Saturday, November 28, 2009

Week in Review: November 22-28

Week in Review

Hello everyone! I have decided to actually post a picture of myself instead of just shamelessly posting only pics of my cute kid. He's much cuter, I know. I'm sorry you all have to look at this while reading :) (ha ha)
Remember in last week's post when I talked all about the "health
y" days we seemed to be having? Well, that went out the window around 7pm on Tuesday. The kid came down with a fever again and was generally just grumpytoons. The doctor declared it a virus with no help but to wait it out. Gee, I love news like that. Oh boy, can we fret for the next three days over a fever of 103 degrees instead of eating turkey and bathing in pumpkin pie? Can I? Where do I sign up?

(Sigh) So I spread disappointment to my family this Thanksgiving and spent the entire rest of the week taking care of boy. It's okay though. I give thanks for him and my guy every day. Good news, we did get our Christmas tree up and decorated and put lights up on the tree. And then I got a wild hair up my you-know-what and cleaned all of his toys and washed his stuffed
animals. As I was shoving them in the washer I couldn't help but think of Toy Story. Their poor tangled furry bodies and faces looking up at me screaming "My god woman, what are you doing with us in here?" Suck up fellas and blame it on the ol' virus.

Anyhoo, on to my book world.

The only new book that came into my house this week was a beautiful hardcover of Home by Marilynne Robinson, author of Gilead. It was a review copy from my bookstore and I had to snag it after I heard such rave reviews from a customer of mine.

I only finished one book and it was a tiny one. Mistletoe Murder by Leslie Meier for the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge. Review to come.

I see a bunch of new challenges being posted from many of you for the new year and I haven't decided what I am going to do yet. I want to finish the Christmas Reading Challenge and the one that I mentioned above, which ends in February. Maybe at that time I'll hop on board a few new ones.

I've decided to only do one review/request per month meaning if I am approached by an author or I sign up to do a review for someone, it will only be one a month. So far, I am already booked through March. I don't want to overwhelm myself with "required" reading. I also posted a sidebar to list ALL of my reviews that I plan to post.

I saw New Moon and have come to the final conclusion that Bella must go away. Not that I need to look to her for a role model but she just bugs the crap out of me. I will be glad to take her place however and can reached any time of day or night. I think I could handle Jacob, otherwise known as Hottie McHottie Pants and dark and brooding hunk-o-rama, Edward.
I did ask for the DVD of Twilight for Christmas and told my inlaws that it was my son's request. Is that wrong? (ha...ha)

Okay, enough rambling. Hopefully more book reading will occur next week.

Happy reading!

* red headed book child

Thursday, November 26, 2009

New Moon review

My review of New Moon:

Bella is ridiculous. (sorry if this offends!)

Edward is still hot.

Jacob is even HOTTER. Yum.

End of story.

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

* red headed book child

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

The Secret of Joy winner!

Thank you to all of those who entered The Secret of Joy contest giveaway! Winner chosen very officially on little scraps of paper, picked out of a very fancy bowl by my very handsome husband. :)

The winner is...

KAREN at Novels During Naptime!

Congrats to you! I will email Karen and she has 24 hours to respond.

Thanks Everyone!

* red headed book child

Award: Thank you, Amy!

I received this award from the fabulous Amy J- Book Addict at My Overstuffed BookShelf. Put down your computer and go check out her blog now. Find the follow button and click on it. I'll wait.

Okay, welcome back.

Here are the rules to this cool award:
Answer the following questions using single word answers. Then pass the award to 5 other people and let them know.(I apparently have a hard time with directions and could not keep my responses to one word!)

Your cell phone? dirty
Your hair?
really big right now, like crazy 80s big
Your mother?
very loving and supportive
Your father?
very loving and supportive
Your favorite food?
Your dream last night?
some craziness because I ate a burrito before bed. it involved lots of doors. hmmm...
Your favorite drink?
soy vanilla latte
Your dream/goal?
to live on a farm with my family, music, animals and lots of books.
What room are you in?
my living room
Your hobby?
Your fear?
loss of my son, my husband, my family...loss in general
Where do you want to be in 6 years?
still home with my family, in the country, with money saved
Where were you last night?
at my part-time bookstore job shelving mystery books
Something that you aren't?
bran carrot
Wish list item?
BOOKS or Spa Day ( I may not be girlie but I do like being clean and pampered)
Where did you grow up?
Last thing you did?
put my kiddo down for a nap
What are you wearing?
GAP sweats and a HANES white tshirt. Total product placement, right? Can I get a sponsor? j/k
Your TV?
Your Pets?
2 cats, one locked in basement now due to his need to howl next to my son's crib.
Your life?
pray to Mary to keep it blessed!
Your mood?
a little anxious and snarky due to some insurance company crap going on.
Missing someone?
Subaru Forester named Frida
Something you're not wearing?
Your favorite store?
Oh who am I kidding? Target. I'm soothed by all that red.
Your favorite color?
blue (surprised you, didn't I?)
When was the last time you laughed?
this morning
Last time you cried?
yesterday when I saw that darn movie preview for "Dear John" (the movie based on the book by Nicholas Spark) good lord.
Your best friend?
One place that you go to over and over?
New York City
a little
Favorite place to eat?
Saji-ya, a sushi bar

I pass this on to :
Lisa at Lit and Life
Julie at My 5 Monkeys
Jenny at TakeMeAway

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Teaser Tuesdays

I haven't done one of these in a few weeks so I'm glad I'm getting a chance to now!

