RhiReading News

Dear readers,

Hi Rhireaders! Check out the latest events in the sidebar! Thanks for visiting, be sure and follow me on social media for MORE awesome content.

Did you drop by to request a review or tour stop? Due to high demand and a very busy schedule, I am currently CLOSED for unsolicited review requests. Thank you for thinking of me though!

I do have promotional openings for October 2017 through February 2018 open so please reach out. Just please drop me an email with a polite request and if I'm interested I will reply.

-- Rhi


Weekend Reading [12/31/10-01/02/11] :: FREE BOOKS for Kindle & Happy New Year!

Happy Friday dear readers! My what a long week it has been. Some years the last week seems to fly by at mach speed, not so much this time around. I'm very muchly looking forward to starting a new year. I have big plans for 2011. Things I want to do and new things I want to try. Goals for life and goals for the blog. I'm motivated.

Around here we don't have any special plans for ringing in the new year. With the guys still visiting for a couple more days I think we're finally going to cave on the being frugal and eating every meal at home and go out to dinner. Our options are pretty limited but me not having to cook again... sweeeeet. So what nifty plans to you guys have? I've been noticing a lot of bloggers are staying in to start reading for reading challenges at midnight. Y'all are crazy (in a good way) LOL! If your plans are along that line I salute you for your dedication. ;)

While we're on the subject of books I happened to find that Hunted By The Others by Jess Haines, Wish by Alexandra Bullen and Phenomenal Girl 5 by A.J. Menden are available on Amazon.com (Kindle Format) for $0.00 today. I doubt they'll be free for more than today but if you happen to use Kindle for PC or were gifted with an ereader this holiday season it might be worth checking out.

As to my reading this weekend. I'm trying to finish up Pink by Lili Wilkinson. It's not something I would normally have picked up for myself but I'm really loving it. It's just such an intelligent, timely book that I am going to be recommending heavily for any teen struggling with sexual identity and fitting in. While I never had any problem figuring out my sexual identity the issues regarding fitting in and knowing yourself really are resonating with me. I plan on starting Halfway to the Grave on Saturday as I begin my Jeaniene Frost month. How sad is it that I had this book on my wishlist for EVER before it came out and I wanted to be one of the first people to read it and review it on Amazon but life got in the way? Super sad considering how popular this series now is. Finally time to figure out what I'm missing. Yay!

Well on that note I am freezing my butt off and kinda hungry. Baby needs a nap. Time to go live some life. May your weekend by safe and celebratory! And if you see any bitchin' Kindle 3 cases/covers/sleeves out there... I am in the market for one. I found one last night and forgot to bookmark it but found a similar one I had to share 'cause it made me LMAO. It's way too expensive considering I sew and could make it myself to MY specifications but for $39.00 + $2.25 S+H your Kindle can tell everyone to STFU 'cause you're reading. :D xoxo -- Rhi

P.S. -- Don't forget that the new season of Pretty Little Liars premieres on Monday night! Total guilty pleasure TV for me so don't tell anyone, okay? ;)


Top Fives of 2010

Last year I was far too busy changing diapers and wishing the wee one would understand that going to sleep at 7am and getting up at 3pm was not natural to even consider doing a top anything for the year list. To a point I really don't know whether I acn do it justice this year since I feel like I didn't read anything at all this year. What!?! Okay, so I'm frustrated by the lack of reading time I have lately and have to whine. I WANT time to read more books. Seriously... someone asked what I wanted for Christmas and that was what I said. More time to read! Anyone else with me? ;)

Now these may not all be books that were published this year or even ones I reviewed but they were all books I read this year so I wanted to share...

Top Five Adult Titles

1. The Iron Duke by Meljean Brook
2. The Darkest Passion by Gena Showalter
3. Shift by Rachel Vincent
4. The Girl Who Chased the Moon by Sarah Addison Allen
5. Boneshaker by Cherie Priest

Top Five Young Adult Titles

1. The Iron King by Julie Kagawa
2. Nightshade by Andrea Cremer
3. My Soul to Save by Rachel Vincent
4. White Cat by Holly Black
5. Beastly by Alex Flynn

Top Five Books I Didn't Review

1. The Forest of Hands and Teeth by Carrie Ryan
2. The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
3. Stargazer by Claudia Gray
4. Undead Much? by Stacey Jay
5. Lover Avenged by J.R. Ward

Top Five New-To-Me Authors

1. Meljean Brook
2. Julie Kagawa
3. Cherie Priest
4. Holly Black
5. Sarah Addison Allen

Top Five Book New-To-Me Blogs/Websites

1. Sophistikatied Reviews
2. Carina Press
3. NetGalley
4. Reading Between the Wines
5. Wicked Readings by Tawania


Review: Unraveled by Gena Showalter

Unraveled (Intertwined #2) by Gena Showalter
Young Adult, Urban Fantasy, Paranormal Romance
Hardcover (HARLEQUINTEEN, 576 pages, $16.99)
ISBN# 0373210221

Since coming to Crossroads, Oklahoma, former outcast Aden Stone has been living the good life. Never mind that one of his best friends is a werewolf, his girlfriend is a vampire princess who hungers for his blood, and he's supposed to be crowned Vampire King—while still a human! Well, kind of.
With four—oops, three now—human souls living inside his head, Aden has always been "different" himself. These souls can time-travel, raise the dead, possess another's mind and, his least favorite these days, tell the future.
The forecast for Aden? A knife through the heart.
Because a war is brewing between the creatures of the dark, and Aden is somehow at the center of it all. But he isn't about to lie down and accept his destiny without a fight. Not when his new friends have his back, not when Victoria has risked her own future to be with him, and not when he has a reason to live for the first time in his life…

Author Site: genashowalter.com

Love Gena, Hated This Book (1 star)

Aden Stone used to be considered a crazy, an outcast. Since coming to Crossroads, Oklahoma though life has been looking up. His home life at the D and M Ranch is pretty decent. He's trying to do well in school. He even has a friends and a girlfriend. So maybe some of those friends are vampires and werewolves, and maybe there are still three souls chatting him up in his head. Things could be worse, he could be about to be crowned king of the vampires in spite of the fact he's a human. Oh wait... maybe things aren't as shiny as they were starting to look.

This time around there are faeries, witches and strange spirit beasts in the mix. Top that off with a lot more drama, not-so-mysterious mysteries and your daily dose of paranormal malfunction and you get Unraveled.

I hate writing negative reviews. It's rare for me to write a "hated it" review but gosh darnit, I hated Unraveled. It's taken me two months to slog my way through this massive volume only to feel like the one thing I was reading it for—to find out more about the souls still stuck with Aden and hopefully see another one get free—wasn't really given much attention. I love Gena, she's not only a talented writer but a just plain cool author when it comes to her fans. This series though, now that I've had two samples, just isn't for me.

My main issues were the constant whining from Mary Ann, Victoria's personality shifts that made no sense to me, the draggy pace, too many things going on at once (made me think of that saying "too many witches spoil the brew") made it near impossible to latch onto one and enjoy it and overall the main reason I didn't give up after the first book was the souls storyline which barely was touched on this time around. The only things I enjoyed were the spirit beasts bits and Stephanie, Victoria's sister. I wish I could think of any more redeeming qualities for this one but I just can't. While I will continue reading Showalter's adult books I don't plan on reading the Intertwined series from here on out.

