Tuesday, December 18, 2012

2013 TBR Pile Challenge

I found the best Challenge for the new year. I have not had a chance to read any of my own books for such a long time and the pile has grown so big. So, I will be taking a break from review books and return to reading my own books. So, here are the books that I have chosen to read for this challenge:

1. The Devil in the White City by Erik Larson (2003)
2. The Book Thief by Markus Zusak (2006)
3.Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen (2006)
4. A Thousand Pleasant Suns by Khaled Hosseini (2007)- read in August
5. Patient Zero by Jonathan Maberry (2009)- Read in May
6. 206 Bones by Kathy Reichs (2009) - read in January
7.The Van Allen Legacy by Melissa De La Cruz (2009)
8. The Likeness by Tana French (2009) -read in January
9. Faithful Place by Tana French (2010)
10. Forever by Maggie Stiefvater (2011)
11. The Weird Sisters by Eleanor Brown (2011)
12. Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children by Ransom Riggs (2011) - read in April

I forgot my alternates! Here they are:

American Gods: The Tenth Anniversary Edition by Neil Gaiman (2011)
Bumped by Megan McCafferty (2011) - read in May

Do you have a large TBR pile, too? Join the challenge! Head on over to RoofBeamReader and sign up. Let's see if we can make a dent in our piles.

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Review: The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

I was pleasantly surprised by this book. It was such a beautifully, almost poetically, written zombie apocalypse novel. Its definitely not a typical zombie story. The infected are not dead. They are sick people, who's mental state slowly degenerates. They are covered in boils and highly contagious. They are a frightening addition to the horror genre.

Daniel Raymond is 14 year old, left alone in his apartment in the middle of the quarantined borough. He thinks of his mother, his friend Katie and their lives before the outbreak. Within the walls of the quarantine, the police have become corrupt, the people dependent on them for food and protection. There are also The Listeners, a band of boys and men with an ear chopped off that seem almost a myth, but who have an agenda of their own. Then there are the infected roaming the streets. 

The story goes back and forth in time, and is sometimes interspersed with Daniel's dreams and what seem like hallucinations. It is very affective at portraying the madness and desperation within him to find answers to what is happening around him.

I realize that this review sounds a bit vague but I feel sharing even some of the plot gives away too much. You will enjoy it better if you read it without knowing what is coming next.

Source: from author for review, NetGalley

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Friday, December 7, 2012

Advent Calendar

Does anyone else have a hard time keeping up with your Advent Calendar?

 I always forget to put a new ornament on our Advent tree, and these little knits only get emptied when the little girl remembers. She is so much better than I am. It's the treats.  I filled it with leftover halloween candy, clementines, some fruit snacks and am trying to get some ornaments knit and in there on time.

An almost finished candy cane ornament. 
I am cutting it close with this one. Have to get it in there by tomorrow! She is, unfortunately, not as excited to get them as I hoped. She can't eat them, so…

One knit ornament ball. Hopefully my next attempt looks a little better.

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Wednesday, December 5, 2012

Wordless Wednesday

Bardessano Inn and Spa
Yountville, CA

For more Wordless Wednesday visit: http://wordlesswednesday.blogspot.com

Dead Ringer Holiday Special!

Here is a really great Holiday deal! 

Dead Ringer is available on Amazon for only $1.99 from now until Christmas as part of their Special Holiday Seasonal Promo. Click here to find it and some other great deals or click on book cover to got straight to the book's page.

Below you will find more info on the book and a link to my review.
Happy Holidays!
You can find my review here.
Heart Stopping Medical Thriller Takes On
True-to-Life Body Snatcher Syndicates
Recent Newspaper Headlines Confirm Horrifying Premise

"In the tradition of Robin Cook, Wyler takes us behind the scenes to show us things the medical establishment doesn’t want us to see. DEAD RINGER builds a high-speed plot on a startling but all-too-plausible premise. This is the stuff nightmares are made of."

-- Joseph Finder, New York Times bestselling author of Paranoia and Buried Secrets

“…Wyler does for hospitals what Benchley did for the ocean.”

