Wednesday, December 02, 2009

Holiday Reading Challenge

I was reading Ana's blog and she joined a particular Reading Challenge I thought would fit the bill to wrap up my reading year. So, I'm joining too!

Nely at All About {n} is hosting the 2009 Holiday Reading Challenge. Here is what she says about the challenge and the guidelines:

As I'm sure you can all tell, I'm in a "Christmassy" mood already. The blog is decked out, my giveaways are up, the iPod is set to holiday tunes, and I'm ready to snuggle up with a... Frappucino (because sadly, it is still too hot in Florida for hot chocolate). But what I'm really ready for is to crack open those holiday books that I have (bows head in shame) already begun buying. I can't help it! I love reading holiday books - they make me feel warm and toasty inside. And I thought what better way to get some of you guys in that same mood then to have (ahem) my very FIRST reading challenge. (Hooray!)

Challenge Requirements:

1- Challenge will start Friday, November 20 and will end Thursday, December 31.

2- You can read anywhere from 1 to 5 books for the challenge and, of course, if you're like me, you are more than welcome to surpass that number.

3- And now, here's the clincher... they must be holiday related books. That's right, the holiday doesn't really matter, but it would be more "jolly" if your choices were Christmas, Hanukkah, Kwanzaa, etc.

4- The size of the book does not matter, nor does the genre. It is also okay for the book to overlap with other challenges. The only thing I ask is that they are not children's books. YA is okay. And so are re-reads. I for one tend to read the same books every Christmas - they are tradition.

5- To sign up - leave a link back to your challenge post. There will also be a post for review links as well as one for challenge wrap-ups.

6- And.... there will be goodies. That's right, we'll call them presents. At the end of every week that the challenge is running I will choose one winner from the review links and I will allow them to pick a book of their choosing (of course, I will provide a list). Meaning the more books you read, review and link up, the more chances you have at winning a "present".
I already have a couple of titles in mind so wish me luck.

Sunday, October 18, 2009

October is my FAVORITE reading month.

I admit I'm a bit freaky. I need a reason to justify my reading paranormal books to an excessive degree. Yes, I read the darn things all the time but during the month of October, I go all out!

I've revisited Kelley Armstrong, discovered Carrie Vaughn and caught up with Patricia Briggs. Werewolves and Witches! Oh My!!

I still have two more weeks of delicious Paranormal reading to go! Yum!!

Monday, September 14, 2009

To Spoil or not to Spoil

Do you like to be spoiled as to the ending of a book?

I'm reading Scott Westerfeld's YA series 'Uglies' and I'm loving it! The problem is that I wish I could get to the end quicker. Since I'm reading it in Audiobook format I can't turn to the end of the book for a glimpse at how it will all turn out and I'm DYING here!

Yeah, I am spoiler fan. I have no problem reading the end of the book before I get to the middle. Mind you I don't do it often and I don't read the WHOLE ending but I can read the last few pages without it affecting my enjoyment of the book. I'm sure this is because I tend to select books with happy ever after endings.

Funny thing is that I will not do this for mysteries (like my Baldacci reads) which you would think are the books you would really want to spoil. For some reason I acknowledge that these books can have not-so-happy endings and I stay away. Not all character's survive in these books and I find that if I know someone will die I cannot read the book without changing the way I see that character.

But in general, I have no problems turning to the end of the book to get a glimpse of The End.

I feel the same way about movies. I have found myself renting a movie I completed disregarded because someone has spoiled it for me.

So in the end, I love to be spoiled. Sue me!

Friday, September 11, 2009

Where were you?

I wanted to leave a link from my post over at Textile House about my thoughts on today's 9/11 Anniversary.

Where were you?

God Bless.

Still alive...

Yeah, I'm still kicking but I've been keeping myself busy (check out what I've been up to HERE).

Work is rearing up for the busy season so I'll be even busier but I have been reading like a crazy woman too. Just not much time to blog my reviews.

I'm looking forward to many fall new releases (picking up Dan Brown's and Gabaldon's as soon as they hit the floor) but it's not just the books that have me anticipating fall reving up.

Gotta make time to watch Bones, Castle, Fringe, The Mentalist, Medium, NCIS and the most anticipated new series this season, GLEE.

I love this series! It premiered this week. We say it's like watching a musical every week! My daughter says that with the line up of Glee after So You Think You Can Dance, it's a night of song, dance and feel good music!

It's sad that it is doomed to get canceled. I jinx most of the series I fall in love with (i.e. Journey man, Eli Stone, Jericho, Tru Calling, Moonlighting, Pushing Daisies, etc) so I'm always careful about getting attached to any new series, but I was hooked on Glee since the sneak preview in May. The first episode did not disappoint. If you missed it check it out on

Since I'm already hooked all we can do is have a little faith. So I leave you with a glimpse of Eli.

Sunday, August 16, 2009

And this is why I love my Sony Reader!

As most of you know I have been trying to go paperless for the last year and I mostly have succeeded. This year, out of 119 books that I have read, only 11 have been paper-books. I think I'm doing fairly well.

When I first looked into which eBook reader I would buy I did some research and searched among those that read the largest amount of formats, because let's face it, eBooks come in different shapes and colors and until the format war was decided I wanted to be able to read all my books in the same device. Well, Sony really did it for me and I have never looked back.

What was great about the Sony Reader was that even though they sold their own format at their eBook store (format was .lrf) it also allowed you to upload .rtf files and .pdf files which for me was a biggie. I can take almost any format and change it to a .rtf file (a real text format is similar to a word document) or a PDF file which made Sony the winner for me.

Well, this past week Sony took the step that us eBook readers have been waiting to hear (from the NYTimes):

On Thursday, Sony Electronics, which sells e-book devices under the Reader brand, plans to announce that by the end of the year it will sell digital books only in the ePub format, an open standard created by a group including publishers like Random House and HarperCollins.

Sony will also scrap its proprietary anticopying software in favor of technology from the software maker Adobe that restricts how often e-books can be shared or copied.

After the change, books bought from Sony’s online store will be readable not just on its own device but on the growing constellation of other readers that support ePub. Those include the Plastic Logic eReader, a thin device that has been in development for nearly a decade and is expected to go on sale early next year.

“There is going to be a proliferation of different reading devices, with different features and capabilities and prices for a different set of consumer requirements,” said Steve Haber, president of Sony’s digital reading unit. “If people are going to this e-book shopping mall, they are going to want to shop at all the stores, and not just be required to shop at one store.”

Yeah... I love my Reader!

Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia Series

I have been putting this review off for a while now (no reflection on the books, I'm just a lazy bum) but I thought I'd get to it since this series is probably one of my favorites in 2009. First off these books are a YA (young adult) series. I mention this because many people (adults) prefer to leave the YA books to YA, and they don't know what they are missing so I'd thought I'd give a heads up.

To set the scene, the Attolia series takes place among three kingdoms, Eddis, Sounis, and Attolia in an era that likens itself to ancient Greece with all the mythical gods and beliefs firmly in place. The main character is a thief called Eugenides who finds himself in jail more times than he would like.

The Thief (A): We start the series with Gen incarcerated in the Sounis prisons where he was thrown after boasting of and then stealing the King's seal. Gen twiddles away his time the best he can until the King's top adviser comes a calling. The Magus makes Eugenides an offer he has a tough time refusing... Help me retrieve this ancient artifact from this mythical temple or die a long, slow, excruciating death. Hmm... let me think about that one and get back to you. Yeah, Gen accepts.

Off they go, Gen, the Magus, the magus apprentices Sophos and Ambiades, and a soldier called Pol in search of the hidden temple. The story builds up slowly and at times you wonder, where is this going? but Turner has a purpose for everything, from the confrontations with the apprentices "Useless the younger and Useless the elder" to his unlikely friendship with Pol who never seems to fit in. The book just wraps around you and then when you get to the end you have to do a double take because nothing is what it seems... and then some.

