Thursday, October 20, 2011

Bitterblue & An Update

So I had to come out of hiding for this news! Kristen Cashore's Bitterblue finally has a cover! The release date is May 1st! Can't wait. If you haven't read Cashore's Graceling or Fire...what the heck are you waiting for. Graceling is easily one of my all time favorite reads and Fire is up there as well!
As for my absence in the blog-o-sphere. I have to admit I've had no desire to read YA or romance; with the exception of Lola and the Boy Next Door which I just picked up from the library and Maureen Johnson's The Name of the Star, hello, it's about Jack the Ripper. I'm so in! I've actually been reading a lot outside of my normal genres. My book club read the Girl With the Dragon Tattoo, which I loved and then devoured the rest of the series. Followed by a viewing of all the Swedish movies courtesy of Netflix.

I also read Devil in the White City about the 1893 Chicago World's Fair. The story alternates between the struggles of building the fair with the serial killer who used the fair to lure his victims. Sounds pretty interesting right? Unfortunately, it was fairly boring. The architecture portions were too long, the serial killer sections too short. Although there was a lot of really great info about Chicago. It was also interesting to read about some of the brands that first appeared at the fair. It contained a lot of interesting tid bits. For example, did you know that the "Blue Ribbon" in Pabst Blue Ribbon came from the blue ribbon it won at the World's Fair. Also, the White City is what influenced both Frank Baum's Emerald City in The Wizard of Oz and Walt Disney's amusement parks?! Fun stuff. But overall I found the book pretty tedious. However, Devil in the White City referenced the scandal surrounding Frank Lloyd Wright's affair that apparently rocked Chicago's world back in the day. That intrigued me so I picked up Loving Frank by Nancy Horan a fictionalized account of Wright's affair with Mamah Borthwick Cheney, the wife of one of his clients. It was really good as well.

I'm currently reading In Cold Blood by Truman Capote which is everything a non-fiction book should be: engaging, well-written, and utterly disturbing. Of course I keep telling people I'm reading In True Blood....oops!

I've started back to grad school as well. It's a Master of Education in Instructional Technology. I'm only taking one class at a time but class has definitely encroached on my leisure reading time and my desire to blog. But I wanted to let y'all know that I'm still here plugging away. I've been reading your blogs but haven't been commenting. Sorry, blogger friends! Hope all is well with you!

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

Romancing the Countess Book Tour

I have a very special guest today, Ms. Ashley March! I had the pleasure of participating in Ashley's March Madness, a celebration of all things historical romance and today she's here to tell us a little about her upcoming release, Romancing the Countess and give us a sneak peak inside the mind of its hero, Sebastian Madinger!

An Interview with Sebastian Madinger, Earl of Wriothesly: The Beginning

A huge thank you to Mollie for hosting me today as I get ready for the upcoming release of
ROMANCING THE COUNTESS on September 6th! I’m going to post an interview with my hero soon, but first I’d like to give you a little background about the book.

ROMANCING THE COUNTESS begins when Leah George and Sebastian Madinger, the Earl of Wriothesly, receive the news that their spouses have died in a carriage accident. While Leah is sad,
she is also relieved because she’s been carrying the secret of her husband’s affair for a year. She’s ready to move on with her life and finally find some happiness for herself. In contrast, Sebastian
never suspected that his best friend and his wife would betray him. After going through various stages of grief and anger, Sebastian must confront Leah when her actions risk the revelation of their spouses’ affair and the subsequent questioning of his son’s legitimacy.

DISCLAIMER: The following interview was conducted toward the beginning of the book.

ASHLEY: What do you like about Mrs. Leah George?

SEBASTIAN: A better question would be what do I not like about Mrs. Leah George, which would be most everything. To begin with, there is her smile. A woman who recently became a widow should not smile as she does. If she doesn’t grieve for her husband, she should at least have some care for propriety’s sake and pretend as if she’s miserable. She should be affected somehow, not appear as if she could burst into song or dance at any moment.

ASHLEY: I suppose you do not smile, then?

SEBASTIAN: No, I don’t. But I… *stares into the distance* I don’t wish to discuss it.

ASHLEY: Very well. Let’s return to Leah. How well do you know her?

SEBASTIAN: We are acquaintances of a sort. Or rather, a bit more than acquaintances. Her
husband was my best friend. We dined at one another’s houses, moved in the same social circles. My son practiced his bowing in front of her. But until the carriage accident, I only knew her as Ian’s wife, nothing more.

