Monday, May 31, 2010

Book Review-Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

Title: Prospect Park West
Author: Amy Sohn
Publisher: Downtown Press, a division of Simon and Schuster
Published: May 2010
Pages: 379
Price: $15.00 US/$19.99 Canada

I received this book for free for an honest review.

Synopsis from the back book cover:
Brooklyn's famed Park Slope neighborhood has it all: majestic Prospect Park, acclaimed public schools, historic brownstones, and progressive values. Among bohemian bourgeois breeders, claiming a stake in Park Slope is a competitive sport.

In Amy Sohn's smart, sexy, satirical peek into the bedrooms and hearts of Prospect Park West, the lives of four women come together during one long, hot Brooklyn summer. Frustrated Oscar winning actress Melora Leigh, eager to relieve the pressures of raising her adopted toddler, feels the seductive pull of kleptomania; Rebecca Rose, missing her formerly robust sex life, begins a dangerous flirtation with a handsome neighborhood celebrity; Lizzie O'Donnell, a former lesbian (or hasbian), wonders what draws her to women despite her sexy husband and adorable baby; and Karen Bryan Shapiro consumes herself with a powerful obsession-snagging the ultimate three bedroom apartment in a well-maintained, P.S. 321 zoned co-op building. As the womens' paths intertwine (and sometimes collide), each must struggle to keep her man, her sanity...and her playdates.

About the Author:
Amy Sohn is the New York Times bestselling author of Run Catch Kiss, My Old Man, and Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell. She has been a columnist at New York magazine and has also written for The Nation, Harper's Bazaar, The New York Times, and Playboy. She lives in Brooklyn. Visit her website at

My review:
I have to admit that I almost stopped reading after the first few chapters but I thought, let me keep going to see how this turns out. I did finish the book but it wasn't one that resonates with me after I closed the cover. The characters seemed flat and I wasn't really drawn to any of them. A quote on the front of the book from Lauren Weisberger says, "Makes Desperate Housewives look like amateur hour." As I was reading, I can picture this book as a weekly television show and see it working, it just didn't seem to work in book form. There were several short chapters that I wondered why they had been included, as the character for that short chapter had not appeared prior and did not appear afterwards. It seemed a bit disjointed and random and felt it could have been edited better to take those parts out. The writing was mediocre and I felt it and the story could have been more developed. I am not discouraging others from trying this book, it just wasn't my cup of tea.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

June - New Releases

I thought I would start posting about book releases that are upcoming and am starting with June. It is hard to believe that June is here and as we gear up for great summer reading, here are some suggestions.

Saturday, May 29, 2010

Doorstep to Desktop

Another week of great books. I would love to hear what you received this week.

Bad to the Bone: Memoir of a Rebel Doggie Blogger by Bo Hoefinger

Dear Bob, Dear Betty by Elizabeth Catherine Wright

The Waste Land: An Entertainment by Simon Acland

Shades of Morning by Marlo Schalesky

Eat The Cookie Buy The Shoes Audiobook by Joyce Meyer

Thursday, May 27, 2010

Book Blog Tour-The Devlin Diary by Christi Phillips

From the Publisher:
From the bestselling author of The Rossetti Letter comes a “thrilling” (Library Journal) novel of intrigue, passion, and royal secrets that shifts tantalizingly between Restoration-era London and present-day Cambridge, England.

London, 1672. A vicious killer stalks the court of Charles II, inscribing the victims’ bodies with mysterious markings.Are the murders the random acts of a madman?Or the violent effects of a deeply hidden conspiracy?

Cambridge, 2008. Teaching history at Trinity College is Claire Donovan’s dream come true—until one of her colleagues is found dead on the banks of the River Cam. The only key to the professor’s unsolved murder is the seventeenth-century diary kept by his last research subject, Hannah Devlin, physician to the king’s mistress. Through the arcane collections of Cambridge’s most eminent libraries, Claire and fellow historian Andrew Kent follow the clues Hannah left behind, uncovering secrets of London’s dark past and Cambridge’s murky present and discovering that the events of three hundred years ago still have consequences today. . . .

Reading Group Guide:
1. What is your first impression of Claire Donovan? What did you think of Andrew Kent at the beginning of the novel? How did your feelings about these characters change throughout the story? What were major turning points for you?

2. The Devlin Diary has two major settings: the court of Charles II and present-day Trinity College, Cambridge. Each of these places has unique characteristics, yet they share a few similarities. How are these two communities similar and how are they different?

3. Claire Donovan and Hannah Devlin are both strong women in predominantly male cultures. How does each woman approach difficult or delicate situations throughout the book? Compare and contrast Claire's and Hannah's situations and personalities. Which female character did you relate to more? Why?

4. What motivates Hannah Devlin to step beyond the circumscribed role of a respectable woman in seventeenth-century London society? What does Hannah appear to sacrifice by flouting society's conventions?

5. Lord Arlington tells Hannah "You are a woman, after all" and Hannah thinks "A woman, after all. Something inferior to man is his implication - what all men imply when they speak of the 'weaker' sex, the 'gentler' sex, a woman's 'modesty'." (pages 253-254) Do you believe that either Claire or Hannah is a feminist? Why or why not? What does it mean to be a feminist?

6. Many of the characters in this novel harbor secrets from others and many characters are not entirely honest with themselves. Which characters in both the historical and contemporary stories seem straightforward and at ease with themselves and their desires?

7. Ralph Montagu and Edward Strathern , two very different male characters, are attracted to Hannah Devlin. Do the same aspects of Hannah's character attract each man? How did your opinion of each man change during the course of the novel?

8. What is the role of Theophilus Ravenscroft in the novel? Do you believe the author inserted him in the historical story merely to provide some comic relief? Does he have a counterpart in the contemporary story?

9. How is Colbert de Croissy, the French ambassador, different from the English courtiers at King Charles's court? What differences between French and English cultures during the late seventeenth-century do you infer from the novel?

10. How does the author use language and imagery to bring the characters to life? Did the novel's characters or style remind you of another novel in any way?

11. Several characters during the course of the novel seem to have ulterior motives or act oddly. "Odd is simply odd - anyone can see it. Or, at least, most people can see it, if they're paying attention." (page 264) Claire points out that Andrew Kent does not seem to have the ability to notice when someone is acting oddly. Do you believe that women have this innate ability more often then men?

12. Whose story is The Devlin Diary? If you had to pick one, is it Claire's story or is it Hannah's? Why? Who changes the most from the beginning to the end?

13. How did this book touch your life? Did it inspire you to do or learn something new?

Enhance Your Reading Group

1. To visit or learn more about the community in Cambridge visit:

2. During the reign of Charles II, theatres reopened after having been closed during the protectorship of Oliver Cromwell, Puritanism lost its momentum, and the bawdy "Restoration comedy" became a recognizable genre. In addition, women were allowed to perform on stage for the first time. Some notable plays which your group might enjoy reading include: Charles Sedley's The Mulberry-Garden (1668), George Villiers's The Rehearsal (1671), and John Dryden's Marriage-A-la-Mode (1672).

3. Author William Somerset Maugham once said, "To eat well in England, you should have breakfast three times a day." Nevertheless, your reading group might enjoy a traditional English Sunday roast. This meal includes roast potatoes accompanying a roasted joint of meat such as roast beef, lamb, or chicken and assorted vegetables, themselves generally roasted or boiled and served with gravy.

