Saturday, September 20, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Mark of the Midnight Manzilla

 * Book 11 in the Pink Carnation series *
Sally Fitzhugh isn't interesting the parties of the season until she wanders into a garden on a dare and meets Duke of Belliston. The man's rarely scene and rumors swirl around him.  They say he's a vampire. Sally knows this to be utter nonsense, but she can't help become fascinated with him.

She tags along with him to a midnight meeting during a ball, only to discover a girl murdered in the gardens. It's clear to Sally that someone is setting him up - especially since the girl looks to have died from a vampire bite.

Sally's hot on the trail, determined to figure out who's behind the murder and why they set up the Duke. 
My Thoughts: I love this series, and was so happy to have this extra novel. I love how the people of society felt the dangers of vampires because they were fascinated with a book: The Convent of Orsino.  (The book written by none other than Miss Gwen). I enjoyed Sally's determination not to let anything else happen to the Duke. A great addition to the series filled with romantic moments, action, danger, and a strong heroine.  On one hand, I do not want the series to end, but on the other, I'm curious to see how it all fits together - not to mention how the modern day story will end.

Cover Thoughts: Charming
Source: My Library  

Friday, September 19, 2014

Review: What are the Chances?

Rare plays in sports history

The Set-Up:
The stats are split up into four categories: Rare, Really Rare,
Super Rare, Almost Impossible, and Never Happened

Rare talks about the number of home runs in a season or touchdowns in one game or assists in a basketball game or blocked shots in basketball or goals in a hockey season.

Really Rare mentions passing yards in an NFL game, goals in a NHL season, steals in a NBA game, teams ranked #1 for an entire NCAA season, or no-hitters thrown by rookies in an MBL game..

Super Rare shows off comebacks from 3-1 in an NBA playoff series, 1,000 assists at the NCAA level, passing yards for a NFL season, and the number of aces in one tennis match.

Almost Impossible showcases a Women's and Men's team both the NCAA basketball champions, strikeouts in one game, goals in a World Cup soccer game, and points scored in a NBA game.

Never Happened I like the inclusion of this chapter- stats that almost happened, but never did.

The Good: Great stats, fantastic pictures, interesting trivia, and set-up in straight forward, easy to read chapters that are perfect for sports fans.

The Bad: Again, there are only a handful of examples for women's sports. Are they not rare enough? If I found them with a few moments of searching, should more be included??
What about these:
Mia Hamm played for a national team at the age of 15
Lisa Leslie was the first WNBA player to win the regular season MVP, the All-Star Game MVP and the playoff MVP in the same season (2001)
Candace Parker was the first woman to dunk in an NCAA tournament
Did Babe Didrickson not have any rare moments in sports history?

Overall:  Besides the lack of women mentioned, I really enjoyed reading this one, so I can see how easily readers will flock to this book and love it for the stats and the photos and they will enjoy talking about the numbers with others
* This book was sent for review

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Review: National Geographic Kids Cookbook

A fun cookbook great for kids from Barton Seaver (a master chef and National Geographic Explorer)

The Set-Up:
The book follows the months of the year with several dishes to try. The recipes are easy to understand with clear instructions. Sidebars give cooking tips, details on different cuisines,kitchen skills, people profiles, cooking challenges and more.  Pictures and color blocks make this a very attractive book

The Good:
The range of recipes from main dishes to desserts to appetizers to cultural dishes makes this a diverse book for foodies. The book touches upon entertaining, going green, and eating healthy.

The Bad: I don't know which recipe to try first
A fantastic fresh cookbook that kids and teens will enjoy reading and testing out the recipes.

Recipes I want to try
(either with teens at the library or just because it looks yummy!
Raspberry Yogurt Parfait
French Puff Pastry Napoleon
Zucchini Bread
Awesome Oatmeal Cookies
Fruit Smoothies

Wednesday, September 17, 2014

Books I'm Dying to Read: November Edition

After all the books coming out in October, I know I won't be caught up. Still there are a few I can't wait to read this month too.

