Saturday, December 31, 2011

A New Old Challenge


When I first started reading again, the first book I read was "A Knight in Shining Armour" by Jude Deveraux. Ever since I have had a soft spot for romance novels even when people criticize them and say they aren't "real" novels. The ones I read I enjoy. So, I'm participating in the Romance Reading Challenge 2012 hosted by The Bookworm. You can find the sign-up post here.  Here are the details of the challenge:

It runs from January 1st, 2012 through December 31st, 2012.



"Romance" isn't limited to steamy Harlequin novels. There is a huge selection of books in this category such as contemporary romance, historical romance, romantic suspense and paranormal romance to name a few. As long as the story has romantic love between the two main characters your selection will fit this challenge. The novels do not need to have a happy ending either, there can also be unrequited love.


Choose at least 5 novels to read. You can change your choices at any time. Crossovers between other challenges are fine. I think I'll go with 10 books.


All kinds of books count such as eBooks, Audiobooks...etc.


Go to The Bookworm's blog for suggestions on where to find romance novels and stories.


I have lots of different genres of books that I read. Every once in a while, I just want to take a break and read something fun. Don't you?

Friday, December 30, 2011

New Four Month Challenge -- Part 8 starting January 1st


Love these 4-month Challenges!  This one starts January 1st and goes through April 30th. It is hosted by Book Drunkard. The categories are always interesting and push me to read books I may not have read otherwise. These are the categories for this new challenge:

5 Point Challenges


Read a book by an author who’s first or last name starts with J

Read a book set in ancient Rome

Read a book that is a retelling of a fairy tale

Read a book by an author writing under another name

Read a book you’ve been meaning to read for ages

10 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author who’s first or last name starts with F

Read a book with the word ‘love’ in the title

Read a book with a flower in the title or on the cover

Read a book with a book on the cover

Read a book set in the wild west

20 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author who’s first or last name starts with M

Read a book set in ancient Egypt

Read a book about pirates or that is set on a boat

Read the 100th book on your shelf

Read a book you’ve read before

25 Point Challenges

Read a book by an author who’s first or last name starts with A

Read a Dystopian novel

Read a book by an author with 12 letters in their name (combined)

Read a book about a royal (fiction or non-fiction)

Read a book with an animal in the title or on the cover

I notice that the points add up to 300 as opposed to 250 in previous challenges. As usual, some of the categories are easy and some are not so easy -- an author with 12 letters in his/her first or last name? Hmmm...but that's why they call them "challenges" I guess.

I'm ready to start! Are you? The sign-up post isn't up yet, but I'm sure it will be soon. Ready, set, read!!!







Wednesday, December 28, 2011

The Christmas Candle by Max Lucado

The Christmas CandleThe Christmas Candle by Max Lucado


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


Journey back to a simpler time, to a small English village where nothing out of the ordinary ever happens. Except at Christmastime.



When a mysterious angel suddenly appears in a lowly candlemaker's shop, the holy and the human collide in a way that only God could imagine.


Glowing bright with a timeless message, The Christmas Candle will warm your heart with a surprising reminder of God's bountiful love.

This is the kind of book you want to read at Christmastime. It was a typical Christmas story, but it inspired me and gave me hope. Everyone needs a boost in their faith once in a while and this was a story of God's ongoing love for us. The characters were lovable, especially Bea and Edward. I loved how they passed on the Christmas Candle gift.






View all my reviews

Tuesday, December 27, 2011

The Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff

The Christmas DollThe Christmas Doll by Elvira Woodruff


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Lucy and Glory are orphaned sisters with no real place to call home. Only their memories of a beautiful doll named Morning Glory brighten their bleak lives. One day, the girls find an old, battered doll that Glory senses is their beloved Morning Glory. But Morning Glory is no ordinary doll. And how she leads the girls to the most surprising turn of fortune makes for a heartwarming story that brims with love, hope, and the spirit of Christmas.

My daughter told me I should read this book last year when I was doing the Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge, but I never got to it. So, I decided to read it this year. It is the story of two orphan girls who escape the workhouse and live on the streets in the city. The elder, Lucy, got a job at a doll's shop when she went in to try to sell a doll she had found in the mud. She happened to be wearing her sister Glory's apron upon which she had stitched a little Morning Glory flower. The shopkeeper noticed the flower and was convinced that Lucy had talent for stitching and could be their Hearts Girl for the Christmas season. I know I have told a bit about the story, but there is so much more to tell. It's a sad, but sweet story about the sisters' love for each other and the hope that kept them alive. I know it is a children's book, but it was such a satisfying read for this Christmas season.




View all my reviews

Thursday, December 22, 2011

Third Sentence Thursday

Third Sentence Thursday


First of all -- Merry Christmas to all!  This is the first time I am participating in Third Sentence Thursday, but it sounds easy and fun! Here is all you do:

1.Take the book you are currently reading and post the third sentence.



