Friday, December 31, 2010

Should old acquaintance be forgot...

~sings~


..and never brought to MIND!
*cough*cough*
*ahem*

It's that time again!
Time to say goodbye to another year and welcome in the new.
Closing out the year in style is the only way to go and on a book blog, well that usually means a year in review type post...but alas, I am of the non-traditional sort in this area.  KUDOS to those that have a thoroughly prepared post listing each and every review, interview, and feature they did.  (Seriously...hats off to each of you! *claps LOUDLY*) As for me?  I'm going with a more general nod to the end of the (not-so-fantastic-but-had-its-moments) year.


Books read = 150
*big cheesey grin*
That's with two jobs, a merry pack of pups, and family time putting me at approximately 41 more books read than last year...so I'll take it!

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Blog Followers = 532
*BIGGER cheesey grin*
Give or take (hopefully only give as in no one unfollows before this post is up).  Last year at this time I was at *checks spreadsheet* 93...an increase of 439!  ~happy dance~  Hugs to each of you!

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Friendships Made = Too Many To Count
*hugs*
The world of book blogging is made up of all sorts of people but for the most part we are a lively, fun, and friendly bunch.  Ever helper if an issue arises, and always there to spread a smile.  To each of you that have stopped by my site for a quick look around and especially to those of you that take the time to read and comment on posts or email your thoughts....THANK YOU.  ^_^
..and now for something entirely different but on the same track...
Check out this funtastic music mix from DJ Earworm (now there's a name and a half), discovered thanks to a random tweet from WalMartMP3, ushering 2010 out with a few "notes" and a dance....
~turn your speaker volume up...NOW (please)~





Happy New Year's Eve everyone!
Party hard but not TOO hard.

Until next YEAR...I mean time...happy reading!


New Year Resolutions + Contest!


So, here we are.
Counting down the final hours to the New Year yet?
I thought so.
How about those New Year resolutions...come up with anything?
Yeah, me neither...but you might might to pull out the thinking cap...

Many of you reading this are fellow "readers" (like moi), however there are also many aspiring writer's amongst you (unlike moi...at least at the moment).  A few weeks ago when going through the bookish goodness in my mailbox, I came upon an ARC gem sent to me by the folks over at Workman Publishing.  Since it's arrival, it has reached that coveted "published" status but alas, it's simply not a title for my own reading/reviewing interests...though I think it might be for some of YOU.  The way I figure it, why let a good book sit unread?  So...calling all aspiring authors...this one's for YOU!

The prize...
(1) ARC of The Essential Guide to Getting Your Book Published by Arielle Eckstut and David Henry Sterry
(published by Workman Publishing)



How to enter...
Fill out this FORM.



*BONUS ENTRY*
(You'll have a few options on the form but to get you started...)
It's that time of year.  The time we make New Year's resolutions.  Care to share one of yours?
Leave your answer in the comments for one extra entry...but remember you MUST fill out the form as well in order for it to count.




The rules...
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Thursday, December 30th, 2010 through Sunday, January 9th, 2011 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the random.org randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Monday, January 10th, 2011 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.  If you choose to include your full name and mailing address in your contest entry, no worries....the time frame issue is erased.
*Winner's name and address will be used by me for prize send out only and then discarded.
 

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


Thursday, December 30, 2010

Kasey to the Rescue by Ellen Rogers

Hi there readers!


Can you believe it?
The new year is almost upon us.
Only one more day until we party like it's 1999...er, 2010...and get ready to welcome in 2011.  Are you ready?  Although I've had a great year in reading and friends (hugs to all of you out there), the rest of it can be summed up in a word....PPPFFFFFT!
Okay, so that's not really a word, more of a sound effect but still it fits perfectly.  Too many visits from the bad luck fairy  to call it a success overall, but (I belief the words of singer/songwriter Natasha Bedingfield work rather well right here) "the rest is still unwritten". (Yeah, you hear me fairy of badness...I got your number...you're going DOWN!)  Anywho...enough of my new year fighting plans, let's get this pony show moving...

