Friday, December 31, 2010

December Summary

December Summary 

  1.  The End of Marking Time by C.J. West - finished 12/1/10
  2. Ten Big Ones by Janet Evanovich - finished 12/2/10 
  3.  Scourge by David H. Burton - finished 12/3/10
  4. Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Rodrick Rules by Jeff Kinney - finished 12/4/10
  5. Bedeviled Eggs by Laura Childs - finished 12/5/10
  6. The Athena Project by Brad Thor - finished 12/7/10 
  7. Love of a Stonemason by Christa Polkinhorn - finished 12/10/10
  8. Act Like We're In Love by Christi Barth - finished 12/12/10
  9. Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich - finished 12/15/10
  10. The Boy Who Conquered Everest by Katherine Blanc and Jordan Romero - finished 12/15/10
  11.  The Killing Storm by Katherine Casey - finished 12/16/10
  12. The Cure by Tony Cowger - finished 12/20/10
  13. Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers - finished 12/21/10
  14. The Radleys by Matt Haig - finished 12/23/10
  15. The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber - finished 12/23/10
  16. Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas - finished 12/25/10
  17. Immanuel's Veins by Ted Dekker - finished 12/27/10
  18.  Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King - finished 12/30/10

Review books:11
Library Books:7
Books from my bookshelf:

Favorite of the month: Love of a Stonemason by Christa Polkinhorn

So how was your reading month?

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

2011 Challenge: YA Reading Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2011

Jamie at For the Love of Ya is hosting the 2011 YA Reading Challenge. She writes:

Last year I participated in the Young Adult Challenge that J. Kaye's book blog was hosting. But from what I can see J. Kaye isn't blogging anymore and I really wanted to do this challenge again. So here it is...with a wonky button to start off with...but it's here.
The Rules:
  • Anyone can join.
  • You don't need a blog to participate.
  • Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post on Jamie's blog.
  • Audio, eBooks, paper, re-reads all count.
  • No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
There are four levels:
  1. The Mini YA Reading Challenge – Read 12 Young Adult novels.
  2. The "Fun Size" YA Reading Challenge – Read 20 Young Adult novels.
  3. The Jumbo Size YA Reading Challenge – Read 40 Young Adult novels.
  4. The Mega size YA Reading Challenge – Read 50+ Young Adult novels.
For more information and to sign up, visit the post about the challenge.
I'm joining at the Mega Size level since I read well over 75 YA books last year.  With the wealth of new authors and old favorites out there, there is definitely plenty to choose from and I look forward to participating in this one this year.  I'll list my books as I finish them and link to the reviews as well.  Good luck everyone - let's read some great YA books!
  1. Choker by Elizabeth Woods
  2. Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson
  3. Haven by Kristi Cook
  4. Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast
  5. The Demon Trapper's Daughter by Jana Oliver
  6. Mystify by Artist Arthur
  7. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  8. Wither by Lauren DeStefano
  9. Between Shades of Gray by Ruta Sepetys
  10. Boyfriends with Girlfriends by Alex Sanchez
  11. Shattered Souls by Mary Lindsay
  12. The Babysitter Murders by Janet Ruth Young
  13. Strings Attached by Judy Blundell
  14. Tighter by Adele Griffin
  15. Popular by Alissa Grosso
  16. Behind the Gates by Eva Gray
  17. Bloodspell by Amalie Howard
  18. CYA2: The Sext Crime by Jason Ancona
  19. Shattered by Melody Carlson
  20. The Princess of Las Pulgas by C. Lee McKenzie
  21. A Season of Eden by Jennifer Laurens
  22. Don't Stop Now by Julie Halpern
  23. The Girlz of Galstanberry by Garen S. Wolff
  24. Crush Control by Jennifer Jabaley
  25. How Huge the Night by Lydia and Heather Munn
  26. Double Take by Melody Carlson
  27. Aurora Undefined by Kate Hinderer
  28. Mayhem by Artist Arthur
  29. A Scary Scene in a Scary Movie by Matt Blackstone
  30. The Detention Club by David Yoo
  31. Dead Rules by Randy Russell
  32. Songbird by Angela Fristoe
  33. Effie at the Wedding by Tracy Marchini
  34. Inconvenient by Maggie Gelbwasser
  35. Perfectly Invisible by Kristen Billerbeck
  36. Populazzi by Elise Allen
  37. Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets by J.K. Rowling
  38. Deadly Cool by Gemma Halladay
  39. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban by J.K. Rowling
  40. Blood Ties by Mari Mancusi
  41. The Circle Cast: The Lost Years of Morgan Le Fey by Alex Epstein
  42. Don't Breathe a Word by Holly Cupala
  43. Original Sin by Lisa Desrochers
  44. Touch of Frost by Jennifer Estep
  45. Calli by Jessica Anderson Lee
  46. Vanish by Sophie Jordan
  47. Anna Dressed in Blood by Kendare Blake
  48. The Poison Diaries: Nightshade by Maryrose Wood
  49. Delcroix Academy: The Marked by Inara Scott
  50. The Sharp Time by Mary O'Connell
  51. Diary of a Teenage Girl: Becoming Me (Caitlin) by Melody Carlson
  52. The Vision by Jen Nadol
  53. Ashfall by Mike Mullin
  54. In Too Deep by Amanda Grace
  55. Dark Eden by Patrick Carman
  56. This Brave Balance by Reh Rusalka
  57. Thou Shalt Not Road Trip by Antony John
  58. Winter's Shadow by M.J. Hearle
  59. Finding Somewhere by Joseph Monninger
  60. Farsighted by Emlyn Chand
  61. The Iron Knight by Julie Kagawa
  62. Cracked by K.M. Walton
  63. Fracture by Megan Miranda
  64. The Christmas Village by Melissa Ann Goodwin
  65. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent
  66. Watched by Sharde Richardson
  67. The Black Shard by Victoria Simcox
  68. Destined by P.C. & Kristen Cast
  69. Kiss of Frost by Jennifer Estep

