October 29, 2010

review: Angel of Death Row

Angel of Death Row
author:  Andrea D. Lyon
I have been a long-time fan of Law and Order and all its spin-offs.  Needless to say, their lawyers are prosecutors;  Andrea Lyon is not.  She is a defense attorney who had her start as a Public Defendor.  This memoir, therefore, gave me a viewpoint of a different kind of attorney. 

Lyon's clients are poor, downtrodden, damaged people and despised by the public.   Andrea fights the establishment, fights racism, fights unjust judges.   She goes to court in capital cases knowing her clients most likely are guilty of serious atrocious crimes;  it is in her DNA to argue against the death penalty.

Nineteen times  she has taken these capital cases through the penalty phase and won them all.

Lyon has written an unforgettable memoir;  she explains the nuances of the law that make it easy for the reader to understand.  She describes several cases and clients --- she makes you care.  She is a much better person than I,  she is full of empathy and humor.

Highly recommended!

FSB Associates sent me this book for my honest opinion.  No monetary compensation.

Friday Blog Hops - October 29

Good weekend to everyone!  Homecoming at school, Halloween, then a brand new month.

Today's Book Blogger Hop asks "What is the one bookish thing you would love to have, no matter the cost?" Easy:  a built-in wall of bookshelves.

Follow Me Friday asks  "If you have, or would have a daughter, what book would you want your daughter to read?"  My daughter and daughter-in-law are the age of most of you ;-)     I pass on some of the books I think they'd enjoy.  I saw Daughter had  Hunger Games on her wish list at Paperback Swap; told her I have all three books in the triology and lent them to her.  She finished all three in two weekends (not during the week as she's a full-time student).   Of course, an essential book that has been handed down hundreds of generations:  Basic Instructions Before Leaving Earth - the Bible.

There's a giveaway to Rick Springfield's Late, Late at Night, in the next post, so scroll on down!
In the meantime, hello to all the li'l goblins knocking on your door.

October 28, 2010

Late, Late at Night Giveaway - Closed

Winner is Steph the Bookworm.  She is being emailed.
 Who is Rick Springfield?
Singer and songwriter.  Grammy award winner for Jessie's Girl. 
An actor.  Heart-throb Dr. Noah Drake on General Hospital

Entertainment Weekly says 
"Rick Springfield has proven himself a man of so many talents... soft-rock hitmaker, swoon-worthy soap star, racy pay cable guest -- is there anything Rick can't do?"

Most important of all, Rick is a person who has the same thing many of us are affected by .... depression.   He's human like the rest of us.   Rick's memoir Late, Late at Night opens with three-minute pop tune he wrote when he turned 50 "My Depression."   In his self-deprecatory way, he suggests that's enough for those with a short attention span.  The rest of the book is a wonderful memoir, a reflection of his life.  He made me smile, laugh, and even wipe away some tears.   

Touchstone, Simon and Schuster has given me this book to Giveaway, so that one of you can also enjoy reading about Rick late, late at night.   
In order to win, leave a comment and include your email address if it isn't in your profile.  One entry per person.  The winner will be drawn by random.com on November 11th.  The winner will be emailed and given 48 hours to reply.    In the meantime, meet Rick here, and pick up a copy at your favorite bookstore. 

blog tour: Call Me Kate

Call Me Kate: Meeting the Molly Maguires
author:  Molly Roe (Mary Garrity Slaby)
publisher:  Tribute Books

Katie is a young girl in Pennsylvania around the time of the Civil War.  After an accident in the coal mines and her realization that the conditions there are more than simply UNFAIR but extremely dangerous, she learns about the Molly Maguires.  Her friend Con has joined them.  What about Kate?

When I was invited to join in the Blog Tour, I accepted eagerly for several reasons.   My ancestors way way back settled in eastern Pennsylvania.  A great-grandfather fought in the Civil War.   As a former history teacher, I wasn't familiar with the Molly Maguires although I knew about problems between laborers and the bosses.    Encyclopedia.com explains it was a secret organization of Irish-Americans which "arose to combat the oppressive industrial and living conditions."  Several pictures and articles are at that link.

Call Me Kate is a wonderful historical fiction, well-researched, with every-day-life of the 1860's, tragedies, bigots, thrills, and a dilemma on what is the right thing to do.   Reading this during the time of the rescue of the miners in Chile made me more aware of mines.   The author plans a second book Sarah's Story: The Curse of Centralia focusing on Kate's younger sister.   This one I'll pick up too!

disclaimer:  received as an eBook from the publisher.  No monetary compensation.  My honest opinion in this review.

