30 November 2010

Winners Winners Winners: The Candidates, Tyger Tyger Necklace, and The Language of Souls

Happy Tuesday darlings! It is my favorite time again. Time to announce some winners! Whoot whoot!

Bere of Suenos en la Luna you have won a new SIGNED hardcover of The Candidates by Inara Scott!

Katie of Call Me Crazy you have won a handmade Tyger Tyger necklace!

Renee of Black 'n Gold Girl's Book Spot you have a PDF of The Language of Souls by Lena Goldfinch!

Congratulations cats!
I will be emailing each of you.

Please note: The winners were selected with help from Random.org.

29 November 2010

The Sweet By and By: Review & Christian Fiction Book Club Discussion

Book: The Sweet By and By
Authors: Sara Evans and Rachel Hauck
Pages: 305
Publisher: Thomas Nelson
Genre: Contemporary Christian Fiction

My summary: Jade is finally going to marry the man of her dreams. But she is also about to come face-to-face with the past she has spent her entire adult life running from.

My say: The Sweet By and By failed to charm me. While I enjoyed the story style (alternating perspectives from Jade to her mother Beryl) this story about communication (or the lack of) and forgiveness never inched its way into my heart. Much like the wounded bird Jade is compared to, it struggled to fly. I am however curious to see how Jade evolves in part two Softly and Tenderly due out this January. Maybe I will try book two in audio.

What I did not like: Jade. I spent most of the novel wishing I could shake some sense into her. She spends too long playing the victim and never taking responsibility for her actions. People who are too quick to place blame on other people always get under my skin.

What I did like: Beryl. Her journey through her memories (as she tries to find where she went wrong and how she lost the respect of her eldest daughter) was very touching. She is the kind of beautiful flawed character I rarely get to read; an ex-flower child of the 60s.

What I would have liked more of:
  1. Aiden. Jade's brother had a minor role but completely won me over. It is safe to say I have a minor character crush on Aiden.
  2. Willow. Jade's sister is all sauce and spirit. I have high hopes for her.
My cover thoughts: I like that it reminds me of a lazy summer day. But I think it also reflects how lost Jade was/is.

My star rating: 3 stars

My kiddie-o-meter: While everything is tasteful there are mentions to drug use, alcohol abuse, sex, infidelity, and abortion.

My favorite quote: "Even the wise need wisdom."

My Christian Fiction Book Club Discussion Q & A: The Sweet By and By was the Christian Fiction Book Club pick for November. After reading the novel, each member picks one discussion question from the back of the book to feature and discuss in a blog post. This is mine.

(SPOILER WARNING! Please highlight to read)

Jade and Max decide to let their pasts stay in the past. Is there wisdom here? How can letting the past stay out of the present benefit your heart and relationship? How might it hinder? When is it right to talk about the past? When is it best to let issues of the past go?

I think it is always best to put the past behind you. There is definite wisdom in not letting your past dictate your future. God forgives us and therefore we must forgive ourselves. But unsettled issues can hinder a person or relationship. It is so important to make peace with our pasts. The best bet is to deal with what you've been through and tell your spouse what happened so nothing ever blindsides you.

What are your thoughts? Please share in the comments field or link up to your post below.

My Christian Fiction Book Club Discussion note: Next month's read is Grace: A Sister's of the Heart Novel by Shelley Shepard Gray and will be hosted by blogger The Lemon Verveine Book Club, I do hope you will join us. The book is currently available for free on NetGalley.com under Avon publisher.

My final say: Has anyone ever read Rachel Hauck before? How does this story compare to her usual writing?

25 November 2010

Thanksgiving and Key Lime Pie: Contest Winners & Yackety-yak

Wahooo! Turkey day is finally here! The day we Americans count our blessings, visit with loved ones, and eat eat eat.
What holiday treat are you most looking forward to today?
Since I can't be with you ladies, I am passing out 2 slices of pie instead. Key Lime Pie (by Josi S. Kilpack) to be exact. The winners of my Key Lime Pie book contest are: Renee Ann (of the Doorkeeper) and Kim (of The Book Butterfly)! Congratulations sugars! I will be contacting you both via email. The winners were selected with help from Random.org.

Happy Thanksgiving! May your day be beautiful, blessed, and blissful.

