Thursday, February 24, 2011

Book Review: Reunion in Death



Title: Reunion in Death
Author: JD Robb
Genre: Sci-Fi Crime Mystery
Publisher: Berkley
Publication date: 05 March 2002
Author’s website:
Source:  Own copy

This is the 14th in the Eve Dallas series and we meet all our favourite characters again.  I love Peabody and McNab (who is now a couple), my favourite butler, Summerset and off course the sexy Roarke.  This time Peabody’s family comes to visit and the interaction between Eve and these gypsies are priceless.  I still had moments that I just wanted to hit Eve but definitely less than the last book – Eve is growing and after a year of married life, she is starting to accept all the love and support around her.

In this book, Walter Pettibone is poisoned on his birthday party and Eve is called to investigate.  The murderer, Julliana Dunn, was sent to prison by Eve some years earlier and Julliana is back for some revenge.  Because for Julie it is all personal - Eve is the only adversary she respects.

We also finally learn more about Eve’s childhood when we visit Dallas, Texas and visit the room where she killed her father.  Hopefully this will put some of this in the past for Eve because we can only go over the same old facts so many times.

If you are interested in reading the IN DEATH series, I would suggest that you start at the beginning with Naked in Death.  The first few books definitely have to be read in order. 

Wednesday, February 23, 2011

Blogger interview: Book Smugglers


Today, please meet Thea and Ana from THE BOOK SMUGGLERS.  Thank you for joining us today, girls!

*How did it all start?   And how long has it been?
Thea: The Book Smugglers actually began in a really weird way. See, Ana and I are huge LOST geeks. No, seriously, we are HUGE LOST geeks. Like, spending hours upon hours theorizing, hunting for spoilers, making assorted caps/gifs, forum-posting geeks. One day, we both learned that we shared another obsession: reading. It was a shared obsession that had gotten so far out of control, that our respective boyfriends threatened to take dire action if we didn't stop buying books. Naturally, both Ana and I are devious little things, and instead of stopping our purchases of books (AHAHAHAHAHAHA! Can you imagine!?), we had the separate but IDENTICAL idea to order books online, get them delivered to our offices, and then we would sneak them home in large handbags, our boyfriends none the wiser. Fast-forward a few months, and Ana asked me if I would like to start a book blog with her - it was only natural considering our shared evil genius and addictive personalities. I, of course, agreed. And the rest, as they say, is history.

Ana:  This was about 3 years ago. I had started reading blogs back then searching for recommendations for Romance novels when I felt the need to have a blog where I could write about the books I was reading. I sent a message to Thea asking if she wanted to join, she said yes and here we are. 

* How much time and energy do you put into your blog?
Thea: The Book Smugglers has long gone past being a simple hobby for us. Both Ana and myself probably spend a minimum of four hours a day organizing, writing, emailing, etc for the site. In fact, I've grown so enamored with books and the business, that I enrolled in NYU's Master's program for Publishing (with a focus on digital applications). So, you could say that the blog eats up a whole lotta time and energy - in a really, really good way. I love it. There's no way I could spend so much time and effort over the years on The Book Smugglers if it wasn't something  I loved.

Ana:  A LOT of time and energy. I wake up early and the first thing I do is checking emails and comments on the blog; then it’s reading time before going to work. Then I read again over my lunch break and again when I get home. Basically all of my free time (and let’s be honest, some of my work hours too *ninja*) are about books,  reading, reviewing and blogging. It is a second full time job and as Thea said, it is purely out of love.  

* What is the best and the worse part of blogging for you?
Thea: The best and the worst parts are the actual books. There is nothing I love more than getting a much-anticipated ARC in the mail, or seeing one of our blurbs on our favorite authors' books. At the same time, the mail gets OUT OF CONTROL. I have moved multiple times over the years that we have been running the blog, and the physical act of moving my entire library, redirecting the never-ending stream of review copies, coordinating recycling and donation's exhausting and a part of blogging that I could seriously do without. Ebooks. It is all about the ebooks.

Ana:  I love so many things about blogging but if I had to pick one, it would be the sense of sharing good books: reviewing and reading about them in other blogs. The worst part? Hummm….can’t think of any, really.    

* Do you enjoy doing memes and if so, which ones can be found on your blog?
Thea: Hmm, we haven't really been tagged in any memes for a while now! They are fun, and we've done a couple. All book related, of course!
Ana: what Thea said.