Other Reviews:
Danny of Bewitched Bookworms
The Good, The Bad and the Unread
The Story Siren

Notes: I received this review copy via Amazon's Vine Program.


Merry Christmas Blogoverse!

A bit of a late Merry Christmas wish going out to y'all. With company visiting there's been a lot of cooking and goofing off happening. Present wrapping was an ordeal this year since the baby has been sleeping in my room where we usually hide all the loot. Ever wrap tons of stuff and stuff stockings in the dark? I don't recommend it. :P

But anywho guess what? *squee* My awesome guy buds known as Wiki and Wookiee and my cousin-in-law (who I wish was my blood kin) hooked me up with a Kindle! I am sooo stoked but now I need some awesome ebookness to fill it. Therefore I am sending out a call to you guys for some great suggestions. Oh, and I'm looking for some of the best accessories too. Hope you guys had a great one and I'll hopefully be back to my better posting by the New Year. Lots of love to you and yours from me and mine. -- Rhi


Monday Morning Mischief

Happy Monday y'all! Didn't think I'd have a lot of time for any of my stuff but the guys went out to do falconry stuff today. Which means I have a house that's pretty darned clean and tidy and aside from taking care of kids and meals I really only have holiday related crap to do today. Can we say Suh-weet! So I'm hitting the ol' blogroll and then I'll be off to do some reading. YAY!

So some cool stuff I wanted to share since I've got the time...

Two of my favorite blogs, SciFiGuy.ca & vvb32 reads are taking part in the 2nd Annual SFR Holiday Blitz which is hosted by The Galaxy Express. If you love SciFi Romance as much as I do you should hurry and check out the participating blogs. Lots of SFR books/ebooks are being given away including one I recently reviewed (In Enemy Hands by K.S. Augustin), plus titles from Linnea Sinclair, Susan Grant and Gini Koch!

Rachel Vincent has the My Soul to Steal trailer up! I'm behind on this series so I won't be buying it tomorrow when it officially releases but I'm hoping to catch up in the new year. Here's that trailer for your viewing enjoyment!

Allison Pang, debut author in 2011, is hosting an ARC giveaway. BUT you've gotta write haiku. Urgh! *scared* I can do this. I can. But then I don't think I've written a haiku since the 4th grade. Oh balls! Well, if I want to enter bad enough I might suck it up and at least try. Meanwhile, if you're interested I think you should check it out!

Did you enter any of the BIR2010 giveaways? The winners masterlist is up and guess who won 2 cool goodies? Me. Yay! I wanna thank the bloggers who put this event together 'cause I had so much fun and even if I hadn't won something it was enjoyable. I can't wait to get my Julie Kagawa bookplate so I can put it in my copy of The Iron King. :D I also won Crescendo which means I finally have to read Hush, Hush. teehee how's that for a motivating factor? Anything that helps prioritize that evil TBR pile from hell in my office.

Ooooh! Gena Showalter just announced some great LoTU news! Me likey!

Now that I got interupted, as usual, this has become more like Monday AFTERNOON Mischief but meh I tried. I'm off to brew up some Nutcracker Sweet tea and read Delirium... or maybe I could finish Winter Wishes. Smexy werewolf/witch adventure or dystopian romance... hard to choose. Enjoy guys! -- Rhi


Just poppin' in for a minute...

So I know I said I'd be too busy for anything this weekend but I'm taking a lunch break. As I hastily shovel a lukewarm helping of Healthy Choice down my pie hole I thought I'd look through my blogroll and see what's been posted so far today. That reminded me of some events and giveaways I should probably note since I can't be the only reader who looooves winning something (which I totally did yesterday! *squee*) right?

Now I am no beauty maven, hell I am intimidated by foundation let alone eyeliner, but I'm always interested in learning more about make-up. Seriously... I subscribed to a magazine for teens because they tend to teach this stuff but told everyone it's for my stepkid. ;) And I forget how I stumbled on it but Tynga of Tynga's Reviews started a pretty cool makeup blog called My Makeup Addiction. Right now she's hosting a giveaway to build up her followership and while I'd normally not jump on the bandwagon I was intrigued and thought I'd become one. So far I'm liking what she's doing with the blog and am thinking about trying the Orglamix products she's been using this month when I have some extra cash on hand.

In other giveaway newness, Mandi of Smexy Books has been having a terrific 12 days of Smexymas event where she's giving away book(s) from a different author each day. Today is day six so there are still several days to enter giveaways. Plus, Smexy Books is just a fun blog to visit. Period. If you're not a fan already check it out. :)

For obvious reasons I am not taking part in it, but as my special new years goals post is in the same vein I thought I would share this! KarinLibrarian is hosting a Holiday Break Reading Challenge. How cool is this? I wish I was younger and childless merely for the sake of having the time to be a part of this event. I love the ideas I've seen so far.

And on that note peeps I must fly. The dryer just finished and I really should wipe out the fridge before we go out and get foodstuffs to fill it. Which brings my mind back to beer and bacon. Manfood will be essential this next two weeks while I'm feeding three extra dudes. Anyone interested in three thirty-something, successful single(ish) geeks? I need to find my guys some girls of their own so they don't need us to give them a place to spend Christmas. lol I know I am the awesome but I'm happily taken and cloning humans isn't legal yet so... hehe! Have a great weekend and happy reading! -- Rhi

Review: See What I See by Gloria Whelan

See What I See by Gloria Whelan
Young Adult, Contemporary
Hardcover (HARPERTEEN, 208 pages, $16.99)
ISBN# 0061255459
description not available at time of review writing
Author Site: gloriawhelan.com

One of the most moving YA titles I've read. (5 stars)

When Kate Tapert receives a scholarship to attend art school in Detroit the only thing that could possibly hold her back is the cost of boarding. Raised by her mother after her father left them to seek his fame and fortune as a painter she knows it's far too expensive. Her only option is to seek out the father she hasn't seen in a decade and offer a trade, she'll do his cooking and cleaning if he'll let her crash at his place while she attends school. But when she shows up on his doorstep in Detroit, the father she finds is even more of an enigma than he has been in his absense. Together they will learn a lot about the beauty of ugliness and Kate's life will forever be changed.

This may be one of the hardest books for me to review. I get quite uncomfortable reviewing when a book touches me on a deeply emotional level. SEE WHAT I SEE touched on some very personal areas of love, loss and my own relationship with my father. I found myself crying, so moved by what Kate went through with her dad that I had to finish it in a day just so I could distance myself from it. Whether the author intended for this book to touch her readers this intensely or not I really can't say. Maybe it just hit too close to home.

It was well written and enjoyable. There's a timelessness to it I think both adult and teen readers will appreciate. To be honest, I was a little surprised that this wasn't written by a much younger author because Kate's voice was spot on with her age. This isn't the most entertaining story, but it has its moments of being light, amusing and enjoyable. At its heart though I think it is safe to say that this book is about stepping out of a parent's shadow no matter what kind of parent they may be. Even though it made me cry I loved and would recommend this book to anyone who has a complicated relationship with their father.

Other Reviews:

Notes: I received an unsolicited ARC from the publisher.


