Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Mailbox #19

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  It's a way to advertise the books that we receive and  we may not get to quickly.  It's also a fun way to interact and get great ideas of new books to read.

Another great week for me!

To Review:
Contingency by Paula Wiseman
Nia by Mella Reese

Won in a giveaway from Jennifer Lauren's Blog: (After trying many times, I finally won!)
A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens

by Jennifer Bradbury

by Tabitha Suzuma

Eye of the Moon
by Dianne Hofmeyr

To Win Her Heart by Karen Witemeyer
Murder by Design by Betsy Brannon Green

Did you find some great books to read this week?

Friday, April 29, 2011

REVIEW - A World Without Heroes (Beyonders)

           I had been anticipating this book ever since I went to a BYU author signing for Brandon Mull.  He explained the book a bit, not giving out any spoilers (unfortunately) and I was enticed from the very beginning.  Finally it came in the mail, and I put down all my other books for this one.

         Jason Walker is a animal loving Colorado kid who loves baseball.  He is a seemingly average boy who does average things; hang out with friends, think about the smart pretty girl, fight with his parents, so on and so forth.  Little does he know that he is about to add saving a unknown, and completely different planet to the menu.  Lyrian is a mythical realm ruled by an evil sorcerer named Maldor, who has left his kingdom in ruin, and his people with out hope for better days.

        Jason meets Rachel, who like him only wants to make it back home to Earth.  The two soon realize that the way back home lies with saving the planet from the grip of it's ruthless ruler.  The way to destroying Maldor is contained in a word, which when spoken in front of Maldor will kill him.  Together, Rachel and Jason travel all over Lyrian in search of the six syllables that make up the key to Maldor's demise.

       But when the time comes, will it be enough?

       'Beyonders, A World Without Heroes' is one hundred percent completely a 5 star book.  I loved every minute of Mull's new creative world, and can not wait another full year before the second one comes out.  It sparked my interest from the very first chapter, wouldn't you be curious if the main character is swallowed by a Hippo?  I was the very first to read this book out of all my friends, finished it in less then a full day.  When they asked for spoilers, the only thing I would tell them was 'Its  a lie!'  For all of you who have read this book, you would now what I mean.  For you who haven't, well then, you will just have to find out for yourselves, shouldn't you?

The Diva Doctrine is on tour + you could win the book!


Summary from GoodreadsPatricia V. Davis may be the first to tell you she's an expert in failed relationships. But ask any of the readers who helped a post on her advice blog go viral, and they'll say that whether you're wide-eyed twenty-something dreamer, the world's grooviest grandma, or something in between, there's no one better able to help you on your way to becoming a True Diva!

My thoughts:
Reading self help books is not my preferred reading material.  Give me fiction, entertain me!  I must admit that this is an entertaining book, plus it helps give me ideas to get over some of my  hang ups and things holding me back from being a better person

Patricia writes like she is sitting down and chatting with you.   She's the friend who sits down with you and tells you the way things really are.  She gives great advice.  I even learned how to highlight text on my kindle.  I've had it for a year and a half and had never seen the need to learn.  I highlighted like crazy.  There are so many thoughts and ideas that I need to re-read and implement into my life.

I want to share three of them with you.  Just because I think that they are right on target and give you an idea of what you will find in this book.

Believe that there is a worth to you alone, as an individual - not only in relation to others - and that there is value to your beliefs, wishes and dreams.

Just think about that for a minute.  How much more would you get accomplished, how much better would you feel as you achieved it, if you weren't constantly feeling stressed and inferior because of how you  perceived your looks?

You can't change the people you love: you can only change your reaction to them.

I would feel comfortable recommending this book to my mother, friend, grandmother, etc.  I probably would hold back on my 13 year old daughter for a few years. But I would say mother's of teens should read it to help their daughters.  I gave it four stars.

I received a copy of this book from Cedar Fort using Netgalley.  

Cedar Fort is giving away a copy of the book to one lucky winner.  They are even making it International!  This giveaway will run until May 11th at 11:59 pm Mountain Daylight Savings time.  You must be 13 or older to enter.  I will not ask for a follow because I am not giving away the book.  But if you like what you see here, I would appreciate one.  To enter fill out the form.  The only mandatory info needed is your name and email, the rest is optional.  But you can get extra entries by doing the following:

(+1) Like Patricia's Facebook FanPage
(+1) Follow Patricia on Twitter
(+1) sign up for email notifications at Cedar Fort Publlishing

If you like what you read here, check out the other blogs involved with the tour and find out more about Patricia and her book.

