Monday, February 28, 2011

Another Challenge!

I have decided to join one more challenge this year, and it is the Dystopia Challenge hosted by BA Reading Challenges.  This is an area I have neglected a bit this past year so I have decided to do this as a way to integrate some more of these books into my reading.  And it certainly helps that I know I have some of these books sitting on my shelf so it forces me to head to my TBR pile to do some reading.

I am going to tackle the Contagion Level - 15 books.  It would be great if I could read more, but I am not going to stress myself out by trying to read more than I can handle

The challenge runs from 01 January 2011 to 31 December 2011.  Head on over to BA Reading Challenges for more information and to sign up for a very interesting challenge.
Sunday, February 27, 2011

Review: A New Birth of Freedom by Robert G. Pielke

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor
by Robert G. Pielke
Release Date: August 15, 2010
2010 Altered Dimensions Press
Softcover Edition; 226 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-936021-23-9
Genre: Historical Fiction / Science Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Tribute Books

When a stranger carrying a shiny, metalic valise steps aboard a train carrying Abraham Lincoln home from a 2 year stint in Congress, everyone stares, wondering about the stranger’s odd clothing and strange footwear with the word Nike emblazoned on them.

When the strange man shows up in Lincoln’s office at the White house 14 years later, still wearing the same clothes, carrying the same valise and looking not a day older, the president and his staff know something is odd.

But when Edwin Blair opens his valise and projects a 3d image of the Earth on Lincoln’s wall, then proceeds to tell a fanciful tale about time traveling aliens preparing to land at Gettysburg on July 3rd, they are sure they’ve met a lunatic.

Unfortunately for them, they’re wrong.

A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor, is the first science fiction time travel book in a new alternate history series that follows the adventures of Edwin Blair and the aliens known as Pests as they chase each other through all the centuries of Earth’s past, present and future.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this interesting and fascinating twist on the Civil War.  I had the privilege of visiting Gettysburg for the first time last summer, and learned about the horrible conditions and the massive loss of life and the aftermath the battle had on the citizens in the area.  It stayed with me for days afterwards, and although it's an area of history I am not as familiar with, I decided to remedy that situation.  Therefore I leapt at the chance to review this book.

Edwin Blair is a desperate man who travels more than three hundred years in the past in order to stop an alien invasion force that has taken over the United States in the future.  It is something he has already done several times, each time correcting an error he has made, to perfect the time travelling technique, to stop the Pests from taking over at the Battle of Gettysburg and destroying his future home.  He is in a quandrary most of the time, never knowing how much information to provide to the historical figures he has so much knowledge about in the future, and how much information he should withhold.   But when things change dramatically, and they capture prisoners of war, Pests who are willing to communicate and help, rather than destroy, it changes all of his plans, and the future.  Blair needs to trust the people he has studied to help him with a future he no longer knows.  I love how Blair leaves himself little clues, without remembering how and why he did it, to help himself remember, but doesn't know what they mean or how to use them.  It just leaves you wanting to know more and gives you a little insight into what might happen in the next two books.

I enjoyed reading about the historical figures; in particular, about the meeting between General Meade and General Lee.  They had to work together in this novel in order to help fend off the invasion, and a meeting between the two of them at Gettysburg would have been historical indeed.  Throw in all of the other famous generals and colonels, and it was so momentous.  The tension was thick, but the author did a brilliant job tying everything together yet keeping true to what we know of all of the different personalities and the time period.  I couldn't get enough of all the famous personalities, including Abraham Lincoln, and enjoyed it so much.  Because I've been there, I could visualize the entire setting in my mind, with the dead bodies all around them, for the battle did happen for the first two days before the events in this novel. 

I really enjoyed reading an alternate reason for the carnage of the three days of the Battle.  Sometimes when something so horrible happens, we often look for other reasons as to how an event like this can occur.  How is it possible that so many men could have possibly perished in three days, with a like number of men injured?  How could men have continued with the horrid conditions that surrounded them, watching friend and foe shot down, knowing they could be next?  Mr. Pielke gives us an alternate reason for the horrible actions of those three days, an alternate solution that justifies the unbelievable devastation that took place over this time.  What if everything was not as it seemed?  What if the Battle was different that what we thought?  Would it be more palatable if another force was responsible for what happened?

A New Birth of Freedom; The Visitor was a fascinating novel about the Battle of Gettysburg with a science-fiction twist.  The arrival of the Pests, an alien life force, changed the Battle forever and forced the two contending sides to work together against a common foe with life-altering changes.  I enjoyed the historical descriptions and especially enjoyed the historical personalities present in this novel.  I am eagerly looking forward to the second novel in this trilogy, A New Birth of Freedom: The Translator.

Robert G. Pielke's Bio:

Robert G. Pielke, a native of Baltimore, Maryland, now lives in Claremont, California. He earned a B.A. in History at the University of Maryland, an M. Div. in Systematic Theology at the Lutheran Theological Seminary at Gettysburg, and a Ph.D. in Social Ethics from the Claremont Graduate School.

He taught on ground and online for countless years at George Mason University in Virginia, El Camino College in California and online for the University of Phoenix. Now happily retired from “the job,” he is doing what he always wanted to do since he wrote his first novel at ten in elementary school. It was one paragraph, three pages long and, although he didn’t know it at the time, it was alternate history.

His academic writings have been in the area of ethics, including a boring academic treatise called Critiquing Moral Arguments, logic, and popular culture. Included in the latter is an analysis of rock music entitled You Say You Want a Revolution: Rock Music in American Culture. He has also published short stories, feature articles, film and restaurant reviews. His novels include a savagely satirical novel on America and its foibles, proclivities and propensities, Hitler the Cat Goes West, and an alternate history, science fiction novel, The Mission.

Most recently, he has updated and revised his book on rock music, which is being republished by McFarland & Co.

He swims daily, skis occasionally, cooks as an avocation, watches innumerable movies, collects rock and roll concert films, is an avid devotee of Maryland crabs and maintains a rarely visited blog filled with his social and political ravings. His favorite film is the original Hairspray; his favorite song is “A Day in the Life”; his favorite pizza is from the original Ledo Restaurant in College Park, MD; and he is a firm believer in the efficacy of “sex, drugs and rock and roll.” Somehow his family and friends put up with him.
Robert G. Pielke's Web Site:
Robert G. Pielke's Blog:
Robert G. Pielke's Facebook:!/robert.pielke
Altered Dimension Press Web site:
Blog Tour Web Site:
A New Birth of Freedom Trailer:

Paperback Buy Links:
eBook Buy Links:
Altered Dimensions Press

IMM: I Love My E-Reader!

Hi everyone!  I bought my e-reader over two months ago and I was a little skeptical over the whole thing.  But I was getting so many requests to review e-books that I finally caved and thought, Why not?  At first, I wasn't crazy about the whole thing, but I carry it in my purse all of the time, and suddenly, one day I realized I can't live without it.  Now I'm wondering how I made the transition from skeptic to believer.  I never run out of books or worry about leaving home without one as I have more than enough books on my reader to keep me happy for a year (as long as I remember to charge it once in a while).  It's convenient and it's easy to carry.  Does it mean I'll ever give up the printed page?  No!!!!  But I am fondly attached to my reader.

