Saturday, October 30, 2010

Guest Post: Jodi Thomas

Jodi Thomas has given me a great post about her newest book entitled, Somewhere Along The Way. I hope you enjoy!

Thanks for inviting me to drop by and talk about my newest book. After writing thirty books I feel this may be the strongest story I’ve ever written. SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY will make you feel like you know these people so well you might drop by for a visit.

My story begins with Reagan, a runaway who found her home in Harmony two years ago. An old man took her in as his niece and gave her the first home she ever had. The story opens with her working a shift in the town’s diner for a friend. The last thing she has to do is take a take-out out the back door to the town hermit. He speaks to her and as the weeks pass they form a friendship.

Gabe Leary wants nothing but to be left alone. After five years of living on his land he’s managed to earn a living as a graphic artist without speaking to anyone in town. He’s shattered from the war and sees himself as a man without friends. About the time he’s comfortable with his life, he meets Liz.

With a mixture of characters you’ll fall in love with and a treat that gets everyone involved, I think you’ll love this story.

In SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY you’ll follow the people of Harmony as they go about their lives helping one another. When crisis comes they stand together. I think you’ll laugh as you get to know my people and care all the way to your heart about them when they are in trouble.

Come along with me on this journey back to Harmony.

About Jodi
Jodi Thomas is the NY Times and USA Today best-selling author of 31 novels and 8 short story collections. As of July 2006, she was the 11th woman to be inducted in to RWA Hall of Fame. She is also currently serving as the Writer in Residence at West Texas A&M University in Canyon, Texas.

Jodi’s 30th Novel
NY Times and USA Today best-selling author Jodi Thomas is pleased to present her 30th novel, SOMEWHERE ALONG THE WAY. Thomas proves once again that she is one of mainstream romance genre’s most compelling writers with her highly anticipated sequel to WELCOME TO HARMONY, which captured America’s heart.

“Picking up two years after the conclusion to WELCOME TO HARMONY, Thomas once again brings to life this fascinating little Texas town and its numerous characters. The reader is expertly drawn into their lives and left eager to know what happens next with all of them.”
—RT Book Reviews

Book Review and Giveaway: Somewhere Along The Way

Title: Somewhere Along The Way
Author: Jodi Thomas
Publisher: Berkley Publishing Group, a division of Penguin
Pub Date: November 2, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-425-23772-4
Pages: 358
Price: $7.00 US/$9.99 CAN

In the two years since she claimed Harmony, Texas, as her home, eighteen-year-old Reagan Truman has found herself drawn to others who have made their way there too. Gabe Leary, for instance, whose plan to hide out in Harmony is dashed when he becomes the town hero. Then there's Liz Matheson: Vulnerable and fresh out of law school, Liz has never been needed by anyone-until an unsettling encounter with Gabe changes everything. And there's Liz's brother, volunteer fire chief Hank Matheson, who's starting to wonder whether the town's sheriff, Alex McAllen, will ever set the date to marry him.

As for Reagan, who's been shaped by the loneliness she's known most of her life, she's finally found a place she belongs-and doesn't wan anything to get in her way. But when her life is put in jeopardy and the whole town comes together to save her, she'll discover that trusting the love that's come into our hearts is the greatest gift of all...

About the Author:
As a proud, fifth generation Texan, Jodi Thomas chooses to set most of her novels in her home state. She is a New York Times and USA Today bestselling author as well as a member of the Romance Writers of America Hall of Fame. Thomas currently serves as a Writer in Residence at the West Texas A&M University campus. She lives in Amarillo, TX. You can visit her online at

My review:
Somewhere Along The Way is the second book in the Harmony series and it continues the story of the lives of those that live in Harmony, Texas. Reagan Truman is at the heart of the story and you can't help but get caught up in her life and imagine you are in Harmony with her. It is hard for me to give details of the book as they all end up being spoilers for those that haven't yet read this. Just know that you need to read this book. I love the writing by Jodi Thomas and it sweeps you away into the fantasy land that reminds all of us readers why we choose to escape into books.

You can check out my posting/review of the first book in the series here:

The third book in the series will be out in the Fall of 2001, so keep your eyes out for that. I know I can't wait to continue with the story of Reagan Truman.

I have one copy of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment below to enter. The contest is open to US and Canada and the winner will be chosen on November 8.

Monday, October 25, 2010

Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop

Welcome to the Spooktacular Book Blog Giveaway Hop!

The blog hop is happening from Monday, October 25 until Sunday, October 31. There are 86 blogs that are participating and each one will be offering a book related giveaway. Be sure to visit them all and enter to win!

My giveaway:
I am giving away a $10 gift card to Barnes and Noble. The contest is open to all and that will include the US, Canada, and international book lovers. Please leave a comment below with your email and what book you think you might purchase with your gift card. You must be a follower of my blog to win.

Listed below are all of the participating blogs. Visit them all and have a great time entering to win!

