Wednesday, December 31, 2008

Matrimony Winner

Sorry, I totally forgot to post this but the lucky winner of a copy of Matrimony is:

Anita Yancy!!!
Congratulations Anita and thanks to everyone who stopped by. I'm going to try and have a few more contests in the new year so stay tuned. Anita I will be sending you an email for your address and then I will pass the info on to Mr. Henkin.

Sunday, December 28, 2008

Challenges 2009

So be prepared for the longest post about challenges ever! I've been completely lazy and haven't posted about any of the challenges I've been wanting to join...until now. I totally understand if all of those non-challenge addicted people skip over this post :) And without further ado here we go:

I've joined a bunch of new challenges and the first one I joined was the Jackie's New Author challenge. This one will *hopefully* be easy for me and all I have to do is read 25 new to me authors. Next up, I joined Naida's Romance Reading Challenge. I failed this one miserably last year but I also made a list last year. I'm not doing that this time as I like my reading to be more open and not too regimented. I've been reading a lot of paranormal romances so I should be able to finish this one just fine :) And I only have to read 5 books for this challenge.

I joined JKaye's Young Adult, Seconds, First in a Series, and Support Your Library Challenges. AACK! The Support Your Library Challenge will by a synch as I always go to the library and I signed up for only 25 books. The rest of those challenges each require me to read 12 books and I will be listing them as I read them.

Awhile ago I joined both the Series 3 Challenge and the Book Awards Challenge and neither of which have I been working on. Yikes! So here is my post for these as well and I will begin on these starting now :) Once again I'm not posting lists but for the Series 3 challenge I'm thinking on trying to catch up with the Twilight series or the Sookie series by Charlaine Harris. I'll let you know when I decide.

I'm also joining the Themed Reading Challenge which requires me to read only 4 books with a connecting theme...I'm taking the simplest route. I've decided on cozy mysteries for my theme but haven't made a list in keeping with my free spirit mode. Now there are going to be a couple of challenges I join that I actually make lists for and I will be posting those separately later this week. I'm joining the TBR 2009 and the Winter Reading Challenge which I will make my lists up for. Maybe even later today if I'm feeling motivated. I've decided not to officially join the A-Z Challenge as I really don't care if I finish this one but will be doing it in my sidebar unofficially. Just for fun to see how far I can get next year. I really want to join a historical fiction challenge but haven't seen any that aren't open to any time period. Does anyone know if the Back to History challenge is being hosted again in 2009? JKaye, this would be a great challenge ;) (I'm just saying that since you are the challenge queen). I'm considering the Year of Reading Dangerously but that might be overdoing it. Hah! Like I haven't overdone it already :)
Alright, I'm done for now. I'm sure I'll join a few more as the year progresses...I should join one to read more of the classics since I really need to work on that. Thanks to all of the challenge hosts and I'm excited for 2009. Shoot, I just remembered that I joined the 100+ Challenge by JKaye as well. I've read 70+ this year so we'll see if I can improve on that number next year.

Friday, December 26, 2008

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer

There isn't much I can say about Twilight that hasn't already been said. The book begins with Bella moving to a little town and meeting Edward. She figures out that Edward is a vampire and falls in love with him. Talk about a brief summary but that gives you the main highlights without divulging too many details.
Now for my thoughts: I liked this book. It was a great beginning to this series and I'm glad that I picked it up. That being said I'm not going to rave about it because while I enjoyed it, it didn't blow me away or anything. Stephanie Meyer is a talented author for this being her first book and I'll definitely be picking up her other books. Edward and Bella's story captured me enough that I found myself not wanting to put the book down. I wanted to see them have a happy ever after...I had to force myself to put the book down at times to get things done around my house. The last portion of the book was suspenseful and had me turning the pages trying to see how it would all play out. It wasn't one of the best books I've ever read but it was enjoyable. All in all, a good read especially for a young adult novel and I will be picking up the next book to see how this story continues.
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