Honestly, Gen wormed his way into my heart and kept a firm grasp. He made me smile, laugh out loud and finally gasp in surprise. You really need to start the series with this one because it introduces you to Eugenides and gives you a clear idea of what this mild manner Thief is capable of.

The Queen of Attolia (A): A lot to live up to as the sequel to The Thief, The Queen of Attolia doesn't disappoint. You won't find the silly Eugenides in this one but more of a man dealing with loss. The three kingdoms (Eddis, Sounis, and Attolia) are losing the uneasy balance they have achieved in the past under the pressures of the Mede Empire. No one knows who is to be trusted and the Queen of Attolia, who has had to prove herself a capable queen since she took her throne, finds herself with the reputation of an implacable and cruel monarch which is put to the test when she captures the Thief of the Queen of Eddis.

Gen had been sent to spy on the neighboring kingdom when he was captured. At first he believed that the Attolian's would kill him but was proven wrong when he receives the sentence thieves of old received and is sent home maimed. Eddis is devastated by the pain and loss that Gen suffers and retaliates by declaring war against the Attolians, something that the Mede Ambassador encourages since it falls right into plans with his Emperor

This one is full of political intrigue and alliances made and broken. The author deviates from the single point of view of Eugenides and gives us the Queen of Attolia's point of view as well. Everyone talks about this book as the star of the series because there is so much going on but it really depends on what you are looking for in the book (my favorite is the last book - more on this later).

Like in the Thief, you sometimes have to pay close attention to what you might think are insignificant details because when all is revealed you end up with a WTF? Superb writing and wonderful characterization brings the war and different sides of the confrontation to life as well as Eugenides' pain and in the end the one handed thief still is capable of stealing our hearts.

The King of Attolia (A+): For me this one was the prize that had been promised through the other two installments of this series. I graded the others as wonderful but this one was fabulous! In the King we find Eugenides married to the Queen of Attolia, which makes him... The King of Attolia! but this is not a position that he actually wanted and the Attolian's would want him off the throne too. They show him no respect and think little of him as their monarch, regarding him as a humiliation to all Attolia.

Gen is away from everything that is familiar to him and misses his carefree days but he loves his Queen and will not give up his position by her side. The Queen sees how her people disrespect the man she has chosen to rule with her and knows that the only way that they will change their minds is if Eugenides steps up to the plate and starts acting like the kind his is but he refuses to become King to her Queen.

Love Love Love this one. We see Gen not so much from his point of view but that of a complete stranger. Costis is a guard that eventually gets to know the real Eugenides and little by little finds himself respecting the thief turned king. We watch through the eyes of the Attolians how Gen is perceived and how that perception changes.

I loved the relationship between Gen and the Queen, loved how human she became from the first time we met her in the previous book. I love that she was a strong Queen but also a strong partner for Gen who needs a bit of nudging to get him going. We can see in this book how she matches him perfectly, something we were left wondering in the previous installment. Like the previous books there is a twist at the end that should not catch us off guard because we should have learned to expect this from Turner but still she marvels us with her twists and turns.

This series is my favorite (as of yet) for this year and it's a YA. Doesn't surprise me since last year a YA series was also my favorite for the year (Stephanie Meyer's Twilight). The Thief was awarded the Newbery Honor award in 1997 and each subsequent installment also deserves a prize. If you have not yet read this series, don't hesitate in picking it up, you will not regret it. I recently posted about the announcement of a new addition to this series (more of a spin off as I'm lead to believe) which is centered in the world Whalen-Turner created. It is suppose to release early 2010 and is called A Conspiracy of Kings.

Can you guess I'm a bit excited about that?

Sunday, August 09, 2009

A Night with Sherrilyn Kenyon

There are just a few authors I consider autobuys - which means that regardless what they write I will go out and pick it up automatically due to their proven ability to produce exceptional work. Kenyon is an autobuy for me and her Dark Hunter series is one of two series that are on my keeper shelf and actually gets re-read (on purpose).

Last Wednesday, my daughter Nyshma and I had a chance to meet Ms. Kenyon when her book signing tour brought her to Dallas.

The signing started at 5pm but we couldn't head out to Barnes & Noble until 5:15 which is when Nysh got out of work. Then we battled rush hour traffic for over an hour to arrive at 6:30 for the signing. Kenyon was to have a reading and a short Q&A that we missed but we were able to secure a ticket for the signing (#191).

While we waited, Diana Love (co-author to some of Kenyon's books from the B.A.D series) entertained us with anecdotes and gave out door prizes. We found a cozy corner where we settled in to wait our turn to get our copy of Bad Moon Rising (as well as our copy of Acheron) signed. I pulled out my Sony eReader and finished reading Night Play (I'm re-reading her Dark Hunter series) and started Phantom Lover while Nyshma started reading the new book. On occasion we would pull our noses out of our books to pay attention to the shenanigans happening around us and actually heard our door prize ticket being called. We won a little B.A.D. booklet autographed by Kenyon & Love.

While we waited we also met Sara Reyes from Fresh Fiction who was sitting next to us twittering about the signing for Fresh Fiction. She was so charming chatting us up about the Readers and Ritas get togethers and the DFW Tea Readers group. Susan Elizabeth Phillips (another favorite of mine) will be stopping by their book club in August!

It was finally our turn to get our books signed around 10pm. We spoke to Kenyon for about two minutes but she was a doll. She found Nyshma's name interesting (what a shocker there - this is why she goes by Andrea / Dre) and commented that her own children have name issues as well.

We chatted about her series coming out in Audiobook and that she is trying to get the older books done in that format and how handsome the narrator of Night Pleasure was.... It's funny how much you can chat about in a little over 2 minutes.

Pictures taken and books signed, we waved goodbye to Sara and headed home.
Wonderful evening!

Wednesday, August 05, 2009

Ice Series by Anne Stuart

I recently found the excuse to get back into Anne Stuart's Ice Series after reading the first book a few years ago and have found that the books that have followed are a bit of a mix bag for me.

Cold as Ice (A): Genevieve Spenser is getting ready to spend the next few weeks in Costa Rica on a humanitarian expedition but her boss asks her to get a few signatures on some legal documents from their client Harry Van Dorn. Harry, though, is not your regular client, he is a bit of a psycho with a plan for seven worldwide acts of destruction that will yield him a decent profit.

Peter Jensen is an undercover operative of the 'committee' and is in place as Van Horn's personal assistant. He is waiting for just the right moment to end Harry's plans for good but when the prim lawyer comes on board the yacht his plans are shot to hell. The stuck up Genevieve cannot seem to get the hint he keeps sending her to get off the darn boat so Peter is resigned to kill her as collateral damage, but the woman just gets under his skin and even his years as a ruthless assassin cannot bring him to kill the woman that has broken through his ice laden soul.

Although the romance was rushed in this one, the heroine's personality was quirky enough to make it believable. Genny pretended to be a stuck up b*tch because it was the only way to move ahead as a lawyer but she loved coming home and letting her hair down while Jensen was constantly pretend as well, to the point that he almost lost himself completely.

I also like the action on this one, with yacht's blowing up and deserted islands and finally a race through California. I would have said this one was more an action book vs a true romance, but it worked for me.

Ice Blue (C- ): We met Taka O'Brian in Cold as Ice as the operative the can be many faces and that rescues Genny from Van Horn at great personal expense. It's Taka's turn to work on a project close to his heart when he has to recover an antique Japanese urn that a religious cult leader has deemed necessary in a plot to destroy the world.

