Sunday, January 30, 2011

Saturday Snapshopt - a little late

Saturday Snapshot is a weekly meme hosted by Alyce, At Home With Books.  All we have to do is post a favorite we’ve snapped, or one captured by family or friends.

I'm running behind this week. (It's really Sunday.)

This is me with one of my favorite mystery authors, Maggie Sefton.  Check back on February 1st for information on my Cozy Mystery giveway - it includes an autographed copy of one of Maggie's books.

Saturday, January 29, 2011

Upcoming Cozy Mystery Giveaway

I LOVE Cozy Mysteries. And since February is the month of love, I thought I'd celebrate my love mysteries.  Check with me on February 1st, for more information on how to win some of my favorite cozy mysteries - some are even autographed.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Shoots to Kill by Kate Collins

When she was younger Abby Knight was Elizabeth’s babysitter. Back then Elizabeth, frustrated Abby by trying to be just like here.  Elizabeth, now known as Libby is back and mothering has changed.  In fact it’s worse. Not only has she changed her name to resemble Abby’s, but she seems bent on stealing Abby’s identity as well. She’s even after Abby’s boyfriend Marco. But imitation really becomes the sincerest form of trouble when Abby finds herself the accused dupe in a bizarre murder plot. It’s up to Abby to find the real killer and shine the light on Libby’s scheme.

It’s been a while since I read a book from this series. I don’t know how I managed to lose track of the new books because this is a series I truly enjoy.  Abby is a strong and likeable character.  She even has a good relationship with her mother (though not a perfect one – anyone would find it difficult to handle the crafts that Abby’s mom keeps creating for Abby to sell in the flower shop.) Abby’s hunky love interest, Marco,  is a delight to read about.
Even though I enjoyed this 7th installment in the series, at times it was a frustrating read – not because Collins isn’t a masterful storyteller. She is. It’s just that I felt Abby’s frustration over the fact that everyone, including Marco and Abby’s mom seemed to think Libby was harmless – that Abby should be flattered by Libby’s attempts to be like Abby.  Gracious people! Libby fits the bill of a horror movie stalker. 

I have to admit there was some humor to the situation (though identify theft is a serious matter.)  That’s what I like so much about this series – the humor and light heartedness.  Yes, Abby is constantly finding dead bodies or being accused of murder. Collins treats death with reverence, but still the reader doesn’t finish the book feeling depressed.  Besides, who wouldn’t laugh at the idea of your mother purchasing a llama to live in the backyard so she can have homegrown yarn?  That’s just one of the crazy things she does.
If you are looking for a well thought out and humorous cozy mystery, this series is for you.

Wednesday, January 26, 2011

The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis

Goodreads Description:
Few can compete with Natasha Smith when it comes to entertaining, but her childhood rival, Sophie Winston, certainly tries. Natasha may have stolen the spotlight and Sophie's husband but Sophie is determined to rob her of the prize for the Stupendous Stuffing Shakedown. She just needs the right ingredient.

But Sophie's search for the perfect turkey takes a basting when she stumbles across a corpse. And when the police find her name and photo inside the victim's car, Sophie will have to set her trussing aside to solve the murder or she'll be serving up prison grub.

This book has been sitting on my To Read Shelf for quite a while. I can't believe I waited so long to read it. I love a good cozy  mystery. This series fits the bill: an intelligent, likable, and down to earth sleuth, a love interest, a few lovable if irritating relatives and a nemesis you love to hate.  Sophie is a well developed character that I look forward to reading more about. I think she shows incredible patience in dealing with all the distractions in her life.  She's far nicer to Natasha than Natasha deserves.  The one thing I did find irritating was the attitude of the police, even Wolfe, whom, I hope will be taking a more personal role in Sophie's life.  The police just seemed too pigheaded for my tastes.  However, that just made it more enjoyable when Sophie solved the case.

If you are looking for a great cozy series that includes some down to earth entertaining tips, you should give this one a try.

