Wednesday, March 31, 2010


I found the coolest message in my Inbox a while back...

This is Tiffany from Quirk Books. I just wanted you to know we selected you as a winner of our crazy-awesome Quirk Classics Prize-Pack. WIN!

What was really funny was that she felt the need to include:

Not to worry – I am a human, and I have neither the interest nor the means to steal anyone’s identity. I just want to give you prizes.

Which when you consider the books this publisher releases sort of makes sense - so what did I win? Ready?

Thanks Tiffany and Quirk for the great assortment of Books (and Audio Books), a journal , notecards and postcards...this is going to be so much fun! ...look for future reviews!

Judging A Book By It's Cover...

There have been so many really beautiful covers lately - especially in the YA/Teen Genre - that I thought it would be fun to write an occasional post about covers.

Now - I am in no way posting these as a positive review - the ones that I have reviewed I can link to a review of...otherwise you all know the danger of "judging a book by it's cover".

I want to start with an author whose covers never fail to impress:

Fallen is out now - Torment is due September 2010

...and while we are on the subject of Fallen Angels - Becca Fitzpatrick

Hush, Hush is out now -
cover art for Torment out April 2010,
with the book due November 2010!

OK - so that is a good start - you know the saying "so many books, so little time..."

Monday, March 29, 2010

Urgent Call To Action from First Book's Kyle Zimmer - SAVE RIF!

Thank you for helping build support for RIF's Dear Colleague letter among members of the House of Representatives. Because of the thousands of people from across the country who wrote about the importance of reinstating RIF's funding, more than 60 members signed the letter, with more coming.

But we still need your help! A separate Dear Colleague letter has begun circulating in the Senate. We have limited time to build support and let Congress know that without federal funding, more than 4.4 million children and families will not receive free books or reading encouragement from RIF programs.

Remember, your voice is the most important resource we have to make sure Congress reinstates RIF's funding. Please send a message to your Senator today. Just enter your zip code to directly send a template statement. It only takes a couple minutes - and it will mean the world to the children we all care so much about.

Please forward this message to your friends and colleagues and encourage them to send a message as well. Post this information on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, or any other social networks you use. Remember, your voice is the most important resource we have to make sure Congress reinstates RIF.

Thank you for helping our friends at RIF!


Kyle Zimmer
President and CEO

First Book provides new books to children in need addressing one of the most important factors affecting literacy – access to books. An innovative leader in social enterprise, First Book has distributed more than 60 million free and low cost books in thousands of communities.

If you received this email from a friend, please sign up to receive emails from First Book.

Friday, March 26, 2010

Inside Out by Maria V. Snyder

Inside Out
by Maria V.Snyder

Maria V. Snyder takes on whole new worlds...
With Inside Out (Harlequin Teen) Maria V.Snyder breaks out herself...from a long line of well received paranormal fantasy to a stark, adventure packed futuristic series that begins with the people of Inside looking for a better world Outside.

The bland, monotone introduction to the life of the Scrubs in the Lowers draws you into the life of Trella, who has never fit in with her surroundings. Trella seeks refuge from the burgeoning masses iof Scrubs, in the Pipes and Ducts that lead from the world of the Lowers to the envied lives of privilege in the world of the Uppers.

Soon the tone livens when one day everything changes - her one friend in the world Cogon (whose nickname Cog speaks volumes about his role among the Scrubs) introduces her to a man who talks of something better in Outside - and for the first time Trella knows "hope". A wild ride filled with adventure, betrayal and romance ensues.

From the fresh yet stark cover to the promise of a new world Inside, Snyder left me eager to read the follow up - Outside In!

It has been said before but I have to say it again - if you followed Maria V. Snyder through her Study series and are currently into her Glass series, do not read this expecting more of the same. Her writing style pulls you willingly into this new world filled with warnings about believing everything your hear, hope, trust, romance, acceptance, family, connection...and the endearing tale of Sheepy!

The Birthday Ball by Lois Lowry

The Birthday Ball
By Lois Lowry
Illustrated by Jules Feiffer

You will have a BALL reading this...
This review is from: The Birthday Ball (Hardcover)
This is NOT the Lois Lowry of The Giver!!! In this light hearted romp, Lowry gives a modern twist to the classic role reversal fairy tales. Though the lessons learned are just as deep as any presented in The Giver, she gets you there in a laugh-out-loud story of self discovery.

With her sixteen birthday quickly approaching the beautiful and bored Princess Patricia Priscilla is lamenting her lot in life. Faced with a big decision...on her sixteenth she must choose a husband...the Princess changes places with her Chamber Maid.

The Princess learns to appreciate what she has, loses her heart to her people, finds love and learns to think for herself.

Lowry paints her characters vividly and children will be enchanted and laugh aloud at the disgusting line up of suitors. The great line drawings of the amazing Jules Feiffer bring these crazy characters to life!