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB ofShould be Reading. Anyone can play along!

- Grab your current read
- Open to a random page
- Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

"Turns out, having Carmen was worth the trouble. A long line snaked
from the Book Nook out into the cafe. Dozens of romance fans showed up to meet Carmen in person, as well as other book lovers who were naturally curious and wanted the chance top rub shoulders with a top-selling local author."
Eggs Benedict Arnold by Laura Childs (Book 2 in The Cackleberry Club Mysteries)

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Saturday, November 21, 2009

Week in Review: November 15-21

Week in Review

It's funny when you have a child, you sort of measure your time and days based on healthy or not healthy. We have had (knock on every piece of wood you can find) 6 days of healthy without antibiotics. Seriously, I love being a parent but I may end up in an insane asylum late in life. He, of course, will flourish and become a beautiful, wonderful, well adjusted man who will be ashamed to introduce anyone to his nervous tick of a mother. (ha ha, i know but I am a little bit of a worry wort).

Today marked his H1N1 shot, which also I was up in arms about but weighed risk for and
against, I went for it. Yes, I'm one of those parents. I question the nurses and doctors to death, asking for handouts and charts and pictures if I need them. :) I am a research junkie and have been told to stay away from medical journals.

Good news, he is walking and running again. And I have returned to cleaning the floors again. (more regularly of course....) ugh.

Anyway, on to my book life.

Aside from the fun of having my first blog tour for Melissa Senate's The Secret of Joy and reviewing an AWESOME book; Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor and a NOT SO AWESOME book; The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman, I received some incredible books this week.

For review, I received Book V: Heather in the Circle of Friends series by L. Diane Wolfe. If you have not discovered her yet, check out her blog Spunk on a Stick or her publisher,
Dancing Lemur Press. She is the author of some amazing young adult novels.

Also for review, the children's book For Faithful Friends by Marilyn Randall. Coming also from her for the holiday is Elmer, the Christmas Elf that I will be reviewing as
I won a copy of The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent (so excited for this one!) from Mary at The Sweet BookShelf. Thank you!

I purchased a copy of Eggs in Purgatory by Laura Childs for 60 cents people! I am gearing up for her book signing on December 6 at a local mystery bookstore in my area. She will be touring for the second book in this series (The Cackleberry Club), Eggs Benedict Arnold. !!!

I picked up two ARCS from my bookstore, both memoirs that sound amazing.
The Mountain of Crumbs by Elena Gorokhova and The Gift of an Ordinary Day by Katrina Kenison. The first is a story of a young Soviet girl and the other is a story of a mother who remembers and misses the ordinary things about her kids.

I will be giving away some awesome Science Fiction/Fantasy titles in the next few
weeks. I was given a very hefty bag full from a friend of mine, who is also a reader, writer and
reviewer. Thank you to him!

Lastly, the winner of Green by Ted Dekker is Shanyn from Chick Loves Lit. I will email you for your address. Thanks to those who responded and entered.

Have a great weekend and Happy Reading!

* red headed book child
(probably the only person who has NOT seen New Moon yet. Grr...!)

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

Review #27: The Christmas Cookie Club by Ann Pearlman

Title: The Christmas Cookie Club

Author: Ann Pearlman
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Format: Hardcover
Genre: Fiction
Release Date: November 2009. Out in stores.

Challenge: Christmas Reading Challenge from Michelle at The True Book Addict.

Rating: 2/5

My Review and Description:

I am sad to say this is my first 2 rating. I do not give these easily simply because I don't really dislike a lot of books I read.

This novel had the makings for a really sweet holiday read. It is about a group of 12 women who on the first Monday of December host a Cookie Club night. Each brings a different type of cookie and then they swap. They also bring a 13th dozen to donate to a hospice.

The host of the club is Marnie and the book is told from her point of view. Each chapter tells of each women's story and also starts off with a short history of some popular cookie ingredients. (almonds, butter, etc). Through it all you learn of the story of how the cookies come to be and also of the history of the club and how the women are all connected.

Marnie's story gets told throughout; her relationship, her one daughter about to give birth, her other desperately trying to have a successful pregnancy.

Let me start with saying that the idea for this and the cute recipes you get throughout this book could have swayed my rating to a low 3. This definitely has marketable appeal for the holidays.
But, in my opinion, it was too much going on with not a lot of substance to back it up. You learn a LOT, and I do mean a LOT, of tragic things that happen to these women. You learn them in pretty horrifying detail right off the bat. So, on one hand, you know all of these details but yet you don't get a sense of really knowing or caring for the characters. I did feel a BIT more for Marnie, since she is fleshed out a bit more through the book. Maybe because there were 12 women and I felt that was too much to really focus on in a 270 page book when about 30 of those pages are recipes and histories of food.

