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Sunday, February 28, 2010

Venturing Outside Your Comfort Genre

Every so often there comes a time when you feel like you have read all of the books that truly interest you within your favorite subgenre. And then you get this sort of "Well what now?" mentality. In general, people go through phases where they only want to read one specific subgenre, like only Paranormal Romantic Comedies, but once you have exhausted that subgenre it still might seem difficult to venture out. Another scenario would be if you just started to read for leisure and you are nervous to venture out from your starting point. There are literally millions of titles out there, but where do you start?

There is always the old standby of browsing the bookstore. It really works for some people; however I have never been able to "browse" the bookstore. It is so overwhelming to me just wonder through stacks and stacks of books (essentially judging each one by it’s cover – which is whole other post entirely), and I have three small children that make it pretty much impossible to browse any store let alone bookstores.

Well a good place to start is to ask your friends and family what they are reading. This might be hard, if you and all your friends generally read the same books (like me and my friends) but you never know. You can specifically ask people what their favorite all-time books are, and you are sure to find a couple of winners.

Another good place to look is within the books that you already have. Most books will have some sort of review comments proclaiming how wonderful the book and/or author are. And a good amount of these quotes come from other authors. If you have never read a book by that author, give them a go. To take this idea a step further you can also go to some of your favorite authors’ websites (most all have one, or at least a blurb on their publishers website) and check for a few things. What are they reading right now? Who influenced them? And who are their favorite authors.

Many of the larger book retailers have matching services on their websites. This is that little box to the side of book description that says “If you like this book, you may like these others” or “Other people who selected this book, also searched these”. You will be surprised what you find in these little automated boxes.

And last but certainly not least, you can jog through the blogosphere and see what other people are reading.

What are you tips? How do you go about finding new books and authors?

Saturday, February 27, 2010

The Winners of My First Ever Book Giveaway are....

A special Thank You to Everyone that entered my First Ever Book Giveaway - Cara Elliot's To Sin with a Scoundrel. I hope that you will come back often because I have several more giveaways in the works! Another thanks to Anna at Hatchette Book Group for coordinating this giveaway with me! Now without further Ado - The winners are:

  1.   Carol

  2.   Friendliest Ghost

  3. Angela
I have sent you each an email requesting your mailing address. If I do not hear from you within the next 48 hours I will pick a new winner.
I used the random number generator at to select the winners.

Please come back on Monday March 1st to see my next book review and giveaway - here's a hint - the authors initials are L.I.

I am starting a monthly online book club. If you are interested in learning more about the club go here:
and then come back on March 1st to find out what our first book selection is!

Friday, February 26, 2010

Today is the last Day to Enter to Win To Sin With a Scoundrel

If you haven't yet entered to win my first ever book giveaway -please do so now! Today is the last day to enter - you have until 11:59pm PST to get all your entries in and counted. I will post the names of the THREE winners tomorrow by 12noon! Best of Luck! Click Here to Enter the Giveaway

The Wyndham Werewolves Series by MaryJanice Davidson

The author of the Queen Betsy Series, MaryJanice Davidson, created a Spin-off - The Wyndham Werewolves. It started as several short stories in a couple anthologies - Dead and Loving It, Naughty or Nice, Dead Over Heels, Secrets Volume 6 and Secrets Volume 8. The Werewolves show up in the Queen Betsy series when Anotonia (a werewolf that is mated to one of Betsy's fiends) goes missing. But the first full fledged novel in the series is Derik's Bane.

In Derik's Bane, we meet Derik - who  is a werewolf and best friends with the Pack's Alpha - Michael. But something hasn't been right for a while and it becomes apparent that the problem is that Derik has developed Alpha tendancies. Two alphas under one roof is not going to last very long before someone gets hurt. Fortunately, the pack's future seer announces the Derik is needed to save the world! He travels to Californina (from Massachuettes) to find Dr. Sarah Gunn (the prophesied reincarnation of Morgan Fey - although she doesn't know it) and destroy her before she destroys the world.  He really didn't count on her being so darn cute though! It is a fun and adventurous story that takes the two on a cross county trip to save teh world together. It was a really exciting book, that I hope has a sequeal soon. I did contact MaryJanice Davidson's assistant and was told that the series is just on hold not forgotten. So keep you eyes open for the next in the series.
You can learn more about MaryJanice Davidson and her other series' at

