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Showing posts from July, 2009

Book Review # 107 - Black Hills by Nora Roberts

Black Hills


Nora Roberts

Front Flap: "A summer at his grandparents' South Dakota ranch is not eleven year old Cooper Sullivan's idea of a good time. But things are a bit more bearable now that he's discovered the neighbor girl, Lil Chance, and her homemade batting cage. Even horseback riding isn't as awful as Coop thought it would be. Each year, with Coop's annual summer visit, their friendship deepens from innocent games to stolen kisses, but there is one shared experience that will forever haunt them: the terrifying discovery of a hiker's body.

As the seasons change and the years roll by, Lil remains steadfast to her aspiration of becoming a wildlife biologist and protecting her family land, while Coop struggles with his father's demand that he attend law school and attend the family firm. Twelve years after they last walked hand in hand, fate has brought them back to the Black Hills when the people and things they hold most dear need them most.


Random Reading Challenge

Caribousmom is hosting a Random Reading Challenge which will run from August 1, 2009 through July 31, 2010.

Are you stuck in a rut? Do you always find yourself reading from set lists or feeling committed to reading one book while another book screams at you from your TBR mountain? Has your reading become completely scheduled?

If so, the Random Reading Challenge may be just the thing to put the spontaneity back into your reading.
For this challenge, readers will be choosing books randomly from their TBR stacks. You may select one of three levels of participation:

Level I:
You are just a tad compulsive about your reading – you love your lists and schedules. Being spontaneous is not something that comes naturally to you. To complete the challenge, force yourself out of your rut and read just six books.

Level II:
You really want to break away from all those lists, but you do still have a responsibility to your reading groups, other challenges and all those review books. Six books is too litt…

Libri Multus # 101 to 106


Second Chance Pass by Robyn Carr. # 5 in Virgin River Series. Follows Widowed Vanessa and her late husband's best friend retired marine Paul as they try to sort out their feelings for each other. Plus a new romance between Vanessa's dad and a newcomer to town.


Temptation Ridge by Robyn Carr. # 6 in Virgin River Series. I had originally read a review about Temptation Ridge on My Friend Amy's blog who suggested I begin with book 1. Great idea. Fell in love with the series.
Follows Shelby, Vanessa's cousin and her relationship with newcomer, retired Blackhawk Pilot, Luke. He's very jaded and hates commitment. She's very sweet, but tough.


Cry Mercy by Mariah Stewart (Mercy Street Novel) Introduces Ann Nolan, a beat cop who adopted the daughter of a notorious drug dealer. Now he's found out who has her and wants her back. She flees to across the country, using an assumed name and gets a job as an investigator with the Mercy Street found…

Work in Progress Wednesday

Alrighty, I'll admit it. I've gotten very little writing done this past week. And you know, as soon as I decided to set the deadline for the end of September, everything went ppffft out of my head. Writing the past couple days has been like pulling teeth. I was ready to move on to a new day and write an exciting action scene and my characters kept pulling back, saying "hey, we are not through talking here, yet. This scene, right here, the way you thought it out before, write it." Strawberries!

I was going to try and keep writing the story down until the end, but at this point, I need to type up what I've written so far and get a better handle on it. What seems right at the time, flies out the window on other days. I need to see the story in print and go from there. I also started thinking about next November's Nano and that I need to get back in the habit of writing on the keyboard which is how I did the first two. Otherwise it will be s…

Book Review # 99 and 100 - New to me author find Anne Stuart

Ice Blue


Anne Stuart

Back Cover: "Museum curator Summer Hawthorne considered the exquisite ice-blue ceramic bowl given to her by her beloved Japanese nanny a treasure of sentimental value--until somebody tried to kill her for it. The priceless relic is about to ignite a global power struggle that must be stopped at all costs. It's a desperate situation and international operative Takashi OBrien has received his directive: everybody is expendable. Everybody. Especially the woman who is getting dangerously under his skin as the lethal game crosses the Pacific to the remote and beautiful mountains of Japan, where the truth can be as seductive as it is deadly."

Takashi works for a super secret committee and his directive is to kill Summer and recover the bowl for the Japanese. However Summer is kidnapped by a religious cult leader bent of having the relic and taking over the world. Takashi rescues her, only to try and kill her for the bowl, but Summer is one step ah…

What's On Your Nightstand - July

What's on Your Nightstand

hosted by

5 Minutes for Books

"How's summer treating you? Have you been reading? Are you trying to make more time to read? Let us know what you've been reading or what you hope to get to this month."My nightstand overfloweth this month with lots of interesting books. We've been in the midst of planning for 4th grade and I can't help ordering a few books for myself while ordering books for James. I have been reading a lot since we are on our summer break and I finally have some time for me. Plus I received quite a few review books in the past couple weeks which I'm very excited about. One I'm particularly excited about is

I discovered Karen Rose a couple years back and love her writing. So when the opportunity came up to review "I Can See You" for Hachette Books, I jumped on it. As Shanra would say "Squeeee." It will be released on August 5th so will be reading it soon and reviewing.

