Sunday, August 30, 2009

Thinking About Community - My Version

Found a really interesting post about some of the little things we can do to improve the book blogging community over on Bermudaonion’s Weblog. You can see her original post here.

She's inspired me to come up with a few pledges of my own:

* I will Fave blogs that I enjoy on Technorati. Like Kathy, I don’t really understand Technorati, but having someone fave you is supposed to be a good thing, so will start faving.

* I will give credit to others when appropriate. Whenever I add a new book to my wish list, I’ll include the blog name so I won't forget where I originally discovered the book.

* I will include links when mentioning other bloggers or websites.

* I will send a Tweet on posts I find interesting and think others will enjoy.

* I will comment on posts I’ve enjoyed instead of just reading and moving on.

* I will support other new bloggers by commenting on their posts and following them when possible.

Some of these I'm already doing, but I'm going to try to do them all on a more consistent basis. Going to start right now by sending a tweet about Kathy's post! *L* Can you think of anything else to add to what Kathy has come up with?

In My Mailbox (10)

In My Mailbox (10)In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Had a pretty good week this week! Just when I thought I'd have to skip this week, I got three packages at the end of the week! Nice way to wind up a rough week, as I spent most of it sick with a cold.

Demon Inside by Stacia KaneFirst off, I picked up a copy of Demon Inside by Stacia Kane at my library. This is the second book in the Megan Chase series and looks like another winner!
Psychic psychologist Megan Chase continues with her sometimes amusing, sometimes terrifying attempts to step into the leadership role thrust upon her in 2008’s Personal Demons. Megan’s empathy for her clients and callers to her radio show leaves her fighting an uphill battle to persuade shoulder-riding personal demons to be less vicious. Now three demons under her charge have mysteriously exploded; other groups have suffered similar losses, but some of her demons think deserting her for a stronger leader will keep them safe.

Dead Men's Boots by Mike CareyWon this copy of Dead Men's Boots by Mike Carey from a contest over at Bitten By Books. They have great interviews and contests, so you should definitely check them out! While this is the third in the series, I'm not familiar with Mike Carey, but the book blurb sounds really interesting.

You might think that helping a friend's widow to stop a lawyer from stealing her husband's corpse would be the strangest thing on your To Do list. But life is rarely that simple for Felix Castor. A brutal murder in King's Cross bears all the hallmarks of a long-dead American serial killer, and it takes more good sense than Castor possesses not to get involved. He's also fighting a legal battle over the body - if not the soul - of his possessed friend, Rafi, and can't shake the feeling that his three problems might be related. With the help of the succubus Juliet and paranoid zombie data-fence Nicky Heath, Castor just might have a chance of fitting the pieces together before someone drops him down a lift shaft or rips his throat out. Or not. . .

Any MinuteThe original contest winner of Any Minute already had the book, so I was the lucky runner up for this one! Thanks to Crystal at My Reading Room! Be sure to check out her blog, as she has several contests going on right now!

Sarah Harper is driven, pursuing happiness in all the wrong places. She wants to do good and not hurt the people she loves, including her son, Mitchell, and her husband, Joe. But her drive to succeed overrides all else. When Sarah's car plunges off a road, her injuries leave her dead to the world around her. But as one door seems to close; another opens: From the other side, Sarah comes to realizations that had eluded her during her hectic, successful life.

Dark Time by Dakota BanksWon a copy of Dark Time by Dakota Banks from Jax at The Eclectic Booklover.
She has great reviews and contests, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

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

Hope the mailman was good to you too this week!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Create a Cover!


1. Go to “Fake Name Generator” or click

The name that appears is your author name.

2. Go to “Random Word Generator” or click

The word listed under “Random Verb” is your title.

3. Go to “FlickrCC” or click

Type your title into the search box. The first photo that contains a person is your cover.

4. Use Photoshop, Picnik, or similar to put it all together. Be sure to crop and/or zoom in.

5. Post it to your site along with this text.

This was fun! Loved that I got "Grouch" as my random verb, but disappointed I couldn't use any of the pictures of Oscar the Grouch. *L* Saw this over on The Story Siren's blog. Go visit and take a look. Really liked the cover she came up with!

Friday, August 28, 2009

Book Review: Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

A fast read full of dark humor, which I love, and is a little gritty.
Hardcover: 400 pages
Publisher: Eos (July 21, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061714305
ISBN-13: 978-0061714306

Rating 4/5
Source: LibraryThing Early Reviewers

Book Blurb:Supernatural fantasy has a new antihero

Life sucks, and then you die. Or, if you're James Stark, you spend eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles.

