Wednesday, November 30

Mid-Week Meet n' Greet: 11/30

How it works:  You bring along a fictional character and a food they would eat.  We all share in the feast while we read your answer to the completely random question.  Yep, that is pretty much it.  Feel free to comment your stuff below or link up your post.  No pressure.  Never mind, I mean tons of pressure.  We are all counting on you don't let us starve intellectually or in our bellies.  Just kidding.

This week I brought Charlaina from The Pledge.  Hey, where is the food.  Charlaina, you were supposed to bring the food today.  I don't buy the excuse that you had more important matters on your mind like evil ancient queens.  As if you could really have one inside your head.  Please, what a lame excuse for letting us all down today.

Sorry, everyone apparently my guest today is a bit strange in the head or just plain lazy.  So lets move on to the second part of the fun.

You've been given the chance to travel into the future to see how the world will change over the next 50 years.  What change in particular are you most interested in?

Enough with the evil queen thing already Charlaina.  No one believes that you are wondering in 50 years if the evil queen has succeeding in taking over your mind.  Geez, what is with her today.

Actually, it scares me a bit to think what my life will be like in 50 years.  The first thought that comes to mind is what deplorable degraded state will I be in physically.  I mean I will be really old in 50 years.  I don't think I would be paying much attention to what was going on the world around me.  In fact, I probably won't have a very high functioning brain at that point.

Charlaina says she will send the evil queen out to inhabit any mind that isn't taking this seriously.  Yeah, thanks a lot for that.  I am sure none of them believe you either.  Go back home and get some help.

Small Steps: Book Review

by Louis Sachar 

Review by Womble Dean

Louis Sachar may have some strange names for some of his characters, but they are awesome.  If you read this book, you will walk away with a really great one.  His name is Armpit.  If you've read "Holes" and/or watched the movie, you will most likely love this book.  Could it stand up as a successful motion picture as well?  I believe so, it has an even more down to earth feel with an incredible message of hope, repentance, and redemption.  There's no mysterious treasure like in "Holes" but there is an interesting back story of intrigue and plotting involving money that takes the story into overdrive later in the book.  You will be left with an open ending, but that's what the message of the book is really all about, "There is no end, only new beginnings, for those who are willing to keep taking small steps."  

I'll admit it right now, I'm a very sentimental sort of chap in spirit.  I love stories that move me and leave me wanting to be a better person.  Heck, I'll even admit that there were parts that brought a few tears.  If you're the type of person that believes in men that aren't ashamed of their feelings, then this book is for you.  Who would have guessed that an Armpit could be so appealing?  If there were more Armpits and fewer butt holes the world would be a better place.  Two thumbs up for Louis Sachar. 

Tuesday, November 29

Insight: Book Review

by Jamie Magee

Before that fateful summer night, Willow had balanced the insight of emotion, and the vivid images. That night, the figure in her nightmare marked her wrist with a star, giving her father no choice but to tell Willow a family secret that would abruptly change life, as she knew it, forever. Before Willow had time to absorb the shock of her father's secret, her soul mate that had shared every stunning dream with her, found her, and darkness captured her closest friends. In order to save them, she must weave through broken myths and the undeniable power of the Zodiac. In the end, Willow discovers that at the moment of our birth we are all given a divine gift.

This was probably more of a two and a half star rating.  I had a hard time getting through this one.  It just couldn't seem to grab my attention.  Over and over I found myself a bit bugged by a missing factor.  The author had all the parts but the transition was missing.  It was just too easy to keep my distance.  I am not sure exactly how that could be fixed.  I am sure you know what I mean.  There is a huge difference between a book that follows the rules and a book that pulls you utterly into its pages.  I have read so many outstanding books that make sleep or eating seem unimportant.  This wasn't one of them.  Perhaps, a bit more editing would have done the trick.  Or maybe everything just seemed to perfect and the crisis too weak.  
In some of the reviews I have read people didn't like that Landon and Willow were so suddenly completely in love with no follow up.  While it wasn't my favorite, I felt the author did a good job of explaining why this was.  At the same time the author has created a so called perfect world in which things sometimes tend to go astray.  For instance the fight between Landon and Willow was just awkward.  It seemed to me that this should have been impossible.  This book did also remind me a bit of Personal Demons.  Not in the way you are probably thinking, however.  Mainly, I got tired of hearing about how everyone smelled in that book.  Similarly, in this book I got tired of hearing how everyone felt.  There is a point when something has been repeated a bit too much.  The same thing happened in Leven Thumps.  I get it he is a toothpick you don't have to keep saying it.  You have to read it to understand.  So yeah a bit irritating.
As the book progressed I found it a bit easier to stay focused.  Whether this was due to better development or my sheer will I couldn't say.  I did grow almost fond of some of the characters and will be interested to see if they get developed a bit further in the books to come.  Maybe other things will come together as well.
The book was a clean read although a bit off from the beaten track.  Marriage is not practiced and the parents go from overprotective to completely okay with their little girl moving in with a teenage guy.  That was hard for me to swallow but I was used to it by the end of the book.

