Monday, August 31, 2009

Month In Review: August '09

Well, looking back at this month's reading stats I can tell that I went back to work! I completed just 9 books, 3 of which were audio titles. I guess it's a good thing I started listening to audiobooks during my daily commute, otherwise I would have only finished 6 books this month!


5 stars: Fire by Kristin Cashore
The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

4-1/2 stars:
Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch
8th Confession by James Patterson (audiobook)
My Soul to Take by Rachel Vincent

4 stars:

Paranoia by Joseph Finder (audiobook)

3-1/2 stars:

Dreamland by Sarah Dessen
Wormwood by G. P. Taylor (audiobook)

3 stars:
Fade to Blue by Sean Beaudoin


This month it was actually an easy choice for me: Fire by Kristin Cashore! The story and characters were just so great, it was hard to put this book down!

Fire cover

I haven't finished any challenges this month, but I did add one more book to my list of completed Sarah Dessen books. Just five more to go before the end of the year! I'm also just five books away from finishing the 100+ Reading Challenge, so I should be knocking that one out sometime in September if work doesn't keep me too busy!


Today marks the last day of my contest celebrating 300 followers! (You've got time to enter until midnight tonight!) Since starting the contest my following has increased to 339 and I can only say thank you, thank you, THANK YOU to all of you who read and comment on my blog! Especially these days as I am not nearly as active in our community as I used to be, I'm so glad you all are sticking with me :-)

Oh, and keep your eye out for another contest down the road. In September I'm going to be giving away my ARC of a book I know many of you are dying to read!! :-)

Happy Reading in September!!

Saturday, August 29, 2009

Review: Dreamland

Dreamland coverTitle: Dreamland
Author: Sarah Dessen
Genre: Young Adult, Fiction
Pub Date: 2004, Speak
Trade Paperback, 250 pages
Book Source:


Ever since she started going out with Rogerson Biscoe, Caitlin seems to have fallen into a semiconscious dreamland where nothing is quite real. Rogerson is different from anyone Caitlin has ever known. He's magnetic. He's compelling. He's dangerous. Being with him makes Caitlin forget about everything else--her missing sister, her withdrawn mother, her lackluster life. But what happens when being with Rogerson becomes a larger problem than being without him?

My Thoughts

Sarah Dessen has done it again. While Dreamland was certainly not my favorite of her books that I've read so far, I can appreciate why she is so popular with teens (and even those of us who are no longer teens) today. She has a knack for making you believe that you could be reading about people you know, which makes for a more interesting story in my opinion.

This is the "darkest" of Dessen's books that I've read, but I won't say why, for those of you who have not read this book yet, because I do think that would spoil your reading of the story for the first time. While I did feel like the characters in the story could have been people I once knew or know now, I did not feel much of a connection with any of them, and I think that's what ultimately kept me from liking this book as much as my "favorite so far" of hers, Just Listen. While there always seems to be a guy you'd fall for in these books, Rogerson was never that for me, and certainly not as the story developed.

Reading this book is certainly an eye-opener as to how a young girl's problems can go unnoticed by friends and family. As I've never experienced what Caitlin did, it's difficult for me to believe events could play out the way they did, but that seems very often to be the case with situations like Caitlin's. (Don't you hate how cryptic I'm being? Makes you want to read the book, doesn't it?) Dessen has brought to life a story that is rather heartbreaking to read, but I think I would have been more affected if I had cared more about the characters in the story. Even still, as always, Dessen's writing is just right for her target audience.

My rating: 3 stars

Other reviews of Dreamland:

The Book Reader ~ Reverie Book Reviews ~ Reading Rants!
The Ravenous Reader ~ Just Your Typical Book Blog

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review!

Thursday, August 27, 2009

Audiobook Review: Paranoia

Title: Paranoia
Author: Joseph Finder
Genre: Fiction, Suspense
Pub Date: 2004, MacMillan Audio
Source: Free Download from iTunes


Adam Cassidy is twenty-six and a low level employee at a high-tech corporation who hates his job. When he manipulates the system to do something nice for a friend, he finds himself charged with a crime. Corporate Security gives him a choice: prison—or become a spy in the headquarters of their chief competitor, Trion Systems. They train him and feed him inside information. Now at Trion, he’s a star, skyrocketing to the top. He finds he has talents he never knew he possessed. He’s rich, drives a Porsche, lives in a fabulous apartment, and works directly for the CEO. He’s dating the girl of his dreams. His life is perfect. All he has to do to keep it that way is betray everyone he cares about and everything he believes in. But when he tries to break off from his controllers, he finds himself in way over his head, where nothing is what it seems and no one can really be trusted. And then the REAL nightmare begins.....

My Thoughts

Paranoia is my latest discovery in the world of audiobooks for my daily commute. I have to confess I've been on the hunt for reasonably priced (cheap) audiobooks after discovering that our library system is severely lacking in this category. With Paranoia it was hard to beat a free download from iTunes, and I figured I'd give it a shot--nothing lost, right?

