Thursday, September 30, 2010

Book Blogger Hop (3)

The Book Blogger Hop is a weekly meme hosted by Jennifer, at Crazy-For-Books. The Hop is a place for bloggers to connect. It is an opportunity for us to share our love for books, support each other, and make new friends. A question is posted each week for bloggers to answer in their posts. The hop lasts Friday to Monday each week, readers can hop now or throughout the weekend. A Mr. Linky is provided at the Crazy-For-Books blog and over 300 blogs participate weekly. So, give it a try! Find some new blogs to visit and enjoy finding others who have as much love for reading as you do...

The question for this week is:

How do you spread the word about your blog? (e.g. Social Networking sites, Book Blog Directories, comments on other blogs...)

I spread the word about my blog in a variety of ways. I have been using Twitter primarily to announce giveaways, but I know that some bloggers tweet every time they put up a new post. I have considered this, but haven't decided yet.

I have a facebook page specifically for my blog, but I just started it and I'm not really moving on it the way I should just yet.

I visit a variety of blogs everyday and comment where I feel it is appropriate. I don't make comments just to be making them, it's usually about something I like or am interested in, not just giveaways either...

I also visit blogs that have giveaway links, like Anna's Book Blog and Link a contest Thursday with Bookworming in the 21st century.

OK... so let's start hopping!

Winner: Darcy's Voyage

The giveaway for two copies of Darcy's Voyage ended last night at midnight. Two winners were chosen via and will be notified by e-mail shortly. The winners will have 48 hours to respond. These books will be sent out directly from the publisher.

Thanks to everyone who participated and look for more giveaways next week.

And the winners are:

Lora1967 & mbreakfield

Enquiring Minds Want to Know

Enquiring Minds Want to Know is a new weekly meme hosted by Dollycas's Thoughts. The intention is for bloggers to get to know each other a little bit better. Dollycas will provide questions each week for us to answer about ourselves. There is a Mr. Linky to link your answers to, I'm going to give it a try. Please join us in making this meme a success. This is week 5.

This week Dollycas was tagged by another blogger to participate in a meme that asks questions of bloggers as well. Dollycas will be tagging 3 or 4 bloggers who have never participated in, Enquiring Minds Want to Know and hopefully this will add new blogs to those already participating. So there will be additional questions. It is not required that blogs already participating answer the additional questions but, you can if you wish to.

Here are the questions for this week and my answers!

1.) List four things you carry in your handbag.

My cell phone, my keys, my shot pack (diabetes), and library card.... Don't leave home without it, LOL!

2.) List four things on top of your desk.

Books, (tons), my blog book (has my schedule and everything I need for my blog in it, a ty beanie baby my daughter gave me a long time ago, and my digital camera.

3.) List four of your favorite things in your bedroom.

Ohhh My! Well, my flat screen tv, my awesome reading lamp, my favorite fuzzy blanket, and my window, I love looking out at the night sky, have since I was a kid!

EXTRA Questions:

1.) List four things you have always wanted to do but haven't.

Hike the Appalachian Trail (over 2,000 miles)
Attend a performance of Phantom of the Opera on Broadway in New York City
Travel to Europe, Tuscany in particular
Backpacking in the Peruvian mountains (the Incan Trail)

(I'm a hiker from way back, but my diabetes is limiting in that capacity)

2.) List four things that you really enjoy doing at the moment

The obvious one is book blogging/reading
We have a great women's group at our church that I'm really enjoying
I love to cross-stitch
Decorating for the seasons coming up, Halloween, Thanksgiving, Christmas etc.

3.) List four songs you can't get out of your head.

Old Time Rock - N - Roll, Bog Seger
I Can Only Imagine, Mercy Me
Smooth, Rob Thomas and Santana
Fireflies, Owl City

4.) List four things we don't know about you.

I'm from Kentucky
I'm a diabetic
I'm a Christian
I'm a former daycare owner and operator

Next week we'll be back to the three question format...

Review: Take a Chance on Me

Take a Chance on Me by Jill Mansell

Publication Date: October 2010
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Format: Paperback, 432 pp
Genre: Contemporary Romance
ISBN-13: 9781402237515
ISBN: 1402237510

(Received for review from Sourcebooks)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Amazon):

Even in a small town the drama is larger than life...

Cleo Quinn doesn't have the greatest track record when it comes to men, but now Will's come along. Handsome and attentive, he could be her Mr. Right. Things are definitely looking up for Cleo... apart from one small problem with a rather large ego. Johnny Laventure, sculpture extraordinaire and her personal childhood nemesis, is back in Channing's Hill and tormenting her as if he'd never been away.

