Saturday, July 31, 2010

In My Mailbox (48)

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.

I had pre-ordered this months ago, so was a nice surprise when As Lies the Dead by Kelly Meding showed up in my mailbox!

Evangeline Stone, a rogue bounty hunter, never asked for a world divided between darkness and light……or the power to die and live again in someone else's borrowed body. After a murder plot meant to take her out leaves an entire race of shapeshifters nearly extinct, Evy is gnawed by guilt. So when one of the few survivors of the slaughter enlists her aid, she feels duty-bound to help—even though protecting a frail, pregnant shifter is the last thing Evy needs, especially with the world going to hell around her.

Unholy Magic by Stacia Kane called out to me from the shelf as I was happily wandering Barnes and Noble. How could I resist?

For Chess Putnam, finding herself near-fatally poisoned by a con psychic and then stopping a murderous ghost is just another day on the job. As an agent of the Church of Real Truth, Chess must expose those looking to profit from the world’s unpleasant little poltergeist problem—humans filing false claims of hauntings—all while staving off any undead who really are looking for a kill.

Can't wait to see what everyone received this week!

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Cat Thursday (18)

Michelle over at The True Book Addict came up with a great idea for a meme! "Cat Thursday" is a way to highlight cute or funny pictures of cats, little tidbits about what our kitties are up to, or any snippets about cats we've come across. I love all those funny/cute cat pictures out there, especially on LOLCats! Here's my picture for the week:

So that's what I've been doing wrong! Silly me... :)

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

Who do you write like?

While bopping around the blogosphere, I came across an interesting post over at Pen and Paper. If you've never visited that blog before, I highly recommend it, as Petty Witter finds the most interesting tidbits online, then shares them with us! I laugh, ponder, and/or learn something new almost every time I visit. Be sure to stop by and say hello when you have a chance, as her blog is awesome!

The post that caught my eye during this particular visit was about a website called I Write Like...., where you input a sample of your writing for analysis, then you're told which famous author your writing style resembles. The site was created by Dmitry Chestnykh, a 27-year-old Russian software programmer currently living in Montenegro. Though he speaks English reasonably well, it is his second language.

Unable to resist, I submitted a couple of paragraphs from old blog posts. Here's my result:

I write like
Cory Doctorow
I Write Like by Mémoires, Mac journal software. Analyze your writing!

Hmmmmm. This is a little embarrassing, but I've never read Cory Doctorow. I've heard that most people get Stephen King, so I try another paragraph. Cory again. I suspect cookies are now involved, so I delete them and try yet another sample. Cory once again. The site is determined that I write like Cory Doctorow, so there's nothing left to do but read some of his books now. he a he, or a she? How embarrassing....

If you decide to check this out, please be sure to stop back and let me know who you write like! And if you've read Cory Doctorow, which book would you recommend? ;)

Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Review: Noah's Castle by John Rowe Townsend

Noah's Castle by John Rowe Townsend

Source:  Review copy provided by the publisher

Rating:  3/5

Written by award-winning author John Rowe Townsend, Noah's Castle tells the story of a family trying to survive during a total collapse of the British economy. Money is worthless, unemployment skyrockets, and food and other goods become scarce.

As conditions worsen and people begin to starve, how do people react? When does law-and-order break down and civilized behavior end? How do people balance the needs of their family against those of society? Noah's Castle examines these questions but doesn't provide easy answers, resulting in a unique and thought-provoking story of survival. (Goodreads summary)

My Thoughts:
This book was originally published in 1975, went out of print, then was brought back and republished by October Mist. I think it's important to keep that in mind while reading, as while most of the book stands the test of time, there are parts which are a little dated. Most glaringly, the father's attitude towards his wife and daughters. Yes, he's a bit sexist, but so were a lot of men during that time period. Just look back to the television commercials in the 70s for proof. I've seen a few reviewers not be able to get past the father's attitude, so think it's important to keep things in context.

That being said, I thought that this was a good read overall. It's as relevant now as it was back then, because I think we're all only a few steps away from having our whole world come crashing down. This boils down to a father trying to take care of his family and prepare for a coming crisis. Should he have consulted his wife before buying a new house and bringing in supplies? I think so. But he seems to be the sort of man who considers himself the king of his castle, and thinks it's his job to take care of his family. Could he have handled things better? Absolutely. But in the end, I think he did what he thought was best in order to take care of his family.