October 26, 2010

review: Delirium

Synopsis from GoodreadsBefore scientists found the cure, people thought love was a good thing. Things are different now. Scientists are able to eradicate love, and the governments demands that all citizens receive the cure upon turning eighteen.

Excellent writing! In addition to the main story about Lena who lives in a futuristic Portland, Maine, the author Lauren Oliver has quotations at the beginning of each chapter: rules from the Book of Shhh (The Safety Health and Happiness Handbook), an elementary school song-prayer about the atomic elements, Psalms and proverbs rewritten, and other poems. Lots of thought went into these quotations-of-the-future.

The story itself is excellent -- it goes along the vein of Big Brother is Watching You, with regulators and raids going on. Add the mothers and aunts who  portray the Stepford Wives, blank faces, little emotion. 

That's the whole purpose of the world Lena lives in: erase the disease known as amor delirium nervosa, the disease of  love.

The book is not available until February 2011, but you can go to Delirium's website to read Chapter One,  a Guide to Your Evaluation (the evaluation all teens go through before they are cured),  and some Testimonials of those who have been cured.  

title:  Delirium
author:  Lauren Oliver
publisher:  Harper Teen
available:  February 1, 2011
review copy from Around the World Tours 
my rating 5 stars out of 5

October 22, 2010

Friday Blog Hops

Book Blogger Hop Today's question on the Friday Book Blogger Hop is
"Where is your favorite place to read? Curled up on the sofa, in bed, in the garden?"

My favorite place to read and relax is in my La-Z-Boy chair, with Button, my 16-year-old cat on my lap. I also like reading in bed. Again, with Button lying next to me or even on my chest! I always have a book in my car to take in to restaurants if I'm eating alone.

asks What book are you reading? What book is that?

I'm reading and enjoying Angel of Death Row by Andrea Lyon. It is her memoir of a death penalty defense lawyer.  Review coming soon!

Gotta go relax in my La-Z-Boy and finish the last two chapters.

review: Dash and Lily's Book of Dares

Dash and Lily's Book of Dares
authors:  Rachel Cohn and Daniel Levithan
published October 26, 2010
arc from Around the World Tours

One of the most delightful books of the year is Dash and Lily's Book of Dares.   Their book is a red moleskine journal, hidden on the shelves in the Strand Bookstore on Manhattan.  Dash finds this journal which challenges him to figure out the clues inside in order to go to the next place.

It is Christmas season.  Dash, a teenage Scrooge so to speak,  is jaded about the holiday,  bah-humbug!   His vocabulary is huge ... at the beginning I even turned to the title page to see for sure if this was a young adult/teen book.  He takes the book to the next place where it is picked up by Lily.  They write clues and notes back and forth and recruit their friends and relatives to pass the book from one to the other.

Lily, also a teen,  tries to find out more about Dash.  Everyone describes him as Snarly.  Lily got the nickname Shrilly when she was six;  she despises this name.  Snarly and Shrilly, what a match!

I adored the authors' writing, two POVs, two styles.    They describe a Pixar movie Collation.   Wish such a movie existed!  When Dash is asked what he wants for Christmas, his friend tells him to look in his Amazonian Hope Chest.   "My what???"    Oh ... my wish list on Amazon.

Put this book in your Amazonian Hope Chest.   You won't regret it.

October 17, 2010

review: Huck

subtitle:  The Remarkable True Story of How One Lost Puppy Taught a Family--and a Whole Town--About Hope and Happy Endings
author Janet Elder

The subtitle (above) tells the story of an adorable puppy named Huck, a reddish-brown toy poodle owned by the author's son, Michael.   Michael begged for seven full years for a puppy;  his parents had many many reasons to say "no."   Santa said "no" too.  
After Michael's mother, the author, had a diagnosis of breast cancer;  they decided to adopt a puppy after her cancer treatments were over.   Huck brought much joy.  Janet opens the book, "I embraced a lot of talismans when I had cancer --- but no talisman was as powerful as a dog named Huck."
Months went by;  the family decided to go to Florida for vacation.  They left Huck with Janet's sister in New Jersey despite some foreboding feelings on Janet's part. 
They get on the plane for Tampa.  Here is where the book jumped the shark for me.  Three full pages telling about Tampa's history and geography.   I felt the author was trying to pad her book to make it thicker.   Then twenty-six more pages about their vacation. The family spent only 30 hours in Tampa before getting on the plane.
The subtitle of the book tells the rest of the story ......  lost, hope, and happy endings.
This is a very sweet story of how the people in four small towns in New Jersey helped a family with a lost puppy.

