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Thursday, December 31, 2009

Completed Seconds Challenge for 2009

I wasn't sure I was going to make this one as I had about 3 hours of listening left today to finish Ink Exchange, but I've done it! This is a tough one to pick favorites on, since it's a seconds challenge, that means I liked all the authors enough to give them another try, and I enjoyed them all, none were disappointing!

The 2009 Seconds Challenge: Read 12 books by authors that you have only read once. It doesn't have to be a series.

1. Magic Burns (Kate Daniels #2) - Ilona Andrews - finished 1/4/09
2. Succubus Takes Manhattan - Nina Harper
3. Lover Eternal (#2 The Black Dagger Brotherhood) - J. R. Ward - finished 6/11/09
4. High Heels are Murder(#2 Mystery Shopper) - Elaine Viets - finished 8/4/09
5. Practical Demonkeeping (2nd book by Moore for me) - Christopher Moore - finished 8/23/09
6. Corpse Pose (2nd book by Killian for me)- Diana Killian - finished 10/2/09
7. The Demo Tapes - Year 2 - Susan Helen Gottfried - finished 12/6/09
8. Reign of Shadows (2nd Chester for me) - Deborah Chester - finished 12/9/09
9. New Moon (Twilight #2) - Stephanie Meyer - finished 12/17/09
10. Wanderlust (Grimspace #2) - Ann Aguirre - finished 12/24/09
11. Into the Labyrinth (sequel to The Great Good Thing) - Roderick Townsley - Finished 12/27/09
12. Ink Exchange (Wicked Lovely #2) - Melissa Marr - Finished 12/31/09

Challenge completed 12/31/09!

Sunday, December 20, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Holiday with a Vampire

I kind of missed posting my winner yesterday as promised, sorry about that! But I'm here today, and just about to embark on a cooking baking marathon with my mom, so I wanted to post my winner really quick before I go!

The proud new owner of Holiday with a Vampire is....


Her favorite holiday treat is buckeyes (which my husband will find amusing since he's from Ohio), which are very similar to one of my own favorite treats that we only make at Christmas, Peanut Butter Bon Bons. How can anything that involves peanut butter and chocolate not be wonderful?

Thanks for entering everyone, stay tuned for my next giveaway, not sure what it will be yet!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Murder with All the Trimmings by Elaine Viets

Murder with All the Trimmings is the 4th installment of Elaine Viets' Josie Marcus, Mystery Shopper series. Poor Josie's love life becomes extremely complicated when she is forced to mystery shop the new Christmas shops, one of which is run by her current flame's ex-girlfriend who is also the mother of his daughter. The shop is atrocious (pornaments?!), as is Mike's daughter Heather, and while Josie is afraid it will ruin her new relationship with Mike, she must do her duty. As if that weren't enough trouble, Josie's past comes back to haunt her in the form of her daughter's father, Nate, whom she never believed she'd see again, and whom she'd also told Amelia was dead. The lie she'd told to keep her daughter safe from Nate's dangerous life threatens to wreck her relationship with Amelia. As always next door neighbor Mrs. Mueller adds to the trouble with her constant nosiness! Could Josie's life be any more difficult and hectic? Somehow most things work out in the end, and there's a little bit of a surprise for those who've been following the series and know about Josie's neighbor, good and dependable but boring Stan. I can't wait to see what happens with him next! I'm really enjoying this series and highly recommend it, it's very entertaining!

For more information on Elaine Viets and her books, check out her website HERE

Saturday, December 12, 2009

Giveaway Winner: The Gift by Nora Roberts

I really enjoyed reading all the things that you like to do that get you in the mood for the holidays. I've gotten my tree up finally and the cats are sort of leaving it alone, which is an improvement! I may try to achieve some outdoor decorations today, we'll see! I think the thing that has put me most in the spirit was our toy shopping spree for a donation to Toys for Tots, it was a lot of fun!

And now on to our winner for The Gift by Nora Roberts!

*cues the Little Drummer Boy*


Congratulations! I will be contacting you soon to get your address and get The Gift sent out to you soon!

Sunday, December 06, 2009

Giveaway: Holiday with a Vampire by Maureen Child and Caridad Pineiro

This one is for those of us who like our holidays with a little more "bite" than normal. This is my second read for the Christmas Reading Challenge I joined. It contains two stories: Christmas Cravings by Maureen Child and Fate Calls by Caridad Pineiro.

In both stories we have human ladies bringing their male vamps back to life from a dull grey and sad existence, showing them they are still capable of loving and having a wonderful life with their new partners. Both stories do end happily (again with the Christmas Magic thing), but with opposite results! You'll have to read it to see what I mean!

I'm ready to pass along these vamps with a new lease on life to make a new friend. As always, my giveaway copy is Bookcrossing labeled and while I would love an entry from telling me what you thought and what your plans for the books are, it is not required, and the book is yours to do with as you please. Journal entries can be made anonymously, check the site for details. To enter, comment on this post and tell me what your favorite type of Christmas/Holiday cookie/treat or other food is, something that you only have at this holiday time of year. I will choose a winner on Dec. 19th!

Monday, November 30, 2009

Young Adult Reading Challenge Complete!

Another one down! My favorites from this bunch were Glass Houses by Rachel Caine, and Extras by Scott Westerfeld. My least favorite was probably Psyche in a Dress by Francesca Lia Block, it just wasn't a style that I enjoy.

The 2009 Young Adult Reading Challenge: Read 12 Young Adult Novels between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009

1. Temple of the Dragonslayer (#1 New Dragonlance Adventures) - Tim Waggoner - finished 3/22/09
2. Fendi, Ferragamo and Fangs - Johanna Edwards, Julie Kenner and Serena Robar - finished 6/9/09
3. Glass Houses (#1 Morganville Vamps) - Rachel Caine - finished 8/15/09
4. The Colossus Crisis (#6 Seven Fabulous Wonders) - Katherine roberts - finished 9/5/09
5. The Good Ghoul's Guide to Getting Even - Julie Kenner - finished 9/6/09
6. Braced 2 Bite - Serena Robar - finished 10/10/09
7. Fangs 4 Freaks - Serena Robar - finished 10/13/09
8. The Book of Time - Guillaume Prevost - finished 10/25/09
9. The Curse of the Blue Figurine - John Bellairs - finished 10/31/09
10. Heart of a Jaguar - Marc Talbert - finished 11/8/09
11. Psyche in a Dress - Francesca Lia Block - finished 11/15/09
12. Extras (Uglies #4) - Scott Westerfeld - finished 11/30/09

Challenge completed 11/30/09!

