Why I Love to Read: Book Club

Why I love To Read


Book Club

I love my book club! Three years ago, nine other ladies and I, who I now call my close friends, decided to get together once a month to talk about books.  We call ourselves Books, Babes and Booze and we had no idea how long it would last or what great conversations we would have. Rules of book club is that the hostess for that month gets to choose whatever book she wants and everyone must read at least 100 pages.

As we are about to finish our third year together, we will have read over 30 books. We have read books from so many different genres. I have read books that I know I would have never chosen for myself. We read books about World War II, cancer, Nigeria, witches and vampires, other planets, carnivals, dystopian worlds and the list goes on and on. We’ve covered fiction and nonfiction alike. Some books we agree on and others we don’t; and, that’s the best part about book club.

Each person in our group has her own strong opinions about what we are reading at any given time. It is so much fun to listen to another person’s thoughts on a book that you either loved or hated. We are never mean to each other because we respect every other too much to do that. We just love to debate and enjoy the differing opinions. I really love when a book totally polarizes the group. For example, one month I picked The Discovery of Witches by Deborah Harkness. For the group, you either loved it or hated it. We had such a loud and heated debate on why Diana and Matthew never had sex in the book. We argued and laughed. It was such fun!!

Of course, with any good book club we have wonderful food and beverage. Each hostess puts together a wonderful spread of yummy snacks and great wine. For an hour and a half, we are able to let our hair down and talk about our lives and get whatever support we might need. Because after we have exhausted the book talk, we switch to whatever is happening in our lives at the time. It’s like a good old-fashioned quilting bee but with books instead of thread and needles. It’s fun talking to other like-minded women to get their take on the world’s problems.

So, that’s why I love to read this week. Good books, good friends and good conversations!

Waiting on Wednesday: Hot Blooded

Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
My Waiting on Wednesday:

Hot Blooded by Amanda Carlson
To Be Released on April 23, 2013

It hasn’t been the best week for Jessica McClain.
Her mate has been kidnapped by a Goddess hell-bent on revenge — but Jessica is playing for keeps.
Because she’s the only female werewolf in town…it comes with its own set of rules…and powers.
Aided by two vamps, two loyal Pack members, and one very reluctant human, Jessica must rescue her man while coming to terms with what being a wolf really means.
All in a day’s work for a girl.
The second novel in the Jessica McClain series is a full on action adventure featuring one angry Goddess and plenty of monsters, demons, and a few newly risen beasties…

HFV Blog Tour: Review of The Thwarted Queen

I’m happy to be a part of the Historical Fiction Virtual Book Tour of Cynthia Haggard and her novel The Thwarted Queen. For my stop I have provided a review of her wonderful book.
The Thwarted Queen by Cynthia Haggard
Published in 2011
Historical Fiction
I received this book as part of the HFVBT in exchange for an honest review.
THWARTED QUEEN is a portrait of a woman trapped by power, a marriage undone by betrayal, and a King brought down by fear.

Cecylee is the apple of her mother’s eye. The seventh daughter, she is the only one left unmarried by 1424, the year she turns nine. In her father’s eyes, however, she is merely a valuable pawn in the game of marriage. The Earl of Westmorland plans to marry his youngest daughter to 13-year-old Richard, Duke of York, who is close to the throne. He wants this splendid match to take place so badly, he locks his daughter up.

The event that fuels the narrative is Cecylee’s encounter with Blaybourne, a handsome archer, when she is twenty-six years old. This love affair produces a child (the “One Seed” of Book II), who becomes King Edward IV. But how does a public figure like Cecylee, whose position depends upon the goodwill of her husband, carry off such an affair? The duke could have locked her up, or disposed of this illegitimate son.

But Richard does neither, keeping her firmly by his side as he tries to make his voice heard in the tumultuous years that encompass the end of the Hundred Years War – during which England loses all of her possessions in France – and the opening phase of the Wars of the Roses. He inherits the political mantle of his mentor Duke Humphrey of Gloucester, and become’s the people’s champion. The rambunctious Londoners are unhappy that their country has become mired in misrule due to the ineptitude of a King prone to fits of madness. Nor are they better pleased by the attempts of the King’s French wife to maneuver herself into power, especially as she was responsible for England’s losses in France. But can Richard and Cecylee prevail? Everywhere, their enemies lurk in the shadows.
This book is filled with many voices, not least those of the Londoners, who forged their political destiny by engaging in public debate with the powerful aristocrats of the time. By their courageous acts, these fifteenth-century Londoners set the stage for American Democracy.


