Saturday, December 31, 2011

Creepy Classic: Kidnapped

Before 2011 ends, I wanted to post another Creepy Classic review. This one, however not mystical, is just as creepy. Fresh off the heels of Treasure Island, I felt the pull of Robert Louis Stevenson’s machinations and found myself searching for another one of his classics. I stumbled upon Kidnapped, which is another novel Stevenson's wrote, which was equally as riveting as the beloved Treasure Island.
The story starts out with our narrator, David Balfour, a young teenager which we learn father has recently passed away.  As his mother is also deceased, he soon discovers he's not alone in the world and that he has a rich uncle who's gentry.  David begins his adventure the moment he sets out to meet his uncle, Ebinezer.  On the trip there he meets various village people in the area that warn him of his uncle. This sets the stage for the adventure, because David clearly was warned.  After arriving, David soon learns his uncle is the most bizarre man with a propensity to distrust people, especially his new nephew.  Ebinezer's behavior intensifies and begins threatening David’s life.  And the reason, of course, is because of money.  It appears, David's father and uncle were twins and since David's father was the first born, that would then make David the rightful heir to the Shaw estate.

The worst thing young David did was trust his uncle in any way shape or form.   The man was pure evil.  Not only did Uncle Ebinezer attempt to kill David, but he also arranged for him to be kidnapped, taken to America and sold as a slave.  Poor David.  As David is captured and stolen away on a ship ran by a band of thieves and murderers, we soon learn how perilous his circumstances are.  However, like a brilliant hero, he bides his time, adapting to various situations until he meets a Scotsman, Alan Breck (Stewart).  Alan was found and picked up by the ship and it's Captain Hoseason, and was about to be backstabbed when David learns of the plan and confesses the scheme to the stranger.  As David befriends Alan, the two embark on a wild adventure fighting their way off a murderous voyage, and then finding them both shipwrecked on the Isle of Erraid.  The two then journey through the highlands and lowlands of Scotland.  In a word... fascinating.  David was so young and virtuous; he was the type character that constantly made you want to be a better person.  I loved him for his innocence and for his commitment to his father and above all his friend, Alan.  What a wonderful read.

I won't tell you what happens in this classic. I've already said too much.  It was just short of genius as are most of Stevenson's tales.  I have this new-found appreciation for Scotland that I hadn't had before.  You don't know what you're missing until to you dive into the wildly imaginative storytelling of Stevenson.  If you get a chance…read this classic.  Kidnapped is 4.5 on my scale.  Since it's a classic its free via Kindle or other e-apps, so now you have no excuse.

Hope you all have a spectacular New Year's eve.

Mina B.

Friday, December 30, 2011

Fridays with Fred: Spilt Milk

Hey, minions. I wanted to show you how awesome Fred is, especially when you have kids. We have no need to ever cry over spilt milk or anything foodwise that hits the floor – thanks to Fred. He's the best darn Hoover a girl could have.

Be safe and enjoy your weekend!

Looking for more pix of Fred?  Check out this one.  Be sure and stop by and visit Schatze over at Mary’s BookHounds too.


Mina B.

Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Mid-Winter’s Eve Blog Hop Winner

Congrats to Tara W. for winning the Mid-Winter’s Eve Blog Hop and winner of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel! The winner will be notified via email and will have no more than 72 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. The contest winner was selected by the reputable

I have lots planned for my blog before we ring in the New Year, so stay tuned.  Coming up, I have a Creepy Classic review I’ll be posting and possibly a guest post from an author friend.  I can’t believe it’s almost 2012.       


Mina B.

Sunday, December 25, 2011

Happy Holidays & 1000 Follower Winner

I hope everyone is enjoying their holiday! Like everybody, I spent all day Saturday doing the mad dash before Christmas and then today, we’ve spent the better part of the day relaxing. And believe me…we needed it! Whew! 

I thought I’d post this quick thank you note to all those who participated in My 1000 Follower Giveaway. As you can see, I made it to my goal on my blog anniversary, no less. For me, that’s HUGE! And a wonderful Christmas present too!  So thank you, everybody!

And now for the winner...

Congrats to
Terri Matlock for winning my 1000 Follower Giveaway and receiving the Amazon Gift Card! The winner will be notified via email and will have no more than 72 hours to respond before another winner is drawn. Entries are processed through Rafflecopter & the winners are selected by the reputable

Also, I have another contest currently running until Dec. 27th, eod. For this year's giveaway, I'm giving away one (1) copy of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel. Click here to enter!

