Jaime Loves Stuff : October 2009

Contest Winners...

glitter graphics

Will be announced tomorrow. This weekend is crazy busy and with Halloween being tonight and my daughter having therapy this morning, I will be too lethargic after a sugar O.D. to announce the winners tonight. Since there are quite a few that ended last night, I want to let those who may have won the heads up that announcements are tomorrow. Since so many missed the last announcements, I don't want anybody to miss their books this time! Plus I am listing MANY new contests tomorrow! Thanks and have a safe Halloween!

Avatar Movie Trailer and V Preview

Anybody who knows me, knows I am a Sci-Fi,Fantasy and Speculative Fiction FAN! Love that stuff. My favorite shows are Babylon 5, Stargate SG-1, Stargate Atlantis, Legend of the Seeker, Jericho, Jeremiah, Warehouse 13, Firefly, and the list can go on and on and on. I think Avatar looks crazy, wild and I want to see it! And ABC's new show, V premieres on Tuesday and it has Morena Baccarin who played as Inara in the short live Western SciFi Firefly and it's movie, Serenity! Yay!



Get Swagbucks!

Search & Win

Have you heard of swagbucks? If not, you need to! I use Swagbucks as my primary search engine (they combine the best of Google and Ask all in to one search engine) and earn! You won't earn EVERY time you search but you will randomly earn Swagbucks! I also am a fan of their facebook page, follow on Twitter and downloaded their toolbar, all of those help with getting swagcodes and such!

Blog Tour- Angel Lane by Sheila Roberts

Synopsis via Pump Up Your Book Promotion who is the sponsor for this book tour and provided me with the opportunity to read and review "Angel Lane"

The small town of Heart Lake is beginning to lose its friendly, small town feeling, so Sarah Goodwin, who owns the town bakery, Jamie Moore, owner of The Chocolate Bar, and Emma Swanson of Emma’s Quilt Corner decide it’s time to find a way to help people feel more connected. Their solution: random acts of kindness. And not just from them. The women sponsor a town meeting, encouraging the few people who turn out to start a movement. Soon people all over town are extending kindness to each other in heartwarming small ways. But as the three friends cope with lost cats, mixed signals, business challenges, and unexpected romance, they learn that no good deed goes unpunished. Most important, though, they learn that the only way to get a better life, a better town, a better world, is to give your heart.

My review:

Sheila Roberts has built a warm and cozy town in her fictitious Northwest town of Heart Lake. Not only is the town warm, so are the characters. Jamie Moore is a skeptic with a thriving chocolate shop. Emma Swanson is positive, happy, and so endearing that you want her failing quilt shop to survive. Even when she thinks everything is just "like the movies!". Sarah Goodwin is the strong momma hen who can grate your nerves with her strength, organization, leadership skills and her heart but deep down inside you wished you were like her. They see that as outsiders are moving in and Heart Lake has lost it's heart and the three devise a plan to put the heart back in to Heart Lake. Do they succeed? I am not spoiling the plot! haha. So read this lovely book!

There are no steamy scenes, there is no heart pounding action, no diabolical villain, nor corruption and evil, but there is a lot of heart in this book. Coming from a small town myself, I felt the connection to small town living and taking care of your neighbors which I miss since I have been living in a large city. I did feel the tug in my belly and made me miss home. I think that's the author's point, to remind us of, not of small town living, but taking care of each other. This book is sweet, refreshing and adorable. If you want to just feel good, this book will do it. I know I felt a warmth come over me and wanted to smile at my neighbor. Oh and I can NOT forget this part, after reading about all the yummy chocolates, cakes, pies, truffles, cookies, etc., Sheila Roberts also included some recipes at the end. How fabulous is that? Love it!

About the Author:


Sheila Roberts lives in the Pacific Northwest. She's happily married and has three children. Writing since 1989, she has had 24 books published, both in fiction and nonfiction under different names and in different languages. However before she settled into her writing career, she did lots of other things, including owning a singing telegram company and playing in a band. But writing and helping others to find ways to make their lives better are her greatest passions.

Her down-to-earth wisdom and quirky upbeat sense of humor make Sheila a popular speaker to groups large and small. Her books are becoming perennial hot sellers. Her book Bikini Season was a Bookscan top 50, a Target Breakout Novel pick and an Amazon Beach Read pick. On Strike for Christmas will be released this year for the third year in the row and has been optioned for film. Her new release Love in Bloom has been chosen as a Reader’s Digest Condensed Book. Now… if she could just get on “Dancing with the Stars”!

You can visit her website at www.sheilasplace.com to find out about her latest women's fiction novel, Angel Lane.

disclaimer: I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.

Just two really awesome book trailers!

I am currently reading this book, Day by Day Armageddon and it's been an awesome Zombie book:

I love Anne Rice and can't WAIT til I get my greedy little hands on Angel Time:

Blog Tour/Giveaway and Review of Pendragon's Banner by Helen Hollick

Pendragon's Banner: Book Two of the Pendragon's Banner Trilogy

Who was the man
… Who became the legend
… We know as
Pendragon's Banner is the second book in Helen Hollick's exciting King Arthur trilogy, covering 459-465 A.D. This is not a fairy tale or fantasy. There is no Merlin, no sword in the stone, and no Lancelot. This is the most accurate Arthurian legend ever written, based on historical evidence and meticulous research.
At age twenty-four, King Arthur has the kingdom he fought so hard for and a new young family. But keeping the throne of Britain—and keeping his wife and three sons safe—proves far from easy. Two enemies in particular threaten everything that is dear to him: Winifred, Arthur's vindictive first wife, and Morgause, priestess of the Mother and malevolent Queen of the North. Both have royal ambitions of their own.
In this story of harsh battles, secret treasonous plots, and the life-threatening politics of early Britain's dark ages, author Helen Hollick boldly reintroduces King Arthur as you've never seen him before.