Meanwhile Cleo's sister Abbie has a problem of her own, her husband Tom has become distant and withdrawn, and shes determined to find out why. But will the shocking truth mean the end of their idyllically happy marriage?

The sisters are about to discover that the past can come back to haunt you, and that love can flourish in the most unlikeliest of places...


This was my first opportunity to read a Jill Mansell book, though I had heard tons of good things about her writing. I think this book was a good place to start. It was full of interesting characters, a lot of humor, drama and romance. Mansell does an excellent job of showing not only the relationships Cleo and Abbie have with the men in their lives, but also the relationship they have with each other. Cleo's relationship with Johnny takes the forefront, but the other subplots and stories are equally developed and the reader will feel a sense of real closure with each character.

Cleo's relationship with Johnny has always been fraught with chaos. He goes from being her childhood nemesis to being someone she struggles to find things in common with in the beginning. Though Will is handsome and seems to be everything she could want there is still something missing in her life, can Johnny fill that void or is it something else? This was great storyline. I think that people always wonder about the "what ifs..." How would things have been different if I chose this person instead of that person. Cleo's struggle is not uncommon.

Abbie, Cleo's sister knows that something is wrong with her husband, but facing the truth may be more than she is prepared to handle. This storyline deals with what happens when you keep secrets, especially from the ones you love.

I liked the book a lot and I felt that it was a very good contemporary romance. I tend to steer more toward Historical's because I don't find many contemporary story lines that seem to fit my mood. But, this one was an exception. It was engaging right from the beginning, kept a good pace throughout the book and I felt at the end that it was a good example of some of the issues that modern men and women face with relationships.

Take a Chance on Me is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Here is some additional information about Jill Mansell.

With over 4 billion copies sold, Jane Mansell writes irresistible and funny romantic tales for women in the tradition of Jilly Cooper and Catherine Alliot. She worked for many years at the Burden Neurological Hospital, Bristol, and now writes full time. She lives with her partner and their children in Bristol, England.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Review: Fiber & Brimstone

Fiber & Brimstone (Scrapbooking Mystery series - Book 8) by Laura Childs

Publication Date: October, 2010
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Hardcover, 336 pp
Genre: Mystery
ISBN-13: 9780425236741
ISBN: 0425236749

(Received for review from Penguin)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

It's Halloween in New Orleans - and the festivities are going to be killer.

With the help of her best friend Ava, Carmela Bertrand is building a giant monster puppet for the Halloween Monsters & Mayhem parade. Things get terrifying earlier than expected when they overhear an argument between Jekyl Hardy and Brett Fowler - and just minutes later they find Fowler's dead body.

Carmela has known Jekyl for years and can't believe he'd ever resort to murder, despite the fact that Fowler owed him money. But when another victim is discovered - who also had an unfriendly relationship with Jekyl, Carmela is convinced that someone is framing her friend and now must find a way to unmask the real killer.


Laura Childs uses a post Katrina, New Orleans as the backdrop in her latest Scrapbooking Mystery series novel, Fiber & Brimstone. Carmela Bertrand is at it again! When her friend, Jekyl Hardy is accused of murder, it's up to Carmela and her sidekick Ava to find the real killer. With help of Carmela's boyfriend, Lt. Babcock of the NOPD they find themselves looking for someone who has used the Halloween Monster & Mayhem parade to mask a murder.

Childs gives us another addition to a great series. Carmela the owner of Memory Mine, a quaint scrapbooking shop, never ceases to amaze with her artsy style of solving crimes. She just seems to have a knack for finding herself in the wrong place at the wrong time. I love Carmela's character for all her quirkiness. She is forever getting into scraps of one kind or another. Ava, her best friend and partner in crime is loyal and always ready to try to help Carmela figure out whodunit.

If you're like me and love a good mystery, this one will be right up your alley. With New Orleans as the setting, I was enthralled from the first page. I have always been interested in the French Quarter and all of the interesting things that take place there, from Mardi Gras to the other festivals and fairs. I really liked how Childs was able to use the Halloween season as well. We always have Christmas novels and novels based around summertime pursuits, but I liked the change of pace with Halloween as the focal point.

This is a great series that not only is filled with the thrills of a great mystery but scrapbooking tips and great recipes as well. I liked this one a lot.

Fiber & Brimstone is releasing next week and can be pre-ordered now from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 5 out of 5 apples from my book bag! Great little cozy mystery!

Here is some additional information about Laura Childs.

Laura Childs is the New York Times bestselling author Cackleberry Club, Tea Shop, and Scrapbooking mysteries. In her past life she was a Clio Award-winning advertising writer and CEO of her own marketing firm. She lives in Plymouth, Minnesota.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday (11)

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly meme hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It is designed to showcase books that are about to release that we just can't wait to get our hands on...

