Wednesday, June 30, 2010


I have a few reminders for you!

1.) Today is the last day for Top 5 commenter giveaway for June!
2.) The Strange Neighbors giveaway ends on July 5th.

3.) The Making of a Duchess giveaway ends on July 7th.

4.) There will be new giveaways posted Thursday, Friday and Saturday this week! Don't forget to come back and check them out!

5.) I participated in a new weekly meme, called Waiting on Wednesday hosted by Breaking the Sprine, it showcases upcoming releases that we are looking forward to!

Waiting on Wednesday (1)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Breaking the Spine. It is designed to showcase upcoming releases that we are eagerly awaiting.

My choice this week is The Rembrandt Affair by Daniel Silva.

Product Details

  • Pub. Date: July 20, 2010
  • Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
  • Format: Hardcover, 496pp
  • Sales Rank: 306


Determined to sever his ties with the Office, Gabriel Allon has retreated to the windswept cliffs of Cornwall with his beautiful Venetian-born wife, Chiara. But once again his seclusion is interrupted by a visitor from his tangled past: the endearingly eccentric London art dealer Julian Isherwood. As usual, Isherwood has a problem. And it is one only Gabriel can solve.
In the ancient English city of Glastonbury, an art restorer has been brutally murdered and a long-lost portrait by Rembrandt mysteriously stolen. Despite his reluctance, Gabriel is persuaded to use his unique skills to search for the painting and those responsible for the crime. But as he painstakingly follows a trail of clues leading from Amsterdam to Buenos Aires and, finally, to a villa on the graceful shores of Lake Geneva, Gabriel discovers there are deadly secrets connected to the painting. And evil men behind them.
Before he is done, Gabriel will once again be drawn into a world he thought he had left behind forever, and will come face-to-face with a remarkable cast of characters: a glamorous London journalist who is determined to undo the worst mistake of her career, an elusive master art thief who is burdened by a conscience, and a powerful Swiss billionaire who is known for his good deeds but may just be behind one of the greatest threats facing the world.
Filled with remarkable twists and turns of plot, and told with seductive prose, The Rembrandt Affair is more than just summer entertainment of the highest order. It is a timely reminder that there are men in the world who will do anything for money.

Review: Boadicea's Legacy

Boadicea's Legacy (Boadicea's Descendants series - Book 3) by Traci E. Hall

( For review from Medallion Press)


Ela Montahue is a talented sorceress descended from Boadicea, the legendary warrior queen of the Iceni tribe. She has the miraculous power to heal but, years before her birth, Boadicea issued a decree that Ela must marry for love not political practicality, or she will forfeit her supernatural power. Marrying Lord Thomas de Havel, the vile landowner with connections to King John's court, would benefit Ela's family tremendously, but would strip her of her miraculous gift. When Ela refuses the repulsive marriage proposal of Lord de Havel, he abducts her and wages battle against her father in retaliation. Knight Osbert Edyvean, who has been paid to find Boadicea’s spear, rescues Ela instead and must fight his overwhelming passion for a beautiful lady he wants to protect and love.


Boadicea's Legacy is the third book about the descendants of warrior Queen Boadicea of Iceni tribe. In this third installment, Traci E. Hall gives us another great paranormal romance, set in a very real English past.

Ela's family is determined to gain the wealth and prestige that will come with Ela's marriage to Lord Thomas. However, Ela knows that she must marry for love if she intends to keep her healing gift. Besides the fact that she can not stand Lord Thomas, Ela does not want to give up being able to heal people, it is her passion in life. When Lord Thomas realizes she will not marry him he kidnaps her and it's up to Osbert Edyvean to rescue her. Despite his quest to find Boadicea's legendary sword Os, must fight the feelings he is developing for Ela.

Both Ela and Os are great characters. Hall has done a wonderful job with the character development in this book. Ela starts out as a young woman who wants nothing more out of life than to be able to help other people with her healing gift. But, when it comes to a decision of helping her family gain wealth and prestige or giving up her gift she must follow her heart. As her character learns more about life she begins to see that love may also be in her future. This is a great love story.

