Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Review - The Caldecott Chronicles No. 2 by R.G. Bullet

The Earl of Rothshire has decided to leave Caldecott manor and find his son, Albert. His plans to ride his surviving horse, Willow, to London have derailed and the only other way to get there is to venture forth in a newfangled horseless carriage. Saffy insists on accompanying him, and together they make their way through the local villages encountering fights with undead and...the living.

I read The Caldecott Chronicles No. 1 by R.G. Bullet a few months ago (you can read my review here). I loved it. It was hilarious and a quick read and just completely fun to go through. Excerpt No. 2 did not disappoint.

Saffy and the Earl ("Thirty-two" as she calls him) have set off from Caldecott in search of 32's son. They've left behind Willow, who is not feeling 100% and instead are moving along in the Daimler, the "horseless carriage" with the crank on the back to get it running.

They trade with some friends (who also promise to give them a Border Collie puppy in a few weeks once it's been weaned) and secure care for Willow before heading on their way. Equipped with the Purdey and the Churchill they drive off, trying to pick through the overgrowth of hedges and the clutter of debris over the old roads.

They battle the undead (again, the word Zombies is NEVER mentioned) and even other survivors in their efforts to make it to Albert. Will they finally make it to him?


Book 2 was just as hilarious as book one.


"I won't elaborate the truth, my stomach is upset from all these eggs I've been scoffing. My system is baulking, and I have awful flatulence. Saffy only adds to my discomfort - every time I break wind she holds her nose, waves her hand and starts laughing. It's really insufferable behavior, and I fail to see the humour in it. All the years in the Gentleman's room and I don't think one of us laughed when anyone passed gas."


"We studied them through the diamond pattern of the leaded window. The woman was scantily clad in only a bloodied apron. Her head drooped forward until it nearly touched her chest. Her hair was disheveled, and a large black cloud of flies followed her every move. For some reason she clung to a mop, which she dragged behind her in the grass. The other one was quite obviously male; he had no clothes on whatsoever. But he did wear a sizeable wound across his chest, and he plodded about pulling at it and moaning. Lord knows what they were up to before they turned green."

Ok, so maybe I have a weird sense of humor. But the book is full of stuff like this. Completely full of it. It's also, in my humble opinion, WAY more gory and grotesque than book one. Perhaps I'm just not remembering it right though. I think the fact that it was so much more descriptive and gross made it just that much better.

I also liked, again, how Zombies are never mentioned. They're called things like Mr. and Mrs. Beastly, the beast, the undead (which obviously isn't uncommon, but still), brutes, stumblers.... all kinds of different things.

I want to say that this one seemed shorter than the first, but that doesn't take away from the story in the least bit. It was full of action and suspense (and like I said, plenty of gore). It's full of light-hearted humor despite the deadly and dangerous circumstances. Saffy and Thirty-two definitely get a surprise there at the end that you'll find incredibly disturbing. But you'll have to read it to see if they come out alright in the end!

This book is a definite must read for Zombie fans. Fans of things like The Walking Dead or Humanity Scar. I highly recommend it!

Tuesday, February 28, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #37

Thank you to MizB of Should Be Reading for giving us Teaser Tuesday every week!
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from The Caldecott Chronicles No. 2 by R.G. Bullet.

Saffy didn't turn so much as an inch and smashed right into the lot of them. They scattered like bowling pins. She simply hadn't taken in a word I said. In hindsight, I think it was sheer bloody-mindedness on her part, rather than a lack of driving skill.

Can't wait to see ya'lls teasers!

Monday, February 27, 2012

Cover Reveal - Knight of the Rose (Dark Secrets #2) by A.M. Hudson

Loved book one in the series! Now it's time for book two!! Loved that one too but I can't wait to read it again! Knight of the Rose by A.M. Hudson is book two in the Dark Secrets series.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

In My Mailbox #31

Thanks to Kristi, The Story Siren, for hosting In My Mailbox every week.

This week, I got a few different things.

The Caldecott Chronicles No. 2 by RG Bullet

The Earl of Rothshire has decided to leave Caldecott manor and find his son, Albert. His plans to ride his surviving horse, Willow, to London have derailed and the only other way to get there is to venture forth in a newfangled horseless carriage. Saffy insists on accompanying him, and together they make their way through the local villages encountering fights with undead and...the living.

And... the greatest thing my mailman has brought me in AGES:

That's right. My swag from the So Silver Bright book trailer contest!! Lisa sent me, not only the t-shirt I was hoping to win, but a bunch of other cool things too!

