Friday, July 31, 2009

Weekly Reading Schedule-Aug 3rd

I know it's not Monday yet but I am just trying to get a head start :) Next week I have my training for my new job (woot!) So I will keep it a little light. The books that I'm choosing for this week are not going to be chunksters! I have a handful of books for kids that I want to read/review. (See! I'm a Jill of all trades! No genre is safe from my diabolical hands! mwahahaha..ah nevermind.) So here goes my plans for this week!

  1. The Adventures of Sing in Oregon-Betty S. Moir
  2. It's a Snap-Monica Kulling
  3. Fairy Hunters, Ink.-Sheila A Dane
  4. Her Name was Beauty-Deborah A. Williams
  5. Chosen by Desire-Kate Perry
  6. Milestones-Samira Armin Hodges
Yup you read it right! 6 books! Seems like a lot but the first four all together probably total about 250 pages at the most!

It's gonna be a fun week!

Giveaway and Review-Strange Future by Josh Smith

Book Description:

Thomas Gordon's life in the city was going just fine. He had a decent job, a nice condo, and was generally content with life. One day, however, his boss was in a particularly foul mood, and a chain of inexplicable mishaps resulted in Thomas getting fired. Fed up with the world, he begins to search for an escape to a better life. While sitting at the Realtor's office, he stumbles upon a flyer on a bulletin board that asks a simple question: "Fed Up?" After calling the number on the pull tab, he meets a group of scientists with an interesting proposition: human cryogenic preservation... Thomas and his companions Vera and Doug emerge into the strange future of the twenty-third century: a world full of amazing technological advances and equally amazing people. Upon digging a little further below the surface, though, they quickly discover that this future isn't exactly the "better world" that everyone thought it would be...

My Review:
Josh Smith's Strange Future is a solid sci-fi story. It's a quick shot of fun! Thomas Gordon is a person that I think everyone would relate to. He's quite an ordinary guy that gets flung into a very extraordinary situation. It's a neat read that's bound to entertain and make you think a bit.
The future described is one that is quite possible. It's a scary thought but at the same time pretty darn cool. I liked the story and the characters were well developed.

I have one signed copy to give away. Must be in the U.S! (I'm shipping this one out on my own dime, so I have to watch the shipping costs.)
Giveaway Rules:
  1. follow my blog -1 entry
  2. tweet or post on your blog (sidebars are cool too) -2 entries
Giveway ends on August 8th at midnight! Winner will be announced on the 9th.

Wednesday, July 29, 2009

Review-Hush, Hush

From Amazon:
For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her. Not until Patch came along.

With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment.

But after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure who to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is way more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel.

For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and, when it comes to choosing sides, the wrong choice will cost her life.

My review:
Wow! I have literally just finished this book and's the first thing that comes to my mind. Now I have read other reviews for this book (obviously there is a lot of buzz about it) and even then I wasn't prepared for how good this book is! Becca Fitzpatrick has something going on here. I can honestly say that I really loved this book. It was fun, fast paced, and well written. The characters were good. I did occasionally get a sense of deja vu during a few chapters, but those were completely overshadowed by the rest of the story. I liked it! I can't say it any other way that just plain, I liked it! I recommend it! I will suggest that everyone goes out of their way to try and get a copy and read it because it is good. I cannot wait for the follow-up book Crescendo!

oh and P.S- Patch could probably kick Edward's you-know-what! ..I'm just saying *wink*

  • Reading level: Young Adult
  • Hardcover: 400 pages
  • Publisher: Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing (October 13, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416989412
ARC copy received from Simon & Schuster

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

This Week's Reads!-July 28th

Every week I'm going to post about which books I plan on reading per week. This way I'm a little bit more organized and hopefully can get my TBR pile trimmed! :) So here are the reads for this week.

  1. Hush, Hush-Becca Fitzpatrick
  2. He Who Sings Last-Lisa Laird Di Rosso
  3. Strange Future-Josh Smith
On Friday I will post a quickie giveaway for Strange Future! I have one signed copy that Josh Smith sent me to pass along to one lucky winner!

Blog Tour-The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans

From Amazon:

"They might be doomed, damned, and buggered for all eternity, but that didn't mean they couldn't sparkle like a diamond in the sun and grin like a skull in the moonlight on their way to oblivion."

Musket and cannon, bow and arrow, and magic and diplomacy vie for supremacy once again in this second epic fantasy adventure from acclaimed author Chris Evans. As the human-dominated Calahrian Empire struggles to maintain its hold on power in the face of armed rebellion from within, the Iron Elves' perilous quest to defeat the power-hungry elf witch, the Shadow Monarch, takes on greater urgency.

