Monday, August 31, 2009

Upcoming Giveaway!

Stay tuned to my blog, folks, as I prepare for my first ever giveaway!

One hint: Jane Austen fans will be happy.

A review and the giveaway are coming . . .



I like to see what my blogging friends look like, don't you?

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


Library Finds - August 31, 2009

I am an avowed supporter and patron of my local library and as pleased as I am when I find a bestseller or popular book on the shelves, I am doubly pleased when I find an "unknown" book.

This is my most recent unexpected surprise, or "find":

The House at Midnight by Lucie Whitehouse

Description: At 30, Londoner Joanna still spends her free time with her Oxford college friends, now with burgeoning careers and all on the cusp of real adulthood. Lucas, Joanna's closest friend and prolonged crush, inherits Stoneborough Manor, a huge and imposing house in the Cotswold countryside filled with priceless art, where all the college friends are to spend every weekend together. The first visit, on New Year's Eve, doesn't start well, as the Londoners get lost. To Joanna, the manor has a threatening and unsettling aura and indeed, the big, dark, vaguely confusing house with its secrets and disappointments works well as an allegory for moving into the responsibilities and fears of growing up. Joanna and her friends proceed to deal with the unknown, some well, others destructively.


I spotted this book on the New Release shelves and the title caught my eye, as only the spine was visible. I immediately liked the cover and reading the description knew immediately that the book was coming home with me (at least for the 14 day borrowing period).

I found The House at Midnight to be a strong first effort for debut novelist Lucie Whitehouse. The book is decidedly modern but at times felt wonderfully gothic, with the bits and pieces of romance scattered in, as well as the dark atmosphere surrounding the imposing Stoneborough Manor. The house itself is a major character in the book; after all, don't forget the title. In fact, I found Ms. Whitehouse's descriptions of the manor to be some of the most powerful in the book. Her descriptions are so smooth, so eloquent and yet so mysterious that I could easily envision the house in my mind, in all its finery and unquiet. I also found the group of friends to be firmly fleshed out and relatable. I cared about them and I cared what happened to them.

The weak links to the book, in my opinion, were just two. First, I felt the book did teeter on the edge of full out creepiness without going there. I wished Ms. Whitehouse had made the house just a bit more sinister, without reverting to camp. Secondly, I found the ending to be a disappointment. After sitting on the edge of my seat throughout a great portion of the book, the ending was so uninspired, almost lacking in emotion, and so brusque, that it felt as though Ms. Whitehouse abruptly got up from her keyboard and decided she was done with the book.

All in all, though, I would recommend this book if you are a gothic or mystery fan. It's well worth the effort and I found it more enjoyable and pleasing than what may be considered a counterpart, The Thirteenth Tale.





To purchase from Amazon, click here.

Or you may like



To purchase from Amazon, click here.

It's Monday, what are you reading? - August 31, 2009



It's Monday! What are you reading? is a weekly event hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog; participants discuss what they read the previous week and what they plan to read in the coming week.

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

Review Policy

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 mrshedgy@yahoo.com.

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 mrshedgy@yahoo.com.


Friday, August 28, 2009

Fun Friday at Casablanca

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

Booking Through Thursday: August 27, 2009

What's the lightest, most "fluff" kind of book you've read recently?

I would say it's Sharon Lathan's And Two Shall Become One. It's telling the story of what happened to Lizzy and Darcy after they married. Definitely racier than Jane Austen - - but it's light enough to not be heavy reading.

I'm ashamed to say I have not finished it yet. I've gotten pulled off it for several other things. But I'm a huge lover of P&P fan fic, so I expect to finish it very shortly.







Thursday Thunks - August 27, 2009


Or . . . stupid questions you love to answer! Thursday Thunks is a weekly meme located here, designed to make you and me think before we blog. Here we go . . .

1. Have you ever played Bullshit?
Yes, I sure have. It's been a while though.

2. A dog licks you on your face. Are you disgusted or thinking it was sweet?
It depends. It depends on what the dog had in its mouth before it licked me!