When the story first started out, after a few chapters I wasn't sure I would be able to keep going. I got really, REALLY tired of the constant swearing. I'm not sure if it would have bothered me as much if it had been more off-hand, but as it was maliciously used by some characters when name-calling other characters in the corporate environment. In short, it really bothered me and I just didn't feel like it was a realistic representation of the way people in the corporate world behave--but what do I know? Additionally, I think hearing the word as opposed to reading it made me more sensitive to its use. (Here we have yet another case where a book can come across so differently on audio vs. the written words.)

In the end, I stuck it out and I have to say I'm glad that I did. I very much enjoyed listening to the narrator, Jason Priestley--no, I don't think he's THE Jason Priestley of 90210/Brandon Walsh fame--I did some searching to see if he'd ever read audiobooks and came up empty, not to mention that it didn't sound like his voice. Anyway, I thought THIS Jason Priestley did a great job on the various characters and really helped add to the suspense of the story with good inflection while reading. The story itself is pretty intense, as you might imagine if you read the synopsis. But best of all, there was a twist at the end that I absolutely did not see coming until right before it happened and for me, it really made the book. So while there is strong language that may offend some, I still recommend this book for the story alone and I am tempted to look into other books by Joseph Finder.

My rating:4 stars

Other reviews of Paranoia:

If you have reviewed this book (in any format) and would like to see your site listed here, please leave a comment with the link to your review!

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: Dreamland


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!

Here's mine this week:

I'd always counted on Cass to lead me. She was out there somewhere, but she'd taken her own route, and for once I couldn't follow. This time, she'd left me to find my own way.

~ page 16 of Dreamland by Sarah Dessen

Monday, August 24, 2009

Review: Fire

Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pub Date: October 5, 2009, Penguin
ARC, 461 pages
Book Source: ARC received from the publisher


She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don't need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven't, you'll be dying to read it next.

My Thoughts

I had just finished reading and reviewing Graceling when a representative from the publisher asked me if I'd be interested in an ARC of Fire. I couldn't believe my luck! I enjoyed Graceling a lot and was rather bummed knowing I would have to wait until October to read Fire. In the end, I'm almost embarrassed to admit that I've been sitting on this book for a few weeks, needing to get through other commitments and of course working full time again. I finally had time this weekend to really delve into Fire...

I loved it even more than Graceling! Honestly, I did not think that was going to be the case. I think I was skeptical because it was a prequel and was not going to have many of the characters from Graceling. In fact, only one of those characters was present, but it made for an interesting look at what is to come in the story from Graceling. Fire is another fantastic YA heroine--she is strong and brave but also shows her vulnerable side. I truly became very attached to her while reading her story.

Because this book is not due out until October, I am not going to give away too much in my review, but I truly believe that if you enjoyed Graceling, you will enjoy Fire at least just as much! The story is compelling and the characters are marvelously drawn. Speaking of characters... I have the good fortune to be part of an upcoming blog tour for Fire, which will be revolving around the story's characters. I'm very excited and can't wait to share that with you. But guess what, I've got something to share with you even sooner... an e-book with the prologue and first two chapters of Fire!! Take a look...

Fire by Kristin Cashore

And there's even a nifty little widget you can get to promote the release of your book. Check it out in my right hand sidebar, just under my other book-related links and add it to your site!

My rating: 5 stars

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see a link to your site listed here, please leave a comment!

Saturday, August 22, 2009

Time to Share Awards!

Thank you to the wonderful bloggers who have nominated me for awards within the last week! I thought I'd pass along the love today...

Thank you to Austenfan at Reality Bites... Fiction Does it Better! for the Heartfelt award.

Do you reach for a cup of cocoa or tea when your relaxing, seeking comfort, sharing a plate of cookies with family and friends? You know the feeling you get when you drink a yummy cup of cocoa, tea, or a hot toddy? That is what the Hearthfelt Award is all about, feeling warm inside.


Put the logo on your blog/post. Nominate up to to 9 blogs which make you feel comfy or warm inside. Be sure to link your nominees within your post. Let them know that they have been nominated by commenting on their blog. Remember to link to the person from whom you received your award.

Here are my nominees:

Teddyree at The Eclectic Reader
Sheri of A Novel Menagerie
Trish at Trish's Reading Nook
Jennifer at The Literate Housewife
The lovely ladies at B. A. M. Book Reviews

And I was nominated by THREE people for BINGO's Beautiful Blog Award! Wow! Teddyree awarded me for being Informative, Ryan G. awarded me for being Neighborly, and Bridget awarded me for being Beautiful. Here's how it works...

This award means that my blog is:

B: Beautiful
I: Informative
N: Neighborly
G: Gorgeous
O: Outstanding

I'd like to pass the award along to the following fabulous blogs:

B: Beautiful ~ Books Love Jessica Marie
I: Informative ~ GreenBeanTeenQueen
N: Neighborly ~ Giving... Reading - A Chance...!!!
G: Gorgeous ~ Today's Adventure
O: Outstanding ~ The Burton Review

Thank you again to everyone who gave me an award. I hope those of you reading this post will be sure to visit the blogs I've awarded, as well!

Thursday, August 20, 2009

BBAW - Thanks for the Noms!!

BBAWI have to send out HUGE Thank You's to those who nominated me for 4 separate BBAW categories...

