Recovery from my bionic upgrade (aka knee replacement) is taking longer than expected, so I'm still offline. Hoping to be back soon, so please send good vibes and happy thoughts my way! more details

Saturday, April 30, 2011

In My Mailbox (73)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Received an ARC of Melissa Marr's Graveminder in a surprise package from the publisher. I have a few of Marr's books in my TBR pile, but haven't actually read anything by her yet. It's about a young woman who returns to the small town she grew up in, only to discover that it borders the land of the dead. Curious to see if it's more a zombie story or straight out horror.


A review copy of A Time for Patriots by Dan Brown was the other title in my surprise package. Have to admit that this one has me scratching my head a bit, as I'm not sure why I received a copy. I don't read books like this, and have never read Dan Brown. Maybe it's coded as a thriller, which I do read, as it certainly doesn't have any vampires or werewolves! *L*


Looking forward to seeing all the great books people received this week!



Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Mini Challenge: The Page 69 Test


Welcome to my first mini-challenge from the Spring's Serenity Read-a-Thon! This is a week-long read-a-thon, so if you're not signed up yet, you may still have time! Just hop over to The True Book Addict to sign up!

Julie from My Book Retreat is hosting her very first mini-challenge. A few weeks ago, she came across a blog called The Page 69 Test. This test was suggested in a book by John Sutherland called How to Read a Novel: A User's Guide. Basically, he says if you're browsing books and want to find out if you'd be interested in a particular book, you should read page 69. This should give you an idea as to whether the book is right for you.

So the mini-challenge is to go to page 69 of the book that you're currently reading and tell us about it. What is happening on the page and does it impact the way you feel about the book?

I'm currently reading Bitter Frost by Kailin Gow. On page 69, Breena is trying to find out how the Winter Prince and the Pixie King found her in the human world. Kian, the Winter Prince, explains that Breena may have unintentionally given out a "signal" now that she's come of age. Apparently, once a fairy is of age to marry, their magic becomes much stronger. Or, as Breena puts it, they go into fairy heat!  :o

Thought that this page went well with the spirit of the book, as it explained why Kian and Breena were drawn to each other. And her reaction at learning why showed her sense of humor. I think that if I had done the Page 69 Test before reading, I would have definitely picked this one up!


Monday, April 25, 2011

Spring's Serenity Read-a-Thon

Michelle over at The True Book Addict, is hosting a read-a-thon this week!

I've been on the road lately, and have fallen woefully behind with my reading and blog hopping. Silly me thought that I'd have plenty of time after work to go back to the hotel and read/blog to my heart's content. Little did I know that I would be too exhausted to do anything but grab dinner, then go to bed. I'm back home this week, and Michelle's read-a-thon will be the perfect opportunity to get back into the reading habit and catch up on all my reviews and blogging (I hope)!

Spring's Serenity Read-A-Thon will run Monday, April 25th, through Sunday, May 1st. The read-a-thon will run from 12:00am Monday through 11:59pm Sunday (adjust time zones accordingly). Remember, you can join in any time through the week and read as little or as much as you want. It's all about personally challenging ourselves and also having fun as a community of readers!

I think this is my first read-a-thon, so wish me luck!


Thursday, April 21, 2011

Cat Thursday (47)


Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict! Cat Thursday is a way to share fun pictures, tidbits, and news of all things cat related!

Here's my girl, Didi:

She was in Seventh Heaven recently, when we had new windows put in. The old ones broke and had to be replaced immediately, or else we would have waited until it warmed up. Didi didn't care, as suddenly she had a huge sunbeam to bask in! She always manages to find the sun, but without furniture or curtains in the way, major score! 



Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Review: Die For Me

Die For Me by Amy Plum

Source: netGalley
Rating:  4/5

My life had always been blissfully, wonderfully normal. But it only took one moment to change everything. Suddenly, my sister, Georgia, and I were orphans. We put our lives into storage and moved to Paris to live with my grandparents. And I knew my shattered heart, my shattered life, would never feel normal again. Then I met Vincent.