--Joe Moore, Co-author of the International Bestseller, The Grail Conspiracy

Neurosurgeon Allen Wyler knows of what he speaks, and writes, and the result is a thriller that equals and updates the best of Robin Cook and Michael Crichton.”

--Jon Land, bestselling author of Strong at the Break

While speaking at a Hong Kong medical conference, neurosurgeon Dr. Lucas McCrae slips the cloth off a cadaver’s head during a routine medical demonstration, and is overwhelmed by what’s staring back at him: The face of his best friend, Andy Baer.

Stunned, McCrae races back to Seattle to discover that Andy is in fact missing and may have been murdered by a gang of body snatchers who operate a legit funeral business and make a fortune by selling recovered body parts to medical researchers. 

McCrae teams up with an unlikely pair—a beautiful but hardnosed female cop and a gang member whose family was victimized by the cadaver ring—to try and expose a macabre web of corruption that involves law enforcement, politicians, funeral home curators and murdered prostitutes.

Internationally renowned neurosurgeon Allen Wyler takes us deep into a nightmarish scenario, shockingly ripped from recent headlines, to deliver a horrifically plausible, page-turning thriller.


Medical research has always been a cornerstone of medical innovation, and thus of our society. But throughout history, many suspect that the gathering of human bodies for research has never been purely ethical or legal. Many believe that today, sophisticated international syndicates exist that traffic in body parts for medical research; the most recent incident appearing in the New York Times just weeks ago. ( HYPERLINK "http://nyti.ms/NfU5kU" http://nyti.ms/NfU5kU

We feel this crime has been elusively clandestine, easily dismissed, and in many cases overlooked for cynical reasons. We would like to go on record as agreeing with ethics scholars that everyone involved in the medical community, be they students practitioners, media or affiliates should remain vigilant and forthright; and embrace the high standard of responsibility inherent in the ethical conduct of medical research, especially when it involves human remains.
Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

2012 Challenges Wrap Up post

I completed my Challenges!!! Yay. I wasn't sure I would but I managed it. I am very proud of myself. :) It hasn't been a good year for reading, but I am happy that I met these and already have more than 25 books read. How did you all do with your challenges this year?

Literary Escapism's New Author Challenge
My goal: try for 15 books by new-to-me authors. 

1. Rebecca Skloot, The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks
2. JoJo Moyes, The Last Letter From Your Lover
3. Hilary Thomson, A Will to Murder
4. MJ Rose, The Book of Lost Fragrances
5. Ethan Coen, The Day the World Ends: Poems
6. Darby Rae, Merciful Law
7. Lucinda Riley, The Orchid House
8. Susan Straight, A Million Nightingales
9. Deborah Davis, Guest of Honor
10. Susan Straight, A Million Nightengales
11. Theodore Weesner, The Car Thief
12. Erin Morgenstern, The Night Circus
13. Elizabeth Haynes, Into the Darkest Corner
14. Allen Wyler, Dead End Deal
15. Posie Graeme-Evans, The Island House

Rose City Reader'sEuropean Reading Challenge
My goal: attempting the Five Star (Deluxe Entourage)- Five books by different European authors or books set in different European countries.

1. The Girl Who Kicked the Hornet's Nest by Steig Larssen (Sweden)
2. The Last Letter from Your Lover by JoJo Moyes (England)
3. Are You Somebody? by Nuala O'Faolain (Ireland)
4. The Orchid House by Lucinda Riley (England/France)
5. The Island House by Posie Graeme-Evans (Scotland)

Thanks to Rose City Reader and Literary Escapism for some great challenges this year!

Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, November 8, 2012

Breaking Dawn, Pt 2

So, who's planning on going to see Breaking Dawn, pt 2?

 I just purchased tickets at the Alamo Drafthouse in Austin for next Saturday. Going with the same group of friends I saw Twilight and New Moon with. Movies aren't all that great but the friends and the theatre are wonderful! I can't wait.


