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

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Sunday, July 31, 2011

Mailbox Monday (Aug 1, 2011)


 Mailbox Monday's host for August is Staci at Life in the Thumb. In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 


Blood Brothers
by Josephine Cox

Though they were raised by the same decent and well-respected parents, two brothers could not be more different than Frank and Joe Arnold.  The pair have nothing in common but blood. . . and Alice Jacobs.  Joe has fallen hard for the shy kindhearted young woman.  But it is Frank, a devious schemer, who is determined to have her.  He sees Alice as the key to his fortune, and will do everything, including hide his brutal nature, to succeed.

When Frank and Alice announce their engagement, Joe leaves home, determined to put distance between himself and temptation.  Despite his best efforts, the inevitable happens when Joe returns for the wedding.  And though Alice is drawn to Joe too, she ultimately chooses duty and Frank -- a decision that will have dark and violent repercussions for them all.

From number one Times of London bestselling author Josephine Cox comes a powerful and dramatic story of a love triangle gone terribly wrong.






In Search of the Rose Notes
by Emily Arsenault

Eleven-year-olds Nora and Charlotte were best friends.  When their teenage babysitter, Rose, disappeared under mysterious circumstances, the girls decided to "investigate." But their search -- aided by paranormal theories and techniques gleaned from old Time-Life books -- went nowhere.

Years later, Nora, now in her late twenties, is drawn back to her old neighborhood -- and to her estranged friend -- when Rose's remains are finally discovered.  Upset over their earlier failure to solve the possible murder, Charlotte is adamant that they join forces and try again.  But Nora was the last known person to see Rose alive, and she's not ready to revisit her troubled adolescence and the events surrounding the disappearance -- or face the disturbing secrets that are already beginning to reemerge.




Love Lies Bleeding
by Jess McConkey

Samantha Moore is the golden girl -- with a perfect job, a perfect man, a perfect life -- until a random act of violence changes everything.  Unconscious for two months, Sam awakens from her coma a different person -- bitter, in constant pain, and forced to endure medications that leave her nauseous, paranoid, and struggling to keep a grip on reality.

Furious with her family for sending her away to a small, remote town to recuperate -- placed completely under a physical therapist's care and robbed of what little freedom she has left -- Sam lashes out at the "nice people" all around her who claim to have only her best interests in mind.  But are her violent outbursts the by-product of her condition. . . or something else entirely?  Strange things are happening here -- and either Samantha Moore is losing her mind or her friendly new neighbors are far more dangerous than they appear to be. . .




Across Many Mountains
by Yangzom Brauen

A powerful, emotional memoir and an extraordinary portrait of three generations of Tibetan women whose lives are forever changed when Chairman Mao’s Red Army crushes Tibetan independence, sending a young mother and her six-year-old daughter on a treacherous journey across the snowy Himalayas toward freedom

Kunsang thought she would never leave Tibet. One of the country's youngest Buddhist nuns, she grew up in a remote mountain village where, as a teenager, she entered the local nunnery. Though simple, Kunsang's life gave her all she needed: a oneness with nature and a sense of the spiritual in all things. She married a monk, had two children, and lived in peace and prayer. But not for long. There was a saying in Tibet: "When the iron bird flies and horses run on wheels, the Tibetan people will be scattered like ants across the face of the earth." The Chinese invasion of Tibet in 1950 changed everything. When soldiers arrived at her mountain monastery, destroying everything in their path, Kunsang and her family fled across the Himalayas only to spend years in Indian refugee camps. She lost both her husband and her youngest child on that journey, but the future held an extraordinary turn of events that would forever change her life--the arrival in the refugee camps of a cultured young Swiss man long fascinated with Tibet. Martin Brauen will fall instantly in love with Kunsang's young daughter, Sonam, eventually winning her heart and hand, and taking mother and daughter with him to Switzerland, where Yangzom will be born.

Many stories lie hidden until the right person arrives to tell them. In rescuing the story of her now 90-year-old inspirational grandmother and her mother, Yangzom Brauen has given us a book full of love, courage, and triumph,as well as allowing us a rare and vivid glimpse of life in rural Tibet before the arrival of the Chinese. Most importantly, though, ACROSS MANY MOUNTAINS is a testament to three strong, determined women who are linked by an unbreakable family bond.




