Monday, March 29, 2010

A Tribute to Gale K and Living Dead in Dallas Review

Not long ago I met a woman by the name of Gale in my Play Book Tag Group on Shelfari. She was a delightful woman with a very similar taste in books as mine. We got to know each other more when we were both chosen for the Darlingly Dynamic Diva's Group in a game we were both playing. Recently her daughter posted to The Play Book Tag group that Gale passed away last year. Sadly Gale stopped posting several months ago and I personally feel very sad that I didn't notice her absense sooner. We often make friends with people online and then don't realize how much time has passed since we last spoke with that person. I am vowing to try to change this about myself. Gale was a wonderful woman who should be remembered for her sweet demeanor and great taste in books, I wish I knew her longer.

In memory of Gale I wanted to share Gale's Shelfari profile and the picture of her mosaic tabletop that she created (above right):
"Although I have only been a member of Shelfari for a short time I have been reading for many years. I received my first book at the age of six and have been reading for pleasure ever since. My hobbies are reading, quilting and stained glass. My "photo" is actually a mosaic tabletop I built and is stained glass on clear glass. I have been married for 31 years and have two grown children who are also readers. One of my favorite things to do is work with beginning readers. I love to see children fall in love with reading, it opens a whole world of possibilities for them. I enjoy discussing books with others and fully admit to a gap in the non-fiction area of my reading list."
When I log on to Shelfari and see her still in my friends list it brings a pang to my heart to think she is no longer with us. Gale was a great contributor to the group and she is greatly missed.

As a tribute to Gale a group of us at PBT decided to read a book from her shelf of Shelfari. My book of choice was Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris. Gale was a big fan of Sookie and this review is for her:

Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris
#2 in the Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series
Rating: 3 Stars

Pub. Date: March 2002
Publisher: Penguin Group (USA) Incorporated
Format: Mass Market Paperback, 304pp
Series: Sookie Stackhouse/Southern Vampire Series, #2
ISBN: 0441009239
Purchased from

One of the staff from Merlots is found dead outside of the bar and finding out who did it leads Sookie to places she never thought she'd go. Meanwhile, Sookie has been employed by the Vampires yet again and her and Bill set off to Dallas to locate a missing vampire. Sookies skills are necessary to covertly find out what people know from the place the vampire was last seen. Before they can head out she is attacked by a maenad as a message to the vampire Eric.

I am a big fan of the True Blood HBO Series and I believe that comparing the latest season to the book is actually taking away from the book for me. The stories are similar enough to make you compare them but different enough to be disappointed in the book. The Southern Vampire series is definitely unique and interesting. Harris has a great imagination and I like what she brings to the world of vampires, but I almost wish the book was exactly as True Blood season II was. I didn't want to spend this entire review talking about the HBO series because it's about the book but it does add to some disappointment for me when reading the book.

I will be reading the next book in the series before the next season of True Blood, as to not ruin the book for me. I believe that I'll enjoy it alot more and appreciate it what it is instead of comparing it.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Transfiguration)
  • Romance Reading Challenge
  • RYOB Reading Challenge
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • PBT March Tag: Other

Thursday, March 25, 2010

WoWO Book Club Meeting and The Help Review

On Wednesday night we had another successful Women of Washington Oaks (WoWO) book club meeting. This time we discussed The Help by Kathryn Stockett.

Rating: 4 Stars by the WoWOs

In Jackson, Mississippi in 1962 things were very different then they are today. During this time there are very clear lines between the white middle class elite and their African American help. As we learn in reading The Help, these lines do not get crossed without very real consequences. The Help follows three different, yet extraordinary, women through their everyday lives during this time: Skeeter is a white woman, just graduating from college, whose mother is disappointed that she has not found a man yet. Growing up she had a maid who, when she returned from school, was no longer employed at her home and no one will speak of what happened to her. Aibileen is an African American maid who is caring and nurturing to the children she is raising for the families that she works for. Aibileen loves and cherishes Mae Mobley, the latest child she is raising, and tries to show her that she is beautiful and how to be anything but the racist women she is fated to become. Minny is a ballsy and spunky African American maid who has had problems in the past with her mouth. She finally is able to secure a position with Celia, who is new in town and doesn't not know of her reputation. These three women come together to make real change happen in Jackson, Mississippi and the reader gets to be a fly on the wall for their courageous and very well written journey.
If you have not read this book, there are some spoilers below in the text and the pictures:

