Monday, November 30, 2009


For the last two weeks I have been extremely busy with work and my daughter's 10th birthday shinanigans.  Now that things are back to normal, I can concentrate on book blogging... which I have MISSED! 

First I want to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Michelle at Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me these ARC's!!!!  You are awesome!

So, in my mailbox today from a week or so ago

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch
This is an ARC, and I was pretty pumped when I read the premise, it sounds very cool!  It comes out December 29th.

Here's the blurb from
A mesmerizing thriller -- told in reverse! The 13th Hour is the story of a man given the chance to go back in time in one-hour increments to prevent a vicious crime from destroying his life.

Nick Quinn is being held in jail, accused of the murder of his beloved wife, Julia. He knows she's dead; he saw her bloody corpse, shot in the head at point-blank range. The police tell him they found the murder weapon with his fingerprints on it in the trunk of his car. Nick is confused, grief-stricken -- and completely innocent.

At 9 p.m. on July 28, a gray-haired gentleman visits Nick in the police interrogation room and asks him a simple question: "If you could get out of here, if you could save her, would you?" He hands Nick a golden talisman that allows Nick to go back in time, one hour at a time, for a total of twelve hours. With each hour that Nick travels back, he finds more clues to the identity of Julia's real killer, but he also discovers that his actions in the past may have unexpected repercussions in the future.

In his race against time to save the woman he loves most in the world, Nick will find that friends become enemies, old loyalties are tested, and Julia's murder is part of a larger scheme that has its roots in greed and vengeance. Nick has the ability to save Julia, the chance to put his own world in balance, but he is venturing down a precarious route. If he hasn't set things right by the thirteenth hour, his desperate attempts to save Julia's life may lead to a far greater catastrophe than he could have ever imagined.

A surprising and utterly original thriller, The 13th Hour is pure page-turning suspense -- full of double crosses, cliffhangers, and shocking revelations.

And an ARC of "Gone" by Lisa McMann, which will be released  Feb 9, 2010.  This is YA and looks pretty interesting.  It is the third book that follows the main character Janie, but it is not a trilogy.  I think it's more of a series.Here's the blurb from the authors website:

Janie thought she knew what her future held. And she thought she'd made her peace with it. But she can't handle dragging Cabel down with her.

She knows he will stay with her, despite what she sees in his dreams. He's amazing. And she's a train wreck. Janie sees only one way to give him the life he deserves--she has to disappear. And it's going to kill them both.

Then a stranger enters her life--and everything unravels. The future Janie once faced now has an ominous twist, and her choices are more dire than she'd ever thought possible. She alone must decide between the lesser of two evils. And time is running out...

And the third one is an ARC called "falling apart in one piece - one optimist's journey through the hell of divorce"  by Stacy Morrison.  (Release date:  March 2010) (no cover image available)  Here's the blurb on the back cover:

Just when Stacy Morrison thought she had it all, her husband of ten years announced that he wanted a divorce.  She was left alone with a new house that needed lots of work, a new baby who needed lots of attention, and a new job in the high pressured world of New York publishing.  Told with humor and heart, her honest and intimate account of the stress of being a working mother while trying to make sense of her unraveling marriange offers unexpected lessons of love, forgiveness, and dignity that will resonate with women everywhere. 

Tuesday, November 24, 2009


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  It's my favourite meme of all time, and anyone can participate!
  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 sentences from anywhere on the page
  • try not to include any SPOILERS!
  • make sure you tell the name of book and the author so we can add the book to our TBR pile!

I am in between reads at the moment, so I have to cheat this week a bit.  This teaser is from one of my favourite books "The Bronze Horseman" by Paullina Simons.  You can read my review of it here

     Alexander's eyes gleamed so brightly that Tatiana felt as if all of the blood in her body had rushed to her cheeks.  "Tania, what words," he asked slowly, "would you like me to teach you in English?"

Um... SWOON!

You can read more teasers here.

Sunday, November 22, 2009


Today I am recovering from my 10 year old daughter's birthday slumber party.  It was totally fun and a big hit, but now I am totally STRESSED because I am working this week and have a MILLION things to do today to get ready for it.  I am working on a movie till Thurs, which means both my girls have to be moved into my parents house, and my dog has to go to a dog sitter.  Laundry, packing, groceries, driving, you know, the whole thing.  Then on Friday I have to get ready for my daughter's family party in which my inlaws and about 20 people are coming over on Saturday.  What I'm basically saying is... AAAAHHH!!!  And that I will not be able to any book blogging while I am gone.  But I'll be back in a week! 

