Wednesday, March 30, 2011

Review: Angelology by Danielle Trussoni


Rich and complex.

The first hundred pages or so were compelling and interesting and I couldn't wait to see how everything fit together.  Danielle Trussoni created a fascinating world of New York city, full of fallen angels, centuries-old secrets, and a religious sect so vivid I can only wonder how much more there could be to know.


Unfortunately, after that first hundred pages, there was so much information that I found myself lost.  I had a hard time reading through the theology lectures and excerpts from texts written in riddles.  References to the bible and mythology made me dizzy and left me wondering if I wasn't intellectual enough for the novel.  I blamed myself for my own confusion while trying to disseminate what was important to the plot and what was background.

The pace slowed considerably about half way into the book, and I felt myself wanting to skim.  As you all well know...I don't skim.  Instead, I took a break from Angelology.

After a short break, refreshed and ready to tackle the rest of the novel, I picked up Angelology.  I'm glad I came back to it.  My own impatience most likely came from my love affair with Young Adult paranormal fiction - fast-paced, instant gratification, not usually requiring a lot of brain power.  Angelology welcomed me into the adult's world of paranormal fiction. 

Beautifully written, with vivid characters and meaty historical, mythical and biblical references, Angelology is a book that is meant to be savoured, not devoured. 

There may not be a lot of action in the overall storyline, but every word uttered, every glance stolen, had meaning.  There was subtlety and restraint coupled with a rich and extensive history.  Epic is the word that comes to mind.

Once I was in the right frame of mind to bring my own patience to reading Angelology, I was rewarded with a complex, rich novel. 


Synopsis:
Sister Evangeline was just a girl when her father entrusted her to the Franciscan Sisters of Perpetual Adoration in upstate New York. Now, at twenty-three, her discovery of a 1943 letter from the famous philanthropist Abigail Rockefeller to the late mother superior of Saint Rose Convent plunges Evangeline into a secret history that stretches back a thousand years: an ancient conflict between the Society of Angelologists and the monstrously beautiful descendants of angels and humans, the Nephilim.



For the secrets these letters guard are desperately coveted by the once-powerful Nephilim, who aim to perpetuate war, subvert the good in humanity, and dominate mankind. Generations of angelologists have devoted their lives to stopping them, and their shared mission, which Evangeline has long been destined to join, reaches from her bucolic abbey on the Hudson to the apex of insular wealth in New York, to the Montparnasse cemetery in Paris and the mountains of Bulgaria.


Rich in history, full of mesmerizing characters, and wondrously conceived, Angelology blends biblical lore, the myth of Orpheus and the Miltonic visions of Paradise Lost into a riveting tale of ordinary people engaged in a battle that will determine the fate of the world.


About the Book:
Paperback: 480 pages
Publisher: Penguin (Non-Classics); Reprint edition (February 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0143118463
ISBN-13: 978-0143118466


About the Author

DANIELLE TRUSSONI is a graduate of the Iowa Writer’s Workshop and author of the memoir Falling Through the Earth, named one of the Ten Best Books of the Year in 2006 by the New York Times Book Review. She splits her time between the United States and France.


Visit Danielle on the web at www.danielletrussoni.org and www.angelologist.com. You can also friend her on Facebook and follow her on Twitter

 
TLC Book Tours
 
Many thanks to TLC Book Tours and Penguin for inviting me to review this book and be a part of this book tour.
 
Angelology TLC Book Tour Page

Tuesday, March 29, 2011

New Dr. Seuss!!!

Few things make me happier than reading aloud any book by Dr. Seuss, so imagine my excitement when I learned that a NEW book will be coming out in September.  How is that possible, you ask? 

Allow me to share the news I received from Random House this morning:

A collection of seven original stories written and illustrated by Dr. Seuss will be published on September 27, 2011

New York, NY, March 29, 2011—Random House Children’s Books is thrilled to announce an exceptional publishing event coming this fall. THE BIPPOLO SEED AND OTHER LOST STORIES by Dr. Seuss will be available on September 27, 2011 and includes seven stories by the iconic children’s author and illustrator that were originally published in magazines in 1950 and 1951—but never before in book form.

