Friday, December 31, 2010

Happy New Year

Wishing you a fun and SAFE New Year.

Reminder to check out my "Book Bucket Reading Challenge".

You decide your level of commitment.  The point is to read the books that have been sitting on the bottom of your "too read" stack.  I am easily distracted by all the wonderful new releases, and let the other books that I really want to read lie forgotten in a list.

Check it out here!

Thursday, December 30, 2010

REVIEW - Awaken

AwakenAwaken by Katie Kacvinsky

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Maddie lives in a world where everything is done on the computer. Whether it’s to go to school or on a date, people don’t venture out of their home. There’s really no need. For the most part, Maddie’s okay with the solitary, digital life—until she meets Justin. Justin likes being with people. He enjoys the physical closeness of face-to-face interactions. People aren’t meant to be alone, he tells her.
Suddenly, Maddie feels something awakening inside her—a feeling that maybe there is a different, better way to live. But with society and her parents telling her otherwise, Maddie is going to have to learn to stand up for herself if she wants to change the path her life is taking.
In this not-so-brave new world, two young people struggle to carve out their own space. description from Goodreads

I struggled with my rating. It may be more of a 3 1/2 rating.

Maddie lives in the near future where life is lived digitally. Everyone is so plugged in that a social life is a rare commodity. Most people us public transport to move around, but even then they are attached to some sort of screen and do not interact.  They have forgotten how to live outside of a virtual world.  Maddie is asked out on a virtual date.  She would stay home, her date would stay at his house and they would stroll along a virtual path and chat.  YUCK!  Can you imagine it?  I hope this is not the future that is in store,  I think of how plugged I am at times, particularly my children.

Children do not attend school, the learn at home, again plugged into a computer. Of course, school violence is non-existent and the powers that be are thrilled. Maddie's father is the creator of the digital school and a very powerful man. Her home is dysfunctional. She has a loving mother and a domineering father.

Then Maddie's life takes a turn, she agrees to meet Justin at a live study session. Usually she participates in the chat room sessions. Through her interaction with Justin, Maddie's true character emerges. She was once part of a rebellion against digital school, was caught, and is now living with consequences. She begins to see there is more living to be done surrounded by people instead of computers.

Justin is part of a group trying to weaken the hold of the digital school.  They see the loss of humanity, that people are not using their creative side of the brain.  So many things that we take for granted have been lost, one of them is the printing of books. 

She sees how controlled her life has been.  Her father knows who she chats with, what she says.  To get onto public transportation, you have to put your finger on a scanner.  The government knows where and what everyone is doing.    She watches her parents dance, not with each other, but with a virtual program. 

At times the book seemed to go along a bit slow.  Maddie's activities and life were described in detail.  The most interesting moments were her journal writing.  She talked about the trees, artificial trees.  She talked about her feelings with the world and her part in it.

I am hoping there is a sequel, the ending is slightly frustrating.  I would love to see what the future holds for Maddie and Justin.

I received a copy from Netgalley for review.  This book will be released in  May 2011.

View all my reviews

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

REVIEW - Growing More Beautiful

Growing More Beautiful an Artful Approach to Personal StyleGrowing More Beautiful an Artful Approach to Personal Style by Jennifer Robin

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

As you go through life, it is not only possible, but natural, to grow more beautiful.
So begins Growing More Beautiful: An Artful Approach to Personal Style, the long-awaited second book by popular image consultant, artist and author Jennifer Robin.
Perhaps the first and only major book about beauty ever written by an artist, Growing More Beautiful: An Artful Approach to Personal Style is a lively, buoyant resource guide to projecting your essence with creativity and flair.
In Growing More Beautiful, learn how to:
<li>Find your best red
<li>Identify necklines that flatter
<li>Make closet cleaning easier
<li>Buy a great bathing suit
<li>Break out of hair and make-up ruts
<li>Get the glow by bringing more color, creativity and art into your life

Jennifer Robin's paint box of practical tips, inspiring illustrations and colorful personal insights will open your senses to the beauty of both your inner life and outward appearance, and help make getting dressed a "daily act of creation." Discover a world of personal style that is uniquely you. Look and feel more beautiful as you grow into the person you were always meant to be. Watch as you flourish, creating the results you have always dreamed of achieving.  description from Goodreads

My thoughts on her book:

Jenifer Robin's approach to growing more beautiful doesn't come from a miracle bottle, the latest cosmetics available, or  trendy clothing. She uses common sense, finding the beauty within and finding something that you are passionate about, in her case it is painting.  For one of her clients it was knitting.  Maybe it's reading for me, or children's literacy... I have some work to do.  I must admit, I do love to sit outside on a beautiful day and feel the breeze as I am enraptured in the pages of  a good book.

I like her viewpoint. We are too focused on the beauty magazines and see our faults, rather than our assets. (Honestly, who looks like that, and do I really want to look like that?) We are not focused on feeling comfortable within our own skin, viewing ourselves as a whole person and not as bits and pieces. (In know when I see myself in the mirror or in a picture, the only thing I look at is the attributes that I do not like about myself.)  She writes about taking art classes and in landscapes, not finding the flow of nature, or in painting nudes, focusing on one feature and not seeing the whole person.  We look better when we focus on the whole, not on the weaknesses.  She also mentions trying to look at ourselves as others see us.

In the beginning of the book, on page 10, there is a certain passage which "spoke" to me.  She wrote: "I know from personal experience that "the glow" is not something I can take for granted.  When I am off track, pushing too hard, doubting myself, not putting my well-being first, my glow vanishes.  When I spend time caught in the whirl of shopping than I do painting or in nature, my outfit might look nice, but my glow is in serious jeopardy."

