Thursday, December 31, 2009

We Are Puppies by Molly Grooms, Andrey Troshkov

Hi, there! *~waves~*  I trust that everyone is enjoying their New Year's Eve celebrations, or at the very least has plans of some sort for later tonight.  My family....we'll be home....partying like it's 2-0-0-9!  (Oh wait, it still is....moving on...)  I wanted to squeeze in at least one more review before the new year begins, thus this one is a bit on the short size, but definitely not on heart!  This book found its way into my home by peeking out of the bargain bin at our local bookstore.  The cover was too cute...and could...not...be...resisted!  Today's book of choice is....

We Are Puppies
by
Molly Grooms & Andrey Troshkov

This charming book tells the story of two curious little puppies and their mom as they learn who they really are.  As with most youngsters, the two little pups are anxious to play and explore.  Mother dog feels they need to learn a few important lessons in being a "big" dog before they adventure out too far.  With wisdom and kindness, she sets out for the day with the little ones in tow to help them on their way to becoming all the puppy they can be.  With warm illustrations sure to tug at any animal lover's heart strings, readers of all ages can enjoy this short yet sweet "tail".  (I know...play on words, but I just couldn't resist!)

Originally, I bought this book to read to my one little dog, Ashley,  (I know, "reading to a dog" sounds crazy, but it was for me just as much as her...) when she was still expecting.  That time has come and gone (pups are doing GREAT!), but the story still begged to be read.  My favorite sentiment in the book is actually summed up in the last two pages.  It lists all the wonderful things that dogs are, from sniffers to chewers and everything in between, ending in the echo of the title.  Recommended for younger readers, or those just wanting a quick reminder of the joy of puppy-hood.

Until next time....okay, maybe next year....happy reading!



Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Review + CONTEST!: 7th Heaven by James Patterson, Maxine Paetro

Hello, everyone!  Welcome back to another post here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers.  With the holidays still hanging around, it's been a little harder than usual to score some reading time, but fret not, I've managed to work some in regardless.  The subject of today's post is a throw back to yesterday for myself...

Favorite author of old, with some fresh new material....what better way to get re-acquainted, right?  When I came across the opportunity to read and review this title, I jumped at the chance.  (No really, I jumped....like to the keyboard as fast as fast can be....)  I mean I love reading new authors and even some of the yet-to-be-published stuff is really good, but a long time favorite re-introduced is like coming home....although in this particular series, it's a somewhat troubled one.  Couple that with the fact that I'm getting to host a contest in conjuction with this title thanks to the folks at Hachette Book Group....and yes, I am one happy reader!  Without further ado....today's book of choice is....

7th Heaven
by
Maxine Paetro

Detective Lindsay Boxer is one member of an informal group known as 'The Women's Murder Club'.  They first formed out of convenience when trying to solve a case back in the day.  At this point in their lives, they are old friends that know they are there for each other in both their professional lives and their personal ones.  Good thing too, as this story is a doozy!  We have not one, but TWO cases that are evolving within this novel all around that glorious season of.....Christmas.  (Yep...the opening chapter is quite an attention grabber.)  First, the death and supposed murder of Michael Champion, son of the ex-governor.  He had a bad heart and was living on borrowed time as it was, when he up and disappeared without a trace.  Strangely enough, a lead has come into the spotlight after much time as passed, indicating a possible suspect and an end to the mystery at long last.  Secondly, although somewhat more featured, are the murder arson combos occuring throughout their fair city.  No leads.  No suspects.  Just a firey end met by some of the cities more elite residents.  Whatever will they do?  No worries...when this group's on the case, nothing will stand in their way.

Say what you will about author James Patterson's many co-authored works...I know a lot of readers are very opinionated on the matter.  Some feel it's a cop out just so they can finish a book.  Others just seem to feel that it affects the overall project to the point that they do not recognize the story-telling style anymore.  Me?  In the case of this book series, it would seem the more the merrier is just fine.  I have admittedly not read a James Patterson novel for quite some time (longer than I realized when I truly looked at it...).  I had been following the Alex Cross series quite closely for a while, and even read one of the more chick-lit style books he's done, but for one reason or another, my interest simply dropped away from those books.  I mean they were good, but after a while I was needing a taste of something else. 


