Saturday, November 30, 2013

The Reversal by Michael Connelly

I recently listened to the unabridged audio version of The Reversal by Michael Connelly and read by Peter Giles.

This is my first experience with listening to or reading anything written by author, Michael Connelly. I really enjoyed listening to The Reversal. The plot was well developed with a captivating storyline and interesting characters. I found myself listening to The Reversal every free opportunity I had... I'd finished listening to The Reversal in four days! 

Book Overview For The Reversal from the Barnes & Noble Website:

Longtime defense attorney Mickey Haller is recruited to change stripes and prosecute the high-profile retrial of a brutal child murder. After 24 years in prison, convicted killer Jason Jessup has been exonerated by new DNA evidence. Haller is convinced Jessup is guilty, and he takes the case on the condition that he gets to choose his investigator, LAPD Detective Harry Bosch.

Together, Bosch and Haller set off on a case fraught with political and personal danger. Opposing them is Jessup, now out on bail, a defense attorney who excels at manipulating the media, and a runaway eyewitness reluctant to testify after so many years.

With the odds and the evidence against them, Bosch and Haller must nail a sadistic killer once and for all. If Bosch is sure of anything, it is that Jason Jessup plans to kill again.
The dramatic reader can make or break the enjoyment for the listener of an audiobook. I should know as I'll readily stop listening to any audiobook if the reader is awful. With that said, I felt that Peter Giles did an excellent job in performing the dramatic reading of The Reversal. I hope to listen to other audiobooks read by Peter Giles in the future.

The ending of The Reversal took me by surprise as I did not anticipate it to end the way in which it did... I do enjoy it when novels are not predictable and take readers (or in this case listeners) in a new direction. However, I must add that I wasn't too keen on the ending of The Reversal. The ending of The Reversal wasn't a deal breaker by any means, but I wish it would have ended in a slightly different fashion than it had.

I'm giving The Reversal an overall 4 star out of 5 star rating. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, November 29, 2013

Friday Finds #16

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

This week I added only one new book title to my ever growing book collection! 

I purchased a used copy of The Given Day by Dennis Lehane at our local Friends of the Library Used Bookstore. I've listened to the unabridged audio version of Lehane's Coronado, which is a collection of short stories. I enjoyed the stories in Coronado, so am looking forward to reading The Given Day.

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Happy Thanksgiving to All!!

Today I feel blessed in more ways than one. I'm truly grateful for all the positive things in my life. I am married to the love of my life. I have a close, loving relationship with my mother and step-father. I live on California's beautiful central coast within a community I love. I have two wonderful Pomeranians as pets and I couldn't love them more... Plus, so much more!

I am also so grateful and thankful for my love of reading books. My mom use to read to me as a toddler before bedtime each night, which began my adventurous journey into the fun filled world of reading books. 

I also enjoy posting book reviews and related book news to my book blog... And I also enjoy reading comments left by readers like you!

This year, I discovered some wonderful new authors and amazing books. I know the year isn't over with yet, but so far I'd say that 'The Art of Racing in the Rain' by Garth Stein and 'Mind Over Medicine' by Lissa Rankin, M.D, have to be my favorite books read this year. It'll be difficult to top either book as my favorite reads for 2013.

I've also become somewhat addicted to listening to audiobooks this year! I've enjoyed listening to audiobooks in recent years, but have really hit my audiobook stride this year.

I look forward to seeing where my reading journey leads me in the future!

Thank you for reading my post today! Share your reading journey with me... What new books, authors, etc. have struck a chord with you in 2013?

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd

Unabridged Audiobook
I listened to the unabridged audio version of  The Secret Life of Bees by Sue Monk Kidd and loved it!! 

The characters and storyline are wonderful and well played out in The Secret Life of Bees. Plus, Jenna Lamia was the reader for The Secret Life of Bees and I couldn't imagine a better reader for this novel than her! Ms. Lamia had the Southern accent nailed down perfectly. I felt like I was really hearing the story told through the voice of 14 year old Lily Owens.

Needless to say, I enjoyed listening to The Secret Life of Bees. It captivated me from start to finish. I listened to this audiobook in two days! The Secret Life of Bees is probably one of my favorite audiobooks of 2013. I'd give The Secret Life of Bees a rating of 4.5 stars out of 5 stars.

The following is the book overview of The Secret Life of Bees from the Barnes & Noble website:
Living on a peach farm in South Carolina with her harsh, unyielding father, Lily Owens has shaped her entire life around one devastating, blurred memory - the afternoon her mother was killed, when Lily was four. Since then, her only real companion has been the fierce-hearted, and sometimes just fierce, black woman Rosaleen, who acts as her "stand-in mother."

