Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Last day to enter for my Cleared Clutter Contest!

 Cleared Clutter Contest!
Just a reminder that today is the last day to enter my Cleared Clutter Contest! You can find the details here.

Good luck!

Monday, March 29, 2010

Book Review: Admit One: My Life in Film by Emmett James

Book Review: Admit One: My Life in Film by Emmett James
Hardcover: 216 pages
Publisher: FizzyPop (February 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0984258108
ISBN-13: 978-0984258109

Rating:  4/5
Source:  Review copy provided by Online Publicist

Book Blurb:

Set in Croydon, South London, in the 1980s, Admit One details how self-deprecating writer Emmett James escaped from the pains of adolescence by going to the cinema. Through wry wit and observation, the writer reflects, obsesses, and rages about film and its correlation to our pasts. Life soon imitates art, and the narrator finds that his true calling is in transcendence from one side of the screen to the other. He decides to leave England for the only place where he can realize his dream of becoming an actor - Hollywood.   

We follow the narrator on his numerous adventures: as he jumps from forgery to pornography to crashing the Academy Awards under the alias of a nominated writer. All the while, the films that inspired each tale contextualize this humorous collection of stories. The narrator ultimately provides a unique insight into the fascinating industry of film, eventually himself stumbling into the biggest box-office grossing film of all time.

My Review:

This book was not what I was expecting. For some reason, I thought it would be a gossipy book about Hollywood stars. Instead, it was much, much better! It's an amusing trip down memory lane as James recounts how weekly trips to the cinema shaped his entire life,eventually leading him to Hollywood.

There is a little Hollywood gossip, but nothing mean or unbecoming. Kate Winslet, Frances Fisher and James Cameron (who he met during his stint filming Titanic) all sound like lovely people. And the actresses from Lap Dance come off as very professional, despite him classifying it as soft porn! James has the ability to laugh at himself and the situations he finds himself in, but never becomes mean-spirited or vindictive. He even makes sleeping on the floor in his empty room at the Y sound worthwhile!

James is a very talented writer, with a snarky sense of humor that I fell in love with. He makes his life story fascinating and fun, while at the same time highlighting certain films that had an impact on his life. This was a fast read for me, and I really enjoyed getting to know James. Gave it a 4/5 rating as I enjoyed reading the book and think the author is incredibly talented! Who would have guessed that a pornographic forger imposter would have such an interesting life? ;)

Sunday, March 28, 2010

Beautiful Blogger Award

Beautiful Blogger Award
Received this Beautiful Blogger Award from Bella, who has a great blog called Obsessed!. I haven't seen this award before and think it's really pretty. Thank you Bella!

The rules state that I'm supposed to list 7 things about myself, then pass this along to other bloggers that I think are fantastic. Honestly, I think I'm running out of unique things to list with all of the games and questionnaires I've filled out lately, but I'll give it a shot.

1. When we adopted our first dog I worried that she would get lonely, so we adopted a second dog to keep her company. Then I wanted a cat so we could have our very own Incredible Journey! Remember that movie? Please don't mock me. ;)

2. We love music almost as much as I love books, so our CD collection is rapidly getting out of control!

3. Despite watching every episode of La Femme Nikita religiously, I still haven't watched the finale because I was so upset with the direction they were heading (have it on tape in case I ever change my mind though!)

4. Though I'm a huge Joss Wheldon fan and love all of his other shows, I could never get into Dollhouse.

5. I'm hooked on HGTV and my current fave is Mike Holmes from Holmes on Homes. The man can rock a pair of overalls like nobody's business! *L*

6. Despite swimming lessons as a child, I cannot swim.

7. Small towns make me nervous. Think I watched too many horror movies as a child or something, but like Lisa Douglas from Green Acres, I prefer the big city please!

Saturday, March 27, 2010

Book Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan

Book Review: Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Mass Market Paperback: 464 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books; Original edition (January 26, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345511670
ISBN-13: 978-0345511676

Rating: 4/5
Source:  Review copy provided by Meryl L. Moss Media Relations

Book Blurb:
Haunted by chilling memories of demonic possession and murder, Moira O’Donnell has spent seven years hunting down her mother, Fiona, whose command of black magic has granted her unprecedented control of the underworld. Now Moira’s global search has led her to a small California town that’s about to become hell on earth...

