Category Archives: fiction books

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for May’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Martha at Martha’s Bookshelf.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Books that came in my mailbox this week:

The Pleasures of Men by Kate Williams from Hyperion

“Catherine Sorgeiul lives with her Uncle in a rambling house in London’s East End. She has few companions and little to occupy the days beyond her own colourful imagination. But then a murderer strikes, ripping open the chests of young girls and stuffing hair into their mouths to resemble a beak, leading the press to christen him The Man of Crows. And as Catherine hungrily devours the news, she finds she can channel the voices of the dead … and comes to believe she will eventually channel The Man of Crows himself.

But the murders continue to panic the city and Catherine gradually realizes she is snared in a deadly trap, where nothing is as it first appears … and lurking behind the lies Catherine has been told are secrets more deadly and devastating than anything her imagination can conjure.”

Granddad, There’s a Head on the Beach by Colin Cotterill from St. Martin’s Press (a win from ShelfAwareness)

“In rural Thailand, former crime reporter Jimm Juree must grapple with her quirky family, a mysterious mother and daughter on the lam and the small matter of a head on the beach.
When Jimm Juree’s mother sold the family house and invested in a rundown ‘holiday camp’ at the southern end of Thailand on the Gulf of Siam, the family had little choice but to follow. Jimm Juree, who was well on her way to achieving her goal of becoming the primary crime reporter for the major daily newspaper in Chiang Mai, is less than thrilled to have lost her job as a reporter and to be stuck in the middle of nowhere where little of interest happens. So it is with mixed feelings that she greets the news that a head has washed up on the beach. It’s tragic, of course, but this could be the sort of sensational murder that would get her a byline in a major daily and keep her toehold on her journalism career. Now all she has to do is find out who was murdered, and why.”
The Lower River by Paul Theroux from Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
“Ellis Hock never believed that he would return to Africa. He runs an old-fashioned menswear store in a small town in Massachusetts but still dreams of his Eden, the four years he spent in Malawi with the Peace Corps, cut short when he had to return to take over the family business. When his wife leaves him, taking the family home, he realizes that there is one place for him to go: back to Malawi on the remote Lower River, where he can be happy again.   Arriving at the dusty village, he finds it transformed: the school he built is a ruin, the church and clinic are gone, and poverty and apathy have set in among the people. They remember him — the White Man with no fear of snakes — and welcome him. But is his new life, his journey back, an escape or a trap? “
The Orphan Master by Jean Zimmerman from Viking (this is the hardback – I received the ARC of this book I received back in early April)
“It’s 1663 in the tiny, hardscrabble Dutch colony of New Amsterdam, now present-day southern Manhattan. Orphan children are going missing, and among those looking into the mysterious state of affairs are a quick-witted twenty-two-year-old trader, Blandine von Couvering, herself an orphan, and a dashing British spy named Edward Drummond.Suspects abound, including the governor’s wealthy nephew, a green-eyed aristocrat with decadent tastes; an Algonquin trapper who may be possessed by a demon that turns people into cannibals; and the colony’s own corrupt and conflicted orphanmaster. Both the search for the killer and Edward and Blandine’s newfound romance are endangered, however, when Blandine is accused of being a witch and Edward is sentenced to hang for espionage. Meanwhile, war looms as the English king plans to wrest control of the colony.”

A Once Crowded Sky by Tom King from Simon & Schuster
“The superheroes of Arcadia City fight a wonderful war, and play a wonderful game, forever saving yet another day. However, after sacrificing both their powers and Ultimate, the greatest hero of them all, to defeat the latest apocalypse, these comic book characters are transformed from the marvelous into the mundane. After too many battles won and too many friends lost, The Soldier of Freedom was fine letting all that glory go. But when a new threat blasts through his city, Soldier, as ever, accepts his duty and reenlists in this next war. Without his once amazing abilities, he’s forced to seek the help of the one man who walked away, the sole hero who refused to make the sacrifice— PenUltimate, the sidekick of Ultimate, who through his own rejection of the game has become the most powerful man in the world, the only one left who might still, once again, save the day. “
For my Kindle I got:
Sleepers by Megg Jensen
“An adoptee raised in a foreign land, sixteen-year-old Lianne was content with her life as handmaiden to the queen, until a spell cast on her at birth activated. Now she’s filled with uncontrollable rage and access to magic she thought had been bled from her people years ago. Even her years of secret training in elite hand-to-hand combat and meditation can’t calm the fires raging inside her.

