Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays - Anatomy of Wings

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!

Here is my quote for the week, from Anatomy of Wings, by Karen Foxlee. 
I didn't know what my mother would do if she found us with the box. I didn't know if she would sense it had been opened and leap from her bed and come running to find us.



Monday, March 30, 2009

Kitty Series Winner

Thank you to everyone who stopped by and commented on my blog post during the tour of the new Kitty Norville series books.  I appreciate everyone who views, reads, and/or comments on this blog.  I know that each one of you who entered this giveaway really wanted to win, and if you didn't, I hope you entered the giveaway at some of the other sites.


The winner of ALL 6 Kitty Norville books is:


I have emailed you, so please get back to me within 48 hours with your mailing information so that I can pass it on to the people at Hachette.  Thanks again for entering.  There will be a new giveaway posted tomorrow.

Review: Creative Journal Writing

Review Copy Provided by:  Penguin

About the Book:  "The impulse to write is natural for many people. Yet the demands of more public forms of writing can be crushing. In the private spaces of your journal, a genuine sense of possibility is renewed with every blank page. The inner critic can be sacked. The possibilities of style, mood and expression are limitless."

This elegant, highly readable book is ideal for beginners to journal writing as well as those who want to renew or extend what this gentle art can offer. It includes stimulating ideas and exercises, easily-learned skills in observation, and an inspiring method to write freely and with great release and enjoyment.

My Review:  I will have to admit that I am a much better reader than I am a writer.  Reading has always been my love.  I have tried to keep a journal, but have never been very good at following through with it.  This book may be my turning point.

Stephanie Dowrick has put together a book that will help even the most reluctant journaler, like me.  She divides the book into 5 parts: Getting Started, Free to be Creative, Writing the Facts, Your Life in Your Journal, and Putting it all Together.  Throughout the book are excerpts from other journals, so that you can really see what it is she is talking about.  It's one thing to read about it, but another to see a real-life example.  Also scattered throughout the book are timely writing quotes.

At the very beginning of the book is a half page note from Stephanie titled, How to use this book.  I think it's pertinent to share with you.

"One of the essential ingredients of creative journal writing is freedom:  freedom from judgments, freedom to write as you wish and only about what interests you.  How you will use this book is, necessarily, entirely up to you.  But my humble suggestion is that you first read it through like a conventional book, stopping only if an exercise here or there grabs you by the ankle and pulls you to the ground.  Stop here.  If that doesn't happen, experience the ideas and the many wonderful stories as a whole, and only then go back to work your way through it far more personally, engaging with all the exercises that you want, at the pace you want, and in the way you want.
Pleasure is the other essential ingredient of journal writing .  So use this book in the way that will give you the most pleasure: reading, writing, pausing, setting aside, returning, all at a pace and in a rhythm entirely of your own making.

The way she suggests is exactly the way I approached this book.  I simply read for pleasure, taking in all the stories, key principles, suggestions, instructions, etc.  My goal now, is to go back, a little at a time, and take it all in as I put the suggestions, hints, and ideas into practice in my own journal.  Included with the review copy of this book was my very own Creative Writing Journal, but any journal you choose could be used.

My favorite part of this book were the 125 possible topics to write about.  Stephanie suggests instinctively choosing a number between 1 and 125 and just writing about it, whether you like it or not.  I will definitely be going to the list more than once as I embark on my journaling expedition.

Creative Journal Writing is a great way to get started with journaling, or a way to dig deeper into your journaling experience.  Whether or not you're a writer, I encourage you to give it a try.  You never know, you might like it!

Mailbox Monday - 3/30/09

I am so glad to be back participating in Mailbox Monday this week.  The mailbox hasn't been as full this week, thank goodness, because I need some time to catch up on reading and reviews.  Here is what came into my house via the mailbox last week:

the Diamonds by Ted Michael - from Knopf Delacorte Dell: Young Readers Group
At Long Islands’s private Bennington School, the Diamonds rule supreme. They’re the girls all the boys want to date and all the girls want to be. And fortunately for Marni, she’s right in the middle of them. Best friends with the ringleader, Clarissa, Marni enjoys all the spoils of the ultrapopular: boys, power, and respect. But then Marni gets a little too close to Clarissa’s ex-boyfriend, Anderson.
Wrong move. The Diamonds don’t touch each other’s exes.
And just like that, Marni is jettisoned from Diamond to lower than Cubic Zirconia.
But Marni isn’t about to take her ouster lying down. She has dirt on the Diamonds, and she’s not about to go down without a fight. Everyone knows, the only thing strong enough to cut a Diamond is another Diamond.