My Review:

This story showcases the classic struggle between good and evil, with the added twist of daughter fighting mother. Fiona makes Mommy Dearest Joan Crawford look like a candidate for Mother of the Year, as she gave birth to Moira for the sole purpose of sacrificing her on her 21st birthday! Moira was raised in the dark arts, with no clue that she was evil. To her credit, when it was time for her first human sacrifice, Moira rebelled and ran away. She's been fighting for the good guys ever since, trying to stop her mother's evil plans.

It hasn't been an easy fight, as the good guys don't entirely trust Moira because of her background. She's heard too many whispers of once a witch, always a witch and despite trying not to care, it still hurts. She is also hampered in her fight because she can't use her magic, as it's too seeped in evil and she's been taught that the ends never justify the means. Also doesn't help that the warriors fighting for Good are spread too thin, as it's been years since St. Michael's has had any infants left on their doorstep.

Think that this book sets up the series nicely. Fiona was trying to call forth the Seven Deadly Sins, but the ceremony was interrupted and the Sins escaped. Interesting premise - having the Seven Deadly Sins be actual demons. It's up to Moira and her fellow St. Michael's warriors to defeat Fiona and send the Sins back where they came from.

Enjoyed the book, and am looking forward to seeing where Allison takes the series. Just to refresh your memory, the seven deadly sins are:  lust, gluttony, greed, sloth, wrath, envy, and pride. Should be an interesting ride! The next book, Carnal Sin, is due out at the end of June. You can find more information about the series at Allison's website.

On a totally random note, the first line from Annie Lennox's song Missionary Man kept running through my head every time I saw this title. Well, I was born an original sinner, I was born from original sin. Totally random, but I found it amusing. :)

Friday, March 26, 2010

Let's go to the hop!

Blog Hop
It's Friday, so time for another Blog Hop! Jennifer at Crazy For Books hosts a Blog Hop every Friday, and I think her new badge is too cute! Reminds me of those old sock hop songs from Happy Days. :)

About the Hop:
This is a weekly event, where book bloggers and readers can connect to find new blogs to read. It's a great way to network with other bloggers and make new friends! In the spirit of the Friday Follow, Jennifer thought it would be cool to do a Book Blogger Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

Your blog should have content related to books, including, but not limited to book reviews. Jennifer has asked that we label our blogs when we leave a link to make it easier to discover blogs with similar tastes, which is an excellent idea!

Am now off to discover new blogs! Let's go to the hop...let's go to the hop...*dances off*


Thursday, March 25, 2010

Book Review: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith

Book Review:  Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith
Hardcover: 352 pages
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing; First Edition edition (March 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0446563080
ISBN-13: 978-0446563086

Rating:  3/5
Source: From the lovely people at Hachette Book Group

From Publishers Weekly:

Following the success of his bestselling Pride and Prejudice and Zombies with another mélange of history and horror, Grahame-Smith inserts a grandiose and gratuitous struggle with vampires into Abraham Lincoln's life. Lincoln learns at an early age that his mother was killed by a supernatural predator. This provokes his bloody but curiously undocumented lifelong vendetta against vampires and their slave-owning allies.

My Review:

This was not a fast read for me, but it was a fascinating one. Who knew that Lincoln was such a great vampire hunter, skilled enough to rival Buffy herself? Or that vampires fought for the Confederacy during the Civil War? Gives a whole new twist on the Emancipation Proclamation, doesn't it?

One of the things that I found so fascinating about this book was that it was written like a regular biography. Once the premise was set up, it had the same writing style and tone you would find in any Lincoln biography. Regular facts from his life and, oh yeah, did we mention the vampires? Very matter of fact; just another detail from his life story.

Biographies and history aren't normally my thing, but I found myself fact checking while reading this book and all of the details I checked were true! So I actually learned something from reading this book. Horrors! Just kidding, but I did enjoy the history woven into the story, and the author was talented enough to make the history enjoyable for me.

Gave this book a 3/5 rating as I enjoyed it, even though it struck me as more a biography than a fantasy. I know that adding vampires to the mix makes it a fantasy, but that was the impression I was left with after finishing the book. The author is a talented writer, and made what could have been a boring history lesson interesting by the addition of vampires. Enjoyed all the little twists to what I had learned in history class, and even liked the surprise at the ending! Not your usual fantasy vampire book, but still worth reading.

Monday, March 22, 2010

Cleared Clutter Contest

Cleared Clutter Contest
Going to hold a contest for the first few books I've finished for the Clear Away the Clutter mini-challenge hosted by Kate over at The Neverending Shelf. Since I've only finished 3 books so far, I'll give away one book, winner's choice. Here are the 3 books up for grabs:

Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Original Sin by Allison Brennan

The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen
The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen and Hannah Salwen

Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith

All three books were worth reading, but none of them are "keepers" so want to pass them along. Working on the reviews, and hope to have them all posted shortly.

