Sunday, December 23, 2012

A Few Of My Favorite Things Pt. 2

Merry Christmas to all my book loving friends!  This time of year is just crazy for me, and blogging has had to take a backseat to holiday parties, cookie making, present shopping and cleaning for the impending influx of relatives on Christmas day.  Now that all of that is done, I am taking these two days before Christmas to catch up on my favorite Christmas movies.  Christmas movies are a part of my holiday season, so here is a list of my favorite holiday movies.

(in no particular order)

Rudolph The Red Nosed Reindeer
Die Hard (not your typical Christmas movie, but hey, it takes place during a Christmas party!)
It's A Wonderful Life
The Holiday
Love Actually
How the Grinch Stole Christmas

Most people have The Christmas Story and National Lampoon's Christmas Vacation on their lists, but honestly, I just don't like them.  I must prefer a happily ever after with true love, friends coming together, and, in the case of Die Hard, Alan Rickman falling out of a window from a great height.

Anyway, I hope you are all celebrating your usual holiday traditions and preparing for a fantastic 2013!  I'll post my "best of 2012" list soon enough, but until then...

May your days be Merry and Bright.

Merry Christmas to all.  And to all a good night.


Friday, December 14, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: December 14-20

This week's Book Blogger Hop is brought to you by Ramblings of a Coffee Addicted Writer

This week's question is:  What bookmarker are you currently using? 

Well, I usually use whatever receipt or scrap piece of paper I have stuck in my purse because I've forgotten an actual book mark. 

I have several book marks, but my favorite is one that was embroidered by my aunt.  It has my name misspelled (on purpose) in cross-stitch and I love it.  I'll add a picture of it when I get home.  I got it for Christmas or a birthday at some point in the mid to late 80s when the height of fashion was peach and green.  My bedroom was peach and green, my parent's living room was, and my wonderful book mark followed the same trend.  My aunt, Pam, and my great-uncle, Lloyd, always thought it was hilarious to come up with a new way to spell my name (Susanna) every time they saw me.  Susannah.  Suzannah.  Suzanna.  Soozanna.  Siouxzannah (that was my personal favorite).  This book mark is an homage to their silly war on my name.

Anyway, I am always fearful of losing it because it means so much to me. My aunt passed away in 1999, so it's one of the few things I have left that she made me.  I usually keep it at home, safely tucked away in a drawer and used only for books that I read at home and don't tote around the city on my daily commute with me.

Aunties out there: if you have nieces who read, make them one.  I can't even tell you how much it's influenced me to have a home-stitched bookmark made with love.

Thursday, December 13, 2012

The Merry-Go-Round by Donna Fasano

The Merry-Go-Round 
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4 stars

Independent lawyer Lauren Flynn is finally getting what she wants: a divorce from her husband, Greg.  When he lost his hardware store, and all her retirement savings, Laura had had enough.  A year later and she's getting her divorce and a piece of land she didn't know about, which comes with a Merry-Go-Round on it.  Restoring the Merry-Go-Round becomes her project, and brings her and Greg together.  But she's interested in moving on - with her teenaged client's sexy father, Scott.  Will she choice to start over with Scott or will she go back to her past - Greg?

I like Donna Fasano's books.  They're sweet, realistic and modern.  Lauren doesn't need a man and she's a modern woman.  I tend to get annoyed with contemporary romances with weak, virginal women.  Lauren is not those things.  Both guys, Greg and Scott, were sexy.  Although Scott had some, er, problems.  Which brings me to Norma Jean, Lauren's secretary, who was freakin' hilarious.  She was the comic element of the book.  The only character I didn't like was Lauren's father.  He was just your typical curmudgeon, but I'm not a fan of curmudgeons.

Anyway, great book, sexy and funny, with a super sweet ending.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Death, The Devil and The Goldfish by Andrew Buckley

Death, the Devil, and the Goldfish
Genre: Humor, Fantasy
Rating: 4 stars

I've had a hard time thinking of what to rate this and how to review it. I want to almost work backwards because it might make more sense that way...

I had a hard time picking out 1 main character, but I guess it'd be Nigel, the police officer. Then there's Death (as in the Grim Reaper). And a penguin who got put into the body of a millionaire. And a scientist Celina who invented robotic elves. And of course there's The Devil and the Goldfish. See what I mean about hard to review?

Ok, so here's the summary: Nigel, the police officer, is investigating why no one is dying in London and why a cat suddenly has turned into the devil. He also has a gambling problem and is harassed by two stupid goons. The Devil, on a week-long jaunt to earth ok'd by God, got "accidentally" (always read the fine print) put into the body of a cat. He, as the cat, convinced Death to quit. Hence the no one dying. The penguin knew he was meant for bigger things and then *bam* he ends up a man and washes up on the same island where Death is vacationing. Back in London, Celina is locked in the lunch room kitchen hiding from the robotic elves that have taken over due to a programming glitch (there's the Devil at it again). And the goldfish? Well, he's prophetic. He receives messages and flings them out to the universe hoping that they reach the appropriate person. And since he's a goldfish he has about a 10 second attention span, he constantly wonders why there's a castle in his bowl. So, the motley team of Nigel, the penguin, Death and Celina have to try and stop the Devil and his evil mechanical elves from completing his dastardly plan.

I had a hard time getting into the book because I was so confused. It reads similar to a Douglas Adams book - very witty with dry British humor. I had to get adjusted to it. And the plot jumps from person to person, so I had to figure out what each story had to do with the next. It does come together, it does, I just had to figure out how. Once it did, it was funny and I enjoyed the characters. It was fun. And silly. And a bit ridiculous, but it's supposed to be. It's set up with a bit of a cliff-hanger at the end, so I'm assuming that there will be a sequel, which I'll have to read since by the end I cared about the characters. And that's the point, right? To care about the characters.

I recommend this for fans of The Hitchhiker's Guider To The Galaxy, people who enjoy British humor, or anyone who read this and just has to find out HOW all these things came together.

Review: The Green-Eyed Monster by Mike Robinson

The Green-Eyed Monster
Genre: Paranormal thriller, horror
Rating: 4 stars

Synopsis: Two men have almost identical lives.  Born the same day, at the same time, in the same town but to different parents.  They are both best-selling authors.  They live next door to one another as adults.  You'd think they'd be friends.  You'd be wrong.

In a series of flashbacks from their youth, some from first person accounts, some from 3rd person stories, we learn all about these two men and their malevolent "grandfather" and the butterflies that announce his presence.  He influences their lives (although he only exists to them) and through their writing, he is able to manipulate innocent people into killing.  You see, he has a bigger plan and they are just his tools.  Because in the end, everything must die to become one again.

My thoughts: This book was marketed as a mystery, but to me it wasn't one.  It was a thriller.  It was psychological.  It was uncomfortable at times.  The only "mystery" was who was the grandfather and what was his purpose, which we do learn at the end.  The writing is very well done and bravo to the author in pointing out how infrequently we end a sentence with "me" instead of "I".  But back to the plot.  The flashbacks are so well done and yet disturbing because they don't have happy endings.  You get to care about the people who "star" in the flashbacks (it is not the two men, but people in their lives) but you know it's going to end badly for them and you almost don't want to read it.  Like when you're watching a horror movie and you want to yell at the character not to open the door that the murderer is standing behind.