My choice is week is Crave (Fallen Angels series - Book 2) by J.R. Ward

I just love the cover alone, let alone what's inside it..LOL!


Seven deadly sins. Seven souls that must be saved. One more no-holds-barred battle between a fallen angel with a hardened heart and a demon with everything to lose.

Isaac Roth is a black ops soldier with a dark past and a grim future. The target of an assassin, he finds himself behind bars, his fate in the hands of his gorgeous public defender Grier Childe. His hot attraction to her can only lead to trouble - and that's before Jim Heron tells him his soul is in danger. Caught up in a wicked game with the demon who shadows Jim, Isaac must decide whether the solider in him can believe that true love is the ultimate weapon against evil.

Winner: Just One Taste, Autographed

The giveaway for an autographed copy of Just One Taste, by Louisa Edwards ended last night at midnight. This prize will be sent out directly from the publisher. The winner will be contacted by e-mail and will have 48 hours to respond. The winner was chosen by

I want to thank everyone who participated!

The winner is:

Theresa N.

Review: Fame

Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann (Translated from the German by Carol Brown Janeway)

Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: Knopf Doubleday Publishing Group
Format: Hardcover, 192 pp
Genre: Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780307378712
ISBN: 0307378713

(Received for review from Pantheon)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

Imagine being famous. Being recognized on the street, adored by people who have never met you, known the world over. Wouldn't that be great?

But what if, one day, you got stuck in a country where celebrity means nothing, where no one spoke your language and you didn't speak theirs, where no one knew your face (no book jackets, no TV) and you had no way of calling home? How would your fame help you then?

What if someone got hold of your cell phone? What if they spoke to your girlfriends, your agent, your director, and started making decisions for you? and worse, what if no one believed you were you anymore? When you saw a look-alike playing your roles for you, what would you do?

And what if one day you realized your magnum opus, like everything else you'd ever written, was a total waste of time, empty nonsense? What would you do next? Would your audience of seven million people keep you going? Or would you lose the capacity to keep on doing it?

Fame and facelessness, truth and deception, spin their way through all nine episodes of this captivating, wickedly funny, and perpetually surprising novelas paths cross and plots thicken, as characters become real people and real people morph into characters. The result is dazzling tour de force by one of Europe's finest young writers.


Daniel Kehlmann, author of Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes takes an interesting view of the bonds that separate reality from fiction. He centers his book around nine seemingly un-related episodes and shows the reader how interconnected we really are.

First, Ebling goes out to buy a new cell phone and is assigned a number belonging to a famous star. He starts answering the phone as Tanner, the star and making decisions for him. Then we see Tanner who has had to take on an assumed name because of all the chaos from Ebling answering his phone. Then we see the sales person who sold Ebling the phone and gave him the wrong number in the first place and how it effects his life. Along with several other characters who have become connected through one act or another. The ripple effect. Throw one stone in and see how it affects the entire lake.

Kehlmann also delves into the idea of who we really are. We have become so connected to technology like cell phones and the internet, we have lost our uniqueness. We create fictionalized lives for ourselves under screen names and post video's on You-Tube and other sites and chat in nameless rooms, but is that person really us, or is it a persona we have created? Are we really real or are we that person we pretend to be? Where is the line between reality and technology leaving us?

I really found this book interesting. I love the idea that everything we do is somehow connected to something that effects tons of people. That should really make us think, when we make even the simplest of decisions. The idea of identity is also handled with great clarity. I use a pen name when I write, I use a screen name on my blog for the most part. I have 'handles' and other kinds of names that I use on the internet. Am I really showing my true personality or someone I want to be or just someone I made up... really interesting stuff.

This book has sad parts, really funny parts and parts that just make you go... Wow! Do I do that? It explores ideas that we face on a daily basis in today's society and puts a realistic face on fame. When you start reading it you think it's outside the box, but then you realize, it really hits home.

Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

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

Here is some additional information about Daniel Kehlmann.

Daniel Kehlmann's Measuring the World was translated into more than forty languages. Awards his work has received include the Candide Prize, the Literature Prize of the Konrad Adenauer Foundation, the Heimito von Doderer Literature Award, the Kliest Prize, the WELT Literature Prize, and the Thomas Mann Prize. Kehlmann divides his time between Vienna and Berlin.

Review: The First Assassin

The First Assassin by John Milller

Publication Date: September 2010
Publisher: AmazonEncore
Format: Paperback, 384 pp
Genre: Historical Fiction
ISBN-13: 9781935597117
ISBN: 1935597116

(Received for review from Goldberg McDuffie)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

Washington, D.C., 1861: A new president takes office, a nation begins to break apart - and Colonel Charles Rook must risk insubordination to stop a mysterious assassin who prowls a nervous city. He will need the help of an ally he does not even know he has: Portia, a beautiful slave who holds a vital clue, hundreds of miles away.