I have been a naughty girl, I arrogantly thought I could study for my midterms and finish 5-6 books that all have over 300 pages each in two weeks. I have learned my lesson because as today is my day to post my review for Helen Hollick's fantastic book, Pendragon's Banner, I am only 250 pages in. I am going to go ahead and post my review on the book up to the point that I am at and I do want you to stay tuned for the remaining part of my review. I am thinking that what I will do is just create a new post over the weekend with the complete review. Let me tell you, this book is worth each and every page.

I do not pretend to know much about Arthurian legend. I love the movies like King Arthur, Merlin, Excalibur, Mists of Avalon and even Disney's Sword in the Stone. I love the fluff however, I am glad that the first book about Arthur Pendragon I read is "Pendragon's Banner". This is Book Two of Helen Hollick's Pendragon's Banner Trilogy. Although this is the second book of a trilogy, it has been able to stand alone. (I am DEFINITELY going to read book 1, The Kingmaking, that's for sure!). Helen Hollick's world of Arthur is dark, gritty, bloody, tumultuous, and gripping. There is no glamor in war, there is blood and death, and no holds barred. Even having to put a child to death to maintain Pendragon's rule. The British and English fighting and Arthur trying to maintain control. Hollick has created a strong Gwenhwyfar. I felt through Gwenhwyfar I was able to feel her pain, her frustrations, anguish and strength. A true queen without a castle who is holding her husband up, her children together and dealing with betrayal. Morgause is perfectly evil. This time in history, worldwide, was rocky and hard, and I feel that if I were to dream about Arthur, Hollick's is realistic.

Each chapter is short but powerful, Hollick's descriptions will open up all of your senses to which you will smell blood, feel stress, lift with power, and see the battles and watch the children grow. If you enjoy a gritty, realistic, dark and powerful book, this King Arthur is for you. I have, so far, enjoyed each and every page of this book and as I said, watch for my complete review over this weekend as I finish this powerful book.

With a huge thank you to Sourcebooks, I was given a complimentary copy of Pendragon's Banner to read and review. Also, they have also kindly offered YOU a chance to win one copy of Pendragon's Banner for your reading enjoyment.

The rules for the giveaway:
1 winner
USA and Canada, Only.
Answer this question: How do you perceive King Arthur? Do you see him as gritty, dirty, hard and a fighter (such as Helen Hollick's depiction) or do you see a glamorous Arthur with Merlin, Excalibur?
As always, I do not require you to be a follower of my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. I will post an announcement of the winner here on my blog and it will be up to YOU to contact ME. I suggest following my blog, if not, setting up a google alert for your username.

Winners will be chosen via Random.org
Contest ends on November 20th!
Good luck and thanks for stopping by!

A thank you to Sourcebooks for providing me with this complimentary review copy. disclaimer: I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.

Judi Fennell Guest Blog and Giveaway!

Thanks so much for having me and at such an auspicious time of year for us paranormal authors. It's kind of guaranteed that we're fans of Halloween. I am—especially since I made my own medieval costume a few years ago, and a matching one for my husband: Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn. Depending on my mood that year, my Anne may or may not have a thin line of (fake) blood going across her neck.
But in writing my Mer series, I never tackled the idea of Halloween. I use mythology and legend, and pop culture references, twisting them to fit my story and build the world, but I never really touch on holidays.
I figured now was as good a time as any. The following is a totally original, for-this-blog-posting Halloween Ball scene from the point of view of Doria and Andrea, sisters of the Challenger to the Throne (and, sadly for them, not especially bright ones) in the second book in my Mer series, Wild Blue Under, out November 1.
Still living at home with their parents in Atlantis which is located under the island of Bermuda, (yes, under; they are, after all, Mers), they wouldn't mind finding a way to catch the eye of Rod Tritone, heir to the Mer throne, and move into his palace. In this scene, reminiscent of the pre-ball preparations by Cinderella's ugly stepsisters, Andrea and Doria try their best to catch the prince's attention--and keep each other from doing so at the same time…
"So what are you going to be for the Halloween ball this year, Doria?" Andrea fingered the white feather boa she'd bought at the Salvager's Market that morning as part of her costume for the annual royal costume ball, but, Hades! Dozens of feathers floated away with each stroke. Stupid Salvager had ripped her off. Now what was she going to do? The costume had to be perfect.
"I'm not telling you, Andrea." Doria shut the door of her closet with a quick whoosh of water--which had the helpful effect of drifting her sequined crop pants out of the closet.
"Pink? You're wearing pink?" Andrea didn't bother hiding her laughter. Nor her disbelief. "You look awful in pink."
Doria flicked her hair over her shoulder--where it didn't stay, thanks to the current that wended through downtown Atlantis. "I do not. Pink is one of my best colors."
Yeah, if she wanted to look like chum and attract all the barracuda…
Andrea kept her trap shut. Good. Let Doria look like a clownfish. That would pave the way for her once The Heir saw her in her diaphanous white princess gown--just what Rod would make her if he chose her to marry.
But she had to find out who Doria was going as. After all, they couldn't go as the same person, and it was possible the famous Human actress she was going as had done a movie dressed as a matador.
"Were those pants I saw? How do you plan to pull that off, Dor, since the ball is under water, where, unless you're a second son, you can't have legs?"
"None of your business, Andi. So what are you going as?" Doria picked a sequin off her orange tail.
Pink against that color was as cringe-worthy as the nickname Doria insisted on giving her.
"You don't know who you're going as, do you?" Andrea was determined to find out. Nothing was going to get in the way of Rod asking her to dance. She'd chosen her costume carefully. Everyone knew there was only one Human more famous than Jacques Cousteau in Atlantis and dressed as her, The Heir was sure to notice her.
"You're going as a movie star, aren't you?"
Doria turned a shade of green that would really make the pink and orange look nasty. "We don't have movies."
Dammit. She was right. "Oh, right. You're going to tread water there and tell me you never floated on the surface and watched the movies Humans see on those cruise ships."
"I didn't--" Doria spun around. And spun and spun…
Andrea would have thought, after thirty selinos, her sister would get the swirling-water phenomenon.
"How'd you figure it out?" Doria asked in that timid voice that she thought men loved, but, really, made them squirm like a worm on a hook--and in their world, that was a very bad thing.
Again, not something she would share with her sister. She needed every advantage she could get tonight. "How'd I figure what out?"
"My costume."
Okay, Andrea had to play smart here. Her brother would say that was tough to do, but she wasn't as dumb as he thought. So there.
Doria on the other fin…
Movie star, cruise ship, pink matador pants--
"You're going as Penelope Cruz."
Doria tossed her head back. "So what if I am?"
"Nothing." Andrea did a somersault over to her vanity table, biting her lip to keep the smile off her face.
Ever since Penelope had dumped that other Human named Cruise, she'd fallen out of favor in Atlantis. The woman Andrea had chosen to go as, however, would never go out of favor.
She couldn't. Her very name demanded she live in Atlantians' collective memory forever.
Ethel Merman.
© Judi Fennell, 2009
Okay, I had a blast revisiting these two "water-heads," as their brother Drake had called them, and I had even more of a blast figuring out who they would dress as for the ball.
So who (what) are you going to be for Halloween?
And please stop by my website, www.JudiFennell.com to register to win one of two remaining Romantic Beach Getaway Weekends to celebrate the release of the Mer series books. The next drawing is November 30 at the Atlantis Inn in Ocean City, NJ (www.AtlantisInn.com), and the final drawing is February 28, 2010 for the Hibiscus House in West Palm Beach, FL (www.HibiscusHouse.com).
WILD BLUE UNDER—book 2 in the Mer Series—in stores November 2009!
The underwater kingdom is his as soon as he claims his queen…
Rod Tritone has the looks and charm to snag any queen he wants for his Mer kingdom, but unfortunately, it's not up to him. As fate would have it, the one woman destined to rule with him is terrified of water…
She lives in land-locked Kansas and has no idea she's a princess…
Valerie Dumere thinks Rod is gorgeous and irresistible—but why does he keep insisting she has another side to herself that only he can show her?
Somehow, Rod has to prove to her who she really is. But when she finds out the truth, will she ever forgive him?