Her heart is torn between two boys, the one she’s always loved and the one who always ignored her. But when the kingdom threatens to tear itself apart due to rumors surrounding the queen’s alleged affair, who will Lianne protect and who will she destroy?”

Brisingr by Christopher Paolini
“Following the colossal battle against the Empire’s warriors on the Burning Plains, Eragon and his dragon, Saphira, have narrowly escaped with their lives. Still there is more at hand for the Rider and his dragon, as Eragon finds himself bound by a tangle of promises he may not be able to keep.

First is Eragon’s oath to his cousin Roran: to help rescue Roran’s beloved, Katrina, from King Galbatorix’s clutches. But Eragon owes his loyalty to others, too. The Varden are in desperate need of his talents and strength—as are the elves and dwarves. When unrest claims the rebels and danger strikes from every corner, Eragon must make choices— choices that take him across the Empire and beyond, choices that may lead to unimagined sacrifice.”

What books came into your home this past week?

2 Comments

Filed under fiction books, Mailbox Monday

Review – Legend by Marie Lu

Legend by Marie Lu

Synopsis by GoodReads:

“What was once the western United States is now home to the Republic, a nation perpetually at war with its neighbors. Born into an elite family in one of the Republic’s wealthiest districts, fifteen-year-old June is a prodigy being groomed for success in the Republic’s highest military circles. Born into the slums, fifteen-year-old Day is the country’s most wanted criminal. But his motives may not be as malicious as they seem.

From very different worlds, June and Day have no reason to cross paths—until the day June’s brother, Metias, is murdered and Day becomes the prime suspect. Caught in the ultimate game of cat and mouse, Day is in a race for his family’s survival, while June seeks to avenge Metias’s death. But in a shocking turn of events, the two uncover the truth of what has really brought them together, and the sinister lengths their country will go to keep its secrets.”

Review:

This book is set in Los Angeles, CA, written from alternating viewpoints – one chapter from Day, and one chapter from June.  I’m a fan of dystopian novels anyway, and I’ve heard lots of good things about this book.  It’s been compared to the Hunger Games, but I can’t say that it grabbed me the same way.  I did enjoy the book though!  Day and June become characters you can believe in, and feel emotion for.  Although Day is labeled as a wanted criminal, his crimes resemble Robin Hood.  He steals from the rich (the government and military) for the poor.  He gives them money, food, clothes and other items he is able to steal.  He also sells things he “finds” to people who can afford them, and saves the money to take food, clothing and other necessities to his family.  All but his oldest brother, John, believe him to be dead from being sent to a work camp after his failure to pass the Trials.  Children of the Republic are tested when they turn 10 – they have to pass an interview and physical challenges as well as an intelligence test on a written exam.  Only one person in record has ever “aced” the Trials test with a score of 1500 – June Iparis.

June and Day seem to be complete opposites – one a prodigy from a wealthy family, and one a failure, reduced to stealing to feed himself, sleeping in abandoned buildings, and hiding from the Republic military.  Their paths cross in an unexpected way, and they are immediately drawn to each other.  June is recovering from the loss of her beloved brother, Captain Maties Iparis, while Day is struggling to get enough money to buy a plague cure for his youngest brother, Eden.  Their attraction is the beginning of a young romance.

As they each struggle to accomplish vastly different goals their paths continue to cross.  June is searching for her brother’s killer, and eventually believes it to be Day.  Day is struggling to feed and medicate his family, and learn the secrets of the Republic.  Will they survive their repeated interactions?  What is the Republic government hiding, and who does it affect?  Who does it betray?

I enjoyed Legend and am looking forward to the 2013 release of Prodigy.  I rate it a 3.5 out of 5.

Marie Lu started writing Legend, her debut novel, when she was only 14 years old.  Here are some excerpts from her web page – questions and answers about her work.

How did you come up with LEGEND?  One of the main characters in LEGEND, the boy criminal Day, has been in my imagination since I was 15. He started out as a teen rebel character in a fantasy novel I wrote in high school. I always had trouble thinking of a good rival or enemy for Day, though. I wanted someone who could match him.  Then, one day in 2009, I was lying on the carpet in my living room (this is how I daydream), and the movie version of Les Miserables was on. The Jean Valjean vs. Javert concept started me thinking about Day, and the central idea for LEGEND came almost right away: Day vs. an equally sharp detective agent. I was so glad that I could bring Day back to life, because he’s a character very close to my heart.

