Ashes of a Black Frost (11/1) | The Shattered Vine (11/3)
Coming soon:

drey's Giveaway Policy

FTC Disclosure: I am an affiliate at IndieBound, The Book Depository, and Amazon, and any purchases made by clicking on covers or links here may result in monetary compensation.

2011 New Authors Challenge...

December 29, 2010
This one's hosted by Jackie over at Literary Escapism, and I don't know why I didn't participate in 2010. Oh well, there's always next year--which starts in 3 days!!!

As always, there are rules (these are from Jackie, so "I" is her, not me!):
  1. The challenge will run from January 1, 2011 through December 31, 2011.
  2. Since this is an author challenge, there is no restriction on choosing your novels. They can definitely be from other challenges. However, the authors must be new to you and, preferably from novels. Anthologies are a great way to try someone new, but only a third of your new authors can be from anthologies.
  3. I want this to be an easy challenge, so you can pick to do either 15, 25 or 50 new authors. It all depends on how fast you read and how adventurous you want to be. For me, I’m trying another 50 new authors. If you reach your goal halfway through the year, don’t stop. Any new author you try can be added to Mr. Linky. We all want to know about your new experience.
  4. After reading your new author, write your review and then come back here and add your link to Mr. Linky. Make sure you include your name and the author, but adding the title is completely up to you.
  5. Bloggers or Non-Bloggers alike are welcome.

Doesn't sound too difficult, does it? And I already have a few authors to start with (*blush*), namely those I haven't finished reading from 2010... Anyway. I'm signing up for 15 new authors 25 new authors (since I just threw together the shell of my 2011 books list and most of the authors so far are new-to-me). So... Authors: If you're out there, and you find this post, and you're not listed on my reviews tab, feel free to holler at me and say "read my book(s)!!"... *grin*

You're all welcome to join me in this challenge, I'm sure it'll be fun, and (of course!) the more the merrier!

2011 Challenge: Full Steampunk Ahead!!

It's time to start thinking about what challenges I'd like to participate in for 2011... I saw this one at Book ♥ Soulmates and thought "hmm... I've got a few books on my want-to-read list that qualify, so why not?" Now I hope I can finish this! *grin* Steampunk's relatively new on the list of genres that I read, maybe it'll be a new favorite?

The Rules:
  • Challenge STARTS January 1, 2011 and ENDS December 31, 2011
  • Sign up by filling your info in the Mr. Linky at Book ♥ Soulmates.
  • Read at least 10 Steampunk books this year. Remember, the more the merrier!
  • The books can be print, ebooks, and audio books.
  • Reread books ARE allowed, BUT, the review must be rewritten. You cannot use old reviews.
  • Challenges are open to non-bloggers. A review must be written and posted on a literary site, such as GoodReads, Amazon, etc.
  • Grab a button to show your Challenge spirit!
  • Lastly, have fun reading!

Won't you come and join me in this? :)

Winner: Effigy!

Thanks, everyone, for all the suggestions on what you'd serve Indiana Jones if he showed up to dinner... :) Randomizer went to work on picking a winner, and it is Zoë, who said:
I would serve... rattlesnake? Just kidding, I'm a vegetarian, so a nice wholesome veggie stirfry- he's got to be a little adventurous right?

Congratulations, Zoë! Email's been sent, please reply with your mailing information.

Merry Christmas!

December 24, 2010

Merry Christmas, everyone! And Happy New Year!! I will be taking some time off from the blog (except for winner announcements, and a few random posts), but will return in 2011.

Safe travels to those who are heading out or back home. See you in the new year!

** Tree art from

Winner - Sundays at Tiffany's!

December 23, 2010
No, I didn't forget. I was buried in baking & shopping & wrapping paper... BUT I have dug myself out, and am now ready to announce the lucky duck who'll be receiving a copy of Sundays at Tiffany's, courtesy of Hachette Book Group. According to Randomizer, that duck is...

Comment #22 - Mysharona!!

Congratulations! Email has been sent, please reply with your mailing information before the end of day Sunday. Thank you for stopping by!

Review: 159. Rosemary and Rue by Seanan McGuire...

I picked this one up on a whim--I liked the cover, and thought the lettering was cool. What can I say, my whims are panning out awesomely this year!

rosemary and rueTitle: Rosemary and Rue (October Daye #1)
Author: Seanan McGuire
ISBN-13: 9780756405717
Publisher: Penguin Group, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Purchased

drey's thoughts:
October "Toby" Daye lost everything fourteen years ago when she's spelled into a fish. Yup, a fish. So what's the first thing she does when the spell lets her go? Why, ignore all the fae of course. I mean, they're the ones who did it to her. Not that they usually treat her any better--she's only half fae after all.

Then she gets dragged into a binding, by--guess who?--a fae (of course). And now Toby has to revisit old haunts and old friends, and figure out who she can trust. Precious few, as it turns out. Keeping her secret close to her vest, she tries to find the killer(s) before they find her. And boy, are they looking hard.

Rosemary and Rue is fast-paced and action-packed. Toby is more vulnerable than kick-ass, but still has a mouth on her. You guys know how much I like sass, right? Well, I think Seanan McGuire wrote her just right. *grin* You'll love this is if you like urban fantasy with mystery, murder, and mayhem at its heart.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

December's FEATURED AUTHOR: Gifts...

