Friday, October 30, 2009

Review: The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

The Adoration of Jenna Fox The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson




My rating: 4.5/5.0

This was my first read of the fall Read-a-Thon and I didn't even want to put this book down each hour to do a quick tweet and summary.

About the Book:
Who is Jenna Fox?

Seventeen-year-old Jenna has been told that is her name. She has just awoken from a year-long coma, and she's still recovering from the terrible accident that caused it. Her parents show her home movies of her life, her memories, but she has no recollection. Is she really the same girl she sees on the screen?

Little by little, Jenna begins to remember. Along with the memories come questions—questions no one wants to answer for her. What really happened after the accident?

My Review:

It's a fascinating what-if story that really tugs at your soul. I can see both sides of the issue at stake in this book - what it's like to be the teenager and what it's like to be the parents since I am a parent. This is a young adult book but I believe it will appeal to the young and old alike.

I really enjoyed how the suspense builds and how Jenna would find out a little and then a little more until the whole story finally unfolds. The plotting is done really well to keep the book moving along. The characters are also very interesting. I enjoyed getting to know Jenna, Lily, Ethan and Allys. They were well done and very sympathetic and real characters. You see each of their struggles with what this situation has given them.

I think my only complaint with the book was there were a few other characters added and then never really fleshed out much and for some reason it bothered me in this book. I almost felt like if the author introduced them, there should be more about them, but that probably stems from the fact that the main characters are fleshed out so well. And my complaint is very small because overall this is an outstanding young adult novel.


Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge
Support Your Local Library Challenge
Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009

Review: Last Breath (The Rayne Tour Book 2) by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Last Breath (Rayne Tour, The) Last Breath by Brandilyn Collins




My rating: 5.0/5.0

I received this book through FIRST Wild Card Tours for review for a blog tour.

I thoroughly enjoyed the first book in The Rayne Tour but I was blown away by the second book, Last Breath.


About the Book:
With his last breath a dying man whispered four stunning words into Shaley O’Connor’s ear. Should she believe them? After two murders on the Rayne concert tour, Shaley is reeling. But she has no time to rest. If the dying man’s claim is right, the danger is far from over.

My Review:

I enjoyed the past/present switching that the authors used in this book.  It worked really well to explain Rayne's story to Shaley.  I also liked how the book mainly focused on the two main characters so I really got to know them.  It's very fast-paced and enjoyable.

Since it's the second in a series, I believe the first book, Always Watching needs to be read first.  That's not always true in series, but this series builds on each book and even though things that happened in the first book are alluded to in this book, I think the reader benefits more from reading Always Watching first.

The wonderful characterization started in Always Watching continues in Last Breath and the suspense kept me turning the pages.  This was less a mystery like the first one, but it still has mystery involved in the story of Shaley's Dad that Rayne tells.

Since it's Christian Young Adult it is definitely clean, though the characters are not perfect. Rayne is a single-mother.  Shaley continues to try and figure out how God fits in her life.  She's getting closer in this book and I enjoyed watching her learning about God's love.  The book is not preachy - the Christian focus is there, but not in every word - it's just there as a background to the story.  No one is perfect in these books and everyone is struggling.  Some are believers and some are not.  It's just a wonderful story.

So come get lost in a great series for a few hours - I can't recommend The Rayne Tour series, which includes Always Watching and Last Breath, enough.  I can't wait until the next installment either.

See more information and a chapter of the book here.
See my review of the first book in the series, Always Watching, here.

Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge

Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009

FIRST Wild Card Tour - Last Breath by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Review is coming in another post.

Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Lindsey Rodarmer of ZONDERKIDZ for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:



Brandilyn and Amberly Collins are a mother/daughter team from northern California. Brandilyn is a bestselling novelist, known for her trademarked "Seatbelt Suspense". Amberly is a college student in southern California. She and her mom love attending concerts together.

Visit the author's website.


Here's a video about the first book in the Rayne Series:



Product Details:

List Price: $9.99
Reading level: Young Adult
Paperback: 240 pages
Publisher: Zondervan; 1 edition (October 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0310715407
ISBN-13: 978-0310715405

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:



Your father sent me.

The last words of a dying man, whispered in my ear.

Were they true? What did they mean?

Your father sent me. The stunning claim drilled through my head, louder than the crowd’s screams.

Guitars blasted the last chord of Rayne’s hit song, Ever Alone, as Mom’s voice echoed through the Pepsi Center in Denver. The heavy drum beat thumped in my chest. With a final smash of cymbals the rock song ended. Multicolored laser lights swept the stadium, signaling the thirty-minute intermission.

Wild shrieks from thousands of fans rang in my ears.

I rose from my chair backstage. Tiredly, I smiled at the famous Rayne O’Connor as she strode toward me on high red heels. In the lights her sequined top shimmered and her blonde hair shone. She walked with confidence and grace, the picture of a rock star—until she stepped from her fans’ sight. Then her posture slumped, weariness creasing her beautiful face. Mom’s intense blue eyes usually glimmered with the excitement of performing, but now I saw only the wash of grief and exhaustion. How she’d managed to perform tonight, I’d never know. Except that she’s strong. A real fighter.

Me? I had to keep fighting too, even if my legs still trembled and I’d probably have nightmares for weeks.

Your father sent me.

I had to find out what those words meant.

“You’re a very brave young lady,” a Denver detective had told me just a few hours ago. I didn’t feel brave then or now.

“You okay, Shaley?” Mom had to shout over the screams as she hugged me.

I nodded against her shoulder, hanging on tightly until she pulled back.

The crowd’s applause died down. A heavy hum of voices and footsteps filtered from the stadium as thousands of people headed for concessions and bathrooms during the break.

Kim, the band’s keyboard player and alto to my mom’s lead vocals, stopped to lay a darkly tanned hand on my head. A strand of her bleached white-blonde hair was stuck to the gloss on her pink lips. She brushed it away. “You’re an amazing sixteen-year-old.”

I shrugged, embarrassed. “Thanks.”

Mick and Wendell, Mom’s two remaining bodyguards, approached without a word. I gave a self-conscious smile to Wendell, and he nodded back, sadness flicking across his face. His deep-set eyes were clouded, and the long scar across his chin seemed harder, more shiny. At five-eleven, Wendell is short for a bodyguard but every bit as muscled. Tonight his two-inch black hair, usually gelled straight up, stuck out in various directions. He hadn’t bothered to fix it since the life and death chase he was involved in just a few hours ago. Seeing that messed-up hair sent a stab through me. Wendell was usually so finicky about it.