Today's post is about a book (Surprise!  Just kidding...) that was an expected treasure.  When I embarked on this reading adventure, I admit it...I was expecting a cute story about a helpful little monkey.  Just take a look at the cover; Kasey and the young man's smile beam right off of the page.  What I REALLY got with this read was something so very much more...  Today's book of choice is....

The Remarkable Story of a Monkey and a Miracle
by
Ellen Rogers

2005 was a year to remember in this household but not for the many good things that could and would happen, but for a terrible tragedy that touched their lives. Ned Sullivan, Ellen's 22 year old full of life son was in a car accident. The good news, he survived...the bad news, no one knew how long he would be able to hold on nor the quality of life he would live going forward.  With so many unknowns, it'd be easy to simply give up, who'd blame them...but those two words are not in this families vocabulary and that leads to the eye opening tale about to be shared.  This is more than just the story of a man and his monkey (and yes, I realize how that sounds...wait for the explanation). This is the story of a family thrown a curve ball of staggering size and what they accomplished as a "team" to work through, nay overcome (to a certain degree) the obstacles stacked in their way as a result.

From the eyes of a mother, Ellen Rogers takes on the role of author and shares the heart warming journey that her family (and extended family...including old and new found friends) has seen and lived through over the past view years. Each sunrise welcomed and sunset witnessed is a testament to their strength and willingness to do what needs doing in order to make the most of each and every day.  Their story reaches out to touch both your mind and your soul.  You can't help but feel for all of them as they struggle to make sense of something that is in its very nature senseless as their world is torn apart at the seams.  Misfortune dogged them at every turn, but they kept pressing on, moving forward, looking for the next hand hold no matter how small in order to make progress.

Let's not forget to give Kasey the little socialite that she is a moment in the spotlight.  (LOL.)  It's amazing all the things that these little guys, and gals, can do and quite frankly as long as the organization (Helping Hands:  Monkey Helpers) has been in existence, I'm surprised I've never heard of them before.  From opening containers to scratching noses, tying shoelaces to picking up dropped items, they are a wonder to behold even when seen merely in text.  All these things (and more) they can accomplish and they still lend their intellect to creating new ways to push and grow the strength of their "person" as well as share their love and friendship.  The love and undivided attention they share grew into a wonderful friendship that sees Ned through the rough times while providing a family structure she can depend on.  It may be true that time heals all wounds, in one way or another at least, but there is something to be said for companionship as well. 

It's hard to say anything "bad" about this type of book as it's not a work of fiction; it's someones life story.  That being said though, there are two points that I would like to briefly comment on.  They are more along the lines of observations in the presentation or perhaps small lapses in the story shared that I being the insatiable reader that I am would have liked a bit more detail.  First up, the junction of chapters 1 and 2 where we take a flying monkey sized leap from Ned's accident right into....the life and times of baby Kasey.  Yep.  That was pretty much the transition.  You are in one place one moment and then dropped into the other the next.  This may be something that was cleared up in the final print copy (as I was reading my ARC of the book) but as it was, a tinge on the choppy side. 

Second (and final) "issue" of sorts comes along a bit further into the story.  *WARNING:  POTENTIAL SPOILER AHEAD -- PROCEED WITH CAUTION*  The family never gives up on trying to find ways to increase Ned's quality of life and one stop along that journey was the Shepard Center in Atlanta.  It's a rehabilitation hospital of sorts, among the best according to the text.  During his stay at this facility, his mother has to leave for a week or two to get things together at home for his eventual arrival and move life along for the rest of her family.  When she leaves, he's still hard at work on increasing his levels of movement and communication the best he can.  When she returns...he can talk.  Grant it, it's slow and garbled but he can talk when he couldn't and was pretty much told he would never again...and the story moves on.  The only thing that I wish could have been different was any sort of explanation as to what changed during those two weeks as opposed to the prior two and so on that he was able to make this remarkable step forward.  Don't get me wrong, I was relieved to see such a huge positive change in his favor...but my curiosity begs to know a bit more.  *SPOILER OVER -- PROCEED* 

When all is said and done though, a remarkable read overall.  It was truly a pleasure to share in their experience and one I won't soon forget.  Recommended reading for anyone seeking a look at a life being lived most remarkably as well as some great information on an organization I hadn't heard of previously....Helping Hands: Monkey Helpers for the Disabled. It's a rather interesting non-profit that aims to place specially bred, trained, and skilled capuchin monkeys with those suffering from spinal cord injuries or other mobility impairments; a cause certainly worth exploring.



