Sunday, February 28, 2010

Book Review-The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham

The Stolen Crown by Susan Higginbotham
Sourcebooks 2010

I received this book for free from the publisher to review for the blog.

The Stolen Crown is the story of Richard III and how he became King of England. The book is told from the perspective of Katherine Woodville and her husband, Harry Stafford-the Duke and Duchess of Buckingham. The chapters alternate between the two telling their story and the events that occurred during this time period. The story is filled with intrigue and most of all, the quest for power.

I did not know anything about the Woodville family and loved reading about their part in the making of Kings. The book starts with a family tree so that the reader can become familiar with the characters that will appear. However, I did find the writing a bit confusing at times. I had to pay close attention in order to get all that was going on with the many characters and often had to re-read pages to take it all in. However, it was worth it and I would recommend this book to anyone that is interested in British royalty.

Thursday, February 25, 2010

Book Giveaway-Just Let Me Lie Down by Kristin van Ogtrop

I have three copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your best mommy tip. Be sure and leave an email so I can contact you. This is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 18.

Kristin van Ogtrop knows she's lucky--fulfilling career, great husband, three healthy kids, and, depending on the hamster count, an impressive roster of pets. She also knows she is tired. Always.

Using stories and insights from her own life, she provides a lexicon for the half-insane working mom. Anyone who has left a meeting to race to the Halloween parade immediately understands van Ogtrop's definition of "Kill the messenger" as "The action you must take in order to forget about the office for a time--that is, to remove your Blackberry/Treo/iPhone/whatever from your person and store it as far away as your neurotic self will allow." Filled with essays, lists, and resonant observations, JUST LET ME LIE DOWN establishes van Ogtrop as the Erma Bombeck of the new millennium.

About the Author
Kristin van Ogtrop is the editor of Real Simple magazine and has held positions at Glamour, Vogue, Travel & Leisure, and Premiere. She
lives outside New York City with her family.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Book Giveaway-The 3-Day Cleanse by Zoe Sakoutis and Erica Huss

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below about your favorite weight loss/cleanse tip. Be sure to leave an email so I can contact you if you win. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chose on March 27.

Celebrities, foodies, and media people rely on the Blueprint Cleanse for relief from the excess, overindulgence, and toxins we are all exposed to every day. Now, the founders of the cleanse praised in Elle, Vogue, and Every Day with Rachel Ray, offer THE 3-DAY CLEANSE, an at-home juice cleansing program for everyone.

Cleansing allows the digestive system to rest so you can rid yourself of the toxins everyone accumulates, whether from unhealthy eating or simply from our environment. The 3-DAY CLEANSE offers a customized program based on your own personal health and lifestyle. Unlike other cleanses, the Blueprint Cleanse includes sufficient calories and natural fats, making for an easier yet incredibly effective cleanse.

This books guides readers through step-by-step guidelines for a 1-day, 3-day, and 14-day cleanse, as well as a long-term maintenance plan. Throughout are sidebars, quick tips, secrets and advice from people who have successfully done the cleanse. In addition to the juice, raw, and partially-raw food recipes in the book, the authors include advice on battling the urge to cheat and working the cleanse into a busy lifestyle.

Prepare to boost your immune system, alleviate allergies and PMS, improve your mood and sex drive, and clear up your skin. Finally, the juice service adored by many is available for you to create in your own home!

Saturday, February 20, 2010

Book Giveaway-Mommy Power: Discovering your Mommy Strength by Sheila Schuller Coleman

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 28.

Many women struggle with being mothers. The great joys of parenting are hindered by harsh self-doubt and a chronic lack of physical and emotional energy. In MOMMY POWER, Sheila Schuller Coleman helps women understand that while they really don't have the power or strength to handle the demands of motherhood alone, they don't have to. Mommy strength, Sheila says, comes from asking God to lend some of His, knowing He will never fail to provide. God will enable anyone who asks to become a powerful mother who loves strong, forgives strong, and models a strong faith.

Book Giveaway-Heart of My Heart:365 Reflections on the Magnitude and Meaning of Motherhood A Devotional by Kristin Armstrong

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment and your email address to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. The winners will be chosen on March 31.

Whether God is using Kristin to raise children or the children to grow Kristin, He is present in every moment and every page. This warm, real, and insightful devotional celebrates the journey of growth mothers take with their children. Since their births, Kristin realized she has "discovered more about myself and my God in the pursuit of discovering my children." Each entry in this 365-day devotional contains a Bible verse and a personal reflection from Kristin. It is on this intimate, daily walk that mothers can gain the courage to rely on God and emerge as a better woman.

Book Giveaway-Eat The Cookie Buy The Shoes by Joyce Meyer

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below about how what you like to indulge in. Be sure to leave an email address so I can contact you. This contest is open for US and Canda but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 30.