A Conversation with Christi Phillips

1. Authors often remark that they put a little bit of themselves into their characters. How strongly do you identify with each of your main characters? How are you different?

I do identify with my main characters. I learned something about the failures of medicine and the mysteries of the human body early on, when my oldest brother died from oral cancer at the tender age of twenty-two. Hannah is going through a dark, soul-searching period in her life, to which I can relate. Some of her experiences in the novel are taken directly from my life. Hannah is someone who isn't easily blown off the course she's set for herself, and I would say that is also true for me.

Claire and I share a number of traits; for instance, we're both studious and can spend hours reading and writing. But in a few fundamental ways she's quite different. She's less of a risk-taker than I am, and she is often uneasy around other people, which I rarely am, although at times I can feel awkward and shy, just like everyone else.

I never intended for Claire to be completely likable. I always imagined her as a bit obsessive and neurotic (not that there's anything wrong with that). Sometimes she's unaware of her own motivations, and she doesn't always know how to best negotiate the situations she's in. She's somewhat guileless and not terribly self-controlled. She herself would admit that she's a work-in-progress. To me, these negative attributes are quite common in life, if not fiction. Perfect characters have nothing to learn, and no place (in the dramatic sense) to go. They bore me.

In another way, however, Claire is a kind of alter-ego who allows me to do something I love doing -- historical research -- and to vicariously live out the fantasy of being an academic. Being almost entirely self-taught, academia -- especially the ivy-covered, hallowed-hall sort that Claire inhabits -- holds a real fascination for me. After visiting Trinity College and learning about its history degree program, I was convinced that if I had another life to live I would choose to spend it there, getting a doctorate in Early Modern History and spending the rest of my years cloistered in a cozy set. In spite of the many terrible (fictional) things that happen at Trinity College during the course of The Devlin Diary, I found it (and the people therein) absolutely charming. Cambridge is at least as lovely as I have described it. It's the ultimate college town, although residents of Oxford might disagree.

2. Why did you set the book in the place and time that you did?

The Restoration Era -- which begins in 1660 and ends in 1685, essentially the reign of Charles II -- can be thought of as the 1960s of the seventeenth century. Both eras ushered in sweeping social changes, a blossoming of creativity in the arts and sciences, and greater freedom for women. There was also lots of sex, drinking, drugs, and really, really bad behavior, which makes for great stories.

3. Your novel is tremendously engaging and can easily be read in one sitting. Claire and Hannah go through a whirlwind during the course of the book. Did you work on the book for a long time or finish it very quickly?

In the broad scheme of things, it didn't take long: a little over two years. But there were occasions when it felt like much longer. I have a (completely unproven) theory that the natural limit of the human attention span is nine months. Anything that takes longer than that really begins to feel like work.

4. How was writing this novel a different experience from writing your first book, The Rossetti Letter? What was harder about writing this novel? What was easier?

It was harder from the very beginning. I'd been researching a completely different idea for about six months when I discovered that a novel with a remarkably similar concept was being published, and I had to come up with a new idea. Eventually, when this other book came out, it was quite different than anything I would have written, but I think I made the right choice. Very soon after I began researching it, I felt that my new story was much more intriguing than my original idea.

There were some personal issues that also made The Devlin Diary more difficult. When I had completed about two-thirds of the novel, my father unexpectedly fell ill, and passed away about three weeks later. After he'd been in the hospital for ten days it was clear he wasn't going to pull through, and we took him home to my parents' house. My mother, brother, sister and I took care of him until he died. I found myself doing what Hannah had so often done: trying to ease the suffering of someone who is dying. It was almost as if by writing about such difficult subjects -- pain, death, and grief -- I had prepared myself for them in some way. But, of course, my father's death was devastating. I didn't begin writing again for at least two months. I couldn't.

It was a great lesson to me. Writing a novel is not just a mental exercise but an emotional journey. Fiction requires conviction, which arises in part from your intellectual belief in your story--but even more than that, I believe, this conviction springs from your emotional investment in your story. Fiction requires a big investment -- it simply won't ring true without it. This also helps to explain why writers are so sensitive about their work.

When your personal life is emotionally demanding, it can be difficult to enter the life of your novel. Fortunately my editor read the uncompleted manuscript and made many helpful suggestions. Following her notes, I was able to reenter the story, believe in it again, and find my way to the end.

5. Do you see your book as more of a mystery or a story about two strong women?

I don't put any labels on it. For me, it's a story about Claire and Andrew and Hannah and Edward and Ravenscroft and Montagu and Henriette-Anne.

6. The characters in your novels seem so vibrant - from your protagonists Hannah and Claire to minor characters such as Seamus Murphy and Mr. Pilford. How do you manage to breathe life into such a wide and varied group of characters?

For the historical characters, researching the period is crucial. The more research you do, the more you have to draw upon. Conflict is always key when it comes to character. Whether historical or modern, characters who "breathe" usually want something. They want it very much, and some sort of obstacle keeps them from getting it. From this conflict, all action arises -- and characters reveal themselves through their actions.

7. As you relate in your author's note, much of the book is centered on actual history. What was your research process like?

I started with general overviews of English history, so I could understand how the past lead up to the Restoration. Then I read books on the seventeenth century and the Restoration, and numerous biographies of the people of the time -- Charles II, Pepys, the Cabal (Charles's ministers), Thomas Sydenham, and many others -- and books on seventeenth-century medicine. For The Devlin Diary, I relied primarily on books aimed at a general reader -- popular works, not scholarly articles -- many of which are listed in the author's note. I also relied on reprints of seventeenth-century works: Aubrey's Lives, The Diary of Samuel Pepys, Culpeper's Herbal, The London Spy. I have found that anecdotal history is usually more helpful for creating stories and characters than, say, an academic treatise. To write an historical novel, it's essential to learn about the people: their occupations, their passions, their concerns, as well as what they wear, what they eat, what they admire, what they believe. Restoration London by Liza Picard and 1700: Scenes from London Life by Maureen Waller are two wonderful compilations of the revealing details of everyday life, and they were invaluable.

A sense of place is also very important to me. I went on a two-week research trip to London and Cambridge and toured the sites I would be writing about. I also went to the British Library where I could take a close look at some of the primary sources for the books I'd already read. In the Rare Manuscript room, I examined the Clifford Papers, which includes an early draft of the Secret Treaty and letters exchanged between Charles II and Louis XIV. They're considered so valuable that I was asked to sit at a desk where I could be seen by two librarians, and I was not allowed to leave them alone for any length of time.

I also visited museums for background information. The Old Operating Theatre in London was particularly helpful. It's this wonderful old attic decked out like an apothecary's garret, with alembics, jars of frog tails and bird beaks and so on, adjacent to a Victorian operating theatre. It's called a theatre because it actually is a theatre; it's a small amphitheatre made of wood, with stair-stepped bleachers overlooking the floor upon which stands only one item: the operating table. The table is not very big, about two-and-a-half feet wide by four feet long. It reminded me, rather nauseatingly, of a butcher block table: very thick wood with lots of knife marks in it. Next to the theatre is a lovely display of really gruesome antique surgical instruments.

8. Was it difficult to write the story in two different time periods? Which was easier to write?

The present-day is always easier to write, because I don't need to provide so many details -- I can assume that the reader has a basic understanding of the world in which Claire and Andrew live. In fact, if I wrote the modern sections with the same level of detail as the historical sections, people would find it redundant; for instance, if I write "automobile" I don't need to explain that it has four wheels.

