Friday, July 31, 2009

Friday Finds

Friday FindsThis meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading
I've been seeing The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns by Elizabeth Leiknes on a few different blogs and all I can say is: I WANT IT! It doesn't look like anything I've read before, and I can feel it calling my name. *L*

ProdThe Sinful Life of Lucy Burns by Elizabeth Leiknesuct Description
Lucy Burns wants a normal life: friends, love, and a family of her own. And she could have it all if only she could break free from the job she hates.

That job? Facilitator to hell.

And her boss is a real devil.

At the age of eleven, to save her sister's life, Lucy writes a desperate letter to "To Whom It May Concern", but when He writes back, Lucy is bound for life. There are perks: sure she's ageless, she's beautiful, and she can eat as much chocolate as she wants and never get fat, but there are also consequences.

She can never see her family again.

She can never have a boyfriend.

She must spend her life leading sinners to their demise.

After nineteen years of doing the Devil s dirty work, Lucy wants out, but it all seems hopeless until Teddy Nightingale, her easy listening music idol, gives her the answer: a little-known loophole.

If she succeeds, Lucy gets love, happiness, and everything she ever really wanted. But the consequences? They're considerably worse than death. To make it through, Lucy must decide what is evil and what is good, what is right and what is wrong, and if, in the end, there's ever any way to truly know.

Smart, sassy, fun, and wickedly funny, "The Sinful Life of Lucy Burns" is a fast and stunning read perfect for any occasion. Elizabeth Leiknes's fresh writing and comic wit will stick with you long after you've put the book down.

What great books did you discover this past week? Share your FRIDAY FINDS here!

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Random Reading Challenge

Random Reading Challenge
I know, I know ....another reading challenge! I'm totally blaming this one on Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books! She made me cave! *L* But like she said, it looks like a fun challenge. And how hard could it be to read 12 random books when they are probably books I'd be reading anyway. So it isnt really going to be all that difficult, right? Right?


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 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!).
Here is my list of completed books for the challenge:
1. Defenders of the Scroll

Book Review: The Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman

Beautifully written but couldn't hold my interest
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Shaye Areheart Books (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0307393860
ISBN-13: 978-0307393869

From Publishers Weekly
Lyrical but atypically monotonous, bestseller Hoffman's latest follows the dark family saga of Elv, Megan and Claire Story, sisters plagued by uncommon sadness. As a child, Elv spun fairy tales of a magical world for her sisters, but a (bad) period...sends her spiraling into years of drug addiction and painful self-abuse. Elv's story is unrelentingly grim, and without Hoffman's characteristic magic realism, its simple downward spiral becomes exhausting. Tragedy after tragedy befalls the family - Elv's commitment to a juvenile rehab facility, a deadly accident, a fatal illness and betrayal after betrayal. When the last third of the book turns to focus on Claire, who has been so damaged by the family crises that she refuses to speak, the slight glimmers of hope and goodness are too little, too late. Hoffman's prose is as lovely as ever: the imagined and real worlds of the Story sisters are rich and clear, but Elv's troubles and the Story family's nonstop catastrophes are wearying.

My Review

This book started out so promising, and I was utterly charmed by Hoffman's writing from the very first page. Sadly, this enchantment did not last very long. The main story revolves around the three Story sisters: Elv, Megan and Claire. Elv is the oldest, and the creator of a magical imaginary world that the three sisters share. Unfortunately, the magic doesn't last.

None of the characters were very appealing. Annie, the mother, seemed weak, clueless, and helpless. Elv was simply unpleasant. And the middle sister Megan and youngest sister Claire weren't much better. With no one to sympathize with, that left the plot. After the promising start, it soon went down a road I wasn't happy with. The book took an unexpected turn and lost my interest.

I kept trying to plow through, hoping the story would pick up again, but no such luck. Wondering why and how this book received so many glowing reviews, I continued reading long after I would normally stop. Finally reached page 152 and threw in the towel. With so many books on my TBR pile vying for my attention, why bother with a book I was struggling with?

So Story Sisters, I bid you farewell. Can't say it was nice meeting you, but at least I didn't have to pay for the pleasure. Back to the library you go!

I gave this book 1 out of 5 stars, as I simply couldn't finish it.

Would love to hear from anyone who finished the book, and see what they thought....

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Book snob, or just quirky?


For as long as I can remember, I've never liked the best seller lists. Didn't like the idea of some list telling me what books I 'should' read. Just because everyone else was reading it didn't mean it was a good book. And there's also the evil little voice in the back of my head whispering that if the unwashed masses like it so much, then it can't be all that good now can it?

