Thursday, December 31, 2009

Review: Men Are Stupid, Women Are Crazy



Hardcover: 256 pages

Publisher: Simon Spotlight Entertainment

Published: September 15, 2009

ISBN: 978-1416595052




Recommended for: every women curious how men think!

Teaser quote:
HOWARD: "This book is not going to break us up!" I yelled again.
Unless it does. Then I'm stupid. And alone. I'm a lonely stupid man wishing I had me some more crazy.

JENNY: "Fine, fine," I said in the way women for centuries have been saying "fine" when we really mean "not fine."

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:

A hilarious look at the differences in the brain wirings of men and women. It makes me think of that old adage 'men are from Mars, women are from Venus' as we really are completely different creatures when it comes to expressing ourselves!

The book is written by a real-life couple who also happen to be writers of some great TV sitcoms. It's told almost like a 'he said, she said' story, with Howard starting the topic followed by Jenny's reaction. I seriously laughed out loud when reading this book...both at the writing & at seeing how my actions could be perceived by a guy. I'm not sure if it was because I easily related to Jenny (and her craziness) that I laughed more at her writing. Don't get me wrong, Howard was hilarious too, but for a completely different reason...men aren't so great at picking up subtleties, lol. Me this Christmas, a prime example - we did a big family gift this year so when hubby asked what I wanted, I said 'nothing as we spent so much already!'. Well Dec 24th hubby says, "You know I didn't get you anything & I'm like 'What! I need something to unwrap under the tree! It could be a chocolate bar, anything!'. You guessed it, I got chocolate :)

The more I think about it, the more I wonder just how different a guy's take away would be after reading this! A great read that makes you realize how silly we all are when it comes to relationships.




Published: December 29, 2009

Publisher: Simon & Schuster

Hardcover, 352 Pages




Recommended for: thriller lovers

My rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts:

The book begins at chapter thirteen during the aftermath of a tragic event. Nick is being interrogated for the murder of his wife, a crime he did not commit. At the police station, a stranger appears with a note and an antique watch, granting him the opportunity to go back in time and stop the crime from happening. The catch: he has twelve hours, starting one hour earlier & going back an hour at a time, to alter the past. Each hour he re-lives provides clues leading to her killer...but with each alteration to the past, a new outcome unfolds. Will he solve the crime before time runs out?

The premise of this book reminds me of the butterfly effect & I love the idea of time travel! I was skeptical that the author could pull off such a complicated storyline and make it flow smoothly, but wow he did! This was so well written and although the story changes & new characters are added, the reader easily keeps up. I loved how I kept on guessing 'whodunit' until the bitter end and wasn't disappointed. The story is a page turner that keeps getting better the further in you read. A super read for any thriller/mystery reader, highly recommended!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Wishing you a super 2010....


May your 2010 be filled with peace, love and happiness!


"We will open the book. Its pages are blank. We are going to put words on them ourselves. The book is called "Opportunity" and its first chapter is New Year's Day." ~ Edith Lovejoy Pierce









Thursday, December 24, 2009

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!




Wishing you and your families the very best over the holiday season and great success in 2010!

Friday, December 18, 2009

And the winners are.....



Winners of my The Dragon Book giveaway:


Congratulations!!! I've sent your details to the publisher, hopefully it'll make it to you before Christmas!

Thanks to everyone else for playing!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - December 15, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait to read Bleeding Violet by Dia Reeves . I have this listed for my YA Debut author challenge & can't wait to get my hands on it. It's out in just a few weeks!



Release Date: January 5, 2010

Publisher: Simon Pulse

Love can be a dangerous thing....

Hanna simply wants to be loved. With a head plagued by hallucinations, a medicine cabinet full of pills, and a closet stuffed with frilly, violet dresses, Hanna's tired of being the outcast, the weird girl, the freak. So she runs away to Portero, Texas in search of a new home.

But Portero is a stranger town than Hanna expects. As she tries to make a place for herself, she discovers dark secrets that would terrify any normal soul. Good thing for Hanna, she's far from normal. As this crazy girl meets an even crazier town, only two things are certain: Anything can happen and no one is safe.


What are you waiting on?

Review: Beautiful Creatures by Margaret Stohl & Kami Garcia



Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Released: Dec 1 2009

Hardcover, 576 pages

ISBN: 978-0316042673



Recommended for: YA paranormal romance lovers

Teaser quote:

"There seemed to be nothing too unbelievable for this Gatlin. It's funny how you can live somewhere your whole life, but not really see it."
(pg 221, ISBN 978-0316042673)

My rating: 4.5/5

My thoughts:

In the small southern town of Gatlin, nothing really happens. Everyone knows everyone, you are born there and you die there. Ethan's whole world changes when a new girl, Lena, comes to town to live with her uncle...he recognizes her as the girl from his dreams. There is no way to avoid the connection they have and life in Gatlin becomes much more interesting as secrets surface, powers are developed and they uncover details of the curse haunting her family.