On a side note: I'm WAY behind in reviews! It isn't looking good folks as I can't seem to stop reading which means I'm falling further and further behind. I have a couple of books that need to be reviewed so I may do some reviews out of order just to get them done. Plus, I have challenges to post about and other blog misc. Don't forget about my contest that is going on until Dec. 29. I hope everyone had a happy holidays and is looking forward to the new year. And thank you to everyone that stops by here and takes the time to comment. It really makes my day to hear from you guys :)

Monday, December 22, 2008


To celebrate the end of my 1st year of blogging (in actuality I've been blogging for a little over a year but close enough) I've decided to hold a giveaway. Joshua Henkin, author of Matrimony, was kind enough to say that he will send one reader a copy of his new book. I just recently received a copy and am excited to read and review it. I received an email from Mr. Henkin urging readers to buy books this year and I couldn't agree more. But what is better than winning a book? Nothing! Matrimony was on some of the best-selling lists and Mr. Henkin has been talking to reading groups all over the place. I'm looking forward to reading and think that you should be too! I'm going to make this contest short, easy, and sweet. To sign up all you have to do is leave a comment. The winner will need to email me there address and Mr. Henkin will send you a copy of his book :) The contest ends December 29 right before hopefully a great 2009.

Friday, December 19, 2008

Stray by Rachel Vincent

I'm working hard on catching up on reviews and this was one of those books that started my review backup because I just couldn't put it down. Stray is the 1st in this series and introduces us to Faythe who is a werecat. Her father is the leader of the Pride, a large group of werecats, and has always kept a close eye on Faythe as she is one of the few female werecats. Trouble is brewing in the sense that two of the females are missing and there are no leads to who has taken them and why. Before Faythe knows it she is caught up in the middle and is trying to find the answers to who has taken her friends. Faythe is a feisty main character with a lot of spunk that had me rooting for her from the beginning. She is also dealing with being around her ex-boyriend who has obvious feelings for her and her overprotective father and brothers. Faythe had her flaws which in my opinion made her all the more likeable.
This book captivated me from the beginning and I was turning the pages as fast as I could. The author gave the reader a fresh twist on the paranormal and I've gotta admit that this book blew me away. I just really enjoyed it can't say enough good things about this book. There were a few scenes that were hard to read but I don't want to share for fear of spoilers. Not enough to take away from the book at all. I'm impressed as I believe that this is the author's 1st book. I've already picked up the next book from the library and am anxious to start it. Great read!
My Rating: 4.5 out of 5

Tuesday, December 16, 2008

Be Buried in the Rain by Barbara Michaels

Be Buried in the Rain has been on my TBR list for awhile now as it was mentioned in one of the Yahoo groups I'm in and sounded good so I knew I wanted to read it. I was in the mood for a gothic thriller and this didn't disappoint. Be Buried in the Rain begins with Julie returning to Maidenwood, the place where she spent a few years growing up, to take care of her aunt Martha. Unfortunately, Maidenwood holds nothing but bad memories for Julie and she has very few good feelings toward Martha who terrorized her as a child. Bones of a woman and child have recently been found and thought connected to Maidenwood and before Julie knows it things begin to take omnious turns.
I loved the way that the author was able to create a creepy, atmospheric novel that drew me into the story. The author kept me guessing until the end especially in regards to Martha. Great read, and I'm glad that I am finally able to cross it off my TBR list.
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Sunday, December 14, 2008

Dropping By...

I know that Sunday is usually my day to visit everyone's blogs but I'm in Harry Potter withdrawal. Sorry guys but I've got nothing for you. Harry Potter and the Half Blood Prince was amazing and now I am completely drained... will be back when I can think about something other than this series and how it is going to play out in the final book. Heck, I couldn't even think of a title for this post.

