Tuesday, June 29, 2010

The Thousand Aututmns of Jacob de Zoet Giveaway!

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A Novel
As previously promised, I am hosting a giveaway of an ARC of David Mitchell's newest novel, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet. The book hits the bookstores today, so i figured it is a good day to offer it to you.

Publisher's description:

In 2007, Time magazine named him one of the most influential novelists in the world. He has twice been short-listed for the Man Booker Prize. The New York Times Book Review called him simply “a genius.” Now David Mitchell lends fresh credence to The Guardian’s claim that “each of his books seems entirely different from that which preceded it.” The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is a stunning departure for this brilliant, restless, and wildly ambitious author, a giant leap forward by even his own high standards. A bold and epic novel of a rarely visited point in history, it is a work as exquisitely rendered as it is irresistibly readable.

The year is 1799, the place Dejima in Nagasaki Harbor, the “high-walled, fan-shaped artificial island” that is the Japanese Empire’s single port and sole window onto the world, designed to keep the West at bay; the farthest outpost of the war-ravaged Dutch East Indies Company; and a de facto prison for the dozen foreigners permitted to live and work there. To this place of devious merchants, deceitful interpreters, costly courtesans, earthquakes, and typhoons comes Jacob de Zoet, a devout and resourceful young clerk who has five years in the East to earn a fortune of sufficient size to win the hand of his wealthy fiancée back in Holland.

But Jacob’s original intentions are eclipsed after a chance encounter with Orito Aibagawa, the disfigured daughter of a samurai doctor and midwife to the city’s powerful magistrate. The borders between propriety, profit, and pleasure blur until Jacob finds his vision clouded, one rash promise made and then fatefully broken. The consequences will extend beyond Jacob’s worst imaginings.  As one cynical colleague asks, “Who ain’t a gambler in the glorious Orient, with his very life?”

A magnificent mix of luminous writing, prodigious research, and heedless imagination, The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet is the most impressive achievement of its eminent author.

Giveaway 411:

1. The giveaway is open until Monday, July 12th.

2. All you have to do is leave me a comment expressing your wish to be entered plus your email (unless your email links to your profile).

3. This giveaway is international so come all and try your luck.

Enjoy! Good luck and thank you for visiting my blog!

Monday, June 28, 2010

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading, is where we gather to share what we have read this past week and what we plan to read this week.  It is a great way to network with other bloggers, see some wonderful blogs, and put new titles on your reading list. It is hosted by Sheila from One Person's Journey Through a World of Books.

Last week I didn't get much accomplished at all. I know now that I will not complete 100+ Reading Challenge, especially if I continue reading only one or two books per week.

Last week I only managed to finish one book, even though I started reading three.

The Things That Keep Us Here

I read The Things That Keep Us Here by Carla Buckley. I did enjoy it for the most part but, as Shellie from Layers of Thought said in our little conversation, the book just hit to close to home with the two infant boy characters. I have one myself and it made the story a little too depressing.

A Walk in the Woods: Rediscovering America on the Appalachian TrailThe Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove

I also started reading A Walk in The Woods by Bill Bryson and The Lust Lizard of Melancholy Cove by Christopher Moore. I know both of the authors to be funny and I was in search of good laughter. In the end I settled on A Walk in the Woods which I hope to finish sometime in the next couple of days.

I am also hoping to read Roseflower Creek by Jackie Lee Mills by next Monday. We'll see how that goes.

What about you, what are you reading on Mondays?

Tuesday, June 22, 2010

Things that need to be done + Raven Stole the Moon giveaway results.

I wasn't kidding when I said that having a second baby eleven years after the first one is like being a brand new mother all over again. I see now that this second motherhood will be no walk in the park. I forgot how much time and effort really is needed when taking care of an infant, especially when it's a boy like my Aleksander, who according to his pediatrician, is a 'motion-driven' baby, which means he needs to be carried in my arms or  rocked in his stroller, or even rocked ever so gently when breast-feeding, at all times. The 'carrying in my arms' part proves to be the most difficult considering that at 5 months old, he weighs approx. 22 lb.

