Monthly Archives: April 2012

In My Letterbox: Sunday 29th April 2012

Welcome to
In My Letterbox!!

This week I have fewer books to report, mostly because I’m trying not to fill my house with books that will take me years to get round to reading! I have won some more books at Goodreads First Reads (yay! I love those guys – a big UP to all at Goodreads and all the lovely authors and publishers who give away copies of their books.).  Two of these arrived in the post this week.

Books I have won on Goodreads First Reads:

1. The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells
The Serpent Sea (Books of the Raksura #2)The Serpent Sea by Martha Wells

Moon, once a solitary wanderer, has become consort to Jade, sister queen of the Indigo Cloud court. Together, they travel with their people on a pair of flying ships in hopes of finding a new home for their colony. Moon finally feels like he’s found a tribe where he belongs. But when the travelers reach the ancestral home of Indigo Cloud, shrouded within the trunk of a mountain-sized tree, they discover a blight infecting its core. Nearby they find the remains of the invaders who may be responsible, as well as evidence of a devastating theft. This discovery sends Moon and the hunters of Indigo Cloud on a quest for the heartstone of the tree — a quest that will lead them far away, across the Serpent Sea.

I like fantasy stories and have read them in some form or another since I was small. I’m looking forward to reading this one.

2. Tallis by M. C. Rae

TallisTallis by M.C. Rae

The Empire of Andresium is threatened by the corruption of the immortals, ancient beings given the gift of eternal life after the death of the last reigning empress. A prophecy speaks of their eventual downfall at the hands of one of their own, however. Tallis is known by most simply as “The Loren,” and seeks to avoid her destiny while trying herself to remain untainted by the decaying morals and indifference to the fates of men that plague her kind. As the events of the prophecy begin to unfold, Tallis finds herself conflicted between upholding her dedication to justice, and falling victim to the ramifications of following the desires of her own heart.

As I said, I like fantasy books, so this is a good win for me. I had a quick look when it arrived – and it’s an ARC…my very first ARC 🙂

Because it is an ARC (at least I guess that’s the reason), my cover is the same as that shown on Goodreads as that used on the Kindle edition, the picture with the grey background. I chose to put the published book picture here so that anyone looking for it in the shops will know what to seek!


1. Misfortune Cookie by Michele Goran

Misfortune CookieMisfortune Cookie by Michele Gorman

“Following your heart will pay off in the near future”

The fortune cookie had spoken, affirming Hannah’s decision to move to Hong Kong to be with her boyfriend. She’s no stranger to rash decisions – after all she moved from the US to London on a dare, and that worked out, didn’t it? Ever the optimist, she’s determined to make a success of her move, no matter what anybody says.

Unfortunately, anybody seems to be everybody and her life isn’t going exactly to plan.

Sure, she’s found a career in fashion that she loves, her best friend Stacy moved to be with her, and they’re exploring the weird and wonderful in Hong Kong. It’s her love life that’s not quite living up to expectations. It isn’t easy having a relationship with a boyfriend who’s been posted to a job in another country. Particularly one who seems a bit too cosy with his new boss.

When things also start going wrong at work, Hannah begins to think her friends and family were right. Has she made the worst mistake of her life?

Strictly speaking, this should be in IMM or IMI, since it’s an electronic book. However, as it is a gift from the author, I thought more prominence was appropriate.

I have started reading it already…and am over halfway through! Watch out for the review 🙂

I hope everyone enjoyed World Book Day on Monday 23rd April 2012. Did anyone receive one of the books that were being given away? In the UK, the books had a Shakespeare sonnet printed in the front. There are two reasons for this: April 23rd is (traditionally) Shakespeare’s birthday and as the Olympics are being held in London this year, Shakespeare is featuring heavily in the Cultural Olympiad.

In My Mailbox: Thursday 26 April 2012

Welcome to
In My Mailbox!!

Listed here are the NetGalley books I downloaded in April. As there are quite a few, I’m not going to link them, but full links will be provided in the reviews. I have included a few comments on some of them.

I decided to list them by publication date – for no particular reason but that it made sense to me.


1. The Eternity Code & The Opal Deception by Eoin Colfer

Publisher: Disney-Hyperion 06 May 2003

These are books Three and Four in the Artemis Fowl series. In honour of the latest AF release, all of the series are being released to NetGalley readers, two books each month. I have read one of the series before (when I bought it for my niece) and they are well written, rip-roaring adventures; but you knew that anyway!