About the Author


Judi Fennell is an award-winning author. Her romance novels have been finalists in Gather.com's First Chapters and First Chapters Romance contests, as well as the third American Title contest. She spends family vacations at the Jersey Shore, the setting for some of her paranormal romance series. She lives in suburban Philadelphia, PA.

Let's give Judi Fennell a HUGE thank you for coming and being a part of my blog! I seriously enjoyed reading about the Halloween Ball, didn't you?

With a HUGE thank you to Danielle at Sourcebooks, I am able to offer to you a chance to win the first two books in Judi Fennell's trilogy, In Over Her Head and Wild Blue Under. As you may or may not remember, I was able to read and review Wild Blue Under and fell head over heels for this series! I am sure you will too!
Here's the rules: Canada or USA only.

To enter answer this question: Answer Judi's Question: So who (what) are you going to be for Halloween? Myself, I am not dressing up, but my daughter is going to be a purple fairy

Good luck! and the contest ends on November 15th! Please note all winners are chosen via Random.org, I will NOT alert the winner, the winner must contact me when I announce the winner on a post here in my blog. I highly suggest following my blog OR having a google alert for your user name!

Just for today only, I have turned off comment moderation as I will not be around much today and I would love for you all to be able to interact without waiting for comment approval! Have lots of fun! This is going to be so much fun to read later!

Cheerios Spoonfuls of Stories Giveaway!

Over the past eight years, Cheerios has given away more than 40 million children’s books by distributing them free inside cereal boxes and has donated $3.2 million to First Book, their non-profit partner, which provides books to children from low-income families. The program is part of Cheerios’ ongoing commitment to helping parents provide their children with a healthy, nutritional and educational foundation.

Beginning this month, Cheerios is again bringing books to the breakfast table, by providing six million children’s books free inside Cheerios boxes. The books are for children ages 3 to 8 years old, and include a brand new book in the popular “Trucktown” series, available only inside Cheerios boxes. And for the first time, all five books have been specially printed in both English and Spanish.

This year’s book offerings from Cheerios – all by Simon & Schuster Children’s Publishing – are:

Junkyard Fort, written by Jon Scieszka, and illustrated by David Shannon, Loren Long and Dave Gordon: Join Gabriella, Jack, Melvin, Ted, Lucy and the other Trucktown characters as they make their own fort, using things found in the junkyard. Ages 4-8.

Tea for Ruby, written by The Duchess of York, Sarah Ferguson, and illustrated by Robin Preiss Glasser: Wherever Ruby goes, a bit of disaster seems to follow. But one sunny morning, things change when the postman brings Ruby an amazing invitation: would she like to have tea with the Queen? Ruby needs to polish her manners, and quickly. Ages 4-8.

Sleepyhead, written by Karma Wilson and illustrated by John Segal: In this rhythmic bedtime story, a cat is the parent and a teddy bear is the child who doesn't want to go to bed. All ready for bed with teeth brushed and story read, Sleepyhead teddy tries anything to prolong his bedtime; books and his quilt provide ample fodder for his imagination. Ages 3-7.

Ballyhoo Bay, written by Judy Sierra and illustrated by Derek Anderson: Mira Bella, an artist who teaches painting and sculpture, loves Ballyhoo Bay and what it offers: sun, sea, sand, and sky. But one gray day a billboard arrives, announcing an impending development that would take all the fun out of the place. Read along to see if Mira Bella and her art can save the day and Ballyhoo Bay! Ages 4–8.