ARC for review courtesy of Hyperion Books.  (THANKS!)  This book was published November 2010, so be on the lookout for it in a store near you.  For more information on this title as well as the publisher's full catalog, be sure to visit them online (where there is also a view great videos featuring the family in regards to their inspiring story) or follow along on Twitter.  To explore Kasey and Ned's story a bit more online, check out the book's website.  Interested in finding out more about the Helping Hands:  Monkey Helpers organization including a peek inside the monkey college and further success stories?  Stop by their site for a great learning experience. 

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

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

City in Shadow by Evan Marshall

Hi there!
Did you miss me?


Aw..you're too sweet.
What?  You didn't answer?
That's okay.
My over active imagination answered for you. (hehe)
Anywho...

Coming at you with review number TWO for the day, as promised.  The first was a lesson in humor...a fun one too if I may say so; this one however takes things to another place altogether.  It's a darker world where things are not always what they seem as the mind plays tricks on the eyes and ears of the beholder.  Where is this shadowy land of trickery and dark deeds?  Manhattan (NY).


Surprised?
Oh come on...I bet you were guessing some made up world of fantasy and paranormal activity, am I right?  (It's okay, you can admit it, I won't tell anyone.  Still holding out?  Okay, okay...whether you admit it or not though, we know who's right here.)  While make believe is fine and dandy, dandy and fine (whoa...sorry bout that...watch the old Santa Claus:  The Movie last week and lapsed into a bit of Patch-esque speak there)...reality, even stories that could have a basis in reality should the author have been inclined, can be MUCH scarier at times.  Now that I've built you up, let's bring it back down a notch with the big reveal.  Today's second book of choice is....

City in Shadow
A Hidden Manhattan Mystery
by

Nettie Clouchet, some what successful journalist and ghost blogger extraordinaire, is on to something...or at least she hopes that she is.  Having just moved into new digs to first, escape her ex Eddie who seems to have it out for her (yeah...there's more to that story to say the least) and second (and perhaps more important to her livelihood...or is it?), to follow the life and times of one Anna Winthrop.  Wait, who?  Let's take a stroll downstairs, shall we? 

Meet her neighbor, Anna Winthrop; a woman of money (though she doesn't depend on it or show it off) and power, there is more than meets the eye to this character, but is it as sinister as her upstairs neighbor seems to think?    I don't know...something just doesn't seem to add up.  It could be the strange way Nettie always feels watched by her ex (a real master of disguise this one).  It could be the fact that these two woman seem to thoroughly enjoy sticking their noses into business that is simply not theirs.  Or it very well could be the strange note found on their front lawn after a van vacates the space with two simple words written on it...HELP ME.  (Yeah...I'm going with that one.)  Just who needs help and from what or whom?  So many questions, with so few answers; the game is afoot, but where it leads is beyond any inclinations you may have at this moment.  Trust me...things are going to get ugly. 

Have you ever read a book that you just weren't enamored with from the start?  I mean, it was just...okay instead of screaming "LOOK AT ME! READ ME!"  Yeah, kinda happened here.  While I can't say I fell in love with it, I certainly fell into "like" with it along the way and just in time for the BIG finale. Why wasn't it love at first read?  Hmm, let's see; how to explain.  For me...it started off rather slow (I don't need a full throttle peal out but a little gas is helpful) with seemingly meaningless character introductions (why introduce them for any length of time if they are not even in supporting roles) and TOO many details.  HOWEVER, once the pieces started falling together there was no stopping it from snowballing into an interesting read all the same.