“We’re like happy prospectors, having discovered a hidden vein of gold,” says Kate Klimo, Vice President, Publisher Random House/Golden Books Young Readers Group. “We know that Seuss fans, from the youngest right on up to collectors will share our joy come this fall when they break open a whole new collection of Seuss stories.”

The Bippolo Seed and Other Lost Stories features seven stories, "The Bear, the Rabbit, and the Zinniga-Zanniga" (about a rabbit who is saved from a bear with a single eyelash!); "Gustav the Goldfish" (an early, rhymed version of the Beginner Book A Fish Out of Water); "Tadd and Todd" (a tale passed down via photocopy to generations of twins); "Steak for Supper" (about fantastic creatures who follow a boy home in anticipation of a steak dinner); "The Bippolo Seed" (in which a scheming feline leads an innocent duck to make a bad decision); "The Strange Shirt Spot" (the inspiration for the bathtub-ring scene in The Cat in the Hat Comes Back); and "The Great Henry McBride" (about a boy whose far-flung career fantasies are only bested by those of the real Dr. Seuss himself).

The color palette of each story has been enhanced beyond the limitations of the original magazines in which they appeared. In an introduction to the collection, Dr. Seuss scholar and collector Charles D. Cohen explains the significance of these seven stories, not only as lost treasures, but as transitional stories in Dr. Seuss’s career that marked the beginnings of his new philosophy about writing for children. With these stories, he changed from writing predominantly in prose to the rhyming style with which he is now so closely associated.


About Dr. Seuss
Theodor “Seuss” Geisel is quite simply one of the most beloved children’s book author of all time. Winner of the Pulitzer Prize in 1984, an Academy Award, three Emmy Awards, three Grammy Awards, and three Caldecott Honors, Geisel wrote and illustrated 44 books for children. Hundreds of millions of copies have found their way into homes and hearts around the world. While Theodor Geisel died on September 24, 1991, Dr. Seuss lives on, inspiring generations of children of all ages to explore the joys of reading. For more information about Dr. Seuss and his works, visit Seussville.com.

Charles D. Cohen is a graduate of Haverford College and the Tufts University School of Dental Medicine and has been a practicing dentist for over twenty years. Dr. Cohen first became enchanted with the works of Dr. Seuss as a child and he began purchasing early edition of Seuss books in college. Today, Dr. Cohen's trove of Seussiana is likely the most comprehensive private collection in the world. It is his hope to create a museum to preserve the full Seuss legacy by protecting the pieces for posterity. He is the author of The Seuss, the Whole Seuss, and Nothing But the Seuss, and lives in Massachusetts, not far from Ted Geisel’s childhood home.

Random House is the longtime home of the beloved and bestselling Dr. Seuss books, which continue to make learning to read fun for millions of children everywhere. The company’s website, Kids @ Random (www.randomhouse.com/kids) offers an array of activities, games and educational resources for children, teens, parents, and educators.

About the Book:THE BIPPOLO SEED AND OTHER LOST STORIES By Dr. Seuss
A Random House Books for Young Readers hardcover
978-0-375-86435-3 / $15.00 / $17.00 Can. / 72 pages / Ages 6-9

Monday, March 28, 2011

Review: Law of Attraction by Allison Leotta

A strong legal drama with heart.

I read Law of Attraction a while ago - at least four months ago - yet when I picked up my book again to sit down to write this review, all the drama and excitement came flooding back to me as if I just turned the last page.  We call that staying power.

It's this kind of staying power that is going to keep readers interested and connected to this new series. 

Law of Attraction is the story of Anna Curtis, a smart prosecutor, the new Assistant U.S. Attorney, who takes a chance when she is thrown into a homicide case outside of her division, domestic violence.  There is something about this particular case Anna can't stay away from.   Anna's past and her present collide, just as her personal and her professional lives collide. 

