Wednesday, June 25, 2008

July Book Blowout

Well, I found another challenge. I like this type of challenge. I just have to pick a certain number of books and try to complete that number by the end of July. I also have to list the books on my blog by August 7. The name of this wonderful challenge is July Book Blowout. This challenge is being hosted by Mrs S. at Blue Archipalego.

Here are the rules:

*Only books read between July 1 and July 31 count towards the challenge
*You can include re-reads - as long as they are read within the month of July
*Books you abandon will only count as half a book
*If you read to your children you can include all books which have more than 100 pages
*You can include up to two graphic novels
*You can include up to two audio books - (if you have a visual impairment that prevents you from reading then you can use just audio books for the challenge)
*Books you read for other challenges are eligible - use this as an opportunity to catch up!

As an added incentive, Mrs. S will choose one name from everyone who completes the challenge and that person will receive an Amazon gift certificate valued at $20.

I will try to read 10 books in July. I am trying to read 100 by the end of the year and somehow I got behind so know I have to push it.

Sunday, June 15, 2008


Welcome to Mayra Calvani's Virtual Book Tour. I am pleased to review Crash!.

Crash! is a children's book about Marcelo and his new puppy. On his fifth birthday, Marcelo's receives a yellow box with a red ribbon wrapped around it. When he opens it, he is very excited to discover that he has just received a golden retriever puppy. Marcelo learns how hard it is to take care of a new puppy. Even though he has learned that taking care of a puppy is hard work; it is even harder to come up with the right name for his puppy. His parents keep suggesting different names. Some were silly and some were common; but the names do not fit the puppy. One day while he is playing with his puppy, he notices something that his puppy likes to do. He then finds a the perfect name for his puppy.

This is a sweet tale about a boy and his puppy. Crash! can be used by a parent to introduce and discuss with a child the challenges of raising a puppy before purchasing one. Also a child will discover the importance of finding the right name for your pet.

Anna Pylypchuk is a talented artist. The illustrations are wonderful. They seem very retro to me. They reminded me of illustrations in pictures book from the fifties.

I read this story to my five year old and she liked it. She even got into finding a name for Marcelo's puppy. She suggested Cutie. She enjoyed looking at the pictures and seeing the funny things the puppy did. But sad to say it did not discourage her in wanting a dog. Even though she learned that caring for a puppy is hard work; she stills wants one when we move into a house. When that happens, she just might get one.

About the Author:

Multi-genre author, reviewer, dog lover and animal advocate Mayra Calvani hails from San Juan, Puerto Rico. She's a regular contributor to Blogcritics Magazine and American Chronicle. When she is not writing, she enjoys reading, playing the violin, interviewing other authors for her blogs and newsletters, watching reruns of Gilmore Girls, and walking her golden retriever, Amigo. She’s the author of the picture book, The Magic Violin, also published by Guardian Angel Publishing.

Visit Mayra at:

Crash! also has its own blog, with reviews, dog coloring pages, games and activities for kids.

Mayra will be donating 50% of her royalties to Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary, Inc., a non-profit organization:

You can purchase Crash! at Amazon. Link to amazon:

If you would like to follow Mayra's tour in progress, visit in June. Leave a comment on her blog stops and become eligible to win a free gift certificate from Almost Heaven Golden Retriever Rescue and Sanctuary gift shop! One lucky winner will be announced on June 30!

Saturday, June 14, 2008

A Place Called Bliss

A Place Called Bliss by Ruth Glover is a Christian fiction book. It is a story of two women' Mary Morrison and Sophia Galloway. They leave Scotland for Canda with their husbands. They are trying to make a better life for themselves and their family. When they leave for Canda both of the women are expecting a baby. When they arrive in Canda they go their seperate ways. Sophia to Toronto to become a member of society . Mary travels to Bliss to help civilize Canada's bush country.

This book could have been better. I wanted more about the lives of the women and the hardship of settling in the bush country. The sea voyage to Canda was very detailed esp. what happens in steerage wilth the third class passengers and the births of the babies at sea and the doctor inepitude. I thought the rest of the book would be as vivid, but it was not. I felt that the author rushed the story telling to get to the big secret which I figured out at the beginning. Which I would not have minded, if the story had flowed better and not jumped around. Hopefully book two and three will be better.

