Archive | July, 2010

And the read-a-thon curse continues

31 Jul

So, as you may know from yesterday’s post, I found a bunny under my car, further proving that I am cursed when it comes to read-a-thons. Well, there’s is actually a second part to the story.

See, our neighbors across the street raise bunnies so we naturally thought that maybe the bunny was an escapee. We trekked over to ask. The hubs went into the barn to look at the rabbits to do a little comparison. Bad move. In the barn he discovered a teeny, tiny two week old baby rabbit that was being, well, chewed on. He was obviously the runt of the litter and someone had chomped off his ear.

We came home and hubby was obviously upset over this little fella. So…… yeah, we went back and got him. Upon further examination I noticed he was missing several toes and had bite marks all over him.  We tried bottle feeding him, then gave him some hay which he happily munched on. Since I named the first bunny Katniss, I decided the baby would be Rue.

So, you’d think that would be enough to convince me that I am cursed, right? Think again. The hubs just got off the phone with a good rehabber friend of ours. Looks like tomorrow morning I’ll be on my way to pick up an injured fledgling blue-jay. Yeppers, you heard right.

So, I think I may have to retire from read-a-thons. Because at this rate, by the time Dewey’s roles around in October, I’ll need to find room for an elephant.

The read-a-thon curse

30 Jul

Do you believe in fate? Kismet? Serendipity? I don’t. Or at least I didn’t. But I am starting to believe that I have been fated to never take part in a read-a-thon again. And I strongly believe I have been cursed.

Here’s the deal: I sign up for a read-a-thon. I gather my books to read, pick-out a comfy spot and assemble my snacks. Then, I wait in anticipation for the magical hour where I will begin reading straight for 24 or 48 hours.  In the past year I have signed up for three read-a-thons. I have completed one. The other two were waylaid not by work, nor sickness. There was no big family emergency. What there was, however were animals in need of my  help.

The first botched read-a-thon effort saw two baby crows arriving. While they were pretty self-sufficient, I still had to keep an eye on them, making sure that they were eating. I also had to make sure that they didn’t get injured in the aviary and learned to fly. It took up time. Reading time. I vowed that the next read-a-thon would be mine.

It finally came. And so did a pair of baby raccoons that required bottle feeding every hour along with blanket changes. One was quite sickly, so we had to keep a close eye on her. No reading done.

Then today came. Another read-a-thon! I was excited and Hell bent to read as much as I could over the next 48 hours. Since Spring was over and the crows and raccoons were gone, I knew that the odds of being interrupted by baby animals was slim. I was set to go. Then I went to get the mail and discovered this under my car:

Yes, folks, that’s right: on the morning of the big week-end read-a-thon I found a female lionhead rabbit under my car. I’ve named her Katniss and she is currently living in our bedroom until we go out and buy her a hutch. I’m sure I’ll get some reading done this week end, but not as much as I wanted to. Afterall, I have to help Katniss adjust to her new life here in the madhouse.

So, you see, I’m cursed. Doomed to love books and never be able to fully take part in a read-a-thon. It’s just my lot in life. Sigh.

She is awfully cute, though, isn’t she?

Friday Finds

30 Jul

Friday Finds is a weekly book meme hosted by Should Be Reading. It’s  a fun way to share books that you’ve recently discovered.

Another Pan by Daniel and Dina Nayeri

The House of the Scorpion by Nancy Farmer

Arranged by Catherine McKenzie

Guest post by Kristie Cook and Promise giveaway

30 Jul

Yesterday, I reviewed my first ever adult romance book, Promise by Kristie Cook. Today Kristie was sweet enough to pop by and give us the low-down on some of the characters. And she’s also offered up one signed copy of Promise for me to give away.

Oh, today is also a double whammy special day for Kristie. Not only is it her birthday, but it’s the official release day for Promise!

Happy birthday release day sweetie!

Meet the Cast

At least for me, what makes a book great is the cast of characters. A good plot with twists and turns is necessary, too, and the setting can also contribute a great deal. It’s the characters, though, that really bring the story alive. Here’s a little introduction to the cast you’ll meet in Promise.

