Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Kindle to Kindle comparison

Since I am a Kindle junkie and happen to own 3 versions of the kindle (I have yet to shell out the dough or find it even remotely necessary to buy the DX yet) I thought I would give my reviews on each.

Kindle Version 1 - awkward to hold.  I was always hitting the page turn buttons on this one.  It is also very thick compared to the two latest versions which also makes it harder to deal with but with a good cover this one works fine. Kindle 1 also has a memory card which you can replace to create more space on your kindle. Uses whispernet to download books.

Kindle Version 2 - much more streamlined but doesn't have the removable memory card so you can't transfer books or improve the storage.  Uses 3G whispernet to download books.  This version I found very durable.  It is thinner than version 1 but also bigger.  The buttons are in much more convenient locations and I didn't find myself accidently turning the pages. I have a silicone cover for my version 2 kindle and it has held up really well.

Kindle Version 3 - smaller and more light weight than version 2 also much more delicate.  I'm actually a little afraid of it.  I didn't necessarily need a new kindle - version 2 was fine, and I actually really liked it but I was lured by the black color of the new one (silly I know).  I ordered a cover because after the 2nd day of having this one the screen broke (not sure how) and I had to have it replaced. I'm actually not sure if I like the smaller size or not I think I'll have to get used to it.  My kindle 3 is wifi only so I have to be near a hotspot with wireless internet access in order to download books or access the store, unless I want to hook it up to the computer to download books which is kinda redundant since if I can download books from the computer I must have wifi.  The e-ink seems to be darker on this one or it might just be my imagination and the pages are milliseconds quicker.

Anyway the jury is still out on Version 3 I like the lighter weight but I'm a little concerned over how fragile it seems to be.  My Kindle 2 was very durable and has been knocked off a couch stepped on by dogs and has weathered the storm, I'm not sure version 3 would fair as well but I guess time will tell.

Monday, December 27, 2010

Female Sleuthing

Title: Deadly Illusions by Brenda Joyce
Publisher: Harlequin
384 Pages
Genre: Historical, Mystery

This book is due to be released 12/28/10.  I received an advanced electronic galley of this book through

Synopsis: Irrepressible heiress and intrepid sleuth Francesca Cahill moves from her own glittering world of Fifth Avenue to the teeming underbelly of society, a place of pride, passions…and sometimes deadly perversions.

Despite the misgivings of her fiancĂ©, Calder Hart, Francesca cannot turn away from a threat that is terrorizing the tenement neighborhood of Lower Manhattan. A madman has attacked three women, but while the first two victims survived, the third is found dead. All the victims are impoverished but beautiful Irishwomen—and Francesca fears that her dear friends Maggie Kennedy and Gwen O’Neil could be next.

Soon she is working with her former love, police commissioner Rick Bragg—Calder’s half brother and worst rival. But even as Calder’s jealous passions leave his relationship with Francesca teetering on the brink, Francesca is frantically on the killer’s trail, certain the Slasher will strike again, afraid she will be too late…

Review: The relationships in this book are complex and the insecurities familiar.  Brenda Joyce has capture the complexities of love, jealousy, passion and envy.  Many romance novels include these themes but Joyce's characters seem to come alive and the mysteries could have been taken from the news today.  I liked that this wasn't your typical sappy sweet romance, that there is more than one major player in the plot and all the characters seem to work well together.  Joyce does not give a rose colored look at relationships in fact all the relationships in the book have their own struggles and complexities.  They are all somewhat flawed and thats what makes them all the more believable.

My only disappointment with this book is that although it says its the first in the series, Francesca has already solved several other cases and there are underlying relationships that play and integral part in the relationships of the present.  I felt like I had found the series somewhere in the middle instead of at the beginning.  That being said Joyce does a good job of explaining things and even though I wish I had been there with Francesca solving her first mystery or even when she decided to become a sleuth I was happy to finally meet her.  I look forward to the next books in this series.

