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Sunday, January 26, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - January 26, 2014

Since I was medicated last Sunday and couldn't get up the energy to write, this Stacking the Shelves post is for the past couple of weeks. Okay, okay. The post covers the past three weeks. It hasn't been overly eventful other than lots of snow and lots of cold. You'd think I'd have gotten a lot of reading done, but no. I am still working on my eBook samples. More to come on that later. For now, we all want to check out each other's loot. I know I can't wait to see what everyone else has gotten.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Reviews.

Books Purchased:
River of Dreams by Lynn Kurland
Unhinged by A.G. Howard
Sophomore Switch by Abby McDonald
1,000 Reasons Never to Kiss a Boy by Martha Freeman
Fragile Spirits by Mary Lindsey
The Gathering Dark by Christine Johnson
The Summer of No Regrets by Katherine Grace Bond
The Summer of Skinny Dipping by Amanda Howells

Kindle Books Purchased:
Relativity by Cristin Bishara
Consumed by Emily Snow
Forgotten by Cat Patrick
A Tale of Two Centuries by Rachel Harris
The Destiny of Violet & Luke (Callie & Kayden) by Jessica Sorensen
Pretty in Pearls: A Forgive My Fins Novella (HarperTeen Impulse) by Tera Lynn Childs
When You Were Mine by Rebecca Serle
Fracture Me: A Shatter Me Novella by Tahereh Mafi
Rock'n Tapestries by Shari Copell
Defy by Sara B. Larson
The Sound of Us by Ashley Poston
Perfect Ruin (The Internment Chronicles) by Lauren DeStefano
Froi of the Exiles (The Lumatere Chronicles) by Melina Marchetta
The Madman's Daughter by Megan Shepherd
The Curse: Touch of Eternity (The Curse Series) by Emily Bold, Jeanette Heron
Undertow by K Conway

Manga Purchased:
Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Waltz 1
Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Waltz 2
Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Waltz 4
Alice in the Country of Clover: Cheshire Waltz 6

I again apologize for not attaching images.  I am still having a problem loading them.  I'll have to work on that tomorrow.

Update: Apparently I can attach images, but only from Google Chrome.  So we've got that worked out for future posts.

Thursday, January 23, 2014

Swoon Thursday - January 23,2014

I'm sorry I didn't get a chance to post a swoon last week. I didn't really have one as I've been mostly reading Kindle samples to decide if I want to buy the books or not.  I hope this makes up for it.

This week's swoon comes from In Dreams by Erica Orloff.

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by  YA Bound

He leans down even closer, while still dancing, and blows softly on my neck where it's wet from the heat and dancing.

I shiver. I think I'm going to have a heart attack.

With my face in his hands, he looks me in the eyes, so far into me, I'm afraid my knees will buckle under me. Then, gently, he kisses my lips, so softly it's almost a breath at first. The he nibbles, the slightest of tugs, on my lower lip. This kiss is like no other. I don't even know if we are dancing anymore, because all I feel is his chest pressed against me; all I hear is the music so loud in my ears, mingling with my heartbeat. 

Thursday, January 9, 2014

Swoon Thursday - January 9, 2014

It's my first swoon of the new year!! I realize it's been quite a long time, but I have been having difficulty getting books reading and finding something to swoon about. I would like to believe I am back on track.

Swoon Thursday is a weekly meme hosted by  YA Bound

My swoon today comes from Getting a Life, Even if You're Dead by Beth Watson.

I'd never initiated a first kiss, ever.

A gentle, compassionate kiss quickly escalated to a passionate one. Pierrot slipped his arms around my waist, curling his fingers into the back of my T-shirt, molding me against him, as if he was never letting me go. I slid my hands up over his chest and laced them around the back of his neck. The kiss deepened, and a spearmint flavor filled my mouth. Pierrot's hands were all over me, like he wanted to touch every inch of me.

Needing to catch my breath, I drew back slightly and rested my forehead against his, staring into his brown eyes. Our lips just inches apart, I inhaled his warm breath, capturing it the moment he exhaled, sharing the same breath that had moments before filled his lungs, feeling more connected to a guy than ever. He traced a gentle finger down my cheek, and I let out a slight moan. Seriously. I moaned. That was the only sound I was capable of uttering. I was even more speechless than before the kiss. I'd never experienced a kiss, or emotions, like this before.

Happy Swoon Year!!

Tuesday, January 7, 2014

Book Review: Getting a Life, Even if You're Dead by Beth Watson

I love to travel and I really love reading stories that take place in foreign locales. So, I was really excited to be send a review copy of Getting a Life, Even if You're Dead by Beth Watson. It is a ghost story set in Paris! What more could I ask for?

