Tuesday, November 30, 2010
Author: Debbie Macomber
Publisher: Mira Books
This Christmas, Emily Merkle (call her Mrs. Miracle!) is working in the toy department at Finley’s, the last family-owned department store in New York City. And her boss is none other than…Jake Finley, the owner’s son.
For Jake, holiday memories of brightly wrapped gifts, decorated trees and family were destroyed in a Christmas Eve tragedy years before. Now Christmas means just one thing to him — and to his father. Profit. Because they need a Christmas miracle to keep the business afloat.
Holly Larson needs a miracle, too. She wants to give her eight-year-old nephew, Gabe, the holiday he deserves. Holly’s widowed brother is in the army and won’t be home for Christmas, but at least she can get Gabe that toy robot from Finley’s, the one gift he desperately wants. If she can figure out how to afford it…
Fortunately, it’s Mrs. Miracle to the rescue. Next to making children happy, she likes nothing better than helping others — and that includes doing a bit of matchmaking!
This Christmas will be different. For all of them.
I listened to the audio version. It was a very quick "read". I really enjoyed the story. Just the right book to put me in the mood for the holiday season. Even though it was published this year, it had an old fashion feel to it. The characters were fun and believable. The romance was sweet, without any angst and a nice change of pace. My only regret is that it wasn't longer. I would have liked a better epilogue or more about Holly's brother and her boss. I would definitely recommend for anyone looking for a quick holiday read. 5 stars on Goodreads.
Monday, November 29, 2010
She was only twelve when she saw the silver boy on the beach, but Jenny has never stopped dreaming about him. Now she is grown, a marine biologist charting her own course in the family business—a corporation that covertly crosses the boundaries of science into realms of the unknown…and the incredible.
And now he has found her again, her silver boy grown into a man: Perrin, powerful and masculine, and so much more than human—leaving Jenny weak with desire and aching for his touch.
But with their reunion comes mortal danger—from malevolent forces who would alter the world to suit their own dark ends. For Perrin and Jenny—and all living creatures— their only hope for preventing the unthinkable lies in a mysterious empire far beneath the sea—and in the power of their dreams.
A true love story. A real world romance with believable conflicts, (yes, he's a merman and shape shifters and magic abound - it's still believable) motivations and emotions.
Liu writes like a poet. The phrase "beautiful turn of phrase" was created for writers with her skill. For example:
And then those eyes disappeared, blown apart as though made of sand - each grain floating through the water toward his face, slow and glittering. Perrin watched, breathless. No longer hearing anything but the sound of his pounding heart.
Too often in today's romance novels hot sex (not that there's anything wrong with that & it does put in an appeareance here too) sucks up all the oxygen in the room and leaves none for love scenes. Dark of Dreams has oxygen enough for both:
She wrapped her arm around his neck and pulled him close until his head rested on the cot, their cheeks pressed together, her mouth against his ear, whispering words that she forgot as soon as she said them, just that her heart was in her throat, she wanted him to feel her heart, and hear it, and know he wasn't alone.
The lead characters are Perrin & Jenny. Perrin - forgive me - is a fish out of water. Save me from super-natural beings who thrive in the human world. Shouldn't other-worldly beings have a tough time in a society that doesn't have a place for them? In the world Liu has built the "different" truly do have a difficult time fitting in and I think her books are better for it. Perrin is in full exile from his world and people; a true stranger in a strange land and he suffered accordingly.
Jenny is smart and capable, while still being in need of help. She does help herself as much as possible, but she does really need Perrin's support. Together they are more than the sum of their parts. And isn't that a wonderful thing? Two people in love and actively supporting their partner. I think this is something we all dream of. Jenny & Perrin both are willing to sacrifice for the good of the other, this is perfectly written selfless not martyred love.
I'll let you read them for yourselves, the final three lines of In The Dark of Dreams are happily ever after gold.
This is the 10th installment of the Dirk & Steele series. It's not necessary to have read the previous 9 (but you should, Liu is a wonderful writer - her entire body of work is just lovely). Besides pure enjoyment the other books will give you a better understanding of the Dirk & Steele organization.