For Review:
Steel by Carrie Vaughn
Bumped by Megan McCafferty
Entwined by Heather Dixon
The Night Season by Chelsea Cain
The Restorer by Amanda Stevens
Of Dukes and Deceptions by Wendy Soliman (e-book)

From The Library:
Descent Into Dust by Jacqueline Lepore
The Book of Old Houses by Sarah Graves

I am still in the midst of my book ban and it is going quite well.  I have continued to avoid buying books, and although I am not supporting my local bookstore, I am supporting my local library.  And so far, no fines!!!  That's a huge accomplishment for me (lol).  I have also developed this huge interest in audiobooks and listen to them on my way to and from work.  I don't think I realized how great they can be.  When I get to work, I have issues getting out of my car and going in to work as I just want to listen to the story.  There's always some excuse, though, to keep one from going to work, isn't there? 
Saturday, February 26, 2011

Weekend Questions: A Bit of This and That!!

Hi everyone!  Every once in a while it's always nice to participate in some of the weekly questions and share a little bit about ourselves.  I tend to be a private person, and like to keep myself out of the public as much as possible, but there are times I would just like to lay it all out there, but I know I can't.  So, here are a couple of interesting questions that I thought would be fun to answer and share.

From Danielle @ There's a Book:

We all leave our “footprint” on the world, in one way or another. We each, individually, do something or are someone that makes the world a little better just by being here. I created this weekly meme to get to know the blogging community I love just a bit better. To know what makes them tick, outside of books, that is. Each week I will post a question to be answered in the following week’s “A Bit of Me(Me)”. Check back each Saturday to get the info for next week’s post and link up with your current post right here.

This week's question: What would your dream job be?

This is something I have thought about many times over the years, and other than be the greatest magician / sorceress ever, it would have to be an archaeologist.  I have always been a huge fan of historical fiction / non-fiction, even as a young child, and would spend hours immersed in books learning about various cultures and traditions and histories.  That soon spread to spending time in museums, castles, historical locations, or whatever had a historical interest.  I travel so I can visit historical locations, and not to spend time on the beach, which actually bores me to tears.  Why I never really pursued this in university is not really evident to me, but obviously God had a different path for me than this, so I became a secondary school teacher instead.  While I've never regretted this choice, and it happened naturally and gradually, I have wondered what my life would have been like if I had changed my major in university from Kinesiology and pursued  History, or actually did my Master's Degree in History insteady of Education.  I have been accepted to do another Master's Degree in History, but I've deferred it as I just don't have the time or the energy to devote myself to another degree.  Writing and defending a thesis can be brutal and I don't believe I want to do that right now.

My favourite classes in university were the History and Archaeology courses I took and I probably should have realized at that point where my interests really were, but I wasn't sure what I really wanted to do with my life and that probably affected my thinking.  Aren't a lot of us in that same boat.  If I went back and told my fifteen-year-old self that I would one day be a teacher, I would have laughed my head off and said, "No way!"  It's interesting the path that is laid out before us.  Now, if I could win the darn Lotto Max ($50 million last night), well, hello archaeology!!  And hello retirement!!!

Weekend Question is hosted by Cleverly Inked.

This week's question is:
Are you a moody reader? For example do you tend to lean to a certain type of book but get turned off or burned out by the genre and flip to another? Or lets say you are a reviewer... Do you think if you are in a mood for a different genre than the book you are reading would it affect your review?

I am definitely a moody reader.  I go through phases where I want to read a certain type of book, and don't want to read anything else.  This makes reviewing difficult at times because sometimes I need to review a Young Adult novel for example, as it is next on the list, but I am really in the mood for Historical Romance or Urban Paranormal.  I will actually grab what I want to read and put it beside the book I am supposed to be reading and end up flipping between the two books.  This puts pressure on me because then I need to read like mad to finish something I am supposed to be reading already. It helps that I am an eclectic reader already.  One of the complaints I've received about my blog is that I don't focus on any one genre (there are too many different types on my blog) and some readers don't like that, but I will never change or focus on one or two genres  because I will seriously burn out reading only one genre and probably hate what I am doing.    I actually had a dream the other night where I was attacked by a flesh-eating book and that is not a good sign. 
Friday, February 25, 2011

Review: Anyone Can Die by James LePore

Anyone Can Die
by James LePore
Release Date: February 22, 2011
2011 The Story Plant
Softcover Edition; 48 Pages
ISBN: 978-161188001-4
Genre: Fiction / Short Story
Source: Review Copy from Pump Up Your Fiction

Till Death Do Us Part: A young Pat Nolan and his wife are on their honeymoon in New Mexico when they find a bond they did not know they had as they are forced to confront trouble in the form of a surly trio of locals.

God's Warriors: Megan Nolan, a cynical American woman on her own in Europe makes a life-changing decision that both reveals and belies her true character.

Max: Max French, a quirky, deadly and, in his own eyes, oddly lovable FBI agent faces a personal drama that will set the course of his future.

My Thoughts
The premise of these short stories rather intrigued me, which is why I chose to review this short story collection in the first place.  Written for marketing purposes, this collection features James Lepore's main characters from his novel, A World I Never Made, purely for the purpose of connecting these characters more firmly with readers who may not have quite connected and/or sympathized with them in the original novel.  In the introduction, Mr. LePore mentions that his editor suggested he write these three stories to give some more background information on the main characters in the story, perhaps also as a way to tantalize readers into wanting to read the original novel as well. 

The three stories are quick and easy to read, but there is no doubt that they are meant to be suspenseful and violent, suggesting that each character perhaps comes from a very dysfunctional family background.  The tones are set very early on in the vignettes, are cleverly written, and definitely hold your interest.  While the lack of detail may be disconcerting to some people, I found it refreshing to get right down to the story, without too much background info, and let my imagination soar. 

I enjoyed this quick, little book and enjoyed the characters very much.  I was particularly intrigued with Max's story and background and look forward to learning more about him in A World I Never Made. An FBI agent with a delectable and colourful past is always fascinating, and I know I will not look at his character the same way I would have before.   I find this to be a very interesting marketing tool as it is certainly tantalizing and makes me want to read more.  Anyone Can Die was a satisfying read.

About the Author
James LePore is an attorney who has practiced law for more than two decades, and an accomplished photographer. He the author of two novels, A World I Never Made and Blood of My Brother. His next novel, Sons and Princes, will come from The Story Plant in the spring of 2011.

Thursday, February 24, 2011

Review: Chime by Franny Billingsley

by Franny Billingsley
Release Date: March 17, 2011
2011 Dial Books
Softcover Edition; 368 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-8037-3552-1
Genre: Young Adult Fiction
Source: Review Copy from Penguin

4.5 / 5 Stars

Briony has a secret.  Her secret killed her stepmother, destroyed her sister Rose's mind, and threatens all the children in the Swampsea. She yearns to be rid of her secret, but risks being hanged if she tells a soul; hanging's what they do to the Old Ones in the Swampsea - not the Boggy Mun or the Dead Hand, but Dark Muses, witches and the like.