2011 Challenge: Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2011

Jamie at The Book Junkie's Bookshelf is hosting the 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge. She writes:

I participated in this challenge last year when it was hosted by J. Kayes book blog. But it seems that J. Kaye is no longer blogging and I really wanted to do this challenge again so I thought that I would try my hand at hosting it.
The Rules:
  • Anyone can join.
  • You don't need a blog to participate.
  • Non-Bloggers: Post your list of books in the comment section of the wrap-up post on Jamie's blog.
  • Audio, Re-reads, eBooks, YA, Young Reader – basically any book counts just as long as it is checked out from the library. Books MUST be checked out like with a library card, books purchased at a library DO NOT count.
  • No need to list your books in advance. You may select books as you go. Even if you list them now, you can change the list if needed.
  • Crossovers from other reading challenges count.
There are four levels to this challenge...Pick your poison:
  1. The Mini – Check out and read 30 library books.
  2. "Fun" Size – Check out and read 40 library books.
  3. Jumbo Size – Check out and read 50 library books.
  4. Mega Size – Check out and read 51+ library books.
Learn more and sign up by visiting the post about the challenge.
I read over 50 books from the library in 2010 (and still have a few to finish) so I think I'm going to join at Mega Size :)  I love my library and my librarians know me when I walk in the door.  They even know they don't have to call me when my reserves are in (I check online constantly).  I love my library and love doing this challenge.  I'll add my books read and links to reviews as I finish books.