Mick, Mom’s main personal bodyguard, folded his huge arms and stood back, waiting. Mick is in his forties, ex-military and tall, with a thick neck and block-shaped head. I’ve rarely seen emotion on his face, but I saw glimpses of it now. He and Wendell had been good friends with Bruce, Mom’s third bodyguard.

Bruce had been killed hours ago. Shot.

And he’d been trying to guard me.

My vision blurred. I blinked hard and looked at the floor.

“Come on.” Mom nudged my arm. “We’re all meeting in my dressing room.”

Mick and Bruce flanked her as she walked away.

Usually we don’t have to be so careful backstage. It’s a heavily guarded area anyway. But tonight nothing was the same.

Kim and I followed Mom down a long hall to her dressing room. Morrey, Kim’s boyfriend and Rayne’s drummer, caught up with us. He put a tattoo-covered arm around Kim, her head only reaching his shoulders. Morrey looked at me and winked, but I saw no happiness in it.

Ross Blanke, the band’s tour production manager, hustled up alongside us, trailed by Stan, lead guitarist, and Rich, Rayne’s bass player. “Hey.” Ross put a pudgy hand on Mom’s shoulder. “You’re doing great.” He waved an arm, indicating everyone. “All of you, you’re just doing great.”

“You do what you have to,” Stan said grimly. His black face shone with sweat.

Narrowing single file, we trudged into the dressing room. Mick and Wendell took up places on each side of the door.

Marshall, the makeup and hair stylist, started handing out water bottles. In his thirties, Marshall has buggy eyes and curly dark hair. His fingers are long and narrow, deft with his makeup tools. But until two days ago, he’d been second to Mom’s main stylist, Tom.

“Thanks.” I took a bottle from Marshall and tried to smile. Didn’t work. Just looking at him sent pangs of grief through me, because his presence reminded me of Tom’s absence.

Tom, my closest friend on tour, had been murdered two days ago.

Mom, Ross, Rich and I sank down on the blue couch—one of the furniture pieces Mom requested in every dressing room. Denver’s version was extra large, with a high back and overstuffed arms. To our left stood a table with plenty of catered food, but no one was hungry. I’d hardly eaten in the last day and a half and knew I should have something. But no way, not now.

Maybe after the concert.

Stan, Morrey and Kim drew up chairs to form a haphazard circle.

“All right.” Ross sat with his short, fat legs apart, hands on his jeaned thighs. The huge diamond ring on his right hand was skewed to one side. He straightened it with his pinky finger. “I’ve checked outside past the guarded area. The zoo’s double what it usually is. The news has already hit and every reporter and his brother are waiting for us. Some paparazzi are already there, and others have probably hopped planes and will show up by the time we leave.”

Is Cat here? I shuddered at the thought of the slinky, effeminate photographer who’d bothered us so much in the last two days. He’d even pulled a fire alarm in our San Jose hotel the night before just to force us out of our rooms. Now by police order he wasn’t supposed to get within five hundred feet of us. I doubted he’d care.

My eyes burned, and my muscles felt like water. Little food, no sleep, and plenty of shock. Bad combination. I slumped down in the couch and laid my head back.

Ross ran a hand through his scraggly brown hair. “Now at intermission folks out there”—he jabbed a thumb toward the arena—“are gonna start hearing things. Rayne, you might want to say a little something when you get back on stage.”

Mom sighed, as if wondering where she’d find the energy to do the second half of the concert. “Yeah.”

I squeezed her knee. If only the two of us could hide from the world for a week or two.

Make that a whole year.

Rich frowned as he moved his shaved head from one side to the other, stretching his neck muscles. His piercing gray eyes landed on me, and his face softened. I looked away.

Everyone was so caring and concerned about me. I was grateful for that. Really, I was. But it’s a little hard to know you’ve been the cause of three deaths. Under all their smiles, did the band members blame me?

Ross scratched his hanging jowl. “We got extra coverage from Denver police at the hotel tonight. Tomorrow we’re supposed to head out for Albuquerque. It’s close enough for Vance to drive the main bus without a switch-off driver, and the next two venues are close enough as well. But that’s just logistics. We’ve all been through a lot. Question is—can you all keep performing?” He looked around, eyebrows raised.

“Man.” Morrey shook back his shoulder-length black hair. “If three deaths in two days isn’t enough to make us quit …” His full lips pressed.

I glanced hopefully at Mom. Yeah, let’s go home! I could sleep in my own bed, hide from the paparazzi and reporters, hang out with Brittany, my best friend—who was supposed to be here with me right now.

But canceling concerts would mean losing a lot of money. The Rayne tour was supposed to continue another four weeks.

Mom hunched forward, elbows on her knees and one hand to her cheek. Her long red fingernails matched the color of her lips. “I almost lost my daughter tonight.” Her voice was tight. “I don’t care if I never tour again—Shaley’s got to be protected, that’s the number one thing.”

I want you protected too, Mom.

“I agree with that a hundred percent,” Morrey said, “but at least the threat to Shaley is gone now that Jerry’s dead.

Jerry, one of our bus drivers—and a man I’d thought was my friend—killed Tom and Bruce, and then came after me earlier that night. A cop ended up shooting him.

Kim spread her hands. “I don’t know what to say. I’m still reeling. We’ve barely had time to talk about any of this tonight before getting on stage. I feel like my mind’s gonna explode. And Tom …”

She teared up, and that made me cry. Kim had been like a mother to Tom. Crazy, funny Tom. It was just so hard to believe he was gone.

I wiped my eyes and looked at my lap.

“Anyway.” Kim steadied her voice. “It’s so much to deal with. I don’t know how we’re going to keep up this pace for another month.”

Mom looked at Ross. “We can’t keep going very long with only Vance to drive the main bus.”

Ross nodded. “Until Thursday. I’d have to replace him by then.”

“With who?” Mom’s voice edged.

“I don’t know. I’ll have to jump on it.”

“You can’t just ‘jump on it.’ We need time to thoroughly check the new driver out.”

“Rayne.” Ross threw her a look. “I did check Jerry out. Completely. He had a false ID, remember? That’s what the police said. I couldn’t have known that.”

“You might have known if you’d checked harder.”

Ross’s face flushed. “I did—”

“No you didn’t! Or if you did it wasn’t good enough!” Mom pushed to her feet and paced a few steps. “Something’s mighty wrong if we can’t even find out a guy’s a convicted felon!”

What? I stiffened. “How do you know that?”

Mom waved a hand in the air. “The police told me just before we left the hotel.”

We’d huddled in the manager’s office after the policeman killed Jerry.

I stared at Mom. “When was he in jail?”

Mom threw a hard look at Ross. “He’d barely gotten out when we hired him.”

Heat flushed through my veins. I snapped my gaze toward the floor, Jerry’s last words ringing in my head.