The Iron Elves, shunned by their own people for bearing the mark of the Shadow Monarch, and desperately wanting to forever erase this shame, became legendary for their prowess on the battlefield as the Calahrian Imperial Army's elite shock troops. But when their commanding officer, Konowa Swift Dragon, murdered the Viceroy of Elfkyna, he was exiled, and these brave elves were banished to a remote desert outpost, doomed and leaderless, their honor in tatters.

Recalled to duty to reform his regiment from the dregs of the Imperial Army, Konowa thwarted the plans of the Shadow Monarch at the Battle of Luuguth Jor -- ensuring that the fabled Red Star, a source of great natural energy, did not fall into Her hands. Now Konowa must cross storm-tossed seas to seek out the lost elves and the prophesied return of another Star somewhere in a desert wasteland roiling with mysterious power, infernos of swirling magic, and legends brought back to life in new and terrible ways. And the fate of every living creature will come to depend on a small band of ragged and desperate soldiers, whose very loyalty to the Empire they have sworn to serve is no longer certain. When death is but a temporary condition, a terrifying question arises: who is the true ally -- and fearsome enemy -- in a growing conflict that threatens all?

My Review:

The Light of Burning Shadows picks up where the first book, A Darkness Forged in Fire, left us. I got the wonderful opportunity to get my hands on BOTH books and let me tell you, this was a treat! Chris Evans has now become one of my favorites! The character's were well drawn and the plot was well crafted. I laughed out loud at the antics of Yimt, the loud and crass dwarf! I think Yimt is my favorite character, but then again, that would be like picking a favorite out of a line-up of your favorites, if you catch my drift? The plot isn't exactly revolutionary. I will admit it is the standard Fantasy genre storyline, BUT what Evans does with it is what makes it so unique and entertaining.

I think that this book would satisfy even the most hard-core fantasy fans! There are so many stories mingled into this little book that it would satisfy almost ANYONE! Romance, action, fantasy, and humor (usually from the mouth of Yimt.) I was pleased at how well they all fit together. There was nothing forced about it! The story flows and at times becomes very emotional and intense. The budding romance between Konowa and Visyna is sweet and tension packed, all at the same time. A little bit of love never hurt a story, and this one was made very much better for it! The romance aspect rounded out Konowa's character and made him more than just a sullen warrior.

Sometimes a book, especially in this genre, is bogged down with too many details and it kills the fun of reading the story. Chris Evans shows he is a master at keeping the details balanced and keeping the action flowing all at once! The Light of Burning Shadows never had a dull moment! The action was intense and the story even more so. This is one that every self proclaimed Fantasy fan should have in their library!

About the Author
CHRIS EVANS was born in Canada and now lives in New York City. As a military historian he has conducted battlefield tours of Europe and was the historical consultant on a television documentary on the First World War. He’s earned degrees in English, Political Science, and a Masters in History. Chris is also an editor of history and current affairs/conflicts books including the highly successful Stackpole Military History Series.

Author's Website

  • Hardcover: 384 pages
  • Publisher: Pocket (July 28, 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1416570535
  • ISBN-13: 978-1416570530

  • This review is part of a blog tour for THE LIGHT OF BURNING SHADOWS.

    The Epic Rat:
    Drey’s Library:
    Must Read Faster:
    Carol’s Notebook:
    The Crotchety Old Fan:
    Book Soulmates:
    A Book Bloggers Diary:
    Horror and Fantasy Book Review:
    Booksie’s Blog:
    Temple Library Reviews:
    Fantasy Freak:
    Starting Fresh:
    The Mad Hatter’s Bookshelf and Review:
    Pick of the Literate:
    Books Joseph Reads:
    Morbid Romantic:
    Poisoned Rationality:

    Monday, July 27, 2009

    Mailbox Monday-July 20th

    I had a good week! See for yourself!

    A Darkness Forged in Fire and The Light of Burning Shadows-Chris Evans,
    Sugar Time-Jane Adams
    Her Name Was Beauty-Deborah Williams
    Fairy Hunters Ink- Sheila Dane
    Best Friends Forever-Jennifer Weiner
    Sweet Mary-Liz Balmaseda
    Mercury in Retrograde-Paula Froelich
    Tuesday: Nothing
    Rose House-Tina Ann Forkner
    Knit for Love-Beth Pattillo
    The Confidential Life of Eugenia Cooper-Kathleen Barbo,
    He Who Sings Last-Lisa Laird di Rosso
    Hannibal's Elephant Girl-Ariion Kathleen Brindley
    The Opposite of Love-Julie Buxbaum
    The Sentinels-Gordon Zuckerman
    Seduce Me-Robyn Dehart

    See what I mean?

    Sunday, July 26, 2009

    Sunday Salon: Sunday July 26th

    Books Read: (not as many as I'd liked)
    -Ravens (reviewed)

    Books Reading:
    -A Darkness Forged In Fire-almost done.