  1. The Last Straw (Diary of a Wimpy Kid #3) by Jeff Kinney, read 1/3/2011
  2. Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz, read 1/9/2011
  3. Cross Fire by James Patterson, read 1/10/2011
  4. Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast, read 1/20/2011
  5. Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag, read 1/21/2011
  6. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich, read 2/8/2011
  7. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich, read 2/18/2011
  8. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich, read 2/28/2011
  9. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evanovich, read 3/17/2011
  10. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, read 4/7/2011
  11. Toys by James Patterson, read 4/23/2011
  12. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen, read 4/29/2011
  13. Save Me by Lisa Scottoline, read 5/15/2011
  14. 10th Anniversary by James Patterson, read 5/21/2011
  15. Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts, read 5/25/2011
  16. High Noon by Nora Roberts, read 7/18/2011
  17. Not My Daughter by Barbara Delinsky, read 8/15/2011
  18. Now You See Her by Joy Fielding, read 8/16/2011
  19. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly, read 8/22/2011
  20. The Raising by Laure Kasischke, read 9/9/2011
  21. Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag, read 9/22/2011
  22. Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark, read 10/6/2011
  23. Dawn of the Red Dragon by Mary Pope Osborne, read 10/19/2011
  24. Kill Me If You Can by James Patterson, read 10/22/2011
  25. Winter of the Ice Wizard by Mary Pope Osborne, read 11/2/2011
  26. Picture Perfect by Jodi Picoult, read 12/1/2011
  27. My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent, read 12/3/2011
  28. Destined by P.C. Cast and Kristen Cast, read 12/7/2011

Out With A Bang Readathon: What I'm reading

I'm very excited to join in on my last Readathon of 2010, the Out With a Bang Readathon hosted by The Bookish Type. Check out her blog to sign up for the readathon and see what challenges and giveaways are going on.

The main purpose it to finish 2010 with a bang and get those last few books read. Since I'm working today but off tomorrow and Friday, I plan on reading a few books, but I'm not sure how many. On my list are the following:

Full Dark, No StarsFull Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
finishing the year with one of my all-time favorite writers

A new collection of four never-before-published stories from Stephen King.

The story opens with the confession of Wilfred James to the murder of his wife, Arlette, following their move to Hemingford, Nebraska onto land willed to Arlette by her father.

Big Driver
Mystery writer, Tess, has been supplementing her writing income for years by doing speaking engagements with no problems. But following a last-minute invitation to a book club 60 miles away, she takes a shortcut home with dire consequences.

Fair Extension
Harry Streeter, who is suffering from cancer, decides to make a deal with the devil but, as always, there is a price to pay.

A Good Marriage
Darcy Anderson learns more about her husband of over twenty years than she would have liked to know when she stumbles literally upon a box under a worktable in their garage.

Trickster's Girl (Raven Duet)Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell
this comes out next week and I have it up for review

In the year 2098 America isn't so different from the USA of today. But, in a post-9/11 security-obssessed world, "secured" doesn't just refer to borders between countries, it also refer to borders between states. Teenagers still think they know everything, but there is no cure for cancer, as Kelsa knows first-hand from watching her father die.
The night Kelsa buries her father, a boy appears. He claims magic is responsible for the health of Earth, but  human damage disrupts its flow. The planet is dying.
Kelsa has the power to reverse the damage, but first she must accept that magic exists and see beyond her own pain in order to heal the planet.
Eggs in Purgatory (A Cackleberry Club Mystery)Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs
I read the latest in this series a few weeks ago and I got this one from the library so I could start from the beginning.

Suzanne, Toni, and Petra lose their husbands but find independence when they open the Cackleberry Club. Then their cozy cafe becomes the scene of a crime when a lawyer dies with a secret on his lips and egg on his face. What this all has to do with a religious cult and Suzanne’s past could put her own life on the line. 
I'm not sure what else, but that is a preview and it's subject to change in accordance with my whims :)
Happy readathon all!

Tuesday, December 28, 2010

Book Review: Fall For Anything by Courtney Summers

Fall for AnythingFall for Anything by Courtney Summers
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffin
Release:December 21, 2010
Paperback, 224 pages
Young Adult, Contemporary

My Review:
Why I read this: I am going to confess  now that I have not read anything by Courtney Summers, yet I have heard wonderful things about her.  She put up a notice on her blog that you could submit your blog stats if you were interested in reviewing Fall For Anything and the publisher would choose who could get the ARCs.  I signed up and received a copy of this wonderful book.