Over and over we are told that the men are almost identical, even though they don't look alike.  Well, I have to say that after reading the book, I still can't tell them apart.  Which one died?  They were too similar.  I just don't know.  But I guess that was the point.

If you're looking for something different, something a little creepy in a psychological way, check it out.  Again, it's written well and it definitely kept me turning the pages.  It just made me long for a nice Happily Ever After, but hey, you can't always have one.

Thanks for Curiosity Quills Press for giving me a copy of this for review.

Tuesday, December 11, 2012

A few of my favorite things. I mean books.

Hi everyone!  Sorry for being a touch incommunicado, but after having a two-week cold and trying to read all my books for review, beta reading and proofreads, I've been swamped.  Plus, the holidays always take up a lot of my time.  Just the nature of the beast.  Anyway, if you are awaiting a response to me regarding a review, etc etc, I am getting to it!  I swear.  But feel free to bug me if you're getting impatient.

Anyhow, on to today's reason for blogging.  I figured that I would, like so many have, put a list of my favorite Christmas themed books up!  So here we go.

Sus's Favorite Christmas Books

There's nothing I enjoy more than a good book to curl up with in front of the fire, especially where there's a nice HEA in it for me.  Therefore, most of my favorite Christmas books are romances, but quite a few are mysteries, too.

What Happens At Christmas What Happens at Christmas, by Victoria Alexander.  I already reviewed this book here, but it is a sweet little romance set during a traditional English Christmas turned not so traditional.

The Twelve Clues of Christm... The Twelve Clues of Christmas, by Rhys Bowen.  Reviewed here, it's a bit of romance, a lot of murders and some comical drunk scenes.  I really love Bowen's writing and this book was great fun for this time of year.

The Mischief of the Mistlet...The Mischief of the Mistletoe, by Lauren Willig.  I love a strong female character and a dashing male hero, but sometimes having a bumbling idiot for a protagonist is just awesome.  Poor (as in unwealthy) Arabella has taken a job at a school and inadvertantly stumbled upon French espionage.  With the help of handsome yet clueless and not-so-smart Turnip (yes, his name is in as smart as one), they save the day, have a Merry Christmas and fall in love.  It was hilarious and sexy.  Love it!

Silent in the Sanctuary (La...Silent In The Sanctuary, by Deanna Raybourn. Lady Julia goes back to her father's house for Christmass only to have one of the house guests murdered.  She must figure out which guest did it before they all leave, and she has the devilishly handsome and charming Nicholas Brisbane to help her.  Lots of intrigue and a touch of romance.

A Holiday of Love (Westmore...A Holiday Of Love, Judith McNaught, Jude Deveraux, Arnette Lamb, Jill Barrett.  I usually don't care for short stories, but this had two of my favorite romance authors in it, so I had to read it.  I fell in love with all the stories and I still read it every Christmastime - and I've had this book since high school!  I Particularly love Daniel And The Angel.  It made me a good way.

There we have it - my favorite Christmastime books.  I'll have to do a favorite movie list next. :)

Happy Holidays!  

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Review: The Twelve Clues of Christmas by Rhys Bowen

The Twelve Clues of Christmas (Her Royal Spyness Mysteries, #6)
Genre: Cozy Mystery, Historical Mystery
Rating: 5 stars

Lady Georgiana Rannoch, 35th in line for the throne, is stuck in Scotland with her horrible sister-in-law and her clueless brother.  Longing for an escape, she takes a job from an advertisement requesting a lady of good background to help host a traditional English Christmas in England.  Grabbing her maid and hopping on the train, she gets there only to find that someone has been found dead in the orchard.  Then, each subsequent day there is another death.  With the help of her Cockney grandfather and her mysterious beau, Darcy, Georgie is going to get to the bottom of is - and have a merry Christmas and happy New Year!

I love the Her Royal Spyness books.  This is the 6th in the series and it did not disappoint.  Georgie's always funny, if prim, and Darcy is just dreamy and luckily there is plenty of him in this book.  Other returning characters include her mom, grandfather, and maid Queenie, but missing from this adventure is her good friend Belinda, whom I'm beginning to miss.

Now, I am going to blame this on my cold, but it took me forever to pick up on the theme for the mystery here.  I am ashamed to say that I didn't get it until Georgie got it.  I wanted to smack my head and say "duh", but I also have to give Bowen credit because she did it in a way so as not to be too obvious.  At least to cold-medicine-dosed me.  Regardless, it had me stumped, and it took me quite a while to figure out whodunnit, so bravo to Bowen for that, too.

Finally, I'd like to say thank you to Bowen for the ending.  I've been dying for the Georgie/Darcy relationship to move along, and while I won't say what happened, if you're a shipper, you'll like it, too.

Monday, December 3, 2012

And You Are...? Blog Hop

What a fun blog hop!  Tammy Theriault and Emily posted about it weeks ago and it's been in the back of my head to do simply because the questions are hilarious!  So here goes!

1. How many speeding tickets have you gotten?
Um...5?  We have "speed cameras" in my county, so those darn things have caught me 3 times that I can recall and I've been pulled over for speeding twice.  Guess I need to slow down, huh?

2. Can you pitch a tent?
Maybe.  Possibly.  Last time I went camping was in 2002, and I honestly don't remember if I helped or not.  I'm sure I did.  What the heck - I'll go with YES.

3. What was your worst vacation ever?
I often take "staycations" because I get so much vacation time and my husband only gets 1/2 of what I have.  So my last "staycation" was right before my brother's wedding this past July.  I thought I'd take off, help them out a bit, hang out by the pool, relax.  Instead, my parents decided to redo their kitchen.  6 days before the wedding.  By themselves...or more to the point by using their children as labor.  So there I was, on my vacation, painting, cleaning, painting some more, cleaning some more and then finally cleaning the whole damn house.  I was not happy, but my parent's house and kitchen looked spectacular and my brother's wedding was wonderful.

4. What was the last thing you bought over $100?

I bought a bunch of makeup at Sephora recently.  It needed to be done.  Your face is forever and if you don't pamper it, it'll show!  So yeah.  Foundation, eye palette, moisturizer, serum, eye cream...the whole 9 yards. :)

5. We're handing you the keys to what?
A vacation property in Sarasota, Florida.  Which I will take and catch the first plane to.  OMG want!
6. What was the last meal cooked that made even you sick?
Chicken in "papillote".  Basically chicken in parchment paper with zucchini, carrots and onions.  It was over cooked and had zero flavor.  It literally made us gag.
7. Fill in the blank: Oh my gosh! Becky, look at her butt! It is so big. She looks like _____?
Some rap guy's girlfriend.
8. What was your first car?
1982 Buick Le Sabre, nicknames: Big Blue Boat; Lurch.  It was approximately the length of a football field, leaked oil non-stop, had no heat, no air conditioning, and no tape deck. The radio tuner only went in one direction (down) so you had to use the presets to go up on the dial.  Also, the roof liner was coming down, so it was like a giant bubble over your heads.  And it wouldn't go into reverse unless you eased it in and you felt the whole car shift.  The blinker was hanging on by a wire, so I had to turn that gently lest it fall off.  It would frequently stall when pressing the gas after coming to a complete stop, so I was the cause of many people being late to things as my car stalled in the middle of the intersection.  God I miss that car.
9. Your best friend falls and gets hurt. Do you ask if he/she's okay or laugh first?
Since she/he is hurt, I ask if he/she is ok first.  If she/he wasn't hurt, I would laugh hysterically.
10. What's the worst song ever?
Rick Astley's Never Gonna Give You Up and The Christmas Shoes.

