Wednesday, February 29, 2012

Cat Thursday - March 1st

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! This fun meme is hosted by The True Book Addict. Go over to her site to join in the fun.

Monday, February 27, 2012

Interview and Book Giveaway: Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier

Please join me in welcoming Karen White to Socrates’ Book Review Blog Socrates' Cozy Cafe.

Karen is a talented actress who narrates many popular audio books. Her latest is CHOCOLATE COVERED MURDER by Leslie Meier. This is part of the cozy mystery series “Lucy Stone Mysteries”. I’ve read the first books of this series and love it. Karen is nice enough to allow me to interview her and is graciously offering an audio book for a giveaway. Details about the audio book giveaway will follow the interview!

Welcome, Karen, and thank you for joining us. Get ready for the interview…

1) What made you decide to narrate audio books?

I am a lifelong lover of books -- and was that annoying child who volunteered to read aloud in class, couldn’t wait for the Scholastic Book Orders to show up, and spent most of my adolescence hiding inside every book about animals ever written. I discovered audiobooks right around when I got married, and being a narrator has really sustained me (artistically and financially) during my mom years. The schedule is flexible so I can be around for my kids, but I still get to disappear into my studio and act out all the parts!

2) What was your first audio book and how did it all happen?

I actually started working as an editor for Dove Audio in Beverly Hills. I really didn’t know what I was doing, but I figured it out, and it was a great way to learn what works and doesn’t in an audiobook performance. That led to working for Books-on-Tape as an assistant to the Producer of their LA studio, where I continued editing, ran casting sessions, directed books and then started narrating as well (once my boss figured out I was an actor!). I think the first book I did was a tell-all book about the Kennedy family. The main thing I remember was that I was just a few weeks pregnant (so it was still a secret) but that I was nauseous and dizzy on top of being nervous. Luckily, things got better after that.

3) Do you listen to audio books? Any favorites?

These days we listen to a lot of kids books as a family – on trips and in the house. I am a big fan of the author Wendy Mass and I love the way Kathleen McInerney narrates her books. We listened to the HARRY POTTER books so much I felt like Jim Dale was living with us. The very first audiobook I listened to was A WIDOW FOR ONE YEAR by John Irving, narrated by George Guidall. That was one that had me sitting in the car quite a few times! Brilliant book and narration.

4) Is there any special training involved with narrating audio books?

I think it’s invaluable to be a trained actor. You have to know your “instrument” to be able to sustain reading for hours at a time without hurting it, but also so that your voice is fully connected to and expressive of what’s going on in your imagination. Most of us disconnect from our voices as we go through adolescence for self-protection – so we don’t reveal too much of what we’re really feeling. Actors have to go through a lot to uncover all that hidden stuff! It’s also helpful to work with an experience audiobook director to be guided on everything from how to turn pages efficiently or how far from the mic you need to be, to more creative things like pace and character.

5) What process do you go through before recording the book begins? Do you need to read the book first?

I almost always read the book first, unless there’s a real rush. Otherwise, you can run into some ugly surprises, like finding out that someone is actually from Namibia when you’d assumed they were from Cleveland. I’m a bit of a detail freak, so I make lots and lots of notes on the characters when I do my “prep” read and I make an Excel spreadsheet of all the words I need to look up for pronunciations.

6) Do you choose which books to narrate and, if so, how do you make that choice?

Honestly, I say yes to pretty much everything. I have turned books if I felt I couldn’t do a good job (as in, all the characters are from England, even though the book is set on Mars !!??). Or if it is just out of control violent and/or sexual, I try to stay away from those.

7) Do you have any favorite audio books from the ones you narrated?

I still love animal books so I’m always begging for those (Jill Shalvis’ ANIMAL MAGNETISM series was fun for that reason – cute pets and cute guys) and I really love doing books set in the Southeast part of the country. My adult life I’ve lived all over, but I grew up in VA/KY/NC, and my family is all there, so that’s still home. Narrating a book set in NC especially, is like wearing a favorite old sweater. Cozy and warm. I have the second of a pair of books by Joanna Catherine Scott coming out soon, CHILD OF THE SOUTH, a historical fiction set around the Civil War in NC. They are beautiful books and I’m very proud of them.

8) Do you work with the author at all when recording their books?

