Saturday, April 30, 2011

Rot & Ruin by Jonathan Maberry

Tom and Benny Imura survived First Night when the world as they knew it turned upside down. Where the dead became reanimated. They lost their parents that night.

Mountainside is their home now. A town surrounded by fences to keep the zombies away. Benny is now 14 and has to choose a job in order to keep receiving his full rations. Tom earns a living as a bounty hunter. He goes out into the Rot & Ruin to find people's family members and put them to death permanently.

Benny loves to hang out with Charlie Pink-Eye and his hoodlum friend The Motorcity Hammer. He loves to hear their stories of how they kill zoms out in the Rot & Ruin. In Benny's mind compared to Charlie and Hammer his brother Tom is a coward.

As time has finally run out for Benny to find a job he agrees to go with Tom out into the Ruin to see what the "family business" is really like. What he learns is that Tom doesn't just randomly kill zombies. He teaches Benny that each zombie used to be a REAL person, a member of a family and deserves that respect. Tom "quiets" the zombies he is sent out to find. He reads them a letter from their family member and he then quiets them so they are no longer roaming around as zombies. It gives closure to the family member. This confuses Benny as he has a strong hate for the zombies and after all of Charlie's and Hammer's stories he has never thought of them as being real people.

Benny finds that not all bounty hunters are as compassionate as his brother Tom. In fact he hears about a place that some of the bounty hunters take innocent children to and make them fight zombies. When Benny happens to get a collector card of the "Lost Girl" one day he finds that this is a "mythical" girl that is supposedly out in the Ruin who may know some of the dealings of the bounty hunters.

As a storm rages over the city and the fence fails Benny finds out to what lengths these bounty hunters will go to protect their interest in the gaming park. Benny and Tom go out into the Ruin to rescue Benny's friend Nix and to find the Lost Girl who may be able to show them where the games take place. What happens while out in the Ruin is horrible and will change their lives forever.

Oh my goodness! Why have I waited so long to read this book? It was soooo good! Really though I'm glad I waited because I have my copy of Rot & Ruin and the sequel Dust & Decay autographed by Jonathan Maberry. Dust & Decay comes out in August but I snagged an ARC copy at the TLA conference I went to. Yay me! Anyway, this was such a good book. I had to close it several times because I couldn't take the suspense, but then I would have to open it and read on to find out what happens! Even though this is a zombie book I was more interested in the human relationships that were going on. Excellent read!

Wednesday, April 27, 2011

In My Mailbox Yesterday

These two books were in my mailbox yesterday. I have mixed feelings about both of them.

I have read mixed reviews on City of Fallen Angels by Cassandra Clare, it is looking like people either love it or hate it. So of course I am going to have to read it to see what the love/hate is with the book. My daughter is going to read it first though so I won't be able to get my hands on it for a while.
The Twilight Saga: The Official Guide by Stephenie Meyer has been a long time in the making. I agree with a blogger over at Bewitched Bookworms who wrote something to the effect of quit wasting time writing an official guide of Twilight and finish writing Midnight Sun. I bought the book out of curiosity, but I too am disappointed that Stephenie Meyer has wasted time on something like this instead of finishing up Midnight Sun as she promised or even writing a sequel to The Host.

Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Daddy Dates by Greg Wright


In Greg Wright's book Daddy Dates he shares with the reader his insights into dating his 4 daughters. Having 4 daughters made him realize that he wanted to be involved in their lives and invest in their lives. He came up with the concept of dating his daughters and has shared in his book how a Dad can go about doing that.

Getting to know each daughter's personality and likes and dislikes has helped him establish meaningful relationships with each one of his daughters.

My favorite chapter was "Lucky Number 13" where he took each daughter on a big date when she turned 13. He made it a very special get all dressed up kind of date. He shared with her about what is on boys' minds. He talked about how valuable a person she is. He explained the family principle of not dating until college. He also explained about the intimacy of sexual relationships and why it is best to wait for the "I Do". He then presented them with a special ring to wear on their left hand until the time that a young man will put his own ring on her finger.

A great book for any dad that has daughters to read! Greg Wright's daughters are lucky girls to have such a Daddy!

Sunday, April 24, 2011

Red Riding Hood by Sarah Blakley-Cartwright

Valerie lives in a village that offers monthly offerings to the Wolf in order to keep the Big Bad Wolf from killing everyone in the village. Unfortunately this month the Wolf has killed Valerie's sister.

Valerie is in love with Peter, a boy that she grew up with. Peter has been gone from the village for years but has returned. Unfortunately Valerie's parents have betrothed her to Henry. Henry's family is well-off and Henry will make a good match for Valerie.

