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

Tuesday, January 31, 2012

February Frenzy iPad 2 and Cash giveaway is finally here!!!!

Welcome to the February Frenzy iPad 2 and Cash giveaway!
Bay Area Mommy and Swagbucks has teamed up with 60 wonderful bloggers to give you a chance to win the following prizes!
1st prize: 16g Wifi iPad2 with smartcover (1 winner; US/CAN)
2nd prize: $50 cash (3 winners; WorldWide)
Like all Facebook pages here.
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Remember, you can't win if you don't enter! And the more entries you "send", the more chances of winning!
Swagbucks is the online rewards community that works, rewarding people for all of the things they're already doing online - search, games, watching videos, shopping, surveys and more! The Swag Bucks earned by users have helped purchase everything from diapers to video games - it's easy, it's rewarding, and it's 100% free!
Giveaway is open for entries from February 1, 12AM EST until February 21, 11:59PM EST.

Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink (Book Review)

Title: Prophecy of the Sisters
Author: Michelle Zink
Publisher: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

About the Book: An ancient prophecy divides two sisters -- One good . . . One evil . . . Who will prevail?

Twin sisters Lia and Alice Milthorpe have just become orphans.  They have also become enemies.  As they discover their roles in a prophecy that has turned generations of sisters against each other, the girls find themselves entangled in a mystery that involves a tattoo-like mark, their parents' deaths, a boy, a book, and a lifetime of secrets.

Lia and Alice don't know whom they can trust.  They just know they can't trust each other.

My thoughts:  This is a YA book and so was an easy read.  I enjoyed the storyline of the two sisters - one which is destined to be the Gate for which the Souls will be able to cross back over to earth.  The other sister is the Guardian,  who is to keep the Souls from getting through.  You get to learn all about the Prophecy and slowly learn the roles that each sister plays.

The story begins with the unexplained death of their father.  It isn't until he dies that the strange tatoo appears on Lia's wrist. Unfortunately because their mother had died when they were young, and now their father was gone, no one had explained anything about the prophecy to them or the role they were to play in it.  Lia soon meets Sonya and Luisa, two girls who live in the same village, who have similar tatoos on their wrists.  While they have both heard the prophecy, Sonya is the one who seems to perceive that it actually contains some significance.  Together with Lia they set out to discover everything they can about the prophecy and what their parts in it are going to be.

This is book one in a trilogy.  Book 2 is Guardian of the Gate, and book 3 is Circle of Fire. I hope to continue on in this trilogy soon.

Prophecy of the Sisters
Publisher/Publication Date: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers, Aug 2009
ISBN: 978-0-316-027427
352 pages

Speculative Fiction Challenge
New Authors
Around the Stacks
Library Challenge
Find the Cover/Coversuch
YA Reading Challenge
1st in a series
Paranormal (No Vamps) Challenge

In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault (Book Review)

Title: In Search of the Rose Notes
Author: Emily Arsenault
Publisher:  William Morrow

About the Book: 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.

My thoughts:  This one has been on my TBR list since the middle of last year.  I am glad that I finally got the chance to read it.  I loved all the references to the Time Life Books - Mysteries of the Unknown - (Yes, I am a geek and have part of this set myself in the basement) I loved those books, but I digress. 

The prologue gives you a glimpse into the life of Nora and Charlotte as eleven-year-olds.  Their babysitter, Rose, has disappeared and they are trying to figure out what they can do to uncover clues to find her.  The story then jumps to the present and is told in flashbacks. 

It has been about 16 years Since Nora and Charlotte were friends.  They had drifted apart after Rose disappeared and went in totally different directions in high school.  Nora has moved away and gotten married, and Charlotte is living in the same house she grew up in and is teaching English at her old high school.  She calls Nora out of the blue to tell her that some local kids have found some remains and think they are Rose's. 

Nora has avoided Waverly since graduation.  She had been labeled as the last one to see Rose alive and didn't like to relive those days.  Her high school years had been rough and she felt like she had been invisible there.  In spite of all this, Nora feels herself drawn back to Waverly to find out if Rose really had been found. 

