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Saturday, December 31, 2011

Mask of the Gladiator by Georgie Lee






Summary:
Rome, 41 AD






Livia Duronius is driven to seek out a gladiator after watching him triumph in the Colosseum. His touch arouses a sense of hope she hasn't felt since Rome fell under the tyrannical rule of Caligula—and her late husband betrayed her. Though in danger of losing more than her heart, she vows to see him again, even after she learns her uncle has arranged her marriage to a senator.
Senator Titus Marius cannot resist indulging in a passionate encounter with the veiled woman who waits for him after the games, though he faces execution if his true identity is discovered. Bound by honor to wed another, and embroiled in a plot to free Rome from madness, he never expects to see the mystery woman again.
When the fates reunite them in the marriage bed, Titus vows to protect Livia at all costs—even from the lecherous eyes of the emperor...
17,000 words

summary taken from Goodreads.com


My, my, my it seems that the good people over at Carina Press are getting into publishing historical romance novellettes. At 54 pages this one is another short but enjoyable read. In this tiny book there lies romance, mystery, intrigue and assassination oh boy!

Livia is a woman who has vowed not to remarry since the political unrest  in Rome drove her husband to flee the city and leave her in the interests of saving his own skin and died anyways. One day she is at a gladiator match and finds herself moved by one of the fighters, it's her future love interest Titus in disguise risking everything to battle secretly as a gladiator though he is a noble senator.

Livia is so moved she finds herself yearning to feel him against her bare flesh and after his victory over the enemy she finds him in his quarters amongst the other gladiators. A tryst ensues and high born Livia must depart leaving both of them yearning for something more. But how can a slave and a lady be together?

When Livia returns home to her uncles estate he informs her that he has a suitor for her despite her objections. The political climate in Rome isn't favourable and she needs to do this for her safety and who should so happen to walk in but Titus himself who was completely unaware that his intended was the Lady he had a romp with early that day.

Soon Livia realizes who he is and they get married, have some sex and kill the emperor Caligula (they sure knew how to name their leaders didn't they?) I actually thought that this was a pretty good read short, simple to the point and I recommend giving it a try. The characters are likable and the setting is great. I'll definitely be trying more of the authors other books.








*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.


★★★


Friday, December 30, 2011

Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott






Summary:
Egypt, 1500 BC
Drawn to his abandoned temple on the banks of the Nile by an enchanting song, Sobek the Crocodile God is even more captivated by the sight of the singer herself. Appearing to her as a man, he learns she is Merys, a descendant of his last priestess. Though filled with lust, Sobek believes Merys deserves to be more than just his mistress. But the rules that govern the Egyptian pantheon forbid anything beyond a physical joining of a Great One and a human.
Merys is attracted to the handsome stranger, who arouses passions in her that no man ever has. But with no dowry and no hope of ever leaving her village, she dares not dream of the future—or love.
Sobek takes every opportunity to visit Merys, taxing his resolve to leave her pure. When he saves her life, their mutual desire must be sated. But can a love between a human and an immortal survive the ultimate test of the gods?
21,000 words
Summary taken from Goodreads.com


Isn't the cover for this beautiful? I adore it. I'm a cover slut. I love me a pretty cover! Now as I understand it this is the author's first book/major work and I thought that it was pretty good for a bit of mid afternoon reading. I suppose it's a paranormal historical romance with her being a mortal and her lover being Sobek the ancient Egyptian crocodile god.

For me I could tell that the author Veronica Scott took her time writing this piece and even though it's less than 70 pages long it was still good. If you know me and my reading habits than you know that I usually tend to stay far, far away from short stories/novellas/novelletes because I like my books to be over 100 pages in length.

I liked the storyline and the romance that developed between the two they didn't get down and dirty by oage 5 so I knew it could ony go up from there (no pun intended). I liked Merys a ot but I wish we could have known more about her life and that the book could have been another 50 pages longer (sorry Veronica) but maybe if I wish it hard enough she'll bring Merys and Sobek back in her future were because I really did enjoy this story and I do appreciate the hard work she put into researching and writing this work and I hope she continues writing and I wish her all the best.

Up until the last 3 pages I was going to give this book a 3 star rating but the ending was my favourite part because it had a HEA and I love romances that end in happily ever afters and I recommend this to those looking for nice light read on a rainy afternoon.









