Monday, January 31, 2011

January Reading Recap & Challenge Updates

I've read 10 out of my goal of 180 for the year and this is how they shaped up on my challenges

Outdo Myself Challenge which also includes the 2011 Reading Challenge from Goodreads
Larry Levin - Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love
Mary Downing Hahn - The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall
Wanda E. Brunstetter - Lydia's Charm
Lauren Oliver - Delirium
Tina Folsom - Gabriel's Mate
Jane Porter - She's Gone Country
Joan Johnston - Invincible
Debbie Viguie - The Winter Of Candy Canes
Barbara MacMahon - Snowbound Reunion
Cara Coulter - Their Christmas Wish Come True

YA Reading Challenge
Mary Downing Hahn - The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall
Lauren Oliver - Delirium
Debbie Viguie - The Winter Of Candy Canes

Ebook Reading Challenge
Mary Downing Hahn - The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall
Wanda E. Brunstetter - Lydia's Charm
Lauren Oliver - Delirium
Tina Folsom - Gabriel's Mate
Joan Johnston - Invincible

Vampire Reading Challenge
Tina Folsom - Gabriel's Mate

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge

So Me The Free Reading Challenge

Mystery And Suspense Reading Challenge

OK. so there are 3 challenges I haven't read anything for..but the other ones have at least one or more books. So I'm doing good right?!!

Sunday, January 30, 2011

Vampire Challenge 2011


1. Post about this challenge on your blog stating that you are participating. That post is the link that you will include in the Mr. Linky below. The link should be the post link not just your blog link.
2. Grab the button and display it in the post (use grab code underneath the button) or on your sidebar so others can join in the fun.
3. Challenge goes from January 1, 2011 to December 31, 2011
4. The challenge is to read 20 books that have a vampire as a main character, either protag or antagonist
5. Post your reviews on the Review Post:

Maggie Shayne - Twilight Illusions 10/5/2011
Meredith Allard - Her Dear & Loving Husband    9/30/2011
Julieanne Lynch - In The Shadows 9/22/2011
Arial Burnz - Midnight Conquest  8/10/2011
Lisa Kessler - Nightwalker 8/8/2011
Karen E. Taylor - Hunger 7/15/2011
Jennifer Turner - Eternal Seduction 6/28/2011
Theresa Meyers - The Vampire Who Loved Me 6/13/2011
John G. Hartness - Hard Day's Knight 5/19/2011
Evelyn Lafont - The Vampire's Relationship Guide  5/7/2011
Amber Riley - The Well Of Truth 4/27/2011

Historical Fiction Reading Challenge 2011

  • everyone can participate, even those who don't have a blog (you can add your book title and thoughts in the comment section if you wish)

  •  add the link(s) of your review(s) including your name and book title to the Mister Linky we’ll be adding to our monthly post (please, do not add your blog link, but the correct address that will guide us directly to your review)

  • any kind of historical fiction is accepted (HF fantasy, HF young adult,...)
  • you can overlap this challenge with others kind of challenges
  • During these following 12 months you can choose one of the different reading levels:
  1. Severe Bookaholism: 20 books
  2. Undoubtedly Obsessed: 15 books
  3. Struggling the Addiction: 10 books
  4. Daring & Curious: 5 books
  5. Out of My Comfort Zone: 2 books

The challenge will run from 1 January 2011 to 31 December 2011.

I'm going for Severe Bookaholism for this one because I love historical fiction!

Christie Dickason - The King's Daughter
Susan Meissner - Lady In Waiting 
Bronwyn Scott - A Thoroughly Compromised Lady 
Amber Scott - Irish Moon
Sandra Byrd - To Die For
Juliet Grey - Becoming Marie Antoinette
Phillipa Gregory - The Lady Of The Rivers
Deanna Raybourn - A Dark Enquiry
Carolyn Meyer - The Bad Queen
Stephanie Laurens - Viscount Breckenridge To The Rescue
Wanda E. Brunstetter - Love Finds A Home
Linda Hilton - Touchstone
Samantha James - The Sins Of Viscount Sutherland
Kiki Howell - Torn Asunder
Michelle Beattie - Another Chance
Charlotte Featherstone - Seduction & Scandal
Victoria Alexander - His Mistress By Christmas
Christine Merrill - Dangerous Lord, Innocent Governess
Adrienne Basso - The Christmas Countess
Lauraine Snelling - A Promise For Ellie