The Light, The Dark, & Ember Between (ARC) by J.W. Nicklaus - from author for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions blog tour
A collection of short stories, each a splinter's reflection of the human condition, firmly centered upon our oft tenuous, sometimes tensile bond with Hope, and careening flirtation with Love.
Fifteen stories: From the wispy fog of a love lost at sea, to an orphaned child who delivers a present of her own during a war-torn Christmas. These stories are gentle reminders to each of us of what it is to be human, and certainly of our affinity for the slightest glint of Hope.

Mischief Maker's Manual (ARC) by Sir John Hargrave - from Penguin 

The Long Fall by Walter Mosley - from Riverhead Books
His name is etched on the door of his Manhattan office: LEONID McGILL, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR. It’s a name that takes a little explaining, but he’s used to it. “Daddy was a communist and great-great- Granddaddy was a slave master from Scotland. You know, the black man’s family tree is mostly root. Whatever you see aboveground is only a hint at the real story.”
Ex-boxer, hard drinker, in a business that trades mostly in cash and favors: McGill’s an old-school P.I. working a city that’s gotten fancy all around him. Fancy or not, he has always managed to get by—keep a roof over the head of his wife and kids, and still manage a little fun on the side—mostly because he’s never been above taking a shady job for a quick buck. But like the city itself, McGill is turning over a new leaf, “decided to go from crooked to slightly bent.”

The English Patient by Michael Ondaatje - from Amazon for an online book club
With unsettling beauty and intelligence, Michael Ondaatje's Booker Prize-winning novel traces the intersection of four damaged lives in an abandoned Italian villa at the end of World War II.
The nurse Hana, exhausted by death, obsessively tends to her last surviving patient. Caravaggio, the thief, tries to reimagine who he is, now that his hands are hopelessly maimed. The Indian sapper Kip searches for hidden bombs in a landscape where nothing is safe but himself. And at the center of his labyrinth lies the English patient, nameless and hideously burned, a man who is both a riddle and a provocation to his companions—and whose memories of suffering, rescue, and betrayal illuminate this book like flashes of heat lightning.

Th1rteen R3asons Why by Jay Asher - from Amazon for an online book club
Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list.

The Midwife by Jennifer Worth - from FSB Associates
The author became a midwife at age 22, learning her trade in the 1950s from the nun midwives at the convent of St. Raymund Nonnatus and working among impoverished women in the slums of the London Docklands. Her frank, sometimes graphic memoir describes scores of births, from near-catastrophes to Christmas miracles, and details her burgeoning understanding of the world and the people in it. It’s stocked with charming characters: loopy sister Monica Joan, the convent’s near-mystic cake-gobbler and mischief-maker; Father Joseph Williamson, focused on delivering prostitutes rather than babies; handyman/poultry salesman/drain cleaner/toffee-apple pusher Frank; and posh Camilla Fortescue-Cholmeley-Browne (“Chummy”), an outrageously warm-hearted debutante who devoted her life to midwifery and missionary work.

The Cradle by - from Hachette
Early one summer morning, Matthew Bishop kisses his still-sleeping wife Marissa, gets dressed and eases his truck through Milwaukee, bound for the highway. His wife, pregnant with their first child, has asked him to find the antique cradle taken years before by her mother Caroline when she abandoned Marissa, never to contact her daughter again. Soon to be a mother herself, Marissa now dreams of nothing else but bringing her baby home to the cradle she herself slept in. His wife does not know-does not want to know-where her mother lives, but Matt has an address for Caroline's sister near by and with any luck, he will be home in time for dinner.

The Lost Hours (ARC) by Karen White - from Penguin for a Pump Up Your Book Promotions blog tour
Now a near fatal riding accident has shattered Piper’s dreams of Olympic glory. After her grandfather’s death, she inherits the house and all its secrets, including a key to a room that doesn’t exist—or does it? And after her grandmother is sent away to a nursing home, she remembers the box buried in the backyard. In it are torn pages from a scrapbook, a charm necklace—and a newspaper article from 1929 about the body of an infant found floating in the Savannah River. The necklace’s charms tell the story of three friends during the 1920s— each charm added during the three months each friend had the necklace and recorded her life in the scrapbook. Piper always dismissed her grandmother as not having had a story to tell. And now, too late, Piper finds she might have been wrong.

Mailbox Monday is hosted every week by Marcia at The Printed Page.  See what everyone else got in their mailbox last week.  What was in yours?

