Tuesday, November 30, 2010

2011 Mystery and Suspense Challenge

Even though I said that I wasn't going to sign up for any challenges this next year, I have decided to take part in Mystery and Suspense Challenge 2011 hosted at Book Chick City. I like to read in this genre and think it will be easy to complete 12 books through the course of 2011. Check out this post to join in the challenge and find out all the rules.

I have no idea what I will be reading yet. I know that I have at least twelve books that will qualify already on my massive TBR stack. 

An additional incentive for anyone who is thinking of joining is that you will receive an ARC of The Survivor by Sean Slater courtesy of Simon & Schuster for joining the challenge. You will have a chance at monthly prizes too.

This one sounds like a lot of fun and a chance to clear some mystery and suspense books off my TBR stack.

Teaser Tuesday: Masques by Patricia Briggs

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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My teaser this week is from Masques by Patricia Briggs. This is her first book. She edited it some to get rid of the things that most embarrassed her but left enough that people who read the original would recognize it. I never did read the original but I am enjoying this book.

Product description: After an upbringing of proper behavior and oppressive expectations, Aralorn fled her noble birthright for a life of adventure as a mercenary spy. Her latest mission involves spying on the increasingly powerful sorcerer Geoffrey ae'Magi. But in a war against an enemy armed with the powers of illusion, how do you know who the true enemy is-or where he will strike next?

There was enough temper in his eyes, if not his voice, that a prudent person would have backed down.

Not even her enemies had ever called Aralorn prudent.

Sunday, November 28, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (Nov. 29, 2010)

It's Monday, What are you reading is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I had a good reading week. I was disappointed not to get to Duluth for Thanksgiving but the travel conditions between here and there prevented my trip on Wednesday. I enjoyed a quiet four-day weekend here at home.

Besides reading and playing computer games, I also started a Google Docs spreadsheet to list all the VHS and DVD movies and TV series that I own. I collect movies and TV shows but am not very good at actually watching them. I want to make sure that I don't start buying duplicates.

I also took the time to play around with the design of this blog. I chose a new background and created a new header. What do you think? I couldn't really find anything that was "doggish" so I went with letters and school stuff for that part of my life.

I also wrote a lot of reviews and scheduled a bunch of posts for the next couple of weeks. I am trying to get a little bit ahead during this busy holiday season.

Here is what I read:

I got the eARC of My Soul to Steal from NetGalley and Harlequin Teen. I have read and enjoyed the rest of the series and wanted to keep up. This book will be published on Dec. 28, 2010 and my review is scheduled for Dec. 16.

I also read Choker by Elizabeth Woods. This was the first book I read from Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. I enjoyed this psychological thriller and the author almost succeeding in tricking me. I did manage to figure out what was going on with about a third of the book left. The book will be published on Jan. 4, 2011. My review is scheduled for Dec. 2. 
I also had a chance to read Masques by Patricia Briggs. I have liked everything I have read by her and this was no exception. Masques is a high fantasy story with interesting and well-written characters. It is hard for me to believe that this was her first book. My review will  be posted on Dec. 2.

Wolfsbane by Patricia Briggs is the sequel to Masques and was equally entertaining. I loved the interaction and the love story between Aralorn and Wolf. The mystery was also well done. I hope that there are more stories with these characters on Ms. Briggs' horizon. My review for this one will be posted on Dec. 9.
I read Ten Ways to Be Adored when Landing a Lord by Sarah MacLean. This historical romance didn't break any new ground in the genre but was a very pleasant and entertaining story about two very well-realized characters. I loved the romance and the flashes of humor in the story. This review will be posted on Dec. 4.

The next book I plan to read is Virals by Kathy Reichs. I love her forensic mysteries for adults and am eager to see how she does when she writes for young adults. This book also fits as part of the 2010 Debut Young Adult Author Challenge.

I'm not at all sure what I will be reading next week. But these are good possibilities--
Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell is an eARC on my Kindle from NetGalley and Houghton Mifflin. I have never read anything by the author but the cover and blurb intrigued me. The book will be published on Jan. 3 and I would like to get it read and reviewed before that.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand is also an eARC from NetGalley and HarperTeen that will be released on January 4, 2011. It is by a 2011 Debut Author and is a young adult paranormal about angels.
I have also been eager to read these print books that are near the top of my TBR stack. I just got Five Flavors of Dumb by Antony John. It is also young adult and is about a deaf girl who needs to manage a rock band to earn money for college.