This contest to anyone with a US mailing address. The one thing that everyone HAS to do in order to enter this contest is leave a comment...doesn't matter what the subject so long as you comment. :-)

For extra entries: tweet, blog, or otherwise promote this giveaway and be sure to leave me a link. One extra entry for each link. No verifiable link, no entry.

The contest ends at 11:59 pm EST on Wednesday, March 31, 2010.

Please make sure to include those links! If you would like an email if you win, please leave an address. Otherwise, be sure to check back to see if you've won! Winner will be chosen via a random number generator, and the book will be mailed as soon as I receive the winner's mailing address.

Thanks, and good luck!

Sunday, March 21, 2010

Book Review: The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen & Hannah Salwen

Book Review:  The Power of Half by Kevin Salwen & Hannah Salwen
Hardcover: 256 pages
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (February 10, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0547248067
ISBN-13: 978-0547248066

Rating:  3/5
Source:  Review copy provided by FSB Associates

Book Blurb:

It all started when 14-year old Hannah Salwen, idealistic but troubled by a growing sense of injustice in the world, had a eureka moment when a homeless man in her neighborhood was juxtaposed against a glistening Mercedes coupe. "You know, Dad," she said, pointing, "If that man had a less nice car, that man there could have a meal."

My Review:

This was an interesting book with an interesting premise. I had heard of this family project through morning talk shows and various news outlets, but had misunderstood what they were actually doing. I thought that they were giving away half of everything they owned, but they were actually selling their house and giving half of the proceeds to charity. This story explains how the decision came about, how they chose the charity, and the various missteps along the way.

While wanting to become actively involved in charity and helping others beyond just writing a check is noble, I had mixed feeling about the Salwen family. They seemed like nice people, but I couldn't really relate to them. Probably because they lived so differently than my family. While I don't think that they were Bill Gates rich, their planned donation was $800,000, which was half of the proceeds from selling their home. Not exactly the people next door....

Thankfully, the Salwens seem to be aware that they are privileged and aren't snooty about their good fortune. I liked one of the quotes in the book when they started discussing their project with others: "We didn't want to sound cocky or arrogant or preachy. We were eager not to be perceived as strange. And we had become acutely aware that sloppy communication of our project could make others feel less charitable in their own efforts." So they are aware that this is an unusual situation and they do try to be considerate of others, but I still had mixed feelings.

Towards the beginning of their journey when they are cleaning out year's worth of accumulated items, they held a yard sale. Dad Kevin is discouraged because he felt that the sale didn't go very well and now they had to get rid of the leftovers. Son Joseph was more upbeat about the results, pointing out that they made almost five hundred dollars. Five hundred dollars. From a yard sale. When we cleaned out my in-laws home and had a yard sale, we only made enough money to pay for the permit and then dinner afterwards. Guess the rich are different than you and me. Just another example of how I couldn't really relate to this family.

Aside from reminders of how different their lives are from mine, I did find this book inspiring. While we're not going to sell our house, and I doubt that the heads of various charities would meet with us to discuss sponsorships, it is a reminder that individuals can make a difference in the world. I really liked the kids, Hannah and Joseph. Hannah sounds like an amazing young woman, and I loved that Joseph was sort of the voice of reason in the family despite his young age. Didn't care for the parents as much, but I think it was just that I couldn't relate to their lifestyle and assumptions. Think that the family was brave in sharing their story, as they knew that there would be some negative reactions.

While I don't usually read non-fiction, this book was worth reading and actually made me want to become more charitable. Gave it a 3/5 as Dad Kevin is a good writer and it was fun to "meet" Hannah and Joseph, but I still had a hard time relating to the family and their project.   If anyone else has read this book, would love to know what you thought and if you had any trouble relating to this family. Thanks!

Saturday, March 20, 2010

What I Do and Do Not Like

I wasn't tagged to do this, but stole it from one of my favorite bloggers, Marie at The Boston Bibliophile, who stole it from Karen at Scobberlotch. We seem to be a sticky-fingered bunch of meme-stealers! *L*

The rules are easy. All I have to do is fill in the blanks after each bold word and tag 3 of my friends. Since I "stole" this meme, I'm not going to tag anyone but instead open it up to anyone who wants to "steal" it from me. I'd love to know if you decided to play, so please leave a comment so I can visit and check out your answers!

