November 30, 2008

Giveaway: Win an ARC copy of The Book of Nonsense by David Michael Slater

WINNER: Wanda in Winnipeg Canada


READ MY REVIEW



To be entered to win, please fill out the form below. For additional entries leave a comment on any of my book reviews. You'll earn one extra entry for each comment you leave.

I will take entries until 9:00pm CST Sunday December 7th and the winner will be announced Monday, December 8th. Open worldwide.

The book will be mailed to the winner as soon as the winner's address is confirmed. Winner must respond to notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Good Luck!!






Review: I, Lorelei by Yeardley Smith



When eleven-year-old Lorelei Connelly's cat named Mud dies, she begins a diary to him. In it she chronicles her daily life with her family and her adventures in the sixth grade. She's also writing the diary to ensure that when she's a famous actress, chef and/or bestselling author her biographers can accurately report her life.

The diary begins with Lorelei trying out for the middle school Peter Pan production. Lorelei wants to try out for Tinkerbelle but her mom, who played Wendy in college, is dead set on her trying out for Wendy in this play. Lorelei wonders how to break the news to her mom when her mom goes so far as to dig out her old Wendy costume.

In the midst of Lorelei's normal tween drama which includes being replaced as Jenny's best friend by the much hated Veronica and being terrified by the school bully Matt Newsome, her parents' marriage begins to fall apart. We follow along in her journey as she shares it all with the much loved and missed Mud.

It's hard to believe that this is Smith's first book. The writing is excellent and she captured the eleven year old voice so perfectly that I truly felt that this book was written by a young girl. Lorelei's diary entries are funny and you can't help but root for her when things start to go wrong. I fell right into the story and the characters became loved. You know a book is great when you find yourself thinking about the characters long after you've finished reading.

This book is perfect reading for the tween crowd, ages 8-12 but I also recommend this book for any adult who loves reading young adult books also. I hope Smith continues writing books and that she ventures into adult books soon.

Review: The Moon Shines Down by Margaret Wise Brown




By the author of Goodnight Moon comes a story that will delight children all over the world. The partial manuscript for this book was found fifty-six years after Margaret Wise Brown’s Death and children’s book publisher Laura Minchew was chosen to complete the book in Brown’s unique style.

A little koala travels the sea at night with the moon shining down on him. As he visits Switzerland, the Far East, Mexico, France, The Outback Wild, An English Wood, Africa and The Oceans Deep the moon shines down over the people and animals and the koala says a little prayer to bless them all.

The book is full of beautifully drawn and colored illustrations. The lands the koala visits are captured so accurately that you can almost guess where he’s visiting even if you hadn’t read it.

The book is geared for children ages 4-8 however I think that children of all ages will love this book. I recommend this one with 2 thumbs up.

November 28, 2008

Review: Written in Blood by Sheila Lowe



Forensic Handwriting Expert, Claudia Rose, was just hired on to authenticate the signature on a wealthy older man’s will after he passed away and left the majority of his estate to his significantly younger widow, Paige Sorenson. Based on Claudia’s analysis, a judge rules that the signature is genuine and Paige can now claim the Sorenson Academy for Girls as her own to the dismay of the widow’s step children.

Against her better judgment about keeping her business and her personal life separate, Claudia befriends Paige and a troubled young student named Annabelle and the trouble soon begins. On Christmas Eve Paige and Annabelle disappear and Claudia is asked by Annabelle’s father to help find the missing pair. Suddenly Claudia is pulled in much deeper than she hoped and now her own life is at risk along with Paige and Annabelle.

This was a great fast paced mystery that I read in two quick days even with the family over celebrating Thanksgiving. The “who-done-it” factor was a little predictable but the story is exciting enough to overcome that part of the story. The way Claudia gets pulled into the drama is very realistic too. Lowe captures the teen angst of the troubled Annabelle perfectly and the relationship between Claudia and Annabelle is not written as a “happily ever after” tale so I liked that about this book also.

I almost forgot to mention this was book two in the Forensic Handwriting Mystery series by Lowe with book one being Poison Pen. It is a stand alone as I had not read book one and didn’t feel like anything was missing. I will be picking up book one and anticipating book two which is due out in August 2009. I recommend this book to all mystery and cozy lovers.


November 27, 2008

Review: Santa Responds by Santa Claus

He's Had Enough...and He's Writing Back!



Product Description:

Ever wonder what Santa does with all those letters? (And all those cookies?) After a particularly long, cold night staring at nine smelly reindeer butts, the old man lets loose with the real answers to those stupid, whiny, hard-to-read letters from kids. Turns out, we really do get what we deserve.