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Books Complete Me: Delirium Blog Tour Day Two: An Excerpt & Giveaway

Books Complete Me: Delirium Blog Tour Day Two: An Excerpt & Giveaway: "Welcome to Day Two of the Official Delirium Blog Tour! Today we will be sharing an excerpt from chapter two of the book with you. Here is..."

This book was already on my to read list, but even if it wasn't already on my list I'd be adding it after reading this snippet. Blog tours are fun way to learn about a book and the book's author. Be sure to check this one out.

Monday, January 24, 2011

The Radleys by Matt Haig

Goodreads Description:

Meet the Radleys 

Peter, Helen and their teenage children, Clara and Rowan, live in an English town. They are an everyday family, averagely dysfunctional, averagely content. But as their children have yet to find out, the Radleys have a devastating secret 

From one of Britain’s finest young novelists comes a razor-sharp unpicking of adulthood and family life. In this moving, thrilling and extraordinary portrait of one unusual family, The Radleys asks what we grow into when we grow up, and explores what we gain – and lose – when we deny our appetites.

I'm never really sure what I'm going to find when I open a Matt Haig book, but one thing is for sure, I've never been disappointed.  I truly enjoyed this book. It is so not your typical vampire book.  The Radleys are a modern soap opera typical, slightly dysfunctional family, with one unique quality - they're vampires.  Haig has created a witty, engaging story that keeps the reader engrossed from the first page.  In a time when everyone is writing vampire stories, Haig has managed to join the game but with a unique twist.  The familiar family dynamics between Helen and Peter Radley, and between the parents and the children, Clare and Rowan keep it from too vampy.  It's a very good read and I, for one, would love to read more about the Radleys.

One of the reviews I read on Amazon suggested that there are two versions of this book: one written for adults and one for teens. I couldn't find any word elsewhere of there being two different versions, but I did find talk about a movie based on the book.  Hmm! I'm always skeptical of movies based on books, but I'm sure I'd add this one to my must see list.

It's Monday What Are You Reading (2)

It's Monday! What are you reading is hosted by One Persons Journey through a world of Books. Each week we spotlight the books we are reading, planning on reading or just finished reading.

Currently Reading:
Crazy Sexy Cancer Tips by Kris Carr
The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
Into the Gauntlet  by Margaret Peterson Haddix
Animals of the Bible by Dorothy P. Lathrop

Currently Listening to:
Body Work by Sara Paretsky

 The Radleys by Matt Haig
Family Affair by Deb MaComber
Fool  Moon by Jim Butcher
How Do You Count a Dozen Ducklings by In Seon Cha
Make Way For Ducklings by Robert McCloskey
Little Rabbit's New Baby by Harry Horse
Sophie's Secret by Nancy Rue
The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis
Audrey 100 by Ellen Fontana
Speak Easy by Jason Kosmos

Next In Line:
The Tender Bar by J.R. Moehringer
Moon Over Manifest by Clare Vanderpool

Friday, January 21, 2011

Cake Pops - By Bakerella - a Sweet Treat!

Product Description
What's cuter than a cupcake? A cake pop, of course! Wildly popular blogger Bakerella (aka Angie Dudley) has turned cake pops into an international sensation! Cute little cakes on a stick from decorated balls to more ambitious shapes such as baby chicks, ice cream cones, and even cupcakes these adorable creations are the perfect alternative to cake at any party or get-together. Martha Stewart loved the cupcake pops so much she had Bakerella appear on her show to demonstrate making them. Now Angie makes it easy and fun to recreate these amazing treats right at home with clear step-by-step instructions and photos of more than 40 featured projects, as well as clever tips for presentation, decorating, dipping, coloring and melting chocolate, and much more.

This was another impulse check out. Putting displays of new books or books on a certain theme near the check out area is a smart move on libraries. I frequently end up checking out something that I might not have otherwise checked out.

The cake projects in this book are adorable. I’m not sure that I have the talent to recreate them, but I did find the base recipe to be clear and easy to follow. And as for the delightful projects – well we always need something to aspire to  . . .

I often check out cookbooks at the library, but I don’t always decided to add them to my own personal library.  I will be purchasing this one.

Here’s my own version of Cake Balls (if I’d put them on a stick, I would call them Cake Pops.)  They are a big hit with my family, my book club and my co-workers.