I like Crystal Light peach tea
I like cold apple pie.
I like getting mail.
I like blog-hopping.
I like receiving review copies.
I like baking.
I like quiet.
I like HGTV.
I like sleeping late.
I like cold pizza for breakfast.
I like daisies and daylilies.
I like visiting supermarkets during vacations.

I love my family

Today is full of possibilities.

I hate having to get up early.
I hate feeling rushed.
I hate running late.
I hate housework.
I hate beans, brussel sprouts, and beets.
I hate petty, vindictive people.

I (secretly) like deadlines.

I love reading!

Wednesday, March 17, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday: Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens

Heavenly by Jennifer Laurens
Saw this book reviewed by Steph over at Steph the Bookworm and it looks awesome! Added this book to my wishlist as soon as I finished reading her review, and looking forward to getting a copy of my own!

 I met someone who changed everything. Matthias. My autistic sister's guardian angel. Honest. Inspiring. Funny. Hot. And immortal. That was the problem. What could I do? I did what any other girl would do - I fell in love with him. Zoë's sister darts in front of cars. Her brother's a pothead. Her parents are so overwhelmed; they don't see Zoë lost in her broken life. Zoë escapes the only way she knows how: partying. Matthias, a guardian sent from Heaven, watches over Zoë's autistic sister. After Zoë is convinced he's legit, angel and lost girl come together in a love that changes destiny. But Heaven on Earth can't last forever.

Monday, March 15, 2010

One Lovely Blog Award

One Lovely Blog Award
Received the One Lovely Blog award from Lydia over at The Lost Entwife and from Bella at Obsessed!. Thank you Ladies! I love the look of both of these blogs, so you should definitely stop by, say hello, and check them out!

The rules state that I'm supposed to pass this award along to 15 new blogs that I've recently discovered, but I'm going to open this up to anyone who wants it as I've passed it along a few times already. I'm trying to keep my blog roll down to a manageable level, so honestly don't think I've discovered 15 new blogs within the past few months!

Thank you again for this lovely award! It's nice to know that someone thinks enough of me to give me an award, and it makes me feel all warm & fuzzy inside! :-)


Saturday, March 13, 2010

In My Mailbox (36)

In My Mailbox (36)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I have included links to Goodreads should you want more information on the books.

The Eternal Ones
Received an ARC of The Eternal Ones from the publisher via Shelf Awareness. While the book doesn't come out until August and is so new that Goodreads doesn't even have the book cover online yet, it looks like a good one! Seems to be about love, reincarnation, and soul mates. Intriguing.

Shalador's Lady
Bought this from an Amazon Gold Box offer. Love Anne Bishop and her Black Jewels series, so couldn't resist the good deal! Shalador's Lady is the 8th book in the series, so I need to catch up. If you haven't read this series yet, I recommend you start with the first one, Daughter of the Blood. Great series!

Morgan's Passing
Bought Morgan's Passing for 25 cents at my library book sale. I like Anne Tyler, so thought I would give this one a chance. Have learned that if I don't buy the books when I see them, someone else snatches them up.

Fantasy in Death
Borrowed Fantasy in Death from the library. I was something like number 152 on the hold list, so was surprised when they called to tell me it was in. It's sitting next to me, begging me to put everything else down and read about Roarke's latest adventures. And oh yeah, his wife Eve Dallas is in the book too.

Last Time They Met
Last Time They Met was another book I picked up from my library's sale cart. It's a hardcover, so cost me 50 cents. I've read other books by Anita Shreve and really enjoyed them, so wanted to give this one a chance. As you probably know by now, I can't resist a bargain! *L*

The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
Borrowed The Hundred Thousand Kingdoms from the library as it's a featured book on one of the Barnes & Noble book groups this month. The synopsis didn't really grab me, but I've liked every other book they've recommended, so wanted to give this one a try.

Black Magic Sanction
Black Magic Sanction is the latest book in the Rachel Morgan/The Hollows series. Love Kim Harrison, so couldn't resist picking this one up!

Time Raiders: The Avenger
Haven't read a Silhoette Romance book in ages, but this has P.C. Cast's name on it, so it must be good! Another 25 cent bargain from my library's sale cart. Called Time Raiders: The Avenger, it's about time travel and a sexy Druid. Sounds hot! *L*

I seem to be bringing more books into my house recently when I'm supposed to be paring down my TBR piles. Need to ramp up my de-cluttering strategy, as it doesn't seem to be working. I'm blaming the blogosphere, as I'm constantly finding new books I want to read! Not my fault at all...nope...not going to take the blame for my poor self control when it comes to books. :p

Happy reading everyone!

