Sunday, January 26, 2014

Review: The Dark Witch

This is my first book toward my witches and witchcraft challenge for 2014.  I always think of Nora Roberts as more of a romance novelist.  I've read a few of the "In Death" series she wrote as JD Robb and they were good but I usually stayed clear of her other stories because I prefer romance to be the back story in the books I read, rather than at the forefront.  This book, Dark Witch, however, got good reviews and also seemed to feed my need for the paranormal.

Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
With indifferent parents, Iona Sheehan grew up craving devotion and acceptance. From her maternal grandmother, she learned where to find both: a land of lush forests, dazzling lakes, and centuries-old legends.

Friday, January 24, 2014

Feature & Follow Friday

Feature and Follow Friday is a blog hop hosted by AlisonCanRead and Parajunkee, its a simple way to get to know some bloggers you may not have visited before and to revisit blogs you enjoy.  If you want to follow, that would be great and I'll be sure to follow back.  If you just want to visit to see my answer to this week's question, that's ok too.  Feel free to leave a comment!


Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Waiting on Wednesday

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

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

Pimping my Blog #2

No work today due to the snow, so while I'm rearranging some things in my sidebars, I found myself slightly annoyed because there seemed to be so much extra space between each widget/item.  I wanted my widgets to be closer together so that less space would be wasted and people wouldn't have to scroll down so far to find everything.  I just thought it would look nicer and be more efficient so I began to research if this was possible.

So easy!  I love the way my sidebars look now.  I thought other "newer" bloggers might want to fix this as well so I thought I would share how simple it was so that you can do it too.

Step #1:
Go to "Design" in Blogger.  Choose "Template" and click the "Customize" button
Step #2:
Choose "Advanced" and then scroll down to "Add CSS"
Step #3:
Add this code (you can change the 5px to a larger number if you feel items are now too close):
    .widget {
          margin: 5px 0 0 0;
      *Make sure you hit "enter" on your keyboard after the last line.  Finally, apply to your blog.  That's it!
       I think it makes a nice difference.  Enjoy!


      Tuesday, January 21, 2014

      Review: Hollow City

      The long awaited (at least for me) sequel to Miss Peregrine's Home for Peculiar Children was completely worth waiting for.  Hollow City by Ransom Riggs came out last week and I snatched it up right away.  I would have read it in one sitting if I didn't have to work and take care of my children... lol.

      Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
      Miss Peregrine’s Home for Peculiar Children was the surprise best seller of 2011—an unprecedented mix of YA fantasy and vintage photography that enthralled readers and critics alike. Publishers Weekly called it “an enjoyable, eccentric read, distinguished by well-developed characters, a believable Welsh setting, and some very creepy monsters.”
      This second novel begins in 1940, immediately after the first book ended. Having escaped Miss Peregrine’s island by the skin of their teeth, Jacob and his new friends must journey to London, the peculiar capital of the world. Along the way, they encounter new allies, a menagerie of peculiar animals, and other unexpected surprises.
      Complete with dozens of newly discovered (and thoroughly mesmerizing) vintage photographs, this new adventure will delight readers of all ages.
      And delight me it did!  From the beginning, I was entranced.  I think what really pushes this book and its predecessor above and beyond is the photos.  I am consistently reminded of the eerie fascination of an old time carnival or a Ripley's Believe it or Not where the "peculiar" people are exhibited as freaks who we believe cannot possibly exist in real life.  Except, in this story, they do exist, and we are thrust into their world as they try to survive the cruelty of the people who want to use them and their special talents.  Every one of characters is fascinating.  We have Emma, who can make fire with her hands, Olive, who will float away if not weighted down, Hugh, who can house bees in his stomach and call them up at will, and many more. Reading about them is mesmerizing and almost makes you wish you had a peculiarity of your own.  These characters, who are all mainly children and teens, only have each other and when their beloved caretaker is hurt, their quest is one that demonstrates love, loyalty, and determination to restore her to her former self.  A few new characters are introduced in this story who were not in the first book and I found it particularly interesting that the girl on the cover is only in a very small portion of the story.  I'm betting she will reappear in the third book.  I certainly hope she does!
      The story moves quickly and I often found the adventure very difficult to put down.  Because there are time loops in the story, it has a historical aspect to it as well, which was an added bonus for me.  The setting when the children are in London during the German bombings was both interesting and a reminder of how people really suffered everywhere during this time.  The Wights and the Hollows were described each time they appeared in the story with a style that almost has you shivering in fear along with the children.  I found myself praying each time that the main characters would find a way to defeat these creatures/villains or escape from them in order to continue their journey.  When I finally thought they were going to have a huge victory, the book took a huge turn that I didn't see coming and left me astounded, and just a tad cranky that I have to wait for the third book to find out what happens next.
      This is a five star book for me.  I truly loved it and will be on the lookout for the release date of the next installment.  I certainly hope it is sooner rather than later!  

