Monday, August 31, 2009
Thanks to Jaime at Revenge of the Book Nerds, let's see what our blogging friends look like in "real" life:
Me and my husband, also my best friend
Me and Anthony at Stone Mountain
Son Tylor with dog Giovanni ("G")
Sparky, our watchcat and coolest cat in the world
Posted by Lori Johnston at Monday, August 31, 2009
Posted by Lori Johnston at Monday, August 31, 2009
What I Read Last Week:
He Who Sings Last by Lisa Laird DiRosso. DiRosso's debut book about a cold case murder, a washed up rock star and an obsessed fan. Review coming!
What My Nose is Buried in This Week:
Lady Anne and the Howl in the Dark by Donna Lea Simpson. This book is a gothic historical mystery fiction romance with touches of the paranormal (yes, really) and although I am but 40 pages in, I'm hooked.
So . . . what are you reading today?
Saturday, August 29, 2009
As of August 2009
If you are an author, publisher or publicist and would like to see your book profiled here, I would love to hear from you! Please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
I thoroughly love to read and have been a lifelong reader. I will read books as quickly as I can, however I do have a job outside of my blog, as well as a family, and so I can't always read as quickly as I would like.
I am not a paid book blogger. The books I review are provided to me by the publisher, library books or books I purchase myself.
Please do not be offended if I do not accept a book. Books are subjective, like everything else.
What I enjoy reading: I am partial to contemporary fiction, literary fiction, historical fiction, chick-lit, mysteries, thrillers, horror, paranormal, true crime and books about Hollywood. I also read certain types of romance, young adult, biographies/autobiographies and types of nonfiction.
What I don't review: There are always exceptions, dependent upon the circumstance, but in general I don't review self-help books, e-books, health related books, Christian fiction, science fiction, graphic novels, political books, audiobooks or erotica.
What to expect from me: You can expect an honest review. If I have any negative comments, I will not be deliberately rude but will state my opinion and feelings about the book. I will include a picture of the book cover in my review. If you would like a link included to the author's website, please let me know and I will include it. If you are looking to coordinate my review with a blog tour, please let me know. I will post my review to my blog, Goodreads, Amazon, Barnes & Noble and to Library Thing. You are welcome to post my reviews elsewhere providing you link it back to my blog and contact me as to where you are publishing it. I reserve the right not to complete a book if I'm not enjoying it. I will not sell ARCs or any book sent to me for a review but I do have the right to use them as a giveaway on my blog to promote the book or pass them along to a fellow reader.
Guest Posting and Blog Tours: If you would like to submit a guest post on my blog, I would be happy to have you here! All guest posts must be submitted to me prior to posting. I am also happy to participate in author interviews and blog tours.
Most importantly, thank you for stopping by my blog. I hope you enjoy your time here. If you have any questions or would like me to review your book, please contact me at email@example.com.
Friday, August 28, 2009
Today, author and fellow blogger Donna Lea Simpson has declared it Fun Friday! I can't encourage you enough to check out her post here. For any of us who also write stories and/or novels in our spare time, the websites she mentions are a valuable tool. Not just to help improve our writing skills but to make what can be a time consuming (for some) and stressful (for others) chore a whole lot more fun.
Using the tools Donna suggested to get my gothic romance novel title, a hero, a heroine, a villain, a villainous catchphrase, a plot twist and a title, here is my info:
Title: Demon Candlewood Abbey (love this title! It really does sound like a gothic romance, something DuMaurier, Bronte or Austen would have written!)
Location: Claydent (does this sound like a farming community? Or something along the lines of Meryton?)
Heroine: Charlotte Onslow (sounds like a serious minded young lady. Perhaps she expected to become a governess?)
Hero: Frederick Rotherham (doesn't this sound like a Mr. Darcy-ish type of hero? A proud man, maybe a bit standoffish, until our heroine gets to know him?)
Villain: Ichabod the Devourer (no question with that name who the bad guy is! I'm thinking maybe he has very red hair and perhaps a beard?)