The group as a whole enjoyed the story and loved the characters. One person rated the book 3.5 (due to subject matter not being her thing) but everyone else rated the book 4.5 to 5. Which is the highest ratings yet from the WoWO. We had one person who hadn't finished the book, but she will now that she has heard what we loved about the book. The group was torn on who their favorite character was. We all agree that the three main characters were wonderfully written and we loved them all. Minny is Ballsy and has a lot of Spunk, Aibileen was caring and nurturing and was the one to stick her neck out there and bring everyone together for the book to be a success. Skeeter was a great catalyst for change and shows that not everyone during this time felt the same. Our least favorite characters are pretty easy to guess if you read the book: Hilly being the number one choice, Leroy and Skeeter's mom were close behind in the votes. We all also agreed that Two Slice Hilly deserved what she got in that pie from Minny.

We all believed that if Aibileen stayed working for Elizabeth that there was a good chance Mae Mobley would have grown up to be just like her mother. Racism is taught and no matter what Aibileen tried to instill in her, the chances were slim that she would be different than the others as she grew up.

All of us felt that the setting was wonderfully written and you could picture the places and scenes vividly in your mind. The shifts in point of view gave a good and complete narrative to the places, people and events in the story and the character development was very well done. Several in the group didn't love the ending because they didn't feel they got the closure they needed for some of the characters. We are hoping that this was left open because there is a sequel coming, we would love to have another look into the lives of these women a few years down the road.

Although The Help is fiction, I personally loved how Kathryn Stockett incorporated her real experiences with Demetrie and being from the south into this book. I also loved that the descriptions of the cover of Help, the story the women wrote in the book, being the same as the cover of The Help. These two elements really gave the story an aire of realism and made you feel as if you were reading truth instead of fiction.

Entertainment Weekly mentions that there is a movie in the works for this book and we are excited at the prospect. We will definitely make the WoWO group trip to the movies for this one!

I would like to say a special thank you to Lori, Tricia and Bernice for bringing Minny's Chocolate Custard Pie! For those of you who read the book, you'll love this:

Tricia wouldn't eat it though... Hmmmm... Should we be worried?!?! Tricia hated Hilly enough to probably go as far as Minny did. Don't get on her bad side!

May I present to you the Lovely Sisters of the Mighty WoWO:

Left to Right:
Louise, Tricia, Karen, Peggy, Lori, Faith(Me), Myrta, Linda (w/Miles) and Bernice

Thank you ladies for making this book club such a success!

Also, Thanks to "the Help" from last night, Hector! Thanks for making sure we had our drinks full and food in our bellies! We appreciated all the help ;-)

The WoWO's next book club meeting will be on May 14th and we will be reading The Love Ceiling by Jean Davies Okimoto.

The Help book fits into the following categories/challenges for me:
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Charms)
  • New Authors Challenge
  • PBT Mar Tag: Other

Monday, March 22, 2010

Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey

Rating: 3/5 Stars

Dragonflight is book one in the Dragonriders of Pern Series.