With all that said, you can imagine how daunting  it is to try and manage to do anything other than spending time with my children (because yes, I still have a girl on the verge of teenage-hood in the house and it's no small task to try and survive the day without major issues between her and me). As much as I enjoy blogging, my family is my priority. Therefore I need to make some changes and adjustments as far as my blog goes. And no, it doesn't mean I'm quitting. I have put way too much effort, time and love into this little blog of mine to just abandon it. It only means that I am forced to write posts a lot less frequently than I used to. I know that a lot of you prefer to read a fairly often updated blogs and I hope that my decision to write fewer posts for the next few months won't push those of you away.

What I also decided is to join What Are You Reading on Mondays? meme hosted by Sheila from One Person's Journey through a world of Books. It's a fantastic way for me to keep some kind of order in my otherwise very chaotic daily life and once I make a commitment to read something, I believe I will actually try harder to stick with it. From time to time, I will also give you a summary of what happened & what will be going on here in upcoming weeks. It's something I had never done before but I think it's another way of keeping my blog going and making sure that Reading Extravaganza and I will make it safely through the tough times. Phew...let's move on to the above mentioned summary.

Broken: A Love StoryFirst of all, I will have reviews posted of two really good books. First one will be Broken: A Love Story by Lisa Jones. It's a wonderful memoir and definitely a keeper for my collection.

Still MissingThe second book is Still Missing by Chevy Stevens. I think that it has already gained a lot of attention and I'm sure some of you have heard about it. It really is a very good, psychological thriller that I couldn't believe was a debut (not to sound condescending to debut authors).

There will also be two giveaways for really great titles. First, I will be giving away an ARC copy of  The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet by David Mitchell. The giveaway starts on June 29th, 2010 which is also the release date for this book.

The Thousand Autumns of Jacob de Zoet: A NovelThe Quickening

Giveaway number 2 will be The Quickening by Michelle Hoover on July 13th, 2010.

Both giveaways will be international so make sure you all mark your calendars and visit my blog on those days.

Last but not least, the winner of Raven Stole the Moon + a Red Umbrella is


Congratulations to the winner and thank you to all who entered for visiting my blog.

That's all for now. Until next time, stay happy and keep reading :).

Monday, June 21, 2010

FIRST Wild Card Tour: Healer by Linda Windsor

It is time for a FIRST Wild Card Tour book review! If you wish to join the FIRST blog alliance, just click the button. We are a group of reviewers who tour Christian books. A Wild Card post includes a brief bio of the author and a full chapter from each book toured. The reason it is called a FIRST Wild Card Tour is that you never know if the book will be fiction, non~fiction, for young, or for old...or for somewhere in between! Enjoy your free peek into the book!

You never know when I might play a wild card on you!

Today's Wild Card author is:

and the book:

Healer: A Novel (The Brides of Alba Series)

David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)

***Special thanks to Audra Jennings of The B&B Media Group for sending me a review copy.***


With an estimated one million books in print, Linda Windsor is an award-winning author of fifteen mainstream historical novels and one contemporary romance. She has also written another thirteen books for CBA publishers, including nine romantic comedies, laced with suspense, and a Celtic Irish trilogy for Multnomah entitled the Fires of Gleannmara series. A former professional musician, Linda speaks often (and sometimes sings) for writing and/or faith seminars. She makes her home on the Eastern Shore of Maryland and prays for courage and strength to meet the needs of today's readers with page-turning stories that entertain, teach, and inspire.

Visit the author's website.