*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

★★★ 1/2



Around the World in 52 Books Challenge List






List is complete but subject to change

1. Afghanistan
Earth and Ashes by Atiq Rahimi (Library)
2. Algiers
My Battle of Algiers: A Memoir by Ted Morgan  (library)
3.Antarctica
Surviving Antarctica: Reality TV 2083 by Andrea White (Library)
and/or
Ice Bound: A Doctor's Incredible Battle for Survival at the  South Pole by Jerri  Nielsen (Own)
4. Australia
Rabbit-Proof Fence: The True Story of One of the Greatest Escapes of  All Time by Doris Pilkington Garimara (Library)
5. Botswana
Botswana Time by Will Randall  (library)
and/or
The Limpopo Academy of Private Detection by :Alexander McCall Smith (library)
5. Burkina Faso
The Outlaw by Stephen Davies (library)
6. Canada
The Story Girl by L.M. Montgomery (library)
7. Cambodia
Children of Cambodia's Killing Fields: Memoirs by Survivors by Dith Pran
8. Central African Republic
Malaria Dreams: An African Adventure by Stuart Stevens (library)
9. Congo
Bonobo Handshake: A Memoir of Love and Adventure in the Congo by Vanessa Woods (library)
10. Côte d'Ivoire
Nine Hills to Nambonkaha: Two Years in the Heart of an African Village by Sarah Erdman (own)
11. Denmark
Winter's Tales by Karen Blixen (own)
12.Egypt
I Want to Get Married!: One Wannabe Bride's Misadventures with Handsome Houdinis, Technicolor Grooms, Morality Police, and Other Mr. Not Quite Rights by غادة عبدالعال(library)
and
Priestess of the Nile by Veronica Scott (own)
13. Equitorial Guinea
Shadows of Your Black Memory by Donato Ndongo (library)
14. Eritrea
My Father's Daughter by Hannah Pool (library)
15. Ethiopia
Cry of the Giraffe by Judie Oron (library)
16. England
Katherine by Anya Seton (library)
17. Finland
Wilderness by Roddy Doyle (library)
18. France
My Life in France by :Julia Child (library)
19. Gabon
Travels in West Africa by Mary H Kingsley  (library)
and/or
African Silences by Peter Matthiessen  (library)
20. Gambia
Reading the Ceiling by Dayo Forster (library)
21. Ghana
Somebody's Heart Is Burning: A Woman Wanderer in Africa by Tanya Shaffer (library)
22. Guinea
The Dark Child by Camara Laye (library)
23.Greece
The Messenger of Athens by Anne Zouroudi  (library)
24. Germany
The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (own)
25. Greenland
Cold Earth by Sarah Moss (library)
26. Hungary
Valeria's Last Stand by Marc Fitten (library)
27. Iceland
Last Rituals by Yrsa Sigurðardóttir (library)
28. India
Beneath a Marble Sky by John Shors (library)
29. Iran
Reading Lolita in Tehran by Azar Nafisi (own)
30. Ireland
Daughter of the Forest by Juliet Marillier (own)
31. Italy
Daughters of Rome by Kate Quinn (library)
32. Jordan
Married to a Bedouin by Marguerite Van Geldermalsen (library)
33. Kenya
My Pride and Joy: An Autobiography by George Adamson (library)
34. Lesotho
She Plays with the Darkness by Zakes Mda (library)
35. Liberia
This Child Will Be Great: Memoir of a Remarkable Life by Africa's First Woman President by Ellen Johnson Sirleaf (library)
36. Madagascar
Muddling through in Madagascar by Dervla Murphy (library)
37. Namibia
Cry of the Kalahari by Mark J. Owens (library)
38. Nigeria
Half of a Yellow Sun by Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie (library)
39. Netherlands
A Young Wife by Pam Lewis (library)
40. Norway
Wolfsangel by M.D. Lachlan (library)
41. New Zealand
The Whale Rider by Witi Ihimaera (library)
42.Papua New Guinea
Four Corners: A Journey into the Heart of Papua New Guinea by Kira Salak (library)
43. Romania
Wildwood Dancing by Juliet Marillier (library)
44. Rwanda
Baking Cakes in Kigali by Gaile Parkin (library)
45. South Africa
My Traitor's Heart: A South African Exile Returns to Face His Country, His Tribe, and His Conscience by Rian Malan (library)
and
It Rains In February A Wife's Memoir of Love and Loss by Leila Summers (own)
46. Scotland
Dragonfly in Amber by Diana Gabaldon (own)
47. Swaziland
Zoo Story: Life in the Garden of Captives by Thomas French (library)
48. Somalia
Infidel by Ayaan Hirsi Ali (own)
49. Tanzania
Through a Window by Jane Goodall (library)
50. Uganda
Kisses from Katie by Katie J. Davis (to buy)
51. Zimbabwe
Nehanda by Yvonne Vera (library)
52.Zambia
 The Man-Eaters of Tsavo by John Henry Patterson (library)


Thursday, December 29, 2011

I finally did it...

I did it.
I finally,
truly did it.
I bought...



a
Fear not dear friends and printed word lovers, I have not forsaken ye in this new age of the 'ereader'.
This has been a decision that I'd been trying to make for over a year and today...I gave in.
However, do not doubt that I will turn my back on the printed word, this is a means to an end (I can read more Netgalley books now!).
I've been a card carrying member of the Toronto Public Library system since I was 3 years old and have no intention of abandoning physical books. Honestly I couldn't if I wanted to. I have almost 1,200 "real" books in my "library room".
So my question is... do you have an e-reader? If you do what do you have? If you don't why not?






Something Cute


Just wanted to share a picture of one of my babies :)
This is Annie my 4 year old golden retriever :)

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Heart to Heart by Lurlene Mcdaniel


Summary:
From Lurlene McDaniel, the bestselling author of young adult inspirational fiction, comes Heart to Heart. This emotionally charged novel explores loss, love, renewal, and the ways in which these complex bonds within families and between friends are tested at life's most challenging moments.

Elowyn Eden and Kassey Messechek are best friends. They share every aspect of their lives. But one thing Elowyn has not yet shared with Kassey is that she checked the organ donor box on her newly acquired driver's license. Kassey only learns of this in a startling and devastating way—when Elowyn's life-giving donor wishes are about to be honored.

Arabeth St. Clair has not had the luck to have a best friend. Due to her diseased heart, she's led a sheltered life. When Arabeth is sixteen, she and her mother receive the call that will change their lives—but they don't know to whom they should be forever grateful.

When the worlds of these three girls and their families intersect, lives are changed in ways never imagined. Most especially, it is Kassey who sees things differently, for she can keep alive the memory of her dear friend by sharing the renewed life of another teenage girl, while helping to ease the pain of the two families involved and coming to terms with her own.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com



I think now that I've read just about enough of Lurlene's books for a few months at least although they do come in handy since for me I usually finish one of her books in under 2 hours and with the end of the year looming I'm trying to read a few more books before it's officially over.

