31 October 2009

Happy Halloween

Just wanted to wish all my bloggy friends a safe, sweet, and....

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Happy Halloween!

So what are you reading this Halloween? Anything spooky?

30 October 2009

Creative or Sacrilege?

While gobbling up my latest issue of Country Living magazine I came across a new craft idea for old books. The idea is to use your old books to make stylish purses.


Which brings me to this week's question:
Is this creative or do you consider it sacrilege?
If you would like to purchase one check out this Etsy shop.
If you would like to make one yourself, visit Country Living's DIY slideshow.

28 October 2009

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire Book Review & Contest

Book: How to Catch and Keep a Vampire: A Step-by-Step Guide to Loving the Bad and the Beautiful
Authoress: Diana Laurence
Pages: 160 (paperback)
Genre: Adult Fiction | Humor | Parody

Off the cover: "Who needs a book on dating a vampire? Well, Bella Swan and Sookie Stackhouse to name just two..."

My summary: This is a self-help novel for every day girls who want to find, snag, and keep a vampire. Diana Laurence covers and tackles every burning question a mortal girl might have. She dispels myths, dispenses invaluable advice, and shares tales of the sexy vampires she has met and been wooed by. By the time you finish this novel you too will be ready to meet a vampire.

My say: I will admit when I first heard of this book I thought it sounded cute but not really up my alley. Even after I started reading I was grinning but not quite sold. But once I surrendered to the fun I found my self completely sucked in. Diana Laurence's book is not just funny it is oddly believable. I was so immersed I had to remind my self it was fiction.

How to Catch and Keep a Vampire is a smile-inducing repertoire that is full of wit, snappy titles, and fantastically clever pop culture references.

I literally spent the entire time I read this book smiling and chuckling.

My favorite part?: A total tie between her mini vampire escapades and her definition and usage of the infamous red ribbon.
(i.e. Eclipse cover)

My rating: 4 stars; It is SO easy to get caught up in this comical treat.

The Meter Readings:
Kiddie-o-meter: This one is aimed for older teens and adult women. While there is no sex, violence, or social commentary it does openly discuss relationships in a mature manner.
Adult-o-meter: Perfect escapism for the vampire loving adult. It is the kind of cute book I could see my self leaving on my coffee table (or in my guest room) to amuse my house guests.

Worth-a-read?: Give this one a chance. It is so wickedly amusing.

Quoteables:

"I don't know why everyone persists in thinking vampires don't eat or drink regular stuff as well as blood. Seriously, where's the logic? Vampires are no different than you and I in this regard. Mortals don't need to consume vanilla cherry cola and malted milk balls to survive, but they partake of them anyway."

"Most vampires do detest garlic, so ordering shrimp scampi on your dinner date may be a faux pas."

"Vampires love swoony women with spunk."

"Cocky vampire pick-up line: I can be your Lestat, your Edward, your Bill...only even better."

Contest:
Enter to win my gently used paperback copy of How to Catch and Keep a Vampire. To enter you must be or become a follower and comment with your email address below. Existing followers will receive an additional entry. Contest is open to residents of the United States and Canada only. Contest ends November 30th.

My final say: Insightful but I am still a total wolf girl. *growl*

Thank you Sellers Publishing for sending me this review copy.

Can you name that cover?

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26 October 2009

Dr. Anderson's Nanny Book Review Mini

Authoress: Amy Hahn
Available format: eBook, Paperback
Pages: 234
Genres: Adult Fiction | Fantasy | Chick Lit | Paranormal Romance

Preface: I am quickly becoming a fan of The Wild Rose Press. Their books are not deep literature BUT they are fun peachy doozies that offer a great romantic escape at superb prices.

My condensed version: Wednesday is a witch, a new graduate of the Magical Nannies for Children Foundation, and about to meet some major obstacles in her first governess position.
Will troublesome children keep her from acing her first gig? Ah no. But her undeniable attraction to Dr. Anderson might.