Engrained in our culture is the belief that unbending discipline is the only sure way to success. You must go to the gym five times a week, never order the dessert, and don't even think about buying that dress you keep staring at in the store window. Breaking from such a regimented lifestyle is a sign of weakness, right? Wrong!-and Joyce wants to tell us why...

Though setting rules in our lives are important, it's just as important that we break them from time-to-time. Structure is a powerful tool, but when diverging from your own goals is seen as catastrophic, it can have a hugely negative effect on us. Balance is a core value in life and every once in awhile we deserve to indulge in a guilty pleasure or two. So don't feel bad about straying from your goals every once-in-awhile and in fact, embrace it: eat the cookie and buy the shoes!

Book Giveaway-Green Like God: Unlocking the Divine Plan for our Planet by Jonathan Merritt

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada only but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 13.

In GREEN LIKE GOD, Jonathan Merritt gently and insightfully observes that the bible has a lot to say about environmental problems like unclean water, material waste, over consumption, air pollution, and global warming. In fact, Jonathan writes that "in the book of Genesis, God went green and never looked back." Relying heavily on scripture, Jonathan gives the case for green living, but not because it's trendy and hip. Rather, it's part of living rightly as a believer. It's an act of obedience to our Creator-God.

GREEN LIKE GOD is at once practical, prescriptive, and conversational in tone. The author looks at a number of trends with tips to help the reader wade into the world of creation care living. An appendix includes suggestions of things we can do. In addition, the book includes interviews with everyday Christians to tell the story of the journey to environmental stewardship among people of faith.

This is the book that Christians are longing for and need today. Written for a new generation of Christians who are struggling with how to deal with the important issue of creation-care and green living, GREEN LIKE GOD is both highly relevant and theologically sound. It will have a profound impact on how Christians live and interact with the world today.

Book Giveaway-The Language God Talks by Herman Wouk

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada only but no PO Box addresses. The winners will be chosen on March 26.

"More years ago than I care to reckon up, I met Richard Feynman." So begins THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS, Herman Wouk's gem on navigating the divide between science and religion. In one rich, compact volume, Wouk draws on stories from his life as well as on key events from the 20th century to address the eternal questions of why we are here, what purpose faith serves, and how scientific fact fits into the picture. He relates wonderful conversations he's had with scientists such as Feynman, Murray Gell-Mann, Freeman Dyson, and Steven Weinberg, and brings to life such pivotal moments as the 1969 moon landing and the Challenger disaster. Brilliantly written, THE LANGUAGE GOD TALKS is a scintillating and lively investigation and a worthy addition to the literature.

Book Giveaway-Should We Fire God? by Jim Pace

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 20.

When the worst school shooting in history occurred, Pastor Jim Pace, a Virginia Tech alumnus, was front and center. Media, students, church members, and strangers asked him the same question: If God is loving, why doesn't He stop disasters before they start? SHOULD WE FIRE GOD is Jim's thoughtful, reasoned response to the idea that God isn't doing His job very well. In conversational, nonpreachy prose, Jim explains why God allows pain and devastation to occur--and what the consequences would be if He didn't. And he leads readers to question: if we fire God--who takes His place--woefully imperfect humans? Jim uses real-life examples and his own battles with faith to develop readers' understanding of God, His true role in their lives, what they should do with doubt and fear, and what He feels when we ache. Richly informative and comforting, SHOULD WE FIRE GOD is a must-read for seekers everywhere.

Book Giveaway-The Art of Choosing by Sheena Iyengar

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. The winner will be chosen on March 25.


An Apple Store customer asks for the latest iPhone in black but suddenly changes his preference to white when he sees the choices others are making. A resident of a former communist country is offered a fizzy drink from a wide selection but picks at random; soda is soda, he says. Though the child knows she shouldn't press the big red button (absolutely not!), she finds her hand inching forward. A young man and woman decide to marry -- knowing that the first time they meet will be on their wedding day.

How did these people make their choices? How do any of us make ours? Choice is a powerful tool to define ourselves and mold our lives -- but what do we know about the wants, motivations, biases, and influences that aid or hinder our endeavors?

In The Art of Choosing, Columbia University professor Sheena Iyengar, a leading expert on choice, sets herself the Herculean task of helping us become better choosers. She asks fascinating questions: Is the desire for choice innate or created by culture? Why do we sometimes choose against our best interests? How much control do we really have over what we choose? Ultimately, she offers unexpected and profound answers, drawn from her award-winning, discipline-spanning research.

Here you'll learn about the complex relationship between choice and freedom, and why one doesn't always go with the other. You?ll see that too much choice can overwhelm us, leading to unpleasant experiences, from "TiVo guilt" over unwatched TV programs to confusion over health insurance plans. Perhaps most important, you'll discover how our choices -- both mundane and momentous -- are shaped by many different forces, visible and invisible. This remarkable book illuminates the joys and challenges of choosing, showing us how we build our lives, one choice at a time.

