Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Waiting on Wednesday: Original Sin

Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

I admit this week's choice is rather biased. I just finished the first book in a series, so, of course, my choice for this week is book two in the same series! ^_-

Original Sin (Personal Demons, #2)
Lisa Desrochers

Miss Desrochers's first published novel, Personal Demons (review to come), had me captivated, enthralled until the very end. Now I am anxiously awaiting the sequel!

When secrets and old histories come to light, Frannie realizes that nobody is who she thought they were. Hell won't give up and Heaven won't give in. Some are willing to hurt anyone close to Frannie in order to get what they want. It will take everything she has and then some to stay out of Hell's grasp.

And not everyone will get out of it alive.

(Blurb from Goodreads. There is a longer blurb on the author's blog and website, but it gives away a lot from the first book.)

Not much to go on there, but if it's anything like the first one, I'll love it! ^_^

Release Date: 5 July 2011

Tuesday, January 11, 2011

2011 Reading Challenges

Fair warning: This will be a long post. Maybe not to start, but as the year progresses, it will get longer and longer.

In 2010, I only participated in one reading challenge: 2010 Support Your Local Library Challenge. My goal was to read 50 library books over the course of the year. I read 57. This year, I am going to concentrate on reading more of the books I already own. BUT, I am still going to attempt this challenge. Just not at the 50 books level.

I'm also doing five (or 7!) other reading challenges. Since each allows overlap with the others, this should be easily obtainable. Each challenge will have a list of books read - or to be read - below the name and challenge details. Books not yet completed will be in black, while those completed will be red.

In no particular order, here are the reading challenges I am attempting in 2011:

Literary Escapism's New Author Challenge 2011

I will be reading (at least) 15 new-to-me authors to fulfill this challenge. (Fiction)

Progress: 8/15
1. Personal Demons - Lisa Desrochers (YA; 2010; US)
2. The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans - David A. Ross (dystopian; 2011; US)
3. Make Me Remember - Emma Petersen (Paranormal Romance; 2010; US)
4. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater (YA; 2008; US)
5. Kiss at Your Own Risk - Stephanie Rowe (Paranormal Romance; 2011; US)
6. A Victorian Rose - Catherine Palmer (Christian Romance; 2002; US)
7. The Black Widow Trainer - Craig Odanovich (Erotic Adventure; 2011; US)
8. Abraham Lincoln: Vampire Hunter - Seth Grahame-Smith (Historical Paranormal; 2010; US)
9. Inside Out - Maria V. Snyder (YA; 2010: US)
10. The Sex Club - L.J. Sellers (mystery/thriller; 2007; US)

Into the Old World Reading Challenge

This challenge is for books published before 2009. Though there are no set goals, my personal goal is to read at least 15 such books. (All genres)

Progress: 7/15
1. Taking Charge of Your Fertility - Toni Weschler (non-fiction; 1995; US)
2. Phaidon Guide to Antique Weapons and Armours - Robert Wilkinson-Latham (non-fiction; 1981; UK)
3. The Burning Bridge (Ranger's Apprentice, #2) - John Flannagan (YA; 2007; Australia)
4. The Sex Club - L.J. Sellers (mystery/thriller; 2007; US)
5. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (MG; 1964; UK)
6. Grammar Girl's Quick and Dirty Tips for Better Writing - Mignon Fogarty (non-fiction; 2008; US)
7. An Unquiet Mind - Kay Redfield Jamison (Memoir; 1995; US)
8. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater (YA; 2008;US)
9. Amazonia - James Rollins (thriller; 2007; US)

Larrisa's Bookish Life's International Reading Challenge 2011

The goal of this challenge is to read books published internationally. I will be participating at the "Local" level: 5 - 10 books. I imagine most of the books I read have been or will be published internationally. However, I am only going to count those books initially published outside of the United States. (All genres)

Progress: 1/5
1. Phaidon Guide to Antique Weapons and Armours - Robert Wilkinson-Latham (non-fiction; 1981; UK)
2. The Burning Bridge (Ranger's Apprentice, #2) - John Flannagan (YA; 2007; Australia)
3. Charlie and the Chocolate Factory - Roald Dahl (MG; 1964; UK)

Home Girl's Book Blog's 2011 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

I am going to attempt to read 25 books from my local library. (All genres)

Progress: 5/25
1. Fire (The Seven Kingdoms, #2) - Kristin Cashore (YA; 2009; US)
2. Taking Charge of Your Fertility - Toni Weschler (non-fiction; 1995; US)
3. Phaidon Guide to Antique Weapons and Armours - Rick (non-fiction; 1981; UK)
4. An Unquiet Mind - Kay Redfield Jamison (memoir; 1995; US)
5. Beautiful Darkness (Caster Chronicles, #2) - Kami Garcia and Margaret Stohl (YA: 2010; US)
6. Lament - Maggie Stiefvater (YA; 2008;US)

Book Chick City's Mystery & Suspense Reading Challenge 2011

The goal is to read 12 mystery and suspense novels this year. These novels can come from any of the multitude of mystery and suspense subgenres. (Mystery/Suspense)

Progress: 0/12
1. The Sex Club - L.J. Sellers (mystery/thriller; 2007; US)
2. Amazonia - James Rollins (thriller; 2007; US)

I'm also considering two more challenges, both hosted by Book Chick City: The 2011 Stephen King Challenge and The Horror and Urban Fantasy Reading Challenge 2011. I would be reading Stephen King's Dark Tower series for both (which would complete the first and put me a good way towards the second). I think I will wait and decide after I try to read the first book in the series (which I will be getting from the library). ^_^

Monday, January 10, 2011

Looking Ahead to 2011

Instead of making New Year's Resolutions, I'm setting goals for myself. Goals that I can finish. I'll be listing the ones related to this blog here.

