, so thought I would list a few goals to keep myself motivated and on track. 

Here are some of my books that still need reviewing:
  • How to be Alone
  • Hunted
  • She's the Boss
  • TaleSpins
  • Spider
  • The Curiosity
  • Through the Zombie Glass
  • Same Kind of Different As Me
  • Pawn
  • Machine of Death
  • Taken
  • Indelible
  • Once We Were
  • Carniepunk

Goals

  1. Set up posts for reviews, with book cover and synopsis so all I have to do is write my thoughts. Pre-review? Pre-post? Does this process have a name?
  2. Complete at least one challenge for the review-a-thon
  3. Write and schedule at least 4 reviews
  4. Visit and cheer on other participants

I know that I won't be able to review them all, but at least I have a fighting chance on getting some of them done. Wish me luck!



Wednesday, November 13, 2013

Book Review: Princess in the Opal Mask

Princess in the Opal MaskPrincess in the Opal Mask by Jenny Lundquist

Every Fairy-Tale Ending Has a Price....

Orphaned as a child in the crumbling village of Tulan, Elara is determined to learn her true identity, even if it means wielding a dagger. Meanwhile, in Galandria's royal capital, Princess Wilha stands out as someone to either worship or fear. Though no one knows why the king has always made her conceal her face - including Wilha herself.

When an assassination attempt threatens the peace of neighboring kingdoms, Elara and Wilha are brought face to face . . . with a chance at claiming new identities. However, with dark revelations now surfacing, both girls will need to decide if brighter futures are worth the binding risks. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Elara is an orphan, raised by a family who doesn't love her and treats her like a slave. Princess Wilha has been raised as royalty, but also feels unloved and doesn't understand why she is required to wear a mask at all times. These two girls are our narrators, and both are fascinating characters. 

Just like Cinderella, Elara gets a chance to go to a royal ball! The ball is in celebration of Wilha's birthday, but she's not very happy at being put on display yet again. It's tough being stared at all of the time because of her mask, and the rumors about why she has to wear it can be hurtful to a sheltered princess.

Brought together after an assassination attempt on the royal family, both girls find out startling information about their pasts. Sent together to a neighboring kingdom, Wilha and Elera both discover hidden strengths.

Of the two, I found myself relating to Wilha more so than Elera, as Elera seemed somewhat harder and less sympathetic. Of course, Elera had a much tougher childhood than the princess, but I just didn't connect with her like I thought I would. And I was surprised by how much I came to like Wilha, as I found her weak and uninteresting at first. She really grew on me!

Found this to be a good start to a new series, with interesting characters and a good storyline. While I found a few plot points a little odd, everything came together well and I'm looking forward to seeing where the author takes the story next!


Review copy provided by Running Press Publicity in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, November 9, 2013

My Book Haul (33)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the book.

For Review:

I've read Laura Lippman books before, so couldn't resist requesting this one. Sounds intriguing, so don't think I can wait until February to read it!

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After I'm Gone by Laura Lippman

When Felix Brewer meets nineteen-year-old Bernadette "Bambi" Gottschalk at a Valentine's Dance in 1959, he charms her with wild promises, some of which he actually keeps. Thanks to his lucrative - if not all legal - businesses, she and their three little girls live in luxury. But on the Fourth of July, 1976, Bambi's comfortable world implodes when Felix, newly convicted and facing prison, mysteriously vanishes. (Goodreads)


What did you receive this week?


Wednesday, November 6, 2013

4th annual Broke & Bookish Secret Santa!

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So excited that The Broke and the Bookish are planning a Secret Santa exchange again! Had a blast with my Secret Santa exchange last year and have been keeping an eye out for another one. It's a low key and fun Secret Santa that doesn't put too much of a damper on your wallet. My kind of exchange!
  • sign up before November 17th
  • your gift should have 1 or 2 books + some sort of little goodie or two (candy, bookmarks, something bookish) & a card or note.
  • mail gift no later than December 10th
  • open internationally!
I signed up almost immediately, and am really looking forward to getting my Secret Santa's information so I can start shopping! If you're interested, you can find out more information here.

So excited!



Monday, November 4, 2013

October Wrap Up

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Trying to get back in the groove, so hoping a monthly wrap up will help!

Books read

In order to meet my Goodreads goal of 100 books, I'll need to read 8.33 books per month. According to Goodreads, I've read 11 books this month. Sure, two of them were short stories and two were anthologies, but they totally count!

