Wednesday, October 29, 2014

Rabbit Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai... A Review of the 2 Book Manga Series

Rabbit Doubt by Yoshiki Tonogai... There's a game going around Japan called 'Rabbit Doubt'. The premise of the game is that all of the players are rabbits in a colony, and one amongst them is randomly chosen to be a wolf that infiltrated the group of rabbits. Every round, the wolf kills off a rabbit, and every round, the group tries to figure out which of the rabbits is actually a wolf in disguise. Sometimes the kids who play this game decide to meet up in person, and Yuu, Mitsuki, Rei, Hajime, Eiji, and Haruka have done just that. Unfortunately, one of them has decided to take on the mantle of the wolf and has already killed once.

When I read about this Manga, the premise intrigued me. It had something a little "more" than the average Manga story. It's a guessing game, a deadly guessing game, and the reader is guessing right along with the characters involved. And the story is good! The artwork is good too, although at the very beginning I was confusing a couple of the girl characters because they looked so similar. But that worked out as soon as "the game" began...

So, what about the story and "the game"? The start of the story is about this group of kids who play this game called Doubt (or Rabbit Doubt) virtually, on their cellphones, and who decide to actually meet. After they get together, and we start to get acquainted with them ourselves, they decide to go out. Strange things happen and then mysteriously, no one can remember how, they all wind up in this abandoned building. The doors are all locked. Everyone has a bar code tattooed on them, which they are soon to discover can open certain doors. Can they work together to get out of there?! When one of them dies, they know that they are playing "the game" for real and must determine who the wolf is before everyone dies. This pits them against each other to a point, with fingers pointing and accusations flying until they start to try and solve the mystery of who has had the opportunity to kill. And YOU are trying to solve the mystery right along with them!

The story just slowly draws you in until you are turning those pages to see what happens next...

I'm not going to reveal anything here to spoil it for you, just know that this is a 2 book series. Book 1 ends with 2 people and the killer, and we still aren't quite sure who is who, which leads the reader to Book 2, which starts where Book 1 left off and then a killer plot twist (sorry had to use that) half way through the story and another twist at the end! I did not expect the plot twist in the middle, and then another plot twist makes this a better than average Manga. Plus there's a little opening at the end for possibly another story to come along.

Book 1 is 398 pages... Book 2 is 445 pages. It took me a couple of days to read them both, because I just had to keep reading along. I only bought Book 1 at first, but when I got to the end of it, I HAD to pick up the next book, so be warned you'll want to know how it ends and you can only find out in the next book.

*P.S. There is some violence here, so I would not recommend for very young readers.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Children's Corner… Is a Worry Worrying You? by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz, a Review

Is a Worry Worrying You?
                ... by Ferida Wolff and Harriet May Savitz

Worry takes on the form of a BIG blue/green furry monster is this cautionary tale to children on how to tame the worry monster.

The carefree life we imagine for children is in reality sometimes fraught with all sorts of stress. How to help children deal with their stress? In Is a Worry Worrying You, the authors use whimsical illustrations to help children learn how to creatively make worries go away…

What if you "had a lots elephants over and didn't have any tea to serve them?!" Well, you'd just serve them lemonade instead! Or, what if a monster lives under your bed and you're afraid to go to sleep? Well, "you can get rid of that worry by singing the monster lullabies until you both fall asleep." Creative ideas to get your child brainstorming their own solutions to their BIG blue/green furry monster.

Wonderful illustrations that will make you and your child smile as you turn the pages of this creative book on how to deal with stress. 32 pages, geared towards 4 - 8 year olds, and published by Tanglewood Press. Adults could also take a lesson from these pages, because we all have stress now and again! I enjoyed the humorous ways the authors presented dealing with the silly problems illustrated, and thought the illustrations were wonderful. 3 1/2 Big Blue/Green Furry Monsters for creativity!

I want to thank Tanglewood Press for the eGalley for my honest review!

Monday, October 27, 2014

Memoir Monday presents… The Birds of Pandemonium by Michele Raffin

There are plenty of books about animals out there, but tucked in between them you can find some special gems. That's what I thought when I heard about The Birds of Pandemonium: Life Among the Exotic and the Endangered by Michele Raffin. As I read the preface, I was immediately drawn in. Michele's writing is wonderful, lively and engaging and you can tell she genuinely loves her birds. And it's about these birds, their personalities, that make this a heartwarming read. Here's what the publisher has to say about this book…

Each morning at first light, Michele Raffin steps outside into the bewitching bird music that heralds another day at Pandemonium Aviaries. A full symphony that swells from the most vocal of more than 350 avian throats representing more than 40 species. “It knocks me out, every day,” she says.