  • When is the sequel to LEGEND coming out?  Legend is the first book of a trilogy. The second book is titled Prodigy, and comes out on Jan. 29, 2013!
  • When did you start writing? I remember writing as early as 4 or 5 years old. When I was 5, I wrote a “book” (i.e. 10 sheets of notebook paper stapled together) about farm animals. I was always stapling together books of all shapes and sizes. Another time, when I was 7 or 8, I wrote out a bunch of short fairy tales about unicorns and cats, and stapled those together as well. I wrote my first “novel” (80 handwritten pages) when I was 11, a fantasy heavily influenced by Brian Jacques. I remember thinking about how to mass-produce that and bring it to the public. Little did I know there were publishers who did that …. somehow I thought every book at the library was magically distributed and printed by each individual author and delivered directly to the library. I started writing seriously at 14 when I finished my first official manuscript.
  • I hear that June started out as a boy! How would the story have been different if that were the case?  Yes, initially June started out as a boy because I was basing it off the ValJean/Javert relationship in Les Miserables, so that was the first thing that came to me. :) However, when I pitched this to my boyfriend, he immediately frowned and said, “You know, it’d be so much more interesting if the teen detective was a girl.” And all I could think was, “omg, that fits SO much better.” A lot of elements would probably have been the same–there still could’ve been a romance between the two leads either way, still the same action and the same emotional arc….but I think making June a girl added a strong female presence that was lacking from my original idea. I think she really helped round out the girls present in the story.
  • Will LEGEND ever be a movie or TV show?   I hope so! Currently CBS Films holds the film rights, with Temple Hill (Twilight) producing. I think it would make a cool movie–but then, I’m a little biased. :) I also think it’d make a great cartoon show along the lines of Avatar: The Last Airbender or Teen Titans, something for the 8-12 age group, about Day’s adventures as a boy fugitive before the events of LEGEND.  (This is good news!  I’d love to see CBS make Legend into a movie!)

Here is a link to the finalized cover art for Prodigy, as well as the exclusive first chapter on USA Today’s Book Buzz.
Other blogger’s review of Legend:
If you enjoy Legend, you will probably like:

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction books, reading, review

Catching Up – Travels – News – Review

I feel like I’ve been totally out of touch this week!  I’m recovering from acute bronchitis, it’s been a while since I’ve felt that bad!  I didn’t check Facebook or Email, only went somewhere if it was absolutely necessary (doctor, pharmacy, school).  I still feel like I’m coughing up a lung, but I’m pretty sure I’m not dying!  I couldn’t say that for certain on Monday!

I hope everyone had a good weekend, I know that a holiday weekend can be a wonderful family time, and it can also be a time of bittersweet memories.  Thankfully, I still have my mom, mother-in-law and grandmothers.  I know it won’t be that way forever, and I’m very fortunate to have them.  This past week we traveled to GA where one of our daughters and son-in-law are stationed, and spent time with them and our darling grand-daughter for Mother’s Day.

I wrote my Mailbox Monday and Teaser Tuesday posts before we left town, so I was able to simply post them, but haven’t felt like doing much of anything since, compliments of the bronchitis.  Today I’m up and around, and the housework is calling my name.

I’ve come across some interesting things online lately, and thought I’d share a couple of them.

Here’s a neat article about book art at the WebUrbanist website.  See some of the artwork below:

The art on the top left as well as the bottom left is done by Su Blackwell,  top center and right is done by Thomas Allen, and the bottom right is a piece I haven’t been able to credit yet.  Another artist whose work I really like is Brian Dettmer’s.

While I am too attached to books to use them even for the most beautiful art, I love these pieces.  Their websites show a lot of other pieces they’ve done – just amazing!  I love that books are such a fascinating medium.  There are so many old books that no one seems to want that are stored, or left behind, it wonderful that they can be used for something so lovely.  I’ve seen a lot of book crafts on Pinterest, and again, while they are lovely, I’m not sure I could cut up books.  I grew up with a great respect for books, no matter their age.  My mother wouldn’t allow us to turn down the corner to mark our place (which is why I use almost any random thing as a bookmark), lay the books facedown while open, mark in them, or do anything else that might make them less than pristine.  I had a hard time writing or highlighting in my textbooks, thanks to her!

