Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Completed Challenge: 2009 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge

J. Kaye's Book Blog hosted the 2009 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge.  It is so sad to me that it has really taken me this long to read just 12 books from my library this year.  When I worked at the library, it was so easy to grab books because I was always there anyway.  Now it is a bit more of an effort to get there, especially fitting it in between feeding and nap times.  I haven't had nearly as much time to read this year either which means I've needed fewer books from the library.  I am happy to say that I at least did complete the challenge, even it if was at the lowest possible level.  Here is my final list of books from the library:

2009 Support Your Local Library Reading Challenge List

1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead
2. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers book 1)
3. Timeline by Michael Crichton (audio CD)
4. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine (Weather Warden book 1)
5. Heat Stroke by Rachel Caine (Weather Warden book 2)
6. Chill Factor by Rachel Caine (Weather Warden book 3)
7. Undone by Brooke Taylor
8. The Awakening by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers book 2)
9. The Mask of Ra by P. C. Doherty (Egyptian Mysteries book 1)
10. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments book 1)
11. Dhampir by Barb & J. C. Hendee (Noble Dead book 1)
12. The Ultimate Smoothie Book by Cherie Calbom

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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The Ultimate Smoothie Book by Cherie Calbom

The Ultimate Smoothie Book: 130 Delicious Recipes for Blender Drinks, Frozen Desserts, Shakes, and More!Title:  The Ultimate Smoothie Book
Author:  Cherie Calbom
Publisher:  Warner Wellness
Publication Date:  June 2006
Format:  Paperback, 384 pages
Age Group:  Adult, non-fiction

In an effort to add more fruits and vegetables into our diet, I've been looking at smoothie recipes.  My chiropractors really recommend them as an energizing breakfast, packed with nutrition.  I think this can be true if the smoothie recipe focuses on healthy ingredients without added sweeteners.

The Ultimate Smoothie Book contains a lot of great information regarding the best ingredients to use in smoothies and what nutritional benefits each food adds.  It is well-organized with informational sections before you actually get to the smoothie recipes.  The smoothie recipes are also organized into categories which makes it easy to find the type of smoothie you are looking for.  I love that each smoothie recipe also has a nutritional breakdown per serving.

I was a bit thrown off by the book beginning with a section on juicing.  I wasn't looking for a book on juicing - I was looking for smoothies!  Calbom puts a great emphasis on using fresh fruit and vegetable juices in her recipes, which would unfortunately necessitate another piece of kitchen equipment which I am not interested in purchasing at this time.  Calbom also uses ice frequently in her smoothie recipes and claims that a regular blender will be able to handle this.  Maybe some blenders can handle ice well enough to make a truly smooth smoothie but I know mine cannot.

The majority of the recipes included in The Ultimate Smoothie Book look really tasty.  Unfortunately, I've decided that I'm going to need to wait until I have a better blender and warmer weather to actually try them out.  Smoothies in the middle of winter just don't sound very appealing!

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Sunday, December 20, 2009

The Sunday Salon December 20, 2009

The Sunday

Wow, with all the business of the holidays I haven't done a Sunday Salon post in a month!  I have really been enjoying spending lots of time with my family and am looking forward to more time together over Christmas and New Year's.  I grew up with big family gatherings at holidays and that was one of the things I missed most when I lived a plane ride or two day car ride away.  5 to 6 hours of driving seems so close now.

My reading has been sporadic at best.  I'll go days without reading and then devour a book in a few days.  Luckily, I have really been enjoying all of the books I've read lately.  One of the biggest surprises for me was Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft.  I know I requested it but I'd really put off reading it because I couldn't remember why on earth I'd requested it.  Read my review to find out why I found it so appealing once I started reading.

When I wrote my last Sunday Salon post, I mentioned that I was starting to read The Whole-Food Guide to Bone Health: A Holistic Approach by Annemarie Colbin.  Although this is not a long book and about half of it is recipes, I finally just finished it.  I have been having difficulty focusing on non-fiction lately and the perfect thing about this book for me was that it was organized to have sections even within each chapter, which helped me break up the reading.