23 November 2010

The Lace Makers of Glenmara

Book: The Lace Makers of Glenmara
Authoress: Heather Barbieri
Pages: @288 Publisher: Harper
Formats: eBook, Hardcover, Paperback
Genre: Adult Fiction, Contemporary Fiction, Drama

My summary: Kate has lost it all. Her love, her career, and now her mom. So on whim she packs a bag and heads to Ireland; the land of her mother's people. The road leads her to Glenmara and it is there that she begins to heal and find her heart again.

My say: Most books arrive to my home after I have sought them out. But some books find me. They arrive quite by accident. Looking for a home or someone to share their story with. Labor Day and now The Lace Makers of Glenmara both came to me this way.
What it is not: It's a not a neat little love story about finding "Mr. Perfect" in the Emerald Isle. Even though there is one ruggedly handsome fellow.

What it is: A really honestly beautiful thoughtful story about loss, pain, joy, and finding friendship and the place you belong.
My verdict: This story marvelously and quietly weaves mourning, friendship, and just a touch of magic.

My recommendation: While the stories are quite different, I would recommend it to fans of Chocolat.

My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars; I loved this book and will reread it again one day when I need to get lost in some words. I need to buy a hardcover copy for my shelf.

My favorite lines:
  • "I was just thinking how funny life is. Seems like the more you want something, the more it eludes you. Then, when you least expect it, there it is."
  • "It's not always a bad thing, the remembering, its an important part of who we are, the suffering that shapes us, that reminds us how strong we can be."

My kiddie-o-meter: There are mentions to infidelity, tragedies, illness, death, sex, alcohol abuse, physical abuse, and perhaps a curse word or two. While the subject matter is mature, it is tasteful.

My final say: Speaking of taste, I could almost taste the salty air while reading this.

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

Thank you to Michelle at The True Book Addict for making this review possible.

22 November 2010

Whimsy Update: On the Road Again

Hey sugar cakes! Mr. Whimsy and I will be spending lots of time on the road from now to the beginning of January. So starting this week, you will notice a slow down in the pace here at Tales of Whimsy. Especially during the week of 12/12-12/19 were I may be practically unplugged for our pre-Christmas vacation vacation. So while I have lots of Christmas reviews lined up, I must confess that it may take me some time to reply and visit your sites.

Credits: Image courtesy of the 1967 film Bonnie & Clyde.

21 November 2010

A Passion Most Pure Contest Winner

How was your Sunday? Did you get any reading done?
I am happy to announce the winner of my A Passion Most Pure contest is the very sweet Carrie at In the Hammock. Congrats sweet pea! I will be contacting you via email for your address.
Carrie was selected with help from Random.org. Please stay tuned and continue to check my right hand sidebar for more upcoming contests.

Oh and if you love all things vintage (like I do) make sure to check out Carrie's Etsy page at In the Hammock Vintage.

News Flash: Guest Reviewers Will Receive a Free Book

My darling friend Cherry (from Cherry Mischievous) is looking for guest reviewers.
If you are chosen, she will provide you with the book you will review on her site for FREE. As if that wasn't sweet enough, the offer is open internationally. Crazy cool right? To toss your name in the hat and see what books are available visit Cherry Mischievous.

Free Christian Fiction Reads!

Crossing Oceans, Lonestar Sanctuary, Paradise War, and When the Devil Whistles are all currently FREE on Amazon for the Kindle.

Question: Doesn't the girl on the cover of Lonestar Sanctuary look a bit like a younger Gloria Estefan? Happy Sunday dolls!

Don't have a Kindle but still interested? Considerdownloading the Kindle reader (for free) for your for PC, BlackBerry, or iPhone. Own a nook? Check out Free Friday at Hott Books.

19 November 2010

News Flash: Tyger Tyger Trailer Now Available

Isn't it good? It's darker than the story is but the summary and most of the imagery is spot on.
Click here for my review of Tyger Tyger.

News Flash: Operation Thriller

Recently thriller writers Douglas Preston, Steve Berry, David Morrell, James Rollins, and Andy Harp went all the way to Kuwait for a USO meet and greet and Q&A session. They also passed out some ARCs of their upcoming novels. Now that is what I call a really cool way to show the troops you care. This is my high five to the participants of Operation Thriller.

18 November 2010

It's raining contests!