ASHLEY: And now, after the carriage accident?

SEBASTIAN: I’ve realized that I do not know her at all. The Leah George who I thought I knew—the woman the entire ton believed her to be—was a calm, obedient, and sensible woman. She was propriety’s golden standard, utterly predictable and reasonable. Now--*shakes head* Now she’s gone mad. I’m not sure if she’s completely changed since the accident, or if it she’s simply been hiding her true character all this time and has finally begun to show it. Regardless, I wish she’d return to the proper Leah George I once knew.

ASHLEY: I heard a rumor about Leah hosting a country house party. Surely that’s not true! Only three months into her widowhood?!?

SEBASTIAN: As I said, she’s gone mad. But I refuse to allow her to incite the gossips’ speculation about why a widow would show such disrespect for her husband’s memory. No one can know about the affair. No one will dare to question my son’s legitimacy as my heir.

ASHLEY, leaning forward to the edge of her seat: What do you intend to do, my lord?

SEBASTIAN, frowning: Whatever I must. Leah George may once have been a respected
acquaintance, but she has since made herself my enemy. I depart for the country house party at
once.

To read my next interview with Sebastian and my interviews with Leah, make
sure to keep up with my ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour (details at
www.ashleymarch.com).

But for now, I’d like to celebrate the release of ROMANCING THE COUNTESS next
week by giving away books! In ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, a large portion of
the story takes place at a country house party. What’s your favorite backdrop for a
historical romance?


One random commenter will be chosen to win a copy of my newest book,
ROMANCING THE COUNTESS, and will get a chance to send a copy of my debut,
SEDUCING THE DUCHESS, to a friend (open internationally)! Also, find out how
to win the ROMANCING THE COUNTESS Book Tour Grand Prize of 50+ romance
novels by visiting www.ashleymarch.com!
About the author:
After spending countless hours memorizing both traditional and simplified Chinese characters, perfecting her tones, and practicing her speaking with any Chinese native she could find, Ashley successfully graduated with a degree in Mandarin Chinese. She was determined to be the next best Chinese translator in the world... Then she discovered writing romances was as much fun as reading them, and her Chinese capabilities have never been the same. When she isn't writing, Ashley stays busy trying to entertain her two young daughters, attempting to do housework, and hiking in the beautiful foothills of Colorado.


Thank you for stopping by Ashley! I can't wait to get ANOTHER copy of Romancing the Countess, I swear my roommate's dog ate my copy and that's why I don't have a review for you! The tried and true "dog ate my homework" excuse! I should have taken pictures of the aftermath....

By the way my favorite backdrop for a historical romance is anything that takes place in Ireland or Scotland. I can't help it, it's an obsession!

Thursday, August 4, 2011

Harper Perennial Promotion: 20 e-books for $20 dollars!

Harper Perennial is offering the following twenty books for .99 each! You can purchase via Kindle, B&N, ibookstore, and the Google ebookstore! For direct links to each book check out their Facebook page.

Tuesday, July 12, 2011

Movie Review: The Help

About a month ago, a marketing person contacted me via my Book Club contact info offering free passes to an advanced screening of The Help. She found our Book Club page and saw that we read The Help as one of our selections. Of course, everyone (mostly) in my Book Club jumped at the chance to see the movie early. Everyone loved the book and we had planned to go see the movie as a group when it came out anyway.

We got there super early (2 hours) because we weren't sure how many people would be showing up and we wanted good seats. Well turned out we were the first ones there. Yay! Hahaha. It was quite an interesting crowd, the ages varied but was definitely comprised of an older audience. Like, my parent's, grandparents even, age. We were some of the younger people there. We didn't care, we loved the book and were stoked to see the movie!

I have to say as far as movie adaptations go, I thought this was excellent! Not as good as the book, the movies rarely are, but still an excellent movie. Emma Stone (Easy A) plays one of the lead roles, I have to say she was not at all how I pictured Skeeter however, I LOVE Emma Stone and I thought she did the role justice.

The movie included all the major parts of the book that readers would expect to see. One storyline that they trimmed from the movie was the Skeeter/Stuart storyline. She still dates him in the movie, however his whole pedigree, family, and previous engagement are all but eliminated from the movie, whereas their relationship played a more prominent role in the book.

