Weekend Ramblings 7

The Good, The Bad, and the Ugly

I consider myself quite fortunate that I receive requests to read books by authors I’d probably overlook. Most of these indie authors have provided me with great books. There are some books that are, shall we say, lacking… These books aren’t necessarily lacking in plot or writing but perhaps lacking in editing and proofreading. Even with these deficiencies I’ve enjoyed reading the books. Finally, there are those books that I’ve either not been able to finish or simply could not provide a review without being brutal. Regrettably these are books that seem to be lacking in plot, character development, editing, and proofreading…in otherwise simply bad writing. These are books that I may finish, but usually not, and I wind up sending an email to the author stating why I can’t provide a review. 

Now lest you think I’m picking on indie authors, let me assure you that I’ve come across the bad and the ugly in mainstream publishing as well. Although I receive books from mainstream publishers to review, the bad and ugly aren’t limited to these advanced reader copies. I’ve often paid good money for ebooks that are literally garbage. In most instances a mainstream publisher will try to make good on a bad digital copy, but in a few cases the problem wasn’t a bad digital copy but simply bad writing coupled with poor editing and nonexistent proofreading. I guess this just proves that even a good author can have an off period with writing that isn’t quite up to par.

Reading Habits

I’ve been doing quite a lot of reading lately, most of it for review purposes although I’ve been able to get some personal reading in as well. I received the book Flight of Shadows by Sigmund Brouwer and decided since this was book two in a series I would read the first book, Broken Angel. My review for Flight of Shadows will post shortly, but let me tell you these books are pretty interesting dystopian reading that also tackle the topic of genetic modification. I was especially intrigued since much of the action takes place in Appalachia. I was finally able to get to Never Knowing by Chevy Stevens. I wasn’t sure if I liked this story through the first 50-75 pages, but I kept reading and I’m glad I did. This story packs quite a punch. I started on The Printmaker’s Daughter by Katherine Gouvier yesterday and decided to put this on hold for a day and re-read some older Nora Roberts titles: Honest Illusions and Private Scandals. I consider these light reading after the heavy topics the previous books presented. 

Giveaway Notes

Many of you have remarked upon the gratitude giveaway of an ereader. I was in a quandary as to what to give to show my gratitude not only to my followers (new and old), but also just show my appreciation to my fellow book lovers. Since I had upgraded to the B&N NookColor earlier this year, I found that I wasn’t using my Sony Touch ereader as much. I know, I could have sold the ereader on eBay but I wanted to know that it would be going to a good home. I presume that if you are following book review blogs then you must be a pretty dedicated reader, so a dedicated reader equals a good home.

Thanks to everyone that has stopped by and entered the giveaway. I hope you are all having a great weekend. Take a minute and share what you’re reading.

Happy reading!

Weekend Ramblings 6

This week has been marred by another series of severe migraine headaches. The biggest inconvenience to having a migraine is not being able to read. (Okay, one of the biggest inconveniences next to an increased sensitivity to light, noise, scent and sound and extreme nausea.) Fortunately, I was able to get in some reading over the course of the week. Reviews will be posting soon for Defensive Wounds by Lisa Black, The Pirate Queen by Patricia Hickman, and Lucidity by C. J. Lyons. 

This is the weekend I’ve been waiting for…book festival weekend. As many of you may recall I had a dilemma choosing which festival to attend: Books By The Banks in Cincinnati Ohio for the day or the West Virginia Book Festival here in Charleston WV for the weekend. Sadly this decision has become moot as a severe migraine currently has me grounded (nothing quite like typing in the dark). At the moment there is no way I can handle a 7-hour round-trip drive to Ohio nor I can tolerate the lights and noise at the local book festival here in Charleston. I remain hopeful that I’ll have the current migraine knocked into submission and downgraded from severe to moderate or mild within the next 2-4 hours. If this happens, then I’ll be off to the WV Book Festival for the remainder of the day.

If you’re in the southern Ohio area, stop by the Duke Energy Convention Center in Cincinnati for the Books by the Banks Book Festival. This festival will be playing host to a number of authors, including Dennis Lehane, Chris Bohjalian, J. T. Ellison and Judy Clemens. Presenters include Martha Southgate – A Taste of Salt and Paula McLain – The Paris Wife.

For those of you in West Virginia, head down to the Charleston Civic Center for the two day West Virginia Book Festival. This year’s WV Book Festival will feature: Lee Child, Jerry West, Jaimy Gordon and Dave Pelzer; and don’t forget the library’s used book sale and marketplace. I hope that when I get back up this migraine will be bearable and if so, I’m off to the WV Book Festival. Hope to see you there!

Weekend Ramblings 5

This has been a somewhat hectic week with six books read so far, four reviews posted and two more to come. The weekend appears it will be just as busy with five books to read and review by Tuesday. Whew! I’m getting tired just thinking about it. Reviews will be posting soon on Jane and the Damned and Blood Persuasion, books one and two in the Immortal Jane Austen series by Janet Mullany.

