Monday, September 26, 2011

Musing Monday's - Set Aside

Musing Monday's is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. This week’s musing:

What does it take for you to give up on a book you’re reading?

The most important thing for me in a book of fiction is the characters.  I must feel something positive for the characters in the book or I'm most likely going to lose my desire to read it.  This applies to series, as well.  Even if I'm into a story line in a series - if I don't like the main characters, I won't finish the series.  Characters and their development is my first and foremost requirement in a good book.  If that is lacking, I'm usually done.  The second important element for me in a good book is the desire to know more.  If I don't care about what is going to happen next - something is wrong and again, I lose interest.  A final thing that makes me lose interest in the book is if it's too preachy.  I get irritated when I read a book and feel that the author is trying to sell me on their personal agenda.  I like to make up my own mind about topics, thanks.

I read more fiction than nonfiction.  However, I have to be interested in the topic of the nonfiction book or I simply will not complete it.

I've said this before, but for me, life is too short to waste my precious reading time on a book that I don't like.

Saturday, September 24, 2011

Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop

The Banned Books Week Giveaway Hop is hosted by Jen at I Read Banned Books and Kathy at I Am a Reader, Not a Writer.  This giveaway hop runs from September 24th through October 1st.  This link will take you to the American Library Association and their Celebration of the Freedom to Read.  This is directly quoted from the ALA:

Banned Books Week (BBW) is an annual event celebrating the freedom to read and the importance of the First Amendment. Held during the last week of September, Banned Books Week highlights the benefits of free and open access to information while drawing attention to the harms of censorship by spotlighting actual or attempted bannings of books across the United States.
I am joining this giveaway hop to show my support to the ALA and our country's First Amendment.  I'm honestly not certain if BBW is an international event.  If it is - I am certainly not disqualifying any other part of the world.  My links are for what I know is happening in the U.S.

I have always been disgusted with the act of banning books.  I've never understood why certain people feel they have any right to decide for the masses what should be allowed to be read and what should not.  What I read is my decision as an individual.  I have been asked if I feel this strongly in regard to what my children read.  My answer is yes.  It is no one's right to ban books from any other person.  I will say that I make certain my children are reading and exposed to age appropriate books due to the fact that they are still young.  However, once they reach an age where they fully understand their reading choices, neither my husband or I will ever tell them they can not read something.  We are attempting to raise free-thinking human beings and feel that reading material aids in the endeavor.

As soon as I learned of this hop - I knew that I would giveaway a copy of Harper Lee's To Kill a Mockingbird.  It has been one of my favorite books since I first read it in high school and I am planning a re-read of it this Autumn.  If you would like the chance to win the book - all you have to do is be a follower of my blog and leave me a comment telling me your favorite banned book.

I am reading Kathryn Stockett's The Help and found this bit from the book ironic in its timing:

"I always order the banned books from a black market dealer in California, figuring if the state of Mississippi banned them, they must be good."

My giveaway is International so everyone should feel free to participate.  Thank you for stopping by and here is a list of the rest of the hop participants:

Friday, September 23, 2011

Book Review - Fatal Affair by Marie Force

Marie Force is a new author to me.  After reading Fatal Affair I am certain that I will be reading more of Ms. Force's impressive catalogue.  As anyone who knows me will attest to - I am a huge Nora Roberts/J.D. Robb fan.  It was a blog post about what happens AFTER the HEA that turned me on to the Fatal series.  The post - which can be found here, if you are interested - referenced Eve and Roarke from Robb's 'In Death' series.  My attention was snagged and I read the entire post with rapt attention.  Then, to my delight, the commenters began sharing more series with couples who are living their happy-ever-afters.  I am absolutely thrilled to know that there are more authors out there who are willing to keep telling the stories of their characters as they live their Happy-Ever-After.

Intrigued by the priase for Marie Force's Sam and Nick of the Fatal series - I looked the books up on Goodreads.  Further impressed by the reviews and ratings, I downloaded Fatal Affair to my Nook and proceeded to devour the book. 