Book Description:
Publication Date: December 6, 2013

If you died, could you live with your regrets?

When Kendra’s mother drags her to a creepy Paris cemetery for work, the last person Kendra expects to see is Amber, her best friend who moved away three years earlier. Amber helped Kendra through a dark time, and Amber’s departure was just one more loss for Kendra. Amber was Kendra’s confidante but it turns out Amber failed to share her biggest secret: she was dead.

Amber never planned to disclose her true identity to Kendra, but a boy’s life is at stake. Amber is suddenly unable to connect with troubled kids and she needs Kendra to console Pierrot, a despondent boy who holds the answers to the suspicious death of his brother, Loic. Although Loic needs closure to cross over, the truth about his death might impact everyone’s future, including Kendra’s, since she has fallen for Pierrot, the mysterious boy and murder suspect.

But dead or alive, there is no going back…

Ages 14-up

My Review:
The setting, a French cemetery. Kendra is a reluctant tourist having been dragged away for the summer by her mother because her father was going on his honeymoon to Disney World. Kendra’s mother is a photographer and she is on assignment in Paris to capture the images of the cemeteries. Feeling resentful because she had a plan to snag the perfect guy over the summer, Kendra finds herself in what she considers to be a creepy locale for the next three weeks.

Her relationship with her mother is practically non-existent as her mother is always jetting off somewhere in the world for her job and has dedicated little time to her daughter. Even in Paris, one of the most beautiful cities in the world, her mother can find no time for her. Although she has promised to take Kendra to some of the sights of the city, the promises are empty and go unfulfilled. Instead, Kendra is forced to accompany her mother to the cemetery daily and is ordered not to leave the grounds. Some vacation.

Things are looking pretty bleak until Kendra encounters an old friend she hadn’t seen for three years. Her friend, Amber directs her attention to a funeral taking place. Standing over the casket is a family of four and watching them brings back memories of Kendra’s grandmother’s funeral. The passing of her grandmother was a devastating event that rocked Kendra to the core. She fell into a fit of depression and it was only with Kendra’s help that she could move on with her life.

While Kendra is watching, the family moves away from the grave site leaving a younger boy behind. Amber tells her the boy died three days before and it was his funeral she was watching. Amber asks her to help the boy, Loic. His older brother, Pierrot, is falling into despair feeling guilty over Loic’s death and Amber is asking Kendra to help Pierrot so he doesn’t follow on the path to suicide.

The stage is set, but the story is not as simple as that. The story is told in mostly alternating viewpoints between Kendra and Amber.

We do come to find out that Amber is also dead and has been for as long as Kendra has known her. Amber apparently had a very miserable life and ended up committing suicide. Now, to atone for her sin, she helps souls who are in despair. Her job is to save those lives that are heading down the path towards suicide. Amber starts to question purpose. Since she only stays in a place long enough to save a person’s life, she has no permanency. She is constantly moving around and feels no connection to anyone. She realizes that she is lonely and if she is going to be spending eternity saving souls, she’d at least like some company to do it. That is when she realizes she is starting to fall for Loic and starts devising ways she can delay his moving on.

At first Kendra is a bit freaked out that she can see ghosts, but she agrees to try to help Pierrot, however, she must do so behind her mother’s back. Since she can’t really do much by staying in the cemetery, she must leave while her mother is occupied.

Pierrot seems tortured about his brother’s death. He is mostly seen with Loic’s dog in tow and it seems he knows something of Loic’s death. Kendra takes to following him and finally is presented with an opportunity to make contact while listening to him busk at a restaurant. Pierrot performs playing his guitar. Kendra strikes up a friendship with him, but soon realizes she might be starting to have feelings for him. Everything seems to be going well until Pierrot’s ex-girlfriend shows up trying to talk to him about Loic, but he won’t listen to her and turns away, becoming once more full of guilt and despair.

Loic is also in need of help. He believes he was murdered and he demands assistance in helping discover who murdered him. His prime suspect is his brother, but Loic can’t remember anything that happened that day. With the aid of Amber and Kendra, he tries to discover the truth. He can’t cross over until he knows how he died and who was responsible for his death.

Matters are complicated further when Kendra’s mother finds out she’s been lying and sneaking around Paris with a strange boy. All this puts further strain on her relationship with her mother. Add to that the pressure from Loic and Amber to help solve Loic’s murder and to help Pierrot, what’s a girl to do?