 Never Judge a Lady By Her Cover: LOVE this series! Can't wait for Chase's story. Plus the cover is amazing.
The Job: Fun, flirty series with lots of action and great cons

Captive: I really loved the first book in the series, can't wait to see what happens next.
Killer Instincts: Second book in the series - Cassie profiles for the FBI - supposedly cold cases, but a new serial killer hits the streets with a familiar MO and the teens get pulled in.

Map to Everywhere: Pirates - Wizards -Adventure
Everblaze: 3rd book in this amazing series where Sophie fights back with possible deadly consequences.

Walled City: There are three rules in the Walled City: Run fast. Trust no one. Always carry your knife.
Name of the Blade: Ancient gods in modern day London and one girl awakens them.
Mortal Heart: LOVED this book (review coming soon).

On Borrowed Time: Adore this mystery series set in a small town with a library focus -a holiday story about the heroine's missing brother.
By Cook or by Crook: First in a new series where Val's life changes drastically. Now she might have more time for all those things she thought about doing, like writing a cookbook - until a murder happens in town.

Taste of Home - Ultimate Comfort Food: I love these cookbooks - so looking forward to winter of experimenting with new dishes.

Guest Post: Spice Up Your Wardrobe Easily

Happy Fashion Week. On Monday, the cover reveal for Carina Axelsson's new book 
Model Undercover: New York was displayed. And a contest went up on the blog. You can check those out here. I'm  happy to have Carina give us some tips on fashion.

As a writer I find it all too easy to forget about the state of my wardrobe – even if I do write mysteries set in the fashion world!

Thoughts of sequins and cashmere, hemlines or heel heights, become seemingly irrelevant when I’m holed up at my writing desk, typing away, deadlines looming, research beckoning.

Speaking of which, for me research involves the occasional dip into the fashion waters. For instance, I’m writing this while in London, on a London Fashion Week research trip.

So, while packing for this trip, did I have a panic attack when I accepted a last minute (it seems fashion is always last minute!) invitation to visit London’s premier modeling agency, Storm? Did I break out in hives at the thought of seeing the fashion show of the lovely and oh-so-quintessentially-English fashion designer, Alice Temperley? And what about the prospect of meeting up with the fashionistas at Mulberry to check out their latest handbag designs? Did the thought make me break out in a cold sweat? 

Yes, yes, and yes!

So what quick and easy tips do I recommend for spicing up your wardrobe? Tips that won’t break your bank account, require you to update everything, or take too much time? Well, before you start ripping your hair out (not a good look!), remember that often in life it’s the little things that count – and the same holds true for fashion!
  • ·         Accessorize! If you’re really desperate, perhaps the easiest way to update a look is with a new handbag or scarf. Find one within your budget (the high street make fabulous bags nowadays that don’t cost an arm and a leg), and then keep the rest of your outfit muted and chic so that your new accessory stands out!
  • ·         Jeans! Like a lot of people I live in my jeans – and nothing screams dated more than a pair of old jeans. Treat yourself to a new pair of jeans as often as you can; it’ll instantly update your outfit in a way a blouse or jacket simply can’t. 
  • ·         Nail polish! I know, I know, hard to believe…but trust me, like I said, it’s often the little things that count. And when your nail varnish is so trendy, so bang on NOW, the rest of your outfit will suddenly look quaintly vintage – if people even notice it! Just make sure your hands look lovely!
        So that’s it – my quick and easy tips for spicing up your wardrobe. Milan starts at the end of this week, with Paris to follow. So get going, add some fresh style to your closet – then head on over to the shows!

Thank you Jennifer for this chance to distill a few of my fashion thoughts!
Carina x

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Tween Tuesday Review: Fantasy League

Charlie lives and breathes football - and he knows everything about it. He kills it in his fantasy leagues, but he' ready to admit he's not hte greatest player on the field.  He roots for his hometown team, even though they haven't had a winning record - ever.