I could see where the author was going. I took from it a very strong message that the power of lasting female friendships are important and crucial to surviving tough times. Amen to that! No joking here.

It's hard for me to say "Stay away from this book" because I know everyone has such different tastes. This is a book set during the Christmas holiday and includes yummy recipes and some neat tidbits on food items. For that, it was kind of fun. But if you are looking for a heart warming holiday read, be prepared to read some intense stories before you get to any warmth.

This was my first book for the Christmas Reading Challenge and I was a little disappointed because I was looking for the cute, warm, cozy holiday read. Atleast I got some good recipes!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

Q & A with Melissa Senate, author of The Secret of Joy + Giveaway!

Good Morning Everyone! I am very excited to be hosting my very first Blog Tour. Today I am very honored to have bestselling author, Melissa Senate here. She is here to talk about her new book The Secret of Joy.

1. Welcome Melissa! First off, tell us a little bit about yourself.

A: I’m a single mother of an adorable seven-year-old boy and very happily work from my little house in Maine as a novelist and a freelance copywriter and editor. I moved to Maine five years ago from New York City, where I’d worked for a long time as a fiction editor. Sometimes I miss everything that is NYC, but Maine is such a beautiful, earthy place to live.

  1. Did you always know you wanted to be a writer?A: I knew I wanted to be a writer as a kid, but I’ll tell ya, I let myself be discouraged by teachers/other voices who didn’t like my writing style, which always had that chick-lit-ness. In my early twenties, I took a writing class by one of my favorite authors at the time, and she was so discouraging that I figured I just wasn’t cut out for writing. I didn’t understand then that I didn’t have to be a literary writer or nothing. I didn’t know you could write in your natural voice and that a publishing company would pay you for that voice. I didn’t write a word from my early twenties until I sat down to write my first novel, See Jane Date at the age of thirty-four. The market for chick lit had opened, and I thought: If you’re going to write the book that’s been in your heart, mind and soul all these years, do it now. I’m so happy I did.

  1. How would you categorize your novels? Is a change from Red Dress Ink to Simon and Schuster making a change in your writing?A: Red Dress Ink was very much a chick lit imprint, but there was such a range of voices and styles and stories, from light and fun to dramatic and emotional and everything in between. I felt a real freedom there to write what was in my heart, and as my own life changed, what I was interested in writing changed. I wrote my first novel as a single, serial dater in NYC; I’m now a single mother living in Maine. (In between those two are quite a lot of life experiences that have made their way into my work!) Now that I’m writing for Simon & Schuster’s Downtown Press imprint, my work is still very much me, but there’s a lot more of that life experience in it. It’s just about evolving as a person, as a writer.

4. Where did the idea of The Secret of Joy come from?

A: Several years ago, I received an email out of the blue that said: I think you might be my half-sister. Well, I was. It took me a long time to decide to take that little (huge) nugget and write a novel to help me figure out what I thought about some important questions, like: if you haven’t seen or heard from your biological father, or any member of his family, in say, 35 years, is his child from a subsequent marriage really your sibling? Or just a stranger? Does the word father or sister or brother mean anything without back up? I had a ton of questions and set out to uncover how I felt, but it’s interesting to me that I flipped everything on its head in the writing of the story. Nothing but the basic questions that are proposed in the novel are based from real life.

5. Do you have a favorite of one of your books?

A: My favorite always seems to be the one I’m writing at the moment. I do feel a very special fondness for my first novel, See Jane Date, because it changed my life. I wasn’t sure I could sit down and write an entire novel, that I’d have the belief in myself or the discipline to do it, and when I typed The End on the last page of the manuscript, it was one of the proudest moments of my life.

6. Who are your favorite authors? Who inspires you?

A: I’m crazy about Elinor Lipman, Pam Houston, Jennifer Weiner, Jennifer Crusie, Elizabeth Berg, Anne Tyler, Fay Weldon, and Anne Lamott. I can’t resist buying essay collections and story collections and books on the writing life. And I love all the contemporary women’s fiction being published these days. My Amazon cart is bursting with good stuff.

7. I know you too have a blog. Do you respond to your fans/readers? What do you like about blogging?

A: I get a lot of email from readers—which makes my day. There is nothing better than someone taking the time to write you and tell you how much they liked your book, how they related to it, what they took from it, how it made them smile, etc. With blogging, I’m something of an introvert (in an extroverted way, if that makes any sense) that it doesn’t come easily to me. Sometimes I want to write a post about something, but I feel inhibited. It’s why there are some gaps in time. Some weeks, I never shut up with what I’m reading and thinking about and writing about. And then I get in this mode that makes me feel exposed about sharing stuff. I love feedback, though. I just have to figure out how to stop the spammers from taking over the comments section!