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Whatcha Reading Wednesday - 2/24/2010

So this is how "Whatcha Reading Wednesdays" works
You grab the book you are currently reading, open it to a TOTALLY RANDOM page and then go to a random place on the page and select two full sentences. Then leave a comment with just the two sentences, the page number, title and author of the book. If it is a spoiler at all be sure to put **Spoiler Alert** at the top of your comment (like if the selection announces the death of an integral character or something). But I really doubt that two sentences on a random page are going to give away the plot - =). This is supposed to fun and enlightening and I really hope you guys do this!

Here's Mine for this week:
Recalling her weary gaze, he felt a stab of sympathy for Lady Sheffield, one made all the sharper by his won devious strategy. It seemed he was not the only person who wanted something from the widow. page 58, To Sin with a Scoundrel by Cara Elliott

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Do you always Finish a Stinker?

In a recent conversation with a fellow book lover, I started to wonder more and more about the idea of not finishing books. Have you ever only read a portion of the book and decided it wasn't worth you precious book reading time? And I do mean precious time, with three boys under age 5 I can only find so many quiet moments to read a few pages in, so don't like the waste them.
It has happened to me a few time and now I am trying to determine what my own personal criterion seems to be in regards to finishing a book. I can't just say flat out that if I don't like it I won't finish it, because I know that is not the case. Truth be told, I did not particularly care for the first Rachel Morgan book (by Kim Harrison) until a little over half way through and now I am practically salivating at the chance to read the latest installment Black Magic Sanction (which coincidentally, comes out today!). But I soldiered on because I had two very good friends recommend the book, and one even told me it started out slow. But what do you do when you don't have that information. How do you decide to solider on or return it to the bookshelf? Do you adhere to that old adage of the power of 50 - if you aren't grabbed in the first 50 pages, move on? I have one main issue with this, 50 pages is relative. In a 300 page book, yes you should be enthralled by page 50 but if the book is more like 1300 pages, it will likely take longer.
Here are some Guidelines I came up with, but of course there are exceptions to every single one:
When to keep going:
  • You know you enjoy the Author's writing from other books
  • A fellow (and like-minded) book lover recommended it
  • You have the faints desire to know what happens
  • It's neither the first nor the last in a series (ie there is another book to come)
  • When it's your book club "assigned" reading book
  • You are at least 3/4 of the way through - because serious you might as well!
When to RE-shelve:
  • You could careless what the outcome is
  • You find yourself very easily distracted from reading
  • Your usually nagging desire to get a book in your hand subsides even a little
  • If you are constantly thinking of the next book in TBR pile!
So what do you think? What makes you continue on with a stinker?

Saturday, February 20, 2010

My First Ever Book Giveaway - And Official Review!

To Sin With a Scoundrel
By Cara Elliott

Here's what the back of the book says:

A reclusive widow known for her scientific scholarship, Lady Ciara Sheffield is shadowed by rumors that she poisoned her husband... A rakehell rogue notorious for his devil-may-care antics, Lucas Bingham, the Earl of Hadley is not accused of murdering anything -- save for the rules of Polite Society. The only thing they have in common is seeing their names featured in the lurid gossip columns of London's newspapers. Until an ancient manuscript draws them together.
Ciara needs a titled fiance to quell the slanderous speculations which may send her to the gallows. Lucas needs brilliant scholar to help his elderly uncle decipher the secrets of the mysterious manuscript. So when her friends urge her to accept the earl's proposal of a temporary alliance, Ciara decides that she had no choice but to make a deal with the Devil. And so begins a seductive dance of naughty pleasures and hidden desires as the two of them waltz through the mansions of Mayfair. Lies, intrigue, treachery, sex. They find themselves facing slanderous whispers, unscrupulous relatives -- not to speak of their own simmering passions, which quickly ignite into dangerous flames. It's a potent mix and the result may be explosive -- and perhaps deadly -- if they don't watch their step.