Author: Didi Lemay
From the author's site: A Winter Solstice Celebration” helps children and adults alike to understand how the animals feel about their planet, how humans can help and how and how humans and animals can live together in harmony. A Winter Solstice is warm story that relates to all who read it.
A Winter Solstice Celebration takes young readers deep into the forest, where they discover how seemingly harmless human activities can wreak havoc on the natural world.
This was a cute story that I think most kids will like to read. It teaches a good environmental lesson. It also shows how one person's voice can make a difference. I think my kids will enjoy the book. The illustrations were really nice, and I wish there had been more of them.
One thing I didn't like about the book was the format. I'm a bit picky, but the white lettering on blue background made it hard to stay focused. I also didn't like the use of all capital letters. But, I think this is just a personal preference.
To read more about the author, Didi LeMay, visit her website: Didi LeMay
* I have been provided a complimentary copy of A Winter Solstice Celebration for review by Author DiDi LeMay through an e-mail from The YP Publishing. By receiving a complimentary copy, I am in no way obligated to write a good or bad review. I am an honest reviewer and my reviews are based on my own opinion and only written by me. - Kari*
Sunday, November 28, 2010
published by: Harper
The year is 1929. New York is ruled by the Bright Young Things: flappers and socialites seeking thrills and chasing dreams in the anything-goes era of the roaring twenties.
Letty Larkspur and Cordelia Grey have escaped their small Midwestern town to chase their big city dreams. In New York, they meet Astrid Donal, a flapper who seems to have everything she could ever want.
Across the vast lawns of Long Island, in the illicit speakeasies of Manhattan, and on the blindingly lit stages of Broadway, the three girls’ fortunes will rise and fall—together and apart.
I thoroughly enjoyed The Luxe series so I had high hopes for this book. It lived up to expectations in my opinion. It was somewhat similar to The Luxe series except that it was set during the Summer of 1929.
Letty and Cordelia were both very likeable characters. Astrid was kinda eh. I think she was the girl you were supposed to not like, but there wasn't much about her to not like.
This book reminded me a lot of The Great Gatsby. If that's a book you liked, I think you would find this book pretty interesting. The back of the book indicates that it'll be a series and it should be an interesting time period to continue this story of affluent young women. I'm looking forward to the next book already.
Thursday, November 25, 2010
The first Throwback Thursday book is.....
Author: Julie Garwood
First published in 1989 by First Pocketbooks (Simon & Schuster)
By edict of the king, the mighty Scottish laird Alec Kincaid must take an English bride. His choice was Jamie, the feisty youngest daughter of Baron Jamison. Alec ached to possess her forever. But Jamie vowed never to surrender to this highland barbarian. Though his kisses fired her blood, shadowed secrets from Alec's past threatened Jamie's happiness. She brazenly resisted him -- until one rapturous moment quelled their clash of wills.
I absolutely loved this book. It was so much fun reading Jamie and Alec's love story. Ms. Garwood created two very likable characters. The romance is believable as they fall in love over time and not over night. There are a few steamy love scenes that made me want to blush. I loved the running joke of Jamie's lack of a sense of direction. There is even a little mystery and I was surprised at who that killer turned out to be. I listened to the audio version of the book and I think that really enhanced my "reading" experience. The narrator did a great job with the voices. I laughed out loud on more than one occasion and I often felt my heart melting. I think this is going to be one of my favorite all time romance novels. I would definitely recommend this to anyone who loves a good romance. 5 stars!
Wednesday, November 24, 2010
published by: Cantraip Press
The dying body has a thousand voices, and all of them speak to Conrad (Rad) Sanders. Fifteen-year-old Lisa Duncan has no idea she has attracted Rad’s interest. At a mountain resort in Utah, he watches as vivacious Lisa begins an unlikely friendship with Lu Jakes, the strange and introverted daughter of employees there. Lu enters his fantasies as well. He learns she is being abused by her stepmother and toys with the notion of freeing her from her sad life and keeping her awhile as his captive. Lu seems like an easy conquest who could be persuaded to act out his fantasy by turning against her new friend.
But someone else is watching over Lu.