Have a wonderful holiday!

Mina B.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Fridays with Fred: Fred's Stocking

Yes, we do hang a stocking for Fred. This year my babes picked out his stocking stuffers, which was pretty cute. I explained to them that we might need to get Fred something in case Santa was too busy and would possibly forget. They picked three toys and some Scoobie snacks for under the tree.  Every year, Fred expects his holiday toys and treats.  Spoiled?  You bet!  We can't help it.  We love him.
"...the stockings were hung by the chimney with care,
knowing Fred would soon be there..."

If you missed seeing Fred as A Christmas Carol's Jacob Marley, see here.  It's too funny.  And ....if you get a chance, please visit Schatze over at Mary’s BookHounds too.

Remember:  The Midwinter's Eve Blog Hop ends Dec. 27th, eod.  One winner will receive (1) copy of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel.  WOOT!  Click here to enter!

My next post will announce the winner 1000 Follower Giveaway. I finally reached 1000, so I can't wait to pick a winner today! This is the best Blogoversary...ever!

Happy Holidays!

Mina B.

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Midwinter's Eve Hop

Hi, minions! Happy Holidays and welcome to the Midwinter's Eve Hop hosted by I Am A Reader, Not A Writer & Oasis For YA.  With over 250 blogs participating, there are tons of wicked cool books to try to win!

Before I begin, I need to give props to my Free Sh** Fairy. Once again, he worked his mojo and sourced yet another brilliant giveaway. Damn he's good!

For this year's giveaway, I'm giving away one (1) copy of Cassandra Clare's Clockwork Angel.  For those that don't know book 2, Clockwork Prince, was recently released and here it's hot!  I've always wanted to discuss this series so... Thanks Free Sh** Fairy!
To enter…
You MUST be a follower of my blog and MUST fill out this entry form. (And yes, I do check GCF)

Extra entries…
+2 Subscribing via email to my blog
+1 if you Retweet this on Twitter (limit 1 retweet)

Again, the giveaway runs from 12:01 AM on Dec. 21st - Dec. 27th, midnight. Contest is open to International participants!  

Feel free to comment and thanks again for everything. Want to see who else is participating? Check them all out HERE! 

REMINDER, my 1000 Follower Giveaway to reach 1000 ends by the end of 2011. I'm about 25 away from my goal. Suweet! Tell your friends!

Happy Holidays!

Mina B.

Monday, December 19, 2011

Cherie Colyer's Embrace - Virtual Launch Party

Today I am participating in a very cool event to support fellow friend and author, Cherie Colyer.  It's called a virtual launch party!  Woot! Go Cherie!  In the spirit of the novel, Embrace, I'm relaying a personal story about how I had to personally embrace change.

I never realized how ongoing change can be until after I became a mother. From the beginning, I was overwhelmed with change. (And sometimes still am.) I'm constantly challenged by finally getting the hang of things and then another six months to a year goes by, and I'm stupefied once again. I'm not sure how to address it other than staying positive and trying not to sweat the small things. My babes keep me grounded that's for sure. And I thank my lucky stars every day for them. :) 

Mina B.

And now for some real partying!

Embrace Launch Party Guest Posts! 

Embrace Launch Party Posts! 


a novel by Cherie Colyer 

Madison is familiar enough with change, and she hates everything about it. Change took her long-term boyfriend away from her. It caused one of her friends to suddenly hate her. It’s responsible for the death of a local along with a host of other mysterious happenings. But when Madison meets a hot new guy, she thinks her luck is about to improve. 

Madison is instantly drawn to the handsome and intriguing Isaac Addington. She quickly realizes he’s a guy harboring a secret, but she’s willing to risk the unknown to be with him. 

Her world really spins out of control, however, when her best friend becomes delusional, seeing things that aren’t there and desperately trying to escape their evil. When the doctors can’t find the answers, Madison seeks her own. 

Nothing can prepare her for what she is about to discover. 