Mixing actual historical figures with fictionalized characters (a la "Ragtime"), The First Assassin, is as gripping as any espionage thriller, and has the added bonus of being a fascinating look at the political realities of America at the dawn of the Civil War.


The time period just prior to the Civil War was fraught with many uncertainties. Abraham Lincoln had just become president and there were many who were totally against his election. People had such strong opinions on the matter that families were divided in their allegiances, even before the war began. John Miller, author of The First Assassin takes us to Washington, D.C. during this time of division and chaos.

In Miller's book, Charles Rook is charged with the protection of the president, which was no simple task considering the amount of death threats that Abraham Lincoln was receiving on a daily basis. An assassin is stalking Lincoln killing anyone who gets in his way. Rook knows that the only way to catch the killer is find out his identity. A runaway slave named, Portia is the key to finding out who the assassin is. This book is historical fiction combined with nail biting suspense of a great thriller.

I can only imagine the amount of research that went into this book. Miller gives the reader a sense of what Washington was really like in those days, from his descriptions of the buildings to his uncanny ability to blend fiction with fact. The reader will feel like they are riding along with Lincoln, looking over their shoulders to try to distinguish who the killer is. They will feel as if they are hearing the rumors and insinuations of conspiracy right from the mouths of the characters. The book draws you in and makes you feel apart of what's going on.

I liked the book a lot and felt that my penchant for historical fiction was really satisfied in this book. Though many of the characters were based on historical persons, the fictional characters took center stage and really brought "what could have happened" to life. I liked the way the author was able to get across the urgency of the situation and Colonel Rook's deep sense of honor and loyalty to the president. Miller's experience as a political journalist seems to have given his a real edge with this novel. It's a great debut effort from an author I'm sure we are destined to hear much more from.

The First Assassin is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Here is some additional information about the author, John Miller.

John J. Miller was born in Detroit, raised in Michigan and Southern Florida, and attended college in Ann Arbor. He has lived in the Washington, D.C area since 1992. He writes for the National Review, the Wall Street Journal, and many other publications.

Teaser Tuesday (37)

Teaser Tuesday is a 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.

I generally do things a little bit differently. I usually read and review up to 5 or 6 books a week and I like to post a teaser from each one.

The First Assassin by John Miller, page 137. "Why yes, that's exactly right. When I'm dressed up, sometimes I worry that I'm seeing things as they truly are - you know, everybody standing at attention and acting as they think they should rather than as they usually do."

Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann, page 12. As he crept soundlessly back upstairs, he wondered whether Ralf actually existed. Suddenly he found it unbelievable that Ralf was living out there, going about his business, oblivious to him, Ebling. Perhaps Ralf's life had always been intended for him, and some mere accident had switched their destinies.

Fiber & Brimstone by Laura Childs, page 226. Carmela located the candles, trundled them to the front desk, then was immediately asked to run and grab a pair of grinning skulls from a box in Ava's office. Feeling like Hamlet contemplating poor Yorick, Carmela delivered the lifelike (deathlike)? skulls to Ava.

Take a Chance on Me by Jane Mansell, page 259. Cleo loved it that he was as entertained by the photographs as she was. The last thirty-minutes had flown by. She and Johnny may not have been friends in their teenage years, but they'd known all the same people.

Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten, page 44. "What do we do if they say I'm really crazy?" He turns away quickly, as if he can't bear hearing the question out loud, much less the answer.

A Memory Between Us by Susan Sundin, page 233. Jack had never heard his grandfather give a long speech. Ever. Could Jack do that? Could he abandon the ministry and stay in the military? Would it be a failure? Or a victory?

Missing Andy by Lori A. Moore, page 39. I wondered what Andy looked like without glasses and with the ability to walk straight and without pain. Would I recognize him when I got there? Just what is a glorified body anyway?

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Banned Books Week (Sept. 25 - Oct. 2)

This week is Banned Books Week (September 25 - October 2). Banned Books Week is an annual event sponsored in part by The American Library Association that celebrates our freedom to read and the importance of our First Amendment rights.

Every year in the United States our intellectual freedoms are challenged when groups and individuals attempt to ban books from our libraries and schools. This is censorship in it's most blatant form. Due to the efforts of librarians, teachers, booksellers and concerned citizens like us, we have been able to stop this from happening in some cases.

Please visit the ALA (American Library Association website) for more information about events going on all across the country associated with Banned Books Week as well as lists of banned books and other information. There is a wealth of information here.