Samantha Holland is a Washington D.C. Metropolitan Homicide Detective.  At the beginning of Fatal Affair she is back to work after a previous case of hers had gone tragically wrong.  She is immediately thrust into the high profile case of mudered Virginia state Senator John O'Connor.  Feeling that she has something to prove - to herself, her family, her colleagues - Sam dives feet first into the case.  And runs right into Nicholas Cappuano.  He is the one who got away for Sam - and the one she could never forget.  He is also Senator O'Connor's political right-hand man (or the guy behind the guy, as Nick says) and best friend.  Sam can't stop thinking about Nick but he is tied to her case in every way and therefore a major complication.

Nick is shocked when Sam is the Detective assigned to John's case.  He has never forgotten her and also considers her the one who got away.  Once he is ruled out as a suspect in his friend's murder - he makes it clear that he is sticking to Sam as much as possible.  He has invaluable information and access that he is certain will help Sam solve the case.  Of course, he has a personal agenda, as well.  He intends for he and Sam to make up for lost time and hopefully pick up where they had previously left off with one another.

I thoroughly enjoyed this book and look forward to continuing the series.  Sam and Nick are real and believable characters.  They felt like people you'd be proud to call friends or family members.  They are slightly flawed human beings with great hearts trying to find their happiness in a crazy world.  The secondary characters in the book are just as enjoyable and I look forward to reading more about them, as well.  The  Fatal series is as follows: Fatal Affair, Fatal Justice, Fatal Consequences, Fatal Destiny, and Fatal Flaw (to be released February 6, 2012).

Thursday, September 22, 2011

Second Campaigner Challenge - Conceivably Broken Imago

Conceivably Broken Imago

    There was burgundy blood rapidly pooling around the still female body prone upon the floor. Cadence knew that there were people screaming and rushing forward to help but she couldn’t actually hear any of it. She was immobilized by shock over the fact that her mother had just stabbed her life long friend - repeatedly. And quite possibly to death. There was a suffocating miasma as Cadence finally tore her disbelieving gaze from the victim to oscitate at her own flesh and blood. She gave a hysterical, frightened and wholly inappropriate laugh over the thought of flesh and blood considering that’s what was all over the floor.
    Cadence looked into the green eyes that she knew were the mirror image of her own and asked, “Why Mama?”
    “Oh dear, I’ve listened to her self absorbed prattle for two decades. I decided that I simply would not tolerate one more minute.”
    Sinking to her knees, the daughter moaned in agony over the fact that her beloved mother had committed a crime over bottled up annoyance.
    In a seemingly blasé moment of synchronicity - the television screen faded to black and the one hour, weekly drama went on a four month lacuna.

As you've probably figured out - the above is my second challenge for Rachael Harrie's wonderful Platform Building Campaign.  I just have to take a moment and admit something: OH MY GOD, THAT WAS HARD! Now that I have that out of my system I'll add that it was also fun.  And educational.  I had to look up the meanings for lacuna and imago.  Now that I'm done, I'm going to link this post up, sleep and start reading others' entries tomorrow.  Have a great weekend everyone!

Adding: This was another 200 word or less challenge and I'm proud to say that the above is exactly 200 words.

Tuesday, September 20, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - The Help by Kathryn Stockett

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 20 of Kathryn Stockett's The Help:

"Miss Hilly sending Miss Walters to the old lady home.  I got to find myself a new job.  And you know when she going? Next week."

Monday, September 19, 2011

Musing Monday's - Obligation

Musing Monday's is hosted by Miz B at Should Be Reading. This week’s musing:

How often do you read a book, just because you’re in the mood to read it? Not because you’re obligated to for a book club, or a challenge, or for review.
 The majority of my reading is done because I want to read the book.  My 'obligation' reading was done in school.  Do I belong to a book club? Yes.  Do I read books for review and for book challenges? Yes and once again, yes.  However, while these are situations I have indeed chosen to put myself into - I do not see them as a hinderance.  These are just ways to further my love of reading and connect with others who share my passion for the written word.  As I've said in the past - I don't know very many people in my face-to-face life who love to read the way I do.  I am thankful for the opportunities to share the books I love and even express my opinion on the ones I don't like.

Reading - to me - is a joy and a privilege.  If reading started to feel like a chore - I'd be very sad.  And I'd change whatever was making it feel that way to me.