Os is an honorable knight with conservative ways. His quest is to find the sword of Boadicea, but instead he ends up saving Ela. He wonders if she is what she seems or perhaps a witch. We see the conflict within him as he tries to rationalize his feelings for Ela. Hall really delves into the idea of things not being exactly what they seem and not basing your opinions on assumptions.

I give this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Boadicea's Legacy is available now at Amazon!

Review: Skinny is overrated

Skinny is Overrated: The Real Woman's Guide to Health and Happiness at Any Size by Dr. Danielle Milano

(For review from Phenix Publicity)


Skinny Is Overrated is a guide to health and happiness for women of any size who are tired of dieting. Writing in a conversational and often humorous style, and backed by scientific research, Dr. Danielle Milano teaches us to make healthier food choices. She emphasizes the importance of exercise, assuring the reader that it isn't necessary to be a size two! With helpful, easy recipes and common sense advice, Dr. Milano's guidelines for simple lifestyle changes will help you lose weight, gain energy, and become a healthier, more confident you-as you were meant to be.


I really liked this book a lot. Let's face it, most women are not a size 2! This book is about getting healthy and being happy and if you loose weight in the process, OK, but it's not the main focus. Dr. Milano has filled this book with lots of information about what the reader needs to do to get healthy. I've tried all kinds of diets and this book is not about that, it's more about small life style changes that you can incorporate into your life on a daily basis.

One of my biggest problems is figuring out what I need to eat. When I think about dieting I just get overwhelmed with all the things that it's necessary to do to loose weight. In this book it gives examples of changes you can make a little at a time so that you don't get upset and quit. One of the first things Dr. Milano suggests is cutting the soda out of your diet. Even diet soda is just empty calories. But, she doesn't stop there, she gives alternatives to drinking soda and helps you figure out what you can drink, that doesn't have a ton of calories.

As far as exercising goes, I'm always trying to figure out what exercises I can do with a tight schedule, two kids, two dogs and lots of things to do around the house. Milano suggests starting out with a little exercise at a time. Even if you can only walk for 10 minutes a day, you need to get moving. It's better to do it with a friend or family member, because it will keep you motivated. The girls and I have started walking our dogs everyday and that helps us get healthy as well.

These are just a few of the great suggestions in this book. If you aren't a size 2 and you want to feel comfortable in your own skin, without being overwhelmed. This book is for you!

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Skinny is overrated is available now from your favorite bookseller!

Here is some more information about Dr. Milano.

Danielle Milano, M.D. is a practicing physician in New York City. After graduating from New York University School of Medicine in 1987, and completing her residency in 1990, Dr. Milano starting working in the field of HIV. Although Dr. Milano continues to care for a large number of HIV-infected patients, the largest part of her practice is general internal medicine. At the Boriken Neighborhood Health Center (a federally-funded community health center located in East Harlem) where she practices, the main health issue is obesity and it's associated diseases. Although Dr. Milano does not believe everyone needs to be thin to be healthy, there are simple lifestyle changes people can make to improve their quality of life and their longevity. No fad diets...No starvation diets...Just lifestyle changes in order to live a longer healthier life.

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

Review: The Left Hand of God

The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman

(For review from Dutton/Penguin)


Paul Hoffman's novel of astonishing scope and imagination, featuring a darkly gifted teenage boy at the center of a brutal holy war, grabs the reader from its incredible opening lines and refuses to let go. The Left Hand of God is the first novel in an epic, ambitious trilogy that will prove irresistible to the readers who have turned the Inheritance Cycle, Twilight, and the His Dark Materials series into publishing phenomena. The Left Hand of God is the story of sixteen-year-old Thomas Cale, who has grown up imprisoned at the Sanctuary of the Redeemers, a fortress run by a secretive sect of warrior monks in a distant, dystopian past. He is one of thousands of boys who train all day in hand-to-hand combat, in preparation for a holy war that only the High Priests know is now imminent. He has no reason to think he's special, no idea there's another world outside the compound's walls, and no hope for a life any different from the one he already knows. And then, Cale opens a door. What follows is a daring escape, an unlikely alliance, a desperate pursuit, a journey of incredible discovery, and an adventure the likes of which Cale could never possibly have imagined, culminating in Cale's astonishing realization that he alone has the power to save his world- or to destroy it.


