Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Possess by Gretchen McNeill

Waiting on Wednesday is the meme that let's everybody know what books your anxiously awaiting. It was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. I've been going kind of dark lately and I guess it's because the story I'm working on has a kind of dark edge to it. This week, I want to get my hands on Possess by Gretchen McNeil. Check out the description:

Fifteen-year-old Bridget Liu just wants to be left alone: by her mom, but the cute son of a local police sergeant, and by the eerie voices she can suddenly and inexplicably hear.  Unfortunately for Bridget, it turns out the voices are demons – and Bridget has the rare ability to banish them back to whatever hell they came from.

Terrified to tell people about her new power, Bridget confides in a local priest who enlists her help in increasingly dangerous cases of demonic possession.  But just as she is starting to come to terms with her new power, Bridget receives a startling message from one of the demons.  Now Bridget must unlock the secret to the demons' plan before someone close to her winds up dead – or worse, the human vessel of a demon king.

I'd like to get an ARC of this one. I don't want to wait, but it looks like I have to...unless I get lucky...*wink, wink*...we'll see. In any case, I'm looking forward to seeing how dark this gets...whenever I get my hands on it!


Tuesday, April 26, 2011

And the Winners of Raising Elijah are....

They're are going to be two winners for this book. I've decided to give away my ARC as well. I wish I had a copy to give to each of you that entered. Thanks for leaving your thoughts about what we can do to protect ourselves from the dangers in the environment. Hopefully, you can implement some of the strategies suggested in the book to increase the health of your loved ones.

The two winners of Raising Elijah are...

Michelle!! and

Sylvia Lydia!!

Please email me your addresses girls, so I can get the books out to you. The winners were chosen randomly using If the winners don't respond in 48 hours, others will be selected.


Friday, April 22, 2011

In Celeration of Earth Day: A Book Review and Giveaway: Raising Elijah by Sandra Steingraber

Did you guys listen to the news yesterday? They spoke of a study that confirms the effects of pesticides on the IQ levels of children. I was well aware of this as a result of reading the fascinating book called Raising Elijah. It's being released today--Earth Day and the connections couldn't be more clear.

Sandra Steingraber is an internationally known ecologist and environmental educator. She has lectured and spoken publicly on the environmental dangers and challenges facing our country in the past and well into the future. While she carries academic titles and rewards of renown, such as the Rachel Carson Leadership Award, perhaps her most treasured title is that of mother to her two children, Elijah and Faith. Raising Elijah is one part memoir and one part educational treatise, but all informative and entertaining.

Steingraber discusses the ongoing environmental crises our nation faces, but does so in a way that makes it understandable to the layperson. She alerts readers to the dangers in their daily environment and how it can affect the must vulnerable citizens: our precious children. Things that we never think of during our daily meanderings are rife with danger: the playground equipment, your child’s plastic raincoat. Playground equipment is often made of pressure-treated wood. The wood is treated with pesticides; this includes arsenic, a carcinogenic. It leeches out of the equipment; it leeches out, into the soil. Your children put their hands in their mouths…you fill in the blanks. The same issues apply to many backyard decks. Ever take a whiff of your child’s plastic raincoat and your shower curtain. The fumes have questionable effects on the human body.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

In Memory of the Best Girl Ever...My Boozie....

Today makes a year since I lost one of the great loves of my life: my darling cat Boozie. Not a day goes by when I don't think of her. I still cry sometimes. It'll just hit me out of the blue and I find myself in tears, thinking of her. We still don't really know what happened to her. My husband just found her lying in front of the house on this day, last year. I was out of town and he called me crying. I'm crying now just writing this. Boozie and I were both extremely sick several years ago. I, with a form of meningitis and she with lymphoma. We spent weeks together in bed, hardly able to move. I treasure those days I had to comfort her and give her the love and care she deserved. We spent so much money on her medical care, and I don't regret spending a penny of it. She looked like the typical cancer patient with a loss of hair and weight. It became difficult to even pet her because it was like petting a skeleton--all bones.

