Archive for April, 2012



She Speaks to Angels (AngelFire Chronicles, #1)

 

Allison Maney is in English class thinking about the guy she had a crush on, Dameon. She had finally gotten up the nerve to say hi.  Making an entrance to the class that everyone noticed, including the teacher, she is called upon to read aloud. As she finishes, the class is absolutely silent. She looks up to see something drop outside past the window. Its Tommy Bachelor, and he’s surely dead. Looking out at the lump on the ground, with the widening red pool, Allison is shocked as is the rest of the class. School is let out for the rest of the week and Allison and her friends, Molly and Jennifer, decide they need to look into Tommy’s death. Tommy’s not the first to die at their school, in fact he is the 5th teen to commit suicide in 7 years at the school, the 6th death if you count the girl who was found in the park. Something is just not right.

 
The 3 girls get a hold of some papers and a kindle reader belonging to Tommy. His kindle has books and pictures of Angels and his papers are also full of drawings of angels. What could this mean? And why did Allison see an angel in her window? And whats with the strange fog that seems to be following the girls.

 
The girls go for coffee at their favorite spot to talk about Tommy and to figure out what they should do. Kian, Krysta and the silent Nathaniel are sitting at the table the girls usually occupy. They’re new transfers to the school, not yet starting when Tommy dies. Why then do they seem to know so much about him?

 
Allison comes to the realization that angels exist and are living in her city. She’s shocked when she finds out that not just angels but demons as well reside in New York. She also learns that due to her probing into Tommy’s death she has caused a shift, a lessening of power to both demons and angels, and now the demons want her dead.

 
But who is angel and who is demon and will the demons succeed in murdering Allison?

 
An interesting story, with a good grasp of teenage feelings, fears and desires. At times the story lacked continuity in flow but still a good read, one that the YA group would very much enjoy. This is book 1 of the series and I look forward to reading more of the story.

 
I recieved this copy through LibraryThing in exchange for an honest review.


A rather dreary morning, I was up early to take my stepson to football camp.  He volunteers his time to coach younger children football.  He’s been involved with our local minor football league first as a player and now as a coach.   I really admire him for volunteering several hours a week to teach and coach younger kids.  Not many 19-year-old guys would do that, more should!

 

And not just 19-year-old boys either.  Anyone who has an interest could really help out in their own community by volunteering a little time.  If you are a reader/book lover, there are many programs which could use some help.

 

 

Literacy programs are always looking for volunteers to help people of all ages learn to read, as are programs to read to seniors or house bound people. 

 

 

 

 

If you’re a foodie, there are meal programs for children, seniors, and the homeless.  Local food banks need food donations year round, which requires no time, just the cost of a can of food.

 

Animal programs are also in desperate need of help.  Want a dog but don’t have the space, or can’t have one where you live?  Volunteer a few hours of your time at a local ASPSA and walk some of the dogs.  You’ll have a nice walk, with dogs who will love you to pieces.  You get the joy of spending time with an animal and know that you are making things better for them.

 

 

Don’t like dogs but love cats?  They might not like to go for walks, but they certainly like to have a little attention, some grooming and some love.  And if none of these interest you, all you have to do is look on the internet and you’ll be able to find something that is right for you.  Remember all it takes is a little time!

 

 

Want something farther from home?  There are several global volunteer services that are always looking for new people.  There again, there is something for everyone.  Now I’m sure you’re asking yourself “What does volunteering have to do with books?”  Well not much, unless, as I say, you use your love of reading and books to help out.

Now I’m off to our local Literacy Book Sale here in Nanaimo to volunteer some of my time to help people find some good reading material.  I’m sure I’ll also be “volunteering” some of my cash for some new reading material as well…LOL…Have a great day all, and please remember, when you volunteer your time, you’re helping everyone to have a better life!


Stiletto Safari  by  Kate Metz

 

Zara Hamilton has a life many only dream of.  An Aussie girl, she lives in New York and works as a lawyer for Harvey and Rose, one of New York’s premier law firms. Her boyfriend, Nick Hansen, is a handsome, wealthy, good-looking man whom she adores.  She shops on 5th Avenue, wearing gorgeous cashmere Ralph Lauren dresses, carries Jimmy Choo totes, and wears Prada sunglasses. With her best friends Emi and Sal, at her side to take yoga classes, hash out a bad day and have brunch every weekend, Zara’s life is almost picture perfect. Then one day it all comes crashing down!