Friday, November 30, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: November 30-December 6

 Book Blogger Hop

This week's Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Anglers Rest and we are asked the following:

Question - Apart from being readers, many of us collect books on a specific subject or by a particular author. What books or which author do you collect?

I have several authors of whom I collect books, but usually because they are part of a series.  I have all the David Eddings Belgariad and Mallorean books, the first 8 Sookie Stackhouse books, a lot by Pier Anthony, etc.  Romances, however, I will by because of the author.  I have a plethora of Judith McNaught, Julie Garwood, Victoria Alexander, Nora Roberts and Jude Deveraux.

As far as subject goes, I tend to like historical mysteries set at the turn of the last century or during the Napoleonic Wars (not that I prefer those time periods, but it seems that many authors do and I like their books).  They are by C. S. Harris (Sebastian St. Cyr), Tasha Alexander (Lady Emily), Deanna Raybourn (Lady Julia), Rhys Bowen (Molly Murphy and Her Royal Spyness) and Shirley Tallman (Sarah Woolson).

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Review: How Hard Can It Be by Robyn Peterman

Blackmail. Revenge. Love At First Sight. Restraining Orders. Martians Living In TVs. Time Traveling Warlock Vampire Pirates. Shape Shifting Fairies. Pork Swords. Viper Bitch Whore From Hell.

If you just read those words and thought "what the what?" a la Liz Lemon, well, then you just read my mind.

How Hard Can It Be?
Genre: Romance, Chick Lit, Humor
Rating: 4 Stars

Rena Gunderschlict (admittedly a horrible last name) is bored in her accounting job, so she decides to join a writers group to write a romance novel.  The group consists of 4 potty-mouthed, sex-crazed 70 year old writers: Poppy Harriet (who writes about sex while using garden tools), Nancy (who writes sexy cookbooks), Joanne (not sure what she writes, slasher books maybe?) and Shoshanna LeHump (who writes about bdsm). Rena quickly learns that famous author Evangeline O'Hara, aka Viper Bitch Whore From Hell, has been stealing the book ideas these women come up with and writing them as her own.  When Evangeline joins the meeting, Rena steps forward to protect the 4 scared older ladies and she pitches her own ridiculous book.  A time traveling warlock vampire pirate is in love with a conjoined twin, Shirley, but hates the other, Laverne, so he takes them to the future to John's Hopkins for a surgery to separate them.  Evangeline loves the story idea and offers Rena $30,000 to dictate the book to her.  She agrees.  When Rena runs an errand for Evangeline and breaks her restraining order, sexy cop Jack is forced to arrest her. Quickly, the tables are turned on Rena and she is blackmailed, along with the other women, into writing the book for free. Rena and her friends decide to exact revenge on Evangeline by writing the worst book imaginable and ruining her career. 

What entails is a hilarious, ridiculous tale of exacting revenge, helping friends, and falling in love.  Now, when I read the first few pages, I was totally confused because you are thrust right into the middle of a conversation, but I kept with it and the book started to come together.  Ridiculously and implausibly, but it comes together.  Rena is a fun character.  She's smart, but has a tendency to run off at the mouth, and has a hilarious imagination.  Her family is a hoot - especially her Aunt, who is crazy. And then there's Jack the cop.  Totally sexy and sweet, I picture him to be Channing Tatum. But then I can pretty much envision any character to look like Channing Tatum.

If you are easily offended by inappropriate language, you will not like this book.  I thought I had a potty mouth, but compared to this, I'm Mother Teresa.  There are quite a few F-bombs.  Per page.  However, if you are not easily offended by curse words, and have an appreciation for the ridiculous and a good sense of humor, you will enjoy this.

This book was supplied to me by NetGalley and Kensington Books for my honest review.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Out Of The Turkey Coma, A Review of Ready Player One

Hello everyone!  Long time no post.  I had a great Thanksgiving (Mom came out of surgery just fine, thanks for everyone who asked and kept her in your thoughts) and had several days to recuperate and catch a cold.  But now I'm back and read to review a book!

Ready Player One

Read Player One, Ernest Cline
Genre: Dystopian Future, YA
Rating: 4.5 stars

It's 2044 and we've trashed the planet.  Polar ice caps melted, fossil fuels ran out and a great(er) depression has set in.  The "real" world is quite depressing, so most people live their lives in a virtual reality world called the OASIS.  In the OASIS you can be whomever you'd like: your avatar can look however you'd like it to and your personality can be the same or different.  You can work, shop, attend school and fall in love in the OASIS.  The inventor of the OASIS has died and in his last will and testament, he has left his vast fortune and the OASIS to anyone who can solve his puzzle within the OASIS - "easter eggs" that you can only know by knowing what his favorite things were...80s trivia

17 year old Wade Watts wants out of his deplorable living situation and is one of the "gunters" (egg hunters) searching for the easter eggs.  He has studied movies, songs, tv shows, commercials, cereal boxes, video games and more from the late 70s and 80s.  He can recite full dialogs and can beat all the games.  This knowledge helps him solve the first puzzle and changes his life forever.

I don't remember who recommended this to me, but thanks.  I enjoyed this book so much.  One of the first conversations where Wade is arguing with his best friend on whether or not Ladyhawke was a good movie had me in hysterics.  (And had me rushing to my best friend to read her that because we watched it so many times.) Reading all about the 80s and the things I grew up with as a kid brought on a wave of nostalgia and good feelings.  Aside from the 80s flashback, I also enjoyed the story.  The puzzles were well disguised, and while I thought the actual winning of each "prize" was a bit rushed, I still enjoyed it immensely.

I recommend this for: anyone who loves VH1's I Heart The 80s, adults/teens/children of the 80s, gamers, frequent movie quoters,  and anyone who knows the answer to "Where's The Beef?".  Not that the saying is in the book, but because you know.  You were there.  You know the answer.  It's at Wendy's.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

10 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012

Seeing as Thanksgiving is two days away, I thought I'd post my thankful post today since I feel like tomorrow will be crazy (Mom is having surgery) and Thursday will be devoted to sloth and gluttony.  Thus, my 10 Things I Am Grateful For In 2012 list.

10. My coworkers.  Not everyone can say that they work with phenomenal people, but I honestly can.  I love my coworkers.  Brilliant, loyal, funny and kind, I am so lucky to know them.