The Berlin Boxing Club
by Robert Sharenow

In tumultuous 1930s Berlin, 14-year-old Karl Stern is coming to grips with what it means to be an outcast.  Bullied by his peers for being skinny and ostracized for being Jewish, Karl longs to prove his worth to everyone around him.  So when luck smiles upon Karl and delivers German boxing champ Max Schmeling as a coach, he has an opportunity he never dreamed of: to make something of himself in the boxing ring, and in Germany.  But when Nazi violence against Jews escalates, Karl must take on a new role as protector of his family.  Can Karl balance his dream of boxing greatness with his obligation to keep his family out of harm's way?

As he did with 1960s New Orleans in his debut novel My Mother the Cheerleader, Robert Sharenow's colorful characters, vivid descriptions, and strong sense of place cause 1930s Berlin to spring to life for readers in The Berlin Boxing Club.  Sharenow beautifully marries the political and social upheaval happening around Karl with the life-altering events that take place in his own family to create a story with tremendous emotional impact.  Readers will understand, appreciate, and relate to Karl's quest to find his own unique talents in boxing and art -- and will be moved by his struggle for his family's survival in Nazi-era Germany.



Glow
by Amy Kathleen Ryan

If a violent battle destroyed the only world you’ve ever known, would you be brave enough to save who was left? Would love be strong enough to survive the fight? Either way, there’s no turning back.

The Empyrean is the only home 15-year-old Waverly has ever known. Part of the first generation to be successfully conceived in deep space, she and her boyfriend Kieran will be pioneers of New Earth. Waverly knows she must marry young in order to have children who can carry on the mission, and Kieran, the handsome captain-to-be, has everything Waverly could want in a husband. Everyone is sure he’s the best choice. Still, there’s a part of Waverly that wants more from life than marriage, and she is secretly intrigued by the shy, darkly brilliant Seth.

Suddenly, Waverly’s dreams are interrupted by the inconceivable – a violent betrayal by the Empyrean's sister ship, the New Horizon. The New Horizon’s leaders are desperate to populate the new planet first, and will do anything to get what they need: young girls. In one pivotal moment, Waverly and Kieran are separated, and find themselves at the helm of dangerous missions, where every move has potentially devastating consequences, and decisions of the heart may lead to disaster.
Pulse-pounding and addictive, GLOW begins the most riveting series since The Hunger Games.



How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This?
by Carla Ulbrich

How Can You NOT Laugh at a Time Like This? is a collection of short, inspiring, funny essays that help people thrive, celebrate life, and work through illness.  Carla Ulbrich -- the Singing Patient -- reveals how laughter has been pivotal to reclaiming her health after serious crises.  She offers heartfelt and humorous advice for navigating the medical system and explains how she's benefited from exploring better nutrition, exercise, and alternative therapies such as acupuncture.  This singer-songwriter's candid insights, wisecracking commentary, handy lists, and hilarious song lyrics provide smiles and gentle camaraderie to those who want to tackle health problems with courage, zest, and humor.



