Banned Books Week - September 24 - 30

Thursday, March 31, 2011

NOVEL GLIMPSES (3)--THE LAST QUEEN, ACROSS THE VEIL, AND A DNF



Novel Glimpses is my feature for mini-reviews...really just a fancy name for them! The only difference than with my traditional mini-reviews is that I will include my Goodreads rating, something I do not do with my regular reviews. Feel free to participate...just credit me and link back if you do. (The titles are linked back to Goodreads, if you would like to read the book description).


The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner
finished on March 8, 2011

My Goodreads rating:  5 stars
The glimpse:  There is a reason why historical fiction is my favorite genre and this book is one of them.  An author that can take an historical figure, write a book about him/her based in fact, and make it historically accurate and entertaining at the same time is truly gifted.  I have been interested in Queen Juana since I watched a brilliant Spanish film based on her life called "Juana La Loca" (or "Mad Love").  Not quite sure how accurate the film was, but my interest was piqued and I wanted to know more about her.  However, at the time there were no historical fiction novels about her and very little non-fiction at that (at least after a search at my library).  And then I entered the book blogging world in 2009 and I started hearing about this book and I wanted it.  I put it on my wishlist and lucky me, my lovely Holiday Swap partner sent me the book (with my other goodies)! Well, the waiting paid off.  Gortner has constructed an historically accurate novel with characters that make you want to hate (Felipe) and to cry (Juana).  The subjugation of Juana by the men in her life is both infuriating and heartbreaking and I felt every misdeed against her to the bone.  Gortner has landed himself on my list of favorite historical fiction authors and I'm pretty confident that he will stay there.  I have his The Confessions of Catherine De Medici on my TBR pile and I can't wait to sink my teeth into it.  It just inched closer to the top of the pile.

Qualifies for the following challenges:
Alphabet Challenge
Historical Fiction Challenge
Outdo Yourself


Across the Veil by Lisa Kessler (e book)
finished on March 25, 2011

My Goodreads rating:  4 stars
The glimpse:  I have been following Lisa's writing since I met her on MySpace, where she posted weekly short stories on her blog and I'm a big fan.  I have been rooting for her writing journey and I'm happy to say that a week (or so) after she published this story on Amazon, she received a three book contract for her Night trilogy and a novella.  Congrats to her! So, on to the review of Across the Veil.  I love Lisa's characters.  They are so real and believable.  And her blending of the real world with the fantasy world is effortless.  The life and adventures of Princess Talia, aka Natalie Thurmont, are exciting and intriguing and I can only hope that Lisa will expand her story into a full novel someday. *fingers crossed*

Qualifies for Outdo Yourself Challenge

The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans by David A. Ross
DNF

No star rating...DNF
The glimpse (sort of):  I really hate abandoning books and I rarely do, but I have vowed to give a book 50 pages (or so) and if it's not grabbing me by then, well....  All I can say is that this book started off like a course in learning a virtual world and then forayed into a preachy treatise on global warming.  Now don't get me wrong.  I think global warming is a very important issue, but I own An Inconvenient Truth and I think I can learn what I need to know from that book.  I want works of fiction to have a story and interesting characters...not to read like a how-to manual narrated by one of those virtual talking avatars we see so much of online these days.






I received Across the Veil from the author for review and The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans from the publicity company for review.  The opinions expressed are my own and I did not receive any monetary compensation.

CAT THURSDAY


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)

I know when an LOL Cat pic makes me literally laugh out loud that I have my winner for Cat Thursday! Try to control yourself...it's hard, really hard. =O)






Monday, March 28, 2011

MAILBOX MONDAY

Mailbox Monday...this month's host is I'm Booking It.

(Click on book image to be taken to the book's Amazon page for more information about the book)


BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

For Review:


To Be Queen by Christy English...from the author

Paperback Swap:


The Red Church by Scott Nicholson
Daughter of York by Anne Easter Smith
Oil! by Upton Sinclair


BookMooch:


If You Could See Me Now by Cecelia Ahern
Confessions of a Jane Austin Addict by Laurie Viera Rigler


Purchased:


The Courage to Write: How Writers Transcend Fear by Ralph Keyes...from BetterWorldBooks


Any yummy books in your mailbox the past week?