December 22, 2010
'Tis the season... December's Featured Author Theresa Danley swings by to share some thoughts on gifts...

For myself, this time of year brings out the season of gift giving and family traditions. I’m quite certain I am not alone. And for anyone with anything to sell it may very well have become their tradition to target the rest of us summoned to the spirit of gift giving. But don’t be so down on the marketers - we all find our ways of getting Christmas dinner to the table somehow.

In regards to gifts, I certainly enjoy giving and receiving as much as the next person. These days my childhood lies only at heart and my anticipation for gifts has outgrown the expectation of toys, treats and even those dreaded clothes wrapped in pretty paper and shiny bows. Instead, I’ve come to appreciate the gifts I’ve received from others that remain wrapped in this mediocre shell that is my person. Gifts like the drive to work hard to achieve my goals which I received from my parents. Then there are those gifts that invoke feelings that can’t be contained by ribbon. How do you compare anything to the loyalty of a good dog or the serenity of a steady horse? The gifts of sisters, friendships and good neighbors are priceless and the joys of marriage and building our own family with its own traditions are unmatched by anything I’ve yet to find in this world.

There are so many things that I’ve come to appreciate that I could add to my gift list, but I certainly couldn’t go without including those gifts that seem to arrive with no name tags. If I were to lump these all under one category, they might be called talents. Some people are gifted athletes, others are gifted actors or musicians. Mine is the love of the written word. Though I may not be as gifted as others in the realms of writing, I consider it a great gift to have this avenue of expression considering I find it difficult to express myself any other way.

Most, if not all of these gifts that I hold inside can only be God-given, gifts received from the original gift giver – the giver of life. What can be more grand than the gift of our very existence? Perhaps that is the one gift most overlooked and taken for granted by us all. But maybe as we enjoy this season of giving and receiving we’ll take a moment’s pause to consider those gifts we won’t find under the Christmas tree.

Wishing everyone a Merry Christmas and a new year of exploring our inner gifts!

Merry Christmas, Theresa! And thank you so very much for bringing my Featured Author spotlight to a close for 2010. Have a wonderful 2011!

Review: 158. Nice Girls Don't Live Forever by Molly Harper...

December 21, 2010
After reading Molly Harper's Jane Jameson books 1 and 2, how could I not pick this one up?

jane jameson #3
Title: Nice Girls Don't Live Forever (Jane Jameson #3)
Author: Molly Harper
ISBN-13: 9781416589440
Paperback: 324 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Molly Harper's Jane Jameson is absolutely adorable--snark and sass and all things nice. She starts off the book by breaking things off with Gabriel. Or did she? She's not sure. To occupy herself instead of moping about, she focuses on re-opening the bookstore she inherited from Mr. Wainwright and joins Half-Moon Hollow's Chamber of Commerce, where she gets roped in by blonde-cheerleader-from-hell-turned-chamber-president to get donations for their charity event. Jane's already regretting signing up when Mr. Wainwright's nephew shows up and generally annoys the heck out of everyone.

Then weird things start happening--threatening letters, exploding deliveries, vandalism, and Jane thinks someone is trying to kill her. Who could it be? And why? After all, snark never hurt anybody... But then Andrea is kidnapped. And Jane finds herself smack dab in the middle of drama from Gabriel's past.

Nice Girls Don't Live Forever had me totally laughing out loud, and yes, I snorted. My favorite passage has to be when the front of Jane's house is smeared with durian, and she spends the day wondering what the stench is coming from. Followed really quickly by Zeb's explanation that people have been killed by ripe durians falling on them. Yep, felled by a fruit.

**going off on a tangent... I used to say that when the Portugese swung by the Sultanate of Malacca back in the 1400s, instead of using the traditional keris to fight the cannons and guns, the locals should have lobbed durians with catapults at the Portugese ships... Who knows, they might've driven them off instead of being colonized! Yes, the fruit smells that bad. But it's oh so yummy!! **done with tangent

Anyway. Back on topic. If you haven't read Molly Harper, you should. If your preference is not of the fanged variety, try her chick-lit. If it is of the fanged variety, pick this up (start with #1, Nice Girls Don't Have Fangs).

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenge: 100+, Support Your Local Library

Review: 157. Magic on the Storm by Devon Monk...

December 20, 2010
It's been a while since I picked up an Allie Beckstrom book... Figured it was time!

magic on the storm
Title: Magic on the Storm (Allie Beckstrom #4)
Author: Devon Monk
ISBN-13: 9780451463272
Paperback: 344 pages
Publisher: Penguin, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
I hate to say this, but this installment of Devon Monk's Allie Beckstrom series didn't get me all excited or enthused or even heart-pitter-pattery... What the heck?? Did I wait too long between Magic in the Shadows and this? *sigh*

Anyway. Never mind me. Allie has trouble looming. Like, T-R-O-U-B-L-E trouble. Dad-in-her-head trouble. Apocalyptic-storm-heading-towards-Portland trouble. Zayvion-plus-Allie-equals-Soul-Complements-equals-go-nuts trouble. The-Authority-is-not-all-hunky-dory-kumbaya-singing trouble. Bad-guy-Greyson-escapes trouble. Which is totally the worst because he's gunning for Allie. Or, more specifically, her dad (or, even more specifically, the sliver of her dad that's in her head). Phew. But, luckily, she has help. My favorite amongst her cadre? Stone, "her" gargoyle. He's adorable!

