Friday, December 31, 2010

JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure | Video on TED.com

JK Rowling: The fringe benefits of failure Video on TED.com

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

HAPPY HOLIDAYS!!!

Hello everyone!  I just wanted to come on here and wish everyone a Merry Christmas, or if you do not celebrate Christmas, a HAPPY HOLIDAY!!!

Things with my Mom over the last 3 weeks were slowly becoming a total nightmare, but things have begun to turn around!  We are very hopeful now that she will make a complete recovery, and my Christmas wish is that she is able to enjoy the holidays and come home for more than just a day pass on Christmas Day.

All of your support and love is SO APPRECIATED and has touched me and my family more than you will every know.  Although I have lost a few followers in the last 3 weeks, I treasure each and every one of you that have chosen to stick around!  :0)
Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
I have a few bookish things on my Christmas list, here they are in no particular order!
OOGY by Larry Levin
In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home.

Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
Dog Tips from Dogtown
Following in the paw prints of the successful first DogTown book, companion to the hit show on the National Geographic Channel, Dog Tips from Dogtown is the pet owner's practical guide to building a healthy, happy relationship with a dog. Relying on the unparalleled expertise of the trainers at the Best Friends Animal Society, this manual shows, with step-by-step illustrations, how to apply the power of positive reinforcement to train a pet. From adoption tips to canine communication lessons and training strategies that make a regimen fun for everyone, Dog Tips from DogTown is a complete guide to the tried and true methods that work miracles every day at the Best Friends Animal Society.




 
 
 
 
 
 
 
What bookish things are on YOUR list this year??  I LOVE to hear what books other people are dying to see under the tree!!

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

Hellooooo out there!

Hello everybody!

I just wanted to pop on here and apologise for being MIA on here lately.  Since my Mom's stroke things have progressed from bad to worse and we are all desperately trying to figure out what the hell is going on.  This is taking every single emotional and mental bit of energy that I have so I just am not able to read, blog, or do much else but the occasionally "click like" on facebook. 

I am not gone forever, but have no idea when I will have much to post or visit other blogs.  I miss everyone!

I am also trying to get all of the assignments and training on my dog for my certification in February and with Christmas looming it is very busy!

Love you all.

Lisa

Monday, November 15, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY - NOVEMBER 15


Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme created by Marcia over at The Printed Page and is now a blog tour!  This month it is hosted by Julie over at Knitting and Sundries.  I love her blog, she is also doing a giveaway every week of her hosting! 

My mailbox is a combo of freebies and purchases, first I recieved a book from the publisher that I was SUPER excited about as I saw it last year over at The Literate Housewife and really really wanted it then and now I have it!  It is:
Remarkable Creatures


Remarkable Creatures by Trace Chevalier
Here is the blurb:
From the moment she's struck by lightning as a baby, it is clear that Mary Anning is marked for greatness. On the windswept, fossil-strewn beaches of the English coast, she learns that she has "the eye"--and finds what no one else can see. When Mary uncovers an unusual fossilized skeleton in the cliffs near her home, she sets the religious fathers on edge, the townspeople to vicious gossip, and the scientific world alight. In an arena dominated by men, however, Mary is barred from the academic community; as a young woman with unusual interests she is suspected of sinful behavior. Nature is a threat, throwing bitter, cold storms and landslips at her. And when she falls in love, it is with an impossible man. Luckily, Mary finds an unlikely champion in prickly Elizabeth Philpot, a recent exile from London, who also loves scouring the beaches. Their relationship strikes a delicate balance between fierce loyalty, mutual appreciation, and barely suppressed envy. Ultimately, in the struggle to be recognized in the wider world, Mary and Elizabeth discover that friendship is their greatest ally.
Remarkable Creatures is a stunning novel of how one woman's gift transcends class and social prejudice to lead to some of the most important discoveries of the nineteenth century. Above all, is it a revealing portrait of the intricate and resilient nature of female friendship.

I have purposefully NOT read the blurb because a lot of the time I like to go in completely fresh with only a vague notion of what the book is about.  I know that it is about fossils and given the cover I am guessing it is set in the 18 or 19 hundreds. 

Some books I bought:








The Culture Clash by Jean Donaldson

This is perhaps one of THE most important books written about dogs and their relationship with humans ever written.  It is a classic in the dog training world, and I have only just started it but already am completely enthralled and learning a TON. 

And:

Dogs:  A new understanding of canine origin, evolution and behavior by Lorna and Ray Coppinger
A great book based on years of study by a husband and wife.







And this one:


Canine Behavior:  A Photo Illustrated Handbook
by Barbara Handelman
Dogs have deliberate, subtle, and often humorous ways of expressing themselves. Canine Behavior - A Photo Illustrated Handbook includes 1,000 images of dogs, wolves, coyotes, and foxes. It was created for everyone interested in dogs—pet owners, trainers, veterinarians, ethologists, and behaviorists. Using the interdisciplinary language of photography, Barbara Handelman illustrates and explains canine behavior and communication. Her book establishes a common understanding and vocabulary for people interested in, and working with, dogs.  
This book is loaded with pictures of dogs and wolves in various behaviors in play, agression, fear etc.  Fantastic!

For more mailbox Monday posts and to add your link to the fun click here!


