Wednesday, June 29, 2011

Oh no! Which one should I read first?

I just got a notification that I have both of these books, The Art of Forgetting AND Joy for Beginners on hold at the public library. I have been dying to read both of them. 

And now I have to decide which one to read first. How do I choose??

WWW Wednesdays June 29

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon. 

I recently finished No Mercy by Lori Armstrong. A very well written mystery and the first in a series. I will be reading more of this series. This is an author to watch. My thoughts about No Mercy are here. 

Next, I am going to read Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart so I can post my review on the Summer Reading Challenge & Giveaway to be entered to win a whole bunch of great books!

So many books, so little time!
Happy reading everyone! 

Sunday, June 26, 2011

Great line from.........

......The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon

"Anything is possible here. You should be asking yourself: What would I do if it was impossible to fail?"

Words to live by, right? Close

Saturday, June 25, 2011

No Mercy by Lori Armstrong

Mercy Gunderson is a straight shooter with a hard edge. On medical leave from the Army, she returns home to South Dakota, which isn’t much safer for her than Iraq. Arriving just after the death of her father, it is up to Mercy to decide what to do with the family ranch. Trying to deal with her irresponsible sister and nephew and feeling guilty that she didn’t make it home soon enough to see her father one last time; Mercy is suddenly pulled into the local community when the body of a Native American boy is found on her land. But nobody seems to be doing anything about it, especially not the local law enforcement.

When tragedy strikes again, Mercy is ready to throw all her energy into her own investigation, and she’s out for revenge. As she digs up the truth behind the shocking crimes, Mercy uncovers dark and dangerous secrets and must race to stop a killer before everything she’s fought for is destroyed forever. ~~synopsis from author's website

I am so glad that one of my book group members picked this book for our next discussion. I have been meaning to read one of Lori's books for quite some time, just hadn't gotten around to it yet. She is a South Dakota (yea!) author and this series is set in western SD. It's great to read a book that is close to home.

Mercy is a strong women who's family has had more than their share of tragedy in the past. She comes home for her father's funeral where bad things just continue to happen. Can't this family catch a break? 

How is Mercy going to adjust to coming home after being away for almost 20 years. Her old boyfriend is still around, is that romance going to start up again? How about the new sheriff in town that is taking her dad's place? Can anyone live up to Wyatt's reputation? And she starts to become a real friend to her troubled teenage nephew, who really needs a friend right now. And anyone can see that her sister needs a strong person in her life too. A lot of issues for Mercy to deal with.

Mercy is a very likable character and the book is well written. There is enough action in the story to keep one drawn into it and it moves very quickly. There were times in the book that I found myself gasping because of things happening that I was not expecting. And then there were times that I found myself laughing or reading with a smile on my face. I love it when a story, and it's author, can make you feel so many different emotions. 

The next book in this series is Mercy Kill - you can bet that is on my TBR list! 

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 22

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading No Mercy by Lori Armstrong and The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon.

I recently finished The Girls by Lori Lansens. I loved this book 
and am excited to discuss it with my book group. 
My thoughts about The Girls are here

Very interesting cover.
Next, I think I might start reading
either Husband and Wife by Leah Stewart or The Septavalent Stone by Jacob Jones.
Or what the heck, why not both!!


So many books, so little time!
Happy reading everyone!

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

The Girls by Lori Lansens

Conjoined twins Rose and Ruby Darlen are linked at the side of the head, with separate brains and bodies. Born in a small town outside Toronto in the midst of a tornado and abandoned by their unwed teenage mother two weeks later, the girls are cared for by Aunt Lovey, a nurse who refuses to see them as deformed or even disabled. She raises them in Leaford, Ontario, where, at age 29, Rose, the more verbal and bookish twin, begins writing their story—i.e., this novel, which begins, "I have never looked into my sister's eyes." 

Showing both linguistic skill and a gift for observation, Lansens's Rose evokes country life, including descriptions of corn and crows, and their neighbors Mrs. Merkel, who lost her only son in the tornado, and Frankie Foyle, who takes the twins' virginity. Rose shares her darkest memory (public humiliation during a visit to their Slovakian-born Uncle Stash's hometown) and her deepest regret, while Ruby, the prettier, more practical twin, who writes at her sister's insistence, offers critical details, such as what prompted Rose to write their life story. 

Through their alternating narratives, Lansens captures a contradictory longing for independence and togetherness that transcends the book's enormous conceit. ~~synopsis from Publishers Weekly by way of

Rose has always wanted to be a writer, and as the novel opens, she begins to pen her autobiography. Here is how she begins:

I have never looked into my sister's eyes. I have never bathed alone. I have never stood in the grass at night and raised my arms to a beguiling moon.
I've never used an airplane bathroom. Or worn a hat. Or been kissed like that. I've never driven a car. Or slept through the night. Never a private talk. Or solo walk. I've never climbed a tree.
Or faded into a crowd. So many things I've never done, but oh, how I've been loved. And, if such things were to be, I'd live a thousand lives as me, to be loved so exponentially.

