Sunday, January 31, 2010

New Books in 2010 I Am Anxiously Awaiting

Fall of Giants (Century, Book 1)
Release date September 2010

Jake Ransom and the Howling Sphinx (Jake Ransom, Book 20
Release Date April 2010

9th Judgement (Women's Murder Club, Book 9)
Release Date April 2010

A young mother and her young infant are ruthlessly gunned down while returning to their car in the garage of a shopping mall. There are no witnesses, and Detective Lindsay Boxer is left with only one shred of evidence: a cryptic message left scrawled across the car in blood-red lipstick.

The same night, the wife of A-list actor Marcus Dowling walks in on a cat burglar who is about to steal millions of dollars worth of precious jewels. In just seconds there is an empty safe, a lifeless body, and another mystery that throws San Francisco into hysteria.

Knightly Academy
Release Date March 9, 2010

The first commoner accepted at a prestigious boarding school uncovers a conspiracy that could lead to war.

Voices of Dragons
Release Date

Carrie's first yound adult novel. It is a girl meeting a dragon story.

Dragon Haven (Rain Wild Chronicles, Book 2)

The dragon keepers and the fledging dragons are forging a passage up the treacherous Rain Wild River. They are in search of the mythical Elderling city of Kelsingra, and are accomplanied by the liveship Tarman, its captain, Leftrin, and a group of hunters who must search the forests for game with which to keep the dragons fed. With them are Alise, who has escaped her cold marriage in order to continue her study of dragons. Rivalries and romances are already threatening to disrupt the band of explorers. A traitor has infiltrated the band and is determined to stop at nothing to obtain the coveted dragons parts. And then there are the Rain Wilds themselves: mysterious, unstable, and ever perilous. Only one thing is certain: the journey will leave not of the dragons nor their human companions unchanged by the experience.

At The Gates of Darkness (Demonwar Saga, Book 2)
Release date April 6, 2010

The conclusion of the Demon War series. Recent events have devastated the Conclave of Shadows; the discovery of the demon horde on the heels of the taredhel invasion of Midkemia, the threat of the star elves themselves, and the terrible personal cost paid my Pug and his family. At a deserted fortress in the Valley of Lost Men, the Conclave's agents witness horror beyond their imagination, orchestrated by a familiar enemy. The Conclave must regroup and discover the true meaning behind the chaos seeded by the evil magician if they are ever to find a way to stop the destruction of Triagia before the demon horde even arrives.

Silver Borne (Mercedes Thompson, Book 5)
Released March 2010

Being a mechanic is hard work. Mercy Thompson, for instance, just spent the last couple of months trying to evade the murderous queen of the local vampire seethe, and now the leader of the werewolf pack - who's maybe-more-than-just-a-friend - has asked for her help. A book of fae secrets has come to light and they're all about to find out how implacable - and dangerous - the fae can be.

Contest: Valentine's Day Book Massacre Giveaway

There is a fantastic contest hosted by Dark Faerie Tales. In order to participate, you must answer one of the following questions: Tell us your top 3 romantic couples or What's your favourite love story? Why?

The prizes are super!!!
Grand Prize Winner - 5 books
First Place Winner - 4 books
Second Place Winner - 3 books
Third Place Winner - 2 books

Each winner will get to choose the books they want in the following order: Grand Prize Winner, First Place Winner, Second Place Winner and Third Place Winner.

Best of all, the contest is open to everyone. For more information on the fabulous prizes and how to enter, click here.
Friday, January 29, 2010

Friday Follow - Week #3

This is such a cool idea! I wanted to share Friday Follow with everyone as it's a fantastic way to meet fellow bloggers.

Friday Follow is hosted by One 2 Try, Hearts Make Families and Midday Escapades. It is all about sharing and having fun. If you are interested, click on the above blogs and check it out. Make new friends, follow other interesting sites, and best of all, enjoy yourself while doing it.

Review: Fires Shadow Lost Scriptures by David Lehrman and Kyle Hutchinson

by David Lehrman and Kyle Hutchinson
2009 Outskirts Press
534 Pages
Genre: Fantasy/YA

4/5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
Time is running out to prevent the arrival of pure evil.

Mystical things have always happened to Seph Urchins. Since he was a boy, his eyes have changed to match the colour of whatever he happens to look at. But nothing can prepare the 17-year-old for what lies ahead when he discovers a beautiful gem from a mysterious nearby island - Terria.

Many years ago, Terria was the home of the powerful and benevolent Magi. Then a war between its ruler, Malakyt, and the highest dark force of the land, Weth, destroyed its peaceful existence and plunged the land into darkness. Afterward, a book with the keys to releasing the Dark God - the ultimate force of evil - was hidden from view. The book details how to find and reassemble the scriptures that will unleash this force. It's supposed to be a secret. Until an ambitious dark spirit gets his hands on it...

Now, a message communicated through Seph's gemstone discovery calls upon him and his longtime friend Celex to throw off the evil engulfing Terria. Their task: Prevent the wicked Geist from finding the separated scrolls that, together, will beckon the return of the Dark God. But if they're to succeed, Seph and Celex will risk losing everything they hold dear - even each other.