Being in Waverly, especially in Charlotte's house, brings to the surface all sorts of memories and feelings that she had during and after the time that Rose disappeared.  Things she saw and heard as a pre-teen, which maybe did not make sense then, begin to gel in Nora's mind.  She starts to piece together some of the things that she heard and saw.  I liked how some differences that divided her classmates in the past no longer stood between them, but at the same time it was hard to erase those lingering impressions.  

In discovering the secrets of what happened to Rose, Nora discovers some other things that had been buried and begins to better understand herself along the way.

In Search of the Rose Notes
Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow, July 2011
ISBN: 978-0-06-201232-6
369 pages

New Authors
Where Are You Reading?
Find the Cover/Coversuch
What's in a Name?
Rainbow Reading Challenge
A to Z Reading Challenge
Free Reads
Off the Shelf Challenge
TBR Pile
Unread Book Challenge

More Than Words Can Say by Robert Barclay (Book Review)

Title: More Than Words Can Say
Author: Robert Barclay
Publisher: William Morrow

About the Book: Though she and her grandmother had always been close, Chelsea Enright never expected to inherit her Gran's cottage in the Adirondacks.  No one had been to the cottage since Gran mysteriously closed it decades ago.  A letter accompanying the will makes it clear that this is no simple bequest.  The cottage holds secrets that go back decades -- secrets that Chelsea must uncover before she can decide whether to keep the place or sell it.

But a short trip becomes an entire summer in which she gets to know the cottage's caretakers and the rest of her neighbors -- including local doctor Brandon Yale -- who make her realize that this cottage and her family's past are not so easily put behind her.  As the truth unfolds, the repercussions will be felt far and wide. . . if Chelsea lets them.

My thoughts: While this book had a somewhat predictable outcome, I enjoyed it nonetheless.  After inheriting the cottage, Chelsea receives instructions through her Gram's lawyer, that she must visit the cottage and retrieve and read something that her Gram hid under some floorboards there before she decides to sell it.  She honors these wishes because of her close relationship with her Gram, even though she considers herself a city girl.  She is not sure what she will do with herself at a lake cottage.

Soon after arriving she meets Brandon, her next door neighbor, and an attraction develops.  From this point the story actually becomes two parallel stories. Chelsea finds under the floorboards a journal that her Grandmother kept in 1942, soon after she was married and her husband was off preparing to go to war.  As she begins to read the journal and discovers that her grandmother was a more complex woman than she ever knew, she is soon immersed in the summer of 1942.  Inherintly knowing that what her grandmother has to say will probably change her life, she invites Brandon to read the journal with her. 

As she learns of her grandmother's attraction to her lake neighbor in 1942, Chelsea and Brandon's relationship also deepens.  I particularly liked the way that the story went back and forth between 1942 and the present.  Her grandmother's name was Brooke and the neighbor's name was Greg - and even though those names aren't anything like Chelsea and Brandon, I would sometimes get confused as to who was the grandmother and granddaughter.  I think it is because I don't picture "Brooke" as living in the 1940's! Once I was able to keep the characters clear in my mind (definitely my issue - not the author's)  the story moved along very quickly. 

This was my first time reading Robert Barclay, even though he has a previous book, If Wishes Were Horses.  I will be adding him to the list of authors that I enjoy reading and his previous book has already been added to my huge TBR list!

~I received a copy of this book from William Morrow in exchange for my unbiased review.~

Publisher/Publication Date: William Morrow, January 2012
ISBN: 978-0-06-204119-7
400 pages

New Authors
Location Specific
Find the cover/coversuch
A to Z
ARC Reading Challenge (2)
Free Read Challenge
Reading Romances
Romance Reading Challenge (2)

Sunday, January 29, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading? (Jan 30, 2012)

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:
Family Storms by V.C. Andrews  - I haven't given up on this yet, always seems like something else needs to be finished first!

