Monday, February 28, 2011

February Summary

February Summary 
  1. The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton - read 2/2/2011
  2. Deadly Codes Screenplay by JP O'Donnell and  - read 2/5/2011
  3. The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver - read 2/5/2011
  4. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich - read 2/8/2011
  5. The Resurrection by Mike Duran - read 2/9/2011
  6. The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase - read 2/10/2011
  7. A Billion Reasons Why by Kristin Billerbeck - read 2/12/2011
  8. These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf - read 2/12/2011
  9. The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner - read 2/16/2011
  10. The Promises We Keep by Erin Healy - read 2/17/2011
  11. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich - read 2/18/2011
  12. Final Vector by Allen Leverone - read 2/19/2011 
  13. How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf - read 2/22/2011
  14. Chocolate and Vicodin by Jennette Fulda - read 2/24/2011 
  15. The Heart Doctor and the Baby by Lynne Marshall - read 2/25/2011
  16.  Scones and Bones by Laura Childs - read 2/27/2011
  17. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich - read 2/28/2011
  18. Mystify by Artist Arthur - read 2/28/2011

Review books:14
Library Books:3
Books from my bookshelf:1

A much better month than January even though it was 3 days shorter.  I need to get busy reading to make my goal at the end of the year.  The good thing - I have really enjoyed all the books I have read this month!

Favorite of the month:This is really tough this month because there are lots of contenders.  I could go through and list by different genres but I think I am going to choose These Things Hidden by Heather Gudenkauf - just an amazing book that you must check out if you haven't yet.

So how was your reading month?


Challenge Progress:

  • YA Reading Challenge:  7/50
  • Support Your Local Library Challenge:  8/51
  • 100+ Reading Challenge:  31/217
  • 2011 Audiobook Challenge:  4/20
  • 2011 Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge:  0/15
  • Cruizin' Through Cozies: 0/12
  • 2011 A to Z Challenge (Titles): 13/26
  • 2011 Reading From My Shelves Project:  0/24
  • Edgar Awards Reading Challenge:  0/6
  • 2011 Debut Author Challenge:  2/30
  • 2011 Ebook Challenge:  3/20
  • Book Bucket List:  0/12
  • 1001 Books You Must Read Before You Die:  0/5
  • The Alphabet in Crime Fiction:  2/26
  • 2011 Show Me the Free Reading Challenge:  0/12

What are You Reading Monday - February 28

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 Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and join in! 

Books Completed Last Week 
Reading Now: 
  • Scones and Bones by Laura Childs (review)
  • Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran (review)
  • Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (library, audiobook)
Next:
  • Sing You Home by Jodi Picoult
  • The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry
  • Skipping a Beat by Sarah Pekkanen
  • Red Wolf by Liza Marklund

Summary -

Busy week, with my birthday on Saturday - it was a great day and a great week.

Best of the week: Chocolate and Vicodin because it felt like I was talking to someone who understands me and how my health is at this time.


How was your week?

Friday, February 25, 2011

New eBook Publisher: Istoria Books Press Release

ISTORIA BOOKS
eBooks You Want to Read at Prices You Want to Pay

February 23, 2011

Contact: Libby Sternberg, editor-in-chief (LibbyMalinSternberg@gmail.com or IstoriaBks@gmail.com)

ISTORIA BOOKS ACQUIRES DIGITAL RIGHTS TO
GARY ALEXANDER’S DRAGON LADY AND AWARD-WINNING ROMANCE AUTHOR JERRI CORGIAT’S FIVE-BOOK BACKLIST


Istoria Books, a new digital publisher dedicated to releasing “eBooks You Want to Read at Prices You Want to Pay” ,™ has recently acquired digital rights to six books, by authors Gary Alexander and Jerri Corgiat.

Istoria will publish Gary Alexander’s literary novel Dragon Lady in April 2011. Set in 1965 Saigon, Dragon Lady tells the story of Joe, a young draftee, who becomes obsessed with a Vietnam girl named Mai, his own "Dragon Lady" from his beloved Terry and the Pirates cartoon strips that his mother still sends him. As he pursues a relationship with her, Saigon churns with intrigue and rumors--will the U.S. become more involved with the Vietnamese struggle? What's going on with a special unit that's bringing in all sorts of (for the time) high tech equipment? Will the U.S. make Vietnam the 51st state and bomb aggressors to oblivion? But for Joe, the soldier, the big question is--does Mai love him or will she betray more than just his heart? Gary’s intelligent voice, filled with dry wit, and his own experiences give this story a sharp sense of truth, recounting the horror and absurdity of war. Reminiscent of books such as Catch-22, Dragon Lady serves up equal measures of outrageous humor and poignant remembrance. Gary served in Vietnam in ’65. When he arrived, he joined 17,000 GIs. When he left, 75,000 were in country.

Gary Alexander also writes mystery; his three mystery novels in the Buster Hightower series are published or under contract to be published by print publisher Five Star/Cengage. A Vietnam vet himself, Gary lives in Seattle.

