Friday, September 28, 2012

1 Audio Book Review: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey by Andrew Shaffer

Title: Fifty Shames of Earl Grey
Author: Andrew Shaffer
Narrated by Allison Ryan
Publisher: Tantor Media
Published: July 10, 2012
Length: 4 hours 30 minutes
Genre: parody
ISBN 1452658110 (ISBN13: 9781452658117)
Source: Edelweiss

Goodreads Summary:
Young, arrogant tycoon Earl Grey seduces the naïve coed Anna Steal with his overpowering good looks and staggering amounts of money, but will she be able to get past his fifty shames, including shopping at Walmart on Saturdays, bondage with handcuffs, and his love of BDSM (Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick)? Or will his dark secrets and constant smirking drive her over the edge?

My Thoughts:
50 Shames of Earl Grey is a silly book. Andrew Shaffer spoofs the very popular 50 Shades of Grey in this book. He doesn't hold back as he makes fun of both Twilight and 50 Shades. Nothing is off limits. I loved how ludicrous Earl Grey and Anna Steal are. Anna is so ridiculously naive it's a wonder she can walk. Earl Grey is overbearing and super sensitive. He's in to BDSM, but in his case it's Bards, Dragons, Sorcery, and Magick. That's a little . . . awkward. This book had some definite laugh out loud moments. If you have a sense of humor you'll enjoy this book.
My Rating:

Thursday, September 27, 2012

4 New Review: Entice + Give@way

Title: Entice
Author: Jessica Shirvington
Publisher: Sourcebooks Fire
Published: September 4, 2012
paperback arc, 446
ISBN: 978-1-4022-6843-4
Genre: Young Adult, Paranormal
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:

Violet Eden is Grigori - part angel, part human. Her destiny is to protect humans from the vengence of exiled angels.
Knowing who to trust is key but, when Grigori reinforcements arrive, it becomes clear everyone is hiding something. Even Lincoln. The only thing Violet does know: Phoenix's hold over her is more dangerous than ever.
The race to find the one thing that could tilt the balance of power brings them all to the sacred mountains of Jordan, where Violet's power will be pushed to the extreme. And the ultimate betrayal exposed.

*Spoiler Alert--Entice is the second book in the series and this review will contain spoilers for the first book, Embrace*
My thoughts:
Entice is the second book in the Violent Eden Chapters by Jessica Shirvington. This is a series you definitely need to read from the beginning.  Entice picks up right where Embrace left off. Violet has embraced and now she has to figure out what exactly that means. She already knows she's not like the other Grigori. She's also in love with her Grigori partner, Lincoln. There are rules and consequences that make their relationship impossible. Violet is also reeling from her relationship with Phoenix, who also has a dangerous hold over her. To make matters worse Magda, a Grigori member, is making the moves on Lincoln.
Entice is a great sequel to Embrace. There is non-stop action and adventure. Entice takes the Grigori group to Jordan where mysteries start to unfold. There are a few new characters introduced that really add to the already great cast of characters. I love that Onyx is back. He's such a great evil character. I also am a huge fan of Violet's best friend, Steph. Her character grows a lot as well. She's no longer hiding her smarts.
Violet undergoes many trials and tribulations throughout Entice. Her character has changed from the first book. The only complaint I have about this book is that Violet's dad is not around. He loves her in his way, but gives her no guidance what so ever. Violet embraced and became a Grigori, and he has no idea. He's so wrapped up in his own pain that he doesn't see her. I know that her dad not being around is a plot device to get him out of the way so that Violet can go traipsing around the world, but it seems like this is common in young adult books. Other than that, it's a great story and one that I would recommend.
My rating:

Thanks to Sourcebooks Fire I have a copy of Embrace and Entice to giveaway to a lucky reader. This giveaway is open to US addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. 
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

0 Review: The Devil's Legacy by Tom Jackson

Title: The Devil's Legacy
Author: Tom Jackson
Publisher: Smashwords
Published: October 27, 2011
ISBN: 9781466012820
Source: author

The opening of Pandora’s Box creates pandemonium in the office of the British Prime Minister. A team is assembled to solve a two hundred year old conspiracy in order to prevent the Box’s incredible secrets from being revealed to the world and plunging British society into chaos. Will the search for truth be successful? And will it result in the restoration of a country’s stolen heritage?

My thoughts:
The British government's decision to return the Parthenon Marbles to Greece triggers the opening of Pandora's Box, covertly held 100 years in the vaults of the British Museum.  This reveals the first of many secrets....The Parthenon Marbles are counterfeit.

Natalia Sinclair, a lawyer by trade, would head up a team of experts comprised of archaeological experts and secret service agents. The mission, to find the real  marbles and return them to Greece before the six month dead line expires.  She has become the first woman and youngest Director in the history of the British Museum.  She is full of self doubt and has a fear of  the unknown and of failure.  Could she lead this team of professionals?  Where would she start?  Was this mission really possible?

I liked this book.  It is a fantastic treasure hunt through the centuries.  It kept me guessing who the good guys and the bad were.  Each chapter brought me on an adventure and closer to the answer to the marbles.  The ending was explosive and most satisfying.

My rating:

Tuesday, September 25, 2012

1 An Interview with Valerie Valerian

An Interview with Valerie Valerian

Valerie arrived for her interview riding her Sound albatross, Pegasus. She looked like a fairy riding a kite with the giant sun swimming in the lagoon-sky behind her. She led me to the stunning Orphanage dining hall. I noticed that dark circles engulfed Valerie’s enormous blue eyes, as if trying to drown them out. And she looked as pale and see-through as the fairies fluttering their icy wings above her, under the watery ceiling of the glittering hall. But Valerie’s wild, cropped hair was more like a fawn’s than a fairy’s.

“Tells us who you are?” I began.

Valerie smiled and lowered her eyes shyly. “I’m the niece of Victor Valerian. I grew up in the palace. My life was wonderful until four months ago. Then everything changed… If you ask me what my favorite color is, I’ll tell you it is the color of my mother’s ring.”

“Why is everyone in the dining hall staring at you?”

“Because I adopted a Sound as a pet. Sounds and Echoes aren’t supposed to mix. But what would be the point of adopting an Echo albatross? I couldn’t fly on it. I’d be too heavy. Besides, Pegasus is the best thing that happened to me here at the Orphanage of Castaway Children. I don’t know what I’d do if he died…”

“Do you think the Prince’s Sound is hiding at the Orphanage?”

“If I did, I wouldn’t tell you, would I? If he’s hiding what would be the point of getting the information out there? Besides, why should a Sound have to die just because someone’s trying to kill his Echo? It’s not like that everywhere. I know it isn’t. There’s a place… a fairytale land where Echoes and Sounds live in harmony.”

“What’s your favorite place in the Echo realm?”

“My very most favorite place is a terrible place. I like it because the diamonds, rubies and sapphires look so beautiful, trapped in the ice. Especially when I’m flying over the frozen lake. But then I see the faces… the faces of the dead trapped under the ice… looking back at me as if through a window leading into a realm of horror. The Lake of Eternal Ice is the worst and best place in the world.”

“What would you like to get for your birthday?”

“A Crystillery. I’ve always dreamed of owning a Crystillery. I’ve never even seen one. But Will Cleary has one. Maybe one day he’ll show me what I want to see most…”

“Now that Sounds will be learning about the Echo realm for the first time, what do you want them to know about your world?”