8. Last, what's next for you? What can we look forward to?

A: Next up is my second novel for teens, The Mosts, which will be published by Random House Children’s Books in June 2010. Then, my next women’s fiction novel from Simon & Schuster, tentatively titled The Love Goddess’s Cooking School, about five people in an Italian cooking class) will be published late in 2010. And I’m being poked at by a new idea . . . .

Thanks so much for these great questions and for having me on your blog!

Thank you, Melissa! Check out Melissa Senate's website for more information on her other titles and links to her blog.

**Simon and Schuster/Downtown Press has been kind enough to give me one copy of the finished Trade Paperback of this title to GIVEAWAY!

Please leave a comment and your email address. You must be a follower (new or old) and reside in the US or Canada.

Thanks for stopping by! Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Sunday, November 15, 2009

Review #26: Seeing Redd by Frank Beddor

Title: Seeing Redd

Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Penguin
Format: Paperback on Loan
Genre: Young Readers (Age 12-18)

Rating: 5/5 (The highest 5 I can give! An enthusiastic 5! A shout out loud 5!)

Can you tell I liked it a little?

My Review and Description:

Frank Beddor, how I love the world in which you created. You are now my new book boyfriend. Oh wait, am I thinking this out loud and typing it? (nervous cough)

This review, like the first in the series, is going to be short and sweet. I loved it! Beddor is such a creative storyteller that you completely get absorbed in this fairy tale world. I don't read a lot of "fantasy" and I would certainly put this in that type of category, but it was really readable and fun. It wasn't, in my opinion, weighed down by too much detail in creating a fantasical (is this a word?) world.

Seeing Redd picks up from where The Looking Glass Wars ends. Evil Aunt Redd has been banished from Wonderland and her story picks up with her trying to recreate herself in the modern world and make her way back into Wonderland to take over once again. We find Alyss as Queen, where she belongs, trying to keep Wonderland the safe place it should be. We discover a personal side of Hatter M, not just as the loyal bodyguard of the Queen. And the side characters continue to shine. Generals Doppel and Ganger. Homborg Molly, the new bodyguard to the Queen. Dodge, the lifelong friend and love of Alyss, revenge over the death of his father filling his heart And my new evil favorite, King Arch. (who is the top dog character in the third book I'm reading now, Arch Enemy).

All in all these characters collide and battle and join together and love and hate creating such a wonderful, imaginative world, you feel like a kid again reading it.

I highly recommend this series. Sadly, it's just a trilogy. I may have to seek therapy over my loss.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Review #25: The Secret of Joy by Melissa Senate

Title: The Secret of Joy

Author: Melissa Senate
Format: ARC from Publisher for review
Publisher: Downtown Press (Simon and Schuster)
Genre: Fiction

BLOG TOUR AND GIVEAWAY on Tuesday, November 17! Come back and check it out!

Rating: 4/5

My Review and Description:

This was the first Melissa Senate novel that I have read. My good friend Cheryl is one of her biggest fans having read all of her previous seven novels. So when I had the opportunity to read this one I jumped on it, not only for myself to read but also to share with my friend, the big ol' fan. Melissa Senate is most know for her chick lit/relationship based books published by Red Dress Ink. The Secret of Joy marks a change in publishers for her and time will tell if it changes her story lines.

This book is a story about sisters. The main character Rebecca is a paralegal living in New York with her boyfriend of two years. Is she happy? Well, she's not UNhappy. She has a decent job, a decent boyfriend, a decent apartment, a decent life. But her father is dying. On his death bed he makes a startling admission that he had an affair 26 years ago and had a child, another daughter. Rebecca's now ordinary life is turned upside with this discovery of this half sister. Her mother died ten years before and after her father passes away, she is left with a box of letters addressed to this new found half sister and her only family member. Rebecca always wanted a sister but she is unsettled with this information. She makes the brave decision, much to her boyfriend's disapproval, to find her and give her the letters.

Well, imagine if a stranger dropped on your door step with the news that she was your half sister and the father you never knew was dead. Wanna hang out? It obviously doesn't go that well at first and the story takes a sweet but awkward direction. Rebecca ends up staying a lot longer than she had imagined meeting much of the local town folk and becoming a strained figure in her new half sister's world. The half sister, Joy, runs her own business which involves a bus tour for singles. Ironically, she is having some issues in her own emotional life.

There were many things I liked about this book. I liked the two sisters, very different, yet so honest in their struggles with coming to terms with one another. I liked the quirky side characters that comprised the small Maine town that Joy lives in especially the dreamy carpenter guy that Rebecca gets involved with. I especially liked the easy to read writing style, simple yet honest. Like I said, I have never read Melissa Senate before so I didn't know what to expect and I am pleasantly surprised.

I think this would make a perfect holiday gift for a sister, or a good friend, or a close female cousin. It does focus on definitions of family and support of friends and community. Overall, it has a good heart and would make a sweet gift this holiday. Also, you can't go wrong with the town hunk!

I passed this along to my mom and she is loving it. Next stop will be to my friend, Cheryl. I look forward to seeing how this one ranks in comparison to her other novels.