When Rosaleen insults three of the deepest racists in town, Lily knows it's time to spring them both free. They take off in the only direction Lily can think of, toward a town called Tiburon, South Carolina - a name she found on the back of a picture amid the few possessions left by her mother.

There they are taken in by an eccentric trio of black beekeeping sisters named May, June, and August. Lily thinks of them as the calendar sisters and enters their mesmerizing secret world of bees and honey, and of the Black Madonna who presides over this household of strong, wise women. Maternal loss and betrayal, guilt and forgiveness entwine in a story that leads Lily to the single thing her heart longs for most.
Which audiobooks have you listened to lately?? 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

96% of Author Submissions Are Rejected by Agents!

Wow, I never knew that this statistic was so high! I came across an article on the Huffington Post website titled Why Agents Reject 96% of Author Submissions by Heather Hummel. 

Click on the link above to learn the five reasons given in Hummel's article for author submissions being rejected by agents. Hummel's article also offers some sensible solutions to help improve one's odds in having their submissions become accepted by agents.

One Reader's Journey to Read 197 Books in One Year

I discovered an article on PRI titled One reader, 197 books, one year to finish them all. I decided to read this article because, quite frankly I've never been able to read 197 books in one year, not even close... But the article is so much more than simply reading 197 books in one year. It's also about one women's desire to read a book from each country around the world.

The following quote comes from the above mentioned article found on PRI:
Well, for Ann Morgan, journalist and author in the UK, that question turned into a year-long, intensive experiment. She decided to read a book from every country in the world. And to do it in one year.
"I looked at my bookshelves after someone made a comment making me think about my reading habits. And I suddenly realized that all the books on the bookshelves were by British or American writers. There really wasn't much else. A few Australian writers maybe, a couple of Indian novels, but nothing else really," she says.
That's how she came up with the challenge to read a book from every country.
Like, Ann Morgan, I've read mostly books from a select group of countries. I have expanded my reading circle to include books from other countries in the past decade. But, I have not even come close to reading something written by an author from every country that inhabits our planet.

Checkout Ann Morgan's blog A Year of Reading the World for more details!

Until my next post, happy reading!

Monday, November 25, 2013

2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge

Yes, I enjoy reading challenges and the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish looks like an awesome reading challenge to set 2014 into motion! 

Plus, participating in this reading challenge will be a great way to discover new book titles other book bloggers have read and blogged about during 2014. Invariably, I will add a few new book titles to my ever growing wishlist after reading blogger reviews about the books they've read and reviewed.

I currently have a rather large and extensive TBR Pile... I've actually lost count as to the number of books I have on hand at my disposal to read. Some of the books have been waiting a very long time to be read by yours truly! 

I have no specific titles in mind that I'd like to read in 2014. Besides, even if I did pin down a few book titles to read from my tbr pile, I'd more than likely change my mind as time passed by. Being a Gemini, I'm kind of fickle that way. ;-)

I hope some of the readers of my blog will also participate in the 2014 TBR Pile Reading Challenge hosted by Bookish!

Until my next, happy reading!!

L.A.'s unofficial poet laureate, Wanda Coleman dies

I've never even heard of Wanda Coleman until I read an article about her in the Los Angeles Times titled Wanda Coleman dies at 67; Watts native, L.A.'s unofficial poet laureate by Elaine Woo.

In her article, Woo wrote the following about Wanda Coleman:
A native of Watts who long was regarded as L.A.'s unofficial poet laureate, Coleman died Friday at Cedars-Sinai Medical Center after a long illness, said her husband, poet Austin Straus. She was 67.

During four decades as a force on the Los Angeles poetry scene, Coleman wrote more than 20 books, including novels and collections of short stories and essays.

She was most eloquent in poems, illuminating the ironies and despair in a poor black woman's daily struggle for dignity but also writing tenderly and with humor about identity, tangled love, California winters and her working-class parents.

"She wrote not just about the black experience in Los Angeles but the whole configuration of Los Angeles in terms of its politics, its social life," said Richard Modiano, executive director of Beyond Baroque, the Venice literary center where Coleman gave powerful readings. "I would call her a world-class poet. The range of her poetry and the voice she writes in is accessible to all sorts of people."

Among Coleman's best-known works was "Bathwater Wine" (1998), which brought her the Lenore Marshall National Poetry Prize from the Academy of American Poets in 1999. Her next volume, "Mercurochrome" (2001), was a finalist for the National Book Award, whose judges said, "Coleman's poetry stings, stains and ultimately helps heal wounds" of racial injustice and gender inequality.
I'm curious enough about Wanda Coleman's writing after reading Elaine Woo's article in the Los Angeles Times to reach out and read some of her poetry. 