Now Stark's back, and ready for revenge. And absolution, and maybe even love. But when his first stop saddles him with an abusive talking head, Stark discovers that the road to absolution and revenge is much longer than you'd expect, and both Heaven and Hell have their own ideas for his future.

Resurrection sucks. Saving the world is worse.

My Review:
It may have been the cover or it may have been the description of the main character Stark, but while reading this book I felt a little film noir vibe going on. Was a nice touch and gave the story some flavor.

Stark was a cocky young magician who was betrayed and sent to hell by jealous fellow magicians. After managing to survive eleven long years, first as a sideshow attraction and then as a hitman, he manages to escape and returns to LA with revenge on his mind. After surviving the demons of hell, LA should be a cakewalk.

He wants revenge not just for sending him to hell, but also for the murder of his girlfriend. With a little help from new friends and old, Stark tracks down his old magician "friends" and gets to work. But no matter how much of a bad guy he believes he is, Stark can't seem to help doing a good deed every now and then. He's one of those heroes who does the right thing for maybe the wrong reasons, but still saves the day.

Read this book in one day, which is unbelievably fast for me. But it was so good that I couldn't wait to see what happened next! It's got dark humor, which I love, and is a little gritty. Be warned that Stark doesn't think much of angels or demons and lets them know it, so if you're easily offended, then this book isn't for you. Would love to see this turned into a series, as I'd like to see Stark again. Gave this book 4 stars as it was well written, fast paced, and darkly humorous.

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (3)

Word Verification Balderdash (3)

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

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

Here are some of the words I ran across this week:

Despoty: Urban slang for an area marked with or having spots, specific to the greater NYC metro area.
Unhor: The removal of a hor infestation, usually by a trained professional.

Ousteora: Festival or gathering to celebrate the ejection of an official from a position or place of power. There are often balloon animals and corn dogs.

Undestow: The act of returning a destowed item in a neat, compact way.

Midette: The second born child in a set of triplets.

Prongler: One who prongs.

What fun words did you come across this week? Stop by Sheila's and check out other great definitions!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

I got some awards!

The Lemonade Award is a feel good award which shows great attitude or gratitude.

Lemonade Award
First off, I received the Lemonade Award from Melissa at My World. Was really touched, and it made my day! Be sure to stop by Mel's blog when you have time, as she has fun memes and giveaways as well as great reviews!

Your Blog Rocks

Then I received this cool Your Blog Rocks award from Sheila at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books! Thank you Sheila! I think your blog is pretty rocking as well, and everyone should stop by and take a look!

Will have to think about who I want to pass these on to and post later, as I'm tempted to give them to all my blogging friends! So many people have helped me out with my blog and given me so much good advice as well as offering me their friendship, that it will be hard to choose. Now look what you've done, I'm getting all verklempt! *L*

Thanks again ladies! You really made my day! :)

Teaser Tuesdays

Teaser Tuesdays
Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading.

Here is how it works:

*Grab the book you are currently reading (anything at all)
*Open to any random page.
*Share 2 "teaser" sentences from anywhere on the page.
*Please don't include any Spoilers! Don't Give Too Much Away, just enough to pique our interest.
*Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This Week's Teaser:

Is snatching people off the street your idea of fun?
God gave you wings, so you have an everlasting
get-out-of-jail-free card.

~page 221, Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey

Sunday, August 23, 2009

In My Mailbox (9)

In My Mailbox (9)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Only received one book in my mailbox this week, and picked up one book at the library. Sad for the mailbox, but good for me so I can catch up on my TBR pile!

Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire by Kimberly Pauley
Picked up a copy of Sucks to Be Me: The All-True Confessions of Mina Hamilton, Teen Vampire by Kimberly Pauley. I had seen this book mentioned on another blog and it looked so cute that I had to pick it up at the library! Was a fast, fun read!

Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick
Received a copy of Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick from the Barnes & Noble book club. I've heard so many good things about this book that I was thrilled to find out that would send me a review copy if I agreed to take part in their book club! Can't wait to get started!

So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Super Comments Award

Super Comments Award

What a nice surprise! Krista over at Life or Something Like It.... presented me with the Super Comments award this week. Love the little panda...too cute! Be sure to check out Krista's blog, as it's awesome!

Here are my nominees for Super Commenters (drumroll please!):

1. Pam at Mom's Mutterings

2. Karoline at Okbo Lover

3. Sheila at One Person's Journey Though a World of Books

4. Tif at Tif Talks Books

5. Linda Ellen at Bambi Reads

Be sure and visit their won't be disappointed!