What’s Under the Bed?, written and illustrated by Joe Fenton: Young Fred cannot stop worrying about the scary creature that might be hiding beneath his bed. Finally summoning the courage to peer under his bed, Fred, with his cumbersome glasses, sees that the only thing there is Ted, his friendly Teddy Bear! Ages 3–7.

I was given an amazing opportunity to be a part of this campaign from Cheerios, who provided me with the free product, information, and prize pack through MyBlogSpark™.

My daughter, Emma, fell in LOVE with the books (and of course, she truly loves Cheerios, but she is partial to the Honey Nut, aren't most kids, though?). Especially Tea for Ruby by Fergie, Duchess of York. As a matter of fact, she fell asleep with it (see the photo below) and took it with her to school the next day. We read through all the books, which are in English and Spanish. I thought the books were adorable and fun to read, with great illustrations which we both enjoyed! She likes to lay in bed and "read" her books "Like you do, Mommy!".

So, with a huge thank you to Cheerios and MyBlogSpark™, I am able to host a great giveaway! There can only be one winner and the winner (US and Canada only) will receive a prize pack that includes the 5 books pictured and described above, a full sized box of Cheerios AND a $25.00 Giftcard to Barnes and Noble! What a great package!

I am so excited to pass this on, it's a great way to increase literacy by reading to your children, even over a bowl of cereal!

How to enter:
Answer this question: What is your story time ritual with your children?

This contest ends on November 15th, 2009. I do not require you to be a follower of my blog, however, it is HIGHLY recommended that you do, as I will NOT contact the winner, the winner will be announced on a post and it will be up to the winner to contact me in a 48 hour time frame. If the winner does not contact me, the prize if forfeited on a Twitter giveaway. I choose the winner randomly via random.org

Review of Flesh And Fire by Laura Anne Gilman

Flesh and Fire (The Vineart War, #1)

From acclaimed bestselling author Laura Anne Gilman comes a unique and enthralling new story of fantasy and adventure, wine and magic, danger and hope....

Once, all power in the Vin Lands was held by the prince-mages, who alone could craft spellwines, and selfishly used them to increase their own wealth and influence. But their abuse of power caused a demigod to break the Vine, shattering the power of the mages. Now, fourteen centuries later, it is the humble Vinearts who hold the secret of crafting spells from wines, the source of magic, and they are prohibited from holding power.

But now rumors come of a new darkness rising in the vineyards. Strange, terrifying creatures, sudden plagues, and mysterious disappearances threaten the land. Only one Vineart senses the danger, and he has only one weapon to use against it: a young slave. His name is Jerzy, and his origins are unknown, even to him. Yet his uncanny sense of the Vinearts' craft offers a hint of greater magics within -- magics that his Master, the Vineart Malech, must cultivate and grow. But time is running out. If Malech cannot teach his new apprentice the secrets of the spellwines, and if Jerzy cannot master his own untapped powers, the Vin Lands shall surely be destroyed.

In Flesh and Fire, first in a spellbinding new trilogy, Laura Anne Gilman conjures a story as powerful as magic itself, as intoxicating as the finest of wines, and as timeless as the greatest legends ever told.

My thoughts on this book:

The premise and idea was interesting. Spellbound wine in a world in which there seems to be three major groups: Vinearts (who control the wine, the spells, and answer to no one), the Princes (who think the Vinearts and the Washers should answer to them but understand the command) and The Washers (who seem to be priestly beings ensuring moral behaviors and that the Sin Washer's commands are upheld). Very creative, a fantasy about magical wine. I love it! As a person who loves wine.... I was game!

Sadly, this book didn't maintain my interest and I REALLY had to force myself to finish it. It isn't because it is badly written, it's not at all. It's because it seemed dry, dull, and I felt absolutely ZERO connection to any of the key characters until the last quarter of the book. The first half of the book was so disconnected to the characters that when Jerzy and Master Malech start working together, I could care less that the Slave was being primed to become a vineart due to his natural skills. The characters had nearly zero personality, except for near the end. I have an idea that the next book in this series will have more focus on Jerzy, the student Vineart, Ao, the trader, and Mahault, the daughter of the lord maiar who wants to be a soldier, as a trio.

I can not say I glowingly recommend this book, however, I also can't say I don't recommend it. I am very indifferent. It was dry, like a mediocre merlot. The author's writing style is beautiful and descriptive and I believe that the Vineart War can definitely grow into a magical series. I certainly am willing to try the second book when it comes out with hopes it will have much more intrigue and less blandness then it's premiere.

An ENORMOUS thank you to Pocket Books for providing a copy of "Flesh and Fire" for review!

disclaimer: I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.


I have 242 followers right now.. (YAY!! Does a nerdy happy dance a la Revenge of the Nerds) and I decided when I hit 300 followers I am going to host a giveaway of some of the books I have sitting around that haven't been read YET! Just my way of saying THANK YOU for being so kind during this venture into the unknown!

Oh and wow.. I really need to catch up on all my comments! I am soo behind!

Some day..

Good will overcome evil. Until then, I want to push this video to the forefront. A reminder of a life so beautiful, crushed and then rebounding stronger then ever.

It shall never be forgotten that it is NEVER, under ANY circumstance, OKAY TO SHAKE A BABY!!!!!!!!!!! Shaking a baby shatters lives. Many many lives. I can't stress how much pain we have gone through watching all that Emma has had to endure. So much pain... it still hurts each and every single day to see the damages shaken baby syndrome has caused to my sweet, perfect Emma....

"The only thing necessary for evil to thrive is for good men of conscience to do nothing'"
Edmund Burke

Never forget to be a good citizen, child abuse affects each and every person on our planet. If you suspect ANYTHING call call CALL! Don't say "I don't want to be involved!" Why? If you turn a blind eye and don't protect a child/the elderly/the disabled/our neighbors.. you are just as culpable as the person committing the crime! This has to end.. NOW! Be a good neighbor.