Sunday, October 24, 2010

Online Book Club

I have wanted to belong to a book club for a good while and I have attempted to start one before. However, I have had a hard time finding members that wanted to stick with it or had time to fit one into their busy schedules. I recently posted on facebook that I was starting one and had some responses, yet once I contacted those that said they were interested, all have now backed out except for one person. So I thought that I would post here on my blog to see if there was any interest in an online book club.

Here are the details:
*The group will start in January.
*We will read one book a month.
*We will converse about the book through email. I can set up a chat room for a specific time as well, if there is interest in that.
*Everyone will get to suggest books and the group will vote on the selection to be read next.
*We will read a variety of genres.

Would you like to join? I sure hope so. Please email me at or leave a comment here with your email address to join. Please also send me a suggestion of a book you would like added to our possible reads list. I need suggestions by November 1 so we can get started voting on the January selection.

Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Book Review: 30-Day Method

Title: 30-Day Method
Author: Tracy Anderson
Publisher: Grand Central Life & Style, a division of Hachette Books
Pub Date: September 2010
Pages: 254
ISBN: 978-0-446-56204-1
Price: $25.00 US/$28.99 CAN

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

Synopsis from the publisher:
Did you know muscles get bored, just like people do? And did you also know that there's a 9 out of 10 chance that you're working the wrong muscles when you exercise? With Tracy Anderson's 30-Day Method you don't have to worry-her unique workout and eating plan will help you drop the weight and shrink your body in no time.

Based on ten years of scientific research and experience getting clients red-carpet ready-A listers or not-Anderson has developed a revolutionary program that defies genetics to tone, trim, and reshape the body. Most exercises incorrectly focus on bigger muscle groups, such as the biceps or hamstrings, when they shoudl really be working the smaller accessory muscles. Anderson teaches you how to shift this focus, activating and challenging the smaller muscles to achieve a long, lean physique instead of a bulky look. The 30-Day Method will also prevent your muscles from getting bored; and the menus will help boost your metabolism.

This groundbreaking program includes:
*Three proven effective 10-day muscle work sequences
*A dance cardio routing (featured on DVD) targeting the all-important accessory muscles
*Tracy's exclusive 30-Day kick start meal plan and detox
*Dozens of delicious recipes

This comprehensivce plan is unlike any other workout on the market adn it leaves no chance for anything but terrific, fast results.

About the Author:
Tracy Anderson is a fitness trainer, former professional dancer, and creator of the Tracy Anderson Method. She is owner of the Tracy Anderson Studios located in New York City and Los Angeles, and she shares her unique workouts through her successful DVD's and webinars.

My review:
I have to start off by saying that I did not know who Tracy Anderson was when I had the chance to review this book but I am very glad that I didn't let that stop me from checking out her book.

Ms. Anderson starts out by telling her story and struggle with weight and how she came up with her own method to combat that struggle. I like when anyone is trying to get their method or ideas out to the public and they share their own story. It makes it more personal and real for me and that there is someone that has been through what I am going through and here is what they did to fix it.

The book chronicles the method and how to follow the plan with specific details of what to do and what not to do. The plan consists of three components: Muscle Design Work, Cardio Complement, and the Menu Plan. Pictures are included of how to properly do the stretches and exercises that make this method work. However, a DVD is also included with the book for you to follow along with on your journey with this method. I love that this book includes all you need to fully do this plan. Often you will have to buy a book, equipment, DVD, stretch bands, etc for a weight loss plan and this book includes everything you need with the one purchase.

The Method has you using your accessory muscles to work your body and get fit and toned. There are a series of exercises that you do each ten days to switch it up and keep your muscles from getting bored and to keep the weight loss and toning continuing and not going stagnant after you reach a certain plateau point. Some of the exercises feel odd when you are doing them but I attribute that to not having ever done exercises like this before in using the accessory muscles and I think once my body gets used to moving in this new way, it will all eventually feel like a natural way to move and exercise. Although I just read this book and haven't had enough time yet to fully do the program for more than a few days, the menu plan is great. It contains food that the normal person would actually eat and have easy access to, you don't have to worry about searching specialty stores for ingredients or spending alot of time in preparation with these recipes.

For those of you that like to keep up with what celebrities use certain exercise regimens, Gwyneth Paltrow is an avid follow of Tracy Anderson's Method and has written the forward to this book. I would love to have comments from any of you that have used this method or start this method-tell me what you liked and didn't like and I hope to post updates here on the blog as I used this method further. You can follow the link below to Amazon and check it out.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Book Review: 5 Ingredient Fix

Title: 5 Ingredient Fix: Easy, Elegant, and Irresistible Recipes
Author: Claire Robinson
Publisher: Grand Cental Life & Style, a division of Hachette Books
Pub Date: October 2010
Pages: 239
ISBN: 978-0-446-57209-5
Price: $29.99 US/$33.99 CAN

I received a free copy of this book from the publisher for my honest review.

Synopsis from the publisher:
Claire Robinson-host of Food Network's 5 Ingredient Fix-is here to help you get dinner on the table with minimal fuss and just a few great ingredients.

