Wednesday, September 30, 2009

"Waiting on" Wednesday - September 30, 2009

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

My can't wait to read book is a new book by the author of The Historian, The Swan Thieves: A Novel by Elizabeth Kostova

To be released: January 12, 2010

Psychiatrist Andrew Marlowe, devoted to his profession and the painting hobby he loves, has a solitary but ordered life. When renowned painter Robert Oliver attacks a canvas in the National Gallery of Art and becomes his patient, Marlow finds that order destroyed. Desperate to understand the secret that torments the genius, he embarks on a journey that leads him into the lives of the women closest to Oliver and a tragedy at the heart of French Impressionism.

Kostova's masterful new novel travels from American cities to the coast of Normandy, from the late 19th century to the late 20th, from young love to last love. THE SWAN THIEVES is a story of obsession, history's losses, and the power of art to preserve human hope.

Tuesday, September 29, 2009

Review: How The Dead Dream by Lydia Millet

Teaser Quote:
The room was a holding pen, a split moment. Outside the room was the rest of his existence. For years he had been detached and now in a stroke of time he was not. He would move, he would touch - no one would think to impede him, they would see him go and be glad - he could be anything. Do not embarrass yourself, he told himself strictly, but he could not help smiling. There she was at the bar: their faces met before he got there.

This was how he lost his autonomy - he had moved along at a steady pace and then he was flung.
(p6 58, ISBN 978-0-15-603546-0)

My Rating: 3/5

My Thoughts:

As a child, T. had developed a fascination for money. He would hoard it, hide it under his pillow, feel it, smell it. Everything in his life revolved around money: in school he acted as a middle-man to pay off bullies and he was kicked out of Boy Scouts for selling merit badges on the black market. He grew up to become a real estate developer & life was all business. He didn't need, nor have, friends...possessions were all that mattered. But life as T. knew it all changed dramatically when he hit a coyote along the highway.

For the first time in his life, T. recognizes and feels loneliness. He begins to question the path he's taking in life. His parents have just separated and he is taking care of his mom. It is only when he meets Beth, an investor assistant, that T. opens himself up and let's love into his life. After a few tragic events in his life, he feels a connection of loss with extinct animals. Just to be with the animals, T. begins breaking into zoos at night.

On a business trip to view progress of a new development, T. is caught in a hurricane that blows through and destroys nearly everything. He asks a guide to take him up to the preserve where the jaguars live, a journey that turns into more then he bargained for. It is here that T. discovers what life is all about.

This was a slow starter but the last 50 pages had me hooked. The transformation of T.'s life was amazing to watch. Through his search he discovers how, simply put, life is all about closeness. It leaves the reader questioning our impact on the world & ultimately the need for environmental protection. This is book one of a trilogy and I look forward to reading the rest.

Monday, September 28, 2009

It's Monday! What are you reading? (September 28, 2009)

It's Monday! What are you reading? (September 28, 2009)

Last week I read:
Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand
after a few weeks, I finished it! I also have a giveaway here.

How the Dead Dream by Lydia Millet
A little slow to start but reminded me of Life of Pi by Yann Martel at the end. This is book one of a trilogy.

This week I'm reading:
Have a Little Faith: A True Story by Mitch Alboom
I have loved his previous books, nice easy reads and always inspiring.

I hate colds! I spent the weekend in bed & not sure how many books I can get through this week :(

What are you reading this week?

Thursday, September 24, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - September 24, 2009

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.


This week I'm reading How The Dead Dream by Lydia Millet. I am a boy fascinated with money who grew up to become a real estate developer. I was so money hungry as a kid, I was kicked out of Boy Scouts for selling badges on the black market, lol. I'm now on a journey of self-discovery.

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned? Join in my weekly meme :)

Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Wating on" Wednesday - September 23, 2009

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

My can't wait to read book is a new book from the author of Shiver:

Ballad: A Gathering of Faerie by Maggie Stiefvater

Publisher: Flux
Release Date: October 1, 2009

Remember us, so sing the dead, lest we remember you.

James Morgan has an almost unearthly gift for music. And it has attracted Nuala, a soul-snatching faerie muse who fosters and then feeds on the creative energies of exceptional humans until they die. James has plenty of reasons to fear the faeries, but as he and Nuala collaborate on an achingly beautiful musical composition, James finds his feelings towards Nuala deepening. But the rest of the fairies are not as harmless. As Halloween—the day of the dead—draws near, James will have to battle the Faerie Queen and the horned king of the dead to save Nuala's life and his soul.

CSN chairs!

Thanks to the awesome guys at CSN Chairs, I have the opportunity to try out one of their office chairs !

There was a great selection of office chairs to pick from and I think I found the perfect one for me....the Adjustable Steno Task Chair with Durable Seat :) I need something lightweight & not too big to fit in the office/play room in my house.

* One touch adjustment instantaneously raises or lowers the seat
* 5 star nylon base allows smooth movement
* Tough, durable plastic protects seat back and bottom from tears
* Available colored fabrics include black and grey
* Weight capacity: 200 lbs

Be on the lookout for my review once I give it a test drive.

