Review: Dust

Dust by Joan Frances Turner dust
Genre: Adult fiction, Zombie
ISBN: 9780441019281
Pub date: September 7, 2010
Rating: DNF

Dust was a great idea, had great potential for a plot, and had great characters. But all I was reading were run-on sentences, fragments, and comma splices. Although I understand that writing novels allows for more creativity and independent writing style, I had trouble understanding it because it was so hard to read.

I hate not being able to give this book more than 35 pages (ARC) but in all honesty, a book that is hard to understand and frustrates me is not one I can enjoy anyway, no matter how good the story is.

Dust is published on September7th. Check out some other reviews before making a final opinion.

This review is copyright Haley Mathiot and Night Owl Reviews.

Review: To Conquer Mr. Darcy

To Conquer Mr. Darcy (originally called “Conquering Mr. Darcy”) by Abigail Reynolds 
Genre: Historical Fiction, Romance
ISBN:9781402237300
Publication Date: August 3rd 2010, Sourcebooks Casablanca
Rating: 2, DNF

The thing that makes Pride and Prejudice so great is the fact that Elizabeth disliked Mr. Darcy so much, and rejected him. Then he did so many wonderful things for her, and she fell in love with him because of the love (action) he showed her.

But in this variation of Pride and Prejudice, the love (action) is gone. It is more like an every-day romance, not one of those new classics. It’s cute and sweet and romantic, but it’s not P&P.

The writing and the style feel like Reynolds has read P&P many times. For the first time in a long time, I fell like I’ve found a great romance writer, the word writer being used literally. She’s a good writer, her prose and her vocabulary, her sentences… I liked it a lot. The characters—up until about the middle of the book—felt very much like the original. That pleased me.

With that in mind, I liked it… up to the point they slept together. That’s when I stopped reading. I just couldn't see Mr. Darcy doing that, no matter how much he desired her. And even when Mr. Darcy came back for her in the beginning… even after getting inside his head, I couldn’t see why he loved her. It was the same with reading from Elizabeth’s perspective… I didn’t know why she loved him. It was all emotion and chemistry, and no reason for love.

Please check out some other reviews for To Conquer Mr. Darcy.

bwahaha

I just now noticed that my title of my blog said "the life and lies of an inanimat flying object." i forgot the "e"

shows how observant I am. It's probably been like that for months.

hehe. But I fixed it. :)

sorry. rambling over.

Review: Crescendo

Crescendo by Becca Fitzpatrick 
Genre: YA
ISBN: 9781416989431
Publication date: October 19th 2010 by Simon & Schuster Children's Publishing
Rating: 5

(No summary, to keep spoilers out!)

Ok. Crescendo definitely wasn’t what I expected. I definitely liked it—maybe loved it. But I can’t say I enjoyed reading it. I won’t spoil it, but we’ll just say there were times when I wanted to wring the characters necks. It was wonderful, and it was miserable.

And Patch. Oh Patch.

Ok. Can’t say anything else about Patch.

I admire a book that surprises the crap out of me. Crescendo did that. I had absolutely no idea of who was the bad guy until the very last page, and it was nothing but wishful thinking that kept the hero in his position. Although the tension, both romantic and emotional, made it difficult to read at times, I tore through it and couldn't put it down.

So here are the things that made it wonderful:

1. The plot was woven perfectly, intricately, and complexly, and it surprised me. There was so much to it, that it might take a while for me to completely wrap my head around it. It did not have plot overkill, thank goodness, but it would have if it hadn’t been organized and written so well.

2. The emotional turmoil was very real… reading it was almost depressing… if I hadn’t had so much faith in Patch… Wow. Having faith in Patch isn’t a good thing, is it?

3. Not only was the plot complicated, but it was fast paced the entire time. There was no down-time, there was nothing simple.

As far as the writing, I have nothing great to say about it. It was every-day satisfyingly mediocre writing style and vocabulary, but it wasn’t bad.

And of course, the characters… well they don’t have that many redeeming qualities, do they? I mean, really. Name five things about Patch that make him a worth-while guy, besides being sexy and smelling delicious. And yes, sometimes I wanted to yell at Nora to forget about her pride and just “do it!” (no not that! you’ll understand when you read it!)

Now for my favorite part: The end. It was good and bad: Good because I got the end that I wanted in the first place (!!!) and bad because at the very end, the last paragraph, I read it and freaked out… SERIOUSLY? BECCA, THAT’S NOT AN ENDING! It was worse than Catching Fire. But the rest was wonderful! *swoons*

So. I absolutely recommend Crescendo. I recommend reading it when you have all day to devote to it, because you won’t want to stop and leave yourself feeling angry and depressed. Because really, the whole mood of this book is angry, sad, and depressing. But it was ok that way.

Then again… you may want to wait to read it until book 3 comes out. Because there will definitely be a book 3. And I definitely want it right now.

And that’s all I have to say about that.

Content/recommendation: Ages 16+ for some sensuality. And you have to read Hush, Hush first or none of it will make any sense.

By the way, I got my ARC of Hush Hush at ARC swap. So head over there to see if there are any goodies you’d like to swap for. Last I checked, there was an ARC of Fallout, Tyger Tyger, Party, Perchance to Dream, and quite a few more.

Review: The Marshall Plan® book and program

The Marshall Plan® is a book (e-book in my case) and a computer program that helps you write a novel. It’s for the kind of people who say to themselves, “Hey, I’m creative, I’m a pretty good writer, I want to write a book… but I don’t know what I want to write or how to start writing it.” It’s for the people who want to write because they want to be a writer, not for the people who want to write because they have a specific story in mind. 