  1. Thankless in Death by JD Robb
  2. Pawn by Aimee Carter
  3. The Best of Me by Nicholas Sparks
  4. Mirror, Mirror anthology
  5. Raven by Lauren Oliver
  6. Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne
  7. Same Kind of Different Like Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore
  8. Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter
  9. TailSpins by Michael Mullin
  10. The Spider by Jennifer Estep
  11. How To Be Alone by Tamya Davis

Blog Updates

Having noticed that some of the pictures on my older reviews have disappeared, probably because of my PC crashing awhile ago, I've started using Photobucket. It's a stable platform for photos, so hoping the book covers won't disappear anymore. It takes a little longer to upload them to photobucket and then link the picture to my post, but I think it's worth it. Now if I was really ambitious, I'd go back and fix the missing covers. Too bad I'm not overly ambitious... *L*

Read an interesting post over at On Starships and Dragonwings about NetGalley and their new feedback ratio. I've now updated my bio to include more stats (like Twitter followers and number of Amazon reviews). I also plan on sending them my reviews earlier, even if I don't schedule them until closer to the publication date. My goal is to get my approval rating up to 80% (was at 69% and am currently at 72.2%).

Commenting

Getting used to Bloglovin' and think I'm doing better with reading and commenting on blogs. Also trying to do better with visiting bloggers who leave comments on my posts. Want to give a special shout-out to Petty Witter (aka Tracy), who has been a valued blogger friend who stuck with me during my many slumps! Appreciate that more than you can know, PW!

Fun with keyword searches

Sad to discover that Google Analytics no longer provides the results of keyword searches. Something about privacy, but all I know is that once again, Google has rained on my parade. First they get rid of my Reader, then my fun keyword searches. Boo Google! :(

Overall

I am cautiously optimistic that my reading/blogging slump is almost over. Reading is becoming fun again, I'm starting to visit my blogging friends again, and I'm slowly getting back into reviewing. Hope I don't hit another slump, as they're totally depressing!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

My Book Haul (32)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

As an introvert, I was curious to read this poem on how to be alone. Poems are tricky things, but I liked the idea of an internet video being turned into an illustrated book.

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How To Be Alone by Tanya Davis

A charming and deeply poignant illustrated poem based on the popular viral Internet video that has captured the hearts of millions worldwide. (Goodreads)

Purchased:

This is one of those series that are an auto-read for me. I absolutely love Atticus, Granuaile, and Oberon! Can't wait to see what happens next!

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Hunted by Kevin Hearne

For a two-thousand-year-old Druid, Atticus O’Sullivan is a pretty fast runner. Good thing, because he’s being chased by not one but two goddesses of the hunt - Artemis and Diana - for messing with one of their own. Dodging their slings and arrows, Atticus, Granuaile, and his wolfhound Oberon are making a mad dash across modern-day Europe to seek help from a friend of the Tuatha Dé Danann. His usual magical option of shifting planes is blocked, so instead of playing hide-and-seek, the game plan is . . . run like hell. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?


Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Book Review: Iron Traitor

Iron Traitor by Julie KagawaIron Traitor by Julie Kagawa

After his unexpected journey into the lands of the fey, Ethan Chase just wants to get back to normal. Well, as "normal" as you can be when you see faeries every day of your life. Suddenly the former loner with the bad reputation has someone to try for - his girlfriend, Kenzie. Never mind that he's forbidden to see her again.

But when your name is Ethan Chase and your sister is one of the most powerful faeries in the Nevernever, "normal" simply isn't to be. For Ethan's nephew, Keirran, is missing, and may be on the verge of doing something unthinkable in the name of saving his own love. Something that will fracture the human and faery worlds forever, and give rise to the dangerous fey known as the Forgotten. As Ethan's and Keirran's fates entwine and Keirran slips further into darkness, Ethan's next choice may decide the fate of them all. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Am really enjoying this series, and find myself constantly amazed at the direction this story is heading! Kagawa is an amazing author and while I initially had some concerns that Ethan couldn't possibly live up to Megan's story, he totally does!

Ethan is back home and trying to pick up the pieces after his unexpected adventure in the Nevernever. Things aren't so easy though, as he discovers that Kenzie is in the hospital and that his nephew is missing. Despite his best efforts, the fey simply won't leave him alone and he finds himself embroiled in their world once again.

While he's no longer a child and has proven himself over and over, I appreciate that Ethan still makes mistakes. Too-perfect heroes are boring, so glad that this series is anything but! Keirran makes mistakes too, which is a little more surprising because of his background. Love imperfect heroes!