2. Solitary by Travis Thrasher

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 August 2010

3. Becoming Fearless by Michelle Aguilar

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 October 2011

4. Beyond The Misty Shore by Vicki Hinze

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 November 2011

5. Taking a Stand by Ken Casper

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 November 2011

6. Beside a Dreamswept Sea by Vicki Hinze

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 December 2011

7. Dark River Road by Virginia Brown

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 December 2011

8. Stuck With You by Trish Jensen

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 January 2012

9. The Mulligans of Mt. Jefferson by Don Reid

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 January 2012

10. Into the Free by Julie Cantrell

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 February 2012

11. Lowcountry Bribe by C. Hope Clark

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 06 February 2012

12. Hound Dog Blues by Virginia Brown

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 01 March 2012

13. The Top Ten Leadership Commandments by Hans Finzel

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 March 2012

14. Leaving Lancaster by Kate Lloyd

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 March 2012

15. Get Fluffy by Sparkle Abbey

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 31 March 2012

Murder, mystery and mischief among the pampered folks of posh Laguna Beach, CA and their equally pampered pets. Book One and Book Two of the Pampered Pets Mysteries are now available to NetGalley reviewers exclusively in this two-book review copy. In Desperate Housedogs, pet therapist Caro finds her client (the human one) dead. What did his two German Shepherds witness and how can Caro track down the killer? In Get Fluffy, Caro’s cousin, Melinda, the owner of a fancy pet boutique and spa, feuds with one of the snarkiest divas in town: Mona, whose pampered pup lives the life of a canine princess. When Mona is found dead, Mel is a prime suspect. Can she clear her name or will her career go to the dogs?

Sparkle Abbey is the writing team of Anita Carter and Mary Lee Woods. Visit the authors at

I read Desperate Housedogs last December, and it’s a brilliantly hilarious read. I’m really looking forward to spending more time with Caro and the other characters – two- and four-legged – in Get Fluffy!

16. The God Who Sees You by Tammy Maltby with Anne Christian Buchanan

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

17. The Jesus Life by Stephen W. Smith

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

18. Temptation by Travis Thrasher

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 April 2012

19. Dancing with the Boss by Clare Gutierrez

Publisher: Greenleaf Book Group 20 April 2012

I have already read this book and enjoyed it. There’s a brief review on my Goodreads shelf; I’m working on a more comprehensive one to post here and on NetGalley.

20. The River Witch by Kimberly Brock

Publisher: Bell Bridge Books 30 April 2012

21. Relentless Pursuit by Kathy Herman

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 May 2012

22. The Work of Christ by R. C. Sproul

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

23. The Next Target by Nikki Arana

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

24. Glamorous Illusions by Lisa T. Bergren

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

25. Two Testaments by Elizabeth Musser

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

26. Two Crosses by Elizabeth Musser

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

27. Godspeed by Britt Merrick

Publisher: David C. Cook 01 June 2012

With the exception of the Artemis Fowl books and Dancing with the Boss, you will have noticed that these books come from only two publishers. I went looking for Bell Bridge Books books; I’ve read quite a few over the last four months and found them to be consistently well written, plotted and edited. David C. Cook is a Christian publisher I spotted on NetGalley; I thought these books looked entertaining (the fictional ones) and interesting (the non-fiction ones). Let’s hope all the books live up to expectations.

There we go: my NetGalley books for April. Watch out for the reviews over the next few weeks. Look out also for the next IMM post – I recently found the Goodreads free ebooks download page and have found some new genres to explore!

In My Letterbox: Sunday 22 April 2012

I am aware that I have been rather lax in writing reviews and posting here on my blog in the last month or so. My excuse is that I have been reading compulsively and to the exclusion of most other non-essential things!

I decided that I need to do something about that and to get myself back on track. This first In My Letterbox post is the beginning of this process. First, let me explain the title…

I know most bloggers call such posts “In My Mailbox”, however, as I’m English, my physical post comes through my letterbox and my electronic mail arrives in my mailbox (or my inbox…). So I have decided that when I tell you all about my physical books, I shall entitle the post In My Letterbox (IML); when posting about NetGalley books, In My Mailbox (IMM); and when I list the free Kindle ebooks I compulsively download, I shall call it In My Inbox (IMI)!