Mysterious, sexy, and unnervingly charming, Vincent Delacroix appeared out of nowhere and swept me off my feet. Just like that, I was in danger of losing my heart all over again. But I was ready to let it happen. Of course, nothing is ever that easy. Because Vincent is no normal human. He has a terrifying destiny, one that puts his life at risk every day. He also has enemies . . . immortal, murderous enemies who are determined to destroy him and all of his kind.

While I'm fighting to piece together the remnants of my life, can I risk putting my heart - as well as my life and my family's - in jeopardy for a chance at love? (Goodreads synopsis)

My Thoughts:
This one was a little different, in that Kate's grief over losing her parents seems very real. I can't imagine how it would feel to suddenly lose both of your parents, and my heart went out to her. She is barely holding on when Vincent comes into her life. They should never have gotten together, for various reasons, but love doesn't always listen to reason. Kate at least fights her attraction to Vincent, although not very hard. I don't blame her because, let's face it, he's hot! ;)

The one thing I didn't really care for was that everyone in the book was beautiful. I'm sorry, but there weren't very many beautiful teens when I was a teenager, so why are so many teen main characters beautiful? Kate and her sister Georgia are beautiful. Vincent and his friends are all beautiful. Paris is beautiful. Okay, the city of Paris is beautiful, but why is everyone else? Kate doesn't think she's beautiful, which is refreshing, but the fact remains that everyone else thinks she is gorgeous, then she must be gorgeous. And if Vincent's history is true, his physical description doesn't ring true. Same for his kindred. Petty, but annoying.

But that was a small thing, and didn't really take away from my overall enjoyment of the book. Didn't really get the whole idea behind Vincent and his friends, but have to admit that I haven't come across this kind of character before. I like originality, and liked the idea even though I didn't fully understand it.

Gave this one a 4/5 as I liked both Vincent and Kate, most of Vincent's friends, and thought it was original. Didn't really care for Kate's sister, but I did like the grandparents. The plot dragged a little in places, but overall was nicely paced. Looking forward to seeing what else Amy comes up with, as I think she is a very talented writer!


Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox (72)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Was contacted by the author, who was kind enough to send me a copy of Joe Is Online for my nook. Sounds intriguing!

In 1997 a 13 year-old boy with no friends called Joe went online. He decided the offline world was too harsh to be real. With the help of an internet psychic called Magda Magenta, Joe unleashes a series of co-ordinated attacks on the world, beginning online and spreading into the offline world. He develops an online cult populated by people who've also been let down badly by the real world.

***

Happy Birthday To Me by Brian Rowe was another generous author offer for my nook. This one sounded too good to pass up! While my first love will always be physical books, I'm going to be traveling over the next few weeks, so it's a perfect time to test drive eReview copies!

Seventeen-year-old Cameron Martin has a huge problem: he's aging a whole year of his life with each passing day. High school is hard enough; imagine rapidly aging from seventeen to seventy in a matter of weeks, with no logical explanation, and with prom, graduation, and the state championship basketball game on the horizon. That's what happens to Cameron, a mischievous pretty boy who has never had to face a day looking anything but perfect...


Happy reading!



Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review: The False Princess

The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal

Source: Public Library

Rating:  4/5


Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.

Sinda is sent to live with her only surviving relative, an aunt who is a dyer in a distant village. She is a cold, scornful woman with little patience for her newfound niece, and Sinda proves inept at even the simplest tasks. But when Sinda discovers that magic runs through her veins - long-suppressed, dangerous magic that she must learn to control - she realizes that she can never learn to be a simple village girl.

