Monday, March 30, 2009

New Moon by Stephanie Meyer

From Barnes and Noble's website:
I FELT LIKE I WAS TRAPPED IN ONE OF THOSE TERRIFYING NIGHTMARES…For Bella Swan, there is one thing more important than life itself: Edward Cullen. But being in love with a vampire is even more dangerous than Bella ever could have imagined. Edward has already rescued Bella from the clutches of one evil vampire, but now, as their daring relationship threatens all that is near and dear to them, they realize their troubles may be just beginning. . .

My Thoughts:

Sorry guys but really do you need more of a description than that? Everyone in the world seems to have already read these and of course I'm behind the times. My opinion on this book basically comes down to this: I liked this one better than Twilight. It still wasn't amazing or anything but I found myself enjoying it and wanting to pick it up again after setting it down. I've read the reviews and a lot of people find Bella annoying in this one. It didn't bother me that much but I found myself wanting her to look at Jacob as more than a friend. What it comes down to for me is that they are teenagers with those kind of emotions, and reading these books brings me back to all of it. I was less dramatic than Bella as a teenager but I remember being completely in love for the first and the first time that my heart was broken. Maybe that is why these books are so successful, because we identify with some of the emotions that the characters go through. Notice I said some and not all :) I like the way that we got to see the experiences that Jacob goes through in this book and by the end I was definitely rooting for him over Edward. Although I am pretty sure that Meyer is going to take it in the opposite direction. All in all, a good but not great book and I'll eventually get to Eclipse.

My Rating: 4 out of 5
Challenges: 2nds Challenge, YA Challenge, 100+ Book Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("N" Title)

Sunday, March 29, 2009

The Sunday Salon- Random Book Stuff

Good morning everyone! It is another Sunday morning with snow on the ground. Yuck! Although it does make for a perfect day of staying inside warm, reading, and blog visiting. Or in my case catching up on a week's worth of stuff that I've been neglecting. First thing though, I need to share the winners from The Crimes of Paris giveaway. I was supposed to tell you a week ago but completely forgot about it. Sorry! But I have good news...I now have 5 copies to giveaway which means 5 winners. The winners are:
  • Trish

  • Donna S.

  • Mystery Robin

  • Jessica Marie

  • Kristi

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

Library Loot and Random Thoughts

Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by myself and Alessandra that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!

Just a few this week as I already have way too many checked out. I was reading other participant's posts for this week and wanted to state that I, too, am a library addict. And proud of it :) Here is what I found:

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.

Fables: Legends in Exile by Bill Willingham- Another one that I had to give a try because of all you enablers :)

That's it for my library loot this week. I completely understand if readers want to stop reading here as I may go on to rant and ramble in the next paragraph. Just ignore me if you are so inclined and I will understand :) Of course, I'm behind in the times and just came across the discussion going on at Amy's blog about community and parasitic book bloggers. A blogger anonymously commented their thoughts on other blogs out there and blew me away. Not in a good way. I left my two cents but kept it short and sweet. But as I'm still chewing on it and stewing over it ( I hungry or what?) I had to post a bit about it. Basically, anonymous alluded to the fact that they have a "top tier" blog and that there are too many blogs out there that aren't as good as theirs and shouldn't receive review copies because of this. I'm taking review copies out of the equation because they don't matter to me. Review copies aren't what makes me blog, books are. I may not be the best reviewer out there and I am okay with that. I may not have the most followers or visitors and I am okay with that too. What I am not okay with is somebody telling me that my blog isn't good enough because it doesn't get thousands of visitors or because I don't write the best reviews. I put a lot of effort and thought into my blog posts and that is what matters. It disgusts me that someone can get on their high horse and say that others aren't good enough. Who made you judge of all of the parasitic (did I even spell that write?) book blogs? Others felt that Anonymous should have shared who they were for various reasons...mine is pretty simple. That is the type of person that I do not want to be "rubbing shoulders" with or taking the time to comment on their posts for. And for those of you who take the time to visit and comment a HUGE thank you! I appreciate each and every one of you which is why I take time out of my week to comment on all of your blogs. I feel better now :)

P.S.- Thanks to Kimberly at Darque Reviews and Kara at World According To Books for the awards...sorry ladies but I've been too busy to post about them sooner. I do appreciate them and love both of your blogs!!!
P.P.S.- One good thing came out of the discussion and that is I added a Site Meter...something I had never even considered doing before.