Summer Hawthorne is a museum curator and owner of said urn. The cult leader was promised the urn by her mother and since it has an emotional connection to Summer, she has setup an elaborate hoax to avoid handing it over to the Shirosama. It is not until the Shirosama tries to kidnap her that she realizes the extent he will go in order to get his hands on the urn.

Taka is out to recover the same urn and is willing to do anything to stop the Shirosama from getting his hand on the artifact as well as the information that Summer doesn't know she has. But when the time comes to kill Summer he balks and everything goes downhill.

The difference between this operative (who I really liked in the other book) and Peter is that Genevieve made the whole I've fallen for you and now cannot kill you believable. There was NO reason why Summer should have fallen for Taka. He showed no emotion and really did nothing that could explain to me why she was hot for him and why she eventually fell for him. The reader knew Taka and could see his struggles but Summer should have had no clue. For some reason Stuart failed to show me how these two fell in love and it took away from the book.

I still enjoyed the action and being a Japanese culture junky, the chases around Japan moved this book from a D to a C-.

Because this last book was such a disappointment I think I need to stop reading this series for awhile so that I will not prejudice myself to book 4 which is the story of Madame Lambert or book 5 which is the story of Summer's sister Jilly and Taka's cousin Reno which were excellently portrayed in Ice Blue.

Format: Audiobook/eBook

Monday, August 03, 2009

Harper Connelly Series by Charlaine Harris

Ms Harris has me hooked. I love her Southern Vampire series and now I am hooked on her Harper Connelly series. what is fascinating is that the series are completely different, not just in theme but also in the author's voice. Harper is not as light hearted as Sookie is, she has a more skeptical view of the world, a bit more darker, which in turn makes the books more solemn but just as delicious!

Grave Sight (B) : The first book took me a bit to get into but after I got to know Harper and her step brother, Tolliver Lang, I was off and running. Harper and Tolliver come from a messed up home. His Father hooked up with Harper's mom and their efforts to keep the so-called family together united them in a cause. Harper's mom was a alcoholic/drug addict and her father was sent to jail for one thing or another. Harper was struck by lightning when she was a teenager and as a side effect of that experience she has the ability to sense the dead. she does not speak to the dead but can sense when death is near by which allows her to easily find dead bodies. She can also determine the cause of the death by getting a glimpse of the final moments of the victims life. This final quirk comes in handy when Harper is brought in to find the body of a teenager who was suppose to be the second half of a murder-suicide. When Harper find the body of the young girl she knows it's murder but when she stands on the boy's grave it's clear to her that he also was murdered and did NOT commit suicide. This opens up a can of worms because now there is an unsolved murder on the books. The Sheriff of the little town has no problems with this since the girl found was his sister in law. His wife also died several years ago, but he suspects foul play in that death as well (which Harper confirms) and is determined to find out who wanted these sister's dead. The murder mystery just wraps itself around this small town and Harper and Tolliver just get sucked into it.

Grave Surprise (B+) : The second book draws you in from the get go. Harper has been invited to do a demonstration of their abilities at Bingham College by identifying bodies and causes of death in a historic Memphis cemetery. What She discovers among the dead is the body of Tabitha Morgenstern, a young girl she failed to find on a case several years ago. Falling under suspicion in the death Harper and Tolliver must stay in the small town attracting all sorts of characters to themselves..

When the professor that originally invited Harper to the college is found dead in the same grave that Harper had found the other body things heat up and she realizes she must unravel the mystery to clear her name if she ever expect to get out of the town in one piece. This is the book that has Harper looking at Tolliver in a not so sisterly manner and makes us re-examine that relationship too.

Ice Cold Grave (A) : At the end of the last book Harper and Tolliver's relationship shifts a bit and I was so happy I had the next book all lined up to read and I didn't miss a beat.
In this third installment Harper deals with one of her most emotional cases when she is hired by a woman to find her missing grandson. It seems that several boys have gone missing in the small town of Doraville, N.C. and although the local police had dismissed them as runaways the new sheriff, Sandra Rockwell suspects something else. She is proven correct when Harper finds, not just the missing grandson, but all the missing boys (plus two) buried in an abandoned farmhouse. They all had been tortured and abused by a serial killer who is still on the lose. Harper is emotionally drained and would do anything to get away from the horrors she sensed in those bodies but she is suddenly attacked and injured causing her and Tolliver to stay in the town that has become a media circus.

In this book we see the return of psychic Xylda Bernardo and her grandson, Manfred whom we met in the previous book. This book also has Tolliver and Harper discovering that there is no brotherly affection between them but something much more precious.

I cannot tell you how much I loved this series. I cannot wait for more Harper and Tolliver. I was greatly relieved that, even with the popularity of her Southern Vampire series, this series is still active.

We will be getting a new installment in October with the release of Grave Secrets!

Thank goodness I don't have to wait too long!

Friday, July 31, 2009

Books read in July

I have been doing great on my reading this year with 111 books under my belt but July woud have to be considered a below average month with 11 books read and almost all were audiobooks. I'm still happy with my take since I have already surpassed the total books read for the whole of 2008, so every thing over that is really just topping on the cake.

My favorites this month was the Harper Connelly series by Charlain Harris and biggest disappointment was Anne Stuart's third installment in her Ice series (My only ebook this month and most likely because it took me the whole month to read it).

Discovered Percy Jackson and his gang of misfit Olympians in Riordan's YA title The Lightning Thief which I read for my Thief Challenge. I sent an audiobook copy of it to my nephew so he could prepare for the movie that is coming out next year. I'm looking forward to the next few titles in that series.

Also finally attacked Lover Avenged! I love love love this series. I wish Ward would get them out faster (maybe one every other month would be nice! LOL!) but I'm willing to wait because the quality of her work is fabulous and her world is just getting more and more interesting.

Anyway, I'll update with links as I review them but I've been a bit slow on the reviews to I thought I'd just post my reads for the month.

Simple Genius by David Baldacci (B-)
Ice Blue by Anne Stuart (C-)
Delicious by Sherry Thomas (B)
Keegan's Lady by Catherine Anderson (B)
Summer Breeze by Catherine Anderson (B)
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan (B)
Lover Avenged by J. R. Ward (A)
Grave Sight by Charlaine Harris (B)
Grave Surprise by Charlaine Harris (B+)
Ice Cold Grave by Charlaine Harris (A)

Burn by Linda Howard (B)

Did you read anything interesting this month?

Sunday, July 19, 2009

Keegan Paxton Series by Catherine Anderson

Do you recall my traumatic experience with Catherine Anderson and how I said I would not be picking up her work in the near future? Well it took me a year and a half to get over it before I got the nerve to read her work again. When I finally did read her it was a re-read (Accidental re-read). I decided that this time I was going to post about it so that I won't have that problem again. It also lead me to pick up a sequel to the first book which was new to me!

Keegan's Lady was a very nice read. I found that it had enough bulk to the story to make it worth reading and thus the reason why in many circles it is considered a classic.

Ace Keegan witnessed the lynching of his stepfather and the rape of his mother. He was a mere boy when his stepfather moved the family to No Name, Colorado where he had purchased a bit of land but when he arrived the sale proved to be a hoax and the group men that cheated him on the deal proceeded to accuse him of murder and hung him in front of his family. During the fight Ace was also injured and his mother raped. Ace promises to return one day and exact revenge on the whole lot of them.
Ace finally returns to No Name with a plot to bankrupt the men but ends up ruining the daughter of one of his enemies. His sense of justice and moral upbringing does not allow him to walk away from the situation and he marries Caitlin O'Shannessy without realizing that the girl had suffered at the hands of her dispicable father too.

