Monday, October 27, 2008

Breaking Radio Silence

Will be back live shortly. Things have been insane around here, but hopefully will be normal soon. Here's a short video for the book I just finished.



See ya soon.

Take Care

Friday, September 12, 2008

Marta Acosta Contest



My review of The Bride of Casa Dracula will be posted tomorrow. In the meantime, enjoy this wonderful book trailer that the extremely talented Marta Acosta made for her newest release. Once my review goes live, there will be 1 day left to enter the contest. All you must do is leave a question for Marta in the comments of one of these posts and you're entered. I will then gather all the questions, send them to Marta and randomly pick a winner. The winner will be announced when I post the interview with Marta.

In the meantime, check out some of these other reviews of The Bride, trust me, you're gonna want this book!

Bitten By Books

Amberkatze's Blog

the book girl

Darque Reviews



Take Care

Wednesday, September 10, 2008

Update


I'll be back tomorrow. I've been sick lately and today was Bear's birthday. I'm gonna hit the hay right now but will post a review tomorrow. Sorry for the radio silence.

Sunday, September 7, 2008

Novel Chats - Part ?

Nightwalker by Jocelynn Drake

If ever there was a BCC that did the worst possible job in describing the book within, the BCC on this book would be it. I almost didn't buy this book and I would have been missing out. Thank goodness for other online review sites though, because I went ahead and bought it and fell in love. There are several reasons I'm not doing a full post on this one, 1) the books been out a while and everyone seems to have already read and reviewed it because 2) the book has hit the lists and doesn't actually need my little bitty help in getting word out. I did want to chat it though, because I really enjoyed Drake's style. Her writing had a very poetic quality to it, that under most circumstances would bore me to death or have me rolling my eyes, but in this instance captured my imagination. Drake used beautiful prose to build a very convincing world with real characters I can't wait to read more about. This one gets a very solid A.

fringe benefits by Valerie Frankel

I was a bit slow in picking this book up, as it is Book 4 in a series I had never heard of. However, once I did pick it up, I really enjoyed it. I found it easy to follow the story line and grasp relationships. Since fringe is YA, I tend to look at these a bit different, and as far as my would I pass this on to the young women I know to read test, the answer is, probably, once they hit a certain age. While Adora Benet was a nice change from some of the superficial teen queen of some YA novels out there, she still spoke way too freely about sex with her boyfriend, and hey, I'm not dumb, I know this happens, but as a mother of young children I shudder to think about it. Other than that, I adored this strong willed young character and enjoyed watching the world through her eyes as she spent a summer separate from her friends and faced some very life altering situations. I give this one a very solid B.

Cutting Loose by Susan Andersen

I've been a fan of Andersen for some time. I love the way she can take a storyline that's been done over and over again, and make it seem new again. I love how her characters seem so real and how she's always been able to draw me into their lives and seriously care about them. But Cutting Loose just really fell short for me. It's only been a few weeks since I read the book, and I can't really remember much about it except for my great disappointment in the heroine. In fact, I remember thinking that the wrong name was put on the cover of the book, so disappointed in CL was I. All of the reasons I have come to enjoy Andersen were absent in the writing of this tale, and I found myself disliking just about every character in it. I know that I will not like every book a favorite author pens, but more times than not I can find something redeeming in the pages, but this was a not time. I can only hope that the next book of the Sisterhood Diaries is back to the Andersen I've grown to love. This one gets a D.

Don't forget my contest right now, just look for the link over in the sidebar for details.

Take Care

Wednesday, September 3, 2008

Marta Acosta Contest

Egads! Has it really been a week since I blogged last? Sorry, really sorry about that. However, it would seem that when a person quits the smoking habit, they lose half their brain. I have no attention span right now, my house is getting cleaner and cleaner, and my Books That Need Reviewed Before I Totally Forget What They Were About list is getting larger by the minute. But at least my health is going to benefit!

Anyway, I think I've finally come down from the smoke-jones enough to blog regularly again. I haven't forgotten my contest, so let's officially kick it off now. Those that have already entered, don't worry, you're still good.

Marta Acosta has this wonderful book trailer for her first book Happy Hour at Casa Dracula. I'm also gonna post this handy little linky loo to my "review" of the same book.

So, get those questions left in the comments and help me give Marta a great interview!



Take Care

Wednesday, August 27, 2008

Let's Celebrate!

It's official. I just took the last drag on the very last cigarette in my pack and I don't plan on buying anymore! "Yay Me!" Now, I have no illusions, this quitting thing is not going to be easy. However, it is time. The Hubs and I discussed quitting last night and had decided that we would stop Sept 1. You know, start the new month off with a new non-habit, but today when it was time to run to the store to get smokes for a new day, I decided that I was just going to quit now. I had four smokes left. That was six hours ago. I swear, it's been a long time since I had four smokes last that long. I am officially quitting. Wish me luck. I wanna celebrate!

And I don't just want to celebrate because The Hubs and I are kicking a nasty habit, NO! I also want to celebrate because one of my favorite authors is getting ready to release the third book in a wonderful series. So how are we gonna celebrate? With a contest of course!

Marta Acosta, author of the Casa Dracula series will have a new book hitting the shelves in September, and she'll be joining me this next week as I talk about her books. She'll also be giving away a signed copy of her latest book to one lucky winner! "Yay, You!"

All you have to do to be entered is visit one of Marta's blogs, her personal one or Vampire Wire, check 'em out and then come here and help me prepare my interview questions (as much as I like doing interviews we all know I'm not very good at it). Just leave a question for Marta in the comments of this post and I'll be sure to include them in the interview. One lucky questioner will be chosen at random for the free book. That's it.

Take Care

Tuesday, August 26, 2008

Ethical Blogging

I had planned on posting about a book tonight, but as I sat down to log into blogger and post I did my blog hopping first (why yes, I am a procrastinator, why do you ask?) and I read a post by Janet over on Dear Author that got me thinking. In the post Janet poses some great questions about bloggers and what the responsibilities and standards (if any) we should have. Should there be a standard set of rules (so to speak) that all bloggers should follow? Certain ethics that all bloggers should agree to?

I don't really think so. I think one of the greatest things about blogs (as with books) is that there is something for everyone. I can't speak for every blogger out there, only for myself, and I will say that when I started blogging, I went through some internal debates about what I would post about and how I would do it. Probably most bloggers do this. Or maybe not, how do I know. What I see as the biggest obstacle in putting up a standard Blogger Code of Ethics, is not everyone has the same idea of ethical, and who are we as readers and writers of blogs to try and push our own set of ethics on others? Can you imagine the work and debate and headaches that would happen just trying to pick the bloggers who would head the Ethics Committee?

I thought I'd share tonight my own personal set of "rules" I play by here and the reasons for them. It's not a long list, only 3 items, but it's all I've got.

ChariDee's Blogging "Rules" for Novel Reads

1 - Every post does not have to be about books. While most of the posts here on Novel Reads is about books or authors, there have been a few times where I veered off that path just to talk about what's going on in my life. I do this because a) I just don't have the time to keep up my personal blog and I do have friends that aren't readers that check in here and b) because my outside life does play a great part in what I'm currently reading and how I feel about it.

2 - I will post about books I don't particularly like, though I will try and be objective when I do it and not personally attack the author. For a long time I thought about only posting "reviews" on books I liked. I figured it didn't do a bit of good to say I didn't like a book because that could hurt some one's feelings. But the truth is, I don't like every book I read (though I do like most of them), no one does, so as long as I refrain from personally attacking an author (calling names, insulting their hair, that kind of thing) I'm good with stating how I really feel about the book.

3 - Since I also read blogs, if I want to discuss something I read on one, I will. I did this very thing a couple of weeks ago and look where it got me. However, rule number 2 applies to these posts as well. I may not like what another blogger has to say (be it an author or reader blog) but I will do my best to never personally attack the poster. I will also do my best to not over-exaggerate what I read and am blogging about.