My Thoughts
Seph and Celex's path is long and difficult, but they meet many people along the way who help them. Soon they are joined by Nighte (a solitary hunter), Serrennity (a cleric of the One God), and Icefang (a banished elf). These five become staunch allies in their quest, and each have their own reasons for helping. Together they tread a difficult path and overcome many difficulties (fighting the four witches, Calle, The Card Mage, the Witty Phantom, and many others), including personal difficulties they must each face, in search of the missing scriptures pieces in the rush to get them before Geist and his assorted denizens and to save the world from imminent disaster. Along the way they have to deal with the near death of the King, Serrennity's father, and a disaster with Celex that almost proves to be Seph's undoing.

First of all, I was drawn to the strong female characters in this novel. Serrennity and Celex both have incredible powers and play a huge role in many events. Even the evil Tie'bejh'Lah and the four witches are incredibly strong and certainly give the reader many delights during the fight scenes. At the same time, the women are also women and act jealous of their men when another woman comes along and I like the normalcy of that. There was some development in the personal relationships between Seph and Celex and also Serrennity and Nighte, but not enough to satisfy me, and I hope there will be more in the books that follow.

Some of the events were too pat though, in that Seph and Celex developed their powers too quickly and were suddenly able to do all of these amazing things. And some of the explanations for some of the events were somewhat confusing and I found myself re-reading some of the scenes. Though Seph and Celex had a two-month intense training session at the Mage Academy, in many of the books I've previously read it would take years to develop the strength and power these two developed in mere weeks. It seemed the authors glossed over a lot of little things and headed straight for the action and adventure, as if they were afraid they would lose the reader if they didn't. I would have liked to have seen a little more interaction between the characters and some more character development. While the action was superb and definitely kept me hanging, little things kept bothering and confusing me.

I loved the companions however, and how they worked so well together. Nighte kept reminding me of Stryker from Lord of the Rings and I developed a real fondness for this character. I was hoping none of them would meet their end in the novel. The different species the companions met along the way were original and creative and fun. I especially enjoyed the geomancers' farm where they raised plants and trees and raised them like cattle.

Final Verdict
I loved the plot. Once I got halfway through the book, I couldn't put it down. It kept me on the edge of my seat with action after action, plot turns and twists, things I wasn't expecting. The ending just exploded and left me hanging and wanting more. This is definitely a must-read for anyone who loves lots of adventure and action. I can't wait for the sequel!

12 by 12 Reading Challenge

After talking with other bloggers, J Kaye Book Blog and company have created the perfect challenge. If you don't have time to participate in a year long challenge, why not try one of these monthly challenges? It is called the 12 x 12 Challenge and it sounds like a lot of fun. All you have to do is read as many books as you can for the month in which you are participating.

In 2010, there will be 12 challenges, each one lasting one month, each hosted by a different blogger. You can sign up for all of them or as many as you like. No pressure, just fun!

For the month of February, head over to J Kaye Book Blog for all the information on the challenge and the rules. There is also a list of all the participating blogs for the entire challenge. You can sign up for February's challenge as well.

I think I will aim for at least 12 books in February. Hopefully I can do more, but we'll see.
1. The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard
2. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
3. Gifted: Out of Sight, Out of Mind by Marilyn Kaye
4. Graceling by Kristin Cashore
5. A Kiss of Fate by Mary Jo Putney
6. Gifted: Better Late Than Never by Marilyn Kaye
7. Kitty's House of Horrors by Carrie Vaughn
8. Dreamfever by Karen Marie Moning
9. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
10. Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda

In March, Alaine from Queen of Happy Endings is the host of this year-long challenge that is broken down into monthly challenges. I have chosen to participate in all of the monthly challenges because I am crazy. Plus, it's a lot of fun!!! I didn't meet my quota of 12 in February, but I will aim for 15 in March.
1. Gone by Lisa McMann
2. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margarat Stohl
3. Gifted: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Marilyn Kaye
4. Waking Up in The Land of Glitter by Kathy Cano-Murillo
5. Beguiled by Deeanne Gist & J. Mark Bertrand
6. Death at Glamis Castle by Robin Paige
7. The Moses Stone by James Becker

In April, Sheila from One Person's Journey Through A World of Books, is hosting the 12x12 monthly challenge.  I didn't meet my quotas in either February or March, so I am determined to do so in April.  I will attempt, yet again, to read 12 novels this month.
1. Need by Carrie Jones
2. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
3. O'Shaughnessey: The Faerie Circle by Jeremy MacGuire
4. The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
5. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
6. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
7. The Hourglass Door by Lisa Mangum
8. Murder Has No Class by Rebecca Kent
9. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs
10. Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper
11. Heresy by S.J. Parris
Monday, January 25, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

A weekly event hosted by J. Kaye Book Blog where we share with our readers what we are currently reading, what we have read, and what we are intending to read.

Last week I read:

1) Death of a Witch by MC Beaton
The latest intallment by MC Beaton has Hamish MacBeth trying to solve the murder of a woman known for selling 'potions' that increase men's prowess in the bedroom. It's a battle of the sexes that reveals many secrets and embarrassing issues that villagers would have preferred to have kept behind closed doors.