Istoria will also publish the backlist of award-winning romance author Jerri Corgiat this spring. The list includes five books in the Love Finds a Home series originally published by Penguin’s Signet imprint. The titles are:

Sing Me Home
Follow Me Home
Home at Last
Home by Starlight
Take Me Home



            The Love Finds a Home series includes five award-winning books set in the small town of
Cordelia, nestled in the Missouri Ozarks. Each novel showcases different members of the extended O'Malley family and their sometimes bumpy journeys toward happiness. These well-told stories will resonate with readers confronting similar challenges--struggles with ailing businesses, damaged reputations, recovery from heartbreak and divorce, children's difficulties, career changes, and serious illness. From the first book to the last, readers will be entranced by the magnificent setting and the loving O'Malley family. Jerri Corgiat's voice sings throughout every story, capturing the beauty of the landscape and the strong emotions of her characters. Likened to bestselling women's fiction author Susan Wiggs, Corgiat excels at descriptive writing, making the reader want to book a flight to fictional Cordelia to spend more time with the O'Malley clan.

            Just a glimpse of praise for Jerri Corgiat's Love Finds a Home books:


·         "....a powerfully moving story...a brilliant read..." Romance Reader at Heart
·         "Ms. Corgiat has become one of my 'must read' authors..." Romance Junkies
·         "....a rich multidimensional novel..." Contemporary Romance Writers
·         "...very poignant, filled with nuances..."  The Romance Readers Connection
·         "...unforgettable characters resonate long after the last page is turned..." RT Bookclub, Top Pick
·         "…warm and touching...one of those wonderful romances that truly captures the heart...filled with joy and laughter, pathos and challenges..." Midwest Book Reviews
·         "...fast-paced, with flowing phrases and realistic characters..." Readers & Writers Ink Reviews

Jerri Corgiat lives in the Midwest and is a former bookseller and winner of a first-place Award of Excellence from the Reviewers International Organization.

Istoria Books is a new digital publisher formed in 2010 by Libby and Hannah Sternberg, both of whom are published authors, along with Matthew Sternberg. The publishing house’s inventory until now has consisted of books by Edgar-nominated author Libby Sternberg, who serves as Istoria’s editor-in-chief.

Istoria recently opened to submissions and will accept unagented queries. They will publish fiction in a wide variety of genres: romance, women’s fiction, historical, literary, mystery, thriller, sci-fi, fantasy, young adult. Submission guidelines are available at their website-- www.IstoriaBooks.com

Istoria Books releases are available on all major ebook etailers, most notably Amazon’s Kindle store, Smashwords.com and Bn.com, in addition to others.

A humorous piece by Libby Sternberg about the evolution to the Kindle (“From Papyrus to Gutenberg to Kindle”) was published by the Wall Street Journal on January 5.

Reviewers interested in Istoria Books offerings should contact Libby Sternberg at LibbyMalinSternberg@gmail.com or IstoriaBks@gmail.com

 


Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: Chocolate and Vicodin by Jennette Fulda



Chocolate & Vicodin: My Quest for Relief from the Headache that Wouldn't Go AwayChocolate and Vicodin by Jennette Fulda
Publisher: Gallery
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
Trade Paperback, 304 pages 
Non-fiction, memoir
ISBN: 978-1439182024





My Review:
Why I read this: I was sent the blurb and offered the book.  This sounded like my life in so many ways except I don't have a non-stop headache, but I am a chronic pain sufferer.  I lost 60+ lbs and was in the best shape of my life in January 2008 and I was also training for a half-marathon and had run 8.5 miles one weekend.  The next week I could hardly get out of bed.  It felt like I had been hit by a truck and I knew it wasn't the running as I had built up from 5 minutes of running to the 8.5 miles in over a year and a half.  I started going to a slew of doctors who said I was the model of perfect health.  But I was still exhausted and in pain.  I have gotten a couple of different diagnosis now and have prescriptions to help with various things.  I am better than I was in 2008 but I still do not go a day without pain.  So I thought I would be able to relate to Jennette and of course I was hoping she would tell me something magic that might fix me :)


My thoughts:  Chocolate and Vicodin is a must-read for anyone suffering with chronic pain or those that live with someone with chronic pain.  Ms. Fulda will not solve your problems for you but she will make you feel much less alone with your pain and make you smile at the same time.  I am honestly afraid of support groups because who wants to be around others complaining.  Ms. Fulda is able to explain her situation and all that she goes through without sounding like she's complaining.  She just shows you the real side of herself and how she is pulling herself through even though she still does not have a diagnosis.  I understand the not-knowing.  I can somewhat name my problem, though there is still some gray area to mine as well, but to not know at all has to be tough.

The book is written in a real yet a humorous manner.  I love when she gets snarky at times (mostly in her mind), that is the same way I feel at times and to be able to get that out would be wonderful.  Ms. Fulda proves that you can get through it like she does and there are days when you will be down but sometimes you just have to adjust your reality, change your life to suit it and move on.  I think this is the core message.  Another things I took away - it is normal to feel alone when suffering from something that others can't see.  Like she says - it's easy for someone to see you are in pain when you are curled up in a ball, but when you are going on with everyday life the best way you can, then the pain is harder to see (I paraphrase).

I loved this book, I felt like I was talking with a friend when I was reading it and I saw so much of myself while reading it.  I would like to thank Ms. Fulda for this excellent book and for showing me I'm not alone and also for teaching me some ways to express myself around others so they understand what I am feeling.  I think she does a great job of showing all the different doctors and procedures she had done just to try and find a diagnosis and giving her real feelings.  That is what I really loved.

I think Jennette is an amazing woman, to first lose 200 pounds, run a half-marathon with a headache and to continue to plow through life.  She has given me hope that I can continue on as well and maybe one day I will run my half-marathon as I originally planned in 2008. I think her ideas of laughter as medicine is the best suggestion and I will go on trying to find the positive on the tough days and looking to my wonderful husband for laughter on the bad ones.