    Books Up Next:
    -The Light of Burning Shadows (book tour on Tuesday)

    Updates on my life:
    Very exciting events are happening here! On Tuesday I have orientation for what could possibly be my first out-of-home job in almost 7 years! My son is starting Kindergarten in August. My husband is shifting his work schedule around and he is seriously considering getting back into karate. I have piles and piles of books that I need to read so I'm going to finish up these two blog tour books then spend a wee bit of time getting my books in order.

    So there is my little weekly summary. Lots of changes coming up for me, and hopefully I can keep up!

    Friday, July 24, 2009

    I won an award! Woot!

    I'm supposed to list down seven of my favorite things and seven other blogs.
    7 favorite things:
    1. books
    2. coffee
    3. sushi
    4. water
    5. sleep (does that count as a thing? LOL)
    6. my super comfy super old beat up chair
    7. my brush (without it my hair would be a fuzzy nightmare!)

    My favorite blogs:

    1. Reality Bites..Fiction Does it Better
    2. J-Kaye's Book Blog
    3. Readaholic
    4. We Be Reading
    5. Reading In Appalachia
    6. The Shady Glade
    7. Book Soulmates

    Thursday, July 23, 2009

    Booking Through Thursday-July 23rd

    Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)

    Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?
    depends but usually frivolous and fun

    Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?
    paperbacks-i like to be able to carry them in my purse

    Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

    Poetry? Or Prose?

    Biographies? Or Autobiographies?

    History? Or Historical Fiction?
    historical fiction

    Series? Or Stand-alones?
    i like stand alones but i do love some series :)

    Classics? Or best-sellers?
    hmm..depends on the genre but mostly classics

    Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?
    i like basic prose

    Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?
    ?? not sure how to answer this one lol

    Long books? Or Short?
    as long as the length is appropriate and seems natural i don't care.

    Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?
    non-illustrated. i don't need pictures when i have my imagination ;)

    Borrowed? Or Owned?

    New? Or Used?
    its a toss up.

    Saturday, July 18, 2009

    Upcoming Weekly Reading Schedule 20th-26th

    Seems as if I'm reading S-L-O-W-L-Y these days! I'm falling a wee bit behind on my reviews! My goal was to get at least 3 books a week done, but so far not so good. So I decided to post a weekly reading goal.

    So for this upcoming week here is what my list looks like:

    1. Ravens-book tour post on Monday
    2. A Darkness Forged in Fire by Chris Evans (book tour)
    3. The Light of Burning Shadows by Chris Evans (book tour)
    That ought to keep me up to date. I will of course allow myself to read more if by any chance a miracle occurs and I have a massive amount of free time!

    PS-Had to rearrange this a bit. I hadn't received my books for the Chris Evans Tour til today (July 20th) so I changed my schedule.

    What are you reading this week?

    Mailbox Saturday-July 18th

    Along with my review of Strange Future, I will also be giving away a copy signed by Josh Smith! Stay tuned!

    Blog Tour-Ravens by George Dawes Green

    Book Description:

    The Boatwrights just won 318 million dollars in the Georgia State lottery. It's going to be the worst day of their lives.

    When Shaw McBride and Romeo Zderko pull up at a convenience store off I-95 in Georgia, their only thought is to fix a leaky tire and be on their way again to Florida-away from their dull Ohio tech-support jobs. But this happens to be the store from which a 318,000,000 million dollar Jackpot ticket has just been sold -- and when a pretty clerk accidentally reveals to Shaw the identity of the winning family, he hatches a ferociously audacious scheme: He and Romeo will squeeze the family for half their prize.

    That night, he visits the Boatwright home and takes the family hostage, while Romeo patrols the streets nearby, prepared to murder the Boatwrights' loved ones at any sign of resistance. At first, the family offers none. But Shaw's plot depends on maintaining constant fear-merciless, unfaltering terror-and soon, under the pressure, everyone's sanity begins to unravel . . .

    At once frightening, comic, and suspenseful, RAVENS is a wholly original and utterly compelling novel from one of our most talented writers.

    My Review: What I really liked about this book was the fact that it didn't turn out as I expected. I started reading and was a bit annoyed that it seemingly went along with all the standard "hostage situation" cliches, BUT after I read a bit more I was surprised by the change of direction Green took. Yes, the family is sorta being held hostage and they do initially start to plot against their captors, but soon Shaw (the bad guy) is sweet talking and making them all love him. I really enjoyed the relationships that grew and changed throughout this book. The whole family goes through a very emotional time and it was honestly interesting to see how they turned out.

    The community's reaction to Shaw was a little bit of a head scratch. I really didn't know why they reacted that way. I do not want to spoil anything for the reader but I didn't really "get" that part, but it did work for the story's sake. Green seems to have possibly latched onto the myth that all southern people are religious nuts, but again it does work in the story.