Boozie helping me "write"my novel

But she bounced back, doing way better than the vet expected. She gained weight and her hair grew back, thick and lush--like the Boozie of old. We asked the vet if it was the Lymphoma that killed her. I doubted that. She was doing too well. The vet doesn't believe so. She felt she may have suffered some kind of trauma, perhaps getting "bumped" by a car. We can't say with certainty because she showed no visible signs of trauma, but the vet said that not unusual with a long haired cat. It could all be internal.

We miss her and love her. I hope I'll see her again one day. The word of God says he'll give you the desires of your heart. Maybe not in this world, but in the new one to come, I hope we'll meet again. That certainly is a desire of my heart.

Last photo of Boozie and daughter Sweetie

I'm grateful we have her daughter, Sweetie. I notice she spends more of her time indoors hanging out with me, filling some of the space, her mother used to occupy. I'm grateful for that. 

We still love you Boozie...and we'll never forget you...bye...for now....

Boozie has a story

And the Winner of White Oleander is...

Thanks for dropping in girls and telling me what you've read. I see it was an eclectic mix of things. On to the winner. The winner of White Oleander is...


Congrats! Please email me with your address and I'll get the book out to you. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, another one will be selected. The winner was chosen randomly using Enjoy!


Wednesday, April 20, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs.

How time flies. It's Wednesday again and that means my favorite meme has rolled back around. Waiting on Wednesday was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine. It's time to learn what books other folks are anxiously awaiting to read. Last week, I chose a heavy topic: Sexual abuse. It looks like a lot of people were afraid to tackle that one, but I'm a renegade. I work with a lot of deviant behavior. I can take it. This week, it's the bizarre. I received this book from the publisher and it is seriously creepy. Let's look at the blurb on the back on the book...

A mysterious island.

An abandoned orphanage.
A strange collection of very curious photographs.

It all waits to be discovered in Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children, an unforgettable novel that mixes fiction and photography in a thrilling reading experience. As our story opens, a horrific family tragedy sets sixteen-year-old Jacob journeying to a remote island off the coast of Wales, where he discovers the crumbling ruins of Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children. As Jacob explores its abandoned bedrooms and hallways, it becomes clear that the children were more than just peculiar. They may have been dangerous. They may have been quarantined on a deserted island for good reason. And somehow - impossible though it seems - they may still be alive.

A spine-tingling fantasy illustrated with haunting vintage photography, Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children will delight adults, teens, and anyone who relishes an adventure in the shadows.

When I looked at the cover, I was a little creeped out. I'm telling you, that doesn't do justice to the freaky photographs on the inside of the book. The novel is full of them. They're vintage photographs and they look so real. I'm not totally convinced that they're not. I guess it t could be trick photography, but it makes you think twice when looking at them. I believe they're actually old photographs.There is a major spook factor going on. This is one author I want to interview! I'll be frank with you, I'm a little afraid to read it and this is from someone who saw Insidious and found that to be high on the fright scale (see my post about it). Regardless, I still look forward to finding out exactly what this story is about and how those freaky photographs connect. If nothing else, the book is worth getting just to look at the photography. Anyone else in the blogoshere prepared to be creeped out? Mehahahaha......

Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs releases June 7, 2011.


Monday, April 18, 2011

Book Giveaway: An oldie, but goodie: White Oleander by Janet Fitch.

Giveaway Has Ended. 04/21/11

I have so many books, I simply must get rid of some of them. You guys are probably familiar with the novel, White Oleander by Janet Fitch. If you haven't read it, you may have seen the movie of the same name, starring Michelle Pfeiffer, Renee Zellweger, Robin Wright Penn and Alison Lohman. White Oleander was an Oprah Book Club Selection and it's an engrossing story. He's the description of it in case you've never heard of it:

Astrid Magnussen, the teenage narrator of Janet Fitch's engrossing first novel, White Oleander, has a mother who is as sharp as a new knife. An uncompromising poet, Ingrid despises weakness and self-pity, telling her daughter that they are descendants of Vikings, savages who fought fiercely to survive. And when one of Ingrid's boyfriends abandons her, she illustrates her point, killing the man with the poison of oleander flowers. This leads to a life sentence in prison, leaving Astrid to teach herself the art of survival in a string of Los Angeles foster homes.

