Thursday, September 30, 2010

Follow Friday

The feature this week is

will update later with the Blog Hop

The Harrowing

Published by:  St. Martin's Press

Mendenhall echoes with the footsteps of the last home-bound students heading off for Thanksgiving break, and Robin Stone swears she can feel the creepy, hundred-year old residence hall breathe a sigh of relief for its long-awaited solitude. Or perhaps it's only gathering itself for the coming weekend.

As a massive storm dumps rain on the isolated campus, four other lonely students reveal themselves: Patrick, a handsome jock; Lisa, a manipulative tease; Cain, a brooding musician; and finally Martin, a scholarly eccentric. Each has forsaken a long weekend at home for their own secret reasons.

The five unlikely companions establish a tentative rapport, but they soon become aware of a sixth presence disturbing the ominous silence that pervades the building. Are they victims of a simple college prank taken way too far, or is the unusual energy evidence of something genuine - and intent on using the five students for its own terrifying ends? It's only Thursday afternoon, and they have three long days and dark nights before the rest of the world returns to find out what's become of them. But for now it's just the darkness keeping company with five students nobody wants -- and no one will miss.

I picked up this book when I went down to New Orleans for the book signing over Labor Day weekend.  I got to meet Alexandra Sokoloff and she personalized my book for me.  She's a very nice lady! (and very elegant! oh la la) 

This was a great horror story.  I read almost the entire thing in one sitting (waiting for my grandmother to get done at the doctor's office which was a horror in itself).  It was creepy and spooky and perfect for Halloween reading!  In fact, I was reading the ending at home, alone, with the windows open and a dog barked in the back yard and it scared me SO bad.  My heart was pounding!

I think this could make a really good movie.  Thinking about that...have y'all see  What a cool way to make a movie cast of all your favorite books!

Beyond Justice

By:  Joshua Graham

From Goodreads: THE DESCENT INTO HELL IS NOT ALWAYS VERTICAL…Sam Hudson, a reputable San Diego attorney, learns this when the authorities wrongfully convict him of the brutal rape and murder of his wife and daughter, and sends him to death row. There he awaits execution by lethal injection.If he survives that long.In prison, Sam fights for his life while his attorney works frantically on his appeal. It is then that he embraces the faith of his departed wife and begins to manifest supernatural abilities. Abilities which help him save lives– his own, those of his unlikely allies–and uncover the true killer’s identity, unlocking the door to his exoneration.Now a free man, Sam’s newfound faith confronts him with the most insurmountable challenge yet. A challenge beyond vengeance, beyond rage, beyond anything Sam believes himself capable of: to forgive the very man who murdered his family, according to his faith. But this endeavor reveals darker secrets than either Sam or the killer could ever have imagined. Secrets that hurtle them into a fateful collision course.BEYOND JUSTICE, a tale of loss, redemption, and the power of faith.

This blog is part of the Blog Tour for this book hosted by Pump Up Your Book Promotions.  I was pretty excited to read this book because I love a good legal thriller.  However, you might notice a little word up there in the summary that gave me a bit of pause...FAITH.  I was worried that this was going to be an overly religious preachy book.  No worries though, while religion was talk about a lot, I didn't feel like it was being forced on me as the reader and I don't think a religion of preference was ever specified now that I think about it.

I'm sure writers don't particularly like being compared to another, but this book felt like John Grisham had spent the afternoon at a tent revival and this was the story he came home and wrote.  It was mostly a great legal thriller with a drive-you-crazy mystery and a little Christian fiction sprinkled over it.  Mr. Graham has a wonderful, easy to read writing style.  This was a big book and I sat down and found myself halfway through it in one sitting.

I'll admit that I read a lot and most books are somewhat predictable.  Whodunit is usually fairly obvious about halfway through.  In this case, not so AT ALL.  I was completely surprised and I love that!  Gold Star for the ending on this one!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Terminal Care

Phil Pescoe, the 37-year-old emergency physician at Deaconess Hospital in San Francisco, becomes alarmed by a dramatic increase in the number of deaths on the East Annex (the Alzheimer’s Ward). The deaths coincide with the initiation of a new drug study on the annex where a team of neurologists have been administering “NAF”—an experimental and highly promising treatment for Alzheimer’s disease—to half of the patients on the ward.

Mysteriously, the hospital pushes forward with the study even though six patients have died since the start of the trial. Pescoe teams up with Clara Wong—a brilliant internist with a troubled past—to investigate the situation. Their inquiries lead them unwittingly into the cutthroat world of big-business pharmaceuticals, where they are threatened to be swept up and lost before they have the opportunity to discover the truth behind an elaborate cover-up.

With the death count mounting, Pescoe and Wong race against time to save the patients on the ward and to stop the drug manufacturer from unleashing a dangerous new drug on the general populace.

If you like medical thrillers, this one is definitely for you!  I found this to be a very good, solidly written book.  I kept trying to guess what was going to happen next and I was usually surprised.

As for the characters, I thought Phil was a pretty likeable guy.  Clara really stole the show for me.  I thought she was a lot of fun and exciting.  It made me wish Clara was my doctor!

This is one of those books that will make you think a lot and maybe make you a little bit uncomfortable about the medication that you take.  It spotlights the cozy relationship between the drug manufacturers and the testers and even the doctors.  The whole book is made more credible by the fact that the writer, Christopher Stookey, is a practicing ER (ED as we learn in the book!) physician.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

The Forest of Hands and Teeth

In Mary's world, there are simple truths:  The Sisterhood always knows best.  The Guardians will protect and serve.  The Unconsecrated will never relent.

And you must always mind the fence that surrounds the village. The fence that protects the village from the Forest of Hands and Teeth.

But slowly, Mary's truths are failing her. She's learning things she never wanted to know about the Sisterhood and its secrets, and the Guardians and their power. And, when the fence is breached and her world is thrown into chaos, about the Unconsecrated and their relentlessness.

Now she must choose between her village and her future, between the one she loves and the one who loves her. And she must face the truth about the Forest of Hands and Teeth. Could there be life outside a world surrounded by so much death?