Sunday, March 29, 2009

Review: Horse Diaries #1 & 2


Author:  Catherine Hapka
Illustrator:  Ruth Sanderson
Review Copy Provided by:  Random House Children's Books

About the Book:   Elska is a silver dapple Icelandic filly. She spends summers frisking about the countryside and winters in the farmyard, where the girl human Amma takes special care of her. But when a powerful neighbor notices Elska, her contented life suddenly changes. Here is Elska’s story . . . in her own words.  

Author:  Alison Hart
Illustrator:  Ruth Sanderson
Review Copy Provided by: Random House Children's Books 

About the Book:  Bell’s Star is a brown Morgan colt with a white star and two white stockings. He was bred for hard work, yet he longs to run free with his human friend, Katie, on his back. But when Star helps rescue a runaway slave girl, his ideas about freedom may change forever. Here is Star’s story . . . in his own words. 

My Review:  Most of you know that I am a horse owner/lover, so when these books arrived in the mail, I was so excited to read them.  I read them both, in one sitting, one evening last week.  They are short, pocket sized books, perfect for young readers' hands.  I passed them on to our vet's grandson today, who's 9, and he has already finished the first one on his drive home this afternoon and started the second one.  He says, "I really liked it!"

I would have to agree with him.  These are quick reads because the pages are small, even though they have over 100 pages.  The stories are just real sweet stories that are set in different places and are each about a different kind of horse.  I would recommend these to reluctant readers, because of the size of the books.  Even with 144 pages, it wouldn't intimidate your reluctant reader as a chapter book.  I  would also recommend them to horse lovers, which is why I gave them to our vet's grandson.  I just love these little books!

Here is a blurb that I recieved from the publicity department at Random House, who says that these books are "American Girl meets the Saddle Club."

Girls love horses. Fads and fashions may come and go, but one thing remains impervious to time—before they discover boys, they discover horses. And that’s why they call it “horse-crazy.”

For the girl who spends every weekend at the stable and the girl who merely dreams about riding, Random House Children’s Books is launching HORSE DIARIES —an entertaining, educational, and very horsy new series. Each title revolves around a specific breed during an appropriate historical period, and features an appendix full of photos and information about that breed. Like Black Beauty, the stories are told from the point of view of the horse. 

I am hoping to be able to review the rest of the books in this series as they come out.  I am working with the publicity department at Random House to hopefully do author interviews and a giveaway.

Blog Link-Up #9 - 3/29/09

It's time for this week's blog links from my fellow book bloggers.  What were their favorite posts this week?  Here they are for you to check out!
Devourer of Books reviewed The Tory Widow by Christine Blevin this week.  She says that she really liked it and "if you like historical fiction/historical romance, this is a book to look into."
Many bloggers participated in a Blog Tour this week for the Kitty Norville series.  Wendi's Book Corner reviewed each book and is giving away one copy of each.  Her review and giveaway of the first book, Kitty and the Midnight Hour is here.  You can find the other reviews and giveaways on her blog.
Wendi also does a weekly meme called Tuesday Thingers.  This week's question was about your favorite books on Library thing.  This is a fun meme to participate in!
Books and Movies has posted a giveaway for The Laws of Harmony.  This book is in my TBR pile, and I've heard nothing but good things about it.  There are many ways to earn entries and you can enter through Friday, April 3rd.
That's all for this week.  I hope you will head on over to some of the participating blogs and leave them a comment about their post.

Saturday, March 28, 2009

Snapshot Saturday #9

This week I'm back with my Saturday Snapshot feature.  For my new followers, this is a weekly feature here on Write For a Reader where I share pictures that I have taken.  You are welcome to join in the fun by sharing a picture on your blog and then linking to it in the comments.
For my picture this week, I wanted to share something "springy" because spring is definitely in the air.  Although, here in Conroe we are having 35 degree weather again, but it's beautiful, nonetheless!  This is a picture that I took at my father-in-law's house last summer when I was staying with him because he was sick.  I love flowers and he always had such beautiful ones.  He could grow anything!  I try, and hope to one day have flowers as beautiful as his were.

Friday, March 27, 2009

Cast Your Vote and You Could Win an Signed ARC of Ballads of Suburbia!

Stephanie Kuehnert, author of I Want to be Your Joey Ramone, is running a contest for a signed ARC of her upcoming book, Ballads of Suburbia.  All you have to do to enter is vote for her cousin, who has formed an organization called Tipping Points.  "It's an organization that provides high-quality, low-cost tutoring and test preparation services to at-risk, underprivileged youth to help them access college and higher education opportunities." Read more at Stephanie's blog

After you vote, go back to Stephanie's blog and tell her that you voted.  You will be entered to win.  Tell her you heard about it here, and I'll get extra entries.  Blog about it, and you'll get extra entries.  Let's get the word out as book lovers and help Tipping Points win a grant from Match Rugby and Teach for America!