Friday, March 12, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Saw an interesting post by Carrie over at In The Hammock about a new feature called a Book Blogger Hop. Sounded interesting, so I wandered over to the hosting site at Crazy-For-Books to find out more information.

Jennifer has started this weekly feature and it sounds like a fun new way to discover other book blogs. As she explains in her post, she thought it would be cool to do a Book Blog Hop to give us all bookies a chance to connect and find new blogs that we may be missing out on! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs that they may not know existed!

So head on over to Crazy-For-Books and you may just find some new blogging buddies!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

To nook or not to nook - Part 2

To nook or not to nook - Part 2
Back around the time the Barnes & Noble nook was first announced, I was somehow drawn into the whole nook-is-horrible-no-it's-not debate. As it hadn't even been released yet and no one had actually played with one, I couldn't understand why passions were running so high. You can read my original post here if you like.

Fast forward to the present and not only has the nook been released, but it's already had some updates as B&N works the bugs out. Nothing revolutionary about that, as I remember the Kindle having several bugs in their early design as well. And they all seem to be overshadowed now by the iPad. (Just a quick aside, does no one use focus groups to test names anymore? What is a Kindle anyway? And nook? iPad? Puh-lease! Even I couldn't resist the bathroom humor!)

Anyway.....thanks to the generosity of a very good friend, I recently had the opportunity to play with a nook. She lent me an ebook, and the nook it was on so I could try it out. What a nice friend. Waiting for her to ask for a kidney or my car or for me to paint her house in return. Or it could just be that she's just a nice person. I'm betting she needs a kidney though. (just kidding T!)

Have to say that the nook is very pretty in person. Very sleek, slick, and streamlined. Lightweight. Not as bulky as the Sony eReader. More professional looking than the Kindle. Think the nook wins hands down in the Best Looks department.

As for the reading experience itself - not bad. My borrowed nook had a cover, so it was like holding a paperback. As it was lightweight, I don't think the coverless nook would be awkward to hold either. You could turn the pages by either clicking the button on the side or swiping your finger across the small bottom screen-thingy. Swiping was fun at first, but I wound up using the button most of the time as my thumb was already there.

The book was easy to read as I could adjust the font as well as the brightness of the screen. Still needed a light to read by, but so does a paperback. The only thing I didn't care for was that I couldn't quickly flip through pages to check something. For instance, I thought that a character had left town, so I wanted to flip back to check. Only seconds with a paperback, but I had to go page by page with the nook. Small annoyance, but still.... Another annoyance was the touchscreen keypad. Hard to use if you have fingernails. Assume it would be hard to use if you had fat fingers as well, as those buttons were tiny. I wound up using the side of my pinkie finger, and my nails aren't even all that long!

What's my final verdict? I would happily use a nook if someone bought it for me and gave me gift cards for the ebooks, but otherwise? No thank you. While the nook was fun and I can see it's appeal, I don't like the whole idea of ebooks. Right now, when I'm finished with a paperback, I have multiple options available. I can put it on my shelf, donate it to the library, give it to a friend, trade it for a new book, or list it as a blog giveaway. My money has purchased a physical product that I own and can do with what I will. I can't do any of these things with an ebook. It reminds me a little of leasing a car; you have the use of the item but don't really have anything to show for it.

Do any of you have an ereader? What do you think of it? I get the convenience factor, but are there other features I didn't have time to explore? Curious what everyone thinks!

Tuesday, March 9, 2010

The Bliss (Happy 101) Award

The Bliss (Happy 101) Award

I received the Bliss (Happy 101) Award from Kathy at Ms. Martin Teaches Media. I originally discovered her through her other blog, Inside of a Dog. Both of these blogs are awesome with unique content, so be sure to stop by and check them out!

I'm supposed to list ten things that make me happy, then pass this along to ten other bloggers. I tried to come up with unique things, so here they are in no particular order:

The smell of the ocean

 Homemade chocolate chip cookies


Book sales

Holding a sleeping baby

Receiving books in the mail


A mountain view

Warm bagels

Getting lost in a good book

Will pass this along to the following bloggers:

April at Good Books & Wine
Laura at Reading and Rooibos
Elie at Ellz Reads
Katy at A Few More Pages
Dazzling Mage at A Reading Kabocha
Pamela at Busy Moms Who Love To Read
Becky at Stories & Sweeties
Amelia at Imagination in Focus
Shantal at Booknerds Are Pretty Too
Martha at Reviews By Martha's Bookshelves

Some of these blogs are new discoveries for me and others are blogs where I've been lurking awhile. All are interesting, so try to stop by and say hello!