First off, does anyone else think "Jennifer Love Hewitt" when they see this version of the cover?  That's who immediately  comes to mind for me. 

I've developed such a love of YA dystopian.  I don't even know where it came from, probably Stephen King.  I think he's responsible for all us 30-somethings that love these books so much.  Back when we were little tykes we didn't have much in the way of YA so we were reading stuff like Stephen King at a very young age and had our impressionable minds warped and twisted (in such a delightful way).

I thought this book was fairly decent.  I tore through it in about a day so it must have been good.  I read it as part of my "It's my birthday I can read what I want to" weekend.  When I was done, I immediately returned it to the library and put a hold on The Dead Tossed Waves. 

My only issue with this book, was the relationship with Mary to the love interests.  The whole brother swapping thing and throwing her best friend in there was not complicated, but brow-furrowing maybe?  A head scratcher.  I guess it just added some drama to the story.

If you aren't familiar with this series, this is the first book.  The Dead Tossed Waves is next and the third book is called The Dark and Hollow Places and it'll be released March 2011.

Monday, September 27, 2010

A Book of Tongues

By: Gemma Files

4 Stars

The first thought I was able to put into words upon finishing this book was "LSD fueled coherent nightmare". And I'm going to stick with that impression.

The publisher's description:

Two years after the Civil War, Pinkerton agent Ed Morrow has gone undercover with one of the weird West's most dangerous outlaw gangs-the troop led by "Reverend" Asher Rook, ex-Confederate chaplain turned "hexslinger," and his notorious lieutenant (and lover) Chess Pargeter. Morrow's task: get close enough to map the extent of Rook's power, then bring that knowledge back to help Professor Joachim Asbury unlock the secrets of magic itself.

Magicians, cursed by their gift to a solitary and painful existence, have never been more than a footnote in history. But Rook, driven by desperation, has a plan to shatter the natural law that prevents hexes from cooperation, and change the face of the world-a plan sealed by an unholy marriage-oath with the goddess Ixchel, mother of all hanged men. To accomplish this, he must raise her bloodthirsty pantheon from its collective grave through sacrifice, destruction, and apotheosis

Caught between a passel of dead gods and monsters, hexes galore, Rook's witchery, and the ruthless calculations of his own masters, Morrow's only real hope of survival lies with the man without whom Rook cannot succeed: Chess Pargeter himself. But Morrow and Chess will have to literally ride through Hell before the truth of Chess's fate comes clear-the doom written for him, and the entire world.

The author drops us boots first into a slightly skewed West where the more you see the more you realize that something just isn't right. A Book of Tongues is not a fantastic tale of wizards in the old west. Oh no, this book is a tale of blood and horror.

Every single character is unlikeable. That's not to say the characterizations are bad, because no - they are brilliant. All of them are very believable hexslingers, whores, soldiers, outlaws, lawmen, preachers, gods, the people on the street; to a one they ring true. They're all just horrible.

Brilliant and compelling, but leaving me at a loss for words. I'm still not sure how I feel about this story, but I do know I'm eagerly awaiting the next book in the trilogy A Rope of Thorns.

A few quick bullet points, warnings for some. Intense sexual relationship between male characters, blood soaked and violent, with multiple gods - could be considered blasphemous. Basically do not pick this book if you do not wish to be challenged.

Blue Nude

Published by:  Gallery Books

Born in the shadow of post-war Germany, Danzig is a once prominent painter who now teaches at an art institute in San Francisco. But while Danzig shares wisdom and technique with students, his own canvasses remain empty, for reasons he doesn’t understand. One day, he and his class begin sketching a new model, a young woman named Merav, the Israeli-born granddaughter of a Holocaust survivor. Danzig is immediately taken with her exceptional beauty, sensing that she may be the muse he has been missing. Challenged by Danzig’s German accent, Merav must decide how to overcome her fears. Before they can create anything new together, both artist and model are forced to examine the history that they carry.

Blue Nude recounts the events that bring Danzig and Merav together, including their disparate upbringings, their respective creative awakenings, and their similarly painful, often catastrophic, love lives. Using words to paint the landscapes of body and soul, Rosner conveys the art of survival, the complexity of history, the form of exile, the shape of desire, and the color of intimacy, all the while underscoring the lasting impact of the Holocaust on post-war generations in a literary yet accessible way.

First off, I will NEVER ever ever read a book in my house with the word NUDE on the cover again until my kids grow up.  My 6 year old, looked at it and screeched "NUDE? You're reading a NUDE book?"  I sat there trying to calmly explain to her that it wasn't a nude book that it was about an artist and a model.  Her screeching and of course, the word nude drew the attention of the other two who came in to laugh at Mama reading the nude book.  Kids!

Other than that, it was a beautifully written book.  It was sad and haunting and you felt so bad for the characters.  It was written in a style that I was a bit unused to.  There were no quotation marks around the dialogue, so at first I found that a little odd, but then I realized it was less distracting.  Everything just flowed. 

I didn't really like Danzig much personally, I thought he was rude and arrogant, but I guess he grew into that personality because of his accomplishment.  He felt like he deserved whatever he wanted and that annoyed me.  I didn't like the way he treated the women around him, his models, his students, etc.

I did find this book quite interesting.  I had never really thought too much about what it takes to be an artists' model, apparently it's a lot more than just taking off your clothes and standing there.  The relationship of artist to model can be so very complex.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for my honest review which I have provided.  I was in no other way compensated.**

The False Friend: Review and Giveaway

By:  Myla Goldberg
Publisher:  Doubleday

Leaders of a mercurial clique of girls, Celia and Djuna reigned mercilessly over their three followers. One after­noon, they decided to walk home along a forbidden road. Djuna disappeared, and for twenty years Celia blocked out how it happened.

The lie Celia told to conceal her misdeed became the accepted truth: everyone assumed Djuna had been abducted, though neither she nor her abductor was ever found. Celia’s unconscious avoidance of this has meant that while she and her longtime boyfriend, Huck, are professionally successful, they’ve been unable to move forward, their relationship falling into a rut that threatens to bury them both.