Thursday, December 23, 2010

Teenage Struggles

Title: So Hard To Say by Alex Sanchez
Publisher: Simon & Shuster
230 pages
Genre: YA 

Synopsis: Thirteen-year-old Latina chocoholic-chatterbox Xio can't keep her eyes off blond-haired, steel-eyed Frederick, the intriguing transfer student just in from Wisconsin. At first, the soft-spoken newcomer, unsure of his new Southern California junior high and maybe his own sexuality, doesn't know what to make of her pursuits. Slowly and surely, Xio charms her way into his life and soon absorbs him into her group of fabulous girlfriends whom she dubs the "Sexies." Content with this new niche, and his position on a pick-up soccer team, Frederick gradually becomes aware of Xio's real agenda: to make him her first boyfriend. All the while he finds he can't keep his eyes off Victor, his soccer buddy. Frederick's sexual confusion escalates, as do his dodging techniques when it comes to Xio's advances. However, when she gets him in a closet with her and at last gives him a smooch, things boil up to crises.

Review:  Alex Sanchez has an uncanny way of getting into the head of a teenager.  The voices of both Xio and Frederick ring very true.  But this isn't just the story of a boy struggling with his sexual identity.  Its also about struggling to fitting in, dealing with estranged parents and glimpses into the Latino culture.  Frederick, a white, blonde, blue eyed boy moves from the midwest to California and finds himself in a very different culture. A lot of the kids at his school are Latino and speak in a mix of Spanish and English, and the boys are a lot more physical with each other than the kids from his old school, throwing their arms around each others shoulders, pushing each other in was like a whole new world.   Xio sets her sights on Frederick from day one and attempts to woo him by using her popular group of friends but things just don't seem to be going as planned and she starts to wonder if its her or if Fredrick is hiding a secret.  There are so many subtle layers to this book but the main theme is the struggle to fit in.  

Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Livin La Vida Loca

Title: Me by Ricky Martin
Publisher: Celebra
291 Pages
Genre: Autobiography

Synopsis: International superstar, Ricky Martin, who has sold more than 60 million albums worldwide, opens up for the first time about memories of his early childhood, experiences in the famed boy band Menudo, struggles with his identity during the Livin' la Vida Loca phenomenon, reflections on coming to terms with his sexuality, relationships that allowed him to embrace love, and life-changing decisions like devoting himself to helping children around the world and becoming a father.

Review: I could stare at the cover of this book forever. Damn what a mighty fine man Ricky Martin is.  His eyes are just piercing as if he could see straight into your soul.  Ricky Martin is not only an international musician he is also an incredibly spiritual and humanitarian person.  Reading his biography is a lesson in living. Even some of his not so great memories hold lessons for him that made him who he is and he feels grateful for the experience.

Instead of being bitter about a lost childhood spent traveling the world at breakneck pace and rarely ever having a moments peace he is thankful for the experience because of the lessons it taught him that eventually helped him to advance his career.  Instead of thinking he knew everything he spent a great deal of time looking inward to try to figure out who he was.  When fame hit again instead of being self centered and arrogant instead he looked to those who were less fortunate, a lesson he learned while in Menudo.

Ricky Martin is not just some musician tooting his own horn or writing a book to speak of his woes and horrible childhood, instead this is a book of self exploration and self discovery.  He freely admits his struggles with his sexuality and the surprise and freedom he felt after he came out and was embraced by his fans.  His children are lucky to have such a grounded and spiritual father and the world gifted with his music and now his story.

If you want to be inspired and see how an international star can be humble and grateful for everything he has then read this book.  I was so drawn in I finished it in a day.