Here's What I have to Say:
It's another tale of the brainy lady who over-analyzes every detail of everything and the ridiculously handsome, and a little clueless, man that never analyzes a single thing. Elliott has added a new element to this common theme by plunking in down in the Historical Romantic Fiction section. It is all set in Europe's "Polite Society" Era (think just prior to Jane Austen). Everyone is a Lord or lady or Baron or Duchess or some other title. A string over intense events (murder, scandal, attempted embezzlement, attempted kidnapping, etc.) forces Ciara and Lucas to try to help each other find a solution - and that's when it gets hot and heavy! Lucas - a regular Casanova - is determined to change Ciara's opinion that anything intimate is meant to be "endured" not "enjoyed". What starts as a partnership of necessity(for everyone to keep their titles, and their money), becomes something else entirely! A rather steamy read, but good nonetheless I give it a 4/5 and will be looking for the next installment in the Circle of Sin series - To Surrender to a Rogue due out in June 2010.

A little about the Author - Cara Elliot:
You can learn more about Cara and her other books: She is also a contributor to the Word Wenches Blog
I started creating books at the age of five, or so my mother tells me. And she has the proof — a neatly penciled story, the pages lavishly illustrated with full color crayon drawings of horses and bound with staples — to back up her claim. I have since moved on from Westerns to writing about Regency England, a time and place that has captured my imagination ever since I opened the covers of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice.

I have a BA and an MFA in Graphic Design from Yale University and now work as the creative director of a lifestyle sporting magazine, a job which lets me combine my love of the printed word with my love of art. I’m very fortunate in that my work allows me to travel to interesting destinations around the world — however, my favorite spot is London, where the funky antique markets and used book stores offer a wealth of inspiration for my stories.

You can purchase this book on Amazon , if you can't wait to WIN IT!

WIN A COPY OF THIS STEAMY BOOK! Thanks to Anna at the Hatchette Book Group (who provided me with a free copy for review) I am able to giveaway 3 copies of this book to 3 very lucky readers!

Here's How It Works:
A Few Rules: (per Hatchette Book Group)

You must be a US or Canadian Resident. And You must provide a Street Address upon notification of winning (NO PO BOXES)

 Mandatory Entry: (you must do this one first or I will be forced to remove all of your entries)

Leave a Comment with your email address (feel free to use the antiSPAM version - yourname[at]yourserver[dot]com) telling me which historical fiction era is you favorite to read about!


  • Become a Follower of Busy Moms Who Love to Read using Google Friends Connect (see sidebar)
  • Tweet about this Giveaway
  • Follow me on Twitter @1outnumberedmom
  • Become a Facebook Fan (see sidebar)
  • Add a comment to another post on this blog (a real comment, please, and mention which post)
  • Grab my button (see sidebar) and put it on your blog (include a link to your blog in your comment) (5 entries)
  • Add a post to your own blog about this giveaway (include a link to your post in your comment)(8 entries)

All entries must be in by February 26th at 11:59pm PST. I will pick a winner using a Random Number Generator and announce the winner on February 27th by Noon!
I wish you the best of luck!

I received no direct compensation for the post and review, other then a copy of the title reviewed. If you are an author or publisher and would like for me to review your book please contact me directly: polsen11[at]comcast[dot]net

Friday, February 19, 2010

Are you Clubbin'?