      Saturday, January 18, 2014

      Pimping my blog #1

      One of my goals for 2014 as a blogger was to learn some new techniques to improve my blog.  My first goal was to create my own signature for my blog posts.  I've been seeing a lot of them lately and of course, because I am who I am, I wanted one for myself.  It was actually really easy and so I've included the blog site where I got the directions in case any other newer bloggers want to give it a shot as well.  If you want to try it, go to Hubby Jack's Blog Attack.

      Have fun! And check out my cool new signature!  :)

      2014 Ebook Challenge

      I'm signing up!  One of my goals for this year was to join some reading challenges aside from Goodreads. I've already joined the Witches and Witchcraft Reading Challenge and now I am adding the 2014 Ebook Challenge as well. Since I use my Nook and iPad for almost all of the books I read (otherwise I would be drowning in paper books), I figured this would be the perfect challenge for me.  So, I'm in and I'm going for somewhere in between the "Memory Stick" level of 50 books and the "Hard Drive" level of 75.  

      If you would like to join also, just click on the photo above.  :)

      Friday, January 17, 2014

      Feature and Follow Friday

      The Feature & Follow is hosted by TWO hosts, Parajunkee of Parajunkee’s View and Alison of Alison Can Read
      This weeks Question:
      Who is your blogger BFF? Tell us a little bit about him or her? If not tell us why you need or don’t need a blogger BFF.
      I guess my blogger BFF right now is any blog that teaches me more about blogging or that gets me psyched to read a book I haven't heard about before. I love leaving comments on other blogs and reading them on mine but I've only been blogging for around a year and I am the only one of my home friends that blog.  I guess my blogger friendships will grow as my blog grows. Looking forward to it!

      Click on the photo or links above to join up!

      Review: Mr. Penumbra's 24 Hour Bookstore

      If you love books and the idea that there are hidden ancient books out there that carry secrets that could change the world, this is the book for you.  A little tech savvy doesn't hurt either.  Click on the photo if you want to see more information.

      Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
      A Winner of the Alex Award, a finalist for the Los Angeles Times Book Prize for First Fiction, named a Best Book of the Year by NPR, Los Angeles Times, and San Francisco Chronicle
      The Great Recession has shuffled Clay Jannon away from life as a San Francisco web-design drone and into the aisles of Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore. But after a few days on the job, Clay discovers that the store is more curious than either its name or its gnomic owner might suggest. The customers are few, and they never seem to buy anything—instead, they “check out” large, obscure volumes from strange corners of the store. Suspicious, Clay engineers an analysis of the clientele’s behavior, seeking help from his variously talented friends. But when they bring their findings to Mr. Penumbra, they discover the bookstore’s secrets extend far beyond its walls. Rendered with irresistible brio and dazzling intelligence, Robin Sloan's Mr. Penumbra’s 24-Hour Bookstore is exactly what it sounds like: an establishment you have to enter and will never want to leave.
      I loved two things about this book.  The characters and the idea behind the plot.  
      The characters were all interesting and I particularly enjoyed the fact that on one side, we had Clay, Mat, Neel, and Kat, who were all tech nerds, each brilliant in their own fashion.  And then we had Mr. Penumbra and the "club" members, who used no technology but who were desperately searching for an answer to a problem that technology could make simple.  The two groups come together through the relationship that Clay has with Mr. Penumbra, who desperately wants to use the technology available to Clay to solve the ancient riddle.  
      I also loved the plot.  Probably because I love books and I love puzzles.  What fun it would be to have an ancient book suddenly put into your hands and to have to crack a code to find a secret that could change what we know about life and mortality!  The bookstore itself in the story was enchanting.  A reader's dream come true, towering shelves with tall ladders that will take you to any book you like.  Sitting there with hours and hours to peruse them. That's exactly what the main character did once he summoned enough bravery to delve into one of the forbidden books.  Clay realized that this was not your normal bookstore and started investigating further. I got more and more excited as Clay found the clues that led him closer to solving the puzzle.  I was truly hoping for a big revelation in the end.
      I had few issues with the book as well...
      The pacing was one problem. I found that, although there were spots in the story that went quickly, most of it was very slowly paced.  Not to say that I wasn't interested.  I actually thought it was fascinating at times.  It just wasn't a page turner.   It was just easy to put down and start up again at another time. At times it was a little bit too techy for me as well, and I consider myself to be fairly adequate with most forms of technology.  
      The second problem was the ending.  No spoilers but I just found that it fell a bit flat compared to my expectations.  I wanted more.  It seemed as though the characters did so much work and I just wanted the end to be everything they had hoped for and it wasn't, at least not in my opinion. 