That's it. Those are my own personal set of "rules." I'm sure that as time goes on and I continue to blog, I will cross the line one day. I hope, that if that time comes I will be blogger enough to admit it.

Take Care

Monday, August 25, 2008

Back Tomorrow

Will be back tomorrow with a post. Sorry for the silence, but it's been a crazy couple of days. Was gonna post tonight but I'm so tired I'm repeating phrases, I'm so tired I'm repeating phrases (couldn't help it, sorry).

I will let you know real quick though, that later this week I'll be kicking off a week of celebrating with Marta Acosta for the third release in her Casa Dracula series. I'm super excited, because not only is Acosta absurdly talented, but she's agreed to an interview and we'll be having a contest. So check in Wednesday for the details on that.

Take Care

Friday, August 22, 2008

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle

I just want to take this time to thank each and everyone of you that has made a comment in support of all that has happened these last few days. It has been an insane time. I especially want to thank you for all of the wonderful and informative links I have been given for information about the similar situations. I will be spending the week-end doing research. Unless something more comes to pass or I am asked to comment on what has happened, I will be moving on with Novel Reads in my usual fashion. THANK YOU ALL! READERS and Bloggers are the best!

The Grouchy Ladybug by Eric Carle
(BCC)

"Hey you," said the grouchy ladybug. "want to fight?"
"If you insist," said the yellow jacket, showing its stinger.
"Oh, you're not big enough," said the grouchy ladybug and flew off.

The grouchy lady bug is looking for someone-anyone to fight, no matter how big. From sunrise to sunset the ladybug badgers and bullies, until finally it meets its match.

We're big Eric Carle fans in our house. Ever since Bear and Miss Beautiful were introduced to The Very Hungry Caterpillar they look for books by their favorite (maybe second, since we also lurve Dr. Suess) author.

The latest book by Carle to line our shelves is this one, and we absolutely adore it. From the author's website, " A grouchy ladybug who is looking for a fight challenges everyone it meets regardless of their size or strength. How this bumptious bug gets its comeuppance and learns the pleasures to be gained by cheerfulness and good manners is an amusing lesson in social behavior. Die-cut pages add drama and dimension."

First of all, Carle's illustrations are amazing. True works of art. Painted tissue paper? My God, the man is a genius. Second of all, the pages are designed to grow from big to small as the animals that the grouchy ladybug challenges become bigger. There is also a clock at the top of each page, so that the children can see the time of day it is on the clock, which also helps us illustrate to our children, that one bully wasted her entire day by being mean, when she could have gotten what she wanted and enjoyed a wonderful day, had she just started out by using common decency and manners.

As this book was first published in 1977, I think it just proves how timeless the lesson it involves is. In his dedication, Carle gives a small lesson on ladybugs and their nature, which is both entertaining to read and educational.

If you are looking for a great book to read with your children, pick up any book by Carle, you won't be able to go wrong. And for some great ideas on ways to use Carle's books to further your child's experience, head over to his website and find ideas listed that have been sent to him over the years from teachers and parents.

For those of you lucky enough to live in or near Amherst, MA, be sure to visit The Eric Carle Museum of Picture Book Art. Miss Beautiful and I spent quite a bit of time on their website last night making a wish list of things we'd like to see when we get a chance to go.

Take Care

Wednesday, August 20, 2008

In The Immortal Words of Tom Petty...

... I WONT BACK DOWN!

So, aside from the fact that I got zero hours of sleep last night, today started just like any other. I got the kids to take their baths, I made their lunch, I drove them to school, walked them to their classroom, went to work, had a day where everything that could go wrong - did, left work with just enough time to pick up the kiddos, said "Thanks" to their teachers for learning them yet another day, and went home.

It's the after I got home part where things start to get interesting. Usually when I get home I have a few e-mails from friends and family to tend to and an occasional e-mail from some one who visited my book review blog (ya know, NOVEL READS, the one you are reading right now). On a typical day, I would respond (or not) to these e-mails, throw a load of laundry in the machine, cook dinner, read with my kids, kiss them goodnight and snuggle with The Hubs. Today, however, was anything BUT typical.

Most of you are reading this because you heard about the letter I received from an attorney representing Victoria Laurie and the subsequent post on her blog http://www.victorialaurie.com/blog/ (OOPS, her entire blog has been taken off her website, I tired to link her).

Anyway, in an attempt to make sense of this madness for myself, I have decided to break down events.

On January 21, 2008, while blogging for another site, I posted this blog. Notice, I state how much I enjoy Ms. Laurie's books. Notice the fact that while I don't personally like her on-line behavior, I will continue to read her books.

Shortly there after, I leave dee & Dee Dish...About Books.

I am silent in the blog-o-sphere for a few months. I post to my personal blog (not often mind you, but some) and read a LOT. I continue to read my favorite blogs, but use that time to re-group.

May 15, 2008 (Happy Birthday A!), I decide I miss this small world of readers I belonged to. Mind you, I've never been a big addition to the fiction world, but I did have my own corner, and even when I had only myself for company I enjoyed it!

Fast forward to August 11, 2008 and Victoria Laurie is back on my radar. Please note, that the post I have linked there is the Original Post with minor changes. The minor changes include the addition of "AKA I QUOTED Victoria Laurie" and the little "Update" at the start. Otherwise, I left the post in tact.

That same day, I post to two Yahoo! Groups I belong to and post the question about the author's behavior.

August 12, 2008, starts like any other day, only the kids are still on Summer Break and my babysitter is NOT. SO, I'm home and still receiving e-mails (some very hateful) about my post of (at the time) a particular author - OK, it's Victoria Laurie. I don't have to pretend anymore! Since my question to the Yahoo! Groups gives me some good food for thought, I do another post.
I will adress this post again shortly, if you aren't already asleep, bear with me ;).

After hitting "PUBLISH POST", I think to myself, " Go ahead and be brave! Try and contact this publisher for a quote!" So, in all of my, I AM WOMAN (erm, READER!) HEAR ME ROAR glory, I work up the nerve to call the publishing house. I ask to speak to Laurie's editor. I am transfered to voice mail. I leave a message, and trust me, we'll discuss this in more detail in a bit, asking for a quote. I DO in fact say that I was "deeply disturbed" about something I read on her blog. I say this, because I am, in fact, deeply disturbed by this behavior.

After my phone call, I do my blog hopping. One of my first stops is Dear Author. A site I miss visiting on a regular basis, but ya know, life happens and I must work for the money. I see that Jane has outed the author in question (and seriously, why am I still referring to her as "the author in question?" We all know who the heck I'm talking about!). I then check out one of my favorite author's blogs and find out that she is thinking about quitting blogging. More hate mail to novelreads at gmail dot com ensues.

August 13, 2008, I link to the Dear Author post outing Laurie. The same day I moved on.

August 14, 2008, I address (in a general way) some of the letters I received about my initial post. And again, I get on with blogging as usual.

August 15-18, 2008 all is business as usual.

August 19, 2008, I receive the following letter in my in-Box, (IN-BOX, people, not even through regular mail) upon returning home from work:

Dear the owner of email address titled “novelreads@gmail.com” (a.k.a. “ChariDee”),

I represent Victoria Laurie, an author which you recently address in a posting titled, “Authors Getting Even” on http://novelreads.blogspot.com. In this posting you excerpt from a website that is copyright protected, thus violating federal copyright law. There is and has been an existing disclaimer on Ms. Laurie’s website, (www.victorialaurie.com), which states that; “No part of this website may be directly copied or duplicated and all of the content herein is copyright protected.” These quotes you have posted to your blog should be immediately removed or Ms. Laurie will be forced to take appropriate action.