Just last month I went to my first every book club meeting. I was nervous on so many levels. First, I was worried that I would hate a book that I was "assigned" to read. This goes back to my time in college when I struggled through assigned reading because I just couldn't "enjoy" a book I had to read and write a report about. But my friend assured me that it was all in good fun so I went for it. Well turns out I loved the book (The Friday Night Knitting Club by Kate Jacobs). My second trepidation was not really knowing what a book club was. And after doing some online snooping I was even more confused. It turns out there are just about as many book club types as there are genres in bookstore. Some can be very academic - where they discuss the structure of the book, the style of writing, the technical aspects of character development, etc. And at the other end of the spectrum - some are really just an excuse for some women to get out of the house (and a lot of them don't even read the book!). The good part about the dichotomy is that there is book club out there to support any type of reader. There are even digital book clubs for those of you that can't get out of the house for an evening at the coffee shop.
But the real point of the book club is just like any other club. It is a meeting of people whom share a common interest and want to discuss it with others. Specifically a book club is a chance to read a book that you might not have picked up on your own and discuss how it read for you. Some clubs stay within a few similar genres while others are all over the map. But finding a book club is a good way to give purpose to your reading. Here is some book club etiquette I learned in my online snooping:
  1. Read - or at least skim - the selected book. You should at least have an idea of the book, and not just what's on the dust jacket. This is also important because it is likely the ending will be given away and if you ever planned to read the book, it might be spoiled now!
  2. It's fine to think a book stinks but be respectful. Don't go personal attack on the one who selected the book.
  3. It is easy for the topic of discussion to stray from the book, have a list of potential questions to keep you on track. You can also institute a "First Hour Book Talk, Second Hour Social Talk" rule.
  4. For books with rather intimate scenes, keep in mind that although many are comfortable reading it in the privacy of their own home, they may want to censor things a bit in the discussion - so be respectful.
  5. If it is your turn to pick the book/moderate - take it seriously. Pick a book that you think a majority of your club will like.
There are lots of places to find a book club. The obvious one being your local public library. But you can also find both real life and digital clubs on social networking sites (Twitter, Facebook, Craigslist, MySpace, etc.). PaperBack Swap has local chapters all over the country that are open to all PBS members. You can also always just start your own club with your fellow book loving friends. And whatever the level of academia you include in your club, make sure it is enjoyable. Happy Reading!
Are you part of a book club? What's your favorite aspect?

Wednesday, February 17, 2010

Whatcha Reading Wednesday 2/17/2010

So this is how "Whatcha Reading Wednesdays" works

You grab the book you are currently reading, open it to a TOTALLY RANDOM page and then go to a random place on the page and select two full sentences. Then leave a comment with just the two sentences, the page number, title and author of the book. If it is a spoiler at all be sure to put **Spoiler Alert** at the top of your comment (like if the selection announces the death of an intergral character or something). But I really doubt that two sentences on a random page are going to give away the plot - =). This is supposed to fun and enlightening and I really hope you guys do this!

Here's Mine for this week:

Her room, decorated in black, crimson, and blue, had driven her mom nuts, which had pretty much been the point. Rebellious from the start, Gem had probably, on seceral occasions over the course of her twenty-four years, made her parents regret their decision to raise her.
page 123 Pleasure Unbound by Larissa Ione

Monday, February 15, 2010

Nicholas Sparks – book Author or Screenwriter?

With the number of his books that have been turned into movies (A Walk to Remember, The Notebook, Message in a Bottle, Nights in Rodanthe, Dear John –released Feb. 2010, The Last Song – due in late 2010, and The Lucky One-in production), it really is hard to know how to answer that question. However, if you take the time to read his novels, the answer will be quite clear. He is absolutely a novelist. He creates such great stories that they can be taken and reformed by screenwriters and still be incredibly moving. In a sense, he is a literary architect that has designed the perfect infrastructure, so regardless of the direction the interior designer choose to go, the building (or novel) will still be gorgeous.

However, in all cases but one, I have rather enjoyed his books to their motion picture counterparts. I have read Dear John, The Notebook, A Walk to Remember and The Rescue. The “one” that I referred to above is The Notebook. I actually liked the movie better then the book. But in defense of reading purists (those who maintain that book is always better then the movie), the motion picture version has been one of my top 5 favorite movies since it came out several years ago, so the book had a huge obstacle to overcome. So far my favorite of Sparks’ novels was Dear John. It is an incredible story of learning about the true meaning of love. Just a word of advice, if any of his books or movies have made you break down in tears, this one is no different – be sure to have a full box of Kleenex and a full afternoon to read it cover to cover because you will not want to put it down.

Sparks has a magical ability to write incredibly passionate and emotional love stories that do not just turn to mush on the page. He is realistic in his storylines. He doesn’t write what we all wish would happen but rather what life would more likely produce. His endings are not always happy in the sense of “and they lived happily ever after” but rather in the sense that everyone was a changed and better person in the end. His stories take you through every emotion that one really encounters over the course of a love story. He can be heartwarming and heartbreaking, but it is all always appropriate to the plot.

You can learn more about Nicholas Sparks and his future projects at:

So what’s your favorite Nicholas Sparks Novel, and Why? **please remember to put SPOILER ALERT prior to your comment if your comment will give something away**

Saturday, February 13, 2010

Can I be saved by the Brotherhood??

