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Tuesday, July 31, 2012

July Random Acts of Kindness: Wrap-up #RAK

Welcome to my July R.A.K. (Random Acts of Kindness) wrap-up post!


If you don't know what R.A.K is, then just click on the badge above to find out.

I'm so excited! It's been a dry couple of months, but I finally received a R.A.K.!



 I sent this R.A.K. to Lucy at Enchanted by Josephine:

The Scarlet Contessa
by Jeanne Kalogridis

Isn't that just a gorgeous cover? When I saw this book on Lucy's Wishlist, I knew I just had to send it to her! So pretty!!


 I received this R.A.K. from Kevin at We're Really Falling Apart:

by S.J. Watson

I've been dying to read this one, Kevin. I was so excited to receive it, and I can't wait to read it! Thanks again for your kindness!! 


Thanks to Book Soulmates for hosting such an awesome idea!

To sign up for August's R.A.K, just go to Book Soulmates and spread the love!

Sunday, July 29, 2012

Stacking The Shelves - July 29, 2012


This meme is hosted by Tynga over at Tynga's Reviews, which she describes as follows:

"Stacking The Shelves is all about the books we are adding to our shelves each week, sharing with you our excitement for our newest titles and maybe have you discover a new book in the process!"



I won this softcover in a giveaway hosted by Sarah at Workaday Reads:

Her Frozen Wild
by Kim Antieau

Thanks again, Sarah & Kim!




I won this audiobook in a giveaway hosted by Karen at Bookin' With BINGO:

What It Was
(Derek Strange and Terry Quinn, Book #5)
by George Pelecanos

Thanks again, Karen!










I won this e-book in a giveaway hosted by the author

by Meg Mims

Thanks again, Meg!












 I won this e-book in a giveaway hosted by Laurie at Laurie's Paranormal Thoughts and Reviews: 

(Guardian Chronicles, Book #1)
by Meg Whitlock

Thanks again, Laurie & Meg!










I won this softcover in a giveaway hosted by Linda Weaver Clarke:

by Sherrill S. Cannon

Thanks again, Linda & Sherrill!








What books have you added to your shelves this week? If you are also participating in this meme, please leave me the link to your blog post in the comments so that I can come and drool over all your goodies!

 If anyone has read any of these books, I'd love to hear your thoughts!

Saturday, July 28, 2012

Olympic Readathon: Progress Post #OlympicReadathon


The Olympic Readathon has begun!

This is my progress post that I will be updating throughout the readathon:

Friday, July 27th:
Pages Read: 43 pages
Minutes Listened: 50 minutes, 31 seconds
Books Finished Today: None yet!
Pages Read This Readathon: 43 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 50 minutes and 31 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: None yet!

Saturday, July 28th:
Pages Read: 18 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 27 minutes and 6 seconds
Books Finished Today: None yet!
Pages Read This Readathon: 61 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 2 hours and 17 minutes and 6 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: None yet!

Sunday, July 29th:
Pages Read: 109 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 23 minutes and 39 seconds
Books Finished Today:
Between the Lines by Jodi Picoult & Samantha van Leer
Pages Read This Readathon: 170 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 3 hours and 40 minutes and 45 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 1
  
Monday, July 30th:
Pages Read: 42 pages
Minutes Listened: 2 hours and 19 minutes and 16 seconds
Books Finished Today: None
Pages Read This Readathon: 212 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 6 hours and 0 minutes and 1 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 1

Tuesday, July 31st:
Pages Read: 49 pages
Minutes Listened: 2 hours and 16 minutes and 20 seconds
Books Finished Today: None
Pages Read This Readathon: 261 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 8 hours and 16 minutes and 21 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 1

Wednesday, August 1st:
Pages Read: 269 pages
Minutes Listened: 43 minutes and 6 seconds
Books Finished Today: 4
The Berenstain Bears Go Back to School by Stan and Jan Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears: All Aboard! by Jan & Mike Berenstain
The Berenstain Bears: Safe and Sound by Jan & Mike Berenstain 
The Berenstain Bears: Out West by Stan & Jan Berenstain
Pages Read This Readathon: 530 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 8 hours and 59 minutes and 27 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 5

Thursday, August 2nd:
Pages Read: 56 pages
Minutes Listened: 24 minutes and 4 seconds
Books Finished Today: None
Pages Read This Readathon: 586 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 9 hours and 23 minutes and 31 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 5