Saturday, January 29, 2011

Book Review: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall #10

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall
Author: Mary Downing Hahn
Title: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall
Publisher: Clarion Books
Publish Date: Sept 6, 2010
Buy: Amazon
Copy Provided By: NetGalley & The Publisher
Book Blurb: When twelve-year-old Florence boards the horse-drawn coach in London, she looks forward to a new life at Crutchfield Hall, her great-uncle’s manor house in the English countryside. Anything will be better, Florence thinks, than the grim London orphanage she has just left.

Florence doesn’t reckon with the eerie presence that haunts the cavernous rooms and dimly lit hallways of Crutchfield. It’s the ghost of her cousin Sophia, who died the year before. Sophia’s ghost seeks to recreate the scene of her death and cause someone else to die in her place so that she will be restored to life. And she intends to force her newly arrived cousin to help her.

Blending elements from classic ghost stories of the past, Mary Downing Hahn pays homage to such renowned writers as Edgar Allan Poe and Charles Dickens while creating a bone-chilling new story of her own.

Review: The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall is a story for tween set, but the tell is told well enough for mom's and dads and anyone else to enjoy.  It is a typical gothic ghost story set in the 19th century, complete with an orphan girl, who is a bit of a bluestocking, a sickly child, and aunts and uncles, some that are nice and others not so much so.

Fans of classic literature, may find this story a bit like The Secret Garden. Hahn also drops a lot of names of famous classic authors in this story. Florence has read Bronte, Austen, Thackery and Dickons. All at a very young age.

The story though isn't very scary, at least not in a horrifying way. What it is, is spooky and mysterious.  That's more appropriate for the age range too, which is grades 4-6.

When Florence arrives at Crutchfield Hall, there's no one there to greet her. At the door she meets an aunt that is prim and proper and an uncle that is more loving. Her cousin, James has been confined to his bed since the death of his sister Sophia one year ago. It is Sophia that haunts Crutchfield Hall, hoping to get revenge on her brother.

The characters are easy to like, even the aunt. Once you realize how much she loved Sophia, her behavior made a lot of sense.

I really enjoyed this story. It reminded me of a lot of the ghost stories I read when I was in grade school.

Rating: 4 flowers

Friday, January 28, 2011

Crazy Book Tours Book Review: Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love #9

Oogy: The Dog Only a Family Could Love
Author: Larry Levin
Title: Oogy: The Dog Only A Family Could Love
Publisher: Grand Central Publishing
Publish Date: Oct 12, 2010
Copy Provided By: Crazy Book Tours
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: In the bestselling tradition of Rescuing Sprite comes the story of a puppy brought back from the brink of death, and the family he adopted.
In 2002, Larry Levin and his twin sons, Dan and Noah, took their terminally ill cat to the Ardmore Animal Hospital outside Philadelphia to have the beloved pet put to sleep. What would begin as a terrible day suddenly got brighter as the ugliest dog they had ever seen--one who was missing an ear and had half his face covered in scar tissue--ran up to them and captured their hearts. The dog had been used as bait for fighting dogs when he was just a few months old. He had been thrown in a cage and left to die until the police rescued him and the staff at Ardmore Animal Hospital saved his life. The Levins, whose sons are themselves adopted, were unable to resist Oogy's charms, and decided to take him home.
Heartwarming and redemptive, OOGY is the story of the people who were determined to rescue this dog against all odds, and of the family who took him home, named him "Oogy" (an affectionate derivative of ugly), and made him one of their own.
Review: This is the kind of animal book I love to read, the kind where the animal is still alive at the end. Oogy is a dog that anyone can't help but love and his owner really shows that love as he shares his story of his family and how they came to welcome a poor abused Dogo pup into their lives.

Sure this story is about Oogy, but it was also about Larry, Jennifer, Dan and Noah. The type of people they were helped shape Oogy's life, just as he helped shape theirs. Larry shares Oogy's life story with the world as best as he can.

It is wonderful to see a family that can take in a dog like this and give him love. Oogy is not the prettiest pooch, but how can you not love that face? He's like E.T.  He's so ugly he's cute.