Monday, November 28

Gratitude Giveaway: Winner

And the winner is. . .

Kim Cuasay

You have been contacted.  Please get back to me in 48 hours.

Time of Year for. . .

Yep, it is that time of year again.  Where you look in the mirror and shudder at the extra cushioning and challenge yourself to an exercise routine you won't keep up.  Where you vow to only have one slice of pie at the holiday get together.  Where you buy more stuff you might not actually need for Christmas and then challenge yourself to trim down the junk around the house.  Where you vow to stop flying off the handle every time your child makes a mess.  Where you promise yourself you won't keep eating all that processed food.  Where you sit in front of your computer and promise to stay on top of your blog and other online social activities.  Where you decide to keep a good and uplifting attitude through the next year.

I suppose this gives a bit too much information about myself.  Of course, none of these start until January 1st so I can let myself slip a bit.  No point in jumping the gun.  I need to work myself into these or I am sure to fail.  No need to get discouraged that very few of last years resolutions were fulfilled.

So one of the things I have notices going around the blog world like mad fire are challenges for next year.  I have been debating if I wanted to get involved with any of them.  And if I do get involved which ones do I pick.  I would really like to pick challenges that I think are possible.  One of the challenges that I signed up for last year was DAC and it didn't go so well.  I just wasn't able to keep track of them.  Yet, the peer pressure to join again is almost overwhelming.  Maybe, this year I will be able to stay on top of the challenge.

Here are some of the challenges I am thinking about: (these contain both those linked with other blogs and personal challenges)

Read and review one or two unknown books each month
Keep up on my extraneous posts each week
Find a blogger friend or two
DAC courtesy of The Story Siren
Figure out how the Twitterverse works
Host more giveaways
Do better with RAK
Find a ways to get more comments on my posts
Read 150 books courtesy of My Overstuffed Bookshelf
Shrink my TBR shelf courtesy of Hooked on Books  or Roof Beam Reader
Best I've Read courtesy of Books Complete Me
Find someone with a list of all these sorts of challenges or put one together
Give my blog a makeover
Keep paper and pen nearby when I read so I can jot down my thoughts
Find my brain so I can remember all this

So I haven't committed yet but these are all passing through consideration.  Maybe, I will come across more challenges.  It would be nice to enter some silly competitions just to lighten it up a bit.

What challenges are you thinking of participating in this year?  Are there any you really feel the rest of us should partake in as well?  Thoughts on a reasonable number limit of challenges to accept?  Any of you want to volunteer to help me complete some of these challenges? 

I will have to get back to you on what challenges will make the cut.

Thursday, November 24

So Silver Bright: Book Review

by Lisa Mantchev

Can you imagine if all your words had the power to become reality?  Or should I say some rather messed up version of reality.  It seems that Beatrice can imagine anything into being.  Yep, that is right absolutely anything.  Time and time again in this book she pulls the most random and impossible things out of her brain.  To top that off she is dragging two rather odd men along for the ride.
I really don't like Beatrice.  Whiny, trouble making, life destroying are all good descriptions for her.  I wasn't at all surprised to find she was more often than not the cause of trouble for all involved in the story.  She messed up her own parents lives as well as her two romantic interests.  Speaking of romantic interests.  I really was never fond of Ariel but the ending was just lame.  Can you bow out one in a triangle and bring about the victor with any less decision on the part of the heroine.  Pathetic.  She never actually decides but then I suppose it is much like that in real life.  Just because you feel yourself absolutely in love with some movie star doesn't mean they are in for the long haul with you.
The fairies were some of the better parts of the dialog since they could be counted on for some comedic relief.  Other than that my favorite line was right at the end "Now yer stuck wi' me forever, an' perhaps even a bit longer than that." "'Beyond all date, even t' eternity.'"  And part of that was from Shakespeare so go figure.
My opinion on the series is read the first but forget the others.

