Thursday, April 30, 2009

A Life Well Read Giveaway *CLOSING TODAY*

Thyme for Herbs is giving away today "A Life Well Read" pack. If you are a book lover, you have to see this. It's kinda like having your own little library. There are cards that can be filled out with the titles and authors of each book, and where/when you got the book. You can take notes on the book, and you can keep track of your lending history for the book (who/when you lend it), and a spot to track book club dates and notes. Everything is packaged in a lovely little box.

When you are done with the book, you can file the card away under "My Books", "Books on Loan", "Books I Want", "Books To Give" or "My Favorites".

This sounds like a must for any true bibliophile! You can learn more about A Life Well Read on their site.

Enter for your chance to win today! The giveaway closes at midnight tonight EST.

Two Giveaways Closing on BookingMama

Julie at BookingMama has two giveaways closing today. The first is a single copy of Admission by Jean Hanff Korelitz. You can see a review in the giveaway post. The second is a single paperback copy of Testimony by Anita Shreve. Check out her review of Testimony here.

Get your name in before time runs out! The giveaways end tonight at 11:50 PM!

LAST CALL for Drey's Earth Day Giveaway And Poetry Giveaway

Today is the last day for the two giveaways hosted on Drey's Library.

The first is a giant Earth Day giveaway, featuring five sets of six books each, all up for grabs! All of the books are appropriate for Earth Day and environmental awareness. One is even authored by my favorite female heroine Jane Goodall!

The second giveaway is a poetry giveaway in honor of National Poetry Month. Again there are five sets of six books up for grabs!

Check them out, and do it quick! Last call!

Sundays at Tiffany's and The Help Giveaways ENDING

Beth over at Beth's Book Review Blog has two giveaways that will be ending at 11:59 PM tonight.
The first is Sundays at Tiffany's by James Patterson. It is an unread new copy that she received and never got around to reading. Open to US residents only. Product Description:
Jane Margaux is a lonely little girl. Her mother, the powerful head of a New York theater company, makes time for her only once a week, for their Sunday trip to admire jewelry at Tiffany's. Jane has only one friend: a handsome, comforting, funny man named Michael. He's perfect. But only she can see him. Michael can't stay forever, though. On Jane's eighth birthday he leaves, promising that she'll forget him soon. He was there to help her until she was old enough to manage on her own, and now there are other children who need his help.

Years later, in her thirties, Jane is just as alone as she was as a child. And despite her own success as a playwright, she is even more trapped by her overbearing mother. Then she meets Michael again--as handsome, smart and perfect as she remembers him to be. But not even Michael knows the reason they've really been reunited.

Sundays at Tiffany's is a heart-wrenching love story that surpasses all expectations of why these people have been brought together. With the breathtaking momentum and gripping emotional twists that have made James Patterson a bestseller all over the world, Sundays at Tiffany's takes an altogether fresh look at the timeless and transforming power of love.

The other is The Help by Kathryn Stockett. This book was received from the publisher, and she never got around to reading it either. The Help is highly rated. Publisher Weekly says:
Eugenia Skeeter Phelan is just home from college in 1962, and, anxious to become a writer, is advised to hone her chops by writing about what disturbs you. The budding social activist begins to collect the stories of the black women on whom the country club sets relies and mistrusts enlisting the help of Aibileen, a maid who's raised 17 children, and Aibileen's best friend Minny, who's found herself unemployed more than a few times after mouthing off to her white employers. The book Skeeter puts together based on their stories is scathing and shocking, bringing pride and hope to the black community, while giving Skeeter the courage to break down her personal boundaries and pursue her dreams. Assured and layered, full of heart and history, this one has bestseller written all over it.

So go sign up to offer a new home to these wonderful books. I know I am!

BoneMan's Daughters Giveaway *LAST CHANCE*

Today is the last day to enter to win one of three copies of BoneMan's Daughters by Ted Dekker. Head over to Peeking Between the Pages for your chance. The drawing ends today!

Wednesday, April 29, 2009

Waiting on Wednesday

Sponsored by "Breaking the Spine". My choice for a selection that I "can't wait to read" is:

Libby Day was seven when her mother and two sisters were murdered in “The Satan Sacrifice of Kinnakee, Kansas.” As her family lay dying, little Libby fled their tiny farmhouse into the freezing January snow. She lost some fingers and toes, but she survived–and famously testified that her fifteen-year-old brother, Ben, was the killer. Twenty-five years later, Ben sits in prison, and troubled Libby lives off the dregs of a trust created by well-wishers who’ve long forgotten her.

The Kill Club is a macabre secret society obsessed with notorious crimes. When they locate Libby and pump her for details–proof they hope may free Ben–Libby hatches a plan to profit off her tragic history. For a fee, she’ll reconnect with the players from that night and report her findings to the club . . . and maybe she’ll admit her testimony wasn’t so solid after all.

As Libby’s search takes her from shabby Missouri strip clubs to abandoned Oklahoma tourist towns, the narrative flashes back to January 2, 1985. The events of that day are relayed through the eyes of Libby’s doomed family members–including Ben, a loner whose rage over his shiftless father and their failing farm have driven him into a disturbing friendship with the new girl in town. Piece by piece, the unimaginable truth emerges, and Libby finds herself right back where she started–on the run from a killer.

Dark and creepy-- like me! (Just kidding! Really I'm not. Really...)

Lisa Jackson Read-a-Fest Challenge

I've decided to also join the Lisa Jackson challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog. I already plan on reading one of Lisa Jackson's books for the 1st in a Series Challenge. If I enjoy the book, then I can read a couple more for this challenge. Here are the guidelines:

1. You need to be 18 years or older to sign up. (Sorry, but the above books are packaged as adult. Hate to have parents angry at me over this.)

2. List the books you’d like to read. This is not a book challenge. The goal is to read as many as you can, so completing the list isn’t required.