I had the pleasure of attending the inaugural meeting of the Charleston Town Center Mall Book Group this past Wednesday. The CTC Mall Book Group is co-sponsored by the Kanawha County Public Library and will meet the last Wednesday of each month in the Community Room at Panera in the mall. September’s read was The Help by Kathryn Stockett. The discussion was quite interesting and I loved the different perspectives gained from other readers, especially when we compared the book to the movie. If you reside in or near Charleston WV, please join us on Wednesday October 26th from 11:30 AM – 12:30 PM as we discuss Sarah’s Key by Tatiana de Rosnay. Good food, great books and companions…what more can you ask for?

In recognition of Banned Books Week (ends this Saturday, October 1st), I’ll be rereading To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee. This is one story that I simply enjoy reading over and over again. 

My weekend reads will also include: Attracted to Fire by DiAnn Mills, Girl in Shades by Allison Baggio, Seers by Heather Frost, The Night Strangers by Chris Bohjalian and The Third Q by Arnold Francis. Upcoming reads include: Jane Austen Made Me Do It edited by Laurel Ann Nattress, Virtuosity by Jessica Martinez and A Thousand Lives by Julia Scheeres. The next few weeks are going to be busy.

What are you reading or preparing to read for the weekend? 

Weekend Ramblings 4

I know I’ve been a little slow in posting lately but sadly I suffer from chronic migraine headaches. These headaches interfere greatly with my vision and therefore with reading (and writing). For the millions of migraine sufferers out there I feel your pain and empathize with you. 

Today is the 267th day of the year and I’m on migraine #275. Generally I try not to let my headaches slow me down too much, but this week has been unbearable. Don’t get me wrong, the pain is often unbelievable and the only thing I can do is rest and pray that it ends soon, but I’m not seeking sympathy because there are millions of people suffering worse than I can imagine. I’m only telling you this because periodically I may fall behind in my reviews and posts and you deserve to know why.

Now on to more pleasant things…

For those of you in the Washington D.C./Baltimore MD areas you have a double treat this weekend. Of course this is the weekend of the National Book Festival in Washington D.C. sponsored by the Library of Congress. According to the Library of Congress website, this year will feature more than 100 authors including: David McCullough, Russell Banks, Amy Chua, Jennifer Egan, Dave Eggers, Garrison Keillor, David McCullough, Terry McMillan, Siddhartha Mukherjee and Toni Morrison. For a full list of authors appearing, visit the Library of Congress at: http://www.loc.gov/bookfest/authors/.

Baltimore is also hosting a book festival this weekend. More information is available at: http://www.baltimorebookfestival.com/.  Authors presenting during this festival include: Common, Myla Goldberg, Kimberla Lawson Roby, Terry McMillan, Erin Morgenstern, Tavis Smiley, Lisa Unger and Laura Lippman.

Regrettably I’m unable to attend either of these festivals this year, but hope to make one or both next year. Have you attended a local or regional book fair/festival this year? Is there a book fair/festival coming up that you’re looking forward to attending? If so, please share. 

Personally there are two festivals happening on the same weekend in one month that I’m looking forward to attending. The first is in Cincinnati Ohio, the Books by the Banks festival scheduled for Saturday October 22nd. A variety of authors will be available including: Chris Bohjalian, Judy Clemens, JT Ellison, Dennis Lehane, Paula McLain and Martha Southgate. For a complete list of authors, please visit: http://booksbythebanks.org/authors2011.php. The second is the West Virginia Book Festival, scheduled for October 22-23 in Charleston, West Virginia. This year’s festival will feature presentations by: Lee Child, Jaimy Gordon, Deve Pelzer, Bonnie Stewart, and Jerry West.

I’ll be posting reviews soon of Where All the Dead Lie by J. T. Ellison, Blood Trails by Sharon Sala, and Red Fox by Karina Halle within the next few days. Upcoming reads include Reverb by J. Cafesin, Twilight Fulfilled by Maggie Shayne, The Brevity of Roses by Linda Cassidy, and Jane Austen: Blood Persuasion by Janet Mullany. 

Last, and by no means, least, today is the beginning of Banned Books Week (September 24 – October 1). Like many readers, I may not appreciate some books but that doesn’t mean that I have the right to tell others they can’t read it. For a list of frequently challenged books, please visit: http://www.ala.org/ala/issuesadvocacy/banned/frequentlychallenged/21stcenturychallenged/index.cfm. You may be surprised at the titles that made this list. Please plan to read at least one title from this list of books this week. I may be revisiting To Kill a Mockingbird by Harper Lee or The Color Purple by Alice Walker.


I hope you all have a pleasant weekend and happy reading.

Weekend Ramblings 3

I’ve been on a reading tear since my reading block was lifted. I hope to have reviews of the following posted within the next few days: Love At Absolute Zero by Christopher Meeks and I Loved You First by Reena Jacobs (don’t forget to enter the giveaway for the ebook). I’ve also reread several Anne Frasier stories, namely Hush and Sleep Tight

I’m travelling this weekend with family (a cousin, her daughter and my niece) to Georgia to attend JapanFest. For those of you close to Atlanta, GA you don’t want to miss this two-day festival celebrating all things Japanese. This year 100% of the revenue from ticket package sales will be going to earthquake and tsunami relief. Some of this year’s activities include: Ikebana (flower arranging), Sumo wrestling, Taiko drumming, Kite making, Japanese Embroidery, Chado Urasenke (Tea Ceremony) and more. This is the 25th year for this multicultural festival and not to be missed. In honor of JapanFest, I’ll be reading The Housekeeper and the Professor by Yoko Ogawa. 

