Saturday, March 27, 2010

We Interrupt This Regularly Scheduled Program...

So I am stuck living at the hospital with my 8-month old baby girl, Shiloh, for the second time since she was born. She is not sick in the conventional sense, but she needs all of these "tests" because she has "muscular weakness." Which means the blog goes on the back-burner.

Even though this wonderfully-upscale hospital does have a computer room, it's not my computer, with all of my files, which means regular blogging is hiatus. BUT, I'm so addicted to this that I am writing a book review long-hand on a piece of paper to bring home for posting later!
Anyways, if you are praying person, please do so for my baby girl. She's quite happy, given the circumstances, but the steady stream of doctors can't really explain yet what is the source of her problems. She can't smile or frown, she cries with her eyes open, sleeps with them partly open, and her eyes don't close completely when "flinching." Her hands also stay in a curled position and drooping, though that seems to be improving the tiniest bit. Her feet also stay turned inward, and she no longer likes to bear weight on her feet, nor can she bend them outward at the ankles. The doctors also noted some smaller differences developmentally with her reflexes and her neck. She had one MRI, a second one is scheduled for Monday, and a EMG is scheduled for Tuesday. It's also important to note that she was born 2 months premature, though she had no major problems at the time, other than the typical jaundice and needing extra oxygen the first day or two. Did I cover everything?
I catch the doctors mumbling big words to each other, and I feel a little like a patient for Dr. House. I love the television show, but who wants to live it?

Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: The Silent Governess

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

Silent Governess, The
"She nodded and loosened the shirt at the neck. The billowing white shirt, now untucked, resembled a nightdress at any rate. She pulled up the bedclothes under Andrew's chin. Still Lord Bradley lingered. He bent low and brushed the boy's forelock, much as she had done downstairs. How would it feel, she wondered, to be so gently touched by him? Or to stroke his fair hair with her fingers?" - pg. 139, The Silent Governess by Julie Klassen

What are you reading this week?

Remake a Book Cover... The Cinderella Society

Cindy at Princess Bookie is hosting Another Remake a Book Cover Contest, and the twist is that we must redo one of the book covers that she shows on the post. Only the first 25 people to submit can enter, and voting is done in rounds. The contest is open to international participants, like myself, and I can win a $10 gift card to Book Depository. I chose to redo the cover for The Cinderella Society by Kay Cassidy.

 So comment and tell me what you think!

Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: The Dead Girls' Dance by Rachel Caine

The Dead Girls' Dance (Morganville Vampires, Book 2)
Book Details:
The Dead Girls' Dance
by Rachel Caine
Genre: Young Adult
Published 2007, Penguin Group
Paperback, 238 pages
ISBN: 9780451220899

"Claire has her share of challenges. Like being a genius in a school that favors beauty over brains; homicidal girls in her dorm, and finding out that her college town is overrun with the living dead. On the up side, she has a new boyfriend with a vampire-hunting dad. But when a local fraternity throws the Dead Girls' Dance, hell is really going to break loose."

The books from this series read like a good bowl of popcorn - I read a page and I want another, then another, and another, etc. I flew through this book in less than 3 days, which is really saying something for a mother of two girls under the age of 3. I like how unlikely of a heroine Claire is, and yet she keeps "saving the day." The majority of the characters are well-defined and distinguishable from one another, and I find myself even liking some of the "bad guys" sometimes, which indicates good character development. The plot flows easily and quickly, and I could barely tell I was reading.
I love the comraderie between the characters in the Glass house, and the way they are amassing allies with other people in Morganville brings to mind a favorite television show of mine that has been off the air for awhile, Buffy the Vampire Slayer. I was not a fan of Michael becoming a vampire - I think that the author could have conceived of a less-cliche way of fixing his half-existence / entrapment. On the other hand, I can see how his new status can be used in future books to further the plot, and his romance with Eve will certainly be interesting, as vampire-human romances always are.
I also enjoy the except of Eve's diary that always follows the main text, as a window into the next book. Eve's character is just as interesting and complex as Claire herself, but does not seem to have as much time devoted to her in the books, and the diary entries seem to help in that area.
So overall I loved the book, and can't wait to get my hands on the next one, Midnight Alley.

Cover: My guess is the girl on the cover is Claire, dressed up for the dance of the same name as the title, but the outfit she is wearing on the cover does not match the description in the book. I can just vaguely make out the shapes of two bikers, which would indicate Shane's dad's biker crew. I don't think the cover was thought out as well as it could have been, but at least it contains a few elements of the plotline.