Thursday, November 26, 2009

Giveaway: The Gift by Nora Roberts

My first read for the Holiday Challenge that I joined is The Gift by Nora Roberts. This is my first sampling of her work. I am staggered by the sheer number of books this woman has written! Just click on her name above, and you'll see what I mean!

The Gift contains two stories, Home for Christmas and All I Want for Christmas. While they're pretty predictable, they're exactly the kind of heartwarming stories I was looking for in a Christmas read. There are even a few recipes to kick it off!

Home for Christmas

Jason has been away from his small hometown of Quiet Valley for 10 years, making a living for himself in the journalism world. He decides to come back home, trying to get in touch with his roots, preparing himself for the changes he knew must have taken place. His old girlfriend Faith had gotten married in the meantime, he already knew. What he finds when he gets to town is that she's had a daughter, but is no longer married. Faith has established a living for herself with a doll store, always her dream job. Confronted with Faith's now available state, Jason is in turmoil as all the old feelings come back and wonders if she feels for him. He's captivated by Faith's daughter Clara, and slowly Jason and Faith come to terms with the feelings they still have for each other. There is one last secret of Faith's that they must work through, can Jason forgive her for hiding it from him? (Well of course, because that's what is supposed to happen in a Magic of Christmas story, duh!)

All I want for Christmas

Zeke and Zack have been good all year, so they know that Santa just has to give them what they want for Christmas this year. Their request is a tough one, so they're giving Santa extra time to work it out: they want a mom, and not just any mom, but THE MOM! They don't really remember their real mother, she left them and their father when they were tiny, leaving Mac Taylor to raise his twin sons all alone. When music teacher Nell Davis comes to town, the boys believe that Santa has granted their wish, now it all depends on their Dad, and he can fix anything. Mac is hesitant though, all his time has been centered around the boys and giving them the best life possible, and he doesn't want to open them all up to being hurt again. Will he be able to overcome his fears and let Nell into their lives? (I know you're pretty sure he will, again with that Magic of Christmas thing!)

And now it's time for the giveaway! I'm ready to pass my copy on to make a new friend! It is a gently used hardback, dustjacket intact and Bookcrossing labeled. The only thing is that they had put some sparkly stuff as the ribbon and it's flaking off for some reason, but no actual damage, just wanted to warn you in case that matters! ;) While I would love a journal entry from you on, it's not required, and the book is yours to do with as you please. To enter, just tell me what your favorite Christmas thing is, whether it's a certain cookie or dessert, a certain carol or activity, whatever it is that gets you in the mood. I will choose a winner on Dec. 12th, so I can get it mailed out to you before the big day!

Monday, November 23, 2009

Another Challenge Down!

I've listened to some fantastic audios this year, and have just today completed the Audiobook Challenge hosted by J. Kaye. I have a few more audios in mind, but luckily they'll fit in with the 2nd's challenge which I may be struggling to complete. I've got the Young Adult Challenge sown up as soon as finish Extras by Scott Westerfeld, but the Erotica Challenge is just going to have to go by the wayside I'm afraid. I did finish a second one (that's right, only a second one in the whole year so far!) this past weekend, but I really don't see me finishing enough to complete the challenge in less than a month and a half. I guess I just don't have that much naughtiness in me this year! :D

There is not a single one of these audios listed below that I wouldn't recommend, they've all been great and I really do need to review a few more of them! Thanks again for hosting J. Kaye!

The 2009 Audiobook Challenge: Listen to 12 Audiobooks between January 1, 2009 and December 31, 2009

1. Wedding Season - Darcy Cosper - finished 1/28/09
2. The Valley of Secrets - Charmian Hussey - finished 3/5/09
3. The Seduction of the Crimson Rose - Lauren Willig - finished 5/1/09
4. The Egyptologist - Arthur Phillips - finished 7/10/09
5. Magic Study - Maria V. Snyder - finished 8/4/09
6. Fire Study - Maria V. Snyder - finished 8/19/09
7. One for Sorrow, Two for Joy - Clive Woodall - finished 9/3/09
8. Skullduggery Pleasant - Derek Landy - finished 9/26/09
9. Bartimaeus #3: Ptolemy's Gate - Johnathan Stroud - finished 10/12/09
10. Wicked Lovely - Melissa Marr - finished 10/26/09
11. 12 Sharp - Janet Evanovich - finished 10/29/09
12. The Well of Lost Plots - Jasper Fforde - Finished 11/23/09

Challenge completed 11/23/09!

Monday, November 16, 2009

A Holiday Reading Challenge

I've been needing something to help me get in the mood, and this is just the thing!

Click Here For details on this challenge hosted by All About {n}.

1. The Gift - Nora Roberts - Finished 11/25/09
2. Holiday with a Vampire - Maureen Child, Caridad Pineiro - Finished 12/6/09
3. Murder with All the Trimmings - Elaine Viets - finished 12/13/09
4. I'm Your Santa - Lori Foster, Karen Kelley and Dianne Castell - reading now

I'll blame -- oh, I mean thank, J. Kaye for bringing yet another challenge to my attention! ;)

Saturday, November 14, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Your Planet or Mine? by Susan Grant

Good morning! Did everyone have a good Friday the 13th?

Time to choose the winner for Your Planet or Mine? by Susan Grant!

And the winner is....


I'll message you for your address to get this hunky alien sent off to you soon!

Thanks everyone! My next giveaway is for Remember Me? by Sophie Kinsella, so check back in!

Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Giveaway: Your Planet or Mine? by Susan Grant

Your Planet or Mine? is the first of Susan Grant's Otherworldly Men series. As a child, Jana Jasper had trouble talking, she just couldn't seem to get the words out, try as she might. Despite that she believed that life was magical, no matter what her teachers might have said. One night that magic is proven to her when she rescues a "magical" boy from the tree outside of her window. There is an immediate connection between the two, and somehow she is cured of her inability to speak from that night forward. She dubs him Peter, after another famous, magical boy.

Jana doesn't see him again, and as she grows begins to believe that he was just an imaginary friend. Her grandfather has high hopes for her, and she appears to be well on her way to achieving his dreams, taking her position as a senator very seriously, and aiming for the White House someday. Things start going downhill when some damaging accusations are made against her family concerning campaign funds, but she could never have imagined what happened next. A late night trip to the grocery store to get some ice cream ends up with Jana running for her life with a stranger who wants her to believe that he's her imaginary friend, all grown up! There is an assassin after him, and as if the fact that her "Peter" being a real life, well, um... alien, yeah that, isn't crazy enough, he's also come bearing a warning: His people have marked her planet for invasion, and they're already on the way.

