Thursday, September 30, 2010

Double Review: Black Rain and Black Sun

So okay, I'll mention right away that Thrillers are not my typical genre of reading material, but every once in a while I like to dip my toes into a new genre. I am so glad I did! I really enjoyed Black Rain!
It's a very edge of your seat kinda book! I loved that the main character was a woman! Usually (at least in my reading experience) if the writer is a man and his main character is a woman, the character's personality has a multitude of problems! I thought that Brown wrote his character very nicely! She's strong and smart and capable of running the show! I loved that! He wrote her very tough but not too tough that she wasn't relate-able (hope that makes sense?)

Anway, the story is nicely laid out and easy to follow and get into. I couldn't put this book down! I may just have found another genre to add to my favorites!

Next up we have..Black Sun is also written by Graham Brown and it was also an enjoyable read! I loved that again, the same character from Black Rain is in this and she's still badass! I would say this one didn't have the same "oompf" as the previous book did, but I still devoured it. Danielle is still a great character, although at times she reminded me a bit of Lara Croft...*which could be a good thing or a bad thing depending on who you ask*

The action was..well lets just say that at times it's super great and others it lagged just a wee bit. I did however enjoy myself almost as much as with Black Rain! I think that if you really want to get the full impact of these books you need to read them back to back!

All in all, I have to say that Graham Brown's writing has impressed me! I enjoyed both of his books, although I have to say I enjoyed Black Rain much more! I'd recommend them if you have a fondness for Thrillers!

Quick Reviews..A Double Shot This Time!

I read a few books for the Fall Read-a-Thon that happened last week.

First up:

Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet by Jamie Ford, a book that has received many MANY big sparkly thumbs ups all around the webs. It totally deserves those thumbs up!! Seriously, I loved this book! I kicked myself for not reading it sooner! I had it on my shelf for months now and I never got around to it! *Shame on me!* This one is definitely worth a read and will most likely become one of your new favorites! I will fail so hard if I were to try and describe the emotional journey this book took me on! I felt like a creeper looking over Henry's shoulder as he retold parts of his life's story. The story is vivid and beautiful. I give it another two very shiny and sparkly thumbs up! Get it and read it NOW!

Next Up:

The next one I read was Half Empty by David Rakoff. I cannot say that I loved this one. I liked it. I just couldn't get into it as much, possibly because I read it RIGHT after Hotel, I dunno. I just know that while I liked a few of the essays I couldn't get into the book as a whole. I think that I may not be the right audience for this book.

On a side awesome is the cover?

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Follow Me Back Tuesday


How it Works
  1. *Click the Button
  2. * Follow all 4 Hosts & Guest Host - Spots 1-5 leave us a comment w/ your blog url so that we can follow u back ( only leave a comment that you follow if you actually follow )
  3. * Snag our button to add to your FMBT post then post on your blog
  4. * Add your blog to the list- using the link from your blog post( NOT YOUR BLOG HOP or GIVEAWAYS PLEASE ) These entries will be deleted.
  5. * Follow as many blogs as you would like, Make sure you leave them a comment so they know you stopped by . Then Follow Back everyone that follows you & comments.

Tuesday Teasers

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 comes from The Historian by Elizabeth Kostova

"I stared at him, surprised. "Then just tell me," I said fiercely.
He looked down again. "I will tell you, and I'll tell you as soon as I can. But not all at once." Suddenly he burst out. "I can't bear it all at once! Be patient with me."

I know this was more than two sentences but I just couldn't help it! I'm reading this one for the Historian Read-a-Long hosted at On the Ledge Readalongs..

Monday, September 27, 2010

Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon Final Post

Well it's over. The week is done and I've read my last page for this 'thon! Here are my stats:

Books Read:
  1. (finished) Blue Bells of Scotland
  2. Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  3. Half Empty
Pages: about 651 pages in total

Hours of Reading: about 10 hours :( which isn't all that great! I had some good days and some really horrid days!