With that in mind, it didn’t help me one bit.

I’m the kind of person who says “Oh my goodness… what if… and then… oh my! I have to get to a computer NOW!” See, that’s me.

So when I opened up the e-book and started reading, I didn’t see anything I didn’t already know. When I went through the “decide your genre” thing, I kept thinking “but I already know…” When I started using the program with a testing-this-out kind of mindset, I found it very restricting and limiting… like I was going context to content instead of the other way around.

Here’s basically how it works.

You pick a character. You pick an enemy. You pick their love object, you figure out everyone’s personality, you decide on their pasts and their goals and the main plot.

Then you follow the outline the program gives you, based on how many words. It might say something like:

“Action: Alexandrovna Victora: main story line: crisis”

and you start writing your book, knowing you’re supposed to introduce the crisis. Then, later,

“Action: Jacob Clarke: start Jacob Clarke's story line” and “Action: Alexandrovna Victora: Alexandrovna Victora's romantic subplot”

So you write that part.

Basically, you’re following a pre-set outline, and the outline changes based on how many words you aim for.

Again, I’m the kind of person who starts writing because I have an idea. The idea grows in my mind and I find out the plot the same way the reader does… one word at a time. The characters tell me what to do. So this pushing the story into an outline thing wasn’t any good for me personally.

However, if you’re someone who wants to write a book, or has a basic idea or some characters and doesn’t know where to turn, how to start, or what happens, this is perfect for you. If you’re a fan and loyal NaNoWriMo-er, this is DEFINATELY for you!

But if you’ve got your idea and you just don’t quite know where or how to start… my only suggestion is pick up a journal and start writing your characters thoughts.

To learn more about The Marshall Plan®, click here.

The Marshall Plan® on Facebook

Eggspress

The Eggspress is a plastic little contraption that you put your eggs into, and it hard-boils or poaches them without the shells, so you don’t have to peel the shells off. You can supposedly do it in a pot of water, or in the microwave.

image002

I got an Eggspress from Bostic Communications and was really excited to try it out. But when I got it, I found three things:

1. There were no instructions on how to open it. Sure there were cooking instructions, and a few pictures, but no diagrams on how the thing works.

2. It’s made of a cheap plastic that looks like it’s about ready to snap when you bend the pieces back.

3. I coulnd’t figure out how to open it up. Like I said, there were no diagrams or instructions on how to open it, and I couldn't figure it out (which is surprising for me, because I can usually figure out just about anything without instructions).

So those are the three reasons the Eggspress disappointed me.

Time to clean this old house...

...time to breathe in and let everything out.

good song, in case you've never heard of it.

but the point is: I'm cleaning out my bookshelf--getting ready to go to college!-- and my tbr shelf, too. Because the point of reading is to enjoy yourself, right?... So I'm not going to try to force myself to read something I don't want to read, just to review it. It wouldn't be fair. So if you're waiting for a review for a book you sent me in January... well, suffice to say you won't see a review up here. I donate all my books to a used book store or the library, so somebody will enjoy it. Still... I don't want to disappoint.

But I've lost track of why I started the blog. I started it for somewhere to review books I read. Not somewhere to get books to read.

So that's that.

*breathe*.

Giveaway Scout

I wanted to do a quick promo for Giveaway Scout! They’re a neat website that has LOADS of giveaways of various kinds, for everything from fashion, to garden, to books to jewelry… they’ve got lots of stuff.

Giveaway scout searches out giveaways on other people’s blogs (once you add your blog) so that more people have a chance to win… and more traffic for you!

Latest Giveaways
Featured Giveaway!
Blog Giveaways
Crimson Clover Giveaway
A Mama's Two Cents Worth...While They Are Napping
Don't Miss Giveaways:
And Twins make 5! - A Mommy Blog
Spotlight On You GIVEAWAY!!
First Comes Love Giveaways & Reviews
CW: Mini Accordian Books AND GIVEAWAY!
seven thirty three - - - a creative blog
18x24 Poster Print Giveaway!
Reviews, Giveaways & Daily Life
Blog Design Giveaway
Mommy2TwoGirls

So head over there and see what neat stuff you can find up for grabs!

It’s a-comin’

the ARC swap site is coming along! We’ve got ARC’s of Tyger Tyger, In The Name of Honor, Ancestor, and a few others. If you have ARC’s to swap, join up and post them, and see what cool stuff you can get your hands on!

Click here to see the ARC’s posted, or post your own.

Review: All I Ever Wanted

All I Ever Wanted by Kristan Higgins
Genre: Romance
ISBN: 978-0373774586
Published: July 27, 2010 by HQN Romance
Rating: 5

Summary from Goodreads:
One happily-ever-after rocking chair…

And no sign of any forthcoming babies to rock in ol’ Georgebury, Vermont. For Callie Grey, turning thirty means coming to grips with the fact that her boss (and five-week fling) is way overdue in his marriage proposal. And way off track, because Mark has suddenly announced his engagement to the company’s new Miss Perfect. If that isn’t bad enough, her mom decides to throw her a 3-0 birthday bash in the family funeral home.