The Thwarted Queen is a powerful and intriguing piece of historical fiction. In the past, I’ve read many novels about Edward IV and his queen, Elizabeth. However, I’ve never read anything from the perspective of his mother, Lady Cecylee. I found Lady Cecylee to be a very strong lady and someone I wanted to read more about.

Ms. Haggard wrote this book from the first person perspective of Lady Cecylee. In fact, Lady Cecylee calls it her memoirs. The first person perspective worked really well with the telling of this story. You are able to really see inside all her schemes and emotions. You know her insecurities, how proud she could be and how, at times, unforgiving she could be.

This book, also, reminds readers how awful women were treated. It didn’t matter if you were noble-born or peasant-born. Each woman felt her own kind of helplessness. Young, noble girls were basically sold to the highest bidder inexchange for wealth and power. Sometimes a young lady would be married as young as four years old. The child would be taken from her mother’s care and live with her new husband’s family. There was much abuse during those times. Lady Cecylee fought against marrying her daughters off at such a tender age. She didn’t always succeed. Ms. Haggard gave us an idea how brutal life could be for a woman in 1400s.

It’s nice to see another strong woman during that time. I loved all the references to Eleanor of Aquitaine who happens to be my favorite historical figure. I liked that Lady Cecylee fashioned herself after Eleanor. However, Lady Cecylee was far from perfect. She was supposedly responsible for some truly horrific things. But she seemed, in the end, to be sorry. I don’t think she would have changed a thing if she had to do it all over again.

The Thwarted Queen is a wonderful book. I highly recommend it for any historical fiction fan. It is an interesting take of the reigns of Edward IV and Richard III.

About the Author
Born and raised in Surrey, England, CYNTHIA SALLY HAGGARD has lived in the United States for twenty-nine years. She has had four careers: violinist, cognitive scientist, medical writer and novelist. Why does she write historical novels? Because she has been reading them with great enjoyment since she was a child. Because she has a great imagination and a love of history that won’t go away. And because she has an annoying tendency to remember trivial details of the past and to treat long-dead people as if they were more real than those around her.

Cynthia’s biggest influence was her grandmother, Stephanie Treffry, who had a natural story-telling ability. As a widow in 1970s Britain, Grandma Stephanie didn’t drive a car, so would spend time waiting for buses. Her stories were about various encounters she had at those bus-stops. Nothing extraordinary, except that she made them so funny, everyone was in fits of laughter. A born entertainer, Cynthia tries to emulate her when she writes her novels.

In case you were wondering, she is related to H. Rider Haggard, the author of SHE and KING SOLOMONS’S MINES. (H. Rider Haggard was a younger brother of her great-grandfather.) Cynthia Sally Haggard is a member of the Historical Novel Society. You can visit her website at www.spunstories.com.


Monday, February 11
Review at Griperang’s Bookmarks
Review & Giveaway at Luxury Reading

Tuesday, February 12
Review at The Book Garden

Wednesday, February 13
Review & Giveaway at Peeking Between the Pages

Thursday, February 14
Review at Flashlight Commentary

Friday, February 15
Review at Ageless Pages Reviews
Guest Post at Flashlight Commentary

Monday, February 18
Review at The Lit Bitch
Review & Giveaway at Confessions of an Avid Reader

Tuesday, February 19
Interview & Giveaway at The Lit Bitch

Wednesday, February 20
Review at A Book Geek

Thursday, February 21Review at Psychotic State Book Reviews
Feature & Giveaway at The Maiden’s Court

Friday, February 22
Review & Giveaway at A Bookish Affair

Monday, February 25
Review at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Tuesday, February 26
Review at Kinx’s Book Nook
Interview & Giveaway at Oh, for the Hook of a Book!

Wednesday, February 27
Review at A Chick Who Reads

Thursday, February 28
Author Guest Post at A Chick Who Reads

Friday, March 1
Review at Sharon’s Garden of Book Reviews


It’s Monday! What are you reading?!

Welcome to It’s Monday! What Are You Reading! This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from! Hosted by Book Journey.

Last week I finished Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson which I really enjoyed. Here is my review.

I’m currently trying to finish The Last Runaway by Tracy Chevalier. I’ve heard mixed reviews of the this book, but I really like it.

Next on my list is The Dovekeepers by Alice Hoffman.

Blends mythology, magic, archaeology and women. Traces four women, their path to the Masada massacre. In 70 CE, nine hundred Jews held out on a mountain in the Judean desert, Masada. According to the ancient historian Josephus, two women and five children survived.

