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Monday, June 29, 2009

Review: The Lost Quilter by Jennifer Chiaverini

In The Runaway Quilt by Jennifer Chiaverini, a runaway slave named Joanna was introduced to Chiaverini’s readers. Joanna’s bid for freedom was short lived. She was returned to a plantation in Virgina by slave catchers, leaving behind a beautiful quilt and a son. In Chiaverini’s newest addition to her Elm Creek Quilts series, The Lost Quilter, we finally learn what became of Joanna. Through old letters found by the Master Quilter Sylvia Bergstrom Compson, an old diary belonging to Sylvia’s aunt and the quilt itself, we can discover the legacy Joanna left behind.

Chiaverini’s series are a delight. Quilter or not, there is something in these books for everyone. (Okay, maybe not everyone…they are absolutely chick lit, but chick lit without gratuitous sex, bad language, questionable judgment and with a sort of refinement to them) I’ve been a big fan of the series since the first book; The Quilter’s Apprentice and I’ve really enjoyed how the author keeps the series going. Some of the novels follow individual characters, some follow the cast of characters as a group and yet other novels, like The Lost Quilter use the characters and location as a jumping off point to other characters and other times. The author has a love of history and tells us anecdotes about the Civil War era that brings it to life.

“Not long after that, Joanna learned from Mrs. Ames’s Jenny that a few days before, in the very early hours of the morning while the officers were ashore, a slave harbor pilot named Robert Smalls had commandeered a Confederate transport steamer. He brought his family and a dozen other slaves on board, turned the ship toward the open sea, blew the proper whistle signal to each Confederate fort to secure permission to pass, and sailed out to the Union blockade, where he raised the white flag and turned over the ship to a Union captain. Joanna was thrilled by his story of daring and courage, and she wished with all her heart that she had known Robert Smalls and could have joined those families on board the Planter.”

True story--I looked it up, I always like it when a novelist tosses in a bit of verifiable history!

I'd recommend any of the Elm Creek Quilt Series, of course, if you’re not a quilter, then just read the novels, but if you’re a quilter too, you might want to check out the line of quilt project books that Chiaverini has written too. She not only uses quilts in her novels, but she also makes the quilts she writes about. That kind of authenticity is rare, and its so much fun to pick up one of her novels and see on the inside cover, artwork made up of the quilt blocks she uses in the novel. And its really nice to know you can give one of her books to your Grandma for her birthday and not be embarrassed when they read it!

My rating:

Saturday, June 27, 2009

Review: Fifty is Not a Four-Letter Word by Linda Kelsey

Hope Lyndhurst-Steele is turning 50 and she’s freaking out. Her life is so perfect that it’s like a happy Lifetime movie; the hip magazine job, marvelous husband, loving son, and lots of friends, and yet, she’s freaking out. As is typical in life, just when everything is perfect, life turns to crap. Hope loses her job and her spiral into cloying self-pity strains her marriage. Her son decides that she is, in fact, a pain in the butt and her mom has announced that she'll be shuffling off this mortal coil soon. The stress gets to be a bit much so Hope takes off on a solitary weekend in Paris, and succeeds in jump-starting her libido. When she returns home, planning to jump start something/someone else, her husband surprises her with the old, “Welcome home honey, I’m leaving” bit. When life goes to crap, it really goes to crap…

Fifty is Not a Four-Letter Word by Linda Kelsey shows us how one middle aged, depressed, self-absorbed woman can finally begin to grow up a bit. The novel was both funny and sad. It begins as almost an ode to feminist think, where high-powered career women aspire to “have-it-all” without acknowledging the effect their choices can have on those around them. It was interesting to see how Hope’s character came to understand better the nuances of all those around her, and to lose her dogged determination to be defined by her career and professional accomplishments rather than any personal beliefs, actions and attitudes.

I enjoyed the book quite a bit, but not the way I thought I would. I had thought I would empathize with Hope, I turned 50 a couple of years ago, but it never bothered me. Fifty wasn’t a four-letter word for me and based on the title, (which I love) I expected a story where the character might be a bit like me. And that was pretty much the only thing I shared with the book; that I agreed with the title! Hope and I had absolutely nothing in common. But I sort of liked her anyway. I’m the polar opposite of her, and I’ve always suspected there was something wrong with my girl DNA since I don’t like the shopping, parties, lunches, etc. life that the women in the book seem to be so absorbed in;---but I sort of liked her anyway. My kids don’t seem to disregard me, I’ve never had a high-powered career, I couldn’t find a caterer or a decorator if my life depended on it;---but I sort of liked her anyway. And I kind of think that might just be a sign of a successful story, when you really can’t fathom what it would be like to be the protagonist, but you still sort of like them.