Kitty and the Silver Bullet by Carrie Vaughn

Sorry guys, I'm a bit late on posting these last couple of reviews but I've been really busy. I started a brand new job this week and it is probably going to take me a bit to adjust. Don't worry though as I'm still finding time to read in the midst of chaos :)

***Minor Spoilers*** SORRY!!!!

Seriously, you can't even read the back cover of this book if you haven't read the previous 3 in the series without something being given away. I will try not to spoil anything but don't say I didn't warn you.

Kitty is heading back to Colorado and her hometown Denver which is something she thought she would never do. Her mother is sick and she realizes that she has to go back. The vampires are having problems back in Denver as there is a power struggle going on. Of course Kitty finds erself in the midst along with dealing with her former pack.

I am happy to say that I have yet to not like a Kitty book and of course this one doesn't disappoint. Kitty is stronger than ever and while she did have a few "weaker" moments, it wasn't anything huge that took away from her as a character. In fact, I thought that this book made her even more likeable and easy for me to relate to. And that is important sometimes...that the reader can relate to the main character and the choices that they make. There were twists that I didn't see coming at times and this was a real page turner. I like that we continue to see Detective Hardin in these books as she struggles to regulate and investigate cases relating to the supernatural. In talking to other readers of this series, I have to voice my opinion that I really like the relationship that Kitty is in. I've heard that some readers wanted it to go in another direction but I like the way that it is turning out. All in all, another strong read in this urban fantasy series. I am becoming a HUGE fan of Carrie Vaughn!

My Rating: 4.5 out of 5
Challenges: 100+ Book Challenge, Series 3 Challenge

Monday, March 23, 2009

Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman

Summary from Barnes and Noble:
For more than two hundred years, the Owens women had been blamed for everything that went wrong in their Massachusetts town. And Gillian and Sally endured that fate as well; as children, the sisters were outsiders. Their elderly aunts almost seemed to encourage the whispers of witchery, but all Gillian and Sally wanted was to escape. One would do so by marrying, the other by running away. But the bonds they shared brought them back-almost as if by magic...

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! :)

One of the things that kept me on edge with this book is that you never knew what was going to happen next. Hoffman includes enough twists and turns to keep the reader slightly off balance and trying to figure out the ending. I loved it and was inclined to read later and later into the night. The author wrote about love throughout the story and one particular passage that I marked said:

"This girl had no right to demand anything more. What had she thought, that love was a toy, something easy and sweet, just to play with? Real love was dangerous, it got you from inside and held on tight, and if you didn't let go fast enough you might be willing to do anything for its sake."

After reading that, don't you just love the way the author writes? She writes in such a fluid, descriptive way that I was able to picture the characters in my head with the way that she wrote them. I would hazard a guess that this book fits in with the magical realism genre which is a first for me. It definitely won't be my last though and I am going to be reading more from this author soon. I finally got the chance to see why Hoffman is a favorite of so many. What a magical tale and a perfect way to end the Winter Reading Challenge!

My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5 and recommended to those who enjoy a great story with magical elements!
Challenges: Winter Reading Challenge, Year of Reading Dangerously, New Author Challenge, 100+ Reading Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("P" Title), Support Library Challenge

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Kitty Takes a Holiday by Carrie Vaughn

Give a brief summary of the book:

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.

Additional Thoughts?

