Wednesday, August 31, 2011

*****Labor Day Weekend Indie Book Blow Out ALERT*****



This Labor Day weekend is an ebook lover’s dream come true! 

Over 100 authors, over 130 titles, all priced to 99 cents as part of a Labor Day weekend sale to remember. 

It is the first annual Indie Book Blowout

We are talking award-winners! Best sellers! All genres! New releases! All priced down to 99 cents PLUS, if you sign up for the newsletter, you’ll be entered to win a brand new KINDLE and $100 in gift card giveaways.

Just head to http://IndieBookBlowout.com, shop, click, buy and enjoy! Happy weekend and happy reading!!

Saturday, August 27, 2011

Review: Charlaine Harris' "A Touch Of Dead"


A Touch of Dead by Charlaine Harris
Hardcover: 192 pages
Publisher: Ace; 1st edition (October 6, 2009)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0441017835
ISBN-13: 978-0441017836
Product Dimensions: 8 x 5.5 x 0.9 inches
Review copy courtesy of:  My local library

Synopsis from inside dust jacket:

            In “Fairy Dust, “Sookie finds her mind-reading talents in demand when a fairy from a set of triplets gets dusted.

            “Dracula Night” may be the commemoration of the Prince of Darkness’s birth, but it’s Sookie who gets a tasty-looking present.

            Learning that her cousin is dead is shocking enough for Sookie.  Learning that her cousin was a vampire who got staked leaves her speechless in “One Word Answer.”

            When Sookie teams up with her witchy friend Amelia to discover who has it out for Bon Temp’s most successful insurance agent, the get “lucky.”

            A solo Sookie has the holiday blues in “Gift Wrap,” until she has an unexpected encounter with someone who has bigger problems than loneliness.

This is a pretty neat compilation of Sookie Stackhouse short stories.

Story 1, “Fairy Dust,” stars Sookie, Claude, & Claudine with a small cameo by Sam. 
            When Claudine asks Sookie to do a job for her, she has no idea what to expect…I mean, come on, Claudine is a fairy after all.  Upon arrival to the job site, Sookie is enlighted that twins Claude and Claudine are actually part of a set of triples…or rather, were.

Story 2, “Dracula Night,” stars Sookie, Pam, and Eric.
            On Halloween, Eric prepares, as he does every year, for the spontaneous arrival of Vlad the Impaler at the party hosted at Fangtasia by Eric.  The single best passage in the entire book is in this short story.
            “The door to Eric’s office flew open with such vehemence that it bounced right back.  It opened again more gently and Eric emerged (Harris, C., 2009).
            Now why I find that so amusing is this:  I envision Alexander S. on True Blood (HBO, 2011) and it just made me laugh for a good 10 minutes.  It may not strike you the same way but I loved it.

Story 3, “One Word Answer,” stars Sookie, Bubba, & Bill, Mr. Cataliades.
            Sookie receives a legacy from the death of her cousin Hadley.  It is delivered to her by Mr. Cataliades in the presence of Waldo, the vampire who witnessed Hadley’s death.

Story 4, “Lucky,” stars Sookie, Amelia, Greg the Insurance Agent, & Bob the Cat.
             Does someone know that Greg the Insurance Agent is a witch?  Someone has certainly been sneaking into his office often enough to make him suspect the worst.  And to make matters worse?  There’s an unidentified vampire in town….

Story 5, “Gift Wrap,” stars Sookie, a mystery man, and her great-grandfather Niall.
            It’s Christmas-time and Sookie is all alone…Until she finds a naked man lying out in her woods.

The short stories were a quick and easy read.  Not nearly as entertaining as her regular full-length, however.  They lack the depth that the main novels have.  I would not recommend these to anyone who hasn't read the series yet.  Many things are pulled from them (as to be expected) and could leave a reader confused.