My take: This is a fluffy merry read that is part The Nanny and part Bewitched. Wednesday tries to be Nanny McPhee but she is really more of a brunette Samantha Stephens. This is a light tale of watching romance brew.

My rating: 4 stars: I really enjoyed this frothy fun.

2 for 2:
Main character: Quirky endearing
Plot: Sweet cute

The Meter Readings:
Kiddie-o-meter: There is no violence or social commentary but this is sexy chick lit so you will find some spicy make-out sessions.
Adult-o-meter: Perfect for the adult who is in between reads or looking for something light and quick.

Quotable: "The man was tan, very tan, and his eyes were a dark, mesmerizing green. Dr. Anderson was much more handsome than his photo. Lumina had forgotten to mention that fact. Of course, she’d been more focused on learning about Jenna, Tamra and Michaela than on him at the time. Still, Lumina should’ve warned her. Wednesday made a mental note to strangle the fairy the next time she saw her."

Money talk: All books at The Wild Rose Press are available in eBook formats. Some (like this one) are released in paperback as well. The eBooks are always fantastically priced and therefore what I normally opt for. Waiting for a new book to arrive? Pick up an eBook at The Wild Rose Press. They are instant fun that also happens to be easy on your pocket book.

Note: Mrs. Whimsy was a frugalista way before it was cool and takes pride in sharing a good price with her online homegirls. I have in no way been contracted by The Wild Rose Press to speak their praises.

To purchase the eBook through The Wild Rose Press click here.
To purchase the paperback through The Wild Rose Press click here.

Seasonal note: Amy Hahn released a Christmas book last Christmas called Mr. Jack Frost. This one is definitely on my Christmas TBR (to be read) list. Mr. Jack Frost is available in both an eBook format and paperback format.

My final say: I love reading witch tales as we near Halloween.

23 October 2009

Yackety-yak: Where would you go?



Sugar Maple (the town I visited recently in Laced With Magic) was so picturesque and magically infused that I found my self wishing I too could visit Sugar Maple.

I want to stroll the enchanting mountain town and eat at a tavern with a shapeshifter and fairy.

Then yesterday when I visited the lovely Jo at Ink and Paper,
I found she too was wondering a similar thing.


That brings me to today's Yackety-Yak question:
If you could step in to a book and visit any fictional
town, city, home, or location which would it be? Where would you go?
  • Would you brave Panem (Catching Fire and The Hunger Games)?
  • Would you perhaps prefer something more safe and ethereal like Holly's pre-heaven from You Had Me At Halo?
  • Maybe a quirky modern day Texas city where werepeople and vampires not only live among humans but also suffer from racism? (Tantalize)
  • How about visiting Liz's after life home in Elsewhere?

22 October 2009

News Flash: Fallen Princesses


What would happen if some of our most beloved fictional princesses
visited modern times? Dina Goldstein has answered just that.
I stumbled across her photos quite accidentally and found them
so visually compelling I had to share them with you.

Snippet: "These works place Fairy Tale characters in modern day scenarios. In all of the images the Princess is placed in an environment that articulates her conflict. The "happily ever after" is replaced with a realistic outcome and addresses current issues."

To see the other in the series
(like Rapunzel, Jasmine, and Belle)

What do you think? Which one is your favorite or least favorite?

21 October 2009

Can you name that cover?

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Blogosphere appreciation & spotlight

I am such a lucky duck. I receive more blog awards than I can keep up with or redistribute.

So I have started a link that thanks each and every blogger who has taken the time to award me.

Please forgive me if this seems insufficient and please know that I appreciate every single award I ever receive. To me there really is no greater honor than to be honored by your peers.

Today I received 2 adorable blog awards from the lovely and sweet Andrea from Buried in Books!

This got me thinking. I should use the 2 awards to draw attention to some new book bloggers that really could use some bloggy love.