3. You do not need a blog to sign up. For the Mr. Linky widget, use this as your URL:

The books on my list so far are:
  • If She Only Knew
  • Enchantress
  • The Night Before
  • Shiver
  • Absolute Fear
  • Lost Souls
I hope that I really enjoy her book, and I want to read several more. We'll see how it goes!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

1st In a Series Challenge

I've decided to sign on to the 1st in a Series Challenge hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.

Guidelines for 1st in Series Challenge 2009

1. Anyone can join. You don't need a blog to participate.

2. Read 12 books that are the first in any series. You may read & list your chosen books any time during the year.

3. Challenge begins January thru December, 2009.

4. You can join anytime between now and December 31, 2009.

Here is my list of twelve books that I intend to read:
  1. Dark Ruby by Lisa Jackson
  2. Kitty and the Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  3. Maximum Ride: The Angel Experiment by James Patterson (DONE)
  4. Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  5. The Rising by Brian Keene (DONE)
  6. The Gunslinger by Stephen King
  7. Left Behind by Tim LaHaye and Jerry B. Jenkins
  8. Hot Blooded by Lisa Jackson (DONE)
  9. Deja Dead by Kathy Reichs
  10. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (DONE)
  11. Showdown by Ted Dekker
  12. The Covenant by Beverly Lewis

Of course, I reserve the right to change my list as time goes on!

Teaser Tuesdays

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:

Nan writes in her diary:
But you, open to this page, felt to me like a spectator dressed in black. A silent presence standing too near, crowding me. I closed you, moved you to the bathroom floor, then shut the door so that I could not hear you calling.

Excerpt from The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

Friday, April 24, 2009

The Friday 56 (4/24/09)

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
*Post a link along with your post back to Storytime with Tonya and Friends.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

I'll bet I cried for twenty minutes. In the middle of it, I got my daughter a graham cracker. She didn't notice a thing.

Winners for 2009

Here is a list of Cerebral Girl 2009 Giveaway Winners:

Debs Desk is the winner of Into the Beautiful North by Luis Alberto Urrea

Shawna is the winner of The Chosen One by Carol Lynch Williams

etirv is the winner of Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

Jenny is the winner for Of Bees and Mist by Erick Setiawan

Indigo and Jessica were the winners of Swimsuit by James Patterson

Jo-Jo is the winner of Secrets to Happiness by Sarah Dunn

Libby is the winner of Cemetery Dance by Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child

edmontonjb is the winner of Mrs. Meyer's Clean Home

pixie13 is the winner of Mother of the Believers

A Bookshelf Monstrosity is the winner of The Imposter's Daughter

Nancye is the winner of Any Minute

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Challenge: Sunshine Smackdown -- Battle of the Prizes

May 1, 2009 to September 7, 2009

No time like Spring and Summer to catch up on prize-winners!

This challenge comes to us from Rose City Reader, and pits winners of the Pulitzer Prize for fiction against the winners of the National Book Award. Does one prize have higher standards than the other? Pick better winners? Provide more reading entertainment or educational value? Maybe challenge participants will be able to answer these and more questions – maybe they will simply read three great books!


Chose three books that you have not read before:

1) One that won both the Pulitzer and the National
2) One that won the Pulitzer but not the National and
3) One that won the National but not the Pulitzer

I am choosing:

1) Double-Dipper: The Color Purple by Alice Walker (because I've always wanted to see the movie and haven't)

2) Pulitzer: The Road by Cormack McCarthy (because it is implied that it is post-apocalyptic)

3) National: Shadow Country by Peter Matthiessen (because it takes place in South Florida, where I live)

My first book challenge! Yeah!

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays

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:

Harvey asked, "But what stops ice ages?"

Forrester and Sharpes shrugged in unison.

"So," Hamner said, "my comet's going to bring about an ice age?"

Excerpt from Lucifer's Hammer, by Larry Niven and Jerry Pournelle

Monday, April 20, 2009

What Are You Reading On Mondays?

This weekend I joined in on the read-a-thon, and it helped me to finish up a book and get almost the entire way through another.


Invasion by Robin Cook
Castaways by Brian Keene


Lucifer's Hammer by Larry Niven and Jerry Purnelle
The Pull of the Moon by Elizabeth Berg

Sunday, April 19, 2009

REVIEW: Castaways, by Brian Keene

From Leisure Books: They came to the lush, deserted island to compete on a popular reality TV show. Each one hoped to be the last to leave. Now they’re just hoping to stay alive. It seems the island isn’t deserted after all. Contestants and crew members are disappearing, but they aren’t being eliminated by the game. They’re being taken by the monstrous half-human creatures that live in the jungle. The men will be slaughtered. The women will be kept alive as captives. Night is falling, the creatures are coming, and rescue is so far away….

My Thoughts:

I'm not sure what to say about this book. It wasn't a bad book, but it wasn't "great" either. It didn't capture me the way that I had hoped. Some books are too slow and leisurely. This book was just the opposite. It was too fast-paced, and therefore lacked any real suspense. It was simply brutal slaughter, lacking the psychological analysis that you would find in actual suspense novels, since these creatures lack a psychology that can really be explored too deeply. My biggest issue was that it lacked the "on the edge of my seat" terror and "creep factor" that I expect from a horror novel-- the fear that I seek. That's why I read horror. I want to be horrified, I want to be afraid to be alone for the night, jumping at every sound, checking the locks, and thinking about the merits of gun ownership. This book just didn't have that for me.

Additionally something about the writing-style just didn't engage me. I don't know what it was. The book just didn't grab me and bring me into the story. I never really connected with the characters. Perhaps that is one of the reasons I was never very engaged. They remained somewhat superficial, without any real depth. I just didn't really "care" about them.

I had high hopes for this story, and it fell short. I'm not giving up on Brian Keene, and will try another book or two by him to see if they are more what I'm looking for. But this book was just "okay".