Also Shelia, at One Person's Journey Through a World of Books has a Mr. Linky provided for bloggers to link their Banned Books Week posts to, so that we can go around and read what others have had to say on the subject. Click here to go to Shelia's post. I know there are several giveaways in honor of Banned Books Week going on as well.

I was absolutely amazed when I began doing some research into what books were banned or were attempted to be banned in the past few decades and I've come to conclusion: I am a banned book lover! I have read a number of banned books and had no idea that anyone had ever tried to have them removed. Granted, there are some books and subjects that younger readers probably shouldn't be exposed to until they are older. But I don't believe it is up to others to decide for me, what I find appropriate for my children.

I want to spotlight some of the books that are on the Banned Books list and see if you are as shocked as I was. These are books that I have read and enjoyed or have intentions to read soon.

The Adventures of Huckleberry Finn by Mark Twain
The Harry Potter series by J.K Rowling
In The Night Kitchen by Maurice Sendak
To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee
Beloved by Toni Morrison
Blubber by Judy Blume
Roll of Thunder, Hear My Cry by Mildred Taylor
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck
The Lovely Bones by Alic Sebold
A Wrinkle in Time by Madeline L'Engle
The Catcher in the Rye by J.D Salinger
The Color Purple by Alice Walker
The Handmaid's Tale by Margaret Atwood
The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton
James and the Giant Peach by Ronald Dahl
Slaughterhouse-Five by Kurt Vonnegut
Lord of the Flies by William Golding

These are just a few of the books that were banned or attempts were made to ban them. Some of these books I read as required reading in high school, some I have read and enjoyed with my children. I think a lot times book banning an burning and that sort of thing comes from small mindedness and the inability to think that people can think for themselves and decide what is appropriate or not. Please take the time this week to visit the sites I mentioned above as well as find out what's going on at your own libraries and local bookstores. Book banning is alive and well and it's up to concerned readers like us to help do something about it.

Again, I was not very informed this year about Banned Books Week, because I am a relatively new blogger. Next year I plan to post a review of a banned book each day during Banned Books Week as well have a giveaway honoring some of the books that we some feel we should be protected from.

Simply Marvelous Monday (40)

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

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


The Twisted Path Home by Fae Bidgoli (My Review)
Mr. Darcy's Little Sister by C. Allyn Pierson (Guest Post & Giveaway) (My Review)
Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw (My Review)
Juliet by Anne Fortier (My Review)
How to Live Safely in a Science Fictional Universe by Charles Yu (My Review)
A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change series - Book 1) (Author's Kindle Giveaway) (My Review)
The Murderer's Daughter by Randy Susan Meyers (My Review)
Clockwork Angel by Cassandra Clare (Audio book read for pleasure) (Review coming soon)

My Favorites of the week were: Clockwork Angel (Amazing! - Review Coming Soon), Juliet (Can't Say Enough About That One!), and A Hope Undaunted (Christian Fiction At It's Best!)

Other happenings of the week: Just One Taste Giveaway, Darcy's Voyage Giveaway)


The First Assassin by John Miller (Historical Fiction)
Fame: A Novel in Nine Episodes by Daniel Kehlmann (General Fiction)
Fiber & Brimstone (Scrap-Booking series - Book 8) by Laura Childs (Mystery)
Take a Chance on Me by Jane Mansell (Contemporary Romance)
Saving Max by Antoinette van Heugten (General Fiction)
A Memory Between Us (Wings of Glory series - Book 2) by Susan Sundin (Christian Fiction)
Missing Andy by Lori A. Moore (Memoir)

Books I'm looking forward to this week: Fiber & Brimstone (Looks like a great mystery), Take a Chance on Me (My first Jane Mansell book), and A Memory Between Us (2nd in a really great Christian Fiction series).

Other things going on this week: I will be making a post in honor Banned Books Week (September 25 - October 2). You won't believe what books are banned and why...


The Making of a Gentleman (The Sons of the Revolution series - Book 2) by Shana Galen (For review from Sourcebooks) (Guest Post & Giveaway)

A Hellion in Her Bed (Hellions of Hallstead Hall series - Book 2) by Sabrina Jefferies (For review from Nancy Berland)

Highland Hellcat by Mary Wine (For review from Sourcebooks) (Guest Post & Giveaway)

The Golden Pathway by Donna M. McDine, K.C. Snider, Illustrator (For review from Pump Up Your Book Promotions)

The House on Malcolm Street by Leisha Kelly (For review from Revell)

Virgin River (Virgin River series - Book 1) by Robyn Carr (For review from Nancy Berland)

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Steampunk Challenge

As some of you may have noticed there is a new challenge on my sidebar. I love challenges and I think I am going to be able to complete the ones that I entered this year, except for my library challenge. I had some trouble with that one due to the huge amount of review books I receive. But, I'm making strides to add books to my reading that I'm just reading because I want to, so next year darn it... I'm going to complete that one as well.