Your father sent me.

How could my father have sent Jerry if he was in jail?

“Rayne,” Ross snapped, “I’ve told you I’m sorry a dozen times—”

“Sorry isn’t enough!” Mom whirled on him. “My daughter was taken hostage. She could have been killed!”

Rich jumped up and put his arms around her. “Come on, Rayne, it’s okay now.”

She leaned against him, eyes closed. The anger on her face melted into exhaustion. “It’s not okay.” Mom shook her head. “Tom’s dead, Bruce is dead. And Shaley—”

Her words broke off. Mom pulled away from Rich and hurried back to the couch. She sank down next to me, a hand on my knee. “Shaley, you’re the one who’s been through the most. What do you want to do?”

My throat nearly swelled shut. Go home! I wanted to yell. But I couldn’t. It wouldn’t be fair. This wasn’t my tour. I didn’t have to pay the bills.

I glanced around at all the band members. Morrey was holding Kim’s hand. Stan and Rich watched me, waiting. A canceled tour wouldn’t just affect them. Rayne had three back-up singers, one of them Carly, who’d been such a help to me. Plus all the techs and roadies. They’d all lose money.

Wait—maybe Mom would let me go home and stay with Brittany. Now that Tom’s and Bruce’s killer was dead …

“Shaley?” Mom tapped my leg.

“I don’t … I can’t stop the tour.”

Ross exhaled. “Rayne?”

Mom looked at the wall clock and pushed to her feet. “We can’t decide this now. It’s only fifteen minutes before we have to be back on stage. I still need to change.”

Stan stood. “I say we figure on doing Albuquerque, and then we can decide about the rest.”

“Yeah, me too.” Rich got up, along with everyone else. I could see the business-like attitude settle on all their faces, including Mom’s. Soon they had to perform again. Every other concern must be pushed aside. In the entertainment world the saying was true: the show must go on.

Within a minute everyone had left except Mom, Marshall and me. Mom threw herself into a chair by the bright mirrors so Marshall could adjust her makeup. When he left she changed into a steel blue top and skinny-legged black pants.

I sat numbly on the couch, four words running through my mind. Words, I sensed, that would change my life.

Your father sent me.

Mom didn’t know what Jerry had whispered to me as he died. I needed to tell her.

But how? Like me, she was running on empty. It would be one more shock, another scare. I wasn’t sure she could take anymore and still perform.

Had Jerry told me the truth? Had the father I’d never known—the man my mother refused to talk about—purposely sent a killer to join our tour?

I needed to know. I needed to find out. Because if it was true—the danger was far from over.




Friday Finds (Oct 30)


Friday Finds is hosted over on Should Be Reading. It's all about what great books you have heard about/discovered in the past week. Here is my entry, and head over to the Should Be Reading Blog to read others and find books to add to your TBR pile!

So here are a few of my finds:

Woundrous Strange by Lesley Livingston (found at On the Nightstand A book review blog)
17 year-old Kelly Winslow doesn’t believe in Faeries. Not unless they’re the kind that you find in a theatre, spouting Shakespeare—the kind that Kelley so desperately wishes she could be: onstage, under lights, with a pair of sparkly wings strapped to her shoulders. But as the understudy in a two-bit, hopelessly off-off-Broadway production of A Midsummer Night’s Dream, wishing is probably the closest she’s going to get to becoming a Faerie Queen. At least, that’s what shethinks... In this fun, urban fantasy, Kelly's off-stage life suddenly becomes as complicated as one of Shakespeare’s plot twists when a nighttime trip to Central Park holds more than meets the mortal eye.

Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers (found at Not Enough Bookshelves Blog)

Climbing to the top of the social ladder is hard--falling from it is even harder. Regina Afton used to be a member of the Fearsome Fivesome, an all-girl clique both feared and revered by the students at Hallowell High... until vicious rumors about her and her best friend's boyfriend start going around.

Now Regina's been "frozen out" and her ex-best friends are out for revenge. If Regina was guilty, it would be one thing, but the rumors are far from the terrifying truth and the bullying is getting more intense by the day. She takes solace in the company of Michael Hayden, a misfit with a tragic past who she herself used to bully. Friendship doesn't come easily for these onetime enemies, and as Regina works hard to make amends for her past, she realizes Michael could be more than just a friend... if threats from the Fearsome Foursome don't break them both first.

Tensions grow and the abuse worsens as the final days of senior year march toward an explosive conclusion in this dark new tale from the author of Cracked Up To Be.


Don't both of these sound excellent?  What did you find this week?

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Review: Always Watching by Brandilyn and Amberly Collins

Always Watching (The Rayne Tour, #1) Always Watching by Brandilyn Collins


My rating: 4.0/5.0

A very interesting young adult read. It took a little bit for me to get into this book as the stage had to be set for the series in the beginning. But once I started getting to know the characters and the setting the book really came alive for me.

About the Book:
This daughter of a rock star has it all—until murder crashes her world. During a concert, sixteen-year-old Shaley O’Connor stumbles upon the body of a friend backstage. Where is God at a time like this? Can she find out who the killer is before he strikes again?
My Review:

The book focuses on Shaley daughter to Rayne who is a popular musician on tour with her band. Shaley is surrounded by people all the time that are with her mom and she is thrilled that her best friend from back home is about to join them on the tour. However before Brittany can show up one of Shaley's dear friends on the tour is murdered and Shaley finds the body.

After that the story focuses on the investigation and on Shaley's thoughts and actions. It's interesting to watch Shaley's interaction with the other characters and also her thoughts. It's also interesting to try and figure out who is behind the murder and what is going on in the big picture. You also get a glimpse into the bad guy and his motivations, but never truly to who he is until the authors want you to know.

Very suspenseful and well-written. I think this will appeal to young adults and adults alike. The ending wraps up this story but also opens the door for the next book in this series which is out and I will have a review up for in a day or two.

I think the mother-daughter writing team did well. It's a great clean book, yet realistic in it's writing. The Christian element in it is very subtle - there is one character that talks to Shaley but she talks in such a way to turn Shaley on to God not away from God. She doesn't push and Shaley really likes her.

It's just an amazing book that I can't recommend enough.

Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge
Support Your Local Library Challenge
Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009

Review: Mom Needs Chocolate by Debora M. Coty

Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood by Debora M. Coty

Publisher: Regal
Release Date: April 1, 2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 224

I received this through FIRST Wild Card Tours for review.

Rating: 4.5/5.0








About the Book:

What's a rundown, run-ragged mom to do? Her spirit yearns to soar, but her feet---and faith---are stuck in the diaper-by-diaper mud of everyday responsibilities. How can she de-muck when she's chronically exhausted and relentlessly robbed of abundant life by the joy-sucking dully-funks? This offbeat glimpse of reality with a tangy twist pitched in to help busy mothers get in touch with rejuvenating joy and empowering faith!