Sunday, November 14, 2010

SUNDAY SALON - NOVEMBER 14TH

Today has a lovely Sunday "feel". Did you ever see that Seinfeld episode where Elaine, George and Kramer are all discussing the days of the week and how they "feel"?  Did you ever wake up one day and you have to keep reminding yourself it's a Thursday when it feels like a Friday?  That happens to me all of the time.

First off - reading-After finishing The Distant Hours I have been meandering through various reads trying to decide which one to dive into.  I have no deadline on any of them, but there are a few freebies I have on the roster and I want your opinion on which one I should read next, here they are in no particular order:


The Secret Eleanor by Cecelia Holland

















OR

His Last Letter by Jeane Westin

















OR
Remarkable Creatures
Remarkable Creatures by Tracy Chevalier

















Any insight on any of these titles would be greatly appreciated!

Also, the pic of the adorable little pooch from wordless wednesday was our little foster from Mexico we had for just over a week.  Yesterday we took him to the Pawsitive Match adoption fair and when we arrived we were given a little "Adopt Me" bandana to put on him and as we were tying it around his little tiny chicken neck a lady and her adult daughter came up and "ooohed" and "awwwed" over him.  They had seen him on the website and took him in their arms immediately and an hour later my oldest daughter and I were saying our tearful goodbye to our beloved BJ.  He was such a fantastic dog, and we all miss him so much, but we are beyond happy that he has found his forever home with such a lovely family.  In fact, when the daughter came up to say goodbye he was over her shoulder snuggled into her neck fast asleep! 

Here is me getting one last kiss and snuggle:



Have a wonderful day!

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

WORDLESS WEDNESDAY

Monday, November 8, 2010

REVIEW: THE DISTANT HOURS BY KATE MORTON


Release date: November 9, 2010
576 pages

Firstly I want to thank Anneliese of Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of this book!  I was so thrilled to get one as I read and LOVED The Forgotten Garden.

Here is the blurb from the inside jacket:
A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941. Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it. 
The Distant Hours is in the same vein as Morton's other books as in there is a mystery that is introduced and as the story unfolds each layer brings us closer and closer to the truth.  Kate Morton has a lovely way of leading us through a story.  Some reviewers have admitted to getting distracted by the length of time it takes her to get from point A to point B, and while I understand their point, it really doesn't bother me.  But what is interesting is that just like with Forgotten Garden I found I really didn't get totally hooked into the story until about 1/2 way through.  That's not saying I didn't enjoy it up till that point, but it just didn't GRAB me.  But once it did, well, I just couldn't turn the pages fast enough!

I love the way the author weaves various time periods together.  As with FG there is a modern day person trying to uncover the mystery of a person in the past.  In fact in that way the stories are very similar.  I won't be reading another Kate Morton book for awhile because I have a sneaky suspicion that that is her style of story telling, and while I'm not complaining you wouldn't want to read too many of her books back-to-back like I just did.

Much of the story revolves around a castle, and if you know me at all, you know that I'm totally bat crazy about castles.  And although this one isn't exactly medieval like I would dream about, it's still dank and stoney and musty and kewl.  

And I am SO GLAD that the author dropped the weird way of structuring sentences as in Forgotten.  I forgot to mention it in my review which you can read here.  But here's the thing, if you are going to write something, why on earth would you do this:

She saw him laughing in the corner, couldn't bear to watch.

                                       OR

She collapsed on the bed from sheer exhaustion, didn't dare to look up.

Do you see what I'm getting at here?  When I was reading the last book, every single time I would come across one of these crazy sentences I would just boil.  It drove me NUTS.  I finally had to just let it GO, or I could have never finished it.  And once I just ignored it, I loved the book immensely.  It was like her editor or her felt they had to cut out words to tighten it up.  Thank GOD there was literally only ONE sentence in all of The Distant Hours that was like this.  And because it had to do with on of the more unstable of the Blythe sisters, it somehow made sense.

I think if you are a fan of Kate's books you will love this one.  After I closed the cover I felt very very satisfied, and will recommend it to anyone looking for a great enveloping read.  Like her other books, it's not one you can just read a couple of pages and put it down for a few days, I've found that you have to stay on top of her books.  I get way more out of it if I read it in large chunks for more than 30 minutes at a time.  The stories are fairly complex with a lot of characters and several time periods so it could be easy to not necessarily get lost, but to get "distracted" as one reviewer commented.

The Distant Hours would be a lovely gift for the holidays, it has a gorgeous cover, and it is a perfect read for a blustery winter day all cozied up by a fire.  LOVELY!

One last thing:
Here is an EXTREMELY cool book trailer for it.. most book trailers are kind of cheesy, but this one is very unique and funky...

The Distant Hours by Kate Morton from Pan Macmillan on Vimeo.


RATING: 4.5/5

Friday, November 5, 2010

REVIEW: UNBEARABLE LIGHTNESS BY PORTIA DEROSSI (And BLOG HOP!)

Unbearable Lightness by Portia De Rossi
Simon and Schuster Canada
Pages: 320
$25.99 CAD

Thank you so much to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this book!

Unbearable Lightness was a compelling read, in fact I read it in just 3 days.  Portia De Rossi has always been fascinating to me, she changed her name at 15 from Amanda Rogers to the more exotic Portia De Rossi on a whim, she is married to one of the most powerful lesbian celebrities out there, and she is a pretty good actress to boot.  I thought her book would be more about her coming out as a celebrity, but what it really is about is her horrific battle with anorexia and bulimia. 