One quote I loved and could relate to from the book:

I’d read about other people’s experiences at these institutes on the headache forums online.  I’d been surprised that people in that much pain had been able to set up and maintain online forums but there they were. I was a lurker on the forums and never posted or interacted with others. I wasn’t sure why I’d never struck up a conversation with my fellow pain sufferers.  It was just easier to lurk, read up on the information I needed, and then log off without getting too involved in other people’s misery.  When I’d blogged about my weight loss , I didn’t start commenting on other peoples blogs until I’d lost almost one hundred pounds.  I wasn’t sure how long I’d have to have my headache before I felt comfortable to raise my hand in front of the class and talk about it.  
I often feel the same way - I have lurked on forums for my problems but never post - I just don't feel right for some reason.

Some other quotes that resonated with me:
Not having a name for my disease was almost as frightening as the disease itself.  How could I fight something I couldn't name?
My headache no longer seemed like a big deal. I clearly wasn't the only person in the world in pain. I probably wouldn't even make the list of top ten most suffering people in the building. A dose of perspective might not be a cure, but it made me feel a lot better about my own situation.  No matter how bad your life was, there was always someone whose life was worse.

My Rating: 5.0/5.0


About the Book:

Jennette Fulda went to bed on February 17, 2008, with a headache, and more than three years later, it still hasn’t gone away. Yes, she’s tried everything: intravenous drugs, chiropractic adjustments, acupuncture, subliminal messaging, marijuana (for medical purposes only), heavy drinking (which just made it hurt more), and lots and lots of chocolate. A pint of ice cream makes her feel better, but her insurance doesn’t cover mint chocolate chip.

In this painfully honest, smart, and funny memoir, the popular PastaQueen.com blogger who chronicled her nearly two hundred pound weight loss in Half-Assed shares her incredible journey to find relief from a chronic headache. As she visits countless doctors, indulges all manner of unsolicited advice from the Internet, and investigates every possible cause, from a brain tumor to a dead twin living in her brain, Jennette considers what it means to suffer, how to live with pain, and why the best treatment might be the simplest: laughter.

About the Author: 

Jennette Fulda is a writer, web designer, weight loss inspiration, chronic headache sufferer, blogger, and overall busy person. She lives in Chapel Hill, North Carolina.

Jennette was born weighing 8 pounds 5 ounces, but eventually tipped the scales at 372 pounds before losing almost 200 pounds through diet and exercise. She chronicled the experience on her blog, PastaQueen, and in her book, "Half-Assed: A Weight-Loss Memoir."

In 2008, Jennette got a headache that still hasn't gone away, regained 50 pounds, and wrote about the ordeal in her second book, a humorous headache memoir called "Chocolate & Vicodin: My quest for relief from the headache that wouldn't go away."

She chronicles her life after the "after" photo in her blog, PastaQueen, and does freelance web design at Make My Blog Pretty.


FTC Information: I received this book from Ayelet Gruenspecht, Associate Publicist for Simon and Schuster for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.




Blog Tour: Chocolate and Vicodin by Jennette Fulda

My review is coming later today, but I want to share with you some of the promotional materials I received with the book.  So read on and read my review later - all materials came from the publicity department at Simon and Schuster.  And let me tell you now - I love this book.

Facts about headaches and chronic pain

  • As many as 70 million Americans suffer from chronic pain (Source: New York Times)
  • Approximately 28 million Americans battle chronic headaches and migraines (Source: American Headache Society)
  • Chronic pain is more widespread than heart disease, cancer and diabetes combined (Source: New York Times)
  • Chronic pain costs an estimated $60 billion to $100 billion a year in medical fees, lost working days and working compensation. (Source: American Academy of Pain Medicine)
  • The National Institutes of Heath spends only 1% of its funding on reserach focused primarily on pain.
  • Many soldiers who experienced mild head trauma or a blast exposure while serving in Iraq or Afghanistan are returning to the United States with headaches. (Source: Neurology magazine, 2007)
Know someone with chronic pain - here are some tips for talking with them and as a chronic pain sufferer I have to say these are excellent tips.


Five tips for talking to a chronic pain sufferer
  1. DON'T GIVE THEM UNSOLICITED ADVICE.  If they ask for your opinion, feel free to give it.  Otherwise, you can be certain they've already heard the same advice over and over again.  It's patronizing when someone suggests an obvious treatment.  After three years you think they haven't tried aspirin?  It's presumptuous to assume you know more aobut someone's body and their experiences than they do.
  2. REMEMBER THAT MOST CHRONIC PAIN PATIENTS JUST WANT TO FEEL VALIDATED.  We yearn for empathy and for people to recognize our pain is real.  Pain is an invisible illness, so most people don't recognize how debilitating it can be.  If someone isn't moaning in pain or curled up in a ball on the floor, it's easy to forget tat they're in pain.  Chronic pain patients are talented in covering up their symptoms because they want to live normal lives.  Even if they aren't exhibiting symptoms, know they are still in pain.  Instead of suggesting a cure, just listen to them, acknowledge their pain and let them know you care.
  3. TRY TO BE SENSITIVE TO THEIR NEEDS, BUT DON'T OVERDO IT.  If you know a friend has lower back pain, offer her a pillow for her chair.  If your friend is having a migraine, offer to dim the lights for him or offer him a place to lie down.  Don't be overly insistent, though, because chronic pain patients don't want to feel babied.  We appreciate help, but we also want to maintain as much independence as we can.
  4. NEVER TELL THEM "I DON'T KNOW HOW YOU DO IT," OR "I COULD NEVER DEAL WITH WHAT YOU'RE GOING THROUGH."  Yes, you could, even though you wouldn't want to, which is exactly what chronic pain patients have to do.  When you tell someone you don't know how they do it, you're basically saying "I can't believe you haven't committed suicide yet."  Pain isn't something you've chosen to deal with.  It's not like a bake sale where you can back out at the last minute if you don't have time to bake cupcakes.  The only way not to deal with chronic pain is to die.  Chronic pain sufferers are at an increased risk for depressions and suicide, so don't push them off the edge.  Instead, say something like, "I admire how well you've dealt with your illness" or "If I ever become ill, I hope I deal with it with as much grace and strength as you have."  Both of these statements give the sufferer praise without implying something negative too.
  5. DON'T TELL THEM YOU HOPE THEIR PAIN GOES AWAY.  The sentiment is well-intentioned, but hte sad fact is most chronic pain patients never find a cure.  Telling them you hope they'll be cured is like telling an amputee that you hope their leg grows back.  That would be fantastic, but it's probably not going to happen.  Telling me you hope I'm cured only reminds me of the fact that I most likely never will be.  Instead, wish me better health in general or tell me you hope I'll have a low pain day.