This was a fast read, as I couldn't wait to see what happened next! Then I had to go back and reread the last few chapters to make sure I hadn't missed anything. Have to warn you that the ending totally took me by surprise. There may or may not have been a few tears, and maybe a few shouts of disbelief. If Kagawa's ears were burning, it was probably me screaming at her.

Amazing entry into the Iron Fey series, and I cannot wait for the next book to see where Julie takes the story next!!!


eARC received from the publisher via NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review

Saturday, October 26, 2013

My Book Haul (31)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

NetGalley:

This was featured in an email from NetGalley. It's no longer enough that I don't log into their website so I won't be tempted, but now I need to block their emails as well? I admit it...I'm weak.

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What Nora Knew by Linda Yellin

Self-professed cynic Molly Hallberg navigates the tricky waters of New York romance with help from the advice found in Nora Ephron’s romantic comedies. (Goodreads)

***

Another email tempting me to download from NetGalley. Is there such a thing as book-crack, because I'm pretty sure that NetGalley is my dealer! *L*

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The Spider by Jennifer Estep

For the first time, the full origin story of Gin Blanco's transformation into the fearsome assassin known as the Spider - book ten in the red-hot Elemental Assassin urban fantasy series.

Purchased:

Really enjoyed the first book in the series, so couldn't resist downloading book #2 of The White Rabbit Chronicles! Love Gena's take on zombies!

Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter
Through the Zombie Glass by Gena Showalter

Zombies stalk the night. Forget blood and brains. These monsters hunger for human souls. Sadly, they've got mine... (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?




Friday, October 25, 2013

Monster Thons Are Coming!

Monster Thons are Coming!

The Monster Thons are coming! Mark your calenders for two weeks filled of reading and reviewing!

Hosted by The Book Monsters, the Monster Read and Review-a-thons are a great chance for us all to get together, read some fabulous reads, and get to those reviews that we know have been sitting there waiting to be done for a little too long. You can read as much as you want. Review till you cannot review anymore. Whatever works best for you! In addition to the Thons, The Book Monsters will be hosting some fun related challenges, great prizes, and a Twitter party.


The Monster Thons are divided into two smaller Thons:

  • The Monster Read-a-Thon runs from November 9-15th.
  • The Monster Review-a-Thon runs from November 16-22nd.

You decide how much you want to participate. Whether it is just for a few days in each Thon or you only want to review… what you get done depends on you!

I need to catch up on both my reading and my reviewing, but think I'm only going to participate in the review-a-thon. I have an ornery side that doesn't like deadlines or being told what to do, so usually fail miserably at read-a-thons. To be honest, I usually fail at review-a-thons too, but am going to give it the old college try as I'm terribly behind.

If you'd like to join me, you can find more information here.



Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Book Review: Thankless In Death

Thankless in Death
Thankless In Death by J.D. Robb

Lieutenant Eve Dallas has plenty to be grateful for this season. Hosting Roarke’s big Irish family for the holiday may be challenging, but it’s a joyful improvement on her own dark childhood.

Other couples aren’t as lucky as Eve and Roarke. The Reinholds, for example, are lying in their home stabbed and bludgeoned almost beyond recognition. Those who knew them are stunned - and heartbroken by the evidence that they were murdered by their own son. Twenty-six-year-old Jerry hadn’t made a great impression on the bosses who fired him or the girlfriend who dumped him - but they didn’t think he was capable of this.

Turns out Jerry is not only capable of brutality but taking a liking to it. With the money he’s stolen from his parents and a long list of grievances, he intends to finally make his mark on the world. Eve and her team already know the who, how, and why of this murder. What they need to pinpoint is where Jerry’s going to strike next. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

The Dallas & Roarke series is one of my favorites, and an automatic read whenever a new one comes out. I know that there will always be an interesting case for Eve to solve, that Roarke will assist any way he can, and that the characters will continue to evolve instead of being stuck in a boring rut (like other series that shall not be named).

This case in interesting in that Eve and her team are actually stumped and can't seem to locate the killer. He seems to have a run of extraordinary luck, but rest assured that Eve will not give up and will eventually outsmart the bad guy!

There is a side story with Eve and Roarke receiving a prestigious award, and Roarke's family coming for a Thanksgiving celebration. Personal relationships always manage to terrify Eve, so it's fun to watch her reactions. Everything turns out okay in the end and she enjoys herself, but watching such a strong, otherwise capable woman panic over the thought of holding a baby always makes me smile!

Another great addition to the series! While reading them in order lets you see how all of the characters evolve, it's not necessary and I think they could easily be read as stand-alone romantic, exciting, mystery/thriller.