Darlings darlings please gather around.
It's raining contest here at Whimsy!
Please pop over to my right hand sidebar.
Are you a fan of Christian Fiction? Enter to win A Passion Most Pure.
Are you a fan of chick lit or foodie mysteries? Enter to win Key Lime Pie.
Are you a fan of YA paranormal? Enter to win The Candidates.
Love bookish jewelery? Enter to win a Tyger Tyger necklace.
Are you a romance fan with an eReader? Enter to win The Language of Souls.

Credit: Image courtesy of Richard Avedon.

16 November 2010

Little Red Hits the Screen Again

Have you seen the trailer? Wow right?
Could you tell the director is Catherine Hardwicke?
And Gary Oldman? Love him!
The poster reads:
"Believe the Legend. Beware the wolf."

Red Riding Hood is due out March 2011

Credit: Thank you Twicrack Addict for bringing this to my attention.

Interview & Contest: The Language of Souls

Welcome Lena! Lena Goldfinch is the authoress of The Language of Souls.

Q: So tell me, what sparked this story?

A: The Language of Souls sprang from two central story questions:

1. Without a common language, how could two people fall in love? Or, by his/her actions, how would someone win your heart? Though physical attraction plays a role in this, of course, I was especially interested in exploring elements beyond looks.

2. What if our soul was a physical thing, something we could tangibly keep, have taken from us, or even something we could choose to give away?

Those may have been the twin sparks that fired my creativity, but it was ultimately Solena and Rundan who won my heart and propelled the story. Solena, a healer with a genuine desire to save her beloved grandfather. And Rundan, a conflicted soldier, who strives fruitlessly to please his military father, though he'd rather spend his time pouring over an ancient text.

Q: Votifs play a strong role in The Language of Souls, can you explain them briefly to my readers?

A: A votif is a small molten jar of sorts, worn at one’s waist, which contains the embers of one’s soul. In both cultures, the votif is essential to life and there are many spiritual rituals associated with it.

Q: Describe The Language of Souls in 5 words or less.

A: The Language of Love Is: a tender story about an uncommon love.

(You see how I cheated there? I’m hoping you’ll float me the “a” and the “an”. Can I buy a vowel, Juju?? *grin* Stripping down the story to 5 words really hard. Maybe even harder than taking the SATs. lol!)

Q: If The Language of Souls was being made into a movie, who would play Solena and Rundan?

A: The actress who comes to mind is Keisha Castle-Hughes, who played the girl in The Whale Rider and Mary in The Nativity Story. I loved her in both. (She’s all grown up now and is a mom herself! Time flies, right?) Keisha brought qualities to both of these films that make me think she’d be great as Solena.

Rundan was way harder for me to place. He’s as a young man in his early twenties. He’s earnest, honorable, and brave, in an almost knightly fashion, and yet he has this scholarly side... So maybe if you took Heath Ledger in A Knight’s Tale and magically crossed him with the scholarly James Spader in Stargate? (The collective wisdom of Google and IMDb has failed me, so if any of your readers can think of a contemporary actor who’d work, I’m all ears!)

Thank you SO much Lena for stopping by today!

Click here to visit The Language of Souls on Goodreads.
Click here to buy The Language of Souls directly from the publisher.

Contest time: Doesn't it sound good? Well Lena has decided to give one of my readers a PDF of The Language of Souls. To enter simply comment with your email address and please tell me what actor you think could play the role of Rundan if this book was ever made into a film. This contest is open internationally and the winner will be announced November 30th.

The Language of Souls | eBook Review

Authoress: Lena Goldfinch
Format: eBook
Pages: 76 Publisher: The Wild Rose Press
Genre: Historical Romance

My summary: Solena does the brave thing and ventures into enemy territory to find the herb that will heal her grandfather. Rundan is more of a scholar then a solider. When they meet, she is trespassing and he is a military scout bound by duty. What follows is a journey to do the right thing and the love that unexpectedly blooms in the process.

My say: When Penny Watson, author of the delicious Sweet Inspiration, told me I had to check this book out - I wasn't sure what to think. But I am so glad I followed her advice. The Language of Souls is a tender, sweet, heartfelt tale that reads like an old-fashioned fairy tale. The writing is gentle, effortless, and eloquent.