With everyone struggling to streamline and budget, Claire's recipes make preparing delicious meals a snap. Showing you how to choose the right ingredients along with a little culinary know-how is her specialty. According to Claire, cooking doesn't have to be complicated to be impressive: Simplifying the process with fewer ingredients saves time, frustration, and ultimately, money.

From breakfast treats like Brioche French Toast with Strawberries and Cream, to fun starters like Mini Shrimp Cake Poppers, to comforting dinners like Buttermilk Pecan Chicken with Cheesy Penne, all of Claire's recipes have no more than five ingredients. A quick trip to the supermarket and one bag of groceries later, an affordable, better-than-restaurant-quality meal can be ready in no time.

About the Author:
Claire Robinson is hte host of Food Network's 5 Ingredient Fix and Food Network Challenge. She cites her French speaking grandmother as a major influence on her love for food. Claire graduated from the French Culinary Institute, is an accomplished private chef, and has worked on culinary production teams for several cooking series, including Food Network's Easy Entertaining with Michael Chiarello. She lives in Brooklyn, New York.

My review:
I am always looking for food ideas that are quick and taste great. I have an hour commute to and from work and the last thing I want to do when I get home is to spend a large amount of time preparing our dinner. I seem to get stuck in a rut and prepare the same meals over and over and we are in need of variety that isn't complicated.

I was interested in checking out a copy of Claire Robinson's new cookbook as it contains meal ideas of only five ingredients each. Robinson has combined the every day with more elegant selections in this book and I like that. I want to cook a meal occassionally that is more elegant and a little out of the ordinary daily fair we are used to eating without it taking hours in the kitchen.

The book starts off by giving information to each cook about the essentials they all need in their kitchens. I like that this is included as I have an assortment of items in the kitchen but I have to admit that I am a secret chef wanna-be and love hearing the advice of chefs on what you need to use in your kitchen and how to use those items. The book is then divided up into eight sections to include: Breakfast, cocktails, appetizers, soups and salads, entrees, vegetable dishes, pasta and potatoes, and desserts. Each recipe includes information on what ingredients included really make this recipe and then also includes ideas for including other items or ingredients if you happen to have them in your kitchen. Aside from all of the recipes, I think my favorite section is at the end. Robinson includes a follow up to the recipes with Menu Ideas for Memorable Meals. I am sure everyone at one time has thought what am I going to prepare with that chicken or how can I jazz up my boring pasta. This section contains meal ideas for all occassions from the appetizer to the dessert and I plan on using these for when I have company over. Of course, my company can think I am a fantastic cook without knowing I had a little help on putting together such a great combination of items.

I have only gotten to try a couple of items from this cookbook so far but I can't wait to try them all. I hope you will all check out this new cookbook. You can follow the link below to amazon to get your own copy, but in the meantime, here is one of the recipes that I thought all might like to try.

Buttermilk Pecan Chicken
*4 8-ounce skinless, boneless chicken breasts
*1 cup buttermilk
*1 cup toasted pecans
*1 cup panko (Japanese bread crumbs)
*1/3 cup vegetable oil
Kosher salt and freshly ground black pepper, to taste
Yield: 4 servings

Place each chicken breast between two pieces of plastic wrap and gently flatten it wiht a meat mallet or heavy, flat object to an even 1/3 inch thick.

Marinate the chicken in buttermilk for 1 hour in the refrigerator.

In a food processor, pulse the pecans and panko together until fine. Transfer mixture to a large rimmed dish.

Remove the marinated chicken breasts from the buttermilk and shake off any excess. Dip the chicken in the breading mixture, evenly coating both sides.

In a large nonstick skillet, heat the oil. Working in two batches, add the breaded chicken breasts and shallow fry 4 to 5 minutes on each side until golden in color. Remove them from the oil and drain on a paper towel-lined plate; season with salt and pepper immediately and serve.

If you had rather not fry the chicken breasts, place them on a lightly greased baking dish adn bake them for 25-30 minutes in an oven that has been preheated to 375 degrees.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Book Feature and Giveaway: A Season of Seduction by Jennifer Haymore

Although the widowed Lady Rebecca has sworn off marriage, men are another matter. London's cold winter nights have her dreaming of warmer pursuits-like finding a lover to satisfy her hungry heart. Someone handsome, discreet, and most importantly as uninterested in marriage as she is. Someone like Jack Fulton.

A known adventurer and playboy, Jack seems like the perfect choice. There's just one problem: Jack isn't interested in an affair. He needs the beautiful, mysterious Lady Rebecca to be his wife. And he doesn't have much time to persuade her. A secret from Jack's past is about to surface, and by Christmas Day he'll be either married to Rebecca or dead.

About the Author:
I’ve been writing since I could pick up a pencil….

Wait, no…that’s what every other writer says! I started writing just before my eighth birthday, and it wasn’t on my own volition. I was sailing with my family in a 42-foot sailboat across the Pacific, and since there were no local schools (except those pertaining to fish) nearby, my mother homeschooled me. She was a strict taskmaster! A veritable slave driver! She demanded a new story every day.

