Saturday, October 31, 2009

RIP Challenge Wrap Up

Today wraps up my first challenge that was created by Stainless Steel Droppings. There were four parts of this challenge depending on how many books you wanted to read. I chose to read only 2, hence the Peril the Second. You picked from the various subsections of the mystery and horror genre.

I was quite good and finished my books early. :) If you haven't read my reviews for these two fantastic books, just click on the title and check them out.

My mystery pick was:

In the Woods by Tana French

My gothic pick was:

Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East.

Once again, Happy Halloween and Happy Reading. This weekend will be more like Happy Viewing! (of all the Halloween movies, that is!)

* red headed book child

-apparently the picture gets cut off, but it does say Peril the Second, trust me!

Friday, October 30, 2009

Week In Review: October 25-31

Week in Review!

Happy Halloween Everyone!

This is my favorite time of year and though the month of October was probably one of the worst of my life (boy in cast, ear infections, fevers, coughs,
vaccine dilemma, exhaustion) I am determined to have a good Halloween. So far, my husband and I are hopefully wrapping up colds, our son is seemingly okay, so he is headed to Grandma and Grandpa's tomorrow for the day. Our plan? I watch horror movies all day long. Halloween 1, 2, 4, 5, and 7! Did you know they have all movies on DVD 1-8 in a neat boxed set? I did not! I have my crusty DVDs anyway that I have had for years now.
Popcorn, stew, candy and my comfy pumpkin pants (yes, they are pants with pumpkins on them) will also be with me throughout the day. Yesiree, it's time to dork out!

As for my Week in Review for books, I did receive a few review copies that I am pretty excited about. I continue to be tickled by the opportunities I am getting to read so ma
ny different books from so many different and wonderful publishers. This week I received Syren by Angie Sage- Book 5 in the Septimus Heap series. I have read only the first 3 so I have some catching up to do before I read and review this one.

I also received These Old Shades by Georgette Heyer. I can't believe I've never read her before but I think I am going to like her. Sourcebooks is republishing some of her titles and was kind enough to send one to me for review!

I only did one review this week for Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange. It was a good one to have during the week of Halloween I think.

I also signed up for my first Blog Tour for The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate.

All and all it was a pretty good week, minus some of
the health issues. I am looking forward to a happy and healthy November.

Have a great Halloween and as always, Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Thursday, October 29, 2009

Throwback Thursday

Throwback Thursday
This is a weekly event hosted by Jenny at TakeMeAway!
It is the time each week to recognize those older books…
an older book you’ve always wanted to read,
or one that you have read
and love; maybe one from your childhood; or
review an older book -- how about even a classic!

My pick for this Thursday is to go back to an old favorite, More than you Know by Beth Gutcheon. I discovered this novel on the new paperback table many years ago at the bookstore I was working at at the time. I had never heard of the author though she had written atleast five other novels at that time. This novel appealed to the ghost story lover in me. Reminiscent of Kate Morton's The Forgotten Garden, this is a must read for a cold, snowy night.

Here is the description from the back of the book:

In a small town called Dundee on the coast of Maine, an old woman named Hannah Grey begins her story: "Somebody said 'true love is like ghosts, which everyone talks about and few have seen.' I've seen both and I don't know how to tell you which is worse." Hannah has decided, finally, to leave a record of the passionate and anguished long-ago summer in Dundree when she met Conary Crocker, the town bad boy and love of her life. This spare, piercing, and unforgettable novel bridges two centuries and two intense love stories as Hannah and Conary's fate is interwoven with the tale of a marriage that took place in Dundee a 100 years earlier.

Beth Gutcheon has a whole list of other powerful novels. Check them out at her website here. (No affiliation to the website, just for your easy reference).

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Monday, October 26, 2009

Review #21: Mr.Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange

Title: Mr. Darcy, Vampyre
Format: Review Copy
Publisher: Sourcebooks Landmark
Genre: Fiction/Horror/Romance

Rating: 3/5

My Review and Description:

This was my first book from Sourcebooks to review and I requested it for a few reasons. One, it's about Vampires/Vampyres and tis' the season for all things spooky. I thought it would fit my mood. Second, I was interested in reading about Mr.Darcy and Elizabeth. Now I going to throw out a huge admission on my part and I'm sure that a giant chunk of the blogosphere will come back at me with a loud "WHAT?!"