Thursday, January 20, 2011

The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff


Mackie Doyle is the Replacement. Thought he lives in the small town of Gentry, Mackie comes from a world of tunnels and black murky water, a world of living dead girls ruled by a little tattooed princess. He is a Replacement - left in the crib of a human baby sixteen years ago. Now, because of fatal allergies to iron, blood, and consecrated ground, Mackie is slowly dying in the human world.

Mackie would give anything to live among us, to practice on his bass guitar or spend time with an oddly intriguing girl called Tate. But when Tate's baby sister goes missing, Mackie is drawn irrevocably into the underworld of Gentry, known as Mayhem. He must face the dark creatures of the Slag Heaps and find his rightful place - in our world, or theirs.

I don’t usually like creepy books, but the creep factor in this book really made the story.  The story is a little confusing at first, but I felt that was more of draw – you just had to know what was really going on.  A dark, gloomy and rainy day would have been a perfect day to read this book.  At first I felt sorry for the inhabitants of Gentry, but it didn’t take long that they were part of the problem – in that they just accepted as fact (and perhaps even willing participated) that the town’s dark creatures would take a human baby as tribute and replace it with one of their own. These replacements usually sickened and died rather quickly. They were ill to begin with and the human world is rather toxic to them.  Mackie is the exception. Through the love and care of his sister, he lives long enough to make it to high school. Though he’s always known he is “different” he’s tried his best to ignore it until a classmate’s sister (another replacement) dies.  Through a series of events he learns that the original human child is still alive (at least until Halloween) and Mackie is faced with keeping the knowledge to himself or try to save her from the dark unnamed.

I loved this book, though I was frustrated that the townspeople chose to ignore what was happening.  Supposedly, by allowing the dark fairies (I call them this for lack of better name. They are never actually named in the book,) to take the babies as tribute, the town prospers. Yet I never got the impression that town was in all that good of a shape.  This just added to the delightful creepiness of the book.

Mackie is a wonderful character – very well written with great depths. As a member of the “unnamed” one would expect him to be a bad guy, but aside from his allergy to iron and inability to step into the Church or the consecrated ground of the cemetery, he is like any typical moody teen.  And he’s a hero, perhaps reluctant. But when it gets down to the wire, he does what needs to be done.

This is a very dark and rather unusual faery story, but quite enjoyable. If you are looking for a good read with a happy ending (granted not a 30 minute sitcom ending), then you should definitely check out this book.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Family Affair by Debbie Macomber

 Amazon Product Description

Rediscover the joy of #1 New York Times bestselling author Debbie Macomber's delightful tale of unexpected love, second chances, and a cat named Dog.
Lacey Lancaster has always longed to be a wife and mother. However, after a painful divorce, she decides it's time to lay low for a while in her charming San Francisco apartment with her beautiful Abyssinian cat, Cleo.
Everything would be wonderful, except for her utterly impossible neighbor Jack Walker. When he's not arguing day and night with his girlfriend, begging her to move in with him, he's chasing down his cat named Dog, who seems determined to get Cleo to succumb to his feline advances.
Then Lacey discovers the awful truth—Cleo is in the family way and Dog's to blame. She's furious that neither Jack nor his amorous animal seem too upset about the situation.
But Lacey learns that things are not quite as they seem. Jack's "girlfriend" is really his sister—and his intentions toward Lacey are very honorable. And though she's not quite sure about Dog, Lacey begins to discover the tender joy of falling in love all over again.

 Family Affair is quick light-hearted read. The events are somewhat predictable, but always well written. Macomber's characters are well defined and quite likable.  I often turn to her books when I need a feel good read - that's not to say that her books do not have some serious topics or emotions, but so far all the ones I have read had an uplifting ending.  It's a nice break from the murder and mayhem (mysteries) or great levels of angst (young adult) novels that I normally read.

If you are looking for a quick, delightful read, I suggest you check Family Affair.

Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Book Addiction

I saw this at The Story Siren and just had to re-post it. Books are my biggest addiction/vice.  Some of the happiest moments have been spent browsing, buying and later reading books - and of course talking books with others.