2.Share your thoughts on the sentence.


3.Go to Proud Book Nerd and post a link to your blog post in the link list. If you don’t have a blog, just leave it in the comments there.


4.Visit one or two of the other blogs to check out their third sentence.

Easy, right? I just started I Am the Messenger by Markus Zusak (one of my favorite authors!) and here is the third sentence:   


He knows it.

Wow -- not much of a sentence, is it? Markus Zusak writes lots of short sentences, but he is awesome! I've only just begun this book, but my daughter just read it and says it is very funny -- especialy the first part -- and it has a great ending. She also said that it is a great book to read over Christmas break. Markus Zusak's The Book Thief is still my favorite book of all time and I read it several years ago. So, if you are looking for a good book to read over the Christmas holidays, pick up I Am the Messenger!

Read Your Name Challenge 2012


Victoria at Erik is (so not) Dead! is hosting this challenge again. I love challenges like this! The challenge is to read your name in book title first letters, ultimately spelling out your name.

That means:

Using your first name, or blogger name, or your pet's name, or even your favorite literary character's name; whichever you like, choose books with first title letters that spell out your name. Such as my name: Sharen. the first book's title would start with the letter S, then the next book title begins with H, etc. Make sense?

Rules/Guidelines:

1.Whenever you have finished a book for this challenge and reviewed it: If you have a blog, go to the dedicated blog for Read Your Name Challenge 2012 and leave your review link in the Mr. Linky that will be up. If you do not have a blog, just leave your progress in a comment. :)

2.The challenge runs from Jan. 1st 2012, to Dec. 31st 2012. You may join at any time between Jan 1st and Nov 30th.

3.Last but not least, be sure to sign up using Mister Linky on Read Your Name Challenge 2012! and leave a comment with what name you're going to use and where it came from. :)

Other (minor) Details:

•NAMES ONLY PLEASE! You DO NOT have to use your whole name; just your first name if you want, & initials are okay. No words like: water, book, blue, etc. please, just regular old official NAMES.

•Books read before 1/1/12 do not count. Audio books and eBooks are okay. & Crossovers with other challenges are also okay.

•You could read the books in any order you wish, but then what is the point of READING YOUR NAME out in book title first-letters if you're not going to do it in order?

So, if you want to link up and do this challenge with us, go to Read Your Name Challenge 2012 and sign up! Hmmm...should I use S-H-A-R-E-N or A-L-L-E-L-U-I-A-L-U? I think I'll go with SHAREN, ALLELUIALU has lots of L's and U's. Hope you join us and Good Luck!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Time Travel Reading Challenge 2012 -- Yessss!

Time travel is what started me reading again -- with "Knight in Shining Armor" by Jude Deveraux. That was many years ago but I still love this genre and I want to join this challenge in 2012.
Here are the rules:

•Challenge runs from January 1, 2012 to December 31st, 2012. You can join anytime.



•Books from other challenges count as long as they are about time travel.


•Books can be children's, middle-grade, YA or adult fiction.


•Write a post and link it below including the URL to that sign-up post.

And the levels:

•Surprise Trip: 1 to 3 time travel books.



•Great Adventure: 4 to 6 time travel books.


•Fantastic Journey: 7 to 9 time travel books


•Mind-boggling Voyage: 10 to 12 time travel books
 
To sign up and to peruse the great list of time travel books and authors who write time travel, hop on over to The Library of Clean Reads. I'm on my way now!
 
I think I'll try for the Great Adventure (4 to 6 books) and if I'm lucky and I get more than that read, I'll just move up a level. Can't wait to start!

New Cover Reveal for "Sleepers" by Megg Jenson

Introducing the new artwork for Megg Jenson's best-selling novel Sleepers.


To celebrate the re-launch of Sleepers in January 2012, Megg is giving it a new cover with artwork from the incredible PhatPuppy.

Synopsis: An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she's filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?

On sale now for only 99 cents!

If you want to read a review of Sleepers, here's a link to some you can find on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/book/show/11815829-sleepers .

Thursday, December 15, 2011

What are your Top 10 Christmas Movies?

My husband came across this article listing the Top Ten Best Christmas Movies of All Time. I'm sorry, but I have to disagree. Here is the article's list:

10. Charles Dickens' A Christmas Carol - the 1951 adaptation. The author also suggests the musical version - Scrooge. (Okay, I can live with that one.)

9. 1947 telling of Miracle on 34th Street. (Love that one, too.)

8. Gremlins (Whaatt?? Don't get it.)

7. Elf (Okay, I love Elf, too.)

6. The Bishop's Wife (also a favorite of mine)

5. A Christmas Story (I expected this to be on the list, but I never even heard of it until I was in my 30's.)

4. 1941 (Never heard of it. )

3. The Nightmare Before Christmas (You've got to be kidding.)

2. Brazil (Excuse me, what? Is that a Christmas film?)

1. Die Hard (This is just too bizarre. What has this world come to?)


Here's my list -- these are the movies/shows my family watches EVERY year and I also included the animated ones because it wouldn't be Christmas without them:

1. White Christmas (a classic -- I saw it with my Dad at the big movie theatre in our small town when I was 5 and every year since!)