“That it’s not a copy of anything they’ve ever seen before. It’s a brand new place, and there are dangers here but also friendships and adventures and riddles to solve. I welcome the Sounds. Come and discover what Echoes are all about.”

About the Book:

Imagine that everyone around you has a mirror image living somewhere else. Your world is like a sound, which produced that other world of echoes. And in this land men are governed by a terrible law—no Echo is allowed to live after his Sound dies.

One Sound especially must die. The Prince’s Sound. The Fate Sealers and Fortune Tellers will make sure of that! Because after this Sound dies, the Echo Prince will have to die too.

Now, twelve-year-old Will Cleary is about to discover that he is the Sound the Echoes are hunting. And so begins his perilous adventure into a see-through, sparkling world, filled with spying crystal balls, an eerie fortress of castaway children, a hunt for clues in an ancient book of riddles, and a last-chance escape through a frozen gem-studded lake into a secret land that holds the key to placing the Prince on the throne and returning freedom to the Echoes.

The Sound and the Echoes Author Information:
Dew Pellucid is the pen-name of Tal Boldo. Ms. Boldo is a freelance writer on Yahoo! Finance among other sites. Her short story, Vera Icon, won first place in Spider Thief Publication’s anthology competition (out of print). The Sound and the Echoes is her debut young adult novel, self-published as an e-book and paperback.
Author Contact Information
Author Site:

Dew Pellucid first started writing books so he might have something new to read. Indeed, of the million books at the Orphanage of Castaway Children, there isn't one his watery eyes had not perused; this taking place in less than a decade.
But now, as this old Echo draws near his one-hundredth birthday, his hunt for a good story is only rivaled by his everlasting quest after Cold Fire Mushrooms. For it was as he scrapped the bottom of his crystal ball mushroom container that Dew Pellucid first heard of Fredrick Fingeldy.
Then strange events began to happen in his beloved library. And watching faithfully down every corridor, every garden path, Dew Pellucid witnessed a wonderful story, happening there, right before his eyes (his many Eyes). And, best of all, even he had a part to play in the unfolding tale, which he set down at last in the pages of a book.
"I will make you famous!" he promised the Prince's Sound. And so he has.
The Sound and the Echoes

Amazon Page:
Book Website:
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Monday, September 24, 2012

0 Guest Post: The Horrors of Confession by J. Stephen Howard

The Horrors of Confession by J. Stephen Howard

     Nothing is more terrifying than facing up to your sins. Our sinful nature is the enemy within from whom we cannot hide, and so we carry guilt around like Quasimodo with his hunchback. If our conscience isn’t cleared, we end up with a dual personality like Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, and in the realm of horror fiction, this manifestation has enthralled readers for ages.
     Being Catholic, the Sacrament of Confession formed the backbone of how I learned to make decisions. Early on, I learned of the strict demarcation dividing right from wrong. I still remember my first confession as a kid. Since I went to a Catholic grade school, our class walked over to church and went before the priest, one by one.
     The tiny room, like a broom closet, felt so confining. Then there was the screen made up of wooden latticework. I heard the priest from the other side say, “Confess your sins, son.” As a boy of ten, sinfulness was such an abstract concept. When I thought of good and evil, I thought of Luke Skywalker versus Darth Vader from the first PG movie I’d seen which was “Star Wars.” Still, I could discern the seriousness of this holy act of self-cleansing, and it weighed on me like the cross I saw Jesus bearing. To an impressionable mind, such images made morality a well-defined battle similar to light sabers dueling on the Death Star.
     Historically, as I'd later learn, Catholics didn’t go to a priest to confess their sins until the seventh century, A.D. Before that, they prayed directly to God. Then, in the Middle Ages, a tariff penance was given to sinners. So, purifying your soul came with a price that sometimes lasted years. It was one reason the Church grew so wealthy and powerful at this time.
     Now as an adult writer (I won’t confess my age), it’s no surprise that the concept of confession influences my writing. As a fan of shows like “Dexter” and “The Sopranos,” I enjoy watching the main characters struggle with their morality. If Dexter Morgan just killed people with absolutely no exploration of what compels him, it wouldn’t make for riveting TV. In fact, it would just be an exercise in violence. If Tony Soprano didn’t have a family he cared about and just went around ordering mob hits, I wouldn’t have watched more than one or two episodes.
    I suppose I should examine my conscience to uncover why I put my own main characters through so much pain and misery. Why don’t I just write happy stories where characters fall in love and then contribute positively to society? The reason is I enjoy watching the internal struggle between good and evil. It’s a struggle we all face, every day.

J. Stephen Howard is the author of Fear in Appleton which is now available on Amazon. Frankenstein’s Confessional: a collection of nightmarish revelations will be published on Amazon on October 1, 2012. For more information, visit his websites for those books: and

Saturday, September 22, 2012

0 Guest Post: Reyna Hawk

Why I picked North Carolina as the setting for the Shattered Visions Haunted Memories
When I choose a location for any of my books I have to have some sort of connection with it. Either it is places I’d love to visit or have been.  Cherokee, North Carolina is one of the places I have spent a great amount of time in. I know a great deal about the entire surrounding; Cherokee, Waynesville, Maggie Valley, and Asheville. To me, that region of North Carolina is very mystique and awe inspiring. The beauty of the mountains can bring nearly anyone a sense of peace.
Well I guess I would have to go back to the first book on this one. North Carolina becomes a strong focal point of the story when Janie is taken to North Carolina by her husband Rico and the Mob boss Anthony. It is with their intentions to kill her or so she thinks. Anyway, at the time of this “vacation” they are living in New England. I chose this location for numerous reasons. I wanted a place that wasn’t too far in distance from New England. Yet, one that I was familiar with and that had areas that would be secluded and private. I am very familiar with that area of the USA. I’ve always found peace there when I visited and that was something Janie longed for. She wanted a normal life in a normal town. Her hopes ultimately were that Cherokee, NC would give her life.

Synopsis for Shattered Visions Haunted Memories
Just when Janie thought she had all she ever dreamt, the powers that be would suddenly change her course; throwing Janie head long into a world of uncertainty and casting a puzzling shadow on all this life she’d grown to love. Janie would soon discover nothing in her world was what it appeared. Leaving her confused, broken, and determined to find the answers in a new but familiar realm filled with secrets and deception.
Memories and turbulence lead Janie on her quest to discover the truth concerning herself, her past, the Petrilo crime family, and her brother’s murder. Is Rico's unfinished business in Cherokee to finish the hit the Petrilos put on her? Is Malachi willing to take a bullet for his new love; or will he walk away from the danger and free himself of the drama Janie has brought to his once peaceful life? Love and deceit will lead them all to the truth.
Shattered Visions Haunted Memories is the third book of the Valentine/Petrilo series. Book one is Looking Through Blind Eyes; book two is Reflection of Secrets.