Books up this week:
Lovesick by Spencer Seidel
The Legacy of Eden by Nelle Davy

Bathroom Book:


Books finished since last post:

Books Reviewed since last post:
Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster
Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White
Pyxis by K.C. Neal

Children's Books reviewed since last post:
Mike Mulligan and his Steam Shovel by Virginia Burton

Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!

A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon Wrap-up!

Tonight was the last night for the Read-a-thon, and while I didn't participate in any of the mini challenges, I do feel like I got some reading done this week.  I read three books this week:
Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster
Pyxis by K.C. Neal
In Search of the Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault

I made a good dent in Prophecy of the Sisters as well and should be finishing it up by tomorrow night.  I have to review In Search of the Rose Notes yet, but the other two have been reviewed as well.  I am happy with my progress this week!

Saturday, January 28, 2012

Mailbox Monday! (Jan 30, 2012)

 Mailbox Monday will be hosted in January by Alyce at At Home With 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! 

No Mark Upon Her
by Deborah Crombie

New York Times bestselling author Deborah Crombie makes her mark with this absorbing, finely hued tale of suspense -- a deeply atmospheric and twisting mystery full of deadly secrets, salacious lies, and unexpected betrayals involving the mysterious drowning of a Met detective -- an accomplished rower -- on the Thames.

When a K9 search-and-rescue team discovers a woman's body tangled up with debris in the river, Scotland Yard superintendent Duncan Kincaid finds himself heading an investigation fraught with complications.  The victim, Rebecca Meredith, was a talented but difficult woman with many admirers-- and just as many enemies.  An Olympic contender on the verge of a controversial comeback, she was also a high-ranking detective with the Met -- a fact that raises a host of political and ethical issues in an already sensitive case.

To further complicate the situation, a separate investigation, led by Detective Inspector Gemma James, Kincaid's wife, soon reveals a disturbing -- and possibly related -- series of crimes, widening the field of suspects.  But when someone tries to kill the search-and-rescue team member who found Rebecca's body, the case becomes even more complex and dangerous, involving powerful interests with tentacles that reach deep into the heart of the Met itself.

Surrounded by enemies with friendly faces, pressured to find answers quickly while protecting the Yard at all costs, his career and reputation on the line, Kincaid must race to catch the killer before more innocent lives are lost -- including his own.

I won this one from the author.
The Yippy, Yappy Yorkie in the Green Doggy Sweater
by Debbie Macomber

What happens when you combine:
A girl named Ellen who has just moved to a new neighborhood; a yippy, yappy Yorkie named Baxter who disappears from Ellen's new yard; and a new neighborhood that doesn't look anything like their old home on Blossom Street?

For Ellen and Baxter, it's a moving day that turns into something very special, with many happy discoveries.

In their second Blossom Street Kids picture book, New York Times bestselling authors Debbie Macomber and Mary Lou Carney share a charming and heartwarming tale about embarking on new adventures and finding friends in unexpected places.

This was recommended to me from a random stranger at a thrift store - so I bought it!
Dark Hollow
by John Connolly

Haunted by the murder of his wife and daughter, former New York police detective Charlie Parker retreats home to Scarborough, Maine, to rebuild his shattered life.  But his return awakens old ghosts, drawing him into the manhunt for the killer of yet another mother and child.  The obvious suspect is the young woman's violent ex-husband.  But there is another possibility -- a mythical killer who lurks deep in the dark hollow of Parker's own past, a figure that has haunted his family for generations: the monster known as Caleb Kyle. . .

I won this from Spades High Reads
Beyond (Book One in the Afterlife Series)
by T.P. Boje

Have you ever wondered where you go when you die?

Meghan is 16 when it happens to her.  She wakes up on a flying steamboat on her way to a school run by Angels in a white marble castle.  On the boat she meets Mick, who has been dead for more than a hundred years but still looks like he is a teenager.  He helps her through the difficult beginning at the new school in a new world filled with heavenly magic.