Here goes...
I have never read anything by Jane Austen nor have I seen any movie in full based off of her books. I just know that I am supposed to love Colin Firth.

GASP! Horror! What? Are you kidding?

No, I am not. And I am sad to say that I had to consult my best friend on the lure of Darcy and Elizabeth. My best friend is a gay man who feels, along with probably about 98% of the female population, that theirs is one of the greatest love stories ever told. He simply said "Michelle, I don't know if we can be friends anymore after a question like that".

Well, forgive me for not jumping on the Austen bandwagon earlier. I'm here now, aren't I?

Anyway, all humor aside, this was my introduction to their love story and I did indeed feel their love throughout. First, the book starts off after Darcy and Elizabeth get married. They are taking off on their wedding tour. Darcy makes a quick change of plans and takes Elizabeth instead through France and Italy. Throughout this time Elizabeth finds herself in many strange places meeting very different people and not feeling 100% comfortable with the so called wedding tour. But she loves Darcy and trusts him and makes the best of it.
Though attentive and lovely during the day, Darcy is not visiting Elizabeth at night which leads her to believe that there is something wrong with their marriage. What is he hiding? Does he not love me? Why won't he join me in our marriage bed? These are questions that fill Elizabeth's head as they journey on.

I won't give away any teasers but the story does come to a climax about three quarters of the way in. Secrets are revealed, danger lurks around every corner, friends can not be trusted.

I can't tell if I was the best or worst person to read this novel. My lack of knowledge of Darcy and Elizabeth gave me a fresh look at the novel and I didn't have any preconceived ideas of any characters. I found Darcy to be dashing and Elizabeth to be charming and smart. But at the same time I wish I knew a bit more because there were times where I felt the past was touched on briefly and I felt a little left out.

This book is being marketed to Austen fans and the author has a previous novel titled, Mr. Darcy's Diary. I do think fans will enjoy this book. I found it to be a quick read and had the dark mood for Halloween. The writing was easy to follow and the settings were glorious in description. Because it's not typically a genre I would seek out or buy, I rated it a 3.

Check out and Amanda Grange's website.

Anna at Anna's Book Blog has an interview with the author on her blog. Check it out!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Sunday, October 25, 2009

Winner of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane

Congratulations to Lori at Psychotic State (love the name!). You are the winner of Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane. No fancy technology here for pickin'. Picked the name right out of a hat or atleast my husband did!

Thanks all for entering!

Winner has been emailed. If there is no response in 24 hours, I will pick another!

* red headed book child

Saturday, October 24, 2009

Week In Review: October 18-24

Good Evening Everyone! Today marks my very first Week in Review. The goal for this post is to highlight the books that came my way this week and to recap any reviews I wrote or any other blog news. Today I am just going to mention the cool books I got, because there are so many I'm excited about that I can't stand it anymore!

I want to say thank you all again for commenting on my previous post regarding what you all liked about my blog. It means so much to me to hear such nice words. I will continue with all the things you find pleasant and enjoyable about my blog which seems to be my sparkling self! (he he) and my reviews, of course.

Anyway, I have had a very, very rewarding week in books. The lovely Alyson and Wendy at Simon and Schuster have always been very kind to me and sent me a such a lovely care package of some of my favorite authors and highly anticipated reads. I took these great pictures of babes and I. He makes a good Vanna White, showcasing the books, doesn't he?

Here are the books I received from Simon and Schuster to review:

Once in a Lifetime by Cathy Kelly (January 2010)
Ireland's #1 bestselling author creates a warm and moving tale about a group of women in a small Irish town whose lives become intertwined in ways they never could have imagined.

The Wild Zone by Joy Fielding (February 23, 2010)
This is a sexy new thriller that tells the story of what happens when a casual bet among friends turns into the worst nightmare of their lives. She is one of my favorite mystery authors!

Falling Apart in One Piece: One optimist's journey through the hell of divorce by Stacy Morrison (March 2010)
An emotionally charged story of a divorce that brought the surprising gift of grace to the author, the editor in chief of Redbook magazine.

The 13th Hour by Richard Doetsch (December 29, 2009)
A mesmerizing thriller-told in reverse! This is a story of a man given the chance to prevent a vicious crime, the murder of his wife, from ruining his life.

The Spellmans Stike Again by Lisa Lutz (March 2010)
The final installment in this Edgar nominated series featuring the intrepid private investigator Izzy Spellman and her lovable- if somethwat paranoid-family. More info to come on this one, I love this series and this author. She will definitely be featured on one of my
Author Love-a-thons.