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

Once Upon a Time III Challenge

Color me crazy but I cannot resist joining in on the fun for the Once Upon a Time III Challenge. I've never participated before (although last year I might have signed up and forgotten about it) and I'm looking forward to giving this challenge a try. I don't read a lot of fantasy besides urban fantasy so I'm going to attempt to stretch my limits with this challenge. I've decided to sign up for quest one which means:

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

Glass Houses by Rachel Caine

Glass Houses is the first book in the Morganville vampire series and it was a great start to this YA series. Claire is beginning her first year of college and although she is only sixteen, she is very smart for her age. In the dorm where Claire lives, a girl named Monica and her friends/followers don't like Claire though and Claire finds her life in serious danger. She finds a place to live at the Glass house with 3 other misfits and begins to learn more about the town of Morganville. And the dangers that lurk in the dark...

What a beginning to this new-to-me series! It was fast paced action throughout the novel and I was turning pages as fast as I could. Claire was a strong willed sixteen year old and I liked her from the start. When she moves into the Glass house she makes friends and these were all strong characters as well. I loved the dangerous spin on vampires that Rachel Caine used within this story and am SO curious as to where the story will go from here. My only qualm with this book is that Claire made decisions that at some points didn't seem very realistic. For her being as smart as she was portrayed, she didn't use the best common sense at times. And a warning to readers that it does end with a bit of a cliffhanger. I was warned ahead of time so it didn't bother me other than wanting to pick up the next book soon. Figured I should extend the same courtesy to all of you :) All in all though, I was hooked with this story and am anxious to continue on with this series. I would recommend this to anyone who enjoys reading about vampires or any types of paranormal books.
My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5 and recommended to paranormal lovers!
Challenges: YA Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge, 100+ Book Challenge

Spring Reading Thing 2009

I am so excited about this challenge as I've always meant to join in on the fun and never have. So this will be my first year and I'm looking forward to participating. I had a hard time at first trying to figure out which books I wanted to read for this but then just went for a wide variety. Here they are in no particular order :) Oh yeah, sorry for double posting the past couple of days but my goal is to be completely caught up with reviews by the end of March.

  • 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

Library Loot - March 19th

Okay, it has been awhile since I did a library loot post. In fact, it has obviously been too long as I have a bunch to share. It all looks and sounds so good though that I couldn't resist. And I think you all know by now how much I love my library :) Plus, I went to the HUGE library on the other side of the river before my doctor's appointment the other day and found some gems. Including an arc of Honolulu by Alan Brennert for FREE! Yes, you read that correctly...they had a cart of books for free. It took all of my willpower to not snatch a bunch up and take them home. I figured that might be a bit greedy and that everyone deserved a chance to share in the joy of free books. Seriously, I was so excited as I LOVED Molokai by this author. Anyways, on to the loot:

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 I have a personal challenge to read all of her works.

Evernight by Claudia Gray- Another vampire novel that I've been wanting to read.

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.

Looking For Alaska by John Green- Another author that has been all over the blogsphere and then some. Sure does sound good!
Holy smokes! I've already overextended myself but these all sound so good. I'm currently reading Practical Magic by Alice Hoffman and it is so good. This is my first book by this author and she has me hooked. Also working on America and the Age of Genocide which I will get through eventually. It is such a chunker though! Happy reading everyone :)

Kitty Goes To Washington by Carrie Vaughn

The 2nd installment in the Kitty Norville series is just as good/if not better than the first. In this book we see Kitty's new life without her pack, away from Denver, and traveling all over the country. But then she is summoned to testify in front of a Senate panel group about the paranormal community and her life changes in ways that she never expected.

What a great addition to this series and a strong second book! Kitty is more independent in this book as well as more sure of herself which is a nice change. She comes across as the type of person that everyone might want to be if they were a werewolf :) The action in this one started right at the beginning and didn't let up until the last page. I was once again turning pages as fast as I possibly could. In fact, I gulped this book down in one long afternoon. I liked seeing more of Ben and Cormac in this book as well as some of the new characters that were introduced. I would love to see more of Luis, the sexy were-jaguar.

This was also a reread for me and you can read my review of this book the first time here. This was a great addition to this series and a fun read all around. All in all, this is becoming one of my favorite series and I can't wait to see what kind of trouble Kitty gets herself into next!