    There are two really sad parts in this book. I won't give them away but when you read them you will know what I am talking about. I will give Green major credit for these two scenes. He made me care about the characters that are involved. He had me near to tears with them and I could not get them out of my head for a while after reading. I'll give you a little heads up for them, one scene is near the middle and the other is very near the end. All-in-all, this book delivered. It was a good story with a few surprises and a handful of good characters. I really enjoyed myself with this one. It had its flaws but it worked.

    Participating Sites will be:
    July 20
    July 21
    July 22
    July 23
    Giveaway for this day:
    July 24

    Review-The Rapture

    Book Description:
    It is a June unlike any other before, with temperatures soaring to asphyxiating heights. All across the world, freak weather patterns—and the life-shattering catastrophes they entail—have become the norm. The twenty-first century has entered a new phase.

    But Gabrielle Fox’s main concern is a personal one: to rebuild her life after a devastating car accident that has left her disconnected from the world, a prisoner of her own guilt and grief. Determined to make a fresh start, and shake off memories of her wrecked past, she leaves London for a temporary posting as an art therapist at Oxsmith Adolescent Secure Psychiatric Hospital, home to one hundred of the most dangerous children in the country. Among them: the teenage killer Bethany Krall.

    Despite two years of therapy, Bethany is in no way rehabilitated and remains militantly nonchalant about the bloody, brutal death she inflicted on her mother. Raised in evangelistic hellfire, the teenager is violent, caustic, unruly, and cruelly intuitive. She is also insistent that her electroshock treatments enable her to foresee natural disasters—a claim which Gabrielle interprets as a symptom of doomsday delusion.

    But as Gabrielle delves further into Bethany’s psyche, she begins to note alarming parallels between her patient’s paranoid disaster fantasies and actual incidents of geological and meteorological upheaval—coincidences her professionalism tells her to ignore but that her heart cannot. When a brilliant physicist enters the equation, the disruptive tension mounts—and the stakes multiply. Is the self-proclaimed Nostradamus of the psych ward the ultimate manipulator or a harbinger of global disaster on a scale never seen before? Where does science end and faith begin? And what can love mean in “interesting times”?

    With gothic intensity, Liz Jensen conjures the increasingly unnerving relationship between the traumatized therapist and her fascinating, deeply calculating patient. As Bethany’s warnings continue to prove accurate beyond fluke and she begins to offer scientifically precise hints of a final, world-altering cataclysm, Gabrielle is confronted with a series of devastating choices in a world in which belief has become as precious - and as murderous—as life itself.

    My Review:
    This book was VERY good! It did take me a while to finish this because I wanted to go slowly and absorb every little detail! Liz Jensen has taken scientific fact and Christian theology and combined them into a compelling story! There is drama. There is romance. There are religious overtones. Then Jensen mixes them all together to get the perfect story about what the end of the world will be like! You really feel for the characters in this story. Gabrielle is flawed and her personal demons are laid out bare. You really get inside her head in such a way that she seems like a very real person. Bethany, on the other hand starts off as a character you will both loathe and want to protect. She is at the same time a lost little girl and a monster. When the past and the future of these characters come to lite, during the climax, the reader is left speechless.
    The Rapture by Liz Jensen is an intense read that I wholeheartedly recommend.

    Book Details:

    # Hardcover: 304 pages
    # Publisher: Doubleday (August 11, 2009)
    # Language: English
    # ISBN-10: 0385528213

    Friday, July 17, 2009

    Quick Review-Beyond the Reef

    Thanks to Scott Sweeney for allowing me to read and review this children's book! I just got it today and sat down with my little guy (he's five) to read it. He really likes boats so I knew the artwork would get him interested. The pictures are very well done and very pretty! The story was a wee bit too advanced for him, but he understood the gist of it. He told me he liked it very much! I myself thought the story was sweet. Roy the rowboat and his friends are adorable. Together they set out to discover what happened to Roy's parents.

    Product Description
    Bluewater is a cozy village surrounded by the sea. There are hundreds of seabirds, many fishermen, the occasional vacationer, and oh yes boats. This is the story about three young boats, Roy the rowboat, Karen the canoe, and Sally the sailboat. Roy the rowboat is an orphan, who never knew what happened to his parents. The three friends spent their days frolicking in the bay that surrounds their village, until one day when they decided to set out in quest of what became of Roy the row boats parents. Quickly they decided that the answer to this mystery lies somewhere out beyond the reef. Do the three friends heed the warnings of their elders too "NEVER EVER GO BEYOND THE REEF"? Do they find out what happened to Roy's parents? The answer to this my friend does lie "Beyond The Reef!"

    # Paperback: 32 pages
    # Publisher: AuthorHouse (December 5, 2007)
    # Language: English
    # ISBN-10: 1434310167

    Wednesday, July 15, 2009


    So thank you very much to Melissa from Melissa's Bookshelf
    for giving me this lovely award! You made me smile!

    Now I'm passing it along to these wonderful people!

    I'm booking it! - Thank you for commenting on my blog posts!