I'm currently reading The Piano Teacher by Janice Y. K. Lee and The Ultimate Smoothie Book by Cherie Calbom.  I am really hoping to get through The Ultimate Smoothie Book by the end of the year because that will complete the 2009 Support Your Local Library Challenge.  I am kind of disappointed that it is so close to the end of the year and I am still trying to finish up this challenge.  In 2010, I really would like to make more of an effort to use the library more.

I am so looking forward to having my husband home for a couple of days this week and spending some time together with just our little family.  Then, right after Christmas, we are traveling again to celebrate with the larger family.  For New Year's Eve we have some family heading down our way.  After all the wonderful celebrations, I'm sure I'll be ready for some nice quiet time to get back into a routine.

Where ever you are celebrating this holiday season, I send you best wishes and safe travels!

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones by Annemarie Colbin

The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach
Title:  The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones:  A Holistic Approach
Author:  Annemarie Colbin, PH.D.
Publisher:  New Harbinger Publications
Publication Date:  February 2009
Format:  Paperback, 257 pages
Age Group:  Adult, non-fiction

I come from a family of incredible shrinking women on both sides.  My grandmothers were both tiny women and the one great-grandmother that I was lucky enough to know was even smaller.  I know that bone health is going to be an issue for me as I grow older.  I also realize that I do not know enough about how to keep my bones healthy.  There is so much conflicting information available today about the best foods to eat, the best forms of exercise, and simply the best way to live life in order to be healthy.  My approach so far has been to look at as much information as I can from all sides and take out of it what makes sense to me.

The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach has been part of that journey of learning for me.  I have posted a couple of articles written by the author, Annemarie Colbin, since I received the book so you can get a feel for her information and her writing style.

I am one of those people who can only digest non-fiction books full of scientific-based information in small doses at a time.  Luckily for me, the layout of this book is perfect for this approach.  Colbin breaks each chapter into even smaller, more manageable sections.  It was easy for me to read a bit, put the book aside for a bit to digest that information, and then pick up the book again without having to reread to regain my bearings in the book.  Colbin uses a lot of references and scientific studies to back up the information she presents, which in some cases flies in the face of traditional thinking about bone health.  She truly takes a holistic approach to the subject: explaining how the skeletal system functions when healthy, looking at how problems develop with the bones, and demonstrating how healthy eating, exercise, and mental/emotional/spiritual well-being can improve overall bone health.

Then there are the recipes.  Colbin focuses on leafy greens as a vegetable source of calcium but she also provides many other recipes as well.  A few that I would like to try are Broccoli with Mushrooms, Salmon Frittata with Fresh Dill, Avocado-Cucumber Soup, and Hearty Shrimp Bisque.  Colbin also provides recipes for many types of stock, which she says are rich in minerals that we need for our bones.

Overall, I found Colbin's book to be very informative and easy to follow.  As with any book on health, please talk to your doctor or health care professional before self-diagnosing or self-treating any health condition.

I received this book from Julie at FSB Associates for the purpose of providing an honest review.

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Friday, December 18, 2009

2010 at Library Girl Reads

2010 is right around the corner and I've been thinking about what my reading and blogging will look like in the new year.  I would love to say that I'm going to be more consistent with The Sunday Salon posts and having regular content during the week.  Unfortunately, I know that I cannot make that promise.  As a stay at home mom, much of my reading and blogging time is determined by my daughter.  When she naps, I get things done.  When she is awake, I want to spend all the time I can with her playing and exploring the world through her eyes.