About the author:
Reyna Hawk is a 44 year old mother of one son and grandmother to one beautiful 3 year old little girl. Born and raised in Cincinnati, Ohio Reyna has always loved writing and story-telling. Her passion for telling stories began at a very young age when she was making up stories to tell her school friends. Reyna has an Associate of Arts in Psychology and a Bachelor of Arts in Cultural Anthropology. 
The Valentine/Petrilo Series consists of  book one is “Looking Through Blind Eyes” which was released on May 17, 2012; Book two of the series is titled “Reflection of Secrets” and was released in July 2012; book three is titled “Shattered Visions Haunted Memories” release date was September 19, 2012.  This series follows the twists and turns of Janie Valentine’s life when she unknowingly becomes entangled with the Petrilo Crime Family. 
Reyna Hawk can be followed on these sites:

Friday, September 21, 2012

2 Blog Tour: The Super Spud Trilogy

General Bruce had left the Royal Palace early in the morning to recruit some more generals for the camping trip. It was decided that there would be two teams of three: King Martin, Iceman and G-Boa on one team, against General Bruce and two generals of his choice on the other. At the army base, the generals had just finished their daily routine of a 200 metre run, followed by 1,000 press-ups and 5,000 sit-ups. About 100 generals were playing one of their favourite games, called pile-on. The game was simple and brutal: whichever general was sweating the most after the daily exercise routine got piled on by the rest of the generals, an act which often resulted in a broken potato slice, or worse. General Bruce walked into the courtyard to see 100 generals piling on the sweaty victim and after a minute they got up laughing.
“Oh man, that was the best pile-on ever,” shouted one general.
“Wait a minute, General Crush isn’t moving – he’s dead!” said General Clementine.
“General Crushed is a more ironic name for him now,” said General Nectarine.
The generals piled on his dead body again, laughing and clearly enjoying the game.
“Soldiers!” shouted an angry General Bruce. “Do you realize what you are doing? You are piling on a dead general. Show him some honour and give me 10,000 press-ups out of respect.”
The generals obeyed every word that came out of General Bruce’s mouth; he was their outright leader and commanded respect. They proceeded to do their exercise and then gave General Crush a proper burial.
Twenty minutes later, the 100 generals had assembled in the courtyard to listen to what General Bruce had to say.
“I’m going to choose two generals to compete with me on my team in various camping challenges and outdoor activities. I’ve looked at the medal board and there are two clear leaders. Generals Jupiter and Neptune, you’ve proved yourselves to be the bravest, strongest and most selfless of all the generals in Mt Hiba. I would be honoured if you two could join me.”
“The honour would be ours,” they both replied together.
“Excellent, we’re due back at the Royal Palace at noon.”
Over at the Royal Palace, King Martin was organizing the trip. There would be seven events in total which would test each team’s ability to work together and act as a unit. They were, in chronological order: which team could erect their team tent the quickest; naturally start a camp fire the quickest; tell the best Super Spud horror story; build the best dam; orienteer; fish; and finally, a rafting race. The actual camping place was an area of Mt Hiba where the humans dumped all of their garden waste and tree branches. It was basically a giant forest and served as an adventure playground for all the Super Spuds in Mt Hiba.

It was now noon and the six Super Spuds were stood outside the Royal Palace ready to leave for their camping trip. General Bruce had brought along his ultimate pen-knife, which had over 100 separate functions, including: a chainsaw, a water-purifier and a CD player. Incredibly, it was only the size of a match stick and comfortably fitted alongside General Bruce’s belt. King Martin handed the generals their team tent.
“These are top of the line Super Spud tents and are very expensive, but I’m a millionaire so it was no problem at all. They have their own swimming pools, saunas, and come with air conditioning.”
The six of them walked to the adventure playground which was only 50 metres away. King Martin had ordered every other Super Spud to vacate the playground so that the six of them could enjoy it all to themselves. It was actually a very dangerous area within Mt Hiba; the sharp tree branches had claimed many victims and the vast swamps had swallowed many a Super Spud. There were also many wild animals, including rats, foxes, badgers and owls. There is also an ancient Super Spud tale which tells of the playground being home to a giant, hairy ape-like Super Spud that goes by the name of Bigspud (although he had never been seen and was considered just a mythical Super Spud).
The two teams were in the centre of the forest and were now ready for their first challenge – pitching a tent the quickest.
“Here are the rules: whichever team erects their tent and is in their sauna first, wins,” said General Bruce.
General Neptune fired his pistol and the competition began. The generals immediately began to unpack the tent and were already putting the first metal poles into the ground. King Martin and Iceman were busy reading the instructions. G-Boa didn’t like reading instructions because he saw it as a sign of weakness. His natural leadership abilities came through and he ordered Iceman and King Martin to do as he said. After an hour, both teams had the framework of the tent set up and were busy finishing off the interior and sorting out the battery-powered electrics.
“Sharing a sauna with two other guys isn’t very masculine,” said G-Boa.
“Agreed, but the steam is excellent for removing unwanted creases in your foil and it can take years off your packaging. I always take saunas. They are the reason why I look so young, beautiful and talented,” said Iceman.
“We’re finished,” screamed General Bruce.
“Damn it!” shouted G-Boa.
The other team ran over to the general’s tent to find the three of them enjoying their sauna.
“Sorry guys but that’s 1-0 to us. Now if you don’t mind, pour some water on those coals, the boys and I want to sweat,” said General Bruce.

Thursday, September 20, 2012

2 Review: Midnight Promises by Sherrly Woods

Title: Midnight Promises (The Sweet Magnolias #8)
Author: Sherryl Woods
Publisher: Harlequin Mira
Published: June 26, 2012
paperback, 374 pages
ISBN-13: 978-0-7783-1348-9
Genre: Contemporary Romance
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
When Elliott Cruz first courted struggling single mom Karen Ames, it it was a romance worthy of any Sweet Magnolia fantasy. The sexy personal trainer made it his mission to restore Karen's strength—physical and emotional—and to charm her children.Now, a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear a few years into the marriage, colliding dreams threaten to tear them them apart. Elliott's desire to finance the business opportunity of a lifetime with their hard-earned "baby money" stirs Karen's deep-rooted financial insecurities. It's the discovery that their brother-in-law is cheating on Elliott's sister—and thinks it's justified—that puts their irreconcilable differences into perspective. Will their own loving fidelity be a bond so strong they can triumph against all odds?

My thoughts:
Midnight Promises by Sherryl Woods is the eighth book in The Sweet Magnolias series. I haven't read any of the first seven books in this series. However after I finished this book I knew this would be a series I'd like to read. Mainly because
1. Woods writes in a way that you could pick up any book in the series and not feel lost. I love it when authors do this. I can't tell you how many series I've read out of order, and not every series is like this.
2. Woods deals with real issues. Elliot and Karen are newly married and trying to build a life together. The issues they deal with seem very realistic and common to a lot of people. This really helped me connect with the characters.
3. The friendships that the women have. They have each other's back! They root for each other's success. Give (sometimes) unwanted advice. They are there for each other in good times and bad. Think Steel Magnolias or the Divine Sisters of the Ya-Ya Sisterhood.
4. Margarita night. This book made me want to host my own margarita night.
5. Relationships. Woods deals with all sorts of relationships in this book: mothers, daughters, sisters, brothers, cousins, friends, husbands, wives. Relationships can be complicated, and Woods really brings to the forefront the ups and downs life can bring us.
Overall this is an enjoyable book. I'm definitely going to continue with this series, as well as go back and read the first seven books. I've enjoyed getting 'to know' several of the characters. I look forward to learning more about their stories.
My rating:

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

0 Q&A with John Miles

1. Please tell us a little bit about Assula
Well, Assula as an idea can be attributed to too much beer. Well alright perhaps a little more explanation is needed.
While watching a Dracula movie one day---the Francis Ford Coppola version---someone made a joke about a vampire that bites butts instead of necks which, perhaps unsurprisingly led to many more jokes along the same line.
The next day the idea stayed with me and so I started writing, to explain the unusual proclivity Assula has of biting butts instead of necks I developed the premise that only the evil become vampires when they are attacked, the rest just die.
Assula isn’t evil, but because he was bitten by a very powerful vampire, perhaps Dracula himself he becomes what he is, a butt biting vampire.