I give you The Bridges of Madison County as Exhibit #1. That sucker was on the best seller lists for how many weeks? And evil little voice or no, I couldn't get past the first page! Sorry if I've offended anyone, but that book triggered my gag reflex.

Danielle Steel shall be Exhibit #2. My mother loves her. A lot of people love her or she wouldn't constantly be on the best seller lists, now would she? I remember reading ole' Danielle back in junior high. Didn't she used to write for Harlequin? {sigh} Used to love my Harlequin Romances. Anyway....that was then and this is now. I remain firmly convinced that Danielle has a master plot outline that she just tweaks for every book. Change the names, occupations, and country and boom! there's the next book. Needless to say, my mother is not amused by my theory.

How about we make John Grisham Exhibit #3? I've never cared much for legal thrillers, but I remember reading the first page of one of his books to see what all the fuss was about. I was not impressed. Don't remember which book it was, but I remember thinking that his writing was mediocre and dull.

I don't count authors who hit the lists once or twice over the years, as miracles do happen and occasionally a good book will catch the public's eye. Just the ones who's every book makes the lists, for no good reason other than name recognition.

So there you have long, convoluted reason why I don't like reading best selling authors. Wondering if all this makes me a book snob, a reverse snob, or just a quirky reader?


Sunday, July 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (5)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

*Won a copy of The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan from a Bitten by Books contest! It also came with the most awesome dagger charm! Thank you again Sarah! :)

The Demon's Lexicon by Sarah Rees Brennan Book Blurb:Nick and his brother, Alan, have spent their lives on the run from magic. Their father was murdered, and their mother was driven mad by magicians and the demons who give them power. The magicians are hunting the Ryves family for a charm that Nick's mother stole -- a charm that keeps her alive -- and they want it badly enough to kill again.

Danger draws even closer when a brother and sister come to the Ryves family for help. The boy wears a demon's mark, a sign of death that almost nothing can erase...and when Alan also gets marked by a demon, Nick is desperate to save him. The only way to do that is to kill one of the magicians they have been hiding from for so long.

Ensnared in a deadly game of cat and mouse, Nick starts to suspect that his brother is telling him lie after lie about their past. As the magicians' Circle closes in on their family, Nick uncovers the secret that could destroy them all.

This is the Demon's Lexicon. Turn the page.

*Miriam Parker from Hatchett was kind enough to send me a review copy of I Can See You by Karen Rose.

I Can See You by Karen RoseBook Blurb:
New York Times bestselling author Karen Rose delivers her latest pulse-pounding suspense novel, where the line between the virtual world and everyday reality blurs when it comes to murder.

Eve Wilson's face was once scarred by a vicious assault. Terrified and ashamed, she escaped to the online realm, where she could choose the face she allowed people to see. Years later, her outer scars faded and inner scars buried, Eve has fought her way back to the real world and is determined to help others do the same. Now a graduate student moonlighting as a bartender, Eve researches the addictive powers of online communities. When her test subjects begin turning up dead as a result of apparent suicides, she doesn't know where to turn.

Homicide detective Noah Webster is one of the few people who believe the victims are connected murders. Eve becomes Noah's online guide and realizes that the handsome detective may have secret scars as painful as her own. As Eve and Noah chase a killer who is always one step ahead of them, together they try to overcome the tragedies of their pasts and learn to trust again, but they soon discover that danger is much closer than they think.

*Received this from an email offer by the author, Sand Pak. Wait Until Twilight, due out 8/4/09. Doesn't look like anything I've read before, so should be interesting.

Wait Until Twilight
Book Blurb:
A hauntingly strange and powerfully affecting debut novel that heralds the arrival of a unique and captivating literary voice, Sang Pak's Wait Until Twilight is a coming-of-age story that explores the complex darkness infecting a damaged psyche in a small Southern town.

Not long after his own mother's death, sixteen-year-old Samuel discovers a set of deformed triplets hidden behind closed doors in his sleepy Georgia community. The babies—whose shut-in mother believes they were immaculately conceived and whose menacing brother is a constant threat—take control of Samuel's every waking and sleeping thought. His only escape, he realizes, will be to save the monster children. But to do so, he must rein in his darkest impulses as he undergoes a profound transformation from motherless boy to self-defined man—because sometimes the most terrible monsters are those that live inside us all.

*Received a copy of Lucifer and Lacious by Sean Vincent Lehosit from an email offer.