I have always been fascinated with 'Siamese' twins, as they used to be called, now referred to as conjoined twins. I remember reading about Chang and Eng when I was in grade school (long, long time ago). I am not really sure what it is about this topic that fascinates me so much. 

It is so interesting to me how 2 people that are permanently, and usually forever, joined with very distinct personalities, likes and dislike have to share in one another's life so completely. One small example of what I mean is, in the case of Rose and Ruby, one of the girls loves baseball while the other one doesn't. To have to share everything so completely is something that is hard for me to comprehend and I am amazed by it. But the twins don't know of life any other way so that is just the way it is for them.

The girls both have jobs but they are part time jobs so that they can each work at what they like to do. Ruby works in a library, reading stories to the children while Rose works at what she loves. So, again, this is an example of their separate lives that they have to live together. 

I thoroughly enjoyed The Girls. It has been on my TBR list for quite awhile and I am glad that it finally rose to the top. The book is very well written and is written from 2 points of view with each of the sisters contributing to the autobiography that Rose feels she needs to write. The girls have very distinct writing styles and it is a wonderful way to maybe begin to understand how they function as separate people while really living as one. Sometimes I had to remind myself that this is a work of fiction and not actually an true autobiography. 

Wednesday, June 15, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 15

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Girls by Lori Lansens and The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon.  
Isn't this cover beautiful?
I recently finished The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer. I really liked this book. My thoughts about The Canary List are here.

Next up will be No Mercy by Lori Armstrong. She is a South Dakota author and my book group is going to be discussing her book later this month.  
So many books, so little time!
Happy reading everyone!

Monday, June 13, 2011

Blog Tour: Easter's Lilly by Judy Serrano

"It was Easter Sunday; the day Lilly's life went from safe and comfortable to dangerously unfamiliar. Her transformation takes her from a small town girl having an affair with a low ranked gangster in the Montiago crime syndicate, to a woman of grace and fortitude married to the head of the organization.
Easter's Lilly is an inspired journey from the idyllic to the darker side of self-discovery. Read as the over-privileged brothers embark on their journey that twists and turns down the road of unbridled passion in this first book of the series." ~~synopsis from Goodreads

This book starts off strong and just keeps going, with lots of drama and twists and turns. There is always something happening to Lilly, some of her own doing and then other times because of those around her. I guess that's what happens when one is involved with the Mafia. The book is very fast paced and sometimes it is hard to keep up with the action, there is always one thing after another. Sometimes I just had to take a break to catch my breath.

I was a little frustrated with Lilly at times. She seemed to have trouble staying loyal to the person/persons she was supposedly in love with. But as someone pointed out to her as she was about to be separated from her love for an extended period -- "You don't do alone very well." Let me tell you, that is the truth! 

Part of the blame belongs to the men around her, they all tried to get to her and they were doing whatever they could to make her fall in love with them. Lilly is not a strong woman and had trouble not giving in to their attention. She did change towards the end of the book and was strong when she needed to be. 

The story definitely ends with a cliff hanger. I can't wait for the next book in the series to see where the story goes - what more can happen to Lilly?

You can learn more about Judy's book --  

I received Easter's Lilly from the author and Tristi Pinkston, Virtual Book Tour Coordinator, for review.

Friday, June 10, 2011

The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

"Protected by the dark of night, Jaimie Piper runs. But is anywhere safe when Evil is hunting you?
She’s just a twelve year-old girl, bumped around between foster homes and relegated to school classes for challenged kids, those lagging in their test scores or with behavioral issues. But her real problem is that she can sense something the other kids can’t—something dark. Something compelling her to run for her life.
All Crockett Grey wants is to mark the anniversary of his daughter’s death alone.
But when his student Jaimie comes to him, terrified, her need for protection collides with his grief, and a tangled web of bizarre events sends them both spiraling toward destruction.

Crockett’s one hope of getting his life back is to uncover the mysterious secrets of Jaimie’s past and her strange gift. It isn’t long before his discoveries lead him to a darker conspiracy, secrets guarded by the highest seat of power in the world—the Vatican."
~~ synopsis from Goodreads

Wow! This book grabbed me from the start. The prologue is pretty intense and I just had to keep reading. The story has a fast pace and was very easy to get into. There are a lot of twists and turns and you just want everything to come out ok, especially for the 'good guys'. I found myself really liking the good guys. 

Some people might be offended by the Catholic church references but you know what, that stuff was in the news and this is just a story. But it does make one wonder, how much truth is in fiction? hmmmm

I always like to figure out how the title fits into the story and in this case, you don't find out what the canary list means until almost the end of the book. Ahhhh, I get it now!

