Saturday, April 30, 2011

Mailbox ~ Book Bloggers & Publishers Edition

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the Kristi over at The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

The following books were generously donated for the Book Bloggers & Publishers Online Conference (see button on sidebar) participants.

Simon & Schuster:
Song of Love & Death   Edited By George R. R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
Masked Edited By Lou Anders
Winter Bloom By Tara Heavey
Eternal on the Water By Joseph Monninger
Fancy Pants By Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Deep Kiss of Winter: Untouchable By Kresley Cole & Tempt Me Eternally By Gena Showalter

Source Books
The Return of the Black Douglas By Elaine Coffman
A Tapestry of Dreams By Roberta Gellis

Bell Bridge Books
Eyewall By H.W. "Buzz" Bernard

Walnut Springs Press
Free Men and Dreamers: Oh, Say Can You See?

Tempest Rising By Tracy Deebs

So what did you get this week?

Thursday, April 28, 2011

Author Pen Names

This is an "I just thought I would share post". No real reason behind it other than my love for all things trivia. I was reading the Nov-Dec 2010 issue of Mental Floss and came across this side list of pen names.

The Curious Origins of 5 Pen Names

O. Henry: As a consummate storyteller, William S. Porter had plenty of explanations for why he chose his pen name. He once told The New York Times that he took the name O. Henry from the paper's society columns to give himself some class. Other times, he attributed the moniker to his girlfriend's cat, a favorite bartender, and a guard in the prison where he served time for embezzlement.

Edward Gorey: Macabre artist Edward Gorey had plenty of alternate names: Dreary Wodge, Wardore Edgy, Dogear Wryde, Garrod Weedy, and Madame Regera Dowdy. Of course, he made it easy for his fans to spot his work; each one is an anagram of his name.

George Orwell: It's speculated that Mr. Eric Blair chose better known name because of his deep love for England. George is not only the name of the nation's patron saint, it was also the name of the king at the time, Meanwhile "Orwell" is a river that flows through Suffolk county.

J.D. Robb: Bestselling romance author Nora Roberts picked her alter ego, J.D. Robb, for very personal reasons-her sons, Jason and Dan. As for Robb, that's simply short for Roberts.

Lewis Carroll: Charles Lutwidge Dogson was an accomplished mathematician, with plenty of academic work published in his name. So when he decided to give children's writing a shot, he chose a moniker that would jeep his two identities separate-slightly. He chose Carroll for Charles and Lewis for Lutwidge.

They also have an article here that has some interesting info about different authors and books.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Book Review ~ Running on Empty

Running on Empty (Main Street Murders)
By Sandra Balzo
Published By Severn House Publishing
Release Date April 2011

*Received from author for review

SummaryThe first in a new series by the author of the ‘Maggy Thorsen’ mysteries  - Life on Sutherton's Main Street has always been inexplicably hazardous. Like the student who bet he could paddle a beer-filled ice chest across the lake. And lost. Not to mention the occasional tourist who wandered into the mountains, never to wander back out. But the day Daisy Griggs siphoned three pints of blood from poor Mrs Bradenham seemed to set a new standard. Now more and more people are dying and unless Daisy’s daughter can figure out why, her mother may be next.

My Thoughts: We start the story with AnnaLise, who is a reporter, getting a phone call that her mother has drained Mrs Bradenham of blood (only 3 or 4 pints). She rushes back home to find her mother having spells where she goes back to her youth and forgets the present. During this time people begin to show up dead and it's not drunk tourists, it's the locals. This is when the book started to pick up for me. Trying to figure out what three seemingly random people have to do with each other and why someone would want them dead. I liked the characters in this small tourist town, many had their own eccentric traits that made them enjoyable to read about. The setting of the small town made all the gossipy, everyone knows whats going on right after it happens believable in a way a big city would not have. The fact that AnnaLise is a reporter explains her need to be in the middle of everything and dig up things that may have been better left hidden.

Overall: My original concern that this was a chick lit book was put to rest once the story started going forward. It was easy to get caught up in the goings on of this small southern tourist town. This was the first time I had read one of Ms Balzo's books and I look forward to reading more. 

Rating: 3.5

Monday, April 25, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the Kristi over at The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

Mostly gifts from Easter this week.

gifts: Box Set: The Mortal Instruments By Cassandra Clare (City of Bones ~City of Ashes~ City of Glass)
The Search By Nora Roberts
Shalador's Lady By Anne Bishop
Indulgence in Death By J.D. Robb

That's all for this week. Happy reading and have a great week everyone!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Hoppy Easter

Here's hoping everyone has a great Easter. If you don't celebrate Happy Reading!