10 signs of Book Addiction

I have a problem.... do you? If you find yourself nodding your head to any of these statements, you might suffer from Book Addiction. Don't worry you are not alone.

You might be a book addict if:

  1. You buy your purses based on how many books you can fit inside. (Of Course my purse not only has to be big enough to hold at least one book, it has to hold my D90 as well.)
  2. The Fed Ex and UPS carriers, know you by name. (I'm usually not home when they make the deliveries, but I bet you they could rattle off my address in their sleep.)
  3. Your family refuses to buy you books because they don't want to support your habit. (It's not that they don't want to support my habit, it's they are afraid I will have either already the book or bought it for myself.
  4. You own multiple versions of the same book. (Now that I've sort of Deweyed my books this should not happen again.)
  5. You dream about books. (Getting them... meeting the authors that write them.) (I recently woke up from surgery talking about books.)
  6. You always have at least one book on you at all times. Even just a quick trip to the dollar store. (Yep)
  7. You usually help shoppers at the bookstore, because you are more knowledgeable than the staff. (It's happened)
  8. You've been known to skip family functions or outing with friends because you can't stop reading. (This is the only one that doesn't fit me in some form or fashion. Though I have been known to take a book to an outing. One must always be prepared.)
  9. There are books in every room of your house. (Before I organized my books, this was true, now it's just ALMOST every room.)
  10. If you are within five miles of a bookstore, you find yourself drawn to it like a homing device from the mothership. (Most certainly, and it applies to libraries too. I even have a collection of photos of myself taken in front of different libraries.)
Do any of these fit you?

    Teaser Tuesday - Jan 18th

    We're very excited to be one of the many blogs participating in Teaser Tuesdays! TT is a weekly meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To participate you:

    * Grab your current read
    * Open to a random page
    * Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
    (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!

    And here is my teaser(s):

    1st - from Family Affair by Debbie Macomber

    Page 18: "I could like this guy," Jeanne said softly.
    "You're welcome to him."

    2nd - from Fool Moon by Jim Butcher (Wizard for Hire Omnibus)
    Page 366: " What is it with you and my handcuffs?"  and Police, most of them plainclothes gusy from Special Investigations, came pouring into the hall.

    What are you reading?

    Monday, January 17, 2011

    It's Monday - What Are You Reading (1)

    It's Monday! What are you reading is hosted by One Persons Journey through a world of Books. Each week we spotlight the books we are reading, planning on reading or just finished reading.

    Beastley by Alex Flinn
    The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff
    A Sick Day for Amos McGee by Philip Stead
    All in a Day by Cynthia Rylant
    Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman (re-read)
    Martha Speaks: Thief of Hearts by Karen Barrs
    Little Croc's Purse by Lizzie Finlay (ARC for review)
    City Dog, Country Dog by Mo Willems
    First Day Jitters by Robert Ouackenbush
    The Other Half of My Heart by Sundee T. Frazier
    Please Ignore Vera Dietz by A. S. King

    Currently Reading:
    The Radleys by Matt Haig
    Fool Moon by Jim Butcher
    Family Affair by Debbie McComber

    Gave Up On (This doesn't happen to me very often.)
    You Killed Wesley Payne by Sean Beaudoin

    Next In Line:
    The Diva Runs Out of Thyme by Krista Davis
    Into the Gauntlet by Margaret Peterson Haddix

    Low Red Moon by Ivy Devlin

    Good Reads Description:

    The only thing Avery Hood can remember about the night her parents died is that she saw silver—deadly silver, moving inhumanly fast. As much as she wants to remember who killed them, she can't, and there's nothing left to do but try to piece her life back together. Then Avery meets the new boy in school—Ben, mysterious and beautiful, with whom she feels a connection like nothing she's ever experienced. When Ben reveals he's a werewolf, Avery still trusts him—at first. Then she sees that sometimes his eyes flash inhuman silver. And she learns that she's not the only one who can't remember the night her parents died. Part murder mystery, part grief narrative, and part heart-stopping, headlong romance, Low Red Moon is a must-read for teen paranormal fans. As breathless as Twilight and as spooky as Shiver, this is a book to be devoured in one sitting—by an acclaimed YA author making her paranormal debut under the pseudonym Ivy Devlin.