So I’d sit in the boat’s galley and write. And stare out the porthole, and write some more. And doodle, and write some more. By the time we arrived in Hawaii the following year, I had a portfolio of stories, and I was hooked. Since then I haven’t stopped. (Well, much. I did take breaks now and then, for things like college, young kids, and a master’s degree.)

I love to read just as much as I love to write, and actually the reading bug hit me at about the same time my mom was cracking the whip over my head and commanding me to write. What else to occupy your time with when there are no other kids to play with and nothing to do but stare at the endless sea? Some of my most recent favorites: The Time Traveler’s Wife by Audrey Niffenegger, Outlander by Diana Gabaldon, River God by Wilbur Smith, and anything by Laura Kinsale and Loretta Chase.

Five Fun Facts:
1. After writing two books with Lady Rebecca as a young girl trying to find her place in the world, I loved writing about how she becomes a strong and independent woman in A Season of Seduction.

2. Cornwall, England, where Lady Rebecca’s property is, is one of those stark, windy places I always imagine as a setting for gothic novels. I have always wanted to write about it and visit it. Now that I have written about it and researched it, visiting is the next on the list!

3. I spent hours and hours researching the traveling time from London to Launceston, Cornwall while writing A Season of Seduction. I am always stymied by the amount of time it took to go from point A to point B using the various means of travel during this era. I’m trying to talk my husband into buying a horse for me just so I can be as accurate as possible! Unfortunately, so far, my husband is not convinced, but I’m still working on him…

4. In my last book, A Touch of Scandal, Lady Rebecca broke her arm in a carriage accident. Unfortunately, I know some things about broken arms, because my son has had two of them in two years! Lady Rebecca had the same break as my son’s first injury (a broken humerus just above the elbow), but she didn’t have access to modern medical care, so even after four years she’s still suffering from the repercussions in A Season of Seduction.

5. Christmas is my favorite day of the year, and I’d never imagined I’d be lucky enough to have the opportunity to write a historical romance set during the holiday season. Combine that with the special romance between Becky and Jack, and A Season of Seduction is definitely one of my favorites!

I hvae five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 29.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: Katie Up and Down the Hall by Glenn Plaskin

by Glenn Plaskin
Read by the Author

The heartwarming true story of how one special Cocker Spaniel turned four strangers into family.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Leave a comment below with your email address to enter and winners will be chosen on October 28.

Audiobook Giveaway: C Street by Jeff Sharlet

by Jeff Sharlet
Read by Jeremy Guskin

The author of the New York Times bestseller The Family returns with a blistering investigation of the true influence and reach of fundamentalism in American politics.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 25.

Friday, October 8, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: Power Thoughts by Joyce Meyer

by Joyce Meyer
Read by Sandra McCollom

Joyce Meyer takes the principles that have made BATTLEFIELD OF THE MIND a 3-million copy bestseller and brings them to a new level in her latest book.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 22.

Audiobook Giveaway: Safe Haven by Nicholas Sparks

(Abridged and Unabridged)
by Nicholas Sparks
Read by Rebecca Lowman

The #1 New York Times bestselling author Nicholas Sparks adds an element of suspense to the story of a woman who must learn to trust again in order to allow herself to love again.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 26.

Book Feature and Giveaway: Two Lethal Lies by Annie Solomon

A love to die for... On the run since his daughter was born, Mitch Turner has concealed a truth so dangerous, its discovery could jeopardize both their lives. But when a series of shocking murders hits their newfound home, the trail leads straight to Mitch. With the police out for blood and his daughter ripped from his arms, he has nowhere to turn--until a beautiful stranger offers her help. Neesy Brown has made mistakes in her life, yet she refuses to believe this mysterious man is a killer. There's a strength in his broad shoulders that draws her to him and a weariness in his eyes that she longs to ease. As the murders tear her small town apart, she vows to help Mitch find his missing child. But a cunning predator is pulling them deeper and deeper into his fatal game. And the price of losing is the child--and the future--they could both share...

About the Author:
A native New Yorker, RITA-winning author Annie Solomon has been dreaming up stories since she was ten. After a twelve-year career in advertising, where she rose to Vice President and Head Writer at a mid-size agency, she abandoned the air conditioners, furnaces and heat pumps of her professional life for her first love—romance. An avid knitter, she now lives in Nashville with her husband and daughter.

Article by the Author:
One of the questions readers always ask a writer is “Where do you get your ideas?” If you write suspense, like I do, the query is often accompanied by a narrow-eyed but expectant look, as though the questioner is hoping I’ll lean over and whisper, “From my former life in the CIA,” or “Back when I was undercover for the NYPD,” or “I'd tell you but then I’d have to kill you.” So I quickly change the subject before I have to confess that I get my ideas from newspapers, the latest Radiohead song, or a dream I once had.

My current book, Tell Me No Lies, is no exception. I’ve never been a cop in a small city in the Hudson Valley, or an international business wheeler dealer. I’ve never been to Russia or met Donald Trump.

But I did read a book of firsthand accounts by cops on the job. One guy talked about being afraid. That underneath the uniform, cops always wear a thin layer of fear. I got to wondering: What happens when someone’s job puts him in life-and-death situations of which he’s secretly terrified? And so homicide detective Hank Bonner was born.