In the mean time, here is the giveaway for Rachel Stolzman's book as promised, "The Sign for Drowning".  I have not had time to get the interview done, but I really wanted to get this giveaway out to you guys!  The book is signed, as as I said it is LOVELY!  You can read my review of it here.

I can't seem to get the google form to work,  so here's what I am going to do until then, leave a comment WITHOUT YOUR EMAIL ADDRESS, then you must CHECK BACK on the announce date to see if you have won!  If you are the lucky winner you can then email me and we'll do everything else privately.
To enter:
  • leave a comment  (remember NO EMAIL addresses please!)  1 entry
  • become a follower or let me know you already are a follower (2 entries)
  • post about this giveaway in your SIDE BAR and in a SEPERATE COMMENT leave me the link, please (2 entries)
  • twitter about it, and in another SEPERATE comment leave me that link too. (1 entry)
This contest will close on December 10th!  I will announce the winner the morning of December 11th, so make sure you check back to see if you have won!  If I do not hear from the winner within 3 business days I will draw again. 

Think of it as an early Christmas present FROM ME!  :0)  As I am shipping this book myself the contest is only open to the US and Canada. 

Have a great week, everyone!  I will miss you!

Friday, November 20, 2009


Echo in the Bone by Diana Gabaldon

It has been a couple of weeks since I finished Diana Gabaldon's last mammoth installment of the Jamie and Claire saga, and I am only writing about it now because I was so disappointed with it I needed time to recover. 

As many of you may know I am one of THOSE fans of Gabaldon's work.  I mean I LOVE her.  LOVE the series beyond all reason, and wait like a rabid Twilight fan waiting for the next fix of vampire glamour, for the next book to come out.  I re-read the series in anticipation of its release, which only fanned the flames of my love for The Books.

I am going to review this book without revealing any spoilers, but I will warn you, it will not be glowing! 

Let's start at the beginning, shall we?  The beginning of the book starts confusing, and it doesn't really get much better througout.  We start with Brianne and Roger in the past, and for those of you who read the last installment know how that one ends.  Immediately I was completely at a loss as to why the book started that way, and it was never really explained.  Then the most annoying thing happened....

LARGE HUNKS of the book were about Lord John Grey and his son William.  I mean HUGE chunks.  And it wasn't like they were interacting with Claire or Jamie, it was massive amounts of the book dedicated to their storylines which were then jammed together with J and C later.  I cannot TELL you HOW IRATE I became with each passing page of these two.  And it wasn't even scenes with them together most of the time, much of the book is dedicated to their perspective, but there is a central theme lacking in the book to tie all of the storylines together.  Everytime I got to yet another section of William or Lord John, I would almost throw my book accross the room and scream, "WHERE THE HELL ARE JAMIE AND CLAIRE?"   Echo is not a book about Jamie and Claire, I will warn you.  And not only that, it is the sloppiest of Gabaldon's work by far, and I am not the only one who feels this way.  (You can also check out Good Reads and read dozens of fans who have similar feelings)  Now, granted, there are many people who loved this one, and that's fine.  I'm just not one of them. 

Here are some facts as we know them:
  • DG does not write in a straight line (writing styles vary among authors, and this is not unusual), she writes in bits and then kinds of pastes them all together.  Normally the pieces are all seamlessly sewn together to make a cohesive unit.  Never has this style of writing been more apparent.  Most chunks of the book are just that, and many times it feels like they were literally just cut and pasted on the editor's software.
  • And let's talk about editing.  DG has said that she delivered the pieces of the final manuscript, along with a few extra bits, to the editor only 5 WEEKS before it was released.  Echo clocks in at a staggering 814 pages!  How does an editor successfully edit a huge manuscript such as this in only 5 weeks?  Many fans, including myself, actually think this book could have been made much better with more editing.  A LOT more. 
  • Some people feel, and again I am ranked among them, that DG whether consciously or unconsciously has made some of us feel bullied into reading the Lord John series of books.  Everytime I got to yet another huge section of William or LJ I felt like she was ramming the characters down my throat.  I wanted a book about Jamie and Claire, who are, in reality, minor characters in this one.
  • And now to another more delicate matter.  One of the things I have always loved about the Outlander series is her handling of the "ripping bodice" scenes, to put it politely.  They were always done with just the right amount of tact and yet enough description to make you melt just a little.  In Echo, these scenes between J and C are WAY over the top, I mean to the point where I was like, "YUCK! I just didn't need to read that! And why is she writing it like that!"  In fact, there is a scene with young Ian in bed by the fire outdoors watching  Jamie and Claire and, well, taking things into his own hands, so to speak.  And we are hearing his thoughts as he is saying, "Uncle Jamie likes that" sort of thing.  OH MY GOD, Diana, WHAT WERE YOU THINKING!
And don't even get me started on the end.  The last 100 pages are so harried and rushed, and are so waaaay out there that I felt almost disgust after reading them.  Can you see now why I was having a hard time writing this rant   review? 