2. Miracle of 34th Street (watch it every year at Thanksgiving)

3. It's a Wonderful Life (a great movie -- can you hear those bells ringing, Clarence?)

4. Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer (my husband had my Dad record this when it was on and we were attending a work Christmas party when we were dating)

5. How the Grinch Stole Christmas (the animated version is still the best -- at least in our house)

6. Unaccompanied Minors (this is a more recent film, but it was hilarious in the theater and just as hilarious every year we watch it on DVD)

7. The Santa Clause (just watched it again the other night...the first one is the best)

8. A Charlie Brown Christmas (Wouldn't be Christmas if we didn't watch this.)

9. The Bishop's Wife (this is also one I saw when I was young and loved it ever since)

10. An American Christmas Carol (Henry Winkler did this one and, though it is hard to find, it a great rendition of the classic tale.)

How about you? Can you make a list of 10 of your favorite Christmas films? Let's see it!



Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Where Are You Reading Challenge


This sounds like a great challenge! The idea is to read a book that takes place in each of the 50 states of the United States. You set up a map on Google Maps and place a marker where your book takes place. I haven't done it yet, but I'm looking forward to setting up my map as soon as I get done here.

The challenge runs from January 1, 2012 through December 31, 2012. You determine which state to use from where the main character spends the most time. For example, if your main character is from Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, but the story is about her living and working in New York City, you would use New York as the state. If the book goes from one state to another, you use the state where most of the book takes place. If you read a book that takes place in another country, you can use that, too. Books read from areas outside the 50 states get you bonus points. A drawing will be held for those who read 10 or more books outside of the U.S. using random.org.

So, why don't you join us on our tour of the U.S. (and the world) by visiting BookJourney and signing up!

I'll keep you posted and provide a link for my map when I get it going so you can see how cool it is.

Sunday, December 11, 2011

Loveswept Holiday Hop




Blessed Advent and Happy Holidays to everyone! Romance At Random is celebrating their Loveswept line with a random e-book Giveaway to 25 winners plus an opportunity to win one Grand Prize from www.romanceatrandom.com. Enter here to be included in the FREE random e-book drawing (25 winners will pick up their FREE book from Net Galley) and then stop on by www.romanceatrandom.com and comment to enter the drawing to be the ''ONE” Grand Prize winner, to win a selection of great books! Good Luck & Happy Holidays to all!





INCREASE your chances to win by visiting all of the participating 'Loveswept - Holiday Hop' sites! Winners will be contacted after 1/10/12.

Friday, December 9, 2011

This Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy

This Year It Will Be DifferentThis Year It Will Be Different by Maeve Binchy


My rating: 4 of 5 stars


From the New York Times bestselling author of Circle of Friends and The Glass Lake comes This Year It Will Be Different, a stunning new work that brings us the magic and spirit of Christmas in fifteen stories filled with Maeve Binchy's trademark wit, charm, and sheer storytelling genius. Instead of nostalgia, Binchy evokes contemporary life; instead of Christmas homilies, she offers truth; and instead of sugarplums, she brings us the nourishment of holidays that precipitate change, growth, and new beginnings.



In "A Typical Irish Christmas," a grieving New York widower heads for a holiday in Ireland and finds an unexpected destination not just for himself, but for a father and daughter at odds. The title story "This Year It Will Be Different" also delves into the emotions of a person at mid-life--a woman with a complacent husband and grown children who are entering a season that can forever alter her life, and theirs. In "Pulling Together," a teacher not yet out of her twenties sees her affair with a married man at a turning point as Christmas Eve approaches--and she may be off on a new direction with some unusual friends. And in the delightful tale "The Hard Core," the four most recalcitrant residents of a nursing home are left alone at Christmas with the owner's daughter in charge: the result is sure to be disaster--or the kind of life-affirming renewal that only the spirit of the season can bring.

This book was a collection of great stories about Christmas celebrations. Many of them involved men, women or families from Ireland, Britain or Australia. There were stories for everyone from all walks of life and in all sorts of situations. My favorite was the one about the Irish schoolteacher who was supposed to get married but her fiance left her. Many years later, her students kept asking her what she was doing for Christmas and finally she told them she was going to America -- to New York City. They asked her to make a wish on the Statue of Liberty for them and she agreed. She found $200 in the back of her passport that she put there in anticipation of her honeymoon. She went to New York City and used the $200 to take a tour of the city. On that tour, she went to the Statue of Liberty and made a wish that the students would get their performance hall built. While she was on that particular trip, she met a man and they became good friends. The man had lost his very good friend, Stephan, within the last year. He told him he would build him an auditorium, but he couldn't do it in New York because he and Stephan were gay and his family objected. So, he and the schoolteacher decided to build Stephan's auditorium in Ireland for her students. They both got their wishes. There are lots of other stories like this one in this wonderful book. Great for reading by the fire on a cold December night.