In 2009, I only signed up for two reading challenges.  So far I've finished one of them and that was earlier this month.  I have one book left to finish the second challenge and it is sitting next to me, waiting to be picked up.  I really want to get it finished by the end of the year but I'm in the middle of two others so I don't know if it will happen.  There are so many absolutely fantastic reading challenges out there.  They sound so wonderful and I want to sign up as soon as I read about a new one.  I've been holding off though and haven't signed up for any for 2010 yet.  I just don't know if I can make that kind of commitment to focus my reading that much.  My 'to read' list is huge and there are books sitting on my own bookshelves that I haven't gotten to yet.  So I'm still undecided on what to do about reading challenges in 2010.  If I do sign up for any, I'm going to be very selective and only do a few.  If you are interested in reading challenges for next year, check out A Novel Challenge.  The blog is great for finding many of the challenges that are going on and there is also a Yahoo! Group with information on the challenges and people providing lots of encouragement.

I've hosted very few giveaways on Library Girl Reads in 2009 but I plan on changing that in 2010.  My stack of books that I've read but don't want to keep is growing and I want to pass them along to other readers.  These are mainly books I've enjoyed but that I know I won't read a second time and I need all the space on my bookshelves I can get.  I'm hoping to be able to host a giveaway monthly from my own collection and to possibly host some giveaways from authors, publishers, and/or publicists as well.  So if you would like to give something away on my blog in the next year, please contact me!

I'd love to have more content from authors on the blog too.  I'm not great at coming up with questions for the author interview type posts but I'm sure we could agree on a general topic and time line for getting a post up.  Authors, publicists, publishers, please contact me if you have content I can post.

As for my reading, I would love to be more organized.  In recent months, I've been very scattered with my reading.  Even when I'm enjoying a book, I'm having a hard time focusing.  I think I've been overwhelmed with other things and it has really affected my ability to concentrate.  I've been trying to fit in review books, books I own, and all the great books I keep adding to the 'to read' list and it has gotten out of hand.  In 2010, I will probably be accepting fewer review copies so that I can catch up a little bit on the books that I own.  Of course, if it is already on the 'to read' list, I'd be happy to accept a copy!

Every year, I say that things will settle down after the holidays are over.  Every year, I am wrong.  There are always going to be big changes coming and things shifting.  The best I can do is try to focus and take each day as it comes.  Some days, I will have the time to read and blog and some days, I just won't.  I'm going to accept that and not pressure myself to get content up on a regular schedule.  That would take the enjoyment out of blogging for me.

So what can I say for 2010?  I will still be here, writing book reviews and doing more giveaways.  I hope that you will take the journey with me and we'll just see what happens!

What are your reading and blogging plans for 2010?

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Article: Intentionality and Food by Annemarie Colbin

Intentionality and Food
By Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D.,

"Made with love" is an ingredient I have often seen on home-made packaged cookies and other home-made foods in health food stores. It always seems like a sweet and nice thing to say, but without real meaning, a friendly, new-agey kind of sentiment. Turns out it's quite real, and measurable.

Let me set the context for this column for you. At this time, I am the president of a small non-profit organization called Friends of the Institute of Noetic Sciences (FIONS). The organization it sprang from, IONS, was started by astronaut Edgar Mitchell, Ph.D., after he had an epiphany on his return from the moon that everything is connected. We offer a variety of programs, events, and dialogue groups in the NYC area, with a focus on consciousness and multiple ways of knowing.

One program we offered a few years back was a presentation by Dean Radin, author of The Conscious Universe (HarperSanFrancisco, 1997) and Entangled Minds: Extrasensory Experiences in a Quantum Reality. (New York: Simon & Schuster -- Paraview Pocket Books, 2006). Dr. Radin has been Senior Scientist at IONS since 2001, and has been studying the effects of mind on matter for quite some time. He even worked on a classified program investigating psychic phenomena for the US government. During our event, he talked about his experiments with random number generators, which generate strings of 2 numbers at random. When an operator or study subject tries to influence the numbers with their intention, these machines seem to show some responsiveness -- they skew towards what the subject intended in a statistically significant way.

As he was talking, I realized that his straight data supports the idea that mind interacts with matter. Then I thought of the very common idea of "cooking with love" -- which suddenly seemed entirely plausible. At dinner later with Dr. Radin I mentioned to him that perhaps there should be some research on the effects of the mind on food and cooking.