This is one book I had been dying to read, so I must admit I came in with high expectations. The story is told from the perspective of a guy, Ethan which was a refreshing change - I had to laugh as I changed the voice in my head as I read. I loved the dichotomy used throughout: old vs. new, popular vs. outcast, good vs. evil, destiny vs. free will. The one thing I wished for was more of a connection with Ethan & Lena. I found that the history & struggle to accept or change one's destiny left me feeling like I missed out on a bit of the romantic connection. The plot contains so many twists and turns that it keeps one guessing what could happen next. The ending was phenomenal and, although the book is almost 600 pages, it leaves the reader wishing for more. I eagerly await the next book in the series due out next year!

Recently announced: Warner Bros. has picked up film rights to Beautiful Creatures. Congrats Kami & Margie!

Sunday, December 13, 2009

Review: Chocolate: A Love Story: 65 Chocolate Dessert Recipes from Max Brenner's Private Collection



Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Released: Nov 2 2009

Hardcover: 144 pages

ISBN: 978-0316056625




Recommended for: Chocoholics!

Teaser quote:
"Shave a generous amount of dark chocolate onto each piece of bread and serve warm in stacks of three, letting the chocolate melt between the warm slices." (pg 14)

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:

A stunning chocolate recipe collection from the infamous Max Brenner. Using both photographs and Art Deco graphics, this is not only a cookbook, it also serves as a coffee table book. From crepes, to cakes, to chocolate pizza, this book covers everything a chocolate lover could desire.

I must confess to being a huge chocolate lover. I have no problem eating chocolate any time of day, heck even for breakfast. Not only are the recipes mouth-watering just to read, almost all require common ingredients and have easy-to-follow directions. I even found a new cookie to add to my batch of Christmas goodies I make every year: Once-Upon-A-Time Small Almond Cookies. This was one of my review testers and the family gobbled them up. That's when I knew this was getting a promotion to my recipe box. A great book for those like me who think chocolate should be it's own food group.

Thursday, December 10, 2009

Review & Giveaway: The Dragon Book edited by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozios




Hardcover: 448 pages

Publisher: Ace Hardcover

Released: November 3, 2009

ISBN: 978-0441017645





Recommended for: fantasy readers

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:
This is a collection of nineteen short stories focused on Dragons, written by many of today's best fantasy writers (Jonathan Stroud, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Diana Gabaldon, Tamora Pierce, Harry Turtledove, Sean Williams, Tad Williams, Naomi Novik, Peter Beagle, Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, Cecelia Holland, Kage Baker, Samuel Sykes, Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Rosenblum, Tanith Lee, Andy Duncan, and Bruce Coville). The stories range from 10 pages to just over 50.

What I love about short story collections is the diverse views you get to read & the new authors you discover. Along with the typical dragon stereotype, dragons were living as humans, pests and one had them more worm like. Some dragons could talk, some ate people, some helped people. The stories featured some set in the modern day, while others were more like fairy tales or in a real fantasy setting. Of the nineteen stories, there was just two I have to admit skimming as they didn't capture my interest.

This is a wonderful book for people who enjoy fantasy. I wouldn't suggest devoring this book in one sitting as it may be 'dragon overload' but overall was a fun read.

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Thanks to Penguin Canada, I have the opportunity to share this amazing book with TWO lucky winners!

Contest end date: Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Contest rules:


  • you MUST BE A FOLLOWER to join

  • open to CANADIAN addresses only please (please confirm in your post that you are Cdn or have a Cdn mailing address

  • leave a comment with your email address as I will contact the winner by email. Should you win, you have 24 hrs to respond, otherwise I will pick another winner. (I want to have the winners sent to publisher by Friday the 18th since it's getting so close to Christmas)

  • Additional entries:
    +1 for promoting the contest on your blog (sidebar is fine)
    +1 for tweeting (include me in the tweet @hefollowedme OR pasting your tweet link)
    +1 for commenting on my review (something meaningful)
    +1 for referring a friend (just get them to mention your name & blog)


Good luck everyone!!

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - December 9, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait to read The Secret Year by Jennifer Hubbard. I have this listed for my YA Debut author challenge & can't wait to get my hands on it. It's less than a month away :)



Publisher: Viking Juvenile

Release Date: January 7, 2010

From Amazon:

Take Romeo and Juliet. Add The Outsiders. Mix thoroughly.

Colt and Julia were secretly together for an entire year, and no one—not even Julia’s boyfriend— knew. They had nothing in common, with Julia in her country club world on Black Mountain and Colt from down on the flats, but it never mattered. Until Julia dies in a car accident, and Colt learns the price of secrecy. He can’t mourn Julia openly, and he’s tormented that he might have played a part in her death. When Julia’s journal ends up in his hands, Colt relives their year together at the same time that he’s desperately trying to forget her. But how do you get over someone who was never yours in the first place?



What are you waiting for?

Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - December 8, 2009

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!



Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

"It had made sense when a beautiful girl was saying it. Now that I was back home, alone, in my own bed, I was finally losing it. Even Link wouldn't beleive any of this." (pg 194)

Monday, December 7, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? December 7, 2009



It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Feel free to join in this weekly event if you'd like as well as use the photo/pic/button above. Thanks J. Kaye for hosting!