Jana feels her life spinning wildly out of control, but one thing she's sure of, and that's that her feelings for "Peter" haven't changed, which is another major complication in the tangled web she's caught in!

This was a fun read. Even though Cavin (Peter's real name) is a pretty darn human alien with some really convenient technology, he's a very likeable character and the story had a good pace. I'm definitely interested in reading the rest of the series, which I believe follows Jana's brother Jared in My Favorite Earthling, and her sister Evie in How to Lose an Extraterrestrial in 10 Days.

Check out Susan Grant's Website for more information on the author and her work!

If you'd like to get cozy with a hunky alien, now is your chance! I'm ready to pass my copy of Your Planet or Mine? on to make a new friend! As always, this is a gently used, Bookcrossing labeled copy. While I would love a journal entry from the winner (which can be done anonymously if you decide that being a member of Bookcrossing is not for you) the book is yours to do with as you please, whether that be keep it forever, or share it with friends, or whatever! To enter, please comment on this post and tell me if you believe that aliens have already visited us here on Earth. No answer, no entry! I will choose a winner on November 14th.

Tuesday, October 20, 2009

More Geocaching Sights

We took a fun trip to my college town this past weekend, Lawrence KS, home of the Jayhawks, for a little geocaching and shopping with friends Susan and Del.

This is my husband, modeling some fantastic starry sunglasses that we found in an early cache, while Susan and Del work on releasing a travel bug into the cache. As fabulous as he looked, we decided to leave the glasses there! ;)

We came across this awesome statue at a train depot that has been turned into the Lawrence visitor center. Also the painted Jayhawk below. There are many of these jaunty birds around town, modeled after the famous (infamous?) cow parade idea.

Fall colors abounded too, this is a tree in South Park, I love it when they are turning but still have some green, I thought this one was beautiful!

Right next to that tree is a bandstand and a garden that are quite nice.

Geocaching is fun, it's exciting to discover trackables, and there is satisfaction in solving a puzzle or locating a particularly well hidden container. I think the best thing though is that it has pointed out some things I wouldn't otherwise have seen, often near a place I've been many times. And I'm really glad that most cell phones have pretty good cameras now so I can share them!

Saturday, October 10, 2009

Teen Vampires - They're Everywhere!

I just do not recall that we had so many fun books to read when I was into the young adult/teen reading levels. I remember things like the Black Stallion and Trixie Belden. They have been out there, but I missed them. So now that I'm in my thirties, I'm revisiting the teen years by checking out some of these fun reads! Thank goodness the angst is all fictional for me now!

Just as the Paranormal Genre has exploded in the adult world, touching Romance, Urban Fantasy and Mystery (it's pretty much always been in Horror), there are many, many teen paranormal novels as well. Some are funny, some are a little more dark. Here are the ones I've enjoyed so far this year:

Fendi, Ferragamo, and Fangs by Julie Kenner, Johanna Edwards and Serena Robar

Olivia, Veronika and Sydney are the winners of a modeling contest held by the Vamps, Inc. Agency. Excited to become professional models, the new life that awaits them isn't quite what they expected. But then the girls aren't quite what Vamps, Inc. expected either!

Glass Houses (Morganville Vampires #1) by Rachel Caine

Claire is a new freshman in college where it seems that terrorizing her is the favorite past time of some of the more popular girls at the school. Their hazing is brutal, to the point where Claire fears for her life and decides to look for somewhere else in the town to live. She finds an ad for an old house off-campus and goes for an interview. There she meets Eve and Shane, two of the roommates, but is told that Michael, the owner of the house will have final say in if she gets to stay. Reluctantly the mysterious Michael finally agrees. He is worried not only because of how young she is, but also that she'll draw attention to them. The town of Morganville is hiding a very dark secret and Claire is one of the unprotected...

This one was the darkest of my teen reads, but I also have to the say my favorite of the bunch so far, this first book ends with a truely heart stopping cliff-hanger! I'm actually supposed to be getting #2 of the series from another friend, but I may not be able to wait!

The Good Ghouls Guide to Getting Even by Julie Kenner

Beth Frasier had her school year all planned out, even what extra curricular activities she needed to look good when applying for college. She had just the right mix, as long as she made the drill team. She didn't, but only because she was singled out for an even bigger honor, the cheerleading squad. She meets up with the squad after school, still not quite believing her luck, and comes away forever changed. Being a vampire really did not fit in with her plan and now she's determined to get back at the ones who did this to her and maybe, hope against hope, find a way to become human again!

Braced 2 Bite by Serena Robar

Colby Blanchard is another teen who has her life all figured out and planned to a T. She knows who she wants to take her Homecoming, she just has to get him to ask, but she's working on it. When the plan to meet up with Aiden after the game falls through, embarassingly after she'd told EVERYONE that he was taking her home, Colby must take the quick walk back through the woods to her house. Not quick enough, she is accosted by the attacker that's been in the news lately, and yes, you guessed it, she gets turned into a vampire. Turning up after two days of being missing, her family is relieved if confused, and soon turns to helping Colby recover. As if trying to get a date for Homecoming wasn't hard enough, especially now in her daylight challenged form, Colby gets a visit from the vampire Tribunal and learns that she's in violation of their laws because she isn't licensed. Not only that, but she's only a half-blood, not even a real vampire! Colby refuses to give in gracefully however and decides to fight back against the out dated vampire laws, even though it seems to be a no-win situation.

These were all fast and fun reads that I highly recommend if you're looking for some teen vamp fun. There are a ton more out there that I'll be sampling for sure!

To learn more about any of these authors, please check out their websites:

Julie Kenner
Serena Robar
Rachel Caine
Johanna Edwards

Sunday, September 27, 2009

Giveaway Winner: The Midas Trap by Sharron McClellan

It's time to pick my winner for The Midas Trap! Congratulations goes to....


I'll be e-mailing you shortly to get your snail mail addy!

I've picked out my next giveaway, but have a couple others I need to read first, so please check back in October to see what I've got!

Sunday, September 13, 2009

Giveaway: The Midas Trap by Sharron McClellan

Veronica Bright had staked her academic reputation on the fact that some myths were based in reality. Certain that she was right, she rushed to present her findings with too little proof and had wrecked her future career. Left with no route in Academia, she founded her own company, Discovery Incorporated, allowing her to continue in the work she loved, though as hired by customers rather than backed by science. Betrayed by her first love, and undermined by another, she is understandably skeptical when one of the very men who helped sabotage her career comes to her asking for help. It seems too cruel that what he's asking for could prove that she was right after all about mythical reality, and she decides that she needs her own proof before agreeing to help. Backed up by her sister Alyssa's research, who reluctantly admits that she cannot prove the artifact she's presented with is a forgery, Veronica jumps in with both feet, determined to recover her reputation and demanding to be a partner in the adventure, though she doesn't trust Simon, whose abilities seem to raise more questions than they answer.