Well, Dr. Radin is a man of action. He set about to do just that, and published a paper in the fall of 2007 where he shows, in a placebo-controlled trial, that the focused intention of shamanic healers enhances the beneficial effects of chocolate. See his video on this at (Radin DI, Hayssen G, Walsh J. 2007). Effects of Intentionally Enhanced Chocolate on Mood, Explore: The Journal of Science and Healing, Volume 3, pp. 485-492) He was kind enough to credit me with sparking the idea.

You realize what this means: that the mood of the cook can affect the mood of the people eating the food. As mentioned, this is not a new idea. If cooking with love enhances the flavor and energizing effects of your dinner, what happens when you cook with anger? Years ago my then-husband and I found ourselves in a nasty fight after leaving a restaurant, and the fight was over nothing at all. It was just the mood. We finally figured that the chef must have been really cranky.

How about cooking with sorrow? You may remember a well-known movie called "Like Water for Chocolate", where the tears of the cook ended up saddening everyone at a wedding. Apparently, that notion is no longer so far-fetched.

So what to do with this information? You cannot always control how you feel. But what you can do is be aware of it. When you get ready to cook your family's meal, take a moment to focus and center yourself, acknowledge any disturbing feelings, and try to let them go. Put on your favorite feel-good music. Sing along. Think of pleasant places, people you love. Corny, isn't it? But it works. If it doesn't work, leave the kitchen, and either get someone else to cook, or order in from your favorite local restaurant. You will all be much happier, even if the food is not as good as your own.

Same idea if you are cooking for yourself. If cooking is an activity you really enjoy, if it helps you get out of your daily grind and move into a more pleasant mind-space, then cooking for yourself is an excellent idea. But if you've been out at work all day, come home tired, and try to throw some dinner together, the meal may not feel nourishing at all. If you cook for yourself out of obligation and you resent it, careful -- you could make yourself sick from your own crankiness. Better delegate the cooking to a professional, which is a much better idea than trying to subsist on dinners of protein bars and dry cereal. Nourish yourself by delegating the work, and spending a little money on decent food that someone cooks for you. Great if it's organic, but even if it's not, it's still worth it.

When I was writing my book Food and Healing, I couldn't cook for myself. I could cook for my children and for my classes, but for myself, I couldn't because I had no energy left. So I ate lunch out at the coffee shop most days that I was writing -- isn't that ironic? And the book came out good enough that it's still selling after 20+ years.

There is another aspect to intentionality in regards to food, and that has to do with the mood of the eater, not the cook. I know plenty of people who are so worried about eating right, that they think everything they eat is not good enough. They think, "this is not organic, it is full of pesticides," "the chemicals are going to kill me," "for sure this will put weight on me," and so on and so forth. Such a negative mindset is guaranteed poison in the energetics of your meal. Think of the alternative -- you are lucky enough to live in a time and place where you have enough food to choose your meal ingredients. Your main problem is what you will eat, not if you will eat. Be grateful that you have such abundance, and that your body knows what to do with it.

To show your gratitude, bless the meal. Saying grace, "gracias", is an ancient ritual that still lives today, and it helps elevate the mood. While Dr. Radin asked trained shamans to enhance the chocolate, all of us human beings have the ability to affect matter with our minds. Even if it's not statistically measurable, it will be measurable by feeling. You may want to run a little test: eat the same meal, if you can, with two different attitudes: one, where you're cranky and you don't like anything, the other where you are full of love and gratitude. Then notice the feelings -- and don't discount them. They are ingredients in your food just as much as the onions and the flour.

Here is a simple recipe to try this with.