Last week:

I finished The Dragon Book by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois
I started Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl

This week:

I'm finishing Beautiful Creatures (loving it so far but Christmas shopping & decorations got in the way of my reading time this week)

I'm starting Vampire Academy #1 by Richelle Mead

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, December 3, 2009

YA Book Blogger Community


As you may already know from previous posts, starting in 2010 I am going to focus more on YA novels!!!!! I am happy & excited as I know so many awesome YA bloggers & can't wait to get to know more :)

So yesterday I was thinking, where else can I find everyone other then on blogger? What places (nings, forums etc.) do you belong to that brings YA bloggers together? Is there a dedicated YA ning I should join?

Here are a few real great places I've found so far:

YA Bloggers on Twitter at Sharon Loves Books and Cats

Book Blogs Ning which has a few YA groups to join :)

I'm looking forward to meeting many more YA bloggers. If we haven't 'met' before, leave a comment so we can change that ;)

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - December 2, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait for Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins! The cover was just revealed yesterday, pretty cool eh :) I have this listed for my YA Debut author challenge & can't wait to read it.



Release date: March 2, 2010

Publisher: Hyperion

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It's gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie's estranged father--an elusive European warlock--only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it's her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a. witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.
By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the most hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

Monday, November 30, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? November 30, 2009



It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Feel free to join in this weekly event if you'd like as well as use the photo/pic/button above. Thanks J. Kaye for hosting!

Books I completed last week are:

Pirate Latitudes
by Michael Crichton (click here for review)

This week I'm reading:

The Dragon Book
(a collection of 19 short stories on dragons) * started last week & hope to finish soon!

Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (I'm so excited to read this!!!)



What are you reading this week?

Review: Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton



Hardcover: 320 pages

Publisher: Harper

Released: November 24, 2009

ISBN: 978-0061929373




Teaser quote:
On a privateering raid, any man who tried to conceal a part of the general booty was always put to death. Hunter himself had shot more than one thieving seaman through the heart and kicked the corpse overboard without a second thought. (pg. 33)

My rating: 3.5/5

My thoughts:
It took a few days after reading for me to start this review & I don't normally do that. The reason: I really wasn't sure where to start & how to rate this.

This is not a Disney Pirates of the Caribbean version of pirates, this is the story of the real thing. It is the story of one Captain Charles Hunter. Set in Jamaica 1665, Port Royal is a "miserable, overcrowded, cut-throat town", governed by a corrupt Sir James Almont. Looting wasn't allowed but privateering raids against the Spanish were encouraged. When word gets out that a ship carrying treasure is sitting in a nearby harbour, an expedition spearheaded by Hunter was set in motion. Only the best were brought in as this was not a quest for the faint at heart. The ship was near a fortress guarded by Cazalla - notorious for his barbaric acts. This is were the story starts to get good, filled with storms, fighting, cannons blasting & even cannibals and sea monsters. (SLIGHT SPOILER AHEAD) Although he makes it home alive (I'm not going to tell you if they were successful) there was no welcoming party. And what he comes back home to, is not what he was expecting! I have to stop here as this is were is gets REALLY good & I don't want to give anything away :)

It wasn't until I was halfway through the book that the pirate story developed into something somewhat exciting. The last 50 pages were the real page turners and the ending blew me away. It was fast-paced, shocking, OMG what's going to happen...exactly what I expect from Crichton. Now you can see why I had a hard time rating this one - did those last 50 pages make up for the super slow buildup? I kinda think they did.

Pirate Latitudes was discovered on one of Crichton's computers by his assistant after the author's death, along with another unfinished novel. Steven Spielberg is developing a film & has hired David Koepp, the writer who adapted Crichton’s “Jurassic Park” and “The Lost World” for the big screen, to write the screenplay.

Thursday, November 26, 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge



I'm super excited to join this challenge hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren! I'm going to set a goal of lucky thirteen for now but I'm sure to increase it once I start seeing everyone elses reviews :) For 2010, I plan on focusing my blog on a lot more YA novels so this challenge is perfect for me! If you are a YA tenner & would like me to review your book, please contact me :)

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What is the 2010 Debut Author Challenge?

•The objective is to read a set number of YA (Young Adult) or MG (Middle Grade) novels from debut authors published this year.* I'm going to challenge everyone to read at least 12 debut novels! I’m hoping to read at least 30! You don’t have to list your choices right away, but if you do feel free to change them throughout the year. I will also be focusing on mostly Young Adult novels.

•Anyone can join, you don’t need a blog to participate. If you don’t have a blog you can always share your views by posting a review on Amazon.com/BarnesandNoble.com/GoodReads/Shelfari, or any other bookish site.

•The challenge will run from January 1, 2010- December 31, 2010. You can join at anytime!

* note: the novels will be limited to those released in 2010.

Click here for more information.