Pandemonium, the home and bird sanctuary that Raffin shares with some of  the world’s most remarkable birds, is a conservation organization dedicated to saving and breeding birds at the edge of extinction, with the goal of eventually releasing them into the wild. In The Birds of Pandemonium, she lets us into her world—and theirs. Birds fall in love, mourn, rejoice, and sacrifice; they have a sense of humor, invent, plot, and cope. They can teach us volumes about the interrelationships of humans and animals.

Their amazing stories make up the heart of this book. There’s Sweetie, a tiny quail with an outsize personality; the inspiring Oscar, a disabled Lady Gouldian finch who can’t fly but finds a brilliant way to climb to the highest perches of his aviary to roost. The ecstatic reunion of a disabled Victoria crowned pigeon, Wing, and her brother, Coffee, is as wondrous as the silent kinship that develops between Amadeus, a one-legged turaco, and an autistic young visitor.

As we come to know the individual birds, we also come to understand how much is at stake for many of these species. One of the aviary’s greatest success stories is breeding the gorgeous green-naped pheasant pigeon, whose home in the New Guinea rainforest is being decimated. Thanks to efforts at Pandemonium, these birds may not share the same fate as the now-extinct dodo.

The Birds of Pandemonium is about one woman’s crusade to save precious lives, and it offers rare insights into how following a passion can transform not only oneself but also the world.

Courtesy of Algonquin Books, I received an eGalley of The Birds of Pandemonium (published Oct. 7, 2014), in exchange for an honest review. Stay tuned for my full review coming soon...

Saturday, October 25, 2014

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn… A Review

Hold onto your Tartan, this Highlander romance is passionate, tender and HOT!

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan by Paula Quinn is a romance filled with a hunk of a Scottish Highlander, a feisty & strong willed woman and a storyline that is perfect for this sweet novella. This is the story of Janet Buchanan and Darach Grant, who have this wonderful distaste for each other, but also an unbelievable attraction to each other. She has a mind of her own and is no man's possession; He is arrogant, confident and adept with the ladies... and never shares the same bed twice. 

The story begins with Janet being ceremoniously offered up in marriage to save an attack on the castle and lands her brother is steward of. This is suppose to be just a delay tactic, while they wait for the true lord of the castle, Malcolm MacGregor, to come and protect his keep. While Malcolm is otherwise engaged, he sends none other than Darach Grant, the man who stole Janet's heart and left many months ago. But that's all he sends! Janet doesn't know which is worse, being married off to save the castle or having Darach back in her life, and HIM being the sole answer to her problem!  

The banter between them is funny and sweet, and stinging at times. AND it is wonderful! The romance starts of teasing us and then it is hot, HOT, HOT! As soon as I started reading this story, I could not stop. The writing is wonderful! Paula Quinn sets the stage with an authentic Scottish landscape, wonderful characters that are fully fleshed out, and a believable & fun romance.

My only complaint with The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan is that is was too short! I thought Janet and Darach deserved more to their story, and the ending seemed a bit abrupt. But this is a novella and just a little present to the readers of her The MacGregors: Highland Heirs series. This book is 1.5 in the series, so I can only hope Janet and Darach make another appearance!

Even though I thought it was a bit short, I enjoyed every minute of this novella! I would recommend The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan to any girl who loves her men in plaid, and loves a good HOT romance! I give this Highlander Romance 5 Tartans!

*BTW, I received this as an eGalley from the publisher for an honest review.

Friday, October 24, 2014

Children's Corner… Birds of a Feather by Vanita Oelschlager, a Review

Birds of a Feather: A Book of Idioms and Silly Pictures…
written by Vanita Oelschlager and illustrated by Robin Hegan

This silly and delightful book will teach children what idioms are with humorous and cute illustrations. And do you know what an idiom is?! An idiom is a group of words that have a meaning when put together, but generally nothing to do with the words themselves. One example is "It's raining cats and dogs!" It's not really raining cats and dogs, but that's an idiom. Of course it means it's raining very heavy, but what does that have to do with cats and dogs?! These idioms have origins, but what Birds of a Feather does is illustrate some of these idioms we use every day in a humorous, colorful way. The explanation of the meaning of the idiom is explained, with an example in a sentence in the corner of the page, so everyone understands.