Sunday, November 4, 2012

Review: Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

Abdication by Juliet Nicolson
352 pages, hardcover
Published May 2012, Atria Books

In 1936, King Edward abdicated from the thrown so he could marry his twice divorced American love, Wallis Simpson. The novel, Abdication follows the lives of those surrounding them in the months preceding.

Evangeline, a childhood friend of Wallis, who comes to London to stay with her godmother, and keep Wallis company. May, the chauffeur employed by Evangeline's godmother's husband, who along with her brother, have come to England to escape their father and make a new life for themselves. Their lives during this time are the main stories of the novel. Evangeline's sad attempts to be needed and May's relationships with her family and friend of her employer's son are interesting and do give an insight into the lifestyles of England's different classes in the 1930's.

Also thrown in was the affects of the growth of the Nazi party in Germany and the threat of war, but not enough of the politics and controversy of Edward and Wallis' relationship, abdication and marriage. I really would have liked to have learned more about the affects their relationship had on the rest of the royal family and the people of England. They were definitely an interesting couple and I wished to have seen more about them.

I did enjoy this book. I thought it well written and the characters interesting. I really kind of liked and felt sorry for Evangeline in the beginning. So much so, that the end was shocking and so unexpected. Such a sad person. May was interesting as well-taking on a job that was mostly a man's profession, finding love and forgetting the hardships of her childhood. This was great bedtime reading.

Despite, not getting enough of the Wallis and Edward story, I have managed to find quite a lot about their story. I just finished watching a documentary about them on PBS and there is a new biography out about Wallis Simpson. I guess people still want to know about the lady who a King chose over his kingdom.

Source: sent for review from the publisher


FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Monday, October 29, 2012

It's Monday! Halloween Reading

Busy weekend but got some reading done! Yay!
Look for my review of Abdication by Juliet Nicolson on Thursday.
I will be reading The Listeners by Harrison Demchick and The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley.
There will probably be quite a number of Halloween books read with the little girl, too. Her new favorite- Caillou's Halloween. :)
Happy Reading!

Happy Halloween!

Halloween has always been one of my favorite days. The costumes, the decorations and the candy!
As an adult, I haven't been into the costumes as much but now as a mom I am excited to have a little girl to deck out each year. 

Here are a few pics from my Halloween's as a kid. I was a child of the 80's, hence the "Let's Get Physical" costume. Not sure if I was going for zombie or ghost in the top right one. Let's go with ghoul.  Bottom- witch, of course. I believe that is a plastic cape. Haha.
Happy Halloween!

And one more. Here is the little girl enjoying her first time trick-or-treating. My sweet little honey bee.

Happy Halloween!
Visit Jenn's Bookshelves and check out her Murder, Monsters, Mayhem event going on now. There is also a giveaway. Go now and join the Halloween fun. :)

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

Lets Go Giants!!!

9:20pm and just got the little girl down for bed. I am afraid that the World Series and The Giants took precedent tonight. I have to say, it was kind of worth it to see her jumping up and down when the Panda got that third homerun. So cute! How did I not get that on camera?

Anyway, The Giants are in the World Series and being here in the Bay Area, we are a little preoccupied with baseball right now. Not much reading is happening. I am getting some knitting done. See this lovely orange raglan pullover I am making for the little girl? We love our Giants around here. :)


I do have a couple books on my bedside table right now:

Abdication by Juliet Nicolson
The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

Hoping to get these read and reviewed by the end of next week.
Happy Reading!

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Toddler Tales 3: Halloween Fun!

Having a two year old during the Halloween season is amazing. We have been having so much fun decorating and putting "ah-oh-ween" everywhere.

Today we put up spiderwebs on the porch and the little girl helped to attach the little black spiders all over it. She was more interested on sitting on the pumpkins we got over the weekend but it was still fun.

Our crafty activity today was using foam stickers of face parts and putting them on cut-out foam pumpkins. We have some crazy looking jack-o-lanterns in our window!