2 tablespoons organic butter or olive oil
1 medium yellow onion, chopped
1 teaspoon curry powder
2 small carrots, sliced
1 rib celery, sliced
1 quart water or stock
½ cup red lentils
½ teaspoon salt or to taste
Abundant loving intentions

1. In a 4-quart soup pot, heat the butter or olive oil and add the onions. Sauté for about 2 minutes, then add the curry powder, sauté another minute. Add the carrots and celery and stir around another minute. Add the stock, then the lentils. Bring to a boil, stir well, lower the heat, cover, and cook for about 30 minutes. Add salt and cook another 5 minutes; adjust taste if needed. Loving intentions should be added throughout the stirring. Serve hot.

Makes 4 servings.

©2009 Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach

Author Bio
Annemarie Colbin, Ph.D., author of The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach, is a health educator and award-winning writer, consultant, and lecturer. She is the founder and CEO of the Natural Gourmet Institute for Health and Culinary Arts in New York City. She is author of several books including Food and Healing and writes a column, "Food and Your Health," for New York Spirit magazine.

For more information please visit

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Everything Hurts by Bill Scheft

Title:  Everything Hurts: A Novel
Author:  Bill Scheft  
Publisher:  Simon & Schuster  
Publication Date:  April 7, 2009
Format:  Hardcover, 288 pages
Age Group:  Adult

Phil Camp is in pain.  A lot of pain.  Despite being the author of a self-help book, which was actually supposed to be a spoof, Phil cannot rid himself of the pain.  He also cannot rid himself of Marty Fleck, the name under which his book was actually published.  Marty now continues to write a newspaper column and people soak up his 'wisdom,' which started out as a joke.  In his attempt to rid himself of his limp and the pain behind it, Phil goes on a journey of self-discovery with a true self-help guru and the Irish Shrink.

I know I requested this book for review some time ago but each time I went to read it I could not figure out why on earth I had requested it.  Bill Scheft is a writer for David Letterman and writes humor.  My husband says I have no sense of humor and I know that in the past I haven't found books that rely on humor at the expense of people to be funny.  I still don't know what made me request Everything Hurts: A Novel but I'm really glad I did!

Bill Scheft truly brings to life Phil Camp's pain and his struggle to understand where it is coming from.  The characters in this book are bizarre and quirky.  The writing is very fast paced, even when it seems nothing is actually happening.  Flippant remarks fly and many of the conversations make no sense especially to Phil.  Phil's family history is pieced together from the odd conversation with the Irish Shrink or from a memory that triggers or is triggered by the pain.  Many of the relationships are not at all what they appear to be on the surface.

Just like Marty Fleck, Bill Scheft manages to impart insights about the human condition in an irreverent, flippant, off-hand manner that belies the deeper thought underneath.

Thank you to Nettie from Hartsock Communications for sending me a review copy of Everything Hurts: A Novel.

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.

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Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Living With the Dead by Kelley Armstrong

Author: Kelley Armstrong
Publisher:  Bantam Books
Publication Date:  August 25, 2009
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 540 pages
Age Group:  Adult
Series:  Women of the Otherworld (Book 9)

Hope's friend, Robyn, stumbles upon the murder of her celebrity client and finds herself on the run as the prime suspect.  Hope and her boyfriend, Karl, try to keep Robyn safe while pursuing the real killer, who has an unnatural ability to find Robyn anywhere.  As the mystery deepens, the body count continues to grow.  Will Hope and Karl be able to save Robyn now that she in in the middle of a supernatural situation she knows nothing about?

I am a big fan of Kelley Armstrong's Women of the Otherworld series.  Armstrong generally writes of strong women with supernatural abilities who must hide their secrets to keep family and friends safe.  Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld, Book 9) continues this theme but with a few important differences.  Robyn, a main character, is not a supernatural and knows nothing about the supernatural world.  Finn, the detective assigned to the murder cases, actually is a supernatural but doesn't know there is a community for those like him.  Hope, a half-demon, and Karl, a werewolf, must try to save Robyn from the supernatural murderer without letting her in on what is really happening.