9. Healthcare.  With my mother going in to surgery tomorrow, I am grateful that she is covered by Medicare and that I was fully covered this past January when I had my surgery.  Paying for that would not have been fun.

8. Pinterest.  Without you, I would have so many fewer fun recipes and DIY projects to try out.

7. Mint chocolate chip brownies.  Mint + chocolate = heaven.

6. Krystal Wade.  Watching her rise into authordom and helping her by reading her books has been such a fun ride!  Not to mention, she's a great person. 

5. The MARC Train.  You get me to work on time every day and save me $200/month in comparison with the Metro.

4. 80s movies.  Die Hard, The Princess Bride, Clue, Indiana Jones, Star Wars (yes, it overlaps with the 70s, but whatever), Real Genius, Starman, Back To The Future, Somewhere In Time.  You were the best babysitters in the world and I can still watch any of you again and again and again.

3. Blogger! I'm so happy to have "met" such great people and to have an outlet for my book fetish.

2. My boys.  My Westies.  They make me smile and laugh every single day, even if one has the worst breath in the world and the other is obsessed with toys.

1. My husband.  He took care of me when I was sick, he randomly brings home flowers, he doesn't complain when I read books 24/7 and he loves me.

Happy Thanksgiving, everyone (in the US)!  Be safe and have a great day (worldwide).

Friday, November 16, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: Nov 16-21, 2012

Book Blogger Hop 

This week's Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Butterfly-o-Meter Books and asks the following question:

Mix’n'Match: The bookish gods are giving you free hand, you can pick any one character (book, TV series/movie, play etc) and inject them into a different novel of your choice. Which character and series would you mix’n'match?

Well, I've thought of a couple of mixes and they all involve vampires, oddly enough, but my ultimate choice is this:  I would love to see Eric Northman from the Sookie Stackhouse Series in the Twilight books.  He would totally kick the crap out of all the Cullens.  No offense to Twihards, but sparkling vampires?  Ew.  Maybe Twilight, etc, was just too sweet for me, but I enjoyed Eric's thrill of the kill and general mayhem.  Love me some vikings!

On a similar thread, I would also like to insert the author of the Sookie Stackhouse novels, Charlaine Harris, into the TV show True Blood so that a) maybe it will make sense, b) it will follow the books and c) it will make sense.  Oh, did I repeat myself?  Because really season 5, what happened?

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

Wordless Wednesday: Meet My Babies

For the first time today, I am joining Creat With Joy's Wordless Wednesday.  I usually post about books (hence the blog name), but I thought I'd take a time out to write about my favorite things in the whole world: my Westies!

This is a picture of my boys checking out the neighborhood on a fall day.  On the left is Benny Blanco from the Bronx. Yes, that is his full name, but he also responds to just plain old Benny.  On the right is Riley.  We feel bad about his lack of a long name, so we call him Riley Pants (he's a grumpy pants, stinky pants, shortened to just Pants).  He tends to respond best to RiRi.


And just to keep this vaguely about books, here's a pic of my boy Riley upside down (in the, as we call it, dead bug position) and there's a book on the couch next to him. It's actually from a mystery series that I just love, the Sebastian St. Cyr series by C.S. Harris.  The book in the picture is When Maiden's Mourn, but the first is What Angels Fear. Highly recommended.  A little romance, a lot of mystery and great writing. 

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

Wildest Moments Blog Hop

To celebrate the release of her book, Wilde's Meadow, Krystal Wade is hosting a blog hop!  Bloggers are commanded to discuss their wildest moments.

All you have to do is blog about a time you did something wild, something life changing. Jumped from a perfectly good airplane? Quit your job to write full time? I’m looking for fun, heart-pumping, or inspirational stories that you have experienced. “Wilde” things you’ve completed on your quest to grow up or move on.

Well, I can't say I've ever jumped out of an airplane or quit my job, but I have had my share of wild times.  But life changing?   That brought me up short.  I've snuck onto a Naval base to crash in the barracks for the night after too much fun (and tequila) in Tijuana.  I've streaked across the football field at the University of Maryland on a dare.  And I may or may not have made out with the drummer of a famous band.  However, none of these events changed my life.

An event that did change my life was one that is a bit, well, mundane.  My life changing event happened when I was sixteen.  I was in the German Club in high school (if you took German, you were in the club) and when I was fifteen, I got to host a German exchange student for several weeks.  The next year, it was our turn to go to Germany.  And thus comes my life-altering event.

Getting on a plane.

Now, I had been on planes before.  Twice, in fact.  Once when I was eight to Disney World and then again at fourteen to Bermuda.  However, the plane ride to Bermuda had so much turbulence that it made me never want to fly again.  Couple that with the made-for-TV movies about Locherbie, Scotland and I was convinced that all planes were going to plummet to the ground or blow up.  And now I had the opportunity to get on a plane.  By myself.  To go to another country.  Where I could only ask, "Where is my pencil?" (Woher ist mein bleistift?)

I hemmed and hawed on going.  My parents told me it was an opportunity of a lifetime.  My brother told me it would be 6 weeks away from him.  My friends told me to go enjoy it.  Finally my teacher, in an attempt to allay my fears, took me to a Lufthansa hangar, where the workers there showed me all the precautions they take before they fly the plane and ensured me of their incredibly low crash rate. And so I went.

I overcame that fear and learned the wonders of immersing yourself in another culture, country, language and cuisine.  I can now say with full confidence, "I spit in your eye!"  (Ich spuche in deine auger) and still have the full McDonald's menu down pat in German (Ich mochte ein sechts stuck chicken mcnuggets mit seussauersaus, eine kleine pommes und eine kleine sprite bitte.)  Because really, what else does a sixteen year old need to know?

Since then I have flown all over this country, from  Maine to Hawaii, Chicago to Texas. I've gone to 11 countries on 3 different continents. I've eaten all different kinds of food and have continued learning useful sayings in various languages like "il hotel e qui vecino" and "kalimera" and "mahalo".  Just don't ask me to translate anything in German, because I may end up insulting you.



So what's your wildest moment?

Monday, November 12, 2012

Wilde's Meadow Character Interview and a Giveaway

Well, I had the chance of a lifetime today, and one I'd rather not repeat.  I got to interview with Dughbal, God of Darkness, from the Darkness Falls series and most recently to show up in Wilde's Meadow!  Here is the transcript of the interview.  I had no idea what I was getting myself in to...

S: Dughbal, thank you for coming to Earth today to answer a few questions about the upcoming war that will be featured in Wilde’s Meadow.

D: Make it quick. My siblings would mock me if they knew I was meeting with a mere mortal such as yourself--and in the most boring of all worlds.

::shuffles notes nervously:: 
S: So what is your ultimate goal for Encardia?

D: You ask such personal questions. If you must know, I never intended the battle on the Draiochtans to go on for so long, but Griandor and his patience. So infuriating. Then when I heard about HER . . . well, I couldn't help myself. The threat of Katriona's existence enticed my desire for action, for chaos.

S: That's it?  Chaos?  I would have thought a God would have a more grandiose plan than chaos.  I mean, where does that get you?

D: Out of boredom, my dear, but I would never expect you to understand. How long have you lived?