Activity ( letter recognition, name knowledge):

While the little girl was in bed last night I cut out some small pumpkins from orange construction paper and wrote a letter of her name on each one. We will mix them up and arrange them correctly so they spell her name. She will be able to play with them for a few days and eventually we will glue them on a paper with a fence and learn the song 5 little pumpkins. The little girl's name is only four letters so there will be an extra to add on. :)

Decorations, crafts and treats. So much to do. The most exciting part for me is how much she has been enjoying the Halloween books I pulled out for her. We read a "ah-oh-ween" book every night!

Here are her favorites:

Froggy's Halloween by Jonathon London

It's Pumpkin Time by Zoe Hall

On Halloween Night by Harriet Ziefert


FTC Disclosure: Clicking on title and image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Book Review: Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
213 pages, ebook
Published September 2009, Hyperion

Do you all love Castle as much as I do? It is one of my favorite shows and I find it pretty ingenious that the writers have actually written and published the books that are mentioned on the show. I purchased the first book, Heat Wave, awhile ago but just hadn't found the time to read it until now.

First, I should say that you shouldn't expect great literature here. This is just a fun read. Silly, Castle fun. It's hard not to picture Beckett and Castle in the characters of Nikki Heat and Jameson Rook while following them as they investigate the apparent suicide of "a real estate mogul". 

Turns out that Matthew Starr did not jump but was thrown off the balcony. Detective Heat, along with Detectives Raley and Ochoa and the journalist tag-along, Jameson Rook do what they do to solve the murder and catch the bad guy (or gal). 

The murder mystery is okay, not too hard to figure out, but the Castle like feel is here in the banter between Heat and Rook, the relationship escalates a little faster in the book than in the series, but of course, Castle wrote it. He is living his fantasy, right?

If you enjoy Castle you will enjoy this book.

Source: purchased ebook

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on title and image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Book Review: Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler

Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler
ebook, 334 pages
Published June 2012, Astor+Blue

First the pharmaceutical companies now the body parts business. Wyler once again has made me a little freaked out about what goes on within the business of medicine. This is the second book by Allen Wyler that I have read and my favorite. It starts off with quite a surprise.

What happens when not enough people are donating themselves to science? Where do the cadavers and body parts for research and education come from? Dead Ringer shows how easy it is for people to disappear off the streets and end up on a table in a school anatomy lab. Or in the case of Andy Baer, his head finds its way to a demonstration table in Hong Kong where his best friend, neurosurgeon Lucas McRae, is about to perform a craniotomy. 

McRae, with the help of Detective Wendy Elliot, who has also lost a friend, set out to find answers and get justice for the deaths of their friends and the hundreds of others who have met their ends for the sole purpose of making a Funeral Director some extra money through selling body parts to researchers, medical schools, etc. 

This time, knowing "who did it" didn't hurt the story/suspense since it was more about how to prove the crime and get justice for the almost perfect murders. No bodies, almost perfect records, and the sad truth that those who have been killed are those who will not be missed- makes for a difficult case to make when all they have is circumstantial evidence.
If you like medical thrillers, this is a book you should pick up.
Source: Thanks Lauren from Blue Dot Literary, publicist

FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

Sunday, October 14, 2012

Mailbox Monday

I have been trying to control the number of books that come in to our house lately. I am desperately running out of space in our small rooms. I do have two books to share today, though. One is for review and the second is for my book group. What books did you get this past week?

The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley

The Maltese Falcon by Dashiell Hammet

Mailbox Monday is being hosted this month by the Mailbox Monday blog. Click on over and see what books others got and share what came into your house. 

Happy Reading!


FTC Disclosure: Clicking on book title and/or image links will lead you to my Amazon Affiliate page.

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

I finished some books! Yay.

Heat Wave by Richard Castle
Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler

I will post both reviews this week.

This week I will be reading Abdication by Juliet Nicolson and probably continuing with Steve Jobs. I had thought about abandoning it but after our book group discussion I think I may give it another try. I may just skip ahead to the parts I want to read about.

Anyway, here's to a great week.

Happy Reading!