When Eldric arrives - Eldric with his golden mane and lion eyes and electric energy - he refuses to believe anything dark about Briony.  But he wonders what's been buried beneath Briony's memory and guilt, hidden in Rose's mangled thoughts, and whispered about by the Old Ones.  And Briony wonders how Eldric can make her want to cry, especially when everyone knows, witches can't cry.

My Thoughts
I was completely enthralled with Ms. Billingsley's wildly imaginative world and read about witches, and Boggy Mun, and the chime child, and Dark Muses with great interest and absorption.  I found the magic to be dark and twisted, reminding me so much of the Grimm fairy tales and the darker tales of my childhood that I enjoyed so much.  The magic was realistic and scary, and its use could and did seriously hurt those living in the area of the Swampsea who didn't respect it or made fun of it.  But the dark, twisted sense of things is something I really enjoy.

Briony is at the center of all of this twisted magic, and believes herself to be a witch, a dangerous one who can hurt people out of jealousy and rage.  She is full of woe and anger and guilt, and takes a lot of responsibility on her shoulders, such as looking after her twin sister Rose.  She is tormented by memories and visions she is not sure are hers, and make her doubt her beloved Stepmother, and this causes her endless torment and grief.  Briony is a person who has many walls around her and it was difficult to really get to know her well.  Her sarcastic wit and humour is a device to keep others at bay and to close off her heart to others, as her guilt makes her believe she is unloveable. 

Briony's twin sister Rose was an absolute delight.  She was like a breath of fresh air in every scene, and her confused sayings and speeches were a way of trying to tell Briony a truth and a secret that she knew but wasn't supposed to tell.  I have to admit it took my quite a while to pick up on this technique, although looking back it was right there and I don't know how I missed the obvious.  The author was quite brilliant in using this technique. I grew very fond of Eldric as well, and loved his toughness and his vulnerability.  He had his own brand of sarcastic wit that slowly drew Briony out of her shell, and as the two of them grew closer together, he began to see that maybe Briony was not exactly who she thought she was.  His slow probing of her actions with her Stepmother was another technique the author used to draw out the plot, and I really enjoyed how this was done. 

The language was probably one of the best things about this novel.   The tone of voice just jumps off the page and you feel like you are right there, with Briony, picturing how she felt and the setting around you.  I loved the sarcastic humour and the flow of the language and just savoured each word.  The plot can be somewhat confusing, but it does sort itself out, and there are some twists and surprises that caught me off guard.  I love how the love affairs were genuine, and took months and months before they became full-blown love affairs.  I'm not a big fan of stories where girl meets guy and they are immediately in love, but I did like how this was done.  The people involved became friends first, then good friends, then realized their love for each other.  Great sacrifice was involved, as well as great faith.

Chime was one of those books that haunted me from the first page and captivated my interest throughout.  I enjoyed the characters tremendously and really wanted the best for everyone involved.   While for the most part things ended satisfactorily, there were some things that were left at loose ends, and I would have like to have known more about certain situations.  I am looking forward to reading more books by this author.

Review: Blue by Lou Aronica & Contest

by Lou Aronica
Release Date: January 16, 2011
2011 The Fiction Studio
Softcover Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN-13: 978-1936558001
ISBN-10: 1936558009
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Pump Up Your Book

4 / 5 Stars

Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life.

Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet.

Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble.

Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret.  The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment.  The secret to their purpose.  The secret to the future.  It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them.

My Thoughts
When I first started reading the novel, Blue, I assumed that it would follow the more traditional fantasy novels in that it would consist of the more usual fare and I had resigned myself to a lighter, fun, and more adventurous read. I was in for a rather pleasant shock.  The novel was nothing like I was expecting, and with some rather deep undertones, conflicts, and mature content, I was in for an interesting and fascinating ride.  It ended up being a rather beautiful and heart-rending story of the relationship between a father and daughter who found themselves learning how to trust each other again after years of disappointments and misunderstandings after the daughter's parents divorced when the daughter was ten-years-old.

Chris Astor is a man who finds himself without a purpose in life, going on blind date after blind date unsuccessfully, trying to figure out how his life ended up the way it did.  He is in a job he doesn't really like, in one failed relationship after another, and his relationship with his daughter Becky is strained, to say the least.  Becky is a fourteen-year-old girl who is struggling to re-identify with a father she absolutely adored, but finds it difficult to communicate with him in the way she used to as a child.  The scenes with the two of them together as they try to communicate are heartbreaking as you feel for both of them and yet, just want to shake them at the same time.  The link between them is this imaginary world they invented/created when Becky was small as she was battling a crippling disease; it was a way to help her forget the pain of the medication and to help her relax.  As they re-open the world of their imagination, they learn to communicate again and learn to trust and lean on each other in a way they haven't been able to in years.  I have to admit those scenes were really touching and brought me to tears several times while reading.  The themes of separation, divorce, isolation, and loneliness were explored in this novel and were not done lightly or easily.  Chris lived for his daughter and the author makes sure the reader understands that very clearly.  It would be something that a young adult reader may have some difficulty understanding or connecting to easily.  The concept of a father's fear for his daughter and the fact that she may be outgrowing him and preferring to spend time with her friends is another prevalent theme in this novel. 

At first I didn't know what to believe about the fantasy world, Tamarisk.  Let me reprase that; I wasn't sure whether Tamarisk was a real world or something they brought back in order to deal with the re-appearance of Becky's disease.  I chose to believe that it existed because it made me feel better to think that way.  Miea, the queen of Tamarisk, was a delightful queen, one who was struggling to deal with a blight on her land.  Becky and Chris, having travelled to Tamarisk, tried to help Miea deal with the repercussions, both financially and spiritually, the blight was having on Miea's people.  I really enjoyed the visits to Tamarisk and loved the creativity and different ideas and things that were found on this alternate world, although I did not really understand the role Gage played.  It is a place I would dearly love to visit myself.   As to whether this place actually existed, that is for you believe or not.  How far will our imaginations let us believe that something actually exists?  How far will our imaginations go to help us help someone we love, especially when that loved one is sick and possibly dying? 

I really enjoyed this novel.  The writing flows smoothly from one scene to the next, the plot was interesting although somewhat predictable as I was able to figure out quite early what was going to happen, but at the same time, I was engrossed from beginning to end despite having an idea as to the possible ending.  Blue will tug at your emotional heart-strings and take you on a roller-coaster ride, but it is definitely worth the ride.  I would love to revisit Tamarisk and I sincerely hope Mr. Aronica will one day revisit Tamarisk as well.


How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.

New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books and Berkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.” This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?

Now for the details:

The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.