Weekend Reading [12/17-12/19] :: I'm Distracted

So I had this weeeeird dream the other night. I dreamt that my husband kept bringing home this long-haired blonde woman from work every night. They'd hold hands and go off to the movies and dinner and she'd tower over him like some kind of sasquatch. How did I know she was at least 6' tall? Because she towered over me and I'm half a foot taller than he is. Finally I had enough and started getting mad he was cheating on me so openly while insisting they were just friends. So he admitted they were more than friends and that it was okay for me to cheat too. But only if it was with another brunette woman. And only if he and his gigantic blonde girlfriend from work could watch. When I told him this story he thought it was hysterical. All I wanted to know was what the hell I'd eaten before bed to 'cause such a crazy mindfuck of a dream.

The answer? Peanut Butter Bacon cupcakes and Guinness. Beer and Bacon.

I certainly have no insecurities about my husband cheating. I'd have to pry his hands off of me long enough for him to find someone else and that is almost impossible. ;)

The true strangeness of it was actually the fact that I had a dream at all. Since the baby came along I'm never asleep long enough without violent interuption to really dream. But we're hitting that stride where suddenly (after a year!!!) she's slept through the night a few times. It's been [singsong voice]AWESOME[/singsongvoice]!

So the Best I've Read event has ended and I'm anxiously hoping I've won something but it's doubtful. But I am so thankful to Andrea Cremer and Julie Kawaga for both posting and mentioning the event on their blogs 'cause it drew my attention to it. I had so much fun reading the interviews and checking out the blogs involved. I am looking forward to seeing it repeated in 2011. Did any of you, my followers, happen to join in?

Meanwhile, I really should be cleaning. Scrubbing toilets, vacuuming, wiping out the fridge. Yep, the manfolk are arriving this weekend. We're having our cousin and a couple of our guy friends out for the holiday so there will be a lot of beer and making fun of one another starting Sunday. Years ago I learned the best way to hang with guys and thrive is to learn how to talk a lot of shit, develop a taste for beer and know the line between being "like one of the guys" and being "a guy". No matter what you are still a girl and farting in front of your guy friends is a no-no. The only way to recover from a farting-in-front-of-the-guys mishap is to be fortunate enough to be pregnant and unable to control your gas. ha!

So any special advice for surviving a house full of men, children and animals for two weeks in subzero temperatures?

And speaking of men folk... you simply MUST head over to TheOddShots, collective blogness of Meljean Brook, Ilona Andrews, Jill Myles, Patrice Michelle and Nalini Singh. You see, darling Meljean needs help! Help Meljean Eat Bon-Bons, Save the Future, and Win a Prize! I should have known better than to start in with this but I couldn't help it. Then another commenter used the words "manly fashion" together and it always makes me think of Firefly and even though I am thinking of the wrong character saying the line it made me think of Nathan Fillion and well... weirdness has ensued. But it's entertaining and silly and well... you should really just go over there and see what everyone has come up with.

So anyway enough with my Firefly/Castle (no new epi this week gorramitalltohell) obsessions distracting me from the whole purpose of the weekend reading thread!

What are you reading this weekend guys? I am slogging at Unraveled again. Less than 100 pages to go and my heart ain't in it. I didn't love the first one either but I liked it better than this one. I'm finishing it more out of respect for Gena than anything. I think it's maybe just not for me as a series. It happens sometimes.

I'm also trying to cram Delirium into the next day for the YAD2 reading challenge. I just haven't had time to fit it in. I mean, I did meet my goal of 2 books but well, I feel like I should have done more. *sulks* Honestly I doubt I will have any time to read in the next week with cleaning, company, kids out of school and the holiday. *sigh* And all I want to do when the weather is this nasty (we're dropping below 15 tonight) is curl up with coffee/tea/cocoa, my cat and a book. Pathetic eh?

Well folks, I'm writing this Thursday night as Friday I am literally bombed with errands and stuff. Hope your weekend rocks! I'm heading to bed. -- Rhi


Review: The Iron Daughter by Julie Kagawa

The Iron Daughter (The Iron Fey #2) by Julie Kagawa
Young Adult, Paranormal Romance, Fantasy, Fae
Trade Paperback (Harlequin Teen, 304 pages, $9.99)
ISBN# 0373210132

Half Summer faery princess, half human, Meghan has never fit in anywhere. Deserted by the Winter prince she thought loved her, she is prisoner to the Winter faery queen. As war looms between Summer and Winter, Meghan knows that the real danger comes from the Iron fey—ironbound faeries that only she and her absent prince have seen. But no one believes her.
Worse, Meghan's own fey powers have been cut off. She's stuck in Faery with only her wits for help. Trusting anyone would be foolish. Trusting a seeming traitor could be deadly. But even as she grows a backbone of iron, Meghan can't help but hear the whispers of longing in her all-too-human heart.

Author Site: juliekagawa.com

The Romance vs. The Storyline (5 stars)

Meghan Chase has returned her little brother, Ethan, home to Louisiana but her adventures in the world of faery have just begun. Having promised to return with Prince Ash to the Winter land of his mother, Queen Mab, she finds herself at the mercy of the Unseelie Court. But none believe their tales of the Iron Fey and the monstrous King Machina.

As the half-human, half-Summer princess her father, King Oberon, would offer a trade for her return until he discovers she bargained herself into Winter's hands. Turning over the Scepter of Seasons to Winter upon his visit a chain of unfortunate events begins in which Meghan, Ash and Robin Goodfellow must once again face the Iron Fey. Finding new allies, facing enemies old and new the trio will venture into the mortal world to save the world of the fey kingdoms. Through it all Meghan may face the hardest challenge yet... knowing where her heart belongs.

Let me open my commentary here by saying that I find myself struggling to be as objective as I prefer to be with this series. I am madly in love with Kagawa's world of the fey. It's like taking tidbits from some of my favorite tales as a child and using them to pepper a creation that manages to be both original and derivative in ways that for me really work. There are deep hints of Labrynth and Alice in Wonderland in particular that I find delicious. Keeping that in mind I do understand some complaints I have heard from other readers, for some this series may feel too fanfictionesque.

As the second novel in this series there is a slight change in tone and feel. Less time is spent describing everything in lengthy detail, there isn't as much character development. Instead we're given a lot more of the relationship between Ash and Meghan to read and later her conflicted feelings regarding Robin. I wouldn't really say I felt like it was truly a love triangle, I don't see chemistry between Meghan and Robin enough to feel like he ever had a chance despite his obvious feelings for her. Instead it seems like she does spend a lot of time whining and pining over Ash. Some readers have commented that they found this really annoying and I can't say I totally disagree. His pushing her away is as transparent to a reader as it can get so I don't understand why Meghan cannot see it for what it is. The romantic threads of this one are what they are and some readers will hate it while others may find it relatable. I didn't really mind it but after a while it did feel a bit like it was time to move on and get to the action.

As far as the actual storyline regarding the Iron Fey goes, I really enjoyed it. It was a little predictable but enjoyable in its execution. I very much liked the new allies Kagawa brought in for Meghan. Leanansidhe, an exiled fae, is a fabulously interesting and fun character. Her minions and half-breeds gave an interesting twist to the world we'd already thought we knew. Meanwhile the plot is left thicker than ever with the Iron Fey themselves by the conclusion of this book.