The book is full of beautiful pictures, they offer a moment of tranquility and beauty while the reader is inspired.  There are so many ideas worth exploring, this book can help us on that path.

I received a copy for review.  I am not paid to review, I do it for the love of reading and learning.

For more information on the book and author, here is a link.

View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

REVIEW - "The Betrayal of Maggie Blair"

The Betrayal of Maggie BlairThe Betrayal of Maggie Blair by Elizabeth Laird

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In seventeenth-century Scotland, saying the wrong thing can lead to banishment—or worse. Accused of being a witch, sixteen-year-old Maggie Blair is sentenced to be hanged. She escapes, but instead of finding shelter with her principled, patriotic uncle, she brings disaster to his door. 
Betrayed by one of her own accusers, Maggie must try to save her uncle and his family from the king’s men, even if she has to risk her own life in the process.
Originally published in the UK, this book has a powerful blend of heart-stopping action and thought-provoking themes.  description from Goodreads.

Maggie lives with her grandmother in seventeenth century Scotland. They live a simple life, her parents have both died and her grandmother is know as a midwife and a healer using the old ways, herbs and spells to help people get well.  She is also known for being ornery, and kind of mean at times.

It is a time of great spiritual upheaval and persecution. The King has decreed that he is head of the church and the people who do not go to church and/or agree with the decree are heavily persecuted and fined.

Maggie's grandmother delivers a baby that is sickly and tries to do one of her healing spells upon the baby boy, but is stopped by his god fearing father. (Who has his own sins to worry about.) The baby dies several weeks later and she is said to have cursed him, she given a sham trial and convicted of witchcraft. Maggie, her granddaughter who is not blessed with the old ways is also convicted of witchcraft and sentenced to die along with her grandmother.  I won't tell you about her escape from execution, but she knows a few people who are pretty crafty.

This begins the tale of Maggie. The story is a slow moving, but an emotional tale. I was very interested in the spiritual battle of the times, the intolerance to differences. Many convicts were sent to the colonies, the beginnings of the country that I love living in. I enjoyed the history that went into this book.  There is a person I want to call a "hag" (Annie), even though she is young and pretty. She lies, cheats, steals, etc to give herself the upper hand.  I was thrilled to see what happens to her.

I received a copy of this for review from Netgalley.  It will be released in April 2011.

View all my reviews

Teaser Tuesday

It is time again for Teaser Tuesday.  It is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.  The rules are simple:

  • 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!

  • My teaser is taken from an arc from Netgalley.  So, the wording of this teaser could be changed before publication.  It is scheduled to be release in April  2011.  The Book is the "Betrayal of Maggie Blair" by Elizabeth Laird.  It is on my kindle, so I do not have a page number.

    "Stupid old Tam. Daft old man.  You think you can get around Virtue, but you can't."

    Sunday, December 26, 2010

    In My Mailbox #3

    I took a picture this week of all of my hard copy books.  It's easier than looking for them on the web, and easy is my motto right now!  :-)

    For Christmas I purchased for myself, and then told my husband he bought them for me.  (I was even nice enough to wrap them up for him and put them under the tree.)

    "Penitence" and "Absolution" by Jennifer Laurens

    I received from author for review:

    "Case Closed? :  Nine Mysteries Unlocked by Modern Science" by Susan Hughes

    Two books I purchased as used books, I love to buy used books.  I'm helping save a few trees!

    "Divine Deception" by Marcia Lynn McClure
    "My Not-So-Fairy ~Tale Life" by Julie Wright

    and a book that I have been anxiously anticipating.  It is a new release, third book in a series.

    "Out for Blood" by Alyxandra Harvey

    Now for the e-books.

    I received four in the MidWinter's Hop.

    "Catching the Rose" and "Mad Maxine" by Belinda Kroll

    "Turtle Soup" and "Southern Girl Yankee Roots" by Danielle Thorne

    I won this one in the Sweetest Romance Author's Holiday Party

    "Sabotaged" by Jenifer Ranieri

    and finally, I am part of a group on Goodreads - Historical Tour de Genre - it is hosted by Charlie of Bitsy Bling.  It is in conjunction with her Historical tour de Genre reading Challenge.  There is a link in my left side-bar if you are interested in checking it out.  Anyway, Sharon E. Cathcart offered the members of the group a copy of her book.  " In the Eye of the Beholder"

    That's my week and I can feel the pain pill kicking in, I am starting to sway in my seat, and my hands are screaming at me to stop.  I hope you had a great week in your mailbox.

    REVIEW - Miss Humbug

    Miss HumbugMiss Humbug by Marnie L. Pehrson

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Miss Humbug is a story following one woman's journey to find the spirit of Christmas.

    Elaina's parents died in a car accident on Christmas Eve when she was12 years old. Christmas became a bother to her, it wasn't a time of celebration. In fact she closed herself off to everyone, focusing solely on her career, earning the nickname "ice lady."

    On December 16th she receives an angelic visitation from her parents who caution her that she is not living the life she is meant to live and that if she doesn't straighten up her act she will not live to see another Christmas. Her mother refers her to the Bible as a reference to live a "Christ like life."

    Doing good to others literally saves her life. She transforms from a bitter woman, into a woman who begins to see her full potential and opens her heart. She even falls in love.

    In many ways, this short story reminded me of "A Christmas Carol.". It is a story to read when you want a " pick me up".