I'm giving away my copy of the book. It's not brand new and has been gently used, but it's in good shape and all the pages are just hate to throw it out if someone else could enjoy it. If you'd like to receive it, tell me the name of the last book you've read. Don't forget to leave your email so I can contact you if you win. That is all.

Giveaway ends Wednesday, April 20, 2011. Open to residents of the US only.


Saturday, April 16, 2011

And the Winner of a signed copy of EXIT THE ACTRESS is...

Thanks to all who stopped in and entered. I wish I had more copies to give away. Without further ado, the winner of EXIT THE ACTRESS is...

Michelle The True Book Addict!!

Congrats Michelle. Please email me your address and I'll get the book out to you. If the winner doesn't respond in 48 hours, another will be choosen. Winner was selected randomly, using


Wednesday, April 13, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: The Source of All Things by Tracy Ross

Waiting on Wednesday is the opportunity to learn what are the hotly anticipated books folks are anxious to get their hands on. It was started by Jill at Breaking the Spine and it was a marvelous idea! This week I'm looking at something totally different. It's not a feisty, hot, contemporary or paranormal YA story. It's serious reading; a memoir, one that deals with sexual abuse. The publisher sent me an ARC. Let's look at the blurb on the back of the book:

The Source of All Things is a stunning, emotionally wrought story about a woman, her abusive stepfather, and a mistake that has taken thirty years and thousands of miles of raw wilderness to reconcile. In this astonishing memoir, Tracy Ross does what few abuse victims have the courage to do: She confronts her own abuser in a compassionate bid for reconciliation. Unfolding among the achingly gorgeous landscapes of Idaho, Colorado, Wyoming, and Alaska, this is a story of one woman's quest to escape her shatterd family, and in the process become her own protector.

Tracy grew up in a confusing blend of normal childhood moments and the sickening, secret invasion of her safety. She despised her stepfather for what he did to her. But he was also a protective father figure who made her feel smart and brave. He rescued her mother from deep depression, and shared with Tracy his love of adventure--the very passion for nature that eventually saved her life. For Teacy, the outdoors became the setting for her deepest sorrows and greatest joys. The Source of All Things describes her salvation in the wilderness, and shows how nature, at its most ungoverned, gave her the strength to confront her stepfather and demand the answers that could help her heal.

I've worked with kids who have been the victims of sexual abuse. Some were pregnant by their stepfathers, others by their biological fathers...Happy Fathers Day, Dad...I mean...Granddad..I mean both...yuck!

The author sought a "compassionate bid for reconciliation." Sexual abuse is such a reprehensible breach of a child's trust and innocence, I'm very interested in learning how Tracy Ross came to this point in her journey. It takes a lot of soul-searching to get there.

Are any of you brave enough to join me in discovering how she did it?

The Source of All Things released March 8, 2011


Monday, April 11, 2011

Book Talk and Signed Book Giveaway: Exit The Actress by Priya Parmar.

Title: Exit The Actress
Author:Priya Parmer                                      
Publisher: Touchstone/Simon and Schuster
Format: Paperback Original
ISBN: 978-1439171172
Price: 16.99 Pages: 440 
Release Date: February 1, 2011

I met Priya through the world of blogging. She's a fellow blogger at The Plum Bean Project and Exit the Actress is her first novel. We began to communicate via our blogs and by email and when she learned I was going to England, she proved to be a great resource. She spends a great deal of her time between London and Hawaii. Naturally I was interested in what her book was about and anxious to get my hands on it. I simply loved the cover and couldn't wait to dig into it when she requested her publicist send me a copy. It's a historical novel that's based on real people and Priya did extensive research in England before writing the book. Let's check out the blurb on the back of the book...

