Friday, July 31, 2009

Referencing Friday (07-31-09 edition)

The Best of America's Test Kitchen: The Year's Best Recipes, Equipment Reviews, and Tastings 2007

This volume represents the best of the best from America’s most famous test kitchen. Every year, our editors and cooks develop nearly 1,000 recipes for our magazines, books, and public television show. The Best of America’s Test Kitchen contains our absolute favorite recipes from the past year. Come share our successes (and learn about some interesting failures) in this book packed with step-by-step photographs, opinionated equipment and ingredient recommendations, and common-sense information that will make you a better cook. Following are just a few things we learned in our test kitchen this year.

A "PUDDING" MIXTURE MAKES THE MOISTEST CAKE. For a layer cake that’s extra-chocolaty and super-moist, add a homemade pudding mix (unsweetened chocolate, cocoa, and sugar cooked with a little water) to the batter.

YES, YOU CAN BUY A DECENT inexpensive STEAK. Our expert tasters sampled 12 inexpensive supermarket cuts and found two that can rival any fancy steak.

GELATIN IS THE SECRET TO GREAT MEAT LOAF. Forget about buying three kinds of ground meat. You can use only beef—and get tender results—by adding a pinch of gelatin.

Sometimes the Cheaper Pan Is The Best Option. Our equipment testers set out to compile a list of must-have pots and pans for any kitchen and in the process learned that the high-priced brands are not always the best.

You’ll find many other equipment tests throughout the book, on everything from hand blenders and deep fryers to vegetable peelers and meat pounders.

For the best chicken ever, poke holes in the skin (so fat can escape) and rub the bird with cornstarch. The result is an extra-crisp coating that’s almost crunchy.

My Thoughts

I'm a big fan of America's Test Kitchen. I mean, these people will spend weeks trying to find how to make the best fried chicken.

I've already made the Roasted Garlic Potatoes (and got rave reviews over them!), and am still waiting to try out some more recipes, like Sugar-Glazed Roasted Carrots, Skillet Baked Ziti, Slow-Cooker Bolognese Sauce, Glazed All-Beef Meatloaf, Roast Pork Tenderloin with Lowfat Apple and Sage Cream Sauce, Crispy Roast Chicken and Potatoes, Creole Crab Cakes with Quick Remoulade Sauce, Baked Cod with Crunchy Lemon-Herb Topping, Lemon Pound Cake and Individual Sticky Toffee Pudding Cakes. But for now, I've only tried out the Roasted Garlic Potatoes. Here's the recipe.

Roasted Garlic Potatoes


2 pounds red potatoes (6 medium), cut into 1-inch wedges

1 tablespoon cornstarch

1/2 teaspoon garlic powder

Salt and pepper

3 tablespoons vegetable oil

1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened

1 garlic clove, minced

1 teaspoon minced fresh parsley

1/8 teaspoon grated lemon zest
  1. Adjust an oven rack to the highest position, place a rimmed baking sheet on the rack, and heat the oven to 450 degrees.
  2. Toss the potatoes, cornstarch, garlic powder, 3/4 teaspoon salt, and 1/4 teaspoon pepper together in large bowl. Carefully remove the preheated baking sheet from the oven, add the oil, and tilt to evenly coat with the oil. Place the potatoes cut-side down in a single layer on the baking sheet. Roast until browned around the edges, about 30 minutes.
  3. Meanwhile, mix the butter, garlic, parsley, and zest together in a medium bowl. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and, using a metal spatula, turn the potatoes skin-side down. Roast until the potatoes are crisp and deep golden brown, 10 to 15 minutes.
  4. Transfer the potatoes to the bowl with the butter mixture and toss until evenly coated. Season with salt and pepper to taste. Serve.

Note: Do not be tempted to turn the potatoes more than the recipe indicates-- they will not become crispy or brown properly.



As I said, I got rave reviews, especially from my boyfriend. They were yummy!
  • Publisher: America's Test Kitchen
  • Pub. Date: September 2006
  • ISBN-13: 9781933615097
  • 312pp

Thursday, July 30, 2009

Introducing...The Onion: Dispatches from the Tenth Circle

Ever heard of The Onion? They are America's Finest News Source, and an oft' times raucously funny news spoofing outfit. They have totally made up factual and ridiculous newsworthy stories that are utterly fascinating. Sometimes offensive or shocking, I (and millions of others) find them hysterical. I first learned of them when my co-worker Paul brought in one of their books several years ago, Dispatches from the Tenth Circle, and I was in love!

They have stories like Apple Claims New iPhone Only Visible to Most Loyal Customers, Rickey Henderson Disappoints Nation with Humble, Heartfelt Hall of Fame Speech, and Study: Most Children Strongly Opposed to Children's Healthcare.

However my all-time favorite has to be God Answers Prayers of Paralyzed Little Boy: 'No,' Says God. I always loved the irony. God answered-- he just said "no". Sensitive individuals need not read the article. The Onion is not for the weak of heart.

Tuesday, July 28, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (07/28/09 edition)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's Teaser:

In bed, she tries to imagine being dead. Would it feel any different than being alive?

- Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

Monday, July 27, 2009

Mailbox Monday (07-27-09 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

Winnings...

Visions of America by Jean Koning
Won from Confessions of a Book Habitue

Since I can't find this on Amazon or Barnes and Noble, see the original giveaway post for information about this book.

Enjoy Your Money by J. Steve Miller

I have no idea where this book came from. I don't have it on my list of books that I am expecting, and it doesn't look like the type of book that I would normally request for review. But here it is.

Swimsuit by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Won from Outnumbered 3-to-1

Syd, a breathtakingly beautiful supermodel on a photo shoot in Hawaii, disappears. Fearing the worst, her parents travel to Hawaii to investigate for themselves, never expecting the horror that awaits them.

LA Times reporter Ben Hawkins is conducting his own research into the case, hoping to help the victim and get an idea for his next bestseller. With no leads and no closer to uncovering the kidnapper's identity than when he stepped off the plane, Ben gets a shocking visit that pushes him into an impossible-to-resist deal with the devil.

A heart-pounding story of fear and desire, SWIMSUIT transports listeners to a chilling new territory where the collision of beauty and murder transforms paradise into a hell of unspeakable horrors.



Bought for myself...

I decided that it was time to buy Hunger Games, and since you get free shipping on orders over $25 when you order online at Barnes and Noble, what better time to buy more clearance books? I got Hunger Games for under $10, and the following books were all $1.79-3.59 each when taking into account my member discount and an additional 10% discount that I took, and FREE SHIPPING!

