Apr 10, 2011

Sunday Salon: Welcome Spring!

The Sunday Salon.comClick on the logo to join in!

The birds and the squirrels are congregating
around the bird feeders, green shoots
are pushing up through the ground,
the grass is getting greener
with the spring rain.

Is spring finally here? At last....
it looks as if I'll have to get out

for some spring gardening.

A cardinal sings its weeder, weeder
song to announce the birdfeeder's full.

Reviewed four books last week:

If a Dog Could Blog, a children's book
Call Me Irresistible, a contemporary romance
Dragon Chica, YA novel
The Shepherd, a thriller

I'm now reading a couple of books for Amazon Vine, plus doing catch up on several ARCs and hardcover books sent for review. Also, I've gone back to using my Kindle and just finished reading an enjoyable four-star Cuban-American mystery, Bloody Twist, set in Miami and South Beach.

Would you believe I'm also planning to re-read Dead Souls (Everyman's Library) by Nikolai Gogol, which I downloaded free on my Kindle. A Russian classic, I remember it as one of the most humorous pieces of literature I'd read. By the way, I have more than 250 works now on Kindle, 95 per cent of them free books. Will I ever get to reading all of them??? I wonder...

Are you having spring weather, and if so, what are you up to?

Apr 8, 2011

The Shepherd by Ethan Cross: Book Tour

The Shepherd
Title: The Shepherd by Ethan Cross
Paperback: 400 pages; Publisher: The Fiction Studio (March 16, 2011)
Genre: Thriller
Source: ARC provided by Pump Up Your Book Promotions

Publisher's description: Marcus Williams and Francis Ackerman Jr. both have a talent for hurting people. Marcus, a former New York City homicide detective, uses his abilities to protect others, while Ackerman uses his gifts to inflict pain and suffering. When both men become unwilling pawns in a conspiracy that reaches to the highest levels of our government, Marcus finds himself in a deadly game of cat and mouse trapped between a twisted psychopath and a vigilante with seemingly unlimited resources. Aided by a rogue FBI agent and the vigilante's beautiful daughter–a woman with whom he's quickly falling in love–Marcus must expose the deadly political conspiracy and confront his past while hunting down one of the most cunning and ruthless killers in the world.
Comments: Very intense thriller with a surprise ending, pitting the Shepherd against the villain. Not for the faint of heart, and one I would recommend for adults only for the intense action. For more about the book, visit the author at Ethan Cross.
Thanks to Tracee of Pump Up Your Book promotions for arranging the book tour, which runs through mid-May.

Challenge: Mystery and Suspense Challenge 2011

Book Review: Dragon Chica by May-lee Chai

Dragon Chica, a novel by May-lee Chai
Publisher: GemmaMedia; Original edition (October 27, 2010).
Genre: immigrant fiction, YA.
Source: Library.

Comments: Poetic descriptions, excellent characterization, this moving novel incorporates the history of the Cambodian war and atrocities into the story of an immigrant family - a mother and five children- struggling in the U.S. to start a new life, deal with the horrible past of death and loss, and to fit into the American society and way of life. I would give this a very high rating for literary fiction.

 Goodreads book description: "Nea, a Chinese-Cambodian teenager, flees to Texas as a refugee from the Khmer Rouge regime when a miracle occurs. Although her family has been struggling to support itself, they discover that a wealthy aunt and uncle have managed to make it to America as well. Nea and her family rush to join their relatives and help run a Chinese restaurant in Nebraska. But soon Nea discovers their miracle is not what she had expected. Family fights erupt. Then the past – and a forbidden love– threaten to tear them all apart.

Dragon Chica follows Nea, an indomitable character in the tradition of Holden Caulfield, Scout Finch and Jo March, as she fights to save her family and herself."

Read excerpts from the novel at May-Lee Chai's blog. Other reviews: Marjolein Book Blog and  Largehearted Boy.
Challenges: Immigrant Stories Challenge 2011, Chinese Literature Challenge 2011

Apr 5, 2011

Book Review: Call Me Irresistible by Susan Elizabeth Phillips

Teaser Tuesdays asks you to choose two sentences at random from your current read. Identify the author and title for readers.
"Lucy isn't as happy as she should be.  She has some doubts."

"Rubbish!" Ted's mother exclaimed. "She had no doubts. Not until you manufactured them for her." (p. 25)

Call Me Irresistible: A Novel by Susan Elizabeth Phillips
Comments: I had some doubts about the main character, Meg Koranda, who had some reservations about her best friend's fiance, Ted Beaudine. Meg convinced Lucy Jorik that Lucy had made the wrong choice in a husband and helped her back out of the wedding. Was this self serving and did Meg have her eye on the bridegroom for herself?  Both Meg and Lucy are children of high profile parents. The sudden canceling of the wedding on the wedding day was a scandal. At the end of the book, I still couldn't decide if Meg knew all along what she wanted, or if things happened by chance in this interesting romance. By all means read it and let us know what you think!