Thursday, September 15, 2011

Booking Through Thursday - Replay

This week's BTT question is:

Have you ever finished a book and loved it so much you went right back and started re-reading it again?
(And obviously, if so, we want titles!)

My initial thought upon reading this question was no.  Then I remembered that I have indeed finished a book just to flip back to the beginning and start it again.  The book is Harry Potter and the Half-Blood Prince by the incomparable J.K. Rowling.  Interestingly, this (book 6) is my favorite in the Harry Potter series.  And while I've read the series more than once - it is the only book that I just had to immediately read again.

How abou you? Are there any books that you have loved so much you read it or them right after finishing it once?

Tuesday, September 13, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - Fatal Affair by Marie Force

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.
My teaser this week is from Nook page 39 of Marie Force's Fatal Affair:

"I trust her," Nick said.  "She has one blemish on an otherwise stellar career.  And think of it this way, she's got something to prove right now."

Wednesday, September 7, 2011

Book Review - Cloudy With a Chance of Marriage by Kieran Kramer

Kieran Kramer's Cloudy With a Chance of Marriage is the third in her Impossible Bachelors series.  In this installment of the series we get the story of Captain Stephen Arrow and Miss Jilly Jones.  Arrow is recently retired from the English Navy and has inherited a ramshackled house on the oft-expressed dreary Dreare Street in London.  Jilly is his much-annoyed neighbor.  He seems to only be interested in partying with his single male friends while she is trying to make a profit with her bookstore.  It seems unlikely that the two opposites will ever find common ground.  And yet, it appears that they both protest just a bit too much about the other.

We learn very early on in the book that Jilly is actually the runaway wife of a nasty and brutal man named Hector.  She sold off her jewelry and fancy clothing in order to leave him and make a new and safe life for herself in London.  She is therefore very dismayed when Arrow starts paying her a lot of attention.  While she is also attracted to him - she knows nothing can ever come of it.  Arrow sees Jilly as a challenge, of course.  I have to say that the chemistry between these two was somewhat lackluster and slightly unbelievable.  I'm not certain exactly why but their relationship felt like a secondary - almost forced - part of the book.

The more enjoyable aspect of the book is with the interactions between Arrow, Jilly and the friendships they make with their other neightbors on Dreare Street.  Together, the residents of Dreare Street band together to help their little community flourish in the face of a crisis.  There are a couple of twists that are well done in this book.  Overall, I did enjoy the book; just not as much as the first two in the series.  The final book in the Impossible Bachelors series is called If You Give a Girl a Viscount and will be released on November 1, 2011.

Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Teaser Tuesday's - City of Bones by Cassandra Clare

Teaser Tuesday's is hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading. To play along, just do the following:

- Grab your current read

- Open to a random page

- Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page

- BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)

- Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR list if they like your teaser.

My teaser this week is from page 31 of Cassandra Clare's City of Bones:

I don't know anything about her early life, or her family, or much about how she met my dad.  She doesn't even have wedding photos.  It's like her life started when she had me.

Monday, September 5, 2011

The First Campaigner Challenge: Evening Begins

The First Campaigner Challenge is posted and ready for entries.  I am so excited about this entire event.  My level of excitement is possibly just a tad bit ridiculous.  As soon as I saw the challenge posted last night - I started gushing enthusiastically about it to my husband.  At first he was just smiling at me but then he actually started giving me some ideas.  Of course, I thought that was quite sweet.  I hope he'll be all right with the fact that I didn't actually go with any of his ideas, though.

Here is the first challenge, straight from Rach Writes:

Write a short story/flash fiction story in 200 words or less, excluding the title. It can be in any format, including a poem. Begin the story with the words, “The door swung open” These four words will be included in the word count.