3. Tell us about a fun, special memory you have of a grandparent.
I always used to enjoy staying with my grandmother, then getting on the MARTA bus to go downtown to shop and stopping at Woolworth's, back when they used to have a lunch counter. Very good memories.

4. Have you ever pet a rat?
No!

5. If I walked into your kitchen, where are the cups?
In the cabinet to the left.

6. Since you already let me into your home, I found the cup and had water. Now, where is the bathroom from the kitchen?
The powder room is right by the entrance to the kitchen.

7. Have you ever pet a turtle or tortoise?
Yes, I've pet a turtle.



From Page to Screen: August 27, 2009

My pick today is based on the date and my general obsession with this case.



Fatal Vision by Joe McGinniss (1984) to Fatal Vision (1984)

Once again, I saw the televised (not cinematic) version of this story first and became so enraptured in the two-part miniseries (remember those?) that I immediately got myself to the local B. Dalton (before The Mother Ship became a neighborhood fixture) to pick up a copy of the book, which would become very worn over the next handful of years as I read and re-read.

There have been several books throughout the years written about the infamous Jeffrey MacDonald/Green Beret Murder case, although Fatal Vision was the first and probably the standard. Joe McGinniss was hired by MacDonald and his defense team during the criminal trial in 1979 to write an account of MacDonald's long journey to justice (the murders happened in 1970) as an allegedly innocent man. McGinniss, after the conclusion of the trial and MacDonald's conviction and after examining the evidence presented by both sides, came to believe MacDonald was guilty of the crimes and Fatal Vision was born. McGinniss' tome is unique in that he had full cooperation from MacDonald, his family, friends and defense attorneys - - and had taped "conversations" that MacDonald made for him from prison. Fatal Vision is a fascinating look at a narcissistic mind and at MacDonald's father-in-law's determined efforts to see that his daughter's and granddaughters' killer was punished.

This is one of the better true crime books I have read. Along with Christina Masewicz' Scales of Justice as a companion read, it's the definitive account of the MacDonald murders. And just for the record, I believed MacDonald to be innocent, or possibly innocent, for years. After a re-read of Fatal Vision and reading Scales of Justice, I believe he is exactly where he should be.

The 1984 miniseries version is a miniseries done right, from start to finish. The topic is interesting and worth filming. The casting is superb - - Gary Cole is a dedicated husband, father and doctor in part one, and a frightening, on-the-edge man by part two. He is unbelievably chilling. He even physically resembles the real MacDonald. Karl Malden as father-in-law Freddy Kassab is made of win - - in fact, Malden was deservedly nominated for an Emmy for this performance. The lovely and underrated Eva Marie Saint plays his wife Mildred and Andy Griffith plays attorney Victor Woerheide. The acting is stellar and regardless of your personal views on guilt or innocence, Fatal Vision is not to be missed. One of the better, if not one of the best, miniseries to come out of the 80s. I dare any viewer to not watch this and be emotionally vested in it.
By the way, the date I mentioned above is an anniversary of sorts. Thirty years ago today (August 27, 1979), Jeffrey MacDonald was convicted of three counts of murder and sentenced to life in prison in a North Carolina courtroom.

Wednesday, August 26, 2009

iMeme: What I Read

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?
AUSTEN!!

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.

16. Poem?
I don't read a lot of poetry - - but I've always liked Emily Dickinson and Elizabeth Barrett Browning.

17. Essay?
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.

19. Nonfiction?
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.



What Makes My Wallet Hurt? - August 26, 2009

What Makes My Wallet Hurt is a meme started by Dannie at Opinionated? Me?. Just share your list of book(s) that you have read about, that you'd love to own, but your wallet is crying over.

Here are mine:

Italian for Beginners by Kristin Harmel

The Magicians by Lev Grossman
Mistress of the Game by Sidney Sheldon & Tilly Bagshawe
The Count of Monte Cristo by Alexandre Dumas


So what is making your wallet hurt this week?