9. How did you learn about all the herbs and medicinal substances Hannah uses in the novel?

Two of the first books I read were biographies of scientist and architect Robert Hooke, which included excerpts from his diaries. In them he recorded every ailment he ever suffered from and every medication that he experimented with. Of course none of these "medications" helped him at all, and some of them undoubtedly made him much worse. He was not at all unusual for his time. Many people -- intelligent men and women, who were otherwise quite sensible -- used many rather hideous substances that we now know have no curative power. My personal faves were "powdered stag's pizzle" and "the stinking fumes of a burnt horse's hoof."

I often consulted two reprints of seventeenth-century medical books: John Hall and his Patients by Joan Lane, and The Admirable Secrets of Physick & Chirurgery by Thomas Palmer, which contained numerous "recipes" and treatments.

10. Did you know how Hannah's story would end when you started writing the novel, or did her fate change as you got deeper into the story?

Even at the very start, when I first begin imaging a novel, I have a sense of how it will end. If I don't have this sense, I know that I don't have a story yet. For Hannah, I didn't know precisely what would happen to her at the end, but I did know the note I wanted to strike. I had an image or two and an accompanying emotion that I worked toward. I wanted it to be something that would linger, something not quite definable, that would make a reader turn back to the beginning of the book, or think about it a few days later.

11. Who is your ideal reader for the book? What do you hope your readers take away from your novel?

I'm the ideal reader. I write about what interests me, and hope that other people will be interested too. I hope people come away feeling that they've gone on a journey -- one filled with dramatic situations, memorable characters, and historical interest.

12. What authors do you enjoy reading?

A short list of my favorite historical authors:

Iain Pears
David Liss
Philip Kerr
Rose Tremain
Arturo Perez-Reverte
Sara Gruen

13. What books influenced you to become a writer?

The books I read as a child had the most influence. I couldn't imagine anything better than being a writer. Still can't.

14. Do you have plans for your next book?

Yes, I'm already working on it. My next novel will be set entirely in the past, in seventeenth-century France.

About the Author:
Christi Phillips is the author of The Rossetti Letter, which has been translated into six foreign languages. Her research combines a few of her favorite things: old books, libraries, and travel. When she’s not rummaging around in an archive or exploring the historic heart of a European city, she lives with her husband in the San Francisco Bay Area, where she is at work on her next novel, set in France. Visit

Author Appearances:

June 22
2316 Montgomery Drive
Santa Rosa,CA

July 28
51 Tamal Vista Blvd.
Corte Madera,CA

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

Book Feature-A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

From the Publisher:
Margaret and Patrick have been married just a few months when they set off on what they hope will be a great adventure-a year living in Kenya. Margaret quickly realizes there is a great deal she doesn't know about the complex mores of her new home, and about her own husband.

A British couple invites the newlyweds to join on a climbing expedition to Mount Kenya, and they eagerly agree. But during their harrowing ascent, a horrific accident occurs. In the aftermath of the tragedy, Margaret struggles to understand what happened on the mountain and how these events have transformed her and her marriage, perhaps forever.

A Change in Altitude illuminates the inner landscape of a couple, the irrevocable impact of tragedy, and the elusive nature of forgiveness. With stunning language and striking emotional intensity, Anita Shreve transports us to the exotic panoramas of Africa and into the core of our most intimate relationships.

Reading Group Guide:
1. How would you interpret the novel’s title? Does the concept of altitude have significance in the story beyond its literal meaning?

2. During the drive to Mt. Kenya, Margaret and Patrick talk about whether photography detaches you from the present or helps you immerse yourself in it more fully (75). In your own life, do you find that taking photographs enriches experiences or prevents you from being fully in the moment?

3. When Diana brings Adhiambo to stay with Patrick and Margaret for the night, they disagree about how best to deal with the situation. Margaret seems more concerned about Adhiambo’s emotional well-being, while Patrick focuses on her physical state. In what way do their differing perspectives reflect other aspects of their characters? Do you think Adhiambo would have been better off if Margaret and Patrick had taken her to the hospital that night?

4. Throughout the novel, Margaret is struck by the way Kenyan characters use the phrase “Just all right” (67, 189, 246, 303). How would you interpret the meaning of this phrase? Why is it so surprising to Margaret?

5. How culpable is Margaret in what happens on the mountain? To what extent does the blame fall on others involved in the climb? Should a person be held responsible for the unintended consequences of her actions (124)?

6. Is Patrick right to confront Margaret about what happened on the mountain? Margaret argues that if he loves her and intends to stay with her, he should not have told her his opinion, while Patrick believes it is most important to be honest (125). What do you think is most important in a relationship, total honesty or sensitivity to the other’s feelings?

7. Why do you think Margaret feels so strongly about taking the photograph of the leopard? Are there parallels between this action and Diana’s behavior on the glacier? Have you ever put yourself in danger because of a momentary impulse? What do you think motivates actions of this kind?

8. What is your definition of infidelity? Does Margaret’s relationship with Rafiq constitute unfaithfulness to Patrick? Is there such a thing as emotional infidelity or is only physical cheating really cheating?

9. How much of a marriage’s success or failure do you think can be attributed to the love between husband and wife, and how much to external factors, such as jobs, finances, location, and other people? Patrick says, “I think couples need projects to keep them together” (271). Is he correct that a couple must put in effort to make their marriage work?

10. If the accident on the mountain had never occurred, do you think Margaret and Patrick’s relationship would have evolved differently? Would anything more have happened between Arthur and Margaret? Between Rafiq and Margaret?

11. Imagine Margaret and Patrick thirty years after the end of A Change in Altitude, looking back on their life in Africa. How do you think each of them would describe the trajectory of their relationship during this time?

12. Describe your response to the novel’s ending. Did you find it sad? Uplifting? Did you feel that things had worked out for the best?
For more information, please see

About the Author:
ANITA SHREVE began writing fiction while working as a high school teacher. Although one of her first published stories, "Past the Island, Drifting," was awarded an O. Henry Prize in 1975, Shreve felt she couldn't make a living as a fiction writer so she became a journalist. She traveled to Africa, and spent three years in Kenya, writing articles that appeared in magazines such as Quest, US, and Newsweek. Back in the United States, she turned to raising her children and writing freelance articles for magazines. Shreve later expanded two of these articles — both published in the New York Times Magazine — into the nonfiction books Remaking Motherhood and Women Together, Women Alone. At the same time Shreve also began working on her first novel, Eden Close. With its publication in 1989, she gave up journalism for writing fiction full time, thrilled, as she says, with "the rush of freedom that I could make it up."

Since Eden Close Anita Shreve has written eleven other novels: Strange Fits of Passion, Where or When, Resistance, The Weight of Water, The Pilot's Wife, Fortune's Rocks, The Last Time They Met, Sea Glass, All He Ever Wanted, Light on Snow, A Wedding in December and, most recently, Body Surfing. In 1998 Shreve received the PEN/L. L. Winship Award and the New England Book Award for fiction.