Friday, August 3rd:
Pages Read: 89 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 11 minutes and 35 seconds
Books Finished Today: None
Pages Read This Readathon: 675 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 10 hours and 35 minutes and 6 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 5

Saturday, August 4th:
Pages Read: 81 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 49 minutes and 36 seconds
Books Finished Today: 2
Never Enough by Denise Jaden
The Yard by Alex Grecian 
Pages Read This Readathon: 756 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 12 hours and 24 minutes and 42 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Sunday, August 5th:
Pages Read: 7 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 37 minutes and 39 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 763 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 14 hours and 2 minutes and 21 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Monday, August 6th:
Pages Read: 9 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 26 minutes and 15 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 772 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 15 hours and 28 minutes and 36 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Tuesday, August 7th:
Pages Read: 23 pages
Minutes Listened: 15 minutes and 16 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 795 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 15 hours and 43 minutes and 52 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Wednesday, August 8th:
Pages Read: 24 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 43 minutes and 44 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 819 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 17 hours and 27 minutes and 36 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Thursday, August 9th:
Pages Read: 36 pages
Minutes Listened: 4 minutes and 28 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 855 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 17 hours and 32 minutes and 4 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Friday, August 10th:
Pages Read: 15 pages
Minutes Listened: 29 minutes and 10 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 870 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 18 hours and 1 minutes and 14 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Saturday, August 11th:
Pages Read: 12 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 15 minutes and 6 seconds
Books Finished Today: 0
Pages Read This Readathon: 882 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 19 hours and 16 minutes and 20 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 7

Sunday, August 12th:
Pages Read: 30 pages
Minutes Listened: 1 hour and 19 minutes and 3 seconds
Books Finished Today: 1
The Age of Miracles by Karen Thompson Walker

Pages Read This Readathon: 912 pages
Minutes Listened This Readathon: 20 hours and 35 minutes and 23 seconds
Books Finished This Readathon: 8

Spotlight Saturday: Guest Post and Giveaway with Marian Allen

Hi, everyone!


Welcome to another edition of Spotlight Saturday at Darlene's Book Nook, where we feature authors and their books!

We will be joined today by Marian Allen.



About Marian:

Marian Allen was born in Louisville, Kentucky and now lives in rural Indiana. For as long as she can remember, she has loved telling and being told stories. She writes science fiction, fantasy, mystery, humor, horror, mainstream, and anything else she can wrestle into fixed form.

Allen has had stories in on-line and print publications, on coffee cans and the wall of an Indian restaurant in Louisville, Kentucky. She has a science fiction/cop/comedy, FORCE OF HABIT, available through Echelon Press in various electronic formats.

She is a member of Quills & Quibbles and the Southern Indiana Writers Group.

Allen has worked as a high school teacher, an executive secretary, an accountant, and in Red Cross Youth Services. She is married, with three step/adopted daughters and one birth daughter. She is active in the Friends of Harrison County Library, Woman's Literary Club of Corydon and Community Unity, which promotes diversity appreciation and non-violent problem solving.

She posts at the group blog Fatal Foodies on Tuesdays and monthly on The Write TypeThat Book Place and Echelon Explorations.

CONNECT ONLINE WITH MARIAN:


Welcome to Darlene's Book Nook, Marian!

Marian has written a guest post, so I will now turn the floor over to her!


Where Inspiration Comes From
By Marian Allen

My web site is subtitled: Fantasies, mysteries, comedies, recipes. I have all that and more in these 12 stories, if you count the "who eats who" in "Out of the Cradle" and the Scotch in "For A Few Bottles More". "Dog Show" is a romance, which surprised me as much as it did anybody.

Inspirations for stories fall out of the sky like snowflakes in winter or rain in springtime or leaves in autumn or ... or ... something summery in summer. When the story falls on your head, you scrape it off and ....

Let me start again. The world is full of things to write about, and ways to write about those things. It's part of a writer's job to take ideas and find the best way to turn those ideas into stories.

"The Day the Dog Ate Popcorn" is a true story of the first chickens we got when we moved to the country. And people say the city is violent.

I wrote "Out of the Cradle" as one of my mermayds of the Eel pieces. I have another short story and a novel featuring them, with another story underway.

I'm a stepmother, so it's natural that I would write a story about a stepmother: "Dog Show". At the time I wrote it, one of our daughters was living in a neighborhood like the one in the story, which is where the setting came from.