View all my reviews

Monday, December 5, 2011

Christmas Joys

As I was cleaning the other day (yes, I was doing that!), I came across this book:


432 things to do...Wow! I've decided to list 10 of them to get you started enjoying this time leading up to Christmas.

1. Be the first to wish everyone you meet a Merry Christmas.
2. Buy a pair of red flannel pajamas that you only wear on Christmas Eve.
3. Take the family to see a small-town Christmas parade.
4. Don't count calories from December 15th through January 2nd.
5. Never select a Christmas tree after dark.
6. Mend a broken relationship with a friend or relative during the holidays.
7. Take a basket of Christmas goodies to a notoriously grumpy neighbor.
8. Be nice to sales personnel. They're often wearier than you are.
9. Don't schedule yourself too tightly during the holidays. Before making an appointment, ask yourself, "Can this wait until after Christmas?"
10. Take a holiday family photograph each year in the same spot, such as by a favorite tree in your yard. In years to come, you'll have a wonderful record of the growth of your family, as well as the growth of the tree.

So, get started! Christmas is a season. Sometimes the things we do leading up to it are just as memorable (sometimes more memorable) than the actual day.

Friday, December 2, 2011

The Quiet Little Woman by Louisa May Alcott

The Quiet Little Woman: Tilly's Christmas, Rosa's Tale : Three Enchanting Christmas StoriesThe Quiet Little Woman: Tilly's Christmas, Rosa's Tale : Three Enchanting Christmas Stories by Louisa May Alcott


My rating: 4 of 5 stars



Everything about The Quiet Little Woman: A Christmas Story by Louisa May Alcott is heartwarming, starting with the extraordinary tale of its origin. Alcott wrote the story for three girls who emulated Little Women's March sisters by founding their own literary publication, but the magazine was lost for many years; this story is now being published in book form for the first time. The Quiet Little Woman tells the story of Patty, a young girl living hopelessly in an orphanage, who is rescued at Christmas time by a kindly woman named Aunt Jane. Also collected in this small, beautiful (and not coincidentally, Christmas stocking-size) volume are two of Alcott's other holiday stories; one of them, "Rosa's Tale," is a really lovely fable about a horse who speaks at midnight on Christmas Eve.

This book is a collection of three precious little Christmas stories by Louisa May Alcott. Louisa wrote them for five girls who began as fans but ended up dear friends of hers. The stories are perfect for the Christmas season and tell of awakening to the plight of others and being generous in order to ease their troubles. My favorite was "Tilly's Christmas" and told of a little girl who found an injured bird on the path and took it home to take care of. Her friends didn't think she should be she said her mother told her that she should look after her neighbors. Her care was rewarded by a Christmas Eve visitor who had heard the girls' conversation and was inspired to lighten Tilly and her mother's burden. All three stories made me feel warm and happy at the end. Just right for a chilly December night.




View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 30, 2011

The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma

The Map of TimeThe Map of Time by Félix J. Palma


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The Map of Time by Felix J. Palma. Set in Victorian London with characters real and imagined, The Map of Time is a page-turner that boasts a triple play of intertwined plots in which a skeptical H.G. Wells is called upon to investigate purported incidents of time travel and to save lives and literary classics, including Dracula and The Time Machine, from being wiped from existence. What happens if we change history?

When you get to Part Three of this novel and the author says to make sure your attention doesn't stray from the page even for an instant because there is an amazing discovery to be had and it will be well worth the effort -- he is sooooo right! I have realized that the reason I love to read -- I was going to say fantasy & time travel, but I won't limit it to those genres -- is because I am astounded by the way an author can develop several different stories and wind them all together throughout his/her book to come up with an amazing ending. This is what Felix Palma does in "The Map of Time". And his fabrications are so plausible (to borrow that word from the H.G. Wells in his story) that I was tempted to actually look up an account of H.G. Wells' life to see what happened to him after he wrote "The Time Machine"! As I read the first section of the novel, I wondered what it all meant and how the horrific crimes of Jack the Ripper were going to be connected to H.G. Wells. Just when I was about to get depressed about it, suddenly there was a plot twist and we were in H.G. Wells' kitchen. There is so much to this novel...so many surprises. I think this novel will appeal especially to writers of fiction or people that wish they were writers. You get to see inside the writer's mind as he develops a story. Palma pops in and offers narration and information that he can see because "he can see everything". I liked the way we could be in H.G. Wells' thoughts as he figured things out. The love story in the middle was sweet, but the third section was my favorite because it was so fantastic and even in that section were twists and turns. The ending was perfection. I hope I haven't given too much away -- I don't think I could because there is so much to take in. Palma is a genius and his novel is worth the time taken to read all 600+ pages.




