Thursday, October 28, 2010

The Love Goddess' Cooking School

by:  Melissa Senate
published by:  Gallery Books

Holly Maguire's grandmother was the Love Goddess of Blue Crab Island, Maine–a Milanese fortune teller who could predict the right man for you, and whose Italian cooking was rumored to save marriages. Holly has been waiting years for her unlikely fortune: her true love will like sa cordula, an unappetizing old-world delicacy. But Holly can't make a decent marinara sauce, let alone sa cordula. Maybe that's why the man she hopes to marry breaks her heart. So when Holly inherits Camilla's Cucinotta, she's determined to forget about fortunes and love and become an Italian cooking teacher worthy of her grandmother's legacy.

But Holly's four students are seeking much more than how to make Camilla's chicken alla Milanese. Simon, a single father, hopes to cook his way back into his daughter's heart. Juliet, Holly's childhood friend, hides a painful secret. Tamara, a serial dater, can't find the love she longs for. And twelve-year-old Mia thinks learning to cook will stop her dad from marrying his phony lasagna-queen girlfriend.

As the class gathers each week, adding Camilla's essential ingredients of wishes and memories into every pot and pan, unexpected friendships and romances are formed–and tested. Especially when Holly falls hard for Liam . . . and learns a thing or two about finding her own recipe for happiness.

I received this book as part of a blog tour from Gallery Books.  I'm so glad I did.  I adored this book.  It was such a sweet story.  It made me want to cook, something, anything!

This is the second story that I've read recently that takes place on a New England island and it's really making me want to go visit one.  The scenery this time of year must be awesome! 

I'd definitely recommend this book for a light sweet read.  It also has some of the recipes talked about in the back of the book which I thought was a great addition.  I've included this book in my giveaway that ends in a few days.  See the post below for more information.

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

More for the Giveaway

I said I would add more to Freefall-Nightshade-Replacement giveaway if the response was good.  Well it's been GREAT!!

So I'm going to add some adult books for another winner.   First winner will have first choice of which pack they would like.  Sound good?

The new pack will include:

I just finished up with the first two and will have reviews up this week.  I really liked both of them.  I reviewed Blue Nude awhile back.  My review is here.

Haven't entered yet?  What are you waiting for??  The giveaway ends November 1.  More information can be found on the original post



published by:  Puffin/Speak
publish date:  January 6, 2011

In the year 2150, being a girl isn’t necessarily a good thing, especially when your sixteenth (read sex-teenth) birthday is fast approaching. That in itself would be enough to make anyone more than a little nuts, with the government mandated tattoo and all – but Nina Oberon’s life has taken a definite turn for the worse. Her mother is brutally stabbed and left for dead. Before dying, she entrusts a secret book to Nina, telling her to deliver it to Nina's father. But, first Nina has to find him; for fifteen years he's been officially dead. Complications arise when she rescues Sal, a mysterious, and ultra hot guy. He seems to like Nina, but also seems to know more about her father than he’s letting on.  Add to that there’s a murderous ex-government agent who’s stalking her, and he just happens to be her little sister’s dad.

XVI takes place in a dystopian future where 16 year old girls are mandated to get tattoos on their wrists declaring that they are 16 and therefore legally able (and encouraged) to have sex.  They are bombarded constantly by the media with advertisements goading these girls into becoming trampy little whores.  Anyone that tries to buck the system is labeled a Non-Con by the government and is pretty much disappeared.  Fortunately for Nina, her mother raised her to think for herself and question the media.

This book made me think of Fahrenheit 451.  It was very similar in that the government and the media were in collusion to keep the populace as mindless sheep.  In both books they talked about the constant bombardment of commercials at all times.  They also both reference people having earphones (shells in 451 and PAVs in XVI) stuck in their ears almost all the time.  I think it would be an interesting compare and contrast lesson for an English teacher, provided that either book could pass school board muster since 451 is often challenged and I'd suspect this one would be too.

Overall, I liked it.  It was a pretty interesting read.  It comes out in January so add it to your wish list.  While you're waiting you can read the first chapter here.

** I received this book from International Book Tours **

Monday, October 25, 2010


published by:  HarperTeen

From the book:  This wasn't the way it was supposed to go.

You're just a typical fifteen-year-old sophomore, an average guy named Kyle Chase. This can't be happening to you. But then, how do you explain all the blood? How do you explain how you got here in the first place?

There had to have been signs, had to have been some clues it was coming. Did you miss them, or ignore them?

Maybe if you can figure out where it all went wrong, you can still make it right. Or is it already too late?

Think fast, Kyle. Time's running out. How did this happen?

In his stunning young-adult debut, Charles Benoit mixes riveting tension with an insightful—and unsettling—portrait of an ordinary teen in a tale that is taut, powerful, and shattering.