Bad goes to worse when she stirs up a relationship with the town’s most eligible — yet not so warm and fuzzy — veterinarian, Ian McFarland, in order to flag Mark’s attention. So Ian’s more comfortable with animals… So he’s formal, orderly and just a bit tense. The ever-friendly, fun-loving and spontaneous Callie decides it’s time for Ian to get a personality makeover. But, dang — if he doesn’t shock the heck out of her, she might actually fall for Vermont’s unlikeliest eligible bachelor…

All I Ever Wanted really made me happy, and got me hooked on Kristan Higgins. This is why:

First, I loved the characters. Some were quirky (Louis the mortician, Noah her one-legged grandfather), some were funny (Her sister Hester! ROFL) Some were just mean. (MOM.) And some had the biggest heart in the world (Our hero, Ian). The relationships and the characters played out in such a real tangible way, and I loved every minute of it. Although I’m glad my family isn’t like Callie’s… it’s fun to sit back and watch.

Second: I was very pleased with the fact that the characters, dialogue, and plot weren’t perfect (happyland syndrome.) Some of you may know that happyland syndrome—everything working out perfectly all the time—will make me close a book in three minutes. All I Ever Wanted had nothing of the sort. It felt like real life, and because of that, it was relatable.

Third: It was a very sweet, very real, very good romance. And it was CLEAN. Yes! No skipping chunks of pages and trying to avoid unnecessary scenes! This pretty much made my day—maybe my week—that I’ve found a good romance author who doesn’t write sex scenes into her novels. Thank you Kristan Higgins, you’ve just made my bookshelf.

So that’s why I loved it. And that’s why I’ll be reading more of Higgins’ work in the future.

Content/recommendation: little language, very few sexual references. Ages 14+

All I Ever Wanted will be published July 27! Click here to pre-order. Also, visit the author at her website here, or facebook here.

Review: Web of Secrets

Web of Secrets by Ernesto Patino
Genre: Mystery
ISBN: 9781603181242
Published: June 25th 2009 by L & L Dreamspell

Rating: DNF

I really hate it when I pick up a book that sounds so great but disappoints after 2 chapters. This is why I write negative reviews: So that you won’t have to.

First of all, a large chunk of the mystery was disclosed right at the beginning, and it would have been so much better if I had gone into the story not knowing anything about Sarah.

Second, her husband was a transparent non-character… meaning number one I didn’t like him, and number two I didn’t feel his existence.

Thirdly, happyland syndrome. It was not in the plot as most often seen, it was in the dialogue. And after just a few pages, it felt yucky in my head. So I stopped reading.

Please check out other reviews before making a final decision about any book, Web of Secrets included.

Review: Microman USA

Microman USA: The “Right” Hero at the Right Time by Robert Stern, illustrated by Mark Hill  
Genre: Political Cartoons
ISBN:9781589808737
Published: July 1st 2010 by Pelican Publishing
Rating: 3

Microman USA is a book of political cartoons, focusing on anti-socialism, the Tea Party Movement, micromanand… lunch. Microman really likes lunch. You’ll have to read the book to know why.

The concept behind Microman is simple: Stop worrying about the country’s problems, because they’re not yours to worry about… and live in your own life, socialize with your neighbors, be with your family, and only get involved with politics when you absolutely have to. Focus on you. Focus on the small community… hence Microman.

It’s a great philosophy, and Microman shares my viewpoint on politics… but half of the cartoons weren’t what I expected. I was expecting political cartoons to be funny, witty, and a little sarcastic. These weren’t that entertaining. They had their points, they were interesting, and the characters said some good stuff, but they just weren’t funny… to me anyway. Please know that this has nothing to do with not knowing what politician they’re talking about, or the like. I understood them all, they just weren’t what I expected.

Microman has it’s goods and it’s not-so-goods. Not so good for the reasons I just explained, but good for it’s straight-forward viewpoints on socialism, the community, and the philosophy about living in your life, not your politician’s.

Content/recommendation: clean, Ages 14+

Review: Tyger Tyger

Tyger Tyger: A Goblin Wars Book by Kersten Hamilton
Genre: YA Fantasy
ISBN: 9780547330082
Publication date: November 15th 2010 by Clarion Books
Rating: 5

Teagan is sure she’s just your average girl… until a horrible twist of events convinces her that she is being hunted by goblins, for a reason she doesn’t understand, and her father is kidnapped by them. She and her quirky brother, Aiden, and her cousin-by-adoption Finn set off into the world she never knew existed to try and solve the mysteries of her past.

And it would be a whole lot easier if Finn wasn’t so darn distracting. Because it’s really hard to concentrate on hiding and finding food and running from hell hounds when you’re head over heels in love.

I tore through Tyger Tyger as fast as Finn swept Teagan off her feet (very fast).  The story is fast-paced, exciting, and irresistible, with a great combination of mystery, suspense, and romance.

Finn is the bad boy we all want… rough, tough, and willing to do anything from skipping a meal to breaking an arm for the girl he loves. His rough exterior and his cold demeanor only make his love for Teagan more special. He was certainly my favorite character, followed closely by Teagan’s little brother, Aiden. He’s a funny quirky sort of kid who seems to be able to cause problems and solve them at the same time.

The plot and the pacing were fantastic! There were so many secrets and questions, and the way they were revealed was perfect.

The things that weren’t perfect about the book were these: The writing was clear and descriptive, though a little hard to understand at times. The only thing that felt lacking was Teagan and Finn’s relationship. It felt like it just barely got started… and the book ended. But on the other hand, it was definitely real, and not any of that sappy love based solely on attraction stuff. Lastly, I don’t really think the title describes the book, and the cover—though breathtakingly artistic—doesn’t say much about the book either. But none of this really took away from the enjoyment and the satisfaction at the end—the end was really cute, by the way!

