Sunday, September 27, 2009

Book Review: Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

Still a good read, just not as good as the usual Briggs book.
Mass Market Paperback: 304 pages
Publisher: Ace (August 25, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 044101738X
ISBN-13: 978-0441017386

Rating: 3/5
Source: Purchased

Book Blurb:

Mated to werewolf Charles Cornick, the son - and enforcer - of the leader of the North American werewolves, Anna Latham now knows how dangerous being a werewolf is, especially when a werewolf (who) opposes Charles and his father is struck down. Charles's reputation makes him the prime suspect, and the penalty for the crime is execution. Now Anna and Charles must combine their talents to hunt down the real killer - or Charles will take the fall.

My Review:  

This is the second book featuring Anna, who is an Omega werewolf, and her new husband Charles. Omegas are rare and seem to have a calming effect on other werewolves. As there aren't that many, no one is really sure what an Omega is capable of, so Anna is sort of learning as she goes. I would recommend reading the first book in the series, Cry Wolf, for the background but it isn't necessary for this story. I really like Anna and Charles and was glad to see them again, and enjoyed watching their relationship evolve.

The premise in this book is that Anna and Charles attend a werewolf summit in order to address the concerns of other packs about the North American pack's plan to announce their presence. As humans aren't aware that werewolves are real, this is a big deal. Charles' father was originally scheduled to attend, as it is his plan, but was talked out of it by Charles due to a premonition. Charles premonitions tend to be correct, so Charles and Anna attend the summit instead of Bran.

The summit does not start well, as being around so many alpha werewolves is very hard on Anna. Then Anna and her escorts are attacked while out in public, which starts a whole series of events which Anna and Charles must resolve. While I did like Anna coming a little bit more into her own, there was just something about the storyline that didn't sit well with me. Not sure if it was the Fae summit mediator, the other alpha werewolves, or the vampire gang, but something seemed off. Patricia Briggs is very talented and overall I did enjoy the book. I'm looking forward to the next in the series, but could do without all of the additional players. I kept going back and forth on whether I should rate this a 3 or a 4, but decided on a 3 as there was just something off about this one....still a good read, just not as good as the usual Briggs book.

Saturday, September 26, 2009

In My Mailbox (13)

In My Mailbox (13) | Alexia's Books and SuchIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews Was surprised to receive this copy of Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews, as I had written it off as lost. Had been notified back in June that I would be receiving a copy, so not sure why it would take almost three months to get here. Guess my copy had gotten lost in the shuffle and just now discovered. Not that I'm complaining! I love Toni Andrews and have heard so many good things about her Mercy series, so am really looking forward to reading this one!
I just want a normal life…even if I'm not entirely sure I'm human.
My name is Mercy Hollings and I'm a successful hypnotherapist in Balboa, California. The problem is, my good fortune is dependent on a dark secret. I can make people do whatever I want using telepathy, a power I call "the press." And that ability has hurt some people I never wanted to hurt, so I try to keep it under wraps.

Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz Received a copy of Defenders of the Scroll by Shiraz directly from the author as a review copy. I'm trying to expand my reading horizons, so thought I'd give this book a try. Sounds interesting and has won several awards, so should be good.
A teenage boy.
A dark wizard.
A mystic scroll.
And the fate of a world hangs in the balance. . .

First BloodPicked this up with a mega-coupon at my local bookstore. I love anthologies, and anything including Susan Sizemore and Meljean Brook is bound to be good!

You never forget your first blood...Susan Sizemore returns to the universe of her Laws of the Blood novels with a sizzling story of the relationship between a vampire enforcer and a werewolf.
Erin McCarthy’s Sasha Checkikov flees the bright lights and dangerous slayers of Vegas for New Orleans, where she is saved by a vampire haunted by his past—and hungry for passion.

Set in the Vampire Babylon world, Chris Marie Green’s story puts the bond between twin female vampires to the test when one of them falls for her prey.