Simon is after the Eye of Artemis, believing it to be the key in finding the legendary stone of King Midas, who was able to turn things to gold with a touch. Only Veronica and her mentor and colleague Joseph have the information he needs to find it, and she's not about to get left behind. What follows is a Mediterranean adventure crossing several countries, full of dangerous action and a budding romance. Be careful what you wish for though, you just might get it, as Veronica learns first hand!

I'm disappointed that the Silhouette Bombshell line was discontinued because so far all of them that I have read have been great fun! Now I'm ready to pass this bit of Greek archaeological fun on to you if you're interested! I'm giving away my gently used, and Bookcrossing labeled copy to a make a new friend. I would love to get a journal entry from the winner, and this can be done anonymously if you decide Bookcrossing is not for you. Regardless, the book will be yours to do with as you like, whether that's keep it forever or share it with another friend. To enter, comment on this post and tell me what part of the world you'd love to explore! My first love is Ancient Egypt, though pretty much if it's old, I'm interested in it! I will choose a winner on September 27th. Good Luck!

For information on Sharron and her books, visit her website!

Saturday, September 05, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

And the next Demonkeeper is going to be....


I'll be emailing you soon to get your address.

Throuthehaze's favorite food is bacon, which I'm quite fond of myself! You know sometimes a certain food just makes you feel a certain way? Well, to me bacon and tomato sandwiches just scream summer, and now matter when I eat them, I get that summer break feeling. But bacon is also awesome all by itself, or apparently dipped in chocolate as my friend Jezebelsk found out. She's running a super special giveaway herself right now, not on the bacon and chocolate, that one's over, but on another awesome looking book that I'm going to be entering for myself!

Lots of good food shared in the entries, some really detailed, some really general, thanks for entering everyone! I know what my next giveaway will be, but I still need to read it, so stay tuned to the sidebar!

Monday, August 24, 2009

2009/2010 Lynn Viehl's Darkyn Series Reading Challenge

I had to join this challenge because that's a yummy heading picture! No really, I do have almost all of these books already but haven't started them, and would really like to read this series, so what better way than through a challenge!

Once again J. Kaye is our fearless challenge leader, if you'd like to join us, you can sign up HERE. All the details are there!

Here is my list:

1. If Angels Burn (2005) - finished 3/11/10
2. Private Demon (2005) - finished 5/13/10
3. Dark Need (2006) - finished 8/6/10
4. Night Lost (2007) - finished 8/28/10
5. Evermore (2008) - finished 9/23/10
6. Twilight Fall (2008)
* Master of Shadows, a novella
7. Stay the Night (2009)

Can't wait to get started!

Sunday, August 23, 2009

Giveaway: Practical Demonkeeping by Christopher Moore

Christopher Moore has become well known for his irreverent and off the wall sense of humor. Practical Demonkeeping is the first of his novels located in Pine Cove, and was also his debut.

Travis O'hearn has been the accidental master of a demon named Catch for many years. He's looking pretty good for a near hundred year old man! Although being with Catch keeps him young and protected, the demon has a nasty habit of eating people, and Travis has been searching these many years for the way to send Catch back to Hell where he belongs. Pine Cove is his latest and hopefully last stop. Catch has begun slipping out of his control and has many unsanctioned snacks throughout the book. We also get to know the the residents of Pine Cove who are some very colorful characters in their own right, and aren't about to let Catch continue his eating spree. Oh yes, and there's a Djinn. The king of them in fact. Anxious to know more? Is it going to keep you up at night wondering if Travis finds a way to put Catch in his place? Well then your wait might be almost over, because Practical Demonkeeping is my next giveaway!

If you've never experienced Christopher Moore before, or if you have but want to sample his first novel, now is your chance! I'm ready to pass on my gently used and Bookcrossing labeled copy of Practical Demonkeeping! I would love a journal entry from you if you win, and it can be done anonymously if you decide that Bookcrossing is not for you, but regardless the book is yours to do with as you please, whether that's keep it forever or share it with friends! To enter you must tell me your favorite food, we all know what Catch's is! I have so many it's hard to pick one, but I'll go with one of the more exotic things that I like and say Panaeng, which is a Thai dish often made with beef, chicken or shrimp in a peanut flavored curry sauce. I usually get mine medium spicy. I love that stuff!

I will choose a winner on September 5th. Good Luck!

Check out Christopher Moore's Website for more information.

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Overland Park Arboretum

The Overland Park Arboretum is another place that geocaching has taken us! I've driven past this place for years, never knowing what I've been missing, the following pictures are just a small sample of what is out there.

There are several different themed gardens including a Monet garden and a Children's garden. That's where we found these flowery butterflies and this flying frog.

There's a sculpture garden were we saw these lovely pieces

There was a lot of visible wildlife the day we were there, a duck along the lake, some turtles sunning themselves out on a little dock, and there's even an area set up specifically for birdwatching.

There was an interesting tree/shrub? in the Monet garden that I'd not seen before that I'd really like to have if I can find one, the leaf shape and the coloring was just really intriguing! If you know what this is, let me know, because I don't think it's what we thought, I think the sign near it belonged to something else.

When I was younger, botanical gardens just were not high on my list of fun things to go see, but now that I've experienced a few and the variety of plants and the beautiful landscaping they try to incorporate, I have to say these attractions go to the top few items of my list whenever I'm visiting somewhere! It's wonderful to be able to experience such a variety of plants and settings without all the backbreaking work it would take to do it yourself! I highly recommend visiting your local botanical gardens if you haven't! This was yet another location that we visited because of geocaching that we may never have gone to otherwise.

Saturday, August 08, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Robber Bride by Deborah Simmons

And the winner of this fun little tale is....


Chris I'll be emailing you soon to get your address. Thanks for entering everyone!

I haven't quite decided what my next giveaway will be, so stay tuned!