My recommendation: Everyone with an eReader should check this story out. It is the perfect tiny romantic escape and only costs $3.00!

My star rating: 5 out of 5 stars

My kiddie-o-meter: Despite lots of time alone in a cave, their chaste and respectful loves makes this story safe for all.

My final say: Isn't Solena a great name?

Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com

15 November 2010

Christian Fiction Book Club: Reminder & Announcement

Happy Monday! Are you counting down the days to Thanksgiving? I know I am. Now down to business. Just wanted to remind all the CFBC participants that we are just 2 weeks away from the date everyone posts their discussion questions. This month we're reading The Sweet By and By.

Want to join us? It's not too late and we would be thrilled to have you! Here is a link to the original post with the details and instructions on how you can participate. Hope to see November 29th!

Now for those of us who want to pick up December's book. Here is the official announcement. *tooting horn* The book that won my popular choice/vote is:

December's hostess will be the lovely Angie at The Lemon Verveine Book Club

Please note: If you have an eReader, Grace is still available for FREE on NetGalley.com under Avon Publisher.

14 November 2010

Free Christian Fiction Reads!

Almost Heaven and A Simple Amish Christmas are currently FREE on Amazon for the Kindle. The only dilemma is deciding which simple and lovely cover I adore more. Happy Sunday chicas!

Don't have a Kindle but still interested? Considerdownloading the Kindle reader (for free) for your for PC, BlackBerry, or iPhone. Own a nook? Check out Free Friday at Hott Books.

13 November 2010

Tyger Tyger Necklace Contest!

One of my favorite books of the year is now available for purchase!
In honor of the release of Tyger Tyger by Kersten Hamilton, the authoress has kindly allowed me to host a contest for a handmade Tyger Tyger necklace. If you are a resident of the U.S. and would like to win, comment with your email address below. The winner will be announced November 30th.
Click here to visit Tyger Tyger at Goodreads.
Click here to visit Tyger Tyger at Amazon.
Click here to visit Kersten Hamilton's site.
Click here to read my review of Tyger Tyger.
Click here to visit the Tyger Tyger playlist.
Click here to read a new short story written by Kersten Hamilton.

Credits: The necklace was created by Books and Things.

11 November 2010

The Candidates | Review & Contest Too

Book: The Candidates
Series: Delcroix Academy, Book 1
Authoress: Inara Scott
Pages: 293
Publisher: Hyperion
Formats: Hardcover, eBook
Goodreads: The Candidates
Genre: YA, Mystery
Book blurb courtesy of Goodreads: "Whenever Dancia she sees a person threatening someone she cares about, things just...happen. Cars skid. Structures collapse. Usually someone gets hurt. So Dancia does everything possible to avoid getting close to anyone, believing this way she can supress her powers and keep them hidden. But when recruiters from the prestigious Delcroix Academy show up in her living room to offer her a full scholarship, Dancia's days of living under the radar may be over."
My summary: Dancia was just beginning to settle in at her new distinguished boarding school, when her friend Jack starts to notice some very odd things about the school, their hosts, and the seemingly normal student-body.

My say: The Candidates is a slow yet deliberate story that concentrates on building characters, relationships, and tensions. What I am really looking forward to is book two. Now that we know what Dancia can do, just what does she plan to do about it?

My love-the-love take: Once again I found myself rooting for the underdog in this love triangle. I do hope Jack will be back.

My warning: You may not love Dancia's choice at the end but don't fret it does have a good resolution.

My cover thoughts: I know the cover seems dark and hellish but don't let that scare you away. What at first glance appears to be flames, is actually the heroine's pulsing energy.

My kiddie-o-meter: There is no sex or foul language. Violence is minimal.

My favorite parts:
  • The smoking hot kiss! Man that was good! I still smile when I think of it.
  • Dancia's sweet elderly grandmother warmed my heart. I want to go to her house for dinner.
My rating: 4 stars

My contest: Want to try The Candidates? Thanks to the authoress, I have 1 signed hardcover up for grabs. If you are a resident of the US, comment with your email address below. The winner will be announced November 30th.

My final say: Have you read this book? Didn't misunderstood Jack remind you a little of Daniel from The Dark Divine? Bad boys do nothing for me but broken and misunderstood guys always pull at my heart strings.
Review Copyright © of Tales of Whimsy.com