The action kept me reading, even when I'm going "huh?" at parts and "oh crap, it's ----- and -----'s gonna -----" at others. You know, like when you're at a horror movie and you want to yell out "no!! don't go there"? Yeah. Action notwithstanding, I thought there wasn't too much in the character-development arena, and no, I'm not counting Allie's ass-kicking (& getting ass-kicked) training. The romance? Eh. Working with the Authority? Eh. Too many "eh"s for me to be happy with this one. BUT the ending is wickedly awesome, and I will read Magic at the Gate to see how she handles that doozy.

Have you read this? What did you think?

drey's rating: 2.5/5 Better than OK

Challenges: 100+, Pub, Support Your Local Library

Winners!! Woo hoo!

December 19, 2010
Alright. I've been a slacker... Well, not really, but it sure seems that way! Where oh where does the time go??

Anyway. I have winners to announce. So, before I get distracted by yet another present that needs to be wrapped, or laundry that needs to get folded & put away, or ... You get the idea!

Hachette's Steamy Reads for Snowy Nights giveaway:
There were 128 entries for this one--whew! Unfortunately, I only get to pick 3 winners, and according to Randomizer the 4 luscious books go to...

#121 - elaing8!!
#107 - BUSY BEE!!
#85 - Tanya1224!!

Next up: drey's Top Commenter giveaway:
I really appreciate you guys for stopping by and saying something (even if it's "enter me!")... Only 9 of the 25 entered, and Randomizer picked #7--rubynreba--to get the $20 gift card. I noodled about it a bit, and decided that as she is head & shoulders above all the commenters, I'm sending one to bermudaonion as well. Thank you, so very very much, for your comments. :)

Congratulations, everybody! Emails are out, please get me your mailing information as soon as you can. Also, my giveaway for Sundays at Tiffany's ends tomorrow, and there's only 8 days left to enter for a copy of Effigy!

Review: 156. Weight of Stone by Laura Anne Gilman...

December 17, 2010
I read Laura Anne Gilman's Flesh and Fire last year, and was intrigued by the combination of magic and wine. Weight of Stone is the sequel.

weight of stone
Title: Weight of Stone (Vineart War #2)
Author: Laura Anne Gilman
ISBN-13: 9781439101452
Hardcover: 374 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Waukesha Public Library

drey's thoughts:
Weight of Stone picks up where Flesh and Fire left off... Jerzy's in trouble, and is on the lam with Ao--a trader, and Mahault--a noblewoman. Taking on the seas isn't one of his better ideas, but he's trying to find the source of the taint, because he believes that is what his master would want him to do. Too bad he can't ask, but the Washers are looking for him after the events at Aleppan.

Unfortunately, fate intervenes, and the trio acquires a fourth--Kainam, princeling from an island nation hidden from the world. His mission is to find out who has been interfering with Atakus--from his sister's murder to the firespouts that burned ships from the nearby nation of Caul. Something's not quite right, and he intends to find it before Atakus is devoured by the chaos and fear.

There is a lot of meandering back and forth in Weight of Stone. Jerzy does return to Master Malech, only to have to set off again. The Washers are still looking for him. The source of the taint is still tauntingly out of reach. And the foursome split up, then re-converge. I'm a bit confused at all the new bits and pieces introduced into this puzzle in this installment. Guess I'll have to read The Shattered Vine (coming October 2011) to find out how it all fits.

drey's rating: 3/5 Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub, Support Your Local Library

Today is Jane Austen's birthday!

December 16, 2010
IF she were alive, today would be Jane Austen's 235th birthday!! Can you imagine the candles on that cake??

Birthday Cake

Sourcebooks, the world’s leading publisher of Jane Austen fiction, is offering a unique deal to readers who want to celebrate with Jane by reading special editions of all six of Austen’s beloved novels in a 21st century format.

Special e-book editions of Pride and Prejudice, Emma, Sense and Sensibility, Northanger Abbey, Persuasion and Mansfield Park will be available for free for one day only. These celebratory editions include the full novels, plus the legendary color illustrations of the Brock brothers, originally created to accompany the books in 1898.

In addition to the Jane Austen classics, readers can also enjoy these bestselling Austen-inspired novels. The following bestselling e-books will be free on December 16th in honor of her birthday:

Eliza’s Daughter by Joan Aiken
The Darcys & the Bingleys by Marsha Altman
Mr. Darcy Takes a Wife by Linda Berdoll
What Would Jane Austen Do? by Laurie Brown
The Pemberley Chronicles by Rebecca Ann Collins
The Other Mr. Darcy by Monica Fairview
Mr. Darcy’s Diary by Amanda Grange
Mr. & Mrs. Fitzwilliam Darcy: Two Shall Become One by Sharon Lathan
Lydia Bennet’s Story by Jane Odiwe
Mr. Fitzwilliam Darcy by Abigail Reynolds

Available wherever eBooks are sold.

I definitely know what I'm doing when I get home today! *wink*

December's FEATURED AUTHOR: Theresa's favorite reads...

December 15, 2010
Today, Theresa Danley shares her all-time favorite and recently-enjoyed books with us...

I have such differing moods that it is hard for me to determine a few favorite books I’ve read. I read what I’m in the mood for – sometimes that means a little mystery or thriller, sometimes it’s something more along the lines of the old west or a great adventure. Every once in a blue moon I might even pick up a romance, and every now and again I get in the mood for something more literary.