I am so glad to get that off my chest. 

To be honest, I have not been able to even look at the books on my shelves since then.  I am not even sure when I will be able to read them again, my feelings are so strong.  I know this may seem overdramatic, and that's fine, but when you invest your time and life reading a series over YEARS, and each book that comes out takes 3 or 4 YEARS to be released, it is not hard to feel cheated.  Now we have to wait ANOTHER 4 years to find out what happens, and since there were so many cliffhangers at the end, many fans feel very frustrated.   And if the New York Times bestsellers list is any indication, her book opened at number 2 on the list (second only to The Lost Symbol which was released only a week prior) and then slipped to number 8, I believe it was, and then it quickly dropped out of the top ten entirely, and I believe it is for good reason.

And to those that loved it?  YOU ARE SO LUCKY!  I WANTED to love it.  I wanted to be over-the-moon about it. 

RATING:  1/5

PS you can comments on Diana's blog where some fans have questioned her about some of the issues discussed above, her answers are pretty interesting.

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman

Rachel Stolzman's debut novel is beautifully written and taps into everyone's need to connect with someone outside themselves; healing past wounds in the process.

The Sign for Drowning is about Anna, a woman who has grown up haunted by her younger sister's death.  Keeping the world at bay, she delves into the world of sign language at first as an imaginary way to communicate with her sister, and later it will bring into her life Adrea.  Adrea is one of the deaf students at the school for deaf children where Anna works,and quickly Anna discovers that for the first time since her sister's death somone has access to her heart. 

What follows is Anna's journey into her past where she faces the devestating memories of her sisters death.  With Adrea's complete innocence and need for a mother, Anna may find the balm to finally soothe her wounded spirit.  If only she could find the courage to let the young girl in.

This book really touched my heart, and just LOOK at the COVER!  Georgous, right?  Stolzman's knowledge of American Sign Language and the culture of the deaf community resounds as a very sturdy backdrop for this story.  It renewed my interest in learning ASL, and the descriptions of the signs in the book are very easy to visualize. The book takes you through Anna's life in a gentle way and allowing you to experience her healing through the unconditional love of a little girl.  It also touched me on the adoption front as well.  Our youngest daughter is adopted, and there were several sections where I was nodding my head in agreement to some of the feelings Anna shared towards her daughter in respect to her being adopted.  FANTASTIC! 

I highly recommend this book!

You can read more about Rachel and her work, and to request a possible phone conference with the author for your reading group!  Click here.

And don't forget to watch for her interview in the coming days, and for our giveaway of a signed copy of her book! 

Stay tuned for my upcoming interview with Rachel and a giveaway of a SIGNED copy of her book! 

RATING:  4/5

Monday, November 16, 2009


The Steampunks Are Coming

I’d like to start by giving a heartfelt thank you to Lisa for letting me come here and guest blog today. I’ve been doing a lot of blogs on this tour and it means a lot that these wonderful people have reserved a day especially for me. So Lisa, thank you!

My name is Nick Valentino. My first book is a Steampunk adventure novel called Thomas Riley. It was just published by Echelon Press and I can’t tell you how excited I am to tell you about it. If you don’t know what Steampunk is, I promise you will soon. Not just from me, but from the book and movie industry. Apparently it’s the genre that book agents and movie execs are looking for. Don’t worry; I’ll give you the scoop right now.

The setting: Victorian times (mostly in London or in this case Europe).

The culture: Inventions, science and alchemy dominate the popular culture of the day.

The style: Corsets, vests, overcoats, wire framed spectacles, bowler hats, goggles and cloves.

The twist: The world has experienced a huge boom in technology based on steam, clockwork mechanics and alchemy.

So the difference between Steampunk history and history as we know it is that steam powered inventions dominate the world. Hence dirigibles, steam weaponry, and everything as we know it is now powered by steam. So anything imaginable existed in the Victorian period, just with steam power and gears instead of fossil fuels and electricity. So take the pioneering and explorative spirit of the era and multiply it by the ability to fly great distances with heavy weaponry. Watch out though, the world is at war and dangerous sky pirates could be lurking in great airships just beyond the horizon.

If you like high adventure, classy yet rugged sky pirates and the untamable minds of two alchemists/inventors, Thomas Riley and the Steampunk genre may just be for you.