Friday, August 21, 2009

Book Review: Sucks To Be Me by Kimberly Pauley

This was a fast, fun read about a teenage girl who must make the life changing decision of whether to become a vampire or not.
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Mirrorstone (August 11, 2009)
ISBN-10: 0786952563
ISBN-13: 978-0786952564

Rating: 4/5
Source: Library

Book blurb:Mina Hamilton's parents want her dead. (Or undead to be precise.) They're vampires, and like it or not, Mina must decide whether to become a vampire herself. But Mina's more interested in hanging out with best friend Serena and trying to catch the eye of the too-hot-for-high-school Nathan Able than in the vampire training classes she's being forced to take. How's a girl supposed to find the perfect prom date and pass third-year French when her mom and dad are breathing down her neck--literally?

My Review:This was a fast, fun read about a teenage girl who must make the life changing decision of whether to become a vampire or not. Mina is a very likable girl with a good sense of humor who doesn't make this decision lightly.

I liked Mina's lists and journal entries scattered throughout the book, as well as the little 'myths vs truth' snippets at the start of each chapter. Didn't really care for the oh-so-hip name dropping here and there as it seemed a little forced and unnatural, but that was my only quibble with the story.

Her best friend Serena plays a large part in the story, as well as forever-crush Nathan. Then there are the other vampire candidates she meets in Vampire 101. Okay, it's not really called that, but bet you didn't know they had classes you needed to take before you turned! All in all, this was a lighthearted, funny teen romance that just happens to include vampires. I gave it 4 out of 5 stars because it was a cute, well-done story that I think would make a great beach read. (Plus, I really, really liked the title!)

Friday Finds (2)

Friday Finds (2)This meme is hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading. What great books did you hear about/discover this past week?

 Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines Saw Girl in the Arena by Lise Haines while blog hopping and it looked interesting. Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through. Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family. Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator. Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

Due to be released 10/13/2009.

Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go (Circles of Heck) by Dale E. Basye
This is another book I discovered while blog hopping. I'm really going to have to start writing down where I find these books in order to give credit where credit is due...Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go (Circles of Heck) by Dale E. Basye & Bob Dob looks like a fast, fun read!
Quintessential good-kid Milton Fauster knows all about his sister Marlo's life of petty crime. So, when they are both killed in a freak marshmallow explosion, he isn't surprised that she doesn't qualify for Heaven, but he's shocked to find that he isn't going there either. They end up in Heck, an unearthly reform school that isn't quite Hell, but certainly not a place anyone would want to stay in "for all eternity—or until they turn 18, whichever comes first."

Thursday, August 20, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (2)

Word Verification Balderdash (2)
Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World Of Books.

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

Here are some of the words I ran across this week:

Anned: the resulting state after Ann is done with you

Lobsty: new name for the lobster formerly known as dinner

Barma: bar karma

Mentile: masculine form of tile

Nersms: a distinctive doctrine, cause, or theory relating to nurses

Turnmon: Jamaican GPS instruction for an upcoming turn

Gembi: Gumby's younger sister

Also had a few words that I really liked, but couldn't come up with definitions for: Exharfi, Exoti, Greccul, Bridem, and Alitiora. Any suggestions?

Books, books, surrounded by books…

Saw this interesting meme over at Marjorie M. Liu's blog. A friend had emailed her late one night, asking her to take part in a meme where you list the 10 books that are within arms reach - or scattered closest to you. Now, for most readers and writers, we take it for granted that there will actually be 10 books (or some equivalently large number) in any given location that we find ourselves in. To be honest, a home doesn't feel complete without stacks and piles of books around every corner.

Here are the 10 books closest to me at the moment:

1. Grave's End by Jeaniene Frost
2. The Acceptance by L.L. Foster
3. Goblin Hero by Jim C. Hines
4. Goblin War by Jim C. Hines
5. Undone by Rachel Caine
6. Better Off Undead anthology
7. Under the Radar by Fern Michaels
8. The Eyre Affair by Jasper Fforde
9. Red by Jordan Summers
10. Heart of Stone by C.E. Murphy

Most of these have already been read, but haven't been entered into my spreadsheet yet. I'm a little behind with my there's also an entire TV tray full of books across the room that I haven't sorted yet.

What books or magazines are near you at the moment?

Wednesday, August 19, 2009

Meme: How Do People Find My Blog?

I saw this over at J. Kayes Book Blog and it sounded like fun. She saw the meme at True Crime Book Reviews, who found it on 2 Kids and Tired Book Reviews. I love how the blogosphere works!