My all time favorite book is Lonesome Dove by Larry McMurtry. However, right now I am really into thrillers. More specifically, I like James Rollins. Just about any book of his is a favorite read. I was recently introduced to Sean Ellis’ high energy, Adventures of Dodge Dalton, which I found very enjoyable. The first mystery that I recall really enjoying was A Thief of Time by Tony Hillerman and still enjoy some of his books.

I love to read about the way things were, both in fiction and in non-fiction. So again, Larry McMurtry comes to mind, but that also brings me to some older classics you might not find in print anymore by authors such as Willa Cather, John Steinbeck and Wallace Stegner. More contemporary works about the way things were that I really enjoyed were Sara Gruen’s Water For Elephants and All The Pretty Horses by Cormac McCarthy.

Finally, there is a long list of authors that are on my must read list, but just a few of them are Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child, Gary Val Tenuta, and J.A. Jance.

There are a lot of authors and books listed that I've never heard of, much less read... Guess I'll have to check some of them out! Thanks, Theresa!


December 14, 2010
I had a few giveaways to draw winners for, so before I forget or decide to wait till the next giveaway's over, here we go...

23 people entered the giveaway for Laurel McKee's The Duchess of Sin, so there are 3 copies for y'all. And those copies go to...


elaing8!  holdenj!


Leon H. Gildin's The Polski Affair goes to Jessica!

Congratulations, everyone! Emails have gone out, please reply with your mailing information.

Review: 155. The Goddess of Fried Okra by Jean Brashear...

I'd asked for a review copy of The Goddess of Fried Okra because I loved the title and the cover... I guess sometimes you just go with what you see... :)

the goddess of fried okra
Title: The Goddess of Fried Okra
Author: Jean Brashear
ISBN-13: 9780984125890
Publisher: Bell Bridge Books, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Bell Bridge Books

drey's thoughts:
In this heartwarming tale of hope, Eudora "Pea" O'Brien is buried under her grief and guilt at her sister's death, and takes off on a road trip to find the reincarnation of her sister. She doesn't go very far when she rescues a young pregnant teenager from an abusive boyfriend, finds herself a kitten, and runs over a con artist... And then her car dies. Guess life has a way of interrupting plans, huh?

Jean Brashear's The Goddess of Fried Okra is one of those books that pulls you in and doesn't let go until you're done. The story is eclectic--mentions of Conan the Barbarian sit alongside Isis and Odin's wolves. And the characters are endearing. You find yourself rooting for Pea to look up and realize that she's found something better than what she was searching for--she's found a home.

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Top commenter "THANK YOU" giveaway!

December 13, 2010
Don't know why it's taken me so long to get around to this, but... I thought I'd do a quickie giveaway for my commenters. :)

b&n gift card
I have a $20 Barnes & Noble gift card for you, IF you're listed on the Top Commenters widget on the left sidebar. Please make sure you can use it before you enter--not sure if this means US only, but please check.

To enter, comment below (ha ha) and say "I want it". Make sure there's an email address there, too, so I can contact you if you win. This one ends 6pm CST Friday, December 17th, so get to it! Good luck!

ps: If you're a fb fan of drey's library, there's a giveaway there, too... 

2010 Summary...

December 11, 2010
Can you believe 2010 is almost over? I can't. Maybe I'm just in denial? Hmm... I'm going to ignore that for now. *grin*

Year 2 of blogging about books has worked out alright, I think. I'm loving my monthly Featured Authors spotlight, and I appreciate all the authors who've taken the time to come and hang out with us. If you missed them, there's a compilation list here. For 2011, I'll continue this feature, and will re-work the interview questions so you're not completely bored out of your mind!

I did read less this year than in 2009, which is a reflection of my other priorities in life (or, as I sometimes like to refer to them, the reading-interruptions in life). I still made the 100 that I signed up for, so that's one challenge completed! And since 69 of 'em were published this year, that's another challenge completed! However, I only read 39 books from my local library, so that's a big fail. :( I also bought a ton of books. Shhhh! Don't tell the Mr.! Having a nook has made it way too easy to buy books. Maybe what I need to do for 2011 is a modified Ban on Spending Challenge? *sigh*

I still have Mt. TBR to conquer. And silly me, I keep adding to the pile. What am I doing?? I'm thinking of starting 2011 with a pledge to only read books that I've already committed to (including some ARCs that are coming soon). At least for the first quarter. What do you think? Do you have a Mt. TBR? How do you plan to conquer yours?

And I've started seeing these around, so I thought I'd share my favorite books of 2010. These are not ranked. Apparently I read quite a few books that are part of a series, so I'm listing the series too.

Single books:
1. The Lace Makers of Glenmara by Heather Barbieri
2. Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
3. Gods in Alabama by Joshilyn Jackson
4. Twice Bitten by Chloe Neill
5. Changes by Jim Butcher
6. Songs of Love and Death edited by George R.R. Martin and Gardner Dozois
7. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell

1. Jane Yellowrock by Faith Hunter
2. Elemental Assassins by Jennifer Estep (read Spider's Bite in 2009)
3. Shifters by Rachel Vincent
4. Downside Ghosts by Stacia Kane
5. Dreg City by Kelly Meding (review coming for As Lie the Dead)

What changes would you like to see for 2011? Share them here, I'm open to any and all ideas! While I'm thinking about this, maybe I should do a survey--what works for you, what doesn't, what you'd like more of, less of, etc...