Seriously, you have wealthy female siblings living their lives the same as every other average Jane (one is even a sanitation worker), an upstairs neighbor who moonlights as a ghost blogger but has other writing aspirations not considered common knowledge to the public, two Ukrainian guys supposedly shopping for a desk for their den but really covering up a far more nefarious operation....see what I mean? LOADS of story line, but a common thread amongst them seems hard to find.....no worries, it IS in fact found and as I said, you'll follow it til the end, maybe not like a kitten to catnip but at least like that wanted ball of yarn.

Recommended read for mystery or crime fiction adult fans due to the nature of the events that transpire.  That nefarious operation I mentioned earlier...yeah, it's not an underground baked goods selling operation.  Though the book doesn't go into drastic details, it's still enough to warrant the warning in my opinion.  Also, a bit of a tour guide in the places visited as they are real live locations in and around New York...such as The Whispering Gallery, a rather interesting area in the Grand Central Terminal (think in terms of acoustics).  It's quite a ride from start to finish with twists and turns to keep you guessing just what will happen next.  One of those books that no matter how you THINK it will end, it surprises you with the final one two punch. 

Review copy courtesy of Julie at FSB Associates.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this book as well as their current projects, visit them online (1 or 2), or follow along on one (or more) of their Twitter feeds (1...2...3...4).

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


With One Eye Open by Polly Frost

Good morning, boys and girls!


Today's first lesson (that's right, be prepared for more than one today) is all about one thing...HUMOR.  The laughs, the smiles, the things that make us chuckle no matter what is going on and in spite of ourselves.  This is one genre that most people either love it or leave it, but as I normally go against the grain I both love AND leave it.  Okay, that sounded wrong some how but you know what I mean.

While I don't choose to read this type of book all the time, when I do...I make it count.  This particular addition to the "humor books I've read" category has got to count in spades...really...for it's not just a funny story, it's a collection of short spur of the moment funniness that...well, I think you might get a kick out of too.  Without further mindless blathering (see, I can laugh at myself), today's book of choice is....

by
Polly Frost


A word to the wise....this book is intended for adult audiences, so those not quite of age to call themselves that dreaded "a" word might want to avert their gaze until this afternoons review.
This is a tongue in cheek look at those situations in life that are best seen through the eyes of a clown, unless of course they are of the scary creepy variety and then let's just switch it back to an image of a fun house mirror ~shudders~. From diets to dreams, love and self diagnosis, there's at least one topic if not more that will have you chuckling, grinning, perhaps even guffawing for a few moments out of your day...and who couldn't use a few more laughs? There's even one that addresses people JUST like us.  How so?  It speaks to those afflicted with one or more wide spread "conditions"...perhaps you've heard of them? Blogaholism? Twitteritis? Status Update Disorder? (LOL.) Let's get a showing of hands to see just how many of you suffer from one (*cough* or all *cough*) of these.... (-raises hand-)

The "chapters" are short and sweet; in fact they read like blog posts.  Oh, wait...scratch that...they are very much like blog posts just with a bit more of the "famous" added in to spice things up.  Seriously!  Some of her stories have been published in some rather infamous publications including this little gem seen in The Atlantic

Although I could quote quite a few passages that tickled my funny bone, one that I do believe we'd have a shared laugh over most easily is in the story Goodbye.!  No that is not a miss type on the punctuation there.  It's a quick tribute to all those that read a little bit more into the use of exclamation points when someone posts a message or replies to one you've sent.  Let's see, how does she put it?  Oh yes!  When looking over her past use of the little bugger (i.e. the exclamation point), she makes this eye opening observation... "...I'd think my personality had changed completely -- from a person striving to be at least a little dignified to someone who was the human equivalent of a Jack Russell terrier!!" (pg 7)  (ROTFL!) Been there, seen and done that.  Suffice it to say that this is one author that has been around the block (and that is meant in the nicest way possible, promise) and is not afraid to tell it like it is...with a side of humor to make it go down nice and easy. 