It had me curious as to what keywords brings people to my site. If you have a Blogger account, Google Analytics can easily be found under your account. Check under Traffic Sources -> Keywords.

Most of mine included titles of books or authors, but there were two that had me a little confused:

"katie allen" "private dicks" - um....what? Turns out that's the name and author of a book. Which I have never heard of, much less mentioned. And you just know that I had to Google it! Linked to my post about winning a tote bag. Huh? - Pretty sure I've never been to this blog before, so don't know why it would link me...

After seeing the strange, interesting, funny links the others had, I don't know if I should be relieved or disappointed! *L*

So what about you? What strange keywords bring traffic to your blog?

Sunday, August 16, 2009

In My Mailbox (8)

In My Mailbox (8)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I had one contest winning, 2 that I had ordered, and 1 book that I bought at the store. Books. They're a good thing.... :)

Redemption Alley
This one is my SQUEE of the week! I won an autographed copy from a contest over at the Deadline Dames site. I absolutely adore Lilith! Very excited when I received this! And yes, I did my happy dance! *L*

Eve of Darkness
This book keeps getting recommended to me, so finally caved and ordered it. Sounds interesting, but will have to wait and see.

Graveyard Book
I love Neil Gaiman. He is a genius. He has written two of my favorite books (Neverwhere and American Gods), so I will pretty much buy anything he writes. Won't be disappointed either. 'Nuff said...

Dark Time

I've seen mention of this book on different blogs and it looked really interesting, so thought I'd give it a shot. Plus I had a coupon and a gift card, so it only cost me a few cents at the bookstore. Score!

Hope everyone had a great week, with lots of books in your mailbox!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Reviews: Short & Sweet or Long & Detailed?

While blog hopping the other day, I noticed that some book reviews are very lengthy with lots of details. Other reviews are short and just state if the reviewer liked the book or not, with no details whatsoever. When I came back to my blog, I noticed that my reviews seemed to be getting longer and longer.

Not wanting to bore anyone to tears, I decided that I would keep my next review short & sweet. Trouble is, I'm not sure if I like short & sweet. I really liked this book, but when I tried to explain why, I wound up with way too many paragraphs. Oops! So I pulled out all of the details and just stated that I thought it was a great book. Looking at the review, I'm not happy with it for some reason...

So I'm curious to find out what other people prefer. Are the short & sweet reviews better, because there are so many blogs out there that no one has the time to waste reading a detailed synopsis? Or are the long & detailed reviews better because you want to know the reasons why someone liked a particular book?

Still trying to decide which type I prefer....

Friday, August 14, 2009

Book Review: My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

Good characters, good plot, great writing
Paperback: 384 pages
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Harlequin (August 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0373210035
ISBN-13: 978-0373210039
Rating 4/5
Source: contest win

Book Blurb:
She doesn't see dead people, but… She senses when someone near her is about to die. And when that happens, a force beyond her control compels her to scream bloody murder. Literally.

Kaylee just wants to enjoy having caught the attention of the hottest guy in school. But a normal date is hard to come by when Nash seems to know more about her need to scream than she does. And when classmates start dropping dead for no apparent reason, only Kaylee knows who'll be next…

My Review:
After several disappointing reads, this book restores my faith that there are still good books out there!
Kaylee is a likable character who isn't sure what's happening to her, and why she has uncontrollable urges to scream. She is a believable teenager, in that she jumps to conclusions without all the facts, is a little emotional, and just wants to fit in. I liked Nash, and thought he made a good boyfriend candidate for Kaylee. Best friend Emma seemed nice as well, but I'm a little suspicious of girls who are too pretty. *L*

All in all, thought this was an excellent start to a new YA series, and I enjoyed learning more about the Bean Sidhe (more commonly referred to as Banshees). Good characters, good plot, great's a winner! And I'm definitely looking forward to My Soul to Save next year!

Thursday, August 13, 2009

A Book Blogger Appreciation Week Meme!

Book Blogger Appreciation Week
BBAW is coming! Remember that nominations close on August 15th and everything will be a flurry of activity after that!

The folks over at BBAW also started a little meme asking a few questions for people that participated last year and for newbies. As a newbie, here are my answers:

1) What has been one of the highlights of blogging for you?

Meeting so many nice, generous, kind, and caring individuals who also love books. I don't think I've ever met a nicer group of people than the ones I've come into contact with via the blogging community. I sort of fell into blogging almost by accident, but I'm glad I did! And I've found so many new authors for my wishlist as well! *L*

2) What blogger has helped you out with your blog by answering questions, linking to you, or inspiring you?

