28 February 2010

Daring Chloe | Book Review

Series: Getaway Girls #1
Genre: Christian Chick Lit
Available formats: Paperback, Kindle

My summary: The night before her wedding, Chloe's fiancé calls off their wedding via text message! Right then and there Chloe could have stopped living and become depressed. But Chloe's ending is really just her beginning. With the help of her book club (The Paperback Girls) Chloe learns to live, stop being afraid, and enjoy life.

My say: This book hooked me right from the start. Before I knew it I was scrambling for a pen to take notes and scribble down quotes. The Paperback Girls decide each month to take an adventure and try something new based on the book club selection for that month. Soon they are going on blind dates, sailing under the Golden Gate Bridge, and preparing to take cooking lessons in Paris.

My verdict: This is a book about Chloe daring to try the things she has only read about. I really really loved it.

My recommendation: Read this when you are in the mood to hang out with other bookworms and visit Paris.

My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My cautionary note: Don't read this looking for a love story. Chloe doesn't kiss Mr. Right under the Eiffel Tower. On the contrary Chloe learns to love her self. Now that is the most beautiful love story of all, don't ya think?

My meter readings:
My kiddie-o-meter: Any issues are skimmed and handled very tastefully making this one safe for even tweens.
My adult-o-meter: Adults will love this one too. The characters range in age from early twenties to mid-fifties and all types of women are represented in this book.

Why you should try this book:
  • The main character is a bookworm who loves Rosemary Clooney. The retrophile in me squealed at every Rosemary Clooney reference.
  • Each chapter begins with fantastic quotes from works of literature like Little Women and Emma.
  • What booklover doesn't LOVE reading about another booklover's adventures?
  • Best pick-up line ever! While reading Little Women, Chloe is approached by a gorgeous surfer who says to her, "I'm Ben. Would you like to get together later and debate whether Meg should have married Mr. Brooke or held out for a rich guy?"
My final say: Please don't let the Christian label on this one scare you away. Chloe is a Christian, she goes to church on Sundays, and she believes in saving her self for marriage but that is where the references end. This novel is about finding your self and stepping out of your box. I can not wait to read the next one.

26 February 2010

Well Said: Rescuing Olivia

"I knew my life was different from most, that I had every available privilege and then some. And yet..." She trailed off. He raised his eyebrows slightly, encouraging her to say it. Letting her know it was safe to say it. "When I really needed him, he was never there."


Teaser blurb: "A car runs their motorcycle off the road and causes an accident that puts Olivia in a coma. Olivia’s estranged father blames Anders and denies his pleas to see her. When she mysteriously disappears from the hospital and Anders tries to learn what happened, her father stops at nothing to prevent him from discovering the truth. But Anders refuses to accept that she’s gone for good. Determined to find answers, he sets out on a dangerous path that exposes Olivia’s traumatic past and places him squarely in the way of her father’s plans. When he discovers her very life is threatened, his search for answers becomes a race against time, and he is forced to finally confront his own past if he is to have any chance of rescuing Olivia from hers. Pitched at the intersection of suspense and family drama, Rescuing Olivia is another gripping read from Julie Compton, a talented new author who never fails to mine the most compelling emotional terrain."

Wishin' and Hopin': Mystery Bundle

T.G.I.F. dearies! Here are the books I found this week, added to my TBR list, and can't wait to try:

24 February 2010

After All These Years | Book Review


Authoress: Susan Isaacs
Pages: 343 (Hardcover)
Genre: Adult Fiction | Mystery
The LOST Connection: In the season 2 episode 4 ("Everybody Hates Hugo") this book is seen on Sawyer's bedside as he recovers from injuries inside the Swan station.

My summary: After 25 years of marriage, Rosie's husband files for divorce claiming to be in love with a much younger woman. But just before the divorce is final Rosie's cheating ex is found dead in their mcmansion. Now to avoid false imprisonment she is about to go on the lam. Rosie has only days to piece together his final weeks and learn who killed him and framed her.

My say: After All These Years is a little wordy but clever and often funny.

My whodunit verdict: Whodunits are charming for one of two reasons; you either love the journey or you can not get enough of the mystery. This one never quite accomplished either one for me.

My recommendation: This is best reserved for mystery buffs that enjoy gritty heroines.

My star rating: 3 out of 5 stars; While I didn't love this mystery I did enjoy the laughs, descriptions, and wicked characters.