This book is very painful and difficult to read at times.   Portia has said that she did not want to write the book from the perspective of a healthy person writing about their eating disorder in the past tense, instead she dove back into her life as it was and spoke in the insane justifying language that I can only imagine most women with this disorder use.  I had no idea that there was such obsession every second of everyday with counting calories and what food was digesting and what it was doing to the fat or lack thereof in her body.  Eating her food with only chopsticks and making sure that the size of food on her chopsticks was never higher than the width of the utensil.  Refusing to use toothpaste as she was terrified of ingesting any unnecessary calories.  In the end she was restricting her calorie intake to an unbelievable 300 calories per day! 

She claims that her disorder started quite innocently when she was twelve and blames it on modeling.  While I am not discounting that at all, as the modeling world was and is brutal to very young girls about their bodies, what I find interesting is that in her interviews and even in her book she seems to avoid putting any blame on her mother's obvious contribution to her illness.  At the age of 12 her mother would comment on her being slightly overweight and emphasize that she needed to be thinner to get jobs, and then would give her dieting "tips" on how to cut calories and exercise to lose weight.  She was TWELVE.  There seemed to be a sick connection between her mother and her when it came to weight loss, her mother would celebrate weight loss with her, and be quick to point out that she needed to lose weight and swoop in with suggestions.  Even though at one point in the book she does mention her mother's influence with some emotion, she never really says that this had a huge affect on her eating or in her case NOT eating. 

Her book at the end of it all is an extremely powerful message to any woman who struggles not to define herself by her beauty, weight, or looks in general.  This is a powerful read but not for the faint of heart.  My only worry in reading it is with so much detail in exactly what, when, and how much Portia ate every day to equal 300 calories and to subsequently reach a deadly 82 pounds, that she has unwittingly given women with eating disorders an exact plan to follow.  She describes how she would take one packet of oatmeal, a sprinkle of splenda, and a spray of I Can't Believe It's Not Butter, or Jello with a spray of the butter for example.  I suppose for the number of women and girls she will undoubtedly help, it may be worth the risk, who knows?

Her writing style is very good and in her interview with Ellen yesterday both had said she wrote every single solitary word, and I have to say kudos to her as it was a very well written account of her struggle.

For more information about eating disorders and how you can help or begin your recovery visit:  http://www.nedic.ca/ in Canada or http://www.feast-ed.org/FEAST.aspx in the US, there are many organizations and support groups out there to help.

RATING: 4/5

Book Blogger Hop

If you are stopping by from The Hop.... WELCOME!!!! I just love Blog Hop, I have met some fantastic people and visited some terrific blogs as a result!

Here's this weeks question:

"What are your feelings on losing followers? Have you ever stopped following a blog?"


I have to say I have wondered briefly about this on occasion, but I try not to worry about it too much.  Like yesterday I lost one follower, and I figured it was maybe because I haven't been posting enough?  Or maybe they just were not into what i have been reading?  The blogs that I read the most are the ones in my blogroll, I scan thru them everyday and read which ones interest me at the time.  I comment usually only if I really have something to say, and I don't expect a reply unless I have asked a specific question.  I think in my google reader I have hundreds of blogs that I "follow", but admit to not checking it as often as I should.  The only time I have un-followed a blog is if they have not had a blog post for a few months (like more than 3 or 4), and even then I may not.  

Have a wonderful weekend everyone!

Thursday, November 4, 2010

THURSDAY SILLINESS...

As I have said before things are very stressful right now with my Mom.  She is now being transferred to a care facility for 2 weeks where they can closely monitor her meds.  She is doing great, but they want to make sure that her meds are right and that she will not have another seizure.  It's so tough on my poor Dad.  ANYway, last night I stumbled accross this Hidden Camera prank that Sofia Vergara did on Ellen.  OMG it is SOOOO damn funny.  I have watched it a dozen times and still laugh my butt off.  She is so awesome.  LOVE her.  She is by far, next to Cam, the funniest cast member on Modern Family.  She's beautiful, funny AND smart. 

Anyway, ENJOY!!!

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

TEASER TUESDAY!

Well, here we are again back at my most favouritest meme E-V-E-R.  Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading.  So sorry that it is so late in the day.. but here goes..
  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page and select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • try not to include spoilers... it can be tricky but sooo worth it!
  • include the name of book and author so we can add them to our morbidly obese TBR piles.
Like most of not all of you I am reading several things right now.  The Distant Hours (I am about 1/2 way and really enjoying it), A Furry Prayer, and a new book I just got today from Simon and Schuster the Portia DeRossie autobiography (I can-NOT put this book DOWN!).

Today's teaser, though, is from the doggie rescue book because the author is just so damn charming.  In a nut shell, in case you missed my last post, this very modern big city guy met a super incredible woman whose soul purpose was to save dogs.  He liked dogs, even loved them, but couldn't fathom spending your entire life running around rescuing them.  Once he met Joy, though, he fell in love so hard he just had to be with her at all costs... the rescue thing was just a side-line, that ended up being an incredible transforming force in his life.

(Disclaimer:  this will be more than two sentences, I'm cheating, but I can't help myself)

"Now wait just a minute," I tried to protest.  "I definately have some experience with altruism."
 "Which is?"
"Like everybody else who backpacked through Asia after college, I had sex with a Peace Corps volunteer."
"Uh-huh," she said, "absolutely, that counts."

