Monday, March 30, 2009
Sunday, March 29, 2009
- Donna S.
- Mystery Robin
- Jessica Marie
Congrats to the winners and I will be sending you an email asking for your mailing addresses. Valerie from Hatchette Books will be send you out your copies :)
In reading news, I am currently reading Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells. This is a strong debut from a new author, and I've been really enjoying it so far. I would have been done with it now but life has gotten in the way a bit. Still trucking on America and the Age of Genocide as well. I finished Kitty Raises Hell this week and will be posting my reviews of the last two Kitty books soon. I also have a few more reviews to do and then I will be completely caught up going into April.
I didn't get a chance to read a lot this week as it was super busy. I started a new full-time job Tuesday which kept me on my toes. I will still be able to sub on Mondays which means a six day work week for awhile. Plus, my baby boy turned 6 on Thursday which meant celebration central here at our house. This is a picture of him and I this fall...getting ready to watch the Bears play. I've been playing Wii with him like crazy as he got a couple of new (addicting) games for it. Seriously, the Sonic/Mario brother Olympics is SO fun and really gives you a work out. My arms hurt. LOL! But it is cutting into my reading time quite a bit which isn't always a good thing. That is really all I have for you this week. I've gotta go start some laundry but I will be back to visit all of you. And thank you to all of those who left such nice comments on my blog this week. It always brings a smile to my face to hear from you :) Here is a picture of my baby girl as well...I realized I hadn't shared any in quite awhile.
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
The Book of Lost Things by John Connolly- The Once Upon a Time III Challenge just started and it is already adding to my TBR list. I read a review of this and couldn't resist.
Would-Be Witch by Kimberly Frost- I haven't a clue what this is about...I saw the cover and couldn't resist. I just had to grab it and take it home with me.
Monday, March 23, 2009
This was my first book by Alice Hoffman and I adored it. I'm cheating a bit by using the summary for Barnes and Noble but I couldn't figure out where to start summarizing. This cuts it down and gives you the gist without the spoilers so now I can share my thoughts. I loved this book and my first experience with this author. There is the hint of magic throughout the story but this book is mainly about love. The things that people will or won't do for love as well as the joys and pain that love causes. The beginning of the story moves quickly through the early years of Sally and Gillian's lives and their experiences and hardships that come from living with the Aunts. It then moves on to their lives as grown women and the moment that they are brought together again. There are no chapters in this book, rather the story is broken down into four (I believe) sections. Each of the parts of the story were woven together into the perfect story that it was. I was captivated with this novel and don't care if that is a cliche. LOL! :)
Sunday, March 22, 2009
This is getting a bit harder to do without spoilers for this series but here I go: Kitty has gone off to a cabin in the mountains to try and center herself after some recent bad experiences. What Kitty doesn't realize is that she attracts trouble like a magnet, and before she knows it is even happening trouble is at her doorstep in the form of Cormac and slaughtered animals. Cormac, the bounty werewolf hunter, brings his own form of trouble along with the fact that it looks like someone is trying to curse Kitty. There is never a dull moment when Kitty is involved :)
Gosh, even this is hard when you don't want to spoil future books for readers. I would have to say the developments in the relationship between Cormac, Ben, and Kitty. For all of you who have read this book that probably is pretty clear and for those who haven't I'm sorry. Give this series a try and you'll figure it out. I still think that Kitty is a strong, enjoyable main character who has a knack for getting herself into strange and dangerous situations. She gets stronger in every book and I'm liking that as a reader we get to see her grow as both a human and a werewolf. Plus, she isn't always sure of herself which makes her come across more realistically in these books. I also enjoy how easily I am pulled into these books...I look up and I've read 100 pages. They just keep me entertained and are all around fun reads.
Hmm...I don't have any complaints with this one. The end portion of the book with the Cormac situation was frustrating but not a dislike. I just wasn't expecting the author to take that direction which makes the series all the more interesting for me....which means that it probably doesn't count as a dislike. I think I'll stick with none on this one.
For all of you who are on the fence as to whether or not you should read this series, I say give it a try. It is unique and fun with a strong main character. I'm liking the series more and more as I go on with it which is always a good thing. Carrie Vaughn has created an intersting urban fantasy series that will appeal to anyone who enjoys the paranormal aspect in their books. Overall, good read and recommended!