Product Details
  • Author: Brian Keene
  • Mass Market Paperback: 285 pages
  • Publisher: Leisure Books (January 27, 2009)
  • ISBN-10: 0843960892
  • ISBN-13: 978-0843960891
My Rating: 6 out of 10

Read-a-thon: Completion

  • Title of book(s) read since last update: Now reading Castaways by Brian Keene
  • Number of books read since you started: Completed Invasion by Robin Cook, and am 20 pages from completing Castaways.
  • Pages read since last update: 103
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 294
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hr 55 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 6 hr 33 minutes
  • Prize you’ve won: 0
  • Hours slept: Took a few 30-45 minute naps. Probably about a total of 2 hours slept.
  • Caffeine ingested: One java chiller, one Coke and a Mountain Dew
I didn't read nearly as much as I wanted, but there were so many other things to do that took my attention.

At this point, it is 8:12 AM. I was up yesterday around 7:00-7:30 AM. I stayed up until about 3:30 AM, at which time I dozed off and had an alarm get me up every hour, on the hour, beginning at 4 AM. I would get up, check the latest hourly Dewey post, and determine whether I was capable of reading. I was up again at 6 AM.

Now I'm exhausted and going to bed. I'll get in a good four hours or so.

Hope everyone had fun, and I know that most had more success than me in getting a lot of reading done. Same time next year?

Read-a-thon: Hour 24

1. Which hour was most daunting for you?

Probably around hour 19 or 20

2. Could you list a few high-interest books that you think could keep a Reader engaged for next year?

I'm not the person to ask. I'm still getting through my one book. Personally I vote for Stephen King, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons or Robert McCammon.

3. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

Not really. I think you guys did a great job!

4. What do you think worked really well in this year’s Read-a-thon?

Lots of support for the readers. Lots of prizes and such to help keep people interested and entertained.

5. How many books did you read?

I am not a power reader. I am on my second book, but I was almost done with my first book before the read-a-thon began.

6. What were the names of the books you read?

I finished Invasion by Robin Cook, and am trying to finish up Castaways by Brian Keene now.

7. Which book did you enjoy most?


8. Which did you enjoy least?

Did not care for Invasion.

9. If you were a Cheerleader, do you have any advice for next year’s Cheerleaders?

Not really. They did a great job!

10. How likely are you to participate in the Read-a-thon again? What role would you be likely to take next time?

I'd like to be a reader again next year.

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by A Striped Armchair

This mini-challenge is brought to us by A Striped Armchair.

We were asked to either share a memory of Dewey (if we knew Dewey, which I didn't), or to check out her website and share something that we found that touched us somehow.

I found a post regarding Steinbeck's East of Eden, and in it Dewey writes: I really like the chapter that begins with a discussion of what Steinbeck calls monsters. He says that just as some people are born with physical deformities, so some people might be born with deformities of character, so that they may be missing a conscience or empathy or some other quality most of us consider essential. My personal opinion does match his."

I love that! That is so true and accurate! Steinbeck put that very well!

Read-a-thon: Hour 19

I've been taking a break from reading, but will be getting back to it soon. Right now I am cooking an egg and raisin bagel for an "egg/cheese bagel" sandwich. It's made in my Paula Deen Egg-and-Muffin Toaster. Toasted raisin bagel with butter and cinnamon sugar, topped with a poached egg and cheese. Yum!

I'm fueling up for the final round!

Testimony Giveaway at So Many Precious Books!

So Many Precious Books, So Little Time is giving away a copy of Testimony, by Anita Shreve. Five copies! Head over and get signed up. And mention my name in your comment as having referred you!

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by The Bluestocking Society

This mini-challenge is brought to us by The Bluestocking Society.

The goal is to list books that we love to read over and over again. I can't post any of my own photos, as so many of my books are still in boxes. However here is what I can come up with when I'm half-asleep...
  • Swan Song, by Robert McCammon: This is my all-time favorite. I can read it over and over again. I'm not sure what it is that I love about it, but I do love post-apocalyptic stories with a battle between good and evil, with good winning out in the end.
  • The Stand, by Stephen King: Another favorite post-apocalyptic-style story. A classic. This has been a favorite since I first read it when I was twelve.
  • The Wolf and the Dove or Shanna, by Kathleen Woodiwiss. Everyone needs a little romance every now and then.
  • Flowers in the Attic, by V.C. Andrews. Not currently on my bookshelf, but I've read it a number of times since I was about twelve. I was always fascinated with the idea of these kids living out their lives in a single room and an attic.

So those are a few of my favorites that I always keep on my bookshelf. I'd read them over and over.

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by Life in the Thumb

This mini-challenge is brought to us by Life in the Thumb.

You know you are participating in a read-a-thon when you start writing stuff like this, in an attempt to stay awake:

Ode to Mountain Dew

o, Mountain Dew
your green hue
strikes my eyes with brilliance
and dancing light.
Try as I might,
I cannot make it without you,
Mountain Dew.

Saturday, April 18, 2009

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by filling my patch of sky

This mini-challenge is brought to us by filling my patch of sky.

On the Munsell Hue Test, I scored a 24. This seemed to be pretty good for my age range.

I also did the accent test, on which I scored an unimpressive 14 pts. However I DID correctly identify the Miami, FL accent! (Not hard, since I live in South Florida!)

Read-a-thon: Hour 16

  • Title of book(s) read since last update: Now reading Castaways by Brian Keene
  • Number of books read since you started: 1 completed, on second book
  • Pages read since last update: 57
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 191
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hr 36 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 4 hr 38 minutes
  • Prize you’ve won: 0
  • Hours slept: 0
  • Caffeine ingested: One java chiller and one Coke

Read-a-thon: Hour 13 Update

  • Title of book(s) read since last update: Now reading Castaways by Brian Keene
  • Number of books read since you started: 1 completed, on second book
  • Pages read since last update: 49
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 134
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 1 hr 10 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 3 hr 2 minutes
  • Prize you’ve won: 0
  • Hours slept: 0
  • Coffee drank: One java chiller and Coke

Read-a-thon: Hour 13

Mid-Event Survey:

1. What are you reading right now?

Castaways, by Brian Keene

2. How many books have you read so far?

Finished one

3. What book are you most looking forward to for the second half of the Read-a-thon?

Probably either Breathers or Kitty and the Midnight Hour, but I could change my mind.