View all my reviews

Monday, November 28, 2011

Gratitude Giveaway Winners

The winners of an e-copy of


in the Gratitude Giveaway are:

1. Melissa
2. Laura H.
3. Melissa Snyder
4. Anne
5. Colleen Maurina
6. Donna @ The Happy Booker

Congratulations!

Friday, November 25, 2011

An Interview and a book release!

This is an interview with Shelli Johannes-Wells, author of Untraceable - Coming Nov 29th!



A new young adult wilderness thriller with a missing father, a kickbutt heroine, and of course - two hot boys.


Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and other sellers. But more about that later...

What books have influenced your life the most?

Hm, writing wise – I would say James Patterson’s Kiss The Girls and James Hall’s Gone Wild, and Pippy Longstocking


Life wise – I would say classics like Fahrenheit 451, Kahlil Gibran’s Prophet, and the Teachings of Dali Lama. They got me through some bad times.

In your wildest dreams, with what author would you like to co-author a book?
JK Rowling. I would like to learn about how she outlines. She outlined the entire Harry Potter series before she ever wrote a word. That intricacy amazes me and I’d love to see how she did it.

Favorite foods?
Breakfast - Smoked salmon bagel on everything bagel with garlic cream cheese – Not to be specific.
Lunch – quesadilla and salad
Dinner - Seared tuna/spicy tuna roll
Snacks – spicy Cheetos, spicy hummus and crackers.

If you were a superhero, what would your name be?
SuperScribe – I would beat people with my words. 

Where do you get your information or ideas for your books?
Mostly in my head – scary right? I get ideas from articles, news, people things say. There are stories all around us – we just need to pay attention to see or hear them.

How did you choose the genre you write in?
I have always loved thrillers. When I was a teen – we didn’t have them. I would sneak my mom’s James Patterson, Iris Johannsen, and Steven King books. I love those books where you stay up all night and can’t stop reading because they are so good. I wanted to give people that feeling. Plus my life is simple and low key. I’m a mom and wife and I love that but I live through my stories.

What do you like to do when you aren’t writing?
If I am not with my family or friends and not exercising (which trust me I do not do enough of) – I am writing or reading or watching movies. It’s what I love.

What does your family think of your writing?
My hubby is very supportive. I used to work in Corporate America as an executive. I wanted to write – he was the one who supported me leaving that field and encouraged me to stay home and write.

I think at first my parents were like – what? You had a huge paying job and an MBA and you want to write. But they have been supportive.

Please tell us in one sentence only, why we should read your book?
It’s a wilderness thriller with a kickbutt girl character in today’s world, an unsolved mystery, and - of course – 2 hot boys  What else do you need?

Who or what inspired you to become an author?
I never really wrote until I had my daughter. So I say it was her. Maybe it was because I finally got a chance to breathe and sit because I wasn’t working. Once I had her and was on maternity leave – I just started writing and never stopped.

What is your favorite number?
13 (What can I say - I root for the underdog so I think he gets a bad rap) and 8 (infinity sign standing on its feet)

Is there anything you would like to say to your readers and fans?
Make your mark on this world. Whether it be small or big. Every one matters.


The book is a contemporary wilderness thriller with a strong girl as the Main Character.


"Grace is a spunky, independent, nature girl who doesn't need a boy to save her. With wilderness survival, a juicy love triangle, and more twists and turns than a roller coaster, this fast-paced novel had me holding my breath until the very last page—and still begging for more!"
-Kimberly Derting, author of the The Body Finder

"This thrilling story is a dramatic entanglement of mystery, deception and teen romance. The action flows like a brisk mountain stream interspersed with rapids, holding suspense to last page."
- Kirkus Reviews

16-year old Grace was reared in the wilderness. Her first pet was a bear named Simon. Her first potty, an oak tree. And, her first swing, a forest vine. Grace has lived in the Smokies her whole life, patrolling with her forest ranger father who taught her everything he knew about wildlife, tracking, and wilderness survival. But when Grace's dad goes missing on a routine patrol, unlike everyone in her sleepy mountain town, she refuses to believe he’s dead. When a Cheetos bag and stolen government file materialize, Grace is convinced she’s one step closer to proving all the non-believers wrong.

Then one day while out tracking clues, Grace is rescued from imminent danger by Mo, a hot guy with an intoxicating accent, that’s definitely not from her neck of the woods, and a secret. Grace has never felt a connection like this before, certainly not with her ex-boyfriend, the adoring, but decidedly unrugged Wyn.

Now with renewed confidence, Grace travels deeper into the wilderness that has always been her refuge only to learn that her father's disappearance is not a mere coincidence. Soon she’s enmeshed in a web of conspiracy, deception, and murder. And it’s going to take a lot more than a compass and a motorcycle (named Lucifer) for this kickass heroine to emerge from an epidemic that’s spreading like wild fire, threatening everything and everyone she’s ever loved.
 