The one storyline that I would have liked to see more of was the Celia-Johnny-Minny trio. That was one of my favorite story lines in the book and while they do include some of it, they didn't include enough for my liking.

Like the book, The Help made me laugh and cry; it is a heartwarming, uplifting tale of family, friendship, love, loss, and fighting prejudice. If you haven't read The Help, the movie release is a great excuse to read the book then see the movie. You can't go wrong with either!

The Help will be in theaters on August 10th.
Rating:

Friday, July 8, 2011

Vacation & Reading!

Just a quick update. I went to Cancun recently for a friend's wedding. It was AMAZING. If you're ever looking for an all inclusive (adults only) resort in Cancun...The Royal in Cancun is where it's at! They also have a resort in Playa del Carmen. Seriously, the place was awesome!




As for reading, I've been devouring Ilona Andrews' Kate Daniels series. I'm a little over halfway through the third book. Really, really enjoying this series!

That's all for now folks!

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Free Audiobook Downloads All Summer!

Sync is offering free audio book downloads all summer long! Below is the complete list of titles being offered this summer.
SYNC is a program that develops the audience of teen/YA audio book listeners.
• Two complete digital audio books--a current Young Adult title paired thematically with a Classic or assigned Summer Reading title--are available FREE each week to listeners ages 13+.
• A dedicated SYNC group on audiobookcommunity.com is the hub of the delivery of the downloads, editorial content, and user engagement. The audio book titles were selected to inspire follow-up listening.
SYNC Titles - Summer 2011

6/23/11 - 6/29/11
Shiver By Maggie Stiefvater
Romeo & Juliet by William Shakespeare

6/30/11-7/6/11          
Little Brother by Cory Doctorow
The Trial by Franz Kafka

7/7/11-7/13/11
Where the Streets Had a Name by Randa Abdel-Fattah
A Passage to India by E. M. Forster

7/14/11-7/20/11       
The Last Apprentice: Revenge of the Witch by Joseph Delaney
Beowulf by Francis B. Gummere [Trans.]

7/21/11-7/27/11
Chanda's Secrets by Allan Stratton
Tess of the D'Urbervilles by Thomas Hardy

7/28/11-8/3/11
Ashes, Ashes  by Jo Treggiari
Rescue: Stories of Survival From Land and Sea by Dorcas S. Miller [Ed.]          
           
8/4/11-8/10/11          
Immortal by Gillian Shields
Wuthering Heights by Emily Brontë

8/11/11-8/17/11                   
Storm Runners by Roland Smith
The Cay by Theodore Taylor

Be sure to check it out! It's a great way to try out audio books...for free!

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

Library Loot: June 15 - June 21


Library Loot is a weekly event co-hosted alternatively by Marg and Claire that encourages bloggers to share the books they’ve checked out from the library. If you’d like to participate, just write up your post-feel free to steal the button-and link it using the Mr. Linky (at Marg's this week) any time during the week. And of course check out what other participants are getting from their libraries!
It's been awhile since I've shared my Library Loot. Here's what I've gotten recently:

E-books:

 Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews
Starcrossed by Josephine Angelini



Point of Impact by Stephen Hunter
Undeniably Yours by Shannon Stacey

I'm finding I really love checking out e-books. I don't have to worry about returning books, they just atomaticially disappear -- like magic and I don't accrue any library fines! Amazing!

Downloadable Audio Books:


Enclave by Ann Aguirre

Audio Books:

Shadowfever by Karen Marie Moning
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows by J.K. Rowling (in preparation for the final movie!)

DVD:

Dead Snow
Foreign horror film about Nazi zombies terrorizing a bunch of med students on holiday.

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Review: The Last Little Blue Envelope by Maureen Johnson

Alright y'all, it's been awhile since you've seen a review from me and I'm a little rusty but I have to get back into the swing of things!!!

Thirteen Little Blue Envelopes was one of the first books I read when I first "re-discovered" my love of YA during my graduate school years. I'd devoured most of Dessen's books and stumbled on 13LBE. I LOVED it. While I recall many people having issues with her parents letting a teenager gallivant across the world, I have such a horrible case of wanderlust, and always have, that I didn't give a crap whether it was realistic. When I heard there was going to be a sequel I was ecstatic! However, it had been so many years since I read 13LBE and I have a horrible memory. I just had the barest recollection about what had happened in 13LBE.