Need an office chair? For great selection, low prices & free shipping visit CSN Chairs

Tuesday, September 22, 2009

Review: The Atlantis Revelation by Thomas Greanias

Recommended for: fans of fast-paced action and those who like conspiracy theories; fans of Dan Brown

My rating: 3/5

My thoughts:
The last book of Thomas Greanias' Atlantis trilogy, Atlantis Revelation is a fast-paced adventure with numerous plot twists involving Atlantean artifacts, politicians & secret societies.

Archaeologist Conrad Yeats is a modern day 'Indiana Jones'. He has just located a highly sought after warhead, the Flammenschwert, that sunk in a German submarine... a discovery which may prove Antarctica is the lost continent of Atlantis. The weapon is said to have been made with a technology, developed by the Atlanteans, that can turn water into fire. But after a brief struggle underwater, Yeates loses the relic to a British tycoon with links to the Alignment. What starts out as a fact finding mission quickly turns into a recovery mission. With the help of Serena Serghetti, a Vatican linguist with whom he shares a complicated past, they set out to save the world.

The book is full of action starting from the first page and I found I was a bit lost. I'm assuming this was a result of not having read the previous books in the series (Raising Atlantis and The Atlantis Prophecy). That being said, it didn't take but a few pages to get the gist of who Yeates was and how he came to be there. I would suggest reading the entire series to get the full story though technically this can be read on a stand alone basis.

I had a tough time rating this as I enjoyed the book. I love thrillers, trying to solve the puzzle while reading, and yet this book moved so fast, I didn't have time to stop and think about it. It was a great read but in the end I'm giving it a 3 rating for the following reasons. One scene sticks out and reminded me of a part in Dan Brown's Angels & Demons that I just shook my head at. Without giving anything away, both books had scenes that involved a helicopter and just seemed so outrageous. There were a few references to famous people just seemed out of place and all they did was ruin the picture I had built in my head. Lastly, there is so much action packed into so few pages. There were so many characters and so many societies mentioned, I found it hard to keep track, and them switching sides didn't help the matter! The ending was so sudden and wrapped things up too quickly.

The trilogy is now complete, but I hope to see more of Conrad Yeates as there seems to be so much more the author can do with this character. (How many missions and how many artifacts did Indy recover??? lol)

Monday, September 21, 2009

Giveaway: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

This book was on my list of must read before I die & I have a copy to giveaway to one lucky winner! See my review here.

Contest End Date: Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Open to US addresses & followers only

To enter, please make a seperate comment below with your email address so I can get in touch with you! I will use to determine the winner :)

Additional entries:

+1 for promoting the contest on your blog

+1 for referring a friend (just get them to mention your name & blog)

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, September 20, 2009

Review: Atlas Shrugged by Ayn Rand

Recommended for: people interested in philosophy and economics

Teaser quote:
"It's a moral imperative, universally conceded in our day and age, that every man is entitled to a job". His voice rose: "I'm entitled to it!"
"You are? Go on, then, collect your claim."
"Collect your job. Pick it off the bush where you think it grows."
"I mean - "
"You mean that it doesn't? You mean that you need it, but can't create it? You mean that you are entitled to a job which I must create for you?"
"And if I don't?"

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:
The title, Atlas Shrugged, refers to Atlas from Greek mythology who fought with the Titans in the war against the deities of Mount Olympus. As punishment, he was condemned to bear forever on his back the earth and the heavens and on his shoulders the great pillar that separates them. What would happen to the world if Atlas, a metaphor for the creators & innovators of today, were to stop?

Published over 50 years ago and yet it is still relevant today. It is a story about a railroad company struggling in a crumbling U.S. economy that is made worse by the restrictions imposed by the government. In turn, the government blames the free market and greed and imposes more controls, hindering the economy even more.

A main premise of the story was to defend Capitalism not just for it's economic benefits but for its social morality. Leechers take earnings from people who have earned it. Moochers, a form of leecher, demand others earnings on behalf of the needy playing on guilt and suggesting it is their moral right to provide for those unable to earn themselves. The innovators have the burden of societies well-being forced upon them.

For years, I have been meaning to read this but I constantly put it off. At close to 1,200 pages one needs to make a commitment before picking up the book! Whether you agree with her philosophy or not, the book makes you think as she succeeds in sending a message of the importance of personal responsibility, accountability and good ol' hard work. It has the ability to change the way you look at yourself, the world around you, the society as a whole.

Click here for a chance to win a copy of Atlas shrugged.

In My Mailbox / Mailbox Monday September 20-21, 2009

In My Mailbox is a meme hosted by The Story Siren

and thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

My goodies this week:

With book #2 now out and all the buzz I had to get this one. I can't wait to read it!!