Dear Billy,

I know you honestly believe that the good deeds you rattled off represent your behavior for the entire past year rather than the activities that occurred during the two hours leading up to the writing of this letter. Two hours of good behavior hardly justifies a new Playstation, let alone a trip to Disney World!!

Your pal,

Santa


The book realy did make me laugh out loud in parts. Some of the responses are too funny, especially the one liners. My favorite features a 3 page letter from Paige and Santa's response is "Dear Paige, When did you turn into such a little bit**? Your Friend, Santa"

The one thing that keeps me from rating the book higher than 3 stars is the fact that after the first few letters, Santa's responses start to become too similiar. I would have liked a little more variety but otherwise I do recommend picking this one up. And just in case you were unsure, this is not a children's book. LOL



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November 26, 2008

Review: The King's Daughter by Sandra Worth


Author's Website


In The King’s Daughter Elizabeth of York, daughter of King Edward IV, tells her own story about growing up and becoming the First Tudor Queen.

She leads a pampered life until the king dies and the battle over who is the rightful heir to the throne begins. Once Richard of Gloucester is proclaimed the true successor, Elizabeth is taken from her seclusion in the sanctuary and brought to court as a lady in waiting for Richard’s wife, Queen Anne. But just when everything seems perfect, Queen Anne becomes ill and knowing she has only a short time left, she persuades Elizabeth to see Richard in a new light. Together they begin plotting for Elizabeth to marry Richard after Anne’s death.

Devastated by his true love’s death Richard sends Elizabeth away and recklessly leads his men into what some say was a suicide mission against Henry Tudor. In order to secure his position as the new king Henry marries Elizabeth and together they begin the Tudor dynasty.

This was an amazing book! With the Showtime series the Tudors I fell in love with King Henry VIII so having the opportunity to read his mother’s story, I jumped at the chance.

Elizabeth’s life was full of devastation and loss yet she remained true to the English people up until her death. Forced to marry Henry and dominated by her dreaded mother-in-law, Elizabeth led her life without question and this novel shares some of her deepest secrets.

Much is written about Henry VII and his mother but so few history books tell the tale of Elizabeth. Even though this is only a novel, I feel that you get a good look into her life with this story. I highly recommend this book to all historical lovers and anyone who has a fascination with royalty.



November 23, 2008

Contest: Win a NEW ARC copy of The Mighty Queens of Freeville by Amy Dickinson

Winner: Amy in Pennsylvania



Millions of Americans know and love Amy Dickinson from reading her syndicated advice column “Ask Amy” and from hearing her wit and wisdom weekly on National Public Radio. Amy’s audience loves her for her honesty, her small-town values, and the fact that her motto is “I make the mistakes so you don’t have to.” In The Mighty Queens of Freeville, Amy Dickinson shares those mistakes and her remarkable story. This is the tale of Amy and her daughter and the people who helped raise them after Amy found herself a reluctant single parent.
Though divorce runs through her family like an aggressive chromosome, the women in her life taught her what family is about. They helped her to pick up the pieces when her life fell apart and to reassemble them into something new. It is a story of frequent failures and surprising successes, as Amy starts and loses careers, bumbles through blind dates and adult education classes, travels across the country with her daughter and their giant tabby cat, and tries to come to terms with the family’s aptitude for “dorkitude.”

They have lived in London, D.C., and Chicago, but all roads lead them back to Amy’s hometown of Freeville (pop. 458), a tiny village where Amy’s family has tilled and cultivated the land, tended chickens and Holsteins, and built houses and backyard sheds for more than 200 years. Most important, though, her family members all still live within a ten-house radius of each other. With kindness and razor-sharp wit, they welcome Amy and her daughter back weekend after weekend, summer after summer, offering a moving testament to the many women who have led small lives of great consequence in a tiny place.

To be entered to win, please fill out the form below. For additional entries leave a comment on any of my book reviews. You'll earn one extra entry for each comment you leave.

I will take entries until 9:00pm CST Sunday November 30th and the winner will be announced Monday, December 1st. Open worldwide.

The book will be mailed to the winner as soon as the winner's address is confirmed. Winner must respond to notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Good Luck!!





November 22, 2008

Bookworm Award - Meme



Wrighty at Wrighty's Reads has given me my first award. Thank you!

Here are the rules: Open the closest book to you—not your favorite or most intellectual book, but the book closest to you at the moment—to page 56. Write out the fifth sentence as well as the next two to five sentences. Pass this on to five blogging friends.