Happy Reading

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation

The Secret History of the Pink Carnation by Lauren Willig is two stories in one. The books goes back and forth between modern times and the time when Napoleon ruled France. Eloise Kelly is doing her Master dissertation on English spies during the French was between 1789-1815. she focuses her research on the Pink Carnation a elusive spy who has never been caught. Eloise's goal is to find the identity of the Pink Carnation. She sends off many letters and gets a response back from a Mrs. Selwick-Alderly. Eloise goes to her house and starts reading letters and diaries written by Lord Richard Selwick and Amy Balcourt. As Eloise begins to read we go back into the lives of Lord Richard and Amy. We follow their lives in the hopes of discovering the identity of the Pink Carnation. But every so often, we jump back into Eloise's reality. Especially when she meets Mrs. Selwick-Alderly's nephew, Colin Selwick. He wrote a colorful refusal letter to Eloise. Sparks begin to fly between Eloise and Colin. Does Eloise find out the Identity of the Pink Carnation? What happens between Eloise and Colin?

I found this book to be predictable and annoying. I found the Amy character to be irritating. She wants to help the Purple Gentian but she is unable to see what is in front of her.

The character I want to know more about is Jane. I will have to read the next book The Masque of the Black Tulip in the hopes of learning more about Jane and developing relationship between Eloise and Colin. I enjoyed the interactions between those two and want to read more about them.

The predictable part was that I was able to figure out who the Pink Carnation was before Eloise.

I did finish the book and there were times when I liked it and times when I did not. The Pink Carnation is part of a series of books by Lauren Willig. I will read the next book; in the hopes that she will make her main character's less irritating and the book less predictable. After I read The Masque of the Black Tulip I will decide if I will read the rest of the series.

As an afterthought, I do love the covers. It was the cover that caught my eye and influenced me to read the book.

Happy Reading

Tuesday, June 10, 2008

When a Man Loves a Woman

Welcome to La Connie Taylor-Jones Virtual Book Tour. I am pleased to review When a Man Loves a Woman.

Nursing administrator Victoria Bennett has soured on love. She has sworn off men; they bring too much drama and too much pain into her life. That is, until she meets pediatrician A.J. Baptiste, a single parent determined to woo her. A.J. will stop at nothing to have her, and Victoria finds her resolve put to the test…but is this a fight she really wants to win?

Read an excerpt:

Vic paused and sucked in a long breath. He was doing it again. Every time they disagreed about something, he’d lower his tone and then give her that sideways grin when she raised her voice.

“I’m moving to Atlanta.”

A.J. gave her a sympathetic nod. “I understand you think you’re moving, but it’s not going to happen.”

Vic stared at him as if he’d just mistakenly been released from the nearest mental ward. Baptiste, you don’t have the sense God gave baby geese. Have you totally lost your mind?

Ignoring the jab, he eyed her intently. “Why can’t you accept the fact that we’re going to be together?”

“I swear, man, you’re U.S. certifiable, Grade-A,” she paused, searching for the right word, then shouted out, “incorrigible.”

He lifted his brow. “You really think so?”

Dear God, help me,” Vic muttered softly and dropped her head.

She silently counted to ten and looked back into the mirror. “Baptiste, there’s not one good reason you can give me why I shouldn’t move.”

Observing their reflections, he shook his head in disagreement. “You’re wrong, Honey. I can give you two. Number one, I love you. And number two, I intend to marry you.”

“I’m not gonna marry you, Baptiste.”

“You’re wrong, Honey.”

“Why can’t we just enjoy the feelings we have for each other without any commitments?”

“No,” he countered quickly, “I’m not going to settle for a casual affair.”

“Why not?”

“Because you’re worthy of more, and we deserve better.”

Momentarily speechless, Vic took in a deep breath. Whatever response she’d expected, the one she’d just heard wasn’t it. “Baptiste, I’ve always been honest with you. I’ve told you a thousand times, I don’t do the love boat.”

Reaching out, he turned her around to face him. “Is that why you’re moving to Atlanta, because you’ve convinced yourself not to fall in love with me?”

“Boy, listen——”

“I’m not going to let it rest until you answer me.”

“Baptiste, I told you shortly after we met, that I wasn’t going to let history repeat itself with you or any other man.”

“What did Ron do to hurt you so badly that you can’t learn to love again?”

Oblivious to where she stood, Vic recoiled, her hips colliding with the sink. For eight years, she’d been asked that very question more times than she cared to remember. Yet hearing it come from the man who stood in front of her packed the same force as a two hundred mile-per-hour hurricane making landfall.

“I-I don’t want to talk about it,” Vic finally managed to say in a strangled voice.