Now that the wolf has invaded the village a priest is called in to help them find out who the wolf is. He informs them that the Wolf is someone among them. A witch hunt ensues with people accusing each other of being the wolf. Valerie's best friend accuses her of being a witch because Valerie can somehow communicate with the Wolf. Valerie is offered as the next sacrifice for the wolf. Can Henry and Peter who both love Valerie unite to save her? And how can Valerie trust anyone around her?

I imagine that almost everyone has heard of this book and movie. I enjoyed both equally since the movie pretty much follows the book. One thing that is a bit frustrating is that the last chapter of the book has to be read online. The author didn't want to give away the ending until after the movie came out I guess.

Thursday, April 21, 2011

She Walks In Beauty by Siri Mitchell(Kindle read)

What Clara Carter would like to do is go to college at Vassar. What she is forced to do though is to become a young debutant.

When the De Vries brothers return to New York Clara is forced to debut a year early. Her Aunt and father wish her to marry the elder brother Franklin De Vries, heir to the De Vries fortune.

Clara's aunt takes on the task of teaching Clara all that she needs to know to catch the heir. The first thing that she demands is that Clara's corset be cinched to make her have an 18 inch waist. She then proceeds to teach Clara all of the coy ways that a young woman needs to know to gain the attention of a man. In a time when women's opinions and intelligence do not matter to society it is hard for Clara to play at being a vapid female.

What soon becomes apparent is that both Clara and her best friend Lizzie have both gained the attention of Franklin. They both agree though that he is a bore. His younger brother Harry is much more entertaining and also the more attentive brother. But as women their goal is to win the heir so that they will be taken care of financially.

Clara has been told that at any cost she is to win Franklin even if it means giving him her virtue. Clara wants to marry for love though. She is tired of the pressures of her aunt and father and also the pressures of society. She also finds that her father is not the man that she thought him to be which causes her deep grief.

When Clara is "cut" from society will all be lost for her and her family or will Clara finally see her worth in God's eyes?

I really enjoyed She Walks In Beauty. I felt bad for Clara that she was living in a time when women didn't have many options for their future. At the same time that I wished that she would have stood up to her father and Aunt, I also admired her for being obedient. And of course I loved the Happily Ever After ending.


I was thinking today of some of my favorite books and realized that among my favorites are four must-read classics. Over the years I have read all four of them several times. They never seem to get old to me. Also all four of them have been made into some excellent movies!

My number one favorite is Pride and Prejudice by Jane Austen:

An excellent book, but also it has been made into several excellent movies. Two of my favorites are:

 The first Pride and Prejudice movie that I ever saw was the BBC production with Elizabeth Garvie and David Rintoul. So I am rather partial to it. I remember going camping one time and taking my black and white TV with me. I hauled it down to the restroom to plug it in so that I wouldn't miss a part of the 6 part series on PBS. My absolute favorite production though is with Colin Firth. Even though at first he wasn't my picture of what Mr. Darcy would look like he kind of grew on me! Here is a lovely musical version of P&P entitled Bride and Prejudice that makes me laugh out loud every time I watch it:

My next favorite book is Christy by Catherine Marshall

I fell in love with this book when I was a teenager. I love the characters Christy and the Dr. I always hoped that Christy would end up with him instead of the preacher. I loved Christy's idealism and how she grew up by the end of the book.

This book actually was made into a series with Kellie Martin playing Christy. I have all of the DVD's. There were a couple of movies made after the series stopped, but they didn't add up to the original show:

My next favorite book is Gone With The Wind by Margaret Mitchell

Who could not fall in love with Rhett Butler? And oh my word is Scarlett something else? I always hoped that Scarlett would get her act together and realize how much Rhett truly loved her. Of course Margaret Mitchell left us hanging. Many years later Alexandra Ripley wrote a continuation of Scarlett's story in Scarlett which was pretty good, but not in comparision with GWTW. And the movie reproduction of Scarlett just stunk!

But the movie production of GWTW was excellent and who wouldn't fall in love with Clark Gable as Rhett Butler?

My last favorite is Jane Eyre by Charlotte Bronte:

Poor tragic Jane. An orphan forced to live with miserable relatives and then sent off to a foundling home and later to become a governess. Finally finding true love only to be thwarted by her love's crazy wife kept in an upper room at Thornfield Hall. Forced to shift for herself once more she stumbles upon relatives that she didn't know she had. Still longing for true love she spurns becoming a wife of convenience and heads back to Thornfield only to find that it has burned to the ground and her love deformed by the fire. Ever the kind and loving Jane, she marries him and they live happily ever after.

My favorite movie productions are:

I love the movie with George C. Scott and Suzanna York. He is just the right amount of crusty and she is a perfect Jane. But I also love the BBC production with Timothy Dalton. I find that he makes a very handsome Mr. Rochester though and according to the book Mr. Rochester was not very handsome!

Here are my copies of the books:

Have you read any of these and do you have a favorite? I would love to hear your favorite classics!