Sunday, December 19, 2010

Government Conspiracies

Title: Divided in Death by JD Robb
Publisher: Berkley Books
354 pages
Genre: Mystery Romance

Synopsis: Reva Ewing was a former member of the Secret Service, and then a security specialist for Roarke Enterprises- until she was found standing over the dead bodies of her husband, renowned artist Blair Bissel and and her best friend.  But Lieutenant Eve Dallas believes there was more to the killings than jealous rage - all of Bissel's computer files were deliberately corrupted.  To Roarke, its the computer attack that poses the real threat. He and Reva have been under a Code Red government contract to develop a program that would shield against techno terrorists.  But this deadly new breed of hackers isn't afraid to kill to protect their secret - and its up to Eve Dallas to shut them down before the nightmare can spread to the whole country.

Review: Eve Dallas is a fabulous character, all cop yet married to the richest man in the world.  She despises being pampered, shudders at even the thought of a beautician, doesn't understand fashion and can't seem to get her husband to stop buying her expensive jewelry to wear.  Her husband Roarke is a reformed thief who seems to own just about everything.  He is completely kind hearted but don't mess with the people he cares about.  When his personal assistants daughter is framed for murder he is determined to not only prove her innocent but also to find out who is behind it.

When he uncovers evidence of a government conspiracy and information that the Homeland Security Office has information on his wifes past that could have protected her as a child things become shaky at home.  He wants revenge on the people who ignored a child in danger but Eve doesn't want that to happen.  She says it can't change the past and doesn't want him at risk for something that is over.

There is more than one story in this book, the story of the set up and murder of HSO operatives and the cover up and non action of the HSO involvement in Dallas's past.  The usual cast of characters is involved in this story and Dallas's partner, Peabody is always there to bring comic relief to a strained situation.

I love these books, they are great mind candy when you just want something fun.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

My Favorite Books of 2010

Here is a recap of my top 10 favorite books for 2010. Not all of these books were reviewed on this blog because I didn't start the blog until half way through the year.

This list is in no particular order I just put them down as I remembered them. I don't want to list an author twice so if I've read more than one book by this author this year  that I also believe should be on this list I will put a star after their name.

  1. Room by Emma Donoghue*
  2. The Happiness Project by Gretchen Rubin
  3. The Physick book of Deliverance Dane by Katherine Howe
  4. House Rules by Jodi Picoult
  5. The Girl Who Kicked The Hornets Nest by Steig Larson
  6. Before You Know Kindness by Chris Bohjalian*
  7. Wildthorn by Jane Eagland
  8. Little Princes by Conor Grennan
  9. The Girl in the Green Sweater: A life in Holocausts Shadow by Krystyna Chiger
  10. Down River by John Hart

Monday, December 13, 2010

The Past Always Comes Back to Haunt You.

Title: Vieux Carre Voodoo by Greg Herren
Publisher: Bold Strokes Books
264 pages
Genre: Gay Fiction, Mystery

Synopsis: When an old family friend apparently commits suicide from his French Quarter balcony, Scotty’s life accelerates from boring to exciting again in a nanosecond. Why would anyone want the old man dead, and what were they looking for in his ransacked apartment? It’s up to Scotty, Frank, his crazy family, and friends to get to the bottom of this bizarre mystery—and when an old, all-too-familiar face turns up, it’s not just Scotty’s life that’s in danger, but his heart.

Review: Out of all of Greg Herren's books I love his Scotty series the best.  There is just something about him that just pulls me and won't let me go.  I love his quirky family and the messes he always seems to be finding himself in and the cops have a love hate relationship with Scotty.

People are being tortured, houses are being ransacked and Scotty once again winds up in the middle of it all.  With his partner Frank out of town and his special gifts returning to haunt him the last thing Scotty needs is for his hot ex lover who is wanted for murdering Scotty's uncles to show up.  Swearing he had nothing to do with the murders Colin arrives back in New Orleans with a bang, literally since he shows up sporting a gun shot wound and a story about being undercover.  Scotty isn't sure what to believe, his heart is saying one thing and his memory of the heart wrenching happenings of the past are saying another.  But before he can sort that out he has to figure out what three young soldiers from the middle of nowhere did with a precious relic and why they took it in the first place, all while trying to stay alive.