My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5 and recommended to urban fantasy/paranormal romance lovers!
My Challenges: 100+ Book Challenge, Series 3 Challenge

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Ramses, Volume I: Son of Light by Christian Jacq

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

The Crimes of Paris Giveaway!!

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

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

Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn

Kitty and The Midnight Hour introduces the reader to Kitty Norville who is a late night radio DJ and also a werewolf. Kitty begins talking about the paranormal on her radio show and before she knows what is happening the show begins to get requests and call ins like no other. All of a sudden, Kitty is being thrust into the limelight and not all of the supernatural creatures are happy about it especially members of her own pack.

This was a reread for me as I orginally read this one I believe before I started blogging. I jumped at the chance to participate with a blog tour over this series and decided to start from the beginning. I remember liking this one the first time and the 2nd reading of it didn't disappoint. I did have some qualms the first time I read it as I felt like Kitty didn't stand up enough for herself. This time I didn't feel that way at all which is probably because I've read the 2nd book and know that she begins to stand up more for herself (sorry if that is a spoiler). I've only read the first two books though and I am anxious to see where the author will take us. I love Kitty's character as she comes across as such a down to earth person. She truly cares about the important people in her life and you can't help but hope that things work out for her.

All in all, I enjoyed the chance to reread this book and it feels like I'm beginning the series anew. Be on the lookout as I review the next couple of books in the next couple of weeks and stop by on the 25th for the final review! I'm so excited to see where Kitty goes next. Great series so far!

My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5; Recommended to those who enjoy urban fantasy or paranormal romance
Challenges: A-Z Challenge ("V" Author), 100+ Book Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge
And here is a link to my original post on this was when I first started blogging :)

Thursday, March 12, 2009

Guest Post with Terry Spear

How fun to have yet another author blogging today. I should have made March guest author post month or something fun like M.G.A.P. (ok, that wasn't very fun but it was the best that I came up with). Today, I am lucky enough to share a post from Terry Spear, author of Destiny of the Wolf. I just posted my review of this book so when you are finished reading this go check it out :0) And without further ado...

Ticking Time Bombs
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!

Terry Spear
And join me at this locations, too! (Here I'm talking about sexual frustration in the strangest of places! But check out our Mascot, AKA The Blond Muddy Guy!)

I just want to thank Terry Spear for this post and taking the time out to write it. I didn't realize that there was another book out by her (Heart of the Wolf) and I am going to have to reserve it at the library. Thanks again Terry!!!

Destiny of the Wolf by Terry Spear

Lelandi Wildhaven comes to town with one thing on her mind: find her sister's murderer and then avenge her death. What she isn't prepared for is falling for her late sister's husband and finding herself in serious danger. There are a ton of suspects to choose from as none of the females and some of the males in the pack are happy that Lelandi is there and think that she is after her sister's husband and the leader of the pack Darien. And the question remains as to whether Lelandi can find her sister's killer or not...

Where do I begin with this one? This was a good read for me. I really enjoyed the mystery of this story and was constantly trying to figure out who the "bad guy" was. I never did figure it out which made the suspense constant for me. I was turning the pages trying to see what would happen next as fast as I could. I liked the chemistry between Darien and Lelandi especially since Lelandi was portrayed as an alpha female werewolf. It made it seem like she was more of an equal to Darien which I thought was refreshing. My one complaint with this book was the multiple points of view and the way it would change back and forth between the characters. I would have to go back and reread at times as I wouldn't know who was talking at that point. It ended up being confusing at times especially at the beginning when everyone thought that Lelandi was her sister Larissa. Otherwise though I did like this book and am glad that I had a chance to read it. Terry Spear was a new to me author and I will be looking for more of her books in the future. Overall, a good read :)

My Rating/Recommendations: 3.5 out of 5; Recommended to paranormal romance lovers or anyone that enjoys a good romance!
Challenges: New Author Challenge, 100+ Book Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("S" Author)

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Her Royal Spyness by Rhys Bowen

Lady Victoria Georgiana Charlotte Eugenie, otherwise known as Georgie, is 34th in line to the throne which basically amounts to not much. She decides to move out of her brother's house and into a small family owned house in London to make her own way. But then she gets caught up into a mystery involving her family and it looks like someone might be trying to kill her.