In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. The Capitol is harsh and cruel and keeps the districts in line by forcing them all to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the annual Hunger Games, a fight to the death on live TV. Sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who lives alone with her mother and younger sister, regards it as a death sentence when she is forced to represent her district in the Games. But Katniss has been close to dead before -- and survival

....and the highly anticipated book #2.

Against all odds, Katniss Everdeen has won the annual Hunger Games with fellow district tribute Peeta Mellark. But it was a victory won by defiance of the Capitol and their harsh rules. Katniss and Peeta should be happy. After all, they have just won for themselves and their families a life of safety and plenty. But there are rumors of rebellion among the subjects, and Katniss and Peeta, to their horror, are the faces of that rebellion. The Capitol is angry. The Capitol wants revenge!

Another one that looks sooooo good I'm super excited to read.

For years, Grace has watched the wolves in the woods behind her house. One yellow-eyed wolf--her wolf--is a chilling presence she can't seem to live without. Meanwhile, Sam has lived two lives: In winter, the frozen woods, the protection of the pack, and the silent company of a fearless girl. In summer, a few precious months of being human . . . until the cold makes him shift back again. Now, Grace meets a yellow-eyed boy whose familiarity takes her breath away. It's her wolf. It has to be. But as winter nears, Sam must fight to stay human -- or risk losing himself, and Grace, forever.

This novel was discovered after Crichton's death and word is that Steven Spielberg is to adapt the novel to film!

Pirate Latitudes is an adventure story about piracy in the New World. Set in 1665, when Jamaica was a British colony holding out against Spanish dominance, the story centers on a plan hatched by the island's governor and a notorious pirate called Hunter to raid a Spanish treasure galleon. Fast-moving and suspenseful, Pirate Latitudes is a historical classic from one of America's best-loved authors.

I'm enjoying some more historical fiction.. part two of a trilogy on King Arthur.

from PW: This colorful second installment of Hollick's King Arthur trilogy (following The Kingmaker) continues the bloody legend as the young king of Britain tries to keep his throne amid traitors, rivals and deadly treachery. This is a period of savage brutality, deceit, feud, greed and lust for power, with Arthur, the Pendragon, as merciless and cunning as his challengers. Arthur is 24, married to his second wife, the beautiful Gwenhwyfar. His hostile first wife, Winifred, schemes to unseat Arthur and put her own son on the throne, but other women are also pregnant by Arthur, and familial royal murder plots abound. When Arthur is not bedding his wife, mistress, prostitutes or female spies, he is busy chopping up foes with sword and battle-ax, while doing his own scheming to outwit and destroy his arch enemy, Morgause, who harbors a bitter hatred for Arthur and his family and is the only enemy Arthur fears. Refreshingly, Hollick's Arthur is no Hollywood hero; he's a vicious opportunist, devious and manipulative, a lusty master of expedient decision and action.

What did you get this week?

Friday, September 18, 2009

Review: The White Queen by Philippa Gregory

Recommended for: fans of historical fiction

Teaser quote:
I feel worse than I have ever done before, because now I know that it is easier to take a country into war then to bring it to live at peace. A country at war is a bitter place to live, a risky place to have daughters, and a dangerous place to hope for a son. (pg 99, ISBN 978-1-4165-6368-6)

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:
The first book in a new series on The War of the Roses, The White Queen is told from the point of view of Elizabeth Woodville. A young widow and supporter of the House of Lancaster, Elizabeth, stands by the roadside waiting for Edward of York, King of England to pass. She is determined to get her land back for her boys and plans on using her beauty to her advantage. Little did she know that she would want more from him than that, the man she herself describes as "a usurper and a tyrant, my enemy". (pg 4)

King Edward & Elizabeth marry in a secret ceremony to the surprise of the court. But there is no 'happily ever after' or 'knight in shining armour saves the day' here. Throughout her reign as Queen, there is a constant battle for the throne. With the sudden death of the King, protection of the heirs is key & Elizabeth's sons are taken away from her. Without spoiling the ending, I enjoyed Philippa Gregory's take on what happens to the boys.

Although it was fact that Elizabeth's mom was executed for being a witch, I'm not sure if the addition of Melusina's story was necessary. Melusina is a goddess of water and throughout the book there are events in which her mystic powers are used by both Elizabeth and her mother. I found this more of a distraction in the book.

The book is full of contrasts, love/hate, friend/foe, war/peace, loyalty/betrayal, life/death. It really was a time of every man for himself. All in all, I enjoyed this fast paced book & look forward to reading more in this series.

Thursday, September 17, 2009

BBAW Day #4: Thanks for introducing me to this book!

Today's topic is about that book you discovered only because you read about it on a book blog and then you realized you couldn’t live without it! And then you read it and you loved it so hard! Tell us about it and about the blogger (or bloggers!) that introduced the book to you!

Well had it not been for bloggers, I would have never had the chance to read :

I lucked out with getting an ARC and fell in love. I think it's so good, I need to buy the hardcover when it comes out next month ;)There were so many blogs about it, I can't remember who I owe a thank you to!