I love to talk to authors when they can spare the time – often they can be really helpful with pronunciations – but mostly because I am a big fan and I’m in awe of what they do!

9) Do you perform in any other venues besides audio books?

I do the occasional commercial, and I did a short film a couple years ago, but mostly I’m a narrator and a mom for now – which I’m grateful for.

10) What plans do you have for the future? What audio books do we have to look forward to?

I hope to do more mysteries – I love the challenge of pacing and tone that they offer. And I’m so glad to have discovered the “cozy” mystery. Too much violence gives me nightmares and I love a down to earth heroine, so the cozies are just right for me! I’ve done two of Charlotte Hinger’s books LETHAL LINEAGE and DEADLY DESCENT. I think she’s got another in the series and I hope I’ll do that. I loved Leslie Meier’s characters – hope I’ll get to do more of hers as well. Cross your fingers…

If you'd like to listen to a sample of the book, click here.

Thank you so much, Karen!

And now for a chance to win your very own audio book of Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier...Just fill in the form below...

A few rules...

1. We must have a valid email address.
2. US residents only.
3. The contest runs from midnight, February 27th until midnight, March 6th.
4. Once a winner is randomly chosen, I will contact them by mail. If I don't get a response within 3 days, a new winner will be chosen.

For an extra entry...

1. Follow this blog, using Twitter, Google, or subscribe by email. (Specify how you follow.)
2. Post about this on your blog (leave a link for your post)
3. Post a comment telling us what your favorite audio book is.

Good luck everyone!

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Musing Mondays - Series Books

If you'd like to play along on Musing Mondays, just click the button above to join in.

This week’s musing asks…

• Do you read books that are part of a series?
• Do you collect all the books in the series before starting? What if the series is brand new, and the only book that’s been published so far is Book one? As subsequent books in the series are published, do you go back and re-read the preceding books?

My answer...

I love series books. I love getting to know the characters and feeling like I'm re-visiting old friends. So, yes, I read books that are part of a series.

I used to collect all the books in a series before starting to read it, but the series became longer and longer. It ended up that I collected all the books, but hadn't even read the first one. Staring at 10 or so books to read was kind of overwhelming. So, I no longer do that.

If the series is brand new, I will read the first book even if the others in a series haven't been released yet.

There have been times I've started reading books because I didn't realize they were part of a series. For instance, I read the first Stephanie Plum book when it was originally released. I didn't realize Janet Evanovich intended to continue the series each year. For the most part, I read the books as they were released. A few years ago I found so many other books that I haven't gone back to that particular series and I'm kind of behind but I'll get back to it.

I never re-read books. If it's been a long time between books for me, it makes it harder but I just don't have time for re-reads. Usually once I start the book, I remember what happened in previous books.

Overall, I really enjoy getting involved in a series and getting to know the characters.

Meme Animals: First World Cat Problems - Sleep the Pain Away

Sunday, February 26, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I finished...

I'm currently reading...


will start listening to...

What's next for me? I'm guessing one of these...

But, I might change my mind. Who knows with me? LOL

Have a great Monday!

Sunday Salon - February 26th

If you'd like to participate with The Sunday Salon, just click the button above.

I've had a busy week...we spent a few days in New York City doing the whole tourist thing and had a great time. We saw William Shatner's show on Broadway which was really good. Overall, a nice week even if it was a bit exhausting running all over the city and going to different museums.

I only read one book this week, Shiver by Jo Leigh.  A cute romance.  I haven't read a Harlequin in awhile, but needed something that was a light read.  Now I'm reading A Grand Murder by Stacy Verdick Case.  This is really good.  I'll be reviewing it and hosting a book giveaway for it next Sunday, March 4th.  So, stop by and win a copy for yourself.

This Monday, February 27th, I'll be hosting an interview with Karen White and audio book giveaway of Chocolate Covered Murder by Leslie Meier.  Karen White narrates this wonderful cozy series and has graciously agreed to an interview and to giveaway an audio version of the book.  Don't forget to drop by and read her interesting interview and enter for a chance to get this audio.  I will be reviewing it shortly.  I haven't listened to it yet, but this is part of the Lucy Stone Mysteries series.  I've read the first four books of this series and love it.

I have a few blog tours scheduled for March and April.  Things will be hopping at Socrates' Book Reviews.  Events will be listed in my sidebar.  I hope many of you can stop by.