Monday, May 24, 2010

Book Clubs

I would love to join a book club. I have searched online and locally in hopes of finding a group to join. I did go to a local library for a few sessions of their book club but it had been established for awhile and they didn't seem very receptive to new members. I then tried to start my own and it just seemed that we couldn't get everyone I had asked to join to meet up at a convenient time for all. So, I have been thinking about doing one online. I would post here on my blog about the selection and details and then we can set a time to meet in a chat to do the discussion. I would like to include all genres and the selections would be voted on. Would anyone be interested in joining? If you would, please leave a comment below.

Book Blog Tour and Giveaway-Montana Destiny by R.C. Ryan

From the Publisher:
They're the McCords...three rugged, sexy cowboy cousins who'll inherit the family range--if they seek the treasure hidden on it. But even more precious are the women who can tame their wild hearts...

Emergency medic Marilee Trainor likes her freedom and lives for trouble. But when she stumbles upon a clue to the legendary McCord gold, she 's suddenly in a mysterious killer's sights--and the arms of irresistible playboy Wyatt McCord. This McCord cousin has been everywhere, yet the ranch is the only place he feels at home. Now Marilee's courage and independence make him want to protect her, win her heart, and finally settle down. But trust is the one thing Wyatt and Marilee can't easily give. And their survival and everything they cherish depends on whether they can surrender to each other--to fight for their...

About the Author:
New York Times bestselling author R.C. Ryan has written more than ninety fiction novels, both contemporary and historical. Quite an accomplishment for someone who, after her fifth child started school, gave herself the gift of an hour a day to follow her dream to become a writer.

The Lost, an anthology of stories by J.D. Robb, Mary Blayney, Patricia Gaffney, and R.C. Ryan writing as Ruth Ryan Langan was published in Fall 2009. Ms. Ryan’s story, “The Legacy,” is an exciting tale of intrigue and other-worldly adventure.

In a career spanning more than twenty years, Ms. Ryan has given dozens of radio, television, and print interviews across the country and Canada, and has been quoted in such diverse publications as the Wall Street Journal and Cosmopolitan. She has also appeared on CNN News, as well as Good Morning America.

Author Appearances:
Saturday, June 12
Detroit Working Writers
Keynote Speaker
Grosse Pointe War Memorial
Grosse Pointe, Michigan
11:30 am to 3:30 pm

Free Goodies:
For free goodies (bookmarks, refrig. magnets, etc.) please send a stamped, self-addressed No. 10 envelope (4 1/8 X 9 1/2") to:

Ruth Ryan Langan
c/o 38321 Golfview Dr
Farmington Hills MI 48331

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please post a comment below with your email address. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners wil be chosen on May 31.

Sunday, May 23, 2010

Audio Book Giveaway-Live Long, Finish Strong by Gloria Copeland

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada but no Po Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on June 29.

by Gloria Copeland
read by Kate McIntyre

Gloria Copeland shares the Bible's and her own secrets to living a long, strong, fully satisfying life.

Audio Book Giveaway-War by Sebastian Junger

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on June 23.

WAR (Unabridged)
by Sebastian Junger
read by the author

Sebastian Junger takes readers inside a dangerous world few of us ever experience — chronicling a group of men in an extreme situation whose
survival depends on their absolute commitment to one another.

Audio Book Giveaway-Put On Your Crown by Queen Latifah

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on June 21.

PUT ON YOUR CROWN (Unabridged)
by Queen Latifah, Samantha Marshall
read by the author

Megastar Queen Latifah brings us a book of "lessons" from her past experiences that people of any age can learn from.

Audio Book Giveaway-Fever Dream by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email below to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on June 19.

FEVER DREAM (Abridged and Unabridged)
by Lincoln Child and Douglas Preston
read by Rene Auberjonois

Destined to be a fan favorite, this exciting new thriller from bestselling authors Douglas Preston and Lincoln Child features Agent Pendergast and tells the dark history of his murdered wife, Helen.

Audio Book Giveaway-Moment of Glory by John Feinstein

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on June 16.

MOMENT OF GLORY (Unabridged)
by John Feinstein
read by L. J. Ganser

America's favorite golf writer tells the story of the year Tiger Woods lost his swing and four unknowns dominated the

Audio Book Giveaway-Innocent by Scott Turow

I have 3 copies of this audio book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on June 15.

INNOCENT (Unabridged)
by Scott Turow
read by Edward Hermann

The sequel to the genre-defining, landmark bestseller PRESUMED INNOCENT, INNOCENT continues the story of Rusty Sabich and Tommy Molto
who are, once again, twenty years later, pitted against each other in a riveting psychological match after the mysterious death of Rusty's wife.

Saturday, May 22, 2010

Doorstep to Desktop

Here are the selections that I received this week for review and blog tours. I would love to hear what you got this week.

Shiva's Arms by Cheryl Snell

What's Really Hood by Wahida Clark, Victor Martin, Bonta, Shawn "Jihad" Trump, and LaShonda Teague

Hawk of May by Gillian Bradshaw

Red Rain by Tim Wendel

The Knight Life by Keith Knight

Book Review - 101 Things I Learned in Culinary School

Title: 101 Things I Learned in Culinary School
Author: Louis Eguaras with Matthew Frederick
Pages: 101
Publisher: Hachette Book Group
Date Published: May 2010
Price: $15.00 US/$18.00 Canada
I received a free copy of this book from the publisher to post my honest review here on the blog.

I am not sure what I expected of this book, but I enjoyed it. It was a quick, fun read that included tips for everything from buying cookware to how to cook certain food items to how the hierarchy in a restaurant works. Having worked in a restaurant years ago, parts of it made me laugh to hear the slang again. I would recommend this to anyone that that is a foodie or not, I think everyone will enjoy it.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Giveaway-Alibi by Teri Woods

I have 5 copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on June 24.

Two men think they've found the perfect opportunity--a chance to rob the stash house of Simon Shuller, one of Philadelphia's biggest drug lords. But their plans are spoiled when one of Shuller's men catches them as they break into the stash house. Temperatures flare as the men capture Shuller's worker, Poncho, and force him to show them the goods. What they didn't expect was for Poncho's partner to be armed and very dangerous. An altercation breaks out and when the smoke clears, Nard, Poncho's accomplice, is the only one left standing. Thinking quickly, Nard cleans shop and makes his escape, but not before being spotted by a few neighbors. Not wanting to kill anyone else, he makes a mad dash for the streets but wonders if the witnesses will give up his identity. What he needs now is a plausible alibi. If he doesn't come up with one fast, it could mean life in prison, or death on the streets.

1. Did you the reader think that Daisy should have given Nard the
alibi? Why?
2. Did she do the right thing by not testifying on his behalf ?
3. Do you think Daisy would be considered a snitch for not giving
the alibi?
4. What do you think happened to Reggie Carter?
5. Who do you think Daisy Mae Fothergill was pregnant by?
6. Do you think she should have kept the baby or do you agree with
her decision to have the abortion?
7. Do you think that she and Billy would have gotten married if
no one found her in Murfreesboro, Tennessee?
8. What would her mother have said if she were alive?
9. How many deaths were there related to the alibi in this book?
10. What should Daisy have done differently?
11. How can other young girls learn from her?

Giveaway-The Secrets of Newberry by Victor McGlothin

I have three copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email to enter. This contest is open to US and Canada but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on June 17.