April 26: Three Boys & an Old Lady blog – Stop by and enter a giveaway for the book. Come by later to read a TwitterView with Patricia.
April 27: Living, Loving, Laughing, Reading book review blog – Come read a review of the new book.
April 29: Lisa is a Bookworm blog – A review and a giveaway.
April 30: Pensive Bookeaters blog – A review of the book.
May 3: Uniquely Moi Books blog – An interview with Patricia V. Davis
May 4: I Am A Reader, Not A Writer blog – an interview and a giveaway of the book.
May 8: Hopeless Bibliophile blog – A guest post by Patricia V. Davis on her favorite books.
May 9: Urban Girl Reader blog – A review, a guest post, and a giveaway.

Can't wait to read it? ~ Here is a link to purchase the book.

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Here Lies Bridget

Here Lies BridgetHere Lies Bridget by Paige Harbison

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads: Bridget Duke is the uncontested ruler of her school. The meanest girl with the biggest secret insecurities. And when new girl Anna Judge arrives, things start to fall apart for Bridget: friends don't worship as attentively, teachers don't fall for her wide-eyed "who me?" look, expulsion looms ahead and the one boy she's always loved—Liam Ward—can barely even look at her anymore.
When a desperate Bridget drives too fast and crashes her car, she ends up in limbo, facing everyone she's wronged and walking a few uncomfortable miles in their shoes. Now she has only one chance to make a last impression. Though she might end up dead, she has one last shot at redemption and the chance to right the wrongs she's inflicted on the people who mean the most to her.
And Bridget's about to learn that, sometimes, saying you're sorry just isn't enough….

My thoughts:
Bridget is a witch. She lives to promote her own agenda and make everyone else's life miserable. She is self centered and could care less what anyone else thinks or feels.

Things begin to change for her when a new girl comes to the school. Everyone loves Anna and she pulls the attention away from Bridget. Bridget goes to extreme measures to regain her popularity and destroys a few lives in the process. She has an accident and is forced to examine her life and impact upon others. Try to make right her many wrongs.

I admit to loving to hate Bridget. I am glad that I never had a friend like her. This book is a reminder to me to take a look around me and see what I am doing in my relationships to others. Bridget realizes that she isn't nice, but doesn't understand how her actions are affecting her friends and acquaintances.

I had a few concerns about a couple of the words used in describing her, she finds them on the bathroom wall. They really made me cringe. I guess that was used to describe what kind a person she is in the book.

Good message on changing yourself and forgiveness.

I received a copy to review from Netgalley with the permission of Harlequin Teen.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Winners of the Hoppy Easter Eggstravaganza

I used to determine the winners for the giveaway.

The US winner is :  Lolawid

The international winner is : Kristina

I have emailed both and am awaiting their responses.  They will have 72 hours to respond before I pick a new winner.  Thanks to all who entered.  There is another giveaway right around the corner.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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!

    This week my teaser comes from "The Diva Doctrine" by Patrica V. Davis

    And yet, after women train men not to feel, or at least not to express what they feel, we get frustrated when the man we love has a hard time showing his love.  We complain that he's not "romantic"

Monday, April 25, 2011

REVIEW- A Tale of Two Castles

I would like to thank my mom for the nice (while some what embarrassing) introduction.   I will be the assistant reviewer for two reasons.  One, I love to read, and two, my mom has too many books to read.  Though, I find that a little hard to believe because I never seem to have too much to read, but too little.

I am a big fan of all of Gail Carson Levine's books, so I had high expectations for this one.  I actually stole the reader from my mom before she had a chance to get past the first page.  "A Tale of Two Castles" is a fantasy mystery that is about a twelve year old girl named Elodie.  Her parents send her away to be apprenticed to a weaver.  But she has plans of her own.  She wants to be a  mansioner (Actor).   But the head mansioner refuses to take her on as his apprentice because she does not have money.  Instead she is accepted  as a dragons assistant. The plot soon thickens, and Elodie has to find out who set a band of murderous cats on the town's ogre, and who poisoned the king, before time runs out. 