I learned in Woo's article that Coleman was critical of Maya Angelou's memoir 'A Song Flung Up to Heaven'.  Woo writes:
Opinionated and fiercely individualistic, Coleman was also a critic and former columnist for The Times, whose scornful 2002 review of celebrated author Maya Angelou's "A Song Flung Up to Heaven" — one in a series of follow-ups to "I Know Why the Caged Bird Sings" — caused a tempest in the world of letters.

Coleman panned the memoir as "a sloppily written fake" conceived to satisfy commercial rather than aesthetic tastes. Her harsh attack on the iconic black writer drew national media coverage and led the African American owner of the specialty bookshop Esowon to ban Coleman from his store. But she remained unbowed.
Ouch!! I am a huge a fan of Maya Angelo's writing, but it appears that Wanda Coleman was not.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Ivan (Her Russian Protector #1) by Roxie Rivera

First in a Series
HOT, Hot, hot read! Yes, I occasionally read erotica short stories, novellas, or novels, but they have to be well written and contain a good storyline. Otherwise I won't read it. 

Ivan by Roxie Rivera is a 99 page erotica novella that is the first in a series of books known as the 'Her Russian Protector' series.

I downloaded Ivan for free to my iPad from Amazon earlier this month based on the book description I'd read about it and all the positive reviews of this novella... Of course, being free didn't hurt in my decision to download Ivan either! 

I read all 99 pages of Ivan in one day. It's a fast read that grabs your attention from the first page through to the very last! I liked the characters and the storyline Ivan

The following is the book description for Ivan found on the Amazon website:
Desperate to find her sister, Erin goes to the only man in Houston who can help her--Ivan Markovic. The intimidating, tattooed Russian operates one of the most elite mixed-martial arts training centers in the world but it's his shadowy past and reputed connections with Houston's underworld that interest her most.

To find her sister, she'll need the help of her big, scary Russian protector--but asking for help from a man like Ivan carries a steep price, one that might just include her heart.

I'm actually looking forward to reading the full length novels which comprise the rest of the 'Her Russian Protector' series --- Dimitri (Book #2), Yuri (Book #3), Nikolai (Book #4), & Sergei (Book #5). Will there be more titles in the 'Her Russian Protector' series? Who's to say!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier

Earlier this month, I read my very first cozy mystery novel by Leslie Meier titled the Christmas Cookie Murder, which features amateur sleuth Lucy Stone. The 'Christmas Cookie Murder' is the sixth novel to feature the fictional character of Lucy Stone.

I chose this novel because I enjoy reading cozy mystery novels. I also wanted to read a book that fell into the holiday themed category as the holidays are almost upon us! Besides, I've never read anything by Leslie Meier before, so wanted to try a new author to me.

'Christmas Cookie Murder' is a nice easy, breezy novel to read. As far as leading characters go, I liked the lead character, Lucy Stone. The storyline and characters were okay --- Not great or bad, just middle of the road. I'd rate this novel 3 stars out of 5 stars. Would I go out of my way to read another novel by Leslie Meier. Probably not.

Until my next post, happy reading.

Friday, November 22, 2013

50th Anniversary of JFK's Assassination

Today marks the 50th anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination in Dallas, Texas. 

I wasn't even born at the time of JFK's assassination, but I know his death shocked the nation. My mom was 13 years old at the time and in school when the news broke of JFK's death.

There have been many books published about John F. Kennedy's life and his assassination over the years. And, of course, with this year marking the 50th anniversary of his death, more books have hit retail outlets about John F. Kennedy's life. There's so many published works about the 35th President of the United States to read... So, where might one begin their reading journey?? 

I found an article titled JFK anniversary: the best Kennedy books of all time by Peter Grier for the Decoder Wire. In his article, Grier recommended three classics about the life of John F. Kennedy as follows:

1. JFK Reckless Youth by Nigel Hamilton
2. An Unfinished Life: John F. Kennedy 1917-1963 by Robert Dallek
3.  The Death of a President, November 1963 by William Manchester

Click on the above link to read the above article in its entirety. Peter Grier shares a brief description about each of the titles above. Additionally, Grier also shares some other more recently published titles about JFK that one may enjoy reading.

Just for fun, test your knowledge about JFK by taking the How much do you know about President John F. Kennedy? quiz.

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Christmas Kismet by Jemma Grey

eBook Novella
I've been welcoming the Christmas spirit by reading a few holiday books this season. I recently decided to read an 86 page novella by Jemma Grey titled Christmas Kismet, which I downloaded to my iPad and read in one afternoon. 