Celia returns to her hometown to confess the truth, but her family and childhood friends don’t believe her. Huck wants to be supportive, but his love can’t blind him to all that contra­dicts Celia’s version of the past.

Celia’s desperate search to understand what happened to Djuna has powerful consequences. A deeply resonant and emotionally charged story, The False Friend explores the adults that children become—leading us to question the truths that we accept or reject, as well as the lies to which we succumb.

My initial reaction was "WOW"!  The end was a surprise.  I don't even know what to say about it without giving away the whole book.  There was another interesting development with one of the characters, Leanne  I thought Leanne's character was fascinating and I felt so, so bad for her during the flashbacks.

This book deals with "mean girls".  This group of girls were the ones that tormented and terrorized the other ones around them.  I found it interesting the way the various characters viewed their behavior, particularly Djuna's mother. 

Overall, I really liked this book.  I wasn't super long, and it was easy to read.  I thought the cover was very cool.  It works so well with the story.

This book will be available on October 5th.  Thanks to the fantastic people at DoubleDay, I have 2 copies to giveaway.  This will be shipping from the publisher so there are a few rules:  US addresses only and NO P.O. Boxes. 

To enter just leave a comment below with your email address.  If you would like an additional entry you can tweet about this contest and leave the link to your tweet in a separate comment.  I'll randomly pick a winner on October 4.

**I received a copy of this book from the publisher in exchange for an honest review which I have provided.  I was in no other way compensated.**

Sunday, September 26, 2010

The Wrong Blood

By:  Manuel de Lope

In the Basque Country in northern Spain, just before the Civil War, three men in dinner suits stop for a drink at a bar before continuing on their way to a wedding. Their trip is interrupted when their leader, the wealthy Don Leopoldo, has a stroke in the restroom.This event, bizarre and undignified though it is, begins to weave together the lives of two remarkable women: the bride, the beautiful and distinguished Isabel Cruces, and María Antonia Etxarri, the bar owner's adolescent daughter. Shortly after the outbreak of the war, María Antonia is raped and Isabel's newlywed husband, Captain Julen Herraiz, is shot. Both women find themselves violently altered, alone, and pregnant. A crippled but wise local doctor is the only witness to the mysterious, silent agreement these women conclude in the loneliness and desperation of their mutual suffering. Many years later, a young student, grandson to Isabel, returns to the scene of the events to spend an innocent summer studying for law exams. As he goes about his work, he unwittingly awakens the ghosts haunting both María Antonia and the doctor, and through their memories the passionate stories of the past unfurl before the reader.

As an American I had a little bit of trouble with this book.  I wasn't too familiar with the Spanish Civil War.  Apparently, my parents weren't either.  Before I started reading the book I asked them when it was.  They look at each other and decided on 1903.  In the very beginning of the book it has a little bit of backstory about the Spanish Civil War which took place from 1936-1939.   I thought that was really nice to include that, it was very informative.

This book was originally published in Spanish and has been recently translated to English.  It's beautifully written.  The words and descriptions are beautiful and lyrical.  The only problem I had was I kept trying to sound out all the people and place names and I wasn't doing to well with that.  I'm sure it would have been really amusing to someone eavesdropping.

I thought it was exquisitely written and I found myself really drawn into the story.  It's told in snippets and flashbacks that all start coming together to tell the whole story.  I like that storytelling style a lot.  I like to see how it starts tying together.

Go check it out.  It goes on sale Sept. 28.

**I received a copy of this book free through NetGalley in exchange for my honest review which I have provided**

Friday, September 24, 2010

The Iron Duke

4.5 Stars

First and foremost the world building here is absolutely brilliant. I highly recommend popping over to Meljean's site and read the FAQ on The Iron Seas' history.

There isn't a single solitary flaw in the world that she built for this story. Meljean also took the time to look at the larger philosophical issues that are created by the tech in her Steampunk world, not what you'd expect from a "romance". Make no mistake this story is a romance, but by paying attention to the issues and the conflicts that are part of this world she raises the bar.

The supporting cast of characters are amazing. Every word made me want to know about them; I'm officially beginning my campaign for Yasmeen, Lady Corsair's book now. The people and world they inhabit are rich with detail and believability.

The Iron Duke himself, Rhys Trahaearn was not my favorite person. He's honorable, but very selfish. All that he's ever done has been for himself and him empire. Yes, he has helped others and done good works - but never for their own sake. It has always been because of his wants. Rhys is very much the king of all he surveys and that includes people. Not exactly a warm and fuzzy guy.

This brings me to Detective Inspector Mina Wentworth. Mina makes Rhys see something beyond himself and how he can manipulate others to his benefit. She makes him see how he is part of the larger world, and how he can effect positive change, and not just change in his favor. By making him look outside Rhys Trahaearn she makes him capable of loving someone besides himself. Mina has spent her life in service to others, she has dedicated her life to making the world a better place and through her eyes Rhys sees that he can be more than he is - that simply it's not all about him.

When you come down to it, Meljean is doing one of the oldest romance story lines - the love of a good woman makes him a better man. And she does it very well.

The romance was good, the sex was hot, and the connection between the characters very believable. What pushes this book into the must read category is Meljean's world building. Fantastically done, you will finish this book hungry for more stories from The Iron Seas.

I received this book via a giveaway by Dear Author. Thank you Jane!

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Follow Friday

Book Blogger Hop

This week's question is:  When you write reviews, do you write them as you are reading or wait until you have read the entire book?

I wait until I'm done with the book, because the ending always makes a big impact on me on how I feel about the book overall.  I don't want to start singing the praises of a book only to be severely let down by the ending and have to start all over.  Sometimes, I'll keep notes of things that I want to remember to touch upon when I write my review, but that's about it.