Overall it isn't as great as its predecessor but The Iron Daughter manages to be entertaining none the less. There are certainly valid complaints I have seen voiced by other reviewers but I still loved this one and found most of the things that bothered others were easy for me to overlook or that I didn't find them as unlikable. This one is definitely thick on the Ash/Meghan romance but the story isn't completely lost in the thick of it.

Other Reviews:
Krystal Yanagihara of Need Tea Reviews
Dark Faerie Tales
Books With Bite
All Things urban Fantasy
Tori on Smexy Reviews
Sophistikatied Reviews

Notes: I received this review copy via Amazon's Vine Program.


2011 Personal Reading Resolutions Challenge

Every winter as an old year ends and a new one begins the subject of resolutions comes up. I can't say I am immune to the whole thing. A new year seems as good a time as any to consider kicking bad habits, setting health improvement goals or pledging to try something new. I think we humans thrive on goal setting, the need to suceed and having set time frames for things. We're reward oriented, unless there is a light at the end of the tunnel or a carrot at the end of that stick what motivates us to keep at it?

Previously my only reading related resolutions were count related. If I'd read 55 books the one year I wanted to reach 65 the next and so on. Perfectly doable goals in the grand scheme of things but since the inception of RhiReading a lot in my life has changed making counting the books I've read unrealistic as a goal. I'd be setting myself up for failure if I told myself to read 90 books in 2011. But I am a challenge loving person, I like having goals to work toward and delight in the personal success of finishing a task I set. So I've chosen to make a list of personal challenges for 2011 and want to invite my fellow bloggers and followers to join in.

This is a completely informal challenge. There are NO rules, NO checking-in, NO giveaways, NO required reviews, NO forms to fill out. Anyone who enjoys setting personal goals—that are reading or book blogging related—at the New Year, I'd like you to make a post on your blog that you are accepting the challenge to make and attempt to achieve at least one Personal Reading Resolution Challenge goal for 2011 and link back to this post as the source of your inspiration. If you don't have a blog you can simply post a comment to this post sharing what goal(s) you set for yourself. It's simple and requires nothing more than being willing to share any special reading/book blogging related goals you have made for 2011.

With the above in mind I wanted to make a list of the Resolutions I have made and plan to try very hard to keep. You're welcome to "take" them for yourself. I'm going to add a Page to the blog where I can make notes and update as I reach goals or decide not to keep the resolutions.

1. Instead of setting a counting the number of books I read this year goal, set a page count goal for each month.

2. Discover and read/review/interview six 2011 Debut UF or PNR (NON-YA) Authors.

3. Invite a few fellow book bloggers to be interviewed or guestblog this year.

4. Share a cover art post once a month even if I've seen a dozen other bloggers post the same ones.

5. Host one giveaway each month.

6. Join a blog hop or other special blogging event.

7. Try a M/M Romance.

8. Take part in at least one reading challenge during 2011.

9. Read three banned/challenged books in 2011.

10. Save up the money to get a "real design" custom made for the blog.

11. Review some non-fiction books with speculative fiction related themes(ie. cookbooks, craft books).

12. Catch up on The Hollows, Cal Leandros, Cat Star Chronicles and Mercy Thompson series by year's end.


Congrats to CakeSpy for winning Chronicle Books' Happy Haulidays Giveaway!

Well poo, I didn't win. But it was a fun giveaway to take part in and I even found a couple of cool blogs I'd never seen before so really I was a winner in a way. :)

But the winner, CakeSpy, happens to be one of the coolest blogs I found while taking part in the giveaway so I wanted to say congrats!

Meanwhile, I'm pleased to share the following deal with you that Chronicle has going for just a little longer:


Weekend Reading [12/10-12/12] :: *epic groan*

Happy weekend peeps! I'm in one of those negative moods that you can't put into words so you kind of make this half-groan noise where your eyes go twisty, your tongue gets slack and you shake your hands around all crazy epileptic-like. I'm just kind of epicly "poopy" as we refer to it when our kids get this moody.

To be honest I can't say for sure what was the final straw that tipped the scales in favor of being cranky. A little bit of news about a family member who is screwing over two other family members yesterday did not help. I should have been born with superhero tights 'cause by nature I want to swoop in and protect the ones being taken advantage of. And then I read a blog post from an author I just found out about and am super interested in her debut novel. For some reason it made me feel defensive. Like on a level of defensive I don't reach without ample provocation. It could be I'm reading her thoughts on fanfic to be more derogatory than she intended—considering her love of fanart this seems likely—but it just made me really damned mad.

I love fanfiction, the good, the bad and the hysterically ugly. I think it's sweet when a fan has love for something so much they want to immerse themself in it like that. I've always considered it an extension of playing pretend as a child. Action figures and blankie capes are where MY fanfic days started. I think it's a very healthy form of expression, especially for adults who struggle with a need for creative outlets for their imagination but don't want to be published authors.

So anyway it got my dander up. But after reading the post through a few times I do sympathize to a point with how she was feeling. Sort of. She was concerned about how the story she cared about was ending and from the sound of it fans of whatever series that is aren't happy.

We've all experienced a series gone astray before. Or hated a decision an author made in regards to plot or which hero a heroine ended up with. For me it's an issue of happily ever afters. As a reviewer I try to not tell folks too much but I hate HEAs. What!?! Yeah, I really do. Sure, sometimes it's nice to see the hero and heroine ride off into the sunset knowing they are happy and in love. But most of the time I like more realism. I know half of all marriages end in divorce. I know that sometimes that "romance" is more about lust than love. That sexual chemistry can be like adding vinegar to baking soda... a crazy explosion of passion that eventually fizzles out. Sometimes I LIKE that bad things happen and beloved characters die.

Sometimes death or a break up or something nasty are much more satisfying for me as a reader than knowing everyone is happy when the curtain falls. Instead of thinking "and now they'll be happy and never worry again" I find myself saying "she'll be stronger now, next time she falls in love she'll appreciate the time more" or whatever. Maybe I'm just a little sadistic. :P

Sometimes people who find out I dislike HEAs think it's because I'm jaded or have had bad experiences in love. Maybe some of both are true. Haven't we all had a bad experience with love or lust? But just as I like a sad ending—and I know that sometimes it's because misery loves company and I feel good knowing bad stuff happens to other people's love lives too—I also completely get why folks love HEAs. It's that unattainable dream, the fantasy that a couple can continue loving one another without ever having another Big Misunderstanding or cheating or boredom or The In-Laws getting in the way. Sometimes we need to be uplifted by the idea that may be unrealistic but still gives us hope. (And here is where I could go into why I think Galen Keeper of the demon Hope from the Lords of the Underworld series is a fekkin' genius villain but I shan't).