    I was browsing book blogs one day and came across this book offered for free in e-book format.  I couldn't pass it up and I am glad that I didn't.  I believe that I downloaded it from the author's website.  (My brain is a little fuzzy, it's a side effect from pain medication!)

    On a personal note - I appreciate the good wishes that I received from several of you concerning my carpel tunnel surgery.  I am recovering nicely, I hurt a little and my ability to do things with my hands is very limited. I can still post reviews, but they will be short.  I mostly compose them on my iPhone, it is easier that way.  My reviews have been taken almost verbatim from my  Goodreads reviews, you can cut and paste,  a beautiful feature for me right now.
    View all my reviews

    Saturday, December 25, 2010

    REVIEW - These Things Hidden

    These Things Hidden
    These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Allison Glenn tried to hide what happened that night...and failed. The consequence? Five years in prison. Now she's free. But secrets have a way of keeping you caged...When Allison is sent to prison for a heinous crime, she leaves behind her reputation as Linden Falls' golden girl forever. Her parents deny the existence of their once-perfect child. Her former friends exult in her downfall. Her sister, Brynn, faces the whispered rumours every day in the hallways of their small Iowa high school. It's Brynn - shy, quiet Brynn - who carries the burden of what really happened that night. All she wants is to forget Allison and the past that haunts her. But then Allison is released, and is more determined than ever to speak with her sister. Now their legacy of secrets is focused on one little boy. And if the truth is revealed, the consequences will be unimaginable for the adoptive mother who loves him, the girl who tried to protect him and the two sisters who hold the key to all that is hidden. description from Goodreads

    Heather Gudenkauf explores the "safe haven" laws in her book. She takes us into the lives of four women. The first is Allison, convicted of murdering her newborn baby, recently released from prison. Brynn, Allison's sister who helped her give birth in secret. Charm who took a baby boy and dropped him off at a firestation, and Claire, who stuggled for years with infertility and finally adopted a baby boy.

    All four of these women are connected. The are all important in telling the story. I had a hard time with some of the disturbing elements to the story, but it is well written and sucks you right into the storyline.

    For me it would be impossible to walk away from this story without thinking about it.  I downloaded a copy from netgalley to review.  It will be released in Feb. 2011

    This is an adult book.  There is a bit, not too bad, of swearing.  The only concern is the sensitivity of the subject matter,

    View all my reviews


    Wishing you a very merry Christmas.  I hope you have a wonderful day, making cherished memories with your loved ones.

    Friday, December 24, 2010

    REVIEW -Christmas Stories for Bedtime

    Christmas Stories for BedtimeChristmas Stories for Bedtime by Renae Brumbaugh

    My rating: 3 of 5 stars

    This children's Christmas story is broken up in sections to make it easy to read bits of the Christmas story to children before they go to bed.

    It is written in a way to help children understand the events surrounding Christ's birth. After each story is a prayer, as if offered by a child to express a desire to incorporate the lesson of the story into our lives. There is the words of song or poetry after the prayer.

    I really like the format of the book and think it is a great way to discuss Christmas with young children.

    View all my reviews


    Announcing the winner's of the Midwinter's hop!

    "Littlest Angel" package- #48 Laura H

    "Christmas Rose" package - #117. Lora1967

    Congratulations! I have sent emails to the winners and will mail packages after the holidays. Winners were picked using

    Wednesday, December 22, 2010

    Almost 200 followers

    As of this moment I have 199 followers on this blog.  Seeing that I have only been blogging since October 12th, I think this is phenomenal.

    When I reach 250 followers I will come up with another giveaway.  I will try to think of something really good.   Thanks to everyone!  I appreciate the friendship and support that I have found the last couple of months.  I hope you all have a happy holiday season, for whatever holiday you celebrate.

    Tuesday, December 21, 2010

    REVIEW - "Raising Dragons"

    Raising Dragons (Dragons in Our Midst #1)Raising Dragons by Bryan Davis

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    A boy learns of his dragon past; a girl has known of hers for years. They combine their faith, courage, and love to overcome an evil slayer who seeks to bring an end to dragon heritage, forever. The kids at school call Billy "Dragon Breath" for good reason. His breath is bad! It isn't the normal, morning-mouth bad; it's the hot-as-fire, "don't-you-dare-get-near-me" bad. And hearing "Dragon Breath" ringing in his ears, he constantly tries to cool his oral volcano. Trouble erupts when his hot breath sets off the fire sprinklers in the boys' restroom at school, and his parents learn that they've kept their secret for too long. Billy finally discovers the secret. His father was once a dragon! Now that's a piece of news a guy doesn't deal with every day! Billy feels betrayed, alien, lost. When his father reverts to his dragon form, and they're both chased by dragon slayers, he learns to trust his father again, battling the slayers with weapons of steel and spirit. Bonnie, an orphan, tries to find a home, someone to love her, even though she feels like a freak because of a body feature that she calls a deformity, her dragon wings, inherited from her now dead dragon mother. She discovers that her love for others and her faith in a Creator hold the answers she is looking for. Raising Dragons is a contemporary fantasy novel that inspires young people to dig deep within to find their God-given strengths and use them to overcome any obstacle. description from Goodreads

    My take:

    Billy is stunned to learn that his father is a 1500 year old dragon walking the earth as a mortal. He must overcome the plots of the descendants of a wayward knight and save the future of dragons.  To do this he enlists the help of an orphan girl, also half dragon, his best friend and a teacher.  There is plenty of action, and Billy and his friends are very smart young people. 