Here’s the back cover blurb to wet your appetite:

For more than twenty years West Canvia and Lemuria have been at war. From the safety of his laboratory, weapons designer Thomas Riley has cleverly and proudly empowered the West Canvian forces. But when a risky alchemy experiment goes horribly wrong, Thomas and his wily assistant Cynthia Bassett are thrust onto the front lines of battle and forced into shaky alliances with murderous sky pirates in a deadly race to kidnap the only man who can undo the damage: the mad genius behind Lemuria's cunning armaments.

Find out more at:

You can purchase signed copies at:


Sunday, November 15, 2009


Tomorrow will be my VERY first Blog Tour guest post!  I am so pumped to have been asked to participate, and also because in all seriousness this book looks AMAZING.  As soon as I read the synopsis and saw the cover, I just fell in love without reading a single word.  Look for this to be a great break-out YA hit for Nick Valentino!

The book is the latest steampunk called THOMAS RILEY and you can read all about it here!


Tune in tomorrow for Nick's post!


It is a very WINDY and gloomy day here in Calgary, but that means that a chinook has rolled in and we are enjoying nice temps of about 6 degrees.  Hey, anything above zero is tops in my books!

I recieved the name of the person I am selecting a gift for for the book blogger holiday exchange!! I am SUPER excited!!  Over on my other blog I had participated in an adoptive mommy one and it went for about 10 months.  Every month we bought something for our secret friend and each month was a theme.  I cannot TELL you how much I loved buying for my friend!  It was so fun, and the gifts that we recieved were so heartfelt and lovely, it was just a great experience!  So I can't wait to buy for my person! 

I have nothing really bookish to report, other than I have a couple of reviews to do and an interview with Howard J Morris and Jenny Lee authors of "Women are Crazy Men are Stupid" coming up and they have generously agreed to offer up a SIGNED copy of their book and will ship ANYWHERE in the WORLD!  I can't say enough great things about these people, they are just fantastic!  So stay tuned, that will be this week.

I also will have another great giveaway when I post my review of Rachel Stolzman's "The Sign for Drowning", it is a SIGNED copy of the book!  And I will be shipping it myself so it will be open to the US and Canada only.  The book is beautifully written and very heartfelt, so I just know some lucky winner will be happy to get it! 

I am also in the midst of starting a Blog Talk Radio show and I will have the links and podcast available once I get that up and running.  I am SUPER excited for this, and am very impressed with some book bloggers out there that are already putting out some great programming! 

The last book I'll mention that I'll be reviewing is Echo in the Bone.  Sigh.  I read it a little while ago and it has taken me this long to kind of absorb the experience.  Without saying too much here, it defintately was not may favourite of the bunch, that is for sure. 

Book that are on my wishlist for Christmas (eh HEM HUSBAND)  are:
  • The Heretic Queen By Kathleen Kent
  • The Pioneer Woman Cooks  By Ree Drummond
  • Pope Joan by Diana Wookfolk Cross 
  • Graceling by Kristin Cashore
  • The Man Who Loved Books Too Much  By Bartlett Hoover
  • The Last Dickens  by Matthew Pearl
  • Wife of the Gods   by Kwei Quartey
  • The Bite of the Mango by Mariatu Kamara
  • The Lucana by Barbara Kingsolver
It is a big list, I know, but it gives him lots to choose from !

For more Sunday Salons click here.

Have a wonderful day!

Friday, November 13, 2009


                                 Mozi Esmé!!!!

Thank you to all who entered this contest!!!!! 

Mozi Esmé please email me with your mailing address or comment on this post with your details and I will not publish.  I will also email you and leave comment on your blog!  Please contact me with your details by Tuesday November 17th, otherwise I will have to re-draw for a new winner.

Have a WONDERFUL day everyone! 

Thursday, November 12, 2009


Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid
by Howard J Morris and Jenny Lee

A HUGE THANK YOU to Michelle at Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me this book! 

First of all I'll admit when I opened the envelope and saw this book I thought, "Wha?"  I was totally turned off majorly by the cover. (sorry Michelle!)  As we aaalll know I am a big cover snob and if a book has a "meh" cover I find it very difficult to get past it.  SO, I put it down for a few weeks.  I even lifted it up to show my husband and kids and said, "I mean, really, could you EVER imagine in a MILLION YEARS I would buy a book like THIS?"  And my husband says, "Who knows, Hon, maybe it'll be really really funny?"  To which I scoffed. 