      The book won several awards so I'm sure it would appeal to a lot of people.  Everyone looks for something different in a story, and I did enjoy it for the most part.  It just won't be on my top ten list for the year.  I would probably give it two and half stars out of five but don't let that stop you if it is on your TBR list.  You may have a different opinion!  

      Tuesday, January 14, 2014

      Teaser Tuesday (Jan 14)

      Teaser Tuesdays is a weekly bookish meme, hosted by MizB of Should Be Reading. Anyone can play along! Just do the following:
      • Grab your current read
      • Open to a random page
      • Share two (2) “teaser” sentences from somewhere on that page
      • BE CAREFUL NOT TO INCLUDE SPOILERS! (make sure that what you share doesn’t give too much away! You don’t want to ruin the book for others!)
      • Share the title & author, too, so that other TT participants can add the book to their TBR Lists if they like your teasers!
      My Teaser Tuesday for January 14, 2014:
      The bell over the door tinkles to announce his arrival, and before he says a word, his neck bends back to follow the shelves up into the shadowy reaches.  He turns toward me, points a plaid-jacketed arm straight to the ceiling, and says: "I want to go up there."

      Saturday, January 11, 2014

      Review: Neanderthal Seeks Human

      Choosing Neanderthal Seeks Human was out of the norm for me.  I usually don't go for romance novels unless there is some sort of paranormal element to them.  I prefer romance to be secondary to the main plot of a story.  Someone had this on their blog however, and for some reason, I decided to read the blurb.  I liked the premise and it seemed promising.

      Synopsis from Amazon:
      There are three things you need to know about Janie Morris: 1) She is incapable of engaging in a conversation without volunteering TMTI (Too Much Trivial Information), especially when she is unnerved, 2) No one unnerves her more than Quinn Sullivan, and 3) She doesn't know how to knit.

      After losing her boyfriend, apartment, and job in the same day, Janie Morris can't help wondering what new torment fate has in store. To her utter mortification, Quinn Sullivan- aka Sir McHotpants- witnesses it all then keeps turning up like a pair of shoes you lust after but can't afford. The last thing she expects is for Quinn- the focus of her slightly, albeit harmless, stalkerish tendencies- to make her an offer she can't refuse.

      This was actually a really fun story.  It is the first novel from this author and will be the start of a series called Knitting in the City.  As I said before, I usually find romances to be either completely mundane and predictable or over the top.  This book however, was smart and funny.  I loved the main character of Janie and her nerdy tendencies.  She doesn't have the highest self esteem and always has something sarcastic to say about her imperfections.  Her ability to share random facts that almost no one would know was refreshingly quirky.  She comes up with some extremely creative vocabulary which had me laughing on several occasions.  Quinn, or as Janie calls him, "Sir McHotpants," has a bit of a "fifty shades" type personality but not as extreme.  His background is a mystery until about the middle of the book but he is interested in Janie from the very beginning.