Author, blogger, headache sufferer and web designer, Jennette Fulda, who now also lives in the lovely state of NC :)

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Book Review: How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper





How to Flirt with a Naked WerewolfHow to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper
Publisher: Pocket Books (a division of Simon & Schuster)
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
Paperback, 371 pages 
Romance, Comedy
ISBN: 978-1-4391-95886-4





My Review:
Why I read this: I love funny romances and I dare you to read the blurb below and not smile at some point - it just sound cute and funny.  Next month, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf comes out and I hope to read it as well.

How is the novel driven: It's a romance so it's given that it is character-driven. There is a plot as well, but it is mainly character-driven.


My thoughts: A really cute paranormal romance.  Not quite as funny as I expected, but it's definitely light and the funny parts are definitely funny.  I have not read any other of Ms. Harper's books but I will be sure to pick up the next one in this series, The Art of Seducing a Naked Werewolf when it comes out next month.

The romance is interesting.  I like that Cooper is protective of Mo.  I think that makes him a  great male character but sometimes he seems to take his "alphaness" a little too far.  I love Mo.  The descriptions of life with her parents are laugh-out-loud funny and you really feel for her and her struggle to become her own person and live a "normal" life.  Just when she thinks it's finally working she figures out that Cooper is a werewolf.  Nothing too normal about that.  I loved how the werewolves were worked in and how she was able to accept him pretty easily (it goes with her background so it doesn't seem unrealistic).  The scenes between them can be steamy, but I got a little frustrated at times when he didn't behave like I wanted him to. He could be rather angsty at times, but at other times so sweet.  Of course that's what makes it a romance, there has to be a little conflict to make the relationship work in a book.

So the characters are interesting and I look forward to meeting some of the other pack members and getting to know them better in future books and maybe getting to know the inhabitants of Grundy a little better as well.  I felt the book was mainly focused on the romance and conflict between Mo and Cooper that the town inhabitants were more in the background, but I want to learn more about them and the town. 

Great characters and good romance equals a fun and light read.  I enjoyed reading How to Flirt With a Naked Werewolf and will be picking up some of Molly Harper's other books in the near future.  She has a good writing style and I want to see it in action in her other books.


My Rating: 4.25/5.0


About the Book:

If a naked guy shows up on your front porch with a bear trap clamped to his ankle, it's best to do what he asks.

when Mo Wenstein made the move from Mississippi to Grundy, Alaska to get away from her intrusive hippie parents, she knew she would have to adapt to the cold, the remoteness of her new home ... but not a neighbor that shows up naked on her front porch--and who just so happens to be a werewolf.

For Cooper Graham, an Alpha in self-imposed exile from his dysfunctional pack, it's love at first sniff when it comes to Mo.  But Cooper has even more pressing concern on his mind.  Several people around Grundy have been the victims of wolf attacks and since Cooper has no memory of what he does while in werewolf form, he's worried he might be the violent canine in question.

If a wolf cries wolf, it makes sense to listen.  Yet Mo is convinced that Cooper is not the culprit.  But if he's not responsible, who is?  And when a werewolf falls head over haunches in love with you, what are you supposed to do anyway?  The rules of dating just got a whole lot more complicated.

About the Author: 
Molly Harper is the author of the acclaimed Nice Girls Vampire series as well as the stand-alone novel And One Last Thing...  She is a former humor columnist and newspaper reporter who studied print journalism at Western Kentucky University.  Her first work of darkly humorous fiction was composed at age eight--a story about her third-grade class taking a trip around the world and losing a kid in each city.  She lives in western Kentucky with her husband and children.


FTC Information: I received this book from Ayelet Gruenspecht, Associate Publicist for Simon and Schuster for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Tuesday, February 22, 2011

Book Review: Haven by Kristi Cook




HavenHaven by Kristi Cook
Publisher: Simon Pulse
Publish Date: February 22, 2011
Hardcover, 416 pages
Fiction, Young Adult, Paranormal






My Review:
Why I read this: I love the cover, the blurb sounded interesting (I am a sucker for private school settings) and it was getting a lot of positive reviews around the blogosphere.

How is the novel driven: Character and plot are a good balance in this one.