Untraceable - Coming Nov 29th!


Available in paperback and ebook at Amazon, B&N, iTunes, and other sellers.
 

Thursday, November 17, 2011

The LOST Perpetual Challenge

I discovered this perpetual challenge to read the books mentioned on LOST!!! I watched ALL the episodes of LOST with my daughter this summer and we are hooked! I am totally in to this challenge!


There is a dedicated blog for the challenge here. These are the details of the challenge:



1)This is a perpetual challenge--which means there's no end in sight! You have plenty of time to read the books mentioned on LOST. It starts for you the moment you sign up!


2) You can choose books from the LOSTpedia Book List, the LOST book club on ABC, or the LOST books list on DarkUFO. Feel free to look in other places as well!


3) Sign the Mister Linky on the dedicated blog with your blog url if you have one, if not with just your name or twitter handle. You can follow us on Twitter at @LOSTreading. Please also consider posting about the challenge on your blog so that others can learn about it!


4) Email lostbookschallenge@gmail.com to be added as a contributor to the dedicated blog. You can post your reviews in their entirety on the dedicated blog or a snippet with a link back to your blog.


5) You can also post other items and notes of interest to LOST fans on the LOST Book Challenge blog.


6) Have fun! There's no end date so this should be a fun way to revisit our favorite show again and again!


I'm off to sign up and look at those booklists. Who's with me?

 

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

GRATITUDE GIVEAWAY!!!

The Gratitude Giveaway Blog Hop is to say "Thank you" to all my followers, old and new.



This Hop is hosted by I Am A Reader Not A Writer and co-hosted by All-Consuming Books. The Hop runs until November 27th so you will have plenty of time to visit all 300 participating blogs and enter all their giveaways!!! All the giveaways are easy, one entry giveaways. So, here goes...sound the trumpets!!!

To win
one e-copy of



all you have to do is
BE a follower or BECOME a follower
and complete the entry form in the right sidebar.

You can read my review of "The Magi" here.
I gave it 5 stars!
Actually, Kevin & I are giving away 5 copies,
then for every 10 new followers, 
we will give away one more -- up to 10, so enter! 

Leaving a comment would be nice...but you don't have to...but it would be nice...

Anyway, after you enter MY giveaway, you should hop around to all these other blogs and check out what they are giving away:



GOOD LUCK!

IF YOU ARE FROM THE U.S.A.,
HAPPY THANKSGIVING!





The Magi by Kevin Turner

The MagiThe Magi by Kevin M. Turner


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Thirteen-year-old Elijah Hawk has never heard of the Magi. He doesn't know about the secret power they have. He has never been to Savenridge, the Magi city hidden deep inside the northern forests. Most of all, Elijah is unaware of the dangers hunting him, in search for something he has. After one terrifying night, however, all of that changes!


Kevin Turner invited me to read and review this book. He suggested I read an excerpt on his website before I said yes. After reading that excerpt, I immediately told him I would LOVE to read the rest of the book and review it. The action takes off right from page 1! The rest of the book moves along as well. From being chased by a man with yellow eyes to climbing down a canyon to rescue his uncle, Elijah is on some wild adventure! His family is attacked and his father tells him to run -- that there is a plan. So, he runs to his uncle and, while he is staying there going through his parents things, he discovers references to The Magi. This sets him off to try to find out more. Eventually, after his uncle disappears, he ends up at an Academy, then is taken to Savenridge (a hidden city) by a friendly teacher. Elijah starts training in the ways of the Magi and discovers he has special gifts. I really liked this book. It was action-packed and it didn't drag. Every scene was interesting and thought-provoking. When I have talked about it with other people, I tend to compare it to "The Lightning Thief", however, "The Magi" is written for a more mature reader. I liked "The Lightning Thief" but it was obviously written for a junior-high level reader. "The Magi" could be read by anyone and enjoyed. This is the first in a series. I can't wait to read the next one.




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8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin

8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf8: The Previously Untold Story of the Previously Unknown 8th Dwarf by Michael Mullin


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


Written in verse, this is the previously untold story of the previously unknown 8th dwarf, named Creepy. He is banished to the basement for being different and, well, weird. Yet he plays a vital - and of course previously unknown - role in the popular tale of Snow White (whose title character is an intruder Creepy refers to as "the Maid").