Ok, survey questions are in the form below. I'd appreciate your filling it out!

I'd like to thank every one of you for stopping by and reading my blog. I appreciate that you spend precious minutes here, and I hope I deserve your attention. Have a great 2011!

Review: 154. Unclean Spirits by M.L.N. Hanover...

December 10, 2010
I picked this one up on a whim--the cover looked cool, and there was more than one book out in the series so I could binge. *blush*

unclean spiritsTitle: Unclean Spirits (Black Sun's Daughter #1)
Author: MLN Hanover
ISBN-13: 9781439143056
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2009
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

drey's thoughts:
Jayné Heller is twenty-two, aimless, and alone when she finds out that her uncle Eric is dead (murdered) and she's his heir. She also finds out that he was involved in hunting riders--beings who possess humans and take 'em over. Kinda like parasites. Yes, this means believing in demons and magic and all that stuff...

While checking out one of her new living quarters, she comes across Midian, who's a corpse-like vampiric creature who can cook like a superstar chef. And then the bad guys come a-visiting, and Jayné displays some very talented kick-ass mojo. As in, she kicks ass. Of course, she doesn't know how she does it--can we say "girl, you've got something special going on, even if you're clueless about it"?

The reason I'm not in love with this story is that there's a lot left hanging. Like Jayné's powers... The way Eric's A-Team shows up... How quickly they get from Eric's death to planning retribution on his murderer... I mean, seriously, Jayné simply trusts them when they say the bad guy's bad. I was just waiting for the tables to be turned... Also, how quickly Jayné forms an attachment to the team. Like she's some pathetic thing who'll love anyone as long as they keep her around. That so doesn't jive with the vengeful kickass heroine image, does it? Last thing--this is apparently the first in the Black Sun's Daughter series. But there's no mention anywhere about anything remotely close to what that means... Frustrating!

I'm giving the series another chance with book #2, because the world is pretty neat--riders are the reason there are non-humans like vampires, weres, etc. around. And I want to find out how Jayné deals with the aftermath of the big showdown.

drey's rating: 2.5/5 Better than just Ok

Challenges: 100+

Review: 153. The Reapers are the Angels by Alden Bell...

December 9, 2010
Alden Bell's The Reapers are the Angels has been waiting patiently for me to read it, and now I have. Add this to your winter reading if you're looking for something a little post-apocalyptic starring zombies... Or if you're just looking for something to read.

the reapers are the angels
Title: The Reapers are the Angels
Author: Alden Bell
ISBN-13: 9780805092431
ARC: 225 pages
Publisher: Henry Holt & Company, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

drey's thoughts:
The world has gone to heck in a handbasket, and fifteen-year-old Temple has to leave her pretty little lighthouse because it's not going to be safe for much longer, especially since the meatskins--that's what the zombies are called in this offering from Alden Bell--have managed to get to it. So she takes off to see what else is out there. Other than meatskins, that is...

Then she finds a group of people holed up in a city. A group trying to take things back from the meatskins, and keep civilization (as they know it) going. But when one of the men in that group attempts an assault, Temple kills him in self-defense and earns the enmity of his brother Moses, and has to leave the safety that the group represents.

Temple is an intriguing character. At times almost sweet, she's usually brusque and has no trouble saying what she means. She's got a good sense of self-preservation, and yet shows compassion. She wields her gurkha knife like she means business (which she does, because it literally can be the difference between life and death--or meatskin state) and keeps her gun as a backup because bullets are hard to come by. And as she drives north, then west, you want her to find whatever peace she is looking for, because this life is so devastatingly depressing. Yet, she has this pragmatic outlook on things, and is even at times hopeful, and you cannot help but wonder at it.

I loved Temple. Read this. Before I send meatskins after you. *grin*

drey's rating: Outstanding

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Books away!

December 8, 2010
I didn't forget!! As part of my blogoversary celebration, I'd run a comment contest for books to ship out to troops stationed overseas. Well, I gave up on counting the comments, and I had a huge pile sitting here, so I just packed 'em all up (except for the ARCs, not sure if those would be accepted)... And today, I dropped off 59 books at the USO office in downtown Milwaukee. Here's a pic of 'em in my trunk. The bag has fantasy/urban fantasy/sci-fi. The middle box is all romance. The box on the left has fiction/chick-lit/memoirs. Hopefully they'll find a reader or two to enjoy 'em!

As always, thank you for swinging by. Have a great day!

December's FEATURED AUTHOR: Theresa's book!

Theresa Danley's debut novel, Effigy, is an archaeological thriller.


A serial killer is on the loose, depositing his victims' hearts amid the Toltec ruins of central Mexico. Meanwhile, a priceless Mesoamerican artifact is stolen from the University of Utah, sweeping archaeologists Anthony Peet and Lori Dewson on a desperate recovery mission south of the border. Accompanied by a reluctant colleague, an enthusiastic young journalist and a Yaqui woman in mourning, the team must decipher clues hidden within the Aztec sunstone, mystical Toltec Pyramids and astronomical calendar rounds to find the priceless effigy of Quetzalcoatl. They suddenly find themselves in a race against the coming solar eclipse, all the while dodging a corrupt Mexican police force still on the hunt for the sadistic murderer-a killer who's chosen one of them for his next human sacrifice.