When I came upon this book, I realized I had read the first two (maybe three) books in the series, so I was a little worried about being lost in the details, but figured I'd give it a go and see what happened.  Lucky me, the Women's Murder Club series of books are written just as I remembered....in a take it as it comes fashion.  (I know, not the most professional description, but hear me out...)  This is the kind of series that you can just walk right into.  It doesn't matter if you read the first novel or the first six, you are still able to build a connection with the characters and follow the story with a clear head (and yes, you need one to figure out who's who and doing what to whom in this story).  That said, I thoroughly enjoyed the book (as if you couldn't tell that by now?).  I love how it's fast paced, but not too fast.  Detailed, but not overly.  It's a good balance of real world action with behind the scenes drama.  The super short chapters are classic Patterson style....making it all the harder to put down when you have to sleep (you know, the just-one-more-chapter syndrome?).  The ending...well, let's just say there's a twist you won't really see coming.  I'd highly recommend this one to all of his current fans and to those looking to step into the fiction/crime fiction genre.....to check out more about this book....



The good folks at Hachette Book Group were kind enough to send me a copy of this title for review and are now spreading the book love a little further by giving you a chance to win one of FIVE copies of this great novel!  (That's right!  There will be FIVE winners!)  In light of the holiday season, the length and means of entry for this particular contest are going to be a bit unorthodox.  Here we go.....

The prize....

...your very own paperback copy of this great book!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

How to enter....
Easy-peasey....just comment on the post!
+++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++++
Extra entries....
(please try to keep all of your entries in 1 post)
+1 - for being a follower of my blog
+1 - for following me in Twitter!
(leave your Twitter name!)
+1 - for tweeting about the contest
(leave the link!)
+2 - for linking to the contest on your blog
(sidebar or post is A-OK, just be sure to leave the link)

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

The rules....
(hey, you knew they were coming...)
*No P.O. Boxes please.
*US/Canada addresses only
(sorry, but I must follow their rules when posting my rules)
*All entries must be received by midnight CST on Saturday, January 16th, 2010.
The winner will be drawn no later than Monday, January 18th, 2010 and contacted via email.
*On that note, please include your email address in your comment so I can contact you if you win!  To avoid spammers, feel free to "code" ... for example, me(at)you(dot)com.
*Once contact with the winner has been made, you have 48 hours to respond back.  If a response is not received within this time frame, another name will be drawn. 
*Mailing information will be forwarded to Hachette Book Group for shipment ONLY and then discarded.

***************************************************

There....all done.  Now, off for some more reading of my own....have fun entering and spread the word!
Until next time....happy holidays and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Taste Testing Tuesdays (8)



Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays!
Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

On the menu this week is a sample of one book that I'm dying to finish (alas, holiday interruptions abound) and a second one that will be completed in a flash as it is a children's book, but I couldn't help but share (the cover is too cute).  Let's take a taste, shall we?




"As I followed her down the hall toward the front door, I stopped for a moment and looked down at my feet.  And as sure as my name is Cecelia Rose Honeycutt, I felt the life of that old house humming through the soles of my shoes.  -- pg 258, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (ARC)












The sweet spring breeze blew against their noses.  The smaller puppy twiched her whiskers and sneezed.  -- pg 10, We Are Puppies by Molly Grooms and Andrey Troshkov








~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read

*Open to a random page

*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Until next time....happy reading!

 


The Perfect Pet?: Buying, Training, & Caring for Your Dinosaur by Laura Joy Rennert

I know, I know....I've neglected you a bit. (SORRY!) Between the holidays, spending time with the family, and this LOVELY (read VERY sarcastically) cold.....I didn't get much blogging or reading in. *SIGH* Yes, it's one of those colds where all you want to do is go back to bed....no ready, no bloggy, no playing with uber-cool presents. Oh, I didn't mention those now did I?