What an incredible series! The Black Dagger Brotherhood Series by J.R. Ward is a cornucopia of emotions. Ward captures so many different personalities in this series. Normally, I do not like series books that rotate main characters. However, Ward does a great job of simple rotating the focus for each book. The same storyline continues but the main perspective changes. The story goes back and forth between the main issues that they are all facing and each brother's personal story.
The Brotherhood is made up of a group of Vampires that were specially bred (think Knights in Medieval Times) to defend the Vampire race against the Lessen Society (think Vampire Slayers on Steroids). Each book in the series focuses on one Brother and their own personal struggle to find their place and their mate. Mating for this species is rather intense and visceral, resulting in some of the most passionate love scenes I have read so far.
Here are the books in reading order:
1. Dark Lover - Wrath
2. Lover Eternal - Rhage
3. Lover Awakened - Zsadist
4. Lover Revealed - Dhestroyer
5. Lover Unbound - Vischous
6. Lover Enshrined - Phury
7. Lover Avenged - Rhevenge
8. Lover Mine - Therror - Due out April 2010
(You can click on any of the Book Titles to Order the book From Amazon)

My two favorites of the series are Lover Awakened and Lover Avenged. Although I have a feeling that Lover Mine is going to take over the top spot once it comes out. You can learn more about J.R. Ward at
Which is your favorite Brother and Why?

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Book Giveaway - on La Femme Readers

Eleni over at the La Femme Readers is giving away a copy of Darklight by Lesley Livingston. It's the second in the series. Head over to her blog to enter for your chance to win -

Whatcha Reading Wednesdays 2/10/2010

Okay - I totally stole this from another blog (actually I saw it on several, in different version, so maybe it isn't theivery) but I think it is a really really cool idea! I am always curious what other people are reading and I think other people are to.

So this is how "Whatcha Reading Wednesdays" works

You grab the book you are currently reading, open it to a TOTALLY RANDOM page and then go to a random place on the page and select two full sentences. Then leave a comment with just the two sentences, the page number, title and author of the book. If it is a spoiler at all be sure to put **Spoiler Alert** at the top of your comment (like if the selection announces the death of an intergral character or something). But I really doubt that two sentences on a random page are going to give away the plot - =). This is supposed to fun and enlightening and I really hope you guys do this!

So here is mine:
           Later, Sara dosed off, her small hand nested on his chest. Derik was wide awake,ignoring the clamoring of his conscience. 
 page 188 Derik's Bane by MaryJanice Davidson

Tuesday, February 9, 2010

Are you a speed reader?

The simple answer is - No, I am not a speed reader. So many of my friends ask me how the heck I have time to read so much. This is what I always say - "When you have an addiction, you find a way!" Sounds nuts, right? But when I finally came to gripes with the fact that this reading habit was just that, it has been much less stressful. I mean, first and foremost, there are a million worst things I could be addicted to, and I (rarely) let my reading get in the way of my responsibilities (its doesn't count that i choose to read another chapter before I load the dishwasher, does it?)
So back to the question at hand - How do I find time to read? Well first off, I always have a book in my purse. That way if I get stuck waiting at the post office or the bank or the doctor's office, I can usually get a few pages in. I have also perfected the art of reading while distracted. When I first started reading for leisure I would get frustrated when one of the kids required attention and I would lose my place and then it took forever to find it again. Now my mind has adapted to this constantly reoccurring situation and I can easily find my place again.
I can also multitask while I read. Thanks to my wonderful eyesight (Thank You GOD!) I can read a book from pretty far away and have actually been able to read while folding laundry. Because folding laundry is so second nature after almost 5 years of at least 2 loads a day (holy moly that's over 3600 loads!) I actually learned this trick from a friend. She buys books in Large Print whenever she can, so that she can cook and fold laundry while she reads. She uses one of those cookbook stands to hold her book while she reads.
I also have a constant supply of "To be Read" books, for the most part. I am always swapping on Paperback Swap and I keep an eye on the bargain bins at the bookstores. I am very careful not to let my reading habit cost me too much but I can't always get them read from on the timeline of the library, so I try to only buy uber deals or use the swap system to make it work for me.
And, of course, I am guilty of the all-nighters. When a book is at the climax or very close to the end and I just have to know what happens. I have been known to put the whole family to bed - telling hubby that I am just going to finish the chapter - only to look up at a clock that reads 3 AM! So like I said - "When you have an addiction - you find a way!"
So what do you do to get reading time in?