I couldn't come up with a synopsis for this without giving away plot lines so here is the synopsis from BN.Com:
After ten long turns, Lessa was ready to come out of hiding, to reclaim her birthright...and to Impress the young dragon queen and become Weyrwoman of Benden.Suddenly the deadly silver Thread once again threatened all Pern with destruction. But the mighty telepathic dragons that for centuries had defended Pern were now few in number, not nearly enough to protect the planet in its hour of greatest peril. So Lessa hatched a daring and dangerous scheme: Rally support from people who had long ago ceased to exist...
I had some trouble with the language/translation of this book, especially in the beginning on the ramp up. The details didn't interest me all that much and I didn't take the time to really focus on the language and the details. If there was something I was unclear about I forged through the text and hoped that it would become clear to me later, sometimes it did and sometimes it didn't. I'm glad I read the book, because it was a good storyline, but I wasn't enthralled with it. I did feel I was rushing through to finish it, and that may be what my main issue was in not getting the details. I was a bit disappointed by the way it felt to end before it should have but then I heard that this was written with a series in mind, so then it makes sense to leave some of the plot line open. Some friends whose judgment I trust liked this story alot more than I did, so I know it probably deserved more deep reading than I gave it. I may come back and re-read this one at some point, naybe it wasn't the right time for me to be reading this one. I will read on in the series if my fellow group members from Fantasy Thriller and Horror want to continue with it as a group, but I probably wouldn't continue it on my own.

This books fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Reading Challenge (Care of Magical Creatures)
  • Monthly Mixer Mele (A in April)
  • New Authors Challenge
  • PBT March Tag: Other

Saturday, March 20, 2010

Raven Stole the Moon Giveaway WINNER!


The winner was chosen via based on the number you were in the order of signing up for the challenge:

The numbers assigned were as follows:

1) Annette
2) Strandlezer (Barbara)
3) Nicole (CoyoteMusic)
4) Suzanne
5) Nicole R
6) Annapi
7) WonderBunny
8) Roberta
9) Doy you love to read? (Melissa)
10) Mom2MandJ
11) Punxygal

And without further ado... The winner chosen by is...................................


Roberta, I have emailed you privately through your Blogger account for your mailing address. Please email me with your mailing address to asap so that I can get the address to Terra Communications and we can get the book out to you ASAP.

Thank you to Sarah at Terra Communications for supplying the book for the giveaway and to all of you who entered to make my first book giveaway a success!

Monday, March 15, 2010

Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag

Rating: 3.5/5 Stars

In the sequel to Ashes to Ashes, A internal affairs cop, Andy Fallon, is found dead with a single message on the mirror, "Sorry." Although it looks like it could be a suicide or accidental death, something just doesn't seem right to Sargent Kovak. Even after the cops sweep this one under the rug as an accidental death, Kovak can't stop diving into the depths of this one. When Andy's father Mike is found dead and it too looks like suicide, until it is found to be a murder staged as suicide, Kovak and his partner Liska know that Andy's death is not what it seems to be and they are determined to find out the truth.

There are alot of characters in this book and most of them are called by nicknames such as Ace, Tink, Kojak, etc. This book seemed very much like a real life detective story to me. It was gritty and interesting, all the characters were well developed and you find yourself suspecting this person or that one until the truth is unveiled. Some very good twists and turns and the gritty cop roles were well done. Some of the cops were a bit over the top with their stereotype, but that's true in life too. Tami Hoag knows how to write a murdery mystery gritty and suspenseful, just what you want in a mystery read. There was an unexpected twist at the end, that gave the book a little extra punch. It would have been ok with or without it, Im not sure which I would prefer actually. Sometimes I need a happy ending and sometimes I don't, this time it was just fine the way it was.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Hogwarts Challenge - Defence against the Dark Arts (Murder Mystery)
  • RYOB Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Challenge
  • PBT March Tag: Other

Friday, March 12, 2010

BOOK GIVEAWAY: Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein

Welcome to my very first book giveaway!

This GIVEAWAY has ended and the WINNER has been chosen

Congratulations to Roberta!

Thanks to all who entered.

Thanks to Terra Communications for providing me with a review copy of Raven Stole the Moon (read my review here) and now a copy to give away to one of my blog followers!

From the author of The Art of Racing in the Rain, Garth Stein's newly released book Raven Stole the Moon was released this week on HarperCollins and here is your chance to win a copy for yourself.