This was a really great little book.  It was very unique in that the entire book is written in the second person.  The story was fairly interesting, but I felt like it left the answers to some really big questions out.  Throughout the book it was talked about how Kyle went from the really great student to a below average student and I didn't feel like it was fully explained what happened.  He was always angry and violent, but again you just had to go along with it and it was never really explained.  He was mad at his dad, but why? 

I felt like this book had a lot more potential that it didn't quite live up to.  It was quite good anyway, but I just wanted more.

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Giveaway: The Tower, The Zoo, and The Tortoise

by:  Julia Stuart

From Goodreads:  Brimming with charm and whimsy, this exquisite novel set in the Tower of London has the transportive qualities and delightful magic of the contemporary classics Chocolat and Amélie.

Balthazar Jones has lived in the Tower of London with his loving wife, Hebe, and his 120-year-old pet tortoise for the past eight years. That’s right, he is a Beefeater (they really do live there). It’s no easy job living and working in the tourist attraction in present-day London.

Among the eccentric characters who call the Tower’s maze of ancient buildings and spiral staircases home are the Tower’s Rack & Ruin barmaid, Ruby Dore, who just found out she’s pregnant; portly Valerie Jennings, who is falling for ticket inspector Arthur Catnip; the lifelong bachelor Reverend Septimus Drew, who secretly pens a series of principled erot­ica; and the philandering Ravenmaster, aiming to avenge the death of one of his insufferable ravens.

When Balthazar is tasked with setting up an elaborate menagerie within the Tower walls to house the many exotic animals gifted to the Queen, life at the Tower gets all the more interest­ing. Penguins escape, giraffes are stolen, and the Komodo dragon sends innocent people running for their lives. Balthazar is in charge and things are not exactly running smoothly. Then Hebe decides to leave him and his beloved tortoise “runs” away.

Filled with the humor and heart that calls to mind the delight­ful novels of Alexander McCall Smith, and the charm and beauty of The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society, The Tower, the Zoo, and the Tortoise is a magical, wholly origi­nal novel whose irresistible characters will stay with you long after you turn the stunning last page.

Personally, I just couldn't get into this book.  I tried 3 different times and it just wasn't my cup of tea (haha).  However, it's getting quite the rave reviews so it must be really good!  Now you can find out for yourself. 

I have 2 copies of this book to giveaway from the publisher (Thanks Doubleday!) so publisher rules apply.  US addresses only and no PO boxes.  I'll pick winners on Nov. 1. 

To enter just leave a comment on this post with a valid email address.  If you would like an extra entry you can mention this giveaway on Twitter or Facebook and leave a link to it in a separate comment.  Good Luck!

Saturday, October 23, 2010

The Island - audiobook

by:  Elin Hildebrand
published by:  Regan Arthur Books

Birdie Cousins has planned a getaway with her daughter Chess on rustic, charming Tuckernuck Island off the coast of Nantucket, a chance to bond before Chess's upcoming marriage. Birdie's been through a difficult divorce herself, so she knows the big commitment that marriage entails. She's only recently dared to tiptoe back into the waters of romance.

When Chess abruptly breaks off the wedding and her fiancé shockingly dies in a rock climbing accident, it leaves Chess feeling guilty and deeply depressed. Birdie circles the wagons, convincing her younger daughter Tate, and her own sister India to join them on Tuckernuck for the month of July. Secrets and intrigue soon make their way to the surface, as Elin Hilderbrand once again weaves a masterful story of summer suspense.

I've never read anything by Elin Hildebrand before and I'm clearly missing out on something.  I won the audiobook of The Island recently.  I absolutely loved it.  I'd have to put this up there with the best books I've read this year.  I have The Castaways around here and it got move up near the top of the TBR Pile after reading this one. 

The story was great.  I loved it.  I loved all four of the women.  They were every woman in different ways and they all dealt with things that all women deal with at some point in their lives.  The island setting was perfect.  They were stuck with each other until their problems got resolved.  I loved the idea of Tuckernuck.  I want to go there, but apparently it's pretty hard to get there.

The audiobook reader, Denice Hicks, was awesome!  I loved the way she portrayed their emotions.  There were times I'd say "Oh Hank" or "Barrett!" to myself and she'd say it the same way.  I'll be on the lookout for more audiobooks read by her for sure.

Friday, October 22, 2010

Paradise Flawed

published by:  Dream Books, LLC

All Mike Hanson wants is a relaxing family vacation in the mountains of New Mexico; time away from his stressful Midland, Texas career and a chance to refocus on family. But the explosion of a gasoline tanker truck and subsequent forest fire not only change vacation plans but his entire life, sending Mike and other survivors on a dash for their lives. It’s no accident. He is targeted to be eliminated.

I received this book as a part of Octour with Dream Books.  Check out their website, they're supposed to be doing a Maze with some prizes, but I'm not totally sure how that's going to work.

I thought this was a solidly written book.  Good pacing, the drama was well developed.  The storyline was exciting and interesting with great little twists and turns.