The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011

Please email your submission to Lou at

All winners will be notified by email by May 27, 2011.
Lou Aronica is the author of several works of fiction and nonfiction. He has collaborated on a number of books, including the national bestseller The Culture Code. Prior to that, he spent two decades as a senior executive in the publishing industry. He lives with his family in southern Connecticut.
Wednesday, February 23, 2011

WOW: The Power of Six by Pittacus Lore

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.  It is a way to highlight those books for which we can't wait for their publication dates.  I just saw the movie "I am Number Four" and am looking forward to reading The Power of Six when it is released in August.  Take a look.

The Power of Six
by Pittacus Lore
Release Date: August 10, 2011

I've seen him on the news. Followed the stories about what happened in Ohio. John Smith, out there, on the run. To the world, he's a mystery. But to me . . . he's one of us.

Nine of us came here, but sometimes I wonder if time has changed us—if we all still believe in our mission. How can I know? There are six of us left. We're hiding, blending in, avoiding contact with one another . . . but our Legacies are developing, and soon we'll be equipped to fight. Is John Number Four, and is his appearance the sign I've been waiting for? And what about Number Five and Six? Could one of them be the raven-haired girl with the stormy eyes from my dreams? The girl with powers that are beyond anything I could ever imagine? The girl who may be strong enough to bring the six of us together?

They caught Number One in Malaysia.
Number Two in England.
And Number Three in Kenya.
They tried to catch Number Four in Ohio—and failed.

I am Number Seven. One of six still alive.

And I'm ready to fight.
Monday, February 21, 2011

Review: The Dark Divine by Bree Despain

The Dark Divine (Dark Divine, Book 1)
by Bree Despain
Release Date: December 28, 2009
2010  Edgmont Books
Softcover Edition; 400 Pages
ISBN: 978-1-60684-154-9
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Library

4 / 5 Stars

Grace Divine, daughter of the local pastor, always knew something terrible happened the night Daniel Kalbi disappeared--the night she found her brother Jude collapsed on the porch, covered in his own blood--but she has no idea what a truly monstrous secret that night held.

The memories her family has tried to bury resurface when Daniel returns, three years later, and enrolls in Grace and Jude's high school. Despite promising Jude she'll stay away, Grace cannot deny her attraction to Daniel's shocking artistic abilities, his way of getting her to look at the world from new angles, and the strange, hungry glint in his eyes.

The closer Grace gets to Daniel, the more she jeopardizes her life, as her actions stir resentment in Jude and drive him to embrace the ancient evil Daniel unleashed that horrific night. Grace must discover the truth behind the boy's dark secret...and the cure that can save the ones she loves. But she may have to lay down the ultimate sacrifice to do it--her soul.

My Thoughts
The Dark Divine was an interesting blend of religious belief and mythological folklore that worked very well to create a story of parallel worlds, where in one world you have a 'good girl' and the other you have the supposed 'bad boy' persona.  Although I found the novel at times preachy and dogmatic, I also found that it worked very well in the story as this is the world in which Grace grew up and these are the beliefs that Grace has known since she was a small child; beliefs that she once thought were unshakeable were now being torn down around her, belief in the foundation of her family, belief in her older brother Jude, belief in the fundamentals she always held dear.  I found this to be absolutely fascinating as I read through this novel.

Grace was an interesting character and I liked her enormously as I learned more about her.  Although I did find her to be somewhat narrow-minded and naive toward the beginning of the novel, I grew to like her more and more as she matured and developed throughout the events that happened around her, and as she questioned what she always thought was a normal family and normal life.  The scene in which she finds her mother supercleaning the house in order to avoid talking about the fight between her and her father is particularly eye-opening for Grace as she wonders whether she and family had ever really discussed anything of great importance or if they always just avoided talking about important issues.  I like how she becomes a little bit more rebellious and does things she shouldn't, not bad things, but things that are fun and interesting.  Too much emphasis has always been placed on her and her brothers and sisters to maintain a role in the community whereby they are role models for others; it's a warning not to do anything that would tarnish the family image.  I would think that kind of pressure would become trying after a while.

Daniel is someone I just adored, and the more I learned about him, the more I adored him.  Maybe I just have a thing for the supposed 'bad boy' image, but he was definitely not a bad boy in this novel.  I identified with his character completely and understood him, while I did not understand Jude and did not identify or sympathize with Jude at all.   Daniel was someone who tried really hard to improve himself and it showed in everything he did. 

I also really like how the parents were included in this novel and had an important role.  Too often, the parents are relegated to a secondary role and I don't feel this is realistic.  Grace's parents definitely played more than a secondary role, and April's parents wouldn't let her go to the dance if she couldn't go with another couple as they were afraid for her safety.  Grace even got in trouble from her parents for a couple of things she did and had to face the consequences of her actions, and I like how this is included in this novel.

The novel did feel somewhat predicatable however, and I felt like I was reading something that had already happened before.  Because I enjoyed the characters and their interactions so much, this wasn't as important as it could have been, but for me, I didn't find it suspenseful with the many twists and turns that I have found in other novels.  That doesn't mean I didn't enjoy the novel tremendously, because I did.  I don't think I would have liked it as much if it wasn't for the Grace and Daniel dynamic that was intertwined within the plot, or even the family dynamics that I enjoyed quite a bit. 

The Dark Divine was an interesting, fascinating read on family dynamics and the relationship between religion and mythology.  I did find the plot to be somewhat predictable and lacking in suspense, but the interactions between the characters kept it from sliding into a moderate plotline, and therefore I enjoyed it tremendously.  I am definitely looking forward to book 2 of the trilogy, The Lost Saint.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

Hi everyone! Today is Family Day in Ontario, a holiday celebration so that families can have some time together, to celebrate together.  Problem is, hubby works for the Federal Government, so he is off to work today, so family time is the kids and I.  Both of the kids are recovering from illnesses; you know, the dreaded words you hear at midnight on Wednesday?  "Mommy, I don't feel well."  And the run to the bathroom, hoping your child made it to the toilet?!?!  I spent three and a half hours on Thursday at the walk-in clinic as my doctor couldn't fit him in until this week, knowing he had strep throat, to spend less than five minutes in the doctor's office, to walk out with a script I probably could have written myself, to get him antibiotics.  It can be so frustrating at times!!!  But he's fine now as the antibiotics are doing their job.  And then I get the next phone call at 12:08 AM Sunday morning from my daughter while she's at a birthday sleepover, "Mom, I'm not feeling well."  And the whole thing starts again.  I love my children dearly, but it would be so much easier if they got sick in the morning, when doctors's offices are open, rather than the wee hours of the morning, when pushing my brain to think rationally is a feat unto itself.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? is a weekly meme hosted by Sheila @ Book Journey.  It's a fun way to keep track of what you read last week, what you are currently reading, and what you need to really focus on in the coming week.  I am always amazed that no matter what happens during the week, I am always able to get in some type of reading every week.  Books have always been there for me, and will always be there for me, no matter what happens during the week.  I love the reading times I now share with my kids as we read together every single night.