And what's been keeping me from crying "DO OVER!" and going back to bed today? Well, the obvious kids and life aside I picked up The Iron Daughter from my Vine reading pile this week. Not gonna lie, I have been anxious to read this one but told myself not until I wittled down on some other reading first. If ever a series of YA books has been written that cries to my inner child this is it. I struggle to find ANY flaw within it. Somehow it manages to be epic in such a small number of pages. I have the hugest Ash crush and Grimalkin is quite possibly one of my favorite fictional characters ever. If you still haven't read The Iron King and The Iron Daughter GO BUY THEM NOW! Fans of Labrynth, Alice in Wonderland and pretty much any fae story will find something to love about it. I was reading and realized I wanted to read these with the baby when she's bigger. :)

My other choice for the weekend is H.P. Mallory's To Kill a Warlock. Every time I sit down and read a few more pages I am baffled as to why she's an indie author. The writing is better than some of the big name authors' work I've read. Don't know how much time I'll find for it since I got it as an ebook and am busy with the Dexter finale (we're getting together with friends and I was volunteered for cupcake duty), Christmas shopping and cleaning all of the pet cage/litterbox/crate/shtuff 'cause frankly it smells like a barn in here thanks to our menagerie. Ah, the joys of being mother and minion. I hope you all have much more sexy and fun plans this weekend. And if you don't do hop over to Smexy Books to read Mandi's awesome ode to the holidays it's sure to put some jolly in your weekend. ;) xoxo -- Rhi


Review: Mob Rules by Cameron Haley

Mob Rules ( #1) by Cameron Haley
Urban Fantasy, Magic, Fae
Trade Paperback (LUNA, 320 pages, $14.95)
ISBN# 0373803206

I'm Domino Riley, an enforcer for Shanar Rashan.
Like most mob bosses in L.A., he's a powerful sorcerer, battling for control of the city, gathering up the magic of violent and powerful emotions and storing it for his own use. Back in the day, Rashan saved me from the streets and made me his lieutenant. You could say I'm his go-to girl.
When a fellow gangster is ritually executed, I have to find out which of Rashan's enemies was behind it—and why. The cryptic messages I'm getting from the Beyond tell me it wasn't a simple hit.
With the bodies piling up, I need to win an occult gang war, take out the supernatural traitor within our outfit and, oh yeah, deal with the mixed messages I'm getting from the boss's son…

Author Site: www.cameronhaley.com

Something NEW this way comes. (4 stars)

In Domino Riley's world if you're not the one controlling the most juice you're liable to get squeezed. No really. In L.A. the gangsters work for stronger magic ("juice") users who control their territories. As a bit of a right-hand to Shanar Rashan, Domino commands a lot of respect for an half-Irish, half-Mexican woman in the world of thugs. When one of Rashan's boys meets a very grisly end completely dried of his juice it's up to Domino to find out how. The plot continues to thicken as she begins to suspect a rival gang's Haitian head, Papa Danwe, is trying to overthrow her boss.

But when it comes to magic and the people who can manipulate it, everything is not always as cut and dry as it seems. Vampires, piskies and djinn occupy this world throwing their own interesting complications into Domino's investigation. By the time the whole story unravels the fight for L.A.'s juice may become a blood bath, but not if Domino can stop it.

In the genre that is Urban Fantasy it sometimes feels like you're reading the same story you've read before and all that's changed it what things are called and character names. Then, once in a while, you get really lucky and find a diamond in the rough. A book that's so fresh in concept or delivery you can't help but want everyone to read it. Mob Rules is an amazing example of taking an old idea and breathing some new life into it. There are lots of magic users out there in the genre but mixed in with the ganster elements this is urban fantasy guys can read without hiding the cover.

Fans of first person narratives from tough heroines should try this one out. Occasionally it's obvious Domino is written by a guy but thanks to her lifestyle it's forgiveable and works. The dialog is solid, something that for me as a reader is an essential element in enjoyable fiction. Haley does a great job of making larger than life secondary characters that don't pull you away from the heroine yet jump off the page making each scene they pop up in memorable. Honey the piskie is an absolute riot and next to Jenks from The Hollows series gives just the right touch of humor to lighten otherwise dark moments.

There is a touch of potential romance, a romance that—without me giving any spoilers—left me wanting more. Haley manages to use it well, making it just one spice in a tasty broth. I'm really looking forward to seeing where he takes Domino with this in future installments.

Overall I can't do the book justice as a reviewer. I can't quite put everything I want to say about what I liked into words without spoiling some of the greatest elements of the story. There are definitely some excellent surprises, just when I was totally bummed Haley managed to pull a fast one on me giving me a little hope. I am hooked. I recommend this one for urban fantasy readers sick of romance and sex taking over good plot, for readers looking for something weird and unexpected and for guys especially. Yeah, yeah, I said I recommend it for guys especially. I tend to like what my husband calls "guy movies" and can never fathom why he calls them that, I see them as "girls can be tough and look really sexy at the same time" movies. Domino is my kind of girl, doesn't take anyone's crap, can roll with the dudes but she's still a girl who can put on a skirt and makeup underneath it all.

Other Reviews:
Abigail of All Things Urban Fantasy
Dreams and Speculation
Liddlshortydemon on Amazon.com

Notes: I received this one as an ebook review copy through NetGalley.


Randomness for Randomness' Sake

It's TuesdayWednesday dear readers and guess who has noooo motivation to do anything productive today? Yeah that'd be me. :P

I'm so sleepy after not being able to put The Forest of Hands and Teeth down last night. I fell asleep with 7 pages to go. Woke up with my booklight still on and the book under my arm at 2:something to the baby crying and my husband missing from the bed. Hubby was in his office playing World of Warcraft 'cause the expansion went live at 1AM out time and baby was having her normal wake-up-screaming-like-a-banshee moment. So I finished the last few pages over my coffee this morning and O-M-G I have to tell you guys all I could think was "where has this book been all my life?". So rarely does a book make me feel like that. I can hardly stand not heading to Ammy to order The Dead-Tossed Waves. Bah!

In the meantime I've had a bunch of other stuff hovering in the back of my mind for the past couple of weeks regarding stuff I've found that's not really book related but felt like sharing. So in the spirit of randomness for the hell of it... enjoy!

1. Spartacus fans, if you haven't seen it already the trailer is up for the prequel season Starz is doing while Andy Whitfield is out of commision.

This new season premieres on January 21st! Yay for man-titties!

2. I know I mentioned it in yesterday's post but I grew up until about the age of 10 as a big fan of ballet. Never did get to do it unfortunately but as an art it has always been a favorite. I'm also a huge Natalie Portman fan. The woman's talent, not to mention how lovely she is, impresses me so much. When I saw the trailer for her new movie Black Swan I knew I was going to be frustrated not to see it. I will be shocked if it makes it to our local theater so I'll be waiting for the DVD/Bluray release. But watch the trailer and tell me this doesn't look really intense!

3. A very Etsy Christmas. While trying to find something cool for my fellow book loving MIL I've been glomming through Etsy shops in search of the perfect bookish gifts. Natch I've fallen in love with some of these things for myself too. ;)

I know I've featured the shop before but Stupid Shiny Designs on Etsy has added some new stuff since last time! I love her new Black Dagger Brotherhood ones but the one she made for Mockingjay is just so damn pretty. Most of these seem to run in the $7 to $15 range which makes them a great stocking stuffer.

I'm also totally coveting a mass market paperback sized book cover from Wee Bee Stitch'n. Embroidered in faux suede and with their own bookmarks and a button latch to keep them closed... damn these look good. I like the heraldic lion one meself but there are so many others including a cool fairy.

Now I'm not a huge Twilighter like some of y'all but even I can appreciate these wood and ribbon done Cullen Crest bookmarks from SimplyPanoply and at only $3 a pop that's a steal!