2) The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
I absolutely loved this book and am looking forward to reading book 2 which is sitting in my TBR pile. Book 3 is coming out soon as well.

3) Wake by Lisa McMann
Janie can see the dreams of those around her, but when she suddenly becomes a participant, she must learn to control the dreams before they control her. A wonderful read, with book 2, Fade, also in my TBR pile.

4) The Devouring by Simon Holt
When the Vours take over her younger brother, Reggie is forced to do whatever she can to get him back. It was an interesting read and I am looking forward to reading book 2.

To be read this week:

1) True Blue by David Baldacci
I meant to get around to this one this week, but kept getting distracted by other books.

2) Fade by Lisa McMann

3) Soulstice (Book 2 of The Devouring) by Simon Holt

4) Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze
What if your novel attracts the wrong kind of attention - and an age-old evil turns out to be all too real? (From back of book) I got this as a review copy in the mail, and turns out it is about vampires. I am excited to read this one.

I had one of those rare moments lately where I stayed up too late to finish a book. I haven't done that since the summer when I was on holidays and while it's great to do, I'm totally exhausted today. I need to learn to put those books away at an early hour, BUT IT"S SO HARD TO DO!!!!

Sunday, January 24, 2010

Book Review: Wake by Lisa McMann

Wake by Lisa McMann
2008 by Simon Pulse
Genre: Young Adult
ISBN: 978-1-4169-7447-5

4.5/5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.

She can't tell anybody about what she does - they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.

Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant...

My Thoughts
Janie has been able to see anyone's dreams in her vicinity since she was eight years old. That this would cause problems at home and at school is unavoidable. She is able to witness the usual kinds of dreams people have all of the time, but she is also privy to many dreams and secrets that many would wish to keep private and are haunting them. Unfortunately, there is nothing that Janie can do except keep this knowledge to herself and hope that nothing unfortunate happens while she is at school, at work, or driving. Naturally, the dreams happen at any time and the only thing she can do is be prepared.

Into this scenario comes Cabel. I have developed a real fondness for Cabel and eagerly watched their developing relationship throughout the book. That it happened slowly and with emotion and sensitivity demonstrates Ms. McMann's strength and writing style. As Janie gets older, the dreams become more disturbing and disruptive to her daily life. Then she stumbles upon someone who helps her (I won't give away this secret) and she learns that maybe she can control the dreams and turn them into positive events for the dreamers and for herself.

I found the characters in the novel to be intriguing. They reflect the real world out there - drugs, sex, parties - and what can happen if one gets caught up in that aspect of life. Even Janie comments at one point in the novel about getting busted: "Maybe the experience will knock some sense into her," she says. She is referring to her friend who hangs out with some rich kids in order to make connections and for popularity reasons. Janie herself lives on the wrong side of the tracks and that makes her unpopular with a lot of the kids in school. Add to that her weirdness and her seizures, she actually has few friends in school. The novels makes some commentary about the cliques in school and how the proper clothing can have an affect on your popularity. When Caleb starts showing up in designer outfits and a nice car, he suddenly has lots of friends, despite being snubbed for years.

Overall, I was fascinated by this novel. It was fun and entertaining, quick to read. I am definitely looking forward to reading Fade and Gone, the next two books in this series.