But, now as you can see, I've stumbled upon a new one, that I just can't seem to resist. I've been considering reading some Steampunk novels for awhile now, most notably, The Parasol Protectorate series. This challenge gives me that little nudge I need into a new sub-genre that I've been wanting to explore.

The challenge is being hosted by Rikki at The Bookkeeper. Click here to go to the sign up page. It's very lenient. You can pick the amount of books you want to read. They can be in whatever format you prefer, including audio books and anthologies. It's really all about exposing ourselves to something new or something you just really enjoy. I am totally going to need lots of recommendations on what to read and there is a page specifically for recommendations. Click here to go to the recommendations page.

I'd like to challenge you to consider something a little outside your comfort zone with this one. Join me in this challenge and I'm sure we'll have lots to talk about.

I'm going to try to read at least 5 Steampunk books over the next year. I know that's a pretty low number, but I'm not real sure about it yet. I may amp up the total later on, once I get into it. So let me know what you suggest I read and be sure to go over to The Bookkeeper and sign up for yourself.

I will also be adding the Steampunk Challenge to my book list for the year, so you can follow along or see which books I've read for the challenge. You'll be able to look at my list by clicking on the sidebar where it says "Book List" or by clicking here.

Wish me luck!


I have a few reminders this week!

1.) The Just One Taste giveaway for an autographed copy of the book by Louisa Edwards ends on 9/27. If you like cooking and you like romance you'll love this book from the Recipe for Love series!

2.) Can't get enough Pride and Prejudice? You should sign up for the Darcy's Voyage Giveaway and try a variation on Mr. Darcy and Elizabeth's first meeting. 2 copies are available and the giveaway ends on 9/29.

3.) Georgina, Mr. Darcy's Little Sister, is looking for love in this giveaway book. The giveaway is for 2 copies and will end on 10/4.

4.) The author of A hope Undaunted, Julie Lessman is having a giveaway for a Kindle loaded with her latest release. Check out her website for information. The giveaway ends 10/7.

5.) Most of you know that I don't put up giveaways from other bloggers on my sidebar or make specific posts about them. I have on occasion done a Giveaway Saturday post and mentioned several at one time, but I haven't made it a habit for awhile. I have found a giveaway this week that I want to mention because I think my readers would really be interested in entering, I entered myself. I'm doing this as a entry for the giveaway, I just want others to know about it and be able to enjoy it.

Luxury reading is having a Curl up with Luxury giveaway. There are several things included in the giveaway, including a luxurious blanket and some coffee, but most importantly some really great books. Go on over and check it out, I'm sure you'll be glad you did... and good luck!

On My Wish List (2)

This is a new meme that I am going to be participating in on Saturdays, hosted by Book Chick City. The idea is to spotlight books we have on our Wish Lists, that we really want to read, but haven't had a chance to buy yet. They can be old or new books and a Mr. Linky is provided so that we can keep up with each others choices each week.

I have decided to choose three books each week. Here are my choices for this week:

The Stuff That Never Happened by Maggie Dawson. I saw this one featured on a blog not to long ago and decided it was something I really wanted to read. I think the blurb will explain why.


What if you were married to a wonderful husband for twenty-eight years but in love with another man? What if you were in love with them both?

Annabelle McKay knows she shouldn't have any complaints. She's been in a stable marriage that's lasted almost three decades and has provided her with two wonderful children, thousands of family dinners around a sturdy oak table, and a husband so devoted that he schedules lovemaking into the calendar every Wednesday morning. Other wives envy the fact that Grant is not the type of man who would ever cheat on her or leave her for a younger woman. The trouble is Annabelle isn't sure she wants to be married to Grant anymore. The trouble is she's still in love with someone else.

In the early tumultuous years of her marriage, Annabelle carried on a clandestine affair with the one person whose betrayal would hurt her husband the most. When it ended, she and Grant found their way back together and made a pact that they would never speak of that time again. But now years later, with her children grown and gone, and an ominous distance opening between them, she can't help but remember those glorious, passionate days and wonder if she chose the right man.

Then, when called to New York City to help care for her pregnant daughter, Annabelle bumps into her old lover. Offered a second chance at an unforgettable love, she must decide between the man that possesses her heart and the husband who has stood squarely by her side. A journey into the what-ifs that haunt us all, The Stuff That Never Happened is an intricate, heartfelt examination of modern marriage that brims with truths about the nature of romantic love.

The Tattoo Shop mystery series by Karen Olson. These books are another great find from a blog I was visiting. It's clear to see where I get most of my readers suggestions LOL. These books look so interesting to me. I love the covers and the whole Tattoo shop vibe. I definitely want to pick these up. Just some cool mysteries with a cool setting and the plots are soooo Vegas, baby! Here are the blurbs for the first three books in the series.