As far as the characters go, I liked Mike, the main character.  I also like Katy the owner of the vacation lodge.  However, I had an immediate and intense dislike for Jojo, Mike's daughter.  I don't know what it was, maybe because she called her dad "Pop", but who knows? 

Overall I was pleasantly surprised by this book.  It was a lot better than I had originally expected it to be.

Thursday, October 21, 2010

The Black Chronicles: Cry of the Fallen

by:  Joel M. Andre 
On a warm summer afternoon, in Northern Arizona, a double homicide stains the ground with blood. Detectives are called out to handle the investigation, each plagued with their own internal demons, and aren't prepared for what they are about to find.

Detective Lauren Bruni, faces a world of darkness and evil, as a demonic force begins to leash an attack on a small town. As the stakes begin to rise, so does the stunning truth, that not even Lauren can imagine.

In a world where her life had started to fall apart, she must pick up the pieces and push forward in an effort to save those that she loves the most.

This is a hard one for me.  I really don't know if I really liked it or really hated this book.  I think it's somewhere in between.  I think my biggest problem was that I didn't like the main character, Lauren Bruni, on a personal level.  Her personality and dialogue grated on my nerves.  It's hard to look past that, but in trying to do so, I thought the book overall was pretty interesting. 

This is a horror novel, there are demons and a goblin (that reminded me an awful lot of Dobby the House-Elf) and a lot of brutal murder.  There's a really freaky Medical Examiner, that makes me wonder about MEs in general and what do they really do with the bodies after dark.  I thought that part of the book was actually pretty funny.  If there's any reason that this book should be made into a movie, the whole scene with the ME and the bodies after dark is THE reason. 

If this book is ever republished or picked up by a different publisher, I would definitely recommend a different format.  I found the double spacing between paragraphs in the first couple of chapters to be disruptive to the reading flow.   However, in that particular problem isn't present throughout the rest of the book so I don't know what was going on with that.

I could see how this book would really appeal to a certain group of people, but I'd suspect a lot of other people would be really turned off by it.  I think you'd have to like the horror/paranormal genre and have a lot of dark humor.

**I received this book from the author in exchange for an honest review which I have provided**

Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Giveaway Time!

The book situation is getting a little out of hand at home right now.  It's a problem I happily deal with, but I think it's starting to irritate my husband just a wee bit.  So I have some books that I've read that I'm ready to part with that I know y'all want.

I'm going to be giving away an ARC of Nightshade, and ARC of The Replacement and a finished copy of Freefall.  If the response is really good to this giveaway, I might add extra books, maybe extra winners.  So there's an incentive for you to spread the word around!

The fine print:  I will ship internationally!  Giveaway ends Nov. 1.  You don't have to be a follower, but you get extra entries for being one.  I will contact the winner by email at some point on Nov. 1.  They will have 48 hrs to contact me, if I don't hear from the winner, I will select a new one.  (Hearing bad things from other bloggers I'm going to throw in that I'm not going to be responsible for people that don't check their email, or emails that might go to your spam folder or whatever other reason you might come up with for not emailing me back within 48 hrs.)

Please fill out THIS FORM!!  Comments, even though we love them so much, will not count as entries!

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

The Search

Author: Nora Roberts
Publisher: Putnam

To most people, Fiona Bristow seems to have an idyllic life-a quaint house on an island off Seattle's coast, a thriving dog-training school, and a challenging volunteer job performing canine search and rescues. Not to mention her three intensely loyal Labs. But Fiona got to this point by surviving a nightmare...

Several years ago, Fiona was the only survivor of the Red Scarf serial killer, who shot and killed Fiona's cop fiancé and his K-9 partner.

On Orcas Island, Fiona found the peace and solitude she needed to rebuild her life. But all that changes on the day Simon Doyle barrels up her drive, desperate for her help. He's the reluctant owner of an out-of-control puppy, foisted upon him by his mother. Jaws has eaten through Simon's house, and he's at his wit's end....

Nora Roberts is one of my “go-to” writers when I am looking for a good solid romance with a bit of action and intrigue thrown in. I listened to the audio version of Nora’s latest, The Search. The romance is the strongest part of the book. It flowed nicely without the any real angst. I loved the hero, Simon. He felt honest and real. His reluctant fall into love is amusing and warm. His and Fiona’s relationship develops nicely over months instead of days. A nice change of pace, if you ask me. As for mystery, well there isn’t much. You know “who done it” pretty soon into the book. This didn’t bother me so much, as I read Nora more for the romance anyway. You will learn a lot about dog training and the dog search and rescue program. I found this part pretty interesting. Would I recommend it? Sure. It’s a good solid Nora. You won’t be disappointed.


by:  Anita Shreve
published by:  Little Brown and Co.

At a New England boarding school, a sex scandal is about to break. Even more shocking than the sexual acts themselves is the fact that they were caught on videotape. A Pandora's box of revelations, the tape triggers a chorus of voices--those of the men, women, teenagers, and parents involved in the scandal--that details the ways in which lives can be derailed or destroyed in one foolish moment.