Just Sex by Susan Kay Law

The New York Times Sunday at the Seashore Crosswords edited by Will Shortz

The Road by Cormac McCarthy (I got this on clearance the other day, but don't see it on clearance any longer)

Chosen By a Horse by Susan Richards

Accidental It Girl by Libby Street (I got this on clearance the other day for $1.79, and now it's full price for over $12)

Defiant Heart by Tracey Bateman

Sunday, July 26, 2009

Poetry Sunday (07-26-09 edition)

Love Not Me for Comely Grace

Love not me for comely grace,
For my pleasing eye or face,
Nor for any outward part,
No, nor for my constant heart;
For those may fail or turn to ill,
So thou and I shall sever;
Keep therefore a true woman's eye,
And love me still, but know not why.
So hast thou the same reason still
To dote upon me ever.

-- Anonymous

Saturday, July 25, 2009

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-25-09 edition)

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away a copy of The Peta Practical Guide to Animal Rights. Deadline is July 25.

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an audio book of The Choice. Deadline is July 25.

J. Kaye is also giving away an ARC of All the Pretty Dead Girls. Lots of chances to enter! Deadline is July 25.

Abby (the) Librarian is giving away 3 ARC copies of Catching Fire. Deadline is July 26.

The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies each of My Name is Will and Off Season. Deadlines are July 27.

The Book Butterfly is giving away a copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty. Deadline is July 28.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is July 28.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of The Castaways. Deadline is July 28.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies each of The Moon Looked Down and Tamed by the Laird. One winner gets both books! Nine winners! Deadline id July 28.

Wrighty's Reads is giving away 3 copies of I Can See You. Deadline is July 28.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of On Killing. Deadline is July 29.

Frugal Creativity is giving away The Amish Cook at Home cookbook. Deadline is July 29.

Peace & Quiet is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 29.


Shooting Stars Mag
is giving away a copy of The Demon's Lexicon. Deadline is July 30.

At Home with Books is cleaning of her shelves and giving away 4 books. Deadline is July 30.

Booking Mama is giving away Organic and Chic. Deadline is July 30.

Tree Swing Reading is giving away a bunch of books. Deadline is July 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Daniel X. Deadline is July 30.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Roadside Crosses. Deadline is July 30.

A Sea of Books is giving away 10 beach bag books each to five winners! Deadline is July 31.

Starting Fresh is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 31.

Queen of Happy Endings is giving away Cleopatra's Daughter and Blood Promise. Deadline is July 31.

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away a copy of The Texicans. Deadline is July 31.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 sets of ten summer beach bag books. Deadline is July 31.

Mrs. Magoo Reads is giving away 2 copies of Twenty Boy Summer. Deadline is July 31.

All About {n} is giving away 5 copies each of The Moon Looked Down, Tamed By a Laird and American Libre. Deadline is July 31.

Libby's Literary Library is giving away 2 copies of Circle of Souls. Deadline is July 31.

Jenn's Bookshelf is giving away a copy of Worst Nightmares. Deadline is July 31.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 3 copies of the audiobook The Juror. Deadline is August 1.

A Bookish Mom is giving away 5 copies of Soul Survivor. Deadline is August 1.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away a book buddy. Deadline is August 1.

The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is August 1.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is August 1.

A Bookish Mom is giving away 2 copies of The Unexpected Gift. Deadline is August 1.

Hey Lady is giving away 2 copies of Pope Joan. Deadline is August 1.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away a copy of Happiness Key. Deadline is August 3.

Passages to the Past is giving away The Virgin's Daughters. Deadline is August 3.

Readaholic is giving away 4 copies of One Scream Away. Deadline is August 4.

Book Giveaways is giving away Counting Stars and All the Stars in Heaven. Deadline is August 4.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 copies of Ravens. Deadline is August 5.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of Italian for Beginners. Deadline is August 5.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 2 copies of the Spice Up Your Life cookbook. Deadline is August 5.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away 3 copies of New Tricks. Deadline is August 6.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked down. Tell them that nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is August 6.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of One Scream Away. Deadline is August 7.

The Eclectic Reader is giving away a copy of The Last Queen. Deadline is August 7.

Book Nerd Extraordinaire is giving away a copy of The Brutal Telling. Deadline is August 7.

Wendy's Minding Spot is giving away 3 copies of I Can See You. Deadline is August 7.

BookWorming in the 21st Century is giving away an ARC of Catching Fire. Deadline is August 7.

NotNessie of The Ultimate Bookhound is giving away her favorite books Graceling, The Hunger Games and Water for Elephants. Deadline is August 8.

A Sea of Books is giving away 3 copies of Ravens. Deadline is August 8.

Cerebral Girl is giving away ARCs of The Chosen One and Into the Beautiful North. Deadline is August 9.

Passages to the Past is giving away a copy of The King's Grace. Deadline is August 9.

A Circle of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog. Deadline is August 10.

One Person's Journey Through the World of Books is giving away 5 copies of Stand the Storm. Deadline is August 10.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away 2 copies of Dying for Mercy. Deadline is August 10.

Luxury Reading is giving away 5 copies of The Year of the Cock. Deadline is August 11.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away a copy of The Castaways. Deadline is August 12.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away 10 beach bag books each to five winners. Deadline is August 14.

Starting Fresh is giving away The Year of the Cock. Deadline is August 15.

Starting Fresh is giving away The Lost Dog. Deadline is August 15.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 2 copies of Benny and Shrimp. Deadline is August 15.

Booking Mama is giving away 3 sets of ten summer beach bag books. Deadline is August 15.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog. Deadline is August 16.

Hot Deals by Bec is giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog. Deadline is August 17.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of The Lost Dog. Tell 'em nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is August 17.

Ramblings of a Teenage Bookworm is giving away an ARC of Catching Fire. Deadline is August 20.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away ten summer beach books to one reader. Deadline is August 31.

Reviewer X is giving away an ARC of Catching Fire. There is no deadline listed.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Friday, July 24, 2009

GIVEAWAY: ARCs of The Chosen One and Into the Beautiful North

Well, I have a growing collection of books to be given away, and I thought that I would start with a couple of ARCs that I have. These are both gently read, and in very good condition.