    Icedream-for also posting some kick-you-know-what responses! :)

    Shellie- just cuz' :)

    Jo-jo -thanks so much for responding!

    Tuesday, July 14, 2009

    Teaser Tuesday-The Rapture

    Should Be Reading is the super awesome host of this weekly meme.

    ~ Grab your current read
    ~ Open to a random page
    ~ Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    ~ BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
    ~ Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    He removed the electrodes: under the sheet, Bethany's toes curl and flex, reminding me of speeded-up footage of bracken unfurling.
    pg. 34

    "There," she says, pointing to a square. "The twenty-ninth. It's going to be a big day."
    pg 35

    The Rapture by Liz Jensen

    Monday, July 13, 2009

    Mailbox Monday-July 13th

    Review-Vampire Academy

    From Booklist
    After two years on the run, best friends Rose, half-human/half-vampire, and Lissa, a mortal vampire princess, are caught and returned to St. Vladimir's Academy. Up until then, Rose had kept Lissa safe from her enemies; school, however, brings both girls additional challenges and responsibilities. How they handle peer pressure, nasty gossip, new relationships, and anonymous threats may mean life or death. Likable narrator Rose hides doubts about her friend behind a tough exterior; orphan Lissa, while coping with difficult emotional issues such as depression and survivor's guilt, uses her emerging gifts for good. Mead's absorbing, debut YA novel, the first in a new series, blends intricately detailed fantasy with a contemporary setting, teen-relevant issues, and a diverse, if sometimes stereotyped, cast of supporting characters.

    My Thoughts:
    What can I say that has not already been said before about VA? Hmm..probably nothing particularly new. I really liked this book. It was a good opening to what is hopefully a good series. I liked the relationship between Rose and Lissa. I really liked the story. I had read a few reviews of the other books in this series and was intrigued. Mead does write a spiffy story and knows how to create believeable characters. I wasn't blown away but I will admit to having a mini swoonfest for Christian and Dimitri! I like the bad boys/brooding older man stereotypes apparently. There was of course the typical guy friend that the lead female thinks.."if only I could like him..he'd be perfect," but I didn't hold that against Mead. I can imagine Mason could be developed into a stronger character later on. (I've not read further into this series yet) All in all I did have a moment where I held the book up to my husband and said, "I Need to get the next one! NOW!" So that ought to say something! Brain candy at its best!

    Friday, July 10, 2009

    Friday Fill In-July 10th

    1. The last thing I ate was
    a tuna fish sandwich.

    2. Diet Coke is something I recently bought.

    3. When it rains, it makes really pretty sounds (but loud) on our tin roof.

    4. My five year old son was the first person I talked to today.

    5. Hugs are super awesome!

    6. A nice warm blanket and a book extra comfort.

    7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to possibly eating a delicious pizza made by my husband and reading a good book and Sunday, I want to go shopping for a good interview outfit!

    Friday 56-July 10th

    1. Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
    2. Turn to page 56.
    3. Find the fifth sentence.
    4. Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like).
    5. Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.

    "All right then," I said finally. "We'll see how this goes. If anything goes wrong-anything at all-we leave. No arguments."

    Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead

    Review-Rescuing Seneca Crane

    Book Description
    When Kari and Lucas first see Seneca Crane up on stage, playing the piano in front of hundreds of people, they are in awe. She is beautiful. She is amazingly talented. And she is only thirteen! But then they get to know her at the Edinburgh Arts Festival and realize that she envies them. Soon the three are becoming friends . . .until Seneca disappears. There’s no stopping Kari and Lucas from jumping on the trail and tracking her down. Even when it leads to the heart of the Scottish highlands! Following in the spine-tingling tracks of The Mystery of the Third Lucretia, Susan Runholt’s second book featuring super sleuths Kari and Lucas is just as smart and fast-paced as the first!

    My Review:
    The girls are at it again! Kari and Lucas have found themselves smack-dab in the middle of another adventure! Seneca Crane is a piano prodigy that has gone missing! Kari and Lucas set out to figure out what happened to her and where she is. This time the adventure is set in Scotland and the girls are pretty much on their own. Again, I love these characters! They are strong willed, intelligent, and creative! They use their brains and courage to rescue their friend and save the day! The only problem I had with this book was the ending seemed a little too quickly wrapped up. Not that it was bad but it seemed to take away from the details in the middle, building up to the ending. That was really the only thing that bothered me and it was such a minor annoyance. All in all I say that this is a cute series of books that would be good for girls. Susan Runholt knows how to create strong role models for young girls and craft a good story!