Sunday, August 02, 2009

Reading Challenge Check In

I joined a number of Challenges at the beginning of the year, they are listed on my lefthand sidebar with a link to my original listing. I'm not doing quite as well as I had hoped, but there is still time! I hope to be caught up on books I owe to people in another couple of months and then I can read whatever I want (provided I don't get myself in the same mess by offering TBR's for trade! Bad Shaunie, very bad!) I have however managed to complete once challenge so far, the First in a Series Challenge, here is my list:

The 2009 First in a Series Challenge: Read 12 books that are the first in any series

1. Bad Blood (#1 Crimson Moon) - L A Banks - finished 1/21/09
2. The Iron Hunt (#1 Hunter Kiss) - Marjorie M Liu - finished 2/11/09
3. Dreamer (#1 Silent Empire) - Steven Harper - finished 2/26/09
4. Touched by Venom (#1 Dragon Temple Saga) - Janine Cross - finished 4/5/09
5. A Murderous Glaze (#1 of Clay and Crime Series) - Melissa Glazer - finished 4/9/09
6. Bitterwood (#1 Bitterwood) - James Maxey - finished 4/23/09
7. The Xibalba Murders (#1 Archaeology Mysteries) - Lyn Hamilton - finished 5/10/09
8. Dark Lover (#1 The Black Dagger Brotherhood) - J. R. Ward - finished 6/7/09
9. Airs Beneath the Moon (#1 Horse Mistress Saga) - Toby Bishop - finished 6/20/09
10. This Pen for Hire (#1 Jaine Austen Mysteries) - Laura Levine finished 7/5/09
11. Dying in Style (#1 Josie Marcus Mystery Shopper Series) - Elaine Viets 7/19/09 (Elaine even stopped by to comment!)
12. Fellowship of Fear (#1 Gideon Oliver Anthropologist series) - Aaron Elkins finished 7/31/09

Challenge completed 7/31/09!

I think I'll probably concentrate next on the 2nd's challenge as I have a lot of #2's in series that I want to read once I'm caught up. I think the teen books I can probably finish, and also the audio books as I have a new player that I can take with me that supports my audio books and can be plugged into my car, so no more CD burning or listening limitations! I am having trouble with the Erotica Challenge however, I'll most likely have to give up on that one. I didn't finish the only one I had started, and although I do like them, and have a bunch to read, it's not something I read often.

Thanks J. Kaye for hosting these!

Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Choose an Award, any Award!

I've been very remiss in reporting awards and reciprocating on them, since I'm on vacation this week, I'm going to fix that right now!

Way back in December of last year Ruthie at Books, Books and More Books gave me the Lemonade Award. Once you receive this award you are to pass it on to at least ten other blogs who show great attitude and/ or gratitude. I was lucky enough to receive this one again from Yankee Romance Reviewers July 1 this year.

Ruthie also awarded me the Heartfelt Award in July this year, as did Jezebelsk at Walking on Sunshine:

Here are the rules:

1) Put the logo on your blog/post
2) Nominate up to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside.
3) Be sure to link to your nominees within your post.
4) Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog.
5) Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

Back in April Cherie at CheriePie's Book Reviews passed on to me the Zombie Chicken Award! Has there ever been a more spectacular award? I mean come on, Zombie Chickens!

The blogger who receives this award believes in the Tao of the zombie chicken - excellence, grace and persistence in all situations, even in the midst of a zombie apocalypse. These amazing bloggers regularly produce content so remarkable that their readers would brave a raving pack of zombie chickens just to be able to read their inspiring words. As a recipient of this world-renowned award, you now have the task of passing it on to at least 5 other worthy bloggers. Do not risk the wrath of the zombie chickens by choosing unwisely or not choosing at all...

I'm not so well connected as some of these people (being introverted apparently carries over to my online presence some), and I think most of them already have these awards from others however, if for some reason one of you wonderful people does not have any of the above awards, I hearby award it to you! (Especially Zombie Chickens, I know you're going to jump on that one, I'm not kidding! It's also not sarcasm, I really do think it's awesome!)

So here are my nominations, first of all my awarders shall now become by awardees:

1. Books Books and More Books
2. Yankee Romance Reviewers
3. Walking on Sunshine
4. CheriePie's Book Reviews

And here are six more Nominees who may also choose an award, or all of them if you like:

5. Amberkatze's Book Blog
6. The Movieholic & Bibliophile's Blog
7. West of Mars - the Meet and Greet and Win A Book
8. Breeni Books
9. In Bed With Books
10. Reading with Monie

Please check these folks out, they are great bloggers!

Giveaway: Robber Bride by Deborah Simmons

Simon de Burgh is a knight, confident, powerful, sometimes arrogant, but honorable, always keeping his word. On his way to check on Baddersly, a holding of one of his brothers, he is waylaid by a band of outlaws. These are no ordinary outlaws however, their leader is a woman, and she proceeds to turn his life upside down!

Bethia has taken to the forest after escaping from the despicable Brice Scirvayne, who has taken over her father's hold, Ansquith. Never a typical girl, she demands the freedom to be herself, dressing as a man and fighting as one. She's assembled a band of fighters from the local population, people also rebelling against Brice's unlawful stranglehold on the manor and it's people. They take Simon's band fighters on their way to Baddersly, believing them to be the mercenaries that Brice has threatened to bring to stamp them out.

Simon escapes from the band, taking Bethia with him, though not for long. Even after she returns all of his men and horses to him, he can't clear his mind of her, and continues to visit the forest chase like a moth drawn to the flame, determined to find out about her, who is she and why is she living that way? And what is this pain in his chest that he can't seem to be rid of?

This Harlequin Historical was a fun flipped Robinhood-esque story, one of several about the de Burgh brothers. The newest de Burgh book is actually due in August this year, according to Fantastic Fiction, about Simon's brother Reynold. For more information on the author and her work visit Deborah Simmons' Website.

I'm ready to pass Simon and Bethia on to one of you! As always, this is a gently used, Bookcrossing labeled copy. While I would love a journal entry from you about the book, it is yours to do with as you please, and the entry can be made anonymously if you decide that joining Bookcrossing is not for you. To enter, just comment on this post, remember to give me a way to reach you! I will choose a winner on August 8th.

Monday, July 20, 2009

Book: Dying in Style by Elaine Viets

Josie Marcus is a mystery shopper, it doesn't pay well, but it makes her feel like she's doing good. She gets to reward good sales people, and help weed out the bad ones, all the while helping to make the shopping experience of the normal person better.

She's wary when she is asked to do mystery shopping for the chain of Danessa stores as they move into a merger with another corporation. This is a much bigger mystery shop than Josie has done before, and could have dire consequences, but her boss, meat-munching Harry (he's on the Atkins diet) tells her to be truthful no matter what.

When Josie checks out the stores, she finds them a mess, and worries about turning in a less than glowing report, but feels she must tell the truth. Danessa herself storms to the office, confronting Josie (who's report was supposed to be anonymous) and threatening her, insisting that she lied and demanding that she retract her report. Josie refuses, and events are set into motion, resulting in a string of deaths.