Wednesday, December 10, 2008

Forever Lily by Beth Nonte Russell

Forever Lily is a memoir that begins with Beth Nonte Russell traveling with her friend Alex to China. Alex is going to China to bring home the daughter that she is adopting and asks to Beth to go along with her. Before and during the trip, Beth has vivid dreams of living in China in a past life. Unfortunately, once they have the baby Alex begins withdrawing from her and Beth begins caring for the baby instead. And then comes the time when Alex says she can't take the baby and has changed her mind. Beth has a decision to make and this book takes us through her journey as she realized that she cannot leave the baby behind.
Wow! I had strong feelings about this book but it pulled me into two different directions. The journey that Beth takes the reader on, that she actually experienced for herself is amazing. She shares the horrors of seeing the orphanage where the baby was living and hard it was to walk away from the children living there. It is easy to understand how and why she grows attached to the baby and to see the reasoning on why she doesn't want to leave the baby behind. Also the difficulties she faces with Alex are portrayed which was interesting to read about as well.
On the other hand, I had a hard time with this book at the beginning because of our different belief systems (I guess that is the best way to put it). The author obviously believes in past lives and believes that she was from China in a previous life. She shared her "dreams" that she was having and they were very vivid and detailed. I had a hard time reconciling this until I finally just let go. I decided to read the book with more of the opinion that this was her beliefs and even if I was skeptical to just read and enjoy. Once I did that I enjoyed the book much more and found the author's story much more satisfying.
All in all, I enjoyed this story especially as I am a mother myself. The ending of this memoir was immensely satisfying and I'm glad that I gave this book a try. Thanks to the author for sending me this one to review!
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Sunday, December 7, 2008

Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris

Grave Sight was the first in this series and my introduction to Harper and Tolliver who are the main characters of this story. Harper was struck by lightning when she was younger and now can find the dead as well as see the last few moments leading up to their death. She makes a living by going to different places and helping people find answers to different situations involving dead or missing persons. But the missing persons have to be dead for her to be able to do anything. Tolliver is Harper's stepbrother and main support system who accompanies her around the country. Harper is called to a small town where she finds the body of a missing girl but before she knows it she is caught up in a mystery and danger is all around her.
I really liked Harper and thought that her "gifts" as you might call them led to an interesting read. I was wrapped up in this book and thought that it was a fast paced read. On the other hand, one of my dislikes (if you can call it that) was that Harper and Tolliver had a weird relationship. I didn't quite understand where the author was going with it so I'm eager to see how it evolves in the next book in this series. It was just different to be honest and I couldn't quite get a handle on it. I really enjoyed this book and will be continuing on with this series though. I'm a sucker for a mystery with some paranormal thrown in which is what this was. Harris is a fairly new author for me as I've only read one other book by her and I'm interested in reading more of her works.
My Rating: 4 out of 5

Monday, December 1, 2008

Murder on the Down Low by Pamela Samuels Young

I'm always up for a mystery so when this book came to me for review I was excited to get started on it. Young is a new author for me and writes a mix of mystery/legal thriller. The story begins with the death of a wealthy, prominent African-American man and takes off from there. Early on we are shown that he is having an affair with another man but is married to a woman hence the term "down low". Before you know it there are a few more deaths and one of the detectives on the case is starting to think that they have a serial killer. Mix that up with four friends that are mourning the loss of their close friend Maya. Maya died from aids that she contracted from her husband who was also having a gay affair. All of a sudden it looks like the serial killer theory is more than a theory and that the killer is targeting men on the down low.
This was an interesting read for me. It started off a bit slow but before I knew it I was sucked into the characters lives and trying to figure out who the killer might be. The author took on the difficult issue of aids and homosexuality. I thought the author did a good job providing a lot of information and some fair viewpoints on the issues at hand. The ending took me by suprise as I didn't have a clue to who the killer was. All in all, an interesting read and I'm thankful to the author for sending me this to review.
My Rating: 3.5 out of 5
Challenges: A-Z Challenge ("Y" Author)