House Rules by Jodi Picoult (March 2010)
Jacob Hunt is a teenage boy with Asperger's Syndrome. He's hopeless at social cues or expressing his emotions to others but he loves to focus on forensic analysis. He loves to show up at crime scenes to help out and he is usually right. But then one day his tutor is found dead and he finds himself in the middle of a murder investigation. All the hallmark behaviors of Asperger's-not looking someone in the eye, twitches, flat affect-can look a lot like guilt to law enforcement. Soon he is accused of murder.
I love Jodi Picoult. I can't wait to read this one. She will definitely be on of my authors I will feature on Author Love-a-thons.

I received this title from my very kind manager at work.
The Swan Thieves by Elizabeth Kostova (January 2010)
Robert Oliver, a renowned patiner, has attacked a canvas in the National Gallery of Art. What would compel an artist to try to destroy something he valures beyond all else? Oliver's only words on the subject: "I did it for her". !!!!!!!!!! I can't wait!
(My babes was enthusiastic about his one as well, apparently. He snatched it out of my hands!)

Obviously, I have a lot of awesome titles to jump on. Luckily I have until spring to read them and review them. Whew!

* all descriptions were taken from the books.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Friday, October 23, 2009

Blog Updates and Question for you all!

Hello Everyone from me and my little Red Headed Book Child (pre-cast picture!) He has that look that means he has something to say. It's almost as if he is about to clear his throat.
I found it to be appropriate for this post.

I've been blogging now for a few months since late July. I had no idea what to expect or really what to do. In these few short months I have learned a lot, mostly about what an enormous community of book lovers there is out there in the blogosphere. I was and am still amazed at this. You all are truly awesome and I love to read you every day.

I have been at times content and also overwhelmed with having a blog. Now that I have viewed many and follow many, I sometimes feel I should do more and then right away I feel I should not. With the host of memes, contests, awards, events, challenges, I don't want to jump on every bandwagon but I also don't want to miss out on something exciting. My main goal and motivation will always be to review the books I am reading. That is why I started this adventure. It is also very important to me to have a credible blog, one that is respected and read with interest and not because I am giving away something. I am extremely enthusiastic about reading and I hope it comes across in my reviews.

So the point of this post is to outline a few weekly events hosted by other bloggers that I enjoy and what else to expect from my blog.

Teaser Tuesdays
Waiting on Wednesdays
Throwback Thursday

*I like these three events because they highlight what I am currently reading, what I want to read and what I have enjoyed in the past. In my opinion, it covers all of the bases.

I have done both In My Mailbox and Mailbox Mondays, before I realized I wasn't officially signed up anywhere to do so (Mr. Linky and I just don't see eye to eye), so I am going to do my own thing. I shall call it...Week in Review. This will tell everyone all of the fabulous books that have come my way during the week. This will most likely happen on Fridays.

I do not get a lot of time to blog on the weekends. This is heavy family time and I also work out of the house. During the week I really utilize nap time and independent play time for babe as my blog time.

One more thing I would like to do is not only focus on individual books but focus on individual authors that I love. Some time in the near future I will be starting
Author Love-a-thons. I have so many favorites that I would like to bring attention to those that I feel I deserve it.

My main focus will always be My Book Reviews. I will do these as often as I finish a book. I have to write the review right away after I finish a book or else I forget everything. Old age.!

Last, I love Challenges! I think I have my full now until the end of the year but I will keep seeking them out to see what's out there. As for contests and giveaways and blog tours, they will pop up when I have some extra time and some extra monies!

If you all don't mind responding, I would love if you all could answer one question for me.

What do you like best about my blog?

I've never really thrown that out there and believe me my knees are knockin in nervousness much like they were in 7th grade before my birthday party praying someone would show up. :)

Thanks so much for reading!

* red headed book child

Wednesday, October 21, 2009

Review #20: Shutter Island by Dennis Lehane (and Giveaway!)

Title: Shutter Island

Author: Dennis Lehane
Format: Paperback purchased at Library
Genre: Mystery/Thriller/Suspense
Publisher: Harper Collins

Rating: 5/5

My Review and Description:

I have had a successful reading week the past five days. I've finished 4 books! Okay, so not all of them were that large but hey, come on...I'm tootin' horn that is. I just love when I pick up a book and it clicks. The mood is right, the choice is right. Aside from having a very busy demanding toddler (love him!), one of the things that prevents me from reading so much is deciding what to read NEXT. Many times I stand in front of my TBR shelves and stare for long periods of time. I hate it when it doesn't come quickly.