In addition to the above violation of law, on Tuesday, August 12, you contacted the voice mail of someone you thought to be Ms. Laurie's editor at Penguin Group USA and left a voice mail claiming that you were "deeply disturbed" by a blog posting and requesting a comment (a copy of which we have in our possession). Please consider this letter a cease and desist letter. While you are free to express your opinion under the First Amendment, taking impulsive and inappropriate action with the attempt to interfere with a contractual relationship is unacceptable; therefore, in addition to the above Ms. Laurie is requesting that you not contact her, her agents, editors, business representatives, or assigns personally at any time now or in the future.

Feel free to contact me at the above post office box should you have any questions regarding this letter and its directives.

Sincerely,

Your browser may not support display of this image.

Lindsay Gustafson

I immediately freak out, thus causing me to make one of the best decisions of my life, and contact Jane at Dear Author. I needed advice from another blogger. I'm a guppie in the blogger pond, I've never claimed to be more. So getting a letter like this is flippin' scary.

Later that day, Jane stands up for me (God Bless Jane!).

And that brings us to today. Are you as exhausted as I am yet? Today, I work all day. I have no idea of what happens until I get home. What happened? Well, Victoria Laurie totally bashes me on her blog. I'd link, but her entire blog has been removed. I do, however, happen to have a cached version of the post. Since Laurie found it OK to fling accusations my way, I find it OK to defend myself. I will not post the entire blog entry here, I will however, as allowed by Fair Use, quote her post for comment and criticism.

Quote:

ANYhoo, to catch you all up, last week I got a very upsetting phone call from my editor who was really creeped out. She said that some crazy woman had called the voice mail of another editor in her department. The caller clearly thought that editor was my editor and had demanded to be called back saying she was “deeply disturbed� (mental diagnosis or state of mind?) about a blog that I’d written and she demanded a comment from my editor.

First of all, I demanded nothing. Laurie's editor and attorney claim to still have the VM, they can listen to this again and see that I in no way demanded a thing. I called Penguin Group and asked to speak to her editor, I was transfered and left a message.

Quote: My wonderful editor was so freaked out that she became concerned for my safety and wanted to alert me that there was a crazy cyber stalker out there and maybe I wanted to increase my own security.

If I ever get the cash flow to hire an attorney, I want that voice mail released. If this editor read anything "crazy" into my simple voice mail, I don't know what it could have been. Laurie also states that I did not leave my name. I call BS on this one. I most certainly DID leave my name. Not only did I leave my name, I left my telephone number, e-mail address and blog address.

I'm getting ready to sign off on this post, but before I do, I want to address one more thing that Laurie says in her blog post: Quote:
but don’t start making phone calls that will end up costing you your kid’s college fund. To this I say, I will take a lot of shit. However, the minute you threaten my children and their future, is the minute I start to take the gloves off.

I have much more to say on the topic, and I probably will blog more about it tomorrow. Right now, I'm going to get in some comfy PJ's and get some sleep.

I want to thank each and every one of you that has commented on my blog and on Dear Author showing your support. I am humbled by your kindness and cannot express how much it has meant to me.

I promise that I will post more on the subject when I get some sleep and can make some sense. I also promise that my posts will remain here on Novel Reads until such time the law dictates otherwise.

Take Care




Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Where In ChariDee Is Threatened by an Author that Wanted Revenges Attorney...

That's right, you read the post title correctly, I, ChariDee received a rather threatening letter today from one attorney "claiming" to represent Victoria Laurie. I admit that I am (like they had hoped) scared spitless. I am a very small blogger in what is a very small reader world on the World Wide Web.

For the most part I try very hard not to rock the boat. Not because I feared something like this would happen, but because it is in my nature to keep the peace. I "talked" to Jane at Dear Author today after I received the e-mail. I needed advice from another blogger. Jane made it clear that she would not think less of me for taking the post down or for removing the quotes (Jane posted a very wonderful blog tonight about this letter I received today, check it out here). However, the more I read up on Copyright Law, the more I felt that I did nothing wrong. I did however edit my post, I have since added the name of the author in question. I would have linked to the post in question but it was removed shortly after the posts went live.

I have also contacted a lawyer who is versed in Copyright Law for my state. Since the business day was nearly over by the time I received the e-mail, I will have more information from this lawyer tomorrow.

I don't like being scared. I don't like being bullied. BUT, should it be necessary that I take the post down, I will. Until the time comes, however, that I am forced to take down my post, it will remain up.

I will keep ya'll posted.

Take Care

Sunday, August 17, 2008

The Elite by Jennifer Banash

The Elite by Jennifer Banash
(BCC)

It's the most exclusive luxury apartment building on New York's Upper East Side. If you don't live there, you don't know how to live...

When Casey McCloy steps into The Bramford, she's overwhelmed by the sophistication and elegance of it all. Fresh from the Midwest, she's moved to New York City to live with her grandmother and attend the prestigious Meadowlark Academy. Here, all that matters is who you know. The designer to know is Zac Posen. The girl to know is Madison Macallister: popular, pretty and platinum blond. She's not just Casey's new classmate and neighbor; she's an icon. So Casey aims to get in with Madison and her gorgeous gal pals from the start. As the reigning queen of coolness, Madison is capable of destroying reputations with one well-times whisper. Better to be on her good side.

After a haute makeover from her new frenemy Madison, Casey is wearing the right clothes, saying the right things, and meeting the right people. Including Drew, the boy-about-town Madison thinks belongs to her and her alone...

Casey McCloy finds herself moving from Normal, Illinois to New York City, which is anything but normal, to live with grandmother while her mother heads to London. Casey's grandmother lives in The Bram. Only the most exclusive apartment building in town. She's nervous. She's sweating bullets (what an embarrassing habit!) and her hair won't behave. On her way to her grandmother's apartment, Casey runs into Madison Macallister and her friends Phoebe and Sophie. It's obvious by the looks of the girls that they are only the most popular IT girls. So when they invite Casey to join them across the street to sunbathe, Casey jumps at the chance to hang out.

When Drew shows up and starts flirting with Casey she's immediately smitten. But Madison is less than thrilled. Drew is hers, and hers alone. When the heat starts to really ratchet up between Casey and Drew so does Madison's anger. Casey knows these girls have the power to make or break her in her new life, the problem is, Casey's not so sure she wants to be made but she is sure she doesn't want to be broken.

I'm not really sure how I feel about this book. It's been a long while since I've picked up a YA novel and felt that it was less than fabulous. Unfortunately, I just didn't really connect with this one. For one, when I read books in this genre, I always think about the young ladies I know and would I feel comfortable giving this book to them to read. The answer with this one was No.

The kids in this book are starting their Junior Year of high school, and let me tell ya, the way they drink alcohol (and apparently have been for some time) and the way they casually talk about lust was just a bit scary to me as an adult. All of the characters save Drew have horrible relationships with their parents.

The Elite is written in Third Person, and there are five, yes five, POV's. While this isn't unheard of, the book is but 237 pages long and I didn't really have enough time with any one story line to really connect to the characters. I realize that this is a first book in a new series, but there was just too much set up for what I think must be future story lines, for me to really feel the major plot (the Casey-Drew-Madison plot).

I'm not a big fashion kinda gal. My wardrobe is fairly basic and consists mostly of jeans and tee shirts. There were so many name brand and high fashion names being thrown at me in the pages of this book my head was spinning. I realize that the book is set in Upper East Side New York, where fashion is a big deal and money is no issue, but I'm from the real world, and well, I didn't like all the name dropping.

The Elite is getting rave reviews all over the 'net these days, and you should really read up on them and decide for yourself on this one. It just didn't fit in with my idea of what good YA fiction is all about. I don't like reading about over-privileged poor little rich girls, that have a mean streak wider than their parents bank accounts. I think that Casey could have been a superior character, but her growth was really more told than shown, and with so many POV's the characters all fell flat.