Book Review: Improper Relations by Janet Mullany

by Janet Mullany
Released February 18, 2010
Publisher: Little Black Dress
ISBN: 978-075347803
Genre: Historical Romance
4/5 Stars
Summary (Press Release)
Compromising liaisons, crossed wires and conflicting loyalties - It's another gem from Regency star Janet Mullany. After losing best friend and distant cousin Ann Weller in marriage to the Earl of Beresford, sharp-witted Charlotte Hayden feels inclined to be even ruder than usual to potential suitors. But after a compromising liaison with Beresford's wicked, wayward cousin, Shad, she's suddenly propelled into a reluctant marriage, and finds herself missing Ann more than ever. But when Ann returns from her honeymoon, she drops a bombshell - not only is she not sure she loves Beresford, she's also had a child out of wedlock, and is planning to betray her husband with her former lover. Charlotte's realisation that she's falling in love with Shad only serves to make her dilmema even worse: should she keep Ann's secret, or tell her husband the truth?
My Thoughts
The first few lines of the novel caught my attention immediately: "My story begins with a wedding. Not, I hasten to add, mine. I have been assured from reliable sources that certain farmyard creatures would sprout wings and fly were I to receive a proposal." I found these lines intriguing and right from the beginning, I knew I was going to like the heroine of this novel, Charlotte Hayden.
Ann, a vicar's daughter, came to live with Charlotte's family after she inherited a large sum of money upon the death of a dreadful, old cousin, for whom she had been a housekeeper. After being introduced to society, she committed the sin of meeting the Earl of Beresford and falling in love before Charlotte was able to make a match of her own. Despite all this, Charlotte and Ann remain strong friends and Charlotte is the maid-of-honour at Ann's wedding. At Ann's wedding, she meets the Earl's good friend, Jonathan Trelaise, Viscount Shadderly, the 'wicked' cousin, and feels an immediate attraction.
While at a ball several days later, Charlotte and Shad are caught in an embarrassing situation, and the gossips are alive with the news. Shad does the honourable thing and proposes to Charlotte as it is the only way to save both of their reputations. Even after he proposes, Shad can't imagine why he was so impulsive and worried about Charlotte's reputation, but it seems he couldn't stop thinking about her and her lips, despite her sharp tongue and her lack of interest in following societal norms.
During the ensuing courtship and wedding, Shad mistakingly thinks Charlotte's in love with Ann's husband Lord Beresford, and feels sudden jealousy. And when Ann comes home from her honeymoon and confesses a shocking secret to Charlotte, which she hides from Shad, he becomes even more suspicious, and suspects she is making assignations to meet Beresford when he is busy elsewhere. I do not want to give anything away here, but the ensuing situations provide a lot of grief to all parties involved until everything is resolved satisfactorily in the end.
The text is fun and flirty and makes you feel good when you read it. It isn't your typical romance novel with the bodice-ripping love scenes, but full of flirtations and many innuendos. Ms. Mullany entertains with dry wit, and brilliantly funny escapades that made me laugh, and feel sheepish for the characters caught in the situations. It was about parties, clothes, shopping, and gossip. There was a darker side too; there were those moments about those who don't follow societal norms, and the poor, and what can happen if they are not taken care of, or if they don't have families who can help them. They were just glimpses, but given in such a way, it made you pause and think, and know that not everything is perfect.
The developing relationship between Charlotte and Shay and the contrasting relationship between Ann and Beresford is brilliantly done. While I admired Charlotte's loyalty to her friend, there were times when I wanted to shake her to make her see that Ann often thought about herself above all others. This often got Charlotte into trouble with Shad and could have prevented a lot of problems. That being said, Improper Relations was enjoyable, pure fun, and I enjoyed every minute of this book, a novel written with emotion and sensitivity. I am looking forward to Ms. Mullany's next book.

Saturday, January 23, 2010

Book Review: Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton

Death of a Witch
by M.C. Beaton
2009 Grand Central Publishing
ISBN 978-0-446-61549-5
Genre: Mystery

4/5 Stars

Summary (Press Release)
Returning from a vacation, Constable Hamish MacBeth senses a dark cloud of evil hanging over his Scottish village of Lochdubh. Newcomer Catriona Beldame has cast a bewitching spell over the town, causing the local men to visit her cottage at all hours of the night and infuriating the women. Hamish suspects that she is a great danger to the town. Before he can prove that Catriona is truly wicked, she is brutally murdered - and Hamish becomes the prime suspect in the case. The constable will call upon the assistance of a pretty female forensic expert as he attempts to clear his name...and perhaps even find some romance. But when more violence breaks out, loyal Hamish must use all his detective skills to restore peace to his beloved village.

My Thoughts
M.C. Beaton explores the idea of how a tight-knit community supports its own and can alienate those it considers outsiders in this 25th addition to her beloved Hamish Macbeth mystery series, set in the beautiful Scottish highlands. And Hamish Macbeth is part of this community, as is evident in his reaction to Catriona Beldame as soon as he hears what is happening in his village upon his return from his Spanish vacation. As he investigates, he learns that Catriona has been selling 'potions' to the men in the village, meant to increase their sexual prowess in the bedroom, but actually has them going to the local physician in search of remedies for swelling and infections. The women of the village want nothing to do with these 'potions' and their distrust of Catriona grows daily. As a group, they effectively shut her out.

When Catriona is brutally murdered, and her house goes up in flames, the villagers mutter about 'witchcraft'. When three more villagers are brutally murdered, pressure is put upon Hamish, now a suspect after being overheard threatening Catriona, to solve the crimes. He calls upon his good friend Elspeth Grant, and the local forensic expert, Lesley Seaton, who also has her sights set upon Hamish. When Hamish's long-time love, Priscilla Haliburton-Smyth, suddenly shows up in town, Hamish is surrounded by women from his past and the ensuing drama provides some very entertaining moments. In a way, this drama provides the background for this book, as it reflects the battle of the sexes going on in the village, where the men are demanding more action in the bedroom while the women want nothing more of the sort, and both are fighting for control over the other. Many embarrassing secrets and things that occur behind closed doors are revealed throughout the investigation that make Hamish look more closely at the village he thought was so perfect.

While this was not my favourite book of the series, it was certainly a light and entertaining read. MC Beaton gives us a mystery that follows the usual formula in that Hamish has to fight Inspector Blair every step of the way, uses unusual methods and sometimes deceptive methods to dig up his clues, introduces us to a series of quirky and very delightful characters, and allows Hamish to solve the mystery without fanfare so that he doesn't get promoted and doesn't have to leave Lochdubh. It is a good addition to the series and as always, I look forward to reading the next book in the series. Will Hamish finally get lucky in love?

2010 ALA Youth Media Awards

Each year the American Library Association (ALA) honours books and media for children and teens. The awards encourage original and creative work and are selected by committees composed of librarians and other literature and media experts. Here is a list of the 2010 winners of the ALA awards.