I personally thought that the book was bland and lacking emotion.  It's a far cry from the other books that Levine has written.  I was confused for the first half of the book.  I have a feeling that this book could be great, if she had only but put a little more effort into her writing.  There was also a problem with the dragons gender.   I have no problem with the beast's gender as it was.  But one gets tired of seeing four capitalizes IT's in one sentence.  I think my biggest problem with the book was all the IT's.  Just ask my mom.  It's not like I didn't complain to her every five minutes.  

Don't get me wrong, I didn't see bad things on every corner, I think the book has the makings to be a really great tale someday.  But I did learn a new motto for life.  'Just because an author has written one good book in his or her life time, doesn't mean I can expect them to write an  epic.' 

Introducing -Beka -my wonderful daughter

Ok, not a very good picture, but she is a little shy. Beka is an avid reader who has wanted to post reviews on my blog.  She is an aspiring writer and writes books that she shares with her friends at school.  Her friends have written up a contract for her, promising that she won't abandon her latest work so they can read it.

I have decided to take my daughter on as an occasional reviewer.  In fact, I handed her four books last night and was amazed at how good  it felt to lighten my load.  She recently read Brandon Mull's "A World Without Hero's" and Gail Carson Levine's " A Tale of two Castles".  I downloaded them as galleys from the Galley Grab at Simon & Schuster and Netgalley.  She will be reviewing both of them for me.

I think it will be interesting to view the books from the eyes of a 13 year old.  I am contemplating some posts where we review the same book.  A mom said / daughter said kind of a thing.  She wants me to let everyone know that she will be accepting books to review, only with mother's permission of course.

Hopefully within the next couple of days, we will get to hear form her!  I recently bought a used Sony eReader to put all of the ePub editions of books that I review on.  They are no longer on my iPhone, that is part of the reason that we are able to do this now.  There is no way that I will be handing over my phone to my daughter to read a book.  All posts that she writes will be labelled so you know that she is the author.

Saturday, April 23, 2011

In my mailbox #18

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  It's a way to advertise the books that we receive and  we may not get to quickly.  It's also a fun way to interact and get great ideas of new books to read.

 from Netgalley:
The Misadventures of Phillip Isaac Penn by  Donna L. Peterson

Spellbound by Cara Lynn Schultz

Hard copies for review:
Buddy's Tail by k. Anne Russell
The Lens and the Looker by Lory S. Kaufman

Hard Copies purchased:
The Mark by M. R.  Bunderson
Entwined by Heather Dixon
BOGO eBook Purchase:
Divine Deception by Marcia Lynn McClure
the cover has been updated  - this is the older cover

Daydreams by Marcia Lynn McClure
she was having a BOGO on her site.  Buy one eBook , get the second free!
EBooks from Author's to review:
Better than Chocolate by Pat Amsden

Novella - The Bad, the Good and Two Fly Fishing Women
by Randy Kadish

Acadia Book 1: The Lost King and the Goddess of Tim
by Ali M. Naqvi
There is my week!  I'm trying to get this up, finish  visiting all of the blogs in the Hoppy Easter Extravaganza (I may not make to all of them this time.), and get my son ready to head out and pick up his date for Prom.  I hope you had a great week in your mailbox, ebox, or favorite book store.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

REVIEW - "The Maze of Bones"

The Maze of Bones (39 Clues, #1)The Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads:
Instead of 39 steps, billionaire Grace Cahill left her heirs 39 clues scattered around the world. At the end of this circuitous trail are the answers to a great family mystery, but Amy and Dan must decide whether any prize can be more important than the rescue of their missing parents. The beginning of an enthralling ten-book arc.

My thoughts:
I enjoyed reading this book. It was recommended to my kids from a librarian and, of course, being a mother, I love to know what my kids are reading. I read this looooong after my kids though. But it has led to some fun discussions with my daughter talking about this book.  There are currently 11 books to the series and my daughter has read all of them.

This is an adventure book. Amy and Dan are orphans being raised by a long list of au pairs. None last for a long amount of time. Dan acts out, he's precocious, but I wonder if it's because he's trying to get the attention of his grandmother.

This book opens at their grandmother's funeral. They choose an option of looking for the lost "treasure" of their ancestors. They could either take a million dollars or join other relatives on the quest. They are told that it will be dangerous, and the family members are all working against them.  The instructions given tell them to trust no one.