Villainous Cursing: "Great son of a swollen scallywag-brained shrew!"
Plot twist: Without warning, a maid arrives and pulls a gun. (Why? Because the maid wants Frederick Rotherham for herself? Because the maid has been influenced by Ichabod the Devourer? Or because something evil is affecting people around Demon Candlewood Abbey?)
See what I mean? So much fun and it's amazing how being given just these few little tidbits of information can really start your creative juices flowing. You immediately start thinking about what Demon Candlewood Abbey looks like, how many people live there, how it got its name, etc.
So check out Donna's blog post and use her links to have fun yourself with the name generator system.
Also, if you're a fan of mysteries, be sure to check out Donna's personal blog "Cozy Murder Mysteries" here. It's well worth your time.
Happy reading and writing!
Thursday, August 27, 2009
1. Have you ever played Bullshit?
Yes, I sure have. It's been a while though.
Wednesday, August 26, 2009
I saw this over at Dannie's site (Opinionated? Me?) and thought it looked fun . . . so here goes!
1. What author do you own the most books by?
Hands down, Ann Rule. I have every single one of her books.
2. What book do you own the most copies of?
Before I cleaned out the spare bedroom and donated books to the library, it was Agatha Christie's Death on the Nile. I swear, I had 3 copies. Don't ask. Now, I would say it's probably the Bible. I have 2.
3. What fictional character are you secretly in love with?
Not a secret, but Mr. Darcy from Pride & Prejudice (duh!), Mark Darcy from Bridget Jones' Diary (is that basically the same as Mr. Darcy?), Colonel Brandon from Sense and Sensibility and (yes, it's true) Edward Cullen from Twilight.
4. What book have you read more than any other?
Either Pride & Prejudice or Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss. I have a serious fascination (bordering on obsession) with the Jeffrey MacDonald case (what Fatal Vision is about).
5. What was your favorite book when you were 10 years old?
Wow . . . I don't know absolutely but I would guess something by Judy Blume.
6. What is the worst book you've read in the past year?
Either The Time Traveler's Wife (I know, I'll probably get flamed for that!) or The Monster of Venice. Both were utterly disappointing to me - - but I know others who loved them. So maybe I'm missing that gene.
7. What is the best book you've read in the past year?
Sheesh. I've read so many books I've enjoyed. I'm not sure I can pick just one. I really enjoyed Carrie Bebris' The Matters at Mansfield; Dave Cullen's Columbine; Philippa Gregory's The Boleyn Inheritance and Cody McFadyen's Smoky Barrett series.
8. If you could tell everyone you tagged to read one book, what would it be?
Probably Pride & Prejudice because it's one of my absolute faves. Or Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier - - classic romance/goth/mystery.
9. What is the most difficult book you've ever read?
Difficult as in difficult to read? Or difficult to stomach? I would say I Never Promised You a Rose Garden. Had to read it in school years ago and if the teacher hadn't explained what was going on through most of it, I would have been completely lost.
10. Do you prefer the French or the Russians?
Is this a trick question?
11. Shakespeare, Milton or Chaucer?
Ummm . . . Chaucer.
12. Austen or Eliot?
13. What is the biggest or most embarrassing gap in your reading?
Hmmm . . . I've read the first Harry Potter book and that's it. Does that count?
14. What is your favorite novel?
Pride & Prejudice.
15. What is your favorite play?
Deathtrap. The Women.
I don't read a lot of poetry - - but I've always liked Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.
Don't have the first clue.
18. Short Story?
I don't read many short stories but I've always liked Edgar Allen Poe. Or anything with a time travel theme or Twilight Zone-ish.
Helter Skelter is a classic. Also, Mick LaSalle's books on Pre-Code Hollywood, Complicated Women and Dangerous Men are brilliant if you enjoy the golden era of Hollywood.
20. Graphic Novel?
No answer. Don't read them.