Returning to Vivaskari for answers, Sinda finds her purpose as a wizard scribe, rediscovers the boy who saw her all along, and uncovers a secret that could change the course of Thorvaldor's history, forever. (Goodreads synopsis)

My Thoughts:
This was a nice change of pace, as rather than a pauper turning into a princess, a princess turns into a pauper. Seemed a little cruel though, the way the King and Queen simply turned out the girl they had treated like a daughter for 16 years. And Sinda (a homage to Cinderella?) wasn't your usual princess, as she was on the clumsy side and, having been raised a princess, could barely function in the real world. But she learns to stand up for herself, rather than keep on meekly accepting things. It isn't easy, and I liked that she made mistakes and was a little hard-headed, impulsive, and stubborn. Just like a real teenager!

Nalia learns that she is a false princess and that her real name is Sinda rather abruptly. One moment she is enjoying the day with her best friend, and the next she is in a carriage, on her way to live with an aunt she never knew existed. Her aunt is not a cruel woman, just one who is used to living alone and not really sure what to do with a new-found niece. She tries to teach Sinda, but a former princess is rather helpless when it comes to practical tasks such as cooking and cleaning. Sinda tries, but tends to break things due to her innate clumsiness. I really liked this about her, as most heroines are gorgeous, graceful stereotypes.

Sinda learns that she has a talent for magic, but it's been hidden for so long due to the princess-spell that she is a danger to herself and others. She needs training and needs it fast, so she returns to the city, seeking help from the wizard's college. Unfortunately, as she is not of noble birth and has no money for tuition, they turn her away. Sinda really had no back-up plan, so is unsure what to do next.

The plot had a few too many coincidences for my taste, such as being in the right place at the right time to overhear something important or be noticed by the right person, but it didn't ruin the story for me. I liked most of the characters, but would have liked to have learned more about the other girls, but I understand that this was Sinda's story, so the focus needed to remain on her.

Gave this one a 4/5 as it was an enjoyable story with interesting characters and a nice twist. I really liked the whole reverse-princess idea, and the coincidences and character stereotypes didn't really take away from my enjoyment of the story. Would like to see what happens next, as I'm sure that Sinda has more adventures in her future!


Thursday, April 14, 2011

Cat Thursday (46)


Welcome to Cat Thursday, hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict! Cat Thursday is a way to share fun pictures, tidbits, and news of all things cat related!

Here's my latest find:

Couldn't resist a LOTR reference! Too cute!




Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review: The Complaints

The Complaints by Ian Rankin

Source:  Public Library

Rating:  3/5

Malcolm Fox is part of the unpopular Complaints & Conduct department of the police force (better known as ‘The Complaints’) -- and the reason for that unpopularity is clear to see: this is the department designed to root out corruption in the force and investigate suspect officers. The current target for Fox is policeman Glenn Heaton of the CID, who has often sailed close to the edge; now there appears to be material for a case against him. But at the same time, another cop, Jamie Breck, is suspected of being part of a ring indulging in child abuse. Fox is in for some jawdropping surprises regarding his colleague, and the shifting relationship between the two men is at the core of this finely honed narrative. (Goodreads)


My Thoughts:
As much as I enjoyed the Rebus series by Rankin, I just couldn't seem to connect with his new Malcolm Fox character. I'm not much for police thrillers or mysteries, but for some reason, I really liked the Rebus books. I hoped that I'd like this new series as well, but it just didn't work for me, so doubt I'll give it another chance.

Fox is not a bad character. He sort of fell into working for the Complaints, which is similar to the American Internal Affairs Department. He had just wrapped up an investigation when he's asked to take a look at an officer suspected of online child pornography. There are twists and turns, and Fox winds up with his job in jeopardy, but I found myself not really caring. The case should have been exciting, but instead, my reaction was mostly meh.

I loved the descriptions of Edinburgh, and Fox has a nice relationship with his father. The relationship with his sister is a little trickier, as the man she's living with abuses her and becomes part of the mess Fox finds himself in. There are murders and double-crosses and enemies become allies. Very exciting stuff if you like that sort of thing, but just wasn't my cup of tea.