Allison Leotta delivers everything you're looking for in a legal thriller - fast pace, twists and turns, engaging characters, powerful courtroom drama, a love story, and a heart-wrenching past that might just cause a tear to fall. 

I had a feeling I was going to love this novel, and I did!

Allison Leotta has a long and successful writing career ahead of her - Law of Attraction is only the beginning!  I'm keeping my eye on this author.


Book Extras:
Author Allison Leotta WebPage
Allison Leotta interview
Allison Leotta:  What's Behind Law of Attraction?


About the Book:
Hardcover: 288 pages
Publisher: Touchstone; Book Club (BCE/BOMC) edition (October 12, 2010)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1439193843
ISBN-13: 978-1439193846
About the Author:
Allison Leotta is a federal sex-crimes prosecutor in Washington, D.C. She has been a federal prosecutor for ten years. Like her heroine in Law of Attraction, Allison started out in the U.S. Attorney’s Office prosecuting misdemeanor domestic violence cases. She now handles the most serious sex crimes in D.C. Allison is a graduate of Michigan State University and Harvard Law School. She lives with her husband (who is also a federal prosecutor) and their two sons in Takoma Park, Maryland. "Law of Attraction" is her first novel.








In her own words, author Allison Leotta (aka Why I read this book!):As a prosecutor of sex crimes and domestic violence, I see heartbreaking tragedies, acts of shocking evil, and vulnerable victims every day— but also moments of real heroism, true love, and healing. Given the stories I witness, the rich cast of characters I work with, and my lifelong love of fiction, I had to write a book.
In Anna Curtis, I wanted to create a character who people would relate to and root for, and a story that would both entertain and teach about the way the criminal justice system works—and doesn’t work. My day job and my writing were mutually beneficial: my work gave me interesting material, while writing my fictional characters made me understand my real-life witnesses more deeply







*Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Winners! After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick


Congratulations!!
The following winners will each receive a copy of the award-winning novel,

After Ever After by Jordan Sonnenblick


Keely D. - USA

Caryn B.  -  New Jersey

Patrick W. - My Town

Sally B. -  "My Town"


This afternoon, I have the privilage of meeting the author while he visits our school.  Hopefully, during lunch, if I beg and plead, and give him some extra dessert, he might just SIGN the books for you! 

Many, Many thanks to Scholastic for allowing me to host this giveaway!






*Winners were chosen using random.org and will be contacted via e-mail. 


Sunday, March 27, 2011

In My Mailbox



Today is Sunday, March 27, 2011...Welcome to In My Mailbox.

This weekly meme is hosted by The Story Siren. Thank you, Kristi, for giving us a space on our blogs to say thank you to the authors and publishers who entrust us with their books.

The idea of IMM is to share the books I receive for review, borrow from my library and purchase at bookstores, book fairs and the kids' Scholastic Book Club. I also include books that I purchase as gifts - so you will see titles on here that you have seen before.

I love seeing what books are making their way into your homes as well! Purchase or download any great books this week? Let me know!


Children's:

Ollie & MoonLily Hates GoodbyesThree by the Sea

Ollie & Moon by Diane Kredensor (Random House Children's, 4/26/11)
Lily Hates Goodbyes by Jerilyn Marler (Createspace.com)
Three by the Sea by Mini Grey (Knopf, 4/5/11)

Middle Grade:

Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of DeceptionCheesie Mack Is Not a Genius or Anything

Liar, Liar: The Theory, Practice and Destructive Properties of Deception by Gary Paulsen (Wendy Lamb, 3/8/11)
Cheesie Mack is Not a Genius or Anything by Steven Cotler (Random House, 3/22/11)


Young Adult:

Second FiddleThe Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Book 3)The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmaray Journals)7 Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes

Second Fiddle by Rosanne Parry (Random House, 3/22/11)
The Dark and Hollow Places (Forest of Hands and Teeth, Bk 3) by Carrie Ryan (Delacorte, 3/22/11, Ages 14+)
The FitzOsbornes in Exile (The Montmary Journals, Bk 2) by Michelle Cooper (Knopf, 4/5/11, Ages 12+)
Seven Kinds of Ordinary Catastrophes:  A Novel by Amber Kizer (Delacorte, 3/8/11, Ages 14+)





Friday, March 25, 2011

Review: Demons Are a Girl's Best Friend by Linda Wisdom

Don't let the shirtless guy on the cover scare you away, this was a fun paranormal ride with an adult edge.

The first in a new adult fantasy series, Demons Are a Girl's Best Friend introduces us to Maggie O'Malley, a strong, sassy, 700 year old talented witch who works for the FBI of supernatural law enforcement, affectionately known as the Guard.  Maggie is on a job when she bumps into Declan, the hot new owner of the Underground, a demon-friendly nightclub which caters to the dangerous and evil.  A group of satanic Mayans are planning to raise a god from the underworld.  Humans are dying.  A team of highly-skilled agents has gone missing.  But all of this is nothing compared to the complications that arise when a human teenage girl enters her life.

Let me start off my saying, this is not erotica.  If I had seen the half-naked man on the cover before I read the pitch from Sourcebooks, I may not have accepted the book.  You can't judge a book by its cover!  I checked out Linda Wisdom's other titles and look at the covers of her Hex Series...cute, right?

Hex Appeal50 Ways to Hex Your LoverHex in High Heels


Her new series is most definitely not for young adults, though, as certain scenes got quite steamy.  I usually don't like to blush while reading, and it's an exceptionally strange thing to read this book while waiting in the church parking lot for my son to get out of school, but *those* scenes were few, and Linda Wisdom has a light touch with both her love scenes and her action scenes.

Linda Wisdom dishes out lots of action, adventure, and extra helpings of humor - all the makings for a fun, sexy adult series. 

While this series was out of my comfort zone, I am tempted to check out the author's Hex series, and may even pick up the next installment of Maggie O'Malley's series on my own.

If you are a fan of Charlaine Harris's Sookie Stackhouse series, you should check out Linda Wisdom! 

Book Extras:
Author Linda Wisdom website
Linda Wisdom on Twitter
Linda Wisdom on Facebook

About the Book:
Mass Market Paperback: 384 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks Casablanca (April 1, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1402254393
ISBN-13: 978-1402254390

About the Author: (from Sourcebooks)
Linda Wisdom was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California.  Her career began when she sold her first two novels to Silhouette Romance on her wedding anniversary in 1979. Since then she has sold more than seventy novels and one novella to four different publishers. Her books have appeared on various romance and mass market bestseller lists and nominated and won a number of Romantic Times awards and two time Romance Writers of America Rita Award finalist. She lives with her husband, her spoiled rotten white mini Schnauzer, and an equally spoiled parrot in Murrieta, California. A number of Linda’s book backlist, including her Hex paranormal series, has been optioned for film and television. Affiliations: Charter member of Romance Writers of America Charter member of Orange County Chapter, Romance Writers of America Member of San Diego Chapter, Romance Writers of America Futuristic, Fantasy & Paranormal Chapter RWA

Disclosure:  A copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Thursday, March 24, 2011

Book Trailer! Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dreadfully Ever After

The trailer makes me wish someone would bring these books to the big screen!

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Review: The Four Ms. Bradwells: A Novel by Meg Waite Clayton

An engaging story of friendship, loyalty, and a 30 year old secret.

Synopsis:
Mia, Laney, Betts, and Ginger, best friends since law school, have reunited for a long weekend as Betts awaits Senate confirmation of her appointment to the Supreme Court. Nicknamed “the Ms. Bradwells” during their first class at the University of Michigan Law School in 1979—when only three women had ever served full Senate terms and none had been appointed to the Court—the four have supported one another through life’s challenges: marriages and divorces, births and deaths, career setbacks and triumphs large and small. Betts was, and still is, the Funny One. Ginger, the Rebel. Laney, the Good Girl. And Mia, the Savant.