Talion appears to Lu as an angelic vision. He offers her love and counsel, the courage to defend herself from bullies at school and a way to free herself from her stepmother’s violence. He seems to know beforehand what will happen. But Talion’s true nature is unclear. His guidance leads Lu into dark places, moving her inevitably closer to the world inhabited by Rad. When she and Lisa are thrust into that darkness, will Talion come to her aid? Or will he become the killer’s ally?
I will say that I really liked this book. I liked it a lot more than I was expecting. I enjoyed the characters. Lu was a really great character.
I thought the writing was really solid and quite good. The thing that surprised me about this book was the level of violence that Rad inflicted on his victims. You don't normally see that from female writers. Usually it's kind of glossed over and male writers get more into the nitty gritty details. There wasn't anything wrong with it because it was appropriate in the context of the story, but it was something that surprised me a bit.
My only negative about the book was that I was a little unclear on Talion. I know if he was real, like a real angel coming to Lu or if he was a hallucination. Maybe that was the intent of the writer, to leave it open to interpretation.
Mary Maddox grew up in Utah and California. A graduate of Knox College and the University of Iowa Writers’ Workshop, she now teaches composition and literature at Eastern Illinois University.
She lives in Charleston, Illinois with her husband, film scholar Joe Heumann. Her interests include riding her horse, Tucker, and playing club and tournament Scrabble. Mary’s short stories have appeared in a number of magazines including Farmer’s Market, Yellow Silk, and The Scream Online. Her writing has been honored with awards from the Illinois Arts Council.
Talion, her debut novel, is available at Barnesandnoble.com as a trade paperback and at Amazon.com as both a paperback and a Kindle book. You can visit her at her Web site www.marymaddox.com and follow her blog at http://blog.marymaddox.com.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
published by: Scholastic
It's the near future - the very near future - and the fossil fuels are running out. No gas. No oil. Which means no driving. No heat. Supermarkets are empty. Malls have shut down. Life has just become more local than we ever knew it could be.
Nobody expected the end to come this fast. And in the small town of Spring Valley, decisions that once seemed easy are quickly becoming matters of life and death. There is hope - there has to be hope - just there are also sacrifices that need to be made, and a whole society that needs to be rethought.
Teens like Nicki, Tom, and Leila may find what they need to survive. But their lives are never going to be the same again.
I had a lot of high hopes for this book. It sounded like it had a really great premise. It sounded like it would be a really cool dystopian type novel.
Unfortunately, this book just wasn't what I had hoped it would be. I felt like the whole book was kinda preachy about consumption, not just about oil consumption, but all consumption on the part of Americans. The book wasn't badly written or anything like that and the story carried well. It just wasn't something I was in the mood to be chastised about.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this book because it was pretty interesting, but be warned that it's a "tree-hugger" type book.
Monday, November 22, 2010
The winner of Fragment by Marilyn Monroe is Jen @ I Read Banned Books
The winner of The Radleys ARC is Rachel
I've sent emails to the winners so check your email ladies.
Saturday, November 20, 2010
From Goodreads: A HAUNTING RETURN TO A FIERY LOVE TRIANGLE
Brian Falk and his best friend, Dabney, share a passion for the beautiful and wealthy Jackie, their childhood playmate and the prize catch of their social set. But, the young men are also drawn to each other—a secret, illicit connection that is cut short when Jackie chooses to wed the more moneyed Dabney.
I thought this book was fairly good. It was well written and well constructed. However, I just kinda kept waiting for something to happen.
The main character kinda frustrated me. I felt like he was stereotypical of a lot of people my age. Sort of drifting around without a clue of what they want to do with their lives. I don't know anyone like that though. Most people my age have settled down and grown up. I wanted to tell Brian to quit being such a baby and get over himself and deal with it!
About the Author: Ryan O’Reilly’s is the author of critically acclaimed travel novel, Snapshot, which was published in 2007 and received rave reviews from Kirkus, Midwest Book Review, fellow authors and his many devoted readers and fans. He is also a freelance contributor to newspapers and periodicals across the country and a member of the National Writers Association and the Writers League of Texas.