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Here's my proposed reading list (with updated links to my reviews):
  1. The Dark Divine by Bree Despain (click for review)
  2. The Mark by Jen Nadol  (click for review)
  3. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (click for review)
  4. The Secret Year by Jennifer R. Hubbard (click for review)
  5. Numbers by Rachel Ward - (click for review)
  6. Scones & Sensibility by Lindsay Eland (click for review)
  7. The Lonely Hearts Club by Elizabeth Eulberg (click for review)
  8. Numbers by Rachel Cann (click for review)
  9. Under My Skin by Judith Graves (click for review)
  10. Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver (click for review)
  11. Island Sting by Bonnie Doerr (click for review)
  12. The Body Finder by Kimberly Derting (click for review)
  13. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins -reading
  14. Shade by Jeri Smith-Ready - have
  15. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa - have
  16. The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy (EgmontUSA April 13, 2010)
  17. Shadow Hills by Anastasia Hopcus (EmgontUSA July 13, 2010)
  18. Paranormalcy by Kiersten White (Harper Teen September 21, 2010)

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - November 25, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait for Sisters Red by Jackson Pearce! Staring in the new year, you're going to see more YA books on my blog, yay!




Publisher: Little, Brown

Release Date: June 3, 2010

The story of Scarlett and Rosie March, two highly-skilled sisters who have been hunting Fenris (werewolves) -- who prey on teen girls -- since Scarlett lost her eye years ago while defending Rosie in an attack. Scarlett lives to destroy the Fenris, and she and Rosie lure them in with red cloaks (a colour the wolves can't resist), though Rosie hunts more out of debt to her sister than drive. But things seem to be changing. The wolves are getting stronger and harder to fight, and there has been a rash of news reports of countless teen girls brutally murdered in the city. Scarlet and Rosie soon discover the truth: wolves are banding together in search of a Potential Fenris -- a man tainted by the pack but not yet fully changed. Desperate to find the Potential to use him as bait for a massive werewolf extermination, the sisters move to the city with Silas, a young woodsman and long time family friend who is deadly with an axe. But the clues to finding the Potential aren't adding up, and Scarlet is shocked to learn new details of Silas's family history. Meanwhile, Rosie finds herself drawn to Silas and the bond they share not only drives the sisters apart, but could destroy all they've worked for.

What are you waiting on?

Teaser Tuesday - November 24, 2009

p>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!





On a privateering raid, any man who tried to conceal a part of the general booty was always put to death. Hunter himself had shot more than one theiving seaman through the heart and kicked the corpse overboard without a second thought. (pg 33 of Pirate Latitiudes by Michael Crichton)

Monday, November 23, 2009

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? November 23, 2009



It's Monday! What are you reading this week? is a weekly event to celebrate what we are reading for the week as well as books completed the previous week. Feel free to join in this weekly event if you'd like as well as use the photo/pic/button above. Thanks J. Kaye for hosting!

Books I completed last week are:

- none!!! (I was sick)

Books I'm reading this week:

- Pirate Latitudes by Michael Crichton (a complete manuscript discovered after his death in 2008)

- The Dragon Book: Magical Tales from the Masters of Modern Fantasy by Jack Dann and Gardner Dozois (With original stories by New York Times bestselling authors Jonathan Stroud, Gregory Maguire, Garth Nix, Diana Gabaldon, Tamora Pierce, Harry Turtledove, Sean Williams, and Tad Williams as well as tales by Naomi Novik, Peter Beagle, Jane Yolen, Adam Stemple, Cecelia Holland, Kage Baker, Samuel Sykes, Diana Wynne Jones, Mary Rosenblum, Tanith Lee, Andy Duncan, and Bruce Coville)

What are you reading?

Friday, November 20, 2009

Review: Malice by Chris Wooding


Publisher:SCHOLASTIC INC

Released:October 1, 2009

Hardcover, 384 Pages

ISBN 9780545160438



Recommended for: YA, horror, fantasy readers

Teaser quote:

But Malice had new rules. Rules he didn't know.
Learn the world. Then you can beat it.
He held on to that. If he viewed this place as a challenge, he felt a little less helpless. There are ways to get out. All he had to do was find one.(
pg. 131)

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:
Rumor has it that there's a comic book called Malice. If you mix a black feather, twig, knot of cat fur, a tear and a piece of your hair then set it on fire & say "Tall Jake, take me away" six times before the fire burns out, you will be transported into the comic book. Luke decides to try it, expecting nothing to happen, but he goes missing. When two of his friends find out about the comic, they vow to save him the only way they know how...they set out to find the comic & go to Malice.

This is like a YA version of a Stephen King novel. It's dark, twisted and yet you get sucked into the world of Malice & just keep flipping the pages wanting to know what's going to happen next! About a quarter of the book is actually comic. Oddly enough, it is the comic pages that are the scariest in the book.