Shutter Island I finished today after only starting it yesterday afternoon. Thank goodness for 2 hour naps. If you have not read Dennis Lehane and you are a fan of thriller/suspense, pick him up. He is good for it. This one clicked.

Once again, I have a strong tie to Boston and Lehane's books, atleast the ones I've read, have all been set in and around the Boston area. Love the accents, the edge, the history. I've read Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone.

Set in 1954, Shutter Island starts off with two U.S Marshals Teddy Daniels and Chuck Aule heading out to Shutter Island to investigate a case of a missing patient from the Ashecliffe Hospital that is based there. Turns out she has literally vanished into thin air. As a hurricane looms over them, the two get deeper and deeper into the illegal behavior that is being done there. Radical experimentation, surgeries and mistreatment of patients all start to be uncovered by Teddy and Chuck. Teddy, however, has secrets of his own and private reasons that brought him to the island. He is looking for the patient that killed his wife. What you learn along the way is that no one can be trusted, not even Teddy.

This book is non-stop right out of the gate. My toes are still tingling. Slick writing, awesome setting, shifty characters, and secrets that could rival an episode of 24, Lehane doesn't hold back. He can capture the mood and darkness of characters and paint a landscape that you can imagine to a "t". I used to say Mystic River would be a perfect one to start as introduction to his books but I have to say this one would do just fine.

On another note, it has also been made into a movie coming out this winter. I saw Mystic River and Gone Baby Gone after I read the books so I am glad I did the same for this one. You must check out the movie trailer here. It stars Leonardo DiCaprio (yumalicious!) and it is directed by Martin Scorcese. In my opinion, you can't go wrong.

I think this is the perfect time of year to read this book. It has a bit of spook factor. Come on, Hospital for the Criminally Insane on a island with a hurricane happening?

I am such a fan of this book that I want to give it away to one of you. What better way to spread the word than to physically put the book in one of your lovely hands!

* GIVEAWAY: I am super simple about this giveaway. Just leave your email and let me know if you want to be entered. I will pick a winner on Sunday October 25. I will email you and if you don't respond in 24 hours, I will pick another winner.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Review #19: The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo

Title: The Tiger Rising

Author: Kate DiCamillo
Genre: Fiction for Ages 7-12
Format: Paperback purchased at Book Sale
Publisher: Candlewick Press, 2001

Rating: 5/5

My Review and Description:

If you have read a few posts ago, you will know that I went to a book sale this past weekend. Well, this book was one of my finds! Kate DiCamillo is a author that is local to my area, Minneapolis. I had the pleasure of seeing her live last month at a reading and signing for her new book, The Magician's Elephant. I have also had the pleasure during my career as a bookstore manager to host a reading and signing when she was touring for her children's picture book, Louise: The Adventures of a Chicken. Delightful!

I am a very big fan of hers. She has a way of storytelling that makes you feel very nostalgic for your childhood. It doesn't matter where you come from or how you were raised or if you can relate at all to the characters in her books. They evoke a feeling of warmth, adventure, curiousity, vulnerability, discovery and joy. They also really pulse with the solitude and lonliness and confusion that can come with growing up.

The Tiger Rising has all of the above. It tells the story of Rob, a 12 year old boy living in a motel with his father. Recently having lost his mother to cancer, Rob doesn't have a lot of enthusiasm left for life. Bullied at school, unable to cry at home in front of his father, the only joy Rob gets these days is when he can work on his wood carvings, a skill his mother taught him.

One day on a walk in the woods behind the motel, he discovers a tiger in a cage. Fascinated and horrified, he keeps the secret to himself until a strange new girl, names Sistine, befriends him unexpectedly. She is new to town and full of vinegar, unhappy with the situation she finds herself in; living with her mother, her father far away with another woman. The only way she can find some joy is to be with Rob and shake him out of his shell. Now with the discovery of the tiger, a bigger adventure of releasing him to safety lies in front of them.