Product Details:

List Price: $14.99
Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: David C. Cook; New edition (June 1, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1434764788
ISBN-13: 978-1434764782


Glenarden, Manau Gododdin, Britain

Although cold enough to frost one’s breath, the day was as fair as the general mood of the gathering at the keep of Glenarden. The only clouds were those breaking away, fat with snow from the shrouded mountains—and the ever-present one upon the face of the bent old man who stood on the rampart of the gate tower. No longer able to ride much distance, Tarlach O’Byrne watched the procession form beyond.

Clansmen and kin, farmers and craftsmen—all turned out for the annual hunt, but they were more excited over the festivities that awaited their return. In the yard about the keep, gleemen in outlandish

costumes practiced entertaining antics, delighting the children and teasing the kitchen servant or warrior who happened to pass too near. Great pits had been fired. On the spits over them were enough succulent shanks of venison, boar, and beef to feed the multitude of O’Byrnes and the guests from tribes in the kingdom under the old king’s protection.

Below the ramparts, Ronan O’Byrne adjusted the woolen folds of his brat over his shoulders. Woven with the silver, black, and scarlet threads of the clan, it would keep the prince warm on this brisk day. A fine dappled gray snorted in eagerness as Ronan took his reins in hand and started toward the gate. Beyond, the people he would govern upon his father’s death waited.

The youngest of the O’Byrne brothers rode through them, unable to contain his excitement any longer. “By father’s aching bones, Ronan, what matters of great import keep you now?”

Were the pest any other but his youngest brother, Ronan might have scowled, deepening the scar that marked the indent of his cheek—the physical reminder of this travesty that began years ago. Alyn was the pride and joy of Glenarden, and Ronan was no exception to those who admired and loved the precocious youth.

“Only a raid on the mill by our neighbors,” Ronan answered his youngest sibling.

His somber gaze belayed the lightness in his voice. The thieves had made off with Glenarden’s reserve grain stores and the miller’s quern. Ronan had already sent a replacement hand mill to the mistress. But now that the harvest was over and the excess had been sold, replacing the reserves would be harder. It galled Ronan to buy back his own produce at a higher price than he’d received from merchants in Carmelide. This was the hard lot he faced—this farce, or hunting down the scoundrels and taking back what was rightfully his.

Every year on the anniversary of the Gowrys slaughter, Tarlach insisted that the O’Byrne clan search the hills high and low for Llas and Joanna’s heir. But instead of going off on a madman’s goose chase after his imagined enemy—a mountain nymph who was rumored to shape-shift into a wolf at will—the O’Byrnes manpower spent their time ransacking and burning one of the Gowrys mountain settlements in retribution, for they were undoubtedly the culprits. It was the only reasoning the Gowrys thieves understood—burn their ramshackle hovels and take some of their meager stock in payment.

Even so, taking such actions only stalled their mischief for a little while. Then it was the same thing all over again. As it was, Ronan had sent trackers out to mark their escape route, lest the wrong camp be destroyed.

“Can I ride after them on the morrow with you?” Alyn’s deep blue eyes, inherited from their Pictish mother, were alight with the idea of fighting and possible bloodshed—only because he’d never tasted it firsthand. “After the Witch’s End?”

Disgust pulling at his mouth, Ronan mounted the broad and sturdy steed he’d acquired at last spring’s fair. Witch’s End. That’s what Tarlach O’Byrne had dubbed the celebration of the massacre that had made him an invalid and driven him to the brink of insanity. In the old chief ’s demented thought, he’d brought justice to those who had betrayed him and stopped an enchantress forever. Sometimes, as on this particular day, it pushed him beyond reason, for it was a reminder that there was one thing left undone. The heiress of Gowrys still lived to threaten Glenarden … at least in his mind.

“The mill raid is no different from any other raid and will be handled as such,” Ronan answered.

“So I can go?”

“Nay, return to your studies at the university.” The hunt for a nonexistent witch was one thing, but Gowrys were skilled fighters. “’Twould suit a Gowrys naught better than to send a son of Tarlach

earthways with an arrow through your sixteen-year-old heart.”

“So you and Caden will go after the brigands.”