For Ivory Bones Arcineaux and Julian Bynote, life in 1950s New Orleans couldn't be sweeter. Friends since they met in an illegal gambling house in Newberry, Louisiana, they have their pick of all the fine women, good food, and hot nights they can handle. They seem to have it made-especially Julian who begins to make a new life for himself after meeting the beautiful, classy Magnolia Garbo at a social. But both men are about to find out that letting the good times roll can be deadly when a simple robbery goes wrong and Julian witnesses Bones murdering a man in cold blood. The victim was a white city councilman with all the right connections-and if the two are discovered, it will mean the end to everything they've built together. With the New Orleans police hot on their trail, Julian must decide whether rolling in the fast lane is worth losing his freedom and his life.

Book Review: The Brothers of Gwynedd by Edith Pargeter

Danielle at Sourcebooks has come up with something that I love-a book club. The book club is made up of bloggers that will all read the same book and post reviews of it over the summer. The book selection was originally published in the 1970's as four separate novels and is now being republished as one novel broken up into four sections. The book club will read one section each month over the summer and post on their blogs what they thought of it. May is the first month for postings, so be sure to check back throughout the summer for each part. My review of part two will be posted on June 25 and be sure to check below after my review of part one to see the other participating blogs to get different perspectives on this book club selection.

Synopsis from the back cover of the book:
A Burning Desire For One Country, One Love, and One Legacy That Will Last Forever. Llewelyn, prince of Gwynedd, dreams of a Wales united against the English. But first he must combat enemies nearer home. His brothers vie with him for power among themselves, and their infighting threatens the very soil of their fathers. David, brought up in the English court of King Henry III and torn between two loyalties, may be Llewelyn's most dangerous foe-especially since Llewelyn has no sons. Simon de Montfort promises his daughter to Llewelyn, but the quest to give Wales an heir may not be enough to prevent tragedy for the country and the prince.

My review:
The book starts out with Samson, who has named himself the chronicler of Lord Llewlyn, setting the stage for what will take place throughout the entire book. I must say I was captured by the first paragraph and it tempted me to want more. In fact, I would like to share the first paragraph here.

"My name is Samson. I tell what I know, what I have seen with my own eyes and heard with my own ears. And if it should come to pass that I must tell also what I have not seen, that, too, shall be made plain, and how I came to know it so certainly that I tell it as though I had been present. And I say now that there is no man living has a better right to be my lord's chronicler, for there is none ever knew him better than I, and God He knows there is none, man or woman, ever loved him better."

I felt like I was sitting down next to Samson on the front porch; on a cool spring day and listening to his lifetime of adventures. I admit that the book was difficult at times in trying to keep all the details straight. But have you ever listened to someone tell you a story and they were so excited that you didn't quite catch it all or were confused about the details? That is the impression that I got from the writing in this section-the narrator seems to not be able to wait to let the reader know the story of Lord Llewelyn. I did have to re-read sections to make sure that I got it all but I was still caught up in the story and began to want to read on to find out what will happen. I think that some readers will stop reading this book early on due to the fact of having to pay such close attention to detail, as many read for fun and pleasure and don't want a book to make them work to get the story. Yet there is something there for me and although I did have to work at this one, I think at this point that it is worth the extra effort to read on. I am hoping you don't disappoint me Edith Pargeter!

Check out these blogs that are participating in the summer book club to get their thoughts on the book.

May 17 Reviews
The Burton Review
The Bibliophilic Book Blog
A Reader's Respite
History Undressed
Linda Banche Blog
A Hoyden's Look at Literature
Renee's Reads

May 18 Reviews
Between the Pages
The Broken Teepee
Books and Coffee
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
Tanzanite's Shelf and Stuff
Passages to the Past
The Book Faery
A Girl Walks Into a Bookstore
Martha's Bookshelf

May 19 Reviews
Beth Fish
Deb's Book Bag
Book Tumbling
A Work in Progress
Stiletto Storytime
Queen of Happy Endings

May 20 Reviews
The Literate Housewife
Reading Adventures
Books Like Breathing
Kailana's Written World
Confessions of a Muse in the Fog
Wendy's Minding Spot
Mrs. Q Book Addict
The Life and Lies of a Flying Inanimate Object
Starting Fresh

May 21 Reviews
Loving Heart Mommy
Peeking Between the Pages
Celtic Lady's Ramblings
One Literature Nut
The Book Tree
My Reading Room

May 23 Reviews
Carla Nayland's Blog

Thursday, May 20, 2010

Book Blog Tour-Prospect Park West by Amy Sohn

In PROSPECT PARK WEST (now in trade paperback), Amy Sohn, the New York Times bestselling author of My Old Man and Run Catch Kiss turns her satirical eye to the class—read: caste—system among that strange new species, the Brooklyn [Breeder] Bourgeois. Think the SEX & THE CITY girls go to the Park Slope Food Co-op.

Brooklyn’s famed Park Slope neighborhood has it all: sprawling, majestic Prospect Park; acclaimed public schools; historic brownstones; and progressive values. Among bohemian bourgeois breeders, claiming a stake in Park Slope has become a competitive sport. In the park, at the coffee shops, and the playgrounds of the neighborhood, four women’s lives come together during one long, hot Brooklyn summer. Melora Leigh, a two-time Oscar-winning actress, frustrated with her career and the pressures of raising her adoptive toddler, feels the seductive pull of kleptomania; Rebecca Rose, missing the robust sex life of her pre-motherhood days, begins a dangerous flirtation with a handsome neighborhood celebrity; Lizzie O’Donnell, a former lesbian (or “hasbian”), wonders why she is still drawn to women in spite of her sexy husband and adorable child; and Karen Bryan Shapiro finds herself split between two powerful obsessions: her four-year-old son’s well-being, and snagging the ultimate three-bedroom apartment in a well-maintained, P.S. 321-zoned co-op building. As the women’s paths intertwine (and sometimes collide), each must struggle to keep her man, her sanity … and her play dates.

From the perennially hot author and columnist Amy Sohn comes a smart, sexy, satirical peek into the bedrooms and hearts of Prospect Park West.

About the Author:
In 1995 Amy was graduated from Brown University, with Honors and magna cum laude, and was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa society. In 1996 she launched an autobiographical dating diary, “Female Trouble,” in New York Press, which elicited loads of bitter invective from readers and shamed her parents at cocktail parties. She followed her stint at New York Press with a column at the New York Post called “Amy Sohn on THERsdays” where she enraged management by comparing Mayor Giuliani to Hitler and writing an expose on the Yankees locker room. Her first novel, Run Catch Kiss, was published by Simon & Schuster in 1999. In 2000, Amy co-created, wrote and starred in a television show for Oxygen’s “X Chromosome” animated series entitled “Avenue Amy.” In August 2001 Amy landed at New York magazine, where she was a contributing editor for six years. At New York, her columns mirrored the trajectory of her life, from “Naked City” to “Mating” to “Breeding,” and then the columns stopped, as her life must have seemed to, although it did not.

In September 2004 her second novel, My Old Man, was published by Simon & Schuster. Prospect Park West, Run Catch Kiss and My Old Man have been or will be translated into ten languages.

In 2002 Amy wrote the bestselling companion guide to television’s “Sex and the City,” Sex and the City: Kiss and Tell (Pocket Books), which made her a New York Times bestselling author. In 2005 she wrote the companion guide to television’s “Desperate Housewives,” Desperate Housewives: Behind Closed Doors.

In 2008 she wrote the tie-in guide Sex and the City: The Movie, which was also a New York Times bestseller.