Newberry Award - When You Reach Me by Rebecca Stead

Michael L. Printz Award - Going Bovine by Libby Bray

Robert F. Sibert Award - Almost Astronauts: 13 Women Who Dared to Dream by Tanya Lee Stone

Coretta Scott King Award - Bad News for Outlaws: The Remarkable Life of Bass Reeves, Deputy U.S. Marshal written by Vaunda Micheaux Nelson, illustrated by R. Gregory Christie

Coretta Scott King - Virginia Hamilton Award for Lifetime Achievement - Walter Dean Myers

Alex Awards
1) The Boy Who Harnessed The Wind: Creating Currents of Electricity and Hope by William Kamkwamba and Bryan Mealer
2) The Bride's Farewell by Meg Rosoff
3) Everything Matters by Ron Currie JR
4) The Good Soldiers by David Finkel
5) The Kids are All Right: A Memoir by Diana Welch and Liz Welch, with Amanda Welch and Dan Welch
6) The Magicians by Lev Grossman
7) My Abandonment by Peter Rock
8) Soulless by Gail Carriger
9) Stitches: A Memoir by David Small
10) Tunneling to the Center of the Earth: Stories by Kevin Wilson

Margaret A. Edwards Award - Jim Murphy

YALSA Award for Excellence in Nonfiction for Young Adults - Charles and Emma: The Darwins' Leap of Faith by Deborah Heiligman

William C. Morris YA Debut Award - Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan

Schneider Family Picture Book Winner - Django by Bonnie Christensen

Schneider Family Middle School Award Winner - Anything But Typical by Noral Raleigh Baskin

Schneider Family Teen Award Winner - Marcelo in the Real World by Francisco X. Stork

Odyssey Award for Excellence in Audiobook Production Winner - Louise, The Adventures of a Chicken written by Kate DiCamillo, narrated by Barbara Rosenblat

I have never heard of some of these books, but they have definitely been added to my ever-growing TBR list. I am especially intrigued by Flash Burnout by L.K. Madigan. For more information on any of these award winners and some of the honours not mentioned in this list, please visit
Wednesday, January 20, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

"It's Monday! What are you reading?" is hosted by J. Kaye of J. Kaye Book Blog. This is my first time doing this, but the idea is to list what you have read in the past week, what you are currently reading, reviews you have done or mean to do, and what you plan to read/review in the next week.

All right, I realize I'm a couple of days late for this one, but I can't help that. It's the nature of my job that my blog will often take a backseat to what I am doing at work and don't even get me started on my kids' schedule (lol).

Read (and reviewed):
The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell
Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe

Currently Reading:
Improper Relations by Janet Mullany
The Devourers by Simon Holt
Death of a Witch by M.C. Beaton
The Venetian Betrayal by Steve Berry

To Be Read (this pile never gets any smaller):
True Blue by David Baldacci
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
She Shoots to Conquer by Dorothy Cannell
Destined to An Early Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Wake by Lisa McMann
Sunday, January 17, 2010

My Review Policy

1. I'm perfectly happy for authors, publishers, or publicists to contact me about reviewing books.

2. Genres I'm willing to review are Fantasy, Science Fiction, Children, Young Adult, Romance (includes Historical Romance), Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance, Suspense, Mystery, and Thrillers. I am not interested in Adult Erotica or anything in that genre.

3. I do accept e-books or PDFs for review. I own a Kobo reader which is not compatible with Kindle, so files need to be either PDF or EPUB files.  I may also accept loose manuscripts if time allows.

4. I cannot guarantee my reviews will be positive, but they will be honest and fair.

5. Any ARCs/review copies that I receive will take priority, and will be reviewed within four weeks. If there is a certain timeframe in which you want the review posted, please let me know when you request a review.

6. In the review, I include a summary of the book, my thoughts, an image of the cover, the publisher, published date, and link to author's website.

7. If I decline to review your book, reasons will always be given.  It may simply be due to time constraints as I do have a full-time job and certain times of the year are always more challenging.

8. Reviews may also be posted on other sites such as Goodreads, Library Thing, Book Depository, and other sites. If you wish your review to be posted in a particular spot, that will be discussed when requesting a review.

9. Books will be sent to where I live in Canada.

10. The review police may change at any time. Changes will be posted.

11. Inquiries can be made at icewoman at gmail dot com.

New Contest at Bart's Bookshelf

The shortlist for the 2010 Waterstones Children's Bookprize has just been announced. The purpose of the prize is to discover emerging talent and is awarded to those authors who have written three books or less. It is an annual award from one of the largest high street book store chains in the UK.

