Thursday, July 31, 2008

Is it Getting Hot In Here?

Wow is it hot! *fans self* I'm not sure if it's the heat outside, or jezebelsk's newest contest over at Walking on Sunshine! She is holding a giveaway for a $25 gift certificate to Original Juan, provider of all kinds of tasty hot sauces from salsa to bbq sauce, dips, mixes, spices, all kinds of awesome, tasty goodies! To enter her contest, check out the post I Have A Secret!! Or, don't, cause that means my chances of winning are better! Just kidding! ;) She has a couple of other books up for grabs as well, so take a few minutes and browse around there!

Don't forget my own contest for Real Vampires Have Curves ends on August 2nd, when I'll be choosing my winner! To enter, check out the side bar to the right for a link!

Let's see, what else we can find going on...

Amberkatze is holding a contest for The Devil You Know by Jenna Black, and has a great interview with the author over on her blog. Hurry on over there, the contest ends on Aug. 3, so you don't have much time left!

And don't forget to check out Win-a-Book over at West of Mars where there's always a ton of giveaways posted!

May Lady Luck be with you, and bring on the hot sauce!

Sunday, July 27, 2008

HQ/Sil Challenge #1: All in the Game by Barbara Boswell



Title: All in the Game
Author: Barbara Boswell
Imprint: Silhouette Desire #1471
Date: November 2002

This is my first read for the Harlequin/Silhouette Challenge that I joined, see my original post Here.

Tynan Howe is the Chief Cameraman for the show "Victorius", a Survivor copycat show. Unknown to him when he joined the show, one of the contestants is Shannen Cullen, a girl he'd broken up with 9 years before, but whom he never forgot. Ty is tortured as he must endure filming Shannen, her twin sister and the rest of the contestants without giving himself away. At first he believes she doesn't remember him, because true to the directives of the game, Shannen acts as if she doesn't know him, as if he and the rest of the crew are not there. Her resolve begins to wear thin though, and she eventually sneaks a meeting with him, to confront him on their past, and their current situation. Things don't work out the way she plans though, as their attraction to each other is still intact, even after so long of being apart.

Can she hold out against her attraction to Ty? Can she still focus on the game, taking herself and her sister to the end? Is there any future for the two of them? Ty has secrets of his own to share or withhold, can he earn her trust again after breaking it off with her so long ago?

I picked this one up because of the "Survivor" reality show theme, I admit to watching my share of episodes of the show and getting sucked in in spite of myself! While it's an obvious spoof of the show, it's a cute story, and I enjoyed it. I thought it was a little amusing that this one was done back in November of 2002, and predicted that reality tv had long since died off and that resurrecting this type of show was kind of a long shot. As far as I can tell, the real Survivor is still going strong, as well as reality tv in general! lol!

Giveaway: My copy is up for grabs if anyone is interested! Just post here if so, and if several people are interested, I'll choose a winner on August 15th. Otherwise, it's out into the wild world it goes, as a wild Bookcrossing release!

Book: Blood Engines by T. A. Pratt


Marla Mason has a problem. Her closest rival for control of the city of Felport wants to edit her out, and there's not a thing she can do to stop it unless she can get close to a certain magical artifact. That's why she's in San Francisco, trying to track it down. What she hoped would be a quick in and out, turns into a much more difficult trip, as she comes across another sorcerer with his own agenda, and one that will affect much more than Marla's own existence. With her sidekick Rondeau, and a few other interesting allies, can she save the world in time, starting with San Francisco? And can she do it in time to save herself?

Marla is a bit of an abrasive character, but at her core she's in the right place. She's not interested in all the luxuries that power can bring, but she does enjoy being top dog. She's earned it, and she's not about to give it up to her rival without a fight. Myself I really liked Rondeau, and Bradley Bowman, B for short, is another sweet character the two come across that gets dragged along in their wake, through his own visions and sense of duty.

