Wednesday, August 31, 2011

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: September 2011

* The Winner of last month's Giveaway of
William Kent Krueger's Northwest Angle is...

"I am a new Follower of yours; and a new Follower of William Kent Krueger!
I would really like to win this Giveaway!
madley (AT) cogeco (DOT) ca
Thank you for this opportunity!

Thanks Patricia!

And now on to this month...

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: September

I have yet to give away a cozy type of mystery so I thought this month would be a good time to do that! I have never read this series before but I have heard good things. I was lucky to be able to partner with the publisher, Tor/Forge to share a copy with you all this month.
Thank you to them for being so kind!

Here is a little description of this series:

Midnight Louie Series

Temple Barr is an ace P.R. wizard when it comes to promoting Las Vegas’ hottest clients. She’s also an amateur sleuth who has caught her share of bad guys.

B-movie actress Savannah Ashleigh begs Temple to investigate the suspicious death of her rich aunt’s handyman. Temple happily takes the case, if for no other reason than to take her mind off her chaotic private life. Her ex-fiancĂ©, the Mystifying Max, is back–minus his memory. And current fiancĂ© Matt Devine has shown up from a stint in Chicago with the promise of a surprising future. Which may or may not include Temple.

As Temple digs into the man’s untimely demise she finds plenty of suspect and greedy humans swarming around the ailing Aunt Violet, who means to leave her estate to her resident cats. Temple thinks she’s close to solving the case, but it becomes clear to Midnight Louie, Temple’s roommate and ace feline detective, that there are more deaths both human and feline coming. Add in the return of a mysterious stalker from the past, and it's murder and mayhem on all fronts for Temple, Louie, and the ones they love in the newest story in the Midnight Louie mystery series.

Contest Rules:
* Please be a follower of my blog
* Please leave an email address
* Please reside in the US or Canada
* Please let me know if you have read this series before

Contest Runs from September 1- September 30

Thanks to all who entered last month and I look forward to seeing who enters
this month!!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Another Book Club, yes it's true.

Another book club opportunity has come up in my life and I am going for it! This time the club was started by a former Borders co-worker and friend, Laura. It's going to be a great opportunity to keep in touch with some of the lovely women I worked with over the years and r
ead some good books.

Here is Laura's blog, Myriad Musings and her post about our new club.

Wish me luck! We are meeting in September and reading The Wrong Mother by Sophie Hannah. I will review these books as separate reviews and not include them in any special book club posts. I will mention that they were chosen for my book club and I will share a few comments from the group. I'm excited! Yes, it means more reading but it's a great excuse to get together! I have many of these books on my shelf so I can scratch them off my Reading from my Shelves Project too.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, August 23, 2011

The Legacy by Katherine Webb (review #134)

Title: The Legacy
Author: Katherine Webb
Publisher: Harper Collins
Genre: Fiction
Format: Review Copy

This book was compared to the books of Kate Morton so I knew I had to jump on it. It did not disappoint. I must say, though, my reading time is sorely lacking. I am taking so long finishing books these days. It's becoming a tad stressful. AND I joined another bookclub. I'm crazy!
I have decided to not to do any tours for the rest of the year and possibly not accept anymore books to review until next year. I know! Scary but reality is that I don't have time to read and review that much these days. I want to relax and not feel any pressure. I really want to enjoy the books that I have chosen already and not keep piling them on.

I digress.

I simply must say, I loved this book. It was right up my alley. It is literary fiction with a hint of suspense. It had the weaving story lines and different voices in each section that I like. It had the hidden secrets, the drama, the familial entanglements and the love story.
I was eager to get back to it every chance I could.