And how did I get to my heroine, the wealthy, mysterious, and bent-on-revenge Alexandra Jane Baker? Through research for my previous suspense novel, Dead Ringer. In a book about the new Russian robber barons, I read a small tidbit about a couple of suicides and some missing Russian millions. Sasha Baker and Tell Me No Lies sprouted from there.

And if you’re wondering about that Hudson Valley city, it’s called Sokanan. To save myself more research, I just made it up. It’s my own twisted version of someplace like Poughkeepsie, where my daughter went to college. (And it’s one of the worst-run cities on the planet. Why else do so many people keep dying there?) The name, by the way, is Algonquin and means “rain.”

Well, I’ve said all I can. There’s more—but if I told you everything, my editor would kill me.

Annie Solomon

I have five copies of this book to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 23.

Thursday, October 7, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: The Daily Show with Jon Stewart Presents Earth

by Jon Stewart
Read by the Author

The eagerly awaited new audiobook from the Emmy-winning, Oscar-hosting, Daily Show-anchoring Jon Stewart—the man behind the megaseller AMERICA (THE BOOK), and Grammy-winning AMERICA (THE AUDIOBOOK).

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment below about why you are a fan of Jon Stewart. Don't forget to leave an email address so I can contact you if you are a winner. This contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 21.

Wednesday, October 6, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: Squirrel Seeks Chipmunk by David Sedaris

by David Sedaris
Read by the Author, Dylan Baker, Elaine Stritch, Cherry Jones

Something new from the beloved David Sedaris: an audiobook of short, acerbic, outrageously funny fables, featuring animals with unmistakably human failings.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. This is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 18.

Audiobook Giveaway: Don't Blink by James Patterson

by James Patterson and Howard Roughan
Read by David Patrick Kelly

Launched into the world of organized crime—one reporter searches for the truth in the best mob novel since The Godfather.

I have three copies to giveaway. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses. Winners will be chosen on October 19.

Tuesday, October 5, 2010

Audiobook Giveaway: Good Boss, Bad Boss by Robert I. Sutton

by Robert I. Sutton, PhD
Read by the Author and Bob Walter

After the smashing success of THE NO ASSHOLE RULE in which he tackled corporate bullying in the workplace, Robert Sutton now asks the question: what separates a good boss from being a great boss?

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment telling a short story about either good boss or a bad boss you have had. Don't forget to leave your email address so I can contact you. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents and the winners will be chosen on October 20.

Audiobook Giveaway: Room

by Emma Donoghue
Read by Michael Friedman, Ellen Archer, Robert Petkoff, and Suzanne Toren

To five-year-old Jack, ROOM is the entire world. It is where he was born and grew up; it's where he lives with his Ma as they learn and read and eat and sleep and
play. At night, his Ma shuts him safely in the wardrobe, where he is meant to be
asleep when Old Nick visits.

ROOM is home to Jack, but to Ma, it is the prison where Old Nick has held her captive for seven years. Through determination, ingenuity, and
fierce motherly love, Ma has created a life for Jack. But she knows it's not
enough…not for her or for him. She devises a bold escape plan, one that relies
on her young son's bravery and a lot of luck. What she does not realize is just
how unprepared she is for the plan to actually work.

Told entirely in the language of the energetic, pragmatic five-year-old Jack, ROOM is a celebration of resilience and the limitless bond
between parent and child, a brilliantly executed novel about what it means to
journey from one world to another.

It takes more than just the book and the author to record an audiobook, and this month, we have Michele McGonigle,
Associate Director of Production for Hachette Audio and Director of ROOM, the audiobook, to answer some behind-the-scenes

Hachette Book Group: What made you decide to do a multiple-cast recording for ROOM?

Michelle McGonigle: When I read the book to cast and prep for production, it just screamed out for more than one
narrator. Jack needed his own voice and so did Ma; to have one person read all
parts would detract from the listener experience and not do the book justice.
The impact of hearing Jack's voice, (read by Michal Friedman, an adult woman),
as he tells his story, really places the listener in his world. Ellen Archer
reads Ma and you can hear the restraint, joy, pain, frustration and fear in her
voice, giving the listener a bit of insider information of what's going on. Jack
is experiencing the same actions, words and emotions, however being a five year
old, he doesn't understand what to make of or what is driving them. In a way,
giving Ma her own voice allows her to tell part of her story as well.

HBG: What kinds of voices were you looking for in casting and what do you think each voice-recording artist brings to ROOM, the audiobook?

MM: Jack had to have a strong presence, be sweet, innocent, and believable; Michal Friedman
delivers his words with the incorruptibility and honesty of a true five year

In the case of Ma, I was looking for a soft, patient, loving voice, struggling with staying calm and trying to prevent Jack from hearing/ feeling
her fear and frustration; Ellen Archer was my immediate choice, being a real
mother who reflects these same qualities.