Sweet greeting-like cards

A backstage pass magnet

A thank you card

And there was also a backstage pass bracelet that I was wearing at the time, so I didn't get a photo of it. Here's a close up of my Team Nate t-shirt:

How cool is that? Thanks Lisa!!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

My Bookshelf Tour

Hi! Just wanted to let you guys have a look at my book shelves (I know you were just DYING to see them :-P).
Top shelf has my vintage cameras (first one is from the 60s and the name escapes me at the moment, second is from around 1910 and is a Kodak Jr). Then on the right of the shelf are my Harry Potter mugs from back before the first movie ever came out.

Next comes shelf number two. It has my Harry Potter books (number one is currently being read, which is why it's not there), the books I have from the Inheritance Cycle and a cute little owl statue. The hardcover books are first and then come the paperback. I know it's out of order that way but I can't help it. I'm weird like that.

Shelf three has some books on tape, some Christmas gifts, books I've bought, and books I've won...  

Shelf number four... Don't you love the Harry Potter bookend?? Got it from Spencer's before the first movie ever came out.

Shelf five... yes, that is Norbert sitting on top of that little treasure chest (my mom brought it back from Haiti).

Shelf six... a dragon "lamp" (I say "lamp" because it's actually a candle holder). I love the little owl statue! There are two signed bookmarks from Courtney Allison Moulton, a note from Meg Kerr (who wrote Experience, the P&P sequel I LOVE), an Eternal Ones book mark, and Brisingr on CD.

Shelf seven... some more books on tape (got one from the library for next to nothing!) and some great books I've read (and a couple I haven't). Then there are some books I've had for small groups at church, the girls bedtime Bible stories, and an LSAT practice test book (I wanted to take the test at one point).

Shelf eight... another couple books I haven't read on there, other than that, more that I love and probably will read again.

Shelf nine... this one belongs to my girls. All their Junie B. Jones, Dork Diaries, Magic School Bus... all kinds of stuff. Even some books I had when I was around my oldest's age.

Shelf ten... more of my kids books (yes... that one is called Walter the Farting Dog).

I have one shelf full of notebooks and stuff and a couple other kids books.... but I feel like I've miscounted. Like I'm missing a shelf. Hmm... Oh well.

Oh, and I'll leave you with another Christmas present I got!

Hope you enjoyed the tour through my bookshelves! This is about as good as I can do because I don't have a video camera and I'd have no CLUE how to edit videos (I'm a photographer, pictures I can do... videos I cannot).

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Follow Friday #37

Thanks to Parajunkee and Alison Can Read for hosting Follow Friday every week!

This weeks question:

Q: Activity!!! Take a picture or describe where you love to read the most…

A: I may add a picture to this later... but I don't think there's one place I love to read the most. I read on the big squishy leather sofa in the living room. I read on my bed or in the big green recliner in my bedroom. I read in the tub ::cough:: when I take a bath. I can read anywhere. Maybe if I purposefully made myself an area where I liked to read it would be my favorite. But my room's been kind of pieced together with lots of different things from different places since I moved from Maine and left everything I owned behind.

Where do you like to read the most?

Daring You to Read - Inkheart by Cornelia Funke

Daring You to Read is hosted every week by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews.

Here's how it works:

- You choose a book you’ve read, loved and would dare your readers to read!
- The book you choose must be an older release (at least 6 months ago), because let’s be honest, we’re all quite aware of the latest releases.
- Write your own blog post, using the button and linking back to Tynga’s Reviews, inviting your readers to read your chosen book.
- Come back on Tynga’s Reviews and put your link in the linking tool.
- Browse other bloggers Dare and let them know if you’ve read their featured book, or plan on reading it.
- Super easy and an awesome way to discover that special book who might have slipped off your radar!

This week I'm daring you to read Inkheart by Cornelia Funke.

Twelve-year-old Meggie learns that her father, who repairs and binds books for a living, can "read" fictional characters to life when one of those characters abducts them and tries to force him into service.

Characters from books literally leap off the page in this engrossing fantasy. Meggie has had her father to herself since her mother went away when she was young. Mo taught her to read when she was five, and the two share a mutual love of books. He can "read" characters out of books. When she was three, he read aloud from a book called Inkheart and released characters into the real world. At the same time, Meggie's mother disappeared into the story. This "story within a story" will delight not just fantasy fans, but all readers who like an exciting plot with larger-than-life characters.

I saw the movie for this one before I actually read it. But it made it that much better because I could SEE the characters in my head, instead of just imagining what they might look like (Brendan Fraser is definitely not bad to imagine when you're reading too....).

But this book is like every book lover's dream come true. Who else wouldn't want to have the ability to actually read the characters they love out of the books they're reading? The only problem in this particular story though? Reading a character out of a book means that someone else has to go back in to replace them. And it's never certain who that person might be. For Meggie and Mo it just so happened to be Meggie's mother.