So many books & so little time and yet I find my TBR pile grows daily. I'm not sure how much my hubby likes all of you, but I love you guys :)

Wednesday, September 16, 2009

Thoughtful Thursday - September 17, 2009

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.


This week I read The White Queen by Philippa Gregory. I was back in the 15th century living the life of a beautiful queen BUT in a constant struggle to stay Queen and keep her family safe. Maybe having a knight in shining armour isn't "happily ever after" after all!

Now I'm reading The Atlantis Revelation by Thomas Greanias. I am being hunted by assassins, dealing with secret societies & politicians while trying to recover an weapon (with origins linked to Atlantis) that has the potential to destroy the world. It makes me wonder just how powerful secret socities really are!

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned? Join in my weekly meme :)

And the winners are.....

BARB...winner of Bending Toward The Sun by Leslie Gilbert-Lurie


LAURA...winner of The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

Congratulations Barb and Laura!

Both winners have been notified by email.

Thanks to everyone who participated :)

"Waiting On" Wednesday

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

My can't wait to read book is:

Publisher: Hyperion (Harper Collins Canada)
Release Date: September 29, 2009

In Have a Little Faith, Mitch Albom offers a beautifully written story of a remarkable eight-year journey between two worlds--two men, two faiths, two communities--that will inspire readers everywhere.

Albom's first nonfiction book since Tuesdays with Morrie, Have a Little Faith begins with an unusual request: an eighty-two-year-old rabbi from Albom's old hometown asks him to deliver his eulogy.

Feeling unworthy, Albom insists on understanding the man better, which throws him back into a world of faith he'd left years ago. Meanwhile, closer to his current home, Albom becomes involved with a Detroit pastor--a reformed drug dealer and convict--who preaches to the poor and homeless in a decaying church with a hole in its roof.

Moving between their worlds, Christian and Jewish, African-American and white, impoverished and well-to-do, Albom observes how these very different men employ faith similarly in fighting for survival: the older, suburban rabbi embracing it as death approaches; the younger, inner-city pastor relying on it to keep himself and his church afloat.

As America struggles with hard times and people turn more to their beliefs, Albom and the two men of God explore issues that perplex modern man: how to endure when difficult things happen; what heaven is; intermarriage; forgiveness; doubting God; and the importance of faith in trying times. Although the texts, prayers, and histories are different, Albom begins to recognize a striking unity between the two worlds--and indeed, between beliefs everywhere.

In the end, as the rabbi nears death and a harsh winter threatens the pastor's wobbly church, Albom sadly fulfills the rabbi's last request and writes the eulogy. And he finally understands what both men had been teaching all along: the profound comfort of believing in something bigger than yourself.

Have a Little Faith is a book about a life's purpose; about losing belief and finding it again; about the divine spark inside us all. It is one man's journey, but it is everyone's story.

Ten percent of the profits from this book will go to charity, including The Hole In The Roof Foundation, which helps refurbish places of worship that aid the homeless.


I've loved his previous work: easy to read and inspirational with a focus on compassion. Although this subject is religion, I never found the others preachy so we'll see!

Tuesday, September 15, 2009

BBAW Interview With Cathy From Kittling: Books

It was my pleasure to be paired up with Cathy for the BBAW interview swap. Cathy was nominated for, not one, but two BBAW awards: Best Thriller/Mystery/Suspense/Crime and Best Series or Feature. As soon as I got word of who I was to interview, I headed to her blog & my heart skipped a lucky to be paired up with such an awesome person. Cathy took the time to answer my silly newbie questions and always makes me laugh (just read one of her posts and you will see what a great sense of humor she has!)

Now without further ado, here's your chance to meet the infamous Cathy!

NAME: Cathy

BLOG NAME: Kittling: Books


ABOUT ME: I'm addicted to: books (especially crime fiction), laughter and traveling off the beaten path. In my free time, when my eyes aren't glued to the printed page, one of them is usually pressed against the viewfinder of my camera. Let's see... books, laughter, photography, travel... anything else? Oh yeah... my dream house wouldn't have a kitchen!

I'm a baby boomer who grew up in a small farm town in central Illinois. When it came time to start planning for college, I was tired of everyone in town knowing my business before I did, so I looked far afield until I found a college in Utah. One year after visiting family in Illinois during the summer, I returned to Utah via Arizona. I stopped in Phoenix. It was 110 degrees in the shade, and I fell in love with the heat, the light, and the Sonoran Desert. When I graduated, I moved to Phoenix and never looked back. After twenty years, I knew I was Home.

WHEN AND WHY DID YOU START YOUR BLOG? I started my blog in June 2008 as a way of keeping track of my reading. At that point I had no inkling that mine was one of many book blogs in existence nor any clue that people would want to read what I have to say.

WHAT IS YOUR BLOG ALL ABOUT? Basically it's still just me having fun in the world of books, although I've learned that I'm not talking to myself! What started out as dry-as-dust book reviews has branched out a bit in other directions.