S: I’m 35

D: Why am I here again? Call me again when you've added a few hundred years to that pathetic age. Oh, that's right, you'll be dead.

S: Ok then...well, between Griandor's patience and the fact that you’ve been influencing Brad for years, you had a lot of time to prepare for all this.  What time-management system do you use?  Do you have a 5 year plan?

D: Time-management? Hmm. Humans and their odd way of looking at the world. I do not manage my time; I merely find things to fulfill my needs. Currently that consists of stripping as much inherent power from the useless Draiochtans as possible, and that's pretty easy since they outlawed the use of the very thing that could save them from me. Why my brother loves these people, I'll never understand.

S: What are your feelings for Kate? Minor irritation or full rabid hatred?

D: She is just a minor irritation, but one I have truly grown fond of. Kate believes she can best me. Can you believe that? Me? An army of daemons serve me. I cannot be killed. Yet she attacks over and over again, and with such conviction. The war with her is greater than I have ever fought with my siblings.

S: Well, when you're done with the war you so obviously will win, what then?  What's next?

D: I hope to inflict the same amount of pain on my brothers and sisters as they have inflicted upon me. Once Encardia is destroyed, they will know how the loss of Elysia wounded me, they will know we should rebuild, and they should rid themselves of the idea of trading worlds to govern. The new Elysia should be mine. The inhabitants loved me, and my family destroyed it all.

S: What does your therapist say about your obsession with destroying worlds and hurting your family?

D: Have you met a coscartha? They have razor-sharp teeth and claws that I am sure could puncture straight to your heart. Never mind the poison. Keep asking questions like that, and I will call one to meet us.

::starting to sweat profusely, but trying to remain professional::
S: *ahem* That segues nicely to my next question: Do you have a favorite Daemon?

D: The winged creatures are the most loyal to me, the most inclined to do as they're told and enjoy it.

S: If this war isn’t successful, what then? Have you thought about going back to college?

D: I am an immortal. I have plenty of time to be successful.

S: Well I wish you the best of luck.  Kind of.

D: Luck is for fools.

S: Last question.  Tell me honestly: Team Brad or Team Arland?

D: Katriona is blind in her love for Arland Maher. The human boy Brad is stronger than I anticipated, and the love he feels for her is very real, very pure, sometimes overcoming even my own almost limitless powers. I doubt the Draiocthans could endure me possessing his soul; I doubt he would.

S: Ok, well I'd better let you get back to your malice and mayhem.  Thanks for allowing this interview, and since you don't need luck, I take it back - I don't wish you good luck.

D: You can keep your luck. If you are as nosy with others as you have been with me, you may need the non-existent luck.

S: Okay then. Bye!

D:Good bye, Susanna.

That clinched it.  He is pure evil.  He DARED to call me by my full name.  Stupid evil god.  It's like my mother - refuses to use the nickname.

Well, in further celebration of the Wilde's Meadow release, I am giving away a copy of the ebook!  So fill out the rafflecopter between now and November 12th!  

a Rafflecopter giveaway
Don't forget to check out Krystal's Blog
to check out all the other fun give-aways she has going on!

Friday, November 9, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: November 9-15, 2012

Book Blogger Hop 
This week's Book Blogger Hop question is from The Fake Steph Dot Com and she has asked the following question:
Is there a book series that you're not totally into, but still keep buying new releases because you love the covers?  I can't say that there's a series I keep buying because of the covers.  I do have a few that I'm not into as much but I keep buying because I'm invested in the series by now.  The Sookie Stackhouse (Southern Vampire) novels, for one, and the Stephanie Plum novels is another.  I do still enjoy the books, just not on the same scale as the originals.  I'm just "meh" about them at this point.

I will pick up a first book based on the cover, but if it doesn't hold my interest, no matter how good the cover of future books (example: the Luxe series), I'm over it.  I'd rather save my money to buy something good.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Gone Girl, Gillian Flynn

Gone Girl
Genre: Psychological Thriller, Fiction
Rating: 4.5 Stars

On his fifth wedding anniversary, Nick Dunne gets a call saying his front door is wide open.  He gets home to find his wife, Amy, missing, his living room a mess.  Written in two voices, Nick's in the first person and Amy's through her diaries, we are shown their life together before the disappearance and how the investigation goes on.  What seems like a happy marriage is quickly shown to be the opposite and as evidence piles up, you have to start wondering: did Nick kill his wife?

Wow.  Ok.  So I finished the book and I just...I don't know what to think.  Just when you're starting to think one thing - BAM! - the book changes course and it's something completely different.  I have never read anything like this before and it's hard to even write about it without giving away the amazing sucker punches it doles out.

When I first picked the book up, I was a little annoyed by the writing.  Both main characters, Nick and Amy, are writers, and since this is from their points of view, they come off as a bit haughty or pretentious.  You're good writers.  You went to college for writing.  We get it - no need to hit us over the head with it.  Luckily, the story is so interesting, I forgot about this and it stopped annoying me.  Then I started noticing how smart the book is.  Flynn has thought of everything and done so convincingly!  I mean, I'm not a police officer, but to me, it seemed very well planned out. 

This book is dark and it is disturbing as much as it is thrilling and not-put-down-able.  The best way to sum it up is a quote from The Princess Bride, "Life is pain! Anyone who tells you differently is selling something."

This book would make a great movie.  It would be the sit on the edge of your seat kind of movie. So why only 4.5 stars?  Because a) it's disturbing and b) I didn't care for the ending.  Although, bravo to Flynn for snubbing convention and writing it that way.

It was still good and if you liked messed up situations, pick it up.  If you like mind teasers, pick it up.  Or if you want to see what all the hype is about, pick it up.

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Election Day

Ok my fellow Americans, I am doing my due diligence and reminding you all to go out and vote if you haven't already!

In 1912, my great-great grandmother marched in Washington, DC (my fair city) for the right to vote.  8 years later, her wish finally came to fruition.  I vote every year because not only is it my civic duty, but it is one that my ancestor fought for me to have.  To not vote, or to not be registered to vote, when voting is a right that was not granted to all people, would be blatantly disrespectful to her and the women who fought for it. And that's just the women.  Even when black men were allowed to vote, there were horrible Jim Crow laws preventing it that lasted well into the 1960s.  In fact, voter suppression laws still exist in Mississippi (I believe they passed one last year) and I'm sure other states.

Even if you are a white man, and always had the right to vote in the United States of America, you should exercise your right to vote.  But most importantly, you should make your opinion heard.  Because everyone has an opinion and every opinion matters.  And if you don't like your options - write in a candidate.

So go vote.

Got it?


Now since this is a book blog and I'm not exactly on topic, here is a book I've read that touches on voter suppression and the right to vote:

The Secret Life of Bees
The Secret Life of Bees

This book is not totally about that, but it starts out that way.  A black woman in the deep South attempts to go vote and is attacked by white men.  Honestly, I read this book in 2009, so it's not as fresh in my memory as it should be, but that opening scene of the woman trying to vote has stayed with me.  I gave it 5 stars on Goodreads, so it must be a great book.  Wish I could remember it more!