This is a highly anticipated new trilogy by Paul Hoffman. It is his first North American release and starts the series off with a bang. The book tends to defy classification. It could be considered dark fantasy, or dystopian, it's not historical fiction or science fiction. It's certainly one of a kind and will appeal to a very broad audience including teenagers.

The story begins in the Sanctuary which I would describe as a cross between a monastery, an orphanage and a dungeon. Young boys are recruited from a very young age and brought to this place to learn combat techniques and to use weapons in an upcoming holy war. One of the recruits is Thomas Cale. When the reader meets Cale he is 16 years old and has no idea what the outside world is all about. His life is full of training, beatings, and survival. Cale unexpectedly gets himself into a situation where he not only doubts what, the Redeemer's have taught him, but his own idea's about himself as well. He escapes along with some friends and makes his way to the city of Memphis, where he meets Arabella.

This book has a lot of different themes. It is a coming of age novel, where Cale not only comes into his own as a man and a hero but also has his first love. Cale's character seems almost reluctant to take on the hero status, but we do see him grow as the book goes on, through the eyes of the other characters. Another theme would be learning what you believe in yourself and not just what you are told by other people. Cale finds that everything he has been taught may not be true and he struggles with his own ideas of God and the afterlife, as many do today. The book also focuses on how Cale was able to make something of himself or almost reinvent himself once he escapes from the Sanctuary. There is a lot going on in this novel. There is a huge cliffhanger ending that sets up for the next novel in the series.

This book is fast paced and the reader is thrown head first into the action. I found it somewhat confusing, and had to go back a little bit to get the gist of some of the things that were happening. There are some asides in the novel that kind of take away from the overall writing of the book and remind you that it's not quite what you think it is. Definitely, an interesting writing style. I thought the characters could have been developed a little more thoroughly but I believe there is room for more development in the series. I don't read a lot of fantasy, but always enjoy the world building aspects of it. This book was no exception. This was a very dark and interesting world.

Based on the world building and fantasy aspects of the book I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from by book bag!

Check out the book trailer!

The Left Hand of God is now available from your favorite bookseller!

Monday, June 28, 2010

Teaser Tuesday (26)

Teaser Tuesday is a weekly bookish meme hosted by MizB at 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 what you share doesn't give too much away! You don't want to ruin the book for others!)
Share the title and the author too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR lists if they like your teasers.

My teaser this week comes from, The Left Hand of God, page 148.

He'd been seen. As he scrambled n he could see the light of the torches moving together towards him. Any time now - the arrow or sword and the agonizing death. Panting, afraid, he scrambled on. Still he was free and moving. He needed to break to the trees. He climbed up the bank, slipping and sliding, and just as he rose above it's edge, a blow. CRACK!

Review: Private

My Synopsis:

Private by James Patterson

(For review from Hachette Book Group)

Private is the most elite private investigation firm in the country. With resources that put the local PD's to shame, Private is called by the rich, the famous, and those who want secrets to remain secret. Jack Morgan, owner and operator has put together a team of the best minds in the business. Now they are faced with three cases that will test their abilities as well as their emotions.

13 school girls have disappeared and shown up dead within the past few years in LA. The LAPD has come to the end of it's rope and Private is called in to work the case. Justine, Jack's top agent and former girlfriend has become emotionally invested in the case and will stop at nothing to find out who is committing these horrible crimes and taunting the mayor and the police with their prowess.

Jack's uncle is a big wig in the NFL. Lately it has become obvious that some of the games may have been thrown, but it's not the players and there is very little evidence. But, if it's true it could destroy the game of football as we know it. During the course of his investigation, Jack's twin brother Tom is implicated in a gambling debt to the Mob.

Jack's best friend's wife has been murdered. Shelby, was a sweetheart, why would anyone want to murder her? But is she the person they thought she was? Or was she leading a double life? With Jack and Andy's friendship be able to withstand the strain or will it break? Will Jack finally take the next step with Colleen or is Justine still in his heart?

My Thoughts:

This was another exceptional book by James Patterson that will probably prove to be the beginning of another block buster thriller series. Patterson has three other thriller series that are in Hollywood production already and Private could very well be his biggest yet. I loved the fast paced action of this book. With short chapters and lots of thrills, the reader is kept on the edge of their seat wondering what will happen next.