I liked this newer book of hers though I didn't particularly like the characters other than that of Arabeth. After Kasey's best friend Elowyn gets in a car accident her family follows through with her wishes of donating her organs. Her heart ends up going to Arabeth a girl younger than Kasey and Elowyn but one who become important to her since the younger girl carries her best friend's heart.

The part I really liked about this book is the fact that once Arabeth wakes up after her heart surgery she starts acting differently. For example when she wakes up she wants her mother and aunt to paint her room purple and yellow and make it look like France though she doesn't like that country but it's what Elowyn's room was like, She also develops a taste for Chunky Monkey ice cream which was also Elowyns favourite. Several things like this happen and the book basically talks about the adjustment thqt everyone goes through after the loss of Elowyn. This is especially hard for Kasey and Elowyns parents but the fact that Arabeth is a living reminder of the friend and daughter that was lost it's very heartfelt. All in all not bad at all.

★★★★

Briana's Gift by Lurlene McDaniel


Summary:
Thirteen-year-old Sissy's mother always said that Sissy's sixteen-year-old sister marched to the beat of a different drummer. But it isn't until Briana runs away with an older boy that Sissy begins to understand what her mother meant. When Briana returns home alone and pregnant, Sissy and her mother try to help Briana come to terms with her options.

It was already complicated to think about Briana's choices and then things change suddenly again. When Briana is in a serious accident, Sissy's mother sees things one way. Although Sissy understands her mother's reaction, she feels she must try to convince her mother to make a different decision. Sissy needs to grow up fast and do what she can to maintain Briana's legacy. Will she be able to make her mother understand that there is only one way to accept Briana's gift?
Summary taken from Goodreads.com


First off let me say that this really wasn't my favourite book by Lurlene Mcdaniel at all but I did like it. I liked it because  this book while not being her strongest work in my opinion it is written in the usual way most of her older books were written in being from a first person point of view.

I liked Sissy though I hated her name but I found her mother to be an irritating woman who just because her one teenage daughter (Briana) got pregnant it was as if she had forgotten that she even had another child. At times I was very angry at her mother for shoving Sissy aside because Sissy's world was just as affected by the news of  Briana's prrgnancy as anyone but she was being the mature one while the mother was just acting out much like a small child.

When Briana comes home and starts straightening her life out she gets a job at the local wal-mart and one day suffers from an anuerysm. She ended up becoming brain damaged and all their mother could think of was giving the unborn baby away as soon as she was born. Sissy wasn't taken into account and her mother would not even allow her to put up a Christmas tree that year because she was too caught up in her suffering to see that her daughter was hurting too.

Now Sissy is the advocate for keeping her sister's baby she out right refuses to allow her mother to give her niece away. And boy does she fight. I love how much strength that Sissy had and how she didn't give up.

My favourite part in the book was the end where her mother and her take her niece home from the hospital and the neighbors offer to help them with raising the baby since her mother has arthritis. It was very touching that their small town community offered their time to help raise the appropriately named baby, Noel.

★★★ 1/2




Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Around the World in 52 Books Challenge


I am proud to announce that I will be embarking on a whirl wind adventure by reading my way across this great world of ours. I intend to read 52 books from 52 different countries as part of a group challenge on Goodreads.com Wish me luck. Anytime that I do a book review for one of these books I will include the picture you see above.
Happy reading :)

Prey by Lurlene Mcdaniel

 

Summary:
A teacher is supposed to impart a love of learning and a thirst for knowledge. It’s a bit different with Ms. Lori Settles. All the kids are talking about how hot she is–and she is especially interested in Ryan Piccoli. When she starts giving Ryan extra attention, he’s feeling more than happy–at first. He’s used to being the class clown, but really he’s a loner. One day after school, the friendship with Lori Settles goes farther than he ever expected. She’s his teacher. She’s at least twice his age. Intimacy with a teacher is wrong, yet it feels so good in every way. Soon, Lori is making demands and Ryan begins to feel overwhelmed, but Ryan refuses to even admit anything is going on. Something immoral is going on and before too long the choices made will change lives forever.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com

W.O.W. that was my first reaction after reading this book. The author has really evolved in her writing. The topics she's choosing the last few years seems to mirror the changes in the things that teens face in this ever changing world.

This book is told from the POV of three characters, Ryan, Lori (his teacher) and Honey his friend. It seems to me that she is using this style more and more in her newer books and I enjoy it because we get a feel for the other characters from the way the others see them and think about them.

While I found this book to be very thought provoking I didn't connect to her characters as much, Maybe it's because traditionally the main characters in her novels are female. For me its hard to let go of the way she used to write her books. I didn't like Ryan at all and I didn't care for Lori which is a given since she was having sex with Ryan her student I couldn't like her. The only person I did like was Honey who I felt deserved more attention she really cared about Ryan and he shoved her to the side like an unwanted toy. I know that Ryan was messed up because of his relationship with Lori but even before it began I found him difficult to connect to and that became even more evident as the book wore on I just couldn't stand him talk about whiney.

Despite all my issues with the characters I still think this was a powerful book written at the perfect level for younger teens about the taboo student/teacher relationship and that it still felt like the author's writing. Just because this isn't one of my favourites that she's written I can appreciate it for what she was trying to and in my opinion did accomplish and that is raising awareness that this kind of sick thing does happen. Once again I strongly urge you to give her writing a try.