The closest book to me is Mysteria Lane an Anthology featureing MaryJanice Davidson, Susan Grant, Gena Showalter and P.C. Cast.

"It was getting its chest wet. It was getting dizzy. It tried to swing at the dread queen and missed by too much, missed and then the odd colored grass was rushing to its face, and the Krakeen demon
knew no more."


Well, now that I know the demon dies, I guess I don't need to read the book. LOL


If you've been tagged before or you’re not into this kind of thing, feel free to pass. Just know that I have enjoyed your blog. I hereby tag these blogs:


  • Popin's Lair
  • Wendi's Book Corner
  • The Book Gnome
  • Booklorn
  • Experiments in Reading


  • November 21, 2008

    New look!

    During the Bloggy Giveaway Carnival a few weeks ago I entered a giveaway that Cynthia from NW Designs was hosting. And while I didn't win...sigh...I was intrigued enough by her designs that I couldn't resist asking her to work on my blog and this new look is the result.

    I am incredibly happy with my new header and overall look. Cynthia took my totally lame sketch and turned it into exactly what I was looking for. She says I didn't, but I'm sure I drove her nuts with my changes so again I'd like to thank Cynthia for all her patience and hard work.

    I urge everyone to take a peek at NW Designs or her blog The Chronicles of a SAHM.

    Review: The Pre-Nup by Beth Hendrick




    Life should have been happily ever after for friends Ellie, Jen & Mara but sadly that wasn’t the case.

    Ellie had the picture perfect marriage to Michael complete with wealth, a 3-year old daughter and beloved in-laws. Late one night, Ellie picks up Michael’s phone and sees an email that shakes her to the core. Her perfect marriage is a sham. Michael has been cheating on her and with a hot doctor no less. When the cards are on the table Michael tries to weasel out of his obligations by hiding his true net worth from the lawyers and claiming poverty. Ellie has to find a way to reveal the truth and secure her daughter’s future.

    Jen’s marriage is just the opposite. Her husband Eric entered into their marriage knowing that Jen loved him but wasn’t in love with him. As a wedding gift Eric bank rolled Jen’s start up business with a stipulation in the pre-nup that if they divorce before their five year anniversary, Eric owns half the company and Jen has to pay back his investment. Now with the business on the brink of national success, Eric has realized that he was wrong into thinking he could make the marriage work and Jen is left wondering what’s more important; success or her marriage?

    Mara and Josh both agree that they’re not going to divorce but they realize that protecting themselves with a pre-nup makes sense. But when Josh adds a “cheating clause” Mara is offended and ends the best relationship she’s ever had. Will she get over the hurt? And if she knows she’s not going to cheat, why did the clause bother her so much?

    I absolutely loved The Pre-Nup. The characters were fully developed and well written. I couldn’t help but become a part of their lives and wish that the book didn’t end. Not only is the book about the marriages and relationships but it’s about the lasting bonds of friendship. These girls truly do stick together through thick and thin and all the fun in between while keeping the door open to welcome a new friend.

    This is the first book by Beth Kendrick that I’ve read but I’m sure that I’ll go back and read her others. I recommend this book to all lovers of contemporary romance and chick-lit.



    Review: 365 Erotic Secrets for Sensational Sex by Dr. Pam Spurr


    Courtesy of Amorata Press and Mini Book Expo



    365 secrets are plenty of tips to start or re-ignite the spark. The book offers a ton of informational reading with the tips spaced out in between. To get an idea of all this book provides I’ve listed some of the chapters below:

    • Becoming a Sensational Lover
    • Sensational Seduction
    • Sensational Sex Talk
    • Sensational Foreplay
    • Sensational Oral Pleasure
    • Sensational Fantasy Play
    • Sensationally Advanced Sex-Play
    • Sensational Lotions, Potions and Playthings
    • Sensational Sex Games


    I enjoyed reading through the book but didn’t really get 365 great tips. Some of them were a little cheesy such as “Using your hands, feed you lover, taking your time to do things like pluck grapes slowly before pushing them gently between their lips.” and listed as one of the signs that a women is interested in a man “She gently draws her finger from her neck toward her décolletage signaling she wants him to notice her ‘feminine charms’ - her cleavage.” These bring to mind tacky B-movies or even those lame adult movies with no plot.

    Another thing that prevented me from liking this book more was that there were no pictures. I’m a visual learner so I think that I would have enjoyed it more with at least a few pictures.