**these are estimations! i didn't really keep track like i should have.

Ending Thoughts:
This was an awesome read-a-thon! I just wished I could have organized myself a bit better. I think the crazy distractions and my haphazardly organized schedule didn't really help out at all! I would have loved to have gotten more reading done but I'm not going to complain! 3 books in one week is better than I have done in a long time! I hope this 'thon happens next year!

Sunday, September 26, 2010

Read-a-Thon Check In

Well I got some reading done last night and yesterday, but by 10pm (when I got off work) I was zonked. So I crashed. I am going to spend the rest of today finishing up Blue Bells and writing my review for tomorrow's blog tour! After that I will move on probably to Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet since I've read good things about it!

So for the record:
  1. Sept 20-Blue Bells of Scotland-1 hour-55 pages
  2. Sept. 21-finished Blue Bells and started on Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-2 hours-137 pages
  3. Sept 22-Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-40 pages (bad night for reading)-30 mins *day 3 was pretty bad for reading. very busy at work and not enough extra time*
  4. Sept. 23-Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet-read 100 pages
  5. sept. 24-finished Hotel -Finished Half Empty-225 about 4 hours of reading time today!!!
  6. Sept.25-Reading some of the Historian (for challenge)
  7. Sept. 26th-Reading the Historian (challenge) and finishing Black Rain

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reading Challenge-The Historian

So I'm a little late on starting this challenge, but I have been super busy with work, my house stuff, my son, and the read-a-thon going on this week that I just didn't get around to it! I still want to take part so I'm going to be a wee bit behind til I catch up!

Coffee and a Book Chick and Tedious & Brief thought of hosting a read along for those readers who have either read The Historian. Isn't that awesome of them?! I have had this book on my shelf for so long but never got around to reading it! This challenge is a great excuse to bust it out and open it again!

If you want to participate then click the button up top!

Sept 20 to Sept 26 -- Chapters 1 through 14
Sept 27 to Oct 3 -- Chapters 27 through 39
Oct 11 to Oct 17 -- Chapters 40 through 48
Oct 18 to Oct 24 -- Chapters 49 through 66
Oct 25 to Oct 31 -- Chapters 67 through Epilogue

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Blog Tour: Blue Bells of Scotland

About the Books:
Shawn Kleiner has it all: money, fame, a skyrocketing career as an international musical phenomenon, his beautiful girlfriend Amy, and all the women he wants—until the night Amy has enough and leaves him stranded in a Scottish castle tower.

He wakes up to find himself mistaken for Niall Campbell, medieval Highland warrior. Soon after, he is sent shimmying down a wind-torn castle wall into a dangerous cross country trek with Niall’s tempting, but knife-wielding fiancee. They are pursued by English soldiers and a Scottish traitor who want Niall dead.

Thrown forward in time, Niall learns history’s horrifying account of his own death, and of the Scots’ slaughter at Bannockburn. Undaunted, he navigates the roiled waters of Shawn’s life—pregnant girlfriend, amorous fans, enemies, and gambling debts—seeking a way to leap back across time to save his people, especially his beloved Allene. His growing fondness for Shawn’s life brings him face to face with his own weakness and teaches him the true meaning of faith.

Blue Bells of Scotland is both a historical adventure and a tale of redemption that will be remembered long after the last page has been turned.

About the Author:

Laura Vosika grew up in the military, visiting castles in England, pig fests in Germany, and the historic sites of America’s east coast.

She earned a degree in music, and worked for many years as a freelance musician, music teacher, band director, and instructor in private music lessons on harp, piano, winds, and brass.

Laura is the mother of 7 boys and 2 girls, and lives in Minnesota.


My Review:

I was NOT expecting to enjoy this book as much as I did. I honestly just thought that it would be a nifty little story and that's that. I would read it, finish it, and be completely underwhelmed. I'm not really sure why I had that notion, but I was wrong! Really, I loved this story! The characters grew on me as I read. I loved the way that Laura Vosika used time travel theme, but didn't make it at all seem cheesy. I am not a fan of the Outlander series. I have to mention it because there are some similarities, but from my point of view I enjoyed this one better. I couldn't get into the Outlander books, but I completely and utterly devoured Blue Bells!