BOY WAS I WRONG!   This book is HYSTERICAL!  I mean REALLY REALLY FUNNY.  I am going to go waaayyy out on a limb here and say that this book is the FUNNIEST BOOK I HAVE EVER READ IN MY LIFE  E-V-E-R.  It turns out that the authors are writers for (among other things) comedy TV, and Jenny (the crazy one) was a writer for one of the only shows (other than reality) that I watch, "Samantha Who?".  And Howard used to write for the extremely clever and funny, (and one of my husbands favourite shows which he ACTUALLY has every single episode on VHS -- true story)   but long put in its grave, "Dream On."

Here is a little excerpt from near the beginning:  (page 15 and 16)

                                                      THE MYSTERY SOLVED

The history of men acting stupid is a long and varied one that always ends up with some idiot starting another war.  But modern male stupidity as it applies specifically to women is far more interesting and relevant to our purposes.  It actually has its roots in the playgrounds of our youth.  It was there that we first became aware of girls.  It was also there that we first realized that we liked these strange creatures.  They made us feel funny.  But good funny.  A kind of warm and gushy funny.  Of course in those early years it wasn't acceptable to talk about these new feelings with our peers for fear we'd get rightly harangued about the dangers of cooties.  But still, we wanted this five-year-old ponytailed goddess to know that we had a thing for her.  So what did we do?

We hit her.

Or pushed her into the mud and laughed at her.  (I'm so sorry Susan Freyberg.)

.....She starts crying and we're completely unprepared for that.  And she keeps crying until some adult explains to her that we hit her because we like her.

And here her craziness begins.

And there it is.  The fertile soil in which the crazy seed is planted, and thus sprung the stupid tree.  The book gets even better once Howard meets Jenny and his stupid catapolts into a whole other stratosphere of idiotic.  Maybe it's because I have a pretty funny, albiet annoyingly so, husband, who revels in said stupidity, that I found this book so hilarious.  Some of you may or may not know that to me "Everybody Loves Raymond" is not just a TV show, it is MY LIFE.  Even Regan, my hubby, will admit that like Ray he may or may not at times wear his stupid like a shield against my crazy attacks.  The story then takes us through mainly Howards life inside the stupid mobile, and then Jenny's crazy is allowed to breathe (as they put it so brilliantly) and you get the full fledged stupid/crazy/chicken/egg scenario.

There are many MANY times that I thought, "TOTALLY!  Who WOULDN'T go crazy if your so-called shoulder-to-cry on did something as idiotic as that!"  and other times when I thought, "Oh man, poor Howard, he never even had a chance."  And then immediately my mind shifts to, "Wow.  I actually DID something like that to Reg.  Yikes!"  They even manage to weave a beautiful love story throughout the crazy and stupid landscape, and  I'll admit getting a little teary eyed at the end! 

This book is for anyone who is in a relationship, had a relationship, is thinking about a relationship or a therapist trying to save relationships.  It is a fast fun read that will probably have you, if not laughing outloud like me, at the very least smiling out loud. 


Wednesday, November 11, 2009


Today is Remembrance Day in Canada and instead of posting a bookish thing, I thought I would link to this GEORGOUS song by Terry Kelly called "A Pittance of Time."     Lest we forget, indeed.  \

Tuesday, November 10, 2009


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme (and my favourite!) hosted by MizB at Should be Reading!

It's easy and everyone can play!
  • Grab your current read
  • Flip to a random page and select 2 sentences
  • try not to include spoilers!
  • And please include the name of book and author so we can add it to our tbr pile!

My teaser is from:  Leviathan by Scott Westerfeld

'"Okay, beastie," she called up.  "I may have got you into this mess, but I'm gonna get you out too.  And I'm telling you:  Now's not the time to panic!"

    The creature made no promises, but Deryn pulled the ballast cords anyway."

You can read  more teasers here.

I would also take a moment and welcome someone who is brand new to the book blogging world!  She is a very talented photographer, and I am so excited that she has decided to start her own book blog! 

WELCOME, VENESSA!!    Check out her blog here.

Sunday, November 8, 2009


This past couple of weeks has been huge for me on the reading front.  I just became more focused in reading the growing pile of books that have been sent to me.  Now I feel great because I actually made a reasonable sized dent in the pile.. for once!

Currently I am reading The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman.  It is a beautifully written book, and it has renewed my interest in learning sign language I have had since I was about 10 years old.  I am also reading "The Traitor's Wife" by Susan Higginbotham, but it has had to be put on the back burner until I got some of my more pressing review copies under my belt.  I finished the book "Women are Crazy Men are Stupid" by Howard J. Morris and Jenny Lee, and to my total surprise it was HILARIOUS! 

I have also signed up for this:

Which I am SUPER DUPER excited about!  I cannot wait to see who I am buying for!!!!  Just click on the pic above to enter and find out more about it! 

