Book Trailer -

Monday, November 30, 2009

Here is a book trailer for the book For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone which I reviewed recently, you can read that review over here.

Currently "Reading":
Book - Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith
E-Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Not listening to anything right now.

What's on My Nightstand

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

This post is part of the What's On Your Nightstand carnival hosted over at 5 Minutes for Books

First let's start with the books I finished this month, I actually haven't been keeping track of the books I have been finishing very well so here is what I remember (isn't that awful? Don't answer that.)

1.The Songbird in My Heart by Mark Steven Rhoads. I really liked this one though I haven't finished the review for it yet, must get on that.

2. Pride and Prejudice and Zombies by Seth Grahame-Smith. Didn't love this one as much as I had hoped and also late on the reviewing thing. I've been so lazy recently.

3. The Many Hands: a Doctor Who Novel by Dale Smith. I just finished this one this morning, the books are as good as the show, this was the first Dr. Who book I have read and I already picked up a new one from the library. btw I am hosting a Doctor Who Reading Challenge, check it out.

I also read a lot of Kid's books but of course I do that every month. I must have read more books than that but those are the only ones I can remember right now. Lets move on to the ones I have on my nightstand to finish this month.

1. first off is the Wife's Guide to In-Laws by Jenna D Barry. I have been reading this book for a while and I really need to finish it but I like my in-laws so it's a little hard to get through and it's really repetative but more on that when I finish it then review it.

2. The Murder Game a Doctor Who Novel by Steve Lyons. This is the new book I picked up from the library today.

3. Critical Mass by Kathleen Henry this is another one that I am in the middle of, I am liking it so far.

4. Interfictions 2 by various artists. I know people who have stories in this one so I am really looking forward to reading it.

5. The Truth (I'm a girl, I'm smart and I know everything) by Dr. Barbara Becker Holstein. I am really looking forward to reading this one too. It looks like a great read.

So there you have it my month in review and the month to come, lets see how it works out this time.

Lovely Bones Trailer

Saturday, November 21, 2009

I had no idea until just a few days ago that the Lovely Bones movie is directed by Peter Jackson. I loved this book and I was really worried that someone would take a good book and make a bad movie because they would be afraid to say what needed to be said. Afraid to let the audience be scared, feel sad and hurt for these characters. That they would be trying to hard to make us all feel happy at the end that the whole point would be lost. Know Peter Jackson is in charge makes me worry about this much less, I hope he does it right. The trailer is wonderful, maybe we can even get out of the house to see it in the theater.

Currently "Reading":
Book - Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith
E-Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Not listening to anything right now.

National Book Awards

Friday, November 20, 2009

The National Book Award winners were announced Wednesday night and much as years in the past I haven't read a single one of the books that were nominated as a matter of fact I haven't even heard of most of them. As a matter of fact Fordlandia: The Rise and Fall of Henry Ford's Forgotten Jungle City by Greg Grandinis the only book that I can say for sure that I have even heard of (thank you NPR). That used to make me feel bad but after my stint at Barnes and Noble I now know that even the most avid readers haven't read the books that are nominated for nearly any literary award until they show up on the nominees list.
There are quite a few that look like they would be good to read though so they are going on my To-Read List, like Following the Water: A Hydromancer's Notebook by David M. Carroll in the nonfiction category, The poetry book Speak low by Carl Phillips and the Young People's book Charles and Emma: The Darwins’ Leap of Faith by Deborah Hiligman. I guess that is part of what awards are all about not just to recognize literary achievement but also to get the word out to more people about the good books that are out there to read.

See the whole list of winners and nominees by clicking here.

Currently "Reading":
Book - Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith
E-Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Not listening to anything right now.

Book Review - For The Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone

Wednesday, November 18, 2009

I recently received a copy of For the Love of St. Nick by Garasamo Maccagnone to review as part of Mr. Maccagnone's virtual book tour.
The first thing that struck me about this book even before I opened it up was the beautiful cover illustration, St. Nick carrying his sack looking out at me through the tree branches. This book appeals to me because of the way it reaches back to the beginnings of Christmas and the heart of what the season is truly about.