My rating:

Thursday, June 25, 2009

Review: The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams

The Alexander Cipher by Will Adams is an adventurous novel that has it all. Political machinations, ethnic strife, power-hungry corporate types, greedy antiquities dealers, mercenaries, sick children, desperate parents, brainy scientific types and beautiful women. Sort of like Matthew Reilly, but better edited, without all the damn italics and exclamation points!! (Sorry, when I think Reilly, I think !! OH BOY!! Exclamation points!!!) But, I digress….

Will Adams debut novel features a slightly nere’do well Egyptologist, Daniel Knox, who everyone seems to love to hate. His life long interest in Alexander the Great puts him right in the thick of things when the bad guy, Nicolas Dragoumis,(who is some kind of cuckoo and wildly wealthy) learns that Alexander’s tomb may have been discovered. Nicolas has some wacky belief that the tomb contains secrets and treasures that will cause Macedonia to become an independent state once more, and he has the wealth, power and obsession to see his beliefs through. It's up to our hero, Daniel, and of course, his newly discovered gorgeous sidekick, Gaille, to stop him and save the antiquities. (Sort of like an Indiana Jones meets James Bond thing, but without MI-6 and spiffy weapons and toys.) And of course, there is history between Gaille and Daniel that has to be resolved for their adventure to be a success.

I’m a little bit of an ancient history buff, so I found the well-researched novel interesting, although occasionally confusing. There is a large cast of characters and apparently my old brain had a little trouble keeping up. Once I figured everyone out though, I really enjoyed the book. It’s a bit slow here and there, but overall, a good solid read.

My rating:

Tuesday, June 23, 2009

Wow!! I'm a whole year old today!!

So, sing along......

Today's is my birthday...Happy Birthday to me......dum dee dum....okay, so I can't carry a tune!

My first blogging year is behind and I've had so much fun! I've met some wonderful people, talked with some spectacular authors, and enjoyed more than I can say this little peek into the publishing world!

Thanks to everyone who's ever read my blog! I hope I can get better and better, all you fellow book bloggers have set the bar pretty high, and I'm hoping I can get as good at this as all of you are!

Still singing......;o)Today is my birthday....Happy birthday to me....as I walk off into the morning sun......(with a couple of books under my arm...)

(Take a peek at my blog-o-versary giveaway by clicking HERE!)

Review: Follow Me by Joanna Scott

I’ve been trying to figure out how to review Joanna Scott’s novel, Follow Me for the longest time. I was supposed to participate in the blog tour, way back when, and I completely bailed. At the time, I blamed my inability to get into this book on the fact that I had pneumonia and felt like snail slime. But I did read a couple other books when I was sick and enjoyed them. I decided to pull the book of the shelf and look through it this morning prior to (finally) writing my review. I place little post-it tabs throughout books I read. An interesting phrase may be noted, a word I don’t know, just something that caught my eye. I guess my feelings about Follow Me can be summed up with a couple of paragraphs I marked in the book and the note I made to myself on the post-it.

“Scrappy changeling, there and not there, transforming herself with a snap of her fingers. Good-bye, hello. Dear Sally, I’m your namesake. Wait for me. You should listen to what I have to say. I have the advantage, after all, of living in your future. I know what’s in store for you. Of course, that makes it more difficult to be accurate in my description of the past and keep the facts compatible.”

Or another marked passage,

“Touch your fingertip to a bubble. Feel the pop of cold. Cold, clear water squeezed from subterranean stone. Water seeping into the spring, filling the basin, spilling over the mossy slate ledge, flowing with a persistence peculiar to rivers, tumbling across a wide plateau, over a hillock, and down, down, down, for two hundred and sixty curving miles to the lake.” …..And it goes on and on and on…..