I adored Tyger Tyger and can’t wait for the next book in the series!

Content/recommendation: Clean, some violence and “yucky” details (swallowing toes and drinking tadpole pudding? ew!) and a little bit of language. Ages 12+

Tyger Tyger is published November 15, 2010. Click Here to pre-order from Amazon.

Click here to enter a giveaway on Goodreads (June 25-November 14) to win a copy of Tyger Tyger.

Whale Watch update

Here’s the picture of the purse: whale watch purse

yay! very happy with it :) You can get the pattern right here, and it’s on Ravelry.

Review: Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy

Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy: Curiouser and Curiouser
series editor: William Irwin. Edited by Richard Brian Davis
Genre: Philosophy, essays
ISBN: 9780470558362
Published:January 26th 2010 by Wiley

Rating: 5

Alice in Wonderland and Philosophy is a collection of essays by various contributors, many of which have contributed to other books in the Blackwell Philosophy and Pop Culture series. Many questions that went unasked are brought forth and argued, and many things that you never thought twice about are exposed.

I am a long-time Alice lover, having read and listened to the stories my whole life and played a part in the Disney-ballet. I love Carroll’s stories for what they are, and I see the beauty in chaos and nonsense. However I did enjoy reading through these essays, and gaining a new perspective on the classic adventure of Wonderland.

Although, to a certain extent, I can’t help but side with the party that it’s just a sweet silly story about a girl who wasn’t quite ready to face reality, until she realized what a mess nonsense can be.

This collection of intriguing essays will leaving you wondering about Wonderland more than you ever have before.

Recommendation: Ages 12+ for Alice lovers who want to think outside the box and deeper than before.

Knitting + Reading

Ever try to knit and read at the same time?

I can tell you I have and it hasn’t worked very well. My books never stay open… and I hate breaking the spines.

However, I just read a post by Julie Turjoman, author of Brave New Knits (published August 21, 2010) about knitting and reading… and she’s got it all figured out.

So head on over here and check it out… and find out about her awesome new book, too!

Review: Brave New Knits

Brave New Knits: 26 Projects and Personalities from the Knitting Blogosphere brave new knits

by Julie Toujoman, Forward by the founders of Ravelry ©

ISBN: 9781605295909

Published: August 31st 2010 by Rodale Books

Rating: 5

Brave New Knits is a collection of patterns and profiles from different knitting bloggers all over the internet. Each pattern starts with a profile of the designer, and their story of how they fell into their category and their clique in the knitting world. It’s a very creative combination of inspiring people, patterns, and histories, and I think it’s wonderful. I hope Rodale publishes more of these kinds of knitting books in the future, because I loved Brave New Knits… not to mention the patterns!

I couldn't see the pictures very well in the ARC, but the shots looked promising for a clear view of the projects. The photographer is one of the knitters, and he as a knack for knowing what to photograph, and what a knitter looks for when they look at a photo of a project. Having a fellow knitter take the photos was a brilliant idea. Also, I hope that in the finished copy the web address of the blogger’s website is provided, because I only saw the names of the blogs, and couldn’t find the URLs in the galley.

There are several sweater patterns, and some accessories like hats, scarves, gloves, and even a knit flower pin. The focus is garments, so you won’t find things like purses or other accessories.

Great patterns, easy to read instructions and graphs, and even a cool “Knitters’ guide to essential blogging terminology” in the back!

Recommendation: Intermediate/advanced knitters who enjoy making sweaters, blankets, and large-scale projects, though it does include some smaller projects, and would appeal to accessory lovers as well.

Brave New Knits is published on August 31st! Click here to pre-order on Amazon. You can also visit Julie Turjoman at her blog here.

Tour: Day By Day Armageddon: Beyond Exile

START INTERCEPT
Armies of undead have risen up across the U.S. and around the globe; there is no safe haven from the diseased corpses hungering to feed
...more START INTERCEPT
Armies of undead have risen up across the U.S. and around the globe; there is no safe haven from the diseased corpses hungering to feed off human flesh. But in the heat of a Texas wasteland, a small band of survivors attempt to counter the millions closing in around them.
INTERCEPT COMPLETE
Survivor,
Day by day, the handwritten journal entries of one man caught in a worldwide cataclysm capture the desperation—and the will to survive—as he joins forces with a handful of refugees to battle soulless enemies both human and inhuman from inside the abandoned Hotel 23.
But in the world of the undead, is mere survival enough?

Check back soon for my review of Beyond Exile.

Review: The Fire Lord’s Lover

The Fire Lord’s Lover by Kathryne Kennedy
Genre: Historical Fantasy Romance
ISBN:9781402236525
Published:July 6th 2010 by Sourcebooks Casablanca

Rating: 4

Dominic has spent years perfecting his rock-hard shell, keeping his human heart under lock and key, for fear of getting hurt again. His brutal horrible father has tortured him for his softness and lack of black fire magic for years, and Dominic can’t handle any more. So he isn’t prepared for a kind, sweet, tender-hearted wife…

Cassandra has been raised in the catholic school, but trained in to fight in the rebellion as a death-dance assassin. She is sent to marry the son of the Imperial Fire Lord, so that she can get close enough to the Fire Lord to kill him. She knows it’s a death mission, and she’s fully prepared… but she’s not so sure she wants to part with Dominic once she breaks down his hard exterior shell.