    I really liked this story. There is bits of the legend of King Arthur and his knights, how Merlin helped save the dragons from an evil knight.  I grew up with my mother who was fascinated with Arthur, and I must admit, some of that has passed to me.  I love fantasy stories and I would have loved to read this one as a middle grade reader.  There are biblical references in this book and it works really well.

    This is a book that I would really like my children to take an interest in.  That will be my goal, to get them to read this book and like it.  :-)

    I downloaded a copy of this book from Netgalley to review.

    View all my reviews

    Teaser Tuesday

    It is time again for Teaser Tuesday.  It is hosted by MizB at Should be Reading.  The rules are simple:

  • 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!

  • My teaser is taken from Murder by another name by Jo Stone

    "They are going to try and pin this on us, either jointly or individually.  Winchester is not our friend here, Jerry.  Do you get that?"  pg  288

    Monday, December 20, 2010

    Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop

    Kathy at I am a reader, not a writer has done it again.  She has created a way for us to have a great time hunting for new books, and hopefully win a few.

    I love this time of the year. I love the excitement of a child and the ripping of paper as presents are open.  I love to give the presents to those I care about.  I am excited to meet new people and  this hop gives me an opportunity.
    Once again I am choosing books to give away that have some meaning to me.

    My first option is my FAVORITE Christmas book.  It is "The Littlest Angel" by Charles Tazewell, it will be accompanied by a new release.  It is a short Christmas story written by one of my friends, Rachelle Pace Castor, "The Christmas Apron".  Rachelle has signed the copy that I am giving away.  I am adding a story on CD that I received from the author.  It is "Chris Mouse and the Promise" by Tina J. Lackey Adams.

    The classic Christmas story tells of an adorable little angel who just cannot stay out of trouble in the celestial city. When the Christ child is born, the mischievous angel learns the timeless lesson of giving, a lesson that has long endured as the true spirit of Christmas
    The classic Christmas story tells of an adorable little angel who just cannot stay out of trouble in the celestial city. When the Christ child is born, the mischievous angel learns the timeless lesson of giving, a lesson that has long endured as the true spirit of Christmas.

    Chris Mouse has just tucked her three little ones into bed when she notices the most beautiful bright shining star in the heavens.  As she dreamily admires the star she remembers a prophecy she's heard stories about since her youth. A magnificent star would mark the birth of the Savior.  Could this be the promise she had waited her entire life to see?  What happens next will change the world forever.  Life for Chris Mouse will never be the same.

    My second option is "Christmas Rose" by Robyn Buttars" and another copy of "The Christmas Apron" also signed by Rachelle.
    There's something amazing happening at Pleasant Manor-a care center at the very edge of town. Using the wondrous power of love, a little girl named Rose is creating miracles in the lives of its residents. One by one, she touches the hearts of her new friends - Cleston, Helen, Jake, Fred, and Ina - with the light of hope.
    Most important to Rosie, though, is Bessie.
    Rosie and Bessie become inseparable best friends. Day by day Bessie teaches Rosie invaluable life lessons, including "Home is a place where you are surrounded by love." Just before Christmas, when the woman who had taught her so much about living speaks of dying, Rosie learns what true love, beauty, and friendship really mean. Her understanding is an invaluable gift for all.

    I have reviewed "The Christmas Apron" if you are interested reading it, click on this link:
    Sorry everyone International, but at the moment I cannot afford shipping to your country.  I am only offering these to US and Canada.  I will try to have an international contest soon, just know that I appreciate all of my followers!

    To enter : fill out the form below.

    1. You must be a follower to enter. +1 for GFC and +1 for networked blogs.

    2.  I just started to twitter, follow me for +3 entries.  There is a link on the right sidebar.

    3. Add my button to your blogroll for +2 entries

    BTW- I am adding a bookworm bookmark and a holiday treat to both packages.
    I will get the winners posted asap and shipped asap.  I will be having carpel tunnel surgery on the 23rd, so it may take me a few days.  Packages will be shipped after Christmas. Good luck and happy holidays.

    *** I have had this post scheduled and ready and the form made and then I added an element to subscribe by email.  If you subscribe by email I will give you another 5 entries.  Just add it to the right and then leave me  a comment at the bottom of the post.  Please use the name that you used name/alias in the form.  You do not need to leave your email.  You have already listed it in the form.  Thanks again! ****

    I just found out that if you are a networked blogs and gfc follower that the form will not allow you to choose both.  If you do both, please indicate in the last entry, blog address.  If you want to leave me your blog address, just do so after indicating both followings.  Sorry, this is only my second google doc and now I know better for next time.  Thanks for your patience with me!   :-)  Lisa

    Sunday, December 19, 2010

    In my Mailbox #2

    My second post of In My Mailbox.  It was originally started by the Story Siren and is a great way to put books on the radar of other readers.

    My week wasn't as good, but I received some great books.

    Downloaded from Netgalley:

    One Hundred Candles  (Past Midnight #2) by  Mara Purnhagen

    The rest I purchased this week~

    No Such Thing as Dragons by Philip Reeve

    The Familiars by  Adam Jay Epstein and Andrew Jacobson

    Sudden Storms by Marcia Lynn McClure

    The Prairie Prince by Marcia Lynn McClure

    Scottish Legend  by Sherry Ann Miller

    Hero by Mike Lupica

    Revolution  by Jennifer Donnelly

    Call Me Mrs. Miracle by Debbie Macomber

    Saturday, December 18, 2010

    New Elements to this blog

    I am a little slow on posting lately.  I have been trying to get ready for Christmas before I have carpel tunnel surgery on the 23rd.  I am doing both hands, I know a bit crazy, but I want to go through recovery once, not twice. I'm doing this on my terms and not anyone else's.  I also figure that my kids will be around to  help me out for a few weeks, due to the holiday break.  I will have the use of my fingers and plan on having time to catch up on some of my reading.  Not sure how my posting will go though.  I usually review on Goodreads as soon as I finish a book, it is my rough draft post.  Then I tweak it for the blog.  Maybe I will get posts on Goodreads on my iphone published and then have several posts all at once.  We'll see.