★★★★



Winnie the Pooh by A.A. Milne



Summary:
The Bear of Very Little Brain and his friends from the Hundred Acre Wood have delighted generations of readers since Winnie-the-Pooh was first published in 1926.

Back by popular demand, the four full-color gift editions of the original Pooh classics are available again. These elegant books, larger in format than the classic editions, include all of Ernest H. Shepard's illustrations, each meticulously hand-painted in delicate watercolors.

Here are the two great storybooks chronicling the adventures of Christopher Robin and all the inhabitants of the Hundred Acre Wood, as well as the two charming volumes of poems. Bright in color and true in spirit, these are books for giving--To Pooh fans of all ages.

Summary taken from Goodreads.com

I think the last time I read this book was back when I was first learning how to read with my Daddy so that would make it about 18 years ago...I can't believe it's been so long! Returning to Hundred Acre Wood was lovely and despite the fact that I'm no longer 3 years old that silly old bear still makes me feel warm and fuzzy inside.

Reading this book again was like coming home to old friends. The only thing is they stayed the same while I got older. I really loved reading this again and I'm glad I picked it up on a whim. It was nice to slip back into that world of Winnie the Pooh. I was delighted to see that the stories still had their magic for me and I found myself giggling through out just like I did all those years ago.

If you have children and even if you don't I really hope that you'll pick this book up and read it no matter how old you are. Whether you are a new friend or old this book will be like a warm blanket on a cold day enveloping you in the warm scent of nostalgia, This is another book that I will be reading to my future spawn one day and I hope to instill a deep love of reading in them by reading this book to them.
★ ★ ★ ★


A Virgin River Christmas (Virgin River, #4) by Robyn Carr


Summary:
Last Christmas, Marcie Sullivan said a final goodbye to her husband Bobby. This Christmas she’s come to Virgin River to find the man who saved his life and gave her three more years to love him.

Fellow marine Ian Buchanan dragged Bobby’s shattered body onto a medical transport in Fallujah four years ago then disappeared as soon as their unit arrived Stateside. Since then, Marcie’s letters to Ian have gone unanswered.

Marcie tracks Ian to the tiny mountain town of Virgin River and finds a man as wounded emotionally as Bobby was physically. But she is not easily scared off. As Marcie pushes her way into his rugged and reclusive life, she discovers a sweet but damaged soul beneath a rough exterior.

Ian doesn’t know what to make of the determined young widow who forces him to look into the painful past and, what’s worse, the uncertain future. But it is, after all, a season of miracles and maybe, just maybe, it’s time to banish the ghosts and open his heart.

Summary taken from Goodreads.com

How could I possibly go through the Christmas season without reading this book especially since I haven't been able to get my hands on a copy of this book up until a few weeks ago. Thankfully the series doesn't dictate that we have to read the books in sequential order.

This was by far my favourite Christmas-themed book this year! I love Robyn Carr and this series. I think that she's created a magical world that happens in a tiny town full of people with big hearts. I found myself drawn into the story once again like always even though this was book was shorter than her other books in the series.
It is my firm belief that Robyn Carr has a gift and the way that she makes creates her characters is amazing. I really loved Marcie she was just so likeable and despite being tiny she really did have as Ian said "the strength of a thousand soldiers" because of all she went through when her husband was wounded in battle. I think the romance between the two of them was perfect because they did things by their own rules they didn't lay out a five year plan but chose to wing it in a sense and let whatever happens happen. I think it was very touching how they helped each other through their pain. Marcie succeeded in bringing Ian out of his shell and helped restore him to his former self.

The fact that this book was set in my favourite little made up town around Christmas time made it a winner in my books. It had all the magic of the other books in this series but with a little bit of a Christmas miracle put in for good measure. I was so glad to see some familiar faces in the story like Mel, Jack, Doc, Preacher, Mike etc. They added more to the story in my opinion. Reading this was like coming home :) A great Christmas romance written by a wonderful author. If you haven't read this book or this series yet I strongly urge you to do so if you like Contemporary Romance, plus the author likes to add in a few steamy bits too as a bonus!

 ★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Saturday, December 24, 2011

Merry Christmas!



I just wanted to wish all of my followers a Merry Christmas and thank you for you're support.  I hope you have a wonderful time with your family and friends.

-Kimberly
Gesëende Kersfees
(Merry Christmas in Afrikaans)

Friday, December 23, 2011

Here's some music for you :)

The Bastard by Brenda Novak


Summary:

To some men honor is just a word….

Jeannette Boucher, a young French beauty from a family left penniless by the revolution, must marry against her will to save them all from ruin. But almost immediately after the vows are spoken, she learns that her old English husband is impotent—and in his desire for an heir, he plans to compromise her in the worst way.

Determined to escape such a fate, she stows away on one of His Majesty’s frigates. But a woman alone is in constant danger.

To Lieutenant Treynor, honor means everything….