* How would you describe your review style and how do you handle reviews when you didn't enjoy the book?
Thea: LOOOOOOOOOOONG. Both Ana and I tend to be somewhat...verbose. I also think my reviews tend to be more technical - I try to hit on plotting/worldbuilding, characters, and narrative structure/style in each review. I do like fun, creative reviews (with a book like John Green's <em>An Abundance of Katherines</em>, for example), but for the most part, I try to cover the basics and give readers an informed opinion about each book that I've read. I will say that I am not above gushing, though. If I find a book that rocks my world, I will fangirl gush all over it.

As for reviews of books I didn't like, well, both Ana and I have a policy of being brutally honest with every book we review. It doesn't matter if it's an author we know, if it's a review copy, whatever - we pride ourselves on being completely forthright. For better or for worse!

Ana:  I just can’t write short reviews and believe me, I tried. I always aim for a balance between the technical side of a book and what made it work for ME but I have to say that I love to play around with the format of my reviews and the way I express my ideas. Sometimes I even try and mimic the format of the book I am reviewing because I think it is more fun like that.

I handle reviews of a book I didn’t enjoy the same way I handle those of the ones I did.    

* What can we expect from you in the future?
Thea: More reviews! We are trying to review more this year and rely less on author/guest posts (although we will have a ton of those too, naturally). I personally have a goal of reading more contemporary science fiction and horror this year, too.

So far as the blog is concerned, I am never happy with a single layout - so I'm trying to think of ways to jazz up the site, create web-based mobile apps, etc. Lofty goals, I know. But what can I say? We're never satisfied!

Ana:  Definitely more reviews. I really want to read more LGBT books this year as well as more classic works of Fantasy and Scifi. 

* What advise would you give new book bloggers out there?
Thea: POST! Stick with your blog and make sure that you post frequently. It doesn't have to be particularly long, nor do your posts always have to be reviews - just make sure that you don't forget about your blog and let it slide into obscurity. Also, if you want to get a wider circle of readers, the best thing to do is read other blogs! See what others do and emulate those posts. Comment, reply to your commenters, and, well, have fun. That's the key.

Ana:  Exactly. And don’t forget to be awesome, dudes!

You can visit the Book Smugglers here:

Ana Grilo & Thea James
The Book Smugglers

Thank you once again, Girls – fun interview!!

If you want to join in the fun, you can contact me through the comments below or my “contact me” page.

Sunday, February 20, 2011

Book to movie review: Tomorrow When the War Began



When Ellie and her friends return from an isolated weekend away, they find that their whole world has changed.  Australia has been invaded and everyone (including their families) are now prisoners of war held in cages at the local country showgrounds.  After the initial shock, the friends band together and decide to fight for a change at a free life.  These kids are no city slickers and soon they are giving the enemy little bee stings.

I just saw this movie this afternoon and thoroughly enjoyed it.  I loved the characters and Ellie made a wonderful lead character, strong but also vulnerable.  The relationships developed sweetly and gave me a warm fuzzy feeling.  Hubby wasn’t too keen on all the dialogue but when the explosions begun, he was interested again. 

My favourite quote of the movie is when Ellie says “. . . the book is always better than the movie . . . ” – made me laugh out loud!

I recommend this movie to all!


In my Mailbox (16)

cute fairy

On Sundays, I take part in the weekly meme, In my Mailbox.  It is hosted by Kristi over at The Story Siren and let you share what books you have received or bought that week.

This week, I was granted access to the galley of The Vampire Voss  (release date 01 April 2011).  I love vampire stories and I love historical romances, so this is going to be a treat!  This is the first in the Regency Draculia series.  Thank you NetGalley.


This is what Goodreads said:
Regency London - a dizzying whirl of balls and young ladies pursued by charming men. But the Woodmore sisters are hunted by a more sinister breed: Lucifer's own. Voss, also known as Viscount Dewhurst, relishes the sensual pleasures immortality affords. A member of the Dracule - a cabal of powerful, secretive noblemen marked with a talisman that reveals their bartered souls - the mercenary Voss has remained carefully neutral...until Angelica. Angelica Woodmore possesses the Sight, an ability invaluable to both sides of a looming war among the Dracule. Her very scent envelops Voss in a scarlet fog of hunger - for her body and blood. But he is utterly unprepared for the new desire that overcomes him - to protect her.