From Booklist
Taking a story “ripped from the headlines,” Williams looks inside a polygamist cult and the dangers it poses for one girl. Kyra and her father, three mothers, and 20 siblings live in an isolated community under the thumb of a prophet, who controls every aspect of his apostles’ lives. The most shocking intrusion of all comes when the prophet decrees that Kyra is to become the wife of her 60-year-old uncle. A secret patron of a local mobile library, Kyra knows there’s a world away from the compound she might escape to, but first she pins her hopes on her father’s ability to change the prophet’s mind. Instead, her family is threatened, and the stakes for her refusal to marry are raised. The clandestine relationship Kyra is having with one of the compound’s teenage boys is a romance more convenient than convincing (everyone is carefully watched except this duo, it seems). Contrivances notwithstanding, this is a heart pounder, and readers will be held, especially as the danger escalates. Williams’ portrayals of the family are sharp, but what’s most interesting about this book is how the yearnings and fears of a character so far from what most YAs know will still seem familiar and close. Grades 7-10. --Ilene Cooper


See my review of The Chosen One here. I didn't rate this book as well as most others have. It wasn't that I didn't like the story or the writing style-- both were quite good. I am just personally uncomfortable with reinforcing stereotypes, and this did feed on the media stereotyping of polygamist groups like the Mormon off-shoots. So it tempered my enjoyment of the book and left me concerned that it would foster prejudice against a whole class of people based on a fictional story.

Synopsis

Nineteen-year-old Nayeli works at a taco shop in her Mexican village and dreams about her father, who journeyed to the US to find work. Recently, it has dawned on her that he isn't the only man who has left town. In fact, there are almost no men in the village--they've all gone north. While watching The Magnificent Seven, Nayeli decides to go north herself and recruit seven men--her own "Siete MagnĂ­ficos"--to repopulate her hometown and protect it from the bandidos who plan on taking it over.

Filled with unforgettable characters and prose as radiant as the Sinaloan sun, INTO THE BEAUTIFUL NORTH is the story of an irresistible young woman's quest to find herself on both sides of the fence.


You can see my review of this book here.

GIVEAWAY: Win either The Chosen One or Into the Beautiful North.

Rules (don't you just hate rules?):
  • You must be 18 years or older
  • Open to US and Canada residents only
  • To enter, just comment below. Be sure to leave your email address in your comment, or have it visible in your profile.
  • For extra entries, follow my blog and/or blog about this contest. One extra entry for each that you do, but a max of only one extra entry for blogging regardless of how many times you blog it. Sidebars are okay.
  • Leave a separate comment for each entry.
  • That's a total of 3 possible entries!
  • Those who don't follow the rules risk being disqualified.

Also, for this contest please be sure to note whether you have a preference for The Chosen One or Into the Beautiful North. If you don't specify one, you will be entered for both.

Deadline is August 9th.

Good Luck! Ready, Set, Go!

REVIEW: The 6th Seal by J. M. Emanuel

Product Description
The 6th Seal by J. M. Emanuel is part manhunt, part biblical saga, part mystery, and part revelation of scripture’s hidden secrets. When Satan clones himself, laying the foundation for his rule on Earth, an old Priest, Father Gudino, and two of his followers must bring the secret identity of Satan’s spawn to light so that the truth of Christ’s ultimate return can be revealed. In the process, the decisive battle of good vs. evil plays out with humanity caught in the middle. It falls to Jason, Maggie, and Father Gudino to carry the banner for Christ’s second coming and uphold God’s message warning of the greatest deception to ever come upon the world. Told with foreboding and laced with the hope of faith, The 6th Seal dares to tell the often-misinterpreted story of the Apocalypse. Written with a Christian audience in mind, The 6th Seal is also a thriller that will please anyone who just loves a tale well told.


My Thoughts

I had a difficult time getting into this book. The first 50 pages felt more like a religious text than an adventure/action story. But then it picked up, and the story really began to let loose.

If you like stories like the Left Behind series, and you are open-minded enough to be able to read other ideas without being offended or feeling that they threaten your own beliefs, give this book a chance. The writing is very good, and after the first 50 pages it becomes engaging and entertaining. It begins to build, and I found the last 100 pages were my favorite.

The characters were very well developed. I found myself especially drawn to the stoic and heroic Jason who had already endured so much in his life.

This book was educational as well as entertaining. Some of it is based on well-accepted biblical scripture, and some ideas (one idea in particular) suggest a biblical theory not accepted as "fact". Which is why I suggested that "open-minded" individuals may be interested in this story, but others who are offended by new ideas should steer clear.

One thing that I learned from this book was the origins of what is often referred to as the "Jesus fish". The book states:

"The followers of Christianity were called Pisciculi. The root of this Latin word is fish. The fish became the symbol of early Christians. It was simple to draw and was often used among Christians as a type of password during times of persecution by the Roman government. If two strangers met and were unsure whether the other was a Christian, one would draw an arc in the earth. If the other was a Christian, he or she would complete the symbol with a reverse arc, forming the outline of a fish. Today, the fish is still symbolic of Christ and Christianity..." (page 147)


Some of the book was a little bit of a stretch for me. Some of it was pulled from the annals of WWII and Hitler. I initially had a hard time with this, as it felt "fake" and contrived, and I kept having old black and white footage of concentration camps playing out in my head while I read. But I just had to convince myself that I was reading a story after all, and none of us know quite how things will be in the end times of the end days. So it could be as portrayed in this story, or it could be something quite different (I always personally envisioned something more subtle and subversive-- not so "in your face".)

All in all, an enjoyable story once you get beyond the first 50 pages or so, and it can be something of an education as well, or at least a "refresher course" on the final days and the seven seals. Well-written and pretty well developed, I would recommend this book to anyone interested in this genre.

* Publisher: BookSurge, LLC
* Pub. Date: June 2009
* ISBN-13: 9781439212776
* 320pp

My Rating: 6.5 out of 10

Referencing Friday (07-24-09 edition)

The Complete Book for Backyard Bird Lovers: Everything you need to know about attracting and feeding birds in your yard by Sally Roth

Synopsis

Let The Complete Book for Backyard Bird Lovers be your guide to the foods and feeders, plants and projects that will guarantee you a yard absolutely brimming with birds! You'll learn about the birds themselves and what their behaviors mean. You'll find tricks for keeping birdfeeding affordable, and you'll find out how to make your yard a safe haven for the birds that live in your area as well as for those passing through.

The A-to-Z bird feeder's guide features all of your favorite topics, with entries as diverse as baby birds and binoculars to tray feeders and water features. You'll discover ways to attract birds in every season and in every kind of weather, and you'll learn which plants to choose to grow your own bird-welcoming landscape.

The easy-to-use field guide lets you pinpoint which birds you'll find in your region and introduces you to the 40 birds that are so common, so abundant, and so widespread that they may show up anywhere across the continent. Learn how to identify birds in a flash, then confirm your good guess by checking details of looks, voice, and behavior in more than 175 individual bird profiles. Soon you'll be looking forward to the next visitor that wings its way into your backyard.