Here is a synopsis of Raven Stole the Moon from
When Jenna Rosen abandons her comfortable Seattle life to return to Wrangell, Alaska, it's a wrenching return to her past. Long ago the home of her Native American grandmother, Wrangell is located near the Thunder Bay resort, where Jenna's young son, Bobby, disappeared two years before. His body was never recovered, and Jenna is determined to lay to rest the aching mystery of his death. But the spectacular town provides little comfort beyond the steady and tender affections of Eddie, a local fisherman. And then whispers of ancient legends begin to suggest a frightening new possibility about Bobby's fate. Soon, Jenna must sift through the beliefs of her ancestors, the Tlingit - who still tell of powerful, menacing forces at work in the Alaskan wilderness. The beliefs are shared by Dr. David Livingstone, a practicing shaman who had been hired to "cleanse" Thunder Bay of its restless spirits. The experience almost cost him his life, and he warns Jenna about the danger of disturbing the legendary kushtaka - soul-stealing predators that stalk a netherworld between land and sea, the living and the dead. But Jenna is desperate for answers, and she appeals to both Livingstone and Eddie to help her sort fact from myth, and face the unthinkable possibilities head-on.

If you are interested in winning a copy of this fabulous book you need to do a few minor things:

    1. Become a follower of my blog (to do this select the Follow button on left of my blog page)
    2. Post a comment to this post stating that you are a follower, wish to be entered in the contest and include your email address so that I can contact for your mailing information when you win.

This contest will run over the next week and end on Saturday March 20th, at noon EST. I will use to choose the winner from the entries and announce the winner on my blog.

The winner of this giveaway will receive a copy of Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein directly from Terra Comminications via media mail. This contest is only available to those in located in the U.S. and Canada at this time.

Good Luck!

Thursday, March 11, 2010

Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein

**Disclaimer: I received this book compliments of HarperCollins and Terra Communications in exchange for an honest review **

Publish Date: March 2010

Rating: 4/5 Stars

Jenna and Robert had the perfect marriage until tragedy hit them two years ago. Jenna has since had issues getting over the loss of her son, who drowned and his body was never found. On the two year anniversary of the tragedy, Jenna runs away from her husband and life in Seattle to Alaska, the location of her ancestry and of the tragedy that changed their lives forever. Jenna needs this trip to get answers, hopefully this will allow her to heal and move forward with her life. Once in Alaska strange things begin to happen to her and she's lead on a path that once started she is determined to finish, there is no way she will turn back now. Intertwined with this story is the story of Shaman Dr. David Livingston, who almost died trying to rid Thunder Bay - the location of the tragedy, of it's negative powers before the tragedy of her son. Jenna finds David and asks for his help. David warns Jenna of the powerful kushtaka, soul stealers of Tinglit legend, but she is determined to find answers and get closure one way or another.

After reading The Art of Racing in the Rain, I was so excited to read another Garth Stein book. So when I was contacted by Terra Communications to give a review of his newest book, I jumped at the chance. Having nothing but the highest of expectations I dove into the book as soon as I could and I was not disappointed. What I didn't expect was the supernatural element to this story, and this made me enjoy it even more. The Tinglit Indian legend of the kushtaka and Raven were very interesting to read about and the supernatural elements were well written and exciting to read. Jenna's character was so real and believable, I could really relate to her. The only downside to this book was the fact that this book was originally copy written in 1998 and some of the terminology and references were obvious to the 1990's, so it dated the book a little bit. But it wasn't enough to deter me from the fabulous storyline. This was different than anything I've read before and refreshing in it's storyline (even with the 90's references). I really enjoyed the Alaskan setting in this book and the character development. I found the interactions realistic to the situations and even with supernatural elements, it was not over the top as some stories can be. I'm very glad I had the opportunity to read this one and look forward to more from Garth Stein.