What made this story super special was how the Levin's really went above and beyond for this dog. After the first $3,000.00 surgery, many people would have given up. Lucky for Oogy, his owners were attorneys as well as animal lovers. Oogy was really part of the family, like one of the twins said, "Oogy is my brother."

Most people that truly love their furry companions will feel this way and I don't think I've ever read a book with a pet where this is more perfectly illustrated. Larry loves Oogy and will do just about anything for his dog.

The Levin's are my kind of people.  Oogy is my kind of dog!

Rating: 5 flowers

Meet Oogy:

I Want This Book So Badly

The Lost Valentine
I was reading a blurb about the Hallmark Movie that is based on The Last Valentine by James Michael Pratt.

I can't wait to watch the movie on Sunday night. I love Betty White and I miss Jennifer Love Hewitt, since The Ghost Whisperer went off the air. I had been seeing the ads for the movie for about a week now, but until I read the review in our local paper, I had no idea that it was based on a book.

Funny...huh...because most of Hallmark's movies are based on books. At least it seems that they are.

So it is my goal this weekend, to watch the movie, order my Nook a reading light, and order this book. 

I figure I won't be as disappointed by any changes made in the story if I read the book after I watch the movie.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011


This weekly meme brought to you by Should Be Reading

The Ghost of Crutchfield Hall• What are you currently reading?

I'm reading Mary Downing Hahn's The Ghost Of Crutchfield Hall right now. It's an ebook I got from NetGalley that really intrigued me.

I love gothic type stories, and this definitely looks to be a good one. The reviews have been pretty good and it seems like a nice bit of light reading between some of the other titles on my TBR list.

It's always good to read a short fun book to keep the brain from getting tired!

Lydia's Charm: An Amish Widow Starts Over in Charm, Ohio• What did you recently finish reading?

I just finished reading Lydia's Charm by Wanda Brunstetter. It is a really heart breaking story of a young Amish widow starting over.

I love Wanda's books. They bring the Amish to life for us "Englishers."  She deals more with romance than some of the religious issues and beliefs that some of the other authors deal with.

This story was also set in a part of Ohio that I'm pretty familar with. It was fun to see places that I've been to, used in a book.

• What do you think you’ll read next?

These are the next two books on my TBR Pile. Spiral X is my next read for the Book Lovin' Bitches Ebook Tours and I'll be reading The Bad Queen for Rex Robot Reviews.

Spiral X
The Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette (Young Royals)

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Book Review: Lydia's Charm #8

Lydia's Charm: An Amish Widow Starts Over in Charm, Ohio
Author: Wanda E. Brunstetter
Title: Lydia's Charm
Publisher: Barbour Books
Publish Date: Sept 1, 2010
Copy Provided By: NetGalley & The Publisher
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Widowed and jobless, Lydia King moves her son and herself to Charm, Ohio, to be close to her mother and help with her grandfather. Menno Troyer, a furniture store owner, is also recently widowed and the father of four energetic boys. Levi Stutzman, another newcomer to the area, is the only one in his family not handicapped by dwarfism and has dedicated his life to caring for them. As fall colors the countryside, will anonymous gifts left for Lydia bring her hope for a new life and romance, or will another tragedy flood her with infinite despair?

Review:  Lydia's Charm is an Amish story that really has its roots based in real life. It was hard to fathom all the hardships that Lydia faced in this story, the loss of a husband that sends her back to Charm, then her grandfather and later her son.

It was truly heartbreaking to read at times, but Lydia was such a strong character, that even while I was wiping my eyes because things kept going wrong, I had to press on, to see which of her two suitors, Menno or Levi that she chose in the end.

The story also deals with prejudices. Levi's family are "little people," and he spends most of his time protecting them, unnecessarily.

Wanda's character's are so real. Menno struggles with the loss of his wife and he hopes to find a new mother for his brood, who are very rambucious, in Lydia. It becomes clear very early on, that he's looking for a maid and babysitter more than a wife.

Then there's Rueban who is in love with Mae, Lydia's mother. That is almost a whole other story within a story, because Mae is a very complex character. At the beginning you really want to hate her, because she's so crabby, but as Wanda reveals more of her life, it becomes harder to dislike the woman.

Wanda really brings  her characters to life in her stories and she makes them real. They suffer losses just like the rest of us. Lydia even goes through some unemployment in this book. Again, its all very real.

