Where I share my love of books with reviews, features, giveaways and memes. Family and needlepoint are thrown in from time to time.

Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge Wrap-Up

Today is the final day of the Well-Seasoned Reader Challenge. It was required that you read 3 books. The books had to have a food name in the title OR be about cooking/eating OR have a place name in the title OR be about one (or more) person's travel experience OR be about a specific culture OR be by an author whose ethnicity is other than your own. They also needed to be middle-grade on up.
I was able to do four books:
  1. Lessons From San Quentin - Bill Dallas (Place name in title)
  2. The Spring of Candy Apples - Debbie Viguie (Food in title)
  3. Trail of Crumbs - Kim Sunee (about food/eating, food in title, and author different ethnicity than mine)
  4. The Fruit of My Lipstick - Shelley Adina (Food in title)

This was a fun challenge and I am glad that I participated. Thank you Book Nut for hosting!

Where Are You? 3-31-2009

I have gone to visit my friend at Darkefell Castle. She has written to me to tell me there are strange things going on - and has hinted at there being a werewolf! It is strange alright - the evening I arrived, there was no carriage to transport me to the castle! I had to walk, in the dark, and managed to stumble over a dead body! (Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Lea Simpson)

Where is your reading taking you? Stop over at Adventure in Reading and share!

Teaser Tuesday 3-31-2009

TEASER TUESDAYS asks you to:
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

But only if you see one close up, out of the water, do you get any real sense of how enormous it is, for then all that is normally concealed, the gigantic bulk of the ship that is under the waterline, becomes visible. It went up, and up and up, until I thought its very top was lost in the clouds. (Stone's Fall by Iain Pears - uncorrected proof, p 235)

I have a giveaway ending today! Jantsen's Gift Sign up is easy! I am also giving away 10 Things I Hate About Christianity - it is ending when I get 10 entries, and Do-Over is ending 4/20.

Happy Birthday!


And now, here is how they say it around the world!

Chestit Rojden Den! (Bulgarian)

Sun Yat Fai Lok! (Cantonese Chinese)

Hau'oli la hanau! (Hawaiian)

Yom Huledet Sameiach! (Hebrew)

Ilanga elimndandi kuwe! (Zulu)

Joyeux Anniversaire! (French)

Lá breithe mhaith agat! (Gaelic - Irish)

Alles Gute zum Geburtstag! (German)

Fortuna dies natalis! (Latin)

No matter how you say it - it all means the same thing!

I share my birthday with the following people:

Ewan McGregor

Al Gore

Rhea Perlman

Gabe Kaplan

Christopher Walken

Richard Chamberlain

Shirley Jones

Leo Buscaglia

Rene Descartes

Is it anybody else's birthday today?

Monday, March 30, 2009

Archive of Book Reviews

Here is an archive of my book reviews since August of 2008.




Sunday, March 29, 2009

Musing Mondays 3-30-2009

Musing Mondays is hosted by Rebecca at Just One More Page.

Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about recording your reading…Do you keep track of what and/or how many books you read? How long have you been doing this? What's your favorite tracking method, and why?If you don't keep track, why not? (question courtesy of MizB)

I have kept track of my reading very sporadically over the years. I would get into big "lists mode" - where I would have to record everything that I was reading, or every book that I owned by certain authors - or I would decide I was only going to read books off of certain lists (award winners, bestsellers, etc). Like I said-very sporadic.

Then, a few years ago I started keeping track of what I read in an excel spreadsheet - here are the results. Starting in July 2006 - read three books for that year. . . Then 2007 I read 28 books. In 2008 I read 43 books - I also started blogging in August of last year - and joined book challenges, so that increased my reading. Then, this year I have taken off - I have already read 34 books and hope to finish two more before the end of the month. This spreadsheet lists the title and author, as well as number of pages (or hours if it is audio) and the year it is published.

I also am currently keeping track of the books that I own by about 20 different authors - from Stephen King to Nora Roberts. Each author has their own spreadsheet - these lists have all the books that the authors have written - and then it is noted whether or not I have it and if it is hardbacked or paperbacked - that way I know where to find it if I need it.