I normally don't like darker books & this one definitely is but I found myself totally engrossed I finished it in one day. Malice is such a different world, I was curious to find out more about it, who is Tall Jake, why it 'stole' kids, what the kids did when they got there & could they get out? There was a big twist that I guessed at incorrectly but loved where it went. The ending leaves you wanting more, there is still so much to tell. I can't wait to continue the story with the second installment, Havoc, which comes out May 2010.

www.chriswooding.com

Review: I, Alex Cross by James Patterson



Hardcover: 400 pages

Publisher: Little, Brown and Company

Released: November 16, 2009

ISBN-13: 978-0316018784




Recommended for: Thriller/suspense fans

Teaser quote:
"I want this done fast gentlemen. Fast and clean and thorough. We need some real facts. And clarity. We need to find out who the hell Zeus is and what he's done, and then we have to deal with it like it never happened.

My rating: 3.5/5

My thoughts:

Detective Alex Cross was at home celebrating his birthday with the family when the phone rings. His niece, Carolyn, whom sadly he had not seen in many years, has been found murdered. Alex discovers the call-girl lifestyle Carolyn was living and pieces fall into place...she wasn't the only victim! What starts out as a hunt for Carolyn's murderer quickly turns into a hunt for a serial murderer with assistance from the Secret Service.

What I love about Patterson is ability to balance the thriller & family story aspects. Although not graphic, the story contains sex, violence, sexual violence...and a wood chipper. But alongside the murder investigation, we see Alex's family living a somewhat normal life. Nana is not well and this plays a huge role in the book. As a reader, it was comforting seeing the family support through the tough times and not just focusing on the bizarre case at hand.

I was a bit disappointed that the murderer was announced so quickly near the end. I was hoping to read a little bit more about the aftermath. Did the truth come out? What did the murderers wife say/do? I am a huge fan of happy endings though and the epilogue worked for me.

Although this is the sixteenth book of the Alex Cross series, it can be easily read as a standalone. For many more books by James Patterson, visit www.jamespatterson.com

Thursday, November 19, 2009

The 2010 Young Adult Reading Challenge



I am really loving YA this year so when I saw this challenge I knew I had to sign up. I'm starting with the "Just My Size" challenge, though I'm hoping to bump it up to "Stepping It Up" if I can!

Here are the details:
  • Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

  • There are four levels:

    --The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.

    --Just My Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 25 Young Adult novels.

    --Stepping It Up YA Reading Challenge – Read 50 Young Adult novels.

    --Super Size Me YA Reading Challenge – Read 75 Young Adult novels.

  • Audio, eBooks, paper all count.

  • No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.

  • Challenge begins January 1st thru December, 2010.

  • sign up under Mr. Linky here.

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My book list:

  1. WISH by Alexandra Bullen
  2. WAKE by Lisa McMann
  3. THE DARK DIVINE by Bree Despain
  4. MAGIC UNDER GLASS by Jaclyn Dolamore
  5. SCONES & SENSIBILITY by Lindsay Eland
  6. THE LONELY HEARTS CLUB by Elizabeth Eulberg
  7. THE SECRET YEAR by Jennifer Hubbard
  8. FADE by Lisa McMann
  9. GONE by Lisa McMann
  10. DOUBLE EAGLE by Sneed B. Collard III
  11. NUMBERS by Rachel Ward
  12. THE MARK by Jen Nadol
  13. UNDER MY SKIN by Judith Graves
  14. BEFORE I FALL by Lauren Oliver
  15. ISLAND STING by Bonnie Doerr
  16. POSSESSED by Kate Cann
  17. MERLIN'S HARP by Anne Eliot Crompton
  18. HEIST SOCIETY by Ally Carter
  19. THE BODY FINDER by Kimberly Derting
  20. HOURGLASS by Claudia Gray

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Review: Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld


Publisher: Simon Pulse

Released: October 6, 2009

Hardcover, 448 pages

ISBN: 9781416971733

Ages: 12 and up

Grades: 7 and up

Recommended for: fantasy and action readers

Teaser quote:

Alek watched a massive foot plant itself upon the forest floor. Long seconds later another tremor arrived, rippling across the trees around them and up through the Stormwalker's metal frame. As the next step fell, a distant treetop flailed and then vanished, torn down by the giant walker's stride. (page 46)

My rating: 4.5 /5

My thoughts:

It is 1914 and Prince Aleksander's parents have just been murdered. His father had planned for such an event & the necessary steps where put into motion. Now Alek was on the run & not sure who to trust. Deryn Sharp was a tomboy of sorts who loved Ballooning with her dad. With the help of her brother & a disguise (remember this is 1914, no girls allowed), she tries out for the British Air Service. By chance, thanks to a storm, she joins the crew of the Leviathan, a whale airship. Ironically for such caring people, it is war that brings together Alek & Deryn's two completely different 'worlds'.

This first book of a trilogy is full of action, easily devoured. Scott Westerfeld paints an amazing alternate world drawing from the origins of World War I. In this world, countries are divided into Clankers (who create machines that mimick animals) and Darwinists (where biology is key, they create new creatures). Alek is a Clanker, Deryn is a Darwinist and both carry secrets. One person's secret is revealed to a few, the other remains untold... I can't wait for it to be discovered. Once that comes into play, I can see the characters taking on a bigger role. In this story, I think Alek & Deryn took the backseat with action as the focus - or maybe I was just in awe at the machines & animals?