For all other female roles I needed a voice that could make Jack's grandma stand out just a bit more than the
others, but not to overshadow Jack and Ma. Suzanne Toren was perfect for this,
she allowed her characters to be a part of the story without overtaking it.

As for the male voices, Robert Petkoff was the first person I thought of. He is capable of such different character voices and delivers a supporting
performance which allows Ma and Jack to be the focus of this amazing journey.

I have three copies of this audiobook to giveaway. Please leave a comment with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 12.

Monday, October 4, 2010

Online Book Event-The Poisonwood Bible

Books on the Nightstand will be hosting an online book event tomorrow night featuring Barbara Kingsolver's book-The Poisonwood Bible.
The Poisonwood Bible is a must read, it is one of my favorite books. If you haven't checked out Books on the Nighstand or The Poisonwood Bible, I highly recommend it. If you have, would love to hear your comments about both.

Here are the details for how you can participate:
Tuesday, October 5 at 9:30 pm (EST)

Go to and search for BooksOnTheNightstand (no spaces.

Click on the “Join Now” button. A new window will open.

If you have a computer headset with a microphone, or any computer microphone at all, you will be able to talk.

You can also talk via telephone: the call-in info (724-444-7444, Call ID 87944) appears at the bottom of the new window.

The most fun way to participate is to be at your computer and on the phone (or headset) at the same time. Then you can see the chat window and hear join in on the voice conversation as well. However, if you prefer to just listen along, you can “Join Now” and then don’t call in. You’ll be able to listen to the audio portion of the call through your computer’s speakers.

You can interact with us via the text chat window.

If you’re not near your computer, you can still call in by using the phone number and Call ID number shown above.

I hope that you have some time in your schedule to join us. We’ll have a great discussion!

Book Review and Giveaway: Take A Chance on Me

Title: Take A Chance on Me
Author: Jill Mansell
Publisher: Sourcebooks
Pub Date: October 2010
ISBN: 978-1-4022-3751-5
Pages: 412
Price: $14.00
I was given a free copy of this book by Sourcebooks for my honest review.

About the book:
Even in a small town the drama is larger than life. Living in the small town of Channings Hill, Cleo has grown used to the fact that there are some people you just can't avoid, no matter how much you really, really want to.
When her job throws her into constant contact with her childhood nemesis Johnny LaVenture, she's perfectly content to leave the past behind. But for someone she'd rather have nothing to do with, Johnny is getting harder and harder to ignore...

About the Author:
Jill Mansell lives with her partner and children in Bristol and writes full time. Actually, that's not true; she watches TV, eats gum drops, admires the rugby players training in the sorts field behind her house, and spends hours on the Internet marveling at how many other writers have blogs. Only when she's completely run out of way to procrastinate does she write.

Also by Jill Mansell:
An Offer You Can't Refuse
Millie's Fling
Miranda's Big Mistake
Perfect Timing
Rumor Has It

My review:
Heat Magazine said, "Pick this up at your peril: you won't get a thing done till it's finished." Oh, and they were so correct. This book first appealed to me as I am from a very small town where you know just about everyone and everyone knows your business. I think many often think of small towns have a slower pace and people are hard working and spend their free time on family. Well, that is the case, yet there is so much more and Jill Mansell captures it perfectly in her book. Affairs, gossip, meddling, and hot romance are all entwined to keep the reader turning the pages. It was realistic and made me think back to when I was growing up in the small town and all the gossip and drama took place. I think all will enjoy reading this book and can relate to it in that everyone knows someone like the characters in this book.

Please leave your name and email and a tidbit of your favorite celebrity gossip below to enter. I have one copy to giveaway for US only and the winner will be chosen on October 9.

Sunday, October 3, 2010

Book Event: Rick Springfield

I like to post book events from time to time, some in my area and some that aren't even close to me, as I know I have blog readers from all over. This event is one I have to post and hope that many will come from near and far to join in.

I am on and English listserv from the university that I graduated from and I get various emails from them periodically. It is often emails relaying success of students or graduates and what they are doing now and sometimes it is for book events. When I received the email that Rick Springfield was coming to a local library to promote his new book, I knew that I had to run as fast as I could to make sure I got a ticket to attend. The second I finished reading the email, I forwarded it to my friend Mickey. She is in love with Rick and told me once that she knew she would marry him one day. I can't wait until we get to the event and see what ensues!

I was at work when I received that email and the afternoon was blown as all I could think about what "I am going to see Rick Springfield!" I know that I am going to embarrass myself by sharing so much info here, but that email about the event brought back so many memories. Many an afternoon spent staring at the television as Dr. Noah Drake did his thing or the hours upon hours I spent in my bedroom, with the door shut, dancing and singing Jessie's Girl over and over and over.

Enough of that now and on to the details of the event. Won't you join me? If you aren't in the area and can't attend, be sure to follow the link below and purchase his new book.

Rick Springfield at Warren County Public Library, Bowling Green, KY

Singer/Actor Rick Springfield will be signing copies of his new book Late, Late at Night: a Memoir at the Warren County Public Library.