Meljean Brook’s vampire Annie Gallagher needs help to save a young human girl, but she doesn’t expect the help to come from the FBI agent she loved—and had to give up— when she was transformed.

Nightwalker, Have given up trying to win a copy of Nightwalker, so finally caved and bought my own. I love Jocelynn Drake's short stories and follow her on Twitter, so have high expectations for this series!

For centuries Mira has been a nightwalker—an unstoppable enforcer for a mysterious organization that manipulates earth-shaking events from the darkest shadows. But elemental mastery over fire sets her apart from others of her night-prowling breed . . . and may be all that prevents her doom.

The foe she now faces is human: the vampire hunter called Danaus, who has already destroyed so many undead. For Mira, the time has come to hunt . . . or be hunted.

Friday, September 25, 2009

Book Review: Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

 It grabbed me on the very first page!
Paperback: 224 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics) (July 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143115995
ISBN-13: 978-0143115991

Rating: 5/5
Source: FSB Associates

Book Blurb:

An international sensation, this addictively readable tale asks the question: Why is it so impossible to get a relationship between two middle-aged misfits to work? The answer lies in the story of Shrimp, a young widowed librarian with a sharp intellect and a home so tidy that her jam jars are in alphabetical order; Benny, a gentle, overworked milk farmer who fears becoming the village's Old Bachelor; and an unlikely love that should not be as complicated as it seems. Reminiscent of the works of Carol Shields, this quirky, humorous, beautifully told novel breathes new life into the age-old conundrum that is love.

My Review:

Adorable doesn't seem to be the correct word for this book because it isn't cute & fluffy, yet "adorable" is one of the first words that popped into my head when searching for a description. Also quirky, fun, odd, amusing, and wonderful! I really, really liked this book!

It grabbed me on the very first page by the time I'd finished reading:
You'll have to be on your guard!
An aggrieved, single woman in a distinctly abnormal emotional state. Who knows what I might get up to at the next full moon?
You've read Stephen King, haven't you?

Benny single-handily runs a small family farm. Desiree (nicknamed Shrimp by Benny) is an intellectual who works at the town library. They meet at a cemetery of all places, as his parent's grave is near her husband's grave. At first, they are both irritated with each other for disturbing their graveside visits. They can tell at a glance that they have absolutely nothing in common and are from different worlds, which is why it surprises them both when they somehow fall into a relationship.

Most of the story deals with the two of them trying to come to terms with their relationship, merging their two very different lifestyles, and working out whether or not they can make things work. They are both smart, likable, middle-class adults with lives of their own, which made a refreshing change from the stereotypical young 20 year old falling for the older rich bachelor.

Loved the short chapters alternating between Benny and Shrimp's point of view. Especially when describing the same moment as they remembered things differently, just like in "real" life. I identified with Shrimp more so than Benny, but thought Benny was the more sympathetic of the two. Gave this book a 5 out of 5 rating as I enjoyed it so much and thought that both the writing and the story were above average! I'm also pushing this book on all of my friends and co-workers, as I think everyone will enjoy it. Hope you give it a try, as I think it's well worth reading!

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (5)

Word Verification Balderdash (5)
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:

Imphyp: Supernatural PR firm, specializing in imps

Lizert: A small, reptilian creature native to the Australian Outback

Beadlet: When a mommy bead and a daddy bead love each other...

Libielit: Liberal left-wing literature

Screxo: Marvel's newest supervillian, arch nemisis of Darkstar

Impses: A multitude of imps

What fun words did you come across this week?