Although I didn't get any actual books from the big man in red among my wonderful spoils, I did get something that will solve my eBook reading troubles.....TADA....a pink pocket eReader! (SQUEEEE!) Now, it WILL NOT, I repeat WILL NOT replace my actual books. Nope. No siree. The newest best sellers or top wishes on my list will always remain in a hard copy....just ones I come across that happen to be in that form exclusively, or old favorites that I wish to reread, etc....those will end up in the eReader. But enough about my holiday...what did all of YOU get? Anything awesome you wish to share? Do tell.....(psst....feel free to leave your favorite gifts received this season in the comments!)....now back on the subject of my blog neglect...

NO worries....I'm starting to get everything back online and ready to go. This week in fact....be on the look out for a review of one title from an ever popular author's series WITH a giveaway to five lucky fellow insatiable readers....stay tuned....(will you look at that, my first actual post after the holidays and I'm already rambling, tsk, tsk...)  Moving on....today's post is a rather fun read if I do say so myself.  Full of imagination, wonderful art, and even a random smattering of facts....yes, I do believe we have a winner!  Today's book of choice is....


Buying, Training, & Caring for Your Dinosaur
by
Laura Joy Rennert

The title alone begs one to at the very least sneak a peek at this little book and once you are inside, you won't want to put it down until you've reached the end.  Author Laura Joy Rennert delivers a fanciful guide to well....pretty much what the title says.  Having a dinosaur as a pet is a rather large responsibility and so readers are cautioned to choose the right one for them.  From the Triceratops all the way to the Tyrannosaurus rex, you will get a quick run down on their most discerning features as well as practical advice on their fun time habits.  Looking for a pal to run and play with?  Consider a Gallimimus.  How about one that's easy to train (could definitely be helpful with a pet THIS size)?  Try the Troodon. 

Wait!  Choosing one is only half the battle!  After you've chosen the "little" guy or gal that's right for you, the second half of the book kicks right into gear and shows you just what you're in for during the coming days, months, and years....Whatever your pet desires, you're sure to find one just perfect for you.  The best advice overall?  Well, as the author so aptly puts it...."HUG your dino (okay...part of your dino) everyday!"


I must say, when I first read the title to this book, I was totally drawn in.  As a child, I wasn't exactly into dinosaurs, but at the same time, I did have a few favorites.  My personal one was the Stegosaurus.  I remember I had a little figurine of one....think I called it Steggy.  (original, right?)  Anywho....I'm pretty sure most children at one age or another go through a dinosaur phase (of course I mean liking them, not acting like one.....)....whether short lived, or life long.  This cute picture book totally brought back the love from those days and speaking of the pictures...how imaginative!  The colors and style, yes...total flashback to the many times that I would color a full page duck, multiple colors instead of the typical yellow and orange (hey, I liked a lot of colors in the crayon box....why couldn't my creation be more punky in color?).  The technique used in regards to the artistry brings to mind the effect you get from sponge painting (oh, come on....if you don't do it now....you probably did it at least once as a child...).  It gives the needed effect for a mottled look to the dinosaurs, all while making them the most fun colors you can think of.  Marc Brown (that's who came up with these fantasical critters, or at least what they might have looked like) truly did an outstanding job, certain to grab and keep any passerby's attention.

Special thanks to author Laura Joy Rennert for my (SIGNED!) copy for review and reading!  Be sure to check out the links in both the title and author near the top of this post for more information about the book as well as a fun introduction to the author and her Chihuahuasaurus. (LOL...it's really cute.)

Happy holidays....and happy reading!

Monday, December 28, 2009

In My Shopping Bag (9)


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag from the past week....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Purchased



Nurk by Ursula Vernon
What the Dickens by Gregory Maguire

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Won




Vampire Academy:  Shadow Kiss by Richelle Mead
(via Tynga @ Tynga's Reviews)



~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Review



WEREling by Steve Feasey (ARC)
(courtesy of Macmillan Children's Publishing Group/Feiwel and Friends)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Off on another adventure!
Until next time....happy reading!