These books remind me of a gay Janet Evanovich book because Scotty always seems to stumble his way into trouble and by the skin of his teeth and the help of good friends finds his way safe just like Stephanie Plum.  Houses might burn down, people might get beat up but Scotty always prevails.  One fortunate difference is the setting, New Orleans is infinitely more colorful and fun to read about than New Jersey.  There are also plenty of beautiful men. Hot for either Joe or should check out Frank and Colin.

Friday, December 10, 2010

Holiday Hop....

As we are now between holidays I thought I join the hop again.....

This weeks question is:

What is the thing you most like about reading book blogs? Is it reviews, author guest posts, articles, giveaways or something else entirely?

 I just like getting new book recommendations.  I love to read peoples reviews.  I'm not into the giveaways, or the author guest posts, and I burn out on the differently daily mail tuesday, or wish list thursday etc...The hop is the one exception I've found to my aversion to these weekly themes because it exposes me to other blogs that I may not have found any other way but some of the other things out there I can do without.

Thursday, December 9, 2010

Saving the Lost Children of Nepal

Title: Little Princes by Connor Grennan
Publisher: William Morrow
304 pages
Genre: Autobiography, biography

I received this book as an advanced electronic copy from the publisher through  It will be released in January 2011

Synopsis: In need of some fun and adventure, 30-year-old Conor Grennan traded in his day job for a year-long trip around the globe, a journey that began with a three-month stint volunteering at the Little Princes Orphanage in war-torn Nepal. But what began as a lark became a passionate commitment that would transform the young American and the lives of countless others.

Within minutes of his arrival, Grennan was surrounded by a horde of gleeful boys and girls showering him with warm welcomes. Yet as he soon learned, the children’s cheery smiles belied years of pain and abuse, for many of the boys and girls at Little Princes were not orphans at all, but victims rescued from human traffickers. Moved by their plight, Grennan vowed that when his trip was over he would return to the children of Little Princes and eventually reunite them with their families—a promise he would risk his life to keep.

Little Princes is the powerful story of a soul’s awakening and a reflection of the noblest and darkest of human intent. It is a heartwrenching true tale of the power of optimism, love, and dedication to overcome greed, violence, and hate. And it is an unforgettable account of children, families, and one man whose decision to take a stand makes the world a better place for all of us.

Review: I don't have enough words to express how inspiring and real this book was.  Conor Grennan started his journey to Nepal as a way to feel better about taking a year off to travel and what he found there inspired him.  As someone who has visited orphanages abroad I can completely relate to many of Conors experiences.  Children have amazingly resilient spirits and are overwhelmingly giving.  Its very easy to be drawn in and moved by these children and while it may be hard to walk away its even harder to decide to do something to help.  Conor decided to help, he started his own NGO and was determined to save the lost and trafficked children of Nepal.  He didn't want kudos for this, he didn't do this for fame and fortune, he did this because he couldn't not do it.

His story is heartbreaking, inspiring and amazing.  What started with just seven lost children became many many more.  I think the most appealing part of this book is how Conor doesn't sugar coat his initial motives to go to Nepal, his total lack of experience with children and his frustration and lack of understanding of how things worked in Nepal.  But he stayed with it and he is to be commended because mission is not an easy one and often leaves you heartbroken, distraught, frustrated and angry, but when things go well, it is inspiring, heartwarming, and filled with such incredible joy.  It is people like Conor and the others who work with him that are helping to make this a better world.  We need more people like Conor who are willing to take a risk and walk the hard path in order to do what is right.

Thursday, December 2, 2010

What do Statues have to say?

Title: Stone Kissed by Keri Stevens
Publisher: Carina Press
electronic book
Genre: Paranormal Romance

This book is due to be released on December 27, 2010 through Carina Press the ebook store.  I received  an advanced electronic copy through

Synopsis: When Delia Forrest talks to statues, they talk back. She is, after all, the last of the Steward witches.