The Missing Ink by Karen Olson.


Murder leaves a mark

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of an elite tattoo parlor in Las Vegas. When a girl makes an appointment for a tattoo of the name of her fiance embedded in a heart, Brett takes the job but the girl never shows. The next thing Brett knows, the police are looking for her client, and the name she wanted on the tattoo isn't her fiance's...

Pretty in Ink by Karen Olson.


Murder in the city of sin...

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas' hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After Brett and company ink Sin City's newest drag queens, they're invited to opening night at the strip's glamorous Nylon and Tattoos show - which ends in disaster when a stranger with a Queen of Hearts tattoo fatally injures Britney Brassieres with a champagne cork. And when another drag queen is found poisoned , it looks like someones targeting Vegas' fabulous femmes...

Driven to Ink by Karen Olson.


The latest in the cleverly designed tattoo shop mystery series.

Brett Kavanaugh is a tattoo artist and owner of Vegas' hottest tattoo shop, The Painted Lady. And in her spare time, she does some sleuthing. After discovering the corpse of a Dean Martin impersonator - sporting a spider web tattoo and a clip cord from a tattoo machine wrapped around his neck - Brett infiltrates, That's Amore, a drive-through wedding chapel, as a bride-to-be looking for the mark of a murderer...

House of Sand and Fog by Andre Dubus III. There are a lot of reasons I want to read this book. By some it is considered a modern classic. It was an Oprah book pick once upon a time and has won tons of awards. I guess it goes to show that my reading tastes are truly eclectic, to go from tattoo mysteries to a book about the American Dream gone awry LOL!...


Colonel Massoud Amir Behrani was once a powerful and respected officer in the Shah of Iran's air force. Having fled the country with his family, he works by day spearing trash on California highways and by night as a clerk in a convenience store while deceiving his family into believing that he has a loftier job. Now, willing to risk the modest remainder of his fortune to restore his families dignity, he buys a small house at a county auction, planning to sell it again for three or four times what he paid. But the house has been auctioned by bureaucratic error, and Behrani's fragile plans are jeopardized when Kathy Nicolo, the owner of the house begins to protest the sale.

A recovering alcoholic and addict, Kathy is desperate to regain her only tie to stability - her home. In doing so, she enlists the help of the Deputy Sheriff Lester Burdon, a married man who has fallen precipitously in love with her. As Kathy and Lester become obsessed with seeking justice by whatever means possible, the three characters converge on an explosive collision course. Combining unadorned realism with profound empathy, House of Sand and Fog is a devastating exploration of the American Dream gone awry.

Review: The Murderers Daughters

The Murderer's Daughters by Randy Susan Meyers

Publication Date: January 2010
Publisher: St. Martin's Press
Format: Hardcover, 320 pp
Genre: General Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780312576981
ISBN: 0312576986

(Received for review from Goldberg McDuffie)

Synopsis (Courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

A beautifully written, compulsively readable debut that deals with the aftermath of a shocking act of violence that leaves two young sisters with nothing but each other - in the tradition of White Oleander, this haunting novel is a testament to the power of a family and the ties that bind us together, even as they threaten to tear us apart.

Marna was "no macaroni-necklace-wearing kind of mom." She was a lipstick and perfume-wearing mother, a flirt whose estranged husband still hungered for her. After Marna kicked him out, she warned the girls never to let Daddy in the house, an admonition that tears at ten-year-old Lulu when she thinks about the day when she opened the door for her drunken father, and watched as he killed her mother, stabbed her five-year-old sister Merry and tried to take his own life.

Effectively orphaned by their mother's death and father's imprisonment, Lulu and Merry, unwanted by family members an abandoned to a terrifying group home, spend their young lives carrying more than just the visible scars from the tragedy. Even as their plan to be taken in by a well-to-do foster family succeeds, they come to learn they'll never really belong anywhere or to anyone - that all they have to hold onto is each other.

As they grow into women, Lulu holds fast to her anger, denies her father's existence and forces Merry into a web of lies about his death that eventually ensnares her own husband and daughters. Merry, certain their safety rests placating her needy father, dutifully visits him, seeking his approval and love at the expense of her own relationships. As they strive to carve lives of their own, the specter of their father, unrepentant and manipulative even from behind bars, haunts them. And when they learn he's about to be paroled, the house of cards they've built their lives on teeters on the brink of collapse.