"Goosebumps", "Bright eyed and bushy tailed", "Look what the cat dragged in", are only some of the idioms explained. Very cute and sometimes very funny illustrations make for a picture book that will be enjoyed many times after the first reading. Oh, and it's educational too! 32 pages, and written with Pre-school - 3 year olds in mind, I enjoyed it myself and I'm nowhere near 3!

BTW, I received Birds of a Feather as an eGalley from Vanita Books for an honest review. Thank you!

Wednesday, October 22, 2014

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin... A Review

Pour yourself a Sweet Tea and relax… 

Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin is like a welcoming breeze on a warm summer day. When I opened the book for the first time, I stepped into Charleston, South Carolina and didn't look back until the last page. Kim Boykin's writing is inviting, engaging and wonderful.

Vada Hadley is a sweet Southern girl, just out of college, from a wealthy family, who is destined to marry drop dead gorgeous Justin McLeod to solidify the ties of these two wealthy families. But it's just a marriage of convenience, with Justin, quite a ladies man, who doesn't intend to change his ways and Vada not really liking Justin at all. On the eve of her wedding, Vada's Murrah, Ruth Lee, the woman who practically raised her from birth, comes up to her bedroom with her suitcase, giving Vada the option no one else wants to give her - a way out. Without any money of her own, and a handful of her designer dresses, Desmond, Ruth Lee's husband, whisks Vada off to anyplace she wants to go to escape. Vada chooses Round O, a small rural South Carolina town about 50 miles from Charlestown, where she was offered a teaching job after graduating from college. No way her family would look for her there. And so, Vada starts life as a working girl, living in a run down boarding house with a bitter old woman as a land lady, and a handsome hunk running the local diner. Hmmm, maybe things aren't so bad… romance, friendship and a wonderful portrayal of the South, Palmetto Moon is more than I could have wanted when I opened the book for the first time. Even though the year is 1947, the book has a contemporary feel to it, and it just draws you in. The romance starts very sweet (1947), but the embers underneath are HOT and don't disappoint!

I can't say enough about how much I enjoyed this book. But there are two things I can tell you…

1. I'm going to be reading more of Kim Boykin ( and I just downloaded an advanced copy of her Christmas novella, Just in Time for Christmas coming out later this month.)

2. If you like romance novels and/or Southern fiction, YOU SHOULD READ THIS BOOK!

I give Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin a 5 Sweet Tea rating!

I want to thank Pump Up your Book Tours for sending along a copy of Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin for an honest review! Thank you, I loved it!

**Kim stopped by Chick with Books to us what inspired her to write Palmetto Moon… Here's the LINK!

Guest Post with Kim Boykin... The Story Behind Palmetto Moon

Kim Boykin is an accomplished writer with 4 published novels under her belt. She has always received great reviews, written about strong Southern women,  and according to RT Book Reviews, 'her stories' feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. Chick with Books is thrilled to have Kim Boykin stop by today to share a bit of herself and insight into her writing her novel, Palmetto Moon! Join me in a warm welcome to Kim!

The Story Behind Palmetto Moon

If I could wish ANYTHING for you, other than unlimited good health and happiness, it would be to experience that ethereal place I write from. It’s a place I learned to trust implicitly a long time ago.

With Palmetto Moon, I wrote about Round O, South Carolina as if I knew it like the back of my hand. I’d never been there before and had only driven through Walterboro, another town in the book, on the way to Edisto Island over thirty years ago. So, before I turned the Palmetto Moon manuscript into my editor, last summer, I decided I should visit to make sure I got the places right.

I was pleasantly surprised and then shocked at one of those ethereal moments. Dana and Bonita Cheney, the nice couple from the Colleton County Historical Society who showed me around Walterboro, offered to show me Round O. To be honest, with the majority of the story taking place there, and having never been there, I was more than a little nervous.

I’d sent Dana and Bonita a synopsis of Palmetto Moon, that mentioned Miss Mamie’s Boarding House. When we got to Round O, which really is a crossroads community (for those of you who don’t know what that is, it’s a crossroads with a few houses, maybe a church, a little store,) Dana asked me if I’d like to see Miss Mamie’s Boarding House.

There on the corner was a dilapidated two-story clapboard home that very well could have been Vada’s home in 1947. I was amazed. Then he asked me if I wanted to see what it looked like in 1947. He eased down the road about 100 feet and there was the EXACT house I’d pictured when I was writing the book. I know this picture is a little cockeyed but I was completely stunned.