Amy has written two films, a Gen X Big Chill called Spin the Bottle, and a Gen X horror film called Pagans, which has been in post-production for six years but deserves to be released. She has also written television pilots for HBO, ABC, Fox, Lifetime and other networks.

She grew up in Brooklyn, where she still lives today. She has a brother, five years younger. She voted for Barack Obama and raised money for him. She thinks about Michelle’s relaxer. She wishes she could perform in the East Room someday. Her favorite writers are Laurie Colwin, Hilma Wolitzer, Charles Bukowski, Nathanael West, Susan Minot, Mary Gaitskill, and Bruce Jay Friedman. Her favorite films include Gregory’s Girl, The Landlord, and Together. She had her seventh birthday party at Kramer versus Kramer but not all the children were permitted by their parents to come. As a child she was taken to the films Heartland, Splash, Heart Like a Wheel, The Magical Mystery Tour, and Mr. Hulot’s Holiday and is glad about it. She thinks Wainwright elevates Apatow and not the other way around. She has strong biceps but weak abs. She is aware that her inspiration for this list was the Kevin Costner speech in Bull Durham. She has had sexual fantasies about Richard Ford and they were productive. If she could switch careers she would be a Broadway musical theater producer or a sommelier. She dresses to the left. She believes that when it comes to hair highlights, cheap is expensive. Her favorite joke is, “What’s the difference between a Jew and a Gentile? A Gentile leaves without saying goodbye and a Jew says goodbye without leaving.” She also enjoys a very tasteless Katharine Hepburn joke told to her by Jonathan Marc Sherman whose punchline is, “How do you turn it off?” Her favorite candy is York Peppermint Patties and she always has a knot in the same section of her hair when she wakes up. Her daughter’s hair knots in the same place too.

Tuesday, May 18, 2010

Book Blog Tour and Guest Post-Welcome to Harmony by Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas was so nice to include a guest post here for the blog readers.

WELCOME TO HARMONY will be on the stands in only a few days and I can’t wait. Once in a while a writer writes a book that is the kind of story they love to read and WELCOME TO HARMONY is that book for me.
Years ago I started writing hoping to make enough money to send my two sons to college. I really didn’t think it would become my career, but I dreamed it might. I’ve heard it said that writers either write the same book over and over or hone their skills with each book. This is book 29 and I think it is the best I’ve ever written.
Now, a little about WELCOME TO HARMONY.

I open my story with a sixteen year old character named Reagan. She catches a ride to the town of Harmony, not so much because she thinks there would be a place for her there, but because she wants to have a place like Harmony to say that she is from.
The fun part of the story is that she’s swept up in the town and becomes a part of it. She finds that home she’s been looking for all her life.
The characters walk through each others lives, changing, enriching and learning.
Come along with me to a town you’ll feel at home in that is loaded with characters you’ll love.

Welcome to Harmony,
Jodi Thomas

From the Publisher:
Sixteen-year-old runaway Reagan has always wanted a place to belong. She's never had a real home of her own, but maybe she can borrow someone else's. At least for a little while.

At the nursing home where Reagan works, Miss Beverly Truman's fond memories of Harmony, Texas, seem to fill an empty space inside the girl. After Miss Beverly passes away, Reagan travels to Harmony, pretending to be the woman's granddaughter, and is taken into the home of Beverly's surviving brother.

Still, Reagan is afraid to trust the ruff kindness shown to her by Jeremiah Truman and the warm friendship offered by another teenager named Noah, who dreams of being a rodeo star. She keeps her distance from Noah's sister, Alex McAllen, show's the town sheriff and busy with her own stormy relationship with volunteer fir chief Hank Matheson.

But when prairie fires threaten Harmony, Reagan learns the true meaning of family, friends, and home.

The second book in the Harmony trilogy, Somewhere Along the Way, is set to be released in November 2010, followed by the final book in 2011. While you are waiting for the next book, be sure and check out the book trailer for Welcome To Harmony.

About the Author:
A fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set the majority of her novels in her home state.

The stories Thomas has committed to paper have earned her an impressive list of distinguished awards. Her first book, BENEATH THE TEXAS SKY (1988), won the National Press Women's Novel of the Year in its category. Book two, NORTHERN STAR (1990), was named best novel by the (Texas) Panhandle Professional Writers and the Oklahoma Writers Federation, Inc., an organization of writers' groups from several states. Book three, THE TENDER TEXAN (1991), was Thomas's first national bestseller and won her the first of two Romance Writers of America RITA's, the $1.5 billion romance publishing industry's equivalent of an "Oscar." Book twelve, TO KISS A TEXAN (1999) was her first novel to score on the USA TODAY Best-selling Books list. For THE TEXAN'S WAGER (2002), sixteen was the magic number. As Thomas's sixteenth novel, the book scored number sixteen on the NEW YORK TIMES extended bestseller list. FINDING MARY BLAINE, (2004) received the National Readers' Choice Award in 2005. Thomas was inducted into the RWA Hall of Fame in 2006 for winning her third RITA for THE TEXAN'S REWARD (2005). She also won the National Readers' Choice for TWISTED CREEK (2008) and TALL, DARK, AND TEXAN (2008).

With a degree in Family Studies, Thomas is a marriage and family counselor by education, a background that enables her to write about family dynamics. Honored in 2002 as a Distinguished Alumni by Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Thomas enjoys interacting with students on the West Texas A & M University campus, where she currently serves as Writer In Residence.

"My door is usually open to students all morning," explains Thomas, who talks to the classes at the University and on other campuses during her many speaking engagements when not writing in her spacious office in WTAMU's Cornette Library. "They come by to visit and ask questions about being a writer. When I was a child, being a writer wasn't an option. All the people I knew had regular jobs. I'm hoping that students will see that being a writer is a possibility. This is particularly important in these days when programs in the arts are being cut in the public schools."

Commenting on her contribution to the arts, Thomas said, "When I was teaching classes full time, I thought I was making the world a better place. Now I think of a teacher, or nurse, or mother settling back and relaxing with one of my books. I want to take her away on an adventure that will entertain her. Maybe, in a small way, I'm still making the world a better place."

While the author toured the country speaking to Desk and Derrick clubs about her 2003 novel, THE WIDOWS OF WICHITA COUNTY, the members of various chapters formed a Jodi Thomas Fan Club. The group enthusiastically promotes her novels and public appearances and even volunteers to provide drivers for her out-of-town engagements.

When not working on a novel or inspiring students to pursue a writing career, Thomas enjoys traveling with her husband, Tom, renovating a historic home they bought in Amarillo, and “checking up” on their two grown sons.

Author Appearances:

June 14-18, 2010
WTAMU Writing Academy
Canyon, TX

July 28-31, 2010
Nashville , TN

Monday, May 17, 2010

Book Blog Tour-Still The One by Robin Wells

From the Publisher:
After Katie Charmaine's husband is killed in Iraq, all she has left is a closet full of his clothes, a few pictures, and fond memories. She not only lost her love, but her last chance to have the children she's always wanted. Until Zack Ferguson shows uop in town...with the daugter Katie gace up for adoption nearly seventeen years ago.

Zack Ferguson has never forgotten Katie, or the one magical night they spent together. Seeing her again brings up a tidal wave of emotions: regret over the way he left her, anger at the secret she kept, and desire he hasn't felt in years. But he's in town for Gracie. Their daughter is sixteen, angry at the world, and-worst of all-pregnant. She needs the love of her two parents now more than ever. Can these three forgive the hurts of the past and open their hearts to one another?