For more teasers click here.

Monday, November 1, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY - NOVEMBER 1

Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme normally hosted by Marcia at the Printed page but this month is being hosted by Julie over at Knitting and Sundries. 

Okay, so before I do my mailbox I have to say that the last week we had a family emergency in that my Mom had what they THINK may be a stroke on Thursday, or it could be a seizure from a mix of medication that she is on.  Either way I had to call 911 Thursday afternoon and she is still in the hospital but doing very well.  They do not want her to leave until they find out exactly why she had the event and how they can prevent it in the future.  It was one of the most frightening things I have ever been through, for all of us, not the least of which, obviously, for my parents.  SO, there has not been much of reading, blogging or work on my dog training course happening.

Before this happened I did go to the bookstore with my 3 year old and picked up a book I had read about : (which I JUST discovered while looking for an image of the cover that you can read the book FOR FREE onine at google books.  Click here to read it FOR FREE.)  ANYway, I'm not bothered, eventhough for a small book under 250 pages it's 30 BUCKS.  But I digress... just look at the cover..

I mean seriously.  Doesn't that little wee pathetic looking chihuahua mix just make you wanna run to your nearest acreage and open the flood gates letting every stray into your yard??!!!

The book is awesome and Steven Kotler is hilarious.  He was a city slicker with no desire for kids or the country life who fell in love with a woman who, although also wanting no kids, had a "thing" for rescuing dogs.  Before he knows it he is buying a small farm in the middle-of-nowhere New Mexico and taking in dozens of hard luck doggies from high kill shelters.  Okay, so maybe that part's not funny, but the WAY he tells his story IS.

I also received, from Simon and Schuster Canada (THANK YOU!)  a  couple of memoirs and a novel by Nicole Ritchie.  Hm.  I tried to read the first few pages of Richie's book but just could not stomach it, and I feel terrible about it!  But it really is just horribly written drivel.  The other two are:



I have to admit I am a tad curious about this one, Late, Late at Night Rick Springfield's memoir.  There may have been a few occasions in the mid 80's when my 14/15 year old self belted out Jesse's Girl.  But really, did he write anymore songs?  I have no idea...  All I can say is:  EASY on the eyeliner, buddy!  Can you see his eyes on the cover??  ANYway, I flipped through briefly to look at the pictures and one thing I did glean from them is that he has been with the same woman for a ba-zillion years, and that says something pretty cool about him.



The next one I already emailed S and S and told them I will most likely not read it and would be happy to ship it back to them.  I know that sounds awfully cranky of me but I can't help it.  I just have zero interest in reading this:

I mean really, people, an autobiography about Susan Boyle?  REALLY?!  Okay, I'm not insulting those of you that may want to read it, I'm not, but I just don't get the fascination.  So S and S said I did not have to send it back but I could pass it on to someone who might like to read it.

SO whomever would like the Susan Boyle autobiography and this book:

You can have them for free but the only catch is you have to pay for shipping.  So it may or may not be worth it to you to snap either or both of these up depending on where you live.

I am still so grateful for the publishers I am fortunate enough to work with and many many books that I have loved have come in the way of a package I have not expected and got to open like a little kid at Christmas.  But occasionally I am sent a book or two that I just cannot commit to reading to.  I have so many books that I still need to read (I am about a third of the way thru The Distant Hours and I have to finish it in 8 days!) and want to read, so I really have to say no when I receive a book that just isn't for me.

ANYway, that is my mailbox Monday and a bit about the stuff that has been going on around here!

Have a wonderful day!

Sunday, October 17, 2010

SUNDAY SALON - OCT 17TH

The Sunday Salon.com

It occurred to me that I haven't done a Sunday Salon in a million and a half years, so I thought I would check in! 

Okay, so reading....I have started my ARC of Kate Morton's The Distant Hours and so far it's pretty good.  I have a few things on a deadline at the moment, I am reading that (to be done before Nov 9th), I am knitting a helmet liner for a feature film here in Calgary (deadline Oct 26th) AND I'm taking my clicker training course through the Karen Pryor Academy (which is my priority as it was VERY expensive, but worth it!) and have a whole crap load of course work and training I have to put on my dog and cat by the 3rd week of November.  Not to mention I have been deathly ill (a horrid reaction to antibiotics) but now my little wee 3 year old is sick so I am up to my eyeballs in stuff to do and no time to do it.  I know I'm preaching to the choir, right?

I love fall, though, there is something very comforting when the weather gets colder and a good book and a cozy corner seem to beckon me.  I am also reading Rot and Ruin which is another ARC, and it is pretty good and pretty funny in a zombie-like way. 

On the non-fiction front I am reading a few dog training/clicker animal behaviour books:  Reaching the Animal Mind by Karen Pryor (FANTASTIC!),  The Thinking Dog by Gail Tamases Fisher (Also fantastic!) and Don't Shoot the Dog by Karen Pryor, this is a CLASSIC and is not just about dog training, it is about the use of positive reinforcement in every aspect of you life from animals to husbands to children!  I'm telling you, since taking this course my life is slowly changing.  Intead of just hollering at my kids in frustration, I find I am looking at ways to positively reinforce what I WANT them to do instead of constantly nagging them about what I DON'T want them to do.  As parents I think we all do this naturally, but as kids get older and your relationship with them gets more complicated, it becomes much more difficult.  Imagine when your toddler is first learning to walk, most people would never dream of scolding a child for falling down or not taking a second step, instead the whole walking experience is framed in a positive way looking for what you can encourage not condemn.  But in a completely ironic twist my 10 year old in her very typical way, just waltzed in here and started talking to me about I'm not sure what and I just gave her heck for not having the consideration to see if A) I was busy B) could she not hear me typing as she entered the room and C) to please just ask if I have a second before she rudely interrupts me for the millionth time today. 