I'll join with Follow Friday at Parajunkee when that gets posted.  She asks:  My question for you guys, what is your high fashion book? --- translation --- best book cover ever.  I have a lot of favorite book covers but when I read the question the first one that came to mind was The Starlet.  I LOVE the cover but I haven't read it's on the list!  Doesn't she look super cool?  I love the sprinkle of tattoos on her arm.  I thought it was really clever the way the smoke makes the S.  Great cover!


The Postcard Killers: Review and Giveaway

By:  James Patterson and Liza Marklund (not her website, but the best I could find)

NYPD detective Jacob Kanon is on a tour of Europe's most gorgeous cities. But the sights aren't what draw him—he sees each museum, each cathedral, and each café through the eyes of his daughter's killer.

Kanon's daughter, Kimmy, and her boyfriend were murdered while on vacation in Rome. Since then, young couples in Paris, Copenhagen, Frankfurt, and Stockholm have been found dead. Little connects the murders, other than a postcard to the local newspaper that precedes each new victim.

Now Kanon teams up with the Swedish reporter Dessie Larsson, who has just received a postcard in Stockholm—and they think they know where the next victims will be.

I received the audiobook from Hachette Audio for review.  I was very excited.  I like a good serial killer thriller.  This one did not disappoint! 

I thought the story was quite good.  The characters were pretty interesting and engaging.  I would find myself sitting in the car in the driveway waiting for the chapter to end before I went inside.  I think that's the sign of a good book!  (in audio form anyway!)

In terms of the audiobook, I thought it was very well done.  The readers, there were three of them in this case, were excellent.  I recognized one of the men, but I couldn't place him.  I think he might have read The Poe Shadow, I'll have to look that up.  The female reader was quite good I thought (loved her accent), but she made Dessie always sound exasperated.  My one tiny gripe were the few sound effects at the very end.  There was a car chase with full sound effects which isn't good when you're listening to that in the car.  Seriously!  And there was a gunshot that about gave me a heart attack.  Other than that, it was very good.

Thanks to the generous people at Hachette Audio, I have 2 copies of The Postcard Killers audiobook to giveaway!  Yay!! 

Since this will ship from the Hachette there are a few minor restrictions:  US Only, No P.O. Boxes, and only one winner per household (even from other blogs).  As this is shipping from Hachette, I can't make any guarantees about when it will get to you.

I'm going to make it easy...just leave a comment below before September 30.  If you want an extra entry, you can tweet about the contest.  Leave the link to the tweet in a separate comment.   Thanks and Good Luck!

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

The Whisper

by Carla Neggers

From Goodreads:
It was meant to be an adventure-a night alone on a remote Irish island. Archaeologist Sophie Malone never expected to find Celtic treasure or to end up in a fight for her life in a dark, desolate cave. Now, a year later, she's convinced answers to the mysteries of that night lie in Boston. Is the recent violence there connected to her night of terror? Who has the priceless gold artifacts that disappeared from the cave...and who is responsible for the whispers she heard in the dark?

Nearly killed in an explosion a month ago, Boston detective Cyrus "Scoop" Wisdom has recovered from his injuries. He's after the bomber-and he thinks it's another cop. But when Sophie unknowingly leads him to a retired officer's body amid symbols of ritual sacrifice, it's clear nobody's safe, and everyone's a suspect.

Tough and stubborn, Scoop is the best on the force at detecting lies...except maybe those of Sophie Malone. Together Sophie and Scoop face the greatest challenge of their lives: someone is using ancient rituals to commit modern-day murder-and the killing has only just begun.

I should warn you that The Whisper is really not a stand alone book. Despite claims on Carla Neggers website that it can be taken as such, I highly suggest that you at least read the second and third books in the series: The Angel and The Mist, respectively. If you don’t, then you probably feel like you stepped into the middle of a movie and not get what’s going on. While she does cover some of the background in this book, I felt there wasn’t enough for a new reader understand what was going on.

OK, on to my review: I absolutely loved The Whisper, latest in Ms. Neggers BPD/FBI series. Scoop Wisdom has always been a favorite of mine and I was excited that he got his own story. The mystery was pretty good and flowed very easily. I didn’t figure it out until close to the reveal. I loved the relationship between Scoop and Sophie. It was refreshing that there was no angst or questions of feelings. I was happy to see a few loose ends tied up in this book as well. I really hope she continues this series as Bob really needs a romance! 5 stars on Goodreads

Blood Born

by Linda Howard and Linda Jones

From Goodreads:

When the human and the vampire worlds collide

Luca Ambrus is a rare breed: He is a vampire from birth, begotten by vampire parents: blood born. He is also an agent of the Council—the centuries-old cabal that governs vampirekind, preserving their secrecy and destroying those who betray them.

When a cryptic summons leads him to the scene of the brutal killing of a powerful Council member, Luca begins the hunt for an assassin among his own people. But instead of a lone killer he discovers a sinister conspiracy of rogue vampires bent on subjugating the mortal world.

All that stands in their way are the conduits, humans able to channel spirit warriors into the physical world to protect mankind. Chloe Fallon is a conduit—and a target of the vampire assassin who’s killing them. When Luca saves her life, an irresistible bond of trust—along with more passionate feelings—is forged between them. As more victims fall, Chloe and Luca have only each other to depend on to save the world from the reign of monsters—and salvage their own future together.

The story was good overall and I probably will continue with the series just to find out what happens to the characters. The story was a bit slow in the beginning, but by the halfway mark, the action really picks up and I was hooked. The romance between Luca and Chloe was a bit rushed, but given the circumstances of the story, I believed it.

Even though I did end up liking the book, I had a few issues. Let me start by saying that I am a huge Linda Howard fan, so when I saw that she had followed into the vampire realm, I was excited. Now that I have read the book, I have to wonder how much of the book she actually wrote. (I have never read anything by the co-author Linda Jones, so I can’t compare) I have read most of Ms. Howard’s books and she doesn’t make writing mistakes like the ones in this book. This book really needed to be edited better. The first half of the book was so repetitive. How many times did I have to be reminded that Luca was a vampire and no one ever remembered him? Or that Chloe was a human? I think after the first 2 times, I got the point. Also, there was too much inner reflection and dialogue. I know it was an attempt to give the reader background information, but it made the flow of the story very choppy at times. So, if you can get past those issues, I think the series has promise. I gave it 3 stars on Goodreads.