Writing with a pace and intensity surpassing even her own greatest work, Anita Shreve delivers in TESTIMONY a gripping emotional drama with the impact of a thriller. No one more compellingly explores the dark impulses that sway the lives of seeming innocents, the needs and fears that drive ordinary men and women into intolerable dilemmas, and the ways in which our best intentions can lead to our worst transgressions.

I had read a lot of negative reviews of this book before I got to it.  A lot of it centered around the fact that the book was told from about a dozen or more points of view.  It was hard to follow, it was hard to keep track of the various characters and who cared what some of them thought! 

I listened to the audiobook and I liked it.  It was very well done.  Each character had it's own voice so it was really easy to keep track of who was talking.  All the actors did a fantastic job, although I probably would have picked a different one for Silas, I didn't like the sound of his voice, but otherwise they were all really good.

I thought the story was fairly interesting.  I was kind of let down by the reveal of who was behind the camera.  They kept talking about who was behind the camera and how no one was mentioning.  I won't give it away, but I guess I had hoped it would be someone a lot more scandalous.

I don't know if I'd rush out and buy this book, but it's worth a pick up at the library.  I'd definitely recommend the audiobook.

Monday, October 18, 2010


What is NaNoWriMo?  National Novel Writing Month.  When is it?  November.  Who is doing it?  (looking around shyly) Me! So you should too!  Why?  Every year thousands of people participate in NaNoWriMo in hopes to start a book, finish a book, whatever.  Where?

I've been talking with my husband and kids and they all think that I should take part in NaNo this year.  I'm kind of reluctant, but it's an idea I've been toying with and this seems like an ideal time to at least make an attempt.  I can't devote a lot of time to it and I really don't expect to walk away with a novel at the end of the month, but I think it'll be fun to try my hand at something new.  It'll mean eating my words though.  My aunts have been telling me I need to write a book and I keep telling them "I'm a consumer, not a producer!"

Are you taking part?  Want to be writing buddies?  My profile is located here.


by:  Mindi Scott
published by:  Simon Pulse

Seth McCoy was the last person to see his best friend Isaac alive, and the first to find him dead. It was just another night, just another party, just another time where Isaac drank too much and passed out on the lawn. Only this time, Isaac didn’t wake up.

Convinced that his own actions led to his friend’s death, Seth is torn between turning his life around . . . or losing himself completely.

Then he meets Rosetta: so beautiful and so different from everything and everyone he's ever known. But Rosetta has secrets of her own, and Seth will soon realize he isn’t the only one who needs saving . . .

This book wasn't exactly what I was expecting.  I had expected it to be a little harder edged, a lot darker I guess.  I thought it would deal a lot more with alcoholism and struggling with overcoming it.  It did talk about excessive drinking and the consequences of that, but not so much about true alcoholism.  When Seth decided to stop drinking he just stopped.  Nothing wrong with that, but I guess I just expected something else, something grittier, harsher.

I will say that I did enjoy this book quite a bit.  Seth and Rosetta have both suffered recent traumas in their lives and are suffering.  They develop a relationship that's sweet.  It was also well written in my opinion.  It seemed very realistic in terms of a teenage relationship. 

I bought this book and I'm glad I did because it was a really good story.  I flew through it in just a couple of hours and I was kind of disappointed when it was over.  I look forward from more from Mindi Scott in the future!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

The Adoration of Jenna Fox

published by:  Henry Holt and Co.

Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

In this fascinating novel, acclaimed author Mary E. Pearson presents an unforgettable look at one human life and a glimpse into a possible future that may be closer than we think.

I kept hearing about this book here and there and people saying it was the best book they had read all year.   So I picked it up from the library.  My overall feeling on it was just "Meh". 

The plot was predictable.  It's a short book and I kinda had to force myself to finish because I could figure out what was going on.  It wasn't bad though, so if you see it at the library it's worth a read.  It'll make you think about medical ethics at the very least. 

I did like the cover and I really liked how well it pertained to the story after I read it.  I thought it was really clever.  Sometimes you see a cover and think it's interesting, but what the heck does it have anything to do with the story?  This one does make sense.

Friday, October 15, 2010

The feature is

They ask what our reading recommendation for the week is:  Hmmm I think if you can handle the subject matter Living Dead Girl.

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

The Unofficial Harry Potter Cookbook

by:  Dinah Bucholz

Bangers and mash with Harry, Ron, and Hermione in the Hogwarts dining hall.

A proper cuppa tea and rock cakes in Hagrid?s hut.
Cauldron cakes and pumpkin juice on the Hogwarts Express.