My Rating: 4 out of 5
Challenges: Series Challenge 3, 100+ Book Challenge
Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time III criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.
I'm pretty sure I can handle 5 books although now I'm thinking that I am already going to have to change my reading list for the Spring Reading Thing. Go figure! Carl, the host, doesn't require a list that you plan to read other than he suggests making a pool of books that I can choose from. Here is what I have so far:
- Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr
- The Goose Girl by Shannon Hale
- Book of a Thousand Days by Shannon Hale ( I will read something by this author for this challenge)
- Briar Rose by Jane Yolen
- The Wood Wife by Terri Windling
- The Little Country by Charles de Lint
- Sorcery and Cecilia by Caroline Stevermer
Okay, that is what I have come up with on my own and with thanks to Eva's suggestions. I am completely out of my realm so any other ideas of "great or fun" books that fit this genre let me know. Comment away and I will add them to my pool of books!
Friday, March 20, 2009
- The Glass Castle by Jeanette Walls
- I Choose To Be Happy by Missy Jenkins
- The White Tiger by Aravind Adiga
- Blindness by Jose Saramago
- The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano
- Kissing Sin by Keri Arthur
- Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie
- A Madness of Angels by Kate Griffin
- A Great and Terrible Beauty by Libba Bray
- The Traitor's Wife by Susan Higginbotham
I ended up using a mix of books that are either on my challenge lists or that need to be read from my ARC pile. I didn't want to list too many more and overwhelm myself so hopefully I can finish these....and I hope that 10 isn't too much :) In other challenge news, I should probably mention somewhere on my blog that I have joined the Classics Challenge, the 1% Well Read Challenge, and the Orbis Terrarum Challenge but since I'm not making lists for these I was lazy and didn't do separate posts. Sorry to the hosts! Anyways, I'm looking forward to hearing what everyone else is reading for the Spring Reading Thing and all that good stuff.
Thursday, March 19, 2009
The Rest Falls Away by Colleen Gleason- I've had this one on hold and it just came in. I love a good vampire novel so I'm looking forward to this!
The Water's Lovely by Ruth Rendell- I was just browsing the shelves when I found this one and the description sounded sooo good. I couldn't resist...
Aunt Dimity and the Duke by Nancy Atherton- This for the 2nds and Themed Reading Challenge (my theme is cozy mysteries)
What I Loved by Siri Hustvedt- This is for the 1% Well Read Challenge and I've heard lots of good things about this one.
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins- Seriously, this one is all over the blogsphere....when I saw it on the shelves I snatched it up. I was practically jumping with joy :)
Dead Man's Folly by Agatha Christie- My book has this gorgeous black cover and is part of The Agatha Christie Mystery Collection so it doesn't actually look like this. The big library had these and they were so beautiful...plus I have a personal challenge to read all of her works.
Annette Vallon by James Tipton- This is for a group read and I may or may not get to it but it does sound interesting.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
I can't even begin to remember where I heard about this book but boy am I glad that I did. I was entranced by this novel which is about Ramses before he became king of Egypt. It begins with the first time that Ramses meets his father, the Pharoah of Egypt and Ramses is fourteen years old. From then on Ramses is never sure if his father is training him to be the next Pharoah or whether his destiny might lie as something other than king. The book continues on with the struggles that Ramses faces as well as the triumphs. Because not everyone wants Ramses to come to power including Ramses' older brother who plans on being Pharoah himself.
I loved this book! I was transported into Ancient Egypt with this novel and I was entralled. The writing was gorgeous and I was marking passages to share left and right. The best part of the book though was that the author captured my interest and I was caught up within the story. There were times that I just couldn't put the book down. Ramses was a strong and likeable character but realistic at the same time. He wasn't without his flaws and as the reader I wanted to see him overcome his enemies and become the future Pharoah. I'm really looking forward to the 2nd book in this series! Here is a little teaser to share a taste of this wonderful novel:
"A courageous man goes to the limit of his strength. A king goes beyond it. If that is not in you, you are not meant to rule and we will never see each other again. No test should daunt you. Leave, if you wish; otherwise, capture the bull."
All in all, this was a wonderful novel that I highly recommend to anyone that enjoys historical fiction. I'll be requesting the next one from the library asap. And this was my 3rd and final selection for the historical fiction reading challenge. I completed a challenge...woohoo :) I'll be posting a wrap-up soon for this one.