How is the novel driven:  Character, this is about Eddie's journey for answers and through her grief after her father's suicide.

My Thoughts:  If I had to sum this book up in one word it would be emotional.  I mean that in a good way.  I felt like I was right there with Eddie the entire book, feeling all of her emotions,  her grief, her curiosity,  her confusion, all of it.  I  haven't read Courtney  Summers before so I can' t compare this to her other books, but as a book taken on it's own, I think Fall for Anything is pretty amazing.

At the beginning Eddie seems pretty unlikeable, but as the book continues and the reader sees why Eddie is this way and what is causing her to pursue answers, she becomes more likeable.  She is very confused, full of teen angst (though not in a predictable way) and I think this would be true of any teen trying to deal with a parent's suicide. As the story continues Eddie changes, she learns things, she deals with Culler and Milo, trying to figure out where they fit in her life.  I also thought it was interesting that Eddie is not a complete outcast and to set this during the summer where school is of less importance.  Eddie does fit in with people, she has friends, but Milo is her best friend and they are dependent on each other when the book begins.

I like also that Milo becomes more developed in the book.  He's not just her sidekick, he has feelings as well that he has to work through.  And Culler made an interesting foil to Milo and the twists and turns he offers the book really make it interesting.

The suspense thread that runs through the book of trying to find out why Eddie's dad committed suicide was also interesting.  It had me on the edge of  my seat and turning page after page to see if Eddie would find the answer.  I think Ms. Summers does an excellent job of balancing a suspense plot along with character development to make this a very well-rounded and interesting novel.

So with all of that said, if you enjoy emotional books, this is one for you.  It's not your typical happy-go-lucky YA book obviously.  I think Ms. Summers deals very well with the variety of emotions and a tough subject in this book.  I think through Eddie she has made a very memorable character.  I know she will stay with me for awhile. 

My Rating:  5.0/5.0

About the Book:
From the author of Cracked Up to Be and Some Girls Are comes a gripping story about one girl’s search for clues into the mysterious death of her father.

When Eddie Reeves’s father commits suicide her life is consumed by the nagging question of why? Why when he was a legendary photographer and a brilliant teacher? Why when he seemed to find inspiration in everything he saw? And, most important, why when he had a daughter who loved him more than anyone else in the world? When she meets Culler Evans, a former student of her father’s and a photographer himself, an instant and dangerous attraction begins. Culler seems to know more about her father than she does and could possibly hold the key to the mystery surrounding his death. But Eddie’s vulnerability has weakened her and Culler Evans is getting too close. Her need for the truth keeps her hanging on...but are some questions better left unanswered?

About the author:

Courtney Summers can't wait for the zombie apocalypse. Also she is the author of CRACKED UP TO BE and SOME GIRLS ARE (available now) and FALL FOR ANYTHING (out December 21st, 2010), three edgy young adult novels published by St. Martin's Press.


FTC Information: I received this book through from the publisher at the request of the author (thank you so much Courtney!).  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.

Friday, December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays!

I apologize for not being around this week - I have several reviews to catch up on, but it's been a week full of work,baking, cleaning and preparing my house for family to come on Christmas.  I will be back next week with reviews of Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers (excellent book), The Cure by Tony Cowger, The Perfect Christmas by Debbie Macomber and Christmas Eve at Friday Harbor by Lisa Kleypas (OK so I was reading along with all the cleaning).

To all who celebrate, have a very Merry Christmas!  I'll see you next week with reviews and giveaways.

To those who don't celebrate Christmas - I hope you have a very happy holiday season for the holiday you celebrate!

- Crystal

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Teaser Tuesday - December 21


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! 
It's hard to sleep.  It eventually happens and when I wake up again it's late, close to evening late.  An entire day passes me by and I'm tired.  I am still so tired.

From Fall for Anything by Courtney Summers (it came out today!)