 
In one fell swoop, Zara goes from happily thinking of her future with Nick, in a job she’s good at, in a city she loves, with expensive clothes she covets, and best friends who love her to an unemployed (temporarily they tell her) lawyer, with a boyfriend arrested for insider trading who isn’t answering her calls, and crying for 2 weeks over The Bold and the Beautiful reruns. Could life get any worse?

 
Emi decides that Zara needs to get away, perhaps do some volunteer work involving animals or people, preferably far away, Africa would be good. Severely depressed, with her job in limbo for 6 months, and her boyfriend dumping her for her “own good”, Zara decides that doing volunteer work in Africa would be just the right thing for her. She can get a beautiful tan, take care of cute and cuddly baby lions, and heal from her wounds. If only she could fit all the clothes and accessories she will need in the one mid size suitcase she’s allowed.

 
With her ego still severely bruised by the treatment of the firm she works for, and Nick’s rejection, not to mention the brutally insulting way Nick’s father treated her, she is woefully unprepared to deal with life as a volunteer in Namibia.

 
Excerpt
In the end it came down to a choice between my snake-skin stilettos, a travel guide to Namibia, or a $100 penalty for excess luggage.  Needless to say, the travel guide didn’t make the flight.  Namibia would have to remain a mystery for a bit longer.  You just never know when a pair of snake-skin stilettos will come in handy!

 
Meeting handsome Hamish, she can’t believe how incredibly rude he is to her. She overhears him calling her a bimbo, which on top of everything else that has happened to her just seems to be the icing on the cake. When he approaches her to apologize, she blows him off, never dreaming that he will show up later in a most embarrassing way. Getting to the volunteer camp she finds out that she’s the new teacher and even worse, she’s the new dorm monitor for 60 little girls!

 
With her beautiful snake-skin stilettos, her Prada sunglasses, her over the top expensive silk dresses and horror of germs and dirt, she’ll just have to dig down deep to make this volunteer experience work.

 
Kate Metz’s debut novel Stiletto Safari, is filled with humor, fashion, friendships and self-realization. At times the wording was a little stiff, which had a small impact on the flow of the story. But overall a great chick lit book for anyone who likes a humorous, well told story reminiscent of a Beth Harbison novel.


So I was cruising around some different blog sites this morning, most of which were about books and films (I know big surprise right?).  Anyways I noticed that some people use the word mystery to describe a certain book, other sites use thriller for the same book and still others use the word suspense.  And it got me thinking that I there are times that I’ve decided to read a book because it will be described as a mystery but while there is some suspense in the story, there is no real mystery. And its the same with suspense and thrillers, it’s listed as a thriller but while there is loads of suspense, there is nothing that says to me thriller.  So I actually looked those 3 words up on an online dictionary o see if the words are really as interchangeable as they seem to be. Here’s what I found.

MYSTERY:   A work of fiction, a drama, or a film dealing with a puzzling crime.

SUSPENSE:   Anxiety or apprehension resulting from an uncertain, undecided, or mysterious situation.

THRILLER:  (Performing Arts / Theater) a book, film, play, etc., depicting crime, mystery, or espionage in an atmosphere of excitement and suspense

So after looking the words up and seeing that they are fairly interchangeable, it still bothers me.

I guess because to me a mystery should be like a who-done-it, with several characters to choose from, that keeps you guessing from beginning to end, like Agatha Christie’s The Mystery Affair at Styles

 

a suspense is one that you are not really sure what the end result will be but it fills you with a sense of unease and excitement as you wait to find out; like Mary Higgins Clark‘s Silent Night

 

and a thriller is one that is non stop action, a thrill ride so to speak, until the end like James Patterson‘s Kiss the Girls

 

 

I know I have the definitions right here in front of me, but it still seems a bit confusing. If you have a different take on these words, or a better way of describing them, please let me know.


The Trouble With Half a Moon  by  Danette Vigilante

I don’t normally read or review middle grade or teen novels.  But I decided to take a chance on this one because the synopsis intrigued me.  I picked it up around 10 o’clock at night. I was only going to read the first chapter just to get an idea of the books flow and characters.  Next thing I know its 230 in the morning and I’m sitting with the book in one hand, wiping away tears with the other. An incredibly touching book, with real insight into what a young girl of 13 feels about life, love, friendship and the death of her young brother.

