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.


Friday, November 5, 2010

For the Love of Writing

I have always enjoyed writing, but I don't feel that I make enough time to do it, so I decided to make time right here on my blog every Friday to write.  Like a lot of you, I'm trying my hand at a novel (though not as part of NaNoWriMo), but this has nothing to do with that.  This is all about fun and mystery.  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.

Today's Word is: Wood.

I grew up in a small village that was barely large enough to disrupt the normal activities of the forest.  Our village was so small that we didn't have the luxury of having chores that were gender specific.  Everyone was required to do everything and this meant that I often  had to accompany my older brother as he collected wood for the fire.   I understood how important that wood was for our survival, and we were always so careful to choose just the right pieces, so that there would be wood for us to collect for years to come. 

Back then, the wood we collected was used for the survival of our people.  We used it to keep our cooking fires going and to heat our homes in the winter.  During the summer and fall festivals we would build a fire at the center of celebration.  I was so proud that I helped bring the wood for fires.

Things changed as I grew older.  New purposes arose for the wood, and I began to feel shame that I still helped to bring it the village.  In retrospect, I should have realized things had already gone to far for me to fight them, but I was naive, and I thought I could stop them by refusing to bring the wood anymore. And that is how I came to be here, tied tightly to a piece of wood that I myself brought to the village only days before, watching in horror as the villagers lit the kindling at my feet on fire. 

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Blog Hop & Follow Friday

Welcome to my Blog.  While you are here, don't forget to stop by and enter my November Giveaway if you haven't already. 

This week I decided to participate in Follow Me Friday, hosted by Parajunkee's View, because this weeks question really interested me.  The question is: Who are your favorite authors?
I love sharing my favorite authors with people, and love to be introduced to new authors that I may not have  considered before.

My favorite adult authors include: Kelley Armstrong, Laurell K. Hamilton and Patricia Briggs.

My favorite YA/MG authors include: Rick Riordan, Carrie Ryan, and Brandon Mull.

Links to their websites, blogs, or wikipedia page can be found on my sidebar under "favorite authors"

The Book Blogger hop is an weekly event hosted by Crazy-for-books, as a way for bloggers to meet each other.
This Weeks question: What are your feelings about loosing followers?  Have you ever stopped following a blog.

So far I'm really new at this, and while I haven't actually noticed whether I've lost followers or not, I'm sure that it will happen.  It isn't a happy thought, but it makes me want to work harder at increasing the number of reviews that I do, and the number of posts that I make, to give people a reason to keep following me.  So far I have not stopped following any blogs, but that doesn't mean that I wouldn't consider doing so.  There are two reasons I would stop following a blog.  First of all, if they hadn't updated in a really long time, it seems pointless to continue following them.  Secondly, if they posted something that I found offensive, I wouldn't wish to follow them anymore.  They are, of course, free to express their opinion, but I don't have to read it.

Arisa by Natsumi Ando

Tsubasa hasn’t seen her twin sister since their parents’ divorce three years ago, but the two had written to each other frequently during their time apart.  Tsubasa is hot tempered and has more guy friends than girl friends, something that bothers her quite a bit.  In the letters that Arisa sends her, Tsubasa is so happy for her sister for being different than her, having lots of female friends and even a boyfriend.  It seems to Tsubasa that Arisa’s life is perfect.  Why, then, does Arisa try to kill herself after the girls are reunited?  And what exactly do her classmates have to do with it?  Tsubasa is determined to figure out what is going on in her sister’s life, and chooses to figure it out the best way she knows how; by going to school pretending that she is her sister.

I couldn’t resist buying this book for two reasons.  First of all it was written by Natsumi Ando, the artist who did Kitchen Princess, and secondly the darker aspects of its story seemed more unusual for a shojou.

Tsubasa: She’s one of those wild girls, the kind who people assume are in a gang because she reacts with violence at the slightest provocation.  As with most heroines though, she’s got a good heart and just wants to be friends with the other girls.  She’s desperately loyal, and doesn’t like to see people treat others badly. 

Arisa: She’s not in the story very long, and it’s obvious that she has secrets that the reader does not yet know.  Right now she seems like the girly girl, the one who everyone wants to be friends with, and who might be just a bit fragile.   She can’t handle whatever it is that she’s keeping secret.

Other characters of note:
Manabe: The mysterious boy who sits next to Arisa in class.  On Tsubasa’s first day that she’s told that Arisa is the only reason that he started coming to class.  He seems moody and distant from everyone else.  Does he have some special connection to the plot at the school?

Midori: Arisa’s boyfriend.  Thus far we know little about him, other than the fact that he is the most popular boy in school.
Takeru: Tsubasa’s best friend.  He’s a bit of a goofball, but he looks out for Tsubasa and is there for her whenever she needs him.

Mariko: Arisa’s best friend.  She seems super friendly, but at times has a dark almost sinister look to her.  You wonder what it is she’s hiding.