I can't help but say how much I loved the art work, it added so much more to the reading experience. I am still in awe at the Leviathan on page 70, what an awesome creature. This was my first "steampunk" read & wow, I loved it!

Review: Ballad by Maggie Stiefvater



Publisher: Flux

Released: October 1, 2009

Paperback: 360 pages

ISBN: 978-0738714844




Recommended for: lovers of YA, romance, angst, faeries

Teaser quote:
"It took me a long time to go back to the dorms after he'd gone. In the ordinary night he'd left behind, I sat on a hill, the wind whispering through the long grass that surrounded me. I stared at the stars and wanted more than what I was and more than what the world was and just - wanted." (pg 96)

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:

I should start off by saying that I have read Ballad without Lament (though that will change) it just took a bit to understand the complex past James & Dee share. This was also my first foray into the world of faeries so there was a little bit of a learning curve here.

Ballad is a dark but beautiful story told from two points of view: James & Nuala. James and his friend Dee are attending Thornking-Ash, a school for talented musicians. Poor James is still pining over Dee while she is struggling to come to terms with Luke and faeries in her life (this is where the background of Lament would have come in handy). Nuala is a Leanan Sidhe who attracts musicians with offers of help to make them the best...but at a cost - years of their life. She's near the end of her sixteen year life cycle and has chosen James as her last target.

James is such a witty character, I loved him from the start. Nuala doesn't hold her tonge either and this made for some hilarious moments. For Nuala, it was evident from the begining that her dark life had more to do with 'what' she was rather then 'who' she was. As we know, the land of Faeries isn't nice and James was left with a tough choice to make in the end: should he save Dee (who he has loved for years and would do anything for) or Nuala (whose interest in James turns out to be so much more then just his musical talent). I loved how this all played out.

I'm such a sucker for a happy ending, the ending was so beautiful. Then BAM she throws a curve ball at me! I can't wait to read more of Maggie Stiefvater's Faerie world, though I'm making an assumption that Maggie won't leave us hanging :)

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - November 11, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait for Beautiful Creatures by Kami Garcia & Margaret Stohl


Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Release Date: December 1, 2009 (though I understand amazon.com is shipping now & some stores have it on the shelves already!!!)

Synopsis:

There were no surprises in Gatlin County.
We were pretty much the epicenter of the middle of nowhere.
At least, that's what I thought.
Turns out, I couldn't have been more wrong.
There was a curse.
There was a girl.
And in the end, there was a grave.

Lena Duchannes is unlike anyone the small Southern town of Gatlin has ever seen, and she's struggling to conceal her power and a curse that has haunted her family for generations. But even within the overgrown gardens, murky swamps and crumbling graveyards of the forgotten South, a secret cannot stay hidden forever.

Ethan Wate, who has been counting the months until he can escape from Gatlin, is haunted by dreams of a beautiful girl he has never met. When Lena moves into the town's oldest and most infamous plantation, Ethan is inexplicably drawn to her and determined to uncover the connection between them.

In a town with no surprises, one secret could change everything.

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - November 10, 2009

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!





A blast of light dazzled him, and Luke screamed. The door swung open....
.....but there was nothing there. (pg 15)

Monday, November 9, 2009

Review: The Handy Answer Book for Kids (and Parents) 2nd Edition


Published by: Visible Ink Press

ISBN: 9781578592197

Published October 2009

352 pages in color

100 photos and illustrations

6.8 x 9.7 paperback


Recommended for: everyone!

My rating: 5/5

My thoughts:

Whether you are a parent or not, this book is a great reference book to have handy. Answers to almost 800 different questions are provided in a very simple manner. The book itself is beautiful, almost every other page contains a colourful picture on thick, glossy paper. I'm still in awe as I flip through the book.

The book is broken down into 10 sections:

  • Outer Space
  • Planet Earth & Our Moon
  • Creatures Big & Small
  • Plant Life
  • People Around the World
  • Politics & Government
  • How Things Work
  • Math, Measurement & Time
  • All About My Body
  • Daily Life


As soon as the book arrived, both my husband and 7 yr old son grabbed it & started flipping through it. It was really fun watching them point to the different topics & learning new things together. For instance, many of us know that you can tell the age of a tree by counting the rings BUT did you know that the thickness of the rings also tell scientists what the climate was like that year (ie. thick rings means there was plenty of rainfall)? It seems common sense to me now that I know, but this was not something I had thought of before!

Here are a few examples of questions in the book that I've been asked or expect to be asked one day:

  • Why is the sky blue?
  • What is a fossil?
  • Why do flies like cow plop?
  • How did my life begin?

I know my son will start asking me tougher questions & I am so happy to have a quick guide (other than Google) to help me! Some answers I already know (i.e why do zebras have stripes? camouflage) but thankfully the books adds more details then just my one word answer. I recommend this book for everyone as I think it's such a fun, fact filled book covering basic topics everyone should know.



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If you are interested in childrens books, please check out our new kids book blog at http://www.ratedbykids.blogspot.com/. We've love to have more contributors on board too, so please contact us!