Looks interesting, doesn't it? Want it? Enter the giveaway!

Check out Theresa's Q&A!

Winners: Scorpions!

There were 23 people who entered my giveaway for Noah Feldman's Scorpions, so Randomizer picked 3 winners. And they are...

#44 dor!!

#22 Jessica!!

#14 DarcyO!!

Congratulations, everyone and thanks for entering my giveaway! Please get me your mailing information before the end of day Friday.

Want the book? Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

Giveaway: Sundays at Tiffany's!

December 7, 2010
Sundays at Tiffany’s is now a Lifetime original move from Sony Pictures Television, and it's first airing is on Monday, December 6 at 9:00 PM ET/PT, 8:00 PM CT. And to celebrate this event, Hachette Book Group is offering up one copy of the paperback for you.

The Details:

Read my review.


The Rules:
This giveaway is open to US and Canada residents only, no PO Boxes please. Only one copy per household--if you win the same title in two or more contests, only one will be shipped.

To enter, comment with your email address and tell me why you want it. +1 for tweeting this giveaway, comment separately with your twitter status. Do it before 6pm CST December 20th. Good luck!

Want it? Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository

Review: 152. Game of Cages by Harry Connolly...

December 6, 2010
Last month, I reviewed Harry Connolly's Child of Fire which introduced Ray Lilly, who  turns out to be more than his boss expected. Game of Cages offers up more Ray!

game of cages
Title: Game of Cages (Twenty Palaces #2)
Author: Harry Connolly
ISBN-13: 9780345508904
Paperback: 338 pages
Publisher: Random House Publishing Group, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Harry Connolly

drey's thoughts:
Ray Lilly has (luckily? surprisingly?) survived the events at Hammer Bay in Child of Fire and is working the late shift at a supermarket when someone shows up from the society to bring him along on a job. A little one, but a job nonetheless...

Then he finds out that Catherine's not a peer, she's an investigator, sent to check out an auction. And when things get hairy--there was a predator being auctioned, and it's now loose--Ray can only really depend on himself, while trying to keep Catherine and the residents of Washaway safe. Difficult to do when all he has is his ghost knife, and the local law enforcement breathing down his back because he can't tell them anything.

Harry Connolly keeps you on your toes from the first page until the very last word as you ride shotgun with Ray in this rough-and-tumble read. Check it out if this is how you hang (but read Child of Fire first).

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Saturday Spotlight: Elizabeth Chadwick eBook bundle!

December 4, 2010
Today's Spotlight is a little different... To get you ready for Elizabeth Chadwick's next book--To Defy a King, Sourcebooks has put together an eBook bundle featuring The Greatest Knight, The Scarlet Lion and For the King’s Favor. Which reminds me, I still need to get a hold of The Greatest Knight!

Hailed by the Times of London as “an author who makes historical fiction come gloriously alive,” Elizabeth Chadwick is a gifted storyteller who captures the passion, deceit, honor, and heartbreak of Medieval England like none other.

Like historical fiction? Then pick this up.

elizabeth chadwick bundle

The Greatest Knight:
Royal protector. Loyal servant. Forgotten hero.

A penniless young knight with few prospects, William Marshal is plucked from obscurity when he saves the life of Henry II's formidable queen, Eleanor of Aquitaine. In gratitude, she appoints him tutor to the heir to the throne, the volatile and fickle Prince Henry. But being a royal favorite brings its share of danger and jealousy as well as fame and reward.

A writer of uncommon historical integrity and accuracy, Elizabeth Chadwick resurrects the true story of one of England's greatest forgotten heroes in a captivating blend of fact and fiction. The Greatest Knight restores William Marshal to his rightful place at the pinnacle of the Middle Ages, reflecting through him the triumphs, scandals, and power struggles that haven't changed in eight hundred years.

The Scarlet Lion:
A page-turning novel of honor, intrigue, treachery, and love, continuing the story of England's greatest knight of the Middle Ages, William Marshal.

By 1197 William Marshal's prowess with a sword and loyalty with his heart have been rewarded by the hand in marriage of Isabelle de Clare-heiress to great estates-and their brood is growing. But their contentment and security is shattered when King Richard dies. Forced down a precarious path by the royal injustices of the vindictive King John, the Marshals teeter on a razor-thin line of honor that threatens to tear apart the very heart of their family.

For the King's Favor:
A Bittersweet Tale of Love, Loss, and the Power of Royalty

When Roger Bigod arrives at King Henry II's court to settle a bitter inheritance dispute, he becomes enchanted with Ida de Tosney, young mistress to the powerful king. A victim of Henry's seduction and the mother of his son, Ida sees in Roger a chance to begin a new life. But Ida pays an agonizing price when she leaves the king, and as Roger's importance grows and he gains an earldom, their marriage comes under increasing strain. Based on the true story of a royal mistress and the young lord she chose to marry, For the King's Favor is Elizabeth Chadwick at her best.
I am definitely looking forward to To Defy a King!

Review: 151. The Heir by Grace Burrowes...

December 3, 2010
Grace Burrowes' debut novel The Heir is one of the more romantic (ironic, I know!) books I've read this year.

the heir
Title: The Heir
Author: Grace Burrowes
ISBN-13: 9781402244346
ARC: 450 pages
Publisher: Sourcebooks, Inc., 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Sourcebooks

drey's thoughts:
If you're in the mood for a romantic read, pick up Grace Burrowes' The Heir to curl up with on a cold night. The Earl of Westhaven, Gayle Windham, is doing anything he can to avoid his father's attempts to get him married off. Then he meets his new housekeeper, and wonders at his feelings for her. After all, heirs to dukedoms aren't supposed to fall in love with the help, are they? But then, the help aren't usually literate, graceful, and opinionated... Hmm...