Christmas Kismet is my first read by author Jemma Grey. I thought it was a good read filled with fun leading characters and a decent plot. I liked that Christmas Kismet is a fun light, read to pass the time away during the holiday season. I'm giving Christmas Kismet a 3 stars our of 5 stars rating.

Amazon Product Review:
Kate Murray has always loved Christmas.

Until this year.

This year, Christmas represents an aching reminder of all that Kate is supposed to have and all that she has lost. Her fiance ran off with her twin sister and Kate would rather hide and wallow in her misery than spend Christmas with her family.
This will be the first Christmas that she has ever spent alone.  
Kate rents a secluded cabin for the holidays and hopes to find herself again as she picks up the pieces of her shattered heart.

Instead, Kate finds Henri Archer, a sexy architect who owns the vacation cabin that she rented. Henri is undeniably handsome and although Kate knows that it is entirely too soon for her heart to embark on a new relationship, her attraction to Henri is impossible to ignore.

Since the death of his wife three years ago, Henri has struggled to get through Christmas. Spending an unexpectedly romantic holiday secluded in a winter wonderland with Kate has Henri wondering if Christmas wishes really do come true.

Together, Henri and Kate rekindle the joys of the Christmas season - each contemplating bearing the scars of their pasts for a second chance at love.

Kate fears that by opening her heart to Henri she risks re-opening herself to the heart ache that threatened to destroy her.

Henri hopes that two broken hearts can come together and mend each other - a true Christmas miracle.

I think it would have been interesting to read Christmas Kismet as a full length novel. I think a few more details could have been flushed out in more detail... Like the relationship between Kate and her twin sister, Emma... And why Emma and Kate's fiance, Shane, decided to have an affair. Plus, learning a few other minor things in more detail that could have been flushed out.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Sherman Alexie Interview in the New York Times

Last year, I read my first book written by Sherman Alexie titled 'The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian' and I loved this book! I look forward to reading more books by Mr. Alexie.

I recently came across an interview featuring Sherman Alexie in the New York Times titled Sherman Alexie: By the Book. I enjoyed reading this interview, not only because I admire Sherman Alexie's writing, but also because Sherman Alexie talks about his favorite novelists, poets, and so much more! It was fun learning which book had the most impact on Sherman Alexie.

Click on the above link to read the above article!

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Harry Potter Postage Stamps

In case you haven't heard the news, Harry Potter Postage Stamps are available today for purchase through the United States Postal Service!

I just learned about the Harry Potter postage stamps last weekend through an article I read on the USA Today website titled Post Office begins selling Harry Potter stamps Tuesday by Donna Leinwand Leger.

In the article, Donna Leinwand Leger writes:
The U.S. Postal Service will produce 5 million booklets of 20 First-Class Forever Harry Potter stamps, says Susan McGowan, executive director of stamp services for the postal service.

"Anyone who collects anything about Harry Potter will want this in their collection," she says. "We anticipate a big demand for these."

The limited-edition commemorative stamps have 20 unique images from the eight movies about the British boy wizard and his friends, foes and fantastic creatures. Among the images are Voldemort, Dumbledore and the Weasley brothers.
 So, will you be buying the limited-edition Harry Potter commemorative postage stamps when they come out? 

I'm not sure if I will be buying a booklet of the Harry Potter Stamps. I'm not a stamp collector myself. The holidays are right around the corner. So, I'll most likely be buying holiday themed postage stamps to place on the holiday greeting cards I'll be mailing out next month.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Kiki Lowenstein and the Cupcake Caper by Joanna Campbell Slan

Last year, I read Joanna Campbell Slan's novel Cut, Crop & Die, which is a Kiki Lowenstein Scrap-N-Craft Mystery novel. I really enjoyed reading Cut, Crop & Die as I love cozy mystery novels and enjoy scrapbooking myself. So, Cut, Crop & Die appealed to me for this reason.

When I recently came across the free eBook version of Kiki Lowenstein and the Cupcake Caper by Joanna Campbell Slan on Amazon, I couldn't wait to download it and read it as soon as possible! Kiki Lowenstein and the Cupcake Caper is a novella.

For me personally, Kiki Lowenstein and the Cupcake Caper wasn't a huge hit. I prefer the full length novels featuring Kiki Lowenstein verses the short stories or novellas. I feel like the short stories and novellas, don't contain as much substance as the full length novels. 

I'm giving Kiki Lowenstein and the Cupcake Caper a rating of 3 stars out of 5 stars. 