I will post my Q & A with Melissa Senate on Tuesday, November 17 along with a giveaway of this title. Stop on by!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Week In Review: November 8-14

Week in Review

Hello Everyone! What another busy week for me and my family. Luckily I have the weekend off so I can relax and catch my breath. So far the little Red Headed Book Child is feeling good and starting to walk again with his cast off. I always say "Slow and steady wins the race!" for him. He has always had his own pace of things. It look him several months of walking holding onto our fingers before he really wanted to do it on his own. First child syndrome? Hovering mother? Maybe a little of both :) It's hard not to hover over him now after the break. I try to hover quietly and limit my gasps if he falls. ( good lord, it's exhausting!)

As for the rest of the gang, my husband is recovering from a short surgery yesterday and doing well. I am the caregiver of them all and NOT ALLOWED TO GET SICK! Do you hear me Gods?No sickness!!!

My adventures in books this week is me admitting to my addiction of the Frank Beddor/Looking Glass Wars.I'm hopeless. I finished Seeing Redd (review to come) and am now starting Arch Enemy. The illustrations are freakin' amazing! They have pictures of most of the characters in the copy of Seeing Redd that I have and they come to life, so vivid and extraordinary! Once again, don't you just LOVE this cover?
I also discovered the Graphic Novel about Hatter M, one of the characters in the series. How cool is that?

I can't beat this addiction. I just have to go with it. :) I am also reading Alice I have Been by Melanie Benjamin. I guess I'm having a mini unplanned Alice in Wonderland Challenge with myself!

Aside from this I wrote two reviews. One for the children's book Stop it! by Sally O. Lee and one for Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier (for the Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge).

I also passed on the Superior Scribbler Award to Christine (The happily Ever after), Amo (When a woman shakes her tablecloth), Alyssa (Teens Read and Write), GMR (Satisfaction for Insatiable Readers) and Rebecca (Lost in Books). I received this award from Kathleen (Celtic Lady Ramblings) and Melissa (Coffee Books and Laundry). Pass it on!

I decided, after much thought, to do a giveaway of my copy of Green by Ted Dekker. I really thought long and hard about this because I just didn't want to look bad, like I didn't take reviewing a book seriously. But I had to be honest with myself and I do this for fun and if it is not fun and becoming a stressful obligation then that needs to end. So the publisher is aware that I am not going to be reviewing this title and that my giveaw
ay winner will be! So check it out if you are interested.

The last note and the one I am very proud of was the nice email and comment I got from the author of The Water Giver. This was the book about the mother and son and his recovery from the skateboarding accident. She wrote this comment on my blog:

"This is Joan Ryan, the author of the book. I want to thank you, Michelle, for your review. You so understood what I was trying to capture -- you got everything -- the pain, the humor, the regret, the redemption -- the messy grappling that is parenthood. Thank you so much. BTW, we're still grappling. Ryan has left college. You can check out my blog, Brain Trust, at my web site ( It picks up sort of where the book leaves off . ."

I was so touched by this and emailed her back to say thanks. I am now following the continued story on her blog. If interested, you should check it out.

That's it for now, folks! Thanks for stopping by and as always, Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Giveaway for Green by Ted Dekker (with Instructions!)

GIVEAWAY! Ends Friday, November 20. Winner announced Saturday, November 21 in my Week in Review.

Hey everyone, this is a different giveaway for me because it comes with some instructions.

Here's what happened.

When I first started to blog I was looking into many opportunities to read and review books. I came across Thomas Nelson publishers from another blogger and thought I'd give it a go. I signed up and checked back every so often to see if there would be a book that I'd be interested in.

When Ted Dekker's Green showed up, I thought it would be a title I'd like to read, having heard of him but never read him. Shortly after I received it, my entire family got sick and then my son broke his leg (yada yada). Well, as you all know, I had limited time to read and when I did I really wanted to read something comforting and fun and more my speed. Green never shouted out to me but I knew I was needing to read and review it in a timely fashion. So I emailed the publisher and asked them what their timeline was. They said it was fine, just make sure it's done by the end of the year. I even offered to send it back but they said keep it and review it when you can.

Well it's now a month and half later and it is still not looking like I am going to get to reading this title. I feel bad because I did request it but I also know that it's a genre I won't enjoy and will have a hard time getting through. I've read the first chapter and am not wanting to go on.
I know, winning endorsement, right?

I know there are Ted Dekker fans out there who will not be swayed by my thoughts. I'm not trying to be negative, just honest.

So, long story short? I emailed the publisher back and gave it up. I was sincere and honest and said that I am not going to be able to review this book but that I would like to have a giveaway for it on my blog. The winner would have to read it within a month and write a review according to their guidelines, which I will post. This way it will still be out in circulation and reviewed. I will let the publisher know who the winner is so they and I can follow up.

I am very careful about what I request now. I don't request very many because I really do want to read everything that is sent to me but I think one slip up is allowed, don't you? Has it happened to any of you?

So, if you are interested in reading this title and reviewing it according to the guidelines, please leave a comment below with your email address. (or if you don't want to leave your email, send it to me at mine;
You must be a follower and you must reside in the U.S or Canada.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Here are the guidelines straight from the Thomas Nelson website: (read carefully!)