I think I've said it before, but I'll say it again, I absolutely love the book blogger community.  LOVE.  I love the people, the camaradarie, the learning about books I would have never heard of, the whole thing.  Love  And this is just another example of the fabulous people who like to bring us all together!  

This week I'll be still finishing up the few books that are left from publishers and authors, but I am also going to do some reading strictly for me.  I plan on spending a good amount of quality time with "The Traitor's Wife" and am going to enjoy every single second!

Have a wonderful Sunday!

For more Sunday Salons click here.

Saturday, November 7, 2009


I would like to thank CAROL from Carol's Notebook for this beautiful award!  I have such huge admiration and respect for Carol and her blog as she has been doing this for a long time, and is a very talented and generous blogger.  So, having this award from her means a lot to me! 

I now have the honour of bestowing this award on to blogs that I have recently discovered, and here they are:

These blogs are new to me, but are not new to blogging. They are all unique and entertaining as heck!  Check them out! 

The next award is from my friend Natalie over at The Book Inn ~ THANK YOU, NATALIE!!! 

I think that along with the award I have to tell you what 7 of my favourite things are, so here goes:
  • my beautiful little family
  • my extended family and friends
  • books (duh)
  • my job (when I get to do it)
  • the book blogging world
  • cake of any kind
  • my hubby's sense of humour.
I now award the following blogs:

REVIEW: JOURNEY TO THE SON by Lauren Braddock Havey

Journey to the Son by Lauren Braddock Havey

I would like to start off by saying a HUGE thank you to Lauren for sending me her book, along with the companion CD! 

Lauren Braddock Havey is a singer/songwriter, actor and daughter of country songwriter Bobby Braddock.  Any woman who has struggled to become a mother in the biological sense will really relate to this memoir.  Told in a conversational style, it gets right into the minute details of her infertility treatments, success, and birth of her son and all of the stuff in between that can make a woman crazy.  While we were right in the middle of our paperwork mountain for our adoption of our beautiful daughter, Ayana, I found a book called "Two Little Girls" by Theresa Reid, and I read that book ferociously from cover to cover, and recommend it to many would-be adoptive parents.  This book may do that for those women who have been through the infertility treatment jungle, and want to share in the sisterhood that is hormones, doctor's appointments, rabid temperature taking, crying jags, monthly heart crushing blows  -- the whole gamut. 

The CD is very unique.  It is a country opera so each song was written to further celebrate each chapter.  This type of country is definately not my type of music, but the authors CD may appeal to those that can appreciate that kind of style. 


Friday, November 6, 2009


Crispin by Avi

Young person's novel

Avi is my hero.  This guy can write a book.  And who doesn't like a guy who only has one name?  Avi.   Now that's kewl. 

The first time I encountered Avi was when I was working a Scholastic booth for my sister and had some downtime and picked up "The True Confessions of Charlotte Doyle".  Needless to say I became miffed when people started approaching the booth as the book was so darn good.  You mean I have to put this incredible little book down?  But I digress.

Crispin begins with our hero attending the funeral of his loving mother.  He is an orphan as his father died a few years prior, and by reasons unknown to the reader his mother had quite the reputation and quickly Crispin realizes that all is not so rosey in his home village.  Feeling painfully alone he takes to the woods, and he overhears a cryptic and damning conversation with the resident Bad Guy, and at the tale end of this conversation said Bad Guy swivels his head around and locks eyes with our hero. 


What ensues is an incredible tale of Crispins flight to escape, upon which he meets up with a robust jester who has taken up residence in an old decrepit church.  From here the story really takes off and this unlikely pair forge ahead to create a story that will have you flipping the pages long into the night.  I literally could not put this book down.  And it is a super fast read as the type face is large-ish and  the text is double spaced.  So you can really plough through it in no time.  There is a sequel to this book called, "Crispin at the Edge of the World" which is on my wishlist for Christmas.

I HIGHLY recommend this book for ALL ages!


Thursday, November 5, 2009

REVIEW: THE WAY HOME by George Pelecanos

The Way Home by George Pelecanos

A HUGE THANK YOU to Miriam at Hachette Books for this review copy of The Way home. 

I'll say first off that I have never read anything by Pelecanos before, and that this is not generally they type of book I would read.  That being said it wasn't bad. 

Here is the blurb from

Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come across a temptation almost too big to resist. Chris does the right thing, but old habits and instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With his father and his most trusted friends, he takes one last chance to blast past the demons trying to pull him back.