In mom-to-mom, smile-eliciting style, humorist Debora Coty doesn't lolly gag around the hot topics such as enduring marriage, embarrassing children, defeating depression and grossfully (er, gracefully) aging. Unique insights and outrageous coping tips are shared alongside sisterly hugs and warm encouragement.

Mom Needs Chocolate is a veritable grocery list of mud-between-your-toes issues, tackled with witty frankness and wild abandon. Young-at-heart mothers of all ages will enjoy hilarious and heartwarming stories that apply Scripture to real life and remind them how to hear God's still, small voice about blathering kids, howling pets and snarling traffic!
My Review:

I am enjoying this book so much. I haven't made my way completely through it as I am enjoying it. It's chapters are set up as daily devotions and that is why I haven't finished it. I plan on finishing it though. I am enjoying one devotional a day.

The devotionals are great - they are written in a down-to-earth way by another mom who goes through normal life with herself and her kids. I enjoy her stories and her insights into her behavior and how God can help us get through these moments. So far all have been very pertinent to me. At the end of the devotions are questions to get you thinking about what you have just read and apply it to your life. I enjoy these and if I were a good journaler - these would be wonderful to journal, but instead I just reflect on the questions in my mind throughout the day.

This tiny book is packed with insight for moms at any stage of the game. From babies to teenagers to grown children, I believe all moms can derive pleasure and learning from this wonderfully put together book.

Mrs. Coty has a delightful sense of humor and a love of God that shines through on every page.

For more information see my FIRST Wild Card Tour Post here.

FIRST Wild Card Tour - Mom Needs Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood by Debora M. Coty

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

My review will be coming later today.


Today's Wild Card author is:


and the book:


Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood

Regal (April 1, 2009)

***Special thanks to Rebeca Seitz of Glass Road Public Relations, LLC for sending me a review copy.***

ABOUT THE AUTHOR:


Debora M. Coty is the author or contributor to several books, including Mom NEEDS Chocolate: Hugs, Humor and Hope for Surviving Motherhood. A resident of Florida where she lives with her husband, Coty raised two children and enjoyed a dedicated career as an Occupational Therapist before beginning to chase her God-given dream of writing. She is known for communicating sound biblical concepts with a refreshing, light-hearted style. Her writings can be read in her monthly newspaper column, Grace Notes: God’s Grace for Everyday Living.

Visit the author's website.



Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Hardcover: 224 pages
Publisher: Regal (April 1, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0830745920
ISBN-13: 978-0830745920

AND NOW...THE FIRST CHAPTER:


My Cups Runneth Over

Pregnancy

A baby is an inestimable blessing and a bother.

Mark Twain

As for you, be fruitful and multiply; populate the earth abundantly and multiply in it.

Genesis 9:7, NASB

There are a few things I’ve learned while fulfilling the “be fruitful and multiply” mandate.

Pregnancy draws you closer to your spouse. During an emergency stop in our driveway while I tossed my cookies in the grass, my husband, Chuck, tried to comfort me. Soon we were throwing up side by side. It was the most romantic thing he’s ever done. Those two brown spots on our lawn were the envy of all my friends.

Childbirth classes are invaluable informational sources. At the country hospital we’d chosen, one young farmer raised his hand the week after we learned about Braxton Hicks false labor contractions. He earnestly addressed the nurse instructor, “Ma’am, my wife’s been miserable all week. Could you tell us again about them Briggs and Stratton things?” He was the same strapping fellow who confided the first week, “We ain’t ever had any babies, but we’ve birthed a lot of cows.”

The budding momma’s swelling belly and the ledge over her innie-turned-outie navel aren’t the only evolutions in the body’s profile. Average-sized breasts become huge globes that bump into everything. It’s like having volleyballs attached to your chest. These alien chest globes take on their own personalities. I called mine the Bobbing Twins, Freddie and Flopsie. I addressed them directly: “Freddie, stop bouncing around or I’m going to fall off this bike,” or “Flopsie, you’re gonna have to squeeze into this DDD cup—there is no E.”

Finally, you’re in your ninth month. Ah, but the surprises are not over. After hours of sweating, teeth grinding and PUSHing, you are rewarded with a tiny screaming miracle. The little bugger has a surprisingly strong sucking reflex, and when he latches on, it feels like a vice grip to this incredibly sensitive part of your anatomy. You’re awfully glad you did that desensitization with the washcloth beforehand. I once commented to Chuck after performing this unpleasant ritual that rubbing myself with terrycloth made me empathize with that old table he was sanding.

“Hmmm. Yes, dear,” he answered, only half listening. I later overheard him inform his sister on the phone, “Debbie uses sandpaper on her chest to get ready for the baby.” No wonder his family thinks I’m weird.

Shortly after giving birth, my friend Julia (also a nursing mother) and I decided to take a well-deserved tennis break. Leaving the babies with their daddies, we headed for the courts. The blissful quiet was shattered by a wailing infant in a passing stroller, triggering that mysterious internal milk breaker switch. Julia and I simultaneously clutched our chests like gunshot victims at the incoming flood.

“Stop it, Freddie! Not now, Flopsie!” I pleaded with the Twins as two dark, wet spots appeared in strategic locations on the front of my white tennis shirt. Julia and I mopped ourselves between points with a soggy sweatband, bringing strange new meaning to the term, “bosom buddies.”1

Son of Man, thank You for the blessing of family and the miracle of babies. Make me more like You because they may end up being like me.



Note

1. Adapted from “My Cups Runneth Over” by Debora M. Coty, first appearing in Today’s Christian Woman, November/December 2004 issue. Used by permission.

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Review: Jack's Dreams Come to Life by Sara Jackson


Jack's Dreams Come To Life by Sara Jackson

My rating: 4.0/5.0


Publisher: BookSurge Publishing
Release Date: July 28, 2009
Pages: 26
Binding: Paperback
Children's Book

A cute children's book where a dog named Jack (who is no longer a puppy) gets tired of playing and falls asleep. While asleep he dreams of various things that he plays with becoming bigger. Thankfully he wakes up and finds it was all a dream.

I received this for review and read it to my boys last night. I have an 8-year-old and a 4-year-old and they both enjoyed it. The oldest said "that was a good book Mom" and the youngest said "Can you read it again?" So I would say it won them over.It reads well for an adult (I like kids books that read easy) and the kids seem to enjoy it. The oldest got the point about it being scary but the dog waking up to find out it's a dream. The youngest just enjoyed the story.