Fall for Anything

Sunday, December 19, 2010

2011Challenge: 100+ Reading Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2011

Amy at My Overstuffed Bookshelf is hosting the 100+ Reading Challenge. She writes:

I am challenging you to beat your 2010 record this year! Can you read over 100 books this year?
Learn more and sign up by visiting the post about the challenge.

My goal in this one is to beat the number of books I read in 2010.  Since the year is unfinished I am unsure how  many that will be, but I have already beat 2009 in 2010.  I'm guessing my ultimate goal will be in the neighborhood of 225.

I'll put the books up on this post as I finish them and link to reviews.
  1.  Diary of a Wimpy Kid: The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney - read 1/3/2011
  2. Choker by Elizabeth Woods - read 1/3/2011
  3. Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz - read 1/7/2011
  4. Cross Fire by James Patterson - read 1/10/2011
  5. Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson - read 1/11/2011
  6. Fatal Judgment by Irene Hannon - read 1/14/2011
  7. Haven by Kristi Cook - read 1/19/2011
  8. Awakened by P.C. and Kristin Cast - read 1/20/2011
  9. Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag - read 1/21/2011

Saturday, December 18, 2010

2011 Challenge: 2011 Audio Book Challenge

Teresa at Teresa's Reading Corner is hosting the 2011 Audiobook Challenge. She writes:

The 2010 edition was hosted by Alaine of Queen of Happy Endings. When Alaine was looking for someone to take over for her, I happily volunteered. Choose your level of participation and add your name. Over the course of the year I'm going to try to put together some fun things. If you have any suggestions, feel free to let me know.

The levels will be the same as last year:

Curious: 3 Audio Books
Fascinated: 6 Audio Books
Addicted: 12 Audio Books
Obsessed: 20 Audio Books

For more information and to sign up, visit the post about the challenge.

I'm going to join this one at the Obsessed level again this year. I easily read 1-2 books per month while listening in the car on the way to and from work (after I drop the kids off and before I pick them up) and also from time-to-time at work.  So this should be a breeze and lots of fun.  I actually use audiobooks to catch up on some popular series, like the Tempe Brennan series by Kathy Reichs and the Stephanie Plum series by Janet Evanovich and I'm lucky that my library has most of these available to me.

I'll list my books here as I finish them with links to the reviews (I will be better about reviewing my audiobooks this year!)

  1. Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag
  2. Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
  3. Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich
  4. Fearless Fourteen by Janet Evanovich
  5. Some Girls Are by Courtney Summers
  6. Finger Lickin' Fifteen by Janet Evaonvich
  7. The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger
  8. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
  9. Chasing Fire by Nora Roberts
  10. High Noon by Nora Roberts
  11. The Fifth Witness by Michael Connelly
  12. Secrets to the Grave by Tami Hoag
  13. Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark
  14. Backseat Saints by Joshlyn Jackson

2011 Challenge: Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge

January 1 - December 31, 2011
Jennifer of Reading With Tequila is hosting the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge again in 2011.  She writes:
Book bloggers are my favorite source of book recommendations. More than any other source, they consistently introduce me to books and authors that impact my life. Therefore, I have created the Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge.

Click here to see the entire 2010 Book Blogger Recommendation List.

The Levels:
Level I - Read 5 books from the 2010 Book Blogger Recommendation List
Level II - Read 10 books
Level III - Read 15 books
Level IV - Read 20 books
Level V - Read 20+ books

The Rules:
  • Participants can join anytime throughout the challenge.
  • Create an intro post.
  • Chose your own books from the list. You can decide to read books only on the Top 25 list or from the entire recommendation list. You do not have to make a list of books before the challenge begins.
  • All forms of books acceptable (audiobooks, eBooks, etc.)
  • Rereads do not count towards the completion of the challenge. The challenge is about discovering books that are new to you.
  • You don't need a blog to participate.
  • Reviews, while always appreciated, are not mandatory.
 To join, go to  Book Blogger Recommendation Challenge.