 
We first meet Delilah, Dellie to her friends, one late evening as the sound of gun shot wakes up Dellie and her parents. They live in an apartment building in the poorer side of town and everyone knows you don’t go out at night. They live on an upper floor and the shot was somewhere on the first floor. When her dad leaves the apartment to see what he can find out about the shot, Dellie and her mom are left alone, very afraid. Dellie’s dad comes back saying everything is okay, and the small family go back to bed, still fearful, none of them sleeping, all of them thinking of Louis, Dellie’s little brother who died just months ago.

 
Corey is a 5-year-old boy who lives with his abusive mother on the first floor of the building. Corey is always hungry and several people in the building sneak him food, including Dellie. She is afraid her parents will find out and put a stop to it. She’s also afraid if they see Louis they will become upset because he is so very like Louis.

 
Dellie and her friend Kayla walk to school together in the mornings, but because of her parents fears, Dellie’s father walks several feet behind them until they arrive at the school.  Dellis is 13 and while she misses her brother very much, she still wants to be like her friends, able to go outside and play, to walk by herself to school, and to go to the store.  But due to the trauma her parents suffered with the loss of Louis, they will not let her out of their sight. They fear the only way to keep her safe is to keep her close and in sight at all times.  Her friend Kayla one day stops talking to her and won’t tell her whats wrong. Dellie’s life is spiraling down, and then Michael, a boy in her school talks to her and a new neighbor, Miss Shirley, moves into the building.

 
This is the story of a young girl, her guilt over her brother’s death and the part she played in it, the difficulties of friendship, first romance and over-protective parents.

 
And while this might sound like a depressing read let me assure you it is not!  The author weaves an incredible story that is filled with hope, love and personal redemption. It is truly remarkable how the author knows a teenager‘s thinking and thoughts so well.

 
This novel is perfect reading for young, middle grade to teen readers as well as adults who like a well told, though simply worded book.


Ahh..Friday. I’ve always loved Fridays. the end of the workweek, the start of the weekend, usually a chance to relax, get caught up with friends and family. For me its the day I get my next week’s to-do list. Now my list doesn’t have the usual things like paint the living room, was the car, make cupcakes for my daughter, because thankfully, for once, she actually gave me the school request 2 days before they’re due instead of the day of and other honey do lists items.  No, my list includes what new books will become available the next week, what books I want to read, what books I want to read and review and my list usually takes up a whole sheet of paper, and is covered with writing and arrows and smiley faces.  Then I proceed to ignore the list and read what strikes my fancy! I make those lists every week and every week I ignore them.

This leads me into book clubs. Yes, it really does. The way I make my lists and then ignore them, is exactly what happens when I  join a book group and then I’m told what I have to read.  That just doesn’t sit well with me. I like to read what I want to read when I want to read it and not be told what I have to read.  Don’t get me wrong, book clubs are great, they’re just not for me.

Yesterday I received a hard copy of the novel The Trouble with Half a Moon  by Danette Vigilante, her debut novel.  It’s a middle grade, teen book, but it was very powerful. What a tremendous book! I picked it up to look through the first chapter around 10 last night. I didn’t put it down til it was finished at 230 this morning. I will be posting my review soon.

Time to make my weekend list.


The Pallor of Death and Other Stories by Amanda Lawrence Auverigne

An enthralling collection of 10 short stories featuring zombies, ghosts, werewolves, gore, blood and more!

FACT FINDING MISSION:
Jill and Ben’s walk into the dark forest in search of a glowing ghost ends up being more than they expected.

THE PALLOR OF DEATH
Laura, Charlie and Melanie have a supernatural experience in the old mansion that Melanie just bought.

LAND LINE
A 911 call has Officers Simmons and Tyler heading to 799 Norfolk Lane. Will they find Betty and her brother or is someone or something else using the telephone?

AT THE LAST MINUTE
Holly’s friend Dina has Halloween costume issues but luckily gets help from a crazy source.

RAID
The new designer drug Dead Ice has everyone acting buggy.

PRICE MATCH GUARANTEE
We all know how waiting in a line up at a department store gives you that dead zombie feeling but Merton Mart guarantees their customers’ satisfaction with a killer product.

LIGHTHEADED
When the stomach rumbles from hunger, its in everyone’s best interest to feed it.

