Monday, December 20, 2010

Midwinter's Eve Giveaway

GIVEAWAY ENDED, Winner has been contacted and will be announced later today!

Welcome to my Midwinter's Eve Giveaway.  I'm so glad that you stopped by!!

For this giveaway I decided to giveaway one of the books that I am looking forward to buying in January.  This will be ordered from the Book Depository if you are international.  If you are in the US, I reserve the right to order the book from a store of my choice. 

So what books I have I decided to let you chose from? How about these:

To enter all you have to do is fill out this FORM!

Since this is a quick hop, I'll make it easy.  Just be a follower and tell me what book you want if you win.  Good luck, and don't forget to check out all the other blogs!

Friday, December 17, 2010

A Snowman story

I'm feeling rather bad that my blog is getting neglected, since the holiday season keeps me busy, and I allow myself to get distracted.  Since I feel bad, I decided I'd give you all a story to read.  I wrote this back in Dec. of '04.  I hope you enjoy it.

George always knew in his heart that he was not like other snowmen, but for weeks he could not understand what set him apart. Then one day he happened upon a book titled "The Cannibal Cookbook" and all of his questions where answered. The reason that he felt different from the others was because he had an insatiable hunger to eat them all. (Funny how he didn't notice this sooner). So, with a true understanding of himself he set out to become what he felt that he was inside, a true cannibal.

For days George poured over "The Cannibal Cookbook" making sure that he understood everything that he was supposed to do to make his life as a cannibal successful. Then, finally, he set his plan in action.

Now, if any of you have ever had dealings with snowmen you will know that, in general they are not very swift creatures (unless you happen to be on a hill and there body parts get a nice gentle shove that send them rolling, but George avoided these ones). George had absolutely no trouble catching his first snowman victim. He made sure that his victim was unconscious and then placed it in a large black cauldron full of water, put a fire under it and walked away because the cookbook had warned that it would take a while. A while to do what, you may be thinking, since you, I assume, are not a cannibal. Well, as George learned in "The Cannibal Cookbook" if you want to be a successful cannibal there are many ways that you can do it, but the easiest way, especially for beginners, is to boil the body for a good long time, so that the flesh falls off the bone, making your job much easier (and if you are worried about the loss of nutrients, drink the water). The cookbook warned that this can take a long time, depending on the size of your victim, which is why George walked away and left the pot unattended.

Hours later, when he came back, the fire had already gone out, and he approached his cauldron, mouth watering at the thought of his first meal as a cannibal. But, to his surprise, when he looked inside he saw no bones and flesh to eat. All that was there was the water he had used to boil the snowman in...and, to his shock, it seemed deeper than it had been before. George was furious, wondering what other cannibal snowmen there were in the area that would come to steal his meal. But in the end, none of that mattered, he was still without food, and so he went out and found himself another snowman, and repeated the process. But again, when he came back the pot held no meat just water, a little deeper than when he left it.

George became desperate. He felt as though he was starving and was furious that someone would take away his only food more than once...surly they didn't need that much to be satisfied. So, he concocted a plan to catch his thief. He caught a new snowman and put it in the pot of water, then walked a little ways off and hid behind a tree, to watch the pot and see the perpetrator. But, no one came. He waited the full length of time he had in the past, maybe even a little longer, but he saw no one. With great pleasure he rushed towards his cauldron and looked inside. There was no flesh and no bones, just water, a little deeper than when he left it.

George was confused now, more than furious. He wanted desperately to know what was happening to his meals. When he caught the next snowman and put it in the pot he decided to stay right up next to the simmering cauldron to see what happened to his victim.

Now, I am sure that you and I know exactly what was happening to George's victims. They were melting. But I am sorry to inform you that George was never able to discover this for himself. As he sat and watched the Snowman in the cauldron the heat of the fire so close began to make him perspire, and by the time in the snowman in the cauldron had melted, so too had our dear, sweet cannibal snowman, George.

Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Manga Reviews vs. Manga Recommendations

I own and read a lot of manga, and I've been wanting to start reviewing them here, but I've been struggling with how I can review the newest volumes of long series, because if you aren't already reading the series, the review would be rather useless as you can't just start at that volume. It would also be rather hard for me to go back and review volume one as a stand alone, because so much of my love or hate for that volume would be based on what I know of the plot in the remaining volumes.  So how do I review them? 