The nominees include:
Flyaway by Lucy Christopher
The Crowfield Curse by Pat Walsh
The Girl Who Could Fly by Victoria Forester
Love, Aubrey by Suzanne LaFleur
Desperate Measures by Laura Summers
The Seven Sorcerers by Caro King
The Toymaker by Jeremy de Quidt
Superhumans: Meteorite Strike by A.G. Taylor
The Great Hamster Massacre by Katie Davies

Bart's Bookshelf is offering one of these books as his first contest of 2010. I, for one, would love to have a copy of either The Toymaker or The Seven Sorcerers. For more information on this fantastic giveaway and details on how to enter, click here.
Thursday, January 14, 2010

Review: Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe

Publisher: Henry Holt and Company, LLC
September 15, 2009
244 pages
Genre: Young Adult
4/5 Stars
Summary (Press Release)
Cass McKenna much prefers ghosts over "breathers". Ghosts are uncomplicated and dependable. They know the dirt on everybody...and Cass loves dirt. She's on a mission to explose the dirty secrets of the poseurs in her school.
But when the vice president of the student council discovers her secret, Cass's whole scheme hangs in the balance. Tim wants her to help him contact his recently deceased mother, and Cass reluctantly agrees.
As Cass becomes increasingly entwined in Tim's life, she's surprised to realize he's not so bad - and he needs help more desperately than anyone else suspects. Maybe it's time to give the living another chance...
My Thoughts
Give up the Ghost is a fantastic debut by author Megan Crewe. Cass has learned to use her gift to great effect. Having had a falling out with her best friend in the seventh grade and having become a social outcast, she is using her 'gift' to learn all sorts of incriminating evidence against her classmates and using that information to her advantage. While this novel can certainly be seen as a ghost novel, there is enough teen angst in this story to also be seen as a coming-of-age story. It is about fitting in and letting go of past grudges; realizing that revenge is not as sweet as one thinks. In order for Cassie to move into the future, she has to learn how to deal with her past hurts and angers or she will never be able to let go.
Over the years, Cass has developed friendships only with ghosts, especially the ones that haunt her local high school. While she gets along great with ghosts, she has lost the ability to deal with the living; she does not know how to form relationships and communicate normally with living people.
But then enters Tim, Student Council Vice President, who somehow manages to discover Cass's secret. He convinces her to help him communicate with his mother who has since passed away from cancer. Cass agrees reluctantly, making a deal with Tim to gather information from him that will help her with her plan for revenge on the one person she detests the most - her old friend Danielle.
Everything goes well at first, except that Cassie suddenly finds herself in a very strange position - she is learning to care for Tim and as she learns more about his problems, she is opening herself up to others for the first time in four years. Watching Tim struggle with his problems was heart-breaking and knowing that Cass had to break his trust in order to help him was painful. I certainly felt for Cassie when she had to make the choices she did and how difficult they must have been.
I found the novel to be wonderfully written, with characters that were easy to relate to, and contained clever and witty dialogue. I especially enjoyed the interaction between the ghosts and Cass, in particular the one 'special' ghost in Cassie's room. I found that Ms. Crewe dealt with all the themes (feelings of suicide, alcoholism, bullying, depression, anxiety) with compassion and feeling. While the novel has a light feel to it, there is certainly a darker element of being a teen within it.
My only concern with Give Up The Ghost is its ending. I found it to be unsatisfying, but I'm hoping the reason is the author is intending to continue the adventures of Cassie and Tim in future novels.

Monday, January 11, 2010

Book Review: The Bone Chamber by Robin Burcell

Copyright 2010 by HarperCollins Publishers
388 pages
ISBN 978-0-06-112229-3
Trade Paperback

Summary (Press Release)
Mysteriously summoned to Quantico to help re-create the face of a murdered, mutilated young woman, FBI forensic artis Special Agent Sydney Fitzpatrick knows immediately this is no ordinary crime. The hit-and-run death of the forensic anthropologist assisting her - a close friend - and Sydney's abrupt dismissal from the case by covert government investigators only strengthen her need for answers. Now her hunt for a killer is carrying her from Washington to Rome to the hidden chamber of a legendary tomb - on the trail of a fabled treasure of the Knights Templar...and a curse.

For buried deep in the mysteries of the Freemasons and the Vatican's Holy See is a secret that could rock the world. Suddenly an ancient map is pointing Sydney toward something the Templars wished to hide away forever - something that could unleash an unstoppable tide of blood and devastation.

My Review
Ms. Burcell certainly has developped an intriguing and deceptive mystery. As Sydney searches for clues to the death of her missing friend, she discovers that two researchers investigating conspiracy theories involving the government have gone missing. Several microbiologists, experts in their fields investigating deadly plagues and bio-weapons, have also gone missing or have turned up dead. Although Sydney is supposed to be on holidays, and is also considered to be a model FBI Agent, she takes matters into her own hands, and flies to Rome to discover more about what is going on around her. For the first time, she is flouting direct orders and taking matters into her own hands. While we see a more nervous Sydney at the beginning of the novel, she develops into a confident and secure Sydney towards the end of the novel, one who believes in herself, one who knows she is capable of doing anything. She is a heroine I could identify with and care about. Sydney and Undercover Agent Griffin help each other deal with their pasts and confront their fears in a satisfying way.

This novel features black ops, special ops, FBI, Knights Templar, Freemasons, the legendary Knights Templar treasure, Vatican intrigue, Biblical plagues, bio-weapons, Italian mafia, deadly curses, and lots of archaeological treasures. The twists and turns kept me interested every step of the way and kept me guessing as to what was happening. Even the way the characters were introduced, such as the priest Dumas and Professor Francesca, was done in such as a way as I didn't know if they were on Sydney and Griffin's side or against throughout the novel. I kept waiting for the 'bomb' to drop, so to speak.