The kids are put in some unique and dangerous situations. As always, I am impressed with the resilience of the kids. But then again, this is fiction. I don't know that I could do half as well in the situations that they find themselves again. But that is why I love to read. It sparks the imagination and kids love to read about other kids facing impossible situations and prevailing.

A Personal note:

As I indicated above. I like to read the books that my children read.  I have seen some commentary that many adults review YA books, and we are definitely NOT teens.  I like to read what my children are reading.  I like to know what they are reading.  Many parents had issues with allowing their children reading "Breaking Dawn", well, I let my then 11 year old daughter read it.  I had read it before hand, and I would rather know what she is reading and be able to discuss it with her.  So, yes, part of the reason that I read YA is to be an informed parent. The other part is because I love a good story.  It doesn't matter if the characters are 3 or 89.  A good story will carry to all readers regardless of situation or age.  On this blog you will find a variety of books.  I read picture books and I read adult books.  I will do my best to give you my thoughts on all of them.

This takes another book off of my book bucket list.  I have scheduled the rest of them on my calendar.  It will take me until December to finish them.  Hopefully I can stay on track, because I am behind on everything else.  If you are curious about my book bucket list challenge, I have a link in the left side bar that will take you right to the challenge.

Blog tour: "The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter" & Character Interview

I am very excited to share with you an exciting Middle Grade Book that I just had the pleasure to read.
When you  like the book it is fun to be a part of a blog tour and I loved getting to know the characters in "The Guardians of the Hidden Scepter" by Frank L. Cole.  I am very glad that I get to know my two favorite characters from the book a bit better.  My favorite is actually Trendon, I think you will be able to see why.

So without further delay - here is the interview with Trendon and Amber

Amber and Trendon what makes Ms. Holcomb such a compelling teacher?

Amber - I just love her passion and excitement. She has so much hands on experience. Assignments are never boring and she values our opinion. 

 Trendon - She's cool except when she sings those stupid jingles. Plus she's a real space cadet and she has no clue when I'm playing on my phone. 

Amber - Trendon, you don't really think she's a space cadet! And everyone knows when you're playing on your phone. It's not like you can be sly or anything.

  Trendon, we know Amber's Point of View when you rescued her form the fire.  How would you describe it? 

Geez, that door had to be made of steel. I don't know, I really wasn't that worried at first. I mean come on, Amber tends to blow things out of proportion. But then when I saw the fire, I realized it was pretty bad. Half the room was gone and Amber had these crazy eyes. Freaked me out a little.

  Amber, you are a 14 year old student, how did you feel when you were selected to keep an ancient artifact from a group of "bad guys"? 

I knew Ms. Holcomb would never put us in danger unless it was absolutely necessary. I was definitely afraid, but also glad she could trust us.
 Ok you two, you have lived through some horrifying and dangerous situations.  Where did you find the courage to keep going? 

Two words: caffeine and red rope licorice.

That’s five words and you’re just showing off. I think we were both really scared, but I knew we couldn’t give up and let Dorothy just stay in that cell forever… or worse. Trendon’s jokes also kept things light and helped to keep me focused.

(Long awkward pause)

Trendon, it’s your turn.

Didn’t I already answer? I said red rope licorice.

   Now that you both have had an adventure and travelled to distant countries, has it helped you determine what you plan to do in your future?

I think so. After I finish school at Roland & Tesh, I’m going to try to enroll at La Trobe University in Australia. That’s where Dorothy earned her Masters Degree and it’s supposed to be the best school for studying field archaeology. After what we’ve been through, it will probably seem low key.

How far in the future are we talking? Because planning ahead hurts my brain. I’m thinking in 16 months I’m getting my drivers license and then… when do we get lunch?

Thank you Amber and Trendon for taking the time to let us get to know you better!  Also, thank you Mr. Cole for being the voice behind them.

Now for my review of the book:

 The Guardians of the Hidden ScepterThe Guardians of the Hidden Scepter by Frank L. Cole

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads:
Amber never dreamed her archaeology class would turn into a top secret mission that would take her across the globe, but when her teacher goes missing, Amber realizes it's up to her to protect the Hidden Scepter or risk unleashing an ancient power too terrifying to imagine. This guaranteed page-turner from the bestselling author  Hashbrown Winters series is perfect for the adventurer in your family.