Caitlin not only was beaten by her father but battered and traded for whiskey which lead to a brutal rape. This has caused her to shy away from any man that was not her brother. She doesn't trust any man and when she finds herself married and surrounded by a gaggle of Paxton men, all of which have a reason to hate her, her life is turned upside down and her nerves stretched to a breaking point. It is with the patience of a Saint that Ace coaxes her to give him her trust and she finds that his every action leads to her surrendering a piece of her heart.

Poor Ace had his hands full with a skittish wife and a brain damaged cat (the poor cat had been damaged by Caitlin's father and led to a few humourous episodes in the book - one of them involving a morning capture of the mouse between Ace's legs).

This book was originally published back in 1996 and it has sustained the test of time such that 10 years later Anderson gave us the sequel - Summer Breeze.

Summer Breeze was the story of Ace's younger brother Joseph who we actually fell in love with in Keegan's Lady. He was the short but burly half brother that made himself look mean so that he could fend off bullies and pass as a intimidating gunslinger. It has been 4 years since Keegan's Lady and Joe has his own parcel of land in No Name. He is trying to make his own way in the world when the foreman from the neighboring ranch staggers into his land with a bullet in his back.

The Hollister's ranch has been mostly empty for five years, since the family had been slaughtered while out on a picnic. The only surviving daughter has been hold up in the house with just Darby (the foreman) as the go between between the world and her. Darby asks Joe to take care of Rachel because he suspects that the man who shot him is the same person that killed her family and will try to kill Rachel too.

Anderson does a wonderful job in describing Rachel's condition and how the relationship between these two develop to a point that the determined bachelor is ready to turn his life around to accomodate Rachel's illness. I also think that the investigation into the shooting was well developed giving us many suspects but not allowing us to really narrow it down to anyone in particular.

I find that Anderson follows a typical formula in her books and I would like to see what she can do when she steps out of her comfort zone. She writes mostly about damaged females and men that come to thier rescue. I think I would like to see the shoe on the other foot or just some more light hearted work. Anyone know of any of her titles that are like that?

I won't be giving up on Anderson completely since these two books reminded me that she is worth reading (just not too often).

Grade: B (on both)
Format: Audiobook

Monday, July 13, 2009

Accidental Re-Reading

I'm not sure if this is a good thing but... have you ever anticipated reading a book to an extent that when you finally get your hands on it, you put aside all other books to read that one just to find out that you already read it? Does that speak to the book being very good or very bad?

This has happened to me twice in the last two months.

The first incident came when after MONTHS searching for a copy of an unabridged versionof Linda Howard's Open Season. All the libraries in the area had abridged versions and I would not hear the short version of the story. I had heard that the book was so good that I didn't want to miss a thing! Well, I finally found it unabridged and what would you know... I had read it years before! Well, I re-read the darn thing becasue I had put too much effort into finding it.

Well the same thing happened to me with Catherine Anderson's Keegan's Lady. I received the book in paperback a while ago but after a recent bad experience with one of Anderson
s books I had decided to forgo the joy of reading her again. I recently ran into an unabridged copy of the book at my library and with the bad experience behind me decided to give the book a whirl. Again, I remember reading the book.

What do you think this is all about? Old age? Bad books ? Both were very good the second time around so I'm not sure what is this all about.

Anyway, Have this happened to you? What do you think it's all about?

Monday, June 29, 2009

Traveling without a book

Don't you hate traveling without a good book? I'm not talking about air travel (yes, that too would suck) but getting in your car for a long ass road trip without a book. Even when you have great company in the vehicle it comes a time that conversation lags and you wish you could just turn on your book and emerse yourself in the book.

Last weekend I took my daughter to Houston for a job interview and since my parents have been hanging around the house the last 4 weeks (they are visiting from Puerto Rico) I decided to invite them. I'm not sure if the trip was enjoyable for them and although I want them to feel like they are welcome to join me, I sometimes hestitate to invite them because I feel they will not enjoy themselves. This was the case in this instance.

The interview was over in about 10 minutes (she was called in for a second longer interview later this week - way to go Dre!!) but the trip was about 4.5 hours. We then spent the rest of the day scoping out apartments in case she actually gets the job. The purpose of the trip was just that. If we had some time we would have tried to do some touristy things but unfortunately we didn't. So the parents spent the two days in a car and going from one apartment to another (we saw about 7-8) not so entertaining.

Those 4 1/2 hours of traveling were a bit on the boring side since they would not have appreciated listening to my audiobooks and I would have felt so rude turning on the iPod to continue listening to Cornelia Funke's The Thief Lord.

So I survived the trip but it made me realize how much I HATE traveling without a good book.

How about you? Do you have some essential you cannot fathom traveling without?

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Look Again by Lisa Scottoline

Scottoline has another hit on her hands. Yes, it is not a Rosoto & Associates book but Scottoline has proven that she can step outside of her well known series and provide us with great work nontheless.

Ellen Gleeson is confronted with an adoptive parents worst nightmare when she sees her son's face on a "Have you seen this Child?" postcard. The age progressed image is that of a Florida boy called Timothy Braverman. The boy was kidnapped by a man that has a striking resemblance to the 'father' of her own adopted son. As a seasoned investigative reporter she cannot let the resemblance go and she finds herself jeopardizing her own career to followup on her suspicions even though the road can lead to heartache.

The tension in this story just seems to grow with every step Ellen takes closer to the truth and when you think that this story can go only one way, Scottoline throws us a curve ball out of no where and we end up sitting in the car staring off in space listening with bated breath to what is coming next.

If you didn't get it by my above statements let me spell it out: I loved this book! I could not turn off my iPod; I listened to it all in one day (which should not be a good thing since it was during a work day and then I had to go back and double check all my work).

If you don't know of Lisa Scottoline's work pick up anything in her backlist and you won't be disappointed but if you do, keep in mind that she writes a great ongoing series on a group of female attornies better known as Rosato & Associates so try to find one of her stand alone books (like this one!) so you don't fall into the middle of the series.

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Lethal Legacy by Linda Fairstein

I recently mentioned that my reading for June had picked up nicely. I am edging my way to completing my first challenge in 2009 by reading 100 books. Seeing that last year I read just over 100 during the whole year, meeting this challenge in the first 6 months of 2009 reflects a great reading year.

Now not all is rosey when it comes to reading because among the 100 books there are some great titles (Megan Whalen-Turner's Attolia Series; Kelley Armstrong's Bitten; Nalini Singh's work; etc) but you also have titles that were not so successful (Kay Hooper's CJ's Fate; Michele Bradsley's I'm the Vampire, That's why; Kinsella's Remember Me) and then you have those that disappoint you to the point that you wonder what happened to the author while writing the piece. Especially when the author has consistenetly been a winner in your book.

That was what happened with Linda Fairstien's new book Lethal Legacy. If you follow my blog you will know Fairstien has been a great source of enjoyment for me but Killer Heat really didn't give me the rush her work usually does and this last one... I could not believe how disappointed I was.

The story follows our trio of cohorts Alex Cooper, Mike Chapman and Mercer Wallace as they investigate a murder that appears to be related to certain historical books from the NY Public Library. Now I was thinking that I would be loving this one because the whole bibliophile thing and being a big fan of libraries, NY being a weird variety of the ones we visit in our local town, but I felt lost from the get go.

Like for Killer Heat, there appeared to be way to much history thrown at the reader with out any real reason. I just can't see these people sitting around talking about the history of the library in so much detail. I love the history lesson but feed it to me seamlessly through the story. At one point I completely lost track of what these characters were after. Didn't really know what the crime was. Then Alex would mention the victim and I would then recall what was the end game.

The ending itself was very anticlimactic. The book flatlined early on and didn't give a sign of life again. After two disappointments I'm really going to have to rethink Fairstein's newer work. Unfortunately, she will no longer be an autobuy for me but I will still keep an eye on her since I know she has the potential to be great!