My Rating/Recommendations: 4.5 out of 5 and recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction!
Challenges: Historical Fiction Reading Challenge, New Author challenge, 100+ Book Challenge, Support Your Library Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("J" Author), 1st in a Series Challenge
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
Hi guys! I'm lucky enough to be able to giveaway a copy of The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler. It is only open to U.S. and Canda residents though and cannot be sent to a P.O. Box. But those are the only rules :) So if you want a chance to win leave a valid email address in the comments section of this post and I will draw a winner on Sunday March 22nd.
Book Information:Turn-of-the-century Paris was the beating heart of a rapidly changing world. Painters, scientists, revolutionaries, poets--all were there. But so, too, were the shadows: Paris was a violent, criminal place, its sinister alleyways the haunts of Apache gangsters and its cafes the gathering places of murderous anarchists. In 1911, it fell victim to perhaps the greatest theft of all time--the taking of the Mona Lisa from the Louvre.Immediately, Alphonse Bertillon, a detective world-renowned for pioneering crime-scene investigation techniques, was called upon to solve the crime. And quickly the Paris police had a suspect: a young Spanish artist named Pablo Picasso....Please visit www.hooblerauthors.com
Doesn't that sound interesting? I have a copy myself that I will be reviewing next month. Good luck to everyone :)
Saturday, March 14, 2009
Thursday, March 12, 2009
By Terry Spear
Ever read a story that doesn’t have one? If so, was it booooring? We’ve got to have them to make the reader want to see what happens in this lifetime, not the next!
In Lord of the Rings, the ring must be destroyed before the evil guy gets hold of it.
In Gone with the Wind, Scarlet O’Hara has to save her plantation home before she loses it.
In Destiny of the Wolf, the heroine is determined to discover who murdered her sister and make the villain pay. But not only does that person not want her to expose him for what he is, her own pack is looking for her and they’re bad news. She knows the longer she stays in the area, the greater chance she has of ending up like her sister or getting caught by her pack and forced to return home against her will. So there’s definite immediacy to the situation.
Excerpt from Destiny of the Wolf:
“More than ever, she had to avenge her sister’s murder and leave. The longer she stayed, the higher the risk Bruin would locate her. Probably Darien would want to contact the leader and tell him what happened to her sister and Lelandi. Sense of honor. Then Bruin would force her to return home.”
In Heart of the Wolf, Bella has to leave her pack behind in a hurry. Not tomorrow. But now. Excerpt:
“She bolted, with her legs stretched far out, her heart pounding, her breath steady, but her mind frantic...her only chance was to toss her clothes and run like the wolf.”
In the first novel I ever wrote, the span of time for the story was a year. A year to deal with tons of issues, but a year was way too much time for the story to drag on.
So when creating a story, I factor in urgency, which helps to create conflict. Think of a scenario where a Cub Scout is baking a cake from scratch and everything works out fine. No urgency, no conflict. Boring. But let’s say the Cub Scout has all the ingredients out but one, and that one isn’t in the kitchen. And the cake has to be ready in two-hours time. And we live in the country. So it takes half an hour driving time just to run into town to get the missing ingredient. Let’s say the ingredient is now in the kitchen, and the Cub Scout makes the cake, trims it into a Star Wars spaceship. It’s sitting nice and pretty on the high kitchen counter waiting for the icing, and then will be taken to the Bake Auction, which is one of the most fun Cub Scout events they have. But his standard poodle who is a chocolate stealing thief swipes it. Okay, now yes I write urban fantasy. But yes, this is a totally true story. And yes, the dog got sick, which is the reason we had the cake up on the high counter. But that didn’t detour her and we never thought in a million years she’d do that anyway.
So we have even greater urgency. The Bake Auction is looming even closer. Cub Scout is at wits end. It has to be a cake made from scratch, but there’s not enough time to make another one like that. So we whip out the box cake mix and despite being so disappointed that he’s “cheating” with making a box cake, he starts all over.
Ticking time bombs. They have to be sprinkled throughout the story to make it work. So what happened with the Star Wars cake? Friends kept bidding the price higher so that the Cub Scout’s dad HAD to buy it at the highest price at the auction. Had to! Because the Cub Scout had to have a piece of that cake that he’d worked so hard to make—twice.
So can you think of books that kept you riveted in your seat because of the time bombs planted throughout the story?