So with out further ado I would like to present the following blog awards to some blogosphere newbies.

Please click on the links and check out their pages. Each has been carefully selected for your viewing pleasure.

Your Blog Is Adorable Award is awarded to blogs whose template and overall look I adore:

Bookalicious at Bookalicious
Her blog is soooo pretty. It is simply precious.

Her site is cute and reminds me of folk art. A must see.

Her site is hip, sleek, and easy to read.

I'm awarding My Favorite Blog Award is to blogs that are sure to become favorites:

Ashleys' page features stellar reviews.

Cait's new but she has great reviews and giveaways.

Cherry's page is full of hot eye candy and fun reviews.

Justine has a gorgeous calming header and great reviews.

20 October 2009

Laced With Magic Book Review

Authoress: Barbara Bretton
Pages: 329 (Softcover)
Genres: Adult | Paranormal Romance

My preface: I had not visited Sugar Maple (the magical Norman Rockwell town in the Vermont mountains that is home to a whole slew of vampires, werewolves, shapeshifters, trolls, selkies, and fairies) since reading Casting Spells a little over a month ago. But with Halloween just around the corner I figured what better time to revisit the picturesque bewitching town.

Plus I had to see how things are going for Chloe (part human/part sorceress) and her new beau (the very human) Luke.

My summary: Chloe and Luke where just getting the hang on love when out of nowhere Luke's ex-wife shows up in town proclaiming she has seen and heard from their dead daughter (Steffie), she needs help, and she is not taking no for an answer.

New love, old love, loss, and peril all collide in this one. Sparks are going to fly (literally).

Off the cover: "Chloe, who's still getting a handle on her powers, is about to discover that love may not conqueror all, but a nasty Fae certainly can..."

"Now it seems Steffie's spirit is being held hostage by a certain Fae leader. And if I weave a spell to free her spirit, my nemesis will also be free - free to destroy my yarn shop, all of Sugar Maple, and everyone in it."

My say: Laced with Magic pleasantly surprised me by exceeding it's predecessor (Casting Spells) and my expectations.

I was expecting a light revisit to Sugar Maple. What I was not expecting is a story that is witty, enchanting, exciting, and at times totally heart wrenching.

The story is told in first person but deliciously trades perspectives between the main gal (Chloe), her boyfriend (Luke), and his ex-wife (Karen).

The result? Contemporary romantic brilliance.

The reader gets to see what it is like for:
1. The ex-wife who still believes she knows what her ex-husband is all about
2. The girlfriend who is afraid she doesn't know her boyfriend enough
3. The newly in love / ex-husband who is still mourning the loss of his daughter

The character's voices are genuine and at times laugh out loud funny.

The emotions and pains are so true you just know they are brimming forth from the cranium of a well seasoned veteran of life, love, and loss.

Themes includes but are not limited to finding your place in love, facing your past, letting go of your past, the loss of a child (and how men and women handle that differently), and the loss of a parent.

My rating: 5 stars; I borrowed this one from the library and love it so much I need to purchase a copy for my own library.

The Meter Readings:
Adventure-o-meter: Medium-high; When it is not high on the emotion it is high on the action.
Kiddie-o-meter: This one is written for grown girls so there is sexiness, hot lovin', a little foul language, and a young girl being held hostage.
Adult-o-meter: Grab this one girls. It is humorous, emotional, and non stop fun.

Love the love?: Yes. Chloe and Luke downright sizzle and pop.

Cover love?: Is it not just lovely? The cover makes me want to run my hands through baskets of roving and peek inside the magical cash register.

Crushin'?: Yes but yet again it is on a secondary character. My crush is on Chloe's best friend Gunnar. He is amazingly handsome, kind, and selfless. I can only pray there is more Gunnar to come.

Worth-a-read?: Yes. Definitely. Also please note: even though it helps to read Casting Spells first, it is not necessary. This one stands well enough on it's own.