Grade: D
Format: Audiobook

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Update and News from Megan Whalen-Turner

Yeah, have not posted in a while but I have updated the blog. Ain't it looking pretty? I am sticking with this look for a while so I hope you all like.

Now on the reading front I have lagged off in May because it was a bit crazy at work and I had a graduation to attend.

I'm a bit proud on that front. :)

But June has picked up quite nicely (except for the last book I read which I will comment later) and yet that is not what has dragged my butt out of slackville to post.

I just heard the most wonderful news over at and I had to share with those that didn't pick it up on her blog. Megan Whalen Turner will have a new title released next year called A Conspiracy of Kings, adding another chapter to the Attolia series. It seems that this one is not focused on Eugenides but on Sophos - it's more a spin off than an actual new installment on the series. You can see the cover and a brief synopsis here.

If you haven't read the Attolia series you are missing out on great work. I first heard of the series around Valentine's day when there were a few posts about romance in the young adult genre and this series was mentioned. I found the premise interesting and looked it up. I devoured the books in short order. I loved the main character of Eugenides and the world Whalen-Turner built around him (a bit like old atlantean/greek mythology type). Gen first appears as the Queen's Thief in The Thief, he falls for the rival Queen in The Queen of Attolia and finally takes his place as King in The King of Attolia.

This new book has gone on my list of 'Most Anticipated Releases for 2010'

If you haven't read the series.. go out and get it so you will be ready for this new book!

Tuesday, May 19, 2009

Going on a Jet Plane....

Hi all! Yes I have been missing in action for a while but I have kept up with my reading, I just have not had much time to post my reviews. I'm hoping things will calm down soon but you never know.. I'm not complaining! I am happy that I'm being kept busy at work because there are too many people out there without jobs. I'm blessed to have what I have!

Today I'm leaving for Rochester, NY where my baby girl is graduating from college!
I'm bursting with pride and had to post to share.

My daughter graduates with honors from RIT (Rochester Institute of Technology) with a Marketing major and a minor in Japanese. As parents we always want for our children what we lacked and to see her graduate on such a strong foot fills me with happiness. She deserves everything she is awarded because she worked hard for it.

Big congrats to Dre!!

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

Getting to know Kelley Armstrong – Bitten

How many times we are drawn to the water and refuse to drink until we are good and ready? Too many times to count. With books I have kind of given up the resistance and go with the flow. Most often I’m not disappointed. Thus the case of the series by Kelley Armstrong, Woman of the Otherworld. For the longest time I have read the reviews (the series is on it’s 10 installment) and heard the praise but I kept putting it off. That is until I found the first book in Audiobook. Then there is really no excuse not to read it because selection is slim for audiobooks and I have been listening to the books too quickly to be picky.

I want to just tell you that I loved the book and not really explain why because it’s just too difficult to put in worlds why I loved the book. It’s not chuck full of romance, it’s read in first person POV and many cool characters are killed – what’s there to like?

How about a heroine that feels real? A hero that is not really a hero but you still call him a hero? A book that is not about lovers but about people that love each other?

Elena is the only female werewolf in existence. She was betrayed by her lover when he bit her in his werewolf form without explaining to her what he was and what he was doing to her. She has since struggled to live two lives, struggled to stay within the human confines of society and suppress the wolf in her. She stayed with the pack early on in her change but realized that she could not forgive Clay for his betrayal and leaves to live as a human again. She has developed a relationship with a good man who knows nothing of who she really is and holds down a steady job... When the pack calls her back because they need help tracking down some killer ‘mutt’ (werewolves that are not part of a pack) she grudgingly returns. This is when she feels most threatened, when she can finally let the wolf out.

Elena can’t find her place in the world and Armstrong makes this clear to the reader. The story is strong and the darkness that Elena at times finds her self in is told so clearly that I found my skin crawling. If I could compare Armstrong’s voice I would say that the feeling of this book reminded me at times of Dean Koontz, which is quite a praise. The murders start to pile up and the pack is on the verge of destruction. The mutts want Elena, they want revenge on the pack and they want to take over the territory. No one seems to be able to stop them and Elena must decide what she wants before she loses it all.

Don’t wait to pick this one up.

Grade: A
Format: Audiobook

Sunday, April 05, 2009

Glitter Baby and More by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Recently Susan Elizabeth Phillips reissued a novel first published in 1983 called Glitter Baby. It was then followed by her newest release What I did for Love, that coincidently takes place in the same hollywood environment and in which the couple from Glitter Baby makes a cameo appearance.

Glitter Baby (B-)
The book started out very slow with a retelling of Fleur's life and it was a bit disturbing. I had read reviews on this portion of the book and was expecting a really bad taste in my mouth when reading about the pedophile that was Fleur’s father (and step father) but I was surprised to find Phillips wrote it edging on impropriety (edging REALLY closely in some places) but not crossing the line. I will also note at this point that the book although re-issued was not re-written so it is a bit dated in descriptions and the sorts.

After the first portion of the book the story picks up and in a way takes off. The battle between Fleur and her step father, her dysfunctional and, at times, demented mother, her feelings of being too little in her big body, leads to a great story of a woman who fought hard to rise above her past and conquer her future.

Fleur was always led by someone in one way or the other, first by her mother whom she would never want to disappoint and then her father who had never given her the time of day. When she finally sheds herself from her past she emerges as a strong, smart and beautiful woman who is willing to do what it takes to dig her own niche in the world. She becomes a success and in a way that is her own revenge. I didn’t really think of this book as a romance. It was more of a ‘growing’ book.

What I did for Love (B-)
This one takes place in the same ‘Hollywood’ world as Glitter Baby and even had a cameo appearance from Fleur and Jake but the story itself revolves around Georgie …

She was a child actress in a sitcom but lost herself as an adult in roles that mean very little to her. Her father has geared her career into corner where she has been typecast into the funny girl.

Bram was Georgie’s co-star and love interest on the sitcom but his destructive attitude earned him a bad rap that later destroyed his career. He is looking for a way back into respected society but a night in Vegas threatens to kill what has yet to be revived.

Georgie wakes up married to the same man that stomped on her tender young heart as a girl. She also cannot afford a scandal and convinces Bram to stay married for a while as to not add fuel to the paparazzi frenzy that has been hounding her since her husband left her for his most recent co-star.

I actually loved Bram. He was very secretive but I had him pegged from the get go. I had never read a character that entrenched on not falling in love as Bram. He just didn’t see it coming and although his ‘aha’ moment was a bit choppy I really loved seeing him get hit over the head with it. What I did find a bit weak was the final acceptance of Bram by Georgie. If she was so dead set against him the acceptance was just too easy. I also did not really feel much for Georgie throughout the book. I never really connected with her. I did like the secondary characters (like with most SEP books), they just really added juice to this one. Chaz, the homeless girl Bram picked up and employed as his cook, Ernie, Georgie’s overweight personal assistant, Peter, Georgie’s father who never knew how to be a father after his wife passed away and Laura, Georgie’s ineffective agent.

Although What I did for Love had the characters from Glitter Baby they are completely unrelated and can be read separately. Which did I like better? Honestly, both stood on thier own merit and I found them very different. Although Glitter Baby was dated it had a more darker undertone than the newest book but we are looking at 26 years of growth in writting style so I would expect it to be different. The newest book is more of what we expect of SEP now (multiple couples finding love, strong focus on each side of the main couple and thier dysfunctional lives, etc.) and yet we don't see much of the humor and wittiness in these characters as we have seen in Phillips more recent work .

I think both were well worth picking up.

Format: Audiobook

Monday, March 30, 2009

Book Thief Challenge 2009

I’m adding another challenge to my list. This challenge is hosted by The Young Reader, whose blog I just recently discovered. The blogger is young individual who is enjoying the reading adventure. I definitely want to encourage any literacy in our youth so when I found that a challenge was being hosted, I had to jump in.