My thoughts: What a fun book.  I love a book that I really like all the characters from the first time they enter the book.  Violet is fun, she is a great character and has always felt out-of-place in her own skin and around others because of the visions that hit her when she least expects it.  So not only does she zone out but she can frequently see when bad things are going to happen to those around her. And this is bad enough but when she tries to tell people they never believe her.  So Violet feels very out-of-place until she sees the brochure for Winterhaven.  It calls to her and when she starts at the school she quickly finds out why.  At Winterhaven, Violet is not alone.  Everyone there has a special ability and finally Violet feels like she is at home.  With  a great roommate, who is a lot of fun herself, CeeCee and several other girls that quickly befriend her, she is part of a group and happy for the first time in a long time.


Add into the mix a handsome, mysterious boy who seems to have eyes only for her (even though he spends a lot of time in the chemistry lab) and Violet is just about in Heaven.  Then the visions start and things get a little weird.  But I won't give any more away - you have to read it.


Fun characters, a plot that sucks you in and great storytelling make Haven one of my favorite YA books this year.  It comes out today so I suggest you get a hold of this one.  I am hoping there will be more in the series.  The book ties itself up well but it also lends itself to a series.  I was impressed with this book - it's light fun yet serious at times too.  It's a very enjoyable read, that I would read again in a heartbeat - I loved being immersed in the world of Winterhaven and the students and teachers there. 

My Rating: 4.75/5.0


About the Book:

Violet McKenna isn’t a normal girl with normal teenage issues; she has more to contend with than most people could handle. Violet thought she was just crazy when she had a vivid vision of her dad’s murder. Her life started falling apart when her premonition came true. She’s had flashes of other events too. The problem was nobody believed her until she found a new school: Winterhaven.

At Winterhaven, Violet finally feels like she belongs. She quickly finds a close group friends and discovers that they too have psychic ‘gifts’—as do all the students at Winterhaven. But as soon as she feels settled she discovers the most intriguing and alluring boy she has ever met, and things quickly go awry. As the attraction between them grows, intense visions of the boy’s death start to haunt her. In her premonitions the secret he is unwilling to share begins to reveal itself. And to Violet's horror, she learns that their destinies are intertwined in a critical--and deadly--way.

About the Author: 
Kristi Cook writes adult novels for Zebra (as Kristina Cook), including To Love a Scoundrel, Unveiled, Unlaced, and Undressed. She also writes for Harlequin adult (as Kristi Astor), including A Midnight Clear and Winter's Desire. Kristi lives in Riverdale, NY.


FTC Information: I received this book from Simon and Schuster's Galley Grab program for a honest review.  I have Amazon links on my review pages but I do not make any money from these because of NC laws.  I put them solely for people to check out the books on a retail site.

Monday, February 21, 2011

Book Tour and Review: Final Vector by Allen Leverone


My Review:

Why I read this: From the blurb it sounds like a very exciting book so I asked to be a part of the tour.


How is this novel driven?  Plot, it's a suspense novel.

My Thoughts: If you like edge-of-your-seat suspense, then try out Mr. Leverone.  From page one to the end you will be breathless with the suspense.  I loved this book.  I love how the plot wove itself and how the action played out.  The writing was well done, the characters were interesting and the descriptions of how air traffic control works were interesting and informative.

I don't really know what else to say about this book - it is just simply an entertaining and enjoyable and intense story.  Mr. Leverone understands how to craft and exciting suspense novel.  The bad guys are scary, the good guys are heroic.  Final Vector is hard to put down and I look forward to more works from Mr. Leverone in the future.

This is one of the things I love about book blogging - find new authors from smaller presses that are true gems.  Final Vector is definitely one of those.


My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About Allan Leverone


Allan LeveroneAllan Leverone is a three-time Derringer Award Finalist whose short fiction has been featured in Needle: A Magazine of Noir, Shroud Magazine, Twisted Dreams, Mysterical-E and many other venues, both print and online. His debut thriller, titled FINAL VECTOR, is available February 2011 from Medallion Press. For details, please visit www.allanleverone.com or his blog at www.allanleverone.blogspot.com.

 

 

About Final Vector


Final VectorAir traffic controller Nick Jensen’s life is in a shambles. His wife Lisa has died following a horrific automobile wreck and the authorities suspect foul play. He finds evidence suggesting Lisa, a Pentagon auditor, had discovered potentially treasonous material on a fellow employee’s computer, a man who also winds up dead.
Desperate to escape the pain, Nick throws himself into his work and is on duty at the radar ATC facility serving Boston’s Logan Airport on the night U.S. President Robert Cartwright is scheduled to fly into Boston. Armed terrorists storm the facility, killing the security staff and taking Nick’s fellow controller hostage as he works.
Nick escapes capture, but with time running out, must use the information from his murdered wife to unravel the terrorists’ plot and stop an assassination while outnumbered, unarmed and on the run…

Read the Excerpt!

Jackie piped up, his normally high-pitched voice rising a couple of octaves. “So we’re going to use these Stinger missiles to shoot down an airplane?” “That is exactly correct,” Tony answered. “But not just any airplane. The president is flying into Logan International Airport in Boston very early next Sunday morning. We will be removing him from office. Permanently.”
“The president? The president of what?”
“What do you think?”
Stunned silence filled the room as the significance of Tony’s statement began to sink in.
“The president of the United States?” Joe-Bob whispered. “We’re going to shoot down Air Force One?”
Tony’s eyes glittered like hard black diamonds as he turned his cool smile on his small band of revolutionaries—the group that was about to change the course of history. “That is correct. President Cartwright is scheduled to celebrate the reopening of a historic church in Boston. I have learned that he will be flying into the airport around 5:00 a.m. next Sunday in order to arrive at the church in time to attend a sunrise service. He is then scheduled to lunch in the city with some of his major political contributors before flying back to Washington in early afternoon.
“Of course, as we now know, he will do none of those things, because he will be dead, lying at the bottom of a smoking hole in the ground just shy of Logan Airport. With a little bit of luck, perhaps people in the city will be killed as well, but that remains to be seen.”
Chaos erupted and then died down immediately when Tony held up a hand to silence his men.
Brian shook his head. “But how will we know where the plane is going to be and when to fire the missile? It’s a big sky out there.”
Tony smiled again. “We’ll know because we’re going to tell the pilot where we want him to go.”