Alyn’s dejection rivaled that of Tarlach’s, except the youth’s would be gone with the next change of the wind. The older O’Byrne’s would not leave until his last breath faded in the air.

Ronan opened his mouth to assuage the lad when a downpour of water, icy as a northern fjord, struck him, soaking him through. “Herth’s fire!” Startled, his gray gelding danced sideways, knocking into the door of the open gate. “Ho, Ballach,” Ronan soothed the beast. “Easy laddie.”

“Take that, you bandy-legged fodere!” a shrill voice sounded from above.

“Crom’s breath, Kella, look what you’ve done,” Alyn blustered, struggling to control his own spooked steed. “Called my brother a bandy-legged deceiver and soaked him through.”

Wiping his hair away from his brow, Ronan spotted the cherub faced perpetrator of the mischief peering over the battlement, eyes spitting fire. Lacking the ripeness of womanhood, Kella’s overall appearance was unremarkable, but she surely lived up to her name with that indomitable warrior spirit, bundled in the innocence of youth. It was an innocence Ronan had never known. The daughter of Glenarden’s champion, Kella O’Toole was like a breath of fresh air. For that Ronan could forgive her more impetuous moments.

“And for what, Milady Kella, do I deserve the title of a bandylegged fool, much less this chilling shower?”

Kella gaped in dismay, speechless, as she took in Ronan’s drenched state. But not for long. “Faith, ’twasn’t meant for you, sir, but for Alyn! ’Tis the likes of him that finds the company of a scullery maid more delicious than mine.”

Ronan cast an amused glance at his youngest brother, who had now turned as scarlet as the banners fluttering overhead.

“Ho, lad, what foolrede have ye been about?” Caden O’Byrne shouted from the midst of the mounted assembly in wait beyond the gate. Fair as the sun with a fiery temperament to match, the second of Tarlach’s sons gave the indignant maid on the rampart a devilish wink.

“’Tis no one’s business but my own,” Alyn protested. “And certainly not that of a demented child.”

“Child, is it?”

Ronan swerved his horse out of range as Kella slung the empty bucket at Alyn. Her aim was hindered by the other girls close at her elbows, and the missile struck the ground an arm’s length away from its intended target.

“I’ll have you know I’m a full thirteen years.”

“Then appeal to me a few years hence when, and if, your Godgiven sense returns,” the youngest O’Byrne replied.

Ronan moved to the cover of the gatehouse and removed his drenched brat. Fortunately, the cloak had caught and shed the main of the attack. Already one of the servants approached with the plain blue one he wore about his business on the estate. Irritating as the mishap was, his lips quirked with humor as his aide helped him don the dry brat. It wasn’t as princely as the O’Byrne colors, but it was more suited to Ronan’s personal taste.

It was no secret that Egan O’Toole’s daughter was smitten with Alyn. With brown hair spun with threads of gold and snapping eyes almost the same incredible shade, she would indeed blossom into a beauty someday. Meanwhile, the champion of Glenarden would do well to pray for maturity to temper Kella’s bellicose manner, so that his daughter might win, rather than frighten, suitors.

Then there was Alyn, who hadn’t sense enough to see a prize in the making. Ronan shook his head. His brother was too involved in living the existence of the carefree youth Ronan had been robbed of the night of the Gowrys bloodfest.

“So, are you now high and dry, Brother?” Caden O’Byrne called to Ronan with impatience.

Ronan’s eyes narrowed. Always coveting what wasn’t his, Caden would like nothing better than to lead the hunt without Ronan. Would God that Ronan could hand over Glenarden and all its responsibilities. But Caden was too rash, a man driven more by passion than thought.

“Have a heart, Beloved,” a golden-haired beauty called down to him from the flock of twittering ladies on the rampart. Caden’s new bride spared Ronan a glance. “Ronan’s had much travail this morning already with the news of the Gowrys raid.”