With this cookbook, dining a la Hogwarts is as easy as Banoffi Pie! With more than 150 easy-to-make recipes, tips, and techniques, you can indulge in spellbindingly delicious meals drawn straight from the pages of your favorite Potter stories, such as:

Treacle Tart--Harry's favorite dessert
Molly's Meat Pies--Mrs. Weasley's classic dish
Kreacher's French Onion Soup
Pumpkin Pasties--a staple on the Hogwarts Express cart

With a dash of magic and a drop of creativity, you'll conjure up the entrees, desserts, snacks, and drinks you need to transform ordinary Muggle meals into magical culinary masterpieces, sure to make even Mrs. Weasley proud!

I'm not a cookbook person, but when I saw this one I had to have it.  I bought one for me and one for my sister.  We both love it!  I sat down and read the entire cookbook in one sitting.  For every recipe it references where it shows up in the Harry Potter books.  I thought that was so fun.  There are little blurbs throughout about the history of various dishes and bits of trivia here and there. 

This would be a perfect book to pick up to make treats for Halloween parties!


by:  Andrea Cremer
Published by:  Philomel

Calla Tor has always known her destiny: After graduating from the Mountain School, she'll be the mate of sexy alpha wolf Ren Laroche and fight with him, side by side, ruling their pack and guarding sacred sites for the Keepers. But when she violates her masters' laws by saving a beautiful human boy out for a hike, Calla begins to question her fate, her existence, and the very essence of the world she has known. By following her heart, she might lose everything--including her own life. Is forbidden love worth the ultimate sacrifice?

So Calla is a werewolf, Ren is a werewolf and the new boy at school Shay is a question mark.  Calla is on her way to an arranged marriage to Ren when she meets Shay.  You can't have a YA book without the requisite Love Triangle.  Oh and either a vampire, werewolf, fallen angel or zombie.  Since this book is about two packs of werewolves, I think that's well covered.   Nightshade covers all the bases when it comes to a successful YA novel. 

I'm being kind of snarky there, but I just didn't find anything super special about this book.  All these YA books are getting to be so similar.  Female character that can't make up her mind, The Love Triangle, and the Paranomal Entity (vamp, were, angel, or zombie).  I hate to take anything away from the authors because I know they work hard, but let's not all be clones of each other ok?  Publishers you hear me?  Y'all just as at fault here too.

The thing I loved the most about the book was the makeup on the chick on the cover, and then I read the book and Calla refused to wear makeup.  What??   What's up with having a big glam chick on the cover when the character refuses to wear makeup? 

Would I recommend reading it?  Yeah, just so you know what everyone else is talking about. 

Tuesday, October 12, 2010

Planning to Live

by Heather Wardell

From Goodreads:
Determined to lose weight for her best friend's wedding, goal-obsessed Rhiannon flees her parents' Christmas Day feast to avoid overeating but her car skids off the deserted road into a tree. Trapped and bleeding, with her cell phone out of reach, she struggles to escape, and to accept that she's spent her whole life planning but hasn't ever really lived. Will she get the chance to change that?

*potential spoilers ahead*

The Planning to Live is well written. It flows smoothly between the past and present as you might expect if you were examining your life while waiting to be rescued. The characters are very easy to identify with. I was drawn to Rhiannon. I could relate to her struggle with weight and her insecurities about herself. She felt very real to me. The book does have serious, emotional moments, but it is balanced nicely with funny and witty scenes.

Going into this book, I wasn’t sure if I was going to like it. I had a feeling it wasn’t going to be a happy ending and I generally, as a rule, avoid books without happy endings. I am often left feeling like I wasted my time and emotion on the book. In other words, I'm left feeling cheated. Besides, I'm a sucker for a happy ending. I have to say that I was very pleasantly surprised. The ending, while not altogether happy, was fitting. I walked away with tears, a smile and a nice life lesson that I think a lot of people should learn. This is the first book I have read by Ms. Wardell and I look forward to reading more.

4 stars on Goodreads.

Living Dead Girl

Published by:  Simon Pulse

Once upon a time I was a little girl who disappeared.

Once upon a time my name was not Alice.
Once upon a time I didn't know how lucky I was.

When Alice was ten, Ray took her away from her family, her friends -- her life. She learned to give up all power, to endure all pain. She waited for the nightmare to be over.

Now Alice is fifteen and Ray still has her, but he speaks more and more of her death. He does not know it is what she longs for. She does not know he has something more terrifying than death in mind for her.

This is Alice's story. It is one you have never heard, and one you will never, ever forget.

I got this book from the library because I had kept seeing it on the banned books lists.  I wondered what in the world was so bad about it that it would get banned.  Now I get it. 

This was a small book, only 170 pages and many of those only had one or two paragraphs on them.  I read it in about an it's short, but it packs a major punch.  This book deals with kidnapping, violence, rape, and pedophilia.  Other than the violence, none of it is really explicit, but as an adult I knew exactly what was going on.  A child that picked up the book might not get it, but who knows, kids now know more than I did when I was a kid. 