Final Vector Virtual Book Tour Schedule


Tuesday, February 1
Interviewed at Examiner
Wednesday, February 2
Guest blogging & book giveaway at Between the Pages
Thursday, February 3
Guest blogging at The Story Behind the Book
Friday, February 4
Interviewed at Pump Up Your Book
Monday, February 7
Book reviewed at Pick of the Literate
Tuesday, February 8
Guest blogging at Night Owl Reviews
Wednesday, February 9
LIVE chat at Night Owl Reviews
Friday, February 11
Book reviewed & book giveaway at The Nearsighted Bookworm
Monday, February 14
Interviewed at Crimespace
Wednesday, February 16
Interviewed at The Book Connection
Thursday, February 17
Interviewed at Blogcritics
Friday, February 18
Interviewed at Literarily Speaking
Monday, February 21
Book reviewed at My Reading Room
Tuesday, February 22
Interviewed at Kindle Author
Wednesday, February 23
Interviewed at Review From Here
Thursday, February 24
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Friday, February 25
Book reviewed at Community Bookstop
Chat & Book Giveaway at Pump Up Your Book’s February Authors on Tour Facebook Party
Tuesday, March 1
Book reviewed at My Book Retreat
Wednesday, March 2
Book reviewed at Southern Fiber Reads
Thursday, March 3
Interviewed at Beyond the Books
Friday, March 4
Guest blogging at Writing Daze
Monday, March 7
Guest blogging at Murder by 4
Tuesday, March 8
Guest blogging at Literarily Speaking
Wednesday, March 9
Book trailer spotlighted at If Books Could Talk
Thursday, March 10
Book reviewed at Bri Clark: The Belle of Boise
Friday, March 11
Interviewed at The Hot Author Report
Monday, March 14
Guest blogging at Fantasy Pages
Tuesday, March 15
Interviewed at Book Marketing Buzz
Friday, March 16
Interviewed at Digital Journal
Friday, March 17
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Friday, March 18
Interviewed at As the Pages Turn
Monday, March 21
Guest blogging & book giveaway at The Book Faery Reviews
Tuesday, March 22
Guest blogging at Two Ends of the Pen
Wednesday, March 23
Book reviewed & book giveaway at Two Ends of the Pen
Thursday, March 24
Book spotlighted at The Plot
Friday, March 25
Guest blogging at The Plot
Chat & Book Giveaway at Pump Up Your Book’s February Authors on Tour Facebook Party



***I received this book from the author for tour with Pump Up Your Book Reviews for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***

It's Monday What Are You Reading - February 21

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 Sheila at One Persons Journey Through a World of Books and join in! 

Books Completed Last Week 

Reading Now: 
  • How to Flirt with a Naked Werewolf by Molly Harper (review)
  • Madame Tussaud: A Novel of the French Revolution by Michelle Moran (review)
  • Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich (library, audiobook)
Next:
  • A Heartbeat Away by Michael Palmer
  • The Emperor's Tomb by Steve Berry
  • Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell
  • Red Wolf by Liza Marklund

Summary -

Another great reading week and finally our weather has become nice - days in the 60s and evenings in the 40s/50s.  It sure beats what we have been having.  This is more like normal for the coast of NC.  Hope your weather is good and your reading is too!

Best of the week: That's a tough call this week - they were all good and the best for different reasons so I'm not going to give a best of the week this week - it's like picking your favorite child ;)


How was your week?

Friday, February 18, 2011

Book Review: The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy




The Promises She KeepsThe Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy
Publisher:Thomas Nelson
Publish Date:February 8, 2011
Trade Paperback, 352 pages
Christian Fiction






My Review:
Why I read this: I read Erin's first solo novel, Never Let You Go last year and loved it.  When I was offered The Promises She Keeps, I read the blurb and was intrigued and I had to read it.

How is the novel driven: This is tough - I would say plot, but the characters are a strong force in the story as well.


My thoughts: I thought The Promises She Keeps would be a hard book to review, until I started reviewing it and really thinking abou the book. When I finished the book I wasn't sure how I felt about it. I knew I could not put it down and I was enthralled by the book, but at one point I was also perturbed by the book.  So read on and find out what I mean.  And please do read on because I need you to understand that I truly love this book even though I did have a strong dislike reaction at one point.   Also, please remember that this is just my subjective opinion.

What did I like?  Ms. Healy can writes an amazing book and did with The Promises She Keeps, her writing just flows and describes things so well without being wordy.  I loved Promise, Chase, and Chelsea.  Wonderful characters. I was fascinated by the fact that the main character in this novel, Promise has Cystic Fibrosis.  My nephew has Cystic Fibrosis and 6 years ago we had no idea what that disease entailed, and only knew that it existed from the yearly telethon on tv.  Now we do know about it and from what I read in this book Ms. Healy did her research well or she knows someone with CF.  Promise is an amazing character and I welcome this book to educate so many others about this disease and help understand that each year that CF research is funded that people are helping extend CF patient's life.  20 years ago the life expectancy was in the teens, now it is in the 30s.  Wow - that is pretty amazing.

