Friday, December 31, 2010

In the New Year....

Just before the holiday break, I was chatting with Melissa at My words and pages on Twitter about blogging resolutions for the New Year. 2010 has been a year filled with (blogging) ups and downs, but mostly gave me much more experience in this great online community. For 2011, I'm looking forward to more reading, "meeting" more great people and blogging lots :-)
I have been a bit neglectful of consistent blogging over the last several months. Though it's been for a good reason, I feel I could do better. I've been tossing around a few ideas in my head that will maybe make next year a more streamlined, entertaining (?), and book filled year.

Meme idea: "Guilty Pleasures" - You know you should be doing something else: house work, taxes, feeding the kids a healthy meal, or in my case, studying for school (on top of all the other things mentioned :-p ) but there's a book that you've been reading that you just can't put down! I want to share my guilty pleasure reading and hear about yours too!

More unique review style, new elements:
1-First impressions- Maybe something interesting about the cover, my initial reaction to the style of writing or where the book starts in a story?

2-Lasting impressions - Will I put this book down but still have part of it stick with me? There are lots of books that I remember certain "scenes" from but of course, not all have a lasting effect.

Reading challenges:
While I've had the intention of getting involved with challenges that are out there in the blogging world, I think it's better just to challenge myself. This year I will attempt to read 5 more books than last year. I will also attempt to read more of the books I've bought and have been totally excited about but are not 'review' books and trust me there are tons of books lying around my place that fit this category :-o

I seriously need to spend some quality time alphabetizing or organizing my books but genre or my mood or whatever, but right now, many are hidden from my view, lol. In order to accomplish this, I'll definitely have to invest in more bookcases....

These are my book blogging resolutions. I have other personal ones that mainly include living healthier and having lots of fun, new experiences with my daughter. How about you? Have you made specific bookish resolutions? Make sure you pop over to Melissa's blog too and share them there.

Hope everyone has a great, productive and happy 2011!

Wednesday, December 22, 2010

Review: Velocity by Alan Jacobson

Hardcover, 400 pages
Published October 5th 2010 by Vanguard Press
Detective Robby Hernandez, Karen Vail’s boyfriend, has vanished into the dense air of a Napa Valley evening. There are no clues to his whereabouts, other than a blood stain and tenuous connections to a vicious serial killer operating in the wine country.

As the task force struggles with Robby’s disappearance, the killer challenges Vail by boldly leaving his high profile victims in public places. Is this offender somehow responsible for Robby’s disappearance? Evidence suggests that he is—but just when Vail and the task force begin to make progress, the FBI orders Vail to return to Quantico to handle a case of vital importance.

Back in Washington, Vail engages covert government operative Hector DeSantos to determine what happened to Robby. It’s a move that backfires when DeSantos’s confidential informants lead them into unforeseen dangers, forcing Vail to face off against powerful foes unlike any she’s ever encountered, threatening her life, her career . . . all that she holds dear.

In a frantic race against time that takes them from the monuments of Washington, D.C., to the wealthy beach enclaves of San Diego and the bright excesses of Las Vegas, shocking truths emerge—truths that will forever change Karen Vail.

Reviewing this book has me in a bit of a quandary. There was so much happening throughout that at times it felt like my head was spinning. The books starts off, apparently, exactly where the last book finished. It would have been hugely helpful to have read the other books before. The other issue it presented was a kind of unreal time frame where the previous Karen Vail books  (4 of them) all seem to have occurred during a very short period of time. It appears Vail was having a pretty crappy month or so, catching serial killers and helping to take down drug cartels all while looking for her missing boyfriend.

Then there was how the book was written. At times, it felt like an instruction manual for all manner of law enforcement. This did help in explaining terms that would be used throughout but at times felt more educational than entertaining. To put a positive spin on this aspect, it adds more credence to the story, making it more like true FBI, DEA, etc. work than the abbreviated versions we see on TV. From the extensive list of acknowledgements, it is easy to see that Alan Jacobson really does his homework.

All of that being said, the book kept my attention. The action maintained a constant pace and really made me want to continute reading. There were so many facets at play and so many characters involved that there was always something happening. I think it was a bit forced in trying to make everything connect in Vail's life...surely one woman can't be that unlucky?! With the ending, I'm not sure if this is the last we see of Karen Vail but by the conclusion I liked the characters involved, with the exception of Hector DeSantos whose 'If I told you, I'd have to kill you' routine leaned towards cheesiness. I would still be interested in reading the previous books to get a better feel for the overall picture.

If you are a fan of Criminal Minds on TV and/or Patricia Cornwell's Kay Scarpetta series, (which I am, of both) then Velocity has a similar feel. Though a bit overwhelming with information at times, I did enjoy the story overall.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

For all of the Jane Austen fans out there...

I didn't know this (though I am a fan of Jane Austen): her birthday is December 16th...but remember, it isn't polite to ask a girl her age! Well, maybe just this once...Jane would be turning 235 years old this year (if she had managed to survive, vampire like, through the ages). While she isn't here to celebrate with us, it doesn't mean we can't!

In honour of this momentus occasion, Sourcebooks has a special offer for the biggest Austen fans out there. Here's what they have to say:

"Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Available wherever eBooks are sold."

What do you think, folks? Pretty awesome deal! I've personally read Rebecca Ann Collins and was pleasantly surprised at how well she continued the feel of the original Austen novel. I'm looking forward to reading all of the others too. (Plus, I have it on good authority that I'll be getting a Kobo for Christmas, just don't tell Santa I peeked, k?).

Mark the day on your calendar and lets all celebrate together ;-)

Addendum to the above from Sourcebooks:

"First off let me sincerely apologize for all the confusion regarding the free offer of Jane Austen special edition titles as well as the 10 Austen inspired novels. Please extend this apology to your readers and followers as well.

We have been trying to fix the problem all morning. It takes a lot of cooperation from different parties to make the offer happen and it unfortunately it took some extra time to iron out the kinks.

Let me tell you know that iBooks and Google books currently has everything correct.

Amazon, Barnes & Noble and Sony are currently working to get their prices adjusted. They should be correct shortly. will also have our books and the illustrated versions available for free within the next hour!

Because of this confusion we want to celebrate Jane Austen’s birthday an extra day! This offer will be good tomorrow as well.

Again I am sorry for the confusion and thank you for being patient!"

Friday, December 10, 2010

A Fave Blogger's Birthday!

Today is a BIG day for an awesome book blogger: pattepoilue at
One Book Away From Heaven (she's also one of the fab administrators at Book Lovers Inc.). It's her (??) birthday and to celebrate, I have created a little Canadian tribute:

First, there is the music. So, it's not happy birthday but it rocks! Alexis on Fire singing Boiled Frogs (no, there was no connection with the delicacy here, it's just a fave of mine):

Second, I present you with some Canadian hotness:

Third, a party for a book blogger HAS to include books! Here are some, ah, inspirational covers:

And of course, champagne and chocolates (yes, I picked French champagne; it seemed only fitting. And no need to worry about calories from these chocolates ;-) :

Wishing you a very Happy Birthday, Caro! All the best; you totally deserve it!

P.S. Did you know that you share a b-day with Ian Somerhalder of Vampire Diaries fame?

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