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Thursday, February 28, 2013

Book Review - Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman by Dorothy Sterling

TITLE: Freedom Train: The Story of Harriet Tubman
SERIES: Scholastic Biographies
AUTHOR: Dorothy Sterling 
PUBLISHER: Scholastic Paperbacks
PUBLICATION DATE: May 1, 1987 (first published 1954)
FORMAT: Paperback, 192 pages
GENRE: Non-fiction, Biography
ISBN: 9780590436281
Born into slavery, young Harriet Tubman knew only hard work and hunger. Escape seemed impossible--certainly dangerous. Yet Harriet did escape North, by the secret route called the Underground Railroad. Harriet didn't forget her people. Again and again she risked her life to lead them on the same secret, dangerous journey.


I read this biography aloud to my children. The timing worked out well because it is Black History Month.

Harriet Tubman is an inspiring heroine! Despite having a hard life born into slavery, being beaten by her masters, and surviving a serious head wound that should have killed her, she went on to accomplish great things. She single-handedly brought over 300 slaves to freedom through the Underground Railroad. It is astonishing that she eluded detection with 19 trips across slave territory. We laughed at the mention of Harriet sleeping on a bench beneath a “wanted” poster for her capture. I firmly believe that she had divine intervention helping her along the way.

"I was conductor of the Underground Railroad for eight years, and I can say what most conductors can't say – I never ran my train off the track and I never lost a passenger."

Sterling’s account of Harriet Tubman’s life was fascinating, and my kids and I loved it! Highly recommended!!

#13 for my Monthly Mix-up Mania: 2013 to 2015 Edition   
Letter F for my 2013 A to Z Reading Challenge  

#20 for my Five-Year Reading Challenge: A Non-Fiction Adventure   

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Leap into Books Giveaway Hop: February 28th to March 7th (Canada/US)

Hi, everyone!

Welcome to Stop #149 of the Leap into Books Giveaway Hop!

This blog hop is being hosted by Kathy at I'm A Reader, Not A Writer
and co-hosted by Jinky is Reading.

Over 150 blogs are offering a book giveaway, and we are all linked up together so that you can easily hop from one giveaway to another! The hop runs from Thursday, February 28th through Thursday, March 7th.

Details of my giveaway:

Winner will receive a brand-new paperback copy of Eleven on Top by Janet Evanovich! I haven't read this one yet, but I somehow ended up with two copies!

TITLE: Eleven on Top
SERIES: Stephanie Plum, Book #11 
AUTHOR: Janet Evanovich
PUBLISHER: St. Martin's Paperbacks
PUBLICATION DATE: June 20, 2006 (first published 2005)
FORMAT: Paperback, 321 pages
GENRE: Mystery
ISBN: 9780312985349
Stephanie Plum is thinking her career as a fugitive apprehension agent has run its course. She's been shot at, spat at, cussed at, fire-bombed, mooned, and attacked by dogs. Stephanie thinks it's time for a change. So she quits. She wants something safe and normal. But the kind of trouble she had at the bail bonds office can't compare to the kind of trouble she finds herself facing now...

Stephanie is stalked by a maniac returned from the grave for the sole purpose of putting her into a burial plot of her own. He's killed before, and he'll kill again if given the chance. Caught between staying far away from the bounty hunter business and staying alive, Stephanie reexamines her life and the possibility that being a bounty hunter is the solution rather than the problem. After disturbingly brief careers at the button factory, Kan Klean Dry Cleaners, and Cluck-in-a-Bucket, Stephanie takes an office position in security, working for Ranger, the sexiest, baddest bounty hunter and businessman on two continents. Tempers and temperatures rise as competition ratchets up between the two men in her life--her on-again, off-again boyfriend, tough Trenton cop Joe Morelli, and her boss, Ranger. Can Stephanie Plum take the heat? Can you?

Since I am shipping this book myself, I am going to have to limit this giveaway to Canada/US mailing addresses only.

  • You may enter only once!
  • You must be 18 years of age or older.
  • You must be a follower of Darlene's Book Nook on Google Friend Connect (see widget on the left-hand side or the link at the top of this column).
  • The giveaway will end on Friday, March 8th at 12:00 AM, Central Standard Time.
  • Rafflecopter will choose the winner using
  • The winner will be notified by email and will have 48 hours to claim the prize.
  • If a prize is not claimed within 48 hours, a new winner will be selected through Rafflecopter. 

To enter this giveaway, fill in the Rafflecopter entry form below.
This giveaway will end at 12:00 AM EST on March 8, 2013.
a Rafflecopter giveaway

And don't forget to keep hopping for more chances to win:

#WaitingOnWednesday: Bang by Lisa McMann @lisa_mcmann @SimonPulseCA

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:

SERIES: Visions, Book #2
AUTHOR: Lisa McMann 
PUBLISHER: Simon Pulse
FORMAT: Hardcover, 256 pages
GENRE: Young Adult, Fantasy, Paranormal
ISBN: 9781442466258

No synopsis available yet!