Ms. Burcell has an amazing talent to describe the locale of her novels. I felt as if I was there in Rome, in the catacombs, and could 'see' them clearly with my mind although I have never visited Rome personally. It also gave me the desire to go to Rome and view these amazing monuments for myself. I was often caught up in the archaeological explorations, but I love things like that, and enjoyed the chase from tomb to tomb looking for clues to the final resting place.

This was a great novel in that there were many layers and puzzles to decipher. It is also filled with breathtaking moments and amazing locales, with many plot twists that will leave you feeling like you were on a rollercoaster at times. I enjoyed the relationships between the characters: they were not perfect, they had their down moments, but it made them seem more human. The race to piece the clues together left by a wealthy prince who was trying to avoid the Vatican was interesting and fast-paced. While the ending was enjoyable and satisfying, Ms. Burcell certainly did not end it cleanly. Dare we hope there will be a third book in the series?

Author Robin Burcell is a FBI-trained forensic artist who worked in law enforcement for over twenty years as a police officer, detective, and hostage negotiator. She is also the author of the Anthony Award winning SFPD Homicide Inspector Kate Gillespie novels.

Saturday, January 9, 2010

Coming Soon!!!!

Here are some of the soon to be releases I am excited about in 2010.

This is the sequel to The Name of the Wind, released in 2007. It is said to be released sometime in 2010. Further updates on this one.

Enter the world of dragons... This is the first volume in the Rain Wilds Chronicles, Dragon Keeper, to be released January 26, 2010. I absolutely loved her Farseer trilogy and am looking forward to this new series.

At the Gates of Chaos is Book 2 in the Demonwar Saga. It focuses on the continued war between the Taredhel and the Conclave and features one of my favourite characters, Pug the Magician. It is to be released on March 24, 2010.

Hex Hall is the first book in the series Hex Hall. If you love books about witches and boarding schools, this is one for you. It is to be released March 9, 2010.

Freefall is Book 3 of the Tunnels Series. I loved the first two books in the series (and so did my son), and am looking forward to this release. In the last book, DEEPER sent Will and Chase into Freefall with the evil Rebecca twins in pursuit. Where will they land? It is to be relased February 1st, 2010.

Shadowrise is Book 3 of the Shadowmarch Series. Barrick and Briony have been forced to flee from their homeland. Can they reclaim what is rightfully theirs? It is to be released January 26, 2010.

A new novel about humans and elves and blood magic, Oath of Fealty by Elizabeth Moon will be released on March 16, 2010.

I am looking forward to the release of this novel. Tessa Gray descends into Victoria England's dark underworld to search for her missing brother, with the mysterious Shadowhunters as her only allies. The Clockwork Angel (Book 1 of Infernal Devices) will be
released August 2010.

The Academy (Steel Trapp, book 2) by Ridley Pearson. Steep Trapp has been put at a special boarding school for gifted students by his FBI father. Before too long, he learns how special the school is when strange things begin happening. It is to be released January 25, 2010.

This one is for my son, although I will admit I have enjoyed these books as well. In book 7, The Viper's Nest, by Peter Lerangis, Amy and Dan trace the footsteps of one of their most formidable ancestors and try to master the art of ancient warfare. It is to be released on February 1st, 2010.

Friday, January 8, 2010

Contest at I Want to Read That

There is a great contest at I Want to Read That, the 100+ followers contest. It is open internationally and the winner gets to choose around $50-60 worth of books. You need to list the books you would like to receive on the entry form so make a wish list before you enter. I know I have been dying to read Beautiful Creatures for a while now so it is definitely on my list.

You can get extra entries for any of the following:
Already a follower (+5)
Become a new follower (+1)
Add a side bar link to your blog (+1)
Tweet about the contest (+1)
Post about the contest on your blog (+5)

For more details, click on http://http//
Wednesday, January 6, 2010

The Day Started With A Bang!

You know the day is not going to go well when the first thing that happens in the morning is you look at your alarm clock and realize that you overslept by 20 minutes. All I remember is throwing the bedcovers off, jumping out of bed, then standing there in paralyzing fear wondering what to do next as everything, including all the blood in my body (which is quite a feat as I'm standing up) goes rushing to my head! Twenty minutes is a lifetime for me, with a shower to go, breakfast, two kids to get ready for school, and three lunches to make. My husband is no help as he is gone by 6:20. The military has a lot of benefits, but early morning help from my husband is not one of them as he has to leave even earlier than I do. I'm wondering if sitting on the floor at this point and having a good cry would even help. But as moms around the world do, we gather ourselves together, give our heads a shake, and get moving, FAST! As miracles go, I managed to get the three of us out the door only five minutes later than usual. I probably should have done the snowpants, hats, lunches, and gloves check before I left the house, but some things can't be helped. Thanks goodness everything was accounted for or that long-held back cry would have happened on the way to school. I could not have a classroom full of teenagers asking me why I looked like a raccoon at eight o'clock in the morning. It was so not going to happen.