About the Author:
Before becoming a full-time writer, Robin Wells was an advertising and public relations executive, but she always dreamed of writing novels—a dream inspired by a grandmother who told “hot tales” and parents who were both librarians.

When she sold her first novel, her family celebrated at a Chinese restaurant. Robin’s fortune cookie read “Romance moves you in a new direction”—and it has. Robin has won the RWA Golden Heart Award, two National Readers’ Choice Awards, the Holt Medallion and CRW’s Award of Excellence.

Robin lives just outside New Orleans with her husband, two daughters and an exceedingly spoiled dog named Winnie The Pooh-dle.

She loves to hear from readers, so drop her a note on-line or by writing her at P.O. Box 303, Mandeville, LA 70470-0303.

Book Club Discussion Questions:
Still the One addresses several different themes. Here are some questions to consider as you discuss the book:


In what ways were Zack’s life views shaped by his parents’ marriage?

In what ways were Katie’s choices shaped by her mother’s lifestyle?

In what ways were Gracie’s views shaped by the things her adopted mother told her about her birth mother?

How did their views change over the course of the book? How did the characters in the book influence each other?


Did the fact that Dave had a drinking problem mitigate his behavior? Why or why not?

How big a role did social embarrassment play in Annette’s decision to divorce Dave and leave Chartreuse? Was that a valid reason?

Which was a bigger wrong: Dave cheating on Annette, or Annette’s unwillingness to forgive him?

Does forgiveness of an infidelity mean that the wronged spouse should always take back the straying spouse? Why or why not?

Katie felt that loving Zack was somehow a betrayal of her love for Paul. Why do you think she felt this way?


Gracie had ambivalent feelings about the baby when she was pregnant. Do you agree with her decision to keep the baby instead of giving it up for adoption? Why or why not?

Was Katie wrong to encourage Gracie to keep the baby? Do you think she was influenced by her own regrets or by her desire to help Gracie raise the baby? If so, were those selfish or loving motives?


Dave’s heart attack was a moment of awakening for Annette. The birth of Gracie’s baby was a break-through moment for Zack.

Do you believe that a life event can profoundly change a person? Why or why not?

Are these changes permanent, or do people usually revert to their old ways?

Have you ever had a profound life experience that changed a core belief or made you take your life in a new direction?


Annette needed to forgive Dave’s infidelity and his lack of time and attention when they were married. What did Dave need to forgive Annette for?

Who did Gracie need to forgive?

Zack and Katie needed to forgive each other. Who else did they need to forgive?

Does the father of Gracie’s baby deserve forgiveness? Are some things unforgivable? Why or why not?


All of the characters in the book let go of something-- emotions, objects, beliefs, habits, etc. Name the things that each had to let go of in order to gain the things they wanted:

What things have you let go of in your life? Is there anything that you need to release in order to move forward?

Sunday, May 16, 2010

New York Times Best Sellers List

I am always interested in what others are reading and looking for the next read I will fall in love with. I have decided to post best seller lists and see if any of you have read them and get your opinions. Be sure to leave a comment on which selection/selections you have read and what you thought of them.

Hardcover Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. DEAD IN THE FAMILY, by Charlaine Harris
2. THE 9TH JUDGMENT, by James Patterson and Maxine Paetro
3. INNOCENT, by Scott Turow
4. THE HELP, by Kathryn Stockett
5. DELIVER US FROM EVIL, by David Baldacci

Hardcover Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
2. THE BIG SHORT, by Michael Lewis
3. THIS TIME TOGETHER, by Carol Burnett
4. CHELSEA CHELSEA BANG BANG, by Chelsea Handler
5. MOM, edited by Dave Isay

Paperback Trade Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. SAVOR THE MOMENT, by Nora Roberts
4. LITTLE BEE, by Chris Cleave
5. SOUTH OF BROAD, by Pat Conroy

Paperback Mass-Market Fiction
Top 5 at a Glance
1. RUN FOR YOUR LIFE, by James Patterson and Michael Ledwidge
3. SUMMER ON BLOSSOM STREET, by Debbie Macomber
4. WICKED PREY, by John Sandford
5. THE LAST SONG, by Nicholas Sparks

Paperback Nonfiction
Top 5 at a Glance
2. EAT, PRAY, LOVE, by Elizabeth Gilbert
3. THREE CUPS OF TEA, by Greg Mortenson and David Oliver Relin
4. ARE YOU THERE, VODKA? IT'S ME, CHELSEA, by Chelsea Handler

Hardcover Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. WOMEN FOOD AND GOD, by Geneen Roth
3. BRINGING UP GIRLS, by James Dobson
4. LIFE! BY DESIGN, by Tom Ferry with Laura Morton

Paperback Advice
Top 5 at a Glance
1. WHAT TO EXPECT WHEN YOU’RE EXPECTING, by Heidi Murkoff and Sharon Mazel
3. AWKWARD FAMILY PHOTOS, by Mike Bender and Doug Chernack
4. WHAT'S NEW, CUPCAKE?, by Karen Tack and Alan Richardson
5. OH MY DOG, by Beth Ostrosky Stern with Kristina Grish

Saturday, May 15, 2010

Doorstep to Desktop

I am so glad it is finally the weekend and am excited to share what I received/bought this week. Be sure to check back in the upcoming weeks for reviews on these selections.

A Change in Altitude by Anita Shreve

The Vera Wright Trilogy by Elizabeth Jolley

Darcy's Voyage by Kara Louise

Mr. Darcy's Sister by C. Allyn Pierson

The Language God Talks Audio Book by Herman Wouk

God Never Blinks Audio Book by Regina Brett

Men and Dogs Audio Book by Katie Crouch

Get Rid of the Performance Review Audio Book by Samuel A. Culbert

9th Judgement Audio Book by James Patterson

Deliver Us From Evil Audio Book by David Baldacci

The Bride Collector Audio Book by Ted Dekker

The War Lovers Audio Book by Evan Thomas

Blog Tour-The Singer's Gun by Emily St. John Mandel

From the Publisher:
Everyone Anton Waker grew up with is corrupt. His parents deal in stolen goods and his first career is a partnership venture with his cousin Aria selling forged passports and social security cards to illegal aliens. Anton longs for a less questionable way of living in the world and by his late twenties has reinvented himself as a successful middle manager. Then a routine security check suggests that things are not quite what they appear. And Aria begins blackmailing him to do one last job for her. But the seemingly simple job proves to have profound and unexpected repercussions.
As Anton’s carefully constructed life begins to disintegrate around him, he’s forced to choose between loyalty to his family and his desires for a different kind of life. When everyone is willing to use someone else to escape the past, it is up to Anton, on the island of Ischia, to face the ghosts that travel close behind him.
Emily St. John Mandel follows up her electric debut with a spellbinding novel of international crime, false identities, the depths and limits of family ties, and the often confusing bonds of love. Taut with suspense, beautifully imagined, full of unexpected corners, desperate choices, betrayals and halftruths with deadly consequences, The Singer’s Gun explores the dangerous territory between one’s moral compass and the heart’s desire.

About the Author:
Emily St. John Mandel was born on the west coast of British Columbia, Canada. She studied dance at The School of Toronto Dance Theatre and lived briefly in Montreal before relocating to New York.
Her first novel, Last Night in Montreal, was recently released in paperback. Last Night in Montreal was a June 2009 Indie Next pick and is a finalist for ForeWord Magazine's 2009 Book of the Year. Her second novel, The Singer's Gun, is #1 on the Indie Next List for May 2010.