Another main character, Chase, is autistic and I loved the look into his life and his mannerisms and the life of his twin sister, Chelsea who is his primary caretaker.  These two were fascinating characters and I enjoyed reading about them just as much as Promise.  Chase is just amazing, his drawings sound beautiful and his dedication to God is just beautiful.   Chelsea's dedication to Chase is also awe-inspiring.  She sacrifices everything to do what she can for him and that is a beautiful quality in a person.

The plot kept me entranced, I kept turning the pages to see what happened next and I read the last 200 pages in one sitting - that is how involved I was in the book.  Ms. Healy does a marvelous job building up the tension without making it too intense.  You can kind of see where the book is going, but that doesn't hurt how you read the book because you still don't know how it will get there and the ending is still a surprise.

My moment of dislike (and this is a personal opinion) came about 1/3 of the way through the book.  I did not like the character of Porta, which you are not supposed to like her, she is the "bad guy".  The problem was at times I felt such disgust towards this woman that I thought I would put the book down.  The other characters were what pulled me through.  But I think Ms. Healy accomplished something here - a truly bad, "bad guy".  I can't recall in any recent books where I had that strong of a dislike towards a character and I read suspense and serial killer books.  Porta just did not sit right with me as a human being.  One thing I did like was that Ms. Healy could have made her a stereotype of witches, but she did not, she used another friend of Porta's who was a wiccan also as a foil to show that this group is not made up of  bad people, and that Porta is the one bad seed that can make others look bad.  This friend also wanted to help Porta and I liked the friend, but still could find nothing redeeming in Porta.  Porta is the only thing I really did not like in the book.

The supernatural elements of the plot were interesting.  And the linking together of Chase, Chelsea, Promise, Porta and Zack was very well-done.  The good and evil were very obvious and the parallels to the story of Jesus and his sacrifice were very evident.  Ms. Healy does a great job mixing the Christian element into the book without appearing preachy.  It's just natural and it's just there.

All-in-all, The Promises She Keeps is a book that will stay with you after you read it.  It is one you need to absorb when you finish and the beauty of the story starts to come to life the more you think about it.  This one really makes you think and I love the polarization of good and evil.  So many times the evil comes out kind of ho-hum, that is not the case in this book.  If you haven't read Ms. Healy before, I highly recommend this one, it has suspense, love, good and evil and a storyline that won't let you put the book down.

My Rating: 4.5/5.0


About the Book:

It's her destiny to die young. The man who loves her can't live with that. 

Promise, a talented young vocalist with a terminal illness, is counting on fame to keep her memory alive after she dies. Porta is an aging witch and art collector in search of the goddess who will grant her immortality.

When Promise inexplicably survives a series of freak accidents, Porta believes that Promise is the one she seeks. But Chase, an autistic artist who falls in love with Promise and opposes Porta, comes between the women with his mysterious visions and drawings, and plunges everyone into a flesh-and-blood confrontation over the true meaning of eternal life.

About the Author (from her website): 

Erin Healy is an award-winning fiction editor who has worked with talented novelists such as James Scott BellMelody CarlsonColleen CobleBrandilyn CollinsL. B. GrahamRene GutteridgeMichelle McKinney HammondRobin Lee HatcherDenise HildrethDenise HunterRandy IngermansonJane Kirkpatrick, Gilbert Morris, Frank Peretti,Lisa SamsonRandy SingerRobert Whitlow, and many others.
She began working with Ted Dekker in 2002 and edited twelve of his heart-pounding storiesbefore their collaboration on Kiss, the first novel to seat her on “the other side of the desk.”

Erin is the owner of WordWright Editorial Services, a consulting firm specializing in fiction book development. She lives with her family in Colorado.

***I received this book from Amy Currie at Phenix and Phenix Publicity for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Valentine's Day Books With Love Hop Winner




It's time to announce the Valentine's Day Books with Love Hop winner!  The winner has been contacted and has 72-hours to send their address or I will redraw the winner.  If you see yourself here as a winner and have not received an email, please feel free to email me at crystalfulcher(at)ec.rr.com with your address and the book of your choice (sometimes things get lost in cyberspace).  Thanks to all who entered!

The Winner is:
Cindi (email starts with jchop...)

Book Tour and Review: The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner


 

 
The Tudor Secret by C. W. Gortner
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Publish Date:February 1, 2011
Trade paperback, 352 pages 
Historical Fiction





My Review:
Why I read this:I am trying to read more historical fiction and the blurb on this one sounded very intriguing.  I know very little about this time in history so I thought it would be great to read.

How is the novel driven: Plot, the characters are pivotal, but the plot drives the book.


My thoughts:I have not read anything about this period of history in England nor do I remember much about the Tudors from history or literature classes in high school.  So The Tudor Secret was a very interesting novel to me.  I am familiar with Queen Elizabeth and know how highly regarded she was so it was interesting to see how it all came about.

That being said, I don't know how close to history, The Tudor Secret is.  The author states in the afterward that he proposes a what-if into the time frame and therefore the story is fiction, but it is built around what is known of the time.  Thus the genre of historical fiction.  I know I enjoyed the book and this look into Elizabeth and the fascinating fictional character of Brendan Prescott.  I also loved that this book is told from a male point-of-view.  I am so use to reading books from the female point-of-view that this was very refreshing to me.  Suspense books from male point-of-view, yes, but historical fiction books, not so much, at least the ones I have read.  I really liked Brendan as a character.  He had a strong character and a desire to do what was right.  He wasn't perfect but he tried.