I'm going to join at Level III - read 15 books.  I have just glanced at the list, but it is full of books I want to read so this should be a breeze.  Come join in as well!

I'll list my books here linked to reviews as I finish them.

  1. Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban - J.K. Rowling
  2. The Time Traveler's Wife - Audrey Niffennegger

2011 Challenge: Cruisin' Thru the Cozies 2011

Yvonne at Socrates' Book Reviews is hosting the Crusin' Thru the Cozies Reading Challenge for 2011.  I just recently started reading more cozy mysteries so participating in this challenge will help me explore this genre more thoroughly.

Information about the challenge can be found at Socrates' Book Reviews.

I'm going to join at Level 2, Investigator which has me reading 7-12 books.  I think I can fit that in easily.

I will list my books as I complete them here with links to the reviews.

2011 Challenge: 2011 A to Z challenge

Becky from Becky's Book Reviews is once again hosting the 2011 A to Z Challenge.

Here's how the challenge works, from the A to Z Challenge website:

How does this reading challenge work? Choose the option that works best for you...

Authors -- Read alphabetically by author. Commit to 26 books.
Titles -- Read alphabetically by title. Commit to 26 books.
Authors & Titles -- Commit to reading 52 books

I will be doing the Titles, I think I can handle that and it should be fun to try and find titles with the difficult letters.

I'll list my completed books linked to reviews here.  Want to join the challenge along with me and many others.  Sign up for it here.

A - Awakened by P.C. & Kristin Cast
B - The Big Show Stopper by Ken Dalton
C- Choker by Elizabeth Woods
D- Deeper than the Dead by Tami Hoag
E- Effie at the Wedding by Tracy Marchini
F- Final Vector by Allen Leverone
G- Gabby, God's Little Angel by Sheila Walsh
H- Haven by Kristi Cook
I-  In Transit by Kathleen Gerard
J-  Just Take My Heart by Mary Higgins Clark
K- The Kensei by Jon F. Merz
L- The Last Straw by Jeff Kinney (Diary of a Wimpy Kid)
M- Misguided Angel by Melissa de la Cruz
N- Never Been Kissed by Melody Carlson
O-  Ordinary Thunderstorms by William Boyd
P- The Promises She Keeps by Erin Healy
Q- The Queen by Steven James
R- The Resurrection by Mike Duran
S- Said the Spider by Earle E. Van Gilder
T- Twelve Sharp by Janet Evanovich
V-  Vanish by Sophie Jordan
W- The Werewolf Upstairs by Ashlyn Chase
Z- Zero Day by  Mark Russinovch

2011 Challenge: Reading From My Shelves Project 2011

Diane at Bibliophile By the Sea is once again hosting the Reading From My Shelves Project for 2011.  This is one I really need to take part in as my reading pile has grown by leaps and bounds but my space has not.

Here are the details (from Diane):

  • Challenge runs from January 1 - December 31, 2011.
  • Read books from your own shelves, and then pass the books on to someone else: a friend, relative, the library, used book store, swap them, just as long as the book leaves your house once it has been read.  
  • Decide on your goal (12 is the minimum - no maximum). Cross over books are allowed.
  • Grab the button and do a post about the challenge.
  • Keep a running list of the books you've read and passed on.
  •  Leave a comment on this post with a link to your post and you are entered. (
  • Have Fun and GOOD LUCK!

So my goal will be 24 - that's two a month and it will nicely coincide with some of my other challenges. I look forward to reading and completing this challenge.

I'll keep a running list of the books on this post through the year.


Friday, December 17, 2010

Book Review: The Killing Storm by Kathryn Casey

The Killing Storm (Sarah Armstrong)The Killing Storm by Kathryn Casey
Publisher: Minotaur Books
Release:October 26, 2010
Hardcover, 320 pages
Suspense/Thriller, Sarah Armstrong #3

My Review:
Why I read this: Read the blurb - it sounds fascinating and I love the cover.  I am also finally over my fear of reading in the middle of a series.  I know there are two books before this one, but it sounded so good I didn't mind reading the series out of order.