One of the things I found most interesting about this story was how normal society started to break down in the midst of a crisis. We like to pretend we're civilized, but when threatened, people start to show their true colors. I liked the characters of Cliff and Stuart, who still wanted to do what was right and take care of their fellow man. Very noble. Would I be that noble? I'd like to think so, but I might wind up like Barry's dad and want to take care of my own first.

Gave this book a 3/5 rating as I liked it. I think a 3/5 is a good rating and worth reading, so please give this one a chance! Was well written, though a little dated in spots. Made me think but I didn't find it overly preachy, which is always good. I didn't really like the main characters, and was more sympathetic to secondary characters like Cliff, Stuart, and Terry. Had mixed feelings about Barry, the narrator. He was a teenager with ideals, which is not a bad thing, just not the best thing during a crisis. His heart was in the right place, but I don't think he handled things as well as he should have. None of the characters did. That's one of the things that made this story interesting.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Got Books? My contest winner does!

So glad that I took part in the Got Books? event this year! I think that both GMR at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers and Danielle at There's a Book did a fantastic job! Well done, ladies!

This is by far the most successful contest I've ever hosted, so a big thank you to everyone who entered! This was also the first time I used Google docs, and it made picking a winner SO much easier! Now I'm hooked, and will use it for all future contests! I'm also beyond thrilled that my blog gained almost 70 new followers! It wasn't a requirement to enter the contest, so am happy that so many people decided to join. Thanks again, and I hope you stick around!

Enough babbling...I know everyone is anxiously awaiting the winning name announcement. So without further ado, the winner of my 2010 Got Books? giveaway is:


Hilary St. Laurent


I've sent an email to the address provided, and am just waiting for Hilary to contact me with her mailing address.

Thanks for stopping by! :)

Sunday, July 25, 2010

In My Mailbox (47)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. No library books, contest wins, or bought books this week, but I did get a few for review! I've included links to Goodreads should you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Received an ARC of Gerry Tales by Gerry Boylan from Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists. It looks like a fun, fast read, perfect for a hot summer afternoon!

In this collection of personal essays, Gerry Boylan recounts a lifetime of adventures and misadventures. His stories are sweet, loopy, and hilarious, ranging from hitchhiking experiences gone awry to the birth of his first child (sans painkillers or doctors, but with pinochle-playing buddies and malted milkshakes).

Phenix & Phenix Literary Publicists also sent me an ARC of Getting There by Gerry Boylan. The blurb on this one caught my attention, and I think it will be another good summer read!

In 1973, after a shocking event turned his life upside down, Luke spent his youth hitchhiking along I-75 between Florida and Michigan, meeting an extraordinary cast of characters, surviving the dangers and tragedies of the road, and falling in love. Fast-forward thirty years: Luke now struggles to reconcile the boy he was with the middle-aged father he's become. And he wonders whether it's wise to trust the young hitchhiker he's picked up on his latest road trip.

Received an ARC of The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff from the publisher, via Shelf Awareness. This one looks really good! Could be either seriously creepy or seriously cool, and I can't wait to find out which path this story takes!

Mackie Doyle seems like everyone else in the perfect little town of Gentry, but he is living with a fatal secret - he is a Replacement, left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now the creatures under the hill want him back, and Mackie must decide where he really belongs and what he really wants.

I love, love, love surprises in my mailbox! And this one was a huge surprise! I've been watching people around the blogosphere drool over this book and with every rave review, I moved it up a little further in my TBR stack. Then the lovely publishers decide to send me an ARC! Of Nightshade by Andrea Cremer! Without me promising a first born child or anything! Woot! The book gods have definitely smiled upon me, because I was pondering what awesome book I should offer in my next contest, then this arrives in my mailbox! Lucky me! Lucky you! Now, what type of giveaway should I offer? *ponders* 

Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week!

Friday, July 23, 2010

Got Books?

Welcome to the celebration!

So what is this all about?

This is a celebration about books and the bloggers who love them! Be honest, where do you find most of the books in your TBR piles? If you're like me, you discover them via your fellow book bloggers! So this event is to celebrate book bloggers round the world by shining a light on their efforts, spreading the word about their sites, and to have a little contest fun along the way!