    The last few days I have been playing with my blog and have added a few new elements.  I now have feedburner for email subscriptions and an automatic feed to my twitter account.  I am @Bookworm_Lisa.  I am surprised to have a twitter account, never thought I would, but I did.  I have a link to my right sidebar if you would like to follow me on twitter, it will be one of the bonus entries for the next giveaway.  Coming on December 21 and 22.  The sign up for email subscriptions is also on the right sidebar.

    Thanks for joining me on the journey in the pursuit of great reading.

    Wednesday, December 15, 2010

    REVIEW of "Matched"

    Matched (Matched #1)Matched by Ally Condie

    My rating: 4 of 5 stars

    Cassia has always trusted the Society to make the right choices for her: what to read, what to watch, what to believe. So when Xander's face appears on-screen at her Matching ceremony, Cassia knows with complete certainty that he is her ideal mate . . . until she sees Ky Markham's face flash for an instant before the screen fades to black.
    The Society tells her it's a glitch, a rare malfunction, and that she should focus on the happy life she's destined to lead with Xander. But Cassia can't stop thinking about Ky, and as they slowly fall in love, Cassia begins to doubt the Society's infallibility and is faced with an impossible choice: between Xander and Ky, between the only life she's known and a path that no one else has dared to follow. description from Goodreads

    The  warning in this book is to not read the ending late at night. I couldn't sleep because I kept thinking about the events in this book and thinking how I would review it, but of course, I did not write any of it down, and so my great ideas are out the window.

    The book starts off slow for me and did not pick up until the last few chapters.  In several ways it reminds me of "The Giver" by Lois Lowry.  I can't say that I am a huge fan of "The Giver" it is way to dark and bleak for me.  "Matched" is not quite so dark and does leave you with a spark of hope.

    Cassia lives in a future that I think should be avoided at all costs. The society decides what age you will marry, who you marry, what age you die, how many children you can have, what your job will be, the age when you can no longer have children.....etc. They have sifted through all literature, songs, and art and there are only 100 available of each. Everything is done technologically, the children are not taught to write and cursive is a lost art form.  The jobs sound horrific.  Cassia is learning to sort everything.  She sorts to find patterns and look for probable outcomes.  It sounds horribly boring.  No room for imagination or dreams.

    The book starts off with Cassia going to her matching ceremony. She will find out who she will marry. She has just turned 17, and will marry at 21. Her match turn out to be her best friend Xander. That rarely happens, usually your match lives in a different province. When she tries to look at the information provided to her about Xander, another face pops up after Xander, Ky. Ky is also one of her friends. She begins to wonder about how perfect the matching department is, and whether Xander is her perfect match.

    The hero in this book (in my opinion) is her grandfather. He is only in the beginning, but he helps her to think outside the box that the society has given it's citizens. He dies on his 80th birthday, with his loved ones surrounding him. He sneaks Cassia a poem that is not one of the 100. It is by Dylan Thomas. The opening line is "Do not go gentle into that good night".

    The romance is very clean and innocent.  Cassia loves Xander, but as she begins to wonder about Ky, she gets to know him and falls in love with him.  He is of course, the forbidden love.

    This is a very good book.  Stick with it if you find it to be slow, you will want to keep reading as you progress into the story.  I will be getting the next book.  Now I need to know what happens to Cassia, Ky and Xander.

    View all my reviews

    Tuesday, December 14, 2010

    Inspired Kathy is having her 6 month Blogoversary

    Inspired Kathy at I am a Reader Not a Writer is celebrating her six month blogoversary.

    To celebrate she is having a contest for $20 gift certificate to Amazon, Barnes and Noble, or the Book Depository.

    Head on over to win and best of luck.

    Teaser Tuesday

    Teaser Tuesday is a fun post.  To play along open your current read and open to a random page.  Share two sentences that are not spoilers with everyone.  Make sure that you include title and author, maybe someone would like to read the book if they like your teaser.

    Teaser Tuesdays is hosted by Should be reading.

    My teaser is taken from "Matched" by Ally Condie.

    I'm thinking." Again, he knows my thoughts.  "It's not the same as remembering.  Remembering is part of thinking, but not all of it."  Pg. 67

    Yes, I know, I bent the rules and have more than two sentences, but I needed to continue on with the thought.

    Have a great Tuesday.

    Monday, December 13, 2010

    REVIEW "Chris Mouse and the Promise"

    Chis Mouse has just tucked her three little ones into bed when she notices the most beautiful bright shining star in the heavens.  As she dreamily admires the star she remembers a prophecy she's heard stories about since her youth.  A magnificent star would mark the birth of the Savior.  Could this be the promise she had waited her entire life to see?  What happens next will change the world forever.  Life for Chris Mouse will never be the same.

    I recently received "Chris Mouse and the Promise" from Tina J. Lackey Adams for review.

    This is great book to read to children to give a mouse's point of view of the birth of the Christ Child.  Chris mouse relates the  miraculous events that surround His birth.

    This story is simply told, it is easy and engaging for children. The illustrations are beautiful, they too are simple and do not distract from the story.  I enjoyed this short tale and gave it four stars. 