Her Royal Spyness is a fun beginning to this series that I will be looking forward to reading more of. I'll start by saying that this was such a fun read for me. I didn't even realize I had flew through the first hundred pages as I was just caught up in the story. Georgie has to try to make her own money which means finding a job which is unusual for a women like her. It was fun to read about her exploits throughout the novel and I enjoyed my time with her. The novel is set in the 1930's and it was filled with the atmosphere and details from that time period. I just loved it! This book had a Stephanie Plum-esque feel to it as the main character never knew what she was doing and caused more trouble than anything. All in all, a fun and enjoyable read and I will be looking forward to reading more by this author. It reminded me that I enjoy cozy mysteries once in awhile and was a great beginning to my theme for the Themed Reading Challenge.

My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5; Recommended to anyone who enjoys a good cozy mystery
Challenges: New Author Challenge, Themed Reading Challenge, Support Library Challenge, 100+ Book Challenge, 1st in a Series Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("B" Author), TBR Challenge (Alternate), Winter Reading Challenge

Sunday, March 8, 2009

The Sunday Salon- March Madness

This Sunday I thought I would share what I'm currently reading as well as what I plan on reading later this month. A beginning to March madness but with books rather than basketball. LOL! Let's get started with what I'm currently reading. I'm still working my way through America and the Age of Genocide. I'm in the midst of the Iraq chapter and have to admit that it isn't the easiest to read. It isn't the writing though, it is the fact that sometimes it is just too sad and sickening for me so I set the book aside. I've learned so much from this book though which makes me glad that I'm reading it. I am also reading Don't Cry Wolf by Terry Spear. I'm not too far into it yet but so far so good. It works really well as the opposite of America and the Age of Genocide so it is easy for me to switch back and forth.

After I'm finished with Don't Cry Wolf though I will be working on the 2nd book in the Kitty Norville series. I recently reread the 1st book in the series and will be posting a review of it this week. I have a blog tour for this series so I will be continuing on with this series and watch out on March 25th for my review of Kitty Raises Hell by Carrie Vaughn. I'm so excited about these :)

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 excited about it!

Also on the review front is The Girl She Used to Be by David Cristofano. This is about a girl in the witness protection program and the front cover asks the question, "How do you know who you are if you can't reveal who you've been?" Doesn't that sound intriguing? I can't wait to read it!

On the library front, I returned a bunch of books this week that were coming due and I knew I wouldn't be able to get to. It didn't stop me from checking out more and I will be posting my library loot post later this week. The one book that I am SO excited about finding as I've been hearing about it all over the blogsphere is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins. I snatched that one up as soon as I walked into the YA section. I've got a bunch of other library books that sound good too so hopefully I'll find the time :)

So that is what I have to look forward to for the rest of the month. What about you, is there something you have that you are dying to read this month? Leave me a comment and let me know what it is and I'll add it to my TBR list. As always, have a great Sunday!

Wednesday, March 4, 2009

Guest Post with Helen Hollick

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.

Helen Hollick
Main Website:
My Pirate Novels:
1066 the Movie:

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! 2/20 2/21 and interview 2/27 2/23 2/23 2/23 2/23 and guest blog 2/25 2/24 2/25 2/26 and guest blog 2/27 2/26 2/26 3/1 3/1 3/1 3/1 3/2 3/2 3/2 / 3/2 and interview 3/3 3/3 and interview on 3/5 3/4 3/4 3/5 3/5 3/5

The Kingmaking by Helen Hollick

Wow! What an amazing beginning to this trilogy and I am hooked. The Kingmaking is Hollick's story of Arthur and the king that he might have been. It begins with our first introduction to Arthur as he meets Gwenhwyfar and finds that someday he might be king. The Kingmaking takes the reader on a journey, both Arthur and Gwenhwyfars', and the struggles and triumphs that may lead to Arthur becoming king. It is a journey filled with blood and battles, love and redemption, and so many other things that make up a great novel.