Here is a description from Goodreads:

In 1903, New York heiress Caroline marries a cattle rancher and moves with him to rural Oklahoma, where she finds herself wholly out of her depth. Unable to adjust to the isolation of the vast prairies, Caroline grows increasingly frightened and unhappy. Driven to the edge of reason she commits a terrible crime from which she flees, all the way to London, to start a new life as the wife of English aristocrat Henry Calcott. She moves to Storton Manor in Wiltshire, but soon finds that the repercussions of her actions have crossed the Atlantic with her, and will not be so easily forgotten. In the bitter winter of 2008, following the death of their grandmother, Erica Calcott and her sister Beth return to Storton Manor, where they spent the summer holidays as children. As she begins to sort through her grandmother's belongings, Erica is inundated with memories of her childhood, and of Dinny, a local boy whom she idolised. She also remembers her spiteful cousin, Henry, whose disappearance from the manor tore the family apart. Convinced that she should remember what happened to Henry, Erica sets out to uncover the truth. She is reunited with Dinny, and finds herself as drawn to him in adulthood as she was as a child. Haunted by emotions and suspicions, Erica delves deeply into her memories, revisiting the people and places that shaped her childhood, and bringing to light a truth more shocking than she had ever imagined.

There is quite a bit going on in this book but it never feels heavy or confusing to me. I enjoyed Caroline's story a bit more but was still eager to discover the secrets of Erica and Beth as well. Overall, I found this to be an intriguing debut of an author I would keep an eye on. To be able to intricately weave a complicated familial drama together takes skill and I feel that
Katherine Webb has it.

Rating: 5/6
If you are a fan of literary fiction in the style of Kate Morton, you would enjoy this book. It was well written, well put together and filled with all the juicy things a book should have; drama, love, secrets, betrayals, complicated characters and a moody, atmospheric setting.

To Purchase:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, August 18, 2011

Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens (review #133)

Title: Never Knowing
Author: Chevy Stevens
Genre: Mystery/Thriller
Publisher: St .Martin's Press
Format: ARC from work

This review will be a bit brief since I read this over a month ago and am not remembering the fine details of what I felt about it. I am a bit behind on my reviews.

I read Chevy Stevens' first novel, Still Missing, and it still haunts me. I was a bit behind on new books apparently because I discovered this new book by her from a fellow blogger. Usually if I really like a book by someone, I try to keep an eye out for the next. Too busy, I guess!

This book I was able to digest a bit better. Still Missing was just plain creepy and I couldn't get it out of my head, which is good in some ways but also not good if you want to go to sleep at night. This one definitely still had that heavy feel to it and the circumstances that surround the main character are horribly tragic and full of terrible suspense in each and every chapter but it had a better build to it and it ended much better.

Here is the description from the Amazon:

At thirty-four Sara Gallagher is finally happy. Her antique furniture restoration business is taking off and she’s engaged to a wonderful man. But there’s one big question that still haunts her — who are her birth parents? Sara is finally ready to find out.

Some questions are better left unanswered.

Sara’s birth mother rejects her—again. Then she discovers her biological father is an infamous killer who’s been hunting women every summer for over thirty years. Sara tries to come to terms with her horrifying parentage — and her fears that she’s inherited more than his looks — with her therapist, Nadine, who we first met in Still Missing. But Sara soon realizes the only thing worse than finding out your father is a killer is him finding out about you.

What if murder is in your blood?

Never knowing is a complex and compelling portrayal of one woman’s quest to understand where she comes from. That is, if she can survive…

Stevens' seems to be settling into the niche of psychological thrillers, putting ordinary people in extraordinary situations. I seem to like that kind of crap and pray to God that nothing like that would ever happen to me! Sara's character was a bit manic and annoying but then, heck, look what is happening to her. I certainly didn't imagine me doing anything better or more calm!

Rating: 5/6
It's really filled with lots of twists and unimagined events. I really had a hard time putting it down. Overall, I recommend it to anyone wanting a suspenseful, thrilling read. If you are a fan of Harlan Coben and Laura Lippman, you would be a fan of Chevy Stevens. I look forward to seeing what she comes up with next!