Sunday Salon: The Day after the Readathon

Good Morning Readers! 

Hope you all had a great Readathon! I was sad not to be able to officially participate this time. Maybe I can do some cheering next time. I was able to get a little reading in yesterday but definitely not as much as all those who participated in Dewey's 24 hour Readathon. I started Abdication by Juliet Nicolson and got 52 pages read. I am looking forward to checking out everyone's recaps today to see how everyone did.

Pumpkin Patch in Half Moon Bay

The hubby, little girl and I had a lovely weekend. We went out to Half Moon Bay and visited a pumpkin patch. We came home with some great looking pumpkins and some really great photos. The little girl had so much fun. We went to Bob's Pumpkin Patch on Hwy 1. Besides pumpkins, they also had some farm animals and a hay pyramid for climbing. So much fun.  On Saturday, we had family over and had a nice dinner out. Earlier that day we went on a toddler friendly hike at Huddard Park. Really nice family weekend.

Today, on my agenda, is Book Group. We will be discussing the autobiography, Steve Jobs by Walter Isaacson over brunch. I am very interested to hear what others thought of this book. I did not manage to get it read in time. Half way through and I decided to stop. 

This week look for my reviews of:
Dead Ringer by Allen Wyler
Heat Wave by Richard Castle

Current read:
Abdication by Juliet Nicolson

On the TBR pile:
The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley
The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

Happy Reading!

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Orange October

These playoff games are TORTURE! My goodness, the Giants really know how to keep us fans on the edge of our seats.

Let's Go Giants!

Anyway, October has been a slow month for me so far. I am still reading 2 of 3 books I was reading when the month started. One may be a dnf. I am having a hard time getting through the Steve Jobs book. I just don't feel the need to read any more about his temper tantrums and bratty ways. I have a toddler.

My other book, Dead Ringer, is good but I have been bad about reading. I have been knitting, watching baseball, taking care of said toddler. My reading time has been on the low side. I am half way through. Just need a few hours to sit and read.

I have been really missing all the fall online bookish activities: RIP, Dewey's Readathon, BBAW, etc. Was hoping to get back into it all this year but a 2yo takes a lot of energy and time. :) next year!

I do have a review for you all- Heat Wave by Richard Castle. Look for that next Thursday. And here are the books on my bedside table to be read next:

Abdication by Juliet Nicholson
The Girl on the Cliff by Lucinda Riley
The Listeners by Harrison Demchick

Happy reading!

Thursday, October 4, 2012

Book Review: Ninepins by Rosy Thornton

Ninepins by Rosy Thornton
320 pages, paperback
Published 2012, Sandstone Press
Another great book by Thornton. I have enjoyed every book I have read by the author. Her characters are so well developed - likable and real and so easy to identify with. Ninepins is different than her previous books, a little more serious, a bit of a thriller but with the same heart.

Laura and her 12 year old daughter Beth are on their own living a slightly secluded property with a room to rent. In need of money, Laura rents the pumphouse out to Willow, a 17 year old girl who has been under care and has a social worker. A little worried about her past, Laura is a bit apprehensive about her new renter and the relationship she is building with her young impressionable daughter.

Willow definitely has an affect on their lives, but in ways they didn't expect. 

Source: Book sent by the author for review

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Wednesday Knitting

Halloween is approaching so costume making has commenced. 

The little girl and I have decided on a Bee as the costume for this year. Like last year, I have decided to knit the main part of the costume. Once again, it is a functional piece of clothing with some black and yellow stripes to make it look bee-like. I have made her a tunic sweater with Fibonacci striping that will be paired with some yellow leggings, antennae headband and wings that I will either make or purchase. Haven't figured that out yet.
Anyway, here is what I got so far. Needs some sleeves, and the last bit of the skirt but I am rather proud of this little sweater. First time coming up with my own idea, pattern. I kinda like it.
It's a little hard to see the detail due to the bad lighting. Sorry. Didn't have time during the day to photograph.

Click the button to share your WIPs and/or see what others are working on.