Knitting terms from and for non knitters:
(In the story Chloe owns a knitting shop. Therefore, this series contains various references to knitting. To assist I made a little list of some of the terminology I encountered.)
Aran sweater: A type of sweater that takes it's name from a type of knitting that originated in the Aran island off the coast of Ireland.
Cobblestone: A type of knit sweater.
Mohair: A silk-like fabric made from the hair of Angora goats
Roving: A long and narrow bundle of fiber
Stockinette: A type of stitch that has a tendency to curl at the edges

Quoteables: "Remember the old TV show The Munsters? Marilyn the all-American blonde who stuck out like a sore thumb in her family of irregulars. I guess you could say that was the part I played here in Sugar Maple. When the world came calling, I was the one who answered."

"Now all I had to do for the next eight hours was make sure the cutlery didn't stage a performance of "Be My Guest".

"I used to have fantasies that I was Sandy in Grease, and one day my own personal Danny Zuko would find me and we'd fly up up and away from Rydell High in a vintage Ford convertible. Let's just say the fantasy was a whole lot better than the fact. For one thing, Danny Zuko's ex didn't pass out cold in the backseat the second we went airborne."

Noteable:
1. There will be a total of four books in the Sugar Maple series. Barbara announced it on her blog August 17th.
2. Barbara has sneak peaks of the first two chapters on her blog. Click here to read chapter 1 of Laced With Magic or chapter 2 of Laced with Magic.


Mini-Contest: The first two commentators to tell me the name of their favorite fictional witch will receive a free magnet, bookmark, and book plate compliments of Barbara Bretton. Please do not forget to include your email address.

My final say: Part three can not come fast enough.

17 October 2009

Seeking Eleanor eBook Review

eBook: Seeking Eleanor
Authoress: T.L. Tyson
Genre: YA Fiction, Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Story Length: 562 pages (subject to change)
Book Availability: Sadly, at this time the book is still not available for purchase.

My condensed version: Devon is charged with the duty of protecting souls. But after 150+ years he is tired and ready to give it all up. Until he meets the girl that should have been his final charge.

Author's summary: "When a scruffy stranger claims to be her protector, everything changes. Eleanor is thrust into a world she never thought could exist. Impending danger looms overhead, but there is an even greater danger. Devon and Eleanor have to confront the feelings they hold for one another. How can they be together when immortality tears them apart?"

What I have to say:

WOW!

I know this will sound trite but this book is SO goooood. I can NOT believe it has not been published yet. Seeking Eleanor is, in my humble opinion, just as good as some of my favorite works of published young adult fiction. I hold this book in the same ranks as Meridian. The story is inventive, creative, fresh, refreshing, romantic, and tender. It pulls at your heart strings while weaving a strong fantastical tale.

Eleanor is the funky bookworm every bookworm can relate to. Devon is the strong old soul that causes women to catch their breaths.

2 for 2:
Characters: Fleshed & quirky
Plot: Clever & exciting

The Meter Readings:
Adventure-o-meter: High. Devon spends nearly the entire novel trying to protect Eleanor from impending dangers.

Kiddie-o-meter: While there is no sex and only mild levels of violence there are some occasional curse words and a strong sense of longing and desire.

Adult-o-meter: Fantastic tale for any adult.

Love the love?: Absolutely! Devon and Eleanor's relationship is chaste yet filled with longing, passion, and tenderness. I cherished every moment they were together.

Crush?: I have a no-longer-a-secret crush on Devon's soul-protecting brother Phineas. Phineas is described as having "Elvis' fashion sense and James Dean's looks" with "dirty blonde hair brushed back into a messy ducktail, which he combed constantly with the black plastic comb he kept in his back pocket." I can not stop imagining what he nor his smile looks like. What can I say? I'm a sucker for a boy with 50s fashion sense.



My rating: 5 stars; I can not wait until I can purchase a hardcover copy of this book. Are you listening HarperCollins?