She Smells the Dead

By:  EJ Stevens

It's the beginning of senior year and Yuki's psychic awareness of ghostly spirits is threatening to ruin her life. Her ability to sense spirits of the dead isn't glamorous like the ghost hunting on television.


The smell impressions are becoming stronger. Yuki is being visited in her dreams, and she suspects that her friend Calvin is involved in something strange. To make matters worse her crush on Garrett is going unrequited, Yuki's friend Emma is on a rampage against bee oppression, and annoying Calvin Miller mysteriously disappears.

Will Yuki be able to focus her powers in time to save the lost soul who is haunting her? Meanwhile, who will save Yuki from following the spirits into the light?

Overall, I thought the book was pretty good.  The story was interesting and unique for the most part.  I thought the characters were fairly clever and would probably appeal to the target audience.  I think if you're a Twilight fan you'd probably like this book.  I also really liked the cover.  I thought the model was really pretty and it made me want to read it more.

However, here is my honest critcism (and EJ I'm not saying this with any disrespect) this book was in serious need of a copy editor.  There were some you're/your whose/who's mistakes and places where punctuation wasn't correct.  Personally, I would have changed the spelling of "yah" to "yeah".  As a reader, I notice things like that and it takes away from the reading of the book because I start paying more attention to that and not the story itself.  My advice would be to use a freelance copy editor in the future or at least have a really nitpicky friend look over the manuscript.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

The Unblemished Copy

I read an article about how avid readers went out in droves over the weekend to pick up virgin copies of Freedom before the stores were inundated with ones slathered with Oprah's Book Club stickers.  That made me laugh because I was in Borders on Friday morning and they ALL said "Franzen IS Oprah's Bitch After All".  Not really.  But...they had the sticker.  Fortunately, I bought my copy a couple of weeks before all the brouhaha started.  Supposedly, my copy will be much much better than the ones laboring under the All Powerful Oprah Stamp of Approval

Tiger Tiger Tuesday

I think I'm seeing double...triple?

I recently saw this book reviewed

Two tiger cub brothers are town from the jungle and taken to Rome. The stronger cub is trained as a killer at the Coliseum. Emperor Caesar makes a gift of the smaller cub to his beautiful daughter, Aurelia. She adores her cub, Boots, and Julius, a young animal keeper, teaches her how to earn the tiger's trust. Boots is pampered while his brother, known as Brute, lives in a cold and dark cage, let out only to kill. Caesar trusts Julius to watch Aurelia and her prized pet. But when a prank backfires, Boots temporarily escapes and Julius must pay with his life. Thousands watch as Julius is sent unarmed into the arena to face the killer Brute.

And it reminded me of a book and I had JUST seen in the FSG Winter Catalog

One summer day, Margaux Fragoso swam up to Peter Curran at a public swimming pool and asked him to play. She was seven; he was fifty-one. When Curran invited her and her mom to see his house, the little girl found a child’s dream world, full of odd pets and books and music and magical toys. Margaux’s mother was devoted, but beset by mental illness and frightened of her abusive husband; she was only too ready to take advantage of an escape for the daughter she felt incapable of taking care of on her own. Soon Margaux was spending all her time with Peter.

In time, he insidiously took on the role of Margaux’s playmate, father, lover, and captor. Charming and repulsive, warm and violent, loving and manipulative, Peter burrowed into every aspect of Margaux’s life and transformed her from a girl fizzing with imagination and affection into a deadened, young-old woman on the brink of suicide. But when she was twenty-two, it was Peter—ill, and terrified at the thought of losing her—who killed himself, at the age of sixty-six.

With lyricism and mesmerizing clarity, Margaux Fragoso has unflinchingly explored the darkest episodes of her life, helping us see how pedophiles work hidden away in the open to steal childhood. In writing Tiger, Tiger, she has healed herself of a wound that was fourteen years in the making. This extraordinary memoir is an unprecedented glimpse into the heart and mind of a monster; but more than this, it illustrates the power of memory and truth-telling to mend.

And of course, there's the soon to be released

Teagan Wylltson's best friend, Abby, dreams that horrifying creatures--goblins, shape-shifters, and beings of unearthly beauty but terrible cruelty--are hunting Teagan. Abby is always coming up with crazy stuff, though, so Teagan isn't worried. Her life isn't in danger. In fact, it's perfect. She's on track for a college scholarship. She has a great job. She's focused on school, work, and her future. No boys, no heartaches, no problems.

Until Finn Mac Cumhaill arrives. Finn's a bit on the unearthly beautiful side himself. He has a killer accent and a knee-weakening smile. And either he's crazy or he's been haunting Abby's dreams, because he's talking about goblins, too . . . and about being The Mac Cumhaill, born to fight all goblin-kind. Finn knows a thing or two about fighting. Which is a very good thing, because this time, Abby's right.

The goblins are coming.

Here are more for your viewing pleasure...

Monday, September 20, 2010

In Hovering Flight

By:  Joyce Hinnefeld
Publisher:  Unbridled Books

Summary:  At 34 years of age, Scarlet has come home for the passing of her famous mother, the bird artist Addie Kavanaugh. The year is 2002. Though Addie and her husband, the world-renowned ornithologist Tom Kavanaugh, have made their life in southeastern Pennsylvania, Addie has chosen to die at the home of her dearest friend, Cora. This is because their ramshackle cottage in Burnham, Pennsylvania, is filled with so much history and because, in the last ten years or so, even birdsong has seemed to make Addie angry, or sad, or both. These are the things that Scarlet needs to understand. Cora and Lou (the third woman in Addie's circle) will help Scarlet to see her mother in full. In addition, Scarlet carries her own secret into these foggy days-a secret for Addie, one that involves Cora, too.