Recommended read for older teens through adults.  Why?  Because I said so....gheesh!  Just kidding...there's a mention or two not quite for the younger set (not to mention an image or two that is built through the lovely descriptive words used that are a bit harder to erase than others...*shudders*). Certainly a good book to grab when you're looking for a break in your otherwise serious day...

Review copy received courtesy of the author herself.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this book and her current works, feel free to visit her website

Until next time...happy count down to the new year...and happy reading!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Snow Day! by Lester L. Laminack

Why hello again, everyone!


Hope your day is going rather well.
Mine?  Well, let's just say I'm trying to get back into the swing of things for the next three days so it's a bit trying but next week, oy!  Now THAT will be the real challenge.  A full week back in action with no extra days off or holidays to look forward to...le sigh.  I do believe many of you know just what I'm talking about...as do the characters of today's book feature.  How so?  Ah, patience is a virtue my friend, but I won't make you exercise it just yet.  Today's book of choice is...

by
illustrated by

A winter wish held by young and old alike...snow.  Its beauty is wondrous and all at once we have our very own snow globe world minus the perpetual shaking.  A covering of this fluffy white magic in any serious amount leads the hopes of every child (and adult) right to the news station.  Why there you ask?  Simple!  That is where the two words they all long to hear would be broadcast before they start out on their wintry trek for the day; the two words that hold so much meaning and the key to endless possibilities.  The two words that they all wait with baited breath to hear each year around this time...SNOW DAY.

This is the story of one family as they hear the promise of a great snowfall overnight leading to what they can only hope to be an official "snow day".  Their imaginations run wild as their dreams are filled with sledding, hot cups of cocoa and general relaxation in a wintry wonderland.  A day off from all the obligations of day to day life and the perfect excuse to frolic in winter time fun.  Will Mother Nature cooperate?  You'll just have to wait and see...

Now this is a situation that the folks up north right now can certainly see themselves in.  Seriously, some places have received 30 inches of snow so far and we're talking cities, not mountains.  Crazy stuff...but I'd love to see it nonetheless.  Once upon a time, my Mom and I lived up north and the most snow I remember seeing on the ground at once was a whopping....5 inches.  Yeah, woo-hoo and all that...not really.  It was still beautiful but not enough to write home to anyone about.  The winter after we left...10 inches.  O_o  *grr*  Anywho...

The dreams this story conjures are fast flying and fun.  Snowball fight anyone?  A bit of sledding perhaps?  You can't help but be drawn into their wishes for the following day as the illustrations bring to life everything they would love to be doing....instead of another day at school or work (go figure); I know I kept my fingers crossed that it would turn out at least half as blustery as they dreamed.  Though Mother Nature may (or may not) have had other ideas for their daily activities, by book's end you'll be smiling if not due to the final outcome than at the very least thanks to the unexpected twist regarding the revelation as to why the parent was joining in with the children's wishes so vehemently.  (Really, too funny...and makes perfect sense!)

In short, a book that is sure to please audiences young and young at heart.  Anyone that could stand to have a few more snow days in their yearly schedule will certainly appreciate this smile inducing winter time wish.  Review copy received courtesy of Erin at Peachtree Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this book as well as their full catalog, feel free to visit them online, stop by their blog, or follow along on Twitter (1 or 2).  But wait!  The fun is not over just yet.  It's time for YOU to create a "snow day" of your own! 


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Thanks to the generosity of Peachtree Publishers, I have the pleasure of offering you a chance to win a copy of this blustery tale of winter fun all your own...plus a little audio fun too!  Ready for the details?  Here we go!


The prize...
(1) copy of Snow Day! by Lester L. Laminack
WITH
Audio CD featuring the story read by the author!



 
How to enter...
Fill out THIS FORM.



*BONUS ENTRY*
(You'll have a few options on the form but to get you started...)
Riddle me this....
If you could call a snow day of your very own, what would YOU do first? Leave your answer in the comments for one extra entry...but remember you MUST fill out the form as well in order for it to count.