4. Did you have to make any special arrangements to free up your whole day?


5. Have you had many interruptions? How did you deal with those?

Lots. I have five cats and a live-in boyfriend, and their have been a couple of solicitors at the door and the interruptions of my own mind.

6. What surprises you most about the Read-a-thon, so far?

How little reading I've been able to get done.

7. Do you have any suggestions for how to improve the Read-a-thon next year?

None right now

8. What would you do differently, as a Reader or a Cheerleader, if you were to do this again next year?

Get more sleep the night before, kick my boyfriend out for part of the day!

9. Are you getting tired yet?

Not yet

10. Do you have any tips for other Readers or Cheerleaders, something you think is working well for you that others may not have discovered?

Not me. I'm doing terrible at this! I am a totally distracted person!

Read-a-thon: Hour 8

  • Title of book(s) read since last update: Now reading Castaways by Brian Keene
  • Number of books read since you started: 1 completed, on second book
  • Pages read since last update: 17
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 85
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 57 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 1 hr 52 minutes
  • Other participants you’ve visited: Probably 10 or 12
  • Prize you’ve won: 0
I'm doing terribly at this reading, but in my defense I have a lot of distractions, not the least of which being my boyfriend. And I have a little ADD, so my mind distracts itself. But I'm gonna keep trying! Back to it!

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by the Curious Reader

This mini-challenge is brought to us by the Curious Reader:

1. What is the name of your local library? What city is it located i

A: The North Fort Myers Library in North Fort Myers, FL.

2. How often do you go to the library? If you're a regular, do the staff know you

A: I've only gone a few times in the last 10 years, but plan on going more now. With this economy, the library is going to become a favorite family past time. I can check out books, and then only buy them if I wish to add them to my permanent collection.

3. Do you browse while you're there or just pick up items you have placed on reserve?

A: Yes, I browse. Sometimes I may already know what I want before I get there, and other times just want to browse what's available.

4. What is your favorite thing about your local library?

A: What a great way to get free books. And if I had kids I'd be there all the time. I think it's great for parents to take their kids to the library. I didn't have that as a kid.

Read-a-thon: Hour 7

  • Title of book(s) read since last update:Castaways by Brian Keene
  • Number of books read since you started: 1 completed, on second book
  • Pages read since last update: 19
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 48 (too much time doing challenges!)
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 55 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 55 minutes
  • Other participants you’ve visited: Probably 9 or 10
  • Prize you’ve won: 0
I walked out in my backyard, and got these shots:

The lizards are fighting and displaying on the ficus tree.


Lizard display

My bougainvillea and jasmine are in bloom.
Little bougie


The jasmine smells heavenly!

The mangoes and peppers are getting bigger.


And Daisy the Dove sits on her nest.
Daisy Dove

It was nice to get out for a minute, but I need to get reading. I've spent more time doing challenges than reading, as is apparent by my numbers above!

And I'm off!

Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by Sophisticated Dorkiness

This mini-challenge is brought to us by Sophisticated Dorkiness.

Sorry to run with my earlier idea, but it is exactly what Kim is asking for in this challenge.

For the next three hours, Readers and Cheerleaders are challenged to create a comic somehow inspired by the Read-a-Thon. Topic ideas include a story about your day so far, how you chose your books, a comic version of a book you’re reading, or something totally different.

You can draw your comic (on paper or on the computer — MSPaint anyone?) or you can choose to create your comic using photos you find online (be sure to credit your sources!). It doesn’t matter to me how you make the comic — be creative!

Once you’ve created your comic, put it in a post on your blog and put a link in Mr. Linky (below). If you don’t have a blog or don’t want to post it there, feel free to e-mail your comic to me (sophisticated.dorkiness[at] and I’ll find a way to get it posted. This contest is open to Readers and Cheerleaders for the next three hours (12:00 CST - 3:00 CST for me, Hours 6 - 8).

Here's mine:











Read-a-thon: Mini-Challenge by Book Gazing

This mini-challenge is brought to us by Book Gazing:

Look through the pile and take a picture of the cover you like the best, for whatever reason. It can be the prettiest, the oddest, the brightest...



Flip the book over and look at the blurb (or look on the inside of the jacket). Now here's the fun, little kid part - recreate the blurb anyway you want. What I'm looking for is some kind of tableau that expresses the main thrust of the book's plot (which the blurb should hopefully capture). You can recreate it using action figures, poppets, stuffed toys, lego creatures, models made from bluetack and paper clips, anything you can find around the house. If you're feeling really ambitious you can get people to help you out - dress them up and take a picture of them acting out the main idea behind the book. Mock it up quickly and have fun doing it :) Snap a picture of whatever you create. The challenge runs from 2pm - 4pm (GMT).

Meet Andy Warner, a recently deceased everyman and newly minted zombie. Resented by his parents, abandoned by his friends, and reviled by a society that no longer considers him human, Andy is having a bit of trouble adjusting to his new existence.

Beginning of story

But all of that changes when he goes to an Undead Anonymous meeting and finds kindred souls in Rita, an impossibly sexy recent suicide with a taste for the formaldehyde in cosmetic products, and Jerry, a twenty-one-year old car-crash victim with an exposed brain and a penchant for Renaissance pornography.

Middle of story

End of story

Sorry. I couldn't do it with just two photos!

REVIEW: Invasion, by Robin Cook

From Penguin's online site:

Robin Cook's "pressure cooker of a thriller" (Booklist) takes medical technology into a new realm, where everything we know about the human body-and the universe we live in-is about to be challenged.