Both post-its say the same thing…..”WTF???” Apparently I was a bit, shall we say, bemused by the writing style. (Note to self…avoid all forms of novels described as “lyrical” by wiser, smarter and classier fellow bloggers…)

Yup, sorry, I hated it. Didn’t get past page 184. And that took me a week. Don’t get me wrong. I really wanted to like it. And I tried. I could even see my Grandma in Sally. I hoped I’d figure out that my grandma, like Sally, started out as a relatively happy girl and the crap in her life made her into such a bitter, cantankerous old biddy. And maybe Sally and Grandma were a lot alike. I’ll never know because the author’s stream of consciousness description’s that just went on and on drove me nuts. And no…it wasn’t just the pain pills and cough syrup talkin’ either! I re-read a couple of pages today, and nope, still can’t read it!

I think it’s probably a pretty good book, but I’m just possibly too shallow for it. So, I’m sorry, Joanna. I think you’re a perfectly lovely person, but this former farm girl is just too uncultured and borderline Redneck to appreciate it!

My rating—is not fair because I didn’t even finish the book, but what the heck, it’s my blog and I can darn well be unfair….

Sunday, June 21, 2009

Review: Awakening by S.J. Bolton

Claire Benning is a damaged, isolated and almost monastic veterinary wildlife surgeon. The organization she works at rehabilitates injured and sick wildlife, and she spends her days saving everyone from badgers to roe deer. When a neighbor in her tiny village dies of snakebite, Claire is asked in for a consult as the local snake expert. She finds the victim has died of the snake venom, but of much higher concentrations than is possible from one snake. As it becomes apparent that a human, not a snake, is the cause of death, more snakes appear and more attacks ensue. Joining with a local constabulary and an eccentric world-renowned snake expert, Claire strives to discover who is behind these attacks as people continue to die.

S.J. Bolton’s second novel, Awakening caught my interest from page one. Bolton manages to build her characters slowly, the same way we get to know people in our lives. We find out the reason for Claire’s reclusiveness quite early on, but the cause isn’t given to us until much further into the book. Claire’s relationships with those around her, her dogged determination to remain aloof and alone, and the slow eroding of those walls she’s built around herself are a cornerstone of this book. While the title, Awakening, leads us to believe it refers to the behavior of the snakes, it also refers to Claire herself. The author does a bang-up job of incorporating into the story the practices of a little known sect of snake handlers in the United States, and the background information regarding them is delivered to the reader perfectly. Bolton knows that people are nuts and often truth is, indeed, stranger than fiction.

Lots of snakes figure in the book, and I know snakes can creep a lot of people out. But nevertheless, this is a great mystery. Oh, I’m such a Smarty-Pants; I had the whole plot figured out by about page 153. I was dead wrong, but until the last couple of chapters, I was feeling pretty smug. And I do so love being wrong when it comes to the ending of a book.

S.J. Bolton was an author that I’m not familiar with. But I’ll be picking up her first novel, Sacrifice and adding it to my teetering tower of “To Be Read” books on my next trip to the bookstore.

My rating:

Friday, June 19, 2009

Review: The Boneman's Daughters by Ted Dekker

Leave it to Ted Dekker to come up with a novel way to totally creep us out. In Boneman’s Daughter, Dekker gives us the story of a sicko (of course) serial killer who is searching for the “perfect daughter”. (Because after all, even serial killers deserve adoring devotion and unswerving loyalty… Ick) The Bone Man kidnaps girls and when they just can’t live up to his expectations, (thinking their kidnapper is the best thing ever and being so happy to live with him) he smashes their bones until they die. (Over-react much?)

Ryan Evans is a military intelligence (I know—that’s considered an oxymoron by some) officer, recently returned from the Middle East. He was captured there, and oddly enough, forced to watch the deaths of innocents by the same methods the Boneman uses. Weird coincidence, huh. Get past it..it sets up the whole story! He is filled with regrets, his family is gone because of the dedication he had to his work and the job he gave his life to has pretty much messed him up. He’s got an angry ex, a kid named Bethany that won’t speak to him, and major mental issues from his captivity.

Until the Boneman take his daughter. (Note to bad guys..don’t piss off military types…) Now the FBI is on Ryan’s tail, because his past makes him the perfect patsy for the Boneman’s crimes, Ryan is on the Boneman’s tail, and Boneman is trying to make sure Bethany is the perfect daughter. And we know what happens if she isn’t.