Will I read the next book in the series? I just don't know. I'd like to see Madison grow up a bit, and I'd like to see a bit more of her friends, Phoebe and Sophie and how they deal with some of the things going on in their lives. But I just don't think I'll be able to bring myself to do it. With so many wonderful YA titles out there yet for me to read, I'll probably pass on this next one.

Take Care

Friday, August 15, 2008

Not So Much About Books

Okay, today has been an extremely busy day! First of all, I haven't worked much this week because my babysitter is in a different school district and she started school this week and mine don't until next. So I've been home with them (which I have to admit, I sure as hell have missed that this summer!) but today, I enlisted the help of a dear friend and she kept the kids so that I could go in early and give my boss the day off with her kids before school started. So, it was tough to be gone all day, I'm just not used to that.

Then, as soon as I got off, I ran home, grabbed the things I needed to mail, and headed straight to the Post Office. I sent off SEVEN priority mail packages this afternoon. That means, tee shirts, and Fantasyland and Brandy your books should all be arriving Monday (Tuesday at the latest).

Then I rushed to Wally World to grab a few last minute school supplies because tonight was Meet The Teacher night at the kids school. For those of you that don't know, Bear is dyslexic yet extremely, well let's just say near genius level IQ, and we've had a few struggles with teachers in his short school career, so this is always a bit of a nerve wracking day. Miss Beautiful will be in 1st Grade, and well, she's a bit ahead of her time, both in style AND in brains, so once again, getting a teacher that is willing to challenge her more than the rest of the class has been our main concern. Well, I can say with all honesty we are very much optimistic about this year. Miss Beautiful is going to be in a veteran teachers class, a teacher that is known for her individual approach to teaching. We are most definitely blessed with this! Bear will be in a classroom with a fairly new teacher, and all I really know is that she is very kind and her former students seem to adore her. Bear needs more structure than most, so while we're very optimistic, if she cannot administer to his needs, we may need to switch. We are going into it with much enthusiasm though, and she was very easy to talk to tonight, very open to hearing what we had to say, so all should be well! I'm just so EXCITED about this!

Then of course, we ran and fed the kids (Chinese at our favorite resteraunt that was seriously a disappointment tonight :(), because God Bless my friend, but she invited the kids to stay the night. I imagine we will be getting a call in a few hours telling us the kids are ready to come home. They just don't do sleepovers. We usually have kids spend the night at our house, and our friends who have them tonight have three boys we adore who have spent the night here, but our kids just don't do well away from home. We'll see. Our friends know the kids are like this, and they are great people, so we'll see how the night goes.

So, no kids right now and how sad is this, but I miss them! The Hubs is playing poker on his laptop, I'm typing this with a cold beer in hand, and then I'm going to get back to reading a book I've started. Another YA title, that I think I'll like, I just have to get over all the designer names and such being thrown at me, and the alcohol intake of the kids. I think I like where to story is headed, but we'll see. After all, I'm a small town girl, what the hell do I know about the upper crust of society?!

Take Care

Thursday, August 14, 2008

Novel Chats - A Series

Before I begin, can I just say now that I highly doubt that I am the reason Jenny Crusie is considering leaving the blog-o-sphere behind? Yes, I linked her blog post in my rant. Yes, I JCF was one of the Yahoo! Groups I posed the question to. No, I don't think it caused the incredible Ms. Crusie to re-think her entire position on blogging. Thank you to the few of you that have e-mailed me to let me know that you consider me so influential. I appreciate it. I also respect that perhaps you were trying to teach me the lesson of just how hurtful those nasty e-mails can be and believe me when I tell you, I already learned that lesson after my review of Fearless Fourteen. However, I do believe I will keep my collection of Crusie books on the book shelf - because yes, I truly do consider myself a fan of the writer, Bet Me has seen my through many a reading slumps. I also believe that I will continue to blog, as I don't think that I am the heart of evil and malice that has spread across the blog world causing innocent "authors with more talent in their pinky finger than I have in my entire body" to give up their on-line presence. If you have read any of my blog posts, you would see that I may not always like a book (and if you don't like those less than glowing reviews skip the following post), however I don't think I've written anything especially nasty and even while I was ranting about an author I believed was behaving in an incredibly ridiculous manner, I never publicly announced the authors name, not until the story "broke" out on a much more popular blog than my own. But again, I am flattered you think that I have such influence over some one I've never met and so very much admire. And you know what? I'm not even going to post your e-mails. I'm not even gonna let a soul other than my family see them. And God willing, should I ever be published, you will NOT see an antagonist with a name closely resembling yours. Instead, those e-mails will be printed out and stuck in my "I HAVE ARRIVED" folder that The Hubs suggest I start when I received my first nasty e-mail. And now, on with it...


I read the first two books in this series when they first came out. I was still at d&D at the time, and had seriously considered dishing them, had talked to dee about how I felt about them, but just couldn't bring myself to do so. It seemed like so many people were just in love with these books. Thought they were great. I have to say, that while I enjoy the mythology behind the books, I didn't particularly like the "forced seduction" in them. In fact, I didn't feel like it was so much forced seduction as I felt like the "hero" was raping his woman. But truth be told, I don't see much of a difference. No, in my opinion has always meant NO. It means STOP! It does not mean, oh I really do want this, I want to be terrified of you and what you are doing, because if you just keep it up I know I'll get over myself and LOVE it.

That said, the premise of this series is unique and if you can skip the hero forcing sex on his soon to be wife to gain her love, then they are damn fine reads. An amazingly evil man makes a deal with the devil. In return for his soul, the soul of his descendants and their eternal loyalty, the devil will give them the ability to change into fierce warriors. They will be long lived, will only be able to be killed by another of their kind, and they will have the ability to change at will into a fierce predatory animal. They will only bear sons. However, one day, a descendant falls in love. Not any descendant mind you, but the current ruler of the fierce clan. He runs away with his gypsy bride, has children and loves them all dearly. However, one day his wife has a vision, a vision that tells his doom. He will burn forever in hell unless the family can find the family icon and restore it to break the curse. The prophecy his wife has seems impossible to the family. For one, it states that the true loves of his four sons will bring the icons back together - but he only has three sons and one daughter.

I continued to read the series this summer when the final two books were released. I enjoyed them, because I wanted to see the curse lifted. I wanted to see how Dodd worked around the four sons thing. All in all, I think the series was worth the read. The premise is fascinating. There were, however, several lose ends. For instance, in the first book Ann (the true love of son #1) is found out to have something "other" herself, and I had seriously thought that this would come into play later. It didn't. I have no idea why it was such a big deal in the first book, if it has no real bearing on the overall story-line.

So, if you like forced seduction you'll be able to read these books without discomfort. However, if like me, you don't care for it, then either skip this series all together or skip pretty much all of the sex, because most of it read like rape to me.

Since this is a Novel Chat of a post the series gets a grade, I give it a C-. Probably would have been an A, but ya know, that whole forced thing.

Take Care

Wednesday, August 13, 2008

Violet In Private by Melissa Walker

I "reviewed" (let's be honest, we all know that's not really what I do) the first book in this amazing series while at D&d. You can check it out here. And since I've already posted a rant for the day, I'm just gonna dive right in...

Violet In Private by Melissa Walker
(BCC)

IT'S TIME TO JOIN THE REAL WORLD - IF SOMEONE WOULD JUST TELL ME WHERE THAT IS.

I know I'm supposed to be Violet Greenfield the fresh-faced runway model, a cultured and worldly nineteen-year-old with super-high confindence because I've done fashion weeks internationally. But the truth is, modeling hasn't raised my self-esteem all that much. And now that I'm finally headed to college, I'm afraid I'll turn back into that girl who blended into the walls all throughout high school...