The review copy was provided by the author in exchange for an honest review.

Monday, January 6, 2014

It's Just Another Manga Monday: Skip Beat 32 by Yoshiki Nakamura

Today is quite a crap Monday as it is the first time I have been physically in my work building since December 16th.  That means I cannot work in my pajamas and I'll actually had to drive in to work.  I had an accident with my Mini on the 16th on the way from work, too, so I was really stressing the drive in with all the snow and ice on the ground.

What better way to get over a pants day then by spicing it up with some manga!  And one of my favorites to boot!!!

Alison Can Read started a weekly Manga Monday meme which I have jumped on. I've been reviewing manga from the start, but it is nice to have a place were like minded Otaku can meet and share our favorites.

Warning: Spoilers

Book Description:
Kyoko Mogami followed her true love Sho to Tokyo to support him while he made it big as an idol. But he's casting her out now that he's famous! Kyoko won't suffer in silence--she's going to get her sweet revenge by beating Sho in show biz!

Ren’s trademark cool is beginning to crumble under the strain of maintaining his various personas. And the sudden manly attention being directed at Kyoko from fellow actor Kijima and a newly determined Sho aren’t helping matters. Will Kyoko’s good luck charm keep him in check, or will the beast chained inside him destroy them all?!

My Review:
This series continues to be one of my favorites.  Kyoko is a character with just the right amount of naiveté, crazy, modesty and determination.  She never fails to keep me amused.

This volume opens up with Sho waiting for Kyoko at the gate to her school.  With the assistance on one of her schoolmates, Sho abducts Kyoko so he can talk to her.  Sho is angry and disappointed in Kyoko because he believes she let Mr. Kijima flirt with her because she let him dress her up for the Dark Moon wrap party (back in volume 29).  He tells her that when a man buys clothes for a woman, he wants to have sex with her.  Kyoko, being the naïve soul she is, starts to freak out.  He berates her and tells her she'll never become famous and beat him if she is obsessed with men.

Cut to Ren being questioned by Kijima who is wanting to know when Kyoko's birthday is.  Ren tells him, but then gets icy when Kijima taunts him that Kyoko doesn't send Ren any emails.  Ren confesses that he doesn't have Kyoko's email address because if he wants to communicate with her, he'd rather pick up the phone to hear her voice.  Kijima assumes that Ren is saying he likes Kyoko.  Is Ren finally admitting he likes Kyoko?

 Back to Sho, he drops Kyoko off where she needs to work otherwise she would be late.  Unfortunately, Ren sees her in the car with Sho.  She freaks out figuring he will be angry with her.  Once out of the car, Sho realizes Kyoko is worked up because Ren saw them together.  Still trying to manipulate her after all this time, he won't let her leave until she confesses that she doesn't care about Ren.

Sho corners Ren so he can throw it in his face, but Ren doesn't rise to the bait.    Later, Sho broods about Ren and Kyoko,  telling himself that Kyoko is stupid and easily duped.  He assumes Ren is going to take advantage of her eventually.

Kyoko returns to the hotel room where Ren awaits so they can resume their Heel siblings persona.  But right after she gets to their room, her phone rings.  When they are the heel siblings, she turns her phone off so she can stay in character.  So, she is surprised by her phone ringing.  When she sees no Caller ID on the phone, she realizes it's Sho.  Before she can turn the phone off, Ren takes the phone out of her hand and tosses it.  He then grills her wanting to know if the call was from Sho and if she is still in contact with him.  The problem is it wasn't Ren talking to her and it wasn't the character of Cain Heel.  So who is she talking to now?

This volume was so full of tension between the characters and it seems like the series is finally starting to wind down.  I really can't wait to find out what happens to these characters.  The problem is Volume 33 doesn't come out until 09/02/14!  Whaaat?????

Note: Most of the images are property of

Sunday, January 5, 2014

Stacking the Shelves - January 5, 2014

Happy New Year!! Although it is not my first post of the new year, it is my first STS post of the new year. Since I didn't get a chance to post my goodies last week, this post includes acquisitions from December 23 until today.

Stacking the Shelves is a weekly meme hosted by Tynga's Review.