When his wife dies giving birth to his second son, 'The Commander' moves his family out of California to Michigan and a little hunting cabin on the edge of Lake Huron. Though the younger boy is in a seemingly constant battle with fevers due to his traumatic birth, the boys grow up pleasantly enough playing hockey and riding on snowmobiles while their Father works on his secret mission at the nearby military base. When the time finally comes for their Father to preform his mission, the boys are left with their nanny for the weeks leading up to Christmas. And when a fast fever sends the youngest brother into convulsions a visit from a Saint on Christmas Eve just before their Father's return home makes it a Holiday to remember.
For The Love of St. Nick is deep and does not take children for granted, I love that. The worst possible thing for a childrens' book to do is underestimate it's audience. Garasamo Massagnone grabs you from the beginning with the untimely death of the boys' Mother and holds you with honest, touching story telling to the very end. The only negative comment (if it can be called that) I have is that there isn't enough of this book. At 61 pages long with illustrations, I wanted more, though looking at it from a child's point-of-view it might be just right. My son is still a little young for this book but I look forward to sharing it with him in the future. It is refreshing to find a young person's book about the holidays that doesn't center around Santa Claus and presents. This book takes tough life events and intertwines them wonderfully with the Holiday season, incorporating just enough family, faith and tradition to remind us what the Holiday season is truly about.

About the Author: Garasamo Maccagnone is also the author of the novel, "St. John of the Midfield, as well as the childrens book, "The Suburban Dragon,"and a collection of short stories entitled, "The Affliciton of Dreams." Born in the wake of the Korean War, Maccagnone's stories derive from his life and his experiences from the last half of the 20th century. Today Maccagnone lives in Shelby Township with his wife and three children. You can read more about him and his other books on his website

For The Love of St. Nick can be purchased on and Barnes and Noble.

Kids Pick - Clifford Phonics Fun Reading Program

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

This is my post for Kids' Picks segment on the 5 Minutes For Books blog.

A few weeks ago we went to a Trade and Swap Playdate where everyone brought things from home to swap with others. We brought a lot of things, clothes and toys that the Little One just doesn't wear or play with anymore but we came home with a lot of things too so I think it pretty much just evened out. One of the things we picked up was a set of Phonics Books staring Clifford The Big Red Dog. Now we have seen Clifford but we don't have cable and our antenna doesn't pull in PBS so we rarely get to watch Clifford. But my son loves these books, he is starting to understand that letters make words and that words are what I am reading when I sit and read him a story. These books are built to help teach your little one to read and so they are simple and repetitive he has even started recognizing a few of the repeated words. I am not sure if he is really into the story, Clifford himself or being able to pick out the words but whatever it is he picks these books time and time again. I get a thrill out of seeing him actually pick out the right words when I ask him or read a word when I point to it, so we can read these as many times as he likes.

Currently "Reading":
Book - Doctor Who: The Many Hands by Dale Smith
E-Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Not listening to anything right now.

Doctor Who Reading Challenge

Monday, November 16, 2009

I have been looking into all of the reading challenges that are out there (there really are a lot) and I have signed up for a couple, which should be fun but there are a few books that I have wanted to read for quite a while that don't really fit into another challenge. Or maybe they do but anyone who watches/watched Doctor Who would understand what I mean when I say hit doesn't feel right to throw him in with a "100 book challenge" sort of reading challenge. The Doctor deserves a reading challenge all to himself.
So, here it is, may I present The Doctor Who Reading Challenge!

The Particulars:
1. This challenge will run from Today (11/16/09) to July 1st 2010

2. Pick your own level of challenge 5, 10 or more books.

3. The books you chose can be new or old including any of the 10 Doctors

4. Overlaps with other challenges are permitted.

5. Print, ebook and audio are all ok. Watching the TV show doesn't count neither does the old radio show.

6. Sign up using Mr. Linky at the bottom of this post. Put your name in the top box. For the bottom box, please use the URL that links specifically to your blog post about this challenge, not to your blog's home page.

7. If you don't have a blog but you would still like to participate just leave a comment here letting us know. I will provide opportunities in the future for those with blogs to link to their reviews and those without blogs can share their reviews in the comments at that time too.

8. You can join at any time so please sign up.

You can find lists of all the Doctor Who books here.

I am going to challenge myself to 10 books. I want to really get into this challenge and since they are books I really want to read anyway I think I can handle 10 books in 7 months. Let the fun begin.

This is where you can find my book reviews as I post them I will update:
Many Hands by Dale Smith
Murder Game by Steve Lyons

Book Review and Giveaway - Splenda: The World of Sweet Drinks

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

I received Splenda World of Sweet Drinks: Recipes for Homemade Shakes, Punches, Hot Drinks, and More as a gift a few months ago when I hosted a Splenda themed party in my home. From the moment I saw it I became thirsty, I thought I was dehydrated because every single picture made me want to dig through my kitchen for the ingredients or even go out to the grocery store if they couldn't be found in the house.
I looked through the book a few days later and the same thing happened, every drink in the book looked delicious so this time I picked a few to try and after a little mixing I started pouring. Every single recipe I have tried from this book has been wonderful, the cold drinks, the hot ones, it doesn't matter they are all great. I've even served a few at parties I have had since.
Try Fizzy Lemonade (pictured on cover), the Frozen Almond Cappuccino and the Elegant Eggnog or you could just flip to any page, make whatever drink you land on and enjoy, I'm sure you will.