First let me give you the background. People start coming down with a virus, and after quickly recovering, they are "changed". As it turns out, it is an alien virus. Kind of an inter-galactic "Guess Who's Coming To Dinner".

Let me put it bluntly: This book was almost painful to read. There were moments when I almost felt as if I were reading a creative writing project submitted by a high school student. It was contrived, almost juvenile, and at times the storyline made me feel like I was listening to an eight-year-old boy ramble on about his imaginary world. Like when my friend's son was bringing me into his play world one time, and he pulled some snips of electrical wire out of his pocket, held up the different colored strands and proceeded to tell me how they were DNA strands that he was going to...I don't know...morph into some hybrid or something. THAT's what this book was like for me. The ramblings of a child's mind.

At times, the book seemed almost pedantic, as if Cook was throwing around big words and medical jargon to show off. (Sidenote: Isn't it ironic that one would almost have to be a pedant in order to use the term "pedantic"? Just a little self-observation.)

This definitely was not what I expected of Robin Cook, one of the premier medical thriller authors. I struggled to stick with it. The last 100 pages I found myself constantly counting how many pages I had remaining to endure before I got to read a REAL story!

I may have liked this story at 12 years of age, but not at 40. If you are above the age of 17, I say, "Avoid this book!" There are so many better yarns out there to entertain your mind!

Product Details
  • Author: Robin Cook
  • Paperback: 432 pages
  • Publisher: Berkley (November 6, 2007)
  • ISBN-10: 0425219577
  • ISBN-13: 978-0425219577
My Rating: 4 out of 10

Read-a-thon: Hour 2

  • Title of book(s) read since last update:Invasion by Robin Cook (COMPLETED)
  • Number of books read since you started: 1
  • Pages read since last update: 39
  • Running total of pages read since you started: 39
  • Amount of time spent reading since last update: 40 minutes
  • Running total of time spent reading since you started: 40 minutes
  • Other participants you’ve visited: 0
  • Prize you’ve won: 0

Read-a-thon: Hour 1

I'm finishing up Invasion by Robin Cook


3 facts about me:
  • It's been quite awhile since I read a fictional story, so I am just getting back into reading
  • I am passionate about animals
  • I love to sit around on my couch and look out through my french doors and see my backyard. It always looks so peaceful.
How many books do you have in your TBR pile for the next 24 hours? 2 definite books and 12 possibilities total.

Do you have any goals for the read-a-thon (i.e. number of books, number of pages, number of hours, or number of comments on blogs)? Nope. My only goal is to finish this horrendous story Invasion that I've been reading and get on to something else!

If you’re a veteran read-a-thoner, Any advice for people doing this for the first time? I'm a newbie

And We're Off...

The 24-hour read-a-thon begins, and Nermal and I are all ready for it!

I am beginning by finishing the final 50 pages of the book that I am already reading, Invasion by Robin Cook.

Next on my list is Castaways by Brian Keene.

If I should finish that and continue on to other books, I have sitting next to me:
  • Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Breathers by S.G. Browne
However I have a whole list of books (see in my bar to the left) which I may choose from, so we'll see what I'm in the mood for.

And we're off!

Thursday, April 16, 2009

Dewey's 24-Hour Read-A-Thon

I've just learned of Dewey's 24-hour read-a-thon that is occurring this weekend, and I've decided to participate. I haven't decided what I will read, although I believe I will be starting with Castaways by Brian Keene. I don't know how quickly I will read, so I don't know whether I will make it through multiple books or just one, but you can find a list of my possible book choices to the left.

I am not what they term on the read-a-thon blog as a "hardcore reader". I will be eating meals, I will probably take small breaks to water my plants and care for my animals and such. I may try to stay up for the 24-hour period with small naps (no way I can do it without naps). We'll see how it goes. But I'll try my best with what the weekend brings. I'm looking forward to it!

Go to the blog to sign up to participate in this spring's read-a-thon.

Big Mother's Day Giveaway!

Jennifer at 5 Minutes for Books is having a huge Mother's Day Giveaway. They will be giving away a book every day from April 15th until April 25th! They are giving away a total of 17 books with a cumulative value of $225. She'll have books for all tastes.

To be eligible for the grand prize, just blog about the giveaway or email 10 people about it. For individual books, you just comment on each one. Check it out!

What to do with old books?

The Book Faery Reviews did a great article on your options for recycling old books that are being cleared off your bookshelves. Check it out! There are lots of great suggestions.

Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Authors and Publishers: Review Policy

If you are interested in having me review your book, please send me an email with information about the book (book title and brief synopsis) to nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

I have a wide range of interests, and depending upon the content I may enjoy other genres, but generally my interests lie in literary fiction, horror, post-apocalyptic, dystopian, and some thriller/suspense and YA. I also hold a special place in my heart for books about animals.

I do not accept e-books. I also will not generally read sci-fi/fantasy, western, or paranormal, and have a limited interest in non-fiction and romance, depending upon the subject matter.

Just check my recommended list on my right side-bar and my Wish List to get a better idea of the type of books that I like.

I generally review books within 2-4 months of receipt, and I will do my best to review books as close to the release date as possible. However please be aware that I do have a full-time job and a house to maintain, so I do not have the time to read as voraciously as some other reviewers. If you give me a deadline, I will do everything I can to try meet it, but sometimes life may get in the way.

I write honest reviews, but I will endeavor to be respectful and not cruel or unkind, or what is often called "snarky" these days. I post my reviews on my blog, Goodreads, Barnes & Noble, Amazon, and LibraryThing.

If you have any questions or would like to discuss anything with me, you may email me at nfmgirl AT gmail DOT com.

Monday, April 13, 2009


My name is Heather, and about ten years ago I was totally addicted to books, spending about $100 a month on them. I decided to break my habit, and put myself on something of a "book ban".

Now, ten years later, I find myself living back in the redneck country of my youth and an emptiness within me. I remember the joys of reading a good book and getting lost in a story. I miss that. And I thought to myself, as long as I watch my spending, who am I really hurting? I mean, if you are going to have an addiction, aren't books a healthier addiction to have?