Thanks so much for dropping by and hope you will check out my books that are filled with conflict, romance, and mystery!
And join me at this locations, too!
http://wickedlyromantic.blogspot.com/2009/03/talk-about-sexual-frustration.html (Here I'm talking about sexual frustration in the strangest of places! But check out our Mascot, AKA The Blond Muddy Guy!)
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Sunday, March 8, 2009
I've got a bunch of review books that I need to get to and one that I am really looking forward to is Red-Headed Stepchild by Jaye Wells. This is an urban fantasy (one of my favorite genres) and the reviews I've read on it so far have me excited to read it. Plus, check out that cover...so excited about it!
Wednesday, March 4, 2009
This week I was lucky enough to have two authors agree to guest post here. Helen Hollick is the author of the amazing novel The Kingmaking which I just reviewed. This book was awesome (as if I haven't gushed enough about it) and I am so excited to here what she has to say.
The Pendragon’s Banner Trilogy
The Kingmaking ~ Pendragon’s Banner ~ Shadow of the King
I had no interest in history at school. The lesson I looked forward to was English. Mrs Llewellyn brought passion to the subject and suggested such exciting novels for us to read. She encouraged my writing and spent time showing me how to make my essays better—advice I have never forgotten and am willing to pass on to other new authors.
After leaving school I found a job as an assistant at my local library. While working there I re-discovered Rosemary Sutcliff’s wonderful novels set in Roman Britain – Eagle of the Ninth, Frontier Wolf, Mark of the Horse Lord etc, and then Mary Stewart’s Hollow Hills Trilogy - and I had discovered the real Arthur.
I had never liked the traditional Arthurian stories. I could not accept that King Arthur of the medieval tales was so poor at being a king. To become King, and then abandon his Kingdom in search of the Holy Grail? Surely he would have foreseen the affair between Lancelot and Guinevere?
Mary Stewart’s novels had an author’s note where she stated that if Arthur had existed he would have been a post-Roman war lord. I liked that idea and read as much about the ‘real’, more interesting Arthur as I could.
I also read novels, but was frustrated with most of them. They were not how I saw things. I was so annoyed at one of them that I threw the book away. That made my mind up. I was going to write my ideas of what might have really happened.
There would be no knights in armour, turreted castles or Holy Grails, No myth, no magic. No Lancelot, no Merlin. Instead, I went back to the early Welsh legends of Arthur and his wife, Gwenhwyfar. The early legends turned out to be far more exciting than the other stories. This Arthur was real.
I wanted to bring Arthur alive to put flesh and bone on the names we are familiar with – to make my readers think “Yes, that is how it was!”
My characters were to be people no different to us – yes the situation was very different – no running water, no heating, electricity or plumbing. All food had to be hunted or grown, no medical services … but people do not change, emotions remain the same. They loved and hated, wept and laughed. Were compassionate or spiteful.
It took me ten years to finish the Kingmaking – I was so proud when finally I finished. Even more proud when my good friend Sharon Kay Penman recommended me to her agent, who passed me to William Heinemann/ Random House UK. And now Sourcebooks Inc have renewed the pride by publishing this fabulous new edition.
Main Website: www.helenhollick.net
My Pirate Novels: www.myspace.com/cptjesamiahacorne
1066 the Movie: www.myspace.com/haroldgodwinson
Thanks so much to Ms. Hollick for taking the time out to share this with us! I have to admit to being curious as to why she decided to write this book as well as take such a realistic spin on this story. If you haven't had the chance yet, definitely check this book out as it will be worth your time :) And if you want to read more reviews, interviews, and guest posts on this book then check out the links below!
http://lazyhabits.wordpress.com/2009/02/20/the-kingmaking/ 2/21 and interview 2/27
http://lilly-readingextravaganza.blogspot.com/2009/02/kingmaking-by-helen-hollick.html 2/23 and guest blog 2/25
http://peekingbetweenthepages.blogspot.com/ 2/26 and guest blog 2/27
http://savvyverseandwit.blogspot.com / 3/2 and interview 3/3
http://readersrespite.blogspot.com/ 3/3 and interview on 3/5
Whenever Jazz needed to do research she visited The Library and if you who have read the Hex series you know The (long e) Librarian is the one to torment Jazz, guide her to the correct research realm, but also make her work for it. He does the same when Stasi seeks answers in Wicked By Any Other Name and leaves her with more questions than enlightenment.