Lucifer and Lacious by Sean Vincent LehositBook Blurb:
''The underworld is a place where few men intend to arrive. When a man pictures death, he pictures blue clouds and golden gates...the underworld does not have blue clouds but fog of ash that rises from the misery of men. There are no golden gates, only rusty fences circling pools of human waste. You do not hear children's laughter, but the screams of guilty souls. Yes, this is the underworld.''
This is the reality that faces our nameless protagonist, soon to be known as Slave, as he wakes to find himself face to face with grotesque demons and unimaginable abuse at their hands. Still, while he is unable to recall his name or how he came to be there, the numbers that Lucifer carves into his forehead seem to clue everyone else - demons and damned alike - that he is somehow special.

Lucifer and Lacious weaves an imaginative journey through the pits of hell as Slave strives to elude the others' evil intentions for him while trying to regain his memory and achieve his true purpose.

So....what did you receive in your mailbox this week?

Friday, July 24, 2009

Book Review: Stray by Rachel Vincent

I highly recommend this series
Mass Market Paperback: 624 pages
Publisher: Mira (June 1, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0778324214
ISBN-13: 978-0778324218

From the Publisher:
I look like an all-American grad student. But I am a werecat, a shape-shifter, and I live in two worlds.

Despite reservations from my family and my Pride, I escaped the pressure to continue my species and carved out a normal life for myself. Until the night a Stray attacked.

I'd been warned about Strays - werecats without a Pride, constantly on the lookout for someone like me: attractive, female and fertile. I fought him off, but then learned two of my fellow tabbies had disappeared.

This brush with danger was all my Pride needed to summon me back…for my own protection. Yeah, right. But I'm no meek kitty. I'll take on whatever - and whoever - I have to in order to find my friends. Watch out, Strays - 'cause I got claws, and I'm not afraid to use them.…

My Review:

This is the first book in Rachel's werecat series, and a bookseller recommended that I read them in order when I was picking up Prey. I can understand her reasoning, as this book introduces Faythe's history and the main players, while still standing alone as a good story.

Faythe is the only girl in her family, which is normal for werecats, but it puts a lot of pressure on her to conform to the expected role of tabbies. She is expected to get married to the future Alpha and start having babies, ensuring the future of the Pride (similar to a pack). Faythe would rather be her own woman and doesn't like being pushed around. I liked her independence, but kept questioning why her parents didn't instill in her a healthy dose of responsibility along with encouraging her independence? Every Pride only has one tabby and if that tabby doesn't get married and produce offspring, then the Pride has no heirs and their territory will be lost. So Faythe comes off a little selfish for trying to avoid her responsibilities and her parents come off a little weak for letting her get away with it, but that was my only quibble with the book.

I really enjoyed that Faythe was a believable character, who kept getting herself into trouble by being unable to keep her mouth shut. Been there, done that! There were plenty of humorous elements in the book, but it never dissolved into slapstick or parody.

The main plot revolves around who, how, and why the single tabbies are being abducted. It's an interesting and believable storyline, and the ending was very satisfying. Faythe grows up a little by the end of the book, and Rachel sets things up nicely for the next one. Looking forward to discovering more about Faythe, Marc, Jace, and the rest of the boys! I highly recommend this series, and gave it 4 out of 5 stars!

Sunday, July 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (4)

In My Mailbox (4)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Check out the goodies I received!

I received this from a contest hosted by Pam over at Mom's Mutterings

The Bourne Deception by Eric Van Lustbader

The Bourne Deception by Eric Van LustbaderBook Blurb:
After Bourne is ambushed and nearly killed while in Indonesia, he fakes his death to take on a new identity and mission - to find out who is trying to assassinate him. In the process, Bourne begins to question who he really is and what he would become if he no longer carried the Bourne identity. Across the globe, an American passenger airliner is shot down over Egypt, apparently by an Iranian missile, leaving the world wondering if it was an accident or an act of aggression. A massive global team lead by Soraya Moore is assembled to investigate the attack before the situation escalates.

When Bourne's search for his would-be assassin intersects with Soraya's search for the group behind the airplane bombing, Bourne is thrust into a race to prevent a new world war. But it may already be too late.

I won this from a Little Brown contest on Twitter. Looks good!

The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

The Castaways by Elin HilderbrandFrom Goodreads:
Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

Received this ARC from as part of their First Look Book Club. My first time with an online book club, so should be fun!