Friday, December 25, 2009

Thursday, December 24, 2009

The Roving Reader


Santa Moves South
**Dear Santa, dropping gifts here=good, staying=not. Celebrating another rainy Xmas Eve, cie lavie =0)

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Twas the Night Before, the Night Before!: How Murray Saved Christmas by Mike Reiss

Happy holidays to you, fellow insatiable readers!  I hope you have all finished your shopping (score 1 for me!), wrapped your presents (minus 1 for me....), and are either traveling to or reached your holiday destinations of choice (hmm, will be score 1 several hours from now).  Christmas time is here.....Happiness and cheer....oops!  Sorry, a little musical interlude for you there.....Over the coming days, I will try to keep the posts a-coming, but if there is a lapse, I ask forgiveness in advance as the family doesn't really think tweeting and blogging make the to-do list when celebrating the holiday...go figure.  =0)

Today's choice was a quick read indeed as I finished it in under 10 minutes but went back to spend a little more time admiring the illustrations.  Let's cut through the fruitcake here and get on with the show....the book of choice for today is....


How Murray Saved Christmas
by
Mike Reiss
illustrated by
David Catrow

It's Christmas Eve and Santa is ready
The presents are loaded, the reindeer all steady;
When what to his wondering eyes should appear
But one of his elves, Edison, that he holds quite dear.
You see, boys and girls,
Ed's the main man,
Coming up with new presents
As fast as he can.
His new invention sends old Santa snoozing,
A replacement driver quick, for time they are losing.
Lucky for Ed,
Murray K's all the rage,
But delivering toys,
Is not how he spends his days.
He owns a small diner,
Popular with most,
Looking for holiday figures...
They eat there, he could boast.
But will Murray take on this new task?
Ed can only hope, as this question he does ask.

WHEW!  Okay, that's the end of the review in rhyme....moving on with the regular program here.  The book is a funny and new take on the classic "Twas the Night Before Christmas".  Written in the traditional rhyme scheme, it flows incredibly fast.  I would definitely recommend making yourself slow down to truly enjoy the story.  To say it was cute, would not do it justice....it was fun and imaginative and definitely something I will reread with each passing Christmas.  The jams Murray gets in while trying to fill the big man's suit are quite funny....even more amusing is how he tries to get out of them.  (Promise...you'll laugh!)

On a side note...some of you may have expected the funny story as the author, Mike Reiss is a writer for and executive producer of The Simpsons (call me clueless, as I didn't know the name...but I do like the show!).  The illustrations must be given their mention as well....the book is fully illustrated.  Every page has wonder renditions of the story characters and their antics.  As I said, you'll want to be sure and look at each page.  The add-ins are so much fun!  (There's a cute happy pup in the one pic....other holiday figures dining in another....)

This book was purchased by yours truly and happily so!  To all of you out there adding it to your wish list, you won't be sorry!

Happy holidays....and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Taste Testing Tuesdays (7)



Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays!
Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

On the menu this week is a sample of one of the two books I'm currently reading....alas, I left the second one out of reach at the time of this post. (DRAT!) The book at hand is a continuation from last week as I gear up to its close and get ready for the giveaway!
 
 
 
When I reached Twilly's suite on the fifth floor of the St. Regis Hotel, he was waiting in the doorway, a cockeyed grin on his face, his hair disheveled and shirt untucked and unbuttoned.  The fire exit door slammed at the end of the softly lit hallway. -- pg 237, 7th Heaven by James Patterson
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read

*Open to a random page

*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~


Until next time....happy reading!

WINNER: I Use to Know That... by Caroline Taggart!

It's that time again!  What time you ask?  Well, for those of you that entered....it's time to announce the winner of the I USE TO KNOW THAT... contest!  (YAY!!)  This contest was hosted on my site on behalf of Caitlin at FSB Associates. (THANK YOU!)  There was a decent turn out despite the multitude of opportunites to win a copy over on Twitter.  (Thank you to everyone that entered!)  I tallied up the entries, submitted them into the random.org randomizer and then had them choose a random number. 



TADA!  My totally randomly selected winner....without further ado...is...

Marilu @ So Many Books....Not Enough Time
 
 
Congratulations, Marilu and thanks once again to everyone that entered!  More great contests to come as well as book reviews and random thoughts!
Until next time....happy reading!

