Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Book Review: Seeking Spirits by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson

Title: Seeking Spirits: The Lost Cases of The Atlantic Paranormal Society
Author: Jason Hawes, Grant Wilson and Michael Jan Friedman
Publication Date: 2009
Genre: Non Fiction Paranormal
Pages: 273
Series: 2nd book by the authors
Publisher's website: Pocket Books
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback

TV's POPULAR GHOST HUNTERS REVEAL ALL-NEW, NEVER-BEFORE-TOLD STORIES FROM THEIR SPOOKY EARLY INVESTIGATIONS!
For the first time ever, Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson, founders of The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.), share their most memorable and spine-tingling early cases -- none of which has ever appeared on television. Beginning with the previously untold experiences that sparked their passion for ghost hunting, Jason and Grant's bone-chilling investigations uncover:

• A Connecticut woman who seems to exist in two places at once
• A little girl whose invisible playmate retaliates
against her father's punishments
• A man overcome by an evil entity as Jason and Grant survey his home
• A distraught woman who dreams of paranormal events
before she experiences them...and much more!

Jason and Grant didn't always have the fancy scientific equipment and experienced team that fans now watch on their smash-hit television show. As they share their hair-raising first experiences, they offer essential tips for budding paranormal investigators -- including how to use an electromagnetic field (EMF) meter and an infrared camera, determine if a supernatural phenomenon is good or evil, and deal with spirits. Whether you're a skeptic or a believer, these fascinating and frightening true stories will keep you up at night!
(from PaperBackSwap)

If you read my review of Jason and Grant's first book - Ghost Hunting - then you know that I am a huge fan of the show! I was not disappointed with this, their second book. This book was awesome! I say that as a fan but also as someone who enjoys a good ghost story.

Jason and Grant are very passionate about what they do. They are also very compassionate. Everything they do they do because their ultimate goal is to help people. People like them who have had paranormal experiences that they can't explain.

I think I have seen just about every episode of their show so I really liked that this book contained cases that were never on TV. Most are older cases, before Jason and Grant teamed up with the Syfy Channel.

In particularly liked the Introduction by Grant in which he shares with us a personal experience he had in his young. It's a pretty cool story and I'm thankful to him for sharing it with us.

Overall, this book was a really good read for me. I would recommend it to anyone who is a fan of ghosting hunting or the paranormal in general.

5/5 stars

Other Books by the Authors:
Ghost Hunting by Jason, Grant and Michael -- MY REVIEW
The Ultimates: Tomorrow Men by Michael Jan Friedman
Wolf Man: Hunter's Moon by Michael Jan Freidman

Linkage Love:
Ghost Hunters on the Syfy Channel
The Atlantic Paranormal Society (T.A.P.S.)
Michael Jan Friedman's site

New Years Resolutions!!!

Kristen's post over at Bookworming in the 21st Century got me thinking about New Years resolutions. How do you guys feel about them? Every year I think I have set a few for myself but never seriously thought following through on them. This year I hope will be different! I'm trying to be realistic about my goals.

SO! With that said, in the new year I hope to:

1. Spend more time blogging - this includes getting my reviews posted within days of finishing the book (instead of weeks). Also, spend more time commenting. I'm having a hard time organizing my Google Reader with all my blog subscriptions so I might look into another type of reader soon. What do you guys use?

2. Get my household more organized - plain and simple

3. Eat better, exersise more - we got a Wii Fit this year - hoping the fun factor will help!

4. Ebay! I sold a ton of stuff last year and need to clean out more of my house.

5. Manage my finances better - I've gotten into the habit of waiting way too long to pay bills!

6. Last but not least - READ MORE!

I know there are more things I really want to get done this year but I think this is a good start!

What do you guys think?

Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Monthly Reads - November 2009

So...um....November has been gone for a while. Did you see it? Ooops! Too slow...
Seriously - where did this fall go?!?!

Obviously this post is waaaaaaayyyyy late but my OCD has kicked in and I couldn't possibly post a December Monthly Reads without having November.

Sweet sweet November, oh how I miss thee...

Anywho!