Alexis Ames – She’s the main character and the story is told from her first-person perspective. We meet her at 18 years old, but she grows and matures through the series. At the beginning of Promise, she’s young and pretty inexperienced in many things. She’s in most ways normal, but she has a few quirks – an unusually powerful sense of smell, a sixth sense that detects whether someone’s overall intentions are good or bad and the ability to heal almost instantaneously. Also, certain emotions bring out an inhuman strength. So she knows she’s not normal and she wants to know why. She’s been teased and betrayed by kids and even adults in the past, resulting in emotional pain, loss and suffering, so she trusts no one but her mother. When she gets attached, though, it’s for life. Because it takes so much for her to get to this point, her feeling of loss and pain when she loses someone is exponentially greater than most of us. She desires a career as an author, and more than anything, true love and a normal family with a stable life. At the beginning, she’s focused on finding out whom she really is so she can make adjustments and still reach her goals. By the end of the book, her priorities have changed, with survival at the top.

Tristan Knight – Aaahhh, Tristan. Yummy. That’s all we care about. Okay, not really. Because he’s much more than eye-candy. He’s an artist, an athlete and more educated than most people will ever be. He enjoys almost any activity, but mostly…well…I’ll just call it extreme sports. Tristan has had a rough past – one that he’s not proud of. After all, he was created by Satan’s minions. Converted to the good side for many years, he strongly desires to be good, but the nature bred into him tries to fight this, especially with Alexis. It’s an internal battle he struggles with every day. There’s much more to share, but I think I’ll let you find out in the books. I don’t want to ruin the fun of uncovering his secrets. J

Sophia Ames – Alexis’s mother, who at first seems uncaring and not very loving, but she behaves the way she does for very good reasons. She actually loves Alexis more than anything and always has her best interests at heart. She’s inhumanly beautiful and doesn’t age, so she looks like she’s about twenty-seven…forever. She’s abnormally strong and can kick some serious butt when necessary. She tries to raise Alexis as normally as she can, though, so she hides her abilities and powers. Though her role in Promise and Purpose is pretty rigid, I had a lot of fun doing her full character sketch. She has a difficult but really colorful background that I hope comes out in future books.

Owen Allbright – Owen is one of those characters who I thought would serve a very small role, but he becomes a major player in the following books. At first glance, he’s extremely laid back and doesn’t seem to have a care in the world. But, like everyone else, there’s much more to him than what meets the eye. He’s been a fun character to develop and write. He also has an unexpectedly interesting background. And that’s all I’ll say about him, so I don’t spoil anything.

Those are the four main characters. There are several characters that seem to play a minor role in Promise, but don’t dismiss anyone. They are all more than what they seem. There are even a couple that you’ll think we’re completely done with, but you never know who might pop up later. They surprise even me.

I’ve learned to let them tell me what happens, not to try to force them into how I think it should be. When I do that, they really come alive and the story becomes better than I could have ever done on my own. Do you get the feeling that I think they’re real? Yeah, we writers are weird like that. But if our characters don’t feel real to us, how could we even begin to convince you that they’re worth knowing?

The Giveaway

So, I have one signed copy of Promise to give away to a lucky ready. To enter, just comment below and let me know which of the four you are the most curious to get to know in the book. I’ve already read Promise, so I’ve met them all, but I am most curious to get to know more about Owen. Sure, Tristan is drop-dead gorgeous and a dream in a tight t-shirt, but Owen’s more my speed.

Contest is open until the 6th of August. US and Canadian entries only, please.

48 hour read-a-thon book list

29 Jul

So, here is my list of books that I will be choosing from for this week-end’s big Read-a-thon, hosted by Wallace over at Unputdownables. I know I won’t get through ALL of these books, but I’m shooting for three or four.