Tuesday, November 22

The Gathering: Review

by Kelly Armstrong

Waiting.  That is the best word I can think of to describe this book.  It didn't help that I took forever finishing it.  I could just never find the time or perhaps it really didn't demand I make the sacrifice.  The cover seems so dramatic and so I was waiting for it to live up to the cover.  Either that or I was waiting for a reason for anything.  Why do we care what is happening between these characters.  Care to explain why there is such a particularly strong attraction between Rafe and Maya?  What is going on with Daniel?  What is with the completely unstable Sam?  That girl needs some serious help.  I find it hard to believe that no one has taken measures about her violence.  For the most part everyone is happy and well adjusted.  Even the death that haunts Daniel and Maya isn't really much.  Sadly, come the last pages of the book I was still waiting for really anything to happen.  The finale was rather weak and just added more confusion into the mix.  Unless the next book really adds substance to the story this is one to avoid in favor of so many better out there right now.The best part of the book involved the conversation between Maya and her parents.  She would always say the funniest stuff.

Monday, November 21

Eye Candy: V

Go figure, when I finally try to attack my TBR pile my eye wanders over more books demanding to be read.  And here I thought I would have time to get the pile under control.  I guess I don't control my life so much as I would like to think.

Endlessly by Kiersten White

The Selection by Kiera Cass
Unleashed by Nancy Holder and Debbie Viguie

Friday, November 18

Kimberly Derting: Giveaway

No not the person, some sweet stuff in honor of her Launch Party.
I am almost close enough to go to this party.
Check out the post here.

Spoofs: Twilight

Ha ha.  Ever since the whole movie thing happened to this series I have been rather distant with it.  I mean the movies have just spoiled all the fun.  But, I decided to pull up these two posts and was glad I did.  So I thought I would share them with you.

Courtesy of Pure Imagination:

Courtesy of Reading Teen:

And here is another one I came across at How It Should Have Ended.


Nightshade Competition: Winner

Alright, and the winner is. . .

Charissa Jackson

Yep, you are the lucky winner.  Please go fill out this form so that they can send you the book.  Don't dawdle you wouldn't want to miss out.

Thursday, November 17

Gratitude Giveaway Hop: Illusions

Thank you to those hosting this hop.  
Alright, I am still in process of clearing out my shelves.  So here is the next book up for grabs.  As part of this hop it is in gratitude for the followers.   Hardcover.  My review.

To enter:

Be a follower
Be over 13
US only
Fill out form below

Winner will be picked with after November 27th and notified.  They will have 48 hours to get back to me with mailing information.

Wednesday, November 16

Mid-Week Meet n' Greet: 11/16

Okay, it has been a long time since I had this meme up.  So lets do a little recap.  You bring along a fictional character and a food they would eat.  We all share in the feast while we read your answer to the completely random question.  Yep, that is pretty much it.  Feel free to comment your stuff below or link up your post.  No pressure.  Never mind, I mean tons of pressure.  We are all counting on you don't let us starve intellectually or in our bellies.  Just kidding.

This week I brought Jessamine Luxton from Nightshade.  We brought along some small game hens, poached in a seasoned consomme of Jessamine's own devising.  Herbed new potatoes, creamed spinach, and a clove-scented pudding to share with you all.  I have it on good authority she is a great cook.

Actually, on second thought I would avoid the food altogether.  The last who dined on just such a dish ended up six feet under.

Okay, now we are all eying my questionable guest for her possible intent on our lives lets get down to business.

If you could have any object or place in the world completely to yourself for one day, what would you choose?

Oooh, that is a good question.  I think Jessamine would like to have her mind all to herself.  Or at least she should want that.

I on the other hand would like my house to myself for a day.  It isn't glamorous to be sure, but with a toddler and a newborn I would sure savor every quiet stress free blissful moment.  Maybe I would read a whole book or catch up on my sleep.  I suppose there would be time enough for both in one day.  Very likely however, by the end of the day I would be missing my children and most especially my spouse.

For those of you not taking this seriously, I can easily send my very good friend Jessamine out to get you.  I hear she is an excellent assassin.  Or well, she will be if she ever gets out of her current predicament.

Tuesday, November 15

Book I am Most Thankful for

I am most recently thankful for The Iron Knight.  It is the last awesome book I read.  My review.  I can't wait to find the next awesome book.  Hey, maybe if my lucky stars align I will win these books and find several more books to be thankful for.