Friday, March 25, 2011

DECISIONS AND REVELATIONS

After much thinking and soul searching, I have made a major decision in regards to this blog.  I will no longer be accepting review copies from authors/publicists.  I do have one exception to this, which I will explain below.  My reasons for this are various and include the following:

  • I still have many titles left over from 2010 and have not been good about my goal to only accept a title per month in the new year.
  • My personal library numbers at 3000+ books (fiction and non-fiction) and I really want to be able to get to the great titles I already own.
  • Most importantly, I want/need more time to concentrate on my writing.  I want to get this first novel written, darn it!
Here is my new review policy which is located in my 'About' tab:

I am no longer accepting review copies for The True Book Addict except in rare cases and with the exception of historical fiction.  I will still accept historical fiction titles for review, especially titles set in medieval or ancient times.  My reasoning behind this distinction is due to my desire to establish this blog more prominently in the historical fiction niche.  Publicists and authors are welcome to contact me with review requests at truebookaddictATgmailDOTcom.  However, be advised that I will turn down a very high percentage of offers.

My one exception, as you read above, is historical fiction.  I'm still working on establishing this blog with a more historical focus, as my favorite genre is historical fiction.  By no means does this mean that HF will be the only genre I'll be reading.  

I am committed to review books through June/July and hope by then I will be free to start reading from my HUGE library.  All review obligations will be completed as promised.  Also, I will still be participating in the book tour sites, Jennifer's Crazy Book Tours and Amy's (Passages to the Past) Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tours.  Also, every two months, I will be reviewing a book and participating in an internet radio author chat with Angels and Warriors.com.  Finally, I will still be co-hosting/authoring the blog, Historical Fiction Connection, with Marie from The Burton Review.


Whew...what a relief! I really feel like a weight has been lifted off my shoulders.  How about you?  Are you thinking of making any changes in your blogging?

Thursday, March 24, 2011

ONE YEAR OF CAT THURSDAYS (OOPS...CAN'T BELIEVE I MISSED IT!)


To all you Cat Thursday participants, I just had to share....today was the one year anniversary for Cat Thursday! I can't believe I missed it and can you believe it has been a year already?! Wow, how time flies! So I just wanted to thank everyone who participates every week and/or takes the time to stop by and comment.  We all must be some crazy cat ladies (guys too, I think)!



SPRING READING THING/ONCE UPON A TIME V

Callipider Days is hosting her annual Spring Reading Thing Challenge.  March 20th through June 20th.



Guidelines for the challenge:
  • Make a list of books you want to read (or finish reading) this spring. Your list can be as long or as short as you’d like. (Also, feel free to modify your list during the challenge if it’s not working for you.)
  • Write a blog post containing your list
  • Check out other participants’ lists and add to your own to-read-someday pile!
  • Write a post about your challenge experience in June, telling us all about whether you reached your goals and how Spring Reading Thing went for you. But remember: this is a low-pressure challenge that should be fun. As long as you do some reading this spring (and enjoy it!), that’s good enough.
I have A LOT of reading on my plate this spring (review books), but I also want to add in some from my TBR pile mountain so here is part of my list and I'm sure I'll add to it once I determine what else I'm going to read.

This will not be a complete list, by far.  I'm just trying to get in on the 12 midnight deadline for sign-up!

1.  My Name is Memory by Ann Brashares (book tour)
2.  The Greek Maiden and the English Lord by Patty Apostolides (for review)
3.  What the Night Knows by Dean Koontz (finish)
4.  Dante's Journey by JC Marino (finish)  
5.  The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans by David A. Ross (for review)
6.  Alone in the Company of Others by Kelly Huddleston (for review)
7.  Captivity by Deborah Noyes (for review)
8.  Once Wicked, Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley (for review)
9.  The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw (review)
10. The Half-Made World by Felix Galman (review)
11. The Arrow Chest by Robert Parry (review)
12. To Serve A King by Donna Russo Morin (review)
13. Water for Elephants by Sara Gruen
14. A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
15.
16.
17.
18.

ONCE UPON A TIME V  March 21st through June 20th

This challenge is hosted yearly by Carl at Stainless Steel Droppings.  This will be my first time doing this challenge.  I wanted to do it last year, but...not sure why I didn't.  I love Carl's R.I.P. Challenge every Fall so it just makes sense to do this one too.  And who doesn't love fairy tales?  Plus, I think it fits in nicely with the Spring Reading Thing.

Here are Carl's "rules":

The Once Upon a Time Challenge has a few rules:

Rule #1: Have fun.

Rule #2: Have fun.

Rule #3: Don’t keep the fun to yourself, share it with us, please!

Rule #4: Do not be put off by the word “challenge”.