While I enjoyed Living with the Dead (Women of the Otherworld, Book 9) it was not my favorite of this series by far.  It was good but not fantastic.  Armstrong uses very short chapters to focus the action on different characters at different times, which is a great technique for keeping the reader a bit off balance and feeling the chaos that both Robyn and Hope are experiencing.  However, it can also make for a bit of a choppy read at times.  I did actually like Hope's character more in this story than I did in the last book which featured her, Personal Demon (Women of the Otherworld, Book 8).

I also don't feel that the title or the tag line "For a woman on the run from a supernatural killer, it's the one thing even more dangerous than dying... Living With The Dead" fit the story very well.  It is actually the detective who sees and talks to ghosts and, after the first couple bodies, Robyn actually copes very well with the fact that people are dying as the killer tries to reach her.

I'm excited to return to the story of Elana, the female werewolf, in book 10, Frostbitten, and I can't wait to read Savannah's story, Waking the Witch (Women of the Otherworld, Book 11) in 2010.

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Tuesday, December 8, 2009

Amazon Associate Links

Recently you may have noticed that I've been linking to and displaying advertisements on Library Girl Reads.  I want to make it clear that these links are Amazon Associates links and I do earn a small percentage each time someone shops using those links.  I have no expectations that my readers will use the links I provide but if you are interested in an item I mention and use for your shopping anyway, I'd love it if you used my links.

I am hoping to use any money that I earn toward my family's Disney vacation.  It is a couple of years off yet but that gives me some time to get the money saved!

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Monday, December 7, 2009

Some Big Thank Yous!

I have been entering giveaways all over the blogosphere lately.  Some of them have been for books and some have been for other types of products.  I have been insanely lucky recently and wanted to send out some huge Thank Yous to some wonderful bloggers.  I know that hosting these giveaways takes quite a bit of work even when the blogger isn't the one to send out the actual prize.

Here are a few bloggers who host great giveaways:

Elena at All Booked Up held a drawing for a really cool bookshelf a while back and I was the lucky winner.  I am very happy to say the bookshelf has arrived.  Unfortunately, I have no idea when I'll get my husband to actually assemble it.

Susan at Organic Deals & Coupons always has fantastic information about how to get the best deals on organic foods and other organic products.  She recently had a giveaway for a Steaz Gift Pack and $10 Target Gift Card that I was lucky enough to win.  Update:  The Steaz Gift Pack arrived tonight as well!  It was a busy day for packages around here :-)

Drey at drey's library recently held loads of giveaways in honor of her blogoversary.  Somehow I managed to win prizes from two of them!  What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown arrived today which was super fast!  I'm also looking forward to getting Halfway to the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 1) and One Foot in the Grave (Night Huntress, Book 2) by Jeaniene Frost as these are books I've wanted to read for quite a while.

I'm really not sure how I've managed to win so many of these giveaways lately but believe me there are plenty more that I enter and don't win.  If you haven't checked out these blogs yet, I hope you will do so.  All three of them are full of wonderful information.

Note:  Title links included in this post are Amazon Affiliate links and I do earn a (very) small percentage of any sales generated through those links.

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Thursday, December 3, 2009

Completed Challenge: 1st in a Series 2009

 The 1st in a Series 2009 Challenge is hosted by J. Kaye's Book Blog.  The challenge was to read 12 books that were the first book in a series.  I am extremely happy to say that I have finally finished this challenge!!  This was much harder for me than I had expected.  Not because I couldn't find 12 new series to read but because once I'd read the first book in a series, I wanted to continue on with that series until I was caught up!

J. Kaye will not be hosting this challenge for 2010 but the challenge will continue over at Royal Reviews.  Although I am still debating what challenges, if any, I will be participating in for 2010 I do know this will not be one of them.  I think I have enough series started as it is without adding any more!