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi MitchellFrom Publishers Weekly:
An immigrant Ukrainian family suffers unrelenting hardship on the tundra of late 1930s western Canada in this grim frontier tale. Thrown in prison for two years for helping himself to some of his own grain after defaulting on a homesteading contract, Ukrainian immigrant Theo Mykolayenko must deal with his nearly destitute wife and children. His oldest son helps to plow and plant fields owned by Theo's sister, Anna, who is married to Stefan, a wayward and violent military man. Theo's long-suffering wife, Maria, is tireless in caring for her family, nurturing the garden that feeds them and mending every stitch of clothing they wear. Meanwhile, unhappy Anna, pregnant with a child she does not want, is beguiled by the howling coyotes that surround the homestead at night. The extended family survives fire, dust storms, cold and hunger, only to face a nastier enemy much closer to home. This ambitious novel, full of the minutiae of the savage existence of a frontier family, comprises a harsh picture of lives lived in an unforgiving landscape, though some readers may find themselves wishing for an occasional break from the grinding woe.

Received a review copy of Smoke from Bascom Publishing.

Smoke by Jeremy Chester

Book BSmoke by Jeremy Chesterlurb:
Set in Miami and Central America during the 1970s, SMOKE is the story of a journey that begins when Jim Smyth, a young Marine returning from combat in Viet Nam, is brilliantly manipulated by an anonymous adversary with ties to the highest levels of U.S. government. Chosen for his unique skills, Smyth is forced into kidnapping the president of a large, well connected security company.

Two intriguing women become tangled in the kidnapping plot. One, like Smyth, is in the Witness Protection Program. The other is the sworn enemy of the kidnap victim and a major shareholder of the company. Smyth, code named Smoke by the Department of Justice, must rely upon his training and survival instincts to ensure they live through the bizarre plot and bring down their enemy.

The lies and abuse of power by senior members of the U.S. government in Smoke parallel those we have recently seen. Jim Smyth must prove he is up to the challenge against an adversary of unsurpassed evil and intelligence; in this competition, losers die.

Woo hoo! I love the men in blue or brown who bring me such lovely goodies! *L*

Friday, July 17, 2009

Book Review: Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich

As much as I've enjoyed Stephanie and her various adventures over the years, they've become old hat. Feel like she's on Rex's hamster wheel, spinning her wheels, going nowhere.
Hardcover: 320 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Press (June 23, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312383282
ISBN-13: 978-0312383282

Publishers Weekly: Bestseller Evanovich recycles tired themes better executed in earlier adventures in her latest Stephanie Plum adventure (Fearless Fourteen, etc.). When Lula inadvertently witnesses the beheading of culinary TV star Stanley Chipotle in a Trenton, N.J., alley, Stephanie's on-again off-again boyfriend, cop Joe Morelli, reluctantly takes the case. Lula, with the help of Grandma Mazur, enters the same barbequing competition Chipotle was in town to promote, hoping to lure the murderers out of hiding. Meanwhile, Ranger has recruited Stephanie to help solve a series of break-ins at properties under the protection of Rangeman Security. The inevitable sparks fly between Stephanie and Ranger, with Morelli grumbling on the sidelines. Evanovich dishes up her usual mixture of shoot-'em-up action (numerous cars explode) and quirky characters (notably a neighborhood flasher with a devoted following), but the lackluster plot will disappoint fans.

My Review:

As much as I've enjoyed Stephanie and her various adventures over the years, they've become old hat. Feel like she's on Rex's hamster wheel, spinning her wheels, going nowhere. After all this time, you'd think she would have gotten better at this whole bond enforcement agent stuff. But no, she's still the Lucille Ball of Trenton. And the Joe vs Ranger love triangle has gotten stale as well. Yes, they are both incredibly hot, sexy men who lust after that wacky Jersey girl. Ho hum. Same old, same old. Stephanie will never make up her mind which guy to choose, and she'll never get any better at her job.

In this episode, Jersey's modern day Lucy and Ethel, aka Stephanie and Lulu, have to deal with a beheaded chef, and plot to win a BBQ competition. Enter Grandma Mazer, and wacky hijinks ensue.

After all this time, I honestly expected more from Stephanie. Get better at your job already! Stop depending on Ranger to come in and help you with your captures. Stop relying on Morelli. Stop mooching off of your parents and learn how to cook! Stephanie, it's time to grow up!

One out of the many things that bothered me were all of the bodily function jokes. When did 12 year old boys become a target audience for Evanovich? Fart jokes? Is she serious?

I gave this 3 out of 5 stars because it was mildly amusing and a quick read. I'd recommend it as a beach book that doesn't require much attention and/or thought. Hoping number sixteen will be better and Stephanie will finally stop acting like a skank and pick a man. Though I'm hoping Joe and Ranger both dump her! That would put the spark back into the series!