That's when I came up with the idea of doing manga reviews and manga recommendations.  So, here is the break down of the difference:

Manga Reviews:
    Will be review of only the first volume of a series.  I will do this when I'm starting a new series, or when I don't feel I've read enough of the series to do a manga recommendation. I'll rate the artwork of the volume, the characters, and the plot.  I will also give a brief synopsis of the plot. 

Manga Recommendation:
   This will be my opinion on whether you should read or pass on a full series.  I will only do this if I have read more than half of a series (or more than 10 volumes for really long series) or all of a series (if a series is under 5 volumes I must read all of them before I'll put them in this category).   I'll rate the artwork and let you know if it improves, stays the same or gets worse as the series continues.  I'll talk about whether characters grow, grow on you, or just grow annoying.  When it comes to plot, many manga can tie up one plot line and move on to a next and then a next, but I'll let you know if its episodic or if they head towards a certain goal, and more importantly, if it is an enjoyable story.  Unlike a manga review or a book review I may not give much of a plot synopsis since , for the reasons mentioned in the last sentence, but I'll make sure you know the general idea of what the series is about.

I'm going to try to post more reviews of both books and manga, but I'm not sure how many I'll be able to do in the next couple of weeks since I must focus on getting all of my Christmas presents bought, made (hoping to make Teddy bear ornaments this year), and wrapped, but after the new year you can expect a book review and a manga review or recommendation every week. 

This week I shall be posting a review of "We Were There" since I'm giving away a copy in my current giveaway.  Before the end of the month I will also be doing recommendations on both Fruits Basket and Time Stranger Kyoko, since I'm also giving them away.

Monday, December 6, 2010

Manga Means Merry (Christmas) Giveaway

The Holidays are taking up a lot of my time as I stress over and search the internet for gifts for the 20+ members of my family that I insist on buying for.  I'm so sorry that this has kept me from my blog, and adding some of the reviews I've hand written.  But, though it may be a couple days later, I am finally posting my "Manga Means Merry (Christmas) Giveaway".

This Giveaway is INTERNATIONAL

So, I'm going to be giving away two price packs in this one:
Prize 1: Fruits Basket 1st Bite, Time Stranger Kyoko V1, We Were There V1,  and a few extra items will be thrown in (including my usually "reader companion" once I pick him out)
Fruits Basket 1st bite is a reissue of the first Volume of Fruits Basket, with a new cover and a few bonus character info pages in the back.
These three are all manga I enjoy quite a bit, and I will be reviewing them in the next few days. Time Stranger Kyoko is even by my favorite manga-ka of all time, and at 3 volumes, there won't be many for you to buy if you like it.

 Prize 2: Any Japanese Manga you would like, to be shipped from the Book Depository. 
If you need some suggestions, here are a couple more of my favorites:

To Enter all you have to do is fill out this FORM
          You Must be a follower to enter
           Giveaway ends 12/31
           You can enter once a day
           +1 for sharing the giveaway each day (a new tweet, having it in your blogroll all count as long as its there every day I check...)
            +1 extra if your way of sharing is this button where people can't miss it:

Wednesday, December 1, 2010


We have another WINNER!!!  Time for a another CELEBRATION!!!!
 Lets Congratulate our winner: Khristine of Musings of a Happy Reader who has chosen to receive a copy of Entice!!!  She was luck number 2 on my scale of 2-604 (1 being column headers)!!!  I've sent an email and she has until 11/4 to get back to me. 

If you didn't win, be on the look out for more giveaways. Tomorrow I will be posting my Manga Means Merry (Christmas) Giveaway, and later on this month I will be taking part in the Midwinter's Eve Giveaway Hop.

(image above is of Kero-chan from Card Captor Sakura, the work of the wonderful and amazing group known as CLAMP.. this exact image can be credited to Natsumi Yuu who's blog is My is my dream)

Friday, November 26, 2010

Update on Borders

A couple of days ago I posted on my frustration with Borders because I lost out on my rewards bucks simply because the website wouldn't load, and then they sent out a blanket email that sounded like a brush off.

I am HAPPY to say that while I was out doing my black Friday shopping I finally received an email response to the complaint that I filed on the site that night.  They were apologetic and said that the site went through some maintenance (when their earlier email appeared to blame too many customers).  They did give me back my rewards bucks (with an expiration date of 11/3) and told me to replace the order.  I placed my order earlier today, and I'm happy to report as you would expect an online store to.  I had no problems redeeming my Borders Bucks this time, and I'm now happily awaiting my book (A Tale Dark and Grimm). 