Sunday, September 20, 2009

The Wonderful, Magical World of CSN!

bookcases I've been seeing quite a bit lately about CSN and their wonderful bookcases. Have even entered a few contests to try and win a new bookcase, as one can never have too many books or too many bookcases to house them in! Clicked a few links, and soon got lost checking out all of the various products in all of the various different stores CSN offers! Found out not only do they have bookcases, but also bedding, lights, both home and office furniture, and everything you could possibly need to transform your home into a comfy nest! I love HomeGoods, and now love CSN as well! Dangerous place... :D

office chairs
CSN also offers office chairs so you
can make your blogging experience nice and comfy. I recently brought home a new chair, and it really does make all the difference! My old chair was uncomfortable, so I didn't spend too much time in front of my computer. Now I have a nice, new chair, which I think is a good thing, but my husband disagrees. *L*

office chairs
I know that everyone has their own preferences when it comes to choosing chairs. Some people like arms, some prefer armless. I need arms so I don't feel like I'm about to fall off the chair. Strange, but there you have it. Also like adjustable chairs so I can play with the back and move the seat up and down. Part of it has to do with comfort and part of it to do with the fact that I like to play with my furniture. The only trouble is that I'm a little on the short side, so when I adjusted my chair so it's comfortable for typing, I had to use a box to prop my feet on. I'm sure that all of my fellow shorties can relate.

footrest So please imagine how very, very happy I was to discover a really cool footrest on the CSN office chair site! Here are some of the awesome features:

•Multi-positioning for optimum relief of foot and back fatigue
•Plush, padded surface designed for home or office
•Plastic roller balls massage feet, reduce leg pressure, and ease strain on lower back

Much nicer than the box I'm currently using. While my box does offer convenient storage, it sadly lacks roller balls.

Jason at CSN has very kindly offered to let me review the above footrest. I'm both nervous and excited, as I've never reviewed furniture before. I've done various blind food tastings and the perfume sampling at the mall, but that's about it. Mainly, I'm all about books. But since I've started blogging, being comfortable at the computer has become even more important, so I have high hopes for this footrest. And did I mention the roller balls massager?

Saturday, September 19, 2009

In My Mailbox (12)

In My Mailbox (12) | Alexia's Books and SuchIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Had so many nice books waiting for me when I got home from vacation that it almost made up for the fact that I have to go back to work! *L*

Seeing Things by Patti Hill I received a copy of Seeing Things by Patti Hill from LibraryThing as part of their Early Reviewers program. It's about a woman who thinks that she can see and speak with Huckleberry Finn.

The Calling by David Mack
I won a copy of The Calling by David Mack from Patricia at Patricia's Vampire Books. Thanks again Patricia!
The main character Tom has a knack for fixing things. He also hides a secret talent: he hears people's prayers. Stranger still, he answers them. For some reason, this book made me think of the Reacher series by Lee Child. Not sure why, but I'm really looking forward to reading this one!

Rampant I've been hearing so many good things about Rampant that I was thrilled when I was finally able to get my hands on a copy! I mean, honestly, who could resist killer unicorns?

Child Thief by Brom Now THIS is the book I've been impatiently waiting for! Child Thief by Brom. Ever since I first heard about it on Twitter, I've been dying to get my hands on a copy. A retelling of the Peter Pan legend, where maybe Peter isn't so nice...Can't wait!

Demon Princess
Michelle Rowen is an author I first heard of via Twitter, so I'm excited to finally get my hands on a copy of Demon Princess. I love Michelle's tweets, so looking forward to her full-length book!

Road Trip of the Living Dead
Mark Henry is another author I "met" via Twitter, but I'd already read the first book in this series and really enjoyed it. I have high hopes for Road Trip of the Living Dead, as Mark has the sort of twisted dark humor that I love!

Get any goodies in your mailbox this week?

Book Review: Demon Inside by Stacia Kane

I really liked reading about Megan, her demon boyfriend Greyson, the three demons who act as bodyguards, and Megan's demon "helper" Roc.
Mass Market Paperback: 368 pages
Publisher: Pocket (July 28, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439155070
ISBN-13: 978-1439155073

Rating: 4/5
Source: Library

Book Blurb:

It's been three months since psychologist Megan Chase made the stunning discovery that the world is filled with demons, and once more the situation is too hot to handle. Ironically, Megan - the only person in the world without a little personal demon sitting on her shoulder - has become the leader of a demon "family," but now some unknown arcane power is offing her demons in a particularly unpleasant fashion. And while her demon lover Greyson Dante is still driving her wild with desire, he's also acting strangely evasive. Then there's the truth about Megan's past - the truth she's never known. Caught between personal problems and personal demons, Megan is having one h*ll of a hard time. Will the help of her Cockney guard demons and her witch friend Tera be enough so that Megan can finally resolve the past, survive the present, and face the future?