ANY FAVORITE FEATURES THAT YOU'D LIKE TO SHARE? My favorite has to be Scene of the Blog which posts every Wednesday. I'm amazed and thankful at the number of book bloggers who have been willing to let everyone take a peek at their creative spaces. Another favorite is relatively new. It's called Bookself and appears most Saturdays. I'll post a photo of one of my many bookshelves and ask readers to leave their opinions in the comments as to what sort of reader they think I am, if any of the books appeal to them, etc. The following week I'll respond to all the comments and give some insights into a few of the books on that particular shelf. It's been a bit slow to take off, but it's something that I enjoy, so we'll see how it goes!

ANY TIPS OR ADVICE FOR THOSE STARTING OR THINKING ABOUT STARTING A BLOG? If you just want a blog to record your thoughts about books, and you don't care who sees it or if anyone ever comments, then jump in and have fun. If, on the other hand, you do want other people to read it and like it, and you do want to be a part of the book blogging community, I'd say you should do a little homework first. Read a lot of book blogs. Enough to get a feel for what you like and what you don't like. If there's a particular genre of books you intend to focus on, put most of your attention on that type of book blog. Hang out where other book bloggers hang out: Twitter, Book Blogs on Ning, LibraryThing, etc. Most of all, don't be afraid to ask questions. Book bloggers can be some of the friendliest people you'll ever meet. I've had plenty of my own questions, and still manage to come up with them on a regular basis. Never once have I been turned down when I've asked a
question. I've always been met as a comrade-in-arms and given rafts of information for every single one of my questions.

HOW DO YOU WRITE YOUR REVIEWS--DO YOU TAKE NOTES AS YOU'RE READING OR WAIT UNTIL YOU'VE FINISHED THE BOOK? Normally I only take notes when something really striking occurs to me as I read. My regular modusoperandi is to use Post-It flags to mark significant passages. When I'm writing my review of the book, I'll go through all the marked passages. Some I will include in the review, others simply refresh my memory about certain plot points or characters. What I find most difficult in writing a review is to write one and not include spoilers. I want to give enough information about the book to intrigue a potential reader without giving away "the good bits"! I've read a little of everything on other book blogs about the wisdom in not rating books, in only sharing positive reviews.... All I can say to that is "Whatever floats your boat." It's my opinion that most people who search out book reviews are wanting to know both good and bad. If I were only to post
favorable reviews, how would you know if your reading tastes were really similar to mine? Fortunately I'm more and more in tune with my reading tastes as time goes by, so I don't post very many unfavorable reviews, but you can find them if you look!

DO YOU HAVE A REVIEW SYSTEM? IF YOU DO, WOULD YOU LIKE TO EXPLAIN IT TO US? I use a rather simple "grading" system. A's are given to Excellent books, B's to Very Good books, C's to Average books, D's to Poorly written books, F's to books that came close to being thrown against the nearest wall, and DNF's to books that I just couldn't finish.

WHAT ARE SOME OF YOUR FAVORITE GENRES AND/OR BOOKS CURRENTLY? Almost ten years ago I got hooked on crime fiction, and it won't turn me loose. The more crime fiction I read, the more wonderful books I find. One new-to-me genre that I've been enjoying recently is Young Adult. Wow! I wish they had some of these books when I really was a young adult in body (and not just mind)!

HARDCOVER, TRADE PAPERBACK, OR MASS MARKET PAPERBACK? Any way I can get my hands on 'em, m'dear!

BUY OR BORROW? IF BUY, AMAZON OR BRICK-AND-MORTAR? I am absolutely positively horrible at returning books on time; therefore I buy or use Paperback Swap for almost everything that I read. When I do buy books, it's split 50% to Amazon or Book Depository and 50% to my favorite brick-and-mortar, the Poisoned Pen.

ALPHABETIZE BY AUTHOR, OR ALPHABETIZE BY TITLE, OR RANDOM? I'm a former librarian...there'll be none of this "random" crap! LOL I have about 27 bookcases in this house. The books are divided by genre. Fiction books are alphabetical by author. Biographies are alphabetical by subject's name. History is shelved by time period and country. And I will glare at you if you don't put that book back where you found it! LOL

READ WITH DUST JACKET, OR REMOVE IT? One must have a pristine dust jacket, so I remove mine while I'm reading the book. If it's a book that I'm keeping, I have a stock of Mylar covers to protect the dust jackets.

STOP READING WHEN TIRED, OR AT CHAPTER BREAKS? I do try to stop reading at chapter breaks, but many times I just can't time it perfectly. The magnetic bookmarks that I use allow me to mark exactly where I left off on the page.

MORNING READING, AFTERNOON READING, OR NIGHTTIME READING? Mark me down for all three, please! I'm an opportunistic reader. If some unexpected free time waggles its little butt at me, it can expect to be grabbed!

STAND-ALONE NOVELS OR SERIES? Why limit myself? If it looks good, I'll grab it no matter if it's a stand-alone or part of a series (although I prefer reading series in order)!