The rules...
*Open to US/Canada mailing addresses only!  No P. O. Boxes please.
* Entries will be accepted from Tuesday, December 28th, 2010 through Monday, January 3rd, 2011 at midnight CST.  The entries will be tallied and entered into the random.org randomizer, after which a random number will be picked by their number generator.  (This way all the entries are mixed up nicely.)
* All entries must be submitted using the form accessible through this post.  You MUST include your email address in order to be counted as well as contacted should you be chosen as the winner!
*The winner will be announced and contacted via email by Tuesday, January 3rd, 2011 and will have 48 hours to respond with their mailing address.  Should they fail to respond in the given time frame, a new winner will be chosen.  If you choose to include your full name and mailing address in your contest entry, no worries....the time frame issue is erased.
*Winner's name and address will be used by me for prize send out only and then discarded.

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

Taste Testing Tuesdays (59)


Good morning (or whatever time it is where you are), everyone!
Welcome to another installment of Taste Testing Tuesdays here at Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers!  Taste Testing Tuesdays was inspired by 'Teaser Tuesdays', a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading
On the menu this week...two books that I just cracked the spine on yesterday (okay, so I didn't even crease the spine but I did start reading them...hehe) in two very different genres.  Shall we?


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The boy makes a quick move, rolling to his side, forcing Grimsby downward by driving gis shoulder into the other's calf and seizing the outside of his leg with his arm.  In an instant, the young tough is on the ground, groaning, Sherlock looming above him.
-- pg 36, Vanishing Girl, The Boy Sherlock Holmes - His 3rd Case by Shane Peacock

Curious to see if not having read the first two in this series will make a bit of difference..cross your fingers, sounds like a bumpy ride ahead!










Sometimes I got to stay up late and watch a movie with my mother on the black and white television set she had in the bedroom.  I remember peeking out from under the covers as we watched one of our favourites, Alfred Hitchcock's The Birds.  Watching that scary movie with her filled me with a mixture of terror and comfort, the kind that only a mother can provide.
-- pg 44, Repairing Rainbows by Lynda Fishman

An unusual quote and yet you have to admit, you know what she means...right?  Interested to see what this true story reveals to "outsiders" and what wisdom can be taken away.


  
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Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
*Open to a random page
*Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
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.* 

 
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Until next time....happy reading!

Monday, December 27, 2010

In My Shopping Bag (60)

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 see what's inside this week...



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For Review
It was a very Peachtree Publishers week at my house when a lovely package arrived containing the following four gems....
The Library Dragon by Carmen Agra Deedy
Doesn't this one look like fun?  *nods*...and they sent a SIGNED copy no less!
The Boy Who Was Raised by Librarians by Carla Morris
Once again, it is really any wonder why I chose this book?  ^_^



The Horned Toad Prince by Jackie Mimms Hopkins
This take on the classic frog prince tale looks like it's going to have quite a few laughs....just look at that face!




13 Monsters Who Should Be Avoided by Kevin Shortsleeve
This book had a curiously creepy air to it...can't wait to see what the guide on the cover there has to share with us.


-----------------------------------------------------------
Won
SIGNED Book of Spells/She's So Dead to Us bookmark from author Kieran Scott
(won via Twitter contest held by the author herself)
Yay for author/bookish swag! ~happy dance~
 The Night Before Christmas in Africa by Jesse, Hannah, and Carroll Foster
(via Twitter contest from Pelican Publishing)
This one came just in time for a read and review on Christmas Eve...how perfect can you get?  Check out my review right here...



The Demon Ttrapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
I admit it, I cheated when this one came.  I read the first chapter or two.  So far, looks good!  Gotta love the first demon she encounters...right after our bookish hearts.  The publisher of this little beauty is MacMillan and St. Martin Griffin; the release date is set for February 2011.



Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert
(won via awesome contest from Christa at You Never Know What You're Gonna Get)
I was so jazzed when I found out I won a copy of this book.  Seriously!  I wanted to read it ever since I saw the movie...even though a few bookish friends have warned me about the ending....still have to discover it for myself.  Be sure to check out Christa's blog!  Lots of fun to be had...