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Book Giveaway

Jessica over at "Shut Up! I'm Reading" is attempting to get over 200 Followers. Head over to her site and follow and you will be entered to win 1 of 5 books!

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Rachel Morgan Kicks Some Preternatural Butt!

So my first supernatural, romance, paranormal, witches, vampires, demons, and werewolves (Oh My!) series after Charlaine Harris' Sookie Stackhouse Series was Kim Harrison's The Hollows Series. It is definitely a more grown up version of the genre but nothing too graphic. I would say it rides the edge of full on romance novels. More like a lot of adventure with a little bit of romance in the back story. It features a "runner" named Rachel Morgan who is a little more special then she ever thought, and everyone else seems to know about it. She is a butt kicking powerhouse that does first then thinks about it later, which obviously gets her into a heap of trouble. The series is fast paced and entertaining with very little predictability. The books in reading order are:
1. Dead Witch Walking
2. The Good, the Bad, and the Undead
3. Every Which Way But Dead
4. A Fistful of Charms
5. For a Few Demons More
6. The Outlaw Demon Wails
7. White Witch, Black Curse
8. Black Magic Sanction - Due out Feb. 23rd - you can pre-order on Amazon

You can learn more about Kim Harrison at

If you have read this series I would love to hear your thoughts. Who is your favorite character? (Mine is Jenks) Which was your favorite book? (Mine was For a Few Demons More) Please remember to post **Spoiler Alert** if you are going to talk about a specific occurrence in the book. If you haven't read it but are thinking about let me hear your hesitations.

Friday, February 5, 2010

Busy Moms On Facebook

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Thursday, February 4, 2010

Into the Wilderness comes to an end with The Endless Forest

I just finished reading the 6th and final volume of Sara Donati's Into the Wilderness Series. After the difficult to read 5th book, Queen of Swords, I have to admit I was a little afraid The Endless Forest was going to be a drag. However, I was pleasantly surprised at how smoothly this book read. It was a great way to have the lives of the characters I fell in love with five books ago come to completion. We get to experience the children and grand children of the main characters, Elizabeth and Nathaniel, come into their own and create their own happiness. We also get to see how the problems of the past (i.e. Jemima) come to an end. The Epilogue brought tears to my eyes in a very satifying way. So if like me, you had a hard time with Queen of Swords, I ask you to give The Endless Forest a chance. It is worth the leap of faith.

Tuesday, February 2, 2010

J.R. Ward is amazing!

After reading the Black Dagger Brotherhood series I was convinced that J.R. Ward was definitely in my Top 3 favorite authors. I have just finished the first book in her next series - Covet A Novel of the Fallen Angels, and she has officially been moved up to my number one spot! She this incredible ability to implant the preternatural world right into the real world and make it seem totally normal and plausible. The imagery created by her words create a movie in your mind of what's happening. She also has this way of holding you in suspense and then spring a twist on you out of no where. So many other authors, make their foreshadowing really obvious and then you know what is going to be the outcome of the story. However, Ward manages to slip in the absolute right innuendos that give nothing away at first but once you put them all together you have the outcome in front of you. Another very cool aspect of the two series' is that they are interconnected without being a repeat of the same stories. They both take place in the same town - Caldwell, NY - at the same time. So there are some of the same characters, but so far it is only minor characters from the Black Dagger books play major rolls in the Fallen Angel series. I am waiting, so very impatiently, for the next Black Dagger Book - Lover Mine - to come out in late April, 2010. And even more impatiently, I am awaiting the announcement of the release of the next in Fallen Angel Series. Especially, since she has fully set it up for at least 6 more books, because each will focus on one of the 7 deadly sins. You can visit J.R. Ward's personal website at . You can purchase the book new on Amazon or you can put it on your wish list on PaperBackSwap.
 Have you read these books? Which was your favorite?