I received this book from Unbridled Book in anticipation of Joyce Hinnefeld's new book, Stranger Here Below, coming out next month.  I was unfamiliar with this author so I really didn't know what to expect and I certainly didn't expect to love this book as much as I did.

First off, the cover is so pretty!  It's hard to tell from the picture, but it's really lovely in person.  We're a bird family, which may contribute to why I liked this book so much.  We have 5 Hummingbirds and a new Mourning Dove that call our yard home, not to mention all the other birds that swoop in and out to snag some food.  In Hovering Flight is a perfect book for a bird lover!  My girls and I thought the bird on the cover was beautiful!

I enjoyed the way this book was written going back and forth in time to tell the story of this family's life.  Oftentimes this technique can become confusing, but the writing in this book was always very clear.  She also had a wonderful way of telling the same story from a differing point of view.  I loved seeing how a different character felt about a certain event. 

While this book was dealt with the death of a wife and mother, it wasn't always terribly sad.  There were a few teary eyed moment though. 

I'm generally not big on activist causes, but I do admire people who have that level of passion.  However, unless their family participates they get left out, which was the case in this book with Addie who becomes quite a radical activist.  Tom and Scarlet were often left behind and it was very interesting reading about their reactions and feeling and ultimately Addie's feeling. 

***slight spoilers ahead***

You learn in the book that Scarlet is pregnant, but I won't say who the father is because that's part of the secret.  I will say that I was really pleased with who the father is though.  I was pregnant during that same time that Scarlet got pregnant and I remember how emotional that time was, in terms of being pregnant while everything was going on.  I could relate to that part of the book.

***End Spoilers***

I hope to get to Stranger Here Below soon.  It looks like another good one!

Sunday, September 19, 2010

The Native Star

By: M.K. Hobson

Woo boy! Where to start? I guess the beginning is as good a place as any. I finished the first chapter before I knew what hit me. It was an absolutely brilliant beginning, it sucked me right into Hobson's 19th century America and made me hungry for more.

And she delivered. Some of the finest world building I've read this year. Quite possibly top 10 ever. Hobson is referring to this as "bustlepunk" I can't tell the difference between this and Steampunk and I really don't care, I think defining differences would be splitting hairs.

Dreadnought Stanton, Wizard. Oh what a cringe inducing name! I saw this and thought I was going to have to read pages of over done silliness; nope. I won't spoil it for you, but the origins of Dreadnought's name are explained and it made me smile.

Emily Edwards, Witch. Our girl Emily has real potential. My only complaint is that I don't think she has lived up to it in this book. But then I think, is that really such a bad thing? The fact that Emily didn't complete her journey in this book can be a good thing for the series (2nd book The Hidden Goddess - March 2011). Reflecting on Emily I thought that by the end of the book everything was happening to her. She didn't have much control and wasn't in charge of her own destiny. This did not ruin the book for me, Emily being a pawn was true to the story. It may not have been what I wanted for her, but it was logical. With the bonus that it gives us lots of material for the series.

The relationship between Emily & Dreadnought was brilliant. I can't think of a single word I would change.

But that brings me to a word I would change, Hemacolludinatious. This one word smacked of deus ex machina to me, and I found this one scene regrettable. It bothers me so much, because it was a singular wrong note in the story.

I did find some interesting political commentary in the book that I think could apply as true today. But if you're reading for enjoyment only it's very easy to keep it as just part of the story. You don't have to worry about being beat over the head with the author's politics.

I set the bar very high for a 5 star review or an A+ grade. To earn either of those a book has to change the way I think. It has to add something to my life that alters my viewpoint. That being said, I highly recommend The Native Star to anyone and everyone who enjoys a story with Fantastic or Magical elements. 4.5 Stars a solid A. I'll leave you with my favorite line from The Native Star.

Do not make the best the enemy of the good.

Saturday, September 18, 2010

What My Child is Reading

I found this new meme and thought it was a fun idea.  For those who don't know me personally, I have 3 daughters.  My oldest is almost 9 and the youngest are 6 year old twins.  All three are avid readers and go to a school that places a heavy emphasis on reading. 

My oldest has been reading The Dork Diaries: Tales From a Not-So-Popular Party Girl by Rachel Renee Russell.  She says that she really likes it and asked me to buy her the first book in the series.

The twins have been reading the primers from school.  I think they're trying to race the other kids in their class to get through them before everyone else. 

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Backseat Saints

By:  Joshilyn Jackson

Summary:  Ro Grandee is the perfect Texas housewife. She's determined to be nothing like her long-missing mother, the one who left her with only a heap of old novels and her father's fists for company, so Ro keeps quiet and takes her husband's punches like a lady. But Ro wasn't always this way. Underneath her pastel skirts and hidden bruises lies Rose Mae Lolley, teenaged spitfire, Alabama heartbreaker, and a crack shot with a pistol. Rose Mae is resurrected when a gypsy's tarot cards foretell doom for dutiful Ro: her handsome husband is going to kill her. Unless she kills him first.

Armed with only her wit, her pawpy's ancient .45, and her dog Fat Gretel, Rose Mae hightails it out of Texas. In a journey that is by turns harrowing and exhilarating, she uncovers long buried truths about her family and herself, running from the man who will never let her go, on a mission to find the mother who did.

My first Joshilyn Jackson was Gods in Alabama and I think that was a good place to start.  This book took a minor character from that book and told her story.  Between the two of these books Joshilyn Jackson has quickly become one of my favorite writers. 

This book deals with the very serious issue of spousal abuse and it pulls no punches.  It's dark and violent, but wonderfully crafted and told in such a way that you can help but want to know what's going to happen next.  Ro is a wonderful character and I loved learning her story, even though it was terrible and tragic. 

I got a big kick out of the book mentioning how nutty Southern Catholics are.  As a Southern Catholic, I could identify with it and laugh along.  The way the humor was deftly inserted in even the darkest places is a Southern characteristic that is wonderful and Jackson is a master!

**Edit to add** I got the audiobook for this at the library.  This was read by Joshilyn Jackson herself and she did a fabulous job!  Not all author read audiobooks turn out so well (I'm looking at YOU Stephen King).