And now The Librarian has decided it’s time to have a talk with the young witchlings about the dangers of venturing outside the protected magickal realms. But he forgets that maybe some of these witchlings might see it as more of an adventure!
The witchlings sat in a semi-circle around the ornate chair that resembled a throne. But then, the wizard seated in the chair did think of himself as a member of wizard royalty even if his kingdom consisted of many portals and realms that held books, scrolls, papyruses and even stone tablets filled with every form of magick and magickal history known to the supernatural community. And woe be to anyone who dared interfere with The (long e if you please) Librarian who ruled his kingdom with an iron plumed pen. Banishment from The Library was one of his favorite punishments.
The short bodied wizard wore old-fashioned bottle green colored knee britches, a faded waistcoat over a linen shirt the color of old parchment and a bottle green long tailed coat. Narrowed black eyes peered at the witchlings over the rim of
ancient half-spectacles perched on his beaklike nose, while his thinning brown hair was fashioned in a neat comb over.
“As you mature and gain full use of your magickal gifts, you must always consider your behavior,” he spoke in a rusty voice. After all, why speak when you can better use your time reading? “ There are those who haven’t carried themselves with the poise and grace your kind are known for and as such, they were banished to the earthly realm for the past 700 years.”
“The class of 1313,” one dark-haired witchling piped up. “But they have all had such rich lives.” She didn’t cower under The Librarian’s censuring look and the wizard knew she would cause trouble in decades to come.
“And they have had much trouble they could have avoided,” he said. “Such as Anastasia Romanov, Stasi,” his nose wrinkled with distaste. “She was one of the Witches Academy shining jewels and she chose to follow her classmates into banishment and ultimately living in a small town that offers little in magicakal enrichment.” He placed his fingers together steeple fashion and sat back in the chair, enjoying the rapt attention the young girls gave him. “By consorting withumans she was threatened with a lawsuit in Wizards’ Court and treated as a pariah among those she walked with. She was a shopkeeper.” His upper lip curled. “
“And a handsome wizard named Trevor Barnes walked into her shop and saw red hearts over her head, the same over his head that meant that they were soulmates,” another sighed. “
“Yes, well.” Clearly not something the prissy wizard cared to think about. “But she had taken care of the lake in her town and that was harmed by magick. She had been accused of interfering with a human’s marriage, and she learned that many did not see her as anything other than a creature of the dark arts.”
“But she wasn’t!” a student protested. “She only wanted women to be happy with themselves. It was wrong of them to see her as evil. To treat her so shabbily.”
“And that is what happens when you interact with others who have no idea of what you truly are,” he instructed. “Anastasia – there was no way The Librarian would use her nickname – was reminded of her time in Olde Salem during the Witch Trials and she fought many battles during a time when the veils of the realms were the thinnest. When Samhain connected with Mercury Retrograde and a lunar eclipse. When ghosts could not understand troubles in their own realms and modern conveniences proved to be useless as the snow fell on their town and took out power.” He glanced at the torches burning along the walls and candles on his worktable. “Some things are best left alone. In order to understand what can happen to you among humans you must study those who have walked among them. Anastasia and others have been among them for 700 years and while they may have performed their share of good deeds along the way, they also have created trouble that has only added to their banishment.”
“But they’re allowed here in The Library,” one witchling inserted. “I have seen Jazz, Griet,” she quickly amended under his glare, “and Blair, ur, Eilidh, and others from that class.”
“Yes, well, Eurydice,” he named the headmistress of the Witches Academy along with being the head of the Witches Council, “has deemed they be allowed to come here. Naturally, I make sure they follow all the rules.” A scroll that appeared to weigh a least 1000 pounds suddenly appeared then plopped itself on his desk.
The witchlings stared at the scroll of rules and fervently hoped they wouldn’t have to memorize them all. The Librarian is well known for inventive punishments if you break one of his ironclad rules.
“But Stasi is happy now,” the dark haired witchling reminded him. “Isn’t that what counts?”
The Librarian sniffed. “Perhaps you need to study more of our history as you help dust the shelves.” He smiled at the memory of that particular realm being miles long.
What about you? Would you prefer to stay in a safe orderly world such as The Librarian’s or would you rather venture out into the outside world as Stasi did even if her time there includes danger and the threat of her world never being the same again?