No teasers here. This book is a short 116 pages but full of so much emotion. Rob is endearing and you want to shelter and save him every step of the way. Sistine is fierce and loyal and you wish she was your friend when you were a kid. And the tiger, to me, represents the hope for the extraordinary. The something you craved as a kid to rattle you out of the every day.

The book has additional characters that appear; the father devoted to his son and his own sadness; Willie May, the caretaker of the motel who offers Rob life advice; and the bullies on the bus who we all kind of want to get tossed out the windows. :)

I rate this book and all of her books a 5. She is a glorious author who luckily has now been awarded acclaim and awards! She can probably be found at the library if you are interested. Very quick read. I read this one in 30 minutes.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

"Waiting On" Wednesdays

Waiting on Wednesdays is an event hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.
It highlights titles we are eagerly anticipating.

Since I am in such a cozy holiday book reading mood, the book I've been thinking about lately is Matchless by Gregory Maguire. It used to be a little tradition of mine to read one of his books every fall because they all seemed to be released around October for Halloween. This one is a special Christmas treat. I will be reading it for my Christmas Reading Challenge hosted by Michelle at The True Book Addict.

Here is a little description from the publisher's website:

With Matchless, Gregory Maguire has reinvented the Hans Christian Andersen classic The Little Match Girl for a new time and new audiences. Originally asked by National Public Radio to write an original story with a Christmas theme, the New York Times bestselling author of Wicked and A Lion Among Men was once again inspired by the fairy tales we all loved in childhood—and he composed a poignant and enchanting tale of transcendence. A lovely and beautifully illustrated gift, Matchless places Andersen’s pitiful waif in the august company of Maguire’s previously re-imagined Snow White (Mirror, Mirror), Cinderella (Confessions of an Ugly Stepsister), and, of course, the Wicked Witch and other denizens of Oz.

It is due out October 27.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

Review #18: Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town by Elyssa East

Title: Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town

Author: Elyssa East
Format: ARC from Publisher (Simon and Schuster/Free Press) to review
Genre: True Crime/History

Challenge: R.I.P Challenge from Stainless Steel Droppings. Challenge completed.

Rating: 4/5

Here is a short description from the publisher's website:
The area known as Dogtown -- an isolated colonial ruin and surrounding 3,000-acre woodland in storied seaside Gloucester, Massachusetts -- has long exerted a powerful influence over artists, writers, eccentrics, and nature lovers. But its history is also woven through with tales of witches, supernatural sightings, pirates, former slaves, drifters, and the many dogs Revolutionary War widows kept for protection and for which the area was named. In 1984, a brutal murder took place there: a mentally disturbed local outcast crushed the skull of a beloved schoolteacher as she walked in the woods. Dogtown's peculiar atmosphere -- it is strewn with giant boulders and has been compared to Stonehenge -- and eerie past deepened the pall of this horrific event that continues to haunt Gloucester even today.

My review:

It has been awhile since I've read an honest to god piece of non-fiction. Like I've mentioned before I chose this one in particular because of my ties to Boston and the surrounding areas. I spent a little over a year living there and traveled around quite a bit and was fascinated by the history of the state. I never made it to Gloucester though I did spend some time in Cape Ann.

I also chose this book because I am open to reading new things. I like to discover; new stories, new authors, new genres. This one could be labeled as true crime or history, it has a little of both. But it did appeal to the ghost story lover in me. This is the best time of year to read a book like this.

This is the author's first book, though her writing has appeared in many New England regional magazines. The writing was certainly detailed and thorough, though at times she repeated certain points,either for impact or due to forgetting she just mentioned it a few sentences earlier, I couldn't tell. The story of Dogtown is definitely a heavy one, full of rich history and lots of characters and you can tell she really did her research. This is something I have to admire and appreciate but at times it felt like a long college research paper.

I am intrigued by Dogtown now. She did spark my interest. And the way she went back and forth from the history of the area and the murder that took place in 1984 was helpful. It broke up the details a bit. It's just my own issue with non-fiction, sometimes it tends to be all facts and not a lot of exciting storytelling. The 1984 murder and the trial that followed was exciting to read and if you are a fan of cop shows and police dramas, this will interest you.

The author sprinkled in her own fascination and intrigue with Dogtown through her love for the artist Marsden Hartley. Hartley spent quite a bit of time in Dogtown seeking inspiration and help to lure him from his depression at the time. I am curious now to search for his paintings he did inspired by this area.