~ Best General Review Blog
~ Best Writing
~ Most Concise
~ Best New Blog

I am truly honored and humbled by these nominations. I honestly can't tell you how much they mean to me!

Stealing a page out of other people's books, I was wondering if any of you had any thoughts about posts (5 for each category) that I should submit for consideration?? I've actually even recruited my mother to help me out, as she's a loyal reader of my blog! I'll be pondering my submissions tonight and tomorrow, and hope to get them all in sometime tomorrow evening, since the deadline is 11:59pm! So if you think of a post that I ought to include in my submissions, please leave me a comment with the post suggestion and the category--your help is most greatly appreciated!!

Once again, thank you all for your continued support and blogging love... I wouldn't be here without you all!

Thursday Thunks (08.20.09)

Welcome to the August 20th version of Thursday Thunks!
(which we always seem to post on Wednesday)
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen, the number ziltch and the color of spider webs.

1. Your thoughts on hunting?
Honestly, I don't think about it much. It isn't something I'm into personally.

2. Swine Flu vaccine... will you get it?

3. What is one job/profession that you think there are just too many of?
Lawyers? ;-)

4. I want to go on a diet, what advice will you offer me?
Weight Watchers!

5. You are going out on a date with someone for the very first time. When you get into their car, you see a box of condoms on the floor. What do you do?
Wow, I'd probably feel pretty uncomfortable. Not sure how I'd handle it. Thank goodness I don't have to worry about that, though--happily married!

6. Name something in your bathroom that shouldn't be there.
Hmmm, for once I don't think there is anything--just the stuff that needs to be gotten rid of via a good cleaning...

7. What was your Kindergarten teacher like?
Mrs. Beal! As I recall she was pretty nice, that's all I really remember.

8. What kind of oil do you use when you cook?
More often than not, olive oil. Occasionally canola oil or peanut oil, though, if the recipe calls for it.

9. If someone takes an unflattering picture of you and posts it online, do you beg them to take it down or do you laugh at yourself with everyone else?
I'd probably beg them to take it down. If I'm tagged in it, I definitely remove the tag!! Yes, I'm that vain.

10. What brand of dishwashing soap do you use?
Ivory or Palmolive. I've always liked Ivory...

TLC Book Tour: Review : Time Of My Life

Time of My Life coverTitle: Time of My Life
Author: Allison Winn Scotch
Genre: Fiction
Pub Date: 2008, Three Rivers Press
Trade Paperback, 283 pages
Source: Books on the Brain, for the TLC Book Tour


Jillian Westfield has a life straight out of the women’s magazines she obsessively reads. She’s got the modern-print rugs of Metropolitan Home, the elegant meals from Gourmet, and the clutter-free closets out of Real Simple. With her investment-banker husband behind the wheel and her cherubic eighteen-month-old in the backseat, hers could be the family in the magazines’ Range Rover ads.

Yet somehow all of the how-to magazine stories in the world can’t seem to fix her faltering marriage or stop her from asking "What if?"

Then one morning Jillian wakes up seven years in the past. She’s back in her Manhattan apartment. She’s back in her fast-paced job. And she’s still with Jackson, the ex-boyfriend, and star of her what-if fantasies.

Armed with twenty-twenty hindsight, she’s free to choose all over again. She can reconnect to the mother who abandoned her, she can use ad campaigns from her future to wow her clients, and she can fix the fights that doomed her relationship with Jackson.

Or can she?

My Thoughts

I would imagine that we've all had the thought... What would happen if I could go back in time and do things differently? What would my life be like today? Well in this story, Jillian is given just that opportunity. She can change her love life, her career, her non-existent relationship with her mother... The possibilities are seemingly endless and Jillian's head swirls with them all.

Allison Winn Scotch has written an intriguing story about Jillian's experience with a second chance at her life. It truly was fascinating to read about the changes she decides to make to see if she can take her life in a different direction. Scotch masterfully weaves the intricate details as Jillian's new decisions begin to effect subtle changes in not only her own life, but the lives of those around her. Suddenly Jillian knows less and less what to expect as events unfold--she can no longer rely solely on her memories of what had transpired in her first go-around.

I don't really want to give away too much of the plot for those of you who haven't read this book yet. Suffice it to say that things may not always turn out like you expect or hope. And naturally the changes Jillian has made will have a long-lasting effect on the outcome of the rest of her life. Well-written and thought-provoking, Scotch's story is sure to resonate with women who have had second thoughts about their choices in life. Overall, I really enjoyed Time of My Life and look forward to reading more by Scotch in the future.

My rating: 4 stars

About the Author

Allison Winn Scotch is a frequent contributor to numerous magazines and websites including American Baby, American Way, Bride's, Cooking Light, Family Circle, Fitness, Glamour, InStyle Weddings, Lifetime Television, Men's Fitness, Men's Health, Parents, Prevention, Redbook, Self, Shape, Stuff, USA Weekend, Woman's Day, Women's Health,,, and

She is also the author of the novel, The Department of Lost and Found. Allison lives in New York with her husband and their son and daughter.

Visit her blog, "Ask Allison," at

A Special Thanks again to Books on the Brain and TLC Book Tours for letting me be a part of the tour for Time of My Life!