And on that note guys I got intertupted by life and didn't get back to this until today... Wednesday. So I've decided to just put up what I had. But in the meantime I wanted to point out there are some awesome giveaways and events going on around the blogosphere. I've started a list in the lefthand sidebar titled "Check These Out" and seriously you really should! I was cleaning my office last night and listening to an audiobook I have for review and discovered I have about 30 books I need to read this month. *dies* So enough with the randomness and on with my reading. Have a great Wednesday! -- Rhi


A Season of Sharing

All weekend I was thinking about the traditions our family has established at Christmas time. From specific movies we watch on Christmas Eve to the underwear we buy the kid every year since the year he cried because he thought all he was getting was underwear! I don't know, maybe it's because I'm a bit of a nostalgic person but tradition is important to me. I've already stocked up on the traditional chocolate oranges for the toes of the stockings. It was awful the year no one had any left TWO WEEKS before Christmas! Real oranges just aren't as fun. It's our tradition and the holiday just isn't the same without it.

This weekend we're supposed to decorate our tree. We put it up right after Thanksgiving only to discover half the branches aren't lighting up. Damn pre-lit POS. :P Hell with it, we can't afford a new one this year and once we get all of our garland, balls and family ornaments on it you don't notice it really. I remember when I was a kid I would get so mad if my gramma decorated her tree before I could come over to help. So one year she bought a tiny plastic tree just for me to decorate. It became a tradition after that!

When I was very young I was super into ballet but my dance school wouldn't let me do it until I was older so I eventually gave up on it. But every year someone made sure I got to see The Nutcracker. Now we have a tradition of buying a nutcracker for our son each year. The other night he snuck out into the living room and took all of the smaller ones into his room. Mysteriously several of them now need a tube of super glue. Meanwhile, I started a new tradition last year for the baby. When my husband was little every year his mom bought him an ornament with a mouse on it. Each one reflects something from the year he got it. There's a bowling one from when he was little and into bowling. My favorite is from the year we got married, it has two mice sitting on a swing under mistletoe and it says "Our Christmas". It's the last one she got for him. So I decided I wanted to buy the baby a special ornament each year only hers will be snowmen. This year it's a "mommy" snowman and "baby" snowman on her back going to the mailbox with a letter for Santa and there's a puppy running with them. Since baby goes with me to get the mail on warm days and we got the puppy this year I thought it was perfect.

What are your family's traditions dear readers? I've been hearing about some from friends and strangers that I just love. My stepkid's other family usually opens their presents on Christmas Eve and the special one is always a set of new pajamas that they wear that night.

I didn't get a lot of time to read over the weekend so I didn't bother with my usual Weekend Reading post. Not that I didn't plan to or start one. I spent the afternoon with my MIL on Saturday shopping for Christmas and trying not to cave and buy Matched by Ally Condie when I saw it at Barnes and Noble. I did drag her over to the humor section to show her the Porn for Women books I have on the Chronicle Books Happy Haul-idays list. We were laughing our butts off so hard I'm surprised they didn't tell us to shush.

As any of you who are buddies with me on GoodReads know, I've been reading Winter Wishes this week which includes the novellas Tangled Tinsel by Vivian Arend, No Angel by Vivi Andrews and Freeze Line by Moira Rogers. I'm on No Angel which is superb up to the point I'm stopped at but I didn't care for Tangled Tinsel. I did sit down last night though and got a lot more of The Forest of Hands and Teeth read. I was going to watch The Walking Dead's finale but since the hubs had to miss last week's epi I figured I would wait until he could catch up and we could watch it together. I am so wishing I had read TFoH&T sooner it is exceptional. I actually got a bit sick reading one scene today and had to put it down for a bit.

Since I had to take a break to calm down after that grisly scene I went over to LibraryThing. I don't use the site much since I haven't taken the time when I have the money to get a subscription. 200 books is hardly enough for one blogger to list. It got me wondering what other sites there are in this vein. I love GoodReads and I tried Feed Your Shelf. I know of but haven't tried Shelfari. I'm curious which ones are favorites.

And on that note I hate to cut this short but I have got to get some stuff done around this house before it gets any later. Have a terrific week and if you've got any books on your holiday shopping list from Chronicle Books don't forget the 35% off + free shipping deal has been extended through the 12th! Just use the code FRIENDS at checkout. ;) -- Rhi


Larissa's Bookish Life Blogoversary & Xmas Giveaway

I'm super busy this week dear readers. I could seriously ball my eyes out from exhaustion. I just cannot get caught up on anything. *grrr* And the puppy... argh! With the weather and her still recovering from surgery I can't let her outside to play so she's been really naughty. I have to remind myself she's not being a shit on purpose just to make me mad or I'd be tempted to put an ad out... Free to good home 5 month old hellhound. House broken and spayed. Answers to commands "sit" and "bite mommy so hard it draws blood". No returns! :P

But in farting around looking at blogs to find some funny or good news to sooth my stressed out state I came across a couple of people's links to Larissa's giveaway she's got going on. Somehow it happens that I was not a follower of her blog before. I dunno why. It happens sometimes. But anywho, it is a kick ass giveaway involving books (including titles from Gail Carriger, Patricia Briggs, J.R. Ward and Larissa Ione) and Amazon giftcards. Not gonna lie guys... I am broke as a joke and winning a big giveaway right now would be sweet. So I thought to myself "self, you should enter this one" and so I am. But then I felt a little guilty as I looked at the "extra entries" section... I personally hate them in giveaways but I GET why bloggers do that... and thought I should support Larissa's blog by doing this advertising! Besides, you guys wanna enter to win too right? ;)

So pop on over between now and Jan. 11th and comment/fill out the form/etc. And if by chance you win and found out about it through me... let me know! That'd be pretty cool. :) Happy Tuesday guys! -- Rhi


Review: Demon Angel by Meljean Brook

Demon Angel (The Guardians #1) by Meljean Brook
Paranormal Romance, Angels, Demons
Mass Market Paperback (BERKLEY SENSATION, 432 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0425213471

For two thousand years, Lilith wrought vengeance upon the evil and the damned, gathering souls for her father’s armies Below and proving her fealty to her Underworld liege. Bound by a bargain with the devil and forbidden to feel pleasure, she draws upon her dark powers and serpentine grace to lead men into temptation. That is, until she faces her greatest temptation — Heaven’s own Sir Hugh Castleford.
Author Site: meljeanbrook.com

Decaf Versus Espresso (3 stars)

I prefer to begin my reviews with a break-down of the basic plotlines as I took them. Let me apologize for not doing that this time but if you've read the above synopsis (straight from Brook's website) and the back of the book you're well prepared. But moving on...

It took me a long time to break down and try the Guardians series. I accidentally picked up the third book, Demon Night, and started it by mistake. What little I had read excited me before I decided I better start with this one first. Brook is definitely a writer with an exceptional talent but Demon Angel is a very hard book to follow. At first I thought it was just me. But I happened to stumble across a note Brook had about the series, Demon Angel and Demon Moon in particular, that I found reassuring. Basically she acknowledges that her writing style in the first two installments didn't work for some readers and she took the constructive criticism to heart.

My personal struggle with Demon Angel was not so much the pace, though it was a little draggy, but the execution. While I didn't dislike Hugh or Lilith I wasn't given enough to compel me to like them either. I found myself sadly indifferent toward them even though I was very interested in the world of the Guardians. While a past was established between the two I didn't feel like enough world building took place for me to understand the past that was presented when it was presented.