I have two copies of this book to giveaway thanks to PR By the Book. Just leave a comment with a valid email address on this post before 11/23. I have to ship these myself so US addresses only please.
Saturday, November 13, 2010
Knowing he must gain Jahel's trust if she is to come to his bed willingly, Kenan treats her more as his guest than as his slave. When she reveals what brought her to the mouth of Hell in the first place — retrieving the soul of a young girl she was guarding — he even offers to help her complete her mission.When Kenan, an incubus, finds a caged angel for sale in the Hellsgate marketplace, he sees her as a challenge. Certain that his skills in seduction will work as well on a heavenly creature as they do on mortal women, he buys Jahel, intent on having her soul as a novelty in his collection.
Though he has promised Jahel freedom, Kenan soon realizes she has captured his heart instead. And as their passion for one another grows, they find themselves caught in a struggle between Heaven and Hell, one that will lead them to the very edge of the apocalypse...
Demon's Fall wasn't a bad story, but it wasn't a good one either. I think it'll be easiest to make a pro/con list for this book. Cons first, because I do want to end a positive note with Lee.
This story has been done. It's been done to death. And it has been done better.
Still don't know why the hero/heroine are in love.
General silliness, plot devices not characters, chases, lukewarm sex.
There was of seed of interesting world building. I don't think it was fully realized, but that could be to do restrictions on word count.
A cute nod to the fairy tale world.
My issues were with plotting, the writing was good. I may have rolled my eyes on occasion, but I never cringed. I think Lee could be a good writer. This book reads like an early effort of someone still learning. And I am willing to read more of Lee's work, I think in the future she could write a book I really enjoy.
Thursday, November 11, 2010
Violent nights as an emergency room nurse in Boston did not prepare Elsa for the devastation she witnesses at the small medical clinic she runs in Bamiyan. As she struggles to prove herself in the male-dominated culture, a tube of lipstick she finds in the aftermath of a tragic bus bombing leads her to a life-changing friendship with Parween, a young woman who has lost her adored young husband to the Taliban’s treachery. In Parween, Elsa finds a kindred spirit, fiery, generous, and determined to fight back against the restrictions that plague the women of her small country.
Together, they risk their lives to rebel against the Taliban and bring opportunity to the people of their village. But when they must stand up and fight for their own survival, Elsa discovers her only hope is to unveil the warrior within.
I was really interested in reading this book. I loved The Kite Runner and A Thousand Splendid Suns. I didn't love this book as much. It had a great premise and I liked the idea of the story. However, for me, the writing just wasn't the best.
I felt like a lot of the scenes were very abrupt. I found myself reading with an eyebrow raised a lot of the time. I didn't believe what was going on. Not that it was outrageous, but that I didn't feel like was going on was "real". I couldn't get any emotion connection going on with the main character and I didn't particularly like her. It's hard to get into a book when you don't like the MC.
I wouldn't discourage anyone from reading this book, because like I said the story has a great premise. It's a quick easy read. Go check it out and see if you feel the same way about it. It might be a great book for a book club. I'm sure there would be quite a lot to debate about it.
By James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
New York's Lombardo's Steak House is famous for three reasons - the menu, the clientele, and now, the gruesome murder of an infamous mob lawyer. Seated at a nearby table, reporter Nick Daniels accidentally captures a key piece of evidence that lands him in the middle of an all-out war between Italian and Russian mafia forces.
I listened to the audio version of Don’t Blink. It was a quick easy “read”; a pretty typical mafia story, with death threats and back stabbing. I won’t say I loved the book, but it was entertaining enough to listen to the whole thing. I would have liked a bit more romance. What little there was could have been left out of the story. I was able to guess the twist fairly early on. The beginning is a bit gruesome, so I don’t recommend eating when you read it if you are the queasy type. The narrator did a decent job, however his female voices sounded alike. It made it hard to know who was talking sometimes. 3 stars on Goodreads.
From Goodreads: Following on the heels of the best-selling book The Truth, SECRETS is the continuing diary of a girl moving into her teen-age years. The Girl has plenty to fill her journal. The pages reveal a new school, a new baby in the family, new friends, a new guy and a new set of issues to face. Share the secret world of an almost-teen as she learns which secrets to share and which to keep to herself.