Josie must try to clear herself of suspicion, circumstances keep putting her in the limelight, and also try to keep things at home from falling apart, no easy task when you're a single mom, and your own mother lives with you!

This was a fun series, I enjoyed Josie's different shopping costumes, and look forward to reading the next one, High Heels are Murder, and also her other series, the Dead End Job Mysteries.

For more information on Elaine Viets, check out her website.

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

In case you hadn't figured it out, I was looking for another great series to start after I get through The Black Dagger Brotherhood (though my Insider's Guide just came today, and I'm still working on Lover Enshrined so I'm set for a little while), because when you're that into a story, what else can you read that isn't a let down? So I thought I would use you all to give me ideas, and you came up with some great ones, some I've already found and loved, and some I haven't gotten to yet, so my evil plan worked! :D

But I know what you really want to know is who won Dark Lover, right? And so...


Get ready, because Wrath is coming to visit you! I'll e-mail you to get your snail mail addy so I can send him on his way!

Here were the suggestions that you all made, because I'm sure I'm not the only one who is interested:

The Hollows by Kim Harrison - have some of these, haven't read yet
The Vampire Chronicles by Anne Rice - oh yes, I was a huge Rice fan for quite awhile ;)
The Morganville Vampires by Rachel Caine - have some, haven't read yet
Mercy Thompson by Patricia Briggs - have some, haven't read yet
Outlander by Diana Gabaldon - oh my yes! Jamie... *swoon*
Harry Potter by J K Rowling - of course!
His Dark Materials by Phillip Pullman - have read #1 and seen the movie
Odd Thomas by Dean Koontz - the husband likes these, I need to read them too
Twilight by Stephanie Meyer - have listened to #1 and want to see the movie
Kitty Norville by Carrie Vaughan - have read #1 and liked it, will read the rest sometime
In Death by J. D. Robb - hmmm I have yet to read any Nora Roberts under any of her names, though I know she's very popular and I do have a few of hers
Stephanie Plum by Janet Evanovich - oh yes, Stephanie rocks!
Sookie Stackhouse by Charlaine Harris - have some of these, and my friend at work has recently gotten addicted, so I will definitely be reading these
House of Night by P.C. and Kristin Cast - have these too, but haven't read yet (story of my life, it needs it's own abbrev. - hbhry = have but haven't read yet)

Definitely some great ideas for me, thanks everyone!

My next giveaway will be a cute Harlequin Historical, sort of a female Robinhood type of thing. I'll try to get it posted this next week because I'm on vacation WAHOO!! I'm just going to read my little heart out, because that's what relaxes me!

Wednesday, July 01, 2009

Giveaway: Dark Lover by J. R. Ward

Can you believe it's July already? I can't! I had a very busy reading month in June, managing an average for the month of 102 pages per day! My typical is probably 50-60, so that means I kept up a good pace for the month. The reason for this extra reading on my part? I must give credit to J. R. Ward's Black Dagger Brotherhood Series.

The Black Dagger Brotherhood are elite warriors of the vampire race, doing their best to protect their people against the Lessening Society. I'll just say right now that no matter what I write, it's not able to do this series justice, I've enjoyed it that much! I've made it through 4 books so far, all in the last month, and I just do not read books in the same series one right after each other, so that's saying something!

The first book of the series, Dark Lover tells the story of Wrath, the last in the line of Vampire royalty, but who refuses to step up and take the throne, feeling unworthy of the privilege and reluctant to lead, haunted by failings in his past. As we are introduced to the brotherhood, they are a group of warriors that fight on their own individual terms, with not much in the way of organization. One of their number, Darius, has a half-breed daughter who is unaware of her heritage, and is about to go through the transition to be come a vampire. He asks Wrath to see her through the dangerous and intense change, but Wrath refuses, wanting nothing to do with the responsibility. When Darius is murdered, Wrath feels obligated to his warrior brother to carry out his last wish and usher Beth into their world.

I have turned total fangirl over these books. I love all the brothers, and the relationships/interactions between them. It is rare that a story captures me so completely, and it's a thing I both crave and dread! It's so hard to get back to reality from that place! And what happens when you run out of books and the next one isn't published yet? And what do you read next that won't be a let down? I have laughed and cried at these books, been completely keyed up and unable to sleep, and read 150 pages or more in a day. Remember 102 was my average for the whole month, there were a few days that I'm embarassed to say were where real life was kind of an annoyance I had to take care of so I could get back to the brothers!

Book 5 is about my boy Vishous, and I'm almost a little afraid to start it, because I know once I do, nothing else will get done until I've finished it! And now I'd like to infect, I mean convert... uh... okay, share, let's try share, yeah... I'd like to share this story with you guys! As always, this is a gently used, Bookcrossing labeled copy of Dark Lover, the first book in the Black Dagger Brotherhood series. I would dearly love an entry from you to know what you thought of the book, and you can do this completely anonymously if you decide that you'd rather not become a member. The book is still yours to do with as you like, whether that's keep it forever, or share it with another friend. To enter, please comment on this post and tell me what your favorite book or series is, one that grabs you and won't let you go, one that creates a world you just can't shake for awhile after you read it. I will choose a winner on July 18th (yay the first day of my vacation!) and then Wrath will be taking a little visit to your home... he's kind of big, and scary, but really very nice once you get to know him... and you'll definitely want him on your side! Good Luck!

Check out J. R. Ward's Website for more information and where she has some other slices from the Brotherhood's life.

Saturday, June 20, 2009

Book: Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop

June has been a great reading month for me so far, I've been averaging about 110 pages per day, and that's much more than my norm, which is probably more like 60. Yes, I'm a geek, I keep track of my books read, and how many pages, and so on, I'm an Accountant remember, it's just what we do! ;)

Tonight I have just finished Airs Beneath the Moon by Toby Bishop, the first of the Horsemistress Saga. The winged horses are the pride of the Duchy of Oc, carefully bred to preserve the bloodlines, and bonded to girls who will be their riders for life, and who must remain pure or forever ruin their bonding. The girls and their horses learn many formations, that while beautiful to behold, are ultimately battle manuevers.

Far away from the grandeur of the city, into the farmlands of the duchy, a girl named Larkyn Hamley finds a little mare, roaming on her own. Unable to find it's owners, she keeps the horse, naming her Char. Before long it becomes apparent that Char is with foal, and while Lark has never had a horse before, she has grown up on the farm and knows a lot about tending animals. Unfortunately she is not able to save Char after the birth, but the foal is a beautiful little black colt, with wings! Lark stays with the colt, sleeping in his stall, caring for him in the absence of his mother, and creating a deeper bond than she was even aware of.