    Tuesday, July 7, 2009

    Review-The Mystery of the Third Lucretia

    The Mystery of the Third Lucretia by Susan Runholt

    When Kari and Lucas (who is a girl) stumble upon a man acting very suspicious in the art museum that they are visiting
    they hatch a plan to figure out what he is doing and why he's being shady. These two young girls are pretty plucky! I like that word and I rarely get
    a chance to use it, but this is the perfect time! This book was very cute! I thought that the girls were very smart (even if they didn't always pick the
    right thing to do) and well written. The action was fun and the plot was very good. I found myself wishing that this had been around when I was a kid.
    I'd say that this would be a good series (there are two books in this series so far) for a young girl around the ages of 10-14. These girls are smart and witty and know how to take care of themselves. They are excellent examples (even if they do get up to a little mischief!)

    The next book in the Kari and Lucas series is Rescuing Seneca Crane which I will be review shortly. This book is released in August.

    • Reading level: Young Adult
    • Paperback: 304 pages
    • Publisher: Puffin; Reprint edition (June 25, 2009)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0142413380

    Monday, July 6, 2009

    Review-Hollywood is Like High School with Money

    Back Cover:

    Twenty-four-year old Taylor Henning has just landed her dream job as an assistant at a major movie studio. But when her catty coworkers trick her into almost getting fired, she realizes that the old saying "Hollywood is like school with money" just may be true. The thing is, Taylor wasn't exactly a social butterfly in high school-how is she supposed to do any better the second time around?

    My Review:

    I don't like giving bad reviews, especially if I sorta enjoyed the book. What I will say is that this one is a cute read. It is a quick read that barely took me a day to read. I had a slight sense of deja vu (the premise is very similiar to the Devil Wears Prada I think.) Several of the characters were cliches and stereotypes (Kylie and Quinn) that never get developed properly. Taylor is a cute character. She's the typical "fish out of water" stereotype. She imagines her life will be better in Hollywood but soon finds her life is anything but. At times its adorable and fun and at others its stale. I have to be honest and give this book at 3.5/5 review.

    • Paperback: 288 pages
    • Publisher: Grand Central Publishing (July 23, 2009)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0446697192

    Blog Tour-The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand

    Thanks to Miriam Parker at Hachette for allowing me and my humble blog participate in this blog tour!

    About the Author:
    Elin Hilderbrand lives on Nantucket with her husband and their three young children. She grew up in Collegeville, Pennsylvania, and traveled extensively before settling on Nantucket, which has been the setting for her five previous novels. Hilderbrand is a graduate of Johns Hopkins University and the graduate fiction workshop at the University of Iowa.

    Book Description:
    Greg and Tess MacAvoy are one of four prominent Nantucket couples who count each other as best friends. As pillars of their close-knit community, the MacAvoys, Kapenashes, Drakes, and Wheelers are important to their friends and neighbors, and especially to each other. But just before the beginning of another idyllic summer, Greg and Tess are killed when their boat capsizes during an anniversary sail. As the warm weather approaches and the island mourns their loss, nothing can prepare the MacAvoy's closest friends for what will be revealed.

    Once again, Hilderbrand masterfully weaves an intense tale of love and loyalty set against the backdrop of endless summer island life.


    My Review:

    This book was very different than what I was expecting. What I was thinking I was was getting into was a light and fluffy summer novel that I most likely wouldn't enjoy but I was VERY wrong. (Shame on me for making a snap decision!) I blame the happy go lucky artwork on the cover, for my intial opinion. This book is anything but light and fluffy. It's emotional and at times heartbreaking. I found myself plunged into a group of people that have been close friends for many years. The secrets that they share and hold back from each other are juicy. Sadly their friendship is ripped apart by tragic event that leaves two of them dead and the others picking up the pieces. The way the survivors work their their feelings of anger, grief, and guilt are so honest and deep. You really feel for these people! Their lives are torn apart by a freak accident that pretty much rips the bandages off of old (and new) wounds bringing repressed feelings to the surface in sometimes destructive ways! While I read I felt as if I was part of the group. The fly on the wall listening in to their confessions and arguements. The secrets and lies told between them all between them were big but in the end its the love that they share for each other that is bigger. In the end this is a book about strong friendship. No matter what happens they are still connected and they are still friends. The Castaways by Elin Hilderbrand will surprise you! I felt this was a great read!

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    Sunday, July 5, 2009

    Review-Stardust Dads


    About the Book:
    The e-mail Danny and Allison read on their new computer in 1996 looks no different from the millions of others received by Web users around the world, with one glaring exception--it was sent by their dads who died during the 1970s. While residing in the afterworld at an amenity-laden paradise called Midway Manor, guitar-strumming Mickey Parks and piano-playing Lloyd Wallace monitor and manipulate the lives of their adult children on earth from the mid-'70s through the 1990s. Tampering with the facility's sophisticated computer, the dads thrust Mickey's daughter Allison and Lloyd's son Danny into a passionate but sometimes stormy relationship-a relationship steeped in Danny's heavy drinking and entangled in the often-zany world of men's adventure magazine publishing. After carefully implementing a plan to send their son and daughter a gift of knowledge that could enrich their lives forever, the dads' brief contact is cut short. They are banished to another destination in the afterworld, but not before they impart indisputable proof of life after death--and unwittingly put Danny's and Allison's earthbound lives on the line.