One day some of Meghan's roommates find a mirror in the cellar of the school and they persuade her to go through it with them -- well knowing it is strictly against the rules of the school.  Meghan ends up back on earth where she meets Jason.  But Jason is in danger and Meghan knows something important.  Soon she is forced to choose between the two worlds.  The one she belongs to now, and the one she left behind.

I bought this one at a thrift store also.
F is for Fugitive
by Sue Grafton

F is for Flight
When Kinsey Millhone first arrives in Floral Beach, California, it's hard for her to picture the idyllic coastal town as the setting of a brutal murder.  Seventeen years ago, the body of Jean Timberlake -- a troubled teen who had a reputation with the boys -- was found on the beach.  Her boyfriend, Bailey Fowler, was convicted of her murder and imprisoned, but he escaped.

F is for Fear
After all this time, Bailey's finally been captured.  Believing in his son's innocence, Baily's father wants Kinsey to find Jean's real killer.  But most of the residents in this tight-knit community are convinced Bailey strangled Jean.  So why are they so reluctant to answer Kinsey's questions?  If there's one thing Kinsey's got plenty of it's persistence.  And that's exactly what it's going to take to crack the lid on this case.

F is for Fugitive
As Kinsey gets closer to solving Jean's murder, the more dirty little secrets she uncovers in a town where everyone has something to hide -- and a killer will kill again to keep the past buried. . .

What books came home to you this week?

Pyxis by K.C. Neal (Two Giveaways - One for a Kindle!!!)

Title: Pyxis: The Discovery
Author: K.C. Neal
Publisher: StoneHouse Ink

About the book: Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason. Things take a strange turn when she uses her late grandmother’s food dyes for a bake sale, and her customers suddenly find her irresistibly alluring. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path.

Pursued by shadowy figures and a crazy woman with secrets from the past, Corinne must find out who her grandmother really was. In her quest to unravel her family’s history, she learns she is destined to protect this world--and the dark world of her dreams. She races to find the answers she seeks before her nightmares break free.

My thoughts: I really enjoyed this book.  It started out as what I would say as just a very gentle and nice read, pulling you in, making you want to find out more and more.  Little clues are dropped along the way, especially concerning Mason, and you want to know who this Mason is and what his relationship with Corinne is all about.

I was instantly drawn to Corinne and was kind of rooting for her, even though I didn't know who or what I was rooting against.  She just came across as a really nice girl - the kind you want your daughter to be friends with, or your son to date (lol). 

As the title of the book says Pyxis: The Discovery, Corinne is left a box by her Grandma Doris when she passes away.  It is a wooden box with the word PYXIS enscribed on the top and 5 bottles of liquid inside. Together with her friend Ang, they discover that these liquids have some kind of magical quality, though they don't seem to work the same on everyone.  This is only the beginning of what they find though.  Pyxis is much more than just a box of magical liquids.  Together with Mason and Ang, Corinne sets out to discover what her grandmother has really left her. 

Pyxis by K.C. Neal is touring right now with Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White, which I reviewed a couple of days ago (with a giveaway) and Arson by Estevan Vega.  For Pyxis, K.C. Neal is giving away a Pyxis notebook and pen and a signed Pyxis bookmark right here!  (I am jealous!  I want to win this!)  To enter for the Pyxis swag, just leave a comment with your email address.  This giveaway is for U.S. entrants only. 

In addition to that though, the author is also hosting a Kindle giveaway that you can enter using the Rafflecopter form below, or you can enter at her blog, K.C. Neal's Blog. 

Check out each of these books on Amazon!

Pyxis by K.C. Neal
Corinne lives an average teenage life working at her dad’s cafe, hanging out with her best friend, and trying to forget a falling-out with her almost-boyfriend Mason. Things take a strange turn when she uses her late grandmother’s food dyes for a bake sale, and her customers suddenly find her irresistibly alluring. Then she discovers she and Mason are haunted by the same dreams of a dark force that consumes everything in its path. Pursued by shadowy figures and a crazy woman with secrets from the past, Corinne must find out who her grandmother really was. In her quest to unravel her family’s history, she learns she is destined to protect this world--and the dark world of her dreams. She races to find the answers she seeks before her nightmares break free.
$2.99 on Amazon.com
Airel by Aaron Patterson and Chris White

Airel is a story about an angel who falls so deeply in love with a woman that he chooses to fall from heaven to be with her. She gives birth to a daughter in Arabia, 1250BC. The girl is pursued ferociously, relentlessly by an enemy in the deepest darkness. In present day Boise, Idaho is just a girl: Airel. She's just your average high school student...who turns out to be anything but average. It's because of who she is, because of her ancestry, because of her lineage. Past and present crash in on each other in the final pages as what has been twisted comes dangerously unraveled.