As Dominic and Cassandra begin to love each other, Dominic starts to worry about Cassandra’s mission, and Cassandra worries about Dominic’s father trying to kill him. How can two people who love each other protect each other, if protection of the one ends with death for the other? And what of the evil Fire Lord’s hate towards the people and the rebellion against the elves?

I enjoyed The Fire Lord’s Lover from start to finish. The characters were developed quickly and I liked them, the dialogue felt right, and the pacing was great.

The most important thing about The Fire Lord’s Lover, the thing that made it good, was the character’s love for each other. It didn’t feel sappy and fake, centered around physical attraction. It was real and it had reason behind it. Cassandra and Dominic needed each other, and the people needed them together.

At first, I didn’t really like the ending. I almost got a little annoyed at it… but the more I thought about it, the more I liked it—a lot like It’s Not Summer Without You. I didn’t quite like it at first, even though I knew why Kennedy had done what she did… but then I thought back over it again, envisioned in my mind how it would play out, and was very pleased. I won’t spoil it! But I will say that it was surprisingly satisfying.

Content: I thought the love scenes were slightly overkill… I was literally skipping chunks of pages at a time (I don’t read the scenes). There was a little bit of language, but it wasn’t bad and I felt it was appropriate.

Recommendation: Ages 18+

I’ve got a giveaway for 2 copies of The Fire Lord’s Lover up for grabs, and (soon) my ARC will be available for swap at ARC Swap.

ARC Swap site

Ok so it’s still a little rough, but it’s coming. You’re more than welcome to try it out. It may or may not be successfull… but hey, I tried.

I’ll be posting more of my own books later, I just haven’t had time ;)

http://arcswap.webs.com/

Interview and Giveaway: Kathryne Kennedy

I’m pleased to welcome Kathryne Kennedy, author of The Fire Lord’s Lover and My Unfair Lady to The Life and Lies today! Fire Lord's Lover Cover-updated

1) Why and when did you begin writing?

I started writing short stories in grade school and I can’t recall why. It was just something that I did, like walking or breathing.

2) What inspired you to write The Fire Lord's Lover?

Orlando Bloom as Legolas in The Lord of the Rings Movies.

3) How did you come up with the title?

I brainstormed with my team (my DH and two sons) for days on the title. It was kinda hard to get one that incorporated the historical, fantasy & romance aspects of the book, but I think we did pretty well.

4) What books or people influenced your writing? Was it positive influence, or negative?

My mother is an author, so she taught me it was possible to actually publish my work. My writing has been heavily influenced by my love for reading fantasy and historical romance. Andre Norton, Mercedes Lackey, Michael Moorcock, Jude Devereaux, Johanna Lindsey, are a few authors that readily come to mind.

5) How do you go about researching for your books?

I study like I was back in school again, so that as I’m writing I can incorporate the bits and pieces of history naturally into my book. But I do often have to go back and look something up when I know it’s there but can’t quite dig it out of my brain.

6) Did you base any of your characters on real people?

I never have. Although real people often inspire my characters.

7) What’s the most exciting part about being a published author? What is the hardest part?

The most exciting part is getting feedback from my readers. The hardest part is waiting.

8) Do you have any other books planned in the future?

I’m finishing up book two in The Elven Lords series, titled The Lady of the Storm (set to release in the Spring of 2011), and I’m brainstorming the third book, currently untitled.

9) Which of your characters is your favorite? Do you dislike any of them?

I sometimes dislike the things they do, but it’s really hard not to like someone when you understand their motives, even if they’re doing the wrong thing.

10) What advice can you give to young writers who want to publish their books?

To keep in mind that writing is different than publishing. It’s a business, and you need to know as much about it as you do about the craft.

Just for fun:

1) What are your ten most favorite things?

Family, friends, other writers, writing, shopping, my dogs, reading, laughing, anything Victorian, and music. 

2) What do you do when you’re not writing?

Think about writing.

3) Do you have any pets?

Two adorable Chihuahuas.

4) What are your favorite (and least favorite) foods?

I love artichoke hearts, chicken paprikosh, and chocolate. I’m not fond of raw fish and food I can’t identify.

5) Is there a specific place in the house (or out of the house) that you like to write?

The bedroom. It’s conducive to love scenes.

6) Do you have a specific snack that you have with you when you write?

Chocolate. (me: BEST snack ever.)

7) If you could go anywhere in the whole world, either for a vacation or to live there, where would you go?

England.

8) What was your favorite and least favorite subject in school?

Favorite: English. Least favorite: Math.

9) What book are you reading right now?

The Belle at Sealey Head by Patricia McKillip. Fabulous!

10) Tell us a random fact about you that we never would have guessed.

I love meerkats.

THE FIRE LORD’S LOVER BY KATHRYNE KENNEDY—IN STORES JULY 2010
Kathryne Kennedy's historical fantasy romances have garnered awards and a growing readership. This exciting new series, set against the lavish backdrops of Georgian and Victorian England so beloved by romance readers, is deliciously dark and exciting.