The pros:

* Fast, fun read
* Cozy mystery
* Fun characters
* More insight on the lives of other characters
* Happy ending
* A craft project & homemade doggie treat recipe at the end

The cons:

* Typos. This novella needs editing work.
* Story was too short in length.
* Wish the sneak peak of next read was left out

In the future, I'll continue reading the full length novels featuring Ms. Lowenstein and skip the novellas and short stories.

Bookish Quote of the Day!!

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Nobel Prize Laureate Doris Lessing Has Died

I learned of Doris Lessing's passing this morning through Google News. I read an article on the CBS News website titled Nobel author Doris Lessing dies at 94. In the article the following was written:
Doris Lessing, the Nobel prize-winning, free-thinking, world-traveling and often-polarizing author of "The Golden Notebook" and dozens of other novels that reflected her own improbable journey across the former British empire, died Sunday. She was 94.
Her publisher, HarperCollins, said the author of more than 55 works of fiction, opera, nonfiction and poetry, died peacefully early Sunday. Her family requested privacy, and the exact cause of death was not immediately clear.

Lessing explored topics ranging from colonial Africa to dystopian Britain, from the mystery of being female to the unknown worlds of science fiction.

She won the Nobel Literature prize in 2007. The Swedish Academy praised Lessing for her "skepticism, fire and visionary power." When informed about winning the prize outside her London home she responded: "Oh Christ! ... I couldn't care less."
Click on above link to read more details of Doris Lessing's life and written works.

Life Lessons From Kurt Vonnegut

I happened to come across an article on the Huffington Post website titled Here's What Kurt Vonnegut Can Teach You About Life. I found the seven things mentioned about Kurt Vonnegut actually said or wrote to be wonderful.

I've never read anything by Kurt Vonnegut. Nor do I know much about his personal life. Now, after reading the above article, I'd like to read a book by Mr. Vonnegut! Now to decide which one.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

Want to Host a Successful Literary Holiday Party??

Perhaps the article I discovered on Flavorwire titled 5 Essential Tips on Hosting a Successful Literary Holiday Party by Michelle Dean, will help one create a successful literary holiday party.

I, for one, don't think it is essential to serve alcohol to host a successful literary holiday party as Dean's article seems to suggest... But to each his or her own.

What creative idea or essential tip do you think would make for a successful literary holiday party?

Friday, November 15, 2013

Friday Finds #15

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

This week I added three new titles to my ever growing book collection! 

I've added the unabridged audio version of The Asylum by John Harwood. This will be my first experience with anything written by John Harwood. I'm looking forward to it as I've read good things about this novel online.

I've also added the unabridged audio version of The Reversal by Michael Connelly as well. This audiobook will also mark my first experience with anything written by Mr. Connelly.

I also purchased a used paperback copy of Splendor in the Glass by Tamar Myers for half price at Bart's Books in Ojai, California. The book looks brand new, so score on that for me. I've been enjoying the Den of Antiquity Mystery series by Tamat Myers. Also, as a side note, Bart's Books is an awesome used bookstore. Should you ever find yourself in Ojai, California it is the place to visit for book lovers!!

So, which books have you recently added to your reading collection??

Thursday, November 14, 2013

An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods

Last weekend, I read An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon I had participated in from November 7 - 11, 2013. 

It was fun to start reading holiday themed books as the holiday season is swiftly approaching. Actually, it's kind of difficult to believe that the Thanksgiving holiday will be here in a couple of weeks.

So, what did I think of An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods? Well, the short answer is I thought it was mediocre. Not exactly a novel, I'd highly recommend to other readers. I'd rate it 2 stars out of 5 stars. This was my first experience reading anything written by bestselling author Sherryl Woods and I'm not quite sure if I'll try reading another one of her novels after reading An O'Brien Family Christmas.

Sure, I enjoy reading holiday themed novels about love with happy endings and romantic locations... So, An O'Brien Family Christmas fits the bill for this criteria... But, I found reading An O'Brien Family Christmas was much too predictable for me. 

I'm also not a fan of annoying leading characters, like Laila in An O'Brien Family Christmas, who seemed to have pretty big hang-ups about love throughout most of the novel... Then suddenly, Laila seems to let go of all of her annoying hang-ups that she couldn't do before and completely gives in to love. 

The other supporting characters in An O'Brien Family Christmas (which largely comprised of the O'Brien clan) were a bunch of nosy, busy bodies/meddlers, who couldn't seem to mind their own business.
The ending of An O'Brien Family Christmas, seemed really unrealistic to me... I don't want to spoil the details for those wanting to read An O'Brien Family Christmas, so I'll spoil the ending by writing here in my review.