Lost Memory of Skin
by Russell Banks

The acclaimed author of The Sweet Hereafter and Rule of the Bone returns with a provocative new novel that illuminates the shadowed edges of contemporary American culture with startling and unforgettable results
Suspended in a strangely modern-day version of limbo, the young man at the center of Russell Banks’s uncompromising and morally complex new novel must create a life for himself in the wake of incarceration. Known in his new identity only as the Kid, and on probation after doing time for a liaison with an underage girl, he is shackled to a GPS monitoring device and forbidden to live within 2,500 feet of anywhere children might gather. With nowhere else to go, the Kid takes up residence under a south Florida causeway, in a makeshift encampment with other convicted sex offenders.
Barely beyond childhood himself, the Kid, despite his crime, is in many ways an innocent, trapped by impulses and foolish choices he himself struggles to comprehend. Enter the Professor, a man who has built his own life on secrets and lies. A university sociologist of enormous size and intellect, he finds in the Kid the perfect subject for his research on homelessness and recidivism among convicted sex offenders. The two men forge a tentative partnership, the Kid remaining wary of the Professor’s motives even as he accepts the counsel and financial assistance of the older man.
When the camp beneath the causeway is raided by the police, and later, when a hurricane all but destroys the settlement, the Professor tries to help the Kid in practical matters while trying to teach his young charge new ways of looking at, and understanding, what he has done. But when the Professor’s past resurfaces and threatens to destroy his carefully constructed world, the balance in the two men’s relationship shifts.
Suddenly, the Kid must reconsider everything he has come to believe, and choose what course of action to take when faced with a new kind of moral decision.
Long one of our most acute and insightful novelists, Russell Banks often examines the indistinct boundaries between our intentions and actions. A mature and masterful work of contemporary fiction from one of our most accomplished storytellers, Lost Memory of Skin unfolds in language both powerful and beautifully lyrical, show-casing Banks at his most compelling, his reckless sense of humor and intense empathy at full bore.
The perfect convergence of writer and subject, Lost Memory of Skin probes the zeitgeist of a troubled society where zero tolerance has erased any hope of subtlety and compassion—a society where isolating the offender has perhaps created a new kind of victim.




Deep Disclosure
by Dee Davis

After spending years in prison under deep cover, black ops agent Tucker Flynn joins A-Tac, an elite CIA unit masquerading as faculty at an Ivy League college. Nothing can shake him-except a vulnerable young woman marked for death.

DUAL DECEPTION

When Tucker is assigned to protect-and secretly investigate-Alexis Markham, he expects a routine mission. But this mysterious beauty has a past even darker than his: her father created a horrifying new biochemical weapon-and was murdered to keep it secret.

Alexis has spent the last decade racing to stay one step ahead of the shadowy operatives who will stop at nothing to possess her father's formula. She can trust no one, not even her handsome new bodyguard. But the heat that flares between them is impossible to resist. Will giving in to passion bring her the safety she's always craved, or will her love for Tucker draw him into a killer's sights?



Don't Mess with Texas
by Christie Craig

Nikki Hunt thought her night couldn't get worse when her no-good, cheating ex ditched her at dinner, sticking her with the bill. Then she found his body stuffed in the trunk of her car and lost her two-hundred-dollar meal all over his three-thousand-dollar suit. Now not only is Nikki nearly broke, she's a murder suspect.

Former cop turned PI, Dallas O'Connor knows what it's like to be unjustly accused. But one look at the sexy-though skittish-suspect tells him she couldn't hurt anyone. The lead detective, Dallas's own brother, has the wrong woman and Dallas hopes a little late-night "undercover" work will help him prove it . . .





Spycatcher
by Matthew Dunn

Matthew Dunn spent years as an MI6 field operative working on some of the West’s most clandestine missions. He recruited and ran agents, planned and participated in special operations, and operated deep undercover throughout the world. In Spycatcher he draws on this fascinating experience to breathe urgent, dynamic new life into the contemporary spy novel.

Featuring deft and daring superspy Will Cochrane, Dunn paints a nerve-jangling, bracingly authentic picture of today’s secret world. It is a place where trust is precious and betrayal is cheap—and where violent death is the reward for being outplayed by your enemy.
Will Cochrane, the CIA’s and MI6’s most prized asset and deadliest weapon, has known little outside this world since childhood. And he’s never been outplayed. So far…
Will’s controllers task him with finding and neutralizing one of today’s most wanted terrorist masterminds, a man believed to be an Iranian Revolutionary Guard general. Intending to use someone from the man’s past to flush him out of the shadows, Will believes he has the perfect plan, but he soon discovers, in a frantic chase from the capitals of Europe to New York City, that his adversary has more surprises in store and is much more treacherous than anyone he has ever faced—and survived—up to now.