"For A Few Bottles More" was a challenge posed by writer and blogger Chuck Wendig, on the occasion of the finding of explorer Sir Ernest Shackleton's Scotch in Antarctica. Naturally, my story is about penguins. I mean ... you know ... naturally!

I used to get a lot of hits on my blog from people looking for "Personal Essay -- My Mother", which delighted me until I started looking at the timing and origins of the searches. When I realized the hits were coming from English students assigned the topic in class, I changed the name of the page to "Not Your Homework" and the hits vanished. The inspiration for this story, which begins, "My mother has snakes for hair," was my reflection in the mirror in the morning.

So there you have it: Where the ideas for stories come from. Everywhere. All the time. Isn't it fun?

Thanks so much for joining us today, Marian!


Ten lucky winners will win a digital copy of Marian's latest short story collection, Turtle Feathers.











The dog Joseph's stepmother gave him leads him away from his intended route. Disobedience puts a young mermaid's life into the relentless claws of a crab. A penguin thinks his fortune is made when he discovers a cache of Scotch. More off-beat animal stories from the author of Lonnie, Me and the Hound of Hell.

Buy Link: Amazon Kindle

To enter the giveaway, you must complete the Rafflecopter entry form below.

This giveaway is open worldwide. The contest will close at 12:01 AM EST on August 4, 2012.

Friday, July 27, 2012

Olympic Readathon: Starting Line #OlympicReadathon


The Olympic Readathon has begun!

I have two books that I hope to finish:

by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
[reading]

 The Yard
by Alex Grecian
[listening]


Once I finish up with each of those, the next ones that I plan to start are:

by Denise Jaden
[reading]

The Age of Miracles
by Karen Thompson Walker
[listening]


 I am also reading a bunch of books to my kids, which I am not going to list here because it would take up too much room. You can check out my Goodreads "Currently Reading Shelf" if you want to see what I'm reading to my kids.

My page count goal is pretty conservative at 600 pages. I am currently spending more time listening to audiobooks than sitting down to read. I have no idea how to translate minutes listened to pages read, so I'm just counting pages read in the traditional sense for my goal.

I will do a wrap-up at the end of the week to show how many pages I read and minutes listened!

Have fun, everyone!

If you want to join me in the readathon, just click on the challenge badge at the beginning of this post to sign up at Retreat by Random House! Many thanks to Random House for hosting!

Wednesday, July 25, 2012

Waiting on Wednesday: Scarlet by Marissa Meyer

Hi, everyone!


"Waiting On" Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted at Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we're eagerly anticipating.

Here is this week's pre-publication "can't-wait-to-read" selection:

 
TITLE: Scarlet
SERIES: Lunar Chronicles, Book #2
AUTHOR: Marissa Meyer 
PUBLISHER: Feiwel and Friends
EXPECTED PUBLICATION DATE: February 5, 2013
FORMAT: Hardcover, 464 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Science Fiction
ISBN: 9780312642969
Cinder returns in the second thrilling installment of the New York Times-bestselling Lunar Chronicles. She’s trying to break out of prison—even though if she succeeds, she’ll be the Commonwealth’s most wanted fugitive.

Halfway around the world, Scarlet Benoit’s grandmother is missing. It turns out there are many things Scarlet doesn’t know about her grandmother and the grave danger she has lived in her whole life. When Scarlet encounters Wolf, a street fighter who may have information as to her grandmother’s whereabouts, she has no choice but to trust him, though he clearly has a few dark secrets of his own.

As Scarlet and Wolf work to unravel one mystery, they find another when they cross paths with Cinder. Together, they must stay one step ahead of the vicious Lunar Queen who will do anything to make Prince Kai her husband, her king, her prisoner.


I just finished Cinder, and I absolutely loved it!

I can't wait to get my hands on this sequel!!


What are you waiting on? Please leave a comment in the section below. If you participate in this meme, please leave a link so I can visit your blog!

Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Review Copy Cleanup

Hi, everyone! Time for another 2012 Reading Challenge!!


The challenge is being hosted by Vicky at Books, Biscuits, and Tea and co-hosted by Celine at Nyx Book Reviews.

My review pile is out of control! This seasonal reading challenge is good timing for me!

Here are the details copied from Vicky's blog:
Review Copy Cleanup


What is Review Copy Cleanup?