And then I thought, why not request the second in the series as well.  So I was also given The Vampire Dimitri (Book of the Regency Draculia)

Goodreads blurb:
Dimitri, the Earl of Corvindale, should be delighted that the headstrong Maia Woodmore is getting married. His mortal ward and houseguest has annoyed – and bewitched – the Dracule nobleman too long, and denying his animal cravings grows more excruciating by the day.
Miss Woodmore's family has a rather...complicated history with the immortals and she herself possesses a keen sensibility far beyond mere women's intuition. Marriage will give her safety, respectability, and everything else a proper young lady could wish for. Everything, that is, except for passion.
In the looming battle between Dracule factions, all pretenses will shatter as Maia and Dimitir come together in an unholy union of danger, desperation, and fiercest desire.

I got the most wonderful gift in the mail this week – this book . . . yay!!


Across the Universe by Beth Ravis.  I am so excited to read it!  I won a giveaway on Danielle’s blog, Romance Book Junkies but the book was out of stock everywhere.  So Danielle suggested that I list a few books I am wishing for and she would surprise me with one of them.  I LOVE your choice, Danielle – thank you so much!!  Can’t wait to get reading! 

Saturday, February 19, 2011

On my wishlist #19


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready on Carolyn’s blog.  This is the books I am wishing for after I saw it in the blogosphere this week.


Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini (release date 31 May 2011)

How do you defy destiny?

Helen Hamilton has spent her entire sixteen years trying to hide how different she is—no easy task on an island as small and sheltered as Nantucket. And it's getting harder. Nightmares of a desperate desert journey have Helen waking parched, only to find her sheets damaged by dirt and dust. At school she's haunted by hallucinations of three women weeping tears of blood . . . and when Helen first crosses paths with Lucas Delos, she has no way of knowing they're destined to play the leading roles in a tragedy the Fates insist on repeating throughout history.

As Helen unlocks the secrets of her ancestry, she realizes that some myths are more than just legend. But even demigod powers might not be enough to defy the forces that are both drawing her and Lucas together—and trying to tear them apart.


Eyes Like Stars: Theatre Illuminata, Act I by Lisa Mantchev

All her world’s a stage.

Bertie Shakespeare Smith is not an actress, yet she lives in a theater.

She’s not an orphan, but she has no parents.

She knows every part, but she has no lines of her own.

That is, until now.

Enter Stage Right

NATE. Dashing pirate. Will do anything to protect Bertie.

COBWEB, MOTH, MUSTARD SEED, and PEASEBLOSSOM. Four tiny and incredibly annoying fairies. BERTIE’S sidekicks.

ARIEL. Seductive air spirit and Bertie’s weakness. The symbol of impending doom.

BERTIE. Our heroine.

Welcome to the Théâtre Illuminata, where the actors of every play ever written can be found behind the curtain. They were born to play their parts, and are bound to the Théâtre by The Book—an ancient and magical tome of scripts. Bertie is not one of them, but they are her family—and she is about to lose them all and the only home she has ever known.

Lisa Mantchev has written a debut novel that is dramatic, romantic, and witty, with an irresistible and irreverent cast of characters who are sure to enchant the audience.

Open Curtain


The Willow by Stacey Kennedy

In Carson City, Nevada a tragic car accident has claimed the lives of Nexi Jones' adoptive parents. Now, without them, her reason to live has vanished and she is determined to end her pain.
The problem with that, it's not heaven she wakes up to, it's the Otherworld. Nexi must reconcile the truth about her past, and her heritage as part guardian/part witch, while she begins to train to join the Council's guard. But it's not the combat training that has her worried, its attempting to keep her cool around the luscious guardian, Kyden that's her biggest concern.
Before long, Nexi's skills are put to the test as she begins to fight against the supernatural who have taken a human life. But nothing can prepare her for the journey ahead. Soon, she will find herself lost in a mystery and fighting to keep all she's gained, as Lazarus, a vampire, threatens to take it all away.


Among Others by Jo Walton

Raised by a half-mad mother who dabbled in magic, Morwenna Phelps found refuge in two worlds. As a child growing up in Wales, she played among the spirits who made their homes in industrial ruins. But her mind found freedom and promise in the science fiction novels that were her closest companions. Then her mother tried to bend the spirits to dark ends, and Mori was forced to confront her in a magical battle that left her crippled—and her twin sister dead.