Worth-a-read?: YES! YES! YES!

Shout outs: Thank you T.L. Tyson for writing this awesome book and giving me the opportunity to sing it's praises. It was worth every single minute. Thank you Rebrebs for bringing Seeking Eleanor to my attention. I know this sounds crazy but in my mind Eleanor looks like you. I think what sealed the deal for me was the hat with ear flaps she wears at the end. It made me think of your profile picture.

Noteable: Seeking Eleanor is part one of the Sought After Series.

Final say:
*sigh*
My heart is full of such longing.
I haven't felt like this since I finished New Moon for the first time.
*sigh*
I will surely be thinking of Devon and Eleanor for days.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

16 October 2009

Rowan of the Wood & Witch on the Water Author Interview & Contest

Today's guest is Christine Rose. Christine and her husband Ethan created a YA fiction book called Rowan of the Wood. The follow up to Rowan of the Wood is called Witch on the Water and just released this week. Both are now available for purchase and Christine was kind enough to pay us a visit and bring along some goodies. Scroll to the end for purchase and contest details.

Let me begin by thanking you Christine for visiting Tales of Whimsy... it is an honor to have you here.


Q: Would you please tell us a bit about your series?
A: Rowan of the Wood is really a dual story: one a magical adventure story about a boy (Cullen) who find a magic wand hidden in a redwood forest; and the other a tragic romance between Rowan, the wizard from the wand, and his wife Fiana. Rowan and Fiana were separated on their wedding day. Rowan hid in his wand to avoid death while Fiana was able to escape into the Otherworld. Upon her return, the wand was nowhere to be found. She dedicated her existence to finding the wand and releasing her husband, but she failed again and again. When her own magic failed her after 100 years, she began delving into darker means to stay alive and continue her quest. 1400 years later, Cullen, a young foster child, finds Rowan's wand buried in the redwood forest. By this time, Fiana has abandoned her quest and has become something soulless and evil.

Q: Have you both always written or was it something that you came to together?
A: Ethan and I have both been writing for as long as we can remember. I was once told by a professor in college that my writing wasn't up to par, so I never thought of myself as a writer until very recently. I just didn't have the confidence in my writing. I still wrote, of course, but it was all mostly in screenplay format. The choice to try my hand at a novel was after spending nearly a decade in the movie industry, and I didn't want to have anything else to do with it.

Rowan of the Wood actually started out as a screenplay, but I new the best chance it had in finding an audience was to write it as a novel. So, with the help of my very well-read husband, we did.

Q: How did Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water come to be? What inspired or sparked the story?
A: I came up with the idea for Rowan of the Wood in December 2005. It was right after I had seen The Goblet of Fire at the cinema for the 5th time in just over a month. We walked in behind two 85-year-old women. Back at home, my 3 & 5 -year-old nephews were watching HP on DVD and playing with wands. Additionally, they were sleeping under Batman sheets and wearing Spiderman PJs. I reflected on how stories like HP, The Hobbit, and The Lion, The Witch, and the Wardrobe, as well as the Superheros, span generations and international borders. I started thinking about what all these stories have in common and it just hit me: a magical superhero whose ultimate alter ego is a little boy -- which, through later development, became Rowan and Cullen. We built the story from there.

Q: What has your journey to publication been like?
A: Our journey to publication has been quite rocky. We initially were going to self-publish, as I'm rather impatient and used to doing things by myself. Mistress of my own destiny and all that. But just a few months before ROWAN was set to release, I sent out a last-ditch effort query to an independent publisher. Their reader loved it and they picked us up for publication. It was very rewarding and validating to have a publisher pick us up. However, this high didn't last too long. Within the first 6 months of release, this indie publisher couldn't keep up with the print demand, as Ethan and I were marketing the book quite aggressively and readers were responding quite positively. It was unavailable in retail outlets twice in the first five months, the second time during a major promotional blog tour. Needless to say, that wasn't acceptable to us, as we were putting everything we had into the promotion of the book. We left that first publisher and went with another small indie who uses a POD printer. Then it would never be unavailable. Live and learn.