This is the first of the Marla Mason series and there's a little bit of everything in here, some Urban fantasy, some sci-fi, some Aztec Mythology and more. I enjoyed it a lot and am looking forward to Marla's next adventures in Poison Sleep.

Check out T A Pratt's website here

Monday, July 21, 2008

Giveaway #5: Real Vampires Have Curves by Gerry Bartlett

Gloriana St. Clair is not your usual thin, pale and brooding vamp, she's all woman, with a great sense of style! Present day finds her leaving Las Vegas and moving to Austin, Texas, to make a new start with her own store, where she wants to sell vintage clothing and whatnot, and who would have more of that, or a better knowledge of it than a vampire? Glory was made back in the day of Billy Shakespeare by her on again off again lover Angus Jeremiah Campbell III, or Blade for short. Once in Austin she has more to contend with than she ever expected, with a technologically advanced vampire hunter on the trail of her and her friends. Glory refuses to run however, she's determined to make a new and successful start for herself. Go Female Vamp Power!

Real Vampires Have Curves was a lot of fun, with Blade and new hot vamp acquaintance Damian constantly vying to be first in Glory's affections, and many humorous secondary characters playing supporting roles as the group tries to combat the vampire hunter that is threatening them.

I'm looking forward to the rest of the series:

Real Vampires Live Large (2007)
Real Vampires Get Lucky (2008)
Real Vampires Don't Diet (2009)

Check out Gerry Bartlett's Website for more info!

And now for the giveaway! As always, my copies are gently used, and registered at Bookcrossing.com. I would certainly appreciate the winner taking the time to journal the book there when you receive it, you can be completely anonymous if you decide joining is not for you. This copy is yours to do with as you will and you do not need to be a member of Bookcrossing to win.

To enter, post on this entry, and tell me what your favorite humorous paranormal title, series, or character has been, or another one that you'd like to try if you haven't read any yet. I will announce the winner on August 2nd! Be sure to leave me a way to contact you!

Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #13 - Mystery Series

I have so many books I'll never get around to them! Here are a few of the mystery series that I would really like to start, but haven't gotten around to yet!

1. The Bubbles Yablonsky Series by Sarah Strohmeyer - She may be a hairdresser with the body of a Barbie doll and a fatal weakness for hot pants, but Bubbles Yablonsky is not just another dumb blonde. She's determined to turn her taste for gossip into a talent for journalism, and she knows a secret about the death of Laura Buchman that could be her Big Break. Plus, she gets to work with photographer Steve Stiletto - a dead ringer for Mel Gibson, and exactly the kind of mysterious, dangerous man her mother warned her against. But Bubbles soon discovers that while brazen bravado gets results, some people will do anything to keep her quiet...

2. The Archaeological Mystery Series by Lyn Hamilton - The murder of a renowned expert in Mayan history lures Lara into the jungles surrounding Merida, Mexico. For in this lush paradise are the temples of the Mayan gods--and the camps of modern-day rebels fighting to save their Mayan heritage. As the body count escalates, Lara must uncover the secrets of the Mayan underworld known as Xibalba--and the journey into the very heart of darkness.


3. The Joe Grey Series by Shirley Rousseau Murphy - "It's me, your cat. I had to split. I witnessed a crime and someone is following me. Trust me. When I get this sorted out, I'll be home. I am still your cat, and I guess I miss you .." Joe Grey jumped down to the floor without hanging up the phone. He was trapped in an unfolding nightmare. First he found he could understand human speech (who would have guessed they had so little to say?). Then he found he could talk (useful for scaring dogs) and even read. He got worried when he found himself feeling human emotions like guilt and sympathy. He even caught himself planning his day! All that, Joe Grey could have handled. If only he hadn't found himself in the alley behind Jolly's Deli the night Beckwhite was murdered...