Home is Where Your Heart Is: Christmas at Stony Creek by Stephanie Greene

Hi there, everyone! Welcome back to another day, and another post here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers! I don’t know about you, but it has been busy with a capital “B” around here recently. Between work, work, shopping, wrapping (no, STILL not done), and trying to squeeze in a little reading here and there, there’s just does not seem to be enough time in the day. *SIGH* (Note to self,…must work on that create time formula a bit more…) Starting to wonder if cutting out sleep is the answer….as you can see from the time on this post, not such a far shot in the dark. Anywho….



One quick note….the winner was selected for the I USE TO KNOW THAT book contest, but I have yet to hear from them! If they do not respond by tomorrow morning around the same time….I go with the second name that was selected so be watching your mailboxes! Now, back on track…

The holidays seem to bring everyone together…..friends, family, long lost acquaintances that you remember from ages ago…..yeah, you see all sorts of people. Whether shopping or working, more often than not, you run into someone you know….in today’s case, it was more of a knew. Ever have one of those moments that you vaguely remember someone, place the memory, see a flicker of almost recognition in them….only to let the moment pass, awkwardly. Yeah, happened to me tonight…I recognized this one guy back from 6th through 8th grade (no comments on the memory, just have a thing for faces)….looks like they are doing okay for themselves, so KUDOS to them…and if you happen to be reading this…HI!

Speaking of friends, family, and Christmas….(okay, so I kind of alluded to them, but now it’s time to put them together)…..I recently read a book perfect for this holiday occasion. Enough with the intro, on with the show….today’s book of choice is….


Christmas at Stony Creek
By
Stephanie Greene

This is the tail, oops I mean tale, of a young mouse finding her way in the great big world in order to save her family from a lean winter. (Betcha didn’t see that one coming, huh?) I’ll admit it, the cover drew me in entirely, I mean it looked like such a cute story! Well, it was a cute story, but BOY was there a lot of hardship, dead, and struggle! I mean, it totally hit me out of left field. In no way was I prepared for the devastation, loneliness, and ultimately the feeling that everything was not going to be alright! It is a kids book for goodness sake! How much death should really be in it after all?

Our main character is Pipsqueak, or Pip for short. She is one of the eldest daughter of her mousey family and as such, feels a great deal of responsibility in assisting with the daily tasks to keep their small family running. Alas, it is winter time and although food and shelter are plentiful in spring time, this season does not prove quite as kind. With their rations running low, Papa mouse decides to go to a place he has discovered to obtain more rations to see them through the winter. Papa leaves and….does not come back home in the allotted number of days. As Pip’s brother is out of commission from their last food excursion, it is up to young Pip to save their family from starvation….but at what cost? The only place left that may have some food is forbidden. Will she overcome her own anxieties to save them all?

One tiny spoiler, if I may….the ending is on the happy side so those of you skeptical about reading it due to the hard times I’ve revealed can rest a bit easier (it is a Christmas story after all….we simply must have a merry ending…). Although the cover led me to believe I would be reading an entirely different story (read as much happier and cute, not so much dark times), I must say that I still enjoyed the book. The mouse family, her woodland friends, and even the struggles against their potential enemies all add depth to what can often be two dimensional characters…not to mention the ingenious way Pip manages to….well, it’s really amazing (sorry, can’t reveal it….it takes away from the surprise for you!).  Rest assured you will come out on the other side a little brighter, a little wiser, and filled with that much more Christmas spirit.



Happy holidays….and happy reading!
 

Monday, December 21, 2009

In My Shopping Bag (8)


In My Mailbox is a weekly meme hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren.
Through her guidelines, your post does not actually have to be named the same and thus my post shall be..."In My Shopping Bag".  (just fits with the "foodie" theme a bit better in my humble opinion)
Let's take a peek inside my shopping bag from the past week....
~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Purchased

Alas, no books for me this week....had to finish Christmas shopping!

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Won




Merlin:  Valiant by Mike Tucker
(via contest from Yunaleska at Nayu's Reading Corner)
Buying, Training & Caring for Your Dinosaur by Laura Joy Rennert (SIGNED)
(via author's site...check it out!)