This book fits the following Categories/Challenges for me:
  • Monthly Mixer Mele Challenge
  • Hogwarts reading challenge - (Care of Magical Creatures)
  • RYOB reading Challenge
  • PBT March Tag: Other

New Challenge: Hogwarts Reading Challenge 2010

This Challenge is hosted by worthreadingit

The Challenge runs from March 8 2010 to December 13 2010

Directly from worthreadingit's blog:

In the Hogwarts Reading Challenge you are a student of the school. You will be sorted into houses. Each book you read just fit in to the subject of one the classes. You do not have to read books that fit all the subjects. Each book equals one point toward the house cup).

You must read at least 5 books before you are enter in to the drawing. At the end of the Challenge one person will win a $25 Amazon Gift Card and one house will win the House Cup (purely a pride thing).

Check back regularly as there will be Mini Challenges. The first Mini Challenge will start on April 2nd. Come back to see what the challenge will be and it's incentive.

To be eligible to win prizes you must have a blog and sign up using Mr. Linky. Then start your own Hogwarts Reading Challenge post and link it back to this post.

****Update you can be eligible for prize if you become a member of I Love Reading Challenges on Shelfari and keep the list of the books you read for this challenge under the Hogwarts Challenge post there.

Click here to go to the Sorting Hat. Please be honest. If there are too many in one particular house you may be place into another. So if the Sorting Hat places you in Sytherin you are Sytherin for duration of this challenge.

Click here to check your individual points and your house points.

Reading a Harry Potter book earns you 25 house points.

Have fun, good luck and Happy Reading!

End of blog post by Worth Reading it. See the worth reading it page for the challenge rules and class descriptions.

The sorting hat put me in HufflePuff! Check back for updates.

Arithmancy - 8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
Care of Magical Creatures - Raven stole the Moon by Garth Stein
Defence Against the Dark Arts - Dust to Dust by Tami Hoag
Care of Magical Creatures - Dragonflight by Anne McCaffrey (3/22)
Charms - The Help by Kathryn Stockett (3/25)
Transfiguration - Living Dead in Dallas by Charlaine Harris (3/30)
Transfiguration - Eclipse by Stephenie Meyer (4/7)
Charms - The Last Song by Nicholas Sparks (4/14)
Muggle Studies - Someone to Watch Over Me by Judith McNaught (4/16)
Care of Magical Creatures - Supernatural: Nevermore by Keith R.A. DeCandido (4/17)
Muggle Studies - The Great Gatsby by F. Scott Fitzgerald (4/22)
Muggle Studies - House Rules by Jodi Picoult (4/25)
Charms - Wintergirls by Laurie Halse Anderson (4/28)
Muggle Studies - The Love Ceiling by Jean Davies Okimoto (5/7)
Care of Magical Creatures - Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost (5/23)
Muggle Studies - Midwives by Chris Bohjalian (5/31)
Defense against the dark arts - The Alchemyst by Michael Scott (6/2)
Ancient Ruins - The Lacuna by Barbara Kingsolver (6/5)
Muggle Studies - Faceless Killers by Henning Mankell (6/15)
Charms - Wild Heart by Lori Brighton (6/23)
Charms - Eat, Pray, Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (6/24)
Care of Magical Creatures - The Screwtape Letters by C.S. Lewis (6/30)
Muggle Studies - Do Androids Dream of Electric Sleep by Philip K. Dick (7/7)
Muggle Studies - Plenty by Slisa Smith and J.B. Mackinnon (7/12)
Defense against the dark arts - Panic by Jeff Abbott (8/30)
Muggle Studies - The Education of Mrs. Brimley(9/29)
Defense against the dark arts - The Last Child by John Hart (9/30)
Defense against the dark arts - Just One Look by Harlan Coben (9/30)

Tuesday, March 09, 2010

ARC Received: Forest Gate by Peter Akinti

I received an Advanced Readers Copy yesterday from Simon and Schuster and Im excited to read this one. This book actually came out in February this year, so if it interests you it is available for sale currently.

Here is the Synopsis from

A shattering, poetic and raw first novel set among young Somalian refugees in the slums of London — beginning with a double suicide and ending with a rebirth.