Anna isn't only the help, though. She's hiding from nefarious deeds, and hoping that this assignment will help her stay hidden until she can figure out what to do. Falling in love with the boss really wasn't in the plan, and actually complicates things when she thinks she has to run again. So. He's hiding his feelings from her, she's hiding her past from him, how on earth are these two going to end up together? I'm not telling--you'll have to read it and find out for yourself. *wink*

Have you read it? What did you think?

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

Review: 150. Thieves Like Us by Starr Ambrose...

December 2, 2010
Today's review is for Starr Ambrose's follow-up to Lie to Me, which I now need to get my hands on!

thieves like usTitle: Thieves Like Us
Author: Starr Ambrose
ISBN-13: 9781439181294
Paperback: 342 pages
Publisher: Simon & Schuster, 2010
Purchase at IndieBound, Amazon, The Book Depository
Source: Simon and Schuster

drey's thoughts:
Well, the weather outside is (getting) frightful... So curl up with Thieves Like Us and be prepared for a very enjoyable romp with Janet and Rocky...

I like Janet. Now that's she's marriage-free from the loathsome Banner Westfield, she's getting rid of everything. Including her diamond ring and that hideous necklace he gave her. How could he ever have thought she'd like that??? So off she goes to sell the jewelry. And gets caught up in a whirlwind of cops, jewel thieves, and Columbian gangsters. Good thing there's that yummilicious Rocky around. Not that she likes him, seeing how he's an ex-con and all, and she's sworn off anything remotely connected with lies and deceit...

But Rocky's not your typical gorgeous ex-con. He's a reformed ex-con. One who's very interested in keeping Janet out of the clutches of the bad guys. Not that she cooperates with that. Oh, no, that Janet has a mind of her own, and she's stubborn to boot.

Thieves Like Us is fun, fun, fun! You'll inhale it in no time, and laugh out loud while you do. I shall be looking for more Starr Ambrose!

drey's rating: 3.5/5 Very Good

Challenges: 100+, Pub

December's FEATURED AUTHOR: Theresa Danley!!

December 1, 2010
Good morning, everyone! Today, I have the pleasure of introducing December's Featured Author, Theresa Danley! She loves horses and history, and is here to tell you all about it.

drey: Hello Theresa! Welcome to drey’s library, and thank you for taking the time to visit us this month as December’s Featured Author. I hope you enjoy your visit!

Theresa: Thanks, Drey! I’m so glad to be here!

drey: Can you tell us about yourself in 10 sentences or less?

Theresa: I’m a pretty basic person. I live along the hi-line of Montana where I’m currently keeping busy raising my family and writing books. My number one passion is riding and showing horses but that has been temporarily placed on the back burner now that my husband and I are starting our family. But I fully intend to get back in the saddle in a few years. I’ve always loved to write and since I really enjoy good adventure stories, I decided to combine my interest in history and archaeology into my first archaeological thriller, Effigy.

drey: When did you know you wanted to be an author? What were you doing? Was it a gradual realization, or did it just pop up one day?

Theresa: I’ve wanted to write as far back as I can remember in grade school. As I grew up I was always dabbling with some story or another. But I didn’t start seriously pursuing publication until about five or six years ago. My first book never did get picked up by a publisher. In the meantime, it took me nearly as many years to research and write Effigy, which I’m proud to say is now available for the public to read!

drey: Hurrah on getting Effigy published! *grin*

How did your first sale happen?

Theresa: Getting Effigy published didn’t happen right away. I spent almost a full year sending out query letters to different agents. After 50+ rejections I remembered a small publisher that a fellow writer had published her book through a few years back. So with nothing to lose, I submitted the manuscript to Whiskey Creek Press who immediately sent me a contract for publication. Everything else is history!

drey: Who and/or what inspires your writing?

Theresa: As I mentioned earlier, I love history I think because there is so much room for mystery and opportunities to rediscover the past. Historical mysteries really play upon my imagination. The more forgotten or unknown the better. I think that’s why I find archaeology so fascinating. It seems like in archaeology, every new clue discovered opens doors to more and more questions to be answered. I love exploring those possibilities.

drey: What do you indulge in when not writing?

Theresa: Ordinarily, I’d say it’d be horses, horses, horses. Even my earliest childhood stories were about horses. They are not just an expensive hobby for me, but a lifestyle. But right now my focus has shifted to my family, chasing after my 14 month old daughter and now anticipating another child on the way! I enjoy reading, but even that time has been lacking right now. And I still look forward to an occasional day ice fishing with my dad.

drey: So will your little darling be getting a pony for her birthday one of these years? *wink*

Do you have a favorite accompaniment to chocolate?

Theresa: Ice cream! Doesn’t matter whether it’s chocolate syrup, chocolate chip cookies, chocolate cake or even a cup of hot chocolate. Add a hefty scoop of vanilla ice cream and that’s a little piece of heaven in my mouth!

drey: A girl after my own heart! I lurve ice cream!

Smackdown: Your two favorite characters face off in the ring. Who are they, which one wins, and why?