First and foremost, we want nothing but complete honesty in your reviews. If you loved the story, that’s great! That’s what we are striving for at Thomas Nelson. We want to consistently produce quality fiction that inspires, entertains, and challenges readers. If you didn’t enjoy a certain novel, well that’s great as well! Of course we want every title to be a home run with readers, but when they aren’t we want to know why. The only way we can continue to bring our readers consistent and quality fiction is to receive honest and unbiased feedback from them. We’re not asking for positive reviews in return for free review materials. We’re simply asking for complete objectivity.

We ask that you keep your reviews under 200 words if at all possible. This word count allows you to be informative without being too informative. We want your reviews to be read and most people tend to shy away from long reviews. Here is our recommendation for the structure of each review:


For the title of your post please include the title of the book and the author (e.g. House of Dark Shadows by Robert Liparulo)

Summary (50-100 words)

Please make sure your summary is in the first few sentences of the review.

  • What’s the story about? How would you describe this story to someone in 3 or 4 sentences?
  • Be careful not to give away major plot points, twists, or surprise endings.

Your Reactions (100-150 words)

Let us know what you liked and didn’t like about the novel.

  • Was the story suspenseful, frightening, or romantic? How did it make you feel?
  • Consider story elements such as plot, character development, dialogue, description, and scene. What worked and what didn’t?
  • Was the overall message inspiring? Were you challenged in your faith? Were you entertained?
  • Would you recommend this novel to others?

Please keep in mind that we prefer our fiction reviews to be spoiler free. We don’t want to take away from someone’s reading experience. If you think a line or a sentence from you review is too revealing it’s usually best to omit it or rewrite it.

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

To Award is to Love...(Superior Scribbler Award)

Good Afternoon Everyone. It is time to catch up on some Award Love. If you read my last Week in Review, I was given a few awards from my fellow bloggers and I can't tell you all how much it is appreciated.

One question to you all- Can you just give awards whenever you want? How does it work? I've passed on awards that were given to me but I have yet to just "give" an award. Really I am just award challenged, it's not like I don't want to. I guess I just need to be schooled on the how tos.

I received the Superior Scribbler Award from Melissa at Coffee, Books and Laundry and Kathleen at Celtic Lady Ramblings. Thank you! The rules for this award are as follows.
  • Each Superior Scribbler must in turn pass The Award on to 5 most-deserving Bloggy Friends.
    Each Superior Scribbler must link to the author & the name of the blog from whom he/she has received The Award.
    Each Superior Scribbler must display The Award on his/her blog, and link to This Post, which explains The Award.
    Each Blogger who wins The Superior Scribbler Award must visit this post and add his/her name to the Mr. Linky List. That way, we'll be able to keep up-to-date on everyone who receives This Prestigious Honor!
    Each Superior Scribbler must post these rules on his/her blog.
    I would like to award this to the following bloggers who I love to follow and read everything they write. (and you should too!) They are all so fun and talented.

    Rebecca= Lost in Books
    Happy Reading!
    * red headed book child

Tuesday, November 10, 2009

Review #24: Turkey Day Murder by Leslie Meier

Title: Turkey Day Murder

Author: Leslie Meier
Publisher: Kensington Books
Format: Paperback Library Loan
Genre: Mystery of the Cozy kind!

Challenge: Fall/Winter Mystery Reading Challenge from Mysteries and My Musings.

Rating: 3/5

My Review and Description:

Oh, to dive into another silly little adventure with Lucy Stone and the crazy New England town of Tinker's Cove. These are turning out to be fun and easy to read. This will be my third book in the series that I have read so far. I can't quite seem to give them more than a 3 rating due to it's simplicity and cheesiness (sp?). A 5 rating really smacks me in the face. A 4 rating stays with me. A 3 rating is decent and no problem to get through but doesn't leave a lasting flavor. That is kind of how I feel about these when I'm done.

This time around Lucy Stone finds herself now an official reporter at The Pennysaver, the local paper. Her oldest son is off at college and the three girls are now all in school. As long as she can manage getting dinner on the table at 6:00 every night, having a career doesn't bother her husband too much (so funny!). It starts off at a town meeting with Lucy there to report the notes for the paper. The heated topic this evening; whether or not to put down a local Native American's dog who killed some chickens on a neighboring farm. Dangerous? or just curious?

Well, that debate opens up a whole bunch of chaos regarding the town's tribe of Metinninut Indians and whether or not they can get regulations to build their casino on local farm land. The dog owner, a known Metinninut Indian activist, is caught in the middle and winds up dead.
Lucy, obviously being not only a reporter but a natural busy body, finds herself smack in the middle of the investigation. If only she could simply concentrate on Thanksgiving dinner and spend a moment alone with her newly independent college student of a son who wants nothing to do with her. Oh no...not going to happen.