But when the Senate hearings uncover a deeply buried skeleton in the friends’ collective closet, the Ms. Bradwells retreat to a summer house on the Chesapeake Bay, where they find themselves reliving a much darker period in their past—one that stirs up secrets they’ve kept for, and from, one another, and could change their lives forever.

---------------------------------------

The four women in this book were beautifully written to be strong, smart, honest, flawed and loyal.  Their friendship knew no bounds, yet Clayton avoided the sentimentality I tend to steer clear of in women's fiction.  Clayton presented four women that I would be proud to call my friends! 

The events of the mysterious weekend were unfolded as the author easily switched between past and present as each of the main characters took turns telling their stories. 

The only thing I may have changed is the first person points of view from each of the Four Ms. Bradwells.  Unfortunately, each character had not established her own voice to me until well into the book, and I had to keep turning to the beginning of the chapters to be sure of whose voice I was reading.    That being said, the lack of omniscience held the suspense for me right up to the end.

There were so many aspects of this novel to love, but my favorite thing about The Four Ms. Bradwells was the poignant debate of women and our place in American society today.  Meg Waite Clayton had a point to make, but she didn't beat us over the heads with it.   She skillfully set us up, and made us check our 21st century selves! 

I don't care if you're Democrat or Republican, Liberal or Conservative, the one thing women on both sides of the aisle can agree on is the double standard that is alive and well in America today. 

"But women are held to higher standards," Ginger says.  "In all that ImClone insider trading mess, who was the only one who ended up serving time?  Martha...Stewart.  Who took the fall for employing an illegal immigrant nanny?  Zoe Baird and Kimba Wood because of course we can't have an attorney general who breaks the law, never mind that our very male secretary of the treasury had $34,000 of unpaid taxes on an illegal nanny before he was confirmed.  Do you think there's a double standard?"

I wanted to stand up and leap into this conversation, adding my own opinions of how strong, successful women such as Hilary Clinton, Sarah Palin, Meg Whitman and even Michelle Obama have been treated by the press, by their fellow women!

For these four friends, the fight started with Bradwell v. Illinois and continues today. 


I love a novel that makes me feel or makes me think.  Meg Waite Clayton has succeeded in doing both.  Bravo!



Book Extras:
Meg Waite Clayton - author's website
Read an Excerpt
Meg Waite Clayton on Facebook
Meg Waite Clayton on Twitter

About the Book:
Hardcover: 336 pages
Publisher: Ballantine Books (March 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 0345517083
ISBN-13: 978-0345517081


About the Author:
Meg Waite Clayton is the author of the national bestseller The Wednesday Sisters and The Language of Light, a finalist for the Bellwether Prize. A graduate of the University of Michigan Law School, she lives in Palo Alto, California, with her husband and their two sons.







*Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Tuesday, March 22, 2011

Review: Dreadfully Ever After (A Pride and Prejudice and Zombies novel) by Steve Hockensmith

Check your stuffy self at the door and prepare for another fun action-adventure ride from the Bennetts!

The conclusion to the Pride and Prejudice and Zombies trilogy picks up after Darcy and Lizzie should begin their happily ever after, but this is an England of Zombies.  Poor Darcy is bitten by a dreadful and Lizzie races to save her husband before she is forced to chop his head off.

Steve Hockensmith is the genius behind the first big classic mash-up, bringing readers on a hilarious and original twist to one of my favorites, Pride and Prejudice.  It's only right that Hockensmith come back to bring it all home with Dreadfully Ever After.

Full disclosure time.  I did not expect to like Pride and Prejudice and Zombies and was afraid that Hockensmith was going to muck it up by poking fun and some of the most beloved characters in literature.  But I loved it.  The authors of the P&P&Z trilogy have handled the Bennetts with care and respect.  These writers are just as in love with Austen's original as we are.  This is why I could not say no when Quirk Books asked me to review Dreadfully Ever After - it has been too much fun up until this point to miss out on the latest adventure!