Q: Please fill in the blanks in this 3 for 4.

Rowan of the Wood: Magical, Hot Scotsman

Main character: Not Harry Potter

Plot: Time-lost Druid

Setting: Redwood Forest California


Witch on the Water: Sadistic, Beautiful Vampire

Main character: Angsty possessed tween

Plot: Revenge is tasty

Setting: Pacific Northwest Island


Q: Will there be a third book?
A: Yes. The third book will be called "Fire of the Fey," and it will be released in 2010. There will also be a fourth and fifth book released in 2011 and 2012, respectively.

Q: Any pearls of wisdom for aspiring authors?
A: I actually have many and have recently written them all out in a blog series I call "Publishing 101." In this series, I state plainly what it takes to be a working author, pitfalls to avoid, and a writer's options for getting published.

The most important thing is to keep writing and honing your craft. Solicit feedback. Don't be afraid to live your dream.

Q: Pen or pencil?
A: Computer :-D ... but Ethan uses a pencil and a legal pad.

Q: Favorite cheese?
A: Cranberry Cheddar - a SUPER DELICIOUS cheese we get from Whole Foods. It's available only in the Autumn & Winter.

Q: Favorite brain food (i.e. writer's snack)?
A: Dark chocolate. Always dark chocolate. Lots and lots and lots of dark chocolate.

Q: On your blog I noticed you occasionally give out recipes. Would you mind sharing one with us now?
A: Not at all! This is one of my favorite Autumn recipes:

Hearty Sweet Potato Hash

Serves 6 (Dairy-free)

30 minutes or fewer

Everybody loves breakfast for dinner; besides, this hearty hash is just too good to eat only in the morning!


3 Tbs. vegetable oil

1 large sweet potato, peeled and cubed
1 large onion, peeled and diced (about 2 cups)
1 cup fresh or frozen corn kernels
3 cloves garlic, minced (about 1 Tbs.)
6 oz. ground soy “meat”
6 large eggs, beaten
1 cup chopped parsley for garnish

Directions:

1. Heat 2 Tbs. oil in large skillet over medium heat. Add sweet potato and onion, and sauté 10 minutes, or until vegetables are softened. Reduce heat to medium, add corn and garlic, and sauté mixture 2 minutes more.

2. Add remaining 1 Tbs. oil, and stir in soy “meat.” Stir in eggs, and season with salt and pepper to taste; cook 5 minutes, or until eggs are cooked through, stirring constantly. Remove from heat, spoon hash onto individual plates and garnish each serving with sprinkling of parsley.

PER SERVING: 258 CAL; 14 G PROT; 13 G TOTAL FAT (2 SAT. FAT); 23 G CARB.; 212 MG CHOL; 381 MG SOD.; 4 G FIBER; 2 G SUGARS


Isn't she great?

Want a chance to win Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water?



Contest:

Comment below with your email address for a chance to win

a signed paperback copy of both

Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water

as well as a lovely pewter moon bookmark from Oberon.

Followers will receive on extra entry.

Additional entries are also available for spreading the word.

If you do broadcast this contest please provide me with a link to your post, twit, or page.

Contest is open to residents of the United States only and ends at midnight November 16th.

Good luck!


"After a millennium of imprisonment in his magic wand, an ancient wizard possesses the young boy who released him. When danger is nigh, he emerges from the frightened child to set things right. Both he and the boy try to grasp what has happened to them only to discover a deeper problem. Somehow the wizard’s bride from the ancient past has survived and become something evil."


To purchase Rowan of the Wood and Witch on the Water click here.

To follow Christine on Twitter click here.

To visit the Rowan of the Wood Etsy Shop click here.


Thank you Christine and Ethan.