After an arsonist torches her ancestral home with her estranged father still inside, Delia is forced to sell the estate to pay his medical bills. Her childhood crush, Grant Wolverton, makes a handsome offer for Steward House, vowing to return it to its former glory. Delia agrees, as long as he'll allow her to oversee the restoration.

Working so closely with Grant, Delia finds it difficult to hide her unique talent-especially when their growing passion fuels her abilities.

But someone else lusts after both her man and the raw power contained in the Steward land. Soon Delia finds herself fighting not just for Grant's love, but for both their lives...

Review: Delia's relationship with the statues that she works with and grew up around is hilarious.  They are often either extremely feisty, parental, or childish which make for interesting relations.  Grant is Delia's fantasy.  She has been in love with him since she was a child but doesn't believe that he could care about her other than as a fling.  As Delia and Grants passion grows so to does Delia's power and she find that the statues that have been her friends forever are now beginning to move.  So now not only does Delia need to hide her ability to talk to the statues but also run all over town retrieving them and putting them back where they belong.

Keeping her secret is proving too difficult with Grant so she finds herself telling him about the different statues even though she knows he doesn't believe her. In fact Grant believes she is mentally unstable and delusional but that her little quirk of talking to statues is just that and not something to be too alarmed about.  However, circumstances turn when Grant finds himself noticing strange things happening with the statues around them.  Maybe Delia isn't so crazy afterall, or maybe its catching!

While the passion grows between Grant and Delia, another woman in town is setting her sights on Grant and Delia's land.  She believes it is her birth right since she is also a descendant of the Steward family.  But Cecily is dangerous and men around town are disappearing at an alarming rate.

This book was faced paced and fun. The characters came to life and I really felt vested in them.  I've read my share of romance novels and you can't always say the situations seem natural but for a paranormal romance these did.  The romance didn't seem forced.  I loved the statues and the situations they put Delia in.  A great fun read!

Wednesday, December 1, 2010

BBC Top 100

I stole this from the blog all the books I can read .  I thought it would be fun...feel free to grab it and post on your blog. The average that the BBC believes most of the population has read would be about 6.

Bold the ones you have read in their entirety and italicize those that you have read in part, even if just an extract.