Vassar is just a two-hour train ride from New York City, so technically I could keep working. But I'd rather accept an editorial internship at Teen Fashionista. It's a chance to be appreciated for something besides my height and weight! My friends in fashion think I'm crazy to stop modeling, but my best friend Roger is all in favor of it. Of course, things have been weird between us ever since we kissed - and now he's got a new girlfriend. So I guess the question is:

If I'm not "Violet on the Runway" anymore, who exactly am I?

I Love the Ya genre. Seriously. The reach of the YA book is going far beyond that of the age range it's geared toward which is awesome, in and of itself. But what I really love about a good YA book, is that it holds the power to suck a reader in and change them from semi-reader to Reader. It's books like this one that do that.

In VIP Walker once again takes us into the shoes of Violet Greenfield. She's off to college and she's pretty sure she's done with the modeling thing. But the modeling thing won't let her go. But sometimes that's not always a bad thing. Being a model helps Violet land a great internship, allows her to speak to high schoolers about body image, and has brought her one of her best friends.

Walker's is one of the freshes voices in the YA genre. Violet is a character that females of all ages can relate to. She faces victories, self doubt, and yes even heartache, "Still, I don't know if I'm ever going to get over this betrayal. It's completely weird how your heart can physically hurt. Like, I can feel this actual pain in my chest right now, and I'm not just imagining it. It aches, like if someone hit me really hard on my left boob, or like I broke something there." It is rare for me to want to cry and smile at the same time, but Walker managed that feat.

If you have a daughter, niece, granddaughter, friend, whatever, give her these books. Read them with her, experience this wonderful world together. Where super models don't always feel so super and real life and love cause us pain as well as bring us joy.

VIP will leave you with a huge smile on your face and a desire to run to the bookstore to find more wonderful YA titles. If you've been hesitant about picking up a book labeled YA, nows the time to give 'em a try, I say start with Walker.

Take Care

Authors Getting Even - Update

The blog post has been removed from her site. If you are wanting to know who it was that got my hackles raised Monday, Jane at Dear Author was braver than I and posted all about it. She even knows how to do that cool cache thing, so you'll be able to read the post in question.

Take Care

Tuesday, August 12, 2008

More Thoughts on Authors Getting Even

So, as you can tell by yesterdays post I was a bit on the upset side about the behavior of a certain author. In fact, I not only blogged about it, I posted the question on a couple of Yahoo!Groups I belong to. As with the blog post, I did not mention the authors name. A few people asked, and I did let them know off list. There were also a few readers of the blog that were able to track the author down by a clue (not an intentional one) that was in the post.

One of the reasons I felt compelled to pose the question of how readers felt about this behavior was because of the comments left on the authors blog. You see, they all thought the idea was great and couldn't wait to read the humiliation of the reader who e-mailed. Also, the editor thinks this is a great idea and wants other authors to begin doing it (according to the author).

What I found out is that I was not alone. This kind of revenge is not something most people agree with. Some of the responses to my question had great points and I thought I'd share a few (I am not including names, as both groups are members only, though anyone can join :) you just have to before you're privvy to the posts).

1 - The concept of the revenge is hilarious. The manner in which it was executed and then bragged about is NOT.

I agree with this whole heartedly. It is one thing to do something that only you and maybe a few people know about. To brag about it. To make sure that people are looking for the readers shame so that they may revel in it, is quite another.

2 - Isn't bragging about the fact the character is indeed modeled on and named after some one, though changed just a bit as to avoid being sued, still grounds for a lawsuit?

I'm not an expert by any stretch of the imagination. Hell, I'm not even smart enough to know where to find a definite answer to this. Now, if I were Jane at Dear Author, I'd know. That chick is amazing. But alas, I'm not. I did entertain the idea of e-mailing her and asking her what she thought, but I chickened out. Anyway, that is an interesting idea. I would think, and again I don't know for sure, that it would be grounds for the reader to sue. The author makes it known you will know what scene is about this reader. She makes it known that the name is so very close that her friends and family will know who she's referring. To me, that sounds like grounds for a suit. Maybe defamation of character? Not sure. Anyone know? I mean, after all isn't this in the fine print at the begining of every fictional book: ...and any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, .... is entirely coincidental.

3 - By the author publicly announcing this, they are very much so acting like a very large bully.

From Dictionary.com -
–noun
1.a blustering, quarrelsome, overbearing person who habitually badgers and intimidates smaller or weaker people.
I'm not saying that the reader is smaller or weaker. What I am saying is that I assume this person to be an average joe, whereas the author is known. The author is using her name as a published entity to belittle and mock some one who may or may not have the same outlet or reach. They preach against bullying in schools. I tell my kids daily they are not to bully. Ever. In any way, shape or form. Bullying is bad. Turn the bullies in. And yes, I realize I am a hypocrite for not saying who the author is. But seriously people, I don't want to end up in one of her books! So unfortunately, I'm starting to feel like the bully wins.

I'm trying to use my very limited powers of google search to hunt down this editor of the authors so that I may contact them to ask a few questions about this. I'm very much interested in why the editor loves this idea enough to encourage it. Why the editor sees nothing wrong with it. I have no doubt my questions will go un-answered, but I still feel the need to try. Heck, I'm even thinking about contacting the agent of the author, asking if they know about the behavior. I think I'll wait tough, because I'd like to know about the legal angel here.

Anyway, those are some more thoughts. I'm like a dog with a bone people. This aggravates me! I really enjoyed this authors work, and in one blog post she tore that down. I don't think I'll ever be able to support those books again.

Take Care


Monday, August 11, 2008

Authors Getting Even AKA I QUOTED Victoria Laurie!

Update: I was trying to be nice in the following blog post about a certain author that I believed to be acting unproffesionally. Since I did not give credit where credit is due, let me just say now, that the author in question is Victoria Laurie.

OK, so I know I've been silent lately, and I'm sorry. Things will hopefully start looking up soon and I'll be regular again. In the meantime, I'm trying to get some things typed up and saved for later posting (but since I'm still on bloggers hit list, I have to do it in WORD).

So, just a little bit ago, as I'm working on a post I was reminded of a couple of series that should have books released soon. The thing is, I love the books, I just don't much care for the author and her online personality. Thankfully, I've been able to distance the work from its creator. But it has hindered my close watch on the newest book release.

Anyway, I head to the authors website to get the low down on the next two books and find myself drawn to her blog. I just wanted to see if maybe I was having an incredibly bad day and took everything the wrong way. However, what I found instead, really bothered me.

Here's the thing. Jenny Crusie posted on her blog Argh Ink a while back about reader letters, and I loved how the situation was handled on that one (here's the post linkage). This author though, isn't quite into so subtle. No. Basically, she posted in this blog entry about one particular letter she received from a reader that said they were a fan of one of her series, but thought the new series sucked eggs (actually, if the author is to be believed the person really slammed the new series).

I can't imagine how hard it would be to get one of those letters. I dream of being published, and I understand how hard writing can be, so I can imagine out heartbreaking it would be to receive such a letter. It is how the author handles it though, that irks me.

From the authors blog post: And so, come September…my little “fan” and some of her close friends and family will likely read about a character with a very similar name, (i.e. nearly identical but not enough to get me sued) depicted in one of the most comical and fabulously scandalous scenes within Death Perception. And trust me…this isn’t a scene which in any way flatters that character. :) (Also trust me….you’ll know it when you read it!)

This bothers me greatly. The author also talks about a reader on Amazon that was trashing her books and how she has gotten those posts removed (because obviously this person has never read the books) and how this person has something against her yet she's a complete stranger. I know the review system on Amazon is flawed. I know some people go way out of their way to be mean on there. BUT, the revenge she is talking about taking in the same manner as she did with the other reader seems wrong to me. She even mentions the Amazon "reviewers" screen name.