Happy Election Day!

Monday, November 5, 2012

Wilde's Meadow, A Book Dedication, And A Thank You

Today Wilde's Meadow by Krystal Wade is finally available for purchase!

I did a web interview, which I hope everyone watched, with Krystal in preparation for it.  I was her beta reader and had the fun of reading it and getting to add my own two cents about stuff in the book (although she rejected my idea for another chapter in the caves.  Oh well.)  It was such a great experience and I really loved it.  It made me feel even closer to the characters (whom I already loved).

But here's the best four of her book is the dedication page.  Guess who the book is dedicated to?  ME!!!  I found out on Friday and have been just speechless since.  I tweeted about it on Friday, but I wanted to be able to put my thoughts down.  And I have none.  I am still speechless.  I didn't do anything amazing or spectacular to merit it.  I was just being a good friend - and one who genuinely likes her books.   Thank you, Krystal!

So as a good friend and avid fan, I have to recommend to you all, once again, to read this book!  If you haven't read the first two, that's ok - they're still available and I believe the prices have been reduced.  So what are you waiting for?  Read them!  Do it!  And then read the dedication page.  And smile knowing that it brought such joy to me.

You can read my review of here books here:

Wilde's Fire (Darkness Falls Book 1)
Wilde's Army (Darkness Falls Book 2)
Wilde's Meadow (Darkness Falls Book 3)

And check out Krystal's blog - she's giving away a Kindle Fire and has a fun blog hop going on.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Book Blogger Hop: November 2-8, 2012

Book Blogger Hop
This week's questions is from The Fake Steph Dot Com:

Is there a book that has been languishing on your TBR pile even though you spent months anticipating its release?

I am usually not guilty of this, but I do have one book that has been sitting next to my bed for months now and I just can't bring myself to pick it up, despite originally being so excited to get my hands on it.

Deadlocked (Sookie Stackhouse, #12) 

I've heard and read so many terrible reviews of it that I just can't bring myself to open the book and be disappointed. I loved the first several Sookie Stackhouse novels, but the last few have been just "meh".  Now that this is the penultimate book in the series, I suppose I should just read it and get it over with, but I just really don't want to read the bad ending so many have told me is waiting for me.

Thursday, November 1, 2012

Cover Reveal: The Fire of Merlin and a Free Book!

I am so excited to be doing my very first cover reveal for the awesome and talented Donna Hosie!  Look at the pretty cover. I love the fire at the bottom - makes it seem like the book may be dark.  I love dark. :)

The Fire of Merlin (The Return to Camelot, #2)
The Return to Camelot trilogy continues in The Fire of Merlin.
Seventeen-year-old Natasha Roth and her older brother, Arthur, are reunited once more with the Knights of the Round Table. Unfortunately their joy is not shared by Arthur’s girlfriend, “Slurpy” Samantha, whose hatred of Natasha has not been lessened by time or distance since the Roth family relocated to London.

But Natasha’s happiness is short-lived. 

The knights come with ill news from Logres: a magical darkness has fallen over the land. The Lady of the Lake, Nimue, is battling against her former lover, Merlin, whom she imprisoned before the enchanted sleep. He has been freed and Natasha soon discovers that her own actions the previous year unlocked more than just a gateway between the past and the present. When “Slurpy” disappears, a frantic Arthur decides they must leave the 21st century once more and return to Camelot. 

With her beloved Sir Bedivere at her side, Natasha follows the sound of the bells and leads Arthur and the knights back into Logres. But there are more than bells ringing in her head. Natasha starts to suffer from terrifying visions in which she sees the destruction of Logres.

As the darkness continues to infect the living, the people start turning on each other, accusing outsiders of witchcraft. Terrified that Natasha will be hurt, Sir Bedivere takes her, the dwarf Byron and Byron’s sister, Guinevere, into the safety of his father’s castle. Yet nowhere in Logres is free from fear and suspicion, and Sir Bedivere unwittingly leads Natasha into a terrifying chain of events in which time itself is manipulated.

Natasha must uncover the truth about the danger to Logres and those she loves. Who is the real threat to Arthur? Can myth and legend become fact? What is the secret that “Slurpy” is now hiding?

And for the love of all things holy, when will Logres invent saddles?

Sounds great, doesn't it?  Awesome story, pretty cover, but wait! There's more!  It gets even better because for four days, November 1-4th, you can get the first book for free from Amazon.  Check it out!

Searching for Arthur (The Return to Camelot, #1) 

Monday, October 29, 2012

Review: Anna Dressed In Blood, Kendare Blake

Anna Dressed in Blood (Anna, #1)
Genre: YA, horror
Rating: 4.5 stars

Teenage loner Theseus Cassio Lowood, Cas, is a ghost hunter.  He inherited the power, and a deadly athame knife, from his dead father and he "kills" ghosts who are maiming and killing the living.  One day he receives a tip about a ghost in Canada named Anna Koslov...Anna Dressed In Blood. 

He and his mother pack up and move to the small town so Cas can learn more about Anna so he can figure out how to kill her.  He makes friends with some people in his new high school so he can learn her legend, when things take a turn for the worse.  Anna is like no other ghost.  She is strong, she is angry and she is very deadly.  But she also has another side, an innocent side that she shows to Cas.  Cas needs to figure out how to kill her and how to protect others from being killed and how to get revenge on the ghost that killed his father.

This book was recommended to me by many of my fellow bloggers, so I just had to read it.  And then I met Anna.  I started to think that you guys were some sick people!  But then I got to know Anna and it wasn't so bad.  Don't get me wrong, this book verges on horror and it is gruesome, but it's so good and even a little sweet.  It's a quick read and a fun one.  If you want a great read to get in before Halloween, pick this one up!

Now I'm off to hunker down and wait out Hurricane Sandy.  Fingers crossed that I don't lose power!

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Go Ask Alice

Go Ask Alice

Well, I picked up this book during Banned Books Week, and just finished it.  Not that it was a hard or long read, just that I put it down because I it was disturbing.  But it was getting close to when it was due back to the library, so I powered through it yesterday.  Again, no big feat since it's an easy read and short. 

In a nutshell, this book is about a 15 year old girl who, right off the bat, has serious self-esteem issues and body image issues.  She gets slipped some LSD in a coke while at a party and falls in love with drugs.  She thinks they're glorious and wonderful and that clearly teachers and her parents are wrong about them.  She wants to experiment with more drugs and as she meets people within the drug culture who tell her about the next best high, she goes for it.  Thus she falls down the rabbit hole of drugs.  She does try to get herself out of it a few times, but always goes back to the drugs.

Now the part that didn't quite ring true was the end of the book.  She ends up, once again, accidentally getting dosed with, presumably, high concentrated LSD that was put on chocolate covered peanuts and goes crazy.  This is blamed on the kids in her high school who are still in the drug crowd who want to pull her back in.  That just doesn't make sense to me.  They were THAT upset that she wasn't using/dealing that they drugged her?  To what purpose?

So I don't know what to think of this book, which is why it gets the low rating.