Born a bastard to a wayward marquise, Lieutenant Crawford Treynor was given to a poor farmer to raise and was maltreated until he ran away to join the Royal Navy. Treynor is determined to prove he’s as good as any other man and rise to captain his own frigate. But once he finds Jeannette aboard The Tempest he must decide whether to return her to the man he knows would abuse her—or risk everything, even his life, to keep her safe.

summary taken from Goodreads.com

I doubt whether I would have known that this book even existed if not for a friend in one of my groups on Goodreads for saying how much she enjoyed this. So I resolved to get my hands on a copy and much to my utter delight the lovely people over at NetGalley had it available.
I LOVED this book! You probably already know that I love historical romances but if you didn't know it before than you certainly do now. This book had everything I like in a historical romance.
 There was war, love, deception and adventure on the high seas! The story of Jeannette and Treynor was steamy and filled with the usual macho male and the damsel in distress but it was written phenomenally well.
The author Brenda Novak seemed to try and in my opinion she succeeded in giving Jeannette a brain! Oh how it irks me when writers make their heroines dimwits, it was nice to see a young girl with a brain who was not afraid to speak for herself and defend herself more and more as the book went on. I really liked Jeannette's character and I also liked Treynor. I especially liked Treynor even more at the end when he reconciled with his mother nearer the end and I appreciate that the author added another aspect to the story by including Treynor's mother in the story and how their relationship past, present and future evolved.
I sincerely hope that the author Brenda Novak continues to write more in this genre because I devoured this book. I stayed up until 3:30 am here and read the book on my laptop in all of 5 hours. It was wonderful and I can't wait to read more books by this amazing author.
I highly recommend this to fans of historical romance as well as people who are wanting to give this genre a try.

* I recieved a copy of this book via Netgalley from the publisher in exchange for my free and honest review.


★ ★ ★ ★ ★


Thursday, December 22, 2011

First Aid For Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts by Lari Don


Summary:
Helen has absolutely no interest in becoming a vet like her mother. So she isn't best pleased when asked to help an injured horse. Only this horse isn't entirely normal ... nor are his friends.
Without warning, Helen is thrust into an extraordinary world filled with magic rituals, fantastic creatures, and a dangerous, powerful beast known as the Master, who would destroy it all. Everything hinges on finding the lost Book of Wisdom before the Winter Solstice. Can Helen work out the riddles and help her new friends to make amends for a foolish prank?
First Aid for Fairies and Other Fabled Beasts
Summary taken from Goodreads.com

The main reason that I was drawn to the book at first was because of the cover. There's just something about it that caught my eye. The second thing that drew me to the book was the title. I love mythological beings and I love the way that children's book authors weave their stories with so much magic and make things come alive.
I really enjoyed the book over all and I believe that it would be a great book for older kids 10+ to read, but I also think that it would be a good read aloud book perfect for bedtime. I found Helen to be a likeable young girl but I wish we knew a wee bit more about her like her age and what she looked like just so I could get a better picture of her in my head, but perhaps the author will have included that information in the next book that chonicles Helen's adventures with fabled beasts.
I liked the sense of adventure and I love how the author wove scottish folklore into the story and made it accessable for younger readers/listeners as well as adding vivid desriptions of the other characters like Yann the centaur, Sapphire the dragon, Lavender the fairy and Rona the selkie as well as The Master the minotaur and his fauns that do his evil biding.
The use of historical events and places were also well used and added more dimension to the story. All in all this was a well written book that I would recommend parents to buy.

*I recieved a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for my free and honest review.

★★★



Another giveaway announcement!

It really does appear to be the season for blog giveaways since another one of my fellow bloggers is hosting a giveaway on her brand new blog (she writes great reviews). Up for grabs are 4 e-books and there will be four winners!
These are the e-books up for grabs:

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

James Herriot's Cat Stories by James Herriot


Summary:
Between these covers, teller and tales finally meet in a warm and joyful new collection that will bring delight to the hearts of readers the world over: James Herriot's Cat Stories. Here are Buster, the kitten who arrived on Christmas; Alfred, the cat at the sweet shop; little Emily, who lived with the gentleman tramp; and Olly and Ginny, the kittens who charmed readers when they first appeared at the Herriots' house in the worldwide bestseller Every Living Thing. And along with these come others, each story as memorable and heartwarming as the last, each told with that magical blend of gentle wit and human compassion that marks every word from James Herriot's pen.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com

So you can probably tell that I'm in a bit of an animal or nature phase but how can someone not love James Herriot's stories? They are perfect for any age level and even though this book is about cat stories it will appeal to the animal lover in general with its heartwarming tales that make you or me at least want to grab the pet nearest to me and hug them.

I first read a James Herriot book on October 6th and I read his Dog Stories which had literally been sitting on my bookshelf for 14 years. No word of a lie I got it as a gift from my favourite uncle when I was 7 years old and it took me until then to read it. I really wish I had read his books sooner but now that I have read a couple of his works I shall be looking into reading more of them.

I really loved this book all the stories were so sweet and I love the way he writes. He really put his heart and soul into his books so he could inspire a new generation of people to read about, become interested in and love animals. That is me to a T. I have 2 cats, a dog, 2 birds, 1 gerbil, and 3 hamsters. In fact my cat Stormy bears a striking resemblance to the black and white cat on the cover who is named Ollie and appears in several stories in this book.

I can't say for sure that I have a favourite story but I really liked the story of Emily the cat who was taken in by a man and then just before they were going to spay her got pregnany and only had one kitten. One kitten that was almost as big as her when he was born via cesaerean section. The owner of Emily was so worried about her it was so touching. The illustrations that appear throughout the book fit in perfectly and give the book a little something extra.

I definetly recommend this book to the animal lovers out there. This is the perfect feel good book and a quick, easy, light read that is made to be read on a lazy day with a cup of tea or coffee and a cat (though any animal will do).




★ ★ ★ ★ ★






Coraline by Neil Gaiman


Summary:
Coraline's often wondered what's behind the locked door in the drawing room. It reveals only a brick wall when she finally opens it, but when she tries again later, a passageway mysteriously appears. Coraline is surprised to find a flat decorated exactly like her own, but strangely different. And when she finds her "other" parents in this alternate world, they are much more interesting despite their creepy black button eyes. When they make it clear, however, that they want to make her theirs forever, Coraline begins a nightmarish game to rescue her real parents and three children imprisoned in a mirror. With only a bored-through stone and an aloof cat to help, Coraline confronts this harrowing task of escaping these monstrous creatures.