I thought this was a great start to a story.  It didn’t drop you into the middle, instead introducing you to the characters and slowly building up to the mystery.  It also didn’t solve too many issues (in fact, nothing was solved in this first volume…which I’m glad of because that would have made the story move too fast and there are at least 6 more volumes to come).  It piqued my interest so that I really wanted to know what was going on in the school, and why it led Arisa to try and kill herself.  I wanted to know who was involved and in what way.   Be forewarned, this volume will end on a cliffhanger.

 That's Mariko in the center there.
Art Work:
This is not Natsumi Ando’s first manga, it’s the most recent one that she has worked on, which means that she has had plenty of time to prefect her artwork, and it shows.  I liked this artwork quite a bit.  It may not be up there with my favorite artist, but it’s still good enough to get 5 out of 5.   

Wednesday, November 3, 2010

Waiting on Wednesday 11/3

Hello, and welcome to my blog. While you are here please have a look around, and don't forget to stop by my November giveaway for a chance to win Shadow by Jenny Moss, and either Lost Hero or Red Pyramid by Rick Riordan.

 Waiting on Wednesday is a weekly event hosted by Breaking the Spine, where book bloggers share the books that they are waiting to be released.

This week my pick is Rotters by Daniel Kraus, its current release date is April 5, 2011.

Goodreads description:
Grave-robbing. What kind of monster would do such a thing? It's true that Leonardo da Vinci did it, Shakespeare wrote about it, and the resurrection men of nineteenth-century Scotland practically made it an art. But none of this matters to Joey Crouch, a sixteen-year-old straight-A student living in Chicago with his single mom. For the most part, Joey's life is about playing the trumpet and avoiding the daily humiliations of high school.
Everything changes when Joey's mother dies in a tragic accident and he is sent to rural Iowa to live with the father he has never known, a strange, solitary man with unimaginable secrets. At first, Joey's father wants nothing to do with him, but once father and son come to terms with each other, Joey's life takes a turn both macabre and exhilarating.
Daniel Kraus's masterful plotting and unforgettable characters make Rotters a moving, terrifying, and unconventional epic about fathers and sons, complex family ties, taboos, and the ever-present specter of mortality.

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

Lost Hero Review

Way later than I planned, but I promise I am going to get more prolific with my reviews, I'm still getting used to budgeting time for blogging.

As always, I tried to be deliberately vague in this synopsis so that you can enjoy every twist and turn as it comes.

Lost Hero is the start of Rick Riordan's new series dealing with the Greek Gods.  In This book, we temporarily say good-bye to the heroes from the previous series, though many do make an appearance and there is more than a little evidence that they will show up much more in later books.  This story takes place approximately one year after the end of The Last Olympian and centers around 3 new heroes: Jason, who has no memories of his past and a weird tendency to refer to the gods by their Roman names, Piper, who is being blackmailed to save someone important to her, and Leo, who fears his own powers due to a tragic accident that occurred when he was a child.  The three journey across country to mount a rescue that only they can accomplish and try to prevent the rise of the greatest villains of Greek Mythology.

Jason: Having no memory of his past, it can be difficult to judge his character.  In the story, he seems nice, strong, a born leader and a loyal friend.  But, there is always that question in the back of everyone's mind (his friends' and the reader's) about what will happen when his memories return.

Piper: Piper struggles through this story trying to deal with whether she should follow the blackmailers plan or tell her friends, but she also has to deal with what it means that the boy she believes is her boyfriend isn't and come to terms with her godly parent.  At first I wasnt' sure about Piper.  She seemed nice enough, but I wasn't sure if she would help or hinder the quest, or is she was written only to be a love interest.  Of course, she was a help and a like able character as well.

Leo:  I loved Leo.  Like the other two heroes in this book, he starts off keeping his secrets to himself, ashamed of his past, but as comes to terms with his powers and why things happened, he opens up.  A journey of self-discovery and acceptance doesn't make me love a character.  I love Leo because he's impulsive and constantly tinkers with things.  He's the fun loving character and is as likely to save his friends and accidentally get them in trouble (OK, he may save them more, but I'm not going to say for sure, you'll have to read to find out)

As with all of Rick Riordan's books, the quest here introduces us to characters from mythology in a fun and entertaining way, that also holds true to their characters.  What helps to set this series apart from the Percy Jackson series, aside from the change in characters, is the way that he handles the explanation of the difference between the gods' Greek and roman aspects.

I absolutely loved this book and would recommend it to anyone, and I am eagerly anticipating the sequel (and not just because of the hero I believe it will focus on)  

Spooktakular Winner!

It's that time again.  Time to announce a winner!

Lets all join our Winner in Celebrating!!!

Congratulations to Kulsuma, for winning $15 worth of Halloween or Supernatural books from the book depository.  I've sent an email and will wait 48 hours for a reply.

If you didn't win, don't forget to enter my November Giveaway for a chance at some more books!

(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)