I also loved that anyone familar with Holmes County, Ohio will recognize some familiar places in the book, like Heini's Cheese, Der Dutchman Restaurant and Java Joe's.

A great story that made me want to go back to Ohio

Rating: 5 Flowers

Monday, January 24, 2011

I'm Being Interviewed @ Book Lovin' Bitches

I'm a member of an awesome team of ladies that do ebook tours. Today I've been spotlighted! How exciting is that?

If you want to read my interview, click here

Book Review: Delirium #7

Delirium (Delirium - Trilogy)
Author: Lauren Oliver
Title: Delirium
Publisher: HarperCollins
Publish Date: 2/1/2011
Copy Provided By: The Publisher & Rex Robot Reviews
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Before scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. They didn’t understand that once love - the deliria - blooms in your blood, there is no escaping its hold. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demand that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen. Lena Holoway has always looked forward to the day when she would be cured. A life without love is a life without pain: safe, measured, predictable, and happy.

But with ninety-five days left until her treatment, Lena does the unthinkable: She falls in love.

Review: I reviewed this books for Rex Robot Reviews. To read my review click here
Rating:  4 flowers

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Book Lovin' Bitches Book Tour Book Review: Gabriel's Mate #6

Gabriel's Mate: Scanguards Vampires (Volume 3)
Author: Tina Folsom
Title: Gabriel's Mate
Publisher: Createspace
Publish Date: Dec 13, 2010
Book Provided By: Book Lovin' Bitches Book Tours & the author
Buy: Amazon

Book Blurb: After Maya is turned into a vampire against her will, vampire and Scanguards bodyguard Gabriel is charged with protecting her and finding her attacker.
Gabriel has never guarded a body as perfect as Maya's. Moreover, Maya's enticing blend of vulnerability and strength is difficult to resist. Yet resist he must. Even as the sexual tension between them rises and the rogue vampire closes in on them, Gabriel refuses to give into his desire. Despite the intimacies they share, Gabriel fears that if he ever reveals himself fully to her, Maya will react like other women have, running from him, and calling him a monster, a freak, a creature not worth her love.

Will Maya prove to be the one female who cherishes all that Gabriel is?

Caution: graphic and explicit sex scenes - not for the faint of heart.

It has been ages since I've read any vampire fiction, and even longer for any erotic fiction, but there was something about Tina Folsom's Gabriel's Mate that drew me in and once I started reading, I was hooked. This is the 3rd book in the series of Scanguard Vampires, and I want to read the other two now, because this one was so good!

Tina Folsom has created vampires that aren't wishy washy and are comfortable with who they are.

Three cheers for that!

Gabriel was by far one of the best vampires I've encountered. He was a vampire, but his human side was really strong.  I loved how strong his sexuality was, even though he wasn't a ladies man...erm...vampire. Gabriel has some issues...ok, he has a deformity and it pretty much keeps the ladies at bay, but Maya changes all of that. She sees past the scar he received on his wedding night and she sees past that other thing too, until they find out the reason for it...and then...well all is well.

What really made this story work was how Tina really kept the focus on the plot and didn't let the sex take over. Sure the love scenes were five alarm, but they weren't out of place and it wasn't sex written just to write it. It all made sense and helped the flow of the story.

The only issue I had dealt with the "rogue" vampire who changed Maya.  I knew who it was much too soon, but thankfully it didn't make me want to find out how the rest of the characters figured it out.

This was a great book, and it definitely can be read without having read the other books, however after you finish it you'll want to grab the other two.

Rating: 4 Flowers

Author Info :

Friday, January 21, 2011

Literary Blog Hop

Literary Blog Hop

Hopping along this Friday from The Blue Bookcase.  Here's the discussion question for the week

Discuss a work of literary merit that you hated when you were made to read it in school or university. Why did you dislike it?

Before I answer this, let me just say that I've always been a reader.  However when told what to read, I find myself faltering. I don't think I have ever enjoyed a book that I was told to read, and that include Jane Eyre, The Scarlet Letter and Les Miserables.

I could give you horror stories about my reading of Les Miz. I had to read that one over the summer in Honors English. Needless to say, I never really read the abriged version until I was out of school.  Oh and can I mention the book was in two column text book form!! ARGH!!! The pain.