Books Received as Gifts:
Once Upon a Time: New Fairy Tales edited by Paula Guran

Swept Up by the Sea by Tracy and Laura Hickman

Who-ology by Cavan Scott and Mark Wright

Under My Hat: Tales from the Cauldron edited by Jonathan Strahan

Over My Head: Wildings Book 2 by Charles DeLint

The Queen is Dead by Kate Locke

Long Live the Queen by Kate Locke

Undeadly (The Reaper Diaries) by Michele Vail

Domo Sticky Notebook

 Books Purchased:
Tidal by Emily Snow

Welcome to Bordertown edited by Holly Black

Labor of Love by Hawthorne, Rachel

When It Happens by Susane Colasanti – Bargain Book

Ripple by Mandy Hubbard – Bargain Book

Boys, Bears, and a Serious Pair of Hiking Boots by Abby McDonald – Bargain Book

Unleashing Mr. Darcy by Teri Wilson

The Promise of Amazing by Robin Constantine

Kindle Books Purchased:
Soulless (The Parasol Protectorate) by Gail Carriger

The Paladin Prophecy: Book 1 by Mark Frost

Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul (Dirk Gently) by Douglas Adams

Ink (The Paper Gods) by Amanda Sun

Alice in Zombieland (The White Rabbit Chronicles) by Gena Showalter

Dare You To (Harlequin Teen) by Katie McGarry

Come As You Are by Theresa Weir
The Secret Sisterhood of Heartbreakers by Lynn Weingarten
Kissing My Old Life Au Revoir by Eliza Watson

Kissing Toads: The Sweet Curse (Book 1) by Jennifer Vail

You, Maybe: The Profound Asymmetry of Love in High School by Rachel Vail

DVD / Blu Ray Received as Gifts:
Doctor Faustus starring Arthur Darvill (Rory from Doctor Who)
Animaniacs Vol 4
In Bruges
The Extraordinary Adventures of Adele Blanc-Sec

Other Cool Things:
A set of two chests – I wanted a treasure chest to put all my foreign currency in from the trips I’ve taken

Doctor Who Tardis Fleece Blanket - Softest.  Blanket.  Ever.

A Peacock themed Asian style jewelry box – The one I had belonged to my mother and is over 30 years old. It was time for a new one.

A new pair of Doc Marten’s boots – This pair calf high red lace up boots with a flower interior

That's it for this week.  TTFN!!

Thursday, January 2, 2014

Happy New Year!!!

Happy New Year to one and all! 

I know it's late, but better late than never.  I slept in yesterday, watched hockey (Winter Classic) and had a late lunch at my favorite pub.  The evening was spent watching the last of my DVR'd Christmas Romantic Comedies.  Yes, I am a sucker for them.  During November and December, I have on ION channel (which I didn't know had Christmas movies on the weekends), Lifetime and ABC Family Channel.  Sadly, my cable subscription does not cover the Hallmark channel.  I may have to rectify that for next year.  That and cookies are my holiday vices.

 Although, hubby keeps interrupting the programs.  Every time he walks in the living room when I am watching one of the movies, he has to ask if it is the Mimi Rodgers movie.  Not sure I can really explain other than she was in a Christmas movie once that is no longer broadcast and he thinks they are all that movie.  Yes, I know they are formulaic and all have happy, sappy endings, but come on!  Lacy Chabert doesn't even look like Mimi Rodgers.

I have been on vacation this past week and had fully intended on getting in a lot of reading time and getting back to my posts and reviews, which obviously didn't pan out.  Things going on.  I had organizing to do.

So, one of the things I asked for for Christmas was this jewelry box with an Asian motif from Pier One.  I did not expect to get it for Christmas, but my parents were awesome and got it for me.  My prior jewelry box was a cast off from my mom that is at least 30 years old.  I wanted something new and the box is absolutely beautiful.  Naturally I had to spend an afternoon organizing my new jewelry box.  I should have taken a picture of my dresser before I started organizing.  It was not a matter of just transferring from the old to the new.  I had jewelry all over the place.  Most of it, trinkets and such, but still, some was in the old box, some was in another three drawer mini chest, some in an actual dresser drawer, and some just strewn about.  I also have little mini Doctor Who figures on my dresser and some other toys, so it was a big time sink of a production as I had to reorganize my entire dresser.

The second project I undertook involved another Christmas gift.  I asked for a set of two treasure chests.  Why, you ask?  Why to hoard treasure, I mean organize my treasure.  I have a lot of odd little obsessions.  When I was a youth, my step-dad would take me to a magical place called the Collingswood Auction.  You will never find a more wretched hive of scum and villainy...  What?  No, it was an interesting place.  There was a permanent building with permanent stalls inside and the outside was just rented tables as far as the eye could see.  It would take me at least a couple hours to walk around and see everything.  Many of the outside vendors would buy stuff from other vendors and then sell it at their table.  This was usual custom.  But I digress.