Here’s are some Pinterest finds using books:

 A book/clock using Where The Wild Things Are

Painting on Book Bindings

Book Page Wallpaper

Vintage Book Expandable File

Vintage Book Necklace

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Here’s a news tidbit that made me cringe, considering we spent a couple of days last week on the road and eating fast food – “Teen Finds Finger in Arby’s Sandwich”.  I’m not a fan of fast food normally, but then when you read about stuff like this it makes me positively nauseous.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

I have a few TV shows that I really like, I DVR them, then on a weekend, or unexpected downtime I watch them sans commercials.  I came across a list of the shows cancelled in or after the 2011-2012 season.  Some of my favorites are being cancelled – USA cancelled “In Plain Sight”, TNT cancelled “The Closer”, NBC cancelled “Harry’s Law”, FOX cancelled “Terra Nova” and “Alcatraz”, CBS cancelled “CSI Miami”, and ABC cancelled “Combat Hospital”, “Expedition Impossible”, and “Extreme Makeover: Home Edition”.  There is a show that’s coming back that I’m excited about is ABC’s “Secret Millionaire”.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

Review: Lean Mean Thirteen by Janet Evanovich

As the thirteenth book in the Stephanie Plum series, if you know Stephanie from previous books (or the One For The Money movie), you have a general idea about how this book goes.  Stephanie just wants to do her job.  Her job gets complicated.  She gets in over her head.  Ranger & Morelli work together to rescue her.  And, as always – it’s funny.

Stephanie was a lingerie buyer for a local department store, and when she got laid off she blackmailed her cousin, Vinnie, into giving her a job as a BEA (Bond Enforcement Agent) chasing down skips or FTA’s (Failure to Appear).  She has no training or experience, and another bounty hunter, Ranger, (ex-special forces military, who is totally hot and invests in stocks and real estate) mentors her, and adds an interesting triangle to her on-again off-again relationship with Joe Morelli, plain clothes detective who took her virginity behind a canolli case years before.  Other characters:  Lulu is an ex-hooker who was beaten almost to death, and changed her career path to file clerk at Vincent Plum’s Bail Bonds.  Connie Risolli is Vinnie’s “guard dog” receptionist, and Grandma Mazur moved in with Stephanie’s mom and dad after her husband died, and drives Stephanie’s mother to drink.

The particulars of this book are that Ranger asks Stephanie to visit her ex-husband, Dickie Orr, and plant bugs in his office.  Dickie is a lawyer, and the guy who, as the books say, cheated on her about 15 minutes after their marriage, and who she divorced about 15 minutes after that.  When she goes to his office with her trusty sidekick’s, Lula and Connie, she sees a picture of Dickie with her mortal enemy, Joyce Barnhardt, and goes nuts.  She assaults Dickie in front of multiple witnesses.  The next day Dickie has disappeared, leaving only a trail of blood in his house.  The general public consensus is that Stephanie picked up where she left off at the law office, and eliminated Dickie.  With Joyce generating theories about Stephanie’s guilt and following her every move.  With Dickie’s law partners dropping like flies, disappearing then turning up dead, is Dickie going to show up dead next?  Stephanie has no alibi – will this be the shenanigan that puts her on the wrong side of the law?

Other Reviews:  Book Reporter, Read it, Read it, Loved it, Alison’s Book Marks, and The Book Addict’s Guide.

While all of Janet Evanovich’s books are funny, I found this one less funny than most of them.  I still enjoyed it, and am moving right on to Fearless Fourteen.  So far I have rated this entire series as 4 out of 5 stars, but this one I rated 3 out of 5 stars.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

2 Comments

Filed under fiction books, reading, review

Teaser Tuesday

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!

This week’s teaser is from To the Nines by Janet Evanovich.  I’m really enjoying this series, it’s so funny, and I look forward to each one!  It’s definitely the brain candy type of book where you can just relax and enjoy it without having to work too hard to keep up with the story line.

This excerpt is between Lula and Stephanie – Lula has found a new diet which is supposed to make her a supermodel.

“Doughnuts are going to be a problem.  Don’t think there’s anything I can eat on a doughnut.

So, whats in the cooler?

Meat.  I got ribs and rotisserie chicken and a pound of crispy bacon.  I can eat meat until I grow a tail and moo.  This is the best diet.  I can eat things on this diet that I haven’t been able to eat in years.

Like what?

Like bacon.

You always eat bacon.

Yeah, but I feel guilty.  It’s the guilt that puts the weigh on.”

4 Comments

Filed under fiction books, food, Humor, reading, Teaser Tuesdays

The Shunning – Review

This is the first book I’ve read by Beverly Lewis, although I’ve heard of her books for years.  I saw the movie trailer for The Shunning, and wanted to read the book before I watched the movie.