Would I want my middle school child reading this book?  Absolutely not.  My high school kid?  Probably not, but I think the maturity level would hopefully be there by then to handle it.  Should kids read it?  Yes, because it would scare the ever living daylights out of them and perhaps make them more aware of strangers.  Would I recommend an adult to read this book?  If they could handle violence against a child, then yes, because it was a really well written book.  It made me want to look for more books by Elizabeth Scott.

Monday, October 11, 2010

The Wave: Review and Giveaway

By:  Susan Casey
Publisher:  DoubleDay

From Susan Casey, bestselling author of The Devil’s Teeth, an astonishing book about colossal, ship-swallowing rogue waves and the surfers who seek them out.

For centuries, mariners have spun tales of gargantuan waves, 100-feet high or taller. Until recently scientists dis­missed these stories—waves that high would seem to violate the laws of physics. But in the past few decades, as a startling number of ships vanished and new evidence has emerged, oceanographers realized something scary was brewing in the planet’s waters. They found their proof in February 2000, when a British research vessel was trapped in a vortex of impossibly mammoth waves in the North Sea—including several that approached 100 feet.

As scientists scramble to understand this phenomenon, others view the giant waves as the ultimate challenge. These are extreme surfers who fly around the world trying to ride the ocean’s most destructive monsters. The pioneer of extreme surfing is the legendary Laird Hamilton, who, with a group of friends in Hawaii, figured out how to board suicidally large waves of 70 and 80 feet. Casey follows this unique tribe of peo­ple as they seek to conquer the holy grail of their sport, a 100­foot wave.

In this mesmerizing account, the exploits of Hamilton and his fellow surfers are juxtaposed against scientists’ urgent efforts to understand the destructive powers of waves—from the tsunami that wiped out 250,000 people in the Pacific in 2004 to the 1,740-foot-wave that recently leveled part of the Alaskan coast.

Like Jon Krakauer’s Into Thin Air, The Wave brilliantly portrays human beings confronting nature at its most ferocious.

This book is AWESOME!!  If you like the ocean or surfing or boats or anything like that you'll find this book fascinating.  The pictures in this book are amazing.  I don't know what else to say about it other than run out and get this book and read it.  Susan Casey must be one cool chick, seriously I want to go hang out with her she must be full of stories.

Thanks to the fabulous people at Doubleday I have two copies of this book to give away.  Publisher giveaway rules apply.  Must have a US address and no PO Boxes please.  Just leave a comment below with your email address if you would like to be entered.  If you would like an additional entry you can tweet about it or post on Facebook, leave the link in a separate comment.  I'll randomly pick winners on 10/18.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Blog Hoppin

Book Blogger Hop

What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging, if any? Is it tea, coffee, water, a glass of wine, or something else?

My answer is Diet Coke.  I don't really drink anything else, except water.

How many reviews do you like to do a week?

I like to aim for 2-3, anything after that is a bonus.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Girl in the Arena

Lyn is a neo-gladiator’s daughter, through and through.  Her mother has made a career out of marrying into the high-profile world of televised blood sport, and the rules of the Gladiator Sports Association are second nature to their family.  Always lend ineffable confidence to the gladiator.  Remind him constantly of his victories. And most importantly: Never leave the stadium when your father is dying. The rules help the family survive, but rules—and the GSA—can also turn against you. When a gifted young fighter kills Lyn’s seventh father, he also captures Lyn’s dowry bracelet, which means she must marry him... For fans of The Hunger Games and Fight Club, Lise Haines’ debut novel is a mesmerizing look at a world addicted to violence—a modern world that’s disturbingly easy to imagine.

I don't know exactly what I was expecting from this book, but I don't think it was this.  However, it was really good.  It was kind of scary because it seemed really plausible, particularly because of the "history of the sport" that was interspersed throughout.

Lyn was a great character.  She was a strong, driven girl and I appreciated that.  I loved the relationship between her and her brother.  I really liked Uber even though he killed her father.  That was kind of sad, but Uber was another great character.  In my head I pictured him to look like Crixus for all you Spartacus fans.

On a side note, I had a really hard time getting my hands on this book.  I couldn't find it at the library, it wasn't in any the local book stores, frustrating!  I finally had to get it from interlibrary loan.


A bastard hybrid of War of the Worlds and Night of the Living Dead, Autumn chronicles the struggle of a small group of survivors forced to contend with a world torn apart by a deadly disease. After 99% of the population of the planet is killed in less than 24 hours, for the very few who have managed to stay alive, things are about to get much worse. Animated by "phase two" of some unknown contagion, the dead begin to rise. At first slow, blind, dumb and lumbering, quickly the bodies regain their most basic senses and abilities... sight, hearing, locomotion... As well as the instinct toward aggression and violence. Held back only by the restraints of their rapidly decomposing flesh, the dead seem to have only one single goal - to lumber forth and destroy the sole remaining attraction in the silent, lifeless world: those who have survived the plague, who now find themselves outnumbered 1,000,000 to 1...