Fleeing to her father whom she barely knew, Mori was sent to boarding school in England–a place all but devoid of true magic. There, outcast and alone, she tempted fate by doing magic herself, in an attempt to find a circle of like-minded friends. But her magic also drew the attention of her mother, bringing about a reckoning that could no longer be put off…

Combining elements of autobiography with flights of imagination in the manner of novels like Jonathan Lethem’s The Fortress of Solitude, this is potentially a breakout book for an author whose genius has already been hailed by peers like Kelly Link, Sarah Weinman, and Ursula K. Le Guin.


Memento Noraby Angie Smibert (release date 01.04.2011)

Nora, the popular girl and happy consumer, witnesses a horrific bombing on a shopping trip with her mother. In Nora’s near-future world, terrorism is so commonplace that she can pop one little white pill to forget and go on like nothing ever happened. However, when Nora makes her first trip to a Therapeutic Forgetting Clinic, she learns what her mother, a frequent forgetter, has been frequently forgetting. Nora secretly spits out the pill and holds on to her memories. The memory of the bombing as well as her mother’s secret and her budding awareness of the world outside her little clique make it increasingly difficult for Nora to cope. She turns to two new friends, each with their own reasons to remember, and together they share their experiences with their classmates through an underground comic. They soon learn, though, they can’t get away with remembering.

Friday, February 18, 2011

Retrenchments announced today

We heard in a meeting this afternoon that 70 people in our sector at work will be retrenched by end of May. 
I know I have always made no secret of how much I hate my job but it pays the bills and I cannot afford NOT to work.  I am so stressed right now.  I don’t know if I will be able to go through a job interview . . .   

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Blogger interview: A Brave new Adventure



Today we meet Najela from A Brave New Adventure.  Here is what she had to say . . .

* Please tell us a little about your blog.
My blog is your standard book blog with reviews. It used to be a general blog, but last year I decided to focus on just YA books since those are basically what I read outside of school. I also moved my personal life related posts to

* How did it all start? And how long has it been?
My book blog started as a way to just keep track of the books that I've read. I started keeping track of these books back in 2008, but I didn't get serious with book blogging until May 2010, when I revamped the blog and started focusing on books more than just a general blog. So offically, it's been a little over two years, but as a book blog, it's been a year.

* How much time and energy do you put into your blog?
Well, I try to put as much energy and time as possible but that is after school and after working. I love to read in general and write the reviews, but finding the time is hard, but in a few months I hope to do more with this book blog.

* What is the best and the worse part of blogging for you?
The best part of blogging is connecting with people and finding awesome books to read through other blogs. I found so many amazing books that I never would have found on my own. The worst part of blogging is getting burnt out trying to do too much. It gets a little hectic when you read, review, and trying to be on every social network.

* Do you enjoy doing memes and if so, which ones can be found on your blog?
I do enjoy memes, but unfortunately I don't have the time to do them. When I do have the time, I plan to have In My Mailbox, Teaser Tuesday, and Follow Fridays and the Friday Blog Hop.

* How would you describe your review style and how do you handle reviews when you didn't enjoy the book?
I typically divide my reviews into the summary, the likes, dislikes, and overall. Recently I added "Recommended By" section to give credit to people aroud the blogosphere and my friends who recommend awesome books. Most of the time if I don't like a book, I typically say that the book wasn't my cup of tea and just point out what wasn't working for me and what could have made it better (granted the book is already published, it's not a workshop). I don't use a rating scale because I want my review to speak for itself and typically all the books that I read are books that I typically enjoy so they'd all be rated between three and four stars.

* What can we expect from you in the future?
More everything. In the coming months (most likely March because I'll be graduating college then) I want to read more books, write more reviews and participate in more blogging communities, the whole sha-bang!

* What advise would you give new book bloggers out there?
Just have fun. It's not a competition to get the most followers. Sure, you want to get your name out there, but it should be about the love of books and connecting with readers, other book bloggers out there. If you read it, they will come.

Thank you so much for a fun time today, Najela!

If you would like to be part of the interviewing fun, you can send me a note by commenting or visiting my “contact me” page.

Saturday, February 12, 2011

On my Wishlist #18


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready on Carolyn’s blog.  This is the books I am wishing for after I saw it in the blogosphere this week.