For other reviews and thoughts on Time of My Life, please be sure to visit the TLC Book Tour page!

Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Celebrating 300 Followers!!

All I can say to all of you is THANK YOU!!! What a wonderful 6-month anniversary present--my 300th follower!! And what better way to celebrate than to have a little giveaway, no?! I finally figured out what I wanted to do...

I decided to offer two giveaways this time around. One lucky winner will get to choose a book of their choice from The Book Depository, valued at $10 or less.

Book Depository Logo

The Grand Prize winner will receive a $25 e-gift certificate for either or's your choice!

Amazon Gift Certificate

BN Gift Certificate

You know what all this means... this contest is open to everyone, not just the US and Canada! :-) That's right, anyone can enter to win!

Feel free to put all your entries in one comment but I will also accept separate comments (but if you decide to take pity on me, a single comment is really easier for me to work with). So here's how you can enter:

+ 1 entry ~ leave a comment telling me what book you are dying to read right now.

+ 1 entry ~ become a follower on Google Friend Connect and let me know you have (+2 entries if you are already a follower--be sure to let me know that in the comment)

+1 entry ~ become a follower on Twitter (@Melsbookshelf) and let me know you have in the comment!

+1 entry each ~ If you're on Blogged or Book Blips, friend me and let me know that you have in the comment!

+2 entries each ~ Tweet about this contest, blog about this contest, and/or post about this contest on Facebook. Be sure to leave links in your comment!

+3 entries each ~ Digg this post, Stumble it, and/or bookmark it on and let me know that you have.

So you can earn up to 20 or 21 entries total for this contest!

Please note that this contest closes at midnight EDT on August 31st and I will tally the entries and let pick the winners shortly thereafter!

Good luck to all of you and thanks again for your support!!

Monday, August 17, 2009

Mystery Mondays: Audio book Review: 8th Confession

8th Confession coverTitle: 8th Confession
Author: James Patterson with Maxine Paetro
Read by: Carolyn McCormick
Genre: Fiction, Mystery, Suspense
Pub Date: April 2009, Hachette Audio
Source: Won from a blog contest


As San Francisco's most glamorous millionaires mingle at the party of the year, someone is watching—waiting for a chance to take vengeance on Isa and Ethan Bailey, the city's most celebrated couple. Finally, the killer pinpoints the ideal moment, and it's the perfect murder. Not a trace of evidence is left behind in their glamorous home.

As Detective Lindsay Boxer investigates the high-profile murder, someone else is found brutally executed—a preacher with a message of hope for the homeless. His death nearly falls through the cracks, but when reporter Cindy Thomas hears about it, she knows the story could be huge. Probing deeper into the victim's history, she discovers he may not have been quite as saintly as everyone thought.

As the hunt for two criminals tests the limits of the Women's Murder Club, Lindsay sees sparks fly between Cindy and her partner, Detective Rich Conklin. The Women's Murder Club now faces its toughest challenge: will love destroy all that four friends have built? The exhilarating new chapter in the Women's Murder Club series, The 8th Confession serves up a double dose of speed-charged twists and shocking revelations as only James Patterson can. And remember, this is the only Murder Club episode of the year.

My Thoughts

You might recall from my previous mentions about how a reader can really influence how you feel about an audio book--at least, I find that happens to me. A good reader can make a not-so-great book better, or vice versa. With 8th Confession, I have to confess that I was not nuts about Carolyn McCormick's reading, though at times she does do a great job, depending on the character she is portraying (she gets an A+ as Yuki's mother, for example). But more often than not, I just felt her reading seemed to prim and proper for the story, if that makes any sense.

However, I thought the story behind 8th Confession was so good that the reading really did not mess up the listening experience for me. I found myself completely engaged with the story--well, not so completely that I couldn't drive safely on my commutes, but I'm sure you understand what I mean. In fact, I now think that listening to audio books might be the best route for Patterson's novels for me--with their short chapters they really are perfect for listening. And as his stories are generally fast-paced and exciting, it makes for a great audio book experience. Not that I don't enjoy reading his novels in print, but they really are a great option for my daily commutes.

As with most of his books there is a bit of sexual content and foul language, most of which I am willing to overlook, though I really could do without some of it. Given that Patterson always has several storylines working at once, I don't need all the details of the various relationships--insinuations work just fine for me. But I definitely enjoy the multiple storylines and now that Patterson has developed all the women in the Murder Club so much, there is a lot more to work with for their various stories. If you enjoy Patterson's novels, I definitely recommend checking out their audio versions--I don't think you'll be disappointed.

My rating: 4 stars

Other reviews of 8th Confession:

A Novel Menagerie ~ Bermudaonion's Weblog ~ Bobbi's Book Nook
Booking Mama ~ A Bookworm's World ~ Shh I'm Reading
Diary of an Eccentric ~ reading comes from writing
Lori's Reading Corner ~ Joyfully Retired

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review!

Sunday, August 16, 2009

Sunday Salon (08.16.09): Balancing Act

TSS LogoHappy Sunday, everyone! Is it me, or are the weeks flying by? I thought my five weeks off between jobs flew by, but now I can't believe I've been back to work for two weeks already! And while I'll be working 6 days this week, they are sure to fly by as classes start Monday--it's the busiest week of the year!