My Review:

Picked this book up without realizing that it was the second book in a series. I felt like I was missing something a few times while reading, but I was able to follow the story without too much trouble. However, I would recommend reading Personal Demons first, just to have the necessary back story.

That being said, I really liked reading about Megan, her demon boyfriend Greyson, the three demons who act as bodyguards, and Megan's demon "helper" Roc. Megan did not want to become the head of a demon family, but she is slowly getting the hang of what is expected of her and accepting her responsibilities. Suddenly though, her demons are being attacked and Megan must figure out how and why. Megan must also deal with the repercussions of her past and the fallout from a personal crisis.

While I understood that Megan is a human dealing with demons, I wished at times that she would be a little stronger and more self-reliant. Think I may be getting spoiled by all of the tough heroines out there, as in Megan's shoes I would probably be hiding under my bed, refusing to come out! *L*

All in all, Megan is a great character and I really liked Roc, her demon assistant. Greyson was okay, but I loved the three "boys", especially Spud! For demon bodyguards, they were awfully polite (and handy with a curling iron!)

Really enjoyed this book and gave it a 4 out of 5 rating. Not sure if I'll go back and read Personal Demons, but will definitely read any future books featuring Megan!

Visit Stacia Kane's official website!

Friday, September 18, 2009

Friday Firsts

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

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

* Grab the book you are currently reading and open to the first page.
* Write down the first sentence in the first paragraph.
* Create a blog post with this information. (Make sure to include the title & author of the book you are using. Even an ISBN helps!)
* Did this first sentence help draw you into the story? Why or why not?

Here is my Friday First: Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti

You'll have to be on your guard!

The book starts off from Shrimp's point of view and the chapters alternate between Shrimp and Benny. The first sentence didn't really draw me into the book, but the first page did. Any opening that mentions Stephen King is bound to grab my interest!

Book Review: Heck: Where the Bad Kids Go by Dale E. Basye

Part cute and funny, part disgusting.
Reading level: Ages 9-12
Hardcover: 304 pages
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (July 22, 2008)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0375840753
ISBN-13: 978-0375840753

Rating: 4/5
Source: Library

Book Blurb:
When Milton and Marlo Fauster die in a marshmallow bear explosion, they get sent straight to Heck, an otherworldly reform school. Milton can understand why his kleptomaniac sister is here, but Milton is—or was—a model citizen. Has a mistake been made? Not according to Bea “Elsa” Bubb, the Principal of Darkness. She doesn’t make mistakes. She personally sees to it that Heck—whether it be home-ec class with Lizzie Borden, ethics with Richard Nixon, or gym with Blackbeard the Pirate—is especially, well, heckish for the Fausters. Will Milton and Marlo find a way to escape? Or are they stuck here for all eternity, or until they turn 18, whichever comes first?

My Review:
I really enjoyed following Milton and his older sister Marlo's adventures as they do their best to escape Limbo before being permanently assigned to one of the deeper circles. Turns out that there are 9 circles in Heck: Limbo, Rapacia, Blimpo, Fibble, Snivel, Precocia, Lipptor, Sadia, and Dupli-city. Don't know if that means that there will be 9 books in the series, but it should be fun!

This book is supposed to be geared for the 9-12 age group, but I don't know if they will get some of the pop culture references. For instance, I got a kick out of Richard Nixon teaching an ethics class, but does that age group even know who Richard Nixon is? Or Lizzie Borden for that matter? And I'd be shocked if they had any idea who Anubis was! FYI, he was the Egyptian god of the underworld who had the head of a jackal.