“Had he as fair and gentle a wife as I, I daresay his humor would be much improved.” Ever the king of hearts, Caden signaled his horse to bow in Lady Rhianon’s direction and blew his wife a kiss.

“No doubt it would, Brother,” Ronan replied.

There was little merit in pointing out that the ambitious Lady Rhianon had first set her sights on him. No loss to Ronan, she seemed to make his more frivolous brother a happy man. The couple enjoyed the same revelry in dance and entertainment, not to mention the bower. Too often, its four walls failed to contain the merriment of their love play. Neither seemed to care that they were the talk of the keep. If anything, they gloried in the gossip and fed it all the more.

Battling down an annoying twinge of envy, Ronan made certain his cloak was fast, then swung up into the saddle again. Alyn’s problems were easier to consider, not to mention more amusing. “Is your wench disarmed, Alyn?” Ronan shouted in jest as he left the cover of the gate once again.

Beyond Lady Kella’s tempestuous reach for the moment, Alyn gave him a grudging nod.

Ronan brought his horse alongside his siblings, facing the gatehouse of the outer walls, where Tarlach O’Byrne would address the gathering. Like Alyn’s, Caden’s countenance was one of eagerness and excitement. How Ronan envied them both for their childhood. He longed to get away from the bitterness that festered within the walls of Glenarden. His had been an apprenticeship to a haunted madness.

Tarlach straightened as much as his gnarled and creaking joints would allow. “Remember the prophecy, shons of mine,” he charged them. He raised his withered left arm as high as it would go. It had never regained its former power since the night he’d tried to attack Lady Joanna of Gowrys. Nor had his speech recovered. He slurred his words from time to time, more so in fatigue.

“The Gowrys sheed shall divide your mighty house … shall divide your mighty housh and bring a peace beyond itch ken.”

Ronan knew the words by heart. They were as indelibly etched in his memory as the bloody travesty he’d witnessed through a six-yearold’s eyes. The quote was close, but whether Tarlach’s failing mind or his guilt was accountable for leaving out “peace beyond the ken of your wicked soul,” only God knew. If He cared … or even existed.

“Search every hill, every glen, every tree and shrub. Find the she-wolf and bring back her skin to hang as a trophy in the hall, and her heart to be devoured by the dogs. Take no nun-day repast. The future of Glenarden depends on the Gowrys whelp’s death.”

At the rousing cry of “O’Byrne!” rising from his fellow huntsmen and kin, Ronan turned the dapple gray with the group and cantered to the front, his rightful place as prince and heir. He didn’t believe the girl child had survived these last twenty years, much less that she’d turned into a she-wolf because of her mother’s sins. Nor did he wallow in hatred like his father.

A shudder ran through him, colder than the water that had drenched him earlier. Ronan looked to the west again, where thick clouds drifted away from the uplands. May he never become so obsessed with a female that his body and soul should waste away from within due to the gnawing of bitterness and fear. Superstitious fear.

On both sides of the winding, rutted road ahead lay rolling fields. Winter’s breath was turning the last vestiges of harvest color to browns and grays. Low, round huts of wattle and daub, limed white and domed with honey-dark thatching, were scattered here and there. Gray smoke circled toward the sky from their peaks. Fat milk cows and chickens made themselves at home, searching for food. Beyond lay the river, teeming with fish enough for all.

Glenarden’s prosperity was enough to satisfy Ronan. Nothing less would do for his clan. The tuath was already his in every manner save the last breath of Tarlach O’Byrne … though Ronan was in no hurry for that. Despite his troublesome tempers, Tarlach had been as good a father as he knew how, breaking the fosterage custom to rear his firstborn son under his own eye. A hard teacher, he’d been, yet fair—equal with praise as with criticism.

“You are the arm I lost, lad,” Tarlach told him again and again, especially when the drink had its way with him. “The hope and strength of Glenarden.”