Pegasus by Robin McKinley has been on the stack for a little while calling out to me. I am a fan of Ms. McKinley's work and am eager to read her newest.

Since all of the books I'm planning to read are young adults, I may find it necessary to grab something from my adult TBR stack to put a little balance in my reading diet. There are so many good choices there that I may just have to close my eyes and grab. 

What are your plans for the week?

Saturday, November 27, 2010

In My Mailbox (Nov. 28, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

All of the books I added this week were books for my Kindle.
I added The Keepers by Heather Graham to my Kindle this week because I inadvertently added books two and three in the series a couple of weeks ago. I can't read a series without starting at book 1. I am too concrete sequential in my thinking.

A friend called this next series to my attention because she knows about my werewolf addiction. Naturally, I had to buy the whole 4 book series (see "concrete sequential" above.) The books were only $2.99 each. I added them to my Kindle to read "someday."

Blood of a Werewolf by T. Lynne Tolles
Blood Moon by T. Lynne Tolles

Blood Lust by T. Lynne Tolles
Bloodstone Heart by T. Lynne Tolles

While browsing I also saw this title and was intrigued because it seems backwards:

That was my week. What landed in your mailbox this week?

How Well Read Are You?

I love this kind of thing. I think lists are interesting. This seems to be an interesting sort of list of with a variety of classic and contemporary books. I could easily argue about the titles that are included and the ones that are left out. 

The BBC believes most people will have read only 6 of the 100 books listed here.


  • Copy this list.
  • Bold those books you’ve read in their entirety.
  • Italicise the ones you started but didn’t finish or read only an excerpt.
  • Tag other book nerds.
  • I highlighted the ones that I have but haven't read. They are probably in my TBR stack because someone said I should read them.

Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien
Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte
Harry Potter series – JK Rowling

To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
The King James Bible
Wuthering Heights – Emily Bronte
Nineteen Eighty Four (1984) – George Orwell
His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
Little Women – Louisa M Alcott

Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
Complete Works of Shakespeare
Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier
The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien

Birdsong – Sebastian Faulk
Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
The Time Traveler’s Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
Middlemarch – George Eliot
Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
The Great Gatsby – F. Scott Fitzgerald

War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams
Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
Grapes of Wrath – John Steinbeck
Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
Anna Karenina – Leo Tolstoy
David Copperfield – Charles Dickens
Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis

Emma -Jane Austen
Persuasion – Jane Austen
The Lion, The Witch and the Wardrobe – CS Lewis
The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Bernieres
Memoirs of a Geisha – Arthur Golden
Winnie the Pooh – A.A. Milne
Animal Farm – George Orwell
The DaVinci Code – Dan Brown
One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabriel Garcia Marquez 
A Prayer for Owen Meaney – John Irving
The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
Far From The Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
The Handmaid’s Tale – Margaret Atwood
Lord of the Flies – William Golding
Atonement – Ian McEwan
Life of Pi – Yann Martel
Dune – Frank Herbert
Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
Love In The Time Of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez
Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
The Secret History – Donna Tartt
The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas
On The Road – Jack Kerouac
Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
Moby Dick – Herman Melville
Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
Dracula – Bram Stoker
The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson Burnett
Notes From A Small Island – Bill Bryson
Ulysses – James Joyce
The Inferno – Dante
Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
Germinal – Emile Zola
Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
Possession – AS Byatt
Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
Cloud Atlas – David Mitchell
The Color Purple – Alice Walker
The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
Madame Bovary – Gustave Flaubert
A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
Charlotte’s Web – E.B. White
The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad
The Little Prince – Antoine De Saint-Exupery
The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
Watership Down – Richard Adams
A Confederacy of Dunces – John Kennedy Toole
A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
Hamlet – William Shakespeare
Charlie and the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
Les Miserables – Victor Hugo

I have read 28 of these and have 4 more on my TBR stack. I may have read more of them but I only bolded the ones I was sure about. 1984 and Vanity Fair both sound like things I could have read. And I know I read some Steinbeck but don't remember if Of Mice and Men was one of them. Most of the ones I have read were read a number of years ago. The most recent would likely be The DaVinci Code.

I consider myself a well-informed person regarding books and literature but will have to admit that there are a few of these that I have never even heard of - Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louis De Bernieres and The Wasp Factory by Iain Banks, for example.