While selling oranges in the Theatre Royal, Covent Garden, sweet and sprightly Ellen "Nell" Gwyn impresses the theater’s proprietors with a wit and sparkle that belie her youth and poverty. She quickly earns a place in the company, narrowly avoiding the life of prostitution to which her sister has already succumbed. As her roles evolve from supporting to starring, the scope of her life broadens as well. Soon Ellen is dressed in the finest fashions, charming the theatrical, literary, and royal luminaries of Restoration England. 
Priya reading and signing at Borders, Park Ave, New York
Ellen grows up on the stage, experiencing first love and heartbreak and eventually becoming the mistress of Charles II. Despite his reputation as a libertine, Ellen wholly captures his heart—and he hers—but even the most powerful love isn’t enough to stave off the gossip and bitter court politics that accompany a royal romance. 
Telling the story through a collection of vibrant seventeenth-century voices ranging from Ellen’s diary to playbills, letters, gossip columns, and home remedies, Priya Parmar brings to life the story of an endearing and delightful heroine. 

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Movie Talk: INSIDIOUS. I see a connection with my novel...kind of...

I've always been a fan of horror movies, but I haven't bothered to watch them as much anymore. One of my students saw INSIDIOUS and insisted that I had to see it. She loved it so much, I decided to check it out. I went after work on Friday. This movie seems to be getting mixed reviews, so I wasn't sure what to expect. I don't know how to discuss the movie without giving away spoilers. Suffice to say, I thought it was one of the scariest movies I've seen. It was dark and creepy. It reminds me a bit of the novel I'm working on. I'm not writing a horror book, but it is inspired by the genre. I didn't take my story there, but INSIDIOUS has some of the same elements that I've thought about and utilized to a less scary degree--dark spirits, evil and creepy--at least I think its less scary!

Even in the opening credits, the music and the gray, colorless shots of the house tells you to get ready. The story focuses on a young family that move into a beautiful new home. It may seem like the typical haunted house story, but it has a different spin on it, I think. Astral projection factors in; the ability to leave your body. I know a couple of people who have done this. One was the mother of a former boyfriend. The description, as it was told to me, of what can happen when a person does this is pretty frightening and I don't recommend anyone trying it. You can get more than you bargained for. This was on my mind as I watched the movie. I don't want to say too much because it's important to let the story unfold as you watch; a major component is discovering what exactly is happening.

If you like scary, you won't be disappointed. If this kind of stuff keeps you from sleeping at night, you may want to skip it...hee hee hee...


Wednesday, April 6, 2011

My Selection for Waiting on Wednesday: The Space Between by Brenna Yavonoff

Waiting on Wednesday gives us a chance to learn about the new books that are coming out. It's one of my favorite blog activities. It was started by Jill over at Breaking the Spine. I'm going back to paranormal romance this week. I learned about this author in January of 2010, when I attended a writers conference. The publisher was so excited about her first book: The Replacement. It looks like he had a right to be. It debuted on the New York Times bestsellers list. Now her second book, The Space Between has caught my eye. She spoke about it during an author tour and the cover and description is finally available. I know I'll be reading it. I like a dark, edgy read. Check out the description...

 Everything is made of steel, even the flowers. How can you love anything in a place like this?

Daphne is the half-demon, half-fallen angel daughter of Lucifer and Lilith. Life for her is an endless expanse of time, until her brother Obie is kidnapped-and Daphne realizes she may be partially responsible. Determined to find him, Daphne travels from her home in Pandemonium to the vast streets of Earth, where everything is colder and more terrifying. With the help of the human boy she believes was the last person to see her brother alive, Daphne glimpses into his dreams, discovering clues to Obie's whereabouts. As she delves deeper into her demonic powers, she must navigate the jealousies and alliances of the violent archangels who stand in her way. But she also discovers, unexpectedly, what it means to love and be human in a world where human is the hardest thing to be.

This second novel by rising star Brenna Yovanoff is a story of identity, discovery, and a troubled love between two people struggling to find their place both in our world and theirs.

If The Replacement is any indication, Brenna Yavonoff does "dark" well. I can't wait to read this, but I'll have to be patient. It doesn't release until the Fall *sigh*. So, who else out there will be joining me in plumbing the depths of this story?

The Space Between releases November 15, 2011 by Razorbill (Penguin)


Monday, April 4, 2011

Addicted to books, especially those of the YA variety....Is this a little crazy or what?