Having got that off my chest:

Welcome to My First
In My Letterbox!!

These are the physical books I acquired on Thursday 12 April. There are a few other physical books in my house I have not yet read; I may list them in a future On My Bookshelf (OMB) post.

I thought I’d list the books and provide covers, blurb and links to the Goodreads entries. Let me know if you think the format works.

Books I have won on Goodreads First Reads:

1. The First Rule of Ten by Gay Hendricks

The First Rule of Ten: Book One of the Dharma Detective SeriesThe First Rule of Ten: Book One of the Dharma Detective Series by Gay Hendricks

Tenzing Norbu (“Ten” for short)–ex-monk and soon-to-be ex-cop–is a protagonist unique to our times. In “The First Rule of Ten,” the first installment in a three-book detective series, readers meet this spiritual warrior who is singularly equipped, if not occasionally ill-equipped, as he takes on his first case as a private investigator in Los Angeles.

I am really pleased to have won this book – I was really hoping I would as I just loved the ideas sparked by the blurb. I had a long wait to get my paws on it, as the Post Office first returned it undelivered! Thankfully, the publisher resent it after double checking my address and it arrived safely on April 12 🙂

2. Salsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

Salsa InvertebraxaSalsa Invertebraxa by Mozchops

Shortlisted for Best Graphic Novel 2012 by the Aurealis Awards, Salsa Invertebraxa is a storybook unlike any other, an Alice in Wonderland for insects, set in an imaginary world as two tiny companions set out on an odyssey of discovery. With one antenna listening out for vast armies competing for dominance on the forest floor, the two friends encounter strange new species of insect among surreal gardens of terrestrial delights. At nightfall, their mischief takes on a mysterious and foreboding turn as they attempt to steal eggs from monstrous super-predators, disturbing the fragile tranquillity of this bizarre Eden.

After an incubation of 15 years, Mozchops has exquisitely crafted over 200 paintings to tell this story of a beautiful and dangerous world.

Salsa Invertebraxa is currently only available from the publisher’s website. Go to… for details.

I entered this draw because it looked interesting – and boy was I blown away when the book arrived! I read it that night (April 12 again) after eating my evening meal. The review will be posted shortly!

3. Little Girls: A Short Story Novella by Elton Loud

Little Girls: A Short Story NovellaLittle Girls: A Short Story Novella by Elton Loud

“It had been a little over two days since fifteen-year-old Shanice had seen real sunlight, or another person. Despondent, she sat silent on the basement floor, her jeans soiled with the red sediment from the brick walls that lined the damp basement.”

The place is Oakland. The year is 2004.

Little Girls: A Short Story Novella is a collection of linked short stories that focus on a group of characters whose connection to each other is the sex trade in the Oakland Bay Area. More than a collection about prostitutes or prostitution, Little Girls examines the complexities of the human condition, cutting across generations of family to reveal the people, places and history that have formed their identities, and motivations.

Mistakes will be made. Lessons will be ignored. Consequences will be deserved. Each story is unique, and will grab and hold the reader from the first line.

To read samples, please visit

The blurb for this book indicated that it has a somewhat challenging subject matter; I thought this would be good after my recent diet of literary fluff (wait till I catch up with the outstanding reviews!), so I’m glad I’ve won this one. This also arrived on April 12.

Books  bought new on Thursday 12 April:

1. My Grammar and I by Caroline Taggart

My Grammar And I (Or Should That Be 'Me'?)

My Grammar And I by Caroline Taggart

Can you tell when a sentence contains more clichés than you’ve had hot dinners?  Is a preposition necessarily a bad thing to end a sentence with?  Are to able to immediately spot a split infinitive?

Whether your schooling in English grammar amounted to ‘a verb is a doing word and an noun is a naming word’, or whether you simply want to brush up your existing skills, this wittily observed book is guaranteed to enlighten and entertain.

I love grammar, for me it’s the framework on which any language hangs. It makes sense of what could otherwise be ambiguous collections of words. I had a quick look at this book in the shop and decided that it is well laid out and with clear explanations. Perfect for the next time someone tells me I’m wrong!

