Tuesday, September 27, 2011

What's In A Name 4 Challenge - Completed!

I did it!
I completed a challenge!
Finished the What's In A Name 4 Challenge, hosted by Beth Fish Reads.
Woo hoo!

My books:

  1. A book with a number in the title:  XVI
  2. A book with jewelry or a gem in the title:  Ruby Red
  3. A book with a size in the title:  A Long, Long Sleep
  4. A book with travel or movement in the title:  Turn of Mind
  5. A book with evil in the title:  Pale Demon
  6. A book with a life stage in the title:  A Lonely Death

  • Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).
  • Books may overlap other challenges.
  • Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.
  • Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed, but encouraged.
  • You do not have to make a list of books before hand.
  • You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order

Sunday, September 25, 2011

In My Mailbox (88)

In My Mailbox (88)
First off, a big thanks to Kristi at The Story Siren, who hosts In My Mailbox every week! I always find new books and authors thanks to this meme! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:
Received a couple of eBooks from the author for review. These both look like fun reads!

doodling by Jonathan Gould
by Jonathan Gould

Neville Lansdowne fell off the world. Actually he did not so much fall off as let go. The world had been moving so quickly lately and Neville was finding it almost impossible to keep up.


Flidderbugs by Jonathan Gould
by Jonathan Gould

Flidderbugs is a political satire, a modern fable, or maybe just a funny little story about a bunch of insects with some very peculiar obsessions.

Contest Wins:
It's been awhile since I've won anything, so was very excited when I heard from Suey at It's All About Books that I won her BBAW contest!

I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
by Dan Wells

John Wayne Cleaver is dangerous, and he knows it. He’s spent his life doing his best not to live up to his potential. He’s obsessed with serial killers, but really doesn’t want to become one. So for his own sake, and the safety of those around him, he lives by rigid rules he’s written for himself, practicing normal life as if it were a private religion that could save him from damnation.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week!

Monday, September 19, 2011

Book Review: Aggie's Nine Heroes

Aggie's Nine Heroes by Diana Laurence

Source:  eBook provided by the author

Rating:  4/5

Meet the little girl who decided superheroes didn't live only in comic books. Then learn how she - and nine other amazing people - proved it. Aggie Borkowski is only ten when she realizes the world needs help, and she can't do the job alone. For the next dozen years, Aggie pursues her extraordinary goal: to gather a team of nine talented, dedicated people who want to be heroes.

Number one on that roster is Aggie's remarkable grandfather, Bernie. His indomitable spirit - undaunted by personal tragedy and a sometimes-terrifying handicap - is key to the realization of Aggie's dreams.

The Borkowskis' story spans five decades, from Korea's Demilitarized Zone to the high-tech minefield of life in the 21st Century, including a sojourn in that fearful place called middle school. With Bernie's loving guidance, Aggie develops exceptional coping skills, all the while facing the conventional challenges of growing up and finding true love.

Aggie is just one girl trying to make a small difference...but like Bernie taught her, "A good deed is never too small." And it works even better when you can do it with a team. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This was an amazing story! I liked Aggie from the very beginning, but fell in love with her when she discovered Neil Gaiman's Sandman and developed a crush on Morpheus. Who could you not love a girl like that?

Really enjoyed getting to know Aggie, her grandfather Bernie, and watching them change over the years. Bernie sounds like an awesome grandfather, even if he did have the occasional issue. Really got a kick out of his fascination with fads, from the hula hoop to beanie babies. And I loved learning the story behind his collection!

Aggie was a great character, as she never let go of her dreams as she grew up. Most children lose faith in superheroes, but not Aggie! She not only keeps the faith, but makes her dream come true! Thought she was lucky in finding her heroes and a little surprised that there were no missteps, but was pleased with the team she eventually put together.

My only complaint is that there were no mistakes. Granted, Bernie does make an error in judgement with serious ramifications, but the Nine Heroes are pretty awesome right out of the gate. Think there should have been a learning curve of some sort, as I'm sure that even Superman couldn't up, up and away perfectly the first time he tried to fly! To have every plan work perfectly was a little unrealistic, but that might just be because I'm a little on the cynical side. Still a great story with great characters!

Gave this one a 4/5 as it's a great story with interesting characters, a well developed plot, and excellent writing!

About the Author:
You can learn more about author Diana Laurence at her website, and read an excert of Aggies Nine Heroes here. And I was fascinated to learn of her relationship with Kiva. Here are the details from the author's website:

Aggie's Nine Heroes explores themes related to responsible living, charity, and benevolent entrepreneurship. So, the author wanted to use the proceeds of this book in a manner that Aggie and her grandfather Bernie would approve.

Kiva.org is an 501(c)(3) non-profit organization that allows people to lend money via the Internet to microfinance institutions in developing countries around the world in the U.S., which in turn lend the money to small businesses and students. Kiva enables people who otherwise would be "unbankable" to start businesses and become productive members of their local communities, while bringing themselves and their families out of poverty.

25% of the proceeds of the sales of Aggie's Nine Heroes will be donated outright to Kiva for ongoing administrative expenses. 75% of proceeds will be provided to investments through Kiva.

Saturday, September 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (87)

In My Mailbox (87)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Received a copy of Loose Diamonds from the publisher for review, via Shelf Awareness. I've read some of Amy's work before and enjoyed it enough to give her book a try.

Loose Diamonds by Amy Ephron
by Amy Ephron


Went to Borders for one last goodbye and was surprised how many good books were left! Could easily have filled up a shopping cart with books as I wanted to give them all a good home, but contented myself with this batch (still on a book buying ban, but this was a mission of mercy!)