Overall, I did rate this book at a 4. I do recommend it. It tells a story that hasn't been told much before and brings a new author to the scene, which I'm always a fan of. It is published by Free Press, an imprint of Simon and Schuster. Here is a brief little description from the website as to what kinds of books they publish:


With a distinguished history that spans more than fifty years of publishing ground-breaking and influential books, Free Press publishes fiction and nonfiction for the general reader, in hardcover and paperback. Free Press books consistently generate news and win critical acclaim. The imprint has a solid reputation for publishing in a broad range of areas such as current affairs, history, business, self-help, and narrative nonfiction, as well as novels by original and interesting new writers.

This one is due out November 1. Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Monday, October 19, 2009

Review #17: Back to School Murder by Leslie Meier

Title: Back to School Murder

Author: Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone mysteries
Format: Library Loan
Publisher: Kensington Books

Rating: 3/5

Challenge: Book 2 in the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge hosted by Mysteries and My Musings.

My Review and Description:

These Lucy Stone mysteries have turned out to be a nice cozy surprise for this challenge. They are simple enough to get through quick, in between some meatier books, but still fun enough and mysterious enough to have a little whodunnit adventure. And don't you just love this cover? Unfortunately it's not the same cover that I checked out but I thought this one fit the Halloween mood a bit more.

When I selected the Lucy Stone series I thought they were in order of holiday but it turns out that it jumps months and years so this Back to School Murder that I thought was a prequel to the Trick or Treat Murder was actually two years later. Oh well, the rest seem to loosely fall in to place with each holiday, the span of time is just longer. No worries.

The synopsis here is quite simple. A new ambitious vice principal is hailed as a hero when she rescues a disabled child from the elementary school moments before an explosion goes off. Turns out someone planted a bomb.

Well, Lucy Stone, now working part-time at The Pennysaver (the local newspaper) and mom to 4 busy kids, can't seem to keep her nose out of this event. Her children go to that school and for some reason to this amateur sleuth, that new Vice Principal seems a little fishy.

Sure enough, that VP turns up dead. And Lucy is on it, the crime solving that is. This one had a bit more spunk and depth. More details, more suspects, more town history. And you get to know Lucy a bit more. She is not just the passive SAHM she was in the last book. She takes a class at the local college, gets seduced by her instructor there, and still gets dinner on the table by 6:00. Her new found role at the paper thrusts her into situations where snooping around is required and she is perfect for it. Inquisitive and unassuming, the characters in question don't mind opening up to her.

I did chuckle a bit at the conservative dynamic of her and her husband. With lines like, " Why should we have to pitch in? The kids and the house are your responsibility. I don't ask you to hammer shingles for me!" ( he's not exactly jumping for joy that she is working part-time).
All and all you get a fairly realistic account of the give and take of a marriage and the gender roles that tend to fall upon even the most liberal of us.

Once again, I rate this at a 3. No need to rush out and buy it but still worth reading if you are in the mood for a simple, fun whodunnit. The cast of characters are comfortable and relatable and the New England town is easy to imagine.

Happy Reading! Stay tuned for Turkey Day Murder.

* red headed book child

My sad little list of books from the book sale.

Okay, you asked for it. The sad little list of books I ended up getting for myself at the book sale yesterday. (see previous post, Oh Bloody Hell, for more info.)

I did get quite a bit for the babes here and quite a bit of music.

* red headed book child

Here they are:

The Tea Rose by Jennifer Donnelly
Girls Poker Night by Jill Davis
The Tiger Rising by Kate DiCamillo
At Risk by Patricia Cornwell
The New Girls by Beth Gutcheon
Patty Jane's House of Curl by Lorna Landvik
Daisy Fay and the Miracle Man by Fannie Flagg
The Eight by Katherine NEville
The Heir by Barbara Taylor Bradford (not pictured)

Sunday, October 18, 2009

Oh Bloody Hell...

I'm using this great face of my little red headed book child to express my emotion for going to ANOTHER book sale.

(pretty freakin' adorable, huh?)

Anyway, so I resisted this giant book sale ALL weekend. Our metro area Half Price Bookstores had a warehouse sale in our Grandstand building on our State Fair grounds. For those of you who have never been to the Minnesota State Fair, this just means HUGE, really HUGE! Their tag line was "Nothing over $3.00"

Holy crap, my heart is beating. I don't need anymore books. Seriously, I could build a house with the books I own and not to mention my TBR list is enormous.