Monday, March 8, 2010

Book Review: Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine

Book Review:  Grave Sins by Jenna Maclaine
Mass Market Paperback: 352 pages
Publisher: St. Martin's Paperbacks; Original edition (February 3, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0312946171
ISBN-13: 978-0312946173

Rating:  3/5
Source:  Loan from a friend

Book Blurb:

In the arms of her lover Michael, Cin Craven has found satisfaction for her most primal longings, reaching heights of pleasure no mere human could ever imagine. She has also found a purpose for her unearthly powers. Cin is a member of The Righteous, a band of slayers that hunts down vampires who inflict evil upon the world. With Michael by her side, Cin’s latest mission brings her face-to-face with Marrakesh, a beautiful, half-mad vampire queen charged with slaughtering humans. If she’s found guilty, Marrakesh will pay with her life. But Cin is convinced that someone - or something - far more ruthless is trying to steal the queen’s throne. It’s a mission that will pit Michael and Cin against each other for the first time, awakening their darkest instincts and testing their love like never before…

My Review:

Liked this story featuring The Righteous, vampire enforcers for the High King. Cin Craven is the youngest member of the team, a powerful vampire witch. Loved her relationship with her consort, the sexy Michael. The other two members of the team are also a couple, Devlin and Justine. Enjoyed the interactions between Cin and the rest of The Righteous, as they seemed like real friends who worked well together.

This wasn't your typical romance, as Cin and Michael are already a committed couple. Didn't think it was your usual urban fantasy either, so guess it's more of a mystery. Only trouble was, the mystery was only a mystery to The Righteous. I'm usually not very good at mysteries and hardly ever guess whodunit, so imagine my surprise when my guess turned out to be right! Got a little frustrated that this so-called crack team of enforcers were a little naive and took so long to discover what was what.

Gave this a 3/5 as while I did enjoy it, it was a little frustrating. Seemed to bounce between being a mystery and a romance, but couldn't make up it's mind on what genre it wanted to be. Just as the romance was heating up, it switched to the mystery aspect, then suddenly we're talking vampire history. I've read other books that can include several different aspects in the same story, but this one didn't really work for me. Still, it was an enjoyable story and I would definitely read more in the Cin Craven series.

Sunday, March 7, 2010

In My Mailbox (35)

In My Mailbox (35)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I have included links to Goodreads should you want more information on the books.

Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
Picked up Blood Ties by Kay Hooper at the library. I really like this series, and think this is the 12th book featuring Bishop and his team of psychics.
The elite Special Crimes Unit, the FBI’s most controversial and effective team, is a group of mavericks and misfits trained to use their unique psychic abilities to hunt the worst monsters imaginable - human ones. Led by the enigmatic Noah Bishop, the SCU team has earned a reputation for pitting their skills and cunning against killers that other cops fear. But this time Bishop and his agents face an enemy who has them in his sights, a trained sniper with a deadly plan - and more than one ace up his sleeve.

Lucifer Rising by Barbara Fifield
Received this copy of Lucifer Rising by Barbara Fifield from Reagan at Miss Remmers' Reviews. I was the first to forward a YA review for sort of a quickie contest, so won this book! Woo hoo!
Can Elsa ever escape cult leader Tyrell, a reincarnation of the devil? What about him does she find so mesmerizing? Tyrell has lured women into his snare over many reincarnations. Will he succeed with Elsa? Or will she be able to break away from him? 

Looking forward to seeing what everyone got in their mailboxes this week!

Saturday, March 6, 2010

Clear Away the Clutter Mini Challenge

Clear Away the Clutter Mini Challenge
Can't believe that I'm actually joining another challenge, but I think Kate at The Neverending Shelf tailor-made this challenge just for me! My TBR piles are taking over and there isn't a clear spot left in my house. Need to declutter before I'm buried under one of these huge piles, or my cat disappears. Love my kitty, so drastic measures are called for! *L*

Clear Away the Clutter's purpose:

If you are like me, you have an abundant amount of review and TBR books that desperately need your attention. This mini challenge will challenge you to read and do something with those titles once they have been completed.