Ronan humored the old man as much as followed his orders. At midday, instead of stopping as usual for the nun repast, he paused for neither rest nor food for his men. They ate on the move—the fresh bread and cheese in the sacks provided by the keep’s kitchen. The higher into the hills they went, the sharper the wind whipped through the narrow pass leading to the upper lakelands. Ronan was thankful that the former stronghold of the Gowrys wasn’t much farther.

“Faith, ’tis colder than witches’ milk,” Caden swore from the ranks behind Ronan.

“Witches’ milk?” the naive Alyn protested. “What would you know of such things?”

“A good deal more than a pup not yet dry behind the ears. ’Tis a fine drink on a hot summer day.”

“Or for the fever,” Egan O’Toole chimed in.

His poorly disguised snicker raised suspicion in the youth. “They play me false, don’t they, Ronan?”

“Aye, ask our elder brother, lad,” Caden remarked in a dry voice. “He has no sense of humor.”

Somber, Ronan turned in his saddle. “I have one, Brother, but my duties do not afford me much use of it. As for your question, lad,” he said to their younger brother, who rode next to Caden, “there’s no such thing as witches, so there can be no witches’ milk.”

“What about the Lady Joanna?” Alyn asked. “She was a witch.”

“Think, lad,” Ronan replied. “If she’d truly possessed magic, would she or her kin have died? It was love and jealousy that addled Father.”

“But love is magic, little brother,” Caden put in. “Make no mistake.”

“’Tis also loud enough to set tongues wagging all over the keep,” Alyn piped up. He grinned at the round of raucous laughter that rippled around them at Caden’s expense.

But Caden showed no shame. “That’s the rejoicing, lad.” He turned to the others. “Methinks our Lady Kella has little to fret over as yet.” With a loud laugh, he clapped their red-faced little brother on the back.

Rather than allow the banter to prick or lift an already sore humor, Ronan focused on the first few flakes of snow already whirling in and about the pass ahead of them and the nightmare that already had begun. Twenty years before, this very pass had been just as cold and inhospitable. With possible flurries blowing up, Ronan had no inclination to prolong the outing.

The crannog, or stockaded peninsula, was now little more than a pile of rubble rising out of the lake water’s edge. Cradled by overgrown fields and thick forest on three quarters of its periphery, the

lake itself was as gray as the winter sky. On the fourth was the jut of land upon which Llas of Gowrys had restored an ancient broch, bracing it against the rise of the steep crag at its back. With no regard for what had been, yellow spots of gorse had taken root here and there in the tumble of blackened stone.

Ronan could still smell the blaze, hear the shrieks of the dying.Ignoring the curdling in the pit of his stomach, a remnant of the fear and horror a six-year-old dared not show, Ronan dispersed the group. “Egan, you and Alyn take your men and search north of the lake. Caden, take the others and search the south. When I sound the horn, everyone should make haste back here. The sooner we return to warm hearths and full noggins of ale, the better.”

“I want to go with you,” Alyn declared, sidling his brown pony next to Ronan’s gray.

“I intend to stay here in the cover of yon ledge and build a fire,” Ronan informed him, “but you are welcome to join me.”

“I think not.”

Alyn’s expression of disdain almost made Ronan laugh.

“What if a raiding party of Gowrys happens upon you?” Caden spoke up. A rare concern knit his bushy golden brows.

“Then I shall invite them to the fire for a draught of witch’s milk.”

Caden laughed out loud. His square-jawed face, bristling with the golden shadow of his great mane of hair, was handsome by even a man’s standard. “I misjudged you, Brother. I stand corrected on the account of humor but would still hold that you act too old for your twenty-six years.”

“The Gowrys aren’t given to visiting the place where they were so soundly trounced … and I’m no more than a horn’s blow from help, should my sword not suffice,” Ronan pointed out.

He had no taste for this nonsense. What he craved most at the moment was the peace that followed after the others rode off, whooping and beating their shields lest the spirits of the slain accost them.