A great book for kids younger and a little older and great for parents to read to their kids. Wonderfully illustrated and well-written, we, as a family, really enjoyed this book.

About the author:

Professional author Sara Jackson is a graduate of San Francisco's Academy of Art University, where she earned her Bachelor's degree in screenwriting. After graduating, she became a freelance writer for The American Canyon Eagle. Ms. Jackson is a regular contributor of Gorezone Magazine, and she has written numerous book and movie reviews for Scars Magazine. She has also written opinion articles for the Times Herald, most of which address the issue of animal rights.

Additionally, Ms. Jackson won first prize in the January 2007 Soul Making Literary Contest with her non-fiction story, Necessary Procedures. She has written two screenplays that have been viewed by numerous readers in the Los Angeles area.




ARC Arrival: Wanderlust by Lucy Silag


Wanderlust by Lucy Silag (A Beautiful Americans Novel)

Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 24 December 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Young Adult


I received this from Gillian Levinson from Penguin's Young Readers Group.






About the Book:

Will they save their lost friend before it’s too late?

Angst and betrayal abound as teens search the French countryside for their missing classmate in this exciting sequel to Beautiful Americans.

The book opens with PJ on a train, racing toward Rouen to meet her sister, Annabel. But Annabel’s life may be fraught with troubles far worse than her own.

Alex persuades Jay and Zack to hunt for PJ at one of her absentee father’s ritzy estates in the country. But a painful encounter with her dad leaves Alex weeping—on Jay’s shoulder. Three’s a crowd for Zack; he heads to Amsterdam seeking an old friend, and a place to belong.

Back in Paris, Olivia’s escapades with Thomas are interrupted when they discover reason to believe PJ is in more peril than she knows. Will the crew find PJ in time? Have they lost themselves along the way?

ARC Arrival: The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

The Betrayal of Natalie Hargrove by Lauren Kate

Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: 12 November 2009
Binding: Paperback
Pages: 248
Young Adult


I received this from Gillian Levinson from Penguin's Young Readers Group.








About the Book:

A steamy Southern beauty makes one fatal mistake

Natalie Hargrove would kill to be her high school’s Palmetto Princess. But her boyfriend Mike King doesn’t share her dream and risks losing the honor of Palmetto Prince to Natalie’s nemesis, Justin Balmer. So she convinces Mike to help play a prank on Justin. . . one that goes terribly wrong. They tie him to the front of the church after a party—when they arrive the next morning, Justin is dead.

From blackmail to buried desire, dark secrets to darker deeds, Natalie unravels. She never should’ve messed with fate. Fate is the one thing more twisted than Natalie Hargrove.

Cruel Intentions meets Macbeth in this seductive, riveting tale of conscience and consequence.

Review: City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

City of Bones (Mortal Instruments, #1) City of Bones by Cassandra Clare


My rating: 4.5/5.0

I didn't know what I would think of these books once I started them. I actually went in knowing little about them. I just saw good reviews for them and people anxiously awaiting the newest book so I decided I would get the first from the library and try the series out.

About the book:
When fifteen-year-old Clary Fray heads out to the Pandemonium Club in New York City, she hardly expects to witness a murder - much less a murder committed by three teenagers covered with strange tattoos and brandishing bizarre weapons. Then the body disappears into thin air. It's hard to call the police when the murderers are invisible to everyone else and when there is nothing - not even a smear of blood - to show that a boy has died. Or was he a boy?

This is Clary's first meeting with the Shadowhunters, warriors dedicated to ridding the earth of demons. It's also her first encounter with Jace, a Shadowhunter who looks a little like an angel and acts a lot like a jerk. Within twenty-four hours Clary is pulled into Jace's world with a vengeance, when her mother disappears and Clary herself is attacked by a demon. But why would demons be interested in ordinary mundanes like Clary and her mother? And how did Clary suddenly get the Sight? The Shadowhunters would like to know....
My Review:

It's an excellent book. I loved the world building, it wasn't too much or too little. I loved learning about it as Clary learned about it. The characters were fascinating. I really liked Clary and enjoyed her wit and sarcasm and her realistic feelings. She has to deal with a lot of new things in this book and she starts to just roll with the punches and I like that. I enjoyed Jace - he's a very interesting character and Luke, Clary's best friend. Alec and Isabelle round out the cast of teens and then add in various people that help them and try and kill them and you have a wonderful cast of characters.

The conclusion of this book is great, but I am anxiously awaiting the next one at the library. I almost bought it the other day but decided I could try and be patient and wait at the library.

Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge
Support Your Local Library Challenge
Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009
Countdown Challenge 2010

Waiting on Wednesday - October 28


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

In honor of my author interview that will be posted later today with the amazing Irene Hannon my "can't-wait-to-read" selection for this week is:

Breathless by Dean Koontz

Release: November 24, 2009


I can't help it - I still read all of his books and I'm working on his backlist. My absolute favorite of all of his is Twilight Eyes and that is an old one. I read the last one he put out and enjoyed it and I'm sure I'll enjoy this one too.



About the Book:
#1 New York Times bestselling author Dean Koontz delivers a thrilling novel of suspense and adventure, as the lives of strangers converge around a mystery unfolding high in the Colorado mountains—and the balance of the world begins to tilt….

In the stillness of a golden September afternoon, deep in the wilderness of the Rockies, a solitary craftsman, Grady Adams, and his magnificent Irish wolfhound Merlin step from shadow into light…and into an encounter with enchantment. That night, through the trees, under the moon, a pair of singular animals will watch Grady's isolated home, waiting to make their approach.

A few miles away, Camillia Rivers, a local veterinarian, begins to unravel the threads of a puzzle that will bring all the forces of a government in peril to her door.

At a nearby farm, long-estranged identical twins come together to begin a descent into darkness…In Las Vegas, a specialist in chaos theory probes the boundaries of the unknowable…On a Seattle golf course, two men make matter-of-fact arrangements for murder…Along a highway by the sea, a vagrant scarred by the past begins a trek toward his destiny…

In a novel that is at once wholly of our time and timeless, fearless and funny, Dean Koontz takes readers into the moment between one turn of the world and the next, across the border between knowing and mystery. It is a journey that will leave all who take it Breathless.
So what are you waiting on this week?

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Book Arrival: The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan

The Christmas Kitchen by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan


I received this book for a FIRST Wild Card Tour.

Publisher: Howard Books
Release Date: October 6, 2009
Binding: Hardcover
Pages: 132



The Heart of the Home

Even in today's busy times, the kitchen is the heart of the home. Author Tammy Maltby believes the true meaning of Christmas is realized when families gather to share activities that make Christmas "the most wonderful time of the year." More than any other holiday, Christmas is when family and friends gather for a cup of hot chocolate, fresh-baked cookies, and lots of laughter.