I won an e-copy of this book in the Giveaway Hop Nov. 8th - 11th. I had been seeing descriptions of it around the blogosphere and I was curious about it. It is written completely in verse -- rhyming verse! The story is not really a children's story because there are parts that are "suggestive" but nothing really happens. And I guess you would expect a dwarf named Creepy to think like that. Creepy is the 8th dwarf in the Snow White story. He irritates the other 7 dwarves so badly that they send him to the cellar to live. They go on with their lives never giving him a thought. Then Snow White comes and we get to see what happens from Creepy's perspective under the floorboards. First he gets an eyeful of dirt because she is SWEEPING! Then she does dishes and cooks. The 7 dwarves come home from working the mines to find her and they say she can stay if she cooks and cleans for them. Hmmmm... Anyway, you probably remember the story -- the old witch comes to visit and tries to kill Snow White through various means. Well, Creepy saves her a couple of times when she falls over near his peephole in the floor. Then the old witch brings her a poisoned apple and Snow White bites into it and falls by the door -- away from Creepy's peephole. He is going to have to come out of the cellar to save her... I'm not going to tell you what happens because I don't want to give away the story completely. I really enjoyed reading this story. It is short and puts a different little twist on this popular fairy tale. Creepy is so midunderstood. Get a copy and see for yourself!




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Monday, November 14, 2011

What's In A Name 5 Challenge

I actually finished "What's In A Name 4" so I'm excited to sign up for "What's In A Name 5" starting next year. This challenge is hosted by Beth Fish Reads. The categories seem really accessible, so it should be fun! Here's the scoop...


Between January 1 and December 31, 2012, read one book in each of the following categories:



1. A book with a topographical feature (land formation) in the title: Black Hills, Purgatory Ridge, Emily of Deep Valley   Wildflower Hill by Kimberley Freeman


2. A book with something you'd see in the sky in the title: Moon Called, Seeing Stars, Cloud Atlas


3. A book with a creepy crawly in the title: Little Bee, Spider Bones, The Witches of Worm


4. A book with a type of house in the title: The Glass Castle, The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest, Ape House


5. A book with something you'd carry in your pocket, purse, or backpack in the title: Sarah's Key, The Scarlet Letter, Devlin Diary


6. A book with a something you'd find on a calendar in the title: Day of the Jackal, Elegy for April, Freaky Friday, Year of Magical Thinking


The book titles are just suggestions, you can read whatever book you want to fit the category.


Other Things to Know


•Books may be any form (audio, print, e-book).


•Books may overlap other challenges.


•Books may not overlap categories; you need a different book for each category.


•Creativity for matching the categories is not only allowed but encouraged.


•You do not have to make a list of books before hand.


•You do not have to read through the categories in any particular order.


Sooooo...what are you waiting for? Go make your own post and sign up here.

Saturday, November 12, 2011

THE WINNERS...

The Winners of the 6 copies of the e-book "Dreams Unleashed, 2nd edition" are:

1. Konstanz Silverbow

2. Mary @ Sweeping Me

3. Marianne

4. Brendajean

5. Judy Cox

6. Saba

Congratulations!

My Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer

My Heart RemembersMy Heart Remembers by Kim Vogel Sawyer


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


United by blood, divided by time, will three orphan train siblings ever find one another again?



Orphaned in a tenement fire, three Irish-immigrant children are sent to Missouri to be adopted. Despite eight-year-old Maelle's desperate attempts to keep her siblings together, each child is taken by a different family. Yet Maelle vows that she will never stop searching for her brother and sister... and that they will be together one day in the future. Seventeen years later, Maelle is still searching. But the years have washed away her hope... and her memories. What are Mattie and Molly doing now? Where has life taken them? Will she ever see her brother and sister again?

This book made me cry...twice! It was soooooo good. It's the story of 3 children who lose their parents in a tenement fire New York in the late 1800's. They are sent West on an orphan train and subsequently separated. Maelle, the eldest, promised the other two that she would find them again and gave each of them one of "ties to home" that her father had given her when he made her leave the tenement with her brother and baby sister. He also made her promise to "take care of the wee ones". The three siblings grew up separately, but eventually all were involved in "taking care of the wee ones" -- orphans who were made to work long hours in factories and on ranches under arduous conditions. The story is predictable, but so wonderful. You keep saying in your mind, "but your sister is right over there" or "your brother is just down the road" so that when they actually get together it is very poignant. As I said, it made me cry. The book was very well-written. I love a book I can't put down and this one was one of those. It will tug at your heartstrings.




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Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Dreams Unleashed 2nd edition by Linda Hawley

Dreams Unleashed, 2nd Ed (The Prophecies, #1)Dreams Unleashed, 2nd Ed by Linda Hawley


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


I read the 1st edition of this book last summer, so I was prepared for the cliff-hanger ending and I didn't have to concentrate as hard to keep straight whether I was in the present, past or a dream. So as the book progressed it was exciting to me right away. I can't pinpoint the actual editing of the 1st edition, but I did feel that the text was more cohesive and flowed well in the 2nd edition. As I stated earlier, after you get in sync with the dates and time, the action just keeps accelerating right up to the end! Or, should I say "up to the end of this book" because it's part of a trilogy and definitely leads you right in to the next in the series. The concept of putting yourself in another place through a dream was wild, but believable for me. I started clicking through all sorts of possibilities in my head as I was reading. I also liked that the author included current happenings, as close as a couple of months ago, to add to the perception of reality. Tagging people through their driver's license was disturbing, but it gave me something to think about. As I have said before in my reviews, I like time travel. This was a different kind of time travel because you aren't stuck in one place -- unless that happens further on in the series -- but the reader feels that Ann was really in those other places for a time. It was a very interesting book based on a great concept with current events and I can't wait for the next volume to see what happens!!! Luckily I won't have to wait long as the next book, "Guardian of Time" is already on my e-reader.