Countdown – Deborah Wiles
Dark Life – Kat Falls
A Curse Dark as Gold – Elizabeth C Bunce
Go Mutants – Larry Doyle
Rough Magic – Caryl Cude Mullin
Death’s Excellent Vacation – ed. Charlaine Harris

Oh, and since I have to drive over to my folks twice a day to take care of their animals while they are away, and the trip is about 45 each way, I’ll be delving into the world of the audio book with Maggie Stiefvater’s Linger.

Review:Promise by Kristie Cook

29 Jul

Ang’dora Books, 2010

When Alexis Ames is attacked by creatures that can’t be real, she decides it’s time she learns who she really is, with or without the help of her mother, who guards their family’s secrets closely. After meeting the inhumanly attractive, multi-talented Tristan Knight, however, Alexis retreats behind her façade of normalcy…until she discovers he’s not exactly normal either. Then their secrets begin to unravel. Their union brings hope and promise to her family’s secret society, the Angels’ army, and to the future of mankind. But it also incites a dangerous pursuit by the enemy – Satan’s minions and Tristan’s creators. After all, Alexis and Tristan are a match made in Heaven and in Hell.

From Amazon website.

Okay, here’s the thing: I don’t like romance books. I never had. Not since junior high when I devoured those stupid little Sweet Dreams books that were all romance and gave totally dorky, impressionable 13 year old me the wrong idea about love and romance. In my early 20s I tried a Harlequin and then a Danielle Steel. Yeah, hated them both. From that moment on I decided to stop trying to like romance and I’ve shunned the genre ever since. Hell, I usually mock it every chance I get.

Then in the last six months I have sloooowly started reading and enjoying YA with elements of romance, as long as there is plenty of paranormal to go with it. (Shiver, Linger, Evermore). But I’ve still steered clear of adult romance novels. Cuz I hate them.

Yeah, well, please gather ’round as I eat my words topped of with a touch of crow and humble pie. I just finished Kristie Cook’s Promise and I kinda dug it. And – wait for it – it’s a ROMANCE BOOK!

Yes, folks I have read and enjoyed a romance book. I found myself furiously flipping through the pages in order to find out what happened next. Alexis was an interesting main character and while not my type, I’m sure most gals will find Tristan the perfect male lead.

Since this is the first adult romance book I’ve read in over 15 years, I can’t really say how the romance aspects holds up with other books.  What I can tell you is it was the epic, soul mate kinda love.  Instant attraction, instant love, meant to be together, the whole nine yards. And while on it’s own this could be seen as a bit over the top and cheesy to the likes of me, it tied in so nicely with the main story line that it wasn’t. See, there was a purpose to their all consuming love. A reason. This made all the difference for me.

Okay, the paranormal plot. I likes it! It was different from other paranormal angel-related books I’ve read, but wasn’t completely coming from left field. I found myself wanting to know about Alexis’ past and her family almost as much as Alexis herself wanted to know. The lore was well explained and well written. It trickled out over the course of the book, rather than being spat out all at once. There were two key scenes in which the more knowing characters explained to Alexis (and me) what the heck was going on, but the hints had been there.

Cook’s descriptive writing made me feel like I was right in the middle of the story. Lately I’ve been all about the little details and have come to realize that quite often it is what is happening in between the big events in a book that makes the whole thing seem real. Cook’s eye to detail, whether describing a room or how a character is holding themselves, all added to the believability of the story.

Promise is the first in Cook’s Soul Saver series. The second book, Purpose is out this fall. All I can say is I can’t wait to read Purpose and see where all this is going.

If you like romance and paranormal, I strongly suggest picking this up. Hell, even if you aren’t big on romance, give it a try. I did and I’m glad.

Thanks so, so much to Kristie Cook for the review copy.

Oh, make sure to come back tomorrow for a guest post from Kristie AND the chance to win your own copy of Promise!

48 hour Read-a-thon

28 Jul

Okay, I am once again signing up for a read-a-thon. Yes, despite the fact that almost EVERY read-a-thon I have ever signed up for has been sidetracked by sickness, house buying or baby raccoons.