The Giveaway:
I am going to giveaway two Splenda gift packs. Both have a 76 Splenda Recipe Card Collection book (each recipe is on a sturdy tear-out card with color picture)and a stirring spoon, then one pack comes with a sample box of Splenda and the other one comes with a set of measuring spoons and cups. Two lucky readers will each win one gift pack.

How To Enter:
1. Leave a comment on this post, yep that's it just tell me what you think about this post/giveaway and you will get one entry.

2. Tweet about this giveaway, then leave another comment here with the url to each tweet. You can do this as many times as you like. That's right there is no limit on the number of entries you can earn this way. Just remember for each time you tweet it, return here and leave a comment with the url to the tweet so I can verify if you are the winner.

3. Comment on any other post on my blog, then come back here and leave a comment on this post letting me know you did and which other post you commented on. You can also do this one as many times as you like, one entry per other post that you comment on. Just remember to leave a separate comment here for every comment you leave on another post.

The Rules:
1. An email address is required so leave it with your comment (This is how I will contact the winners)
2. Two winners will be chosen using
3. The winners will be contacted via email and will have 2 days to reply before a new winner is chosen.
4. Open to US address'
5. Ends on 11/20/09 @ 10PM CST. Good Luck!!!

And the winners are:

I am awaiting response emails from charity/ccboobooy and Anonymous
(ferret0903 at aol. dot com), they are our winners!

Currently "Reading":
E-Book - The Wife's Guide to In-Laws by Jenna D. Barry
Book - Critical Mass by Kathleen M. Henry
Audio - None right now I just finished Pride, Prejudice and Zombies (review to come soon)

Book Review - Lorax, The Sweetest Fig and Stellaluna

Saturday, November 7, 2009

here are three more books that I finished during the Read-A-Thon. To make this process go smoother and faster because I have a lot of these older children's books to catch up on I am going to post the synopsis from amazon and then some quick thoughts from me for each title.

The now remorseful Once-ler--our faceless, bodiless narrator--tells the story himself. Long ago this enterprising villain chances upon a place filled with wondrous Truffula Trees, Swomee-Swans, Brown Bar-ba- loots, and Humming-Fishes. Bewitched by the beauty of the Truffula Tree tufts, he greedily chops them down to produce and mass-market Thneeds. ("It's a shirt. It's a sock. It's a glove. It's a hat.") As the trees swiftly disappear and the denizens leave for greener pastures, the fuzzy yellow Lorax (who speaks for the trees "for the trees have no tongues") repeatedly warns the Once-ler, but his words of wisdom are for naught. Finally the Lorax extricates himself from the scorched earth (by the seat of his own furry pants), leaving only a rock engraved "UNLESS." Thus, with his own colorful version of a compelling morality play, Dr. Seuss teaches readers not to fool with Mother Nature. But as you might expect from Seuss, all hope is not lost--the Once-ler has saved a single Truffula Tree seed! Our fate now rests in the hands of a caring child, who becomes our last chance for a clean, green future.

Quick Thoughts:
I love Dr. Seuss, his stories have heart with a point and they are fun to read, The Lorax is no different.

Van Allsburg swings back into his most mystifying mode with this enigmatic, visually sophisticated tale of Monsieur Bibot, a "very fussy" French dentist who is given a pair of magic figs as a form of payment by an impoverished patient. The fruit, he's told, has the power to make dreams come true. The pragmatic Bibot scoffs at this, of course, but learns otherwise after eating one. Accordingly, he makes plans to use the second fig to become the richest man on earth (and to ditch Marcel, his oppressed terrier, for a string of Great Danes). The images in the book are unsettling, even ominous: Bibot lurking in a doorway with a rolled-up newspaper, ready to punish Marcel; Bibot gleefully clutching a pair of pliers as he prepares to extract an old woman's tooth; a frowning Bibot standing, fists clenched in anger, as his patient offers him the figs instead of cash. The dentist is a thoroughly unsympathetic character; readers will rejoice when the long-suffering Marcel gobbles the second magic fig and, in a poetically just ending, reverses the master-slave relationship. The sepia-toned illustrations are classic Van Allsburg, offering a visual study that is downright psychological; the artwork's spare lines and clean surfaces reflect the obsessively orderly Bibot's nature. Adults will appreciate Van Allsburg's acuity, while many children will relish the darker aspects of his story.