As a children's and YA librarian, I am ashamed to admit that I have never read Charlie and the Chocolate Factory, Watership Down, Winnie the Pooh or The Wind in the Willows. I hate books where the animals are animals but they talk -- which is my reason for avoiding three out of four of those. The fourth just never interested me. When I was a child, I preferred science fiction or realistic fiction and didn't care for animal stories at all. As an adult, there are too many books that I want to read to go back and catch up on what I missed as a child. 

Take a look at the list and tell me how you did. I have a feeling that book bloggers - no matter what genre we may prefer reading - have read lots more than six of these.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

BTT: Authors and Books I'm Thankful For

Header by Ginger at G Reads
This week's question:
It’s Thanksgiving here in the U.S. of A. so …
What authors and books are you most thankful for?

My Answer:
The authors I am most thankful for are Lois McMaster Bujold and Sharon Lee and Steve Miller. Both write long running science fiction series.

Photo by me taken November 2010.
Lois writes the Vorkosigan saga. They are the continuing adventures of Miles Vorkosigan who is a hyperactive, privileged aristocrat who was born with very brittle bones in a society that hates anything different. He is the kind of character who grabs hold of your heart and just won't let go. He is also the kind of character you would be most likely to murder in his sleep if you happened to meet him in "real life." Whenever I re-read those books, I am again caught up in the world and the adventures. They are perfect books to take me out of myself and out of my life. Lois's books are listed here.

Photo from Fantastic Fiction (undated)
Sharon and Steve's books work the same way for me. I am most entertained by their Liaden Universe books. In this series, humans have evolved into humans, Liadens, and Xtraing and are joined by some other people who never were human like the Turtles. The series focuses on the Liadens who have a fascinating culture built around the concept of melanti (similar to the Japanese Face). The characters are well-developed human beings that I would love to know - but preferably in much less dangerous situations than they face in the books. The culture of the world and the values of Korval fascinate me. I have read these books so frequently that I have multiple copies of each book in case one gets too worn to be readable. A listing of their books is here.

These certainly aren't the only authors I love. But these are the authors that I have turned to year after year and stressful situation after stressful situation to make me feel better and more hopeful.

Which books and authors are you thankful for? Let us know by posting on your blog and linking here.

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

2011 Futuristic/SF Challenge

As this year winds to an end, I have been thinking about challenges for 2011. At first, I was determined not to sign up for any challenges. I wanted to be free to read by impulse and mood and not feel that I had to read something to add to a certain challenge that I had committed to. But, when I saw this challenge, I was very interested in it. This year I read some books in this category and didn't have a challenge that they would fit in.

I am going to be participating in the 2011 Futuristic/SF Challenge hosted by Tasha at Book Obsessed. I am going for the Dweller level and planning to read at least 12 futuristic or science fiction books. 

Here is what Tasha says about her challenge:
The goal of this challenge is to read novels that take place in the future or on an alternate planet. Your books can be of any format (ie. paperback, ebook, audiobook, etc.). No short stories. Re-reads and crossovers from other reading challenges are fine. You can list your books in advance or list them as you read them.
This might give me a chance to go through my TBR mountain and pull out some of the science fiction that I seem to have been stockpiling for just such a challenge. 

Sunday, November 21, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (Nov. 22, 2010)

It's Monday, What are you reading is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I didn't think I would have a very good reading week this week but a slow Monday through Thursday was followed by a great Friday and Saturday.

Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl was my Monday -Thursday read. The lush prose and sheer size of the book required that I read slowly and savor the story. Also, I had to work around a lot of my favorite TV shows early in the week. I really enjoyed this book. My review is here.

Then I chose a book that I knew would be a quick read. I chose Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston. This was a free book for my Kindle this week. The story is a humorous paranormal about a young woman who doesn't know that she is a werewolf and the werewolf who comes to town to protect her. Neither one is looking for romance but romance is looking for them. I really liked the book. This was a re-read. I have the book in print version along with the sequels. My review is here

The next book I chose was Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Don Bruns. This was sent to me by the publisher. It was a humorous mystery with two of the most inept detectives that I have ever heard about. This is the fourth book in the series but was a good stand-alone. I didn't feel that I needed to have read the first books to understand this one. It was a good mystery but with main characters that I felt were a little unsympathetic. They were lazy layabouts who were constantly trying get rich schemes that would provide wealth with no effort. My review is here

Then I warmed up my Kindle and read Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber. This is the first book in a new young adult paranormal series. I received it for review from Harper Teen via NetGalley. This is the story of Celeste who is a nice girl from the right side of town who falls in love with Brandon who is a new kid in school, gorgeous, but from the wrong side of town. Also there are persistent rumors of werewolves in the woods around the town. Celeste is saved from wolves by Brandon when she gets lost in the woods. Brandon is scratched and odd things happen when the full moon comes. This book will be published in late December or early January. I have written the review and scheduled the post for early December. I am eager to see the finished book and plan to order it for my HS Media Center. 