A few weeks later, I approached Dick Elliott, the owner of Maverick Southern Kitchens, and nationally renowned SNOB in Charleston about contributing recipes for the book. I wanted to use them in lieu of Reader Questions. Turns out the executive chef’s name at SNOB is Frank Lee, and my hero’s name is Frank Darling. Coincidence? Maybe, but I’m tagging it as a gift from the ether.

Thank you, Kim for sharing the story behind your newest book, Palmetto Moon! And thanks for the great post!

A Little About Kim... 
Kim Boykin was raised in her South Carolina home with two girly sisters and great parents. She had a happy, boring childhood, which sucks if you’re a writer because you have to create your own crazy. PLUS after you’re published and you’re being interviewed, it’s very appealing when the author actually lived in Crazy Town or somewhere in the general vicinity.

Almost everything she learned about writing, she learned from her grandpa, an oral storyteller, who was a master teacher of pacing and sensory detail. He held court under an old mimosa tree on the family farm, and people used to come from all around to hear him tell stories about growing up in rural Georgia and share his unique take on the world.

As a stay-at-home mom, Kim started writing, grabbing snip-its of time in the car rider line or on the bleachers at swim practice. After her kids left the nest, she started submitting her work, sold her first novel at 53, and has been writing like crazy ever since.

Thanks to the lessons she learned under that mimosa tree, her books are well reviewed and, according to RT Book Reviews, feel like they’re being told across a kitchen table. She is the author of The Wisdom of Hair from Berkley, Steal Me, Cowboy and Sweet Home Carolina from Tule, and Palmetto Moon, also from Berkley 8/5/14. While her heart is always in the Lowcountry of South Carolina, she lives in Charlotte and has a heart for hairstylist, librarians, and book junkies like herself.
Kim Boykin stopped by Chick with Books today as part of her Virtual Book Tour hosted by Pump Up Your Book. You can learn more about Kim at her website,, and you can also read an excerpt of the first chapter to Palmetto Moon HERE!

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

The Children's Corner… Mr. Squirrel and the Moon by Sebastian Meschenmoser, a Review

Mr. Squirrel and the Moon 
                                    Sebastian Meschenmoser

Mr. Squirrel is in a panic! The Moon has landed on his tree! He's just got to get rid of it before someone thinks HE has stolen it and throws him in prison! As he tries to solve his problem he accidentally makes it the problem of his friend the Hedgehog, and then a billy goat, until some mice happen to come by and help them all out.

This is a delightful story that children will love to have read to them or to read to themselves, time & time again, with beautiful drawings that complement the story perfectly! It's 48 pages and geared towards 4 - 8 year olds, but I enjoyed it myself and so will you! Cute and funny, you'll be seeing the moon in a whole different light after reading this! I give it 4 Moons!

You'll have to wait a bit to pick this up, though, it's publishing date is January 2015! I want to thank North South Books for the eGalley of Mr. Squirrel and the Moon for my honest review!

Monday, October 20, 2014

Mailbox Monday

Welcome to Mailbox Monday! It's a weekly event for bloggers to share what books arrived in their mailboxes. Mailbox Monday was originally created by Marcia of To Be Continued and is now hosted by Vicki, Serena and Leslie at Mailbox Monday's own blog.

It's been a romantic week in my mailbox! I've gotten some great books that will be welcoming me into the arms of a hunky Highlander, a Scottish Prince, a pirate, a lord, and land me finally in time for Christmas, back into South Carolina, where I am lingering now thanks to Palmetto Moon by Kim Boykin, which I finished recently but still feel like I'm there. And after all that, I'm going to fire up the slow cooker to learn some new recipes courtesy of Dina Cheney and Taunton Press.

Here's what came in my mailbox this week and what the publishers tell us about them... all were digitally downloaded...

The Sweet Surrender of Janet Buchanan... 
SHE WOULD NOT BE CONQUERED... Janet Buchanan is no man's property. She refuses to marry her family's sworn enemy-consequences be damned. She'd rather take a dagger to the brute herself. Yet when a tantalizing-and infuriating-man from her past comes to her rescue, Janet finds herself undeniably tempted by his hot, hungry kiss.

HE COULD NOT BE TAMED... Notorious for his prowess as a lover and a fighter, Darach Grant has only one goal in mind: to defend his kin's land from the impending siege of a hostile clan. The last thing he needs is the delicious distraction of Janet Buchanan-the only woman who can stir his ire as deeply as she warms his blood. But Janet's intended will stop at nothing to claim her,     forcing Darach to choose between surrendering his honor . . . or his heart.