October 12, 2010

review: Stork

Deciding who gets pregnant, what an ingriguing topic!
debut YA novel by Wendy Delsol
received from Around the World ARC Tours

Goodreads Synopsis
Oh baby! A hip heroine discovers that she has the ability to decide who gets pregnant in this witty YA blend of romance and the supernatural.
Sixteen-year-old Katla has just moved from Los Angeles to t
he sticks of Minnesota. As if it weren’t enough that her trendy fashion sense draws stares, she learns to her horror that she’s a member of an ancient order of women who decide to whom certain babies will be born.

Katla saw essences above potential-pregnant people:  one is a newlywed waitress, another is a high school girl.   She dreamed about the baby-to-be. Then she made her decision.  I had to smile at how Kat got the person she chose to realize she just might possibly be pregnant.

I wanted more focus on how Kat worked with her recently-discovered powers and how she made her ultimate decision.  At first I found the relationships Kat has with  two guys Jack and Will to be an interruption.   However, it turns out the relationships are relevant to the plot. 
I will pick up the author's next book Frost (not out until Fall 2011) because I'm interested in more details about Katla's function as a Stork.  Possible future plots that I'm imagining:  how will Kat deal with a woman who is struggling with infertility?  What will she do if people find out she has these powers and try to influence her? 
A digression:  I'm beginning to notice many YA books involve moving from one town to another and meeting new people.   I guess that's to help the plot:  girl meets boy, girl meets other girls in the high school, girl copes with the changes. 

October 7, 2010

Time for a New Mug

Book Blogger Hop

After reading today's Book Blogger Hop question, I decided it is time for a new coffee mug so I wandered over to  CSN Stores.  They have everything from bar stools to coffee mugs.  This bar stool looks fabulous and comfy, with a back rest and it swivels!  Wouldn't you love to sit on this at a counter typing away or reading?
I could spend hours browsing in the CSN Stores while seated on this bar stool, but first ... a new coffee mug or two.  I'm fussy about how I drink my coffee,  the mug must be just right and perfect ceramic.   I love Polish pottery -- every plate, bowl, and mug I own is different.  

Now the hard decision is which mug or mugs....  I already have a few bubble-shaped mugs like this one. 
To answer the Book Blogger Hop,  What's your favorite beverage while reading or blogging?  The answer is simple!  And my blog's name gives a big hint.  Coffee!  In a mug that is just right to keep the warmth.

 Disclaimer: I'm receiving a gift certificate from CSN for this post. Will be using it for some mugs.

Temple Grandin

I usually don't participate in memes, but this one is intriguing.   Life is not all about books!

Monday, I had a free coupon from Redbox good for one night only (it comes via text the first Monday of the month).   So I chose a movie I'd never heard of, Temple Grandin.
It is a true story about a young girl with autism. A great film!  Turns out others think so too;  it won seven Emmy awards.  I won't tell you more,  but for a nice evening watching, check it out.

It left me feeling good, because earlier that day I had been thinking they don't make any more good movies.  Any more recommendations?

October 6, 2010

review: Zombies vs Unicorns

wallpaper from Simon & Schuster

Zombies vs Unicorns
editors:  Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier
arc from Around the World Arc Tours

Anthologies are fun to read for the simple reason if you don't like one story, the chances are you'll like another.  There are a dozen stories.  Meg Cabot's Princess Prettypants is a unicorn that breathes jasmine or sulphur -- a fun read with Liz's parents making me laugh.    The Third Virgin by Kathleen Duey left me wanting more of the story.   Diana Peterfreund's The Care and Feeding of the Baby Killer Unicorn was an unusual read (funadmentalist parents here and lots of talk about God) until it ended in a cliff-hanger (aaargh!), but that leaves us with our imagination to guess what happens next.  Cassandra Clare's Cold Hands left me shivering, brrrrrrrrr.

Tor.com has an  interview with the cover artist Josh Cochran.  Well worth reading, especially if you're familiar with Bosch,  I'm not talking about Michael Connelly's character.

I intially had problems with the debate between the two author-editors, Holly Black and Justine Larbalestier -- the fault is mine, not theirs.  I didn't expect a debate (duh on me -- of course there's a debate with the vs. in the title!). I'm not familiar with either author, but soon I'll be reading their books, as well as the other authors in this anthology.  It was a great introduction into everyone's styles of writing.

  Parajunkee's Follow Me Friday asks how many reviews we like to do a week.   I'm comfortable with one or two.  

October 1, 2010

Help Birth a Novel

 Help Birth a Novel

Chelsea of the Page Flipper and author of Rae pointed out a short story The Dream Thief by Scott Tracey.   After reading it, she wanted more!   She has started a petition.   I agree with Chelsea.   Try the story ...   and if you like it, here's the petition.