If you're fan of Southern Lit, check out the 2010 Okra Picks.  Looks like they have some good choices on there!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Safe From the Sea Winners

The winners of the 2 copies of Safe From the Sea are Julie and Carol!  Congratulations Ladies!  Please check your email.

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Blogfest Winners

Prize Pack #1 was won by Lyan and Prize Pack #2 was won by Heather.  I've heard from both of them and I should have their packages out to them by tomorrow. 

I have the giveaway for Safe From the Sea open until tomorrow.  It's a great book, definitely check it out!

Unfortunately things have gotten extremely hectic around my house so I'm hoping things don't slow down on the blog, but if they do please don't hold it again me.  You should see my face right now, I'm doing the whole puppy dog eyes and halo thing.

Monday, September 13, 2010


I have been completely overwhelmed at the response from Blogfest!  We picked up about 300 followers.  Holy Cow!!  I hope that we will provide plenty of interesting content for y'all. 

I know everyone is eagerly anticipating winners.  I've done the randomize thingamajig and I've contacted the winners.  Once I either hear back from them or not and have to pick new ones then I'll make an announcement.  So...go check your email!!

Saturday, September 11, 2010


Four Stars

I liked this book. More than the first two in fact. I really think Carriger hit her stride with this story. The pacing was consistent and checking my reviews of Soulless and Changeless all the issues I had were fixed in this story and it also lived up to the promise the series showed in Soulless.

I'll call Changeless the sophomore slump and am eagerly awaiting Heartless.

If you haven't read the first two books, there will be small spoilers below.

My answer to the complaints about Lord Maccon's throwing over of Alexia, "Regardless, a werewolf fathering a child is like a vampire or a ghost producing offspring - patently ridiculous." To my way of thinking if Lord Maccon had not had a completely outraged reaction to Alexia's pregnancy it would not have read true. Remember, it is a FACT* in this world that werewolves can not father children.

*You know, the kind of facts everyone knows are true like the earth being flat and George Washington chopping down the cherry tree.

"I have died and gone to the land of bad novels." I loved this line. I think it gives a nod and wink to the reader, that there is some silliness to this entire world and we, the author, and the characters are all in on it. Silliness can be tiring, but a silly inside joke? Those are fun!

Ivy, Mrs. Tunstell. "At that, Professor Lyall gave Mrs Tunstell a sharp look. He wondered for the first time how much of Ivy was, in fact, comprised of dark curls and bigs eyes and ridiculous hats and how much of that was for show." Gold. I think this line could just as easily apply to the series as a whole. There are intelligent depths to these stories and are concealed under curls and ridiculous hats.

There is a strong thread of smart humor that runs through this story. The characters are beginning to fill out and become comfortable in their own skins. A vastly enjoyable story and highly recommended.

Thursday, September 9, 2010


It's finally time for Blogfest!!
**entries closed**
There are two prize packs...two separate entry forms...fill out one or both.   It's super easy, no extra entries, just name, email address, and out of curiosity I ask if you're a follower or not (it's not required to enter or win).  I'll most likely randomly pick winners on Monday morning.  I'll give the winners 48 hours to contact me and if I don't hear back I'll pick a new winner.  BTW...This IS open Internationally!

When you're done...go check out You Have How Many Kids?? That's the next stop on the blog hop.

ALSO...Don't forget about the massive BlogFest 2010 grand giveaway! Head on over to and click on the Tracking Site link to head to our own exclusive tracking site. Once there you can register with a valid email address (to be used solely for the purpose of contacting the winner). This site will allow you to track your progress through BlogFest 2010! You can log on from anywhere at any time and continue where you left off. The best part is that every blog that you visit and mark off through this tracking site will give you one entry into the massive giveaway! We have a great collection of books, goodies and other swag that is looking for a new home!

Now for my Giveaways...

Prize Pack #1 

Contains:  Linger by Maggie Steifvater, Fallen by Lauren Kate, Ash by Malinda Lo, Forget You by Jennifer Echols, and The Duff by Kody Keplinger

Prize Pack #2

Contains:  Dracula My Love by Syrie James, What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen, Safe From the Sea by Peter Geye, an audiobook of Fallen by Lauren Kate, and The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell

Blog Hop

Book Blogger Hop

I think my favorite post is my Fahrenheit 451 post I did today/yesterday...scroll down it's like the next post.

Parajunkee asks if we prefer ebooks or paper.  I prefer paper, but I really don't mind ebooks.  I have a kindle.  I really appreciate having it so I don't have to carry around a thousand books, so I can use services like NetGalley, so I can get the next book in the series in the middle of the night all snug in my bed.  It has it's place in my life :)

Wednesday, September 8, 2010

Safe From the Sea: Review and Giveaway

By:  Peter Geye

From Goodreads:  Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since. When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other. Meanwhile, Noah's own struggle to make a life with an absent father has found its real reward in his relationship with his sagacious wife, Natalie, whose complications with infertility issues have marked her husband's life in ways he only fully realizes as the reconciliation with his father takes shape. Peter Geye has delivered an archetypal story of a father and son, of the tug and pull of family bonds, of Norwegian immigrant culture, of dramatic shipwrecks and the business and adventure of Great Lakes shipping in a setting that simply casts a spell over the characters as well as the reader.

I had wanted to wait to post this a little closer to the publish date, which is September 28, but thanks to the great people at Unbridled Books, I got a copy of this a couple of weeks ago and fell in love with this book and couldn't wait!  There was also a little snafu in their shipping department so I ended up with a 2nd copy so guess what that means?  Giveaway!!

As I said, I loved this book.  LOVED. IT.   You know that song The Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald by Gordon Lightfoot?  (if you don't I suggest you go listen to it!)  I felt like it was that song, in a book.  It wasn't really, because it was nothing about the Edmund Fitzgerald, but it was about a shipwreck in the Great Lakes and the impact it had on this family's life. 