Have a great week everyone!

Meme Animals: Captain Kitteh - Have Your Barf Bags at the Ready!

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Shiver by Jo Leigh (Harlequin Blaze)




Release date:
September 2010

Comic strip artist, Carrie Sawyer’s best friend drags her on an organized ghost hunting trip in Colorado. The inn is owned by Sam Crider, who is also a film-maker and extremely sexy. Carrie absolutely does not believe in ghosts and nearly ruins the trip for everyone by showing her disbelief, but she’s very much distracted by the handsome owner of Crider Inn. In fact, they can’t keep their hands off each other.

Carrie figures there’s nothing wrong with a vacation fling, but is that really all she wants with Sam? Carrie isn’t sure what she wants but she definitely wants to spend more time with Sam and he seems to feel the same way. She’s sure nothing could ever come of this relationship since she lives in Los Angeles and he’s on his way to New York, but she can’t turn off her feelings.

The sparks fly between Carrie and Sam throughout the book. This is a cute romance with a touch of the paranormal thrown into the mix. It’s a quick read and perfect to spend a few hours over the weekend reading.

For reading challenges:

Just for Fun Reading Challenge
Mount TBR Reading Challenge

Mount TBR Reading Challenge

I meant to post this a few weeks ago, but I'm just getting around to it now. I already signed up for it on Goodreads. This is the perfect challenge for me to help me get rid of some of the books that have been languishing on my TBR. It's hosted by Bev at My Reader's Block.

Challenge Levels

Pike's Peak: Read 12 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Vancouver: Read 25 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Ararat: Read 40 books from your TBR piles/s
Mt. Kilimanjaro: Read 50 books from your TBR pile/s
El Toro: Read 75 books from your TBR pile/s
Mt. Everest: Read 100+ books from your TBR pile/s

And the rules:
*Once you choose your challenge level, you are locked in for at least that many books. If you find that you're on a mountain-climbing roll and want to tackle a taller mountain, then you are certainly welcome to upgrade.

*Challenge runs from January 1 to December 31, 2012.

*You may sign up anytime from now until November 30th, 2012.

*Books must be owned by you prior to January 1, 2012. No ARCs (none), no library books. No rereads. [To clarify--based on a question raised--the intention is to reduce the stack of books that you have bought for yourself or received as presents {birthday, Christmas, "just because," etc.}. Audiobooks may count if they are yours and they are one of your primary sources of backlogged books.]

*Books may be used to count for other challenges as well.

*Feel free to submit your list in advance (as incentive to really get those books taken care of) or to tally them as you climb.

I'm going for the Pike's Peak Level...

1.  Shiver by Jo Leigh (Click for review.)

Book Giveaway Winner!

We have a winner! The winner of the ebook edition of Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland is.............


Congratulations, Carol! Thank you to everyone who entered!

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Book Giveaway Winner!

Thank you to all who participated in the giveaway!

The winner is...........

Ellie O.

Congrats to Ellie! I hope you enjoy this book as much as I did.

Monday, February 20, 2012

It's Monday! What Are You Reading?

This meme is hosted by Sheila at Book Journey.

It’s Monday! What Are You Reading is where we share what we read this past week, what we hope to read this week…. and anything in between! D This is a great way to plan out your reading week and see what others are currently reading as well… you never know where that next “must read” book will come from!

I've been on vacation for the last week - having a nice, relaxing trip in Cancun with my husband :) I managed to finish a couple of books...

I finished...

I'm currently reading...

Next up? I'm not sure, but it could be one of these...

But, I reserve the right to choose a different book to read next. I tend to be a moody reader. Luckily, having a wide selection to choose from is not a problem for me. LOL

Have a great Monday!

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Sunday Salon - February 19th

If you'd like to participate with The Sunday Salon, just click the button above.

It's crazy - I can't believe we're almost in March. Time is really speeding by. My reading isn't speeding by, though. I don't think I'm reading as much as I would like, but I'm enjoying everything I read so I guess that can't be a bad thing. I've always only read one book at a time, but right now, I'm reading two.

I'm currently reading a romance...

and a mystery...