So I am forcing myself to get away from the computer (my new addiction. Can you tell I have an addictive personality?), and dive back into my bookshelves and book piles.

I have a special passion for post-apocalyptic stories, but also love horrors and thrillers and other genres. I like a story that can really creep me out, make me double-check the locks on all the doors and pull my feet up so the monster under the bed can't get them! Occasionally I like an emotionally stirring book that can reach into my soul and mix it up.

I am not a "book club" kind of girl who wants to sit around and read complex stories and interpret the symbolism and debate character development. I just like a really good, entertaining yarn that I can lose myself in, or a story that will enable me to feel or experience things I normally wouldn't.

This blog will document my journey back to reading and escapism. We all need a little escapism in our lives!

(Please note: While I will be doing reviews of books that I read, I will not be churning them out at the speed I see so many others do it. I work full time, have a house and critters to care for, and blogging to do. That doesn't leave tons of time for reading. Plus I'm a little rusty and not the fastest reader right now. But I will share my thoughts when I finally get through a book!)

BoneMan's Daughter Giveaway

Peeking Between the Pages is giving away three copies of BoneMan's Daughter by Ted Dekker. I've been dying for this book. I can't wait to get my hands on it!

Get over to Peeking Between the Pages and try to win your copy now!

My Confession

My name is Heather, and I am an admitted bibliophile. I had stayed relatively "clean" for awhile, blogging instead of reading, but now I find myself falling off the wagon. And you know what? I don't care. I'm going to read! I'm going to collect books until they are coming out of my ears! I'll turn piles of them into tables and footstools! My cats will use them as cat beds. My bird would love to chew up the pages of any books within beak reach. They don't think it's wrong! They are happy to enable me!

I gave up cigarettes and most of my swearing, I'm trying to give up sweets and spending, so am I not allowed one vice?

So listen world! My name is Heather, and I shamelessly disclaim: "I am a bibliophile, and I'm proud of it!"

Now where did I put my books?

Wednesday, April 1, 2009

Books Available for Giveaway

This is a list of books that I have available for giveaways. Sometimes when I host a giveaway, it may be for a choice of book from this list. Most books are new, some are gently read. Please note that these books come from a non-smoking household, but I do have pets (so I can't promise there won't be a few cat or dog hairs!) A couple of these books may have remainder markings. If this concerns you, let me know and I will check the book(s) of your choice and let you know whether or not this is the case with them...

NOTE: Books will be sent via USPS uninsured. I will not be responsible for items lost or damaged in transit.

Explanation of why I have so many new books to give away: 

A few of these books are duplicates of books I already have, but most I'm simply giving up because I have way too many books to read. I got back into reading after a long hiatus, and I began collecting a lot of books through giveaways while attempting to determine what genres really interested me. I now have a better idea of what I like, and I know now that I probably will never get to many of the books on this list. There are way too many other books that I really want to read! This is why I've cut wayyyyy back on entering book giveaways. My current book intake is a fraction of what it was, as I am much more picky these days about which books I try to win...



Young Adult/Steampunk/Dystopian

General Fiction

Non-Fiction, Memoir/Bio and Self-Help

  • War by Sebastian Junger (NEW and unopened)

Copyright Infringement Disclaimer

It is not the intention of this blog or author to perpetrate copyright infringement on any other individual or corporation. If this blog has mistakenly breeched copyright on your material, please contact us via email to alert the author, and we will address the matter immediately.