Pariah by Bob Fingerman 

The world is in chaos. A zombie plague has devoured every nation on the planet. New York City is no exception. Imagine eight million zombies. Shoulder to shoulder. Walking the streets, looking for their next meal. The residents of one apartment building have bonded to keep themselves safe from the onslaught, but their inevitable demise lurks right outside their window, a constant reminder of the doom that awaits them. Forced to remain in the safety of the building, the tenants find themselves at each others' throats. When they spy a lone teenage girl who walks among the hordes, unattacked by the undead, their world opens up.


Eternal Prey: Gods of the Night by Nina Bangs

A magnificent creature, Utah wants vengeance against the bloodsuckers who murdered his brother. Once the beast within him is unleashed, he won’t rest until every vampire is destroyed. But he never expected to encounter a leader of his immortal enemies who was so beautiful, bewitching . . . and mortal.

It is Lia’s destiny and her duty to stop the renegade vampires who are intent on annihilating the human and non-human races alike. But she never dreamed that Utah, once a deadly foe, would now become her ally and protector, or that loving him would be more dangerous than anything she’s ever faced before. For when Utah frees his predator soul, there will be no end to the carnage.


 Human.4 by Mike A Lancaster (release date 08 March 2011) 

Humanity, like computers, can be upgraded.  And old versions disappear. . . .
At some unspecified point in the future, when technology is as advanced as possible and we are a race of super beings, some old audio tapes are discovered.  On the tapes is the story of fourteen-year-old  Kyle Straker. 
Hypnotized, Kyle missed the upgrade of humanity to 1.0.  He isn't compatible with our new technology. And through the recording, he narrates what the upgrades really mean.  And it's absolutely terrifying.  


Big Bad Beast by Shelly Laurenston (release date May 2011)

When it comes to following her instincts, former Marine Dee-Ann Smith never holds back. And this deadly member of a shifter protection group will do anything to prove one of her own kind is having hybrids captured for dogfights. Trouble is, her too-cute rich-boy boss Ric Van Holtz insists on helping out. And his crazy-like-a-fox smarts and charming persistence are making it real hard for Dee to keep her heart safe…
Ric can't believe his luck. He's wanted this fiercely-independent she-wolf from day one, but he never expected teamwork as explosive as this. And now is his last chance to show Dee what she needs isn't some in-your-face Alpha male—but a wily, resourceful wolf who'll always have her back in a fight…and between the sheets.

What are you wishing for?

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Book Review: FEED

Title: Feed (Newsflesh, Book 1)
Author: Mira Grant
Genre: Dystopian Novel
Publisher: Orbit
Publication date: 01 May 2010
Author’s website:
Source:  My own copy

After a slow start, I was suck into this new world that Mira Grant creates, pretty quickly.  I loved the world building and was intrigued by people living life from inside their own homes.  Mainstream media fell after they failed to treat the outbreaks of the Kellis-Amberlee virus (as it came to be known) seriously and Internet news became the new voice of reason. 

Our story is set in the year 2039, twenty five years after the two experimental viruses escaped a lab and combined to sweep the world.  In a few days, Kellis-Amberlee, cured cancer and killed all cold and flu viruses but it also raised the dead.

Georgia and Shaun Mason are two bloggers and getting ratings are their mission.  The siblings are ecstatic when they (together with their technical wiz, Buffy) are chosen as the news blog to follow the campaign for presidential candidate, Senator Peter Ryman.

But even in a zombie future, political foal play is not left behind.  We are soon knee deep in strange accidents and zombies jumping from behind every bush.

FEED is much more than a zombie novel or a political thriller.  Every character is deeply developed and you will feel with them from the start when hard choices need to be made.  You won’t be disappointed if you give it a try.

Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Blogger interview: Stacked!


Stacked is a blog not to be missed but come and meet two of the three librarians, Kelly and Kimberly before you rush off to see.  Thank you for joining in the fun today!

* Please tell us a little about your blog.
STACKED is run by three librarians with the goals of talking books in a manner that connects them to the right reader. We're honest and thoughtful in our reviews. As librarians, we are aware that literacy comes in many formats, so we strive to include not just physical book reviews, but also reviews of audiobooks, videos, music, zines, graphic novels, and other materials easily found in the stacks.

While our main emphasis is on reviewing books, we're not all about the reviews.  We also regularly discuss cover designs, publishing trends, award lists, and periodically host book giveaways.

  * How did it all start?   And how long has it been?
It began in April 2009 after discussing how fun a group blog about books would be from the perspective of librarians. And here we are today!