By the time the Academy of the Air is informed of this unusual winged birth, Lark and the colt have bonded so deeply, there is no choice but to bring Lark back to the Academy and begin training her. Lark faces the usual challenges of social class at the school, but manages to make a few good friends in spite of their differences. Her spunk is endearing, and her devotion to Tup unshakeable.

Duke Frederick, close friend of the Headmistresses of the school, is very ill following the disappearance of his daughter. His oldest son William takes the opportunity to begin furthering his own ambitions concerning the winged horses, having long been jealous of those that rode them, and the independence they enjoyed. Tup figures prominently in William's plans, and the Duke's son will go to great lengths to achieve his ends.

I loved horses when I was younger, and even had several for awhile, and there is something about riding that makes you feel like you're flying, so I could definitely relate to this story. A good fantasy tale that I'm looking forward to continuing in the next books out so far: Airs and Graces, and Airs of Night and Sea.

Please take a look at Toby Bishop's Website for more information on the author and her work.

Saturday, June 13, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Dark Hunger Graphic Novel by Christine Feehan

Congratulations to...

Sarah Z

who will be receiving Dark Hunger, the graphic novel version! I'll be e-mailing you for your snail mail addy.

You guys gave me some very entertaining were-creatures, that's for sure! Iguana, sparrow, gopher and elephant I think are the ones that cracked me up the most!

Wednesday, June 03, 2009

Water Gardening

We decided to try something new this year. We often take trips out to nearby Powell Gardens where one of their exhibits is an island garden where they have a lot of water plants. I've loved looking at their water lilies. They have large ones in a bigger pond area, but also large ceramic pots filled with water with other water plants in them and it looked easy enough to do. This year when the husband and I went to get our typical flowers for the front yard, we discovered they had water garden makings as well and thought, why not? So we came home with a huge ceramic pot, 2 water lilies, 2 water hyacinths and another plant called a Hippuris. Here is a picture of the next day after we brought it home:

Looks pretty sparse, and one of the lilies had leaves much too small to reach the surface, but hey, trial and error is a great teacher (oh yeah, and probably I should have done some reading up too, but hey, instructions are for whimps, right?) so we just thought we'd let it go and see how they did. Well after about a week, things were slowly getting bigger, and it seemed to be working all right. I picked up one of the water hyacinths, they just float on the top, and I saw some tiny white wormy things inching through the water, blech! Husband says yep, those are mosquito larvae, as expected, after all it is standing water. So away to the pet store I went, and now we have a couple resident goldfish on the prowl! I haven't seen any more wrigglers since, so they must be doing their job! Yay for feeder goldfish, pretty good return on a .75 investment huh?

So it's been about 2 and half weeks now, and here's what we look like:

Quite a difference yes? We may have to thin the water hyacinths down a little! Everyone seems happy, plants and fish! No flowers yet, but I've already had a lot of fun watching them grow, and feeding my little fishes! It really doesn't take much to thrill me. So, now you know why there are koi in lily ponds, to keep down the mosquitoes! I'll post more pictures in a few more weeks and see where we are!

Monday, May 25, 2009

Giveaway: Dark Hunger (Graphic Novel) by Christine Feehan

I had been interested to give this one a try, as I've developed a bit of a taste for Manga (so far I've managed to finish the Angel Sanctuary series, and start a couple others), and wanted to see how a romance novel translated into a graphic novel. I actually have not yet read the regular novel that this one comes from, but have them on my towering mount TBR, so when I do it will be fun to compare!

Juliette and her family are were-leopards, working to free animals from a secret lab hidden in the jungle. Once inside, she discovers Riordan, an immortal vampire hunter known as a Carpathian, has also been held there, lured by the deceptions of a master vampire. Juliette frees him, but is overwhelmed by his discovery that they are lifemates when he takes her away with him, destroying the lab in the process. The remainder of the story is their coming to terms with each other, and rescuing her family from the pack of male were-leopards that has taken them in the meantime. This was a fun, quick paranormal read and I look forward to giving the full novel a try!

Would you like to try Dark Hunger out? Great, then today might be your lucky day! Or rather, June 13th might be, since that's when I'll choose my winner! All you have to do is comment on this post and tell me if you could be a were-creature, what animal would you choose? I think most people who know me wouldn't be surprised that I would choose a cat of some kind. I think a black panther might be fun, then I could sneak around at night all stealthy!

As always, this is a gently loved copy with a Bookcrossing label inside the front cover. While I would love a journal entry from you if you win, the book is yours to do with as you like, and you can journal anonymously if you decide that Bookcrossing is not for you.

For more information on the author and her work, please visit Christine Feehan's Website

Good Luck!

Tuesday, May 12, 2009

Places Geocaching Has Taken Us

We've gotten to see some neat things that we wouldn't have otherwise known where there if not for geocaching. I hope sometime that we can find such a spot that doesn't already have a cache in it, so that we can share it with people that otherwise wouldn't have known about it too.

Thursday, May 07, 2009

Star Trek as I've never seen it before

Do not take a drink before watching this! I have to thank the husband for finding this one, as soon as I was done watching it, I snatched his laptop away so I could post it!

Sunday, May 03, 2009

Giveaway Winner: Hangar 13 by Lindsay McKenna

It's May 3rd, time to announce the winner! Lindsay McKenna herself even dropped by to say hello, so if you missed that in the comments, you might want to go back to the original post and check it out! She is the first author, who wasn't already a friend of mine, to comment on one of my posts! Susan Helene Gottfried gets that honor of being first, but she already knew me! ;)

Drumroll please....


Hangar 13 will make it's way to you as soon as I get your snail mail addy!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Where am I supposed to sit?

I'm sure many Cat owners... I mean, those owned by cats have a similar problem.

This is where I'm supposed to sit when I'm at the computer:

And when I am actually allowed the use of my chair, this is where I should, in theory, get to put my feet:

Occasionally the husband's chair is comandeered as well:

There is actually one more cat missing from the equation, but she usually finds her own spot under the husband's desk, and doesn't take up much room. She does however like to chew on cords... that would be why he's on set of speakers number two! ;)

Kitteh's, gotta love 'em!

This public service message on how to keep your humans away from their computers is brought to you by Misu and Fergus. Some humans may require more extreme measures, they are slow learners after all!

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Giveaway: Hangar 13 by Lindsay McKenna

Their worlds couldn't be farther apart, yet they will have to work together to overcome the evil that shadows Hangar 13.

