Winter Respite Reading Challenge

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.




View all my reviews

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!




View all my reviews

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.




View all my reviews

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.






View all my reviews

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.




View all my reviews

Wednesday, November 2, 2011

Embrace the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney

Embrace the Highland Warrior (Connor Clan, #2)Embrace the Highland Warrior by Anita Clenney


My rating: 5 of 5 stars


When the powerful demon that left Shay for dead discovers her empty grave, he comes seeking retribution, believing she possesses an ancient book he has sought for centuries. Knowing she can't fight the demon alone, Shay returns to her clan and the Scottish Warrior who betrayed her...the only man she's ever loved, where she discovers that betrayal isn't always what it seems. Sometimes it's far worse.


Don't you just love those books that when you reach a certain point the action keeps building and you CAN'T put it down until you finish it? This book was like that. It's full of wonderful Scottish warriors and damsels in distress, fighting vampires and demons, and it has mysteries and clues woven in. I love the blend of past and present. My daughter, who's studying novels and writing, tells me that when you write it has to be believable even if it's fantasy. I can picture these characters in flesh and blood even though it would be strange to have a family of brawny Scots living next to you. Strange, but AWESOME! The way Anita Clenney writes about them, it's totally believable. This series is great! I could do with a little less sex, but then I guess they are Scottish warriors and they can't help it. Anyway, I can't wait for the next volume to be published!




View all my reviews

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

THE WINNER IS......

THE WINNER OF THE BRAND NEW COPY OF

IN THE


CHOSEN USING RANDOM.ORG

IS

TARA W.

I will be contacting the winner via e-mail today! Congratulations!

and if you didn't win this time, come back and try again
Tuesday, Nov. 8th thru Friday, Nov. 11th
for the