First Line: "It didn't happen," Claire told herself. "It's a bad dream, just another bad dream. You'll wake up and it'll be gone like fog...."
The first few lines of the book is a good lead-in from the previous book, as well as intriguing the reader to want to know what exactly happened to Claire. I always like a book that opens with dialogue, even if it's just the thoughts of one character - it pludges the reader right into the thick of the plot.

Favorite Quote: "Oh, I am mousy," she said. "All this scares the hell out of me. But I don't know what else to do, sir, except try. Even a mouse bites.""

Read For: The 2nd Challenge, Support Your Local Library Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, 101 Fantasy Reading Challenge

Friday, March 19, 2010

Book Blogger Hop

Crazy For Books has started a new weekly meme that is all about book bloggers and readers connecting and finding new book blogs to read. Each week you post your blog to a list, then hop around other blogs and visit and post to let them know you stopped by! It's been running for a few weeks now, but this is the first time I've discovered it, so even though my Google Reader is already pretty full, I'm taking advantage of the opportunity!

Review: Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy DVD

Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy
DVD Release Date: April 13, 2010
Run Time: 21 Minutes
Studio: Imagination Publishing Group
Interpreter: Carol Downing, Associate Director of Blossom Montessori School for the deaf

The DVD is an extension of the book Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy by Tina Turbin. It represents "literacy and the importance of good quality education for the deaf." It is a very simple production with the computer-enhanced pages of the book being turned on the screen as the story is read by the author. The main function of the DVD is the "sign interpretation" for the deaf, enacted by Carol Downing, who stands next to the image of the book pages. My two-year-old daughter was completely fascinated by what Carol Downing was doing, even if she did not really understand the purpose of it. I appreciated this aspect of the DVD as I have long had a fascination for American Sign Language,  teaching it to myself out of a ASL dictionary for use in church when I was younger, and now using it a little to aid communication with my children as they learn to speak.
For parents, the most interesting feature of the DVD is the scrolling text at the beginning of the video, read aloud by Tina Turbin, that provides some interesting information about the deaf community in general and specifically, the Blossom Montessori School that the interpreter represents. Here is some of the information that the DVD provides:

->> 93% of all deaf children are born to normal hearing families.

->> Only 10% of those families learn to effectively communicate with their own child or children.

->> About 85% of deaf High School graduates only read at a 3rd to 4th grade level.

The Blossom Montessori school is "unique in that some of their students are deaf, some are hard of hearing and some hear like you and me, yet have deaf parents and deaf siblings." The website gives more details about the school, and something I found especially interesting on the school's website is the list of myths regarding deafness. 

For more information about the author, Tina Turbin, or the book and DVD visit:,, or

In accordance with my previous review of the boo, Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy, I was also given some Danny the Dragon swag: two bookmarks, two large-ish stickers, and two door hangers with the phrase "QUIET PLEASE I AM READING." I will give these away to two readers using Just be a follower or subscriber to my blog and post a comment of your email to the DVD review or book review and I will enter you into the drawing.

I have had no entries so far, so please enter!

Watch this blog for a future interview of the author, Tina Turbin!

*I received this DVD free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Tuesday, March 16, 2010

Teaser Tuesday: The Centurion's Wife

Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:

1. Grab your current read.
2. Open to a random page.
3. Share two “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page.
4. BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!).
5. Share the title and author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!

My Teaser:

The Centurion's Wife (Acts of Faith, Book 1)
"He met her gaze above the veil with unblinking intensity. This close, she saw his eyes held a remarkable contrast. They were not brown, as she had first thought. Their copper depths were flecked with a remarkable mix of gold. The same was true of his hair, which was woven so it fell over one shoulder, the locks bound by a simple gold ring. He wore the formal Roman toga, white save for the lone blue stripe that signified military service." - pg. 215, The Centurion's Wife by Davis Bunn and Janette Oke

What are you reading this week?

Review: The Lightkeeper's Daughter by Colleen Coble

The Lightkeeper's Daughter (A Mercy Falls Novel)
Book Details:
The Lightkeeper's Daughter (A Mercy Falls Novel)
by Colleen Coble
Genre: Christian Romance
Published 2009, Thomas Nelson
Paperback, 306 pages
ISBN: 9781595542670

"At a lavish estate in Mercy Falls, California, Addie Sullivan finds danger-and quite possibly the love of her life.
Growing up as the lightkeeper's daughter on a remote island at the turn of the century, Addie Sullivan has lived a hardscrabble life. When a long-lost and wealthy relative finds her and enlists her to work as a governess at a lavish estate, she hopes to discover the truth of her heritage. But at Eaton Hall, nothing is as it seems. Not the idyllic family she hoped for, not the child she was hired to help, not even the aloof man she's immediately attracted to. Soon she must turn for help to Lieutenant John North, a man who views her with suspicion.
As Addie edges closer to the truth, danger threatens even as her romance with John blossoms and together they unravel a decades-old mystery. As Addie faces down her enemy, she discovers that faith in her one true Father is all she needs."