      There is a subplot involving Janie's sister (who is the bad seed of the family) and some bad guys from Quinn's past so there is a little bit of drama/action in the story.  These bad guys are involved in one slightly dramatic but hilarious scene when they barge in on Janie and her knitting group.  It is quite the comedy show with a mixture of guns, vodka bottles, and knitting needles flying in all directions.  It is definitely one of my favorite scenes in the story.

      The book is told from Janie's point of view and with her fun quirky inner thinking as she consistently argues with herself about the status of her life and relationships.  The epilogue, however, is from Quinn's point of view which is nice because you get to hear a little bit of his thoughts and feelings before the story officially ends.

      I really liked this book so I'm giving it four out of five stars.  If you like fun and quirky, this is a good one.

      Friday, January 10, 2014

      2014 Witches and Witchcraft Challenge Sign Up

      Fell upon this by accident and it looks like a lot of fun so I am going to give it a try. Since I love books that include witches and the paranormal, I figure I will most likely have no problem completing the challenge.  Here are the details:
      - The challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2014
      - The books should have a witch as a main character or revolve around witchcraft
      - You get one entry for every linked-up review
      - You can move up levels, but no moving down
      - There will be a giveaway at the end of the year.

      Goal by books:

      Initiate: Read 1 – 5 Witchy Books
      Maiden: Read 6 – 10 Witchy Books
      Mother: Read 11 – 15 Witchy Books
      Crone: Read 16 – 20 Witchy Books
      I'm going to try for Maiden level and read 6 - 10 witchy books this year.  I'm not going to repost all of the specifics but if you would like to join up, click here for all of the information.

      The Cover is here! The Book of Life

      My countdown clock has been going for a few weeks and now there is finally a cover for the book I have been waiting for so impatiently, The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness.  The cover is gorgeous (in my opinion of course) and it goes perfectly with the two previous book covers.  This is the third book in the All Souls trilogy.  The first two are A Discovery of Witches and Shadow of Night.  If you haven't read them yet, you still have time before this book comes out in July!

      Synopsis (no spoilers):
      “After traveling through time in SHADOW OF NIGHT, the second book in Deborah Harkness’s enchant­ing series, historian and witch Diana Bishop and vampire scientist Matthew Clairmont return to the present to face new crises and old enemies. At Matthew’s ancestral home at Sept-Tours, they re­unite with the cast of characters from A DISCOVERY OF WITCHES—with one significant exception. But the real threat to their future has yet to be revealed, and when it is, the search for Ashmole 782 and its miss­ing pages takes on even more urgency. In the tril­ogy’s final volume, Harkness deepens her themes of power and passion, family and caring, past deeds and their present consequences. In ancestral homes and university laboratories, using ancient knowl­edge and modern science, from the hills of the Auvergne to the palaces of Venice and beyond, the couple at last learn what the witches discovered so many centuries ago.”

      I am super excited to finally read the final installment of this book but it is just a tad bit sad also, because once i read it, it will be over.  I can't wait to see what adventures our witch and vampire couple encounter this time around now that they have returned to the present. 

      If you would like to read an excerpt from the story or just want to keep up on news about the book and upcoming events, click here or on the book cover above to go to the Deborah Harkness website.

      New Year's Challenge: Day 10

      Hosted by Parajunkee, today's question asks about new things you will be doing this year.  Click the picture above to go to the site and join up! There are still a few days left.

      New things I want to do this year:

      1.  Vary my blog post topics.  Since I am still fairly new, I have mostly done reviews and chosen a few memes to participate in.  I'd like to try to blog about other book related topics that will be interesting to my readers.  Not sure what those will be yet but that's one goal for the year.

      2.  Do a giveaway.  I see them everywhere and I think it would be a lot of fun.  I plan to learn how to do this and try at least one this year.

      3.  Participate in a book tour.  I just recently signed up to host one so my first will be in February.  I don't really know what I am doing but the tour site seems to send out a lot of e-mails with guidance so I think I will be ok.

      4. Organize the blogs I'm following on Bloglovin'  I am following a lot of blogs and haven't really created any shelves yet so I would like to get them into some type of categories, etc. so I can get to the ones I really like more easily.