Here's the dirt:
  • Return to Labyrinth II by Jake T. Forbes
  • Return to Labyrinth III by Jake T. Forbes
  • Never Cry Werewolf by Heather Davis
  • The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong
  • The 39 Clues Book Five: The Black Circle by Patrick Carman
  • The 39 Clues Book Six: In Too Deep
So! Not too many this month! One of these days I'll actual post reviews in the month I read the book!! hahahahahahahaha

Holiday Wishes + Contest Reminder

Hey everyone!
For those of you that celebrated Christmas I hope you had a wonderful holiday!
I was away visiting family which is always an adventure. On the plus side, I got a ton of books read :)
Just got home late last night so we are settling in, clearing the snow, trying to find places for all the presents my little one got.

I have off the rest of the week (you can hate me a little - it's ok) so I'm hoping I'll have lots of time for some really great posts I have planned. I know, I know, I have been saying that for a while.
One thing I have learned about my blog is that it is patient. Always here, always waiting, never complaining. I'm hoping you, my wonderful followers are the same!

Until those promised posts are up here's a reminder:

LAST DAY TO ENTER MY CONTEST IS TOMORROW!!!!
CHECK IT OUT!!


Up for grabs are two copies of The Naughty List by the wonderful Suzanne Young.
I'll be announcing the winners this weekend.

For all of you planing on celebrating the New Year - be happy, be careful and be safe!

Happy Reading!

Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Secret Santa + Prize Winnings + Happy Holidays!

I'm going to be out of town for the holidays and wanted to send out some thanks before I get going. First up is my second Secret Santa!


A great big THANK YOU goes out to Casse from CatholicKittie
She sent me a book from my wishlist - Life As We Knew It plus some yummy chocolate and the cutest card!

I also got an amazing prize pack from Briana from The Book Pixie

I won: an ARC of Give Up the Ghost, Vampire Academy, UK copy of Hush, Hush, Werewolves by Jon Izzard and Vampires by Joules Taylor
PLUS Briana included some swag, candy and Christmas ornaments.
How nice is that!?

Sorry to say, this will (probably) be my last post until after Christmas. I'll be visiting family out of state and I don't know how much time I'll have! I'm going to desperately try to check in on the blogs I follow and hopefully comment here and there.

Expect some big things from me come the New Year. I have some awesome things planned, including a multi-book, multi-winner contest.

I hope everyone out there has a safe and happy holiday!
See you all soon!!!!

Saturday, December 19, 2009

In My Mailbox - December 19, 2009

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

This IMM is a little more then a week's worth as I didn't have a chance to post last weekend. I got a ton of great books though that I'm really excited about!

For Review:
ARC of The Returners by Gemma Malley
Release Date: March 2010
(from Amazon)
London teenager Will Hodge is miserable. His mother is dead, his father’s political leanings have grown radical, and his friends barely talk to him. To top it off, he’s having nightmares about things like concentration camps. Then Will notices he's being followed by a group of people who claim to know him from another time in history. It turns out they are Returners, reincarnated people who carry with them the memory of atrocities they have witnessed in the past. Will realizes that he, too, is a Returner. But something about his memories is different, and with dawning horror, Will suspects that he wasn’t just a witness to the events, he was instrumental in making them happen. Set in the near future, with the world on the verge of a new wave of ethnic cleansing, Will must choose to confront the cruelty he's known in his past lives, or be doomed to repeat it . . . again.

For Review:
ARC of Magic Under Glass by Jaclyn Dolamore
Release Date: December 2009
(from Amazon)
Nimira is a foreign music-hall girl forced to dance for mere pennies. When wealthy sorcerer Hollin Parry hires her to sing with a piano-playing automaton, Nimira believes it is the start of a new and better life. In Parry's world, however, buried secrets are beginning to stir. Unsettling below-stairs rumors swirl about ghosts, a madwoman roaming the halls, and Parry's involvement with a league of sorcerers who torture fairies for sport. Then Nimira discovers the spirit of a fairy gentleman named Erris is trapped inside the clockwork automaton, waiting for someone to break his curse. The two fall into a love that seems hopeless, and breaking the curse becomes a race against time, as not just their love, but the fate of the entire magical world may be in peril.


Bought New:
Nightlight: A Parody by The Harvard Lampoon
Speak by Laurie Halse Anderson
The Chronicles of Vladimir Tod Eight Grade Bites and Ninth Grade Slays by Heather Brewer

Bought Used:
Skinny by Ibi Kaslik
Peeps by Scott Westerfield
The Tale of Emily Windsnap by Liz Kessler
Emily Windsnap and the Monster from the Deep by Liz Kessler

From PaperBackSwap:
I was a Teenage Dominatrix by Shawna Kenney

Do you guys like the Amazon widget? Much faster then loading in individual pics.