What are you reading this weekend? Do you have exciting weekend plans? If so, please share. Have a great weekend and happy reading!

Early Weekend Ramblings

I’m happy to report that the recent reading and writing block have passed. Of course the blocks could have been due to a series of seriously severe migraine headaches. Thankfully the headaches appear to be diminishing in severity. Now that school has begun and I’ve finished helping my niece and nephew prepare, I can also relax from the recent back-to-school shopping frenzy. Now on to the fun stuff…reading updates.

I’ve just finished reading Mercy Come Morning by Lisa Tawn Bergren and Call Me Princess by Sarah Blaedel. Reviews for both books will be posting soon. I’m currently reading Reign of the Nightmare Prince by Mike Phillips and The Stranger You Seek by Amanda Kyle Williams (to be released on 08/30/11). I hope to have these completed and reviews posted by early next week. Other books to be read over the upcoming week include: Under The Dog Star by Sandra Parshall (to be released on 09/06/11), Murder in the 11th House by Mitchell Scott Lewis (to be released on 09/06/11), A Crack in Everything by Angela Gerst (also to be released on 09/06/11), and more.

Under the Dog Star

Murder in the 11th House: A Starlight Detective Agency Mystery (Starlight Detective Agency Mysteries)

I hope you’ll take a moment and share what you’re currently reading and/or your weekend reading plans. Happy reading…

Weekend Ramblings 2

I’ve been suffering from both reader’s and writer’s block over the past week. I finished my reading (yeah!) but have had difficulty starting anything new or writing the reviews for what I’ve read. This is due in part to the fact that I LOVED The Lantern and feel that my review just won’t do it justice…it’s also (possibly, probably, highly likely — take your pick) due to the series of migraine headaches suffered over the past week. Since I generally have a migraine (or two) each and every day this shouldn’t have been anything out of the norm but add in a sinus headache component along with severe allergies and it made for a doozy of a headache for a few days.  On the plus side, I had a few hours of sinus and allergy respite yesterday and went to see The Help movie with some family members. I’ve got to say that I was pleasantly surprised at how good it was and how closely the movie followed the book. For those of you that have read the book, go see the movie! For those of you that have seen the movie, go read the book!

The West Virginia Book Festival made an exciting announcement earlier this week: Jerry West will be speaking at the festival on Saturday, October 22nd at 6:00 PM on his book West by West. Mr. West will also be signing autographs after his talk. Another author of note at the festival is Bonnie Stewart, No. 9: The 1968 Farmington Mine Disaster. Ms. Stewart’s book is scheduled to be released in November by the West Virginia University Press. This year’s festival looks to be just as exciting and interesting as previous years. Don’t forget to mark your calendars for October 22-23 to attend this year’s West Virginia Book Festival!

I guess I should spend some time writing reviews and get back to some reading. My TBR list is huge so I can’t say I don’t know what to read…  Hope you are all having a wonderful weekend. 

If you’re spending a few hours reading this weekend please share your reads with us.

Weekend Ramblings

I currently have two books that I’m reading, or rather supposed to be reading. For some reason I just can’t get in the mood to read. Of course this could be due to current family situations which include a recent death, funeral planning, and multiple birthday celebrations.

The past 12 days have included: my birthday, youngest brother’s birthday (his 41st — celebrated among immediate family), two cousins’ birthdays (recognized but not celebrated), death of an aunt (early Friday morning), and ends with the birthday celebration of an ex sister-in-law today. Thankfully birthdays as adults aren’t as big a deal as when we were children, but my mother insists on a family dinner followed by cards and gift giving. Fortunately I don’t celebrate birthdays, or at least my own for religious reasons, and can usually get out of the mandatory family dinner. However, since my recent birthday was for the big 5-0 I was informed that I HAD to attend. In my family we know that you don’t upset Momma (think of Tyler Perry’s “Madea” without the violent tendencies) so I went. It was kind of funny because there were no cards, gifts or singing but it was a great excuse to get the family together again during the middle of the summer. 

Just when I thought I was free from the birthday celebrations, this upcoming week has another aunt’s birthday [her 72nd] and my great-niece’s birthday [her 10th]. In between and around all of these upcoming “celebrations” our family is also preparing for a funeral. I guess it will serve as a reminder that with life comes death. Something none of us want to think about but none can avoid. 

Now that I’ve depressed you as much as I am (sorry), I’m off to try and do some reading. Okay I’ll be doing some reading, out for some shoe shopping (a woman can never have too many shoes or handbags or too much jewelry!), then back to reading. I hope to have reviews of The Lantern by Deborah Lawrenson and Saint’s Gate by Carla Neggers posted within the next few days. Until then happy reading . . .