Here is my final list:

1. Vampire Academy by Richelle Mead (Vampire Academy Series Book 1)
2. The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong (Darkest Powers Trilogy Book 1)
3. Sword Quest by Sabrina Vasta (Sword Quest Series Book 1)
4. Once Bitten by Kalayna Price (The Haven Series Book 1)
5. The Side-Yard Superhero by Rick D. Niece (Life in DeGraff Trilogy Book 1)
6. Ill Wind by Rachel Caine (Weather Warden Book 1)
7. The Sweetness at the Bottom of the Pie by Alan Bradley (The Buckshaw Chronicles Book 1)
8. Storm Front by Jim Butcher (The Dresden Files Book 1)
9. The Mask of Ra by P. C. Doherty (Egyptian Mysteries Book 1)
10. Armageddon's Children by Terry Brooks (The Genesis of Shannara Book 1)
11. City of Bones by Cassandra Clare (The Mortal Instruments Book 1)
12. Dhampir by Barb & J. C. Hendee (Noble Dead Book 1)

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Dhampir by Barb & J. C. Hendee

Title:  Dhampir (Noble Dead)

Authors:  Barb & J. C. Hendee
Publisher:  Roc
Publication Date:  January 2003
Format:  Mass Market Paperback, 276 pages
Age Group:  Adult
Series:  Noble Dead (Book 1)

Magiere travels from village to village, going where ever she is needed to hunt the dark creatures of the night.  However, she longs to settle in one place and give up the game.  She and her partner, Leesil, along with their dog, believe they have finally found such a home but peace is not to be found there.  Now Magiere and Leesil must learn more about each others' pasts and face the destiny of Magiere's heritage.

Dhampir is a very dark book.  Even when Magiere and Leesil play at destroying vampires, the fear of the villagers is so real that the act of destroying the creature must be done in the expected manner.  I was instantly caught up in the secrets kept by the characters and how their pasts influenced their current actions.  One of the things that I loved about this story was that the reader not only gets to know Magiere and Leesil but the trio of vampires as well.  The vampires have such strong personalities and histories, making them much more sympathetic than generic monsters would have been.

Dhampir took me much longer to read than it should have but that is no fault of the book.  For some reason, over the last few weeks I have simply been unable to concentrate on reading, even when enjoying the story.  I really wanted to be able to sit and enjoy Dhampir for long stretches at a time because the story did intrigue me and normally I believe it would have held my attention.  Luckily for me, the book was written in such a way that I was able to read short sections and then take breaks without losing the flow of the story.

I am very much looking forward to finding out what happens with Magiere and Leesil as their adventures continue.

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Sunday, November 22, 2009

The Sunday Salon November 22, 2009

The Sunday

City of Bones by Cassandra Clare was the only book that I finished this week. I enjoyed it but part way through I recognized some similarities to the Harry Potter books and then I couldn't stop finding them. I think I would have liked the book even more if I could have just read it without analyzing it as I was reading. I do plan to continue with the series to see if it gets better.

I also started reading The Whole-Food Guide to Strong Bones: A Holistic Approach by Annemarie Colbin and Dhampir (Noble Dead)by Barb & J.C. Hendee. Dhampir will finish off the 1st in a Series Challenge for 2009. One thing that I have discovered about my reading this year is that once I start a series I just want to keep reading that series until I am caught up. Switching series after the first or second book just is not working for me.

I found two places having Kindle give aways for the holidays. Fill out a simple form at Noobie and subscribe to the newsletter at Bibliofreak to enter each of the give aways. My husband and I have been talking about going electronic with our books in the future and winning a Kindle would be an awesome way to get started!

Plans for this week include very little reading or blogging time. Tomorrow I'm taking my daughter to get her second round of flu shots and my husband is working late so I have a feeling we are going to have a very long day. Then Wednesday we will be traveling to see the family for Thanksgiving and won't be home until sometime on the weekend. As a result, other than maybe getting one post up tomorrow if my daughter takes a nap, I will be participating in Blogger Unplugged.

I hope everyone has a safe and Happy Thanksgiving! I think this may be my favorite holiday because it is the best meal ever! Although our soup, salad, and dessert large family Christmas definitely runs a close second.

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