This was a fun, quick read, but I don't know that I would give a copy to my 8 year old niece. Parts of the book were cute and funny, but other bits seemed to be aiming for disgusting. For instance, did we really need such graphic details of Milton & company crawling through the sewers? I'd recommend it for adults who enjoy YA fiction, and maybe read it with your child in order to explain certain things. But in the end, I really liked the marshmallow bear explosion! *L*

BBAW: All About My Blog!

Today's BBAW Instructions: Hopefully this week you’ve been visiting a bunch of new book blogs and maybe noticing some things about them you’d like to try yourself. Or maybe you’ve just had some ideas for improvements to your blog you’d like to put into place or new ideas for content. But there’s also probably something you really love about your blog, too, something you’re really proud of. It’s time to show off! Tell us and this is really important, in 50 words or less what you love best about your blog! And then in 50 words or less where you want your blog to be by the next BBAW! Ready? GO!

What do I love best about my blog? I think the way that it's evolved. Originally, I was going to post book reviews only, then I saw a meme I liked. Then found an interesting reading challenge. Then another challenge. Then more memes. Suddenly, it wasn't just book reviews! It's still evolving, and I like the way it's starting to take shape.

Where do I want my blog to be this time next year? Wherever it winds up! I never planned any of the changes I've made, and that seems to be working for me. So I think I'll just sit back, watch to see what happens next, and try to enjoy the ride! *L*

Thursday, September 17, 2009

Award Surprises!

I came back from vacation to discover some wonderful surprises waiting for me!

Appreciation Award Tif over at Tif Talks Books gave me this lovely Appreciation Award. She is so sweet to think of me, and I was genuinely touched to receive this. Thank you Tif!

Top Blog Commenters Award I also received the Top Blog Commenters Award from Melissa over at My World. I find it incredibly easy to leave comments on her blog as she has so many interesting posts! If you haven't had a chance to stop by and visit her yet, get over there as she's great!

Who Loves Your Blog AwardAnd last but certainly not least, I received the Who Loves Your Blog Award from both Ryan over at Wordsmithonia and Krista at Life or Something Like It....
This award is designed with one purpose in mind. Pass this on to other bloggers who have awarded you in the past.

I would like to pass this along to the following bloggers:

Melissa at My World

Sheila at One Person's Journey Through A World of Books

Tif at Tif Talks Books

Michael at A Few Minutes With Michael

Carolyn at Book Chick City

All of these blog are wonderful, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

BBAW Day #4: Thanks for introducing me to this book!


Can you believe it’s already Day 4 of BBAW? Guess time flies when you're having fun! I've already discovered so many wonderful new book blogs, and will probably find a ton more before the week is over! But today's topic is about a book you discovered and fell in love with, but only because you first read about it on a book blog.

Norse Code by Greg Van EekhoutFor me, that book would be Norse Code by Greg Van Eekhout. While I usually read fantasy, I don't know that I would have picked this one up if I hadn't heard so many good things about it both in the blogging community and on Twitter. Unfortunately, I can't remember on which particular blogs I read the rave reviews, but I will be forever grateful to those unknown bloggers as I really loved this book!

I have started keeping track of where I find books that I add to my wishlist and TBR piles, so I can give future credit where credit is due. That's one of the things I love about the blogging many new books to discover!

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

BBAW Reading Meme

Today’s it’s all about the creativity. BBAW has this fabulous reading meme and all we have to do? Pick ONE or answer them all in as few words as possible! Be creative, have fun, stand out! That’s all! What a great way for me to dive into BBAW after being away on vacation! So here goes nothing....

*Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack?
I don't really eat anything while reading, as I don't want to get anything on the pages.

*Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of
writing in books horrify you?
Unless it's a workbook with exercises, I rarely write in books.

*How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
Dog-earing the pages and breaking the spine by laying the book flat horrify me! I use bookmarks.