My Thoughts

This great book is setup like an encyclopedia. There is an alphabetized Contents section at the beginning, and it is a wealth of information that covers just about everything you can think of: backyard birds, plants that attract birds, garden pests, special food mixes for various birds, how to setup an inviting environment for birds, and tons more of information.

And best of all, you can get this book on clearance from Barnes and Noble. Order it online for $5.99!

# Pub. Date: December 2008
# ISBN-13: 9780641966958
# 704pp

Thursday, July 23, 2009

Introducing...Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

"We got some!" Ivan pokes his head out the hayloft and holds the bucket up victoriously to his cousin Petro.

A motley clan of barn cats meow and whine as they wrap themselves around Petro's skinny legs. Petro wheezes from the dust and hay. Ivan scrambles down the makeshift ladder with one hand, the bucket clanking at his side. He jumps the last rungs to the ground and with his free hand steadies the chipped crock plate that acts as a lid.





* Publisher: HarperCollins Publishers
* Pub. Date: September 08, 2009
* ISBN-13: 9780061774027
* 320pp

Monday, July 20, 2009

Mailbox Monday (07-20-09 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

Winnings...

The Way Home audio book
by George Pelecanos
Won from Teddy Rose

Christopher Flynn is trying to get it right. After years of trouble and rebellion that enraged his father and nearly cost him his life, he has a steady job in his father's company, he's seriously dating a woman he respects, and, aside from the distrust that lingers in his father's eyes, his mistakes are firmly in the past.

One day on the job, Chris and his partner come across a temptation almost too big to resist. Chris does the right thing, but old habits and instincts rise to the surface, threatening this new-found stability with sudden treachery and violence. With his father and his most trusted friends, he takes one last chance to blast past the demons trying to pull him back.

Like Richard Price or William Kennedy, Pelecanos pushes his characters to the extremes, their redemption that much sweeter because it is so hard fought. Pelecanos has long been celebrated for his unerring ability to portray the conflicts men feel as they search and struggle for power and love in a world that is often harsh and unforgiving but can ultimately be filled with beauty.


The Night Gardener by George Pelecanos
Won from Starting Fresh

"When the body of a local teenager is found in a community garden, homicide detective Gus Ramone relives intense memories of a case he worked twenty years earlier. When he was still a rookie, Ramone and his partner Dan "Doc" Holiday assisted legendary detective T.C. Cook as he investigated a series of killings involving young victims left overnight in neighborhood parks. The killer, dubbed, "the Night Gardener," was never caught. Since then, Holiday has left the force under a cloud of morals charges; he now works as a bodyguard and driver, taunted by his dreams of what he might have been. Cook retired, but he has never stopped agonizing about the unsolved case. Ramone is "good police," working as a homicide detective for the city's violent-crime division. He is also a devoted husband and father, and his teenage son, Diego, was a friend of the most recent victim, a boy named Asa." Could the Night Gardener be on the prowl again? Asa's death draws the three men together on a mission to finish the work that has haunted them for years. For T.C. Cook, it means solving one of the few cases that eluded him in his distinguished career. For Doc Holiday, the Night Gardener case is one last chance to prove - to Cook, to Ramone, and to himself - what kind of police officer he once was. For Gus Ramone, catching the killer means not only doing his job but knowing that his son will not be the next victim. The regret, anger, and fierce sense of purpose that once burned between them come rushing back as they race to lay to rest the monster who has stalked their dreams.

Pure Flavor: 125 Fresh All-American Recipes from the Pacific Northwest by Kurt Beecher Dammeier
Won from Mixed Greens

The creator of the award-winning Beecher’s Handmade Cheese in Seattle, Kurt Beecher Dammeier knows that great food begins with the highestquality ingredients prepared simply,so their natural, intense flavors shine through. In this, his first cookbook, you’ll discover that meals based on great raw materials require fewer ingredients,take less time to prepare, are healthier for you and your family, and taste phenomenal.

In Pure Flavor,Kurt shares more than 125 favorite recipes from his popular gourmet food shops and restaurant. This is fresh food that celebrates the quintessentially American flavors of the Pacific Northwest region that Kurt calls home. He shows you how pan-searing locally grown broccoli brings out its unique flavor, how an outstanding aged American Cheddar turns a bowl of tomato soup into ameal to remember, how a simple marmalade sauce can effortlessly enliven pork chops, and how asplash of light vinaigrette punctuated with lemon and basil makes any fresh fish shine.

Here are recipes for everything from a winning weekend breakfast dish of Apple-Hazelnut Waffles with Northwest Berry Syrup to hearty dinners like Dungeness Crab Mac & Cheese.Kurt knows where to find plump Washington cherries, crunchy Oregon hazelnuts,and fresh Puget Sound salmon and encourages home cooks to explore the culinary bounties of their area. He even includes helpful sidebars that demystify food terms, explaining the difference between Dungeness and peekytoe crabs,farmed and wild salmon, and “natural”and “organic.”

Whether it’s the sweet-tart bite of a juicy blackberryor the pungent tang of awonderful blue cheese, naturaland fresh flavors can be discovered anywhere. With stunning photography and irresistible recipes, Pure Flavor will inspire you to seek out America’s pure flavors, wherever you live.


The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell
Won from Debbie's World of Books

Laurie Sandell grew up in awe (and sometimes in terror) of her larger-than-life father, who told jaw-dropping tales of a privileged childhood in Buenos Aires, academic triumphs, heroism during Vietnam, friendships with Kissinger and the Pope. As a young woman, Laurie unconsciously mirrors her dad, trying on several outsized personalities (Tokyo stripper, lesbian seductress, Ambien addict). Later, she lucks into the perfect job--interviewing celebrities for a top women's magazine. Growing up with her extraordinary father has given Laurie a knack for relating to the stars. But while researching an article on her dad's life, she makes an astonishing discovery: he's not the man he says he is--not even close. Now, Laurie begins to puzzle together three decades of lies and the splintered person that resulted from them--herself.

The Host by Stephanie Meyer
Won from Book Giveaways

The author of the Twilight series of # 1 bestsellers delivers her brilliant first novel for adults: a gripping story of love and betrayal in a future with the fate of humanity at stake.

Melanie Stryder refuses to fade away. The earth has been invaded by a species that take over the minds of their human hosts while leaving their bodies intact, and most of humanity has succumbed.

Wanderer, the invading "soul" who has been given Melanie's body, knew about the challenges of living inside a human: the overwhelming emotions, the too vivid memories. But there was one difficulty Wanderer didn't expect: the former tenant of her body refusing to relinquish possession of her mind.

Melanie fills Wanderer's thoughts with visions of the man Melanie loves-Jared, a human who still lives in hiding. Unable to separate herself from her body's desires, Wanderer yearns for a man she's never met. As outside forces make Wanderer and Melanie unwilling allies, they set off to search for the man they both love.