Friday, April 22, 2011

Follow Friday and Blog Hop

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This meme is hosted by Crazy For Books. This weeks question:

If you find a book you love, do you hunt down books by the same author? This is a resounding Yes. If I find an author I really like I will (sometimes) read everything by that author before moving on to something/someone else.

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. This weeks question: 
What is your current playlist right now?  I haven't been listening to much as of late. Whatever plays on my ipod when I'm walking with my aunt. anywhere from country to hip hop to pop, it just depends on what comes on. My little one is really into The Who and The Band so I hear them a lot as well.

Have a Great Weekend. Happy Easter to those that celebrate!

Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Ghost Story (The Dresden Files #13)
By Jim Butcher
Published By Roc
Release Date: July 26, 2011

Summary: When we last left the mighty wizard detective Harry Dresden, he wasn't doing well. In fact, he had been murdered by an unknown assassin. 

But being dead doesn't stop him when his friends are in danger. Except now he has nobody, and no magic to help him. And there are also several dark spirits roaming the Chicago shadows who owe Harry some payback of their own. 

To save his friends-and his own soul-Harry will have to pull off the ultimate trick without any magic...

I haven't read book 12 because everyone said it ended with a cliffhanger. I've been waiting for this book so I could read both of them.

Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Book Review ~ 13 to Life

13 to Life (13 to Life #1)
By Shannon Delany
Published By St. Martin's Griffin

Summary (Goodreads): Everything about Jessie Gillmansen’s life changed when her mother died. Now even her hometown of Junction is changing.  Mysterious dark things are happening. All Jessie wants is to avoid more change. But showing a hot new guy around Junction High, she’s about to discover a whole new type of change. Pietr Rusakova is more than good looks and a fascinating accent—he’s a guy with a dangerous secret. And his very existence is sure to bring big trouble to Jessie’s small town.  It seems change is the one thing Jessie can’t avoid…

Dislikes: When I finished this book I felt like it was a middle book or the middle of a book. There was a lot of back story missing and a lot of questions unanswered. This book also borders on my pet peeve with YA and that is how loosely the term best friends seems to be used. Even when it was pointed out to her that Sarah was going back to her "old ways" (which we don't really know about) Jessie still seemed to blow it off and just say "but she needs me". 

Likes: I thought most of the characters were well done. I was 50/50 with Jessie, she seemed like she was trying to get her life back in order after everything that had happened but then she kept doing stupid things, that she knew were stupid while she was doing them. I liked Pietr and the whole Rusakova family, I found them to be the most interesting whenever they were around they seemed to steal the spotlight.

Overall: Even though there was a lot I didn't like or had issue with, I still enjoyed the book overall and I'm curious to read Secrets and Shadows to see what happens next. I do wish the title would have been more straightforward in the story. It seemed to be mentioned only in passing, during a time when there were other more pressing issues taking place, and could be very easy to miss.

Rating: 3

Sunday, April 17, 2011

In My Mailbox

In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by the Kristi over at The Story Siren. The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.The idea of In My Mailbox is to bring books to the attention of our blog readers and to encourage interaction with other blogs.

I didn't buy any books this week but I do have some from the library and one I won in a giveaway.

The Agency: A Spy in the House By Y.S. Lee
sea glass By Maria V. Snyder
Paranormalcy By Kiersten White
Pale Demon By Kim Harrison

Darker Than Night By Kim Lenox 
Thanks Jennifer @Book Noise 

I also received from E.J. Stevens @From the Shadows a set of her romance trading cards for Spirit Guide series and her Spring postcard.

Have a great week and Happy Reading!

Friday, April 15, 2011

Book Review ~ XVI

By Julia Karr
Published By Puffin/Speak

Summary (Goodreads): Nina Oberon's life is pretty normal: she hangs out with her best friend, Sandy, and their crew, goes to school, plays with her little sister, Dee. But Nina is 15. And like all girls she'll receive a Governing Council-ordered tattoo on her 16th birthday. XVI. Those three letters will be branded on her wrist, announcing to all the world—even the most predatory of men—that she is ready for sex. Considered easy prey by some, portrayed by the Media as sluts who ask for attacks, becoming a "sex-teen" is Nina's worst fear. That is, until right before her birthday, when Nina's mom is brutally attacked. With her dying breaths, she reveals to Nina a shocking truth about her past—one that destroys everything Nina thought she knew. Now, alone but for her sister, Nina must try to discover who she really is, all the while staying one step ahead of her mother's killer.