In what I hope will become an annual event, Got Books? is a collection of over 100 book bloggers hosting giveaways during a 48 hour period. Hosted by GMR at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers and Danielle at There's A Book, it's sure to be tons of fun! Be sure to check out the official Got Books? site for a list of all the participating blogs! I know I'll be visiting everyone to discover new blogs and to enter some cool contests!

So what's in it for you? Glad you asked! The below books are in need of a good home, and I'm hoping you'll help out. I really enjoyed all three of these books, and want to spread the word about their awesomeness!


Tempest Rising by Nicole Peeler
Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler
One Amazing Thing by Chitra Banerjee Divakaruni

And of course, you'll need a tote bag for all of your new books! Picked this up at the Chronicle Books BEA booth in May, and it's nice and sturdy!

Interested in how can you enter? Easy! Just fill out the below form, and that's it! You can leave a comment if you like, as I love comments, but they will not count as entries.

UPDATE: Open to US and Canada!

The small print:
*Open to US/Canadian mailing addresses only
*Must be at least 13 years old (or have parental permission) to enter
*Entries will be accepted from Friday, July 23rd, 2010 through Saturday, July 24th, 2010, 11:59PM EST
*The winning name will be picked using a random number generator
*All entries must be submitted using the form on this post. You MUST include your email address, as this is how the winner will be contacted
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email no later than Monday, July 25th, 2010, and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address. Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.
*Winner's name and address will be used for the purpose of mailing the prizes only, and will then be discarded.

Good luck!

Thursday, July 22, 2010

Cat Thursday (17)

Michelle over at The True Book Addict came up with a fun meme called Cat Thursday! We can highlight cute or funny pictures of cats, little tidbits about what our kitties are up to, or any snippets about cats we've come across. I love all those funny/cute cat pictures out there, especially on LOLCats! Here's my picture for the week:

Think the laptop-jealousy syndrome must be universal because as soon as I pull out my laptop, my cat decides she wants to snuggle! If I try to ignore her, then she starts headbutting the laptop and walking across the keyboard, just like this guy! Do you have an Admincat who limits PC access in your life? Maybe if I got her a laptop of her own and set her up on Facebook?

Wednesday, July 21, 2010

Finished my first challenge of 2010!

Finished my first challenge for the year! There were four levels for the YA Reading Challenge, and I went for the Mini YA level of 12 books. Was so excited when I realized that I had actually completed one of the challenges I signed up for! I won't stop reading YA books, but so happy I can add "completed" next to a challenge!

Here are the books I read for the Mini Level of 12 books:

1.  The Devouring
2.  The Iron King
3.  Seven Rays
4.  Sea Clearwater
5.  Before I Fall
6.  Odd and the Frost Giants
7.  Hundred Thousand Kingdoms
8.  Shade
9.  Iron Daughter
10. Winter's Passage
11. Paranormalcy
12. Tyger Tyger

Woot! :-)

Monday, July 19, 2010

Free Fantasy Book: The Choir Boats by Daniel A. Rabuzzi

Just found out that The Choir Boats by Daniel A. Rabuzzi is being featured as Wowio's July Book of the Month. Apparently, they offer a free download every month! How cool is that? During July only, the eBook version of The Choir Boats will be available for free here. I'm just starting to appreciate the benefits of eBooks, so while I haven't read this one yet, I have checked it out online and downloaded a copy to read later. You can't beat the price, as free is always good! And as I'm always on the lookout for new authors, I'm excited to discover Wowio!

Described on the website as “vibrant” and rich with “verve and wit,” it’s a seagoing fantasy yarn that is like “Gulliver’s Travels crossed with The Golden Compass and a dollop of Pride and Prejudice.”

What would you give to make good on the sins of your past? For merchant Barnabas McDoon, the answer is: everything.

When emissaries from a world called Yount offer Barnabas a chance to redeem himself, he accepts their price - to voyage to Yount with the key that only he can use to unlock the door to their prison. But bleak forces seek to stop him:  Yount's jailer, a once-human wizard who craves his own salvation, kidnaps Barnabas's nephew. A fallen angel - a monstrous owl with eyes of fire - will unleash Hell if Yount is freed. And, meanwhile, Barnabas's niece, Sally, and a mysterious pauper named Maggie seek with dream-songs to wake the sleeping goddess who may be the only hope for Yount and Earth alike.

This WOWIO-exclusive edition also includes a bonus insert with previously unpublished artwork for The Choir Boats by Deborah Mills.