The book was very nicely written, very strong storyline and again awesome characters. I loved how they developed as the story went along. The ending is sad and I have no idea how the story will go! I have to say that if I were to rate this book I'd give it a solid B! Lovely story and very
good writing! I'll say it again..I ate this book up and loved it!

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Mini Challenge-Fall Catch-Up Read-a-Thon

The Mini-Challenge was to visit the ALA website and visit the list of banned or challenged books and pick one that you have read or would like to read, then explain why. Here is my answer:

I've read Brave New World by Aldous Huxley last year. I loved it and was unnerved by it all at the same time! I didn't read it because it was banned. I read it because the subject matter was intriguing to me. It scared the crap out of me that people could become like the characters. The way the world was in the book, I could see happening in reality. THAT was scary to me.

Looking at the list, I can see that I've read several other banned books. The books I've read have all been what I would consider some of my favorites, which really saddens me.

I've read these banned books:
The Grapes of Wrath by John Steinbeck
The Lord of the Flies by William Golding
1984 by George Orwell
Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck (one of my favorites!)
Charlotte's Web by E. B. White (WTF!? Why?)
Catch-22 by Joseph Heller
Brave New World by Aldous Huxley
Animal Farm by George Orwell
Winnie-the-Pooh by A. A. Milne (!?)
Gone with the Wind by Margaret Mitchell (love)
The Lord of the Rings by J. R. R. Tolkien
The Awakening by Kate Chopin (love)

Monday, September 20, 2010

Awesome Giveaway!

Chubby Cheeks is giving away an AWESOME package of stuff! Here's all that is included!

Here are the products that one of you will be lucky enough to win!
  • The Chic Mom's Guide To Feeling Fabulous by Nina Sutton
  • A beautiful super soft robe
  • Terry cloth Slippers
  • (2) Lip Glosses
  • Microfiber Hair Turban
  • Vaseline Sheer Infusion Body Lotion
  • Pond's Dry Skin Cream
  • Dove Go Fresh Cool Essentials Body Mist
  • Dove Intensive Repair Shampoo
  • Dove Intensive Repair Conditioner
  • Suave Professionals Shampoo
  • Suave Professionals Shampoo
  • Pond's Wet Cleansing Towelettes
  • (2) Caress Velvet Bliss Beauty Bar
  • Caress Velvet Bliss Body Wash
  • Caress Whipped Souffle Ultra Silkening Body Wash
  • QTips
  • Dove
Seriously? I want that stuff! :) Go check it out over at her blog Chubby Cheek's Thinks (link will take you to giveaway)

Get Your Read-a-Thon On!

This week is gonna be heavy on the fun! I have my stack of books ready for the Read-a-Thon and I'm hosting a giveaway for Stride Everyday Panties! Oh, and I have my blog tour post for Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika! Very nice! :)

I'll post an update on my reading progress through the week, so keep an eye out!

Here are my planned reads:

* Black Sun
* Stash
* Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
* The Disappearing Spoon

Still not too late to join in! Just click the button!

It's now 8:00 am (cst) and it's Time to read!

First Up:
  • Blue Bells of Scotland (book tour post on weds) *I want to finish this today so I can move on to the other books on my list!

Product Review : Costume Supercenter

Recently, I was offered an excellent opportunity to review any costume of my choice from the wonderful online store, Costume Supercenter. I was very excited because Halloween is coming up! Gotta get those costumes, right? I was able to peruse their store and choose one that I liked. Since he is the one that would be dressing up, I let my son choose what he wanted to be for Halloween. Look at this super awesome Skeleton costume that he choose!
I think it looks awesome! Don't you?

The store's website is organized and simple to navigate and they have THOUSANDS of costumes and accessories to choose from! Each category is packed full of different types of costumes. They have costumes for girls, boys, and adults! They have costumes ranging from silly to scary, from movies to tv shows! I loved the selection.