Quick Thoughts:
The illustrations alone are worth picking up this book, they are beautiful. My son was entranced though he did not get the twist at the end of the story. At just under 3 years old it is a little deep for him but he enjoyed listening to the story and looking at the pictures even if he didn't quite understand every part.

Stellaluna by Janell Cannon

Baby bat Stellaluna's life is flitting along right on schedule--until an owl attacks her mother one night, knocking the bewildered batlet out of her mother's loving grasp. The tiny bat is lucky enough to land in a nest of baby birds, but her whole world has just turned upside down. Literally. Stellaluna's adoptive bird mom accepts her into her nest, but only on the condition that Stellaluna will act like a bird, not a bat. Soon Stellaluna has learned to behave like a good bird should--she quits hanging by her feet and starts eating bugs. But when she finally has an opportunity to show her bird siblings what life as a bat is like, all of them are confounded. "How can we be so different and feel so much alike?" one asks. "And how can we feel so different and be so much alike?" asks another. "I agree," Stellaluna responds. "But we're friends. And that's a fact." Anyone who has ever been asked to be someone they're not will understand the conflicts--and possibilities--Stellaluna faces.

Quick Thoughts:

When I worked at Barnes and Noble customers would request this book time and again singing it's praises so I know there are going to be some people who can't believe this but...I didn't get it. I mean I understood the story but it didn't move me in the way it seems to have moved so many others.

Currently "Reading":
Magazine - newest issue of Budget Travel
Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Book Review Clovis Crawfish and His Friends and Clovis Crawfish and the Petit Papillion

Friday, November 6, 2009

Ok these are a couple more book which I checked out from the library for the Read-A-Thon but these are different because I didn't actually get around to reading these during the actual Read-A-Thon.

Clovis Crawfish and Petit Papillon follows Clovis (who I am guessing you know is a crawfish) as he watches a catepillar turn into a butterfly. At first he is worried because his dear friend, Bertile the butterfly's baby doesn't look like her but with patience he sees that the baby is just as beautiful as his Mother.

Clovis Crawfish and His Friends has a bit more adventure in the Louisiana bayou as Clovis Crawfish tries to prevent M'sieu Blue Jay from making a meal out of his friend Gaston Grasshopper.

I didn't love these books and neither did my son. Their are a lot of cajun (which is kind of French) words mixed in through the book which makes it pretty hard to read for someone who is neither cajun or a French speaker so I could never get a good flow going having to pause on every page to figure out the pronunciation of a word. I think for someone who either speaks French or has a child who loves these books and so reads them over and over they would be great but for me they just didn't stick.

Currently "Reading":
Magazine - newest issue of Budget Travel
Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

Book Review - Dinosaur Time and Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish

Finally I am getting around to finishing the reviews of the books I read during the Read-A-Thon. Here are two that both myself and my son just loved, the first is Dinosaur Time by Peggy Parish and the second is Mr. Putter & Tabby Feed the Fish by Cynthia Rylant.

The fact that my son loved Dinosaur Time was not a big surprise to me, he has recently discovered the new PBS show Dinosaur Train and has been rapidly developing a love for the large lizards. This is a great introductory to Dinosaurs for any young person looking to learn about the real creatures that used to roam the Earth. Each page is dedicated to a different dinosaur with a great illustration and paragraph about the dinosaur such as it's eating habits and distinctive features as well as a pronunciation guide so you can sound like Dr. Scott the Paleontologist (From Dino Train). Dinosaur Time is a Reading Rainbow Book and gets two big thumbs up.

Mr. Putter and Tabby Feed the Fish is a fun, friendly book. It makes me want to use the word wholesome, but not in a disgusting sticky sweet kind of way but in a true life that's just a good guy kind of way. I want to reach into the book and pinch Mr. Putter's cheeks while simultaneously giving him a big hug. This tale of an older man and his pet cat, Tabby purchasing some fish then having to ultimately give them away to their neighbour because of Tabby's fish problem (bat, bat, bat) also speaks to my son who loves pointing out the fish and the kitty and was actually able to read a few of the chapter titles. Another two thumbs up, I will be picking up more Mr. Putter and Tabby adventures at the library soon.

These aren't new books, Dinosaur Time was published in 1983 and Mr. Putter and Tabby Feed the Fish in 2002 but they stand the test of time.

Currently "Reading":
Magazine - November issue of Good Housekeeping
Book - A Wife's Guide to In-laws: How to Gain Your Husband's Loyalty Without Killing His Parents by Jenna D. Barry
Audio - Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: The Classic Regency Romance - Now with Ultraviolent Zombie Mayhem! by Jane Austen and Seth Grahame-Smith

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