Arson by Estevan Vega
Arson Gable feels like a freak. He can create fire. He never asked for it. He never wanted it. But he can't shut it off. Before now, three things were true: he both loved and despised his grandmother; his life was going nowhere; and he was alone. But when a strange girl--who feels more normal behind a mask than inside her own skin--moves in next door, Arson hopes to find something he's never had: purpose. Using what he fears most about himself, Arson must face his consuming past and confront the nightmare that is his present as he walks the fine line between boy and monster.


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Thursday, January 26, 2012

Read Aloud Thursday

Read Aloud Thursday is hosted at Hope is the Word. I forgot to add that last week!

Title: Mike Mulligan and His Steam Shovel
Author: Virginia Lee Burton
Published: 1939

If I would have told my son that this book was published the year after his grandma was born, he probably would have thought I was crazy.  After we read it, when I asked him what he liked the most about it, he started flipping through the book saying "this part, and this part, and this part"  so I think he enjoyed it. 

Mike has a steam shovel that he has named Mary Anne.  He has worked with her for years and dug canals and helped build passages through mountains and airports.  He has kept Mary Anne in really good condition.  With the passage of time though comes innovation and soon there are gasoline, electric and Diesel shovels and no one wants to use Mary Anne anymore.  They leave the city for the small town of Popperville, as they have heard they are building a new town hall.  Mike makes them an offer that he and Mary Anne can dig the cellar in one day, and if they don't, then the town won't have to pay them. 

Well, they don't think he can do it, so of course they take the bet.  A little boy stops to watch and he invites more and more people throughout the day (because the more people are watching, the faster and better Mike and Mary Anne work).  Now here comes my favorite part.  They get the cellar built and here is the steam shovel and Mike down in the cellar - there is a good picture of this in the book - and my son says "How are they going to get out?"  and I turn the page in the book and the little boy in the book says "How are they going to get out?"  I looked at my son and asked him if he had heard this story before.  He looked up with the childlike surprise and told me no.  So I told him he must be the little boy in the story!  (He liked that).

Well, rather than try to get Mary Anne out, they turn her into a furnace and Mike gets the job as janitor and they still get to spend every day together. 

The book has some cute illustrations, also by Virginia Lee Burton.  I especially like the sweet face on the steam shovel and some of her expressions! 

Challenges:  Excellence in Reading

Third Sentence Thursday: In Search of the Rose Notes

Third Sentence Thursday is hosted by Proud Book Nerd - visit her site to see all the other entries!

  1. Take the book you are currently reading, open it to a random page. Count three lines down and post it – it doesn’t even have to be a full sentence or anything. Just whatever’s on the third line. Feel free to share more (or a full sentence or two or three) if you’d prefer.
  2. Share your thoughts on the sentence (or sentences).
  3. Add a link to your blog post at Proud Book Nerd in the linky list.
  4. Visit one or two of the other blogs to check out their third sentence(s).

Here's mine from In Search of the Rose Notes:

the poor stinking Toby. He already had enough problems that (p75)
      Actually you get a lot of the meaning from that snippet - but the full two sentences look like this: I remember trying to pull my nostrils together using just my face muscles -- rather than my hands -- so as not to tip off the poor stinking Toby.  He already had enough problems that he didn't need the girl sitting next to him holding her nose on top of it all. Now I don't know about you, but when you were in fourth grade, would you have been sensitive enough to not add to someone else's problems?  I am not sure that I wasn't still in my egocentric world and wouldn't have held my nose and scooted as far away as possible!