My Rating: 







Thursday, August 25, 2011

Review: Lee Carroll’s "Black Swan Rising"



Paperback: 400 pages
Publisher: Tor Books; First Edition edition (August 3, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0765325977
ISBN-13: 978-0765325976
Product Dimensions: 8.4 x 5.5 x 1 inches
Review copy courtesy of my bookshelf

Synopsis from the back cover:

            When New York City jewelry designer Garet James stumbles into a strange antiques shop in her neighborhood, her life is about to be turned upside down. John Dee, the enigmatic shopkeeper, commissions her to open a vintage silver box for a generous sum of money. Oddly, the symbol of a swan on the box exactly matches the ring given to her by her deceased mother. Garet can’t believe her luck and this eerie coincidence until she opens the box and otherworldly things start happening. 

That evening, the precious silver box is stolen. When Garet begins to investigate, she learns that she has been pulled into a prophecy that is hundreds of years old, and opening the box has unleashed an evil force onto the streets of Manhattan and the world at large. Gradually, Garet pieces together her true identity—one that her deceased mother desperately tried to protect her from. Generations of women in Garet’s family, including her beloved mother, suffered and died at the hands of this prevailing evil. Does Garet possess the power to reclaim the box and defeat this devastating force?
On her journey, she will meet the fey folk who walk unnoticed among humans and a sexy vampire who also happens to be a hedge fund manager that she can’t stop thinking about. But the fairies reveal a desire to overpower mere humans and the seductive vampire has the power to steal the life from her body. Whom can Garet trust to guide her? Using her newfound powers and sharp wit, Garet will muster everything she’s got to shut down the evil taking over her friends, family, New York City, and the world.

This novel starts off on a regular beat.  Garet is an artist that lives with her father above the art gallery that they own.  One dark and dreary day Garet gets lost in town and stumbles across an antique shop where the owner requests a small favor.  The payment for completion of the task is good and since Garet and her father are having financial troubles (who isn’t these days!) she accepts the job; little does she realize the power she’s released.  All of a sudden the plain jane world that down-to-earth Garet knows gets turned inside out and she finds out secrets from a past that was never shared with her.

I absolutely LOVED this book.  It was fantastic.  The heroine is very meek and mild and even when the you-know-what hits the fan her demeanor changes very little.  She’s not your typical badass chick.  Oh, don’t get me wrong, she’s badass alright, but not in the traditional “I’m going to kick your ass” kind of way.  She’s smart in putting the pieces of puzzles together and makes some friends and some enemies along the way.  

Also, very rarely am I able to personally relate to a character in a book (it does happen but not often) – I’m not a vampire, witch, fairy, or anything with elemental spirit qualities.  But, I can actually relate to Garet in the medical aspect that is brought up in the book.  I, too, suffer from ocular migraines, as does Garet.

The only complaint I have is that during all the bad guy hunting, swoony vampire chasing, and learning of the elements, Garet’s father and friends, Jay and Beth, seem to just fade away.  They were, in my opinion, pretty solid characters that deserved a tad more page time.  I guess when you’re off tracking down evil entities the family and friends are best left in ignorance.

The book does have a cliff hanger ending but don't worry---I have the sequel "The Watchtower" at home in the "pile."

My Rating:  








Tuesday, August 23, 2011

New Rating Scale Icons

I've decided that my numerical rating scale is pretty boring--don't you agree?
I'm incorporating pretty little pictures to rate the books.
Here are the new icons :)







Friday, August 19, 2011

Review: Terri Giuliano Long’s "In Leah’s Wake"


Format: Kindle Edition
File Size: 510 KB
Sold by: Amazon Digital Services
Language: English
ASIN: B0044XV7PG
Review copy courtesy of: Received free from a blog hop earlier in 2011 & Provided by Indie Book Collective (IBC) for the purpose of this review.

Synopsis via Author Packet from the IBC:

            IN LEAH’S WAKE
While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.