2. What sets this book apart from other vampire books?
Well of course there is the fact that Assula bites butts instead of necks, but aside from that there is the fact that Assula is a rather more sympathetic figure than most vampires.

3. Who is your favorite character in the book and why?
Actually I think that Assula is my favorite character perhaps because he is a lot like me. Well alright I haven’t bitten many butts, not too often anyway and certainly not without an immediate and heartfelt, profuse apology.
Nevertheless, I can in many ways relate to Assula’s feelings of being an outsider and being unable to adequately explain situations in his life even when he knows he’s in the right.

4. What do you hope to say to people about your writing?
Well first and foremost I hope that they will be entertained by my writing.
I try to keep messages of any kind to a minimum. I believe that a book or a film or for that matter a television show can come across as boring and pretentious if they start to get too preachy.

5. What made you choose to write in this genre?
Really, in this particular case I really feel that this genre or at least this particular book chose me. As I said, the day after watching the Dracula film I just couldn’t get the butt biting idea out of my head and so I decided to sit down and write about it.
At the time I thought it might make a good short story that I might, perhaps share with those who watched the film with me. I never would have dreamed that it would end up as a novel.

6. What is the most interesting thing on your desk?
Actually there are two things on my desk that I think are pretty interesting. I have a set of bookends that a young lady gave me a few years ago that depict a dragon coming through the gates of a castle.
They’re pretty cool I think, and I have no idea where she got them.
Also, I have a Bamboo plant that was given to me on my birthday in 2008.The young lady gave me the plant in a flower vase that was filled with just water and some rocks.
The plant sat on my desk unattended until July, 4th 2011---I never even bothered to change the water.
A few days before July 4th 2011 someone gave me some flowerpots—who knows why. Well it just so happens that on July 4th I was in a store and they had potting soil on sale for $1.99 and I just knew---without even thinking of the Bamboo plant-- that I needed the potting soil because, well after all it was on sale for just $1.99.
When I got home I saw the bamboo plant and thought hey, I do have a use for that potting soil. I cut the algae off of the bottom of the roots and planted the plant in one of the flower pots.
Now a little more than one year later it will soon have to be planted in an even larger flower pot. For the Bamboo plant to have survived this long after all it has been through, well I think that’s pretty cool.

7. What is your favorite movie?
I actually have a couple of favorites. I love the Steve McQueen film, “The Great Escape,” I think my favorite comedy of all time is “It’s a mad, mad, mad, mad world,” with an all star cast that includes Jonathan Winters you can’t go wrong---and yes I did sign the petition on facebook for Mr. Winters to host SNL and I really hope it happens.

8. Coffee or tea?
I am a tea drinker only. I just never cared for the taste of coffee, and I do mean real tea, not herbal.

9. Are you an early bird or a night owl?
I should go to bed earlier but I am rarely in bed before midnight.

10. What projects do you have planned for the future?
Right now I am thinking about a story about a private detective or one about a 19th century adventurer, but I haven’t decided which one to go with yet.

Where you can buy the book:

For amazon:



Tuesday, September 18, 2012

0 Review: Legend Destiny by Nance Bulow-Morgan

Title: Legend Destiny
Author: Nance Bulow-Morgan
Publisher: Outskirts Press
Published: August 27, 2010
paperback, 330 pages
ISBN: 978-1-4327-6098-4
Genre: Action/Adventure
Source: Author


Legend Destiny found an ordinary girl embarking on a journey to control her extraordinary powers.
It made her an extraordinary heroine on a mission to retake her city and her people from an oppressive overlord hell bent to destroy them.

My thoughts:
Legend Destiny is a pretty good read. It follows many of the conventions and formulas of the fantasy genre, but the thing that makes this book better than many are its characters.  The author does a really good job of writing the characters. She is able to make you feel for Diony, the main character. You get to know her and genuinely like her. The story begins in earnest when Diony is attacked and raped by one of the Overlord’s men. She now must run and hide because she is wanted for the death of the guard. She begins meeting and being helped by a myriad of different people. Diony’s compatriots are portrayed as likeable and sympathetic.  Really the only thing that distracts form the story is the formulaic plot of regular kid grows up to find that she is key to the legend of how to defeat the evil Overlord that rules the city by oppression and cruelty.
Overall this is still a fun read with solid characters and good writing. If there are other stories that follow with these same characters, I would look forward to continuing their story.

My rating:

Monday, September 17, 2012

0 Q&A with Mitzi Szereto

photo credit
Eric Schneider
1. You've co-authored Normal for Norfolk with Teddy Tedaloo. Was he hard to work with?
Mitzi: Teddy can sometimes be hard work, but don’t tell him I said that! He’s demanding and he likes to grumble. A typical male, eh? Mind you, I couldn’t manage without him. I can’t imagine a more creative and talented author to work with. The fact that he’s a bear might be, to some, rather unusual, but I don’t have those kinds of species-ist prejudices.

2. Are any parts of this book based on real-life events?
Mitzi: There are many events in the novel that were based on—if not taken directly from—our own experiences while staying in Norfolk, England. We traveled all over the county and soaked up a lot of local color, so there was quite a bit of fodder to choose from. The car wash scene with Thelonious is based on something that happened to my friend, who was en route to pick us up from the railway station when she decided her car needed a wash; like Thelonious, she very nearly didn’t make it back out! And the scene with Thelonious at the snooty gastropub full of obnoxious Londoners needed very little fictional amplification; it was authentic right down to the Cuban cigars. Even Lord Nelson, the dog from The Drowned Duck public house that features prominently in the novel, was inspired by an actual dog we came across at a pub. Let’s just say that each of them possessed amorous intentions that never quite reach fruition.

3. Tell us a little bit about the character, Thelonious T. Bear.
Mitzi: Thelonious is a photojournalist by profession. He also happens to be a bear. Of course, he’s not like other bears you might know of. He drives a Mini Cooper, wears a deerstalker hat, and even uses cologne. He’s also a big fan of jazz musician Charlie Parker (despite the connection of his first name to another jazz great, Thelonious Monk). In this first volume of the series, we find that Thelonious has decided to quit life in the big city (in this case London) and take advantage of his latest photojournalism assignment in the Norfolk countryside by making a new life for himself. He wants a simpler life and some peace and quiet (don’t we all?). Unfortunately, it doesn’t happen. Instead he stumbles upon a series of brutal murders of village publicans, for which he appears to be the sole suspect, thanks to a totally inept detective chief inspector. In a nutshell, this wasn’t quite what Thelonious had in mind when he went to Norfolk!

4. Normal for Norfolk is book one in the Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles. How many books are planned for this series?
Mitzi: I’ve no idea! I guess it depends on how inspired Teddy and I get. We’ve already mapped out the plotline for the second volume and hope to get started on the book next year. I adore this series, as does Teddy, and we’d like to see it continue well into the future.