I wanted to like this book but so much of it didn't fall into place for me I didn't particularly care for it. All I could think of as an analogy to explain it was that it was like being a decaf drinker and the barista slipped you espresso, you're not prepared for the intensity of it. Too much of some stuff and not enough of others even though it's all coffee. And on that note I doubt I am making any sense. Sorry! What redeems it from getting a lower rating is the fact that Brook shows her immense capability in spinning words. Conceptually this series has great potential and since I am late getting started I have to say the recommendations and high ratings on further installments seem promisingly high. Having read Brook's first book in her new series, The Iron Duke, I plan to be a watching for anything this author writes.

Other Reviews:
Gossamer Obsessions
Candy of Smart Bitches, Trashy Books
Jane Stewart @ GoodReads

Notes: I purchased this book online.

Review: The Darkest Lie by Gena Showalter

The Darkest Lie (Lords of the Underworld #6) by Gena Showalter
Paranormal Romance, Demons, Mythology
Mass Market Paperback (HQN, 448 pages, $7.99)
ISBN# 0373774613

Forced to his knees in agony whenever he speaks the truth, Gideon can recognize any lie—until he captures Scarlet, a demon-possessed immortal who claims to be his long-lost wife. He doesn't remember the beautiful female, much less wedding—or bedding—her. But he wants to…almost as much as he wants her.
But Scarlet is keeper of Nightmares, too dangerous to roam free. A future with her might mean ultimate ruin. Especially as Gideon's enemies draw closer—and the truth threatens to destroy all he's come to love…

Author Site: genashowalter.com

Dialog issues made this a difficult one to read... (3 stars)

Beautiful, enigmatic Scarlet, Keeper of Nightmares, has been taken into custody by the Lords of the Underworld. Dangerous and lovely she's trouble with a capital T. This is only complicated by her past, a past that she claims involves a marriage to Gideon, Keeper of Lies. While he might be infatuated with and drawn to Scarlet he has no memories to support her claim. But when she uses her gifts from Nightmares to show him their linked past he will do anything to see those memories restored. Even take on the goddess of Memory.

Meanwhile, Amun, William and Aeron go to hell in search of Legion. The Lords have taken the artifacts into hiding and Strider faces off with an old enemy. Chaos and tumult are around every corner as the overall story arc of the series thickens into a really fine soup.

I have to sigh and shrug on this one. Gideon was always the Lord I looked forward to seeing in more scenes. He added a nice slice of humor because of his forced lying. Unfortunately I found myself so swamped in double-talk dialog I was falling asleep reading it from the brain strain. It's a fun element in small doses but for me there was just way too much dialog to unravel. Showalter does explain most of Gideon's double talk right after the line has come out--"I thought it was ugly." Meaning he thought it was pretty.--but after a while it feels like wasted words. I'm not sure if other readers would naturally try to twist it in their head before reading the second line but that was what happened with me.

Gideon's lie-based double talk aside the Gideon/Scarlet chemistry was a little dry. The reasons for their attraction and interest in one another are constantly put to the test by the events happening to them involving her past and his lack of memory of said past. I liked both characters individually but their romance felt a little bit contrived. I did love the "TO PART IS TO DIE" thing. It was romantic, sweet and a nice plot point until late in the book when certain things are revealed that I won't spoil for you. The bits between Lies and Nightmares was an excellent twist, the demons have always played bigger roles in the lives of their keepers so seeing their roles here was enjoyable.

As far as the other plot elements regardng the other Lords goes I wasn't very impressed. I realize we're setting up for Amun's book, The Darkest Secret, but the Strider parts were annoying to read. I've never been more bothered by him as a character as I was this time. Because Gideon and Scarlet's story involves the other Lords at such a minimal level the breaks with the other characters felt like they were out of place most of the time. I hope they won't be as trivial feeling in the next installment.

If you're a LOTU fan it would be hard to skip this one but I can honestly say it vies with The Darkest Night as my least favorite. Which sucks, 'cause Gideon was my favorite Lord before this book. I won't say skip this one because there are some key factors introduced here toward the overall storyline of the series but be warned, this one might be a hard sell with such brain melting dialog to unravel.

Other Reviews:
Julie of Yummy Men and Kick Ass Chicks
Tori of Smexy Books
Karan of For What It's Worth
Pearl of Pearl's World of Romance

Notes: I received this review copy via Amazon's Vine Program.


Chronicle Books Happy Haul-idays Drawing!

It takes a lot to get me really excited about this sort of thing but I actually spend a lot of money on crafting books from Chronicle Books already! Wouldn't it be uber cool to make off like a bandit this holiday season? Awww, seriously though I could use a nice treat and something tells me one of my readers would dig some of the stuff I found (some of this I already have on one of my Amazon wishlists, teehee!).

So here's how it works...

The Official Rules

for BLOGGERS: Post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too!
Last day to submit entries is December 10th!

You just have to fill out and submit the form on the giveaway page here. I'm assuming that's so they'll know who to award the prize to. ;)

for EVERYONE ELSE: Visit these blogs for your chance to win a haul of Chronicle Books! Each of these blogs has posted a list of books valued up to $500! One blogger and one commenter on the winning post will each WIN the list!
Winners will be announced on December 13th!

Can we say kickass? Yes we can! And a big thanks to the awesome Velvet of vvb32reads for posting hers up which is where I saw this for the first time. Oh the woe if I hadn't caught this one. And without further ado... MY LIST!

World of Geekcraft Step-by-Step Instructions for 25 Super-Cool Craft Projects
Why did I pick it? I am 101% GEEK. I own about $10,000 worth of Star Wars action figures. I wear World of Warcraft tee shirts. One of my cats is named after a Final Fantasy VII character. I miss Firefly. They're called graphic novels, not comics. 'Nuff said.

Embroidered Effects Projects and Patterns to Inspire Your Stitching
Why did I pick it? Some of you readers may remember my big craftgasm posts last spring about learning embroidery. I shared links to Jenny Hart's website and her really fun patterns. I recently finished bib #4 and started #5. Unless there is another book coming I don't know about this is the only one I am still missing! Time to learn some advanced techniques.

The Sexy Book of Sexy Sex
Why did I pick it? *giggles* I'm going to blame Flight of the Conchords. And I love humor books! And sex books! And 'cause the title alone classifies this book as the perfect item to make sure my mother sees next time she visits to get her to go home sooner*. Did I mention Flight of the Conchords?
(*See October review slowness and weep)

Yum-Yum Bento Box Fresh Recipes for Adorable Lunches
Why did I pick it? Among the handful of things I have secretly obsessed about wanting to try bento is in the top five. This book is even on one of my Amazon wishlists. Even if I never get around to trying it how cute is this book anyway? So cute it belongs in my collection of cookbooks!

The Star Wars Cookbook II Darth Malt and More Galactic Recipes
Why did I pick it? No joke—though I kind of wish it was!—I bought the first The Star Wars Cookbook the week it hit shelves. I still have it. I've even made a lot of the recipes in it. I had no children at the time but my kids love it now. I think we all secretly just adore the pictures. Yet I've never broken down to add this one to the collection. I think it might be time. ;)

Zombies A Record of the Year of Infection
Why did I pick it? It's called Zombies. Duh! After devoting a month of my blog life to the great debate of Steampunk versus Zombies I think there is little more that can be said. I ♥ Zombies!