The author finishes her blog post with this little bit of advice: And by the way - anyone else out there thinking they can just arbitrarily slam an author and feel good about being particularly nasty…be warned….my editor thinks this concept of mine is hilarious and she’s going to suggest the idea to her other authors who are fed up with being targets for the mentally deranged…in other words I’d advise being very careful whom you choose to direct a personal barb at lest your alter ego appear in a less than flattering way in that author’s next book.

Is it just me or does this seem ridiculous? I can understand the appeal of such revenge. I cannot understand the appeal of making it known to several thousand readers, some of which may recognize the reader being mentioned. Because now that reader will be publicly humiliated when the author was NOT. As long as that book is in circulation, that person will be forever mocked. When their greatest crime could have been flying off the handle after a world shattering bad day. When they could have had everything ripped out from under them the day that wrote that letter. Should they pay for one letter that vented everything, albeit to the wrong person? I think this is wrong. What about you? Am I being silly to be upset by this? Help me understand peeps!

Take Care

Tuesday, August 5, 2008

Novel Chats Part III

Or, at least, I think it's part III. Not real sure. Yeah, I'm late. I'm sorry about that. Remember I said I was overwhelmed? Well, that was nothing. Nothing, compared to what is going on right now. I really just want to crawl in bed, pull the covers over my head, and never come out again. The kidlets, however, would not look too kindly upon this, so here I am. Anyway, I'm sorry for my silence. You didn't come here to listen to me whine anyway, that's why I keep a personal blog. So let me just get on with it...

Live Alone And Like It by Marjorie Hillis

This is a Non-Fiction book, and normally, you just won't find me reading them. However, if this is what Non-Fiction is like, count me in! I absolutely adored reading this. Originally written in 1936 LAALI is now re-released by Hachette Book Group USA. Do not let the title fool you. This is a book that has some great advice for any woman, any where in her life. Hillis was for sure a woman so far ahead of her time, she makes Gene Roddenberry look positively contemporary. You'll laugh out loud at this one and at the same time, you'll find yourself re-examining certain aspects of your life for the better. Whatever the stage of life you are in, you should read Live Alone And Like It, because I can almost guarantee you'll LOVE IT! Definite A for this one.

The Pajama Girls of Lambert Square by Rosina Lippi

There were a lot of things right with this one, although, there were also a lot of things wrong, too. I enjoy a great Women's Fiction story, always have, always will. That said, I came to reading through Fantasy and Romance, so it has to be a great WF for me to really enjoy the book. This was not a great book. It was simply OK, for me. First of all, the protag in this one gets very little "head" time. Mostly, we see it through her hero's POV, and given many circumstances I enjoy that, this one was one I did not. He was a good character. He went through an amazing character arc. The heroine, however, crept towards the finish only to sprint so fast I nearly missed her growth. Also, the title is GIRLS, not GIRL, so the fact that I hardly knew the other woman that had a sub-plot (and she was FAR more interesting) really bothered me. I wanted more about this woman, her character was deep and we never got past the shallow end with her. All in all, the story line was good, just not particularly written in a fashion I enjoy. I give this one a B-.

Your Coffin of Mine by Kimbery Raye

I've read and reviewed the first two books in this series, here and here. As you can see, I thought the books were just OK, but I did enjoy them. Same with this one. Actually, I enjoyed this one more than the other two. This still isn't a series I rush out to get. In fact, as I went to Raye's website, I saw that the fourth book is released and I didn't know that until just now. I do enjoy the series enough though, that as soon as I get some cashola, I'll be buying the newest. Lil Marchette, the narrator of this tale is not the most original of characters. She isn't the most likable either, but I think that's the biggest part of her appeal. I've started the series, so that means I'll be finishing it. I'll enjoy it, I'm sure, as I have enjoyed every other book so far. If you're feeling in a bit of a funk, brain dead, or otherwise in need of some mindless fun, I say read this series. I give it a solid B.

Take Care

Friday, August 1, 2008

Winner Announced!

Well, I never did hear from the Grand Prize Winner of the Angie Fox contest, so I threw all the names back in and the winner of both the book and the tee was WORDVIXEN. Since I already have that address I will be forwarding it on to Angie so she can send out the book.

And since WordVixen was a tee winner, I drew another name for that prize and it is MARGAY. Please e-mail at novelreads at g mail dot com as soon as possible with your snail mail addy and size.

The winner of my Speed Contest is ArkiRN. Also, since I have a couple of copies of the book, Cathy, you get one too. If you would both send me your snail mail addy, I'll get those in the mail.

And yes, Dumb A$$, is what Dumas stands for. My poor, cute, cuddly kitty! We were joking, because we absolutely adore cats at our house, but the first day we brought him in, he laid on one side of the food bowl to eat, spilled the water bowl and licked it off the floor, and scratched the wall instead of the litter. He is awfully cute, just not very bright LOL

Thanks all who took a guess! Later today I'll post a review, so check back!

Take Care

Wednesday, July 30, 2008

Shoots to Kill by Kate Collins

Scroll down or click here for some important information on my last contest and for a speed contest. And now, on with it!

*Quick note: This review is done from an ARC, so the BCC or any other mentions may be slightly different from the official book*

Shoots to Kill
by Kate Collins
(BCC)

Last I heard, being a five-foot-two, green-eyed redhead wasn't a crime. But that's precisely why I, Abby Knight, was yanked out of my Corvette by a state trooper, handcuffed, and thrown in jail.

This isn't your average case of mistaken identity.

Eight years ago Abby babysat Elizabeth Blume, a teen who seemed intent on making Abby's life miserable. Elizabeth imitated Abby's dress, pored over her diary, and sabotaged her love life. Now Elizabeth is back in New Chapel, and she soon adopts a new look: Abby's. Elizabeth, now going by Libby, copies Abby's entire life - she even drives a bright yellow car and opens a nearly identical shop. But when Libby comes between Abby and her boyfriend, Marco, imitation becomes the sincerest form of trouble, and that's before Abby is accused of murder. Is Abby's devious double the real killer? Or is there a more sinister suspect in town who's using them both to cover his evil crime?

Back in my d&D days, I "reviewed" (can I even say that's what I do?) two of the books in this series. Click here to read those first, and then come back for this! Go ahead. I'll wait.

Do you see a pattern in those posts? Ya know, kind of that I ADORE these books and Abby Knight? Or maybe you could see that I want to live in New Chapel and work in Bloomers? Or perhaps you noticed that I think Kate Collins ROCKS OUT LOUD?! Let me just say, all of that is true and even more so now that I've read the latest in this series!

Kate Collins has truly outdone herself in Shoots! You've all heard about identity theft, right? You know, when some one steals your social security number and ruins your credit while living high on the hog?

Well, forget identity theft. In Shoots, Abby is faced with the extreme version, which I have come to refer to as Life Theft. The last time Abby Knight saw Elizabeth Blume, she was an obnoxious pre-teen with a famous mother and slightly off-kilter wanna-be Army man brother. Elizabeth wasn't just the run-of-the-mill annoying that most of those kids we used to babysit for were. No, Elizabeth wormed her way into dinner at Abby's, Christmas and Birthday presents from the Knights, Abby's brothers refered to her as the other little sister, she read her diary - and wrote entries in it as Abby! - and broke into Abby's locker and humiliated her. Boy, was Abby ever glad to see the last of that brat.

But Elizabeth is back, and she wants a job at Bloomers. But when Abby says "NO Thanks" Elizabeth isn't quite happy. Before Abby can blink, Elizabeth is now Libby, driving a car like Abby's, hiring Marco, charming her dear friends and staff, stealing her mother's "art" from Abby's shop, and out and out making herself into a clone of Abby.

To Abby's dismay, she's the only one who sees it at first! When Abby loses her boyfriend (I nearly CRIED people, that is how close I feel to these characters!) and then gets arrested for murder - of Delphi Blume, Libby's super bitchy, uber famous mother, no less - she doesn't care if anybody believes her, because she knows that things have gone too far and it's time to act!