5. What other books are you working on?
Mitzi: I have a new anthology just out called Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire. It’s a fantasy-themed collection of short stories inspired by the hit TV series Game of Thrones (based on the George R.R. Martin books). As you can tell by the title, it will be steamy! I’m really pleased to be including a foreword from legendary fantasy author Piers Anthony. In addition, I’m writing a novel, which is a sequel to a classic work of literature (and I won’t say which one!). It’s something I’ve had in the pipeline for a couple of years and will feature both Gothic and erotic themes. I’m also co-writing a novel with another author along similar lines.

6. What do you hope to say to people about your writing?
Mitzi: Just that I hope they enjoy reading my work and, in the process, discover that my books offer something a bit different from what they might expect. So set any pre-conceived notions aside!

7. Who is your favorite author?
Mitzi: That’s so difficult to answer. I read many authors and enjoy many genres of fiction, from psychological thrillers to British-Asian fiction and lots of things in between. People whom I’ve read regularly over the years include Margaret Atwood, Alice Walker, Ruth Rendell, and Dean Koontz. But I also have books that are long-time favorites, such as Lolita by Vladimir Nabokov, The Jungle by Upton Sinclair, An American Tragedy by Theodore Dreiser, and The God of Small Things by Arundhati Roy.

8. What do you do when you're not writing?
Mitzi: When I’m not writing, I’m involved with the business of writing, such as promotion, doing interviews, researching, and related admin. It takes more time and energy to do all this other stuff than it does to write a book. What little free time I have—and there’s virtually none—I use for reading, watching a film, and maybe traveling somewhere. However, more often than not my traveling is tied into the business of being a writer. So we’re right back where we started.

9. Are there any occupational hazards to being a writer?
Mitzi: Yeah, starving! Oh, and having your eyesight continually deteriorate from staring at a computer screen 24/7 and developing repetitive stress syndrome. Ain’t it great?

10. What's the last book you've read?
Lily White by Susan Isaacs.

Mitzi Szereto ( is an author and editor of multi-genre fiction and non-fiction, has her own blog Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog, and is the creator/presenter of Mitzi TV, which covers “quirky” London. Her books include Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire; Pride and Prejudice: Hidden Lusts; Red Velvet and Absinthe: Paranormal Erotic Romance; In Sleeping Beauty’s Bed: Erotic Fairy Tales; Getting Even: Revenge Stories; Dying for It: Tales of Sex and Death; and Wicked: Sexy Tales of Legendary Lovers. Her anthology Erotic Travel Tales 2 is the first anthology of erotica to feature a Fellow of the Royal Society of Literature. She divides her time between the UK and USA.
Teddy Tedaloo is a celebrity teddy bear, trendsetter, world traveler, and the production assistant extraordinaire/co-star of the web TV channel Mitzi TV. Widely popular in social media circles such as Facebook and Twitter, he’s known for his entertaining commentary and opinions as well as being an advocate for animal welfare. He lives (and goes) wherever Mitzi lives (and goes). Normal for Norfolk is his first novel.

Youtube link Normal for Norfolk:

Normal for Norfolk (The Thelonious T. Bear Chronicles):
Mitzi Szereto website:
Mitzi Szereto on Twitter:
Teddy Tedaloo on Twitter:
Mitzi Szereto Facebook fan page:
Teddy Tedaloo Facebook fan page:
Errant Ramblings: Mitzi Szereto’s Weblog:

Mitzi TV:

Thrones of Desire: Erotic Tales of Swords, Mist and Fire:

Mitzi Szereto Goodreads:

Mitzi Szereto Google+ official page:

Mitzi Szereto MySpace:

Saturday, September 15, 2012

2 Cover Reveal: Griffin's Storm by Darby Karchut

Title: Griffin’s Storm (Book Three: Water)
Series: Griffin series #3
Author: Darby Karchut
Publisher: Copper Square Studios, LLC
ISBN: 978-0-9741145-5-2
Release date: December 2012
Format: Paper, e-book

Griffin’s Storm (Book Three: Water)

For centuries, there have been rumors about a lowly caste of supernatural beings known as the Terrae Angeli. Armed with the power to control Earth, Fire, Wind and Water, these warriors and their apprentices clandestinely serve as guardians for humans in danger.

An old enemy returns. A new alliance is formed. And Griffin finds himself in the eye of the storm when an ancient racial hatred is set loose, jeopardizing the very existence of the Terrae Angeli.

Once again, the teen guardian angel is forced to battle his worst nightmare. But this time, Griffin comes back swinging. With a vengeance.

After all, an eye for an eye...

About the Author:
Darby Karchut is an award-winning author, teacher, and a compulsive dawn greeter. She lives in Colorado with her husband and owns more backpacks than purses. As she should. Her YA books include Griffin Rising (2011 Sharp Writ YA Book of the Year) and Griffin’s Fire (2012 Readers Favorite Bronze Medal Winner). Her debut Middle Grade novel, Finn Finnegan (Spencer Hill Press) will be released March 2013. The next book in the Finnegan series, Gideon’s Spear (Spencer Hill Press) will be released February 2014.

Friday, September 14, 2012

0 Review: Behind Jane Austen's Door by Jennifer Forest

Title: Behind Jane Austen's Door
Author: Jennifer Forest
Published: January 16, 2012
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: Author

Behind Jane Austen's Door takes you on a tour of a Regency house, room by room, to explore these delicate challenges and the beautiful lives of Jane Austen's women.

My thoughts:
Behind Jane Asuten's Door by Jennifer Forest is a great book for Jane Austen fans to read. It's a really quick read at about 54 pages. Jennifer Frost takes you into a regency style house and explains the importance of the rooms from the decorations to the social standings, a room would convey it all. The author goes from room to room giving you an imaginary tour of the rooms and their uses. I really enjoyed reading this book. It helped me understand more about this time period and the characters that Jane Austen wrote about. I think Forest did a fantastic job. If you love Jane Austen or books set in Regency/Victorian era, this book will definitely shed some light on that time period.
My rating:

Thursday, September 13, 2012

2 Q&A with Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels + Give@way

1. What is the inspiration behind Project ELE?
There are several things that inspired us to create Project ELE. I had written a short story for an anthology (Dark Light published by Crushing Hearts and Black Butterfly) called Ghost Reapers and I wanted to expand it with Courtney. After talking it over we decided that we liked the aspect of the short story where it's set in the future and people have unique powers but we really wanted to start the story off with how they got those powers. Courtney had some great ideas with how to do that and after much discussing we came up with the premise for Project ELE. What we loved about writing Project ELE is that we were able to cross many different genres. It's not just apocalyptic or dystopian, it has paranormal, mystery, conspiracy and romance in it too. Also, since there isn't a definitive date in the story, you don't really feel like you are in an unthinkable time period, this could be next year for all we know.
2. What does ELE stand for? Awe man.... I'm struggling if we want to tell everyone without them reading the book.... What the heck, we will tell your blog followers just because y'all are awesome: *Insert suspenseful music here* Extinction Level Event. Dun, dun, DUN! ;0)
3. Tell us a little about the main character, Willow Mosby.
Willow starts out in our book as a sheltered fifteen year old that's part of a loving family. She has to grow up fast when her family is torn apart and she enters the shelter. She has a lot of firsts inside the shelter: first job, first group of real friends, first ahem *kiss*, first boyfriend (not going to say who, but you will find out soon enough) and first time being in real danger. Throughout the ELE Series, you will see Willow continue to grow into the strong young woman that she is meant to be.
4. What  three things would you take with you if you had to evacuate to a FEMA shelter?
Chocolate, Red Bull and Books. ;0)  ....Too bad those horrible officials won't let you bring in anything from the outside. (Fear of contamination.)
5. If you could have a superpower/ability, what would it be?
Courtney~ I would love to be able to fly. Why, it's obvious right? Who wouldn't want to be able to just fly away or get places fast?
Rebecca~ One think I wouldn't want is to be able to hear thoughts. I know some of the stupid stuff that pops into my head. I certainly wouldn't want to hear what everyone else is thinking. I guess I'd love to be able to transport. How cool would it be to skip rush hour traffic or to suddenly be at your friend's house on the other side of the country?
6. How many books are planned for this series?
As many as it takes, more than two for sure. There is so much more going on in Willow's world than what happens in book 1. We promise to find a way to keep each book fresh throughout the series.
7. Which was your favorite character to write in this book?
Both of us loved writing Willow. Since that's an obvious given here are our favorite minor characters.
Courtney~ Connor (He's goofy, fun and quirky. There are endless opportunities to have some comedy relief when it comes to Connor.)
Rebecca~ Zack (He's the first truly multifaceted villain that we wrote. Plus there's that piece somewhere in his heart that makes him not as horrible as you'd think. That was fun to write.)
8. What do you do when you're not writing?
Courtney is an amazing at home mom who homeschools her three kids. She takes on all kinds of challenges with her duties including: extreme couponing, crafting, sewing, gardening, reading and more.
Rebecca works full time and is known as the best boss ever. *Just kidding. Well, I hope my team likes me, LOL!* When I'm not working I spend time with my two kids, paint, read and spend time outdoors.
9. What's on your desk?
Courtney~ A computer and a million post it notes. *She's obsessed with post its!
Rebecca~ A laptop, a picture of the characters in our first book Night Marchers that my daughter drew, an empty Red Bull can and an Emergency chocolate bar.
10. What was the last book you've read?
Courtney~ Insurgent by Veronica Roth. (This is an amazing series)
Rebecca~ Obsidian by Jennifer Armentrout. (Love, love, love it!)

Rebecca and Courtney are downhome country girls powered by chocolate and other random late night cravings. Coined in southern twang they bring new meaning to the word y'all. BFI's since the 6th grade, with a knack for getting into sticky situations, has resulted in countless ideas to write about for years to come. Rebecca and Courtney both have loving husbands at home, crazy children and adorable dogs who rule the house. They both hate awkward silences, wedgies, styrofoam and bad drivers. They love spending time with their families, doing crazy crafts found on Pinterest, reading and writing.
Rebecca and Courtney's first published book: Night Marchers was released in October of 2011. It's sequel Redemption was published in February 2012 and their new series: Project ELE was released in July 2012. The sequel to Project ELE is scheduled to release in late November 2012.

Twitter: MidniteBeckie and NuckelsC

Rebecca Gober and Courtney Nuckels have given me two signed bookmarks to give away to two lucky readers. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. Giveaway is for US/Canada addresses only.
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Wednesday, September 12, 2012

1 Q&A with Katie McGarry and Give@way

A Q&A With Katie McGarry

Q: What was your inspiration for writing Pushing the Limits?
A: I had two main inspirations: One, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to write a story in which my characters felt strong enough to leave their pasts behind and create new futures for themselves. The first scene I ever saw in my mind was Echo and Noah leaving town after graduation. Two, I wanted to write two characters who were facing overwhelming issues and who, through battling these issues, found hope at the end of their journey.

Q: How did you come up with Echo’s name?
A: Echo went through several name changes as I wrote the man- uscript. For a while, she had a very normal name, but it always felt off. It wasn’t until I looked at Echo from her mother’s point of view that I found her name. Echo’s mother loved Greek mythology so it made perfect sense that she would name her chil- dren after the myths. I read several Greek myths and the mo- ment I found Echo’s, I fell in love. Echo, to me, was the girl who lost her voice. Thankfully, she finds it by the end.

Q: Which character is the most “like” you?
A: All of them. I gave each character a piece of me (though some have larger slices of me than others). Overall, I’d say I’m a strange combination of Echo, Lila and Beth. Echo has my need to please, Lila has my unfailing loyalty to my friends, and Beth encompasses my insecurities.

Q: Did you experience friendships with Grace types when you were in high school?
A: Yes. And the more people have read this story, the more this question comes up. Grace has struck a stronger nerve in people than I ever would have imagined. It seems most of us have unfortunately experienced a relationship where a person wants to “like” you and wants “be your friend,” but only if it serves their needs. In case anyone is wondering, that isn’t friendship.

Q: Are there any parts of the story you feel particularly close to?
A: Yes. The relationship between Noah, Isaiah, and Beth. Beyond my parents and sister, my nearest family members were over fourteen hours away. My friends became my family. The people I grew up with were more than people I watched movies with or talked to occasionally on the phone. These were people with whom I shared life’s most devastating moments, but also my hardest laughs. These were people who I would have willingly died for and I know they would have done the same for me. They shared my triumphs with smiles on their faces and congratulatory hugs. They held me when I cried and offered to beat up whoever hurt my feelings. These were also the same people who were more than happy to get in my face if they thought I was making a wrong decision.

Q: Did anything that happens to Echo happen to you?
A: Sort of. I was bitten by a dog when I was in second grade and repressed the memory. It felt very strange to have no memory of an incident that other people knew about. It was even stranger to have injuries and not have an inkling where they came from. In college, I finally remembered the incident when a dog lunged at me. I relived the horrible event and sort of “woke up” a few minutes later to find myself surrounded by people I loved. Even though I “remember” the incident, I still don’t remember the whole thing. I only see still frames in my mind and there is no blood in any of the memories.

Thanks to Harlequin Teen I have a copy of Pushing the Limits to giveaway to a lucky reader.This giveaway is open to US/Canada addresses only. You must be at least 13 years old.

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2 Review: Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry

Title:Pushing the Limits (Harlequin Teen)
Author: Katie McGarry
Publisher: Harlequin Teen
Published: July 31, 2012
Paperback, arc
ISBN-13: 978-0-373-21049-4
Genre: Contemporary, YA
Source: Publisher

Goodreads Summary:
No one knows what happened the night Echo Emerson went from popular girl with jock boyfriend to gossiped-about outsider with "freaky" scars on her arms. Even Echo can't remember the whole truth of that horrible night. All she knows is that she wants everything to go back to normal.But when Noah Hutchins, the smoking-hot, girl-using loner in the black leather jacket, explodes into her life with his tough attitude and surprising understanding, Echo's world shifts in ways she could never have imagined. They should have nothing in common. And with the secrets they both keep, being together is pretty much impossible.