But I went. Yes, but not early enough armed with muscles and a hot cup of coffee. No, I went with my husband and son with the idea that "hey we could take a little drive, he could take a nap, we could both run in, take turns and take a loop around and see if we want anything quick..." yada yada.

Yeah, right.

We got there at 4:45. It closed at 6:00. I told my husband I would call in 10 minutes and then we could swap. I entered the warehouse FULL...really FULL of books, music, records and movies. Okay, this was going to take awhile. No problem. I'll browse quickly. (nervous laugh)

Right away I realized there was no order, no genre subsection, nothing. Just paperback or hardcover. Kids was separate, that was nice of them. (cringe) Usually this doesn't bother me but when you got limited time, it sucks!

About 7 minutes in a nice young fella who worked there said "Hey fill your box for $5".

What?! Are you serious? I only have 3 minutes. Didn't he know that?

Now completly overwhelmed and full of game show adrenaline, I busted a move. I swept through each isle like my pants were on fire, chucking books in the box simply because they looked familiar and i HAD to have them. I called my husband at 10 minutes in and said "Honey, you gotta call me in 20 minutes, I need more time, but YOU have to call Me because I am totally focused here!" My husband is a completely laid back guy who really just wanted to take a peak at the music, nothing else so it didn't matter to him. He said "Yep, will do."

At this point, I hauled ass. (sorry for the rough language but these were serious times). But then I got all inquisite and started questioning myself. "Michelle, do you really need any of these books? Are you really going to read any of these in a timely fashion?" Well, gee, I don't have an answer for that, so shut it!

Well, this inner quarrel prevented me from filling my box. :(

My husband called promptly 20 mintues later after I had filled half...half! my box. I then dumped it in a secret location and ran out to the car, where the babe was sleeping soundly. My husband, poor guy, only had 15 minutes to browse by that time. Don't worry he grabbed the box from the secret location.

He filled up the rest and we came home with $4.84 worth of fun.

Lesson learned from this story... Just go to the freakin' book sale early in the day when the husband offered to stay home with babe and fill the damn box. You deserve it!


I'm too ashamed to even list the few books I got. poo.

* red headed book child

In my Mailbox

In my Mailbox is hosted by Kristi at The Story Siren. Here's what came my way this past week. Sorry for the photo, I did fix when it downloaded however something went wrong! Not so tech savvy, remember?

Back to School Murder by Leslie Meier. I checked this one out. It is for my Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge.

Wicked Pleasures by Penny Vincenzi. I found this one for 60 cents at my local thrift store. I love her!

The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor. I got this one from PaperbackSwap. Yeah! I was surprised there was one.

The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman. I got this ARC from the bookstore I work at. I am reading this one for the Christmas Reading Challenge.

Mr. Darcy, Vampyre by Amanda Grange. I got this one from Danielle at Sourcebooks to review. How perfect for this Halloween season.

The Wednesday Sisters by Meg Waite Clyaton. I got this one from my local thrift store for $1.00. Can't beat that.

Happy Reading to me!

* red headed book child

Friday, October 16, 2009

Change of Challenge Pick

My first challenge I signed up for was the R.I.P Challenge hosted by Stainless Steel Droppings. I chose to pick two books and have read one so far. My second choice was The Gargoyle by Andrew Davidson BUT I am kind of wanting to change it. The Gargoyle is starting out pretty interesting but it's pretty intense, with a tragic accident kicking it off.

I am a bit emotional still from my son's accident that I'd rather not read about someone in a hospital overcoming serious injuries. If my mood changes I may come back to this one but I've decided to read the Dogtown by Elyssa East. It's got the spook factor that is necessary for the month of Halloween but it's more ghost story than anything else.

The full title is Dogtown: Death and Enchantment in a New England Ghost Town. I received this ARC from the fabulous Alyson and Wendy at Simon and Schuster. I was particularly taken by this book because I began my career in bookselling in Boston and traveled around quite a bit in the surrounding areas of the city. It is due out November 1.

Here is the description from the publisher's website:


The area known as Dogtown -- an isolated colonial ruin and surrounding 3,000-acre woodland in storied seaside Gloucester, Massachusetts -- has long exerted a powerful influence over artists, writers, eccentrics, and nature lovers. But its history is also woven through with tales of witches, supernatural sightings, pirates, former slaves, drifters, and the many dogs Revolutionary War widows kept for protection and for which the area was named. In 1984, a brutal murder took place there: a mentally disturbed local outcast crushed the skull of a beloved schoolteacher as she walked in the woods. Dogtown's peculiar atmosphere -- it is strewn with giant boulders and has been compared to Stonehenge -- and eerie past deepened the pall of this horrific event that continues to haunt Gloucester even today.