Then, I have a spreadsheet that keeps tracks of all my challenges that I have joined and the books that I have read (or want to read) for each of them. When a challenge is completed (or failed, as the case may be) it is moved to a new tab of that spreadsheet.

I also have a list of all the ARCs that I have requested or received - this sheet has different tabs for books that I have found from different bloggers as well as books that I have won. I may not be as OCD as Rebecca says she is - but I appear to be well on my way!

It has been really wonderful to find a group of people that have reawakened my passion for reading, and have introduced me to so many wonderful books! Thank you blogging community!

Mailbox Monday 3-30-2009

Before you look at the books that I got - make some books appear in your mailbox! Check out the memoir giveaways from Hachette either in my right sidebar or here and here.

I received Sag Harbor by Colson Whitehead from Doubleday Books.

From the back cover: The year is 1985. Benji Cooper is one of the only black students at an elite prep school in Manattan. He spends is falls an winters going to roller-disco bar mitzvahs, playing too much Dungeons and Dragons, and trying to catch glimpses of nudity on late-night cable TV. After a tragic mishap on his first day of high school - when Benji reveals his deep enthusiasm for the horror movie magazine - Fangoria - his social doom is sealed for the next four years.

But every summer, Benji and his brother, Reggie, escape to the East End of Long Island, to Sag Harbor, where a small coummunity of African-American professionals have built a world of their own. Because their parents come out only on weekends, he and his friends are left to their own devices for three glorious months. Except Benji is just as confused about this all-black refuge as he is about the white world he negotiates during the school year. There's always acomplicated new handshake to fumble through, state-of-the-art profanity to master, and his fantasies of hooking up with the opposite sex are no match for his own awkwardness. And let's nt get started on his misshapen haircut (which seems to have a will of its own), the New Coke Tragedy of '85, and his secret Lite FM addiction.

In this deeply affectionate and fiercely funny coming-of-age novel, Whitehead - using te perpetual mortification of teenage existence and the desperate quest fr reinvention - beautifully explores racial and class identity, illustrating how it is impossible to define an individual in isolation from his family's commnal history.

The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristofano I received from Miriam at Hachette Books. (Thank you Miriam!)

From the book jacket: When Melody Grace McCartney was six years old, she and her parents witnessed an act of violence so brutal that it changed their lives forever. The federal government lured them into the Witness Protection Program with the promise of safety, but the program took Melody's name, her home, her family, and ultimately her innocence. Now, twenty years later and still on the run, she's been May Adams, Karen Smith, Anne Johnson, and countless others. But the one person she longs to be is Melody Grace McCartney.

So when the feds spirit her off to begin yet another new life in yet another new town, she's stunned by a man who accosts her and calls her by her real name. Jonathan Bovaro, the mafioso sent to find her, knows her, the real her, and it's a thrill Melody can't resist. Defying the feds, she goes willingly with him. To the Justice Department, she's nothing more than a pawn in the government's war against the Bovaro family. But, as dangerous as Jonathan is, he presents her with the chance of a lifetime - the chance to embrace her past and present, and choose a future all her own.

I received The Unquiet Bones by Melvin R. Starr as part of a First Wild Card Tour happening on April 20th.

From the back cover: Uctred thought he had discovered pig bones. He did not know or care why they were in the cesspit at the base of Bampton Castle wall.

Then he found the skull. Uctred is a tenant, bound to the land of Lord Gilbert, third Baron Talbot, lord of Bampton Castle, and had slaughtered many pigs. He knew the difference between human and pig skulls.

Lord Gilbert called for me to inspect the bones. All knew whose bones they must be.

They were not.

Hugh de Singleton, fourth son of a minor knight in Wyclif's England, had had some good fortune. Newly trained as a surgeon, he was staring from his Oxford window, hoping for clients, when Lord Gilbert was kicked by his groom's horse. Hugh's successful treatment of the suffering Lord led to an invitation to set up his practice in the village of Bampton - and, before long, the request to identify some bones. . .