Celine and I were getting swamped in review books. We decided to make it all a bit more fun and are challenging you all to read your review copies with us! Clean up that big pile of review books you’ve been neglecting this August and join the Review Copy Cleanup. During the month of August we will host a number of Twitter parties and mini-readathons in order to motivate ourselves and other participants! Is your review pile getting out of control? Then make sure to join us on a quest to clean up that review copy pile and to have some fun in the process.


Participation, guidelines:

✦ The challenge runs from 1 to 31 August, 2012

✦ Sign-ups are open until 15 August 2012. After that the linky list will be closed and participation in the challenges and giveaways won’t be possible for anyone who hasn’t previously signed up.

✦ To sign up, just fill in the linky form below. Link to your sign up post directly, please! The linky is the same for both our blogs, so you only have to sign up once.

✦ When you post your sign up post on your blog, either include the challenge button with your post or link it back to this article so that people know where to sign up. Thank you!

✦ Every book you received for review counts towards the challenge, both ebooks and hardback/paperback copies, including all genres and lengths.

✦ You don’t need to follow the two hosts in order to be able to sign up for the event (although it’s appreciated)

✦ Feel free to use the #RCCleanup hashtag on Twitter for your RCC related tweets or join in the Twitter party at http://tweetchat.com/room/RCCleanup and meet lots of lovely bloggers :)



Some changes:

Participants of the previous cleanup might remember that we’ve had a survey at the end of March where lots of people were in favour of Twitter parties and readathons, so we decided to make some changes. We’ll have no giveaways and no challenges this time around but we’ll have two Twitter parties and two read-a-thons instead. The dates of these will be announced closer to the beginning of the Review Copy Cleanup.
I checked with Vicky, and she confirmed that audiobooks received for review also count for the challenge!

If you would like to join me in the challenge, just click the challenge badge at the beginning of the post. 

    Book Review: Surrender by Elana Johnson

    TITLE: Surrender 
    SERIES: Possession, Book #2
    AUTHOR: Elana Johnson 
    PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
    PUBLICATION DATE: June 5, 2012
    FORMAT: Paperback, 469 pages
    GENRE: Science Fiction/Dystopia, Young Adult
    ISBN: 9781442445710
    Forbidden love, intoxicating power, and the terror of control…

    Raine has always been a good girl. She lives by the rules in Freedom. After all, they are her father’s rules: He’s the Director. It’s because of him that Raine is willing to use her talent—a power so dangerous, no one else is allowed to know about it. Not even her roommate, Vi.

    All of that changes when Raine falls for Gunner. Raine’s got every reason in the world to stay away from Gunn, but she just can’t. Especially when she discovers his connection to Vi’s boyfriend, Zenn. Raine has never known anyone as heavily brainwashed as Vi. Raine’s father expects her to spy on Vi and report back to him. But Raine is beginning to wonder what Vi knows that her father is so anxious to keep hidden, and what might happen if she helps Vi remember it. She’s even starting to suspect Vi’s secrets might involve Freedom’s newest prisoner, the rebel Jag Barque....

    MY REVIEW:

    I received this ARC from the publisher in exchange for an honest review. I did not receive any compensation for my review, and the views expressed herein are my own.

    This series just keeps getting better and better!

    Surrender is the second book in the Possession series. Until now, the novella, Regret, was my favourite in the series but that one just got bumped into second place! This latest installment in the series focuses on the city of Freedom, which is actually a misnomer – the residents don’t actually have any Freedom! Rather, Director Van Hightower makes all the choices for them. The two central characters to the story are Raine Hightower and Gunner Jameson.

    Raine is Director Van Hightower’s 17 year-old daughter. She is Vi’s flatmate and is ordered to spy on Vi and send reports to Assistant Director Thane Myers. However, Raine is actually working both sides, much the way that Zenn is. In an effort to make her own choices, she joined the Insiders about a year ago. She always wears gloves because of her talent, which is the ability to “touch and see.” She can “drain” someone’s wants out of their mind and project them onto a screen, and she can also see what would be the result of someone getting their heart’s desire.

    Raine’s match is Cannon, who is a Seer. When that prophetic part of him takes over, he has no recollection of what he says but he knows that what he says is important. Although they are best friends, Raine and Cannon do not have romantic feelings for each other.

    Gunner is Number One on Director Hightower’s list, and he has a rare and powerful voice talent that he can use to coerce people to do what he says. The Association, naturally, wants Gunner to work for them and are eager to monopolize his talent but the Insiders want him on their side. When he joins the Insiders, he learns that his crush for the past year – Raine Hightower – is to be his main contact and trainer on the Inside. His flatmate, Zenn Bower, warns him to get and stay on Thane Myers’ good side.