If you have participated in any of the reading events hosted here at Stainless Steel Droppings then you will know that my goal is not to try to reach some preset number of books read. It is simply to take pleasure in what is read. By the same token, I do like setting personal goals for myself and I see the value in “challenging” myself not only to read regularly but also to get out of my comfort zone on occasion. We all have books that we want to read. On top of that some of us have books we are obligated to read, be that for school or commitments we have made, etc. The Once Upon a Time Challenge is not meant to be a burden, nor is it meant to coerce you into participating in something when you feel overwhelmed. That is why you will find that the Once Upon a Time Challenge is designed to cater to everyone–those that want to set a specific goal to reach and those who know that all they really have time for is to read one qualifying book and want to take part in the fellowship that springs up during this challenge.

I'll be attempting Quest the First...Read at least 5 books that fit somewhere within the Once Upon a Time criteria. They might all be fantasy, or folklore, or fairy tales, or mythology…or your five books might be a combination from the four genres.

Here are a couple I know fit and I'll add the rest later:

1.  A Game of Thrones by George R.R. Martin
2.  My Mother She Killed Me, My Father He Ate Me--Editor Kate Bernheimer
3.
4.
5.




Wednesday, March 23, 2011

CAT THURSDAY


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)


I had to share this video because Alice does the same thing with her tongue.  She has since she was a kitten.  Mostly, when you pick her up, she always has her tongue sticking out.  It is beyond cute! (I'll have to try to snap a picture of her doing it some time)




I had already posted the above and then I found this.  I was laughing so hard, I had to share it!








REST IN PEACE, SCREEN GODDESS...


I was saddened to hear this morning that the beloved Elizabeth Taylor has passed away at the age of 79, due to congestive heart failure.  One of my favorite actresses, some of her most memorable films for me are "Little Women", "Giant", "Father of the Bride", "Cleopatra", and "Butterfield 8".  Liz was also a tireless advocate for the fight against HIV/AIDS.  Her incomparable spirit will be remembered and missed greatly...especially by one of her biggest fans...me.  Rest in peace, Liz.  You will live on in our hearts.

Monday, March 21, 2011

MAILBOX MONDAY

Mailbox Monday...this month's host is I'm Booking It.

(Click on book image to be taken to the book's Amazon page)

BookBox: embed book widget, share book list

WON:


Human.4 by Mike A. Lancaster...from Velvet at vvb32 reads

GIFT


THE KING'S GRACE BY ANNE EASTER SMITH...from my friend, the lovely Michelle at red headed book child...thank you, girl!

FOR BOOK TOUR:


My Name Is Memory by Ann Brashares...with Crazy Book Tours

FOR REVIEW:


Across the Veil by Lisa Kessler...from the author (ebook)


Promised Valley Rebellion by Ron Fritsch...for book tour with Pump Up Your Book (in May)

BE: Embracing the Mystery by Shirlee Hall...for Angels and Warriors and Angels and Warriors Radio Show (in April)

Note:  If you are interested in reviewing books and going on their radio show to discuss the book as well as talk with the author, contact Dawn Tevy at Show@angelsandwarriors.com  and tell her I sent you!




AND LOOKY WHAT I WON FROM A GIVEAWAY ON THE DRESS-UP DRAWER BLOG! HER NAME IS BEATRICE AND SHE'S FROM THE ETSY SHOP, GOODBYE BLUE MONDAY.  ANOTHER LOVELY DOLL TO ADD TO MY COLLECTION.  =o)


Anything exciting come your way in the past week?


Sunday, March 20, 2011

WIN BREATHLESS


Click the banner to enter!


I'VE BEEN TAGGED!

I was tagged by Velvet at vvb32 reads.  Be sure to check out the event Alice in WhoLand.


Bloggers who are tagged must answer these 4 questions and tag others.


1st~four places I go
library sales
park with my sons
movies
out to eat with mom



2nd~four favorite smells
Haiku perfume from AVON
all candles with baking or sweet treat scents (especially pumpkin)
ground coffee
the scents of Christmas (sugar cookies, Christmas trees, holly berry, candy canes, apples and cinnamon)


3rd~four favorite TV shows or movies
Braveheart (#1)
Bones

Dr. Who
Supernatural 


4th~four recommendations
read
read some more

be kind to others
cherish your loved ones


I tag:


Ryan at Wordsmithonia
Terri at Alexia's Books and Such
Juju at Tales of Whimsy
Kathleen at Blog O' the Irish

Thursday, March 17, 2011

ST. PATRICK'S DAY E BOOK SPECIAL

In honor of St. Patrick's Day, Amazon is offering the trade paperback edition of Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires by Molly Roe for $3.28!  Go HERE if you would like to take advantage of this great offer.