I love Ted Dekker. Not only can he write terrific, freaky-deaky Christian Sci-Fi, like the Circle Trilogy,(and really…who the heck else can even think of the genre) he also writes great mysteries. I’ll grant you, the premise here was a bit contrived. I mean, what are the odds that a Middle Eastern wack-job has the same penchant for breaking bones as an All American Serial Killer. (Dekker does explain where both of the characters predilections come from, but I still thought it was a stretch.) I will say I appreciated the ending, I expected the whole “justice will prevail, law and order…blah blah blah bit. I forgot this is Ted Dekker and he’s not one for conventional, easy endings. But I did just re-read the last page, and I’m sort of wondering if….hmm….can Boneman return??? I think that might, (mind you, I said, MIGHT) just be possible!

My rating:

Thursday, June 18, 2009

Win a $25 Amazon Gift Card!!

My "Blog-o'versary" is coming up on June 23 and I'll be a whole year old! Wow...time's just flyin' by! In honor of my "momentous occasion", I'm giving away a $25 Amazon gift card to some lucky reader. I'm gonna put a little twist on it though.

Have you ever read a book and loved it, only to learn that it doesn't find the great success you'd expect? Maybe because its from a small publishing house, or maybe because its badly marketed? It's not only frustrating for us, the readers, but imagine how it must feel to be the author. To put heart and soul into a book, to know its really good, and yet....phhhhtttt....tepid sales.

I'm a huge advocate for a book I read this year, and first I want to encourage all of you to get out there and buy this book. The publishers have completely blown it, they've marketed this book as a niche book in a narrow, restrictive genre, and its just soooo much more!

Big Sid's Vincati is simply the best book I've read this year. My review is HERE. But don't take my word for it, you can read other reviews on AMAZON as well. And yet another review is HERE. Even Stanley Fish at the NY Times likes it! (It just takes him a while to get to it in his posting.) Everyone I've given this book to has loved it. Young, old, male, female, motorcycle guy and housewife. I can't find a negative review out there and believe me, I've looked! So, I'm asking the blogging community to get behind this book and send it flying off the shelves!

So--here's what you do to enter this giveaway.

First..leave me a comment with your favorite under-appreciated and under-loved book. That'll get you one entry.

Second--Blog or tweet about this giveaway, that's entry #2!

Third--Blog or tweet about Big Sid's Vincati. Help me get the word out there and let's see if we can generate some buzz. That'll get you another entry.

Fourth..Read Big Sid's and review it! Leave me a link to the review and that'll get you three more entries!

All total, you can get 6 entries for the giveaway and you'll read a great book while you're at it.

I'll be sending the gift card electronically, so the contest is open worldwide. I want to give you all time to get the book and read it for those last three entries, so I'm going to run it for one month. I'll randomize the entries and draw a winner on JULY 18!!

C'mon world...let's get together and help a deserving book find great success!! You can buy the book at your local store or here's a link to the Amazon page. (And to prove to y'all that my intentions are pure, I'm not putting up the Amazon associates link that might make me a few pennies on the sale!)

The Ever-Changing Rules of Health

Chocolate's a great start, bring on the margaritas and chips.....

Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Review: Fragment by Warren Fahy

A long-range research ship called the Trident is filming a reality show called Sealife in the debut novel, Fragment by Warren Fahy. The show’s cast includes bright young scientists and is directed for a woman searching for the right drama to re-energize her career. The ship is drawn to a tiny island, Henders Island, so far from any human contact that it only appears in one small notation in a ships log from 1791. This island isn’t a mutant anomaly, or a lost world frozen in time, or a modern day version of The Island of Dr. Moreau. Instead, it is a place unlike anything anyone in the world has ever seen; a place that has evolved over countless eons, on a completely different path than the rest of our planet. A place where one life form after another threatens to destroy anything put in front of it, and could cause worldwide devastation if it were to ever leave the island. In the midst of this chaotic ecosystem, a species is discovered that must be saved against all odds.