    The Insiders must rescue Jag and help him to escape from Freedom. The only problem is that Freedom is surrounded by towering walls that have an invisible tech-barrier extending above them that forms an arching dome over the city. It will take all four of them – Raine, Gunner, Vi, and Zenn – to complete this mission.

    I loved Raine and Gunner! Great chemistry between those two!! Check out this excerpt:

    "When his lips met mine, the oxygen in my lungs ignited. I expected dark images to form from the contact, and when they didn't, I relaxed into him even more.

    By the time he pulled away, my whole body vibrated.

    "I'm sorry, Hightower," he whispered out loud. "That wasn't right. Or fair."

    I didn't know how to respond. I wanted to kiss him again, wrong, unfair, whatever. So I did. He let me for a few seconds, long enough to make me want to kiss him forever and short enough to make me miss his mouth when he moved away."

    That scene is totally swoon-worthy!

    I also loved the tender scenes between Raine and her match, Cannon. Although not in love with each other, they clearly do love each other and it was great to see a genuine platonic friendship.

    In Possession, the first book in the series, I found the world-building a little confusing. I am really pleased to see that Johnson has provided a lot more depth to the characters and their inter-relations in Surrender. We learn more about both the Association and the Resistance, as well as Freedom. Johnson even provides some back-story on “The Great Episode,” which is the event that nearly destroyed Earth and how the Thinkers came to be in control. More parts of the puzzle are falling into place, and Johnson has really built up the intrigue and suspense for the next book in the series.

    Overall, I really enjoyed this book which is my new favourite in the series! I am anticipating that the next book will be even better!!

    Monday, July 23, 2012

    High Summer Read-a-Thon: Wrap-up Post #HSreadathon


    This is my wrap-up post for the High Summer Read-A-Thon!

    I did accomplish my reading goals! I finished the two books that I wanted to finish, and I started the two books that I wanted to start! I actually nearly finished my third book, Cinder, and had just 40 minutes left to listen on the audiobook!


    Books Finished:

    (Possession, Book #2)
    by Elana Johnson
    REVIEW TO FOLLOW

    The Road
    by Cormac McCarthy
    MY REVIEW


    Started But Not Finished:
     
    by Jodi Picoult & Samantha Van Leer
    [reading]
     
    by Marissa Meyer
    [listening]

    Total Pages Read: 431 pages
    Total Minutes Listened: 10 hours, 12 minutes, 18 seconds
    Mini-Challenges Completed: 2/2

    For some, that doesn't sound like a lot but, for me, that's about my limit because I'm really short on time to myself. Gone are the days when I can read a book a night! Ah, such is life with young kids!


    Thanks again to Michelle at Seasons of Reading for hosting this read-a-thon, and also to Nova and Laura who hosted mini-challenges and giveaways!

    See you at the next read-a-thon!

    Sunday, July 22, 2012

    High Summer Read-a-Thon: Book Snob Mini-Challenge #HSreadathon


    Laura at Book Snob is hosting this mini-challenge.

    Here are the details:
    Take one aspect of your book and show an illustration/picture/photo for it.  Then explain it briefly so we know the connection to the book you are reading.
    I did my mini-challenge on this book:

    by Cormac McCarthy


    Since the setting of this book is post-apocalyptic America, I am including below some renditions of what the Earth might look like:



    (this last one isn't actually America, but is supposed to be London)


    Pretty frightening, isn't it? It gives me shudders!


     Thanks, Laura, for hosting this mini-challenge!

    Winners of Prince Charming Must Die and Happily Never After by Ken Brosky and Isabella Fontaine


    Hi, everyone!



    The lucky winners of both Prince Charming Must Die and Happily Never After (Books #1 and #2 of The Grimm Chronicles) by Ken Brosky and Isabella Fontaine are:
    a Rafflecopter giveaway

    Congratulations to Seyma D., joannie, Hope J., Sarika P., and Lisa C.! I have sent each of you an email, and you have 48 hours to claim your prize.

    If any prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be drawn.

    Thanks to everyone who stopped by to enter!

    There is still time to enter these giveaways (just click on the badges below):

    Canada/US only - ends July 25th


    Canada/US only - ends July 27th


    International - ends July 31st

    $100 Visa Card Giveaway!
    Canada/US - ends August 24th
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