Featuring what may be the first love triangle involving only two bodies, THE HOST is a riveting and unforgettable novel that will bring a vast new readership to one of the most compelling writers of our time.



From the Barnes and Noble First Look...

Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell

From a passionate new voice in the world of literary fiction comes the story of one family's struggle to survive-a tribute to the resiliency of the human spirit told with great sensitivity and cinematic aplomb.

Spring 1937. Ukrainian immigrant Theo Mykolayenko returns to his wife, Maria, and their five children after nearly a year spent in prison-two hundred and seventy five days and nights, each a scratch on his cell wall-for the crime of stealing grain. Scrapping to make ends meet during Theo's absence, the Mykolayenkos had been living under the care of Theo's sister, Anna, on the harsh and unforgiving Canadian prairies. Now, home at last, Theo has determined to make a better life for them all. Channeling the willpower that enabled him to survive drought, starvation, warfare, and Stalin's crimes in the Ukraine, he takes to the land with great resolve.

As the crops grow, so do the strength of his children and Theo's fierce pride. But family peace is quickly disrupted by the return of Anna's rogue husband, Stefan. Tensions between the two men heighten as Stefan increasingly treats Theo like a hired hand and demands a cut from the sales of the
crops. Soon, the family is splintered-with brother pitted against sister, son against mother, and in a disturbing twist, a new mother against her newborn.

Building to an unforgettable climax, this is the story of an immigrant family trying to find their way in a new world, where small and innocent acts have enormous and catastrophic consequences. It is a harrowing tale of fathers, mothers, husbands, wives, sisters, and brothers whose desperate hands till the earth, while equally desperate minds plot much darker deeds.Everything that the Mykolayenkos have hoped for, dreamed of, worked for beyond exhaustion is now at stake-their loved ones, and their lives. Rich in emotion and suspense, this sublimely crafted first novel hails the arrival of a superbly talented literary voice.

Sunday, July 19, 2009

2009/10 Lisa Jackson Reading Challenge


Well there are some Lisa Jackson books that I still want to check out. I wasn't thrilled with the first book I read (Hot Blooded), but I want to give her another shot and try a few more. So I'm going to join the 2009/10 Lisa Jackson Reading Challenge.

Guidelines:

1) Create a list of the Lisa Jackson books you'd like to read between now and December 31, 2010. Don't include books you've read prior to or started before 7/18/09.

2) This reading challenge is for participants with a blog. If you decide to participate in the 2009/2010 Lisa Jackson Reading Challenge, create a post on your blog telling others about this event. In your post, be sure to include the link to this post on your blog. That way others can find their way here and join in the fun.

3) If you want to have your reading list on your blog's right sidebar, then please include a link to this post.

4) Audio and eBooks count.

5) You can join anytime between now and the later part of next year.

6) When you sign up under Mr. Linky, list the direct link to your post where your library books will be listed. If you list just your blog’s URL, it will be removed. If you don’t have a blog, leave the URL blank.

7) Set the number of books you'd like to read ahead of time. The amount can be up to you. You can change out titles if you'd like, just try and accomplish the number you set out to complete.

8) There will be a place for you to link your reviews, but this is optional.

9) When you have completed your number of Lisa Jackson books, link your completed list to the completed page. One will be set up.

10)If you have any questions, feel free to email at jkayeoldner@yahoo.com or leave comments on the original sign-up post with questions.

I have decided to commit to reading 5 Lisa Jackson books in the next 18 months or so. Here is my current list of books I'd like to read:
  • Cold Blooded
  • Shiver
  • Absolute Fear
  • Almost Dead
  • Lost Souls

Check back to see how I do!

Poetry Sunday (07-19-09 edition)

Love

I love you,
Not only for what you are,
But for what I am
When I am with you.

I love you,
Not only for what
You have made of yourself,
But for what
You are making of me.

I love you
For the part of me
That you bring out;
I love you
For putting your hand
Into my heaped-up heart
And passing over
All the foolish, weak things
That you can't help
Dimly seeing there,
And for drawing out
Into the light
All the beautiful belongings
That no one else had looked
Quite far enough to find.

I love you because you
Are helping me to make
Of the lumber of my life
Not a tavern
But a temple;
Out of the works
Of my every day
Not a reproach
But a song.

I love you
Because you have done
More than any creed
Could have done
To make me good,
And more than any fate
Could have done
To make me happy.

You have done it
Without a touch,
Without a word,
Without a sign.
You have done it
By being yourself.
Perhaps that is what
Being a friend means,
After all.

Roy Croft

Saturday, July 18, 2009

Summer Reading Challenge 2009


Summer Reading Challenge 2009
Contest Runs: June 21, 2009-September 21, 2009

Hosted By: A Southern Daydreamer Reads

Rules:
  1. Make a list of books you want to read this summer.
  2. Write a post with your list on your blog. (You can add to or change this list at any time during the challenge)
  3. Please post the direct link to your Summer Reading Challenge 2009 post. (so that other participants can visit and see what you are reading)
  4. You can write another post in September to let everyone know how you did.

I'm joining in on this challenge. Here's my picks...

My Summer Reading List:
  • The 6th Seal by J.M. Emanuel (DONE)
  • Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha
  • Under This Unbroken Sky by Shandi Mitchell (DONE)
  • Lori's Song by Lori Foroozandeh (DONE)
  • Karma for Beginners by Jessica Blank (DONE)
  • The Imposter's Daughter by Laurie Sandell (DONE)
  • Confessions of an Ivy League Pornographer by Sam Benjamin (e-book)
  • The Triumph of Deborah by Eva Etziony-Halevy
  • Hunter by Campbell Jefferys
  • City of the Dead by Brian Keene
  • The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer
  • Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
  • The Road by Cormac McCarthy
  • The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
  • Bound to Please by Lilli Fiesty

Ignore-- technorati claim

85sauqpdwy

Book Giveaways in Blogworld (07-18-09 edition)

Here is a list of some giveaways going on in Blogworld*. Please note that new giveaways that were added this week are indented in Blockquotes:

Joystory is giving away a copy of My Name is Will. Deadline is July 18.

Bookin' with Bingo is giving away 9 books to eight winners. Winners will get The Imposter's Daughter and/or Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 18.

Gahome2mom is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 19.

The Book Faery Reviews is giving away 3 copies of My Name is Will. Deadline is July 19.

Today's Adventure is giving away five different books in honor of Canada Day. Deadline is July 20.

Drey's Library is giving away 2 copies of How Perfect is That. Deadline is July 20.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 20.