21. Science Fiction?
Bid Time Return (Somewhere in Time) by Richard Matheson.
22. Who is your favorite writer?
Jane Austen. Ann Rule.
23. Who is the most overrated writer alive today?
Danielle Steel. Oh God, don't even let me get going. She has about 3 plots that she has recycled for 30 years - - a stunningly beautiful heroine who doesn't know how stunningly beautiful she is whose life isn't complete until she meets that incredibly sexy and handsome man who has A Big Secret. I swear, I must lose a handful of brain cells any time I read anything by her. I cannot believe she and her books are as popular and successful as they are.
24. What are you reading right now?
He Who Sings Last by Lisa Laird Di Rosso.
25. Best memoir?
Don't laugh but I really enjoyed Here's the Story by Maureen McCormick. (Okay, I'm a geek for The Brady Bunch).
26. Best history?
The Devil in the White City is phenomenal.
27. Best mystery or noir?
The aforementioned Rebecca by Daphne DuMaurier, or anything by Agatha Christie.
Here are mine:
So what is making your wallet hurt this week?
I think you've left these behind, I said, handing them to her. This happens all the time when women try to return bags they've used. Tampons, lipstick, coins, Tic Tacs, and condoms are the top treasures found. Greasy let out a sigh, as if I were the problem. I was just trying my things in it. I really don't see what the problem is here. It's none of your business what I keep in my handbag. It is when my commission is at stake! I'm not your Designer Handbag Rental Service! My not is not BagBorrowOrSteal.com!
Tuesday, August 25, 2009
Please leave me a comment with your teasers if you don't have a blog, or leave me your link if you've posted. Happy reading!
Monday, August 24, 2009
If you'd like to enter, go here. Debbie's list of rules is set out on the page, along with a nice little list of "firsts" for her blog.
Thanks, Debbie! Good luck all!
Today's Musing Mondays post from Just One More Page is about book series.
Do you prefer to read stand-alone books, or books in series? Do you stick with a series the whole way through or stop after the first installment? Are they are particular series you enjoy? (question courtesy of Elena)
PLEASE LEAVE A COMMENT with either the link to your own Musing Mondays post, or share your opinion in a comment here, if you don't have a blog. Happy reading!
* * * * *
I don't think I have a real preference one way or the other. If a book is enjoyable enough, whether it be stand alone or series, I am hooked. A series won't necessarily turn me away from the book though. In fact, finding out that a book I have thoroughly enjoyed is part of a series is a wonderful joy.
Certain series I enjoy or I have enjoyed include the following:
The Mr. and Mrs. Darcy Mysteries by Carrie Bebris
The Gretchen Lowell/Archie Sheridan Trilogy by Chelsea Cain
The Smoky Barrett Mystery/Thrillers by Cody McFadyn
The Twilight Series by Stephenie Meyer
The Dollanganger Saga (Flowers in the Attic) by V.C. Andrews
Sunday, August 23, 2009
Soon Peter realizes that Naya appears to be dreaming of the deceased Janet Kent, and the monster that took her away. Although Peter's medical training and rational mind fight such a diagnosis, his life becomes entwined with Naya's and the monster's in a way he never thought possible.
A Circle of Souls held my interest from the very first page until the last, so engrossing was the story and so fascinating were the characters. While the death of Janet is brutal, the book is not grisly, nor does it have any language that some readers might find objectionable. There is quite a bit of psychiatry but I found it interesting rather than tedious. And it certainly is appropriate given the plot of the book and Naya's situation.
For the romance lover, there is a slight amount of romantic tension between Peter and FBI agent Leia Bines. Both characters come off sympathetically and likable and so I found myself hoping that these two would manage to overcome obstacles and differences and make a connection.
Ultimately, though, Circle of Souls is a mystery and a thriller. And a well done one at that. I enjoyed every moment reading this book and was saddened to have it end, although the ending was very satisfying.
I would recommend this book to anyone who enjoys a good mystery or thriller, but more importantly to anyone who enjoys a well put together story with vibrant characters.