When I finished reading Fragment, my first thought was, “there’s no way this is a debut novel”, the writing is just too good. So I toddled off to my computer and googled away. It seems I’m wrong; it most certainly is Warren Fahy’s debut novel. Although he has been a bookseller, editor and the lead writer for RockStar Games Red Dead Revolver, as well as the author of a few articles, this is his first novel. I’m not of the video game generation, so the Red Dead bit…okay, means nothin’ to me. But I’ll say I wasn’t surprised. I’ve watched my kid play some video games and the creatures in the games are fantastical and imaginative. (Okay, and lots of times creepy, gory and weird too!) The imagination of the author in creating the creatures on Henders Island is sort of reminiscent of a video game, but with lots of detail, scientific research and information. Kind of like a video game for literate grown-ups!

I was lucky enough to score an Advanced Readers Copy and didn’t realize until the end of the book that there was both a map of the island in the back, as well as pencil drawings of a couple of the creatures. This brought me to the authors website, where there are some really beautiful renderings of some scenes from the book, as well as links to drawings of all the creatures. It was interesting to me that the pictures were pretty much as I’d imagined the creatures to look. The descriptive talents of Fahy are so terrific, that the pictures only enhanced the book for me, I was sort of glad I’d envisioned the critters for myself before I looked at the sketches and paintings. But, when you read the book, or if you’re curious, you should take a peek at Fahy’s website. You can find it HERE.

I’d really love to see more books by Fahy, his style, imagination and creativity made the book a compulsive pleasure to read. Another one of those multi-tasking books, where you read while you cook, clean, wait at Starbucks for coffee, at red-lights waiting for green, etc.

Fragment hit the bookstores on June 16, look for it, its really good!

My rating:

Monday, June 15, 2009

Review: Afraid by Jack Kilborn

In the nice quiet little town of Safe Haven, Wisconsin the peace and solitude is shattered when a helicopter crashes nearby. Suddenly the sleepy little town, with only one road in or out, and no full time police force is in a struggle for its survival. Contained within the helicopter and unleashed by the crash is a force bent on the total annihilation of the entire population of the town. People in the town begin to die violent and gory deaths and it’s on the shoulders of a single mom waitress, a firefighter and a county sheriff near retirement to stop.

Jack Kilborn’s Afraid is a great example of the suspense thriller genre. The heroes of the story are likable average folks, who find stores of courage and bravery when needed. The bad guys are scary, relentless and more than a little insane. The plot has unexpected twists, which led to lots of multi-tasking on my part. I was glad the book was a paperback; it’s so much easier to stir the spaghetti sauce while reading that way! Sadly, I haven’t figure out how to continue reading while washing the dishes, and when I vacuumed while reading the book, I think I missed a lot of spots. Yep, one of those can’t put it down books. The kind of book that when you finish, you head to the internet to find what else this guy has written so you can add it to your wish list.

Oh…and it’s a pseudonym for author J.A. Konrath, who is the author of the Lt. Jacqueline "Jack" Daniels series. I’ve not heard of this series, but I’m going to start with book one, Whiskey Sour and work my way through the list. I like this guys style!

My rating:

Sunday, June 14, 2009

So--Who is this Mysterious Fabuloso??

Many have asked, and the only answer I can give, you must read out loud, with a deep voice in eastern European accented English.

"I dare not disclose the identity of FABULOSO. This is a sacred trust, that I will not violate....." *insert dramatic music here.....

Alright..you can stop reading out loud with the eastern European accent......

No really, I'm not telling.....Hey...stop with the accent already.......

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Guest Reviewer: The Strain reviewed by Fabuloso!!

Today I have a guest reviewer, who prefers to be known as FABULOSO!! Uh...okay then....introducing....*drumroll please.....the debut review of.........*more drumroll....


The Strain by Guillermo del Toro and Chuck Hogan

This is the “popping of my [review] cherry” and I would be remiss to not thank myself for having that extra glass of Scotch. I’ve read some reviews about the book online and I tooooo will start with the obligatory “I am a fan of Guillermo del Toro’s films” blah, blah—P-p-Pan’s Labyrinth; Hellboy I & II; and even…Blade II! (Wesley Snipes + Kris Kristofferson = Oscar…or should have if the Academy wasn’t racist) (Interestingly, the vampires in The Strain remind me of the mutant vampires in Blade II) (Wow! Triple parentheses! How often do you see that?)

Because I’m a fan of Guillermo del Toro and because he is the master of creepy creatures, I distracted myself wondering how this was going to look on film. It was kind of like reading a book after seeing the movie—except the movie hasn’t been made yet.