I'm also r…

Sunday Salon - Meanderings

It's Sunday, summer and sizzling outside. Our wayward baby mockingbird has disappeared somewhere up in the bushes or one of the trees with its parents in attendance and out of reach of the cats. If the cats get anywhere close to the area, the parents are dive bombing and chasing them away. We no longer have to worry and can get back to normal life as we know it.

I failed miserably with unplugged week and gave up on Thursday. Coinciding with the start of our summer break, dealing with baby birds, life in general and just wanting to kick back and relax, it just didn't work out. I didn't get a bit of writing done, but I did read alot. Different brain cells. As of today I have read 107 books this year, which means technically I've completed J.Kaye's 100+ Book Challenge. However, I'm not going to stop reading so will continue to total up the number of books. It will be interesting to see how many I manage to read for the year. I'm not trying to beat an…

Booking through Thursday on Saturday - Preference

I'm a bit late this week. I was a bit busy on Thursday and didn't have time, but better late than never.

This week's Booking through Thursday is all about Preferences

Which do you prefer? (Quick answers–we’ll do more detail at some later date)Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?Fiction? Or Nonfiction?Poetry? Or Prose?Biographies? Or Autobiographies?History? Or Historical Fiction?Series? Or Stand-alones?Classics? Or best-sellers?Lurid, fruity prose? Or straight-forward, basic prose?Plots? Or Stream-of-Consciousness?Long books? Or Short?Illustrated? Or Non-illustrated?Borrowed? Or Owned?New? Or Used?(Yes, I know, some of these we’ve touched on before, and some of these we might address in-depth in the future, but for today–just quick answers!)

Reading something frivolous? Or something serious?


Paperbacks? Or hardcovers?

Paperbacks the majority of the time.

Fiction? Or Nonfiction?

Definitely Fiction

Poetry? Or Prose?


Biographies? …

Birds and cats

Our whole week has been thrown completely off kilter by this little guy

Northern Mockingbird

While I was at work on Tuesday, I received a series of phone calls from Father and James about this baby bird they discovered in the back yard. During the day Father dug up some worms and puts them and the baby on the patio table where the parents proceeded to come and feed it. For a few days now, every time the cats went out into the front yard, they were being dive bombed by a couple mockingbirds. Now we know why. When I returned home that evening, lying in the curb was another baby mockingbird. I went into the house and kinda blew the guys thunder by saying "look what I found."

Now we had two baby birds who were too young to fly or protect themselves and 4 cats - what do you do? Let nature take its course or help it along a bit. Come 10:30 pm, we have 4 very anxious cats who want to do their nocturnal wanderings, two chirping baby birds and the momma and daddy squawking …

Book Review # 98 - Duma Key by Stephen King

Duma Key


Stephen King

Back Cover: "After a terrible construction site accident severed his right arm, scrambled his mind, and imploded his marriage, the wealthy Minnesota builder faces the ordeal of rehabilitation alone and enraged. Renting a house on a stunningly beautiful and eerily undeveloped splinter off the Florida coast, Edgar slowly emerges from his prison of pain to bond with Elizabeth Eastlake, a sick old woman whose roots are tangled deep in Duma Key. And as he heals, he paints---feverishly, compulsively, his exploding talent both a wonder and a weapon. For Edgar's creations are not just paintings, but portals for the ghosts of Elizabeth's past...and their power cannot be controlled."

I generally steer away from horror novels, same as I do horror movies. Blood and guts slasher movies have never really been my cup of tea. Which is the reason I have steered away from Stephen King all these years. Too much for my very vivid imagination. A couple years …

Wordless Wednesday -- Kitty Love

Gracie and Melvin

Unplugged week - random letter sentences

Unplug Week

While I'm off concentrating on my writing this week, I'll leave you with a little exercise.

Choose ten random letters of the alphabet and write them at the top of the page. Using words that begin with these letter, in the same order, writing an opening sentence (courtesy of Pocket Muse)

I asked James to choose ten letters and he came up with


Gee, thanks kid.

Apples enjoyed inside or under your window. Be Very Kind.

My Random bits were:


Zebbie's anxious cries followed Questia's harried departure. "Everyone's leaving me!"

Tried it again


Quickly reacting, Dennis earnestly peeked inside. Oranges? Vaseline? Goose Feathers!

Well! I'd like to see you do better. Dare you!

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The Sunday Salon - Poetry, books, and heat - oh my!

Good morning, good afternoon, good evening and good night to all you Sunday Saloners where ever you are. It is a hot, hot, hot day here in the valley and we are a sweltering 104 degrees right now. Thank goodness for air conditioning. We've been hibernating inside for most of the week and will be for the next few days until the temps decide go back down below 100. Summer has finally hit us and it's time to adjust to early morning or late evening errands.