It's Monday! What are you reading? (Nov 9, 2009)



Books I completed last week are:

Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld (review pending, I loved it!)

Book plan for this week:

Malice by Chris Wooding (if you like Hunger Games, this one if for you - also one of my favorite covers!)

I, Alex Cross by James Patterson

What are you reading?

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Review: Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran

Publisher: Crown

Released: September 15, 2009

Hardcover: 448 pages

ISBN-10: 0307409120






Recommended for: historical ficition lovers, people curious about Roman life, people who love a good story with a happy ending

Teaser quote:
"So we're alive! For now. And only because Octavan doesn't want to parade three stinking corpses through the streets of Rome. Wait until the Triumph is over," I warned. "Antyllus was murdered at the feet of Caesar's statue, and Caesarion was beheaded. What do you think will happen to us?"

"Exactly what he said. We will be given away in marriage."

"And how is that better than death? To marry a Roman?"

"Our father was a Roman."

My rating: 5 /5

My thoughts:

The story of Cleopatra & Marc Antony has been told over and over again in books, plays etc., but what happened to their three surviving children? Narrated by Selene, Cleopatra's Daughter tells us the lesser know story of Selene, her twin brother Alexander & younger brother Ptolemy. After Egypt is conquered by Octavian, the Emporer of Rome, and their parents commit suicide, the three children are taken prisoner and set sail for a new life in Rome with Octavian's sister, Octavia.

Selene was such a strong character. She was not your typical girl, more of a tomboy who had a love of architecture and like her mother and father, was not afraid to show compassion or take risks for what she thought was right. Through her eyes, we learn about the cultural differences between Egypt and Rome and class differences of the elite versus poor. The shared passion between Octavian's nephew, Marcellus, and Selene was beautiful to read and although you want them to be together, the path their relationship takes doesn't disappoint. Though the Red Eagle was not based on fact, I loved the addition of this character as it added such interesting facts about Roman life in that time. One can't help but root for the good guy and look for the clues in an attempt to find out just who this was.

I admire Michelle's ability to tell a story, making the characters felt so 'real' and the place so vivid that, over 2000 years later, I felt like I was there.

http://www.michellemoran.com
http://michellemoran.blogspot.com/

Saturday, November 7, 2009

Review: The Masonic Myth by Jay Kinney


Publisher: HarperOne

Released: September 8, 2009

ISBN: 978-0060822569


Teaser quote:
"This brings us to the heart of the Masonic puzzle: why all the secrecy? With organized crime or intelligence agencies or terrorist cells, secrecy is essential to allow clandestine activities to proceed without exposure. Is it entirely a surprise, then, if similar motives are attributed to Masonry?" (pg 109)

My rating: 3/5

My thoughts:

My curiosity into secret societies began years ago, when I read Dan Brown's DaVinci Code. When it comes to books that mix facts with fiction, I'm a sucker for wondering just what parts are fact & what is fiction.

The Masonic Myth was released to coincide with Brown's highly anticipated follow up The Lost Symbol. It provides a history of the organization and tries to set the record straight about what they represent. The records have June 24, 1717 as the official beginning so many of the traditions & rituals date back hundreds of years. In a sense, taken out of context, we may interpret these incorrectly.

The author, Jay Kinney, is a Freemason member so I had to keep that in the back of my mind while reading. If there were big secrets, I would have to assume he would conveniently leave them out (though maybe that's just the tiny bit of conspiracy theorist in me). For someone such as myself with just a general interest in Freemasonry, this book will not be too exciting as it reads more like a textbook. You can tell Jay Kinney researched this tremendously and although it may not be an exciting read, it was an informative one.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

..and the winners are...



Winners of my HUSH, HUSH giveaway:

* Jackie

* Haleyknitz

(thanks to Lisa for letting me know she already had the book so I could pass this on to another winner!)


Winner of my Pendragon's Banner giveaway:

* Jo-Jo


Winner of my What the Dog Saw giveaway:


* Sheila

Congratulations!!! I've just sent you an email to get all your dets :)
Thanks to everyone else for playing!

"Waiting on" Wednesday - November 4, 2009

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I can't wait for Chasing Brooklyn by Lisa Schroeder


Release date: January 5, 2010
Publisher: Simon Pulse

Restless souls and empty hearts

Brooklyn can't sleep. Her boyfriend, Lucca, died only a year ago, and now her friend Gabe has just died of an overdose. Every time she closes her eyes, Gabe's ghost is there waiting for her. She has no idea what he wants or why it isn't Lucca visiting her dreams.

Nico can't stop. He's always running, trying to escape the pain of losing his brother, Lucca. But when Lucca's ghost begins leaving messages, telling Nico to help Brooklyn, emotions come crashing to the surface.

As the nightmares escalate and the messages become relentless, Nico reaches out to Brooklyn. But neither of them can admit that they're being haunted. Until they learn to let each other in, not one soul will be able to rest.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesday - November 3, 2009

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!