Sigh.

See?  Not so easy. 

Okay, I am now officially rambling.  I hope you all have a wonderful Sunday and I so appreciate each and every one of you who take the time to pop in!

Saturday, October 16, 2010

TOP PICKS UP AND RUNNING!

Looking for you next great read?  Trying to find a quick recommendation list all in one place?  I have now compiled all of the books I have reviewed thus far under the tab TOP PICKS in order of their rating.  I have also included my suggestions for Book Club Picks!

Hope you enjoy the new feature! 

Friday, October 15, 2010

THANK YOU TO READER DEBORAH!

One of my readers and friends asked me if there was a way to search my blog for all of my books rated 5/5, and I said "No, but great idea!"  I have now changed my Book Buzz tab to Top Picks and am presently compiling the list of books that I have reviewed in order from highest rating to lowest.

I LOVE it when someone who reads my blog comes up with a terrific idea and it makes me feel so great to think that someone is actually using my blog to help make some reading choices!  This is one of the main reasons I started my blog over a year ago!  I love getting reading recommendations from people and that is almost always where my most favourite reads have come from, and this is what I hope to do for folks out there who happen by my blog.

So, THANKS again, Deb, and anytime anyone has suggestions on what they would like to see here on Book Blab feel free to message me at circlebooks@shaw.ca or comment.


HAPPY READING EVERYONE!

WINNER OF CLOCKWORK ANGEL AND A REDRAW FOR BEHEMOTH!!!


THE WINNER OF CLOCKWORK ANGEL IS...........................

BEVERLY AT THE WORMHOLE!!!!!!!! 

Congrats!  I have sent you an email and also posted  a comment on your blog.  Please email me at circlebooks@shaw.ca as soon as possible with your snailmail so I can order your book! 

And after numerous attempts and an extension on the winner of Behemoth I was forced to redraw and the NEW WINNER IS.......................

INSPIRED KATHY OVER AT TOO BUSY READING!!!!!!!!!!!  CONGRATS!

And same goes for you, Kathy, please email me as soon as possible with your snailmail address, I will be shipping this book myself. 

Both winners have one week from today to contact me with their details or I will have to re-draw.  

THANK YOU SO MUCH to all who entered and have a WONDERFUL DAY!

Wednesday, October 13, 2010

REVIEW: THE FORGOTTEN GARDEN BY KATE MORTON

The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton
Paperback: 560 pages

Publisher: Washington Square Press; Reprint edition (Feb 16 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1416550550

First I would like to send a HUGE THANK YOU to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me a copy of this georgous book!

This was my first Kate Morton novel and I will say that it will not be my last.  This book is a lush telling of a little girl who is abandoned on a ship headed for Australia in 1913.  All she has in her possession when she arrives is a small suitcase containing a few clothes and a book - a book of fairytales.  She is found by the kindly dockmaster and his wife and they raise her as their own daughter.  On her 21st birthday Nell is told about how she was found, and with only vague memories of her past she sets off on a quest to find her true identity.  Her journey leads her all the way to the Blackhurst manor in England, the lavish home of the Mountrachet family.  Each corner digs the mystery deeper, and not until her granddaughter takes up the task after Nell's death is the puzzle finally solved. 

This tale is so rich and beautifully woven together, there is no other way to describe it!  I personally happen to love historical fiction, and also stories that interweave the past with the present.  Along with Nell and Cassandra escavating Nell's past, are two other parts of the puzzle.  One is of the woman known as The Authoress, Eliza, when she was a child and how she fits into Nell's life story.  You will find yourself not predicting the outcome, but being gently led along the path to uncover the clues along with the characters.  The setting is fertile and breathtaking what with all of the ocean breezes, misty mornings and the seaside cliff cottage.

This book could easily have gotten waaaay to complicated with all of the jumping around in time and the perspective changing from one person to the next, but it didn't .  I don't know HOW Kate manages to keep it all straight and beautifully unfolding the narrative bit by bit without confusing us, but she DOES.  I was constantly astounded at her skill as a writer.  Every once and a while I would come across a passage and think, "And there it is."  a detail brought up that was important to the overall outcome but was afraid that it would have been forgotten or not brought up again.

BRAVA!  To Miss Morton!  I cannot WAIT to dive into my ARC of The Distant Hours, and will hopefully be doing a giveaway of it at the time of my review.  I believe it is being released on November 9th so watch for it then!

RATING:  5/5

Friday, October 8, 2010

REVIEW: BEHEMOTH BY SCOTT WESTERFELD

Firstly a HUGE THANK YOU to Michelle over at Simon and Schuster Canada for not sending me one but TWO ARC's of Behemoth!