August Reading Challenge

August Reading Challenge.
I decided to join yet another book challenge. This one is called the "August Reading Challenge." At the start of August, there will be a contest to see who can read the most books. I doubt I will even be in the top 10% of finishers, but am hoping it will give me the motivation to read more books!

The winner will receive an award to put on the side of their blog, which will be posted at the end of August. The challenge is hosted by Pizza's Book Discussion.

I will be posting my August reads here. If you decide to join the challenge, you can sign up here.

My list:
1. Strain
2. Across the Pond
3. My Soul To Take
4. Sucks To Be Me
5. Sandman Slim

Wish me luck!

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Book Review: Chemo KateLynn by Andrea Lynn Katz

This is a cute little book with cartoons about the cancer experience that will make you smile. Paperback: 102 pages
Publisher: Bascom Hill Books
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1935456024
ISBN-13: 978-1935456025

Book Blurb:

Andrea Lynn Katz is a graduate of the "C" School (as in cancer) with a C.C.S. degree (as in Certified Cancer Survivor). Chemo KateLynn: Humorous Perspectives on Life Before Cancer and After Diagnosis is a witty and cleverly illustrated testament to her conviction that laughter is the best medicine and, with cancer as part of her everyday live, she proves there is still plenty to laugh about.

Chemo KateLynn admits that "cancer does suck," but funny things happen along the way while fighting the disease. Chemotherapy may have taken her hair, but no amount of chemo could make a dent in her funny bone.

My Review:

This is a cute little book with cartoons about the cancer experience that will make you smile. The drawings remind me a little of Cathy, in that they are pretty basic. There are two cartoons per situation, representing life BC (before cancer) and AD (after diagnosis). The categories dealt with are: At the Doctor's, At the Office, At Home, Food & Drink, Beauty, Shopping, and Relaxing. This means that there is bound to be something to tickle everyone. I loved the ones about shopping, desserts, and how to load a dishwasher!

This book would make a nice addition to a gift basket given to someone battling cancer. I know from previous searches that there aren't many humorous books out there, and most of them aren't all that cute or funny.

Update: Am told that this book is due out in October. Also, just found out that Andrea was scheduled to go into the hospital (Memorial Sloan Kettering in NYC) for a donor-provided stem cell transplant. It is a very difficult procedure, and she'll be in isolation for anywhere from 4-6 weeks. Please keep her in your thoughts and prayers.

Book Blogger Appreciation Week

BBAW Awaird Nominations
Last year over 400 blogs came together to celebrate the art of book blogging during the first ever Book Blogger Appreciation Week! The second annual Book Blogger Appreciation Week will be taking place September 14-18.

BBAW Awaird Nominations are now open until August 15, 2009. At that time, the nominees will be shortlisted by a preselected panel. Nominees will be asked to submit their best content for review by the panel. Final voting will begin in September.

WHO: Anyone who blogs about books is invited to participate. In fact, they want everyone who blogs about books and reading to be a part of this week!
WHAT: A week where we come together, celebrate the contribution and hard work of book bloggers in promoting a culture of literacy, connecting readers to books and authors, and recogonizing the best among us with the Second Annual BBAW Awards. There will be special guest posts, daily blogging themes, and giveaways.
WHEN: September 14-18, 2009
WHERE: Here at the new Book Blogger Appreciation Week Blog! (Please note that this year there are three separate blogs and feeds—one for the main event, one for giveaways, and one for awards.)
WHY: Because books matter. In a world full of options, the people talking about books pour hard work, time, energy, and money into creating a community around the written word. Amy, the founder of Book Blogger Appreciation Week, loves this community of bloggers and wants to shower her appreciation on you!

Be sure to check out their homepage! I've already registered, and am excited to participate in my first BBAW!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

I got an award!

Humane Award
I was so happy and surprised when I found out that Sheila over at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books had given me the !

The Humane Award is to honor certain bloggers that are kindhearted individuals. They regularly take part in my blog and always leave the sweetest comments. If it wasn’t for them, my site would just be an ordinary book review blog. Their blogs are also amazing and are tastefully done on a daily basis. This award is to thank them for their growing friendships through the blog world.

The bloggers I'd like to pass this award along to are:

Tif Talks Books

The Eclectic Book Lover

Okbo Lover

I highly recommend that you stop by their blogs and visit!

Sunday, July 12, 2009

I did it!


I finally got tabs installed under my header! Hip hip horray! We won't mention that it took me several Google searches and almost my entire Sunday night to do it....

I feel like such a techie!

Just don't ask me how I did it, because I have no freaking idea *L*

Off to celebrate! I'll worry about filling in the tabs later (channeling Scarlett O'Hara now)

dances off....