Wallace and the folks over at Unputdownables are hosting a 48 hour TBR read-a-thon this week end. The goal is to work your way through some of your To Be Read pile. (Or in come cases TBR bookcases). My review copies are starting to gather into a nice stressful group, so I thought this would be the perfect time to get through a few of them.

I’m not sure what books I’ll be reading. As many of you know from my It’s Monday! What are you reading? posts I don’t do very good with book lists. What I’ll probably do is compile a list of books and pick from that. ‘Course that doesn’t always work with me either. Sigh.

I’ll be posting a list o’books later anyway, so we can all have a chuckle over the fact that I probably won’t stick to it.

Wednesday’s Words

28 Jul

If you try to read between the moments
of beauty and breath
you will only find delirious creation.
It peaks out from behind curtains
of straightforward thinking.

There is only room for need,
never any space for want
though you can see it reflecting off thoughts
like stars on our bayou.

With him I am every piece of art,
every word, every note.

Teaser Tuesdays

27 Jul

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

  • 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!

This week’s teaser is from Kristie Cook’s Promise:

As soon as Owen arrived and relieved me of my duties, I hurried home to search Mom’s room. I didn’t expect to find anything I hadn’t already discovered while unpacking, but there was something right on her nightstand.

– p.75

Review: Fat Vampire: A Never Coming of Age Story by Adam Rex

27 Jul

HarperCollins Canada, 2010

Doug Lee is undead quite by accident—attacked by a desperate vampire, he finds himself cursed with being fat and fifteen forever. When he has no luck finding some goth chick with a vampire fetish, he resorts to sucking the blood of cows under cover of the night. But it’s just not the same.

Then he meets the new Indian exchange student and falls for her—hard. Yeah, he wants to bite her, but he also wants to prove himself to her. But like the laws of life, love, and high school, the laws of vampire existence are complicated—it’s not as easy as studying Dracula. Especially when the star of Vampire Hunters is hot on your trail in an attempt to boost ratings. . . .

From HarperCollins Canada website.

So, it’s no secret that most YA vampire books are geared towards masses of swooning teenage girls. The vampires are male, drop-dead gorgeous and very broody.  Yeah, well, this is definitely not one of those books. And for that reason alone I think it should be read. Doug is in no way a mysterious, annoyingly sparkly vamp: he’s over-weight, social awkward and, well, a bit of a dick.

It’s a true testament to Rex’ writing that I really enjoyed this book but didn’t like the main character a whole lot. Doug is socially awkward, a true geek who isn’t quite sure how to talk to people, especially girls. Big whoop. Hell, I married one of those. But he is also rude, obnoxious, self-absorbed and kinda douchey. From what I remember he’s a typical fifteen year old boy. Once I drew from my vast memory bank and realized just what most teenage boys are like, I found I didn’t dislike Doug as much. And then I thanked the gods I wasn’t a teenage girl.

This book is FUNNY. There were times I was reading it when I’m sure the hubs thought I was having a nervous break-down. At the beginning of the book, there is talk of a vampire movie that is on every Saturday. To rid the town of vampires the heroes had to kill the antique shop owner who was the leader. The two actors were named Cody. (Anyone around in the 80s should know where I’m going with this). Once I clued into the joke, I laughed my ass off. There were other funny pop-culture references throughout the book, including a show based on hunting vampires and a trip to Comic-Con. (Yeah, reading about Comic-con right now totally upped my envy-meter).

I did find at times that the tone was a bit uneven. This may have been because the book is told from three different view points PLUS there are scenes describing the Vampire Hunter show (I found these annoying and distracting).  But even with the unevenness in tone, something that can be a deal-breaker for me when it comes to books, I enjoyed Fat Vampire.

If you are getting tired of all the cliche YA vampire books out there, I  think you should really give Fat Vampire a read.  It was wonderfully weird and so, so awkward at times, making it a fun read.

Browse inside Fat Vampire.

Thanks to HarperCollins Canada for the review copy.