Monday, October 21, 2013

Book Review: Mirror, Mirror

Mirror, Mirror
Mirror, Mirror anthology

Once upon a time…...…in a world far removed from the days when fairy tales were new, five bestselling authors spin versions that take the classic stories into a new dimension. You’ll recognize Hansel and Gretel, Cinderella, Sleeping Beauty, and other enduring characters, but they’ll exist in realms beyond your imagination, where the familiar is transformed into the extraordinary and otherworldly. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:

Seems that I can't resist anything with J.D. Robb's name on it. And an anthology to boot? Sold! Doesn't hurt that this collection are inspired by classic fairy tales either, another favorite of mine.

The first story in this collection is Taken In Death by J.D. Robb, and features Dallas, one of my favorite characters! In this twist on Hansel and Gretel, Eve must solve the kidnapping of two young children before it's too late. A clever story that doesn't disappoint, it's my favorite of the four!

The next is If Wishes Were Horses by Mary Blayney. Set in a Derbyshire castle during the 1800s, it involves a magic coin that grants wishes. Not quite sure what fairy tale this one is based on, but it was an enjoyable read (even though I don't normally like historical romances).

Beauty, Sleeping by Elaine Fox is the third in the collection, with a very interesting take on Sleeping Beauty! The "sleeper" in this one is male, and it comes complete with the curse and a good fairy! It was my second favorite of the collection because of it's originality and cleverness!

Fourth is The Christmas Comet by Mary Kay McComas, which is inspired by both The Little Matchgirl and The Star Money (which I've never read and need to look up). Didn't really care for this one, even though Natalie is an admirable character. I just couldn't relate to any of the characters and didn't enjoy this story as much as I enjoyed the other ones.

Last but not least is Stroke of Midnight by R.C. Ryan, inspired by Cinderella.  Sydney has always wanted to visit her father's hometown in Ireland and her dream finally comes true when she discovers a secret stash that he'd been saving so they could go together. Ignoring evil stepmother's advice, she makes the trip and falls in love with the town. She also falls for her handsome seat companion, who happens to live in the town and offers to play tour guide. A little hokey, but sweet.

All in all, I think that this was a good collection and it introduced me to a few new-to-me authors. Well worth reading!

Saturday, October 19, 2013

My Book Haul (30)

My Book Haul

In need of a new way to showcase titles, I decided that My Book Haul seems like a good fit. I like giving books a little special attention as sometimes it can be awhile before I'm able to review them. Sad to say, but some get put on the shelf and gather a little dust before I'm able to give them the love they deserve. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

Purchased:

The next pick for my book club. Was going to skip this as I don't usually read non-fiction, much less memoirs, but didn't want to be a book snob so decided to at least take a look. Read the ebook sample and was hooked! Very well written and interesting, so looking forward to discussing this one next month!

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Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall & Denver Moore

Meet Denver, a man raised under plantation-style slavery in Louisiana in the 1960s; a man who escaped, hopping a train to wander, homeless, for eighteen years on the streets of Dallas, Texas. No longer a slave, Denver's life was still hopeless - until God moved. First came a godly woman who prayed, listened, and obeyed. And then came her husband, Ron, an international arts dealer at home in a world of Armani-suited millionaires. And then they all came together.

But slavery takes many forms. Deborah discovers that she has cancer. In the face of possible death, she charges her husband to rescue Denver. Who will be saved, and who will be lost? What is the future for these unlikely three? What is God doing?

Same Kind of Different As Me is the emotional story of their story: a telling of pain and laughter, doubt and tears, dug out between the bondages of this earth and the free possibility of heaven. No reader will ever forget it.

***

Kevin Hearne. An Iron Druid book. This one was a no-brainer as soon as I saw it suggested on my nook! I have a major crush on Atticus (and Oberon!).

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Grimoire of the Lamb by Kevin Hearne

There's nothing like an impromptu holiday to explore the birthplace of modern civilisation, but when Atticus and Oberon pursue a book-stealing Egyptian wizard - with a penchant for lamb - to the land of the pharaohs, they find themselves in hot, crocodile-infested water.

The trip takes an even nastier turn when they discover the true nature of the nefarious plot they've been drawn into. On the wrong side of the vengeful cat goddess Bast and chased by an unfathomable number of her yowling four-legged disciples, Atticus must find a way to appease or defeat Egypt's deadliest gods - before his grimoire-grabbing quarry uses them to turn him into mincemeat. (Goodreads)



What did you receive this week?



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