Saturday, July 11, 2009

In My Mailbox (3)

In My Mailbox (3)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Had another good week! Yea! Received some review copies as well as made a few purchases. Not sure why I couldn't get all of the cover pictures the same size, but did my best....

The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell Received a review copy of The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell. Sent from Ann Balasi at Hatchett. For someone who doesn't read non-fiction, I seem to be getting quite a collection! Maybe I should stop saying that....*L*

Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie
Won a copy of Tender Graces by Kathryn Magendie from J. Kaye's Book Blog. Looking forward to reading it, as J. Kaye has great taste in books! And the blurb looks interesting as well.

Evermore by Alyson NoelGoodreads sent me a copy of Evermore by Alyson Noel as part of their First Reads program. I've never read anything by Noel, but it looks really interesting. It's a Young Adult novel about a girl with 'special' abilities.

The Revolution in a Bottle by Tom SzakyPenguin Group sent me a copy of Revolution in a Bottle by Tom Szaky. As I've said, I don't usually read non-fiction, but this one might be interesting.

Won The Givenchy Code by Julie Kennera copy of The Givenchy Code by Julie Kenner in a contest on Twitter! She even autographed it for me! I love her Demon-hunting Soccer Mom series, so looking forward to starting one of her other series. Julie rocks!

The Light, The Dark & Ember Between by J.W. Nicklas
Last, but not least, I received The Light, The Dark & Ember Between by J.W. Nicklas. This is the second book I've received through Bostick email offers. It's short stories, and I really enjoy short stories, so am looking forward to reading this one.

Couldn't resist a book run and picked up a couple books at the bookstore as well:

*Prey by Rachel Vincent
*Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
*3 blank journals
Now to decide which to read first! My TBR stacks runneth over....

Friday, July 10, 2009

Book Review: 0 to 60 by Susan Slater

I really enjoyed this book, and gave it 4 out of 5 stars.
Paperback: 309 pages
Publisher: Bascom Hill Books (July 15, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0982093896
ISBN-13: 978-0982093894

From Amazon:
O TO 60 is Susan Slater's debut women's fiction novel with that all too true-to-life story of a woman dumped. Meet Shelly Sinclair, matriarch of the quintessential American family. Shelly's life is perfect, one most women would envy: a 35 year marriage to a successful doc, two grown sons, a beautiful home, and the security of predictability. Without warning, this world collapses. Her husband of a lifetime announces that he's asked someone to marry him, a someone thirty-nine years his junior. And, oh yes, the mother of his four-year-old child. Alone. To start over. Sixty is a long way from sixteen. Is Prince Charming still out there? But isn't there more? Her quest to find self is as endearing as it is enduring. Because maybe, just maybe these are the best years of her life.

We first meet Shelly and her husband Ed as they are getting ready to celebrate their 35th wedding anniversary. While getting dressed for the big party, Ed drops the bombshell that not only is he not going to the party, he has a love child and has asked the mother to marry him. Happy anniversary Shelly!

To be honest, I wasn't sure I would like this book. I mean, who wants to read about a 60 year old being dumped by her husband for a much younger woman? But Slater is a skilled writer, and we come to care about Shelly and how she handles this major upheaval. We sympathize with her struggle to get back her equilibrium, and cheer when she overcomes the various bumps along the way. But don't get the wrong impression, as this book is also very funny!

While I didn't agree with all of the decisions she made, Shelly was a totally believable character and I understood her motivations. I wound up envying her friend Patrice, and would love to hang out with these two ladies!

I really enjoyed this book, and gave it 4 out of 5 stars.

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Book Review: Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

A disappointment and I don't think it lived up to the rest of the series.
Hardcover: 544 pages
Reading level: Adult
Publisher: NAL Hardcover; (April 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0451225856
ISBN-13: 978-0451225856

From Publishers Weekly:Ward powers into hardcover with the tangled seventh title in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series, picking up four months after the end of 2008's Lover Enshrined. Rehvenge, a symphath vampire who gets energy from manipulating others' emotions, is recruited by a group who want to displace vampire king Wrath, a gruff, determined vigilante. Rehvenge is also falling hard for vampire nurse Ehlena, who disdains his affections and focuses on caring for her ailing father. Ward easily juggles numerous personal and political plot lines, keeping the tension revved high while moving forward with subplots that have lingered for several books and will please longtime fans seeking resolution. New readers may be a little lost despite a helpful glossary, but the fast pace and cliffhanger ending will have fans wishing they could start the next book right away.