Brimful Curiosities is giving away 3 copies of The Castaways. Deadline is July 20.

Booking Mama is giving away a copy of The Castaways. Deadline is July 20.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of Knight of Desire. Deadline is July 20.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away The Perfect Couple. Deadline is July 20.

Just For Me...And You is giving away 3 copies of Best Friends Forever. Deadline is July 21.

Patricia's Vampire Notes is giving away 5 copies of The Host. Deadline is July 21.

The Tome Traveler is having a big 100th review giveaway, and is giving away 10 books to up to 10 winners. The more people to enter, the more winners there will be! Deadline is July 21.

Drey's Library is giving away a copy of The Castaways. Deadline is July 21.

Stacie Vaughn is giving away a copy of The Sassy Ladies' Toolkit for Startup Businesses. Deadline is July 21.

Literary Escapism is giving away a copy of The Tsar's Dwarf. Deadline is July 21.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 copies of Soul Survivor. Deadline is July 22.

Yankee Romance Reviewers is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is July 22.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 3 copies of the audio book The Juror. Tell them nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is July 22.

A Journey of Books is giving away 5 copies of My Name is Will. Tell them nfmgirl sent you and get an additional entry! Deadline is July 22.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 3 copies of the audio book Any Minute. Tell them nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is July 23.

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away 5 copies of Knight of Desire. Deadline is July 23.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 3 copies of The Bourne Deception audio book. Deadline is July 23.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 3 copies of the audio book Swimsuit. Tell them nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is July 24.

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away up to 5 copies of My Name is Will. The more entries, the more books to win! Deadline is July 24.

Lori's Reading Corner is giving away book organizing software. Deadline is July 24.

This Book For Free is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is July 24.

Starting Fresh is giving away One Scream Away. Deadline is July 24.

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away a copy of The Peta Practical Guide to Animal Rights. Deadline is July 25.

J. Kaye's Book Blog is giving away an audio book of The Choice. Deadline is July 25.

J. Kaye is also giving away an ARC of All the Pretty Dead Girls. Lots of chances to enter! Deadline is July 25.

The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies each of My Name is Will and Off Season. Deadlines are July 27.

The Book Butterfly is giving away a copy of A Great and Terrible Beauty. Deadline is July 28.

Sweeps4Bloggers is giving away 5 copies of The Lace Makers of Glenmara. Deadline is July 28.

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away 3 copies of The Castaways. Deadline is July 28.

Peace & Quiet is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 29.

At Home with Books is cleaning of her shelves and giving away 4 books. Deadline is July 30.

Booking Mama is giving away Organic and Chic. Deadline is July 30.

Tree Swing Reading is giving away a bunch of books. Deadline is July 30.

Booking with Bingo is giving away 5 copies of Daniel X. Deadline is July 30.

Starting Fresh is giving away 5 copies of Julie & Julia. Deadline is July 31.

Queen of Happy Endings is giving away Cleopatra's Daughter and Blood Promise. Deadline is July 31.

Beth's Book Review Blog is giving away a copy of The Texicans. Deadline is July 31.

Drey's Library is giving away 5 sets of ten summer beach bag books. Deadline is July 31.

Mrs. Magoo Reads is giving away 2 copies of Twenty Boy Summer. Deadline is July 31.

All About {n} is giving away 5 copies each of The Moon Looked Down, Tamed By a Laird and American Libre. Deadline is July 31.

Libby's Literary Library is giving away 2 copies of Circle of Souls. Deadline is July 31.

The Tome Traveler is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is August 1.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked Down. Deadline is August 1.

Passages to the Past is giving away The Virgin's Daughters. Deadline is August 3.

Books and Needlepoint is giving away 5 copies of The Moon Looked down. Tell them that nfmgirl sent you! Deadline is August 6.

Just Another New Blog is giving away 5 copies of One Scream Away. Deadline is August 7.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away a copy of The Castaways. Deadline is August 12.

Booking Mama is giving away 3 sets of ten summer beach bag books. Deadline is August 15.

A Book Blogger's Diary, along with Hatchette Book Group, is giving away ten summer beach books to one reader. Deadline is August 31.

Reviewer X is giving away an ARC of Catching Fire. There is no deadline listed.

*Courtesy Note: Please keep in mind the many, many hours of work that goes into me compiling this list each week. Please be courteous and thoughtful, and do not steal my text. Either recreate your own list, or link to this list and direct your readers here for giveaway information. Thank you so much for your consideration!

Friday, July 17, 2009

Referencing Friday (07-17-09 edition)

I have a huge collection of "reference" books: cookbooks, gardening, ethnobotany, crafts, DIY, etc. I've decided that it's time to tackle these books, which don't really require a "real" review. So I will be "reviewing" or "introducing" one each Friday, known now as "Referencing Friday".

Food Plants of Coastal First Peoples by Nancy J. Turner

Synopsis

'Food Plants of Coastal First People' describes more that 100 plants used for food by the aboriginal peoples of coastal British Columbia. Each description contains botanical details and a color photograph to help identify the plant, as well as information on the plant's habitat, its distribution along the coast and how it was used.


This is a great resource for anyone in the NW area who is seeking to learn more about edible native plants. It is for the British Columbia area, but I found it useful for Western WA and the Olympic Mountains as well.

It includes scientific name, common names, botanical description, habitat, distribution in B.C. and Aboriginal use. An image is also included for each plant. This was one of my favorite books when I lived in WA.

# Publisher: University of Washington Press
# Pub. Date: January 2007
# ISBN-13: 9780772656278
# 164pp

Thursday, July 16, 2009

Introducing...Mother of the Believers by Kamran Pasha

(Since the first paragraph or two are so short, this week I am doing several opening paragraphs as an introduction to this book.)

In the Name of God, the Merciful, the Compassionate

What is faith?

It is a question I have asked myself over the years, dear nephew, and I am no closer to the answer now than I was when my hair was still crimson like the rising dawn, not the pale silver of moonlight as it is today.

I write this for you, because I know I am dying. I do not complain, for there are times I wished I had died many years ago or, better yet, had never been born. My heart looks at the trees, whose life consists of no more than dreams of the sun and memories of the rain, and I envy them. There are times when I wish I were one of the rocks that line the hills beyond Medina, ignored and forgotten by those who tread upon them.


* Publisher: Simon & Schuster Adult Publishing Group
* Pub. Date: April 2009
* ISBN-13: 9781416579915
* 560pp

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

REVIEW: BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker (audiobook)

Military intelligence officer Ryan Evans is married to his work; so much so that his wife and daughter have written him out of their lives. Sent to Fallujah and captured by insurgents, he is asked to kill children not unlike his own. The method: a meticulous, excruciating death by broken bones that his captor has forced him to learn.