So, what's in your mailbox?

Thursday, December 17, 2009

News, Thanks and Musings

So, I haven't done one of these posts in a while (Ok - so I have only actually done 1 :)
BUT! It's time for some more:

NEWS:
*My current contest ends December 31st - enter to win 2 copies of The Naughty List by Suzanne Young here! One lucky winner will also win some sweet swag provided by Suzanne herself - it arrived last week:

*If you have never heard of Kristen and her awesome blog Bookworming in the 21st Century you have got to check it out! Kristen is a wonderful person and this month, in honor of her birthday she is holding a Birthday Bash Mega Contest- with 25 winners! I absolutely love Kristen's blog and I know you will too :) I'm giving away a copy of Tithe by Holly Black for Day 12- check it out!

THANKS:
*A big thanks to Suzanne for sending the above mentioned swag! I can't wait for you guys to read her book :)

*This is my first holiday season blogging and I just couldn't resist participating in in these two great Secret Santas. I loved Secret Santa when I was a kid!


I already received my package from this one :) I incorrectly stated where they came from in an IMM post a few weeks ago -sorry! My Book Bloggers Holiday Swap gifts came from Jennifer at Crazy For Books. What did she send me? Two awesome books from my wishlist!



Beastly and Prom Nights from Hell
Thank you so much Jennifer!




Haven't received my Secret Santa one yet but there is still time - hey - not like I would complain if it came after the holidays :)

MUSINGS:
*December has been a pretty hectic month for me and my blog as suffered :(
I'm sorry I haven't been posting as much as I would like to. I have a ton of great reviews in the works! I also haven't been keeping up on my memes as much as I would like. Booo!!!
So, how do you guys make time to blog? Do you schedule it into your daily routine? Whenever you have time? Only on certain days? I would love to know!

*So, like I have said, I have a bunch of stuff planned for my blog. I'm thinking once the holidays are done with I'll have (a little) more time :)
One thing I'm hoping to get up and running soon are series review postings. I love book series and I want to highlight them - not sure what I'll call these posts yet so stay tuned!

*Last but not least! I'm planning on another contest for the new year - books yet to be determined. All I know for sure is that there will be more then one book and more then one winner :)
Want to earn a early extra point? Comment on this post and help me with the following :
Blog Buttons...um...how do you make them?

Kudos to all of you who read this entire post - I'm usually not this wordy :)
Ok - it's time to make more Christmas cookies!

Happy Reading to everyone!

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

Book Review: Ghost Hunting by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson

Title: Ghost Hunting: True Stories of Unexplained Phenomena from The Atlantic Paranormal Society
Author: Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson with Michael Jan Friedman
Publication Date: 2007
Genre: Non-Fiction Paranormal
Pages: 273
Series: 1st book
Publisher's website: Pocket Books
Book Acquisition: used paperback copy from BookMooch

The Atlantic Paranormal Society, also known as T.A.P.S. is the brainchild of two plumbers by day, paranormal investigators by night: Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson. Their hair-raising investigations, fueled by their unique abilities and a healthy dose of scientific method, have made them the subject of a hit TV show: the SCI FI Channel's Ghost Hunters.
Now their experiences are in print for the first time. as Jason and Grant recount for us, with the help of veteran author Michael Jan Friedman, the stories of some of their most memorable investigations. The men and women of T.A.P.S. pursue ghosts and other supernatural phenomena with the most sophisticated scientific equipment available - from thermal-imaging cameras to electromagnetic-field recorders to digital thermometers - and the results may surprise you. Featuring both cases depicted on Ghost Hunters and earlier T.A.P.S. adventures never told before now, this funny, fascinating, frightening collection will challenge everything you thought you knew about the spirit world.
(PB back cover)

First off, need to say it, -- I love the show Ghost Hunters on Syfy! If you have never seen it, you're missing out.

In this, their first book, Jason and Grant share with us some history of their organization as well as some of their more well known cases that have appeared on the show. Whether you believe in ghosts and the paranormal or not, one thing that stands out from this book is the overwhelming compassion that Grant and Jason bring with them to their investigations. They very much stress the fact that the driving force behind the reasons they do what they do is to help people. They aren't looking for ghosts - they are looking for people in need.