The Shunning is the first book in the “Heritage of Lancaster County” series.  It was published in 1997 Bethany House, an imprint of Baker Publishing Group.

This book details the life of a young Amish woman, Katie Lapp.  She lives with her family in Hickory Hollow, and is preparing to wed the widower, Bishop John Beiler, and become mother to his five children.  She is not in love with the Bishop, as her heart belongs to an Amish boy whose life was cut short by tragedy.  But Daniel Fisher is long gone, and with only her memories of him and the music they made (music not belonging to Ausbund, a hymnal filled with songs teaching character), she struggles to move on and fulfill her duty to become a “gut” Amish wife and mother.

Katie is preparing for her upcoming wedding, and seeks her mother’s wedding dress in the attic, and with it, she finds a tiny baby’s dress – made of beautiful rose-colored satin.  The name “Katherine Mayfield” is stitched in the facing of the dress.  Why would her mother have something like this, something so “English”, and obviously not for a Plain child?  When she asks her mother about the dress, Rebecca faints, and the next day refuses to discuss it.

As Katie struggles with her “sins”, loving beautiful clothing, loving the guitar belonging to Daniel, and continuing to play and sing the songs they wrote together, she feels more than ever that she will never be a good enough Amish woman to fit in with her community, much less the wife of a bishop.