----------------------------------------------------

Received

With it being Christmas weekend and all, of course there is much fun to share on the "received" end of things.  Received the awesome Harry Potter book that takes a look behind the scenes of all the movies with pullouts, a snuggie type blanket that *ahem* looks like a Hogwart's uniform, specifically Gryfinndor (YAY!), and a few other odds and ends of fun...but...there is one totally unexpected bit of awesomeness that a good blogger friend sent me I simply must share....

First, a nifty sheet of bookish gift wrap....then a copy of Dash & Lily's Book of Dares...sounds great, right?  It gets even better....take a closer look at the cover (below)...


...yep.  See that little sticker?  It's a copy from the infamous STRAND...and as if it could get any better....(see below)

...its SIGNED!
~twirl~SQUEE~twirl~
^_^

Thank you thank you thank you to my very good friend Danielle (you may know her better on Twitter as the1stdaughter or perhaps you've seen her awesome-tastic site...There's A Book).  All your kind words and "chin ups" over the year have gotten us through some tough times....many hugs and wishes for the best holiday, nay the best year for you and your family in 2011.
{HUGS}
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That's all for this week!
What did YOU get?
Do tell!


Until next time....happy reading!



Sunday, December 26, 2010

The Roving Reader

Love the simple cover with the interesting little characters drawn in...I can only presume one of them is in fact the title character.


Milo
by
Alan Silberberg



Check it out!


** The Roving Reader is a MEME type feature created by yours truly to share those book covers spotted when out and about that catch your eye for one reason or another. Want to get in on the fun? You're welcome to use the MEME, just give a little credit love. Simply snap a picture of your recent find and post away! Happy reading! **
 

Santa's Eleven Months Off by Mike Reiss

Happy day after Christmas fellow readers!
Hope that Santa Claus brought you everything on your list and if not...give the old guy a break, he means well....plus there's always next year.  With the main holiday hub-bub done and over with, it's time to take down the tree, the lights, the decorations of all shapes and sizes and...gear up for New Year's.  Oye vay.  Yes, there's always something on the horizon, but wait a second.  We have all these things to take care of but what about jolly old Saint Nick?  What does he do after the cookies are eaten, the deliveries are made and the reindeer and elves are all snug in their beds?  Surely he doesn't just wait around for 364 days to pass until his next "work day", does he?  Ha ha HA!  Think again!

Today's book of choice is....

by
Mike Reiss
illustrated by
Michael G. Montgomery

Santa Claus is a busy guy indeed; 
He prepares the whole month long to make deliveries Christmas Eve.
December is taken by work it's no lie,
So just what's in store January through November for the big guy?

Weight loss plans and sunny days,
New clothes, trimmed beards, and time to laze.
Shopping trips and impromptu singing,
A sumo match he's a small chance of winning.
Reindeer games and secret ops
Surfing, swimming, the fun never stops.
September comes, it's time for school,
For you, for me, and Santa...he's no fool.
November brings his busy time nearer,
As the holiday season's glow comes through clearer.

So the next time you think the big guy has it made,
Perhaps you should consider how fast time does fade.
For although he gets some major time off,
The work he does in one night is nothing at which to scoff.


If you have reached this part of my review, I promise...no more rhyming, or attempting to rhyme.  This is a great picture book for children of all ages.  Anyone that has ever had the passing thought of just what Kris Kringle does after the holiday season is over is in for a surprise with every turn of the page.  See him in January conquering a few resolutions that many of us make every year.  Meet him in March as he makes a shopping trip incognito...well, sort of.  Check him out in August as the sun shines high in the sky over shimmering waters and sandy beaches.  What?  You didn't think Santa went to the beach?  Well, he may not be the next surfing star in training, but he does love some time in the sun. 

It's an creative look at what goes on those other months of the year with fantastic visuals to stimulate the imagination in any reader...not to mention a great reminder of how much work really goes into his one BIG night.  (Whew!)  Review copy courtesy of Erin at Peachtree Publishers.  (THANKS!)  For more information on this title and their full catalog of wonder, be sure to visit them online, check out their blog, or follow along on Twitter (1 or 2).  