While my Kindle was charging (the weird formatting on the Schreiber book really ate the battery), I chose a book that had been hanging around my TBR stack for a while. I chose Crave by Laura J. Burns and Melinda Metz. This was another excellent, quick read that would be suitable for younger young adult paranormal readers. Shay is known as "the Sick Girl" because she has always had a blood disorder that requires frequent blood transfusions. When she starts getting blood from a new source, she develops new vitality and is having visions of another life when she is getting transfusions. This glimpse into Gabriel's life encourages her to start living her life to the fullest. This was a very enjoyable read. My review is scheduled for Wednesday.

My current book is My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent. This is also an eARC that I received from Harlequin Teen via NetGalley. This book will also be published late December to early January. It is the fourth in the Soul Screamers series. I like this series because it features paranormals who are out of the ordinary -- bean sidhes or banshees. There is a lot of teen angst in the series too.

I am hoping to have a lot of reading time this week. I will be going up to Duluth for Thanksgiving and do not plan to take part in any of the Black Friday shopping frenzy. I'll shop later when the stores aren't so crowded and crazy. I'll be bringing my Kindle with these books that I need to read and review before January 1:
Trickster's Girl by Hilari Bell - The blurb makes this sound like a cross between a dystopian book and a paranormal book. I think it sounds fascinating. This one is from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt via NetGalley.

Choker by Elizabeth Woods -- This is a young adult thriller by a debut author. I got this one as a part of Simon & Schuster's Galley Grab program. The only disadvantage is that I have to read it on my computer instead of my Kindle as it was only available as an Adobe Digital Edition.

Unearthly by Cynthia Hand -- The product description says that this is "a moving tale of love and fate, and the struggle between following the rules and following your heart." I got this one from HarperTeen via NetGalley.

I will also be bringing home some print books to read while my Kindle is charging and also to provide some variety. I need to read and review some books for this blog since all of the above titles are young adult books. Luckily I have hundreds to choose from on my TBR mountain.

Saturday, November 20, 2010

In My Mailbox (Nov. 21, 2010)

The weekly In My Mailbox post is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. It is fun to see what everyone else gets in their mailboxes, shopping bags, and library visits. Click on the link to The Story Siren's site to see the rules and join in the fun.
I guarantee that your TBR pile will grow when you see all the cool books everyone gets. You will discover lots of wonderful blogs and lots of books that you won't be able to live without.

Here is what I added to my stack this week.
Ender in Exile by Orson Scott Card -- Ender's Game is one of my favorite science fiction books. I didn't care for the other Ender books nearly as much. However, this one is supposed to be a direct sequel. I am curious to know what happened to him right after the war.

Side Jobs by Jim Butcher -- I am a fan of the Harry Dresden books but not really a fan of short stories. When the price of this hardcover dropped from the initial release price, I decided that I needed this book to fill in some blanks.

The Anatomy of Ghosts by Andrew Taylor -- This is an unsolicited ARC. It sounds interesting and I plan to read it before publication date on Jan. 25, 2011.
I have to stop reading so many blogs. I added all of these because I saw them when I visited other people's mailbox posts. All of them are ebooks for my Kindle.

Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston was a free Kindle book. I like shifter stories and I like her writing style. This one was good. I read and reviewed it here.

The Wolven by Deborah LeBlanc is another shifter story. I loved the cover and thought the story sounded really interesting.

The Shifters by Alexandra Sokoloff is another shifter story with a great cover and a fascinating blurb.
When I was writing my review of Pack Challenge, I did some research on the author and found out that she also wrote under the name of G. A. Aiken. Her dragon series sounded good so I added it to my Kindle too. Dragon Actually is book 1. About a Dragon is book 2. What a Dragon Should Know is book 3. Last Dragon Standing is the recently publish book 4 in the series.