When a long black limousine shows up in Hickory Hollow, with an English woman looking for someone named Rebecca who has a daughter in her early 20′s, people in the community begin to ask questions.  When a letter is delivered to Katie’s mom, Rebecca, from the English woman, Laura Mayfield-Bennett, Katie feels that her parents are hiding things from her that would explain her struggles.  Will her questions and struggles drive a wedge between herself and her family, her church and the Amish community?  Will she be punished with the Meinding , a shunning from the entire community?

~~~~~

 My thoughts on The Shunning:  While I am not familiar with all the customs of the Amish, I  was raised in a highly religious/conservative home.  I remember when people, even family members, left our church and chose another path, we were pressured to cut ties with them.  I can’t imagine my childhood curiosity, and grown-up questions being the cause of a complete shunning by my family, and the people I was closest to in our church community.  While Katie struggles with her questions and doubts, even knowing that the Meinding is possible, she is truly trying to seek answers for herself.  Others in the community label her as rebellious and unrepentant, but her struggle to understand are clear.  As the first book in a trilogy, I know there are many loose ends that will be settled in the following novels.  I was sad along with Katie as she made her choices, knowing that it was possible she would never be able to see or speak to her family and friends again, not even her mother or her lifelong best friend.  But I also understood her questions, and her journey to find the answers.

Even if this is not a genre you typically find yourself reading, being drawn into the story is easy.  You begin to know the characters, and become invested in their life.

I give this book a 3.5/5 rating.  If I had not seen the movie preview, I might not have ever sought out this book/author, but now that I’ve finished this portion of the story, I plan to read The Confession, and The Reckoning as well.

2 Comments

Filed under fiction books, made into movie, review

Thursday Thoughts

This week my daughter and her bestie are out of school – they are in a non-traditional school, so they have breaks through-out the year, and a shorter summer.  No one else on our street is out of school, so they are a little bored.  We decided to have a movie day today since we are probably going to break a heat record here today, and they don’t need another sunburn.

We started with Hop, and moved on to We Bought a Zoo (loved), and are about to start on the Mighty Macs (they are both basketball players).  We took a trip to the local Dollar store and everyone got two movie candies – including me.  Then they talked me into another one for them to share.  An hour after breakfast they are settled on the couch with 2.5 movie candies each, and a big bowl of popcorn.  After the second movie I made them stop and have a protein filled lunch to combat the sugar high.  They are both crashing as we speak.  This gives me a bit of down time, so I thought I’d write a post real quick, and get some reading done.

I’ve been trying to read Fifty Shades of Grey for almost a week now.  I’m struggling to get into it.  On the other hand I’ve read five Stephanie Plum books by Janet Evanovich in that time frame.  I’ve decided that I must be the odd man (woman) out, because to be honest, I’d rather have Joe Morelli than Christian Grey.  At least so far.  I don’t usually have a hard time getting into books, but I’m struggling to finish Fifty Shades – it’s kind of like a relationship – if you have to force it, it’s probably not worth it.  I’m sure Mr. Grey has a different opinion.

Jason O’Mara has been cast to play Joe Morelli in the movie adaptation of One for the Money, and Matt Bomer is just how I picture Christian Grey.  Although the movie rights for Fifty Shades of Grey have been purchased, no one has been cast as Christian Grey as of yet.

Speaking of Stephanie Plum, I love the cast for this movie.  It probably wouldn’t matter so much to someone who hasn’t read the book/series, but to me these people are so close to what I imagined them to be in my mind while reading the books that I can hardly wait to go see it.  Stephanie is being played by Katherine Heigl, Jason O’Mara as Morelli, Daniel Sunjata as Ranger, Sherri Shepard as Lula, Debra Monk as Mrs. Plum, and Debbie Reynolds as Grandma Mazur.

These books are so funny that more often that not I wake the hubby while I’m reading them in bed at night because my laughter shakes him awake.  Here’s an excerpt from the beginning of book five, High Five.

“My mother was at the door when I pulled to the curb.  My grandmother Mazur stood elbow to elbow with my mother.  They were short slim women with facial features that suggested Mongol ancestors…probably in the form of crazed marauders.

‘Thank goodness you’re here,’ my mother said, eyeing me as I got out of the car and walked toward her.  ‘What are those shoes?  They look like work boots.’

‘Betty Szajak and Emma Getz and me went to that male dancer place last week,’ Grandma said, ‘and they had some men parading around, looking like construction workers, wearing boots just like those.  Then next thing you knew they ripped their clothes off and all they had left was those boots and these little silky black baggie things that their ding-dongs jiggled around in.’ 

My mother pressed her lips together and made the sign of the cross.  ‘You didn’t tell me about this,’ she said to my grandmother.

‘Guess it slipped my mind.  Betty and Emma and me were going to bingo at the church, but it turned out there wasn’t any bingo on account of the Knights of Columbus was holding some to-do there.  So we decided to check out the men at that new club downtown.’  Grandma gave me an elbow.  ‘I put a fiver right in one of those baggies!’

*&##^%*!’, my father said, rattling his paper in the living room.

Grandma Mazur came to live with my parents several years ago when my grandpa Mazur went to the big poker game in the sky.  My mother accepts this as a daughter’s obligation.  My father has taken to reading Guns & Ammo.”

More hilarity ensues later in this book when Grandma Mazur tries out Stephanie’s stun gun at dinner, and knocks Mr. Plum out.