I reviewed the book last year.  My review can be read HERE.

HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!!!

CAT THURSDAY...HAPPY ST. PATRICK'S DAY!


Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! (share your post in the Mr. Linky below)


In honor of this lovely Irish holiday and one of my favorite musicals of all time, Riverdance, I give you....




Happy St. Patrick's Day! Why not do a little Irish step dancing yourself today!

Be sure to stop by the Kritters That Twitter blog today.  I'm being interviewed over there (for Meow March) about me and my history with cats and a little about Alice along with a bit of book stuff thrown in as well.






Wednesday, March 16, 2011

CSN STORES REVIEW


So, back in December I was given a chance to give my honest opinion on some products from CSN Stores.  With my move and all (and we're STILL moving), I haven't had much of a chance to really sit down and think about the lovely products I was given the opportunity to order and give my honest opinion on.  Now here I am...long overdue...my apologies.

First of all, let me talk about the cooking pans.  The set I ordered was this Paula Deen-Porcelain Enamel Signature 12 Piece Cookware Set.  The color is called butter and I love it.  So bright and sunshiny! I actually ordered these from their Clearance Center (clearance items are usually returned items that a customer was not happy with) and there was not a thing wrong with them.  Maybe the color wasn't their cup of tea?  Anyway, these pans are such good quality.  We have used them almost every night since we received them around the end of December and the non-stick coating isn't even scratched.  I love the clear glass lids which enable a clear view of what's being cooked, plus they make the pans look even more gorgeous.  See for yourself....


I also ordered this Mango Serving Tray with Handles.  I have a large rectangular ottoman in my living room that serves as an ottoman/coffee table and I wanted a tray to place on it for decorative purposes and for sitting drinks on, etc.  It's really nice looking, as you can see...


My final item was this Jubilee 3 Dimensional Pom Pom Fringe Throw.  I love the look of it...the pom poms are a whimsical touch and besides the decorative aspect, it's also very warm.  It has been a nice comfort during the cold winter we had this year.  A nice cozy throw to cover up with while I'm reading a good book.  Take a look...


Shopping at CSN is a wonderful experience.  They have everything under the sun that a person could want and quality products at reasonable prices.  Also, the products arrive very quickly and intact.  I will definitely be visiting them often!

I received a gift certificate from CSN as a promotion.  The opinions and review are my honest opinion.

BOOK TOUR: REVIEW OF BLUE BY LOU ARONICA AND CONTEST--ORIGINAL POST DATE 3/3/11

*UPDATED TO REFLECT CONTEST...DETAILS BELOW*


Blue by Lou Aronica
finished reading on March 3, 2011

My thoughts:

Note:  Personally, I do not feel that this review contains spoilers, but you may want to read it cautiously, just in case.

What would you do if your daughter had cancer at age five?  What would you do to help get her through the painful cancer treatments?  Well, Chris Astor and his daughter Becky create a world together called Tamarisk...and it turns out this world is real.

I have to admit I was skeptical when I began reading this book, but that did not last.  The author has constructed such a terrific blending of the real and fantastical world.  The realities of cancer and divorce and their effects on a family and the fantasy of a world created in story to help a young girl overcome her pain do not seem like they would meld together, but in this book, they do.  I loved the characters, especially Becky's dad, Chris.  Never have I encountered such a devoted father.  A father that believes in his daughter so much that he does not hesitate to believe her when she tells him Tamarisk is real.  And the world building of Tamarisk was fantastic...and believable.   

Let me warn you...be sure to have a box of tissues beside you when you approach the last quarter of the book, especially if you are a parent.  I always say this, and it rings true time and time again, I know a book is good when it makes me cry (even though I HATE being sad).  I highly recommend this book.  Remember what I said, I was skeptical in the beginning.  But if you start reading it, don't give up on it.  If you do, you will be missing out on one terrific book.


The author
 Book description (from goodreads):
Chris Astor is a man in his early forties who is going through the toughest stretch of his life. Becky is Chris's fourteen-year-old daughter, a girl who overcame enormous challenges to become a vibrant, vital young woman - and now faces her greatest obstacle yet. Miea is the young queen of a fantasy land that Becky and Chris created when Becky was little, a fantasy land that has developed a life of its own and now finds itself in terrible, maybe fatal trouble. Together, Chris, Becky, and Miea need to uncover a secret. The secret to why their worlds have joined at this moment. The secret to their purpose. The secret to the future. It is a secret that, when discovered, will redefine imagination for all of them. Blue is a novel of trial and hope, invention and rediscovery. It might very well take you someplace you never knew existed

You can read all about the author, Lou Aronica, HERE on goodreads.