The hush of the falling snow and the still testimony of the ruins were at least a welcome change from the ribald and oft querulous babble of the hall. Time alone, without demand, was to be savored, even in this ungodly cold and desolate place. All he had to do was keep the memories at bay.

A movement from just above a hawthorn thicket near the base of the cliff caught Ronan’s eye, raising the hackles on the back of his neck. With feigned nonchalance, he brushed away the snow accumulating on his leather-clad thigh and scanned the gray slope of rock as it donned the thickening winter white veil. Nothing.

At least, he’d thought he’d seen something. A flash of white, with a tail—mayhaps a large dog. Beneath him, the gelding shivered. With a whinny, he sidestepped, tossing his black mane as if to confirm that he sensed danger as well. A wolf?

Drawing his sword in one hand, Ronan brought the horse under control with a steadying tone. “Easy, Ballach, easy.”

The speckled horse quieted, his muscles as tense as Ronan’s clenched jaw. The scene before him was still, like that of a tapestry. At his gentle nudge, the horse started around shore toward the high stone cliff. Dog, wolf, or man, Ronan was certain the steel of his blade was all the protection he’d need.

©2010 Cook Communications Ministries. Healer by Linda Windsor. Used with permission. May not be further reproduced. All rights reserved.

Friday, June 11, 2010

May Reads

I have decided to change the format of this monthly post a little bit by adding my plans for the upcoming month to the summary of the month behind. I have found that if I actually write or verbalize something, I tend to stick with it or at least make a greater effort to fulfill my plans than if I just thought about what I'd like to do.

This is what I managed to read last month:

1. The 13th Reality. The Hunt for Dark Infinity by James Dashner - YA/ fantasy - it's a very nice, creative and fast-paced series for middle grade/young adult audience but The Maze Runner is much better.

2. New World Monkeys by Nancy Mauro - contemporary American fiction - I thought I'd like this book a lot more than I actually did. The beginning had a lot of 'reading between the lines' humor that I enjoyed but towards the middle I started thinking that the story wasn't going anywhere and it indeed stalled completely towards the end. I just dislike the books that leave me wondering what the purpose of them was at all.

3. Lockdown by Alexander Gordon Smith - YA/thriller - a very exciting, dystopian (not post-apocalyptic) beginning of a new series for teenagers. Tons of non-stop action, not a dull moment in there and i just can't wait for part two, supposedly coming up late this year.

4. The Coral Thief by Rebecca Stott - historical fiction/post-revolutionary Paris/19th century

5. Raven Stole the Moon by Garth Stein -magic realism/Native American fiction

6. The Passage by Justin Cronin - horror/ dystopian/ vampires

7. Girl in Translation by Jean Kwok - Asian fiction/ women's lit.

8. Blood Oath by Christopher Farnsworth - paranormal thriller - I am very thrilled that this awesome, new series entered the book market. Mr. Farnsworth came up with a brilliant idea of a 140-year-old vampire and a secret agent to the president of the United States, Nathaniel Cade. He was bound by an oath to serve all presidents of our country and to fight the evil that humans don't even believe exist, not to mention know how to battle themselves. Cade just got a new sidekick to work for him, Zach Barrows, a young White House employee climbing the ladder of success. 

This pair turns out to be quite funny and I am looking forward to all the new installments. I like Nathaniel Cade, the vampire but I just adore Zach's character. He adds a lot of humor to the story and you will find yourself rooting for him. This book has been compared to The Dresden Files, but i actually think that besides the paranormal component, the two are quite different. But if you are a fan of Dresden, you will definitely like Blood Oath.

Audio books:

1. The Castaways by Erin Hildebrand - contemporary American fiction - it was okay, I liked it enough to finish it but I have to say I will probably not be picking this author's books up again. Reading about privileged couples, who just have to come up with problems to make it seem like they are just like everyone else is just not my cuppa' tea.