I don't want to give too much of the story away, but I can say I enjoyed it almost as much as I did the first - Dreadfully Ever After coming in a VERY close second.  Mr. Bennett and Elizabeth are at the center of this story as he guides Lizzie toward newly wedded bliss.  Lizzie's quest gives us plenty of action, loads of laughs (zombie races!), plot twists with a very interesting conclusion for Lady Catherine. 

If you loved Pride and Prejudice and Zombies, don't miss Dreadfully Ever After



Book Extras:
Dreadfully Ever After Facebook Page - "like" for cool prizes!
Unmentionables Preparedness Kit
Quirk Books on Twitter
Steve Hockensmith - author's website


About the Book:
Paperback: 320 pages
Publisher: Quirk Books (March 22, 2011)
Language: English
ISBN-10: 1594745021
ISBN-13: 978-1594745027


About the Author:
Steve Hockensmith is the author of the New York Times best seller Pride and Prejudice and Zombies: Dawn of the Dreadfuls and several other novels, including the Edgar Award nominee Holmes on the Range. Critics have hailed his books as “hilarious” (Entertainment Weekly), “dazzling” (The Boston Globe), “uproarious” (Publishers Weekly), “wonderfully entertaining” (Booklist), and “quirky and original” (The Pittsburgh Post-Gazette). He lives in Alameda, California, with his wife and two children. 

Disclosure:  A review copy of this book was provided by the publisher.

Sunday, March 20, 2011

In My Mailbox


Today is Sunday, March 20, 2011...Welcome to In My Mailbox.


This weekly meme is hosted by The Story Siren. Thank you, Kristi, for giving us a space on our blogs to say thank you to the authors and publishers who entrust us with their books.

The idea of IMM is to share the books I receive for review, borrow from my library and purchase at bookstores, book fairs and the kids' Scholastic Book Club. I also include books that I purchase as gifts - so you will see titles on here that you have seen before. 

I love seeing what books are making their way into your homes as well!  Purchase or download any great books this week?  Let me know!

Adult:

31 Bond Street: A Novel (P.S.)You Don't Love This Man: A Novel (P.S.)


31 Bond Street: A Novel by Ellen Horan (Harper Perennial, 3/1/11)
You Don't Love This Man: A Novel by Dan Deweese (Harper Perennial, 3/1/11)


A Job to Kill For: A Lacy Fields Mystery (Lacy Fields Mysteries)Mercy Kill: A Mystery (Mercy Gunderson)Silent Scream: An Anna Travis Mystery


A Job To Kill For:  A Lacy Fields Mystery by Janice Kaplan (Touchstone, 8/4/09)
Mercy Kill: A Mystery by Lori Armstrong (Touchstone, 1/11/11)
Silent Scream: An Anna Travis Mystery by Lynda La Plante (Touchstone, 7/6/10)


The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72

The Paper Garden: An Artist Begins Her Life's Work at 72 by Molly Peacock (Bloomsbury, 3/29/11)

Baby Names Made Easy: The Complete Reverse-Dictionary of Baby Names

Baby Names Made Easy:  The Complete Reverse-Dictionary of Baby Names by Amanda E. Barden (Fireside, 2/10/99) *


Middle Grade:

The Fairy Tale Detectives (The Sisters Grimm, Book 1) (Bk. 1)Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power BookThe Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel

The Sisters Grimm: The Fairytale Detectives (Book 1) by Michael Buckley (Abrams, 4/1/07)
Violet in Bloom: A Flower Power Book by Lauren Myracle (Amulet, 10/1/10)
The Carnival of Lost Souls: A Handcuff Kid Novel by Laura Quimby (Amulet, 10/1/10)



*No, I am not expecting!  Just making that very clear.  :)
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