Four bold, resourceful, sensuous women come to Masada by a different path. Yael’s mother died in childbirth, and her father never forgave her for that death. Revka, a village baker’s wife, watched the horrifically brutal murder of her daughter by Roman soldiers; she brings to Masada her twin grandsons, rendered mute by their own witness. Aziza is a warrior’s daughter, raised as a boy, a fearless rider and expert marksman, who finds passion with another soldier. Shirah is wise in the ways of ancient magic and medicine, a woman with uncanny insight and power. The four lives intersect in the desperate days of the siege, as the Romans draw near. All are dovekeepers, and all are also keeping secrets – about your they are, where they come from, who fathered them and whom they love.

Review: Full Blooded

Full Blooded by Amanda Carlson
Published by Orbit Books
Published on September 11, 2012
322 Pages
Urban Fantasy
Received as a gift from the author

Born the only female in an all male race, Jessica McClain isn’t just different—she’s feared.

After living under the radar for the last twenty-six years, Jessica is thrust unexpectedly into her first change, a full ten years late. She wakes up and finds she’s in the middle of a storm. Now that she’s become the only female full-blooded werewolf in town, the supernatural world is already clamoring to take a bite out of her and her new Pack must rise up and protect her.

But not everyone is on board. The werewolf Rights of Laws is missing text and the superstitious werewolves think that Jessica means an end to their race. It doesn’t help when Jessica begins to realize she’s more. She can change partway and hold her form, and speak directly to her wolf. But the biggest complication by far is that her alpha father can’t control her like he can the rest of his wolves.

When a mercenary who’s been hired by the vampires shows up to extract information about the newly turned werewolf only days after her change, they find themselves smack in the middle of a war and there’s no choice but to run together. When it’s up to Jessica to negotiate her release against her father’s direct orders, she chooses to take an offer for help instead. In exchange, Jessica must now swear an oath she may end up repaying with her life.

Let me start by saying that I love urban fantasy and especially werwolves. I have very high standards when it comes to books about both and Full Blooded didn’t disappoint. I loved the story and the characters. Ms. Carlson created a world of supernaturals that I truly emjoyed and definitely want to read more.
Jessica McClain makes a wonderful werewolf. She’s strong, bold and with a touch of feminine guile. Her transition from human to the only female werewolf makes for some really good reading. There is action at every turn and a little bit of sex to make it really entertaining and fun. Jessica has a great personality and loyal beyond anything else.
One of the main I love werewolves is their sense of Pack. The loyalty really gets to me. I don’t care for the absolute authority in the Alpha but the tight bonds that holds the Pack together is really amazing. Jessica has a tight family bond inside the Pack. Her father and brother plus several other Pack members would die to protect her and she for them. I respect that very much.
Full Blooded briefly touched upon an intense relationship for Jessica. It’s a very interesting match and sparks definitely fly between the two of them. I can’t wait to see how it develops. The book ends with a little bit of a cliffhanger that centers around her potential love interest. Usually, cliffhangers drive me crazy and this one did as well. However, the second book, Hot Blooded, comes out in two months. I don’t have that long to wait. Thank goodness!!  


Book Blogger Hop (3)

The Book Blogger Hop was originally created by Jennifer from Crazy-For-Books in March 2010 and ended December 31, 2012.


Luckily, Billy from Coffee Addicted Writer will relaunch the Book Blogger Hop. Each week the hop will start on a Friday and end on Thursday. There will be a weekly prompt just like before. The hop’s purpose will remain the same as it will give bloggers a chance to follow other blogs, learn about new books, befriend other bloggers, and receive new followers to your own blog.

Q: Which do you prefer most: printed book or eReader?
A: How about both? I love my Kindle because it allows me to read anyplace, anywhere. Plus, and I don’t know why, I seem to be able to read a lot more books on my Kindle. It’s weird. But, at the same time, nothing beats turning the pages of a printed book. The smell, texture and words give a printed book so much more richness. I recently wrote a blog post about this very topic. Please check it out here.

Why I Love to Read: Snowy Days

Why I Love to Read

Snowy Days

Why Do I love to read? Snowy days! Yesterday, in Norman, OK, we got a nice coating of snow. It left the ground and trees with a couple of inches of pretty fluffy flakes. On days like these all I want to do is curl up of my couch with my comfy reading blanket and dig into a good book. Every once in a while I will look out the window to see the pretty flakes coating the ground. On the table next to me will be a steaming cup of hot zen green tea and on the other side of the couch sits my hubby reading on his iPad. Doesn’t that sound heavenly?!

Wait! Enter screaming kids saying, “I’m bored!” My Eden has been disturbed; but only for a couple of moments. I say back “why don’t you read a book?” “That’s a great idea, mommy!” My seven year old will pick up a Dork Diaries book and my five year will pick up a princess reader. We all snuggle together on the couch under my comfy reading blanket. Once again, doesn’t that sound heavenly?