In this candid memoir which he authored himself, Grammy Award-winning pop icon Rick Springfield pulls back the curtain on his image as a bright, shiny, happy performer to share the startling story of his rise and fall and rise in music, film, and television and his lifelong battle with depression.

“We are very excited to host Rick Springfield at our library,” says library director, Lisa Rice. “This is a special treat for those of us who grew up listening to his music and watching him on television.”

The event will be held at the Main Library at 1225 State Street on Saturday, October 23 at 8:00 p.m.

Doors open at 6:00, so attendees are encouraged to arrive early to reserve their space in line.

Books will be available for purchase and signing. No memorabilia will be signed. For information about the book, visit

Tickets are free, but necessary for admittance. Free tickets are available at all Warren County Public Library locations.

For more information, email Jayne Pelaski at

Romance Novel Giveaway

Hachette is fantastic at putting together a set of books for giveaways and they have given me the opportunity to giveaway one. Please leave a comment below with your email address to enter. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be selected on October 15.

And now for the best news-I have three sets to giveaway!
Here is what you are entering to win.

The Raven Prince by Elizabeth Hoyt

Hot Wheels and High Heels by Jane Graves

A Hint of Wicked by Jennifer Haymore

National Adopt a Dog Month

October is the National Adopt a Dog Month and you are more than likely wondering what that has to do with books. Well, to start off, I am a huge dog lover. I can't remember a time in my life when I haven't had a dog and I can't remember a time in my life when I wasn't in the midst of reading a book. Hachette Publishers has combined two loves of mine this month to celebrate the national adopt a dog month and I am so excited to get to participate in it.

I have a set of five books that Hachette has so graciously put together and let me give away to one of my blog readers. Here is what you are signing up to win:

Katie Up and Down the Hall By Glenn Plaskin
Oogy By Larry Levin
GoD and DoG By Wendy Francisco
Dog Tags By David Rosenfelt
How to Be Your Dog's Best Friend By The Monks of New Skete

Please leave a comment below telling me a short story about your dog or one you have had during your life. Don't forget to leave your email address so that I can contact you if you are the winner. The contest is open to US and Canadian residents but no PO Box addresses please. The winner will be selected on October 31.

Book Feature and Giveaway: Simply Irresistible

Maddie Moore's whole life needs a makeover.

In one fell swoop, Maddie loses her boyfriend (her decision) and her job (so not her decision). But rather than drowning her sorrows in bags of potato chips, Maddie leaves L.A. to claim the inheritance left by her free-spirited mother-a ramshackle inn nestled in the little coastal town of Lucky Harbor, Washington.

Starting over won't be easy. Yet Maddie sees the potential for a new home and a new career-if only she can convince her two half-sisters to join her in the adventure. But convincing Tara and Chloe will be difficult because the inn needs a big makeover too.

The contractor Maddie hires is a tall, dark-haired hottie whose eyes-and mouth-are making it hard for her to remember that she's sworn off men. Even harder will be Maddie's struggles to overcome the past, though she's about to discover that there's no better place to call home than Lucky Harbor.

About the Author:
USA Today bestselling author JILL SHALVIS lives in a small town in the Sierras also run by quirky characters. Any resemblance to the quirky characters in her books are, um, mostly coincidental. Look for Jill's bestselling, award-winning books wherever romances are sold and visit her website at for a complete book list and daily blog detailing her city-girl-living-in-the-mountain adventures.

The Dish by Jill
When I started this series about three estranged sisters who get stuck together running a beach resort, I decided I was out of my mind. I don’t have sisters. I have a brother, and we like each other just fine. Then at the dinner table that very night, my three teenage heathens started bickering and fighting, and I just stared at them in awe and wonder.
I had my fodder! “Keep fighting,” I told them -- much to their utter shock, since I’ve spent the past fifteen years begging them to get along.
After that night, it was a piece of cake to write the sisters — Maddie, Tara, and Chloe — their claws barely sheathed, with resentment and affection vying for space.

So then all that I had left to do was find the three sexy guys who could handle them.

It just so happened that, at the time, my neighbor was having an addition put on her house. For six glorious weeks, there were a bunch of guys hanging off the roof and the walls, in perfect line of sight of my office.
Which is really my deck. It’s a wonder I got any work done at all.
So I sat in the sun and wrote while in the background cute, young, sweaty guys hammered, and sawed, and in general, made my day. And on some days, they even took off their shirts. Those were my favorite days of all. But I digress …

I was working very hard, planning out conflicts and plot pacing and trying to nail down my hero. And given what I was looking at for inspiration, it shouldn’t be any surprise at all that the hero for this first book in the Lucky Harbor series, SIMPLY IRRESISTIBLE, turned out to be a master carpenter.

And a very sexy one at that.
I’m actually writing book two right now. I keep going out on the deck, sitting and patiently waiting, but my neighbor hasn’t hired any more sexy carpenters. Darn it.

Perhaps I need a new addition myself!

Please leave a comment below telling me what you find irresistible. Don't forget to leave your email so I can contact you if you are a winner. I have five copies to giveaway and this is open to residents in the US and Canada, just no PO Box addresses please. Winners will be chosen on October 16.