My thoughts:
This is an adventure book that both girls and boys will love. Amber is a 14 year old girl who loves her extracurricular archaeology class. It is taught by the vibrant Ms. Holcomb, who prefers to be called Dorothy.

Dorothy takes Amber to a museum and tells her that she is leaving for a while and gives her an antique necklace. Then a few weeks later a mysterious letter is sent to Amber, Trendon, Joseph, and Lisa. They begin to unravel the clues in the letters and figure out that Dorothy is in trouble.

Suddenly the kids are being chased by "bad guys" who want the clues in the letters. The kids find themselves on an adventure trying to keep an ancient artifact out of the hands of the men chasing them. One child meets with an accident and one is not who he/she appears to be. They travel from the US to Turkey and then find themselves in the Philippines.

The kids must unravel the clues and save the world from the evil that seeks to take it over.

I loved this book.  It was fun to read.  I know that my kids will love it.  It is full of adventure and kids facing adventures that are definitely part of everyday life.  I found that the writing style was perfect for the target audience.  There was not content that was inappropriate.  I feel very comfortable in recommending this book to all age groups and audiences.  I hope that there will be more adventures published from this brave group of kids.

Many thanks to Cedar Fort and Netgalley for making a galley available on NetGalley.  That is where I obtained the copy that I read.

I just thought I would add a note, that I have purchased a hard copy of the book for my kids to read.  It is the kind of book that I look for to share with my kids.  (Don't tell them though, my daughter is getting it for Easter. ;0) I don't think she regularly reads my posts.  Let's hope she waits until Sunday to see this one!)

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Hoppy Easter Extravaganza

Yay, I am a Reader, Not a Writer and Once Upon a Twilight for putting together this hop.  Once again I will have a US only giveaway and an International Only giveaway.  I  have been doing a little bit of spring cleaning at my home and going through the books on my shelf. I will be giving a box of 10 books to a US only winner.  Sorry, but shipping of books gets to be expensive.  So I brought home a flat rate box from the post office and stuffed it with as many books as I could.   There will be one US winner and one International winner.

I decided that I didn't want to deal with extra entries this go around. I will not require a follow, but I would appreciate one. :0)  Everyone who enters will get one entry!  You must be 13 or older to enter this contest.  Good luck and have fun with the hop.
 Here is the US selection.
I have it all boxed up and ready to go.  I just need to find a winner and put an address on it!  Here is a listing of the books.  Starting with the front L- R
Monster Heart by Gary Turcotte, Pulse of Power by  Anne Elizabeth, Vampire Plages: London, 1850 by Sebastian Rook, Vampire Plagues, Paris 1850 by Sebastian Rook, and Vampire Plagues, Mexico 1850 by Sebastian Rook
Back row: Murder by another Name by Jo Stone, Bell, Book and Scandal by Jill Churchill, Sea Change by Aimee Friedman. Mountain Dragon: Aspiration by Bradley Clemmons, and Beat the Band by Don Calame.

There is also a bookmark of Laney by Joanne I. Martin Sowles. All of the books are used and have been on my bookshelf.  Some may have my last name written in ink in the cover.  One is a library book that I purchased in a sale at my local library.
US only - Please fill out this form!   

For my international followers.  I will giveaway a copy of Sea Change by Aimee Friedman to be shipped using the Book Depository. You will have 72 hours to respond with your mailing address before I pick a new winner. Please fill out the form below.  Here is a book description from GoodReads.

Sixteen-year-old Miranda Merchant is great at science. . .and not so great with boys. After major drama with her boyfriend and (now ex) best friend, she's happy to spend the summer on small, mysterious Selkie Island, helping her mother sort out her late grandmother's estate.

There, Miranda finds new friends and an island with a mysterious, mystical history, presenting her with facts her logical, scientific mind can't make sense of. She also meets Leo, who challenges everything she thought she knew about boys, friendship. . .and reality.
Is Leo hiding something? Or is he something that she never could have imagined?

Praise for Sea Change:

"An evocative setting, an air of mystery and some intriguing love interests for Miranda, a 16-year-old budding scientist, will make Friedman's novel irresistible to romance fans...Movingly and convincingly drawn." - Publishers Weekly

"Miranda is likable and interesting, and she possesses a self-awareness and confidence that is coupled with an insecurity that makes her real and easy for readers to connect with themselves. . .A good choice to pass to readers who devour supernatural romances but are ready to move on from vampires and fairies.."