Fighting for control of a kingdom that is split into seven domains, Elven warlords use their human slaves to breed an endless supply of soldiers for their armies. Dominic Raikes, the half-blood son of the Elven Lord himself is one such warrior. Betrothed to Lady Cassandra, who has been raised in a convent to keep her pure, he little suspects that she's been secretly trained as an assassin to murder his father. Dominic and Cassandra soon discover that each one is not what they seem, but the price of trust may be their very lives, and the destruction of the magical realm each is desperately trying to save…

ABOUT THE AUTHOR kathryne kennedy
Kathryne Kennedy is a multipublished, award-winning author of magical romances. She’s lived in Guam, Okinawa, and several states in the U.S., and currently lives in Arizona with her wonderful family—which includes two very tiny Chihuahuas. She welcomes readers to visit her website where she has ongoing contests at http://www.kathrynekennedy.com/

 

Would you like to win a copy? Thanks to Danielle at Sourcebooks, I have a chance to give away two (2) copies of The Fire Lord’s Lover.

Please read all the rules!

  • USA/Canada only
  • Don’t leave an e-mail address… I announce winners.
  • Prizes will be sent from sourcebooks, so I won’t be mailing them. This means I’m not responsible for anything lost in the mail.
  • To enter, tell me your favorite mystical creature: unicorns, elves, vampires, faeries… what is your favorite and why?
  • Contest runs July 15-July 31

Good Luck!

Cool idea for book reviewers…

So I’m starting this website. It’s like pbs (paperback swap) and bookmooch… but it’ll be ARC-SWAP.

This is why:

1. Contests, to be honest, are a pain.

2. Libraries can’t take ARCs as donations… which is stupid. but whatever.

3. You can’t swap them on pbs

4. They take up space

5. They’re not for retail, so you shouldn’t really donate them to goodwill or used book stores.

If you’re like me (or maybe you’re not and you’d like to be) you have stacks of them in your room. I know I have book 2 of this or that, and I haven’t read book 1… so I can’t really review it on time. But other people may want to get their hands on them.

The idea will be the same… post the books you have, and them you’ll swap them with other people. The book you get is yours to keep or mail.

Finished books can be swapped too, but the point of the site is to get rid of all those ARC’s that you’ve finished.

So what do you think? Would you participate?

Review: Early to Death, Early to Rise

Early to Death, Early to Rise by Kim Harrison
Genre: YA Paranormal
ISBN: 9780061718175
Published: May 25th 2010 by HarperCollins

Rating: 3.5

(No summary, to keep the review spoiler-free)

I greatly enjoyed Once Dead Twice Shy, and it’s sequel was not a disappointment. The story was great, the plot moved quickly, the emotions (of a dead highschooler) were intense. I love Madison and her friends—I’m beginning to like Josh more and more—and I love the world she lives in.

The only complaint I have about Early to Death, Early to Rise is the ending. It wasn’t very good. It felt like there should be at least another chapter to close up the story, because certain characters still weren’t developed very well, certain relationships were still unclear, and even Madison’s state of being (remember that she’s dead but not really) is confusing. There just wasn’t enough closure. And Josh! He disappeared in the beginning of the story, and then Madison continued her mission without a second thought about him… and then he never came back into the story. That kind of annoyed me, especially because he was so involved in the first book.

All in all, I enjoyed it. The writing was moderately good, the characters were fun, and the plot was great… it just didn’t have enough closure for me.

Content/recommendation: clean on all counts. Ages 12+

This review is copyright Haley Mathiot and Night Owl Reviews

Review: The Bridge

The Bridge: Between Cell Block A and a Miracle is Psalm 91 by Jackie Carpenter. 
Genre:
ISBN:9781615796847
Published: January 8th 2010 by Xulon Press

Rating: DNF

I hate writing negative reviews... but it's part of my life and responsibility.

Here are three reasons why you should not read this book:
1. No editing! Or very little editing. All the dialogue and interior monologue was written in large chunky paragraphs, with no line breaks in between different people. It was very confusing and unorganized.

2. Bad writing. Good story... bad writing. Some people should not publish books... pitch and sell a story line? yes. co-author, maybe. Write it and self publish? no. Two people in my family tried to read this book, and it was painful. I don’t want to author-bash, but there is a reason this one was self published, and not published by a mainstream publishing company.

3. Fictional Preaching: it didn't read like a novel, it read like an inspirational bible study or a sermon. It feels like the Carpenter wanted to hide a sermon in the novel. She should have just written a devotional or something. Or pitched a devotional and let someone else write it.

Again, I hate doing this. And again, there are two sides to every argument, so check out some other reviews for both sides of this book. I love a Christian miracle story... but if it's not a good book, it's not a good book... and I don't recommend poor quality books.

Whale Watch Purse

New knitting pattern! Woot! This one was a gift for Lanelle, the lovely blogger right over here at Sinking Up.
Whale Watch Purse



Thanks for knitting!!

Scholastic Announces 'Mockingjay' Print Run, Tour Details

Scholastic Announces 'Mockingjay' Print Run, Tour Details

This makes me happy... check out this article on Publishers Weekly about Mockingjay, print details, dates, and paperbacks of The Hunger Games.

Very happy.

...but also scared. Because who knows what Collins is going to do...

Review: New England Knits

New England Knits: Timeless Knitwear with a Modern Twist by Cecily Glowik MacDonald and Melissa LaBarre
Genre: Knitting patterns
ISBN: 9781596681804
Published: (to be published) July 27, 2010 by Interweave Press

Rating: 5

New England Knits is full of 25 beautiful patterns—I love every single one—that are ideal for Fall, Winter, and Spring in the cooler areas of the world. There's a good variety: some sweaters, some cowls, some hats, a bag, a pair of mittens etc. They're all original and unique, and very inspiring. I can look at them and think of my own version or variation, either by changing the colors, adding a pocket, sewing on beads, etc. and creating my own look as well.