What I Read Last Week:
Always a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough
The Dark Divine by Bree Despain - Review up today.
Eternal Kiss of Darkness by Jeaniene Frost
Blue by Lou Aronica - Review posted on February 24th
Anyone Can Die by James LePore - Review posted on February 25th
A New Birth of Freedom: The Visitor - Review posted on February 27th

Currently Reading:
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Other Eyes by Barbara D'Amato
Delirium by Lauren Oliver
A Trail of Ink by Mel Starr
Angelfire by Courtney Allison Moulton (ebook)
Wizard's Daughter by Catherine Coulter (Audiobook)

This seems like a lot of books, but some of them are ebooks which I read when I am at my children's sporting activities, and some of them I read at home.  I don't really know how else to read, other than to have several on the go at once.  Most of them I am close to finishing, except for Delirium, which I fear may take over the others, as it's really good.

Up Next:
She Demons by Donald J. Hauka
The Curse-Maker by Kelli Stanley

How did your reading week go?

Saturday, February 19, 2011

IMM: A Will That Can't Be Broken

Okay everyone, I went to the bookstore for the first time since I've started my book ban the end of December and actually walked out of it without a SINGLE book.  It was mighty close though, and if it wasn't for my lovely, stupendous, amazing, (did I day fantabulous?) hubby, I probably would have succumbed to the temptation.  I found a book I really, all right, I REALLY, REALLY wanted, walked all over the bookstore with it under my arm, and as I went towards the checkout, my husband talked me out of it, reminding how badly I would feel if I broke my ban at this point.  So I put it back (sob, sob, sob!).  Did I mention I am not on speaking terms with my fabulous hubby right now??

Books For Review:
Redemption by Laurel Dewey
Steam Queen by Jack Hessey - I am starting a new steampunk phase.
The Devil's Temptress by Laura Navarre
First Grave on the Right by Darynda Jones - I was ecstatic when I received this one.  Gotta love those ghost murder / mysteries.

Books From the Library:
Delirium by Lauren Oliver - I am so excited about this one.
Cleopatra: A Life by Stacy Schiff
Wizard's Daughter by Catherine Coulter
The Sacred Stone by The Medieval Murderers

Authors Touring / Visiting This Week:
Blue by Lou Aronica - February 24
A Blood Moon - February 24
Anyone Can Die by James LePore - February 25
New Birth of Freedom by Robert G. Pielke - February 27

Have a wonderful week everyone!!!

Some Reviews: Catch-Up Time!

I've decided to intersperse my review reading with some reads from my own TBR pile this year and a great way to do that is to do some quick reviews rather than the full reviews that I do on books I receive from authors and publishing houses.  It also makes reading far more pleasurable knowing I don't have as many full reviews to do.  It's not that I mind doing reviews, but it's sometimes nice to read just for the sake of reading, you know?

I was looking forward to reading The Lost Gate (Mithermages, Book 1) by Orson Scott Card, his new trilogy released January 4th by Tor Books.  The novels begins with Danny, a young man who is growing up in a secluded compound, the only non-magical being in a family of mages.  Due to his lack of Talent, he is ostracized and ridiculed, and learns to survive by his wits.  A big discovery sends Danny fleeing from the only home he has known, fearful for his life, in order to find out who he really is.  Along the way, we are introduced to a variety of quirky and fun-loving characters and to a new magical world that is rife with political intrigue.  I did find this novel somewhat confusing at times as I tried to sort out some of the characters and some of the magical elements.  I also found some of the descriptive writing was too long-winded; and although I did appreciate some of the foundation that was given to us, I felt it dragged on a little too much at times.  I would have liked to have learned about Danny and his family in other ways rather than just through descriptive narrative.  I did enjoy how the mythology was tied into the narrative as I always find that interesting, but I was not crazy about Ced's wife and did not enjoy the scenes in which she was involved.  Unless something happens in the following two books, I don't even see how these scenes were necessary.   In the end, I did enjoy the fantasy nature to this novel and always love the magic, and look forward to seeing what happens in book two when it is released. 

The Goldsmith's Daughter (Roger the Chapman, Book 10) by Kate Sedley is my first Audiobook and I really enjoyed it.  It tells the tale of King Edward IV's imprisonment of his brother George and the Duke of Gloucester's desperate attempt to save him using King Edward's mistress.  Before any of this can happen, a murder-mystery concerning the King's mistress's family must be solved for the Duke to use his wiles and save his brother.  I found myself mesmerized by the story and by the narrator's voice.  The descriptions of the time period were fascinating and I could easily picture them in my mind; the mud, the cold, the various houses, the people, the streets, and so on.  I love historical novels and while the mystery is pretty average, I have to admit Ms. Sedley's brilliance always lies in the way she is able to transport the reader to this time period and make you feel a connection to the characters.

I really enjoyed The Agency: The Body at the Tower (Mary Quinn Mystery Series, Book 2).  This time around, Mary sets out to uncover the mystery surrounding the death of a 'brickie' at a building site, but has to undertake a difficult role in order to do so.  Mary must use many of the skills she learned on the streets as a young child in order to pass as a young boy, a new apprentice on the same building site as the murder.  Through many twists and turns, near escapes, a host of quirky new characters, plus some familiar ones, this is a great romp through Victorian London.  I found the descriptions of the daily lives of some of the people to be disturbing, and it always amazes me when I read historical fiction how people lived in such squalor and how they were able to survive.  Even things we take for granted, and even Mary now takes for granted, things like regular meals and hot baths, become few and far between as she takes on her most challenging role and tries to outwit those around her. There is plenty of romance, suspense, action, and intrigue to keep you turning the pages.  I am looking forward to reading the next book in the series, The Traitor and the Tunnel, to be released in August 2011.  I would love to see more of James Easton in the next novel.

I always like Jeaniene Frost's novels, and Eternal Kiss of Darkness was no exception.  Mencheres is a vampire / character who has always intrigued me and I was glad to finally get to read a novel about him.  In this one, Mencheres has lost his gift / curse of reading the future and is broken;  he is looking forward to taking down his archenemy Radjedef and finally meeting his end after long, dark centuries of enduring and self-blame.  Into this mess walks an innocent human, Kira Graceling, who stops to help Mencheres when she thinks he is in trouble.  Little does she know what she has actually walked into and the world in which she finds herself has her stunned and unbelieving.  As Mencheres and Kira learn to trust each other, something deeper awakens between them, and suddenly Mencheres finds himself looking forward to a future he thought he would never have and together, they need to fight hard against evil forces that wish nothing better than to see their demise.  It was a good entry into the series, and I enjoyed it tremendously, but I don't think it was on the level of the Bones and Cat novels.  I was glad to see Vlad in this one as he is one of my favourite characters, and I always love the sarcastic dialogue between Mencheres and Bones.  I don't think I grasped exactly how powerful Mencheres was until this novel however, and I enjoyed seeing people get thrown right out of a park just by a thought, and I always love to see the Enforcers get tossed around.   Eternal Kiss of Darkness was a fun read, with interesting characters, with Ms. Frost's usual touch of sarcastic wit and great dialogue. 