4. The Mrs. Murphy Series by Rita Mae Brown - Crediting her cat Sneaky Pie as coauthor, Brown ( Rubyfruit Jungle ) sets the thoroughly likable heroine of this mystery, Mary Minor Haristeen, in an admirable position to figure out who is murdering, in ghastly fashion, various pillars of her community. Harry, with constant companions Mrs. Murphy, a cat, and Welsh corgi Tucker, is postmistress of Crozet, Va. Postcards are sent to a wealthy contractor shortly before parts of his body are found in a cement mixer and then to a storeowner whose corpse, tied to a railroad track, is cut in three parts by the express. The cards alert Harry and friends to a plot that will take more lives before they discover the treasure that inspires the violence. Brown's lively characterization brings merchants and first-family Virginians alive with affection and verve. Even the snippets of conversation contributed by Crozet's four-legged inhabitants are credible rather than cloying. Harry's in-process divorce of the town vet gives Brown opportunity to wax wise on issues of human relationships, feminism and the pitfalls of greed. A charming adventure, with teeth.

5. The Mrs. Jeffries Series by Emily Brightwell - While Inspector Witherspoon receives accolades for his Scotland Yard successes, his housekeeper, Mrs. Jeffries, does the lion's share of the detective work.







6. The Psychic Eye Mysteries by Victoria Laurie - Abby Cooper is a P.I., psychic intuitive. But her insight failed her when she didn't foresee the death of one of her clients-or that the lead investigator for the case is the gorgeous blind date she just met. Now, with the police suspicious of her abilities and a killer on the loose, Abby's future looks more uncertain than ever.




7. The Ghost Hunter Mysteries by Victoria Laurie - M.J., her partner Gilley, and their client, the wealthy, de-lish Dr. Steven Sable, are at his family's lodge, where his grandfather allegedly jumped to his death from the roof-although Sable says it was foul play. But the patriarch's isn't the only ghost around. The place is lousy with souls, all with something to get off their ghoulish chests. Now M.J. will have to to quell the clamor-and listen for a voice with the answers...


8. The Pepper Martin Mystery Series by Casey Daniels - She sees dead people. Beautiful, smart, and chic, Pepper Martin never had to work a day in her life -- until her surgeon daddy was convicted of fraud, her wealthy fiancé took a powder, and the family fortune ran bone dry. Suddenly desperate, the inexperienced ex-rich girl was forced to take the only job she could get: as a tour guide in a cemetery. But a grave situation took a turn for the worse when a head-on collision with a headstone left her with an unwanted ability to communicate with the disgruntled deceased . . . and now Pepper has a whacked Mafia don demanding that she hunt down his killers -- and threatening to haunt her until she does.

9. The Medieval West Country Series by Michael Jecks - When a spate of burnings occur in a quiet Devon village, Bailiff Simon Puttock is grateful for the help of the astute yet strangely reticent Sir Baldwin, who has recently come to live nearby. Are the deaths linked, and will the murderer strike again?





10. The Amerotke Series by Paul Doherty (wow he's written a lot more than I realized and they ALL look good! *drool*)- When Pharaoh Tuthmosis II falls dead before the sun god, Amun-Ra, his widow and the Chief Judge must find a killer covering his tracks with the hot desert sands of ancient Egypt.





11. The Sir Charles Sheridan Series by Robin Paige - Kate Adrleigh is everything the Victorian English gentlewoman is not--outspoken, free-thinking, American...and a writer of the frowned upon "penny-dreadfuls." Soon after her arrival in Essex, England, a body is unearthed in a nearby archeological dig--and Kate has the chance to not only research her latest story...but to begin her first case with amateur detective Sir Charles Sheridan.



12. The Chintz 'n China Series by Yasmine Galenorn - Emerald O'Brien is the owner of the Chintz 'n China Tea Room where guests are served the perfect blend of tea and tarot reading. She never set out to be a detective, but once word gets out that she can communicate with the dead, there's no turning back... When the ghost of Susan Mitchell asks for Emerald's help in convicting her own murderer, Emerald can't refuse. Along with her friends-an ex-supermodel and a cop-and her new love interest, Emerald must search for clues to put the killer behind bars-and this tortured soul to rest.