I love all of the characters. Meggie, for her strong will and determination (and the fact that, like me, she has to bring books with her wherever she goes). Mo, for his passion and courage. And Elinor because she is just too funny. I also LOVED Dustfinger and Farid. Dustfinger, the fire juggler, is yanked from his home and the woman he loves and is dying for a way back to her. Mo is his only chance. And Farid is eager to help and to learn and attaches himself to Dustfinger pretty quickly.

The book is absolutely wonderful and fantastical. The descriptions are vivid and beautiful and the whole thing is full of villains and heroes and suspense.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Review - War Horse by Michael Morpurgo

I had to read the book before seeing the movie. I couldn't watch War Horse without knowing what was going to happen. Michael Morpurgo definitely put together an incredibly touching story when he decided to put pen to paper (so to speak) for this one.

In 1914, Joey, a beautiful bay-red foal with a distinctive cross on his nose, is sold to the army and thrust into the midst of the war on the Western Front. With his officer, he charges toward the enemy, witnessing the horror of the battles in France. But even in the desolation of the trenches, Joey's courage touches the soldiers around him and he is able to find warmth and hope. But his heart aches for Albert, the farmer's son he left behind. Will he ever see his true master again?

This story is told from Joey's point of view. It's unbiased and incredibly observant and completely heartwrenching. Joey's sold right out from under Albert's nose by an alcoholic father who is desperate for money. The man who buys him promises Albert he'll take wonderful care of him. And he does, but it doesn't last forever. Joey's story is full of miracle after tragedy after miracle and it's so sad to read. But warms your heart at the same time. Just when you think things couldn't get any worse, they get better. Only to get worse again... only to get better. It's an incredible roller-coaster of a story.

War Horse is a fast read. And I wasn't sure I'd be able to make it through without sobbing because I HATE seeing animals hurt or neglected... I can't stand it when they die in movies (seriously, I was a blubbering mess in King Kong and I Am Legend when the dog dies saving Will Smith).

It was really interesting to read it from Joey's point of view... kind of gives you a look into the mind and soul of these big, beautiful creatures that we can't get otherwise. He's got an incredibly huge heart and a gentle spirit and there were several places in his story that had me tearing up. I kept having to put my Kindle down because I just didn't think I could read any more. The poor thing just couldn't catch a break! But every time I read something that broke my heart, it was followed by something that put it right back together.

I think this would have to be one of my favorite novels. It's absolutely wonderful. I STILL don't know how watching the movie will go (I'll be sure to have lots of tissues) but if it's anything like the book it has to be wonderful.

Definitely recommended for everyone.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Teaser Tuesday #36

Thank you to MizB of Should Be Reading for giving us Teaser Tuesday every week!
Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

•Grab your current read
•Open to a random page
•Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
•BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
•Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

This week's teaser comes from the book I finished today, War Horse by Michael Morpurgo.

An ominous shadow had fallen on the yard that morning, and not one of us could settle in our stables. When we were led out for exercise, we were jumpy and skittish, and Albert, like the other soldiers, reponded with impatience, jerking sharply, something I had never known him to do before.

Lots of commas, but I promise you, the book is definitely worth reading. Can't wait to see your teasers!

Monday, February 20, 2012

Covers Around the World - Lirael by Garth Nix

This week we're looking at book two in the Abhorsen Trilogy, Lirael by Garth Nix.

English Language Edition (and the cover on the copy I read)

English Language Edition

English Language Edition

Portuguese Edition

German Edition

Dutch/Flemish Edition

Bulgarian Edition

French Edition

I love how most of the covers include the Disreputable Dog on them. I loved that dog. And seriously, the end of the book made me cry because.... well.... I can't tell you. But I loved the dog. And the book as a whole was great! Which cover is your favorite? 

Sunday, February 19, 2012

In My Mailbox #30

Thanks to Kristi, The Story Siren, for hosting In My Mailbox every week!

Nothing to report on last week, but this week I did get a few more free Kindle reads.

Child of the Mist by Kathleen Morgan
In the harsh Scottish highlands of 1565, superstition and treachery threaten a truce between rival clans. It's a weak truce at first, bound only by an arranged engagement between Anne MacGregor and Niall Campbell-the heirs of the feuding families.
While Niall wrestles with his suspicions about a traitor in his clan, Anne's actions do not go unnoticed. And as accusations of witchcraft abound, the strong and sometimes callous Campbell heir must fight for Anne's safety among disconcerted clan members. Meanwhile his own safety in threatened with the ever-present threat of someone who wants him dead.
Will Niall discover the traitor's identity in time? Can Anne find a way to fit into her new surroundings? Will the two learn to love each other despite the conflict? With a perfect mix of a burgeoning romance and thrilling suspense, this book is historical fiction at its best.