Saturday, April 16, 2011

How To Be God's Little Princess by Sheila Walsh

How To Be God's Little Princess: Royal Tips for Manners, Etiquette, and True Beauty is full of information for young girls on such topics as: Princess manners at mealtimes, Inner beauty, Setting a table both informal and formal, How to put on a party, texting, internet safety, painting fingernails and toenails and so much more!

It also has many quizzes, puzzles and Scripture verses that deal with each topic.

One of my favorite things that stood out was in the Manners at Mealtime  topic stating  "Don't Show and Tell" talking about not talking while your mouth is full. In the Blushed and Beautiful section the topic is what happens if you burp or worse at the table, the answer is: "A princess who burped would cover her mouth with her napkin(or hand) and softly say, "Excuse me." If it came from the other end, she'd pretend in never happened, as should the others around her. She would never point to someone else and say, "He did it!" that made me laugh out loud! Another favorite was the How to Be a Friend section.

Throughout the book the theme is how to be a princess in every walk of your life. How to walk confidently and live pleasingly to the Lord. The last line of the note that Sheila Walsh wrote to the girls is, " You are God's beautiful, incredible princess--a crowning jewel in His kingdom."

I'm passing this book on to my granddaughter in the hopes that as she grows up she can read this book and see what a special princess God has made her to be.

Friday, April 15, 2011

TLA Conference April 12-15 2011

I went with Karin(the Edgy half of Edifying and Edgy) to the TLA(Texas Library Association) annual conference this week. It was fun. We got to hear Jamie Lee Curtis speak. We had some of our favorite authors sign books. In fact head on over to to enter to win a copy of a signed audible book of The Dark and Hollow Places. And of course we had some GREAT food. Here are some pictures:

Our first night we went here for dinner. It was excellent!

Jamie Lee Curtis speaking. She was a hoot!!

First day haul of free books! Score!

Dinner at the Melting Pot. It was YUMMY!

Second day haul of books and other goodies! Autographed books from Rachel Caine and Carrie Ryan!

 Dinner at the Hula Hut! It too was YUMMY!

I have never been to a Library conference before. It was fun to meet some authors that I enjoy and to get lots and lots of free books! Karin wants to go to BEA in New York next year, we'll have to see what happens!

Save The Date by Jenny B. Jones

Lucy Wiltshire runs Saving Grace, a home for girls who have nowhere else to go. Saving Grace is losing it's biggest supporter due to budget cuts. Lucy will do anything to be able to keep a roof over the girls' head.

Alex Sinclair is running for a seat in Congress. Unfortunately he is behind in the polls and in need of something that will boost his ratings. When he and Lucy's paths cross sparks begin to fly.

Lucy cannot stand Alex. They went to school together and Alex never paid attention to Lucy. After all she was a charity case who's mom cleaned homes. Alex was always surrounded by any girl he wanted.

When Alex proposes that they help each other by entering into a sham engagement Lucy is loathe to accept him. But when Alex offers to give the money needed to keep Saving Grace open if Lucy agrees to the plan she cannot turn him down. What she doesn't count on is falling in love with Alex. But will Alex ruin everything by his drive to win the election and push everyone that cares for him away?

I loved the characters of Clare and Julian! Clare had fired Lucy's mother years before and blacklisted her. She has a secret she must reveal to Lucy that will change Lucy's life forever. Julian is Clare's sassy male assistant. These two provide some great comic moments in the story. They are growing in their new faith in the Lord and become wonderful friends to Lucy.

This was a fast read that has humor and yet also deals with serious issues of self-acceptance, forgiveness and love. I enjoyed it very much.

Monday, April 11, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club hosted here next month!

The Christian Fiction Book Club will be hosted here on My Only Vice on May 21st! The book for this month is:

Here's what you need to do to participate:

1. Secure a copy of Words by Ginny L. Yttrup and read it between now and May 21st.

2. As I understand it there are questions in the back of the book. Choose 1 or more to address in a blog post. You may also post your review if you would like.

3. Schedule your blog post to run on May 21st. You may copy and use the book club logo above if you’d like.

4. On Saturday May 21st, I will run my review and answer a few discussion questions. I’ll include a MckLinky at the bottom so you can link your posts.

5. That weekend we will hop around reading and commenting on the reviews and opinions of participating bloggers.

6. If you do not have a blog of your own, you can share your opinions about Words in the comment sections of other blogs.

7. Have you already read Words? Great, participate anyway! You’ve got a head start answering some of the questions!

Hope to see you on May 21st! New members are always welcome!

Sunday, April 10, 2011

Beside Still Waters by Tricia Goyer

On the night her 2 sisters died in a horrible accident Marianna Sommers was born. Raised in an Amish community in Indiana Marianna has tried her entire life to make up for the loss of her sisters.