I recalled Ginny's Aunt dying and sending her off on this adventure. I remember a boy. I remembered exotic locales and quirky characters. Lastly, I remembered that the last envelope was lost. And that was about it.

The Last Little Blue Envelope begins with Ginny receiving an email from Oliver, an English lad, who happened upon the last envelope. Having opened and read the letter Oliver realizes that Ginny's Aunt's artwork is worth a fortune and that the last envelope gives Ginny clues to assembling her Aunt's final piece of art work. Oliver demands to go with Ginny and, once the piece is assembled and sold, half the profit.

For the most part I enjoyed the book however, one thing really irked me. When Oliver tells Ginny what he's planned she doesn't question him. One of the first things I'd do is ask someone "Why are you doing this?" Obviously he's after money. But common, in all the time she never once thinks to ask him why? As readers, we pick up on things that Ginny clearly overlooks. She clearly knows he's somewhat of a decent guy, despite the extortion. So, if he's mostly an a-okay guy wouldn't you assume that there is some situation in his life that has left him no other options but to take advantage of someone else? Wouldn't you ask why? She never asks why until the book is practically over. Even if she had asked why it's likely that Oliver wouldn't have spilled his guts but at least she would have asked. I was so frustrated the whole time wanting Ginny to friggin' ask him why already! Gah.

This frustrating bit hampered my enjoyment of the novel somewhat. Overall, this installment was enjoyable and we see Ginny grow, however I felt it lacked the magic and spark from the original. But fans of the first book will be happy to revisit Ginny and other characters and get a sense of closure that the first book lacked.

Rating:







Challenge(s) Fullfilled: E-book Challenge

Disclosure: I received this as a digital ARC through NetGalley. I did not receive any compensation for this review.

Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Reading Recap: May 2011

As you can tell I haven't been reviewing. Haven't been reading a lot either. All the books I've read this month I read in the first week and a half of May, then nothing! I blame a lot of it on Netflix! I finally joined and am currently working my way through Modern Family and Sons of Anarchy (thanks to @bellie7 & @sweetiepiepen, I'm obsessed!!!!)
  1. Dreamfever - Karen Marie Moning  (audiobook) - 5 Chocolate Covered Strawberreis
  2. Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkings - 4 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  3. Something Borrowed - Emily Giffin - 3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  4. Something Blue - Emily Giffin - 3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
  5. The Enemy by Charlie Higson - 3 Chocolate Covered Strawberries
Dreamfever is a "re-read" I'm going through the whole series on audio. Dreamfever and Shadowfever have different narrators than the previous audiobooks. They added a narrator for Barrons and he's verra, verra good!!!! Although I don't like the new female narrator, I prefer the one from the previous audiobooks. But oh well, they got Barrons right! 

Since Dreamfever is a re-read, Hex Hall was definitely the winner this month! I have Demonglass on reserve at the library looking forward to it. I read Something Borrowed & Something Blue because I want to see the movie and have to read the books first! Mostly for John Krasinski though. Love that man! They were okay. I enjoyed them but didn't love them. The Enemy was actually really good but pretty depressing which is why it didn't get a higher rating.

I also started several other books this month but didn't finish them. Not that they're DNF's just haven't finished them yet! Those are:
  1. Putting Makeup on Dead People by  Jen Voili
  2. City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare
  3. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
Hopefully, I'll get back in the swing of things. Probably after I finish Sons of Anarchy though!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Update

In case you're wondering I'm still alive! I've been reading some but haven't felt inspired to review. I've been reading older books, mostly historicals. I've recently read:

Lessons in French by Laura Kinsale
Lord of Scoundrels by Loretta Chase
The Forbidden Rose by Joanna Bourne

Loved them all and want more! I keep referencing my guest post during Ashley March's March Madness where I solicited recommendations for great historical romances with feisty, strong heroines and tortured heroes. So far the recommendations have been spot on.

Do you all have any recommendations for me that fit that bill? I love me some REALLY tortured heroes. I have Delilah Marvelle's series on my radar; I hear they're quite different and have deeply troubled heroes. I also like the friends to lovers troupe. So y'all, even though I'm not reviewing, I'm reading and I'm hoping for any additional recommendations along these lines.

Hopefully I'll get my reviewing mojo back here shortly!
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