Rankin is an excellent writer and I've enjoyed his previous books. Would love to hear what you think if you've read this one!



Sunday, April 10, 2011

In My Mailbox (71)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren, where you're sure to find books to add to your wishlists! I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.



From the Library:

Have seen The False Princess by Eilis O'Neal around the blogosphere and it sounded intriguing. Sort of like a reverse Cinderella!

Princess and heir to the throne of Thorvaldor, Nalia's led a privileged life at court. But everything changes when it's revealed, just after her sixteenth birthday, that she is a false princess, a stand-in for the real Nalia, who has been hidden away for her protection. Cast out with little more than the clothes on her back, the girl now called Sinda must leave behind the city of Vivaskari, her best friend, Keirnan, and the only life she's ever known.


Purchased:

I love tote bags almost as much as I love journals and bookmarks, so how could I resist this gorgeous tote with one of my favorite quotes? It's the same quote that I use in my header, so was practically made for me! Picked it up at Barnes & Noble, and it's a nice heavy bag as well. Very well made, and perfect for toting books! Score!




Saturday, April 9, 2011

Winners of Pale Demon!



Congratulations to the winners of Pale Demon!




Victoria Z

Lisa aka alterlisa

Kate H

Lisa P

Jill


I've sent everyone email confirmations and am just waiting for their responses. Will get them in the mail to you by the end of the week.

Thanks to everyone who entered!








Monday, April 4, 2011

Reading Challenge Check-In (3)

I'm trying to keep a closer eye on my reading challenges this year, so will try to do monthly check-ins in order to keep on track. So far, so good!



100 Books In A Year Challenge

28/100 books. 28% complete

Outdo Yourself Challenge

28/100 books. 28% complete

What's In A Name Challenge

2/6 books. 33% complete

Horror & Urban Fantasy Challenge

13/24 books. 54% complete

Off The Shelf Challenge

3/30 books. 10% complete

eBook Challenge

8/20 books. 40% complete

A-Z Challenge

16/26 books. 61% complete

Debut Author Challenge

8/12 books. 67% complete


How is everyone doing with their yearly goals so far? I think I'm still doing okay, as my goal was to read a minimum of 8 books a month, but still need to catch up on the Off The Shelf challenge.



Sunday, April 3, 2011

In My Mailbox (70)

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. I've included links to Goodreads if you want more information on the books.

For Review:

Amazon Vine sent me the ARC of Cloaked by Alex Flinn. Sounded interesting, and didn't realize until I received the book that Flinn also wrote Beastly, which was recently made into a movie.

I'm not your average hero. I actually wasn't your average anything. Just a poor guy working an after-school job at a South Beach shoe repair shop to help his mom make ends meet. But a little magic changed it all. It all started with a curse. And a frognapping. And one hot-looking princess, who asked me to lead a rescue mission.


Received an ARC of When You Dare by Lori Foster from Meryl L. Moss Media Relations Inc. I've read and enjoyed the books written under her L.L. Foster pen name, so thought I'd give this one a try.

Professional mercenary Dare Macintosh lives by one hard and fast rule: business should never be personal. If a cause appeals to him and the price is right, he'll take the mission he's offered. But then the lovely Molly Alexander asks him to help her track down the men who'd had her kidnapped - and for the first time, Dare's tempted to combine work with pleasure.


The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them by Wayne Pacelle was a nice surprise from the publisher. I love animals, so am curious to learn more about the animal/human bond.

No one can doubt Wayne Pacelle's position on the subject of this book: He is the president and CEO of the Humane Society of the United States and a key official in the Fund for Animals. His new book isn't just a rich celebration of the deeply entrenched bond between animals and humans; it is also a penetrating alarm about widespread cruelty to animals and the threat to thousands of species now facing extinction. A poignant book for anyone who ever loved a pet.


Looking forward to discovering all sorts of great new book from the IMM posts!



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