Marianna is almost 20 and starting to think about having a home of her own. Aaron Zook has been taking an interest in her. He is building his own cabin and has dreams of one day living in it with Marianna.

Marianna's brother Levi has left the community. He has caused embarrassment and heartache for his parents. When Uncle Ike comes to visit he talks about his life in Montana and how the Amish community there is not as strict as Indiana. Marianna's father decides to move the family to Montana for a year to see what it is like. This causes Marianna great heartache at the thought of leaving Aaron and her brother behind. Her parents ask her to go with them for just 6 months as her mother is pregnant and needs Marianna to help with the younger children.

Marianna is determined to not like Montana. She is only there for 6 months to help her mother and then she plans to return to Aaron and her more strict Amish community. What she doesn't count on is meeting Ben. He is not Amish, but he is a good friend to the Amish community. Hearing Ben talk about God as if he is a close friend raises all kinds of questions for Marianna. Marianna slowly learns to love the community of people, but she also realizes that she is coming to care for Ben and that cannot happen.

Meanwhile back in Indiana Aaron has tried to forget Marianna by trying to learn to love another girl. Naomi is heartbroken over Levi leaving, she too is trying to mend her broken heart. Will the two of them find comfort and love in each other's company?

The story and characters grew on me as I progressed through the book. The second book in the series comes out in October and I am determined to get it so I can find out what happens. I am not normally an Amish fiction fan, but I did enjoy Beside Still Waters.

Saturday, April 9, 2011

Christian Fiction Book Club-The Girl in the Gatehouse by Julie Klassen


Set in the same time period of writing as Jane Austen The Girl in the Gatehouse is about Mariah Aubrey, a young girl who has been sent out of her parents’ home in disgrace.

Mariah is sent away to live with her aunt. She and her former governess Miss Dixon set up house in the gatehouse of the estate. Shortly after her arrival at the gatehouse her aunt Mrs. Prin-Hallsey passes away. Upon her passing, her step-son takes over the household. He immediately lets the house out to Captain Bryant. He also demands that Mariah start paying rent to live in the gatehouse.

In order to earn money to supplement the small sum that her father has sent her away with Mariah decides to try and publish a novel that she has written. Knowing that novels by young women are not well received and guarding her already poor reputation she wants to publish her book anonymously.

Captain Bryant is trying to win over the woman that refused his pursuit years before. He plans on hosting a house party to try and prove to the young woman that he is worthy of her affections. What he doesn’t count on is the trouble and embarrassment that the house party will bring to Mariah.

Mariah takes an interest in the inhabitants of the poorhouse across the road from the gatehouse. A man that wanders the roof of the house captures her attention. She is sure that he is being held against his will. She doesn’t understand why nobody in the house will talk about him.

In matters of faith Mariah knows that God can forgive. She just doesn’t believe he can forgive her or that she can forgive herself.

I really enjoyed this book. I loved the quotes at the beginning of each chapter. I love the time-period of the book. And I especially love the “Happily Ever After” at the end.

Discussion Questions:

   1. Mariah's situation (sent away after an indiscretion to live in relative isolation) was loosely based on the fate of one of Jane Austen's characters in Mansfield Park (although Maria Bertram was a married woman who had an affair). Did you think Mariah Aubrey's father treated her unfairly? How have attitudes toward "virtue and vice" changed since the early 1800s?

The thing that seemed unfair to me was that the man involved had no consequences for his actions. Mariah was sent away in disgrace by her father because he was embarrassed by her behavior. The man involved though was still able to go around in society as if nothing ever happened. As for the second part of the question “virtue and vice” have very much changed since the 1800’s. Where once it was an honor and expectation for a woman to guard her “maiden-ness” today promiscuity is flaunted and expected.

      2. Go back and read the first two words and the last two words of the book. Any thoughts on why the author may have chosen them?

The book begins with the two words “The end”  and the story ends with the two words “The beginning”  I think that the significance of the way the author did that was that when we are lost in our sin or think that God cannot forgive us as Mariah thought  we think that it is “the end” . Mariah felt that being banished was the end of her life as she knew it (and she was right). She believed Satan’s lie though that even though she knew in her head that God forgives she couldn’t understand how he could forgive HER. She also couldn’t forgive herself. She learned though that even though there are consequences to our actions that God truly does forgive and wants to still bless us. Once she was able to believe God’s forgiveness of her and see his blessing of a new life that was when she was able to experience “the beginning” of a new life.


      3. Did you find yourself growing fond of any character that you did not care for at the outset? Which character was your favorite? Why?

At first I did not care for Martin. He seemed crusty and stinky and resentful. But throughout the story he grew on me. He spoke his mind yes, but he didn’t do it out of meanness. He became like one of those loveable crusty type of people. By the end I was hoping that he would be the one that Dixon chose to marry.