This is the first book I received from Thomas Nelson for reviewing, and because of shipping problems, by the time I recieved it I had forgotten why I originally picked it. I started reading the book out of obligation, and at first, had a hard time actually enjoying what I was reading. It felt a bit like a school assignment for the first 80 pages, which is generally how far I will go in a book before I decide whether or not I want to finish it. Luckily, at that point the book actually started to get interesting as Addie became snoopy around the house and began unearthing clues about her mother. I am not much for the mystery genre, but I found the detective-like aspects of this novel much more entertaining than the chaste romance between Addie Sullivan and Lieutenant North, which led up to a climax that was so exciting I chose finishing the novel to sleeping when I was sick with a cold.

Regarding the more religious aspects of the novel, I thought that the depiction of Addie's faith in God to be somewhat watered down and simplified with possibly not enough attention given to its place in her life. Often I find ithis is the case with literature in the genre of Christian fiction. The single time that scripture from the Bible is quoted, it's merely a few lines out of Psalms, and each time that we see Addie praying, she only spends a few moments in prayer before something else requires her attention. This is not to say that all Christian fiction - categorized works do this, as I have read some truly excellent portrayals of faith in Jesus, but this book certainly did.

Overall, I would recommend the book more for its plot elements of mystery and intrigue, not for its religious aspects.

The Cover: I love the cover of this novel. I know right away the general time period that the novel takes place in, as well as what the main character, Addie, is supposed to look like. I love the dress she is wearing, which I later find out she created herself. The lighthouse in the background lets me know a bit of her background and the suitcase she carries also tells me she is leaving where she came from. In this case, a picture holds a thousand words, just as any good book cover should do.

First Line: "The ship's deck rolled under his feet, and he widened his stance to protect his balance and the toddler in his arms."
A very intriguing first line, and I immediately wonder what a man with a toddler on a ship has to do with the plot of the story - effective, to say the least.

Favorite Quote: "Her life would mean nothing if she let the world creep in."

Read For: New Authors Challenge, Pages Read Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Saturday, March 13, 2010

Review: Alice's Adventures in Wonderland by Lewis Carroll

Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Unabridged Classics)Book Details:
Alice's Adventures in Wonderland (Unabridged Classics)
by Lewis Carroll
Published 2005, Sterling
Paperback, 136 pages
ISBN: 1402725027

"One of the most magical concoctions in children's literature, Lewis Carroll's tale follows Alice into the upside-down, inside-out world of Wonderland where she attends the tea party of the Mad Hatter and plays croquet in the court of the Queen of Hearts."

Alice in WonderlandOne of my two-year-old daughter's favorite movies is a made-for-television version of Alice in Wonderland, so after watching the movie several hundred times I thought maybe it was time to read the book. Though I show a book cover, I actually read this book using DailyLit, a website that sends excerpts of classic literature to my email once a day, which I wrote about in another blog post.
I found the book to be an enjoyable romp through a world of nonsense and fantasy, though at times a bit dour as many of the characters did not seem all that happy. I understand that Alice is a child in the story, but I still find it difficult to understand how children can be as lacking in intelligence as she is throughout her adventures - I don't recall being quite so foolish as Alice is at this age. My favorite part of the book was actually after Alice exits Wonderland and sits with her sister, telling her all about her travels. I was able to appreciate the story more once I found an entry in Wikipedia on the novel that explained much of what I did not understand, such as the various poetry recitations and songs, the real people that the characters were parodied after, the mathematical concepts explored, and the elusive answer to the Hatter's riddle, "Why is a raven like a writing desk?" Answer: "Because it can produce a few notes, though… they are very flat; and it is never put with the wrong end in front!"
Alice in Wonderland

Perhaps I have been disillusioned to the magic of this novel thanks to a combination of Disney's animated film and my daughter's obsession with her movie, but I would rate this book as a decently entertaining read, not one of my favorites. Though ,I am greatly looking forward to the upcoming movie Alice in Wonderland that stars Johnny Depp!!