The Pledge: Book Review

by Kimberly Derting

Publication Date: November 15th

What happens when someone gets complete power without any foreseeable end?  Well, that is what happens in this story.  The queen has a way of living forever and bit by bit has grown rather paranoid and cruel.  Her subjects are in quite a bind but several don't mind while others are ready for a new queen.  The search is on but will they find her before the queen.  When they do find her will she be what they are looking for?
My biggest qualm with the book was the romantic interest.  Things get heated or committed rather fast.  The two have only met once and they are a bit more lost to each other than I would think possible.  Not only that but it seemed the author was trying to say that there was some cosmic reason as to why they felt this way about each other.  Well, I must have missed what is was exactly.  I don't think the royal blood is the real reason.  The "special" power was definitely a ticking time bomb.  Take any teenager and tell them not to do something but don't really explain why.  Eventually, they are going to mess up.  Why would they take it seriously?  That just doesn't seem to be part of most teenage brain chemistry.  It was interesting how she was so afraid of Max and his goons but it seemed completely unfounded.  Sure, they are big and strong and can rip your head off but they sure don't do much to warrant the fear she felt.  I kept thinking they were actually going to eat someone and was a bit disappointed that they weren't doing any such thing.
The ending was interesting.  I wonder how she will deal with her companion.  Will old age be her undoing or has she really won?

Monday, November 14

Top Ten Unread Books on my Shelf

1. Tunnels 
I got this book at a book sale almost two years ago and have only managed to read a chapter or two.

Other than that book everything else is new or just hanging out on my maybe someday to be read list.

Thursday, November 10

Nightshade: Book Review

by Maryrose Wood

Oh my goodness!
Wow, the four stars is rather against my will, perhaps I have been poisoned too.  The ending just doesn't add up to a four star as far as happy goes.  The rest of the book just demands the rating.
Not for the faint heart as this is a very dark book.  The characters are just stellar.  The near misses they keep having just heartbreaking.  How could one soul suffer so much and still find some will to continue on.  I kept thinking of all the darkest possibilities for their futures.  But still the author would surprise me and find something even more horrible than I imagined.  In such a world as this is there any point?  Somehow, no matter what they choose they will fail.  Once again the evil guy messes with everyone.  I want to pour hydrochloric acid on every inch of that poison garden.  Then I want to burn it with the use of kerosene, till the ground six feet under, and finally soak the ground in round-up.  I do not like when the bad guy comes off conqueror.  Someone needs to put a stop to the torment.  Even so, the book was a fabulous read.  Hate the ending but you can't despise the book.  Give this book a try and you will definitely have an opinion.

Don't forget to enter the competition for a signed copy of this book.(Closed)

Wednesday, November 9

Another winner: A Need so Beautiful

So tragically, I haven't heard back from AmyG.

. . .

And that means the new winner is Vivien - I definitely recommend Forbidden by Tabitha Suzuma and Madame Tussaud by Michelle Moran.

You have been emailed.  Get back to me in 48 hours please.

Tuesday, November 8

The Gray Wolf Throne: Review

by Cinda Williams Chima

This book was a bit of a let down for me.  I had really been looking forward to it for some time.  By the time I was able to not only get my hands on a copy and read it the ending of the book frustrated me to no end.  I was seriously miffed.  This seems to stem mostly from my inner delusion that this was the last book.  So under that idea the way it ended was just disappointing.  There are so many things that haven't been taken care of yet.  Since, I am a huge fan of romance that was one area I felt that some serious stuff still needed to happen.  I guess the good news is that other than my dislike of having to wait longer this was a great book.  The characters were really awesome as usual and there was so much conflict the pages seemed to fly by.  Is there a soul out there who isn't routing for Han?  He is such a great character from his strengths to his weaknesses.  I most definitely recommend reading this series and will be impatiently waiting for the next book. 

Monday, November 7

Nightshade: Competition Giveaway

The author is giving away a signed copy of Nightshade.  Following is information on how to enter the competition.

TWITTER - Tweet @poisondiaries with ‘signed copy’ reference and my blog name.

FACEBOOK - Head on over and ‘like’ our Poison Diaries Facebook fan page and leave a ‘signed copy’ reference with the my blog name.
WEBSITE – Enter the Poison Diaries website, find the plant Arum Maculstum , add it to the ‘my poison diary’ and share it via Twitter, including the my blog name.  Open to US only.
My review.

Saturday, November 5

100 Reviews Giveaway: Winner

Alright so before I run off again lets close up the giveaway.

And the winner of A Need so Beautiful is. . .

AmyG -

Ok, I looked & this one was not on your reviews page, but if you're like me it is very possible you have already read this!