    About the author Tina J. Lackey Adams:

    Tina J. Adams, BSW received an Associate of Arts in Pre-Social Work, Cum Laude from Coconino County Community College. She completed her Bachelors in Social Work from Northern Arizona University.

    She is a member of Phi Theta Kappa, Beta Gamma Chi Chapter and Gamma Beta Phi Honor Societies.

    Tina is a free lance writer and poet growing up with a passion for reading and telling stories. She has a heart for children and animals serving families in Northern Arizona through Adoption and Foster Care services.

    This book is available at:

    Sunday, December 12, 2010

    In my Mailbox #1

    This is my first post for "In my mailbox".  It was started by the Story Siren. (link to her blog is in my blog roll at the bottom of this blog.)  It is a way to get books on the radar of those who read the post.  I will figure out  how this works as I go along.

    Last week was a very good week for me!  I love to go to my mailbox and find packages.  I like to see them listed on my kindle or listed in my i-phone.

    Books I purchased:

    Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
    Imprinted Souls by Daniele Lanzarotta (downloaded onto my kindle)
    Cross My Heart by Julie Wright (downloaded onto my kindle)
    Fallen by Lauren Kate
    No Hope for Gomez by Graham Parke

    Free downloads:

    Miss Humbug by Marnie L Pehrsom

    For Review from the author:

    Flashes from the Other World by Julie Ann Wenstein
    Shades of Green by Ian Woodhead
    The Adventures of Blue Ocean Bob: Blue Ocean Bob Discovers His Purpose by Brooks Olbrys
    Mubu and Mu-Mu:The Little Animal Doctor by Peter Alexander

    Downloaded from Netgalley

    Just 10 LBS by Brad Lamm
    Outside In by Maria V. Snyder

    Won in Giveaways:

    From Abi at Scraps of Life
    Treasury of Christmas Recipes
    The Christmas Glass  by Marci Alborghetti
    Love find you Under the Mistletoe by Irene Brand and Anaita Higman

    From GG Vandagriff at Writer in the Cranberry Tower
    The Hidden Branch by GG Vandagriff

    I don't usually get this many books, but it has made my week.

    Saturday, December 11, 2010

    REVIEW - "The Christmas Chronicles: The Legend of Santa Claus"

    In this new holiday classic, Tim Slover crafts a marvelous, magical novel about how Santa Claus became the man he is today. After reading The Christmas Chronicles, you’ll believe all over again in the magic of the season.
    Snow is falling, and the clock ticks toward midnight on Christmas Eve while countless children, too excited to sleep, anticipate the arrival of Santa Claus. But in Tim Slover’s deeply charming and utterly thrilling new novel, that’s the end rather than the beginning of the story. In this richly imagined tale of Santa’s origins, the man in full finally emerges. The Christmas Chronicles is at once an action-packed adventure, an inspiring story of commitment and faith, and a moving love story.

    It all starts in 1343, when the child Klaus is orphaned and adopted by a craftsmen’s guild. The boy will grow to become a master woodworker with an infectious laugh and an unparalleled gift for making toys. His talent and generosity uniquely equip him to bestow hundreds of gifts on children at Christmas—and to court the delightful Anna, who enters his life on a sleigh driven by the reindeer Dasher and becomes his beloved wife.

    Still, all is not snowfall and presents. Klaus will be shadowed by the envious Rolf Eckhof, who will stop at nothing to subvert him. But in the end, Santa’s magic is at last unleashed, flying reindeer come to his aid, and an epic battle between good and evil is waged in the frosty Christmas skies.

    By turns enchanting, hair-raising, and inspirational, The Christmas Chronicles is a beguiling tale destined to become a holiday favorite for the ages.
    Description from Goodreads

    The description is pretty much the book in a nutshell.  I will give you my thoughts on this book.

    My favorite character by far is Anna, Klaus's wife.  She is hilarious.  She is a fun loving woman who knows how to get what she wants.  She races reindeer, what more is there to say?

    I enjoyed the message behind the story.  Klaus begins to give gifts to the children who have suffered from loss due to the Black Plague.  His heart is pure, he wants to bring them joy.  He even has the local priest bless the gifts for the children.  The book shows how his role transitioned from the carpenter, to the legend we know as Santa.   Tim Slover points out the commercialism that is the drive behind the Christmas season.  I couldn't agree more.  I refuse to listen to Christmas music before Thanksgiving.  The point of the season for me is the birth of the Christ Child.  For many other cultures it is a time for celebration as well.  I think there is a point to many cultures, religions, etc celebrating this time of the year, it is dark and cold, we all need something to look forward to.  I always feel bad for families who cannot afford to give their children a nice Christmas, that is one of the many objections that I have to commercialization of the holiday.  It is not so much a celebration, but a time for some to rake in the dough.

    OK, off of my soapbox.  I liked this book, but felt that it dragged on in the middle.  The first part of the book was wonderful and left me full of hope for the rest of the book.  I gave it three stars.

    I purchased this book for my personal enjoyment.

    Thursday, December 9, 2010

    Review - "Allison Investigates: Does Chocoate Milk come from Brown Cows?"

    Allison Investigates: Does Chocolate Milk Come From Brown CowsAllison Investigates: Does Chocolate Milk Come From Brown Cows by Colette Omans Nicoletta

    My rating: 5 of 5 stars

    Meet Allison, the kid myth buster. She is curious and full of questions. Her dad likes to make her think, and always tells her that chocolate milk comes from brown cows. One morning, she sets off on an investigation to discover the truth for herself. Filled with cows, farms, and fun, this book helps readers to discover how milk gets from cows to you. description from Goodreads

    I received a copy of this book from the author for review. I love the idea of a young girl who doesn't take her father's word that chocolate milk comes from brown cows, but researches it, and discovers the truth. This book takes the reader through the process of milking the cows until it is safe for human consumption.