How is the novel driven:  Since it's a suspense/thriller type of book, obviously plot drives the book, but the characters are important, I like getting to know Sarah and plan on reading the first two books to know her better.

My Thoughts:  This is my first book by Kathyn Casey and it won't be my last.  If you are looking for a thrill ride to go on from the first page until the last, then The Killing Storm is for you.  Set against the backdrop of a monster hurricane approaching the Texas coast makes the stakes even higher for Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong.  She's not only racing against a kidnapper/killer but also an extremely powerful hurricane.

As someone who lives on the coast I understand the hurricane background very well.  So that part of the story played very true with me.  The suspense plot holds you tight through the whole book as well.  I thought when the author lets you know midway through the book who the bad guy was that it was pretty much over, but that was the point it really got exciting and trust me it was exciting before that point.

The characters were also interesting.  Sarah Armstrong, a Texas Ranger and her boyfriend who is a FBI agent are the main characters but most of the focus is on Sarah.  The reader gets some background into Sarah who has been in the two earlier books by the author.  However I never felt lost while reading the book, I do think some background would have been filled in from reading the earlier books, but I don't think it is necessary if you want to start with this book.  Sarah makes a great character.  There were a couple of times I felt I couldn't identify with the decisions she would make but then again I'm not in law enforcement, as the book goes on I understood the decisions better.

The Killing Storm is a great suspense novel that will keep you on the edge of your seat.  Ms. Casey's descriptions of the hurricane are very realistic and I felt like I was in the middle of it with Sarah towards the end of the book.  Let's just say you won't be able to put the book down for a minute for at least the last 150 pages.  I know I could not.  So if you like suspense then try this out.  One note, I am a mom and this deals with the kidnapping of a young boy.  I have two boys and while this book did disturb me it wasn't hard to read.  There was one scene that made me a little uncomfortable, but it was less than a page and after reading the whole book I realize it didn't take me away from the story or take any of the enjoyment away from me.  Trust me James Patterson has much worse scenes in his books and the scene is integral to the book, not something just thrown in for shock value.  I think Ms. Casey takes her writing very seriously and it shows in a well-thought out, well-plotted novel that has me wanting to find the first two books in this series right away.

My Rating:  4.5/5.0

About the Book:
On a quiet afternoon in the park, four-year-old Joey plays in the sandbox, when a stranger approaches looking for his puppy. While Joey’s mom, Crystal, talks on her cell phone, the stranger convinces the child to help search. By the time Crystal turns around, her son has disappeared. Yet her reaction is odd, not what one would expect from a distraught mother. Is Crystal somehow involved in her son’s abduction?

Meanwhile, on a ranch outside Houston, Texas Ranger Sarah Armstrong assesses a symbol left on the hide of a slaughtered longhorn, a figure that dates back to a forgotten era of sugarcane plantations and slavery. Soon other prizewinning bulls are butchered on the outskirts of the city, each bearing a similar drawing. The investigations converge at the same time a catastrophic hurricane looms in the Gulf. Finally, as dangerous winds and torrential rains pummel the city, Sarah is forced to risk her life to save Joey.

About Kathryn Casey

Kathryn Casey 4Kathryn Casey is an award-winning, Houston-based novelist and journalist, the creator of the Sarah Armstrong mystery series and the author of five highly acclaimed true crime books. SINGULARITY, the first in the Armstrong series, debuted in June to rave reviews. It was a Deadly Pleasures magazine Best First Novel of 2008 selection, was included on Vanity Fair’s Hot Type page, won stars from Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and the Tampa Tribune said: “Not since Patricia Cornwell’s POSTMORTEM has a crime author crafted such a stellar series debut. Kathryn Casey hits the right notes.”
The second in the series, BLOOD LINES (2009) was called a “strong sequel” by Publisher’s Weekly, and was included in a Reader’s Digest condensed books edition for fall 2010.