    * How much time and energy do you put into your blog?
Kelly: The bulk of time is in reading and thinking, as well as connecting with other bloggers and readers. It's less about writing time for me, though a good book review can run upwards of 2 hours to write for me. On a week, I'd say I probably put between 5 and 10 hours of work in. Sometimes I get ahead and sometimes I have so much to catch up on that it can vary widely.

Kimberly: It depends.  When I read a book that I have a lot to say about - good or bad - then I tend to put more time and energy into the review, particularly if I have some major criticisms.  If I love the book, I spend quite a bit of time crafting the review, because I want to convince everyone they should go out and read it RIGHT THIS SECOND.  For books that fall in the middle range - not bad but not great either - I can whip out the review pretty fast.  I don't sit down at my computer and write a whole passel of posts at once - I type a little here, a little there, interspersed among watching tv, reading, working, cooking, and so on.  This makes it difficult to really add up the time I spend blogging.

  * What is the best and the worst part of blogging for you?
Kelly: Best for me is three fold -- First, I've learned to read so many different things and have come to find my real passion in reading. I know EXACTLY what I like and I can pinpoint almost perfectly what I don't when I'm reading a book. Second, the fact I know what I say actually matters to someone. The number of people who say they buy books off our recommendations or use our recommendations to share books with other people (this is especially the case with teachers and librarians). And lastly, the incredible friendships I've made both with other bloggers, other librarians, and even authors. It's kind of surreal.

Kimberly: Like Kelly, I really relish when someone comments that my review helped them decide whether or not to pick up the book.  My opinion mattered to them!  It's a rush.  This happened with my recent review of Enchanted Ivy by Sarah Beth Durst.  I didn't care for the book as a whole, and my review described exactly why.  Because I was detailed enough in my description of the novel's shortcomings for me as a reader, I had one person comment they would pass on it - and another mention that she would pick it up, since those shortcomings weren't really aspects of a novel that mattered as much to her.
The worst part of blogging is probably the negativity in comments.  This happens rarely, but it does happen.  Mostly it's readers or authors getting very defensive over a book they loved or wrote.  I think people should be secure enough in their opinions not to be offended by my opinions, especially when I'm careful to state why I don't like something.

* Do you enjoy doing memes and if so, which ones can be found on your blog?
Kelly: I do In My Mailbox when I remember to, but otherwise, memes seem to kind of be more work than worthwhile for me, personally. I also get bored with reading other people's memes -- Waiting on Wednesday is weird to me (though I get why some people love it) and Fragment Friday isn't my style. I prefer making my own content when I can. Even if it means I don't post as much as other blogs.

Kimberly: Honestly, memes are boring to me.  And I think they're lazy blogging.

* How would you describe your review style and how do you handle reviews when you didn't enjoy the book?
Kelly: I'm honest and thoughtful. I hit on everything I can that is strong and point out weak things, too. Most importantly, though, is I always try to match the book up with the right reader, even if it's not me. I try to always include readalikes or where the book fits in a genre spectrum. And when I don't enjoy the book, I know why and say as much.

Kimberly: I covered this a little bit in a previous question.  I try to be as fair as possible, but I don't pull my punches either.  If a book is bad, I will say it's bad. If I see something good in an otherwise bad book, I'll point that out too.  And if I see an audience for that bad book, I'll be sure to mention it.
When I write reviews, I also try to be a little funny and a little personal, so our readers don't feel like they're reading an extended Booklist review, and they get to know me a little too.  You can tell me if I succeed with the funny bit (or don't and spare my feelings?).

* What can we expect from you in the future?
Kelly: Honestly? More of the same. I have been conscious of talking more backlist titles as of late, so perhaps more of that if anything.

Kimberly: Just plugging along as usual.  I'm reading a lot more graphic novels, so I'll be reviewing a lot more of those too.

  * What advice would you give new book bloggers out there?
Kelly: Read a lot of blogs, and don't just read the "big name" bloggers. Read widely and thoughtfully. Take notes on books if you have to. Most importantly, keep going. It starts slow. You just gotta connect with other bloggers and readers through commenting, through goodreads, through Twitter, whatever means you're most comfortable with. It's a lot of work but the rewards (see favorite parts!) are worth it. And don't let anyone tell you you can't. You can. You will find your niche and your groove.