The two bloggers I seem to turn to again and again for inspiration are
J. Kaye's Book Blog and The Story Siren. Their blogs are full of interesting reviews, contests, interviews, and everything you would want in a book blog! Plus, they are both really, really nice people.

3) What one question do you have about BBAW that someone who participated last year could answer?

What is the one 'can't miss' thing I should be sure to do during the week?

Really looking forward to my first-ever BBAW! Should be fun!

Word Verification Balderdash

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

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

I'm not very good at this, but hoping I will get better with practice. Here's what I came up with this past week.

Dittio: beatnik version of ditto, popular in the late 1950's

Dergen: one who dergs

Quist: a quest completed in record time

Typors: those who treat typhoid

Rapystri: rapping tapestries

As I said, I'm hoping that I get better at this game, as it's a good way to keep the evil word verification requests from driving me crazy. Thanks for such a great meme Sheila!

Wednesday, August 12, 2009

Book Review: Across the Pond by Storyheart

A sweet, charming story for pre-teens
Paperback: 120 pages
Reading level: Young Adult
Publisher: Xlibris Corporation; 1st edition (September 25, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1436371767
ISBN-13: 978-1436371766
Rating: 3/5
Source: Bostick email offer from author

Book Blurb
Finding himself packed off to friends in the USA, fifteen-year-old English-born Fred is not happy. Then he meets Brittany. Struggling with his feelings for Brit and the language, Fred is further confused when he meets Brit's friend Angel. Escaping from a confrontation with Steve Harris, the neighborhood bully, Brit tells Fred her dark secret about Harris, and Fred's world is turned upside down. Life continues to throw Fred a curveball when he catches a baseball worth a small fortune. Further run-ins with Harris, a crazy family barbecue, and a chase through a mall all add to Fred's American adventure. "Brit and her Brit" know that their young love will be followed by heartache when Fred has to return to England but not before some final twists in the tale.

My Review
This was the first YA book I've come across that I felt was a little too young for my tastes. I think that this book is geared more for pre-teens rather than the usual Young Adult market. That being said, I felt that it was a sweet, charming story.

One of the reasons that I felt the story was intended for a younger audience is that the characters were written with such broad stokes. Brit constantly had tears in her eyes, both of her parents kept laughing so hard that they had tears running down their faces, and there were several stern looks and glares being thrown around. Never really felt that any of the characters were fully realized.

Also hit a little hiccup with chapters twelve and thirteen being different versions of the same thing. Think that Storyheart did a revision that wasn't caught. Oops.

But if you're looking for a simple, sweet teenage love story, I think this would be a good choice. Nothing heavier than some kissing, and Fred lives up his title of Brit's English Knight. Was simply a sweet, charming tale of young love.

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday

Waiting On Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine, which spotlights upcoming releases that we are eagerly anticipating. This is my first posting about it, because this is the first book that I'm having a hard time waiting for! I found out about this book from Jocelynn Drake on Twitter, and have been trying my hardest to get hold of a copy every since. No luck so far, but can guarantee that I'll have a copy by release day! *L*

The Child Thief by Brom
by Brom
Publication date: August 25th

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

With this haunting, provocative, relentlessly thrilling reconsideration of a timeless children's classic, the acclaimed artist Brom dramatically displays another side of his extraordinary talent. Exploring the stygian blackness that gathers at the root of the beloved Peter Pan legend, he carries readers into a faerieland at once magically wondrous and deeply disturbing.

Fourteen-year-old Nick would be lying dead in a Brooklyn park, murdered by drug dealers, had Peter not sprung out of the trees to save him. Now the irresistibly charismatic wild boy wants Nick to follow him into a strange and unsettling mist swirling around the bay. Even though he is wary of Peter's crazy talk of faeries and monsters, Nick agrees. After all, nowhere in New York City is safe for him now. And what more can he possibly lose?

There is always more to lose.

Accompanying Peter to a gray and ravished island that was once a lush, enchanted paradise, Nick finds himself unwittingly recruited for a war that has raged for centuries. He must learn to fight or die as he struggles to fit in with the "Devils" - Peter's savage tribe of lost and stolen children.

Here, Peter's dark past is revealed: left to wolves as an infant, despised, tormented, and hunted, Peter moves between the worlds of faerie and man, struggling to understand what he is and where he belongs. The Child Thief is a leader of bloodthirsty children, a brave friend, and a creature driven to do whatever he must to kill the dreaded Captain and stop his murderous crew of "Flesh-eaters" before they blight every trace of magic left in this dying land.