As most of you know by now I friggen LOVED Leviathan.  LOVED.  My expectations were pretty high for this book, actually that's not totally true.  I picked it up just assuming I would love it and it would be of the same pace as the first book, but I have to admit that even though I am clearly an anomaly in the book blogging world, I really can't say it was all that great.  About half way thru I found myself bored, and not connecting well with what was going on.  Now that being said, the last week I have been extremely beyond ill with a lung infection, and really wanted to finish the book before the release date, so maybe that took away from it.. I don't know.  That being said, virtually every single review out there is raving about it, so clearly I am missing something.

Here's the blurb from the back cover:

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.
Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.


If you loved the first one there is a great chance you will love this one too, I wish I had, but for whatever reason it fell short for me.

I am still looking forward to the 3rd book in the trilogy and welcome any suggestions for other great Steampunk novels to fill the void while I am waiting.

RATING:  2/5


Thursday, October 7, 2010

THE WINNER OF BEHEMOTH IS.............

The winner as determined by RANDOM.ORG is...

                                                     WANDA!!!!!
Wanda I have sent you an email and if you could reply with your snailmail by Tuesday October 12th, that would be great! 

Thanks to all who entered, and don't forget we still have our OTHER giveaway happening!  A BRAND NEW copy of The Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare which I will be ordering for the winner from Book Depository.  This contest is worldwide!  The contest ends October 15th so hurry!  :0)  Click here to enter.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

ANOTHER GIVEAWAY! ARC OF BEHEMOTH BY SCOTT WESTERFELD!

Sooooooo, since the lovely folks at Simon and Schuster Canada inadvertantly sent me an EXTRA ARC of the much anticipated Behemoth, I was given permission to GIVE MY EXTRA COPY AWAY!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!   

If you have not read Leviathan you can read my review here.  And here is the blurb on the 2nd in the trilogy:

The behemoth is the fiercest creature in the British navy. It can swallow enemy battleships with one bite. The Darwinists will need it, now that they are at war with the Clanker powers.



Deryn is a girl posing as a boy in the British Air Service, and Alek is the heir to an empire posing as a commoner. Finally together aboard the airship Leviathan, they hope to bring the war to a halt. But when disaster strikes the Leviathan's peacekeeping mission, they find themselves alone and hunted in enemy territory.


Alek and Deryn will need great skill, new allies, and brave hearts to face what's ahead.

The release date for this book is October 5th, and that is when the contest will end!  Since I will be paying for shipping myself the contest is only open to US and Canada.  Here are the rules:
  • You must be a follower to enter
  • You can earn extra entries by tweeting and posting about the giveaway on your blog
  • US and Canada only
CONTEST ENDS MIDNIGHT MOUNTAIN TIME ON OCTOBER 5TH.  CLICK HERE TO ENTER!

Good luck!


Wednesday, September 22, 2010

REVIEW: CLOCKWORK ANGEL AND GIVEAWAY!

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare
Book one of The Infernal Devices trilogy
Hardcover 496 pages
Available now
Ages 14 and up

First of all I would like to send out a HUGE thank you to Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me an ARC of Clockwork Angel!  I feel very fortunate to have S and S in my life, and I am grateful for every book they send my way!

Clockwork Angel is the first in The Infernal Devices series and this thrills me to no end.  Cassandra Clare is the author of the extremely popular Mortal Instruments series, as well as a book I would love to read called "Geektastic, Stories from the Nerd Herd".  She is also a contributing author to two anthology type books "Vacations from Hell"  and "Zombies vs. Unicorns." 

The first sentence in this little gem had me at "hello"....."The demon exploded in a shower of ichor and guts."  Who doesn't love exploding showers of demon guts!  The story revolves around Tessa, Will and Jem.  Will is a super sexy mysterious bad boy (but not in the typical annoying sense) shadowhunter; Jem is the nice cute guy in the story; and Tessa Gray is a young woman who is being held against her will and discovering that she is not quite human.  Tessa's part of the story starts with her arriving in London searching for her brother but soon becomes  a prisoner of two extremely unattractive and uber creepy "women" called The Dark Sisters, and they are prepping her for her meeting with The Magister.  Meanwhile Tessa's beloved brother Nathanial is missing and Tessa is determined to find out what happened to him, even though the Dark Sisters insist he is very much alive... but won't continue to be if she does not do as they ask. 

Cassandra Clare's writing style is fantastic and she has created a very believable pseudo world of London in the 1800's, with very believable races of creatures and the laws by which they live.  I absolutely hands down LOVED... IT.  She even added a hint of the young love thing, but with a great amount of restraint that is very believable and easy to relate to.  Will is not so much the brooding bad boy as in many other YA novels, as he is a reckless, enthusiastic, loyal shadowhunter who is very misunderstood.  Jem, on the other hand, is very sweet and has Will's back no matter what.  I don't want to say too much more because I think that it might spoil the read for you all.  But trust me... it is AWESOME! 

Many in the blogosphere are asking the question TEAM WILL?  Or TEAM JEM?  I have to say Will all the way.  And what does that say about me??! 

HA!

If you would like a little more detail on the storyline you can click here for the blurb...

And here is the book trailer courtesy of Simon and Schuster Canada!




And now for the giveaway portion of the post!

Very simple... you click here and fill out the form, you must be a follower of my blog to enter, you can earn extra entries for tweets, posts on your blog and sidebar listings.  The contest is open worldwide as I am going to be ordering the book from Book Depository and paying for it myself and there will be no substitution.  If you win I will only order Clockwork Angel.  The contest ends October 15th.

GOOD LUCK!