This one is more based on a theme and not really much of a challenge since I already scoped out the books I’ll be reading to fulfill the challenge.

Here are the details: (Can also be found here at The Young Reader):

This challenge is all about getting to know the thief. You may pick how many books to read (since I know a lot of you have many other books to read!):

1-3 books ~ Pickpocket
3-6 books ~ Candy Shoplifter
6-9 books ~Bank Robber
9-12+ books ~ Grand Thief


* The book can be of any genre (fiction or nonfiction) but must have some relation to thieves/theft. The book can have the word “Thief” in the title, can be about thieves, can involve a scene where something is stolen, etc. Use your imagination if necessary.
* Since this started later in the year, any thief-related books may be added to your current list.
* Please sign up with Mr. Linky. Make sure the link you added leads to your list/post not just your blog.
* Please feel free to use books you read here for other challenges too!
* It’s not required for you to pre-list your books
* The challenge begins today (3/19/2009) and ends December 31st, 2009

I love the categories for the number of books read.

I have two books on my list to start this challenge but I plan to add more. My personal goal is to read at least 6 books to reach the ‘Bank Robber’ status.

1) The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner
2) The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner
3) The King of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Beachcomber’s Series by Catherine Mann

I picked up the first book in this series as my selection for the AvidBookReader’s TBR challenge and enjoyed it enough to pick up the second in the series.
The series is about three women who became sisters as they moved into foster care. Each girl arrived at Beachcomber with her own baggage and each found a home.

Baby, I’m Yours tells the story of Claire who had a bit of a romantic encounter with Vic Jansen. He is the one that has the real scars even though Claire suffered from abandonment issues. Vic once had a wife and child but when his daughter drowned in an accident his world fell apart. He has an affair with Claire but things get rocky quick and they break it off even though they are both attracted to each other. It’s not until Claire finds herself pregnant that Vic realizes that he will need to risk his heart and trust himself to love again.

This one was a nice well rounded story that picks up in the middle of a romance allowing the story to flow within the short pages of a Category Romance. The relationship was already there and we just needed to get a recap of what happened before. This one landed a solid B and made me look for the next book.

Grade: B
Format: ebook

Under the Millionaire’s Influence did not have the same impact. Star was the troublemaker among the three girls because her road into foster care was the most traumatic. She was not abandoned so to say but neglected. Her parents are still alive and pop in on occasion to suck the life out of her. As a child and teenager she found solace with her wealthy neighbor’s son, David. He had his own family issues but has become a strong man who wants to make a life of his own far from the Beachcomber’s B&B. Star on the other hand will not leave the only home she has known.

The story was very choppy and Star seemed to be all over the place on her feelings. One moment she doesn’t want David, another she wants him. I found myself having to go back and re-read passages because I felt I had missed something and actions were taking place with no forethought. It was just a mess. It was so bad I decided not to look up the last in the series (don’t know if it actually exists but there was still one more sister with a story to tell).

Grade: a solid D (not an F because I liked David)
Format: ebook

Friday, February 20, 2009

Psy-Changeling Series by Nalini Singh

This series was highly recommended across so many outlets I added it to my TBR pile last year but for one reason or another it simply did not jump off the shelf to get read. Even though I had not read the book I actually recommended it to my daughter who had the same reaction that I did.. egh.

This year the next installment is coming out and I'm sure I will hear everyone raving over the darn series once again and I'll be wondering what the hoopla is all about, so I was determined to read the darn thing!! I have consumed three doses of Singh's Psy-Changeling pairings since the beginning of the year and I'm actually quite hooked.

To give you a bit of a background, the series takes place in an alternate universe where the races are subdivided between the humans, the Psy and the Changelings. Humans are easy to define, they are humans. Changelings can be divided into different categories depending on the animal they have the capacity to change into (wolf, leopards, jaguars, deers, hyenas, etc), and they all share that animals special trait (strong sense of smell, great night vision, speed, stealth, etc). They live in a pack like society and seldom relate to other packs, yet they share a common dislike for the Psy.

The Psy is the top of the food chain. It is a race of beings who have had all traces of emotions wiped. They developed a conditioning called Silence which eradicates all feelings from the individual creating less emotion driven reactions in their culture. At first this was done to erase violent behavior that was triggered by uncontrolled emotions but they noticed that emotions could also affect their judgment in business and politics, so it became a society trait. To make this world a bit more complex, the Psy can also be sub-classified based on their additional 'gifts'. These designations can range from an M-Psy (healers/ scientist), F-Psy (foreseers), Tk-Psy (telekinesis), Tp-Psy (telepathic), E-Psy (empath), etc. When you have highly developed abilities you have a specific designation called Cardinals. If you are a Cardinal you are prized w/in the Psy society. The Psy are interconnected by the PsyNet where everyone's subconscious is linked in a Matrix-like environment which is governed by a council of Cardinals. The Council's word is law and they are not judged by any one. They make the decisions that rule this unusual society.

Complicated enough? In an effort to save some time I'm going to give just a short run down of the three books I've read until now.

Slave to Sensation (A) : The first in the series tells the story of Sascha Duncan, a Cardinal of the Psy world who is fighting an internal battle to hide the fact that her emotions are not as 'Silent' as they should be. She has been told all her life that she is 'flawed' and fears that if anyone discovers that she is actually 'feeling' she will be sent in for rehabilitation (which leaves the rehabilitated in a vegetative state). She is put in a more difficult position when she is put in charge of the first Psy-Changeling business venture and has to work closely with one of the most passionate men she has ever met.

Lucas Hunter is on the prowl. The Alpha of the Dark River leopard pack is hunting a serial killer amongst the Psy and the business venture that brings a Psy Cardinal to his door is the best way to infiltrate the closely guarded ranks of the higher Council (Sascha's mother is a Council member). What he didn't expect was that the Psy in question feels more than she lets on and it doesn't take long before the alpha in Lucas wants to claim her as his own. When another female is abducted from the Snow Dancer's pack - a rival wolf changeling group, it become a race against time to discover who is the killer, who is covering for him and if the Psy Lucas has given his heart to can be trusted.

There are some series that really don't need to be read in order. This one is not it. This book is essential to the whole storyline and those that are to follow. We not only get to see the strain between these two races in this book but the events that take place here open a subplot that carries on to all the other books. Similar to the J.R. Ward's Lessers and Kenyon's Dark Hunter plight. The Psy Council wants to be the last one standing and will do anything to stop the flow of information. Sascha needs to find a way to break away from the PsyNet to survive but if she does break free it will punctuate a severe flaw in the Net, one that opens the door for others to rebel. It is with this book that Singh introduces us to her world and those that inhabit it, promising us a wonderful ride into that Psy-Changeling world.

Visions of Heat (A) : This installment takes place a few months after Slave and follows Faith Nightstar as she struggles with similar feelings of instability as Sascha had but with the peculiarity that Faith expects insanity as her fate. As a foreseer (F-Psy) insanity is the final frontier - so to say. She is being considered for a post on the newly vacated seat in the Council but she is hiding the fact that she is seeing visions of death and torture instead of market gains and fluctuations (which is what the foreseers are used for since 'the Psy no longer have crime'). As her senses are very delicate she has lived most of her life in isolation and it is here that Vaughn finds her.

Vaughn is a jaguar that joined the Dark River leopards after suffering a tragedy that marks his life. He has pledged his loyalty to Lucas and his fellow changelings. He is intrigued by Faith and feels drawn to her but he questions her motives in seeking help controlling her visions.

