Showing posts from September, 2010

The Jewel of St. Petersburg by Kate Furnivall

Title: The Jewel of St. Petersburg Author:  Kate Furnivall Publisher: The Berkley Publishing Group Publication Date:  Aug. 3, 2010 paperback, 421 pages ISBN: 978-0-425-23423-5 Summary: Russia, 1910. Young Valentina Ivanova charms St Petersburg's aristocracy with her classic Russian beauty and her talent as a pianist. She scandalises society when she begins a romance with Jens Friis, a Danish engineer. He brings to her life a passion and an intimacy she has never known. Unbending in their opposition, her parents push her into a loveless engagement with a Russian count. Valentina struggles for independence and to protect her young sister from the tumult sweeping the city, as Russia is bound for rebellion. The Tsar, the Duma and the Bolsheviks are at each other's throats. Valentina is forced to make a choice that changes her life for ever ... I know I say this a lot, but I really liked this book.  My favorite part of the book was the setting. I love that it was set i

AND THE WINNER IS,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,

Thank you to the lovely ladies at Good Choice Reading for hosting this event.  I also want to thank everyone that entered this contest. If you didn't win this one, I hope you win on another blog. Also, I want to welcome all my new followers. I am so excited that you decided to stay!  and to my older followers, thanks for sticking with me: You ROCK!!! Congratulations to   Amanda Sue !  I will be emailing you shortly with details on how to claim your prize. You have 48 hours to respond or I will have to pick another winner. I also have another giveaway for The Book of Unholy Mischief. If you are interested click here to check out the details.

Bleak House read a long (6)

Bleak House Read A Long (6) Chapters 33-38 My thoughts on Bleak House:  Weevle and Guppy lie to themselves by agreeing they are not conspiring. Mrs. Snagsby keeps giving the evil eye to Mr. Snagsby about the Spontaneous Combustion. Which is unsettling to every party involved.  Mr. Tulkinghorn runs into Guppy at Lady D's house. The wheel of suspicion start to turn in his head.  Esther is slowly recovering from a mystery illness. Does anyone know what it is? It leaves her disfigured. However the people in Esther's life show nothing but love. It was really very sweet. Also Esther's feelings are known about Dr. Woodcourt. I know that he has been mentioned before but he has not really made much of an appearance. I wish Dickens would have developed his character a little more. I feel he is a stranger in this story. Mr. Boythorn offers his house to Esther so that she may recover. Esther discovers that Lady D. is her mother. They have a short but sweet reunion then Lady D. tells

Book Review and Giveaway: The Book of Unholy Mischief by Elle Newmark

Title: The Book of Unholy Mischief Author: Elle Newmark Publisher: Washington Square Press Publication Date: December 30, 2008 paperback, 400 pages ISBN: 978-1-4165-9057-6 Summary :  It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that hold the secrets of unimaginable power. Rich and poor alike speculate about the the long buried secred tht might be scrawled in its pages and where the book might be hidden in the labyrinthine city. While those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it. As a storm of intrigue percolates in Her Most Serene Republic, Luciano, a penniless orphan, is plucked off the street by the doge’s chef and taken in as the chef’s apprentice. In the palace kitchen Luciano is initiated into the chef’s rich and mysterious world where recipes are more than they seem. It is not long before Luciano is caught up in the madness. Torn between loyalty to his street friends and his passion for

Sunday Confessions Sept. 26, 2010

Sunday Confessions is a weekly meme.    I wanted to find a way to share a little about myself and learn more about my followers. Some of my topics will be book related, others not so much. This is all in good fun so please feel free leave a comment to participate. I have read some really good books over the last few months. I mean like really really good books. The kind of books that make you want to call into work/school sick.  The kind of books that make you want to neglect everything else in your life so you can just sit and read.  The kind of books that after you have read the last page, leave you thinking about it long after you closed the book. I have been really lucky to come across some books like that.  So my question for this week is:  What is the last book that you read that made you want to skip school or call in sick to work? My answer is The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins.  This book took me by surprise. I had heard a lot about it, mostly positive, so I though