If you take it for what it says it is, an anonymous diary of a 15 year old who falls into drugs, then it is just disturbing. I kept wishing that the inevitable outcomes wouldn't happen, that the girl would be able to stop the downward spiral of her life. If that is the case, I would rate it 3 stars. I didn't love it and do not want to read it again because it's too disturbing. But it was certainly interesting and it kept me turning the pages.

If you don't believe it is a real diary, or based off of one or several diaries of drug addicted teens, and that it is a work of fiction, then it's just baffling. Why pretend to be a real diary when it isn't?  There are plenty of fictional accounts of drug use, but just because they are fictional doesn't take away from the power of their message. The subterfuge just doesn't make sense to me.

Regardless, the book made me so happy that I don't do drugs and that I do not a) have the type of personality that was curious about that stuff and b) have an addictive personality.

Rating: 2 stars

Monday, October 22, 2012

Review: What Happens At Christmas, Victoria Alexander

What Happens At Christmas 
Genre: Historical Romance
Rating: 4 Stars

I was so excited when I received my ARC of What Happens At Christmas from Kensington Books via NetGalley.  Victoria Alexander has long been one of my favorite romance authors.  Her book, Her Highness, My Wife is my #1 favorite romance.  Alexander writes about princes and princesses, far off places and wealthy artistocratic families with a penchant for twins and trouble.  I love them.  So you can imagine the fan-girl screaming that occurred when I got the ARC.  This newest book did not disappoint.

Carmille, Lady Lyndingham, widow of two years, has her sights set on a new man: Prince Nikolai Pruzinsky of the Kingdom of Greater Avalonia.  She invites him to a traditional English Christmas with her family at her mother's house, but the problem is her family is not traditional and, aside from her twin sister and her husband, her family will not be there.  But that doesn't stop Camille - she simply hires a troupe of actors to act as her mother, younger sister and uncle.

She is convinced that she can get Prince Nikolai to propose and that she will fall in love with him - he's perfect, so how could she not?  But her plans to show him a traditional Christmas get a wrench thrown in them when Grayson Elliot, Camille's neighbor and former best friend, walks back into her life.  He's been gone for 11 years, after professing his love for her on the eve of her wedding and then running away to America when he didn't get the answer he wanted, but he's back and he knows what he wants and he's ready and willing to fight for it.

Camille must figure out how to juggle an increasingly bad acting troupe, family members who keep showing up, a sarcastic twin and her long-lost love.  And she must decide if Prince Charming is really who she wants, or if she wants the one who got away.

Victoria Alexander writes in such a way that you are instantly sucked into her characters' world. You can feel the tension between Camille and Grayson.  Grayson is contrite yet strong and Camille is headstrong and stubborn, but she's funny and insecure too.  I loved their romance.  There were many times which I wanted to put my hand to my heart and swoon in full Southern Belle style.

The secondary characters were a hoot: the overly scornful and sarcastic twin, all the actors, with their inabilities to keep their characters straight, Grayson's cousin and Camille's mother and younger sister. They all added levity to the story and made it so amusing and lighthearted.  Perfect for the holidays.

The only thing I was a bit unhappy with was that while Alexander has set up a love triangle with Nikolai, Camille and Grayson, there really isn't all that much time spent with Nikolai.  His character actually confused me for a while because I had read, and loved, books about Avalonia and couldn't figure out what time this took place.  Eventually we learned that it was 70 years after the previous Avalonian books, but I wish I'd known that sooner. And we just didn't get to know him so his side of the triangle just wasn't all that plausible.  I didn't understand why, aside from stubbornness, Camille wanted him.

However, all-in-all, I really liked the book and I was so happy to read more about Avalonia, and really to read anything Victoria Alexander writes.  Highly recommended to anyone who likes historical romances and to anyone who has read her previous Effington/Avalonia books.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Vlog: Interview with Krystal Wade

Wilde's Meadow (Darkness Fa...
 Wilde's Meadow
Happy endings are hard to find, and even though Katriona is in the middle of a war with someone who’s already stolen more than she can replace, she aches for a positive future with her Draíochtans.

Armed with hope, confidence in her abilities, and a strange new gift from her mother, Kate ventures into the Darkness to defeat a fallen god.

Losses add up, and new obstacles rise to stand in the way. Is the one determined to bring Encardia light strong enough to keep fighting, or will all the sacrifices to stop those who seek domination be for nothing

Krystal Wade, author of Wilde's Fire, Wilde's Army, and the soon-to-be-released Wilde's Meadow, dropped by for an interview.  We decided to record our interview for my first vlog!

I hope you enjoy, and excuse the silliness, but we had just way too much fun with this.

Wilde's Meadow comes out November 5th!  You can learn more about this book and her others at:

Book Blogger Hop: October 19-25

Book Blogger Hop
 From Knitting and Sundires' blog:

"The Book Blogger Hop is much more than just a “follow for a follow”. It’s about making friends. There are literally thousands of book bloggers around the world. It can seem like we are blogging in a bubble, constantly checking the same blogs over and over again. The Hop is about taking the time to make a quality visit to another blog, getting to know the person who is writing that blog, and seeing if you really *want* to follow that person

1.  How did you find out about book blogging and what made you decide to start one yourself?

I love books, I love to read, and I love giving people recommendations on what to read.  One day, this past May, my friend and coworker told me that I should start a book blog.  I hemmed and hawed and said no.  Then she gently suggested it again and I said, "fine".  So I went to blogger, set up my account and then...did nothing.  Then, last month, I decided to plunge in.  I wrote a few reviews, joined twitter (against my better judgement as I am now addicted), did a few blog hops and here I am today!  I love it! I love the blogging community and I am having such fun with this.  So now I get to say it - I hope you're listening, Krystal! - You were right. 

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Review: Her Fake Romance by Donna Fasano

Her Fake Romance
Genre: Romance
Rating: 4.5 Stars

The last thing Julia Jones, single mom and caterer, was looking for was a boyfriend.  Newly arrived in town, Ryan Shane doesn't want a girlfriend, but he needs a date to shield him from an overly friendly woman who won't take no for an answer. So when Julia's teenage daughter accuses her of not having any fun and Ryan calls to ask her to be his date, she jumps at the chance.  The two of them come to an agreement: they'll pretend to date to keep the husband-hunting woman away from Ryan and to make Julia's daughter think that Julia does know how to have fun.

But neither of them expected the attraction and fireworks they'd have between them, nor did they expect to become friends.  But can Julia trust Ryan when every male influence in her life has hurt her and let her down?

I thought this book was great!  I love the plot device of pretending to be together only to fall in love - it's one of my favorites, and Fasano has done a really god job with her version of it.  Julia and Ryan's chemistry was immediate and believable.  Julia's over-protectiveness towards her daughter bothered me a bit but once I read why, made total sense.  I really love when an author gives their characters good reasons for the way they act.  And Ryan was a great hero - sexy yet understanding.  Loved him!