Of course, ever since I started back to work, my reading has seriously suffered. I'd forgotten what it's like to be in retail--in the evenings after getting home, I've been so exhausted that nearly every time I sit down to read I fall asleep. I've managed to make it through two print books and one audio book in the last two weeks--I used to be a 3-4 books per week girl, easily! So naturally, I'm feeling guilty about my decreased productivity, even though I know I shouldn't. It's not as if I've totally fallen off the face of the earth, right? :-) But I have to admit I rather miss my desk job, when I had the hour lunch breaks that would afford me enough time to get through a nice chunk of whatever book I was reading at the time...

After a day off yesterday and finishing up one book earlier in the day, I sat down last night to start a book that I'll be reviewing for a TLC book tour--Time of My Life by Allison Winn Scotch. For once I wasn't exhausted and I almost felt my old reading-self coming back as I made it through 70-80 pages in a sitting before heading to bed. I'm hopeful that after this crazy-busy week I'll be re-accustomed to being on my feet all day and won't be so utterly exhausted in the evenings that I can barely function. Then perhaps I might get through two books per week again! But you know what, I've decided not to push myself or beat myself up if I can't read as much as I want to.

One bonus through all this--I'm discovering the fun of listening to audio books! For some reason I was always prejudiced against them. I preferred to hold a book in my hand and read it that way, page by page. There's nothing like the smell of a new book, you know? But now I find that commuting isn't so terrible when I'm able to listen to a book during the drive. And the quality of the reader can really influence your opinion of a book, don't you think? If you read my review for Wormwood by G. P. Taylor earlier this week, you'll know I wasn't necessarily nuts about the story, but was blown away by the reading, which made it more bearable. What I'm discovering with my current audio book, 8th Confession by James Patterson, is that I don't really care for the reader but the story is so good that I'm still able to enjoy the book.

So for all of you who listen to audio books, do you have any recommendations for me? I need to build my collection up or make a trip to the library soon...

Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 15, 2009

Review: Fade To Blue

Fade To Blue coverTitle: Fade To Blue
Author: Sean Beaudoin
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-Fi
Pub Date: August 2009, Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Hardcover, 201 pages
Book Source: Blog Reach Solutions


Sophie Blue started wearing a black skirt and Midnight Noir lipstick on her last birthday. It was also the day her father disappeared. Or spontaneously combusted. Which is sort of bad timing, since a Popsicle truck with tinted windows has started circling the house.

Kenny Fade is a basketball god. His sneakers cost more than his Jeep. He's the guy all the ladies (and their mommas) want. Bad.

Sophie Blue and Kenny Fade don't have a thing in common. Aside from being reasonably sure they're losing their minds.

My Thoughts

Honestly, I'm not sure what to make of this book. Fade to Blue is an off-beat, confusing read, and I'm pretty sure it's meant to be. Parts of the story find Sophie and Kenny questioning their sanity, and as I read this, I found myself wondering if I was going crazy, as well. The book is that difficult to follow, but at the same time I found myself wanting to find out just what in the world was going on!

For the sake of being up front, this is the strangest book I've read all year. (And possibly the most frustrating.) The plot feels like it is all over the place, yet it is obviously intricately written. It is as if the story is going forwards and then backwards again. The characters are all pretty quirky, and various names and brands sound suspiciously like names and brands we are familiar with, yet often they convey something else.

I should probably note that Fade to Blue is not a graphic novel, though the cover art suggests it may be. However, the story does revolve around comic books--well, one in particular... I can't say that this is a book for everyone, but I think that readers who like books that are out there and off-beat will enjoy this one. While not one of my favorite reads, I can appreciate what Beaudoin was working to achieve with Fade to Blue.

My rating: 3 stars

Other reviews of Fade to Blue:

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review!

Keep Your Eye Out For Another Giveaway

You may or may not have noticed, but I am approaching 300 Followers on Google Friend Connect. (!) Come to think of it, I'm also approaching my 6-month blogiversary, which will be August 18th. Wouldn't it be something if those two events coincided??

Regardless of whether or not they do coincide, I think that hitting the 300 follower mark will call for another contest! I'm still trying to decide what I want to do, but just know that as soon as I hit that magic number you'll be hearing about a great giveaway!

I really have to thank all of you out there for reading my blog, commenting on posts, and sharing links to my blog on your own blogs and web sites. I never imagined that Melissa's Bookshelf would grow the way that it has or that it would have garnered the tremendous support that you've given it (and me). And even though I'm at a point where I am not able to read, review or post as much, you've still stuck with me. I appreciate that from the bottom of my heart! You're all awesome!

So what better way to say thank you guys than to have a little giveaway? Keep your eyes open, and if you aren't a follower on Google Friend Connect, become one! As of the time of writing this post, we're only 4 away from the magic number 300, when the fun will start soon after! :-D

Friday, August 14, 2009

Friday Finds (08.14.09)


It's been awhile since I participated in Friday Finds (hosted by MizB at Should Be Reading), but I thought I would share a couple of books I added to my wish list this week...