I'd like to thank Tracee at Pump Up Your Book for giving me the opportunity to read and review this wonderful book.


CONTEST!!!

How often do you hear about something that sounds too good to be true? Well, I am here to offer 10 lucky winners the opportunity of a lifetime.
New York Times bestselling co-author, novelist, and former Publisher of Avon Books andBerkley Books, Lou Aronica has created a unique and exciting offer to anyone that is going to follow his upcoming book tour with Pump Up Your Book. His extensive experience in the publishing and editing fields has given him insight into an industry that continues to grow and change daily. Once again, that insight has led him to offer a contest that is truly special in so many ways. Lou will be accepting story pitches from followers of his blog tour. These story pitches must be for short stories pertaining to the fantasy world of his novel, “Blue.”This contest will allow 10 lucky people the opportunity of a lifetime, the chance to have their story published in an upcoming companion anthology to “Blue.” Lou will hand pick the winners, edit their stories, include them in the anthology and give them a pro-rated share of the royalties. How can you pass up an opportunity like this?


Now for the details:


The pitch should include a synopsis of the proposed story and a sample of the submitting author’s fiction writing. Specify the expected length of the story.


The pitch needs to be submitted by April 16, 2011
Please email your submission to Lou at laronica@fictionstudio.com

All winners will be notified by email by May 27, 2011.




I received a copy of Blue in conjunction with a book tour from a publicity firm for my honest review and did not receive any monetary compensation.

Monday, March 14, 2011

IT'S MONDAY! WHAT ARE YOU READING ON MAILBOX MONDAY?


Mailbox Monday...this month's host is I'm Booking It.

(For book descriptions (from goodreads), click the titles below the image)


Won:


from Bitten by Books:
Etched in Bone by Adrian Phoenix
A Rush of Wings by Adrian Phoenix


The Fifth Servant by Kenneth Wishnia...from Zohar at Man of la Book

Purchased:


from Barnes and Noble online:
I've made it no secret to my blogging friends that I have A LOT of weight to lose and with my illness last year due to a leg infection, activity has become pretty limited.  I decided to try these new Jane Fonda DVDs.  They are geared toward older people or people who need to start out slow due to health and/or inactivity issues.  Wish me luck! (click the titles for more info and B&N)
Jane Fonda Prime Time:  Fit and Strong
Jane Fonda Prime Time:  Walk Out
and
The Girl Who Trod On A Loaf by Kathryn Davis


from my monthly library sale:
As Meat Loves Salt by Maria McCann
The Silver Hand: The Song of Albion 2 by Stephen R. Lawhead
Vermeer: A View of Delft by Anthony Bailey
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Whiskey Rebels by David Liss
The Wild Girl by Jim Fergus
Green Darkness by Anya Seton
The Borgia Bride by Jeanne Kalogridis
Charlotte Bronte: A Passionate Life by Lyndall Gordon
Dark Rivers of the Heart by Dean Koontz


I also won this lovely handmade bookmark from Daphne at Tanzanite's Castle Full of Books.  Isn't it gorgeous?! This is the vision in my head of what Eleanor of Aquitaine might have looked like (as a young woman).






It's Monday...what are you reading? is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

I do not participate in this meme very often.  Maybe this is why. *hangs head in shame*  As I visited other blogs yesterday and today, I noticed that there are a lot of prolific readers out there.  I just cannot seem to read so many books in a week.  As I was saying to one blogger, it's either because I'm a slow reader or because I waste too much time.  I'm going to go with the latter here.  LOL!

Finished reading last week:


The Last Queen by C.W. Gortner (watch for my review this week)
The Raven Queen by Jules Watson (my review)

Reading this week:


Dante's Journey by JC Marino (continuing)
What The Night Knows by Dean Koontz (first week of TuesBookTalk, Ch. 1-17)
The Greek Maiden and the English Lord by Patty Apostolides


Coming up:
these are all review titles still left over from last year...ugh...so behind!

Captivity by Deborah Noyes
Blood and Silk by Carol McKay
Once Wicked, Always Dead by T. Marie Benchley
The Lucifer Code by Charles Brokaw
The Half-Made World by Felix Gilman


So...my goal is to stop wasting so much time and become as prolific a reader as all you other wonderful bloggers out there.  Please keep your positive thoughts behind me!

- See more at: http://www.techtrickhome.com/2013/02/show-comment-box-above-comments-on.html#sthash.TjHz2Px9.dpuf