But I didn't hate Les Miz.

The book I hated...


I despised this book. It was so dry and to my tenth or eleventh grade self, it was so freaking boring!! I don't think I ever totally finished it. I used Cliff Notes for most of it. It is also the one book that I won't even try to re-read now.

That book was evil!

Oh and I don't care what any of you say, it was about a crazy man and a whale!!!!!!

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Meet My TBR Cube

I think everyone knows how much I love ITSO cubes from Target, especially when they are on sale!

This is my newest cube and it is full of all the paperbacks that I need to be reading. I have so many books on my TBR pile that it is spilling over onto the top of the cube. Some of the books have even moved into little bins that I picked up at the dollar store!

Anything for storage, I tell you! ANYTHING!

But you do have to admit that the ITSO cubes are pretty dang cute, and they sure make things look better than a big pile of books on the floor.



Monday, January 17, 2011

It's Monday! What Are You Reading (20)

From Sheila @ Book Journey.

This is the meme where we discuss what we've read in the past week and what we plan to read in the coming week.

I haven't done this meme in ages, mostly because my life has been really hectic on Mondays lately. 

Last Week's Reading

What I'm Reading This Week

Gabriel's Mate: Scanguards Vampires (Volume 3)Delirium (Delirium - Trilogy)

I probably would have finished Delirium had I not left my Nook in my desk drawer at work last week. So much to read right now and so little time to do it. I have two music reviews due too. I need more time in the day to get stuff done.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Book Tour and Book Review: She's Gone Country #5

She's Gone Country
Author: Jane Porter
Title: She's Gone Country
Publisher: 5 spot
Publish Date: Aug 23, 2010
Copy Provided By: Crazy Book Tours
Buy: Amazon
Book Blurb: Shey Darcy, a 39-year-old former top model for Vogue and Sports Illustrated led a charmed life in New York City with a handsome photographer husband until the day he announced he'd fallen in love with someone else. Left to pick up the pieces of her once happy world, Shey decides to move back home to Texas with her three teenage sons. Life on the family ranch, however, brings with it a whole new host of dramas starting with differences of opinion with her staunch Southern Baptist mother, her rugged but overprotective brothers, and daily battles with her three sons who are also struggling to find themselves. Add to the mix Shey's ex-crush, Dane Kelly, a national bullriding champ and she's got her hands full. It doesn't take long before Shey realizes that in order to reinvent herself, she must let go of an uncertain future and a broken past, to find happiness--and maybe love--in the present.

Review: A lot of readers will recognize Jane's name from the many Harlequin Presents novels she's written over the years. That's why I was a bit wary of reading She's Gone Country at first. It didn't take long for  me to change my way of thinking.

Jane's character's are grown up, have "real life troubles" and are for the most part, are people you'd like to call a friend. I can't say that I can relate to a former supermodel with a gay ex-husband, but she felt real, and it was easy to empathize with her and her struggles, even when you want to smack her, when she can only eat 2 fajitas!

Only two!

This book was more a story about life than it was a romance, though Jane does focus on the short teenage relationship with Dane Kelly, but it isn't quite what the story is about, and there sure aren't any real hot and heavy sex scenes here.  Though you will be excited for her finally sorting out that old relationship, what the reader really cares about here is her relationships with her 3 sons, Hank, Bo, and Cooper, all of which have issues of their own to deal with.

Shey felt more like a mom in this story than a supermodel. The only thing that I had any issue with was the financial problems that Shey and her ex had, because there really wasn't much of an explanation for them.

Other than that, Jane's She's Gone Country was a perfect example of chicklit for the slightly older chicks.

Rating:  4 flowers

Saturday, January 15, 2011

On My Wishlist: #18

On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where I list all the books I desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming.

Here are some books I discovered the other day that I instantly put on my wishlist.

Patience, Princess Catherine: A Young Royals BookThe Bad Queen: Rules and Instructions for Marie-Antoinette (Young Royals)Duchessina: A Novel of Catherine de' Medici (Young Royals)Doomed Queen Anne: A Young Royals Book

Young adult tales of royalty! Oh how I wish these had been around when I was a "young adult!"  I'm hoping to read The Bad Queen through a book tour in the coming months. That one is about Marie Antoinette.
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