Book Giveaway-The Undervalued Self by Elaine Aron

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. The winner will be chosen on March 19.

Elaine Aron follows up her bestsellers on the highly sensitive person with a groundbreaking new book on the undervalued self. She explains that self-esteem results from having a healthy balance of love and power in our lives. Readers will learn to incorporate love into situations that seem to require power and deal with power struggles that mask themselves as issues of love. From the bedroom to the boardroom, her strategies will enable us to escape feelings of shame, defeat, and depression; dissolve relationship hostility; and become our best selves.

Book Giveaway-Slip of the Knife by Denise Mina

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. The winner will be chosen on March 10.

Paddy Meehan is no stranger to murder--as a reporter she lives at crime scenes--but nothing has prepared her for this visit from the police. Her former boyfriend and fellow journalist Terry Patterson has been found hooded and shot through the head. Paddy knows she will be of little help--she had not seen Terry in more than six months. So she is bewildered to learn that in his will he has left her his house and several suitcases full of notes. Drawn into a maze of secrets and lies, Paddy begins making connections to Terry's murder that no one else has seen, and soon finds herself trapped in the most important--and dangerous--story of her career.

AudioBook Giveaway-Worst Case by James Patterson

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 4.

One by one, children of New York's wealthiest are taken hostage. But the criminal doesn't crave money or power--he only wants to ask the elite if they know the price others pay for their luxurious lifestyles. And, if they don't, he corrects their ignorance--by killing them.

To Detective Michael Bennett, it becomes clear that these murders are linked and must be part of a greater, more public demonstration. With the city thrown into chaos, he is forced to team up with FBI agent Emily Parker, and the two set out to capture the killer before he begins his most public lesson yet--a deadly message for the entire city to witness.

From the bestselling author who brought you the Alex Cross novels comes James Patterson's most action-packed series yet. With the heart-pounding suspense that only Patterson delivers, WORST CASE will leave you gasping for breath until the very end.

Audiobook Giveaway-On The Brink by Henry M Paulson Jr.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address below to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on March 3.

When Hank Paulson, the former CEO of Goldman Sachs, was appointed in 2006 to become the nation's next Secretary of the Treasury, he knew that his move from Wall Street to Washington would be daunting and challenging.

But Paulson had no idea that a year later, he would find himself at the very epicenter of the world's most cataclysmic financial crisis since the Great Depression. Major institutions including Bear Stearns, Fannie Mae, Freddie Mac, Lehman Brothers, AIG, Merrill Lynch, and Citigroup, among others-all steeped in rich, longstanding tradition-literally teetered at the edge of collapse. Panic ensnared international markets. Worst of all, the credit crisis spread to all parts of the U.S. economy and grew more ominous with each passing day, destroying jobs across America and undermining the financial security millions of families had spent their lifetimes building.

This was truly a once-in-a-lifetime economic nightmare. Events no one had thought possible were happening in quick succession, and people all over the globe were terrified that the continuing downward spiral would bring unprecedented chaos. All eyes turned to the United States Treasury Secretary to avert the disaster.

This, then, is Hank Paulson's first-person account. From the man who was in the very middle of this perfect economic storm, ON THE BRINK is Paulson's fast-paced retelling of the key decisions that had to be made with lightning speed. Paulson puts the reader in the room for all the intense moments as he addressed urgent market conditions, weighed critical decisions, and debated policy and economic considerations with of all the notable players-including the CEOs of top Wall Street firms as well as Ben Bernanke, Timothy Geithner, Sheila Bair, Nancy Pelosi, Barney Frank, presidential candidates Barack Obama and John McCain, and then-President George W. Bush.

More than an account about numbers and credit risks gone bad, ON THE BRINK is an extraordinary story about people and politics-all brought together during the world's impending financial Armageddon.

Audiobook Giveaway-Black Hills by Dan Simmons

I have three copies to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. The winners will be chosen on March 2.

Paha Sapa, a young Sioux warrior, first encounters General George Armstrong Custer as Custer lies dying on the battlefield at Little Bighorn. He believes--as do the holy men of his tribe--that the legendary general's ghost entered him at that moment and will remain with him until Sapa convinces him to leave.

In BLACK HILLS, Dan Simmons weaves the stories of Paha Sapa and Custer together seamlessly, depicting a violent and tumultuous time in the history of Native Americans and the United States Army. Haunted by the voice of the general his people called "Long Hair," Paha Sapa lives a long life, driven by a dramatic vision he experiences in the Black Hills that are his tribe's homeland. As an explosives worker on the massive Mount Rushmore project, he may finally be rid of his ghosts--on the very day FDR comes to South Dakota to dedicate the Jefferson face.