The first two chapters—featuring the gentle giant Sardu’s ill-fated hunting trip and the tragic death of the passengers on flight whatever—of this epic tale grab you by the short hairs and don’t let go…until Chapter 3 when they let go (much to the relief of my short hairs). I didn’t have great expectations for this book and Sr. del Toro didn’t disappoint.

Halfway through the book our protagonists still don’t know what the f@*% happened on the plane and I’m thinking “didn’t they read the back cover of the book?” Three-quarters of the way through the book, when they’re still figuring things out, I came to realize what most of you already knew—that this is the first book of a trilogy and wasn’t going to have a tidy ending (didn’t I read the back cover of the book?). Although I really enjoyed the book, and can’t wait to see the pared down film, the author(s) spent so much time developing “the strain” that the ending was abrupt and unsatisfying. Again, I can’t wait to see the movie. Check out the trailer for the book below.

Submitted by Fabuloso

How many cars does Toyota sell in Scotland anyway?

This just cracked me up! A Toyota ad from Scotland.

Of course I've been accused of having a macabre sense of humor too....

Friday, June 12, 2009

Review: Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver

In Roadside Crosses by Jeffrey Deaver, Kathryn Dance is a body-language or kinesic analysis expert for the California Bureau of Investigation. Someone is leaving disturbing crosses by the roadsides, made of dark, broken branches, with blood red roses at the base. On the crosses is etched a date; a date in the future. The crosses appear to be notices that someone will be attacked and left for dead on those dates. It’s up to Kathryn and the other officers in the CBI and Monterey Sheriffs Dept. to stop this madman. Add to this the personal family crisis caused by Kathryn’s mom being arrested for murder, corrupt politicians, an obsessive blogger, a tech savvy professor and teenaged cyber bullies, and you have the makings of a pretty good novel.

Deaver does an excellent job in this second in the Kathryn Dance series. Even though the book references the incidents of the previous novel, the reader can follow along quite well. Dance’s character is further fleshed out, allowing us to see a bit more of what “makes her tick”. The book is an interesting foray into the world of blogging and especially into the world of cyber bullying. It was frighteningly true to life to see how rumors, innuendo and outright lies can travel the globe in the speed of a mouse click and the terrible ramifications for those targeted.

I really only had two complaints about the book, and neither one are terribly significant. First, I’m starting to feel a bit smacked over the head with the info that Kathryn Dance is a kinesic analysis expert and what this means to how she interacts with the world. Okay…I get it. I wouldn’t need to be told more that a couple of times if a character was a world class marksman, or a translator, or someone who can read lips. It almost feels as if the specialty that Dance practices isn’t considered legitimate, so we must be reminded frequently lest we hold her in lower esteem. On the other hand, it is an odd specialty, so maybe we need to be reminded of its value.

The other complaint is just down right silly. The author got teen behavior just spot on, with one tiny exception:

“Then he walked inside, and to his horror he’d seen only the kewl people, none of the slackers or games. The Miley Cyrus crowd.”

The quote is part of a passage describing a party this particular teen went to, expecting his friends to be there. The passage goes on to describe a party out of control, teens drinking and using, etc. Pretty much a typical, unsupervised teen party. So what’s my beef? I’m warning you…it’s silly….The Miley Cyrus crowd…part. I don’t know what it’s like in other parts of the country, but where my youngest goes to school, at our local high school, the “kewl” kids, the drinkers, the partier’s, would NEVER…. EVER-in a MILLION years listen to or watch Miley Cyrus. Only “goody-two-shoes” nerds would profess anything but disgust for her music, movies and tv shows. How do I know this with such authority? Easy….my lil’ Sophomore is a “goody-two-shoes nerd”. Now she happens to be a JV cheerleader too, (weird, huh?) with a GPA of over 4.0 (weirder, huh?). But when she went to a birthday party at another cheerleaders house and kids showed up drunk, she was on the phone to me in about 30 seconds flat looking for a ride home. And yup…she’s a Miley Cyrus fan. I know…silly thing to bug me, but everything else rang so true, that it bugged me....what did I say...... I know, I know....(nitpicker...that's me....)

Would I recommend this book? Absolutely! Aside from my own petty little problems, it’s a good book and Jeffrey Deaver has done it again!! (One of these days, he’ll write a klinker, just playin’ the odds, but not this time!)