Look inside this holiday treasure for:

- Easy-to-do holiday recipes

- Hints for new traditions

- Personal gift ideas

- Kid-friendly activities

- Simple decorating tips

The Christmas Kitchen is more than a recipe book, it's a book designed to help you enjoy the holiday season, not be burdened by it. Take a few minutes each day to browse these pages for the help you've been looking for.

Merry Christmas and may your kitchen be filled, first, with the sweet aroma of love, and then with the spices of the season.

Book Arrival: The Whole Food Guide to Strong Bones by Annemarie Colbin

The Whole Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach by Annemarie Colbin, PH.D.

I received this book through FSB Associates for review.

Publisher: New Harbinger Publications
Release Date: February 2, 2009
Binding: Paperback



A pioneering nutritionist shows you:

  • How to strengthen bones with the food you eat
  • How to rebuild bone mass naturally
  • Why estrogen therapy, calcium supplements & prescription medications are not the answer
  • Which foods weaken the bones& diminish bone mass

It's essential to maintain strong bones to keep an active lifestyle, but aside from taking a daily calcium supplement, is there really anything you can do to improve your bone health? With this complete program for stronger bones created by health educator Annemarie Colbin, you'll learn the best foods to eat to build bone mass and find out which foods actually weaken bones. You'll also discover how exercise and finding personal balance can improve your health and prevent fragility fractures, menopause-related bone loss, and osteoporosis.

Learn:

  • What puts you at risk for bone fracture
  • Why medication and estrogen therapy may not work for you
  • How the nutrients in whole foods build bone mass
  • 85 easy recipes that maximize the bone-building effects of whole foods

Review: Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong


Spinning Forward by Terri DuLong


My rating: 4.5/5.0







About the Book (from
Goodreads.com):

Sydney Webster's comfortable New England life comes crashing down when her husband dies suddenly, leaving her penniless and evicted. She had no idea about his huge gambling debts, and is getting no sympathy from her hurt and angry twenty something daughter. With nowhere else to turn, Sydney takes shelter at a college friend's B&B in Cedar key, Florida, where she begins to form a plan. As Syd turns her talent at spinning wool and knitting into a retail venture, other doors begin to open. She steps into the embrace of a community rich with love, laughter, friendship...and secrets. And soon she faces a choice: spin a safety net, or spin forward and never look back. Entertaining and heart warming, this superb debut will win readers over with its real-life challenges and quirky and compelling characters.


My Review:

I read this book during the read-a-thon and it was a true joy to read. I enjoyed the character of Sydney. She's a fifty-something that has just lost her husband and her house and has to start over completely. Who wouldn't be floundering after all of that? Add to it that she was just going through the motions of life and doesn't really know what to do and you have a great character who struggles to grow and change through the book.

I was captivated by the small town of Cedar Key. I live on the coast myself and even though my area is growing, it once had that small-town feel, so I felt right at home. I adored the supporting characters. Allison, her best friend. Dora who ends up being a big help and even the eccentric characters in the story really make it. Everyone plays a role in Sydney's new life and they are all interesting characters themselves, who I look forward to reading more about.

There are several things that contribute to the storyline and I don't want to give away anything about the plot. But suffice it to say it's very engaging and interesting the whole way through. I couldn't put it down and I enjoyed every minute I read. Sometimes you get bogged down when reading a book straight through during a read-a-thon, but that did not happen with Spinning Forward. When I finished I immediately wanted to go back and hear more about the characters which since this is book one in the Cedar Key series, I guess I will get to and I look forward to it.

Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge
Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009

CymLowell



Teaser Tuesday - October 27

teasertuesdays31

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
At that moment, as if he felt our eyes on him, the ugly, despicable paparazzo we called Cat shot past security and sprinted around the back of the limo. His long, bleached-white hair with two-inch black roots flipped in the breeze as he ran, his gangly arms pumping. In one hand he clutched his ever-present camera.
From Last Breath by Brandilynn and Amberly Collins. I'm reading this for a FIRST Wild Card Tour for the book on Friday so look for my review then. I read the first in the series yesterday, Always Watching and it was good.


Awesome Author Challenge 2010


Alyce at At Home With Books came up with a great challenge I will be participating in in 2010. It's the Awesome Author Challenge! Here's what Alyce has to say about this challenge:

The idea behind this challenge is to read works by authors who have been recommended to you time and again, yet somehow you haven't managed to read any books by those authors. These are the authors that everyone else tells you are awesome, thus the "Awesome Author Challenge" title.
The Rules:

The challenge starts January 1, 2010 and ends December 31, 2010.

Crossover from other challenges is allowed.

Choose the level at which you would like to participate, post about it and come back and leave a link to your post in Mister Linky.

Titles and authors do not have to be predetermined, and can change at any time.

Books can come from any genre or reading level, the only requirement is that you have heard great things about the author, but haven't yet read any of their works.

The Levels:
Easy: Choose three authors and read at least one title from each author.
Moderate: Choose six authors and read at least one title from each author.
Challenging: Choose ten authors and read at least one title from each author.
Over-Achieving: Anything over ten authors.

I'm choosing Challenging and here are some of the authors I plan on trying:
  1. Elizabeth Kostova - read The Swan Thieves 5/11/2010
  2. Kate White - read Hush - 4/20/2010
  3. Alyson Noel - read Evermore - 8/7/2010
  4. Carrie Jones
  5. Kate Brian - read Private 1/7/2010
  6. Carrie Ryan - read The Forest of Hands and Teeth - 6/13/2010
  7. Ann Brashares - read My Name Is Memory 6/3/2010
  8. Nick Hornby
  9. Candace Bushnell - The Carrie Diaries - 6/25/2010
  10. Laurie Halse-Anderson - Fever, 1793 and Prom - May 2010
That's who I'm thinking at the moment, mostly young adult authors it seems, but young adult is so big right now and so great. I may end up going with over-achieving but we'll see. I tend to find new authors while blog hopping so that's why I may add.

Go and check out the other participants at At Home With Books and join in too!

Article: Remedy SuperStress with Chocolate by Roberta Lee M.D.

Remedy SuperStress with Chocolate
By Roberta Lee M.D.,
Author of The SuperStress Solution

If you love chocolate, you're not alone. It turns out that the average person in the United States consumes approximately 12 pounds of chocolate a year. That might sound like a lot of chocolate, but I actually recommend that my patients -- especially those who are chronically stressed or what I would describe as SuperStressed -- indulge in 1 ounce of high quality and high cocoa mass chocolate a day, and that actually adds up to well more than 12 pounds over the course of the year. Sure, chocolate is a calorie laden food (with most of the calories coming from the cocoa butter), but in my opinion, the benefits of this treat outweigh the caloric load as long as you keep the portions small. Here are the benefits:

  • On a gram for gram basis, chocolate has a terrifically high concentration of antioxidants known as flavonoids. More than berries and spinach, even. Flavonoids have been shown to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of heart disease and strokes.