When his BFF Anna invites him to meet her grandfather (the owner of the local football team), the two of them hit it off.  As they become friends, Charlie isn't shy about sharing his football opinions.  When Charlie mentions an older QB that's been overlooked by everyone else, Mr Warren takes a look.

He signs the QB to the team, hoping that this move will turn the team around. It does - for a while. Word gets out that a 12 year old is helping determine the team. Charlie has his moment in the spotlight but not everything is golden.  Will the sudden fame change him and would it all be worth it for a winning season?
My Thoughts:  I really really liked this book. I liked learning more about fantasy football. I loved the relationship between Charlie and Anna - how they talked football all the time, the banter between them, and how they weren't afraid to say it like it is (mostly Anna). I liked the developing relationship between Mr Warren - especially since Charlie's father isn't in the picture. Charlie grows in confidence with the fame thrust upon him - both in good ways and bad ways. I like how he gains more confidence on the field, but I'm not crazy about his secret keeping from Anna.A feel good book that's full of love for the game of football, the stats, and making the hard choices.

Cover Thoughts: Good - it captures the feeling of the book without being a scene from the book
Source: Sent for review
Similar Read:
Football Genius (Football Genius Series #1)

Top Ten Tuesday: Authors

This week's topic is:  Top Authors I've Only Read One Book From But NEED to Read More. I went through my books read on Goodreads - when I came to ten, I stopped, but I'm sure there is more! After all I have a HUGE TBR list! 

One book I read of the author - but I need to read more because these were really good!

Open Road SummerFamous in LoveBeing Sloane JacobsEverything Leads to YouWish You Were Italian (If Only . . . #2)
Don't Call Me BabyFor the Longest Time (Harvest Cove, #1)
Nightmares Can Be Murder (Dream Club, #1)
Allies and AssassinsSteelheart (Reckoners, #1)

What authors do you need to read more from?

Monday, September 15, 2014

Cover Reveal: Model Undercover: New York

About the Book:

When the world's most famous black diamond is stolen during a magazine cover shoot, it's up to undercover model Axelle Anderson to crack the case. The only witness is a trendsetting teen fashion blogger who refuses to say anything, and Axelle has a hunch that what appears to be a clear-cut case of jewelry theft is anything but.

Axelle and her sleuthing friends are drawn into a web of blackmail and backstabbing fashionistas. As she struts her way down the New York City runways and juggles her busy modeling schedule and new romance, Axelle must pit herself against a rival who'll stop at nothing to bring her down.

About the Author:  Carina Axelsson is a writer, illustrator, and former model. She grew up in California with her Swedish father and Mexican mother. After high school, Carina moved to New York City to model, then on to Paris where she published her first book. She currently lives in in the forests of Germany with four dogs and a very large aquarium full of fish.

The Contest: 
Enter to win two books
May only be shipped in the US

Saturday, September 13, 2014

Mysterious Saturday Review: Muffin But Murder

* Book 2 in the Merry Muffin series
Merry Wynter's still trying to figure out what to do with her inherited castle. Although she'll miss Autumn Vale, she doesn't have the funds to reside there permanently and handle the upkeep of the castle.

She decided to host a Halloween party and bring in perspective buyers and friends from New York. With help, the castle turns into a fantastic setting for a party. Unfortunately, during the party, a guest ends up murdered.

Bad luck seems to follow the castle or Merry around and the police aren't backing off. It seems that Merry's friend Pish was an acquaintance with the murdered man. Merry knows her friend wouldn't hurt anyone, although she's surprised to learn about Pish's past.  Can the murderer be caught before the castle earns a deadly reputation?
My Thoughts: Another great read, perfect for fall. The castle's the perfect place for a Halloween party; it sounded like a fabulous time (minus the murder of course). I love how Merry's become attached to both the castle and the town. The townspeople are quirky, but sweet. I love uncovering bits and pieces of information about both the castle and Merry's family. I can't wait to see the castle at Christmas for the exciting event taking place there, as well as the new cast of characters coming to town. 

Cover Thoughts: Great
Source: My Library