Friday Fill-Ins 3/27/09


For this week's fill-in, Janet took the first sentences from her 6 favorite books. She asked us to fill them in correctly or with our own words.

1. "In a hole in the ground there lived a rabbit."

2. "Money's tight, but that ain't no matter."

3. "After dark the rain began to fall again, and then the power went out."

4. "Please release us from the hold of the Spanish galleon."

5. "There was a hand in the darkness, and I reached for it."

6. "Accidents ambush the unsuspecting, and happen to all of us at some time."

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to getting some reading done, tomorrow my plans include cleaning up around here and Sunday, I want to read some more!

Thursday, March 26, 2009

Readergirlz' Operation Teen Book Drop 2009

For more information contact:
Sara Easterly, Publicist for readergirlz
Sara Easterly & Friends


Despite economic downturn, generous publishers have donated
thousands of young-adult books for readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, and YALSA
to deliver to teens in America’s top pediatric hospitals

March 17, 2009 (Seattle, Wash.)Teen patients in pediatric hospitals across the United States will receive 8,000 young-adult novels, audiobooks, and graphic novels next week as readergirlz, Guys Lit Wire, and the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA) celebrate the third annual Support Teen Lit Day on April 16.
In its second year, “Operation TBD” (short for Teen Book Drop), puts free books donated by 18 book publishers into the hands of many teens most in need of escape, inspiration and a sense of personal accomplishment. Books with exceptional characters and fabulous stories can provide just that for teens and their families dealing with difficult, long-term hospital stays.
At a time when philanthropic giving is down, readergirlz co-founders have been inspired by overwhelming industry support for Operation TBD. “readergirlz is always looking for innovative ways to connect teens with literature, “ said Dia Calhoun, co-founder of readergirlz and acclaimed young-adult author. “We’re honored that publishers have supported this goal by giving so liberally this year.”
Operation TBD also aims to encourage all teens to choose reading for pleasure as a leisure activity, over other entertainment options. Inciting the broader teen community to participate in Operation TBD in its drive to spur reading on a national scale, readergirlz has launched a trailer on YouTube (http://www.youtube.com/readergirlz) inviting teens and YA authors to leave a book in a public place on April 16. When visiting www.readergirlz.com, participants can download bookplates to insert into the books they’ll leave behind, which explain the surprise to the recipient and tell them to read and enjoy.
This event is such a special one because it not only raises awareness about teen literature, but it also truly helps those teens most in need. Teens facing illnesses will be able to find an age- appropriate new book to read while in the hospital — teen books matter and not just any old book will do,” said Sarah Cornish Debraski, YALSA president. “Our thanks to the publishers, readergirlz, and Guys Lit Wire. It’s wonderful to unite with these organizations to forward this cause.”
Participating book publishers who have donated books or audiobooks include Abrams Books, Bloomsbury/Walker Books, Candlewick Press, Full Cast Audio, Hachette Book Group, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, Hyperion, Milkweed, Mirrorstone Books, Orca Book Publishers, Peachtree Books, Perseus Book Group/Running Press, Random House, Scholastic, Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing, Soft Skull Press & Red Rattle Books, TOKYOPOP and Tor/Forge/Starscape/Tor Teen.
“Putting the right book into the hands of a teen can turn that teen into a reader for life, “ said Suzanne Murphy, VP and Group Publisher, Scholastic Trade Book Publishing. “We are delighted to have the opportunity to help Operation TBD show teens firsthand just how much fun reading can be.”
Pediatric hospitals that have signed up to receive books include Phoenix Children's Hospital (Phoenix, Ariz.), Rady's Children's Hospital (San Diego, Calif.), Children’s Hospital Los Angeles, Children's Hospital and Research Center (Oakland, Calif.), All Children's Hospital (St. Petersburg, FL), Children's Memorial Hospital (Chicago, Ill.), UM C.S. Mott Children's Hospital (Ann Arbor, Mich.), Children's Mercy Hospitals and Clinics (Kansas City, MO), The Children's Hospital of Philadelphia, Children's Medical Center in Dallas, Mary Bridge Children's Hospital & Health Center (Tacoma, Wash.) and Seattle Children's Hospital.
“Our teen patients here at Seattle Children’s loved the books donated through the Operation Teen Book Drop last year,” said Kim Korte, Child Life Manager, Seattle Children’s Hospital. “Books are a wonderful avenue for our patients to be distracted from the pain and stress of hospitalization. We are always in need of books and greatly appreciate the generosity of the publishers who donated.”
Everyone who participates in Operation TBD is invited to celebrate at the TBD Post-Op Party on April 16 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time on the readergirlz blog: http://readergirlz.blogspot.com.