The PassageBLOOD OATHGirl in Translation

The best picks for the month of may are Blood Oath, Girl In Translation & The Passage. Lots of vampires this month but since they are one of my favorite characters to read about, I'm not complaining. Also, with the three books, I got very lucky to find very likable characters: Zach from Blood Oath, Kimberly from Girl In Translation, and Amy from The Passage.

New World Monkeys: A Novel
As far as most disappointing reads, there weren't any really but New World Monkeys was the one I thought I would like but didn't in the end. I just wish it went somewhere interesting or meaningful. Instead, I got a whole lot of nothing.

Now, as for my plans, I decided to read one chunkster a month. I have tons of them on my shelves and they are usually my favorite kind of books but because there are also so many other books I have committed to read, I am always afraid to reach out for a large tome because I know it will take me at least five to six days to finish it. Not anymore. So in June, I will be reading either No Angel by Penny Vincenzi which is 626 pages long or A Suitable Boy by Vikram Chandra which is as chunky as they come (1349 pages). I'm looking forward to reading either one. 

Last but definitely not least, I know that I have been a bad blogger as far as commenting on your posts guys. With a four-month-old, a translating job, reading for pleasure, reading and reviewing commitments, and running this blog, it's just so difficult to find enough time to visit and comment on all my favorite blogs (there are around 100 of them). I am truly, very sorry if you haven't seen me around your blog recently and want you to know that I'm not some stuck-up blogger who thinks other blogs are not important. I'm not, I do visit your blogs and read as much of what's being written as my time allows but there just isn't enough time in the day to leave meaningful comment and engage in conversations as much  as I'd like. I hope you'll forgive me and be patient until the time that I have this whole routine of my life under control.

Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Waiting On Wednesday: Middle Grade & Young Adult titles

"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Jill @ Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

 There are a couple of titles in the MG and YA world that I am particularly interested in (even though these are not my favorite genres) as I am on a never-ending quest to find books that my girl will read.

Ask Amy Green: Boy Trouble1. Ask Amy Green    Boy Trouble
by Sarah Webb
Middle Grade Fiction, published by Candlewick Press in August 2010


Her sassy teenage aunt writes an advice column. But what if Amy needs boy tips of her own? A witty, genuine take on the ups and downs of friends, family, and first romance.
Thirteen-year-old Amy Green has a lot to juggle: handling her divorced parents, minding her messy baby siblings, and navigating the snobby popular cliques at school. So when her cool but crazy seventeen-year old aunt, Clover lands a job giving advice for the teen mag
The Goss, Amy jumps at the chance to help out as her sidekick. Of course Clover, being Clover, doesn’t just want to answer readers’ letters, she wants to solve their problems . . . personally. From stamping out malicious rumors to giving a cad his comeuppance to creating the perfect web page, the two come up with some clever hands-on  schemes that bring happiness to many unhappy girls. But when Amy falls for the cute but aloof boy in her art class — and her own friends start snubbing her big-time — can she find a way out of her own dilemma? 

My Worst Best Friend2. My Worst Best Friend
    by Dyan Sheldon
    Young Adult Fiction, published by Candlewick Press in August 2010.


Gracie and Savannah are best friends --and utterly unalike. Savannah is beautiful, outrageous, and irresistible to the opposite sex. Gracie is shy, smart, and would rather be studying lizards than meeting boys. Still, they’ve made a surprisingly great team, and (until now) it seemed as if nothing could come between them. But lately, Savannah’s talent for lying and manipulating is becoming harder to ignore. She’s fallen head over heels for an elusive college boy, and Gracie can’t help wondering: is her friend as confident as she seems? When Savannah gets between Gracie and her crush, the line separating best friend from worst friend is crossed. The best-selling author of CONFESSIONS OF A DRAMA QUEEN takes a smart, funny look at friendship, staying true to your identity, and moving on.

That's that for now, more kids fiction will be mentioned next week.
What are you waiting impatiently for?