2. The Power of Now by Eckhart Tolle

The Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual EnlightenmentThe Power of Now: A Guide to Spiritual Enlightenment by Eckhart Tolle

Ekhart Tolle’s message is simple: living in the now is the truest path to happiness and enlightenment. And while this message may not seem stunningly original or fresh, Tolle’s clear writing, supportive voice and enthusiasm make this an excellent manual for anyone who’s ever wondered what exactly “living in the now” means. Foremost, Tolle is a world-class teacher, able to explain complicated concepts in concrete language. More importantly, within a chapter of reading this book, readers are already holding the world in a different container–more conscious of how thoughts and emotions get in the way of their ability to live in genuine peace and happiness.

Tolle packs a lot of information and inspirational ideas into The Power of Now. (Topics include the source of Chi, enlightened relationships, creative use of the mind, impermanence and the cycle of life.) Thankfully, he’s added markers that symbolise “break time”. This is when readers should close the book and mull over what they just read. As a result, The Power of Now reads like the highly acclaimed A Course in Miracles–a spiritual guidebook that has the potential to inspire just as many study groups and change just as many lives for the better. —Gail Hudson

I liked the title and I thought the back cover blurb sounded interesting – a summary of a number of other books on the subject. A quick flick inside showed very small print…

The Goodreads reviews were mixed; we’ll see with which ones I agree!

Books I bought at the hospital …

… while waiting to have my bloods checked (the money goes to the BBC Children in Need Charity)

1. Of Love and Life, a Readers’ Digest paperback

Of love & life: Constance / Starburst / Garden SpellsOf love & life: Constance / Starburst / Garden Spells by Rosie Thomas

This volume contains abridged versions of the following books:

Constance by Rosie Thomas

All her life Constance has had a rocky relationship with her deaf sister Jeanette – not helped when they both fall in love with the same man. But now, after years of silence, Jeanette is dying and it’s the last chance, for both of them, to shed the baggage of the past. A very thought-provoking read.

Starburst by Robin Pilcher

As the entertainers prepare for the Edinburgh Festival, all are hoping to find stardom. Among them are a first-time comedienne, a film maker and a concert violinist, each of whom will face the biggest challenge of their career. A wonderful story combining intrigue, passion and suspense with a truely dramatic finale.

Garden Spells by Sarah Addison Allen

Everyone in Bascom, North Carolina, knows that the Waverley women have unusual talents that make them special. Even their house, with it’s mysterious garden, is strange. But behind the local legends are two very real sisters trying to make a life for themselves even as they find love in the least likely places.

I’d not seen an RD paperback before. I picked this one up because I saw “Pilcher” as one of the authors…it was only when I got home I realised it wasn’t Rosamund! Never mind, it looks good!

2. Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

Lost Souls (Frankenstein, #4)Lost Souls by Dean Koontz

The master storyteller creates a bold new legend in a powerful reworking of one of the classic stories of all time.

Dr Frankenstein lives on, seemingly indestructible, more sinister than ever. Terrifyingly, with each new incarnation the technology he can use to build a new human race – which he will control – is vastly improved.

His first monster, Deucalion, has spent two hundred years trying to kill his evil creator. When the new Frankenstein clone, Victor Helios, starts work on some grotesque new creations, financed by an enigmatic billionaire, Deucalion is drawn to a small Montana town.

A spectacularly advanced race of monsters is about to be released on the world. Even if Deucalion can bring Helios down, it may be too late…

It’s by Dean Koontz. Need I say more??

3. Fear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Fear the WorstFear the Worst by Linwood Barclay

Suppose you come to pick up your daughter from her job – and find that no one has heard of her and she’s never worked there. If she hasn’t been working all day, what has she been doing?

Tim Blake’s teenage daughter Sydney is staying with him while she works a summer job at a hotel. But when one day she fails to arrive home from her shift and the staff at the hotel say they have no Sydney Blake working there, he beings to see his life going into freefall.

What could have made her step out of her life without leaving a trace? Only one thing convinces Tim that the worse hasn’t already happened – the fact that some very scary people seem just as eager as he is to find her.

The question is: who’s going to find her first?

I liked the cover first (it’s blue…what can I say? I like blue) and it reminded my of The Bridges of Madison County. The blurb told it me it’s a mystery/thriller, so I bought it.

So there we go, there are the physical books which came into my life just under a fortnight ago. Of these, the First Reads books are top of my list for reading and review. Now I need to get the NetGalley and ebooks listed!

(Did I mention that all of these books arrived in my mucky little paws on Thursday 12 April 2012?? 😉 )

If you liked this IML post, why not check out the IMM meme? It started with The Story Siren: click on the picture….