My grade: A
Saturday, August 22, 2009
Posted by Lori Johnston at Saturday, August 22, 2009
Friday, August 21, 2009
I have read so many good books this year, it's truthfully hard to choose just one. So I am selecting one fiction and one nonfiction book.
Smoky Barrett is a tough talking, complicated and intelligent woman who heads a team of Los Angeles investigations in the serial crimes unit of the FBI. She is also tormented, tortured and flawed, having lost her family a year earlier to a serial killer, who managed to physically scar Smoky. She is back to work and assigned to hunt down a new serial killer, known as Jack Jr., who believes he's a descendant of the original Jack the Ripper and who is busy killing prostitutes with websites, taping his "encounters" and then sending the tapes to Smoky and her team. There is also a touch of romance added into the mix by a handsome bodyguard who wants to deepen his friendship with Smoky.
While there is nothing plotwise that's unique, McFadyen is a terrific storyteller and this book will grab you and hold you hostage until you finish it. It's refreshing to see a female protagonist who's attractive (but not model gorgeous) but flawed, who's strong but emotional and who possesses a real insight into the murderous mind. This book, however, is somewhat grisly with regard to certain crime scenes and there is language that may be offensive to some (the FBI agents talk like, well, cops). This book is first in a series of three (with the fourth due out this fall).
here is a link to that review.
I know some people generally don't care for nonfiction or true crime but this really was a remarkable work of true journalism that got to the heart of the matter, rather than reporting sensationalistic details. Should be a must read in all schools.
Posted by Lori Johnston at Friday, August 21, 2009
Thursday, August 20, 2009
The wonderful Sara at My Life is an Effing Fairy Tale has given me my FIRST ever blog award!! It's the much coveted (by me, anyhow) "Your Blog Rocks!" award.
Thank you so much, Sara! I humbly accept this award and appreciate that it comes from a fellow True Blood fan!
As I must nominate five more recipients to pass on the good word, I choose these wonderful bloggers:
1. Mary from The Sweet Bookshelf. Fellow book lover, with wonderful reviews and interviews - - and I love the look of her blog.
2. Darlene from Peeking Between the Pages I believe the first book blog I stumbled upon and one that is always worth the time each morning to check.
3. Alyssa from Teens Read and Write . Great reviews on books and movies, written for teens (and adults!) by teens. And a special shout out to Bob the Cat.
4. Laurel Ann and Vic from Jane Austen Today . Fabulous, well put together blog on anything and everything Jane. No Janeite should be without it.
5. Debbie from Debbie's World of Books . Fantastic reviews of every type of book, from children to YA to adult, Debbie has you covered.
Seeing Dar's book review of Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch yesterday (go here for the review) got me thinking.
Were it not for her review, I would never have picked the book up based on the cover. Because it just doesn't do it for me. You serious readers and book lovers know what I mean. A book cover can often make the difference of whether or not you pick that book up in the store or library.
So I thought maybe once a week or so I would post a book whose cover either intrigued me, with no idea necessarily of what the book was about, or a cover that I felt was completely uninspiring.
Just to kick things off, I have two.
Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch.
Seems a slapdash, somewhat boring cover, really, that doesn't tell me anything about the book itself or even provide me with some exciting or warm colors to attract my eye. In fact, I get a somewhat negative reaction to seeing the cover. Sad, really, because based on Dar's excellent review, it does sound like quite a read. (And I do have it on my TBR list).
Alice I Have Been by Melanie Benjamin
I saw this on April's blog (go here) and absolutely fell in love with it. It's mysterious, it has serious romantic undertones and appearing in black and white suggests it's historical or has a historical element. All things that appeal to me and would make me pick this book up. (And put it on my TBR list)
How about you? Care to share any covers that garner a reaction in you, one way or the other?
Posted by Lori Johnston at Thursday, August 20, 2009
Posted by Lori Johnston at Thursday, August 20, 2009