Mac is a military pilot, precision thinking and solid facts are what he knows and depends on. Ellie is a Native American Shamaness, dealing with the metaphysical and unknown every day. At first Mac is skeptical that Ellie will be able to help find out what is wrong in Hangar 13, surely the occurrences have a rational explanation, some real person must be responsible. But when no physical culprit can be found, against his better judgement, Mac enlists Ellie's help. As he assists her in their investigation, he comes to like and respect her. Keeping an open mind about her work, he also takes her to the place where he feels the most at home, the sky.

Atypically, it is the fighter pilot who is the most convinced the two of them can find a way to make it work between them, even though they are so different, rather than the woman who deals with the unexplainable ever day! A near fatal encounter with the spirit haunting Hangar 13 leaves them both with no doubt of their feelings for each other, but will they survive cleansing the hangar to find out if they can make it work?

This was a nice little paranormal romance where the couple are able to heal each other, battle the evil, and live happily ever after! Awwww.... ;)

This book is ready to make a new friend! It is a gently used, Bookcrossing labeled copy, and while I would love a journal entry from you (it can be done completely anonymously if you decide becoming a bookcrosser is not for you), it is not necessary, and the book is yours to do with as you please. To enter, post a comment here, be sure to leave me a way to contact you. A winner will be chosen on May 3rd!

Check out Lindsay McKenna's Website for more information on her extensive catalog of novels!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Winner: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes

It's that time! My 4 year wedding anniversary! And so, it's time to choose a winner for The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes!

And my Fortunate winner is....


I really enjoyed reading about all of the powers you all would wish for, and agreed with a lot of them! ;)

I'll be posting my next giveaway for Hangar 13 soon!

Friday, April 10, 2009

Book: Dreamer (Silent Empire #1) by Steven Harper

The Dream is a place where those who can make it can communicate with their minds, creating their own place within it, shaping the setting the way they like. Not everyone can get there, those who can are known as the Silent. Kendi Weaver is one of the Children of Irfan, who are dedicated to finding and freeing any of the Silent who are enslaved. He has sensed a very strong Silent in the Dream, and they want to find this one before someone else does, enslaving and warping them. In the meantime, things have started going wrong in the Dream, strange and dangerous things that can leave a Silent dead or crippled if they are overtaken before they can escape the Dream back to the physical world. Is this new strong silent somehow connected?

I very much enjoyed this Sci-Fi novel by Steven Harper. The characters are well formed, and I liked the idea of the Dream, where those that have the ability are able to shape their own surroundings, and are able to communicate with each other, visiting each other's shaped piece of the dream. Of course there is an evil plot of destruction going on, you have to have that! I'm looking forward to the other 3 novels in this series. The next book, Nightmare, is the story of Kendi's early life. I really became attached to him, and he seems to be the main character of the series (since he's on every cover!) so it will be good to find out what made him into the character I liked so much!

For more info on Steven Harper, visit his website:

He's also done a few tv novelizations for fun shows like Battle Star Galactica and Ghost Whisperer, written quite a few short stories, and is apparently quite the harpist!

Thursday, April 02, 2009

Giveaway: The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes by Crusie, Dreyer and Stuart

Okay, so it isn't March anymore... I did read it in March though!

The Unfortunate Miss Fortunes tells the story of 3 sisters with magical powers that don't always work quite the way the girls would like. They are in hiding from their evil aunt Xan, whom they believe had a hand in the death of their parents.

With a name like Xantippe you just have to be evil, so yes, Aunt Xan is up to something, and has cast a spell that in theory will bring the sisters' true loves to town. She's hoping they'll be so happy, and want so badly to live a normal life that they might not mind giving up their powers. She didn't quite count on how stubborn the girls would be, or their true loves for that matter!

This was a sweet, fun read. I like to describe it as adult Disney meets Charmed, and would like to pick up a copy of Dogs and Goddesses which features Crusie and Stuart again, this time with Lani Diane Rich in what seems to be a similar set up, three girls, three guys, mischief and fun!

I would love to pass my copy on to make a new friend! As always, this is a used book that is Bookcrossing labeled inside the front cover. While I would love love love a journal entry from the winner, it is by no means required, and the book is yours to do with as you please, whether that's keep it in your personal collection or pass it along to another friend! To enter, comment on this post and tell me what magical power you would like to have, it can be anything, from flying to shapshifting, to flipping your ponytail and having the dishes magically clean! Be creative and off the wall, entertain me! ;) No magical power, no entry! I will randomly select a winner on April 16th, my wedding anniversary, celebrate with me! I'm going to a book sale with Mr. Shaunie that day, woohoo!

For more info on the lovely ladies that wrote this novel, check out these links:

Jennifer Crusie
Eileen Dreyer
Anne Stuart

Tuesday, March 10, 2009

Audiobook: The Valley of Secrets by Charmian Hussey

Stephen Lansbury is an orphan who receives a letter informing him of an inheritance. After his meeting with an odd lawyer, Albert Postlethwaite, who is extremely reluctant to answer any of his questions, Stephen travels to the mysterious estate to take possession.

The estate is strangely deserted, yet somehow things keep happening that make Stephen realize he's not quite alone. His exploration of the secrets Lansbury Hall contains is enchanting and often humorous, while his discovery of a family he would have liked to have known, just after his Great Uncle Theodore's death is poignant. The more he learns of them as he reads the Theodore's journals, written as a young man, the more he misses what could have been, but a great surprise still awaits him out in the lush wilderness of the estate.

The author is clearly also concerned very deeply about environmental protection, and works this into the story very well. She brings these issues to life by creating characters we can sympathize with, and demonstrating the destruction of the rainforest and it's indigenous peoples through their story.

Charmian Hussey trained as an Archaeologist at the University of London. So far I do not see any other novels, but hope there are some in the future!

Charmian Hussey at Simon & Schuster

Thursday, March 05, 2009

Hurry Spring, I'm ready!

Spring actually only lasts about 2 minutes around here and then goes right into hot and humid summer, but I'm ready for that too. We had 3 inches of snow last Saturday, and today we had a temp in the high 70's!

When the trees lose their leaves in the fall you begin to be able to see all the bird nests that were invisible before. That's when we discovered a little nest out in our front tree, and I do mean little! Not hummingbird little, but still quite small compared to what I commonly see. I kept meaning to take a picture of it because I didn't figure it would last long in the weather with no leaves to help shield it from the elements. Well, it's still there! I think it might be a finch nest of some kind we've been seeing several different ones around in the summer. I wonder if the previous owners will come back and use it again? I don't know anything about finches, I should probably read up. I'm seriously amazed it's still there, it's anchored, but doesn't seem by much! I've included a close up and a picture of the whole tree, so you can see how small it really is! Can you see it in there? Hope we get some new or return feathered neighbors soon!

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