Green-Eyed Envy by Kasey MacKenzie
Forgotten Truth by Dawn Cook
Magic to the Bone by Devon Monk
Darkest Edge of Dawn by Kelly Gay
Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire
Mob Rules by Cameron Haley
Dark Jenny by Alex Bledsoe
Bewere the Night anthology

Looking forward to seeing what everyone got in their mailboxes this week! Think there will be more than one mailbox full of Border books!

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Book Review: Girl vs. Ghost

Girl vs. Ghost by Kate McMurry and Marie August

Source:  eBook provided by the author in exchange for an honest review

Rating:  4/5

Isabel Lindley doesn’t believe in magic, but her best friend is obsessed with witchcraft. Strictly as a favor, Isabel agrees to help with a spell and is shocked when the ghost of a teenage boy splat-lands in her bedroom. Her friend is thrilled - even though only Isabel can see or hear the ghost - but Isabel is horrified. She’s the most ordinary sixteen-year-old girl on the planet. What is she supposed to do with a ghost who doesn’t know his own name, how he died, or why the heck he’s tied to Isabel with a psychic chain? Her only hope to take back her life is to help him solve the mystery of his demise so he can go to the Light. Or wherever. She’s not particular, as long as the ghost is gone. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
This was a fast, fun read about an ordinary girl who finds herself tied to the ghost of a teenage boy...literally. There is a magical cord binding them together, allowing only a few feet of space, which annoys them both. It affects the ghost more then Isabel, as he's the one yanked off his feet if they get too far apart. They manage, but it makes going to the bathroom and taking a shower interesting!

Desperate to get rid of the ghost, Isabel and BFF Tripp try to figure out who Teen Ghost is and how he died. They do pretty well for a couple of unprepared teenagers, one who just wants to keep a low profile and the other a little ditsy. I really enjoyed Tripp's zest for life and passion to try new things. Even if she sometimes drove Isabel crazy, I think Tripp would make a great friend! Really enjoyed the interaction between the two girls and getting to know them.

While I'm not crazy about the cover, this was a fun book with interesting characters, a good plot, and excellent writing! Looking forward to finding out what Isabel and Tripp get up to next!

Saturday, September 10, 2011

Review: Spell Bound

by Kelley Armstrong

Savannah Levine is in terrible danger, and for once she's powerless to help herself. At the heartbreaking conclusion of Waking the Witch, Savannah swore that she would give up her powers if it would prevent further pain for a young orphan. Little did she know that someone would take her up on that promise.

And now, witch-hunting assassins, necromancers, half-demons, and rogue witches all seem to be after her. The threat is not just for Savannah; every member of the Otherworld might be at risk. While most of her fellow supernaturals are circling the wagons at a gathering of the council in Miami, Savannah is caught on the road, isolated from those who can protect her and unable to use her vast spell-casting talent, the thing she counts on most. In a story that will change the shape of the Otherworld forever, Armstrong gathers Elena, Clay, Paige, Lucas, Jamie, Hope, and other beloved characters, who soon learn that the greatest threat to supernaturals just may come from within. (Goodreads)

My Thoughts:
It's no secret that I adore Kelley Armstrong and that she's one of my favorite writers. I love everything she's ever written and, while Elena and Clay are my favorites, I've really enjoyed watching Savannah grow up over the years.

This story starts up right where we left off in Waking the Witch, with Savannah's discovery that she no longer has her powers. It's a huge blow to someone who has relied on her powers for more or less everything. After all, why bother to learn how to pick a lock when she can just use an unlock spell? Good thing Paige and Lucas insisted she learn various skills. Too bad she didn't really pay attention during their lessons...

Suffering from a serious case of denial, Savannah is afraid that without her powers, no one will want her. Surprisingly, Clay is the one to give her a serious wake-up call by slapping her in the face with the fact that powers or no, she is still Savannah. Even without her powers, she's a force to be reckoned with!

This story was amazing! While definitely Savannah's story, almost everyone makes an appearance as Kelley sets the scene for Something Big. Gave it a 4 out of 5 rating as it's a great story with great characters! Can't wait to see what happens next!

ARC received from Wunderkind PR in exchange for an honest review.

Sunday, September 4, 2011

In My Mailbox (86)

In My Mailbox (86)
In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I received two books this past week; a prequel to a book I loved from The Fiction Studio, and one courtesy of the Amazon Vine program. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

until again by Lou Aronica
by Lou Aronica

A prequel novella to Blue, this short work provides the essential story behind the story. Until Again tells of a decidedly real-world event: the final weekend in the breakup of a marriage. For Chris Astor, the divorce is not something he wants, primarily because of the distance it will put between his ten-year-old daughter Becky and himself. Juxtaposed against this is a critical event in Tamarisk, the bedtime-story fantasy world that Chris and Becky created when Becky was much younger.


Before Ever After by Samantha Sotto
by Samantha Sotto

Three years after her husband Max's death, Shelley feels no more adjusted to being a widow than she did that first terrible day. That is, until the doorbell rings. Standing on her front step is a young man who looks so much like Max; same smile, same eyes, same age, same adorable bump in his nose; he could be Max's long-lost relation. He introduces himself as Paolo, an Italian editor of American coffee table books, and shows Shelley some childhood photos. Paolo tells her that the man in the photos, the bearded man who Paolo says is his grandfather though he never seems to age, is Max. Her Max. And he is alive and well.

Looking forward to seeing what everyone received this week!