Let me start off by making it clear that I'm a fan of the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I feel like I know the brothers, and enjoy catching up with them and watching their progress in the war against the Lessers. But despite the fact that I'm a fan, this book was a disappointment and I don't think it lived up to the rest of the series.

This was supposed to be Rehvenge's story, yet there were too many other storylines screaming for attention. There was Wrath's struggle with being king, the John Matthew and Xhex will-they/won't-they dance, Lash dealing with the Lessers, and even a plot cooked up by some of the Glymera. I found myself skipping over parts trying to find Rehvenge and Ehlena's part of the story.

As much as I love Wrath and John Matthew, Wrath already had his turn and John Matthew's story should be coming out sooner or later. There were too many distractions and not enough time spent on the two main characters. I felt cheated, and a little outraged on Rehvenge's behalf! *L*

Because of all of the side stories and distractions, I only gave this one 3 out of 5 stars. I'm glad I borrowed it from the library instead of buying it, as it was a little on the disappointing side.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

What's on your desk Wednesday

This is a weekly meme hosted by Sassy Brit of

Here are the rules:

You can do one of two things or both.

1. Grab a camera and take a photo of your desk, or anywhere you stack your books/TBR pile. And no tidying! Add this photo to your blog. Tag at least 5 people, and then return to Sassy Brit’s blog and leave a link back to your photo in the Mr. Linky.
2. List at least 5 BOOKISH things on your desk. List at least 5 NON BOOK things. Tag at least 5 people to do the same. Return to Sassy Brit’s blog and leave your link, so everybody can come and visit your blog.

My camera isn't working right at the moment, so I'll do number two today.

Bookish things on my desk:
1. scrap paper with titles to research online
2. a stack of books waiting to be entered into my master book list
3. big notepad with lots & lots of titles to be entered into my master book list
4. small notebook I use for library search & explore missions
5. a credit card for buying books online!

Non-book things on my desk:
1. my Palm Tungsten
2. an iron unicorn figurine I picked up who knows where
3. a three-headed Fluffy plush (Harry Potter merch)
4. stack of PC games
5. small pocketwatch style clock

Already tagged people today on another meme, so if you're reading this....TAG! You're it! :D

Look what I got!

Kreativ Blogger Award Was a nice surprise to discover that Karoline over at Okbo Lover tagged me for this award! Thank you Karoline!

This is a meme and if you accept it, you are supposed to list seven of your favorite things and nominate seven blogs that deserve this award.

Here are 7 of my favorite things:

1. my cat
2. my TBR pile (new books! yea!)
3. the thrill of discovering a new author
4. travelling (I have itchy feet)
5. gelato
6. Twitter
7. red Twizzlers

And I'm tagging the following:
1. Mom's Mutterings
2. Tif Talks Books
3. Bookin' With Bingo
4. The Eclectic Book Lover
5. Fantastic Book Review
6. Amberkatze's Book Blog
7. Unbound

These are some of my favorite blogs, so please check them out!

Monday, July 6, 2009

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox (2)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

The mailman and UPS were very good to me this past week!

First off, I received an autographed copy of "Street Magic" by Caitlin Kittredge that I won in a contest hosted by Bitten by Books. I love Caitlin, and was thrilled when it arrived!

Amazon's blurb: Street Magic by Caitlin Kittredge
The first in the Black London series, this dark tale takes Kittredge's supernatural shadows to the next level. At 16, Pete Caldecott witnessed the apparent death of punk rocker Jack Winter after he raised an ancient spirit. Twelve years later, Det. Insp. Caldecott has followed in her dead father's footsteps at Scotland Yard. She follows a tip about a missing child and finds Jack, now a heroin junkie claiming intimate knowledge of a parallel realm called the Black. As Jack detoxes and more children disappear, he joins Pete's quest to find them, teaching her to use hexes and spells as well as her physical abilities in the fight against a rising dark power. Kittredge (the Nocturne City series) knows how to create a believable world, and her fans will enjoy the mix of magic and city grit.

Received an autographed copy of "Immortal Danger" by Cynthia Eden from her 30 Days of Demons contest. Cynthia not only autographed the book, but sent several bookmarks and an autographed postcard as well! Cynthia rocks!
"Immortal Danger" by Cynthia Eden Synopsis:
Being Bullet Proof Sucks - Literally

Once, Maya Black was a kick-ass cop patrolling the streets of L.A. She still keeps the city safe, but nowadays her bad guys of choice include demons, werewolves, and assorted nocturnal scum. Something Maya knows a thing or two about. She's a vampire - and not thrilled about it. Payback meet bitch.