The complexity in this relationship is what put meat on this book. Faith cannot withstand physical stimuli because it overwhelms her mental shields. To do so can lead to complete mental and physical breakdown, yet Vaughn pushes the edge of her boundaries over and over. He is determined to claim her as his own but he has to walk a fine line to extract her from the Psy world intact. And the Psy is not willing to give up Faith as easily as they did Sascha because Faith represents a strong flow of income. All this and another Psy murderer is on the lose but this time the victims are not a random selection but ones that make the killer feel threatened.

I simply loved the push and pull Vaughn had with his 'Red' and Singh didn't bore us with another Psy disappearing from the Net, but figured a way to get Faith out of the Psy's reach in a very believable manner.

Caressed by Ice (B+) : This one was a bit different. The Psy in question is already out of the PsyNet and he has been living as part of the Snow Dancer's pack for a while.

Judd was an Arrow, an elite team of assassins, when part of the Net but he's family was marked for 'rehabilitation' when his sister killed herself showing signs of deteriorating conditioning. It was believed that the problem was genetic and every one of the Lauren's received a sentence of rehab. Judd was not amongst them due to his elite status he was not even acknowledged as a Lauren but he ran to protect his family, a weak sign as it is. the Laurens were the first to discover that the Psy could survive outside of the PsyNet if they can connect to another type of Net that could provide the neurological feedback that is needed for a Psy to function.

Although he has been out side and part of the wolf pack for some time, he is really not accepted because he is not tactile. He refuses to break conditioning, but in many ways he does. He was part of the team that helped Sascha and Lucas bring down the Serial Killer in our first book and it's that female that brings him down.

Brenna was violated in the most horrendous manner for a Changeling. She had her mind raped and her body tortured to a point where she was barely functional when finally rescued, but she has fought her way back. Now there has been a murder in the Den. She had seen the murder take place in her dreams, it made her part of the killer and the death simulates what had been done to her. She finds that the only person that can keep the demons away is Judd. His cold nature does not sugar coat anything for her, but it infuriates the wolf in her.

This book was very closely tied tot he first two books. Judd had some serious issues because he was not only mentally programed in Silence but he was physically attached tot he conditioning where shards of pain would be sent to his body every time he felt anything outside of Silence. He also had a problem WANTING to break Silence because his particular 'abilities' could have him kill without really wanting to. If he felt anger too strongly, or felt any negative emotions he could inadvertently kill who ever was close by. The book itself was slow at the get go but when Judd started to give in to Brenna's insistence the story just took off! There is a lot of development of the subplot here, a lot of foundation put in place for the next few installments of the series so you really can't miss these first few books.

I'm getting ready to start the fourth book Mine to Posses and then Hostage to Pleasure. This will bring me up to date with the series and prepare me for the release of Branded by Fire, a cross over between the Snow Dancer wolf pack and the Dark River leopards, coming out this July.

Tuesday, February 17, 2009

Shards of Honor by Lois McMasters Bujold

This month the AOM for my yahoo reading group pushed the edges of Romance and made me step into a realm I don’t typically read. There is a big difference between the sci-fi aspects of a book like Justin Davis’ Sky Pirate and Lois McMasters Bujold’s Vorkosigan series. One is focused on the romance and the other has the romance squeezed into the story.

Shards of Honor is not well known outside of the Sci-fi genre just because the books that followed quite overshadowed this one. It is better known as the first part of the omnibus that is Cordelia’s Honor. This installment tells the story of how the parents of Miles Vorkosigan (the hero of the series) met and fell in love.

Cordelia Naismith is commanding a scientific expedition from Beta Colony on a newly discovered planet when her team is attacked by Barrayarans. She finds herself captured by Aral Vorkosigan, better known as the Butcher of Komarr. She later discovers that the attack was mostly for his sake and that there is a plot to get rid of the honorable warrior.

Aral has molded himself from the environment he has lived in and has sharpened his teeth on the political intrigue that has surrounded his planet. He is a strategist and has no patient for those he perceives as weak. In Cordelia his assumptions are put to the test and his beliefs challenged when he discovers her strength and moral values, something unexpected among her race.

These two have been stranded on this new planet and without being able to trust anyone, they must rely on each other to get out of the dangerous situation they find themselves in. This trust serves as a foundation to the relationship they develop and need to survive, not just the trek to safety but the ensuing political plotting on both ends of their race (but mostly on Barrayar).

For such a short book it did hold quite a bang and a lot of things were squeezed into its pages. I think I need to re-read the book because even though I got the gist of it, I think I missed a bit. So many things kept going on and the time line of events kept jumping forward that it was hard to grasp how much time had elapsed between one event and the other. And yet the book was very satisfying, very engaging and opens you up to want to find out what else is going to happen.

Grade: B-
Format: Audiobook

Sunday, February 15, 2009

The Next Great Read....

I have been thinking about this for the last couple of days and finally thought I'd put it out there. I have been having a another great month in February with only half the month gone by and 11 books under my belt. The amazing thing is that many of the books have been actually wonderful reads. I think I have 5 books with A's and just a few in the C's. So it's not like I'm not enjoying what I read and yet I feel I'm missing something.

I feel I'm looking for that next great read.

Have you ever felt that way? You are enjoying what you are reading but you know that it will not be a story to haunt you for years to come. It is not an automatic classic in your eyes.

The last book I read that will stick with me for a VERY long time was "The Host by Stephenie Meyer". Yeah, she has become almost a cliche for her Twilight series (You either love her series or you hate it - and I loved that series) but her venture into adult fiction was what solidified her for me. She just did it for me. Her Wanderer, searching for her own place among the friends and family of her host, her loyalty to Mel and her selflessness will be with me for a long time.

I recently read Wicked Lovely by Melissa Marr and although the book gardnered an A it did not impact me the way I wanted it to. Yes, it's a must read. Yes, the characters left me wide open for more. Yes, I already have Ink Exchange (the sequel) on my iPod for reading but I feel myself still searching for that next great book.

I honestly think I'm addicted to the rush I get when I'm in the middle of a book and discover that this one is it! This is the great read. This is the one I can talk about until I'm blue in the face and still be excited over it. The one I have to curb the urge to buy three or four copies and send them out into the world so that everyone can read it.

So.. With that said... Have you found your next great book? If you have, can you share it with me? I think if I don't get a fix soon I'm going to go into withdrawal.

Sunday, February 08, 2009

Have you seen the Pretty Cover?

It’s not so much that the cover is the coolest cover out there, it’s the fact that this cover is for the new Jamie and Claire book. Yes!!! Can you hear me squeal in delight! Ms. Gabaldon recently posted the US cover on her blog and I had to share.

Amazon has a tentative (I try to focus on this part so I won’t be too disappointed if it gets pushed back) date of September 22nd for the publishing of this new installment of Diana Gabaldon's Outlander series.

It’s been too long since we have heard from Jamie and Claire. I miss them terribly!

On a side note and while we are the topic of the Outlander series… My wonderful sister Brenda bought me the first two installments in Audio! Yes, I have the CDs. Yes, I can listen to Davina Porter bring my favorite all time characters to life WHENEVER I WANT!!!

So now back to Echo … keep your fingers crossed for publication this year. Send Gabaldon good vibes.

Thursday, February 05, 2009

Fragile by Shiloh Walker

Last month I had a great reading month but I honestly had a terrible blogging month. I have been remiss on my reviews for the last few months and I will admit that November and December were due to work and the holidays but January gives me no excuses. So, I'm determined to put in at least 5 posts per month from this point forward. So let's start with a new release from one of my favorite authors.

Fragile arrived at a bookstore near you on the 3rd of February. I was fortunate to receive an ARC which let me read it in January. and before I go on... Don't you just love that cover!