Your goal is read as many titles as you can and pass along those that you do not absolutely want to keep. This means that if you do not plan to re-read a certain book at least once or twice... get rid of it, as it is just clutter.


•The mini challenge begins March 1st and ends May 31st. You can join at any time once the challenge has begun.

•Anyone is welcome to participate in the mini challenge.

•By the end of the challenge, you MUST get rid of all the titles that you do not absolutely love. You can hold a contest, donate, give to a friend, etc. Your ultimate goal here is to clean off your shelves.

•You do not have to have a blog to participate. If you are interested, please email Kate at for more information.

•Please create a post for titles you plan to read. You can of course update and modify this list at any time.

•Once a novel is completed, let us know what you plan to do with it. You can put this information beside the title in your challenge list post. Right now, I'm thinking about a contest for all the books I read but don't want to keep.

•Crossover with other Challenges is welcome.


Packrat: Read and clean out 5 titles
Mini-Packrat: Read and clean out 10 titles
Organizer: Read and clean out 15 titles
Cleaner: Read and clean out 20 titles

Would love to achieve the Cleaner level, but will aim for the Mini-Packrat level so I don't disappoint myself by failing another challenge. Remember what Casey Kasem used to say...keep your feet on the ground, but keep reaching for the stars. Something like that...  :)

Here are some of the books in my TBR pile I need to work on. This isn't a comprehensive list, just the books I can see from where I'm sitting:

Original Sin by Allison Brennan
Live The Life You Love by Dr. Susan Biali
Never Look Away by Linwood Barclay
Seeing Things by Patti Hill
The Postmistress by Sarah Blake
Stressed in Scottsdale by Marcia Fine
Power of Half by Kevin Salwen
Spiral Hunt by Margaret Ronald
Wild Hunt by Margaret Ronald
Admit One by Emmett James
Cry Mercy by Toni Andrews
Evermore by Alyson Noel
Ecstasy Unveiled by Larissa Ione
Tainted by Julie Kenner
Torn by Julie Kenner
Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand
Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame Smith

Will adjust this list as necessary, but my goal is to reduce my TBR piles so that I can see the top of my bookshelf and end tables again! Wish me luck!

Friday, March 5, 2010

Book Questionnaire

Saw this little book questionnaire over at Brooke Reviews and thought I would give it a try. Love questionnaires, but always seem to have trouble deciding on an answer! Well, here we go....

Rules of this survey - no two answers can be the same book and all books must be fiction.

  1. Book next to your bed right now: Abraham Lincoln Vampire Hunter by Seth Grahame-Smith, and Blood Ties by Kay Hooper
  2. Favorite series:  Harry Potter by J.K. Rowling
  3. Favorite book:  Neverwhere by Neil Gaiman
  4. The one book you would have with you if stranded on a desert island: Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, as it's a pretty big book that I've never found the time to reread :)
  5. Book/series you would take with you on a long flight:  The Hunger Games series, as I've heard so many good things about it
  6. Worst book you were made to read in school:  The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
  7. Book that everyone should be made to read in school:  Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  8. Book that everyone should read, period:  The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein
  9. Favorite character:  Puck, in all of his various incarnations
  10. Best villain: Sauron from The Lord of the Rings, by J.R.R. Tolkien   
  11. Favorite concept series:  Not 100% sure what "concept series" means, but I like the early Anita Blake books
  12. Favorite invented world:  The world in the Study series by Maria V. Snyder
  13. Most beautifully written book:  One Amazing Thing by Chitra Divakaruni 
  14. Funniest book:  One For The Money by Janet Evanovich

Which of the above questions was hardest to answer? All of them! Kept going back and changing my answers. *L*

Let me know if you decide to do this as well, as I'd love to see your answers! :D

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Word Verification Balderdash (21)

Word Verification Balderdash (21)
Word Verification Balderdash is a weekly meme hosted by Ryan at Wordsmithonia. He is the Balderdash King, so be sure to stop by and check out his site!

Balderdash is a pretty easy game. You know all of those annoying word verifications you come across when posting comments on certain blogs? Be sure to write them down, then play Balderdash by making up your own definition for the word!

Here are my words for the week:

Croma:  Childish taunt used by science geeks to compare someone to a prehistoric human, such as a cro-magnon or neanderthal. Not a very effective insult as most Americans are sadly deficient when it comes to human history.

Pances:  The traditional Spring Dance of Pansies. Never before witnessed by humans, the dance is intoxicating to behold and occurs once a century on the first day of Spring.