*Fiction, Non-fiction, or both?
I'm a fiction girl!

*Hard copy or audiobooks?
Have never really gotten into audiobooks. I see the appeal, just haven't tried them yet.

*Are you a person who tends to read to the end of chapters, or are you able to put a book down at any point?
I need an easy place to stop, either the end of a chapter or one of those spots with an extra space on the page.

*If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop to look it up right away?
I try to figure it out in context, but don't run to the dictionary.

*What are you currently reading?
Benny & Shrimp by Katarina Mazetti and The Demon Inside by Stacia Kane

*What is the last book you bought?
Hunting Ground by Patricia Briggs

*Are you the type of person that only reads one book at a time or can you read more than one at a time?
I usually have two books going at once; my work read and my home read. Sometimes a third one in my purse, but I usually read two at a time.

*Do you have a favorite time of day and/or place to read?
I like to curl up on the couch, but don't have a favorite time. Any time is good for me!

*Do you prefer series books or stand alone books?
Don't really have a preference, as they both have their good points. Series are fun so I can check in with old friends and see what they're up to now, while stand alone books let me discover new friends!

*Is there a specific book or author that you find yourself recommending over and over?
I recommend Outlander to different people, as it has a little bit of everything and appeals to so many different genre-lovers.

*How do you organize your books? (By genre, title, author’s last name, etc.?)
I have separate bookcases for fiction vs nonfiction, paperbacks vs hardcovers, and my TBR books. Most of them are alphabetical by last name, but the TBR are organized by receipt.

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

Road Trip!

Going to be away for a few days and unlike so many of my blogging buddies, I'm simply not organized enough to write posts for later publication.

Hubby is taking me to the airport in the morning, and I'll be back the middle of next week. Taking only four books with me, so should be able to post some reviews when I get home.

Hope everyone has a great week, and I'm looking forward to catching up on all the posts I missed!

Monday, September 7, 2009

Book Review: Lucifer and Lacious by Sean Vincent Lehosit

a little too raw for my tastes.
Paperback: 116 pages
Publisher: Dorrance Publishing Co. Inc. (October 15, 2007)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0805972706
ISBN-13: 978-0805972702

Rating: 3/5
Source: Author

Book 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.

My Review:
I'm really not sure how to review this book. It's incredibly descriptive with an interesting premise, yet also very graphic and violent. But I guess you have to be a little graphic and violent when describing demons and the seven pits of hell. It just seemed a little too raw for my tastes.

The main character is called Slave, as he does not remember his name or anything about his previous life. Lucifer seems to take a special interest in the fact he can't remember his name and carves strange numbers into Slave's forehead. Overall, Slave seemed a bit passive to me until he met Stranger, who pushed him into journeying deeper into hell. Despite decades toiling in hell and surviving punishment after punishment, Slave seemed to place his trust in Stranger awfully fast.

Stranger and Slave meet several different, interesting characters during their journey, but I kept wishing that Slave wasn't quite so trusting. Stranger seemed to have a plan, but wasn't entirely truthful in sharing it with Slave. And to be honest, I didn't really get the ending. I understood it, but didn't "get" it, if you know what I mean.

All in all, this was an interesting, quick read. I gave it a 3 out of 5 rating because I thought that while the story could have been a little more polished, the author has talent and imagination. Would be interested in reading other works by Lehosit, as he can write!

From Me to You Award

From Me to You Award I received this adorable award from Robin at Robby's Raving Reads and Jackie at This Girl's Ever Expanding Library! Isn't he the cutest thing? Looks very well-loved, like some of my favorite children's books.

Robin and Jackie are both relatively new bloggers, but they're doing a great job so be sure to stop by and say hello!

I'd like to pass this award along to the following blogs:

Cornucopia of Reviews



These are all great blogs, so be sure to stop by and check them out!