I received Fatal Illusions by Adam Blumer as part of a First Wild Card Tour happening April 17th.

From the back cover: Haydon Owens wants to be the next Houdini. He has been practicing his craft and has already made four women disappear. All it took was a bit of rope and his two bare hands.

The Thayer family has come to the north woods of Newberry, Michigan, looking for refuge, a peaceful sanctuary from a shattered past. But they are not alone. Little do they know that they are about to become part of Haydon's next act.

Time is running out and already the killer has spotted his next victim. Who will escape alive?

Visit Mailbox Mondays over at The Printed Page and see what everyone else received! (All descriptions are from book covers unless otherwise noted.) and you can also go to In Your Mailbox at The Story Siren on Sundays!

Weekly Round Up of Links 3-29-2009

I see a lot of posts at the end of the week - different formats - where other bloggers are sharing their highlights and any interesting blogs they have visited . . . SO, I thought I would try it out myself!

First off - wanted to let everyone know how proud I am of my oldest daughter. She is a junior and made the honor roll. On Thursday she had her awards night where she and other honor roll recipients were recognized. She is currently enrolled in 4 AP classes as well as driver's ed and choir. Great job honey!

On Monday, I posted about a giveaway that I am hosting - 10 Things I Hate About Christianity: Working Through the Frustrations of Faith - I will give this book away after I have 10 entries - I am way short of this so go on over and get entered! There are other giveaways from other blogs below so keep reading!

I also have two other giveaways going on right now - Do Over by Robin Hemley - five copies to give away on April 20th! and Jantsen's Gift by Pam Cope. This one is ending on March 31st so hurry and sign up!

On Tuesday there was an interesting discussion over at Book Blogs as to whether or not "Spelling is Ded." I found this relevant as I have two texting daughters, one of which struggles somewhat with spelling already. The current forms of communicating does not help strengthen her ability!

Sher reviewed Follow Me by JoAnna Scott over at A Novel Menagerie. She says that she has rarely been impacted by a book to recommend it to the degree that she does in this review. You should go check it out!

Another great review was Shattered Reality by Kimberly Cheryl over at The Review From Here. It is the story of "a families journey to find peace after the sexual assault of her daughter by a beloved uncle."

Over at Flashlight Worthy I found a list of books to read aloud that are fun for all ages! I have a four year old and am looking forward to checking some of these books out!

On Wednesday Darren at Problogger posted his results of a poll he had done on whether people wanted more blog readers or twitter followers. Which would you prefer?

On Thursday, Lisa over at Books List Life brought up an interesting question - is there an author that you know of that you have read every single one of their books? At one point when I was younger I could say that about Stephen King, Anne Rice and the books that Nora Roberts writes as J.D. Robb - But they kept writing and I went through a period where I quit reading - so I am far, far behind now.

Callista over at SMS Book Reviews shares a find from The Book Examiner about the purpose of book reviews and are they useful.

Weekly Giveaways:

You can win the entire Kitty Norville Series over at The Tome Traveler's Weblog. Giveaway ends on April 8th! You can also win them over at Unmainstream Mom Reads but you only have until April 4th! At The Book Zombie you can win one of 3 copies of the newest Kitty book - or 1 set of the entire 6 books. I am not sure when this one is ending. . .

Joystory is giving away 2 books: Work in Progress by Kristin Armstrong and Girls in Trucks by Kate Crouch. Both giveaways are ending April 4th.

Maw Blogs Books is have a great giveaway of Jodi Picoult books that I almost don't want to share cuz I want to win! You have the chance to win 7 of her books! This giveaway is ending April 10th.

Some more sites to win Girls in Trucks - Readaholic is having a giveaway until April 7th. S. Krishna's books has 5 copies to giveaway - ending April 9th. Teddy Rose also has 5 copies to give away - ending April 10th.