See who else has something to give away!

REVIEW - "Hera"

HeraHera by Julien Longo

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from Goodreads:
In this series, Longo reinvents the Greek creation story, weaving a mystic tale that reveals the secret of how the Greek Gods and Goddesses came into being. It's a tale that embodies the rich tapestry of mysticism, and immortal love. In book one, Hera captivates readers with her life story when she discovers an immortal secret and a destiny she was born to fulfill.

My thoughts and impressions:

I enjoyed this book, but I am having a hard time expressing my thoughts.  For some reason everything seems to be coming out a jumbled mess.  So hopefully you will get an idea of what this book is and that I really did like it.  ;0)

Hera is an Atlantian. She is descended from a matriarchal line of priestesses. As a young woman she starts to come into her own and reveals powers that are mystical healing arts.   Hera begins calling forth fire, a dangerous skill. She takes a journey to the Emerald Temple to be trained. She is the heir of Rhea who is the current high priestess.  It is in the society of priestesses that many of the names that were familiar with in Greek mythology are unveiled.

While in training with Hecate, she meets and is drawn to the handsome Titan, Zeus. She takes him as her lover and plans to continue her training in the temple.

Forces combine that will bring her and Zeus across one anothers path and create the dynasty that we know as the Greek myth.  I loved the emotional and intellectual journey that Hera takes.  This book is from her viewpoint. The other members of Greek mythology are seen through her eyes.  It begins to explain some of the legends that surround her.

I found this book to be intriguing. There are many elements of the story that caught my attention. I found it interesting that the author refers to everyone as an immortal. That the spirit continues on after death. Hera is heir to the Emerald Temple and holds the actual elixir that does grant one immortality with the body.  Another interesting tidbit is that the high priest  is called "The Lucifer."  It seems that she has taken some of the characteristics from biblical sources as well.

This book takes a look at a matriarchal society and the cross over to a patriarchal society. The jealousies and the grab for power in Atlantian society.  Later these same characters will display the same characteristics in immortality.  Longo has laid a foundation for the parts that each will play in the mythology of Ancient Greece.

I received a copy to review through Bostick Communications.  I would recommend this book to adults because of some of the mature themes.  I did not find this book to contain  graphic content.

Teaser Tuesday

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
  • 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!

I am late posting again today.  I had a Council PTA meeting today and forgot about everything else.

My teaser this week comes from "Hera" by Julien Longo. Sorry, no page numbers but it is close to the end.  I'm reading an ecopy on my iPhone.
"I do love you," he continued. "Hera," he leaned forward in the chair earnestly, but his voice was still soft. " You will always be first in my heart, I can swear that, but I cannot be faithful."

Sunday, April 17, 2011

REVIEW - The Vespertine

The Vespertine (The Vespertine, #1)The Vespertine by Saundra Mitchell

My rating: 3.5 of 5 stars

Summary from Goodreads:

It’s the summer of 1889, and Amelia van den Broek is new to Baltimore and eager to take in all the pleasures the city has to offer. But her gaiety is interrupted by disturbing, dreamlike visions she has only at sunset—visions that offer glimpses of the future. Soon, friends and strangers alike call on Amelia to hear her prophecies. However, a forbidden romance with Nathaniel, an artist, threatens the new life Amelia is building in Baltimore. This enigmatic young man is keeping secrets of his own—still, Amelia finds herself irrepressibly drawn to him.
When one of her darkest visions comes to pass, Amelia’s world is thrown into chaos. And those around her begin to wonder if she’s not the seer of dark portents, but the cause.

My thoughts:
I was thinking three stars throughout the book. The ending brought it up to about 3.5 stars for me. .

This book is dark and cryptic. It reminded me of a thunderstorm. Occasionally there would be a flash of lightning and then you would be able to see clearly the events in this book.

The book begins with Amelia's reputation ruined. Her brother sent her for a season to marry. When I first started reading, I had to check and make sure that this wasn't a sequel, I knew that there was a lot of back story that I was missing. I didn't realize that after the first, the book went on to tell the story behind her ruination.

Youth can be reckless and play with fire. Amelia begins to have visions at Vespers.  I didn't know what Vespers was until I read the book.  It is the time in the evening when good Catholics say their evening prayers. What appeared to be harmless, letting others know that Amelia was having visions of the future turns into tragedy. I won't let you know what the tragedy is, because you should read it for yourself. Amelia is staying with a cousin, Zora. The girls bond quickly and enjoy their season together. They both fall in love and help each other in their efforts with boys who are not totally appropriate for their station.