Sunday, September 6, 2009

Book Review: Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

I'd recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fiction and appreciates talented, beautiful writing.
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Harper (September 8, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0061774022
ISBN-13: 978-0061774027

Rating: 4/5
Source: First Look Book Club

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.

My Review:

This was a different type of book for me, totally outside of the normal genres I read. This may have been why it took me so long to finish it, as it was straight fiction. At first, I wasn't going to participate in the book club because the synopsis didn't appeal to me. However, I decided that the book was probably worth reading or it wouldn't have been chosen for the club, so I might as well give it a shot.

My hunch was right as this was an amazing book! Not amazing in the sense of staying up all night to find out what happens next, but amazing in the sense of beautiful, descriptive writing that really brought the story to life and made you care what happens to the characters.

The four adults, Theodor, his wife Maria, sister Anna, and Anna's husband Stefan, couldn't be more different. Theo and Maria are hard-workers who take care of their family and provide a home full of love. Anna seemed weak, married to a worthless, drunken bully and neither of them acted like responsible adults. I really felt sorry for their two children.

And the constant hardships they faced took my breath away! I always find myself rooting for the good guys to have a happy ending, but life doesn't work out that way and neither does this story. The ending took me by surprise, but made total sense. I'd recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fiction and appreciates talented, beautiful writing.

Saturday, September 5, 2009

In My Mailbox (11)

In My Mailbox (11) | Alexia's Books and SuchIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.

Received a package from with the books I had preordered a few months back. I love receiving preorders, as I usually forget what was ordered, so it's a nice surprise! Several anthologies and the second book in the Alpha & Omega series by Patricia Briggs. I set up links should you want more info on each book. Will have a happy weekend full of reading! :)

Hope everyone had a great week!

Superior Scribbler Award

Superior Scribbler Award

Received this award from Melissa at My World! Thank you Melissa! I love it!

Here are the rules for this award:

1. Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.

2. Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.

3. Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog.

4. Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!

5. Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.

So without further ado, I'd like to pass this award along to:

Ryan at Wordsmithonia

Krista at Life or Something Like It

Michael at A Few Minutes With Michael

Kathy at Bermudaonion's Weblog

Beth at Beth Fish Reads

Be sure to check out all of these blogs, as they are well worth a visit!

Friday, September 4, 2009

My First Contest!

Dark Time I won an autographed copy of Dakota Bank's Dark Time from Patricia at Patricia's Vampire Notes, so decided to hold my very first contest for the copy I impatiently bought myself because I was convinced I wouldn't win.

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.
All it takes to enter is to leave a comment on this post. Any comment will do. Say hello, discuss the weather, tell me about a great book you just read, I'm not picky....All I ask is that you please include your name and email address.

Winners must have a U.S. mailing address. Sorry, but I can't afford international postage.

For extra entries: tweet, blog, or otherwise promote this giveaway and leave me a link (include my handle @Alexia561 somewhere in your tweet or leave the link)

The contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, September 30, 2009.
Please make sure to include links for any tweets or blog posts!

Thanks, and good luck!

My ABC's

My ABC's

Melissa at My World tagged me for this meme. Thanks for thinking of me Melissa!

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you

2. Share your ABCs

3. Tag three people at the end by linking to their blogs

4. Let the three tagged people know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

5. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag.

Available or single? Sorry, I'm taken :p

Best Friend? My husband

Cake or Pie? Cake. Only pie I really like is apple, but love almost all cakes!

Drink of choice? Crystal Light Peach Tea

Essential item for every day use? My PC!

Favorite color? Red

Google? Yep

Hometown? I'm a Jersey Girl!

Indulgences? Books!

January or February? February, because that means winter is almost over!

Kids and their names? Does my cat Didi count?

Life is incomplete without…? Books, music, and love

Marriage date? 4/26

Number of siblings? 1 sister and 1 brother. I'm the middle child. Explains a lot, doesn't it? *L*

Oranges or apples? oranges

Phobias and fears? Big, scary, giant, hairy, man-eating spiders! What can I say, I watched a lot of scary movies as a kid

Quote for the day? When I have a little money, I buy books; and if I have any left, I buy food and clothes ~Erasmus

Reason to smile? Books in my mailbox!