      5.  Create my own rating system for the books I read and figure out how to incorporate it into my blog.

      I'm going to start with these five things and see how it goes!  :)

      Thursday, January 9, 2014

      Review: Where'd You go Bernadette?

      Where'd You Go Bernadette by Maria Semple is a stand alone novel and had quite a bit going on even though it wasn't a really long story.  This is an author I had never heard of before and I have seen a lot of good reviews on various sites.

      Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
      Bernadette Fox has vanished.
      When her daughter Bee claims a family trip to Antarctica as a reward for perfect grades, Bernadette, a fiercely intelligent shut-in, throws herself into preparations for the trip. But worn down by years of trying to live the Seattle life she never wanted, Ms. Fox is on the brink of a meltdown. And after a school fundraiser goes disastrously awry at her hands, she disappears, leaving her family to pick up the pieces.
      Which is exactly what Bee does, weaving together an elaborate web of emails, invoices, and school memos that reveals a secret past Bernadette has been hiding for decades. Where'd You Go Bernadette is an ingenious and unabashedly entertaining novel about a family coming to terms with who they are, and the power of a daughter's love for her mother.
      Most of this book is written in correspondence of one type or another from and to various characters in the story.  At first, I found this to be a bit confusing but once I nailed down who each character was and got a better sense of the role each was playing in the story, it was no longer an issue.  
      The most interesting thing about the story is the combination of snarky humor and difficult family issues.  I was often laughing at what one character said or what another character did but when you really look underneath the humor, you have some characters in this book that are really suffering.  The reader is exposed to the very real issues of anxiety, agoraphobia, bullying, internet scamming, adultery, and neglect amongst others and this is not to be taken lightly.  What is even more interesting however, is that even though we have some bad behavior, there are really no unlikeable characters.  I disliked all of them at certain moments in the book but once their background stories are shared, I could understand their actions and turn that dislike into compassion and a hope that things would get better for each and every one of them.
      Even with all of these deep issues, the story is indeed laugh out loud funny at times and being a mom myself, I could relate to some of the opinions Bernadette had about where she was living and the people she was dealing with.  Her reality was a bit different from most people's and she really made some crazy decisions that had me smacking myself on the forehead and wishing I could just shake her until she saw the error of her ways.
      I could empathize a lot with Bee, Bernadette's daughter.  She didn't really have the life of the normal teenager.  What I loved though, was that she just accepted her mom the way she was and was always her advocate. The bond they shared was strong and Bee believed in her mom even when she learned about what was really going on.  She never gave up on her.
      This was a good book.  I would probably give it about three and a half stars out of five.  It was both funny and touching.  I'm glad I read it and it made me appreciate my family and all of our small dysfunctional moments.  I think it also reminded me to not judge when people act in a certain way without getting to know the circumstances first.  

      Wednesday, January 8, 2014

      New Year's Challenge: Day 8

      Hosted by Parajunkee, today's question is about your best book blogger moment.  

      Hmmm... this is a hard one.  Obviously, my first follower was a pretty big moment.  I remember thinking, "Somebody likes my blog!" and grinning like a fool.  

      I think though, that my best moment came a couple of weeks ago when I looked back at my first year of blogging.  I knew nothing about blogging when I started and I am completely self-taught through research on the net and looking at other blogs to get ideas.  It wasn't easy but I enjoy every accomplishment no matter how small.  

      I now have over 300 followers via several sites, a blog I can look at and be proud of, a second blog for my students in fourth grade that they love, and a list of goals to reach for the new year.  I still have a long way to go but I'm also proud of how far I have come.

      Thanks to everyone who helped me along the way.  :)

      Tuesday, January 7, 2014

      New Year's Challenge: Day 7

      Hosted by Parajunkee, today's focus is your top ten book blogger pet peeves.

      Again, I have only been blogging for about a year and my blog is not nearly as high level as some others.  I couldn't come up with ten but I do have several smaller ones.  Here they are:

      1.  Captcha and other comment issues such as having to fill in my name and e-mail or register with a certain site.  I like when I can just comment and hit the post button and be done with it.  When I first started and asked people for some feedback, one kind person suggested turning my Captcha off.  I didn't even know what it was but I figured it out and turned it off and I am so thankful that he suggested it.  I can see how it is a turn off for people who want to comment.