The Fall Giveaway

The fantastic girls from Good Choice Reading are hosting this fabulous giveaway. Over 50 blogs are participating! This contest runs from Sept. 22-29. Please stop by each and everyone of these blogs for a chance to win some great prizes. So what's my giveaway?  One lucky person will win any book they want from the Book Depository  up to $15.00 US dollars. That's right it's open internationally as long as the book depository delivers to your country. Click  here for the complete list of countries. Good luck to all! So what are the rules? 1. Please visit my giveaway/contest rules page for a complete list. 2. You MUST be over 13 years old to enter. 3. You don't need to be a follower to enter, it's appreciated but not necessary 4. Please leave a comment to enter with your email address. -- If you are uncomfortable leaving your email address in the comments, leave a comment anyway to let me         know you want to be entered. Then send me your email address @

Bleak House read a long (5)

My thoughts on Chapters 26-32: Well, we are about half way through with this book. Some parts of this book have moved really slow for me while others are a lot more interesting.  The chapters with Mr. George, Mr. Smallweed, and Mr. Tulkinghorn moved really slow for me. They are interested in the mystery man, Nemo; but why are they interested? Hopefully Dickens will clear that up soon. Caddy finally married Prince. I was happy to see her mom showing her some tenderness at the end of the chapter. I was beginning to think she didn't care about anything but Africa. I do feel sorry for Mr. Jellyby, but part of me wishes he would stand up to the Mrs. I was sorry to see that Jo is sick. I hope he makes it. Mr. Skimpole makes another annoying appearance in the scenes with Jo.  Dickens has given Mr. Jarndyce the patience of a saint. I don't know how Jarndyce puts up with him and his childlike ways. My favorite part of BH is Lady Deadlock. She has many secrets I think. We learned one t

Charlotte Collins by Jennifer Becton

Title: Charlotte Collins, A Continuation of Jane Austen's Pride and Prejudice Author: Jennifer Becton Publisher: Whiteley Press Publication Date: Sept. 1, 2010 paperback, 248 pages ISBN-13: 9781453740477 Summary: When Charlotte Lucas married Mr. Collins in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, she believed herself to be fortunate indeed. Her nuptials gained her a comfortable home and financial security. If she acquired these things at the expense of true love, it did not matter one whit. To Charlotte, love in marriage was nothing more than a pleasant coincidence.   As the years of her marriage dragged by, Charlotte began to question her idea of love as she suffered continual embarrassment at her husband’s simpering and fawning manners. When Mr. Collins dies, finally relieving everyone of his tedious conversation, she must work feverishly to secure her income and home. She gives no further thought to the prospect of love until her flighty sister Maria begs her to act as her c

Sunday Confessions Sept. 19. 2010

Sunday Confessions is a weekly meme.    I wanted to find a way to share a little about myself and learn more about my followers. Some of my topics will be book related, others not so much. This is all in good fun so please feel free leave a comment to participate. This weeks Sunday Confessions is on favorite quotes. I don't know about you, but sometimes when I read a book, watch a movie/tv show or listen to music a certain phrase will stick out. You know, the phrase that pops into your head when ever someone mentions the title.  For me, my quote comes from the Princess Bride.  I love the book and movie and this quote is found in both: "Hello, my name is Inigo Montoya; you killed my father; prepare to die." Nobody says this quote better than Mandy Patinkin, who played Inigo Montoya in the movie: Now it's your turn! Tell me what your favorite quote from a book, movie, tv show, or song. I look forward to seeing your answers!

Heartless by Anne Elisabeth Stengl

Title: Heartless Author: Anne Elisabeth Stengl Publisher: Bethany House Publishers, a division of Baker Publishing Group Publication Date: July 1, 2010 paperback, 368 pages ISBN: 978-0-7642-0780-8 Summary: Princess Una of Parumvir has come of age and will soon be married. She dreams of a handsome and charming prince, but when the first suitor arrives, she finds him stodgy and boring. Prince Aethelbald from the mysterious land of Farthestshore has traveled far to prove his love--and also to bring hushed warnings of danger. A dragon is rumored to be approaching Parumvir. Una, smitten instead with a more dashing prince, refuses Aethelbald's offer--and ignores his warnings. Soon the Dragon King himself is in Parumvir, and Una, in giving her heart away unwisely, finds herself in grave danger. Only those courageous enough to risk everything have a hope of fighting off this advancing evil. The cover to this book is gorgeous and very intriguing.  It was one of the first