Always remember.. somebody somewhere is fighting a bigger battle then you know. A kind smile, a hello, how are you, or can I help you can go a long, long, long way in somebody's life.... Pay it forward. Kindness, goodness, love, and compassion. We are capable of it. I know it. I know we can be good again. I know I am not perfect, I don't even pretend to be, I am working so hard on being kinder, gentler, and more understanding, compassionate, and loving. We can do it.. just one person can make a huge impact. With the economy, the healthcare and unrest in our world, we are people under stress and uncertainty but there are people dying of hunger who would give anything to have some rice. Some are lonely and would love a hug...

Wow.. how did I get on THAT soapbox?

Throw me some ideas. What can we do? What will YOU do?

I will think of something to do. I am going to keep my eyes open... there is a senior apartment complex near by. Maybe I can make something for somebody and leave a random "just because" gift.

Favorite...and not so favorite...Themes -Diane Castell Guest Blog

Favorite...and not so favorite...Themes

I love books set in the South! Movies too. So to get to spend as much time there as possible I decided to write a series set in the South. Hot and Bothered (4/08) and Hot and Irresistible (11/09).

Are there some book themes that are auto buys for you? A topic that no matter who writes it or how crappie the cover you think ah-ha, it’s one of those and I have to have it now! And you start reading it while you’re still in the store.

I’m a sucker for love and laughter especially mixed with suspense. I’m okay with love and laughter on i’s own as long as it doesn’t drift into characters being stupid to get a laugh. Hate, hate, hate stupid character. They’re supposed to be heroes and heroines for Pete’s sake! Stupid doesn’t work.

And suspense by itself doesn’t work for me. So often it drifts into the gruesome or morbid or dark and I hate all those things. But I love a good mystery. So, if you put the two together it’s an auto buy for me.

And I love, love, love cowboy themes and Southern themes. Not always an auto buy but sure makes me look twice. ‘Course if there’s humor involved then it’s an auto buy and if there’s humor and suspense and in the South, well dang, girl!

And that brings us to what themes you won’t read no matter how many of your friends insist this is the best read ever! I cannot read horror no matter who writes it. Scares me to death, can’t sleep, double lock all the doors. After reading In Cold Blood I put heavy furniture in front of the back door for weeks! My husband and kids thought I was nuts...that’s because they didn’t read In Cold Blood!

And I can’t do vampires. I know, I know...there are lots of vamps out there that are humorous and have mystery but the neck biting thing just grosses me out no matter how gorgeous the neck-bitter is.

So, chickies, the question is... What is your fav theme that you auto buy and what is the one theme that makes you squirm when you just think about it?

Thanks for playing!


USA Today best selling author Dianne Castell writes for Kensington BRAVA. She also writes a monthly editor interview column for Romance Writers Report. Her books have won Romantic Times Reviewers Choice Award, been on the cover of Romantic Times Magazine and included in Rhapsody Book Club, Doubleday Book Club and have made the Waldenbooks Bestseller list.

The second book in her Savannah Sizzles series for the BRAVA line, Hot and Irresistible, hits the shelves Nov‘09. Hot Summer Nights is out May ’10.
Dianne lives in Cincinnati with her two cats and will do just about anything to get out of housework.

You can visit her website at www.DianneCastell.com.

The time has come...


The time has come where Emma is starting to be more and more aware of the things that are happening to her, about things that have happened to her and why she is "different".

She talks about her most recent surgery. She knows her head was fixed, although I am not exactly sure what her comprehension level is but she understands. I think more so then I give her credit for. So, today, I was looking at the photos I have of her from a few days after her head injury and her recovery. First she said "Oohhh poor baby! She's sick!". Then she noticed me in the other photos with "the sick baby" and she asked me "what's the baby's name?". I said "Emma". She said "like me?". "No, baby, that IS you. That is you when you were a baby and you had a head injury". (I have told her several times that she had a head injury.). She then asked me a loaded question. "Why?". I just looked at her with my jaw dropped, and tears pooling in my eyes and said "I don't know the answer just yet".

How does a mother look her daughter in her eyes and say "You were abused. You were a normal, healthy, bouncing beautiful baby and you were shaken. Your brain was murdered and your "normal" life was stolen. You were shaken and I can't tell you why because the person who did this will NEVER admit to doing it, let alone why". I don't want to lie to her, but how do you tell your child the truth, when this will be a painful truth. I am not ready to answer this, I need to wait until I think she is ready and can understand the impact of the answer. However, who am I to decide WHEN she is ready? How do I tell her? Is there any way in this world to lessen the heartache? Isn't that what a mom is supposed to do- make the heartache go away, kiss the boo-boo's goodbye?

It boils down to... I don't want to hurt her, but I don't want to lie to her because that will be more painful.

Bah. I am rambling. Remember.. it's NEVER ok to shake a baby!

September 2010, is the 11th International Conference on Shaken Baby Syndrome and it's in Atlanta Georgia this round. I have never been able to attend and I really, really hope I can this time. There are events and special rates for survivors and their families (and families of non-survivors). I am just hoping financially I can swing it. If you know anybody who wants to sponsor a struggling momma raising a child suffering from Shaken Impact Syndrome while going to college, let me know! LOL. Or better yet, let them know! Just kidding, but actually, not really. LOL. I am saving up and hoping to score a job on campus next semester for Work Study, I think that will be easier then working off campus. I really am wanting to go. It's a year away and will allow me time to be able to save up. I am nervous taking Emma on a trip like this, but it may not be as bad as I think. Either ways... Atlanta 2010 HERE WE COME! I just really, really want Emma to start meeting other children who are JUST LIKE HER! To know, she is not alone.

Here's the link to the conference and also, it's a GREAT site with a wealth of information about Shaken Baby Syndrome. National Center on Shaken Baby Syndrome

Winners Winners, we have Winners!