In the Lowry tradition,
The Birthday Ball is aimed at the Middle Grade/Tween Reader but would be a howling good "read aloud" with your older Elementary School children. Don't let the pretty princess cover dictate gender - this one is an energetic party that both boys and girls will be happy to attend.

Thursday, March 25, 2010

The Lady In The Tower by Alison Weir

The Lady In The Tower:
The Fall of Anne Boleyn
By Alison Weir

A New Angle On The Tudors? REALLY?
In this latest offering in the stacks of books written about the Tudors, best selling author Alison Weir posits a new theory!!!

The commonly proffered "history" has it that the aging and randy King Henry VIII was feeling the pressure of not having an heir with his current wife Anne Boleyn and sought the assistance of his principal adviser Thomas Cromwell to find criminal grounds for executing the Queen.

In The Lady in the Tower: The Fall of Anne Boleyn Weir skillfully presents the argument that it was Cromwell himself that engineered the demise of the popular queen. Seeing Anne as a political rival Cromwell was determined to destroy her credibility, frame her and alienate her supporters.

One thing I noticed in this book was the "readability" - though filled with places, dates, facts and published accounts of the day it was an easy read. As a lover of all accounts of the Royals I have always enjoyed Weir's writing. In this book it seems her writing style has definitely benefited from her recent foray into the world of historical fiction. This is a great first non-fiction account for those who loved her Innocent Traitor: A Novel of Lady Jane Grey

PProduct Description from Amazon

Nearly five hundred years after her violent death, Anne Boleyn, second wife to Henry VIII, remains one of the world's most fascinating, controversial, and tragic heroines. Now acclaimed historian and bestselling author Alison Weir has drawn on myriad sources from the Tudor era to give us the first book that examines, in unprecedented depth, the gripping, dark, and chilling story of Anne Boleyn's final days.

The tempestuous love affair between Henry VIII and Anne Boleyn scandalized Christendom and altered forever the religious landscape of England. Anne's ascent from private gentlewoman to queen was astonishing, but equally compelling was her shockingly swift downfall. Charged with high treason and imprisoned in the Tower of London in May 1536, Anne met her terrible end all the while protesting her innocence. There remains, however, much mystery surrounding the queen's arrest and the events leading up to it: Were charges against her fabricated because she stood in the way of Henry VIII making a third marriage and siring an heir, or was she the victim of a more complex plot fueled by court politics and deadly rivalry?

The Lady in the Tower examines in engrossing detail the motives and intrigues of those who helped to seal the queen's fate. Weir unravels the tragic tale of Anne's fall, from her miscarriage of the son who would have saved her to the horrors of her incarceration and that final, dramatic scene on the scaffold. What emerges is an extraordinary portrayal of a woman of great courage whose enemies were bent on utterly destroying her, and who was tested to the extreme by the terrible plight in which she found herself.

Richly researched and utterly captivating, The Lady in the Tower presents the full array of evidence of Anne Boleyn's guilt—or innocence. Only in Alison Weir's capable hands can readers learn the truth about the fate of one of the most influential and important women in English history.

bAbout the Author

Alison Weir is the New York Times bestselling author of the novels Innocent Traitor and The Lady Elizabeth and several historical biographies, including Mistress of the Monarchy, Queen Isabella, Henry VIII, Eleanor of Aquitaine, The Life of Elizabeth I, and The Six Wives of Henry VIII. She lives in Surrey, England with her husband and two children.

Sunday, March 14, 2010

Giada At Home by Giada De Laurentiis

There Goes My Diet..., March 14, 2010
By "Reading It All - Robyn" (Orange County, CA USA)
...not really! but this book (even the ARC in which the photos are Black and White) will tempt even the most reluctant cook into the kitchen.

In Giada at Home: Family Recipes from Italy and California the popular Food Network star shares her love of food - not just the nourishment that food provides but she celebrates the power that food has to bring people together - family and friends.

This book shows why Giada has become the star of a hit TV series...her sincerity comes across as she generously shares the traditions of her grandmother and mother married with her talent for making it current.

I've been trying some of the recipes and I can't seem to make it past the Appetizers...bruschetta, crostini and OMG the Smoked Salmon and Apple Carpaccio with Granny Smith Apples...the flavors melt together mmmmm.

The book ranges from Appetizers, Soups & Sandwiches to a first ever look at Brunch on Giada's Porch, a feature which hasn't been in previous books.

All of this is interspersed with photos of Giada with family and friends enjoying food and life in her lovely home.