      2.  Spoilers in the reviews.  I always avoid that in my reviews because I don't want to ruin the story for anyone.  If you like to put them in, that's ok, but it would be nice to add a little subheading in your review to let us know they are coming so we can stop reading.

      3.  Lots of photos or video clips of people quoting from a movie or show in a review.  I have to say, I don't really understand why people do this.  I feel bad but I usually don't stick around when I see these.

      That is really it for me.  I'm sure more will be added as I expand my horizons with my blog.  I've had mostly positive experiences so far and love sharing and discussing books with others.

      Monday, January 6, 2014

      New Year's Challenge: Day 6

      Hosted by Parajunkee, today's theme is the best book you read in 2013.  Argh!!! This is so hard to chose.  I have a tie.

      1.  The Night Circus by Erin Morganstern
      This book just really held my interest.  I found it to be fascinating in the same way that I found Miss Perigrine's Home for Peculiar Children fascinating.  It sucked me in and I felt almost as if I were there at the circus as well.  I wanted to be part of it.

      2.  The Firebird by Susanna Kearsley.  
      I love all of her books but the combination of history, romance, and just a little bit of romance made this book a page turner.  I read it in one night and remember being happily exhausted the next day.   

      Sunday, January 5, 2014

      New Year's Book Challenge: Day 5

      Hosted by Parajunkee, today's theme is the worst book you read in 2013.

      I do a lot of research before I buy a book, unless it is part of a series.  I didn't "hate" any of the books I read this year so I am just going to pick one that wasn't on the top of my list.  And that book is:

      Hotshot by Julie Garwood.  I loved the first four books in the Buchanan brothers series with Heartbreaker and Mercy being my favorites, but just like Janet Evanovich, once you get to a certain point, it is just the same thing over and over.  I still love Garwood but this series needed to end a long time ago and this book proved it.  

      Saturday, January 4, 2014

      New Year's Challenge: Day 4

      Day 4 of Parajunkee’s Book Blogger New Year Challenge , these are the books that I refuse to let pass me by this year. I am looking forward to each and every one of them!

      1.  Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
      2.  The Splendour Falls by Susanna Kearsley
      3.  Hollow City by Ransom Riggs
      4.  The Chase by Janet Evanovich and Lee Goldberg
      5.  City of Heavenly Fire by Cassandra Clare
      6.  The Blood of Olympus by Rick Riordan
      7.  Sixth Grave on the Edge by Darynda Jones
      8.  The Book of Life by Deborah Harkness

      Can't wait!!

      Friday, January 3, 2014

      Book Blogger Challenge: Day 3

      What books published in 2013 are you sad you missed?? 

      I don't have too many but here are a few I wish I had read before the end of the year:

      1.  Taken by Erin Bowman
      2.  Mariana by Susanna Kearsley
      3.  The Golem and the Jinni by Helene Wecker
      4.  Shiver by Maggie Stiefvater
      5.  Throne of Glass by Sarah Maas

      What books did you not get to last year?

      Thursday, January 2, 2014

      Review: Graveminder

      Melissa Marr is more commonly known for her Wicked Lovely series, which I have not read.  Graveminder is my first book by this author.  It is an adult fantasy novel and I believe it is her first book that is not geared toward young adults.  I first saw the book several months back but I just wasn't attracted to the cover.  I noticed this revamped cover recently and it was much more appealing, enough for me to take a second look.  I decided to buy it.  Click on the photo if you would like to see more about this book.