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Review: Always A Witch by Carolyn MacCullough

Always A Witch (Witch, Book 2)
By Carolyn MacCullough
Release Date: August 1st, 2011
2011 Clarion Books
E-book Edition; 291 Pages
ISBN: 978-0547224855
Genre: Young Adult
Source: Review Copy from Publisher through NetGalley

4 / 5 Stars

Though she should be enjoying her new boyfriend, Gabriel, or discovering more about her newfound magical "Talents," she's too busy dealing with her sister, Rowena's bride-zilla wedding demands and worrying about the resurgence of her enemy, Alistair Knight. But most of all, Tamsin is haunted by her grandmother's prophecy that she will soon be forced to make a crucial decision. A choice so terrible, that it could destroy her family forever.

When Tamsin discovers that Alistair successfully went back in time to Victorian Era New York, in order to destry the Greene family, she's forced to follow him into the past. Stranded all alone in the 19th century, Tamsin soon finds herself disguised as a lady's maid in the terrifying mansion of the evil Knight family, bustling about as a servant, avoiding the watchful eye of the vicious matron, La Spider, and fending off the lascivious advances Liam Knight. As times runs out, Tamsin's brash demeanor and sardonic wit place her in the center of the fray as both families square off in a thrilling display of action and magic. And to her horror, Tamsin finally understands the nature of her fateful choice.

My Thoughts
I really enjoyed this novel as I followed Tamsin's journey into her exploration of her Talents and the discovery of what she really needed to do and sacrifice in order to keep her family alive and safe in the future.  Time travel is one of the things I have always enjoyed reading and Ms. MacCullough draws you into the past seamlessly and effortlessly so that you feel you are there with Tamsin and Gabriel as they fight the Knight family and try to keep the future on track.

What I really enjoyed about the book is the sense of family and deep loyalty that family inspires.  Despite the fact that Tamsin has always felt like an outsider in her own family due to her lack of Talent, when her Talent finally emerges, she has to now cope with her changing role in her family.  Her other family members also have to adjust their thinking, but old habits die hard and sometimes Tamsin has a hard time having people accept her opinions or her ideas with regards to magic.  Her wild and crazy family actually made me smile on many an occasion as I can relate so easily to them; my family is very similar and it felt comfortable and easy.  I also understood where Tamsin was coming from, and how frustrating it can be.  When events transpire one evening, and catch Tamsin and her family unawares, Tamsin must take matters in her own hands, and sneak into the past in order to set things to rights.

I really enjoyed Tamsin's role as servant in the Knight household in the nineteenth century.  I always enjoy these descriptions as it amazes me how hard these girls worked and the long hours they worked as well.  The descriptions from 'behind the scenes' so to speak is always fascinating and I like hearing and seeing things from the servants point of view.  It also amazes me how servants were so often treated like pieces of furniture and how much they actually knew and saw in a household must have been incredible.  If only they could have written their own biographies, we would have such a rich description of people in the past!!

The romance between Gabriel and Tamsin continues in the novel.  I adore Gabriel, and I always enjoy the witty dialogue between these two, but the romance really took a back seat in Always A Witch and focused more on the mystery and suspense involving the rivalry between the Knight and Greene families and how either may lose their powers, and/or their livelihoods, in the future.  It didn't bother me that the romance wasn't the most important part of this story as I enjoyed learning about the history of the two families and how the rivalry began in the first place.  While the plausible reasons were a little weak, I still found the writing to be interesting and enjoyed it tremendously.

Always A Witch was a satisfactory sequel to Once A Witch, and although the ending had a surprising twist I wasn't expecting, I still felt the novel ended the way it should have.  The novel had fun and witty dialogue, suspenseful moments, engaging characters, and a satisfying ending; I would recommend this novel to anyone who is looking for an engaging, quick read.
Wednesday, February 16, 2011

WOW: The Body in The Thames

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine.  This is where we get a chance to highlight those books we are anxiously awaiting the publication date and are looking forward to reading.  I am definitely going through a historical mystery phase at the moment and am skimming for books of that that genre.  I can't seem to fight it, so why try?  Unless a good ghost mystery comes along, that is!!

The Body in the Thames (Book 6, Thomas Chaloner Series)
by Susanna Gregory
Release Date: March 9, 2011

In the dilapidated surroundings of the Savoy, a delegation from the government in the Netherlands is gathered in a last ditch attempt to secure peace between the two countries. Thomas Chaloner, active in Holland during Cromwell's time, is horrified at the violent aggression and hatred shown to the Dutch by ordinary Londoners, but is more worried by the dismissive attitude with which they are greeted by the King's ministers and officials. He has experienced the futilities of war at first hand and has no wish to witness another. Then the body of his former brother-in-law is found in the Thames, and Chaloner discovers the dead man has left enigmatic clues to a motivation for his murder. These may be linked to a plot to steal the crown jewels, or perhaps to a conspiracy to ensure that no peace is secured between the two nations. Whichever it proves to be, Chaloner knows he has very little time to decipher the pointers left to him...

The Sacred Stone
by The Medieval Murderers
Release Date: April 2011

1067. In the desolate wastes of Greenland, a group of hunters discover a strangely-shaped meteor which has fallen from the sky. At first, the mysterious 'sky-stone' seems to bring them good luck, healing a lame boy and guaranteeing a good catch of furs. But violence and murder soon follow in fortune's wake, as the villagers fight and struggle amongst themselves to get control of the precious stone. Over the next six hundred years, the Sky-Stone falls into the hands of crusading knights, the wicked Sheriff of Devon, a group of radical young kabalists, the dying King Henry III and a band of travelling players. Each time, the stone brings treachery, discord and violent death to those who seek to possess it.

Monday, February 14, 2011

Some Winners!!

Without a lot of ado, I would like to announce some winners of some of the contests I have been running.  Congratulations to all the winners, and as always, thank you to everyone who participated.  I am always and ever in awe of everyone who reads my blog and takes the time to stop by.  You are always welcome!!!

Winner of Follower Love Giveaway Hop

Winner of Daniel Palmer's Delirious

I shall be emailing the winners shortly.  Again, congratulations!

Trials of a Thriller Writer Mom by Chelsea Cain

Yes, My Daughter Is Normal: Trials of a thriller writer mom

By New York Times Bestseller Chelsea Cain,
Author of The Night Season
(reprinted with permission)

I wrote my first thriller when I was pregnant, a fact that seems to surprise some people. These people have never been pregnant. Moms understand. They know that hormones can make you do very strange things. Like eat an entire two-pound bag of peanut M&Ms. Or think up a detective and a serial killer and then have the serial killer torture the detective for six chapters.

It all started with childbirth classes.

My husband and I had signed up for a course at the hospital that taught you how to have a baby and then keep it alive the first year. It met Wednesday nights. The first night, our instructor passed around a little sack she'd knitted and announced that it was a uterus. The second night, the movies started. Childbirth videos. The camera fixed, unforgiving, right up there. All labia and crowning baby skull. These videos never went well. The babies were blue and covered in poop. Birth planes were abandoned for emergency C-sections. Surgeons would lift bloody meowing babies from their mother's wombs.