If you want to give yourself an added challenge (optional), use the same beginning words and end with the words: "the door swung shut." (also included in the word count)

For those who want an even greater challenge, make your story 200 words EXACTLY!
Without further rambling, here is my piece for the first Campaigner Challenge:

Evening Begins

     The door swung open and a swarm of brightly clothed, happily chattering children sprung free. They gathered their equally bright backpacks, lunch boxes and cast their eyes about for their adults. A big, chocolate brown pair met those of her mommy and she came running forward. After thrusting the stuff she’d just obtained at her mom, she asked, “Can we stay and play?”
     “Not today, sweetie. We have to pick up your sister and get groceries for dinner.”
     “Fine,” she sighed and her shoulders drooped in momentary sadness. Then she smiled sweetly and batted her dark lashes. “Can we get ice cream?”
     “Yes,“ laughed mom. “How was your first day of school?”
     “What did you do?”
     “I don’t know.”
     “Did you do math?”
     “Yes, a little.”
     “Did you do an art project?”
     “No. We’ll do one tomorrow.”
     “Do you sit near any of your friends?”
     “No. I sit next to a boy I don’t know.”
     By now mother and daughter were at their car. As the little girl buckled into her seat, mom asked, “Do you like your teacher?”
     “Of course,” said the smiling little girl. She stuck her tiny fingers in the handle and the door swung shut.

That was a lot of fun but I have to admit - a little hard.  I mean, 200 words? I am chatty in real life and in my writing.  I have a tendency to go on and on so 200 words was definitely a challenge.  I love it, though.  And now I can't wait to read the other entries!

Sunday, September 4, 2011

Book Review - Dangerous in Diamonds by Madeline Hunter

Dangerous in Diamonds is the final book in Madeline Hunter's The Rarest Blooms quartet.  Ms. Hunter was a new author to me and I so enjoyed this series that I will definitely be reading more of her work.  In Dangerous in Diamonds we finally learn about the mysterious and aloof Daphne Joyes along with the scandalous Tristan St. Ives - aka The Duke of Castleford. 

Castleford receives an unexpected inheritance in the form of several small parcels of land.  Along with the land his benefactor requests that Castleford allow the inhabitants to continue living where they are for a price that is near to nothing.  His first inclination is to just let matters be and acquiesce to the conditions of the inheritance.  However, since it is a Tuesday - the one day a week he sees to his Ducal duties and is actually sober - he decides to at least check out the parcels of land.  He begins with the one nearest to London; a piece of land that hosts a business known as The Rarest Blooms.

Daphne Joyes has taken great pride in the growing of her plants and flowers.  She is quite happy with the fact that she has been able to turn her horticultural love into a thriving business.  As a war widow, the money earned helps her provide for herself and the home that has become her sanctuary.  The Rarest Blooms has been a sanctuary to many women hiding from their pasts for a variety of reasons - and Daphne is no exception.

When Castleford comes calling about the land - Daphne is ready to shoot him as a trespasser on her land.  Once she realizes who he is - she is grateful that he is considering allowing her to stay in her home.  Of course, Castleford's curiosity grows exponentially as he finds himself attracted to the intelligent and beautiful Daphne.

What ensues is a battle of wits and a clashing of ideals as the two have cross purposes for the use of the land.  All the while, Daphne fights her attraction to Castleford while he does every thing he can think of to encourage it.  Then they realize they have a common nemesis and join forces to protect The Rarest Blooms.

Dangerous in Diamonds is funny, sweet, emotionally honest and at times heart breaking.  It is also full of the human spirit and baeutifully illustrates ones ability to rise above - and flourish - the bad things we have no control over.  I highly recommend The Rarest Blooms series and Dangerous in Diamonds in particular.

Saturday, September 3, 2011

Banned Books Week

Banned Books Week is September 24th through October 1st this year.  I will be participating in a blog hop/giveaway to draw attention to the event.  Personally, I disagree with the act of banning books and will share my reasons as to why when the week arrives.  In the meantime, if you would like to participate in this event, visit I Read Banned Books to sign up.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Camp Wrap Up

I completed the August version of Camp NaNoWriMo with 50,250 words.  You can't hear me - but I confess that I give a big sigh each time I think or talk about it.  For some reason, this writing goal was a LOT more challenging for me to complete in August than in November.  Don't get me wrong - it's always a challenge - I just found it to be moreso this time.  maybe it has something to do with getting ready for back-to-school.  Who knows? I am happy with my word count.  I am happy with the first draft of my newest novel.  And I am happy that I have a couple of months to prepare for the November edition of National Novel Writing Month.

Oh, and I'm happy with my nifty winner badge.