Bleak House read a long (4)

My thoughts on Chapters 20-25: I found myself getting a little lost every once and awhile trying to keep up with all the characters and the story lines. I found Mr. Smallwood's character funny.  Every time he through the pillow at his wife, it made me smile a little. Dickens definitely gives us diverse characters.  I am wondering what the heck is going on with the French maid.  I felt as if she had a some sort of secret of inside information she wanted to give to Esther. Richard is starting to irritate me. He is very flighty. He has no idea what to do with his future. I can't blame  Mr. Jarndyce for his actions towards Richard. I loved Mr. Turveydrop's reaction to Prince and Caddy's engagement. Can you say drama queen? Mrs. Jellyby doesn't seem to care what's going on with her family, only Africa. The chapter with Mr. Grindly, Ms. Flite and George was heartbreaking. I like Jo and  I am curious to see where Dickens takes his character.

Funeral Blues by W.H. Auden

Stop all the clocks, cut off the telephone, Prevent the dog from barking with a juicy bone, Silence the pianos and with muffled drum Bring out the coffin, let the mourners come. Let aeroplanes circle moaning overhead Scribbling on the sky the message He Is Dead, Put crepe bows round the white necks of the public doves, Let the traffic policemen wear black cotton gloves. He was my North, my South, my East and West, My working week and my Sunday rest, My noon, my midnight, my talk, my song; I thought that love would last for ever: I was wrong. The stars are not wanted now: put out every one; Pack up the moon and dismantle the sun; Pour away the ocean and sweep up the wood. For nothing now can ever come to any good.

Winner of Blogfest 2010 is..........

I want to thank everyone who entered my giveaway. I never expected so many entries!!! I also want to thank all my new followers. I am so happy that you decided to join To Read or Not To Read.  Some of my old followers might have noticed that I did not post my Sunday Confessions this week. I did that partly because of blogfest and partly because of extenuating circumstances.  My grandmother is very ill. My family fears these are her last days. It's been hard to concentrate on work/blogging/life lately.  As I deal with what lies ahead, I might not be posting as much as usual over the next few weeks.  I appreciate all the kind words and well wishes that people have given me over the last few days. If you didn't win this giveaway, I will be participating in Good Choice Reading 's Fall Giveaway. This takes place from Sept. 22-29. I plan to giveaway a similar prize.  If you would like to participate, I believe registration is still open.  Also check out some of the giveaways fr

It's Time For BlogFest!!!!

Contest is closed. I will be posting the results in the next few days.  This is my first time participating in BlogFest and I am soooo excited!  For those of you who don't know about Blogfest it's an humongous giveaway put on by Cinnamon from  A Journey of Books  . At last count, there are 257 blogs signed up.  What does that mean? This means you have 257 chances to win some great prizes.  Click on the link for A Journey of Books to see all the participating blogs.  Alright, now to the good stuff.  What am I giving away?  One winner will receive a book of your choice up to $15.00 US dollars from the Book Depository.  That's right, this contest is international!  What do you have to do to enter this contest? The Book Depository MUST be able to deliver to your country. If you are not sure, check here  . You MUST be 13 years old or older to enter this contest Read my contest/giveaway rules page. Check out Page Turners fabulous giveaway. Leave a comment with your email

A Note from an Old Acquaintance by Bill Walker

Title: A Not from an Old Acquaintance Author: Bill Walker Publisher: iUniverse Published: June 11, 2009 paperback, 358 pages ISBN-13: 978-1-4401-3333-6 Brian Weller is a haunted man. It's been two years since the tragic accident that left his three-year-old son dead and his wife in an irreversible coma. A popular author of mega-selling thrillers, Brian's life has reached a crossroads: his new book is stalled, his wife's prognosis is dire, and he teeters on the brink of despair. Everything changes the morning an e-mail arrives from Boston artist Joanna Richman. Her heartfelt note brings back all the poignant memories: the night their eyes met, the fiery passion of their short-lived affair, and the agonizing moment he was forced to leave Joanna forever. Now, fifteen years later, the guilt and anger threaten to overwhelm him. Vowing to make things right, Brian arranges a book-signing tour that will take him back to Boston. He is eager to see Joanna again, but remains