Ok, I love hosting giveaways, but next time remind me not to have so many end at the same time! LOL. I have quite a few ending October 30th (hint hint, see the right side bar and enter if you like them!). October is a great month of giveaways and there are lots of winners to announce. To those of you who didn't win, be sure to keep entering contests and good luck!

All winners were chosen using random.org.


The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova:
Lynz Pickles
Mary Ann Deborde

Lucan by Susan Kearney:
Sheila (Giveaway Roundup) (If I remember right there were two Sheilas who entered)

Beat The Reaper by Josh Bazell:
Ryan G.

Make Ahead Meals For Busy Moms by Jane Doiron:

Congratulations to all the winners! Please contact me by midnight Monday (I am in Arizona!) at booknerdextraordinaire@yahoo.com If winners have not contacted me by the deadline I will give the remaining books away on Twitter. Be sure to follow me (My twitter button is in the sidebar).

Reading Goals for 2010..

Out of curiosity, do you set reading goals for yourself?

I was just thinking of setting up some personal bookish goals for myself. The next three semesters of school are going to be killer and will leave much to be desired in the way of getting some good reading and reviews in. Depending on my workload, I may only be able to read and review 1-2 books a month. Most likely, less. I think that I also will not be doing any blog tours that have interviews included, they just take up quite a bit of my time and I won't be having in next semester (300 level math classes are on the horizon). Needless to say I will be B-U-S-Y and hoping to find a job by next summer. At least those are the education/professional goals.

Soooo, some reading goals.. not sure of when I want to have these met but just pondering some.

I want to reread the entire Jane Austen collection (been many years)
I am going to challenge myself to read entires series of books: i.e., Harry Potter, Sookie Stackhouse, Wheel of Time, Sword of Truth, Recluse, and some others.
I also would like to revisit several other classics and Russian Literature. (p.s., is Anya Seton's Katherine considered a classic? I don't think so, just curious).
Eh, just a thought.

So what about you?

P.S. Oh and yeah, I totally suck. I have a post with a ton of awards that I received and I need to nominate bloggers and because I let them sit for so long, I now feel overwhelmed. LOL. When I finish my class on Thursday and my test on Monday, I swear.. my goal is to nominate these AWESOME awards from rocking bloggers to you awesome bloggers!

A MONTH A HALF AGO I BEGAN THE POST!!! SLACKER! LOL Go check out the awards and visit those generous bloggers and tell em I sent ya!

"Nine Dragons" by Michael Connelly Review & Giveaway!

Nine Dragons (Harry Bosch, #14)

Synopsis copied from Hatchettebookgroup.com:

LAPD Detective Harry Bosch is off the chain in the fastest, fiercest, and highest-stakes case of his life.

Fortune Liquors is a small shop in a tough South L.A. neighborhood, a store Bosch has known for years. The murder of John Li, the store's owner, hits Bosch hard, and he promises Li's family that he'll find the killer.

The world Bosch steps into next is unknown territory. He brings in a detective from the Asian Gang Unit for help with translation--not just of languages but also of the cultural norms and expectations that guided Li's life. He uncovers a link to a Hong Kong triad, a lethal and far-reaching crime ring that follows many immigrants to their new lives in the U.S.

And instantly his world explodes. The one good thing in Bosch's life, the person he holds most dear, is taken from him and Bosch travels to Hong Kong in an all-or-nothing bid to regain what he's lost. In a place known as Nine Dragons, as the city's Hungry Ghosts festival burns around him, Bosch puts aside everything he knows and risks everything he has in a desperate bid to outmatch the triad's ferocity.

This is the first time I have read anything by Michael Connelly. I really wish I had sooner! "Nine Dragons" is book #14 in his Detective Harry Bosch series and usually when authors get to this high of a number in a series, usually the power has faded and since I can't compare this book to any of his other works, I really don't know if this is any better or any worse but as a first time read I felt this was a top notch detective book packed with action.

Detective Bosch is called in to work a murder case involving in which the main suspect is a member of the Chinese Triads (a Mafia-type Chinese affiliation) and is taken across the globe to hunt for a connection between his daughter's kidnapping and the murder in L.A. Det. Bosch also suspects there has been a link inside the department. To me, Bosch comes off as jaded, independent and yet he is a dedicated detective and father. I guess this seems to be a theme among most detective novels . However, it doesn't take anything away from the book but makes you want to smack him upside the head with one of those positivity posters you see in offices, "There is no I in team". LOL.

I seriously enjoyed Nine Dragons and I can't wait to dig in to some of Bosch's back story. I love a good, easy, fast paced, and action packed read and Nine Dragons delivered exactly what I craved. Even if you have never read any of Michael Connelly's other books (such as myself), Nine Dragons was able to stand on it's own without feeling like you've missed anything yet make a person want to go back and read more!

With a huge thank you to Hatchette Book Group for allowing the opportunity to give away 5 copies of this book for YOU!

US and Canada only.
No PO Boxes.

To enter: Just leave a comment! (I couldn't come up with a really cool question this contest! LOL)

That's it! Very simple!

I do not require you to follow my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. Winner will be notified right here on my blog and it will be up to the winner to contact ME within 48 hours of my posting the winner. This contest ends on October 30th. Winner will be chosen randomly by Random.org.

If you would like a chance at an extra entry, post this contest on Twitter but leave the URL on a separate comment. Once again, I WILL NOT contact the winner, so please be sure to watch my blog after October 30th!

Many thanks to Hatchette Book Group for providing "Nine Dragons" by Michael Connelly for review.

disclaimer: I do not receive financial compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.

Double Review: Moon Called and Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs

I was going to do two separate posts on Moon Called and Blood Bound by Patricia Briggs but as it is 4:30 AM and need to catch up, I figure these two books are books 1 and 2 in the Mercy Thompson series that I might as well just review them both in one post.