    This is one of those books that I picked up because of the cover. I kept reading because of the writing.  This has been one of my favorite reads of the New Year. I’ve discovered that I really enjoy wolf stories and this is an excellent one.  Devlin’s paranormal debut is a strong one.  Avery is a strong female character. No one will be accusing her of being a doormat.  I like the relationship between Avery and Ben.  The attraction between them fairly jumps off the page.

    I also felt that the relationship between Avery and her grandmother was very well crafted. (Grandmothers are another favorite story element of mine.)  You can tell that Avery loves her grandmother, but is hesitant due to the years of estrangement.  Devlin doesn’t force their relationship, but provides plenty of opportunity for them to grow closer.  She does this amazingly well, considering the short length of the book.

    I’m looking to reading more of Devlin’s books. If you like paranormal romance and/or stories about wolves, this is a must read for you.

    You Killed Wesley Payne by Beaudoin

    Product Description
    He's come to do a job.
    A job that involves a body.
    A body wrapped in duct tape found hanging from the goal posts at the end of the football field.

    You Killed Wesley Payne is a truly original and darkly hilarious update of classic pulp-noir, in which hard-boiled seventeen year-old Dalton Rev transfers to the mean hallways of Salt River High to take on the toughest case of his life. The question isn't whether Dalton's going to get paid. He always gets paid. Or whether he's gonna get the girl. He always (sometimes) gets the girl. The real question is whether Dalton Rev can outwit crooked cops and killer cliques in time to solve the mystery of "The Body" before it solves him.

    Sean Beaudoin (Going Nowhere Faster, Fade to Blue) evokes the distinctive voices of legendary crime/noir authors Dashiell Hammett and Jim Thompson with a little bit of Mean Girls and Heathers throwin in for good measure. It'll tease you, please you, and never ever leave you. Actually, that's not true. It's only a book. One that's going to suck you in, spit you out, and make you shake hands with the devil. Probably.

    Ok, I give up. I’m throwing in the towel. As my husband and most people who know me will attest, it is a very rare occurrence for me to not be able to finish a book.  I received an ARC of this book back in early December and I’ve been struggling with it every since.  Perhaps it’s because I’m not a teen (but I read and enjoy quite a bit of young adult/teen novels without any problem.) Maybe I’m just not the right person for this book. 

    I couldn’t figure out what the author intended with this book. Was a futuristic story with a throwback to the vintage pulp noir? Was a cynical commentary on teens and how high schools operate? I don’t know. I do know that the book gave me a headache every time I tried to read it. I did like that Beadoin included a chart/index with descriptions of all the different cliques, but I hated that I had to keep referring to it and still could not keep everything straight.

    I really wanted to like this book. I thought it was going to be a wonderful teen mystery (I love mysteries and did I mention I really like young adult/teen novels?).  But I can’t fight it any more. The truth is I dislike the book so much I can’t finish it. I found the writing to be disjointed and confusing. And horror of horrors, I couldn’t find one character I remotely liked.

    In the interest of fairness, I am hoping to find a teen that will read the book and give me their take on it. It’s possible that as an adult I just don’t get it.  If I do, I’ll ask them to provide a guest review.

    Saturday, January 15, 2011

    I Am A Reader, Not A Writer: Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

    I Am A Reader, Not A Writer: Author Interview & Book Giveaway: Warped by Maurissa Guibord

    I've been waiting for this book to come out. I've already requested it from the library - just in case my book budget is blown by the release date. Check out the link above to learn about the author.

    Saturday Snapshot - January 15th

    To participate in Saturday Snapshot meme (hosted by Alyce over At Home With Books)  post a photo that you (or a friend or family member) have taken. Photos can be old or new, and can be of any subject as long as they are clean and appropriate for all eyes to see. How much detail you give in the caption is entirely up to you. All Alyce asks is that you don't post random photos that you find online.