The Original Christmas Classics, Limited Keepsake Edition
(via contest from Julie at Booking Mama)
I Use to Know That:  Stuff You Forgot From School by Caroline Taggart
(via Twitter contest from FSBAssociaties)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

For Review



Truly Madly by Heather Webber (ARC)
(via LibraryThing Early Reviewers)
A Man and His Maniac, The Bunkie Story by Charles Franklin Emery III
(via Dorothy @ Pump Up Your Book Promotion and author)
(Watch for the upcoming book tour stopping by in January!)


~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Off on another adventure!
Until next time....happy reading!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Roving Reader



Ooh!  Look what I saw in the store today!
Let's just say it's definitely on MY wish list...
How about yours?

Friday, December 18, 2009

Dessert: Your One Stop Fun Break Shop! (5)

Hello, everyone!  We're counting down the hours, wait, okay 1 hour and about 40 minutes until the contest for I USE TO KNOW THAT ends, so if you haven't entered yet, time is running out!  What are you waiting for?  Go, go, go!

In light of my seriously busy day and serious need for destressing, today's post will be rather short and sweet (pardon the pun...what pun?...sweet...you know because the post is called dessert?)...don't worry I'll make up for it with a wordy post next time around....promise!



Gotta love these!
This one was actually selected at random from a stack of my favorites and by jov, it is SO perfect for today!  (Happy Bunny...how did you know this would work on so many levels?)
(Oh and to cover any copyright issues....photo scan courtesy of my 2009 Happy Bunny desk calendar!)

Until next time....happy reading!

Thursday, December 17, 2009

Tis the Season for Sharing: The Birds' Christmas Carol by Kate Douglas Wiggin


Happy holidays, everyone!

It's getting closer.....only 7/8 more days til Christmas Eve!  (...and no, I STILL haven't wrapped the gifts yet....) With the craziness that has been this past year, the spirit of the season took a little while to land in our house, but fear not!  It has arrived!  (YAY!) Turn on some Christmas music (*cough* or click the "bear" player on the bottom right sidebar of the blog page *cough*), add some festive lights, and watch a few holiday movies....yep, that definitely helps.  I currently have a movie on loan from our local store (gotta love the freebies from Movie Gallery...I mean really...you rent more than 1 when you go, but you still get the free one), the title is Four Christmases.  Recognize it?  Starring Reese Witherspoon and and Vince Vaughn, it tells the story of a couple that ends up spending Christmas with family at four different locations only to discover more about each other and their relationship than they really wanted to....with a healthy dose of laughter, of course.  Alas, I have not finished it yet so the verdict is still out on whether it becomes a favorite, but thus far...not too bad.  Anywho...


A few quick reminders and updates regarding the site....a new long-awaited (okay, maybe long awaited for me at least, but perhaps some will interest you) feature has been added to the sidebar entitle "On My Wishlist...".  Can you guess what it will detail?  (Thought so.)  A new book tour has been scheduled for late January....more details can be found via the link under "Mark Your Calendars...".  The current contest to win a copy of I Use to Know That... by Caroline Taggart has gained a few more entries.  If you haven't entered yet or know someone that would like a copy, the contest ends tomorrow night!  Last but not least, there will be a new contest starting up in a few days.....5 winners and a prolific author....stay tuned!  Moving on....

Today's post in keeping with the spirit of the holiday season is from one of the many holiday books I had on my list to read this month.  Grant it, not all have been read at this point with so many other ones in the proverbial fire, but I have made a small dent at the very least and I am ready to share!  The book on the menu today caught my eye in both title and cover....while not earth shattering, it's simple beauty is what stuck me so.  Without further ado....today's book of choice is....


The Birds' Christmas Carol
by
Kate Douglas Wiggin

(READERS BEWARE:  This is a children's book, written in classical style and although the story is straight from the heart, the ending is indeed a sad one.  Might want to caution younger readers, or provide a hanky.)
We join the Birds family (not actual birds....that's their last name....just in case there was any confusion) on a very important day indeed.  It is the wee hours of Christmas Day and although the world is ready to delve into their presents, Mr. and Mrs. Bird are at home celebrating the arrival of their newest little one.  A baby girl, born to them on this most special day whilst Christmas carols fill the air with their wondrous sounds from the Church across the way.  Any guesses as to what they name the child?  (Oh, come on....you can guess it, I know it!)  That's right!  Carol.  Or to be precise, their little Christmas Carol as they fondly thought of her and her mannerisms even at such a a young age spoke of a kind and gentle soul.