Moon Called Synopsis (Courtesy of Goodreads.com):
Werewolves can be dangerous if you get in their way, but they'll leave you alone if you are careful. They are very good at hiding their natures from the human population, but I'm not human. I know them when I meet them, and they know me, too.

Mercy Thompson's sexy next-door neighbor is a werewolf.

She's tinkering with a VW bus at her mechanic shop that happens to belong to a vampire.

But then, Mercy Thompson is not exactly normal herself... and her connection to the world of things that go bump in the night is about to get her into a whole lot of trouble.

My review short and sweet :) I loved this book. Plain and simple. Mercy has a degree in history but owns and operates a mechanic shop with a specialty in German cars. On top of that she is pure awesomeness. She was raised by the highest ranking werewolf in the United States, the Marrok however, she isn't a werewolf. She is a Walker. A walker is a hunter who shape shifts from Coyote to Human form and hunts vampires (if I am getting that part right, either ways, the vampires fear walkers). Walkers are based in Native American tribes. Mercy, however, doesn't really know all the ins and outs of being a walker. However, she knows the weres and the politics with the alphas, the dominants and submissives.

There is a bad Were in the mix who is experimenting on other Weres and kidnaps the Tricities' Alpha's daughter. It's up to Mercy, Adam, Samuel and Stefan, the Vampire, to solve this before it gets even worse.

Patricia Briggs brings together Weres, Vampires, Witches, Fae and all kinds of creepy preternatural creatures to Moon Called. I felt the writing was tight, the action kept moving along at a perfect pace, without being distracted with sex (not that I am a prude but some paranormal authors can't balance the sex with the action, Briggs skips it all together but adds just enough implied sexual tension to make you wonder WHO Mercy end up being with or will she just remain an independent woman) and at the same building on the characters. I give Moon Called two thumbs up and added Patricia Briggs on to my list of favorite Paranormal authors. I love a strong, kickass heroine and Mercy is just that. Gotta love a girl who can fight with martial arts, repairs cars, has tattoos, has a degree in history, can shape shift and maintain herself amongst Weres. My kind of book!

Blood Bound, Book #2 in the Mercy Thompson series, synopsis, again, courtesy of Goodreads.com:

Mechanic Mercy Thompson has friends in low places-and in dark ones. And now she owes one of them a favor. Since she can shapeshift at will, she agrees to act as some extra muscle when her vampire friend Stefan goes to deliver a message to another of his kind.

But this new vampire is hardly ordinary-and neither is the demon inside of him.

After a strong first book, Mercy comes back full force in Blood Bound. This time instead of a rogue Werewolf, we have a rogue Vampire. Moon Called was a great intro to the Tricities underworld and brought us deep in to the world of Werewolves but this time, we are taken in to the world of Vampires. Mercy is nearly immune to magic and due to this gift, Stefan asks her to join him in visiting a vampire who is new in town and has visited the Seethe and Stefan knows something isn't right and asks Mercy to stay in Coyote form. This creepy new vampire is one scary creature, a sorcerer turned Vampire and being ridden by a demon is a bad combination. Every where he goes, evil follows. He can over power Vampires, werewolves, fae and the witches. Not a good combination.

Mercy gets asked by Marsilia, the vampire head, to help after Warren (I love him! I hope he gets more focus in the coming books) is nearly killed and a weaker vampire was also killed. Mercy also learns more about what being a walker is. I don't want to share anymore details as I don't want to spoil the plot but I loved Blood Bound. It was strong, Mercy was strong and I felt my adrenaline rush. Also, I have to throw this in, when the Demon/Vamp/Sorceror thingy finds out who and what Mercy is and finds her at her trailer, that was a scary scene. I could visualize his face pressed against her window and his fangs scratching the glass, and could hear him destroying her trailer and shredding it. Ouch.

Either ways, I can't wait for more. I have Iron Kissed coming which is #3. I have a feeling that one will have the focus on the Faes. Once again, another two thumbs up to Patricia Briggs. She has created an awesome heroine, strong, independent and a positive influence amongst all the dominant/submissive play of the weres.

P.S. I love the covers. Seriously.

These books were purchased by me on Amazon.com.

disclaimer: I do not receive compensation for any of my reviews. I do however from time to time receive complimentary advanced review books that are of no monetary value to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.

Interview with M.D. Griffith and Giveaway!

I am so pleased to bring to you my interview with M.D. Griffith, author of Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion!

Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion (Atlantais: The Hidden Kingdom Series Book 1)

Me: Please tell my readers about yourself!

Griffith:I grew up in a small town where we had one small store and a post office. Very rural but my family had lived in Texas for four generations in the same area. At twenty-four, I wanted to experience a different climate so I decided to give Alaska a try. It was completely different than Texas and when I moved there, it was quite a shock... to say the least. I lived there for 22 years before moving to Colorado. I have a five year old Pug, Gizmo, and besides working quite a bit, I still have time to take him for several walks a day and just enjoying the Rocky Mountains. Colorado, in my opinion, has the perfect climate and allows me to be outside as much as I want. With all the writing I do and working a full forty hour a week job, time is often hard to come by but when I do, I love to hike and camp and on occasion, fish with friends.

Me: Have you always known you wanted to be a writer? (If not, what made you decide to write?)

G:. I have not always known that I wanted to be a writer, but when I was a very young, my mother used to always say that I should be one because of what I would tell her in the mornings when I got up. I had and still have the most vivid dreams, and I would always tell her about them. She would just shake her head and laugh at me. She was the first one that told me I should be a writer with the imagination I had.

Me: Do members of your family read your book?

G: I've just got the first book out. "Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion," and both brothers and my sister have the book. Have they read it? LOL, I'm really not sure. I do know that my older brother has read some of it. I should check on that but I do know they are proud of me.

Me: How often do you write?