    YA Giveaway Hop (Jan 27th - 31st)

    I want to thank I am a Reader, Not a Writer for putting together this great blog hop.  She is being helped out with this one by Amber at Down the Rabbit Hole.

    I was going to give away one of the YA books that I have upstairs in our spare bedroom, but we have someone staying with us and she is already asleep, so I can't go up and pick one!  I guess I will have to save those for the YA Paranormal Hop coming up in February!   So, for this hop, I am going to giveaway any YA book up to $15 value (w/shipping if your country isn't a free ship country)  from The Book Depository.  This giveaway will be open to wherever Book Depository ships!  So I think you guys definitely benefit from my house guest!

    To enter the giveaway you will need to enter through the rafflecopter form below.  Please be sure to check out my other rafflecopter giveaways while you are here! You can find them at the top of the blog.

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Wednesday, January 25, 2012

    Airel by Aaron Patterson (Book Review and Giveaway)

    Title: Airel (The Airel Saga, Book 1)
    Author: Aaron Patterson, Chris White
    Publisher: StoneHouse Ink

    About the book: All Airel ever wanted was to be normal, to disappear into the crowd. But bloodlines can produce surprises, like an incredible ability to heal. Then there s Michael Alexander, the new guy in school, who is impossibly gorgeous...and captivated by her. Somewhere in the back of her mind, she can hear the sound of pages turning, and another, older story being written. It is the story of an ancient family, of great warriors, of the Sword of Light, and the struggle against an evil so terrible, so far-reaching, that it threatens everything. Airel knew change would be an inevitable part of life. But can she hold on when murder and darkness begin to close in and take away everything she loves? Will she have what it takes when the truth is finally revealed?

    My thoughts: Where to start?  This was a very complex story - actually two stories.  The book opens in the present day in Idaho.  You begin to learn about a young girl named Airel, with all the typical teenage angst that is normal.  What is not normal is that seemingly overnight Airel's appearance is changing.  Her complexion is becoming flawless, her hair luxurious. Even though she sees the changes in the mirror, she still questions when the boy of her dreams, Michael, appears to be infatuated with her.  When she discovers that she has the ability to heal quickly, she wonders who or what she really is.

    The second storyline takes place in Arabia in 1250 B.C.  Kreios, a fallen angel, has lost his wife right after the birth of his daughter and is on a journey to now save his daughter's life.  In order to achieve this, he has to, quite literally, take flight.  This flight attracts the unwanted attention of The Brotherhood.  These are demons whose mission is to destroy all the angels who came to earth and married a mortal.  The description of these demons, as well as the angels and the world they live in is told in great detail. 

    Even though the stories are thousands of years apart, they are eerily similar.  You see, the demons are on the trail of Kreios in Arabia, and there is a killer on the loose in Idaho as well.  Airel and Michael are kidnapped soon after Airel witnesses a killing while at the movies.  They are taken to an unbelievable house seemingly buried in the forest.  Airel doesn't know whether the killer has kidnapped her or saved her from being killed.  What she does know is that she is falling in love with Michael and learning about who she really is. 

    I did enjoy this story, but felt like I kind of got bogged down in the center.  The beginning grabbed me, but when it first flipped to Arabia, I kind of got lost.  I stuck with it though and am glad that I did.  The ending left me wide-eyed with - 'You can't stop there!' on my mind. 

    The second book in the series, Michael, is due out in May of this year.

    ~I received a complimentary ebook of Airel from StoneHouse Ink in exchange for my unbiased review.~

    You can find out more about Airel on Facebook and Twitter.