Prizes: To celebrate the release of her debut novel, Cherie is giving away an eCopy of EMBRACE and 5-Embrace Hemp Bracelets today. There are three ways to win: 

1) Leave a comment here or at any of the Party Posts. 
2) Tweet about the Virtual Party or any of the Party Posts with tag #EMBRACEnovels 

Nothing could have prepared her for what she’s about to discover. #EMBRACEnovels @CherieColyer #YA avail NOW 

Celebrate the launch of EMBRACE by @CherieColyer #EMBRACEnovels #paranormal #YA avail NOW 

3) Facebook (tag Cherie Colyer, author) about the Virtual Party. 

Celebrate the launch of teen paranormal thriller/romance novel EMBRACE by Cherie Colyer, author and enter for a chance to win Embrace prizes!

Do all three and you will have three times the chances to win! Leave a comment at each stop of the tour for a chance to win the Grand Prize. 

If you haven’t already, remember to stop back by Cherie’s blog or click here to fill out the form to ensure your entry is counted. 


Friday, December 16, 2011

Fridays with Fred: Hickory Farms

In Fred's world, nothing says the holidays quite like Hickory Farms. We received this HF gift from Lisa and her hubby. (Thanks, Lis!) Lisa's one of my very best friends...oh and my editor, a world-class baker and of course lawyer extraordinaire. Anyway, I busted Fred so many times snooping around, attempting to nibble on a sausage.  Climbing on the table?   Unbelievable!  It's craziness during the holidays, minions. I'm telling you.  Due to Fred's many attempts...I took this picture.  He so fast too.  I barely snagged this one.  Bugger! 

Sausage rules!
If you missed last Friday's with Fred, see here.  And ....if you get a chance, please visit Schatze over at Mary’s BookHounds too.   

REMINDER, my 1000 Follower Giveaway to reach 1000 ends by the end of 2011. I'm about 33 away from my goal. Suweet! Tell your friends!

Have a great weekend!

Mina B.

Tuesday, December 13, 2011

Author Interview: James Bartholomeusz

Hey, minions!  Today, I’m interviewing James Bartholomeusz, author of the young adult novel, The White Fox.  James is an up-and-coming, talented young adult author who recently published his debut novel with  Medallion Press.  
Please welcome James!

1. When did you start writing? 

JB:  I’ve been writing for as long as I can remember. The idea for what would eventually become The White Fox goes back (at least in a very basic form!) to primary school, though I didn’t actually get round to start writing it properly until I was sixteen or seventeen.

MB:  Wow. To create an imaginative and clever concept at such a young age is truly inspirational.  Congratulations!

2. What is one aspect about writing that you absolutely love? Any part that you loath?

JB:  The most satisfying part of writing is having a moment of sudden clarity and churning out a passage or a chapter in more-or-less a finished state. I wouldn’t say I loathe anything about it, but trying to write on days when nothing’s forthcoming is quite frustrating.

3. Who are your favorite authors?

JB:  This is a very difficult question . . . I’m not sure I could pick a single favourite, but amongst them are Jonathan Coe, Neil Gaiman, Philip Pullman, Arundhati Roy, Will Self, Oscar Wilde, W. B. Yeats – and that’s only in the last hundred years or so!

MB:  I’m a Gaiman and Wilde fan as well.  Wilde was such a character himself. He has a quote that I’ve mentioned before on my blog: “The world was my oyster but I used the wrong fork."  Too funny.

4. If you could be any fictional character, who would you be and why?

JB:  Another very difficult one, but it might have to be Henry Wotton from The Picture of Dorian Gray for supreme wit and charisma.

MB:  That’s an interesting choice. Lord Henry was definitely witty and then some.

5. Who is your greatest mentor? 

JB:  Probably, collectively, my sixth form teachers – and not just the English department ones – who helped put me on solid intellectual grounding. 

Medallion's YA-YA Program

6. Can you tell us a bit about Medallion Press and their Young Adults writing for Young Adults Program? 

JB:  As far as I know, Medallion is the only publisher currently running the ‘Ya-Ya’ scheme. Apart from my obvious vested interest, I think it’s a great idea for giving young writers a bridge into the daunting world of publishing. I’d encourage any young adult writers to submit their work.

MB:  This is such an exceptional program. And the “bridge” analogy is an brilliant description. There should be more programs like these. Young adult writers have a distinct style and perspective that I find invaluable.

7. I do a segment on my blog called Creepy Classics where I review creepy classic literature.  What is your favorite Creepy Classic & why? 