After all, Abby is great at righting the injustices of the world, it just so happens that this injustice happened to her! But, as Abby digs deeper and faces more danger, the questions mount, and this may just be the first time that justice is not served.

I'm telling you people, this book is by far THE BEST book in the series, and that's saying something, because The Flower Shop Mystery series is stellar. In the review for the last book in the series, I said this - I also don't know if I've just gotten really good, or if this mystery was an easy one to solve. I had it figured out really fast. Collins is good though, she almost had me changing my mind, and that was fun, but I stuck firm to my culprit and I was right. Well, mostly right, my motives were a bit off. - and I think Collins took it as a personal challenge, because I was guessing until the very end.

Filled with laugh out loud moments, an amazing mystery, fantastic sub-plot, and all the great people that live in New Chapel, SHOOTS TO KILL is one book you do not want to miss.

Cozy Mystery Fan? Clear your schedule and get thyself to the book store when they open August 5. You'll want your copy of this great book and you'll want to find a spot where you can read uninterrupted, trust me, this one is a page turner.

Never read cozy mysteries? Get thyself to the book store now so that you can buy the first books in this fabulous series. Then, no one will be able to stop you from waiting at the door on release day.

Take Care

P.S. While blog hopping, be sure to check out Kate's joint blog, The Cozy Chicks: Cozy Up To Some Killer Books , it's a great blog written by some great authors!


UPDATES And A Speed Contest

OY! I have been completely overwhelmed lately! OVERWHELMED! First of all, apparently blogger has declared me public enemy No. 1, because all week-end I could not post. Work has me swamped, but my sitter is sick so I'm squeezing in a full days work into four hours. My alergies are insane right now. It's so flippin' hot you could fry an egg on the sidewalk. I seriously could go on, but then you'd quit reading.

Anyway, I am still waiting on the Grand Prize winner of the Angie Fox contest to contact me, so I haven't yet gone to the Post Office. Here's why, I am now calling LAST CALL, if I do not hear from the winner by tomorrow night, I will re-draw for the Big Prize. I am keeping the three tee-shirt winners in the draw, so if one of you happens to be drawn for the BIG prize, I'll draw another name for the tee. So, if you are LadyTink_534 , click here and send me your details by tomorrow night, or I have to draw a new name. Why tomorrow night? Simple, I'd like to go to the Post Office after work on Friday, and get ya'll your things! Brandy, I haven't forgotten your box either :)

And although things have been crazy insane lately, we have had some good things. One of which is the little guy at the top. That's Dumas, our newest kitty (that makes two). He's adorable, tiny and a cuddle bug. Some one had been a bit on the mean side to this little guy, because he had one side of his whiskers cut and his tail shaved! He was skin and bones when he found us, and now he's got a belly like you would not believe.

And in the spirit of the happiness Dumas has brought us, I'm offering you a chance to win a signed copy of Fantasyland by Michele Bardsley and some bookmarks. This is a speed contest, because I want to send this one out with the others on Friday.

The Details: The Hubs and I were in silly moods the night Dumas found us. We jokingly said we should name him Dumas after the kids had laid down for bed. The kids heard us say this (they should have been asleep) and the name Dumas stuck.

To WIN: Tell me what Dumas is short for. Remember it was a JOKE meant to be between only The Hubs and myself, and now our poor love-bug of a cat is stuck with it.

I'm also getting ready to post a review, so check back in a few to see if it's up!

Take Care

Thursday, July 24, 2008

When Authors Completely Waste Your Time

This post, believe it or not, is not a rant about bad writing. No, this post is about what can happen when you visit one of your favorite author's blog and end up playing away the rest of the afternoon, instead of you know, actually doing something constructive like writing or reading.

Today I got off work a little early because Bear was sick. I ended up blog surfing for a bit, and lo and behold I see this post on Jenny Crusie's Argh Ink blog. Well, what can I say, I had to play too. The next thing I knew, The Hubs was home and it was time to cook dinner (past time actually)! That iVillage Makeover , it is addictive.

First, you start off with a picture or yourself sans make-up and with your hair all slicked/pulled back. Here's mine:
Then the fun begins. You get to choose hairstyles from a selection of celebrity styles or from regular people styles and several shades of color. You also get to do your make-up (lips and eyes), can choose contacts, eyeglasses, sunglasses, and yes, even hats. The following are my three of the day:
and finally, me as a blonde, because everyone always said if I had blonde hair I'd look just like my younger sister (everyone was right):


And then, once we had our family swim, Miss Beautiful wanted in on the action too, here's my darling little diva:
It's amazing what difference hair cut and color make. That picture looks nothing like my beautiful little girl!

If you visit the site, have fun, but don't say I didn't warn ya about it being addicting. More reviewing tomorrow. I'm off to go get a few scenes ready for my crit partner.

Take Care

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

Midnight Brunch At Casa Dracula by Marta Acosta

Blogger is still giving me pains whenever I try to post. I still have that stupid word verification showing before I hit publish. To solve this problem, they say I merely must hit the '?' beside the letters. There is no '?'. Sigh. Hopefully soon the problem will be fixed or I shall have to go all WordPress on their bottoms. On a better note though, our family has a new member. We found (or shall I say he found us) a new kitty. Just a tiny little thing that some one had obviously not been kind to. His whiskers had been cut on one side and so he walks off balance and part of his tail had been shaved off. However, he is a loving little thing and Mayhem our other kitty is slowly getting used to not being the only one. Good thing, because we all already love our new baby. But enough about me, let's talk books.

I have already reviewed the first book in this series and you can find it here. As you can see, I LOVED it and couldn't wait to read more. Well, Marta was kind enough to send me the book I'm getting ready to review today and an ARC for her third release The Bride of Casa Dracula. I read both in one day. Not one day each mind you. One day. I flippin' love this world that Acosta has created. I love it so much, in fact, that I want to share it. So closer to the release day, probably around the first of September, look forward to a Launch Party here at Novel Reads for The Bride! There will contests! There will be interviews! There will be a review! There will be fun! So mark your calendars and be sure to join in on all the fun.

Midnight Brunch at Casa Dracula
by Marta Acosta
(BCC)

WHAT'S A GIRL TO DO WHEN SHE DISCOVERS SHE'S THE MAIN COURSE ON THE MENU?

Hip, funny Milagro de los Santos thinks she's finally found love and a home at the California ranch of fabulous Oswald Grant and his urbane relatives, who have a rare genetic disorder that some call vapirism. But Milagro is bewildered when she's excluded from an ancient and mysterious midnight ceremony whose participants include Oswald's unfriendly parents, a creepy family elder, and Milagro's ex-lover, the powerful and decadent Ian Ducharme. What skeletons are the vampires keeping in their designer closets?

When Milagro's life is threatened by a rogue family member, she flees to teh desert to hide. Instead of solitude, she encounters an egomaniacal actor, a partying heiress, a sly tabloid reporter, and a lavish spa full of dark secrets - all of which might help her find her way home.

Milagro de los Santos, the miracle of the saints, is back in this second installment of the Casa Dracula series. Things have been going great in her little bit of the world. She's in love with Oswald. She loves his family and they love her. She's a new auntie (well, sort of), life on the ranch is peaceful, she's getting ready to go back to The City to attend her good friends wedding, and see Mercedes her best friend, yep, her life is good. That is until Oswald's parents show up, along with a bunch of other vampire family to celebrate the babies birth with a naming ceremony that she won't be able to attend. Oswald's parent's hate her, but there are some vampires who don't. Oh no, there are other vampires that covet her. Her blood that is. Since she is a rare survivor of the infection, and she came through it new and improved, it appears that Mil has become a target, not of the anti-vampire sect, but of the vampires themselves. There are some that believe her blood holds the answer to all their problems and they will do anything to get their hands, erm, mouths, on it.