Waiting on Wednesday - August 26, 2009


Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill here that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.
This week's pre-publication "can't wait to read" selection is:


Retail Hell: How I Sold My Soul to the Store; Confessions of a Tortured Sales Associate

by Freeman Hall

Publication Date: September 18, 2009


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!
Enter Freeman Hall, an aspiring screenwriter who sets out to realize his Hollywood dream but instead plunges into the seventh circle of Retail Hell when the rent comes due, selling animal-hide Hobos and overpriced clutches to Lookie-Loos and Picky Bitches but always with a sunshiney smile. Freeman toils in the handbag (that's handbag, NOT purse) department of the Big Fancy Department Store, where he sees, hears, smells (and unfortunately, feels) it all! Here, he provides a true and truly shocking account of life from the other side of the handbag display. From early morning RA-RA rallies to the craziest crazy-lady customers, Freeman's horrific and hilarious workday tales redefine Juicy Couture. As Freeman begins to plot his escape, he realizes that despite the Big Fancy's lax return policy, for him, there really may be no returns . . . no exchanges . . . no way out.


What's your "waiting on" pick this week? Leave a link in my comments section if you have a blog, or just share your book if not.

Happy reading!


Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: August 25, 2009



Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly book meme, hosted by mizb 17 at 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 it for other readers)

*Share the title and author so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers!

My teasers for today are . . .

Even then, at twenty-seven years of age, Miranda never fully understood why admiring Jimmy Covelli had become a special part of her life as a young girl. Never in a hundred years would he begin to understand the impact he had made, and how she had longed for a rapport that had never come to be.


He Who Sings Last by Lisa Laird Di Rosso, page 32.

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

One Year Blogoversary Giveaway at Debbie's World of Books


Debbie is celebrating her one year anniversary of book blogging and she has gone hog wild! Seriously, she has a terrific giveaway in store. You can pick 3 books from a list of 16, that include such good reads as Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, Models Don't Eat Chocolate Cookies and Vampire Academy.

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!

Musing Mondays - August 24, 2009




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

Book Review: A Circle of Souls by Preetham Grandhi


A Circle of Souls is Preetham Grandi's debut work, a book that is chock full of mystery, thrills, and the paranormal, as well as psychology. Souls takes place in the bedroom community of Newbury, Connecticut - - a town generally untouched by the brutal nature of people, that is thrown into a panic with the disappearance and cruel murder of young Janet Kent. The local police department, panicked at Janet's apparent abduction, calls in FBI agent Leia Bines, who is fighting her own demons for having failed to save a young boy from a killer. Meanwhile, little Naya Hastings has been fighting her own type of demons - - vivid nightmares that are threatening her safety. She is brought to child psychiatrist Peter Gram, who has devoted his life to helping and saving children, to the despair of his personal life.

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.
Here is hoping that A Circle of Souls is the first of many books to come from Preetham Grandi.

My grade: A

Saturday, August 22, 2009

From Page to Screen - August 22, 2009

I thought it would be fun to blog about books that were made into movies and a general comparison between the two.

Here is my pick for today:



Bid Time Return by Richard Matheson (1975) to Somewhere in Time (1980)

I saw the cinematic version of this story first, back when it was on the fairly new HBO around 1981. It was summer vacation, there was only one HBO channel (and no Showtime, etc.) and Somewhere in Time was playing at 10 a.m. I was hooked immediately and ultimately distressed when my mother shut the t.v. off because I had not cleaned my room. As only a 12 year old girl can do, I got upset and cried because I felt strangely connected to the story and the movie. Fortunately, back in those days, HBO replayed their 10 a.m. movies at 6 p.m. the same day and I was able to watch the movie in its entirety. It was the first movie that I can recall becoming, well, obsessed with. I fell in love with Christopher Reeve and Jane Seymour, fell in love with the theme music (and would actually play it years later in a piano recital), even told myself I would name my future children Richard and Elise, after the title characters (God had other plans for me). I became hooked on the subject of time travel, an interest that has not faded over time.