    Publisher/Publication Date: StoneHouse Ink, August 2011
    ISBN: 978-0982607862
    425 pages

    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Speculative Fiction Reading
    New Authors
    Where Are You Reading?
    A to Z Reading Challenge
    YA Reading Challenge
    Immortal Challenge
    Paranormal challenge
    Paranormal Romance
    1st in a Series
    ARC Reading Challenge (So Many Precious Books, So Little Time)
    ARC Reading challenge (Eclectic Bookshelf)
    E-Book Reading Challenge (Eclectic Bookshelf)
    Ebook Reading Challenge (Workaday Reads)
    Free Reads Challenge
    Reading Romances Challenge
    Romance Reading Challenge (the bookworm)
    Speculative Romance Challenge

    Library Loot (Jan 25 - Feb 1)

    Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted by Claire from The Captive Reader and Marg from The Adventures of an Intrepid Reader that encourages bloggers to share the books they've checked out from the library.  If you'd like to participate, just write up your post - feel free to steal the button - and visit the above 2 blogs to see who has the Mr. Linky this week. Don't forget to check out what others are checking out!

    by Francisco X. Stork

    Kate is bound for college and an M.D. -- if her family will let her go.  Mary wants only to stay home and paint.  When their loving but repressive father dies, they must figure out how to support themselves and their mother, and how to get along in all their uneasy sisterhood.

    Then three young men sway their lives:  Kate's boyfriend, Simon, asks her to marry him, offering the girls some much-needed stability.  Mary is drawn to Marcos, though she fears his violent past.  And Andy tempts Kate with more than romance, recognizing her ambition because it matches his own.

    Kate and Mary each find new possibilities and darkness in their sudden freedom.  But it's their mother's life that might divide them for good -- the question of if she lives, and what's worth living for.

    The Queen of Kentucky
    by Alecia Whitaker

    Fourteen-year-old Kentucky girl Ricki Jo Winstead, who would prefer to be called Ericka, thank you very much, is eager to shed her farmer's daughter roots and fit in with the popular crowd at her small-town high school.  She trades her Bible for Seventeen magazine, buys new "sophisticated" clothes, and strikes up an unlikely flirtation with the freshman class's resident bad boy.  She's on top of the world, even though her best friend and neighbor, Luke, says he misses "plain old Ricki Jo."

    Caught between being a country girl and wannabe country club girl, Ricki Jo begins to forget who she truly is: someone who doesn't care what people think and who wouldn't let a good-looking guy walk all over her.

    After a serious incident on Luke's farm, Ricki Jo realizes that being a true friend is more important than being popular. . . and that the one boy who matters most has been next door all along. 

    by Cynthia Hand

    In the beginning, there's a boy standing in the trees. . .

    Clara Gardner has recently learned that she's part angel.  Having angel blood run through her veins not only makes her smarter, stronger, and faster than humans (a word, she realizes, that no longer applies to her), but it means she has a purpose, something she was put on this earth to do.  Figuring out what that is, though, isn't easy.

    Her visions of a raging forest fire and an alluring stranger lead her to a new school in a new town.  When she meets Christian, who turns out to be the boy of her dreams (literally), everything seems to fall into place -- and out of place at the same time.  Because there's another guy, Tucker, who appeals to Clara's less angelic side.

    As Clara tries to find her way in a world she no longer understands, she encounters unseen dangers and choices she never thought she'd have to make -- between honesty and deceit, love and duty, good and evil.  When the fire from her vision finally ignites, will Clara be ready to face her destiny?

    Saving Zoe
    by Alyson Noel

    It's been on year since the brutal murder of her older sister, Zoe, and fifteen-year-old Echo is still reeling from the aftermath.  Her parents are numb, her friends are moving on, and the awkward start to her freshman year proves she'll never live up to her sister's memory.  Until Zoe's former boyfriend Marc shows up with Zoe's diary.

    At first Echo's not interested, doubting there's anything in there she doesn't already know.  But when curiosity prevails, she starts reading, becoming so immersed in her sister's secret world, their lives begin to blur, forcing Echo to uncover the truth behind Zoe's life so that she can start to rebuild her own.

    Prepare to laugh your heart out and cry your eyes out in this highly addictive tale as Alyson Noel tackles the complicated relationship between two sisters and shows how the bond can endure long after one of them is gone. 