13. The Bewitching Mystery Series by Madelyn Alt - Antiques-shop clerk Maggie O'Neill was a little weirded out when she discovered her new boss Felicity was a witch. But when Felicity becomes the suspect in a local murder, Maggie must enlist Felicity's wiccan friends for help--and discover her own spellbinding talent.



I actually have a lot more than 13 series that I haven't gotten to yet, but I figured I'd stop here and save those for a future post! So many books, so little time! If you've already read some of these, let me know what you thought, or give me some more suggestions if they're in a similar vein! I might have heard of it, or I might not have. I'm pretty sure that I'll like them all, they sound right up my alley, paranormal, cats, history, archaeology, humor, I just need more reading time! If only I could figure out how to get paid to read whatever I wanted! But then I'd probably feel pressured and wouldn't enjoy it as much! ;)

Happy Thursday Thirteen!

Sources:
http://www.fantasticfiction.co.uk/
http://www.amazon.com/

Sunday, July 13, 2008

Word Clouds

I love word clouds, I think they're a lot of fun! While looking at Ilona Andrews Website (see previous post) I discovered this site where you can make your own: Wordle

This one I did using the titles of what I've read in 2008 so far.



I did have to play with the spacing in the code to get it to appear correctly here, just a warning, but I just took out the unnecessary spaces in the code.

Have fun, and if you make one, post me a link in the comments here so I can come see!

Book: Magic Bites by Ilona Andrews


Kate is a Merc of the Guild, who gets called in to help clean up magical messes in a future time where magic and technology are both unreliable at best, switching back and forth between which is in effect from moment to moment. In this first of the series she is caught between the People (vampires) and the Pack (shapechangers) while investigating the violent murder of her guardian, the Knight-Diviner of the Order.

Andrews representation of vampires was a different take, making them more expendable creatures controlled by the People, vs. being central characters that are able to think and act for themselves. The shapechangers are of many different breeds, all united under one Lord of the Beasts.

The story is full of magic, and what you have to do to compensate when the magic suddenly fizzles. This is a common occurrence as waves magic roll through, disrupting all things technological, cars, lights, everything, only to inconveniently disappear and let technology take back over. Kate and crew are often forced to resort to means that have to work in either situation.

Kate herself is a mystery, constantly referring to an elusive heritage that never gets explained. I hope that there is more on this in the future (I already have book two, Magic Burns here to read), and maybe also more on the Order, as we only saw a few characters from them this time.

I definitely recommend this one to anyone who is into the urban fantasy style that has become so popular lately.

Check out Ilona Land the website of Gordon and Ilona Andrews!

Saturday, July 12, 2008

Geocaching - yes, again!

We managed 7 caches today, all of them very fast and easy, until we got to the last one, note to self: Geocaching in a dog park makes people look at you funny if you do not have a dog along! This one was another bit of a wilderness adventure, though not so crazy as the last one, once again we seemed to go the hard and long way around, only to find the cache neatly hidden in the pocket of a tree very near the trail! Probably doing this one at the end of a rainy day wasn't the smartest idea either! LOL!

Our area seems to have some very active geocachers, which is very cool! They are soon having their 8th annual picnic, which we're going to try and attend with jezebelsk and hubby next month. It should be fun to meet some of these people that we've only seen as log entries on other caches. Several of them have logged thousands of found caches!!! Yes, plural thousands! Wow! We're only at 21 after today, we have a ways to go before we're "contenders" I think! ;)

Movie: The Game Plan


Dwayne Johnson (The Rock) plays star NFL quarterback Joe Kingman, who seems to have it all, wealth, women and fame. In the beginning he's very self centered, and indulged by everyone around him. EVERYTHING in his life centers around himself, until Peyton appears on his doorstep, and then EVERYTHING suddenly changes. Joe begins to realize how empty his life really was, and Peyton comes to mean everything to him, even as she's turning his life upside down. This is a heartwarming movie, very funny and sweet. I love Dwayne Johnson, and am so glad that he's turned to acting after wrestling, as I never would have seen him otherwise. He is a great comedic talent in my opinion, but can also pull at your heart as you'll see in this movie. Madison Pettis (Peyton) would have stolen the show completely with any other actor I think, but together the two are a great pair and made this cute movie great!