Author Website:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, August 16, 2011

ICE: A Memoir of Gangster LIfe and Redemption- from South Central to Hollywood by Ice-T and Douglas Century (GUEST REVIEW)

Title: ICE: A Memoir of Gangster LIfe and Redemption- from South Central to Hollywood
Authors: Ice-T and Douglas Century
Publisher: One World (Ballantine Books)
Genre: Memoir
Format: Review Copy

For those of you who followed my BEA posts from this year, you know that I really wanted to meet Ice-T and his wife, Coco at the Autographing Events. I just made it in time to get a few far away pictures but I was unable to get a ticket to meet them.
Thanks to a fabulous fellow from Random House, I was at least able to get a copy of Ice's book to read and review. I probably would have lost the one ounce of cool I have anyway, if I would have met him.

My husband is a huge fan as well and asked, in all seriousness, if I could smuggle in a copy of the CD OG: Original Gangster to get signed. Me, in all my book nerd glory, clutching a crusty old copy of "one of the greatest rap albums ever!" (According to my husband). What a sight! I would have done it though, darnit! Because of his respect for all things Ice, he snagged the book before I could. So, today's review, is brought to you by one of my awesome Guest Reviewers, Sean; The Husband.

Sean's Review:

OK, first off, I gotta say; this was the single best memoir I've EVER read. Mostly because I have followed his career for a couple of decades and of the many OG Hip-Hop artists on the scene back in the day, Ice-T was always one of the most outspoken, honest, no holds barred players represented by a major label. Sire (Warner Bros.) took a huge leap of faith with him, and when adversity hit; record sales alone were not enough to keep the PMRC off his back, so like the gentleman he is, he volunteered to opt out of the contract, thus saving WB (and himself) some face.
This book explains all this, and pretty much anything else you could ever want to know about this remarkable man; in a voice undeniably Ice-T. The writing flows like freestyle spitting, with just enough verbose terminology to legalese ratio. Obviously, this guy has been around lawyers long enough to be 100% legit, while still throwing some mad game.
This book is a window into the soul of one of the most enigmatic rappers of the 20th century, and I think should be recommended reading for any young adult / music industry aficionados, or even students of philosophy/ cultural anthropology. It is so refreshing to read a memoir that basically states "Yo, I was stupid, and here's why." complete with an index of 50 "life lessons" in the back that summarizes his life experiences in an easily digested form. HIGHLY recommended.

What a passionate review! Thanks Sean!

Here's a link to an early song that Sean feels encompasses his attitude towards gang life
and life in general.
(Caution: Includes Explicit Lyrics)

And thanks, once again, to Tom from Random House for sending me a copy of this book.

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Thursday, August 11, 2011

Bloodspell by Amalie Howard (review #132)

Title: Bloodspell
Author: Amalie Howard
Publisher: Langdon Street Press
Genre: Young Adult
Format: Review Copy

Back when I first started my blog, I used to read and review any and all genres. I have since changed my policy to review only literary fiction, mysteries and memoirs. I still read other genres, I just don't review them. I wanted to have a bit more focus to my blog.
Young Adult has always been a genre that I enjoy, especially in the last few years when there has been so many wonderful novels written. I knew the blog universe had enough Young Adult reviewers so I didn't feel bad not sharing my opinion.
Well, I'm making an exception for Bloodspell!

I am choosing to review Bloodspell not only because I think it is a wonderful debut, but also because I met Amalie Howard at a party in NYC during BEA this year. It was at a little function for JKS Communications, the literary publicity firm that handles Sandra Brannan's books. They also have Amalie as a client. We were placed at the same table, along with a few others and really hit it off! She is an absolute delight and I clicked with her much like I clicked with Sandra the year before. (JKS, they make good authors!!!)

I wasn't able to get a copy while I was in NYC because all of her copies went right away at the morning of the Book Blogger Convention, before my lazy butt got there! Marissa from JKS was kind enough to send me my copy in June.

I finally finished it a few weeks and I really, really enjoyed it!!! I want you all to take a peak at what it's all about and show some support to Amalie. She certainly deserves it!

Here is a description from the book's website:

The spell was simple …

Cruentus Protectum. Defend the Blood.

But what do you do if your blood is your enemy?