I'm not a big fan of having more than one book going at a time (unless one is an audio), but I started reading Shiver on Valentine's Day since it's a romance but I didn't have much reading time this week so I'm only halfway through. I'm more in a mystery frame of mind so I decided to go ahead and start the next one on my list.

I watched a couple of movies this week, too. One is Straw Dogs which stars one of my favorite True Blood vampires, Alexander Skarsgård. It was a great suspense/ thriller type of movie. As usual with these types of movies there were quite a few "cringe worthy" moments, but I still thought it was great.

Also saw Dolphin's Tale which was very touching. The last movie was Rise of the Planet of the Apes. I didn't expect it to be good, but I thought it was. Three good movies in a row...I'm on a roll.

A TV show I'm really liking these days is A Gifted Man with Patrick Wilson. It's about a successful surgeon who is being followed by his dead ex-wife. Only he can see and talk to her. It's really a great show.

I'm off to catch up on my reading and TV shows (before my TiVo explodes with all the shows I've been saving to watch.) I hope everyone has a great week!

Don't forget to enter my two book giveaways - click the covers in my sidebar!!!

funny pictures - SUNDAY
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Friday, February 17, 2012

The Friday 56

This is a fun meme to do hosted by Freda's Voice. If you'd like to join on the fun go to The Friday 56.

*Grab a book, any book.
*Turn to page 56.
*Find any sentence that grabs you.
*Post it.
*Link it here.

It's that simple.

This week I'm reading...

This is from page 56 of the ebook version...

"Right. As much as I'm fond of the inn, it's not my life." He lowered his voice further. "I'm selling it."


"Shhh." He leaned closer. "Uh, that's supposed to be a secret."

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Blog Tour: Hot Chocolate by Dawn Greenfield Ireland (Review and Book Giveaway!)

Cozy Mystery

Artistic Origins, Inc.


Release Date:
October 2011

The Story...

Madge, Dorothea and Lila Mae Alcott are middle-aged sisters who are heiresses to the Alcott Chocolate empire. When Dorothea can no longer care for their 92 year-old father, the sisters decide to fire his nurse, Bambi, and place him in an assisted living care facility where he can get all the care he needs.

Bambi Chaline is a blonde bombshell who worked for the Alcott’s for years and is more than happy when they give her a severance package along with excellent references. However, her husband, Jimmy Ray, isn’t quite so happy and hires a lawyer on behalf of his wife. Their lawyer files a lawsuit against the Alcotts for wrongful termination. Jimmy Ray smells a huge settlement, while Bambi is dismayed by the case.

Jimmy Ray is livid when the court throws the case out, but Bambi isn’t upset at all. As the Alcotts celebrate their success, Jimmy Ray doesn’t return home from his bowling alley. The Alcotts become the prime suspect in his disappearance.

My Review...

It was a nice change of pace to have characters in their 50’s. Sometimes I want to read about people closer to my own age then characters in their 20’s. I tend to be able to better identify with older characters. Plus, it made me feel as if I was reading a humorous Agatha Christie book.

I never read anything by Dawn Greenfield Ireland before, but she definitely knows how to write mysteries the way I like them. The story is filled with twists, turns and eccentric characters that are essential in writing a cozy mystery. It’s fast-paced and keeps the readers on their toes. There are also some giggles and a dash of romance thrown into the mix. At the end, she includes some yummy recipes that are featured in the book. Suddenly I’m in desperate need of a hot chocolate with some marshmallow fluff.

This book is delicious!

FTC Disclosure: The author provided me with a copy of this book to review for the blog tour. This did not influence my thoughts and opinions in any way. All opinions expressed are my own.


Would you like to win a copy of this book for your very own? Dawn Greenfield Ireland is providing one ebook copy of her book (International participants included!)

All you have to do is add a comment to this post with this info:

1) A valid email address.
2) The format of the ebook you prefer.
3) For one extra entry - What is your favorite type of chocolate?

That's it! Really easy. The giveaway will end on February 24th at midnight, est.

Check out the next stops on the tour...