Again, I loved every single one. I've started one of them (Whale Watch Hat! It's really cute) and I can't wait to make some of the others.

Recommendation: The patterns are easy enough to read and understand for the intermediate/advanced knitter, which is the skill group it's written for. I'd say make sure you can read a pattern and use double pointed needles before trying any of these patterns. Summer is nearly half way over! Pick up your knitting needles and start on your Fall and Winter sweaters now!

 

MacDonald and LaBarre have scheduled the following book signings, for my knitters in the New England area:

  • Connecticut: a Stitch in Time (July 15th, 6-8:pm, Bethel CT)
  • Maine: Purl Diva (July 25, 1:-3:pm, Brunswick, ME)
  • Maine: Knit Maine (August 29, Freeport, ME)
  • Massachusetts: WEBS (July 29, 6:00-8:pm, Northampton, MA)
  • Massachusetts: Hub Mills (August 14, 1:-3:pm, Lowell, MA)

Review: Dorothy Howell series

Handbags and Homicide
Purses and Poison
Shoulder Bags and Shootings

I really wanted to enjoy these books. The plot, characters, and theme of the Haley Randolph mysteries sounded hilarious and cute when I read the pitch—but upon beginning the read, I found that Haley Randolph is an immature, obnoxious, annoying character that drove me crazy. I really didn't care what happened to her… in fact I found myself wanting some brave character to come across her and grab her by the shoulders, and shake her… and maybe yell at her, and get some sense into her brain. Though I would be surprised if they succeeded.

The writing was contemporary, which basically equates to fragments, fragments, and… oh. what was it… oh yeah. more fragments. It matched the character perfectly: annoying and obnoxious.

I'm really sad I didn't like this series… it looked really cute, and I'm all for light summer reads, purses, murder mysteries, and cute boyfriends… but I couldn't stand Haley, so I couldn't stand the books.

little changes...??

I'm thinking about changing my url from "haleymathiot.blogspot.com" to "haleyknitz.blogspot.com". I know that if you already subscribe or follow, it won't change your subscription... so that's good. But I'm not sure if I want to or not. What are your thoughts?

I'm trying to get my last name out of here, and I'll eventually change my e-mail as well (I get too much spam). Just trying to see what would work best.

Ideas? or if you have an idea for a url, what would you pick? Thanks guys :)

Tour: Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture

Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture by Steve Diggs
ISBN: 9780891126409
Published: March 26th 2010 by Acu/Leafwood Publishing

Do you ever feel like life is getting the best of you? Do you routinely question if this is really all there is? Do you wish you had more time and energy to focus on family, friends and other important, worthwhile ventures? Don’t miss the big picture—life ahead looks good!

Day-to-day life responsibilities, coupled with the ordinary consequences for each decision, create stress upon stress if we let it pile up. The world is crying for relief—for something more. Life coach and well-known author Steve Diggs’ latest release, Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, challenges readers to focus on making each day count for something important.

With seventy short Life Note chapters Diggs shares small dragon-slaying habits each reader can develop to see big long-term results. With chapter titles like “Eat Your Problems for Breakfast” and “Stop Petting Piranhas,” the author delivers single takeaway points with humor and honesty. Reading a Steve Diggs book is like having your own personal cheerleader. Each chapter is an energy bite filled with enough insight and nourishment to last the entire day.

About the Author:

Steve Diggs, Personal Finance & Life-Skills Coach, is the author of six books, hundreds of articles, and is a fixture on local and network television and radio. He speaks to enthusiastic audiences worldwide over 250 times yearly. Steve is proud to announce that Bonnie, his bride of 33 years, has just picked his option up for another two years. The couple lives in Brentwood, Tennessee. For more about Steve’s ministry, go to http://e2ma.net/go/8322626386/2847465/95161118/14449/goto:http://www.nodebtnosweat.com or www.SteveDiggs.com.

(Article by the author)

START SMALL IF YOU HAVE TO, BUT START

by Steve Diggs

As a habit, I don’t put bumper stickers on my car. It’s partially because they distract from the appearance of the car, but there’s actually another reason why my car is a sticker-free zone. Frankly, I don’t generally prefer to go around announcing all my political beliefs and preferences to a world that mostly doesn’t care—and when it does, can become hostile.

But what about those bumper stickers that tell the world that I’m a Christian? You know the ones. Sometimes they’re in the shape of a fish. Others make a proclamation of belief in Jesus as the Way to God. Why don’t I put those particular stickers on my car? After all, if I’m really serious about Jesus, don’t I want to be a walking, talking billboard? Isn’t life too short to miss such opportunities?

This is where it’s going to get a bit tougher, because this is going to force me to admit an embarrassing truth. I don’t put those bumper stickers on my car because I’m afraid I’ll do something that will destroy my witness. I’m afraid I’ll do more harm than good. What if I cut another driver off in traffic, or lose my temper and glare at someone? Do I really want the last thing they see as I pull away to be a sign advertising my allegiance to Jesus? It’s the same reason I don’t wear many “Jesus shirts.” I love and respect other Christians who attach the bumper stickers and wear the clothes—as long as they are 66 Life’s Too Short to Miss the Big Picture really representing Jesus. But as I say elsewhere in this book, Jesus gets some of his worst PR from professing Christians who don’t live their profession.

