Saturday, July 30, 2011

New Books and New Book Clubs

I know a week is a long time between posts, but I do have a GREAT excuse. As some of you know I am new to Texas so my built-in network of family and friends went poof when we moved out here. I became very good at the mass email to tell all my friends where I am at and what I am up to, but at some point you just need to go out and enjoy time with friends in person. This process is not as easy as it was when we were kids and your parents planned play dates or you were thrown into a classroom where you found a friend or were considered the loner.

I did what the normal modern day person would do and I Googled. I typed in all sorts of things that I liked to do and tried to find other people in the area that enjoyed doing those things too. The result was very rewarding because I not only found one club to join, but three.

Book Club #1: DFW Tea Readers

Here is a little information about the club from their website:

A book club for romance, mystery, science fiction/fantasy readers and authors in the Dallas Fort Worth metroplex. We do a monthly tea at a tearoom around the metroplex, alternating east and west sides, as well as trips to Denton and Duncanville, plus our fabulous Holiday Tea. If you read and love to discuss your books and authors, this is a great group with lively on-line discussion as well as the opportunity to meet in person.

The book club meets on the first Tuesday for dinner and author call-in in Fort Worth, the second Saturday of each month for tea and on the third Wednesday for dinner and an author call-in. Members also attend many signings in the Dallas/Fort Worth area. New and returning members are always welcome!


I went to their July third Wednesday meeting. The dinner theme was BBQ so I signed up to bring my mom's one and only passed down dish - Potato Salad. I was completely nervous to meet these women and even called my dad before hand for last minute support. The women were immediately welcoming and I had nothing to fear. Jade Lee was the call-in author. I met her latest year at Readers N' Ritas and she is still quick witted and hilarious. While I am still working on remembering all the ladies names, I do want to thank all of them for their making me feel at home. I cannot wait to learn more about each of you.

For more information about Jade Lee check out her website

Goodies Received:
  1. The Dragon Earl by Jade Lee
  2. Dragonborn by Jade Lee
  3. Dragonbound by Jade Lee
  4. Buffalo West Wing by Julie Hyzy
  5. Poor Little Bitch Girl by Jackie Collins

Book Club #2: Books That Bite

Here is a little information about the club from their website:

We are fans of paranormal fiction and romance who gather twice a month at the Firewheel Barnes & Noble!!! We meet the 2nd and 4th Tuesday of every month at 7pm!! We're a crazy bunch, and we have tons of fun.


I was a little less nervous about this one because I knew at least one person, the lovely Jaime Zalinski. This group definitely lives up to their description. Within the first few minutes we were all discussing the latest True Blood episode and the intricacies of a long existing prank dispute between one of the ladies and their brother-in-law, which had me laughing long afterwards. The book they were discussing was Spells, Slots, Sirens An Anthology by Heather Long, Lisa Pietsch, and K. F. Zuzulo.

Just like DFW Tea Readers the group was a mix of welcoming people who were excited to have new members. Unfortunately, I had not read the book they were discussing so I did not have much to add other than nods, but that did not stop me from enjoying the group. Although, it was a little embarrassing not having much to add since two of the authors, Heather Long and Lisa Pietsch, were there. I cannot wait to go back on August 9th.

Goodies Received:
  1. Jacob by Jacquelyn Frank
  2. Halfway to the Grave by Jeaniene Frost
Book Club #3: Stonebriar Book Club

This one actually starts August 1st and is so new that I will have to tell you more about it later. Started by one of my favorite bloggers, Felicia. If you have not read her blog you should check it out at If she is involved in the planning of this book club, then you know it is going to be great. I love that I will be with this one from the start.

So, that is what I have been up to lately. I now know more people in Texas than I have since I moved here and I cannot wait to meet more wonderful book loving people.


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Monday, July 18, 2011

Review: The Hunger Games

Twenty-four are forced to enter. Only the winner survives. In the ruins of a place once known as North America lies the nation of Panem, a shining Capitol surrounded by twelve outlying districts. Each year, the districts are forced by the Capitol to send one boy and one girl between the ages of twelve and eighteen to participate in the Hunger Games, a brutal and terrifying fight to the death - televised for all of Panem to see.

Survival is second nature for sixteen-year-old Katniss Everdeen, who struggles to feed her mother and younger sister by secretly hunting and gathering beyond the fences of District 12. When Katniss steps in to take the place of her sister in the Hunger Games, she knows it may be her death sentence. If she is to survive, she must weigh survival against humanity and life against love.


Let me start by saying that I decided to read this book because I was tired of being reminded that I really need to read this book. The Hunger Game series is on the top of most must read lists, so when I finally set down to read I was happy to find that I was not disappointed.

This book was interesting because the idea was without question unique. I had to get over the shock of the idea of reading about twelve to eighteen year olds killing each other to survive while an entire country watched what happened live. Today our world is filled with such jaded young people that I am sure this was not as big a shock to some other readers, but to me it was the hardest part especially if I became overly attached to a character.

Suzanne Collins made it easy to become attached to the all the characters in different ways, but the character that stole my heart was little Rue. While she is not a main character, she just brought me to tears at one point. Of course the other character I loved was the main character, Katniss. The story is told from her perspective. The internal dialogue she had with herself was comical at times, but for the most part it was her struggle to maintain her identity when every page threatened to take more of her true self away. Of course, no teen book is complete without some sexy men characters and Collins did not disappoint. There was Gale the boy who she has come to depend on and trust her family's lives with. Then, there was Peeta the boy who she must face in The Hunger Games, and if she wants to survive, come to terms with killing. Collins is truly gifted at developing her characters, making you cheer for necessary blood shed, but reminding the reader that even those that seemed to enjoy being in The Hunger Games were living as best as they could in a system set up for failure.