    The illustrations are simple and beautifully done.  They are easy for children to understand and do not distract from the story.

    View all my reviews

    My local high school is having a Sub for Santa Christmas Drive, to help those in need this year.  I will be donating the book that I received for a child to love and cherish.

    Wednesday, December 8, 2010

    REVIEW - "The Scorch Trials"

    Description from Goodreads
    Solving the Maze was supposed to be the end. No more puzzles. No more variables. And no more running. Thomas was sure that escape meant he and the Gladers would get their lives back. But no one really knew what sort of life they were going back to.
    In the Maze, life was easy. They had food, and shelter, and safety . . . until Teresa triggered the end. In the world outside the Maze, however, the end was triggered long ago.
    Burned by sun flares and baked by a new, brutal climate, the earth is a wasteland. Government has disintegrated—and with it, order—and now Cranks, people covered in festering wounds and driven to murderous insanity by the infectious disease known as the Flare, roam the crumbling cities hunting for their next victim . . . and meal.
    The Gladers are far from finished with running. Instead of freedom, they find themselves faced with another trial. They must cross the Scorch, the most burned-out section of the world, and arrive at a safe haven in two weeks. And WICKED has made sure to adjust the variables and stack the odds against them.
    Thomas can only wonder—does he hold the secret of freedom somewhere in his mind? Or will he forever be at the mercy of WICKED?

    I have finished the book and I feel like I am at a loss for words.  There are so many things to take in when reading this book.  James Dashner has put together a really good novel.  He has come up with so many variables that you have to wonder how his mind works?

    Thomas and his fellow glader's have escaped the maze, have been taken to a safe location, to find out that it is not a safe location.  The maze was phase one of the trials, they now have to follow through to phase two, the scorch trials. 

    Right from the start of the trial, the deaths begin to add up. This trial is brutal.  There is no mercy, they must cross a hostile environment, meet up with crazy people who have no grasp of humanity, and battle the elements.  Thomas must face complete and total betrayal and still keep his sanity and will to survive. This book does not lack for action, and you will keep turning the pages, anxious to find out what happens next.

    I purchased this book, because I loved the "Maze Runner" and had to find out what happened next.  This book is a cliff hanger and I will be buying the third book, to see what happens next. (I am redundantly using "what happens next, but I don't feel like changing it today.  I'm tired and found I am having hand surgery in two weeks, my brain doesn't want to be creative right now.)

    I gave it four stars.

    Content warning: graphic violence

    Another Reading Challenge!! Hosted by Lazy Girl Reads

    Lazy Girl Reads is having a mini challenge that runs from Jan. 1st until April 1st.  It is simple and I think it will work well with the other reading challenges that I have posted today.

    This is how it works:

    Choose four books that fall into these categories.

    1.Something Old

    2. Something New

    3. Something Borrowed

    4. Something Blue

    Sounds simple and fun, a book a month, should be do-able.   You can figure out the books as you go, you don't have to decide in advance.  As I read them, I will add them to this blog.  It will be listed in my left sidebar in  my reading challenges tab.

    My progress:

    First book read of Challenge:  Something New
    "Out for Blood" by Alyxandra Harvey
    finished on 1/12/11  published on December 21, 2010

    "Hawksong" is my second book read for the challenge!
    It is by Amelia Atwater-Rhodes and completes something borrowed.
    I borrowed this book from my local library.  I completed reading it on 1/29/11
    "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen is my "something old" selection
    I finished reading it on March 29, 2011

    "Sea Change" is last but not least.  I read it as "something blue".  It deals with Selkies and Mermaids and is set around the ocean.  I finished the last two by the skin of my teeth.  This book was completed on March 30, 2011.

    Bitsy Bling is having a historical reading challenge for 2011

    I know, I am a nut.  I just post a huge bucket list and now I am taking on a new reading challenge.  At Bitsy Bling books, Charlie Courtland has put together a challenge where participants read at least 6 historical books that come from different sub genres.  I personally love historical fiction, so I am ready to take on the challenge.  Are you?  Head on over to Charlie's blog for details.

    Bitsy Bling Books

    I have added this to my left sidebar. Good luck with your many reading challenge endeavors for 2011.  I will put together my list and add it to this post as I  decide.  I wanted to get you thinking about your list.

    Ok, it took me awhile, but I have come up with my list of books to read.

    Historical Horror:
    "The Cries of Vampira"

    Historical Romance:
    I am reading "My Enemy, My Beloved" but I am not sure it will qualify, so my second pick is "Morning for Dove"

    "My Enemy, My Beloved" completed 1/27/11 by Karl Vanghen
    "Rugged and Relentless" by Kelly Eileen Hake completed 3/2/11

    Historical YA:
    "Nine Days a Queen"

    "Nine Days a Queen" by Ann Rinaldi completed 2/27/11

    Historical Plantation:
    "The Book of Night Women"

    Historical Thriller:
    " Pelegia and the Red Rooster"

    Historical Mystery:
    "The Mysterious Lady Law"

    "The Mysterious Lady Law" by Robert Appleton completed 3/3/11
    As I finish the books, I will list them under the category in red, with the date completed.