My slices:
  • My least favorite part: Isaacs characters are funny but quite crass and blunt.
  • My favorite parts: Rosie often ponders the benefits, repercussions, and side affects of being wealthy while rehashing old detective movies and referring to herself as a "dame".
My meter readings:
  • Adventure-o-meter: High! Poor Rosie goes from well-to-do school teacher to unwilling criminal over night. When she is not sneaking in to a building she is holding a toy gun to someone's throat. This poor dame is fighting for her life and liberty!
  • Kiddie-o-meter: Infidelity, sex, sexuality, murder, betrayal, and a smidgen of bias political commentary make this one best for older teens and adults.
More on the LOST connection: Kate (like Rosie) lives on the run and later reunites with a childhood flame. This book was seen in the same season that we learn the truth about Kate and "What Kate Did" (season 2 episode 9). Both characters also carry strong desires to trust someone. The story also seems to say: don't be so quick to judge a person as guilty.

My final thoughts: These cherry covers (see Murder Takes the Cake and Dead Is So Last Year) have left me seriously craving some homemade cherry preserves.

After All These Years = Entry 2 in the LOST Books Challenge and Entry 3 in the Thriller & Suspense Reading Challenge.

Shelf Contest Winner

Congratulations Shannon of Book Dreaming!
You have won the got shelves? Contest courtesy of CSN Stores!

That means you will be receiving the Bratt Decor Blu Wall Shelf featured below:


Whoot! I am so excited for you.
I will be contacting you via email for your mailing information.

Once again I would like to thank everyone who entered and CSN Stores (our amazing contest sponsor). Make sure to visit CSN Stores.com when you are looking for anything from shelves and home decor to baby furniture!

The winner was selected randomly thanks to Random.org.
Please stay tuned and continue to check my right hand sidebar for more upcoming contests.

23 February 2010

The Puzzle Ring | Blog Tour Review


Authoress: Kate Forsyth
Pages: 439 (Paperback)
Genre: Children's Fiction | Fantasy
Tagline: "Hannah is almost thirteen when she discovers her family is cursed..."

My summary: Hannah is not a typical tween. She loves Nina Simone and reading. Now Hannah is about to embark on the kind of adventure she has only dreamed of. It all begins when she learns she not only has a grandmother (who lives in an old castle in Scotland) but there is a family curse and an entire slew of juicy mystical details her mum has been keeping from her. Now it is up to Hannah to journey through time to save her family.

My say: When I woke up the morning after finishing The Puzzle Ring, I felt like I had just returned from a long fantastic voyage in a far away land. I literally woke up ready for adventure. The Puzzle Ring begins much like a modern day version of The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe. It sets the scene and builds the characters and relationships. But once the characters go through the gate the adventure never stops.

My verdict: The Puzzle Ring is a fantastic journey to set right an overdue wrong.

My recommendation: Read this on a rainy (or snowy day) when you need to escape to a faraway land.

My cover thoughts: I love the design, colors, and look of this cover. It highlights the tree (an intricate part of the story) and leaves the reader wondering.

My star rating: 4 out of 5 stars; This story is deliciously enchanting.

My favorite part: Kate's attention to historical details blew me away. The children quickly have to learn how to eat, talk, and comport themselves in the late 1500s to avoid imprisonment or death. She even places Hannah at Kirk o' Field the night Lord Darnley died in 1567.

My Meter Readings:
  • My adventure-o-meter: Granted the adventure takes a bit to start but once it does hold on to your hats! This story contains magic, angry fairies, wicked witches, enchanted creatures, wild kelpies, freaky imps, and even stone gargoyles that come to life.
  • My kiddie-o-meter: Occasionally spooky but overall quite safe even for the youngest tweens.
  • My adult-o-meter: If you love The Chronicles of Narnia you will love this story.

My interest in the author: Kate Forsyth impressed me. I will definitely be looking in to more of her work.

My note: Click here to read my interview with Hannah.

My final thoughts: Hannah and her friends go back in time. That got me thinking if you could time travel what time period would you most like to visit?



Thank you Kate for this wonderful opportunity!

21 February 2010

Montana Rose | Book Review Mini & Contest


Series: Montana Marriages Book 1
Authoress: Mary Connealy
Pages: 318 Paperback
Genre: Christian Fiction | Romantic Western
Available formats: Paperback, Kindle

My summary: Cassie (a pregnant widow) is about to learn what a marriage built on love, respect, and faith is actually like when (to survive the harsh old west) she is forced to marry a young stranger just minutes after burying her abusive first husband.

My say: Despite the sticky sweet ending I really loved this book. Mary Connealy has a way with characters. They charm you. When you are not giggling at their dialogue you are feeling their urgency, desire, and restraint in your chest.