G: What works for me I'm sure does not work for everybody. When I write, I usually already have the story in my mind. The first thing I do is create an outline of the story. Now, the story always changes as does the outline, but still it helps me to have a start and a finish which gives me a direction in which to take my story. In doing this, I write practically every day. On occasion, after I finish a rewrite, or a chapter, I might take a day or two off to get my thoughts together and refresh myself.

Me: I found Alec Thrace to be a very detailed book, how long did it take you to write? How much research was involved?

G: While writing Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion, I did quite a bit of research. I actually knew a lot about the history as far as the Romans and the Carthaginians, but as far as the places that I sent my three main characters, Alec, Jasen and Alexia, I wanted to make sure that the reader could actually visualize the places. Before I actually began to write, I did a measured amount of research, but had to continue my research throughout the process of writing the book.

Me: What do you have in store for your Hidden Kingdom Series?

G: I have a lot in store for the Hidden Kingdom Series. The Lost Medallion lets the reader in on just the beginning of the trouble that is slowly coming ashore of the fabled land of Atlantis. Throughout the series, the reader will experience not only adventure, but also a touch of mystery as they embark on the thrilling ride that I have in store for them.

Me: Are there any books you recommend?

G: Jaime, as far as books that I recommend, there are a few. Being a writer of fantasy, I enjoyed all of the Harry Potter books as well as the four book series of Perry Jackson. I’ve also read most of the First People Series by Kathleen O’Neal Gear and William Michael Gear however, I'm very much into fantasy books but I like a touch of realism in the story as well. So to answer your question, give me a good fantasy with a touch of history and I'll read it with relish.

Me: If you could living during the times of a historical figure, who would it be and why?

G: You know, if I had a chance to live during a historical time in our history, there would be two different eras that come to mind. The first would be the exact time that my story takes place. It's a time of mystery, adventure of excitement and yes, of hardship. You have to take the good with the bad and after all, what time in history didn't have some hardship involved. The other time, would probably be during the discovery of America. The land was wild and though already inhabited and with a wonderful culture already here, still had a great deal of mystery. The native American culture, like the Greek culture is a culture that is very interesting and wonderful to me. I love writing books about these two time periods.

Me: Last but not least... will we see more of Alec Thrace, Alexia or Jasen again?

G: Yes... you will. I have already written the second and fourth books to the series. I only need to write the third book. The second book is at this time entitled, "Alec Thrace and the Ring of Stones, and the fourth book is entitled, again a working title, "Alec Thrace, Wolves at the Gate." I feel confident that the readers that love their fantasy mixed with some actual facts and will love this series. I also feel that it will give my readers a chance to let their minds explore a world where all things are possible and let dreams become reality... at least in their minds.

Jaime, thank you so much for your time and your review of, "Alec Thrace and the Lost Medallion." I hope you have a wonderful career in book reviews which I feel is something you thoroughly enjoy.

Thank you, M.D., for being a part of my blog and allowing me the opportunity to meet Alec Thrace and being taken on a great adventure!

One of my favorite things since I began book reviewing (besides reading some great books) is getting to know authors! M.D., what a GREAT interview!

Let's give it up for him! YAY!

He has also been extremely generous and is giving away ONE copy of his fantasy book, Alec Thrace and The Lost Medallion, to one lucky reader. Here's the link to my review: Click HERE Will that be you?

Here's how to enter:

Leave me a comment answering this one question: If you could live in one particular time period what would it be and why?

That's it! Very simple! I do not require you to follow my blog, however, I will NOT contact the winner. Winner will be notified right here on my blog and it will be up to the winner to contact ME within 48 hours of my posting the winner. This contest ends on October 30th. Winner will be chosen randomly by Random.org. If you would like a chance at an extra entry, post this contest on Twitter but leave the URL on a separate comment. Once again, I WILL NOT contact the winner, so please be sure to watch my blog after October 30th!

Please note, if you do not answer the question, you will NOT be entered to win.

My review on Twilight (Book 1)

Twilight (Twilight, #1) Twilight by Stephenie Meyer

My rating: 1 of 5 stars
After all the hype about how Twilight was the "greatest vampire story EVER and how Edward and Bella's love surpassed all previous love stories", I just HAD to find out for myself what the truth is. I am not one to say "Hey you're wrong for liking this book" nor am I one state somebody is "right for not liking this book", however, to each their own. I am behind on writing this review.. but here it is.

However, I am in the group of the mindset that no, this is NOT the greatest vampire story ever and no, Edward and Bella do NOT have the greatest love story either.

The book bored me. Seriously. I wanted to put a restraining order on Edward for being a psycho stalker and put Bella in a domestic violence shelter for his possessiveness. Then I wanted to lecture Bella and then I reminded myself this is fantasy. Not a good fantasy, mind you, a really, really BAD one. I cringe at the thought of any man with any characteristics of Edward. I stalk you and am possessive of you because "I love you". Ouch. The glittering vampire idea wasn't very inspiring. I like a good old fashioned vampire, one who can't go out in the day, has pale skin (No glitter PLEASE!), and is kick ass all the way... Edward, well he wasn't. However, I did dig Jasper, Alice, Rosalie, and Emmett sounded pretty hot. There was not enough action for my liking, except near the end when I thought Bella was going to get thoroughly destroyed, yeah, it sorta sent my heart racing. Sort of.

I guess for the fangirls, it's a great book. For me, personally, it fell flat. Sorry, I really tried to like it.. but I couldn't. I gave away my copy of Twilight and New Moon (didn't want to waste any time with it).

Brain Popcorn.

This book was purchased out of my own pocket. Not a review book. However, I wish I didn't pay for it..lol.

disclaimer: I do not receive compensation for any of my reviews. I do however, receive books for free to read and post HONEST reviews, positive and negative. The acceptance of a book does not guarantee a positive review, it just guarantees a review.

View all my reviews >>

Ok, I have to add the Buffy VS Edward Cullen on here that I posted a month or so ago.. enjoy!

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