Life Changing Bible Verses You Should Know
by Erwin and Rebecca Lutzer

After Erwin Lutzer, senior pastor of the Moody Church, and his wife, Rebecca, realized that memorizing Scripture has nearly become a lost pursuit today, they decided to create this practical, relevant resource filled with powerful verses and insightful explanations to help stimulate a spiritual hunger in readers’ own lives. With more than 35 topics and questions for reflection and further study, readers will discover how God’s Word will:
  • sustain them in times of need
  • comfort them in seasons of sorrow
  • strengthen their hearts in times and areas of weakness
  • direct their steps and decisions toward God’s will
These handpicked verses provide a foundation of wisdom and hope to show readers who God is and what He has done for them, as well as who they are and how they can successfully live the Christian life. 



 PURCHASED:


 Love Kills Slowly: 30 Cross-Stitch Patterns From Ed Hardy

This ain't your grandmother's cross-stitch. Ed Hardy's Love Kills Slowly Cross-Stitch is a counted cross-stitch book for a new generation of crafters. From pierced hearts to images of skulls and crossbones, Hardy's colorful, tattoo-inspired designs are perfect for stitchers looking for something bold and graphic. Each pattern comes complete with a full-color illustration of the original art, an illustration of the final product, and a full-color pattern and key. A how-to section teaches the basics of counted cross-stitch.



Hard Truth
by Nevada Barr

Just days after marrying Sheriff Paul Davidson, Anna Pigeon moves to Colorado to assume her new post as district ranger at Rocky Mountain National Park.  When two of three children who'd gone missing from a religious retreat reappear, Anna's investigation brings her face-to-face with a paranoid sect - and unspeakable evil. . .



PAPERBACK SWAP:

 Hourglass
by Claudia Gray

After escaping from Evernight Academy, the vampire boarding school where they met, Bianca and Lucas take refuge with Black Cross, a fanatical group of vampire hunters.  Bianca must hide her supernatural heritage or risk certain death at its hands.  But when Black Cross captures her friend - the vampire Balthazar - hiding is no longer an option.

Soon, Bianca and Lucas are on the run again, pursued not only by Black Cross, but by the powerful leaders of Evernight.  Yet no matter how far they travel, Bianca can't escape her destiny.

Bianca has always believed their love could survive anything. . . but can it survive what's to come?



PURCHASED: 



Thursday, July 21, 2011

In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare (Book Review)

Title: In the Heat of the Bite
Author: Lydia Dare
Publisher: Sourcebooks

About the book: Chivalry is far from undead. . .

Matthew Halkett, Earl of Blodswell, is one of the few men in the ton who can claim to be a knight in shining armor -- because that's precisely what he was before being turned into a vampyre.  When he spies a damsel in distress in the midst of a storm in Hyde Park, his natural instinct is to rush to her aid. . .

But not every woman needs to be rescued. . .

Weather-controlling witch Rhiannon Sinclair isn't caught in a storm -- she's the cause of it.  She's mortified to have been caught making trouble by the imposing earl, but she doesn't need any man -- never has, and is sure she never will. . .

But when Rhiannon encounters Matthew again, her powers go awry and his supernatural abilities run amok.  Between the two of them, the ton is thrown into an uproar.  There's never been a more tempestuous scandal. . .

My thoughts:  This was book 2 of The Gentlemen Vampyre series and I enjoyed it as much as the first one, It Happened One Bite.  Rhiannon has come to ton because her Aunt Greer has brought her sister Ginny to ton to introduce her to society and hopefully arrange a marriage for her.  Rhiannon is slightly jealous as her aunt has never had anything good to say about her (not that she has much good to say about anyone)- as she is a witch and all.  Rhiannon is suspicious of her Aunt's intentions, so she doesn't intend to let Ginny make any mistakes, but in the process becomes  entangled in a few of her own.

Rhiannon is the witch who can control the weather, but it often gets out of hand when her emotions are in a turmoil.  If she is upset, there is bound to be stormy weather, and if she is angry - watch out for those lightning bolts!  She is very feisty, but she grew up sort of neglected by her father, so she has very little self esteem.  When she meets Matthew, she doesn't suspect he has any feeling for her, but embroils him in a scheme that will allow her to stay in ton for the season, and maybe gain a little respectability.