Victoria Warrick has always known she was different. An outcast at school, she is no stranger to adversity. But when she receives an old journal for her seventeenth birthday, nothing prepares her for the dark secrets it holds—much less one that reveals she’s a witch with unimaginable power.

What’s more, when she meets the dazzling but enigmatic Christian Devereux, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. Enemies will hunt her. Friends will turn on her. The terrible curse that makes her blood run black will stop at nothing to control her. And Christian has a sinister secret of his own …

Without knowing whom to trust, can Victoria survive her blood’s deadly desires?

Or will she lose everything, including herself?

ISBN: 978-1-936782-11-6 | Langdon Street Press

One could say there are plenty of Young Adult titles that match an "outcast" type of girl with a dark and brooding type of boy. And Bloodspell has that element at the very base of its storyline. But it expands quite quickly as you read on, into almost a historical thriller. Tori's past is sprinkled in, in letter form as we learn of where her powers come from. It is unique. I liked that her power came from her blood. That, to me, was a different twist.
Christian's character was interesting to read as well, in how he develops and how he, as a vampire, reacts to Tori's abilities. I liked the love and rage battle he felt at times. It didn't just feel like the same ol' "I can't love you because I might want to eat you" beat.

Overall, it was filled with the right amount of love, angst, drama, thriller, adventure and fantasy/horror. I think Amalie has created a intriguing beginning to a possible series? trilogy? Though written as a stand alone, the ending does leave you with a question mark. :)
We'll see where it takes us!

Rating: 5/6
I think readers of all ages would enjoy this, meaning teen on up. It has a blend of paranormal, romance and literary thriller that it really could appeal to many different audiences. Knowing the author is a true gem, makes me want more readers to discover it. It is a strong, well written debut.

Author Profile:

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Friday, August 5, 2011

The Very Thought of You by Rosie Alison (review #131)

Title: The Very Thought of You
Author: Rosie Alison
Publisher: Washington Square Press (Simon and Schuster)
Format: Review Copy
Genre: Fiction

I'm immediately drawn to beautiful covers and I will almost always read the back of one. When this arrived for me in the mail a few weeks ago, I knew it would be one on my list to read right away. The cover is not only beautiful, the book itself is compared to the novels of Kate Morton. She is one of my favorite authors. I was now even more curious.

It took me awhile to finish it but only due to my hectic schedule.
It was an emotional read full of highs but mostly lows.
It was written with a sorrowful tenderness almost too hard to explain.

Here is the synopsis from the publisher's website:

England, 31st August 1939: The world is on the brink of war. As Hitler prepares to invade Poland, thousands of children are evacuated from London to escape the impending Blitz. Torn from her mother, eight-year-old Anna Sands is relocated with other children to a large Yorkshire estate which has been opened up to evacuees by Thomas and Elizabeth Ashton, an enigmatic, childless couple. Soon Anna gets drawn into their unraveling relationship, seeing things that are not meant for her eyes and finding herself part-witness and part-accomplice to a love affair with unforeseen consequences. A story of longing, loss, and complicated loyalties, combining a sweeping narrative with subtle psychological observation, The Very Thought of You is not just a love story but a story about love.

The Characters:
The book was written from many different perspectives, mainly Anna and Thomas and Elizabeth. You also hear a little from Anna's parents, Roberta and Lewis. I enjoyed the different voice in each chapter. It added to the layer of the story. Not all authors can pull it off with little confusion. I felt Rosie Alison did a fine job. I enjoyed the innocence of Anna's voice but what intrigued me more was the turbulent dynamic between Thomas and Elizabeth. They were both extremely flawed characters, unhappy and stuck in their existence. You are drawn to them because of their class and their beauty but what lies beneath is utter sadness. Though hard to read at times, I found their parts to be unputdownable. I was just curious as to what their next move might be.
Roberta and Lewis are side characters but for the sake of the story as a whole, it was important to learn of their life and how it was impacted by the separation from their child.