    This is a photo of my grandmother. I believe she is in her early twenties.  People have often said I favor her - that's one of the best ways to get on my good side.  For years I've wanted to recreate this photo with me as the subject. But over the years, when my hair was long enough I could never find anyone willing to try the hairstyle.  Finally, now when I'm way older than she is in the picture, I found someone to help me out.

    In the interest of full disclosure, here is the original picture. My hair stylist did a wonderful job, but I've been recovering from a lumpectomy (and perhaps was too stubborn about going back to work when I should have waited a little longer) and you can see how tired (ok, old, I look in this photo.) So, I decided it needed a little help.

    Now, if I could just edit my face for real, life would be good.

    Friday, January 14, 2011

    Book Blogger Hop - Jan 14, 2011

    Book Blogger Hop

    Book Blogger Hop is hosted by Crazy For Books to see a complete list of participants hop on over to her blog and check it out.

    n the spirit of the Twitter Friday Follow, the Book Blogger Hop is a place just for book bloggers and readers to connect and share our love of the written word!  This weekly BOOK PARTY is an awesome opportunity for book bloggers to connect with other book lovers, make new friends, support each other, and generally just share our love of books!  It will also give blog readers a chance to find other book blogs to read!  So, grab the logo, post about the Hop on your blog, and start HOPPING through the list of blogs that are posted in the Linky at Crazy for Books!

    The Hop lasts Friday-Monday every week, so if you don't have time to Hop today, come back later and join the fun!  This is a weekly event!  And stop back throughout the weekend to see all the new blogs that are added!  We get over 200 links every week!! 

    This week's question comes from Barb who blogs at Sugarbeat's Books:
     "Why do you read the genre that you do?  What draws you to it?"
    I read mostly mysteries, young adult and children's books. I enjoy mysteries because I like solving a puzzle. I've been a fan of mysteries ever since I read my first Agatha Christie when I was a kid.  As for young adult books - I enjoy them because I find most of them to be very well written and very engaging. I'm drawn to children's books because I'm a children's librarian. I love a really good picture book, because in a previous life I wanted to be an artist. I appreciate illustrations that are vibrant and magical - ones that contribute as much to the story as the words.
    What genres do you like? 

    Thursday, January 13, 2011

    2011 Caldecott Winner - A Sick Day for Amos McGee

    This is a cross posting from my other blog Mrs. Archer's Book Notes.

    GoodReads Description:
    “THE BEST SICK DAY EVER and the animals in the zoo feature in this striking picture book debut.
    Friends come in all sorts of shapes and sizes. In Amos McGee’s case, all sorts of species, too! Every day he spends a little bit of time with each of his friends at the zoo, running races with the tortoise, keeping the shy penguin company, and even reading bedtime stories to the owl. But when Amos is too sick to make it to the zoo, his animal friends decide it’s time they returned the favor.”

    To say that I was taken by surprise by the winners of the Caldecott and Newbery this year would be a big understatement. As someone who 291 books in 2011, many of them young adult and picture books, one would think that I would have at least heard of the winners before now.  Apparently, I was not the only caught unaware about the Newbery.  My local library does not even own a copy (yet) and Amazon will not be able to get my copy to me until the end of January.  I suspect this one might be another Higher Power of Lucky type book.  I hope not.

    I was able to get a copy of the Caldecott winner: A Sick Day for Amos McGee written by Philip Christian Stead and illustrated by Erin Stead. It’s a cute story and very well written.  As for the illustrations: they are NICE, but they are not MAGICAL and quite frankly, I expect Caldecott illustrations to be MAGICAL, to evoke something within the reader. It’s wonderful when they play an integral part in the story as in Officer Buckle and Gloria by Peggy Rathman.  Bill Thomson’s illustrations in Chalk are MAGICAL.  Art & Max by David Wiesner has MAGICAL illustrations.  To be honest though, I figured Wiesner’s book would be bypassed because he’s already won the award three times.  That shouldn’t be a factor in considering whether or not a book is worthy of the award, but I wouldn’t be surprised to find that it does factor in, if subconsciously.