For those of you not familiar with Stephanie Plum and her family, she was laid off from her position as a lingerie buyer at a local department store,  and blackmails her cousin Vinnie into giving her a job.  Vinnie is a bail bondsman, and Stephanie is now a bounty hunter, for which she is sorely unprepared.  Murphy’s law was written for Stephanie – if something can go wrong, more than likely it will go wrong for Stephanie.  Her first assignment is to track down a local detective who turns out to be Joe Morelli whom she has known since childhood.  She has a love-hate relationship with Morelli – he was her first, and afterwards she ran over him with her dad’s Buick because he was a player, not a relationship guy.  In her quest to capture Morelli and collect her fee, she absconds with his Jeep, which then gets blown up.  In later adventures she blows up half of the local funeral home, gets shot at, and makes friends with a “ho” named Lulu.  After a really bad guy leaves Lulu cut and beaten on Stephanie’s fire escape, Lulu changes careers and becomes the file clerk for Vinni’s office, and a companion for Stephanie on her bounty hunts.  As you can see from the excerpt above, Stephanie’s family is a hoot, and whenever Stephanie spends too much time with them she gets an eye twitch.  (Which many of us can empathize with.)  Stephanie says things like, “I’m not one of those people who find their stride.  My body was not designed to run.  My body was designed to sit in an expensive car and drive.”  She rationalizes pizza and donuts, wears too much makeup and big hair, paired with spandex shorts and a sports jersey.  She always gets herself into scrapes and her cars get blown up, towed, wrecked or die.  If you want a good laugh and an entertaining read, start with One for the Money and go from there.

These books, along with the Miss Julia series by Ann B. Ross, are some of the funniest books I’ve ever read!

2 Comments

Filed under fiction books, Humor, made into movie, reading

Penguin Teen | The Kristin Cashore Graceling Realm digital…

Penguin Teen | The Kristin Cashore Graceling Realm digital….

 

For all the Kristin Cashore/Graceling fans out there, check out this Digital Sampler with exclusive content….includes excerpts from Bitterblue and letters between Bitterblue, Katsa, Raffin, Bann and Po.

Leave a comment

Filed under fiction books, links, other blogs

World Book Night – Update

Today I picked up my box of books from the local Barnes & Noble for World Book Night next week!  If you haven’t heard of WBN, it’s an annual celebration designed to spread the love of reading and books.  It is held in the U.S., the U.K. and Ireland.  This date also commemorates the passing of Cervantes and the birth and death of Shakespeare.   Next week I will get to give out free books in my small community, to anyone who is interested!  I’m considering going door to door giving out books, or perhaps setting up in my favorite coffee shop with a lapel pin, a large sign, and a table full of books (and coffee).  There is almost nothing more exciting to a devoted reader and book lover than the chance to share that love with others.

Are any of you WBN book givers?  If so, I’d love to hear which book you chose to give away.  There was a list of 30 books to choose from, and you had to list your first, second and third choice book, when applying to be a book giver.  I haven’t read all of the books on the list yet, but I plan to!

What is your favorite book in this list, and why?

The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian by Sherman Alexie

Wintergirls by Laurie Anderson

I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings by Maya Angelou

Friday Night Lights by H. G. Bissinger

Kindred by Octavia Butler

Ender’s Game by Orson Scott Card

Little Bee by Chris Cleve

The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins

Blood Work by Michael Connolly

The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao by Junot Diaz

Because of Winn Dixie by Kate DiCamillo

Zeitoun by Dave Eggars

Peace Like a River by Leif Enger

A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick

Q is for Quarry by Sue Grafton

The Kite Runner by Khaled Hosseini

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving

The Stand by Stephen King

The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver

The History of Love by Nicole Krauss

The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri

The Things They Carried by Tim O’Brien

Bel Canto by Ann Patchett

My Sister’s Keeper by Jodi Picoult

Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson

Lovely Bones by Alice Sebold

The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot

Just Kids by Patti Smith

The Glass Castle by Jeannette Walls

The Book Thief by Marcus Zusak

See the list of books and cover art at the WBN website here.

7 Comments

Filed under fiction books, Give Away

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday, a meme started by Marcia of  A Girl and Her Books.  The host for April’s Mailbox Monday posts will be Cindy from  Cindy’s Love of Books.

Mailbox Monday is a gathering place for readers to share the books that came into their house last week and explore great book blogs.

Warning: Mailbox Monday can lead to envy, toppling TBR piles and humongous wish lists.

Books I received in the mail this week:

You Came Back by Christopher Coake from Hachette Book Group – Releases June, 2012

“Thirty-something Midwesterner Mark Fife believes he has moved past the accidental death of his young son, Brendan, as well as his subsequent divorce from his college sweetheart, Chloe.  Nearly seven years have passed; he’s successful, he’s in love again, and he believes he’s mastered his own memories.

But then he is contacted by a strange woman who tells him not only that she owns his old house, but also that she believes it to be haunted by Brendan’s ghost.  How will Mark, who knows that ghosts do not exist, deal with the reappearance of his beloved ex-wife, who accepts that the spirit of Brendan is real?  Is it possible for these two wounded parents to choose paths that allow happiness back into their lives?”

The Yard by Alex Grecian from Putnam.  Releases June, 2012

“Victorian London is a cesspool of crime, and Scotland Yard has only twelve detectives – known as “The Murder Squad” – to investigate thousands of murders every month.  Created after the metropolitan Police’s spectacular failure to capture Jack the Ripper, the Murder Squad suffers rampant public contempt.  They have failed their citizens.  But no one can anticipate the brutal murder of one of their own…one of the twelve…”