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Monday, November 7, 2011

A New Giveaway -- November 8th through 11th

I've met some wonderful authors by being included in Inspired Kathy's list of reviewers and I am participating in this Giveaway and the next few to help promote their works. Here is the current giveaway:


This one is hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer and Tristi Pinkston. On this blog, there will be FIVE winners -- to start. For every 10 NEW FOLLOWERS, I will add another winner up to TEN. Winners will receive an ebook of Dreams Unleashed, 2nd edition by Linda Hawley.




I read the 1st edition and reviewed it here. The 2nd edition was professionally edited and seems to have a better flow -- but it's still the same great story!  I reviewed it here. All you have to do to enter the giveaway is: 

1. Become a follower if you aren't already.
2. Complete the entry form. 
3. Leave a comment. 

I will announce the winners on November 12th. Ebooks will be awarded via Smashwords coupon. You can read it now and you won't have to wait for the 2nd volume in the Trilogy because Guardian of Time was just published on October 27th! 

After you enter my giveaway, hop on over to the other blogs on this list! 

 

2011 Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge!!!

I've been waiting for this challenge to be posted! And here it is:


The Christmas Spirit Reading Challenge



November 21, 2011 through January 6, 2012 (Twelfth Night or Epiphany).

 - Cross-overs with other challenges are permitted and encouraged!
 - These must be Christmas novels, books about Christmas lore, a book of Christmas short stories or poems, books about Christmas crafts, and for the first time...a childrens Christmas books level!

 - visit this POST for a list of new Christmas books for 2011.
 
These are the levels:
*  Candy Cane -- read 1 book
*  Mistletoe -- read 2 to 4 books
(this is the level I completed last year, so I'll start here)
* Christmas Tree -- read 5 or 6 books (for the Christmas fanatic!)
 
There are two additional levels:
*  Fa La La La Films
(Watch a bunch or a few Christmas movies...it's up to you! )
*  Visions of Sugar Plums
(read books with your children this season and share what you read)
 
The additional levels are optional, but you still have to complete one of the original levels.
 
The most important rule? Have fun!!!
 
So get into the Christmas Spirit and go here to sign up for this challenge!  

Thursday, November 3, 2011

The Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern

The Night CircusThe Night Circus by Erin Morgenstern


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


The circus arrives without warning. No announcements precede it. It is simply there, when yesterday it was not. Within the black-and-white striped canvas tents is an utterly unique experience full of breathtaking amazements. It is called Le Cirque des Rêves, and it is only open at night.



But behind the scenes, a fierce competition is underway—a duel between two young magicians, Celia and Marco, who have been trained since childhood expressly for this purpose by their mercurial instructors. Unbeknownst to them, this is a game in which only one can be left standing, and the circus is but the stage for a remarkable battle of imagination and will. Despite themselves, however, Celia and Marco tumble headfirst into love—a deep, magical love that makes the lights flicker and the room grow warm whenever they so much as brush hands.


True love or not, the game must play out, and the fates of everyone involved, from the cast of extraordinary circus per­formers to the patrons, hang in the balance, suspended as precariously as the daring acrobats overhead.


Written in rich, seductive prose, this spell-casting novel is a feast for the senses and the heart.

Yes, this book was amazing! Whenever I read a book like this -- with twists and turns in the plot and mysteries to figure out -- I am amazed at how a person can come up with these things. Erin Morgenstern wove a wonderful tale about this Night Circus and all of the elements behind it. This was a story about two people, an intricate challenge, a love story, and an adventure. There were so many things to love about it. My favorite characters were the Murray twins and Bailey. The Murray twins were born on the opening night of the circus which gave them special gifts. Bailey was just an ordinary boy who went to the circus on a dare and fell in love with it and with one of the twins. I can imagine this book being transformed into a marvelous movie with lush transformations and plenty of magic. One of the other reasons I loved this book -- and the reason that I purchased it in the first place -- was the narration of Jim Dale. He makes every book he narrates come alive. As the "man in the gray suit" tells Widget (one of the twins), "You never know how your words are going to affect people." The words of this book will stay with me for a long time. Thank you, Erin Morgenstern and Jim Dale, for giving us this gift. I'm planning to purchase the actual book just to read the prose.




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