The Lost Throne by Chris Kuzneski. Synopsis:

In 1890, a man collapses near the Piazza della Santa Carita in Naples, Italy. Strangers manage to revive him, but he is unable to speak. Police carry him to the nearest hospital, where he is not admitted because he has no money or identification. Frantically trying to communicate, he scribbles notes in ancient Greek and German that would have told the world about a discovery of immense importance - if anyone had read them...

Reaching from the wonders of ancient Greece to a harrowing quest in modern-day Europe, The Lost Throne features Jonathon Payne and D. J. Jones former members of a top secret, very special unit of the armed forces. Now as private citizens they still get recruited from time to time for the most delicate - and dangerous - missions. Payne and Jones must race to recover the lost treasure that could rewrite history, before it is destroyed by a group of men who will stop at nothing to conceal the secret.

The Hope of Refuge by Cindy Woodsmall. Synopsis:

Raised in foster care and now the widowed mother of a little girl, Cara Moore struggles against poverty, fear, and a relentless stalker. When a trail of memories leads Cara and Lori out of New York City toward an Amish community, she follows every lead, eager for answers and a fresh start. She discovers that long-held secrets about her family history ripple beneath the surface of Dry Lake, Pennsylvania, and it’s no place for an outsider. But one Amish man, Ephraim Mast, dares to fulfill the command he believes that he received from God–“Be me to her”– despite how it threatens his way of life.

Completely opposite of the hard, untrusting Cara, Ephraim’s sister Deborah also finds her dreams crumbling when the man she has pledged to build a life with begins withdrawing from Deborah and his community, including his mother, Ada Stoltzfus. Can the run-down house that Ada envisions transforming unite them toward a common purpose–or push Mahlon away forever? While Ephraim is trying to do what he believes is right, will he be shunned and lose everything–including the guarded single mother who simply longs for a better life?

Did you find any good books this week?

Thursday, August 13, 2009

Thursday Thunks (08.13.09)

Welcome to the August 13th version of Thursday Thunks!
(which we always seem to post on Wednesday)
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by
Kimber, the number 4812 and the color of storm clouds.

1. Hypothetical question- you are in a building with famous works of art, old manuscripts of famous novels, and original sheet music from famous composers. The building is on fire and looks to be completely destroyed. Do you grab any of the famous works before fleeing, and if so what?
Well, I guess this would be assuming that any of the works were not locked down into place? It seems like they are in most museums. Anyway, that's a tough question... I'd probably grab some works of art--that seems like the most "unreproduceable" item there--it's originality somehow seems more important than the other items. Books and music are reproduced all the time on a level that other works of art aren't. If that makes sense...

2. In August 1969, the Manson family went on a 2 night killing spree. Do you think 40 years later they have paid for their crimes?
To tell you the truth, I don't even really know how they've paid.

3. Power Outage! What's the longest you have been without power?
Probably only 8-12 hours. Unlike my poor parents who were once without power for over 8 days.

4. Just bought a new tazer gun. Will you let it be tested it on you to see if it works, and how it feels to be tazered?
Probably not. "Don't taze me, bro!"

5. A neighbor's mail was delivered to you. In it is a magazine not wrapped in plastic. Is it ok for you to flip through it before giving it to the neighbor? Do you tell them you looked through it?
I don't see why not--it's not like First Class mail. I mean, if you forget to change your forwarding address, magazines are only forwarded for a limited amount of time, anyway, I think. Anyway, why bother telling them? Unless you do something dumb like drop it in water or something that obviously messed up the magazine...

6. If I went through your purse/wallet right now, what all would I find in there?
In my purse... a lot of junk... coupons, my wallet, lipstick, more coupons, keys, business cards, a Tide To Go pen, more coupons, miscellaneous jewelry, a book, a Kohl's ad, receipts, did I mention coupons?

7. Have you been living under a rock?
Pretty much. Except for work.

8. Tell us something crazy you did this week.
Ummmm, no idea. I'm not a crazy person. Well, I don't think so, at any rate.

Tuesday, August 11, 2009

Audio Book Review: Wormwood

Title: Wormwood
Author: G. P. Taylor
Genre: Fantasy
Pub Date: 2004, Penguin Group
Source: Borrowed from my parents


Panic fills the streets of London on a night in 1756 when the earth suddenly lurches forward and starts spinning out of control. Within moments, eleven days and nights flash through the sky, finally leaving the city in total darkness. Is the end of the world at hand?

Agetta Lamian fears so. She's the young housemaid of Dr. Sabian Blake, a scientist who has recently acquired the Nemorensis, the legendary book said to unlock the secrets of the universe. And what he sees through his telescope confirms what he has read: This disaster is only a sign of things to come. Agetta overhears Dr. Blake's prophecy that a star called Wormwood is headed towards London, where it will fall from the sky and strike a fatal blow.

Dr. Blake believes the comet will either end the world as he knows it or hearken a new age of scientific and spiritual enlightenment. But whatever the outcome, he must cope with the madness that grows in London as the comet approaches -- as well as with his fears that the Nemorensis' power could be clouding his own reason and drawing dangerous spirits to his door. Soon even Agetta seems to have been seduced by the book, and whom she ultimately delivers it to will determine much more than just her fate.