She is married and lives in Brooklyn.

Upcoming Events for the Author:
Tuesday May 11, 7pm - New York, NY
McNally Jackson Books
52 Prince Street between Lafayette and Mulberry, New York, NY 10012
Phone: 212-274-1160

Friday May 14, 7pm - Clinton, NJ
Ladies Night Out/Reading & Discussion
Clinton Book Shop
33 Main Street
Clinton, NJ 08809-1410

Monday, May 17, 7:30pm - Brooklyn, NY
Greenlight Bookstore
686 Fulton Street, New York, NY
Phone: 718-246-0200

Thursday, May 27, 7pm - New York, NY
The Goodreads New York City Literary Pub Crawl! With Colson Whitehead and Amy King. Readings, alcohol, books, etc.

7:00 p.m. Cocktail hour at Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe.
8:00 p.m. Readings by Colson Whitehead, Emily St. John Mandel and Amy King at Housing Works
9:00 p.m. Head out to Botanica and Tom & Jerry's. PLEASE NOTE: Tom & Jerry's is CASH ONLY (though there is an ATM machine in the bar).
10:30 p.m. Head to KGB Bar
Feel free to head to the bars in any order you like, as each of them may fill up. We will be tweeting our location throughout the night so please follow @Goodreads on Twitter.

Housing Works Bookstore & Cafe: 126 Crosby St, New York, NY 10012
Botanica: 47 E. Houston St, New York, NY 10012
Tom & Jerry's: 288 Elizabeth St, New York, NY 10012
KGB Bar: 85 E 4th St, New York, NY 10003

Goodreads event page

Saturday, June 5, time TBC - Phoenixville, PA
Reading & Booksigning
Venue: Steel City Coffee House
203 Bridge Street
Phoenixville, PA 19460

Tuesday, June 8th, 7pm - Portsmouth, NH
Reading/Signing (with Dan Chaon, author of Await Your Reply, You Remind Me of Me, Among the Missing and Fitting Ends)
RiverRun Bookstore
20 Congress Street
Portsmouth, NH 03801

Wednesday, June 9th, 7pm - South Hadley, MA
The Odyssey Bookshop
9 College Street
South Hadley, MA 01075

Thursday, June 10, 7pm - Manchester Center, Vermont
Reading & Booksigning (with Joyce Hinnefeld, author of In Hovering Flight)
Northshire Bookstore
4869 Main Street
P.O. Box 2200
Manchester Center, Vermont 05255

Friday, June 11; time to be confirmed - Vineyard Haven, MA
Bunch of Grapes
44 Main Street
Vineyard Haven, MA 02568
Phone: 508-693-2291

Tuesday, July 6, 6:30-8:30pm - Gaylord, MI
Saturn Booksellers
133 W. Main St.
Gaylord, MI 49735

Wednesday, July 7, 7pm - Petoskey, MI
McLean and Eakin Booksellers
307 East Lake Street
Petoskey, MI 49770

Thursday, July 8, 7pm - Suttons Bay, MI
Brilliant Books
305 St. Joseph Street
PO Box 550
Suttons Bay, MI

Friday, July 9, 7pm - Ann Arbor, MI
Nicola's Books
2513 Jackson Road
Ann Arbor, Michigan 48103

July 17 - 18, 2010 - Denman Island, BC, Canada
Denman Island Readers & Writers Festival
Denman Island, British Columbia, Canada
1. Themed Reading: 1:30 - 3:00 p.m. Saturday, July 17 at the Back Hall. (Theme: Departures. Also featuring Deborah Willis, author of the short story collection Vanishing and Other Stories)
2. Main Stage Event: 11:30 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. Sunday, July 18 at the Community Hall. (Event title: Passages: Time and Place, with host Bill Richardson. Also featuring Zsuzsi Gartner, Brian Brett, and Des Kennedy

Sunday, July 25th, 3pm - Galiano Island, BC, Canada
Galiano Island Books
76 Madrona Drive
Galiano, B.C. Canada

Thursday, May 13, 2010

Book Review-This Is Why You're Fat by Jackie Warner

Book Details
Title: This Is Why You're Fat
Author: Jackie Warner
ISBN: 978-0-446-54860-1
Publisher: Wellness Central, a division of Hachette Book Group
Published: April 2010
Pages: 307
This book is on the top 10 of the New York Times Best Sellers List as of this week!

Book Synopsis from the publisher:
"Being fat isn't your fault; staying fat is." That's what Jackie Warner, America's favorite no-nonsense celebrity fitness trainer tells her own clients, and that's why no one delivers better results than Jackie does. Now for the first time, Jackie shares her revolutionary program, showing readers the best ways to drop pounds and inches fast, without grueling workouts or deprivation, and keep them off for good! Her two-tiered approach provides a complete nutritional makeover and a failure-proof condensed workout routine PLUS all the emotional support and encouragement you need to get to the finish line and beyond.

About the Author:
Jackie Warner is a fitness expert, gym owner, television star and entrepreneur.

My review:
Jackie Warner may be the fitness guru to the stars but this book is a book for anyone that wants to lose weight and get healthy. I liked the layout of the book as she lays out the plan and what you should do and follows with helpful extras. The book contains detailed pictures and instructions for the weight training portion of the plan, menus and recipes, and appendices with charts to help you plan and track your meals and exercise. Jackie writes in an easy to read, motivational, get your butt in gear and do it attitude that I really liked. The food plan is one that I would actually use with food items I would eat. Most of the diet and health books I have read before contain ingredients and food items that I have never heard of or are items that are hard to find in my area. I am overweight and unhealthy and this book has motivated me to make a change. I have set up another blog just for my journey in following Warner's plan. I would love for any of you to join me in using her plan or just stop by to read about my journey. Check it out at:

Book Giveaway-Babushka's Beauty Secrets by Raya Ruder and Susan Campos

I have three copies of this book to giveaway. The contest is open to US and Canada only but no PO Box addresses. Please leave a comment with your email about your favorite beauty product or routine. Winners will be chosen on June 14.

DON'T SPEND A FORTUNE TO LOOK FLAWLESS Esthetician to the stars Raisa Ruder learned her time-tested beauty techniques from her Ukrainian grandmother (or babushka, as they say in the old country). Now everyone can discover the all-natural, better-than-botox secrets the Hollywood stars use to shine on the red carpet! Ruder reveals her sought-after beauty recipes that can fight wrinkles, plump lips, and eliminate crow's feet and acne, using inexpensive, everyday grocery items like eggs, honey, vegetable oil and strawberries (and a splash of vodka for freshness!). At last, by popular demand, Raisa Ruder opens up her babushka's secret pantry and shares her most amazing and effective beauty advice:

Skin-saving Souffl├ęs - whipped up wonders that shrink pores, brighten skin, and diminish lines
Chocolate weight-loss wrap- a moment on the hips, tightens, tucks, and nips!
Hot hair- a cayenne pepper blend that leaves locks silky, soft, and full
PediPure- a soothing, smoothing foot scrub made with milk and mint
Lustrous Lashes - a simple castor oil serum that thickens and lengthens
Perfect Pucker- a mix of salt, green tea, and fruit that plumps up lips naturally
And much more...