That was my week. What landed in your mailbox?

Review: Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Don Bruns

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff
Author: Don Bruns
Publication: Oceanview Publishing (December 6, 2010)

Description: It's official: stumbling, bumbling James Lessor and Skip Moore are licensed private investigators. Now, that's some scary stuff. It could take time to get Moore or Less investigations off the ground, so James takes a job with a traveling carnival show. But this show has a dubious reputation, having had a string of accidents and at least one death in the past year. When they're hired to investigate what's caused the carnival chaos, James and Skip set into motion a dizzying, roller coaster chain of events. After a terrifying trip on the Dragon Tail ride, a not-so-fun dust-up in Freddy's Fun House, and a host of threats, James and Skip realize they'll get anything but cooperation from this cantankerous cast of carnies. But when a carnival worker is murdered, James and Skip will have to act fast-because they might be next in line. For James and Skip, the only thing sweeter than the smell of corndogs and fried dough will be the sweet smell of success-but in this case, "success" means getting out alive. This investigation is going completely off the rails.

My Thoughts: Honestly, what a book! It was a combination of Hardy Boys, Laurel and Hardy, and Dumb and Dumber. You have have to look pretty hard to find more inept detectives than Skip Moore and James Lessor. James is the big dreamer who always gets the guys into impossible situations because of his overly optimistic view of the world. Each new "get rich quick" scheme will be the one that finally works. Skip is the pessimist who is always following his friend around and trying to get him out of the situations he lands himself in. Neither one has any ambition or drive. They both want the American Dream but aren't willing to do any of the work needed to get it. 

This adventure has them investigating some strange disappearances at a cut-rate carnival. They know they are on to something when folks start trying to discourage them from investigating. There are a series of accidents but none manage to discourage our heroes. The do bumble their way to triumph at the end but don't end up any richer.

I liked the constant references to movie quotes. I liked the friendship between Skip and James. Although the friendship seemed pretty one-way in this one with Skip bearing most of the weight for his friend James. There were a number of quirky characters including Winnie Pugh who runs a petting zoo and whose main claim to fame is a 'cease and desist' letter from the Walt Disney Company. 

This was a fun, engaging mystery. I recommend it as a light read for mystery lovers. Other books also featuring Skip and James include:

  • Stuff to Die For (2007)
  • Stuff Dreams Are Made Of (2008)
  • Stuff to Spy For (2009)

Favorite Quote:
"Reminds me of the dwarf I rear-ended with my truck last year," James said.

"I don't remember that."

"Oh, yeah. He gets out of his car and he yells, 'I'm not Happy.' So I said, well, then which one are you?"

I didn't bother to smile.

Book Blogger Hop (on a Saturday)

In the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word! This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books! It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read! So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky list below!!

The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun! This is a weekly event! And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added! We get over 200 links every week!!
Jennifer at Crazy-for-Books facilitates this hop each week. Stop over to add your blog to the list and start hopping around to visit other blogs too.

Her question of the week is:

"Since Thanksgiving is coming up next week, let's use this week's Hop to share what we are most thankful for and what our holiday traditions are!"

My answer is that I am thankful for the life I'm living. I have a job I enjoy and a lifestyle I treasure. I am thankful for good friends both inside the blogging community and in "real life."

For this holiday, I will be traveling to the house where I was raised in order to spend time with my brother. We have a very small family. It will be just the two of us for this holiday. But we will still be preparing the traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes, sweet potatoes and cranberry sauce. I think it is my job to supply the dessert. My brother is a big fan of Bakers Square's French Silk Pie. I'll be bringing one North with me.

I'll also be bringing my Kindle and a few print books to read over my brief vacation. I will be avoiding the stores this holiday weekend. Black Friday will have to get along without my financial contribution. I am much more likely to visit a casino than a retail store on Black Friday. 

Friday, November 19, 2010

Book Beginnings: Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston

Book Beginnings on Friday is now hosted by Katy at A Few More Pages Anyone can participate; just share the opening sentence of your current read, making sure that you include the title and author so others know what you're reading. If you like, share with everyone why you do, or do not, like the sentence.
I just started Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston on my Kindle but I have enjoyed her books before and wanted a nice light read in between the weighty stuff I have been reading. This was a free book for the Kindle last week.

First sentence (actually 2):
Waste of his time. That's what this was.