Luckily, the day went much better than the morning. On my way home from work, I discovered a used bookstore I did not know existed and well, spent way too much money. Some people drown their sorrows many different ways. Go books go!

Contest at Book Resort

Win a copy of Beautiful Creatures, a book I have been dying to read since I've read such great reviews about it. Contest ends January 31, 2010. Click here for further details.
Tuesday, January 5, 2010

Contest at Literary Escapism

Nancy Holzner is offering up a copy of her new release, Deadtown.In order to get your hands on one of these books, all you have to do is answer her question: Think of something you’ve chosen to do. How did you decide it was right for you? International entries are welcome, but shipping may be delayed a little!

Visit to read an except of the book and to view all of the contest details.
Friday, January 1, 2010

2010 Challenges

Okay, it looks like I overdid it with the challenges again this year. I can't seem to help myself and they are all so much fun. At least I refrained from signing on for the 100+ book challenges although my fingers were itching so much. I had to post all of these in order to help keep track. I look forward to seeing how everyone else does on their challenges. Good luck to everyone and Happy Reading! Also, thank you to everyone who hosts these challenges every year.

Fantasy Challenge 2010


Historical Fiction Challenge 2010

1. Improper Relations by Janet Mullany
2. A Kiss of Fate by Mary Jo Putney
3. A Wretched Man: A Novel of Paul the Apostle by RW Holmen
4. The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan
5. Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings
6. Under the Dragon's Tail by Maureen Jennings
7. Folly by Marthe Jocelyn
8. Poor Tom Grows Cold by Maureen Jennings
9. Ravished by a Highlander by Paula Quinn

Romance Challenge 2010

1. Mariana by Susanna Kearsley

1st in a Series 2010

1. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
2. Except the Dying by Maureen Jennings

2010 Twenty Ten Challenge

1. Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
2. Never Slow Dance with A Zombie by E. Van Lowe


Shiny and New

Bad Blogger's
7. The Ask and the Answer by Patrick Ness (Bart's Bookshelf)


New in 2010
11. Improper Relations by Janet Mullany
12. Lone Star Legend by Gwendolyn Zepeda

Older Than You

15. The Moses Stone by James Becker
16. Silver Borne by Patricia Briggs

Who Are You Again?
17. Rabbit: Chasing Beth Rider by Ellen C. Maze

Up To You

2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge

1. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
2. Marked by P.C. Cast & Kristin Cast
3. Vampire Academy Book 1 by Richelle Mead
4. Give Up The Ghost by Megan Crewe
5. Wake by Lisa McMann
6. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
7. The Devouring (Book 1) by Simon Holt
8. Fade by Lisa McMann
9. Never Slow Dance With A Zombie by E. Van Lowe
10. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
11. Gifted: Out of Sight, Out of Mind by Marilyn Kaye
12. Gifted: Better Late Than Never by Marilyn Kaye
13. Gone by Lisa McMann
14. Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl
15. Need by Carrie Jones
16. Generation Dead by Daniel Waters
17. Gifted: Here Today, Gone Tomorrow by Marilyn Kaye
18. Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson
19. Wondrous Strange by Lesley Livingston
20. Demon Princess: Reign Check by Michelle Rowen
21. Sea by Heidi R. Kling
22. Folly by Marthe Jocelyn
23. The Education of Bet by Lauren Baratz-Logsted
24. Virginia by Susan Hughes
25. The Golden Spiral by Lisa Mangum

2010 Tudor Book Challenge

1. Wolf Hall by Hilary Mantel
2. The Scarlet Lion byElizabeth Chadwick
3. The Boleyn wife by Brandy Burdy
4. The Lady Elizabeth: A Novel by Alison Weir

Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge 2010

1. The Bone Chamber by Robin Purcell
2. Death of a Witch by MC Beaton
3. The Seventh Witch by Shirley Damsgaard
4. The Moses Stone by James Becker
5. The Keepsake by Tess Gerritsen
6. Heresy by S.J. Parris
7. Damaged by Pamela Callow
8. The Secret of Happiness by Demosthenes Armeniades
9. Book of Souls by Glenn Cooper

Happy New Year

Happy New Year!!

I haven't always believed in new year's resolutions but I did achieve some this year. I finally, though in the beginning stages, and still not really sure what I am doing, have started this blog. I have also come out of the closet, so to speak, and admitted more publicly to friends and family, that I love to write. This is something that I have kept to myself for years. I am one of those who kept diaries and journals for years, but they were always hidden, because I didn't want to let people know I wrote. It sounds so silly now.

My new year's resolution for 2010 is to actually start writing again, but in a more disciplined fashion. Who knows, maybe that book I've always wanted to write is still lurking in there and inspiration will come? I hope everyone has a wonderful day!! I am now going to go play Martian Matter with my 7 year old daughter. And I got 'The Summoning' for Christmas. A great read to look forward to for later.

Contests at Sweeps 4 Bloggers

There are some great contests at Sweeps 4 Bloggers. You can win books, chocolate, cosmetics, and all sorts of stuff. Check out the site at