Marked by Kim Richardson (Soul Guardians #1)
Sixteen year-old Kara Nightingale’s ordinary life is suddenly turned upside-down when she dies in a freak accident, and she wakes up in a strange new world with a new career—as a rookie for the Guardian Angel Legion. Kara hurtles towards dangerous missions with the help of her Petty Officer and friend, David.

But when she discovers a Mark on her leg, the entire Legion accuses her of being a Demon spy. Angels are dying, and David begins to pull away from her. Can Kara prove her innocence as she becomes the Legion’s only hope?

It’s going to take a miracle to save the Legion, and Kara’s luck has just run out...

Call of the Herald by Brian Rathbone (The Dawning of Power #1)
Echoes of the ancients' power are distant memories, tattered and faded by the passage of eons, but that is about to change. A new dawn has arrived. Latent abilities, harbored in mankind's deepest fibers, wait to be unleashed. Ancient evils awaken, and old fears ignite the fires of war. In times such as these, ordinary people have the power to save the world . . . or destroy it.

Inherited Danger by Brian Rathbone (The Dawning of Power #2)
Catrin leaves her homeland behind as she goes in search of knowledge and peace, unaware that she will face the greatest evil her world has ever known.

Can't wait to see what you all got!

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Review - Blue by Lou Aronica

Blue by Lou Aronica was sent to me originally to be part of a book tour. I was hoping to have either a guest post or an interview with the author, but I never heard back about either so, my review will have to be it. :-P It's ok, because I loved the book.

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.

Becky was diagnosed with cancer when she was little. The way her parents dealt with the diagnosis and subsequent treatment eventually drove a wedge in between them and resulted in the inevitable break in their marriage. Chris sat with Becky every night weaving tales of fantasy and wonder about a place called Tamarisk. Polly, Becky's mother, was desperate to find treatments and alternate treatments and experimental drugs that might sure her.

Unfortunately, the divorce also succeeded in driving a wedge between Chris and Becky. Stories about Tamarisk stopped. As hard as Chris tried, he and Becky just didn't connect anymore. Until one day when Becky was 14 and staying the night at her dad's. She finds out that night that not only did the stories about Tamarisk never really die, but that it had literally come to life.


The story, at first, was a tad bit confusing. The point of view shifted very quickly from one person to the next and it threw me off. I had to go re-read the beginning. Once I figured out who everyone was and who was talking when, the rest of it was a breeze.

I loved this book. The struggle Becky and Chris face with their not-so-make-believe world is what draws them back together and saves their relationship. Becky seemed like your typical ungrateful teenager at first and Chris seemed to just be content to let her be ungrateful. Always worried about pushing her to do more than shrug or say something other than "Whatever" or "It's fine". Polly, I never really liked her. She seemed like the rude, stereotypical awful ex that always blamed everything on the ex-husband and could never give him a break. Everything kind of flip flops (although I still never liked Polly) for Chris and Becky, though.

Miea was a wonderful character. Strong but not uncaring. Always trying to think outside the box and find the solution that will benefit everyone. She fought to prove herself as a monarch because due to her age she was viewed as inexperienced. She definitely had some tough decisions to make but came through the story with flying colors.

I think one of  the things I wish there was more of in this book was description. The descriptions that were there were amazing and I could picture what was being described in my head. But some things just fell short. And it was a bit disappointing. They were never talked about past their description and I was like "Wait a second..." but never got more than that.

Overall, like I said, I loved the book. Absolutely loved it. I can no longer say that Maggie Stiefvater is the only author that has made me cry. The ending of this book had me in tears. It was heartbreaking and heartwarming at the same time. And I would recommend this as a read to EVERYONE.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Follow Friday #36

Thanks to Parajunkee and Alison Can Read for hosting Follow Friday every week!

This weeks question:

Q: BeefcakeandBabes Asks: I like unique names for characters and am looking forward to coming up with some when I start writing. What’s the most unique character name you’ve come across?

A: Hmmm.... I read a lot of epic fantasy so there aer LOTS of unique and unusual character names. Like Murtagh or Galbatorix or Islanzadi from the Inheritance Cycle by Christopher Paolini. Legolas, Eowyn, Faramir and 99.9% of the names from Lord of the Rings by JRR Tolkien. Hermione (I know this one may only be unique to me), Albus Dumbledore (I love what this one means), Minerva McGonagall from Harry Potter by JK Rowling. Katsa and Po from Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Sabriel and Lirael from the books of the same name by Garth Nix. There are probably tons more that I could find but I think I've taken up enough room. :-P


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