Next up we have some giveaways for Turnaround by George Pelecanos. You have until April 7th to win one of 5 over at Readaholic. Five copies are also up for grabs at Rhapsody in Books. This one is ending on April 2nd. Teddy Rose also has 5 copies of this one to giveaway - ending April 10th.

If you like audio books you need to head on over to Cheryl's Book Nook. She is hosting a giveaway for 3 copies of each of the following:

Run for your Life by James Patterson

Drood by Dan Simmons

The Accountant's Story by Roberto Escobar

Max by James Patterson

Never Give Up by Joyce Meyer

Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gillman

The Age of the Unthinkable by Roberto Escobar

Women's Murder Club by James Patterson

This giveaway is ending on April 25th.

To win The Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler head on over to Booking Mama. She has three copies to giveaway - ending on April 15th.

Faith 'n Fiction Saturday 3-28-2009

Faith n' Fiction Saturday is hosted by My Friend Amy.

This week's question/discussion is: The 2009 Christy Award Nominees were recently announced. Today's assignment is to look at the list of nominees and share with us whether or not you have read any of them. If you haven't read that particular novel, have you read anything by that author? Have you read all of the books in any category? What are your favorite books on the list? Are there any books you haven't heard of?

The Christy Nominees:


Beyond the Night by Marlo Schalesky • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Finding Stefanie by Susan May Warren • Tyndale House Publishers
Zora and Nicky: A Novel in Black and White by Claudia Mair Burney • David C. Cook


Sisterchicks Go Brit! by Robin Jones Gunn • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group
Summer Snow by Nicole Baart • Tyndale House Publishers
You Had Me at Good-bye by Tracey Bateman • FaithWords


Dogwood by Chris Fabry • Tyndale House Publishers
Embrace Me by Lisa Samson • Thomas Nelson
Tuesday Night at the Blue Moon by Debbie Fuller Thomas • Moody Publishers


Blue Hole Back Home by Joy Jordan-Lake • David C. Cook
Rain Song by Alice J. Wisler • Bethany House Publishers
Safe at Home by Richard Doster • David C. Cook


Shadow of Colossus by T.L. Higley • B&H Publishing Group
Until We Reach Home by Lynn Austin • Bethany House Publishers
Washington’s Lady by Nancy Moser • Bethany House Publishers


Calico Canyon by Mary Connealy • Barbour Publishers
From a Distance by Tamera Alexander • Bethany House Publishers
The Moon in the Mango Tree by Pamela Binnings Ewen • B&H Publishing Group


By Reason of Insanity by Randy Singer • Tyndale House Publishers
The Rook by Steven James • Revell
Winter Haven by Athol Dickson • Bethany House Publishers


The Battle for Vast Dominion by George Bryan Polivka • Harvest House Publishers
Shade by John B. Olson • B&H Publishing Group
Vanish by Tom Pawlik • Tyndale House Publishers


The Fruit of My Lipstick by Shelley Adina • FaithWords
I Have Seen Him in the Watchfires by Cathy Gohlke • Moody Publishers
On the Edge of the Dark Sea of Darkness by Andrew Peterson • WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group

My answer: Under Contemporary Romance - I have not read any of the books listed, but I did just finish Deadly Charm by Claudia Mair Burney. I enjoyed it so much that I have already checked out the first book from that series (Murder, Mayhem and a Fine Man) from our library.

I have not read anything by the authors under Contemporary Series, Standalones or First Novels.

Under Historicals - I have not read any of the novels listed, but I have read A Woman's Place, Gods and Kings, Song of Redemption and Strength of His Hand - all by Lynn Austin. I have also read Mozart's Sister by Nancy Moser. I enjoyed all of these books and will have to add the Christy winners to my list.

Under Historical Romance - I have not read any of the books listed - but I do have Gingham Mountain by Mary Conneally in my TBR stack!

I haven't read any of the Suspense books or authors - but need to add them to my list as I love Suspense books!

Nothing to report under Visionary - but under Young Adult - I have read the entire series to date by Adina Shelley - It's All About Us, The Fruit of My Lipstick and Be Strong and Curvaceous. I think she has another one coming out later this year also.


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