Wish List

Here is a list of books that I want (the ones that I'm chomping at the bit for the hardest are in bold). Please note that I am aware that a correctly alphabetized list should not start with "A" and "The". It simply seemed to work better for this purpose:
  • A Canticle for Leibowitz by Walter M. Miller, Jr.
  • A Disobedient Girl by Ru Freeman
  • A Reliable Wife by Robert Goolrick
  • After Midnight by Richard Laymon
  • All Different Kinds of Free by Jessica McCann 
  • An Atlas of Impossible Longing by Anuradha Roy
  • Angelology by Danielle Trussoni
  • Animals by Don LePon
  • Animals Make Us Human: Creating the Best Life for Animals by Temple Grandin and Catherine Johnson
  • A Short History of Nearly Everything by Bill Bryson
  • Awakening Avery by Laurie Lewis
  • Before I Fall by Lauren Oliver
  • Blue World by Robert McCammon
  • Borderline by Bonnie Rozanski
  • Boy's Life by Robert McCammon
  • Caribou Island by David Vann
  • Chasing the Dead by Joe Schreiber
  • Cleopatra's Daughter by Michelle Moran
  • Cold Rock River by Jackie Lee Miles
  • Coop by Michael Perry
  • Crazy for the Storm by Norman Ollestad
  • Crimes of Paris by Dorothy and Thomas Hoobler
  • Crooked Letter, Crooked Letter by Tom Franklin
  • Daemon by Daniel Suarez
  • Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
  • Drood by Dan Simmons
  • Drunk, Divorced & Covered in Cat Hair by Laurie Perry
  • Earth Abides by George R. Stewart
  • Eddie's Bastard by William Kowalski
  • Enclave by Ann Aquirre
  • Feed by Mira Grant
  • Finding Faith in a Skeptical World by Chet Galaska
  • Fireflies in December by Jennifer Erin Valent
  • Fragile Beasts by Tawni O'Dell
  • Frankenstein Lost Souls by Dean Koontz
  • Freedom by Daniel Suarez
  • Full Dark, No Stars by Stephen King
  • Galore by Michael Crummey
  • God Stories by Jennifer Skiff
  • Gone South by Robert McCammon
  • Haroun and the Sea of Stories by Salman Rushdie
  • Hater by David Moody
  • Hawke's Green Beret Survival Manual by Myke Hawke
  • Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom
  • Hope Was Here by Joan Bauer
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford
  • Hothouse Flower and Nine Plants of Desire by Margot Berwin
  • How I Killed Pluto and Why It Had It Coming by Mike Brown
  • I Am Not a Serial Killer by Dan Wells
  • If You Lived Here, I'd Know Your Name by Heather Lende
  • Incarceron by Catherine Fisher
  • In the Land of Cotton by Martha A. Taylor
  • In the Woods by Tana French
  • Innocent Traitor by Alison Weir
  • Island by Aldous Huxley
  • Island by Richard Laymon
  • Island Beneath the Sea by Isabel Allende
  • Just Shy of Paradise by Carole Thayne Warburton
  • Kings of the Earth by Jon Clinch
  • Kissing Games of the World by Sandi Kahn Shelton
  • Kitchen House by Kathleen Grissom
  • Let the Great World Spin by Colum McCann
  • Let Me In by John Ajvide Lindqvist
  • Lime Tree Can't Bear Orange by Amanda Smyth
  • Little Princes: One Man's Promise to Bring Home the Lost Children of Nepal by Conor Grennan
  • Looking for Salvation at the Dairy Queen by Susan Gregg Gilmore
  • Lost Hours by Karen White
  • Matterhorn: A Novel of the Vietnam War by Karl Marlantes
  • Missing by Ronda Gibb Hinrichsen
  • My Name is Mary Sutter by Robin Oliveira
  • My Splendid Concubine by Lloyd Lofthouse
  • No Ordinary Joe by Larry Colton
  • One Second After by William R. Forstchen
  • Personal History of Rachel Dupree by Ann Weisbarger
  • Pope Joan by Donna Woolfolk Cross
  • Precious by Sandra Novack
  • Rape: A Love Story by Joyce Carol Oates
  • Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakely-Cartwright 
  • Riding Rockets by Mike Mullane
  • Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry
  • Safer by Sean Doolittle
  • Same Kind of Different As Me by Ron Hall and Denver Moore
  • Scent of the Missing by Susannah Charleson 
  • Secret Daughter by Shilpi Somaya Gowda
  • Separate Kingdoms by Valerie Laken
  • Small Island by Andrea Levy
  • So Cold the River by Michael Koryta
  • Something Missing by Matthew Dicks
  • Son of Hamas: A Gripping Account of Terror, Betrayal, Political Intrigue, and Unthinkable Choices by Ron Brackin
  • Sons and Lovers by D.H. Lawrence
  • Still Missing by Chevy Stevens
  • Storm Warning by Billy Graham
  • Summer of Night by Dan Simmons
  • Swamplandia! by Karen Russell 
  • Sweetie by Kathryn Magendie
  • Sweetwater Run by Jan Watson
  • Sworn to Silence by Linda Castillo
  • Tatsea by Armin Wiebe
  • Tell Me Something True by Leila Cobo
  • The Anarchist by John Smolens
  • The Autobiography of an Execution by David R. Dow
  • The Beach Trees by Karen White
  • The Bird Sisters by Rebecca Rasmussen
  • The Birthday Present by Barbara Vine
  • The Blue Notebook by James A. Levine
  • The Blue Tattoo by Margo Mifflin
  • The Dead Path by Stephen M. Irwin
  • The Diary by Eileen Goudge
  • The Eyes of Willie McGee by Alex Heard
  • The Fates Will Find Their Way by Hannah Pittard 
  • The Five by Robert McCammon
  • The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo by Stieg Larsson
  • The Girl Who Played with Fire by Stieg Larsson
  • The Glister by John Burnside
  • The Good Good Pig by Sy Montgomery
  • The Grand Design by Stephen Hawking
  • The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks by Rebecca Skloot
  • The Inheritance by Tamera Alexander
  • The Invisible Bridge by Julie Orringer
  • Their Eyes Were Watching God by Zora Neale Hurston
  • The Irresistible Henry House by Lisa Grunwald
  • The Keening by A. LaFaye
  • The Killing Tree by Rachel Keener
  • The Last Child by John Hart
  • The Lonely Polygamist by Brady Udall
  • The Long Walk by Slavomir Rawicz
  • The Lost City of Z by David Grann
  • The Marriage Plot by Jeffrey Eugenides
  • The Memory Thief by Rachel Keener
  • The Mistress of Nothing by Kate Pullinger
  • The Naming by Alison Croggon
  • The Other Side of the Island by Allegra Goodman
  • The Passion of Mary-Margaret by Lisa Samson
  • The Poacher's Son by Paul Doiron
  • The Poisonwood Bible by Barbara Kingsolver
  • The Pretend Wife by Bridget Asher
  • The Road of Lost Innocence by Somaly Man
  • The Scent of Rain and Lightning by Nancy Pickard
  • The Scorch Trials by James Dashner
  • The Secret by Beverly Lewis
  • The Space Between Us by Thrity Umrigar
  • The Story of Beautiful Girl by Rachel Simon
  • The Sweet In-Between by Sheri Reynolds
  • The Thin Executioner by Darren Shan
  • The Tiger: A True Story of Vengeance and Survival by John Vaillant
  • The Tsar's Dwarf by Peter Fogtdal
  • The Uninvited by Tim Wynne-Jones
  • The Unit by Ninni Holmqvist
  • The White Woman on the Green Bicycle by Monique Roffey
  • The Wives of Henry Oades by Johanna Moran
  • The Wolves of Andover by Kathleen Kent
  • The Woman Who Named God: Abraham's Dilemma and the Birth of Three Faiths by Charlotte Gordon
  • The Woods are Dark by Richard Laymon
  • They Thirst by Robert McCammon
  • Thirteen Days to Midnight by Patrick Carman
  • Thirteen Reasons Why by Jay Asher
  • This is Just Exactly Like You by Drew Perry
  • Tiger, Tiger by Margoux Fragoso
  • Tomorrow, When the War Began by John Marsden
  • Unbroken: A World War II Story of Survival, Resilience, and Redemption by Laura Hillenbrand
  • Uncle Tom's Cabin by Harriet Beecher Stowe
  • Undress Me in the Temple of Heaven by Susan Jane Gilman
  • Urban Gothic by Brian Keene
  • Water, Stone, Heart by Will North
  • We Are All Welcome Here by Elizabeth Berg
  • We Have Always Lived in the Castle by Shirley Jackson
  • Wench by Dolen Perkins-Valdez
  • We the Drowned by Carsten Jensen
  • Willow by Julia Hoban
  • Wither by Lauren Destefano 
  • Year of the Cock by Alan Wieder
  • You Know When the Men are Gone by Siobhan Fallon

Copyright Notice

This website and its content are copyright of the author (also referred to as NFMGirl or Cerebral Girl) of the blog Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World. Some rights reserved.