Roadside Crosses hit the shelves this week on June 9, pick up a copy, its worth the read!

Thursday, June 11, 2009

The Correct Way to Weigh Yourself

I can't believe I've been doing it wrong all these years!!

Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Review: Relentless by Dean Koontz

Cullen “Cubby” Greenwich’s newest novel is a big hit, skyrocketing the charts and everyone loves it. Everyone, that is, but a reclusive, yet renowned critic, Shearman Waxx. Waxx’s critique of the novel is filled with vicious and inaccurate statements, and it bugs Cubby to no end. His wife Penny, a successful author and illustrator of children’s book, tells him to let it go. His brilliant son, Milo, also known as “Spooky”, tells him to let it go. Even his dog, Lassie, seems to be telling him to let it go. But Cubby just really wants to get a look at Waxx, just one quick peek, to see the face of the man whose words can make or break a career. That quick look will trigger the sociopathic Waxx to go after Cubby and his family. Soon the Greenwich’s are running for their lives, certain that Shearman Waxx personifies evil. But they ain’t seen nuthin’ yet, just wait till they meet up with Shearman’s mom, she’ll make Shearman look like your average TV cop show garden variety psycho of the week.

First, a disclaimer, I'm a huge Dean Koontz fan, so it's no surprise that I loved this book! If you've not read any of his books, or its been years since you have, you should pick up a copy. Koontz is the only author I've read that can write a suspenseful, terror filled book that can make you laugh out loud. Only in a Dean Koontz novel, in the midst of terror and fear, do you find descriptive passages in the narration such as this:

“Beyond the service-island overhang, in the windless night, the rain came down in such straight skeins that the rigorous lines should have proved the law of gravity to any disbeliever, of which I’m sure there are multitudes, considering we live in an age of enthusiastic ignorance, when anything well-known for centuries is not only suspect but also considered worthy of being rejected in favor of a new theory more appealing to movie stars and deep-thinking rock musicians.”

Koontz always manages to endear us readers to his protagonists, blending horror and humor, love and fear, loyalty and danger, adding a big dose of compassion and common sense. In short, his characters are not only the people we want to meet and befriend, but also they’re the kind of people we’d like to be. (Cubby and Penny, that is….not Shearman, unless you’re sort of the sociopathic, cuckoo type. Then I guess that old Shearman would be your hero,huh?)

The lightheartedness and humor that Cubby and Penny fill their lives with comes shining through in this story. Filled with fascinating, eccentric, lovable characters, Relentless is aptly named. The Greenwich’s dogged determination to keep their family safe, loved and happy contrasts with Shearman Waxx’s relentless intention to destroy them. And we readers are taken for a thrilling and “relentless” ride.

The book went on sale yesterday, June 9. For cryin’ out loud, why are you sitting there…go get yourself a copy!

My rating:

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Daily Winner!!-- Day 30!!

Today's lucky winners of Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo are Windycindy and Lesley!! I really hope you like the book as much as I did!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered, only one more day left...bummer....oh..wait...what's this? I think I have another Amazon card floating around my desk. Hmmm...I think my "blog-o-versary" is coming up! Do I feel another giveaway coming on??

Friday, June 5, 2009

Daily Winner--!! Day 29!!

Congratulations to Jess, who is the lucky winner of today's drawing for Mark Sullivan's Triple Cross! Please check your email and send me your address! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered, we're getting close to the end now, but there are still a few books left, so check them out below!!

Thursday, June 4, 2009

Daily Winner--!! Day 28!!

Congratulations to Alexa, who is the lucky winner of today's drawing for Salty Like Blood! Please check your email and send me your address! I hope you enjoy the book as much as I did!

Thanks to everyone who stopped by and entered, we're getting close to the end now, but there are still a few books left, so check them out below!!

Father's Day is Coming!!!

And I've got a couple of ideas!

One of the BEST books I've read this year would be a terrific Father's Day Gift, and I found out that the author has a website where you can get an autographed copy, in addition to lots of other goodies!

Big Sid's Vincati would seem to be just a book about a couple of guys that build a weird motorcycle. But it is just so much more! My husband loved it for the story between the writer and his dad, I think he saw a lot of the same father/son stuff that he had with his dad. My son loved it because he saw so much of his own relationship with his dad in it. And I loved it for the writing, the heart and because I saw my son, my husband and my father-in law reflected in it. You can see my review HERE.