The Killing Storm, Katherine’s latest, has been chosen as a Mystery Book Club selection, and Publisher’s Weekly labels it “the best in the series so far.” Library Journal awarded the book a star, and Kirkus calls it “pulse-pounding.”

In addition, Ann Rule has called Casey, “one of the best in the true crime genre.” Her non-fiction books all published by HarperCollins include: A WARRANT TO KILL, (2000); SHE WANTED IT ALL (2005); DIE, MY LOVE (2007); A DESCENT INTO HELL (2008), EVIL BESIDE HER (2008), and SHATTERED (2010). Three were Literary Guild, Mystery Guild, and Doubleday Book Club selections.

You can visit her website at

FTC Information: I received this book through Pump Up Your Book online publicity tours.  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.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Book Review: The Boy Who Conquered Everest by Katherine Blanc and Jordan Romero

The Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero StoryThe Boy Who Conquered Everest: The Jordan Romero Story by Katherine Blanc and Jordan Romero
Publisher: Hay House
Release: July 30, 2010
Paperback, 72 pages
Ages 9-12

My Review:
Why I read this: I love reading about people accomplishing extreme goals, and thought reading about this kid who climbed Mount Everest sounded fascinating.  I also wanted to share it with my oldest son.

My Thoughts: After finishing this book, I will just say I am impressed by Jordan Romero.  What he did was amazing and his attitude and maturity are what shined to me in the book.  He climbed the Seven Summits with his dad and step-mom.  He did it even with complications (which you would expect when climbing to extreme altitudes) and he did it with a good attitude (at least that is what shines through in the book).

The book is simple, a lot of pictures and some notes of how things went along the way and how he accomplished his goals.  It's a quick but enjoyable read that will leave children and adults alike inspired.  I know it has made me want to get back to achieving my goal of running a half-marathon.  And I think that is what Jordan wanted to do with this book was inspire kids in this video game and spending most of  your time inside society that they can accomplish big goals if they set out to do them.  He emphasizes planning and the fact that if he can do it others can too.  While I don't really want my son climbing Everest, I do hope he finds some inspiration in this book and I think he will.

It's a charming read, well done I believe for a simple book to show what took a few years to do in 72 pages.  It's inspiring and that is the best quality about the book.  I can't find any faults with it - it's a kids book and it's enjoyable, those are the main things.

My Rating:  I don't rate non-fiction books, but this is a wonderful kids book!

About the Book:
Jordan Romero was a regular 9 year old boy. He loved BMX biking, listening to music, hanging out with his friends and family, participating in school activities, and studying nature and reptiles. So why would he want to climb the world's tallest mountains? What made him decide to try something so dangerous and difficult?

 It all started when Jordan spotted a map of the famous "Seven Summits", the tallest mountains on Earth's seven continents, including massive Mt. Everest–the tallest of all. Jordan could not take his eyes off of that map; his head was filled with thoughts of snow-covered peaks, jagged rocks, billowing white clouds and deep blue skies.
Four years later, Jordan stood and gazed down at those peaks and cloudy skies from the 29,035 ft. summit of Mt. Everest. He had reached his goal:
To conquer the mightiest of mountains and inspire other kids to dream BIG!
How did he do it? This is his story...
FTC Information: I received this book from the Hannah Shaner from BohlsenPR for 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.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010


It's time for winners again.  Thank you to everyone who entered in these giveaways and stay tuned, I need to get my shelves cleared off so I have more coming in the near future.

Thrill of the Chase (Five Star Expressions)

Thrill of the Chase by Christina Crooks:  Karen K

Book from Book Depository (under $15):  Marty (DarkWyrmReads)

Selection of 3 books: Ella Bella

Trickster's Girl ARC by Hilari Bell:  Shirley
The Ice Cream Theory by Steff Deschenes:  Wanda

Thanks to all who entered, more giveaways in the next few weeks and in the coming year.  If you are expecting a book from me - all will be out by early next week, so be on the lookout - I haven't forgotten!