My thoughts:
Pushing the Limits by Katie McGarry grabbed me from the beginning. There is so much emotional drama going on it was hard to put this book down. Echo, like her name, is unusual. Not in the sense that she has a third eye or anything, but something traumatic happened to her that shapes her life. She was attacked by her mother and she has suppressed the memory. She's in therapy to try to work through her problems, but she's frustrated by her progress. She hides her scars from the attack by wearing long sleeves shirts all the time. Echo is a deep character that has many obstacles to overcome. The long sleeves represent her insecurities and fear of rejection because of them. Echo is surrounded by a plethora of people. Some I loved, others not so much.
One of the characters, besides Echo and Noah, that stood out to me is Echo's father. In the very beginning I did not like this man at all. However my feelings for him transformed throughout the novel. I love how McGarry wrote him. Yes, he's a control freak and overbearing, but he loves Echo. Everything he does is his way of trying to protect her. He makes mistakes and feels the burden of not knowing what to do at times. McGarry points out that there is no instruction booklet to life and sometimes you just have to do what you think is right. This leads me to Noah. Noah is a senior and he lost his parents in a fire a few years before. He's been a victim of the system and has landed in some not so good foster homes. He has two brothers that he wants desperately to be reunited with. He wants sole custody even though he's barely an adult himself. Noah is immediately attracted to Echo. Together they bond over grief and loss. Noah has to figure out his life plan and how to accomplish his desires. He also has to learn to let go and realize sometimes what people want and what is best is not always the same thing.
Pushing the Limits is a great read. It's emotionally compelling and can speak to everyone young and not so young. My heart went out to the characters in this book, including some of the minor characters. They all had stories to be told and I think McGarry did a great job. Pushing the Limits is the first book in this series. The next book continues with Beth's story. I think this will be a series that I will continue reading.
My rating:

Tuesday, September 11, 2012

4 The Vampire Hunter's Daughter Book Tour and Give@way

Book Description:
This special edition of The Vampire Hunter’s Daughter contains parts I-VI, the complete collection. Fourteen-year-old Chloe witnesses her mother’s murder at the hands of a vampire. Before the vampire can kidnap her, there is an unexpected rescue by a group of vampire hunters.

Overwhelmed by the feeling of safety, Chloe passes out and they whisk her away to their small community. When Chloe wakes, she comes face to face with the only other living relative, besides her mother, whom she has ever met: her grandfather. Chloe’s mother kept her hidden from the family; now, Chloe tries to unveil the family secrets.

Through her grandfather, she learns her mother was a vampire hunter. In fact, her entire family is descended from the powerful bloodlines of vampire hunters. Chloe agrees to join the family she has never known for one reason only: Chloe vows to kill the vampire responsible for her mother’s murder. With vengeance in her soul, Chloe is even more determined to follow through on her vow when she discovers the true identity of her enemy and how he is connected to her.

Experience the world of vampires hunter’s, vampires and mythology with Chloe in this exciting series.

Short Excerpt:
I took the first book off the stack and examined the cover. It was titled Vampires throughout History. The cover was leather and so old it was stiff and cracked in spots. The pages showed signs of age too, yellowing and stiff to the touch. There was no table of contents, so it looked like I was going to have to scan the entire book for what I was wanting. I flipped the pages carefully, so as not to tear any of them.

After an hour of scanning and about half way through the book, I found something referring to vampire children.

Although extremely rare, the natural-born offspring of vampires exist throughout the world. These rare beings are called the dhampir. Dhampir are usually the product of a vampire and mortal. The most common of these unions is a male vampire impregnating a mortal woman. Vampires, both male and female, are seductive in nature and some mortals came willingly to these unions. However, the majority of dhampir born were produced through an act of rape.

Solitary by nature, it is uncommon for a vampire to settle with any one mate for long. The children of vampires, the dhampir, more often than not exhibit all the characteristics of their vampire parent. The strength, speed and agility are the usual hereditary traits that the children develop. They are not always born with these traits but develop them as they grow into adulthood.

The dhampir are day walkers. Some of these children are sensitive to the sunlight but will not perish in the direct rays. Most have no sensitivity at all. Drinking the fresh blood of mortals is also not usually required of the dhampir; however, some have a liking for it. Very few actually need it to survive.

Most dhampir are rejected by the vampire species because of their mortality and weaknesses. Mortals often reject the dhampir, as well, due to their vampirism, so they frequently remain outcast.

Dhampir are known for becoming vampire killers. Their closeness to the vampires and their vampire characteristics make them powerful vampire hunters. The unique ability to track and kill vampires is specific to only the dhampir and the mythological race of vampire hunters.

Historically, dhampir became vampire hunters as a trade. Towns and villages became plagued by vampires who were terrorizing their homes and killing their people. The dhampir accepted contracts in exchange for monetary payment and used their likeness to their vampire counterparts to exterminate the vampires.


Holy crap, that was a lot to process. The more I read the passages, the more I understood that my being a hunter was more than my heritage; it was my history and my future. Everything about my bloodlines had hunters involved.

Author Bio:
Jennifer Malone Wright resides in the beautiful mountains of northern Idaho with her husband and five children. Between the craziness of taking care of her children, whose ages range from fourteen all the way down to six months, and being a homemaker, Jennifer has little time left for herself. The time she does have left, usually leading far into the night, is spent working on freelance work or her beloved fiction.

When she grew up, Jennifer always had her nose in a book. She has been writing stories and poems since grade school. This love of the written word and her strong interest in the paranormal is what has led to her first novel “The Birth of Jaiden.”
In addition to being a mother and homemaker, Jennifer is also a very proud military wife. Moving around the country for the last ten years has made her a bit of a nomad and she finds it difficult to be in one place for too long.

Jennifer is also the author of The Birth of Jaiden, a paranormal novel filled with action, suspense, and even a love story.





Amazon Author Page:


0 Guest reviewer: Karen Lee discusses the poem, Thoughts on a Tranquil Night by Li Bai

Title: Thoughts in a Tranquil Night
Author: Li Bai
Feature Type: Poem

Introduction of Li Bai
Li Bai, also known as Li Po, great poet after Chen Zi Ang, brought peotry of the Tang Dynasty to the peak. Li made the first golden period of the Chinese classical poetry and he opened a new climax for romantic poetry tradition of Qu Yuan.
His nickname, "the poem god," came from his alleged ability to produce beautiful poetry quickly and effortlessly. More than a thousand of his poems are still around for us to read and enjoy.

Introduction of the Poem
This poem is about homesickness, written in a quiet night.

Poem in Pin Yin

jìng yè sī
静 夜 思
lǐ bái
李 白
chuáng qián míng yuè guāng
床 前 明 月 光
yí shì dì shàng shuāng
疑 是 地 上 霜 。
jǔ tóu wàng míng yuè
举 头 望 明 月
dī tóu sī gù xiāng
低 头 思 故 乡

Poem in English

Athwart the bed
I watch the moonbeams cast a trail
So bright, so cold, so frail,
That for a space it gleams
Like hoar-frost on the margin of my dreams.
I raise my head, -
The splendid moon I see:
Then droop my head,
And sink to dreams of thee -
My father land , of thee!
(Tr. L.Cranmer-Byng)

My Thoughts
The moon is the usual symbol of nostalgia in the works of most Chinese poets, however, his poem is a rare exception for its expressiveness and directness a pool of light before the bed looks just like autumn hoarfrost at first glance. Is it really frost? The poet wonders. Upon a closer look he finds out it is the moon light. In Chinese tradition the phases of the moon have always signified family separation and reunion. At this emotional momet the poet cannot but feel lonely and miss his family far away.
Li Bai wrote occasional verse and poems about his own life. His poetry is known for its clear imagery and conversational tone. His work influenced a number of 20th-century poets, including Ezra Pound and James Wright.
All his poems are worthy to read, if anyone is interested in his poems, please contact me, we can learn and review together.