About Support Teen Literature Day

For the third consecutive year, Support Teen Literature Day will be celebrated April 16, 2009 in conjunction with ALA’s National Library Week. Librarians all across the country are encouraged to participate in Support Teen Literature Day by hosting events in their library. The purpose of this new celebration is to raise awareness among the general public that young adult literature is a vibrant, growing genre with much to offer today’s teens. Support Teen Literature Day also seeks to showcase award-winning authors and books in the genre as well as highlight librarians’ expertise in connecting teens with books and other reading materials.

About the Young Adult Library Services Association (YALSA)

For more than 50 years, YALSA has been the world leader in selecting books, videos, and audiobooks for teens. For more information about YALSA or for lists of recommended reading, viewing and listening, visit www.ala.org/yalsa/booklists or contact the YALSA office by phone, 800-545-2433, ext. 4390, or email, yalsa@ala.org.

About readergirlz

readergirlz is the foremost online book community for teen girls, led by five critically acclaimed YA authors—Dia Calhoun (Avielle of Rhia), Holly Cupala (A Light That Never Goes Out) Lorie Ann Grover (Hold Me Tight), Justina Chen Headley (North of Beautiful), and Melissa Walker (the Violet series). readergirlz is the recipient of a 2007 James Patterson PageTurner Award.
To promote teen literacy and leadership in girls, readergirlz features a different YA novel and corresponding community service project every month. For more information about readergirlz, please visit www.readergirlz.com and http://readergirlz.blogspot.com, or contact divas@readergirlz.com.

About Guys Lit Wire                                                                                                                 Guys Lit Wire brings literary news and reviews to the attention of teenage boys and the people who care about them. Working to combat the perception that teen boys aren’t as well read as teen girls, the organization seeks out literature uniquely targeted toward teen male readers in hopes of bringing attention of good books to guys who might have missed them.
Ó2009 readergirlz

Wednesday, March 25, 2009

Review: Wintergirls

Title:  Wintergirls
Review Copy Provided by: Penguin, won from Laura's Review Bookshelf

About the Book:  "Dead girl walking," the boys say in the halls. "Tell us your secret," the girls whisper, one toilet to another. I am that girl. I am ht espace between my thighs, daylight shining through. I am the bones they want, wired on a porcelain frame.

Lia and Cassie were best friends, wintergirls frozen in matchstick bodies.  But now Cassie is dead.  Lia's mother is busy saving other people's lives.  Her father is away on business.  Her step-mother is clueless.  and the voice inside Lia's head keeps telling her to remain in control, stay strong, lose more, weigh less.  If she keeps on going this way - thin, thinner, thinnest - maybe she'll disappear altogether.

My Review:  I just have to get this off my chest - This book was freakin' awesome!  I enjoy most of the books I read, and if I don't, I'll tell you.  This one though, WOW!  I took this one with me to the rodeo last week, and read in between the classes that were showing.  You should have seen me...standing behind the stalls, reading, oblivious to the world around me, until I was needed to help out with the event.  I've read in alot of places, but this was a first for me.  I had read alot of reviews on this one and just had to see for myself what all the hype was about.  Well, it definitely needed to be hyped up, because it's that good.  This is the first Laurie Halse Anderson that I've read, although Chains is on my wish list.

Like I said, I'd read many reviews before I started the book, but nothing prepared me for what I was about to get sucked into, and I don't mean that in a bad way.  Anderson writes so that you are "in the story."  I felt as if I really knew Lia.  I could hurt, cry, empathize, and celebrate with her as she dealt with the loss of a friend, the tragedy behind what happened, and trying to overcome a disease that was trying to kill her. 

What I loved most about this book was the writing.  Not only is Anderson a great writer, she writes so that it appears the character has written the story.  To me, it was alot like a diary.  The chapters don't always start on a new page, which is different from most books.  Lia's voice comes through in the writing so strongly.  I liked the fact that when Lia was thinking, a smaller font was used and it was separated from the rest of the text. 