In alternating chapters, Elyssa East interlaces the story of this grisly murder with the strange, dark history of this wilderness ghost town and explores the possibility that certain landscapes wield their own unique power.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Wednesday, October 14, 2009

"Waiting On" Wednesdays

This weekly event is hosted by Jill at Breaking the Spine.

My "can't wait for publication" release is Ghouls Gone Wild by Victoria Laurie. #4 in her MJ Holliday series.

Here is the description from her website:
When M.J. and her friends travel to Scotland to film the first installment of their new cable TV show Ghoul Getters, they find plenty of spooky action in a series of supposedly haunted caverns. And the village where they're staying is cursed by an the ghost of an angry witch. Now M.J., Gilley and Heath have to figure out if the curse is just superstition or if something more sinister is at work.

Happy Reading!
* red headed book child

Coming on: March 2nd, 2010

Monday, October 12, 2009

Review #16: Trick or Treat Murder by Leslie Meier

Title: Trick or Treat Murder

Author: Leslie Meier
Series: Lucy Stone Mystery
Format: Mass Market paperback purchased from local library.
Publisher: Kensington Books

Rating: 3/5

Challenge: 1st Book read for the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge created by Mysteries and My Musings.

My Review and Description:

This book is the third in the Lucy Stone series by Leslie Meier. She currently has 13 in this series and they all are based on murders and holidays.
Lucy Stone is the main character and she is a Stay At Home Mom with four kids, ages 6 weeks to teenager. She lives in the beautiful New England town of Tinker's Cove and is married to her handsome, rugged husband, Bill. They live in a giant house that was revamped by Bill, a home restoration genius!

Life is pretty ideal until all of these fires start to happen in their town. The town folk figure they are all accidents until a body is found in one of the fires. This body just happens to be a friend of Lucy and Bill. Now it becomes a murder investigation, one that Lucy can not seem to keep her nose out of.

She has newly given birth and full of emotion and lacking sleep but still can not rest until this arsonist is found. Being a small town where everyone know everyone else's business, it does not take long for her to be warned to stay out of it. Now she is in danger and her family is at risk and she still has to make 12 dozen cupcakes for the Annual Halloween bash. Oh boy!

I was in the perfect mood for this book, which is important when reading any book, I guess. It was easy, fast to read and all about Halloween. I rated it a 3 because of it's simplicity. Not much depth but I didn't expect any from it. No need to rush out and buy it. Definitely a good 50 cent find at your local library.

I really liked Lucy Stone's character so that is why I join the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge. I thought it would be a hoot to read her adventures during this holiday season. Tune in for November's read Turkey Day Murder!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Saturday, October 10, 2009

My Second Challenge

By Golly, I have found my next challenge. It's been a "challenge" to find one out there that I thought I could actually accomplish. This one sounds perfect for me considering I get into such a "cozy" mood each holiday or turn of season.

Head on over to Mysteries and My Musings to sign up.
Thanks to Libby's Library News for bringing this to my attention.

Here's the scoop:

* This reading challenge runs October 1 - February 28

Pretty much the entire
mystery genre is available for this challenge.

1 Paranormal or gothic mystery for Halloween (level of spookiness up to you)
2 Autumn/harvest/Thanksgiving related mystery
2 Winter/snow/Xmas//Hanukah etc related mystery
1 resolutions/new beginnings related mystery
1 Romantic mystery/Valentine's related(chocolate, February(level of romantic up to you)

Total of 7 books in all over 5 months for 1.4 book per month.
Hopefully not a burden of a reading challenge while adding a little seasonal fun.

Here are my books:
I have decided to stick with one author, Leslie Meier (Lucy Stone series). I am now reading one of her titles and I really like it and she just happens to write books that revolve around holiday/seasonal murders! I've cheated a little bit with the paranormal pick but oh well, I'm still reading right?

Back to School Murder
Trick or Treat Murder
Turkey Day Murder
Christmas Cookie Murder
Mistletoe Murder
New Year's EveMurder
Valentine Murder

Search for Leslie Meier on

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child