My order was shipped and delivered very quickly and came in a sturdy package. So quickly that I was very impressed with the speed of shipping! The actual costume itself, is well made and durable. The costume fit my son perfectly! I think it's very cute on him..erm..I mean scary! LOL He loves it! I wished my camera was in working order so I could show you how adorable he is in it!

All in all I had a great experience with Costume Supercenter and would definitely recommend them for ordering a great costume! I will definitely be using them again! This has been a wonderful experience and a pleasure!

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday Spotlight and Weekend Plans


How it Works 1) Link up your own blog. 2)Link up a blog you want to spotlight for the week.(ex. Spotlight: Crazy Daisy) 3) Follow your three hosts. 4) Grab our button and post it on your sidebar or a Spotlight Saturday Post. 5) Follow as many blogs from the list & leave a comment that you stopped by. 6) Return the favor by following blogs that followed you.


^^That was me yesterday! I decided to get my housework done so I can have my weekend devoted to reading and planning out next week! How's that for being organized? Anyway, with the Fall Catch Up Read-a-thon this week, I thought I'd go ahead and get ready for that. Since this is a week long event, Sept. 20-26th, my stack will be rather large. I plan on devoting as much spare time as I can to "catching up" on my reading! So no more slacking off on the computer! lol

Here are my planned reads:

  • Black Sun
  • Stash
  • Hotel on the Corner of Bitter and Sweet
  • The Disappearing Spoon
I think these will work for now! I may tweak it but I want to stay a little bit organized! :)

Are you ready for the Fall Catch Up Read-a-Thon?
No? What are you waiting for!? Go sign up!

Quick Review: The Thousand

Book Description (From Amazon)
Kevin Guilfoile’s riveting follow-up to Cast of Shadows (“spellbinding”—Chicago Tribune; “a masterpiece of intelligent plotting”—Salon) centers on an extraordinary young woman’s race to find her father’s killer and to free herself from the cross fire of a centuries-old civil war in which she has unknowingly become ensnared.

In 530 B.C., a mysterious ship appeared off the rainy shores of Croton, in what is now Italy. After three days the skies finally cleared and a man disembarked to address the curious and frightened crowd that had gathered along the wet sands. He called himself Pythagoras. Exactly what he said that day is unknown, but a thousand men and women abandoned their lives and families to follow him. They became a community. A school. A cult dedicated to the search for a mathematical theory of everything. Although Pythagoras would die years later, following a bloody purge, his disciples would influence Western philosophy, science, and mathematics for all time.

Chicago, the present day. Canada Gold, a girl both gifted and burdened by uncanny mental abilities, is putting her skills to questionable use in the casinos and courthouses of Las Vegas when she finds herself drawn back to the city in which her father, the renowned composer Solomon Gold, was killed while composing his magnum opus. Beautiful, brilliant, troubled, Canada has never heard of the Thousand, a clandestine group of powerful individuals safeguarding and exploiting the secret teachings of Pythagoras. But as she struggles to understand her father’s unsolved murder, she finds herself caught in the violence erupting between members of the fractured ancient cult while she is relentlessly pursued by those who want to use her, those who want to kill her, and the one person who wants to save her.

My Review:
This was a fast, fun read! I'm finding myself really enjoying this genre very much and this book has knocked its way to the top of my favorites list. The story is enticing and definitely pulls the reader in from the start! I thought the characters were well developed and well written. The plot is awesome and very nicely done! I will admit that the main character's name is a bit ..erm..not to my liking. It sounds a bit like some sort of drink you'd get at a bar, but I liked her personality very much! All in all if you like a story with a bit of history woven into the mix, then you'd definitely like this book!