In a community where poverty is kept close and passed from one generation to the next, two teenage boys, best friends, stand on top of twin tower blocks. Facing each other across the abyss of London's urban sprawl, they say their good-byes and jump. One dies. The other, alternating with the sister of the deceased, narrates this novel.

James gives us a window into the inner city — his mom is a crack addict, his gang "brothers" force him to kill another black boy. Meina describes with feeling her family history in Somalia: after her parents are killed before her eyes, her village aunt sells her to six husbands — before she is even a teenager. Desperate to rebuild their lives, James and Meina set out to find the place for which every child longs — home.

Brutal and shockingly violent in places, rambunctious and lively in others and slyly, dryly witty in yet others, Meina and James's journey toward life through their past is ultimately a powerful story of redemptive love and the debut of an extraordinary literary talent.

Check back later for the review!

Monday, March 08, 2010

8th Confession by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro

Rating: 3/5 Stars

A silent killer is on the loose in San Francisco, killing the elite members of society. These deaths look like anything but murder but these people are too healthy to be dying of natural causes. This makes Claire, of the women's murder club, nervous and determined to find the cause of death. In the meantime, the brutal death of one of San Fransisco lowest members of society, the street people, is causing a ruckus because no one seems to care that this man is dead. As a favor to Cindy, who is reporting on the fact that the death of a street person goes unpunished, Lindsay uses her free time to look into this death. Between Cindy and Lindsay's investigations, they start to wonder that maybe this man isn't as wonderful as everyone on the street is making him out to be. As usual, there is a third story intertwined with a trial and Yuki, but it really takes a back burner to the other things happening in the story.

As my first book completed in the month of march, this story seemed a bit fantastical at times, but it was enjoyable to read all the same. All the women in the murder club are present and the women's murder club is mentioned and all the members are present but they didn't really come together to solve a crime as in the past. Some new people are introduced to the group and some side drama occurs with Cindy and Lindsay and Yuki and her new boyfriend. All in all, I am enjoying this series and will continue on. I like all the characters and think the authors do a great job with character development and believability.

I obtained this book from the library in order to read this book for the Finish That Series Challange.

This book fills the following Categories and Challenges for me:
  • Finish That Series Challenge
  • Thriller and Suspense Reading Challenge
  • PBT Mar Tag: Other
  • Monthly Mixer Mele - C in deCember
  • Hogwarts reading challenge - (Arithmancy)

Tuesday, March 02, 2010

February Wrap-Up

As February flies by I find myself wondering where it went!

Here are the books that I read this month (Click on the book titles to read my reviews):

Why My Third Husband Will Be a Dog by Lisa Scottoline 5/5 Stars Favorite
Case Histories by Kate Atkinson 2/5 Stars
Dear John by Nicholas Sparks 4/5 Stars
Fear by Jeff Abbott (Audio) 4/5 Stars
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll 3/5 Stars
Through the Looking Glass by Lewis Carroll 2/5 Stars
Loves Music, Loves to Dance by Mary Higgins Clark 3/5 Stars

My Favorite book of the month was by far "Why My Third Husband Will Be A Dog" by Scottoline. If you have not picked up this book yet, you need to do it. It's hilarious.

My least favorite book was tougher to choose because I had trouble with "Through the Looking Glass" by Carroll, but it would probably be Case Histories by Kate Atkinson because it was a longer read and I had such high expectations for it.

*baby, just say yes photo borrowed from

Fall-Winter Mystery Reading Challenge Wrap Up

I did not finish this challenge as I would have hoped. I only read 3/7 themed books planned.


1 Paranormal or gothic mystery for Halloween - Violets are Blue by James Patterson
2 Autumn/harvest/Thanksgiving related mystery -
2 Winter/snow/Xmas/Hannukah etc related mystery -
1 resolutions/new begininngs related mystery -
Beautiful Lies by Lisa Unger
1 Romantic mystery/Valentine's related -
Pitch Black by Susan Crandall