Plus, the author, Sherryl Woods, used the words 'solemn' and 'solemnly' way too many times in An O'Brien Family Christmas for my taste. Authors, please, use a thesaurus!! As a reader, I DO NOT want to read the same words repetitively to describe a person, scene, situation or particular circumstance. A nice variety of words employed by an author is greatly appreciated.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Wednesday, November 13, 2013

What Do YOU Love About Brick & Mortar Bookstores?

I love the sense of community that a brick and mortar bookstore offers along with the ability to touch and feel the books too! The author events offered at a brick and mortar bookstores are also awesome to attend!

I also recently read an article on BuzzFeed titled 10 Lovable Things About Brick-And-Mortar Bookstores. Some of the things I enjoy about brick and mortar bookstores are also mentioned in the Buzzfeed article, along with other amazing things that brick and mortar bookstores offer to readers and the community at large.

Share what you find lovable about brick and mortar bookstores!

Monday, November 11, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day #5 Check-In

Okay, today is the last day of the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon and I'm kind of sad to see that it is coming to an end. I've enjoyed reading holiday themed books with other readers also participating in the festive Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon this year.

I didn't keep track as to how much time I spent reading today for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon. However, I did finish reading through to page 110 of the 'Christmas Cookie Murder' by Leslie Meier. I'm roughly halfway through this novel at this time. 

So, as it stands, I did finish reading 'An O'Brien Family Christmas' by Sherryl Woods and the first 110 pages of the 'Christmas Cookie Murder' by Leslie Meier during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon. 

I didn't quite reach my goal of reading three holiday themed books during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon, but I did have fun reading during this event

I do plan to finish reading the 'Christmas Cookie Murder' by Leslie Meier by the end of this week.

For those of you who participated in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon this year, did you reach the reading goals you set for yourself? Which book or books did you enjoy reading the most for this event?

Until my next post, happy reading!

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day #4 Check-In

Greetings to my fellow readers!! I'm sure having fun reading holiday themed novels for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon this season.

This evening, I began reading a cozy mystery novel titled 'Christmas Cookie Murder' by Leslie Meier. The 'Christmas Cookie Murder' is the first novel I'll be reading by Ms. Meier. I enjoy reading cozy mystery novels. I've only read the first 44 pages of 'Christmas Cookie Murder' and looking forward to continuing this novel tomorrow.

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 9, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day #3 Check-In

Alright, so after the first 90 minutes, I lost track of how long I actually read today for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon. But who's counting anyway?? 

The good news is that I finished reading 'An O'Brien Family Christmas' by Sherryl Woods this evening! Whoo Hoo!!

I'm going to end this evening on a high note and begin reading the next holiday themed book I have waiting for me tomorrow morning. 

Two more days left in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon, which leaves me wondering if I'll be able to finish my ambitious goal of reading three novels in five days??? Whatever the outcome, I'm having fun! That's my story and I'm sticking with it.

I'll post a book review for 'An O'Brien Family Christmas' by Sherryl Woods soon. 

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Friday, November 8, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day #2 Check-In

I'm still reading 'An O'Brien Family Christmas' by Sherryl Woods today for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon.

Today, I read for roughly 2.5 hours total and have read 175 pages of  'An O'Brien Family Christmas'. I'd love to read more this evening, but I won't continue reading anymore tonight because I have a headache right now. :-(

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day #1 Check-In

I'm happy and excited about participating in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon Day this year! 

Today I chose to begin reading An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon. Sherryl Woods is a new author to me.

I read about 75 minutes today as that is all I've had time for reading today. Hopefully, I'll have more time tomorrow to devote to reading!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Monday, November 4, 2013

A "Christmas Holiday Themed" Book Giveaway

New Paperback Edition
I've been wanting to host a book giveaway on my blog for quite awhile now, but wasn't sure which book to choose for a giveaway or how to host a giveaway until I recently discovered the Giveaway Tools website. 

Now with the holidays fast approaching, I thought it would be fun to make my first book giveaway a Christmas holiday themed one!

I've selected the paperback edition of Holiday in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller for my first book giveaway. Holiday in Stone Creek contains two books in one! Who doesn't like a two for one deal?? Here's more information about Holiday in Stone Creek from the back cover:
A Stone Creek Christmas
Stone Creek veterinarian Olivia O'Ballivan communicates easily with animals, but men are another story. Especially rugged architect-turned-rancher Tanner Quinn. Olivia's uncanny bond with his daughter Sophie's pony has him questioning her sanity, while she wonders if he's not just a drugstore cowboy. Then twelve-year-old Sophie conspires with Olivia to get Tanner into the spirit of Christmas. But will a holiday miracle transform the globe-trotting Tanner into a rancher—and family man—for all seasons?