Friday, September 17, 2010

Giveaway: Stride Everyday Undies

So the lovely people at Stride Everyday have given me the opportunity to give ONE lucky person their very own chance to try out these awesome undies! (see my review)

So here are the giveaway rules:

  1. Follow my Twitter (@lexley) +1 (new or old, please leave Twitter ID)
  2. Follow my blog +1 (new or old)
  3. Blog about it (Please leave link) +2
  4. Tweet about it (please leave link) +2
There you go. Nothing to it, right? If you win you will be able to choose any style and size you prefer! How cool is that!?

Contest starts September 17th and ends at midnight on September 24th!
Good luck!

Promo Code made special for you guys! You can enjoy 20% off any online purchase if you use THIS code: STRIDE 971

This Code expires Nov 3rd, 2010!

Product Review : Stride Everyday

So here's the thing, 6 years ago I gave birth to my son and my body has NEVER been the same! Now I have an overactive bladder to begin with, so you can imagine the terror pregnancy reeked on the poor little thing! Not to mention, my son loved to use it as a kick ball! So yeah, I needed a little help with leaks! It's been years now since I was pregnant, but I still occasionally have leaks, especially when I'm doing things like: exercising, heavy lifting, and of course, when I have a cold. I hate wearing liners and I hate pads with a burning passion!

So when I saw that Stride Everyday have these spiffy undies that can help with light leaks, I just jumped at the chance to try one! I chose the Seamless undies to try out. I loved the feel of them! They are very comfy. I did have one little tiny issue with them though. If you have a bit "extra" in the tummy area these are not for you. They rolled a little bit, but to be honest I bet if I had chosen a different style it wouldn't have done that and the comfort level completely overshadowed that. The crotch area of the undies are a little bit thick, but it isn't too bad or really noticeable when you are wearing them. I wore them for a full day and LOVED them!

STRIDE Everyday and Wendy Spencer:

One thing to know about me – I love a good challenge! When a friend dared me to run a marathon, I thought, “Sure – why not?” So I ran that marathon, and then did another, and then another. I continued running through my pregnancy, enjoying the opportunity to stay active. But after the birth of my son, like many other women out there, I was shocked to realize I had stress incontinence. The “embarrassing” problem of always worrying about what might happen if you laugh too hard, or sneeze unexpectedly. So I looked for a solution to the issue, but was disappointed that there were really no good options out there. Sure, you could use pantyliners, but they’re pretty uncomfortable and are definitely not an environmentally friendly option. There was no way I was going to use pantyliners every day! I wanted something functional, that would still allow me to feel sexy. And so the STRIDE solution was born. We’ve created sexy, practical, and panties that help women deal with the issue of light leaks – without anything being disposable. So let’s take light leaks out of the closet and toss the embarrassment to the curb. After all, this happens to 1 in 3 women from various ages and ethnicities!! I always questioned why feminine products were is that a good thing? The more women I talk to about coughing, jumping, laughing, sneezing, everyone has a story and everyone has a “leak”, so why are we keeping this issue a secret? Women have been told to hide this forever, but I think it’s time to talk about it and embrace that part of being a woman. Let’s shake up this category, let’s laugh about being a woman and all the little issues we deal with on a daily basis. Let’s embrace being part of a woman and celebrate our stories So, the search began. Wendy and her team worked with a strong R&D partner to design the patented fabric technology and permanently built it into the panty’s gusset. The patented technology is revolutionary in its super-absorbent ability to wick moisture from the top layer, absorb and deodorize…so you and your clothes stay dry.

STRIDE Everyday has been featured in Shape Magazine too! Check it Out!

Friday 56

* Grab the book nearest you. Right now.
* Turn to page 56.
* Find the fifth sentence.
* Post that sentence (plus one or two others if you like) along with these instructions on your blog or (if you do not have your own blog) in the comments section of this blog.
*Post a link along with your post back to this blog.
* Don't dig for your favorite book, the coolest, the most intellectual. Use the CLOSEST.

Behind her, Rob's car door slammed. "Yeah," he yelled after her. "You are an idiot." Amy turned, glaring. The cool morning chilled her bare arms. He leaned on the roof of the car. "You're an idiot to think that no one else would be interested in you." pg 56 from Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika

Friday Blog Hops!