FIVE OF YOUR FAVORITE BOOKS OF ALL TIME? In no particular order (other than the order the titles splurt out of my mind): East of Eden by John Steinbeck, Wide Sargasso Sea by Jean Rhys, A Place of Execution by Val McDermid, Land of the Firebird by Suzanne Massey, Raise the Titanic by Clive Cussler. Ask me in five minutes, you'll get five completely different titles!

WHAT ARE YOU READING RIGHT NOW? The Tudor Rose by Margaret Campbell Barnes and Blood Safari by Deon Meyer. You can't get much different than that! LOL

IF YOU WERE STUCK ON AN ISLAND, WHAT IS THE ONE BOOK YOU WISH YOU HAD THAT YOU COULD READ OVER AND OVER AGAIN...AND WHY? Little did you know it, but you've just described one of the lesser rings of hell to me. I don't re-read books. I stopped doing that several years ago when I read three books that were beloved during my formative years. All three fell very flat during the re-reads. The person I was when I first read them was long gone. more re-reads and keep the happy memories, thank you very much! However, if I were in that situation, I would hope for something like the Bible or the Complete Works of Shakespeare. And maybe I could learn to make my own paper, ink and pens. I could make lists of all the book titles that can be found in either book, I could memorize large sections, I could act them out playing various roles. And while I'm doing that, I'm also going to be building myself a raft so I can make my way to the nearest bookstore!!

Thanks Cathy!

Stop by Cathy's blog to check it out and say "hi"! You can also read her interview with me here.

Monday, September 14, 2009

My 2 Giveaways End Tomorrow!

Just a friendly reminder...silly me had these end in the middle of BBAW!!

Last chance to enter my giveaways is Tuesday at 11:59 pm EST. I will draw the names Wednesday night then post and email the winners :)

Here are the links:
Bending Toward the Sun
The Last Song

Good luck everyone!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday

Thanks to Marcia at The Printed Page for hosting Mailbox Monday.

My goodies this week:

I love the Charlaine Harris' Sookie Series so this caught my eye!

Touted as the "#1 bestselling author of many paranormal romances and novellas" I'm so excited to read this!

The first book in a trilogy, How the Dead Dream looks like a powerful book with an interesting take on humans. I love the cover too, lol.

I'm reading this as a tie-in to the new Dan Brown book I've been waiting for!

Friday, September 11, 2009

my ABC's

How fun, sorry I'm late I was busy reading, lol. I was tagged by Jackie at This Girl's Never Ending Library, Deb at Bookmagic & Lisa at Book Blab

Here are the rules:

1. Link to the person who tagged you

2. Share your ABCs

3. Tag three people at the end by linking to their blogs

4. Let the three tagged people know they have been tagged by leaving a comment on their website

5. Do not tag the same person repeatedly but try to tag different people, so there is a big network of bloggers doing this tag

Here goes. . .

Available or in a relationship? Married

Best Friend? Jackie

Cake or Pie? Both ;)

Drink of choice? Pina Colada

Essential item for every day use? tea, need a kickstart in the morning

Favorite color? Blue

Google? too much, lol!

Hometown? Ajax, Ontario

Indulgences? Books, music and clothes

January or February? son's bday & our wedding anniversary!

Kids and their names? 2, Jake & Justin

Life is incomplete without…? my family

Marriage date? Feb 2005

Number of siblings? 1

Oranges or apples? Apples

Phobias and fears? Spiders & snakes

Quote for the day? The difference between ordinary and extraordinary is that little extra. ~Jimmy Johnson

Reason to smile? My two year old is going pee on the potty!!!

Season? Summer, I love the sun

Unknown fact about me? I played Ringette when there was no girls hockey.

Vegetable you hate? green pepper, yuck

Worst habit? procrastinating

X-rays you’ve had? none (knock on wood!)

Your fave food? pizza

Zodiac sign? Gemini

Tag 3 people:

Thursday, September 10, 2009

Review: Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange

Recommended for: fans of Pride & Prejudice

Teaser quote:
I stopped breathing. I had spoken. I had let out my feelings. I had offered them to her, and could only wait to see if she would fling them back in my face. But she said nothing. Why did she not speak? Was she shocked? Horrified? Pleased? Then hope rose in my breast. Perhaps she was kept silent by pleasure? I had to know.(pg 275, ISBN 978-1-4022-0876-8)

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:
Ever wonder what Darcy was thinking when he met and fell in love with Elizabeth Bennet? Amanda Grange gives us a believable rendition of Darcy's thoughts spanning his courtship with Elizabeth and their ultimate marriage. She seamlessly weaves conversations word for word from Austen's Pride and Prejudice as well as creating her own for us to see the world through Darcy's eyes in the form of a diary. You could feel the tension as he struggles with his undeniable passion for Elizabeth and his upbringing which instilled in him a strong sense of propriety.