Gaiman has delivered a wonderfully chilling novel, subtle yet intense on many levels. The line between pleasant and horrible is often blurred until what's what becomes suddenly clear, and like Coraline, we resist leaving this strange world until we're hooked. Unnerving drawings also cast a dark shadow over the book's eerie atmosphere, which is only heightened by simple, hair-raising text. Coraline is otherworldly storytelling at its best.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com




I had such high hopes for this book but when I started reading it those hopes were quickly dashed and now I regret spending the 2 hours reading this book when I could have been reading something that was actually enjoyable!
And before you ask no I haven't seen the movie so I am most assuredly not comparing it to the movie adaptation in anyway. Though I do still plan on seeing the movie even with not liking the book at all.
I honestly didn't like the book at all and felt that the whole thing was very underwhelming but once again I appear to be in the minority for having this opinion. I don't think that the reason I didn't like this book is because is a children's book because I enjoy reading children's book still.
I'm thinking that it was just a simple case of this not being a book for me but at least I finished it even though I didn't like it and I can say that I have read it and given it a chance. I just couldn't connect to Coraline or the way Neil Gaiman wrote the story. I mean the premise was promising but around 40 pages in I kept waiting to be surprised by something and I wasn't. I honestly can't say that I found anything that wasn't completely predictable so all in all this is not a book that I would recommend except maybe to fans of the movie or fans of Gaiman's other novels.


★


In The Forests of the Night (Goblin Wars, Book 2) by Kersten Hamilton


Summary:
The battle against goblinkind continues . . . but which side will Teagan be on?
Teagan, Finn, and Aiden have made it out of Mag Mell alive, but the Dark Man’s forces are hot on their heels. Back in Chicago, Tea’s goblin cousins show up at her school, sure she will come back to Mag Mell, as goblin blood is never passive once awoken. Soon she will belong to Fear Doirich and join them. In the meantime, they are happy to entertain themselves by trying to seduce, kidnap, or kill Tea’s family and friends. Tea knows she doesn’t have much time left, and she refuses to leave Finn or her family to be tortured and killed. A wild Stormrider, born to rule and reign, is growing stronger inside her. But as long as she can hold on, she’s still Teagan Wylltson, who plans to be a veterinarian and who heals the sick and hurting. The disease that’s destroying her—that’s destroying them all—has a name: Fear Doirich. And Teagan Wylltson is not going to let him win.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com

Isn't the cover for this book amazing? I think it's perfectly suited for the book that lies inside it. I love, love, LOVE this book! It was just as good if not better than the first book Tyger Tyger. To put it simply this book was phenomenal.

I really wish that the author Kersten Hamilton had started writing for an older audience sooner because in my opinion this book and the preceeding one in the series are by far 2 of my top 5 favourite books this year.

The way Kersten Hamilon is able to spin a tale like this one is mind blowing. To me her characters come alive and it's as if I'm watching the scenes play out in front of me. I think that that only happens when a writer is really talented and let me tell you this woman is most definetly talented!

This book picked up nicely from where book one left us and it had a little more angst than the first book which workrd for it because Teagan isn't one of those uppity girls who gets all angsty and self centered (another word for this can be Emo :D ). I felt like she matured significantly in this story even though she is already very mature. I also liked that she showed vulnerability and emotion throughout the story and wasn't one dimensional. The relationship between her and Finn is definitely progressing but it isn't getting all cutesy which is a GOOD thing.

I love how the story focused more on Teagan and Finn this time even though it was nice to see the rest of the colourful cast of characters in Teagan's life like Aidan (he's so adorable!) and Abby or as Finn calls her, Gabby.

I also found the tone of this novel was a little darker and a little more grown up than the one before and I think that that's important because off all the challenges that are being flung at Teagan, Finn and her family/friends.

I think what makes the story so good to me is that the author was able to use humour when it came to her characters and the way she weaves Irish mythology and random obscure animal facts is seamless. The whole story flowed perfectly.

The only problem I had was that I have to wait until who knows when to read the third book in the trilogy (Please make it a long book Kersten I don't want it to be over so soon!).  I would recommend this book to the people who have read the first book Tyger Tyger which the review can be found by Clicking here.

Don't forget to check out my giveaway for a chance to win a copy of Tyger Tyger! It ends Dec. 29th 2011 and is open to international entries. Click the button below:







★ ★ ★ ★ ★

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

The Lover's Dictionary by David Levithan



Summary:
basis, n.
There has to be a moment at the beginning when you wonder whether you’re in love with the person or in love with the feeling of love itself.

If the moment doesn’t pass, that’s it—you’re done. And if the moment
does
pass, it never goes that far. It stands in the distance, ready for whenever you want it back. Sometimes it’s even there when you thought you were searching for something else, like an escape route, or your lover’s face.
How does one talk about love? Do we even have the right words to describe something that can be both utterly mundane and completely transcendent, pulling us out of our everyday lives and making us feel a part of something greater than ourselves? Taking a unique approach to this problem, the nameless narrator of David Levithan’s The Lover’s Dictionary has constructed the story of his relationship as a dictionary. Through these short entries, he provides an intimate window into the great events and quotidian trifles of being within a couple, giving us an indelible and deeply moving portrait of love in our time.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com



When will I ever learn? You would think that after the debacle with The Man With Dancing Eyes by Sophia Dahl that I would have learned to stay away from these sorts of literary fiction books. While I admit I was mostly drawn to the cover I also hoped that this book would actually be good.