Here are a few of the awesome blog hops that are going on today! :)


Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Review: The Book of Unholy Mischief

Book Blurb:

In a world of violence and intrigue, who guards the truth?

It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance, and Venice teems with rumors about an ancient book that holds the secret to unimaginable power. It is an alchemist's dream, with recipes for gold, immortality, and undying love. But while those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.

As a storm of intrigue and desire circles the republic that grew from the sea, Luciano, a penniless orphan with a quick wit and an even faster hand, is plucked up by an illustrious chef and hired, for reasons he cannot yet begin to understand, as an apprentice in the palace kitchen. There, in the lavish home of the most powerful man in Venice, he is initiated into the chef's rich and aromatic world, with all its seductive ingredients and secrets. It is not long before Luciano is caught up in the madness. After he witnesses a shocking murder in the Palace dining room, he realizes that nothing is as it seems and that no one can be trusted. Armed with a precocious mind and an insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflame his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul.

Rich with the luxurious colors and textures of Venice, The Book of Unholy Mischief delights the senses and breathes fresh life into an age defined by intellectual revival and artistic vibrancy. A luminous and seductive novel, it is, at its heart, a high-spirited tribute to the fruits of knowledge and the extraordinary power of those who hold its key.

My Review:

Admittedly, this book was a little slow to get into at first. It took a bit of time to work my way into the plot and enjoy the characters, but once I! I enjoyed reading about Luciano's life and how he was plucked from the streets and given the opportunity to not only better himself, but to carry on a secret tradition of saving knowledge. The plot became intense and very addictive!

If you enjoy historical fiction then you will definitely love this book! I think that Elle Newmark's tale is an enjoyable read! I loved it!

Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Follow Me Back Tuesday


How it Works
  • Follow all 4 Hosts & Guest Host - Spots 1-5 leave us a comment w/ your blog url so that we can follow u back ( only leave a comment that you follow if you actually follow )
  • Snag our button to add to your FMBT post then post on your blog
  • Add your blog to the list- using the link from your blog post( NOT YOUR BLOG HOP or GIVEAWAYS PLEASE ) These entries will be deleted.
  • Follow as many blogs as you would like, Make sure you leave them a comment so they know you stopped by . Then Follow Back everyone that follows you & comments.

Click the button to join in the fun!!!

Tuesday Teasers

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!

"A minute went by without incident, and then another. The silence surrounding him, broken only by his labored breathing. As the seconds ticked away Jack Dixon prayed that he might be left to die on his own, to fade and fall into an endless, peaceful sleep. " pg 7 of Black Rain by Graham Brown

Monday, September 13, 2010

It's Monday What are you Reading? + Mailbox Monday

To Read:
  • Black Sun by Graham Brown
  • Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika
Upcoming Reviews:
  • The Thousand
  • The Book of Unholy Mischief
  • Black Rain
  • Half Empty

Last week I got a few books in the mail! It was kinda nice :)

Friday, September 10, 2010

Friday Catch Up

Okay so yeah the picture doesn't really "go" with the post, but it's cute y/n?

Anyhoodle, I'm just checking in to give you a heads up of what's to come with this blog! I have two reviews (as of now) to post and a couple of product reviews, and a few little tidbits!

I had a question for you...would it turn you guys off my blog if I reviewed OTHER things like TV shows and movies? I just had this notion that it would be kinda fun to do that what with it almost being "new show season" and all.


Blog Tour: Sept 22 for Blue Bells of Scotland by Laura Vosika

Monday, September 6, 2010

Taking a Break

I'm going to be away for a little while. Probably less than a week. I am going to continue to read and write my reviews but I am not going to be able to post for a short time.