Hagosses:  Term used to refer to Her Royal Highness, The Queen Dowager of Hags.

Sheessi:  Affectionate term used by male weresnakes for their mates. Addressing a female as such who is not your mate or not a weresnake is punishable by death.

Terrati:  An inhabitant of the planet Terra, fourteenth planet from the sun in the Telusi solar system. A peaceful race, the Terratis have not yet discovered space flight and inter-species contact is limited.

Come across any interesting words this week? Write them down so you can play next week!

Wednesday, March 3, 2010

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver

Book Review: Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
Reading level: Young Adult
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: HarperCollins; 1 edition (March 2, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 006172680X
ISBN-13: 978-0061726804

Rating:  5/5
Source:  ARC received from the Barnes & Noble First Look Program

Book Blurb:

What if you had only one day to live? What would you do? Who would you kiss? And how far would you go to save your own life?

Samantha Kingston has it all: the world's most crush-worthy boyfriend, three amazing best friends, and first pick of everything at Thomas Jefferson High - from the best table in the cafeteria to the choicest parking spot.

Friday, February 12, should be just another day in her charmed life. Instead, it turns out to be her last. Then she gets a second chance. Seven chances, in fact. Reliving her last day during one miraculous week, she will untangle the mystery surrounding her death - and discover the true value of everything she is in danger of losing.

My Review:

This book was amazing.

When I finished reading the last page, I just sat there for a bit, letting the story soak in. It was that good. I just wanted to sit and savor and process what I had read.

Lauren Oliver is an amazing writer who got everything right. High School with all it's casual cruelty and pettiness. Teenage girls. How you might feel and what you might do if you realized you were reliving your last day on Earth over and over. She even threw in a joke about the movie Groundhogs Day!

This was an easy 5/5 as I stayed up much too late to finish reading it, even though I had an early morning doctor's appointment the next day. This is not only going on my Keeper Shelf, but I have the feeling that it will be one of the few books I actually re-read. I'm still basking in the glow of an excellent story....

Tuesday, March 2, 2010

Winner of the Explorer X-Alpha Prize Pack!

We have a winner!
I used the True Random Number Generator to choose and the lucky winner is:


Congratulations Pam! The prize pack includes a copy of the book, as well as a magnet, bookmark, and poster! Pretty cool!
Thanks again to everyone who entered!

 Explorer X-Alpha

Monday, March 1, 2010

Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award

Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award
I received the Fabulous Sugar Doll Blogger Award from Laura at Reading and Rooibos. I met Laura during Bloggiesta, and was really impressed with her blog. She was sweet enough to pass this award along to me, and I really appreciate it! I've been called Sugar before, but never Sugar Doll. I like it! :)

The rules are pretty straight forward:
• Thank the person who gave this to you.
• Copy the logo and place it on your blog.
• Link the person who nominated you.
• Name ten fun facts about yourself.
• Nominate ten other bloggers.
• Post links to the blogs you nominate.
• Leave a comment on each letting them know you nominated them.

Let's, ten semi-interesting, sorta fun facts are hard to come up with! Well, here goes nothing...

1. I've never broken a bone. Have had fractures and sprains, but no breaks (knock wood)
2. I was born in NJ, left at 6 months old, and somehow wound up moving back after 30 years
3. My dad was transferred several times growing up, so all of us kids were born in different states
4. Once went on a 28 day cruise with my parents, leaving my husband at home
5. Speaking of DH, we met in Utah after we were both transferred there for our jobs
6. I collect gargoyles
7. I'm an avid list-maker, and will occasionally add something to a list just so I can cross it off!
8. Two years ago, DH and I renewed our wedding vows with Elvis in Las Vegas
9. I just received my very first set of business cards...feel so "official" now! *L*
10. I'm going to BEA for the very first time this year!!!

Not very fun or interesting, but they all qualify as facts!

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

Donna at Fantasy Dreamer's Ramblings

Kristi at The Story Siren

Marie at The Boston Bibliophile

Rachael at Enchanted by Books

Carolyn at One Book Away From Heaven

Susi at The Geeky Bookworm

Melissa at My World in...Words and Pages

Carrie at In The Hammock

Pam at Mom's Mutterings

Mel at He Followed Me Home...Can I Keep Him?

I know that not everyone posts awards, but I couldn't resist calling these lovely ladies Sugar Doll and passing along this award! And if anyone else would like to be a Sugar Doll, help yourself!