Like Richard Price or William Kennedy, Pelecanos pushes his characters to the extremes, their redemption that much sweeter because it is so hard fought. Pelecanos has long been celebrated for his unerring ability to portray the conflicts men feel as they search and struggle for power and love in a world that is often harsh and unforgiving but can ultimately be filled with beauty.

To be honest, the big drawback about this book was the authors voice for characters.  I felt that when I would read something one of Chris's buddies would say it was a bit over-the-top in terms of the slang and trying to sound like they were "from the hood", so to speak.  It drove me nuts.  One character that I DID like was Ben.  He was a very real person, and well fleshed out, and the relationship between him and Chris was very believable.  I like Chris too, and really felt the inner turmoil that was going on with him most of the time.  I also liked Chris's parents a lot.  Especially his Dad.  And the marriage between him and Amanda was well imagined. 

The story itself is good, and had me reading until the end (which is always a good sign), but since this is not my preferred genre I probably didn't enjoy it as much as someone who loved this type of book.  For example I'm a bit of a wuss when it comes to really gory  crime stuff or disturbing thug-type material, at least since I became a mother, so parts of this one were uncomfortable for me. 

All of that being said, if you are already a fan of Pelecanos's work you will probably really enjoy The Way Home.  A good premise, a well thought out plot, and believable characters. 


Wednesday, November 4, 2009


The Magician's Elephant by Kate DiCamillo

Candlewick Press 201 pages

Every once in awhile a book comes along and just blows me out of the water.  When I went to Chapters a couple of months ago, I was sitting enjoying a coffee and just browsing the books in the YA section, when I came upon a cut-out promo stand for The Magician's Elephant.  The number one thing that made me pick it up was the cover.  STUNNING.  And then the title, and then I read the blurb inside the cover and immediately bought it.  This little book is one of the most extraordinary I have ever read.  It is heartbreakingly beautiful, and a simple yet powerful story about love and magic and believing anything can happen. 

I cannot sum up the book any better than the inside of the front cover:

What if?  Why not? Could it be?

When a fortuneteller's tent appears in the market square of the city of Baltese, orphan Peter Augustus Duchene knows the questions that he needs to ask:  Does his sister still live?  And if so, how can he find her?

The fortuneteller's mysterious answer (An elephant! An elephant will lead him there!)  sets off a chain of events so remarkable, so impossible, that Peter can hardly dare to believe it.

But it is -- all of it --- true.

This book had me crying actual tears at many points, and when I closed its cover for the last time I felt uplifted beyond measure.  When I held it out to my husband and gushed, his eyes glazed over as they often do until I said, "It's like The Alchemist for kids!"  (which is only true in that it makes you think and it is very parable-like).  To that his eyes lit up and he actually focused his ears on what I was saying.

A beautiful extraordinary tale of love, forgiveness and the power of magic and believing in "What if?". 

For more information about The Magician's Elephant click here.


Tuesday, November 3, 2009


It has just come to my attention that a VERYoverly keen author who has been, shall I say overly soliciting people to review his book has JUST taken one of my subscribers emails and sent her his standard "review my book" emails?    She is not a member of book blogs, nor is she even a book blogger, and I was VERY upset with this person considering I JUST  sent him an email HOURS before telling him to STOP sending me the SAME EXACT email considering he and I previously had been in contact about his book, and he was going to send me a hard copy intead of ebook, blah blah blah.  And TWICE more AFTER we had emailed back and forth he sent me this original email introducing himself, asking me to review his book.. yadda, yadda.


I then asked him to PLEASE stop emailing me the SAME email and so he wrote back said he was sorry and took me off of his newsletter list.  And then about TWO HOURS later I get an email from one of my faithful and lovely readers saying she got this email and I scroll down and YUP it's him. 


So this incident then  got me thinking.  When most book bloggers hold contests we ask that people comment and leave their email address that are then published for the entire world to see.  Huh.  I'm not exactly sure how to rectify that, but after my Outlander one is done what I may do is somehow keep track of the entries and then not publish.  Or have people enter by emailing me privately.  I'm not sure, but this really bothers me, and I know it was unnerving to this person as well.  Then I think, well, maybe this is just one of those hazards to entering in a contest?  Blah. I dont' know.  AHHH!

Any thoughts???? Especially much more experienced bloggers out there????


Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading.  It's easy and anyone can play!
  • Grab one of your current reads
  • flip to a random page
  • select two sentences and post them
  • please try not to include SPOILERS!
  • Remember to post the title and author so we can all add the book to our TBR if we so choose!

My teaser is from Rachel Stolzman's book "The Sign for Drowning":

I'd heard this story before, but tonight it struck me in a new way.  I contemplated our very different upbringings, and what it must have been like for him to grow up as the center of his mother's universe.