  • Chocolate is rich in magnesium and potassium, two minerals that help promote the "relaxation response," as well as iron and zinc, which are minerals that many people don't often get enough of during the course of the day. Chocolate also contains a good amount of selenium, which enhances immune health.

  • Chocolate contains several psychoactive compounds being studied and debated as responsible for the mood lift many of us experience when eating it. First, there's phenylethylamine (PEA), a natural trace amine that is a stimulant that is elevated in the brain when we are in love and is low when we are depressed. Secondly, there's theobromine, a compound that imparts energy and a sense of alertness. Finally, chocolate contains a small amount of a chemical known as N-arachidonoylethanolamine, a substance that keeps our endogenous happiness molecules -- or endorphins -- from breaking down. In other words, if we are happy, we just might stay happier longer with a little chocolate.

Of course, there's also ample consumer-proven evidence that chocolate tastes good, and that eating it can provide a little respite -- an oasis of pleasure and calm -- from our otherwise hectic days! And to me, that's what's so special about this sweet treat. I find chocolate has the ability to enhance sensory recruitment in every way. It's so inexpensive to have a piece of chocolate and it's so pleasurable, that if that's something you like and that's part of what living well is about, I say: go for it. The ideal cocoa mass is 75% or more -- this will be clear on the label and is most often found in dark chocolate -- and the ideal portion is 1 ounce (about 1/3 of an average bar or roughly the size of the palm of a woman's hand). Doctor's orders!


To reduce stress, and avoid SuperStress, try this today:

Simple as it sounds; focused breathing -- during which you think about your breath as you inhale and exhale -- is a very effective stress-management technique. A slow, full breath triggers physical and cognitive changes that promote relaxation. Deep breathing helps release tension and anxiety and is a great energizer because the deeper the breath, the more your body is flooded with life-fueling oxygen. A full breath begins with the diaphragm pushing downward so that the stomach extends out. As your lungs fill with air, your chest expands. When you exhale, the reverse occurs -- your chest settles first and then your stomach.
  • When anxiety strikes or you find yourself focusing on negative thoughts, immediately exhale through your mouth.
  • Now, open your lungs, and breathe in through your nose, drawing in a fresh, cleansing air to the count of four.
  • Exhale again slowly to the count of five.
  • Repeat four times.

Copyright © 2009 Roberta Lee M.D., author of The SuperStress Solution

Author Bio
Roberta Lee, M.D., author of The SuperStress Solution, is vice chair of the Department of Integrative Medicine, director of Continuing Medical Education, and co-director of the Fellowship in Integrative Medicine at Beth Israel's Continuum Center for Health and Healing at Beth Israel Medical Center in New York City. Dr. Lee attended George Washington University Medical School and is one of the four graduates in the first class from the Program of Integrative Medicine at the University of Arizona conducted by Andrew Weil, M.D.

For more information please visit www.superstresssolution.com


I'll be getting a review copy of this book and really look forward to reading it.

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review Copy Arrival: To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

To Desire a Devil by Elizabeth Hoyt

Publisher:
Grand Central Publishing
Release Date: November 1, 2009
Binding: Mass Market Paperback
Pages: 384

I received this from this book from Anna Balasi from Hachette for a book tour date in November.

About the Book:
NOTHING IS MORE INTOXICATING-
Reynaud St. Aubyn has spent the last seven years in hellish captivity. Now half mad with fever he bursts into his ancestral home and demands his due. Can this wild-looking man truly be the last earl's heir, thought murdered by Indians years ago?


OR DANGEROUS-
Beatrice Corning, the niece of the present earl, is a proper English miss. But she has a secret: No real man has ever excited her more than the handsome youth in the portrait in her uncle's home. Suddenly, that very man is here, in the flesh-and luring her into his bed.


THAN SURRENDERING TO A DEVIL.
Only Beatrice can see past Reynaud's savagery to the noble man inside. For his part, Reynaud is drawn to this lovely lady, even as he is suspicious of her loyalty to her uncle. But can Beatrice's love tame a man who will stop at nothing to regain his title-even if it means sacrificing her innocence?

Musing Mondays - Oct 26








Today’s MUSING MONDAYS post is about note taking…

Do you take notes while reading – either for your reviews or for yourself? How/where do you make these notes (on the page, post-its, scrap paper, notebooks etc)?

I sometimes take notes, mainly about the characters and if anything important happens that I want to make note of in my review. I also will write down quotes from time-to-time but often forget to use them in my review.

I use cute notebooks that I pick up here and there (mainly the dollar store and Dollar General). They are usually colorful and different and I tend to have several of them going at one time because I want to start using a new one.

To link up and see other people's answers for this week's Musing Monday head over to Just One More Page.

Review: Love You To Death by Shannon K. Butcher

Love You to Death Love You to Death by Shannon K. Butcher


My rating: 5.0/5.0

Wow - can I just say that I thought this book was amazing. A wonderfully great romantic suspense and it delivers on both genres romance and suspense quite well.


Elise is a independent world-traveling reporter. No, she doesn't make a lot of money but she enjoys what she does. She doesn't have attachments now except for her flighty sister, Ashley. When Elise hasn't heard from Ashely in several days she gets worried. Worried enough to have Elise rushing to her sister's home from half-way across the world. Elise shows up there in the middle of the night and proceeds to break in to check on her sister, only shortly after she breaks in, a strong and powerful male overpowers her.

That strong male is Trent, an ex-cop who has a lot of baggage and is currently by Elise's sister's description "the hot lawn guy". Elise has to agree, Trent is hot but he doesn't seem to want to help her track down Ashley, he wants her to rely on the police. Elise needs to do this herself since it seems the police aren't interested. Finally it's too much for Trent, and his cop background takes over, but as Elise gets closer to the truth, it seems she's in more danger and Trent is in danger of falling for Elise.

Wow - the sexual tension in this one is amazing. I like the interplay between Elise and Trent as they got to know each other. The romance builds wonderfully and I can easily see and believe how they fall for each other. It's a steamy read. Add in some great suspense. You know from the beginning who the killer/kidnapper is, but there are several threads that take the whole book to unwind and the end is still very surprising. The killer is very creepy and he gives me the willies just thinking about him, but that makes him an excellent bad guy character.

Well-plotted and executed, this is a wonderful book for romantic suspense lovers out there. I actually hope there will be another book to follow this as I am interested in what happens between two of the characters at the end.