2011 Goals:

Books Read: 75

Books Reviewed: 50

Total Posts: 100
(Approximately two per week; hopefully I'll write more than that.)

Review Posts: 50
(A separate post for each review.)

Reading Challenges Attempting: 5 (or 7, still undecided on two)

Sunday, January 9, 2011

Looking Back at 2010

I know this is a bit late. Sue me. (Not really; I'm broke!)

In 2010, I had great intentions for this blog. Not so great follow through, especially in November and December. (In my defense, one of my dogs was sick.) I'll try to be better about keeping this blog updated this year.

2010 By The Numbers:

Books Read: 79

Books Reviewed: 21

Total Posts: 40

Review Posts: 16 (Five posts included two books each.)

Reading Challenges Started: 1

Reading Challenges Completed: 1 (100% completion!)

Tomorrow, I'll do a 'looking ahead to 2011' post.

Saturday, January 8, 2011

Quitting is for Winners!

I Quit!: Stop Pretending Everything is Fine and Change Your Life
Geri Scazzero (with Peter Scazzero)

Release Date:
August 2010
Genre: Christian Living
Rating: 10/10
Source: I received a free review copy from the publisher, Zondervan. This did not affect my review in any way.
Buy the Book: Borders ~ Barnes & Noble ~ Books-A-Million
Content Warning: None!

Geri Scazzero knew there was something desperately wrong with her life and ministry. She finally told her husband, "I quit," and left the thriving church he pastored, beginning a transforming journey to genuine faith.

I Quit is for every person who thinks, "I can't keep pretending everything is fine!"

Biblical quitting goes hand in hand with choosing. When we quit the things that are damaging, we are freed up to choose other ways of being and relating that are rooted in love and lead to life.

When we quit fear of what others think, we choose freedom.

When we quit lies, we choose truth.

When we quit blaming, we choose to take responsibility.

When we quit faulty thinking, we choose to live in reality.

When we quit for the right reasons, quitting changes us. Something breaks inside of us when we finally say, "No more." But it must be done for the right reasons, at the right time, and in the right way. That's what this book is about.

Blurb courtesy of Goodreads.

Despite receiving this book back in October, I just finished it earlier this week. Not because of the length; this book is fairly short - just over 200 pages.

No, it took me so long because it was difficult reading. Not due to vocabulary or tone, but how close to home it hit.

The book discusses eight things we all - Christian or not - need to quit:
  1. being afraid of what others think
  2. lying
  3. dying to the wrong things (depriving yourself of the things that nurture your soul)
  4. denying anger, sadness, and fear
  5. blaming
  6. overfunctioning
  7. faulty thinking
  8. living someone else's life (letting others make major decisions for you)

I know I have been guilty of each of those more often than I care to admit.

Mrs. Scazzero uses examples from her personal life throughout, making each point crystal clear.

I found her writing easy to follow. The subject, however, is not always easy. But her message is necessary.

In fact, I will be going back and rereading parts of this book. The parts that were hardest to read in the first place. Those I need to apply in my own life.

Everyone, Christian or not, can make use of at least one of the "Quits" in this book.

Thursday, January 6, 2011

Release Announcement


The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans
by David A. Ross

Meet Fizzy Oceans—archivist, researcher, environmentalist and adventurer. On her travels she witnesses The Exodus, the Battle of Gettysburg and Hurricane Katrina, as well as many other historical and real time events. She meets notable individuals including Gandhi, Mark Twain, Jacques Cousteau, The Dalai Lama, Saddam Hussein and even a new species called the Quinngen.

Such unique experiences and encounters spanning the world and time as we know them would not be possible for a single individual—especially not for a woman named Amy Birkenstock who works as a medical clerk in Seattle, Washington—but Fizzy Oceans, Amy’s digital alter ego, is not in Physical Life. She lives, works and travels in the virtual world where the dead are very much alive, places like ancient Babylon and Pompeii have been reconstructed, and with the click of a button—WHOOSH!—one is transported throughout the Ages to events and destinations that make up our human history.

Even as Amy’s physical life existence is challenged by encroaching environmental disaster, economic instability, and societal breakdown, Fizzy’s virtual world offers instant realization of vision and inspiration. The Virtual Life of Fizzy Oceans imagines the bridging of two worlds—the literal and the metaphorical—and questions what it is we have created, what has been lost, and what might be possible for us as individuals and for the Human Race.

Available Now from: Amazon | Smashwords | OpenBooks


Why am I doing this? Simple: it is one of the requirements for getting a review copy.

The story sounds interesting, so I thought I'd look into it. When I found out I could get a review copy so long as I made a release announcement post and posted my review by 31 March, I decided to go for it.

This is (currently) only available as an e-book. I don't have an e-reader, but my husband does; it was his Christmas present in 2009. I'll mostly be reading the book on my computer, so it may take me a while to finish. Good thing I have almost three months to read and review. ^_^