Since Julia is a caterer, there is a lot of mention of food in the book.  Well, as I was reading, waiting for my husband to finish his workout so we could eat, I was literally salivating reading about roasted chicken with "smashed" potatoes.  Fasano described the food so well I could practically taste it! I may just have to roast a chicken this weekend.  Yep, I'm still drooling over the food descriptions.  Which makes the last few pages of the book great - there are recipes included!  I'm looking forward to trying some of these.

Great book, great looking recipes and a sweet ending.

Thank you to the author, Donna Fasano, for giving me a copy of this book for my honest review.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Reviews: The Serpent's Shadow and Insurgent

After trudging through a book on my Fall Into Reading list (I just could NOT get into it), I moved on to two YA books I've had on my to-read list:  The Serpent's Shadow by Rick Riordan and Insurgent by Veronica Roth.

**Spoiler Alert**

Please note, these are both part of series, so if you haven't read the previous books, stop reading!  Now you've been warned, so read on at your own risk.

The Serpent's Shadow (Kane Chronicles, #3) 
The last installment in the Kane Chronicles, this one picks up a few months after the last left off:  Apophis is free from the underworld, Will has a genetic disease and is dying, Uncle Amos is Nome 1 leader in Egypt, Carter is in love with Zia (who doesn't really know him since she was a shabti) and Sadie wants to be with both Will and Anubis.

Apophis and his (its?) forces are attacking and destroying Nomes throughout the world in an attempt to also destroy a manuscript written by a long-dead, evil magician, Setne.  The Cane's must enlist Setne's help to destroy Apophis, but only if they can trust him.

Their rag-tag team of helpers include Zia, Will, Bast, Khufu and Bes, and as usual a helping hand from the gods, Isis, Horus, Ra and Anubis.

I love these books.  They aren't anything difficult to understand, and while they do talk down a bit (the side-bars where the siblings taunt each other are kind of annoying), I still enjoy them so much.  I don't know much about Egyptian mythology besides what was taught to me in 5th or 6th grade, so I feel like I'm learning while I'm reading.  Of course, Riordan could be making up all this for all I know, but hey, I'll go along with it and assume it's all accurate.

4 Stars
 Insurgent (Divergent, #2)
The second book in the Divergent series starts right after the first one started.  Tris, Tobias (Four), Tobias's father Marcus, Tris's brother Caleb and the awful Peter are on their way to Amity for help and refuge after the Dauntless/Erudite attack on Abnegation. The refugees are not safe, so they travel to Candor where the rest of the faithful Dauntless have gone.  Tris is having trouble coping with the death of her parents and with having killed Will and her inability to deal with it is effecting her relationship with Tobias.  Her behavior becomes more reckless as they all try to come up with a solution on what to do with Erudite and the traitor Dauntless and how to keep the Divergent safe and how to find new allies in the Factionless.

I heard from several people that Insurgent wasn't as good as Divergent.  I purposely waited a while before reading Insurgent so that I wouldn't have to wait as long for book 3.  Perhaps because of this, I liked it more because I wasn't comparing it to Divergent.  I thought it was really good and I thoroughly enjoyed it.  My only complaint is that since this picks up right where Divergent left off, I had a hard time remembering all the characters.  Also, Roth didn't describe the characters, so I couldn't picture them in my head since they were described in book 1.  At the end of 2, she described Will, but it took until the end of the book to find out what he looked like.  And Christina?  I have no recollection of what she looked like except that she has a different complexion as Tris.  So that is my only complaint.  Otherwise, it was fast paced and fun.  Yes, Tris's and Tobias's trust issues and insecurities were a bit tiresome, but they're teenagers in love.  That seemed to be how I remember my relationships at that age.  Can't wait for book 3 to come out!

4.5 stars

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Twenty Questions

Happy Tuesday, everyone!  Meet Krystal Wade!

Krystal Wade

As you may or may not have read, I am going to be interviewing the fabulous Krystal, author of Wilde's Fire and Wilde's Army to discuss her latest book, Wilde's Meadow, this Friday!

Krystal is not only an author, but she was a submissions editor for Curiosity Quills and is currently the Operations Manager.  Now, with knowing all that, what questions would you find the most interesting and/or valuable to ask her?

Any and all suggestions would be appreciated! 

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Liebster Awards!

The fabulous Tamara at One Magic Bean Buyer has given me the Liebster award for blogs with fewer than 200 followers.  Thanks, Tamara!!!


I'd like to thank the Academy for this award and just say that I love all my followers - you all are the best!  I can only assume that Liebster comes from the German word, lieben, which means to love (not "to blave"). So - Ich liebe Sie.

  The rules of the Liebster Award are: 
  • Answer the blogger's eleven questions.
  • Think of eleven questions of your own.
  • Choose eleven worthy bloggers (with fewer than 200 followers) to pay it forward.
What is your favorite month of the year? June.  It's the month I got married, it's warm and sunny and it's the last month of school and I never got out of the habit of looking forward to summer vacation.

What's the number one most played song on your iPod? I honestly don't listen to my iPod all that often - only when I run.  I guess my most played song is Black Eyed Peas, Let's Get It Started, but only because it's got a good beat to pace my run to.

Name three writers you admire and tell us why. 1. Jane Austen because she's Jane freakin' Austen and brilliant! 2. Janet Evanovich because she's so funny and 3. Carlos Ruiz Zafon because his writing is just so beautiful, it's like poetry.

If you were reincarnated as an animal, what would you want to be? I'd like to be one of my parent's dogs.  They are the most spoiled dogs on earth and are treated like children. :)

What is one of your favorite quotes? "Life is pain.  Anyone who tells you differently is selling something" - The Princess Bride

What chore do you hate doing? Folding and putting away laundry.

If you could throw any kind of party (money is no object) what would it be? And for who? I would throw all my friends on a boat in the NYC harbor (and it would be during summer).

If you could choose to stay a certain age forever, what age would you stay? 27. I loved 27.  I was skinny, just getting married, skinny (did I say that twice) and still in my 20s!

If you could have any talent in the whole world, which one would you choose? I'd like to be able to play the violin.  I think it's so beautiful

Which superpower would you pick if they were up for grabs? I'd like to be able to go back in time.

If you had to change your first name, what name would you want? I actually hate my first name, which is why I go by nicknames.  As a child I always wanted to be Judy, but I think I was just going through a Judy Garland phase.  I suppose my nickname, Susie, is my name of choice.  Or Charlie.  I think it's super cute on girls.
Now for my 11 questions:
1. What is your favorite book?
2. What is your favorite movie?
3. If you could go back in time and save 1 person, who would it be and why?
4. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be?
5. What is your favorite food?
6. What is your biggest regret?
7. If money was no object, what 1 thing would you buy for another person and why?
8. Do you give to charities and if yes what is your favorite?
9. Ebook reader or regular old physical book?
10. If you could have dinner with anyone, living or dead, who would it be?
11. What's your favorite animal?
I chose the following AWESOME blogs to pass the award on to.  Please stop by and check them out!

REMINDER!!!  I am interviewing Krystal Wade, author of Wilde's Fire and Wilde's Army, here on Friday October 19th to talk about her upcoming novel Wilde's Meadow.  If you have any questions about her books, writing, submitting or anything else, just post them and I'll ask her!