Saturday, September 4, 2010

Book Spotlight: The Book of Unholy Mischief

**This was supposed to be a review but I have not been feeling well lately so I haven't finished the book yet. I will post my full review A.S.A.P!**

Book Blurb

It is 1498, the dawn of the Renaissance and Venice teems with rumors of an ancient book that holds the secrets of unimaginable power. Rich and poor alike speculate about the the long buried secret that might be scrawled in its pages and where the book might be hidden in the labyrinth in the city. While those who seek the book will stop at nothing to get it, those who know will die to protect it.

As a storm of intrigue percolates in Her Most Serene Republic, Luciano, a penniless orphan, is plucked off the street by the doge's chef and taken in as the chef's apprentice. In the palace kitchen Luciano is initiated into the chef's rich and mysterious world where recipes are more than they seem.

It is not long before Luciano is caught up in the madness. Torn between loyalty to his street friends and his passion for Francesca, a convent girl, Lucianco's worthiness is tested. Armed with a precocious mind and insatiable curiosity, Luciano embarks on a perilous journey to uncover the truth. What he discovers will swing open the shutters of his mind, inflames his deepest desires, and leave an indelible mark on his soul.

Read the Excerpt

My name is Luciano ― just Luciano. I'm Venetian by birth, old now and chained to my memories, compelled to return, link by link, seeking clarity.

There's a matter about which I am sworn to secrecy, but times have changed since I took my oath. In my lifetime, I've witnessed man's emergence from centuries of darkness. Great thinkers have unlocked our minds, and great artists have opened our eyes and our hearts. Some are calling it a renaissance ― a rebirth ― and it will reverberate far into the future because of a miraculous new invention called the printing press. Perhaps, now, it would be a disservice to the advancement of knowledge to remain silent. Perhaps the pendulum has swung a full arc, and the time has come for me to speak. If I proceed with caution . well, those who have ears let them hear.

The intrigue took place in my youth, when I served as an apprentice to the doge's chef in Venice. I first suspected some unholy mischief when the doge invited an uncouth peasant to dine with him in the palace. In the time-honored tradition of servants everywhere, I assumed my post behind the slightly open service door to the dining room in order to spy, and I marveled at the sight of them together: the doge, chief magistrate of the Most Serene Republic of Venice, gracious and bejeweled, sat with his guest, a bewildered paesano with calloused hands, dirt under his fingernails, and unwashed hair that had been hastily whetted and pushed off his face to show respect.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Quick Review: Heresy

Summary from
Masterfully blending true events with fiction, this blockbuster historical thriller delivers a page-turning murder mystery set on the sixteenth-century Oxford University campus. Giordano Bruno was a monk, poet, scientist, and magician on the run from the Roman Inquisition on charges of heresy for his belief that the Earth orbits the sun and that the universe is infinite. This alone could have got him burned at the stake, but he was also a student of occult philosophies and magic. In S. J. Parris's gripping novel, Bruno's pursuit of this rare knowledge brings him to London, where he is unexpectedly recruited by Queen Elizabeth I and is sent undercover to Oxford University on the pretext of a royal visitation. Officially Bruno is to take part in a debate on the Copernican theory of the universe; unofficially, he is to find out whatever he can about a Catholic plot to overthrow the queen. His mission is dramatically thrown off course by a series of grisly murders and a spirited and beautiful young woman. As Bruno begins to discover a pattern in these killings, he realizes that no one at Oxford is who he seems to be. Bruno must attempt to outwit a killer who appears obsessed with the boundary between truth and heresy. Like The Dante Club and The Alienist, this clever, sophisticated, exceptionally enjoyable novel is written with the unstoppable narrative propulsion and stylistic flair of the very best historical thrillers.

My Review:
This book was not what I expected at all. That's not to say it was bad, it just turned out differently than I thought. I love a good Historical fiction and I love a good mystery. This book is both. Of course it did have a few moments of drag, where I was tempted to skim but it pulls through. I liked Bruno very much. He's a complicated character. He's in between. I liked that about him. The events that take place are all really well written and very intriguing but at times seem a bit drawn out. All in all this was a good read, but I probably won't read it again.