Guest Post: Kara Louise

Kara Louise is the author of Darcy's Voyage and I posted a review of the book on here earlier this month. I am excited to have her writing a guest post on how she became a writer. After you have read Kara's thoughts, be sure to leave a comment below with your email address as I have two copies of the book to giveaway. The giveaway is open to those in the US and Canada and winners will be selected on October 9.

I wonder whether most authors’ writing routines change over the years, but I’m pretty sure mine is not the same today as when I started writing about 10 years ago. We lived in a different house and my schedule (as well as my husband’s) was very different.

I don’t know if I had more free time then, but it sure seems like I am a lot busier now than I used to be. Even though we moved out to the country where life is supposed to be slower, it seems like there is always something to do that gets in the way of writing.

My computer room is in one of the extra bedrooms at the front of the house. This is where I do most of my writing. But my favorite place that bids me to come when the weather is nice is my hanging hammock chair out on our back patio. I take out my laptop, a bottle of water, my IPod, my kindle, maybe the phone, and settle in. It’s very relaxing and comfortable. Unfortunately, we had such a hot summer this year, it was simply too hot to sit outside for any length of time. I’m thrilled that autumn has finally arrived! I’m finally able to enjoy my favorite chair! I normally do my writing in the evenings or when I have large blocks of time alone.

Now, how did I become a writer? Please step back in time with me to 2001. My love for Jane Austen came about through the 1995 A&E version of Pride and Prejudice. It inspired me to go out and buy the novel, read it, and then read her other novels. I fell in love with her writing, her stories, and her characters. Once I had finished with the sixth one, I felt somewhat dismayed. Why couldn’t there be more?

Aha! But there were! Well, not exactly Jane Austen, but other authors who were carrying on her stories and her characters in a variety of ways. I began reading these online stories and one day came upon an idea for a story of my own.

I had not really done a lot of writing, although I had tried. Years ago I plotted out a story in my head, but when I went to type it out, I didn’t get past about the third page. I thought to myself, I just can’t do this. Then about a year before my introduction to Jane Austen and Pride and Prejudice, I discovered some interesting facts while doing some genealogy research and thought it would make a good story. I actually finished three chapters and thought to myself, ‘I can do this!”

I still have those three chapters waiting to be continued, but Pride and Prejudice brought everything else to a standstill. I had plotted out that first story that I came up and thought it would be about 7 chapters. I was sure surprised when it turned out to be 18 chapters. I was even more surprised when people said they really liked the story.

I am the kind of author who has to have an idea of where she’s going before I begin to write. When I finished that first story, called Assumed Engagement, I thought to myself, ‘That’s it. I don’t think I’ll be able to think up anything as good, or better, than that story.’

But I was hit with inspiration and came up with an idea for a sequel to that story, and thus "Assumed Obligation" was written. Then there was "Pemberley’s Promise" (which is the book now being published as Darcy’s Voyage). That book seemed to spark the greatest response, and of the first five novels I wrote and self-published, it was the most popular. I also wrote a modern story that came to me almost like a lightning bolt when I was in Guatemala. Part of "Drive and Determination" takes place in Guatemala in the places I visited. And then there is my dog book. "Master Under Good Regulation" is the story of Pride and Prejudice as seen through the eyes of Mr. Darcy’s dog, Reggie, an English Springer Spaniel. (I was so thrilled to finally get my own ESS this past February, and even though she is a female, we had to name her Reggie!)

I had actually started my final novel, "Something Like Regret," about 6 years ago, and once I had self-published my other 5 novels, I decided to go back and finish it. I completed it in May 2009, just before Sourcebooks contacted me and offered me a contract. They decided to publish Darcy’s Voyage (Pemberley’s Promise) first, and then Only Mr. Darcy Will Do (formerly titled Something Like Regret) will be released in March, 2011.

I never ever imagined I would be a published author. Even when I began writing these stories and received great encouragement for the readers, I never believed a publisher would pick up a variation of Jane Austen’s classic. This opportunity to be published was literally dropped in my lap, and it has been quite a wild, but thrilling ride!

A Tale of Uncharted Love on the Open Seas

In this enchanting and highly original retelling of Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, Elizabeth Bennet sets out for the new world aboard the grand ship Pemberley’s Promise. She’s prepared for an uneventful voyage until a chance encounter with the handsome, taciturn Mr. Darcy turns her world upside down.

When Elizabeth falls ill, Darcy throws convention overboard in a plan that will bind them to each other more deeply than he ever could have imagined. But the perils of their ocean voyage pale in comparison to the harsh reality of society’s rules that threaten their chance at happiness. When they return to the lavish halls of England, will their love survive?

Ever since Kara Louise discovered and fell in love with the writings of Jane Austen she has spent her time answering the "what happened next" and the "what ifs" in Elizabeth's and Darcy's story. She has written 6 novels based on Pride and Prejudice. She lives with her husband in Wichita, Kansas. For more information, please visit her website, Jane Austen’s Land of Ahhhs,