  1. Pride and Prejudice – Jane Austen
  2. The Lord of the Rings – JRR Tolkien 
  3. Jane Eyre – Charlotte Bronte 
  4. Harry Potter series – JK Rowling 
  5. To Kill a Mockingbird – Harper Lee
  6. The Bible- Historians 
  7. Wuthering Heights- Emily Bronte
  8. Nineteen Eighty Four – George Orwell 
  9. His Dark Materials – Philip Pullman
  10. Great Expectations – Charles Dickens
  11. Little Women – Louisa May Alcott
  12. Tess of the D’Urbervilles – Thomas Hardy
  13. Catch 22 – Joseph Heller
  14. Complete Works of Shakespeare (Not completed)
  15. Rebecca – Daphne Du Maurier 
  16. The Hobbit – JRR Tolkien
  17. Birdsong – Sebastian Faulks
  18. Catcher in the Rye – JD Salinger
  19. The Time Travellers Wife – Audrey Niffenegger
  20. Middlemarch – George Eliot 
  21. Gone With The Wind – Margaret Mitchell
  22. The Great Gatsby  F Scott Fitzgerald
  23. Bleak House – Charles Dickens
  24. War and Peace – Leo Tolstoy
  25. The Hitch Hiker’s Guide to the Galaxy – Douglas Adams (all 4 books in the ‘trilogy’)
  26. Brideshead Revisited – Evelyn Waugh
  27. Crime and Punishment – Fyodor Dostoyevsky
  28. Grapes of Wrath –  John Steinbeck
  29. Alice in Wonderland – Lewis Carroll
  30. The Wind in the Willows – Kenneth Grahame
  31. Anna Karenina –Leo Tolstoy
  32. David Copperfield – Charles Dickens 
  33. Chronicles of Narnia – CS Lewis
  34. Emma – Jane Austen
  35. Persuasion – Jane Austen
  36. The Lion, The Witch and The Wardrobe – CS Lewis 
  37. The Kite Runner – Khaled Hosseini
  38. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin – Louis De Berniere
  39. Memoirs of a Geisha – Willaim Golden
  40. Winnie the Pooh – AA Milne
  41. Animal Farm – George Orwell
  42. The Da Vinci Code – Dan Brown
  43. One Hundred Years of Solitude – Gabrial Garcia Marquez (hated it...too painful to finish)
  44. A Prayer for Owen Meany – John Irving
  45. The Woman in White – Wilkie Collins
  46. Anne of Green Gables – LM Montgomery
  47. Far from the Madding Crowd – Thomas Hardy
  48. The Handmaids Tale – Margaret Atwood
  49. Lord of the Flies – William Golding
  50. Atonement – Ian McEwan
  51. Life of Pi – Yann Martell
  52. Dune – Frank Herbert
  53. Cold Comfort Farm – Stella Gibbons
  54. Sense and Sensibility – Jane Austen
  55. A Suitable Boy – Vikram Seth
  56. The Shadow of the Wind – Carlos Ruiz Zafon
  57. A Tale Of Two Cities – Charles Dickens
  58. Brave New World – Aldous Huxley
  59. The Curious Incident of the Dog in the Night-time – Mark Haddon
  60. Love in the time of Cholera – Gabriel Garcia Marquez (Own this – going to be attempting it 2011 for my Global Challenge!)
  61. Of Mice and Men – John Steinbeck
  62. Lolita – Vladimir Nabokov
  63. The Secret History – Donna Tartt
  64. The Lovely Bones – Alice Sebold
  65. Count of Monte Cristo – Alexandre Dumas (Loved it!)
  66. On the Road – Jack Kerouac
  67. Jude the Obscure – Thomas Hardy
  68. Bridget Jones’s Diary – Helen Fielding
  69. Midnight’s Children – Salman Rushdie
  70. Moby Dick – Herman Melville
  71. Oliver Twist – Charles Dickens
  72. Dracula – Bram Stoker
  73. The Secret Garden – Frances Hodgson
  74. Notes from a Small Island – Bill Bryson
  75. Ulysses – James Joyce
  76. The Bell Jar – Sylvia Plath
  77. Swallows and Amazons – Arthur Ransome
  78. Germinal – Emile Zola
  79. Vanity Fair – William Makepeace Thackeray
  80. Possession – AS Byatt
  81. A Christmas Carol – Charles Dickens
  82. Cloud Atlas – Charles Mitchell
  83. The Colour Purple – Alice Walker
  84. The Remains of the Day – Kazuo Ishiguro
  85. Madame Bovary – Gustave Flauert
  86. A Fine Balance – Rohinton Mistry
  87. Charlotte’s Web – EB White
  88. The Five People You Meet In Heaven – Mitch Albom
  89. Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
  90. The Faraway Tree Collection – Enid Blyton
  91. Heart of Darkness – Joseph Conrad 
  92. The Little Prince – Antoine de Saint Exupery
  93. The Wasp Factory – Iain Banks
  94. Watership Down – Richard Adams 
  95. A Confederacy of Dunces – John  Kennedy Toole 
  96. A Town Like Alice – Nevil Shute
  97. The Three Musketeers – Alexandre Dumas
  98. Hamlet – William Shakespeare 
  99. Charlie & the Chocolate Factory – Roald Dahl
  100. Les Miserables – Victor Hugo
I did better than I expected 37! Whoo Hoo, there are plenty of classics on this list that I would love to read, I guess I should try to fit in one or two of those next many have you read?

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