For more teasers click here.

Monday, November 2, 2009

MAILBOX MONDAY (revised to give credit to Marcia ~ OOOPS!)

My Mailbox Monday is a  weekly meme hosted by Marcia at The Printed Page.  Mine is a compilation of the last two or three weeks as I haven't done one in awhile. 

So here's what has showed up!

The following titles were sent to me by Michelle at Simon and Schuster Canada (they are very good to me!):

Women are Crazy, Men are Stupid by Howard J morris and Jenny Lee
(an excerpt from the blurb on the publishers website)
Using wit, hard-earned wisdom, and a highly entertaining he said/she said format, the authors explore the surprising method to his dumbness and the valid reasons behind her insanity, while providing real solutions to perennial relationship problems. By teaching men how and why they're stupid around women and showing women how to "control the crazy" for everybody's sake, Women Are Crazy, Men Are Stupid helps couples to reach the place where giving isn't giving in, needing isn't needy, and where the sexes can break the dysfunctional patterns and find a way to live lovingly, happily ever after.

LEVIATHAN by Scott Westerfeld
I was SUPER excited to get this the other day!!!  It is a GEORGOUS book, a YA fantasy novel, and it is taking all of my bookish willpower to not bump it up to the front of the line of my review copies.  But alas, there were others before it, so it must wait. 

Here is the summary from Scott Westerfeld's website:
Prince Aleksander, would-be heir to the Austro-Hungarian throne, is on the run. His own people have turned on him. His title is worthless. All he has is a battletorn war machine and a loyal crew of men.
Deryn Sharp is a commoner, disguised as a boy in the British Air Service. She’s a brilliant airman. But her secret is in constant danger of being discovered.
With World War I brewing, Alek and Deryn’s paths cross in the most unexpected way…taking them on a fantastical, around-the-world adventure that will change both their lives forever.

Here is the blurb from her website:

As a young girl growing up in Nashville, Lauren Braddock Havey, the daughter of legendary songwriter Bobby Braddock, dreamed of her own artistic pursuits: singing, acting, and penning her own music But above all, one of her greatest dreams in life was to have a baby and be a parent someday. As the "someday" crept up and became her reality, Lauren and her husband Jim were crushed to receive the disheartening news that they were unable to conceive a baby unless they pursued in vitro fertilization, an expensive and uncertain alternative. Lauren's memoir A Journey to the Son (Two Harbors Press; ISBN 978-1-935097-71-6; October 2009), follows Lauren and Jim as they make the brave decision to go through the in vitro process and the white-knuckle journey that ensues.
(There is also a CD that came with the book that is comprised of songs written and performed by the author, it is a country opera.  Each chapter of the book has a song that goes with it.)

The Sign for Drowning by Rachel Stolzman was sent to me by her publisher Jennifer at Shambhala Publications, Inc.

Here's the summary from the website:

Anna has grown up haunted by her younger sister’s death. In the life she constructs as a barrier against the emotional wreckage of her family tragedy, Anna settles comfortably into a career as a teacher of deaf children. But a challenge arrives—in the form of a young girl. Adrea’s disarming vulnerability and obvious need for love offer Anna the possibility of reconnecting with the world around her—if she has the courage to open her heart.

I have already started this book and it is beautifully written.  I also have a SIGNED copy to giveaway!  Stay tuned for that!

From Random House Canada I recieved "The Wife's Tale" by Lori Lansens.

Here's the summary from their website:
  In Lori Lansens’ Leaford, Ontario — home of Rose and Ruby Darlen, the sorrowing parents of Larry Merkel, and not far from Rusholme where Addy Shadd once looked after an abandoned child — love and grief combine to awaken an obese woman from her loneliness. When her husband doesn’t come home on the eve of their 25th wedding anniversary, Mary Gooch, who has never learned to be self-sufficient, sets out on a truly remarkable journey of self-discovery that takes her first to the big city and then to another country

The following were books I have won in contests on other blogs:

The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society by Mary Ann Shaffer and Annie Barrows
I have wanted to read this book FOR AGES, and so I was thrilled to have won a copy!

Here is the blurb from Random House:
January 1946: writer Juliet Ashton receives a letter from a stranger, a founding member of the Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society. And so begins a remarkable tale of the island of Guernsey during the German occupation, and of a society as extraordinary as its name.

The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder by Rebecca Wells
Here's part of the blurb from HarperCollins:

A tale of family and friendship, tragedy and triumph, loss and love, The Crowning Glory of Calla Lily Ponder features the warmth, humor, soul, and wonder that have made Wells one of today's most cherished writers, and gives us an unforgettable new heroine to treasure.