The Writer's Toolbox Creative Games and Exercises for Inspiring the "Write" Side of Your Brain
Why did I pick it? I'm shy about it but as soon as I could write sentences I began my love affair with writing. I was first published at the age of 7. And unless blogging and collective fan-fic count I haven't been published again. But someday I want to remedy that and anything that can help me improve my beloved craft is worthy of being listed. :)

Porn for New Moms
From the Cambridge Women’s Pornography Cooperative

Why did I pick it? Foxy dudes + cute babies = *awwww* One of the sexiest things I've ever seen is my husband holding our newborn son and later our newborn daughter for the first time. There's just something about seeing that raw love and desire to protect your spawn that makes a man damn hot. Plus these are just some of the funniest books in general... which is why I think I'm gonna add another to the list. ;)

Mini Masters Boxed Set (The set includes: Dancing with Degas, A Picnic with Monet, A Magical Day with Matisse, and In the Garden with Van Gogh.)
Why did I pick it? Okie, so this pick is more for the baby than myself. My husband and I have a mutual passion for Van Gogh that kind of added to the courtship phase of our relationship. Though neither of us made it to AIS like we had both aspired to our love of art has yet to wane.

The Official High Times Pot Smoker's Handbook
Why did I pick it? Definitely a controversial choice. No, I'm not a pot smoker. I do happen to have a couple of relatives who, for medical reasons, are. My state has had soooo much debate and drama over Marijuana lately I just don't get it. Legalize the crap and let it be taxed, regulated and so on. I don't care if that offends anyone and I have no plans to use it if it's legal but it'd sure make my family's life easier. This is a way to show my support of legalization without being too out there.

Mom's Ultimate Family Organizer A One-Stop Planner for Busy Moms
Why did I pick it? As regular readers of my blog know... I am one busy momma. I can't even get to MY computer right now for all the junk piles around it. Paperwork, bills, ARCs, magazines, CDs, coupons, all kinds of STUFF. I want to be organized but have yet to find an organizer I like. This one might be a good place to start. Maybe I can finally get my desk back.

Bitten Dark Erotic Stories
Why did I pick it? Really tantalizing erotica is hard to find. Some is too fetishy, others too clinical. With this snakey cover it'd make an attractive and subtle bedside book no matter what.

The Toddler Café Fast Recipes and Fun Ways to Feed Even the Pickiest Eater
Why did I pick it? If my Amazon reviews of baby food cookbooks are any indication I loooove cookbooks geared toward feeding little people. So far my big kids are the more picky of the bunch but if she's anything like her father the baby may end up hating a lot of foods too. Some surprising things she loves include artichokes, hummus and cranberries. I'd love to see what the Toddler Cafe has to offer. :)

Everything Tastes Better with Bacon 70 Fabulous Recipes for Every Meal of the Day
Why did I pick it? As if this one needs explaining? It's BACON! No, I don't eat it often. But if there was one food you could feed me as a kid to get me to shut up... it was bacon. My favorite guilty pleasure snack is my peanut butter and bacon sandwich. It's all about the crunchiness, toasted wheat bread, chunky Adam's peanut butter and crispy bacon strips. Mmmmmm. Give me the bacon porn!

Pride and Prejudice and Zombies
Why did I pick it? As much as I have avoided this one for the trendy factor I can't lie... I have wanted to read it. I've never actually read a Jane Austen novel (trend factor again) but I love mash-ups and this is pretty much the one that started it all. So why not eh?

Subversive Cross Stitch 33 Designs for Your Surly Side
Why did I pick it? I've actually eyeballed this one for ages. I don't do cross-stitch. But I'm notorious for my potty mouth which my husband blames on my Irish heritage. Maybe this would motivate me to try it. Can I get a #@!! yeah?

Lickshot A Photo Scrapbook
Why did I pick it? Ben Watts, brother of actress Naomi Watts, has a style I've always liked. Some of my favorite photos of the late Heath Ledger were taken by Watts. Since some of those are in this book I think this book—while being the most expensive on this list—is priceless. I was such a huge fan of Ledger that I still have a hard time watching his films without feeling an embarrassing level of grief. His talent was unfathomable for someone our age (we were the same age at the time of his death) and I feel like we didn't even get to see all he was capable of. But enough rambling... on to other picks...

Wonder Woman: The Complete History The Life and Times of the Amazon Princess
Why did I pick it? When I was four my mom put my Wonder Woman underoos on over thermal underwear so I could be the Amazon Princess for Halloween. I wish I had a pair of those underoos in my size still. Yay for girl power!

Fuck the World
Why did I pick it? It's utterly devious but all in good fun. I enjoy this sort of humor though I'm too scared of getting in trouble to "deface" a sign or something. I'll live vicariously through the author.

XXX Porn for Women
Why did I pick it? If you saw the Porn for New Moms book above you'll understand why the other thing I love is a handsome man taking part in some choreplay. My husband shoveling the snow so I can safely get to the car while carrying baby and 20lbs of baby gear? Hot. Hubby picking up his own laundry from the bathroom floor? Steamy. Any man doing the dishes? SMOLDERING!

Anything You Can Do, I Can Do Better A Girl's Guide to Guy Stuff
Why did I pick it? In my circle of friends I'm generally that girl who is "one of the guys" but on the same token I manage to also be the one who feeds them, remembers which kind of beer they like (and make sure it's stocked) and when our guy friends come to visit for a weekend of gaming or the holidays will wash their clothes. Basically, I can do it all and I'm proud of it. But there's still some stuff I don't get. I am completely baffled by tools, how to build a fire and all things sports and gambling related. Yep, I would so love to show I don't need them for those things either.

The Villain's Guide to Better Living
Why did I pick it? Why is it that the bad guys always seem to be having way more fun? I love a good villain and I have often thought I would enjoy writing one more than good guys. This would not only be a fun conversation starter book but might inspire some villainy in real life. >:)

The Worst-Case Scenario Survival Handbook: Paranormal
Why did I pick it? I read enough paranormal related fiction to likely know everything in this book already but wouldn't this be an easier manual to pick up in case of a werewolf bite or alien abduction?

How Not to Write An Office Primer for the Gramatically Perplexed
Why did I pick it? Not gonna lie... grammar is so not my strong suit. I feel more comfortable with a conversational writing style but we all know that's not the proper way to be writing. I seriously should be sent back to elementary school. Maybe this book could help me improve my writing for the blog? Make me seem a little more professional?

Use This Book! The Only Book You'll Ever Need
Why did I pick it? It says it's the only book I'll ever need. Shouldn't I get this one then? lol

Fairy Parties Recipes, Crafts, and Games for Enchanting Celebrations
Why did I pick it? Having a baby girl I'm slowly reconnecting with my inner girly-girl who once lived for unicorns, tea parties and playing dress-up. I adore fairy stuff and this book is as cute as it gets. I can't wait to do some of the fun girly things I once loved with my daughter when she's big enough to enjoy them. :)

And there my Haul-iday choices are coming in at a grand total of $498.79 just shy of the $500 mark. Not a bad way to spend that kind of cash. Don't forget to visit the other blogs and leave your comment for a chance to win!


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