Dislikes: This is more a personal thing than a problem with the book and may be how it is with teenagers now. Why does it seem in some YA books I have been reading the term "best friend" is used so loosely? If my friends were acting the way they seem in these stories I wouldn't even refer to them as friends let alone best friends. It causes me to question the main characters ability to make choices and is usually in contrast to how they are portrayed throughout the rest of the story. I will say that Nina at least seemed to be aware of how bad of a friend Sandy was at time which made it more bearable.

Likes: Excluding the above I really liked the characters in this book. I liked reading about young people still being strong and trying to think on their own in a very media/government controlled world. Nina's struggle with her feelings for Sal and not wanting to come off as a sex-teen but still interested in him. Even though I didn't like her I did understand that Sandy exemplified how most teens in this world would behave and would not see anything wrong with it. 
I also enjoyed the overall story of Nina's parents and doing what they thought was right for their family and for the people as a whole. With the extremes that this world had, it was easy to relate and agree with their points of view and root for the good guys over the bad. 

Overall: It is very easy to see the world becoming the way it is in this book. With push up bra bikinis for little girls and media/social network driven everything, it seems more plausible than is comfortable for me. The main group of characters were well written and a nice mix of different personalities that are able to stand together for what they think is right.

Rating: 4

Thursday, April 14, 2011

BBP 2011 Graphic Novel Panel

Graphic Novel Panel for the Book Bloggers and Publishers Online Conference
David Dabel and Derek Ruiz from Sea-Lion-Books
Friday Night - April 15 - 7:15pm EST
Find out more at ~ You are still able to sign up

ARTIST BIO (Dave Hamann): Age 29, born and raised in Port Clinton, OH
Graduated from the Joe Kubert School in 2004
A freelance illustrator currently residing in Columbus, OH with his room mate and psycho cat.

Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

The Girl In The Steel Corset
By Kady Cross
Published By Harlequin
Release Date: May 31, 2011

Summary:In 1897 England, sixteen-year-old Finley Jayne has no one…except the "thing" inside her.
When a young lord tries to take advantage of Finley, she fights back. And wins. But no normal Victorian girl has a darker side that makes her capable of knocking out a full-grown man with one punch….
Only Griffin King sees the magical darkness inside her that says she's special, says she's one of them. The orphaned duke takes her in from the gaslit streets against the wishes of his band of misfits: Emily, who has her own special abilities and an unrequited love for Sam, who is part robot; and Jasper, an American cowboy with a shadowy secret.
Griffin's investigating a criminal called The Machinist, the mastermind behind several recent crimes by automatons. Finley thinks she can help—and finally be a part of something, finally fit in.
But The Machinist wants to tear Griff's little company of strays apart, and it isn't long before trust is tested on all sides. At least Finley knows whose side she's on—even if it seems no one believes her.

I haven't read a lot of steampunk books but this one really grabbed my attention. The cover was the first thing that jumped out at me and then the description solidified it and put on my TBR pile.

Tuesday, April 12, 2011

Book Review ~ The Warrior Heir

The Warrior Heir (The Heir Chronicles #1)
By Cinda Williams Chima 
Published By Hyperion

Summary (Goodreads): Before he knew about the Roses, 16-year-old Jack lived an unremarkable life in the small Ohio town of Trinity. Only the medicine he has to take daily and the thick scar above his heart set him apart from the other high-schoolers. Then one day Jack skips his medicine. Suddenly, he is stronger, fiercer, and more confident than ever before. And it feels great until he loses control of his own strength and nearly kills another player during soccer team tryouts. Soon, Jack learns the startling truth about himself: He is Weirlind; part of an underground society of magical people who live among us. At the head of this magical society sit the feuding houses of the Red Rose and the White Rose, whose power is determined by playing The Game a magical tournament in which each house sponsors a warrior to fight to the death. The winning house rules the Weir. As if his bizarre magical heritage isn't enough, Jack finds out that he's not just another member of Weirlind he's one of the last of the warriors at a time when both houses are scouting for a player. Jack s performance on the soccer field has alerted the entire magical community to the fact that he's in Trinity. And until one of the houses is declared Jack's official sponsor, they'll stop at nothing to get Jack to fight for them.

Dislikes: This book started out really slow for me. The only thing that kept my interest was the training of Jack to be both a warrior and a wizard. The school and soccer parts are what took it down for me, they weren't bad just not as interesting.  

Likes: I enjoyed the overall story and premise of the "War of The Roses" being fought between two wizarding groups to see who was going to be in charge of the magical community.  I liked the characters as well. I thought Jack was a good lead and was believable as a teenager who has led a fairly normal life and suddenly finds himself with these powers. I found the secondary characters were  more interesting.  The enchanter aunt and wizard handyman among others added a lot to the story and kept you guessing on who was on which side. I also liked how the leaders of both the red and white were both evil and you weren't really rooting for either, your focus was on the warriors who were fighting. 