Beautiful Disaster by Jamie MaGuire This is ebook only & only 4.99. An author recommended it to me & was pretty wary bc its self-published & not yet out in print. But, it was cheap, so I thought what the heck! And, I am not exaggerating at ALL!!! This book is the equivalent to whatever book crack would be!!! I've made everyone I know that likes to read, read this book & they all were just as addicted as me! One of my friends read it 6 times in a row!!!! If you read it please let me know what you think! I'm on twitter at YASisterhood or you can comment somewhere on our blog I'll see it:

Funny story: We're at one of those bouncy places & I was at the front talking to the owner. All of the sudden my 4 year old son runs around the corner completely naked!!! He had been having a grande old time just jumping and sliding bare-bottomed on all the bouncy houses! He was in the phase where they want to strip down completely to go to the bathroom, and he just neglected putting his clothes back on. From that moment on, I kept a better eye on my stripping little boy!

You have been contacted so email back.

Thursday, November 3

Every Other Day: Book Review

by Jennifer Lynn Barnes
Publication: December 27th 2011

This book was a bit of a surprise for me.  By the end of the first chapter I was sincerely wishing I hadn't volunteered to read and review this book.  Kali was such a crappy character.  She had no feelings no friends no loving family.  There was just nothing to hold onto except some action.  That reminds me far too much of recent movies I have seen.  No character development just action and it falls flat the second you are out of the fancy action shot.  Amazingly, in this case you most certainly can't judge the book by the first chapter.  As more characters get introduced and developed the story really is rather good.  My biggest complaint come the end of the book is the so called romantic interest.  If these people feel nothing how does that really work out.  Not only that but it seems that there is no actual choice involved.  They are "interested" in each other because another creature compels them to be.  That just seems rather sad and pathetic.  So I can't really hope for that to work out.  Why would I want her with some heartless controlling turd.  No thanks.  Well maybe more development will occur in future books and it will be a different story.  I also think the evil character might be certifiably off her rocker.  The logic behind her being the evil incarnate was a bit odd.  Anyway, this book is definitely worth a read.  I have enjoyed the other books I have read by this author as well.

Wednesday, November 2

RAK: October Wrap Up

I sent:
I just had a baby and wasn't able to get this all put through.  But I did get my eye on someone so hopefully this next month.

I received:

I am so very excited to read this book.  Hopefully, I can find the time very soon.  Thank you so much.

Waiting on Wednesday: Clockwork Prince

Clockwork Prince
by Cassandra Clare

Publication Date: December 6th

From Goodreads

In the magical underworld of Victorian London, Tessa Gray has at last found safety with the Shadowhunters. But that safety proves fleeting when rogue forces in the Clave plot to see her protector, Charlotte, replaced as head of the Institute. If Charlotte loses her position, Tessa will be out on the street—and easy prey for the mysterious Magister, who wants to use Tessa’s powers for his own dark ends.

With the help of the handsome, self-destructive Will and the fiercely devoted Jem, Tessa discovers that the Magister’s war on the Shadowhunters is deeply personal. He blames them for a long-ago tragedy that shattered his life. To unravel the secrets of the past, the trio journeys from mist-shrouded Yorkshire to a manor house that holds untold horrors, from the slums of London to an enchanted ballroom where Tessa discovers that the truth of her parentage is more sinister than she had imagined. When they encounter a clockwork demon bearing a warning for Will, they realize that the Magister himself knows their every move—and that one of their own has betrayed them.

Tessa finds her heart drawn more and more to Jem, but her longing for Will, despite his dark moods, continues to unsettle her. But something is changing in Will—the wall he has built around himself is crumbling. Could finding the Magister free Will from his secrets and give Tessa the answers about who she is and what she was born to do?

As their dangerous search for the Magister and the truth leads the friends into peril, Tessa learns that when love and lies are mixed, they can corrupt even the purest heart.
I want to read this more out of a devotion to the author than the particular developing story.  The characters just haven't quite been developed enough to excite my allegiance.  Maybe, the second book will do the trick and I will happily wait in line for the next.  But, I do like the covers that Cassandra's book produce.

Tuesday, November 1

Illusions: Book Review

by Aprilynne Pike

What a let down.  I thought this was going to be the last book but it seems to be shaping up into a never ending cycle.  Yuck!  It doesn't seem to matter how many books come out I really don't like the characters all that much.  I am feeling much as I did when it came to Bella from Twilight.  The girl in this book is just bugging me.  I think it would only be fair if she lost all of the boys.  What an annoying girl.  You can't be so indecisive and expect to still get everything you want.  I did think this book was also really heavy on foreshadowing important things.  I felt like I knew exactly how they would find out the season of the new girl long before the book got moving.  Which also meant I knew what season they were dealing with.  I think I was so detached though by the end of the book that their extreme reactions didn't make sense.  Why the big deal?
As for reading future books I am beginning to think I should just imagine an end that would please me.  That way there is no potential for future let down.