Without ever using the 'Z' word, Autumn offers a new perspective on the traditional zombie story. There's no flesh eating, no fast-moving corpses, no gore for gore's sake. Combining the atmosphere and tone of George Romero's classic living dead films with the attitude and awareness of 28 Days (and Weeks) later, this horrifying and suspenseful novel is filled with relentless cold, dark fear.

I read a lot of bad reviews of this book and I think they didn't like it because it wasn't action packed and full of blood and guts.  It says right there on the back of the book that it doesn't have that.  This book was about the survivors and the actions they take to make it through this tragic event.  It's not about the zombies, so if you want a big gory zombie book, this one probably isn't for you.

I loved this book, and not just because my name is Autumn, and not just because David Moody arranged for me to get an ARC.  I thought it was a really good story.  It was scary and tense and I couldn't put it down!  I would suggest not reading this one late at night all by yourself.  I was getting myself really freaked out about every little sound.

The characters were interesting.  I particularly liked Michael and Emma.  I'm really hoping for some romance between those two!  Carl was ok, not my favorite because he was so moody, but I could understand where he was coming from.   As a parent, I could empathize with his situation.

I can't wait to read more of this series.  It looks like there are 4 more books on the way.  I'm going to have to check out the Hater Trilogy and see how I like it.

This book will be released on October 26th!

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Midnight Crystal

by Jayne Castle

From Goodreads:
Adam Winters has enough responsibility as the new head of the local ghost hunters' guild without being saddled with the family curse. He's convinced his recent nightmares and hallucinations will lead to him becoming a psychic rogue - unless he can find a stolen relic and a woman who can read dreamlight. Marlowe Jones rides into his life on a motorcycle and, though a descendent of the rival Arcane family, she's just what Adam needs: a psychic private investigator and dreamlight reader extraordinaire. Together, amid the glowing catacombs and steamy underground jungles of Harmony, Adam and Marlowe must break the curse, save the entire underworld - and fight a passion that could destroy them both.

Midnight Crystal is the 3rd book in the Dreamlight Trilogy. The first 2 are written under her other pseudonyms, Jayne Ann Krentz and Amanda Quick. It is also the 9th in the Arcane series and 7th in the Harmony series. Confused? Let’s just say it isn’t a stand alone novel. At the very least, I would read some of the Harmony series by Jayne Castle (the first being After Dark) to understand the world that she has created on planet Harmony.

Midnight Crystal is a good ending to the Dreamlight trilogy as far as the burning lamp legend is concerned. We finally get to see what the Midnight Crystal in the burning lamp can do. The leads were strong; however, I felt I didn’t get enough background on them to really like them. The romance between Marlowe and Adam was standard Krentz/Castle/ Quick fare…fast but believable. It will be interesting to see where she takes the series next. I always look forward to meeting a new dust bunny! 3 stars on Goodreads.

Stranger Here Below

Publisher:  Unbridled Books

In 1961, when Amazing Grace Jansen, a firecracker from Appalachia, meets Mary Elizabeth Cox, the daughter of a Black southern preacher, at Kentucky’s Berea College, they already carry the scars and traces of their mothers’ troubles. Poor and single, Maze’s mother has had to raise her daughter alone and fight to keep a roof over their heads. Mary Elizabeth’s mother has carried a shattering grief throughout her life, a loss so great that it has disabled her and isolated her stern husband and her brilliant, talented daughter.

The caution this has scored into Mary Elizabeth has made her defensive and too private and limited her ambitions, despite her gifts as a musician. But Maze’s earthy fearlessness might be enough to carry them both forward toward lives lived bravely in an angry world that changes by the day.

Both of them are drawn to the enigmatic Georginea Ward, an aging idealist who taught at Berea sixty years ago, fell in love with a black man, and suddenly found herself renamed as a sister in a tiny Shaker community. Sister Georgia believes in discipline and simplicity, yes. But, more important, her faith is rooted in fairness and the long reach of unconditional love.

This is a novel about three generations of women and the love that makes families where none can be expected.

A few weeks ago I read In Hovering Flight also by Joyce Hinnefeld.  My review is here.  I really loved that book, so I was excited to read this one as well.   Stranger Here Below, was pretty good, but it didn't grab me the same way as In Hovering Flight did. 

This book was told through a variety of flashbacks of various characters.  It focused on the women in the lives of Maze and Mary Elizabth and their histories.  It was generally an easy to follow method of telling the story, but I'll admit at times I'd get a little lost and have to backtrack to figure out who I was reading about. 

Joyce Hinnefeld has a very lovely writing style and she is excellent with her descriptions.  It was so easy to picture the college and the Shaker village in my mind.  I wanted to go visit and check it out myself.  I was surprised to learn so much about the Shakers reading this book.  I guess I didn't know as much about them as I thought. 

This book was recently released on September 28th.  I'd recommend reading it, maybe with the word of caution to pay attention to the chapter beginnings so you don't get confused like I did.  This would make a very good book club book.  I think it would spark a lot of discussion.