Deryn had always reckoned herself a tomboy, between Jaspert's bullying and Da's balloon training. But running with the other middies was more than just punchups and tying knots - it was like joining a pack of dogs. (pg 102)

Monday, November 2, 2009

Review: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman

Publisher: Atria

Released: October 20, 2009

Hardcover, 288 pages

ISBN-10: 1439158843






Recommended for: lovers of Chick Lit

My rating: 3/5

My thoughts:

On the first Monday in December every year twelve women get together for their annual "cookie club" party. The book is narrated by Marnie, the 'head cookie b*tch. Each chapter begins with a recipe of a particular cookie club member, with the chapter focusing on that person: how they came to know Marnie, their past & what is happening in their life now. Also included after each chapter is a history of basic baking ingredients.

I'll start off with what I loved about the book: the recipes & the details provided in the prologue outlining some rules to help in putting together your own cookie club. I also loved the premise of this book, unfortunately it did not turn out to be the happy, pre-Christmas read I was hoping for. The book covers many sad topics including lost jobs, unfaithful relationships, death of a child, miscarriages and still-births. The only part I laughed at was Juliet's description of how to make her treats.

Having a chapter devoted to one character sounds great but the downfall was that I could read this book & put it down without wondering what was going to happen next. It also meant that there was little for me to feel that I really knew the character, no closeness. In the end, I guess the message here is really a basic one: the importance of friendships, especially in times of need. I just wish there was more happiness, more laughter, to celebrate in the book.

A sequel has been slated for 2011 & CBS has bought the film rights. Depending on the casting, I think this may be one of those few cases where I'd like the movie more then the book.

Sunday, November 1, 2009

In My Mailbox - November 1, 2009



In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren

My goodies this week:


Just last week, it was announced that DreamWorks has acquired the rights to the Wicked series! Congrats Nancy & Debbie!
Witches, warlocks, destiny and death--Wicked a teen series from Nancy Holder and Debbie ViguiĆ© that’s too powerful to put down. It will entrance you!

Hazel Stone wants nothing more than to be a part of the hottest clique in school, the Pretty Little Devils. She’s got the style, she’s cool enough, so how did she end up at a lunch table full of high school C-listers?Hazel has resigned herself to life as a nobody, when suddenly everything changes. Sylvia, queen bee of the PLDs, invites Hazel to one of the group’s famous soirees—held at the site of their babysitting jobs.Before Hazel knows it, she’s in with the in crowd—and she couldn’t be more thrilled!But popularity comes with a price. Especially when one of Hazel’s classmates becomes jealous of her newfound status—deadly jealous. And you know how school gossip can just rip a girl to shreds...

POSSESSIONS is the first of a series at least 4 novels. In this first novel, Lindsay Cavanaugh finds her way to a superposh boarding school high in the mountains of Northern California. There are a few problems–it’s haunted, and the mean girls are possessed…will Lindsay ever find her way back out? And if she does, who or what will possess her?




Hi my name is Mel & I'm a chocoholic...

With gigantic vats of churning chocolate, desserts like their famous chocolate pizza, and 12 varieties of hot chocolate served in custom mugs, Max Brenner, Chocolate by the Bald Man has turned their line of hip, colorful themed restaurants into an international sensation.. Chocolate: A Love Story is a vibrant new cookbook that includes 65 original recipes narrated in the quirky, captivating voice of Max Brenner, the restaurant's visionary founder and "bald man." Bold original illustrations inspired by Art Deco poster graphics, full-color photographs, easy-to-follow, delicious recipes, and a serving of Max's unique vision for spreading "chocolate culture" around the world make this book a must for every chocolate lover.



I can't wait to finally start this series. The next book comes out in May 2010!

Richelle Mead's Vampire Academy books follow the war between two races of vampires, living and undead. Rose Hathaway, a 17-year old half-vampire, is training to be a bodyguard for the living vampires and finds her life complicated by the constant danger. As well as an illicit romance with one of her teachers, Rose continually struggles to protect her best friend from the evils that surround them.

Waht did you get this week?

Friday, October 30, 2009

..and the winners are....



Winners of my Run For Your Life giveaway:

* Etirv

* Stacie

* Brizmus

* I Heart Book Gossip

* nfmgirl



Congratulations!!! I'll send an email later today to get all your dets :)

Thanks to everyone else for playing!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

CSN Office Chair review - I love it!

I was impressed at how fast my office chair from CSN Chairs arrived considering I live in Canada - major bonus there! I was expecting a bigger box and was surprised to see this at the door:




I thought it would be an all day affair to put together (think IKEA)but it was so easy my 7 yr old could have done it!



Viola, in a a matter of minutes the chair was built....

...and the kids couldn't wait to try it!


My favorite part is the adjustable seat depth. At 5'3" I'm not that short but I always find my back never touches the back of chairs. I usually have to add a back support cushion but not with this chair, it fits perfectly! The kids love it as it can adjust very low to fit them too.



CSN Chairs has a great selection of office chairs with super prices, fast shipping & awesome customer service. If you're looking for a chair, definitely check them out!