Patterson uses a stable of co-authors to complete in the neighborhood of 10 hardbacks per year. This is an astounding pace, but it seems like every one of them is good. This book is co-authored by Maxine Paetro who is co-author with Patterson on several of the Women's Murder Club Books. It is said that Patterson starts out with a highly detailed outline sometimes nearly 50 pages in length. The co-author then writes the chapters and sends them to Patterson to review, make changes and re-write. It may sound like a strange process but it definitely works.

Jack Morgan is the protagonist in Private. He is an ex-marine who saw combat in Afghanistan and still has nightmares about his final days of duty. He seems to be an honorable man who didn't come from the greatest circumstances. Apparently his father had ties to the mob and was serving time in prison at the beginning of the story. Jack has a twin brother Tommy who is nothing but trouble. He has two women in his life and he isn't sure about either of them. He's a great character.

All three cases in this book are interesting from throwing football games to missing schoolgirls, to finding out his best friends wife was a call girl. Jack Morgan also must face his nightmares, a daily death threat that has gone on for years and family difficulties. A very well written book, that I truly enjoyed. A great addition to the thriller genre.

Private is available now from your favorite bookseller!

I give this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Here is some more information about James Patterson.

The subject of a Time magazine feature called, "The Man Who Can't Miss," James Patterson is the bestselling author of the past year, bar none, with more than 16 million books sold in North America alone. In 2007, one of every fifteen hardcover fiction books sold was a Patterson title. In the past three years, James has sold more books than any other author (according to Bookscan), and in total, James's books have sold an estimated 170 million copies worldwide. He is the first author to have #1 new titles simultaneously on The New York Times adult and children's lists and is the only author to have five new hardcover novels debut at #1 on the list in one year—a record-breaking feat he's accomplished every year since 2005. To date, James Patterson has had nineteen consecutive #1 New York Times bestselling novels, and holds the New York Timesrecord for most Hardcover Fiction bestselling titles by a single author (53 total), which is also a Guinness World Record.

From his James Patterson Pageturner Awards (which rewarded groups and individuals for creative and effective ways to spread the joy of reading) to his (which helps adults find books that kids are sure to love) to his regular donations of thousands of books to troops overseas, Patterson is a lifelong champion of books and reading. His first foray into books for all ages was the critically acclaimed Maximum Ride series, which debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list at #1 and remained there for twelve straight weeks. The series has so far made appearances on The New York Times bestsellers lists ninety-four cumulative times, proving that kids of all ages love page turners. He captured the attention of boy readers with the Daniel X series, and his third series for readers of all ages debuted in December 2009 with Witch & Wizard, which spent five consecutive weeks atop the New York Times bestsellers list.

Patterson is the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past dozen years, featuring Alex Cross and including the Hollywood-adapted "Along Came a Spider" and "Kiss the Girls," starring Academy Award-winning actor Morgan Freeman. He is also the creator of the #1 new detective series of the past five years, featuring Lindsay Boxer and the other members of the Women's Murder Club, from which the ABC television drama series was adapted. He has authored books behind six films on the Hollywood fast-track, including the upcoming Maximum Ride movie forthcoming from Avi Arad, the producer of X-Men and Spiderman.

He is the author of novels—from The Thomas Berryman Number (1976) to Honeymoon(2005)—that have won awards including the Edgar, the BCA Mystery Guild's Thriller of the Year, the International Thriller of the Year award, and the Reader's Digest Reader's Choice Award.

One of Forbes magazine's Celebrity 100, James made a guest appearance on the popular FOX TV show "The Simpsons" in March, 2007.

Sunday, June 27, 2010

Simply Marvelous Monday (27)

Shelia at, One Person's Journey Through a World of Books gets all the credit for this one...

On Simply Marvelous Monday's at Debbie's Book Bag, we want to know... What are you reading?


The Making of a Duchess (The Sons of the Revolution series - Book 1) by Shana Galen (For review from Sourcebooks)
The Brothers of Gwynedd, Pt. 2, Dragon at Noonday by Edith Pargeter (For review from Sourcebooks)
A Love of Her Own (Heart of the West series - Book 3) by Maggie Brendan (For review from Revell)
Boadicea's Legacy (Boadicea series - Book 3) by Traci E. Hall (E-book for review from Medallion Press)
Private by James Patterson (For review from Hachette Book Group)

Not a bad week! Got five books completed. That happens now and then, when I get the time. I love to read and find out what's going to happen next!