It would be a handful of years before I read the book my favorite movie was based on and as is often the case when you see (and enjoy) a movie before reading the book, it was somewhat of a shock reading a story that was similar to the cinematic version and yet different. In Matheson's book, the opening story for Richard, who is a screenwriter, taking place in the very early 70s, with Elise McKenna 's time being 1896. In the film, the story opens in 1980, with Richard, a playwright, traveling to 1912 to find Elise. The change was made, and to the film's benefit, to allow a college-aged Richard to meet an elderly Elise before going back in time. Also, in the book, Elise's stage mother was a firm presence, wherein the character was deleted altogether in the movie. The character, in my opinion, works in the book but would not have worked in the film. The mother's presence would have lessened Robinson's influence on Elise and ultimately changed the feel of the movie. As well, the character of Richard's brother had a small presence in the book and zero presence in the movie. Additionally, the setting in the book was the Hotel del Coronado, a stunningly beautiful Victorian masterpiece in Coronado, California (and where I had my bridal breakfast - - my last meal as a single lady - - the morning of my wedding). The Hotel Del is like taking a walk back in time but it had to be changed for filming - - it simply could not be filmed without modern amenities like cars being visible. The equally lovely and stunning Grand Hotel in Mackinac Island, Michigan was selected as its successor - - not just due to the turn of the century architecture but because Mackinac Island does not allow cars and made the filming that much smoother. Lastly, and without giving away any spoilers, the resolution for both Richard and Elise were vastly different between the book and the movie. I prefer the film version - - and ending which leaves me in tears every time I see it (and I've seen the movie at least two dozen times). If you want heartwrenching romance that requires a good supply of Kleenex, trust me. Nothing beats a lovesick Christopher Reeve, pining over Jane Seymour, and clutching a penny.

Both pieces of work are superb on their own merits. If I had to choose a favorite, though, it would be the movie. Mainly because I saw it first and the costumes, sets and music are so incredibly beautiful it's a real treat for any romance fan.

Friday, August 21, 2009

Thursday Thunks - August 21, 2009


Or . . . stupid questions you love to answer! Thursday Thunks is a weekly meme located here, designed to make you and me think before we blog. Here we go . . .
1. Your thoughts on hunting? I personally don't do it and don't like the thought of it. I understand the need but cannot and will not understand people who hunt for fun.
2. Swine flu vaccine. Will you get it? No. I never get a flu vaccine - - I've only gotten a flu vaccine twice in my life and both times I got the flu immediately after.
3. What is one job/profession that you think there are just too many of? Reality show contestants. (Does that count as a job/profession?)
4. I want to go on a diet. What advice will you offer me? Everyone has advice so I wouldn't offer any, unless it was solicited. I would provide lots of support and praise.
5. You are going out on a date with someone for the first time. When you get into their car, you see a box of condoms on the floor. What do you do? I'm assuming that my husband probably wouldn't appreciate me being on a date, he he.
6. Name something in your bathroom that shouldn't be there. Quite possibly, a shedding, drooling dog.
7. What was your kindgarten teacher like? I can't remember. I know I had one though.
8. What kind of oil do you use when you cook? Usually, extra virgin olive oil.
9. If someone takes an unflattering picture of you and posts it online, do you beg them to take it down or do you laugh at yourself with everyone else? I would probably be annoyed at first and/or embarrassed but then laugh at it and forget it.
10. What brand of dishwashing soap do you use? Whatever is on sale. I think it's Dawn right now.

Friday Finds: August 21, 2009

Hosted by MizB on Should Be Reading, Friday Finds is all about the great book finds we've discovered this week.


Darcy and Anne by Judith Brocklehurst

Description: It is a truth universally acknowledged that Lady Catherine will never find a husband for Anne . . .
When a fortuitous accident draws Anne away from Rosings and her overbearing mother's direct influence, she is able to think and act for herself for the first time ever. In the society of her cousins Darcy and Georgiana, and, of course, the lively Mrs. Darcy, Anne reveals a talent for writing and a zest for life. Meanwhile, Lady Catherine is determined to choose a husband for Anne. But now that Anne has found her courage, she may not be so easy to rule.
Anne de Bourgh is a sympathetic character whose obedience and meekness were expected of women in her day. As she frees herself from these expectations, Anne discovers strength, independence, and even true love in a wonderfully satisfying coming-of-age story.