Kimberly: Please give your posts some substance.  As a blog reader and a book reader, I want to see posts that make me think, that tell me exactly why a book is good or bad, why it did or did not appeal to you, and it needs to go beyond an awesome or lame cover design.  Is the book a good one?  Why?  "Well, it just is!" is not good enough.

Thank you once again, Girls – I am taking your advice to heart :)

If you would like to be part of the blogger interview fun, you can send me a message through my “contact me” page.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Guest post by Jeff Bryan



Want to get in touch with a ghost?  Maybe there's a departed friend or family member you want to call, or a dead rock star, or maybe some ancient emperor with whom you'd like a chat.  Whatever your motivation, you're not alone.  Numerous ways have been devised for contacting the dead.  While we can't speak to the effectiveness of any particular technique, here are a few of the methods people have cooked up over the centuries for reaching those on the Other Side.

1. A medium.  This is the classic approach, used at least since Biblical times.  Find yourself a witch/sorcerer/necromancer who claims the ability to speak with the dead.  Be wary when picking your medium, because this is a relatively easy thing to fake.  Anyone can claim to receive messages from the souls of the no-longer-incarnate.  Fakers will start with vague comments that could apply to anyone: “Do you know a male who has died?  No?  I meant female, female.  Someone with the letter 'a' in their name?  No, wait, I meant 'e.'”

Be sure to get references for your prospective medium, and ask those other clients about their experiences.  If you hear something like “It was great!  He knew I had a male relative with the letter 'a' in his name!” then it might be time to move on.  Also check your medium's credentials with the Better Psychics Bureau, and read their reviews on Yelp, Google, Craigslist or wherever you found this person. 

A bad medium will make everything up.  An excellent medium may come up with more information than you're ready to handle.  What you really want is to go between these extremes—find a medium medium.

2. A Ouija board.  Invented centuries ago in (mumbledy-mumble), the Ouija board remains one of the most popular ways to contact the dead, especially if you're at a middle school slumber party. Several people put their fingers on a planchette, which picks out letters and numbers one by one to spell out messages from beyond.  Simple answers like “Yes,” “No,” and “Goodbye” can also be selected, which really speeds things along.  One good thing about the Ouija board is that it's kind of a fun party game.  One negative thing is that you can contact demons who possess you and your friends and make you do horrific and violent things, before finally slaughtering you.  So it's a little bit of a mixed bag.

If you decide that a plastic-coated sheet of cardboard from Parker Brothers just doesn't scream “magical and mystical,” you can make your own Ouija board at home.  Consider using posterboard, or even write out all the letters and numbers on individual pieces of paper, in spooky calligraphy if possible.  A simple wineglass or small juice glass, turned upside down, can be your pointer.  Homemade Ouija boards are cheaper, but may increase your risk of violent demonic possession.  Consider whether you'd prefer to save a few bucks or save your soul from being eaten by a horde of fallen angels.

3.  Electronic devices and such.  Some people claim that a tape recorder is one good way to pick up messages from the dead.  Set up overnight inside a haunted house, or next to the grave of the person you wish to contact.  Ask your questions several times.  When the sun rises, stop recording.  Spend weeks sifting through the static on your tape (or digital audio file) listening for hints of a voice answering your question.  This is great fun and doesn't get old fast.  For a little variety, try a video camera instead, so at least you'll have something to watch while you sift.  If you're lucky, you'll catch an image of a ghost, and everyone will accuse you of faking it.

4. Afterlife Calling Card – Sometimes you can find people selling these on the street or at the flea market.  Allegedly, they allow you to make phone calls to people on The Other Side.  A plus: you can call from the convenience of your cell phone.  A minus: roaming charges.  These calling cards tend to be extremely expensive and are not known to actually work.

5. DIY.  Make up your own way of contacting the dead.  You might consider laying out wet paint to see if the ghost steps in it and leaves tracks.  Note: if the tracks are small, round and paw-shaped, it was probably just your cat.  Bathe your cat's feet immediately before he licks the paint.

In the comments below, you might let us know how you might contact the dead, if you were so inclined.  Commenting within seven days enters you for The Haunted E-book Tour Grand Prizes, including The Haunted Library and a Kindle (or two!). 
Your comment also enters you to win a pair of ebooks from Chrizette—The Haunted E-book and Dark Tomorrows.

Thanks for following the tour!

imageJ.L. Bryan studied English literature at the University of Georgia and at Oxford, with a focus on the English Renaissance and the Romantic period.  He also studied screenwriting at UCLA.  He is the author of five novels and one short-story collection.  His new novel is The Haunted E-book. 