    My two favorite chapters were Sensational Fantasy Play and Sensational Sex Games. Another thing I did like a lot were the list of websites listed in the last chapter of the book. I ended up bookmarking about half of them.

    I recommend reading this book as a supplemental to other instruction books but not as your only choice for creating intimacy or sparks in the bedroom.


    November 17, 2008

    Review: The Book of Nonsense by David Michael Slater



    The day before their thirteenth birthday the father of feuding twins Daphna and Dexter Wax, Milton, returns from a book scouting trip with a mysterious old book. Daphna immediately knows what to do with it. She wants to take it to the new rare book shop that just opened up in earlier in the summer, The Antiquarian Book Center (ABC). Somehow the blind owner of the shop, Asterius Rash, mesmerizes Milton into giving him the book and promising to have Daphna return the next day to be his assistant.

    What baffles both Daphna is that the book was full of nonsense. The writing was in an unknown language and these nonsense words seemed to change right in front of her eyes. Suddenly her father is stuck ill overnight and Daphna is forced to team up with Dexter in order to solve the mystery of the book because things aren't as they seem at The ABC and their lives are unexpectedly in danger.

    The Book of Nonsense is Book One in a planned five book series. I enjoyed the adventure that the twins went on and I'm positive that the target age group of 9-12 year olds will love this book. The plot twists are imaginative and the characters are well developed. The ending was neatly tied up but at the same time there is a cliff hanger that will have readers looking forward to book two.

    Review: My Little Girl by Tim McGraw & Tom Douglas


    Courtesy of Thomas Nelson

    Katie's Dad has promised her a special day. As she's getting ready she is having visions of a royal ball as a princess and an adventurer stomping through the jungle in Africa. What she gets is a typical day with nothing in particular planned. But the time spent with her Dad turns in the best day of all.

    I thought this book was too cute. What I especially liked was that there is a special page at the beginning to dedicate this book for your "little girl" and a page at the end to write out your own "love you more" story. I recommend picking this book up for daughters or special girls up to about age 10.


    November 16, 2008

    Contest: Win an ARC copy of The Pre-nup by Beth Kendrick

    WINNER: Darby in Kansas
    READ AN EXCERPT

    All you need is love? For the residents of swanky Mayfair Estates, a pre-nup is just another item on the wedding to-do checklist—but three friends get more than they bargained for when they promise to love, cherish…and sign on the dotted line.

    Ellie married her handsome, wealthy Prince Charming when she was young, naïve, and willing to sign a one-sided pre-nup in the name of true love. But seven years, she can’t save her marriage, but she’s determined to save her divorce.

    When Jen married Eric, he knew she wasn’t head over heels. Still, he insisted they were perfect together and even bankrolled her business. But when Jen’s career finally takes off, so may lose the husband she loves more than she realized—and everything else she's worked for.

    Mara is sure her fiancé has forgiven her for a foolish one-night fling—until he adds a "cheating clause"to the pre-nuptial agreement she demanded. If he really trusts her, why the clause? And if she’s really trustworthy, why is she objecting?

    As romance collides with real life, three wildly different women turn to each other for moral support and insights about how to safeguard their most valuable assets: their hearts.

    I will take entries until 9:00pm CST Sunday November 23rd and the winner will be announced Monday, November 24th. Open worldwide. One entry per person, please.

    The book will be mailed to the winner as soon as the winner's address is confirmed. Winner must respond to notification email within 48 hours or a new winner will be selected. Good Luck!!

    Review: Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick




    “Marcia, Marcia, Marcia.” Oh how this line has plagued Maureen McCormick for years. Inside this book Maureen shares her life in shocking detail. To outsiders she was perfect. Cute, smart and stylish with the talent to match. To outsiders she was Marcia Brady. But few people were privy to the real person with real fears who spent a lot of time literally hiding in closets to escape her demons.

    From her humble beginnings as the voice of the Chatty Cathy Doll to her impressive win on Celebrity Fit Club, Maureen’s life is chronicled with nothing held back. “Haunted by the perfection of her television alter ego, Maureen landed on the dark side, caught up in a fast-paced, drug-fueled, star-studded Hollywood existence that ultimately led to the biggest battle of her life.”

    I’m amazed at how open Maureen was in this book. As she learned later in life, being open and sharing was the solution to bringing her the peace she never had growing up and even into adulthood. Her story of triumph over the demons that tore her live apart for so many years is encouraging in so many different ways. I highly recommend reading this book especially if you were a Marcia Brady fan or even just casually knowing the character as I did.