Randy Susan Meyers has written a gripping novel that puts a human face on domestic violence and what it can do to families. Lulu and Merry are just young girls when their father brutally murders their mother and leaves Lulu dealing with the guilt of trusting him and letting him in. Not something that would be easy for a child to just get over, even if she had support from the rest of her family, which she didn't. Their relatives did not want to take them in because they were " the murderers daughters" and were somehow tainted by his crimes.

Meyers also does a remarkable job of describing the situation when a child is lost to the system. Merry and Lulu end up in an orphanage and eventually foster care. Meyers explores how children in the foster care system feel and how they strive to get the approval of their foster families but never seem to feel the love and affection that children should have in their lives. I thought both the domestic violence issues and the foster care system were very well portrayed by the author as we see Merry and Lulu over a 30 year period. We see how these issues affect them in their lives.

This book showed how the relationships in peoples lives are affected by their circumstances. Lulu becomes street wise, tough and hard and it affects her life with her husband and daughters, while Merry is a still seeking approval even trying to find it from the father who nearly killed her. Merry's sadness and Lulu's pain seem to pervade the book as we see their father still calling the shots in their lives even from prison. It was a very haunting tale and a very realistic one. Families are driven apart for many reasons and this just gives readers a glimpse of what some children have to go through.

I liked this book a lot. It was gripping and haunting, yet you were pulling for Lulu and Merry throughout. You wanted to see them succeed and live past this awful experience. It's one of those books that you will remember long after you put it down.

The Murderer's Daughter is available NOW from your favorite bookseller.

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Friday, September 24, 2010

Review: A Hope Undaunted

A Hope Undaunted (Winds of Change series - Book 1) by Julie Lessman

Publication Date: September, 2010
Publisher: Baker Publishing Group (Revell)
Format: Paperback, 505 pp
Genre: Christian Fiction
ISBN-13: 9780800734152
ISBN: 0800734157

(Received for review from Revell Books)

Synopsis (courtesy of Barnes & Noble):

The 1920s are drawing to a close, and feisty Katie O'Connor is the epitome of the new woman - smart and sassy with goals for her future that include the perfect husband and a challenging career in law. Her boyfriend Jack fits all of her criteria for a husband - good looking, well connected, wealthy, and head-over-heels in love with her. But when she is forced to spend the summer of 1929 with Cluny McGee, the bane of her childhood existence, Katie comes face to face with a choice. Will she follow her well laid plans to marry Jack? Or will she fall for the man she swore to despise forever?

A Hope Undaunted is the engrossing first book in the Winds of Change series from popular author Julie Lessman. Readers will thrill at the highly charged romance in this passionate story.


You know they always say that you end up falling for the boy or man that absolutely can't stand when you first meet them. Author Julie Lessman plays on this theme in her new book, A Hope Undaunted. Katie is forced to spend the summer with the boy who made her life miserable when she was a kid and the worst part of it is... she likes him in spite of herself. She had her life all planned out and then it her illusions all came crashing down around her. What's more important? The best laid plans of mice and men or true and lasting love from a man she never expected?

There were several things that I really liked about this book. The setting of course was one of them. The roaring twenties are on their way out, but there is still that attitude of celebration and rebellion that pervades the times. Katie is striking out on her own in the profession of law, she's an educated and sophisticated woman, but when she finds herself empty and looking for fulfillment it isn't found where she thought it would be.

I liked how the author was able to let the story portray the ideas that she wanted to get across. She didn't force the issue of faith on the reader, she let it play out in a way that encouraged the reader to think about what was happening and why but not feel like they had been beat over the head with a hammer. In our daily lives faith is subtle. People learn more from how you live your faith than how much you talk about it. If it's all talk and you don't follow through with action, you haven't shared anything with them. This book relies on that same principle... actions always speak louder than words.

I liked this book a lot and I look forward to seeing where Lessman will take us with this series and the cover is just gorgeous, I love it!

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

I'm giving this one 4 out of 5 apples from my book bag!

Julie also having a great promotion where she will be giving away a Kindle loaded with, A Hope Undaunted... Check it out!

It's a Giveaway Extravaganza! Kindle Giveaway, Facebook Party and Book Bomb - OH MY!

Visit the Roaring 20’s with Julie Lessman in the Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway! Julie’s latest series has just ‘shimmied’ it’s way onto the scene with book 1 in The Winds of Change series, A Hope Undaunted!

Find out more about the book, Julie here.

Enter The Technology and Romance KINDLE Giveaway!

One Grand Prize winner will receive a KINDLE preloaded with Julie Lessman's latest title. The Prize Pack (valued at over $150.00) includes:

* A brand new KINDLE, with Wi-Fi

* A Hope Undaunted by Julie Lessman

To enter, simply click on the icons below to fill out the entry form and be sure to tell your friends about the contest.

Oh, and enter soon! Winner will be announced on October 7th.