A Chance in the World by Steve Pemberton from Thomas Nelson.  This book released in January, 2012

“Taken from his mother at age three, Steve Klakowicz lives a terrifying existence.  Caught in the clutches of a cruel foster family and subjected to constant abuse, Steve finds his only refuge in a box of books gifted to him by a kind stranger.  In these books, he discovers new worlds he can only imagine and gains hope that one day he might have a different life – that one day he will find his true home.

A fair-complexioned boy with blue eyes, curly Afro, and a Polish last name, he is determined to unravel the mystery of his origins and find his birth family.  Armed with just a single clue, Steve embarks on an extraordinary quest for his identity, only to find that nothing is what it appears to be.”

Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore from Dial Books (an imprint of Penguin Books)  Releases May, 2012

(I may be more excited about this ARC than any other I’ve ever received!!!)

“When Bitterblue’s father, King Leck, was murdered, she became Queen of Monsea at ten years old.  Eight years later, Bitterblue is still learning how to rule the kingdom.  The influence of Leck – a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities – lives on.  When Bitterblue begins sneaking outside the castle to walk the streets of her own city, she meets two thieves who hold a key to the truth of Leck’s reign.  And one of them, with an extreme skill called a Grace, holds the key to her heart.”

Here’s my tw0-cents – if you haven’t ever read the Graceling series, Graceling and Fire,  you have to at least give it a chance.  I love LOVE these books, and have been anxiously awaiting the release of Bitterblue, when I received the ARC in the mail.  I danced around the house, “Woohoo’d” at the top of my lungs, and waved the book around at my husband and daughter until they were concerned for my state of mind.  You can read Kristin Cashore’s blog here, or visit the site called Graceling Realm.

Into this World by Sybil Baker from the author, who was kind enough to sign the book for me!  Releases May 22, 2012

“On the day Allison Morehouse walks off her job, her sister Mina calls from Korea, frantic and in tears.  determined to discover the truth about her adopted sister, Allison flies to Seoul, yet Mina – and Korea – are nothing like Allison imagines.  Over the next three months, Allison and Mina will unearth thirty years of family secrets – and Allison will discover in Mina the sister she never embraced, and in herself, the stronger woman she can be.”

ARC E-books I received this week:

Sailor Twain by Mark Siegel from First Second – Releases Oct 2, 2012

“One hundred years ago. On the foggy Hudson River, a riverboat captain rescues an injured mermaid from the waters of the busiest port in the United States. A wildly popular–and notoriously reclusive–author makes a public debut. A French nobleman seeks a remedy for a curse. As three lives twine together and race to an unexpected collision, the mystery of the Mermaid of the Hudson deepens.
A mysterious and beguiling love story with elements of Poe, Twain, Hemingway, and Greek mythology, drawn in moody black-and-white charcoal, Sailor Twain is a study in romance, atmosphere, and suspense.”
Crazy Dangerous by Andrew Klavan from Thomas Nelson – Releases May 1, 2012

“You probably want to hear about Jennifer and the demons and how I played chicken with a freight train and—oh yeah—the weird murder . . . you’re definitely going to want to hear about that.”

Sam Hopkins is a good kid who has fallen in with a bad crowd. Hanging around with car thieves and thugs, Sam knows it’s only a matter of time before he makes one bad decision too many and gets into real trouble.

But one day, Sam sees them harassing an eccentric schoolmate of his named Jennifer. When Sam finds the courage to face the bullies down, he loses a bad set of friends and acquires a very strange new one.

Because Jennifer is not just eccentric. To Sam, she seems downright crazy. She has terrifying hallucinations involving demons and the devil and death. And here’s the really crazy part: Sam is beginning to suspect that these visions may actually be prophecies—prophecies of something terrible that’s going to happen very soon. Unless he can stop it.

With no one to believe him, with no one to help him, Sam is now all alone in a race against time. Finding the truth before disaster strikes is going to be both crazy and very, very dangerous.”

The Blood of Heroes by James Donovan from Little, Brown and Company – Releases May 15, 2012

“On February 23, 1836, a large Mexican army led by dictator Santa Anna reached San Antonio and laid siege to about 175 Texas rebels holed up in the Alamo. The Texans refused to surrender for nearly two weeks until almost 2,000 Mexican troops unleashed a final assault. The defenders fought valiantly-for their lives and for a free and independent Texas-but in the end, they were all slaughtered. Their ultimate sacrifice inspired the rallying cry “Remember the Alamo!” and eventual triumph.

Exhaustively researched, and drawing upon fresh primary sources in U.S. and Mexican archives, THE BLOOD OF HEROES is the definitive account of this epic battle. Populated by larger-than-life characters–including Davy Crockett, James Bowie, William Barret Travis–this is a stirring story of audacity, valor, and redemption.

James Donovan is the author of the bestselling A Terrible Glory: Custer and the Little Bighorn-the Last Great Battle of the American West. He lives in Dallas, Texas.”

11 Comments

Filed under fiction books, Mailbox Monday, New Books, reading

Fabulous Friday!!!

I am just beside myself with excitement!  I just came home to a package on my front porch from Penguin – it’s the new/upcoming release “Bitterblue” by Kristin Cashore!!!  This may be the most excited I’ve been to receive an ARC!  I will talk about it more on Mailbox Monday, but I was so happy I had to share my excitement with other “bookish” people!  :)

For my fellow Graceling fan, Refuting the Intolerably Stupid, I thought of you as soon as I opened this package!!!  :)

5 Comments

Filed under fiction books, New Books