A SMALL MATTER OF FANTASTIC
In order to win the campus costume contest at Halloween, Haley and Angela are dressed as a zombie gangster and his zombie moll, but with Chad and Devon dressed to impress as werewolves, you have to ask yourself where exactly did the guys get their fur?

THEY ALL COME OUT AT DUSK
Evangeline is tired but decides a little seduction is in order before the game with Percy is over.

DRAMA
Kevin and Jon have grown tired of Lois‘ games and insist that she finally chose which of them she will marry. But who is really the winner?

Well written short stories with great characters. My favorite of these 10 short stories would be Drama.

visit Amanda Lawrence Auverigne website  http://auverigne.com/


Always a wonderful day when you actually wake up!

I was asked yesterday if I prefer a paper copy or ebook copy of the fantasy novel  The King’s Assassin  by  Melissa Brownlow  For me I didn’t have to think about it, I always prefer paper copies.  There is just something so special about holding that book in my in my hand. I love the feel of books, whether they be hardback or paperback editions, and there is nothing like being able to turn the pages, so crisp and the little sound they make and then one of my all time favorites is the scent of a newly printed book. Now I know many people who love that fresh car smell, which I think is okay, but for me doesn’t compare. I also love the way the colorful covers look in my bookshelves, the bright colors, different heights, different lettering….yes its true, I am truly in love with my books!

Now don’t get me wrong I do love my e reader too, but it just isn’t the same for me. It is fabulous for traveling, taking to the beach or park, actually it does have so many great uses but still when I read a book through an e reader, I must admit I miss the smell of the paper, and hearing the swish and sometimes crinkly sound that paper makes when it is touched.

Check out the first chapter in The King’s Assassin and her other novels at Melissa Brownlow’s website  http://www.mmbrownlow.com/

Please leave a comment and tell me which you prefer, paper or ebook and your reasons why. I am always curious if others feel the same way about books as I do!


Dutch Schultz, the beer baron of New York  by  Nate Hendley

Nate Hendley’s biography of the violent life and death of Dutch Schultz, a New York mobster who rose to be a top boss mobster during the Prohibition era.

 
Dutch Schultz, born Arthur Flegenheimer, was born in Manhattan in 1902.  At 14, his father abandoned the family, which made Arthur very bitter. He dropped out of school and took wholeheartedly to a life of crime.  At age 19, Arthur’s gang member friends gave him the nickname of Dutch Schultz, sometimes shortened to the Dutchman.  In his 2o’s Dutch’s business interests included speakeasies, bootlegging, protection rackets and number rackets. He was also suspected of murdering or ordering the murders of several people. By age 32 he was on the FBI’s most wanted list. A year later, Dutch Schultz was dead in what became known as the Chop House Massacre.

 
At 122 pages, this true crime story is a short, to the point history of Dutch Schultz. This book includes photographs, the transcript of Dutch’s “death prattle”, a bibliography and internet resources. This would be a great book for a teenager who has to do a book report, for a classroom to learn about the Prohibition era or for anyone who would like an introduction into the beginnings of organized crime in New York

Visit the author’s website at http://natehendley.com/


Another wet day outside here beautiful BC. My flowers love the rain as do I, it means I have no garden work to do so I can have extra read time.

Yesterday I had mentioned a deja vu moment for me. I had won a copy of Dutch Schultz, the beer baron of New York  by  Nate Hendley a few weeks ago on GoodReads.  It usually takes around 3 to 4 weeks for a book to arrive here.  I had agreed to read and review Dead like Dutch by Rich Docherty, received the ebook and started to read, a humorous read with great characters.  My mail arrived and with it was a copy of Dutch Schultz.  As I read Dead like Dutch, there comes a part in the book where Dutch Schultz (the same Dutch Schultz as in the other book)  is suggested as the original owner of the chest that is found.  Dutch Schultz is actually a real person. He was a Prohibition era gangster in New York who was shot down at a fairly young age.  It was just a really strange thing to end up receiving 2 very different books, one is a fiction novel, the other is a non fiction biography on the same day, with both having Dutch Schultz in them.

I had a very interesting email exchange with Tim Adams, co-author of the YA novel The Color of Malent.  I will be reviewing this novel, the first in a new series. Tim Adams and his co-author Sam Inzerillo have agreed to a blog interview and a book giveaway here on my blog.  I will update about when the blog interview will happen and also the book giveaway.  Check out their site   http://www.mymalent.com  to learn more about The Color of Malent.

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