This book was great. From watching the show I was familiar with a lot of the cases they talked about but what I really loved was the inside look I got about the people involved with T.A.P.S.
Jason and Grant have really taken ghost hunting to a new level. They approach it from a scientific stance. They rely on hard evidence - not feelings like a lot of others in their line of work do.

If you have any interest in ghosts or the paranormal I think you would really enjoy this book - even if you have never seen the show.

5 stars!

Other books by Jason and Grant:
* Seeking Spirits: The Lost Cases of The Atlantic Paranormal Society

Other books by Michael Jan Friedman:
*The Ultimates: Tomorrow Men
*Wolf Man: Hunter's Moon

Other websites of interest:
*Syfy channel Ghost Hunters
*The Atlantic Paranormal Society
*Michael Jan Friedman's site

Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Book Review: Blue is for Nightmares by Laurie faria Stolarz

Title: Blue is for Nightmares
Author: Laurie faria Stolarz
Publication Date: November 2003
Genre: Teen Fiction
Age: not specified
Pages: 283
Series: 1st in a series
Publisher's website: Llewellyn Worldwide
Author's website: www.lauriestolarz.com
Book Acquisition: received a paperback copy via BookMooch

"I know Your Secret..."
Stacey's junior year at boarding school isn't easy. She's not the most popular girl at school, or the smartest, or the prettiest. She's got a crush on her best friend's boyfriend, and an even darker secret that threatens to ruin her friendships for good.
And now she's having nightmares again. Not just any nightmares - these dreams are too real to ignore, like she did three years ago. The last time she ignored them, a little girl died. This time they're about Drea, her best friend who's become the target of one seriously psycho stalker.
It started with weird e-mails and freaky phone calls. Now someone's leaving Drea white lilies - the same death lilies that have been showing up in Stacey's dreams. Everybody thinks it's just a twisted game...until another girl at school is brutally murdered.
There are no witnesses. Worst of all, no one has a perfect alibi. With everyone as a potential suspect, Stacey turns to the one secret weapon she can trust - the folk magic taught to her by her grandmother. Will Stacey's magic be strong enough to expose the true killer, or will the killer make her darkest nightmares come true?
(from back cover of pb)

This book was pretty cool. Stacey is a pretty likable character. The folk magic she practices seemed very true to life.
A few things about this book I didn't really like though. One was Stacey's friends - they all seemed very shallow, very fake, and not very friendly. He best friend Drea treats her with disrespect and has absolutely no compassion for what she is going through. I'm not sure her character was meant to come off this way though.
The other thing I didn't like so much was the predictability of the book. I had pretty much figured out the bad guy from an early start. It was however, exciting to see Stacey put the pieces together in the end.
I have the next 3 books in the series and I am looking forward to reading them. Stacey is a character pretty unlike any character I have come across in a while and I'm interested in seeing where she goes and what she discovers about herslef and her abilities.

Series Info:
Blue is for Nightmares (2003)
White is for Magic (2004)
Silver is for Secrets (2005)
Red is for Remembrance (2005)
Black is for Beginnings (2009)

Other books by the author:
The Touch Series: Deadly Little Secret (2008) and Deadly Little Lies (2009)
Project 17 (2009) -- I read this one and loved it! Check out my review here.

Sunday, December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox - December 6, 2009

In My Mailbox is hosted by The Story Siren :)

So - December is busy to say the least! In past years I don't think I managed to get one book read! I'm trying to fix that this year. It helps that I keep getting such awesome books!

It's pretty late and I should have been in bed a few hours ago so I'm doing a quick list this time around :)

WON - from Tina at Fantastic Book Review
A Signed Copy of Devil's Kiss by Sarwat Chadda

WON - from Kate at The Neverending Shelf
The Heretic's Daughter by Kathleen Kent
Mooched
Ghost Hunting by Jason Hawes and Grant Wilson
Mooched
Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder

What's in your mailbox?

Saturday, December 5, 2009

Contest Time! +Supper Special Birthday Wishes!

HAPPY BIRTHDAY!

To who you ask?
To the wonderful and talented Suzanne Young!
Woo hoo! Let's all sing!
um..well, maybe you guys could sing - not sure you would want to hear me do it!