Theresa: Ooh, a tough one. I guess I’d say my hero, Anthony Peet, vs. my corrupted AFI agent, Armando Diego. Obviously Peet is going to win because, well, the good guys always win, right?

drey: Electronic readers are becoming more affordable and available. Their impact on paper books, the environment, people's reading & buying habits - what's your take on this? Do you think it’s here to stay? As a writer, how are you adjusting to, or taking advantage of, the digital age?

Theresa: Well, considering Whiskey Creek Press is primarily an e-book publisher I have to say the electronic market is an excellent place for new writers like myself to get our foot in the door to the world of publication. I think it’s also a good way for traditional publishers to find fresh voices that their agents may have otherwise rejected – that is, if they are paying any attention.

Having said that, I have also noticed that new, non-traditional publication formats also seem to be flooding the market with new material. That may be good, giving readers a wide variety of material to read. It may also be hindering for those trying to sort out good writing from mediocre, for example. Whether or not electronic books are here to stay may be debatable, but there’s no denying their appeal to a society tirelessly seeking instant gratification. Anything that encourages literature and reading should be embraced in my humble opinion.

drey: On the publishing side—where do you think publishers and authors stand on the digital divide? Are they jumping across the great divide, or waiting ‘till someone builds a bridge? Name one thing you think could be improved in regards to eBooks.

Theresa: I think for publishers it’s split – there are those publishers who are watching others swim before they dip their toes in the water and then there are those publishers, especially new publishers, who have found a niche to fill. My experience with the authors is that in such a highly competitive industry, most of us are not willing to rule out non-traditional publication. I heard somewhere that Amazon now makes the majority of its sales through e-books. That’s a statistic authors can’t afford to ignore.

drey: Tell us a little something about Effigy. Where did you get the idea for this archaeological (wow, I spelled it right on the first try!) thriller?

Theresa: Effigy was a surprise revelation for me. The idea for the story came out of research that I was doing for a completely different book. I followed one intriguing detail after another until I was completely captivated by the Mesoamerican cultures – an area of history I’d never paid much attention to before.

That’s when I first became aware of the whole 2012 phenomenon. There was just too much opportunity for a story there that I couldn’t resist. But I didn’t want to write just another 2012 doomsday story. I wanted a story that stayed as true to the cultural mythology and science as possible. I also wanted to write the story that didn’t necessarily follow the more popular 2012 angles, and that meant avoiding the Mayan culture altogether. Too much focus has been placed there. Instead, I turned to the Toltec culture which may have had a large amount of influence on the Mayan culture. Besides, it was the Toltecs that my earlier research had led me to in the first place.

drey: How much research did you have to do for Effigy? Where and how?

Theresa: A ton! Several years’ worth at least. Not only were the Mesoamerican cultures new to me, but I had to research the sciences like astronomy and archaeology. I even had to research the places in Mexico that the story is set in. I’ve not had the privilege to see them myself! That’s where the internet became my researching life saver. It’s amazing what you can find on the web. For the archaeological part, I even purchased a used archaeological textbook and studied it like I was actually taking the course in college. After all, having an interest in archaeology and actually writing about it are two different things.

I also had to research secondary details such as the campus layout of the University of Utah, Anasazi ceramics that my heroine, Lori, studies, the mineral compositions of jadeitite and turquoise, and so on. Almost every detail of this story had to be researched because it was so beyond anything I’d ever written about before. Again, the internet and the few books I could find in my local library were a big help.

And when it came to the facts and quotations drawn from the Florentine Codex, I actually managed to get my hands on all twelve volumes translated into English through an interlibrary loan. How often does that happen any more?

drey: Libraries are awesome! I love my local library!!

What are you looking forward to next?

Theresa: I’m currently writing and researching a sequel to Effigy which I am hoping to have ready for publication in 2011.

drey: And last, but not least, the Proust-lite:
  1. What is your idea of earthly happiness? Sitting atop a good horse with miles of open space ahead.
  2. What do you regard as the lowest depth of misery? Spending years pouring your heart and energies into work that even you can’t appreciate.
  3. Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in fiction? Hands down – Indiana Jones
  4. Who is/are your favorite hero/heroine(s) in real life? My parents – for giving me stable, loving roots from which my dreams have grown
  5. What sound do you love? My little girl’s babbling
  6. What sound do you hate? Angry people expressing themselves
  7. The quality you admire most in a man? The man who shows affection toward children
  8. The quality you admire most in a woman? The woman who stands by her man
  9. If not a writer, you would be a ... Bored woman lacking creativity
  10. What is your favorite swear word? Good grief

lol! Like Charlie Brown! Thank you so much for stopping by! Everyone, find Theresa online at her website,, and on facebook.

Everyone, Theresa has one copy of Effigy for you. This one's wiiiiiiiiiiiiide open. To enter, comment and answer this question: If you had Indiana Jones over to dinner, what would you serve? (keep it clean, please! *wink*) Don't forget your email address.

Extra entries (comment separately or it won't count):
+1 for tweeting (comment with your tweet status--you can do this daily, just remember to come back and comment with your new link!)
+1 for sharing the giveaway from my fb page (comment with your name here)
+1 for linking on your blog (comment with your blog link)

Do it all before 6pm CST December 28th. Good luck!

*links for Effigy are to Amazon's Kindle edition
Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...

what's here...

Powered by Blogger Widgets