Recently I was working on a project with one of my dearest friends, Pat Boone. One thing about Pat—he’s not ashamed to proclaim his faith. As a matter of fact, he wears neck chains and rings with godly symbols all the time. One day as we were wrapping up some work in his den, Pat pulled out a ring and said, “Steve, I have a gift for you.” I wasn’t quite sure how to handle a guy giving me jewelry. But in a moment I saw what it was: a beautifully designed ring with a very large cross in the middle—just like the one Pat was wearing.

Ah, this was perfect for me! Not as bold as a bumper sticker or as bombastic as a tee-shirt—but at least it was something. It was a start. So I thanked Pat profusely and accepted the gift. As I put the ring on my pinky, I decided that this would be my first witness to the world, so I turned the cross outward.

Since that day, I’ve worn my cross ring 24/7. As a matter of fact, recently a young woman at a cash register noticed it when I paid my bill. Over the months I’d seen her on a number of occasions. I had always been amiable and friendly. She said, “I really like your ring.” I thanked her politely and walked on. Was she another Christian who had been encouraged by my ring? Was she a seeker who had run me through whatever litmus test she uses to assess whether Christians are real or fakes? I don’t know. But at least in that one particular case, I was able to smile in my heart as I walked away knowing that I had acted like Jesus would want me to act. I had not embarrassed my Master.

Now for you Christians who are much more mature than I am—those of you with fifteen “Jesus stickers” on your car, a gold cross chain around your neck, and an “I love Jesus” tee-shirt with Scripture verses on both front and back panels—my baby step probably sounds pretty pathetic. But for me it was a start.

Maybe it would do us all well to realize two things:

1. Life is too short not to be a walking, talking, living, breathing banner for Jesus.

2. Life is also too short not to walk the walk if we talk the talk.

Frankly, this is sort of exciting for me. Who knows, it may help me graduate to a bumper sticker—or even a tee-shirt.

___________________________________________________________

Excerpt from Life's Too Short to Miss the Big Picture, with permission from Leafwood Publishers.

Check back soon for my review of Life's Too Short.

Excerpt: No Hope for Gomez!

I reviewed No Hope for Gomez back in May (See my review here). Now I'd like to share an excerpt with you from the book!

Blog entry: Saturday. Decided to do a little detective work. Headed over to the hospital and queued up at the front desk to ask about visitor’s hours. The nurse told me they’d just started.

“Great,” I said. “Can I just walk in?”

“You can,” she said. “Who did you want to see?”

“A Mr. Miller. Mr. Joseph Miller. He was brought in two days ago.”

The nurse consulted her computer, frowned, then shook her head. “No, I’m sorry,” she said. “Mr. Miller’s dead. He died late last night.” She looked up from her screen. “Would you like to see somebody else?”

“What? No! I really need to talk to Mr. Miller. Are you absolutely sure he’s passed away?”

“I can recheck if you want.” She typed away. “Sometimes this program mixes up some of the… ah, I see what I’ve done now.” She gave me an apologetic smile. “Stupid little me,” she said. “I had the stats of several files mixed up.”

I breathed a sigh of relief. “So, he didn’t pass away?”

“Oh, no,” the nurse said, shaking her head, “he’s still dead, but he died this morning rather than last night.” She held up her hand with a small amount of space between her thumb and index finger. “You missed him by that much.”

“I see,” I said. “Does it at least say what he died of?”

She browsed her screen, bit her lip, and mumbled, “Yes, no, wait a minute. I saw something about…. Ah, yes. Yes, it does.” She looked up again. For a long moment we stared at each other. When I finally arched an eyebrow, she said, “Are you a relative? I’m not supposed to give out this kind of information to just anybody.”

I tried to think fast. I really needed that information but I didn’t know Joseph other than from the clinic waiting area. We’d never even spoken. Then, out of nowhere, the perfect answer just came to me. I told her, “Yes.”

“Okay then.” She was about to tell me when her face clouded over again. “You really should be getting this information from his doctor, though.”

I waved it away, told her it would be fine.

“Well,” she said, reading from her screen, “it says here he died of dehydration and malnutrition.”

“He was found passed out in his apartment,” I told her. “Apparently he’d been out for a while. Does it say what caused him to lose consciousness in the first place?”

The nurse perused the file for a long time, then shook her head. “No, sorry,” she said. “I’ll have to get the doctor for that. Just a moment.” She reached for the phone.

“That’s okay,” I said. I didn’t want to get into trouble for impersonating a relative. “I need to go. Pressed for time. Thank you.”

As I turned to leave, she called after me, “Are you sure you don’t want to visit anyone else? There are some really nice people up on the second floor. Much nicer than Mr. Miller. They’d love to talk to you.”

No Hope for Gomez! is available from B&N at a reduced price for a limited time.

Early reviews:

“Extremely witty and clever writing that contains keen insights into human nature.”
-- California Chronicle
“A very funny book; a veritable page turner of nonstop laughs. Buy a copy and find out for yourself!”
-- Reader Views
"A quick and unputdownable read that flies in the face of reason, and smashes against the wall of detective novels. It's a Coens Brothers' film formatted in book form."
-- BookReview.com

(Excerpt printed with permission of Author.)

Disclaimer

Copyright 2016 Haley Mathiot. All reviews are 100% honest and unbiased. One or more items featured in the blog post may have been free or discounted. Receiving free or discounted product does not affect review. For more please see my disclaimer page.
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