      Synopsis from Barnes and Noble:
      Rebekkah Barrow never forgot the tender attention her grandmother, Maylene, bestowed upon the dead of Claysville. While growing up, Rebekkah watched as Maylene performed the same unusual ritual at every funeral: three sips from a small silver flask followed by the words, “Sleep well, and stay where I put you.”
      Now Maylene is gone and Bek must return to the hometown—and the man—she abandoned a decade ago, only to discover that Maylene’s death was not natural . . . and there was good reason for her odd traditions. In Claysville, the worlds of the living and the dead are dangerously connected—and beneath the town lies a shadowy, lawless land ruled by the enigmatic Charles, aka Mr. D. From this dark place the deceased will return if their graves are not properly minded. And only the Graveminder, a Barrow woman, and the current Undertaker, Byron, can set things to right once the dead begin to walk. . . .
      The setting of this story takes place in a town called Claysville.  It is a small town with strange traditions when it comes to those who die.  Those who are born there seem to stay or find their way back.  That is what has happened to one of the main characters, Byron.  He is now his father's assistant and will eventually take over the job of undertaker.  Our other main character is Rebekkah, who was not born in Claysville but lived there for several years with her grandmother, who is the only relative she has that means anything to her.  She has to return to Claysville and when she does, she and Byron find out that they are the next in line to carry on these "traditions" of the dead.  
      Both of the main characters are likable.  Byron and Rebekkah used to be together and he is still madly in love with her.  This is obvious throughout the entire story.  He is strong and will do anything for her but I was a little annoyed that he just kept taking all of her crap.  I was glad to see that he eventually just put himself out there and didn't take no for an answer.  Bek, on the other hand, hasn't had the easiest life so I felt for her.  The only relative her really cared for her was gone and she felt alone.  However, she kept pushing Byron away.  This was fine at first because you can understand her reasons but once some details were cleared up, she still kept pushing and I began to get a bit frustrated.  Both characters, however, pulled through at the end and proved themselves to be strong and capable human beings, able to do what they needed to do to save the town and its residents.
      The paranormal element in this story is quite large.  At the first big scene when Byron is introduced to his new way of life but going to see the dead with his dad, I felt slighted.  It reminded me of the movie Beetlejuice, when the couple goes through the wall into the world of the dead and has to sit in the waiting room with all of the dead people.  It just had that corny feeling to it.  I was concerned that the rest of the book would follow this pattern. Thankfully, it did not.  After that first big ghosty moment, it toned the corny down a bit and I grew more interested again.  
      The concept of this story was interesting.  A small town who has to keep the dead, "dead."  A graveminder and an undertaker who must work together to accomplish this.  It was original and it kept me turning the pages.  I wanted to see what happened next and I stayed up late to find out.  It had personal tragedy, obstacles that the characters had to overcome, some action and suspense, and of course, someone who wanted to hurt our main characters for her own benefit.  The romance wasn't overdone and it wrapped up nicely in the end.  I liked that it seems like a stand alone book and I don't have to rush to the next one to see what happens next.  Out of five stars, I would probably give it a three and half.  I enjoyed it.  If you like a story with a paranormal element, you will probably enjoy it as well.

      Book Blogger New Year's Challenge Day 2

      The Book Bloggers New Year’s Challenge
      Hosted by Rachel at ParajunkeeIt’s super easy to play along! – Just click the image above to see the details.
      I missed day #1 but my main blogging resolutions are to learn how to make my blog more interesting to those who view it and to learn more about giveaways and blog tours.

      Well, I've only been blogging for about a year so my list will stem from that time period only.
      1.  I'm reading so many more books than I ever did before so I feel really good about that.
      2.  I've tried books that I never thought I would through other people's recommendations or from what I see on other people's blogs.
      3.  I'm learning a lot about creating and maintaining a blog.  I knew NOTHING when I started and I've come pretty far.
      4.  I'm taking risks.  I'm participating in a blog tour for the first time in February.  I'm a bit nervous that I might not do something correctly but I've decided to take the step and give it a shot.
      5.  Communication with other book lovers is a definite plus.  I love sharing with others and hearing what they have to say.

      1.  Blogging is time consuming so I often have trouble finding the time to post as often as I want to or it may take me a few days of research before I figure out how to add a feature to my blog.
      2.  Getting my blog out there is not always rewarding.  I can spend hours sharing my reviews and latest posts on different sites and many times, there isn't a lot of feedback or discussion.
      3.  Finding authors.  I still don't really know how to locate authors and get books to review. I'm working on it.

      Those are really my only cons and they are definitely "me" specific.  I love blogging. I just wish I had more time and background knowledge.  I learn something new almost every day!