I really enjoyed the characters.  Noah and his dad seemed so real and alive.  I would have liked a little more information about where Noah's skiing went later in life, I assume he dropped it, but why and when?  I really hated Natalie when she first appeared in the book.  I felt like she was self absorbed and selfish and bratty, but later on in the book I decided she wasn't so bad.

I thought the author's best quality was writing the setting.  I would get so absorbed into the book, I'd look up and be completely suprised it was 90 degrees outside.  It seemed like I should be snowed in a cabin too!

So, I have 2 copies of this book I'll give away.  Just fill in the form below, easy peasy nothing hard and I'll pick a winner on 9/15.  Open internationally.   Winners will have to 48 hours to respond.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

The Butterfly Effect

By:  Andy Andrews

Blurb:  Speaker and New York Times best-selling author Andy Andrews shares a compelling and powerful story about a decision one man made over a hundred years ago, and the ripple effect it’s had on us individually, and nationwide, today. It’s a story that will inspire courage and wisdom in the decisions we make, as well as affect the way we treat others through our lifetime. Andrews speaks over 100 times a year, and The Butterfly Effect is his #1 most requested story.

My first impression of this book was that it was a very beautiful book.  It's small, but every page is full color and has very pretty graphic design work.  I was very impressed with it from that standpoint. 

The book talks about the chaos theory and how one decision now can lead to something momentous in the future.  I don't know if I necessarily agree with the examples set forth in the book.  I don't think the God of my understanding works that way, but if that's the way Mr. Andrews sees things that's ok, at least it made me think. 

This book would be a great Christmas present (Time to start thinking about that!!) for someone who might need a little pick-me-up or the Secret Santa at church. 

Monday, September 6, 2010

Warrior: The Blades of The Rose #1

By: Zoe Archer

Warning! Small spoilers.


It's trite to say "I wanted to like this", because that's true with every book I pick up. I wouldn't bother if I didn't want to enjoy the story.

First the positives. Indiana Jones style story where the heroine is the co-star not a supporting role. The mechanics of the writing were solid. Great premise, not terribly innovative - but fun so who cares?

Now on to why this book scrapes by with a barely passing C- grade.

1. The all encompassing and irresistible instantaneous lust of Thalia & Gabriel. Yawn... Listen I buy whatever magical system you're selling (provided it has rules and follows those rules), but you don't get to make up your own rules for how humans interact with each other.

2. I can't tell you of my love because gosh! we're just so darn busy and it'd be a huge distraction. This is in addition to the fact I don't believe they're in love. They're hot for each other and have these glorious inner monologues about how much they respect & admire each other - because a) they are beautiful b) they aren't an asshole c) ummm... I'm hot for them?

3. Heavy handed set up for the 3 books that are going to follow. And I mean HEAVY.

4. Gabe's Mongolian. Maybe, just maybe I could've believed it IF it had been dealt with earlier in the book. Even a throw away line about picking up a few languages during his service. As it was, it was done too late and then his "few words" became basic conversational level in the matter of about two weeks.

5. With the exception of Batu, no one can get these two into bed with each other fast enough.

6. And the biggest insult to my knowledge of human nature. Tribe has the magical object. Tribe has massive good luck because of this object. Oh bad guys are coming? Oh yes, here take the source of our good luck and success. Bye! Have fun storming the castle. WTF? No. Fail. And this was just the biggest issue I had with Thalia & Gabe's interaction with the tribe.

All this being said, book 2 will get a chance. Because of the good stuff. I did love the basic idea. There were numerous flashes of authentic behavior from the characters (which probably served to make the mis-steps more glaring). And I liked the idea of Thalia, if not the execution of the character. But most of all, Archer gets a little gold star for resisting the urge to red shirt (Star Trek reference) Batu.

Mixed Bag Monday

I've been putting together what I'm going to giveaway for Blogfest coming up in a few days (Sept 10-12) and so far I've come up with two giveaways.  First is a YA giveaway and second is more of an adult reading giveaway that I'll probably find more to add to it. 

This one contains:

Linger by Maggie Stiefvater
Fallen by Lauren Kate
Ash by Malinda Lo
Forget You by Jennifer Echols
The Duff by Kody Keplinger

I think this is a pretty awesome prize pack!!

And it will be open internationally  :)
This one (so far) has Dracula, My Love by Syrie James and What Alice Knew by Paula Marantz Cohen.  It will also be open internationally!
I'd really appreciate any spreading the word around!  Make sure y'all come back to enter!! (Sept. 10)

Yesterday I got to meet some fellow bloggers down in New Orleans.  We had brunch at Court of Two Sisters and then went to a writers workshop at Hotel Monteleone where they were having a book signing. 

If it weren't for it being Southern Decadence Festival and all the gay men about I think we would have been the best looking group there  ;)

I went to the book signing not really anticipating buying anything because I didn't know any of the authors other than Heather Graham and they weren't really to my taste because I don't typically read romance or paranormal, but once I got there a few books caught my eye and the authors were so nice and fun to talk to.

I bought:
The Harrowing by Alexandra Sokoloff (she was super nice!) signed and personalized
What Lies in the Shadow by Tina Wainscott signed and personalized
Control by Kayla Perrin signed and personalized

They were having a raffle for some baskets of books so most of us bought tickets.  One of us had already won a basket so I didn't think the chances of winning a basket was very good, but I won the last basket!  Yay me!!

In it was a bunch of New Orleans souvenirs, a T Shirts, and...

All signed by Allison Chase: Dark Obsession, Most Eagerly Yours, Dark Temptation, and a proof of Outrageously Yours
By Bonnie Vanak:  The Falcon and the Dove, The Panther and the Pyramid, The Tiger and the Tomb, The Sword and the Sheath (that title made me laugh), The Scorpion and the Seducer, The Cobra and the Concubine, The Lady and his Libertine
And there was an anthology called Holiday with a Vampire III

I also got a certificate for copy of The Gentling Box by Lisa Mannetti which will be released on September 30th.

So I came out with a LOT of books!!  I had a really great day.