This was one that I couldn't put down until I had finished it.  I highly recommend this title to lovers of Young Adult fiction, be they young adults or not.  It is one that I hope high school/college age girls will read so that they are aware of the dangers of eating disorders.  I will definitely read more Laurie Halse Anderson because of this book.

I was excited to see that on the Wintergirl's website, you can get a copy of a Teacher's Guide for the book.  Eating disorders are a serious issue and we, as educators, should do our part to educate our teens about the dangers of them.

Kitty Blog Tour and Giveaway

I am pleased to be a part of a blog tour today, hosted by Hachette Book Group.  This tour is a little different from others we've done.  Hachette recently released two new titles in the Kitty Norville series: KITTY AND THE DEAD MAN'S HAND and KITTY RAISES HELL. These are fun, clean books about a secret werewolf/radio advice DJ.

About the Books:

Already the alpha pair of Denver's werewolf pack, Kitty and Ben now plan to tie the knot human-style by eloping to Vegas. Kitty is looking forward to sipping fru-fru drinks by the pool and doing her popular radio show on live TV, but her hotel is stocked with werewolf-hating bounty hunters. Elsewhere on the Strip an old-school magician might be wielding the real thing; the vampire community is harboring a dark secret; and the irresistible star of a suspicious animal act is determined to seduce Kitty. Sin City has never been so wild, and this werewolf has never had to fight harder to save not only her wedding, but her very life.
Sometimes what happens in Vegas doesn't stay in Vegas.

Kitty and Ben flee The City That Never Sleeps, thinking they were finished with the dangers there, but the sadistic cult of lycanthropes and their vampire priestess have laid a curse on Kitty in revenge for her disrupting their rituals. Starting at the next full moon, danger and destruction the form of fire strikes Kitty and the pack of werewolves she's sworn to protect.
She enlists the help of a group of TV paranormal investigators - one of whom has real psychic abilities - to help her get to the bottom of the curse that's been laid on her. Rick, the Master vampire of Denver, believes a deeper plot lies behind the curse, and he and Kitty argue about whether or not to accept the help of a professional demon hunter - and vampire - named Roman, who arrives a little too conveniently in the nick of time.
Unable to rely on Rick, and unwilling to accept Roman's offer of help for a price, Kitty and her band of allies, including Vegas magician Odysseus Grant and Kitty's own radio audience, mount a trap for the supernatural being behind the curse, a destructive force summoned by the vengeful cult, a supernatural being that none of them ever thought to face.

My intention was to review these for you today, but I was unable to finish them due to life getting in the way of reading, and I don't want to do the books a disservice by reviewing them when I didn't finish reading.  So, I decided to share some other things with you.  You will read reviews on the other sites that are on the tour, listed at the end of this post.  I hope you will visit them and share in the tour love.

Let's meet the author, Carrie Vaughn

Carrie Vaughn had the nomadic childhood of the typical Air Force brat, with stops in California, Florida, North Dakota, Maryland, and Colorado. She holds a Masters in English Literature and collects hobbies-fencing and sewing are currently high on the list. She lives in Boulder, Colorado.

She has written a couple of articles that are interesting reads.  See what she has to say about Books as Friends and KAFA, an Air Force Academy where she has many memories.  Want to hear her speak live?  Here are three archived audios for your listening pleasure:  Author/Editor interview, "Midnight Hour" radio show, and her Blog Talk Radio interview that took place recently.

These two books, recently released, are books 5 & 6 in the series.  I was lucky enough to receive the whole series, which makes these two easier to understand, although you don't have to read them in order, it just helps for background.  Fortunately one of you is going to be able to not only catch up on the series, but have each title to read at your convenience.  That's right, Miriam at Hachette has graciously offered the entire series to one of my readers.  Please leave me a comment as to why you just have to have this series and you will be entered to win.  Comments will be accepted until Sunday, March 29 at midnight.  Winner will be drawn randomly on Monday, March 30th.  Please make sure you leave your email, in code, so that I can get in touch with you should you win.  This contest is open to US and Canadian addresses only, no PO boxes.

As always, you can earn extra entries by:

Following in Blogger or a reader - 1 entry
Tweeting this contest and putting the link in comments - 2 entries
Blogging about this and linking back - 3 entries
It's easier to count your entries if you leave a separate comment for each thing that you do.

Other Blogs on the Tour:


Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Wednesday Wanderings with a Giveaway 3/25/09

I wander the blogosphere and bring you what I find.

I apologize for not posting a Wednesday Wanderings last week.  I hope that what I have for you this week will make up for it.  Here's what I've come across in my blog reading:

If you are looking for a great book to read, check out Bermudaonion's Weblog.  She ended up with 2 ARCs of Into the Beautiful North and she wants to give one away.