I feel a bit sad for those customers who didn't contact Borders if they were unable to redeem their points, because I do not believe they will get them back, but for me Borders remedied the situation relatively quickly and to my satisfaction.  While I may still look at Amazon and Barnes & Noble first (to save on paying shipping costs) I will not avoid the Borders website as I thought I might.  For those who upgraded to the Borders Plus Card (something I would consider doing if I had a closer physical store) I do recommend giving the site another chance, but maybe be cautious, and make sure you let them know if there is a problem.  Hopefully they'll be as helpful to you as they were to me.

Thursday, November 25, 2010

Chronicle Books Haul-idays giveway

Chronicle books is running a giveaway, where 1 lucky blogger will win their choice of $500 worth of books.  They are also giving away $500 worth of books to one lucky person who comments on someone's blog post about the giveaway.

This means you can take part in one of two ways:

If you have a blog:
Post a list of Chronicle Books valued at up to $500 that you’d like to haul in, and you’ll be automatically entered into a drawing to WIN your list of books! And, one of your readers who comments on the post will win the list too!
Last day to submit entries is December 10th!

Check out the publisher’s Web site and make a list of books up to $500.

AND, officially sign up at the Chronicle site with your post url here.

If you don't have a blog, or are simply looking for my entries:
Visit other blogs for your chance to win a haul of Chronicle Books! Each of these blogs has posted a list of books valued up to $500! One blogger and one commenter on the winning post will each WIN the list!

Winners will be announced: December 13, 2010.

so, here are my picks:

The Space Between the Trees                                      Pom Pom Pals
by Katie Williams $17.99                                               by Michelle Tilly $16.99

Spark                                                                          The Sock Monkey and Friends Kit

by Beverly Gherman $16.99                                     by Samantha Fisher and Cary Lane $17.99

Cook it in a Cup                                              The Whitby Witches

by Julia Myall $16.99                                      by Robin Jarvis $17.95

The Alchemists Cat: Deptford Histories B1                  The Oaken Thorne: Deptford Histories B2
 by Robin Jarvis $6.96                                                        by Robin Jarvis $17.95

 Thomas: Deptford Histories B3                    The Dark Portal: Deptford Mice Trilogy B1
by Robin Jarvis $17.95                                  by Robin Jarvis $6.95

  The Crystal Prison: Deptford Mice Trilogy B2       The Final Reckoning: Deptford Mice Trilogy B3
by Robin Jarvis $7.18                                                     by Robin Jarvis $6.95

 Wookiee Cookies: A Star Wars Cookbook                                       Rosie Flo's Kitchen Coloring Book
by Robin Davis $18.99                                                                             by Roz Streeten $8.99

The Enchanted dolls' House                                                       The Enchanted dolls' House Wedding
by Robyn Johnson $27.99                                                              by Robyn Johnson $27.99

Daily Doodle 2011 Daily Calendar                                                         Day and Night
by Taro Gomi $12.99                                                                                 By Teddy Newton $14.99
Around the world with Mouk                                                                    There was an Old Lady
By Marc Boutavant $17.99                                                                             By Jeremy Holmes $16.99            

My Lunch box: 50 recipes to take to School                                 Creature ABC
By Hilary Shevlin Karmilowicz  $16.95                                            By Andrew Zuckerman $19.99                       

Weirdo Noir                                                                                      DC Comics
By Matt Dukes Jordan $24.95                                                     75th Anniversary Poster Book   $40.00           

Comic con: 40 Years of Artists,                                                                  Hell bound: New Gothic Art
Writers, Fans, & Friends!    $40.00                                                              by  Francesca Gavin   $24.95

Prisoners in the Palace
by Michaela MacColl $16.99

That is $499.59 worth of books.  Can't get much closer to $500 than that!

If you've posted your list on your blog, please let me know in a comment, I'd love to take a look.

I'm going to give credit for my finally doing my own list to vvb32 because after looking over their list I couldn't resist doing my own anymore.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010


We have another WINNER!!!  Time for a CELEBRATION!!!!

Lets Congratulate our winner:  CANDACE (email starts candace_re** the rest is the last name, which I'm holding back for privacy) who was lucky number 239 out of 304!!!  I've emailed the winner and she has until Tuesday, 11/30 (I've extended the response time because of the holiday)

My Gratitude Giveaway is still going on until Sunday, and next week I will be posting my Manga Means Merry (Christmas) Giveaway.

(image above is of Kero-chan from Card Captor Sakura, the work of the wonderful and amazing group known as CLAMP.. this exact image can be credited to Natsumi Yuu who's blog is My is my dream)

A Bad Book Buying Experience

First of all, let me apologize for not posting more in the last week, but the holidays have been taking a lot of my time.  I do promise that I will start posting more very soon. I have read so many good books I'd love to share with all of you!  But sadly, this post is not about a good book, but a poor experience I recently had shopping for books from Borders.