I love that I can just hear and feel the disgust. Clearly this guy is not pleased to be doing what he is doing. I wonder why he is doing it then. 

Thursday, November 18, 2010

Review: Pack Challenge by Shelly Laurenston

Pack Challenge
Author: Shelly Laurenston
Publication: Samhain Publishing (October 17, 2006)

Description: What's an Alpha Male to do when he meets the Alpha Female of his dreams? Step one, hide all sharp objects. All Zach Sheridan ever wanted was to become Alpha Male of his Pack and be left alone. What he definitely didn't need in his life was some needy female demanding his attention. What he never saw coming was the vicious, scarred female who not only demanded his attention but knew exactly how to get it. Sara Morrighan knew this was the best she could expect from her life. Good friends. A nice place to live. And a safe job. But when Zach rode into her small Texas town with his motorcycle club, Sara knew she wanted more. She knew she wanted him. But after one sexy encounter with her dream biker, everything is starting to change. Her body. Her strength. That new thing she's doing with the snarling. Even her best friends are starting to wonder what's going on with her. But this is only the beginning. Sara's about to find out her life was meant for so much more. And Zach's about to find true love with the one woman who makes him absolutely insane. Warning, this title contains the following: explicit sex, graphic language, and strong violence.

My Thoughts: This was a fun romance with shapeshifters. Sara and her two best friends - Angelina and Miki - are entertainly quirky characters. Angelina is a fashionista, lovely, and men follow her in droves. Miki is a very intelligent, paranoid conspiracy theorist. Sara is the balance. She thinks of herself as a Golden Retriever. She is the loyal and the sane one. Except, all of a sudden she is getting very aggressive.

Zach comes to town with his pack because Sara's hated but extremely protective grandmother has died. Sara is in danger from the Pride that killed her mother and father. Sara doesn't know that she is a wolf and potentially an alpha female wolf. Zach just wants to protect her at first. He has no intention of finding a mate. But Sara irritates her way into his heart. She is equally irritated by him. She doesn't want to fall for a biker dude and risk her heart when she knows he will be leaving.

While keeping Sara out of danger the two fall in love. This was an entertaining romance and quite hot too. I recommend it to lovers of shapeshifter romances.

Favorite Quote:
"We're not having this discussion anymore."

"Is this you being all in charge?"

"Where you are concerned, I am in charge."

"Are you happy in your land of delusions? Are you king there?"

Zach had to work hard not to laugh.
This book is followed by Go Fetch! which is Miki's story and Here Kitty, Kitty! which is Angelina's story.

Sunday, November 14, 2010

It's Monday, What Are You Reading? (Nov. 15, 2010)

It's Monday, What are you reading? is a meme hosted by Sheila at Book Journey 
It’s Monday!  What Are You Reading?, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list.

I had a good week but not a good reading week. My presentation to the school board on Monday night went well. And my road trip to the Cities on Thursday night was great. But both really cut into my reading time. 

I finished only three books this week.
I thought Play of Passion by Nalini Singh was excellent. I loved the romance and was intrigued by the politics of the world. I can't wait to see if the heroes manage to thwart the villains in the forthcoming books. My review is here.

I read Scourge by David H. Burton. This was a good middle grade steampunk adventure. My review is here.

I also read Wren Journeymage by Sherwood Smith which adds a fourth volume to the Wren series. This was a good finale. The review will be posted soon. I recommend it for those who remember the Wren series -- good middle grade heroic fantasies.

I just began reading Beautiful Darkness by Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl. It is the sequel to Beautiful Creatures which was one of my favorite books from 2009. This is another young adult paranormal romance. 

Next week I plan to tackle some of the books that I have for review. I currently have quite a number in that group. I'll be trying to read the ones for the books that are being published in December.
My Soul to Steal by Rachel Vincent is the 4th in the Soul Screamers series. These a good young adult paranormals with an unusual main character. She is a banshee. This one is due out on Dec. 28.

Don't Sweat the Small Stuff by Don Bruns is a humorous mystery. This one will be published on Dec. 6.

Once in a Full Moon by Ellen Schreiber is a young adult paranormal with a love triangle and werewolves. What could be better? This one is due out on Dec. 28.

If I manage to get all three read, maybe I can get to some of the ones I said I would read last week. 

What did you read? What's coming up for you? Leave a link and I'll be glad to pay you a visit.