At that moment, A.J. saw such profound pain surface in her eyes that he felt it, too. The question he’d just posed was the one he’d avoided asking for months. What could a man possibly do to cause a hurt so deep? He reached out and caressed her shoulders. “Honey, whatever Ron did, he was a fool.”

“Y-You don’t understand, Baptiste,” she cried out, lowering her head to hide her tears.

With his index finger, he tilted her chin up. “Baby, if you tell me, perhaps I would.”

“I-I can’t tell you,” she whispered, her words catching on a strangled sob.

“And I can’t help you if you don’t,” he whispered back.

She wiped the tears from her face with both hands and glanced up at him. Maybe, just maybe if he knew, he’d understand there was no way they could ever be together. “You can’t tell…”

“Tell what, baby?” He stroked his thumb along her brow, coaxing her into finishing her sentence. “Honey, I’m a lot of things, but I’d never share with anyone what you tell me in confidence. Understand?”

“H-He cheated on me…”

Finally, after ten, long agonizing months, he knew the cause of her hurt. He pulled her gently against his chest. “Honey, I’m sorry,” he uttered softly, cajoling her face into the space between his neck and shoulder. “Whoever the other woman was, she doesn’t measure up to you.”

Vic’s spine went rigid and she retreated to a private place inside where loneliness and pain resided, the place she never allowed anyone to enter.

The depth of the agony she’d borne alone made her pull back. She stared up blankly at him. Before her brain had time to consult with her mouth, she blurted out the rest of the secret she’d kept hidden for eight long years.

“It was a man.”

With that, she bolted from the room.

This is a second book for La Connie Taylor-Jones. Her sophomore effort is a fun, humorous, suspense filled romance. I liked how Taylor-Jones had Victoria's ex-husband have an affair with a man, not a woman. That was different compared to traditional romances. The interactions between the families are great. Just like any family they put their two cents into the relationship between Baptiste and Victoria. Victoria's mom gives her some wonderful advice on how to move forward. Also Victoria is a size 14. How awesome is that. Victoria's love interest is a hottie and knows how to treat a lady. How can Victoria not fall in love with Baptiste. But Victoria has issue with trust since her ex-husband's affair. Baptiste has to find a way to make Victoria trust again . Can he do it?

I look forward to reading more books by La Connie Taylor-Jones.

LaConnie Taylor-Jones, a native Memphian, is a health educator consultant and holds advanced degrees in community public health and business administration. Married, she is the mother of four and resides with her family in Northern California.

For over twenty-five years, Ms. Taylor-Jones has been an avid romance reader. In the summer of 2003 a challenge from her husband made her seize the opportunity to blend her enthusiasm for teaching health, social responsibility and social justice with her love for reading the genre. Her experience as a health educator sparked a multitude of storylines and her romance, which she defines as the spirit of adventure, played a pivotal part in her road to publication. In a little over four years, she’s authored three full-length novels.

Ms. Taylor-Jones is an active member of the Contra Costa Alumnae chapter of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc., the African American Community Health Advisory Committee, Black Women Organized for Political Action, and the San Francisco Area and Black Diamond chapters of Romance Writers of America.

Tuesday, June 3, 2008

The Virgin's Lover

Here is another book about the Tudors. This time it is about the last Tudor, Queen Elizabeth I. The Virgin's Lover by Philippa Gregory is about Elizabeth's relationship with Sir Robert Dudley. It also addresses Sir Robert's marriage to his wife Amy. The book also focuses on the Privy Council desire for Elizabeth to find a husband and the first two years of Elizabeth's reign as Queen.

I had issues with how Gregory portrays Elizabeth. Queen Elizabeth I is portrayed as a weak, scared, unsure girl. This portrayal is not how I visualize the Queen. Even if this is her first two years as queen, I don't believe Elizabeth would be unsure and weak. I always saw Queen Elizabeth I as a strong manipulative person. Even when she was young I felt she knew what she wanted and went for it.

Gregory makes it seem that Dudley is controlling the relationship with the Queen, he is manipulating Elizabeth in the hopes that she would marry him and make him King. As I was getting more and more frustrating with this version of Queen Elizabeth; it dawned on me. Maybe Gregory was showing how the Queen was manipulating everyone Dudley, Cecil, and the Privy Council. In her way she was controlling the situation and making everyone believe that they were manipulating her. With this thought, I felt better. Every time Elizabeth did something I felt that was out of character for her; I thought this and I felt better.

Overall, I did enjoy this bit of Tudor history. Now I have to read other books about Queen Elizabeth I and see how they portray her.