Is it possible to be addicted to reading books? I've always been a lover of books. I don't even remember learning how to read. I can recall being a little kid, riding along in the car and my parents and brother were so impressed as I read all the street signs, billboards, names of stores etc. I hadn't started school yet. I even read the cereal boxes over and over again as I ate breakfast. I couldn't eat a meal without some kind of reading material in front of me. This didn't bother my mother, but if my father was at the table--forget it. He was a lot more formal and the table was for eating only. I didn't even enjoy my meal as much because I couldn't read at the same time. It seemed to make the food taste

Maybe it's my imagination or my perception is off, but it feels like people are obsessed with reading YA books. When I see all the reading challenges and the list of books people are reading, it makes my head spin. I'd have to quit my job to read all the books I hear about, or at the very least, make reading them a part-time job. Working full time, keeping my blog current, tweeting, chatting, emailing, skirting around through the social media and living life...whew! There is only 24 hours in the day. I don't know how people get the time to read so many books and yet, I feel like I have to keep up. I have to read the most current, most hottest book too. I have books spilling out of every corner. My bookshelfs are full and the books are now piling up on tables, chairs...the floor...

There are so many good books and I hate missing out, but I've got to strike a balance. Besides the ARC's I receive for review, I'm writing my own book and that takes quite a bit of time. Then I have a stack of books I've bought that are waiting to be read. I tell myself I'm going to cut back on the number of ARC's for review, so I can concentrate on my own reading pile, but then another "hot, must read, of the moment" book comes along and I. Must. Read. It. Ugh....all my good intentions are out the window.

I'm going to keep trying...keep trying to be "okay" about not reading so many books and not having to know about the latest, greatest's harder than I thought, but I'm going to work at it...*sigh*.


Sunday, April 3, 2011

And the Three Winners of the Fool for Books giveaway are...

Wow. Thanks to all of you for dropping by and entering the giveaway. A special thanks to those who became followers. I always appreciate that and try to keep it interesting around here. I was surprised by the number of people who haven't read any contemporary, realistic YA. A few folks even seemed confused by what that means. Let me clarify. It's simply your basic, old school teen novel that doesn't have any supernatural or fantastical elements in the story. Paranormal still seems to be getting the lion's share of readers based on this very unscientific, on to the winners.

The Grand Prize: hardcover editions of the first two books in the Chronicle of Nick series,  Infinity and Invincible, goes to Carole!! (carolejm at gmail dot com).

Second prize: paperback edition of Infinity, Chronicles of Nick goes to Louisa!! (lpcoolgirl at xplornet dot com)

Third prize: hardcopy edition of the new release, Okay For Now is Sandra (baby_blackroze at yahoo dot com)

Please send me your address ladies, so I can get the books out to you. If the winners don't respond in 72 hours, new ones will be selected.

Until the next time...


Friday, April 1, 2011

Fool For Books Giveaway Hop! Three Chances to Win Cool YA Books!!


Hi guys. These giveaway is only for two days, Friday, April 1 through Saturday, April 2. There are over two hundred blogs for you to hop to and enter to win numerous books and other book related prizes--some may not even be book related. You'll have to hop around and see! We can thank the blogs, I Am A Reader, Not a Writer as well as The Bookish Snob for hosting this fine event.

I'm going to have three winners; a grand prize, a second prize and a third prize. Let's see what they are.

Just this week, the publisher St Martin's Griffin,  sent me the hardcover edition of the new release of Sherrilyn Kenyon's Invincible: Chronicles of Nick, the second book in her first young adult series. They also were generous enough to send the paperback edition of the first book in the series that released last Spring: Infinity: Chronicles of Nick. They sent me the hardcover of Infinity last spring as well, so I'll be giving that away too.
Grand Prize: Book Two. Hardcover.
Grand prize:Book One. Hardcover edition.

To learn what the stories are about, you can check out my review of Infinity by reading my March 25, 2010 post, from last year. Put the name of the book in the search engine on my side bar to find it quickly. I just posted the review of Invincible last week, on March 22, 2011. Scroll down to read that if you like.

Second Prize: Paperback Edition