It wasn't.

This book while I found to be a unique take on what a romance is through the  use of words I felt it was lacking. However if you are to look at the reviews for it on Goodreads you will probably see that I'm in the minority in thinking this. Perhaps this is another one of those it was me not the book that prevented me from liking the book more because I honestly didn't find it to be anything more than a mediocre book that I read to pass the time the other night when I couldn't sleep and I read it all in one sitting.

To me it felt that the author was trying to be more unique or "artsy" in certain parts of the book and we all know what happens when an author tries too hard to write something. It generally doesn't come out  that well sadly. Yet I'm glad that I gave this book a try because it was a change from the other books I've been reading lately and it did help pass the time.

I personally wouldn't recommend this book to people that I didn't already know liked these types of books and I hope if the author does try again to write a book I hope its much better.

★★

Monday, December 19, 2011

Tis the season for giveaways!

Alrighty then folks, My friend Siobian the Book Owl @
The Owl Bookmark Blog
is hosting a giveaway of this book:
on her blog so go check it out everyone, Plus while you're there why not check out her other reviews especially if you're partial to Historical Fiction :) Click here to enter!

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Grayson by Lynne Cox


Summary:
Grayson is Lynne Cox’s first book since Swimming to Antarctica (“Riveting”—Sports Illustrated; “Pitch-perfect”—Outside). In it she tells the story of a miraculous ocean encounter that happened to her when she was seventeen and in training for a big swim (she had already swum the English Channel, twice, and the Catalina Channel).

It was the dark of early morning; Lynne was in 55-degree water as smooth as black ice, two hundred yards offshore, outside the wave break. She was swimming her last half-mile back to the pier before heading home for breakfast when she became aware that something was swimming with her. The ocean was charged with energy as if a squall was moving in; thousands of baby anchovy darted through the water like lit sparklers, trying to evade something larger. Whatever it was, it felt large enough to be a white shark coursing beneath her body.

It wasn’t a shark. It became clear that it was a baby gray whale—following alongside Lynne for a mile or so. Lynne had been swimming for more than an hour; she needed to get out of the water to rest, but she realized that if she did, the young calf would follow her onto shore and die from collapsed lungs.

The baby whale—eighteen feet long!—was migrating on a three-month trek to its feeding grounds in the Bering Sea, an eight-thousand-mile journey. It would have to be carried on its mother’s back for much of that distance, and was dependent on its mother’s milk for food—baby whales drink up to fifty gallons of milk a day. If Lynne didn’t find the mother whale, the baby would suffer from dehydration and starve to death.

Something so enormous—the mother whale was fifty feet long—suddenly seemed very small in the vast Pacific Ocean. How could Lynne possibly find her?

This is the story—part mystery, part magical tale—of what happened . . .
Summary taken from Goodreads.com


The main reason I read this book is because I've been on a bit of a nature kick lately and I needed something light and easy to read before bed a few nights ago. This was the perfect book for that. I read it in a few hours on Friday night/Saturday morning.
            The story in itself is something special that should be savoured. The author painted a breath taking picture of her experience with Grayson the lost baby whale on that early morning when she was still a teenager.

I really enjoyed reading this book. I'm so glad that I gave it a chance because too me it looked a bit too "fluffy" if you will and while it was sappy her experience is one that deserved to be printed in a book. I only have two problems with it and mostly it's with the dialogue she had with Grayson in the book during those parts the words seemed forced and unnatural to be coming from her lips in such a situation. But alas that's not to say that she didn't speak that way. Who knows? I'm not her.

I also wish that when she would insert facts into the story that she did it in a way that created potholes in the story throwing the flow off. But alas maybe it's me being jealous of her for sharing those few hours with Grayson, which in itself is a remarkable gift.

I recommend this book to to nature lovers and I hope to read more of her books soon!






★★★



The Christmas Basket by Debbie Macomber


Summary:
No one tells a Christmas story like Debbie Macomber. The Christmas Basket is filled with gifts for the reader -- gifts of warmth and laughter . . . and emotional truth. This Christmas, let Debbie make you smile!
That summer -- more than ten years ago, while they were still in high school -- Noelle McDowell and Thomas Sutton fell secretly in love. Secretly because their mothers had been locked in a bitter feud for decades. But despite the animosity between Sarah McDowell and Mary Sutton, Noelle planned to elope with Thom. Until he jilted her.

This Christmas Noelle McDowell is home to celebrate the holidays with her family. (After all, December 25 is also her birthday.) Unfortunately, Noelle's feelings about home -- or rather, her hometown of Rose, Oregon -- were changed forever the day Thomas Sutton broke her heart.
This Christmas the feuding mothers find themselves working together to fill Christmas baskets for charity. What irony! And what an opportunity for reconciliation . . . if only they could see it.
This Christmas Noelle and Thom discover they're still in love. Regardless of their mothers' reactions, they want to be together. Is that possible? Can old rivalries be set aside? Will Sarah's Christmas daughter have a second chance with Mary's charming son?
Maybe she will . . . this Christmas!
Summary Taken from Goodreads.com

Be honest with yourselves. You knew that I'd review another Debbie Macomber Christmas book. Deep down you knew it. I know you must be getting pretty tired of them but I just so happen to enjoy them and find them to be the perfect holiday reads.

That being said let me make this clear this is my least favourite of all her Christmas books that I have read so far. But it was still cute. Plus it was a very quick read since I was able to finish it in about 2 hours while travellng to and from school on Friday.