 I just finished the first book in the series, Crash, and really enjoyed it! Can't wait to read more Sawyer!!

 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!

Audiobook Review: Crash by Lisa McMann

TITLE: Crash
SERIES: Visions, Book #1
AUTHOR: Lisa McMann 
NARRATOR: Allyson Ryan
PUBLISHER: Simon & Schuster Audio
PUBLICATION DATE: January 8, 2013
FORMAT: Unabridged audiobook, 5 hrs and 18 mins
GENRE: Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal
ISBN: 9781442357587
If what you see is what you get, Jules is in serious trouble. The suspenseful first in a series from the New York Times bestselling author of the Wake trilogy.

Jules lives with her family above their restaurant, which means she smells like pizza most of the time and drives their double-meatball-shaped food truck to school. It’s not a recipe for popularity, but she can handle that.

What she can’t handle is the recurring vision that haunts her. Over and over, Jules sees a careening truck hit a building and explode...and nine body bags in the snow.

The vision is everywhere—on billboards, television screens, windows—and she’s the only one who sees it. And the more she sees it, the more she sees. The vision is giving her clues, and soon Jules knows what she has to do. Because now she can see the face in one of the body bags, and it’s someone she knows. Someone she has been in love with for as long as she can remember.

In this riveting start to a gripping series from New York Times bestselling author Lisa McMann, Jules has to act—and act fast—to keep her vision from becoming reality.


I received this audiobook 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. 

Crash is about a 16 year-old girl named Jules DeMarco, whose family runs an Italian restaurant. Her brother, Trey, is 16 months older than her, and her sister, Rowan, is 16 months younger. Their father has a history of mental illness and suffers from depression and is a hoarder. His father also suffered from depression, which ultimately resulted in his suicide. They live in the apartment above their restaurant, and their mother takes charge of running the family business, since her husband sometimes doesn’t even get out of bed.

Jules is plagued by a vision that appears everywhere she looks: On the television, billboards, windows, street signs, and more. A snow plow crashes into a building, which results in an explosion, and then nine body bags appear in the snow. One of the bags isn’t zipped up all the way, and she sees the face of her childhood crush, Sawyer Angotti.

Jules and Sawyer were best friends all through grade school. Sawyer’s parents also run an Italian restaurant in the same neighbourhood. It wasn’t until seventh grade that their parents discovered their friendship and forbade the kids from maintaining contact with each other. Now, in light of this vision that she is having, Jules feels compelled to warn Sawyer. But how can she do that without sounding like she is insane? Interestingly, when Jules watches her visions on the PVR, she can pause and rewind and watch frame by frame. She becomes obsessed with trying to piece this puzzle together, and she cleverly dissects the vision to look for clues. Little by little, she finds hints that lead her to not just where the crash is going to take place but also the exact time. If only she can figure out which day, she may be able to stop it from happening and save her friend’s life.

McMann writes in such a way that I could completely identify with Jules. My heart broke for her loss of friendship with Sawyer, and her feelings never wavered even after many years had gone by. It is so unfair that Jules and Sawyer were not permitted to be friends just because their parents were business competitors. We find out later on that there is more to this feud.

What was integral to the story was family. So many authors write about kids, who do not value family ties. I love that McMann portrayed the DeMarco siblings as a tightly-knit trio. Jules’ best friend is her big brother, Trey, and I love that! Throughout the book, we see examples of their love and concern for each other. It was so nice to see.

Sawyer is utterly swoon-worthy, and I made the mistake of listening to the end of the book while driving. I was totally blubbering, and I caution listeners to keep a box of tissues nearby.

Overall, I really enjoyed the book and McMann has hooked me into wanting to read more from this new four-book series. The next one, Bang, is scheduled to be released in October 2013, and I can’t wait to read it! McMann is a new-to-me author, but I can assure you that I am planning to read more of her work.

I have to add that I just love the cover! It is simple but effective.

Narrator Allyson Ryan is also new-to-me, and it took me a bit to warm to her interpretation of Jules. It almost seemed as though she was trying too hard to sound the part. However, by mid-way through the book, she grew on me and I liked her more and more!


4 stars!! It was really good, and you should add it to your TBR list. A big thanks to Simon Audio for the opportunity to review this audiobook!