I liked this book as well. I had considered giving these books away, but I'm going to save them for my daughters. They reminded me of Are You There God, It's Me Margaret? That same sort of time of life and all the problems a young girl has.
I would recommend this book and the one before it called The Truth. Check out my review of that one below.
Wednesday, November 10, 2010
Thank you to Macmillan audio for sending me this audiobook. I won it from their Facebook contest. Check out their page here.
Since they were so kind to do that, I'll pass along my copy. If you'd like it just leave a comment below with a valid email address and I'll randomly pick a winner on 11/17. US addresses only please.
**A note to our readers. These will be the last children's books featured on this blog. We started a new blog specifically for the books our kids are reading. It's called Recess Readers. We aren't quite started yet, but give us a week or so and we'll get it going.**
Tuesday, November 9, 2010
Published: Harlequin (Silhouette) Coming in November 2010
Authors: Sharon Sala and Colleen Thompson
The Fiercest Heart by New York Times and USA TODAY bestselling author SHARON SALA
Torn apart years ago by a family feud and a deadly accident, high school sweethearts Haley and Mack reunite when Haley returns to town. But someone doesn’t want them together and will do anything to keep them apart. Anything…
Lethal Lessons by COLLEEN THOMPSON
One of Mara’s students is troubled by her mother’s mysterious death. Despite warnings that the girl’s father, Adam, is a danger, Mara sees only a handsome, caring protector. Will she uncover the truth before it’s too late?
One thing I love about anthologies is that they are great for times when you want something quick and not too heavy. I have always enjoyed Ms. Sala’s novellas and she didn’t disappoint. Her story, The Fiercest Heart, was pretty good and fairly believable. I liked the characters and the ending was sweet. The twist was easy to call, but how much suspense can you really build up in 120 pages? So 3 stars for Ms. Sala.
The second story in the book, Lethal Lessons, wasn’t as good. I kept having the feeling that I was missing key information. The time jumps in the story were a bit disorienting and left out a lot of needed filler. I think this novella had the potential to make a great longer book. Too much was left out to make it a truly enjoyable short story. 2 stars for this one.
Overall, if you are looking for something light and quick, pick this one up. It will entertain you.
The truth doesn’t always set you free.
I don't know if it's appropriate to say I enjoyed this book, but it was a very compelling read. Once I started reading I couldn't put it down. I had to know what was going to happen to Annie.
This was a very dark read. It had a lot of violence and rough language in it. If that's not something you can handle, this is not the book for you. She spent a long time in the hands of a sadistic captor and the book is her retelling of the events to her therapist. She's understandably bitter about what happened during and after her time away.
This was a debut book by Chevy Stevens and I was impressed. I'll be looking for the next book by this author which will be Never Knowing coming out next summer. In looking at the summary, I think that one will be as dark and moody (and right up my alley) as this one.
Monday, November 8, 2010
When the Southern University Bushmen football team traveled to Monroe, Louisiana, to play the Tigers of Louisiana Negro Normal and Industrial Institute for the first time on Armistice Day, 1932, few realized they were witnessing the birth of a phenomenon. Aiello recounts Southern’s early dominance over the smaller, two-year institution; Southern’s acceptance into the Southwestern Athletic Conference; Grambling’s hiring of the legendary Eddie Robinson, who would lead the Tigers to 408 wins between 1941 and 1997; Grambling’s first victory over Southern; and years of alternating home and away games. In 1974, the rivalry found a neutral site in New Orleans—first at Tulane Stadium and then the Superdome—and became the “Bayou Classic.” An NBC television contract introduced the Bayou Classic to a nationwide audience and completed the transformation of the game into a major event. The Bayou Classic remains the only nationally broadcast game between two historically black schools. Aiello supplements his colorful narrative with period photographs and informative appendices providing game results, statistics, and all-star teams from every year the schools have played.
“To appreciate the rivalry,” Eddie Robinson once noted, “you have to realize Grambling and Southern fans are close friends, as well as relatives.” Bayou Classic offers a splendid history for fans, friends, and those who want to know more about this special game.