This was a very fun read and I am looking forward to the next book in the series, Never Been Bit, which I will be reviewing in September. Since the witches all have different powers, they have different personalities and different quirks to their characters. Since their husbands are currently Lycans and Vampyres - who don't get along - it is humorous to read about their interactions.

I would recommend this series for anyone who likes light paranormal romances.  Great for reading at the beach!

Reviews of other Lydia Dare books.
~I received a complimentary copy of this book from Sourcebooks in exchange for my review.~


In the Heat of the Bite
Publisher/Publication Date: Sourcebooks, July 1, 2001
ISBN: 978-1-4022-4510-7
368 pages

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (July 18, 2011)




What are you reading on Mondays is hosted by Sheila at One Person's Journey - You can hook up with the Mr. Linky there with your own post - but be sure and let me know what you are reading too!

Currently Reading:
In the Heat of the Bite by Lydia Dare


Reading to become "Literary Genius":
Animal Farm by George Orwell

Next Up:
Don't Kill the Birthday Girl by Sandra Beasley

Reading with Daughter:
The Scarlet Letter by Nathaniel Hawthorne

E-Book:
Uncommon Grounds by
Singular by David Porteous
The Five Love Languages of Teenagers by Gary Chapman

Bathroom Book:
The Book Thief by Markus

Reviewed Since Last Post:
Absolutely nothing - I will have to blame the power outage!

Children's Books Reviewed Since Last Post:



Waiting for Reviews: (Ugh! I am never going to get caught up on reviews!)
The Arrivals: A Novel by Meg Mitchell Moore
 White Sleeper by David R. Fett and Stephen Langford
Graveminder by Melissa Marr
Wither (The Chemical Garden Trilogy)by Lauren DeStefano
The Midwife's Confession by Diane Chamberlain
The Place of Belonging by Jayne Pearson Faulkner
The Blackberry Bush by David Housholder

E-books waiting for review:
Sudden Moves by Kelli Sue Landon
This World We Live In (The Last Survivors, Book 3) by Susan Beth Pfeffer

Children's Books waiting for review:
Pearl's Wisdom by Auntie LuLu
Bug Meets His Friend (Bug's Adventure Series) by K.M. Groshek




READY - SET - READ!

Sunday, July 17, 2011

Mailbox Monday (July 18, 2011)


 Mailbox Monday's host for July is Gwendolyn B. at A Sea of Books. In My Mailbox is hosted Sundays at The Story Siren. Please visit these posts and take a look at what packages everybody else got this week! 


The Very Thought of You
by Rosie Alison

England, 31 August 1939: The world is on the brink of war.  As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz.  Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate, which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic, childless couple.  Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes and finding herself part witness and part accomplice to a love affair with unforeseen consequences.  A story of longing, loss and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.




Destiny of the Republic
by Candice Millard

In the vein of The Devil in the White City and from the New York Times bestselling author of The River of Doubt, a relentlessly compelling narrative about an extraordinary episode in American history now largely forgotten -- in 1880 James A. Garfield, a truly remarkable man, was elected president by acclamation, only to be shot by a madman.




Safe From the Sea
by Peter Geye

Set against the powerful lakeshore landscape of northern Minnesota, Safe from the Sea is a heartfelt novel in which a son returns home to reconnect with his estranged and dying father thirty-five years after the tragic wreck of a Great Lakes ore boat that the father only partially survived and that has divided them emotionally ever since.  When his father for the first time finally tells the story of the horrific disaster he has carried with him so long, it leads the two men to reconsider each other.  Meanwhile, Noah's own struggle to make a life with an absent father has found its real reward in his relationship with his sagacious wife, Natalie, whose complications with infertility issues have marked her husband's life in ways he only fully realizes as the reconciliation with his father takes shape.




Never Been Bit
by Lydia Dare

Alex Mac Quarrie's after-life has become an endless search for pleasure in an effort to overcome his shame and despair.  Wandering through the seedy world of London's demimonde, he's changed into a dark and fearsome creature even he doesn't recognize. . .