About the Author
This guest post is written by . She is an Editor at YOYBUY.COM. YOYBUY is one of the oldest and most reliable taobao agents in China, helping foreign people buy items from almost all Chinese online shops (B2C).

Monday, September 10, 2012

0 Review: Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master in No Time

Title: Grammar Girl's 101 Troublesome Words You'll Master in No Time
Author: Mignon Fogarty
Publisher: St. Martin's Griffith
Published: July 3, 2012
ISBN13: 9780312573478
Genre: Non-Fiction
Source: NetGalley

How do you know which to use? Grammar Girl to the rescue! This handy reference guide contains the full 411 on 101 words that have given you trouble before—but will never again. Full of clear, straightforward definitions and fun quotations from pop culture icons such as Gregory House and J. K. Rowling, as well as from classical writers such as Mark Twain and Benjamin Franklin, this highly-useable guidebook takes the guesswork out of your writing, so you’ll never be at a loss for words again.

My thoughts:
This is a great book to have at your fingertips. Have you ever asked yourself 'Is it affect or effect' or 'Do you lie on a bed or lay on a bed?' So many times these words are confused. Mignon Fogarty takes on 101 words that cause a lot of trouble in the English language.
This book goes through the words in alphabetical order. Fogarty uses excerpts and quotations from well-known books to illustrate her points. She also includes some 'quick and dirty tips' to help you remember the correct way to use certain words.
Overall I think this is a good book for anyone to keep handy. If you often get confused over which word is the right word then this book is for you.
My rating:

Saturday, September 8, 2012

1 Q&A with Linda Grimes

1. Tell us about the main character, Ciel Halligan.
Ciel is an aura adaptor—a human chameleon. (Which is kind of like a regular chameleon, only without the freakishly long tongue or the bulging, independently moving eyes.) She's young, struggling for her independence in an over-protective family, and more than a tad stubborn. I think of her as trying to rip off the "training wheels" in life, and of course having her share of falls while she finds her balance.

2. Would you want to be an aura adapter? Why or Why not?
Well, it would be a great party trick, that's for sure. Who wouldn't want to spend the occasional day as a fawned-over celebrity? Or maybe your ex's new SO, just to exact a little revenge. But I'll bet it would get old filling in for people the way Ciel does. I mean, what if they want you to go PTA meetings for them, or ask their bosses for raises? Ugh. Not so much fun then.

3. What sort of Starbucks coffee would Ciel order?
In the morning, black and strong. Later in the day, a Salted Caramel Mocha with lots of whipped cream.

4. What was your favorite chapter to write? Why?
I don't think I can narrow it down to an absolute favorite, but I have to admit I'm awfully fond of the final chapter. There's just something about seeing Ciel squirm in all that satin and lace that tickles my funny bone. (Yeah, I'm cruel to my characters.)

5. How many books do you have planned for this series?
I'm working on Book 3 now (just turned Quick Fix it to my editor not long ago), and after that I'll take it one book at a time. I don't think there'll be any shortage of trouble for Ciel to get into—she's always whispering some harebrained idea in my ear.

6. Who is your favorite author?
This is always a tough question for someone who loves to read all kinds of books, the way I do.  If pressed, though, I'll go with Diana Gabaldon, because her books encompass so much of what I love—adventure, history, mystery, a touch of paranormal, and an all-consuming love. Every time I reread her Outlander series, I am more convinced than ever of her writerly genius.

7. Do you have any interesting writing habits or quirks?
I like to type my first draft with my toes. It forces me to slow down and really think about what I'm writing.
(Okay, that's totally not true. But it is way more interesting than "I have to be well-rested when I write, and I like it quiet," don't you think?)

8. What is the last book that you've read?
GETTING DUMPED (Part 2), by Tawna Fenske. It's put out by Coliloquy, and is "active fiction," meaning the reader actually has a say in what happens to the characters. It's for e-readers only, and the reader gives feedback at several points in the novel (which is sent back to the publisher via the e-reader). Based on what the majority of readers want to have happen, the author goes in that direction for the next installment.
Fenske is a master at humor and romance, and I love being able to control part of the outcome of the book. It's just plain loads of fun!

9. Are you an early riser or a night owl?
I am an early riser now. Back in my college and theater days, I was a complete night owl, but my biorhythms seem to have shifted. Along with a few other things.

10. What do you like to do when you're not writing?
I guess it would be a total cliché to say "read," huh? But that's what I really like to do when I'm not writing. Also, I enjoy watching long-running TV series on DVD—without commercials—with my husband at my side. It gives me a break from having to, yannoh, think.

Friday, September 7, 2012

5 The Consequences of Technology: Patty Blount Guest Post and Give@way

The Consequences of Technology 

In 2004, my son had a growth spurt. He hit five foot nine, started shaving, endured some vicious acne and all the other curses of puberty and so, became the favorite target of a group of little boys who thought it was great fun to tear down the giant. This torment had gone on for months before I ever learned about it.
I didn’t learn about it until my son told me he no longer wanted to live.
He was in sixth grade. Today, he’s in college and doing well, but I will tell you he bears deep scars from his ordeal.
Let’s skip to 2009: a new executive at my day job directed us to start incorporating social media into our work. I knew nothing about networks like Facebook and Twitter and had a lot of homework to do before I could figure out how to meet his directive. The more work I did, the more grateful I became that none of these networks were around back in 2004.
If they had been, I’m sure I would have lost my son.
Social networks are great tools. They give a voice to anyone with an internet connection, they allow us to remain connected to folks we’d otherwise have lost touch with, and they expose us to news before the networks can report it. Here’s the irony:  the things that make social networks so great are also the very things that make them so dangerous. The problem with everyone having a voice is that we can’t readily determine which voices are qualified to support the opinions being stated and which are just hot air. Remaining connected can easily become stalking. And, ‘news’ may be nothing more than rumor. (Bon Jovi did not die in December of 2011.)
I have two more bullet points for the Danger list: First, many of us are more likely to say something snarky online than directly to someone’s face. Psychologist John Suler calls this the Online Disinhibition Effect and what’s really scary is most of us aren’t even aware we’re caught up in it. According to Suler, the internet makes us all anonymous and invisible and because there’s no online authority, exaggerates our own sense of self.
In other words – it’s a power trip and power is pretty much the bully’s objective, isn’t it?
Second, there is the immediacy of it and I want to stress that this is NOT a trap limited only to teens. Adults are just as likely to lose their tempers and take inappropriate action based on anger as teens. This is actually why I chose SEND as the title of my book – because the Send key is RIGHT THERE at the top of the screen, just itching to be clicked before you’ve carefully crafted the message you want to express.
I think it’s important for all of us to remember two things: first, technology is not a toy and second, children are not short adults, which means that is exactly how they’ll treat technology. Social sites, smart phones and the internet have the potential for positive and negative results. I don’t know how children can distinguish the good from the bad without guidance from adults.
How old were your children when you bought them a cell phone? Are they on Facebook or Twitter? Do you know who they’re talking to? Better question – do you know who’s talking to them?

Giveaway: Thanks to Sourcebooks I have one copy up for grabs. This contest is open to US/Canada residents only. You must be at least 13 years old to enter. Good luck!

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