Now, the part I hate. The reason why The Hunger Games did not get a five out of five was because the ending felt rushed. The book is broken up into three parts that flowed together nicely, then all of a sudden "the games" were over and all of the other players were gone. It wasn't that I did not expect the end to come, just that it felt as if she decided: "That's it! They all must die!"

Overall, I thought the book was great. I will definitely be reading the rest of the series because I want to see how Collins continues the story. I hope you go out and pick up this book knowing that it will not disappoint.

My Rating:

I want to pose the same question the book poses to its readers:

Could you survive on your own, in the wild, with everyone fighting against you?

My answer: No way! I hate bugs, living outdoors, and especially would die if I was kept at any temperature below 72 degrees Fahrenheit. I do not believe I have the ability to kill a person, which clearly is a good thing. :-) Like Katniss I am good at climbing trees, so at least I could survive a little while longer that way.

Books In The Hunger Games Series

For more information about Suzanne Collins and The Hunger Games Series visit her website


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Sunday, July 10, 2011


Synopsis From Jay Asher's Website:

Clay Jensen returns home from school to find a mysterious box with his name on it lying on his porch. Inside he discovers several cassette tapes recorded by Hannah Baker--his classmate and crush--who committed suicide two weeks earlier. On tape, Hannah explains that there are thirteen reasons why she decided to end her life. Clay is one of them. If he listens, he'll find out how he made the list. Through Hannah and Clay's dual narratives, debut author Jay Asher weaves an intricate and heartrending story of confusion and desperation that will deeply affect teen readers.

My husband gave me this book as a gift. When I saw the cover I was immediately pulled in, then I flipped it over and read:

You can’t stnp the future.

You can’t rew«nd the past.

The only way to learn the secret

. . . is to press pl>y.

Now, not only did I want to read it, but I needed to start reading it right then.

Jay Asher’s debut Novel, Thirteen Reasons Why, was simply brilliant. It provides you with the thoughts of not only the person who committed suicide, but also one of the people affected by their decision. Asher shows how your actions can affect others in unexpected and sometimes deadly ways. I loved the use of audiotapes. It was such an irreplaceable part of the book because when I was reading it I felt as if I could not stop reading for the same reason Clay could not stop listening – he needed to know why Hannah committed suicide and how he may have led her to that decision. I also loved the way he ended the book, which I will just say was wonderfully inspiring so as not to give the ending away.

While I understand that the topic of suicide is hard for many people to stomach it also is a very real issue that some people know little to nothing about, especially teens. I believe that this will be a great book for generations to come because it opens the door to conversations about the hard truth that some people do consider and even commit suicide. Thirteen Reasons Why was an eye opening look at how we impact others and some of the signs of a person crying out for help. I would definitely recommend this book to others!

My Rating:

For more information about Jay Asher and Thirteen Reasons Why visit


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Friday, July 1, 2011

Finding My Rating System

I think most people would agree that there are many types of book readers. There are those who read books and that is all they do because the feeling of finishing a book is enough to satiate their book needs. There are also those few who devour a book, research the author, need to read everything else written by that author, and then MUST tell others about it. While there are many kinds of readers, I fall into that second group as I am sure others do, but does this need to spread book love transfer into the ability to write reviews?

As a reviewer your opinion may challenge others to go out and pick up a book that they were on the fence about or to walk away from an otherwise enticing book. The power to give a book a good or bad review should not be taken lightly, so I have started to put a lot of thought into just how to rate these books I read. Besides the written message of what I think about a book, there needs to be an easy way for someone to quickly see what I thought about each book. So, the same way I attack books I decided to dig into some "rating research" to help make me a better reviewer.

My findings:
  1. There are a lot of really good book blogs out there already, so I need something a little unique.
  2. It is important to have an easy to navigate site.
  3. You should have a review policy section and also a quick explanation of your ratings on your homepage.
  4. My book addiction is not at the intervention level, yet.
  5. Finally and most importantly, I found the way I wanted to show my rating.
The fun thing about the name O'Boyled Books is that it is a play on many different things, so when the idea for how I would rate the books came it just screamed that it was perfect. For those that do not know I love to cook. I enjoy having new recipes to try with new friends and when possible to throw dinner parties, usually themed. I decided to try and incorporate the cooking idea with the rating system. My first plan of small flames like on Hell's Kitchen just doesn't seem to fit me. I found these cute little coffee cups that I believe will work perfectly.

= The book was "O'Boyling" hot! A must read now!

= The book is just about "O'Boyling." I would recommend to others and keep in hopes of one day meeting the author.

= The book was "Simmering." There were some part that I really enjoyed. If in a series I probably would read the next one just in case it gets better.

= The book was "Just A Cup of Water." I could get more enjoyment else where. I wouldn't read again or recommend to others.

= The book reached its "Freezing" point. Either DNF (Did Not Finish) or want the time I wasted back.

Well, there you have it. My rating system. It will become more refined over time, but I am hopeful that it will be well received. To get back to the question as to whether I am qualified to review books or not, time will tell as it always does.


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