    Of course I’m just one reader in a sea of millions. And I’m an adult. The book was after all intended for children.  I will be sharing it with my students.  I’ll update you on their opinion of the illustrations. (And yes, I will ask them to compare A Sick Day for Amos McGee with Chalk and Art & Max.)

    Recommended for Pre-school to 3rd Grade.

    Mrs. Archer’s Rating: 3 of 5

    Wednesday, January 12, 2011

    Gabe's Gifts

    Gabe's Gifts

    I have friend (and fellow educator) who has a wonderful blog Jenbug's Story. Grabbing a cup of coffee and reading her posts is part of my morning ritual (even on Saturdays when I could be sleeping late).  Today her blog talked about Gabe's Gifts which is sponsored by Amanda at Today's Top 20. You should check out Amanda's amazing story - it takes a strong and beautiful person to take a personal tragedy and turn it into gifts for others.  Amanda is sponsoring a blanket drive.  I'm going to try to make six this year (hopefully, more but I am in the process of coming up with my own charity project. That might take away some of my crafting time. I'll have more on that later.)  I hope you will join me.  It's a wonderful way to explore your creative outlet and help others at the same time.

    Thanks Jen for letting me know about this wonderful project.

    Tuesday, January 11, 2011

    Teaser Tuesday

    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 and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

    From The Replacement by Brenna Yovanoff.

    Pg. 65

    “I stood in the crowd, looking up at a scary man with a scary smile. I knew his secret and he knew mine.”

    Monday, January 10, 2011

    Hush, Hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

    From the back cover:
    When Nora and Patch are forced together as lab partners, Nora would rather fall to her death than put up with his elusive answers to her questions, his teasing, and his infuriatingly handsome face and hypnotizing eyes.  It seems Patch was put on earth just to drive her crazy.
    But before long, Nora’s defenses start to break down as her curiosity about Patch heats up. Why does he always seem to be wherever she is and know exactly what she’s thinking? How does he know what to say to both attract and repulse her?  And what is up with those V-shaped scare on his chiseled back?
    As there connection grows stronger, Nora’s own life becomes increasing fragile. Nora needs to decide.  Is Patch the one who wants to do her harm or the one who will keep her safe? Has she fallen for one of the fallen?

    I thought I would like this book more than I did. I did like it – enough to finish it and enough to request from the library a copy of the sequel, Crescendo.  However there were several things about this book that bothered me.
    1.  Nora is too passive, almost like a doormat. And when she does show some backbone, it seems rather out of character.  Also, somehow I didn’t just get the change from her being repulsed by Patch to being enamored with him.
    2.  Vee is one of the most annoying and worst best friends I’ve ever come across. Throughout the entire book, I couldn’t figure out why Nora was friends with her.
    3.  Patch is not a likeable hero, he’s a little creepy - though he does redeem himself towards the end.
    4.  Nora’s biology class seems off.  The teacher states  “Human reproduction…requires mature handling. And like all science, the best approach is to learn by sleuthing. For the rest of the class, practice this technique by finding out as much as you can about your new (seating assignment) partner. Tomorrow, bring your write-up of your discoveries, and believe me, I’m going to check for authenticity…I want to see real interaction and teamwork.”  The next day, the topic is about what the qualities one looks for in a potential mate. I know it’s been a long time since I took high school biology, but I do have teen age children and I do work for a school district.  The biology teachers I know would not have this as part of their curriculum and if they did they would be drummed out of education.  Perhaps Fitzpatrick included it to grab the interests of teens who wish their biology class was like this.

    Having pointed out these negatives, I do have to say that Fitzpatrick does have a way with words that kept me reading.  She created a story for which I wanted to know the ending.  It has a lot of potential and I’m hoping that Crescendo will deliver in ways that Hush, Hush did not.

    If you are looking for another Twilight read a like, you might enjoy this book. If you like stories about fallen angels, there is potential in this story, though I would have liked to have learned more about how Patch actually became a fallen angel.   While I don’t consider it the best book I’ve read (though I do know some teens who absolutely love this book) it’s not the worst I’ve read either. I’m willing to stick with it through one more book.