Big Sid's is one of those universal books, I think everyone can see something of themselves or someone they care about in it. Order a copy today...I promise you won't be disappointed!

If your dad/uncle/significant guy is more of a movie guy..go out and buy a copy of The World's Fastest Indian. Like Big Sid's Vincati, this movie is so much more than meets the eye. Not only did my husband and I love it, but when I played it for my 75 year old mom, she loved it too!

There you go....Father's Day solved in two clicks of the mouse! (Trust me...you won't be sorry...Big Sid's is really a terrific book!)

Wednesday, June 3, 2009

Winners!! Part Two! (I'm almost caught up!!)

May 31st drawing for Life Sentences, giveaway #24
Congratulations!! Bingo is the winner of this nice hardcover copy! I hope you enjoy it!!

June 1st drawing for Fifty is Not a Four Letter Word, giveaway #25
Hooray!! Susan is the lucky winner of this book! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

June 2nd drawing for The Last Bridge, giveaway #26
Congrats go out to Irene Yeates! It's an interesting book, hope you like it!!

June 3rd drawing for Still Life, giveaway #27
Deedles is the lucky winner of this very good book! Congratulations!!


Oh boy! Am I in the dog house with all you guys! And I don't blame you one bit. When I optimistically posted that I'd be getting all caught up last Saturday, I didn't take into consideration my family.

I had the youngest daughter writing a final paper,and the eldest daughter had to spend every waking, non-working minute on studying for her anatomy/physiology/microbiology classes that have finals this week, and of course, a large portion of her studies involve powerpoint notes from the teacher and a digital textbook.

And then there was the frantic search for a new car, since the eldest daughter also sold her truck much more quickly than she anticipated, so hubby has been online car shopping every time the computer was open. I'd sit down to start a post and not 90 seconds would pass before I'd hear, "are you almost done? I need the computer?"

I gave up and decided that I'd just do my thing on Monday when everyone was gone. And then my video on the computer died. Arrgghh!

It took a little while to diagnose, I thought it was the video card, but I took my monitor to my neighbors and it was dead there as well, bought a new monitor Monday night, and then sat down yesterday to get caught up! Yay!

Then I heard, "are you almost done? I need the computer!" The eldest was off all day yesterday and planned on studying ALL day for last night's test! Oh double arrghh! I gotta buy myself a laptop! (She thinks she aced the test though...*grin) She's got another test tomorrow, but until noon today, the computer is MINE!!! After tomorrow night, schools out for at least a couple of weeks, and I'm looking forward to not sharing the computer so much! What did we all do without computers??

So-with no further whining, bitching and complaining and with a hearty THANK YOU for your patience...here's some of the giveaway winners!!

May 24th drawing for Boneman's Daughters, giveaway #17
Congratulations!! Nyuel, Anonymous, and Gaby317!! You've won the audiobook of Boneman's Daughters!!

May 25th drawing for $25 Amazon gift card, giveaway #17+!!
Woot woot!!! Yay, nightdweller20...you're the lucky one!! Thanks to EVERYONE who entered!

May 25th drawing for Latter-Day Cipher by Latayne Scott, giveawy #18
Congrats goes out to bermudaonion! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

May 26th drawing for an audiobook of The Scarecrow by Michael Connelly, giveaway #19
Hooray for Melissa, holdenj and Lucy!

May 27th drawing for an audiobook of Cemetery Dance, giveawy #20
Congratulations to Jennifer, Emily B. and Jen! Enjoy!!

May 28th drawing for the audiobook of The Secret Speech, giveaway #21
Yowza! The lucky winners for this one are, CherylS. Doreen, and Abby! Congrats!!

May 29th drawing for the audiobook of The Way Home, giveaway #22
Cheers go out to heathmochafrost, Julie and Rebecca Cox!

May 30th drawing for The Girl She Used to Be, giveaway #23
Congratulations! Marie Lay, you're the lucky one for this book!! Yay!!

Okay, I'm going to have to stop now..I have to get some errands done before I have to pick up the youngest from school. Short day today, its finals week at her high school. (Yep the paper got written, and was pretty darn good if I do say so myself!)

More winners coming soon! And again, I'm sorry this whole giveaway got so messed up in the end! Just when you think you've got all the bases covered.......