First Line: "Alice was beginning to get very tired of sitting by her sister on the bank, and of having nothing to do: once or twice she had peeped into the book her sister was reading, but it had no pictures or conversations in it, `and what is the use of a book,' thought Alice `without pictures or conversation?'"
This is a good first line that indicates both the general age and maturity of the main character of the text, Alice. It does not particularly pull me into the story, but I reserve my usual measure of a good read since this is a classic text.

Favorite Quote: "Curiouser and curiouser!"

Read For: Pages Read Challenge, 101 Fantasy Challenge, Twenty-Ten Challenge, Celebrate the Author Challenge

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Thursday, March 11, 2010

Review: Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy by Tina Turbin

Danny the Dragon Meets JimmyBook Details:

Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy
Written by Tina Turbin
Illustrated by Aija Jasuna
Genre: Children's Picture Book - Fiction
Published December 2008, Imagination Publishing Group
Hardback, 29 pages
ISBN: 9780980072112
"Danny the Dragon Meets Jimmy is a multi award-winning, delightful tale, chronicling the adventures of a friendly dragon and his traveling companion Skipper, and how they befriend a young boy's family in the MOST unusual way. This is the first of many stories in the Danny the Dragon series..."

The first thing I noticed about the book when I picked it up was the gold sticker on the cover that stated "Best Books AWARD FINALIST- USA Book News," and my first thoughts were, "Wow, this book must be really something." The picture on the cover featured a detailed illustration of a dragon, a boy, and smaller creature that looked vaguely like a frog. The illustration of the dragon is quite unique in that it is covered in multi-colored spots and mismatched stripes and wears a yellow-and-blue backpack and red tennis shoes. One of the opening pages shows two quotes, one from the author and one from the illustrator, discussing briefly how they both came to put together this book. The illustrations for the story itself are large, colorful, and fill the wide two-page spread, providing plenty for my two-year-old daughter to stare at and study. I did find it strange that there was no actual title page, but I suppose that would have been redundant.

The boy's name is Jimmy, and his sister's name is Sally, and both children and the dragon are polite and well-mannered throughout the story, using "Please" and "Thankyou" and helping Mom and Dad clean up both the beach supplies at the beginning of the story and the dishes after supper. The smaller green creature from the cover pops out of the green and white seashell with Danny the Dragon, and we are informed his name is Skipper and that he is Danny's navigator, but not what kind of creature he is. Danny explains that water will make him shrink back to fit inside the shell, and a lack of water causes him to come out of the shell as he grows big, which brings to mind the small toys that expand when placed in water (only opposite). All of the characters in the story are articulate and kind to each other, and there is nothing about the story that would be considered scary or bad, which is quite appropriate for the 4 to 8 year-old age group that the book is intended for. The story even promotes healthy eating, as the family has homemade vegetable soup for supper. The book is quite obviously set up for at least one sequel, as at the ending when Jimmy asks Danny where he came from and where has he been, Danny politely answers, "I will tell you some other time. For now it is bedtime. Goodnight - pleasant dreams."

I was also given some Danny the Dragon swag: two bookmarks, two large-ish stickers, and two door hangers with the phrase "QUIET PLEASE I AM READING." I will give these away to two readers using Just be a follower or subscriber to my blog and post a comment of your email to this review and I will enter you into the drawing.

I will also be doing a review of the soon-to-be-released DVD and an interview of the author, Tina Turbin, in the near future, and any comments to those posts will be entered into the drawing as well.

For more information about the book or author, visit,, or

*I received this book free of charge from the publisher for review purposes.*

Porn for Book-Lovers

My latest Stumbling brought me to a site that elicited a sigh that had my husband wondering what I was doing. While it would not be classified as conventional pornography, it passes for an individual such as myself  - the World's Most Beautiful Libraries.

Looking at these pictures brought back memories of Belle walking into the castle library in Disney's Beauty and the Beast, as well as the planet library from the television series Dr. Who.

Go on. Take a look. You know you want to. Just come back and share your reaction!

Wednesday, March 10, 2010

Who says you can't judge a book by its cover?

I decided to jump on a contest I came across designed by Cindy at Princess Bookie that challenges you to recreate a cover of a 2010 Young Adult book - that is, a book in the genre of Young Adult that is being published for the first time in 2010. I had to move fast because she is only accepting the first 50 entries. The winner is selected by voting in rounds, with 4 rounds total. The winning prize for international participants like myself is a $10 gift card to book depository. If the winner lives in the U.S., then he or she also gets one surprise book, one surprise ARC from Cindy, and one arc from the box. Personally, I just wanted an excuse to play around on Photoshop! So I picked to redo the cover of the next House of Night novel to be released on April 27, Burned by P. C. Cast and Kristin Cast. Please comment and tell me what you think!

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