Can I just say right now that I loved this novel? I mean this is historical fiction at its' best and I was entranced. I fell in love with Arthur and Gwenhwyfar's relationship right at the beginning of the story. I felt like Hollick portrayed Arthur realistically so that the reader could see all of his faults along with his strengths. This just helped me to like his character even more although there were times that I wished I could shake him when he was making the "wrong" choices. This was a gritty novel that brought to life the legend of Arthur and made it come across as realistically as possile.

Helen Hollick is a very talented writer and the writing flowed for me. For such a long novel (over 500 pages), I found myself knocking off huge chunks at a time as I couldn't put the book down. I flew through this story and when I was finished I instantly wanted more. I'm so excited to read the next portion of this story and can't wait to get my hands on the 2nd book. Here is a taste of Hollick's writing:

"Gwenhwyfar smiled at him, her eyes crinkling. She remembered her hand, and shyly withdrew it. She liked him! He made her laugh. With mock sincerity Arthur said, 'I grant you are an exceptional girl, Gwenhwyfar, but a man needs other men.'
'A man needs a woman to comfort him through the night and to give him sons.' Gwenhwyfar's retort came with a knowing grin."

All in all, I absolutely enjoyed this book and am going to highly recommend it. Anyone who enjoys historical fiction should give this one a try as it is an epic tale that kept me on my toes. Seriously, this was a really great read and a huge thanks to Paul at Sourcebooks for sending this one to me. I'll be posting a guest post from the author so check that out as well :)

My Rating/Recommendations: 4.5 out of 5; Recommended to anyone who enjoys historical fiction
Challenges: New Author Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("K" Title), 100+ Challenge, Historical Fiction Challenge

Guest Post with Linda Wisdom

Hey guys, I'm lucky enough to be able to share a guest post from Linda Wisdom. I just read and reviewed Wicked By Any Other Name that is the newest book in her Hex series so check out my review if you haven't. This is a fun series that I highly recommend so let's see what Ms. Wisdom has to say :)

The Librarian Explains The Trouble With Witches

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?


Thanks so much Linda for sharing this with us! I've gotta say that I would want to venture into the outside world myself but of course I've read the series and think it sounds like fun. LOL! If you haven't checked this series out yet then pick up 50 Ways to Hex Your Lover. And many thanks to Linda for sharing this and taking the time to post here.

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Wicked By Any Other Name by Linda Wisdom

Wicked By Any Other Name introduces us to Stasi Romanov and her best friend Blair Fitzpatrick. Stasi is being sued in wizard's court by a vindictive customer who says that she ruined her marriage. Then Stasi meets Trevor Barnes, the wizard she will be going up against in court, and realizes that there is a lot more important things that she needs to worry about including the little red hearts over Trevor's head.

Wicked By Any Other Name is a continuation of Wisdom's Hex series and a great addition. Although the previous two books focused on Jazz Tremaine, in this one the focus is on Stasi and it was a great change of pace. I was happy to see that Jazz was still a part of the book and loved seeing all of the old characters from the previous book. The characters are one of the things that makes Wisdom's books so fun and such good books. I love all of them and they are all different and original in their own way. My newest favorite character was Horace the gargoyle, and I hope that she continues to keep him in future books. He was a hoot to read about and you couldn't help but like him.

Trevor and Stasi had a really great chemistry and I was rooting for them the entire way. I loved the red hearts idea and while I don't want to go into it further as to avoid spoilers, it was fun to read about. The tie in to the Salem witch trials was a great idea and I was hooked with this book. All in all, a great read and addition to this series.

My Rating/Recommendations: 4 out of 5; Recommended to paranormal romance lovers but start at the first book!
Challenges: 2nds Challenge, 100+ Challenge, A-Z Challenge ("W" Author), Romance Reading Challenge
**Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks for sending me such an enjoyable read! Be on the lookout for a guest post from Linda Wisdom tomorrow :)