Publisher's description: "Lucy Jorik is the daughter of a former president of the United States.
Meg Koranda is the offspring of legends.

One of them is about to marry Mr. Irresistible—Ted Beaudine—the favorite son of Wynette, Texas. The other is not happy about it and is determined to save her friend from a mess of heartache.

But even though Meg knows that breaking up her best friend's wedding is the right thing to do, no one else seems to agree. Faster than Lucy can say "I don't," Meg becomes the most hated woman in town—a town she's stuck in with a dead car, an empty wallet, and a very angry bridegroom. Broke, stranded, and without her famous parents at her back, Meg is sure she can survive on her own wits. What's the worst that can happen? Lose her heart to the one and only Mr. Irresistible? Not likely. Not likely at all."
Hardcover: 400 pages. Publisher: William Morrow (January 18, 2011). Source: Publisher. Genre: romantic fiction. Objective rating: 3.75/5.

Apr 4, 2011

If a Dog Could Blog: Book Review

If a Dog Could Blog

If a Dog Could Blog, this is what he/she might write:

"As reigning North Valley canine royalty, most people and non-human types want to meet me...grovel...bow before me and then....RUB MY BELLY!!!"

" I'm a bit distracted these days. Mom and Dad went bonkers and brought home TWO KITTENS!!!!"

Comments: Very cute diary of a basset hound named Killer who lives with another dog in the countryside with his human family. Made me sad though when I visited The Killer Chronicles online at http://killerdog.typepad.com/ and found the last entry was in May 2010. Killer lived 11 happy years in the countryside and had help from her human mom to write this blog when she was well and kicking.

Product Description: Tsunamis...gun battles..skunk hunts..and lots of BELLY RUBS! Your pup may be dozing away the day. NOT Princess Lola LaDeaux aka Killer! This little basset has daily adventures and close calls...shakedowns by Mom and Dad...a coterie of basset buddies..and of course, the constant Battle of the Basset Bulge. And she shares all in her sort-of daily on-line diary.

If a Dog Could Blog by Princess Lola LeDeaux aka Killer with Lisa Breeden Garcia. Illustrated by Susan Shorter. Reading level: ages 4-8; Paperback: 28 pages. Publisher: AuthorHouse (September 23, 2010). Review copy provided by the publisher.

Crime Fiction Alphabet: The Letter M

The Alphabet in Crime Fiction Community Meme is hosted by Kerry at Mysteries in Paradise.

The letter this week is M.

M is for Murder most foul as in the following titles:

What Crime Fiction M's do you have in mind?

Apr 3, 2011

Sunday Salon: How to Catch Up?

The Sunday Salon.comClick on the logo to join in!

Now that spring is here officially even though it's still pretty chilly, there is more activity outdors. Squirrels perform acrobatic exercises to get to seed in the bird feeders. They must have been starving all winter. They gobbled everything up and left little for the birds this first round. It's still too cold to start any real gardening though. Only a few crocuses have shown their heads so far.

Since last Sunday, I've reviewed The Beloved Dead, an Arthurian Mystery by Tony Hays and also interviewed the author re his medievel history research. Not much since then but jumpiing from book to book, and on and off on my Kindle. How to catch up with the reading and my TBR pile?

Here a few new books:

The Summoner (The Dominic Grey Novels)Bullet WorkIf a Dog Could BlogStrings AttachedThe Revenge of the Radioactive Lady

The Bond: Our Kinship with Animals, Our Call to Defend Them   Bloody Twist

The last of the above, Bloody Twist by Carolina Garcia-Aguilera, I downloaded to my Kindle for only $2.99. It's the seventh in the Cuban-American author's mystery series featuring Lupe Solano, a feisty P.I. in Miami who wears chic Manolo Blahnik shoes, drinks mojitos, and takes you on wild rides around town and into Cuba on night forays! 

(Another P.I. I recall who wears similar shoes, by Christian Louboutin, lives and works in Paris in the Aimee Leduc mystery series by Cara Black. Amazing how these P.I.'s can go about sleuthing and catching killers perched on these expensive stilts!

Christian Louboutain heels

                                                     Manolo Blahnik shoes.

Click here to read my NaPoWriMo (National Poetry Writing Month)  shoe poem.

Yes, I've been drooling over shoes that characters in mystery novels wear. One of these would cost me half a month's salary in real life!

What books/shoes have you been drooling over this past week?

Sunday Salon: Japanese Authors and a Mystery

  Klara and the Sun   by Kazuo Ishiguro.  Klara and the Sun was easy to read for a literary novel of such magnitude and celebrity, I found...