Beautifully illustrated by the author with haunting portraits and indelible images, Brom's The Child Thief is a daring novel of darkest contemporary fantasy that will, at once, haunt and exhilarate any reader who agrees to follow Peter on his desperate crusade.

Sunday, August 9, 2009

In My Mailbox (7)

In My Mailbox (7) In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the wonderful Kristi at The Story Siren!

Received three nice packages this week, so was very happy!

The Shimmer
Received a copy of David Morrell's new book The Shimmer from FSB Associates. I enjoyed several of his older books but hadn't read him in awhile, so looking forward to this one. Morrell is very talented, so this is sure to be another winner!

Legacy Have to say this I was really impressed when I received my review copy of Legacy. It has a beautiful cover, is really heavy for some reason, and it came with a press kit! I've never gotten a press kit before. Very impressive! Amazon is releasing a special encore edition of this book. And Legacy was a Bronze Medalist in Young Adult Fiction in the 2008 Moonbeam Children's Book Awards, as well as a Finalist in Young Adult Fiction in the National Best Books Awards 2008.

Benny & Shrimp

Also received a copy of Benny & Shrimp from FSB Associates. It was shipped a couple of weeks ago, but I never received it. I assumed it had been lost in the mail, so was pleasantly surprised when they shipped me a replacement copy. Am very impressed that they shipped out a second copy. Yea FSB! :)

So what did you get in your mailbox this week?

Book Review: Under the Radar by Fern Michaels

*this post may contain affiliate links

A disappointment in an otherwise strong series
Under the Radar by Fern Michaels
Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Zebra; Sisterhood Series #13. edition (June 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 142010683X
ISBN-13: 978-1420106831

Rating 3/5

Book Blurb:
In the middle of the night, the sisterhood is your only hope. A sister's work is never done - not when there are wrongs to right and underdogs to defend. Just returned to their mountaintop hideaway after their latest successful mission, the seven fearless friends enjoy a celebratory dinner and retire to bed. But within an hour, an alarm sounds, and the ladies rush into the compound in time to see Myra and their mentor, Charles, climbing aboard a helicopter. All that's left is a mysterious note, signed by Charles. Still reeling, the Sisters receive an urgent call from retired justice Pearl Barnes. Pearl runs an underground railroad to help abused and displaced women, and she's just rescued fourteen pregnant teenagers who belong to a highly secretive and controversial polygamy sect. But keeping the girls safe will require the kind of help only the Sisterhood can provide - if they can band together and go it alone...

My Review:

Under the Radar is the 13th book in the Sisterhood series, featuring a group of women who have formed a sort of secret vigilante group. If you haven't read any of the series yet, I wouldn't recommend starting with this one, as I didn't feel it was very strong. Okay if you already know the characters, not so much if you're new to the series.

The book starts off by the vigilantes losing Charles, their main strategist, as he heads off to deal with a personal crisis. Myra, his lady love, goes with him at the last minute. Their's is a secondary story, but it wasn't very satisfying and I didn't really like it. Didn't feel right for some reason, especially how it ended.

The main story is the remaining women taking on their first "mission" without Charles leading the way. They have to come up with their own plan, transportation, support system, and exit strategy for the very first time. Actually, they don't do too bad, but some things were a little too easy. Plus, for a group of intelligent women who have already completed several successful missions, they seemed a little clueless at times. And Jack and Harry's behavior was downright annoying.

While I in no way, shape, or form condone polygamy, I didn't like the way the polygamists were portrayed in this story. Yes, the men were slime for brainwashing and treating the women this way, but there were too many stereotypes running around. And the way the Sisters treated the women at the end was uncalled for and a little mean-spirited. Not very Sister-like at all.

All in all, didn't feel that the plot was as well done as past books in the series. Fern Michaels is a better writer than this, so not sure what went wrong. Maybe it's time for the Sisters to retire and have Fern move on to other series? They could do cameos every now and again, but don't think they are strong enough to continue on their own any longer.

Only gave this one 3 out of 5 stars, as it was a disappointment. I will no doubt read the next book, should there be one, but I hope the Sisters get their act together by then.

Friday, August 7, 2009

Where my review books came from

Saw a post over at J. Kaye's book blog a few days ago about where she had gotten her last 20 review books. She had gotten the idea from Presenting Lenore, who had been inspired by Marie of The Boston Bibliophile. See how much fun the blogging community can be? One blogger inspires another and it snowballs from there!

When I started my blog, I had no expectations that anyone would ever send me free books for review. I assumed that review copies were reserved for the big bloggers with huge followings. And I was perfectly fine with that. I'm a dedicated bookaholic who will continue to read no matter where the books come from. Between my library, online bookstores, and my friendly local book store, I will never run out of books. I read for pleasure and blog to share my love of books.