Skinny is Overrated: The Real Woman's Guide to Health and Happiness at Any Size by Danielle Milano (For review from Phenix Publicity)
The Left Hand of God by Paul Hoffman (For review from Dutton/Penguin)
Finding Marco by Kenneth C. Cancellara (For review from Phenix Publicity)
The Fire Lord's Lover (The Elven Lords series - Book 1) by Kathryne Kennedy (For review from Sourcebooks)
Outlander (Outlander series - Book 1) by Diana Gabaldon (E-book from the Library)
50 Harbor Street (Cedar Cove series - Book 5) by Debbie Macomber (Audio book from the Library)

Hopefully, I get the opportunity to complete some of these this week. I'm usually reading a print book, an e-book and listening to an audio book each week. My goal is to complete at least two books per week or more. Just because I start it doesn't mean i'll finish it this week.


The Dark Rose (Moreland Dynasty series - Book 2) by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles (For review from Sourcebooks)
Perfect Reader by Maggie Pouncey (For review from Pantheon)
Crown of Destiny (World of Hetar series - Book 6) by Bertrice Small (For review from Harlequin)
The Transformation of Bartholomew Fortuno by Ellen Bryson (For review from Henry Holt)
The Stormchasers by Jenna Blum (For review from Dutton/Penguin)

Have a great reading week everyone!

Saturday, June 26, 2010

Review:A Love of Her Own

My Synopsis:

A Love of Her Own (Heart of the West series - Book 3) by Maggie Brendan

(For review from Revell)

April McBride receives an invitation from her brother Josh to attend his wedding in Montana. April's parents are abroad in Ireland, but she decides to make the trip from Colorado on her own. Riding a train, a stagecoach and a horse, she arrives at the wedding just in time in dusty jeans, a duster and a cowboy hat. She has meet a lot of interesting people along the way, but her spoiled little rich girl attitude has left a bitter taste in some of their mouths.

She encounters Wes Owen on her way into town, breaking a horse in a manner she doesn't like. Their relationship doesn't start out on a good note. Considering that April has had bad experiences with men, including a broken engagement, it's no wonder they don't hit it off. Will April and Wes be able to put aside how different they are and find a love that lasts? Will April change her attitude about life and love? Will her actions come back to haunt her?

My Thoughts:

This is the third book in the Heart of the West series by Maggie Brendan. This one picks up right where The Jewel of His Heart leaves of with Juliana and Josh's story, but can easily be read as a stand alone novel. I have always been a great fan of the Old West and novels set during this time period. In this novel, we are transported back to the turn of the century Old West of 1896. Brendan's descriptions are exceptional. You can almost see the dust kicked by the stagecoach as April rumbles toward Lewistown, Montana. Brendan's writing is reminiscent of Janette Oke, who is one of my favorite authors. This is Christian Fiction at it's best!

April starts out with a pretty bad attitude. She is used to having her way and with the world revolving around her. She has had the best of everything except relationships. A failed engagement has made her skeptical of finding real love and she doesn't find much to work with in Lewistown. But, April is strong willed and a hard worker. We see her growth through out the novel and how her attitudes begin to change. This book is a lot about growing up and becoming responsible for your own actions and finding out how much your attitude really affects those around you.

Wes is strong and honorable, but he has a certain vulnerability where women are concerned, especially, April. Josh has been talking to him about how God bought him and Juliana together, but Wes isn't exactly buying it. We see him grow in his understanding of God and how he works as his relationship with April deepens. Both are excellent characters who can teach us a lot about being changing our own views and attitudes. I really enjoyed this novel and the entire series by Maggie Brendan.

Available June 2010 at your favorite bookseller from Revell, a division of Baker Publishing Group.

I give this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Click here to visit Maggie's Blog!

Here is some more information about the author, Maggie Brendan.

Maggie Brendan is a member of the American Christian Writers and the American Fiction Writers Association. No Place for a Lady is her first novel. Brendan lives in Marietta, Georgia.