Lucy is funny and relatable to me. I'm not nearly as conservative as she is in a lot of ways but her humor matches mine. In one case, she is in the kitchen and is desperately trying to get the turkey out of the roasting pan and it's sticking. Well, she puts a little too much push to it and it ends up on the kitchen floor. Of course, her youngest daughter walks in at that time and tells her that "You can't serve that now. It was on the floor!". Lucy mutters back to her "Don't say a word to anyone, or I'll kill you." One more protest from her daughter and she says,"Remember, one word and you die!". It's moments like this that I realize that Lucy is a little rougher around the edges and that's relatable. (not that I would use the words "kill you" but ....just saying, it was kind of funny to me!)

I'm reading these for a challenge and I'm glad I am. The next two of hers on my list are about Christmas. Mistletoe Murder and Christmas Cookie Murder. Stay tuned for those reviews in December.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Review #23: Stop It! by Sally Lee

Title: Stop it!

Author and Illustrator: Sally O. Lee
Publisher: Lee Publishing
Format: Review copy from author
Genre: Picture Book for Children under 5

Rating: 3/5

My Review and Description:

It's probably a bit suprising seeing a children's book being reviewed here since I haven't done one yet but I do read quite a few, mostly at my bookstore job on my break. I have been keeping an eye out for children's picture books that are available to review and when I saw this one, I requested it. It looked like fun.

First off, how I review picture books is based a lot on the illustrations. They are geared to attract and keep the attention of very young children (and some easily distracted adults.wink!) so the pictures should be eye catching. The second thing I look for is the message of the story. My two year old is a sponge. He soaks up everything so it's really important to me, as a parent, when reading to him, that the books involve a well rounded storyline with a positive message.

So having said that, Stop It! is a very sweet simple book. The story is about a little girl, Anabel,who likes to play dress up with her cat, Lulubell. But she gets bullied by her brother, George. And he picks on her cat. She stands up for herself and George sees the error of his ways and feels bad for what he's done. George is appointed King by Anabel and all is good. The End.

Simple story, sweet message, colorful illustrations. All in all, I rated it a 3. It is a decent read for a young reader but I like a bit more depth. This is a tough level of books. You don't want to have too much going on that the child doesn't understand but sometimes too simple is overlooked as well. I would read this to a younger toddler, age 3 or 4. That is the age when bullying starts and "MINE!" is shouted often. The message of asserting yourself and telling the bully to "Stop it!" is a good one.
Check out a short bio from the publisher's website here. She has a whole list of beautiful books for children.

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Sunday, November 8, 2009

Week In Review: November 1-7

Week in Review

This is my 100th Post! Boy I have really written quite a bit in such a short amount of time. :)

Hello Everyone! It's been a very busy week this past week and this weekend. It is my weekend to work so I've been tired and late with this post. I took some time off from my non-profit job to stay home with my son more during his cast recovery. If you've been reading earlier this week, the cast is now off! Whew! Boy was THAT a long month. Now he is recovering from a double ear infection (poor kid) and went through the roller coaster of being tested for H1N1 (negative!) I tell ya' Urgent Care is just such a fun fun place to be (sarcasm dripping heavily off this statement).
So as we start the new week and end the last, we are feeling better at the moment AND our leaves are all raked in our yard and filling about 45 bags. That has to be a good thing.

In my world of books, I have now fallen completely in love with the Frank Beddor The Looking Glass Wars series and wrote my review for that. I am now reading the second book, Seeing Redd. Isn't this an amazing cover? She is such a bad ass!

I finalized my first blog tour with Melissa Senate for her book, The Secret of Joy. I will be giving away a beautiful trade paperback of that title on Tuesday, November 17 and also posting a Q&A with her. Stop on by! My review for that book will be posted earlier next week to hopefully peak your interest.

I did not receive any books to review which is fine because I am loaded at this point! But I did win some lovely prizes and they were dropped on my doorstep this week (s0me unfortunately in the rain but were saved in time- Really, Mr. UPS man? Do you not see the rain coming off my house and landing directly on the package you just placed there? Sheesh!).
I won the Box-o-Books from Anna at Anna's Book Blog. I am just so tickled to have these books and all very new authors to me. Adventures in exciting!
I also won The Naming by Alison Croggon from Krista at Life or something like it. Very excited to read this series as well.

I won three awards from my fellow lovely bloggers. Super Comments Award from Michelle at The True Book Addict and the Proximidade Award from Julie at My 5 Monkeys and Superior Scribbler Award from Melissa at Coffee, Books and Laundry. Thank you all again! I also won a $15 Gift Card to Amazon from Jenny at Take Me Away. What on earth should I get?

Speaking of what to get, I signed up for the Book Blogger Holiday Swap and will become a secret santa to some lucky blogger. I had to start thinking of my Christmas list early when I was filling out the form. I'm still a little bit in Halloween mode. Go here to sign up.

I think that's it for the week. I'm sure I forgot something. My brain is fried and my body is pooped out from the crazy week. I need a moment to read some Seeing Redd and I'll be back in no time!

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Review #22: The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

Title: The Looking Glass Wars

Author: Frank Beddor
Publisher: Scholastic (Penguin Group)
Format: Paperback from
Genre: Young Readers 12-16

Rating: 5/5 (A very HIGH five!)