My Thoughts

I am just going to come out and say that I don't know quite what to make of this book. (And in many ways, I think it is more difficult to review audiobooks because the reading can really sway my opinion of the book.) In this case, I will admit that I am glad I listened to the audio version as opposed to reading the book, because I think I enjoyed it more thanks to Davina Porter's incredible reading. My understanding is that she has read many audio books, so I may actually seek out those that she has done because I enjoyed listening to her so much.

The story is much darker than I anticipated--the synopsis does not really do the book full justice. At times the story is difficult to follow, because the point of view shifts back and forth between Blake's and Agetta's respective stories, which of course do relate to each other and eventually bring them together. Thanks to Porter's reading, all of the characters come to life right out of the book. Unfortunately I couldn't get into the story as much as I would have liked to, however. The tale was just so odd at times (and even gruesome at points) and quite frankly, I felt like the plot was a little shaky. In all fairness, though, it is more difficult to follow a book when you have to break up the listening sessions into several commutes to work. I have a feeling that if I had been reading the book, I would have felt like the prose was a little over the top, but it didn't come across that way when listening to the story. (Although I will say that overuse of words becomes more obvious when you are listening to a book--in this case, the word that started bothering me was "chink," as in a "chink of light" but then there were chinks in the curtains and it just got a little annoying after awhile.)

Overall, I'd say this was a good audio book to listen to simply to hear Davina Porter read all of the characters. The story is a bit of a strange one, with religious undertones at points, but it is a basic fantasy tale of good vs. evil, science vs. magic, etc.

My rating: 3 stars

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see a link to your review listed here, please leave a comment!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Mystery Mondays: Winners of Dying for Mercy!!!

I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting my post to see who the two lucky winners of Mary Jane Clark's Dying for Mercy would be. I'm sorry I couldn't get to it sooner today. I'd like to congratulate... drumroll, please...



Ryan G

I will be sending an email to you both momentarily so that you can send me your mailing addresses, which I will forward on to the folks at Wiredset. (I'd like to thank them again for allowing me to host this giveaway!)

I hope you both enjoy the book! Congratulations!

Sunday, August 9, 2009

The Sunday Salon (08.09.09): Short & Sweet

Happy Sunday, everyone!

I feel like I should apologize for not being as active in the blogosphere this week. I hate that I haven't been out there commenting on your blogs much, nor have I had time to adequately keep up with your posts in Google Reader. I've managed to knock the count down to under 400 at the moment (although that meant marking all the Sunday Salon posts as read :-/) but I know the count will jump back up in the morning. As you know, I started my new job this week, and it's clear that it is going to keep me very busy. So, unfortunately I have a feeling that this pattern will continue. I don't even have much time for reading, as I'm sure you noticed... Just one review all week! At least it was a good one: The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan, which is part of the Percy Jackson and the Olympians series. I will be finishing an audio book tomorrow (hopefully) so you should see that review soon, as well.

I also thought I'd remind you all about my contest that is running until midnight tonight. I'm giving away two copies of Dying for Mercy by Mary Jane Clark, thanks to Wiredset. So be sure to visit my post and enter while there's still time. I'll be using to select the winners sometime tomorrow and will announce them in a Mystery Mondays post. If I'm lucky, I'll have time before heading to work, otherwise I may not be able to announce the winner until tomorrow evening, but keep an eye out for that!

Hope everyone's week is off to a great start! With any luck I'll get back on track again this week, and I'll do my best to get back out and comment on your blogs as much as I can. Happy Reading!

Saturday, August 8, 2009

Review: The Lightning Thief

Lightning Thief coverTitle: The Lightning Thief
Author: Rick Riordan
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Pub Date: July 2005, (this ed. April 2006), Hyperion/Miramax
Trade Paperback, 375 pages


Percy Jackson is about to be kicked out of boarding school...again. And that's the least of his troubles. Lately, mythological monsters and the gods of Mount Olympus seem to be walking straight out of the pages of Percy's Greek mythology textbook and into his life. And worse, he's angered a few of them. Zeus's master lightning bolt has been stolen, and Percy is the prime suspect.

Now Percy and his friends have just ten days to find and return Zeus's stolen property and bring peace to a warring Mount Olympus. But to succeed on his quest, Percy will have to do more than catch the true thief: he must come to terms with the father who abandoned him; solve the riddle of the Oracle, which warns him of a betrayal by a friend; and unravel a treachery more powerful than the gods themselves.

My Thoughts

I decided to give this series a try after seeing reviews for the most recent book, The Last Olympian. I seem to have developed an attraction to series titles lately, but I have to say that I am really looking forward to continuing this one. The Lightning Thief was an engaging, enjoyable read--if I hadn't had such a busy first week on the new job, I think I would have read this in one day. Unfortunately it took me nearly an entire week to get through, but I enjoyed reading a few pages whenever I could spare a few minutes.