Movie: Nanny McPhee


I love Emma Thompson, but have to admit her initial appearance in this movie is pretty off putting! But that's part of the magic of this story. Nanny McPhee appears on the scene when Mr. Brown has run out of nannies to watch after his brood of children, and they are awful children! Nanny McPhee soon brings order to the household through a bit of magic and where the children at first dislike her as much as any other nanny they've had, they come to love her very much. She strikes me as a little bit darker of a cross between Mrs. Piggle-Wiggle and Mary Poppins, but these children definitely need a firmer hand than those of the other stories! Cute movie, I recommend it!

I really like this script sequence from it:

Nanny McPhee: There is something you should understand about the way I work. When you need me but do not want me, then I must stay. When you want me but no longer need me, then I have to go. It's rather sad, really, but there it is.
[Nanny McPhee turns around to walk out of the room, but stops once she hears Simon]
Simon Brown: We will never want you!
Nanny McPhee: Then I will never go.

Monday, July 07, 2008

Winnings and More Giveaways!

I’ve had a streak of luck lately and won some book giveaways, whee!

From Walking on Sunshine I won The Witches of Chiswick by Robert Rankin. Right now she’s running a contest for a Wendy’s Hamburgers Giftcard, check it out!

Then from Amberkatze’s Book Blog I won Weddings from Hell, where one of the authors, Terri Garey also generously sent to me some signed bookmarks, promo cover of her newest book A Match Made in Hell, and a fun pin “What’s up Ghoulfriend?” (love it! Hee!) Right now Amberkatze has a contest running for The Accidental Werewolf or Accidentally Dead, see the right hand margin of her blog for links to the contests.

And last but not least, I won Blood Noir by Laurell K Hamilton from SQT at the Fantasy and Sci-Fi Loving Book Reviews Blog!

The giveaway love seems boundless, and is a lot of fun, to give and receive!

Please also check out Terra57’s Christmas in July Contest! I’m sure going too, and see if my luck holds!

Plus I will be announcing my own next giveaway Mid-July, so check back to see what I’ve decided on!

Another Weekend of Geocaching

It was a full three day weekend! The husband and I found 3 out of 4 caches on Friday the 4th, then 1 out of 3 on the 5th, and he found 2 out of 2 on the 6th!

We were feeling pretty confident on the 4th, after finding 3 out of 4, one of them a difficult one to spot, I didn’t know they made magnetic containers that small! None of the ones we tried for that day were too difficult, easy terrain, right where they were supposed to be (the one we didn’t find was probably still there and we just didn’t see it, so we’ll have to go try again!), and we even picked up a geocoin to help on it’s journey to another state, since we already had the bunny to place as well. We had a couple nice walks through a couple parks, one I’d never been to, and one I hadn’t been to in a long time.

Then the 5th rolls around, and I picked out some more caches that sounded pretty doable, given our newbie status. We’d been to the first park before, and were a bit familiar with it’s trails… or so we thought… Let’s just say that the placement of the cache itself was great, and as advertised as good for beginners on the terrain and difficulty level. However… I think we took the coordinates a little too literally, and so we were stumbling through the woods, completely off the beaten path, misdirected a few times where we saw a small snake napping on the side of this creek where the cache wasn’t!



Lesson learned LOL! We did find it, after deciding to give up and sit for a second on the BIG OBVIOUS ROCK, where lo and behold, was the cache nicely hidden by some bark on the back side, not anywhere in the waist high foliage we’d been wading through up to that point. The next two we had no luck on, even though we think we were right in the area where they should be. But it again got us out to a couple parks, one I hadn’t ever stopped at before though I’d driven past many times, and another one I hadn’t been to in years.