My verdict: I can't wait to read The Husband Tree (book 2 in the series) and see what happens to the loud saucy character that reminded me of me.

My recommendation: If you love historical Christian fiction definitely pick this one up.

My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My contest:
Want to win my gently used paperback of Montana Rose? Comment with your email address below. You must be a resident of the US and follower to enter.
Contest ends March 21st.

My final say: I am always fascinated by romantic westerns. In the same way I adore finding love in a dystopian novel - it marvels me how people use to find love and make families in a practically lawless time when survival and food were so cumbersome. I guess it's the hopeless romantic (and survivalist) in me.


A giant thank you to the lovely Camy Tang for making this review and contest possible.

19 February 2010

Well Said: After All These Years

After All These Years by Susan Isaacs
"He was the size of a small Alp. Six feet six. Two hundred and twenty pounds. From Richie all he'd inherited was soulful black eyes, but at least they established his paternity. "Mom." His voice was deep and gentle. "Try to calm down."
Teaser blurb: "Richie Meyers tells his wife Rosie he is leaving her for a younger woman. Then he turns up murdered. Naturally Rosie is the prime suspect. Her only hope lies in uncovering Richie's secret life (and his killer) among the Manhattan jet set."

17 February 2010

The Things That Keep Us Here | Blog Tour Review & Contest


Authoress: Carla Buckley
Length: About 400 pages
Available formats: Hardcover, Kindle
Genre: Adult Fiction | Part disaster thriller & part drama thriller

My summary: An avian flu outbreak traps Ann in her home with her two daughters, estranged (soon-to-be-ex-husband), and his young pretty assistant. Now Ann must find the courage to protect her daughters, keep the world at bay, and face her crumbling marriage.

Book blurb: "Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear."

My say: Reading this story is like reading the journal of a woman who goes from suburbanite to survivor. In the beginning I wanted to slap her for the silly things she focused on but by the end I understood her and marveled at her bravery and diligence.

My verdict: The Things That Keep Us Here is about one family and their emotional journey through survival. It is slow but fans of dramatic thrillers will enjoy this thought provoking story.

My recommendation: Do not read this tale expecting action. Read it expecting a very realistic tale of a mother who through sheer will and maternal extinct pulls her self and her children through the unthinkable.

My favorite part: The author adds to the realism by sandwiching mock exerts from different news agencies in between chapters.

My star rating: 3 stars; While I didn't love this book I think I would adore it as a film or TV show.

My kiddie-o-meter: This one is best reserved for older teens and adults. It covers what occurs when humans are left to their own devices for survival. True ugliness, malice, murder, and theft run-a-muck when people lose the conveniences and institutions that help them function.

My cover thoughts: While I love this cover I am not sure it adequately suits the novel. A quarantined suburban neighbor would be more accurate.

My notes:
Visit Carla Buckley's page to read the Prologue and see her tour schedule.

My final say: This thought-provoker left me wondering, "What would I do?"

My contest:
I have TWO copies up for grabs.
My gently used ARC and a brand new copy that will come from the publisher.
To win a copy simply comment with your email address below.
You must be a follower and resident of the US to enter.
Contest ends March 14th.

Thank you to Pump Up Your Book Promotion for making this review possible.
The Things That Keep Us Here = Entry 2 in my Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge 2010 hosted by Book Chick City.

16 February 2010

got shelves? Contest

It's time to win a wall shelf courtesy of CSN Stores!

Whoot!

How to enter:
1. Comment with your email address below.
2. Tell me which shelf your prefer.
3. Spread the word (and leave a link below) for extra entries.
4. You must live in the US or Canada to enter.
5. Contest ends February 23, 2010.

Item 1:
ITEM 1 NAME: BRATT DECOR BLU WALL SHELF

OR

Item 2:
ITEM 2 NAME: NEXXT CUBBI 3 PIECE WALL SHELF SET IN CHESTNUT.

Product Note: Item 1 is available in the color above (Walnut) or in a lovely dark Wheat Stain.

CSN Stores (our amazing contest sponsor) offer
EVERYTHING from shelves and home decor to baby furniture!

So check out CSN Stores.com!

15 February 2010

Contest winner: Through the Triangle

The winner of the Through the Triangle contest is: Aths from Reading on a Rainy Day. Congratulations doll! You have just one my gently used copy of Through the Triangle by C.P. Stewart. Click here for my review of Through the Triangle and to see why I rated it 5 out of 5 stars. I will be contacting you via email for your mailing address. Thank you to everyone that entered. The winner was selected with help from Random.org. Please stay tuned and continue to check my right hand sidebar for more upcoming contests.