The Birthing House by Christopher Ransom

Description: Conrad Harrison takes a wrong turn out of Chicago and winds up buying an old Victorian house in a small Wisconsin town - - just the thing for getting out of L.A., which Conrad hates because of his low-bucks fumbling and dependence on his high-bucks salesperson wife. But they are no sooner relocated than Joanna flees to an eight-week training for a new job. While she is away, the neighbors befriend Conrad and ask him to keep an eye on their pregnant daughter (the boyfriend is a flake) while they're off recharging their marriage. Ad hoc guardianship first seems a good reason to get out of the house, which is getting to Conrad. He keeps hearing a newborn crying, glimpsing a dark figure, and after he sees Joanna in a photo album that goes with the house, he is seriously freaked, also occasionally unable to account for long periods of time. The house is haunted, of course, and Conrad's is just the kind of frustrated consciousness most susceptible to occupation by the spirit it contains.
Vanished by Joseph Finder

Description: Nick Heller is tough, smart and stubborn. And in his line of work, it's essential. Trained in the Special Forces, Nick is a high-powered intelligence investigator - - exposing secrets that powerful people would rather keep hidden. He's a guy you don't want to mess with. He's also the man you call when you need a problem fixed.
Desperate, with nowhere else to run, Nick's nephew Gabe makes that call one night. After being attacked in Georgetown, his mother Lauren lies in a coma and his step-dad, Roger, Nick's brother, has vanished without a trace.
Nick and Roger have been on the outs since the arrest, trial and conviction of their father, the notorious "fugitive financier", Victor Heller. Where Nick strayed from the path, Roger followed their father's footsteps into the corporate world. Now, as Nick searches for his brother, he's on a collision course with one of the most powerful corporations in the world - - and they will stop at nothing to protect their secrets.

Booking Through Thursday: August 21, 2009

What's the best book you've read recently? (with recently being defined as "in 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.



Shadow Man by Cody McFadyen



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).




Columbine by Dave Cullen

As I reviewed this book back in May, rather than repost the review in its entirety, 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.

Thursday, August 20, 2009

My First Award!!!!



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.

Cover to Cover

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?

Throwback Thursday


Throwback Thursday is a weekly event hosted by Jenny at TakeMeAway. It is the time each week to recognize those older books . . . an older book you've always wanted to read, or one that you have read and love, maybe one from your childhood; or review an older book - - how about even a classic! Leave a link to your blog here, if you have one, or a comment.

So what's your Throwback?

This week's Throwback is:

Small Sacrifices by Ann Rule



Perhaps nothing is more frightening or fascinating than the female sociopath and maybe that's partly why this book is so intriguing and such a true crime classic (or should be).

In May of 1983, young divorced mother of three Diane Downs showed up in an Oregon ER with her three horribly wounded children. All of them had been shot, by a bushy haired stranger that Diane ostensibly stopped to help. Certainly shocking enough to think that anyone would shoot three young children, but the investigation into the incident unravels the tangled life of Diane, a woman who alleges childhood abuse at the hand of her father, physical and verbal abuse from her ex-husband, promiscuous behavior and an obsession with a married lover who had no intentions of leaving his wife, nor of becoming a father to her three children. Diane's apparent solution to her dilemma - - sacrifice her three children on the altar of her married boyfriend, making it look as though some crazy stranger had accosted them.

Ann Rule doesn't have the title Queen of True Crime Writers for nothing and this book is superlative. The story was obviously painstakingly researched and it shows. It moves along quickly, it doesn't get bogged down in the legal aspects of Diane's arrest and eventual trial, or the psychological detail of Diane. Ms. Rule's portrayal of Diane is frightening - - a child/woman who was cold-blooded enough to attempt to murder her children in order to have one man, and then unhesitatingly sleep with another man in order to impregnate herself with a child to replace a dead one.

Even if you don't traditionally read true crime books, this one is well worth your time. I would highly recommend it.