The Location:
There is always something so moody about the English countryside. Books set in this location tend to be my favorites, especially if you throw in a large estate and a family with secrets. The author include an introduction entitled Guide to Historic Houses of England, which was fascinating to read and set up the mood of the book quite nicely.

The Story:
I am intrigued with the time period of this war. It amazes me that families parted from their children to keep them safe. I understand it but it scares me to think I would ever have to make that decision. I felt the sadness of Roberta parting with Anna. I felt Anna's fear when she arrived at Ashton Place. I could feel the heaviness of the what was happening in the world at that time. Wrapped up with that you get an extrememly unhappy marriage, secrets and betrayals and lots of unfortuante things that end up happening to these characters. It was a sad read but it was written really well. It kept my interest until the end. I just hoped for a happier outcome for all of them.

Rating: 5/6
I would rate this a 5, highly recommended. She is a new author and it may have shown a bit in some of the writing but overall, I felt she created a tangled web worth reading. Fans of literary or historical fiction would like this one.

Book Club Pick?
Hmm, sure. It brings up thoughts of the history of that time; Hitler and war. It also brings up class and societal rules, infidelity, education, etc. I think book clubs would find plenty to discuss.

Author's Pubisher Page:

To Purchase:

Happy reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Tuesday, August 2, 2011

Thrill Week-September 1-8


This is a TEASER.......... Save the date.

Sept 1 - 8

I will give more details soon and introduce 'Friends'

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: August 2011

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways: July 2011

Are you ready for this one? I am really excited to give away this new thriller by William Kent Krueger. If you have not read him, he is an extremely talented writer. He will suck you in.
This book is #11 in the Cork O'Connor series but I've been told you do not have to read them in order, unless you are super OCD about that kind of stuff.

He is a local author for me. He lives in St. Paul, MN. I had the chance to meet him many years ago during a drop by signing of his stock at my bookstore. The one thing I remember was his comment to me. He said "You are a really good bookseller!". To explain, I had to help several customers while he was waiting for me to gather up his stock to sign. He watched me for about 10 minutes bustling around! Thanks to him for that comment.

Here is a description of Northwest Angle from the author's website:

During a houseboat vacation on the remote Lake of the Woods, a violent gale sweeps through unexpectedly, stranding Cork and his daughter, Jenny, on a devastated island where the wind has ushered in a force far darker and more deadly than any storm. Amid the wreckage, Cork and Jenny discover an old trapper’s cabin where they find the body of a teenage girl. She wasn’t killed by the storm, however; she’d been bound and tortured before she died. Whimpering sounds coming from outside the cabin lead them to a tangle of branches toppled by the vicious winds. Underneath the debris, they find a baby boy, hungry and dehydrated, but still very much alive. Powerful forces intent on securing the child pursue them to the isolated Northwest Angle, where it’s impossible to tell who among the residents is in league with the devil. Cork understands that to save his family he must solve the puzzle of this mysterious child whom death follows like a shadow.

Author Website:

Contest Rules:
Runs August 2- August 30
* Please be a follower
* Please leave an email address
* Please reside in the United States or Canada.

Extra Note: For my mystery/thriller readers, could you please post about this giveaway? I am trying to branch out and find more mystery/thriller readers and I know they are out there!!!
I will add an extra entry for those that do!!!
I appreciate it!

Thank you to the publisher Atria for offering a copy to give away!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

Monday, August 1, 2011

The Year of Mysterious Giveaways July winner

Thank you to everyone who entered in July's Mysterious Giveaway!
Thank you to the publisher for offering a copy to give away!

Ann from Cozy in Texas is the winner!
She writes...

What a fun book.

Stay tuned for next month's giveaway title!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child

I'm a shining star!

Cheryl from CMash Loves to Read is featuring me as her Sunday Shining Star this week.
I am a day late in posting this info to you all so you better hurry over there and check me out!

I am honored to be featured on her blog. She has an amazing site you all should check out.
Here is the post for you all to read. Be sure to stop by each Sunday, when she features another new blogger for us all to get to know.

Thanks Cheryl!

Happy Reading and as always, thanks for stopping by!

red headed book child