Returning home after the ordeal, a new crisis awaits. A serial killer is on the loose, and his method of killing is the same. Ryan becomes a prime suspect, which isn't even the worst of his problems: Ryan's daughter is BoneMan's latest desire.

In a story that is devastating in its skill and suspense, - Ted Dekker brings to bear his ability to terrify and compel in BONEMAN'S DAUGHTERS.


My Review

This was my first fictional audiobook, and I've found that it is much harder to review an audiobook than a traditional book. Why is that? In my case, I suspect two things: (1) I have something of an "audio ADD" issue. I can't focus my auditory sense for too long of a stretch. My mind tends to wander. People will sometimes notice this when speaking with me in person for extended periods. My eyes begin to wander around the room as I think of other things, and secondarily (2) I listen to audiobooks while at work, distracted by computers and phones and people coming into my office and asking me questions. No matter how good I am at multi-tasking, even I have to admit to my limitations, and I can only stretch my auditory senses so far!

So this book. You're probably heard all about it before, as it has been out for awhile now. Ryan is a military intelligence officer and serving in the middle east. He has been separated from his wife and daughter for the better part of his marriage and daughter's life. Needless to say, both his marriage and his relationship with his daughter is strained to the breaking point. And he doesn't really care. Due to Ryan's line of work, he has developed a certain coldness and detachment about him. He doesn't seem to care about too much beyond his duty.

This all changes when Ryan's daughter is kidnapped by the infamous BoneMan, who is known for kidnapping young girls and then killing them by breaking every bone in their body without breaking the skin. From there it becomes a father's quest for his daughter, and a chance at redemption for all of the mistakes he's made.

I enjoyed this story. It was a unique experience for me to listen to a fictional audiobook. I was not expecting the voices-- to have the narrator using different voices for the different characters. At first this was distracting and comical to me, but then I got used to it.

There was pretty good character development for the primary characters. The BoneMan wasn't quite creepy enough for me, but I have a pretty high "creep factor" bar. I expect a lot of my "bad guys". But he was acceptably creepy, and the narrator used an acceptably creepy and disturbingly calm voice for the BoneMan. This is an audiobook I'd recommend if you're looking for a good thriller.

Product Details


* Hardcover: 416 pages
* Publisher: Center Street; BCE edition (April 14, 2009)
* Language: English
* ISBN-10: 1599951959
* ISBN-13: 978-1599951959

My Rating: 7 out of 10

Tuesday, July 14, 2009

Teaser Tuesday (07-14-09 edition)

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:


  • Grab your current read
  • Open to a random page
  • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
  • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
  • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
Today's Teaser:

"Henceforth, there is to be only one government and only one church and only one religion under God, and all people will be united in their faith and their allegiance so that they may all become citizens of the Kingdom of God."

The 6th Seal by J.M. Emanuel

Monday, July 13, 2009

Mailbox Monday (07-13-09 edition)



Mailbox Monday is brought to us by The Printed Page. In my mailbox last week I got:

A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore
Won throughMaria's Space

CAUGHT BETWEEN DUTY AND DESIRE . . .

Sophie, the Duchess of Calton, has finally moved on. After seven years mourning the loss of her husband, Garrett, at Waterloo, she has married his cousin and heir, Tristan. Sophie gives herself to him body and soul. . . until the day Garrett returns from the Continent, demanding his title, his lands-and his wife.

TORN BETWEEN TWO HUSBANDS . . .


Now Sophie must choose between her first love and her new love, knowing that no matter what, her choice will destroy one of the men she adores. Will it be Garrett, her childhood sweetheart, whose loss nearly destroyed her once already? Or will it be Tristan, beloved friend turned lover, who supported her through the last, dark years and introduced her to a passion she had never known? As her two husbands battle for her heart, Sophie finds herself immersed in a dangerous game-where the stakes are not only love . . . but life and death.



Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn
Won through Bookin' with Bingo

Holly Frick has just endured the worst kind of breakup: the kind where you're still in love with the person leaving you. While her wounds are still dangerously close to the surface, her happily married best friend confesses over a bottle of wine that she is this close to having an affair. And another woman comes to Holly for advice about her love life--with Holly's ex!

Holly decides that if everyone around her can take pleasure wherever they find it, so will she. As any self-respecting 30ish New York woman would do, she brings two males into her life: a flawed but endearing dog, and a good natured, much younger lover. She's soon entangled in a web of emails, chance meetings, and misguided good intentions and must forge an entirely new path to Nirvana.

From the author of The Big Love, Secrets to Happiness is a big-hearted, knife-sharp, and hilariously entertaining story about the perils of love and friendship, sex and betrayal--and a thoroughly modern take on our struggle to be happy.



I won TWO giveaways from the Readaholic this week!

When the Time Comes by Paula Span

What will you do when you get the call that a loved one has had a heart attack or a stroke? Or when you realize that a family member is too frail to live alone, but too healthy for a nursing home?

Journalist Paula Span shares the resonant narratives of several families who faced these questions. Each family contemplates the alternatives in elder care (from assisted living to multigenerational living to home care, nursing care, and at the end, hospice care) and chooses the right path for its needs. Span writes about the families' emotional challenges, their practical discoveries, and the good news that some of them find a situation that has worked for them and their loved ones. And many find joy in the duty of caring for an older loved one.

There are 45 million Americans caring for family members currently, and as the 77 million boomers continue to age, this number will only go up. Paula Span's stories are revealing and informative. They give a sense of all the emotional and practical factors that go into the major decisions about caregiving, so that readers will be better able to figure out what to do when the time comes for them and their loved ones.


Mix, Shake, Stir by Danny Meyers

The bartenders at Danny Meyer's wildly popular restaurants are known for their creative concoctions. Guests at Union Square Café or Gramercy Tavern expect not only the finest cuisine but also Meyer's special brand of hospitality that often begins with a Venetian Spritz or a Cranberry Daiquiri. In MIX SHAKE STIR, Meyer offers all the tips and tools needed to become a masterful mixologist and supplements the cocktail recipes with gourmet takes on bar snacks. There are over 100 recipes of bar classics, signature favorites, and original, refreshing libations--from the Modern's elegant mojito made with champagne and rose water to Tabla's Pomegranate Gimlet. Shaken or stirred, straight up or on the rocks, these cocktails make this collection an invaluable resource for elegant entertaining.


Mark of the Demon by Diana Rowland
Won from Katrina of Stone Soup

Cop and conjurer of demons, she's a woman in danger of losing control—to a power that could kill....