Fragile tells the story of Devon Manning, a social worker who is struggling to keep her head above water. She carries a dark past which makes her push away those that wish to develop any type of relationship with her. Devon was orphaned at a young age and put in the care of her Aunt who was not much of a care giver. She was abused by her Aunt's boyfriend and eventually kicked out of the house. By the age of 13 she was an addict headed on the road to nowhere. She was 'saved' so to say by a social worker that cared enough to look past the façade that she had put up. This inspires Devon to follow in that work, to be that one person that stands between a battered child and a system with too many cracks. She spends a lot of her time in the hospital rescuing those children. And it is there that she meets Luke.

Luke is looking for something. He has not been able to put his finger on what is missing in his life but he knows that he needs to find it soon. His life was never one of distress but he surrounds himself by those that need rescuing, especially his twin brother, Quinn, who had the unfortunate luck to have been raised by their alcoholic mother. She stole him from the hospital after birth, leaving a weaker Luke in the care of his father. Luke has stayed close to Quinn since he came back into their lives at the age of 11, but after Luke gets injured in the armed forces they head their separate ways. Luke finds military life empty and seeks meaning to his life, so he studies medicine and becomes a doctor.

Luke falls hard for Devon and she allows him to creep into her life. They develop a fragile relationship where Luke gets to play the role of hero and Devon gets face some of the fears she has been holding onto for most of her adult life.

If you think that this is where the story lies you would be wrong. The meat of the story lies in the suspenseful thriller that takes front and center by the middle of the book. Devon's work leaves her open to many people that might carry a grudge. Not every one appreciates some one meddling in how you raise your child, especially those with the propensity for abuse. This is why no one really pays much attention when she develops the attention of a stalker. No one that is, except Luke, who has the feeling this is more than just a disgruntled parent looking for payback.

The suspense is strong and when you think you know who's done it… you need to guess again.

Walker brings her talent for angst to the pages of this book but I think there was too much misdirection to keep me from being blown away as I was with The Missing. The most flawed / damaged of all the characters was the one that attracted me the most. Luke was very much the man who wanted to solve everyone’s problem, his super hero attitude pulled me away from really caring for him. It could be that I felt he wanted to take over Devon’s life in the guise of protection.

Devon had much baggage but she was holding her own. Her background gives her the characteristics of a strong female and the beginning of the story gives us a glimpse of that person – when she opens up to Luke and lets him in, but as the story moves forward she becomes just an image of the woman she was. There is an explanation for her 180 at the end of the story but we don’t get the chance to justify her behavior and get our feelings in check before then. It made me lose my admiration for her character and the explanation at the end was not enough to pull me back to my original opinion of her.

I also thought that the villain really came out of no where. I know that it would have killed the suspense but I felt we were being pushed into one direction and then forced into another at the last minute. If you are driving a car and try a maneuver like that, you just might fall off of a cliff.

Regardless of these 'weaknesses' the book kept me glued to its pages, it made me really think about these characters and what I expected from each one. It made me question my judgment on each and every one. I was never sure if I really knew the character or if I was being led on a merry chase.

Walker recently announced (see her post here) that she would be writing romantic suspense for Ballantine Publishing. I think this is definitely right up her alley. She can definitely keep you on the edge of your seat, turning the pages to uncover the true villain of the tale.

If you haven’t already picked up Fragile, don’t miss out, it will have your heart pumping until the very end.

Grade: B-

Format: eBook

Friday, January 30, 2009

Counting Down to 100 +

For my 100+ Reading Challenge I need to post my reads to date. Since I really don't get around to reviewing ALL my books I thought I would post my reads per month.

This will help keep a tally of how things are going toward my Challenge Goals and will let you all know my reading for the month.

I'll then have a chance to go back and add the links to the books that I review. I will post the grade the book received even though I haven't posted the review.

January: Great month with 23 books read. Started a new series (Psy-Changeling by Nalini Singh) and had some closure on another (Merry Gentry)

Club Dead
Charlaine Harris
Over the Edge
Suzanne Brockmann
Tech Support
Jet Mykles
Feels So Right
Carol Lyne
Jet Mykles
The Strength of Three
Annmarie McKenna
Swallowing Darkness
Laurell K. Hamilton
Out of Control
Suzanne Brockmann
Slave to Sensation
Nalini Singh
Cornelia Funke
Lost Duke of Wyndham
Julia Quinn
Back From Hell
Shiloh Walker
Shiloh Walker
Mr Cavendish, I Presume
Julia Quinn
Emma Holly
Suzanne Brockmann
Visions of Heat
Nalini Singh
Into the Night
Suzanne Brockmann
Baby, I'm Yours
Catherine Mann
3 Brides for 3 Bad Boys
Lucy Monroe
Mary Balogh
My Darling Caroline
Adele Ashworth
Jordan Summer

February: Keeping the momentum going with 16 more added to the list. Loved the last installment to the Camel Club series by Baldacci. This is a great suspense series and is highly recommended across the board. Also continued with my Dark hunter and Troubleshooters re-reads. I’m trying to catch up to the series at some point so I can read the newest additions.

March: Adding 16 more to my total. I’m finally caught up with the Troubleshooter’s series. – from this point on they are new books for me. It was a great reading month but the quality of the reading was not up to snuff.

April: Can you believe I added 21 books to my books read list? Yup. Discovered Megan Whalen Turner this month and I'm in love!!

May: Just 8 books read but that in itself is a miracle! My baby graduated!! Yup crazy month but very happy and proud.

June: Back on my game with 16 books read. None that jump out as winners but good titles none the less.

July: I discovered that Charlaine Harris can write more than just vampire books. Started reading another series by her that is just fabulous. Haper Conelly is a unique character that gets herself into just terrible scraps. I also read the latest J.R. Ward book!! I LOVE my Brotherhood boys!! Got 11 books under my belt.

August: Out of the 13 books read this month 4 were re-reads. I'm trying to catch upto my daughter in her Dark Hunter reading. We met with Sherrilyn Kenyon in Dallas so I had to get into the mood. I also opened the door to another new author, Robyn Carr. Her Virgin River series is just wonderful!

September: Excellent reading month in quantity (19 books read) but not so much in quality. Best of the bunch was Scott Westerfelds Uglies Series. Tally and her Pretties kept me engaged.

October: Yup! October is here and the best reading was done. Read 16 books so it's not about the numbers but quality was regained. Discovered authors like Patricia Briggs, Carrie Vaughn, Meljean Brooks, etc. I also started another Charlaine Harris series, Lily Bard kicks a**

November: November only brought 7 books to the finish line but all were A's with exception of one B+ and a B-, so that was not too shabby!!


Sunday, January 25, 2009

Challenges for 2009 Part 5 - 100+ Reading 09

Last but not least I’m joining the 100+ Reading challenge. Last year I read 110 books and was very happy so I expect to hit that number w/o a problem – although you never know when life can get in the way of your reading.

Here is the info on this one:

100+ Reading Challenge

The 100+ Reading Challenge will be hosted here this year. Here are the guidelines:

1) You can join anytime as long as you don’t start reading your books prior to 2009.
2) This challenge is for 2009 only. The last day to have all your books read is December 31, 2009.
3) You can join anytime until December 31, 2009.
4) If you don’t have a blog, please join our Yahoo Groups.

5) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your 100+ books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed.

6) All books count: children’s, YA, adults, fiction, non-fiction, how-tos, etc.
7) Feel free to post in the comment section or on Yahoo Groups your monthly progress as well as your favorite books that month.

I'm keeping track of the books on a separate list here:
Count Down to 100+

Okay, so those are my challenges for this year. There were so many great ones out there… audiobook, ebook, etc but I felt like I was cheating by signing up since they would have been so easy and then they wouldn’t be much of a challenge!

Good Luck on your reading Challenges in 2009!!
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