Overall: I found the world and premise of the wizards, warriors, and enchanters living in an hierarchy based on an agreement that was signed hundreds of years ago. I'm not sure where the series is going since they seemed to finish up Jack's story but I'm looking forward to reading the next book.

Rating: 3.5

Friday, April 8, 2011

Follow Friday and Blog Hop

Follow Friday is a weekly meme hosted by Parajunkee. This weeks question: 

Q. DO YOU JUDGE A BOOK BY IT'S COVER?  Almost Always, I can look at all the descriptions and reviews and if when I'm at the store it doesn't look appealing I still won't buy it. On the other side, if i see a book that looks nice but i'm not familiar with it i usually wait until i can research it more before buying.

Book Blogger Hop

The Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This meme is hosted by Crazy For Books.

Wednesday, April 6, 2011

Waiting On Wednesday

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted over at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Touch of Frost (Mythos Academy #1)
By Jennifer Estep
Published By Kensington
expected Release Date: July 26, 2011

Summary (Goodreads):My name is Gwen Frost, and I go to Mythos Acad­emy — a school of myths, magic and war­rior whiz kids, where even the lowli­est geek knows how to chop off somebody’s head with a sword and Logan Quinn, the hottest Spar­tan guy in school, also hap­pens to be the deadliest. 

But lately, things have been weird, even for Mythos. First, mean girl Jas­mine Ash­ton was mur­dered in the Library of Antiq­ui­ties. Then, some­one stole the Bowl of Tears, a mag­i­cal arti­fact that can be used to bring about the sec­ond Chaos War. You know, death, destruc­tion and lots of other bad, bad things. Freaky stuff like this goes on all the time at Mythos, but I’m deter­mined to find out who killed Jas­mine and why – espe­cially since I should have been the one who died.

This one is more of a curiosity thing. I really enjoy The Elemental Assassin series and this author's writing.  I;m a little concerned that it's another series set at an academy but the premise still sounds interesting enough to give it a try.

Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Book Review ~ The Restorer

The Restorer (The Graveyard Queen #1)
By Amanda Stevens
Published By Mira Books
Release Date May 1, 2011

Received from Mira Books, netGalley for review

                                NEVER STRAY FROM HALLOWED GROUND.
                                 NEVER GET CLOSE TO THE HAUNTED.
                                  NEVER, EVER TEMPT FATE.

                                     My father’s rules.
                            I’ve never broken them…until now.

My name is Amelia Gray. I’m a cemetery restorer who sees ghosts. In order to protect myself from the parasitic nature of the dead, I’ve always held fast to the rules passed down from my father. But now a haunted police detective has entered my world and everything is changing, including the rules that have always kept me safe.
It started with the discovery of a young woman’s brutalized body in an old Charleston graveyard I’ve been hired to restore. The clues to the killer—and to his other victims— lie in the headstone symbolism that only I can interpret. Devlin needs my help, but his ghosts shadow his every move, feeding off his warmth, sustaining their presence with his energy. To warn him would be to invite them into my life. I’ve vowed to keep my distance, but the pull of his magnetism grows ever stronger even as the symbols lead me closer to the killer and to the gossamer veil that separates this world from the next.

Dislikes: When getting to the end of the book there were two things that bothered me. At one point there was a huge family revelation and the next page you went back to the main graveyard story. It was mentioned again at the end of the book as something Amelia was going to worry about/ figure out  in the future. This wouldn't have bothered me if there had been a simple sentence stating that it was in the back of her mind while she was working the graveyard instead of just adding it at the end. The other thing was the dark ghosts. I don't feel they were really explained and I'm hoping they show up in the next books with better explanations on what they are/do.

Likes: I really enjoyed this story, it is well paced and interesting, I was hooked from the very first page. I found Amelia to be a great lead female with a unique job and history. Her struggle with following her father's rules where Devlin is concerned or follow her own feelings was a great twist on the romance aspect.  Devlin's character I found the most interesting. With his ghosts and trying to figure out if he is one of the good guys it kept you guessing even when the book was finished. I also enjoyed the settings in the old graveyards and found myself wishing there were pictures to go along with the descriptions of the headstones.

Overall: This was a story that I can see being added to a lot of people's October reads. With the creepy setting of old southern graveyard's, ghosts, secret societies, sexy haunted lead detectives and more  I look forward to reading the rest of this series. Luckily the wait between books is not long and the second is due out this year also.

Release Dates: Prequel: The Abandoned (April 2011)
Book I: The Restorer (May 2011)
Book II: The Kingdom (November 2011)
Book III: The Prophet (May 2012)

Rating: 4