Bleak House read a long (3)

Bleak House Read A Long Chapters 14-19 My thoughts: I liked these chapters so much more than the last ones. I found them far more entertaining. First, I have another name to add to the list of ridiculous names of ridiculous people  Can you guess?  That's right it's Mr. Turveydrop!  So now we have Mrs. Jellyby, Mr. Skimpole, Mrs. Pardiggle, Mr. Guppy and Mr. Turveydrop. I was sorry to see Mr Skimpole in these chapters.  Every time he says "I am a child" I want to throw my book across the room. I also liked the way Charles Dickens shows us people at different stages in their lives waiting on their court judgement.  First he shows us the young Jarndyces. They are full of hope and love with their lives before them.  Then you meet Miss Flite. She is an older woman, who lives alone with her birds that she will set free on the day of her court judgement.  In these chapters you met Mr. Gridley who has grown bitter waiting on his judgement.  Dickens shows the effect that t

hush, hush by Becca Fitzpatrick

Title: Hush, Hush Author: Becca Fitzpatrick Publisher: Simon & Schuster Publication Date: October 13, 2008 Hardcover, 391 pages ISBN:  978-1-4169-8941-7 For Nora Grey, romance was not part of the plan. She's never been particularly attracted to the boys at her school, no matter how much her best friend, Vee, pushes them at her...until Patch comes along. With his easy smile and eyes that seem to see inside her, Nora is drawn to him against her better judgment, but after a series of terrifying encounters, Nora's not sure whom to trust. Patch seems to be everywhere she is, and to know more about her than her closest friends. She can't decide whether she should fall into his arms or run and hide. And when she tries to seek some answers, she finds herself near a truth that is far more unsettling than anything Patch makes her feel. For Nora is right in the middle of an ancient battle between the immortal and those that have fallen - and when it comes to choosing side

Sunday Confessions Sept. 5, 2010

I recently decided to add a new weekly feature/meme to my blog called Sunday Confessions. I wanted to find a way to share a little about myself and learn more about my followers. Some of my topics will be book related, others not so much. This is all in good fun so please feel free to participate. Fall is quickly approaching and with it the new television season. What I want to know is what do you watch on television. These are some of my favorite shows I've watched over the years. Don't foget to comment and tell me what your favorite television show is.  I am looking forward to reading your answers.

Who Knew?

A couple of things going on this month I think you should know about.  First I will be participating in a few giveaways this month Blogfest and The Fall giveaway over at Good Choice Reading  Be sure to check back to see what I will be giving away. I'm thinking about gift cards. I want to make the giveaways international so I am checking on who delivers where. If anyone has any suggestions, please let me know.  Also if anyone wants to donate a prize, please contact me @ loves2read54(at)yahoo(dot)com. The second thing I wanted to tell you all about is I have a new scrolling blogroll. Check it out. I have been wanting one for sometime and it just didn't seem to work.  I spent a lot of frustrated time trying to get it to work with no success. So Bella from A Girl Reads helped me out. It turns out it was my browser that was the problem.  The scrolling blog roll worked in firefox and safari but not Internet Explorer. I have used Internet Explorer for as long as I can remember, but

Bleak House Readalong Ch. 8-13

This week for the readalong we read chapters 8-13.  I had a hard time getting through some of these chapters.  I have to say, if I ever get Insomnia, I might have to reread them. I did like a lot too:   My. Gubby made a hilarious proposal to Esther. Esther refuses and Mr. Guppy becomes a stalker.  A man named Nemo dies. Richard has no idea what he wants to be when he grows up. There is a mystery surrounding Lady Dedlock and the mystery man Nemo. Ada and Richard fall in love .I think Charles Dickens purposely gives ridiculous names to his ridiculous characters. Yes, I'm talking about Mrs. Pardiggle.  I felt sorry for her sons and for the Brickmaker and his family, or anyone in general who might have the misfortune of crossing her path.