The Prince Who Love Me by Karen Hawkins... Romance sizzles in this Cinderella story set in Scotland, the first in a sparkling new spinoff series from New York Times bestselling author Karen Hawkins. Prince Alexsey Romanovin enjoys his carefree life, flirting—and more—with every lovely lady who crosses his path. But when the interfering Duchess Natasha decides it’s time for her grandson to wed, Alexsey finds himself in Scotland, determined to foil her plans. Brainy, bookish, and bespectacled, Bronwyn Murdoch seems the perfect answer—she isn’t at all to the Duchess’s taste. Living at the beck and call of her ambitious stepmother and social butterfly stepsisters, Bronwyn has little time for a handsome flirt—no matter how intoxicating his kisses are. After all, no spoiled, arrogant prince would be seriously interested in a firm-minded female like herself. So…wouldn’t it be fun to turn his “game” upside down and prove that an ordinary woman can bring a prince to his knees…

Alanna by Katherine Bittner Roth... 
Wolf caught the faint scent of cinnabar and roses.
The girl turned her head and stared boldly at him, her cool demeanor at odds with the fire in her look. And then her lips parted, as if she needed more air. A punch of lust hit Wolf's groin.
There was pure sin in his startling blue eyes.
The moment hung suspended between them, and then expanded as his feral gaze held hers. Stranger? Not to Alanna. He went by the name of Wolf, and he was a legend in these parts, known from San Francisco to Boston as a relentless tracker of lost persons. His quest to find his mother's killer would lead him to Alanna...and his destiny.
In his arms, she would never be lost again. . .

Moonlight Raider by Amanda Scott... 
Border lord Walter Scott of Rankilburn, grief-stricken after burying his father, goes to the forest seeking solace. Instead he finds a half-naked young lady fleeing pursuit. Wat offers his protection, but honor demands that he return the golden-eyed beauty to her rightful husband-even though the last thing he wants is to see her in another man's arms.

Molly Cockburn has fled her home, family, and the brutal scoundrel she was forced to wed. Her pursuers are closing in when the powerful new Lord of Rankilburn bravely intervenes, then promises to help prove her marriage unlawful. Though fiercely loyal to her family, Molly fears they might harm the man she is coming to love, and now she must decide whether to remain faithful to her blood . . . or to her heart.

Just in Time For Christmas by Kim Boykin... Nobody does Christmas like Miranda Hamilton, and now that she finally has her chance to chair Magnolia Bay's tree lighting and the cotillion, which benefits her late mother’s breast cancer foundation, this Christmas is shaping up to be the best ever. That is until her childhood nemesis Logan Mauldin buys his way on her committee and starts making plans of his own. 

Logan Mauldin loves to get under Miranda's very sexy skin, and it's only fair. She's been getting under his since long before their first kiss at 13. Logan’s the last man interested in co-chairing a Christmas committee or participating in a sexy bachelor auction, but since that night he interrupted Miranda on a date and cornered her under the mistletoe, he can't stop thinking about her. Or vying for her attention and bugging the hell out of her.

Christmas cheer isn’t the only thing that heats up between the Miranda and Logan, but, thanks to a lie that is as much her fault as it is his, he loses the woman he’s loved since forever. Logan will need a Christmas miracle for Miranda to forgive him. A grand gesture to melt her heart and win her back just in time for Christmas.

Year Round Slow Cooker: 100 Favorite Recipes for Every Season by Dina Cheney...
Make more than stew in your slow cooker! Year-Round Slow Cooker gives you an eye-opening look at 100 amazing recipes you can make in this handy device. See how the crock pot you depend on for chilly-weather soups and stews is so much more versatile than you may think.

25 innovative recipes for each season. Author and cooking teacher Dina Cheney taps into the growing trend for eating fresh and uses her know-how to make it easy for the home cook. She has developed 25 slow-cooker recipes for each season that feature fresh, seasonal ingredients. Along with classics like corned beef and cabbage, you can also enjoy summer Greek-style brisket, peach and apricot bread pudding, Asian-style short ribs, and more. Get the most from your slow cooker. With Year-Round Slow Cooker you can simplify meal prep, prepare make-ahead dishes, and eat fresh from January to December.

I am so excited to have my eReader filled with these wonderful books! Thank you to all the publishers. Look for my reviews on all these books coming soon... 

my read shelf:
Suzanne's book recommendations, favorite quotes, book clubs, book trivia, book lists (read shelf)

Book & Blogs