This book qualifies as: 

#15 for my 2013 Outdo Yourself Reading Challenge
#15 for my 2013 Read-a-Latte Challenge
#7 for my 2013 Quick Fix Challenge 
#12 for my Monthly Mix-up Mania: 2013 to 2015 Edition    
#6 for my Review Copy Cleanup 3.0: February 2013

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Book Review: Three Graves Full by Jamie Mason

TITLE: Three Graves Full
AUTHOR: Jamie Mason 
PUBLISHER: Gallery Books 
PUBLICATION DATE: February 12, 2013
FORMAT: Hardcover, 307 pages
GENRE: Thriller
ISBN: 9781451685039
For fans of the Coen brothers’ films or for those who just love their thrillers with a dash of sharp humor—an engaging and offbeat story about a man driven to murder, who then buries the body in his backyard only to discover that there are two other shallow graves on his property.

"There is very little peace for a man with a body buried in his backyard.”

But it could always be worse. . . .

More than a year ago, mild-mannered Jason Getty killed a man he wished he’d never met. Then he planted the problem a little too close to home. But just as he’s learning to live with the undeniable reality of what he’s done, police unearth two bodies on his property—neither of which is the one Jason buried.

Jason races to stay ahead of the consequences of his crime and while chaos reigns on his lawn, his sanity unravels, snagged on the agendas of a colorful cast of strangers. A jilted woman searches for her lost fiancĂ©, a fringe-dweller runs from a past that’s quickly gaining on him, and a couple of earnest local detectives piece it together with the help of a volunteer police dog — all of them in the wake and shadow of a dead man who had it coming. As the action unfolds, each discovers that knowing more than one side of the story doesn't necessarily rule out a deadly margin of error.


I received this book 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 debut sounded so promising, but I struggled with this one.

The protagonist, Jason Getty, is plagued with nightmares over a murder that he committed and got away with. He cannot even bear to look in his own backyard, where the body is buried. Some landscapers are working on his yard, and one of them rings the doorbell and asks Jason to come take a look at something. Right away, Jason fears that his dirty little secret is out. Only, it’s not! The landscapers have unearthed the remains of a different body that was buried under his bedroom window. When the forensic team comes out, they find another body buried on the other side of the house. Just how long will it be before Jason’s secret is uncovered, and what will he do to ensure that it will stay buried forever?

I like dark tales and flawed characters, and this book sounded like it would be right up my alley. The premise of the story sounded so good, but I had a really hard time getting into it. It took me nearly a month to finish reading it because it failed to hold my interest. I believe that my inability to become immersed in the story was due to the fact that I did not really care for any of the characters. Don’t get me wrong – I’m not saying that I have to like a character to enjoy the story. Some of my favourite books are because I loved to hate the villain! I just didn’t care enough about the characters to feel strongly about them one way or the other.

#11 for my Monthly Mix-up Mania: 2013 to 2015 Edition    

Monday, February 25, 2013

Winner of the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop

Hi, everyone!

The lucky winner of the Random Acts of Kindness Giveaway Hop is:
Congratulations to Casi C.! I have sent 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 - ends February 27th

Worldwide - ends February 28th

 Worldwide - ends March 1st

Winner of Radiant by Christina Daley

Hi, everyone!

The lucky winner of Radiant by Christina Daley is:
Congratulations to Hollow M.! I have sent 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 - ends February 27th

Worldwide - ends February 28th

 Worldwide - ends March 1st

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Stacking The Shelves - February 24, 2013

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 the Mid-Winters Eve Giveaway Hop hosted by the author:

Dangerous Love
(The Fitzgerald Family, Book #4)
by E.B. Walters

Thanks again, Ednah!

I won this autographed hardcover in a Free Book Friday Fiction Giveaway:

by M.C. Planck

Thanks, again, to the folks at Free Book Friday!  

I received this hardcover as a complimentary gift for participating in a survey hosted by the publisher:

(All Souls, Book #1)
by Deborah Harkness

Thanks again, Penguin Canada!   



by Noble Smith

Thanks again, Jean & Noble!

I received these digital ARCs for review from the publisher through Edelweiss:

 The End Games by T. Michael Martin
Another Little Piece by Kate Karyus Quinn

Thanks again, Edelweiss & HarperCollins/HarperTeen!

I won this Kindle e-book in the For the Love of Swoon Hop hosted by Ashley at Book Nerd:

(Shatter Me, Book #2)
by Tahereh Mafi

Thanks again, Ashley!

I won this Kindle e-book in the For the Love of Swoon Hop hosted by Maria at Fly High!:

(The Mortal Instruments, Book #1)
by Cassandra Clare

Thanks again, Maria!

I received these audiobooks for review from the publisher:

Agatha Raisin and the Murderous Marriage by M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin, Book #5)
Agatha Raisin and the Terrible Tourist by M.C. Beaton (Agatha Raisin, Book #6)

Thanks again, Audiobook Jukebox & AudioGO!

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!
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