I couldn't take it.

We dropped out.

But it was too late. I had developed a taste for violence. I started watching thrillers on TV. Brooding British thrillers where bodies were always found at night in the rain. But after awhile it wasn't enough. I started reading thrillers, too. I ordered them three at a time online, and read them back-to-back as soon as they arrived. When I came to the end of the series I was reading, I decided to write my own. This seemed very reasonable to me at the time. Hormones, remember. I started writing in our scary half-finished basement. I finished the book when my daughter was a baby, sleeping in a bassinet next to my laptop.

Here's the thing -- my estrogen fueled rantings sold big. I got a multi-book deal. I kept writing. All the books hit the bestseller list. I was a thriller writer. My books were out in 20 languages. It was great. I was making tons of money. Then a terrible thought struck me: at some point my daughter would read my books. She seemed so innocent, so unaware of the morbid tales that wound round inside her mother's head. I vowed to keep them from her, at least until she was twenty-five.

For the first few years, the topic of my job didn't come up. When we enrolled our daughter at a vegan neo-humanist hippie pre-school, I was careful to be vague about my work. Writing blood soaked thrillers would probably come off worse than the time I brought Cheddar Bunnies to the school vegan potluck.

My daughter, meanwhile, was starting to ask questions. But since she was not allowed to come to my readings, she couldn't quite grasp exactly what I did. She thought I signed books for a living. One day I caught her "signing" a book off our shelf, and I had to explain that you were only allowed to sign books that you had written.

She is six now, and writing her own books. She is also on to me. "My mother is reading a book with your mom's picture on it," a little boy she knows told her. She's also figuring out that not everyone has a skeleton in their house, or a tub of plastic eyeballs.

At some point, she's going to read one of my books and be mortified. It may be sooner than I think. Last week we were in the car and the topic of books came up. "You know that's what I do," I said. "I write books."

"I know," she said. "I'm always saying to my friends -- my mom's an author. Have you read Sweetheart?"

Sweetheart is the second in my thrillers series, and the dirtiest. When it came out I told my grandmothers that if they loved me they would never read it.

Now my daughter was talking it up on the playground.

And you know what's terrible?

It made me proud.

But she's still not reading that book until she's thirty.

Chelsea Cain's newest thriller, The Night Season, is out March 1.
Copyright © 2011 Chelsea Cain, author of The Night Season

Author Bio
Chelsea Cain's first three novels featuring Archie Sheridan -- Heartsick, Sweetheart, and Evil at Heart -- have all been New York Times bestsellers. Also the author of Confessions of a Teen Sleuth, a parody based on the life of Nancy Drew, and several nonfiction titles, Chelsea was born in Iowa, raised in Bellingham, Washington and now lives in Portland, Oregon, with her family.

Chelsea Cain's newest thriller, The Night Season, is out March 1, 2011.

With Beauty Killer Gretchen Lowell locked away behind bars once again, Portland detective Archie Sheridan can finally rest. Meanwhile, the city of Portland is in crisis. Several people have drowned in heavy rains that have flooded the Willamette River. But the medical examiner discovers that in fact the latest victim was poisoned before she went into the water--she didn't drown. A little detective work shows that so far three of those previously thought to be accidental drownings have actually been murdered. Portland has a new serial killer on its hands, and Archie and his task force have a new case. Meanwhile reporter Susan Ward is following up on an entirely separate mystery: the dramatic flooding has unearthed a skeleton, a man who might have died during catastrophic flooding more than sixty years ago that washed away an entire neighborhood and killed at least 15 people.

As Archie follows the bizarre trail of evidence and evil deeds to catch his killer, he has to battle the rising waters of the Willamette first.

For more information, please visit and follow the author on Facebook and Twitter
Sunday, February 13, 2011

Review: Tempted By Fate by Kate Perry

Tempted By Fate (Guardians of Destiny, Book 3)
by Kate Perry
Release Date: December 1, 2010
2010 Forever Books
Paperback Edition: 338 Pages
ISBN: 978-0-446-56462-5
Genre: Paranormal Romance
Source: Review Copy from Publisher

4 / 5 Stars

Willow Tarata is a Guardian who trusts no one. She hunts those who prey on the vulnerable. And she's driven by a vengeful goal-find the man who murdered her mother. Yet suddenly Willow's quarry now has her on the run . . . straight into the sights of San Francisco's most dangerous detective.

Three bizarre murders have Inspector Rick Ramirez baffled-and determined to uncover the truth. But to catch the real killer, he needs the help of his prime suspect, Willow Tarata, even though this fierce and sexy blonde is challenging his professional cool. And now, unless they believe in each other and trust their deepest instincts, a relentless evil will end both Willow's and Rick's life-and claim this Guardian's extraordinary powers forever . . .

My Thoughts
One of the things I really enjoyed about this novel is that I never felt confused about the events that were happening or about the characters that were introduced. This is the first novel in this series I have read, and typically, entering in the middle of a series is not always beneficial, as you always feel like you are missing something important, something that may have already been discussed in another book. While many things are assumed, the really important factors, like the Guardians and who they were, were explained succintly and in such a way that I always felt like I knew what was going on. And although all of the characters were new to me, I never felt confused and bewildered because comments were made about obscure things that happened in previous novels. Naturally, there were things that did occur in previous novels that were being alluded to, but it wasn’t frustrating, and all it did was make me more interested in picking up the first two books in the series.

I thought Willow was a fantastic female character and I really enjoyed her kick-butt attitude. She was strong physically, but at the same time she was presented as being vulnerable and caring. While she could be ruthless when she wanted to be, there were moments when her vulnerability really shone through and you got a glimpse of the real Willow. She was continuing to deal with the mental anguish of losing a mother at ten years of age as well as the responsibilities of being a Guardian of Wood without having someone to guide her and teach her properly. I find Rick to be even more interesting than Willow and would have liked to know more of his thoughts as he slowly deviated from the straight and narrow and started breaking some of the rules by which he lives his life. It’s interesting how he breaks away from the norm because of a woman, and the struggles he goes through as he realizes that life is more than just black and white. He often wonders how he could fall for a woman who tests the law and its rules so much; he sometimes looks on it as a joke upon himself, a twist of fate.

If you like paranormal romance, then I highly recommend Tempted by Fate. With romance, action, suspense, ascerbic wit, and plenty of mystery to keep the pages turning, it is another good addition to this series, but can also be read as a stand-alone if you prefer.  I am definitely looking forward to the next book in this series and look forward to meeting the next Guardian, the Guardian of Water.

In My Mailbox: It's Always Fun Times!

In My Mailbox is hosted by Kristie @ The Story Siren.  You'd think there would come a point when receiving a package delivery would be ho-hum, but I still get excited when I see the UPS or FedEx truck pull up outside my house as I never know what I will now receive in the mail.  This week has been great as there were some goodies I was not expecting and am thrilled about reading.  Take a look!