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


Saturday, December 25, 2010

Christmas at the Mysterious Bookshop

Merry Christmas!
I hope that Santa Claus brought you everything your hearts desired and if you aren't celebrating this particular holiday that your day was merry and bright nonetheless.

Today's introduction will be kept short as I'm certain you want to get back to the festivities of the day, but I couldn't think of a better time to introduce the title that I am about to...after all it takes place at Christmas in a bookshop and what book lover can resist THAT?  Today's book of choice is....

edited by
Otto Penzler

Aside from the gorgeous cover art and the attention grabbing title that speaks to any book lover's heart (really, isn't it marvelous?), this is a holiday collection of mysteries centered in and around The Mysterious Bookshop and more often than not, starring, in some fashion, the owner, Mr. Otto Penzler. You learn a bit about the shop (yes, it IS in fact a real bookstore) and the owner in each story, though you are cautioned that these "truths" are really fictitious in nature (hmm...I wonder...). The authors featured within this collection range from the famous to the infamous, so whether you are a mystery reader or not, you are bound to recognize at least a few right off the bat.  A truly fun bit of information about this collection though is how they came together for they were not simply written for this book's publication, but rather in response to a yearly request for the past 17 odd years from Mr. Penzler himself and released in singular fashion to his beloved customers; sort of like an extra Christmas present for them.  Now the world can share in the murderously fun merry stories even if we can't grace the store's doorway with our shadow (which would be very cool to do, but alas the distance for this reader is great).


On the story side of things, they remained a bit hit and miss for me, but that can be the case with any selection of books or writers; some just aren't your cup of tea. I think where it failed to hit its mark at times is that the tales were started and over with in the blink of an eye to keep with the "short story" format, however a few of the them needed more time to come into their own. Mysteries are the classic who-dun-its of the literary world and can be an acquired taste. Without the time needed to sort ones thoughts on the events transpiring, the narrator quickly leaves the reader behind while continuing to spin his/her own tale. 

That being said though, there were a few that stood out from the rest in one way or another.  An unexpected delight was found in I Saw Mommy Killing Santa Claus by Ed McBain.  You can probably tell from the title what the story is essentially about but it's not as morbid as you might think in fact they make a real case for the REAL Santa.  The 74th Tale by Jonathan Santlofer is a modern day flashback to those tales of curiously dark tales from none other than Edgar Allan Poe...certainly shiver inducing.  Then we have The Long Winter's Nap by Rupert Holmes, one tale in particular that I really loved the details incorporated; it made the story that much more vivid.  Last but not least (unless you'd rather me go on all day...hehe), we have My Object All Sublime by Anne Perry.  The gentleman in the starring role has a bit of a nefarious plan up his sleeve but the way he describes the bookish gift he intends to give...well, why don't you just read it yourself....

"I want a book he will treasure, for itself, not just what's written in it.  Something he can hold, touch, turn the pages and think of its history.  I want it to have meaning.  It must be a mark of my feelings for him, my respect, my regard." -- pg 120

~tear~ ...couldn't have said it any better if I tried.  A true book lover through and through....even if he has somewhat darker intentions moving forward in the story. 

In short, as with most anthologies or collections, there are those that I favored and those that I could have left behind. Do I regret the read? Certainly not especially with the select handful of gems I uncovered...but it is one to approach with the understanding that it's okay if you don't love each and every one. It makes the ones you do like that much more special.

Recommended read for older teens through adult readers looking for a non-traditional book to add to their holiday reading lists.  You'll laugh, you'll tear, you'll gasp as the plot is revealed down to the bare bones and if you are lucky enough to have figured out who was behind it all along the way, perhaps you'll even cheer. 

Review copy received courtesy of Jennifer at Over the River Public Relations.  (THANKS!)  For more information on them, feel free to visit their website.  The book was published by Vanguard Press and released in October of this year, so should it make your after Christmas wish list, check out your favorite retail outline...it should be ready and waiting.

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