This Mom Can Shop has a chance for you to win $25 credit to Urbanity Studios.  You have to check out these cards!  They are great if you need birth announcements, party invites, etc.

Barefoot Mommy is always finding the best items to review and giveaway.  This week she has a tutu shirt, a locket necklace from Penelope Poet and Skinny Dip Candles.

Mommy Works Blog has a number of giveaways going on.  They are all posted in the sidebar:  eieio Girl's Roundabout Dress - Ends 4/1, Asher Jasper Felted Wool Animal Ball - Ends 3/29, Mimi and Reese Easter Tote FULL of Goodies! - Ends 3/29, Little Ace $10 Gift Card - Ends 3/28, Custom Crayon Roll - Ends 3/25, Cinnamonsticks Handstamped Jewelry $40 Gift Card - Ends 3/25

Finally this week, I was able to review a neat new website for kids.  Since I work with children, I fell in love with this immediately and knew I had to share it with you.  The name of the website is Shidonni.  Here is a blurb that I received from Noa, a fellow blogger and marketing/social media consultant who is promoting the site:

Shidonni is a virtual world for children, ages 5 and up, based on the idea of drawing animals and caring for them, but with a 21st century twist.
Visitors to the site receive a blank canvas where they can draw an animal and create a background for that animal to play. After drawing their virtual pets, children play with them as they magically 'come alive'. Children then care for, feed and play games that incorporate their animals as main characters.

In order to play, you have to download Microsoft's free plug-in, Silverlight.  To play around with the site, you can click on "try me" or you can register for free with a username and password.  You start by creating an animal, then a background for the animal.  Once the animal is created, it comes to life.  It was cute to see the little pig I drew walking across the screen! You can even get a surprise, a bedroom, or create food for your animal.  All of the work is done on a very user friendly "paint" like program.  It will be easy for children to use once you show them how as all of the buttons are self-explanatory.  You draw with a pencil, paint with a paint bucket, erase with an eraser, etc.  There is also an explanation page for parents.  I had fun playing around and know that kids will too.  Animals can be saved as long as you are a member.  Registration is free or you can become a Shidonni Pro which allows you to dress your animals and get other extras for them and their world.  They offer a 1 month, 3 month or 6 month offer.

Noa has graciously offered one of my readers a 3 month Shidonni Pro Account!  All you have to do is visit Shidonni, take a look around, let your kids play with it, etc.  Come back here and leave a comment as to what you liked or didn't like about the site.  I will run the contest through Sunday, March 29 at midnight.  One comment will be chosen at random to win and will be emailed and posted on this blog on Monday the 30th.  Please leave your email address, in code, so that I can contact you.

Monday, March 23, 2009

And the Winner is...

Yesterday was the last day to enter my giveaway for a copy of Galway Bay, which I reviewed here last week.  I put all of your comments into random.org and the winner is...

Beth F.

What Part of Spring Are You?

Being away from the computer really adds alot of reading to my Google Reader. I started going through it last night and then some more today. When I got to Kittling: Books, I noticed this post and it caught my eye.  I love these little profiles, so I answered the questions and here's what it said...

You Are Blooming Flowers

You are an optimistic person by nature. In even the darkest times, you are hopeful about the future.

You feel truly blessed in life and can sometimes be overwhelmed with emotions.

You have an artist's eye. You are always looking for beauty in the mundane.

You have a good sense of aesthetics, especially when it comes to shapes and color.

Sunday, March 22, 2009

I'm Back and We Have a Winner!

Hello readers!  I have truly missed each and every one of you while I've been at the rodeo.  My husband had 2 days of the Paint Horse Show and then our vet had 2 days of the Donkey & Mule show, that we helped him with.  We are finally back at home, exhausted, not wanting to work tomorrow, but home nonetheless.  Spring Break was fast and furious; I could use another!  Sorry about not having posts scheduled for you all.  Next time I will definitely be more prepared. 

I did finish Wintergirls (loved it!), so look for the review this week. Many of you have been commenting on my review of Galway Bay and I will be posting the winner tomorrow.  I will have more giveaways this week, so check back and see what's going on.

I failed to post the winner for my 100th post giveaway, so let me take care of that.  We failed to reach 100 comments, so the 2 extra books will be kept for a future giveaway.  The winner, chosen at random, is:

Julie P.

I have emailed the winner, who has 48 hours to get back to me with her mailing address so that I can get her books mailed from the publisher.  Congratulations to Julie!!!