Fast forward ten years and we greet Carol as a young girl about to celebrate her 10th birthday.  A wondrous celebration it is to be with decorations fit for a palace, food fit for a king, and presents enough to spoil any youngster whose thoughts were of themself and not those in need around them.  Aha, but you see, fair readers, this is where Carol sets herself apart from the common pack.  Being a true Christmas child, she adores the season with a vigor few may ever show, but her youth is unable to hide the terrible disease that is upon her.  She is ill with a sickness that is not cureable and thus each Christmas celebration brings her closer to an unfortunate end.  Does she give up hope?  Heavens no!  Does she sit and wallow away in self pity?  That would be a negative once again.  Although weak in body, she is strong in mind and soul as every year she helps to organize the family festivities.  This year is to be extra special.  She is planning a dinner party for the Ruggles children that live just next door.  They are a poor but proud family....never seeking assistance from those better off than they, but Carol has her heart set on giving them the best Christmas ever.  Who could deny such an effort in love?  (Sorry, dearest readers, but to reveal more would ruin the story!)


How did I come upon this book?  I was browsing through our local book store and behold...a thin visage of Christmas wonder did appear!  (Yes, I know the writing style has been fading in and out of this post....do you ever find that happening when you write a review after reading a book written in classic style?)  I thought to myself...self, this looks like a nice, quick read to add to the holiday books for December's posts and it even fits the season.  My "self" was pleased and so I made my purchase.  Woe is me!  I did NOT anticipate the fate that little Christmas Carol meets nor the journey she sets upon to get there!  You will need a hanky, tissue, T-shirt....something when you finish this book, MARK MY WORDS!

That said, I will say that I do not regret reading this book though even if it wasn't quite as jolly as I thought it might be.  It really reminds you about the underlying spirit of the season.  Sharing the good things we have in life with others and seeing the joy that it brings to them in turn....now that's a Christmas memory to collect every year. 

COMMENT CREATOR
Tis the season to be merry....thinking back to Christmas' past (or present if you prefer), do you have a tradition in your family that benefits others?  Volunteer at a soup kitchen?  Organize a donation drive?  Donate to a good cause?  Feel free to share your thoughts in the comment section below!

My family usually selects an "angel" from the local angel tree, or a senior from the newest addition to the program, to buy presents for.  This year with money being tight, we've had to scale back a bit, but you can bet that the bell ringers seeking donations for those in need will be getting as much as can be shared.

Happy holidays....and happy reading!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Roving Reader


The colors, the picture....I couldn't resist!
The Shifter by Janice Hardy
Check it out!

Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Taste Testing Tuesdays (6)



Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays!
Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading

On the menu this week is a sample of two books I'm currently reading.  The first is a carry over from last week (yes, my friends, the holidays are even limiting some of my reading time) that I must say reminds me of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood novel (in a good way I asure you).  The second book is the 7th installment in an ongoing series from a very prolific author indeed.  Let's take a sample, shall we?



I dashed into the street and placed Miz Hobbs's brassiere on the rear bumper of his cruiser.  Written across the trunk above the splayed-out brassiere was the single word I wanted to be in the picture:  P-O-L-I-C-E.  I snapped the picture and high-tailed it home, laughing the whole way. -- pg 206, Saving CeeCee Honeycutt by Beth Hoffman (ARC)










"Can any of you cut up a person's body?" Yuki asked.  "Can you imagine what's involved in dismembering a human being?  I have a hard time cutting up a chicken. ..." -- pg 252, 7th Heaven by James Patterson









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Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

*Grab your current read

*Open to a random page

*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (Make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

*Share the title & author, too, so that other participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!


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Until next time....happy reading!