For Review:
She Demons by Donald J. Hauka
The Deadly Conch (Tara Trilogy, Book 3) by Mahtab Narsimhan
The Curse Maker by Kelli Stanley
Bellefield Hall by Anna Dean
The Law of Angels by Cassandra Clark
Shadowspell by Jenna Black
Dead of Wynter by Spencer Seidel
Credo's Hope by Alison Holt
The Door at the Top of the Stairs by Alison Holt
The Witches Lottery by Krystal McLaughlin

From The Library:
I did borrow a couple of library books (audiobooks) from the library, but they're sitting in my car and I can't remember the exact titles of any of them.  Consider it a symptom of encroaching old age as it's been an issue as soon as I hit 40, although my husband seems to think it's been happening a lot earlier.  All I know is one of them is by Catherine Coulter, another is a medieval mystery by a slew of authors, and the other is a tween one I have absolutely no recollection whatsoever of whom the author could possibly be.  And with a windchill dropping the temperature twenty degrees, I am not stepping foot outdoors until tomorrow. So, stay tuned 'til next week when I report on these ones, after a lot of fortification in terms of tea, when I go fetch them from my car.

Six weeks and counting.  I am still on my book-buying ban and it has been a lot easier than I thought.  Mind you, I haven't really been in a bookstore since I started the ban as I am not sure of my willpower, but I do have to go there next week to purchase a GC for a child's birthday party so we will see how that goes.  If I can get out with no books and a Starbucks, I will consider that a success.  Wish me luck!

Have a great reading week everyone!

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring Minds Want to Know is a weekly meme hosted by Dollycas's Thoughts whereby we get to know each other a little better.  Different questions are posted each week on her blog, and all you need to do is answer them and share your thoughts.

1. Did you watch the Super Bowl? If yes, which part did you like the best, the game, the halftime show, the commercials and did you notice the mistake made with the National Anthem?

I don't watch the Super Bowl as I am not a football fan.  It's never been something I've been interested in and even growing up as a child, my dad followed soccer instead or sometimes hockey.  Football was not something we ever watched. 

2. I joined a new meme this week called "Monday's Music Moves Me", this month's theme is love songs, Do you have a favorite love song?

I love the song "When I'm With You" by Sheriff.  It was also my wedding song.  They are a Canadian band and I believe they only released one album.  The song just reminds me of our early days of our marriage.  It also makes my husband all sappy and I love that.

3. How many blog challenges have you entered this year?

At last count, it was around 15 or so.  I'm addicted to challenges and to reading.  I promised myself I would limit the challenges to around eight and I didn't stick to my guns at all.   I had to use all of my willpower not to join any mini-challenges this month as well.  What's a poor, addicted to challenges, book-loving girl to do? 

Some Bookish Questions: Another Round

I saw this at It All Starts With a Book and although I remember doing this last year, I thought I would also do this again as it looks interesting.  Besides, once I am finished, I am going to take a look at last year's answers and see what has changed.  Knowing my reading habits, I am sure very little has changed as I am very much a creature of habit.  If anything, it would be my book buying habits.

Let's take a look and see how I am doing now as a reader, shall we?

Do you snack while you read? If so, favorite reading snack:
I am a sunflower seed addict, and tend to only eat them when I read.  I am trying to break the habit, but it hasn't been easy.  Otherwise, I don't really need to eat anything else while reading.  I don't tend to eat anything when using my ereader as I'm afraid to spill anything on it.

What is your favorite drink while reading?
I usually drink water, and maybe a Diet Rootbeer.  I always have a cup of Chamomile Tea before going to bed though as I find it relaxes me.  I usually read while drinking the tea; it's a nightly ritual.

Do you tend to mark your books as you read, or does the idea of writing in books horrify you?
I'll mark ARCs if I know I am not giving them away, but otherwise I don't usually tend to mark them up unless I see a quote that is just too good to pass up.  I'm not a purist by any means, but because I usually give them away, it's hard for someone else to read them if they're all marked up.  If I know I am keeping them, then no problem.

How do you keep your place while reading a book? Bookmark? Dog-ears? Laying the book flat open?
I'll use whatever is laying around.  As I have kids, I can usually find something to keep my place, whether it's a pencil, pen, toy, whatever will stay in the book.  The kids have been trained not to pull anything they find in any of my books without asking first, or by substituting something else.  They've learned over the years.

Fiction, non-fiction, or both?
I read pretty much anything and everything, except westerns as I don't like them.  As I think about it, I'm not really interested in Erotica either.  Anything else is game!!

Are you a person who tends to read to the end of a chapter, or can you stop anywhere?
With two children, I can stop anywhere.  It's never really been a problem.  I actually find it easier to stop in the middle of the chapter as the end sometimes makes me want to keep reading, you know?

Are you the type of person to throw a book across the room or on the floor if the author irritates you?
I have never thrown a book across the room or on the floor, other than a textbook and for different reasons, although I have been sorely tempted.  Karen Marie Moning's Fever series certainly tried my patience and I know I definitely felt that way when I read The Plains of Passage by Jean Auel.  It was knowing how long I'd have to wait until the next book came out before finding out what happened.  Other books like Book 7 of The Wheel of Time just tried my patience, period.

If you come across an unfamiliar word, do you stop and look it up right away?
Never.  I am not a person who is does what she preaches to her students.  The only time I look things up in the dictionary is when I'm helping my kids with their homework and I have to, or when I'm looking up obscure words my students used in their essays and have never seen before and am not sure they even exist except in their own universe.  My ereader has a built-in dictionary and I haven't even opened it up.  I will however, encourage my children to use it.  I've always been strong in literature, spelling, and comprehension, so have never needed to use one.

What are you currently reading?
I am reading Chime, Blue, Always A Witch, Tempted by Fate, and The Agency: The Body at the Tower.

What is the last book you bought?
I am on a book buying ban so the last book I bought, Delcroix Academy: The Candidates, was in December.  It hasn't been as hard as I thought.

Are you the type of person that reads one book at a time, or can you read more than one?
I have never read one book at a time in my life.  I wouldn't even know how to do that.  As you can see by the above list, I have five on the go at the moment.  Consider it learned at my mother's feet.

Do you have a favorite time/place to read?
Not really.  I can read anywhere, anytime.  I never leave the house without a book and can and will pull out a book wherever I am waiting.

Do you prefer series books or stand alones?
It doesn't matter.  Sometimes I get frustrated by series as they go on forever.  Sometimes they are like old friends you can revisit and feel comfortable with. 

Is there a specific book or author you find yourself recommending over and over?
I always recommend Jean M. Auel, Cassandra Clare, Anne Perry,

How do you organize your books? I don't really have a system for organizing my books other than the fact I have a specific bookshelf for review books so they don't get mixed up with books I've purchased.  Review books are put in a specific order so I know which ones I have to review next.  As both my husband and I are constantly pulling other books off the shelf, there is no organized system for our other books, although I've been wanting to do it for a long time.  I do tend to have a separate section for non-fiction books, and for my school stuff though.