That being said, I was over the moon when I got the first email asking if I would be interested in a review copy. I am still surprised when someone contacts me about reviewing their books. Have no idea how they find me, as I don't take part in blog tours, don't have contests, and have never done an interview. As a new blogger, I'm waiting to get more comfortable before diving into the deep end of the pool. *L*

So here are the last 20 books I've read or received, as I haven't completed 20 reviews yet:

  • Undone by Rachel Caine - bought
  • Vision in White by Nora Roberts - library book
  • Sins & Shadows by Lyn Benedict - bought
  • Red Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells - bought
  • Echoes in the Dark by Robin D Owens - bought
  • The Photograph by Penelope Lively - library book
  • Stepsister Scheme by Jim Hines - bought
  • Norse Code by Greg van Eekhout - bought
  • Die for You by Lisa Unger - ARC review copy
  • Once Dead, Twice Shy by Kim Harrison - library book
  • Shadow of Betrayal by Brett Battles - ARC review copy
  • Lover Avenged by JR Ward - library book
  • 0 to 60 by Susan Slater - review copy
  • Chemo KateLynn by Andrea Lynn Katz - ARC review copy
  • Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich - library book
  • Story Sisters by Alice Hoffman - library book
  • Stray by Rachel Vincent - library book
  • The Strain by Guillermo Del Torro - library book
  • Under the Radar by Fern Michaels - borrowed from friend
  • Look Again by Lisa Scottoline - library book

So of the last 20 books I've read, 9 have been from the library, 6 were purchased, 4 were free review copies, and 1 was lent to me by a friend. Seems like the free review copies don't really have that much of an impact on my reading.


Take a look at my current TBR piles: 8 were purchased, 11 were won in contests, and 14 are review copies. Only have 1 book checked out of the library right now because I need to catch up on reading the review copies.

J.Kaye gave me some excellent advice that I was a little slow to take: only accept review copies that you really want to read. I still find it hard to turn down offers of free books, but accepting a book you wouldn't read if it wasn't free isn't fair to either you or the author. I'm still learning, but have started saying 'no thank you' to books that don't interest me.

And while some bloggers are concerned that getting free review copies will slant their opinion, I can honestly say that this has never crossed my mind. I treat review copies the same way I treat all of my other books. I will give my honest opinion no matter where I get the book.

See what I mean about snowballing? J. Kaye, Lenore, and Marie's posts were a little different than this one. Sorry for rambling a bit, but I am curious where other bloggers get their review books, and if they think getting a book for free will slant the review in any way. And should a blogger mention where they got the book: review copy vs library vs purchase?


Book Review: The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro & Chuck Hogan

This book is unlike any other vampire story I've ever read or seen on TV or movies
Hardcover: 416 pages
Publisher: William Morrow (June 2, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061558230
ISBN-13: 978-0061558238

Rating: 4/5

Book Blurb:
A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing...

So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city--a city that includes his wife and son--before it is too late.

My Review:
This book is unlike any other vampire story I've ever read or seen on TV or movies. I kept visualizing the scenes as I read them, either because I knew the writer was in film, or it was just that detailed. Details weren't distracting, just really effective.

While I enjoyed the book, it did take awhile to get started. I understand that this is going to be a trilogy and that the author has to lay the groundwork, but I kept urging him to just get on with it already! However, once the action started, it was great!
Some of the main characters are Eph and Nora, from CDC, who are our resident scientific experts. We also have the wise, old pawnbroker Abraham Setrakian, who knows the time has come, that a war is brewing...Can't you just hear the announcer for the movie trailer? *L* There are also quite a few really interesting secondary characters, but they weren't hard to keep track of at all.
Kind of hard to review this book without giving anything away. We know it's about vampires, because the book blurb said so. However, this is not your typical sexy, romantic John Claude type of vampire. These vampires hark back to old-school monster vampires. When I read the description, I had to pause when a visual came to mind. Definitely don't want to date these guys!
Am considering this book horror as well as fantasy because it was so frickin' scary. What else can I say without's well written, incredibly detailed (not in a bad way), great plot, great writing, well developed characters, believable situations, and it will make a heck of a movie! Kept me up until past midnight because I wanted to find out what happened next. Did I mention the scary monsters?

Gave this book a 4 out of 5 star rating because while it was really good, I like to save my 5's for the great ones.

