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)