The Iron King by Julie Kagawa

5.0 out of 5 stars
The Only Thing Missing is The White Rabbit!, March 14, 2010
By"Reading It All - Robyn" (Orange County, CA USA)

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen) by Julie Kagawa is a fantastical mashup of Alice in Wonderland meets the Fairy Kingdom of Shakespeare's Midsummer Nights has the energy and a cast of characters that you would expect from a ride at Disneyland!
Things have been "off" in Meghan Chase's life since the disappearance of her father and now, 24 hours away from her 16th Birthday her brother has been kidnapped and she finds that her only true friend in the world isn't Robbie Goodfellow but the fairie Puck!

Why hadn't she believed her little brothers pleas and warnings about the monsters in his closet?

What really happened to her father?

This is an edge of the seat, thrill-a-minute tumble through the rabbit hole - or in Meghan's case the hole in the closet of her little brother Ethan's room...and Kagawa manages to keep up the pace while giving each character ample time to reveal themselves. It is peppered with enough action to keep the attention of a teen boy and teen girls will love the touch of romance and it is beautifully pulled together by the skillful wordcraft of Julie Kagawa.

The Iron King (Harlequin Teen) is book one of the Iron Fey from Harlequin Teen - can't wait for more...The Iron Daughter in August 2010!!!!

Friday, March 12, 2010

The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel

By Jacqueline Winspear

Winspear Does It Again...

Once again Maisie Dobbs, Private Investigator in London, finds herself working on a complex case involving a death during The Great War. Of course this death doesn't come to light until 16 years later. The dead man was an American cartographer on the front lines during the war until he was reported missing in 1916, enduring all of the hardships and dangers of that time. As a young nurse working in field hospitals, Maisie learned first hand that war is hell, leaving men injured, maimed and dead on the muddy bomb-shelled fields of France.

The young man's remains are found in 1932 in an abandoned dugout, and Maisie discovers that he was murdered. Following a trail of letters written to a nurse he met when on leave in France, strange orders and harassment from his superiors, and family complications, Maisie must work her way to a solution that works for his American family, the English girl with whom he corresponded, and her own satisfaction that she has found the best solution for all concerned.

With The Mapping of Love and Death: A Maisie Dobbs Novel, as in the stream of Maisie Dobbs books, Winspear draws you in and takes you side by side with her through every facet of the story...she never disappoints!

Product Review from Amazon:
August 1914: California's Santa Ynez Valley. Michael Clifton, a 23-year-old Bostonian, is entranced by the beauty of the land he has purchased and is confident that oil lies beneath its surface. But Michael is the youngest son of an Englishman, and when war is declared in Europe, he feels the pull of the old country and sails for England to enlist as a cartographer. By 1917, Michael is listed among the missing.

April 1932: London Psychologist and Investigator Maisie Dobbs is retained by Edward and Martha Clifton, who have recently sailed from America upon receiving news that Michael's remains have been discovered in France. They want Maisie to find the unnamed nurse whose love letters were discovered among Michael's belongings. So begins a quest that takes Maisie back to her own bittersweet, wartime love.

Maisie's inquiries, and the discovery that Michael Clifton was murdered in his trench, unleash a web of intrigue and violence that threatens to engulf Michael's family, surviving comrades, and Maisie. While investigating both the love affair and the murder, Maisie must cope with the approaching loss of her mentor, Maurice Blanche, and her growing awareness that she, herself, is falling in love.

Thursday, March 4, 2010

Exotic Gems, Volume 1 by Renee Newman

Professional to Layman...Newman Does It Again!,March 3, 2010
Renee Newman knocks it out of the park again!!!! In her latest book Exotic Gems: How to Identify and Buy Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodochrosite, Zultanite, Sunstone, Moonstone & Other Feldspars (Newman Exotic Gem Series) Ms. Newman opens the world of the exotic to her loyal fans.

The great thing about any Renee Newman guide is that she writes for everyone - the professional jeweler, gemologist and hobbyist will all be able to glean important information and inspiration from her books.

In the first volume of her Exotic Gems series Newman looks specifically at Tanzanite, Ammolite, Rhodocrosite, Zultanite and several of the Felspar family of gems (Moonstone, Labradorite, Spectrolite, Sunstone and more).

In words that everyone can understand she walks you through the chemical, physical and optical qualities and then she takes you to the mines, shows you what it takes to cut some of these exotics and then finishes up with some of the most gorgeous photos of faceted gems, carved gems and gems in jewelry...and she even talks about the Metaphysical Lore of the gem.

The popularity of the television shopping networks has opened up a new era in gems in jewelry - there was a day when gem Rhodocrosite was considered to soft for jewelry and it was only found in mineral collections - those days are gone and Renee Newman's book give us the information we need to make decisions about using these materials in jewelry and for those looking to purchase them.

This book is worth buying just for the "eye candy" value - delightful to see such a great range from bridge to fine jewelry - cutters to carvers. Thanks Renee - I am looking forward to volume two!


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