Any redistribution or reproduction of part or all of the content in any form is prohibited other than the following:
  • You may print or download to a local hard disk extracts for your personal and non-commercial use only.
  • You may copy the content to individual third parties for their personal use, but only if you acknowledge the website as the source of the material.
  • You may link to information on Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World on your own blog or via your own social media account with proper attribution to the author and website.
  • If you submit information for posting on Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World (e.g. contest information, guest posts, Q&A, etc.), that information may be redistributed through my blog. However, it should remain protected under the copyright of Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World, and not be copied, stolen or reproduced without written permission of the author of this blog or that of the original author.
  • The name of Cerebral Girl in a Redneck World is a trademark of this site and may not be used without express permission.
You may not, except with our express written permission, distribute or commercially exploit the content. Nor may you store it in any other website or other form of electronic retrieval system.

TBR List

These books are all sitting on my shelf waiting to be read:
  • A Gift of Grace by Amy Clipton
  • A Lucky Child by Thomas Buergenthal
  • A Thousand Splendid Suns by Khaled Hosseini
  • A Year In the Maine Woods by Bernd Heinrich
  • Afraid by Jack Kilborn
  • Agnes and the Hitman by Jennifer Cruise and Bob Mayer
  • B as in Beauty by Alberto Ferreras
  • Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger
  • Between the Tides by Patti Callahan Henry
  • Bless the Beasts and Children by Glendon Swartout
  • Breathers: A Zombie's Lament by S.G. Browne
  • Catching Genius by Kristy Kiernan
  • Darkest Evening of the Year by Dean Koontz
  • Darwin's Radio by Greg Bear
  • Dead Sea by Brian Keene
  • Do-Over! by Robin Hemley
  • Duma Key: A Novel by Stephen King
  • Eye Contact by Cammie McGovern
  • Fire at Midnight by Lisa Marie Wilkinson
  • Flirting With Forty by Jane Porter
  • Free Food for Millionaires by Min Jin Lee
  • French Kiss by Susan Johnson
  • Galway Bay by Mary Pat Kelly
  • Getting Warmer by Carol Snow
  • Ghoul by Brian Keene
  • Girls in Trucks by Katie Crouch
  • Houston, We Have a Problem by Gwendolyn Zepeda
  • How I Got to Be Whoever It Is I Am by Charles Grodim
  • Hungry Woman in Paris by Josefina Lopez
  • I Loved, I Lost, I Made Spaghetti by Giulia Melucci
  • Intensity by Dean R. Koontz
  • John's Story (The Jesus Chronicles, Book 1)
  • Kitty and The Midnight Hour by Carrie Vaughn
  • Learning to Breathe by Karen White
  • Love Walked In by Marisa de los Santos
  • Made in the USA by Billie Letts
  • Mating Rituals of the North American WASP by Lauren Lipton
  • Mistress of the Art of Death by Ariana Franklin
  • Night by Elie Wiesel
  • One Month To Live, Thirty Days to a No-Regrets Life by Kerry and Chris Shook
  • Prisoner of Tehran by Marina Nemat
  • Savage by Richard Laymon
  • Showdown by Ted Dekker
  • Snow Flower and the Secret Fan by Lisa See
  • Storm of the Century by Stephen King
  • Strangers from a Different Shore by Ronald Takaki
  • Terror by Dan Simmons
  • Testimony by Anita Shreve
  • The Bargain by Julia Templeton
  • The Covenant by Beverly Lewis
  • The Disappearance of Irene dos Santos by Margaret Mascarenhas
  • The Doctor's Wife by Elizabeth Brundage
  • The Fortune Cookie Chronicles by Jennifer 8. Lee
  • The Girl She Used To Be by David Cristifano
  • The Girl Who Stopped Swimming by Joshilyn Jackson
  • The Good Guy by Dean Koontz
  • The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova
  • The Host by Stephanie Meyer
  • The Hottest State: A Novel by Ethan Hawke
  • The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
  • The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
  • The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan
  • The Painter from Shangai by Jennifer Cody Epstein
  • The Pillars of the Earth: by Ken Follett
  • The Science of God: The Convergence of Scientific and Biblical Wisdom
  • The Secret Bride: In the Court of Henry VIII by Diane Haeger
  • The Secret Life of CeeCee Wilkes by Diane Chamberlain
  • The Sleeping Beauty Proposal by Sarah Strohmeyer
  • The Turnaround by George Pelecanos
  • The Vixen Diaries by Karrine Steffans
  • The Vixen Manual by Karrine Steffans
  • Trail of Crumbs by Kim Sunee
  • Transparency by Frances Hwang
  • Twilight by Stephanie Meyer
  • World War Z: An Oral History of the Zombie War by Max Brooks

About the Banner

The truck in the banner was an actual truck that we were driving behind one day, and is not an anomaly in this area. The truck's image was altered to say "FERD", and the license plate was changed, but otherwise it's the real thing! Sometimes you may find the inclusion of a rebel flag in the truck bed in addition to the US flag, or perhaps a cage for hunting dogs or captured hogs (or the occasional dead hog), but this is South Florida-- proud redneck country! Someone get me the hell out of here!