Although Darcy's character is a tad, well reserved, there were times I laughed out loud. When Darcy hears of her interest in George Wickham, he writes "If she should marry him...I will not think of it. If I do, I will go mad." All in all, this is a great read for Austen fans.

Thoughtful Thursday - September 10, 2009

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.


This week I read and reviewed Playing House by Fredrica Wagman. I am still haunted by the main chartacter - a sign of great writing I guess? I was a disturbed woman (to put it mildly) in love with her brother :o

In desperate need of a change of scenery, I picked up on oldy but a goody Mr. Darcy's Diary by Amanda Grange (same author as Mr. Darcy, Vampyre). Lucky me, I got to be Darcy for a few days as he meets & falls in love with Elizabeth. I wish I had an estate & people waiting on me:)

...and continuing on with historical fiction, I just started The White Queen by Philippa Gregory.

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned? Join in my weekly meme :)

Wednesday, September 9, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesday

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

My can't wait to read book this week is:

release date: Spetember 29, 2009

Following her breakout bestseller, The Time Traveler's Wife, Audrey Niffenegger returns with Her Fearful Symmetry, a haunting tale about the complications of love, identity, and sibling rivalry.

I know with The Time Traveler's Wife, it was either a love it or hate it read and I loved it. I'm hoping this one is just as unique.

Monday, September 7, 2009

Review: The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks

release date: September 8th, 2009

Recommended for: people who love a quick, easy read about life and love

Teaser quote:
Life, he realized, was much like a song.

In the beginning there is mystery, in the end there is confirmation, but it's in the middle where all the emotion resides to make the whole thing worthwhile (pg 376, ISBN 978-0-46-54756-7)

My rating: 5/5

My thoughts:
Being a teenager is hard enough, throw in a divorce and, well, it's like adding fuel to a fire. Ronnie is experiencing the typical life of a 17 year old, just waiting to turn 18 and live her own life her way. She is hanging with the wrong crowd and in the rebellious stage constantly arguing with her mom. Three years earlier her Dad left and she hasn't spoken to him since. When her parents decide Ronnie and her brother should spend their summer vacation with their Dad, you can imagine how happy it made her. Surprisingly, over the course of the summer Ronnie not only falls in love, she discovers herself.

As a parent, there are so many things you want to shelter your children from. There is the desire to share your stories in hopes that they learn from your mistakes and yet some lessons that just can't be taught. Ronnie's Dad allowed her the freedom to evolve from the resentful teenager to the loving, caring, intelligent woman that was always present and it was beautiful to read. You are left with a feeling that everything works out in the end.

Reading Nicholas Sparks, I knew Kleenex would be a requirement. What I didn't know was when and for how long! Let's just say that the last 1/4 of the book took twice as long to read as I attempted to wipe away tears, a runny nose & read through blurry eyes.

click here for your chance to win a copy of The Last Song

Review: Playing House: A Novel by Fredrica Wagman

Recommended for: people with a very open mind and those that like controversy

Teaser quote:
But what does all right mean? What is this thing all right? I don't understand.

I see the world as an empty place alone and that I've been cut in half, always searching, always looking for something and never finding it. I've come close a lot of times but then it's nothing again, it always turns into nothing but the search.
(pg 42, ISBN 978-1-58195-225-4)

My rating: 3/5

My thoughts:

Throughout our lives, one hopes to find that special person: you understood each other completely, they hold your head when your sick, bring you flowers and leave gifts for no reason, comfort you and tell you no one can harm you as long as they're around. But what happens when the love of your life is your flesh and blood brother?

Playing House is a deeply disturbing story narrated by a traumatized woman. She can't live her life without longing to be with the one person she can't have, her brother. Starting at the age of nine, the sexual relationship with her brother robbed her of her childhood and ultimately a normal life. Life is but a blur and although she later marries, he is a stranger that sleeps beside her at night. He was a good man who tried to rescue her but with each attempt, he pushes her further and further away. Nothing could fix her, she is broken and too far gone.

The foreword by Philip Roth had my stomach in knots. I must admit that parts of the book I had to skim over as they were way too disturbing and I couldn't bring myself to read them. You know you've just read a powerful book when at the end, you're left feeling exhausted.

other reviews on Playing House worth checking out:

Friday, September 4, 2009

Review: 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs

Recommended for: mystery lovers and fans of the Bones T.V. show (though not to be compared as the show was inspired by Reichs and only borrows the main character)

Teaser Quote:
Had I been grabbed at home? On the street? In my car? Outside the Edifice Wilfrid-Derome? Inside the lab?

Was my captor a random predator and I a random victim? Had I been targeted because of who I am? Revenge sought by a former accused? By a conspiracy-theorist next of kin? What case had I been working on?

My rating: 4/5

My thoughts:

Temperance Brennan is back again starring in the 12th book of the series by Kathy Reichs.

The story begins with Brennan hog-tied and trapped in an underground tomb. As she decides how to get herself out, she goes over recent events in an attempt to figure out just how she got there in the first place. Throughout the book, we jump between the present and the past, always left eager to find out just how she will come to free herself and ultimately who the perpetrator was.