Once upon a time most of my book buying was done through Walden books.  It was the only book store in my home town, and when I moved away to college and had more options, I still shopped at the local Waldens.  The prices were comparable, but they had more sales, and then they offered their rewards card, giving me even more reason to shop there. That all changed in the last few years, as first the Walden Books where I now live closed, and then the Walden Books back home closed as well.  Now if I want to buy from this company I have to go to Borders, which I wouldn't mind if the closes store wasn't an hour away, so I decided to invest in a Barnes & Noble card, so I could get some savings at local stores.  The website for Borders hasn't appealed to me, since I can usually save more money saving up a moment to buy more books through Amazon and not pay for shipping, or by through Barnes & Noble where I always get free shipping.

This means it now takes a bit more to convince me to shop at Borders.  I mean I always go there when I'm in a town that has one, but I don't usually go out of my way to shop there anymore. 

Then, I noticed yesterday that I'd received an email from them letting me know that I had $10 in Borders Bucks.  I had originally disregarded this email since they kept telling me I could earn $10 by upgrading to their new pay rewards program. I immediately started thinking about what I could buy from Borders, and went about placing an order.  I decided to purchase only one book, since the reward was expiring that night, and I didn't want to lose out.  I tried for a full hour to get to the payment screen.  Half the time it would time out and give me an error about the site being overloaded, other times it would go to the next page, but it would lose my mailing or billing address, and if I made it past that screen it would lose my rewards card number (and when I re-entered it, I would either get a message saying it couldn't or it would go too the site busy error).  I tried it on both my computer and my boyfriends and in both Internet Explorer and Firefox, but it just kept timing out, and every time I got to the payment screen I couldn't get my card entered.  finally I sent them an email and went to bed because I was so frustrated.

Today I got their response, and I felt..brushed off.  This was not a direct response to my complaint, but a blanket email to all rewards card members.  That wouldn't have bothered me, but it sounded like they were saying "We're sorry too many of you wanted to use it so some couldn't, we're not doing anything about that, but everyone will get other stuff later."  Perhaps I misunderstood, but the people I showed it to all got that impression as well.  We'll see, maybe they'll still do something, but after this email I don't expect anything.  I understand that it was a special bonus, and I wouldn't mind if it was my fault that I missed out, but their site going down doesn't seem fair.

For those interested, here's the email they sent:

We are reaching out today to our most valued customers to inform you that we received a huge response to our recent reminder for Borders Rewards members to redeem their $10 in Bonus Bucks. Such a huge response in fact, that the customer experience was impacted. If you were not able to redeem your $10 in Borders Bonus Bucks online, we apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused you. Please look for additional exclusive rewards and incentives throughout the Holiday Season.

Thank you for your patience,

Mike Edwards
CEO, Borders, Inc.

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Gratitude Giveaway

Welcome to my Gratitude Giveaway!  I'm so glad that you stopped by.

For this giveaway I've decided to allow one follower to pick a book from the following list of books that I'm looking forward to.  This will be ordered from the book depository, so if you pick a book that hasn't been released yet, I will preorder it for you.
So what books have I selected for you to choose from?  How about these:

To enter all you have to do is fill out this FORM.
   The Rules:
       You MUST be a follower to enter.
       +1 for following me on twitter (@sablelexi)
       +1 for tweeting the giveaway (tweets must be visible to the public)
       +1 for following me on Goodreads.

Don't forget to check the rest of the AWESOME blogs that are involved in this hope:

Sunday, November 14, 2010

November Giveaway Additons

Since I have bipassed 200 followers, I promised that I would add another book to the giveaway.  What I've decided to do is offer the winner of this giveaway not only Shadow & their choice of Lost Hero or Red Pyramid, but also their choice of one of these 4 paperback books (new and shipped from the book depository)

The Edge Chronicles: Beyond the Deepwood:by Chris Riddell & Paul Stewart

Fablehaven by Brandon Mull

The Lightning Thief by Rick Riordan

Pendragon: The Merchant of Death by D.J. Machale

I hope that there is at least one book there that would interest the winner!  Good luck to everyone who enters.  (You can enter HERE)

Friday, November 12, 2010

For the love of Writing 2

This week I am continuing my "for the love of writing" exercise that I started last week. What I've chosen to do is write a list of 100 random words, and each week I will have chose a number.  Whatever word wins is what i must write about that day.  This way I can't go into any day with preconceived notions about what I'm going to write about.  I'll just have to let the ideas flow.
This weeks word is mouse.