My Review and Description:

I almost don't know what else to say except that this book absolutely rocked...rocked my world. I shout a resounding YES!
Luckily I had a son who wanted to take a 2 1/2 hour nap today so I actually read 250 pages in that amount of time and finished it.

This book started out strong and kept going. It was non stop adventure from page one. I thought it was such a unique re-telling/re-do of Alice in Wonderland. It starts off with Alyss Heart on her 7th birthday and well on her way to learning the ropes of what it will mean to be the next Queen. All it takes is a very powerful, controlled imagination. However, her mean Aunt Redd ruins everything by invading her party and killing her mother and father, the King and Queen of Wonderland.

From that moment Alyss is thrust into an adventure of survival. But her quest takes her far from Wonderland and through the Pool of Tears and into London, circa the late 1800s. (how cool is that?!). There she meets a cast of characters from a group of street urchins and orphans to Prince Leopold, son of Queen Victoria.

The book follows a few different perspectives from this time on spanning almost 11 years. We follow Alyss, her best friend Dodge, Hatter Madigan-the former Queen's bodyguard, and Aunt Redd. Though the time passes quickly, the book tells the story in enough detail that you race through the pages wanting to know what happens next.

It comes together in the end and is once again action packed.

This is the kind of young adult book I like. It had the drama, suspense, imagination and heart. Even if you haven't read Alice in Wonderland or, if you are like me, don't remember anything from it, it is still charming and unique. I think it's a classic in it's own right.

I can not wait to get the second and third installment in this series. I can not believe I have waited so long to read these. I have to admit I liked it way more than Hunger Games and Catching Fire. I know! Gasp! (don't worry avid fans of Suzanne Collins, though I never got around to writing a review for those, I would rate them a 4!)

So this review is mainly just me babbling "Yes! Yes! Yes!" to this book with very little else to convince you to read it. Sometimes I just really like a book and it's hard for me to put it into words. It's just a feeling and since I just finished it a few hours ago, the feeling is fresh and strong and full of childish excitement. Is my excitement rubbing off on you atleast...a little?

The second book is Seeing Redd and the third is Arch Enemy. Check out Frank Beddor's website. (just for your quick reference)

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

"Waiting On" Wednesdays (and the Cast has cometh off!)

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

I am "waiting" on: The newest installment of Cleo Coyle's Coffeehouse mysteries. Coffee and murder, anyone? I'm still in such a cozy holiday mood that these are the kinds of books I am excited about. Okay, I guess I've read a bit more "cozy" then I remember.

(description from publisher website)

Holiday Grind by Cleo Coyle

There's nothing cozier than a winter evening in Greenwich Village. Streetlights shimmer through icy flakes, caf├ęs glow with welcoming warmth, and a layer of snow dusts historic townhouses like powdered sugar on holiday confections. Murder has no place in such a pretty picture, until now...

Coffeehouse manager Clare Cosi has grown very fond of Alfred Glockner, the part-time comic and genuinely jolly charity Santa who's been using her Village Blend as a place to warm his mittens. When she finds him brutally gunned down in a nearby alley, a few subtle clues convince her that Alfred's death was something more than the tragic result of a random mugging—the conclusion of the police. With Clare's boyfriend, NYPD Detective Mike Quinn, distracted by a cold case of his own, and ex-husband Matt investigating this year's holiday lingerie catalogs (an annual event), Clare charges ahead solo to solve her beloved Santa's slaying. Then someone tries to ice Clare, and she really gets steamed. But she'd better watch out, because

if she fails to stop this stone cold killer, she may just get the biggest chill of her life.

This very special holiday entry in Cleo Coyle's nationally bestselling mystery series includes a bonus section of delicious holiday recipes as well as a glossary of coffeehouse terms, instructions on making espressos and lattes without an expensive machine, and tips for creating tasty coffeehouse syrups at home.

This book comes out the end of November!

The best part of this week is that my baby's cast came off!!! Yeah!! He is a rolling machine. He can't walk yet though he tries to pull himself up and stand. But he is crawling and rolling and laughing and playing with his toes and belly (which he hasn't seen in over a month). He is so happy to sit by himself and play (pictured above) though he is still addicted to morning television. Grrr...atleast it's Sesame Street. :)

Happy Reading!

* red headed book child

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

(MizB of Should be Reading)
Grab your current read.
Let the book fall open to a random page.
Share with us two (2) “teaser” sentences from that page, somewhere between
lines 7 and 12.
You also need to share the title of the book that you’re getting your “teaser” from … that way people can have some great book recommendations if they like the teaser you’ve given!
Please avoid spoilers!

Sentence #1:
" Alyss turned, caught the weapon tossed to her by the white knight-the Hand of Tyman,five short sword blades rising from the handle grip."

Sentence #2:
"The passage led to a balcony overlooking the hollowed-out heart of the fortress."

The book:
The Looking Glass Wars by Frank Beddor

I am freaking LOVING it!

* red headed book child