Wait! Enter the dogs, Layla and Ringo, and jump right in the middle of our Eden. Another disruption!! However, all they want to do is find a warm and cozy place to have a little nap. Now on the couch under the comfy reading blanket are mommy, daddy, two little girls and two sweet doggies. I wish my cats could join us but the dogs will go absolutely crazy. Doesn’t this sound like a little bit of Heaven. It does to me!

The little scenario above rarely happens at my house; but on that rare occasion when all the snowy stars are aligned, my idea of a perfect snowy day will actually happen – my family sitting on the couch, warm and cozy, reading our favorite books while watching the snow fall.

That’s why I love to read!

Waiting on Wednesday: While We Were Watching Downton Abbey

Waiting On” Wednesday is a weekly event, hosted by Breaking the Spine, that spotlights upcoming releases that we’re eagerly anticipating.
My Waiting on Wednesday:

While We Were Watching Downton Abbey by Wendy Wax
To be released on April 2, 2013



When the concierge of The Alexander, a historic Atlanta apartment building, invites his fellow residents to join him for weekly screenings ofDownton Abbey, four very different people find themselves connecting with the addictive drama, and—even more unexpectedly—with each other…

Samantha Davis married young and for the wrong reason: the security of old Atlanta money—for herself and for her orphaned brother and sister. She never expected her marriage to be complicated by love and compromised by a shattering family betrayal.

Claire Walker is now an empty nester and struggling author who left her home in the suburbs for the old world charm of The Alexander, and for a new and productive life. But she soon wonders if clinging to old dreams can be more destructive than having no dreams at all.

And then there’s Brooke MacKenzie, a woman in constant battle with her faithless ex-husband. She’s just starting to realize that it’s time to take a deep breath and come to terms with the fact that her life is not the fairy tale she thought it would be.

For Samantha, Claire, Brooke—and Edward, who arranges the weekly gatherings—it will be a season of surprises as they forge a bond that will sustain them through some of life’s hardest moments—all of it reflected in the unfolding drama, comedy, and convergent lives of Downton Abbey. 

Lately I have been totally obsessed with Downton Abbey and when I saw this book, I knew I had to read it!!

Austen Admirers

Would you like to have Jane Austen at your fingertips? How about an App just for everything Jane Austen? Doesn’t that sound marvelous?! Well, I certainly do and I showed my support. Go to Austen Admirers and make a donation that will go towards a free app for everything Austen.
I made a donation and now I’m a Countess! Now it’s your turn!

Why I Love to Read: Kindle vs. Print

Why I Love to Read

Why I love to Read

Kindle vs. Print


Kindle vs. print books seems to be an ongoing debate in the book world. There is always the question of which format you prefer. The e-readers love their devices because they can take it and read anywhere. The print supporters love the feel of an actual book in their hands. E-readers support technology and want instant access. Print supporters love the bookstore where they can browse and smell every book. My question: which is better?

How about both?! I love to read and I have a Kindle. However, I, also, have a HUGE stack of print books in my mountain of a TBR pile. I love both formats. I love that I can read anytime with a Kindle. I can even be sneaky about it and read when I’m not supposed it. Please don’t tell! I think e-readers have created another group of readers. They don’t have time to sit down and curl up with a print book. The reader has a bright screen and pick whatever font he/she wants. I like to think that this group would never pick up a print book but since they have instant access to a fun device, they are now reading. Which is a great thing!! For me, my Kindle has given me more opportunity to read, anytime and anyplace. I, also, found that I can read more books on my Kindle. I don’t understand why; maybe because I have instant access. I’m not sure but I’m not complaining.

Now, print readers are a totally different breed of cat. These people are old school. Their perfect day would include browsing through a bookstore and finding that perfect book. You can definitely put me in this group as well. Walking into a bookstore and getting instantly overwhelmed by all the wonderful books is a great thing. I love holding a book in my hands, smelling it and turning the pages. After I’ve read several books on my Kindle, I have to read a couple of print books. I think I would go crazy if I just read eBooks. My eyes need some real print every once in a while. Plus, and probably more importantly, by visiting your local bookstore, you are supporting your community. Remember, if you buy from Amazon, your community will not receive any revenue. I don’t want to get into a tax debate; but, I think that by paying my sales tax, I’m supporting my town. That’s just the way I think.
To sum up, I love to be able to read any way I want to. I can read on my phone, Kindle, iPad, and whatever other device that I might have. But I can also pick up a book, hold it up to my nose and get a big whiff. It’s the best of both worlds. As long as you are reading, it shouldn’t matter how you’re doing it. Just enjoy yourself!!