JB:  Edgar Allan Poe’s The Raven is one of most chilling poems I’ve ever read. I think it works so well because we’re never quite sure what we’re afraid of – is it something external, embodied in the raven? Or is it the narrator losing his grip on reality? 

MB:  Excellent choice! The Raven does shift like you suggested, leaving the reader guessing.  It is indeed creepy.  Poe is an idol of mine as well.  I recently reread and reviewed the The Fall of the House of the Usher.  Amazing.  He was such a master at suspense and the English language.

8. Can you tell us a bit about The White Fox and also about the series? Any other projects on the horizon?

JB:  The White Fox is the story of two British teenagers who are pulled into a fantastical world which reflects our own more, perhaps, than is immediately obvious. It’s planned as the first in a trilogy, of which I’m currently writing the second book, The Black Rose. Other than that, I’ve got quite a few more ideas, though nothing formed enough to discuss yet! 

Thanks for the interview, James!  Keep us posted on all your successes.  The White Fox released this month.  You can purchase a copy many places including Amazon  or Barnes and Noble.  

Check out James website too James Bartholomeusz. You can also find him on:
James on Facebook
James via Twitter
James via Redroom

Mina B.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Fridays with Fred: Jacob "Fred" Marley

Like most people, one of my favorite classics is A Christmas Carol by Charles Dickens.  My last post about best opening lines in novels had the subject of this Christmas classic at the forefront of my mind.  I loved these first few opening lines too, "MARLEY was dead: to begin with. There is no doubt whatever about that. The register of his burial was signed by the clergyman, the clerk, the undertaker, and the chief mourner. Scrooge signed it: and Scrooge's name was good upon 'Change, for anything he chose to put his hand to. Old Marley was as dead as a door-nail."

Anyway, I reviewed this classic last year & thought Fred would make a spectacular Marley ghost!  What say ye?
Jacob "Fred" Marley

If you get a chance, please visit Schatze over at Mary’s BookHounds too.  Fred loves her.

REMINDER, my 1000 Follower Giveaway to reach 1000 ends by the end of 2011. I'm about 45 away. Awesome! Tell your friends!

Have a great weekend!

Mina B.

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

Best Opening Lines in Novels

I thought I'd write a post about the best opening lines in novels. I personally never put too much stock into the first sentence of a manuscript but there are scads of agents, publishers and readers who do.  I used to be somewhat perplexed on how an agent could decipher interest in a novel within the first 500 words. However, when reflecting on some of the classics, I understand completely. That being said I thought I’d highlight a few of my favorite opening lines to gauge your thoughts or possible render of few favorites of your own. (Note: These are in no particular order, just the ones that happen to be top of my mind.)

(My review)
Robert Louis Stevenson’s The Strange Case of Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde “Mr. Utterson the lawyer was a man of a rugged countenance that was never lighted by a smile; cold, scanty and embarrassed in discourse; backward in sentiment; lean, long, dusty, dreary and yet somehow lovable.

My comments:  I love, love, love this line - can't get enough of it.  Mr. Utterson rules!

Jane Austen’s Pride & Prejudice “It is a truth universally acknowledged, that a single man in possession of a good fortune, must be in want of a wife.”

My comments:  There's the whole book right there, huh?  No but really...the statement, the tone everything about this book starts right here and I love it.  I'm sorta weird about this book.  I think I have about 6 copies of it maybe more...

P.C. Cast’s Marked “Just when I thought my day couldn’t get any worse I saw the dead guy standing next to my locker.”

My comments:  This was a cute YA novel, not my favorite but I adored the opening line.  I actually preferred to read more about the dead guy than anything else. 

J.K. Rowling’s Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone “Mr. and Mrs. Dursley, of number four, Privet Drive, were proud to say that they were perfectly normal, thank you very much.”

My comments: The best part is the "thank you very much."  The tone is brilliant.  Every time I read this one, it puts a smile on my face.

(My Review)
Franz Kafka’s Metamorphosis “As Gregor Samsa awoke one morning from uneasy dreams he found himself transformed in his bed into a gigantic vermin.”

My comments:  First of all, I loved this book.  It was inventive, hilarious and pathetic all wrapped into one.  Great opening line. 

There are tons more of websites that feature best novel opening lines out there. Feel free to check out a few others here or here. I’m curious to all my readers out there.  Which opening line is your favorite?  Do you put much stock in an opening line?

Mina B.