Secrets abound, and Mil is sick of it. She wants to be included in the family ceremonies. She wants to know all about the genetic disorder that infected her, giving her strange cravings. But most of all, she wants to completely belong to the world of her new friends. She wants to completely belong with Oswald. But it is this very curiosity of their world that throws Mil into a dark and dangerous fight for her life. Where, if she's not careful, she could lose everything she's trying her hardest to be a part of.

But luck steps in just as Mil needs it and she is offered a job re-writing a script for a new movie. The production company pays for her to stay at an upscale spa in the desert while she works, and since she needs to run far away from those she loves and those that want her dead, Mil jumps at the chance to escape.

Soon, Milagro finds herself living with an aging ex-sex god of an actor, running around with a tabloid reporter/English teacher, partying with her new friend the heiress, and trying to figure out how to survive being drained to death by the vampires who seem to have their hand in everything, including this very upscale spa.

What can I say? This book was over way too fast for my tastes. I absolutely adore Milagro and the people that make up her life. Again, don't let the term vampire fool you. These aint your mamma's vamps. In fact, most of them don't even like to be referred to as such. They are simply people who have a rare genetic disorder.

Midnight Brunch has it all. Laughs, romance, mystery, friendships, and a fantastic fictional world you'll never want to leave. Acosta has found the perfect combination for all of the paranormal fans out there that wanted their vamps but wanted something different too. I'm telling you, I could not put it down, and know that these books will grace my keeper shelf, to be re-read and loved for many years.

Take Care



Saturday, July 19, 2008

Tonight! It's tonight! I'm SO excited about tonights movie on Nick! The Avatar: Sozin's Comet is TONIGHT! The whole family is so ready we're doing a countdown!

Novel Chats



It's Saturday, which means it's time for another edition of Novel Chats. Some of the books I've read but not talked about here yet are part of a series, some are not. I hope you that if you've read some, you'll leave me a comment and let me know what you thought as well! Just a note, please forgive the fact that the pics are all over the place, Gooe Ole' Blooger, OOPS, I mean Blogger, won't let me copy and paste now to make them line up!

Real Vampires Live Large by Gerry Bartlett

What can I say? I LOVED this one. Glory is a hoot. Her world is amazingly believabel, and OH Baby does Blade every do it for me. With a great cast of characters, Bartlett is a fresh voice in the genre that will have readers craving more. I know I was left wanting more. And thanks to a great contest over on Darque Reviews, I got to read the next book too. I'll post a full length review on it soon! This one gets an A+

How To Knit A Wild Bikini by Christie Ridgway

Another book I adored. I have to admit, this is the first Ridgway I've read and I can't really explain why. Maybe because I'm not a fan of a certain Romance author's work, and I've always associated the two. I don't know why, because I see no evidence that they are even similar, but whatever. It was my loss. Because I absolutely LOVED this book. It made me smile. It made me FEEL. It made me want to learn how to knit! Ridgway has found her way into my TBR list from now on! This one gets an A.

Road To Hell by Jackie Kessler

I just didn't feel this one. I didn't really feel the first book in the series either, but in the end enjoyed the bits that made the whole. I guess I felt the same way about this one. I just don't care much for Jesse. I can't sympathize with her, and that makes the reading hard. It was worth the read because I'd read the first book, and I'll probably even read the next one. Hey, I'm a glutton for punishment when it comes to series books, what can I say. All and all, I have to give this one a C.

That's it for Novel Chat today. More next Saturday.

Take Care

Friday, July 18, 2008

The Accidental Demon Slayer by Angie Fox

Sorry for the last few days of silence, but apparently blogger tagged me as a SPAM blog. I noticed the problem a couple of weeks ago, it suddenly was making me do word verification before I could post. And then, I went to log in and was unable to do anything. I've contacted blogger and now I can post, but I still have the stupid word verification. I think it started when I added their stupid blog feed. I've removed it and will do a regular blog roll instead. We'll see if that stops the problem. Until then, I'll continue to jump through their hoops and hope they come to their senses. ARGH! Anyway, Thanks to Random.org I now have the contest winners name to announce!

Three KISS MY ASPHALT t-shirts go to:

HEATHER HIESTAND
WORD VIXEN
LADYVAMPIRE2U

The Grand Prize Winner of a signed copy of THE ACCIDENTAL DEMON SLAYER and a KISS MY ASPHALT t-shirt is:

LADYTINK_534

If you could all please send me your snail mail addy and t-shirt size, I'll make sure your prizes make it in the mail soon! Send the information to novelreads at gmail dot com. You know the drill. And now that business is taken care of..

(BCC) *Please note, this review is being done from an ARC, changes may have been made by time the actual book lands in your hands.

It's never a good day when an ancient demon shows up on your toilet. For Lizzie Brown, that's just the beginning. Soon her hyperactive terrier starts talking, and her long-lost biker-witch grandma is hurling Smucker's jars filled with magic. Just when she thinks she's seen it all, Lizzie learns she's a demon slayer - and all hell is after her.

Of course, that's not the only thing after her. Dimitri Kallinikos, a devastatingly handsome shape-shifting griffin, needs Lizzie to slay a demon of his own. But how do you talk a girl you've never met into going straight to the underworld? Lie. And if that doesn't work, how dangerous could a little seduction be...?

"Simple. You're a demon slayer. That means you're attracted to danger, problems, things that need to be fixed."

When I first heard about this book, I was thrilled. It sounded fun. It sounded sexy. It sounded loaded with danger. It sounded right up my alley. And boy, was I right! I cannot tell you how much I enjoyed Lizzie and her crazy world.

Imagine you're a pre-school teacher who can't even cuss right. Imagine you plan your life down to every detail. Now imagine you're turning 30. You're getting ready to go out to a great party, and you know it's great because YOU planned it. You'll finally have your shot at the hot guy from the gym, because he'll be there and you know this of course, because you invited him. You're almost ready when a knock at the door comes and low and behold, your long-lost grandma is at the door. You then find yourself locked in the bathroom while said grandma tries to do something, what you have no idea, and a demon shows up on your toilet.

Let's pretend for a moment that you are able to defeat said demon. Of course, then your grandma would want you to jump on her Harley and run for your life. Because you know what? This demon is only the beginning, and you have a bad, bad, fifth level demon on your tail. One who has a grudge against your entire family. One who wants you dead.

Then imagine that you finally meet the biker gang your grandma hangs with and find out that their are actually witches who think you are their only hope of slaying this awful demon once and for all. Then imagine, that you're supposed to be trained, but before that can happen, you make a HUGE mistake, your grandma is trapped in the first level of hell, her biker coven seems to have it out for you, a very sexy griffin that you don't exactly trust offers you his protection, a pack of werewolves you thought were allies turns out to want you dead, and your dog Pirate won't shut up. Oh yeah, and everyone you need to trust won't even tell you the whole story. Everyone has a secret, and the secrets could very well cost you your very safe, very stable life. Well, if you can imagine all of that, you've got a good picture of what Lizzie goes through in TADS.

From page one, Fox takes you on a ride that is non-stop action. I've heard the saying "whirlwind, wild ride" but I don't think I'd ever truly knew what that meant until I read this book. Lizzie is an amazingly real character, thrown into an amazingly believable paranormal world, where curses are kept in jelly jars, roadkill is a delicacy, and demons want your soul. It was refreshing to read a paranormal novel that had a heroine not obsessed with shoes/clothes (not that I don't enjoy those). It was wonderful to read a paranormal that showed real growth in the heroine. I can't wait to see where Lizzie will go from here!

Make sure your day is clear before cracking this one, trust me, once you pick it up you won't want to put it down!

I want to thank Angie for hanging with us this past week. I've had a ball and I hope everyone else has too!

Take Care