Persnickety Snark: A Guide to YA Blogging

Was blog hopping and came across this great post! Not entirely sure how I found it, but thought it had good information for all blogs, not just YA sites! For instance, I thought I was supposed to mention the publicist's name when I listed where I got the review copy. Give credit where credit was due. Didn't realize I might cause them to be inundated with ARC requests. My bad. Sorry.

So without further ado, I present: Persnickety Snark: A Guide to YA Blogging

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Let's be friends Award

Let's be friends Award

"Blogs that receive the Let’s Be Friends Award are exceedingly charming. These kind bloggers aim to find and be friends. They are not interested in self-aggrandizement. Our hope is that when the ribbons of these prizes are cut, even more friendships are propagated. Please give more attention to these writers."

I received this award from Jamie over at For The Love of All That Is Written and Carolyn at Book Chick City. Thank you both! If anyone hasn't visited either of these blogs, what are you waiting for? Jamie and Carolyn both have excellent blogs, with great reviews, giveaways, and something new every time I stop by!

I've made so many wonderful blogger friends since I posted my first review, that I want to pass this along to all of you! Everyone I've met has been so kind and helpful to a newbie blogger, and I wanted to let you know how much I appreciate it. Bloggers rock! *L*

Update...Just found out that Michael at A Few Minutes With Michael gave me this award as well! I am truly lucky to have so many great blogger friends. Thanks again!

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Cat on cat

Cat on cat Couldn't resist..... I am easily amused.

In case you can't tell, that's a cat rug. Get it? Cat on a cat rug!...(crickets)

Sunday, August 2, 2009

Mama's got a brand new bag!

Wanted to show off the gorgeous tote I received from Marjorie M. Liu!

Got it in the mail several weeks ago, but had trouble uploading the pictures from my camera for some reason. Won it from the lovely Marjorie (@marjoriemliu) on Twitter. It was perfect timing too, as my old work tote had a rip in the side that kept growing.

Thanks again Marjorie!

Mama's got a brand new bag!

Mama's got a brand new bag!

In My Mailbox (6)

In My Mailbox (6)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Had a few squee-worthy books arrive in my mailbox this past week!

Sandman Slim by Richard KadreyReceived an ARC of Sandman Slim by Richard Kadrey as part of the Early Reviewers program on LibraryThing. The main character is James Stark, who spent eleven years in Hell as a hitman before finally escaping, only to land back in the hell-on-earth that is Los Angeles. Charlaine Harris wrote: "If Simon R. Green wrote an episode of Dog the Bounty Hunter, it would read much like SANDMAN SLIM - violent, vivid, non-stop action of the supernatural kind. I couldn't put it down." Wow! With an endorsement like that, it's bound to be good!

My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent My biggest squee moment came when I received an autographed ARC of My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent! I won this from a contest on Melissa Marr's website. She also threw in an autograhed bookplate and some rubber bracelets! I received Dark Court, Summer Court, Winter Court, High Court, and Solitary bracelets. Awesome! Thanks again Melissa! You have no idea how long I've been trying to get my hands on this book!

Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang Last, but certainly not least, I received a copy of Now What? 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang. This was an email offer from Caitlin at FSB Associates. As I've mentioned before, I usually don't read non-fiction but hey, who wouldn't want to improve their life in just 90 days?

So what was in your mailbox this week?

Saturday, August 1, 2009

My Bookcases

Kyusi Reader I saw this posted over at J. Kaye's Book Blog. Kyusi Reader collects pictures of people's bookshelves and features them on his blog. He states: I'm a firm believer that the books you have are a reflection of your personality. Never mind that you don't get to read them, just the fact that you bought them and keep them in your bookshelf say a lot about who you are (or who you want to be).

Almost afraid to find out what my bookshelves say about me. Probably that I have too many books! *L*

My Bookcases

<= My main bookcase in full view of any "company". I try & keep this one neat. Top shelf are the pretty non-series books. Rest are series.

My Bookcases

My smaller bookcase in family room, also in view of company. The books on top are my TBR stack for review. Yikes! =>

One of the bookcases in my bedroom. This is for my paperbacks and is stacked two deep.

My BookcasesMy Bookcases

<= Large bookcase in the spare bedroom. For
my ARCs & hardcovers.

My Bookcases

The other small bookcase in my bedroom. These are paperbacks I haven't gotten to yet. Sad, but true. Also two deep.

Couldn't get a decent picture of the small bookcase in my dining room for some reason. That is also full of paperbacks. Then I have the various piles stacked all over the house. The TV tray full in the computer room. The stack by my bed. The pile on top of my dresser. Okay, maybe hubby is right and I DO have an awful lot of books! *L*