The romance between Zora and Thomas seems more natural and less contrived.  There has been a long time admiration of Thomas by Zora.  Their relationship develops and is sweet.  Thomas is the perfect gentleman.  He does things the way that a good boy in Victorian times should.  Amelia on the other hand falls for a struggling artist, Nathaniel.  He is penniless and way beneath her station.  Their relationship is literally a whirlwind.  (You will understand if you read or have read the book.)

The book is set in the United States in the Victorian Era. I found Saundra Mitchell's details of the time period to be fascinating. She did a great job in describing the feel of the time and even in describing a corset.

If you like historical fiction with a little bit of a paranormal element. You would enjoy this book. Just be prepared to try to put the pieces of the puzzle together at the beginning.

Thanks to Houghton Mifflin Harcourt and Netgalley for making a galley available and approving my request to read it.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

In my Mailbox #17

In my mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren.  It's a way to advertise the books that we receive and  we may not get to quickly.  It's also a fun way to interact and get great ideas of new books to read.

Downloaded from Netgalley:
Ultraviolet by R.J. Anderson

The Poisoned House by Michael Ford
Skipping Stones at the Center of the Earth by Andy Hueller
The Diva Doctrine by Partricia Davis
Received from Author to review:
Love will Follow by Bailey Bristol

City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
Twilight Saga: the official illustrated guide by Stephenie Meyer
The Emerald Atlas by John Stephens
Infinity: Chronicles of Nick by Sherrilyn Kenyon

If you can't tell, I love to peruse Netgalley and the shelves at the bookstore.  I hope you had a great week with your book selections.

REVIEW- "The Hole in the Wall"

The Hole in the WallThe Hole in the Wall by Lisa Rowe Fraustino

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Description from GoodReads: Eleven-year-old Sebby has found the perfect escape from his crummy house and bickering family: The Hole in the Wall. It’s a pristine, beautiful glen in the midst of a devastated mining area behind Sebby’s home. But not long after he finds it his world starts falling apart: his family’s chickens disappear, colors start jumping off the wall and coming to life, and after sneaking a taste of raw cookie dough he finds himself with the mother of all stomachaches. When Sebby sets out to solve these mysteries, he and his twin sister, Barbie, get caught in a wild chase through the tunnels and caverns around The Hole in the Wall — all leading them to the mining activities of one Stanley Odum, the hometown astrophysicist who’s buying up all the land behind Sebby’s home. Exactly what is Mr. Odum mining in his secret facility, and does it have anything to do with the mystery of the lost chickens and Sebby’s stomachache? The answers to these questions go much further than the twins expect.

A beautiful countryside has been spoiled due to mining. Sebby, an 11year old boy, has discovered a hidden cave in the midst of the destruction around it. The cave is his refuge from his dysfunctional family.  He calls it his hole in the wall. His father is an emotionally and verbally abusive drunk, his older brother is a runaway, and his mother works long hours to earn a meager income.

Strange things begin to happen. The first indication is the chickens. The begin to act strangely and lay petrified eggs. Sebby is magnetically attached to a chick.  He sees beautiful swirling colors in the rocks and water.

Something rotten is afoot and all clues point to the mining company.

This is a fantastic tale geared towards a middle grade reader. Some events are bizarre, but eventually lead to the conclusion.  I felt this book had an environmentalist feel to it.  It sends a strong message about taking care of the land that we live on and being responsible for messing it up.  In the end it also indicates how nature will reclaim it's own. This book is full of imagination and creativity.

Many thanks to Netgalley and Milkweed Editions for making this available to download on Netgalley.  That is where I obtained the copy that I read.

Friday, April 15, 2011

Winner of the Autism Awareness Hop

I used to select the winner for "Sariah McDuff Will Walk With You."  There were 80 entries and the number 27 was selected.  LuAnn is the winner.  I have sent her an email and I am awaiting her response.

Thanks to all who entered.  I will be participating in another  hop starting on the 20th, I will be giving one US winner 10 books from my spring cleaning and something from the Book Depository for my international friends.