Prologue
March

Justine strikes a pose before the full-length mirror hanging on her closet door. Chin up, hands by her sides. She draws a breath. “My dear. . .” she begins, and stops mid-sentence. Wrinkles her nose. She’s got it all wrong. She’s too—Too stiff. Too grownup. Too something.

She rakes her fingers over her short dark hair, sweeping the bangs out of her eyes, tugs at the hem of her pink baby-doll pajamas. She’s scheduled to deliver the candidates’ address at her Confirmation Mass this afternoon. When she learned, six months ago, that she had been selected speaker, Justine was ecstatic. Now, the very idea of standing in front of the whole congregation, telling hundreds, maybe thousands, of people how she’s learned from her own family what it means to be part of God’s larger family makes her sick to her stomach.

She has no choice. She made a commitment.

She folds her hands primly, setting them at chest height on her imaginary podium, glances at her cheat sheet, rolls her lower face into a smile, and begins again. “My fellow Confirmation candidates,” she says this time. Justine crumples the paper, tosses it onto her bed. My fellow Confirmation candidates. What a dork. She sounds about twenty, instead of thirteen.

She screws up her face. “I can’t do this,” she says, wagging a finger at the girl watching her from the mirror. She would feel like a hypocrite.

Justine plods to the bathroom, pees, pads back to her bedroom. The forecasters are predicting snow, starting later today. A dismal gray stratus hangs over her skylight. Her room is dark, the air raw. Her sister’s blue and gold Cortland High sweatshirt lies in a heap at the foot of her bed. Justine pulls the sweatshirt over her head, retrieves the balled-up paper. With the back of her hand, she flattens it out, and returns to the mirror to practice.

As always, on first glance, the girl in the mirror takes Justine by surprise. She’s grown two inches since Christmas, isn’t chubby anymore, her belly flat, the clavicle bones visible now at the base of her throat. She pushes her bangs out of her pale, darkly fringed eyes. With her fingertips, she touches her cheeks. Her features have matured, her nose long and straight, like her mother’s, her cheekbones defined. She curls and uncurls her toes. She wears a size six shoe, a size and a half smaller than Leah. Her toes are long and slim, the nails painted blue.

Justine crushes the sheet of paper, tosses it in the trash, strolls to her window, raises the honeycomb shade. Spring feels a long way away, the yard empty, the trees bare. A rush of cold air streams in, under the sash. The air smells of snow. Justine presses her hand against the cool glass, the way she and her sister used to do on the windshield of their father’s car, when they were small. Stop, their father would scold. You’re making a mess. She smiles, remembering how Leah loved egging him on. She pulls her hand away from the glass, watches her prints disappear.

Justine wishes, sometimes, that she could disappear, too. Poof, just like the handprint.

Poof, just like her sister.


Saph’s Review

Wow!  This novel is exemplary.  The writing style keeps you engrossed and the characters and their lives keep you captivated.  I know this is a work of fiction, but wow, it parallels the real lives of parents, children, and lives in general.  It is very easy to identify with various characters and their personality traits or lack thereof. 

There is the absent father that travels for work, pushing his teenage daughter to play sports.  Then the self-help mom who has a hard time instituting things she teaches into her own life.  Of course, there is Leah....the teenager that is at the age of rebellion and boy does she do a good job at it.  And there is the younger sister wondering why her sister doesn’t like her.  Add in a loser boyfriend and friends from the wrong crowd and you have the makings of a wonderfully orchestrated view of what is probably a very typical American family, to some degree, regardless of the social class.

This book shows the perspectives of each character brilliantly. 

Here! Here!  For a job well done.


I give this book a 5/5.

**I'm sorry Terri Giuliano Long, Barb, Amber, and the rest of the Indie Book Collective staff!!!**

Before I post the review of "In Leah's Wake" I must apologize to the author of the novel Terri, as well as Barb, Amber, and the rest of the crew over at the Indie Book Collective (IBC).  I posted the Best Seller For A Day blog late in the day on Wednesday, August 17, and I was supposed to post my review of this book yesterday, Thursday, August 18.