I live in Louisiana and I love some football. I've always wanted to go to the Bayou Classic. It looks like so much fun.
This book is amazing. Football fans will find it interesting. People interested in the history of Louisiana will love it. Southern and Grambling fans will have to have it. It does not only deal with football. It does deal with a lot of racial issues and history and economic issues. This isn't a straight up football only book.
I read over a review copy that I got from Netgalley, but I'm going to have to hunt down a finished copy because it was chock full of pictures that my copy didn't have. According to the notations, they must be amazing pictures.
This is another one of those books that would make a great Christmas present! Or the Bayou Classic will be held on November 27th this year. Go get this book today and have a better appreciation of the event when it happens.
Saturday, November 6, 2010
published by: Free Press
US Publish date: December 28, 2010
From Goodreads: Meet the Radleys
Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret
From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.
I've seen this referred to as a YA book in several places, however I did not feel like it was at all. In checking out Matt Haig's website apparently there are two versions of this book. There's a UK adult version and a UK YA version. I read the adult version. I don't know what the differences are so I can't comment on that, but the book I read was definitely not a YA book despite the fact that two of the main characters are teenagers.
Yes, it is ANOTHER vampire novel. And yes, it's another novel about vampires trying to pass themselves off as normal humans. It had a few little Twilighty moments, but overall it had a unique feel to it. I think Matt Haig manage to pull off what few have lately, a truly interesting new vampire book in an Edward Cullen world.
Two of my favorite lines: "Harper is actually Stuart Harper, but his first name fell off him in tenth grade, somewhere on the rugby field." "This sex is as disappointing for Lorna as it so often is - a short, straightforward journey from A to B when she could really do with running through a bit of the alphabet."
If you want my ARC leave a comment below with a valid email address and I'll randomly pick a winner on 11/17. This one is open to US addresses only. (Sorry international people! Shipping is expensive)
Friday, November 5, 2010
published by: Healey Publishing Inc.
This is a great coffee table style book chock full of pictures and interviews of celebrities, activists and scientists on the topics of the environment and protecting our oceans.
It is an absolutely beautiful large hard cover book. I will most certainly be keeping this one on the bookshelf for the kiddos to look over. The pictures are beautiful and inspiring. The interviews are interesting and full of all kinds of unique information.
I was impressed to see how up to date this book was as several of the interviews referenced the April 2010 Gulf Oil Spill. As a resident of Louisiana this is a topic of great interest to me personally.
The range of people that are interviewed in this book is outstanding. There are surfers and artists and actors along with the oceanographers and marine biologists. Politicians and musicians and fisherman also weigh in with their insights about the future of our oceans. Some names you might recognize are Ted Danson, Yoko Ono, Jason Mraz, Pierce Brosnan, Robert Kennedy Jr, Ziggy Marley, Kate Walsh, and Tony Hawk. That's just a tiny fraction of the interviews included.
This book would make an excellent holiday gift. It can be purchased on their website. I would definitely recommend it for anyone maybe middle grade and up, particularly ocean lovers and people striving to be more environmentally friendly or maybe people you wish would be more environmentally friendly.
Sea Voices also has a Facebook page
Wednesday, November 3, 2010
Lily Sanderson has a secret, and it's not that she has a huge crush on gorgeous swimming god Brody Bennett, who makes her heart beat flipper-fast. Unrequited love is hard enough when you're a normal teenage girl, but when you're half human, half mermaid, like Lily, there's no such thing as a simple crush.
I needed a quick light read and this fit the bill perfectly. It's classified YA, but I don't know. I think it might even go MG except for the fact that the characters seemed to be in high school. It was a cute little story and the fish references made it seem like a older kid's version of Spongebob which I found sort of amusing.
Tuesday, November 2, 2010
The winner of prize pack #1 is: Miranda!
The winner of prize pack #2 is: Eileen!
Also I have the winners of the giveaway for The Tower, The Zoo, and the Tortoise to announce: Loni and Tonya904. I'll be sending emails out to y'all shortly.
Thanks everyone! We'll be having more giveaways coming soon...