    A Little Bit About the Author:
    David R. George's extensive career as a New York editor/writer included the men's adventure magazine genre in the '60s and '70s. Co-author/wife Josephine, a long-standing student of the paranormal, has also had a durable editorial career that included proofing dozens of Louis L'Amour novels. They reside in Las Vegas.David has written more than 200 published magazine articles, fiction and nonfiction, including a 9,000-word article on the men's adventure magazines in the March 2007 issue of Alter Ego magazine.

    My Review
    The idea that our loved ones can manipulate and watch over us is so heartwarming and touching. I enjoyed this book, more so than I thought I would. Stardust Dads is a story that will make you think about what happens after you die, but does so without being preachy. I liked the idea that our earthly journeys can be shaped and guided by those that loved us and knew us the best. As a person who has gone through the loss of a very close loved one I could relate with Allison and her struggles moving on after the loss of her father. I teared up a few times during this book. The struggles and difficulties faced by Allison and Danny are heartbreaking and realistic. I think that the writers are talented and know how to craft a tale that is inspiring and exciting. They know how to combine action and drama and pull you along with the characters. Stardust Dads is an excellent read that I think everyone can relate to. Stardust Dads is an excellent and emotional story.

    • Paperback: 268 pages
    • Publisher: IUniverse (October 17, 2008)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 0595504590
    • ISBN-13: 978-0595504596

    Review-Drawing in the Dust by Zoe Klein

    Much thanks to Ayelet from Pocket Books for allowing me the opportunity to read this wonderful book!

    Book Info:
    Following in the rich tradition of The Red Tent and People of the Book, this unforgettable tale of discovery and love transcends cultures, reaches across boundaries, and reverberates from ancient times to the modern world.

    American archaeologist Page Brookstone has been living and working in Israel for more than a decade, entrenched in a dig at the ancient site of Megiddo. There, she is approached by Ibrahim and Naima, a young Arab couple claiming their house is haunted by the spirits of two lovers. Distraught, they beg Page to excavate under their home in the small settlement of Anatot.

    Disregarding her professional reputation, Page agrees. As she digs, Page and her makeshift team make a miraculous discovery: a cistern that dates to the biblical time of Jeremiah. Buried within, is a never-before-seen scroll, written by a mysterious woman named Anatiya. Her lyrical and mystical words challenge centuries-old beliefs, while describing an overpowering love she shares with the prophet.

    Facing pressure from religious and governmental groups, Page is desperate to translate Anatiya’s scroll. She is convinced that this is a story of love and strength that must never be silenced. But does Page have the strength to make peace with her own past? Will she, too, be overwhelmed by love for a man of faith?

    My Review:
    Drawing in the Dust is a beautifully written book. I was intrigued when I read the review inquiry and wasn't sure what to expect. It's books like this that make me LOVE reading! The characters are magical and the story just energizes you as you read along. My review is going to be pretty simple because I do think that this is a must read for 2009. I enjoyed it. I loved it. It's now on my favorites list. Zoe Klein is a superb author and a wonderful storyteller.

    Product Details

    • Hardcover: 368 pages
    • Publisher: Pocket (July 7, 2009)
    • Language: English
    • ISBN-10: 1416599126

    Thursday, July 2, 2009

    Review-The Strain by Guillermo Del Toro and Chuck Hogan

    Book Description:

    The visionary creator of the Academy Award-winning Pan's Labyrinth and a Hammett Award-winning author bring their imaginations to this bold, epic novel about a horrifying battle between man and vampire that threatens all humanity. It is the first installment in a thrilling trilogy and an extraordinary international publishing event.

    The Strain

    They have always been here. Vampires. In secret and in darkness. Waiting. Now their time has come.

    In one week, Manhattan will be gone. In one month, the country.

    In two months--the world.

    A Boeing 777 arrives at JFK and is on its way across the tarmac, when it suddenly stops dead. All window shades are pulled down. All lights are out. All communication channels have gone quiet. Crews on the ground are lost for answers, but an alert goes out to the CDC. Dr. Eph Goodweather, head of their Canary project, a rapid-response team that investigates biological threats, gets the call and boards the plane. What he finds makes his blood run cold.

    In a pawnshop in Spanish Harlem, a former professor and survivor of the Holocaust named Abraham Setrakian knows something is happening. And he knows the time has come, that a war is brewing . . .

    So begins a battle of mammoth proportions as the vampiric virus that has infected New York begins to spill out into the streets. Eph, who is joined by Setrakian and a motley crew of fighters, must now find a way to stop the contagion and save his city--a city that includes his wife and son--before it is too late...