Why me? Why now? That’s what Beaulac, Louisiana, detective Kara Gillian was asking herself when an angelic creature named Rhyzkahl unexpectedly appeared during a routine summoning. Kara was hoping to use her occult skills to catch a serial killer, but never had she conjured anything like this unearthly beautiful and unspeakably powerful being whose very touch set off exquisite new dimensions of pleasure. But can she enlist his aid in helping her stop a killer who’s already claimed the lives—and souls—of thirteen people? And should she? The Symbol Man is a nightmare that the city thought had ended three years ago. Now he’s back for an encore and leaving every indication on the flesh of his victims that he, too, is well versed in demonic lore.

Kara may be the only cop on Beaulac’s small force able to stop the killer, but it is her first homicide case. Yet with Rhyzkahl haunting her dreams, and a handsome yet disapproving FBI agent dogging her waking footsteps, she may be in way over her head...



Prey by Rachel Vincent
Won from Fang-tastic Books

Sometimes playing cat and mouse is no game…

Play? Right. My Pride is under fire from all sides, my father's authority is in question and my lover is in exile. Which means I haven't laid eyes on Marc's gorgeous face in months. And with a new mother and an I-know-everything teenager under my protection, I don't exactly have time to fantasize about ever seeing him again.

Then our long-awaited reunion is ruined by a vicious ambush by strays. Now our group is under attack, Marc is missing and I will need every bit of skill and smarts to keep my family from being torn apart. Forever.



Builders of the Pacific Coast by Lloyd Khan
Won through Beth's Book Review Blog

A continuation of Lloyd Kahn’s journeys into the creative processes of owner-built homes — their innovative techniques, use of sustainable materials, and essential dedication to the natural elements surrounding their designs — Builders of the Pacific Coast explores the aesthetics and skills of three master builders in California, Washington state, and the rugged terrain of British Columbia. The three featured craftsmen — Lloyd House, Bruce Atkey, and Sun Ray Kelley — combine imaginative architecture with innovative contexts: everything from unusual house-boats to sculptural dwellings made of driftwood are included. With stunning color and black-and-white photographs, as well as detailed black-and-white drawings of the homes, this collection of unique and progressive designs creates a template for a future filled with forward-thinking architecture.


Dream Big: Finding the Courage to Follow Your Dreams and Laugh at Your Nightmares by Lisa Hammond
Won in a box of items from She Saved

Lisa Hammond laughed, and cried, a lot on her way making Femail Creations the successful, woman-based company it is today. Dream Big is a tell-all, whopping inspiration of a book. If you're searching for your life's calling-- whether it's beginning a business, founding a charity, raising a family-- Dream Big can help you find it. If you know what your dream is, Dream Big will help you achieve it.


Ageing Well by Dr. George Cromack
I got this book for review from Bostick Communications and the author

Tired of doctors who don't listen and medicines that only make you sicker?

There is a reason why more and more people today are turning off to traditional healthcare and turning on to alternative therapies and natural medicines-and it's not just because they're more affordable.

Ageing Well not only explores the latest health practices but takes you on a journey that examines the most beneficial ways you can make your body healthy and strong.

In Ageing Well, you'll learn about:

-Chiropractic techniques and how they should be done

-The effects of the foods we eat

-The invaluable benefits of Superfoods, antioxidants, probiotics, and enzymes

-The techniques of ridding your body of inner and outer toxins

-The types of exercises that will have you up and moving - and feeling great again

Step by step you can improve your health and rejuvenate your life!



In addition to these books, I also bought some books at Books-a-Million last night. They had a "Buy 4 get the 5th free" deal on some paperbacks. So I picked up The Good Guy and Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz, Savage by Richard Laymon, Dead Sea and Ghoul by Brian Keene. I also picked up The Sleeping Beauty Proposal on clearance for $3.57 with my discount.

I have a problem. My name is Heather, and I'm a bibliophile...

Sunday, July 12, 2009

REVIEW: The Color Purple by Alice Walker

Barnes and Nobles Synopsis

Celie is a poor black woman whose letters tell the story of 20 years of her life, beginning at age 14 when she is being abused and raped by her father and attempting to protect her sister from the same fate, and continuing over the course of her marriage to "Mister," a brutal man who terrorizes her. Celie eventually learns that her abusive husband has been keeping her sister's letters from her and the rage she feels, combined with an example of love and independence provided by her close friend Shug, pushes her finally toward an awakening of her creative and loving self.


I may have never thought to read this book if it hadn't been for me joining the Battle of the Prizes Challenge hosted by Rose City Reader.

But I am so glad that I did! This book was the winner of both the Pulitzer Prize and the National Book Award, and now I can understand why. So I'm not sure why I'm having such a hard time reviewing this book. Maybe it's just me. Maybe my brain just isn't work well right now!

This story covers the life of Celie, a damaged and down-trodden black women living in the early 1900s. It follows her through years of physical, emotional and psychological abuse, and her resignation to it and to her lot in life. The one thing that sustains her through her life is her love for her sister Nettie, from whom she is separated. We get to know Celie through her writings to God, like diary entries, and later the writings of sisters Celie and Nettie to one another.

The Barnes and Noble synopsis says that this covers 20 years of Celie's life, but I would think that is inaccurate. By the end of the story, the women are plump and gray-haired. They are definitely older than the 34 years of age that the synopsis would put them at!

Celie has a childhood of abuse, being raised by an indifferent father after her mother dies. Even while her mother was alive, he began an incestuous relationship with Celie, raping her for the first time when she is 14. Her father marries her off to a man she doesn't even know, and she simply moves from one horrible homelife to another. Eventually she meets a woman that everyone calls Shug (like "sugar"), and Shug becomes a vital person to Celie over time and to her growth as a person.

Celie may not realize it early on in her life, but she really is a strong woman. She only learns this later on through the love of Shug.

I liked Celie. I really did. She was walked all over so much that she really underestimated herself. She built a wall around herself and didn't want to let anyone in. She became like steel-- rigid and nearly indestructible. I just kept rooting for her, hoping she would catch a break, that she would find herself and realize the power she had.

There are many "unlikeable" characters in this book, and some characters that you feel somewhat indifferent about. But this story is really one of hope and redemption, and many of those unlikeable or indifferent characters experience a certain redemption before the book ends. And the author did so well at making me care about Celie that by the last chapter it only took the final chapter introduction to make me break down in tears, although I wasn't even sure yet whether they would be tears of happiness or tears of sorrow.

This was a very good book. If you haven't already read this classic, add it to your Wish List!

Product Details

* Paperback: 300 pages
* Publisher: Harvest Books (May 28, 2003)
* ISBN-10: 0156028352
* ASIN: B002CMLRCY

My Rating: 8.5 out of 10