The story was kind of prdictable but still Christmasy and I did enjoy it. Just not as much as her other Christmas books. I didn't feel very strong attachments to any of the characters in this book. Sure I liked some of them but others like Thom the male lead I didn't care for. I think I'm noticing a pattern. I rarely like the men in Debbie Macomber's books. Usually I want to punch them. There's always something about them that seems off.

I did like the humour in this book and the story of the fued between the mothers was good too but I wish Noelle had been a more active heroine. She was very forgettable like many of the charcters which is why coupled with how I felt that the ending was rushed that I didn't like this book as much as others by the other. Don't get me wrong I still recommend it and enjoy her writing but I find that this was one of her weaker works though still heartwarming.
★★★ 1/2

We Bought a Zoo: The Amazing True Story of a Young Family, a Broken Down Zoo, and the 200 Wild Animals That Changed Their Lives Forever by Benjamin Mee


Summary:
The house hunt of author Benjamin Mee and his wife, Katherine, ended with an unusual, even bizarre solution: The pair decided to move into a ramshackle zoo in the English countryside. Mee had a degree in psychology and specializes in animal behavior, but not even he could have imagined the complexities of holding sway over more than 200 exotic animals. Almost immediately, the project of reopening the zoo as a family business ran into financial -- and four-footed -- obstacles. Then a major tragedy broke: Katherine's brain tumor recurred and she died at the age of 40. Through it all, the family persevered, and in July 2007, the zoo reopened under Mee management. A bittersweet story about creatures sharing one another's company.
Summary taken from Goodreads.com

So I admit it. The only reason I knew this book even existed  is because of the movie featuring Matt Damon that is coming out this Christmas. But I am glad that the movie sparked an interest in me to read this book.
Maybe you don't know this about me I love animals and would love nothing more than to work in a Zoo like Dartmoor. Honestly I grew up watching countless hours of animal/nature specials, and my favourite magazine is still National Geographic and has been since birth. I think it has something to do with the fact that my Daddy has had a subscription to it for the last 40 years.
Anyways on to my review!
I adore this book. The way the author wrote it was in my opinion unique. Given the unfortunate and untimely passing of his beloved wife Katherine which left him a widower with two young children and trying to reestablish a zoo he did no come over as "preachy" or too "Let this be a message to you" as if he were really trying to sell the book based on the horrible circumstances.
He wrote it honestly, full of wit, humour, and passion. This passion is evident through the whole book whether he is talking about the process of buying the zoo, Katherine, his children and family, the staff and the animals it was all the same. He honestly loves what he does and is not afraid to let it shine through in his writing what so ever.
He had a rare opportunity to do something that so many people spend their lives dreaming about it is hard not to want the best for him especially when you can tell he is just a regular guy trying to do something extraordinary.
I cannot wait to see the movie though I can already tell its very different from the book and when me and my better half finally make it across the pond Dartmoor Zoo is one locale we will definately with out a shadow of a doubt be checking out. I know it's a long shot but just in case the author ever reads this I'd like to say Thank you for writing this book and I wish you all the success and happiness for you and yours in the world.
I strongly recommend this book to the animal lovers out there and people that like a good memoir.

★★★★★

Saturday, December 17, 2011

Lover Enshrined (Black Dagger Brotherhood #6) by J.R. Ward


Summary:
In this "frighteningly addictive" paranormal romance sage there's a war raging between vampires and their slayers. Here are the stories of a secret band of brothers like no other-six vampire warriors, defenders of their race. And now a dutiful twin must choose between two lives...

Fiercely loyal to the Black Dagger Brotherhood, Phury has sacrificed himself for the good of the race, becoming the male responsible for keeping the Brotherhood's bloodlines alive. As Primale of the Chosen, he is obligated to father the sons and daughters who will ensure that the traditions of the race survive, and that there are warriors to fight those who want all vampires extinguished.

As his first mate, the Chosen Cormia wants to win not only his body, but his heart for herself. She is drawn to the noble responsibility behind the emotionally scarred male. But Phury has never allowed himself to know pleasure or joy. As the war with the Lessening Society grows grim, tragedy looms over the Brotherhood's mansion, and Phury must decide between duty and love....

Summary taken from Goodreads.com

I really owe a great debt of thanks to the people who first recommended this dark, sexy paranormal series to me last year and I owe a great debt of thanks o my Secret Santa who gave me the first book for Christmas last year.

As you can probably tell I love me some BDB (Black Dagger Brotherhood)! I read this one in a couple of days (I've been studying for exams this past week that's why it took so long to read). I actually liked his book in the series more than I thought I would.

Several people have told me that this is the weakest novel in the series but I honestly don't share that opinion. That is the great thing about reading everyone has different tastes and nobody is ever wrong. More things should be like that actually.

I really enjoyed Phury's story and I really liked his love interest Cormia she's so sweet and kind. It's nice to have a strong female who is also kind and soft as well. This book in the series was filled with all the things that I was craving in a book at the time. It had angst, longing, violence, and hot sex. (What just because I don't primarily review  Paranormal Romances it doesn't mean I'm a prude...far from it actually). I also loved that there were a few interesting surprises in it in terms of plot and where the series is going. Plus it had more of John Matthew (one of my favourite characters). So I really have no complaints.

I feel like this book is a turning point in the series and that given the amount of detail and plots in the book that the next one will be even better (even though this one was great!) Sometimes with the Brothers in the series with them being so macho it can get a bit tiring so having Phury who is the kindest, most selfless brother having his own novel was a great change for that and I hope to see a lot more of him and Cormia in the following books.

I highly recommend this book and the series to everyone who loves Paranormal Romances and Alpha Male leads :)

★ ★ ★ ★ ★