I've never been one of those girls that screeched at the site of a mouse scurrying through the room. While I've never wanted to keep them as a pet, I had some fond memories of cartoon mice from my childhood, and I always stopped to look at them at the pet store.   All of that changed after the "incident." 

I had just moved to Kelmore with my boyfriend, who had gotten a job at the local hospital.  Not having a job yet I had a lot of time to explore the town, and I became obsessed with discovering the secrets of the "old neighborhood" as the locals called it.  Kelmore was a small town, so I couldn't understand why there was a whole four block radius on the west side of town, where no one went, not even the cops.  I heard the locals whisper about it, but whenever I tried to ask them what had happened there, they clammed up immediately. 
A search of the papers, showed nothing.  One year there were pictures of a block party there, and then suddenly it was as though it didn't exist anymore.  I had to find out for myself.

Finally, my curiosity got the better of me.  Joe left for work late in the afternoon, and I was forced with the thought of another evening spent alone.  I didn't allow myself to think on it long, I just got my coat and left.  In only five minutes I found myself facing the blackened, abandoned houses on the west site, and kept going.  I walked around for long minutes and saw nothing unusual in the neighborhood.  My disappointment was almost overwhelming; my only source of entertainment for weeks, and it all ended as nothing. 

Slowly, I began to walk back home, my mind so focused on my disappointment, that at first I didn't hear the sound.  By the time I finally noticed, it was too late, I was surrounded.  Looking around, there were thousands of tiny little rodent faces staring up at me, their little noses twitching.  My mind screamed at me to run, but I couldn't move.  Something about those faces had me memorized.  And then, my chance to run was gone; in a wave the mice were upon me, and I fell to the ground beneath the mass of them. 

Two days later I woke up in the hospital, and I told Joe that I didn't remember what happened, but an image kept going through my head of a dark man covered in mice, carrying me out of that neighborhood.  We'll be in Kelmore for years, and I vow before we leave I will find out what really happened in that neighborhood.  And I'll never trust another mouse, ever again. 

Review: The Invisible Order Book 1: Rise of the Darklings (ARC)

I feel bad that I haven't posted in a week, since I've been visiting other blogs, and worse, this review was written two weeks ago and I just forgot to post it.

Emily is an eleven year old girl in Victorian England trying her best to take car of herself and her brother since the disappearance of their parents.  On the way to work one day though, she stumbles upon two factions of fighting Piskies.  At first, she tries to ignore what she saw, but very quickly gets pulled into the conflict anyway.  she is left trying to figure out who the good guys are: the Seelie, the Unseelie or the humans of The Order.  She also wonders why both groups f faye seem to know who she is.  On her adventure, she travels through London, into the office of the Order (numerous times) and insisted the courts of the faye.

Emily: At times a little stuck up and definitely acted older than her age (though this is not due to bad writing,  
           rather the circumstances she was stuck with).  Overall she became a likable heroin, though, who 
           didn't  let herself get pushed around and always did what she thought was "right".  
 William: A bratty younger brother who doesn't like to be told what to do or left out of anything.  There 
           were small hints that he's going to be a likable character, but in reality he only appears in the book for 
           a few pages, so it wasn't enough to tell. 
Jack:  A street urchin and thief he is also a good friend to Emily and is always trying to look out for her and 
           help her out on her quest.  He has a lot of attitude that and acts as though nothing can stop him,         
           because he calls himself "Spring-Heeled Jack."
There are other characters of note in the story, but to describe them would ruin the suspense of finding out whether they stay or become good or bad.   

Overall, I felt that the plot was interesting.  Things that seemed too contrived in the beginning began to make sense as the story progressed. All the different places that Emily finds herself during her journey, really adds to enjoyment of the story; it seems like a real adventure.  Also, they really have you wondering who can be trusted and what everyone's true motives were. 
I have to plaints about the story though.  The first, is that it seemed rather obvious to me as the story went on, how the faye knew about Emily.  Second, the story takes place over only three days, but really it seems that they packed way more into those three days than should be possible.  Or maybe, when you go on an adventure where the stakes are that high, you really can accomplish that much.   
I love the description in this story.  I could see both London as it was then, but even more, I could see the fay perfectly.
While I had a couple of complaints, overall I enjoyed this book and look forward to seeing how the second book of this series unfolds.