From what Brennan recalls, she was working a case involving the murder of elderly ladies. Were they related & just why (or how) could someone be so cold to hurt the innocent women? Aside from the murder investigations, it is brought to Brennan's attention that someone may be out to sabotage her career. Lucky for her (or us?), Brennan is working alongside detective/ex-boyfriend Andrew Ryan. The banter between Brennan and Ryan added an enjoyable/flirty element to the book that I hope to see more of in the future.

I was a little disappointed that I had figured out part of the ending about halfway through the book and didn't feel the 'sitting on the edge of my seat' suspense I had anticipated. Reich's ability to write about the topic of forensic anthropology without feeling like I was in a university lecture was refreshing. Newcomers to the series need not worry as you don't have to begin at book #1 (though I'm sure having a background may have been beneficial - I'll let you know later!).

Other reviews on 206 Bones worth checking out:
Books N' Border Collies
This Girl's Ever Expanding Library

Thursday, September 3, 2009

Word Verification Balderdash

A fun & exciting weekly meme over at Sheila's blog

All you need to do is write down a few of those crazy word verifications when you post and make up your own definition.

My words this week:

pursest - a collector of high-end handbags

mulnet - french slang word referring to assaulting someone for the way they look. The word can be traced back to the infamous mullet hairstyle.

Thoughtful Thursday - September 3, 2009

The wonderful world of books enriches our lives by giving us the opportunity to experience, well pretty much anything one can imagine! We can be transported to a new time or place, experience pure joy or extreme sadness, become a president or a slave etc. etc.

Where has your book taken you this week? What have you learned?

Comment then post a link to this post on your blog for others to find their way here and join in on the fun :)

This week I was a forensic pathologist while reading 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs. Not only was I helping to solve crime, I became a victim...kidnapped & left to die in a unground tomb, but of course, I survived :) I learned way to much about bones, especially teeth!

I just started The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks yesterday. I am a teenage girl, angry about her parents divorce three years earlier only to be shipped of to spend the summer with my dad.

Wednesday, September 2, 2009

Giveaway: The Last Song

Not only am I super excited for this release next Tuesday, I have the opportunity to share the love with one lucky winner :)

#1 bestselling author Nicholas Sparks's new novel is at once a compelling family drama and a heartrending tale of young love.

Seventeen year old Veronica "Ronnie" Miller's life was turned upside-down when her parents divorced and her father moved from New York City to Wilmington, North Carolina. Three years later, she remains angry and alientated from her parents, especially her father...until her mother decides it would be in everyone's best interest if she spent the summer in Wilmington with him. Ronnie's father, a former concert pianist and teacher, is living a quiet life in the beach town, immersed in creating a work of art that will become the centerpiece of a local church.

The tale that unfolds is an unforgettable story of love on many levels--first love, love between parents and children -- that demonstrates, as only a Nicholas Sparks novel can, the many ways that love can break our hearts...and heal them.

Watch for my review early next week :)

For aspiring writers, I came across a couple of videos that may interest you :)

Nicholas Sparks - Video 1

Nicholas Sparks - Video 2

now for the rules :)

Contest End Date: Sept 15, 2009

Open to Canadian & US addresses only

For one entry, comment below with your email address

Additional entries:

+2 for being a follower

+3 for promoting the contest on your blog (please leave a comment with link)

+4 for referring a friend ( just get them to mention your name & blog)

Good luck everyone!

"Waiting On" Wednesday

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at

My can't wait to read book this week is:

Release date: Oct 20

I love the spin Malcolm Gladwell puts on things we take for granted OR simple things never think about

from cover:
What is the difference between choking and panicking? Why are there dozens of varieties of mustard-but only one variety of ketchup? What do football players teach us about how to hire teachers? What does hair dye tell us about the history of the 20th century?

In the past decade, Malcolm Gladwell has written three books that have radically changed how we understand our world and ourselves: The Tipping Point; Blink; and Outliers. Now, in What the Dog Saw, he brings together, for the first time, the best of his writing from TheNew Yorker over the same period.

Here is the bittersweet tale of the inventor of the birth control pill, and the dazzling inventions of the pasta sauce pioneer Howard Moscowitz. Gladwell sits with Ron Popeil, the king of the American kitchen, as he sells rotisserie ovens, and divines the secrets of Cesar Millan, the "dog whisperer" who can calm savage animals with the touch of his hand. He explores intelligence tests and ethnic profiling and "hindsight bias" and why it was that everyone in Silicon Valley once tripped over themselves to hire the same college graduate.

"Good writing," Gladwell says in his preface, "does not succeed or fail on the strength of its ability to persuade. It succeeds or fails on the strength of its ability to engage you, to make you think, to give you a glimpse into someone else's head."What the Dog Saw is yet another example of the buoyant spirit and unflagging curiosity that have made Malcolm Gladwell our most brilliant investigator of the hidden extraordinary.