Friday, February 12, 2010

Book Review-Truth: Next Exit by Michele Paiva

Truth: Next Exit by Michele Paiva
I received a free copy of this book from the author to review for this blog.

Michele Paiva has written this book as a no excuses scripture guide. Her idea is to focus on the whole person based on scripture. Paiva is interested in helping the reader become accountable for their past and make changes to improve their overall well being. Each reading is is divided into three parts: the first part being a scripture reading, the second with a series of questions, and the third with pages for journaling on our committment or to reflect upon the connection with the scripture. I particularly like the set up of the book as it isn't just a devotional with reading, but a book that really makes you think and become involved with each reading. The book is fairly short but the readings are in depth and can be revisited again and again for recharge.

Thursday, February 11, 2010

Giveaway-The Moon Looked Down by Dorothy Garlock

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. It is open to US and Canada only but no PO Box addresses. Please leave a comment with your email address. Winners will be chosen on March 17.

The new Americana romance from bestselling author Dorothy Garlock, this time set against the backdrop of WWII. Sophie Heller's family immigrated from Germany to Victory, a small town in Illinois, before WWII began. Now that the war has affected the town, the townspeople discriminate against Sophie and her family. When a train derails, it is an accident but the Heller family is blamed. Coming to Sophie's rescue is a teacher from the high school, and despite their cultural differences, a romance starts to bloom.

Sunday, February 7, 2010

Guest Post-Jay Slosar

Jay Slosar, author of "The Culture of Excess," has written a guest blog about his book to share here.

Digital Reality

The exploitation of their children by the balloon boy parents points out the changing reality of child development today. The parents wanted to be on a "reality" show. Reality is now defined within a technological and digital world of screen media, programmed for a new type of “success”. We become lost in this new reality and it takes over our judgment, decision making and behavior. And it starts early.
More than 80 percent of teens play online games. More than 50 percent download music and more than 75 percent get their news online. More than 40 percent have made purchases online. Multiplayer online games (MMORPGs), role-playing fantasy games in which players “connect” with others using fictional characters and adventures, are the rage. World of Warcraft (WoW), considered the most popular MMORPG, has 11 million subscribers worldwide. Countless other games are available with huge followings. The industry continues to grow, despite the economy, and in 2008 topped $21 billion dollars in sales.
James Cameron’s much awaited film, Avatar, is reported to cost about $300 million, and is described as so alluring you can’t tell what is real or what is animated. Experts have pointed out the addictive capacity of online computer games. But it is big business and that makes it a credible field of study. The University of California at Irvine has just announced a new major—an undergraduate degree in “game science”. This new major is offered despite dramatic cutbacks and tuition increases amidst California’s budget crisis. It is hard to understand how all this time spent in online virtual worlds and “gaming” cannot detract from our psychological development, a sense of who we are in relation to others and the world, and affect our external capacity for self-control.
These are issues I address in The Culture of Excess.

Saturday, February 6, 2010

Guest Blog Post-Jacqueline Luckett

Jacqueline Luckett, author of "Searching For Tina Turner," has graciously written a guest blog about her reading and writing life. Enjoy!

I’ve loved to read for as long as I can remember. I can't imagine being without books; there’s always a book in my purse, my car and on my nightstand. I read while walking, in the grocery line, at a red light, in traffic and any other place I can catch a free minute. Like a snoopy neighbor or a peeking Tom, I read to catch a glimpse of someone else’s world, someone else’s problems. I read for the magic of words and for long, winding sentences filled with as much rhythm as a song. I can get stuck on sentences, reading them over and over for the feel of them, for their cadence and drama.

As a child I loved the library. To my child’s eye, the main branch of the Berkeley Public Library was huge, its glass doors massive. I have no recollection of how I got to the library, whether I walked or rode my bike or was dropped off by my parents. I do remember the countless times standing at the foot of the steps that led to the children’s room and the mounting excitement as I climbed to the second floor. The smell of aged books, a bit of must and mold, and perfumed librarians. The thrill of reaching the top of those stairs and seeing shelf after shelf filled with books, running my fingers over the titles, stacking books in my arms. I get the same feeling now when I step into a library or a bookstore. So many books, so little time.

And after reading all those books, I wrote a few stories of my own. My parents brought home supplies from their jobs: ball point pens, tablets, and connected sheets of perforated paper lined with sprocket holes, the kind that fed into teletype machines. It dawns on me now that that was their way of encouraging me. Sitting at our dining room table with pad and paper, pen poised high, I wrote— poems and stories, letters, lists, my name backwards and forwards, with left hand or right.

Reading holds not only pleasure, but teaches excellent lessons on craft. Writing has expanded my love of reading that started a long time ago. I didn't write for years, but I never stopped reading. Now, once again reading and writing have convened at a marvelous junction, and I couldn’t be happier.