I've been immersed most of the day in reading poetry, the subject this week in my Modern Literature class. I've been reading the works of and learning about T.S. Eliot, Hilda Doolittle, Wilfred Owen and Ezra Pound, comparing, contrasting and discussing. All very interesting, but not my cup of tea. I finally finished posting my answers to the discussion questions and am done with that Module. The next two weeks we will be reading and discussing Don Delilo's "White Noise," and then the final. …

Book Review # 96 and 97 - Mistress of Beasts Saga

Wizard's Secrets

(book one of Mistress of Beasts Saga)


R.L. Geerdes

Back Cover: Castin has been an outcast all his life. Spending the better part of forty years wandering, the half-elf, half human has been unable to achieve acceptance, mostly due to his ability to manipulate water and earth. But when a vision leads him to an encounter with a woman from Earth, he realizes his druidic powers may not be a curse after all. Perhaps there is a place for Castin in Arconia, if he can live long enough to discover it.

Who brought her to Arconia? Why? Driven to find out, Katrina embarks on a journey with a sullen druid and a mysterious barbarian who claims to be leading her to the one person with all of the answers. But before the answers can be revealed, they must overcome assassins, angry mobs, and the attacks of mystical beasts -- not to mention the strange connection that Katrina seems to be developing with the fauna around her...

Chasing Demons

(book two of Mistress of Beasts Saga)



Harlequin launching Harlequin Teen

Harlequin Teen

Admit it, we all have read Harlequin's from time to time. My teenage years in the 70's were spent reading the pretty much g rated simple romances. I still have 6 of the old books sitting in the bookshelves and occasionally take them out to read. They're quite yellow, but still readable.

Harlequin is now launching Harlequin Teen (announcement)

Natashya Wilson, senior editor for Harlequin Teen describes the wide range of books she is looking for in the writing guidelines;Stories with the unforgettable romance, characters and atmosphere of Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight saga, the witty humor of Meg Cabot’s Princess Diaries novels, the edgy emotion of Jay Asher’s Th1rteen R3asons Why, the thrilling danger of Suzanne Collins’s Hunger Games, Uglies, and the power of Marcus Zusak’s The Book Thief…”The first titles to be released under the imprint, however, all fall into the paranormal category.

Check out Harlequin Teen and see their first books featuring Gene Showalter a…

Work in Progress Wednesday

Yes, I know it is Thursday and I really don't have that much to report other than I'm writing, writing, writing but it seems to be going slowly, slowly, slowly. I'm giving myself a goal to finish the rewrite by the end of September, otherwise it will keep dragging on and I'll never finish. I finally realized I'm the type of person who has to have a deadline and someone to hold me accountable, otherwise it will be left to fester and I would be forever putting out fires. The reason for the deadline - October is going to be reserved for researching my 2009 Nano story "Eyes in the Ashes.". After nano I will be editing my 2nd nano piece and let "floating on the surface" (title to be changed eventually) rest. That's the plan, stan.

Used to be a time I would never even think of working on more than one book at a time or even be writing a book and I'm imagining my grandmother saying "don't put all your peas in one pot.&q…

Final Weekly Report for 3rd Grade

We are officially done with 3rd Grade -- Yippee, Yahoo and Woozer!

We are completely and utterly burned out and ready for the summer break. The plan is to take 6 weeks off, then start fresh as of September 1st. We'll see if either one of us lasts that long without going crazy. I just finished reviewing what James completed during the year and it always amazes how much we got accomplished.

I went into the review with the feeling that we missed something, but it doesn't look like we have. I tend to get that feeling especially with Math. We dropped all the formal mathematics this year and just concentrated on addition and subtraction using Kumon Workbooks. Half the time he uses his fingers to count. The other half the time he manages to figure it out in his head and snaps off the answer and then there are those days that he just looks at me blankly. I do believe it is time to move forward and upward. Now I have to figure out whether to go with the spiral or mastery…

Mini Reviews # 89 - 95

Mini Book Reviews

After reading the humongous Walls of Phantoms and a few other serious review books I had promised to read, I needed a break and went on a romance and romantic suspense kick.

#89 - 90 - 91

Last Series by Mariah Stewart -- I discovered Mariah last year and have been working my way through her books. The Last series continues with the Shields siblings from the Dead series and highlights Andrew, Mia and Connor Shields. Romantic suspense novels which are very well written and keep you riveted throughout the stories.


Continuing with my Mariah kick of the moment - Forgotten is a creepy one about a murderer who kidnapped and killed a number of boys and is in prison for life. One of the mother's is dying and wants the murderer to reveal what he did with her son, so she can die in peace. In the process someone is copying the killer and shadowing the FBI agent Portia Cahill and she ends up having to team with the attorney, James Cannon, who once defended the murderer.…