Monday, October 4, 2010

2 for 1: Hunger and Rage


Lisabeth Lewis has a black steed, a set of scales, and a new job: she’s been appointed Famine. How will an anorexic seventeen-year-old girl from the suburbs fare as one of the Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse?

Traveling the world on her steed gives Lisa freedom from her troubles at home: her constant battle with hunger, and her struggle to hide it from the people who care about her. But being Famine forces her to go places where hunger is a painful part of everyday life, and to face the horrifying effects of her phenomenal power. Can Lisa find a way to harness that power — and the courage to battle her own inner demons?

I really enjoyed this book.  It was completely refreshing to read a YA paranormal type book that didn't have a vampire, or werewolf or even a zombie.  I thought the story was completely original, although in the afterword the author talks about other similar stories. 

I thought the main character, Lisa, was believable.  I thought her actions were realistic.  I wanted to know more about her though.  I would have been interested to know how the people outside of her circle of friends perceived her. 

I appreciated that the author laid off the teen slang.  I always cringe a bit when YA authors get all into it because it will date your book, not to mention it comes off cheesy in my opinion because generally grown adults don't use that type of lingo in their day to day speak.

Overall, I thought it was a really interesting, solidly written book.  I flew through it because I just couldn't put it down.   

This book will be released October 18, 2010.   A portion of the proceeds from the sales of this book will be donated to the National Eating Disorder Association.

by:  Jackie Morse Kessler

Missy didn’t mean to cut so deep. But after the party where she was humiliated in front of practically everyone in school, who could blame her for wanting some comfort? Sure, most people don’t find comfort in the touch of a razor blade, but Missy always was . . . different.

That’s why she was chosen to become one of the Four Horsemen Apocalypse: War. Now Missy wields a different kind of blade—a big, brutal sword that can cut down anyone and anything in her path. But it’s with this weapon in her hand that Missy learns something that could help her triumph over her own pain: control.

A unique approach to the topic of self-mutilation, Rage is the story of a young woman who discovers her own power, and refuses to be defeated by the world.

As much as I liked Hunger, Rage was much better.  It seemed like this story had more going on with it.  Still not a vampire or werewolf in sight.  The originality is continued throughout this one.  I think this is a great series!  I'm curious to see if she's going to write about Pestilence or not and how she's going to handle it compared to these two books.

The actions of Missy seemed so terrifying and honest.  She truly encompassed the idea of Rage and played the part of War beautifully.  She didn't seem as overwhelmed by her task as Lisa did in Hunger. 

I was aware of self-mutilation, but I didn't really understand it very much.  This book was somewhat explanatory about it.  I kinda got it.  A portion of the proceeds from the sale of this book will go to a charitable organization called To Write Love on Her Arms.

This book will be published on April 8, 2011 so mark it on your calendar!  I definitely recommend these books.

**These books were provided by the publisher, through NetGalley, in exchange for an honest review which I have provided.  I was in no other way compensated.**

Friday, October 1, 2010

Tracker's Sin

By: Sarah McCarty

2 Stars out of 5

Book four in the Hell's Eight western erotic romance series. A story that should have taken weeks or months to develop was compressed into mere days. And that's what hurt the book. The heroine Ari, was barely more than a thumbnail sketch of a character. No depth, no believability. McCarty's handling of the Hell's Eight themselves is much better.

I am a huge fan of Sarah McCarty, turns out one of the nurses at my gynecologist is too. I was reading my Kindle and she asked what book (it was Sam's Creed) and that started a very fun 10 minute book club. My point here is the author is a good author, she writes well and I always enjoy the way she tells a story and I'm not the only one. It's just that Tracker's Sin was a bit forced, almost as if she was told 320 pages and not a letter more and this inhibited a much longer (in time line not necessarily word count) story.

I will keep up with the Hell's Eight Series, even when I don't adore the book, I always love her cowboys.

Before his trade became his name, "Tracker" Ochoa was a scrawny Mestizo runaway. Now as fearsome as he once was frightened, he's joined the notorious Hell's Eight…and they have a job for him.

He must rescue kidnapped heiress Ari Blake and deliver her safely to the Hell's Eight compound—by any means necessary. Turns out that includes marrying her, if he means to escort her and her infant daughter across the Texas Territory. Tracker hadn't bargained on a wife—especially such a fair, blue-eyed beauty. But the erotic pleasures of the marriage bed more than make up for the surprise.

Tracker's well-muscled bronze skin and dark, dangerous eyes are far more exciting than any of Ari's former debutante dreams. In the light of day, though, his deep scars and brooding intensity terrify her. But he's her husband and she's at his mercy. With the frontier against them and mercenary bandits at their heels, Ari fears she'll never feel safe again.

Tracker, too, remembers what fear feels like. Though he burns to protect Ari, to keep her for himself always, he knows that money, history—and especially the truth—can tear them apart.

Kindle review edition provided by the publisher.