    My Review:
    This is the first of three books that del Toro and Hogan will write together and I for one cannot wait til the next one comes out in 2010. I was completely blown away by this book and I can promise you, if you are a fan of this genre you will NOT be disappointed. Vampires in this book are not fluffy, angsty SPARKLY creatures that mope around. These are killers that will rip your heart out and suck the lifeblood from you in a blink of an eye! This book is heavy on the action but doesn't sacrifice character development for it. The interludes are tasty little bits that help the story progress perfectly. Even the background characters are given enough time to formulate. You just know that they will come back and bring with them a few more intricate pieaces of the puzzle. In my mind this book played out like a movie, and given the background of del Toro I have a feeling that these books will be adapted to the screen. Like I said before if you are a fan of this genre this is a good addition!

    The Strain: Chapter One

    "Once upon a time," said Abraham Setrakian’s grandmother, "there was a giant."

    Young Abraham’s eyes brightened, and immediately the cabbage borscht in the wooden bowl got tastier, or at least less garlicky. He was a pale boy, underweight and sickly. His grandmother, intent on fattening him, sat across from him while he ate his soup, entertaining him by spinning a yarn.

    A bubbeh meiseh, a "grandmother’s story." A fairy tale. A legend.

    "He was the son of a Polish nobleman. And his name was Jusef Sardu. Master Sardu stood taller than any other man. Taller than any roof in the village. He had to bow deeply to enter any door. But his great height, it was a burden. A disease of birth, not a blessing. The young man suffered. His muscles lacked the strength to support his long, heavy bones. At times it was a struggle for him just to walk. He used a cane, a tall stick--taller than you--with a silver handle carved into the shape of a wolf’s head, which was the family crest."

    "Yes, Bubbeh?" said Abraham, between spoonfuls.

    "This was his lot in life, and it taught him humility, which is a rare thing indeed for a nobleman to possess. He had so much compassion-- for the poor, for the hardworking, for the sick. He was especially dear to the children of the village, and his great, deep pockets--the size of turnip sacks--bulged with trinkets and sweets. He had not much of a childhood himself, matching his father’s height at the age of eight, and surpassing him by a head at age nine. His frailty and his great size were a secret source of shame to his father. But Master Sardu truly was a gentle giant, and much beloved by his people. It was said of him that Master Sardu looked down on everyone, yet looked down on no one."

    She nodded at him, reminding him to take another spoonful. He chewed a boiled red beet, known as a "baby heart" because of its color, its shape, its capillary-like strings. "Yes, Bubbeh?"

    "He was also a lover of nature, and had no interest in the brutality of the hunt--but, as a nobleman and a man of rank, at the age of fifteen his father and his uncles prevailed upon him to accompany them on a six-week expedition to Romania."

    "To here, Bubbeh?" said Abraham. "The giant, he came here?"

    "To the north country, kaddishel. The dark forests. The Sardu men, they did not come to hunt wild pig or bear or elk. They came to hunt wolf, the family symbol, the arms of the house of Sardu. They were hunting a hunting animal. Sardu family lore said that eating wolf meat gave Sardu men courage and strength, and the young master’s father believed that this might cure his son’s weak muscles."

    "Yes, Bubbeh?"

    "Their trek was long and arduous, as well as violently opposed by the weather, and Jusef struggled mightily. He had never before traveled anywhere outside his family’s village, and the looks he received from strangers along the journey shamed him. When they arrived in the dark forest, the woodlands felt alive around him. Packs of animals roamed the woods at night, almost like refugees displaced from their shelters, their dens, nests, and lairs. So many animals that the hunters were unable to sleep at night in their camp. Some wanted to leave, but the elder Sardu’s obsession came before all else. They could hear the wolves, crying in the night, and he wanted one badly for his son, his only son, whose gigantism was a pox upon the Sardu line. He wanted to cleanse the house of Sardu of this curse, to marry off his son, and produce many healthy heirs.

    "And so it was that his father, off tracking a wolf, was the first to become separated from the others, just before nightfall on the second evening. The rest waited for him all night, and spread out to search for him after sunrise. And so it was that one of Jusef’s cousins failed to return that evening. And so on, you see."

    "Yes, Bubbeh?"

    "Until the only one left was Jusef, the boy giant. That next day he set out, and in an area previously searched, discovered the body of his father, and of all his cousins and uncles, laid out at the entrance to an underground cave. Their skulls had been crushed with great force, but their bodies remained uneaten--killed by a beast of tremendous strength, yet not out of hunger or fear. For what reason, he could not guess—though he did feel himself being watched, perhaps even studied, by some being lurking within that dark cave.

    "Master Sardu carried each body away from the cave and buried them deep. Of course, this exertion severely weakened him, taking most of his strength. He was spent, he was farmutshet. And yet, alone and scared and exhausted, he returned to the cave that night, to face what evil revealed itself after dark, to avenge his forebears or die trying. This is known from a diary he kept, discovered in the woods many years later. This was his last entry."