    My book bucket list for 2011

    I have MANY books on my shelves that I have not read.  "Too many books, too little time."  Maybe what I need to do is prioritize my reading. 

    I have decided that for 2011, I will read 50 of the books that have been sitting on my "to read" shelf for too long, some for  three years or more.

    I read at least two books a week, so it should be no problem, right?  I will remind myself of that when the end of 2011 comes, and see how many I may try to cram in at the last minute.  My problem when it comes to reading is , my intentions are good, but I am easily distracted.  There are so many books that I find and want to read, and some great books are moved farther on the back burner. 

     I am going to keep a list in my sidebar for the year, as I read them I will cross them off, that way there will always be a reminder for me when I get on my blog.  It won't become buried under all of my posts and forgotten.

    So, here is my list.  On the top of the list, books that have been on my "to read" for the greatest length of time.  On the bottom of the list, books that have been on for the least amount of time.

    1. "They Holy Secret" by James L Ferrel  10/30/11
    2. "Massacre at Mountain Meadows" by Ronald Walker
    3. "The Price We Paid: The Extraordinary Story of the Willie and Martin Handcart Pioneers" by Andrew      Olsen
    4. "William Shakespeare's: Twelfth Night (Shakespeare Retellings, #6) " by Bruce Coville 2/23/11
    5."Water Keep" (Farworld book 1) by Scott Savage
    6. " The Journal of Curious Letters" (The 13th Reality #1) by James Dashner
    7. "The Memory Keepers Daughter" by Kim Edwards
    8. "Found" (The Missing, #1) by Margaret Peterson Haddix 3/13/11
    9. "Sent"  (The Missing #2) by Margaret Peterson Haddix 3/15/11
    10. "Mistborn: The Final Empire" (Mistborn #1) by Brandon Sanderson
    11."The Well of Ascension" (Mistoborn #2) by Brandon Sanderson
    12. "The Hero of the Ages (Mistborn #3) by Brandon Sanderson
    13. "The Actor and the Housewife" by Shannon Hale
    14. "Sun and Moon, Ice and Snow" by Jessica Day George
    15. "The Help" by Kathryn Stockett
    16. "The Lost Symbol" (Robert Langdon #3) by Dan Brown
    17. "Coraline" by Neil Gaiman
    18."The Magicians Elephant" by Kate DiCamillo 2/24/11
    19. "Shiver"(The Wolves of Mercy Falls #1) by Maggie Stiefvater
    20."The Five Love Languages: How to Express Heartfelt Commitment to Your Mate" by Gary Chapman
    21. " Neverwhere" by Neil Gaiman  6/24/11
    22. "The Undaunted" by Gerald Lund
    23. "Jane Bites Back" by Thomas Michael
    24. "Witch and Wizard" by James Patterson
    25. "Storm Glass" by Maria V. Snyder
    26. "Sea Glass" by Maria V. Snyder
    27." The Alchemist" by Paulo Coelho
    28. "Milkweed" by Jerry Spinelli
    29.  "Lady of Milkweed Manor" by Julie Klassen
    30. "7 Miracles that Saved America" by Chris Stewart
    31. "Hush, Hush" by Becca Fitzpatrick
    32. "Beastly" by Alex Flinn
    33. "Season's of a Mother's Love" by David J Ridges  6/6/11
    34. "Just one Wish" by Janette Rallison
    35. "My Fair Godmother" by Janette Rallison
    36. "Jessica's Guide to Dating on the Dark Side" by Beth Fantaskey
    37. "Graceling" by Kristen Cashore
    38. "The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane" by Katherine Howe
    39."The Cinderella Society" by Kay Cassidy
    40. "The Time Traveler's Wife" by Audrey Niffenegger
    41. " Beautiful Creatures" by Kami Garcia
    42. "The Storyteller's Daughter" by Cameron Dokey
    43. "The Maze of Bones" (The 39 Clues #1) by Rick Riordan  4/21/11
    44. "The Red Pyramid" (Kane Chronicles #1) by Rick Riordan
    45. "The Handmaid's Tale" by Margaret Atwood
    46. "The Eternal Ones" by Kristen Miller
    47. "The Last Waltz" by G G Vandagriff
    48. "The Smile" by Donna Jo Napoli
    49. "Northanger Abbey" by Jane Austen 3/29/11
    50. "Are Your Kids Driving you Nuts?" by James J Jones 1/11

    OK, they are listed.  I will stick to the list.  I am looking at all of the other books on my "to read" list and I am thinking that I would really like to add them, but they haven't been on as long.  My goal is to read these great books and get them off of my list.

    Feel free to join me,  make a list of books that you will read for 2011.  Cross them off as you go.  See if  you can finish your list before I finish mine.  Make a list of 10 or however many you feel is "do"able for you.

    I am adding a Mr Linky. That way anyone who wants to participate can, and see what everyone else is doing.

    **Sorry, I didn't pay to continue the Linky service, therefore the linky has been removed.  If you join, please leave a comment with the link to your list (if you are a blogger) or indication you are participating if you are not a blogger.  You could list your books in the comments to keep track of them.  =) **

    Tuesday, December 7, 2010

    Teaser Tuesday

    I am going to start posting on Teaser Tuesdays.  The host of this is Should be Reading. (check my blog roll to go to the page)  The object is to go to a random page in your current read and post a passage that is not a spoiler.
    My passage is from "The Scorch Trials" by James Dashner page 246
    "Five days, dude.  But you know we can't go tramping around in this sun with nothing to protect us.  You're gonna talk, then we're gonna sleep, then we're all gonna bust our humps walking all night.  Get on it."