Thursday, April 14, 2011

7 Reasons Geeky Heroes are More Fun - Guest post with Encrypted Author - Lindsay Buroker


I’ve been given the opportunity to guest post and talk about my latest novel, a
science-fantasy romance called Encrypted. Rather than just blabbing about the
story, I thought I’d tell you a bit about the characters, and why they’re fun.

The heroine is a philology professor who takes up cryptography to help her people
survive a war. The hero is an engineer and a military strategist who disobeys
questionable orders and ends up exiled. In short, my main characters are both
geeks. And I wouldn’t have it any other way.

Why? Geeks are fun to write (and read) about. Not convinced? Let me see if I can sell

7 Reasons Geeky Heroes Are More Fun

1. They come up with unorthodox solutions to problems.

What, you’ve never seen a hero use the laws of thermal expansion to break locks
and escape cells? Hey, there’s a limit to how many times characters can fool guards
into helping them escape by claiming someone in the cell is sick. Do we really think
those guards would care anyway?

2. They fall in love because they share common interests and outlooks on life, not because the other one is model-gorgeous, ridiculously rich, or especially well-endowed.

I hope I’m not alone in believing it’s more fun seeing people connect for logical,
satisfying reasons instead of just “because he’s hot, she’s hot, and the author wants
them to.”

3. They trip, fall, and drop things--sometimes all at once--when they’re trying to be suave (or just in general).

Not only can many readers relate to these klutzy moments, but they provide ample
opportunities for chuckles.

4. They find creative uses for uncreative things.

What, you’ve never knocked an icicle off a building to halt a chemically-crazed wolf
trying to kill your comrade? You need to think outside of the box, my friend.

5. They have more interesting pillow talk.

Geeks are so passionate about their interests that they’ll talk about them anywhere,
whether it’s appropriate or not. Who wants to read “I never knew it could be
so good” for the umpteenth time? More fun to discuss plans for future geekery

6. They had precocious childhoods.

This makes things more entertaining when it’s time for our love interests to get to
know each other by relaying the inevitable tales of youth. Instead of playing with
balls or dolls, our geeky heroes designed tree houses with drawbridges, defended by
steam-powered potato launchers, of course.

7. They excel at solving puzzles.

So, what, you ask? Well, when geeks get kidnapped, it’s so someone can put them
to good use, such as…oh, I don’t know….making them decipher codes and alien
languages while daring creepy monster- and machine-filled tunnels. Compare this
to boring old princes and princesses who only get kidnapped to be held for ransom.

While geeks may not be for everyone, I maintain they’re fun to read about, and I’m
not just biased because I am one (okay, I am). If you have a fondness for brainy
characters, please check out Encrypted.

You can also visit me at my e-publishing blog or at take a peep at Kindle Geeks,
where I write about interesting science fiction, fantasy, and non-fiction ebooks,
always with an eye toward pleasing the geeks!

Thanks for reading!

Blurb for the book:
Professor Tikaya Komitopis isn’t a great beauty, a fearless warrior, or even someone who can walk and
chew chicle at the same time, but her cryptography skills earn her wartime notoriety. When enemy
marines show up at her family’s plantation, she expects the worst. But they’re not there to kill her.
They need her to decode mysterious runes, and they ask for help in the manner typical of a conquering
empire: they kidnap her, threaten her family, and throw her in the brig of their fastest steamship.

Her only ally is a fellow prisoner who charms her with a passion for academics as great as her own.
Together, they must decipher mind-altering alchemical artifacts, deadly poison rockets, and malevolent
technological constructs, all while dodging assassination attempts from a rival power determined the
expedition should fail. As if Tikaya didn’t have troubles enough, her new ally turns out to be exiled fleet
admiral, Federias Starcrest, the man who recommended taking over her nation. To trust him could be
a mistake; to fall in love with him would be a betrayal to her people, her family, and the fiancé she lost
in the war. Those runes cloak more than mysteries, however, and he may be the only one who can help
her unravel them before their secrets destroy the world.

Thank you Lindsay for the post!  I must admit that I do love a geeky hero.  It seems to me that they find a unique way to get out of situations.

The giveaway attached with this blog tour:
Now for the fun part!  The author is giving away a $25.00 gift certificate to one person who leave comments on this blog tour.  You can visit the other pages and leave comments there, in fact, the more you comment, the better your chances are for winning!   Here is the link to take you to the participating blogs:    Leave your comment at this blog below at the end of the post.