Season? Spring, because it's a time of renewal

Tag 3 people?
Karoline at Okbo Lover
Linda Ellen at Bambi Reads
Tif at Tif Talks Books

Unknown fact about me? But if I told you, it wouldn't be a secret anymore....

Vegetable you hate? Beans. All beans, be they green, lima, pinto, etc. Don't like beans. Yuk!

Worst habit? I'm a procrastinator

X-rays you’ve had? Back, knees, wrist, and teeth

Your fave food? The classic cheeseburger and fries

Zodiac sign? Taurus. That on top of being the middle child explains a heck of a lot.... :D

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash (4)

Word Verification Balderdash (4)

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 fun words I ran across this week:

Morsup: When a child requests a second helping at supper.

Latio: Fabio's cousin, a popular romance cover model in Spain.

iBalog: Newest Apple product. Details to be announced.

Fatinge: Faint feeling of weariness or exhaustion; a tinge of fatigue.

Beerse: The official name for the fourteenth beer consumed during one sitting.

I actually came across a someone else's word this past week. Saw Snagma, and couldn't stop laughing! Got the immediate visual of a mom snagging her child before they could run into the street. What are the odds? *L*

The Attack of the Zombie Chickens!

The Attack of the Zombie Chickens!

I received this award from Ryan over at Wordsmithonia. Thank you Ryan!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all.

I don't want to risk the wrath of the zombie chickens, so will pass this award along to:

J.Kaye at J.Kaye's Book Blog
Kristi at The Story Siren
Bingo at Bookin' With Bingo
Carolyn at Book Chick City
Melissa at My World

All of these blogs are well worth fighting your way through hordes of zombie chickens in order to visit, so be sure to stop by and say hello!

Tuesday, September 1, 2009

Current Read: Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction

Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction Just started reading Now What?: 90 Days to a New Life Direction by Laura Berman Fortgang. I received a review copy from FSB Associates, and decided that this would be a great way to start the Fall season. While I don't usually read non-fiction, this book sounded interesting and worthwhile. I mean, who wouldn't want help in plotting a new life direction?

The book is full of exercises to help determine your new life direction, and I just finished the first one! Have a really good feeling about this book, and think it will help narrow down my choices and help me decide the next path to explore. Laura does recommend reading the chapters in order and completing all of the exercises, so I'm not sure how long it will take me to finish the book. After all, it does say 90 days...*L*
In the meantime, here's a sneak peek at some of Laura's tips:

10 Tips to Creating a New Life Direction

1. Make a list of all you can't stand about work/life

2. Recognize that ALL change (good or bad) means loss

3. Reframe 'I can't!' to 'I can!'

4. Understand how the past got you stuck today

5. Realize that discovering your 'purpose' does not have to be hard or grand

6. Gain a criteria for happiness

7. Research ALL that interests you

8. Tell the truth about your money life

9. Put Yourself in Opportunity's Way

10.Create a Plan and Get Support

For more information, you can check out her website at

The Humane Award!

The Humane Award!
I received this award from Melissa at My World. Thank you Melissa!

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 thoughtful and fun! This award is to thank them for their growing friendships through the blog world.

I'd like to present this award to:
Linda Ellen at Bambi Reads

Pam at Mom's Mutterings

Krista at Life or Something Like It

Be sure to stop by their blogs and say hello! You won't be disappointed!

August Reading Challenge Update

August Reading Challenge
This is the first book challenge I've completed. The August Reading Challenge, hosted by Pizza's Book Discussion. Was hoping to be able to finish six books during August, but only managed to read five. Not very many books compared to others, but pretty good for me. This was a fun challenge, and I enjoyed it so much that I'll probably enter similiar challenges in the future! Thanks Pizza!

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