The suspense plot that runs through The Tudor Secret was well-constructed.  I found myself trying to guess what might happen next but almost always getting it wrong.  The book held me spellbound and I was really sorry that work got in the way of me reading it this week.  I think if I had started it on a weekend it would have been like These Things Hidden and I would not be able to put it down.  Which is a rare quality in historical fiction for me personally.  I know a lot of you are lovers of the genre, but I am fairly new to it and I am not often enamored by historical fiction books.  Michele Moran always captivates me and now I think I will be sure and check out C. W. Gortner's other novels.

This is the first in a series of books and I look forward to reading the upcoming books, and learning more about the world of Brendan, Elizabeth, Kate and Peregrine.  The Tudor Secret did a great job of getting me into the time period, creating characters I cared about  and captivating my attention from beginning to end.  That makes a great novel for me and I am sure I won't forget this one for awhile.


My Rating: 4.5/5.0


About the Book:


The era of the Tudors was one of danger, intrigue, conspiracy, and above all, spies.

Summer 1553: A time of danger and deceit. Brendan Prescott, an orphan, is reared in the household of the powerful Dudley family. Brought to court, Prescott finds himself sent on an illicit mission to the King’s brilliant, enigmatic sister, Princess Elizabeth. But Brendan is soon compelled to work as a double agent by Elizabeth’s protector, William Cecil—who promises in exchange to help him unravel the secret of his own mysterious past.

A dark plot swirls around Elizabeth's quest to unravel the truth about the ominous disappearance of her seriously ill brother, King Edward VI. With only a bold stable boy and audacious lady-in-waiting at his side, Brendan plunges into a ruthless gambit of half-truths, lies, and murder. Filled with the intrigue and pageantry of Tudor England, The Tudor Secret is the first book in The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles.

About the Author: 


C.W. Gortner is the author of the acclaimed historical novels The Last Queen and The Confessions of Catherine de Medici. He holds an MFA in Writing with an emphasis on Renaissance Studies from the New College of California. In his extensive travels to research his books, he has danced a galliard in a Tudor great hall and experienced life in a Spanish castle. He is also a dedicated advocate for animal rights and environmental issues. Half-Spanish by birth, he divides his time between Northern California and Antigua, Guatemala.

The Tudor Secret is the first book in Gortner’s The Elizabeth I Spymaster Chronicles series.

You can visit the author online at www.cwgortner.com or his blog at http://historicalboys.blogspot.com/.

Exerpt from The Tudor Secret
There are moments that define our existence, moments that, if we recognize them, become pivotal turning points in our life. Like pearls on a strand, the accumulation of such moments will in time become the essence of our life, providing solace when our end draws near.

For me, meeting Elizabeth Tudor was one of those moments.

The first I noticed was that she was not beautiful. Her chin was too narrow for the oval of her face, her long thin nose emphasizing the high curve of her cheeks and proud brow. Her mouth was disproportionately wide and her lips too thin, as if she savored secrets. And she was too pale and slim, like a fey creature of indeterminate sex.

Then I met her stare. Her eyes were fathomless, over-wide pupils limning her gold irises, like twin suns in eclipse. I had seen eyes like hers before, years ago, when a traveling menagerie entertained us at Dudley Castle. Then, too, I had been captured by their dormant power.

She had the eyes of a lion.

“Lord Robert’s squire?” she said to Cecil. “How can it be? I’ve never seen him before.”

“I’m new to court, Your Grace,” I answered. “Your dog is foreign, is he not?”

She shot me a terse look; she’d not given me leave to speak. “He is Italian. You are familiar with the breed?”

“I had occasion to learn many things during my time in the Dudley stables.”

“Is that so?” She tilted her head. “Hold out your hand.”
I hesitated for a moment before warily extending my wrist. She loosened her grip on the chain. The hound thrust his muzzle at me. I almost recoiled as I felt his breath on my skin. He sniffed. To my relief, he licked my skin and retreated.

“You have a way with animals,” Elizabeth said. “Urian rarely takes to strangers.” She motioned me to my feet. “What is your name?”

“Brendan Prescott, Your Grace.”


***I received this book from the author through Pump Up Your Book Tours for an honest review.  I was not compensated in any other way except receiving the book for free.  I do not receive money for my amazon links since I live in NC (something about some law), so they are up purely for my readers to have a place to check out the book.***

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

CSN Stores Giveaway: $50 Gift Certificate





My husband and I have just recently rearranged our living room and in doing so realized that most of our furniture is getting old and also we need some new pieces to supplement what we have.  One easy way to solve this problem is head over to CSN Stores.  When going through the main website I found the modern furniture and I was in heaven.  I am still trying to decide what we need and when to get it, but there are lots of items to be found in just this 1 of the over 200 stores that make up CSN Stores.


Lucky for you, my readers, you have a chance to win a $50 gift certificate to spend at any of the 200+ CSN stores.  Entering is simple, just fill out the form below.  I do ask that for your entry you go to the link above and tell me one item that you like (you don't have to get that with your gift certificate).  The giveaway will run for two weeks, so it will end March 2, 2011 and is open to US/Canada only.  Shipping will not be covered by the gift certificate, but there are always lots of items that are free shipping.

If you have trouble viewing the form, you can find it here.