The Roving Reader: Dead Is So Last Year

What can I say?
I'm a sucker for foodie covers and the red sauce looks a bit like blood.

It features eye catching covers captured via cell phone.

14 February 2010

Yackety-yak: Smooches

I simply could not let the day pass with out
wishing each of my darling followers
a lovely sweet Valentine's Day!

Now for my Yackety-yak questions for today:

Who is your favorite fictional couple?
Do you have a favorite kiss?

Katniss and Peeta or Katniss and Gale? (Hunger Games and Catching Fire)
Miranda and Leo? (Sea Change)
Nora and Patch? (hush, hush)
Chloe and Luke? (Laced with Magic and Casting Spells)

12 February 2010

Well Said: The Things That Keep Us Here

"She'd raced Maddie to the emergency room that night, begging her to hold on."
Teaser blurb: "Her town goes into lock-down. But their safe suburban world is no longer the refuge it once was. Food grows scarce. Neighbor turns against neighbor in grocery stores and at gas pumps. And then a winter storm strikes, and they are left huddling in the dark. Trapped inside the house she once called home, Ann Brooks must make life-or-death decisions in an environment where opening a door to a neighbor could threaten all the things she holds dear."

11 February 2010

Wall Shelf Contest Coming Soon

Keep your eyes peeled ladies and gentlemen!
Very soon I will be featuring a contest
(compliments of CSN Stores)
to win a wall shelf!

Awesome right? The best part?
The winner will get to choose between these 2 items:

Item 1:

OR

Item 2:

Product Note: Item 1 is available in the color above (Walnut Stain) or a lovely dark Wheat.
Contest Note: Contest will be made available to residents of the United States and Canada.

CSN Stores (our amazing contest sponsor) offer
EVERYTHING from shelves and home decor to baby furniture!

So check out CSN Stores.com and stay tuned!

10 February 2010

Animal Farm | Book Review

{PHOTO CREDIT: KYLE COOK | SOURCE: DREXEL.EDU}

Book: Animal Farm
Author: George Orwell
Genre: Literature | Fiction | Dystopian
Originally released: 17 August 1945
Original title: Animal Farm: A Fairy Story
was shortened by US publishers for the 1946 US publication
The LOST connection: Referenced in Season 3 Episode 14 (Exposé) when Dr. Leslie Arzt shouts "The pigs are walking! The pigs are walking!" in reference to Kate, Jack, and Sawyer not telling the group about the guns they found. With this outburst Arzt cautions everyone that Kate, Jack, and Sawyer have become just like their oppressors (the others).

My summary: After a lifetime of oppression at the hands of the selfish farmer, the animals at Manor Farm decide to start a revolution and revolt against the humans. What follows is a truly fascinating social commentary that examines and illuminates:
  • Survival of the fittest.
  • The dangers of government, politics, forgetting ones history, and ignorance.
  • What happens when the laws and commandments are broken and forgotten.
  • What can occur when the people allow themselves to be led blindly.
  • It cautions the reader to never forget or become complacent.
  • How the road to tyranny is long and achieved in small (sometimes innocent enough) steps that all add up in the end.
  • The animals were only united when fighting for their freedom.
  • Once left to their own devices the smart and fit became the very establishment they strived to remove themselves from.
  • Ultimately the hazards of power and how it can corrupt anyone.
My say: A good book can sooth you, inspire you, or even enrage you. That is what happened to me with Animal Farm. I didn't expect to become so emotionally charged by this novella. But at times the porky hypocrisy had me ready to scream at the other animals.

My verdict: I know now why this is a classic. Even after sixty five years it still delivers thought provoking allegories and warnings. It amazes me that something from so many years ago - struck such a cord with me and could be so easily applicable to our current times.

My recommendation: Read this if you enjoy reading or examining social situations.

My favorite part: Even their names are indicative of their roles they each play in the social group. For example: Squealer is the speaker of the pigs who soothes the animals with lies.

My cover thoughts: I became obsessed with all the amazing covers I found. I honestly can not decide which I like best. What do you think?

{PHOTO ARRANGEMENT CREDIT: TALES OF WHIMSY}

My kiddie-o-meter: While it is completely safe for young readers I truly believe it takes age and wisdom to really appreciate the complexities of this story.

My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My final say: While reading this I couldn't help thinking of a line in LOST (Season 5 Episode 16 The Incident: Part 1): "It's always something with you people..."


This applies to the LOST Books Reading Challenge 2010 I am participating in.