At Home In Stone Creek
Everyone in Ashley O'Ballivan's life is marrying and starting families—except her. But why bother dating when no one can compare to Jack McCall, the man who left her heartbroken years ago? Now he's back in town —and maybe he isn't who she thinks he is.

While recovering from a dangerous mission for the DEA, security expert Jack rents a room in Ashley's bed-and-breakfast. For both their sakes, he tries to keep his distance, though neither can deny the growing spark between them. But when his past catches up with him, he'll have to leave again …just as he realizes where he's always belonged—in Stone Creek.

The "Christmas Holiday Themed" Book Giveaway Details are as Follows:

Enter by filling out the Giveaway Tool below for a chance to win one new paperback copy of Holiday in Stone Creek by Linda Lael Miller. The "Christmas Holiday Themed" Book Giveaway is open to US residents only and ends on Monday, November 18, 2013 at 10:59pm PST.

NOTE: All participants must be 18 years or older. The winner will be contacted via email. Once contacted, the winner has 96 hours to respond with the required information. If the winner does not respond within the time frame specified, another winner will be selected. I am not responsible for shipping mishaps. Void where prohibited.

Sunday, November 3, 2013

Mind Over Medicine by Lissa Rankin M. D.

Unabridged Audiobook Read by the Author
Today, I finished listening to the unabridged audio version of Mind Over Medicine: Scientific Proof That You Can Heal Yourself by Lissa Rankin M.D. 

All I can say is that this book is amazing!! So far, I'd say that this is easily my favorite nonfiction read for 2013. I'm currently on a healing journey and the message contained within the pages of this book rang true for me. 

I'm really looking forward to implementing the exercises and techniques spelled out in Mind Over Medicine in the weeks ahead in order to achieve optimal health.

Here's an overview of Mind Over Medicine, that I found on the Barnes & Noble website:
We’ve been led to believe that when we get sick, it’s our genetics. Or it’s just bad luck—and doctors alone hold the keys to optimal health. For years, Lissa Rankin, M.D., believed the same. But when her own health started to suffer, and she turned to Western medical treatments, she found that they not only failed to help; they made her worse. So she decided to take matters into her own hands.
     Through her research, Dr. Rankin discovered that the health care she had been taught to practice was missing something crucial: a recognition of the body’s innate ability to self-repair and an appreciation for how we can control these self-healing mechanisms with the power of the mind. In an attempt to better understand this phenomenon, she explored peer-reviewed medical literature and found evidence that the medical establishment had been proving that the body can heal itself for over 50 years.
     Using extraordinary cases of spontaneous healing, Dr. Rankin shows how thoughts, feelings, and beliefs can alter the body’s physiology. She lays out the scientific data proving that loneliness, pessimism, depression, fear, and anxiety damage the body, while intimate relationships, gratitude, meditation, sex, and authentic self-expression flip on the body’s self-healing processes.

     In the final section of the book, you’ll be introduced to a radical new wellness model based on Dr. Rankin’s scientific findings. Her unique six-step program will help you uncover where things might be out of whack in your life—spiritually, creatively, environmentally, nutritionally, and in your professional and personal relationships—so that you can create a customized treatment plan aimed at bolstering these health-promoting pieces of your life. You’ll learn how to listen to your body’s “whispers” before they turn to life-threatening “screams” that can be prevented with proper self-care, and you’ll learn how to trust your inner guidance when making decisions about your health and your life.

     By the time you finish Mind Over Medicine, you’ll have made your own Diagnosis, written your own Prescription, and created a clear action plan designed to help you make your body ripe for miracles.

Whether you already have optimal health and want to maintain the optimal health you already have... Or you're looking to improve your overall heath, then Mind Over Medicine may be the perfect book for you.

Until my next post, happy reading!

I'm Intrigued by "S." the New Book by J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst

S. Book Cover
I just learned about "S." a new book by J. J. Abrams & Doug Dorst a few days ago and it sounds like and intriguing book to read!

The following is the product description from Amazon's website:

One book. Two readers. A world of mystery, menace, and desire.

A young woman picks up a book left behind by a stranger. Inside it are his margin notes, which reveal a reader entranced by the story and by its mysterious author. She responds with notes of her own, leaving the book for the stranger, and so begins an unlikely conversation that plunges them both into the unknown.

The book: Ship of Theseus, the final novel by a prolific but enigmatic writer named V.M. Straka, in which a man with no past is shanghaied onto a strange ship with a monstrous crew and launched onto a disorienting and perilous journey.