After watching each of her coven sisters happily marry, Sorcha Ferguson is determined to capture a suppernatural husband of her very own.  Then she finds herself embroiled in an atrocious scandal and has to bring to heel more mystical gentlemen than she knows what to do with. . .

Over his dead body is Alec going to allow this lovely, radiant innocent to throw herself away on an unworthy cad, but that leaves him responsible for her, and he's the worst monster of them all. . .




52 Ways to Wow Your Husband
by Pam Farrel
Need some tips on how to wow your husband and add spark to your marriage?  Pam Farrel, coauthor of the bestselling Men Are Like Waffles -- Women Are Like Spaghetti, delivers this and more in her creative woman-to-woman style through inspirational stories, godly advice, and easy-to-read offerings that include:
  • wow assignments: simple ways to support, love, and encourage your man
  • wow wisdom: Bible verses and wise words to help you cover your spouse with prayer
  • wow dates: creative ideas for everything from simple activities to weekend getaways

Whether you're a newlywed, married with kids, or an empty nester, you'll appreciate these ideas crafted for your busy life.  You can try one a week for a year or take on a few at a time to create an unforgettable rendezvous and deepen your spiritual, emotional, and physical bond with your mate.




Past Midnight
by Mara Purahagen

I don't believe in ghosts.  Unfortunately, they believe in me. . .

Let me set the record straight.  My name is Charlotte Silver and I'm not one of those paranormal-obsessed freaks you see on TV. . . no, those would be my parents, who have their own ghost-hunting reality show.  And while I'm usually roped into the behind-the-scenes work, it turns out that I haven't gone unnoticed.  Something happened on my parents' research trip in Charleston -- and now I'm being stalked by some truly frightening other beings.  Trying to fit into a new school and keeping my parents' creepy occupation a secret from my friends -- and potential boyfriends -- is hard enough without having angry spirits whispering in my ear.  All I ever wanted was to be normal, but with the ghosts of my past and present colliding, now I just want to make it out of high school alive. . .




My Life Undecided
by Jessica Brody

Having never once made a good decision for herself, fifteen-year-old Brooklyn Pierce starts a blog and asks her readers to take over her life.  But she's about to learn that who you fall in love with isn't a choice.  Jessica Brody once again delivers an utterly original, fast paced comedy with a message teens will appreciate:  it's okay to make mistakes.



The Girl is Murder
by Kathryn Miller Raines

Fifteen-year-old Iris Anderson is only too happy to help out at her father's detective agency.  The only problem is. . . he doesn't want her help.

It's the Fall of 1942 and Iris's world is rapidly changing.  Before the war she led an idyllic, happy childhood with her parents.  Then her father went off to war, losing his leg and his ability to do the physically grueling part of his detective work.  Iris is dying to help, especially when she discovers that one of Pop's cases involves a student at her school.

Now, instead of sitting at home watching Deanna Durbin movies, Iris is double-crossing her friends, and dancing at the Savoy till all hours of the night.  There's certainly never a dull moment in the private eye business.



Paradise
by Jill S. Alexander

Paisley Tillery is the drummer for a country rock band.  If they can make it to the stage at the Texapalooza music fest, then Paisley will be closer to her dream of a career in music and a ticket out of her small Texas town.

Drumming and music are what Paisley has always wanted.  Until the band gets a new lead singer, the boy from Paradise, Texas.  With Paradise in her life, what Paisley wants, and what she needs, complicate her dreams coming true.




Flirt Club
by Kathleen Daly

A book about life, love, and the pursuit of boyfriends. . .

Izzy and Annie (a.k.a. Cisco and the Bean) are two eighth graders with a passion for performing and a paucity of male companionship.

What to do?  Go on the offensive and start Flirt Club, a self-help group for the similarly afflicted!  Cathleen Daly's debut novel will split your sides and touch your heart.  Think Gossip Girl with a touch of Glee plus a brain, a heart, and a whole lot of charm.


It is also garage sale time!  The following books I picked up at local garage sales.


The Pull of the Moon: A Novel (Random House Reader's Circle)


Happy Reading!

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