Monday, December 14, 2009

Do You See What I See?: Double Take by Kevin Michael Connolly

Hello again to all my fellow insatiable readers!  Cross one more day off you holiday countdown as Christmas is almost here!  Decorations done?  Check.  Tree up?  Check (or at least it will be later tonight).  Presents bought?  Check.  Presents wrapped?  Hmmm, I KNEW I forgot something!  Luckily we still have about nine days left to ...WHOA!  Nine days?  Okay, so I've got a little time. **jots note to self...MUST WRAP PRESENTS** Anyone else feeling the days fly by?  Anyone?


One thing about the holiday season is true to one and all....it goes too quickly!  We plan and plan, shop til we drop, and hustle and bustle to the tune of frenzied jingle bells, all to be able to spend five minutes with the ones we hold near and dear (okay a little exagerrated, true...but you get my meaning).  It can be exhausting, but we happily go along just to make those new precious memories.  This holiday season, I challenge each of you to SLOW DOWN for at least a few minutes and try to appreciate the magic all around you.  It's like taking a deep breath of Christmas-ey air straight from the North Pole.  (Hmmm, now I'm in the mood to watch The Polar Express again....)

Anywho, the book for today's review is an inspiring story indeed.  It tells the tale of one man's journey through life in a not-so-typical way.  (Vague enough for you?  Not to worry, the good stuff is coming up...)  Today's book of choice is....


by
Kevin Michael Connolly

Imagine going through life always feeling like you are being judged before you get to say or do anything.  (Wait a second....that's how a lot of people feel anyway...hmmm)  The moment you are spotted, a judgement is made about who you are and how you came to be.  Whether real or perceived, these knee-jerk reactions from strangers can affect even the hardiest of souls.  When you combine these everyday obstacles with the not-so-everyday aspect of being born without legs, those moments take on an even bigger significance.

This is the story of Kevin Michael Connolly.  Kevin as it turns out was born without legs.  To his family and himself, the initial shock was handled and life moved on as average as possible.  Sure there were times that hurdles needed mounting, but with the help of his family and friends and a little ingenuity, nothing seemed impossible. He went through his early year by the seat of his pants....no literally.  His grandfather developed a sort of boot he could wear on his lower half to protect his body.  You see, Kevin was content to go through life in his own way.  He found his prosthetic legs of no greater use than making him "appear" as everyone else, and his wheelchair slipping him into another class of handicapped individuals, neither of which was an appealing option.  At least on his own two hands, he could take a bit more control of his own destiny.

It was this iron will and drive that took him to the great places he was destined to go.  From schooling to dances to skiing to....yes, I did say skiing.  Can you imagine?  He became such a great a skiier that he was in a special race of the X-Games!  (I'm sorry, but that's amazing in my book....heck, if I got out there, I'd probably come back in a body cast whether I skied on one leg or two.)  Upon reaching his later school years, he began to travel abroad with the aid of a foreign exchange program.  He college years fortified the travel bug within him, but also brought to light the very real subject of how he was perceived.  After one particularly tough day, he snaps a candid photo of a "watcher".  When he views it, it's an unexpected look at how the world first interrupts him.  He begins to gather more and more of these photos and soon discovers that the looks of curiousity and wondering are similiar no matter the country or culture....thus he develops a plan to showcase this side of human nature to the world.  Does the story end there?  Not in the least...but to expose it further would ruin the experience for you, potential readers.


Let me start out by saying that I do not generally make a habit of reading memoirs and biographies.  I like my fictious worlds and the escapes they bring, what can I say?  I get enough reality every day.  However, once in a while a book in this genre will catch my eye and this happened to be one of those times.  I am certainly glad it did!  Thoroughly engrossing, you will find yourself sharing the emotions spelled out on the page before you.  That's not to say that its a sappy story you'll be crying to at each turn, but you'll laugh through the jokes, smile through the determination shown, and share in the losses as well as the wins....all with the zeal of a close friend.  Kevin Connolly may not have thought he should write a memoir at such a young age (he's only about 25), but the story he shares is a part of us all....a search for acceptance, belonging and feeling good about oneself no matter what we are facing.

Special thanks to Kathryn at Harper Collins Publishers for the ARC for review!

Until next time...happy holidays and happy reading!
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