Challenges:
100+ Book Challenge
Fall Into Reading Challenge 2009


What Are You Reading Monday - October 26


Come post weekly and see what others are reading too just so you can add to your tbr - I always do! For more information see J.Kaye's Book Blog and join in!

Books Completed Last Week:
  • See Mom Run: Side-Splitting Essays from the World's Most Hilarious Blogging Moms by Beth Feldman (review)
  • Nine Dragons by Michael Connelly (review - book tour)
  • Dingos Before Dinnertime (audiobook with DS)
  • City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (library)
  • Love You To Death by Shannon Butcher (review)
  • The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson (library)
  • Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong (review)
Reading Now:
  • Purity in Death by J.D. Robb (audiobook)
  • Always Watching by Brandilynn and Amberly Collins (library)
  • Once a Witch by Carolyn MacCullough (review)
  • Prince Caspian by C.S. Lewis (audiobook with DS)
  • Sex, Drugs and Gefilte Fish: A Heebe Storytelling Collection (review)
Reviews Completed Last Week

Next:
  • The Maze Runner by James Dasher (review)
  • Breaking the Bank by (review)
  • Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick (review)
  • The Well-Behaved Child by (review)
  • Love Your Body, Love Your Life by (review)
  • Last Breath by Brandilynn and Amberly Collins
Reviews to do:
  • Only In Your Dreams by Cecily von Ziegesar
  • Beyond the Highland Mist by Karen Marie Moning
  • Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Relentless by Dean Koontz
  • Hunted by P.C. and Kristin Cast
  • The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • True Colors by Kristen Hannah

Summary -
A great week for reading and my blog. With the read-a-thon coming, I spent the week working on catching up my reviews (and keeping my review commitments). I'm thrilled. I still have several reviews to do, but I am pretty much caught up on my October books , except for the ones read over the weekend, but I'll get them done early this week - yay! Now this week to work on my September books that didn't get reviewed and getting some more review books read. The read-a-thon was a blast and I only made it 15 hours - next year I want to try for longer.

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Read-a-Thon - Final wrap-up

I made it 15 hours and went 1 hour past my usual bedtime (which is quite amazing for me). I have some health issues at the moment that hinder me from staying up for 24 hours - but I hope to do it one day. Here's my final official summary:

Total Pages: 934 pages
Books Read: 2 1/2

I finished The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson and Spinning Forward by Terri Dulong and got half way through Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan.

It was fun - I'd like to thank all the coordinators and also the wonderful cheerleaders for all you did. Congrats to all of you who made it 24 hours!

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Read-a-Thon Mid-Event Survey


1. What are you reading right now?

Getting ready to start Maze of Bones by Rick Riordan

2. How many books have you read so far?

I've finished 2 books

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Maze of Bones

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?

No - I have done other things through the day for the kids and DH - I think next year I will make special arrangements. I lucked up though and DS#1 spent the night with a friend and didn't come home until 6pm so there was no fighting most of the day.

5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

I've had the usual - I just dealt with them. Didn't worry and went with the flow.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

That I haven't read more books.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Nope - I think it's great

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

Make plans for the kids and DH.

9. Are you getting tired yet?

Yep - I probably won't make it 24 hours - I have to have sleep, though I am hoping to push my bedtime a little bit.

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

Not that I can think of - I've had fun but I don't think I've done anything new. I am thankful for the cheerleaders that have posted - I've enjoyed reading the comments and the cheering.

Read-a-Thon - 12 hour update

So 12 hours have passed and I'm still having a blast. I've sat outside on our porch swing, in DH's comfy rocking chair and in my usual chair in our living room. I did take a small break in the middle of the day but I've been back at it a few hours. I'll probably stretch my bedtime by a little bit tonight but won't make the full 24 hours. What I have done has been fun. Here's my summary:

Total Pages:820 pages
Books Read: 1 (almost 2)

I'll probably do one more update, either tonight before bed or in the morning.

Read-a-Thon: 4-Hour Update

So 4 hours have passed and I'm having a blast. I'm sitting outside on our porch swing reading away. Here's my summary:

8-9am - 70 pages on The Adoration of Jenna Fox; completed mini-challenge #1
9-10am - 66 pages total on The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Love Your Body, Love Your Life
10am-11am - talked on phone and with DH, read 39 pages on The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Love Your Body, Love Your Life
11am-12pm - 70 pages on The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Love Your Body, Love Your Life.

Total Pages: 245 pages
Books Read: 0

I'll update again in four hours on the blog and tweet my hourly totals. Off to check out the read-a-thon blog for hour 5 and then a quick lunch!

Read-a-thon Mini-challenge #1

Our first mini-challenge for you is the Hour 1 meme that Darcy wrote up a few read-a-thons ago.

Where are you reading from today? Coastal NC where it's warm and cloudy and I'm heading out to the porch swing in a few minutes.

3 facts about me … I'm 35; I have two boys who love to read; I will read just about anything

How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? Around 20

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? No not really - just want to read, post, read blogs and have a good time.

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? It's my first time so no advice yet.


Go here to see more answers to this meme!

Read-a-thon starting post


Okay - it's 8am and I'm ready to start. I have a plan and the plan is this:

  • 1 chapter of a non-fiction book per hour
  • The rest of the hour is devoted to whatever fiction book I'm reading at the moment.
  • Tweetdeck is running and I'll keep up with updates there
  • I will also spend about 10 minutes per hour blog-surfing
  • I'll update on twitter hourly
  • I'll blog from time-to-time
Other than that I have no rules for myself - just read, snack, blog and enjoy.

I'm starting with The Adoration of Jenna Fox by Mary E. Pearson

Friday, October 23, 2009

Book choices for the Readathon

As a pre-readathon (it's less than 12 hours away) post. I thought I would show my stacks of books I'm choosing from for the read-a-thon. No I don't think I can read all of these, not even near this number but I wanted a lot to choose from. They are all residing on my dining room table and I am sure when DH gets home from hunting in a little while he'll think I got them all in the mail today (I just received one book today and it's not in these piles). So here goes.

First my to-be-reviewed pile - these all have review dates soon, so I need to be working on these:
Next is my to-be-reviewed soon, but not immediately.
Next are books that are due back to the library (Take One - Karen Kingsbury, Maze of Bones - Rick Riordan, The Adoration of Jenna Fox and Hard Eight)
A couple of books for filler - Dairy Queen and The Clique
A few more books for filler - I love booksfree and these are the recent young adult selections from there.

That's it - I won't swear I won't find other books to read, but this is my pile right now. Now to decide what to start with in the morning.

See you at 8am EDT!