I really have to give a lot of credit to Riordan's creativity in writing this book. He was able to put Greek gods, mythical creatures, and heroes into an entirely different setting and story, thereby making them new and interesting. The pacing is spot on--the action and adventure never really stop from the first page. Equally pleasing are the characters: Percy the troublemaker and his two sidekicks, Grover and Annabeth, seem to be no match for the daunting quest they inherit but in the end they manage to prove their worth. Riordan's characterizations of the mythical creatures and Gods was also entertaining--in fact, there were many touches of humor throughout the story. Add to that a tight plot with a few well-timed twists and turns and you have a book that I believe any fantasy-lover (or perhaps any reader, at all!) is sure to enjoy.

Thanks to this incredibly clever first installment, I'm already planning to go ahead and get my hands on the remaining books in the series, so you can expect to read more about my thoughts on Percy Jackson's adventures in the future.

My rating: 5 stars

Other reviews of The Lightning Thief:

If you have reviewed this book and would like to see your site listed above, please leave a comment with the link to your review.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

Thursday Thunks (08.06.09)

Welcome to the August 6th version of Thursday Thunks!
(which we always seem to post on Wednesday)
Where we make you think a little bit before you blog!
This week we will answer some crazy questions brought to you by Berleen, the number 1 and the color of the crap under your shoe.

1. What the hell were you thinking?
Who knows?!

2. The tornado sirens go off in your neighborhood - what do you do?
Attempt to get to my parents' house a mile away since they have a basement. Otherwise guess we have to hide in the powder room downstairs...

3. Give us a recipe.
Buy a frozen entree. Put it in the microwave for the directed time. Take it out of the microwave, open the container, and eat it.

4. It's the middle of the night, there isn't a car in sight and you are stuck at a red light that just won't change.... how long do you wait until you run it?
Probably not that long if there isn't a car in sight, period. Maybe 15-20 seconds?

5. When was the last time you got all dressed up fancy-like? Where did you go?
Hmmm... Guess it would have to be for a friend's wedding last August. Can't think of any other time I got really dressed up for anything much.

6. Have you ever had a mole removed?

7. Are you in an area of record highs or record lows for the temps this summer? Are you lucky and stuck in the middle where it's somewhat normal?
I guess it's been mainly normal, with a few hot spells. I haven't paid that much attention.

8. When was the last time you changed your furnace filter?
Is that the same thing as the AC filter? Probably last year, meaning it's probably overdue for a change...

9. What's your favorite type of frog?
A tree frog, I suppose. Honestly, I couldn't care less about frogs. At least I was nice and didn't say a dead one...

10. If you were to go on America's Got Talent, what would you do for your talent? (and choosing not to go is not an option....)
I dunno, sing maybe? But really, I wouldn't be going, regardless of whether or not that's an option. I'm stubborn ;-)

11. Have you ever been on a rooftop of a building?
Yep. Freshman dorm a couple of times.

12. What is the first website you go to each day when you sit down at your computer, other than your email?
Probably Facebook.

Tuesday, August 4, 2009

Teaser Tuesdays: The Lightning Thief


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!

Here's mine this week:

I kept walking, trying to stay clear of Chiron's hooves. "We haven't seen any other centaurs," I observed.

"No," said Chiron sadly. "My kinsmen are a wild and barbaric folk, I'm afraid. You might encounter them in the wilderness, or at major sporting events. But you won't see any here."

~ page 82 of The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan.

Monday, August 3, 2009

Mystery Mondays: Dying for Mercy Giveaway!!

I'm excited to bring to you this giveaway for Mary Jane Clark's newest book, Dying for Mercy! Thanks to Katrina at Wiredset for letting me giveaway TWO COPIES of this book on my site!


When death shatters the serenity of the exclusive moneyed enclave of Tuxedo Park, New York, Eliza Blake, cohost of the country's premier morning television show KEY to America, is on the scene. While attending a lavish gala at her friends' newly renovated estate, Pentimento, Eliza's host is found dead—a grotesque suicide that is the first act in a macabre and intricately conceived plan to expose the sins of the past involving some of the town's most revered citizens.

Determined to find out the truth, Eliza and her KEY News colleagues—producer Annabelle Murphy, cameraman B.J. D'Elia, and psychiatrist Margo Gonzalez—discover that Pentimento holds the key. Nestled in the park's sprawling architectural masterpieces, picturesque gardeners' cottages, and lush, rolling landscape, the glorious mansion is actually a giant "puzzle house," filled with ingenious clues hidden in its fireplaces, fountains, and frescoes that lead them from one suspicious locale to another—and, one by one, to the victims of a fiendish killer.

As Pentimento gives up its secrets, it becomes clear that no amount of wealth or privilege will keep the residents of Tuxedo Park safe. But just when Eliza unearths one final surprise, she comes face-to-face with a murderer who believes that some puzzles should never be solved.

You can check out more information about the book at



For one entry, leave a comment.

+1 entry - Become a follower on Google Friend Connect. (+2 entries if you are already a follower)

+1 entry - follow me on Twitter (@Melsbookshelf) and let me know you did

+2 entries - Tweet about this contest and leave a link to your tweet.

+2 entries - Blog about this contest and leave a link.

The contest will remain open until Sunday, August 9th at 11:59pm EDT and the winner will be announced in a Mystery Monday's post on the 10th! This contest is open to US residents only.

Good luck!!