If anyone has read this yet, I'd love to know what you thought!

Friday, July 16, 2010

Review: The Journey Home by Michael Baron

The Journey Home by Michael Baron

Source:  Review copy provided by The Story Plant

Rating:  4/5

Joseph, Antoinette, and Warren are three people on different searches for home. How they find it, and how they connect with one another at this critical stage in each of their lives, is the foundation for a profound and deeply moving story. (book blurb)

My Thoughts:
This story was incredibly sweet. It starts off with Joseph, who wakes up on a couch in a stranger's home. While he knows his name, that's about all that he remembers. He has lost his memory, but does know that he has a wife out there somewhere, so he sets off to find her. He meets a teenage boy named William, who agrees to accompany Joseph on his journey to find his wife.

Antoinette is a widow living in an assisted living facility. While she used to be fairly active, she is now spending more and more time in the past. Antoinette finds it harder to leave her room as she is easily confused, so prefers to sleep and revisit happier times where her mind and body were strong. I see so many women like this at my MIL's nursing home, that Antoinette's story really struck a chord with me.

Warren is Antoinette's son, who is going through a divorce and has lost his job. With his mother's health failing on top of everything else, it has not been a very good year. Trying to engage his mother, he decides to start cooking some of his mother's old recipes. I loved Warren's efforts, as the dishes sounded so mouth-watering!

The chapters alternate between the three characters, but wasn't hard to follow at all. Baron is a very talented writer, and I was really drawn into the story. The plot was well-paced, the characters all interesting, and the ending was extremely satisfying. Gave this a 4/5 as I really enjoyed this story!

Thursday, July 15, 2010

Cat Thursday (16)

Michelle over at The True Book Addict came up with a great idea for a meme! "Cat Thursday" is a way to highlight cute or funny pictures of cats, little tidbits about what our kitties are up to, or any snippets about cats we've come across. I love all those funny/cute cat pictures out there! Here's my picture for the week:

Love this picture! Cat plus book = awesome!

Tuesday, July 13, 2010

Review: Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

Winter's Passage by Julie Kagawa

Source:  eBook provided by the publisher, via NetGalley

Rating: 4/5

Meghan Chase used to be an ordinary girl...until she discovered that she is really a faery princess. After escaping from the clutches of the deadly Iron fey, Meghan must follow through on her promise to return to the equally dangerous Winter Court with her forbidden love, Prince Ash. But first, Meghan has one request: that they visit Puck - Meghan's best friend and servant of her father, King Oberon - who was gravely injured defending Meghan from the Iron Fey.

Yet Meghan and Ash's detour does not go unnoticed. They have caught the attention of an ancient, powerful hunter - a foe that even Ash may not be able to defeat.... [product description]

My Thoughts:
This is a short book that takes place between The Iron King and The Iron Daughter. I tend to read series out of order for some strange reason, never on purpose, but read this one after I had already finished The Iron Daughter. Didn't really matter, as this was a fast read and there was no confusion with the plot or timeframe.

Meghan and Ash are on their way to the Winter Court, to fulfill the promise Meghan had made that she would voluntarily go with Ash in return for his help in the first book. They have a few adventures along the way, as nothing runs smoothly in the land of the fey.

Think that it was a great idea to release this book to help tide fans over until the release of The Iron Daughter! The story was interesting, and we learned a little more about Ash and Meghan, so Team Ash fans should be happy! Julie is a great writer, and I've loved everything she's written so far! If you haven't read this story yet, you may want to hurry as I believe that the free download will expire soon, as The Iron Daughter's release date is coming up on August 1st!

I received a free download of this story from NetGalley, who are slowly luring me over to the dark side world of eBooks. :)

Sunday, July 11, 2010

In My Mailbox (46)

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. As I haven't had internet access for the past week, this is actually two weeks of mailboxes in one. Don't think I've ever had so many books all at once, and I'm still giddy with happiness! Am convinced that the book gods smiled on me because I was internet-deprived! :D

For Review:

I received an ARC of Cresendo by Becca Fitzpatrick from the publisher for review. I'm really excited about this one because it's the sequel to hush, hush. Can't wait to read this one!

Nora should have know her life was far from perfect. Despite starting a relationship with her guardian angel, Patch (who, title aside, can be described anything but angelic), and surviving an attempt on her life, things are not looking up.