One of the tables I loved going to was a coin merchant.  He had all kinds of currency he was selling.  As I was 10 or 11 and didn't have much money, I would rifle through the cheap coin box and look for coins that had really cool images or from countries I'd love to visit.  That is what really got me started collecting coins.  Then working retail for 16 years, I used to see all kinds of currency come across my till.  I would accept it, but then buy it with American coin.  I would also buy any silver coins I got as well as old coins, dollar coins and half dollar coins.  I kept the coins first in a ceramic bank shaped like a dog my friend had painted for me, then moved to a coffee can as I collected a metric ton of wheat back pennies.

So that was how I got started.  Add to it a collection of coins from all the countries I've been to as well as the countries my friend Terri has been to and it became clear to me I needed a treasure chest.  That also took an afternoon as I had to find all the odd currency and organize it again.  The coffee can now only has wheat back pennies, still a metric ton, but all the other currency is now in a treasure chest, thanks to my in-laws.

My third project was even more of a chore and I wish I had a before picture.  My nightstand has been completely covered with books for a long time.  I had four really tall stacks that were almost reaching the light on the floor lamp and two half sized stacks.  In and of itself not much of an issue, but before the winter cold set in, I had to move all the books in my niece's room from in front of the heater so the room would get warm.  I had to move all the books, you guessed it, into my bedroom.  I have not been able to motivate myself to hang up my clothes for quite some time, so I take them out of the closet, wear them, wash them and then pile them on one of the two large areas of stacked books.  I have been unable to add to those book piles, so I started piling books on the floor in front of my nightstand.  I had three stacks going, but they got close to level with the top of the nightstand and I couldn't get my coins out to organize, so I decided I had to reorganize my nightstand.  I just had to make the books on the floor fit while shortening the stacks on top of the nightstand.

Let me tell you, one of the hardest things to do is make decisions about what stays and what goes when it comes to books.  The books by the side of the bed are TBR 1, the stacks on the floor are TBR 2 and TBR 3.  Then there are the book cases in Brianna's room, thin jobbers about four feet high.  They don't fit a lot, but there are also all the book cases downstairs and we won't even mention the attic.  So, I had to make very critical decisions about what books were going to stay on the side of the bed and what ones were going to get moved.

I first weeded out books I had on Kindle.  That was two I believe.  Then, I weeded out sequels when I haven't read the previous book.  There was a bit more of those.  After that, though, it was tough trying to make those choices.  If the book is not on the side of the bed or one of the front stacks so I can see the spine, the chances of me reading it soon are slim.  So the books remaining had to be strategically placed.  The stacks were organized deliberately, so the more pressing books to read are in front or on top.  It took quite some time.

Finally, the last project I worked on was going through all my Blu Ray discs and looking to see which ones have a digital copy available.  I then spent a good number of hours loading into iTunes or Ultraviolet or Flixster.  Now that I have an iPad, I can actually watch them on my device and not have to sit at the computer to do it.

So, with all this going on plus the Christmas cookie hangovers, it has been tough getting much of anything else done.  Now, my vacation is over and I started back to work.  It is a good time to make a fresh start of other things.

So while I haven't thought of a lot of New Year's resolutions, I do have at least some.  Here they are:

  1. Post on my blog at least three times a week.  I need to get back to writing my reviews (I'm quite backlogged and may have to read the books again to review them) and the memes I participate in.  I haven't swooned in a long time.
  2. Be a more patient driver and take extra care in foul weather.  I had another slight fender bender and my car is back in the body shop.
  3. Get the storage facility emptied out.  I am tired of the things I never see costing me a fortune in monthly rental fees.  I'd rather have that money in my pocket for other books.
  4. Keep by Penguins band bracelets on until they win the Stanley cup (or whenever post-season is over).
  5. Give the 12th Doctor a chance.  He's new, but I am really going to miss Matt Smith.
  6. Be more diligent about my gardening...without getting poison I don't end up with another jungle by June. 
  7. Read more.
  8. Get the Christmas decorations down by not long after Epiphany.  Last year Christmas lasted until March or early April.  Simply not acceptable, but then again, I have been known to be lazy.
  9. Keep up the physical activity.  I should be working out at least three times a week if not more.  It's no joke.  There are Amazon gift cards at stake if I can take enough steps by next November 1st.

Well, it's a start.

Anyway, I hope you all have had a fantastic holiday and I wish you all the best prose in the forthcoming year.  May your bookshelves never be empty!