The writer: Straka, the incendiary and secretive subject of one of the world’s greatest mysteries, a revolutionary about whom the world knows nothing apart from the words he wrote and the rumors that swirl around him.

The readers: Jennifer and Eric, a college senior and a disgraced grad student, both facing crucial decisions about who they are, who they might become, and how much they’re willing to trust another person with their passions, hurts, and fears.

S., conceived by filmmaker J. J. Abrams and written by award-winning novelist Doug Dorst, is the chronicle of two readers finding each other in the margins of a book and enmeshing themselves in a deadly struggle between forces they don’t understand, and it is also Abrams and Dorst’s love letter to the written word.

Inside "S."

Doesn't this sound like an awesome book to read?? I'm tempted to purchase this book asap from Amazon and believe me, I do not need any more books to read at this point in time! My bookshelves and Kindle are overflowing with books.

I also discovered an interview of J. J. Abrams in the New York Times in their Sunday Book Review Section titled J. J. Abrams: By the Book, which I enjoyed reading because Abrams shares his thoughts on books.

Oh, before I forget, check out the following book trailer video of "S." on YouTube!

Until my next post, happy reading!!

Saturday, November 2, 2013

The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere

Unabridged Audiobook Read by the Author
The Christmas Secret by Donna VanLiere is the first novel I've read or listened by this new to me author. 

I actually stumbled upon a used, unabridged, five compact disc copy of 'The Christmas Secret' at our local Friends of the Library Bookstore for a dollar. I'm always on the lookout for audiobooks on compact disc at our local Friends of the Library Bookstore and for a dollar, buying audiobooks is quite a bargain one usually cannot pass up!

With the holiday season fast approaching, I thought this novel sounded like a good one to enjoy listening to as holiday books can help put you in the mood.

Once I finish listening to audiobooks, I usually exchange them with other avid audiobook listeners on Bookcrossing via a Virtual Book Box exchange, which is a fun way to exchange audiobooks with audio listeners here in the USA.

Now that I've listened to 'The Christmas Secret', I'm not sure I liked it very much. I enjoyed that this audiobook was unabridged and that it was read by the author. However, I thought that many of the leading characters, especially those of Christine and Jason were a bit annoying and one dimensional at times. There also times I became frustrated with their actions or thoughts. Also, the storyline was predictable with a fairy tale ending. The ending was too convenient and tidy. 'The Christmas Secret' was not a horrible read. I'm just disappointed with the novel's lack of depth for both the characters and its story line. 

I'm not even remotely interested in reading or listening to another novel by Donna VanLiere. I wish her continued success as a writer, but her novels aren't for me. 

Are you planning to read any holiday books this season? Share your holiday reading plans here!

Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon ~ November 7th-11th 2013

The holidays are swiftly approaching! Before you know it, they'll be upon us. I really enjoy celebrating the holidays with family and friends. I also enjoy reading holiday themed books as well this time of year. 

However, the only drawback about the upcoming holidays is that I have less time to devote to reading books from the Thanksgiving holiday through the end of the year with all the busyness of prepping for the holidays and spending time with loved ones.

The good news this year is that I discovered the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon hosted by Kimba at Caffeinated Book Reviewer & Jennifer at Bawdy Book Blog. 

I have quite a few books that fall into the 'holiday themed reading material' to choose from in my current reading collection. It's just a matter of narrowing the field and deciding which ones I want to read the most during the five days the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon takes place.

So, what will my reading goal be during the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon ? Good question! I'm going to choose three book titles to read in five days. This may be an OVERLY AMBITIOUS GOAL for me, as I'm not sure I can read that many books in five days!

The book titles I've selected (or should I say attempting to read??) to read for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon are as follows:

1) Christmas Cookie Murder by Leslie Meier

2) The Chocolate Snowman Murders by Joanna Carl

3) An O'Brien Family Christmas by Sherryl Woods

So, join me by participating in the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon! Click on the above link to sign up for the Ho-Ho-Ho Read-A-Thon, link your blog to their website, and post your reading goals for the read-a-thon on your blog. Oh, and don't forget to snag one of their fancy buttons to also add to your blog as well!

Until my next post, happy reading folks!

Friday, November 1, 2013

Friday Finds #14

Friday Finds is a book meme hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. Friday Finds is a chance to share and show off the books you discovered during the week and would like to add to your reading list...

Or a place to simply feature the books you've actually purchased throughout the week and have added to your to be read pile!

This week I added two new titles to my ever growing book collection! I visited our local FOL Used Bookstore and purchased The Casual Vacancy by J. K. Rowling and Orchid Fever by Eric Hansen. I look forward to reading both books!

So, which books did you add to your personal collection this week?