Received my first book from Bostick, who has been sending me emails almost every day. Called "Acros"Across the Pond" by Storyhearts the Pond" by Storyheart. It's a Young Adult love story and looks interesting, so thought I'd give it a try.

Bostick blurb:
Protagonist, Fred Squire, leaves England for a vacation in the USA and he's definitely not happy about it. Everything changes when he meets Brit, the attractive American girl who helps him adapt to the US way of life and awakens his pangs of affection.

Also got a cop"I Hate People" by Jonathan Littmany of "I Hate People" by Jonathan Littman that I won from the marvelous Bookin' With Bingo! I usually don't read non-fiction, but I couldn't resist the title, and thought maybe it would help in dealing with some of my co-workers. Synopsis:
Face it, whether your company has 10 employees or 10,000, you must grapple with people you can't stand in the office. Luckily Jonathan Littman and Marc Hershon have written I HATE PEOPLE!, a smart, counter-intuitive, and irreverent turn on the classic workplace self-help book that will show you how to identify the Ten Least Wanted--the people you hate--while revealing the strategies to neutralize them.

Friday, July 3, 2009

Library Finds

Here are the library books I currently have on my TBR shelf. I love my local library! Although I think I may be going a little too often lately...when I walked in the door the other night, the librarian saw me, walked over to the hold shelf, and had my books waiting for me by the time I walked up to the counter! *L*

Lover AvenLover Avenged : a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhoodged : a novel of the Black Dagger Brotherhood
J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood novels have introduced readers to a "different, creative, dark, violent, and flat-out amazing" (All About Romance) world. Now, as the vampire warriors defend their race against their slayers, one male's loyalty to the Brotherhood will be tested—and his dangerous mixed blood revealed...

Rehvenge has always kept his distance from the Brotherhood—even though his sister is married to a member, for he harbors a deadly secret that could make him a huge liability in their war against the lessers. As plots within and outside of the Brotherhood threaten to reveal the truth about Rehvenge, he turns to the only source of light in his darkening world, Ehlena, a vampire untouched by the corruption that has its hold on him—and the only thing standing between him and eternal destruction.

The comThe complete idiot's guide to the ultimate reading listplete idiot's guide to the ultimate reading listThis is a guide to help busy people find great reads in fiction and non-fiction. Filled with recommendations of popular, entertaining reading, this book covers mystery and suspense, romance, women's fiction and chick lit, westerns, science fiction, such nonfiction topics as animals, art, biography, memoirs, business, true crime, and more. Plus, each entry includes a summary of the book, its significance, and a critique/observation/comment.

The straThe strain by Guillermo del Toroin by Guillermo del Toro
The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

The Strain. They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

In two months - the world.

The storyThe story sisters by Alice Hoffman sisters by Alice Hoffman
Alice Hoffman’s previous novel, The Third Angel, was hailed as "an unforgettable portrait of the depth of true love" (USA Today), "stunning" (Jodi Picoult), and "spellbinding" (Miami Herald). Her new novel, The Story Sisters, charts the lives of three sisters–Elv, Claire, and Meg. Each has a fate she must meet alone: one on a country road, one in the streets of Paris, and one in the corridors of her own imagination. Inhabiting their world are a charismatic man who cannot tell the truth, a neighbor who is not who he appears to be, a clumsy boy in Paris who falls in love and stays there, a detective who finds his heart’s desire, and a demon who will not let go.

What does a mother do when one of her children goes astray? How does she save one daughter without sacrificing the others? How deep can love go, and how far can it take you? These are the questions this luminous novel asks.

At once a coming-of-age tale, a family saga, and a love story of erotic longing, The Story Sisters sifts through the miraculous and the mundane as the girls become women and their choices haunt them, change them and, finally, redeem them. It confirms Alice Hoffman’s reputation as "a writer whose keen ear for the measure struck by the beat of the human heart is unparalleled" (The Chicago Tribune).

Look Look again by Lisa Scottolineagain by Lisa Scottoline
When reporter Ellen Gleeson gets a “Have You Seen This Child?” flyer in the mail, she almost throws it away. But something about it makes her look again, and her heart stops—the child in the photo is identical to her adopted son, Will. Her every instinct tells her to deny the similarity between the boys, because she knows her adoption was lawful. But she’s a journalist and won’t be able to stop thinking about the photo until she figures out the truth. And she can’t shake the question: if Will rightfully belongs to someone else, should she keep him or give him up? She investigates, uncovering clues no one was meant to discover, and when she digs too deep, she risks losing her own life—and that of the son she loves.