Received a review copy of Too Rich & Too Thin: Not an Autobiography by Barbara DeShong from the lovely folks at Phenix & Phenix publicists. I don't usually read mysteries, but it's supposed to be funny and in the same vein as Janet Evanovitch's books, so thought I would give it a try.

Pack your bags for Texas and prepare to meet the strangest family since that little Chainsaw Massacre incident. Psychologist Jessica LeFave will be your guide, but be forewarned, Dr. LeFave isn t your average shrink, and though her wisecracking lawyer buddy will try to keep Jessica out of trouble, he might not be able to save you, or himself.

Received a review copy of Greek:  Double Date by Marsha Warner from the wonderful Meryl L. Moss Media Relations folks! Sorry to say that I've never watched the show that it's based on, but it looks like a fun read. Will be having a giveaway down the road as well, so keep an eye out!

Two dates - same night! What to do? With a little help from BFF Ashleigh, unwanted advice from frenemy Rebecca Logan and even a push from Cappie, what Casey does may surprise even herself….

My review copy of Dante's Journey by JC Marino came courtesy of the author. I've always been intrigued by Dante's tale, so this one sounded interesting. I'll be hosting a giveaway for this book as well, so keep your eye peeled!

A flash of light and Detective Joe Dante steps through. No longer on the cobblestone streets of 1961 Boston, Joe finds himself in a horrifying new world - Hell itself. Joe was in hot pursuit of his family's killer, drug lord Filippo Argenti, when both were killed, and isn't about to let a little thing like death slow him down.

Received a review copy of Only the Good Spy Young by Ally Carter from Planned Television Arts Reviewer Rewards. This is book 4 in the series, but I'm hoping that I'll be able to pick things up as it sounds like such a fun read!

When Cammie Morgan enrolled at the Gallagher Academy, she knew she was preparing for the dangerous life of a spy. What she didn’t know was that the serious, real-life danger would start during her junior year of high school. But that’s exactly what happened two months ago when she faced off against an ancient terrorist organization dead set on kidnapping her. Now the danger follows her everywhere, and even Cammie “The Chameleon” can’t hide.

Noah's Castle by John Rowe Townsend was first published back in 1975 and was an out of print title. The story is supposed to be just as relevent today as it was back in the 70's, so has been reissued by October Mist Publishing. They were kind enough to send me a review copy, and I'm looking forward to reading this timeless tale!

What if money became worthless? The coming winter was going to be a hard one and not because of the weather. As England descends into economic chaos, sixteen-year-old Barry Mortimer's life turns upside down when his father moves the family from their cozy home in the city to a grim, brick mansion on the outskirts of town. Why isn't anyone allowed to visit the Mortimers' new home? What is Father doing in the cellar, and why is he keeping it a secret?

Contest Wins:

Won a copy of And Falling, Fly by Skyler White from Tara at 25 Hour Books! She let me pick the book of my choice from the Book Depository, and that's a lot harder than you'd think! Have heard mixed reviews on this one, but the synopsis sounds too good to miss out on. Hope it doesn't disappoint!

In a dark and seedy underground of burned-out rock stars and angels- turned-vampires, a revolutionary neuroscientist and a fallen angel must pit medicine against mythology in an attempt to erase their tortured pasts...but at what cost?


Finally received the copy of Tracking the Tempest by Nicole Peeler that I had preordered back at the beginning of time! Okay, not really, but that's what it felt like as I was so impatient to get my hands on a copy. And it was so worth the wait, as I sat down and devoured the book in one sitting! I've even posted my review already, so please check it out here and let me know what you think.

Book two in the Jane True series. 'Nuff said.

I'm blaming the arrival of the following books at my doorstep on Natalie from Mindful Musings, since she's the one who first posted about the huge clearance sale at Barnes & Noble. All but one of these books was $1.99. How am I supposed to resist that????

Dead Sexy by Tate Hallaway
The Earth, My Butt, and other BIG Round Things by Carolyn Mackler
Blood Memories by Barb Hendee
A Kiss Before the Apolcalypse by Thomas E Sniegoski
Suck It Up by Brian Meehl
The Automatic Detective by A. Lee Martinez
Looking for Alaska by John Green

Like I said, a very good week for me! Really need to implement a book ban of some kind so I can catch up on my reading, but there are so many books out there that I can't resist! Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week, and hope the book gods were good to you too! :)