Monday, September 20, 2010

MAILBOX MONDAY - ARC BY KATE MORTON!!! WOOT!

Mailbox Monday is a weekly bookish meme created by Marcia over at The Printed Page, but this month is being hosted by Kathy over at Bermudaonion!

Today I actually DID get a book in the mail!  I am super excited to be given an ARC of Kate Morton's latest book The Distant Hours.  I am currently reading The Forgotten Garden, which I am LOVING, and I can't WAIT to dive into this one!  THANK YOU to Anneliese from Simon and Schuster Canada for sending me this georgous book!

Here is the blurb from Amazon.com:

A long lost letter arrives in the post and Edie Burchill finds herself on a journey to Milderhurst Castle, a great but moldering old house, where the Blythe spinsters live and where her mother was billeted 50 years before as a 13 year old child during WW II. The elder Blythe sisters are twins and have spent most of their lives looking after the third and youngest sister, Juniper, who hasn’t been the same since her fiance jilted her in 1941.



Inside the decaying castle, Edie begins to unravel her mother’s past. But there are other secrets hidden in the stones of Milderhurst, and Edie is about to learn more than she expected. The truth of what happened in ‘the distant hours’ of the past has been waiting a long time for someone to find it.


Isn't the cover GEORGOUS??!!!  Her covers are always beautiful, though.  Just look at The Forgotten Garden.
ANYway, The Distant Hours is available in stores November 9th, and I will have my review up a few days before then! 

What was in YOUR mailbox??

For more Mailbox Monday delights click here.

Friday, September 17, 2010

BLOG HOP FRIDAY!

Book Blogger HopI love the Blog Hop... It's right up there with Teaser Tuesday for me!

I love visiting new blogs, and checking up on some of my favourites.  It's such a great way to reconnect with everyone!

Click on the pic to join in on the fun!  And HAPPY HOPPING~!!!!

Wednesday, September 15, 2010

In which I find myself drooling.

Okay, remember when I said that I tend to judge a book by its cover?  I'll admit it, I'm a total snob when it comes to book covers.  There are many many books that I have not picked up merely because of their cover.  FOR SHAME!  Eventhough I blather on endlessly to my 10 year old about not judging anything or anyone based on how they LOOK.  Sigh.  It's a problem.  But once again I am going to point to the fact that because I have the WONDERFUL people at Simon and Schuster Canada and a few other publishing houses, I am introduced to various titles in which I would otherwise might say, "Pah!" 

Ergo...  ============================>



If I saw this little ditty in the book store I would probably think it was some weird little graphic novel, and not even given it a second glance.  And in fact, it came in a box with some other ARC's and sat there barely even noticed crying in the corner.  At first I thought, "What the?"  and it went into the pile of still-to-be-read ARC's that seem to call me everyday from their corner of my family room. 

So then...

I am meandering around Facebook, when I should really be reading, and I notice that Scott Westerfeld author of Leviathan which I sort of liked (read:  OBSESSIVELY IN LOVE WITH) changed his status to read...and I'm paraphrasing here... I'm going to be doing reading from Zombies vs. Unicorn at the blah blah blah tomorrow.  I'm like.. WHAAAA?  And so I asked him if he wrote a story in there and he says yes. 

Here's me scrambling to grab the book. 

Here's me opening it for the first time eventhough I've had it since forever...

 and here's me:

Soooo, not only does Scott Westerfeld have a short story in this little number, but so does CASSANDRA CLARE and HOLLY BLACK... it is a veritable cornucopia of delightful authors. 

It is a zany anthology of sorts, of short stories... but so much more!  Here is the blurb:

In this anthology, edited by Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier (unicorn and zombie, respectively), strong arguments are made for both sides in the form of short stories. Half of the stories portray the strengths – for good and evil – of unicorns and half show the good (and really, really bad-ass) side of zombies. This anthology will have everyone asking: Team Zombie or Team Unicorn?

See what I mean?  GEMS, people, GEMS! 

It comes out September 21st and once I have a read thru I'll post my review..

HAVE A GREAT NIGHT! 

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

TEASER TUESDAY - CLOCKWORK ANGEL... again.

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly meme hosted by MizB over at Should Be Reading and ANYONE CAN PLAY ALONG!
  • grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select 2 teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • TRY NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS!  (Or you will recieve 50 lashes with a wet noodle.. I'm just sayin'.)
  • Please do include the name of the book and the author.
My teaser is from The Clockword Angel by Cassandra Clare.  I am ALMOST done this book, and I have to admit I do NOT want it to end!  In fact I was plowing through it and then I purposefully slowed down to savour every word.  I LOVE it.  I can't believe I have to wait AN ENTIRE YEAR for the next one!  Sigh.  At least she doesn't pull a "Gabaldon" and make us wait for 3 or 4 YEARS until the next installment.  The next book on my roster is to finish The Forgotten Garden by Kate Morton.  I actually was loving it but then somehow life got busy and I put it down a few months ago.  I am getting the ARC for her next one called The Distant Hours, so I thought I should get the first one done and review it like I was supposed to!

ANYway, without further adieu:

"You are not a monster," said Jem.  "Or a coward.  On the contrary, I was quite impressed by the way you shot at de Quincey.  You would almost certainly have killed him if there'd been any more bullets in the gun."





For more teasers click here...

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

TEASER TUESDAYS!