Her debut novel, The Naughty List, is due out in February.
I was lucky enough to receive an ARC and I finished it this week. I loved it!
I'm holding off on a review as I'm saving it for the 2010 Debut Author Challenge. It's going to be my first review of the new year so stay tuned!

To celebrate this joyous occasion I am holding a contest!
There will be two winners:

Winner 1 will get my ARC of The Naughty List AND some super cool swag from Suzanne!

Winner 2 will get a brand new copy of the book once it's released!

Contest is open to US residents 13 and older.
Ends on December 31st 11:59EST

I'm trying something new for this contest by using a form for entry. Only your name and email address are required but there are ways to gain extra points. Please ask if you have any questions.


HAPPY BIRTHDAY SUZANNE!

ok - the form looks a little weird but it should still work! You can't see but the second line ends with "you might have to scroll down to see the button"



Wednesday, December 2, 2009

2010 Debut Author Challenge!


This wonderful Challenge is being hosted by The Story Siren
Information
Join us!

The objective of this challenge is to read a set number of Young Adult (YA) and Middle Grade (MG) books from debut authors published in 2010.
There are some rules and regulations that you can read all about in Kristi's information post (linked to above).

I'll update this post as I add, subtract, read and review my challenge books. Not sure how many I should start (or end!) with so to I'm listing as many books as I have info on and that appeal to me. This post will grow and flow over the next year and there will be a link to it on my sidebar - check back for updates as the year goes on!

Sites to help in the search of books:
2010 Book Odyssey / The Tenners 
Debut Author Info Post
AuthorsNow!
Class of 2K10

What books to I want to read? Um...all of them I think :) 

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Book Review: The Summoning by Kelley Armstrong

Title: The Summoning
Author: Kelly Armstrong
Publication Date: July 2008
Genre: Young Adult Urban Fantasy
Age: 12+
Pages: 390 pb
Series: 1st in the Darkest Powers Series
Publisher's website: HarperCollins
Author's website: www.kelleyarmstrong.com
Book Acquisition: bought new paperback

She sees dead people - and they see her.
Chloe Saunders used to have a pretty normal life. But that changed on the day she met her first ghost. Locked up in Lyle House, a group home for troubled teens, she finds out that there's more to the home's teen residents than meets the eye. Will Chloe be able to uncover the dangerous secrets of Lyle House...or will its skeletons come back to haunt her?
This thrilling first volume in the supernaturally charged Darkest Powers series by international bestselling author Kelley Armstrong will keep readers awake well into the darkest time of night.
(back cover of paperback)

This one was sitting on my shelf a while and I only just got a chance to read it. I wish I hadn't waited so long because I really enjoyed it! Why? For a couple of reasons, which I will now share with you :)
*Ghosts:
I love ghost stories but if one is not careful, they can come out way too cheesy. No worries though because Chloe's ghosts contain zero cheese. Some creepy crawlies and a few heebie geebies but that's just the way I like them.
*The reality factor:
Chloe feels like a very real person. She makes mistakes, she gets angry and scared. Her reactions to what she experiences are very realistic in my opinion and this adds a layer of detail to the story that I found very enjoyable.
*First person narrative:
I think stories told in the first person can get a bit of a bad rap. I know people who don't like them because you are only getting one characters view point through out the story. While this is usually true, I don't think it takes away from the overall story, if done well. In the case of The Summoning, it is done well. As a reader, we are only privileged to Chloe's knowledge. There are so many unknowns in her world and discovering their secrets as she does really moved the story along for me. I couldn't wait to turn each page and find another piece of the mystery (and maybe some of the other mystery - oh, and then a piece of the puzzle I didn't even know was missing!)

Overall, I very much enjoyed this book. I'm glad it's a series and I really cannot wait to find out what happens to Chloe. The only point I might have a small problem with is the twist at the end...not sure how I feel about that but I'm reserving judgement until I read the others in the series.

Darkest Powers Series (which is listed as a trilogy on the author's website)
1. The Summoning - July 2008
2. The Awakening - May 2009
3. The Reckoning - April 2010

Some other books by the author:
*Otherworld Series - Paranormal Suspense Adult series that take place in the same world as the Dark Powers series
*Angelic (2009)

Some other websites to check out:
*Publisher Author Page
*Fantastic Fiction Author Page (great list of all Kelley's books)