The sequel to his novel Jenny Pox will be available by summer 2011.

Sunday, February 6, 2011

In my mailbox (15)


It’s Sunday again and I am joining another week of In My Mailbox, hosted by Kristi over at The Story SirenIn My Mailbox is a weekly meme that lets everyone see what books you have received or bought that week. 

This week I only received one book.  It was a pre-order of a competition I won last year.


Isn’t the cover gorgeous!  Just makes me want to push it up the list . . . btw, do you also have a list of the order that you want to read your TBR books?

How did your mailbox do this week?

Saturday, February 5, 2011

On my wishlist #17


On My Wishlist is a fun weekly event hosted by Book Chick City and runs every Saturday. It's where you can list all the books you desperately want but haven't actually bought yet. They can be old, new or forthcoming. It's also an event that you can join in with too - Mr Linky is always at the ready on Carolyn’s blog.  This is the books I am wishing for after I saw it in the blogosphere this week.


Sins of a Highland Devil (Highland Warriors) by Sue-Ellen Welfonder

The first book in the Highland Warriors trilogy, in which three heroes make a pact to insure that a rival clan does not take over their Glen of Many Legends. At the same time, three women plot to marry these heroes to insure peace.
In SINS OF A HIGHLAND DEVIL, James Cameron is concerned when the King's decree states all three neighbouring clans must have a battle to the death in order to lay official claim to the scared Glen of Many Legends. James attempts to make a pact with the heads of the other clans to fight this decree. But he ends up fighting his own fierce desire when coming head-to-head with Lady Catriona of the opposing MacDonald clan, who has her own plan for peace.


Wake (Wake Series, Book 1) by Lisa McMann

For seventeen-year-old Janie, getting sucked into other people's dreams is getting old. Especially the falling dreams, the naked-but-nobody-notices dreams, and the sex-crazed dreams. Janie's seen enough fantasy booty to last her a lifetime.
She can't tell anybody about what she does -- they'd never believe her, or worse, they'd think she's a freak. So Janie lives on the fringe, cursed with an ability she doesn't want and can't control.
Then she falls into a gruesome nightmare, one that chills her to the bone. For the first time, Janie is more than a witness to someone else's twisted psyche. She is a participant....


 Cryer's Cross by Lisa McMann (release date 08 February 2011)

The community of Cryer’s Cross, Montana (population 212) is distraught when high school freshman Tiffany disappears without a trace. Already off-balance due to her OCD, 16-year-old Kendall is freaked out seeing Tiffany’s empty desk in the one-room school house, but somehow life goes on... until Kendall's boyfriend Nico also disappears, and also without a trace. Now the town is in a panic. Alone in her depression and with her OCD at an all-time high, Kendall notices something that connects Nico and Tiffany: they both sat at the same desk. She knows it's crazy, but Kendall finds herself drawn to the desk, dreaming of Nico and wondering if maybe she, too, will disappear...and whether that would be so bad. Then she begins receiving graffiti messages on the desk from someone who can only be Nico. Can he possibly be alive somewhere? Where is he? And how can Kendall help him? The only person who believes her is Jacian, the new guy she finds irritating...and attractive. As Kendall and Jacian grow closer, Kendall digs deeper into Nico's mysterious disappearance only to stumble upon some ugly—and deadly—local history. Kendall is about to find out just how far the townspeople will go to keep their secrets buried.

Raziel (Fallen) by Kristina Douglas 

“You’re dead” is so not what Allie Watson wants to hear. Unfortunately, it explains a lot. Like the dark, angelically handsome man who ferried her to this strange, hidden land. The last thing she remembers is stepping off a curb in front of a crosstown bus. Now she’s surrounded by gorgeous fallen angels with an unsettling taste for blood—and they really don’t want her around. Not exactly how she pictured heaven.

Raziel is unsure why he rescued Allie from hellfire against Uriel’s orders, but she stirs in him a longing he hasn't felt in centuries. Now the Fallen are bracing for the divine wrath brought by his disobedience, and they blame Allie for the ferocious Nephilim clawing at the kingdom’s shrouded gates. Facing impossible odds at every turn, the two must work together to survive. Raziel will do anything to defend his spirited lover against the forces of darkness—because Allie may be the Fallen’s only salvation.

What is on your wishlist?