Cheryl’s Book NookFeb. 16 Interview
Cheryl’s Book NookFeb. 17 Review
Books & Beyond Feb 20 Review
Books & Beyond Feb. 21 Interview and Giveaway
WV StitcherFeb. 22Review
Curling Up By The Fire Feb 23 Review
Curling Up By The Fire Feb. 24 Author Guest Post and Giveaway
Book Loving MommyFeb 27 Review
Book Loving MommyFeb. 28 Author Guest Post
To Read, Perchance to Dream Feb 28 Review
To Read, Perchance to Dream Feb. 29 Interview and Giveaway

For Reading Challenges:

A To Z Reading Challenge
2012 ARC Reading Challenge
Where are you reading? challenge
2012 EBook Reading Challenge
Cruisin' Through the Cozies Reading Challenge
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Booking Through Thursday - Fan Fiction

If you'd like to join in on Booking Through Thursday, just click the button above.

This week's question...

A while ago, I interviewed my readers for a change, and my final question was, “What question have I NOT asked at BTT that you’d love me to ask?” I got some great responses and will be picking out some of the questions from time to time to ask the rest of you. Like now.

Pepca asks
Have you every written any fan-fiction? If yes, why and for which book(s)? If no, would you like to and for which books(s)?

For that matter, do you ever READ fan-fiction??

My answer...

Many years ago I wrote some fan fiction. Not for any books, but for the soap Days of Our Lives. I used to have fun writing the show the way I wanted it to be. LOL Then I stopped watching regularly (only watch occasionally now) and lost interest in writing fan fiction.

I used to read the other fans' fan fiction for Days of Our Lives too. Now, I have too many books and other interests, so I have no time or interest in that anymore.

funny pictures of cats with captions
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Cat Thursday - February 16th

Welcome to the weekly meme that celebrates the wonders and sometime hilarity of cats! Join us by posting a favorite LOL cat pic you may have come across, famous cat art or even share with us pics of your own beloved cat(s). It's all for the love of cats! Enjoy! This fun meme is hosted by The True Book Addict. Go over to her site to join in the fun.

Funny Pictures - Hipster Kitty
see more Lolcats and funny pictures, and check out our Socially Awkward Penguin lolz!

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Little Shop of Homicide by Denise Swanson (Book Giveaway and Review!)

Cozy Mystery

Obsidian (a division of Penguin Group (USA) Inc.)


Release Date:
March 2012

Devereaux Sinclair makes a few life-changing decisions. She quits her city job, after a huge scandal rocks her company, moves back to her small hometown in Missouri, Shadow Bend, and buys an old fashioned five-and-dime store. Dev is quite happy until her ex-boyfriend’s fiancé, Joelle, turns up dead. The murder weapon just happens to be items Dev used in a gift basket that Joelle purchased, making Dev the number one suspect.

With her father already serving time in prison, Dev has no desire to join him there. She’s just begun a new life in Shadow Bend and everything was going along so well. She, also, is the only one who can take care of her grandmother. Determined to clear her name, Dev seeks the help of her best friends Poppy and Boone to find out who the real killer is. Not to mention the handsome U.S. Marshall, Jake Del Vecchio, who just arrived in town willing to assist in the search.

There is, also, a secondary mystery which looks to be drawn through this series. Dev’s father is in prison for a crime he insists he didn’t do and intends to prove his innocence. It will be interesting to see what direction this goes.

One of my favorite things about this series is that it’s set in an old-fashioned five-and-dime store which made me feel very nostalgic.

Sometimes it takes awhile to get used to characters in a brand new series, but I didn’t find that with this book. By the end of the book, I felt as if I knew the main characters very well. The mystery had me going in several directions – choosing the wrong culprit every time. LOL

This is a fast-paced mystery with quite a bit of romance thrown into the mix. Toss in Dev’s matchmaking grandmother and readers have a great adventure in store for them.

Disclosure: A review copy was provided by the publisher in exchange for my honest review. All opinions are my own.

Obsidian has given me the opportunity to give away one copy of Little Shop of Homicide.  Just a few rules...

1)  Entrants must leave a valid email address.
2)  US residents only.
3) For an extra entry - follow this blog either through GFC or subscribe through email.
4) For another entry - tell us what type of store you would open if you had the chance
5) For an extra 2 entries blog about this contest on your blog.

Just fill out the form below to enter! Giveaway ends on February 22nd!

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For reading challenges:

2012 ARC Reading Challenge
Cruisin' thru the Cozies Reading Challenge
A to Z Reading Challenge
Merely Mystery Reading Challenge
Where are you reading challenge? (Missouri)