This is a very well written, enthralling story.

Click here to download chapter one of The Canary List

"I received this book for free from WaterBrook Multnomah Publishing Group for this review"

Wednesday, June 8, 2011

WWW Wednesdays June 8

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am currently reading The Canary List by Sigmund. I received this book from Blogging for Books for review. I am about half way through it and am loving it.

Isn't this cover beautiful?

Also, I am just starting The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon. I received an e-book from the author for review. So far this a great book!

I just finished reading Violets of March by Sarah Jio. I just want to say that I loved it. You need to read it! Here are my thoughts --

My review of Violets of March

I will next be concentrating on the books I need to read for my book groups. We are reading The Girls by Lori Lansens and No Mercy by Lori Armstrong in June.

So many books, so little time! 

Happy reading everyone!

Monday, June 6, 2011

Great line from........

........The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer

"Books are friends: there whenever you are lonely or afraid."

If this is true, and I believe it is, then I have a lot of friends.


The Violets of March by Sarah Jio

'A heartbroken woman stumbled upon a diary and steps into the life of its anonymous author. 

In her twenties, Emily Wilson was on top of the world: she had a bestselling novel, a husband plucked from the pages of GQ, and a one-way ticket to happily ever after.

Ten years later, the tide has turned on Emily's good fortune. So when her great-aunt Bee invites her to spend the month of March on Bainbridge Island in Washington State, Emily accepts, longing to be healed by the sea. Researching her next book, Emily discovers a red velvet diary, dated 1943, whose contents reveal startling connections to her own life.

A mesmerizing debut with an idyllic setting and intriguing dual story line, The Violets of March announces Sarah Jio as a writer to watch. ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

Loved, loved, loved this book! Once again, I was initially drawn to the book by it's cover but there is a beautiful story inside. Ms. Jio writes so well that it is very easy to get lost in the story. I love reading books that connect the past to the present and then that connection allows some healing to happen.

I will have to admit that I had a hard time warming up to one of the characters so I was a little surprised at how the story ended. But that is a sign of a good author, I suppose, to keep the readers guessing. Ms. Jio did that for me, I was going down the wrong path.

While I started reading this book, I discovered what I think are violets in my yard while I was mowing. I had never noticed them before. I am sure they didn't just magically appear. But who knows, maybe they did and in that case, I need to think about what that means.

Sarah Jio's second novel, Bungalow, comes out next Spring and you can bet that I will be on the lookout for it. I am excited to read another story from this author.

Saturday, June 4, 2011

The Prodigal Son by Dean Koontz

'Dean Koontz's Frankenstein -- the author's first literary series -- is a nightmare-inspiring, modern-day retelling of Mary Shelley's 1818 horror classic. Coauthored with Kevin J. Anderson, the first installment in this four-volume saga pits a reanimated giant and two tenacious police detectives against the demented scientist who created him.' ~~ synopsis from Goodreads

I read Mary Shelley's Frankenstein for the first time a few years ago and was really surprised at how much I liked the book and how different it was from the movie portrayals of this story.There is so much more to the original story than the movies show us.

Koontz's Frankenstein series takes Shelley's story and moves it to modern day and gives us his version of how the story and characters evolved. I very much enjoyed his take on the legend.

I have been a big fan of Koontz's books in the past but have steered clear of his Frankenstein series. There are now 5 books in the series ..... I have a lot of catching up to do! 

Thursday, June 2, 2011

WWW Wednesdays - June 1st (a day late - oh well)

WWW Wednesdays is hosted by Should Be Reading
To play along, just answer the following three questions…
• What are you currently reading?
• What did you recently finish reading?
• What do you think you’ll read next?

I am just starting to read Violets of March by Sarah Jio. This book caught my eye because of the cover and I saw it all over other blogs. I am only to chapter 3 but am loving it. I need to take some time off just so I can lose myself in this book. Shhhh - don't tell my boss.

I just finished reading Easter's Lilly by Judy Serrano for a blog tour in June. I will be posting my review for the blog tour on June 13th. Stay tuned for that one.

I also just finished My Superhero Sister by Toni LoTempio (e-book). This was a fun book to read with some good lessons for all of us. A full review will be forthcoming.

I am not sure what I will start next. I have a couple I need to get read for my book groups this month. But I may try to squeeze in a book or two before I start on them. My book groups are reading The Girls by Lori Lansens and No Mercy by Lori Armstrong in June. I do have some time before we meet so I might start The Canary List by Sigmund Brouwer or The Dream Crystal by Mark O'Bannon, both which I will be reviewing.

Isn't this cover beautiful?

So many books, so little time!

Happy reading everyone! 
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