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Review: Galway Bay - Blog Tour

Title:  Galway Bay
Author:  Mary Pat Kelly
Review Copy Provided by:  Hachette Book Group

About the Book:  Here at last is one Irish family's epic journey, capturing the tragedy and triumph of the Irish-American experience. In a rousing tale that echoes the myths and legends of Ireland herself, young Honora Keeley and Michael Kelly wed and start a family, inhabiting a hidden Ireland where fishermen and tenant farmers find solace in their ancient faith, songs, stories, and communal celebrations. Selling both their catch--and their crops--to survive, these people subsist on the potato crop--their only staple food. But when blight destroys the potatoes three times in four years, a callous government and uncaring landlords turn a natural disaster into The Great Starvation that will kill one million. Honora and Michael vow their children will live. The family joins two million other Irish refugees in one of the greatest rescues in human history: the Irish Emigration to America. Danger and hardship await them there. Honora and her unconventional sister Maire watch their seven sons as they transform Chicago from a frontier town to the "City of the Century", fight the Civil War, and enlist in the cause of Ireland's freedom. The Kelly clan is victorious. This heroic story sheds brilliant light on the ancestors of today's 44 million Irish Americans.

My Review:  Having come from Irish ancestors, I was drawn to this book immediately.  To say it was a beautiful read would be an understatement.  I loved everything about this book, the writing, the characters, the story line, the history, all of it.  I have studied the Potato Famine with my kids at school, but never knew just how deeply and tragically it affected these people.  What a horrible feeling to know that all you had planted, all you had worked for, was ruined in less than a heartbeat.  What these people went through to sustain life, each other, and their families during the years of hardship is amazing!  It truly shows their character, determination, and resilience.  At the same time, they are being pushed out of Ireland, only to travel to "Amerikay."  How can they leave Ireland behind, the land where they were born, raised, and made their own families?  Coming to America brings it's own trials.  So many emotions went through me as I read this story.  Frank McCourt said, "Laughter and tears and pure magic." How right he was!  Honora, the main character, is truly admirable.  I love her!  I'm not sure I could have endured everything that she had to endure.

Mary Pat Kelly tells a wonderful story in Galway Bay.  It is based upon the true story of her family's journey.  A true gem of an historical fiction novel!

Here are some extras that you might enjoy reading:

Letter from Mary Pat Kelly
Author Essay - An Honor

Thanks to Miriam at Hachette, I have a copy to give away to a lucky reader!  Please leave a comment about your favorite period in history, favorite historical event, or favorite historical fiction novel.  I will randomly draw a winner on Monday, Mar. 23.  As always you can earn extra entries by following me, tweeting about this contest, or blogging about this contest.  Earn 3 extra entries for visiting another blogger on the tour and telling me something about their post.  Please leave a separate comment for each entry.  Open to US/Canada addresses; no PO boxes.

Following is a list of ALL the other blogs on the tour.  I hope that you will take some time to stop by a few and see their thoughts on this great book!


Monday, March 16, 2009

Mailbox Monday - 3/16/09

I have gotten real picky about the books I request, or agree to review, but my mailbox still seems to be full!  I don't mind, but my husband jokes that we are creating our own private library. :)  I am reading just as fast as I can, so look for reviews just as fast as I can get them posted.  Here is what showed up at my house last week.

The Diamond of Darkhold (ARC), by Jeanne DuPrau, from And Another Book Read.

Paper Towns (ARC), by John Green, from And Another Book Read.

2 copies of Reading Your Male, by Mary Farrar, from Phenix & Phenix

Fate, by Jennifer Lynn Barnes, from Random House Children's Books

Highway to Hell, by Rosemary Clement-Moore, from Random House Children's Books

Brutal, by Michael Harmon, from Random House Children's Books

Surface Tension, by Brent Runyon, from Random House Children's Books

A Lucky Child (ARC), by Thomas Buergenthal, from Hachette Book Group

No Matter What! (ARC), by Lisa Nichols, from Hachette Book Group

Into the Beautiful North (ARC), by Luis Alberto Urrea, from Little, Brown

I Can Do It Myself!, by Diane Adams, from Peachtree Publishers

Dad, Jackie, and Me, by Myron Uhlberg, from Peachtree Publishers

The Book of Shadowboxes, by Laura Seeley, from Peachtree Publishers

Can You Cuddle Like a Koala?, by John Butler, from Peachtree Publishers

To see other Mailbox Monday posts, visit Marcia at The Printed Page.
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