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB from Should Be Reading and anyone can play along!
  • Grab your current read
  • flip to a random page
  • select two teaser sentences from anywhere on that page
  • Please do not include any SPOILERS!!!  Or I will cry big salty tears.
  • And don't forget to include the author and title of the book so we can add it to our ever-growing TBR piles!
My teaser today is from the FANTASTIC book, "The Clockwork Angel" by Cassandra Clare.  This book has been such a great surprise.  You never know when you get an ARC how it is going to read. Normally in the store or on my Kindle I have a good look through and read a few pages before deciding whether or not to buy, but an ARC just arrives.. BAM... deliciously into my mailbox.  Sometimes they arrive and I hear angels singing, as in Behemoth.... other times I look and think, "Huh... normally I wouldn't give this a look at the store, but okay!"  And this one, I probably WOULD have looked at in Chapters, and probably even bought, but had no idea when I took it out of the box that it was going to be THIS GOOD.  Stellar, even.

ANYway, back to the teaser:

"Was it possible that he was the Magister?  Though anyone that looked like that wouldn't need to tie girls up and imprison them in order to get them to marry him."

Uh, HUH.  THAT'S what I'm talking about!  Along with being a great read taking place in a really cool unique world, it totally satisfies my criteria of making a dirty old woman happy.  SCHWING!  Now I think I definately will check our her other series "The Mortal Instruments"  starting with "The City of Bones." 

For more teasers click here.

Wednesday, August 25, 2010

I think I am finally out of a bit of a reading slump with........

Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare

This little beauty came in a box along with some other YA ARC's a little while ago.  Most of the other books in the box are of the angsty-I'm-in-love-with-a-dark-and-brooding-possible-mythical-creature-who-treats-me-like-crap-but-I-can't-stay-away variety.  But THIS one.....

tres cool. 

First of all it is a period book, which is my favourite book to read.  It is set in the 1800's, so it had me at "hello".  Second the story is unfolding in a deliciously mysterious way in that I am not entirely sure what is happening but I can't put it down.  And not to mention THE COVER. 

Georgous.

And can anyone say Book 1 of 3 and WOOT?  If this book lives up to the glory that is its first 20 pages, I am going to be one happy camper.  I'll keep you posted.  And since I TOTALLY missed Tuesday Teaser yesterday, I'll have to post about it next TT.  But here is the blurb from the back cover:

Magic is dangerous—but love is more dangerous still.


When sixteen-year-old Tessa Gray crosses the ocean to find her brother, her destination is England, the time is the reign of Queen Victoria, and something terrifying is waiting for her in London's Downworld, where vampires, warlocks and other supernatural folk stalk the gaslit streets. Only the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the world of demons, keep order amidst the chaos.


Kidnapped by the mysterious Dark Sisters, members of a secret organization called The Pandemonium Club, Tessa soon learns that she herself is a Downworlder with a rare ability: the power to transform, at will, into another person. What’s more, the Magister, the shadowy figure who runs the Club, will stop at nothing to claim Tessa's power for his own.

Friendless and hunted, Tessa takes refuge with the Shadowhunters of the London Institute, who swear to find her brother if she will use her power to help them. She soon finds herself fascinated by—and torn between—two best friends: James, whose fragile beauty hides a deadly secret, and blue-eyed Will, whose caustic wit and volatile moods keep everyone in his life at arm's length . . . everyone, that is, but Tessa. As their search draws them deep into the heart of an arcane plot that threatens to destroy the Shadowhunters, Tessa realizes that she may need to choose between saving her brother and helping her new friends save the world. . . . and that love may be the most dangerous magic of all.






And on Facebook, ever heard of it?  There was a little thingy that popped up of a book with a dog on the cover.  Now, you may or may not know that I am into learning about dog training and love dogs in general, so as IF I didn't click on it immediately.  Well, it turns out that it is for a book called "A Dog's Purpose" by W. Bruce Cameron and there is quite a bit of buzz about this one, and here's the proof.  On Amazon.com there have been 92 reviews.... 91 of them have been 5 STARS!  And the other one was for 4 STARS!  So AS IF I am not going to click-click!  And you know what that means... yup, I'm adding yet ANOTHER book to my Kindle which has 7 books on there that have yet to be read.  Sigh. 

For more about this book visit the website A Dog's Purpose...

Saturday, August 21, 2010

GIVEAWAY OVER AT BOOK BLAB FOR KIDS!

Hey all!

I think I probably MAY have mentioned, ONCE OR TWICE (cough) that my 10 year old daughter has her own book blog called Book Blab for Kids.  She has just announced her VERY FIRST giveaway with a twist.  The twist is that for every follower that enters the contest our family is going to donate $1 to a GREAT charity that was started by another 10 year old girl named Molly.  You see Molly and Ellie both have siblings adopted from Ethiopia, and Molly is raising $8000 to purchase a clean water well in Ethiopia and we want to do our share!  ( You can visit Molly's Facebook page called H2O for Ethiopia to learn more about her foundation)

All you have to do is enter the contest and WE will put $1 in.  Done and done. 

SO, click here to enter to win a copy of the 2nd book in the Dork Diaries series,which is an entertaining romp through young girlhood. 

NO PRESSURE.  But you really don't want to make not one but TWO 10 year old girls cry, do you? 

DO YOU?!!!  :0)


All kidding aside, she would just love it if you stopped by and entered, or had a look around. 

Thanks everyone!