    Tuesday, January 24, 2012

    Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster (Book Review)

    Author: Melissa Foster
    Publisher: Greenforge Books

    About the Book: Tess Johnson has it all: her handsome photographer husband Beau, a thriving business, and a newly discovered pregnancy. When Beau accepts an overseas photography assignment, Tess decides to wait to reveal her secret—only she’s never given the chance. Beau’s helicopter crashes in the desert.

    Tess struggles with the news of Beau’s death and tries to put her life back together. Alone and dealing with a pregnancy that only reminds her of what she has lost, Tess is adrift in a world of failed plans and fallen expectations. When a new client appears offering more than just a new project, Tess must confront the circumstances of her life head on.

    Meanwhile, two Iraqi women who are fleeing honor killings find Beau barely alive in the middle of the desert, his body ravaged by the crash. Suha, a doctor, and Samira, a widow and mother of three young children, nurse him back to health in a makeshift tent. Beau bonds with the women and children, and together, with the help of an underground organization, they continue their dangerous escape.

    What happens next is a test of loyalties, strength, and love.

    My thoughts: I pretty much read this book in one sitting, and that doesn't happen very often with me.  I was very much caught up in the storyline and there were times when I was actually holding my breath, waiting to see what would happen.  Tess, Beau, Alice, Kevin, Louie, Samira and her family - these are all real people, with real lives - not sugar-coated characters in a book.  Life is messy.  Relationships are messy.  Sometimes we are not in control of what happens in our life, but somehow have to work with what is left when the dust settles.  Melissa Foster makes her characters dig down deep, through the pain and the reality, and swim through it all back to the surface. 

    All through out the book, just the way that relationships were forming and situations were evolving, I knew that someone would probably be hurt in the end.  I did not know how it could resolve itself so that everyone would be happy.  Even coming to that conclusion, I definitely did not see this ending coming.  My advice to you?  Keep a box of kleenexes handy!  

    ~I received a complimentary ebook from the author in exchange for my review.~

    You can connect with Melissa in many places - on her blog, website, facebook, goodreads, and at WoMen's Literary Cafe.

    Publisher/Publication Date: Greenforge Books, Nov 1, 2011
    ISBN: 978-0984716517
    316 pages

    Where Are You Reading?
    A to Z Reading Challenge
    ARC Reading Challenge (So Many Precious Books, So Little Time)
    ARC Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
    Free Reads (Bookish Ardour)
    Ebook Challenge (Workaday Reads)
    E-book Reading Challenge (The Eclectic Bookshelf)
    Find the Cover/Coversuch
    Romance Reading Challenge (the bookworm)
    Romance Reading Challenge (The Eclectic bookshelf)

    Sunday, January 22, 2012

    A Winter's Respite Readathon (Jan 23 - 29) #WintersRespite

    It's time for another Read-a-thon!  A Winter's Respite Read-a-thon is being hosted by The True Book Addict and is starting tomorrow, Jan 23.  It will run through next Sunday, Jan 29.  Tomorrow is my full day of work so I am posting tonight with the hopes of being able to spend some time reading tomorrow night.  She is going to have some mini-challenges and there will be a giveaway for everyone who signs in at the beginning and does a wrap up at the end - but mostly it will just be a week of laid back reading.  You will already be reading right? So why not sign up!?   Oh - and you don't need a blog to participate - you can sign up through Facebook, Twitter, Goodreads, etc.  so go check it out!

    I hope to read and/or finish the following books:
    Family Storms by VC Andrews
    Prophecy of the Sisters by Michelle Zink
    In Search of Rose Notes by Emily Arsenault
    Come Back to Me by Melissa Foster
    Demi-Monde: Winter by Rod Rees

    It's Monday! What are you reading? (Jan 23, 2012)

    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:

    Books up this week:

    Bathroom Book:


    Books finished since last post:

    Children's Books reviewed since last post:
    Millions of Cats by Wanda Ga'g
    Never Smile at a Monkey by Steve Jenkins
    Memoirs of a Goldfish by Devin Scillian

    Until next week ----  Ready - Set - Read!


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