The 6th was more successful, though no less difficult from the sounds of it! I sat this one out, staying at home to catch up on some housework (and computer games heehee) while the husband went and picked up his son to bring him back for a summer visit. He took the two travel bugs with him for placement



and had success! The first cache was near the originator’s home, so the boys got to meet and chat with him, and the second cache sounded like a very similar experience to our wilderness adventure of the day before. Only this time the grass and weeds were about chest high on son’s 6’ 5” tallness! Eep! Gee, sorry I missed out on that one! NOT! *giggle*

We’re still very enthused despite some DNF’s (Did not find’s), and ready to start thinking about sending out some travel bugs of our own to see how they do, just have to find something good! We got some hints from a more experienced geocacher, so we’ll have to give those elusive ones another try in the future!

Saturday, July 05, 2008

Atlantis Rising - Winner Announced!

And the winner of my copy of Atlantis Rising is.... *drum roll*


Jezebelsk!


Congratulations!


I'll post my next giveaway sometime mid-July, so check back!

Wednesday, July 02, 2008

Thursday Thirteen #12 - Geocaching

The husband and I tried this out for the first time with jezebelsk and her husband this past weekend, so I thought I’d do a 13 about it!

1. Geo-caching - an outdoor treasure-hunting game in which the participants use a Global Positioning System (GPS) receiver or other navigational techniques to hide and seek containers (called "geocaches" or "caches") anywhere in the world.

2. geocaching was imagined shortly after the removal of Selective Availability from GPS on May 1, 2000 because the improved accuracy of the system allowed for a small container to be specifically placed and located.

3. The first documented placement of a GPS-located cache took place on May 3, 2000, by Dave Ulmer of Beavercreek, Oregon.

4. Geocache container sizes range from film canisters often called "microcaches," too small to hold anything more than a tiny paper log, to five-gallon buckets or even larger containers.

5. A typical cache is a small waterproof container containing a logbook and "treasure," usually toys or trinkets of little value. Today, well over 800,000 geocaches are registered on various websites devoted to the pastime. Geocaches are currently placed in over 100 countries around the world and on all seven continents, including Antarctica.

6. Geocaches vary in size, difficulty, and location. Simple caches are often called "drive-bys," "park 'n' grabs" ("PNGs"), or "cache and dash." Geocaches may also be complex, involving lengthy searches or significant travel. One style called a Multi-cache takes the searcher to several different places (I think one such ended Jezebelsk’s husband ankle deep in water in a cave! But he found it!)

7. Travel Bugs and Geocoins are items that are placed in caches and are themselves trackable. They may have been given a mission by their orginators. They have their own tracking number and are moved from cache to cache. While many things can be traded out and kept, travel bugs and geocoins are specifically to keep traveling and should not be kept.

8. Here is a travel bug that jezebelsk and hubby placed on our outing last weekend: Mosquito Trap, it’s already been found and is on it’s way!

9. We took this travel bug that we found in another cache: Billy Bunny to help him on his mission of visiting every state. Husband will place him this coming weekend hopefully on an out of state trip! Bye bye Billy!

10. Some caches are called Travel Bug Hotels and are specifically for travel bugs only in an attempt to get them on their way! We found this cute travel bug on our first solo excursion after buying our GPS on Sunday: Meg’s Mud Bug Twins

11. If a geocache has been vandalized or stolen, it is said to have been "muggled" or "plundered." The former term plays off the fact that those not familiar with geocaching are called "geo-muggles" or just muggles, a term popularised by the Harry Potter series of books.

12. There have been 131 caches placed inside a 5-mile radius of my house!

13. check out Geocaching.com for more information

We visited 6 caches on our first outing, ranging from a park, to a parking lot, to a cemetary. Caches seem to be everywhere! Check out this post from jezebelsk to see some nice photos she took on our outing.

sources:
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Geocaching
http://www.geocaching.com

Thanks for stopping by! I ran out of time to visit last week, so I will be visiting those people first this time and you may get two comments from me! ;)

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