I've been dealing with a sick kitty - the one who's picture is posted on this blog.  Orange Crush is my cat that has been my companion  for 13 years.  He came home with me from my grandma's when my first husband and I had stopped there on our honeymoon.  My grandma had rescued him from the local Animal Control Shelter where she was employed at the time.  He is the best kitty in the whole wide world.  He "high five's" when he comes up to you when you are sitting on the couch, he knows his name and comes when he's called, and he sleeps with me faithfully every night, next to my head, even though I'm allergic to cats :)

Anyway, he's been having digestive issues so I took him to the vet and upon examination the vet found a fairly decent sized mass in his intestinal tract.  She's fairly certain that it is lymphoma - a type of cancer - and most of the options she gave me to obtain a diagnosis are very expensive.  I will be taking him back see the vet next week for a second examination in order to see if the mass is still there (in order to make sure it isn't something else).  After that, if the examination yields the same results, I will start him on a steroid medication that hopefully with help the tumor shrink and go into remission.  It should also help his digestive issues.  He will stay on the medication until his quality of health becomes that in which I can't, in good conscience, allow him to suffer.  I think you all know what comes after that.

Right now his quality of life isn't much different than it was before, other than the digestive issues that should be taken care of with the medication.  He has lost less than 1/2 lb in over a year so his weight isn't suffering.  He is still active and mouthy as ever.  He eating and drinking perfectly.  He isn't lethargic, moody, or unhappy.  I refuse to allow my good boy to suffer and will be monitoring him very well.  In fact he's probably wondering what the heck is wrong with me since the past two days I've been stalking him, loving on him, petting him, and crying much more often than usual; and he gets so much attention from me to begin with.  I'm surprised he isn't hiding on me so that I'll leave him alone for a while.  He's laying on the back of our couch right now with one of our other cats as I type this.

I just wanted to let everyone know why I haven't been upholding my obligations.  Anyone with pets knows what I'm going through.  Those without pets don't know what they're missing.  As much as I dislike what's going on now, I wouldn't trade the last 13 years I've had with him for anything.  Plus, I may have him for a couple more years--I hope!!

Sapphyria



Wednesday, August 17, 2011

Best Seller For A Day: "In Leah's Wake" by Terri Giuliano Long + 99¢ eBooks + A CHANCE TO WIN A KINDLE


IN LEAH’S WAKE

While her parents fight to save their daughter from destroying her brilliant future, Leah's younger sister, Justine, must cope with the damage her out-of-control sibling leaves in her wake.

Will this family survive? What happens when love just isn't enough?

Jodi Picoult fans will love this beautifully written and absorbing novel.

Watch for my review tomorrow!!

Bio

Terri Giuliano Long

Terri Giuliano Long grew up in the company of stories both of her own making and as written by others. Books offer her a zest for life’s highs and comfort in its lows. She’s all-too-happy to share this love with others as a novelist and as a lecturer at Boston College.
Her life outside of books is devoted to her family. In her spare time, she enjoys walking, traveling to far-flung places, and meeting interesting people. True to her Italian-American heritage, she’s an enthusiastic cook and she loves fine wine and good food. In an alternate reality, she could have been very happy as an international food writer.Terri loves meeting and connecting with people who share her passions. Visit her on  Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/tglongwrites or Twitter: @tglong 



By helping to drive In Leah’s Wake to the top of the Kindle Lists on August 17th, YOU can win!
Terri is giving away a brand new Kindle!
Purchase In Leah’s Wake on August 17th, then go to Best Seller For A Day, fill out the form on the website, provide your order confirmation number, and sign up for the newsletter, and you will be entered into a drawing to win a Kindle! 
You will only need to enter your email address and the first five numbers from your Amazon purchase confirmation code.  This will get you 5, yes 5, entries to win the Kindle.
BUT WAIT--There's more!!  (I sound like an infomerical now).

You can get 3 additional titles for 99¢ each!